Monday, December 29, 2008

Snoopy and Mr. Christmas

I don't know if this is a small town tradition, or if our suburban neighbors do it too, but during the Christmas season Nathan and I drive around the several neighborhoods surrounding our little apartment in search of pretty or outrageous lights displays.

We have seen several of both. One of my favorites is the house in which strands of white lights are draped over the driveway, beginning at the top of the garage and streaming downwards to either side of the driveway. However, there are two that take the cake for us.

The first we saw last year as we were driving around. I'm not usually one for inflatables, but I am a big Peanuts fan and the sight of this inflatable just made me happy. It's an inflatable Snoopy on Sopwith Camel with rotating propeller (said just that way as quickly as possible.) Nathan also gets a big kick out of it. The house's owners also put out a little blinking runway for him. Unfortunately, every time we go to see him, we forget the camera and when we went around taking pictures today, he had already been taken down.

The second favorite house is one Nathan affectionately calls "Mr. Christmas." We didn't see this house until this year and his title didn't occur until we were looking at lights with Elizabeth and noted that for a few blocks on almost all sides of this house, there are very few lights. "Must be another rolling brownout from Mr. Christmas," Nathan commented. A nickname was born. It truly is a fantastic sight. Every time we pass it I want to laugh. Of course, the pictures don't really do it justice. He has cut outs of the Flintstones in the front yard...I'm still not sure what they have to do with Christmas.
There were also lights strung across the sides of the house.

It's impossible to see in these pictures, but there was a functioning Ferris wheel, as well as two miniature villages set up inside.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


We had a wonderful holiday and we hope you did too. Our Christmas always starts Christmas Eve morning, when the two of us celebrate our own holiday with the presents we bought each other. Because we heard they were cancelling "Pushing Daisies" and it's one of our favorite shows, I got the first season for Nathan.

Every Christmas, Nathan feels the compunction to cover me in the bows we used on the packages. Observe. He was going for a "stegosaurus" feel this year.

Christmas Eve we always go to Mass in Pecatonica, the town my Dad grew up in and then we go to one of his brothers' houses for dinner. This year we also had a white elephant game. It got quite wild. The overall theme seemed to be alcohol and lotto tickets (our group came home with a twelve pack, a six pack, four individual-sized bottles of wine, and Irish creme liqueur.) But the best part of the evening was when my dad and his older brother Mike opened their gifts, they both ended up with harmonicas. It is much funnier when you know the two of them and know how similar they are, to the point of dressing alike without knowing it.

Christmas Day we spent the morning with my family and the afternoon with Nathan's family. We had a great Christmas Day, and yes, for those who are concerned, Santa did bring Nathan "Wall-E." We received many wonderful gifts, I got all the books I asked for and more besides and a board game from Nathan that is a great deal of fun. We got several movies other than Wall-E, I even got a John Wayne movie, which begins to restore my faith in Santa Claus because I know my mother would never buy it for me.

Christmas afternoon we spent with Nathan's family. His mother always creates a theme for her tree. This year her theme was blue and white with blue lights and this year, matched her wrapping paper to the tree more or less. It was beautiful. This year, for the third year in a row, Nathan asked his mother for shoes. But now he has new work, dress, and tennis shoes, so I hope next year Nathan gives her a new idea.

The hat Nathan is wearing is actually a Christmas present from his sister to his father. Music was all around at Nathan's parents' house with Nathan playing the piano before he his sister got there, the CD player going while we opened presents, he and his sister playing the piano after we opened presents and Pam also taking a turn at the ivories.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cut-out cookies...or not

Elizabeth came for a visit this past weekend and in anticipation I bought Christmas cookie cutters, so we could bake. As it turned out, our weekend was full with looking at Christmas lights, seeing a movie, and talking and we didn't actually get around to making cookies.

After she left I thought I would make the cookies myself, after all, I made scones from scratch this past October. How hard can cut out cookies be?

Turns out, very. As with every time I try to make them on my own, even after chilling them and putting confectioners sugar everywhere so the dough doesn't stick to everything, it was almost melded to my kitchen table. I pulled handfuls off and mad them into drop cookies. And they ended up not making them to work, like I had been hoping.
Unfortunately, when I cook and things don't go my way, I get very temperamental and Nathan gets upset. I was determined after this debacle to give away all our cookie cutters. But I think instead I just won't try to make them without supervision for quite a while

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Woman Without a Country

Ever since my siblings and I were very young, my parents have encouraged us to read. We could stay up later at nights if we were reading and the Easter Bunny always brought us candy and books.

I think that's why these days, if I'm not working on at least one book, I feel rather like a woman without a country. I feel lost and only partially there. This is why, a week before Christmas, with several books on my several lists, I went to the library. I had finished "Dragon Waiting" which I recommend if you're into alternate historical fiction and I couldn't get through "The Real History Behind the Knights of the Templar." I returned them both to the library and picked up "Reading Lolita in Tehran" something I had wanted to read for a while.

I don't know if I'll finish it before Christmas, but I couldn't bear to go a week without reading something.

Books on my Christmas lists:
The Tale of Despereaux--read it, loved it, have to have it
A Lion Among Men--Read the first two in the series, love them, have them
Peter Pan--One of my favorite books of all time

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Newsings and Musings

I haven't been feeling quite myself lately, so I figured my cardiologist appointment on Monday was not going to go well. The problem is, it went badly in a completely different direction than I was expecting.

The last time I was at the doctor, about 18 months ago, he said my right atrium, which was connected directly to my lungs when I was seven has become distended, after 17 years, I wasn't surprised. He said I would have to have another surgery to correct that, but we decided to let it go for a little while.

At this appointment, he didn't even mention that problem. What came up this time is my malfunctioning left ventricle. Apparently, all the walls of my left ventricle, which is my only ventricle, are not pumping at the same time. This is a problem. I have to have a series of blood tests checking the levels of a hormone which indicates heart failure. He mentioned if the level is high enough, we might have to look into getting a pacemaker. This totally threw us all for a loop. We had never talked about a pacemaker before. We had talked about more surgery, transplants, and whatnot, but never a pacemaker.

