Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The End

I have officially graduated to my new blog.  I've called it, An Easter Mama, based on the St. Augustine quote.  I also have a separate page for my book addiction.  I'll see you there!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Change

I have more or less decided that I've come about as far as this particular blog can bring me.  That's one of the reasons I haven't written so much lately. 

Thank fully, in the last four years I've grown.  I'm not the same person I was when the blog started.  My life and my faith aren't the same. 

So, I'm going to do a little tooling with the blog and see what I can come up with.  I love all the Catholic mommy blogs I come across.  Maybe I'll try something like that.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Being an Easter People

We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song.--St. Augustine.

That is one of my favotire quotations of all time.  It helps me remember that Easter is not just a day, not just the Liturgical season following that day.  Easter is all time.

Christ rose.
Christ has risen.
Christ is risen.

I think the last one is the most important.  The Lord gave Himself for all men on a cross once. He rose once--it was a single moment in time, but His state of being Risen is for always.  His Resurrection is constant.  Alleluia.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mama's days

I'm a night time person, always have been, always will be.  This complicates my life with an almost-toddler.  Elijah usually wakes up between 7 and 8.  When I didn't get to bed until 2 the night before, I have trouble getting out of bed and getting into the nursery to get him.  It helps that he's waiting for me holding his paci out because he knows pacies are just for bed and naps now.  It always makes me laugh.

But he's going through a rough time, getting in some of his back teeth.  All he wants is to be held--all day.  I love him, and I love to carry him around and snuggle.  But he's almost 14 months old.  He's heavy, he needs to play and figure out the standing and walking thing.  So, occasionally, I put him down.  And he screams.  So, I pick him back up and he starts pointing at things he wants to play with, but only if I'm holding him.  It makes for a long day.

His new favorite toy is the cats.  They are less fond of him.  Once again, this complicates life.  He loves to "pet" the cats.  Usually this means he grabs handfuls of their fur and skin and pulls.  Or, he pulls on their ears.  We're trying to teach him about gentle.  But he's young and still doesn't quite get it.  I usually don't let him pet Hecate because she's much more likely to bite him.  Hyperion just glares at him and deals with it.

Since he's teething, his napping schedule is all off.  He takes a morning nap and an afternoon nap.  Morning nap usually between 8:30 and 10.  Afternoon nap between noon and two.  That's not how long he sleeps, that's just he time he goes down depending how long he slept in.  But even if he's been rubbing his eyes and yawning for an hour before hand, he still jumps in his crib and screams after I put him down.  Then, I end up hating myself until he actually falls asleep.

Elijah is trying to work on words these days.  He knows what sound a cow makes, but he seems to think that's the sound every animal makes.  When I ask what the cow says he pulls his mouth tight and blows air across his little teeth it sounds like a tractor sound.  It's too cute.  He also tries to mimic what the cats say he makes a high pitched little "ah."

He is the cutest, funniest little guy ever.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Francis

I kid you not, this conversation happened yesterday at IKEA.  My parents and I were discussing the conclave, the different candidates and naming possibilities.

Dad: I would love to see a "Pope Francis."  (My dad has a deep devotion to St. Francis of Assisi.)
Me: Dad, stop.  Who ever it is, is not going to take the name "Francis."  He'll take something more traditionally papal like "John Paul III."

Today, as I was driving to Aurora for a blood test, my husband called and told me about the white smoke.  Nathan was at work, so I called my dad right away to find out what was going on.  I had to wait until my appointment was over for any real news.  Then, after the election announcement was made, this conversation happened:

Me: Well, what name did he take?
Dad: I thought he said "Francis" but I couldn't hear him very well.
Me: Seriously, stop it.  He did not take the name "Francis."  (And yeah, I laughed a little bit.)

Then, the call dropped.  A few minutes later, Dad called me back.

Dad: I just talked to your brother--it IS Francis.  SO THERE!

Moral of the story: have better faith in Dad's Latin.

Let's pray that our dear Pope Francis is able to engender greater love and understanding between the Holy Church and the secular world which surrounds Her.   That people will remember, while we may disagree with each other, it does not have to lead to hate.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

7 Quick Takes

Today is Nathan's 32nd birthday!  For his birthday this year I did something completely unexciting and let him pick out his present.  We had a date night last night, which was awesome, and we stopped at Best Buy where he picked out a new set of super spiffy headphones for his computer.

Elijah's all bundled up because that was the day we took him sledding.

Check out how grown-up this kid looks!  I can't get over it.

Please say a prayer or two for my sister's friend Taryn who is trying to pay off the last thousand dollars of her student loans so she can join the Discalced Carmelites in Buffalo where she was recently accepted.

