Friday, October 28, 2016

7 quick takes vol. 29

linking up with Kelly, as always.


Remember a couple weeks ago I was talking about how Alex was starting rotations and I was hoping they would be easier on our family than his academic year was, but I was bracing myself because each step of PA school has gotten progressively worse? Well, it's been two weeks of rotations so far and...the jury is still out.

The academic year was grueling, but his schedule was set. He was usually home by 4:00 and could play with the kids while I made dinner. He had to study all the time, but he had no class on Fridays, he was around in the mornings, and it worked out perfectly for him to take Johnny to school. This first rotation, ENT, has been rather unpredictable. He's working long hours, going to multiple locations, some of them are an hour away, no more Fridays off, and he has to leave really early, so now I get to take Johnny to school. Wah-wah. And he still has studying to do. Sounds like it's worse, right?

But, strangely, it doesn't feel as stressful. He doesn't have deadlines, the studying is more focused. He seems more motivated to make the most of his studying, since he's using it in real life situations. He also feels like he can stop, take a night off, or most of the weekend. It's busier, but it's less stressful. So, is it worse? I'm not really sure.


I did a Warby Parker home try-on a few weeks ago. Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on Instagram. I couldn't decide on a frame, so I sent them all back. But then a friend of mine told me we have a WP store right here in Minneapolis. So the two of us went together, along with a collective four children under four years old. Sounds like a perfect storm, but no one had a melt down, and we both found frames we like. These are mine! They look almost identical to my old frames. So....really exciting!


As I mentioned earlier, I am now taking Johnny to school in the morning.  I don't like it for many reasons. Having to get up and out the door with two small children first thing in the morning is not my idea of fun. I realize that unless I end up homeschooling this will be my life for the next 15? 20? years, so I better get used to it. But some mornings there's no time to make coffee before I leave and soon we will have snow...Ugh.

Early morning struggles aside.  I've realized I don't like taking Johnny to school because I don't like leaving him there. Not because I think it's a bad place or that he doesn't like it.  It's a great school, his speech is improving every day. And he has a lot of fun there. His teachers told us at his parent-teacher conference (wow does that sound grown-up) that he's kind of a class clown and likes to make the other kids laugh.(by putting his shoe on his head apparently? idk) But it still makes me sad to leave him there. I think it's still just a little unnatural to not have him with me all day long. He's my first baby, and even though he's a wild and stubborn little boy, he's still my baby.

Picking him up at the end of the day is much more fun. He is always so happy to see me. And even happier to see Trixie.


Lots of fiber arts going on here. I spent the first couple weeks of October working on Trixie's birthday presents. I knit her a hat and mini infinity scarf, because she needed them. And I crocheted her a little purse, because she loves to carry my purse around, and a little doll, because we have no girl toys.  They were both really fun to make, although it took forEVER to put that little doll's hair in.

I'm currently working on this sweater pattern by Isabell Kraemer. I'm making it with some Malabrigo yarn I got with a birthday gift card and I'm making it for myself. I love that golden rod/mustard yellow that has been all over the place the last year or two, but it really doesn't work with my ruddy/fair coloring. All the same I really wanted to use it in a sweater. So I'm making the majority of the sweater gray, but the last 5 inches or so will be yellow. I think the accent- far away from my face-will work nicely.


Laurel shared this squash recipe on her Instagram feed a couple weeks ago and we made it last week and oh my stars was it AMAZING! I can't stop thinking about it. I think I'm even dreaming about it. It was so tasty and such perfect cold weather comfort food. I ate an entire half of a butternut squash you guys. No joke. You've GOT to try it.


In case you missed it. We've got our line-up of speakers for the Midwest Catholic Women Bloggers Conference this spring. I'm so excited to have Haley, Laura, and Nell together under one roof sharing their wisdom and expertise. I feel so lucky to have met all these ladies before, and to live just a few minutes away from one of them (here's looking at you, Nell). They're all lovely and I know it's going to be a blast. If you want to stay in the loop join our Facebook group, or send me an email if you're not on Facebook.


Now that Johnny's in school every week day except Friday, our Friday mornings at home have become really special. We stay in our jammies as long as possible and I try to kiss my babies as much as they will let me. One of their favorite games is to "play on papa's bed" as Johnny calls it. I don't know why it's just "papa's bed" and not "mama's bed" or more accurately, "mama and papa's bed." Whatever, everyone knows papa is more fun, so that must be why the fun game is associated with him.  But they just love to jump on our bed and roll around and then lay down on the pillows. It's very cute, and it means I get to stay in bed.

Here's hoping you all have a great weekend, and that you can stay in your jammies as long as possible.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Trixie is One

"Time like an ever rolling stream soon bears us all away,
We fly forgotten as a dream dies at the opening day."

