12 Photos from 2014

I’m really enjoying all the end-of-the-year posts I’m seeing around the internet right now. I’d like to join in with another one. Dwija from House Unseen (Life Unscripted) has a yearly link up with 12 photos from the year.

12 in 2014

Photos? Yes please. Here we go.

January

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One of my goals for 2014 (which I failed miserably on, I’ll write more about that later) was to get back to having fun with cooking and trying new recipes. The first effort toward this goal was the above pictured attempt to make gnocchi from scratch. It wasn’t my first attempt at gnocchi (with the first one, the potatoes never got cooked through, and I had to abort the plan entirely in order to throw together something my people could actually eat). This was a better recipe, but I didn’t realize that by allowing the girls to help, we would be over-kneading the dough and making it into an ugly mess. The gnocchi were more like dumplings. Fail.

Shortly after that photo was taken, we experienced Flumaggedon, a different type of ugly mess. Happily, we rounded out the month of January with a trip to Florida to visit my Grandma, to enjoy the warm weather, and to go to Disney World.

February

February was a bunch more sickness and freezing cold, with a skiing trip and a five-year-old’s Brave-themed birthday party thrown in the mix to keep it from being too awful. I even made cars out of cardboard boxes for the party.

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Going through these photos and posts from last year is making me shudder for remembering all the sickness and COLD that kept us inside all winter long.

March

In March we began our first experience of observing Lent. I met the bishop, and we tried our parish’s fish fry (a lot). We were finally able to get outside, and the snow started to melt.

DSC_0141This girl ^^ turned two! (and I turned 38)

April

We spent a week with my parents, Damma and Tuppa as Sis calls them. We went through our first Holy Week. The big event was that I was received into full communion in the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Mass.

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^^ The water was really cold.

May

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We planted a garden, celebrated six years of wedded bliss, and visited my parents again.

June

June was a full, full month. We went to the Farm, I ran a 5K for SMA, we visited family in Minnesota, and I started my Baby Catholic Answers All the Things series (which I have neglected terribly recently, sorry!).

DSC_0182July

We had friends over for dinner, went to a 4th of July parade, and had our annual trip to the Dirty Weird Zoo. Super Friend and I went to Edel. And we broke ground on our new home!

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August 

Okay, I’ll be honest. July and August basically sucked. I tried my hardest to make it not suck, and we did have lots of fun raspberry picking, eating ice cream, cooking out with friends, and going to the Iowa State Fair. I got stuff ready to start our homeschool year and for Miss to start her part-time kindergarten. And then the big day happened. My big girl started school! And my sweet middle child turned four.

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September

Much better than July or August, September was full of homeschool field trips, soccer, hay rides, our first Michaelmas celebration, and of course, the Labor Day Party.

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October

We decided to get some puppies, played in leaves, had fun with my parents, and went on more field trips. I made cupcakes for Miss’s school Halloween party, we trick-or-treated, and had lots of fun outside during the height of my favorite season.

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Outdoor dance party ^^

November

Ah, November. November saw a sharp decline in my blogging (I only wrote five posts!!). Also in my everything-elsing. I went and got our sweet little puppies, and they have been sucking the life out of me ever since. They are good dogs, and I’m so happy we got them, but they aren’t quite house broken yet, so the hovering over them and taking them outside frequently has eaten into my time to do anything else. See? I can’t even remember what else we did in November!! Oh yeah, we went to the farm for deer hunting. We had an awesome Thanksgiving dinner with our friend-family (The Super Friends).

DSC_0166December

As usual, December was full of holiday fun and activities. I took the older girls to see The Nutcracker, we went to see Santa and met the Sugar Plum Fairy, and we’ve had lots of sicknesses, travels, and celebrating. We celebrated my husband’s birthday with our tradition of having the girls select gifts for him from the Dollar Tree. I promised to write about it, but then I got the stomach flu the day after his birthday. Here’s a precious shot of Sis giving love after he opened her gifts of a “bouncy ball,” a piggy bank, some scotch tape, and a pack of thumb tacks.

DSC_0022Lass selected a basket for collecting produce from our garden next year, a pack of pens, and a shower sponge. Miss’s gifts were a pair of scissors, a small mother-and-child figurine which she determined was Mary and Baby Jesus, and a pair of fuzzy orange (ladies) socks.

