Life update about ALL THE THINGS

:microphone tap:

Hello? Anyone out there?

Sorry it’s been a minute, darling imaginary blog readers! Life has been moving at a rather hectic pace the last few months. It still is, for that matter, but so much has happened in our little family that my need to share my life on the internet has hit maximum capacity ;-). Settle in, I’ll try to keep this on the novella side of novel but I make no promises.

Firstly! In case you missed my exuberant facebook and instagram posts this week, or if you’ve been lucky enough to avoid my large and slightly obnoxious group texts, I have news for you!

pollywog birth announcement

We are expecting a Pollywog, due January 7! We’ll probably name the critter something more human-like when it’s born. I’m twelve weeks now and the worst of the morning sickness seems to be behind us (I type as I knock on all the wood surfaces nearby). We heard the heartbeat for the first time and it was a sweet, sweet sound. It was very fitting that we found out we are expecting on Mary’s birthday. She loves babies with great passion and will make an excellent big sister.

Which brings us to our second piece of news… somehow, my little baby turned two last month!

mary singing birthday song

Here she is directing her own happy birthday song at her party with her friends. Oh, cutie pie, you’re such a fierce bundle of energy and personality and sweetness. I love you so.

We were able to celebrate in Georgia with family first, then we had a low-key party at Mary’s favorite park with her Louisville buddies. Pro tip: if you send out evites to your friends inviting them to your child’s birthday party, quadruple check that you put the right date on the invites. Not that I would know or anything… Anyway, it was a lovely time and also served as a good thank you/ we love you/ goodbye party with our Louisville friends who have been so kind to us.

News item number three: we’re back in Michigan! After ten months on launch in Louisville, Matt’s assignment at the Louisville Assembly Plant wrapped up and we’re living in the Canton area again. Same apartment complex, actually. Two doors down from our last apartment. We like familiarity, ok? Louisville was very good to us but it’s great to have Matt’s work hours back to normal. We moved two weekends ago, so at this point we’re unpacked enough that things are functional but not pretty. We’ll get there.

Other things that have happened lately, condensed into bullet points for the sake of brevity:

  • Matt and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary on May 14th
  • Matt turned 26 right after we moved to Michigan (happy birthday, sweetie!). I managed to make Matt a cake for his birthday in my barely-unpacked kitchen, which made me very proud.
  • We took a couple of family trips in May.
    • We went to Georgia for the final days and funeral of Matt’s grandfather, which was a deeply sad but beautiful family time.
    • We went to Charleston for our official end-of-launch vacation and introduced Mary to the ocean. They are now fast friends.
    • At the end of the week we drove to South Bend for the wedding of close friends and a little Domer reunion.
    • Annnd tomorrow we’re driving from Michigan down to Georgia again for shutdown week, the mandatory vacation time Ford asks us to take every year.

So yep, that’s what’s going on with our family! I’ll leave you with a baby beach picture and vague promises to try to blog more often. Let’s try for sometime before baby #2 becomes an external baby, mkay?

beach kisses

 

Liturgical Living Resources

Hellllooooooo out there! Sorry for the radio silence around these parts. We’ve been traveling and/or hosting friends and relatives for something like the last six weekends and I’m a little worn out. Still haven’t found a rental house in Michigan (well, we’ve found plenty, but they haven’t worked out for one reason or another, I’ll spare you the mundane details). Today I’m just popping in to share a list of Liturgical Living Resources I just generated for my moms’ group at church. Let me know if they help you or if you have more to add to the list!

Tips on how to get started living liturgically

 

Church calendar resources

 

Blogs I read that share monthly liturgical living ideas (check out their archives, too!)

  • Catholic All Year – probably my favorite Liturgical Living blog, I love her in-depth explanations of her family traditions

  • Carrots for Michaelmas – at the end of every month she posts a big list of feast days for the next month complete with crafts, recipes, traditions, etc

  • Two Os Plus More – great family ideas, especially for families with small children

  • Catholic Cuisine- awesome recipes, including plenty for lesser-known feast days. extensive archives. I figure, I’m going to cook dinner anyway, it might as well be liturgically relevant once in a while.

  • Waltzing Matilda – I especially love her extensive library of saint coloring pages

  • Catholic Icing- so many great craft ideas and printables!

