Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles XXXV

This morning was another slow morning in our household. I got up late (6:50 a.m.) since Jacob had come into our room at 12:30 a.m. with his pajamas off as well as his diaper. He was asking for something I couldn't quite understand. After taking him back to his room and getting him redressed, he said his pajamas were wet. There was a moist spot on one of the thighs, so I got him re-undressed and put new pjs on him. All this activity woke me completely up and I had trouble going back to sleep. I hope this was a one time fluke.

Anyway, we wound up leaving early for 9:30 Mass. We stopped at Dunkin' Donuts before Mass for a treat that we didn't get to eat till after Mass (in retrospect, I suppose we gave ourselves a Lenten penance). We bought some groceries for dinner. Even with all that action, we arrived five minutes early. We tried to convince Jacob to sit upstairs and see the musicians. He was uninterested in this. Instead, he made a beeline for the bathroom.

After that was taken care of, we all headed down to the children's chapel. One dad was there with two boys in a stroller. He must have been new because the TV was off and the sound was turned way down. I turned on the equipment and Mass started shortly. So did major anarchy. Jacob and Lucy were more than a handful today as the chapel filled with other parents and children.

Lucy wore her cute pink sparkly shoes, which she took off several times. She became very upset and squirmy when we tried to put them back on her. She did a lot of climbing on chairs and clinging to us throughout the Mass. I barely got her and Jacob to put money in the collection basket.

Jacob for his part had to go potty several times (including #2). He took the basket full of MagnifiKids magazines and did a reverse offertory--he gave a magazine to each parent in the chapel. Later he collected them back. Then he decided just before the consecration that he did want to see the musicians upstairs. Up we went. We found the musicians but nowhere to sit. Jacob demanded to sit in a pew. I explained there was no room and we had to stand next to the choir. He refused to believe this and eventually I had to carry him out as he cried and asked to go home. Back in the children's chapel he refused to shake hands. He was willing to walk upstairs for communion but wanted Mommy to carry him in church. Mommy was already carrying the uncooperative Lucy, so that didn't work. I carried him up with me. Jacob received a blessing from the monsignor when I received communion. We headed back to the chapel to finish Mass. None of the other parents and children came back after communion. I wonder what could have scared them off?

After Mass was over, we didn't go to the playground because it was too cold. We did enjoy some donuts at home. All in all, it was the most challenging Mass we've had for quite a long time. I hope things improve soon. It would be hard not too.

I heard little snatches of the sermon on today's Gospel--Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Monsignor gave a lot of background information that brings the details to life and shows how Jesus loves all of us, even those like the woman who seemed to be of a dubious moral nature. Salvation is available even to questionable souls like ours.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles XXXIV

Thanks to a bunch of early morning risers, we were able to make it to 8 a.m. Mass at St. Louis without too much delay. We walked in just as the service was starting!

Jacob wanted to make a beeline for the bathroom. He's still enamored of urinals, which he first discovered at church. So I took him to the upstairs bathroom and he did his thing. Then we headed down to the children's chapel. Granny, Mommy, and Lucy were already settled in. When Lucy saw Jacob come in, she declared, "I'm poopy" (i.e. she decided she needed a diaper change). Checking her diaper revealed no poop but I changed her anyway. Thus all the kids were happy.

We had the chapel to ourselves for the whole Mass. The kids were pretty well behaved, too. Lucy started handing me different copies of MagnifiKid, a small magazine to help children worship at Mass on Sunday. Jacob read a bunch of books and was generally unproblematic, until communion time. Then he wanted Mommy to take him to the downstairs bathroom. A minor finger injury caused by the bathroom door delayed them almost too long to receive communion. Jacob was the injured party and wanted to be carried. By the time they made it to the church proper, they had to rush down the aisle to catch the attention of the ministers who thought they were done. It was a close call.

After Mass, we went to the playground for a little while where we saw Timmy with his parents Luke and Kim. We got to catch up with them (we hadn't seen them for quite a while) and then headed home for more delicious pecan rolls (freshly made by Mommy that morning).

