Friday, February 29, 2008

Holy Relics

Do you guys want to head over to the church to check out some relics?

You might think that question would be met with all kinds of protests and questions. I thought it would. Nope, instead there was a mad dash to make sure we could get ready in time to attend daily Mass before seeing the relics. We have tried to add that in for Lent. Usually it is in the mornings but the little ones and Jason wanted to join us so today we waited for the evening Mass. We were late getting started so that meant no dinner until after 6:45 p.m. Mass and then how ever long we stayed to see the relics. I wrongly assumed that hungry would make our visit short.

I overheard conversations, as we ran around to prepare to leave. The little ones were getting information on what we were talking about from the bigger kiddos. A few of them just needed to hear piece of bone and they were all ready. Click here if you want to better understand this Catholic tradition of veneration of Holy Relics.

The show was wonderful. A gentleman from Companions of the Cross gave a presentation with a slide show. We were late, because we came from Mass. I walked the halls with the younger kiddos and the older ones sat in on the lecture. Every two minutes someone was running out of the lecture to tell me something they had just learned. Wow! The presentation was scientific, faithful to the traditions and teachings of the Church, and filled with wondrous stories of saints, miracles and history. I was very jealous to be in the hall way with the little ones. One positive is that it did give me time to try to answer the one million questions that Pickle now had.

When the talk was over we got to roam between the tables and venerate each relic. The collection had over 100 relics. One was actually from the veil of the Blessed Mother, another was a piece of the lance that had pierced the side of our Lord and one set on a table in the middle was a piece of the True Cross. (The actual Cross our Lord was crucified on!) The tradition is to kiss the relics (they are incased in glace) or to touch a Blessed object to the relic.
I say this to point out that this is meant to be a hands on experience and yet these are bone fragments of our deceased and deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. Not always an easy task for young ones.

My inclination was to stay back and not go in between the tables until it thinned out a tad. My kiddos would not hear of it. I gave them strict instructions and set them off in pairs. I stayed back with Bagel who was in a full melt down now. I know she was hungry and this was beyond her comprehension so I wasn’t upset with her but I needed to keep her back. The Relics were staged with a picture and description of the saint next to them. This meant that even my non readers were off having a blast.
I got reports that Santa was there (a.k.a. St. Nicholas) and various household favorites. Princess took my rosary so that she could see that it touched each and every relic. They took my camera and returned Cowboy. (Apparently the reliquary looks too much like a rattle and he wanted to teeth on them.)

I could hardly wait. Goobers finished and offered to sit with Cowboy. Bagel and I took off. Wow it was very cool. Bagel gave a big kiss to St. Nicholas and to St. Therese the little flower, her patron saint. The kiddos were in various spots around the room and they were anxiously watching me. As I approached the table with the True Cross they all appeared from around the room. They were full of stories of how it was discovered, the miracle that have happened around it and that even though it was covered in glass ever one of the pictures they took of it came out perfect. I knew our time was running short before the next group was there to see this piece of history and of our faith.

I asked the little ones what we should do, they replied with “PRAY!” We all knelt down and tried to think of what words to use, then one of us started the Act of Contrition. “Oh my God I am heartily sorry of having offended thee . . .” The emotion was strong. I had tears running down my checks as we finished this prayer. We said a thank you for the sacrifice which was completely inadequate and for this incredible time of visiting with other faithful Catholics, other homeschooled children, each other and with the Saints.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A little Texas Pride (even though I wasn't born here)

Here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about folks from Texas ...

If someone in a Lowe's store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you may live in Texas ;

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Texas ;

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Texas ;

If "Vacation" means going anywhere south of Dallas for the weekend, you may live in Texas;

If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Texas;

If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Texas ;

If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, you may live in Texas ;

If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Texas ;

If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph -- you're going 80 and everybody's passing you, you may live in Texas ;

If you find 60 degrees "a little chilly," you may live in Texas ;

If you actually understand these jokes, and share them with all your Texas friends, you definitely live in Texas .

Here are some little known, very interesting facts about Texas .

1. Beaumont to El Paso : 742 miles
2. Beaumont to Chicago : 770 miles
3. El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas
4. World's first rodeo was in Pecos , July 4, 1883.
5. The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built over water.
6. The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first full-time coach at Rice University in Houston .
7. Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in North America .
8. Aransas Wildlife Refu ge is the winter home of North America 's only remaining flock of whooping cranes.
9. Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson in 1978.
10. The worst natural disaster in U.S .. history was in 1900, caused by a hurricane, in which over 8,000 lives were lost on Galveston Island .
11. The first word spoken from the moon, July 20, 1969, was "Houston ....."
12. King Ranch in South Texas is larger than Rhode Island .
13. Tropical Storm Claudette brought a U.S. rainfall record of 43" in 24 hours in and around Alvin in July of 1979.
14. Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY, (known as the Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas to enter the Union) instead of by annexation. This allows the Texas Flag to fly at the same height as the U.S. Flag, and may divide into 5 states.
15. A Live Oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1500 years old.
16. Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.
17. Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. There is no period in Dr Pepper.
18. Texas has had six capital cities: Washington-on-the Brazos, Harrisburg , Galveston , Velasco, West Columbia and Austin .
19. The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S. which is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington DC (by 7 feet).
20. The name " Texas " comes from the Hasini Indian word "tejas" meaning friends. Tejas is not Spanish for Texas .
21. The State Mascot is the Armadillo (an interesting bit of trivia about the armadillo is they always have four babies. They have one egg, which splits into four, and they either have four males or four females.).
22. The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston .

Monday, February 25, 2008

My B-day

Yesterday was the big day. At one point the kiddos asked me How come grown ups didn't love their birthdays as much as little kids do. I don’t really know. I do enjoy the day just like the other days. I am glad that I was born and glad that I made it to another year. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go out to eat or not. We finally decided on Olive Garden after we came home and changed from Mass.

This meant that getting lunch after 11:00 a.m. Mass took up most of the day. We sure had fun, so it was worth the time. My kiddos had the staff surprise me with a song and a cake.

The absolute highlight was watching Cowboy devour his first bread sticks. He fits right in, we all love the bread sticks.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Khloe' Update

So many of you have asked for an update of this little one. We are all so happy that Khloe' came home this week and is doing well. She went to ER when mom and dad could not console her. They think it was pain related and not injury. This young lady and her family have a tough road ahead of them. Please continue to pray and rejoice in the joyous words of Kiley when they brought her home.

We are so happy to finally be home!! What seemed like an eternity ago has actually been only been 19 days, but no matter how much time has passed; it is so worth it to go through whatever we have to in order to have our little girl. She completes our family and just solidifies the love our Father has for us in blessing us with such wonderful and special children as Brandon, Joshua, and now Khloe'.

We have a long and scary road ahead of us. We have only been home since around 4pm, and I am already paranoid about the boys being around her and being sick. They are wearing their masks and it is so hard for them to not touch her or hold her. Please pray for all of us to have patience during this time. The doctors have warned us that if Khloe' gets sick, we will be back in the hospital. Please pray for her guardian angel to protect her from germs and keep her safe.


I thank you all for your many prayers. This young lady received a touch of heaven from the many people that prayed for her. She got to taste the communion that we all long for. I am so thankful that her parents have allowed us to journey with them. I know that our family will keep them in our hearts for a long time as I am sure many of you as well. Thank you God for Khloe' she is just beautiful!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thanksgiving and Another Request for Baby Khloe'

Khloe' is doing well, she got all the tubes out and only has 1 IV, unfortunately they put it in her scalp and it will remain until we go home. It looks scary and painful, but actually it is better than in her hand because she can breastfeed well.

My prayer request comes to you tonight from a very heavy, worried heart. When we found out about Khloe's congenital heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot, the Cardiologist mentioned briefly that sometimes this heart defect is associated with DiGeorge Syndrome. They took blood samples and are having chromosome testing done, basically it is a deletion of the 22 chromosome. They have not gotten the results yet, and I really don't know what DiGeorge is or how it will affect her if she does have it. But one thing the surgeon said is that her thymus was missing when he did the surgery, I am not sure what that is, but they say that can be an indication that she could have DiGeorge, also the fact that she has Tetralogy could also be an indicator. Sometimes when the thymus is missing or compromised, it could mean she will have immunity issues. So, the immunologist is coming to talk with us tomorrow. This has been a huge fear of mine, that she will get sick and not be able to fight it. I must say, this has me worried tremendously and I am finding it hard to keep my wits about me tonight.

Please pray that Khloe's test will be negative for DiGeorge and that her immunity will be fine. Please also pray for my strength as I feel it dwindling today. I know Ghaleb is extremely worried also, so please pray for him too. I miss all of you and I really just want this nightmare to end and to be home with our family. Blessings to all of you.
~Kiley G~

In Thanksgiving for successful surgery and a speedy recovery.
For Peace for the G family as they learn more about Khloe' and her needs.
For a negative result from the test for DiGeorge Syndrome.

We ask through Christ Our Lord, the Bread of Life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine Soda Shoppe

I love our neighborhood. They have these great traditions that have been around for years. I didn't realize how much they would become a part of our lives until we lived here for a few years. Now we will do just about anything not to miss the Valentine Soda Shoppe. At the clubhouse for the neighborhood the girl scouts and boy scouts serve the treats.
We all love the good old-fashioned ice cream soda and or the heart shape cookies. It is always very simple and always fun. We catch up with a neighbor or two and then get to enjoy the time at the park. It is always on the Sunday before the 14th. We had beautiful weather this past Saturday. After the ice cream the kiddos enjoyed the park.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Baby Khloe' is out of Surgery, Praise God!

