Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I realize it's a bit cliche to say that as the mom of a little guy, I'm kind of strapped for time.  But I never considered before how this would affect the different aspects of my daily life.

For example:
  • Showering everyday is a luxury now.  Some weeks I go every other day because I would rather nap or go to bed a few minutes early than shower.
  • Cleaning mostly happens when the little guy is asleep.
  • Writing is a sometimes activity now.
  • It takes me about a week to say one Rosary.

I really didn't see that last one coming and it is really difficult to handle.  I love my Rosary.  I love to contemplate the mysteries and feel very much in touch with Our Lady and her Blessed Son.  But what I've noticed: it's kind of a long prayer.  And when I have 20 minutes at a time together, I have trouble disciplining myself to say my Rosary instead of relax and watch Netflix or do the dishes.  (I've tried saying my Rosary while I do's a no-go, I always loose my place.)

So, these days, I say about one or two decades a day and after a completed Rosary, I take a couple days before I start the next one.  This is one of those difficult parts of motherhood that no one anticipates.

It's not that I don't pray or I have somehow become less prayerful.  We have created a special bedtime prayer routine for Elijah and I say morning prayers while he has his bottle or cereal.  I love to take him to Mass and have that time as well.

But I miss my Rosary.

A little cold

I don't know why, but hearing the pediatrician say Elijah "just has a bad cold" feels worse than if he had said "it's an ear infection" or something else that can be effectively medicated away.

This is about the 6th cold this year.  The last one was a couple weeks ago and did not last long and we didn't even bother the pediatrician.  But this time, it felt like when he was sick in March with bronchiolitis. 

We put him to bed last night and he kept waking up, very congested and cranky.  So, I moved him into the swing that is in his room.  It worked for a couple hours.  But when I went to bed he was awake and coughing and sneezing.  That began a two hour dance of holding him, cuddling him, putting him back in the swing and listening as he screamed his lungs out as I walked back to our room. 

Eventually I held him on my chest while Nathan slept.  But all Elijah did was lay there and scratch my arms and chest for about an hour before I put him back in the swing.  He gave the swing another shot and we all got  a couple hours of sleep. 

The pediatrician assures me it's just a cold, but I'm still a little afraid there is an underlying cause to all these colds.  Something more than, he's a baby and all babies get sick a lot.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Just for Fun

I know this video has been making the rounds on Catholic blogs lately and I'm behind.  But I don't care.  I still love it.

This was posted by my uncle a few days ago and I giggled hysterically the first time I heard it.  It's called the "Mostly German Philosophers Love Song." The lyrics can be a little confusing so I posted them below.

The Mostly German Philosophers Love Song
J. Boor
Released 16 November 2012

Hegel, I Goethe Goethe have ya,
'Cause I Nietzsche, Nietzsche, Nietzsche
So bad.

I'd like to Leibniz the stars with you.
But I know you'd Schopenhauer late, like you always do.

So I say, Hegel ...

Heidegger lovely ways, she's got all I want.
And I'd like to Hess some of her goodness, but I Kant.

So I say, Hegel ...

Spinoza long since I have seen your face.
And so be-Feuerbach I shall not leave this place.

But I say, Hegel ...

I Gadamer-ciful reply from her.
But as to Husserl-ove, I cannot say for sure.

So, I say, Hegel ...

Well I don't Kierkegaard my heart with all my strength.
But now I've been in such a Ficht(e) for such a length.
And I don't know if my Wittgenstein to sing this lonely song.
That's why Einstein away from you from now on.

But I say, Hegel ...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Visit from St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas visited our house last night in honor of his feast day today.  Like many mostly German Catholic families, when I was growing up, St. Nicholas would leave candy and a small toy in our stockings on the night before his feast day.  This was a tradition my mother carried to us from her own childhood.  But we never did talk about the historical St. Nicholas.

So it's only in the last few years that I've learned, mostly from friends, that St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (in modern Turkey) who, amongst other things, anonymously gave money to keep a poor man's daughters out of a life of prostitution.  He also punched out a heretic at the Council of Nicea.  The Church honors him as the patron saint of children.

So this morning we found a Christmas sleeper and book The Stable in Bethlehem in Elijah's  stocking. I feel St. Nick may have overdone it this year.  But, how do you give an infant candy?  However, he did provide circus peanuts for Daddy while Mama got two kinds of gummies.

I think we may have to continue the tradition of Christmas books on St. Nicholas Day.  It seems like a good way to incorporate him into Advent even more.  But maybe he will pair it with candy next year.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


The Holy Father has arrived...on Twitter.

Which means, I'm not ashamed to say, he got there before me.  I've never really gotten the point of Twitter.  If I want to tell a bunch of people what I'm doing, I just update my Facebook status.  Also, I can't see myself "following" any celebrity tweeters.  To me, that seems more than a little voyeuristic.

My good friend Bonnie started up with Twitter, so I made a false start at using it, so I could follow her.  I think I signed up and that was as far as I got.

