/> Raising Angels: June 2006

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Power of Prayer

Several hours ago I received a phone call telling me that Nelson's mom was in the hospital awaiting emergency surgery for a possible appendectomy. There were other possibilities of things it could be, all of which were much more serious. When Nelson called me from the hospital, he asked me to pray.

First, I gathered all of the kids together to pray. They prayed diligently, with great faith and a plethora of questions about what an appendix is. Next, I called my family and related the story to each of them soliciting their prayers.

Two hours later, Nelson called to say that she was out of surgery, it was an appendectomy and that everything went fine. I got back on the phone to relay the message to my family.

While cleaning up the kitchen in my now quiet house I thanked God for His protective hand and His mercy. As I reflected on the chain of events that had just ensued, I was lifted up by the power of prayer.

I am a believer in prayer. I have seen God work miracles and experienced some of them myself. However, every once in awhile I get caught up in human reasoning. Why do we pray? If God already knows the outcome, what's the purpose of the prayer?

Tonight I felt that maybe, sometimes, prayer is not really for the one who is being prayed for as much as it is for the one who is praying. My faith was built tonight not so much because God protected Nelson's mom or even that He heard our prayers, but because I asked my family to pray and they did.

My parents who are fretting over a wedding next week. My brother and his fiancée, who are getting married in a week. My brother, the seminarian, who is in NYC on vacation. My brother who is at UGA out on a Friday night. Each responded with genuine concern. Each had been praying for her. Each had stopped what they were doing and really prayed.

How blessed I am to be in a family who supports each other in prayer. How comforted I am to know that when I ask them to pray for me, they do. When I ask them to pray for others, they do. How strong my faith has grown because I have seen God answer our prayers.

In fact, we've been praying for so long that even when God doesn't answer our requests the way we want Him to, we know that He at least heard us. We believe that He wants what is best for us. We understand that His will is better than ours.

Thank you Lord for protecting Nelson’s mom. Thank you for the gift of prayer. And thank you for a faith that allows me to know that the two are connected.

Minus Two Teeth!

Rest In Peace

Please join me in praying for the soul of Father Daniel Munn who died unexpectedly last night. Pray also for his family.

He was married when he was ordained a Melkite priest and he was in the first class of priests given the right to be bi-ritual by Pope John Paul II. He was one of our associate pastors and a very holy man.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Minus One Tooth!

This is the last official picture of my baby girl with all of her baby teeth.
She's been wiggling the loose one for weeks now and tonight it looked like it was finally time to give it the old heave ho. Nelson tied a string around it and Mackenzie bravely sat through two attempts before it finally gave way on the third try.
The gaping hole will be a perfect addition to her flower girl attire next Saturday.

I have to admit that I actually shed a tear when I saw it come out. How is it possible that she's old enough to lose anything baby about her? This can only mean that her adult tooth is right behind. These are the moments when I wish I could just push pause for awhile and keep things just the way they are. For all the hard times and the times I say that someday they will be older, when it comes right down to it I guess I'm not as ready for any of them to grow up as I think I am.

Ready or not...here it comes.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lake Day

Today Nelson's office had a "team building day" at the lake. Thanks to good old Uncle Comcast we ate a great lunch. Thanks to "Uncle" Tim we ate it at a great lake house complete with paddle boat and kayak.

Thanks to "Uncle" Paul we rode on a big pontoon boat. Thanks to God no one drowned and the worst injury was Dawson's scraped knuckles from a fall on the cement.
The boy jumping here is not my son (his skin is way too dark for my pale family!), but if you look behind him, you'll see me out in the middle of the lake with the two boys. I like to keep photos like this so that one day...maybe...if I'm ever at a water based activity with my feet up and a drink in my hand, I will remember that things used to be a lot harder. Until then, I'll say my prayers, hold on tight to my slippery babies and enjoy every moment of the time when everyone still wants to hold on to mama.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Getting Through The 90's

Tonight we went out to eat to celebrate my grandfather's birthday. My dad met me in the parking lot to help me unload the kids.

As she was waiting to get out Mackenzie asked dad, "How old is great grandpa?"

"He is 84," my dad answered her from the other side of the car.

She looked at me with eyes WIDE open, "HOLY COW! That is really old. He's almost one hundred."

"Yes," I laughed. "He's getting close."

"You know," she reasoned, "all he has to do is get through the 90's."

Crock-Pot Recipes Anyone?