12 photos from 2014. I tried to select pics I haven’t posted before. It was fun to look back over the year in photos and posts. 2014 was a year of very high highs and very low lows. I’m looking forward to 2015.

Happy New Year to you all. Thank you for reading and particularly for sticking around through the past few months of minimal posting. I truly appreciate each of you. May you have many blessings in the new year!  

Diary of a Grammar Geek

I freely admit that I am a big nerd when it comes to my love of proper grammar. I can’t really help it. I just really like it. It makes me happy.

I don’t mean to say that I think I am always perfectly grammatically correct. I’m not, in either my writing or my speech. I tend to write this blog the way that I speak, so I know it doesn’t always make the A+ grade for grammar. Sometimes I use sentence fragments if it helps my flow. I often start a sentence with a conjunction, though I almost never end one with a preposition. And (see?) sometimes I say things like, “I’m good” in response to the question “How are you?” *gasp*

I think what makes me a grammar geek is that I actually care about things like the correct use of adverbs and adjectives. Even though I don’t always do it perfectly (see what I did there?), I am always trying to make my grammar correct. And I love learning new things about proper grammar. For example:

I bought a book recently called “It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences,” and it’s fascinating.

It was only just recently that I learned the rule about when to use “who” and when to use “whom.” I thought I knew it, but I had only understood part of it. I was so excited. Truly.

I kind of can’t wait until my kids are old enough for me to have them start diagramming sentences in our homeschool. It was one of my favorite things to do in English class.

See?

There are some things that drive me kind of nuts, like improper use of apostrophes.

Or lack of apostrophes when they should be there.

I mean, one of the reasons Super Friend and I are such good friends is because she knows when to type “you’re” and when to type “your” in a text or email.

Just kidding (sort of).

BUT, though I freely admit to being a nerd, I don’t consider myself to be a “grammar Nazi.”

I don’t ever correct someone’s grammar, punctuation, or spelling unless they specifically ask me to. Except in my head. And when I do it in my head, it’s not malicious. I just can’t help myself.

My thinking as I scroll through Facebook posts:

“‘Should have’, not ‘should of’.”

“‘Too funny’, not ‘to funny’.”

“‘Couldn’t care less’, not ‘could care less’.”

“Quotation marks do not mean emphasis.”

AND:

What’s my point? I don’t have one. I just like thinking about and writing about grammar. I do wish people would pay more attention to using it correctly. But I’m a nerd. Here’s a take home message if you want one:

Truth.

And even though some of this song is kind of mean spirited, I do enjoy this Weird Al Yankovic remake of “Blurred Lines.”

7QT – Mary’s Birthday, a 20-Year-Old Photo, Soccer Cuteness, and More

This post started out as a “Quick Takes Friday” post last week. Except that I only got two takes done when I started it Friday morning. And then before I knew it, it was waaay past Friday, and the Quick Takes Ship had sailed. So, I changed it around, and it was going to be just a random catch up post. And then I felt like I just had to write yesterday’s post (it had been bouncing around in my brain for months), so the random post didn’t get done either. And now, well it’s Friday again! Woohoo! So a couple of these “Takes” are a bit old. But they’re still riveting, I assure you.

1.

My girls started soccer last week a couple of weeks ago. Holy cuteness.

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Miss is very into it. Lass is not really decided yet.

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It’s so fun to watch them and to visit with the other moms on the sideline. Wait. Am I a “soccer mom” now?! I think not yet.

2.

I mentioned that Miss is going to our local Catholic school one and a half days per week. On the way home after her first day, Miss asked if she could make a dessert for our family to eat after dinner. She said wanted to make it with graham crackers, chocolate chips, and an egg. I said “sure.”

We got home and there were no graham crackers, but she was willing to improvise. She ended up using five leftover lady fingers, which we crumbled up, two eggs, a splash of almond milk, the remains of a bag of chocolate chips, and two Tablespoons of water (initially she wanted to use a cup of water, but I convinced her to add it a little at a time).

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The end result was quite. . . interesting. It was a bit like a dessert frittata? She was pleased, and her sisters enjoyed it too. Pinterest-worthy for sure.

3.

Tonight is my 20-year high school reunion. Yeah. 20 years. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to go, but since it’s scheduled on a Friday night and it’s in Michigan and I’m in Wisconsin, it wasn’t possible for me to go even if I had wanted to. But really, 20 years? I can’t possibly be old enough for that.

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Or maybe I can. I look so very young (and ridiculous) in this picture (second from the left is me).

