{SQT} Costumes, Christians and Orphans

Feeling about 98% better this week, thanks to a large intake of Dr. (Kelly) prescribed Halloween candy, thanks for asking.

Seven Quick Takes

1. Let’s start with the obligatory costume picture shall we? (Website is being a jerk so picture is embedded from Facebook for the moment.)

These were actually taken on Saturday before we left for a local Comic Con style gathering otherwise known as South Jersey Geekfest. The weather was beautiful and we browsed the vendor tables, enjoyed some food, successfully stopped the boys from crashing their powerchairs into the Dukes of Hazard car and graciously stopped and took pictures with numerous people…I mean, not me, but the older three kids were stopped for photos. And I can’t take credit for any of the handiwork this year, maybe like two percent, but I am happy to report the older kids made all their own costume pieces. It was a relatively stress free Halloween for me since I bought Teddy’s costume and thus was responsible for making only Fulton’s. In addition to Geekfest and Trick or Treating, I know the kids are planning to wear their costumes for at least a few more Con type events in the future.

Addie and Edie started the furthest out and needed the least prompting to keep at it. My role was taking everyone to Goodwill to look for costume pieces, fix the sewing machine, help cut paper or cardboard and give design advice. The Star Lord mask seemed really daunting to Byron and he waited until a week out before attempting to piece together the template, but, once he got started, saw the results, he persevered and was really pleased with the outcome. (It helped that my dad found an old Walkman in my parent’s house that Byron could use to complete the look.)

2. And I think he deserved a little special attention since Saturday was also his 13th birthday. He’s officially taller than me and a teenager, though I’ve thought of him as a teenager since his huge growth spurt that started some time after he turned 11. So now I have two teenagers. It’s really not the worst thing thus far.

3. Saturday evening, Tony and I stepped out for a bit to attend a fundraiser for persecuted Christians in Syria. It was fascinating, and heart-breaking to hear the details from people on the inside; to see photos of a what was a thriving modern city, full of historic churches, reduced to ruble. In the news, I tend to hear about Syria in terms of the refugee crisis, however when Archbishop Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak spoke he told us about the Christians that have remained in a country that has been a home to Christians since St. Paul. He encouraged sending aid to help the people stay and reestablish their lives there. The Christians of Syria want Syria to remain a home to Christians and the problem is not how to get them out (and let radical Islam take over) but how to stop radical Islam so Christians can stay in an area where Muslims and Christians have lived in peace for centuries. And then a children’s choir sang a touching song in Aramaic. ::waterworks::

4. For the past few months Tony and all the kids have been hard at work putting together a side business. This week it’s finally launched and since I know NOTHING about Minecraft, I’m in charge of the social media / promotion department. It’s called Minecraft Party Host and the idea is that the Minecraft fans in your house can get their own private server for three hours. All their friends can log in and everyone can play together on a safe server from their desktops. Friends from next door or across the globe can join in some PvP, Parkour, or whatever it is that kids do together in Minecraft. Tony and the kids have a whole bunch of stuff they’ve created like worlds and games and a hub and I’ve been assured it’s all REALLY AWESOME and EPIC! And of course they’ll be adding more of this epic stuff all the time. You can visit the website at minecraftpartyhost.com for more info and you can follow on Facebook too. We’ll start booking parties by Martinmas (or November 11th for my non-Catholic followers.)

5. The craziness of the costume rush meant that I’ve fallen behind in a class i started at the beginning of the month. Catholic Mindfulness is an eight week course and we’re in week five right now of the live sessions. It’s phenomenal. In a lot of the self-help books I read, I see talk of “mindfulness” and meditation (which are actually two different things, but I’m jumping the gun.) So I read up on the practice more and tried to practice mindfulness with some different apps. However when I saw Catholic Mindfulness pop up in my Facebook feed, I knew this was the course I was looking for. If you have any concerns about the practice of mindfulness not being compatible with Catholicism, I recommend checking out Dr. Gregory Bottaro’s introductory chapter, which is free to view. It’s an intense class, and I can’t practice as much as I’d like, but thankfully, I’ll have access to the materials forever so I can keep coming back to them. It’s already making a difference in my decision-making process and my ability to turn my worries over to God. I’m able to pause and reflect on how I’m feeling in a given moment and stop my body, and mind, from racing off in a million directions. While I think I might still be drawn to reading the occasional self-help book, I truly feel that practicing Catholic mindfulness is really the answer to all my productivity, organization, and goal setting desires. I’ll be writing more about it in the future, but if you see the ads popping up in your Facebook feed too and feel curious, I encourage you to check it out.