When I heard Pope Benedict had his own Twitter handle (that's what they're called, right?) I figured it was as good a time as any to give it another go.

I went to work that night and read about the vitriol which has been shot at His Holiness through his Twitter feed.  People who are understandably angry about the recent scandals surrounding church members, people who do not understand the Church and how it works in the world, and people who just hate religion in general have been taking their anger out on the Holy Father's Twitter feed since he opened it.

This gave me pause.  I have stopped reading people's comments on news stories about religion in general and especially the Catholic Church.  Many people seem to find it "safe" in some way to sit behind their computer screens and spout falsehoods about Church teachings, fire angry messages about the scandals, or just bash religion.  These comments have always been difficult to read and are even more so when directed at a figure I hold so dearly as Pope Benedict.

But of course, this is exactly why we should all now create Twitter accounts.  It is upon us to surround the Holy Father virtually with love and support.  For every angry, deprecatory, or hateful comment he receives we should be there with messages of hope, support, grace, and love.  There are over a billion of us, I'm sure if we all work together, we can beat back the tide of anger and malice that surrounds His Holiness online.

So, I went to Twitter again.  I started following Bonnie.  Then I looked for the Pope's pages and realized I had no idea how to operate the site and ended up not leaving a message because I couldn't figure it out.

I'll try again later.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dye Job

I have wanted to dye yarn myself more or less ever since I started knitting.  I've seen some beautiful hand-dyed yarns.  But it seems like such an arduous process between buying acidic yarns, having to cut up plastic bags to put the dyed yarn on, needing to soak it in vinegar to make the yarn take.  Plus, I don't know where I would do all that.  I could use the sink in the basement, but it's not exactly the cleanest...

Then, I came across this on Pinterest about dyeing yarn with Kool-aid  I know it talks about dyeing to reach a gradient, but it broke the whole process down into such simple steps with such basic elements that I got so excited about trying it.  So today, while Elijah and I were out and about in DeKalb, I we stopped at Target and I picked up these
I was hoping for blue or green, but it's not a Super Target and their Kool-aid selection was actually pretty small.

When we got home, I pulled out some yarn I had in my stash and made a few small "testing hanks."

The first hank is Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, which is sold in huge skeins.  I got mine at Michael's for a project that fell through.  It's 100% wool and everything I've read about dyeing yarn says wool and natural fibers are the best, but for some reason not cotton.

The second hank is Paton's Grace Sock Yarn.  It is 100% mercerized cotton which I bought also at Michael's to be the snout, feet, and ears of the pig in Elijah's mobile.  I didn't know it was cotton until after I finished trying to dye it.

The last hank is Caron Simply Soft, 100% synthetic.  Synthetics are supposed to be almost un-dyeable.  I bought it to use to make a border collie for Elijah's room and I ended up needing a different style yarn.  I figured since it was sitting right there, I might as well try it. 

I just followed the steps in the tutorial:

Here the hanks are, absorbing the dye on the stove top.  I had them in for the full 40 minutes just to see how well the dye would take.  While the yarn is in this stage, the house smells like Kool-aid, it's awesome!  The only thing I apparently glanced over was the instruction to wash them with a mild soap or wool soap when they are done.  So, I grabbed some hand soap.  That's mild, right?

Here's the finished project, after the dyeing and washing.

This is the Fisherman's Wool.  It come out just about perfect.  The only problem was I bound the hank too tightly so there is a spot of white on each strand.  Lesson learned.

This is the Paton's Grace Sock yarn.  I actually love this color.  I washed it for a little while just to see if it would get any lighter, which it didn't seem to.

Finally, the Caron's Simply Soft.  I guess all those blogs and posts were right, it is very difficult, if not impossible to dye synthetic yarn.  Oh, well, thought I'd give it a go anyway.

The Kool-aid is apparently colorfast, so it won't bleed and it smells great.  I think I'll probably try this again some time.  Hopefully I can find more interesting Kool-aid colors. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

7 Quick Takes

 I have been waiting for this since I heard it was coming out months ago.  We had a false start on the 9th when it was released selectively, but now it's out even in our little backwater and one of the goals of my vacation is to go see it.

We hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving.  We were blessed enough to host our parents and Nathan's sister and her family.  We had turkey, ham, stuffing, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, fruit yogurt salad, 7 layer salad, rolls, and cherry, pumpkin, and chocolate peanut butter pies.  It was all delicious and we had some much fun visiting with everyone.
Sophie and Elijah matched!
Mom and I didn't wake up nearly as early for Black Friday shopping this year as we have in the past.  But we still spent a ton of money and got some really good deals.  I finished up shopping for Elijah, Nate (brother), Brian, and Nathan (except for some stocking stuffers).  I feel like that was a good morning's work.

Lines at Kohl's were ridiculous especially for 1 pm, but moved reasonably quickly.  Hats off to Walmart, who had a price on something that had to have been accidentally changed by someone (because it was way cheaper than it should have been) but they honored it for us before fixing it.

