Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot????

I have received a lovely photo Christmas card from a family.

I have no idea who this family is.  They do not look familiar.  Their names don't ring a bell.  

The card is addressed specifically to me, not my whole family.  And I don't know these people.

Now it occurred to me that it could be a blogging friend.  But the address includes my married name (Bogdan) as well as my maiden name. Most of you don't know my maiden name.

Could it be someone from my high school or college?  The woman has a rather unusual first name and I don't remember ever knowing someone by that name.


OK.  If it's one of you out there and I should indeed know you, please accept my apologies and 'fess up.  I don't want to be rude.


Any ideas??

Weight Loss Wednesday

Accountability Numbers

The past two weeks:  No Change

Overall:  Down 9 pounds

By some miracle I actually have not yet gained any weight over the holidays.  And this after spending several days eating mostly cookies.  I kid you not.  I've been terrible, eating pretty much whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Still, with no change I must have some stop mechanism in place that has held me back, although I've been aware of no self-denial.  None.

Maybe the scale is broken?  Could it be?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

They're looking so much alike...

Everybody has always said how much my children look like each other.  I've never really seen it.  They all look so different to me.  But lately my two youngest daughters got their hair cut just like my oldest.  They're also getting very close to each other in height.

Don't get me wrong.  I still see BIG differences in their appearances-- more differences than similarities.  But when I see one of them out of the corner of my eye (not straight on), or when their backs are turned.... I can for a second think it's a different daughter.  It's so funny.

Straight on they look a lot different.  And in this picture you can't see the similarity in hairstyles.  There is an 11 year age difference between the oldest and the youngest.

Still, these girls are really starting to look like sisters.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cousins...You gotta love 'em.

Christmas is usually celebrated at our house.  My sister comes with her family from St. Louis.  My brother comes with his from Lansing (about an hour and 15 minutes away).  And family friend Lisa came this year from Chicago.  It's great fun to have cousins, aunts and uncles together.

We all love each other.  I think this time spent together is priceless.  The kids experience unconditional love.  Family bonds are strengthened.  And everybody just has a lot of FUN!!!  The kids look forward to it every year.

Cousins don't care if you're athletic or well esteemed by your classmates at school.  They don't care what kind of grades you get or if you're talented.  They just want to hang out with you.

This year we played a lot of games. I particularly enjoy family activities adults and children can play together.  Tumbling Towers below is one of them.  We also played Scrabble, PDQ, Blokus, and others.  

Since some people stayed at a nearby hotel there was also a hot tub to relax in,

a pool to swim in.... or wrestle in.....

And time to just hang out with those special friends who also just happen to be cousins!

God is good.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas, and Happy Birthday to Mary!!!

Christmas Eve.  Everything done.  Presents under the tree.  Mom duly exhausted.  All ready to go.

We had a wonderful Christmas with my sister and brother, their families, and dear family friend Lisa.

And the very next day..... Sweet Mary turned 14.  We put up the pastel balloons and streamers.  Wrapped her presents in BIRTHDAY paper (no red or green)  (Sometime I'll post about the Christmas I spent in labor all day, refusing to go to the hospital and leave my other children opening their presents.  Finally went to the hospital fully dilated and managed to bring Mary into the world on the 26TH so she could have a birthday of her own.)

Happy Birthday Mary!!!!!!  

What a blessing to have you in our family.  Sweet, responsible, adorable, hard-working, precious Mary Sunshine (as I sometimes call her).

May the Lord bless you with every good thing and keep you in His grace all the days of your life.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

Some scenes from my home.

Our Advent calendar is on the left.  I love it.
It has a pocket with a Nativity figure for each day.  
Baby Jesus is put in the manger on the 24th.

I love this little Nativity scene with a light that shines on Baby Jesus.

Decorating the tree...

Snow Angels!!
I have not had much time to post OR read.  

I wish all my blogging friends a blessed and peaceful Christmas!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Bitter Cold!!!!

It's soooo cold. It's 2 degrees out and that's WITHOUT the wind chill!!!  This morning the wind chill was 20 below!  I have no idea what it is now.  It's just sooo cold.  And we in Michigan are really used to cold weather, but this is frigid.

Still, it's very beautiful with Christmas lights and all.  We will most definitely have a white Christmas...

And....would you believe it?  Here is the little snapdragon that won't give up.  It's half buried in snow and perhaps it is dead, but it's still green!!!

Could it be that its challenging location between the rock and the foundation of the porch is now an advantage?  Maybe it is receiving a little protection from the elements.   It's dead flowers have not even fallen off.  It's wilted, but not that much.

It is one inspiring little flower.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday was a SNOW day!!!!

I've been so busy with Christmas preparations I haven't had time to post much.

Friday was a snow day!!!!  Woohoooo.  It was too bad the kids had to miss their Christmas parties and concerts but at least Jim had a whole day to catch up on AP History.

We must have had a foot of snow!!  It was a mess.

Took a long time to clear the driveway and sidewalks.

It's been just black and white outside for several days now.  I love a good snowfall.


