Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday's Proverb

Honor is the possession of wise men, but fools inherit shame. (Proverbs 3:35)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy Birthday Liz

One of my favorite people is having a birthday today. That's right! Liz, at A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy. Head on over and give her some birthday wishes.

Liz and I have known each other most of our lives at this point. And I'm so glad I do know her. We made our publishing debut together at the age of ten when we created a newspaper - that we sold subscriptions to and then had to return the money when we only made one or two issues.

We've vacationed together: a very memorable trip to Holland and Belgium.

She was the maid of honor in my wedding and is my son's godmother.

Liz may not be related to me, but she is the sister of my heart.

Happy Birthday!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pippi Got A New Bike

This is big news because the bike is actually new. She hasn't had a new bike before. Okay - that isn't technically true, when she was 2 her grandparents gave her a tiny bike. But that was eight years ago and she didn't have any say in the matter.

Since then she's been riding used bikes. First was the pink Huffy bike we bought for $15 from a neighbor. That's the one she learned to ride on and I'm sure it will always hold a special place in her heart.

Then there was the red bicycle. This was my old bike. A 1970's era red Schwinn Bantam. It was in good shape and she enjoyed riding it. Though, as Harry got his second brand new bike last year I made sure she knew that if she wanted a new bike she could get one. She always assured me that she was very happy with her old red bike.

But the time has come - she's outgrown the Bantam. So today she got a brand-new bike. One that she picked out. It has hand brakes and 21-gears and once the rain stopped we went for a ride around the park. We managed three miles and she's getting the hang of both the hand brakes and the gears.

And as much fun as the vintage bike was, she's very happy to have a new grown-up looking one.

The only problem is that now we have eight bicycles in our one-car garage (and no, the car absolutely does not fit in there). I think it's time to purge bicycles.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Jersey Girls

I'll admit it. I'm a Jersey Girl. Though in the interest of full-disclosure, I was born in Philly. Esther, of A Catholic Mom in Hawaii has decided to link up all the Jersey Girl bloggers who pass her way. And, I know. You're thinking Hawaii? That's about as far away from Jersey as you can get. Yes - true - but Esther has deep roots here in Jersey.

So what does it mean to be from Jersey? First of all I suspect it's the only state that continually has the first part of it's name dropped. You don't hear people talk about being from York (unless they're from York in England, or York, PA), or being from Hampshire, or Mexico (well, okay, that one makes sense, what with the real Mexico being right there and all), but the original Jersey is pretty far away, and fairly obscure. (It's part of the Channel Islands off the coast of England).

Being from New Jersey means people from out of the state not getting what is so great about it. We have beaches and skiing, we have farms and cities. And we have lots and lots of people.
When I was in Wyoming once I was surprised to realize that at times I wasn't really in any town. Neither here nor there I suppose. One town was left behind the next was miles away (I'm sure those areas are accounted for somehow). That doesn't happen in New Jersey. You're always somewhere. (It might happen a little bit in some of the far corners of the state, but not in most places.)

New Jersey has a lot of History. Many revolutionary battles were fought here. Washington had an encampment in Morristown. Molly Pitcher was a Jersey Girl. There are lots of places in New Jersey where Washington slept. One of them is behind our 7-11. Okay - that makes it sound like he was sleeping in an alley. There is a historic building, behind our 7-11, it's now several apartments, but it used to be an inn. It's been moved from it's original location - but it has a historic marker out front to say that "Washington Slept Here" (in more detail than that).

Thomas Edison did a lot of his inventing right in New Jersey. About a mile from my in-laws' house there is a tower with a huge light bulb on top, to commemorate Edison (they live in the town of Edison, by the way).

Another great thing about NJ is it's weather (aside from the humidity which is horrid). I was just convincing Harry tonight that a bit of a breeze does not mean that a tornado is coming. We don't get tornadoes here (now and then a baby one that aims for an unsuspecting trailer park, but that's about it). We also don't generally get direct hits from hurricanes - usually just the remnants of one as it makes its way up the coast. We don't get bad snowfalls (maybe a major one - meaning more than two feet of snow every couple of years.) No earthquakes. (there was a small earthquake when I was in middle school - the people who were running the seismograph in Princeton were changing the paper, so the severity was not recorded.)

All in all, I look at it this way - if New Jersey didn't have so much going for it (especially proximity to major cities), not as many people would live here. So we get cool stuff - and lots and lots of traffic. Oh well, there's always a bit of give and take.

