Thursday, July 30, 2009

P90X for little kids

Neil decided to use our living room for one of his work outs as a change of scenery. He always invites the kids to come workout with him {Jonathan usually joins him for Ab ripper X}, but this particular workout Paige wanted to get in on the action. Neil usually works out in the office or our room and neither is really conducive for getting decent pictures.

So, here are some pictures of Paige doing, probably the hardest workout, plyometrics with her daddy.






Sunday, July 26, 2009

She did what????

Yesterday, we spent most of the day out running errands. So when I got back from taking Ashley out for a little shopping, I was informed that our four year old...sigh...decided to give herself a haircut.

I thought I was past it after the kids had gone to bed, but as I was loading up the last of the laundry for the evening, I found this between the washer and dryer. I figured I should at least document it.

And you know the curious part of you wants to see what her hair actually looks like...don't you? You'll have to wait for that update later.

{never mind the fact that we have a tiny teddy stuffed between both appliances}
{she also left us this tiny reminder on the kitchen counter - you know, just in case we forgot.}

Friday, July 24, 2009

What is there to do on Friday except maybe accept an award and pick on a few friends?

Yeah, that sounds good. I think I'll do that.

I'll start off by saying I may need rehabilitation one day. You see, I am a self-proclaimed "sales person". And it usually stems from a bad habit or mistake I made in the past. I'm most vocal when I'm trying to spare you the stupidity that I went through.

I can't really make this same argument here, though. It has to do with blogging. I've been nagging friends to get on the blog train for a while. Some have, some haven't. And I know it boils down to personal preference, wit & talent {of which I proudly claim to have little to none, lol}, ability to devote a decent amount of time, etc. But a friend of mine who I've known via my Catholic board for over five years now and who I think is an excellent writer has finally succumbed to the pressure of blogging. My pressure. For *her* to blog. ::mischevious grin:: And she's taken to it like the fish in water that I knew she would.

So, she's bestowed an award upon me and I am going to accept it and pass it on at the same time. Share the wealth, right?

So, here's what I won from my buddy, Miss Confused Homemaker. She rocks and didn't really need a blog to rock, but now that she has one, she doubly rocks. :)

As a side note, we are currently working on a project whereby I have access to {and will be abusing} her Ph.D. smarts and we will be revealing that project in the coming weeks? Maybe a couple of months...but for all you Catholics who are interested, bookmark this blog to find out!

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The rules of the “One Lovely Blog Award” are:
Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.* {*for me, since I've been a blog slack lately, this list is of the blogs that I love to visit, though infrequently/rarely/never post to anymore. It is my tribute to some of you that I love all of your blogs}. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So, here's my 15:

  1. Mom2Dacia
  2. Conversion Diary
  3. Hugs and Hissyfits
  4. My Little World
  5. Catholic Cuisine
  6. Fixit Mommy
  7. Ali Edwards
  8. Opinionated Catholic
  9. Les Femmes: Women for Truth
  10. Inside the Mind of a Momma
  11. Goofy Daddy
  12. Rock STARR Mom
  13. Itty Bitty Wittes
  14. Momma to Boys

Now go, visit, & enjoy. Thanks again, Miss The Confused Homemaker.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy? No, that's not right...


{click the picture to see all the products that Amy's sells}

But it does involve food, so I'm at least headed in the right direction. I just wanted to share a quick and easy meal that the kids had today for lunch. I ran into the store for a few items {ok, and seriously, this should be a separate blog entry entirely, but who really goes in for a literal few items and comes out with said literal few items and nothing more?}. *Anyway*, I saw a special on the generic corn chips and immediately thought 'hmm, we could have frito pie!', so I picked up some of our favorite organic chili {though it's a tad pricey, they deliver in taste} and found a couple of recipes online and meshed them together to make my own.

I just didn't want to use the oven...if I really didn't have to. Nearly 100 degrees today and blech, who needs that added heat in the house?! So, I decided to heat the chili in a small pan with about a quarter cup of sour cream, got it bubbling hot and served it over a bed of corn chips and shredded cheese in an 9x9 casserole dish. Then I topped it with another thick layer of shredded cheese {the Mexican four cheese is always a family fave here} and covered it with thick aluminum foil and gave it a few minutes to really melt away.

The end result was full tummies and lots-O compliments.

