Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Countdown to a Wedding...Finally!

There is a new Mr. and Mrs. in our family! The long awaited for, rescheduled, and worried over event finally arrived..and it was a beautiful day. The last week and a half has been a whirlwind with a to do list that seemed to stretch on forever. I had an entire notebook chock full of notes, reminders to myself, and covered in sticky notes for those last minute things I remembered but was afraid would get lost on a page that was already too filled up with words and directions. With lots of help from some amazing friends,(huge shout out to Carol and Mary!), our family, and lots of prayers, everything came together and made for some wonderful memories.

I'm going to break this post up into a mini series since there's just way too much to share at one time. There are way too many pictures, too!

First up is Marisa's shower....which was actually two showers. Marisa's shower was rescheduled twice from its original April date and landed on June 20th, which was only 8 days before the wedding. Two weeks before the shower, we still didn't have a whole lot of guidance about crowd sizes or restaurant reopening. Marisa's mom, Cathy, and I decided to split the shower list into her side/his side to keep the numbers down. Since it wasn't going to be able to be held at the hall like she originally planned, I decided to host our side at our house. A couple of Marisa's aunts offered to host the shower for her side of the family, and it ended up being at her Aunt Patti's house since she has a beautiful back yard. Keeping it outside would keep everyone safer in a crowd.
(Some of Marisa's bridesmaids, including her maid of honor and sister, Bridget(in blue).
I did not do a good job with photography and failed to get a group
shot with the whole crew which also included Sarah, Ellen, Liz, and Kate as the flower girl.
 Marisa's sister, Ali, is also a bridesmaid but was stuck in Italy where her husband is stationed.)

Marisa's wedding # was "holding out for a hamel"...after all the delays we joked that they should change it to #stillholdingoutforahamel!
(Their wedding # was "Holding out for a Hamel"...
after all the delays we joked that they should change it to

I was blessed to be able to borrow a tent from some parish friends. (They also let us borrow some cloth table cloths and champagne glasses for the reception which we appreciated so much!) I came up with a menu with covid in mind: I served individualized portions of potato salad(thanks mom), vegetables with dip, and taco salad in disposable cups, individual skewers with watermelon, more skewers with caprese chicken, and individual wrap sandwiches.(The sandwiches were from a local restaurant, On The Go, that make the best wraps!) There were also lots of yummy desserts! Jay's mom made her famous cupcakes as well as some delicious scones and some squares. Sarah made her amazing macaroons in chocolate and raspberry. I made chocolate chip cookie dough brownies and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. My dil, Liz, made these super cute peanut butter smores blossoms and one of the bridesmaid's moms made miniature cheesecakes. (There was more than enough dessert:)

We didn't tell Marisa that she was getting two showers in the same day so that we could have a small element of surprise! I think she got a little worried when she arrived and didn't see any of her aunts...and no extra chairs to accommodate them. So we made sure to start the party with a little explanation. :)

The theme of the shower was "Favorite Things" after Marisa's favorite movie of all time, The Sound of Music. We tried to tie in elements of the song into the shower...we had roses, brown paper packages tied up with string(which held our hand sanitizer party favors(great idea by Cathy!), and snowflakes on a banner filled with Marisa's favorite things..(Jon, babies, our dog, Josie, and her aunt's dog, Holly). Cathy even got Marisa a copper kettle which we filled with wedding advice from all the guests. We had yellow tablecloths and flowers since yellow is Marisa's favorite color. 

(Note the copper kettle:)

Some of the bridesmaids put together a few fun games that everyone enjoyed. Marisa got lots of wonderful gifts to start their life together. And even though it happened to fall on the hottest day of the year(at least in June:), it was just so nice to actually be around people! There were a couple of months when we weren't even sure that a shower would be possible, so being able to celebrate Marisa just made us all appreciate the day so much more!
This was "guess Marisa's age in the photos" game

Photo spot

The moms wore the same color scheme...all unplanned:)

As the first shower wound down, we packed up many of the decorations and desserts and headed over to shower number two. Cathy had the party catered by a very good chef that she knows. They also had a choice of wraps which were very good! The mac and cheese she made was excellent as well! Marisa got to open more lovely gifts and spend time with her side of the family. After the gifts were open, the kids and young adults all got to swim in Aunt Patti's beautiful inground pool. (Kate loved it!)

