Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sometimes you have to break the rules!

On Monday night, the Red Sox were playing in game 5 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Red Sox went into that game with the series tied 2-2.  Peter decided he should wear his Red Sox gear to help cheer the team to victory. 

Peter wanted me to take his picture and email it to my husband's family members and to post it on Facebook.  So, of course, I obliged.

We were going to let Peter stay up a little past his bedtime so he could watch more of the game but apparently after we sent him up to bed around 9:30, he went into my room, turned the TV on, and watched the game.  I headed up to bed at 10:15 and he wast still up watching the game.  I sent him downstairs to finish watching the game with his dad. I didn't have the heart to send him to bed.  He was thrilled. 

And they won which meant that the series was heading back to Boston and that we only needed one more win!

Last night at 8:00 we all (Sarah included because even though she isn't a sports fan, she didn't want to be left out) gathered around the TV.

I  knew (because sometimes you just feel these things in your bones) that the Red Sox were going to win.  So I wanted to make it a little more special.  I made a batch of these and we enjoyed them as we watched the game.

The Red Sox had a big lead early and we were feeling good.  I knew since Peter had watched all of game 5 that there was no way he was going to bed if there was a chance the Red Sox could win the World Series. 

My husband, who is a lifelong Red Sox fan, didn't get to experience the Red Sox winning a World Series until he was 38 years old and I knew he wasn't going to let Peter miss the opportunity to see them win.  Because as he says, "You never know when it will happen again."

Sarah was starting to get tired but she continued to persevere.  I finally convinced her to go to bed at 10:15. Even though my kids go to bed at 8:30 on school nights and lights out is at 9:00 they are usually both still awake when I go to bed at 10:00.  So 10:15 isn't quite as bad as it sounds.

I stayed downstairs with the boys because I wanted to see the game to the end but I fell asleep on the couch around 11:00 as they were heading into the 8th inning.  I could hear Dan and Peter talking and then finally I drifted off  until I was awakened to sounds of clapping and screams of "That's it!  That's the last out!  The Red Sox are the champions!"

I opened my eyes in time to see Peter shirtless, wearing only his Red Sox hat and pajama bottoms leaping from couch to coffee table and back again.  The phone rang and it was Uncle Bob calling to talk about the game with Peter.

Dan let Peter watch some of the post game celebrations and then sent him off to bed around 11:45.  YIKES!  That's really late for a school night!

Peter was a little grumpy this morning and begged to stay home from school but after breakfast he perked up.  And it helped that today is Dress Down Day at their school and they can wear whatever they want.  Needless to say, Peter went to school in a Red Sox tee-shirt.

It was a great night and I'm glad I let Peter stay up to watch the game.  Hopefully he will remember the evening forever.

Sometimes, you've got to break the rules!

Here we are this summer, heading into a Red Sox game.  Aren't we cute in our Red Sox gear?!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's not a pumpkin carving without some jalapeno potato chips!

We finally got around to carving our pumpkin on Sunday afternoon.

We all have our jobs. Dan is in charge of cutting. Peter and Sarah are in charge of seed removal.  I am in charge of seed roasting.

Here are a few pictures (or a lot because sometimes I get a little wild with the camera) from our afternoon.

Making the first cut.

Going in for the guts!

Ewwwww!  So gross!!!

Being silly!

I love these little cheese heads!

Mom (and baby!) decided to join this picture!

The kids had contests to see who could get the most seeds out.


Add caption

Peter wanted to try these jalapeno flavored chips while Daddy was carving.


He thought they were good and not too hot. (But check out what he's doing in the picture below...)

Sarah, who doesn't like spicy quite as much as Peter, decided to give them a try too.


Ha!


My peeps1

The finished product.

And whenever we take pictures on the front porch, my crazy kids like to do a silly shot!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Egypt!

Last Friday, the 4th grade class held their Country Expo!

All semester long, the kids have been researching their chosen country, learning about the language, the population, the terrain, the people, the food, the music, etc.  They painted their country's flags in art class, they learned about their country's music in music class, they did research during their media time and then a week before the Expo they put their display boards together.

After their display boards were put together, the kids went around with questionnaires and visited all their classmates boards and learned about the other countries as well.

All the kids had to research a food from their country and bring in samples for the class and the parents. So on Thursday afternoon, Sarah and I made Ancient Egyptian Date Candy.

And Friday was finally the bid day!  Sarah was so excited!

I arrived early to help some other parents set up the gym and at 1:00 it was time for the Country Expo to begin.

The kids paraded up and down the halls with their flags while the other classes stood out in the halls and watched.  They made their way back into the gym, waving their flags, with the Olympic theme song  playing.  One of the parents announced the kids name and their country as the entered the gym to the applause of all the parents.

