Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Blogs of Beauty Awards

I just want to thank whomever it was that nominated me as one of the bloggers you've never met whom you'd like to go get a mocha with! That really makes me feel good. I wasn't a finalist, but it really is a thrill to be nominated. Above is my cool nominee button. If someone can shoot me an email and let me know how I can put it on my sidebar, I'd be grateful.

As I said in the combox below, if you're in North Jersey and you want to go get a mocha, let me know. I'd like the chance to meet my blog friends! Plus, I live withing 5 minutes of 3 different Starbucks stores. But, then again, is there anyone in the country who doesn't live within 5 minutes of a Starbucks? Hasn't my former employer pretty much taken over the world?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thanksgiving break

"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His mercy endures forever. Let the House of Israel say His mercy endures forever."

So much to be thankful for. Please pray for all the 60,000 people in the Detroit, MI area who are likely to be laid off by the auto manufacturers. They may not feel like they have much to be thankful for.

I'm not going to put up any new posts for a while. I've got 10 people coming to my house for dinner Thursday and I have to clean and cook. Oh and I have a mid term to study for.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for me!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Not a workshop I'll be attending

A talk to be given by Dr. Michael Downey at the College on Thursday, Dec. 1 in the Lecture Hall at Caldwell College at 4:30pm on the topic: "Lay Leadership in the Church: More Than a Stopgap Measure." Dr. Downey is the Cardinal's Theologian of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Professor of Systematic Theology and Spirituality at St. John's Seminary in Camarillo. Please see the attached files for further information.

I am disinterested in this lecture on so many levels. Where do I begin?

1. I love the Order of Preachers. Dominicans have been wending their ways through my life unnoticed by me until pretty recently (dontcha love it when you finally start to connect God's dots? ...ooooohhhhhh, so that's what that is all about... ) so it hurts that much more to see that some of the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell are wacko. Please let me state in the most clear terms possible: The Sisters who run and teach at our parish school are very good and totally orthodox. I love them and I am confident that when my children attend the school they will receive the fullness of the truth of Holy Mother Church and I will be proud to call them graduates of St. John the Aposlte School. It's just that some of the others are a little off their nutter. and if Fra Lawrence leaves them off his Dominican blogroll, but he's got the cloistered Dominican nuns of Summit, NJ, you know something's gotta be wrong.

2. The theology Dept. at Caldwell leaves much to be desired in terms of their orthodoxy. I know someone who completed their Religious Education Certificate proogram there. She was not pleased and advised me not to pursue it. I didn't.

3. Um, hello, Cardinal Mahony's Theologian? Instead of attending this lecture, I will bang my head against a wall for 3 hours. I am certain that the self-injury will be much less physically painful and that it will be less of a danger to my soul.

4. Dr. Downey teaches at the Los Angeles Seminary. Hmm... No new vocations in LA. Coincidence? I THINK NOT!

Yup. The head banging sounds a lot more pleasant.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

So, did you read Swimming with Scapulars?

No? What's wrong with you? ;) Get thee to a library (or and get it, read it, then read the next paragraph.

You read it? Good. Did you know that the author, Matthew Lickona, has a blog? Did you know that someone he knows has started a "Swimming with Scapulars" online forum where you can exchange thoughts and ideas on a plethora (I've got an English degree so I know fancy words ;) ) of topics with other people who read Matthew's stuff (including Barb, the SFO mom) and Matthew himself? Don't you want to hang out for minutes on end with cool people like Barb and Matthew? I do. That's why I go to for the Swimming with Scapulars online forum. See you there!

Watched "Saving Private Ryan" again

It was the scene where Captain Miller and Private Ryan were talking about home before the big battle scene at the end.

I Turned to DH and said, "Can you imaging just sitting at home one day then the next day having to go off to a war and kill guys?"

"Yes, I can."

I sat dumbstruck for a few seconds. "That's sad."

"Well, I'm almost 30, so I don't think I'll really have to go, but I have thought about it."