I failed again in regards to picture at shower #2. I did get these cute shots of Kate with Aunt Patti's dog, Holly....

It was a very full day...but all very worth it to see Marisa so happy!

And then the real countdown was only six days until "I do's"!

To be continued.....

Friday, June 5, 2020

Welcome to Party Month!

I can't believe it's actually June!

June is always a busy month around here, but this's a whole new level of crazy! Linking up with Kelly for some quick takes...and I actually did a halfway decent job keeping them pretty quick this week!

First up...

1. Fifty Years of I Do
My parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary tomorrow! My sister and I had wanted to throw them a party instead we are making them a special meal and desserts. Thankfully, our family size makes everything a small party! Hopefully, they will enjoy a little celebration of a very important milestone! 

(Jay's parents were also married in June and they will be celebrating 48 years towards the end of the month!) #blessed

My parents with all their grandkids(and spouses)

2. Birthdays Galore
We have a few June birthdays to celebrate, too. None of our children were born in June...which I was happy about because the month was too busy already! Marisa, Jay and my mom all have birthdays this week. My birthday is next week and my sister's is the last day of the month. (We are always a little sick of cake by the end of the month!)

3. Bridal Shower
We are FINALLY getting to have a bridal shower for Marisa! We had to reschedule two times because of Covid 19 but the wait is almost over. I am SO happy that Marisa will get to experience some of the "normal" bridal events. These last few months have been filled with so much uncertainty, disappointment and rescheduling! It's exciting to finally be able to plan details for a day that will actually happen! Thank you, God!

4. Father's Day
The day after the shower is Father's Day. Usually we make brunch for my dad and Jay's dad. Then I made a special dinner for Jay. Beyond that, I hope we will just have some nice family time and get in a nap! I'm sure we will be tired from the day before. 

Sounds like a chock full month already, right?! 

But wait...there's more!

5. Rehearsal Dinner
The last weekend in June FINALLY brings to fruition something we've been waiting for since May of 2018! After much angst, and having to reschedule the original May 24th date, Jon and Marisa are getting married! All of the unknowns, planning and unplanning then planning again, is going to be over. It's been such a roller coaster ride!

The plan was always to have a backyard rehearsal dinner...which is a good thing since restaurants aren't even open yet and will have limited capacity and lots of social distancing rules once they do open. We've been doing a lot of yard work and house projects in the last couple of months and the list is still pretty long! Thankfully, I have a couple of friends who are amazing party planners and they are helping me come up with ideas to make everything extra special. After all Jon and Marisa went through, I want to this day to have lots of beauty and joy. #itsamomthing  Thankfully, Jay just sighs and goes along with it. He's also surprised me a couple of times and elevated the ideas I had to another level. I can't wait to see it all come together. (I will definitely share pics;)

6. One More Change
Our governor finally made the reopening stages more detailed and clear earlier this week, which made it apparent that a reception with dancing...(very important to Marisa)...was not going to happen on the 28th. So, Jon and Marisa decided to move the reception to the end of August. 

which means....
7. One.More.Party 
After the wedding and pictures, we will be having an "after wedding party" here at the house. When Jon, Marisa and I first started throwing ideas around about what they would like the party to look like, Jon labeled it "fake reception". Marisa didn't like that at all! So we dubbed it the "after wedding party".  It's not an actual reception and we can't invite everyone over...which we feel bad about...but everyone has been so kind and understanding. 

This party will have a few more details than the rehearsal dinner to honor this special day. (a.k.a. more things added to Jay's list...and a few more orders placed on Amazon and Etsy) It's a lot of planning but it will definitely be worth it! I'm excited for the day to get here...but I don't want it to come too quickly because we still have lots to do! 

