Thursday, September 27, 2007


Today Maddy and I were at St. Vinny's, where we found a shell-scallop baking tray, perfect for making Rosewater Madeleines. We are chilling the dough right now and will soon place the cookie batter into the tray and anxiously await Maddy's namesake cookies to be eaten. Mmm. Maybe we we can put Starbuck's out of business in the Madeleine cookies department after we make our first batch.

Dad, can I come to work with you?

The last couple of days, Maddy has tried to come to work with me. You'd probably call me crazy for refusing the request of someone this cute. I normally wake up at 5:15am. By now I am accustomed to the early mornings...well, as accustomed as one can be to such ungodly hours. The difficulty is getting ready without waking up the little girl. For the most part I don't have any problems. I brew some joe in the kitchen, do some exercises in the living room, and then get ready in the bathroom. I do all of this behind closed doors with the minimum amount of light.

Maybe it's because Maddy has had an unusually early bed time the last two days. Maybe it's because she has been welcoming new teeth. Maybe it's just because she loves her dad. Whatever the reason why, Maddy has been waking up with me the last two days. Yesterday, I awoke to her sitting on my head in bed. It may not sound like a great experience. But when it's your cute daughter, somehow you mind less and the act itself becomes cute. Anyhow. Today I was shaving in the bathroom and I heard her knocking on the door. There she was. I scooped her up in my arms. She was all snuggles and warmth: so wonderful to hold and hug. The best part about a breastfeeding baby is that you don't have to worry about morning breath. So even her breath was adorable. (Maybe I am just being partial as her dad. I suppose that's a possibility, too.)

It was nice to see her before I headed off to work. I just hope that she fell back asleep. Otherwise, poor Mary will have a fussy one on her hands today! She was upset that I wouldn't take her to work with me. I laugh silently to myself as I think about trying to work in my office with her roaming about: no doubt she would be pointing at everything and gibbering about all the good things in life. I left her to Mary's care and hobbled off to work.

Late last week Mary and Maddy came to visit me at work. Maddy loved all the open spaces around the DC Mall. She enjoyed the monuments and the people. Here she is, posing in front of the Jefferson Memorial. It is one of our family favorites. Mary and I would frequently go for jogs around the memorial. It's an especially beautiful area when the cherry blossoms bloom: we look forward to the springtime for that. In the meantime I am sure that we will enjoy the other seasons. After two years in Hawaii, I think that we are ready to see some seasonal variation.

Monday, September 24, 2007

From Here to Eternity

The other night Caleb and I sat down with our big mugs of hot tea and enjoyed Pan's Labyrinth. It was very good, we thought. It was thought-provoking, beautifully filmed, and a "no-wonder" why it has been nominated for 3 Academy Awards. After watching the film we started talking about a topic that we discussed several weeks ago: being in tune with God and hearing His voice. The movie has so many thought-provoking ideas about humanity and eternity, and that of being in tune with the next life by being open to and listening to God's voice now. There have been many times when I have fallen short in my prayer life; it is at those times that I am hardly aware of God's many wonders--simple and complex, because I am not in the right plane. Sometimes I find myself close to drifting into a less spiritually-inclined wavelength that the world so easily sucks us into. Its moments like those that I am thankful to be reminded by God of where I need to travel in order to reach Him, hear Him, listen to Him. To be open to God's voice in the little and big things is analogous of hearing a lion's roar, like we did at the zoo several weeks ago. The other week we were walking through the zoo and heard the lion "Roarrrr!" It was low, clear, audible, but one had to be listening for it. If I had been walking through the zoo absorbed in conversation or the sites around me, I would not have noticed the lion's deep whisper. His voice scared me when I thought,"What if I were roaming through the jungle and came upon such a confident creature? I would be completely surprised, because I would not intune with that plane on which his audible tone could be heard." Then, I began thinking how many times I am like that with God. When I am open to His will, voice, and signs, I listen to Him, and hear. He is always there, but I cannot always hear Him because I am not on the same wavelength. In Pan's Labyrinth these thoughts were evoked once more as I watched Ofelia enter another world: a world that exists, but that which not everyone can see, because not everyone desires to be a part of it. These thoughts took me to another plane: eternity. Eternity: it seems so far off, and yet it is so present. It is our final resting spot with our Creator. It is the place we are all meant to return. We are here on this earth for fleeting moments. We are sojourners, who are constantly being spoken to by God, but how often do we listen to Him, let alone hear Him? Wavelengths, planes: they stretch from here to eternity.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How Old Are You?

This is fun..

