Wednesday, October 24, 2007

As most of you know...

...we are often struggling with financial problems and can feel quite overwhelmed by them. And then we learn of someone else's problems and feel quite humbled by them. I have recently joined an email prayer line. I get daily emails updating me on the needs of others. One of them is a young couple expecting their second child, while their first, a two year old is in the PICU suffering from numerous health problems. Their biggest goal at this time is to get their 2 year old home.

Then today a friend emailed me this prayer request. Click here to read it.

I don't think I need to say more... except if you have a moment today to stop and say a prayer - even just a Hail Mary, please think of these two young families as they struggle with their very large crosses. Read more!

Economics 101

If only it were this easy...

Emma: Mummy, can you buy me some new slippers Pleeease!

Mummy: Perhaps, but not today. I don't have any money today.

Emma: Oh, well let's go to the money store then.

Mummy: (With arched eyebrow) And do what? Buy some more money?

Emma: (With big grin) Yes, lets just buy some more money.... Read more!

Monday, October 22, 2007

A post to dwell on...

...when we are feeling sorry for ourselves, invisible or unappreciated. CLICK HERE Read more!

A novena...

...and an incredibly interesting piece of history. I was unaware of this fact. To read about it click here. Read more!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just need to brag...

Neck muscles are aching. The hand and elbow injured in my fall two weeks ago are throbbing afresh. My joints are stiff. Elsa, fatigued from watching me hard at work, is asleep in my arms...
And I have fourteen, yes count them, fourteen pages of my doula questionnaire completed. This weekend is the megathon course!

If I were not so tired I would dance a jig in celebration. Instead I will drag my weary body (and brain) to bed and pray Elsa does not waken once we hit the sheets.

Oh... no... GROAN!! Just remembered the laundry that is still waiting for the dryer. Hmmm, maybe I will find an angel somewhere in this bunch of kids of mine! Read more!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

On my, err her, hmmm, our best behaviour....

Today when we stood up during daily Mass to listen to the Gospel, Emma clambered up onto the pew beside me. When I glanced at her, she leaned towards me and whispered; "I am pretending to be you!"

I am proud to announce that "I" behaved very well.
Read more!

In Response...

... to Danielle Bean's post today, I thought that today would be a good time to share the article I wrote for the Couple to Couple League's magazine: Family Foundation for their June 2007 issue. (To subscribe to CCL and receive this great publication click here.) Danielle apparently gets asked often if she always knew she wanted a large family, or how to discern if a family should be open to a new life... My article deals with both questions.

One at a Time...

As the mother of a large family, I am often faced with a barrage of questions when someone learns that by large we mean we have twelve children in our family. They range from;

’Did you birth them all”


“Did you always know you wanted a large family?”


“What is their age range?”

2 years up to 24.

“Any twins?”


And finally; “How DO you DO it?” to which I usually respond: “One at a time.” And that is the secret, one at a time. I am mother to twelve individual children, each with their own personality who each brings their own brand of blessings and challenges to our family. Just as I gave birth to each child, one at a time, I also minister to their needs one at a time. It is difficult and sometimes overwhelming, but it did not happen over night so there has been time to adjust to the increasing demands on one’s time and energy. I think this is what most people have a hard time wrapping their minds around, that while an even dozen children is a large number to parent, our family evolved over the years and did not erupt overnight into the large crew of children they see me with. As our family grew God blessed my husband and I with the insight, the energy and the resources to care for us all. It has not been all roses, but I would not change one iota of the past 24 years.

When my husband and I married we, like most newlyweds, dreamed of a family. We even had a few names already hand picked and waiting for the right child. Did we “plan” to have a large family from the start? I would have to say no. Initially when my husband and I talked about family size I naively dreamed of two baby girls followed by two baby brothers, close enough in age to be good playmates. Little did I know that God would bless us with that, times two with the added bonus of yet another four blessings. How did we determine if, or when, we should say no to being open to more life in our family?

Initially we simply felt called to be parents to as many children as God was willing to bless us with. My husband had a well paying job, we were both healthy and our children were all healthy, even if a few had rocky starts in life. Over time as we matured in our faith and began to study the teachings of the church regarding birth control, giving particular attention to Humane Vitae, we came to realize how instinctively aligned we had been with the teachings of the church and we felt encouraged to maintain our stance of being open to God’s will in our life. This, of course, was one pregnancy at a time. With the addition of each child we needed to review how we were meeting the needs of our family and if another child would take us to the breaking point spiritually, emotionally or financially. We are called, by the church, to responsible parenthood.

