Sunday, March 31, 2013


Happy, Happy, Happy Easter! Praise be to God! Alleluia, Alleluia!

I hadn't made any decisions about whether or not I was going to post during Holy Week, not post during Holy Week, or what. Then I got some sort of weird virus-y thing that left me congested and running a fever(?) and run down this week.

Anyway, I'm back up and running, just in time to celebrate! I'm feeling particularly joyful and festive today, even though yesterday I was feeling somewhat melancholy about not going to the Easter Vigil for the first time in a looong time. Last night, though, the joy filled me, even as He passed from death to Life.

He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Meanwhile, after Clare was in bed, we filled the house with Easter!
My first banner

First Easter Basket

Noah's Ark from Grandma

And this morning, we celebrated.

And celebrated some more at Mass. We decided to intentionally hit the outdoor overflow Mass at our parish, and it was a beautiful day to sing joyfully to the Lord.

Easter finery
Are we done yet?
With Mama

Grainy iPic of my shoes, 'cause the full-length shots make my knee-length dress look like the longest tea-length dress ev-er.
Told ya so

And since I'm linking with Grace, the deets:

Dress: Express (from a million years ago), Shoes Rampage (also very old), Cardi not pictured: Old Navy; Clare's dress: gift

Now, we're doing a bit of relaxing before Charles' parents come for dinner!

Happy, Happy, Joyful, Blessed Easter! Alleluia!

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Monday, March 25, 2013


You know, 'cause everyone else is . . .

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My head has been attacked by an unknown but very aggressive allergen and I have blown my nose approximately 5 million times in the last 36 hours. Accordingly, writing sounds a bit less than fun.

Buuuuuuuuuuuut, since this is the closest thing I have to an active baby book, I need to record that, as of yesterday, Clare is no longer The Toothless Wonder. Instead, she is a one-toothed wonder. Yay! She had a miserable night on Saturday, and Sunday, I checked her gums and, BAM! there was a sharp, toothy thing above her gum!

Today, I was able to catch a glimpse, but my photo shows, well, nothing. Posting it anyway, so you can pretend to see it, too.

Bottom, left, center, clearly
Off to eat carrots and corn-on-the-cob.

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday to the best husband

and father

a couple of girls could ask for!

We love you!!

Ash and Clare

P.S. Since we're celebrating with a trip to the ballpark this afternoon! Go D'Backs!
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Friday, March 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 17

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

Super late, super short Quick Takes for this here Round 17. 

1. Like I mentioned a couple of days ago, we took Clare to the actual playground in my in-laws' neighborhood for the first time the other day. She was tired, so not too interested in swinging on her own, but did enjoy swinging and sliding with me.

2. We also had one heck of a jam session with Grandma's instrument collection. We were pretty much laughing hysterically through the whole thing.

3. As I type, we are watching our recording of Tuesday's Papal Inauguration Mass. Incroyable!

4. Mmmmm....blueberries! And yay for going straight from the high chair to the bathtub!

5. Belmont 64, Arizona 81. Bring it, Harvard!

6. Yesterday was Charles' last day of that particular rotation. I don't want to besmirch anyone, but I'm so glad it's over. What I learned: if Daddy ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

7. About two weeks into Lent, it always seems like it will never, ever end. Then, all of a sudden, Holy Week is around the corner. Have I had a good Lent? I don't know. I've had better. I've had worse. When you're considering Lent, what I better, what is worse? I'm not here to be a theologian. I'm just marveling that Sunday is already Palm/Passion Sunday.

As always, have a lovely weekend, and visit Jen for more!

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

5 Things

Random collage of pictures from our minimoon in/around Santa Barbara? Why not.

 So, the cool kids have been passing around this 5 Things bit, where the poster types 5 random get to know you type items and then tags a few people to do the same and so on and so forth.

Imagine my surprise last week when MamaH (aka Heather) tagged me. Seriously. It felt like being asked to sit with the popular girls at lunch. 

