Monday, March 31, 2014

Weight-lifters for Hire

The twins were hired for a little yard-work today. My friend is having a wedding shower for her son, and wants the company to see the "best side" of her house. She called to see if Playmaker and Sniper were available, and they were thrilled to make a little ca$h. They put down liner and shoveled rock for a long garden path-way, which has the benefit of working out their arm muscles!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ownership and Stewardship

I was thinking about the right to ownership and the right to usage this weekend. It started with an article I'd read on a Catholic blog, but I peruse so many that I cannot recall which one or who to quote... I knew that it was time to stop owning so many homeschool books. I have the right to own them, but I figure it is also wise to exercise stewardship and allow them to be used by other people now. Of course, I have shelves and shelves (and more shelves) about the house. Sheepishly I must admit that I still possess all the preschool and kindergarten books I started with on Meggar's path from 1996 onward. (Sentimental me.) I tried to part with them once the twins were done with kindergarten. Seemed logical. But was impossible because I was too busy with teenagers. Anyone with multiple teenagers knows what I mean. They require a Mom to lose as much sleep as a nursing toddler does, and they have the same endless stream of energy.
So I looked at my house for sale, and I saw with new eyes the stacks of books actually overflowing the shelving units in several rooms. There are books for every grade on up through high school. Plus my college level reading on Third World women, Catholic spirituality, and then all the books from monthly book clubs.
I've started parsing. There will be a book sale this week. At homeschool co-op and likely any other used book event I can find in the Kansas City area. It will be a good thing. Kind of like the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge. I'm up to my 12th box so far (sorted by subject, historical time period, or grade level).

Friday, March 28, 2014

Inviting the Pope to Philly

Archbishop Chaput and his delegation went to Rome this week (on the Feast of the Annunciation). They have begun planning for the 8th World Meeting of Families, to be held in Philadelphia in September of 2015. The City of Brotherly Love sent its mayor and governor (who are also Catholic)
along with Chaput to encourage Pope Francis to join their important event in person. You can help by Tweeting an invite to @Pontifex and mentioning #PopeinPhilly.
The theme is "The Gospel of the Family, Resource of Humanity," and the logo has quite an interntaional color-scheme with its Liberty Bell and cross. #WMOF2015

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Back in the Saddle

Today, my husband returned to work.
After 169 days, he is un-unemployed!

Front of the Line

Dorito was so excited that he called to tell us about his iCat pass. Last year, they sold out before being offered to any freshmen. He was so bummed that he had to buy a student general admission ticket for his first K-State football and basketball season. (Some students do that because it is cheaper.) $60 cheaper. But we are talking about a serious Wildcat fan here. He signed up first thing on Monday. With his new iCat pass, Dorito will get to be seated in the front sections for both basketball and football, he will receive a free t-shirt at the beginning of each sport, and he pockets a free ticket to the spring football scrimmage on April 25. This is a reason to cheer.
Throwback Thursday--Dorito in 2010
Back in the day, Captain and I camped out for the very FIRST iCat passes (1987). We also got a free t-shirt. But we only paid $20 as the acronym stood for "I Contributed a Twenty," but the meme was later stolen by Apple for its iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc. Don't you think?!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Learning New Tricks

Captain arrived in Wilmington this afternoon. For the visual learners, here is a map so you can see how close Wilmington is to the northern state lines and borders with Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
Captain will working in the largest city in the state (approximate population 125,000). His office will be located at the New Castle County Airport. He will be less an hour from Philadelphia (east) and Baltimore (west). Less than two hours from Washington, D.C. and less than three hours from New York City.
Wilmington lies at the confluence of Brandywine Creek and the Christina River (named for a Swedish princess). The city was named by Thomas Penn after his friend the Earl of Wilmington, who was Britain's prime minister from 1742-43. Delaware was the first state in the USA. Dupont began manufacturing gunpowder here in 1802. During the Civil War, this Union state produced more iron ships than the rest of the country combined. In the 1980s, many financial institutions relocated here because of liberal credit card laws.
The capitol is Dover (where 41 representatives and 21 senators make up the General Assembly). The governor will be running for re-election in 2016 and one possible opponent is Beau Biden, the son of you-know-who. There is also a large Air Force base at Dover.
The state measures only 96 miles long and 5-35 miles wide. That is about the smae number of square miles as the Platte Purchase (six counties in NW Missouri where we currently live). The state lies between Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay. That is a lot of water. Where there's water, there are sure to be beaches, fishing, boating, etc.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Feast of the Annunciation