4.

I’m really starting to get into the swing of celebrating feast days and such with my girls. We celebrated the one-year anniversary of their baptisms on Sunday by lighting their baptism candles, renouncing Satan, and zinging them with holy water. And having dessert of course.

Monday was Mary’s birthday, so we had a little birthday party for her. We had ten candles on the cake and did a decade of the rosary, lighting one candle with each Hail Mary. Then we sang Happy Birthday and blew out her candles.

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I’m not eating cake these days, so I just got a baby smash cake with blue and white frosting from the grocery store pre-made case (it was the perfect size for the girls to each have a piece). It worked out perfectly that the blue and white one was the one my girls wanted too. It originally had some plastic sea animals stuck to the top of it, but we took those off, and it went instantly from undersea-baby-cake to Marian-blue-birthday-rosary-cake. Mom win.

5.

I have discovered a major difference between my husband and me: The need for peace and quiet and relaxation when indulging in a treat of some sort. He needs none. I need all.

He comes home from work and cracks open a beer if he cares to have one. He grabs a sweet treat after dinner, either forgetting every.time. that the little-girl audience will descend on him faster than vultures on road kill, or not caring that they do (I still haven’t figured out which it is).

And then there’s me. If my kids are awake and I just must. have. chocolate., I hide in the laundry room to eat it. But the majority of the time, I wait until they are in bed to indulge in any sort of treat food or beverage. I might let them have ice cream after dinner once in a while, but if I have any myself, I wait until after they go to bed. If I’m going to imbibe, I never do it until they are in their rooms for the night. And it’s not because I’m worried that my parental judgement will be impaired. One drink (or even two) would probably only improve my motherly attitude once evening time rolls around.

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I just want to enjoy it. Savor it. In peace. I don’t want to have to share my ice cream or answer, “What is that? Can I try it?” about my wine. I’m even the same way about my coffee. I get up extra early before my kids so I can enjoy my coffee in peace (and finish it while it’s still warm).

Am I alone here?

6.

It’s already cold here. Highs in the 50s. Fall is my favorite season, but I wasn’t quite prepared for it yet. Sunday we went on a hayride with friends and were sweaty and sunburned and dehydrated by the time it was over.

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^^This picture makes it look like our kids were dangling precariously off the edge of a wagon stacked with hay. They weren’t. 

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In the past two days I have had to do an emergency Zappos order of new fleece jackets for my older girls since they now wear the same size and last year’s jackets don’t fit them (though Sis now has lots to choose from). Where did my summer go?

7.

Yesterday was the five-year anniversary of this blog. Five years! I looked back at my very first post, and it just made me laugh. I still don’t know much about what the heck I’m doing, but I’ve come a long way from post, after post, after post about almost nothing but cloth diapers! Anyway, Happy Blogversary to me!

See more Quick Takes here.

Answer Me This – Bonus Husband Edition

This week I’m doing Kendra’s Answer Me This, and as a special treat, my husband is answering the questions as well.

1. What’s something you’ve won, and how did you win it?

Me: I won my school’s spelling bee when I was in fifth grade. The word that clinched my victory over a sixth grade boy named Darren was “juvenile.” I have a weird love for spelling (and sentence diagramming) and it’s always been something I’m good at.

I went on to the regional spelling bee, where I placed fourth. The word that knocked me out was “nemesis.” I had never heard the word before, and I spelled it N-E-M-I-S-I-S. At the district-wide spelling bee I was the runner up. I missed the word “exhaust.” Forgot the H, and realized my mistake as soon as I saw the look on my Mom’s face in the audience.

Is it disturbing that I have such a vivid memory of this? I swear, I do not feel that my life is lacking because I never won the regional or district spelling bee. . . I do still have the dictionary they gave me for winning my school bee though.

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Husband: I won a State Wrestling Championship by kicking ass.

2. Do you save old greeting cards and letters, or throw them all away? Why?

Me: I save things from my husband and children, and some extra special things from other people. I have letters my husband wrote to me during our first year of dating when we had a long-distance relationship. I also printed out all the emails he sent me during that time. Those are all tied up in a ribbon and saved in a box in my closet. I also have birthday and anniversary cards from him, cards from my daughters, some letters and cards from my Grandma, and a thank you card from Super Friend. I also saved all the cards and notes I got during and after my conversion. I throw away most other things after saving them for a bit.

