Cohabitation: A Preparation for Divorce

One sweet neighbor of ours "C" is a never-married single mom, 29 years old, raising four-year-old and seven-year-old boys. She has a boyfriend, a never-married single dad of one daughter. We have noticed that her boyfriend is over more and more. "C" and I have a nice friendship. I recently asked her about getting married and reminded her that they could even be reconciled and married in the Church since they have no prior marriages (both are cradle Catholics). She blushed and said she'd say yes, … [Read more...]

Seven Churches Visitation

This year, on the 10th anniversary of my reception into the Catholic  Church and First Communion, our family is going to take a shot at the Seven Churches Visitation tonight--a glorious devotion that solidified my own conversion of heart and belief in the Real Presence back in college. Pilgrims visit seven churches after the Mass of the Lord's Supper and pray before the altar of repose in each church. The tradition of visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday is an ancient practice, probably … [Read more...]

How does your Fairy Godmother look?

My imaginative first grader was home sick from school yesterday, so she happened to meet a special someone for the first time: Irena, who cleans for us every 4 weeks. My daughter was taken with her. Irena has wispy gray-blonde hair that she wears in a high bun; rosy cheeks and a generously-shared bright smile; enthusiastic nods and giggles with which she communicates her warmth to my children, since she speaks no English; and she's so dignified that she makes scrubbing floors look special. "Mom, … [Read more...]

Malefi-Mommy and Nighttime Parenting

I have struggled with falling asleep, staying asleep, and returning to sleep for as long as I can remember. I will say that falling asleep at bedtime has gotten easier due to the sheer exhaustion of a day spent caring for a house and many children. But returning to sleep? Still very difficult. So, if my husband and I don't train our children to stay out of our bedroom at night, I quickly reach a level of sleep deprivation that takes a serious toll on my mood and my health and, in turn, our … [Read more...]

Someone to Blame?

There is a line in one of our favorite songs, One by U2, that goes "Will it make it easier on you now? You got someone to blame."I recently read the following in a wonderful book, "How to Raise Good Catholic Children" by Mary Reed Newland, in a section called "Encourage your child to offer up his sufferings":Many times parents will turn to scolding the "naughty chair" or the "bad table" in an effort to ease the pain and insult of a child who comes to grief through his own carelessness. In … [Read more...]

To Guard Their Eyes

My four children and I headed to the grocery store first thing yesterday morning to let my oldest daughter pick out her dream breakfast for her special feast day. As we were walking in, I paused for a few moments to organize my bag and get out my short shopping list. I heard my children ask "Mommy, why is she doing that?", and I looked over to see my 6 year old daughter and my 5 year old son fixating on the cover of a magazine that filled all 10 compartments of a movable magazine rack right i … [Read more...]

Imagination and Lies

Thanksgiving is over, and Santa is about.We tend to be very realist; I have never been able to tell my kids with a straight face that Santa or the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny exists, even in fun. We celebrate St. Nicholas' feast day with great devotion and excitement. The CCC St. Nicholas movie is our second favorite saint movie of all (his quote "Even if I'm the only Christian left, I will always love you" makes me cry every time and the kids crack up). And we tell the kids that people … [Read more...]

To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade

My husband and I deliberately jumped off the runaway train of technology about 7 years ago. Facebook: not my friend. Twitter: bull-tweet. And most of all, NO DEVICES. By devices, I mean Blackberries, iBrains, etc. One small handheld machine functions like an imaginary friend, a security blanket, and crack all rolled into one. Devices promise escape from social anxieties and awkward silences -- whip it out as soon as the conversation is at a lull and breathe a sigh of relief as you massage its … [Read more...]

Body Language and Manners seven year old girl down the street cocks her hip out, extends her opposing leg, tilts her head, and plays with her fingernails as she and my daughter chat. Where in the world did she learn this MOST unbecoming teenage girl posture that communicates "I don't respect myself, and I don't give a d*** about you"?My malleable six year old has definitely noticed, and I can tell she is contemplating whether she is drawn to t … [Read more...]

Indian Summer

It may be taking its toll on the pumpkin crop...But there will be plenty of dreary, cold, pumpkiny days to come...And Sunday bike rides to the ice cream shop in October are the bomb. … [Read more...]