Nine months from now, we will celebrate the birth of our Savior. Therefore, today we celebrate his actual incarnation with the whole Church. The Feast of the Annunciation is a cheerful message of new life and hope. The warmer, spring days are proof that the world will go on producing life and food for all creatures. What a blessing that there is this feast day in the midst of Lent. Right in the middle of chilly and frosty weather, we can think happier thoughts. There are pictures of the Virgin Mary and Angel Gabriel surrounding the altar and adorning our breakfast table at home.
This is also the day that Captain departs for his new job. It is a 2-day drive to Delaware, so he left early to get a good start. We have packed some small comforts along with the luggage into the back of his vehicle. He has several small bags--since we wanted him to be careful and abide by the weight restrictions for his left arm during the next two weeks. He called to admit that he said a few choice words as he drove by "that office" for the last time. He has remained charitable throughout his ordeal of unemployment. It is sad to let go and move on, even when you want to leave. Lent is about detachment. But the Redeemer is about the bigger picture.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Negative Review of Jackson Stables

We have nothing good to say about Jackson Stables Winery in Kirksville. We wanted to host a reception there for our daughter's Senior Piano Recital next month. This was going to be her graduation party! We tried to visit (knocked on the door). They were apparently still closed for winter months in March. We left three phone messages--each with greater detail. No answer. Then I sent an email inquiring about our selected date (since it was shown as being available on their website). When they replied that the date was available, I emailed back--within five minutes--asking about charges, linens, glassware, china, etc. But then no reply. After three days, I resent my email inquiry. After three more days, Nicole Long wrote back to me saying the date was taken by someone else! No first right of refusal? No call to verify that we were still interested? This was so unprofessional, and I was shocked by the poor customer service, so I have decided to publish this review that others might beware. I think word-of-mouth reputation is important, and things could have been "resolved" more politely, especially given that we had already had invitations printed. Starting over with reception locations....

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Working at the Mission

Frat Group: Playmaker (far left) and Sniper (far right).
Sniper hanging sheetrock.
Playmaker painting.
Singing and Socializing with Residents.
Daily Mass.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Daily Mass and a Sense of Peace

Playmaker announced on Ash Wednesday that he was going to daily mass for Lent. Plus he has been adding weekly confession to his schedule. His decision was reinforced by Father Haake issuing the daily mass challenge to his parishioners. What a bonus that daily mass is part of the activities this week at the Father Beiting Appalachian Mission Center. The Fraternus boys are volunteering as painters for poor families in Louisa, Kentucky. We are thrilled that they are listening to the Word of God and seeing the face of God, too.
Captain and I visited Our Lady of Guadalupe parish this morning, where Fr. Christian has moved daily mass into the main sanctuary. And the attendance has doubled. What a great message he gave today. The first reading was part of the story of Joseph from the Old Testament. It reminded us that life is part of a bigger picture, and jealous emotions can fuel brothers to seek revenge. By reflecting on the courage of Joseph, our own family can swallow hard and move forward by choosing forgiveness instead of revenge or anger over the events of October and December. Spending so much quality time together has brought greater peace to my husband and I. Even though our faith is a large part of our philosophy and it remains seemingly strong, we are grateful to have been given this time to heal the hurt feelings.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Children's Books