In other news: Nathan does not make the holidays very easy. He almost never comes up with anything he wants. So, I have to scavenge for ideas and then when he actually gives me real ideas, I give them right to my mom or his mom because I always get caught in between, "What does he want?" "Well you live with him, what does he want?" People seem to think living with someone means they tell you things...

Elizabeth is coming for a visit. She feels bad for not getting to know the cats very well, so she's coming to see us. We're going to see a movie and out for dinner, to make cookies, and probably some shopping as well.

I have most of my Christmas shopping done and wrapped and under the tree. Ironically the only thing I have left to buy is Nathan's stocking stuffer. That's right...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh, Roddy...

I think that somewhere deep down inside, I must be a horrible person. I have lived in this state for all but three months of my life and I know as much as everyone else who lives here about the corruption that has always existed at the top levels of government.

That is why, today, when Governor Blagojevich was arrested at his home, I spent the whole day feeling slightly giddy. Every time it came up I giggled. I also happen to be something of a news junkie so I spent an inordinate amount of time at work looking up news stories on the events of the morning.

The reason I have very little sympathy for this man, is because he seems to be spurred on, almost entirely, by his need to increase his own power and finances. Reportedly, the CEO of a children's hospital (probably either Hope or Children's Memorial) would not contribute $50,000 to his campaign and he threatened to pull the hospital's $8 million state funding.

I do feel bad for my lack of pity, but every time I hear about it I just get kind of giggly. I do feel bad for his wife and daughters, though.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Immaculate Conception

There is something about Marian holy days, they almost always inspire me. I love the verses about her life and the songs I've known since I was a young child. The feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the pure, sinless birth of the Blessed Virgin to St. Anne and St. Joachim.

The Immaculata Prayer, by St. Maxmilian Kolbe

O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, (name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.
If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: "She will crush your head," and "You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world." Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin
Give me strength against your enemies


Sunday, December 7, 2008

What's great

One of the things that's great about my mom is her foresight. When she and my dad got married, they had very few Christmas decorations. She had to ask her mom and mother-in-law for them for years before she had a nice collection of them. She didn't want that to happen to my sisters and I so when were a little older she started collections for us. I started collecting angels, Anne started collecting snowmen, and Elizabeth collected Santa Clauses. Which means of course that nearly all my Christmas decorations are angels, but they are very beautiful.

One of the things that's great about my mother-in-law is her talent. She has an eye for crafts and decorations that I definitely don't. She planned the pew bows and made the table decorations for Nathan and my wedding and they were beautiful. Every year her Christmas tree is themed and every year she made one ornament for Nathan and one for his sister. She gave us the box with the ornaments and a record of what year it was, what the theme was, and what the ornament she made was. It's an incredible treasure.

She also made ornaments out of our wedding favors. We used the little gauze bags and put M&Ms and Hershey's Kisses in them with a little favor tag. She baked clay in the colors and shapes of M&Ms and made foil wrappers in the shape of Kisses as ornaments. I absolutely love them.

This is the first ornament she made for Nathan in 1981. It was for her tree with soft ornaments and hung near his sister's ornament which had pink wings and a bow.

Advent and a few other things

A friend of mine recently pointed out the significance of Advent. It's not a season I really have ever thought about much before now. I was also struck by it's importance in Mass today. Before it was always the season we had to get through before Christmas. I hope I'm coming into a greater understanding of the season as a time of hope and preparation. Not just for Christmas Day as a day for family and friends, but also in joyous anticipation of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

My first memories of having an Advent wreath are from when I was a bit older, but I've always loved them. I fell in love with one when my mother and I were out shopping not long before Nathan and I got married and they gave it to us for our first Christmas. It is one of my favorite parts of the season.

Hecate seems to think of the tree skirt, at least, before yesterday, as her own personal blanket, it seems like every time I turned around, she was messing with it. Nathan walked through the living room and started laughing. I went to see what was so funny and had to go get the camera.

I love wrapping presents, so our tree already has a bunch under it, and Hecate is without her blanket.

A jumpstart on the season

I know I've been talking about traditions a lot lately, but last week I decorated for Christmas, an event which is for me, fraught with tradition. First I helped decorate at my parents' house and handed stockings and nails to Anne, because it is her job to hang them on the mantle. At Mom and Dad's decorating is traditionally an all day event, minus the Dickens village lately, thank God.

Then Nathan and I came home and decorated our own little apartment, keeping in mind some of my own new traditions. Every year while I decorate, I watch my absolute favorite holiday movie "The Muppets Christmas Carol." I watched parts of it three times this year. I can't help it, the music always gets me. Last year we got Hecate a stocking and while we have a second cat, Nathan insisted they don't need their own stockings so they share one.

Nathan's stocking is the blue one, mine has the angel, and the cats' is the red one. For our first Christmas together, in 2006, my parents got us a Nativity set. Mom said my dad picked it out and I love it. I had to put it in a kitten-proof spot this year because Hyperion is much less careful than Hecate was.

After this picture was taken I realized I had put out the Christ Child a little too early and removed him from the manger. I would probably have the wise men elsewhere for the time being too, but we don't have that many kitten-proof places.

This last tradition has been in place ever since I was young and could help decorate the Christmas tree. My favorite color is blue, so my Baby's First Christmas ornament, which is quiet heavy, always hangs in a place on the tree with enough room for it, underneath a blue light. (Which you can't really tell in this picture).

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bella Wants to be a Dentist

Elizabeth has been accepted to Southern Illinois University's dental program for next school year. I would have been much more excited when she called and told me, but I am currently battling a migraine that could take down a buffalo.

Other things I was thankful for this weekend:

A holiday which celebrates both family and good food
Getting to spend four days with a large part of my family
All my friends, those I spoke with and those I didn't
Finding Hecate (twice--see next post)
Christmas season's arrival
The relative good health of most of my family
Our jobs and apartment
The fact that nearly all my Christmas shopping is finished and now I get to do the fun things, decorating, wrapping, and sending out cards

One Very Bad Kitty

Because we were home last weekend longer than a normal weekend, my in-laws consented to us bringing our cats Hecate and Hyperion to their house so they weren't left alone. We warned them before we came that Hyperion has a habit of hanging out near the door and venturing out onto our landing when we're not looking.