My car is officially fixed.  It's out of the shop and back in our garage.  I won't get into all the details of what was wrong, mostly because it was my fault and it's embarrassing.  But I will say that for all I hate to drive in general and even though I get mad at the car when I do something stupid and it has to be worked on, I actually do love that little car.  I drove it home from the shop yesterday and was very happy to have it back.

Nathan's car is a stick shift and I really hate having to drive it.

  I don't think anything has caused me more "first time mom" anxiety than what to feed Elijah now that he's eating regular food.  We have the chart about serving sizes and what he needs nutrition-wise everyday, but I keep wanting to feed him more.  He usually gets bored of sitting in the highchair before I think he's really full.  I also need to figure out better snack foods than just giving him Gerber crunchies and Goldfish.

As I said, last night was date night, so Nathan and I went to see the new Oz, the Great and Powerful.  I have to say I was surprised by it.  The plot did things I didn't expect and it was actually a pretty good movie.  A big thanks to my father-in-law for babysitting last night!
Are you as excited as I am that the conclave starts Tuesday?  I can't wait!  

For more 7 Quick Takes, check out Conversion Diary.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I'm back.

I seem to go through phases in which even though I have things to say, I have no inclination to write them.  And trust me, after these past two weeks, there is a lot to say.

I've weathered some kind of storm of bad luck and my own stupidity.  I'm not going to get into it too much, but let's just say it involved two mishaps with vehicles when the weather was less than great--one in which the car is still in the shop. 

There was a sick and teething baby involved, a wasp sting (me, not him) and a set of keys which were lost but not really and I was just being stupid.

But now I'm on a four day weekend and hoping to clear the air.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

For some reason, it's been hard for me to blog lately.  Every time I sit down at the computer and bring up a new tab the Internet displays options of sites I visit recently.  And I do my best to avoid looking at the little replication of this screen.  I don't know why, but I just haven't felt up to it lately.  Maybe I'm being lazy.  Writing in general is not coming very easily to me right now.

Hopefully this will be like breaking through and I'll work my way back into it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Taking His Leave

Eight years ago, we lost someone who was probably one of the greatest modern advocates for Catholicism.  He was wise, he was charismatic, he was traditional.  At least to me, he made orthodoxy seem not only appealing, but also necessary.  And we all grieved terribly at his death.  Of course, I'm talking about Blessed Pope John Paul the Great.

But, a few short days after his death, we were filled with a kind of wild hope and joy, like always after the death of a pope, there was to be a conclave.  The first in 26 years, the first in my lifetime.  I was 20 at the time.  I will never forget where I was and what I was doing when the conclave concluded.

I was in my dormroom eating lunch between classes: French and algebra, if I remember correctly.  CNN was playing on the TV and they were interspersing clips of the anchors with images of the faithful gathered near the Sistine Chapel and the chapel's chimney.  Then, suddenly, the started saying the two magic words, "white smoke."  My heart jumped up into my chest.  Then it was confirmed.  White smoke, habemus papam.

My brother was studying in Pennsylvania at the time and we were on AIM talking about what was going on.  We were several hundred miles apart, but we sat together and started at the TV waiting for the announcement.  Then on the balcony the cardinals appeared and announced, yes, we have a pope: Cardinal Ratzinger.  And the Piazza San Pietro went nuts.  And I went to algebra.

Here we are eight years later at a different kind of crossroads.  Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, through prayer and careful thought, has concluded that he is no longer fit to occupy the Throne of Peter.  At the end of this month he will no longer be our Holy Father.

This is an incredibly unusual occurance.  We actually know, down to the hour how much longer our pope will be our pope.  I can only imagine what the college of cardinals must be thinking.  How strange to be in this place.

Like everyone else in the world, yesterday I was shocked.  And deeply saddened.  Seriously, you only have to ask some of my coworkers to find out how close to tears I was.  But they let me talk about it and they made me laugh.

And thankfully, the sun came up today, and while we enjoy the last few days of Pope Benedict XVI's reign we can look forward again to a conclave.  There will be speculation about the successor, but thankfully, only 118 men will get to vote.  They who know the church best, they who love us and want what is best for us and for the church. 

All we have to do is look to Christ and His Holy Mother and pray.  Pray for Pope Benedict, pray for the college of cardinals, pray for the church, and pray for each other.  What a wonderful thought to take into Lent.

