Monday, February 15, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI's Parents

.- Pope Benedict XVI and his brother, Fr. Georg Ratzinger, 82, were surprised to learn this week that their parents, Joseph and Maria, met through a singles ad their father had placed in local Catholic weekly, Liebfraubote.

The disclosure came at the outset of the Pope’s return to his native Bavaria, where he intends to visit his parents’ grave and the village of Marktl am Inn, where he was born, reported the London Times.

The July 1920 ad was found in the Bavarian state archives by a researcher for the tabloid Bild. According to the report, the ad read: “Middle-ranking civil servant, single, Catholic, 43, immaculate past, from the country, is looking for a good Catholic, pure girl who can cook well, tackle all household chores, with a talent for sewing and homemaking with a view to marriage as soon as possible. Fortune desirable but not a precondition.”

Maria Peintner, 36, an illegitimate baker’s daughter and a trained cook, replied. She did not have a fortune, but they married four months later.

The Pope said he remembers his father as “strict but fair” and his mother as warm and open-hearted,” reported the Times.

Catholic News Agency

I love this story. Our priest, Fr. Stan, began his homily with the ad that Joseph Ratzinger, Sr. placed in the Catholic newspaper of his time. His short anecdote was amazing and I truly appreciated his words. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

HMP: Peanut Made It to the Altar

I had to read at church today. What does that mean? Bob complies and has the kids in the back pew for the first twenty-five minutes. After I was finished with the Prayers of the Faithful, I headed to the back of the church for the rest of the mass. Overall, Walnut and Peanut were very good UNTIL we went up for Communion. I held Peanut and Walnut held Bob's hand. We walked up received the body of Christ and went to our cozy back pew. However, Peanut was not willing to have a seat. He wanted to roam. He caused a fuss. I let him down. He proceeded half way up the center aisle and then came back. BUT, then he decided to LEISURELY WALK up the center aisle as Fr. Stan was preparing for the recessional. We played a game of it-tag and then finally I caught him. I was a bit embarrassed but, at the same time, I watched all of the parishioners laugh. Matthew is a handful-no doubt. He was given to me by God so that I would learn patience and unconditional love.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Luke 6:17, 20-26

"Blessed are you who are poor,
for the kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.
but woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you
for their ancestors treated the false prophets this way."

Good fortune consists of receiving God's kingdom blessings.
Confidence placed in transitory things of this world makes a disciple unfit for the kingdom.
Reliance on God is foremost.

My Hearts

Bob is a super husband-TRULY. Valentine's Day Weekend 2010 will be remembered with great appreciation and love. It really isn't about the new Vera Bradley bags. But, let me mention that my hubby poo got me a new Vera backpack and wallet in my new favorite Sittin' In A Tree pattern and flowers and another Blue Rhapsody Vera Bradley bag. WOW! However, what will always stick in my brain are Walnut and Peanut each carrying in a flower for me and Bob trailing with a beautiful plant. It made me cry and that's no easy task! I am blessed. I am grateful. I love my family!

Making Valentines

Recycled Paper Greetings and Papyrus became a branch of American Greetings at the beginning of 2010. Bob works for RPG and AG has now asked that all of the stores in which RPG has product be mapped. Therefore, Bob is super busy as the fiscal year ends at the end of February.
The snow really put a halt on Bob's work schedule and he decided that he would have to work a little on Saturday in order to get finished with his tasks. For a very long time, I have wanted "mommy time" with the boys. We always do things as a family. I have suggested to Bob that it might be time for us to have Saturday morning time alone with one of the boys. Walnut was going to go with Bob but decided at the last minute that he wanted to stay home. Who can blame him? We have four feet of snow outside! Nevertheless, Bob went on his merry way and I put my magic to work.

Walnut and Peanut love doing anything tactile. The love to paint, sculpt, create, color, draw, write, etc. I also love to make homemade gifts. I especially love to watch Walnut and Peanut create their own masterpieces. So, our Valentine's Day card making began. I had quite a few stickers and papers. Walnut and Peanut had foam stickers, crayons, coloring books and pictures. WE HAD A BLAST. Bob loved the "cards." Making memories is the BEST!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day #6 of Snowmaggedon: Batman and the Pirate

Walnut, I mean, Batman.

Batman enforcing the law in the Kocan house

My Valentines

Bob took this picture of the boys before they went to school for their Valentine's Day party.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day #5 of Snowmaggedon

About two or three years ago my Aunt Missy gave me some kids' activity books. I have used them but not as much as I should. Today, I broke one of the books out and made salt dough. The boys had a blast. We baked the beads that they made and will string necklaces tomorrow. Tomorrow is super hero day. Watch out world!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Covey Commitment?

I read Stephen Covey's famous book about fifteen years ago. The meaning of the habits spoke to me in a way that I hadn't anticipated. Basically, I recognized that I was/am responsible for my actions, attitudes, behaviors and successes. Overall, I believe that his messages follow the maturity contiuum but some people just never get to that level of self-actualization or understanding.

So, at the beginning of the year when our Superintendent decided that this was the new initiative for our district I was interested to see how the development of the habits would play out in the work/school setting. Don't get me wrong, I believe that there are several different reasons why this initiative was presented to the staff and faculty. However, I will not be a cynic; I will reveal my predictions/outcomes later. No need for jaded speculation now.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed our group activity based in-service today. I always enjoy spending time with my colleagues. The teachers and staff in my building are phenomenal, bar none, the best. They understand the pressures of education. They live in the trenches of the obligation to our society. They are amazing. Yet, we are burned out, paranoid and leery of many.

