Thursday, March 31, 2016

Feast and Flu

We had a pretty good Holy Week, despite Alex having two giant tests he needed to study for, and despite dragging kids to all of the Triduum, and despite me taking on too much Easter baking, and despite skipping nap to go to two family gatherings. It was still Easter and it was still good. 

On Holy Thursday the kids waited in line for confession with me for over an hour. I don't really mind bringing kids to confession except for the pity it elicits from the other people in line with me. I had people helping me carry my purse, giving Johnny holy cards and other trinkets to play with, offering to hold the baby while I went into the confessional (yikes!), I also got bumped up the line a few spots. I do appreciate the help and compassion, but I get self-conscious and it would really just make me feel better if people would act like we don't exist. 

Then we went to Holy Thursday Mass as a family. Alex had planned on singing with the choir for the Triduum, and had been going to practices for the few weeks leading up to Holy Week. But then at the last minute had to back out because of the giant tests he needed to study for. That's what he said anyway. I think he may have actually done it so that I didn't have do church with the babies by myself. And I really appreciate it, because Johnny brought his bad behavior A-game both Thursday and Good Friday. 

Holy Saturday. I spent the ENTIRE day making the petit fours that I would bring to Alex's family's noon-time Easter meal, and started the Tiramisu cake for my family's evening Easter meal. I have no idea what possessed me to take on petit fours. They probably flitted across my Pinterest feed a few weeks ago and imprinted themselves on my subconscious. Whatever the source, I had them on the brain and I knew I would not have rest until I made them. They were very cute, but.....#neveragain. 

Alex did sing with the choir for the vigil.  My dad came over to put Johnny to bed, and I took Trixie to the vigil with me. She was a very good baby and slept most of the time in the sling. My lower back was in agony by the time our 3.5 hour vigil was over, but it was a beautiful liturgy. I love our priests and religious, I love hearing my husband sing, I love all the bells, and I love singing Jesus Christ Is Risen Today with all my might. 

When we got home from the vigil we "hid" Easter eggs for Johnny to find.  Really, we were just placing them around the house hoping that Johnny would notice them the next morning. And he did! We handed him his basket and had to point out the first couple of eggs, but then he caught on and exclaimed "ball!" (which is what he calls them) every time he found one. 

Johnny ate way too much candy, and didn't have much of an appetite the rest of the day. We thought it was all the sweets, but then the next day he was pretty mellow. Tuesday morning he and I, plus my parents and one of my brothers were all struck down with the stomach flu, and my sister followed a day later. It was terrible, I have never been that sick in my life. Alex had to stay home from class because I was not capable of caring for our children and all our regular babysitters were also sick. It took a day and a half for me to feel back to normal. And now I feel like I've been given a second chance at life! I found out today that a few family members on Alex's side got it too, so it looks like we were the source. Sorry family! 

I hope that your Easter was lovely.  I really hope that you don't come down with any stomach bugs because that was just.....horrific. 

Monday, March 28, 2016


"A portrait of my children, once  week, every week in 2016."

Johnny//2 yrs. 10 mos. Evidence of Easter candy.

Trixie// 5 mos. Sitting with her godmother. 

Monday, March 21, 2016


the 52 project
"A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2016."

Did I miss a week? Shh...don't tell!

Johnny// 2 yrs. 10 mos.
Trixie//5 mos.

We have some kind of spring fever but it's still too cold to play outside. So we took this train into downtown this weekend. Johnny got to run around in the depot and we walked to a near by pizza place for dinner. Train adventure was a success! 

Friday, March 18, 2016

7 quick takes vol. 23


Alex has been on spring break this week. He's been trying to do a good amount of studying every day, but we have gotten to see him more than usual which is nice. It's especially nice to have him here in the morning. We sleep in as late as the babies will allow, and then take our time getting breakfast ready, and eat all together. It makes such a difference having an extra pair of hands around in the morning. Especially if that extra pair of hands gets the coffee ready right away!


Last weekend I threw a bridal shower for my little sister. It was super fun. I love everything about planning parties, sending out invites, menu planning, food prep, decorating, entertainment, it all thrills me. I think in my next life I will be Martha Stewart. 

One thing I have always wanted to do for a party is make a photo booth wall.  It maybe makes more sense to have a photo booth wall at a wedding, or a New Years party, but I wanted to make one and this shower was my excuse. 