1. I’m one of those crazy introvert people who doesn’t fit into society’s mold because I’m quiet and have a hard time putting myself out there. I like to read and can be a homebody. The thought of having a million real-life friends kinda freaks me out, because I don’t have actual time or emotional space for them. The thing, though, is that I’m not against those things. They're just not me. As my nearest and dearest can attest, when you get in, look out. I am a total chatterbox, I open myself up to you, and I have, like, a personality and opinions and can be goofy and stuff. My husband actually doesn’t believe this about me, because we clicked right away, so he only ever saw the real (talkative) me. 

2. I was not an English major. I was the English major’s nerdy cousin: the history major. I also double-minored in French and Spanish. I would be remiss if I failed to mention that along the way, I took classes in Portuguese, Italian and Russian. Yep. History geek. Language geek. I wish I had had a chance to do Latin, but it never worked out. That is still a goal. With my (not) super-useful history degree in hand, I trotted off to law school. I got my JD, but along the way realized that I was not meant to be a lawyer. From there, as luck would have it, I ended up teaching 7-9th grade . . . English at three different schools. I loved the kids, hated all of the crap (meetings and paperwork and having so much stuff to grade that you can’t do a good job and being annoyed that kids can’t capitalize correctly no matter how many times I try to teach them -- stupid internet). Also, I’m more of a writing person than a lit person, even though I love to read, so I never really fit in with the English teachers, but got along great with the social studies teachers. Go figure. Ahem, I have lots of opinions on education, so I get really impassioned about it. I know a lot about the legal system, so it makes me stay more level-headed about it. Never not contradictory here.

3. I love to write, but always having a hard time wrapping things up. I liked news writing in high school, because, in theory, there is no end. In perfect journalism land, each paragraph is of decreasing importance, so it can get cut off anywhere appropriate to make adequate space. That was good. Fiction is bad. Besides not being a fiction writer, because conflicts do not pop into my head (ever), I have a hard time wrapping things up. I can handle research, because there is a definitive need for a particular kind of conclusion that is, let’s be honest, repetitive.  I feel my inability to close is particularly evident on my blog. How do you conclude randomness? I’m not fond of ending things with questions. I often end up employing sentimentality, but I find it grating, especially when I look back on posts. I don’t like trite. I dunno, I am working on it. I do love being free to write with full expression and purposeful ignoring of grammar, like starting sentences with conjunctions. Using fragments (see that?). And using colloquial language (and again!). I could never get through to too many kids why you can write like this on a blog or Facebook post, but not in an essay or business letter.

4. A particularly weird quirk of mine is that I love making citations/footnotes/references perfect. Give me a style book and a document and a red pen and I’ll go to town, happy as a clam. I learned this when I was on the law journal. Journal was, for me, the best thing about law school. Most people consider this a terrible “honor” that is mostly a resume item and something akin to slave labor. Law journal kids have been known to work lots of hours a week for 1 credit (and that resume line). I thrived, because I was really good at it and happy to do it. I spent loooooots of hours making those darn citations really perfect. I can actually see if a period it italicized in Times New Roman without checking digitally. I was a rockstar, and so my 3rd year when I was an editor in charge of Bluebooking stuff, I got all the really ugly, hard, messed up stuff, because my higher-up editor knew that I would do a great job. And I did. Truly. I'm pretty sure that paragraph is walking that fine line between not having false humility and pride.

5. I am very, very, very opinionated. As a result, when watching TV/movies, I have something to say about everything. Charles' and my first date was to a movie. The theater was pretty much empty and I talked my way through the whole thing. I told a friend a day or two later that one thing I really liked about this guy was that he didn't mind it. Fast forward . . . turns out he can't stand the fact that I talk through everything, and if it weren't for the pause button, well, I don't think "domestic bliss" would describe our lives.

Random enough? I'd love to see Jamie, Lauren, and Andi (even with your not-lame not totally personal blog).

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

5 Favorites, Vol. 3


You've never had a long week, right? Well, assuming you ever do, if you're a glass-half-full kid like me (no, really, I am), you find little things that get you through. These are the things that have gotten me through my week. (Seriously, I thought yesterday must be Friday.)

