Friday, March 15, 2013

Seven Quick Takes-- celebrating Pope Francis

Joining Jen for another round of 7QT.

I have a feeling this will all be about Pope Francis!  We love you, Papa!


Wednesday morning, Maura woke up crying, "IT CAN'T BE MORNING YET!  WHY ARE YOU WAKING ME UP SO EARLY?!?!"

She hardly ever cries (only if she's sick or injured or thinking about her great grandmothers in heaven), so even though the logical part of my brain said she's probably just overtired and having trouble adjusting to the recent time change, the protective mama in me suspected that she was sick.  She had a cold (nothing serious) for a week or so, and her little brother had a fever of 102 the day before.  Surely she had caught whatever Paul had.  

I took her temp and it read 99.5-- not serious, but it could be the start of something.  I gave her some ibuprofen and took her temp after breakfast-- 100.5.  No school for Maura.


Wednesday morning was great, especially because Maura wasn't too sick.  We enjoyed a lazy morning of breakfast, homework, cartoons, and general togetherness.  I contemplated again how I would love to try homeschooling.

Then I posted this pic on Facebook.

best sick day ever


While checking out the status updates of my Facebook peeps, I noticed that Dweej shared a link to live feed of the Vatican on You Tube.  I opened it up on my computer and turned the volume WAY up.  Then I continued with my housework stopping to look for smoke every time I passed the computer.  I did this about a billion times and started thinking that there wouldn't be smoke.

And then...

I HEARD SHOUTING coming from my computer.  

It sounded JOYFUL.  

Could it be?


Then I started screaming, "WE HAVE A NEW POPE!  WE HAVE A NEW POPE!  WE HAVE A NEW PAPA!!!"


I called my husband who was at work to tell him about the white smoke.  I wish he could have been home with us.

We immediately turned on EWTN to watch the events unfold live.  I felt so joyful to have my oldest daughter, Maura, home with me this day to share this historic event with me.  I said a little prayer of thanksgiving and wondered if this was a sign that we should try the whole homeschooling thing that I have been praying about daily.


As we waited for the announcement of who our new pope would be, I decided to start taking pictures...of our living room...watching TV...because this was historic whether we were celebrating in St. Peter's Square or in the comfort of our own home.  I wanted to treasure the moment forever.

Prepare yourself for photos.

home sick

Telling her brother that we have a new pope!

feeling joyful (love that I'm wearing an apron!)

tears of joy

trying to get a picture of the three of us

look closely-- the kids are waving tissues to celebrate!  LOVE


This whole time our youngest, Paul Francis, was napping.  I thought about waking him up but felt a little silly.  He's just a baby and wouldn't understand, right?

Then he woke up.

And he was thrilled to join our celebration even if he is only 15 months old.


And then our new pope was announced.

And I thought...Cardinal Bergoglio took the name Pope Francis?  Sounds a lot like Paul Francis.

Surely, I was just an overly enthusiastic Catholic mama, and no one else would notice.


Mike called and started yelling, "Did you hear he chose the name, Pope Francis?  and we have a Paul Francis?!?!"

I humored Mike, but surely no one else would think it was a big deal, right?  He was just being an overly enthusiastic Catholic father, right?

Then Mike's mom texted me.

no offense, Cardinal Dolan.  Paul is a baby, and this is his grandmother talking here.  She's biased.

And then my parents called too.  Lots of excitement over here.

Did I mention we live outside San Francisco?  Surely these are signs.


I may have posed Paul in pictures with a rubber grippy on his head that kind of looks like a zucchetto and posted them on Facebook in all of my excitement.  

Don't judge me.

For more quick takes, click here.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Theme Thursday

I've been wanting to write a post all week, but I have just been so busy.  We're trying to buy a house (more on that in a future post) which will require us to downsize from the spacious 5 bedroom we are currently renting to a modest 3 bedroom (I assume).

When I saw that Cari decided this week's photography theme was piles, I thought, oh yeah, this will be my life in still photos.

All pics taken on my iPhone with no editing because I still need to clean these piles, go to Costco, and take care of two sick toddler boys.  I'm short on time, you know?

pile of papers in my kitchen to be sorted.  ugh. paper clutter.

pile of folded laundry to be put away

every NFP family can relate-- baby stuff.  what to keep?  what to donate?  decisions, decisions.

what's keeping my boys busy while I blog?  legos.

