March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Today we opted take our cheese pizza and head to the prayer garden at our church to do our Good Friday prayers with the kiddos. Success. Success.

We did the stations of the cross in the little outside garden kid style-- where at each station Matt gave a brief explanation, the kids could ask questions, and then we would say a short prayer. The kids loved it and had plenty of room to move, stretch, run, jump, and even talk. It really was quite the pleasant experience. Thank you oh wise husband for conviencing me not to try yet another service inside the Church with all four kiddos right at dinner/bed time. This was quite the breath of fresh air our little family needed.

Most importantly thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for me and loving me in the midst of my shortcomings and sinful ways. I love you and dedicate my life to you!

Holy Times

Holy week really is such an amazing time in our Church and I REALLY want to make it just as amazing for our little family. However, it doesn't always seem to feel that way.

We tried the Wednesday penance service with all 4 kids this year. After being there for a mere 5 minutes I thought to myself, "What in the world were you thinking?" The kids were not good, I couldn't focus, Isaac talked too loud and then continued to talk TOO loud, Grace screamed and wanted water and then the water got on her dress making her scream more.
I do have to say though that Isaiah was very good, and seemed to be even praying in the midst of our Boda chaos, which made this Momma bear very proud.
Of course, our Hopey girl was perfect.  But alas with 2 out of the 4 being not so good, we ended up moving our crew into the lobby/entrance/back part (you know what I mean) and then after 10 minutes of this action we had to move them again to outside of the church with Matt on kid duty, while I tried to pray in the back of the Church. Still the kids were too loud, so they and Matt were sequestered to the car while I waited to be first in line for confession. Saintly Matt then drove us all home, made sure I was somewhat settled in with the troops and then headed back to church for his confession. Cray to the Z.

So last night we did the only logically thing that I could think of, we got a babysitter and went to Holy Thursday mass with just Hope. Matt had to leave early, because he was getting his feet washed, lucky dog :). And I had quite an adventure of a time getting out of our house and then out of our driveway with Grace running our the front door yelling "MOMMYYY," which really did totally rip on my heartstrings. But once we got her settled (with the help of a sucker) and I was at Mass with Hope (20 minutes late)-- it was a slice of Heaven. I love having my sweet babe with me at Church. And honestly I love having all my peeps (code for other kids) with me at Mass too. I just wish they would behave perfectly, but since that is a tad bit unrealistic at this stage in our life, I will take the moments of peace and serenity that I can get in our beautiful Haven of a Church.

Every year on Good Friday Matt and I try to make it as much of a retreat day as we can. Each year presents a new challenge, while he still balances work and I the kids, but I love how we make this a day of prayer. Please know that family, friends, and blogosphere friends that we are praying for you!

"Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are -- in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. ... You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society -- completely forgotten, completely left alone."

March 27, 2013

Birthday Madness

Here at team Boda we don't just celebrate a birthday for one day, no no no we celebrate it all weekend with multiple parties and extravaganza's. On Sunday we had Isaac's big birthday party with all our friends. It was held at a beautiful park that has a Marina and place for kids to fish right by a great covered pavilion and a playground. My superman of a husband spent most of his time between all the kiddos baiting and rebaiting, untangling and reuntangling fishing lines. Up to his eye balls with kids he barely had a second to think, but of course all done with a smile on his face. He really is a super star, just saying. And I managed the food part and set up (of course, I forgot the dressing for the salad, the veggies that Matt so diligently cut up that morning for the salad, and probably something else that I am forgetting right now), but regardless the party was still a hit.
Isaac was not really in the picture taking mood,  but of course I kept snapping. 

Isaac, now being all grown up at age 5, should be over melt down central and cry your eyes out in front of guests stage, especially when it's his party! But lo and behold, right when I pulled up with the food and the girls he came running to me in sobs because he banged up his knee pretty darn good, causing all reason, control, and big boy capabilities to dissipate from his very being. So, as guests kept coming and I managed a somewhat fussing Hope, a Gracie girl, and getting all the food out of the car and over to the pavilion for setup, Isaac hung on my leg, behind my back, on my side-- pretty much wherever he could attach himself onto my person crying. My mind kept going back and forth from thinking "poor little buddy" in soft comforting mommy tones to "can't you pull it together, we have a party and lots of people that I am trying to talk to" in frantic I mean business tones. Thank God Aunt Katrin and Uncle Nate were there to help and eventually managed to get a bandaid on his wounded knee, they held Hope and helped me to get everything set up. Oh and Nate ran to Walmart for salad dressing!!! Pheeww what would I have done without them, seriously family is the best!
So after an hour or 2 or 4, Isaac finally released himself from my person and the party went on.

