Friday, July 3, 2015

Captain America-Inspired T-Shirts to Celebrate the 4th of July

Searching around on Twitter, I stumbled across some DIY ideas for Independence Day. Seeing as my cup currently runneth (way) over in the scheduling department, I quickly whittled the list down to one project that I could easily manage with the kids. Kelly at Simply Kelly Designs made great-looking, Captain America-inspired t-shirts for her brood that I decided we had to make.

Kelly had a fantastic tutorial, but I decided that I wanted to work with items I already had lying around the house so I nixed the fabric paint and grabbed my handy-dandy, fix-it-all duct tape and a few other supplies.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Mama's Drama 2: Putting Myself Back Together

parenting strategies for survival

In my previous article I wrote about how I sometimes feel like an old tattered teddy bear, who's been tossed, toted and squished until the seams burst and the stuffing erupts. Unfortunately, unlike the teddy bear's frayed parts, my episodes of impatience and lost temper are anything but cute.

Honestly, I try to be a patient mother. I try to listen with interest when someone interrupts my attempt to write an article for the fourteenth time in a row, so that they can tell me the uber adorable trick they've just taught their baby brother. And I try to maintain my cool when two siblings start barking their opposing sides of a debate five minutes after we've all walked outside of the church doors. I try, but sometimes I fail.

Monday, June 22, 2015

When the Drama Gets to Mama the Stuffings Gonna Fly

parenting includes drama

 The baby walked in front of our play-set swing, while it was in use by the 6 year old, causing the littlest guy to be launched into a fresh mud puddle. That incident caused their teen-aged, sibling caretaker to lash out at the swing rider eye-for-an-eye style. I was working 3rd grade math word problems and navigating the world in an atlas with my 5th grader when the crying, muttering, muddy trio burst through the front door simultaneously bellowing their allegations against one another.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

23 Years Ago I Married the Boy Next Door

23rd anniversary

Playing catch-up with a friend, our conversation was interrupted by a starry-eyed young man. Sensing a need to balance out the intrusion, my friend made polite introductions. Only the gentleman's unflinching gaze made it clear that I'd instantaneously become a third wheel in this encounter.

His eyes transfixed on my youthful (and single) friend, he hardly noticed my existence. And when another party broke into the circle, I suspected from the look on his face that he was mentally plotting a plan to keep my friend from drifting out of his sight.

Find a Bit of Renewal for Your Homeschooling Journey

<strong>Friday & Saturday, June 19 & 20</strong>

Are you a homeschooling parent in need of some encouragement or practical advice? Still trying to discern whether homeschooling is the right fit for your family? 

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Standing Rules and Coping Strategies from the Laundry Room of a Big Family

Raleigh Moms Blog

With 20 feet, 10 bodies and 9 beds in my household, we generate piles of stinky socks, baskets of dirty clothes and mounds of wrinkled bed linens. And that’s not even including the kitchen towels, bath towels, table clothes and face clothes. Now that summer is here, I don’t even want to get started calculating the number of sopping wet bathing suits I’ll find lying on the bathroom floors or musty wadded-up towels I’ll retrieve from the yard.

Seriously, I don’t remember having an olfactive aversion to soiled laundry when I began this mama-gig, but 19 years in the smell of dirty laundry makes me queasy. However, short of hitting the lottery, I don’t see hiring a personal laundress in my near future, so aside from some ample help from my children I guess my laundry duty days are many more to follow.

To lighten my load, I’ve developed a few standing rules and some coping strategies in my household. Read them HERE at Raleigh Moms Blog.


Friday, May 29, 2015

5 Tips for Surviving the Family Road Trip

Road Trips With Kids Raleigh Moms Blog

“On the road again…just can’t wait to get on the road again” are song lyrics written by a man who clearly has never carted 8 related children around in a church-sized van. Doubtful he’s ever had to listen to “He’s kicking my seat, she’s got her feet in my face, they’re eating all the popcorn or the baby is pinching me” for nine straight hours.

Seeing as my beloved and I decided to raise our group far from family, we’ve had to master the art of long distance road tripping with children in order to visit all those aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Maybe I should clarify a bit because my husband’s current work schedule allows forces him to relegate the annual trek to me alone (I know he’s really weeping when we’re all gone and he’s stuck in a quiet house with his stinky cigars and the TV remote). To better facilitate our journey and prevent me from losing my mind in the fast lane of I-95, we’ve developed a few rules for the road.

