Come and Join the Carnival!

You have one more week to get your entries polished up for this month’s “EMN Carnival.”  If you didn’t read about it in my newsletter (if you want the newsletter, just drop me a line at, I posted the announcement today at Mommy Monsters. Come and see!

Remember, the winner gets $25 plus (if you have the EMN button on your blog) a free copy of my book Let Nothing Trouble You.

Deadline is October 20 … Carnival posts November 1!

Weird Mom Moments: EMN Mini-Carnival

Congratulations to Kate Sherwin at “Rosemary Sauce.” Her entry, “Like Mother, Like Son” was this month’s winner of the “Weird Mom Moments” Carnival Contest! Kate won $50, since she had the EMN button prominently displayed on her site! Good work, Kate!

Every mom must have them at one time or another … the moments she looks down at herself and say, “What have I DONE to myself?!” I know I have, as my daughter reminded me only recently. “Don’t be weird, mom…”

I can’t help it. I was born and raised that way … by a woman who clearly did not mind appearing ridiculous for the benefit of her girls (and their respective Girl Scout/religious education/school friends). She would burst into song … loudly, though usually on key … with all sorts of ditties, like:

“I’m wild about horns on automobiles that go WAH_AH_AH_AH_AH_AH_AH (ooga, ooga)”

“John Jacob Jingerheimer Schmidt, his name is my name too. Whenever we go out, the people always shout, there goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA.”

“Oh, an Austrian went yodeling on the mountaintop high…” (and proceeded to tangle with a grizzly bear, St. Bernard, Jersey Cow, and pretty girl with the appropriate gestures and sound effects).

She’d do stuff, too … weird mom stuff. Like the day she took us on a Girl Scout Hike through High Point State Park to teach us trail-making … and we wound up 10 miles up the Appalacian Trail. Or the time she took us camping, and left the bubble gum in our tent; that night we watched the squirrels blowing bubbles as they jumped from tree to tree. Or the time, shortly after my sister had her leg operated on, she brought a hand puppet to stick on my sister’s foot, to give the doctors (and my sister) a good laugh when they pulled back the covers. Or the time our dog got in the house when she was putting the finishing touches on a wedding cake (she made wedding cakes as a sideline when we were little), and she was forced to “fix” the cake rather than make a new one. (I’ll spare you the gory details.)

Judging from how few entries that were submitted for this contest, I’d have to say that there are a lot of moms out there who don’t want to let on about all the weirdness that goes on in their houses. There were a galliant few, however … and my hat goes off to you, too!

“If you jump off that and breakyour leg, don’t come running to me!” Moms are famous for all sorts of homespun wisdom. Barb Szyszkiewicz of “SFO Mom” adds a few memorable zingers of her own in her contribution to the EMN Carnival,  “Things Parents Say (when they live at my house.”

And Sarah (A.K.A. my favorite humor blogger, “Mighty Mom”) adds to the weirdness with her own “Look Before You Touch!”

Thanks, ladies for participating!

Weird Mom Stories: Writer’s Contest

Today I noticed that one of the “hits” on this site came from someone who was looking for “wierd mom stories” (sic).

OK … why not? We could all use a giggle. So … this month’s EMN Carnival is dedicated to “weird mom stories.” You could send in …

*  Most embarrassing “mommy moment” (or most embarrassing thing we’ve subjected our own children to)

*  Most compelling evidence of the “things we do for love” for our kids (pictures earn extra points)

*  Strangest love offering from your kids (hey, they must get it somewhere)

*  Things you never thought you’d say to your kids (but did anyway)

*  Weird things YOUR mom (or other mom you admire) did, that now you see the wisdom of.

All submissions received by SEPTEMBER 20 will be eligible for a drawing, to be held Sept 25. Winner receives $25 CASH MONEY!!! (I’ll double it if I find you have the EMN logo on your blog.)

Other details: 

*  500 words or less
*  G rated
*  All entries must be received by midnight on September 20, 2008 to qualify for the drawing, which will take place on September 25.
*  Winner receives $25 cash — prize doubles if your blog (or the blog in which your post appears) has the EMN button.
*  All links will be posted in the Oct 1 Carnival … winner will be announced at the Carnival. (Except for my newsletter readers, who will find out as soon as I pull the name!)
*  Submit a link here: or directly at
*  Entries must be in the form of a BLOG or WEBSITE LINK (no e-mail entries, please). Please include your name (handles OK), blog name and URL (e.g. “, post name and post URL.
 *  EMN retains non-exclusive rights to all entries.

*  Questions? Write to If you would like to receive my newsletter, and are not yet a subscriber, please drop me an e-mail with “subscribe” in the subject line.


Happy writing!

(Photo credit: Thanks to “Tha Love DaSpencer”)

A Special Mother Is Born: Guest Post by Leticia Velasquez

Christina swims with Mom 2007

I’d like to introduce to you the newest of our Extraordinary Moms, Leticia Velasquez. A gifted journalist and mother of three, Leticia is a strong advocate for families with children that have Down Syndrome. If you or someone you love is struggling with a prenatal diagnosis of DS, feel free to get in touch with Leticia at “Cause of Our Joy.”