We had a surprise visit from my aunt, uncle and cousin visiting from Indiana which of course made the day even that much better.

Aunt Katrin was super Aunt and Godmother to Isaac making not just one amazing cake but 2, power ranger and the other monster jam, both of which Isaac requested.

She ALWAYS does an amazing job of taking care of her gfree little Godson.

It was so fun to have Mia and Ziggy all the way from Tampa come too. They helped Katrin with the cake and loved on Isaac the whole time. Ziggy so wanted to help Isaac out when he was in all his crying knee pain, quite the compassionate cousin.
Gracie girl picked out her cinderella outfit especially for the party. 

So in the end with all the bumps and kinks, it was a party success and Isaac felt really loved and special. Goal. Bam. Done.

As usual Matt and I went home, got the kids down as quickly as possible and relaxed with our adult beverage in hand, mine being one (maybe two beers). Then we both fell asleep dreaming of shrimp bait, monster jam trucks, and cute little kids running around the playground screaming, "Nan anah boo boo you can't catch me." Doesn't get much better than that folks.

We like to let the kids live on the wild side. 

A little spiderman pinata action. 

All smiles at the end= success.

March 24, 2013

Sanctifying Sunday: Pope Francis Take 2

Matt again. Enjoy. I always do :). 
I'm excited about this new pontiff.  He's surpassed my hesitant expectations already.  I'm ready to take all of my betting chips and "push all in on him."  There's a couple of reasons for this.

First, his choosing the name Francis is a great start.  I couldn't imagine a better intercessor for our time than the humble poverello.  Certainly in these complicated times the world needs the simple message of the Gospel.  Fr. Benedict Groeschel told me on the phone the other day that it is a poor Church that is needed.  Saint John Chrysostom, the "golden tongue," said something of the same effect.  This quote is loose, "Why adorn the altar with gold chalices and the like while the poor go hungry in the streets and dressed in rags."

Next, his disposition is a great start too.  I've heard various accounts of humble beginnings.  Some of my favorites are losing those silly red Versaci shoes. It's not a commentary on previous popes who have worn them, for heavens sake my favorite pair of shoes are my red vans...Hypocrisy at its best!
Pope Francis also chooses to pay for his own hotel room, and chooses not to sit on the "high throne" but goes onto the floor, the same level, to greet the cardinals.  I heard about JP2's similar antics and the way the safety details would have to scramble to protect him... I'm sure this kind of stuff will be dialed down.  But at least it has to be dialed down and I'm sure it'll be reluctantly accepted.  Also, as a Cardinal refusing the palacial palace and living in a simple apartment and taking the bus, not the limo, to work!  Pope Francis actually told Argentinians NOT to travel to Rome and instead take that money and donate it to the poor!

That leads me to my next most exciting point.

His focus on the poor is exhilerating.  Now, there are much better commentators out there than me and I'm excited to hear them start to break this open, or peel the layers back and boil this down.

Here's a side note.  Maybe it's too poignant or not PC (politically catholic), but if I heard one more reference of the "Church's Princess" I was going to go crazy.  Does the world need to think of us as having princes? I'm pretty sure that if I was elected or cardinated or whatever happens, my first decree would be to NOT, under penalty of severe sin, call me a "prince" or to kiss my ring.  Again, it's not a commentary on individual cardinal's preferences or even if you like these customs, it's just not what we need right now.  I don't recall Jesus demanding titles of respect or positions of superiority-- remember, sit at the foot of the table and not the head?

But, back to the poor thing. In my opinion, Pope Francis has done a wonderful bait and switch, which will be either confirmed or denied as time passes.  Soon, the world will realize that he has in fact made the poor of the world the "princes" of the church.

This emphasis on the materially poor has caught the world's attention.  Of course the Church is, or should be, the Church of the poor.  But, poverty does not exclude those with more in their bank accounts.  It actually includes them, and maybe includes them even more than the physical poor.  I can hear Mother Theresa speaking of the spiritually poor, dare I ad lib, and add that the materially rich are more poor and need Jesus MORE?!!?!!

St. Francis' insight into the poverty of people was two fold.  First, the poor man recognized the plight of the material poor.  Jesus' command is clear in MT 25 and Francis' embrace of the leper is of iconic measure.  The story goes that after being repulsed by lepers his whole life and often running in the other direction from them, but he is finally coerced by grace and when embraces a leper he sees Jesus!  
So we too have this call.