Why do I save them? I’m sentimental. I like them. They make me smile, and I want to be able to look at them when I’m old. I’ve read over the letters from my husband and some of the other notes and cards on occasion. In a world where everything is electronic and sentiments are rarely lasting, I want to be able to hold on to some expressions of love and support and friendship that have meant a lot to me at various times.

Husband: I throw them away. Next. (Note, I pointed out to him that he has a bunch of cards and artwork by our girls on his desk right now that he has not thrown away, to which he responded, “Yeah, but that’s like 1% of all the cards I’ve gotten. . .”)

Don’t let him fool you into thinking he isn’t sentimental. Here’s the upper shelf of his desk:

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3. When you’re at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?

Me: Socks in winter, barefoot otherwise.

Husband: Barefoot. And socks in winter.

4. Who’s the most famous person you have ever met? 

Me: Depends who is more famous, Tom Arnold or Joey Lawrence.

Husband: Bill Clinton. Or Al Gore.

5. What has been your best work of art?

Me: My blog. It’s my way of being creative.

I also once cooked a coq au vin that was a masterpiece. (see #6 below)

Husband: Honestly, I don’t do art.

6. What is your strongest sense?

Me: Taste. I love me some tasty food. Example: Recently Super Friend and I went out to brunch at a local bar. On the way out, we were both rubbernecking a table of guys. We got outside and started laughing, because we had each noticed the other’s ogling, and both knew that the ogling had nothing to do with the guys at the table, but rather with their huge plate of yummy-looking nachos. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. . .

Husband: (laughs) Hmm. My common sense.

Check out more answers at Kendra’s link up. Also, check out her great post from today about family planning and having babies and not having babies.

Five Favorites – You Must See This Fabulous Way of Cutting Grapes!

1. I know. That title sounds a little dramatic. But truly, this is my favorite new thing. A new, totally awesome way of cutting grapes in half (The video is only a few seconds long. Watch it. It could change your life):

I tried it today and it really works. BUT, because my grapes were really small, all the plates I have had too much of a lip on them so many of the grapes ended up with just barely the top shaved off. So. I improvised.

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I used two lids of the same size. Same technique. Perfectly cut grapes. Genius. I know this seems sad, but this just made my life so much easier.

2. Caterpillars.

DSC_0130My girls love “raising” butterflies. How awesome is it that you can buy caterpillars on the internet and have them delivered complete with food, ready to grow, metamorphose, and fly away?

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3. These DVDs.

DSC_0138I love Scholastic picture books and these DVDs are great. There are tons of them, and each DVD has four to six stories on it. Many of them are fully animated (not just pictures from the books flashed on the screen), and my girls really enjoy them.

I’ve had a set for a while now, but kind of forgot about them so we haven’t watched them lately. Then I got a “Diary of a Worm” easy reader book for Miss from the library and she asked me to watch the story DVD. We only have “Diary of a Spider,” but I was able to find “Diary of a Worm” at the library. We watched both of them tonight.

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Bonus that I don’t have to read the actual books. They are not my favorite to read.

4. The AbMat

It simultaneously makes sit ups easier and harder. They’re easier because I don’t need to hook my feet under something or struggle at all to complete the move. Plus, since giving birth to Lass (10 lbs, 7 oz), my tailbone sticks out in a weird way and it’s painful to do regular sit ups on the floor. Not with this thing. The sit ups are harder because you extend your stomach muscles farther and work them better. My stomach ends up super sore from doing these. In a good way.

5. This book.

DSC_0139I learned about this book from a friend, and I’m so glad I bought it. Miss (without prompting) composed a morning offering prayer that goes like this:

“Oh my Lord, I love You so much that I could give this day to You. Amen.”

So we say that every morning at breakfast (she’s very proud that we do her prayer every day), and I read the day’s devotion and we talk about it. They remind me if I forget, and they ask me to bring the book when we travel, so I think they like it too.

For more favorites, go here.

One Hot Mess – It’s a Jungle Out There

Admit it. Sometimes you just like to see other people’s messy. Or to drop your own out there and just laugh at it as others gasp and try not to stare. . .

Right? Yeah, me too. So that’s why I love Blythe’s One Hot Mess link up. Lots of train wrecks every week. I can’t look away.

This is the first week I’ve had photos and a post ready to link up (where was this link up over the winter when I was posting every other day about the flu or puking or pink eye??? Hmmm?). Today I’m excited to share about. . .