I guess that's one difference (of many) between men and women. I have never thought about getting drafted because, being female, I would not get drafted. My husband had to register with Selective Service at age 18, so this is a reality for him and for every other man out there. Duh, Amy. Of course it's crossed his mind every time our country gets involved with some military action. Maybe even times when we haven't.

God bless those men and women serving our country and God bless their families that they left behind.


You scored as Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones is an archaeologist/adventurer with an unquenchable love for danger and excitement. He travels the globe in search of historical relics. He loves travel, excitement, and a good archaeological discovery. He hates Nazis and snakes, perhaps to the same degree. He always brings along his trusty whip and fedora. He's tough, cool, and dedicated. He relies on both brains and brawn to get him out of trouble and into it.

Indiana Jones




William Wallace


Lara Croft


James Bond, Agent 007


Batman, the Dark Knight


The Amazing Spider-Man


Neo, the "One"


El Zorro


Captain Jack Sparrow


The Terminator


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with

h/t to Rick Lugari at Civitae Dei

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Next stop: Rome

Welcome, Donegal Express Readers!! Many thanks to Der Tomissar for the compliments he paid me in his post and for the double blogroll!

New blog on the roll

I just added Beth's Catholic Slumber Party to the blogroll. Beth is an awesome, thoughtful teen and I really enjoy her posts. She reminds me a lot of myself when I was in high school. So go read her stuff.

Monday, November 14, 2005

NFP Essay

I submitted an essay on NFP for publication in a book, but I found out it didn't get in. I'm going to publish it here, now that i know it won't be going anywhere else.

I am half of a couple that uses Natural Family Planning (NFP). Our use of NFP has not always been easy. The problems we encountered were not with the method. The problem was with us.

I was a senior at Bishop Mc Devitt High School when I first heard about NFP. Mrs. Agster had the unenviable task of teaching a classroom full of 17 and 18 year old kids in no uncertain terms that sex is a gift from God destined for marriage and that using the Pill, condoms, and all other forms of contraception were sinful, regardless of whether or not the people using them were married.

I next heard about NFP during college. My boyfriend (who is now my husband) and I took a class together called Marriage and the Family at De Sales University. Dr. Kane taught us about the different methods of NFP, outlined its efficiency vs. the Pill and condom use and gave testimony about it from his own marriage. Since I am the sort of woman who is loath to take an aspirin for a headache, the idea of taking a hormone pill derived from the urine of pregnant horse was extremely unappetizing. DH and I were sold on NFP.

When were getting married a few years later and heard more about NFP during the preparation, but we were too busy to enroll in a class on how to use it. A couple of months before the wedding, I called my best friend. Aimee and Rob used NFP, and she gave me as much detail about it as you can give in 20 minutes over the phone. She mailed me a form to order an NFP home study course.

The big book arrived a few weeks later and in all of the pre-wedding craziness, I never read it. Since DH and I weren’t living together, I was the one with the responsibility to learn about this NFP thing. Based upon the precious little I gleaned from my conversation with Aimee, I determined I was probably nor fertile during our honeymoon. But we bought a box of condoms, just in case. Trouble with that was, we really didn’t know how to put one on. I went to Catholic school, so I never learned about it in health class. Were we doing it right? Was it going to come off? It just felt too weird, physically and spiritually, so we decided not to use it. We took them on the honeymoon, but they never made it out of the suitcase.

Life happened after we returned from the honeymoon, so we did little more than skim the text. Basically, for the first two months of our marriage, we used the rhythm method, abstaining for about two weeks after my period ended. We fudged it a little in month two and one dark and stormy night we conceived our first son. The big book went back into its box and the box went under the bed.

We reaped the (in)fertility benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. But this time we got smart and signed up for a class on NFP running at our parish. The book came out from under the bed. Over four months, I charted my temperatures and cervical signals, but since I was infertile due to nursing, my charts were not really useful as practice. My fertility returned almost as soon as I thought about weaning him, and since we were inexperienced, we conceived immediately. We also miscarried almost immediately. After about four years of charting, we’ve gotten pretty good at the mechanics of charting and temperature taking, etc. We have had only the one unplanned pregnancy, even after weaning our second son from the breast.