Secondly, St. Francis, the poor man, recognized the plight of EVERYONE!  Everyone is poor.  And this is where I think it gets really exciting.  The sooner the modern advanced superior FIRST world comes to realize that we are all poor, the sooner the simple yet transforming message of the Gospel can begin to dramatically change hearts.  God is a great GIVER & wants to give all things that are GOOD.

Everyone is poor because ultimately nothing is ours.  Everything has been given as gift.   Here's the radical bridge linking JP2's pontificate and Francis' pontificate.  It's the law of the GIFT.  Everything has been given as gift to us, even our lives, and the law of the gift is simple.  If you want to possess your gift you will lose your gift, but if you want to embrace your gift you must give it away!  Love is diffusive of itself & holds nothing back.

As St. Francis would say, "We are all beggars before God."  Another little antidote for pride from St. Francis is, "The only thing that we truly possess are our sins."  Lastly, "What we are before God is what we are nothing more and nothing less."  Maybe it's that balance that will open the door ways to peoples hearts- to not think too much of ourselves, or to not think too less of ourselves.  Maybe to recognize that we are all royalty of the King- that we are all prince or princess, we are all POORLY RICH!!!

March 23, 2013

Sanctifying Sunday: Pope Francis Take 1

Thoughts from my beloved, Matthew Thomas... 

The past few days have been extremely exciting to say the least.  The white smoke came rather quickly and now we have a  new Pope-- Pope Francis that is!
Many people have asked me what I think and I've attempted to take a rather disciplined, moderate and reserved approach.  Maybe time has taught me to be more patient, mature like....

Maybe NOT!  I'm all in after reading and listening and watching.  This is not the time for pessimism and I'll go on record to say it's up to Pope Francis to disappoint me rather than prove himself, he's already begun, impressively begun proving himself.   

I know that I'm not the only one, but I have to make it known that the en vogue virtue of pessimism should be firmly rejected and optimism adopted.  The world is going to end, however, I don't think any time soon.  Even if it does, I can state beyond a reasonable doubt that the Lord certainly doesn't want to show up and have pessimistic Christians hunkered down in their bunkers with month supplies of Ramen Noodles and powdered milk.  

Pope Francis is sending a message of hope to EVERYONE!

His demeanor to me has been the incarnation of what it means to be a "pontiff", a bridge.  Interestingly enough, the "chair" of Peter is supposed to be a "bridge".  This bridge is supposed to be a bridge from humanity to God, and a bridge between the world's neighbors, ie, one another.

Next time I'll attempt to list my reasons.  Tune in for a couple of things that have made me wager my full betting capabilities and why I'm pushing all of my chips in for Pope Francis!

Isaac turns 5!

Matt and I stayed up super late last Thursday night. Why you ask? Because we were decorating and wrapping for our Isaac's 5th birthday today! Woot, woot! Fun times over here.

It's really is hard to believe that that my baby Isaac is now such a big boy.
Up before 7am to celebrate. 

Our Isaac Thomas has come such a long way from his nonstop all day and night days of crying as a wee babe.

Isaac, we love...
the way you love Hope and Grace.
how you play so well with Zah and always want to include him in everything you do.
that you are so brave.
that you eat so healthy, which makes you so strong.
how you love Ziggy and Mia.
that you are always ready to compete and win.
that you love to wear different colored socks and even though we live in Florida that you refuse to wear. sandals or any easy slip on shoes.
that you worked so hard to learn to ride your bike.

There is absolutely nothing better than seeing you happy or making you laugh.
We love you forever buddy!

Grace giving Isaac a bday hug. Nothing better than siblings!

March 20, 2013

What they said: Pope Francis Style

This is a little late in coming, but here at Team Boda we had the most blessed time watching and waiting for the announcement of our new Pope.

I had just returned from New York with Hopie girl and before I went to lay my weary head down for a 30 minute power nap, Matt screamed: "There's white smoke!" This immediately pumped adrenaline through my veins, which plastered a permanent smile on my face. No nappy time for me! The boys, Hope, Matt and I (Gracie girl was already fast asleep for the afternoon) sat watching and waiting, our hearts hopeful and bright.

It was so fun to share those moments with our two big boys! They were caught up in all the joy with us and their comments throughout left us with lots of memorable laughs from this monumental day.