And then we feasted on delicious food from around the world.  And it really was delicious.  There was cassoulet, empandas, samosas, noodles, and all sorts of other goodies I can't remember.

Then all of the other classes came into the gym one class at a time to look at the boards and ask the students questions about their countries.  It was such a great learning experience for all the 4th graders.  I really loved watching Sarah tell the other grades about her country.

And of course, I took pictures!


Decked out in attire from their countries!


Wearing her Egyptian Abaya (gown) and parading in with the flag of Egypt.

Standing with her display board and souvenirs.


Sarah read that commoners in Egypt often wear their hair to the side in 8 braids so, that's what we did!

The Ancient Egyptian Date Candy

Daddy even made it!

Sarah with her BFF Brooke.  Brooke's dad is from South Africa so of course, she chose South Aftrica.




Emory (Kenya) photo bomb!



Explaining the incense burner.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

WIWS: The Stitch Fix Edition

Joining up with the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for another addition of What I Wore Sunday.

In very early August, before I found out I was pregnant, I signed up for Stitch Fix.  If you've been living under a rock (or don't read a lot of blogs) and don't know what Stitch Fix is, I'll clue you in.

Stitch Fix is a website where you create a user profile by answering some questions about your fashion style, pay $20, and then excitedly wait for the mail man to deliver a beautifully packaged box to your door containing 5 items that were chosen just for you from your personal stylist based on your profile.

You try on the 5 items, keep what you love (and pay for it, and your $20 fee is deleted from any items you purchase), send back what you don't love (in a postage paid envelope) and sign up for another fix.

Each item comes with a style card that includes tips on how to dress the item up or down.

I tore into my first Stitch Fix delivery and everything was too dressy for my taste.  I didn't want to lose $20 so I decided I could probably make this silky black and white polka dotted shirt work with something.  I kept it in my closet waiting for cooler weather.

After every shipment you receive from Stitch Fix, you go online and tell them what you are keeping and what you are sending back.  You also get to rate every item and include comments.  I gave them my comments and made some changes to my profile and anxiously awaited my next order.  (I decided to get one more order even though I was pregnant because it was so much fun getting a surprise package in the mail!)

The next Fix came and I only ended up keeping a necklace.  I was already too pregnant at the time to look good in anything they sent and I really didn't feel like holding on to a bunch of items until next spring (and with the amount of weight I've already gained, I won't be able to fit into my normal size for a long time after the baby arrives).

So back all those items went (with the exception of a necklace) and I sadly suspended my Stitch Fix shipments indefinitely. 

I've already decided that when I get back down to my normal weight after the baby arrives, I am going to treat myself to another package from Stitch Fix.



Shirt:  Stitch Fix
Pants: Motherhood Maternity
Shoes: Kohls
Necklace: Charming Charlies
Extra Large Thighs:  Courtesy of eating almost two very large cheesecakes from the Cheesecake Factory.  Not cheesecake slices, entire cheesecakes!  Y'all this baby is making me hungry!!!

Check out all the other Sunday styles at Fine Linen and Purple.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Much longer post than I intended but look at my beautiful rosary beads!

I converted to Catholicism in 2007.  One of the things I wanted to better understand before I converted was the Catholic devotion to Mary.

As a lifelong Protestant, I just didn't get it.  I'm mean, sure, I understood that she was the mother of God and eventually, as I got older, I truly appreciated that her selfless "yes"  to God ultimately changed the world for all eternity.

But I was not devoted to her.  Protestants misunderstand the Catholic devotion to Mary and to all the saints really, because they think Catholics are praying to the saints and why would you need to pray to anyone other than God.

The distinction that I ultimately learned, is that Catholics are asking the saints to pray to God for them.  And this, I could understand, because Protestants are very good at asking other people to pray on their behalf.

Catholics (like Protestants) only worship God.  We do not worship Mary or the saints.  But we do honor them and we do ask them to pray to God for our intentions.  And why not?

In the Apostles Creed, which is one of the earliest statements of Christian belief, (one that is still held by Catholics, Moravians, Methodists, Episcopals, and others) we state that we believe in the communion of saints.

What is the communion of saints?  It is the spiritual union of all members of the Christian church, both living and dead, those on earth and in heaven.  It seems right that if we can ask those believers on earth to pray for us, then why shouldn't we ask the believers who are already sitting in heaven worshiping God to pray for us.

As I mom, I love my son more than anyone on this earth (although my mom and my husband might disagree).  And I feel like my son loves me more than anyone on this earth (although my mom and my husband might disagree).  Could Mary and Jesus feel any differently?  I doubt it.

Wouldn't Jesus, want to please Mary and do whatever she asked?  (Just like my son wants to please me and do whatever I ask.  Okay, that might be pushing it because he is still a human and maybe he doesn't always want to please me and do whatever I ask, but you get the picture.)

