It’s a…..book! (series!)

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God. IS. GOOD.  This series has been in the works for over three years now, and my heart is bursting with joy to be able to share it finally with all of you! How grateful I am to Jeff Campbell over at Amor Deus publishing for his interest in the series, and to Lorien West for her awesome assistance and layout/design skills.  To Cardinal Burke, for reviewing the series and assisting with editing, to everyone who’s expressed interest and anticipation for the books to come out—thank you!

These books would not be what they are but for the darling illustrations that my mom, Nancy, has so lovingly and tirelessly worked on providing! A true treasure! The shining stars of these series are the images! Years ago when I dreamed of becoming a published author, I never imagined that the Holy Spirit would put on my heart such a project as this, and to be able to join together with my mom is a gift and a great blessing to me! Thank you, Mom. Also, thanks for never falling short to satiate my constant hunger to read and write…your indulgence has paid off!

Last but certainly not least, my husband Tom, I thank you so very much for all the hours you’ve spent encouraging, proofing, researching, explaining theology to me, and most importantly your eagerness as we worked on these books. You are my ‘better half’ and being your partner in life is certainly my favorite story of all!

If you haven’t already, here’s the official announcement that was e-mailed out this morning:

Dear Family and Friends,

We are are thrilled to share the news that my mom and I have just published a Catholic Children’s book series through Amor Deus Publishing titled “The Curious Little Catholic.” The Curious Little Catholic Series simplifies answering theological questions for the youngest of Catholics. There are currently two books available for purchase: “What is the Eucharist?” and “What is a Sacrament?” – There will also be a third book available within the next few months: “What is a Vocation?” These books have been beautifully illustrated by my mother, Nancy. We have also been blessed to have Cardinal Burke review and edit these books.

To learn more or purchase online, please visit the website: www.curiouslittlecatholic.com

Each book costs $14.95 + 3.99 Shipping (or $36.88 for both books) when purchased directly through the publisher Amor Deus.

Whether or not you are interested in purchasing, please consider spreading the word about this book series! 

We truly hope and pray that these books will bring spiritual nourishment to the youngest of children and families alike!

——–

For anyone interested in spreading the word, there is a promotion tab on the website or you can e-mail me directly for the PDF flyer!

Thank you so much for your interest and support!

 

 

Category: Uncategorized

This is not ok.

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Especially if your wife doesn’t have her glasses on.

Especially if she is prone to being easily frightened.

Especially if the moon casts a shadow during the night.

Especially if she frequently wakes up busting to pee at 4 am.

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

THIS. IS. NOT. OK.

Yes, you’re seeing clearly. That is a lobster in an overcoat.

 

 

***Note to all husbands: You cannot hold a wife who has 4-pregnancies-lack-of-muscle- issues to any reasonable standards of control under these circumstances.

Category: Uncategorized

Oh yeah, that’s why I never….

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Take three kids to the grocery store at once. Right. Haven’t done that in over a year. I mean, call me spoiled… or call me SMART. But it’s been well over a year since we took our kids grocery shopping. Usually one of us goes out sans children to complete to fortuitous task of stocking our pantry.

It’s actually quite the coveted job in this house, because of the blissful silence of label reading and aisle strolling whilst the other sorry parent (or uncle in last year’s case) gets to be a human jungle gym for an hour.

But no. Not today. Today I took the kids up to choir and because of the success of one event, stupidly decided to just ‘run into’ the grocery store and ‘pick up some stuff’ for dinner. I let myself be duped into thinking the most DANGEROUS THOUGHT for a mom, “I got this“.  (head up to all my mommy friends : you never get it. ever.)

We needed three things: bread, salad, and eggs. How hard could that really be? Three things. Three kids. So I wouldn’t need a cart. I ran through the rules and loaded out the stakes, early bedtimes if I lost someone from wandering off, etc.

I scooped Charlie, 3, out of his car seat and inquired
‘Would you like to walk?’
Which translates in toddler-speak to ” Do you want me to chase you around the grocery store?
Of course he said yes. And I fat, dumb, and happy obliged.