And there were still a few stores unopened when we got up there and the only one that had a line outside was Barnes & Noble.  I so wanted to get in line, just so I could say I door-busted at the bookstore.
I've given a lot of thought lately to how we are going to do Christmas with Elijah.  I really want to focus on Advent and help him (and myself) understand that this time is for preparing for the approaching birth of Christ.  So, I considered not putting up the tree and most of the decorations until the second or third week of December.  I thought about how we can make the lighting of the Advent wreath more special in the house.

Then I realized that I actually have time off this week.  There will be time during the day when I'm not pushing little hands away from the  tree or the angels or the candles, in which I can get this accomplished.  

So, in the end, as far as decorating goes, convenience is going to win out.  But we can still highlight the Advent wreath and make a big deal of St. Nicholas Day.

And, like my mom said, one year doesn't make a tradition.  But I don't think we'll go to any malls or stores to see Santa this year.  Elijah's just a little too young.
Allie, if you're reading this, it was great to Skype with you this week.  And again, I'm sorry I accidentally unplugged the monitor when I was trying to unplug the keyboard and killed our video feed.  Your little guy is adorable!
I absolutely meant to have a post in between last Quick Takes and this one, but I've discovered the joy of napping while the baby naps, so, I didn't get around to it.  Sorry.
After three days of on my feet: first cleaning, then cooking, last shopping, I am very looking forward tomorrow to spending time relaxing and visiting with Nathan's mother's family, who actually haven't met the baby yet.

For more Quick Takes, head over to Conversion Diary!

Friday, November 16, 2012

7 Quick Takes

I have less than a week left before vacation!!  Wa-hoo!
Since I will be off for Thanksgiving this year, Nathan and I are hosting our families.  I'm starting to think this was a lot of work to take on while I'm supposed to be relaxing, but I'm excited.  Menu: turkey, ham (because I hate turkey), pie haven't decided what kinds yet, cheesy potatoes, supplied by my mom, and other sides I haven't come up with yet.

Elijah has really changed a lot this month.  He is crawling properly now and can say 'Mama.'  He is trying very hard to pull himself up on things and the other day I heard him say 'baba' while looking at his bottle.  He's getting to be such a big boy!

We had his 9-month follow up appointment with the pediatrician on Monday and were given the green light to feed him basically anything but honey.  So we started with real food on Tuesday by putting some plain white rice on his tray.  He didn't take to it at first, but was all about it on Wednesday.

Now that he's trying to pull himself up, I've been trying to give him more play time by himself.  I usually sit with him on the floor all day, but he just comes to me to be helped up.  

Does anyone have ideas for baby stocking-stuffers?  I have a beautiful little book about Christmas for St. Nicholas Day and I also bought non-slip socks since he is trying to stand and we have hard wood floors.  Other than that I'm kind of stumped.

Please pray for Nathan and his coworkers today.  They are getting a tiny visitor for a few hours.  My father-in-law is busy this afternoon and my parents are setting off for Iowa.  I know the ladies in Nathan's office will be perfectly happy to play with Elijah, I just think it might stress Nathan out.  

Apparently this is what happens when you have four kids and they all live in different states.  My poor dad spent this week in Pittsburgh watching my nephew while my Nate's family moved into a new house.  He got back yesterday, I think, and today they are heading out to Iowa City to visit Elizabeth and her husband.  

There aren't too many pictures of Elijah and me, but I think this one is my favorite.

For more quick takes, check out Jen's blog.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mama needs a drink

Disclaimer: Very much not bragging with these first couple sentences.

 Today has been rough.  Elijah doesn't usually have bad days.  (Again, not bragging.)  But usually he is very happy and calm.  Which is why days like today are even more difficult.

He was cranky and fussy all morning.  I think he's getting another tooth because all he wants is for Mama to carry him around.  Which, I am perfectly happy to do, but the kid weighs 19 pounds and after a while my arms get tired.  So, I've taken to pulling up VeggieTales on Netflix and laying down on the couch with him when he gets really cranky.

He has graduated to the next level in swim class, which means we have it on Wednesday mornings now, so we got all ready and left (late) for swim class.  He had a complete MELTDOWN in the car.  Seriously from my in-laws' house all the way to the class he screamed and cried.  It was awful, made worse because we were behind a very slow moving vehicle.  When we finally got to the gym and I went to get him out of the car seat, I saw a brand new very big, red scratch down the middle of his nose.  Poor little guy!

He tried to drown me a couple times in swim class.  No joke.  We blow bubbles while the babies watch us so they can see how to blow bubbles.  Elijah likes grabbing hair, and he noticed when my face was down by the water blowing bubbles, he could grab my hair.  So, he held my face in the water a couple times.

He was very vocal today in swim class and did not want to sit still. And now he's been asleep for about 45 minutes.