Wait for it. . .

My weeds.

The same thing happens every year. I start out gung-ho, determined that this will be the year that I will keep the weeds under control. I pull some every day. Things aren’t looking too bad. Then we go away for a couple of weeks in the early summer and come back to this:

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And so I go straight back to furiously pulling weeds. And pulling. And pulling. And getting my kids to do their share of the work.

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And it seems like we’re making some progress, until I get to this:

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I just. . . I don’t even know what to do with that hot mess of vegetation. Where do I even start? Some of those are plants that are actually supposed to be there. Just maybe not quite so. . . abundantly. i’m not sure if I need to sort through and find only the weeds, or thin out the intentional plants, or just yank it all up and start over.

I end up just standing and staring at it, pulling a few obvious weeds, and then throwing up my hands and going to play on the slide with my kids.

Except:

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The weeds have taken over back there too.

I know. Weeds have nothing on Blythe’s Hot Mess post about paying to camp on someone’s gravel driveway. But it’s what I’ve got.

Check out more messy posts HERE.

 

Some Never-Before-Seen Selfies – All for a Good Cause #35K4SMA

If you happen to follow me on Instagram or if you’re a friend of my personal page on Facebook, you may have seen this photo already this morning:

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I posted it bright and early, even though I really, really hate selfies. I’m not really opposed to them in general, I mean when other people post them. I don’t hate selfies on principle. I hate them because of vanity.

I cannot, for the life of me, seem to take a selfie in which I look even a little bit normal. Every time, every. time., I either end up all forehead or all nose or double-chinned or something else utterly not flattering. So I don’t do selfies. The few times that I’ve tried, they don’t end up anywhere that others can see them. Not on Instagram, not on FB, not here on the old blog (except once in this post, but that selfie was very dark).

However, today I made an exception. In fact, I’m about to make a big exception and even show you all some of the selfies I’ve never posted before, all in the name of a good cause.

35K 4 SMA 

I already posted a couple of weeks ago about how I was going to run 5K this week and why. Kelly, the mom who is running 35K for SMA has two little boys with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), and she is trying to raise money for other families who are struggling with the bills that come along with this diagnosis. Bills for necessities like medical expenses, special equipment, home modifications, etc. I donated money to the cause (you can too, hint, hint, right HERE), but I’m also just trying to let others know what Kelly is trying to do.

So, back to the selfies. For the first time ever, I’m going to share my selfie fails (i.e. all of them). There aren’t many, because I learned pretty early-on that selfies are not for me, but here you go.

Here’s one I tried to take when I got my bangs cut in December:

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My chins and I decided that wasn’t the most flattering look for us.

Weird frown. And the nose.

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Dark. And grim:

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The only other ones I could find were those from this morning, though there’s plenty of material here. I took a lot before I ended up with one that looked halfway decent.

Like this one that I took immediately after finishing my run:

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I was still gasping for air, and I couldn’t hold my phone steady to take the picture!

Next I got this one:

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The lighting was so bad and you can’t really read the sign (which is kind of the whole point), so I tried again. And got this:

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Just. No. Remember what I said up there ^^ about the all-nose or all-forehead thing? I think I managed to be both all-nose and all-forhead in that one.

Then all-nose in this one:

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Yikes.

I even took a few while still on the treadmill:

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And now you see why I do not have a great love of the selfie.

But you all keep posting yours! Maybe if you get on it quickly, you can even do a sweaty one for 5K for SMA!! You know you want to :)

Answer Me This – Rotary Phones and Coconuts and Potty Training

I’m linking with Kendra again for Answer Me This! What is it about these question and answer things that is so addictive? I don’t know, but here we go.

1. Do you have a land line?

Yes. I like having one. My cell phone doesn’t work well inside my house. And I just prefer to talk on a regular phone instead of a cell phone if given the choice. Call me old fashioned if you will.

I don’t get it from any stranger. We actually had a phone just like that ^^ when I was growing up.

I think a regular landline phone is more comfortable in general, and easier to hold between my ear and shoulder if I need to be using my hands. I know, bluetooth or whatever, but no thank you.

2. What is your least favorite food?

Coconut. It’s a texture thing.  I don’t mind the taste of it so much, but I can’t eat it because of the texture. It’s followed closely in the level of my loathing by corn bread and grits.

