Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Plant some....

burn some

Joseph attended his first troop camp-out as a Boy Scout last weekend.

On Saturday the boys (and dads) spent somewhere between 6-8 hours transplanting trees on the private property which has been set aside as a nature conservatory.

The planting was made a bit more challenging by the very cold temperatures, and even some snow!

That's where the burning comes in especially handy.... keep a great bonfire going and you can always have a quick way to warm frozen fingers. For one dad (not mentioning any names... Tim) the fire was also a way to trim (singe) a few long eyebrows and get a fresh new look with the (scorch) hair-do. There's nothing like the smell of cooking hair in the woods!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rufous Hummingbird... photo by Pat

Pat inspired me to fill up our bird feeders today. Unfortunately, the dishwasher destroyed our nice hummingbird feeders, so I purchased a few cheapies at a local box store. HEY, it's for the birds! (Not HAY, that's for the horses!)

We keep our suet out year-round, attracting quite a few varieties of woodpeckers and other little brown birds (wrens?). But as of today (thanks to Pat for the reminder) there's a full meal deal hanging outside our kitchen windows: black sunflower seeds, fresh suet, and sugar water for the hummingbirds. I even put out a few whole peanuts for the jays.

Pat credits my grandma for the idea to put his feeders out last week. Grandma keeps her hummingbird feeders out all year and the hummingbirds stick around. She keeps an ongoing battle against squirrels attacking her bird feeders, and even tries to out-wit the large flickers (woodpeckers) who get into her "little" feeder and make a big mess.

I love hearing my grandma talk about her birding! She is 91 and keeps up her own 3 story house and most of the gardening, too. She cooks her own well-balanced meals, and drives herself to Mass almost every day. What an awesome lady!

Thanks to my awesome scientist, Eagle Scout cousin, Ryan, for the following added information for this post: There are two species of hummingbirds that are common in Washington. Rufous Hummingbirds, like the male shown here, are only around for the breeding season. Anna's hummingbirds stick around all year.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Playing with sticks

...is always more fun when you have a bunch of people with whom to play! And pads and helmets to stay somewhat protected...

Joseph's third season of lacrosse is underway, and yesterday his team played a scrimmage against a 7/8th grade team. The older boys were supposed to play left handed to even out the playing field. Their size alone (and the longer sticks) gave them quite an advantage.

Joseph wasn't afraid to get right in the middle of things and fight for the ball.

The only part I didn't like about Joseph's lacrosse game (other than reports on the ride home about foul language by players out of adult ear-shot) was the fact that it conflicted with Zac's first track meet.

Tim, Grandpa Cliff & Grandma Billie & Peter, all attended the track meet... at least the part of the meet in which Zac competed in the mile.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The birth of Hope

Our newest goddaughter,
Hope Bridget Marie,
seen here at 3 weeks of age, was born at home (just a few doors away).

I was blessed to be present and photograph the birth.

Hope will be baptized May 10th (Mother's Day) and Tim and I are so grateful for the opportunity to become her godparents. We humbly and joyfully accept our role in assisting with her life-long faith formation. Of course her parents will be her primary teachers in the faith, but we stand ready to offer our support and we promise our constant prayers throughout Hope's life.

I find great encouragement for parents and godparents from these words (excerpt of a homily) spoken recently by our Holy Father visiting Cameroon:

Dear fathers and mothers here today, do you have trust in God who has called you to be the fathers and mothers of his adopted children?

Do you accept that he is counting on you to pass on to your children the human and spiritual values that you yourselves have received and which will prepare them to live with love and respect for his holy name?

At a time when so many people have no qualms about trying to impose the tyranny of materialism, with scant concern for the most deprived, you must be very careful.

God alone could grant Joseph the strength to trust the Angel. God alone will give you, dear married couples, the strength to raise your family as he wants. Ask it of him! God loves to be asked for what he wishes to give. Ask him for the grace of a true and ever more faithful love patterned after his own.

Sons and daughters of Africa, do not be afraid to believe, to hope, and to love; do not be afraid to say that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that we can be saved by him alone.

Dear fathers, like Saint Joseph, respect and love your spouse; and by your love and your wise presence, lead your children to God where they must be (cf. Lk 2:49).

Excerpt from the

found @

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Saint Patrick~

Pray for us!

Saint Joseph~

Pray for us!

This week we honor 2 of our special patron saints, Saint Patrick (taken by Zachary at confirmation) and Saint Joseph (Joseph's namesake).

We humbly call upon these holy men to pray for us and to intercede for us from their heavenly posts.

Contrary to some very popular, but false, rumors about our faith, we do not worship these, or any other saints. We simply honor them. Our worship is for God alone.