  • Catholic Playground- lots of good coloring pages, recipes and even Lego activities

 

Pinterest Boards (I kind of avoid pinterest like the plague because it makes me feel guilty and inadequate, so this section is pretty sparse. I’m sure Amy has plenty of good boards to share ;-))

 

Helpful Websites

  • CatholicCulture.org – Big website with tons and tons of info in their liturgical living section. I love how they create a calendar each month (here’s April’s) with information about feast days and links to recipes, prayers, readings, and activities for each day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed on this site because there’s SO much info, but it’s a great place to go for in-depth explanations and saint  backstories.

  • A couple sites for weekly Mass-related worksheets for older kids (elementary school aged instead of toddlers :-) )

 

Books worth checking out

 

Lent thoughts from wiser people than me

Lent and I… don’t really get along. I always wind up either…

A) suffering loudly and grumpily
B) being super proud of how I’ve given up things successfully
C) caving two weeks in and throwing in the towel
or D) all of the above.

Basically, Lent always ends up being more about ME than about God. Womp womp. Fortunately, Lent comes again each year, and God will always give me another shot. Someday maybe I will wake up and discover all this struggling has made me a holier person. Stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile, go check out these excellent posts on Lent and suffering:

  • “The White Post. Or Couch” by Mary of Better than Eden
  • “There are constant voices in the world, in the land of blogs, in our own heads, telling us to choose what is more comfortable, what is easier, what is more practical.  Don’t overdo it, they say… If I could encourage you about anything this Lent it would be to take on something real.  Don’t fall for the practical.  Go for the beautiful.”

  • “Not So Great Expectations” by Dwija at House Unseen
  • “It’s not abnormal for there to be frustrations.  No.  That’s how this life IS.  And my job, well, my job is to allow God use those bricks of suffering to pave me a clear path to Him.”

  • “Saying no (to yourself)” by Tsh at The Art of Simple
  • “Think about your default indulgences, the rituals in your life you save for your escape hatch…is there something there you might need to set aside for a short period of time in order to strengthen your soul? Could you benefit from a brief hiatus from that (fill in the blank) in your life?”

And if you start to feel like this is all just too much- join me in reading this post over and over again, because it’s just so full of wisdom: “The secret to not being overwhelmed” by Jen at Conversion Diary.

Talk to me. Do you ROCK at Lent? Do you dread it a bit like me? What helps?

HDYDI: Keep a toddler quiet in the front pew at Mass (717 Day 7!!!!)

Phew! Day 7! We made it. For my final day of blogging homage, I’m going to highlight Team Whitaker. Katheryn is a lovely, outgoing, and sweet mama of six great kiddos. Reading her blog is like stepping into a warm puddle of Texas sunshine- she’s so hospitable, you feel right at home. I especially love her  How Do You Do It (HDYDI) posts. She answers reader questions about everything from how her family celebrates Advent to how she gets all those kids out the door on time every morning to how she organizes her home. I have learned so much from those posts! She’s just a well of practical no-nonsense advice. In honor of Kathryn, I will try my hand at my own HDYDI post!

Hrm, wait a minute. I am but a neophyte at this marriage and parenting game. Hardly in a position to offer advice when I’m still learning every day. But surely there’s something…

Ah. I know. Sometimes parents approach me after Mass, a little bit of awe in their eyes, and ask me how I kept my toddler mostly quiet in a front pew through Mass. They seem amazed that I never had to sprint down the aisle with a screaming tot in tow.

My secret?

Step one: Birth a child who has a bottomless pit for a stomach. Step two: Attend an evening Mass close to her normal supper time. Step three: Let her shovel food into her mouth through the whole Mass.

Problem solved!

Problem solved!

Hahaha, you thought I had a tiny Saint on my hands who loves to pay attention to Mass? Hahahahaha. Still laughing.

I mean, she likes some parts. She really likes it when the cross processes down the aisle. She likes mimicking the priest washing his hands before consecration. And she LOVES the sign of peace. She also has a Mass bag with holy cards on key rings, Catholic soft books and a couple board books. But if you asked her, I’m sure she would say in toddler-ese that she’s only there for the food.

Yep, this will create all sorts of problems down the line when she gets older and we have to start cutting back the snacks at Mass. For now, though, it’s working for us. And that’s good enough for me.

