7 Quick Takes (vol. 6)

-1-

My Lenten sacrifice already needs a jumpstart.  And this is where I get to brag about my awesome husband: who forced encouraged me to snag a morning workout for the last two days, even though it cuts into his work day and doesn’t fit perfectly in my “ideal” schedule.  Which still isn’t written on paper yet…  I’m getting to that!

Interesting historical fact - the term "jumpstart" comes from having to literally jump while cranking this style of car

Interesting fact – the term “jumpstart” comes from having to literally jump while turning the car’s crank

-2-

Michael has been chatting non-stop about his favorite videos and games this week.  Currently on his favorites list are Angry Birds Star WarsPudding Monsters and Yoda.  It’s so cute how he explains the games and the movie story lines.  We can’t seem to catch his best moments on film though.  If I can manage to get a cute video out of him, I’ll make sure to post it for your viewing pleasure.

Yoda

Watch your back, Count Dooku

-3-

I realized why Michael is so drawn to the Yoda character.  It’s because he is currently in the developmental phase that delights in small things wielding great power.  My Catechesis of the Good Shepherd classes keep reiterating this concept for children aged three to six.  That is why so many of the works focus on smallness and God using weak/insignificant subjects to highlight great truths.  Last week Michael’s class learned the Parable of the Mustard Seed.  What is a better example of God’s power than the smallest seed growing in the largest of plants?  Now I am seeing Michael’s natural inclination toward the small manifesting in other ordinary situations – like playing Star Wars with Daddy.  I find it fascinating to watch intellectual concepts play out in real life.

Did you know a Jerusalem mustard seed is significantly smaller than our American mustard seeds?

Did you know a Jerusalem mustard seed is significantly smaller than our American mustard seeds?

-4-

Michael and I had the most amazing Pazcki (Polish Fat Tuesday dessert).  The dough was moist and chewy.  The powdered sugar so light and airy, with just a hint of sweet.  And the custard inside… to die for!  I’m still dreaming about it three days later.Pazcki

Pazcki

The child is pleased

-5-

There was a lot of Valentine’s love going around yesterday.  Ryan bought me beautiful roses.  Then Michael and I decided to make Valentines for his friends and family.  (What else am I going to do with 32 wallet photos from his four year portraits?)  We also ate (more) doughnuts.  Who could ask for anything more?

Valentine's Day

Nothing says “love” like pink heart stickers

-6-

Speaking of love, my sister is engaged!!!  Isn’t her ring totally sweet?!

Holly's ring

Holly's ring

Not sure what is that crazy thing behind her hand…

-7-

My poor husband is nearly finished with stressful work week (not including weekend duty hours in the dorm).  Say a prayer for this hardworking guy!

Frazzled husband

Yes, he said I could post this pic

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Advertisements

7 Quick Takes (vol. 5)

-1-

I’m not sure if my hormones are going psycho, or God is trying to tell me something, because Kristen Howerton’s adoption story caused a flood of tears last night.  It’s hard to imagine waiting years to adopt a child from another country (not to mention being in Haiti during the earthquake), but at our current rate of procreation I have to wonder if my perspective is changing.  Thoughts still developing on that one…

-2-

I had to laugh this week when I read my friend Ana’s blog post and realized that we both made the same Chia Seed Energy Bar recipe from Wellness Mama.  Do trends exist on the internet or what?  Since chia is all the rage right now, I thought I’d join in the fun and post my attempt as well.

My ingredients: white chia seeds, dates, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate chunks – pulsed in a food processor. Done.

Chewy goodness

Chewy goodness

-3-

 Should I purchase this Groupon for an online photography course?  I’ve thought a lot about taking a class to help me better use my digital camera – I just assumed it would be in a face-to-face setting!  Back in high school I learned how to use and appreciate manual camera settings.  At this point, my eye can usually catch a good photo opt when the conditions are right.  But I would like to have the ability to take a great photo in any situation.  This might be a good skill review…

-4-

 Speaking of photography, here are some shots from a Downton Abbey Tea Party hosted by a donor for the college students (remember, my family lives on a college campus) last weekend.  We were invited to dress up and enjoy conversation over heirloom china.  The host couple greeted us in character as Lady Grantham and Mr. Carson.  It was so much fun – I can’t wait to find another excuse to have a tea party!

1930s bridal china

1930s bridal china

Downton Abbey tea party

1911 baptism gown

1911 family baptismal gown

Mr. Carson, Mrs. Hughes, Lady Grantham

“Mr. Carson”, “Mrs. Hughes”, “Lady Grantham”

-5-

 The rest of my weekend was spent pondering an article, Virginity: New & Improved, by Elizabeth Esther.  It was so intriguing that I read through ALL the comments and began a discussion on the topic with Ryan.  (What Saturday night is complete without a deep theological discussion on the marital union?)  You can find a synopsis of comments here, should you fail to have three hours to invest in reading them yourself.

