Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The price of a half-hour of peace


Well, this about says it all, really.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Slavery

"Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible." (1 Cor 9:19)

St. Peter Claver (1580-1654), whose feast day it is today, vowed to be "the slave of the African for ever." He was a Jesuit and a missionary among the African slaves in Colombia. He is the special heavenly patron of all missions to the African peoples.

My sister-in-law compares motherhood to little ones to the life of monks who must drop their work immediately when the bells call them to prayer. As mothers we never know when that "bell" is going to ring, but we cannot be so attached to our other tasks that we resent our children for interrupting them constantly. Constantly.

Which is why I relate to the above quote from St. Paul found in my Morning Prayer this morning. And admire St. Peter Claver who vowed to be a slave for ever, while I think daily how I can't wait until I don't feel so much like a slave to the constant needs of my little ones.

Oh I have so far to go. St. Paul and St. Peter Claver, pray for us!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Signing...How We Roll Around Here

Sometimes I stop to think about it, and when I do I think it's really cool that my children sign. Most of the time I don't stop to think about it, because it is our life. We couldn't do without it.

I haven't counted how many signs the kids know. A lot. Here are two of my favorite signs, demonstrated by each little cutie pie in turn. Sorry the sound is static-y. I think the camera cord was brushing against the mic.

Grace, take it away...

video

Joshua, you're up!

video

Hope they make you smile. We need those moments desperately around here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cough 'Em Up!

My newest preoccupation as of late, besides all the new life of spring (gardening and raising chicks), has been 'adventures in saving money', mostly in the form of coupons matched up with sale prices or rebates and the like. I'm having a lot of fun with it and saving us some money too.

More reflections later on what I've learned...right now I just want to know what websites YOU like to consult if you're playing the same game I am. Please leave comments!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

To Pet or to Plate?

Only time will tell.

Meet the newest addition to the Arnold household. We have ten chicks of some "Red" variety, known for being good layers. They are currently residing in our basement in a large cardboard box, destined for the out of doors in a few short weeks. (It may feel long, depending on how stinky they get in the meantime.)

Why ten? We hope to end up with three or four hens and we were told about 70% would be male. So until we know for certain, there will be no getting attached.

Monday, April 13, 2009

happy happy Easter!

He is Risen! He is Truly Risen!

God blessed us with a wonderful day yesterday. My parents joined us for Easter Mass and breakfast (french toast anyone?) followed by gingerbread lattes from my espresso maker (welcome back my friend) and nap time. A nice afternoon with Paul's family and a restful evening completed our day. The grace of his rising was really working in our family yesterday. I went to bed feeling...peaceful. Blessed. Joyful. Thankful for our Savior, without whom I would have nothing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Faith

"It is not really a question of trust in God...for we want very much to trust him; it is really a question of our ultimate belief in his existence and his providence, and it demands the purest act of faith." (He Leadeth Me, 78)

If I believe that God IS, then what do I have to fear? What cannot be overcome?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Read and re-read

I read through He Leadeth Me more quickly than I had planned. Curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to see what happened to Fr. Ciszek. So, on the second read-through, mostly at my 1am adoration hour, I jot down in my journal the quotes/points that strike me so that later in the day/week I can re-read them for inspiration whilst I am on the "front lines" of life as wife and mother.

This is what I have been reading over and over this past week:

"As surely as man begins to trust in his own abilities, so surely has he taken the first step on the road to ultimate failure. And the greatest grace God can give such a man is to send him a trial he cannot bear with his own powers and then sustain him with his grace so he may endure to the end and be saved" (71).

Now doesn't THAT his you like a ton of bricks?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just Some Pictures

Breakfast around here is a casual affair.

Irish Soda Bread--part of last night's Irish fare.

Joshua puts on Daddy's hats any time he can get ahold of them. Pretty sweet.

Not to be outdone, Miss Clowny has a turn.
(Also in this picture: evidence that small ones + stainless steel appliances = possible Windex shortage.)

Yes, Grace, you're adorable too.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Onion Baby Mama

Paul has thus-ly named me.