Thanks for hanging with me through all the posts this week, you guys! I have a few ideas jotted down for future posts. Who knows, maybe this blogging thing will become a habit again.

Liturgical Living with a (almost) Two Year Old

Day 6- home stretch now :-). Lately I’ve been reading lots of blogs that talk about liturgical living. I love the idea of celebrating feast days and developing traditions for my family. This post is in honor of all the great blogs out there sharing ideas about how to incorporate more liturgical living into family life. Some of my favorites are Kendra at Catholic All Year, Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas, Sarah at two Os + more, and Lacy at Catholic Icing. Thanks for all you do! You inspire me :-)

Often I have grand ideas about liturgical living- Recipes! Crafts! Prayers!- and then I remember that Mary isn’t even two yet. She doesn’t really care if her meal has been crafted according to a saintly theme- she just wants to know if there will be cheese and fruit. She doesn’t sit still for long stories or prayers, especially if there’s no book to hold. And our Advent calendar? Well, let’s just say that Mary doesn’t understand the concept of one per day. It was a constant battle of wills in our house until I just gave in and let her put all the little velcro pieces on the calendar at once. Eesh.

No need to throw in the towel altogether though. Even though Mary’s little, she can still participate in a lot- I just need to gear our activities to her level. Here’s what HAS worked for us:

  • Celebrating seasons instead of lots of saints’ feast days. As a toddler, Mary loves routine, so mixing things up all the time for saints’ feast days kind of throws her off. Liturgical seasons like Advent and Lent are more her thing right now. We’ll still observe a few feast days here and there, but we will probably do more when she gets older.
  • Simple songs. Mary loved the ritual of lighting an advent candle and singing an Advent song every night before bed. If we forgot one evening, she was quick to remind us!
  • Board books with religious themes. Mary has Baby’s First Easter, I Am Blessed, and Peek-a-boo Jesus, plus a whole host of Christmas story board books. She requests these often. I also made her a couple soft books from Magnetic Catholic’s Etsy shop. These come with us to Mass every week.

Right now we’re gearing up for Lent in our house. My plans so far are to make a King Cake for Fat Tuesday, cover the crucifixes in the house with purple cloth starting on Ash Wednesday, create a Lenten table centerpiece with a succulent plant and rocks, and sing  Lent song every night before bed. (I’ve spent ages looking for a Lent song that will work for us, and I think this might be the one- “Now Quit Your Care.”) Mary has recently shown great interest in crafts, so I will be hitting up the awesome blogs listed above for coloring sheets and craft ideas. I’ll try to find more Lent and Easter board books for our collection. I’m also hoping to involve her in cooking more, especially on no-meat Fridays. I think that’s enough for now. She’s too little to understand why I would ask her to give something up for Lent. She is cultivating patience and self-denial every day just by being a toddler!

I’m new to liturgical living, so please share with me what works for your family, especially with little ones. Thanks!

Seven Quick Takes vol. 7 (717 Day 5)

— 1 —

Day Five of Seven Posts in Seven Days! I’ve got to say, I’m really enjoying this project. It feels good to write and it feels great when other people like reading what I write. The only reason I’ve been able to write so much, though, is that Matt has been working or asleep every night this week. No offense, I like you guys and all, but if he were available I would be hanging out with him :-P. If- WHEN- his work life ever returns to some semblance of normal, I’ll try to blog sometimes during naptime like all the cool mommybloggers. So thanks, Jen, for serendipitously timing this project to coincide with one of Matt’s busy weeks. It’s been a good outlet. And thanks, ALSO, for continuing to host Seven Quick Takes Friday, in which we bloggers can throw seven disconnected thoughts into a post and call it good. I love it something fierce. Sometimes I think I return to blogging again and again just so I can participate in seven quick takes.

Stamped and notarized- SQT is the best linkup ever. (Gosh I'm so cheesey. Someone stop me.)

Stamped and notarized- SQT is the best linkup ever. (Gosh I’m so cheesey. Someone stop me.)

 — 2 —

If Mary is fussing, and you ask her what she wants, her answer will be one of the following:  Babies, cheese, slides (“shlides”), grapes, or Elmo. I think she has her priorities in order. (If pressed, she’ll tell you what she actually wants, which is helpful when she wants something completely different, like for me to read her a book.)