Isaac was completely convinced that Father Zyg was going to be the next Pope. He asked us at least 10 different times: "Is Father Zyg the new Pope?"

After watching the coverage for almost an hour and still waiting to see and hear who the new Pope was Isaiah said: "Mom, it's just so hard to wait." Yes, my sweet boy, I felt the same way!
Isaiah when he first saw Pope Francis on the TV.
When Pope Francis finally appeared Isaac said: "That guy looks like Father Zyg."

As the crowd in St. Peter's square were yelling "Viva La Papa," Isaiah says: "It seems like they are screaming, team Michael." Hmmmm... really Zah. 

We ended our time with a family prayer for our new Holy Father. Isaac wanted to lead and proceed to pray: "Bless us oh Lord and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive through Christ our Lord, Amen." Matt, Isaiah and I just went right along with him. Finished with the sign of the cross.  Bam. Done.

Later that night we went out to celebrate with friends at our favorite g-free pizza and sorbet restaurant. I asked the boys: "So what's the name of our new Pope?" Isaiah responded full of confidence: "Pope Peter." Close bud, very close, but it's Pope Francis.

The boys kept explaining to Grace that we had a new Pope. She on the other hand kept saying, "No Doggie and Zah, I do not have new pokes. I am a rock star." Well said Grace. 

A New York Minute

Wow. I have taken such an unintentional hiatus from blogging. 
I have missed it. My thoughts need an escape :). 

Hope and I were in NYC with Mags, Mary (Mags bff), Mom and Aunt Katrin for a girls weekend! We really had a fabulous time doing everything that was humanly possible in the city that never sleeps. My feet were throbbing but my heart stayed full as we spent time with each other.
Ready for take off.
The 5 amigas.
Happy girl, this was how Hopie was the entire time. 
Carriage ride in central park. 
This guy really made me laugh. 

March 4, 2013

What they said...

Grace: "Momma, I prin press and dada a monster. Grrrrr."

Isaiah: "Mom, I am just not really feeling school today." Sorry sweetie still have to go. 

Matt and Grace sitting on the couch sharing what seems to be a sweet moment.
Matt says: "Gracie girl, Jesus made you so special and loves you so much."
Grace responds in all sincerity: "Dada, smell my feet."

Isaac: "Mom you look like an animal with your hair like." Hmmm, okay, thanks for sharing Isaac. 

Grace: "Momma, my belly hurt, I need cook-ie. Hope belly hurt, she need mommy's milk."

As I am walking out the door for a little Target therapy shopping, Grace says: "Bye Mom, I'll call you later."

When a commercial came on the tv with with Ryan Seacrest in it, Matt asked me: "Do you think Ryan Seacrest and I could be twins? I mean, look at his hair and then look at mine." Uhhh no. Sorry babe, I just don't see it. 

Me: "Did you just roll your eyes at me?"
Matt: "Yes, and I meant for you to see."

March 3, 2013

Sanctifying Sunday: DON'T FEED THE ANIMALS!

Before Matt begins, I wanted to link up for the first time with Fine Linen and Purple: What I Wore Sunday. 

Sweater: Walmart!
Pants: Kohls
Shoes: BCBG from Marshalls
Scarf: Present from my good friend Bridge, it was 50 degrees this morning and I love having an excuse to wear it.

Now for the better stuff from Matthew...

I'm always thinking of how we can better share the message of Jesus and evangelize people. Often, the answer comes from the negative scenarios, which I definitely experienced in this next encounter....

Last week at church I had a profound experience and have wanted to share this with you.  This experience has been repetitive over and over.... Roughly 52x7=364 TIMES.

The church we attend is called St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, in Naples Florida.  It's a great parish and the church itself can hold 1,200 people- uncomfortably.  I imagine last week there was an extra 300 plus people there, due to all of our lovely snow birds. 

Our pastor, Fr. John, is an amazingly prayerful man who has brought conversion and renewal in a parish, which many would have thought improbable and some impossible.

Nonetheless, the last 2 Sunday's we've experienced a grandiose problem of too many faithful parishioners overflowing our morning mass.  As result of this great problem the ushers decided to use the "cry room" as an overflow room to accommodate the need for seating.  As people were being herded into this room, like cattle sentenced to their doom and they had the look of terror on their faces.  Yes, a whole hour in the aptly named, yet grossly negative connotation- "THE CRY ROOM!"  They knew that they were in for it, and we did too!