The gospel was Matthew's account of the Transfiguration, which led to a presumably good homily by Father. Unfortunately, Lucy was in the middle of magazine distribution then, so I only remember one part. He quoted a line from The Agony and the Ecstasy: "After the ecstasy, then the laundry." Having transcendent experiences are not the end of the spiritual life here on earth. Surely such moments are a consolation and strengthening of faith. But they are also a fortification for future action. We are called to bring the sense of wonder and worship to our daily tasks, like doing laundry. I pray that we accept the grace to keep that Spirit always.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Catholic Media Promotion Day

Today (March 15, 2011) is Catholic Media Promotion Day, where we are encouraged to list our favorite new media Catholic things. Here's my list:

Three awesome Catholic podcasts:
  • Catholic in a Small Town is a scandalously funny podcast of a young Catholic couple raising children in a small town in Georgia.
  • A Good Story Is Hard to Find discusses books and movies seeing the Catholic angle in them, whether it's intentionally there or not. All truth is one, so if a writer or movie maker hits on the truth there's probably something related to the church you can say about it.
  • Catholic Stuff You Should Know is a fun podcast that covers all sorts of issues, stories, practices, etc. etc. about Catholic faith, history, people, and places.

Three awesome Catholic blogs:
  • Happy Catholic has quotes, wonderful pictures, great reviews, life stories, and other wonderful tidbits. The tag line is great too, "Not always happy but always happy to be Catholic."
  • John C. Wright's Journal is a great science fiction/fantasy writer with a blog to match. Very in-depth commentary and very erudite. Lately, there's been a lot of pictures of Julie Newmar as Catwoman, which I'm not complaining about.
  • The Sci Fi Catholic is a favorite that isn't very active any more. The blogger is now in seminary and has very little free time. Hopefully he will pick up more in the summer and after his intensive studies are over!

Three other media:
  • USCCB Daily Mass Readings to which I refer quite often, especially on my Cry Room Chronicles blogs.
  • Lots of parishes have good websites and our home parish (St. Louis) is in this group. If you're parish's website is lame, volunteer to help fix it!
  • If you travel a lot, like I used to, a handy site is Catholic Mass Times, where you can search for a parish wherever you travel.

Three random Catholic things online:
  • SQPN, the Star Quest Production Network is a conglomeration of different podcasts, blogs, and other new media initiatives that really does have stellar qualities (pun intended).
  • Maryland Catholic Conference is how I stay informed about statewide issues impacting social issues Catholics should be informed about. Also, they fascilitate contacting representatives when an issue comes up. The Maryland House of Representatives just killed a bill that would have rewritten the law stating marriage is between one man and one woman. Yay us!
  • New Advent has the Catholic Encyclopedia, Thomas Aquinas' Summa, the Bible, and a bunch of other great content.

My projects:
  • Life's Enchanting, Noteworthy Tidings, my original blog, started in Lent two years ago (when I blogged once a day as a Lenten penance!). Now it mostly consists of the aforementioned Cry Room Chronicles, which retells my adventures with the wife and two children under the age of four going to church each Sunday. Some day, I hope to hear the whole homily at church.
  • Zombie Parent's Guide, which hasn't had anything really Catholic yet, though the last entry was about Ash Wednesday. I did get a bunch of Catholic parenting books for Christmas that I am finally getting around to reading, so there's more to come.
  • Forgotten Classics, which isn't really my project but I am a contributor. The wonderful host, Julie, has let me record some fairy tales and folklore for her podcast which presents great stories from the past. Currently she's reading Robert Alter's translation of Genesis. I'm still recording and am glad to take any suggestions or requests!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles XXXIII

Losing an hour to daylight savings time this Sunday meant we were able to go to the 9:30 a.m. Mass like it was at 8:30! It worked out quite well for us. Granny and Grandpa are visiting and came with us. A good time was had by all, more or less.