Trixie turned one last week. Our little Beatrix is officially a toddler! I'm feeling that thing every more experienced parent has warned me of- it goes by so fast. These days with babies can be so long and grueling, but the years are whizzing by and when I look at my giant baby I know I need to savor them more.

We had a birthday brunch for Trixie on Sunday, and as if she was holding out for a celebration, she started walking! She's been doing a couple steps here and there for about a month. But she decided her birthday party was a good time to start walking in earnest. She's been going back and forth across the living room and is getting steadier and faster everyday. 

In addition to walking, she likes to turn pages in books, ruin Johnny's train sets and put on his backpack and my purse. She also likes trying to put on socks and shoes. She loves to bounce on the bed and loves to be kissed. She says mama, papa, bye-bye, and water. I thought these were coincidental at first, but she's so consistent. I guess she's started talking. (Very different from our first born.) She's in the 50th percentile for height and the 90th for weight. #thosethighstho Oh, and she had zero teeth until she was about 11 months old, then she cut her top four all at once and it was terrible. 

I love when people do monthly updates of their babies. I was never organized enough to do that. But I did look through photos from this past year and pick out one from each month, thus reinforcing this feeling that it's going by way too fast. What happened to my little baby? 


one month

two months

three months

four months

five months

six months

seven months

 eight months

 nine months

ten months

eleven months

one year

Monday, October 17, 2016

Marriage is Awesome, Even When it's Not Awesome

Today is our 7 year anniversary. And it's probably one of the most mundane anniversaries we have had yet. Alex woke up at 6:00 for his first day of rotations. I got up at 6:45 to get Johnny ready for school. As I was getting ready to load the kids in the car I got a text from Alex saying he left his wallet at home. So after school drop-off I spent 20 cruising around the hospital parking ramps looking for his car. I will teach lessons this afternoon. We may go out to dinner tonight, depending on when he gets home. We may just go out for a drink. Who knows! Life keeps ticking along at a pretty rapid pace, and isn't really going to afford us the time to stop and celebrate.

I think this has been a year of paradoxes for our marriage. It's been a really hard year, with grad school, adding a second child. financial stresses, but there have been so many good things happening at the same time.

At first glance it may seem like we don't have as much fun as we used to. We don't go out on dates, we don't go see movies, we don't travel, we don't workout together  at all, our house is messy, there are crayon markings all over the walls, we're sleep deprived, and we seem to be crabby a lot of the time. But somehow, we have so much fun together, and with our kids. We make jokes about everything, we laugh all time. Sometimes I feel like I have to either laugh or cry, so I'm going to laugh. We're also learning to have new kinds of fun. It's not glamorous fun. It's frozen pizza, wooden train tracks, and babies in the the bathtub fun. And I'll take it.

Our time together is very limited, but we have so much meaningful time together. We've learned how to make it count, because we've had to. Alex is gone all day, he studies all even and most of the weekends.  Dinner time is race to eat as fast as possible while keeping a baby happy and a toddler in his seat. So when we do get a few quiet minutes to just talk, we make it count. we talk about our day, our goals for tomorrow, our beautiful children who, even though we breath a sigh of relief every night when we get them to bed, we can ever seem to stop talking about. And we pray together. Not as much as we should, but we do it. And when things get really hard it's always our first line of defense.

I have been challenged more than ever before in what it means to die to self. And at the same time I have never felt more strongly that I can stand by this man through anything. I believe so firmly that when the storms of life come (that is when, not if, because if there's one thing you can count on in life, it's that storms will come) you can either let them tear you down, or you lean into the storm and come out stronger on the other side. We have been through other storms together, infertility, miscarriage, health complications with our first born, and I know they have made our marriage stronger. So much so that when I think back on favorite moments in our marriage I don't think of the time we spent Paris, (although that was great) I think of the time we spent sleeping on a foldout couch together in our son's NICU room. That was the hard stuff, the real stuff, but it was also the good stuff.

So, here we go, year 8 of marriage. Bring on the good stuff.

Friday, October 14, 2016

7 quick takes vol. 28


Yesterday Alex took a four and a half hour test that marked the end of the academic half of PA school. Yay! On Monday he will start clinical rotations and then after 14 months of that he will be totally done with school. Yay!

This first half of PA school has been really difficult, for Alex, for me, and for our family life. Except for the couple times a year that he's on break, there has been the constant feeling that he should be studying and because of that he misses out on a lot of family time. And then when he decides to take a break and spend some time with us I have a constant feeling of guilt because I know he should be studying.  I'd like to think that rotations will be better because nothing could be worse than what we've been going through. But that's what I thought when Alex was working full time and taking prerequisites at night."there's no way PA school could be worse than this." But it was. So I'm bracing myself for something terrible come Monday. I'm learning the art of lowering expectations. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised.