And as far as the other Jersey Girl bloggers that Esther highlighted, they are: SFO Mom - Barb, Ellen at From Across the Net and with Jersey roots Christine at Ramblings of a Catholic Soccer Mom and Domestic Vocation. I want to add one more Jersey blogger I know, Liz at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy.

Drying Clothes

Ah - it's a lovely summer day (okay a bit hot and sticky for my tastes, but nevertheless) and the load of laundry I put in the washer this morning is hanging on the line, wafting in the gentle breeze and lovely sun that the Lord sends us.

The only thing is - it's not my clothes' line. It's my neighbor's. Because I don't have a clothes' line And my clothes are out there because it seemed better than letting them just sit in the washer, since it seems that my dryer has decided that it is too hot for it to emit any heat. So it stopped. Emitting heat that is. And it seems that my clothes (judging from the first load that has spent several hours in the dryer now) prefer to get dry when a little heat is thrown their way.

Luckily I have very accommodating neighbors and she even lent me clothes pins to use as well (because since I don't have a clothes line, I don't have a large supply.)

I'm guessing that the agenda for this weekend is going to include shopping for a new dryer.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

RIP - Leafy

The little green tree frog has jumped his last jump. I suppose after his taste of freedom a couple of weeks ago he simply lost the will to live. Whatever the reason, the frog was found dead today - splayed out in his water dish.

Pippi was upset at the passing of her frog - but she had lost interest in the frog almost a year ago (she had it for nearly two years) and so I don't think the loss will affect her that much.

We are very limited in the type of pets we can have in this house. My husband and I are both allergic to cats, dogs and birds. Harry is allergic to dogs - not sure about cats and birds. So pet wise we are pretty much limited to things without fur.

For a number of years we had fish. A few gold fish now and then. Then two years ago we turned the aquarium into a home for a frog and a lizard. The lizard died last year. They were excited at first. But the frog turned out to be nocturnal and the lizard liked to hide. They also came with instructions that you weren't supposed to touch them too much (or basically at all). So that left watching a sleeping frog and looking for a hiding lizard. Woo hoo. No wonder they lost interest.

All the same, it's sad to see any pet die.

So, here's to you Leafy the frog - (and Greeny the lizard) may you both rest in peace and find an afterlife with lots of little crickets for you to eat. Yumm Yumm.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

And...It's Gone

I had a brilliant idea for a very profound post today. I had it all figured out; was writing it in my head.

But summer took over.

And... it's gone.

I have no more idea what I was going to write about than you do.

If I ever think about it again, I'll post it. If it's not as profound as I thought it was, I won't say that it's the idea I remembered. (grin)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Philosophy a la the Muppets

Harry was listening to our record of The Muppet Movie (and just in case you're wondering I do mean actual vinyl record) and I realized again how much I love most of the songs from that movie. The song where Rolf and Kermit commiserate over their love lives (new leash on life) (take myself for a walk) (come Father's Day the litter bugs going get you) is priceless.

But then there was the one line that I think should be a sampler or something.

"There's not a word yet for old friends who've just met"

In thinking about it though - sometimes it seems like the blogosphere is filled with "old friends who've just met" (and just met in cyberspace to boot). So, maybe the word we need is "blog buddies."

Tuesday's Proverb

The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, but the dwelling of the just he blesses; When he is dealing with the arrogant, he is stern, but to the humble he shows kindness. (Proverbs 3:33-34)

Monday, July 23, 2007

His First Concert

They'll be able to say they were there at the beginning: his cousin, his sister, his grampy (and his ammy who was taking the picture). Harry's first public concert. He's got the stage (okay, so it's a picnic table), the venue (grampy's pool area during the cousins campout) and the adoring fans.

I just hope that when he's older he doesn't do his concerts in his pajamas.
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Friday, July 20, 2007

Back in the Old Days

My eight-year-old nephew to his dad (my brother): Dad, before people had computers, how did they use the internet?

Poetry Friday - Home is Love

In honor of the fact that there will be a gathering of the clan tomorrow - and for the first time in two years I will see all three of my brothers and sister-in-laws and 1 niece and 3 nephews, as well as my parents, I offer for Poetry Friday a poem and about home and love by Charles Swain.

