Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Last night at about 11:35, the phone rang in the darkness and I struggled to reach over the baby before the ringing woke her, while also trying not to wake her myself. I wondered briefly as I stared at the letters UNKNOWN CALLER flashing on the face of the phone if the culprit for this late night call was perhaps another customer on the West coast, forgetting that because it was 8:30 pm his time, this did not mean it was still 8:30 pm here on the East coast. I clicked the answer button, and heard a male voice just trailing off with my nineteen old son answering; “Un momento “. I then heard his foot steps heavy on the stairs, our door open and saw his shadow begin to pass me a second phone.

Realizing this was likely a call from Argentina, the one we have been expecting and dreading for months, Hugo took the phone instead. It was his brother-in-law David who, after announcing who was calling, said to Hugo:

“Don Erico no es con nostros nada mass.”

Don was a title of respect reserved within the family for only Hugo’s father and was used by much of the community whether talking to, or speaking of him. He was a man who commanded respect and was, if not loved by all, deeply cherished. His loss will be sorely felt, and I suspect his funeral well attended. Sadly Hugo will not be able to return to Argentina for it, and it is in this regard that we grieve most for Hugo while he grieves alone without the comfort and support of his 6 siblings and mother. They will have each other to share the memories and stories of Abuelo and the familiarity of the daily routine without his presence t0 acclimatize them to their loss. Hugo will not.

We did not have the fortune of meeting Abuelo due to the distance and expense of traveling with such a large family. We have spoken to our family in Argentina by phone, exchanged emails lately, as well as letters and photos but we have come to know Abuelo more though Hugo’s memories and stories than by correspondence.

Don Erico Teodoro Luis was the husband of Lidia for over 50 years, the father of 8 children, 7 surviving. He was the grandfather of 29 grandchildren and I am uncertain of how many great grand children. He was a tower of strength and worked hard providing for his family until his very last years. And in those last years, he suffered much, but silently, an example to all. I will be forever sad not to have been able to meet him in person in this life time.

My one comfort that I hope to be able to share with our children is that with his passing on, we can now speak to him all the time, at any time. We may not be able to hear his reply, but we can be assured of his hearing us and praying for us. In this way, he is more present to us now than he was in life. God rest his soul.

Don Erico Teodoro Luis ..... November 8, 1915 - January 30, 2006

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

"It MINE!!"

This morning as I was dressing, I overheard Emma and Nathaniel discussing a most important issue. Being three and five, neither read yet.

Emma flourished the ticket stub in front of Nathaniel’s face and in a haughty tone pronounced;

“See, dis is MINE. It tays Emma wight here!” and she pointed at the bold letters of MADAGASCAR on the front.

“Humph, no it doesn’t! Hee – it hays Movie Theater on the back!” and he gleefully pointed to the back of the ticket where it stated Cinematic Theater.

“No, it DOEN”T” retorted Emma. “It MINE!”

After a night in the company of our whole 2000 collection in our bed, I was too tired to deal with such a senseless argument and arbitrarily told Nathaniel that it was hers and please no more fighting.

That command was immediately ignored and as I struggled to dress Emma, the discussion continued. In my weary mind I debated as to whether I might search for another ticket stub for as surely as one from Madagascar lay about used and worn, another must be floating about in a pocket or drawer somewhere. But then clarity struck my sleep deprived brain and I realized the futility of such an action as, without doubt, the sole attraction of this ancient stub was in its singularity. Another similar stub would hold no appeal until one, or the other, showed an interest in it and then the argument would begin anew, with the Madagascar ticket forgotten.

Emma danced a dance of victory before prancing out the door to eat breakfast. Nathaniel was fit to be tied and continued to grumble about his loss to me as I helped him dress. My eyes shot to the drawers beside my bed but no, I reasoned again to myself, another stub was a useless idea. As I made my bed, Nathaniel flopped on the floor in front of his small plastic dressers. Suddenly I heard a sharp excited intake of breath and Nathaniel sat up straight. He happily brandished a second ticket stub in his little hand. That it was not even to Madagascar stood as an excellent testament to my outstanding housekeeping abilities.

While I fluffed the duvet and tossed pillows back, Nathaniel pronounced;

“HEY! I will doe give this to Emma!”

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Something Positive out of Hollywood?

Danielle has posted an extremely interesting link this week and so, once more I am stealing some of (ahem) her Thunder, if you will pardon the pun!

She has written about a 35 minute film A Distant Thunder that has actually been produced in Hollywood. I have previewed the trailor and it is well done, intriguing and draws you in quickly.

Please click on the link above to learn all about it and PLEASE spread the word. It is an incredible film, and I hope to purchase the DVD very soon.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

You know you are REALLY tired...