If you want a variation on it, feel free to add in some chopped sweet onion and diced green chilies. Or maybe some green Tobasco sauce. You know you were thinking it too. ;-)

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Friends in the Faith

This summer has practically blown away so quickly! First, with my organizing and decluttering projects around the house {and yes, I realize I owe an update on my garage status} and now we are trying to find friends to meet up with and have a little fun. Last Friday, I put together a "playdate" {am I the only one who does *not* like that word??} for three families. If you had happened upon us, you would have thought the kids swallowed some adults, lol. The ratio was almost 5:1, kids to adults.

My friend, Jen, is someone who I have recently met through my friend, Christine.

Let me back track for a moment bring it into perspective.

I have been studying Catholicism and specifically apologetics for almost eight years now. ::Quick explanation - apologetics is the study of Catholicism, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition with respect to other faiths - being able to clarify misconceptions of Catholicism - and trust me, there are some whoppers floating around out there, like we worship statues and Mary, and believe unbaptized babies go to Limbo, etc.:: I meet and discuss issues with a variety of people and most of the time I can discuss misconceptions of the Faith fairly well with our non-Catholic Christian brethren. While I enjoy the spirit of healthy debate, I've found that the people most receptive to understanding Catholicism were those who didn't come to the table wanting the argument, wanting to prove Catholicism wrong, the I'm right, you're wrong mentality.

My mantra in sharing the Faith is this: If you want to disagree with Catholicism, fine. But at the very least, know what exactly it is that you're disagreeing with. Nine out of ten times, in my personal experience, our separated brethren believe something about Catholicism that just simply isn't true. And even more heartbreaking is the fact that lapsed Catholics have left the Church over these misconstrued ideas and taught them to other Christians as facts. I liken it to getting marriage advice from a divorced person. You see the problem? It's not enough to simply know and live the Faith, you must know it well enough to inspire others to learn the Truth about it as well.

I've had the privilege of moderating and discussing fairly heated topics on online boards for a while now and have been able to smooth a few rough edges of my own in the process. However, the one topic I can't seem to make smoothly or bridge that argument is with atheism. Even agnosticism you can find some common thread.

So, I was talking about the importance of Faith foundation with my friend Christine one day and she mentioned this friend of hers who used to be a card carrying atheist who converted to Catholicism and she told me I should meet her. So, I took initiative! It turns out we are very close in age, have the same number of children and probably face a lot of the same struggles raising our families with the Faith at the center when so much of the world would be happy to see us do exactly the opposite. She has a very popular blog among Catholics, Christians and even atheists. She shares her story of conversion which is really interesting. She has been featured on Relevant Radio and she has been published in Catholic publications . She is even working on a book right now. All of this in my own Catholic backyard because she is a parishioner at our church.

So, a couple of months ago I wanted to meet up with her and kind of pick her brain a little about some of the main objections I could not address in my discussions with atheists. It was a really nice visit, so when she said she was hosting a young girl from Columbia for the summer, I thought it would be nice to get the girls together. And my wonderful friend Christine offered up her home for us to meet.

With her six, Jen's five and my four kiddos, you'd have thought it was total chaos, but the kids were all well-behaved, had a lot of fun and even let us gals chat it up a bit too!

So, here are a few pictures of us from the day - incidentally, my friend Christine, homeschools her children, taught for ten years, and has drawn on that knowledge and experience to make it a success in her home. What most of us might use as a playroom upstairs, she has turned into a small classroom, equipped with several desks, two computers, bookcases filled with school supplies, books, and whatever else is needed for the curriculum. Gone are the days that homeschooling is this antiquated, no room for socializing, creates maladjusted children, insert whatever objection you've ever heard over the years, etc. There are so many resources available out there, and of all the families I have gotten to know over the years who homeschool, it would seem that there is something for every family, making it a tailored fit to your particular family vs. most other educational institutions where the children are shaped to fit the mold.

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Me, Jen, and Christine
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Most of the kiddos!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

P90X - Finito!

**Neil has since decided to become a Beachbody Independent Coach. Visit his site - click HERE - to view his ongoing transformation and if you're interested in getting started with the P90X experience, he can help you get started and STAY motivated.**


Three months ago, Neil decided to do P90X. His last day was on Friday. He was gracious enough to let me share his results, so here are a few pictures. Hmm, I wonder if he'll let me post any before pictures....

{Day 90!}
{quite literally, the NRA's number has popped up more than a handful of times on our caller ID in the past two months, making the joke around here just that more funny about Neil's guns. FYI - no permits have been filled out...yet.}


{Day 1}
{Day 30}
{Day 60}

Friday, July 17, 2009

What a week for bracelets!



