Friday, October 30

Kids' Books to Creepy Movies

Hat tip to Joel for pointing out this:

Children's Book Cinema!

He even highlighted my personal favorite - especially since the original book creeps me out completely.

Quick Takes: Photo Edition

Jen, as always, is hosting Quick Takes Friday at her blog.

This week, I thought I'd share some pictures.


My girls are making these for their younger cousins for Christmas. (Denise, if you are looking at this, make sure your two little ones aren't around!)

It's a dishtowel bunny. That one is mine, before I put eyes and a tail on her. I thought it was so cute - and easy - and the girls were able to make their own, as well. (If you look carefully, or click for a larger image, you'll see that my bunny's body is made of a towel that mentions coffee. If that surprises you, then I want to welcome you to my blog, newcomer!)


Those bunnies were from vacation in Tennessee. Another thing we did was go to this NASCAR place. (Note to travelers: If you go in the off-season, expect to pay the same to get in, but have about 1/3 of the things to do as normal. The girls had a blast, but I kind of wished that there had been a few more tracks open, especially for Little Girl.)

But the girls went rock climbing indoors, too. They had a blast doing that, and, since it was so dead, they actually were allowed to switch sides several times to get the best side to climb high. Okay, so that's a benefit to going off-season - if we'd have gone when it was busy - like summer - I'm sure they would not have been so accommodating to them.


Little Girl had a lesson on the cardinal directions, and we learned that if you stand outside at noon, your shadow points due North.

You'll have to trust me on this, but it was noon when we took this, and her shadow did, indeed, point due North.


When we went hiking a couple weeks ago, I snapped this shot of Travel Man and Little Girl, walking together. They didn't know I was doing so. I love candid shots.


I know I've mentioned it before, but we had a really nice time at the Exemplification to the Fourth Degree. And Travel Man looks AMAZING in a tux. And this might be one of the best pictures of me in a while. I think I'll be putting this one in our Christmas letter!


Tonight, we'll be doing more of this, and I'll have pictures again.


I've thought long and hard about this. I've always been quite careful about sharing my girls' faces, but I cannot resist sharing their Halloween costumes. We have a deal: every other year, they are saints. Last year I had St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Maria Goretti trick or treating. This year, the girls are in matching costumes. It's rare to get them in something that goes together, and the last time we did so was this:

(Yes, that's their hair, teased and sprayed with blue hair color.)

But this year, this is how they'll be going trick-or-treating at Travel Man's office:

I was supposed to be their beekeeper, but ran out of time and didn't make my costume. But their costumes turned out so cute! And it's all reusuable, with the exception of the wings, which are barely being held together at this point, and were made with $4 worth of tulle, $5 worth of elastic, four hangers from the dry-cleaner's, and some scrap cardboard. Oh, and packing tape and a staple gun. In case you're wondering, the sweaters are from Old Navy's men's department.

Happy Halloween, happy All Saints' Day, happy All Souls' Day!

Monday, October 26

Like Prom, Only Better ... But Not With Less Hairspray

Travel Man made his Fourth Degree this past weekend. We got all dolled up (it was black-tie), and I felt like a princess! We got professional pictures done (like prom), but here's a shot a friend of ours took for us. I think I used about as much hairspray as prom, too. But I thought it was worth it!

And can I tell you how totally AWESOME Travel Man looks dressed like this??? Good golly, Molly! I'm ready to buy him a tux to just wear around the house every day. Seriously. I didn't even want to go to dinner, you know.

And if you think that's bad, wait'll he gets the Regalia!!

Wednesday, October 21

Wordless Wednesday: Fiery Trees

I'm taking a break from much of my internet activities for the rest of the month, but I've been taking pictures lately, so I wanted to share some of my fall pics for Wordless Wednesday. These are all in my area of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

This is a view of the Jefferson National Forest from my front yard. (There's a bit of someone's tree in the foreground; it's about four houses up the street from me.) The Forest is north of me, and the mountains are starting to look like ... well, like Someone spilled yellow, orange, and red paint in big splotches all over the place.

Here's Little Girl was swinging on the tree between our home and our neighbors'.

Here's a far-away shot of the tree. Notice how brilliant the sky is? I did nothing to enhance or touch-up this picture, either.

I love how the changing leaves pop against that sky!

Little Girl and I both liked this picture. Sky, leaves, and sun. This is the view from under the tree on which she was swinging, by the way. It's been a truly lovely day.

Thursday, October 15

Has it REALLY Been Eleven Years?

Yes, indeed, it has. Big Girl is really eleven. And turning into a young woman.

She was over the moon about the Guitar Hero guitar Grandma and Pa Pa got her and swore she'd wear her Toad hat "everywhere except Mass," but she could barely wait until I showed her how to put on her eye shadow that she got for her birthday. Eye shadow. Real women's stuff, you know.

It's simple beige stuff, very subtle, and we're probably the only people who will know she's wearing it, but I have one very excited little girl young woman on my hands today.

Here's a little look back at my sweet bundle of joy.

(This shot is from her first birthday. I love these kinds of pictures!)