My main goal over the next few weeks is to establish a better working organizational system for my life; the current one is pretty good but can be improved. My personal mission statement will be written, revised, edited, redrafted, reflected upon and placed into action. Every once in a while, a good swift kick in the buttocks comes and needs to be tended to. I believe that the in-service today was one of those wake up calls. Plus, my good friend told me that his dad has lung cancer (gut wrenching). So, as I have decided to BE PROACTIVE and THINK WITH THE END IN MIND I will be identifying my needs for success. Perhaps another journey? absolutely.

Monday, February 8, 2010

More Snowmaggedon Anecdotes

It's tax season. Our scheduled date was 2/6/10 in the Lawrenceville section of the city. canceled. rescheduled for Sunday. treacherous...We headed to the North Hills to drop the boys off at Nanny and Pap's house. I-79 was a mess. Ross Twp. was a mess. I feel like we were driving all day! Needless to say, we were really tired when we got home. I already knew that school was canceled for Monday. So, we snuggled up and put the boys down for the night. Around 10:30 p.m. I said to Bob, "It is really cold in here." He laughed and told me to go to bed.

4:30 a.m.-Bob woke me up with, "We have no heat. It's 55 in here." I wasn't surprised but I was puzzled. We built our home in 2003 so the furnace is only six years old. I dashed in to check on our sleeping angels. They were sleeping underneath a mountain of blankets. And, the quest to find the resolution to the problem began. Bob began by "bleepity bleep bleeping" and I figured that there had to be an easy fix to the problem. I put the space heater on the second floor and we cranked up the fireplace. I put on a hooded sweatshirt and we hunkered down.

5:30 a.m.-I called Equitable HVAC. By the way, don't bother. They won't call you back. We turned off the furnace and switched it back on. It appeared to work until the thermostat showed a whopping 60 degrees.

6:30 a.m.-I called Beverly Heating and Cooling. They did get back to me but it wasn't for hours. Matthew was up and in the living room watching an Elmo DVD and we bundled him up, too.

7:00 a.m.-Bob called his lifelong friend Jim. After Bob and Jim spoke, he headed down to our house from the north to deduce that we had a frozen pipe. I am forever grateful to Jim and thankful that it barely cost us anything.

Jim stayed for a good portion of the day and we reminisced and caught up a little. It was a good and lazy day with HEAT!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blizzard of '10

Walnut gaining Peanut's trust so that he can plot someone's demise via the snowball.

Peanut is just checking it all out. He'll find some way to get into trouble later.

Walnut face planted in the backyard as we got over two feet of snow compliments of the Blizzard of 2010. Peanut is following in Walnut's tracks because, between his new boots and the snow, he can barely walk.

My wonderful husband shoveled and shoveled and shoveled.

Walnut tried to convince us that we could build a snowman. I was bummed that the snow wasn't dense enough. However, we still had fun!

This is the first winter that Peanut could walk in the snow. Last year, he was still crawling. We had such a blast and he truly enjoyed spending some time outside. He did eat quite a bit of snow and refused to keep his mittens on and he is only 21 months. Joys of boys!

Walnut was "sledding" down this enormous mound of snow that was once in our driveway. It was steep and a little dangerous BUT he had fun and didn't get hurt. Again, the joys of boys!

Where is the road?

bird's eye view from the front porch

our tree in the front yard

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Candles Make a Difference

I bought a candle for my BFF Secret Sister (SHE ROCKS) and one for my classroom. Yes, it is super, highly illegal to burn candles in the classroom but I can't tell you how much my students love to come into a scented room. From November through January I burned a gingerbread candle in my room and every single day the kids walked in and said, "This is the best smelling place in the building." That makes me smile. I want my students to feel as if they're home when they are with me for forty-one minutes. I want them to feel safe, secure and as a part of learning community.

I normally buy Root candles but have been switching it up lately. So, last night I bought a Yankee Candle that smells like shear heaven: candy hearts. It's a combination of black cherry and vanilla cupcake. One of my students, Emily, just said, "OMG, it smells so good in here." Dana concurred. I smiled. I love teaching!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

FUN not quiet BEFORE THE said STORM

The play area @ the Mall @ Robinson has several large, climbable toys. What do you think my boys wanted to do? Yep. They were climbing the cubbies and loving it. It became crowded after we were there for about a half hour. I guess everyone had the same idea...get out before the great snow storm of February 2010. We ate @ the food court-a treat for the boys. I love the pic of Bob sitting in the teeny tiny chairs with Walnut and Peanut. fun times

Walnut is NO Tim Gunn.

(Peanut had to be in this picture no ifs, ands or buts about it.) Walnut asked Bob if he could put on pajamas a little early and this is the ensemble he picked. PRECIOUS

Monday, February 1, 2010


I HATE JANUARY! I know that hate is a strong word. When I was twenty years old January became the absolute worst month ever; my grandmother passed away. Rachel Elizabeth was born but I was crippled by the loss of my grandmother and I never really recovered. Plus, Casey, Carly and I all had the chicken pox during January. I attended my grandmother's funeral but couldn't go to the viewings as I was very contagious and pretty sick. Imagine being twenty and getting the chicken pox. Also, during that time I had to withdraw from college as I missed too many days to recover my grades, my car was towed in Oakland and taken to the impound and we had the very worst ice storm-ever. This is just a little taste of why I really don't like January, beyond the fact that Western PA + January = GREY or SAD.

I really made an effort to embrace January in 2010 but I failed miserably. Too many incidents and not enough recovery time forced me to once again hate January. I sometimes feel bad for January but not bad enough to learn to love it.

So, we are on to February. I am truly looking forward to a long weekend over Valentine's Day. Bob and I may take the boys for a little trip. One month closer to spring...thank goodness.


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