I don't think children's books should be written "down" for children. The best authors agree with me. (Or vice versa.)
I remember reading where Madeline L'Engle said something along those same lines. Her statement was printed on the dust jacket of the book I was reading about age 13. She was my favorite author around the summer of 1978, and I thought I was grown up enough to agree with her sentiments: "You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children." I thought her books were amazing--and difficult--and spiritual. So I loved reading savoring them. She wrote 60 books, and they won awards from 1949-1999 (whoa! to think I've only read 5 of her books so far...).
The same seems true for Beatrix Potter's approach to children's literature. Her books remain on the list of beloved classics. So I was pleased to read that Emma Thompson has signed a 3-book contract with Potter's publisher, including The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit (he goes to Scotland on McGregor's wagon-2012) and The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit (he saves the turkey from the feast-2013). The bonus for me is not that I will read about Peter's adventures to any of my children, but that I simply admire Emma Thompson. She stole my heart by writing a screenplay of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. By the way, Thompson is the only person (male or female) to win an Academy Award both for writing ("S&S") and acting ("Howards End"). I'm a bit behind on the Peter Rabbit news, but I am still eager to see Thompson as she portrays another literary figure in "Saving Mr. Banks" (hopefully will soon be released by Redbox in US).
Carrot and Radish earbobs
These are the pleasant tidbits that I picked up today in a magazine article at the doctor's office. One of the great benefits to waiting with Captain is I can read something short and worthwhile.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Money on My Mind

I finished the taxes! This is always a big worrry and a big accomplishment for me. I was afraid we were going to owe money (because of the severance package). But I did not understand the deduction for job hunting expenses... Now I feel better knowing that we will get a refund (which is "our money" that the government has had, but it is still better than writing a check on April 15 with all the rest of our expenses after six months without employment).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Time Spent in Prayer

One of the better aspects of being back in Missouri is the continuation of our Holy Hour at Mir House of Prayer. This Tuesday, I was joined by my husband. We prayed the rosary together, and we prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet separately. It is comforting to lean on the tradition and the words. I am realizing that trusting the Lord is a DEEP expression of love. Or vice versa. 
A few cards came in the mail, and a few meals have been delivered to our door. 
C.S. Lewis says: "When pain is to be borne... a little human sympathy helps more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all."

Monday, March 17, 2014

Together for the Ups and Downs

Captain is spending a little time this week saying his good-byes. It is just like him to show honor with a handshake. Those he respected already knew where they stood with this steady black-and-white gentleman.  In between the serious moments, we also have a little inside humor. Such as shared memories of Hobnobs and scones and tea. And wondering why airports call them "ramps" when they are flat.  I taught him what a "diatribe" is (literally), and he taught me about "mu"--an index for braking action on a run-way or ramp in snowy conditions.  Perfect for when I play "Words with Friends" on my iPad. Not that I would procrastinate finishing the income tax prep...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Road Trips Give Us a Break

The twins left yesterday for spring break with their Nashville youth group. A group of 10 guys from Fraternus are heading to a Catholic mission in the Appalachian Mountains to work repairing the homes of the poor. Sniper and Playmaker are excited for the daily mass and rosary, too. This will be a good Lenten retreat (as they will give up their cell phones for the entire week). Thanks to a few relatives who sponsored their expenses.
Dorito is driving down to Louisiana with a couple of Phi Kaps, who are visiting a P.A. school with Mason and then stopping at Galveston beach and Corpus Christi. He is planning to show the other two how to eat crawfish. Brotherhood is such a good way to celebrate time off from mid-terms.
Meggar is headed back to school now that her spring break has ended. She spent her time applying for "real" jobs and promoting her Mr & Mrs Wedding Events at churches and bridal shops.
Captain and I are plenty busy (in this quiet house) with the details about moving forward. It is difficult to let go of anger and resentment when "life" has been unfair and remains uncertain.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