Home is Where There's One to Love Us
by Charles Swain

Home's not merely our square walls,
Though with pictures hung and gilded;
Home is where Affection calls,
Filled with shrines the Heart hath builded!
Home! -- go watch the faithful dove,
Sailing 'neath the heaven above us;
Home is where there's one to love!
Home is where there's one to love us!

Home's not merely roof and room--
It needs something to endear it;
Home is where the heart can bloom,
Where there's some kind lip to cheer it!
What is home with none to meet,
None to welcome, none to greet us?
Home is sweet - and only sweet -
Where there's one we love to meet us!

The round up is at Mentor Texts & More.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Lesson in Patience - All Tied Up

Want to convince impatient children to wait for something? Do a little tie-dye. First the shirts have to soak for 20 minutes (20 minutes isn't too bad), but then after they are dyed they must sit for 24 hours (while the dye bonds to the cloth).

And you can't see how it turns out for those 24 hours. No peeking or anything.

But the time passed (and we've done this two separate days this week, so we're getting really good at waiting) and the results were fun - though maybe not as colorful as they would have hoped based on what it looked like when still all bundled up.
Harry wants to tie-dye his underwear - I vetoed that idea - but he did do one of the under shirts he sometimes sleeps in.

Pippi wasn't sure about the whole venture (this was more Harry's thing). But besides the sweatshirt above (I think she wasn't sure she wanted to mess with it's lovely whiteness) she also did a large yellow t-shirt that she can sleep in.

They had fun and didn't make too much of a mess, and that's what counts (the fun part, not the mess part - I'm used to messes).
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Anticipating the Weekend

This is a big weekend. A lot of people - young and old - are anticipating the arrival of the last Harry Potter book. Now, my kids have read some of the Harry Potter books (Pippi has read the first five, Harry the first three), they've seen the first four movies on DVD and Harry even gets his blog name from Harry Potter.

But that's not what my kids are busy anticipating. They've got something to look forward to that offers them more excitement than a new book (and they love books). They are going to get to see their cousins again.

You see - two years ago my brother moved his family to Bahrain due to his job. Bahrain is far. We didn't go visit. The cousins - both boys - are a year older and a year younger than Harry. He has missed them something awful. Pippi misses them too - the older boy was her practice brother before Harry was born (while grandma babysat them both). Before they moved we used to see them a couple of times a week. But they are back now. They are only in New Jersey for a short time before moving to Florida - but this is the week we get to see them again.

This is bigger than Harry Potter. This is the Cousins! Yay!

Tuesday's Proverb

Envy not the lawless man and choose none of his ways:To the LORD the perverse man is an abomination, but with the upright is his friendship.(Proverbs 3:31-32)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

When He Grows Up

Harry has big plans. When he grows up he's going to be:
An author
An editor
A publisher
A rock star AND
A sports player (sport to be determined, so far he plays baseball, basketball, hockey and tennis)
He's also mentioned being a college math professor.
One thing for certain - when he grows up - he's going to be busy.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Poetry Friday - Summer Fun

Harry and Pippi have a friend over today, so I gave them the job of writing a Summer Poem for Poetry Friday.
Here it is:

Summer Fun
by Pippi, Harry and A.D.

Running, Jumping
Swimming, Splashing
Crazy Bikers always Crashing
Having fun in the sun,
I don't want Summer to be done!

The Poetry Friday round-up is at Chicken Spaghetti.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Little Creativity

A little fabric paint and tote bags from AC Moore makes for a great chance to exhibit a little creativity.

Pippi tells it like it is:

This is what summer is all about:

Harry needed a bag for his guitar books, so he made a guitar bag:

With an amp on the other side. He's all ready to be a rock star now.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

That Catholic Show

They've done it again. The wonderful Willits family has another episode of That Catholic Show up and ready. This one is about the role of priests. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Today by the Numbers

7 – children here
5 – children here that were not mine
1 – number of adults here (me)

3 – boys
4 – girls
2 – ten year olds (who never left each others sides)
3 – how many times the 7 year olds had to change their clothes because they were soaked
1 – how many times one of the 7 year olds fell in the creek (maybe twice, things are a little unclear)
1 – frog escaped from the aquarium (to be captured by a very capable 12-year-old) (this by the way is a tropical tree frog, not a local toad caught in the creek)
1 – Bike found in the creek and brought home and cleaned up (we’re calling the police tomorrow to see if it was reported stolen)
2 – Fishing poles
5 – Children fishing
3 – Minnows caught
2 – Minnows that made it back to the creek alive
1 – Turtle that ate dead minnow
3 – Children who changed their clothes during the day due to being soaked.
2 – times read “The Berenstain Bear’s Vacation” to 2 ½ year old.
7 – hot dogs consumed
3 – bags of chips open at once (all different flavors)
20 –juice boxes consumed
5 –children here who are moving to Uzbekistan next week.