3. What’s on your summer reading list?

Oh boy, lots of things. I feel like I should do a separate post just about this. Right now I’m reading The Little Oratory and Teaching From a State of Rest and See How She Loves Us and Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter. I never used to read more than one book at a time until I started reading Catholic books. I can’t seem to limit myself to only one nowadays.

Very soon I will be starting The Dolorus Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which I’m reading for a book discussion. I saw The Passion of the Christ for the first time on Good Friday this year, and when I read about this book, which the movie was based heavily on, I had to get it. There are a lot more books on my list to read, but I can’t think of any at the moment.

4. Is there something that people consistently ask your advice on? What is it?

I used to get asked questions about mental health or relationship issues all the time when I was working as a psychologist. I’m still licensed and so technically still a psychologist, but I’m pretty far removed from that world and I don’t think people associate that with me anymore.

Nowadays I get asked all the time about potty training. I’m quite vocal about my love of this 3 Day Potty Training Method, so several people have asked for my advice about fast and briefly painful, but effective, potty training.

5. What’s the most physically demanding thing you’ve ever done? 

By far, my delivery of Lass. I had a c-section with Miss, so Lass was my first real labor and delivery. My labor with her was unmedicated, lasted about 20 hours, and she was 10lb., 7oz. Enough said, I suppose, but if you want the full story, I wrote about her birth here (it’s not written very well, but it’s documented anyway).

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^^ Very early in my labor

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^^ Kind of in the middle I think. There are no pictures of the later hours of labor. I was a screaming hot mess, and not very receptive to the camera, I imagine.

6. How do you feel about massages? 

I think they’re perfectly lovely. I very much like getting one as a special treat now and then. I just try not to think about the slight awkwardness factor of the whole thing and it’s quite enjoyable.

See how others answered these questions here.

 

7 Quick Takes About Miraculous Twins, Being a Crazy Stalker, and Other Stuff

Linking up with Conversion Diary, and actually making it on Friday this week.

1. Last weekend was Miss’s first piano recital. DSC_0115 Doesn’t she look so tiny?? Her song was about ten seconds long, and I was nearly in tears when she was done, it was so cute. DSC_0117 She went up in front of the audience like she owned the place. DSC_0118-2 She was thrilled to play in front of a crowd. I had no idea she could be so cool under pressure.

2. Last weekend we also potty trained Sis. DSC_0112 I like to use this 3-Day Potty Training method, which is horrid for three days and then awesome forever (except for a few days after I did the program with Miss, which were far, far from awesome).

It’s very strange to no longer be changing diapers! DSC_0132-2 3. Lass had her first haircut on Wednesday. Just as it was with Miss, her first cut came at 3.5 years old. She was so excited. IMG_3097 And I am so mad at myself because I forgot to save a snip of it. IMG_3099 All that beautiful hair, and I didn’t save any of it. I just want to cry every time I think about it. But she loves her haircut and has no idea that I messed up. Hopefully she won’t hate me when she’s 15 and realizes I saved hair from her sisters’ first haircuts but forgot hers. Or rather, hopefully she won’t hate me for that.

4. When we first got to the salon and the girls were climbing in the chairs to get started (Miss got her second haircut at the same time, so you can see they’ll be going for haircuts about as often as I do), I had an interesting exchange with the woman cutting Lass’s hair:

Her – “How old are they?”

Me – pointing at Lass, “She’s three,” and pointing at Miss, “and she’s five.”

Her – eyes bugging out, “Are they twins?

Me – blinking. . . “Uh. Nooo?”

Her – “Woooowwww.”

I get asked all the time if they’re twins. But never quite like that.

An “After” photo of my not-twins: IMG_3101 IMG_3102 5. It’s not uncommon for me to run into Super Friend when I’m out and about on any given day. We live in a not-huge town and we go to all the same places. The grocery store. The Catholic store. Target. We always laugh when we see each other as if it’s soooo craaaaazy that we’re running into each other again.

It was much the same thing on Tuesday when I pulled into the Target parking lot and saw her car there. I texted her real quick “Are you at Target???” She replied something like, “Yes! At Starbucks” (I’d like to take a moment to interject how amazing it is that there is a Starbucks in our Target store. Marketing genius, is what that is).

So I hopped out of my car and chuckled to myself all the way into the store, where I walked in to see her standing right near the entrance (since that’s where the Starbucks is). I laughed and said, “I swear, I’m not following you!” in cheesy reference to the fact that I had just seen her at the grocery store the day before.