If you think of it, please pray for good weather for all these outdoor events! Decent weather is definitely crucial!

After June is over, I plan to sleep my way through most of July!

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

For The First Time In Forever

There are a couple of songs wafting through my mind today. One of the songs is The First Time In Forever from Frozen. That's because for the first time since February, Kate and Luke went to play with their cousins! They were both so incredibly excited when we told them this morning. They've had many a Zoom play date with their cousins, Brayden and Mya, over the last six weeks. Brayden and Luke didn't usually last more than an hour at a time. Kate and Mya on the other hand, are Zoom play date champions...they could play for hours and hours. Even though they were glad to "see" their cousins and talk to them over a screen, it still wasn't the same.

Jay and I have been talking to my sil, Jackie, over the past week or so trying to figure out what everyone felt comfortable with as we all start the slow descent into starting to ease social distancing guidelines. I know there's lots of different opinions and thoughts on the subject.  What's comfortable for some people won't be comfortable for other people. And that's definitely ok. None of us has lived through a pandemic before and we are all navigating uncharted waters! For us, we felt comfortable taking this one small step back into the "world of normal".

The kids were thrilled!

Their play date also coincided with a rare return for Sarah back to her apartment last night because her roommates wanted to celebrate her birthday. Ellie also ended up having an unplanned for social distancing get together with a friend today.  Jon is out of the house spending time with Marisa's family. Which left me home with just Jay and Peter!

That means that (hope you can hear the tune in your head)....For the first time in forever, there is silence in the house.....

I mean actual silence! I can hear the whirl of the washing machine and the dryer as Peter orchestrates the laundry room as his own very OCD symphony. (There are pluses and minuses to that but, with the rest of his "normal routine" MIA for several months now, there are only so many battles that are worth fighting as a mom.)

I also hear the swish of a paint brush as Jay refreshes the paint in our bathroom in preparation for Jon and Marisa's rehearsal dinner that we will host in just over a month. But, other than those two sounds, it is SO incredibly quiet and peaceful!

I have missed this!

As a mom of many, there are not a lot of quiet moments in the day. Once the quarantine began and everyone, including the two kids living away at school, came home, there was literally no quiet in the house. ever.

Honestly, it was starting to get to me. Just this morning, almost everyone was occupied with some kind of playing or getting ready for the day and I snuck into my room trying to get a few minutes of peace to read the daily Mass readings and pray the Holy Spirit Novena prayer for today. One of the older girls happened to be showering in my bathroom, singing happily(and loudly)...and I just thought to myself that I would never.find.a.quiet.moment.again. Dramatic...well, yes...but that's the way I was feeling.

I guess God heard that plea for quiet in my heart and arranged for all of these things to fall into place, for which I am very grateful.

Having this blessing of quiet reminds me of all the years when we had very young children.(which were a lot of years!) Getting a reprieve from a nursing baby or a clingy toddler(or both) was a rare occurrence. As much as I love my kids and was grateful to be home with them full time, there were many times when the burn out was overwhelming.

Now, after almost 3 years of having everyone in school full time and working part time with some very small snippets of time during most school weekdays that I could call my own, this quarantine has propelled me back into full time parenting. (with an added bonus of having to coordinate, sometimes teach, and follow through will school work!) The reminders of the burn out and lack of quiet returned very quickly...especially the added burn out of having a special needs child home with you 24/7. Before Peter became a teenager, there were many years when it would take me weeks to recover from the emotional stress of having Peter home with me for the few weeks between when his summer program would end and the regular school year would start again.

Thankfully, he isn't as challenging now, but 9 weeks at home has definitely taken its toll on him and on me.

So, having a little time to recharge today is such a blessing...

Wondering what the other song is that's been going through my head? Reunited And It Feels So Good...that's an old one and I actually had to look up who sang it. It's by Peaches and Herb and came out in 1978. For these pics, though, that song is the perfect sentiment!


Friday, May 22, 2020

A Little Catch Up

Linking up with Kelly for Quick Take Friday!

