>Happy Birthday to my favorite "Leprechaun"

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It’s my baby brother’s birthday!


Yup, he was born on St. Patricks day!

Yup, his name is…John.
But it was gonna be Patrick……however, my folks decided that was too obvious…
But it doesn’t matter because today is his day anyhow.

He is the brother who is so smart and so funny that he can make me laugh til I cry.
And despite the fact that he also can make me angrier (or used to) than anyone else….he is just a favorite (but I have three brothers, so I can’t officially go down this path…ahem).
He has the happiest smile and the kindest heart of anyone in our family and I miss him and love him.
He married a stunning brilliant Parisian girl (ok, now, lovely woman, we are getting older) who is a lawyer, a yoga teacher, and a chef (and still, we love her! go figure!)
He has two beautiful smart charming daughters that I don’t see nearly enough.

We two, he and I, were the last of five sibs, thus making us officially known as “the little kids” versus “the big kids.”
But we showed them, because we knew we were the smartest kids….of course!
And the two of us played together (because the big kids wouldn’t give us the time of day) for years and years as best playmates, friends and fierce competitors.
The sibling rivalry was intense – I knew he was a spoiled bratty baby, but he was great fun to play with and boss around.
He put up with me.

That shows you how nice he was and still is.
He is now a successful lawyer and family man, who still gets out to surf whenever he can and argues, well, everything, with me and disagrees with me on many many issues.
But ultimately all that doesn’t matter, because he’s my little brother.
He is good.
He is funny.
He is my brother and just thinking about him makes me smile my happiest smile.
And I’m going on record here, that, despite being my baby brother, he is grayer than I am!
He is why I love St. Patrick’s day!

{the five of us, ages ago, John is leaning his happy face on my sis -I’m on the end}
Happy Bday John!
I’ll lift a toast to you tonight!

>Kiss me, I’m Irish!

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Yup, it’s the feast of St. Patrick: St. Paddy’s Day.
Which means many things, and here in the U.S. typically means loads of green beer (ok, gross), green shakes, corned beef, soda bread, and general indulgence despite the lenten season. A plethora of shamrocks and leprechauns can be seen and smooching abounds (not that that is so bad!). And suddenly, everyone is just a little bit Irish! Me too! Actually, I can claim it remotely (really remotely) though for many years I thought my maiden name had Scottish origins…but nope, Irish. And I root for my son’s school always: GO IRiSH! So, it’s fun day all around!

As a homeschool mom, if I’m feeling energetic and creative there are loads of history and fun things for St. Patrick’s Day: coloring pages, books, activities, games, and of course, food. There is an abundance of these, plus great books and movies and celtic music to listen to if you’re feeling thematic for the day. Illlustration by Mary Kurnick Maass
But I like the saint’s lives, you know that. And St. Patrick had an amazing life and was a strong and courageous man, who grew in holiness enough to return to the land that originally enslaved him…because he loved the people there. So St. Patrick is not only about eating and drinking oddly colored beverages and snacks, not about wishing for lucky leprechauns. St. Patrick shows us we can beat the odds. St. Patrick is a great example of perseverance and courage and faith, for going where God leads you despite the hardships. To bloom where you are planted even, to carry this out…..maybe you’ll find some shamrocks, after all! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
St. Patrick, pray for us!