In some ways, I resonate with EE’s personal story and distaste for the “purity culture.”  But reading the comments helped to me realize how insulating my Catholic upbringing was against some of the crazier purity notions.  I signed the True Love Waits pledge card and heard all about losing the stickiness on your “tape” if you sleep around.  I just never got the impression that virginity was my greatest virtue.  It seemed more like a gift one tries to protect until one is married.  Chastity is more important because it’s a virtue that never ends, and everyone is called to practice it.

-6-

 My husband is right – there is nothing quick about my Quick Takes!  How do you all figure out seven different topics to discuss in one post?!  Uncle!!  The next take is brought to you not by me.  Because I am out of stuff to say.

-7-

With Valentine’s Day approaching, a suggestion for the that special geek in your life: Check out the slightly odd, but ever entertaining, gifts at ThinkGeek.  (This website has been geek-husband approved.)

Tasty magical beast.

Tasty magical beast

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes (vol. 4)

-1-

This blog is back from a rather long hiatus!  I’m not sure why it’s taken two months to sit down and hash out my thoughts.  There was Advent, Christmas and post-Christmas chaos to be sure.  I was reintroduced to the FlyLady, which inspired me to focus maximum time/energy on providing a tidier home, if not an updated blog.  Honestly, however, I think I was under a serious mental block.  My last post spoke about trying to follow God’s will – and it took me nearly all this time to finish a task set before me in early December.  Now I am able to think freely again.  What a relief.

-2-

What sort of task would hang over my head for months at a time? C’mon, admit it.  You want to know.  I think the prompting started with this blog – and wanting to share the story of my unborn children.  I felt compelled to introduce them into random conversations and public forums.  Throughout December I spoke of them to anyone who happened to ask about the size of my family.  Then I decided to include their names on the signature of our annual Christmas card.  If I was already telling perfect strangers about the hidden details of our family size, why not be open with the rest of our friends and family too?

As it often happens with promptings of the Holy Spirit, human plans go awry.  I ordered the cards early, but they arrived late – at the onset of holiday festivities.  They sat untouched until the New Year, waiting for an explanatory newsletter to join them.  For several weeks I wasn’t in the appropriate frame of mind to write the letter.  Then January drew to a close and embarrassment outweighed procrastination.  I cranked out the letter, stuffed the envelopes, and shoved the whole lot into a mailbox.  Too late to turn back now.

-3-

It takes me forever to express my thoughts in words.  What made me think blogging would be an easy hobby to keep up with?!  Journaling seems to speed my pen along at warp speed.  But people on the other end of a computer might notice the grammatical and spelling errors – not to mention my crazy interior thoughts.  I should have foreseen the timing problem, as writing college papers also required an inordinate amount of time and energy. C’est la vie.  I still desire to finish this post!

-4-

 Our family took a ski vacation last weekend.  Ryan used to ski in high school and has always wanted to share this sport with Michael and me.  So we gathered random gear from family, packed up the car and headed north to the “mountains”.  It turned out to be a super fun challenge.  I got the hang of skiing during my first afternoon (despite some unexpected adventures on the more advanced blue slopes).  Ryan used a harness to guide Michael, allowing him to gain experience on the real slopes from the start.  He also seemed to take to the sport quickly.  We closed our second day on the bunny hill so Michael could try skiing without the harness (his favorite part of the trip).  It was amazing to watch our son glide down the hill with confidence and ease.  I have a feeling that skiing will be a cherished family activity in the years to come.

-5-

 Photos from our weekend:

Ryan and Michael

Daddy and Michael

Michael and mama

Michael and Mama

A very tired boy

A very tired boy

-6-

 Ever heard of Cake Wrecks?  Go there.  Laugh.  You know you want to.

-7-

Another fun website for your Friday Saturday night: Downton Abbey Facebook.  Episode 4 spoiler alert for Downton fans.  But seriously, if you haven’t already gone online to hunt down the rest of season 3 before it’s USA air time, can you really call yourself a fan?!  Just sayin…  This episode can also be legitimately found at Masterpiece (for a limited time).

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes (vol. 2)

-1-

Better late than never, right?  I woke up this morning with the writing muses swirling in my head.  So many wonderful ideas were pouring forth, in that moment of calm before my preschooler was allowed to walk through the door.  But then life happened, and now it’s technically Saturday morning, and I’m determined to write something anyway!

-2-

Good things this week: I am back in the gym post-surgery.  Ok, let’s be honest – it’s been much longer than a month since I’ve graced the doors of an athletic facility, recovery or no.  Being in the weight room is awesome.  But shimmying into workout clothes and walking out the door (even though a gym resides a mere 400 feet away from said door) is not so pleasant.  Luckily I have an efficacious husband who recognizes the value of exercise.  We made a deal last Sunday – I will workout three times a week if he puts it on the schedule during Michael’s bedtime.  Now I am very motivated.

