Well, it is Saturday and I thought we would be spending the weekend preparing for Dan’s knee surgery on Monday, but instead he is now post surgery and we are taking care of our sweet, recovering patient. It’s amazing how events and plans can change in just a day.

So a little recap concerning dan’s kneecap- not funny, I know- He tore his ACL on his left knee, while playing basketball a few weeks ago. (He had torn his ACL on his right knee when he was a senior in high school and now here he is 10 years later. Poor guy, no fun.) About 2 weeks ago he had an MRI and then scheduled surgery. A few days later he got a call saying that his doctor hurt his wrist and wouldn’t be able to perform the surgery. Then after days of phone tag with the office, he got a new doctor and went in this past Wednesday. This new doctor said he could do the surgery in two weeks, which was frustrating because Dan was told Sept. 30, and he has a lot scheduled for work that he can’t miss. They had an opening the next day, so Dan took it.

20 hours later we were sitting in the waiting room. My parents and sister were helping with the kids. I told Dan that I was kind of excited to sit in the waiting room by myself for 3 hours. He thought that was weird… (but I think any mom would understand, maybe?!) I could tell Dan was a little anxious to get this surgery started. I was starting to get a little anxious about letting him go. And that’s when we heard the man across from us talking on the phone. We heard him say “McAleer” and then he read out my dad’s cell phone number. Dan and I started laughing out of disbelief and when the kind man got off the phone we were a little awkward, but finally asked him how he knew my dad. So random, but it helped us laugh and was a nice distraction while we waited.

They called Dan back at 12:30 to prepare for surgery and a few minutes later I got to go sit with him before they wheeled him back. I was then sent back to the waiting room and the anxiety set back in. I know it was a standard procedure, but it was still surgery and I was realizing it is a bigger deal than I previously thought. I quietly prayed then tried to read, but couldn’t focus and suddenly the 3 hours of waiting seemed like forever. And then the nice man who we met earlier came and sat next to me. His wife was now in surgery and we talked for a long time about the Church, our families, and random Mobile connections. It was a little blessing and before I knew it I was told Dan was out of surgery and recovering.

A little after 4, I was able to finally go see him. I was the last one in the waiting room and and he was the last surgery of the day.

Post Surgery

He was munching on crackers and drinking a coke and seemed in good spirits. The nurse even said that he was one of the most pleasant people they had had in awhile. Apparently when he was coming to, he talked to them about his surgery when he was 18 and other things. He has always been a sweet-talker. It used to drive me crazy in college because he always found a way to get an extension on a paper. But at least now we know, he really is a kind person, even under strong meds!

 Dan Knee

When we got home, the kids were so excited to see him but were surprised when they saw his big boo-boo. Emma immediately ran in the house and started to cry. She thought he was never going to be able to play with her again. After we calmed her down and talked to her about it all, she was better. Kolbe was a little nervous when he saw the brace, and Joshua of course tried to jump on him.

Joshua on Crutch

Dan is currently set up downstairs on the couch for a few days. The kids are helping serve him and learning to be gentle around his leg. It is hard watching him be in so much pain, but it is nice knowing it will only get better from here. And I have to admit I love having him home, even if it means I have to switch out his ice every 30 minutes and help to keep him as comfortable as possible. In sickness and in health. Through knee surgery and keeping up with 3 kids 5 and under.


Thank you to all of those who have helped us this week and for all of the prayers. We are so grateful!!


read more

Heaven on Earth

The story of St. Thérèse receiving her first Communion is very beautiful. She was 11 and had spent her entire life  looking forward to the moment of receiving Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. After receiving, she cried tears of joy and felt a peace that she had never experienced before. She wrote:

“Ah! how sweet was that first kiss of Jesus! It was a kiss of love; I felt that I was loved, and I said, ‘I love You and I give myself to You forever!'”…Her joy was too great, too deep for her to contain, and tears of consolation soon flowed, to the great consternation of her companions. They asked one another, ‘Why was she crying? Was there something bothering her?’…They did not understand that all the joy of Heaven having entered my heart, this exiled heart was unable to bear it without shedding tears.”

I have always loved the way she described the Eucharist like it is a kiss from Jesus. And I love the thought of  “all of the joy of Heaven having entered her heart.” Every time I read a description like that, I am in awe that I am able to receive that gift too- every Sunday- or more if I make it to daily Mass. Of course, it is also easy for me to ready this and get disheartened. Right now, the reality of my experience at Mass is nothing like the sweet prayers that Thérèse prayed. My prayers are more like this, “Jesus, I love You. And oh Hi! Yes, I am still here… Please please please grant me patience every time I have to take my children to the back of the church when they cry, have to go to the bathroom, have to blow their nose, or when they ask for the hundredth time if Church is over yet. Amen.”  It can often seem like sainthood is a distant goal, too far away to grasp.