...and blueberries

love my little guys!

Go check out more cool photography at Clan Donaldson.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What I Wore Sunday--volume 10

Haven't linked up with the ladies at FLAP lately because I feel like I've been wearing the same tired outfits over and over.   Sigh.   I'm not the only one who feels that way sometimes, right?

Well today, I woke up and it was...wait for it...54 degrees! Holla! So I busted out a summer dress and a day glow sweater and went all summer brights with no tights to 8 am mass! know...there's no better way to draw attention to my lack of parental control than wearing day glow colors to 8 am mass.  What almost three year old is singing "YOU...CAN USE...THE POTTY!" with his best outside voice in the middle of mass?  The one being wrangled by the mama dressed as Rainbow Bright...that one...right there!  See them?  Oh now the kid is yelling "JOE-SUS!" (Jesus) over and over again as they approach the altar for communion.  That woman with toddler dressed in bright orange and yellow.  You can't miss them! 


So here's my colorful apparel. Sorry for the poor photography and messy bedroom.  I'm hoping the poor quality of my cell's camera blurs everything juuuust enough.

411 on my rainbow brights--
orange shift dress-- Banana Republic (last summer)
day glow cardi-- J to the Crew (clearance!)
colorful beaded necklace-- IDK (but I like it)  :-)
Go check out all my peeps at FLAP.  Go. Now.
Happy Sunday.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Seven Quick Takes

Joining Jen for another edition of Seven Quick Takes.

This week two of my favorite bloggers reached the wow, you're famous now status in my book.  I was shocked (and then again not shocked at all because she has great style) when I saw Grace on Ain't No Mom Jeans, and then, I got all excited and realized I had no one to share the news with...because my friends don't blog...or follow blogs like I do.  Sigh. 
And then Jenny posted this.  I almost died from excitement and have read the post too many times to count.  Ridiculous amounts of Catholic awesomeness.  I bet that kiss goodbye made having to hand over all her US baby food at customs feel less awful.  I have a Catholic awesomeness permagrin that I hope never fades.  So happy for that family.
Talking about these two lovely ladies makes me feel the need to come right out and say, I need more Catholic friends.  Every time I get excited about something Catholic and share it on Facebook, it usually doesn't get a reaction (except from Dweej--thanks girl!) and that makes me feel...deflated?  I mean, doesn't anyone else think saint magnets are cool?  sigh.
Pity party moving on.
Updates on the kids.
Mike's mom has a friend who lives in Ireland who always sends the most amazing belated Christmas gifts.  The Christmas after Maura was born, she knit her this amazing sweater (shown below on Paul), and I'm so glad she chose a gender neutral color instead of pink because all three kids have gotten a lot of use out of it.  It is just lovely.
disregard the text-- this is from an old post
A few days ago, the doorbell rang, and I was pleasantly surprised (and a little jealous) when we opened the box and saw this gift.
 I am not embarrassed at all to admit that I tried the cape on myself, but sadly it didn't fit.  Total bummer because I was hoping to rock that cape with some skinnies in a future WIWS post.
Ever since this post, my family has been slightly obsessed with the Harlem Shake.  Not only do we love watching the videos online, but we've found it's the perfect get your butt out of bed and get ready for work/school/endless laundry and diaper changes song.  Griffin has even started singing his own version of the song which goes something like "da da E- TA!" and then he continues to make his best techno sounds.

I know I am biased, but Paul has been rocking the most adorable baby faux hawk-- so much curly, red hair on top and in the back and totally bald on the sides.

future punk rocker for sure

time for a haircut?

So Mike and I are rethinking Maura's school situation for next year, but I have lots of questions, concerns, anxieties.  Why can't this parenting thing be easy?  Her current Catholic school is nice but... doesn't seem academically challenging enough for her.  Maybe it will get better next year? 

We went to an open house last night at a Classical Christian school that we loved (curriculum & teachers seem great) but when we spoke to the director about the religious part of the program (which is about an hour every day), she described it as "Orthodox Protestant" stating that  they follow the Westminster catechism... so we have some concerns about whether learning about a different faith would be confusing at such a young age (5).  It's disappointing since we really liked the school. 