I'm the one who started calling them my "onion babies", jokingly, but I DID plant them lovingly in their flats, and I DID nurse them along for 6 weeks, and I DID get sort of attached to them and obsessed with getting them the maximum amount of sunlight once they had 'hatched', carrying them downstairs for the morning (east window with ledge the little shrimpys can't reach) and up for the afternoon (south window). Watering them, trimming them, singing them to sleep...okay just kidding about that last one.

Yesterday, it was like sending them off to college, I planted them in THE GARDEN amidst trampling toddler feet (I think you can see that one of the ones pictured above fell prey to said feet) and let them go....

Well not completely. I visit them every day. I think the term is "helicopter mom".

Friday, March 13, 2009

...and the cake itself

I was going to type out the recipe I used for the "Breakfast Cake" I made but realizing that God wants me to use my time differently (read: Joshua is screaming)---click here for the link to Chocolate Chip Banana Snack Cake.

With the following substitutions:

For the flour I used half all-purpose flour and half white whole wheat flour.
I used 1 cup of sugar instead of 2 cups.
I used plain whole milk yogurt instead of sour cream.
I used less chocolate chips. You could use none, but it was tasty with.

That's it! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cake for Breakfast

Want a fun way to liven up your morning with little people? Give them a whole piece of cake and a fork and sit back and observe. (Note, in case you're wondering what kind of mother gives her children cake for breakfast: No, this is not your Bill-Cosby-chocolate-cake for-breakfast cake. It is a "breakfast cake" that includes things such as whole wheat flour, less sugar, and bananas. )


Grace carefully tried to cut off one bite at a time from the hunk by sticking her fork straight down in to it. She succeeded a few times, too. Good work Grace. This is her saying, "Mmmmmmmm."


Joshua's method, on the other hand, was to obliterate the cake by various means and then pick up the pieces. He missed his mouth several times. And let me just say that we have no qualms about eating cake off of the floor.

With all the personality indicators out there, I'm sure cake-eating methods must be a fair way to assess something-or-other. I'm happy to say that their methods seemed gender appropriate to me. To be perfectly honest, I was just doing it for my own amusement.

SWITCH GEARS

Here is a great question posed by my lenten reading, He Leadeth Me:

Have I allowed the luxury of feeling sorry for myself to cloud my vision and prevent me from seeing my current situation in the eyes of God?

This question is so helpful for my emotional self. There are many days when I wonder if I will ever get anything done or have any time to breathe. Recent illness has made mothering an even more intense job. This book is really helping me see myself and my life in a different light. Each day, each moment comes from the hands of God and serves a purpose in his providence.

That's all for now. God has sent a sweet boy with stinky pants over to me to reveal His will for the moment--a diaper change.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Encouragement for Today

"Accept unquestioningly and respond lovingly to all the situations of the day as truly sent by God..." (He Leadeth Me, 39).

I'm reading this book to aid my lenten quest for more of JESUS in my life (and less of ME). I highly recommend it. Fr. Walter J. Ciszek, S.J., spent 23 years in Soviet prisons and Siberian labor camps. He learned A LOT, needless to say, about life and God.

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday Gracie!

Little one, when you play
Don't you mind what they say

Let those eyes sparkle and shine

Never a tear

Baby of mine



Besides turning 3 today, which is a big deal all by itself, Grace is also starting preschool! If you had asked me even 6 months ago if I would send my child to preschool, much less public school, I would have said "nope!" But here we are. Grace will have some wonderful opportunities with the Goddard schools that she wouldn't otherwise. Her class size is 9 including her, and besides her teacher there are 3 paraprofessionals. She will be working with the speech therapist each day in some capacity, and the occupational therapist and physical therapist once a week each. If she is happy, she will attend every day. If it proves to be too tiring or she just doesn't adjust well (which I certainly don't anticipate), we'll re-evaluate. But I expect her to really shine with the example of other children her age. Yes, mommy is nervous but I'm ready. I want her to have every opportunity.

We are so proud of Grace. She loves to read & be read to, draw and 'write', take care of her baby, talk on the phone, help mommy with chores, dig in the sandbox, and boss Joshua around among other things. She is learning lots of new signs and can make most of the letter sounds when we ask her to. Speech is still her biggest developmental delay (very little delay in other areas) but we DO see improvement, a little at a time.