It was hard though sometimes when we saw how counter cultural being parents to a large family called us to be. It required my staying home as opposed to the popular concept that a woman must be fulfilled by being a career woman and only in doing so was she worthily contributing to society. It meant that instead of expensive cars, exotic vacations and up the minute fashions hung in our closets, we are content not with last year’s car model, but rather with models from the previous decade, camping vacations and Good Will often has lovely fashions that adorn the hangers in our closets.

Still, as difficult as it can be to be counter cultural in many ways, family size is not about what we want, but rather what is God’s plan for us. How open are we to His will? Some couples are given the cross of infertility and are lead down the path to parenthood through adoption or fostering, or even called to live a life without children. Others are called to have children and of a varying number. We can only know what the right size is for our own family by aligning ourselves with God’s will and honestly seeking to know God and what He is asking of us. Our mother church has offered us wonderful and clear guidelines to help us discern the family size God is calling us to. It is up to us to make use of these wonderful writings and teachings.

As well as becoming familiar with these teachings, I have had to become knowledgeable of my own abilities and limits. This self knowledge has helped me recognize how much I need God’s graces in order to parent the children He has blessed me with. Being the mother of such a large family is a very humbling experience that is filled with joy, challenges and much love.

(photo that accompanied the artcle, eldest child missing from photo)
(photo credit Paul Tomas, to see his work click here. ) Read more!

Monday, October 15, 2007

What does a shy two year old do…

…when faced within a three week period with the following;

A tour of the local YMCA which included a visit to the nursery and all its cool toys, play ground equipment and lots of strangers.

Begin attending daily Mass with lots of strangers.

Meeting a new family with eight kids and their six cousins…. then has breakfast at the home of the eight kids.

Whilst visiting the above mentioned family you discover they have a ten month old puppy… that is the same height as a two year old.

Join a new home schooling co-op… filled with more strangers.

Begin attending Friday Classes and hang out with a bunch of other preschoolers we no longer remember from last year.

Attend a Eucharistic Congress with Mummy and Daddy and a HUGE amount of strangers.

So how does a shy two year old deal with this?

Why she behaves like a typical two year old while in public but then comes home and has a complete melt down, refusing to leave Mummy’s side for more than a moment. Wakes frequently at night and is in such tune with Mummy’s movements that she even sits up from a sound sleep if said Mummy leaves the bed for a call of nature. She naps in Mummy’s arms… and eats her meals on Mummy’s lap. But hey, she is at least carrying on in a normal fashion while in public.

Read more!

Friday, October 12, 2007


I am staring at my computer screen - left eye brow arched... as I wonder how it is possible that one can purchase a new, never written in textbook from the publisher for 16 dollars whilst several people are attempting to sell used copies of same text, same edition and yes, also soft bound for a mere EIGHT FIVE DOLLARS.... But then the majority of the used texts are going for about 24 dollars... Am I missing something here. Aren't used texts typically sold for less than the new price?

Perhaps these books were used by a movie star who signed it? Or they were the personal property of Prince Harry?? Or.. maybe these people just are out of touch with reality and hoping someone else, even more out of touch, will buy their used text book for e i g h t y - f i v e dollars!!! Read more!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hungry Daddy

Anyone who has had a tooth pulled, or suffered the agonies of the extraction of wisdom teeth knows the challenge of finding food soft enough to eat and still be filling. Make it eight teeth removed surgically and it becomes an even larger challenge.

These days the children often hear their dad suggest a menu idea only to remember he can't partake of that particular item. So when I catch them wistfully glancing at a chocolate pudding cup or a tub of yogurt, I need only say, 'it's Daddy's' and they immediately turn away without a word or a sigh.

Now Hugo has discovered that he can actually get a piece of soft cheese pizza down if he is careful enough. So tonight Emma, noting that I had reminded the children several times to make sure that a soft piece of the cheese pizza be saved for Daddy decided to make sure herself that one was put aside. She took a piece of the pizza, found a bowl, squeezed the piece of pizza into it and then stood guard over it. Whilst standing guard over the pizza, she also manned the front door with a watchful eye for Daddy's return from work.

The moment she spied him, she grabbed the bowl and raced to and out the front door clutching the bowl to her chest calling:

"Daddy, Daddy, I saved you a piece of the pizza! HERE!!"

Truly there is nothing so sweet as the love of a little princess for her Daddy! Read more!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Round and round the mulberry bush...