My mother-in-law fretted about how to keep him from the door or using a different door, because their front door leads directly out onto the porch. It turns out we all should have been worrying in an entirely different direction.

We were leaving my parents' house Friday to return to Nathan's parents' house for the evening when his mother called very worried because she couldn't find Hecate, our little black cat. My in-laws live in a big beautiful old farm house, with about a million and a half different places for the cats to hide. I wasn't too worried, I figured she had just found somewhere unusual to hole up for a little. We arrived and I started looking for her immediately. I went into their office, which is at the bottom of a staircase leading to the upstairs and closed off to the main floor by two doors. I called for Hecate and heard a tiny meow. I called again and realized she was upstairs, where the cats weren't supposed to go. I found her in my mother-in-law's storage room. Apparently both cats had gone upstairs earlier and Hecate had slipped into this room unnoticed. Problem solved.

Sunday as we were packing to leave I put Hyperion into his crate and called for Hecate. She didn't respond and she didn't come. I called again and still nothing. At about 4:30 we started looking in all her usual hiding places in the house, including upstairs. We could not find her. While my mother-in-law, Nathan and I were in DeKalb, my father-in-law had returned to the house and left, and my sister-in-law had been there. I realized the possibility of her slipping out undetected could have been large. I began to panic. As the snow fell, Nathan and I took flashlights and went out into the dark, searching along the road, in the ditches, in and around the barn across the street.

We did everything but turn the house upside-down and shake it, every room was checked at least four times. Finally, two and a half hours after we started looking, my in-laws found Hecate who must have been stretched across the inner frame work of the couch. I don't know how many times we looked under the couch, Nathan and his father even picked it up and looked under it.

You can't tell me that after more than a year Hecate doesn't know her name. I called fairly loudly for her in the house a few times, there is no way she did not hear me. She was being willfully disobedient. I picked her up from behind the couch and dropped her in her crate, so mad I didn't care whether or not she had been pinched when my in-laws used the couch's reclining features to find her.

But I am glad she was safe and found and I have since examined her and she seems okay.

Black Friday

I've mentioned before how important tradition is to my family. Well, here's another big one. Every year, my mom and sisters drag me out of bed at five thirty and we begin the annual Black Friday shopping extravaganza. It always starts out the same way, we hit up one of DeKalb's bigger stores, this year it was Target. Then we head across the street to Panera for breakfast (it's always Panera). Where, because I don't like bagels, the nice people behind the counter make me a sandwich at 7 a.m.

From there we bop around DeKalb. Always hitting Kohls, Carson Pairie Scott, and JC Penney's. I actually bought more this year than I had thought I would, but I was dealing with a touch of illness and was very grateful to not have to be trying on clothes.

We save that for the day after Christmas.

Then we went home and Anne and I made Spritz cookies while listening to Christmas carols. If you've never made Spritz cookies I recommend you try them. It's pretty easy, the whole recipe consists of about four sticks of butter and half a bottle of almond extract. It wouldn't be Christmastime around my parents' house without them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

La Bella

Today is Elizabeth, my youngest sister's birthday. She's 22 and she also had her dental school interview. She said it went pretty well, so say a prayer.

Yay 93.9!!

I know it is early in the season, but the radio station 93.9 has started playing Christmas songs 24 hours a day.

It is one of the big things I look forward to every Christmas season. I love hearing all the different songs and different versions of the classics. I was driving to lunch today and one of my very favorites came on "Dominic the Donkey," I love it.

Listening to the music really gets me in the mood for all the rest of the holiday traditions, decorating, buying and wrapping presents, making cookies, shopping. It really is the only kind of shopping I enjoy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two years and loads of memories

About a month ago, Nathan and I celebrated our second anniversary and I thought I would post about some of the interesting or comical things that have happened since we got married.

Ten doughnuts

We have lived in Tinley Park since we got married and go home to DeKalb County quite frequently. We used to take back roads so we didn't have to deal with tolls and one of the roads skirts the community of Minooka. There is a kind of strange Citgo there that we used to stop at for gas and a driving break. We did so one fall afternoon and Nathan went in while I stayed in the car. He came back out with a white paper bag.

Me: What's in the bag?
N: Doughnuts. (He handed me the bag)
Me: How many are in there?
N: Ten.
Me: You bought ten doughnuts?!
N: They were fifty cents. (Not individually, fifty cents all together)
Me: You bought ten doughnuts?!
N: They were fifty cents!

We went to a wedding of friends of his at a very upscale restaurant and hotel in Naperville. We sat down at dinner and each table had a basket of bread and a plate of butters which were in flower forms. We were sitting down and I was talking to someone sitting next to me when I turned to look at Nathan who had a flower-butter halfway to his mouth.

Me: Don't eat the butter, Dear.
N: (Looking sheepishly) I thought it was chocolate.

One evening it was 12:30 a.m. and I was actually about to fall asleep, in that little place between sleeping and not sleeping, when Nathan said, "Honey, when was the heyday of pirates?" We had not been talking about pirates, we had not been watching anything about pirates. Pirates came totally out of the blue. My response was "What?"

Monday, November 17, 2008


This is one of the little things I learned not long after I got married. Nathan's first action, upon coming home is to take his socks off...and leave them where he is standing. This was annoying, but I was willing to mostly let it go. I usually end up picking them up out of habit later in the evening.

What I noticed later on, and bothers me a bit more, is his absolute nonchalance about whose socks he is wearing. It wouldn't be such a big problem if his ankles and legs weren't at least twice as big as mine. He has worn out the elastic on many of my socks and I have recently threatened to have my sister embroider his name on all his socks. (By the way, in the picture, those are my socks.)