...when you sit nursing the baby and as you gaze off into space, you wonder who is watching her in her high chair.

You know you are still even more tired when the day after doing that, you take clean dishes out of the dish rack and start to put them back into the sink to wash.

Either you are tired or losing your mind... or both! Read more!

The difference between Emma and Nathaniel...

...besides two years of age, is immense! For example, Emma LOVES to tease, Nathaniel does not. Typically he is the target of her teasing and when she engages in this favorite pastime of hers, he just falls apart. She knows just which buttons to push and he falls for it every time. No matter how I try to explain to him that he is doing exactly what she wants by falling down on the floor in prostest to her molestings, or throws the toy across the room in anger because she won't use it the way he wants her to. She sits there with a little smirk on her face while he gives into a rage. She leans back and watches the fireworks. And enjoys her creation.

Now that makes her sound like quite the little monster doesn't it, but in truth this would make her a real diva on any 3 o'clock soap opera. However, she does have her saving graces.

For example, three weeks ago, just before Jonathan had to return to school (We are still recovering from this upset in our lives btw.) Nathaniel had one of his melt downs, not precipitated by Emma for a change and had been sent to his room to calm himself down. Emma watched silently as her big brother dragged his feet up the stairs, loudly protesting the general unfairness of the world. While we all relaxed in the quiet he left behind, Emma softly tip toed up the stairs. A moment later she peeked down at us from the upstairs balcony, part of her body hidden by the wall that seperates the bedrooms from the downstairs. She appeared to be holding something with the hand we could not see.

She pulled on it and Nanthaniel's face joined hers between the bars of the balcony.

"Tanny Paul topped cwying. Tan he tum back now?"

Nathaniel peered over the shoulder of his intercessor, hopeful of a positive reply.

However, he had a few more minutes of imprisonment to serve and, as cute a picture as the two painted, we all felt his sentence should be served out; without early release for good behaviour. So the answer was no. Tanny's face crumpled and he returned to his bedroom, but not alone. His faithful shadow returned with him, not to be seen until his timer rang and he was released from his time out.

So while the differences between Emma and Nathaniel are great, the love between them is even greater. Read more!

Thursday, January 19, 2006


fa·tigue (definition from dictionary.com)
  1. Physical or mental weariness resulting from exertion.
  2. Something, such as tiring effort or activity, that causes weariness: the fatigue of a long hike.
  3. Physiology. The decreased capacity or complete inability of an organism, an organ, or a part to function normally because of excessive stimulation or prolonged exertion.
  4. The weakening or failure of a material, such as metal or wood, resulting from prolonged stress.
    1. Manual or menial labor, such as barracks cleaning, assigned to soldiers.
    2. fatigues Clothing worn by military personnel for labor or for field duty.
My addition to the meaning of FATIGUE:

a. A reason to pray nonstop so as to get through the day.
b. A means of learning how dependent you are on God, to get through the day.

And when fatigue brings you to God, then one should be grateful for their fatigue...

Ummm - I'm trying! But right now I would give anything... not.... to ... be .... so TIRED! Read more!

Monday, January 16, 2006


The good news is that after a solid two years of belonging to the "WHY? Club" that all we mothers dread, Nathaniel has given up his membership.

The bad news is that it was a short reprieve, as Emma has apparently joined it. She has been talking in sentences for over a year and I foolishly thought that perhaps we were actually going to skip that stage. I could not have been more wrong as the following conversation proves.

Sucking in her breath and letting out a huge sigh of delight Emma almost whispered: "Oh! Mummy, is dat a set up?" She pointed to the rubber letters stuck to the plastic shower wall and the few dollhouse toys sitting on the bottom of the sparkling tub I had just scrubbed out.

"Umm, ah yes - I guess so." I had simply placed things there to get them out of my way after scrubbing them.

Still in raptures of delight she asked; "Ohhhhh! Tan I get in wit de set up an play wit dem?"

Still on my knees scrubbing bathroom floor, I replied flatly; "Ah - No Emma."

To which Emma asnswered: "Whyyy?"

I sucked in my breath with the intonation of the WHY. After all the why was appropraite to a no answer, but the inflection had caught my attention. I am NOT mum2twelve without experience! "Ummm - because I just washed the tub."

Emma: (She still had her eyes glued to the letters and dolls decorating the SPARKLING tub.)
"Oh. Whyyy?"

My scrubbing hesitated for just a second and then continued as I replied with one eye now focused on Emma's back. "Because it was dirty."

Emma shot back: "Whyyy?"

I sighed, "Because it was, Emma."