(That year, we took her to Sea World for her birthday. She how much she loved the Shamu Show?)

(A few months later, we went to Rock City and Ruby Falls. By the time she'd run all over Rock City, she was a bit tired. Travel Man carried her the last half of the way down to Ruby Falls, and this is how she experienced it.)

(Here's Big Girl helping her Daddy wash my minivan.)

(We did take her to Sea World more, and she did get to see Shamu. But here she is with her Daddy, signing "I love you" to me.)

(Riding Barbara Manatee.)

(Meeting Little Girl for the first time. She is signing "I love you" to her, in case you can't see well.)

Let's fast forward a bit...

My girl is getting so big. She's on the cusp between girl-hood and woman-hood. I don't like to think about it much because I want to savor this, but it's not fair to keep her small.

Soon enough, she'll be out in the world. My job will be done.

But in the meantime, and especially today (and on every October 15), I like to think of her like this:

Wednesday, October 14

God Takes out His Crayons and Begins His Handiwork

I love hiking in the Fall around here. The leaves are just starting to really show some color, and by the time the rain clears up later in the week, I'm sure it'll be just stunning!

This is going to be especially pretty in a few more days. Already, we've got spots of fiery colors all over the mountains.

This leaf looks like it's got a light inside of it! I love the way the veins in these turn bright yellow while the leaf itself is a deep burgundy color.

This was so frustrating to get. These leaves turn an almost-peach color. This tree was bright yellow, fading into that peachy tone, and the trees surrounding it were all still green. So pretty!

But it was getting late, and dinner was cooking in the crock pot at home. Time to head back to the car again. (Aren't those wave-like clouds on the right just gorgeous?)

Little Girl and Travel Man walked ahead, knowing darn well I was snapping pictures behind them. Travel Man would like to hike faster, but he knows I'm busy snapping pictures, so he just deals. Besides, he's the one encouraging me to take the artsy-fartsy type pictures. ;)

I'm hoping for more Fall foliage next week for Wordless Wednesday. Sorry I wasn't very "wordless" this time.

Sunday, October 11

Unofficial news: Mom does not appear to have a clot. Official news: fever was down again close to normal by the time she arrived at the hospital. Thnx 4 praying


Please!! Pray for my mom. Her leg (same one as the knee replacement) was swollen today, and then her temp. went up. She's on the way back to the hospital (the therapy center totally dropped the ball and did not do a test that the doctor ordered for her!!! GRRR!) for tests and more recovery. Please, please pray!

Saturday, October 10

This Cements My Impression of Mensa

Stuck-up smarty-pants types. Who on EARTH tries to get their toddler into that group!!??

What's even more disturbing is that this is not the first toddler to be accepted into Mensa.

British Boy, 2, Scores Same as Einstein on IQ Test

Friday, October 9

Seven Quickies: 40 Days Edition

Jen is not hosting the shin-dig this week, but I wanted to get a few things off my chest that have been rattling around in my head a bit.


Travel Man is teaching Big Girl in religious education this year. He shared with me a few lesson plans and suggested I step up her sex ed.



I did so, but wasn't particularly happy about it, if only because I keep thinking, "She doesn't really need to know this yet, right?" We talked this week while Little Girl was at ballet, then again during story time at the library. We talked about (ahem) cycles, some very basic biology, and the idea that some people do not understand the Marital Embrace and do not save that embrace for when they are married. (This has come up a couple of times before, but we discussed a bit more of it on a new level.) Then she dropped a bombshell on me as I was turning off the car to go back into the dance studio.

"On vacation Older Cousin told me that when two girls get married, it's called a 'gay.' What does that mean?"

This is NOT something I would have brought up with my not-quite-eleven year old! As a matter of fact, it wasn't something I was going to bring up for a few years yet. (Why even start that nonsense?) But I've been praying since Big Girl was about five in order to be prepared for sex ed, so I prayed my favorite "Kids Dropped a Bombshell on Me" prayer (which is, "HELP!!!") and tried to do some very fast damage control. Fast because I was already two minutes late getting back to the studio.

We discussed it a bit more the next day, and I showed her some pictures of anatomy (hers), while letting her know that we really didn't need to get into male anatomy right now. "Let's just concentrate on what YOU'VE got, okay?" (She's seen baby boys occasionally, but since it's not a regular occurance, I figured we could hold off on that for this moment. Besides, I don't want to get too much into the reproductive anatomy of men.)

I did make sure I answered all of her questions, and the approach I took (in case you're wondering) was very centered on Culture of Life vs. Culture of Death. I told her that while I wasn't happy she had heard about gay "marriage" (it's not possible for two women or two men to be married, I explained, since it cannot fulfill the "fruitful, faithful, freely given, and permanent" requirements for matrimony), I was very happy that she told me what happened on vacation. "I am glad you told me about it. I want to answer your questions, and I want to help you understand what the Church teaches us. Remember, "I continued, "that things are not true because the Catholic Church teaches it. The Church teaches things because they are true."

At the end of it all, Big Girl was grateful. "Thank you for talking to me about that stuff. You helped me understand it, and I feel better."