And then there's always homeschooling but... I'm scared to try it with two very little boys at home.  Decisions, decisions.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Leave me a comment?  What would you do?  help!
Paul is crying gotta go.
Go check out more 7QT at Jen's.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Theme Thursday: Hats or Scarves

Linking up with Cari at Clan Donaldson for Theme Thursday.

I will readily admit my camera & I have been fighting.  I've been having a lot of trouble photographing the kids.  They are too dang fast & all my photos usually come out blurry.  I put my camera on the take a bizillion photos/pretend your paparazzi mode, and I was thrilled to see I got some decent shots.

Here goes:

We were trying to take advantage of natural light.

taken by my 5-year-old-- Wow!
ready for naptime
would have been super cute if I could have focused the camera in time

And because Cari said we could include throwback photos, here are two of my hat & scarf faves from years past--

Maura (now 5 1/2) at just 19 months old during a snow storm in Vegas!

Maura keeping Koko warm during the storm.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

it's the simple things

I see some of my blogging peeps are in a funk, and that makes me sad.  I know how you feel.  I was just there.  But the sun is shining here, and the forecast for today is happy with a chance of teething pain for little Paul.  So, please allow me to try to cheer you up.

Yesterday, was a swell day (although I did experience intermittent episodes of mommy funk), but I championed on.  I got caught up with the laundry, attempted to clean the frat house (and my efforts were noticed by the hubs), made dinner, mopped the floors, took some cute pics of the littles for Cari's link-up tomorrow, and finished reading Maura Danny, the Champion of the World, and you know how much I love Roald Dahl. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Cut to today...

This morning, a family member posted this as her status on Facebook--

And I thought to myself heck to the yeah, thank you God for hot showers and coffee and sweet babies to kiss and great books to read.  Life is good (despite the inevitable chance of funk).

So let's say I started the day off on the right foot today.  So much so that I didn't freak when the reusable shopping bag that I've used a whopping two times broke after a trip to Trader Joe's.  And you all know how much I loathe those shopping bags.

Life is good, and I've got a lot to be grateful for.
I may not have tiger blood or Adonis DNA, but I'm #winning baby!
I've got a ibuprofen for my teething baby, a pot roast in my crockpot, clean diapers on the boys' behinds, and hot warm coffee in my hand (because I was smart enough to put it in a travel mug at 7:30 am).  I'm #winning baby, and you are too.  You just need to change your perspective.
Maybe I'm drinking too much coffee and reading too much Kerouac, but Jack says we should be in love with our lives.  I'm happy to say I am, Jack; I am. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Snip Snip!

Hey gang!  I'm still recovering from my surgery last week, so I'm posting another guest post by my husband, Mike, instead of my usual What I Wore Sunday post.  If you like reading Mike's posts, he tries his best to post every Monday.  Give him some comment love for taking a stand against the big V and embracing NFP!!!


After my son Griffin was born I heard things like,

 "Hey Mike, you getting that taken care of now?" 

"You don't need any more because your family is perfect with your girl and boy." 

"Trust me, two kids is enough."

  "Are you done?"

We had a tough time with Griffin when he was born as he was the loudest kid ever (affirmed by the hospital staff), kept us up all hours of the night (not out of the ordinary for a baby), and was all together a giant handful (and he still is).  Vasectomy was a hot topic of conversation in our house at the time, and I kept trying to get my beautiful bride to agree to it. 

Kate:  No. 
Me:  Kate, I'll only be out of commission for a few days and back to normal. 
Kate:  No.  Mike, I don't want the door to be closed. 
Me:  Kate, I do!  I feel exhausted, and I'm done.
Kate:  I think you should go to confession.
Me:  What are they going to say to me?  It's not like they're going to pay for all of our kids!

You get the idea...

A little background is in order.

I can clearly remember the last conversation my father started regarding the Catholic Church's stance on contraception.  It was at my son Paul's the vestibule of the church.  I overheard my father say, "So we're sitting there in pre-cana, and the priest was through speaking about how bad contraception is.  So I said, 'Hey Father, if I have 10 kids is the church going to pay to have them all educated and cared for?"  He started this conversation with the Pro-Life director for the Knights of Columbus at our parish...who had 8 kids.

