Wednesday, January 30, 2013

October 29. 2013: Our 3-month old girl!

Sweet Penny, You are now three months old. You coo. You smile so big. You imitate the sounds of your big sisters and you just love, love, love to be talked to, and to be in the presence of your family. You light up, and you light up our lives. What a blessing you are, sweet face.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Walks, quiet

A couple of weeks ago, we stopped in at O Mosteiro de Sao Bento (The Monastery of Saint Benedict) just miles from our home. We found the road to be peaceful for some prayers before visiting the gift shop. What peaceful fun an open road is...

Pure Sweetness

Just as I was lying with Pita before she nodded off to sleep, she was about to ask a question or a few questions, and then she just said, "Mom, what is Jesus like?" ... "All love, Peach. All LOVE."

Good night, sweet girl. Sleep tight in His arms.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mom, I'm so close to you

Just before Caleb headed out this morning with Pita and Little Caleb for grocery shopping Maddy decided to go. She, Penny and I were going to stay together at home and do some things here. Then Madge came to me for a hairstyle and said, "Mom, I'm really close to you. I'm the closest to you in the family." I'll take it, Madge. I love you, and you are such a gift to us. We've shared so many times together from Beijing, to Hawaii, to Australia, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Brazil, treks all over the globe. As Big Nut Brown Hare said to Little Nut Brown Hare, "I love you to the moon...and back!"

What would we do without you?

Dear Penny,
As we mourn the fateful day that took place forty years ago, the decision of Roe v. Wade, which has allowed the murder of more than 55 million innocent lives, we remember with wonderful joy the blessing you were to us (and continue to be!) as you grew inside me. We received God's blessing, YOU, with such happiness. We are grateful, Lord. We know we deserve nothing, but you give. You give in so many different ways to each person and to each couple. How grateful we are to your Mom, Lord, that she said, "Let it be done unto me."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Growing and a-changing girl

Penny is going for the "eclectic" look, but maybe Dr. Pearl can recommend a better fit?

It's that you give with GREAT love

Yesterday Madge ran outside to get something. She kept it hidden as she went very quickly into the kitchen to get something from their dish cabinet and then made a quick dash for the school room and closed the door. Five or ten minutes later she emerged, and Pita did as well with two sweet gifts: a card from Pita, and flowers from Madge (Pita also gathered flowers from outside at another point and gave me a sweet bouquet. Peach, you really are the Lupine Lady, and we love you so much!) Below is a beautiful image of Maddy's sweet gift:

This gift of hers made me think how humble children are. If Maddy had asked me for a beautiful vase, she would have been spoiling her surprise, so instead, she made something even more beautiful: a "vase," covered with tissue... beneath the tissue was a baby bottle. This also made me think that sometimes what we have to offer God is not much, at least in our eyes, but in His, it is perfect, because we did it with love. Thank you, Madge, for teaching me every single day about great love in small things. Your humility and vulnerability amaze me. Thank you, Lord, for letting us care for Your children every day.

I thought...

...our Valentines wouldn't arrive until February 14th, then I remembered: we get them each day with a lot of hugs and kisses! We love you, sweet Valentines.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thank you, Lord, for LIFE!

Today we sadly recall the wretched decision of Roe v. Wade, on its fateful 40th anniversary. We pray:

Thank you, Lord, for your Resurrection. Thank you for your Cross. Thank you for becoming a baby, so vulnerable, so small, so humble. You relied on your Mom and Dad to carry you, instruct you, love you, guide you. Please, guide our feet, our voices, our words, our minds, our hearts and souls as we live out, daily, your call to be fishers of men in the vocation you have called us into. We ask for the grace to live your will. God, please forgive us for the times we have led ourselves and others astray because of our selfishness, our indifference, our lack of understanding, our naivete.  How grateful we are, Lord, for your mercy, your constant love, your gentle compassion that always call us to conversion. You know our hearts, Lord. You know our brokeness, and you love us all the more. Thank you. Please guide the feet and protect the hearts of all people gathering on Friday (the 25th of January, and the celebration of St. Paul's Conversion)  in Washington, DC for the March for Life. May hearts of stone or coldness be made soft and warm with the love and wisdom of your Holy Spirit. Dear Blessed Mom, please walk among the droves of people Friday, as you did with your dear Son up Calvary. Please comfort those moms and dads, those women and men, those boys and girls struggling with the decisions they made or are tempted to make to take the lives of your dear children by abortion. We ask complete protection on each person so that he or she may live the blueprint you have perfectly created for that life. We love you and we praise you, Lord. Be with us with your mercy. We comfort you and lean on you as you look so graciously with love on us. Thank you for our lives, especially the lives of our parents who gave us life, and for our sweet, sweet children who call us daily to strive for generosity and relinquish our selfishness. We love you, Lord.

Today we are also celebrating our lives by simple things. We made crepes and filled them with sweets: Daddy's homemade strawberry ice cream, walnuts, sprinkles and syrup. WE give God thanks for filling our lives daily with sweets in joys and sufferings.

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life
And for the lifes of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all,
Through Christ our Lord, Amen!
 -          Rev. Frank Pavone

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our Sweet Second One

Peach, it is early in the morning here and you were just dancing away in the living room as Attaboy with Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile and others played in the background, while wearing your jammies, socks, and leotard-tutu. You told me that you have been taking ballet so you have the steps. :) Yes you do! You love to dance. You love to sing. You love LIFE!  You are four and a half years old and so dear. Thank you for sharing your precious ways with us. You are full of spirit and passion and you have grown in so many ways and continue to be such a sweet and tender snuggler, always ready to hug someone and comfort Caleb when he falls. The other night you said with tears in your eyes, since you were concerned for Maddy, "I love my sister." We know you do. You are God's girl and don't ever let that escape your heart, but let His love dance through you as you bring joy to us all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

This Year We're Doing a Father/Son Half-Marathon

Little Caleb and I are started training mode this past weekend. It was so fun when we did it as a family last year. Unfortunately, Mary can't do it this year with baby Penelope's breastfeeding needs. Maybe next year! It's a fun run. Vamo-la!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


...soothes the soul and calms us all.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Special Times Together

No matter how old or big you get, how fun it is to sit at a little table, with little people, and do little, simple things. We had a party of "foods" from ice cream cones made with waffle-styled play dough cones, filled with yummy ;) ice cream, as well as bite-sized pizzas and much more. Thanks for hosting, Madge! And, to you Peachy and Cal, for your pot luck help. Blaine would be proud to see there are pot lucks being held in places outside the nation's heart.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Penelope's Baptism Photo Shoot

Thanks to my kind and generous friend Miri, we have some beautiful shots of our Penny just hours before she received her first sacrament of Holy Baptism, on December 22, 2012. WE love you, sweet girl. One of your songs, Because is playing in the background. It describes your life to us so well. (This is a song Mimi says Great Gram Dolan loved. We love it too.)

The Moments We All Prepared with Excitement for Penelope's Baptism

In the week leading up to Penelope's Baptism, the girls, Caleb and I were busy baking and stirring, cutting, and coating cookies to serve after Penny's Baptism. Maddy and Pita made beautiful cards to share with the guests who were able to join us at Penelope's first sacrament and thereafter at her reception at the parish. We were so grateful and happy for our beautiful girl to have a cleansed soul and become a beloved daughter of God's 3 days before we all celebrated the birth of Christ. What happy hearts we all had for God's protection of Penelope and gracing her with a beautiful life, which is so-loved by us all. Thank you, Lord, for your birth in our souls daily. Please help us always to renew our Baptismal Promises and open wide the doors of our soul so that you may live in a humble dwelling.