Thank you all for all of your prayers!! Please say a few more for Khloe’ as she recovers. I will post her mom's update again but it is good news. Now the problems are known and they are no longer fighting the unknown’s and what if’s. I beg you to continue to uplift this family in prayer and I thank each of you for once again answering the call to pray.

We just finished meeting with the surgeon. He said that all the repairs went well, as he expected. . . All in all, surgery went well and the repairs are good. The pressures in her heart all measure very good, and she required little medication to get off the bypass machine. In fact, he said most children don't do well coming off the bypass, but our Khloe' didn't have any problems at all. She is fiesty!!

Praise God that all went well. We are waiting to see her now. Please pray for our strength to endure this sight, and for Khloe's strenght to recover quickly so she can be taken off the ventilator. Thanks be to God! Thanks to all of you for your constant prayers today and in the past days. God be with you all and God be with our precious Khloe'.

Kiley, Khloe's mom at 7:00 p.m.

I didn't realize how upset I was about this until I found out that her heart had started back up. I had a hard time today. It is amazing how this friend’s experience has taken us right back to those feelings of fear and dread and then relief and joy that we felt so personally just a few short years ago. Once again thank you for all your support two and half years ago when our own Moogie needed those prayers. Thank you God for bringing Khloe’ through today and thank you for allowing our Moogie to continue to live her life with a healed heart!

Khloe's mom's 1:30p.m. update

Khloe' has been on the bypass machine since 11:30am, she is doing well. The echo images were correct, so PRAISE GOD the surgeon will do the complete repair. He will begin with the small amount of tissue he has to remove from the right ventricle, next he will cut and widen the pulmonary artery and valve, then repair the hole between the ventricles, and then connect the left pulmonary artery that is disconnected. Once all the repairs are done, they will do another echo before they close her up to make sure everything is working as it should. There was also an issue of a subclavian artery that he had to release, but the nurse didn't mention that. Another update will follow around 3pm. Keep praying for Dr. Morales, he has been in with Khloe' all this time and I am sure he is needing strenght and precision right now. We are holding up but it is just about unbearable. Thank you all for lifting us up in prayer.
Kiley, Khloe's mom 1:30 p.m.

This update brought J and I to tears. Remembering that time in waiting while we knew that Moogie was on the perfusion machine was agony. We felt so alone, even though we were together, food didn't taste, we could hear and see people but we didn't interact, time was still, we dreaded each minute and yet were glad when it passed. The only hope we had was the tangible prayers we could "feel" from all of you. We couldn't pray our selves; at least we didn't "feel" like we could pray. We were very disconnected. I imagine that it is what purgatory must be like. The relief comes only when the little one heart starts back up again after the repairs. I pray that Khloe' will continue to be strong and do well and that God will continue to guide the doctors and staff.

I will copy more when we have more information.

Please Pray for Baby Khloe'

We have an immediate need to remember baby Khloe' today in our prayers! She is a newborn of a homeschooling family in the Bread of Life Group that we belong to. This very young baby will be undergoing open heart surgery today (Monday morning) to fix a congenital heart condition. Khloe' has been diagnosed with a severe congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, where there are four issues wrong in the heart. To make matters worse, she also has an additional defect called Discontinuous Pulmonary Arteries, meaning her pulmonary artery, which would usually leave the right ventricle as one artery then split to the left and right, is "disconnected" on the right side.

The surgery is expected to last 7 to 9 hours. Please pray for her physical strength and her parent’s spiritual strength to endure this difficult time. We pray that the doctor’s hands will be guided and that Khloe's heart will be healed.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord, the Bread of Life.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Lenten Idea

Our Lenten thing is something we worked very on last year. We bought a woven wood wreath. The size and the color really aren't that important. Your goal is to have it look like the crown of thorns. We then took several packages of toothpicks and soaked them in red food coloring. As we put the red toothpicks in the wreath we talk about our sins. We then talk about how each kind action we do will help the pain be a fraction less for our Lord. This is great motivation to keep the kiddos on track for their Lenten resolutions. They can take a thorn out with each kind act or resolution followed. It helps us start the season off with a bang.

Ash Wednesday

We are such a homeschooling family. I have to laugh at us. We knew that we needed to change the pictures on the blog this week. It just wasn't OK to start Lent with Advent shots up. We took a round of great pictures on Tuesday. My very creative and thoughtful son, Bear then decided that it would be best to use Ash Wednesday pictures. I agreed. The first thing we did when we got home from Mass that morning was to grab the camera and try to get some shots. The kiddos realized that they had rubbed most of the evidence off on the way home from the church. What should any respectable homeschooling Catholic family do? Well this family should run around and gather up all the blessed palms that were hanging out around the house from last year and burn them. That is how the church does it, right?