"Oh. Well tan I have a bat wit the set up?"

Like a fool I kidded myself - ha! No Whyyy? So maybe we are safe. "No Emma You can't have a 'bat' right now. "

"Oh. Whyyyy?"

Bravely trying to ignore that definite inflection of the y in her why? I continued to scrub as I answered: "Because it is cold."

"Oh. Whyyyy?"

The thump of my forehead banging the floor drew her attention.

"What's wong Mummy?"

"Nothing" I gurgled, torn as whether to cry, or to laugh. Read more!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Canadian Elections...

Recently the Canadian Government fell through a no confidence vote against the Liberal Minority Government, resulting in a call for elections to take place the 23 of this month. In response to this the Catholic Organization for Life and Family has published the following public statement. A friend here in the area forwarded the site to me.

Here in the US, we too have elections looming ahead this year and I think there is much in this statement that Catholics here in the US could reflect on before voting. I also would like to humbly request prayers for my fellow citizens in Canada as they vote for a new government and, hopefully, one that will be friendly to family and Christian values.

Here is the public statement:

Open Letter to Canadian Catholics
from the Catholic Organization for Life and Family

What Country for Tomorrow ?

On January 23, Canadians will choose a new government. The electoral campaign is an ideal opportunity to reflect on the type of country we wish to build and bequeath to future generations. As such, we find it important to emphasize certain considerations which have not received the attention they deserve over the last few weeks.


At this time in the history of Canada, a realistic look at society reveals a fundamental problem – the loss of respect for human life and dignity. This is evident in so many ways: the legal void that permits abortion right up to birth; medical research that authorizes the destruction of embryos; a mentality that increasingly favours euthanasia and assisted suicide; the gratuitous violence in our schoolyards; abuse of women and children; the violent deaths of young men; the silence that surrounds so many situations of poverty; the widespread incidence of prostitution, pornography and drugs.

Human life and human dignity encounter too many obstacles in Canada. As we prepare to elect a new government, we must determine the position of candidates on the first of all human rights: the right to life. If this is not respected, should we be surprised that other rights will sooner or later be threatened?


The family is also under attack. The recent redefinition of marriage in our country contradicts the reality inscribed in nature. It has become urgent to announce to the next generations God’s plan for human love and marriage between a man and a woman as the foundation of the family. It is also urgent to ensure that our schools respect these convictions by not proposing a conflicting vision to our children.

It is our responsibility to demand that the next government develop policies to support married couples who are ensuring the survival of society by giving birth to new citizens and raising them in the most stable environment. We should also remember that the family, as the vital social unit, is not at the service of the state; rather, the state should be at the service of the family. Following the principle of subsidiarity, the state is to respect the rights of the family and, through fiscal and social policies, help it to fulfill its duties, including the raising of children.

Many Canadian families live below the poverty line. In a spirit of justice, it is up to us to work towards a better distribution of resources and equitable access to essential goods so that all will be assured of a decent quality of life.

Freedom of expression

As we prepare to vote for those who will direct the destiny of our country in the years to come, we believe it is important to draw attention to a phenomenon that is increasing in Canadian society and which threatens our very togetherness. We are referring to an erroneous understanding of the separation of Church and State – a misunderstanding with ramifications for religious freedom.

We are witnessing an obvious effort by some in society who wish to relegate religion to the private lives of citizens. This aggressive secular ideology refuses religion the right to exist in the public square. In the name of pluralism and secularity, then, there is a desire to exclude from public dialogue those who promote religious values, even when these can be defended by human reason and experience.

As Catholic citizens, we not only have the moral duty to exercise our civic and political responsibilities, but also the right to be involved in the life of society, each according to his or her own area of expertise, and without denying the Gospel values that are central to our lives. We are not obliged to suppress our moral conscience in order to live in society. There should be no separation – but instead coherence – between our faith and our daily choices, made evident in our personal, family, professional, political and cultural decisions.

In a democracy, the state is to ensure that believers have the opportunity to contribute freely to society. Because they are full citizens, they must be able to contribute to the evolution of the country, proposing a vision for the future and solutions to current problems, as do other citizens who may promote other values.


The Gospel invites us to build a culture of life. Let us take advantage of this election campaign and engage in serious discernment as we consider the candidates in light of the Gospel principles. We are invited to:

(1) Examine critically the platform of each party; participate in local debates; meet candidates and discuss with them; explain our point of view;

(2) Evaluate these platforms in the light of the plan of God by studying the social doctrine of the Church;

(3) Make an informed decision as we consider the moral implications of various electoral platforms and their eventual repercussions on our life and on the lives of all members of the human family.