— 3 —

I had an epiphany this weekend while standing at a makeup counter at the mall, trying to keep the small one occupied in her stroller with board books. The epiphany was this: I don’t like wearing makeup. This is excellent news! Lately I have felt like maybe I should start acting my age and do something about concealing the bags under my eyes or the pimples on my nose. So I’ve spent precious internet time researching makeup options and application techniques. Then I trot off to the mall (a common occurrence given that Mary is a huge fan of their indoor playground) and try out the samples of my preselected brands. Instantly, my eyes feel dry and tired, Mary grabs my face with both hands and smears off half the foundation I just applied, and I start feeling hyperconcerned about how the remaining makeup looks on my face. Worse, when Matt sees me later, he says, “Are you wearing eye stuff? Oh. I like you better without all that.” It took several rounds of this ridiculous cycle, but at last I have finally come to peace with the fact that what you see is what you get. Makeup and I were not made to get along. Ahhh.

— 4 —

This morning when I was putting on my socks Mary pointed to each of my feet and said, “One, two!” I got super excited and told her how proud I was of her for counting. After much hullabaloo and high fives, Mary asked if I wanted her to do it again. Sure, sweetie! She pointed again and proudly chirped, “A! B! C!”

Mayyybe we’ll keep the counting champagne on ice for a little longer.

— 5 —

I’m pretty sure this is news to absolutely no one but me, but in case you also live under a large and hefty rock, Lorde’s album Pure Heroine is spectacular. I’m glad no one was around to watch me the other night when I was busting a move while cooking dinner. And trying to sing the high-pitched parts.

Casa de Laura.

Casa de Laura.

 

— 6 —

One of Mary’s Valentine’s Day gifts from us was No Matter What by Debi Gliori.

Highly recommended :-)

Highly recommended :-)

Small asks Large, “If I was a grumpy grizzly bear, would you still love me, would you still care?” Large reassures Small over and over and he can’t do anything that will break their bond. When I first picked it up at a bookstore, I loved the book for its darling illustrations and sweet message of unconditional love. In the last couple weeks, it’s become a favorite at our house, especially as a bedtime story. Now I love this book because it reminds me to take a breath at the end of a long day and squeeze my kiddo tight, even if she has been grim and grumpy. I always want her to know that I love her.

— 7 —

Well, we can’t end on THAT sweet and sappy note. Here’s one more Mary story, and hopefully no grandparents or godparents reading this will feel scandalized at my parenting techniques.

Mary: (drops book) Ups!
Mommy: Oops!
Mary: Uh-oh!
Mommy: Uh-oh!
Mary: Dan it!
Mommy: (freezes, asks carefully) What did you say?
Mary: (confused) Dan it?
Mommy: DARN it. You said darn it.
Mary: (happily) Dan it!

I guess I know what Matt and I are giving up for Lent! I’m amazed we’ve lasted this long dodging the swear word bullet. Ups :-)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Home Is Wherever I’m With You Embroidery Hoop Art (7I7 Day 4)

Tonight I learned two things: 1) Our current apartment really has the worst lighting for taking photos ever. A cave would be better. 2) When Matt’s at work all night, I am capable of spending hours perusing the internet looking for just the right Lenten song for our family to sing every evening. Still haven’t found it, in case you have any ideas.

On that positive start, let’s talk about today’s blogger homage-ee ( <– not a word). Jenna of Call Her Happy is one of my favorite new-to-me blogs. I only started reading her site in the last few months, but man, I am hooked now! She’s so funny and honest and kind and and and- just go read her stuff. And you better believe that when we move back to Michigan I will coerce her into being real-life friends!

A while back Jenna started posting pictures of gorgeous embroidery works-in-progress. Then the whole entire Catholic mommyblogger community was all, show us how! So she did. Annnnd that is the short story of how Matt’s chief Valentine’s Day present came into existence:

finished home is hoop 2

 

 

 

The quote is from a song by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes called “Home.” It played on the radio a lot when we first moved to Louisville and this line has always stuck with me. We might not be as settled as we would like to be, but at least we have each other.

finished home is hoop

In case you want to make your own hoop, here’s the template I made for myself. Just click on the image to get the full-size version.

design home is

 

And here’s the flipped version, all ready for iron-on transfer to your fabric  ( <— tutorial by that talented Jenna again!)

design flipped

 

