Shrove Tuesday

Soon, we’ll be heading out for a pancake supper. I must admit that Lent is one of my favorite church seasons. I love getting ready for the Feast.

I don’t remember where I heard it, but the story goes: a young man dies in a car accident. He stands in judgment and in his defense says that his death was sudden and he didn’t have time to prepare to “meet his Maker.” The Lord says, “But I gave you every Lent.”

And so, we get ready, because one day, the end will come. Many people wait for the Second Coming and try to see the signs that point to its imminent arrival. But the Lord will come to each of us in His own time, and it’d be good to be prepared.

I may not be here much over the next few weeks. I’ve got a lot of work to do.

I confess to Almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do, and I ask Blessed Mary, Ever Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord, our God.

"to-throw away"

I found the top of my desk. It was right where I expected it to be – under a huge mound of paper. The huge mound of paper is now three smaller mounds of paper.

One mound is in my “to-do” bin. It’s a big mound.

One mound is in my “to-file” box. It’s a bigger mound.

And one mound is in the garbage. It’s the biggest mound. It’s amazing how much can go straight from “to-do” or “to-file” to the garbage pile if only I procrastinate long enough.

My Busy Weekend Part III

Sunday was the usual morning of Mass followed by CCD.

Followed by let’s take Jenny for a ride so she falls asleep.

Followed by since she’s asleep, let’s run a few errands. But unfortunately, the 2 places we went did not have anything we needed. At least I had plenty of time to read the Sunday bulletin and the Operation Rice Bowl calendar the kids got at CCD. And Jenny and the baby had naps.

Followed by let’s go home and relax. Which we did. The kids played indoors and outdoors. Most of the afternoon we had the proper quota of children in our house – they just weren’t the right ones.

And the best part of the day came at evening when “The Big Man” came to dinner. TBM was supposed to come to dinner a few weeks ago, but canceled at the last minute. Dad had told the kids about TBM, a friend of his from work. He’s a pretty big guy. The kids could not wait to meet him. They were extremely disappointed when he didn’t come that last time. But Sunday night he came, he ate my stew and fruit salad and homemade rolls and declared them delicious. Of course, when one is a bachelor, any home cooking is likely delicious. But anyone who wants to come over and praise my cooking is welcome any time.

TBM is a nice guy. And although we are all special in the eyes of God, he’s not really any more special than the rest of us. My kids, though, absolutely love to have guests over. They think that guests are brought in strictly for their own entertainment.

When I was a kid, my siblings and I couldn’t wait to be excused if guests were over. Adults were boring. They sat around and talked. They asked annoying questions about schoolwork and hobbies. Catching their attention was dangerous. One might be expected to perform. We avoided being anywhere near them and preferred to go play. I don’t ever remember my mother even having to ask us to go outside or to another room because we were noisy.

My kids have not yet figured out that adults are boring. They think adults are very interesting. They can’t wait to see what kind of an adult might be coming over. If the adult is a woman, she might be given a bit more respect. In other words, my kids won’t generally jump on a woman as a way of saying hi, unless you happen to be Aunt Margaret. If you are a male guest, one of the boys will tests the waters by shooting at you with a toy gun with pretend bullets. If that gesture of hospitality is met with amusement, you next might be assailed with a volley of projectiles. Again, if the reaction is one of amusement, within minutes you could expect to be fully assaulted. And the girls will alternate between sitting on your lap and pulling your hair.

Fortunately, TBM likes kids and is an uncle of kids roughly the same age. I suppose I should be happy that my kids can relate to adults so well. Er, as long as the adult is fully capable of functioning at a juvenile level! But every now and then, adults, I’m sure, would prefer to just sit and do boring things like talk. At least, I would!

My Busy Weekend Part II

Saturday was overbooked.

First, everyone was tired and cranky. We didn’t get home from dinner until after 1030 pm. I had told the babysitting kids not to worry about putting my kids to bed. I don’t know why. My kids generally go to bed without TOO much fuss. So, they were bouncing off the walls until 11 pm, three hours after their usual bedtime.