Here's Johnny demonstrating how to use the wall. 

Here's my sister and me. I can't believe my little sister in getting married in one month!!

Here's my sister and her fiance.  They're so hip. 

Is it tacky to just leave all the decorations up for the bachelorette party I will be hosting in 4 weeks? I hope not because that's what I'm going to do. 

Johnny loves eating his meals under a canopy of streamers. 


We have a Whole Foods a few blocks from our house that is moving to a new location a few blocks in a different direction from our house.  Tuesday was their last day at the old location and they were having a moving sale - the whole store was 50% off!  Now we are not Whole Foods people by any means. We are Aldi people, with a splash of Trader Joe's and a hint of Target.  We only shop at Whole Food if we need something very obscure, like sorghum flour, or if we need milk immediately and don't want to drive to Target. But we decided to go check out the moving sale, hoping to snag some cheap Naked Juice or essential oils. 

Well, I think everyone in St. Paul was there. It was wall to wall madness, we got there about 3 minutes after they opened and the essential oils were completely picked over. We did get some Naked Juice though. I also grabbed one of their bakery cakes.  We put it in the freezer are we're going to have it on Easter. We got a few of their bulk cookies for Johnny and he stood in the ridiculously long and glacially slow line so patiently just holding onto his little bag of cookies.  I wish I had gotten a picture of him. It took so long in the line that I had to leave with the kids to take Johnny to speech therapy. Alex stuck it out in line for another hour before getting out of there with our groceries.  Was it worth it? I guess we'll find out on Easter when we eat that cake. 


I finished another sweater! This time for my sister. The pattern was very easy, but very boring, as you are just knitting a giant square of stockinette, and then sewing it together to create the sleeves. I started it before Christmas and it's taken me this long to finish because it was so boring and I kept starting new things. But now it's done and I'm really happy with how it turned out! 

In case you are interested I have a Pinterest board of patterns I like. I've made many of them. But most are things I hope to make some day. 


Related to knitting: I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately.  They are especially great to have on while knitting, even better than a movie because there is absolutely no visual to keep up with.  My friend Jacqui recommend the podcast Stuff You Missed In History Class and it has quickly become my favorite.  That and Fountains of Carrots. 

This week Stuff You Missed In History Class did an episode about the history of knitting.  And I listened to it last night....WHILE I was knitting. I know it will make me seem like a huge nerd when I say this, but I so excited about it! It was the perfect evening. 


I was over at Blessed Is She this past Monday. Check it out if you didn't see it. 

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. 
So starts the well-loved Psalm that I have had memorized since I was about six years old. 
In verdant pastures He gives me repose.
Beside restful waters He leads me.
He refreshes my soul
How good that sounds. Green pastures, restful waters, refreshment. But this is not the image I am given to meditate on as the refrain. No. Instead I am to repeat over and over these words: 
Even though I walk through the dark valley I will fear no evil; for you are at my side. 
Dark valley? Evil? These are not things I want to deal the rest here!

 So, Johnny is really in to trains right now.  All things trains, train puzzles, train books, we live near a train line and often see the train while running errands, and he always exclaims "TAAAAIN" from the back seat. It's very cute. 

His favorite of course is to build the wooded train tracks.  We got him a started kit a while back and since then have been given a ton of hand-me-down trains from some family and friends. We're putting this little beauty in his Easter basket. I am not always very good at playing with kids' toys, but I do enjoy building trains with him. I am grateful that he is into something that we can do together. 

I'm actually getting quite good at building cool train tracks. I've been taking pictures of some of my best ones, which I will now share with you. 

I hope you have a great weekend!


for more quick takes visit This Ain't the Lyceum

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Always Comes

I put on my husband's parka this morning and ran out in the pale light to set the recycling on the curb. My slippers shattered ice crystals that had formed on the steps over night and I could see my breath in front of me. But the air on my face didn't feel cold, it felt refreshing  a welcome breath of life.  As I walked back up our sidewalk I saw the green leaves of our day lilies sprouting out of the ground, pushing up through the dead leaves of last fall. And I realized, spring is coming!

There has been a winter in my soul. I think it has to do with the craziness of life right now. Grad school, running my studio, two babies, a million appointments, feeling like there is no time for quiet reflection, no time to spend with my husband, no time to take care of myself. We've been in survival mode for far too many months.