Friday, February 1, 2013

7 Quick Takes

Does anyone else dread the development questions at the pediatrician?  Seriously, I always go in there a nervous wreck that he is going to tell me Elijah is way behind or having a problem or something.  Yes he's a year old and not walking or talking (beyond 'Mama' and 'Dada') or pointing.  We're working on clapping.  But he is an adorable, funny, rambunctious baby who loves to give kisses and wave hi.  Why are these not on the question list?
The day before his first birthday, Elijah got his first pair of real shoes.  This picture cracks me up.  I put the shoes on him to wear around the house and get used to today.  He acted like I was holding his feet to the fire.  I tried explaining that they were not, in fact, a torture device, but he didn't seem to care.

He looks so much like a little boy now!

We bought my laptop in 2008 because we had tried sharing a computer for the first year or two of marriage.  This experience taught us we need separate computers to function as a happily married couple.  Slowly, over the last year and a half, the laptop has been falling to pieces.  For Christmas this year, I asked for a new lower-end desk top.  I told Nathan exactly what I wanted and picked it out.  

The thing about Nathan is, if he is going to buy something like a computer, he's not going buy lower-end.  He has friends who mess around with computers and components as a hobby and a brother-in-law who works in IT.  So for Christmas I got: a wireless keyboard and mouse, a new monitor, and the promise that at some point in the future his former desktop tower would be cleaned up with a new hard drive and ready for my use.  That day has come, my friends!  I can't wait to finally have a computer I can use without fear of it falling apart on me.

A little while ago, my dad started a blog.  He has been hearing from several sources for a long time that he needs to write.  I will always remember when his parents used to go to Texas for the winter; my parents would sit us all down every month or so with a piece of paper and have us write them, what I'm sure were painfully difficult to read letters about the ups and downs of life in an elementary school family of six.  My dad would write two to four page letters.  It's a gift he has.

His most recent post is about my nephew Brian and it's adorable.  Pop over to  

Please know that I am neither complaining nor bragging, I'm just curious.  Elijah still takes three naps a day.  Is that normal?

Today is my last day of vacation.  *tear*  Apart from Elijah teething and getting shots and running a fever these last few days, it's been pretty great.  I even got to extend it two days.  I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to next vacation at the end of June.  I finally managed to arrange vacation around one of my absolute favorite days of the year, Ribfest.  My sisters will be in town, we will go to the best party, and eat all kinds of foods.  I am so excited!

Who else is scarred by last week's Downton Abbey?  I mean really!  If they had to kill someone why couldn't it have been Thomas or O'Brien?  And why can poor Daisy not catch a romantic break to save her life? 

 For more Seven Quick Takes, head on over to Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Modern man and Sainthood

It's easy to believe that the progress of life with its new capabilities and possibilities makes it harder for people to be saintly.  The theory is that life is more complicated these days, and that the complications include blocks to saintly life.  Really, that is untrue.  Men connect with God in the same ways today that we always have: through prayer, thought, meditation, Church services and events, and learning.  This modern world of ours has seen its fair share of sons and daughters elevated to the holy cannon.

Many contemporary saints are overlooked because when people think of saints they think of people like the Apostles, the St. Georges, the St. Thomas Aquinases, and many others whose lives are so far removed from us their memories are stamped on our minds.  

But it is possible that recent saints and holy men and women can teach us a great deal about how to fit society and the swirling mass of experience into our lives and fight the increasing belief  that our lives and experiences should fit into societal conventions. 

I would like to take some time on this blog, maybe once a week, to highlight a modern saint or holy person and what they can teach us about being in the world and not of the world.

I have to think a bit more exactly what this will look like.  And please don't hold me too stringently to the idea of once a week, I may not make it every week.  Also, I need to come up with a title...But I already know who will be the subject of my first post.  Guesses?    (Dad, you can't guess, you know who it is.)

Also, feel free to suggest someone.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Oldest child perils

It must be very difficult to be an oldest child.  I am the second of four, so I don't really have much frame of reference for it.  But, based on how many times a week I pose a question about our son's life or upbringing to my husband and we both say, "I don't know," I'm sure it's no barrel of laughs.

I picture an adult Elijah one day speaking with friends, or a spouse, or a psychiatrist saying "My parents are great (at least I hope he says that) but when I came along they really had no clue what they were doing."  NO FREAKING CLUE

The biggest quandry right now is feeding him.  We have moved away from exclusively feeding baby food and are introducing different solid foods.  My problem is, now that it's not just a matter of getting to the bottom of a puree cup and being finished, I really don't know how much to feed him.  Today at lunch, for instance he had a couple spoonfuls of corn, a crumbled piece of cheese, some Gerber crunchies and his milk, which he took out of a sippy cup for the first time today.

Elijah is a child who will eat until he pukes, so I really don't know when he's full and just eating because it's there.  Thank God we have his year check up with the pediatrician on Wednesday!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Elijah turns one!