Using NFP correctly is not easy. As a couple, we had fallen into the trap of thinking of it as Church-approved contraception, which it is not. We struggled with it when were not trying to achieve pregnancy. Because we were still pretty inexperienced and because we are not hyper-vigilant charters, we wound up abstaining for almost a month when I was weaning Bubba. My desire always peaks during my fertile phase, which was frustrating for me and for DH when we were not trying to get pregnant. Adding to this frustration, it seemed like 14 out of 28 days are in my fertile phase. We even considered sleeping in separate rooms during that time to avoid sinful sexual behavior.

Given the fact that the way we used NFP gave us about 2 weeks of abstinence when we were trying to avoid pregnancy, there was a sense of urgency on (mostly) DH’s part during the infertile phases. A “Let’s do it while we can” mentality. This led to some significant bedroom tension for us. There’s the “Why can’t he just hug me without expecting anything else?” and the “Doesn’t she understand that I love her and this is my favorite thing we do together?” and the always popular “OK. Let’s get it over with so I can go to sleep and you will leave me alone.”

It was worst when I was busy with work and the kids and DH was very busy at work, getting home at 10:00 at night. I just didn’t want to do it. I found myself withholding sex from my husband to punish him for not paying enough attention to me outside of the bedroom. “Can’t he see I’m tired?” I thought, “Why won’t he just let me go to sleep?” The Church teaches that a couple must have grave reasons to avoid conceiving another child, and we didn’t have any grave reasons. Neither does the Church teach that all Catholics should go and have 6 kids. Couples have to pray constantly about their family size and welcome new life whenever God seeks to bless them with it, not only when we seek the blessing.

The turnaround came about a year ago, when I went to confession and confessed my sin against my husband. I did some reading about the Theology of the Body and I prayed a lot. I had what I think you can call an epiphany. I realized that my marriage, and the gift of sexuality within it, was not about me. It wasn’t even about DH. Our marriage is about God. God wants to use DH, our kids, our relationship, and me to reflect His love to the world. Others should be able to look at us and see love. I guess I should have known that, having prepared for and received the Sacrament of Matrimony and all, but sometimes you just don’t hear what you ought.

A couple cannot effectively use NFP without a lot of prayer. We pray together now. We never did that before. I would always sort of shyly ask him to pray with me occasionally, but it is now part of our routine. With the help of Our Lady and St. Monica, I have been able to cheerfully (most of the time-I am NOT a saint) give myself to my husband even when I don’t feel like it-and even enjoy it! I cannot describe in how many ways our marriage has improved. I don’t feel like I’m being used anymore. DH is willing to let me simply go to sleep when I need to. We have finally figured out what we were told all the time about NFP: It is for acting with God to determine how big your family will be within your means. It’s not just for preventing pregnancy.

In spite of our fitful start with NFP, we wouldn’t go any other way. NFP has forced us to communicate better with each other. Let’s get real; if you can talk about the quantity and quality of your cervical mucus with a man, you can talk about anything with him. Can charting be a pain? Yes. I can’ t tell you how many times I have had to drag my lazy self out of bed to go check my cervix just as soon as I got comfy. Can being attentive to my sometimes obscure body signals of fertility be frustrating? Yes. Is it frustrating not to have sex whenever you feel like it? Yes! Will it kill us to offer up the inconvenience and frustration? NO. Will it make our marriage stronger? YES! The frustration and annoyance are small compared to the joy of having a husband who has a relationship with and loves ALL of me, not just one part of my body.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Happy Veteran's Day

To my brother who participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard the USS Nimitz.
He's a Lieutenant in the Navy and he helped run the nuclear powered engine of the ship. Now he works in ROTC at UC Boulder. He's smart. I'm proud.

