Sunday, December 30, 2007

Merry Christmas!

What a beautiful Christmas it has been! This year, we were so blessed with a full, spiritual Advent that led into a very rich Christmas season. We are blest to be able to live close to both sides of the family. It can be difficult to travel on Christmas day, but it was more than worth it in the end!
Christmas Eve and Christmas morning were spent with my family. The little ones were nestled all snug in the beds, after Mass, a reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas," gingerbread cookies with cups of milk and prayers. Then the big people in the family stayed up and talked, laughed, sipped wine or champagne, and of course, ate a gingerbread boy or two. In the morning, the whole house was awake by 7:00 (one little angel, who shall go nameless, was up at 5:30...but who's keeping track?). Adults poured strong mugs of coffee and joined the little ones dancing with excitement around the Christmas tree. Everyone took their turn opening presents and giving thanks for each gift. Stories were told about how the gifts came to be and the thoughts that were put into them. It was beautiful! I am so grateful that my daughter was able to participate so fully this year. My younger siblings are such good examples of how to be grateful and the importance of showing thanks to the giver. I love watching my daughter, as she watches and learns from my siblings. It was the kind of Christmas I had always imagined as the older sister. Thank you, my wonderful family for being there and being such beautiful examples to my little girl!




Christmas evening and dinner were celebrated with my husband's wonderful family! Everyone was dressed in their Christmas finest and everything was so festive! My mother-in-law filled the kitchen with delicious appetizers, served with champagne and sparkling conversation. The afternoon was filled with lively discussions, laughter and affection. We opened gifts and again, exchanged thanks to everyone. Then...we feasted....and feasted....and feasted. I am fairly certain that most of the holiday weight came from that dinner alone! The best part, was the way we all lingered around the table, still laughing and talking, until long after dinner was done. Again, it was beautiful! Thank you, to my husband's wonderful family and their gift of festivity!




I feel so blest to have shared the birth of the Christ Child with the incredible people that He has put into my life. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Just like every night...


I held her tight in my arms, careful to hold the pink elephant close as well. I swayed gently next to the crib. My husband stood beside me holding both of us (and the pink elephant!). He blessed the forehead of our daughter and as he started the prayers we have been reciting every night for the past year and half, something happened. A tiny hand reached up to my forehead, tiny, cool fingers danced upon my skin and her eyes, looking into mine danced. She had given me a blessing as well! Then she did the same to my husband. No other prayers seemed necessary. I could almost hear Our Lord smile. She had tried to give us the sign of the cross. She seemed to understand. Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more.


"The men of the East may spell the stars, And times and triumphs mark, But the men signed of the cross of Christ Go gaily in the dark."
-G.K. Chesterton, "The Ballad of the White Horse"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Masters in Business Administration!

After two and a half years of hard work, Jacob has finished his last class for his Masters! I am so proud of him! Not only are his classes done, but he ended with an "A" on his final! He has received amazing grades throughout the program, due to his long hours of study and incredibly strong will. I am so proud of him for sticking with it. We are planning on celebrating when he receives his diploma, but for now we had a small celebration with balloons, champagne and cheesecake. Congratulations Jake....I love you!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Golden Nights

Today begins the Golden Nights of Advent, in which the "O Antiphons" are sung. Here is a wonderful link to an explanation of the "O Antiphons" for these final days leading to Christmas Eve. These are a beautiful, prayerful way to end these evenings. God bless!

http://www.fisheaters.com/customsadvent10.html

Friday, December 7, 2007

Undiscovered Talent:

Remember dancing by yourself...you remember the time, the time when the audience (i.e. teddy bears, dolls and lego men) waited with bated breath as you finished your routine with a twirl in your toe shoes and ended with a graceful bow? Or remember singing and knowing that if someone heard you, your records would sell faster than anyone else's?