It's entirely possible that at this time last year, I was sleeping.  I had been awake for at least 24 hours you see.  Nathan and I had driven 7 hours and stood in a hospital room in awe as our son Elijah was born.

Yep, Little Guy is one year old.  It's still surprising to me.  We spent the day in high fashion with a party with friends and family at our house.  We felt very blessed that so many people came to help us celebrate Elijah.

So, I made this.  I wanted to do a lot more crafting for the party.  I even attempted to make my own invitations, but it did not go well and I gave up.  I was going to give the party a "farm" theme, but decided that themes didn't really matter that much to me this year since he won't remember.  Though, I did find a bunch of farm themed items at Party City later.  Instead we just went with a blue/green color scheme.  The cake was delicious and made by a friend of mine from high school.

My grandmother was one of the first people to arrive.  She is also one of Elijah's biggest fans.  They had so much fun playing together in the relative quiet before people really started arriving. They played peek-a-boo across the room and he loved it.

 But, I like this picture better!

Oh, the smash cake.  Wait for it....

He was a VERY big fan of the smash cake.

He even got down to the cake part.  It may look a little extreme, but I am very glad we decided to strip him to his diaper before the smash cake.

This is what the living room looked like before we settled in to eat and talk and enjoy each others' company.  That's my dad in the chair.

This picture looks hilarious to me with Scout in the high chair.

By the time everyone arrived, more children were at our house than ever before.  Counting Elijah there were six little ones here ranging from 9 months to six years.  It was so neat!

They mostly hung out in the sun room where we had toys and crayons and paper for coloring.  They also spent time in the kitchen where the food was.  We had Casey's pizza.  Elijah got many lovely presents which of course I don't have pictures of because I was opening them.  It was such a fun day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Raising a boy

Somehow, in my heart of hearts, I always knew my first child would be a boy.  I don't know how I knew, but I think there were signs.  After we started the adoption process and I looked at my yarn stash to start making hats and booties, I noticed everything I had was either blue, green, or brown.  It was much much easier for us to come up with boy names than girl names.  And when I found out Birthmother was carrying a boy, I was elated, but unsurprised.

All that being said, I don't think I was completely prepared for raising a boy.  I rejoiced that I wouldn't have to run the Disney Princess gamut every time I tried to find a toy.  I got excited about trucks, tractors, and superheroes.  I loved picking out clothes with dinosaurs on them.

But I think there are somethings that would be easier with a girl.  How does a mother teach her son what real feminine beauty and grace is?  Does the son even care?  I hope Elijah will want to grow up wanting to marry a good and virtuous woman.  The kind of woman I try to be.  I pray she is less sharp (not intellectually), less malicious and more pious than I.

How do I show him this kind of woman in daily life?  I suppose I start by curbing my tongue more often (never easy for me.)  I continue by praying for blessings on those who hurt me more and thinking about ways to hurt them less.  I pray more: with him, for him, over him.  I hope he learns what real women look like and I hope he appreciates it.  I pray the woman he marries is modest and intelligent.  I pray she is able to see the flaw in modern perceptions of beauty and promiscuity. 

I pray that Nathan and I are able to teach Elijah to love his eventual wife with kindness and gentleness.  I hope he learns from his father what a real man is, what a good father is.  I hope he loves his wife the way Nathan loves me.  I hope he enjoys his family the way Nathan seems to. 

All these things I pray to our Lord Jesus for my dear son, Elijah.

Friday, January 18, 2013

7 Quick Takes

One year ago today we got a call from our adoption agency telling us there was a woman in a neighboring state who picked us to adopt her baby boy.  We called her that night.  I can't believe it's been a year since we first talked to Birthmother.  Then I turn around and realize he's walking around furniture now, and I believe it!

I haven't had much to say lately, have I?  I suppose it's because we have settled into a little routine around here and the days go by almost before I realize it's noon or I'm getting ready for work.  Elijah is into everything and I had to rescue him yesterday from eating Christmas ornament hooks we had forgotten were on the coffee table.  (oops!)

Ever since we finally went down to only streaming on Netflix, I have actually been impressed with what they have online.  I've heard a lot of people complain about their online selection lately, but I've found just about everything I want.  Not only that, but they recently added Wallander, the English version which aired on PBS.  It's a very well done series, but I will say, don't watch it unless you want to be traumatized.  Seriously very dark stuff.  I wouldn't be watching it, but I 've had a silly crush on it's star, Kenneth Branagh since I was like 5, so I deal with it and pray for no nightmares.

Can you really look at this picture and tell me this child doesn't need a haircut?  His father seems to disagree.