6. In general, I’m glad it’s November. October felt like too much. We wound up not hosting friends for Halloween and we never got around to carving pumpkins; both long-standing traditions that just couldn’t happen. But thankfully, I’ve got no looming deadlines or projects on the horizon, so I feel like I can look ahead and start planning now for Advent and Christmas. I know some bloggers already have their gift guides and book lists out, but I’m not quite there yet. I’m still not quite sure what holiday related stuff I’ll get up on the old blog, but because I know we’re not that far out I do want to recommend a craft kit you might want to order now, so you’re able to actually enjoy your Jesse tree vs sitting there yelling at your kids to finish coloring Noah’s Ark “BECAUSE I NEED TO CUT THIS OUT AND HANG IT ON THE TREE TODAY GOSH DARN IT!”

So let me offer you a super sweet coupon on this great Jesse Tree set from Faith and Fabric Designs. For the craftiest folks, to those that don’t want to do anything besides print and let their kids color, Jen’s set has got you covered. Take 25% off with code 25Christmas2016 at her Etsy store.

7. The only other thing coming up is the fact that we’re hosting two orphans from Eastern Europe this Christmas. I heard about Project 143 a few years back and it stuck with me, but it never seemed to suit for us to host before. Now, we’re taking some money we had set aside for home projects and a potential vacation and using it to bring over a brother and a sister who are living with their younger siblings in an orphanage. They’ll be here from the middle of December to around Epiphany and the whole family is excited. We’re trying to learn basic phrases in their native language, plan activities for when they’re here and Tony and I are reading and participating in online training to help us better understand the needs of these kids. It’s going to be an experience for sure. I’m hoping to write more in depth in some future posts, but I wanted to put it out there because 1.) pray for these kids. Obviously, I can’t share a lot about them, but they live in an orphanage in Eastern Europe, that’s a sure sign they need prayers 2.) Pray for us! We have a loving crazy home and I’m hoping it all works out. 3.) I will be fundraising a bit and I wanted to give a heads up. While we are glad to make the sacrifices to host this brother and sister, we’re certainly open to assistance to help with all the things we’ll need to provide while they’re here. (i.e. Buy my books!!)

And in case you’re wondering, this is not an adoption program. These children are not available for adoption at this time and may never be. We are simply welcoming them into our home so they can experience a happy, loving home for Christmas. We will continue to keep in touch with them after they return to the orphanage and we will have the option to host them again in the summer. International adoption is something we will think about at a later time, if at all.

Honestly, I wouldn’t mind adding to our family through adoption. However, given everything on our plate right now, Tony and I just didn’t know if we could handle fostering, or if we’d even be approved to foster and adopt domestically. But hosting kids over Christmas, or the summer, we can do that, and we can go from there. But, we also know that international adoption is expensive and since we’re taking all our “extra” money to host for the winter, we can’t forsee how we could host in the summer, or even consider adoption in the short-term. So I have to focus on what we can do right now with what we have and trust that if God wants more from us, he’ll provide the resources.

If you have any questions, please ask in the comments and do check out P143’s website, especially their FAQs page.

Any major announcements you’d like to drop at the end of your Takes? Go ahead and write them down then link your post up below. Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts!


  1. Wow, I am excited to hear more about your experience hosting children. They and your family will be in my prayers. So happy you are feeling better. Thank you for hosting the quick takes!

  2. Wow.
    Great Job with the costumes
    I think about when my kids will be taller than me all the time because I think it’s so weird

    The syrian situation, I don’t know what to do. I just don’t. Someone shared on facebook, a video of a toddler with flies all over him laying by a trash bin, asleep and barely breathing. I wanted to look away. We can’t look away. I don’t know what to do with that level of suffering in this world, today, while I live in my home and laugh with my kids.

    Wow. I love that idea of bringing over kids for Christmas. What an insanely special concept. Something I’ll look into for sure.

    Have a great week.

  3. Kelly, you are amazing! Bringing orphans from Eastern Europe? Oh my goodness, you inspire me with your generosity! I’m inspired — but not sure if I could do what you are doing! God bless you guys! Glad you’re feeling better!

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