Now I have an audience, and I still dance and sing. But now, the applause and squeals of delight are not imaginary. My daughter thinks I am amazing...or comical at least. And I love every moment of it! In her eyes I am a prima ballerina, professional Irish Dancer, Whitney Houston, Monet, Chef Extraordinaire, Finder of all lost things, the Teddy Whisperer and Hans Christian Anderson (apparently with a comical twist) all in one! Who knew I was so talented! Certainly not me! I have a feeling, that every mother discovers these hidden talents, when small eyes are fixed upon them. Never pass a mother and think she is "just a mom." Oh no! She is a superstar followed by the most dedicated fans.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Preparing for the Coming of the King!




First of all, I pray you will all have a very holy, Christ-filled Advent Season. Here we are beginning our prepartions a little at a time. Today we got out Rose Marie's nativity set, and she loves it! I think every character has kissed and adored Jesus at least 10 times. The Angel flies all over the house talking about, "Kiss, JeJe" (kissing Jesus). At least she knows where adoration belongs. Just for kicks, here is a nativity picture from last Advent:


It is amazing what a difference a year can make.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

In her own little corner...


Uncle Jacob built this little step stool for me, due to my smallness, but my daughter has made it into her own work space. For her "spooning" work she decided to wear a pretty dress over her jammies...I think it was meant to be her apron. She was concentrating so hard.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Today's Reading

Please read this from today's first reading. Beautiful!

Wis 7:22b–8:1

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rambling

I have been reading a lot recently (many of you may know, that this is equivalent to saying, "I have been waking up in the morning and going to bed at night"... a rather common occurance for Jessica.) Be that as it may, I have been reading children's literature. I will always be a firm believer that true children's authors have spoken truths more profoundly than most adult literature will ever do.
I have read the first two books in the Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling. They are wonderful adventure stories. I fully intend to finish the series. So far, I have found them enjoyable, exciting, tantalizing, humorous and clever for sure. I was surprised to find clear lines drawn between good and evil, and I was grateful to find them there.
Then, I am embarrassed to say that I have finished, "The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald for ONLY the first time. Beauty was found with the turn of every page. The truth was stated firmly, but gently. Political correctness was gratefully abandoned, so that pure love and sincerity were seen in their truest forms.
As a young mother, who seeks to instill true desire for the good in the heart of her little ones, "The Princess and the Goblin" surely shone out as a guide. I will continue to finish the Harry Potter series and probably find them enjoyable, and yes, I will allow my children to read them when they are older (but under much guidance and direction!) But I am sad for Ms. Rowling, that she felt the need to be careful with the truth. I felt as if she wrote to modern childhood, as opposed to writing to the heart of childhood itself. She fails to capture the wonder that is found in the work of George MacDonald. In light of George MacDonald's work, I am ashamed that Ms. Rowling felt obligated to announce that one of her good characters lives in deep mortal sin. Fiction is no place for that kind of moral confusion. As great fiction writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, George MacDonald and so many others would be profoundly disgusted with her misrepresentation of true fiction.

She's Back



Just had to let you all know, my happy daughter has been returned to me! Today was full of the sunshine, happiness, laughter, giggles, hugs, kisses, patty-cakes, and Itsy-Bitsy Spider that I so love! I missed her while she was sick.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

One of those days

She woke up on the wrong side of the crib. That was the beginning. Then, her nose would not stop running, she couldn't put her pink elephant back in the crib by herself, Mommy didn't make her favorite breakfast, her nose had to be wiped one too many times, she tripped in the middle of her twirl, she wasn't allowed to throw her food on the floor even though she was sick etc. etc. etc.!!!! I gave myself the "Worst Mommy of the Year Award," because I simply could not appease her. The world was her enemy, and I was included in that. And then it happened...as I held her by the crib whispering her prayers in her ears, she wrapped her little arms around my neck and then patted me lovingly on the back, while her head rested against my shoulder. We stayed like that until she began to fall asleep. I guess, the day wasn't that bad after all.

Monday, November 5, 2007

About Princesses

"Very well, then every little girl is a princess, and there would be no need to say anything about it, except that she is always in danger of forgetting her rank, and behaving as if she had grown out of the mud. I have seen little princesses behave like the children of thieves and lying beggars, and that is why they need to be told they are princesses."