1. Mother's Day
Mother's Day was a really nice day. It started with tv Mass, then a really nice brunch with strawberry waffles, quiche, bacon, sausage and Jay's famous breakfast potatoes. My parents joined us and I had all my kids together, with the exception of my almost daughter-in-law, Marisa. I wanted to take a group picture, but I have a couple of kids who loathe pictures and Marisa was missing so I gave them all a pass and just enjoyed the day. I was completely spoiled by everyone and treated to flowers, a gift card to one of my favorite restaurants, homemade strawberry cupcakes, my van cleaned out(!), dishes washed, and my hair colored a few days later by my oldest who is almost finished with barber school. (my dad, who has been a barber and owned his salon for almost as long as I've been alive helped:) It helps to have family members that can color your hair at home during a pandemic!

2. The Light At The End of The Tunnel(finally!)
Our state is finally lifting some restrictions. Our diocese is starting Mass up again in one more week and I.can't.wait! I know it's going to be strange with masks and social distancing, but being able to be present at the Mass in person and receive the Eucharist will be amazing. I feel like we are finally heading in the right direction on the long road to normal!

3. A Special Pandemic Birthday
Sarah celebrated her 21st birthday on Tuesday! I really don't know how to process the fact that four of my children are now over 21. I'm not exactly sure how I got old enough to have four kids over 21, but there it is just the same! That's half my kids! How did this even happen?!?

Anyway...moving on..

Sarah got several social distancing visits from her friends that made her really happy.I made a special dinner for her: shrimp tacos with cilantro lime slaw, homemade guacamole, as well as chicken fajitas for the non seafood loving crowd. Ellie is proving herself quite the baker and made Sarah dairy free red velvet cupcakes for dessert. We got Sarah a weighted blanket that she had wanted, as well as an IOU for a mother/daughter lobster roll lunch in the very near future. Her favorite gift was delivered two days later. It was a US Marine Corp sweatshirt from her boyfriend, Mike, who is...surprise...a marine. Mike is also stationed in Japan and, bc of the Coronavirus, missed his planned trip home at the end of April. He should be coming for a visit sometime this summer...and I guarantee it will be a highly anticipated vacation! Jay and I are looking forward to meeting him as well. 

Curious how they met? About a year ago, Mike had been home visiting his family. The night before he left to go back, Mike wanted to say goodbye to his best friend, Alex. Alex happened to be at the movies with a small group of friends which guessed it...Sarah. Mike met the group after the movies and they all talked for a short time. Mike eventually asked Sarah for her number. Sarah thought it was because he wanted to be friends. (oh, Sarah) And they've been face timing twice a day for many months now. 

And that's how my daughter managed to find herself with a boyfriend, who is a marine, that lives in Japan that we have never met. (in person..he seems very nice over Face Time) THE END 
(Or more appropriately, to be continued.....:)

Sibling love

Mike's Hard Lemonade was Sarah's drink of choice for the party!

The infamous 1st meeting..Mike is in the back:)

4. Another Special Birthday
Wednesday would have been Therese's 22nd birthday. I love how important it is to Kate to remember a sister she never met. I let Kate write the (minimal) events we had on our whiteboard calendar in the kitchen this month. She put Therese's birthday up without any reminders from me...Kate just remembers that Therese's birthday is the day after Sarah's. 

During the month of May, we have made a real effort to pray the entire rosary, (instead of our usual one decade with the littles), each night with whatever kids are around for the intention of Jon and Marisa's wedding. At the end of each rosary, Jay prays to several saints and Kate always makes sure to add, "St. Therese our sister". It's just so sweet.

5. Memorial Day
Even though each day is still like Ground Hog Day....we have arrived at Memorial Day! This Sunday was supposed to be the weekend my son, Jon, got married. That special day is now pushed off a bit. Even though we are disappointed that everything that had been planned for two years isn't happening, we are excited that we have something to count down and look forward to! And the countdown is...

