Friday, August 29, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 75

'Cause it's Friday y'all. Joining Jen.

1.This week has sort of slipped by, time just passing from one day to the next without anything too remarkable/terrible/crazy/wonderful to show for it. It was just a week lived. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it makes sitting down to write more challenging.

2.The most noteworthy part of our week has been dealing with Clare. I love my sweet, wonderful, adorable, hilarious, smart, curious girl to no end, but the toddler thing is just exhausting. Answering one million questions. Redirecting. Coming up with consequences (regardless of whether I actually have to dole them out). Dealing oh-so-patiently (or trying to) with outbursts and tantrums. Ohmygosh. It just exhausts.

But still so sweet.

3. She's also obsessed with her toys. I love watching her play -- and really play -- with her toys. It's amazing to me to see my baby suddenly playing -- having her Little People do things and mixing and matching little trinkets and having so much fun. Until she decides she wants to play instead of whatever it is I actually need her to do. I mean your responsibilities at 2 are pretty limited, but it's still a struggle. (See #2, above.)

4. And the little guy? He just keeps on keeping on with his sunny little disposition, goofy grin, and getting too big and strong antics. Where did my tiny baby go? I mean, I know he's only 4 months, but . . . yep, I'm that mom.

5. Last weekend, we were able to take a walk down by the river as a family. It's amazing how wonderful simple family time feels when you're deprived of it like we were last month. Bliss.

6. In weather news (in other words, feel free to skip to the end), the weather guy the other day was saying that we might have had our last 100 degree day of the season. No promises, ever, with the weather, but that is so amazing after so many loooong summers in Arizona.

7. Ready for a lovely (maybe rainy?) long weekend! We're really lucking out with Charles being off for the long weekends so far -- he's off on Monday! Yay!

Have a lovely weekend! Stay safe and dry and enjoy the last days of "official" summer!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I have a couple of annoyances with this year's launch of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks, and I decided that, since I have a public medium to voice my opinions, I would jump on my soapbox.

NYC ca. 2009

Let it be known that I have no more affiliation with Starbucks than the average caffeine-loving consumer. And my preference is for the red-cup Gingerbread Latte anyway.

My first annoyance is with the early release of Starbucks' star beverage. I mean, they make a ton of money all the time, but I'm also pretty sure that the PSL is a cash cow for them. People love them. They go crazy for all things pumpkin. I don't blame Starbucks for their business decision to make a ton of money a bit early this year -- all buzz is good buzz, right?!? But what happened to waiting for a good thing? Self-control is an important trait to master for reasons so numerous that I could write a self-help book. Suffice to say, I think practicing self-control is important. And I think letting things happen in their appropriate season is just as important. Pumpkin = fall = after Labor Day. I mean, there's a good argument that Sept. 2 isn't really "fall" as it is.

My second annoyance is with Food Babe. I don't have a personal issue with her. I am not 100% on board with her crusade, but that's not really my beef. I generally just ignore her. But thanks to social media, I've seen her anti-PSL info-graphic pop up on my Facebook feed a couple of times. In particular, there are two things about it that bother me. The first is the inclusion of non-organic coffee beans on the graphic. If using only organic beans is important to whomever, they already know that Starbucks does not use all organic beans and should not/would not be getting their coffee there. At the very minimum, is it a separate issue. Second is the plain lack of common sense from people who are surprised to learn that a mass-produced substance that is pumped into their cup by an employee of a massive corporation contains some less than stellar ingredients.

TL;DR -- I'm going to wait until next week to get my non-red cup of chemicals and non-organic coffee.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Answer Me This -- Aug. 24

Since it's Kendra's last rodeo for awhile, I decided to play along this afternoon.

1. What is your favorite picture book? I'm in that parenting phase where I am fatigued of picture books, and don't have big(ger) kids to read chapter books to (and I all kinds of love a whole slew of chapter books) to sustain me through the picture book phase. *sigh* I do love Where the Wild Things Are and the Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type, and the Llama Llama books. There are others that I like, but they aren't jumping to mind at the moment. I think I've read Hop on Pop at least 200 times in the last 48 hours.