I hate how much we've been watching Netflix lately, even if I do find VeggieTales less objectionable than most little kid programs.

The problem is every new stage he goes through is also a new stage for us.  I don't know how to play with a little guy his age and that makes the day difficult for both of us.  He no longer seems as enamored of peek-a-boo as he used to and while I've found a winner with hiding his plastic cow and asking him to find it, I don't know what other games to play with him.  He is still very happy and giggly, but it's hard to entertain him as one person. 

He is trying very hard to pull himself up on things and not having a lot of success and getting cranky about that.  I blame the hardwood floors.  When he pulls up, his feet just slide under whatever it is he's pulling on.  Any advice?

My favorite thing now is that he will actually sit on my lap and let me read him a book without trying too hard to pull it out of my hands to chew on it.  And when he's really tired and we sit in the rocker for reading before nap or bed, he leans against me and listens to me read.  Yeah, I love that!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We are NOT the Partridge Family!

I know this is a little late, but Anne hasn't had power in a while and this is for her.

Aunt Anne, can I be your personal penguin?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Little Penguin's Halloween

Elijah woke up and stretched.  He rubbed his little eyes and looked around.  He was in his same crib, in his same room with  the happy piggy on the wall, but he could tell something was different.

He called for his Mama and she came in, her nightgown brushing  the tops of her socks and reached over the crib railing with a big smile.  “Happy Halloween, Elijah!” she said softly as she picked him up and carried him to the changing table. 

Hallo-what? Elijah wondered.  Mama changed his diaper and dressed him in an orange onesie with a black face on it, with black pants.  Daddy came in to say goodbye and gave Elijah as kiss before going off to work.

All day Mama and Elijah played and Mama told him, “In a few hours we are going to dress you up as a penguin!”  He didn’t know what a penguin was, but it must be something important to dress up like it.  He got more and more excited as the day went on. 

So excited, in fact, that he didn’t even want to take his nap.  He laid in his crib and talked to himself about being a penguin, and what a penguin might be all through napping hour.  When Mama came to get him, she shook her head and said with a smile, “You’ll be tired later for Trick-or-Treating.”

He was hearing so many new words today.  What’s Trick-or-Treating­? he wondered.  He tried to stay up all afternoon to see what all the fuss was about, but he just couldn’t make it, and around 2 pm he passed out. 

An hour and a half later, when he woke up, Mama was all activity.  She settled him in his jumpy and packed his diaper bag.  Then, as Elijah was jumping, she looked at him and said.

“Okay, time to be a penguin!”  She picked him up out of the jumpy and laid him down on the floor, pulling the costume over his head.  Then she pulled yellow shoes over his socks and secured a hat on his head.

“You look adorable!” she exclaimed, as she handed him a little metal bucket to carry.  “Let’s go see all the ladies at the library.  Grandma will be there, too.”  Sure enough, as they went through the library door, the book ladies all looked around and said, “What a cute little penguin!”  There were other characters there too.  Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat were just saying goodbye.

Grandma kissed him and told him what a cute penguin he was.  From there it was off to see Elijah’s Nonna and Grandpa.  While he was there he got to see his cousin Batman Brian over the computer.  Daddy even turned up there, too!   

As they drove through the town where Grandpa and Nonna live, Elijah saw all kinds of characters.  It seems like everyone was out and about: there were princesses, and brides, and firemen, and even zombies.  

For two towns Mama and Daddy drove Elijah to friends’ houses so people could see the cutest little penguin.  And people put candy in his little metal bucket.  Finally, when he was all tired out and didn’t think he could go to one more house, they went home.   

And just before bed, Elijah’s Uncle Jamie and Aunt Mandy showed up to see the little penguin too!  Then, Mama and Daddy took Elijah upstairs, settled him in his crib and said, “We love you, little penguin.  Sleep well.”  And he knew that he was right, there was something special about today. 

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


My middle sister lives in New Jersey and the only TV we have at work is the weather channel, so I thought about her all night.  Stay safe, warm and dry Anne!  We love you!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The In-Betweens

For a long time, now, I've been wanting to read more about the Church.  I don't have many local Catholic friends and apart from being a lector in our parish, I haven't been super active in church, which I realize is my own fault.  I hope the reading will help me increase not only my knowledge, but also strengthen my faith.  I'd like to read about church leaders, church teachings, lives of saints, and apologetics.

The problem is, I don't know where to start from a background of having read very little outside formal settings.  I also get extremely bored with nonfiction very easily.  A few years ago, I read Milestones by Pope Benedict XVI.  But I don't remember much of it. 

Therefore, my new resolution is to read nonfiction between whatever other books I pick.  Right now, for example, I am between books.  I just finished The Lost Wife which was amazing and I'm waiting for The Atlas of Impossible Longing to come in through the library.

My current book between books is Pope John Paul II: the Pope I Knew So Well by Caroline Pigozzi.  It is a small but entertaining biography written by a woman who spent time narrating the Bl. John Paul the Great's activities for her newspaper Paris Match.