It took me about 10 minutes to realize the terror I had unleashed upon myself. I was in the produce section, picking up the lettuce when he and Jack started wrestling each other near the glass jars of garlic. Hmmm, I believe 1 billion is the amount of times I had to wrangle the two of them off of one another and hiss through my teeth,
“Knock it off!”
I kept dodging other customers and looking around all squirley hoping no other people would tisk at my lack of control. I gripped Charlie’s hand tighter and started stomping off to find the bread, commanding Jack to ‘march in front where I can see you” and feeling Mia trailing along hanging onto my other shirt sleeve.

Rounding a corner, and surrounded by a gaggle of customers in the deli line, Jack announced clear as a bell,
“Look Mom! It’s your favorite! Wine!”
NOOOO I cringed outwardly and inwardly. SHUT UP.

Of course, as you all know, ignoring a child only makes them talk louder. Especially when you really don’t want them to. Especially when you already looked like you couldn’t pull your life together.

“MOM!” (louder) “MOOOMMM” (pointing, louder) ” Wine! Look! YOUR FAVORITE!!”

And so, because I did not know how to react to the fact that I keep one measly bottle of wine on my counter, and apparently this is how my kid sees me… I giggled out loud correcting him,
“You’re so silly. That’s not Mommy’s favorite!”

Which in mommy language means
“Pipe down you nut. I don’t need people thinking less of me than they already do!”
I’m sure not one single person on that deli lined believed me. And if they followed me the rest of my trip, they might go pour me a glass themselves.

Because the rest of our ‘quick trip’, which in actuality lasted over a half hour, I was chasing Charlie, juggling eggs, putting items back on the shelves, yanking heads out of the bakery baskets of bread ( “c’mere Mia!! Smell this bread! Oh I wish we had this bread!” —– ” Oh so that lady can’t afford to buy her kids bread but she can buy wine. Tisk Tisk“)

Then. THEN. I made the crowing glory choice of the whole trip. I said,

” Hey. You’re not frazzled enough. You deserve to go through self-checkout

HA HAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (ETC.)

I’m such an idiot.

Because our self-checkout station was right next to a big, shiny, silver trashcan. Transaltion in boy : “Yum and Fun” And I had two ridiculously rambunctious boys in tow. And Charlie had been walking, holding my hand, but dropping to his knees every 2 feet of our trek up to self checkout. So I was in a GREAT mood by the time we got up there.

You know how with self-checkout, you have to scan the item then place in bag. But if you put too much in the bag or hang on the bag holder thingy, or sit on the bag holder thingy, or breathe near the bag holder thingy the whole register shuts down and says ‘Please wait for assistance’.

Yeah.

It was a really, really long check out process. A lot of

“Stop! Stop pressing on that! It’s reading your weight and throwing off the bags! They think we’re stealing!”

and

“Get away from the trash. We don’t touch trashcans”

and

“Stop licking that! WHYYYYY WHY ARE YOU LICKING THAT”

and

“STOP TOUCHING THE TRASHCAN DOOR”

and
“YUCKY! YUCKY! WHAT THE?!! WHY ARE YOU STICKING YOUR FINGERS IN THE TRASH??? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUUUUUUUU?????”

Yep. Never doing that again.  Yep, I have a serious headache.

And yep, I’m writing this all down for you right now while sipping a glass of my favorite.

Hypocrites! —- {Guest Post from Tom}

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 A guest post from my hubs, Tom, on this first day of Lent. Really, an email I found in my inbox when I awoke that was too hilarious not to share.

 

Dear Hypocrites,

 

I hope that you all have a blessed start to the Lenten season today!

Today, I have washed my face, you see no dirt, only handsome smiles and joy;

Today I have not gone to church or stood on my street corner, I prayed in my room and I even locked the door, (I also prayed in the middle of my street);

Today, I have performed no righteous deeds, but have only continued to give myself sacrificially for my family, (and I pulled a guy out of  the river to save him from drowning but that wasn’t a big deal- really);

Today I put my trumpet on Craigslist, I am exchanging it for a gong and some cymbals… not that you care, but I have also practiced muscle confusion at the gym last night… We’ll see if I can confuse my right hand from my left when I drop the $20 in the basket today… I’ll let you know.