Dan and I recently had the gift of witnessing a beautiful young woman become Catholic and as I watched her, all I could think about was the above story of St. Thérèse.  Here is part of an article that he wrote about this amazing event:

“Just two weeks ago, I had the tremendous blessing to see one of my old students come into the Church. During the interview process when she was asked why, her first response was- ” I just want so badly to receive Jesus!” Several times when the topic of the Eucharist came up she was even teary-eyed. Honestly, at that point, I was even tearing up. Who wouldn’t? Who wouldn’t be moved to see this young person so happy by the thought of something that I take for granted every day. She had realized the deep hunger she had could not be filled by anything but Jesus Himself!

When she finally received Jesus in the Eucharist she went back to her pew and knelt down with tears of joy streaming down her face. I watched a living saint experience an intimate personal communion with Jesus. I was in awe and inspired by her great faith.”

I was in awe, too. I know that I am often distracted during Mass, caring for and trying to keep my children under control. And if I can have a half a second to pray and contemplate before Communion, I am grateful. But reading about Thérèse and watching Mia were reminders to me that we all have a call to be holy and that if we make it to Mass, Jesus must be so happy that we are there. And I would think that He just wants us to say to Him, “I love You, and I give myself to You forever!”


Congrats Mia!! We love you!

read more

Decided to link up with Jen at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes!

1.  It took me two days to publish my post from yesterday. If I am going to blog, I have to find time during the day. Every time I try to write I night, I just lose all motivation and can’t think clearly, I am definitely not a night owl. I am an early bird, and I used to get up and write while sipping coffee and while the kids were watching morning cartoons. But ever since Emma started school the mornings are rushed with making breakfast, her lunch, possibly ironing Dan’s shirt, and getting her off to school in time. Maybe nap time is a good blogging time? Not the case here, if I can get Kolbe to nap it is usually at a different time than Joshua and picking up Emma at school has kind of messed up the whole nap situation as well.  Yesterday, I was determined to get a post up and was willing to let the boys pull out every game and puzzle from the cabinet in order to do so (and I am going to spare you a picture of our kitchen and table).

 So a published post = messy house.

And I will stop whining about blogging now. And who am I kidding, my house is messy all of the time…

2.  While writing this post I realized Joshua had escaped and was most likely getting in to trouble somewhere in the house.

Found him. Joshua in the shower with a blue nose.

3.  A few weeks ago Dan was playing basketball and he tore his ACL in his left knee. He had an MRI on Monday and he has surgery scheduled for Sept. 30. Poor guy, I know he is in so much pain, and he handles the kids jumping all over him so well. Please keep him and his upcoming surgery in your prayers. I am getting a little nervous about all of the recovery time and figuring out how we can best care for him- which is to probably keep the kids out of the house as much as possible.

4.  Yesterday I was putting Kolbe in the van and he kept asking for something but I couldn’t figure out what he was saying. It was something like, “Can you get my ball bee?” And after I told him that I didn’t know what he wanted he yelled out, “AWK-WARD!”  Not quite sure where that one came from, but it made my day.

5.  When my friends were in town, we went for a boat ride on the bay and we saw, nope not sharks, but porpoises! And I promise the adults were just as excited as the kids were despite the picture below:

6. Yesterday was National Talk like a Pirate Day..? But if you dressed like a pirate and went to Krispy Kreme, you could get a free dozen. So that’s what we did. A few years ago we had a Peter Pan themed birthday party for Emma and Kolbe and I had found a Captain Hook costume for Dan to wear, so of course we pulled that out again. Kolbe wanted to be Peter Pan again and Emma decided to be a pirate mermaid.  And so off we went.

 Just riding around with Captain Hook, no big deal.


7.  When we arrived at Krispy Kreme, Emma said: “Look! There are other people dressed as pirates too!” Did she really think it was normal to just dress up and go to Krispy Kreme for doughnuts? Yes she did. Have we ever done this before? No I promise we haven’t. Anyway, the doughnuts were hot and delicious and a good time was had by all. And my favorite part?  Dan was dressed up so well that other little kids thought he was the real deal and wanted to get pictures with him. Next time he said he would bring a tip jar.


Happy Friday. Arrgh.

read more

This past weekend I had the gift of having two college buddies come and visit me. It was so much fun!!

I met Allison at my freshman orientation in 2003.


We lived on the same floor in dear “Tommy Moore” and we were put in the same small group. I remember being impressed by her passion for the faith. I don’t know about anyone else, but once my parents left after moving me in to my dorm, I was nervous and worried about making friends. But thanks to a great roommate and an awesome small group, I didn’t feel alone for long.  Allison and I became fast friends, a long with a few other silly girls:


Yes, going to Walmart and having your picture taken with your college friends was a “normal” thing to do….