Like I said, it's small and almost lighthearted, so it is a fairly benign introduction to the world of Catholic biography and theological writing.

Anyone have suggestions on where to go from here?

Friday, October 26, 2012

7 Quick Takes

I am ridiculously excited for the upcoming holiday season.  I always think of "The Holidays" as starting with Halloween.  I have all three of them off work, and I just cannot wait.  We tried Elijah's Halloween costume on him today to make sure it fits still.  It's a hand-me-down from Sophie, but it's just what I've always wanted for my first child's first Halloween.  Stay tuned and I'll post a picture after Wednesday.

In keeping with the ridiculous excitement, I already  have Elijah's first Christmas present.

I think he'll probably get mostly clothes because he is already wearing 12 month outfits and we don't have a lot of 18 monthers.  But the Toyland at the Farm and Fleet near our house opened recently!  Nathan tried to ban me from going in there.  Silly husband!

Up until now, Elijah has taken a morning nap, just about everyday.  Usually between nine and ten, he passes out and sleeps for a half hour to an hour.  But it is his late morning nap at 11:30 that I really count on to get things done or take a nap myself before going to work.  I've noticed that if he takes a long morning nap, his other one is much shorter.  So, I have been trying to abolish the morning nap.  It hasn't been easy, and it's still not everyday, but we're definitely working on it.  

I've been told to just let him nap when he wants to, but he wakes up happier from his later nap if he sleeps longer.  Any thoughts?

Today is Elijah's nine month birthday!  I still find myself seeking out other moms, mostly those with kids around his age, or my own mother, for advice.  I feel like I should have a better grasp of things at this point, and for the most part I do.  But when he's not feeling well, or if we're getting close to some milestone or talking about changing his routine a little, I start feeling very insecure.
Love this face!

I realize this is only going to matter to a few people, but, very exciting news around our house recently.  We have found the blue ring!  The rock-a-stack has been minus it's blue ring for the last couple months or so because we had no idea where it was.  We have an old-style one, so the blue ring is actually the smallest.  I was walking through the living room the other day and looked up at the shade of our floor lamp and noticed something blue in it.  Sure enough, there it was.  There has been much speculation about how it got there.

Yesterday we had shift-bid at work for next year.  In case anyone is interested I will be working 2nd shift 3-11 pm for the first eight months of the year with Tuesday-Wednesday weekends.  I will then move to 3rd shift 11 pm to 7 am for the last four months with the same weekends.  I also took my two weeks vacation one week being for Elijah's first birthday and the other, the last full week in June, so hopefully I can be at Ribfest this year.  

It didn't turn out quite how I wanted, but I'm sure it'll be just fine!   

For more 7 Quick Takes, check out Jen's blog!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Bluest Blue

A couple weeks ago, my husband declared my car, a 2000 Ford Taurus that used to belong to my grandparents, unfit to drive.  Apparently the head gasket has problems (I have no idea what this means); and I'm sure the transmission is about 20 miles from saying "No, not any more!"

So, I started driving Nathan's car, which is manual and I hate it, and occasionally, my parent's car while we looked for a replacement for me.

What I really wanted was a brand new Ford Fiesta.  But adoption turned out to be so expensive and we are contemplating it again, (not any time soon, don't get excited.)  So we looked around at used cars.  We checked out a 2006 Ford Focus hatchback, which I liked; a 2008 Dodge Caliber, and a 2004 Toyota Corolla, which Nathan liked.

My hatred of driving is so strong, that I refused to be the one going to the test drives.  I was fairly certain that as soon as I got behind the wheel of something I don't own, there was going to be an accident.  So Nathan went.  The first place he went was to the Corolla.  It was also the last place he went.  Three days later, he bought it.

At first, I was less than pleased.  It is an 04 after all and with 81,000 miles, was more used than I was hoping for.  But everyone said Corollas are good, dependable cars.  And this car had one thing going for it in my's blue, my favorite color.  But this isn't just any blue...

You may remember that I am a fan of Doctor Who.

This is the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space), Doctor Who's ship, which can travel anywhere in time and space.

The moment I got truly excited about my new car for the first time, was the moment I realized, it's TARDIS blue. 

Then, I drove it for the first time.  I actually, genuinely like it.  Tauruses, for being sedans, are actually big cars, they're long and wide and I always felt it was too much car for me.  The Corolla is nice, it's little but big enough for Elijah's car seat, and it drives very well.  It also has almost all the little things I wanted like power locks and doors and a CD player and remote unlock.  The only things it's lacking are an auxiliary audio jack for my iPod, and remote start, which I really want.

The first couple times I drove the Corolla, I had so much fun.  That was before I realized it doesn't change anything about driving...driving is the same...