Unfortunately I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings when I said this and was oblivious to the fact that my crazy-stalker-lady comment scared the crap out of the woman walking right in front of me. She jumped and looked quickly over her shoulder with an expression of terror, made worse by the fact that Super Friend and I were cracking up laughing at my stupidity. So then I said, “Oh, I’m not following you either!” as the woman rushed into the store to get far, far away from me. I hope she got a laugh out of it once the initial horror was gone. Maybe?

6. I recently bought the book “Feast! Real Food, Reflections, and Simple Living for the Christian Year”  by Haley and Daniel Stewart to help me in my attempts at teaching my girls about the liturgical year and celebrating it as a family. It’s a wonderful book, and is full of delicious-looking (haven’t had a chance to make any of them yet) recipes for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter seasons, as well as for many saints’  feast days.

So with the book you can read about a saint and make a meal that somehow represents that saint’s story (mostly by being a dish from the place where the saint lived, I think, though I haven’t looked through the whole book yet) on the saint’s feast day. History, religion, geography, and dinner, all in one! The book has lots of saints in it that I have never heard of, and recipes for foods I’ve never tried, so I can’t wait to make some of the dishes.

7. “Feast!” does not have a recipe for commemorating St. Rita’s feast day, which was yesterday. You may remember that St. Rita is the patroness of impossible cases, and I chose hers as my confirmation name.

So I took inspiration from the book and found my own recipe to celebrate her day. St. Rita is from Cascia, Italy, and I found a recipe for “Lentils with Sausages in the Style of Cascia” in this cookbook.

I cooked lentils once, a looong time ago, and they were awful. I didn’t get the texture right, and they had no flavor. At that time I told my husband that I would never, ever cook lentils again, but I couldn’t find any other traditional Cascian dishes, so I went for it anyway. Never say never, right? He actually remembered me saying that, and mentioned it to me yesterday.

Thankfully, this time the lentils were much better. DSC_0140 These actually had very good flavor, and I think the texture was how lentils are supposed to be. I realized that I just don’t much like lentils, because their texture isn’t appealing to me. But this dish was pretty good. As my husband said, “Edible lentils! That’s an improvement.”

Also to celebrate St. Rita’s day the girls watched this video, we colored a picture of her, we looked up Italy on our world map, and we made a bee craft, since my girls were especially interested in the part of St. Rita’s story involving the bees. It was a great way to celebrate a special feast day, though maybe next year I’ll search harder for different recipe from Cascia, sans lentils.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and for more quick takes, check out Conversion Diary.

Answer Me This! Beards and Other Scary Things

Linking with Haley this time for Answer Me This!

1. What’s the scariest thing that’s ever been in your yard?

Not much scary has been in my current yard. Probably this guy, I guess:

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He really wasn’t that scary, but he was missing a leg and his tail. And I have a history with opossums.

Scariest thing ever was a drive-by shooter when we lived in North Carolina (oddly also part of the opossum back story). I guess not technically in my yard. But close enough, since two bullets came through the front wall of my house.

2. Beards. Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Thumbs definitely up.

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I love the beard. Though I loved the bald too.

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3. If stuff breaks, can you fix it?

Some stuff. I can manage a hammer, most small and some larger power tools, a needle and thread (or sewing machine), and crazy glue. However, beyond the sewing and gluing, I usually leave broken stuff to my husband these days.

4. What was your first car?

A Ford Escort I shared with my brother until he went away to college. Kind of like this one but grey and a few years older:

5. How often do you eat out?

Every other week to once a week. My husband and I go on date nights or we go out for a “family date night.” I have a great love of date nights. Also, I go out to dinner with Super Friend sometimes.

6. Why is your hair like that?

Because it’s thick and heavy. And because I don’t know how to do anything else with it. Or I’m too lazy to do anything else (example: I cannot commit to regular visits to the salon, so hair color and short cuts are out).

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Heck, sometimes I can’t even manage that^^ and have to go for a bang-free variation.

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I didn’t have bangs until December. Prior to that my hair had been the same long-and-straight ‘do pretty consistently since I was about 16. Once in a while I’d try something new, but it was always either pretty awful or more trouble than it was worth.

So I always come back to the basic long and straight. The bangs have been my latest attempt at “something different,” and they seem to be manageable so far.

See more answers at Carrots for Michaelmas.