OHL Cup News

Only 20 teams are invited to the end-of-season showcase called the OHL Cup. The top AAA teams from Ontario Canada have to qualify, although there were also three Wild Cards and TPH Thunder was invited. The OHL sponsors the Cup for its final look at U15 Prospects before the draft. So it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, this year for all 98 hockey players. Including my Sniper (Polar Bear) and Playmaker (Winger). Here is my report:
There were scouts watching from the upper bleachers. Quite a few. The rink was packed with spectators, too.
Overall, Thunder won two and lost two, so they just missed advancing to the quarter finals from round-robin play. Their second game was the worst they have ever played (no carbs at lunch), and Twin #1 got smashed into the boards by player who is considered to go #1 the draft from Toronto (Adam Mascherin of the Vaughan Kings named Greater Toronto Hockey League Player of the Year).
But the best game came yesterday afternoon against Whitby, who happened to be ranked #3 in Canada. Captain and I love it when the other team has fast skaters, because then our twins will skate and think faster. I heard they took their twin-telepathy into high gear with the other-David as their new linemate. My "Playmaker" scored in the first period to tie the game at 1-1. It was a sweetly feathered back-door pass from his brother that he hammered into the net.
Then Jakubowski scored and put Thunder up 2-1, but Whitby tied again right away.
Midway through the third period, the twins stepped up for a 2v1 breakaway. My "Sniper" pulled wide, and passed it over to "Playmaker" early in the offensive zone. Captain reminded me of the Tic-Tac-Toe passing they used to create with Dane. Similarly, these quick passes causes the defense to change from backchecking to forechecking. With perfect timing, Playmaker sent it quickly back to Sniper--right betweent the skates of the defenseman. With no chance to lay on the ice, the defenseman is out of ways to block the shot now. There's only Sniper against the goalie. He lifted it powerfully into the back of the net. His scoring was the go-ahead point. Thunder won this game 3-2 against Whitby, and most teams don't go home after a big win. But it was worth it.
Sniper was named MVP of the game by the coaches. An honor he should share with you-know-who. He was awarded an OHL duffle bag in this photo, and everyone claps their sticks on the ice to congratulate him. Do you think he will share the bag with his twin?! I'm happy how they gave a team effort.
An OHL radio announcer did a 5-minute interview with Sniper after the game. He said his favorite player is Vladamir Tarasenko (Blues rookie of the year in 2013).

Friday, March 14, 2014

Readings for Lent

In addition to the St Joseph Novena (March 10-19) and the Father Barron Reflections (40 Days), I am also reading a book with the twins: Rome, Sweet Home. Together we are studying the conversion story of Dr. Scott and Kimberly Hahn from Presbyterian ministry to Franciscan University professorship in an exciting and cerebral way. This has led to important discussions with Polar Bear and Winger. They are excellent young men of faith, and growing leaps and bounds in reason. In the modern world, Catholics have to be prepared for evangelization and apologetics. And the foundation of this is learning to put your faith into reasonable words. (This wonderful book is now available in a Lighthouse Catholic Media edition at various parishes.)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lenten Theology is Family Project

Our family is doing "The Great Adventure: A Journey Through the Bible" with Jeff Cavins as a theology project. I did this series with Meggar (maybe in junior high) so I knew it was worthwhile. As a convert, Jeff Cavins is excited to explain the chronology of all the books of the Bible and I think that is a valuable lesson for Catholics too. He leads students to create their own 4-page timeline along the way. It is a stunning example of God's working all things together for good. And it visually shows the importance of each character in the story of salvation history. I'm happy that Captain is here for these lessons!

Landing Her First Client

Mr & Mrs Wedding Events held its first client consultation yesterday evening in St. Louis, and signed up a Bride who contracted for the Full Design Package! (*squeal*)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Unveiling a Website


with is own Pinterest Page called "MyMrandMrs"
and a Facebook page. 
I like it.
So did 104 other people in first couple of hours.
And she already had someone apply to be a summer intern!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Looking at Careers

Meggar is home for spring break and continuing to apply for jobs (to support herself until the sideline of Mr. & Mrs. Wedding Events becomes profitable). She could always be a nanny again, but she hopes for a hotel or event planning position. She didn't get the Symphony marketing job last month. But she went to the Career Fair at Truman last week and managed to network with several other St. Louis employers. Target wanted to put her on their interview list, but it was for relocating to another state so she declined. Then Stephen Ministries called her for a phone interview, and she passed up to the next level. They will hold job-site interviews later this week!

Meanwhile, she had a photo session in her senior recital gown as well as took a few professional head-shots for her blog and job interviews.
At the other college, Dorito excelled at the Career Fair too. He was probably the only freshman to show up in a coat-and-tie with resumes in hand. But he had done his research on the internet and talked to a handful of companies about summer internships. Happily, Northwestern Mutual put him on their phone interview list because of his Boy Scout awards. He passed the phone interview last week and finished an online survey this week. He didn't make the final cut, but we are still impressed by his early endeavors into the "real world."