Sunday at church we stopped to say hello to Jorge, our seminarian. He was so friendly and seemingly unphased by last week’s fiasco that I told him we'd love to have him over again. He looked so eager to join us that I told him he could come over Monday if he had it free and he happily accepted.

I was looking forward to having him experience a bit more peace at my house.

The guest list began with Jorge and Paul, who is our regular Monday night adopted family member. Then I thought since my brother Aaron is in town, he might want to join us to get to know his brother seminarian a little better. Aaron accepted.

I was in my clean kitchen, my house picked up and vacuumed and dinner in the oven thinking how much more peaceful things were when Nelson text messaged me to say that Paul would be bringing his girlfriend. Okay, no problem. I threw in another roast just in case the small one I had ready wasn't enough and called Aaron to ask him to bring an extra chair.

There I was awaiting the guests, pulling out the roast, table beautifully set, Dawson happily eating in his highchair when I heard the first knock on the door. It was Jorge, with...our associate pastor. "Surprise!" they said.

So there we were the 10 of us around the table. Food enough for everyone and only one person sitting in our patio chair instead of a "real" one.

There were dirty dishes galore after the meal but everyone seemed full and happy. As they were leaving and I was thanking God that I put that second roast in, I heard Nelson say, "Good night! How about next Monday? You're always welcome here."

I think I'm going to look into some crock-pot cooking.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Growing Tummies

Mackenzie and Aiden went to Vacation Bible School today and I picked them up at noon. From there we went straight to the seamstress so Mackenzie could get measured for her flower girl dress.

Needless to say, by 12:30 my little ones were STARVING!

As I was putting Aiden into the car at the seamstress' house he said, “Mama, I'm SO hungry. Just listen...my tummy is growing!"

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Less Than Two Weeks and Counting

Yesterday marked exactly two weeks until my brother's wedding. We attended a wine and cheese shower for them to mark the day. We had a great time although it was a bit odd for me.

You see Brian was in the first high school class I taught. As you can imagine, his shower was attended by many of his classmates. Nothing like drinking with former students for an interesting night!

Even more interesting to me is how marriage and motherhood closes the age divide. Most of his classmates are now married and have kids the same age as mine. All of a sudden I didn't feel so old. We have a lot more in common now than we did when they were in school.

I love how life changes things. I can't wait for you to join the ranks Brian! Twelve days and 35 more minutes.

This is Kevin with his friend Emily. I'm afraid he will be sporting his goatee complete with all that hair for the wedding. Ah, the college days! You know I love ya' Kev!
That's my hubby on the left. He's been sporting the goatee since the bachelor party in Atlantic City. The jury is still out as to whether or not he'll keep it for the wedding.
And here I am with one of my best friends, Liz. Join me in praying that she'll be the next to marry!

Friday, June 23, 2006


Dressing and putting sunscreen on everyone: 25 min.

Gathering towels and dry clothes for changing: 5 min.

Packing picnic lunch: 15 min.

Driving to pool: 15 min.

Lugging all three kids, 2 life jackets, picnic lunch, beach bag and dry clothes and making a stop in the bathroom: 10 min.

Racing kids to make it to the potty three times while at pool: 15 min.

Eating lunch: 30 min.

Swimming: 1 hr. 30 min.

Showering all three kids and dressing them in a TINY "family" bathroom: 25 min.

Total time invested in the outing to the pool: 3 hrs. 50 min.

Boys sleeping for 3 hrs. after swimming: PRICELESS!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What Do You Think?

Nelson and I were out to dinner one night last week and we saw a family of five sit down at the table across from us. They had three teenagers, all of whom were wearing headphones connected to Ipods.

I told Nelson to take away my parenting rights if I ever let that happen to us.

When did parents lose control? When did it become more important to befriend your children than to form them?

I don't want to be judgmental. I know I don't have teenagers yet. But really, I don't ever see myself spending money to have a nice family dinner at which no one speaks to each other and everyone is in their own bubble.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Food Network Here I Come

I keep trying to tell God that I am humble, really I am. Apparently, He does not agree.

Tonight we invited our parish seminarian and Nelson’s office mate over for dinner. In preparation for the evening I plowed through the kitchen after lunch today and gathered a sizeable pile of Nelson's stuff to relegate to the garage. Unfortunately, Nelson had my car along with every spare key to the garage. No problem, I thought, I'll just whisk it out there before the guests arrive.