He says he does this because I put the socks in different drawers (which is true, they go where there is space for them) and he doesn't have time in the morning to fish his out, so he grabs what he can. To facilitate his wearing his own socks, I went through the two dressers in our bedroom, there is another in the computer room, but that is all his clothes anyway, and pulled his socks out, piling them on top. I hope this helps him find his own socks.

I hope there's no driving in Heaven.

Not only do I hate driving, I hate cars and everything to do with them. On my way in to work today, my little red neon lost its power steering. Not that big of a deal, except that it meant I had to turn the wheel really hard. At lunch, I went to Target to see if I could add power steering fluid and fix the problem.

It took me about five minutes to find the power steering fluid and then as I was taking the cap off the reservoir in the car, it slipped out of my fingers and fell down into the engine compartment, getting stuck.

I have a very generous 45-minute lunch break, that at this point, was slipping away from me. I called into work and told them I would be back late, then, at Nathan's suggestion, went back into Target to buy something long and slender, with which to knock the cap out of the car onto the ground. I found camping forks.

It took quite a while because at first I just knocked the cap farther down so it was resting on the axle. Then a nice gentleman stopped and asked if he could help. After a few more minutes fighting with the cap, I finally knocked it onto the ground and he pushed my car back for me so I could get the cap.

An afternoon of phone calls followed, trying to figure out what to do about the car. In the end I drove it to our mechanic in DeKalb where my in-laws (whom I love) picked me up and drove me to Pecatonica (which is pronounced how it looks) where I borrowed my grandmother's car. I did not return home until 9:38.

I sincerely hope that when I make it to Heaven, there is no driving.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


February sixth to eighth is the Love Is Murder writer's conference in Chicago. It is the very first writing conference I will be attending. I just registered for it today. I'm a little nervous, it means I have to have the book in top shape by then and I still have a ways to go with it. But I'm part of a very supportive and honest writer's group who have helped me immensely and are the ones who encouraged me to attend the conference.


The real danger of jumping is that it doesn't always work. Invariably, at least once, you will end up falling flat on your face. And recently, though it may be for the best, Nathan and I had a bit of a crash landing.

The house we were going to buy needs a little too much work for it to be a feasible option for us right now. Apart from the roof and windows that we knew would need to be replaced if not this year, then in the next couple of years, the furnace needs to be replaced this year.

My little car, which I got free from a family member when I was a senior in college is not in very good shape and will also likely have to be replaced in the next few years. On top of the down payment, this is just a little too much money up front for us right now.

While this is a sad development, we both really wanted to live in that house, it also frees us up for another of our goals. We will probably be able to adopt sometime this year or next. I'm a little concerned that no one will want us because we will be living in an apartment or townhouse, but I'm still optomistic. Ideally we would still like to be living in DeKalb County near family, but right now we're just excited at the prospect of beginning the adoption process.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On the Couch

I hate calling in sick to work. I hate it even more when it's the day before my actual sick days kick in. However, I don't have much of a choice today, I have to go to the doctor.

Waiting to call the doctor at noon I noticed something. If you've taken the day off work you are far more likely to watch something on TV you would never watch regularly. For example, I watched that horrible Tim Allen movie "Jungle 2 Jungle."

I don't know why, probably just because it was on and I was afraid of what else might be on.

It was as awful as I had always imagined.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Penny for the Guy

In all the post-election saddness, I forgot to wish everyone a happy Guy Fawkes Day. This occasion would have passed completely unnoticed if, by chance, Nathan and I hadn't watched one of my favorite movies the other day "V for Vendetta," which deals heavily with the Guy Fawkes story.

Guy Fawkes was a 16th century Englishman who, along with Robert Catesby intended to blow up the English parliament in the Gunpowder Plot. Guy Fawkes Day is more commonly known as Bonfire Night when in commemoration of the plot's failure, bonfires and fireworks are lit in England. The phrase "Penny for the Guy" comes from the old tradition of children asking for money with which to purchase fireworks for the celebration.

So to all, Happy belated-Guy Fawkes Day.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Family secrets

My parents were always straight with me. They never tried to hide or sugar-coat anything. I was always told when I had to go to the doctor's or the hosptial. I was always allowed to express my feelings about it and they did their best to make me feel better.

The older I get the gladder I am they did things this way. I don't think tricking children into going to the doctor, or surprising them with it is very good for them. Plus, after each appointment or hospital stay I always got a treat, be it a meal out or a new book. That always made things go better!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


To say the least, last night's election didn't go quite the way I wanted. I really wanted this to be an angry post about how this country just elected a lying (lawyer) crook (Illinois politician).

But I have been annoyed all day by a little (tiny little) feeling of enthusiasm at the back of my mind. I imagine it is because we are all ready for a breath of fresh air after President Bush. If you really want to change things, Mr. Obama, and you really want to be my president, let's see you really change things.

Change the culture of death in this country: don't encourage death related bills: no partial birth abortion (I would say repeal Roe vs. Wade, but I won't ask too much of you just yet), no "right to die," and no death penalty.

Make your changes with vigilant respect of this country's history and principles.

All in all, my first conclave was way more exciting and productive than the first presidential election I've ever voted in. And I didn't even have a say in the conclave.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

So proud of me...

For the second time in my adult life, I have successfully secured a referral for myself to go to a pediatric cardiologist. I didn't even have to go to an adult cardiologist this time to get a letter. My records themselves were sufficient. Maybe they'll stop questioning me all together now...a girl can dream.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thumbellina Foundation

My parents were young when I was born and hadn't dealt with anything that would have prepared them to deal with my health up until that point. Everything they know, they learned by trial and error.

They also didn't have a great deal of money and already had my brother to take care of. It is mostly because of them, and because of the great lack of attention that I have witnessed towards congenital heart defects that I would like to start the Thumbellina Foundation. It is my idea of a non-profit agency that helps congenital cardiac defect patients and their parents at all ages and stages of their conditions.

It is named not for the Thumbellina story, but for a doll I have always had that I used to take to the hospital when I went. The only problem is, I have no idea how to start a non-profit and what to do once it is started. So for now it is just my idea...I have great hopes for it one day.