Hartman’s – we’ll miss you!Posted by Picasa

Good Mood Monday - belated

So, okay it's Tuesday. I am marginally aware of that. There was no good-mood Monday post yesterday because I was too busy having a good time with my kids to stop and write about it. And that's what its really all about - isn't it?

Tuesday's Proverb

Quarrel not with a man without cause, with one who has done you no harm. (Proverbs 3:30)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Good Question

Harry: Why is a Palindrome called a "palindrome" when "palindrome" isn't a palindrome?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Five Thing Rule

My kids don't like to clean their rooms. Okay - probably most kids don't like to clean their rooms. I don't even particularly like to clean my room. But it doesn't take long for their rooms to get out of control. And then when Saturday (room cleaning day) rolls around, they groan because they don't know where to start.

So this summer vacation we instituted something new (with the hope that the habit will kick in and we'll keep it going through the school year). It's called the "Five Thing Rule".

Every morning (though honestly sometimes this gets pushed to lunchtime) they are required to make their beds (Pippi's been doing this for years, Harry needs a bit more of a nudge) and to pick up (and put away) Five Things in their room.

My theory is that Five Things doesn't sound like an insurmountable task. And if they put away Five Things each day, eventually their rooms will get a bit cleaner (in theory). So far it's working. They don't balk (too much) at picking up Five Things and the rooms are not getting messier anyway.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Poetry Friday - America

In honor of the Fourth of July, I was in the mood for something patriotic. So, here are a couple of the middle verses of America the Beautiful, verses we maybe aren't as familiar with.

America the Beautiful
by Katherine Lee Bates

O beautiful for heroes prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.

You can find the whole song here.
This week's round-up is by Becky at Farm School.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Precious Blood

It has come to my attention through Anne at Under Her Starry Mantle that July is the Month of the Precious Blood. This has stirred memories in me of when I had a close encounter with the Precious Blood (pictured above).

An unspecified number of years ago, my friend Liz and I traveled to Holland and Belgium for a week-long vacation. It was the kind of vacation that was very spontaneous - we had no hotel reservations except for the first night and knew only that we were flying into and out of Brussels. The rest we kind of planned as we went.

One of the cities we ended up in was Bruges (possibly my favorite city in Europe). It turns out that in Bruges there is a church known as the Basilica of the Holy Blood and according to tradition the church houses a relic with some of the Precious Blood of Jesus: a scrap of cloth soaked in blood, embedded in a crystal vial. The vial came to Bruges during the middle ages. The vial has been positively dated to the middle ages, but no one wants to take the scrap of cloth out for fear of it disintegrating when it hits the air.

Every year on Ascension Thursday there is a large procession throughout the city, recreating the blood's arrival during the time of the crusades. This is apparently one of the largest tourist attractions in Bruges. We missed the procession by about a week.

I wasn't sorry we missed the procession because that also meant we missed the crowds that went along with it. But we did learn that the relic was available for veneration that day. So Liz and I went to the basilica and sat through the service.

I'll admit I was a bit skeptical. After all, the middle ages were a time of great superstition, and couldn't someone have just put a bloody cloth in the vial and said whatever they wanted? And would someone really have saved blood when they were dealing with the horrors of a crucified man they were trying to bury? And who kept track of it for the 11 centuries before it arrived in Bruges?

It came time for the veneration of the relic, and people got up and stood in line to go kiss the tube that held the vial that held the relic. Liz and I looked at each other and by unspoken agreement decided to stay right where we were. After all, it just seemed too unreal.

But I watched the people process up the aisle and I thought - what if it really is? They obviously thought it was at the time it came here. There are a lot of relics. Someone may have saved something that had His blood on it. After the resurrection it surely would have been guarded closely. Maybe it really was His blood. And we were sitting here, not venerating it. And when would we ever be back in Bruges again? And they didn't do these venerations every day? This was most likely a once in a life time chance. Was I giving up my chance to venerate what could truly be the blood of Christ?