This was a speech I had heard at least 10 times while growing up.  As I grew older,  I understood the logic behind it, and, having been a cafeteria Catholic at the time, it sounded fine to me.  Contraception to me was normal and what normal and smart people used. 

After we were married, my beautiful bride wanted to use NFP.  Being an educated and normal person, my answer was unequivocally NO!  I used the same response that my father used to the priest when he was in pre-cana, and that was that. 

Most people I knew growing up were Catholic because they were born Catholic, not necessarily raised Catholic.  I went through all of the sacraments growing up and attended CCD every Saturday, but I really had no understanding of what was actually going on.  Going to church on Sunday was a chore (I thought), and i had no idea why I had to go.  I was so bored that I became an altar boy because if I had to be there, I might as well make the time go faster.  For the people I grew up with, I think this was a pretty similar sentiment.  Additionally, the last time I received reconciliation before I was the age of 31 was right before my confirmation..when I was 14.  Again, being a cafeteria Catholic, I wondered what a celibate priest, with no kids, was going to say to me.

In my teens and twenties, I definitely subscribed to the relativist theory of religion.  You know, God knows what I've done, and I'm okay with it because I'm doing my best, or He knows I'm a good person, or my favorite,  I believe in God, and that's good enough, so I don't have to believe/understand/follow what the church says.  At the end of the day, I was right, and I was wrong.  Being a libertarian, I would never force my will on anyone, and therefore, if people believe in moral relativity, good for them.  However, the church is absolutely a way to sanctification, and a real good one at that.

Hopefully I've shown why I might have been pushing for the big V.  Many of the men I knew had a vasectomy, and it seemed like the natural order in modern life.  Our son had us at our wits end, and I had grown up with the belief/knowledge that God would understand. 

During this time, I found myself asking some friends their opinions of vasectomy, and as a result,  I was growing conflicted.  One of my favorites was, "Mike, my mom goes to church EVERY DAY, and she said that God definitely wouldn't want you to have kids you couldn't take care of, so it's totally cool to get one."  That one in particular didn't sit right for me, but I wasn't sure why.

Right around the time my son was born I became a Knight of Columbus.  One of the first issues of the periodical for members discussed NFP and how one father wanted to have a vasectomy right after his second child was born.  The reason was because he was concerned about being able to provide for his family.  In the picture of him, his wife, and 4 children, there looked to be a real sense of peace.  Obviously, being a Catholic periodical, he didn't get the vasectomy.  Additionally, he spoke about how he and his wife had grown closer because of the use of NFP. 

Over the course of a few months, I had become more involved with the Knights and became their program director.  One of the men that came into my life was the man I spoke about earlier who my father had started the conversation with in the vestibule.  I became intrigued how a man in his 70's could be so full of life and not absolutely exhausted from having all of those kids and grand kids   One day he enlightened me, "Mike, they're not really yours; they're God's.  If He doesn't want you to have them, you won't.  If He does, you will, and you won't be able to stop it.  One way or another, He will either put children into your life or He won't."

Some of my previous posts have spoken about how simple suggestions can have a profound impact.  This was definitely one of those times.  Quite honestly, the word vasectomy from that time on made me cringe.  In fact, it now brings about a feeling of sorrow for those that have had it.  I almost feel like this is the continued emasculation of society, i.e. being fully a man is bad.  My son, Paul, would not have been born if I had gone through with it, and I can't imagine my life without him.  He was planned using NFP, and I now believe wholeheartedly in it.

Mike & Paul at the zoo

So in answers to my first questions:

"Hey Mike, you getting that taken care of now?"
What my fertility? NO!

"You don't need any more because your family is perfect with your girl and boy."
It's perfect now with more, and it might be even more perfect in the future.

"Trust me, two kids is enough."
I'm sure it is for your family.  We're not so sure; we might even go for four!

"Are you done?"
By the way, nothing infuriates me more than this question, like it's anyone else's (insert expletive) business.  NO, I think we're going to try and have a football team!!!