A Triumph

I have actually, successfully knitted a scarf. It's a small feat, and I didn't even get around to putting fringe or tassles on it, but I don't know how. I was just happy I could knit a scarf and have it come out looking as nice as this one did.

This is Anne, my middle sister, modeling it. It is half white and half green because those were the two colors I bought and I was not quite adventurous enough to knit stripes.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Oh Mine Papa

I was very distressed after Pope John Paul II died that I hadn't made more of an effort while he was alive to get to know him. I suppose it almost makes sense, I was only in college when he died and only just coming to know myself as a Catholic.

But I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't make that mistake again. To that end, I have just finished reading "Milestones" by Pope Benedict XVI. As stern and aloof as he may seem in public, his memoirs were suprisingly warm and witty. They were interesting from a historical standpoint as an account of a child's life at the beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933, when young Joseph Ratzinger was 6 years old. He served a short term in the military and was put in a POW camp by the American liberators. After that his religious and seminary work began in earnest.

The theological sections of the work are a bit dense to wade through, but they also can be charming and surprising. If you want to know more about His Holiness, I recommend you read this book. The work of a life is often dictated in how a youth is spent

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

This isn't only the first year we've had a pumpkin, it's also the first year we've both dressed up. Nathan's office had a costume party for which he was one of for to come dressed and my department decided independently to celebrate the holiday.

While it may look like Nathan dressed up as Nathan, he's really Indiana Jones...or a farmer. He decided to let everyone else pick which one he was.

I have wanted to dress as the Wicked Witch of the East for quite a while. I already had the outfit except for the socks and hat. The shirt is one of my favorites and the skirt is actually the lower half of my only good formal dress. After wearing it all day I remembered why I try not to for more than a couple hours, there is a layer of crenoline lining the bottom of the skirt, which makes it really itchy, and later really painful to sit on. I've had the shoes for a couple of months and everyone at work loved them with the socks.

Do you see two Hecates? Her little doppleganger was a present from Elizabeth, my youngest sister, and one of Hecate's biggest fans. It is roughly the same size as the real Hecate and I'm not sure how she feels about it. She knocks it over, but I don't know if she's playing or trying to destroy it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I promised...

...So, here are a couple of Nathan's baby pictures.

This is my favorite of the pictures I borrowed from my mother-in-law and scanned. That's his older sister standing at the bottom of the stairs.

I love this one too, he looks so cute in his little snow suit.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Pie Maker

It is very rare that Nathan and I find current TV shows we both like. He watches "Smallville" and "Supernatural" both of which I can't stand, and actually give me nightmares occasionally, and I watch "My Boys," which he dislikes.

Imagine our surprise then when we stumbled across "Pushing Daisies" and both really enjoyed it. It is clever and funny and very well done. The storylines can be a bit far-fetched...actually, usually are a bit far-fetched, but that's probably one of the things we love most about it.

We can actually sit down together and watch it. It makes Wednesday nights more fun.

Take it back!

I'm sure we all have those little things from our childhood that we wish we could keep the same forever. The way we remember our grandparents' laugh or the way the first day of school always felt.

Apart from wishing both my grandfathers were still around, the only thing I would really keep the same is not having to deal with my own medical care. It loomed in front of me for so long and now all of the sudden it's here (really it's been here for a while, but while I lived at home mom still more or less took care of it.) And, I truly hate it.

Seriously, I would pay my mother or almost anyone else for that matter, pretend to be me and call all the doctors' offices and make appointments and deal with the insurance companies.

This is the hardest part about my medical care right now. Technically, pulmonary atresia with tricuspid stenosis is a children's condition, which means I have to see a pediatric cardiologist. It is very hard to do this because when I call to get referals to see the ped cardiologist I have to do this every time,

"When is your birthday?"
"But, he's a pediatric cardiologist...and you're 24 years old."
"I realize that, but, if you look at my records...blah...blah...blah."

What is worse is when I go to the children's hospital where I have to see my cardiologist and I have to explain to the security guards...yes, security guards...why I'm there and what I will be doing. I end up feeling so persecuted.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Baby pictures

My poor mother-in-law...Nathan's family moved not long after we started dating and all the family pictures ended up on a shelf in an upstairs room. I actually hadn't seen any baby pictures of Nathan until we had been married nearly a year and a half, I think. Then, last weekend my mother in law broke her toe and I asked her if I could go back through the pictures and pick out my favorites to take home and scan.

She she and Nathan and I slowly climbed the stairs and pulled a lot of the boxes down and we all, including his dad, sat on the couch and went through old photographs all afternoon. I finally saw his very first, when he was brand new, and the really little baby pictures. I also found my absolute favorite from the last time we had gone through them, so I'll put one or two out here later.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Food and "Little Traditionalists"

My father attests that that's what my siblings and I are, "The worst bunch of little traditionalists I've ever known." Just because we insist that every Christmas the stockings are hung on the mantle every year and on trips up to Ely, Minnesota we stop at the same Denny's and Hardee's doesn't make us that bad...does it?

Anyway, usually that extends to food, however, even we get tired of the same things the same ways eventually. To that end, I have adapted my favorite meal. Please to enjoy.

Tuna Casserole
3/4 bag egg noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can tuna
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
vegetable oil

Set oven 350 degrees. Boil noodles until tender and in the meantime mix soup, tuna, and mayo. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat, add mushrooms and garlic. Sautee mushrooms. Add half mushrooms to mayonnaise mixture. Add noodles and mix well. Top with remaining mushrooms and mozzarella. Bake until cheese golden brown and bubbly.

Usually it doesn't have the mushrooms and is topped with crumbled potato chips.

On an entirely unrelated note: I made scones from scratch last night, one batch plain and the second batch I stole a friend's suggestion of adding craisins and sprinkling with sugar. I don't usually bake, so the fact that these went over well at work was really cool.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Like most people, in my memory my wedding is just a few flashes of the day's highlights (or otherwise). Our wedding color was hunter green, which I chose because Nathan said at the moment his favorite color was green and my sister Anne had hunter green prom dress.