I did this all before 8 am!

I wish you all as half a good a lent as I am already having!

You will be in my prayers.

In Christ,

“Saint” Thomas

 

P.S. “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”

What ever happened to the gospel of Thomas? Child Jesus turning clay into 12 sparrows sounds pretty awesome to me!

Postpartum Pointers

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So, I just discovered a memo I wrote to myself (yes, I always, always write my future self memos. Lots of them.)after I gave birth to Charlie, entitled “Postpartum Pointers” I am so glad I dug it up today, I really needed it! Thanks, ‘past’ Annemarie… ‘present’ Annemarie is grateful.

Anyway I thought I’d share it, just in case there’s other mamas out there who might need it too!

 

Postpartum Pointers!!

  • After you have the baby you will, I promise you, think one or all of the following:
    • We have too much stuff
    • Our kids are so badly behaved
    • We will never have peace and quiet again
    • Our house is too small
    • I can’t see the floor
    • How are they ever going to learn how to read
    • We eat so unhealthy
    • We don’t have a routine anymore
    • Is it really so wrong to lock myself in the bathroom this much

      Say it with me: Candy canes and TV, so I can breathe and go pee pee! Congratultions. You just survived postpartum-hood.

      Say it with me: Candy canes and TV, so I can breathe and go pee pee! Congratulations. You just survived postpartum-hood.

  • By 2 weeks postpartum, you’ll will feel a tiny grip on life coming back
  • By 6 weeks postpartum, you won’t remember why you were so upset and you’ll be picking out names for the next babies. (aka the fog starts to lift)
  • Go outside. Breathe in through your nose slowly. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Even if you can only step out for one minute, get outside at least once a day. Stick your head out the window if you have to! Just get some fresh air in your lungs.
  • Cry! It’s ok to cry, it’s ok to cry over everything. And you will cry a lot. Remember that there are lots of hormones entering and exiting your body during these next few weeks. Give yourself permission to be emotional. You are not going to psychologically damage your kids, this is completely normal.
  • Let the house get messy. Give yourself permission to be ok with it temporarily. Don’t put added pressure on yourself by needing the toys to always be in their proper place, or all the laundry to be done, or every dish to be washed at the end of a day. Just do what you can, if you can, and be ok with that. Keep telling yourself a house can only get so messy and it’s only temporary.
  • On that note: LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS. ALOT. This applies to: everything.

    "Oh, you don't have a baby in there anymore? Ok. Horsey rides. Back to work, lady."

    “Oh, you don’t have a baby in there anymore? Ok. Horsey rides. Back to work, lady.”

  • Sit down! It seems impossible but you must sit! Give your uterus a chance to repair. If this means watching more tv for awhile with the older siblings, it’s ok. You know that a month of tv overdose is not going to change them, you’ll be glad you did.
  • Follow the baby’s cues. It’s less work for you! Don’t come home from the hospital waking them up every 2 hours to eat. If the baby is hungry, he will eat. But if junior is sleeping…take that as a gift and rest up or spend time with the other children. No baby ever went hungry from sleeping too much. They’ll naturally set up a routine, one that they are accustomed to from the womb.
  • Buy prepared meals. Let it go for once and just stock up on them. These first couple of weeks, you are a slave to that baby, and nursing isn’t quick! So again give yourself permission to indulge for this temporary phase and keep frozen meals in the house, and for pete’s sake just order in a couple times! You’ll be glad you did.
  • Nobody ever died from sleep deprivation. It’s quite possibly the worst part, but it’s not going to last forever. Seriously. Keep doing your Lamaze to get through these days. Breathe and pop on the tv. It will be over soon.
  • Yes!! Relax, the older kids know you love them. Stop worrying yourself to death about how neglected they are from your attention. The best thing you can give them is a smile every day. Make sure you verbally affirm them and kiss them when they are near. Stop apologizing to them, they are learning sacrifice from watching you tend to the baby. They will be better individuals from learning to wait their turn, and put someone else’s needs ahead of their own.