I'm going to close with two more things friends of ours said to me in regards to NFP and fertility-- 

"Mike, I really don't understand.  Fertility is this wonderful gift that we're given, and people treat it like it's some kind of disease that needs to be cured!"

"Mike, when God sends a baby, He also sends a loaf of bread.  Your baby will be taken care of, just put him in His hands."

our family

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Trapped in a Box

Remember this song?  Am I showing my age?

really loving the 90s fashion
I haven't been blogging lately for a few different reasons.
1.  As many of you know, life has been hard.  It happens, and that's okay.  I'm a big girl & a tough girl, so I can handle it.  I can see that our family is on our way out of tough times (or at least I can see the way out), so that's good.  It's nice to have an end in sight.  And because I really loathe complaining, I tend to keep things to myself when life gets hard.  Nothing positive to write?  Well, I guess I won't be blogging today is what I tend to say to myself.  Maybe I should change that. 
I hate being a downer.
2.  I'm trying really hard to be a better mom, and that means getting my priorities in order.  I'm trying to spend less time on the Internet.  Yesterday was an epic fail; I spent waaay too much time on Facebook (which I also loathe because I always walk away feeling like I wasted a significant amount of valuable time, and I rarely feel happy after signing off.  Guess what I'll be giving up for Lent again this year?)  But overall, I think I'm doing a much better job of spending quality time with the littles and caring for my family.  Woot Woot!  Go me!
3.  I feel trapped in a box (in terms of blogging).  When I first started this blog, way back when, almost 2 years ago...did you know my blogiversary is coming up?  It is, and I didn't even know that was a thing until I read this post by Dwija.  Have I mentioned how I much I enjoy her blog lately?  Because I really do. 
Her post had a lot of tips for new bloggers, and one that stood out to me was being yourself.  She said blogging was all about the relationships you form online (and I agree; I've really enjoyed getting to know so many cool bloggers even if it's just in electronic form).  So, her suggestion was just be yourself, and blog about what you know.  I think her exact words were "be authentic."  Point taken, Dwija.  I'm trying.
And then Jen Fulwiler wrote a post with similar advice.  She wrote about how she was trying to figure out what makes certain blogs successful but couldn't figure out what common thread they all had in common until it hit her that the most successful bloggers are "wholly, apologetically themselves." 
And then she quoted Howard Thurman,
"Don't ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." 
It was a great post.  Go read it...NOW.  I'll still be here when you get back.
And I guess it dawned on me that all I've really wanted with this whole blogging thing is just that...
a place to be myself. 
When I started my blog and chose the title, The Imperfect Catholic, it was a reversion story, a faith journey.  I still intend to write about that sometimes because...dang, being Catholic is hard and awesome all at the same time.  Am I right?  But I didn't realize that there were all these Catholic bloggers out there with similar names-- Bad Catholic, Almost Not Catholic, etc.  These bloggers have legit Catholic blogs and talk about religious stuff.  Yet, I never wanted that.  I just wanted to talk about myself and my personal journey, so in retrospect, my blog title might be unintentionally misleading.
So, I think I'm going to change my blog.  I'm going to change my title to something that is more suited to me and my family.  And I'm going to try to be myself like Dwija and Jen suggested.  It might be hard.  I might stumble along the way, but I'm going to try.
And changing the blog is going to take time-- time I really don't have.  So, it will be a process and not an overnight thing.  Maybe I'll change the title & design one day, the About section another day, and write new posts in between.  Please bear with me. 
And hey, two requests--
I'm having minor surgery on Friday.  Pray for me?
Any super techy friends want to hook me up with easy links on how to make a blog button and how to redirect a website?  I am clueless.  I'm talking blogging for dummies clueless.
Help a mother out?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What I Wore Sunday-- volume 9 (family edition)

Linking up again with the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for another edition of What I Wore Sunday!

Since I've been trying to be a better mom, get more organized, and improve my time management skills, I *gasp* laid out everyone's outfts last night, so I give you What I Wore Sunday-- the family edition!!!