On the morning of the wedding, in the midst of my worries that the tuxes wouldn't be right, Anne came to the kitchen and asked me to help her get her dress strap over her hair, which had been put up. The only moment of panic I really felt all day was when we couldn't get the strap over her hair. We ended up cutting the strap off and keeping the dress up with packing tape.

My maid of honor was my good friend Alexandra and she was in charge of carrying Nathan's wedding ring around. While we were hanging out at the house, I kept picking the ring box up and handing it to her every time she put it down. She got pretty frustrated with me until we were outside the church. Allie had the ring on her thumb and made a motion with her hands and the ring went flying across the parking lot. I nearly lost it.

We stood around outside in front of the church until someone finally said it was one o'clock (the time of the wedding) and as far as I knew we were no closer to going into the church. It was then they had to tell me the priest was late. Father Hummel had been my pastor at college and had it been anyone else I would have been upset. As it was I laughed and we all laughed when he came speeding around the corner and into the parking lot.

Then of course at the wedding Nathan shoved cake in my face...All in all it was a pretty great day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ah, memories...

I realize that for most brides, the biggest day of her life is her wedding day. Well, the same is true for me, but the rehearsal dinner was nearly as great.

Two years ago today, at six o'clock, was Nathan and my wedding rehearsal. The rehearsal itself was fun, almost everyone showed up on time and even though the whole thing seemed to take longer than it should have, I was happy we had finally gotten to that point.

Then came the party. My dad has five brothers who love to cook and are like, five of my favorite people, ever. It seemed logical to me then to ask them to cook the rehearsal dinner. We discussed it for a little while, then in May we talked about what should be served. And that was the very last decision I made for the rehearsal. That is probably what made it so great. I didn't have to do anything. My wonderful aunts decorated, my wonderful uncles cooked, and everything was perfect.

My parents' house was packed with friends and family the night of the rehearsal dinner, my brother was there with his wife, who was then his fiancee, both my sisters were home, my parents, me, and my friends Bonnie and Travis. And this was the first time Bonnie met my mother's Halloween tree. It was to become a favorite story of both family and friends. For the story go to Bonnie's blog at here and scroll down to Autumn Pictures. (As you can see, I haven't learned to properly link to the blog yet).

The rehearsal itself was also the first "Holy Cow this is actually happening moment." Nathan and I were saying our practice vows at the rehearsal and we both said it seemed a bit surreal.

The rehearsal dinner also provided the bridesmaids something to eat while we were waiting for the wedding to start the next day. Everyone was more than happy to see the pan of cheesy potatoes and leftover cheesecakes.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Early holiday

Our anniversary is in two days, and I'll post on that when we get there, but every year (or, at least last year) I try to make a CD of all the pictures we've taken during the year. Mostly to get them off the camera, but also because it's fun to have them on a CD so we can just pop them in and watch.

Anyway, since our anniversary is so close, I wanted to get our Halloween pictures on there, so here...Happy early Halloween.

We've had three Halloweens since we've been married and this is the first time we've had a pumpkin. We got a carving set and carved in a bat flying at a window. It's not great, so it's kind of hard to see.

I'm not one for putting clothes on animals. I don't want to feed the conception that animals should be treated like children. However, ever since we got Hecate, whose name comes from the Greek goddess of witchcraft, because she's a black cat and we got her in October, I have wanted to find a little witch hat for her on Halloween. I found one this year. And since we have two cats now, I felt it necessary to get a hat for Hyperion as well. It didn't go quite how I had expected, but here it is our first picture of our cats in their hats.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Little Disturbing

I have a very good friend who is a Lutheran and recently attended the Catholic wedding of a friend of hers. We were discussing it afterwards and she told me she was disturbed during the service because the priest told the congregants that non-Catholics could not only not accept Communion (which is standard), but they were not allowed to participate in the prayers either.

I am in a "mixed" marriage, Nathan is Methodist and we did not discourage everyone from not praying at our wedding, in fact, we had Nathan's minister there and he gave the final prayer and blessing.

As my friend pointed out, the Catholic and Lutheran services are very similar and she knew all the prayers already, and I can't imagine that the Church would discourage people (any people) from praying.

If someone knows more about this than me and can enlighten me I would appreciate it.

Happy Feastday to me

Today is the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. St. Margaret Mary was born on July 22, 1647 in France to a middle class family known for its virtue. At a young age she exhibited a great affection for the Blessed Sacrament and spent much time in prayer and contemplation. She suffered rheumatic fever and was bedridden nearly four years, until she made a promise to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate herself to religious life.

She entered the Visitation Convent at Paray in 1671. Our Lord began appearing to her and asked her to establish devotion to His Sacred Heart. Because of this, she was treated as a visionary (not in a good way) by her own community and only her obedience, humility, and charity, and the grace of God were able to persuade her detractors. She died October 17, 1690.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s Consecration to the Sacred Heart

I give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, my person and my life, my actions, pains, and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being other than to honor, love and glorify the Sacred Heart. This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him. I therefore take You, O Sacred heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life and my sure refuge at the hour of death.
Be then, O Heart of goodness, my justification before God the Father, and turn away from me the strokes of his righteous anger. O Heart of love, I put all my confidence in You, for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty, but I hope for all things from Your goodness and bounty.

Remove from me all that can displease You or resist Your holy will; let your pure love imprint Your image so deeply upon my heart, that I shall never be able to forget You or to be separated from You.

May I obtain from all Your loving kindness the grace of having my name written in Your Heart, for in You I desire to place all my happiness and glory, living and dying in bondage to You.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

The title of this one pretty much says it all.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Least Favorite Jump

I'm good at hiding things. Not physical things, there never seem to be enough places for them, but ideas and realities. I'm very good at putting them in a box at the back of my mind and saying, "That's not important, you don't have to deal with that, just move on."

Funny thing is, most things so labeled and religated to the back of my mind actually are quite important. They are the frightening, unpleasant, or otherwise unsavory realities of life. (You have no idea how many times I've gotten up and walked away while writing this). But more and more lately I've felt compelled to the idea that the worst of these tucked away realities may someday be of use to someone.

