Dinosaurs and the Saints

Emma: “Why did God make the dinosaurs a long long long time ago?”

Kolbe: “They are now in the sky.”

Emma: “No, they are just bones in the ground, they are NOT in Heaven.”

Emma and Kolbe love dinosaurs. It is their most recent obsession.  They are drawn to books, T.V. shows, and games that have to do with learning about these incredible extinct creatures. Thanks to our DVR, we are  able to watch the few episodes we have recorded of “Dino Dan”, over and over again… We have printed off coloring sheets and made their very own field guides and they like to search for imaginary dinosaurs around the house. I am blown away when my 3 year old corrects me on the name of a dino. “No mommy, that is not a Compsognathus, it is a Dromaeosaurus.” Oh, right, silly me. Even Joshua roars every time he sees one. They think that dinosaurs are so mysterious and constantly want to learn more about them.

I remember sitting in my Catechetical Methods class in college and my professor was talking about “wonder and awe.” He talked about how children have the gift of looking at the world with wonder and are amazed by both the grand and little things that this world has to offer. His point was to remind us that we all possess the gift of being able to look at the world in this way, we just have to allow ourselves to do that. He was particularly talking about how our Catholic faith is filled with wonder and mystery and how we have to show that to the world.

St. Thérèse was filled with wonder and awe for her faith. The way she wrote about her love for Jesus and the Church even when she was a little girl, may come across as silly, impossible, or not relatable in our world today. I read this story in her book this week and wanted to share it. When Thérèse was 8, she and her cousin, Marie, loved to play a game where they pretended to be hermits and would take turns being in solitary prayer and the other would be out living the “active life”. One time they were walking home and one decided to pretend they were a blind hermit and would lead the other on the sidewalk. However, they both wanted to be the blind one, so they both walked with their eyes closed, they ran into a shop’s display cart and knocked it over, causing the owner and their older sisters to be quite mad at them. They then had to walk home quietly and apart from one another.

These girls grew up without T.V., computers, i-pads, and cell phones. And they probably only owned a handful of toys. They didn’t have catalogs come in the mail for them to drool all over and beg for a particular toy for Christmas, like my daughter is currently doing at this very moment. The games they  would come up with had a lot to do with what they knew. Thérèse’s family was very Catholic and everything they did and talked about was centered around their faith. So naturally, their games involved playing Mass or pretending that they were saints like Joan of Arc or praying like hermits.

I have been thinking a lot about how I am as a mother at home with my children. I know I allow too much t.v. and time on the computer. My kids love to make up games and use their imagination as well, but their games normally have to do with whatever character is their favorite at the time, like Sofia the First or Jake the Pirate. And there is nothing wrong with playing those characters, I think it’s awesome, but I also want to come up with more ways to make the Faith come alive at home. When Dan took his  job as the Director of Family Life for our archdiocese, I immediately felt pressure to be a “model family” for the Church. And I know that was me being prideful. We, by no means, have parenting our children in the faith totally figured out. Our kids whine and complain while we are getting ready for Mass. This week Emma counted to 100 during the homily. “What comes after 59, Mommy?”  And I spent most of Mass in the back with Joshua. It’s easy to get disheartened when an hour at Mass with young children is a battle every time. But we still go and for now, struggle through it. I sometimes get overwhelmed thinking I am not doing a good enough job.

But then I am reminded of the little ways our children are growing up immersed in the Catholic faith, not just on Sundays, but every day.  For example, our St. Francis statue is a constant playmate in whatever game they are playing the living room:

We like to listen to Christian music in the car and  the other day Kolbe requested to listen to Matt Maher’s “Burning in my Soul” on repeat about 8 times and it was so cute to watch him bob his little head every time the song was played.  We consider St. Thérèse and St. Francis of Assisi as patron saints for our family. We started a tradition to make their feast days a very big deal, with a special dinner, dessert and the children even get a little gift. Their feast days are Oct. 1 and Oct. 4, so it makes for a fun week.

So dinosaurs, St. Thérèse, kids, and faith. I know this seems kind of all over the place. But the point of this post from this scattered brain mommy is that children have so much to teach us about appreciating the mysteries of this world. They are eager to learn and will love anything that we teach them, if we show our excitement for it. My children could be just as excited about the amazing stories of the saints as they are about dinosaurs, if I just took more time to teach about them.

 

Here are a few Catholic resources that I love to look at and find inspiration from:

Catholic Icing has wonderful craft ideas for preschoolers and young children.
Holy Heroes offers coloring pages and activities for children of all ages.
Happy Saints has a fun way of bringing the life of Jesus and stories of the saints to life.
Wee Believers sells beautiful Catholic toys and puzzles.