I looked at Liz. "I'm going up," I whispered. She'd obviously been thinking along the same lines, because she said "I am too," and so we joined the line. And we kissed the vial. And was it really the actual blood of Christ? It doesn't matter. Because if it was we honored it the way it should be honored, and if it wasn't, we honored the possibility of it. And while honoring it we were thinking of the way it had been spilled, and reflecting on what that meant.

I'm glad I went up that day. I never have been back to Bruges.

And Liz, if your recollections of that day differ, please feel free to correct me, but I think I got the essence of it.

No Need At All

Last time it was Pippi that had a unique take on a song lyric. This time it's Harry. And no matter how many times I tell him what the real words are, he insists he likes his better. Maybe he has a point:

So Long, Farewell,
No need to say goodbye.

the real lyrics can be found here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


We went to our town's fireworks display last night. They were in a park on the water. A concert preceded the fireworks. The crowd was large, but we saw many people we knew. The kids played in the playground, played tag with friends and then, when it got dark, they sat mesmerized by the fireworks.

There's something very wonderful about watching the rapt faces of your children as they are illuminated by the beautiful lights exploding in the sky.

Happy Fourth of July

From the Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

You can read the entire text here.

We talk a lot about the Declaration of Independence. Maybe we ought to make sure we read it more often. There are some very interesting thoughts in there.

Have A Happy Independence Day!
picture from

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tuesday's Proverb

Plot no evil against your neighbor, against him who lives at peace with you. (Proverbs 3:29)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Good Mood Monday - Kutztown

Today my in-laws took me and the kids to the Kutztown Festival in Pennsylvania. Everyone had a lot of fun. Pippi and Harry got to jump around a bit.
They watched a man make a broomstick with a stick that Harry picked out from the pile.
We watched glass-blowers make a cobalt blue goblet. Amazing.

A good time was had by all, and now I'm tired.
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Sunday, July 01, 2007

I Think I Have the Answer

Now, if someone would just ask me the question!

I've been thinking about the Mass lately. With the talk of renewed use of the Tridentine Rite, the subject seems to be popping up a lot lately.

People in favor of the Tridentine Rite Mass see it as a way of bringing reverence back into the Mass, something which many people feel is lacking these days. And I suppose a Mass where everything seemed fairly solemn and mysterious would have a certain reverence to it, almost by default.

But then I think that shouldn't our worship be one that includes fellowship and songs of praise and thanksgiving. I know I enjoy that. And isn't there room to reach out to a variety of people through the Mass. Can't a Mass be geared toward children or teens or whoever by the music and tone of the sermon.

And then I thought (like a kid in a candy store) 'can't we have it all?'

So, if the order of Mass were up to me (which it is not, nor will it ever be) this is how it would work:

Before Mass would be time of silent prayer as well as fellowship with other parishioners - after all, we are all part of the Body of Christ - we are worshiping together, not just coincidentally in the same spot as one another, and we should be able to treat each other as the family we are.

The entrance song would be singable, and everyone would enjoy worshiping God through song as we prepared for the Mass to begin.

Perhaps there would even be a few other songs of worship and praise - these could be geared to a particular group or theme: children, folk, teen.

The rest of the Liturgy of the Word would remain generally the same - perhaps with a few more opportunities for joyful community worship.

I would move the Our Father and the Sign of the Peace to after the Petitions.

And then it would be time for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. At this point the tone of the Mass would change (and now, no matter what it was geared toward earlier it would all be the same - universally).

The pace would slow. The priest would face the same direction as the congregation and chant the prayers in Latin (I'm not sure about the Latin part, this fantasy re-working of the Mass is still a work in progress). The responses would be in Latin. The sacred mystery of the consecration would be shrouded in seriousness of purpose. It would be impossible not to realize what a wonderful, serious thing this was happening at the altar.

At the time for Communion I know some people would like the return of Communion Rails. I suppose that has some possibilities, but the church I attend is fairly large, and I'm not sure that would be practical (despite the fact of course that they were removed, if they were ever there, the building was built in 1969). There would not be a communion song. Perhaps instrumental music to aid in meditation.

After Communion the priest would face the people again for the closing prayer. And the closing song would be in keeping with whatever theme was set earlier during the Liturgy of the Word.

There - a perfect solution - a little something for everyone: community, joyful worship, prayerful reverence.

If you think this is a horrible idea, you don't need to worry. I have absolutely no influence whatsoever in anything that will ever be decided by the Church.

If anyone ever asks me I'll have the answer ready.