(I've been trying to come up with a clever way to lead into this, but there doesn't seem to be one so I'm just going to dive in, please forgive the lack of segue).

I was born with a cardiac disorder known as pulmonary atresia with tricuspid stenosis and a hypoplastic right ventricle. The doctors say that means my tricuspid valve does not function properly and my right ventricle is too small. There is no rhyme or reason for these things, they just are the way they are.

But I'll tell you what it really means. It means by the time I was seven I had an abdomen full of scars and had spent more time in the hospital than most of my friends put together. It means my brother and sisters have a whole litany of stories that begin with "Do you remember that time we were at Grandpa and Grandma's and...oh, you weren't there." (I don't begrudge them this, I just think it's funny.) It means from grade school into about college I wore shirts with turtle or crew necks to hide my scars. It means even though I'm trying to live as a good God-fearing Catholic, I have been advised not to use Natural Family Planning. It means I will always have to go to a pediatric cardiologist. It means more things than I can write here.

When I was younger I pretended this wasn't real. I didn't think about it, I didn't talk about it, I didn't even like it when other people talked about it while I wasn't around. But the older I get the more I realize that a) For my own health and safety I need to understand what happened and what has been done, b) I realize I am not alone in fighting congential cardiac defects and c) because I am not alone, there may be people and parents out there who don't know what they have gotten into and need a little sympathy and to know that this kind of thing can be lived with.
So to all of you, if you ever read my blog, I want you to know when I was born, the doctors told my parents I wouldn't make it to two and a half months, and next month I will be 24 and a half. I haven't had serious, open heart surgery since I was seven. I've had many good doctors, most of whom understand the trials of being an adult with a "child's condition." While I was in college I spent four months living by myself in London (it was fabulous). I have a career, I'm happily married to one of the greatest, most understanding men of all time. While I shouldn't have kids of my own I do look forward to being a mom through adoption.

Don't despair, it is possible to live a full and happy life with most congenital heart defects.

P.S. You have no idea how hard it was for me to post this. I've gotten up and walked away more times than I can count, put up my hair and put in my contacts, called both my parents, and put it "Much Ado About Nothing" so I could take comfort from one of my favorite voices :)

Friday, October 10, 2008


Just an update. Elizabeth got a 1350 out of 1600 on her GRE. Go Bella!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Go, Bella!

My youngest sister, Elizabeth takes the GRE tomorrow in hopes of getting into grad schcool. Good luck, Bella!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October 8

I realize this is a lot of posting for one day, however, one year ago today, Nathan and I went to the animal shelter and picked out our very first pet. She was very small, she still is, and we named her Hecate.
Last and certainly not least, today is Anne, my sister's birthday. Happy birthday, Beanie!

White or red?

As I said, this was the brain child of my friend's a three week rotating menu. So, this post looks a lot like the one Bonnie put up about her menu (sorry, Bon.)

Week 1
Monday--Macaroni or spaghetti*
Tuesday--Fruit day**
Wednesday--Fish and veg
Friday--Breakfast food
Saturday--Leftovers or dine out

Week 2
Monday--Baked potatoes
Tuesday--Hamburgers and hotdogs
Wednesday--Fruit day
Saturday--Leftovers or dine out

Week 3
Monday--Fruit day
Tuesday--Chicken and side
Wednesday--Tuna casserole
Thursday--Porkchops and side
Friday--Bagel pizzas
Saturday--Left overs or dine out

*Mondays have to be easy because I have meetings every other Monday night, plus who wants to cook something complicated on a Monday?
**Nathan insisted on having a fruit day every week, it has come to mean, "We have fruit, eat it if you want. I'm not cooking tonight."

Most of the items are pretty general, which allows me to learn to cook different kinds of fish or chicken or sandwiches. Also, the "anything" on Sunday gives me leeway to make whatever I feel like.

Boo Boo Bunnies

I always thought Boo-Boo Bunnies were only a part of my childhood. It was the early nineties, so I figured no kid growing up now would have any idea what it was, except from their parents' childhood pictures.

They were something that my Mom brought out at Easter and that had no practical purpose other than as a decoration. I wasn't overly concerned about the giant hole in the back of them, because they were cute and soft and had a fun name.

It was only a few years ago that I saw them advertised somewhere and realized not only are they still around, but they do serve a purpose. That giant hole at the back is meant to hold an ice cube. All the pieces started falling into place.

I mentioned them to Nathan the other day and he just looked at me blankly.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Grocery shopping

I haven't been married very long...just under two years actually. But it's easy for me, after almost two years, to think Nathan and I have developed lasting habits or we have sort of "figured each other out" in the context of our marriage.

But then some days, Nathan surprises me. Today was a grocery shopping day. Nathan hates shopping and a few weeks ago, after getting tired of saying "What do you want for dinner?" and hearing "Whatever," and then making macaroni, I came up with a menu. Actually, it wasn't my idea, I stole it from my good friend Bonnie.

Anyway, yesterday I was talking about having to go shopping today and Nathan mentioned that he was going with me. And he did!

Points for the husband.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Vitamin K--how I miss you

For the last year I've been taking Warfarin, an anticoagulant. It's part of my daily medical regimen and I have never hated a medication more. It doesn't taste bad and apart from easily bumping and bruising there are no serious side effects.

The worst thing about Warfarin is that vitamin K is a coagulant, which means it's off-limits. Vitamin K is in nearly all green-leafy vegetables: lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and my beloved broccoli. It is also in cranberries and avacadoes.

For some reason my Warfarin level refuses to go up, I've been at 1.4 for months now and if it would go up, I would be allowed a little bit of my favorite vegetable, and maybe a dill pickle now and then.


I'm not a creative cook, or baker. I don't draw or paint. I don't sew. In general I am not a visually artistic person. But I got bored a few weeks ago and a good friend of mine who knits taught me how. I actually enjoy it. It's relatively easy and mindless, so I can do it while I watch TV or ride in the car with little to no interference.