Inspired by Deme's post on stretching your wardrobe through the seasons, I'm wearing a summer dress with winter accessories.  I actually wore this dress in a previous post with a cardigan, but I like it paired with this striped sweater much better.  I never would have thought of pairing the two together if I hadn't read Deme's post, so thanks Deme & Fine Linen & Purple!
The details:
striped sweater: Target
grey flannel (look closely): J. Crew (also worn here)
navy blue dress: Goodwill (also worn here)
grey sweater tights: Target
boots: Nordstrom

Griffin refused to pose for photos, so this was the best shot I could get.
The details:
Griffin's outfit: Children's Place (hand-me-downs)
my green peacoat: Target clearance

Mike & Paul after mass.
The details:
Mike: Van Husen
Paul: Janie & Jack (gifts for Griffin back in the day)

Maura before mass.  How cute is she?
The details:
dress: Mini Boden (gift)
pink, sparkly tights: Target
purple, sparkly shoes: Target
Hello Kitty bag: gift
Other cute family shots:
Like mother, like daughter

redheaded sibling love

Have a great Sunday everyone!  And don't forget to check out all the other great outfits at Fine Linen and Purple!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Serviam, a guest post by Mike

This is a guest post by my husband, Mike.  He's awesome.

Part of the mission statement of the company I work for says, "Put your customers and employees first and profits will follow."  The company I work for has gone from nothing to controlling over 60% of its respective market.  Additionally, it has grown 7-10% annually for its 55 year history.  I promise I won't make this a billboard (which is why I'm not mentioning who I work for), but my point in this is showing that our company lives service.  Many businesses say things like this, but I would be able to make a compelling argument that they do the contrary.  In life, when I'm able to come across a business that operates to serve its customers, it is extremely refreshing.

I've found throughout my working years that I've been willing to pay more for excellent service, have the knowledge that I'll be able to get someone with a brain on the other line, or deal with a business that uses good old common sense.

How many times have you been at the grocery store only to spend the same amount of time or more waiting on line?  I do 95% of the grocery shopping for our family, so I've spent a bunch of time on lines.  Think about it-- you've spent all this time filling your cart to spend money and then you have to wait even more to spend that money.  I know some people claim they want you in that line, so you'll spend more on the candy/magazines et al in the check out lines.  I may be in the minority, but  I can't remember the last time I've bought anything there.  Our grocery budget is tight, and I don't want to waste the money on garbage I didn't plan on buying in the first place.  So, at the end of the day, most grocery trips to the mega store are frustrating at best.

Mike looks like Johnny Corporate at the end of the line.

I've been to Trader Joe's many times, but today was a little different.  I kept hearing bells going off by the cash registers.  I know that they typically open lanes when lines start forming, but there were not a ton of people in the store at the time I was there.  I was confused.  I kept shopping (spent less than I would have in a big store for better stuff) and proceeded to the check out line.  There were two people in front of me, so I started eyeballing the bison jerky.  Not being one to buy when I'm done shopping, I resisted but will have it on "the list" for next week.

Then, a really cool thing happened; "Betty" came over, and said "I'm opening a new lane for you."  Understand, there were only two people in front of me, and they had carry baskets.

"Really?"  I replied.

"We know that a great way to serve our customers is to serve them quickly."

One of the books I'm currently reading is called "Thou Shalt Prosper" by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. In it he writes "When I refer to service, I do not mean serving the customer, I mean instilling in ourselves a love of service....If you don't think much of other human beings, well, then you are never going to be much good at customer service; and I think you will find other shortcomings in your life, too."  Whether "Betty" thinks much of other human beings, I'll never know.  However, actions do speak louder than words and the genuine way she conducted herself makes me believe she does.

"Betty" has made a lifelong customer out of this family because of her commitment to service.  As she has served our family and I'm sure many others, their business will continue to grow and prosper.

I'm sure I'm not the only customer that "Betty" opened a new lane for today.  For me, her simple act made me ask a few questions of myself.  Am I serving my wife and children properly?  Do I serve my employees and customers properly?  Am I serving my church properly?  How should I serve? 

Serviam(!) is the first of my morning prayers.  It is translated to "I will serve."  I learned of this prayer during a recollection a few years ago, and from my view, it perfectly sets your first priority for the day.  "Service," as my father has said, "can be your highest calling."  I know that I fall short daily in my endeavors to serve to my fullest potential.  However, I also know that I can continue to strive to serve every day and do my best to make the next one better than the last.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I'm totally going to hell

A few of my online friends have been praying this novena, and it got my attention. 