Next morning, nobody slept in. It was Billy’s birthday, and they actually got up earlier and with more excitement then they did on Christmas morning. No joke. Jenny was particularly grumpy and I knew she wouldn’t last long into the day.

So we all went to the grocery store together. I needed fruit for a fruit salad. We went home. Jenny fell asleep in the car. Pete fell asleep soon after we got home. The rest of us grabbed a quick lunch, and then Bill took the three oldest to Chuck E Cheese which is what Billy wanted to do in celebration.

I was elated that I managed to dodge that trip. In fact, perhaps that was my plan all along and why I allowed the kids to stay up so late, knowing that Jenny would take an early nap.

{insert evil laughter here}

I had no rest while the gang was gone. Fortunately, miraculously, both babies slept the whole time. I made the fruit salad. I made a stew for Sunday’s dinner. I tidied the house. I did all the dishes. I was Die Ueberfrau. It felt so good to actually get things accomplished. Things actually stayed clean. Rooms did not get destroyed while my back was turned. It was great.


The gang came home. Bill’s parents and brother and sister came over for cake and presents. The little ones woke up. We had fun.

Then we kicked them out, and we packed the family up and went to the Cub Scouts’ Blue and Gold Banquet which is a big, fun party with food, skits and awards. We were excited because Fritz was supposed to get his Bobcat badge. He completed all the requirements back in January, but snow had canceled that pack meeting. We hadn’t worked much more on his Wolf badge waiting for him to get his Bobcat badge. He was nervous, he admitted, but I told him that there would be lots of kids getting badges, so nobody would really notice him, and dad would be there with him.

His den was the second den to be called up. Everybody got a badge or a belt loop or something…except Fritz. No Bobcat badge. Nothing. When they got back to the table, I said to my husband, “Are you going to talk to his den leader, right now, or shall I?” Bill went. The den leader had made a mistake. He had completely forgotten that Fritz had completed the requirements and so he hadn’t even filled out the forms. Apparently, everybody else communicates via email to remind him of things, but we chose the old-fashioned way of telling him in person and he wrote it in his book and forgot to check it.

I felt so bad for Fritz. He was really upset, and Bill took him out and talked to him for a bit. When they got back, Bill announced that it was time to go. I couldn’t argue. How could I make him sit there and watch all the kids get some award, when he didn’t get anything (even though he earned something)?

It was a big bummer on an otherwise fun and happy day.

My Busy Weekend Part I

On Friday night, Bill and I took friends out to dinner. Their kids babysat our kids. Pete got to come along. We went to a nice place and had a great time.

It was nearly 8 pm by the time we actually got to the restaurant and Petey had fallen asleep on the way. He’s still in that nifty car seat carrier that pops out of the car without disturbing the baby. We carried him in and opted to just leave him on the floor of the tiny restaurant tucked near my chair instead of trying to squeeze a highchair at the table.

Immediately, a woman from another table comes over and asks permission to look at the baby. Permission granted, she proceeds to pick up his hand and stroke it, all while oohing and aahing over how sweet he is, how lucky we are, how she loves babies and can’t wait to be a grandmother. The four of us did the obligatory smiling and nodding, all of us internally laughing over the likelihood that she was assuming this was our first and only child and that we had no idea what the next few months would bring once the little guy became truly mobile.

And I’m also gritting my teeth and thinking that if this woman wakes up my sleeping child, I’m going to have to kill her.

Fortunately, she did not wake him up. He did wake up on his own about 10 minutes later, but went back to sleep in my arms, where he stayed for the remainder of our dinner. I regretting ordering the jaeger schnitzel over the salmon (fish is usually easier to eat one-handed), but I managed to eat it.

After all, he’s not my first and only kid.

would you like a pancake with that syrup?