Snuck out to McDonald's

Cupholder is broken.
Coke all over the car.
Big mess.
some got on the paint of the car.
Tried to wipe it up.
only had 3 napkins.
Will that spot still have paint on it when I get back out there?
Probably not.
Why do I drink it if it eats paint?
What must it do to my body?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Got me a map

I'm keeping this on top for a few days. I'm also making it an obnoxious color so it's hard to miss.

I'd like to see where my blog friends are! It only takes a second and
Barb, Tom, and Penni are doing it too.... It will make you feel good good good good... Just click here. You can do international too, in case you're still stopping by, Fr. Mike!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Worst feeling ever

We went to a new park today and Primo went running around with these older boys, 6-8 years old, while I made sure Bubba didn't fall off the jungle gym. It seemed like he was following, but having a good time. The older boys didn't really seem to care too much for him being there, but they were playing with him. Digging rocks up out of the dirt, sword fighting with sticks, etc. Then as it was time to leave, I saw him picking up acorns and tossing them at the bigger kids. I yelled for him to stop and he didn't so I went over and told him it was time to leave. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. "I'll stop throwing things, I'll stop! I'll stop!" "No," I calmly replied, "It's time to go anyway. We have to go to the store on the way home." He threw himself on the back seat of the minivan as I closed the door. The kids were yelling, "Bye bad guy! bye bad guy!" "But No, Mommy!!!! They were throwing acorns and stuff at me and I had to get them back! I had to get them back! They were being mean to me, Mommy! I had to get them back!"

I have the most awful, sick feeling in my stomach. This is the worst way to feel: The other kids don't want to play with your kid. it makes you remember all at once every time you got picked last for a game, never got picked for a game, got made fun of, and had someone say something mean about you. And you know it's just how kids are, that he'll forget about it by the time he goes to school on Monday and gets to hang out with his friends at school, but you feel sick and angry inside. You want to yell at those boys' parents, you go over every thing you saw that day in your head: "Was it by accident that that boy hit him with a stick? Were they making fun of him? Why didn't one of them be nice to him? Why wouldn't they share their toy with him? Why didn't one of them ask his name? Why did he have to be the bad guy in all their games? Why didn't I see it and introduce him to some new kids?"

I reminded him of what Jesus said about turning the other cheek. We prayed for those boys and for Primo, asking the intercession of St. Dominic Savio, I asked him to remember how this feels so that if he ever sees kids being mean to someone else, he'll be nice to them. I also explained that sometimes big boys just don't like playing with smaller boys and somtimes they're just mean, and that it would probably be best to play with kids his own age. While we were making dinner, he told me about his plan. "Next time we go to the park, I'll teach them to fold dollars into rings, like Charlie (the retired fireman around the corner) does." Never mind that he doesn't know how to himself. If he can show them a cool trick, then they'll like him. I just smiled and nodded.

It's not going to be the last time some boys make fun of him, or just don't want to play with him, it's just the first. When I think about that this feeling must be similar to, yet a fraction of, the way Our Blessed Mother felt while watching Our Lord's Passion, it feels better knowing she knows what I'm feeling and so does He. I also feel like a time of innocence is over. He's figured out that kids can be really mean sometimes. I could throw up.

It's all about Meme

Barb tagged me for the Three meme. Let 'er rip!

Three names I go by:

Three screen names I have had:
Mrs. G

Three physical things I like about myself:
My eyes
My feet
My hands

Three physical things I don’t like about myself:
My stomach, hips, & thighs

Three parts of my heritage:
Irish (1/2)
Hungarian (1/4)
British (1/4) I am in constant conflict with myself, though the Irish side usually wins

Three things that scare me:
my husband dying
financial insecurity

Three of my everyday essentials:
An "I love you Mommy" from one or both children
Kiss from DH

Three of my favorite musical artists:
U2, Springsteen, The Beatles

Three of my favorite songs:
Brown Eyed Girl
Rosalita (Come out tonight)

Three things I want/have in a relationship:
Love--if you have that everything else comes.

Three lies and three truths in no particular order:
I'm six feet tall.
I have 6 children, 4 in heaven.
I have eaten pizza for a meal 6 times in the last 7 days.
I'm saving up for breast augmentation surgery.
My first boyfriend was a total Deadhead.
I made my kids' Halloween costumes this year.