6. 37 More Days!
June 28th is the day Jon and Marisa will say those long awaited "I Do's". 37 more days....the countdown is on and we can all (finally) joyfully anticipate this special moment. We still aren't exactly sure what everything will look like, but we at least know that they can have the wedding at the church and fit the people that are able to come! We aren't sure whether the reception will happen the same day yet...but we're figuring out things as we go along. I've put it all in Mary's hands, and I'm sure that however it works out it will be beautiful and blessed!

7. Enjoy the Long Weekend!
I'm most grateful that I don't have to coordinate school on Monday! 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

A New Wedding Planner

Frodo exclaims, “I wish the ring had never come to me. 
I wish none of this had happened.”
Gandalf responds,”So do all that live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.
 All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

How are you doing in these crazy pandemic days? Life here is still painfully restricted. I've found myself feeling lots of frustration and even anger this week in a situation that I have no control over. I know that there are very few things I ever actually have control over, but now I no longer even have the allusion of control either.

I don't have control over the governor of our state with all his hidden, secret plans that is making me crazy...and angry(but I already mentioned that). I don't have control over the fact that I have to do home learning with my kids right now. I don't have control over the fact that my special needs son is home 24/7. I don't have control over not being able to attend Mass. I don't have control over what the grocery store has in stock on any given day.

I have to keep reminding myself that God is in control and that He is going to take all these negative things in my life right now and bring good out of them. I just need the eyes to see, and the patience to wait, as it unfolds....and wait, and wait, and wait.

Patience is not easy for me. Not knowing a time line is not easy for me. Along with wrestling with control, I'm also wrestling with trust. I don't know how everything is going to work out. I don't know when anything is going to work out. I don't know what things will look like. What I am pretty sure of is that none of the "working out" is going to look like the way I would have worked things out. That thought certainly lacks humility, but it's an honest thought.

8 weeks of living a real life Groundhog Day where every day feels like a close carbon copy of the last day has definitely gotten old....wake up, get everyone moving and fed, home learning, laundry, pick up clutter, get everyone fed(again), dishes, finish home learning without meltdowns(mine or the kids), deal with more clutter, more cooking, more feeding, more dishes, go to bed, repeat. I'm ready to move onto the other Bill Murray movie, What About Bob, and "take a vacation from my problems".

I fantasize about being somewhere warm and beautiful and quiet...because I SO miss any semblance of quiet...and just resting without having to worry about schedules, or Zoom meetings, or homework, or meal planning, or having to adjust said meal planning in the middle of the grocery shopping trip because you can't find what you need to make the meals you spent all the time planning for(!).

I felt a lot of hope when I woke up on May 1st. The long month of April with it's constant, unchanging quarantine was finally over! It was a new month. It is the month of Mary. Things would start opening up in May. It was finally going to stop raining almost There were reasons to hope...and hope had been hard to come by in April.

You know when you have that feeling of peace and you just know that God's in control and everything is going to be all right...even if you don't know exactly how or when? That's the feeling I had on May 1st. I don't think it lasted an entire day before I was back to wrestling with the anxiety that was trying to bump trust out of my heart...but it still happened. And I'm trying to hold onto that memory as we reach the middle of May and not a whole lot has changed in the world around me.

I am a planner....and that's not an "essential skill" during quarantine. I'm also really good at shopping, which is also not an "essential skill" during a pandemic. (Although my Amazon, Etsy, and Wayfair accounts might say otherwise!) In my defense, there is a good reason for that...

One of the hardest parts of the pandemic for me is watching my son, Jon, and his fiance, Marisa, have to change plans that have been in place for two years. On May 12, 2018, Jon proposed to Marisa and lots of attention was given to all the details that go into planning a wedding. First was the date...May 24th, 2020...a longer two year engagement because Jon was in grad school and they thought waiting until he was finished would be easier.(Boy, is hindsight 20/20!) We booked the venue before they even had their calendar for 2020 open. Marisa and Jon are also planners there were dress colors, a flurry of  Pinterest boards, and all kinds of other decisions made in very short order.