2. Are you a boycotter? While I do believe that dollars speak, I don't really choose what I buy based on the ethical choices of the company, unless it's way egregious. I really get annoyed by big, public boycotts of companies based on a statement made by the president or whatever. I'm pretty sure that the only way to purchase only products with which I'm 100% on board with the ethical choices of the entire supply chain, I'd have to be back in Eden. #not possible #fallenworld

3. How do you feel about cheese? I love it. Charles, not so much, so I either cook with light cheese, add cheese after cooking, or make half with more cheese than the other (depending on the food).

4. How many pairs of sunglasses do you own? Currently, 2. I have that skill of sitting on good sunglasses 5 minutes after I spend too much money on them, and cheap glasses lasting forever. Both of my current pairs cost $10, and one has lasted me like 5 or 6 years.

5. How long has it been since you went to the dentist? I plead the 5th.

6. If you could visit any religious site in the world, where would you go? Oh, my goodness! This is the hardest question ev-er. I would probably pick the Vatican, because, well, it's the Vatican -- art, history, religion in one city-state. I'd also really love to go to the Holy Land. And would love to see all the California missions. I could probably go on and on and on if I try hard enough.

Santa Ines in Solvang, CA

 Happy Sunday!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

7 QT, Vol. 74

Joining the 7 Quick Takes Club with what are really 5 Quick Takes. Linking with Jen.

1. I looked down the other day, and there Peter was, sucking on his feet. With Clare, she worked so hard on that, it was a major milestone for all of us. Peter, on the other hand, just did it. He's also working really hard on rolling and sitting and running a 4 minute mile. Crazy baby!

2. Things Peter will be glad not to remember, but I don't want to forget:

First tea party

Clare let him try on her headband. That is love.

3. Clare, meanwhile, is turning into quite the 2 year old. If it can be done, she wants to do it herself. She's more interested in playing than most anything else. We are going to the park so that she can run around and burn some energy. She's got the attention span of a 5 year old and the attitude of a 15 year old. She keeps me on my toes these days, that's for sure!

Girly girl with a pile of (belated) birthday presents

4. This week, I officially feel like I have me feet back under me, for the first time in a long time. I don't think I realized how long I'd been trapped in the hamster ball until I started feeling better about things. But getting out and about, getting better sleep (thanks, Baby Peter and Sleep Sheep!), and getting Peter into more of a routine has me feeling like the newborn fog has fully lifted and that we're pretty settled in post-move. We're even starting to investigate the Kansas political scene, since there are elections this fall and all. #informedvoters

5. The sure sign that I didn't know was a sure sign that I'm out of survival mode: next week, salads are coming back for dinner! Apparently my feelings about salads are cyclical in pregnancy. As a rule, I try to make salads with dinner most nights -- once you get into the routine of prepping lettuce in advance, it doesn't take too long, and adds some veggies to the ol' diet. Generally, we use some kind of vinaigrette. Midway through both pregnancies, I decided I was craving thick, gooey salad-bar style Italian dressing, and with Peter, that turned into the only dressing I could eat! Yum!! Then, by the end of pregnancy and the crazy, survival-mode newborn days, I lost the energy to even pull salads together -- it was just a bit more time on my feet or a bit more time in the kitchen while the kiddos were being their most angelic selves. So the fact that salads are back is a good sign! Yay! #eat your veggies

6. Apparently, I decided to go hashtag crazy this morning. #apologies.

7. Okay, that was terrible. I'm going to finish my being productive this week so that we can have fun this weekend chores! Two days off off off -- we're excited!

Have a lovely weekend!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In That Moment, There Was Joy

Yesterday evening, I was getting dinner ready in the kitchen, which is functional in it's own galley way, but it is by no means a spacious dream kitchen straight out of HGTV.

I was sauteing onions. The radio was on, but static-y. Baby Peter was rocking out, kicking away in the bouncy seat. Clare was in her tutu, doing her favorite thing: dancing to the electronic stylings of Fisher Price. Dancing, at it's best, means spinning in endless circles until she's too dizzy to stand, then laughing until she can stand up and dance some more.

There were were, the three of us crammed into our little kitchen, laughing, dancing, cooking, kicking. And in that moment, there was joy.