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to me:
Eyes, mouth, tallness

Three of my favorite hobbies:
reading, counted cross-stitch, photography

Three things I want to do really badly right now:
Finish the Ben and Jerry's in the freezer
go to bed
go buy the rest of the "Chronicles of Narnia"

Three careers I’ve considered/I’m considering:
Professional Singer

Three Places I want to vacation:
Italy, Australia, Hawaii

Three kid’s names I like:
(Not including the names of my own kids)

Three things I want to do before I die:
Pilgrimage to Rome
Go back to being a stay at home mom
See at least one of my sons ordained a priest

Three ways that I am stereotypically a girl:
Always playing with my hair
Don't like to leave the house without makeup
Talk a lot

Three ways that I am stereotypically a boy:
Wear pants most of the time
Like to drive fast
Can belch on command

Three celeb crushes:
Steve Martin, John Cusack, Patrick Stewart

Three people I would like to see post this meme:
Mossa, Tomissar, Fra. Lawrence

Friday, November 04, 2005

My Thomas Aquinas Story

Tom posted a wonderful Litany of Saints for All Saints' Day which you should go read. I wanted to share my family's story related to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Our babies are not born small. Primo was 9 lbs. 6 oz and Bubba was 10 lbs 1 oz. Each also had a pretty sizable head, but I must say with all of the mother love in my heart that Bubba has the biggest head I have ever seen on a boy.

We were leaving church one day when the 80 year old priest in residence walked past us. "Whoa," he says, "Look at the head on him!" We must have looked a little surprised because he quickly followed with, "That means he's going to be smart. St. Thomas Aquinas had a big head too, you know."

My husband, my hero

Bubba got up crying at 5:00 yesterday morning. So, after I sat next to his crib a while and he went back to sleep, I returned to bed. I have not been feeling well, I started a cold 2 weeks ago which turned into an evil sinus infection on Halloween night. It was the first decent night of sleep I've gotten in a while thanks to Zithromax, finished early by the 2 year old waking up. I go back to bed to discover that Primo Giglio, the elder son, had taken the bed over completely. I squished back into my spot next to the DH and closed my eyes when I heard it:


It sounded just like somone was on my steps. I lay there, and didn't hear anything else. My mind was racing. Bubba's in the next room. No one is in our house. What if someone is in our house? What if they took the baby? I was paralyzed. If we had a phone upstairs, I would have called the cops.

I woke the DH. "Babe, I just heard a step sqeak. Like there was someone on it."

"OK." He rose from his sleep and grabbed his Maglite flashlight. I got out of bed and stood next to him. He motioned for me to go back. I said, "Please go check on Bubba. I want to make sure he's still there and OK." He goes around the corner and peeks his head in the boys' room. I hear, "Mommy? Oh, HI DADDY!" "Shhh... go back to sleep." "OK" and he laid back down. Primo wakes up, "I'm so hungry." "Daddy will bring you some thing in afew minutes, OK?" "OK, like a banana?" "No, we're out of bananas. Maybe some cookies." "Oh, great!" "Your daddy is so brave." Primo either didn't hear me, or he knows his daddy is brave beacuse he didn't reply.

Noiselessly, like a ninja, DH stands at the top of the steps. He turns on the flashlight. He goes down the stairs, checks out the house thoroughly. He returns. "There's no one here." "Good. Primo is hungry. There are some Teddy Grahams in the tin in the kitchen." "OK, I'll be right back." He returns with Teddy Grahams to the delighted chuckles of a 4-1/2 year old boy.

Last night, I must have thanked him about 20 times for going to defend his family against the invisible, nonexistent foe. He shrugged it off. "But, you were such a man. You were going to defend your family with a flashlight, then you went and procured food for your son! I'm so proud of you!" "Amy, it was Teddy Grahams and there was no one here. What would you have done?" "I would have stayed in bed and prayed there was no one here." "That probably would have been the smart thing to do."

My husband is awesome!