Woohoo! Thanks for all the inspiration and expertise, Jenna! Tomorrow check back for Seven Quick Takes with Jen at Conversion Diary :-)

Five favorite dinner recipes from someone who doesn’t love cooking (7I7 Day 3)

Day 3 and going strong! Today I’m going to talk about one of my favorite bloggers and one of my favorite linkups. Everyone knows who Hallie is, right? Surely she doesn’t need an introduction. She’s a giant in the Catholic blogging world, a successful and published author, and still sweet-as-pie. She’s not one of those women who lets success go to her head. She’s kind, approachable, and holy moly she is stylish. Every week she hosts this fantastic linkup called Five Favorites. The beauty is that your five favorites can be ANYTHING- books, nail polishes, memories, quotes, pictures of your cat, whatever! I am thrilled at how many of my favorite bloggers participate in this linkup every week because I’m always finding good product recommendations and books suggestions and new blogs to read.

I thought about sharing five favorite books I’ve read recently but that would be kind of a cop out. I post little reviews over on Goodreads and and none of the books I’ve read lately are non-bestsellers. So instead I’m going to share with you five favorite dinner recipes.

Many of my friends are excellent cooks. They enjoy cooking. It’s a relaxing activity for them at the end of the day. Me? I usually start cooking dinner for Matt and I around 8, after the baby goes to bed, and by then I’m just done with anything resembling a chore. So I like dinner recipes that are tasty, relatively simple, have some variety, and don’t dirty up every pot in my apartment. Once dinner is done I can move forward with the main event of the evening: relaxing. Other worn out mamas, please tell me you can relate!

All credit for the following recipes and pictures go to the original authors, linked below. I am forever and always a recipe follower not a recipe maker.

1. Quinoa and Black Beans

quinoa and black beans

 

Tasty, healthy, and Lent-friendly! I love this one because I nearly always have the ingredients in my pantry and fridge. The tot likes it too- bonus! Don’t forget the cilantro. It really ties the whole dish together.

2. Sweet and Spicy Shrimp and Soba Noodles

sweet and spicy soba noodles

This one is at the far limit of what I consider an easy recipe, but my husband loves it so much that I’m ok with a little extra effort. I had to add a few things to my pantry, like rice vinegar, sesame oil and soba noodles, but now that I have them I almost always have the ingredients for this recipe on hand. Go easy on the red pepper if you don’t like spice (like me!)- you can always sprinkle a little more on at the end if you want. And chop up the red peppers into bite size pieces instead of leaving them in strips like in the picture. Otherwise you’ll be trying to cut your peppers in your bowl with your fork edge, and I can say from experience that it doesn’t always end well.

3. Easy Chicken Masala

easy chicken masala

Oh my gosh, so tasty! I have to remember to assemble the marinade ahead of time, but it’s one of those awesome flexible marinades that can be done a couple hours to a whole day before you’re going to cook. I use cut up chicken breasts without any trouble- no need to buy bone-in chicken if that’s not your thing. When Matt first tried it, he asked if all chicken could be made this way, always. Direct quote. I usually serve it with jasmine rice and steamed veggies.

4. Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

slow cooker pepper steak

I’m pretty sure I heard about this recipe for the first time from Jen and it’s a keeper, just like her. I use it to feed crowds and I send it over to new mamas. After trying it both ways, I like this recipe better when cooked on high because the veggies hold together better. I make this easy recipe even easier by using frozen pre-sliced pepper and onion strips from the grocery store. Taking lazy to a whole new level in this casa- especially when I use a disposable liner in my slow cooker. Bam.

5. Italian Chicken Breast with steamed veggies and rice

No picture for this one because it’s my ultimate lazy meal: I pour italian dressing over a still-frozen chicken breast, chuck it in the oven for an hour or so at 350, and then steam some frozen veggies in the microwave and make rice in the rice cooker. Done and done.

Now off you go to Hallie to read about more favorite things!