Goofy tutu pic from a couple of days ago.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Currently, Vol. 7

Joining Jenna from a Mama Collective and Kenzie from The Ashcraft Bunch for Currently.

Thinking about . . . Fall. Yeah, I've been thinking about fall a lot lately. Charles told me the other day that he was ready for fall, too. I don't know if the humidity is addling our brains, or if it has been the busyness of the spring and summer that have us ready for change. Specifically, lately, I'm thinking about wardrobes. I have a decent set of basics for fall and winter, so I'll only need to add odds and ends to my wardrobe. Charles has some good basics (and will spend too much of the winter in scrubs anyway), so, again, should be able to get by with some odds and ends. But both kids will need clothes -- and with growing and stuff, they would need clothes anyway. But I've (surprise!) never dressed a kid for real winter for the long-term. So I'm thinking about what we need, in what sizes, and what quantities. I'm trying to start slowly picking up basics that I know we'll need so that we're not BAM! facing two whole new kids' wardrobes when the weather changes. Or maybe I'm using all of that to justify dreaming about fall clothes and fall weather. You be the judge.

Reading . . . A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it, but I'm also not very far into it. I have read Ella Enchanted like a million times, and some of her other books are good, but some of them just don't do it for me. Like they're trying too hard to recapture the magic. Anyway, I stumbled across this one at the library, and I'm giving it a shot. It's easy reading and Clare like to discuss the castles on the cover art, as well as the girl on the cover. I identified her as a princess, which leaves Clare asking on repeat where the girl's "headband" (tiara/crown) went.

Watching . . . Project Runway and Top Chef: Duels. I have to admit to being a longtime fan of both series, even though both have had their ups and downs. I'm really enjoying this season of PR (though nothing will ever touch the magic of Season 1 or the talent of Season 4). I'm not sure how I feel about TC:D, but I can definitely tell you that I'm not enjoying the editing. The freeze-then-fast-forward thing they have going is super annoying.

Dreaming . . . of Charles' upcoming Golden Weekend. Good grief. Prior to the start of residency, I'd heard of these "Golden Weekends" or weekends where a resident is off Saturday and Sunday. At the time, I was oblivious to how golden that time off really can be. We are both counting down the days. This has been one looooooong rotation. It's been good, because Charles has learned a ton and grown a lot as a doctor. But oh my gosh! are we both ready for some down time and some family time and some veg on the couch and just be together time.

Loving . . . dry shampoo. Okay, I know I'm more than a little late to the party, but I finally picked some up over the weekend after thinking about it for forever. I was so excited by the difference in made in my day-old dirty hair! I generally only wash every other day, but by the end of day 2, I always feel so greasy. With the dry shampoo, though, I felt so much better. As a bonus, I didn't feel like the only option for my hair was a ponytail, which often ends up giving me a headache, so double-win.

Needing . . . a hair cut. All this hair talk reminds me. It's getting long and limp and more difficult to manage. Blegh.

Thankful for . . . the fact that, in spite of Charles' crazy schedule, he was able to join us for Mass Saturday evening and dinner afterwards.  We always prefer to worship as a family, and it was close this week, but he made it!

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary . . . I will never tire of having time in the morning to drink coffee, spend some time on the computer, and have it be quiet, peaceful, solitary. I talk about it a lot, because sometimes, oh, is it hard to get up. But once I do it, I'm so glad I did.

Praying . . . I'm actively seeking to add some prayer and scripture into that morning quiet time, beginning, simply, with the readings of the day, which always provide the perfect amount of text for reflection. So often, when I read scripture, I try to devour it like a novel. In that way, I get burned out and don't experience spiritual growth. Instead, I need to take it in small increments so that I can ponder and pray.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 73

Joining Jen et all for 7 Quick Takes.

1. I knew it was coming . . . but I've been in denial. I can't deny it any longer. We've reached the point where I had to lock down (ok, just put a password on) my phone, because I was tired of finding this in my photos all.the.time. And we hadn't even hit the "sending random text messages" phase.

How avant garde is her foot obsession?