Are you really your age, younger, or old(er)? Hmm, let's see!

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm 14 months today!

I love my peaceful life.

Happy Birthday, Beautiful Boy

Nicholas, you are 3 now. Where have three years gone? I remember the day Mommy told me that she was expecting you. I was on cloud 9 the moment I heard I was going to be your auntie and godmother. I love you. We love you, Beautiful Boy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Is it possible

...for the Easter Bunny to arrive in September?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Beauty, Simplicity, Love, Faithfulness

Recently it seems that wherever I look everything is "pro" woman. There is so much hoop-lah about moms working outside the home and trying to mother their children simultaneously and being "able" to do it all. Sounds fishy. Anybody knows that when a person is throwing oneself into a job, task, daily duty, some other thing suffers. Cause and effect... Unfortunately, the "thing" here is really a person. Kids: they are the ones who end up suffering while the media keeps throwing out the mantra that women can do it all. Women are everything. Women. Woman. Whoa-man.

Yesterday I noticed that on the TODAY show there is a whole new hour added to the show. It seemed a bit over the top. Three women were the hosts and the show was a whole lot of loving yourself. That would be fine if everyone was loving himself...err...herself, with the knowledge that each is designed by God in His image and likeness. But, such is not the case. It is all of this looking to self for some fantastic ideas, inner strength, love, etc. But, how can one get all of this from within when it is not given to or desired to be received from Another? On this note, a very beautiful and humble woman is in my mind.* She is the Mom of an amazing son who is always giving again and again, and he never counts the cost. He loves guys and girls and doesn't place one sex over the other, because he is aware of their uniqueness. He doesn't pretend that men are the same as women, because he never intended them to be. He likes different and that's what he made them: different from one another. Thanks, Jesus. Thanks for being in charge. Thanks for your beautiful Mom, who was so humble. She could have been flashy and saying how she balanced being the mother of Royalty while running a household and always being so social with your many friends, but she was not flashy. She was faithful to her vocation and prioritized her life beautifully. May each of us learn well from her, and may all women embrace the beautiful gifts that they are given instead of finding ways to "deal" with them.
*I was reading True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis De Montfort when I began comparing how Mary's humility stuck out so beautifully in contrast with the whole "over-worked woman mentality" that is out these days and filled with a lot of misguidance and yucky pride.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

When We Get Lonely for Waikiki...

we use ironing boards for surfing.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Please Pray

Please pray for Lili and Kate. They are very ill with the sickness gastroenteritis, which they contracted from a friend. Fr. Joe, heaven's new saint, please hear our prayers and intercede for them, through Christ our Lord, amen.

Our Date

It's not often that Caleb and I will go out by ourselves, without Maddy, and that is fine. But it is also fine, enjoyable and a little strange to be alone, just the two of us on a "date." That is what we did last night while our good friends watched Maddy for a few hours. I kind of went numb when our friends offered, because I thought: "What should we do?" Should we clean something up at home? Organize? Go to a movie? Grab a bite to eat? Go for a walk? Make a holy hour? The ideas were coming right and left, and finally we settled on-- due to time and driving distance-- dinner and a walk through various shops. It was enjoyable. I felt like we were dating again as we walked into Express for Men. We weren't buying anything, we were just looking, like the other couple of "daters" in the shop. We talked, and talked, and did a bit more of the former and latter. The time together wasn't a day, it wasn't a week, it was just enough to enjoy and to give more thanks to God for the gift of our marriage. We were both ready to get back to Maddy--the gift of our mutual love. How beautiful it is to have this special little girl-- a little bit of me and a little bit of Caleb--who gives us a lot of love always. It is a delight to have special time together, but it is wonderful to be a threesome when we come back together as a family. When we got home last night and walked in the door, all three of us eventually made our way to our bedroom where we tickled Maddy, who giggled hysterically and reminded us just how happy we are to be married, to have one another, and to be a family.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Today, September 4th, is my sister Kate's 29th birthday. She was born in 1978 and began her life with a difficult labor, but she was a fighter. Some things just don't change. To this day, she is still that: a fighter, a tough Randa-Ri, and a gem in our family. We love you dearly, Kate, and are so happy God chose to give you to our family. Thank you for the joys and happy, silly, and just funny times that you have shared with me. You have been a wonderful friend, sweet sister, now wife to Matt and loving Mommy to Nicky and Lili. Wow, are they lucky to have you in their lives. They are blessed. Happy birthday from us. May you be blessed with all that you need and know always how very much you are loved. Here is my song for you that I called "ours" the winter before you got married. I'll always be here for you.