I began chopping away and before I knew it, it was crunch time. Right in the thick of it Dawson awakes and I have to take time out to calm him enough to put him down and begin again. After resuming the cooking, I hear screams from Aiden as he was waking up. Seems he was having a bad dream. "I had a hard nap," he cried. And, he wanted me to hold him.

As I was explaining that I had to cook dinner and I couldn't hold him, Dawson came in and joined the whine fest begging for pudding. I told Aiden to get them both a slice of cheese hoping that would tide them over. Instead more crying ensued as they fought over the cheese.

When both began pulling at my leg, I resorted to saying, "Please take your cheese and go watch TV." Now I'm looking at the clock thinking there's no way it's going to be ready in time and in walks Nelson. I greeted him quickly and put him to work and asked Mackenzie, for the fourth time, to set the table.

With all of us working we stood a small chance I thought as I looked around at the complete mess my kitchen had become between the meal and the kids. The boys were now screaming loudly and chasing each other down the hall in hysterics. At least they're entertaining themselves, I had the boldness to assume just as Dawson came screeching into the kitchen.

Then it happened. CRASH! Right into the laundry room door. THUD! As he hit the ground. And of course that cry. You know the one. When you know they're not just playing around or looking for attention, they're hurt.

I was comforting him when I saw the blood over his eye. I applied pressure for a bit and then really looked at it to discover it was more than a mere scratch, it was a gash. Suddenly I had visions of a burned dinner and disastrous house while I'm sitting in an ER somewhere waiting for stitches.

A quick call to my mom (the nurse) saved me the trip. I bandaged him up until she could get there and went on with dinner. Then, of course, the doorbell rang.

In walks this poor seminarian to the aftermath of a big boo-boo. He gets the hyped up version of the kids and all the details of the accident while Nelson and I frantically try to pull together dinner.

As we sat down to eat, I noticed the gigantic pile of stuff still sitting by the door, the dishes everywhere, along with the toys, and an unchecked set table with small forks. After we finished eating, my mom brought some butterfly stitches that we all watched her apply while Dawson screamed.

It was over dessert that we discovered that Jorge was one of 12 children. Suddenly, I relaxed. Surely he was used to noise and chaos with that stat. And you know what? Dinner still tasted good and he seemed to enjoy himself, even as he stepped over toys to go out the door.

So okay, it wasn't perfect. Certainly, not the peaceful dinner I had envisioned. Another opportunity to be humbled.

But... now that I'm reflecting on it, I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't be embarrassed but proud that I did it considering all that happened. In fact, I feel pretty courageous for inviting him over in the first place.

I think I'm going to call the Food Network and offer them an idea for a new show. Something along the lines of how to produce a decent dinner with kids under foot while your house is on fire without burning anything. Yeah...let's see Rachel Ray do that in 30 minutes or less!

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Receiving my first flowers for my first dance recital and then more every time I danced.

Being made green eggs via grape jelly and bologna with ketchup when you were in charge of meals.

Riding on the bus with all of the BIG basketball players and my first prime rib dinner at a fancy restaurant with the girls' team and you at my side. Not to mention finishing my meal even though you anticipated finishing it for me.

Watching soccer matches in the snow bundled under blankets and drinking hot chocolate.

Knowing that your love was sports and seeing you at my dance recitals, band concerts and plays.

Watching you make cotton candy in our very own backyard

Eating free hot dogs at lots of grand openings.

Being told that "nuns don't drive...don't date...don't...."

Going on the ride of my life with my senior class and knowing that you were the mastermind behind it.

Cheering so loud at Medieval Times that you lost your voice.

Having you visit my fist summer in Jenkins and watching you fall in love with the MCs just like I did.

Hearing you sing "How 'Bout Them Tummy Gummers" as you walked me down the aisle so that I wouldn't cry.

Sharing the birth of my children with you.

With you it's always an adventure dad! Thank you for always being there. Thank you for all that you have done, still do, and I'm sure will do for as long as you are able. I'm a better person because I am your daughter.

I love you!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Anniversary Take 2

Just how crazy are things going around here? No sooner had I posted my frustration last night than I clicked over to the day before and added pictures successfully.

"Hooray," I thought as I feverishly raced over to my anniversary blog to add my wedding photo. Hours later....still no luck.

Interestingly enough, it will upload to other entries but not the one I want it on. I'm tired of trying. I tired of being frustrated. So...here it is.

Happy Anniversary again babe! Here's to many, many more dances.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What's Up Blogger?