The question for the Catholic voter is: How, in the light of the Gospel, can I use my vote to advance the common good in Canada and throughout the world?

January 3, 2006

The Catholic Organization for Life and Family is an autonomous non-profit corporation co-sponsored by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Recently Emma (3) learned how to LOCK bedroom doors and was so enthralled with the process that those wanting entrance to any doors with locking knobs had to be armed with a long thin screw driver.

On the last day of her enthrallment with her new found skill, Emma was seen with an old set of keys she had found in the yard and was attempting to unlock doors that she had locked! Needless to say - little to no success was achieved. But the rest of us certainly became much more skilled at picking locks so cat burglers need not apply!

Shortly when I have a little more time - I will write of our trip to Belmont and the reactions of the little ones when we left their oldest brother behind. Right now we are attempting to adjust to having one less man on hand for the business. Never mind relearning where to set the dinner plates.

GOD Bless and a many congrates to IAN and his wife! They have a wee one due in July. Ian - I have added your family to our little red book of intentions, since we pray for all we know who are expecting when we pray our daily Rosary. Ian has some hilarious comics regarding "mice" of the sort that we bloggers use daily! Read more!

Monday, January 09, 2006


I have to confess that the Three Kings are way late at our house and I was met with great cries of distress when the children discovered this morning they still had not come as promised last night. But when you have been on the road all day and only cruised into the driveway at midnight and had to unload a van full of sleepy heads, as well as clean the rental van out... Well - you tend not to remember things like "leaving the back door open for the kings".

I had to do some quick thinking as I was faced with a row of sad faces.

"But the house was messy, and the table was not set, and, and uh I didn't have much for the Kings to put out, so it didn't seem to make much sense for them t0 come last night. AND we didn't have any carrots either..."

This was met by a few raised eyebrows. All throughout the day there were some grumblings about lost Kings as well as concerned whispering about the year when they just didn't arrive at all - NOT... AT... ALL! There was speculation about why that was. Perhaps messy bedrooms??
We cleaned ALL day and still did not get to the bedrooms, but hope springs eternal and after the rosary this evening, the question was raised again - would the Kings perhaps come tonight?

However - I still did not get out to the Dollar Store which is JUST down the road and we still do not have any carrots! So the children are borrowing some of Marzi's (the guinea pig) hay for the camels and Christmas mugs, filled with fresh water for the kings, have been left out after a debate as to whether it should be milk or water. (I voted for water being its such a long trek from the desert and water being so scarece there... and uh, they like Goats milk - which we don't have...)

So I am off to root out the chocolate gold coins hidden in my closet to leave out for the three kings to distribute, and and I'm afraid not much else. The economy might be booming and perhaps the dow closed at over 1100 tonight - but I'm afraid these kings have not had much time nor money to spend on the Epiphany this year - more lacking in time that money. The dollar store might be just down the road, but getting there is another story!

Belated Happy Epiphany!! Read more!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sad Farewells...

Well - the day has finally dawned - today we drive Jonathan back to school. We are all wondering how Emma and Tanny will deal with it. Last year when we dropped him off both Nathaniel (then 4) and Emma (then 2) were wailing as we drove away - "No! you are fordetting Jonatan!", "Tum back Jonatan!", and the like.

I am not looking forward to it. None of us are.

It has been such a gift having him this extra time and I think it will be even harder to let him go than it was the last time. We have done, and gone through so much together this year. His last year at home before his first semester was spent working and going to school so we did not see as much of him as we did this time given he has been working for us here, from home.
I think he too is finding it hard. I have heard him remark once or twice the past months to his younger siblings. "You know when you make a sacrifice it feels as though it will be really hard to do, but in doing it you discover that you gain far more in blessings compared to what you gave up or sacrificed. I know because when I first offered to stay here an extra semester I felt kind of bad about losing that time in school. But over the time I have been here, I have gained so much more than I have given up. I have received so many blessings staying here with you guys and spending all this time with you."

Bethany (7) and I are planning on making a calendar so we can count the days until the end of spring semester and he is back for the summer.

Yes - it is going to be very very hard to say good bye - in fact, as I type, I have a lump in my throat! Read more!
Chilling on the couch with Elsa back in October.

Jonathan clowning around with Tanny Paul and Emma, his God Daughter!

With his older sister, Jenny, on Christmas Eve, taking pics of themselves together.

Only 126 days until summer break... and Jonnie boy is BACK!

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Monday, January 02, 2006

Elsa Update...

Elsa continues to be ill and more have joined her so it might be a few days again before I can steal some precious moments to post, especially as I also have much to do for the business.