1. Snapeas. Seriously. I love these things. Too much. They are one of those addictive can't-eat-just-one snacks. Yum!


2. Raisins. Yes, lame snack of your youth raisins. I looooove them. I mean I love them chocolate covered and in cookies and stuff too, but I also think they make a great afternoon snack. As an added bonus, Clare thinks raisin boxes makes a great toy. As a result, our afternoon ritual has been me eating the raisins, and her eating the box. (Until she starts actually eating it. Then I take it away and she cries in protest for 30 seconds.)

3. My coffee mug. I have a million, even after cleaning out my cabinets, but this one was a Christmas present from Charles. It is the perfect size for my hand and for a not-cold morning mug. Plus, it makes me think of him. Awwwww.

He knows too well my Olympics addiction.

4. Squeezy food. Most of Clare's baby food is homemade, but these have been a lifesaver (no hassle, easy peasy) on days we've been out of the house for most of the day.


5. This face. I know it's cheezy, but her smile brightens my day every.single.time. And when she smiles and sticks out her tongue . . . no one is immune!

Blurry, but...

Have a great week, and thanks again to Hallie for hosting us!

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Luck O' the Irish

As luck would have it, I failed to take a picture of Clare yesterday in her sweet mint green day I may or may not have staged some, just because I can't resist.

I'm not a big fan of holiday clothes with cute slogans and pictures on them. First, because I'm not a big fan of writing on clothes generally (sweatshirts are pretty much my only exception), and second (and more importantly), because it seems like such a waste to spend any money on clothes that will only be worn once. Anyway, I was excited to spot this sweet mint green dress on sale and got it a smidge big so that it will last her as a church dress through the summer. Win. Win.

Puppy Book + Tongue = 100% Clare

After meeting Charles' parents for Mass yesterday morning, we spent the afternoon at their house. Added bonus: his brother/best friend/Clare's godfather was in town, so we had fun hanging out as a family. Clare even had her first real playground experience (I think Charles has pictures, so I'll use them for a lazy blog post later in the week). It also happens that I left my camera out there, so those pictures will also be donated to future blog usage. Perhaps most exciting of all, I got to eat my first corned beef and cabbage.

Yep, growing up, my parents always went to a friend's St. Patrick's Day party (and it wasn't a kid friendly event), so they ate the good stuff while we had pizza or whatever with a sitter. As a result, the favorite food of a nation full of Irish wanna-bes never passed my lips. Not surprisingly, I enjoyed the results and will enjoy making proper celebratory food in years to come.

Lastly, I dug into my Pinterest library, and found this recipe I'd been wanting to try. It fit my needs of "easy" and "transportable" and "would be a good dessert." It was not green, but you can't win 'em all. Anyway, they were super-easy (and I even had to make my own graham cracker crumbs -- thanks food processor!), and yummy. I used semi-sweet chocolate, and would recommend the same to anyone else, because otherwise it might get too sweet. But if super-sweet is your thing, the milk chocolate would probably be good. Just don't say I didn't warn you.


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Friday, March 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 16

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

Sweet 16. 'Nuff said. Joining Jen.

1. Love his model of humility and service already. There is a heart for the poor in this house, and it seems to be shared by our Holy Father in a very real way.


2. Yesterday, Clare and I shared our first mother-daughter pedicure. Thanks to the sudden onset of sandal weather here in Phoenix, I threw some polish on my naked tootsies. Clare, of course, was not content with her sippy cup of water and really want the polish instead. It was like playing keep-away with a very curious puppy. Andi will be proud.

3. I'm still deciding what St. Patrick's Day is going to look like here. We'll wear green, of course, but I'm not generally big on "holidays" that are just an excuse to drink. On the other hand, I am nothing if not festive, so I imagine that I'll make up some treats or something. In future years, I'll make festive food (since we'll be doing family stuff this year, I'll hold off for a year) for sure!

Maybe be a little something?

4. Last weekend, we hung Clare's baby swing (which had been a Christmas present -- thanks Grandad and BG!) on the patio and have enjoyed the fresh air and flying baby!


5. With Selection Sunday and March Madness looming, I must make my allegiances known. Bear Down! (Love of University of Arizona Basketball is a birthright. And also my Alma Mater Go Cats!)