It might have taken time away from our official school day studies but we did learn a few things. Those palms are not easy to burn. They smell nasty as they burn, so go outside. You can hide them from the wind putting them into the BBQ pit and closing the lid. The big surprise to us what that you really need a lot of palms to get a substantial amount of ashes. That being said some of our Ash Wednesday shots to the right are a tab staged (SSShhhhh!). One of them was even added today when we realized that none of the shots of one child turned out from yesterday. The artistic angle of having those pictures with ashes is cool and we did learn quite a bit.

One important questions that Pickle had after dressing like a priest from our junior Mass kit was one that we hope our friend Fr. Tom Keller can answer. How does the priest keep their clothes (the vestments) so white when they do this? Ours didn't do to well!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mardi Gras

We all love Fat Tuesday. In our home it means that our dear friend from the New Orleans area sends the children a King Cake. These cakes are to represent the three kings and season of this cake starts at the Epiphany and ends with Lent. Our always includes the baby. Bagel found the baby king this year. She took baby Jesus to church with her to show the priest and everything. We know that the next day means sacrifice, fasting and abstaining. Fat Tuesday to us means one last day to indulge. It doesn't mean over indulgence. The Texas T family also tries to spend part of day choosing what we might like to give up for Lent and what we might like to add. This can lead to some wonderful discussions. We all try to be honest with what me might want to hang on to. As a family we have decided to really concentrate on our word usage. We use too many bad words in our home. It is bad news. We are also committed to attempt daily Mass. We are also working together in the evenings on home repairs and reading together with less time on the TV between 7 & 10 p.m. Individually the choices ranged from giving up soda, candy and coffee to avoiding Taco Bell. None of us think that is a good one because it was offered by Pickle and he hates Taco Bell anyway. Our prayer is that your family can grow closer to Him as we all spend time thinking of ways to better ourselves in His honor.

Way to go Bagel!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Moogie has a head ache!

Those of you that haven’t known us that long will not understand how worried dad and mom get when Moggie doesn't feel well. I think we feel guilty for years of being mad at her for being so crabby as a baby and a toddler. We later discovered that she had a congenital heart defect and was probably in constant pain. She also never slept real well, that would make any one crabby.

Anyway when she feels ill we tend to over react. She has learned to word it in funny ways so that dad doesn't put her directly in the car and head to the hospital. All the kiddos have had a little head ache with cold symptoms for the past few days. Moggie is one of the latest victims of this annoying illness.

She walked into our bedroom this morning while mom and dad were both working away on the computers. She wanted to tell us she had a head ache without the over reaction. These are the words she picked, interesting girl! "Just so you know, things would be great if I didn't have little green monsters in my head singing 'party over here, party over there'"

Superbowl Traditions

I just love the Superbowl even though I hate watching football. I don't love the nasty ads that are 5 to 1 to find the funny, cleaver ones. I know nothing about the teams, the game, or even how the clock works. I never know when to cheer or grunt. It just isn't me. So you might be asking, why does she love the Superbowl then?
(Even the dogs are in on the tradition.)
Family traditions. I still don't know how all of our "family traditions" have gotten started. It doesn't matter because they are here to stay. It might be that if we do something fun with more than one child and they still remember it a year later we call it a tradition. We have a few Superbowl traditions.
(That is not Bear's Beer!)

We watch the Superbowl while eating a variety of appetizers. It used to be that we would buy a few chicken wings from a restaurant but that was thrown out the window as the kiddos got older. One reason is that with 8 of them liking wings it would cost a fortune. The other reason is that I live with a houseful of chef want-to-bees. Now they find a recipe, heat up the cooking oil and make their own chicken wings. While that is going on outside a few others are gathering the other snacks together. Dinner is just one big party food sampling. I did hear on child mention that we could just live on chicken wings for ever.

The other part of the tradition is the bets that take place. It is always the boys vs. the girls. Year past it has been for complete servitude to the winning side by the loosing side for a week. Arguments always break out after two days so the actual payment is usually over within a day or so not the full week. This year the rumor was that it wasn't for complete servitude but for remote control rights. In the end the arguments over the terms were debated and abandoned before the close of game. Some believe that was because Dad's chosen team was losing. If he had just held tight his team would have won in the end. They have a blast arguing over all that even if no on wins.
BOYS VS. GIRLS (Notice Cowboy looking at dad. "So this is how we act during the game!")

Thank you God for my crazy family and our silly traditions!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Saturday spent working on the yard.

We don't have any thing as nearly as cool as the inches upon inches of snow that our St. Louis friends got. Our weather did heat up a tad and we are back at 70 degrees. We will dip below later in the week and at night. Dad decided to trim some trees and much to our surprise (wink-wink) there were tons of pine needles to rake up. Check out my hard working kiddos enjoying the weather.