It happened this morning that as I was walking Elsa about the living room and she was quiet for the first time in a bit with her head resting on my shoulder, that my mind was elsewhere. It was on the merchandise in the packing shed, waiting to be packed. I felt stressed about it and realized that I felt as though I was a failure of a sort, because I had not yet gotten to it. I felt as though I was not accomplishing anything right then.

And then as I felt Elsa's warm breath on my neck and her weight in my arms I realized that I was already doing something of the utmost importance and I was surprised to realize how completly I had lost sense of my priorities.

By that, I do not mean I am not caring for my children, or do not realize the importance of doing so, but rather that I was allowing myself to feel like a failure because I am experiencing such difficulites in doing something in addition to this most important job. In fact, the most important job I could ever be doing.

Meanwhile - I would like to ask for prayers for Elsa and my other children who have become ill (6, in total, at last count). Please also pray for the graces that I need to deal with so few hours sleep, as well as the stress of trying to deal with so many jobs outside a mother's normal responsibilites. Could you also pray that we finally beat this terrible virus that keeps mutating and cycling about the family!

Thank you in advance for your prayers!

mum2twelve aka Christi Read more!

A Christmas Miracle

A while back Sister Pat of the Franciscan Card site made a plea for prayers for her new Catholic radio station that she was developing and, at the time, told about an old means of requesting assistance from the Infant of Prague.

One was to write on a piece of paper the exact amount of money needed for your project, as well as the date it was needed by, and one was to place this piece of paper under the statue and then wait patiently for the baby Jesus to provide for your need.

When I heard about this, I immediately took a cheque out of my cheque book and wrote a large sum down in hopes of a business loan, or investment, so that we could perhaps finally reach a level in the business where we would not be precariously making it from day to day, often just by the skin of our teeth. I put an arbitrary date on it, wrote the cheque out to our company’s name and signed it from The Infant of Praque. It was a large amount, but peanuts really compared to what most businesses require.

The date on the cheque came and went. Our rent got paid, our lights turned off and then turned back on. We bought more merchandise, sold more and basically continued to get by, still by the skin of our teeth. It seemed that while my request was not unreasonable – God’s answer was either no – or not yet. Apparently we still have lessons to learn, largely the necessity of faith and trust in our Heavenly Father.

Yes, we have lost our house, lost our van and felt a great deal of humiliation about the difficulties we have gone through. But after all – that humility is simply the result of false pride. But while we have gone through these trials and difficulties, we have not yet been out of a home, gone hungry, or not had a vehicle of some sort. In fact we currently have four vehicles. Mind you, they are all going on 20 years of age, but they run – more or less.

Then around mid December my husband decided to put a bid on a 24 foot diesel truck that would save us several hundred dollars a month in rentals. In fact back in November one rental alone had cost us almost 1000 dollars. My husband felt led to put a very low bid on this truck, but still in the 4 digits. He really did not think he would win with that low a bid.

He won.

He was ecstatic.

But there was one problem, he had only ten days to gather this four digit bid together and we were two months behind in the rent. (We have a very patient land lord!) Our oldest son and my husband went into high gear and started really cranking out listings on eBay and our second son hauled merchandise to and fro as they photographed it for the listings.

I, for my part, quietly pulled out the cheque from under our Statue and dusted it off, crossed out the date and wrote a new one in. Crossed out the loan amount we had prayed for, and wrote in an amount sufficient to pay for the truck and two months rent.

We watched our Pay Pal account grow and sink, and grow some more and sink again as we paid for absolute necessities – like food and gas. By Christmas Eve my husband felt somewhat desolate. He said to me: “I was so sure this was meant to be. I really felt called to put that bid in and when I actually won with such a low bid – I was sure God meant that truck for us.”

Well,” I replied. “Perhaps there is something wrong with the truck and God is saving us from ourselves. Besides – the dead line is not yet past.”

Christmas Morning dawned and we were four days from the dead line. The phone rang and a friend wanted to know if they could pass by. They were sorry for the short notice but they were on their way out of town and would be passing by…

Of course,” I answered. “Things are a bit messy as we just finished with the gifts, but you know that you are always welcome!”

Twenty minutes later our friend knocked on the door and entered with a huge beautiful basket laden with teas and cheeses and other wonderful treats. There was a card on top with our names on it and my friend was very specific that only my husband, or I, was to open it after she left.

So shortly after she left, I opened the envelope which held a lovely Christmas card and within that – a cheque for the exact amount that was written on ours beneath our statue. This friend had no idea that we had done this.

How fitting that Baby Jesus would answer this prayer on His birthday! It was truly a Christmas Miracle! Thank you Baby Jesus!

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