Most of us wanted to go into the main body of the church. The exception was Jacob, who made a very loud protest just as we were entering, right in front of the priest and altar servers who were ready to begin Mass. Not wanting to cause a scene, I took Jacob where he wanted to go, the children's chapel. Grandpa came with us and we were the only ones there. I guess the usual 9:30 crowd couldn't make it earlier.

After a bit, Jacob wanted to go upstairs to go peepee. When we went to Stations of the Cross Friday night (which I should have blogged about but didn't) I showed Jacob the urinal in the men's room. He was really fascinated by it but didn't have anything to contribute Friday night. So today we went straight to the urinal. Unfortunately, Jacob had already gone at home and again didn't have anything to contribute. We washed our hands and headed back downstairs.

By this point, we were getting to the readings. After five minutes, Jacob asked for a diaper because he thought that he'd poop. I put it on him in the chapel bathroom which required another hand washing according to Jacob. Then Granny showed up with Lucy who was claiming poopiness. I checked her and she was clean. Lucy insisted on the diaper change even when I explained that she really didn't need it, so we changed her in the chapel bathroom. In Lucy's defense, she was a little wet. Granny and Grandpa offered to watch the kids in the chapel so I could go upstairs with Angie and have a more prayerful Mass.

I gratefully went upstairs (leaving Jacob to poop while I was gone, sorry Granny!) and found Angie. The homily was still going but I was too wound up from all the children's shenanigans to pay proper attention. It's too bad because the readings were really great ones--the Fall of Man in Genesis and Jesus tempted by Satan in the Desert. The rest of Mass went very smoothly and quite prayerfully. Thanks, Granny and Grandpa!

After Mass, we headed over to the playground where Jacob showed off his climbing skills to the amazement of his grandparents. He went down the slides forwards and on his tummy. He climbed all the ladders and once went up the rock wall (with a boost from me). He was having so much fun showing off that he didn't want to leave. I wound up carrying him to the van under protest. We made it up to him by taking everyone to the fabulous Sunday Jazz Brunch at Ram's Head Tavern in Historic Savage Mill. Jacob loved the Jazz trio!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles SE: Ash Wednesday 2011

Sorry about not posting a chronicle on Sunday. We went to Front Royal to celebrate Grandmama's birthday and the whole day was taken up. It was a good Mass and Father talked about the importance of praying for the conversion of sinners. I will definitely keep them (which includes me) in my intentions this Lent.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. One of the most popular devotions in Catholicism is to receive ashes on the forehead, which is what Jacob, Lucy and I did today. We went to St. Louis for the 9:30 a.m. Mass, which was also the Mass for St. Louis's elementary school. The church was packed with students. We went straight to the children's chapel.

We walked in during the first reading, so we were definitely running late. Already in there were a mom and dad with two children. We exchanged smiles. Jacob asked for a diaper because he thought that he'd poop. It never happened. The rest of the readings and the homily were only heard in bits and pieces as I dealt with that and Lucy's subsequent desire for diaper attention. Father talked about St. Louis, the parish's patron, a king in France who was an exemplary model of a ruler and a person. I'd give you more details if I could.

Lucy almost ashless by the time we got home
After the homily ashes were distributed. Jacob initially wasn't interested in getting ashes, but he gained interested and was quite cooperative when we received them. Lucy liked getting ashes. Unfortunately, she head-butted me on the way back from the altar and lost most of her ashes almost immediately.

The big surprise was coming back to the children's chapel, which was suddenly packed with moms and children! I'm not sure where they came from but they sure livened up the place. Jacob and Lucy interacted a little bit with the new kids. Some traded books, others baskets or rosary beads. Everything got sorted back by communion time. Jacob and Lucy were enthusiastic signers of peace and they put a bunch of coins in the poor box.

Jacob wanted to go to the playground after Mass was over. The weather was far too cold, which he realized once we were outside. We came home to a yummy lunch for them and some toast for me (check out how fasting went here).