{this bracelet shows the different stages of a baby's growth in the womb}

Here are some bracelets that two friends from church gave me this week. The first is a pro-life bracelet created by a company called Conception Is Life. You can buy them individually or in bulk for a really good discount. They might make for a good fundraiser too. The friend who gave this to me last night is very active in the pro-life movement, often driving to Waco to meet with people and counsel them out of an abortion. Though he is not the owner of this company, he bought several hundred to pass out and of the four he had kept for himself, gave me one. I've already shown it to two friends we met up with today {which I'll blog about later} who absolutely love it and especially the prayer on the back of the bracelet.







The second is part of a set that includes a necklace as well. Roger, who is a friend from my Bible study class, makes these as a hobby, doesn't charge a thing - reminds me of St. Paul.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Princess and the Kiss

{Daddy and Paige enjoy reading the book together}

After many months of waiting for this book to arrive at the Catholic store, I was finally able to go and pick it up. Though it is not written by a Catholic author and it is not published by a Catholic publishing company, the message is very much in line with Catholic Teaching.

If you are in the market for a good book for daddies and daughters to read together, this would be a good one. Click here to purchase a copy for your family.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Farewell, Father Joel

{me with Father Joel-yay!}


The second Sunday of Easter, three months ago, Father Joel McNeil announced he would be leaving St. William's and moving closer to home - which is in Omaha, Nebraska. He hadn't gotten his appointment yet, but it wasn't long before we found out that he would be pastor over the Catholic Student Center {I'm guessing this is the official name like it is on the UT campus} at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Seeing that his folks and other family live in Nebraska, it made perfect sense that he would want to be home, or much closer than Texas is to Nebraska. No one could reasonably argue that much, though we all wanted him to stay. He's been with St. William's for ten years, longer than most pastor's assignments. Most stay for one assignment and then move on. Father Joel stayed long enough to encourage growth in the old parish and then created the push to find adequate space for all the new parishioners. He is the reason why we have the most beautiful church. It is not a building, it is a wonderful place of worship. Everywhere you look, you see history, the history of our Faith, the history of other churches in Europe who's stained glass is now a permanent fixture in ours. We have Father Joel to thank for getting the ball rolling and reminding us in his last homily that now that we have the spectacular place for worship, room enough for CCD, perpetual adoration, and many more exciting things to come that now more than ever is the time for us to continue growing in our Faith.

This afternoon, there was a farewell reception. There were so many familiar faces. In a parish of 16,000 and 18,000 unofficially it can be daunting to get out and meet folks. I took on a project of asking, collecting, dividing and presenting letters to Father Joel. These letters were glowing letters affirming his wonderful work for the Church. Copies were sent to our diocese to be placed in his file. All too often we hear of good and faithful priests who are persecuted for voicing the truth. At the advice of a mother of a priest, I thought it was appropriate to send this good and faithful priest with our heartfelt letters as well as give his file the necessary and accurate reflection of who he really is. A good and faithful priest who isn't afraid to voice the truth.

While he leaves us in good hands with our two new incoming priests, he will be missed more than words can say. How do you say goodbye to a father figure, a mentor, a friend and most importantly, someone who was willing to tell us what we needed to hear, not what we wanted to hear? It won't be easy, and our new priests will have some pretty big shoes to fill, but our parish family will grow because of his hard work.

{parishioners look at photocopies of the scrapbooks that were given to Father Joel}{Neil and Paige enjoying the reception}
{various ministries presented Father Joel with gifts, plaques, and even a special dance!}

Friday, July 10, 2009

OWWW! My butt bone!

Drew tested out a new skill today. It involves, well...you'll see.




Wednesday, July 8, 2009

*WHAT*, praytel, are you talking about?

As some of you may know, my first internet experience goes back to the mid '90s. I won't go into too many details, but back when the online dating world was total societal taboo, I was there front and center getting an article published about an experience that was featured in the Sunday paper insert, Parade Magazine insert.

Most people seemingly outgrow childish/juvenile phases, but oh no. Not me. I have fully embraced that aspect of my life. Even now, I feel like the rest of the world has caught onto the gem I found in the internet long ago. It's gotten a little bit better even now as social networking sites such as Facebook have made it incredibly easy to streamline friendships.