    Numero uno. K, boss?

    Numero uno. K, boss?

  • No guilty feelings allowed! You can’t possibly give yourself the expectations of “the way things were” now. Things are different! You are different! Your family dynamic is completely different. Take this time to adjust, to change , to adapt. Stop giving yourself unreasonable parameters with your love life, parenting, and friendship skills. You cannot expect yourself to keep up with your old you. Thank you phone calls are ok instead of thank you cards!  True friends will not count the days you haven’t called!  Family won’t be disgruntled over unreturned phone calls. True love will not want you to feel guilty, it will understand the changes you are going through. A good parent starts with appreciating ourselves, and allowing ourselves to adapt, not stay the same.
  • Change is good. You are growing, the kids are growing, your husband is growing. You are all learning something new from this new child. You are all growing deeper as a family by embracing this new life.

    Totally worth it, though.

    Totally worth it, though.

  • Un plug the phone! Who cares if you miss a call. Take a load off, there is enough on your plate to think about and your attention is divided enough.
  • Up your ‘fats’ while nursing! Eat avacados, coconut products, REAL butter, whole milk… more fat = fatty breastmilk=baby stays satisfied longer (read- SLEEPS)
  • Wear an abdominal wrap. No, we know nobody cares about the pooch… it’s to help force your uterus to contract and get rid of any remaining tissue or clots. Do it, because your muscles are weaker then they used to be an they need the extra help! Plus, it will help you slip on a pair of jeans. (for that one time a month you leave the house)
  • Hug your husband. Bury your head in his chest and sigh deeply. His arms are stronger than yours to support you, to lift you up when you can’t go on. Lean on him, rely on him, derive your strength from him.
  • Talk to other moms for support. Re-tell your birth story, over and over again to appreciate the amazingness of what you did! Be real with other moms about how you are feeling. It’s ok to admit that you are tired or overwhelmed. It’s actually freeing to admit the truth!
  • Ask for help! Get over your pride and just do it. Help is always there.
  • Don’t put everything on your shoulders. It’s ok to ask the husband to do a wash (or, um… all of them), cook a meal, or help you find extra burp cloths at 3am. The baby is his, too! You know, he’s the one that’s always fertile… keep reminding him.
  • It seems like it lasts forever, but take everything one day, one hour, one minute at a time. Stop thinking about how you will feel/look like tomorrow or next week. You will get depressed or crazy. Just think about the present, because that’s all your brain space can handle right now.

    Eh, they'll adapt. Or something, right? The way I see it: "Look! God sent you another kid to play with!" Charlie aint so sure.

    Eh, they’ll adapt. Or something, right? The way I see it: “Look! God sent you another kid to play with!” Charlie aint so sure.

  • It’s ok to not leave the house for the first month. Or only when husband can take you. Stop giving yourself unreasonable goals. Who cares what the tabloids say about the Kardashians? You feel like wearing your pj’s all day and sitting on the couch for a month, then do it. You just pushed a baby out… you get to call the shots. It’s not lazy, it’s called recovery.
  • Priorites! Shower or feed junior? Well…you are last. Keep that in mind.
  • Use your shower time to reconnect with God. Don’t stress out about prayers, just talk to him, tell him your concerns and ask for grace! Shower time is a great chunk of prayer time if you think about it! It is also probably the only peace and quiet you will get for a long time. So lock the door.

    Adapting to the new expanded family! And Charlie giving Max CPR.

    Adapting to the new expanded family! And Charlie giving Max CPR.