My many years on the yearbook staff moving from staff member to assistant editor to editor to advisor all my teaching years brought truth to the statement that a picture is worth a thousand words.

I've been trying like mad to add pictures to the last two days' entries without any luck. Now I know that having no pictures provides hours of pure frustration.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Welcome Home Aaron!

My brother came home for the first time in a year tonight. He just finished his third year of theology at the North American College in Rome, Italy.

We have been counting down the days in the house for weeks now. Today the kids spent hours making signs for him and asking me, "When is Uncle Aaron going to be here?"

It was a long day. When we finally arrived at the airport tonight at 7:55 the squeals were so high pitched and loud that I had to ask them to keep it down just a tad.

"I'm sorry mama!" Mackenzie exclaimed. "I just can't help myself!"

After thirty more minutes of waiting, I was the first to catch sight of him coming into the building. "Look guys!" I exclaimed. "There's Uncle Aaron!" Then I turned to Mackenzie and said, "I'm sorry I just couldn't help myself!"

I guess it runs in the family. Welcome home Aaron. We've missed you.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Happy Anniversary Nelson!

Eight years ago today I married the man of my dreams and the answer to my prayers.

Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to be married. When I pretended, besides being a movie star, I played house and school constantly. Certainly, I prayed long and hard through all the vocations but, in my heart of hearts, what I wanted was a husband.

Every time my heart got broken by some guy I was dating, my mom would always tell me to think about what I liked the most about that guy. Whatever that quality was, she told me, I should put it on my list of requirements for the man I would spend my life with.

By the time I was 24 I had quite a list. But, after many years of angst and teary speeches about how I would never get married, I gave up worrying about it. I abandoned myself to God and whatever His will was for my life...that and I prayed a serious novena to St. Joseph for a good husband.

In waltzed Nelson. He was everything I was looking for…and so much more. It sounds funny, but I knew he was the man I was going to marry the second time I was with him. He, quite literally, was the answer to my prayers.

When you've been married to someone for eight years, it's sometimes hard to pinpoint what exactly it is about them that you love. I'm going to try.

Nelson, I love that we share our faith. I love that you want to do the Lord's will. I love the way you love me. I love that you are the one who made me a mother and I love the way you love our children. I love that you are not embarrassed to be affectionate in front of other people. I love that you still tell me that I look beautiful. I also love that you love me enough to tell me the truth even when I don't want to hear it. I love your positive attitude and the way you make me feel like everything will always be alright. I love that we can finish each other's sentences. I love the way you dance and I really love that you'll dance with me at a wedding, on the beach or in the middle of the street.

I love that you make me want to be a better person. I love that you asked me to marry you. And I love that you have committed yourself to me until death do us part.

Nelson, I love you...everything about you. Happy Anniversary!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Single Parents

Here's a shout out to all single parents out there. Good job! Way to go! Your names should be on the super heroes list.

My husband has left me alone with all the kids many times and it is always very hard work. Not only do I have to do everything myself (which is not unusual anyway with his work hours and now adding in new house building hours as well), but I don't have the comfort and security of knowing he's coming home. I don't have his wonderful companionship. I don't have his positive attitude and loving words to keep me going.

I don't know how single parents do it without losing their sanity. Just the weekend alone with kids throwing up everywhere was enough to exhaust me and to make me feel sick myself. I can't imagine doing that knowing I would never catch a break.

A round of applause also goes out to all of you military wives who become single parents for long stretches of time. Not only do you carry the burdens of your household, but you also live with the knowledge that your husbands are being put in harm's way on a daily basis. Thank you, and your husbands, for sacrificing so much for the sake of our country!

It's just so hard to feel sorry for yourself when you know that there are so many people out there who have it harder than you. Who sacrifice more than you. Who do it better than you.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Round Two of Sick Day

Well here's an update from Casa de Parris.

Dawson slept until 10 this morning so I called my friend to tell her we were going to give the lake a shot. He wasn't throwing up or running a fever and I thought the water and sand would be a great distraction.

The thirty minute ride was great. We sang and talked the whole way. I was so thankful for a peaceful ride and good children.
When we got out of the car, however, things quickly changed. My normally happy and independent Dawson refused to walk and demanded to be carried along with the heavy beach bag, backpack of dry clothes and cooler filled with drinks and snacks.

He didn't like walking in the sand or even playing in the water. I began to feel guilty for bringing him out. Obviously, he wasn't himself.

In spite of Dawson, Mackenzie and Aiden were thrilled to be there. They both took off into the water so far that I had to call them back. They hunted for shells and dug in the sand.