 


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We made it to Friday! The stomach virus is gone. And Kolbe, who had a high fever from an infection is finally better!  When I had to take Kolbe to the doctor, we were put in the smallest corner room and Joshua did not want to be there. He tried to escape multiple times, and succeeded once. I was tending to Kolbe and Joshua escaped and I had to run after him, that was not embarrassing at all.  Because we were in such a small room (with a double stroller that took up half of it) Joshua learned that his screams echoed. He though that was hilarious. Mommy, not so much.

Meanwhile Kolbe kept repeating over and over in a sad little voice, “I am just sneezing mommy, that’s why I am sick.” He hadn’t sneezed once. Poor little guy.

 

Emma had picture day this week. She wanted to wear a pink headband. I wanted her to wear her hair pulled back with a bow that matched her uniform. It was one of those moments where I wanted to win the battle and even though it really wasn’t a big deal, I didn’t want to give in. As her mother, I knew that the headband she picked out, she normally doesn’t wear because it hurts her. So I figured by the time her picture was taken, the headband would be gone and her bangs would be in her face. So I pushed through and and thought I won. She left with her hair pulled back, and we compromised by her not having to wear a bow. After school, I asked her how picture day went. She replied by saying that her bangs were in her face. I asked her why, and she said she took out her rubber band because she really missed her headband. Emma:1 Mommy: 0.  

This morning, Emma decided her uniform was a little bland:

Emma:0 Mommy:1 

Kolbe has learned how to buckle his carseat. EVERY time we get in the car, he has to do it. And every time I have to wait and wait and wait to make sure he is buckled in well.  It’s too tight, but he has to fix it, it’s stuck, but he has to fix it, first he has to tell me a secret, then he has to show me his spinning trick and so on….it’s a good thing he is so stinkin’ cute. 10 minutes later we are able to leave. Mr. Independent.

 

Speaking of being independent…Joshua is on the move and in to everything. He wants to be just like his siblings and play whatever they play. Kolbe is having a hard time with this because Joshua is interested in his big boy toys.

“But that’s not how Thomas chugs!!”

Joshua also wants to eat with Emma and Kolbe at the table. Not in his high chair.

 

It’s funny to me how they always act shocked when we say it’s time for bed. It seems like a natural thing to do once they have had baths and have their pajamas on…I don’t know. The other night when I told Emma it was bedtime, without skipping a beat she said, “Oh! I was thinking we could put on a show for you about Mary and Joseph.”  Smart, clever girl. But that great idea didn’t pass. And I am still waiting to see that show about Mary and Joseph.

That’s about all my boys will allow me to write this morning. Happy Friday and I hope y’all have a great weekend!

 

 


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All Bugged Out

A week and a half ago Emma had a little case of the stomach bug. It only lasted a few hours one night and I thought she might have just had something to eat that bothered her. I kept her home from school the following day, but she seemed better. That was last Monday. This past Friday, I had a few friends over and in the middle of the play date I felt really sick. I remember thinking, “Oh great. I have some moms and their babies here at my house and I am about to throw up. How do I tell them that thanks to me they might get sick too.” Anyway, they graciously left and about 20 minutes later I got sick and definitely had a virus. It was a true test in love and patience to still have two boys needing my attention and crawling and sitting on top of me while I felt so sick. Thankfully Dan was able to pick up Emma and come home to help out.

We had plans to go to the high school football game that night and Emma really really really wanted to go and “her world would have been over if she didn’t get to go” (she doesn’t get the dramatic attitude from me)…so Dan decided to take Emma and Kolbe to dinner and the game. I heard the door open about 20 minutes later. Kolbe had thrown up on Dan at Chickfila. (It might be awhile before he wants to go back there.)  We cleaned everybody up and Emma and Dan left to go to the game for just a little bit (and Emma had a fabulous time).

Saturday night Dan got the virus. Then Sunday I found out that my nephew, Joe, got it. No fun. We were supposed to celebrate my sister’s birthday, but instead we gave her son the stomach virus. Best sister ever, right here. We went out to my parents house on Sunday, once I thought we were all on the mend. I was desperate to get out of the house, kind of like poor Ariel was desperate to get out of the water- thanks to Emma:

(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

By Monday we were all feeling much better. The highlight of the weekend- Emma and Kolbe’s first ride on a jetski:

We celebrated Jenn’s birthday Monday night. And then later that night, unfortunately, my sister, brother-in-law, and my mom all had their turn with the awful bug. Thankfully, Joshua and my 6 week old niece, Clare, stayed well. Yesterday, I did about 8 loads of laundry and cleaned as much of the house as I could. I realized how thankful I am for washing machines and Lysol.  By the end of the day, we were all exhausted:

It’s crazy how a virus can affect one person and then lay dormant for 4 days and then hit everybody else. Why is that? Ugh.

 

So long stomach virus, you better not come through these doors again…at least for a long long while, please?

 

 


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