And Jesus Wept

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I was struggling a little bit over here. The whole Paul Coakley story had my heart tied in knots for days. I was following it since the whole thing showed up on my newsfeed just before Christmas. That’s right, that’s when we heard about Paul, a Franciscan University alum, “a legend” according to my sister-in-law…who had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Just. Before. Christmas.10897104_1403222956640475_8266174565688072249_n

And he passed away last Monday. Barely 3 1/2 weeks later. His beautiful wife Ann, 7 months pregnant and three young children left behind.

My heart was, is– so knotted, so heavy over this tragedy and with it being right on the heels of Sarah Harkin’s death, I just couldn’t find the words or the willpower to write about all this. The emotional upheaval I was feeling on Monday was immense. And I didn’t even personally know either Paul or Sarah. Why, why?

Do I even have a right to feel this way? So connected, involved in this yet…not? Am I allowed to feel pain? Is it strange that every time I think of Ann Coakley having to delivery her baby without the love of her life, my eyes well up with tears?

All of this really shook me. I sat on the couch on Monday, after belligerently shaking the gates of heaven for days begging God for some miracle, and finding out Paul had died. I was stunned.  I had been so convinced, so sure of a miracle coming. Shocked and numb and…a little angry was how I felt.

My head was clouded, suffocated all afternoon with question after question for God

“Why does it seem like the good people are the only ones suffering?”

“What’s the point in being a faithful disciple, if the ‘lost sheep’ is the one fought for, protected? Shouldn’t we, the ones sticking it out through thick and thin get some benefit or protection for our loyalty?”

“How is this possible within six months, two devoted, faith filled, holy parents taken–just like that– from young families? Don’t we need all the good people we can get in this hedonistic society? “

“What is the point of all this? This life? If God wants us in heaven then why the heck did he put us through all this pain, suffering?”

 

In brief, I was having extremely earthly and naive philosophical questions. Because, well… because I am a human with human thoughts and human emotions. And I ask those questions fully aware of the correct answers but I ask them because  the reality of my human nature is raw. And it doesn’t want answers. It just wants to pound it’s fists on a table and break down crying,

” It’s just NOT FAIR”

And because you read stories like this and you have a ghastly moment of awareness when you go,

“That could be us.”

And you are scared. Truly, deeply, gut wrenchingly scared. I got thinking that I wanted to be done taking risks in my life with love, because more love equals opening yourself up to risking more pain. And I can’t bear the thought of something this tragic happening to my husband, or one of my children. I want to hide, stay away from everything,

leave me alone world! if I escape and hide, maybe you can’t get me suffering!”

I took these thoughts and convinced myself that it was all Facebook’s fault. If I wasn’t on Facebook, I would have never known about either of these tragic stories. I could have been blissfully living away in my little bubble. Happily ignorant of the profound suffering that my peers were going through. Selfish, I realized. Selfishly ignorant in my selfish little safe-bubble. Because I never would have been able to pray for Paul and Sarah. To offer my measly sacrifices for them and their families, to spread their story, to keep their memories alive. To ache and mourn together, as Heather so perfectly pointed out, like we are supposed to. Because we are the Body of Christ. And when one member suffers, we all feel the pain. Because, as my husband comforted me, “This life is our chance to choose LOVE

Pope Francis’ recent quote ” This kind of suffering can only be explained with tears.”  gave me so much comfort.

"And Jesus Wept"

“And Jesus Wept”

It is profoundly tragic what has happened. But I realized how much we need contemporary married saints. Married people who are holy yet from our era, relate-able, tangible… it’s too hard to relate to these married monarchs from the 14th century. We need them to pray for us from up there! Well, now look. Thank you, Paul Coakley for being a true example of Christian fatherhood and manhood. For loving your wife, spreading joy, protecting your family and fighting with every ounce of your being for life. And thank you Sarah Harkins, for giving us young moms hope and encouragement, for inspiring us with your example of holy wifehood and motherhood. For showing us how to above all else desire God and union with Him.

This is our time now, our chance to choose to love God. Love Him when it’s hard, love Him when it’s pain, love Him when it’s suffering, and love Him when it’s joy…. and with all the mundane moments in between.

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“In my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church” –the Apostle Paul, Col 1:24