I'm on the second day of my last week of work before vacation.  I can't wait!  We are not going to do anything but stay home and have a party for our one year old little boy!  

My very good friend Bonnie in her 7 Quick Takes today has expressed a desire for snow so that her science teacher husband can have a snow day.  I have to say, Bonnie, this is one of the only times I'm glad you live two hours away.  I pray for no snow...ever.  Seriously, I hope it never snows again.  And I'm not out to get the farmers who live around me.  I pray for rain.  It can rain every single day for all I care.  But no snow. Not. ever.

 For more Seven Quick Takes check out Conversiondiary!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

7 Quick Takes

I haven't had time for a big "Christmas Post" but we hope you all had wonderful Christmases.  Thankfully, I had Christmas Day on my weekend, so I got to spend the day with my family.  We opened presents at our house and then went to Mass where I lectored.  Then we went to my mom and dad's to open presents with my sisters and parents.  Elijah got all kinds of new toys and I enjoyed my traditional "Christmas stack of new books."

Then we headed off to Nathan's parents' where we enjoyed another meal and spending time with his sister's family.  Elijah got even more new toys and clothes.  It was a wonderful day, vomitting infants notwithstanding.

Elijah's two big gifts from us were walk/ride and a new sled...maybe we'll get some snow so we can use it, but I won't be heartbroken if we don't.

If you have any regard for musical theater, or even just Les Miserables in general, you should go see the new movie.  It's awesome, more awesome than I expected. 
One of my much-hoped for Christmas gifts this year was a day planner featuring Saints I saw at our local Catholic bookstore.  Everyday features  whose feast day it is and every week one saint or feast day is highlighted.  I looked into it, and if we went by the old tradition of naming our son based on whose feast day he was born on, we could have named him Timothy, Titus, or Polycarp. 
Most votes so far have been going to Polycarp.

Speaking of my son and the day he was born: in about three weeks, he will be one year old.  I cannot believe it.  Actually, considering that he wants to hold his own bottle all the time now and can just about stand without holding onto things, it's pretty believable.  

About a month ago, I lost my cellphone.  It's in the house somewhere, I just have no idea where.  Since then, Nathan and I have been sharing his phone.  He only keeps it with him on days Elijah and I aren't going anywhere, so, usually just my weekend.  But I had an incredibly productive Wednesday this week and I managed to buy a new phone.  Not only that, it's actually a smart phone, something I never really wanted.  The only reason I actually have it is so that I can take pictures of Elijah and text them to his aunts and uncle who live in different states.  

It's still a Tracfone, so it actually costs minutes to send and receive texts, which is annoying.

Wednesday was also the day Elijah and I and my parents went up to Woodstock and applied for his social security card.  I tried it once before, taking with me his birth certificate and the final adoption decree we received from our lawyer when everything went through.  However the copy we had was not certified.  So I had to ask the lawyer to get us a certified copy.  And all that means is that the courthouse in Chicago stamped it.  Very annoying but over with.  Now we just have to wait.

So this news is probably not new to you and I stole it from a Facebook post by a good friend of mine, but please pray for 7 Quick Takes' host Jen Fulweiler who is pregnant and in the hospital with pulmonary embolisms in her lungs.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January 1

January 1, 2004
Nathan and I went on our unofficial, official first date.  We were friends in high school and went on a bunch of individual dates in the past, but this is when we really started dating.  My brother had just gotten back from Italy so he wanted to cook for everyone (a contagious condition over there).  Nathan came over and ate with us and then we went out to see Mona Lisa Smile.

January 1, 2005
I just got back from studying in England and was having a lot of fun getting to spend time with Nathan again before being sent off to Macomb to finish my junior year at Western Illinois University.

January 1, 2006
Our very first full day of being engaged.  My mother woke me up by coming to my room and asking to look at my ring and then thrusting the phone at me with the command "Call your grandmothers."  After a wonderful few days of preliminary wedding planning, I returned to Macomb again to finish my senior year.

Skip forward six years

January 1, 2012
I honestly don't remember what happened last year on this day.  I was probably at work.  It is remarkable only because we had no idea that in 17 days we would get a phone call about a woman who chose us to raise the baby boy she was carrying.

January 1, 2013
Nathan and I and our little guy, who will be one in a couple weeks, drove to Iowa to visit Elizabeth and Eric and watch some college football.  I'm almost never off work when everyone else is, so we took advantage of this rare day.  Everyone but me goes back to work tomorrow...I've manage to finagle a 3 day weekend for myself.

Nathan and I have been together nine years we've traveled quite a bit, gotten married, moved twice, had six jobs total, become an aunt and uncle-twice, and began raising a beautiful and hilarious baby boy!