And, when I said the Taurus used to belong to my grandparents what I meant was I purchased it from my uncles after my grandmother passed away.  When I opened it's trunk the first time, I found two pairs of shoes tied together.  I don't know which one of my grandparents they belonged to; I like to think one was his and one was hers, but they were probably both his.  And for the next four years, I drove around old shoes in the trunk because I couldn't bear to get rid of them.

 This is what I saw the first time I popped the trunk on the Corolla:

Nathan moved them to the new car.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Elijah is 2/3rds of the way through his first year.  His eyes are lighter than they were when he was born and decidedly blue, not grey.  His hair went through a brief red period around 1-2 months, but is back to blonde with red highlights.

He is very happy, and very fun.  He is working his way through a stage where he doesn't like getting dressed or undressed.  With two front teeth on bottom and three on top, Elijah is a very calm teether.  The only thing he wants when a tooth is breaking through is to be carried around.  He sleeps through every night, even when teeth are coming through.

He loves his food, whether it's a bottle, Gerber crunchies, or fruit/veggie puree.  He holds his own bottle regularly now.  He loves music, rocking back and forth in his boppy when we've got music on.  Books are another of his favorite things.  He reaches for them and loves to flip the pages on his own.

Elijah has a couple new tricks: he picks his head up all the time now, and Army crawls.  He can push himself onto his hands and knees and rocks there for a little.  We'll have a crawler before Halloween!   He has just learned how to sit up on his own and we're working on waving.  He has also turned into something of a ham baby.  Every time he sees the camera he smiles.  It's pretty hilarious.

He loves games with movement, when we hold him and dance or run around.

Nathan and I have discovered that while we both love to play and spend time with him individually, we have more fun with him when we are all together.  Things are changing all over.  The car I've been driving, which used to belong to my grandparents, has become undrivable.  We are going to look at other cars tonight and I've been thinking what I want in a vehicle.  My biggest priority is having enough room in the back for Elijah's car seat.  And then, of course, safety and gas mileage.

We can't wait for Halloween!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Lucky Streak

It started with The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone.  When I picked it up off the shelf I was reluctant to start reading it.  At 748 pages the fictionalized biography of Michelangelo, a subject I never felt special interest in, intimidated me.  When I finally made my way through it and came to the end, and read the last words, I was more depressed than normal to finish a book.  I wanted it to keep going.  The story is immensely detailed, from artistic techniques in the 1500s to the people Michelangelo consorted with.  I loved every page, even if I did have some trouble with the Italian names.

And no, I haven't watched the movie yet.

I decided after that I need something a little lighter.  So I moved on to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith.  The strange premise intrigued me: I couldn't help wondering how the author was going to pull it off.  The odd format took a little getting used to.  After the prologue it reads like a biography interspersed with sections from "Lincoln's journals" about his vampire hunting escapades and companions.  In the end, I actually really loved it.  You have to be able to totally suspend belief and put aside what you know about Lincoln's life and just go with it.  The narrative is clever and the book moves quickly.

And I don't know if I will be seeing the movie at all.

I've had a used copy of How the West was Won sitting on my shelf for probably close to two years.  Everyone knows how much I love Western movies.  I wasn't sure what I would think of a Western novel.  Turns out, I liked it quite a bit.  The story follows a family moving out west, how the various members become involved with the people they find there, and how their lives shape the places they live. I love the way Louis L'Amour wove the stories together and kept everything cohesive.
For a change, this book was adapted from a movie--which I haven't seen yet.

I don't really remember what drew me to People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, other than the cover art was beautiful and the story seemed interesting.  It is historical fiction in a way, following the mid-1990s rediscovery of  an illuminated haggadah in Sarajevo.  A haggadah, I learned, is the book containing the prayers and rituals Jewish families use at the Passover Seder.  This particular haggadah is special because it has illustrations, and dates from the 1400s a time when Jewish people were not illustrating these kinds of books.  Anyway, while that part of the story is true, the rest of it was invented.  The narrative involves a modern manuscript conservator who is consulted about preserving the damaged book.  The story flips back and forth tracing an invented history of the book backwards beginning of course, during the Nazi occupation.  The story is incredibly interesting and entertaining.  I had to check Wikipedia a couple times to sort out the factual parts from the fictional ones.

This has not been made into a movie.

Unfortunately, my lucky streak came to a halt recently.  After finishing People of the Book, I picked up The Hobbit in anticipation of going to see the first movie in December.  I had avoided reading The Hobbit for a long time, and now I know why.  I was so bored that I got to about page 50 when the traveling party was put into sacks by trolls and decided that was as good an ending as any, and put the book down.  I hate quitting a story that way, but I could not muster up the energy to keep going with it.  I'll probably end up seeing the movie anyway.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I know I haven't posted my normal "ode to September" this year.  It turns out the apple season started early this year, so Nathan has been out at the local orchard on weekends helping out friends of his parents' who own it.  Then, he said his father anticipates starting work to get ready for harvest toward the end of the month.  And that means Nathan will be helping a lot with that as well.  And as much as I know he enjoys pitching in at the orchard and loves harvest, it is hard to have him gone so much.  So, I haven't felt very "pro-September" this year.  Until  today.  Elijah and I went for an afternoon stroll.  We were walking down a north-south street in town when something fell at my feet.