My first project, which I'm calling a table runner, is a bit rough, but I actually am surprised by how nice it looks. Nathan and I went to Hobby Lobby today because I was looking for new needles and yarn. I was surprised at what an active interest he took in yarn selection. He picked out the Bamboo Spun yarn I bought for a scarf that will probably be for him in the end.

The hope is that eventually I will be good enough at it to make a hat or a blanket for the baby when we finally finish the adoption process. If anyone has cool and easy-ish patterns I could try, please let me know.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tea Party Risk

Nathan and I played Risk tonight. He tolerates me so well when we play strategy games. I hate them and only play because he endures countless games of Trivial Pursuit and Scene It with me. The only time Risk has ever been fun for me was the few times we played it with Nathan's friends and my friend Jules.

The guys get quite vulgar and hostile capturing each other's territories and planning where to move their little plastic pieces next. Jules and I like to temper that when we play with them by phrases like, "Jules dear, I'm afraid I have to invade Norway." "Oh, no Margaret darling, please, take it, I'm in your way."

It drives them crazy and makes the game a little more bearable for us.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Husband the Poet

We have two cats. Nathan is very definite that this does not make us "cat people" just animal people with cats. My family has always had a penchant for strange animal names and when we got our first cat, almost a year ago now, it was near Halloween and she is a black cat, so we named her Hecate, after the Greek goddess of witchcraft. Our other cat is a white male we named Hyperion, mostly for the alliteration and that Hyperion is a Titan of the dawn.

Anyway, that was a very long explanation to come to this point. They were both sitting on the couch today and my husband busted into spontaneous rhyming.

We has two cats on the couch
We has two cats, one's a grouch
We has two cats, one's a slouch
We has two cats on the couch.

For the grouch part, Hecate isn't much of a people cat. And I don't know where he got the slouch part from, Hyperion is very active.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My goals

I'm not usually one for setting hard and fast long-term goals. I don't want to end up at whatever stage the goal is set for and not have accomplished anything. I'm not that much of a masochist. However, Nathan has been offered a job in a neighborhood not far from the one we're living in now. Which is nowhere near where the house we want to buy is.

So we were discussing it and Nathan asked me what I wanted to be doing in the next two to three years and I seriously thought about it. I came up with two things.

1. I am writing a book. I know that sounds cliche since it seems that everyone these days is writing or thinking of writing a book, but I am. Actually, it's mostly written, I'm just working on edits and showing it to my writer's group. So, sometime in the next two to three years I would like to have this book in the hands of either a publisher or an agency and have started on my second book.

2. Nathan and I are going to adopt. We were going to do it this year, like I said before, but at the moment it's being put on the back burner. So, my second goal is that sometime in the next two to three years I would like us to have at least started the adoption process.

There they are, my short-term, long-term goals. They're not much, but I'm excited about them.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Nathan's dad and uncle have decided they want an appraisal done on the house we are looking at. So, the ball seems to be well and truly rolling.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I saw a Mini Cooper today.

If I've never been where I'm going to, chances are high I'm going to get lost on the way, or at least think I've gotten lost. It's a fun sensation that includes fear, anxiety, tears, and near-hyperventilation.

Or at least, it used to. The thing is, my dad is an expert at finding his way and navigating a map. He also absolutely loves Austin MINI Coopers. I went to college three and a half hours from home and on my first time driving back, I didn't recognize where I was and started to panic.

As I was driving along freaking out and beginning to dial the phone, an electric blue MINI Cooper drove by and I thought of my dad and realized everything was going to be okay. I calmed down and started recognizing the landscape around me.

Now, like today, everytime I see a Mini, I think of my dad and suddenly feel better about whatever it is that is bothering me or stressing me out.

Monday, September 8, 2008

How I Hate Driving

My absolute least favorite activity of any typical day is driving. I hated it in Drivers Ed and I hate it now. This wasn't a problem when I worked six minutes from home. It's a big problem now that my commute is anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and 15.

Unfortunately this makes me very nervous and gives me, if not quite road rage, at least road anxiety. It started to get bad a few months ago and I decided I needed to figure out a way to calm down and be a more courteous driver.

Everytime something happens that makes me nervous or upset, I say three Hail Marys. One for the person who caused my anxiety, that they reach their destination safely. One for me, that I get where I am going safely and one that everyone else on the road gets where they need to be.

I found it has cut down on my anxiety and fear a lot and helped me to understand others dislike the driving experience as much as I.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

At home

Apart from not wanting to live in the suburbs anymore the other reason I want to move home is because it wouldn't be a two day event to be able to sit on the couch with my dad and watch the White Sox.

We wouldn't have the leave the cats for the weekend. (We aren't cat people, we just have them because Nathan doesn't believe in inside dogs.)

I could see my parents and in-laws (whom I love) more two days every couple of weeks.

We don't have many friends in where we live and most of Nathan's good high school friends are still in this area.

And there is a much greater chance of randomly running into friends we haven't seen in ages at home.

We could attend the Saturday morning ritual of eating breakfast at the town restaurant more often.

And of course, it would be nice to have a house of our own.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My first jump

I'm not a natural blogger. I look at it as something of a less private, more public journal and I have tried and failed at so many journals in the past this seems a little silly, even to me. But I enjoy reading people's blogs and thought having my own might be fun.

I am a misplaced small-town girl from a moderate family of big families. My husband grew up on a farm and we have been living in an urban setting for the past two years and hating almost every minute of it. So that's where the jumping comes from.

We're working on buying a house back at home. Well, really we're looking at buying part of a house. It belongs to Nathan (my husband)'s parents and aunt and uncle. His aunt and uncle want to sell their part to us and I've been in it a couple of times and loved it.

I've always believed that when you have a major decision to make you think about it, pray about it, ask your patron saint for intercession, and then get to a point where you look at all the possible consequences and all the possible positives of it and just jump one way or the other. Nathan and I decided it was time for us to jump.

This is the only time in my life I have looked back after I jumped. See, we were planning on starting the adoption process this year and if we are approved for the loan on the house we won't be able to afford adoption this year. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It seems logical to get a house first and then children, but I keep looking over my shoulder.