  • Consider how honor is given. We regularly give it to public officials. In the United States it is customary to address a judge as "Your Honor." In the marriage ceremony it used to be said that the wife would "love, honor, and obey" her husband. Letters to legislators are addressed to "The Honorable So-and-So." And just about anyone, living or dead, who bears an exalted rank is said to be worthy of honor, and this is particularly true of historical figures, as when children are (or at least used to be) instructed to honor the Founding Fathers of America. These practices are entirely Biblical. We are explicitly commanded at numerous points in the Bible to honor certain people. One of the most important commands on this subject is the command to honor one’s parents: "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you" (Ex. 20:12). God considered this command so important that he repeated it multiple times in the Bible (for example, Lev. 19:3, Deut. 5:16, Matt. 15:4, Luke 18:20, and Eph. 6:2–3). It was also important to give honor to one’s elders in general: "You shall rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord" (Lev. 19:32). It was also important to specially honor religious leaders: "Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron [the high priest], to give him dignity and honor" (Ex. 28:2).

  • People who do not know better sometimes say that Catholics worship statues. Not only is this untrue, it is even untrue that Catholics honor statues... The fact that someone kneels before a statue to pray does not mean that he is praying to the statue, just as the fact that someone kneels with a Bible in his hands to pray does not mean that he is worshiping the Bible. Statues or paintings or other artistic devices are used to recall to the mind the person or thing depicted. Just as it is easier to remember one’s mother by looking at her photograph, so it is easier to recall the lives of the saints by looking at representations of them.

Excerpts taken from: http://www.catholic.com/library/Saint_Worship.asp

Monday, March 16, 2009


The Pinewood Derby is by all accounts, the highlight of the Cub Scout year.

This year's Pinewood Derby held all the excitement and nerve-racking anticipation that one could possibly hope for.

Great competition at this year's event meant that Peter's car placed in about the middle of the pack. That should have been cause for celebration... but somehow Peter was born with an extra 'competitor' gene. This means that at this year's race, Peter was given an opportunity for character building, which is a positive side effect of a negative experience if handled properly. I did have to ask him not to blame the judges for secretly sabotaging his car while it was under lock-up in the impound lot prior to race time. Conspiracy theories are so attractive sometimes!!

The car-creation with Grandpa Cliff has become quite a tradition in our family. The cars are really something special as they signify the bonds of 3-generations of Scouts coming together for this age-old "do your best" race.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Prayers by Peter

A few months back, our priest suggested we each keep a prayer journal as a way to record special prayers and inspirations from our prayer & reflection.

The other day Peter decided to write a new Lenten prayer in his journal. When he showed it to me, he flipped back a few pages and had me re-read the apology/prayer he wrote for me back in September.

I was so touched (again) by his simple, loving words that I decided to share it. I copied the words below (with spelling errors corrected for ease of reading):

Loving, thoughtful, giving, prayerful, taxi,
Dear Mom,
Sorry for acting up.
You're great!
I love you.
God bless you.
Love Peter
Dear Mom, Love is great and you have lots of it.
Thoughtful~ you make sure we're fed healthy food.
Giving~ you give us pets and home and food.
Prayerful~ you're a devoted mom.
Taxi~ you take me all over the place.
Love Peter

During this Lent
Let me bring your love,
Let me know your peace,
Let me know no evil.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Like Most Things...
If you wait long enough, someone else will do it.

Happily, Joseph and Peter, neither of whom can stand their hair growing long enough to touch the top of their ears, are now able to cut each other's hair.

My job: enter room littered with freshly buzzed hair and sculpt the final touches around the ears, neck, and forehead. Vacuum (floor, not boys... usually). Repeat.

I like this new stage of independence!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Winter Scout
Zachary spent the night up on the mountain Saturday/Sunday with a group of Scouts and leaders. Plan A was to dig out snow caves & inhabit them overnight, but Plan B was in effect due to various assorted weather related reasons... which meant tent camping on the snow.
They did dig out a cave just for fun during the day on Saturday.
While Zac was taking a short break from digging the cave he looked up and saw Tim skiing by, with Joseph not far behind. Of course Zac knew Tim and Joseph would be on the mountain skiing, but neither knew where the other would be at any given time, so their chance meeting was a blessing.
Tim and Joseph took off their skis and spent some time visiting the troop's campsite. Joseph had a chance to sled with his friends and would have stayed much longer if Tim hadn't started losing feeling in his fingers & toes! Off they went, to try to revive Tim's frozen digits!
Zac and the snow campers were treated to meals prepared for them by adults, a special exception to the norm. Zac thinks he may have gotten about 2 hours sleep, and found the tent sleeping to be much colder than the snow cave sleeping of years past.
As for me, I'm happy to see the photos and hear the stories... snow camping is just not something I long to do anytime soon!