By the time we ate lunch it was so hot and Dawson was so fussy that I decided to call it a day after only about 2 hours. Both boys were asleep before I could buckle their seatbelts.
When Aiden woke up from his nap he seemed quite chipper. Then he began to complain of his stomach. He said he was going to throw up which, by the way, he often does whenever someone else is sick. I brought him into the bathroom and he hung over the toilet, coughed and said, "I'm finished."

Just then the phone rang and it was my brother Aaron calling from Italy. I had no sooner said hello than Mackenzie ran in to tell me that indeed Aiden was throwing up. I handed the phone off to her and found Aiden throwing up in the bathroom, right NEXT to the toilet but all over the floor, rug and sink.

He then proceeded to throw up five more time in the next hour and a half. He was so pathetic. Everytime he was about to throw up he would say, "I don't want to throw up. I feel better."

Every time I gave him some ginger ale, he threw up minutes later so I cut him off. Oh, then even more pathetic. "Please I have a drink now mama," he would whine. "I feel better now," was his mantra until I finally put him to sleep in my bed.

So far there’s been no movement from him. Hopefully the worst is over. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some sleep tonight. Hopefully God will either give me the grace to deal with this without gagging or miraculously prevent my children from ever throwing up again.

I know that ours is not to question why, but really Lord, why?

Friday, June 09, 2006

On A Positive Note

Mackenzie has her first loose tooth. She is very excited and wiggling it like crazy.

I'm not sure I can deal with pulling teeth and cleaning up vomit in the same weekend! Hopefully it will just fall out nicely on its own.

Sick Day

Last night as we were loading into the car to head home from gymnastics I felt Dawson's little tummy begin to heave. I turned just in time for him to literally explode all over the parking lot. Not one time but three. I had no idea a stomach that size could hold so much.

Throwing up has never been something I tolerate well. I mean if I hear it, see it, or smell it, I heave as well. And, oh yeah, I’m a big baby when I’m the one throwing up. I was hoping for some grace in that area when it involved my own kids but as it turns out, I usually gag right along with them. I hate it.

This time however I managed to hold up with no gagging and only about an hour of residual nausea. That probably had to do with the fact that both of us were relatively unscathed considering how much he let out. In fact, I actually said, "Thank you Jesus. At least he didn't throw up in the car on the expressway!"

Once home he seemed to be fine and woke up this morning happy and begging for food. He munched quite contently on a waffle while we all said goodbye to Nelson, who left today for the weekend.

We made big plans to keep busy while Nelson is away. Today we were going to hit the library, and have lunch at Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate one week of total success in potty training for Aiden. Tomorrow we planned to head to the lake with a friend.

After feeding and dressing everyone, I glanced at the clock to see that it was only 8 a.m. "Hey guys," I shouted. "We have time to make it to church today. Everybody find your shoes and meet me at the door."

There we all were in the car, dressed for the day, shoes on and heading to daily mass. I was so thankful for this opportunity. It was a good sign for the weekend.

And then, I heard a little whine from the backseat and looked in the rearview mirror in time to see Dawson throwing up again...and again....and again! We turned the corner, went around the block and pulled back into the driveway.

I wish I knew why these things happen. I really wish I knew why they always seem to happen at big moments for Dawson. I wish I knew how Nelson manages to be out of town. I wish I were with him.

Okay so we didn't make mass. In fact we didn't make it anywhere. The kids were very disappointed we didn't make Chuck E. Cheese.

I did get all three car seats taken apart, washed and put back together (although I thought I would lose my sanity doing it!). The car got cleaned out and a load of laundry got done so that the house would no longer smell like vomit.

In reality I guess it was just another unpredictable day in the life of a mother. Here's hoping it was really just for one day, that Nelson gets back home safely and that next time, I'm the one out of town!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Question of the Day

Lately I've been struggling with the state of my house. Things had been fairly under control and then...school got out.

Since that time our days have been consumed with gymnastics for both Aiden and Mackenzie, swim lessons, time at the pool, park and outside. All this activity has left little time for any housework except the bare necessities. Dinners have become much simpler. Apparently, spending time with the kids is a messy business.

Even when I do get the chance to clean while the kids are napping, the minute they awake it goes back downhill fast. And although I try very hard to just accept this stage of my life, I find it hard to deal with it all.