We think she is SOOOO beautiful. We realize we are not objective, but that does not affect our position on the matter. :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Blueberries

I know they're not in season, but they were on sale! Joshua likes to eat them,

Grace likes to decorate with them.

Grace, repeat after me: "I will not put blueberries on the carpet or furniture. I will not put blueberries in any orifice but my mouth. I will not remove half-chewed blueberries from my mouth for any reason no matter how driven I feel to 'paint' with them. I will not sit on blueberries." I think that should just about cover it. Oh, except "Should I choose to violate these blueberry rules, I will not involve my little brother in my blueberry crimes."

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ha!

REVISED Weekly Menu:

Saturday: Opened what was supposed to be hamburger to find....a ROAST! Instead of meatloaf we had breakfast burritos (eggs, cheese, bacon in a tortilla), which were a hit.
Sunday: I was sick. Sick sick sick. Paul fried up some burgers I guess, I couldn't care less. I saw the 100 yard touchdown, that's all I know.
Monday: The previously mentioned offending roast with potatoes and carrots, lovingly placed in the crock pot by mom. Thanks mom. It was great. Not so offensive when I don't have to cook it.
Tuesday: May try to resume the menu previously posted in some fashion, but with a better sense of humor as I am feeling slightly mocked by...don't know who. My own efforts to be organized?

I'm feeling much better but off to bed anyhow. Hope your week is going along more smoothly than mine!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weekly Menu

Saturdays I do meal planning and grocery shopping. I love this chore, now more so than ever because: A. Paul tells me what sounds good to eat (I don't know about you but it gets burdensome making ALL the choices every week), and B. Paul watches the kids sometimes so I can go alone! :)

Today he has a hospital call and cows to tend to so I'll have to take the little darlings along and bribe them with an oatmeal cookie as big as my hand but we will manage.

The weather is AWESOME!!! 66 degrees and sunny. At this moment I am having second thoughts about grocery shopping this afternoon. It would be much better to spend our after-nap-time outside playing! Maybe we'll delay until after supper. When they're cranky. Sigh. And so I say, the perfect time to run errands with toddlers is when they're OLDER.

Here's what we're having this week:

Saturday: Sicilian Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables
Sunday: Superbowl Fare--Sliders, Chips and dip, Grasshopper Cake
Monday: Turkey and Cous-Cous, Green Beans
Tuesday: Fried Chicken, Green Salad, Fruit Salad
Wednesday: Butternut Squash Soup, Grilled Cheese
Thursday: Manicotti and Salad
Friday: Coconut Curry Chicken & Rice, Broccoli, Sauteed Apples

Anybody know where I can get decent fish around these parts? We want to eat fish once a week but everything I've bought so far tastes 'fishy'. HELP!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What Grace Has Been Working On

In the name of the
Father...

and of the Son...

and of the Holy...

Spirit...Amen!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Good Ad

Click here to go to the site where you can watch it.

Are you praying for Barack Obama today? I am.

Read the pope's telegram to him here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Finally Did It

You know that list of things about which you think, "You know, I really should do this." And then you keep putting it off and so forth and never do it for, oh, say YEARS but then you finally do it and it's great?

Well, a few days ago I did something like that, something I haven't done since I was in college, back when I had oodles of free time.

I baked bread.

Not sweet breads, I've made lots of those. I mean the bread you eat every day, that you and your family devour by the loaf in the form of toast and sandwiches. Every day bread.

And it was good! (And shockingly easy, just like I knew it would be.)

I am hoping this is going to be a regular thing. I even added it to my schedule of weekly chores. If all goes as planned, I'll bake two loaves on Sundays. I'm blogging about this to hold myself accountable more than to inspire you. But I do urge you to give it a try (you've probably been baking your own bread for ages) if you haven't.


** Here's the link to the recipe I used. Alterations I made: I used 2 cups whole wheat flour and 2 cups all-purpose flour, and I used Active Dry Yeast and just put my dough in a warm place instead of at room temperature.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I thought this was beautiful...


"...we can entrust every new life that blossoms to the hands of God, who is stronger than the dark powers of evil." (Pope Benedict XVI, from last Sunday's homily)

He goes on to talk about how entrusting our children to God leads to Baptism, thus restoring to God that which belongs to him. Our children are not our property; they have been entrusted to us by God, and we give them back to him. Good reading.

