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February 2013 entries

Guess Who?

It's family game time...Guess Who? Style. Aidan just asked Gabrielle, "Does your girl have a beard?"

She replied, "A girl can't have a beard unless she's one of those double sided girl boys."

Well then. That settles that!

Guess Who?

Guess Who?


Set Building!

Today, while I took Aidan to First Penance, my father-in-law, Michael, and a handful of students and parents built our set for the musical. After Penance, the kids and I helped, too!

It's a simple design. I'm a strong believer in keeping the structure simple yet functional so that the main event is the talent of the students. I also am fairly new at set design, so Mike and I talked about what we'd like see on the stage, and I drew some rough sketches which John translated into something that could actually exist in real life. We're somewhat limited on our stage because it's not very deep, and we can't go too high. I really like what we've come up with.

Next comes the fun part: painting and decorating!

Set Building!

Set Building!

Set Building!

Set Building!


First Penance

Tomorrow is Aidan's First Penance. We've been learning the act of contrition and talking a lot about the nature of forgiveness. Tonight, his Sunday School class had a retreat where his teachers and our priest talked to the kids about the form of confession.

They also made a couple of simple yet symbolic craft projects. First, they cut out two hearts...one remained whole and the other was cut asunder. It's a classic before and after scenario. Now, the sins are weighing heavy on their hearts but tomorrow, God's forgiveness will help them feel whole again.

The other project is a familiar sight for Catholics: a candle. We are big on light. :) At baptism, we light a special candle for the baby from the large Paschal (Easter) candle that is consecrated at the Easter Vigil Mass. The idea is that though the infant doesn't elect baptism (as is common for older Christians in other denominations), the parents make a public commitment (which the witnesses publicly support) to foster the light of Christ in their child.

Penance is the next step in the sacramental journey. Now, the child has the capability to reason, the understanding of right vs. wrong, the free will to "firmly resolve by the help of [God's] grace to do penance and amend [his] life." Confession may seem too philosophical for an eight-year-old, too ritualistic for a second-grader, but in reality, it couldn't be more basic. The message is clear: We all mess up. We all need to be held accountable. We all need pastoral guidance. We all need to admit that we messed up. We all need to say we're sorry and make up for how we've hurt ourselves and others. We all need to try a little harder to be the best versions of ourselves.

When Aidan confesses tomorrow, he'll learn an important lesson about the grace of forgiveness and he'll light the candle for himself this time. His relationship with God has started to become personal...his parents can't go in the Confessional with him. There will only be room for him, his conscience, and the priest in the persona christe.

First Penance

First Penance

First Penance


Ugh! Unpredictable Weather!

So...we were supposed to get a little of snow that would turn to rain in 40 degree temperatures this afternoon.

At 2 pm, I left school to pick up Gabrielle after the nurse called and told me Ellie was running a fever and had a headache. The roads were terrible...icy on the bottom, 2 inches or so of snow on top. I called our principal and asked for advice regarding musical practice. We decided that since absolutely NO weather reports had been accurate all day, that I should cancel.

So I did.

(Seriously, how is meteorology a science?)

Then the heavens parted, the sun came out, and the roads cleared significantly. And we missed 2.5 hours of rehearsal time. Sigh.

Ah well. Hopefully, my students took time to practice independently tonight. We still have 6 weeks to prepare...the set construction will be well underway this Saturday. It will be fine (I keep telling myself!).

Now, if we could just get Mother Nature to comply...


The Glory of These 40 Days

It's Ash Wednesday.

I don't intend to stand on the street corner and draw attention to my fasting, nor do I mean to rend my garments.

Today, I had a rare conversation about my faith-based rituals with two seniors. Neither one is Catholic, and both know I don't expect them to be.

They wanted to know why Catholics fast on Ash Wednesday. Of course, I told them because Jesus loves us better when we are hungry.

Then, I said it really has to do with self-denial. In our modern culture, we hardly tell ourselves "no." We tend to focus too much on the corporal and not enough on the spiritual. Fasting can be a reminder of the temporal nature of our physical desires.

I also said that for me, not eating until sundown for a day realigns my gratitude. There are people in the world who have the hunger-induced headache that I had today every single day. How can I help them? How can I show my gratitude for how blessed I am?

That's what fasting does for me, at least.


Birthday, Continued!

Today, Aidan went on his now-traditional trip to Toys R Us with Miss Hopkins and picked out some "awesome legendary" Pokemon cards and a poster. (His Pokemon interest is spreading in the family...he and Ellie both have binders of cards that they trade, and as pictured a couple of days ago, even Liam has cultivated a love for Pikachu.)

Just before they left, the UPS man arrived with a huge box from my parents...with an amazingly advanced microscope in it! The perfect present for the Science Kid! It came with 100 slides, too. Let the discovery begin!!

Birthday, Continued!

Birthday, Continued!


Two Hour Delay

Mike left before his district called the two hour delay, so he stopped at Walmart. And like any normal 21st century couple, we texted back and forth. At one point, I asked if he were still at the store. He sent me an angry face, asking if I were stalking him.

I showed Liam the picture and asked him to make a daddy face. I think he did a pretty good imitation!

Two Hour Delay

Two Hour Delay


Does this make sense?

Last week, I signed up for an online account for our health insurance company. It's simple, and it's a quick way to send questions about benefits to a representative who emails back in a reasonable fashion, instead of wasting time on hold on the phone. It's also -- OBVIOUSLY-- paperless. Go, environment.

They sent me a letter, thanking me for enrolling in the system.

(Face Palm)

Thank you, Insurance Company, for wasting my premium dollars to send me a letter which was 1. Pointless and 2. Suitable content for an email. Keep up the good work!