I know lots of moms who manage to have a clean house at all times. Through the blog I've also met lots of moms with more kids than me who also home school their kids. I'm just wondering if any of you more experienced moms out there have any suggestions for keeping a neat house while you’re raising messy kids.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Reaching New Heights

Hip, Hip, Hooray! Aiden is reaching new heights as of today. We're on our fourth day of actual underwear with...knock on wood, don't jinx me now...no accidents. I'm talking dry naps, lots of swimming, long car rides, nursery at the Y, big shopping trips no accidents.

We've been trying for almost a year now. We've been trying really hard. We've tried everything. Don't ask me what did it this time.

Right now I'm just thankful, excited, proud, relieved, and fully believing that God is still in the miracle business.

I think that I may have gone a little overboard on my celebratory remarks however. Everywhere we go these days, Aiden pulls his pants down to show everyone his "big boy underwear". Quite frankly, I'll take the exhibitionist over the diapers any day.

Hooray for Aiden! Here's hoping this is just the beginning of total success. (If you know this not to be the case because you have boys, please do not tell me.)

The Birds and The Bees?

We were eating a late dinner tonight at the table while Nelson sat at the other end with a priest, who is a dear friend of our family and who baptized Mackenzie.

Mackenzie looked at me and asked, "Mom, how do babies get in your tummy?"

Stunned as to the nature of this question, what brought it up, and how I should answer it...in front of a priest no less, I glanced quickly over to the other end of the table. Luckily, it did not catch anyone's attention but mine.

"God puts them there," which seemed safe and true.

"Oh," was her matter-of-fact reply. "Does He cut off their heads to fit them in there or something?"

Seems we're safe from the birds and bees talk for now.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ballerina Girl

We had the big ballet recital on Friday and Mackenzie was bursting with excitement.
No nerves for this little ballerina. She almost always loves being front and center and the recital was no different.
After a good luck kiss from daddy she was ready to hit the stage.

Of course she was the most beautiful and graceful one there...just ask her daddy, her grandparents or her uncle who all came to watch.

And besides wearing her costume, having her hair in a "real ballerina bun", and wearing mama's "real lip gloss please", the best part was the pink roses she received from daddy.

I'm so glad that God gave me a little girl. I'm so happy my little girl loves being a girl.

And, just for the record. I'm glad I have little boys too. And I'm really happy they like being boys.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Wild Boys

After I sent Aiden to his room for the third time today (before 9 a.m.), Mackenzie commented, "Boys are just really hard to take care of aren't they mom."

"Yes. Sometimes they are."

"Especially WILD boys like Aiden," she added.


At the dinner table Saturday night Aiden was talking non-stop, as usual. Mid sentence he let out a burp that made all of us start laughing. This, of course, only encouraged our little ham.

"Erp, erp," giggled Aiden looking around. "Erp, erp, eerrrppp!"

"Okay Aiden that's enough," I said.

"Why?" asked Aiden for the one hundredth time that day.

"Well because it's not polite to burp at the table."


"It's not using good manners. That's why when someone burps they should say excuse me," I explained.

"Oh..." thought Aiden. "Erp, scuse me. Erp, scuse me. Erp scuse, me," he laughed away.

Friday, June 02, 2006


My youngest brother, Kevin, came over last night and spent a better part of the evening with us. He came to say goodbye to the kids, because he is heading back to Athens this morning.

After I put the boys to bed, the two of us sat at the computer for some time. We looked through some of my pictures that he wanted to upload onto his Facebook page. We looked at his pictures while he told me stories about his friends and his life at college.

After he left, I was so thankful that he still enjoys spending time with me. He is after all, 14 years my junior. I was his second mom when he was a baby. And even though my mom was very worried that he was a boy, since I had prayed so long for a sister, God managed to endear him to me...and no it's not just because of his red hair.

Here is a young man who is entering his junior year at UGA. He's a member of a fraternity and exceptionally active in all kinds of campus life, including the Catholic Center. Still, with all that's going on, he calls my house several times a week to speak to the kids. He never misses an opportunity to come and see them while he's in town.

I'm so grateful that he still calls me for prayers for his tests, help on his papers, and to let me know what's going on in his life. I'm happy he feels free to bring his friends to my house. I'm glad he likes spending time with me. I enjoy spending time with him. I always have.

I know it is a gift to be the only and oldest among three brothers. I didn't always feel this way but time has proven this true. I can honestly say that my brothers are my greatest friends. I pray that we will always remain this way.

And, hopefully, one day Mackenzie will say the same about her brothers.