2. I've also (finally) made the decision to start "watermarking" my photos on the blog. I know that it doesn't provide any real security (cropping, etc.), but I feel like it at least demonstrates proprietary intent with regards to them. Anyway, that's the deal. The blog is due for a few more tweaks that will hopefully be rolling out in the next few weeks. The "About" page, in particular, needs some serious updating!

3. These two crack me up. The other day, I had Peter on the floor while I was getting Clare up. When she and I were done, she ran into the living room, announcing, "Baby Peter, I will play a you!" So sweet. And yes, "a" refers to most all prepositions. Crazy kiddo!

4. Yesterday we finally were able to get my car re-registered to Kansas. It has been one thing after another, and adding Charles' not flexible schedule and the tag office closing at 3:30 (yeah), it turned into a real comedy of errors. It felt so good to finally get it off our plates! I guess that means I'm officially a Kansan.

5. Charles accidentally left his name badge in my purse yesterday afternoon. It was one of those moments. He put it in there, because he (shockingly) didn't want to wear it at the DMV. I knew it was a bad idea. He knew it was a bad idea. I got the 6 am phone call to bring it down when the kids wake up, so I guess I'll be making my first hospital trip of residency later this morning.

6. It has otherwise been an . . . interesting week to say the least. Between the news in Iraq, the brouhaha over Robin Williams' death (Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord), poor Charles' ridiculous rotation, and everything else that seems to be piling up in the world, I'm glad for Friday. And the fact that it's a Sunday-on-a-Friday? Even better!!

7. On that note, Happy Feast of the Assumption! (And if you're not Catholic and are interested in learning more, the Wikipedia entry has the basics.)

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Playing Detective

I am finally getting a chance to write my long-but-interesting story about this guy:

The mystery saint

This statue belonged to my great-grandparents, the family of my maternal grandmother. They lived in southern Arizona (near Tucson), which is a region that is still very heavily influenced by its Mexican heritage, having been part of Mexico until the Gadsden Purchase in 1853/54.

It was, over the years, passed to my grandmother, then to my aunt. This spring, my aunt decided to give it to me since I love history, and I'm devoutly Catholic. She'd always described it as "St. Francis," but when it was passed along to me, I quickly determined that Francis of Assisi it was not. This was no kindly Franciscan, so often depicted with animals. Not to mention that Francis was not a priest, and this saint's stole indicated that he was. Plus, weird hat.

My aunt, grandmother, and I (along with Charles) had a bit of back-and-forth about the matter, after I mentioned in this blog post that we didn't know who exactly it was. My grandmother was insistent that it was St. Francis, that she remembered getting it blessed "in Magdalena" (whatever that meant), and that it was Mexican folk art, made by someone that didn't know what St. Francis looked like. She's 96 years old, and very hard of hearing, so I wasn't really eager to argue that that is precisely why there are traditional depictions of the saints -- there were no cameras (until much more modern saints), and few portraits, so they have been, for centuries, depicted with certain identifying features.

Privately, Charles and I decided that, more likely, it was St. Francis Xavier. While it doesn't fit perfectly with traditional depictions, the black robes said "Jesuit" and would have fit in a region that first received Catholicism through Jesuit Missionaries. Plus, that would explain the insistence on it being "St. Francis."

A couple of months later, I got a text from my aunt, who had been visiting with her cousin in California:

Hi!! I was at my cousin Alice's last week. She said the saint is St. Francis Xavier. He has a statue in Mexico that cannot be picked up. She said that it was blessed there as did my Mom. She asked me where it was and very happy that you had it.

This sent me down a black hole of Googling. What I learned was fascinating to me.

In Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, Mexico (the Mexican state south of Arizona), there is the Maria Magdalena (Mary Magdalen) Mission, which was founded by the Jesuit Missionary Eusebio Kino, who, like Bl. Junipero Serra in California, founded a number of missions in Mexico and the modern United States. Fr. Kino died and is buried in the town that grew around this mission. He had a devotion to St. Francis Xavier, also a great missionary, and so a replica, of sorts, of his tomb in India was created in this location. Supposedly, this statue cannot be lifted. I cannot personally attest to this, since I haven't been there, but I do believe in such miracles. Regardless, a devotion to St. Francis Xavier around the site arose.