- George MacDonald: The Princess and the Goblin

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Puppy!

First, of all Happy Feast of All Saints (a little late!) I hope everyone had a wonderful feast day.

I just wanted to share these pictures of Rose Marie in her costume. Her Grandma Meza bought it for her and then joined us for an afternoon of fun. We went to visit Aunt Candice and then walked to a few stores that were giving out little gifts. Rose Marie had a blast, and so did the rest of us! She loves her costume and has worn it everyday this week. She follows me around the house barking at me. At least we know that she will get plenty of use out of the costume :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ponderings from the Small One

1) What is that dark drink that Mommy makes every morning that causes her to go from boring, to at least, more interesting?

2) Why is it that when I am in the house or outside and I yell, "Stuck!" Mommy comes running to rescue me, but when I am in my carseat, unable to get out and I scream, "Stuck!" she just smiles? Why doesn't she understand me in the car?

3) Why can't I be the one putting things in the grocery cart? Mommy doesn't always pick the ones I choose.

4) Why doesn't Mommy want a bite of my snack (a bowl full of cooked peas) in the morning? I told her they were good.

5) Why does my creativity have to stay only on the coloring book and not on Mommy's shirt? A white shirt is boring, I was trying to make her pretty.

6) Why can I unload the clean dishes from the dishwasher, but not the dirty ones?

7) What does Mommy do when I am napping? Poor Mommy, one day she will understand that I need my sleep, even though she must be awfully lonely without me.

8) Why does Mommy put all my toys away when I worked so hard on getting them all out?

9) Who gave Mommy the idea that she can cook without my help? She NEEDS me right there to direct and explain. Poor Mommy, she has so much to learn!

10) Why am I expected to obey the command, "Come," but when I want Mommy to stop making dinner and read me a story, and I stomp my feet and yell, "Come," to Mommy she only tells me to "Be nice!" I just don't understand...I said it right! I am sure she understood me.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkins Everywhere!!!

Pumpkin Patch time!

"I choose all!"



PERFECT!
Where is Mommy?
There she is!!!


Daddy and Me!


Yuck...but also so fun!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sanctifying the Moment

I have been doing a lot of thinking recently...some soul re-evaluating and I see several things glaring back at me of which I am not happy with. I will not confess to you everything, but one thing has really been on my mind and I thought I might "write out" my thoughts here, in order to clear my head.

A friend once talked to me about the need to sanctify the moments in our lives. That has come back to me strongly recently. I realize how many moments I squander recklessly without attributing any value to them whatsoever.

I am not proposing that every moment be spent doing something "holy," or academic or useful. Simply that I need to remember that these moments are precious. In that case, sitting outside with a warm cup of coffee, finishing off the book by C.S. Lewis and enjoying the fall morning is worth more than browsing needlessly on the Internet! Where have those moments gone!

I guess, I am trying to remember to make my life a prayer, an offering. I think one of the best ways to do both is to make sure to ENJOY the moments, in the fullest sense, because then they can be sanctified. I see myself spending free time by researching parenting methods online, new recipes online, house keeping tips etc. etc. But I have this incredible nagging feeling that what I am doing in looking at all of this is not "real." Something about it feels incredibly wasted. Perhaps it is the lack of involvement of my other senses. Sitting at a computer uses your sight and if you are lucky, your mind on occasion, otherwise it can be a state of hibernation for the other senses.

Whereas, a moment spent in the brisk fall morning air, my hands warming themselves around a cup of dark coffee, listening to the leaves rustle in the gentle breeze and feeling the beginning of the day dawning, I sigh deeply, knowing I am loved and I feel a deep sense of peace. In that brief little encounter, I feel so close to Our Lord because He makes those little moments for my to enjoy. This is real. Even though I have done nothing useful, prayerful or academic, I have come closer to Him. These moments are His gifts. I just need to open myself to receive them.