A day in the life (7I7 Day 2)

Welcome to Seven Posts in Seven Days, Day 2! If you are new to the party, this week I am joining Jen and legions of other bloggers in writing a post every day. My plan is to use each post to highlight one of my favorite bloggers and imitate a little of what I love about them. Yesterday we talked about blogging phenom Grace and I got honest about the rough patches of mothering a toddler. Today we’re going to talk about Ana of Time Flies When You’re Having Babies. How awesome is her blog title, by the way? So witty, that Ana. Ana and her husband have three daughters and another bambino on the way. She’s Catholic, hilarious, and she lives in South Bend- what more could you want? Sometimes I fantasize a little about moving back to the Bend, going back to my old job at the Center for the Homeless, becoming real-life besties with Ana and Katrina, and raising my family in the shadow of the Golden Dome. Matt could design cars for Studebaker… oh wait. Right. Back to reality. Anyway, whenever a new post by Ana comes up in my feed reader, I click it right away, but I click it EXTRA fast when it’s one of her Day in the Life posts. I LOVE those because she keeps it real and doesn’t sugarcoat all the crazy that comes with mothering little people. I guess maybe I’m also somewhat nosy and I like knowing how other mamas get through the day, especially the infamous post-nap pre-dinner home stretch. Ana’s posts always leave me feeling like we mamas are all doing the best we can, and it’s enough.

So without further ado, here’s what Monday was like in our casa…

7:32 AM: Mary wakes up and cries out for me. She’s still half-asleep, so I nurse her for a couple minutes and lay her back in her crib, hoping to buy another half hour of shuteye.

7:39 AM: Mary is fully awake and raring to go. I lay in bed with my eyes closed and nurse her for as long as she’ll let me. I really need to start going to sleep earlier.

8ish: Coffee’s ready and Mary and I settle on the couch for her morning Sesame Street. 2-3rds through the episode I finally start to feel the caffeine. I read blogs on my phone and check up on instagram while she squeals over Elmo’s World.

9 AM: Elmo’s over and I deny Mary’s requests for another episode. I fetch her morning yogurt and pour myself a bowl of cereal. Mary finally admits that the yogurt is all gone and we wander around getting dressed for the day.

10AM: We’re in the car on the way to a play date at the Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve.  I’m nervous because I organized this outing for several other moms and I’ve never been to this place before. The director assured me by email that their natural history museum is toddler-appropriate, but that sounds like it could go south quickly…

10:30AM: I needn’t have worried. The nature center is darling. There are stuffed animals for the kids to point at, animal pelts to feel, and a toddler corner with books, puzzles, and stuffed animals. A volunteer puts out craft supplies and soon we’re all making birds out of paper plates. Mary impresses me with her glue stick skills- where did that come from?

glue stick master

 

11:30 AM: We say goodbye to our friends and head back towards home. We stop at the grocery store to grab a few things (mainly juice for Daddy- he’s had a head cold and has been drinking nearly half a gallon a day) then we pick up Chickfila for lunch because- surprise!- Daddy’s coming home to eat with us!

12:45 PM: We chow down and tell Daddy about our morning. He’s never come home for lunch before, so this is a treat. He had to pick up some parts that were shipped to our home address. Mary enjoys telling Daddy about the birds she saw through the window at the Nature Center. Daddy and I pretend to understand what she’s talking about, making out the occasional “bird” “cheep” and “sky!”

1:15 PM: Matt’s on his way back to work and Mary and I play on the floor with her toys until naptime. She particularly loves ordering me to lay down on the ground, bringing me a book to read to her, then straddling my back while I read out loud.

2 PM: Naptime. Ahhhh. Mommy takes a little snooze too.

3:15 PM: Mary’s awake and grumpy. I placate her with string cheese, sliced grapes and another episode of Sesame Street. I used to be quite strict about only one Sesame Street per day… then it became one Sesame Street and one Curious George… now most days we have a morning and an afternoon Sesame Street. Sigh. I try not to feel guilty while I read my current library book on the couch (Divergent by Veronica Roth, in case you’re wondering).

4:30- 6:30 PM: My least favorite hours of the day. Does anyone else struggle with the tedium of toddler games? I fold a few loads of laundry in between many many exciting rounds of feed the baby doll, put the stuffed animals to sleep, and her absolute favorite, jump/spin/ run fast.

6:30 PM: While a veggie burger heats up on the stove, I invite Mary to help me make homemade Lara bars. She enthusiastically helps me add ingredients to the food processor and we’re having a grand old time right up until I invite her to press the pulse button. The loud noise of the nuts and dates rolling around terrifies her and even though I promise her that I won’t turn it on again, she whimpers whenever I pass the kitchen counter for the rest of the night.