And then we waited.

And we are still waiting... 

The date has been pushed from May 24th to June 28th. There will be a wedding that day...but we don't know exactly what it will look like. We will celebrate that day...but we don't know exactly what it will look like. The one thing I do know is that it won't look like what was planned two years ago. There has been lots of grief and tears over that. It's a very real loss...

...but hope is not lost.

As the groom's parents, we are in charge of the rehearsal dinner. Months ago, when the word "corona" still only referred to a beer, we all decided that the rehearsal dinner would be catered at our house. I did what I do best and started planning. As February and March rolled around and "corona" took on a whole new meaning, the details for the rehearsal dinner got a little bigger. I'm a mom, and seeing my son and future daughter-in-law have to let go of all the things they looked forward to broke my heart. I don't have control over the situation, but I do have control over the details of the rehearsal dinner. So I threw my 'rusting in the pandemic' planning skills into Pinterest and trying to make things extra special within a limited budget and my very limited ability as a crafty person.

The planner in me also started to formulate something bigger. I had to have an emergency back up plan, because my fear was that our backyard would be the location of not only a rehearsal dinner, but also a reception. That was never in Marisa's plan...and I'm still praying that this won't be the option we have to go with. But, if we have to, I want to be ready. And I want it to be as beautiful and special as it can be. Hence, all the Amazon, Etsy, and Wayfair boxes sitting in my bedroom. (And the outdoor rug I'm storing in the garage that I'm hoping Jay won't notice for a while;)

I'm not relying just on me, though. All of May I have been thinking of another wedding. It's one that happened a really long time ago in a far away place called Cana for a nameless couple that didn't have what they needed for their wedding either. Someone really special noticed and, with the help of her Son, not only provided what the couple needed but far surpassed anything they could have done without the help.

Multiple times a day, I call out to Mary, mother to mother, asking her to help Jon and Marisa. I'm asking her to coordinate all the details. I'm asking her to help me to make things special. I'm asking her to take what we have and bless it and make it better than we ever could have planned for....because she is the ultimate wedding planner.

And now I wait. And trust. And wrestle with my anxiety and fear. And remember the peace I felt on May 1st that God was in control and everything was going to work out alright.

Because He is...and it will...and these two special young adults that have lived their engagement walking with God, will have a wedding day that falls into place in ways none of us ever imagined.

Engagement Day<3
May 12, 2018

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Just Another Day of Ordinary Pandemic Life

I am halfway through week 6 of quarantine...and it feels like so much longer than that!

Last week I enjoyed a break from homeschooling everyone but Peter. We all needed it so badly! While we have certainly been blessed that the schools Kate, Luke and Ellie attend are still moving forward and learning new's been a real challenge to adjust to school at home amidst all the other emotions that living in the midst of a pandemic brings.

Halfway through our break week came the announcement that school would not resume for the rest of the school year. While it certainly wasn't a surprise, it was still a real disappointment. The announcement took away all hope that there would be any kind of "normal" schedule for any of us for the next couple of months.There would be no opportunity for closure for a school year unlike any other. No hope of seeing their friends or their teacher or their classroom. It's like a story that forgot to include an ending.

There is grief in that and it comes in waves at unexpected times. Sometimes those moments of missing how life was and not knowing when it will return is just so heavy on my heart.

There was an article I read that a friend shared on Facebook about all of us being in the same storm, but on different boats. It's so true. While I think just about everyone has struggles some days with the isolation and fear...(although I'm sure there are some introverts that feel like having to stay home is amazing)....the pandemic has affected people on many different levels and to many different degrees. Some people are losing so much money waiting for when their businesses will be allowed to be opened, others are making more money staying home and collecting unemployment. Some families are trying to balance working at home while schooling their children. Health care workers are carrying a tremendous burden of trying to care for sick patients and worrying about bringing home illness to their families. There are families with special needs children that are struggling to handle their behaviors from their routines being completely off and no time line for when they might resume. The elderly, like my 97 year old grandfather, are struggling with loneliness and isolation because they can't have any visitors, can't eat meals with the other residents, and spend most of the day alone in their rooms that have begun to feel like prison cells. Other people are enjoying this "temporary retirement" and don't mind if they are stuck home for a while longer.