Tonight as I was gathering Emma and Elsa up to take upstairs to bed, Emma discovered that 2 year old Elsa was decorated with the beautiful locket that Anna had recently given Emma on her fifth birthday. Needless to day Emma was not terribly pleased. Not only is the locket pretty - it is a very fresh possession and, as such, still very highly prized!

She made to snatch it from Elsa and Elsa ,seeing the hand forthcoming, danced out of reach singing; "Mine!" Instinctively she knew what Emma was after. I saw a disaster about to unfold. Should Emma make contact with the necklace and Elsa manage to shimmy away at that moment - the locket would break and two hearts with it.

Quickly I whispered to Emma: "Its your locket! Don't worry. I know it is your locket. Just let Elsa borrow it and in a while she will give it back." I held my breath...

Emma's lips were formed to call "Mine." but the word died away and she glanced at me quickly and then smiled.

She pranced away and tucked her hand in mine and we turned towards the stairs. She called over her shoulder to Elsa; "Okay Elsa, it's mine but you can borrow it."

Elsa's face lit up as she made to follow us. "Thank you Emma, for letting me to wear it on mine neck!"

'You're welcome!" called Emma in return.

And all was peaceful... until we got to the bathroom...

"Mine", they called in unison reaching for the same pink tooth brush.

(Still, I was right about one thing... Elsa cheerfully gave the locket back shortly after the last tussle over tooth brushes!) Read more!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Life is just so darn busy

...and my brain is just so darn empty these days that I have not been online much. Add to that the fact that typing has been somewhat painful given the injured tendons on my right hand that I have been somewhat judicious about just what I will use that hand for. Given that just lifting Elsa was painful and she was particularly clingy last week... she got the bigger share of my time. It seems that I not only injured my hand but stirred up some old injuries as well, so my back and neck have been complaining. A lot!

Now, I can take a couple of Advils to help relieve the inflammation, and I can rest to help the whiplash headaches, but I have not yet found a solution for the empty brain despite Emma's playful offer to lend me hers.

While preparing supper, a few nights ago, and continuously forgetting why I was standing in front of the fridge, I suddenly called out: "Could someone bring me a brain?", in much the same tone as if I were asking if someone could take out the garbage. Emma was the only one to respond to my bizarre request with a generous offer to lend me hers. I thanked her and went on attempting to prepare the meal despite the lack of co-operation from my brain cells and she stood there watching me with a little smile on her face. Then she looked at me very seriously and said; "Hey Mummy, I'm still THINKING with my brain!" She then giggled and left the room.

Well, at least she can say she is thinking... I'm not sure I can say the same! Read more!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A nomination from a fellow blogger

Mum2twelve for her complete faith in God's providence during struggles in her daily life. Her posts are funny, warm and lovely.

Thank you Child of Mary for this lovely nomination. Here is the definition of this award:

Mathetes is greek for disciple and the role of the disciple to make more disciples by spreading the Good News. Winners of the Mathetes Award should choose five other bloggers who exemplify 'disciple' in their own way. As you bestow this award you should:
  1. Mention and provide links for this post as the originator of the award (Dan King of management by God).
  2. the person who awarded it to you and,
  3. name and sites of the five that you find are living the role as a disciple of Christ.

Well, first off, I would have to say that Danielle is certainly helping others live the life of Christ through her example, as is Holly Pierlot with her book and its supportive blog. Sadly a few of the blogs I would have liked to nominate have closed their blogs to the public so as to avoid negative comments.

But here are some great blogs where the writers are indeed good examples of following Christ and so... leading others into being disciples of Christ. One is a British blogger and she is: Catholic Mom of Ten. (Blush, it has been a little while since I have visited her site and apparently she has already been awarded this... well, now she has been awarded it twice!) And I am going to also nominate my own daughter. (Another blush) But truly her blog is filled with her faith.

Oh my, there are so many wonderful God Filled writers out there, how to choose. I guess I will add Regina Doman. I simply love the simplicity of her site and the way she shares how to spread God's peace in your home. We truly do need order in our lives so that we can experience and share God's peace.

Thank you again Child of Mary for such a humbling nomination. I often struggle with how much to share about our difficulties. Sometimes I worry that sharing too much of the difficult times will turn people away. Largely it is my hope that it is helpful because so many others suffer and have difficult times and it can be so depressing to read over and over how perfect someone's life appears - through a blog... And then we begin to wonder what is wrong with our life, that this week we could not pay the hydro bill on time, or a child broke his arm for the third time and the Doctor is starting to look at you in a funny way... (BTW, not our situation!) So I am glad to know that some people are drawing strength from our life examples, the good and the bad! Read more!