(I guess we're getting more snow tonight.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do I love my Starbucks mug????

Do I love my Starbucks insulated travel mug?!?  Yes!!

Well, most of the time.  the rest of the time I am simultaneously amazed AND frustrated at how WELL it works.

It keeps the coffee/tea TOO HOT!!!

I'm not kidding.  It stays exactly as hot as when you first poured it for a 
REALLY, REALLY long time.  The problem is, for me, this is really too hot to comfortably drink.  I keep burning myself!

However, if what you want to do is take a cup of something hot with you to Mass, but you don't want to drink it until after Mass so as to receive Communion....then it works perfectly.   After about an hour or two the hot beverage is about perfect to drink.  I'm not kidding.  It's that good. And in that situation, I just love it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Weight Loss Wednesday

OK.  It's 8:15 at night and I just realized it's Wednesday.  I bet you were all thinking boy she must have really pigged out this week and isn't going to tell us.

Accountability Numbers

This week:  No Change

Overall: Down 9 pounds

It probably would have been better if I hadn't eaten about 8 Oreos last night.

Some people really should not have cookies in the house.  I'm one of those people

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Meeting old Friends!

I have had TWO occasions lately to reunite with good friend and reader of this blog Mary O.

Mary moved recently to the Holy Land.  Well, not the literal Holy Land.  She didn't move to Israel.  She moved to the approximate vicinity of Notre Dame, Indiana.  Why am I referring to Notre Dame as the Holy Land?  Well, that's the topic of another post.

Anyway, Mary was recently back visiting and managed, to our delight, to squeeze in a Starbucks with good friend Jill and me.

Here is Mary arriving at the Starbucks...

And Mary with Jill and me...

It was such fun.  We miss Mary terribly.

BUT... this past weekend I was able to see her again as she generously agreed to come by my son's caroling party at his home in South Bend.  (Even though Mary had just arrived home from a very busy weekend.) We were able to visit with her whole family.  What a treat!!

How very precious is time spent with old friends!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Family Christmas Traditions

I am participating in Family Moment Monday hosted by Motherhood for Dummies.

We have a few, very simple family Christmas traditions.  First, there are the traditional ornaments.  I like to buy Christmas ornaments for my children that signify something special that they like or do.  These ornaments are set aside when we decorate the tree and only that person is to put them up.  It's fun to see them over the years and the kids seem to enjoy them.  Someday they will probably have them on their own tree, I hope.

We keep an empty manger in the middle of our Advent wreath.  Whenever someone does a good deed or makes a sacrifice for someone else they put a straw in the manger.  The goal is to have the manger nice and full by Christmas to keep the Baby Jesus warm.

On Christmas morning we drape streamers across the top of the stairs to remind the kids that they can't go down yet.  Our rule is that you can't go downstairs until you hear the song "Joy to the World."  My husband and I go down first to set things up.  We bring to the top of the stairs all the little Baby Jesus figures for each of the Nativity scenes, the manger in the Advent wreath, the Advent calendar, etc.  Everyone gets to place a Baby Jesus in a manger.

We light all the candles on the Advent Wreath.  We start the music and take pictures as all the kids come down the stairs with big smiles on their faces, each holding a Baby Jesus.

Then as we listen to the remainder of the song, reminding us of the real meaning of Christmas, we stand around the Advent wreath.  When the music stops we all sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and the kids blow out the Advent candles.

THEN, it's pandemonium.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Blogging Friend and New Book Alert!

I have a new blogging friend, Nancy Carabio Belanger, the author of the new children's book Olivia and the Little Way.

I must confess that I have not yet read this book but I heard Nancy interviewed about it on Ave Maria Radio and any book about St. Therese HAS to be good. Agreed?

This is a fictional account of a fifth grader who learns the "little way" of Therese as she adjusts to life in a new school. I plan to buy two copies for Christmas presents and I urge all of you to check out this book too. I think some of the children in my life might really gain from learning about the "little way" and my patron Therese from this book.

Nancy has a post a post linked
here that answers questions about how she came to write the book.

And check out
Nancy's blog for lots of great information and inspiration from Therese!

St. Therese, pray for us!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Weight Loss Wednesday

Accountability Numbers

This Week's Numbers:  Down 1/2 pound

Overall Loss/Gain:  Down 9 pounds

Not much of a loss.  I have to say I was not very attentive this week to what I was eating.  In fact, I intentionally overate several times.   Eating for fun.  That's what I really have to be on guard against.

I like Suzanne's advice which says so much.  "Eat like a lady."  Yeah.  I think that says it all.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Rain, rain, GO AWAY

Yuk!  I hate this weather.  It's very rainy, very dark, very GREY, and pretty cold.

It's winter rain-- my least favorite weather.  ( except for dangerous weather, you know)

I'd take a good snowstorm or thunderstorm any day over this mamby-pamby weather, not really cold, not cold enough for snow but cold enough to make you feel chilled!

It's grey!  SO GREY!!! Not a break in the foggy looking, thick grey sky.

It's 37 degrees.