-3-

Efficacious (adjective) = capable of having the desired result or effect; effective as a means, measure, remedy, etc.: The medicine is efficacious in stoppinga cough.

-4-

Bad things this week: Being woken up at 1:30am Wednesday morning to discover our country still under the tyranny of an anti-Colonialist, narcissistic president.  I might have cried and raged into the night for an entire hour.  That might have happened.  Then I succumbed to sleep’s siren call and healing powers.  All of Wednesday I pondered the election results.  How can so many of my country-men fail to recognize the terrible plight our country is in?  I was literally shocked to discover the veil covering so many eyes when reality is so black and white to me.  However demoralized my day began, the feeling just wouldn’t stick around.  It dawned on me that I don’t even really like Romney – and I’m actually glad he’s not going to be the one to step into the void.  I had put so much energy into supporting his campaign because there was no other option and, taking a step back, it’s clear that I swept quite a few concerns into the recesses of my mind.  Next time I want a truly conservative candidate.  I’m tired of lowering expectations to deal with the greater evil.  I am tired of settling for what the Republican machine spits out.  I don’t want a lukewarm option, or a slightly better than average option, or even a good option – I want a GREAT option.  And so I will trudge on for the next four  years.  But I don’t deserve what was voted into our country, and I refuse to accept it.

-5-

On a lighter note, I’ve decided that pants are overrated.  Who wants buttons and zippers and the squeezing of internal organs?  Not me.  Oh no, sir, I prefer the comfort of a stretchy waist band.  Which is why I am considering going “pants”-free this winter.

What about yoga pants with the stretchy waist, you ask – aren’t those excluded from your options, being part of the pant family?

And I return the question to you – can we even categorize stretchy cotton and spandex as real pants?  They are the illusion of pants.  Is it not perfectly acceptable to pair a dressy shirt and cute shoes with black yoga pants and still maintain one is pants-free?   I might even be persuaded to combine leggings with boots and a long sweater (so long as my backside is well covered).  Because everyone knows that leggings are most certainly NOT pants.

-6-

It is getting late and my husband is calling for me to shut off the computer.  Me thinks that is sensible, as I am no longer sure the last paragraph is comprehensible.

-7-

A little treat from last week: Michael’s Halloween costume, Cat in the Hat:

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

A Few of my Favorite Blogs

I’ve come to realize that it’s rather difficult to think of witty blog posts at the end of a tiring day.  And since I’m still recovering from surgery, it’s easier to piggy-back onto some of my favorite blogs to highlight their awesomeness.

  • Wellness Mama – She is my go-to for all things natural.  In fact, I spend a great amount of my free time researching and agonizing over her blog.  I really want to change EVERYTHING in my life RIGHT NOW!  Then I take a breath, stop, and acknowledge that will never happen.  Instead, I’ve decided to take baby steps and try one new thing each month.  This month is homemade laundry detergent.  And marshmallows.  Yum!
  • Conversion Diary – This is my favorite blog: something interesting, poignant and timely for my own life can always be found.  Jen also has great book suggestions when I am yearning for something deeper than the latest romance novel on display at the library (where I find most of my reading material these days – hastily snatched between armfuls of kids books and Disney songs).
  • Creative Minority Report – Always good for some light political reading (if such a thing is possible).  Plus, they blog several times a day so I am never lacking fresh reading material.
  • Patrick & Farrah – Farrah was my college roommate and we had so much fun together during those (mostly) carefree days!  Now we live across the country, but I enjoy keeping up on her life and delicious raw foods recipes from afar.
  • Little Stay at Home Mama – Another good friend from college, she never ceases to make me laugh with her hilarious blog posts.  She’s been on hiatus recently due to baby #3, but I am super excited for her entry back into the blogosphere!
  • Bean in Love – Sheena is Farrah’s sister and another fab blogger.  She is so creative with home projects and sewing on a budget – I am totally in awe of her.  Maybe one day when I have a house I will attempt a few of her ideas.  Mostly like, however, I will continue to admire from afar.
  • Time Flies When You’re Having Babies – Ana is yet another friend from college (apparently all of us majored in mommyhood & blogging) who is always good for a laugh.  She also posts a lot of photos, which I enjoy because it’s so much fun to take a peak into her daily life.

Have any suggestions for other great blogs?  I am always up for a good read!

From the Mouth of a Three Year Old

While reading together,

Me: Do you know what animal this is?

Michael: I don’t know.  Umm… honey badger?

***

Michael: I really want a jalapeno for my birthday!

Me: What? (thinking back through our conversations earlier that day) Do you mean a pinata?

Michael: Yeah, that’s it!

***

During a father-son discussion about Rescue Heroes and their roles,

Ryan: Do you know what a medic is?

Michael: Yes – a bandaid helper.