Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles XXXII

After a wonderful night of dancing at Glen Echo, we were unable to get up in time to get to the 8 a.m. Mass. We wound up at the 9:30 Mass, where the music and singing were provided by the youth group. They did a great job which my wife especially appreciated.

The kids didn't appreciate the music as much as they could have because Jacob decided to go straight to the children's chapel. We managed to get some good seats since we were a minute or two early. The room did eventually fill up with a bunch of familiar faces. All the kids were a bit noisy but not too bad.

Jacob did participate in the music this week--he sang the refrain of the Glory to God and parts of the Lamb of God! He also prayed the Our Father with us. Sans a book, he even shook hands at the sign of peace. Lucy was more reluctant this week. They both gave at the offering, though Jacob and I almost did not make it back from the upstairs bathroom to donate. Jacob went once and asked to go a second time, which we allowed but he did not have success.

After Mass was over, we did go to the playground. Jacob is quite the climber lately, giving gray hairs to his parents by his feats of daring. Hopefully we'll relax about it all soon. Lucy enjoyed it but wasn't as daring. Lots of other kids were there too.

Since we are ten days from Ash Wednesday, the sermon was about preparing for Lent. Classically, three areas of sacrifice are encouraged by the Church to prepare for the Easter Triduum. The first area is prayer. Father recommended the little black books that will be available next week at our parish. The books include daily meditations and reflections for each day of Lent. Each one only takes six minutes, an amount of time that should be easy for everyone. The second area is fasting, forsaking legitimate pleasures for the sake of higher goods. Father's recommendation is to come to the Friday Stations of the Cross at church, where they will have simple meals provided by the Knights of Columbus and one of the ladies' groups. The third area is almsgiving, a perhaps old-fashioned word for giving money to those in need. Here we had an audio presentation from our archbishop telling us about the Lenten appeal and asking us to donate to it. Father also encouraged us to participate in that as well. I guess this message was important for me since I was not distracted by the kids much at all.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles XXXI

Today's adventure in Mass-going found us at the 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Louis. We almost got up in time for the 8 o'clock Mass but didn't think we'd make it. So we left pretty early, went to the grocery store to stock up on the necessities and still made it with seven or eight minutes to spare.

We started upstairs in the main body of the church, which had its pluses and minuses. On the plus side was the choir and the musicians which kept the children occupied for a little while. On the minus side was the woman sitting six or seven rows in front of us who wore a leopard-print coat. Lucy saw it and said, quite audibly, "Tiger! Tiger!"It was cute but Mass had already started by the time she made the discovery. She kept fussing and talking till I took her out to the vestibule. We walked around for a little bit as the homily started. Then Jacob and Mommy showed up and we were off to the children's chapel.

Jacob had his obligatory potty stop on the way downstairs. Lucy decided she needed a diaper change once we got to the chapel, which was quite full today. We found only two seats together; the kids didn't really need chairs since they wandered about as usual. Both of them loved putting money in the collection basket. Jacob couldn't be bothered to stop reading when the sign of peace came. Going to communion was mostly uneventful except for another obligatory potty stop. I would blame the juice he drank in the car but really Jacob has bathroom visit fixation disorder (BVFD is quite common in children), at least in cool places like church.

We did go to the playground afterwards. The visit was brief because it was far too cold out. Jacob and Lucy enjoyed the slides and were sad to go.

During the homily, Father said he had three things to help us be authentically holier people. First, he talked about practicing perpetual presence with God. In stead of being aware of Him on an hour on Sunday, we should constantly be conscious of God's presence in our lives. That presence should inform our actions and guide our thoughts and decisions. He makes a great point, one that I need to work on. The other two points were lost in going to the children's chapel and changing Lucy's diaper. I'm sure they were just as profound and moving. One out of three isn't bad. Hopefully we'll get two or three out of three next week!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Playground in Columbia!

We've discovered a new place to go for indoor play time fun, right here in Columbia, Maryland! I saw an email from one of the parent groups I belong to that mentioned Play N' Learn has open and free playtime on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Knowing next to nothing about it, we decided to go anyway.

