Thursday, December 30, 2010


To all my dear readers, wishing you a very Merry Christmastide and a Blessed New Year!

"Frick", "Frack", "Fred", Mary and Gabby, the Fantastic Five!

We had a wonderful Christmas here at home, the kids all enjoyed a Christmas full of both presents that were wrapped and family presence that was enjoyed.  My father came from Idaho, my sister (whom I had not seen  for over a year and a half) came to have dinner with us the week prior to Christmas.  My better half's family enjoyed the holidays together after having to postpone only once due to our "New England blizzard".  It was an awesome Christmas for my family of littles.
"Frick" making Gingerbread houses

Our youngest son, "Fred"
We enjoyed a year of firsts this Christmas.  It was the first time that I really got down and made a point to enjoy moments with each of my children.  It's amazing what happened when I had my fifth baby.  Something that most people obviously experience with their first baby.  Time is precious, and fleeting, and this year I had this strong inner urge to enjoy the preparations of Christmas, to really enjoy them, with my children.  We started some new traditions this year.  We decorated gingerbread houses that were proudly put on display with our nativity scene on the china hutch.  My eldest son and I decorated the trees outside (which I'm sorry to say that I haven't done in the six years I've been here.)  We had an "Advent" Christmas tree that was decorated with hand made ornaments by my children.  I picked three new people to randomly send a Christmas card to, and invited new friends for dinner and merriment.  The children and I went caroling this year to some shut ins in our Parish.  I opted not to work so many Masses this Christmas Eve into Christmas to enjoy more time with my family (in the past I've been hired to sing/play at up to six Masses, this past Christmas, I went to three.)  I got a sense this year, in spite of our economy, that the money can wait, but that my family cannot.  And that's a decision that I will never regret, despite my children's obliviousness to it.
"Frack" making Gingerbread Houses

We have looked three different times at the same house in a neighboring town.  It's a small duplex that sits on a third of an acre.  Unlike most of these mill-style houses though, this one is divided into a 5 bedroom unit and a 1 bedroom efficiency rental.  It seems like a good opportunity for us, a good "next step", as we struggle to make the best decision for our ever-growing family in our ever-shrinking accomodations.  We're going to sit tight for a little while longer and see what the start of 2011 looks like before we make such a major decision.  I ask that you all keep us in your prayers as we discern this point.
Gabby and Dad

  Gabriella has proven to be an enormous blessing for our family.  Already in her young life she has been shunned by Priests and family alike.  She, the fifth child, must have been 'a mistake in a fit of passion that is a glaring embarrassment for us'.  Yes, that is the stigma we have faced this past fall as she continues her life's journey with our family.  People who were so quick to visit and leave friendly cards and gifts on the arrival of our first baby, now deride us with scorn on our fifth.  They obviously don't know Gabriella the way her brothers, her sister, as her mom and her dad do.  They can't see that big drooly grin that she's developing, they can only see her bobbing head as I carry her in the sling through the grocery store and juggle the other four.  They can't know how well loved and cared for she is by all of her siblings and mom during the day, they can only assume she is ignored and starved for attention since she 'must have been such an afterthought'.  They can't hear her Doctor marvel at how strong and healthy she is, and how lucky we are to have such a beautiful baby, they can only assume that we are investors at our local Pediatric clinic with all the business we provide them.  Well in the end, our laughter of delight will be the only sound left ringing in the ears of the cynics.  For she is indeed a beautiful, happy, healthy, and very much loved new member of our family.  And yet again, God has given me the grace of not remembering life without her, now that she is here.  I look at my children, my greatest gift and joy this Christmas season, and I see in them a future bright with hope and wonder.  That same glimmer of hope burns out all the brighter with each candle that is newly lit in the lives that are born here in our small and poor family.  As I let go of so many superfluous and shallow things to be more and more open to the grace that God has given me in my children, I realize that I am blessed, truly blessed, to have the loving support of my husband - a holy and righteous man of God, to have the outreach of a pro-life community in my Parish and in my friends, to have the grace that even comes to us from family members who may have chosen a different path for us.  In the end I am richly blessed, and grateful for the blessing.

Lord, this coming year, help me not to count the crosses that you ask me to bear, but to give thanks for all the blessings that those crosses symbolize.

Wishing you a prayer-filled, peaceful, Holy Christmastide, and a joyous and prosperous New Year.


  1. Congratulations on your fifth. Gabriella. I too am on the way to having my fifth and people do seem to be taken aback. Silly folks.

    Enjoy her.

    Warmest wishes

  2. Good on ya Patty. As one of 8 kids, we STILL get the stares and gasps when I tell of the family. This has just become a part of life - has been for a long time. We're definitely in the minority.
    I have taken to saying lately, when I get the gasp "8 children????? Wow!!" I usually say, "well, my parents wanted 12 and stopped at 8". :)
    Many Christmas blessings to you and your beautiful family.