When you are two years old, you get away with things that you don’t when you are three years old. Jenny, who has more than half a year left until her third birthday, is milking this fact for all it’s worth. But this morning, I’d really had enough.

Every morning, it’s the same thing. She wants a pancake (the frozen kind I’d never touch, but the kids eat up). She wants syrup. She takes 2 bites and then gets distracted and leaves the table. She comes back 5 minutes later and all the syrup is gone. Yes, it’s been sucked up into the pancake, but she doesn’t understand that. When you are 2, your life experiences (or lack thereof) limit your intelligence…and reasonable and rational are not appropriate adjectives to apply to any toddler.

So she asks for more syrup. Lacking the stamina to argue with her, I give her more syrup. Repeat the above steps, and 5 minutes later she wants more. After that, she usually has eaten most of the pancake or decides she’d rather have Cheerios. This morning though, she wanted more and more and wasn’t even waiting for the syrup to be sucked up into the pancake. She just kept arguing with me and crying and pointing to spots that were dripping with syrup and saying she needed more right there can’t you see the dry spot, mommy?

I finally said no more. And walked away from her. She sat there for quite a while crying. I began to pray that she was sick, so I could give her an excuse for such deplorable behavior. Then I thought about how miserable I would be if she were sick, and retracted that prayer. She seems fine now. And the uneaten pancake is forgotten. She’ll probably ask for Cheerios soon and ask for milk, and more milk, and more milk (the Cheerios aren’t covered yet, mommy…they’re floating, dear…no, mommy, more milk!).

my life

very very busy
and we’ve got a lot to do
and we haven’t got a minute
to explain it all to you
for on SundayMondayTuesday
there are people we must see
and on WednesdayThursdayFriday
we’re as busy as can be
with our most important meetings
and our most important calls
and we have to do so many things
and post them on the walls.

we have to hurry to the south
and then we hurry north
and we’re talking every minute
as we hurry back and forth
and we have to hurry to the east
and then we hurry west
and we’re talking every minute
and we don’t have time to rest
and we have to do it faster
or it never will be done
and we have no time for listening
or anything that’s fun.

– from the Philadelphia Chickens CD by Sandra Boynton

OK, my life is not that bad. But it is a jam packed weekend.

slow start

Most days all my kids are up by 8 am. Most days 4 out of 5 kids are up by 7 am (Katie has always been a late sleeper). Today, I had 2 kids up by 7 am and Billy only just joined us moments ago at 815 am. It’s a slow start.

Normally I really like them to sleep until after 7 am. I’m up by 530, so I can get stuff done. But today, Bill went in late since he has to work late (it’s Friday, you know, and that seems to be his new routine for Fridays – working past 6 pm). I’m happy that at least he’s going in later than normal: the previous 2 Fridays he left before 6 am as usual and didn’t come home until after 7 pm. And I thought that at least he’d be able to spend a few minutes with the kids in the morning. Silly me. I had no idea they would actually sleep in today of all days.

So Jenny and Fritz had Dad all to themselves. It was nice. Bill was sitting in the big chair-and-a-half and Jenny climbed on his lap. Then I saw there was just enough room for me next to him, so I cuddled in. Then Fritz jumped on top. And we watched a few minutes of the Wiggles – why not? – before Bill decided it was time to go. It was a few minutes of that quiet peace (except for the singing of the Wiggles, but I keep the volume pretty low) that I love so much. Just being together. Just enjoying a few minutes with no pressure to go somewhere, do something or rush along. Just sit, snuggle and thank God for each other.

Chinese take-out tonight?

I’m teaching myself to play the piano. Since the only person I’m trying to impress is myself, I’m doing great.

Last night, I told Bill that I could play the piano for an hour every day – easily. It’s fun.

He gave me a very sarcastic look and said, “So could I. But it’s not my job – either.”


I wonder if he’ll ever believe me again when I tell him that Petey wouldn’t let me put him down all day and that’s why dinner isn’t ready…