Jacob and Lucy had a great time. The store sells mostly outdoor playing equipment, including swing sets, trampolines, climbing walls, basketball hoops, and other fun stuff. They also provide pool tables, ping pong tables, air hockey, Foosball, and other indoor entertainments. The children played almost entirely on the outdoor equipment and had a grand time of it:

Jacob slides so fast he comes out blurry!

Lucy slides even faster. Eat you heart out, Flash!

These chains can't hold me!

Lucy loved climbing, though it made Daddy nervous.

A race to the top!
Even the outside of the store looks cool.

We definitely recommend going if you are in Columbia or finding one near you if you aren't in Columbia.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles XXX

This Sunday morning was another slow morning for Lucy. We had french toast for breakfast and were done eating before Lucy awoke. So we wound up at the 9:30 Mass. We got there early and had our choice of seats.

The only problem with choosing seats was Jacob's shifting choices. Driving to church, Jacob said he wanted to go straight to the Children's Chapel, thus not watching the musicians and choir at the beginning of Mass. Arriving five minutes before the start of Mass, we turned on the lights and video. Three or four other families showed up, the chapel was quite full. Once we got to the psalm, Jacob decided he did want to see the instruments. He and Mommy headed upstairs while Lucy and I stayed in the chapel. They stayed upstairs for the gospel and the homily, which was replaced by a video presentation by the USCCB on marriage. That meant the video screen popped up behind the altar and was the total focus of Jacob for the entire time. He tried to rush the altar to get a closer look but Angie stopped him. They did make it back to the Children's Chapel in time for the offertory collection. When we went for communion, Jacob wanted to rush the altar again to check out the TV screen. Luckily he wasn't too insistent and I was able to carry him back out.

Lucy was pretty well behaved, except for the homily, when she decided to hang off one of the chairs in as many hazardous ways as she could. I was very distracted. She did shake lots of hands at the sign of peace. At communion, she discovered that she can reach the slot of the poor box on her own (without being lifted up). She was very excited about that accomplishment. She had lots of smiles for everyone.

The homily was lost on me due to Lucy's antics. What I saw of the video looked well produced and the timing must be related to the current legislation in Maryland around changing the legal definition of marriage.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Day Craft at the Library

Tuesday night's Pajama Time at the library included a craft. Now that Jacob and Lucy are going to PJ time, we get twice the craftiness to bring home. I didn't go to the library, but I got to take these sweet pictures when Mommy and the kids got home:

Lucy is unsure of how to present her craft.

Jacob also doesn't seem to know which end is up!

Close up of the floor model.
 The theme was Hugs (as a lead-in to Valentine's Day, no doubt). Both children had a good time and Mommy reports that they were well behaved too. Hopefully we'll get to PJ Time on Thursday and have another craft to show off!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles XXIX

Today we wanted to make it to the 8 a.m. Mass for the mercenary reason that we ran out of milk for breakfast and we'd need more for the kids by snack time. Usually they have a snack along the way to 9:30 Mass and Lucy has a bottle. That couldn't happen, so we hustled this morning and made it just in time for Mass.

We headed straight to the Children's Chapel. We turned on the lights and TV and settled in for a good Mass. Our friends James and Colin came during the readings with their newborn sister and their parents. Lucy decided she wanted a drink of water during the gospel, so I didn't get to hear the whole reading. Then she kept wanted to go out and get picked up by one or the other of us. Also, she's discovered that she can get attention by saying, "I'm poopy." Often, this is a lie. We still have to check though, especially when other people are around. She was a big distraction today.

Lucy was enthusiastic again about shaking hands at the sign of peace; Jacob stuck to his books. Surprisingly, he didn't want to go upstairs for communion. He had gone to the bathroom earlier, so that motivation wasn't there. But what about putting money in the poor box or the book box? What about seeing the organ? He was in a subdued mood for sure. Eventually we convinced him to go up. I mean, we carried him. He never really got his enthusiasm for it, though.

The best thing about this weekend was the bake sale! We picked up some almond white chocolate cake for dessert later. We also bought a donut and some pumpkin bread for eating there. Instant morning snack! Jacob enjoyed running around the auditorium while we sat and enjoyed our snack. He found a couple of "short cuts." If only Grandpa was here to say no short cuts, Jacob would have been perfectly happy. We did get to the store so Lucy was able to drink milk again!

I remember absolutely nothing of the sermon today, for which I am duly ashamed...