Then tonight it's supposed to freeze.  Driving could get really dicey

BUT!! The little snapdragon that wouldn't die is still making me smile.  Here it is.  We've had weeks of freezing cold weather and it's still green.  OK.  It's pretty wilted, but it's still green.  The little miracle flower.  I think it's still alive, believe it or not.

You can even see a bit of its last little pink flower.  Blessed be God.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Feast of the Immaculate Conception!!

"For the first time after thousands of years God, in His wisdom and power and love, created again a human being in that state in which He had created our first parents.  Immaculate Virgin, you are that human being.  Because of sanctifying grace infused into your soul, you were from the first moment of your existence most intimately united with God and endowed with the most precious gifts of heaven. You possessed a perfect faith, a firm hope, a burning love, a deep humility, a purity greater than that of the angels."

 from Mary My Hope by Father Lawrence G. Lovasik

Happy Feast Day, Oh Blessed Mother

Sunday, December 07, 2008

My Take on Congress and the Big Three

"Congress will insist that any legislation include rigorous and ongoing oversight to guarantee that taxpayers are protected and that resources are directed to ensure the long term viability and competitiveness of the American auto industry."

So says Nancy Pelosi.

Since when has Congress become the experts on how the auto companies can be competitive?

What a nightmare.  The Congress is going to tell the Big 3 how to make cars?  Well, yes.  They'll tell them how to make cars-- green cars, low mileage cars, and whatever other cars they think would be neat.

Do you know why the auto companies have been building lots of trucks and SUVs?  Because those are the products that bring them the most profit!!!  And that's what people were buying!!! In accusing the automakers of not having responded to consumer demands, of not being more environmentally conscious, etc. Congress is being unfair.  They do not seem to realize that the purpose of making cars is to make money!!!

The problems of the auto industry are complex.  I don't think Congress, in their arrogance, gets it.  

So.  That's my rant on Congress telling the auto makers how to run their businesses.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Six Things that Make Me Happy!!!

Jean at Catholic Fire has tagged me for the Six Things that Make me Happy Meme.

According to the rules, I have to post six things that make me really happy ... and pass it on to give six more people a reason to be thankful!

So six things that make me happy....

1. The Eucharist, the Mass, saying the rosary with my family, knowing that Jesus is always with me.

2. Spending time with my husband and my family, especially when we are all together.

3. Blogging!!!

4. Reading!

5. Listening to talk radio and watching television news programs-- learning!

6. Climbing into my bed at night, relaxing and having one last conversation of the day with my Lord.

I love a lot of blogs.  There are some I know have already been tagged on this.  I tag the following:

Barb at SFO Mom

Michelle from Rosetta Stone

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Weight Loss Wednesday

Accountability Numbers

This week:  Up 1.5 pounds

Overall:  Down 8.5 pounds

The lesson for me this week is one I know full well.
I cannot lose weight by eating whatever I want, whenever I want.
Nuff said.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Spoiling or Loving

Today my daughter got new braces on her bottom teeth.  She had already had the top ones.

I have three other children who have had braces.  I know they hurt, sometimes a LOT, when they first get them on.  And I know it's not just teenage whining because my good friend Pat had braces as an adult and she told me that they do indeed hurt A LOT when you first get them on.

So.  With each of my other children, on that first day of braces, I brought them a milkshake to school at lunchtime in case their lunch was too hard to eat.

One of my sons was in so much pain he couldn't even drink the milkshake.  Touching the straw to his teeth hurt too much.

The first time I did this a close friend of mine said I should not do that.  She said I should let them tough it out.  I considered that she might be right.  We don't want our children to think that life does not include suffering.  We also don't want them to think that when things are tough that mom will always come to the rescue.  We don't want them to remain dependent.  We don't want to spoil them.

On the other hand, I considered that it might also just show them how much I love them, that I care enough to take the time to help, when I can.  I thought it might show them an example of love, that we make sacrifices for the poor (as in poor teen with hurting teeth:-), that we give of our time to help others.

I asked if she thought she would have trouble eating lunch.  She said she didn't know.  I asked if she wanted me to bring her a milkshake.  She got that sweet smile of satisfaction on her face and honestly said, "I don't know if I'll have trouble with lunch.  But I would love a milkshake."

My heart said do it.  So I did.  She loved it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

When to allow heels....

I bought my daughter her first little pair of heels.

I think it's a tough call to know when is the right time to allow these kind of grown up things.
She's thirteen.  I don't let her wear makeup except a little colored lip gloss.  She looks so lovely anyway, she really doesn't need it.

Her school doesn't have dances but she has asked to go to other middle school dances and I have said no.  Dances even on the high school level are often not the healthiest social environments.  I just didn't see how allowing her to go to middle school dances would be in her best interest.

So.  She wanted a little heel.  A lot of her classmates wear them.  And she hasn't been badgering me about it.

This is what we found.

I think they're cute.  And since it's a wedge it will be a little easier to walk on than other styles.

She loves them.

Even in jeans they're pretty cute.  Her class will be going to see "A Christmas Carol" this month.  It's a dressy occasion and she can wear these with her red dress.

She's happy.  I'm happy.