 My very first colored leaf of the season landed right at my feet.  Suddenly, it all hit me.  And I finally feel ready to say, Welcome, September, I've missed you. 

In other news...
Elijah is growing and changing all the time.  He is so close to crawling, and we can tell he really wants to.  He gets on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth, but hasn't quite figured out how to pick his head up at the same time yet.  And he gets very frustrated laying on his tummy and reaching for things.

Today, I was in the kitchen making a bottle; I had left him in the living room sitting in his Boppy and playing with his little letters and shapes farm.  I finished getting the bottle ready and returned to the living room to find this:

I left the tote bag I take to work leaning against the end table and he had twisted around in his Boppy and pulled the bag over.  This is the first time we've caught him going through something he wasn't supposed to.

Finally, I saw this on Pinterest the other day and immediately called Nathan into the room to see it.  I don't know why, but we both laughed the same way at it: that kind of start low and then the more you think about it really start laughing type laugh.  We would so put it on Elijah if we had one.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Have I Told You Lately... much I hate driving, and cars?  Because if I haven't, let me assure you, it hasn't diminished at all.  If anything, it's gotten worse.

Take yesterday and this morning for example.  I got in my car to come home from work last night and the minute the ignition was turned, the car started shuddering, really seriously, shuddering, the whole car.

I sighed, decided it would probably work itself out as I drove, and turned into the dark night time streets.  As I headed out into the country between where I work and where I live, my check engine light, which is usually on, started flashing.  I realized it had been a while since I got my oil changed and decided that was probably the issue.

This morning, I got Elijah fed, napped, and ready to go and we headed up to Dekalb for an oil change and lunch with Nathan.  As we were leaving Wal-Mart, where we got the oil changed, the car was still shuddering, check engine light still flashing.

After lunch with Nathan, he got in so he could drive it and see how it handled and of course, of course, it was perfect.  Grrr...All this does is reinforce my desire to live somewhere with an extensive public transportation system, so that I can forget I ever learned how to drive.

To my car's credit, it is 12 years old and has been driven hard in those years, it used to belong to my grandparents, and they drove it to Texas and back once or twice. It has also been inadvertently beaten up a little bit.

However, when we do have to replace my car, this is what I want:

A candy blue new model Ford Fiesta.  It's roomier than it looks and surprisingly nice.  Not that this will make me want to drive.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

7 Quick Takes

Everyone in our house: all bipeds, quadrupeds, and face-scooters are mostly back to full health.  I'm healed up quite nicely and my bruises are even starting to fade.  Hyperion is back to himself as well.  He has his last round of medications today.  Thank God! 

The week after we got home with Elijah in February, I went to my church's rectory to talk to the priest about having the baby baptized.  I found out that priests individually decide if they want to baptize adopted children when they come home or when the adoption is final.  Father decided he wanted to wait until everything was done and dusted.  I told him that would be in early August and he checked in with me every couple weeks for the next six months.  I was very happy when I got to call the rectory last week, I waited until after the cath, and tell him everything was ready.

I'm even happier to say, Elijah is going to be baptized into the Catholic Church on Sunday, September 23!

Tomorrow is shift change at work.  I am effected only a little. I stay on second shift but my weekends change to Tuesday/WednesdayShift bid for next year is right around the corner and thanks to some retirements and relocations, I am a couple rungs farther up the seniority ladder than I was last year.  I will have a little more choice about what I shifts I pick and what weekends I take.  I'm looking forward to it!

Am I the only one who gets really excited thinking that in one week it will be September?  I'm almost giddy about it.  I'm feeling that way about all of the next four upcoming months.  It'll  be Elijah's first September, his first Halloween (I can't wait for that!!); his first Thanksgiving, and then Christmas.  Nathan keeps reminding me that he won't remember this Christmas, so I shouldn't go too crazy with presents.  That's going to be difficult.

It's no fun living far away from the other babies in your life.  My mom told me my 17 month old nephew has started trying to say 'Elijah.'  When my brother or sister-in-law says to him, "Brian, who's your cousin?" he says, "Eeiyah!"  Too cute.  Miss that little guy.

Does anyone have any sippy cup training pointers?  We have two kinds, one with a straw and one with two handles and the sippy nub-like-thing.  I gave him the straw one first and he seemed to do okay with it in the beginning, but then he started chewing on the bottom or using it to just chew on the straw.  The other kind he doesn't get at all, even when put it in his mouth and tip it up.  He just chews on the nub part.  Then he turns the cup upside down and gets himself thoroughly wet.