Monday, October 15, 2007

2 Years and a Lifetime to go!




Today we celebrate our 2nd wedding annivesary! I can't believe that two years has come and gone already. God has blessed us so much...one of the biggest blessings of course, is our beautiful daughter Rose Marie! Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more! Being married to Jacob has so far passed any of my hopes or expectations. He truly does mirror for me, the way that Christ loves His Church. I am reminded everyday how very much I am loved, not just by my husband, but even more by Our Lord.

My wonderful husband spoiled me this weekend by taking me away, just the two of us. We spent so much time talking, laughing, reading and just relaxing together. It was so nice and so needed. We both feel very refreshed. Our little one, had a blast with Grandma and Grandpa and her aunts and uncles. I don't think she wanted to come back with us!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Homecoming!

This weekend, the college that I graduated from, hosted their annual homecoming celebrations. The school I went to is Roman Catholic in every way...and that is something of which I am so proud! On Saturday, they hosted a picnic for the faculty, students and alumni. The picnic was swarming with children who bore resemblances of my former classmates! I had to laugh as I watched my daughter toddle over to another little girl, whose parents sat across from me in Theology class. I loved the fact that my school is very aware that alumni may be bringing children, many in fact, so they cater to them with games, cotton candy, snow cones, bouncy houses and giant slides. They not only teach about the importance of being open to life, the college itself wholeheartedly supports this, by opening the campus to children in such loving way.

That night the school hosts a party at which alumni can reunite. It was so wonderful to hear what God has been doing in the lives of my classmates. God's faithfulness was so apparent. To each person, He met a need, answered a prayer, fulfilled a dream, lifted up from a tragedy and continue to reveal Himself.


Sunday begins with a beautiful Mass and a Eucharistic procession that covers a large part of the college property. Stepping into that little chapel truly felt like coming home. It was in that chapel that I prayed for help with my Latin homework, I prayed for my friends, I asked and dreamed about a husband and family of my own and it is the same chapel that I was married in only 2 years ago. I sat there, holding my husband's hand and thinking of our beautiful daughter and feeling immense peace. God is Good. This weekend, that phrase became just a little more tangible, as it seems to at every milestone in our lives.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Prayer for Aunt Ann


Please pray for my husband's Aunt Ann who has suffered a brain aneurysm yesterday. She is a mother to three beautiful little girls, the youngest being only 5 days old. Please pray for her recovery and for comfort for her loving husband and her three little girls.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Cleanup Fairy (a.k.a. Mommy is losing her mind!)

I am quite convinced that Rose Marie has a list of things that must be done each day. Topping that list, seems to be the task of cleaning up the house. Ironically, this also tops Mommy's list of things to do.

Mommy goes over to re-stack the shoes on the shoe shelf, put all the clean dishes in their cupboards, make sure that the toys are in the baskets, dirty and clean laundry are in their proper places etc. Rose Marie then makes sure that all the shoes are on the floor where they CLEARLY belong, that the pots and pans are strewn across the kitchen floor (not forgetting, of course to put a sandal in the saute pan, carefully covered with the proper lid,) place every conceivable toy all over the other floors in the house where they OBVIOUSLY look the most pretty, go through the dirty laundry and ever so carefully place Mommy's unmentionables on the couch or the ottoman to be admired by guests.

Thus, just as Mommy finishes taking the spatula and wooden spoon out of the bathtub, she turns around and is astounded to find that although she thought she had spent the entire morning cleaning, apparently the house is a pigsty and hasn't been cleaned in weeks!

To all who enter our home...know that about 2.7 seconds before you came through that door, the house was clean. My home is haunted by a beautiful, little clean-up fairy who decided to welcome you in her own adorable, "hospitable" way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pied Beauty

These cool, crisp, colorful days remind me of Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, Pied Beauty:


http://www.bartleby.com/122/13.html

Monday, September 17, 2007

Answered Prayers




Although this blog has been a bit quiet recently, my thoughts have been extremely busy. I feel as if I have so much to say, but it is all too jumbled to express.




