Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I just returned from a peaceful, reflective, three-day silent (OK, sort of silent) retreat.

I know, I know, Hawaii and a retreat in the same sounds selfish, even to me! But, as Jay so eloquently put it, "Hey, if I don't mind, why should anyone else?!" He certainly did encourage me to go and, although I resisted a bit (only a little bit, mind you), I am so glad I did.

As were the other retreats I have been on, this was offered through Opus Dei. It was a harmonious blend of meditations, talks, mass, reading time and, of course, lots of naps. Throw in a few rosaries, daily benediction and a wonderful, long-time friend for a roommate to chat with in the evening (hey, it was mostly spiritual chatting!) and I was completely happy.

In the past, I have retreated in Northern California, but this time I went to beautiful Thomas Aquinas College in Ojai/Santa Paula, just over an hour from my house. What a beautiful, Catholic college! Just walking the campus felt reverent to me.

While there, I read a book exactly right for where I am in my faith right now (check it out here), and I had a chance to receive some in-depth spiritual direction from a truly wonderful priest.

To those of you who are too busy in the trenches, can't figure out how to get away, I have this advice for you: FIGURE IT OUT. Take a retreat. Reconnect with God. Where there is a will there is a way!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Joey!

10 years old. An entire decade. Double digits. It can't be!

Gone is my baby, my toddler, my little boy. Here instead is this fun, smart, amazing person, a person who I can hang out with and talk to about real things. Ten years ago, I couldn't have imagined the joy I would experience from watching my baby turn into a unique and fantastic individual.

Joey, although you already have a decade behind you, your whole life remains in front of you. You are poised to become anything you want. You have it all--intelligence, humor, good looks, but most important of all, a kindness, morality and conscience that can only come from knowing and loving God. Lucky you. Lucky US for having you in our lives.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Julia!

Here is Julia, freshly 5 years old, enjoying her roller skating birthday party. She is an amazing girl, just five years into her life. She is ready and eager for kindergarten, already accomplished at sports such as swimming and gymnastics, and showing a love of reading and math. She is nurturing and loving to her younger siblings and is a true help to me around the house. Is there anything this girl can't do? (Please excuse the proud maternal boasting here, but these birthday posts are my big chance...)

Happy birthday, Julia Mae. You light up the world with your presence!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


That's what Lindsey got last Thursday when I picked her up from school unexpectedly early and took her to the airport. She had many questions about what we were doing, but I did not answer any of them until we were at the airline counter, at which point she figured out that we were bound for Hawaii--the place she has loudly dreamed of going since she was 4 years old.

Her reaction to the news was worth everything I had put into planning the trip. She started to cry and whispered, "Thank you, mom."

So, off we went to four nights in beautiful Maui where we had mother-daughter time that neither of us will ever forget.

We snorkled, laid around the pool and beach, went to a luau and even took a helicopter over the volcanic crater. We toured a tropical plantation and ate fresh pineapple. We read and ate and watched the Survivor finale. But most of all we hung out, just the two of us. It was a true paradise.

There are many disadvantages to all of Jay's travel, but the airline miles and hotel points are not one of them! We were so blessed to be able to do this for Lindsey at a time when she really seemed to need a little one-on-one time. Because I homeschool Joey, I spend a lot of time with him and know him very well. The preschool kids are home much of the day, so I am good with them too. Lindsey and Sam, because they are at school much of the day, do not spend as much time with me as the others. Therefore, Jay and I are making an extra effort to have one-on-one time with them both. Sam, too, will have some special time before the end of the summer (but perhaps not quite this special!).

At any rate, some photos of our trip are below. It was, quite honestly, the best and most relaxing mother's day I can ever recall. Thanks a million to the grandparents and, of course Jay, who all pitched in, working themselves to exhaustion, to make this possible. You are truly appreciated!

View from our balcony...

A new palm tree growing out of a whole coconut, as seen on our tropical plantation tour...

Eating fries on our snorkel boat...

Altar of the beautiful church where we went for Sunday mass. They had liturgical dance, which normally doesn't do anything for me, but has a whole new meaning when it is hula dancers. It was beautiful and reverent. I loved the Polynesian statues of Jesus and Mary. Also, the choir was amazing!

Waiting for the luau to start...

Barefoot and pregnant...these are some happy toes!

Splashing in the warm ocean. There was decent snorkeling right here off of our hotel beach.

Our fun rental car, which took us all over the island...

Our helicopter and pilot...

Lindsey on the helicopter ready to take off. This was definitely the trip highlight for her.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008


This is long overdue (anyone who regularly checks this blog knows that I have experienced a bit of an early-pregnancy slowdown in my posts--yes, that is my excuse and I am sticking with it!).

Nonetheless, the photo still speaks for itself even at three weeks old. Congratulations, Lindsey, on your First Holy Communion. What a beautiful day, beautiful sacrament, beautiful girl. We are so proud.