As many of you already know, our family has been going through a tough time.  A family member is battling cancer.  Our house was robbed.  The kids have been sick.  We're sleep deprived.  We think someone tried to break in again last week.  I've been having health problems.  Things have been tough.  Really tough.  We've been busy.  Really busy.  And...I'll admit it-- I've been avoiding any type of serious prayer (like the rosary) because I felt sorry for myself.  I guess I had the attitude of, Hey God, you know how hard things have been.  Fix it already.  I don't have time for this "pray more" crap.  Just fix it, already, okay?  I keep your commandments.  I go to church on Sunday.  You kind of owe it to me to fix my problems, right?!?!

But, when my online friends started talking about how this Mary, undoer of Knots, novena was bringing about real change in their lives, my interest was piqued.  I started leaving comments and asking questions of my online friends, but I still wasn't ready to start the novena until I read these words by e-friend and fellow blogger, Dwija of House Unseen.  She wrote,

"...I suck at being as reverent as I imagine I should be and then I tell myself that because of my shortcomings, obviously my prayers won't be "real" so why be a poser?  Oh my gosh I have issues." 

Apparently, I have issues too, Dweej, because when I read those words, I realized that I had been avoiding prayer and making excuses for not praying.  Why?  I'm not totally sure.  It certainly was nothing intentional, but probably because I was short on time and couldn't pray the right way.

I'm guessing it all started when we moved (or probably even earlier, when I was living alone in Nevada with three kids for six of the longest weeks of my life while Mike started his new job in California).  Yup.  I'm almost 100% positive that it started then.  Because before that, I was trying my best to make it to daily mass every day with all three kids, and I was definitely saying the rosary every day...because going to daily mass by yourself with three kids makes saying the rosary every day feel like vacation.  Am I right?  Holla'!

So, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started the novena that night. 

A funny thing happened that first night.  As I read the meditation for day one, I noticed the wording referred to one knot.  For example,

"Most merciful Mother, to Whom Jesus, entrusts everything; deign to grant me the grace to undo this knot in my life."
And you know me, I'm bossy.  I mean, I already admitted at the beginning of this post that I say things like, "I don't have time for this pray more crap," to God.  I'm impatient and flawed, and I may even roll my eyes at God sometimes.  And believe it or not, He still loves me and forgives me for when I act like an impatient teenager.
And, this, my friends was one of those moments.  I was incredibly annoyed with whomever had typed up the wording this knot on the Internet.  What if the person praying had multiple knots?  Because I had (have) lots of problems = lots of knots.  God couldn't possibly expect me to pray this novena for nine days for each of my prayer intentions, could He?
Immediately, I was fuming, and I decided to take the liberty to change the wording of the novena because God would understand, right?  Here's how my prayer went--
Earth to God? 
Kate here. 
Remember me? 
Your faithful servant who is getting crapped on down here on Earth. 
this novena refers to one knot,
but as you already know
because You're all knowing
and because I've been sending up quick, angry "God, Help Me!" type prayers
 that I'm positive TOTALLY count
because I'm an arrogant jackass,
while at the same time...
drowning my sorrows in red wine and cheap beer
You know...
I don't have time for that "pray more" crap. 
What's that? 
How could you forget me? 
Aww, shucks.  That's nice.
Thanks God. 
I'm sure you meant that with complete sincerity and zero sarcasm. 
back to ME,
I don't have time to pray this nine day novena a million times
(imagine me rolling my eyes)
I already have 99 problems,
and this novena ain't one. 
I'm going to go ahead and do what I want
(because we've already established that it's all about ME)
and list all 99 of my problems. 
Thanks for understanding. 
You're super.
Note to readers: 
I know I'm a horrible person, and that this post is probably sacrilegious.  No need to leave an anonymous comment telling me I'm going to hell. 

And then something weird happened.  I felt the need to choose one intention (even though I had already lost my cool and listed everything in my life that needed fixing). 
What did I choose as a special intention? 
The same thing I pray for every. dang. night. 
To be a better mom.
More specifically, to be a better mom for Maura.
To be continued.