One of the thoughts, that has been on my mind most recently, has been about my husband. I have been thinking about how much I write about our beautiful daughter, but I haven't mentioned as much about the man who works tirelessly to keep me home, so that I can enjoy her in all of her glory.




Somehow he manages in a single day, to listen attentively to his wife over a cup of coffee, work through the entire day (which includes more math than I think I ever did in highschool or college combined!), spend time teaching his wife how to play tennis, read several books to his daughter, distract his daughter so that his wife can cook a sometimes decent dinner, do his homework for his final graduate class, bathe his daughter, read to her (again!!!), tuck her into bed, pour a glass of wine and happily continue the conversation that was begun over the cup of coffee! Now I feel exhausted! After all that, he never complains, but lovingly performs each task. I still stand in awe over the fact that he manages to work full time and take the most difficult class in the Master's program and somehow end the day knowing that he has also shown a tremendous amount of love to the two girls in his life. I am so blest! This is a thought that has been very much on my mind. If my readers find it sappy, or sentimental I cannot apologize. I feel like I have been watching my husband, seeing his daily sacrifices and hoping someday, I can show him that true love that he so freely gives to us. Thank you St. Joseph for answering all of my girlhood prayers...you picked a good one!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Being A Big Girl!

1) Daddy installing carseat a week before baby came!
2) Going home from the Hospital!
3) This is our little baby, riding in her carseat which is now forward facing. I think she is so happy to realize that she is not by herself anymore, but that Mommy and Daddy are actually driving with her! Now that she knows she has an audience, she likes to sing to us while we drive. Who needs a radio?!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Peaches and Raindrops

Savoring the last days of summer means:

1) Eating very ripe peaches OUTSIDE in the grass, barefoot.
2) Letting the juice dribble all down your chin and then rubbing it into your hair for that, "Yes, I just ate a peach outside with Mommy" scent.
3) Attempting to pick up and eat the raindrops that suddenly fall on your peach picnic.
4) Blowing sloppy peach juice kisses at the man pulling up in the fancy sports car, with shoes worth more than Mommy's entire wardrobe, talking on the most expensive cell phone on the market and who fails to notice the summer loving, barefooted, peach eating princess who is fairly certain that the last mouthful of peach is worth more than all the money in the world!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Brother's Wedding


Weddings bring with them remembrances of the past, wonderings about the present and hopes for the future. My brother's beautiful wedding was no exception. As I sat there and watched him waiting so nervously and excited for his lovely bride to make her way down the aisle, I was suddenly taken back to a different time. A time when he was three and I was six, we were dressed in our finest and having a tea party in the living room with crackers and water, but feeling ever so grown up and sophisticated. We were friends and companions. We encouraged each other, played together, fought together, even had chickenpox together and most importantly we, were there for each other.


In some ways everything has changed, and in others, not much at all. We live far apart now and we talk much less frequently then we should, but we are still together in other ways. We went to the same College, fell in love with St. Thomas Aquinas and then choose to pursue Philosophy. It was at this College that we both have found our spouses. And now we are both married to the persons that God had created us to be with. As I watched he and his bride exchange vows and give their lives each to the other, I remembered how I felt and I know how my brother felt. Now we are not playing grown-up, somewhere along the line I guess we actually grew up.


I have so many hopes for my little brother and his wife. I hope that they feel that grace permeate their marriage, as we have. I hope that they look back at their wedding day, not as the pinnacle of their love, but as loves very beginning. I hope they always love and cherish one another more each day.


And I hope someday, when my little girl is sitting in a pew, watching her siblings enter into this holy sacrament, she will feel her heart fill with memories, wonderings and hopes for them as my heart did on Saturday. I hope she looks back, and thanks God for giving her a best friend to share all her childhood and growing up years with.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Mystery of Mothering

"Babies do not come complete with an instruction manual." A very astute observation. Some days I feel like rummaging through the diaper bag, certain, that I will find a booklet (of substantial proportion) titled: "How to maintain and properly train your strong-willed daughter without ever losing your mind or patience." But alas, no matter how confident I am that such a booklet has been published and stashed away in my diaper bag for frequent reference, it does not exist.