6. Yes, we're the Wildcats, but say Bear Down! There's a story. Also, our away color is navy, but the fans wear cardinal. Campus is also an oasis in the desert. What can I say? It's in the blood.

7. I've got nothing but wishes for a lovely weekend for all of you!

Go henceforth to Jen for better reads!

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Smoke, Bells, and Tears

I totally wrote this yesterday, but didn't publish. In the 24 hours since he stepped on the balcony, my love for Pope Francis (Francis! The first pope Clare will remember is Francis!) has just grown and grown.


I want to remember today for the rest of my life. So I write in spite of one million other posts on our wonderful new Holy Father, Pope Francis.

When Benedict was elected, I was sitting in Criminal Law, and got the word (passed to the token Catholic friend) from my new-surfing friend, who, ironically, was still a couple of years from his own conversion. I was in RCIA, but didn't have much emotion about the Pope -- either JPII, or Benedict. *shrug* another Pope.

After the abdication of Pope Benedict, my fire and excitement for the Conclave grew and grew.

Today, I was so sure that the moment wouldn't be until Thursday that the plan was to hang out and see black smoke, then load up and head to Target.

Playing, a bit less interested than Mama.

Clare got bored staring at the smokestack, so she went exploring. She learned to take the DVD cases out of the TV stand.

She found Daddy's hiking maps (taken away and put up high uber-quickly, since he would be very sad if she somehow managed to destroy them). Then, she learned to play guitar.

**I would not recommend if you are not related.

It was getting close to 11. I pulled her out from behind the desk (where the guitar is stashed) and we started chanting. "We want smoke! We want smoke!" Suddenly, there was smoke! And it was . . . grey? So that means black? No! White?!? White smoke! I appreciated the EWTN commentators going through the same thought process. White smoke!!!!! (are there enough exclamation points to express my excitement?!? I think no.)

Suddenly, I found myself crying and hugging my baby girl and praising God. The goosebumps. The chills. The joy. They were real in a way I just.did.not anticipate.

As I shot off a just-in-case text to Charles, the bells started ringing...

Then an hour of singing, dancing, praying, praising, anticipating.

Charles called on his lunch break and as a family we waited (and waited and...)

Waiting for-ev-er.

A Jesuit! From the New World! Francis!

Praise God! Habemus Papam!

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

5 Favorites (Vol. 2)

I'm going with a random list of 5 loves this week as I link up with Hallie and the others at


1. The word "nefarious." I started using it at random to describe the motives of people who might want to steal the Conclave ballots or otherwise undermine the Conclave, and it stuck. Gotta love a good vocabulary word.

Thanks Google search

2. Colored pants. Every time they come around I.just.can' I've been holding out, but am now seeking out some fun spring bottoms, which I'm sure I'll swear off of, again, in approximately 12 months. Oh, ye fickle fashion gods. Thank goodness (for the wallet) that finding pants that fit is even harder post-baby than it was before.
Via Gap - obviously not spending $70 on this whim.

3. I am also totally wanting a maxi skirt, which I'm sure my tiny frame (blame God) will regret. Comfy skirts are the only way to survive AZ summers (when cooling off means 105), though, and my old standbys are in sad shape. Seriously, I would not be freaked out if kilts caught on here for just that reason.

Via Old Navy

4. Whole chickens. Seriously, they were buy one get one free at the store this week, so I got two for $8 (that's $4 each!), and destroyed them yesterday morning. I made a batch of stock and froze the other carcass for use later. Makes me feel so domestic, frugal and productive. My freezer is now full of chicken yummyness.

Hormone lovin', cage livin' chicken

5. My journal. After writing pretty spottily for the last few years, I've finally been drawn back into journaling in my actual (now ancient) paper-and-pen journal in the last few days. I had forgotten how much easier it is for me to converse with God when I'm writing than when I'm trying to just sit and listen or sending up my all-day-running-commentary and pleas to help the baby pleeeeeeeeeease sleep tonight. Not that sitting and listening is bad, but having a conversation with God is the best, however it comes.

This is the gorgeous number I've been using for too many years now.

Thanks again for hosting! This is so much fun!

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