“God would never send us a special child,” I mused, caressing my pregnant belly, “our marriage isn’t strong enough.” I was deliriously happy to be pregnant at 39, for three of my five pregnancies had ended in miscarriage, and my younger daughter, Isabella, was an independent four year old. Last summer, I had returned from a homeschool conference with an aching heart, longing for a translucent-skinned newborn nuzzling my neck.

When my pregnancy lasted past my danger zone, I was ecstatic, and refused the triple screen blood test. “There’s nothing you can tell me that will make me end my baby’s life,” I told my doctor, putting the subject of prenatal diagnosis to rest. Or so I thought.

Five months along, I was attending Sunday Mass, absent-mindedly watching the parishioners with Down Syndrome from a local group home when, from out of the blue, I heard an internal voice. “You’re going to have a child with Down Syndrome,” the voice said.

Astounded, I tried to dismiss it as a hormonal fixation, until, in line for Communion, the voice spoke again. “I want you to accept this child as a gift from My Hand, when you receive Me.”

Now I knew there was no escape. Jesus had a call for my life. How would I respond? I choked, “Yes, Lord, as long as you bring my husband along for the ride.” I received His Body in tears.

My husband, Francisco, was floored, thinking that I had finally gone over the edge. I also began to doubt the message, since there had been so many normal sonograms. “And besides, Lord, I’ve seen these mothers of special children. They’re saints. You could NEVER compare my impetuous personality with theirs.” That, I decided, was the clincher. God gave special children to saintly women. I was safe.

Never tell God what He is capable of doing. During the remaining months, I struggled with self-pity, and even, for one instant, regretted my pregnancy. All the while, unknown to me, His grace was molding my heart.

The time came for little Christina Maria’s arrival. At her birth, the delivery room fell deathly silent. Alarmed, I glanced over at the pink, wriggling baby in the isolette, and asked “What’s the problem?” The doctor didn’t respond. Francisco tried to tell me in Spanish that Christina was a “mongolita” (Spanish for Mongoloid), but I didn’t understand. So, on the way to my room, the nurses circled my gurney and said, “We regret to tell you that this child has symptoms consistent with Down Syndrome.”

I was ready with my response. “This child will never take drugs, go Goth, or shoot up a schoolroom. She’ll learn the Faith and keep it her whole life. She’s my best chance at getting a daughter to Heaven, and I consider her a special blessing from God.” My answer came from a book, Pregnancy Diary, by Mary Arnold, which I had read regularly for inspiration.

But words are cheap. What cost me dearly was watching the other newborns in the nursery and comparing Christina’s weakness to their vitality. I resented the happy chatter of the other Moms in the ward. I was haunted by dark thoughts, and self-pity took hold of me.

Just then, the phone calls began. My mother and homeschooling friends had summoned support from around the country, and I was encircled in love. I spoke with a mother from my parish who told me what it was like to raise her youngest daughter with Down Syndrome, and answered many of my anxious questions.

Another friend, the mother of 11, sent an Elizabeth Ministry package for special babies, with a CD and book set entitled, Sometimes Miracles Hide, Stirring Letters from Those Who Discovered God’s Blessings in a Special Child,by Bruce Carroll. That package was a constant companion, reminding me that regardless of how inadequate I felt, God had, indeed, chosen me to mother Christina, and that she would be my means of attaining holiness down the road. God’s favorite road, the Via Dolorosa.

On Mother’s Day, the day of Christina’s Baptism, we shared that song with the over 100 guests who crowded the church. My heart swelled with gratitude to God for choosing my family to raise Christina. And when her godmother asked what she should pray for, I didn’t ask for a cure from Down Syndrome. I was beginning to understand that her “condition” was a blessing, not a curse. Perhaps, as Fr. McCartney had said, Christina pities us for not having the purity of heart to see what she sees.

After six years of specialists, therapists, and conferences, our family has grown in acceptance of her halting development, yet often, we are awed by Christina’s perception of that which escapes us. One day, I brought her with me to Eucharistic Adoration. Entering the chapel, she waved enthusiastically to the Monstrance and called, “Hi, Jesus!” I was congratulating myself for having communicated that Jesus was present, although unseen. She promptly put me in my place, for, as we were leaving, she waved again, saying, “Bye Jesus!” as if He was as visible as Grandpa standing in front of her!

You know, I believe she did see Jesus. And what’s more, they already have a friendship.

This article was published as a sidebar to an article in “Faith and Family” in May/June 2007.

EMN Carnival #1: Tea Time!

I wanted this, our first Carnival, to be a friendly introduction to the women you’ll be hearing from now and again through EMN. We’re just getting started, and I’m hoping this time next month there are many more entries for you to peruse. But for now, just pour yourself a favorite cuppa, and “come and see.” (This is a picture of my favorite teapot … just ignore the tree!) Continue reading

Join the Carnival!

Join the Carnival!

Join the Carnival!

August 1 will be the first-ever Extraordinary Moms Carnival. If you’d like to participate, please submit your entry by July 28 at 10 p.m.

You can submit your entry here, or you can send me a link along with the following information:

*  Your name and blog

*  Your blog URL

*  Link to your post

*  Post URL

*  Your area of interest/expertise (adoption/fostering/special needs/grief and loss/etc.

Please be sure to put the EMN logo on your blog, so I can add you to the blogroll!