7 PM: I present Mary with a cheese- and ketchup-covered veggie burger, a chunk of (not homemade) Lara bar and some apple slices. She goes straight for the bar and downs it. Then she ditches the pita bread around the burger, takes a few bites, and decides to just chew the cheese and ketchup off the top instead. The apples receive a nibble as an afterthought.

Mary's motto: Never waste cheese.

Mary’s motto: Never waste cheese.

7:30 PM: I declare dinnertime over and we get cleaned up. Mary helps me straighten the play area before bed. I would say I remember to ask her to do this about half the time? A third of the time? But I really should do it more often because she’s actually helpful at putting stuff away and my motivation to clean toys after she goes to bed is pretty much nil. She even sings a version of the clean up song while she hands me toys: “Keen up, keen up…” (repeat, repeat, repeat)

7:45 PM: Mary’s in her jammies and we snag a quick bathroom selfie before toothbrushing. She’s down for anything that delays bedtime.

If I snuggle you, you'll forget about brushing my teeth, right?

If I snuggle you, you’ll forget about brushing my teeth, right?

8PM: We’ve read a bedtime story, Mary has nursed, and I finally lay her in her crib. She flips over to her stomach and closes her eyes. Ahh- another day in the books.

Many apologies- that was super long, and this is the edited down version! Check back tomorrow for more. I’m going to join Hallie for Five Favorites :-)

Seven Posts in Seven Days: An Homage

7 day blog challenge 7 posts, 7 days

Jen of Conversion Diary fame has set out to write seven posts in seven days and she’s invited anyone and everyone to play along. My first reaction: Yeah! I should do that! My second reaction: Um- how long does it usually take me to write seven posts? Seven months would be a generous underestimate.  Third reaction: What on earth could I write about for seven days?

Oh bother.

I pondered long and hard while my wee one ran out her energy in the mall playground. Well, let’s be honest- it was more like think, start to have an idea, jump up and mediate a toddler scuffle, think, recover spot in previous train of thought, remind my kid to wait her turn on the slide… etc. etc. But at long last, I had an epiphany. I enjoy reading many excellent blogs every day. My seven posts should each be an homage to my favorite bloggers!

Homage (n.): Shameless rip-off of better writers’ ideas, disguised with sincere praise of their blogging prowess

First up: Grace of Camp Patton. I doubt Grace needs an introduction, but just in case, she’s a fantastic Catholic mama to four darling kiddos (one’s still an internal baby) and she writes about their shenanigans with a heaping helping of honesty. Her husband is in residency and his schedule makes my husband’s look easy, especially since residency lasts a whole heck of a lot longer than launching a vehicle. Grace is well-named because every time she describes another toddler escapade, she handles the situation ten times as gracefully as I would have (and she finds a way to laugh about it, too).

One of the things I really love about Grace is that she’s isn’t afraid to be honest about motherhood. It’s hard work. Rewarding, of course, and fun most of the time, but really, really hard. In Grace’s honor, I’m going to make myself a little vulnerable and be honest too.

Here’s the truth: I had no idea what reserves of patience I carried within me until I had a child. Every day she reminds me that we humans exist to love and serve God and one another. Without her, I would still be so wrapped up in myself that I would never be able to spot the road to Heaven, let alone fit through the eye of the needle one day. In her own tiny tyrannical way, she’s making me into a saint.

And not a day goes by where I don’t resent her for it, at least a little bit. 

Toddler behaviors I could do without, among many:

  • Kicking and screaming in the car for no apparent reason except maybe because she sensed I was enjoying my moment of quiet in the front seat
  • Sudden dislike of food that was acceptable, even loved, quite recently
  • Constant “Uh? Uh?” asking about something in the house or drawing my attention to something
  • The need for my attention all. the. time.
  • The carrying on that takes place every time I announce she needs a diaper change

And if her shriek could come down a few decibels, that would be lovely, thanks.

A C. S. Lewis quote comes to mind. I’m paraphrasing because my books are in storage in Michigan, but essentially he writes, “My life is like a poem that God has written. He will keep erasing and rewriting me until I am perfect. I just wish he wouldn’t work at it so hard.” Serving Mary (and my husband too) will be my path to Heaven- but it’s going to be a long journey.

Day 1- in the books. See you tomorrow for a Day in the Life ala Ana of Time Flies When You’re Having Babies.

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