When our little cherub disrupts the Mass by singing rather too loudly AFTER the choir has ceased singing, I want to look around and ask someone what I should do. Only then do I realize that it is up to me and me alone to discern in this matter whether I need to whisk her out quickly, or just hope that after her solo is done, she will go back to silently looking at her book. Or trying to discern whether her rather forceful smacks towards those she loves are truly hits, or just somewhat involuntary movements. And I wish someone would point out where that ever elusive fine line between expecting too much from her and spoiling her lies!

A day can be saturated by questions like these, but then she toddles over with her lovey and a story book, climbs into my lap and lets me know she is happy and content. Maybe my questions will figure themselves out and maybe, at least for today, I haven't ruined her. She is after all the affectionate, beautiful, strong-willed little girl that God entrusted to me. Right now, all I can do is love her unconditionally and hope that I gain the wisdom I need for tomorrow.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

My Companion



It is amazing how routine can be the very thing that reveals the greatest changes in your life. Today was nothing but routine. Get up, make breakfast, unload dishwasher, sort clothes, do laundry etc. However, for the first time I noticed the extraordinary help I had. As I got my apron on this morning, Rose Marie got very excited and exclaimed over and over, "pretty, pretty!" So, I grabbed a "pretty" dishtowel (the same color as mommy's apron of course,) and tied it around her non-existent waist! All of a sudden, she became mistress of the kitchen! Out came the bowls and spoons, serious stirring began.


We then went to fold laundry together as always. This time I noticed her taking one of my shirts and vigorously shaking the wrinkles from it. I guess she was trying to eliminate one of my steps in the folding of the clothes.


I wish I could describe her intensity as she worked beside me today. She tried so hard to copy mommy and to be helpful. These chores are ones we have been doing together since she was new (of course with her in the sling at that time) and now, all of a sudden she is walking beside me, trying in her own tiny way, to be helpful. I love it! Although, we do need to work on how Rose Marie could be helpful during dinner preparations from the comfort of her room, or some room other than the kitchen...but maybe we will figure that out as we go.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Warrior Moms


Today Rose Marie and I went to playgroup. There, I was privy to a discussion that started me thinking. It made me realize how lazy I have been recently. These wonderful moms of young children were discussing ways to futher the pro-life cause. To the outsider, these seem to be a regular group of women chasing little ones around and probably indulging in local gossip or husband bashing. In reality these women were planning an all out culture war and arming themselves with prayer and community. I was awed at how they were not content to "merely" be raising beautiful, godly children, but wanted to also confront the culture of death head on. Never underestimate the power of prayerful, loving, passionate mothers!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy Birthday Rose Marie!





Is it possible? Has a whole year passed us by yet again? Wise people have said, "Cherish your little ones, for they grow so quickly." I know that Rose Marie is only a year, but what a full year it has been and what a wonderous change! When I gathered her up this morning and felt those little arms tighten around my neck, I was taken back to that breathless moment when she was placed, tiny and helpless in my arms for the very first time. I was so excited to get to know the little person who had been actively making her presence known within my womb for nine months. I was so afraid that I didn't know how to take care of her and I was terrified of doing the wrong thing. Now, a year later, she is still here and is thriving.
And...I am here and still learning who this amazing little person is that God has entrusted to my care. Some people travel the world over looking for the "Wonders," seeking after that one amazing, unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime event. I have one little "wonder" sleeping in the next room. The day she was born, was that amazing, unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime moment...but so has all of the other beautiful moments she has given me since. Her first smile, her first laugh, her first tooth, her first solid feeding, her first steps, her first words...each one was precious and exciting.
I look forward to this next year of even more firsts, more cuddles, more laughs and simply, more Rose Marie. Thank you Lord, for entrusting me with such a precious gift. She has given me so much!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pictures from the Wallace Wedding!

Dinner for three!
Mezas!
Sleeping Beauty!
Mommy and Daddy!