We helped each other get through freshman year. We prayed together, laughed lots and cared for whatever injuries might have occurred along the way:


allison foot

We had many fun adventures that first year of college, including trips to the Carolinas, Niagra Falls, and California. And then we had to say good-bye for a year. Franciscan University has a campus in Gaming, Austria and about 150 students go to study there every semester. I was headed there for the fall semester of sophomore year. Allison was going in the Spring, along with my other girlfriends (minus one who entered the Nashville Dominicans, that’s a post for another time).  So I basically had to start over and that’s when my close friendship with Vickie began.


My semester in Austria was incredible and not only did I travel across Europe, but my faith and relationship with Jesus grew deeply. I am blessed by the friendships I made that semester and the memories of experiencing places like Lourdes, Lisieux, Rome, Assisi, and Salzburg with them are unforgettable.

The hills were alive with the Sound of Music…at least we thought they were:



And then after all of our travels in Europe, we continued our fun (and our studies of course) back in Steubenville- building bridges…



Vickie and Allison were both bridesmaids in my wedding and I was a part of theirs as well. Vickie currently lives in Columbia, SC and I have seen her a few times since her wedding. She and her husband, Steve, have a daughter, Abigail,  and are expecting a baby in January.  Allison lives in Denver and this was the first time I have seen her in 3 years. She and her husband Nathan have two children, Timothy and Lily.


It was so surreal to watch our children play together, reminiscing about all of the conversations we used to have throughout college- dreaming about being wives and mothers one day. And now there we were chasing around our toddlers, getting indigestion while eating our meals from getting up for one more spilled drink, and helping them share their toys. We were remembering all of the times we went to Mass and prayed together and this time around we were up and down, inside the church and out and in the cry room and sharing cheerios. So I guess it’s not surprising that we looked forward to the evenings, after we got our  children in bed and then we stayed up way too late catching up.

In college we studied together, laughed together, pulled pranks on one another, cried over broken hearts, and giggled about boys. I considered these girls not just friends, but my sisters, who had called me on to holiness and it was so cool to see how even though we haven’t spent time together in three years, the foundation of our friendship allowed us to pick up where we left off.

Thanks girls, for coming to visit! See you next time! :)

read more

Little Words Vol. 2

Emma: “I can’t go to school today!!!”
Lauren: “Why not?”
Emma: “I forgot, but yesterday Kolbe kind of broke my arm while we were in the tub and it still hurts!”
7 points for a good try…


Emma: “Mommy, when will I lose my first tooth?”
Kolbe: “No! you can’t lose a tooth! Then you won’t talk anymore!!”
Emma: (Completely ignoring Kolbe’s concern) “Mommy, can I search the internet for the tooth fairy?”

While having a serious conversation about dinosaurs:
Kolbe: “Meat eaters eat meat!! And Plant eaters eat plants.”
And again: “Meat eaters eat meat. And plant eaters eat plants.”
And in case I was still a little confused: “MEAT eaters eat MEAT. And PLANT eaters eat PLANTS.”
You got it? Good



Still on the dino theme:
Kolbe: “Have you made me a T-Rex tail yet?”
Lauren: “Not yet, I have to get the materials and figure out how to make it.”
That apparently wasn’t a good enough answer
Kolbe:”You could get Daddy to help, he has TOOLS!”
Lauren: “True…”
Kolbe: “Just go axe him.”
I’d rather not.

Kolbe: “I am soooo hungry!”
Lauren: “Why are you hungry?”
Kolbe: “Because my tummy is not full.”
Lauren: “How about some goldfish?”
Kolbe: “No, those make me hot.”
Lauren: “Oh right, how about some ice cream?…”
Mom of the year

Kolbe: “Are you spore with me?”
Lauren: “Am I bored with you?”
Kolbe: “No…Spore with me!!”
Lauren: ???
Kolbe: “We have to go find dinosaurs!!”
Explore. Of course.

(This is from a few months ago, but worth sharing, I think)
While riding in the car:
Emma: “How is baby Clare going to get out of Aunt Jenn’s tummy?”
Lauren: …..thinking, driving, desperately thinking…. “Well…she is just going to push Clare out…”
Emma: …”You mean… out of her mouth??”
I will spare you from the rest of that conversation…

After saying our night prayers one night, Emma jumped out of bed and grabbed this seagull statue and said:

Dan and Lauren:…………..


Kolbe: “I don’t want to grow up….I just want to stay my normal size.”
Good thinking, buddy. I am ok with that.

read more