But I was thinking more about the line above and how ALL children are his from the moment they are conceived, and how even in these times when sadly this is not acknowledged, it is no less true. However we choose to engage in battle against violence of any kind toward children, born or unborn, we must remain HOPEful knowing that every child is in his hands and that God IS stronger and WILL triumph over evil.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Prayer is Powerful

So let's all unite in prayer.

Starting today (if you want to end on the day before Inauguration Day) or tomorrow (if you want to end on Inauguration Day), please say a novena of your choice for Barack Obama and his administration. In particular, we should pray for A CONVERSION for those who don't respect the dignity of the human person, and that everyone will know that JESUS CHRIST IS OUR SAVIOR (not anyone else).

From today's Second Reading:

"...the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 Jn 5)

On a lighter note, it was a beautiful day here. Paul, Uncle Dan, Grammie, Poppa, and kiddos were out enjoying the weather brick-chipping style. (We still have lots of bricks from the old Kingman school that have mortar on them and must be cleaned before they can be used.)


Hope you had a glorious Sunday!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hello, this is the Arnolds' Residence!

You move to a new home in a new town. You get a new phone number, selected from three or four choices because it has a pattern you think people will easily remember. You notify everyone you know of your new number.

And then...

In the days and weeks and months that follow, you come to the realization that the people who had your number before you most likely changed their number TO EVADE BILL COLLECTORS. Or they lost their phone service.

Either way, I have decided to just start praying for them.

I'm praying for you, Dilbert and Gertrude Billwicky (names changed to respect their privacy). It won't be hard to remember to.

Friday, January 9, 2009

"...With Your Whole Heart"

From Morning Prayer:

"You shall seek the Lord, your God; and you shall indeed find him when you search after him with your whole heart and your whole soul." (Dt 4:29)

I find comfort knowing that my efforts are guaranteed to be fruitful, as long as I don't hold back any part of my life from God.

For me, the challenge there is letting go of my daily desire to be in control: to have everything run smoothly, to get X Y and Z accomplished, to have obedient toddlers (oxymoron), to have a little time to myself. So I'm working on having a plan, but not holding on to it too tightly. Leaving wiggle room for the Spirit.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sharing Smoothies


Today I shared a Banana Chocolate Smoothie with my children.
Now I'm sharing it with you. It may be an acquired taste, because it uses unsweetened cocoa, but I find the banana sweetens it enough for my tastes, and besides, I like it when I can actually taste my chocolate and not primarily sugar. Perfect for the moment in the afternoon when your sweet tooth and grumbly tummy are demanding satisfaction. And it's really healthy. And very yummy. My kids can't get enough, and neither can I.

Banana Chocolate Smoothie ala Arnold

1 banana
1 heaping spoonful unsweetened cocoa (I use Ghirardelli)
2 spoonfuls protein powder (I use Reliv ProVantage, which is soy based)
some milk (I would guess about 3/4 cup, it really depends on the consistency you like)
1/2 tall glass of crushed ice (my fridge dispenser does this for me because my blender is wimpy and can't handle whole ice cubes)

(I've also made it with plain yogurt, another yummy variation.)

Blend well and pour into a tall glass. Salute!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dancin' in the Kitchen

So our 'big' gifts to our children this year (we knew they would get plenty of gifts from extended family) were ride-on cars.

We imagined them scooting around on them, chasing each other, giggling with glee.

They enjoy them, alright. But their ways are not our ways.

They love to push the button that plays a little ditty, and then DANCE.

One of these days we will work on riding the cars. Either way they're working on gross motor skills, right?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday Joys


Greatest joy of the day so far:

I went in to fetch a smiling Joshua from bed this morning and the first thing he asked for was "Sissy". I took him out to the kitchen where she was eating and she smiled and said, "Hi." He smiled back and said, "Hi." Such a simple greeting, but a beautiful way to start our Monday.
Also great because one of my current resolutions is to begin the day with a loving greeting to each member of my family. They're on board today.

Second greatest joy of the day so far:

Pictured above. I love catching them reading.