If I ask Mary to pray for one of my intentions, why would I believe that Jesus would not do exactly what she asked (assuming my will and His will were in line).  After all, he turned water into wine at the wedding of Cana at her request even after he protested a little.  He did it anyway because she was his mother.

It's just another act of faith to believe that all the saints in heaven are sitting up there worshiping God, signing his praises, and praying for us. And just like with the living Christians, all we have to do is ask them.

And I guess I've gotten off track because what I really came here to talk about this morning was rosary beads.  (I suppose I got off on my tangent because when you are praying the Rosary, reflecting on the mysteries of faith and asking Mary to pray for your intentions, you typically would use rosary beads. I guess I want all of my Protestant friends to have a better understanding of the Catholic belief in asking saints to pray for us.)

I have been a member of the Catholic church since 2007 and I don't have any rosary beads.  I pray the Rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet but when I do, I do it online. And if you use the links I provided, you don't need actual rosary beads to keep up with the prayers.  There are virtual beads on the computer screen. (So high tech.)

But look at these beautiful beads I just received as a gift:




Sarah and the rest of her class are presenting their Country Projects this afternoon.  Sarah chose Egypt.  My sister-in-law, Cathy, has a neighbor from Egypt and he was kind enough to send Sarah several souvenirs from Egypt to use in her display.

However, along with the souvenirs, Alam also sent me these beautiful rosary beads because Cathy had just told him I was pregnant (we've met Alam on several trips to visit Cathy and he is one of the nicest people you will ever meet) and that I was worried about the health of the baby.

The rosary beads belonged to Alam's wife, Noelle, who died several years ago from cancer.  Noelle was a very dedicated Catholic and was active both at St. Mary's (her parish in Alexandria, VA) and at the National Shrine in Washington, D.C.

It was through the shrine she met the Papal Nunzio and told him of her work to get a Divine Mercy devotion going at St. Mary's.  He took her paperwork and used it to design a Divine Mercy program across the US and Pope John Paul II declared the Sunday after Easter as  Divine Mercy Sunday, largely prompted by her original efforts.

The rosary was blessed by Pope John Paul II and were given to Noelle during an audience that was arranged for her and her sister by the Nunzio.

Alam is convinced that if I keep the rosary with you, the baby and I will be healthy.  Isn't that just the nicest thing?

And what Alam doesn't know is that prior to my conversion in 2007, I attended a Bible Study at my parish and before each study we prayed the Divine Mercy and read parts of Faustina Kowalska's diary.

Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, reported visions and visitations from Jesus and conversations with Him. He asked her to paint the vision of his Merciful Divinity being poured from his sacred heart and specifically asked for a feast of Divine Mercy to be established on the first Sunday after Easter so mankind would take refuge in Him. 

I remember feeling such peace after praying the Divine Mercy and several years later, when I joined the Catholic church, I took Faustine Kowalska's name as my confirmation name.

And now I have rosary beads that were blessed by JPII  and given to someone who played a part in getting the Divine Mercy Sunday officially established!

These beads are a reminder to me of all the people (living and dead!) who are praying for me and my baby.  I will treasure them (the beads AND the prayers) always.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

A few pictures from Charleston!

Last Friday morning, Dan and I dropped the kids off at school and then giddily drove ourselves to Charleston, S.C.  This was our 6th trip to Charleston, so I think it goes without saying that we love it there! 

We took a carriage ride through the town, ate lunch at Poogan's Porch which is where Dan proposed to me waaaaaaaaay back in 1999, visited a Civil War Photography exhibit at the Gibb's Museum of Art, visited the only operating tea plantation in North America, visited the 1500 year old Angel Oak Tree, took a ghost tour, watched the Red Sox clinch a spot in the World Series (on tv, of course), toured around the Battery, walked all over the town and then walked all over it some more, ate more good food and finally headed home on Sunday morning.

It was divine.  I love my kids, but y'all I do love spending alone time with my husband. Here are a few pictures from the trip.  And a lot of them are just of me because Dan refuses to do selfies and he hates to have his picture taken and we didn't ask anyone to take a picture of the two of us.

This is Facebook.  He took us on our carriage tour.

Tea growing on Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island.
Moss covered tree on the Tea Plantation.

Dan standing in front of the Angel Tree on Johns Island.  This tree is over 1500 years old and is thought to be the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi River.

Me in front of the tree.


Me in front of the Jasmine House Inn where we stayed.

Me in front of an Oleander bush on the Battery.

Dan at the Battery.




In case you were wondering, they turned the fountain pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

We love Charleston and are already looking forward to another visit in two or three years.  We were actually thinking of taking the kids there next month for Peter's birthday but nixed the idea. After we calculated hotel expenses, food, activities, etc. it was just going to be too much for the old budget to handle.  But, hopefully, we will get them there one of these years!