So, one of the things I eventually broke off and pursued was the world of online forums. Having been a part of a very large family website for almost nine years now, I have learned how to say what I want to say {thank you John Mayer - click on the iTunes link to listen John Mayer - Say - Single - Say} without really having to say it all. And all while typing out acronyms at the speed of light, other friends can enjoy my messages while quickly deciphering my codes.

LOL has been around quite a while. In fact, some might say it has become the ultimate in internet lingo cliche. I disagree. You *can* abuse it, but when used appropriately and sprinkled throughout, it has the ability to really emphasize your emotions; particularly if you are not prone to much laughter. A friend of mine and I started to debate theology {or the lack therof} quite a bit and in our exchanges we weren't able to do much for bolding, italicizing, underlining, etc. so she introduced the *xyz* asterisks as a way to bold without bolding. Funny, I have seen it catch on in the past year or so. Call it laziness if you will. I just kept on using it because it's *far* easier than to stop typing and grab the mouse to click on bold.

So, while I try to be polite while blogging {because not everyone is "in the know" about internet lingo}, there may be times when I use it. For those reasons, I think it would be nice to share with you some common internet acronyms I use. And I know there are a *lot* more out there. For the purpose of this blog entry, I'll just keep it to the ones I am most likely to use in my online discussions, not all necessarily ones I would use here.

DH - dear husband
DC - dear child/ren
DS - dear son
DD - dear daughter
MIL - mother-in-law
FIL - father-in-law
BIL, SIL - you get the idea
IMO - in my opinion
IMHO - in my humble opinion
HTH - hope this helps
KWIM - know what I mean?
BTW - by the way
ROTFL{MAO} - rolling on the floor laughing {I'll let you fill in the last letters ;)}
IIRC - if I recall correctly
BTDT {GTTS} - been there, done that, got the t-shirt
FWIW - for what it's worth
IRL - in real life
ITA - in total agreement/I totally agree
JJ/JK - just joking
LO - little one
MYOB - mind your own business
OMG - oh my gosh
PP - previous poster
OP - original poster
SAHM/SAHP/SAHD - stay at home mom/parent/dad
TMI - too much information
TIA - thanks in advance
PITA - pain in the {well, you get the idea} ;-)

To learn more you can visit THIS or THIS {as recommended by Goofydaddy} website and dust off the old acronyms you used to use or hey, introduce a few more to your repertoire.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Third of July


On Friday, July 3rd, we took the kids to the Rock 'N River Family Aquatic Center. One of the nice things about this place is you can bring your own cooler, camp out at a picnic table that's nicely shaded, enjoy concessions and snow cones and piped in music.

Oh, and you can do lots of different water activities. They have two water slides - an open and closed tunnel - a shaded kiddie pool, a lazy river and a huge waterscape for kids.

We easily passed the day away, taking into account the time it took to get out the door and back.

Here are some pictures from our day out. Enjoy!

{Looking for tubes to lazy on}{Jonathan enjoying the lazy river}
{Neil and Paige}{Drew's head was firmly planted on my shoulder. He wasn't fearful of the water so much as he just didn't want to be away from me - that and he was afraid of the water. ;-)}
{Can you feel his tension??}
{Drew clutching for dear life - I think my kids have the gene for water paranoia}
{Paige and Ashley enjoying some sisterly bonding time}
{Quick. Call the NRA! - p90x joke}

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

{Erica, Jonathan and Paige working on their flag project}

We spent the evening with friends Cynthia and Jesse and their three little ones. We had the All-American cookout feast of burgers, hot dogs, chips, drinks, s'mores, popsicles and a really good Riesling for the adults. YUMMY!

The kids participated in a flag-making project consisting of a whipped cream flag background and then they used blue berries and strawberries to make the stars and stripes of the flag. Afterward, they ate it all up and went back several times making it over and over again.

Then we headed out to the driveway to watch a few fireworks across the street. All in all, it was a fun-filled day for the kids!
{Anthony chowing down on a hot dog - he is only a couple of months older than Drew!}{Erica enjoying her hamburger}{Drew and baby Vincent, Cynthia and Jesse's youngest}
{the kids cooled off with the water toys in the backyard}
{Erica, Jonathan, Paige and part of Ashley working on their project}
{is she working to eat or eating to work? you decide...}
{TA DA!!!}
{Ashley's finished product}
{Erica's finished flag}
{Sparkler and fireworks time!!}
{Ashley looks a little unsure about all that}
{once she got the hang of it, Erica was all smiles with her sparkler!}