I think it also comes from attitudes I can't let go of. A sense of entitlement when things don't go my way. A lack of charity because, your life couldn't possibly be as difficult as mine. A lack of patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, all that good fruit that is so hard to cultivate.

I have not been feeling the consolation of the Holy Spirit that I so long to feel. I'm sure some of it is me  I'm not growing my prayer life the way that I should be. Mass is an exercise in creative toddler bribing. Spiritual reading is what I do when I can't fall asleep because, well, it gets the job done. But I think some of it is also that I am no longer a child at camp. I'm not going to have a mountain top experience every time I sing a song of praise or quiet my heart in prayer, but that doesn't mean I should stop praying and praising.

The Holy Spirit is still moving in my heart, even though I can't always feel it.

The green leaves are pushing their way up through cracked, dry dirt, and dead leaves, long before  they make their way to the surface.

Spring is coming, just like it came last year, just like it comes after every winter. Just like morning comes after every night. Just like Easter comes after every Good Friday.


post script:

The last couple of times I've posted something melancholic I've had friends check in with me to see if I'm ok.  I just want to let you know that I'm fine. Life is a bit stressful, and some days get a little crazy, but writing about it is one of the ways I process and relax. So thanks for reading, and caring. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016


the 52 project

"A portrait of my children once a week, every week for 2016."

Johnny// 2 yrs. 9 mos. 

Trixie// 5 mos.

We've been having an unseasonably warm March. This was our first trip back to the park. Johnny was able to do a lot more of the playground equipment than he was last fall.  Trixie loved being outside in the sunshine watching Johnny run around. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

the women i pray for

I have a list. It's a list of names. Other mothers that I pray for.

I update my list every month, or as the need arises. New names get added, other names move to different categories.

My list has categories.

Pregnant women, that's one category.

But not just pregnant women. Women pregnant for the first time. Women pregnant for the seventh time. Women who continue to work and run errands and exercise as if nothing has changed, and women who spend 9 months curled up on their couches and vomiting into their toilets. Women who wanted to be pregnant, desired it, dreamed of it, prayed for it for months, sometimes years. And woman for whom a new life is an unexpected shock, joy is clouded by fear and stress, another mouth to feed, another body to cloth. Grace and peace and good health, O Lord.

The babies keep coming, the months tick by, and the names in this category come and go.

Then there are women who want to be pregnant, but aren't. Women who long to hold a baby of their own for the first time, and women who's babies are grown, and long for one more. Please God, just one more. Women who are in and out of doctors appointments, trying different diets, supplements, and medications, and each month brings another disappointment.

This category, unfortunately, doesn't change as much.

There are other categories besides these: working moms and stay at home moms. Moms who's husbands travel a lot, or are in school, like mine, and do a lot of solo parenting, and single moms who bear the weight of parenting alone. There are moms finishing school, moms attempting to home school. There are moms sitting with their children in doctors offices and therapy appointments, turning their worlds upside down for a child with special needs or health complications. And there are moms suffering through their own poor health, each day they rise above it and care for their families. Lord, hear our prayer.

There is a category for when the unthinkable happens; mothers holding their children's hands in hospital rooms. feeling the helplessness that comes with watching a child suffer. Lord, show us your mercy and love. And there are mothers saying goodbye to their children and entrusting them to the arms of Jesus. And grant us your salvation.

When I look at my list of names I am reminded that I am not in this motherhood thing all by myself. I am reminded that when I have hard day, or week, someone else is too, and I can offer my own trials up for them. I am reminded that there are other women praying for me.

When I look at my list of names I am reminded that motherhood comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and that there is no room for me cast judgments or comparisons. Because it's hard. This motherhood thing is really hard, and we are all trying our best for our families.

When I look at my list of names, I am reminded that what every mother needs and deserves is compassion, understanding, a listening ear, and a praying heart.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love

Friday, March 4, 2016


"A portrait of my children once a week, every week, in 2016."

I was feeling indecisive this week, so you're getting three photos of each.

Johnny / 2 yrs. 9 mos. /  Markers usually end up being a mistake, but Trixie was asleep so I decided I'd be fun while I could watch him like a hawk. I don't know where he learned to put stuff behind his ears, neither Alex or I do that. But he does it all the time.

Trixie / 4 mos / My little pink baby is actually getting quite big.  And she looks like she could be a red head, doesn't she? Her hair is actually brown, but in certain light it looks a little reddish. I'm still holding out hope.

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