By the way, that prayer is very useful, you know. Very simple, too, which makes it easy to remember. "HELP!!!" And I use it in pretty extreme circumstances, and it's usually answered pretty quickly. In the above example, the answer was, "Ask her for more details before you get carried away."


And, by the way, that's very good advice for parents. Sometimes, the answer they're looking for is not as detailed as we think. If we ask before we start in on our explanations, we'll learn just what they're looking for. Plus, it gives you a little time to contemplate how to answer questions. Questions like, "Mom, if Mary had a baby and was married, how is she 'Ever Virgin?'" In the time it takes to cry out (silently), "HELP!!", God says, "Remember that term 'Marital Embrace?' Now's a good time to use it."


Our family is now in the habit of saying a daily Rosary together. We remember many intentions while praying, but we usually have one or two "main" intentions. Right now, it's for an end to abortion because of the 40 Days for Life campaign. But yesterday, we also prayed for my mother, who was having the first of two knee replacement surgeries. When she was in the OR, the girls and I prayed a Rosary. Later that day, we went to Mass. We arrived early because Big Girl has volunteered to altar serve on Wednesday nights, and so Little Girl and I went to Adoration beforehand. I decided to pray a second Rosary, in thanksgiving for a good surgery for Mom.

I've noticed something interesting about praying the Rosary so much, though. The night terrors I sometimes have seem to get worse when I draw closer to God. It's been relatively mild lately (usually it's imaginary spiders - I'm terrified of spiders), but yesterday I prayed TWO Rosaries, went to Mass, and stayed for Adoration a little bit. Plus I'm in charge of Respect Life (and it's Respect Life Month), so I made sure the parish had enough pamphlets to go around on euthanasia and assisted suicide as well as the pamphlet on marriage ("The Difference is the Difference"). Oh, and I put out a bunch of CDs and audio tapes of Christopher West's "Marriage and the Eucharist" and "Contraception: Why Not?" on the table, too.

Let me tell you! I could barely sleep last night for all the night terrors I was having. Now, I'm not some holy person. I think that Saint Anthony - who was famous for his spiritual attacks - and Padre Pio - who sometimes suffered physical attacks - had more holiness in the toenail of their baby pinky toes than I've got in my whole body. But I am becoming convinced that these night terrors are a kind of spiritual attack on me. They virtually went away when I wasn't praying daily. When I picked up the Rosary and stuck with it - and there's the key - they got worse. But yesterday - a day when I was in tears during the Liturgy of the Eucharist - I was awakened about every 15 to 20 minutes with imaginary spiders coming for me.

I've had similar things happen before, too. When I was pregnant with Big Girl, I saw a man - I could still describe him to you - in a doorway. He rushed at me, reaching for my throat.

By the way, in case you wondered, it's not usually a good idea to scream suddenly in the middle of the night while staying at your in-law's home and your father-in-law is in the next room, dying from cancer. No one really appreciates it.

Anyway, if you could, please pray for me. Saint Michael and I have been hanging out at night because when I get these, if I can keep my head about me, I call on him, along with my Guardian Angel, for protection. I love Saint Michael, and I love his line in the Bible, too!


Speaking of the Bible, we've finished the Old Testament portion of The Great Adventure Bible Study. The girls are doing very well with it, and have done most of the reading. We'll be reading Luke for the Messianic Fulfillment (because it contains the story from the beginning, starting with St. John the Baptist's conception).

Hey, did you know that St. Luke has all those cool stories about the Blessed Virgin Mary because when he had finished studying with St. Paul he went to stay with Mary for a while? I thought that was really cool.


I have been thinking about people who hate the Church. And it occurs to me that many of the same people who scream about Rosaries and ovaries (explain that, please - I'd much rather pray with my Rosary than ... well, you know ...) also complain that the Church did not do enough during the reign of the Nazis to save Jews. (Never mind that history shows that the pope helped save more than 80,000 Jews through his actions. Or that the Church spoke out boldly against the Nazis' actions very early on, only to be oppressed and to have their seminaries shut down. Or that because they were so dang stubborn in their defense of their Jewish neighbors, one-third of the Polish clergy was slaughtered in the concentration camps.)

Which way do you want it? Should the Church stay out of public affairs, or get involved and try to sway the government? Or can She only be involved in things that you deem to be acceptable? Make up your minds!

I thought it was kind of interesting that they seem to want it both ways. It's like Chesterton said: somehow, those who insist the Church is not true also find ways to insist that it lives up to what it says it is. I mean, if the Church is a load of hooey, then why would you care that there are hypocrites? There are hypocrites everywhere! But we are held to a higher standard. And if it's a cute fairy tale we tell ourselves, why would you want input (or scold us to stay out of things)?

All of this insistence on higher standards is fine, by the way. Because the Catholic Church is true. And we ought to live up to those standards.


Video, anyone? I think I've talked to people like this before. I'm so glad I am not working any more. Really.

Picture Time!

Can I share some pictures from our trip to Tennessee?

That's Little Girl on the swing. And that second picture? It adorns my desktop right now. I'm kinda proud of that one. :)

More posts later, perhaps for Wordless Wednesdays.

Who are your heros?


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