Since it's week six of quarantine, I have managed to find a better balance with the kids' schedules. (at least most days). The kids' schools and teachers have started to adjust the workload as well. Everyone was trying to keep things plugging along at a normal pace, but life is no longer normal. There is nothing normal about living in a pandemic world. We're all trying to figure out things as we go along as best we can. I'm making a conscious effort to only do what is necessary in regards to school work. Anything optional, unless one of my kids is enthusiastic about doing it, is a hard pass for me right now. My goal is to get through the year with most of my mental health intact! 

I consider it a win if, by the time Jay gets home from work, dinner is almost ready and part of the house isn't a complete disaster. Keeping the living and the kitchen mostly neat gives me a sense of outward calm even when I'm feeling anything but calm on the inside. (The family room and the kids' bedrooms on the other hand are just begging for some time and attention...which we still try to tackle every Saturday!) Everyday necessities are home schooling, dishes, laundry, and dinner. Anything else is a bonus and I don't want to feel guilty about not having a Martha Stuart quarantine house. 

Sometimes, if the kids are on a break and they're playing well together and having fun, I let the break last as long as the calm does. Some days, if the kids are having a tv break and I'm hitting a wall then I take a power nap. If everyone is quietly doing schoolwork or they're occupied on a Zoom call with their teachers, I try and sit down and enjoy a quasi quiet moment while I read whatever devotional book or inspiring book I'm working through. (Right now, it's Loved as I Am by Sr. Miriam James Heidland and Seeking Peace by Allison Gingras) 

I miss the quiet...I miss alone time. I miss going to Mass and my Saturday morning adoration hour. I've been able to get out to the church to pray a few times for a very short amount of time, but it's not easy to sneak away. My older crew is busy with grad school work or high school studies and I don't want to overburden them with the younger kids. Peter has also had his ups and downs, and on the days that his emotions are elevated and he is struggling I don't feel comfortable leaving him. Weekdays are busy for Jay, too. He has so much on his plate that there's no free time for either of us. Since Jay is a physical therapist, he is the only person my grandfather's assisted living allows in to visit and care for him. Jay is Pepere's only link to our family and the only visitor he gets, so every morning before work Jay heads over to give Pepere his pills and help him open his breakfast containers and his sugar packets because Pepere is legally blind and his 97 year old fingers don't work the way he wants them to. Then, after working until 530 or 6 and having dinner, Jay heads to Pepere's and spends over an hour sitting with him to try and take away some of his loneliness.  

In a lot of ways, life for us is very much like prepandemic life except now we have so much more stress, fear, and responsibilities!

I know that so many people are going through a lot right now. We are blessed that our families are healthy. I'm definitely still longing for when life feels more like it used to be before Covid-19 entered the world like a wrecking ball!

I've mentioned before that Jay is also the volunteer leader of our parish's high school youth group. He just made a new, short video titled "What is essential right now?". In it, he shares a really inspiring story about his sister, Julie, who is a nurse in one of the Boston hospitals. (He calls her his "little sister" and makes it sound like she's a kid lol. In reality, she's married with two adorable little girls.)
Here's the link to check it out. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday Meditations

My amazing husband, Jay,  put together some short(5 min each), thoughtful reflections on Holy Week. I hope you enjoy them as we celebrate a very special time of year in a very untraditional way!

Rosary Series for Holy Week:
Youtube Links:

How to pray the mysteries:

What if I’m bad at meditating?:

The Transfiguration:

The Institution of the Eucharist:

The Agony in the Garden:

The Scourging at the Pillar:

The Crowning with Thorns:

The carrying of the Cross:

The Crucifixion:

My God, My God, Why Have You Abandoned Me?:

And here's a link to a song that I like that feel appropriate for today. Praying that you have a very spiritual Triduum!