April 28, 2012

Rally for Religious Freedom

In March, Joe took off work and the kids and I took off school to stand with fellow Catholics in downtown Madison in support of religious freedom in our country. As a result of the HHS mandate which would, in essence, require Catholic employers to pay for services that are against our Faith, Catholics nationwide Stood Up for Religious Freedom. It was a powerful event, taking place in scores of cities simultaneously. We fully intend to attend the June 8th rally as well.

To read more about the HHS mandate and the reasons the Catholic Church and other faiths are complaining, see the HHS Mandate page of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom website.

Joe and the kids with their signs.

Working for Rick

I had the opportunity this spring to work as Rick Santorum's county captain for Dane County, together with my friend Jeanne. What a wild ride those short two weeks were, as we drummed up support, distributed signs, helped organize the Janesville rally, and so much more.

Election night was disappointing, as it would turn out that Wisconsin was Rick's last stand in the primary. However, we know that Rick brought so much good to the race and got the American public talking about some of the most important issues of all.

I met some amazing people in the process of working for Rick, and I expect to be assisting in a campaign again in the future.

The photos below are taken at the Janesville rally for Rick:

Elizabeth & Anna Marie get Elizabeth Santorum's autograph.
Speaking with Elizabeth Santorum

Rick Santorum 
Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum

April 23, 2012


Kathleen Louise was confirmed this March at a beautiful Confirmation Mass through Fr. Rick's church, St. Mary of Pine Bluff. She picked one of my favorite people of all time as her Confirmation sponsor (apparently one of her favorite people too), and she chose the name Cecilia as her Confirmation name, in honor of St. Cecilia. Since Kathleen is quite the musician, St. Cecilia was the perfect fit.

We pray for Kathleen, newly filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit:

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.


Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium: et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
V. Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur.
R. Et renovabis faciem terrae.
Oremus. Deus, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere; et de eius semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.


Andrew Turns 8 [and Joe Turns 47]

We celebrated a double birthday in March—both Andrew's and Joe's. It was a busy week, and it made sense to celebrate them both on one day.

Kathleen decided to make a "test tube cake" in honor of Joe's and Andrew's mutual love of science. It came out a little wacky looking, but we sure did have fun with it!

A little excited!? 
Happy birthday, boys!
Andrew got to blow out the candles while Joe watched.

Crossover: William Becomes a Boy Scout

In February of this year, William went through the Crossover ceremony, making the transition from Cub Scout to Boy Scout. The event was very solemn and special for the boys, and William was very excited.

Cub Scouts has been a great thing for William who excels at the hands-on and the physical. Now that he's a Boy Scout, he already has his head set on earning Eagle Scout someday.

The Crossover Ceremony

Building the bridge with Boy Scout character virtues.

Will "crosses over."

William and his den buddies from Cub Scouts.

William with his proud Mom and Dad.

Therese is SIX

Yes, there's a cake under all that candy.
Our Valentine Girl, Miss Therese Genevieve, turned six on February 14th. Yes, she is completing kindergarten and headed full-tilt toward first grade, ambitious girl that she is.

Therese is a our clown. "Quite a character," people say. She's one of our top baby-entertainers, and helps tremendously around the house.

The world would not be nearly so sweet without Therese's smile and her joie de vivre. We love you, Therese!

Therese Genevieve - six years old!
(Sporting hand-me-down pajamas from her mother, circa 1972.)
A little birthday excitement.


April 22, 2012

A Couple O' Cuties

It's just fascinating to watch Marguerite and Lucia, our two closest-in-age children. What an amazing gift their birthmother gave to them in ensuring they would be raised together. What a gift they are to us!

Marguerite loves to "read" to Lucia.

Some Ash Wednesday snuggling. (You didn't think that was a bruise on Marguerite's head, did you? ;)
Sleeping beauties 
These two have such fun together.

Nice Hair!

They say girls like to do their hair.

But when the barber put a little gel at the front edge of the boys' hair this time, they got all ga-ga and asked me to snap a photo for Dad at work. 

[eyeball roll]

Normally, Joe just buzzes their hair here at home. But it was a particularly busy period, Mom was getting desperate, and in a weak moment they were zipped into the barbershop. No complaints from them!

She's Ours, All Ours!

Beautiful Lucia became a part of our family—legally and forever—at our finalization hearing on January 4th, 2012. The finalization removed Lucia's birth surname and replaced it with Leone. What an important and happy day in our family! We love you, Lucia, and we are so glad you are officially ours now.

Sadly, we managed to forget the camera in the car and did not have time to head back down to retrieve it. Aaagh! Our finalization photos are, therefore, less-than-ideal phone photos, snapped by the bailiff. Nevertheless, they capture the moment, and they include our good judge. Too bad Lucia did not want to lift her head for the photos!

April 21, 2012

Father Daughter Dance

This is was the first Father-Daughter Dance that I didn't help organize. It was a bit like letting go of my baby, but it was a good thing for our schedule and our family. It turned out beautifully, thanks to some amazing moms.

Therese was home sick. It seems someone is always home sick for the February Father-Daughter Dance. And eight-month-old Lucia wasn't quite up for dancing. So Joe escorted three of his beautiful girls. Marguerite ended up sleeping on his shoulder much of the night, but Anna Marie and Kathleen, true to form, had a great time.

Kathleen, Marguerite, Joe, and Anna Marie

Great fun!

Anna Marie line dances like a pro.

Anna Marie Supports Scott Walker

Anna Marie had the opportunity to attend an event with Joe and meet one of our favorite politicians: The inimitable Scott Walker.

Interning with Senator Grothman, hanging with Governor Scott Walker... Anna Marie for President one day?

Family Prayer

Family rosary.

One of the best parts of the day.

I love that the little girls are learning to pray in right in the laps of their big sisters.

Anna Marie and Marguerite (holding not only a rosary, but an ice stick to soothe a pinched finger)
Kathleen and Lucia
Lucia with her rosary

Happy Birthday, Uncle Larry

Joe and I spent our 17th wedding anniversary with our kids and Uncle Larry, celebrating Larry's birthday with him.

Uncle Larry lives in a group home not so far from us, and Joe and I are his guardians.

There was something pretty special about sharing our special day with one very special guy.  :)

Elizabeth with Uncle Larry
The Leones (minus photographer Joe) with Uncle Larry

She Stands!

Eight-month-old Lucia now stands on her own! Love, love, love all these milestones.

Yep! She's standing! 
Everything looks so different from up here, Mom!

Paul Revere's Midnight Ride

In all our years of studying history, I've never seen my boys more excited about anything than the story of Paul Revere and his midnight ride.

I'm not sure what it was, exactly, that captured their attention so fully, but they decided spontaneously to enact a play based on the poem, "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere." With the help from older sisters, the play had sound effects, effective lighting, and even lanterns in the church tower.

We were impressed to our core.

Andrew & William

Sisters, Sisters...

...there were never such devoted sisters...

Sisterly love

Cuties (bald spot and messy floor, notwithstanding)

Awww! These two really do have fun together.

Twelfth Night II

Twelfth Night, Part II...

At Twelfth Night, we also...

Make merry music... (Anna Marie & Joe)
Pay homage to our amazing and fearless (because they put up with all of us) hosts... (Aunt Cathie & Uncle Jeff)
Gorge on Twelfth Night goodies... (Andrew & Therese) 
Snuggle with reminiscing aunts and uncles... (Lou, Cathie, Lucia & Bill)

Juggle in Cathie & Jeff's foyer... (Joe)
Reinforce weirdo images... (Joe) 
And get to know nephews who live too far away... (Finn & Elizabeth)