Monday, March 10, 2014

Birthday Boys

Very early this morning, they practiced one-way streets and parallel parking in Downtown. Both of them passed their license examination before 8:45 a.m., so that's going to ensure a good Birthday!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Living with ICD Device

The technician from Medtronics checked out Captain again before he left the hospital. Very smart fellow. Here is what his device looks like: defibrillator/pacemaker combo on the right. It is as thick as a cell phone and bigger than the pacemaker-only device on the left. The doctors can change the settings and ensure it is functioning properly if they simply set the mouse on Captain's chest.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Going Home

After a good night, Captain was ready to go home by 7:30 a.m. But a sudden reaction to a medicine changed that plan. A little Benedryl and a short nap seemed to help. He is being discharged at noon. I think he can rest better in his own bed.

Friday, March 7, 2014

A New Day

We arrived at 6:00 a.m. Pretty early since we live an hour away. Captain is being held in Room 1 and will the first one in surgery. Luckily he was distracted by Meggar, Polar Bear, and Winger. It will be a couple of hours until we see him again.
Thanks for your prayers if you are reading this update.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday

Today, I am seriously thinking about Lent. And Catholic life. And suffering. It was exactly ten years ago during Lent that my family stood with me for cancer surgery and radiation. It was a very good Good Friday, once I was completely done.
This Lent will be similar in that my husband is walking a path of medical treatment that is difficult. Yesterday, he received the Sacrament of Anointing before noon mass. Tomorrow, he will have an MRI of the chest/heart as a precaution. The actual surgery on Friday is not too scary, but nearly everything about our daily lives will be altered. Lord, help us as we are starting all over.
Captain's patron saints are Pope St. Leo the Great (confirmation) and St. Francis of Assisi (baptism). It is such a consolation to have the Communion of Saints to show us that sacrifices are valuable when  joined to the redemption of Christ.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Hockey Family

The hockey team peaked at the right time--winning 20 of their last 21 games! More importantly, the players seemed to pull together and that makes for a strong emotional bond. The games this weekend were almost eclipsed by watching the Indy Ice USHL team, then playing in the Pacers Arena themselves, and finally making it a traditional roadtrip with Mr. Evans and Miles.
Before the trip
During the trip
After the trip
Mrs. Evans threw an early birthday party for the twins with a Thunder logo and cupcakes.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Grand Finale Weekend

It was bittersweet to return to Nashville for a hockey weekend, so I was determined to make it a fun farewell for my twins. We drove all day Thursday, and Captain stayed here with his father who is in the hospital. We woke early on Friday for 7:10 a.m. mass at Father Ryan High School with Quinn, Caleb, and Aaron. Then we ate breakfast at a 1940s diner near Vanderbilt with Jimmy. Such an intimate setting for close friends to put their heads and hearts together and see where God is leading everyone. The Holy Spirit is definitely at work and consoling my sons along the way with Godly friends who will last a lifetime eternity.
We started our tourist adventure downtown:
1. Viewed the Civil Rights photo exhibit inside the beautiful Library
2. Took self-guided tour of State Capitol
(only 33 senators and 99 representatives who were not in session today).
3. Stayed the longest at the Frist Art Museum. Wonderful exhibit of European impressionists paired with nearly-identical Japanese works from same time period.
We were delighted to see three Mary Cassatts, four Monets, a Van Gogh, Degas, Lautrec, Renoir, and even a Munch (not The Scream, of course). We learned a bit about the war in Baghdad from an artist's perspective...
and the war in Spain against Napoleon in 1808....
4. Went to Centennial Park to see a full-scale replica of the Parthenon (complete with Athena statue inside)...
 and Parthenon Doors.
5. Stopped at Centennial Ice Rink to see if the Nashville Predators were practicing... but they weren't.
6. Drove by the Cathedral and Union Station and Carnton Plantation... too many sites for one day.