Trixie turned one on Tuesday! Alex was taking finals and Johnny was at school so Trixie and I walked down to Starbucks for a birthday latte, and then that turned into lunch at the Whole Foods across the street. My lunch, just to clarify. Trixie wants nothing to do with solids. We presented her with a little piece of a cupcake that night after dinner and some of it ended up in her hair while the rest ended up in Johnny's mouth.

So Darling Daughter won't eat solids, but last week I found a stitch marker in her dirty diaper.  At first I felt like the World's Worst Mom for letting her eat a stitch marker on my watch.  Then I felt completely indignant that she scorns every tasty morsel of real food we offer her, and then when we're not looking she goes and eats a stitch marker.

Anyway, we're going to celebrate her birthday properly this weekend. More to come on that, I'm sure.


A few of my friends started writing lectio divina styled scripture studies this year. They asked me to be a guest contributor for their most recent study, Waiting in the word: A Couple's Journey. This study centers around fertility and all the ways it affects our marriages. I am so honored to be a part of it. It's available for purchase now, and if you want to participate in an online study group it's kicking off this Sunday.


Blessed is She is also launching something new; By The Manger In The Morning, a prayer journal for Advent, written by fellow BIS writer, Elizabeth Foss. Each day has scripture readings, reflections, calls to actions, and space for you to journal and reflect in your own words. I got a sneak peak at this journal a few weeks ago as I was helping out with some editing. It is truly beautiful and so well written. I am really excited to use it to bring some calm to my own Advent and help keep me centered on Christ.

I know that Advent seems like a million miles away, but I check the calendar, and it starts in just 6 short weeks. Yikes! You can find the journal, as well as beautiful Jesse Tree cards and lovely Advent prints designed by the very talented Erica of Be A Heart, all in the Blessed is She shop. Check it out and get ready to have a great advent. 


I just started listening to the most amazing podcast. The West Wing Weekly. My SIL told me about it over the summer and I just got around to checking it out this week and oh my. It's pure gold. If you don't like, or have never seen The West Wing, first of all, these are problems we need to address. And secondly, I can guarantee that you will not like this podcast. It's main objective is to discuss episodes of The West Wing in great detail, WITH West Wing cast and crew members. But if you're a TWW fan you'll be in heaven.  Each episode is about an hour long, and I listened to 5 episodes yesterday. It's so good. And, as is true of all podcasts, it's perfect for knitting! 


We've got a date for our Catholic Women Bloggers Network Midwest Conference! (What a mouthful! Maybe we need to work on a shorter name.) It's going to be March 25, 2017, right here in St. Paul, MN. So if you're a Catholic woman who blogs, or is thinking of starting a blog, or a woman blogger who is Catholic-curious, save the date and join our Facebook group so as not to miss out on any other exciting announcements. Teaser: we've got our speakers lined up and will be announcing them soon. It's going to be a lot of fun.


We had some family photos taken last night by my very talented friends Kristen and Jameson. I had a lot of anxiety and indecision over what we all should wear and spent many minutes scanning Pinterest for some outfit combos to copy. I was feeling like maybe Alex and Johnny were too matchy and that maybe all my smiles were too forced, but Jameson posted a sneak peak on their Facebook page that put my mind at ease. Actually, I'm over the moon excited about them. Especially this one. Thank you Jameson for capturing our family so beautifully.  I can't wait to see the rest. 

For more quick takes head on over to Kelly's. Have an awesome weekend everyone!

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Mother's Act of Contrition

Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for all the yelling I did today,
For losing my patience more times that I can remember,
For rolling my eyes, and slamming doors,
And forgetting that they're just babies, and they don't know any better.

I'm sorry for failing to be a good partner to my husband,
For blaming him when my day is difficult,
As if his day spent with other adults is somehow responsible for my children's terrible naps.
And for forgetting that we are in this parenting thing together.

I'm sorry for choosing to do bad, and failing to do good.
For being selfish instead of serving,
For trying to escape instead of being present,
For seeking earthly comfort instead of Heavenly treasure.

I know that these things grieve Your heart, and I know that I don't deserve Your mercy.

But I know that You still love me.
Because after my child threw the most epic of tantrums,
And after he spent three minutes in the time-out chair,
I wanted nothing more than to pull him into my arms and say I love you.

In these moments I can see what it must be like for You to love me through all my faults and failings.
Nothing my child could do could make me love him any less,
Even though sometimes he makes me want to pull my hair out.
I'm so grateful that this is only a shadow of what Your love for me must be like.

Help me, with Your grace, to start again, O Lord.
Help me, with Your grace, to see every hardship as an opportunity to share Your cross.
Help me, with Your grace, to remember my children are the sheep You have asked me to feed, the mission field you have placed me in.
Help me, with Your grace, to give myself to my family, even as You gave Yourself for us.
Help me, with Your grace, to love the way You love me.


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