Read my 5 tips for road trip sanity HERE at Raleigh Moms Blog

Monday, May 11, 2015

Being a Matisse Woman: Seeing Beauty in the Natural Form

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Henri Matisse - Decorative Figure on an Ornamental Ground
Henri Matisse – Decorative Figure on an Ornamental Ground
Giggling, two of my little boys made their way in my direction (poking and shoving all the while). The 9 year old was toting a hardcover book in his hands which he promptly thrust in front of me just as I took my second bite of lunch. His 6 year old cohort looked on with a smirk, as he determinedly flipped through the pages until he'd reached the one that had caused their giddiness.

“Mom, look at this,” the older child commanded. “She's naked. There are naked pictures in this book!” After glancing at the full page graphic of The Artist and His Model, I spent the next several minutes (between bites) explaining the beauty of the human form and the awesomeness of bodies. However, at some point during my educational speech they did what little boys do, they drifted off in search of some new distraction.

Finding myself alone with the book, I took the time to scan the pages for myself. Certainly, Henri Matisse's talent was undeniable and his subject matters included everything from the female form to a Catholic chapel, but I found myself, like my sons, fixated on those nudes albeit for a wholly different reason.

READ the rest of my post on Raleigh Moms Blog

Friday, May 8, 2015

Some Mothers Will Have Empty Arms This Mother's Day

mother's day when your baby has died
Dimitri Mikhail and me, his mama

Freshly picked bouquets stacked in bunches, lovely hydrangeas planted in bright pink pots, cards spilling out into the store aisles and 1-800-BUY-HER-THIS commercials repeating on the radio: all reminders that Mother's Day was on the horizon. Envious, I longed to be pampered, fussed over and honored. Desperately, I wanted to expect cards in the mailbox and notes in my inbox. I fantasized about getting one of those carnations they give out to all of the moms after church.

I wanted to be just like every other mama on Mother's Day.

But I was not.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Confidence and Strength Win Out During the Girls On the Run Spring 5K

strong girls run GOTR in 5K

Bright and early on a clear, crisp April morning here in the Triangle, one of my darling daughters and I laced up our sneakers, dusted the yellow pollen haze from the jogging stroller and made our way to the American Tobacco Campus in Durham. I’d scored tickets for the Quintiles’ Girls On The Run that was taking place in the Bull City. Being our first ever 5K run, we weren’t sure what to expect.

Let me back up just a bit first and admit that when I entered the online giveaway I was REALLY hoping to win the family portrait session. I was already pondering what clothes my crew of kids would wear for the picture when I received the email congratulating me for having scored two tickets to Girls On The Run. I chalked it up to just my luck and decided this was the push I needed to finally get into shape.
READ the rest HERE

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Pictures Nancy Left Behind

Without a word, he stretched his long arm behind her frame, which seemed particularly petite standing side by side with him. Gently his open palm came to rest on the small of her back. Sensing his touch, she leaned in, just slightly, toward his broad shoulder. They didn't speak in audible tones. Their attention was directed forward as mine should have been, but for some reason I was captivated by the tenderness of their moment.  

Friday, April 17, 2015

God Is Impatient: a teenager's reflection on the Why? of death

new life comes after winter' dying

Why? It's the question bouncing around my mind. Why?

Just as my pain becomes bearable, just as I feel like maybe I can start to go back to being the person I used to be, I hear the news. A beloved and wonderful mother, a parishioner of St. Joseph's Church, is expected to die, and tonight. Why? Why does death always seem to follow me? Why are the people we love so cruelly snatched away? Why aren't we allowed just a little bit longer with them?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Indiana's Memories Pizza Owners Scored for the Right Team: Keeping Our Eyes on the Goal

Like a swarm of bumblebees that buzz one way and then the other, their little bodies bump and rub as they move in unison after the rolling target. The air is booming with commands, but the rush of adrenaline has rendered the players deaf. Just as some tense on-lookers bound from their seats, arms waving wildly, the pint-sized leader boldly takes the perfect shot straight into the goal. The proud victor beaming, he turns to receive the expected praise. But all his fans can muster are feigned smiles and wagging heads because the happy player, who'd forgotten his team's colors, has just scored a goal for the OPPOSITION.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bird Song: a poem by Sasha Brelinsky

I suppose writing is in the blood here in Brelinskyville. My daughter, Sasha Terese, wrote this poem recently for a poetry contest being held at our local library.

Bird Song

Up in a tree,
on his brown seat,
out of his throat,
comes a soft tweet.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wasting Our Treasure on Christ: A Meditation on the Woman with the Alabaster Jar

Michelangelo Caravaggio 063.jpg
Michelangelo Caravaggio

Shortly after having given birth to my first darling daughter and fourth child, someone suggested that I seek employment working with special needs children. I hadn't been soliciting advice or job hunting, but I guess the messenger found it reasonable to imply that we should move beyond baby-making seeing as we'd finally managed to have that elusive girl-child and that our dream of having a large family had been fulfilled (according to societal standards).

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