 For more 7 Quick Takes visit Conversion Diary.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ignitum Today

My very good friend Bonnie, who is a wonderful writer and blogs over at Learningtobeanewlywed, also is a regular contributor to Ignitum Today a website which posts articles on religion, family life, political issues, and relationships written by and for young Catholics: the JP2 and B16 generations.  Recently, the editors at the website announced they were going to look for guest contributors and Bonnie mentioned me to the editors.  She wanted me to write about our adoption story.  And I did.  It was neat to be writing for someone else to publish again.  But, I will admit, especially now, I work much better when I have deadlines.

Click here to read my contribution.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What a week

This last week and a half, starting on Monday 8/13, has been kind of a rough one for just about every member of our little family, including the four-legged variety.

On Saturday we noticed Hyperion wasn't feeling too well.  He tried to go to the litter box, then came out and laid under the end table yowling loudly.  He's done this before and it usually passes after an hour or so.  This time, not so much.  I looked up the name and information of an emergency vet in our area and then I had to go to work.  Nathan felt that if we watched Hyperion on Saturday and he wasn't better the next day, we could take him to the vet. 

I wasn't at work an hour when a co-worker told me Nathan was on the phone.  He was at the e-vet in Aurora with Hyperion (having dropped Elijah off at his parents' house).  He told me he had watched Hyperion try to use the litter box again, and the poor little guy fell over.  We found out Hyperion had a blocked urinary system, which apparently is common in male cats.  Unfortunately, the sure-fire fix cost much more than we were comfortable spending on the cat.  Instead, they catheterized him and sent Nathan home with a bunch of medications for this week including an IV bag for subcutaneous fluid injections.

It's been kind of dicey on whether or not we thought he was going to make it through the week. On Monday night, Nathan even made the comment "If he makes it to tomorrow..."  But today he seems much better.  He's been walking around with his tail up and eating and even got into a little trouble.

One of the only family members having a good week is Hecate.  Hyperion's illness means we've been leaving canned food out for him to try to get some fluid into him.  They have also been accessible to her.  Also, we felt bad that we've been keeping them closed downstairs for the summer so we could keep the nursery door open.  So on Saturday night, we closed the nursery door and opened the stair door.  She has been enjoying the opportunity to sleep on our bed again.

Last Monday Nathan and I woke up bright and early and drove down to Chicago.  Unfortunately, we were not going there to enjoy ourselves.  I was scheduled to have a cardiac catheterization.   Basically, the doctors make small incisions in the femoral artery and slip a tube in and run it up to the heart so they can watch the blood flow around and measure pressures and things.  I've had this procedure many, many times before and it is probably my least favorite.

To make it worse, everyone at the hospital seemed confused about what kind of cath I was having.  They kept saying "right heart cath" but all my paperwork said "bilateral," meaning they were going in on both sides and not just the right.  After the procedure I had to stay flat for six hours so I didn't rupture the closures over the incision sites.

We got home around 9 pm Monday night.  Thankfully Tuesday my mother and in-laws were all free.  I was so sick I had to spend the whole day in bed.  And someone had to look after Elijah.  Poor Elijah, I was not allowed to pick him up for three days after the procedure.  It was fine on Tuesday, because the grandparents were there.  Wednesday and Thursday were not so fun...

Really, he was kind of a lucky little guy because he got to spend a lot of time with his grandparents.  My dad and mom watched him while we were in Chicago, and then of course he had everyone's attention on Tuesday.  Wednesday I took the day off work, and since wasn't allowed to carry him around we spent the whole day playing on the floor in the nursery.  Eventually, he got very bored.  Thursday he was having teething pain from his second tooth.  All he wants when his gums hurt is for Mama to hold him and walk around, but of course, I couldn't do that.  It was the most heart-breaking thing ever to stand up and have him reach up his little arms, screaming to be picked up and cuddled, and know I couldn't do it.  Friday, and every day since then have been better.

Probably the busiest of all of us has been Nathan.  First he had to sit with me in that boring cath lab waiting/recovery room, then he had to take care of me.  Then he was the one home when Hyperion got sick.  On Monday he had to come home at lunch and help me give Hyperion his medications, because medicating a cat is not easy.

Hopefully this coming week will be easier/less stressful/healthier.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Special Delivery

Yesterday, when I got home from work I checked the mail.  One of the envelopes I pulled out of the mailbox contained an important packet of paper.  The last line on the last page went something like this:

"It is ordered  that the child's name be, and is hereby changed to 'Elijah Nathan Rice.'"  The adoption is final!

(Before this we had to use Birthmother's last name for him.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Exercise

This is all the rage around our house right now.  Lay flat on your stomach, pull your knees up and stick your butt way up in the air.  Now, rock your butt to one side and pull your opposite knee up to your stomach.  Push off on that knee and slowly slide forward on your face.

Elijah has started creeping in earnest, and this is his chosen method.  I have become paranoid that he's going to scoot off the blanket and give himself rug burn on his little face.  I'm hoping it won't be too long before he starts picking his head up and crawling.  For some reason the sliding on his face has me really concerned.

I tried uploading a video of it, but the computer isn't letting me.