As a side bar, I do know that this aforementioned room is an appropriate name. Some truths are self evident in life.  If you are NOT  crying when you go in there (the cry room), you surely will be crying in a short amount of time! If you have the endurance to last such matters, i assure you will weep in the end.  And, if you can enter and endure the cry room you will, with an ounce of empathy,"cry for those who remain."

For those who remain....This place can certainly be compared to the lower rung of Dante's Inferno. Yes, I am exaggerating, but I liked how that sounded. 
So, the nice ushers were gently escorting these poor unexpectedly souls into the cloud of the unknowing.  I thought to myself, "Well, these people must of have done something really wrong to be seated in here!"

Now, I know this may be out of bounds and may not actually make it to print because of my wife's redacting editorial skills making me more P.C.-  Politically Catholic- but, this cry room is designed as a replica of purgatory I'm sure.  The best of priests should give a mass or two as a penance in the cry room to the worst of returning sinners.  Yes, surely Augustine (my total fav of fav) and Merton (my fav son yielding talking monk) would have had their fare share in the cry room.  

So, succinctly put, there are X characteristics that are defining of our "cry room."

First, there is no sound.  Since I realized this reality I've encouraged my to learn how to lip read.  I wishfully hope that they'll translate for me as the Mass moves along.  I just don't have the luxury of reading lips during this wonderful experience because I'm occupied with other distractions. 

Usually I'm  taking a kid to the bathroom,
getting a sip of water,
telling one or all of them:
to sit or stand,
or to turn around,
or to get off the ground,
or NOT to eat that off the ground- yes, it was probably from the Fusco's last weekend Mass,
or telling Xavier (our 4 year old friend) not to walk on the counter,
or one of his relatives not to mess with the sound board for the WHOLE church!  They actually keep it in the cry room unlocked!!!

Seriously, they should have me as the Pontiff of the cry room.  Yes, many may be confused because  we tell them to "stay still" and then tell them to sit, stand, kneel, sit, stand, bow and then sit again!!!

My Name would be Pope RELAX WITH YOURSELF!

Secondly, it feels like purgatory.  There's no AC.  Or, very little at best.  I actually began calculating the square footage of the church and was impressed that we can adequately cool this massive church in Southwest Florida that holds 1,200 people, but can't AC a room that's 20X30.  I stepped out to the main church for Communion and it dropped 15 degrees!!!  I ascertain that this is a way to promote NFP!  
Lastly, no one will look at you!  You almost feel like you are in the zoo but on the other side of the monkey cage.  This time you're the monkeys doing "your" thing as everyone meanders by making faces and the like.  However, the majority of the congregation walks by the cry room that has a huge glass window and no one looks at you!  It's similar to the experience of when you come to an intersection and there's a guy holding a sign that says, "Will work for food" or something of that nature and everyone looks the other way!

This week I'm taking a sign that says, "Please watch my kids so I can feel like I've actually gone to Mass."  

Not a lie, this one old guy made eye contact with me last weekend and his wife grabbed his arm and pulled him away.  I was able to read her lips (HA!) she said, "Don't feed the animals!"

Here's the great part. There's TONS of young families with tons of young kids who love the Lord...

So, throw the FOOD, TAP the glass, ignore us!  We're still here- sanity or not!!!!  These are exciting times and all is for His Glory!!

March 2, 2013

7 quick takes

Joining Jen at Conversion Diary for another round of quick takes. 

I know 7 quick takes are suppose to be on Friday, but I just couldn't finish them up yesterday, so here we go a day late. 

Mom and Dad Loboda are here and we are having so much fun! 

We hit up a hockey game with ALL the kids, including 2 cousins. Yes, a little crazy, but lots of fun. And double the fun because Gramma and Grampa kept the boys afterwards for a sleepover. 
Bounce house before game. 
Nothing is better than having cousin Chase around. 
It was like 55 degrees out, so we had Hope in three layers with blankets wrapped around. 

Again, Hope was the most well behaved of the whole bunch. 

 Grace is still posing, which is still cracking us up to no end. 

For #5 a little bit of Hope news. 
Have you ever taken a picture of your baby and then when you went to look at it thought to yourself, "I didn't know she looked like this." That happened to me with this pic. 

Hope is such a happy baby that when she nurses she spends half the time smiling at me. So it goes like this:  latch, nurse, smile at mommy... latch, smile... nurse, smile... and over and over.  

The boys game of choice this week was Tennis in the driveway/street. They seriously did this for an hour at a time. 

And finally, I discovered these Kale Chips from Trader Joe's this week and I la la love them. 
You must try!