Meanwhile, shortly after Fr. Kino's death in 1711, the suppression of the Jesuits in the Spanish Empire began, and so the black-robed Jesuit missionaries were expelled from the region, replaced with brown-robed Franciscans.

Whether for good or ill purposes, the Franciscans, to some extent, tried to shift devotion from St. Francis Xavier to their own founder, St. Francis of Assisi. The region developed a sort of hybrid (and NOT Church-sanctioned) devotion to "St. Francis" which seems to refer to both great Francises (and a little love for Fr. Kino thrown it, according to some sources).

Even today, the town of Magdalena de Kino is the sight of a regional pilgrimage and festival to honor St. Francis. It centers around honoring the statue of St. Francis Xavier, but is celebrated on October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

So it would seem that everyone is right. The statue of St. Francis was likely blessed in Magdalena, just as my grandmother said. (That tidbit had come down to me at some point, but I didn't know what it meant, so it didn't offer any validity to my grandmother's claims.) It is, in some respects, a statue of both great men, since both are honored at the festival where I like to imagine my (recent) ancestors traveling, praying, and celebrating. They provide a beautiful patronage to our family as well.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
St. Francis Xavier, pray for us.

*For anyone who is reading this, but is not Catholic, Catholics DO NOT worship saints. They ask for their intercession (ask them to pray for us), and look to them as sort of holy role models. This article explains more for anyone who is interested.

**The history major and citation queen parts of me are cringing that this whole thing lacks citations. The information is the synthesis of a lot of Googling and Wikipedia fact-gathering (for dates and such). This website provided some of my best information. :-)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Currently . . . Vol. 6

Joining Jenna from A Mama Collective and Olivia at To the Heights for Currently.

Thinking about: Princesses. Clare is 150% girl. She loves princesses and pink and sparkle. She loves to dance like a ballerina. When she is awake and at home, she is almost always wearing a tutu and a sparkly headband. If she had her way, she would wear dresses every day. I love all of that about her. She brings a smile to my face so often throughout the day. I find that it's a balance, though. As much as I want to encourage her to be who she is -- who God made her to be -- with all of her unique tastes, talents, and interests, I also have two competing concerns.

Firstly, I don't want it to turn into an excessively commercial love. It's easy to get caught up in buying all the princess stuff (thanks, marketing team at Disney), and that focus on material goods is not the kind of family culture we are trying to create. I don't have issues with princesses or Disney in and of themselves. I just don't want it to take on a life of its own. I want it to just be a little girl being a little girl.

Second, it preys on my fears of a long-term, slippery slope into "princess culture." As women, indeed as humans, we are drawn to beauty. Famously, St. Thomas Aquinas uses that as the basis of one of his proofs of God's existence. For a little girl, pink princess sparkle ribbon is just that -- an expression of beauty. Princess culture, on the other hand, raises it to the good. It is a ditzy materialism that we see in so many celebrities who get too much exposure during their flirt with fame. I want more for my sweet girl than that. And I know that, in all likelihood, all too soon, she'll grow out of it and move on to the next passion, as kids are wont to do. But it impresses upon me the weight of parenting a girl in these times where "respect for women" too often means objectifying them more.

But how sweet is that: headband, dress, "tutu"?!?

Reading: I finally read Something Other Than God this weekend. Like everyone else on the (Catholic blogging) planet, I was totally captivated and couldn't put the book down until I had read the whole thing (at least it felt that way). Heck, I even knew the ending and still couldn't wait to find out what happened.

Making: Crock Pot pot roast for dinner tonight. It is one of Clare's favorites, and (not) coincidentally, today is the feast of St. Clare. In our house, you get to pick what we eat for your birthday, your name day, and your baptism day -- and since the kids are still too little to actually pick, I help them out. ;-) In all sincerity, she loves pot roast, and especially loves the "carry-ots." St. Clare, pray for us.

Loving: I'm sure a lot of Facebook users have seen the "challenge" to list three positives each day for five days. My cousin challenged me last week, and what a kick in the rear it has been. Charles is on a classically terrible rotation right now, and identifying three concrete positives each day has really helped me see how blessed I am, even when the waters seem rough.

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary: On Friday night, we were able to sit around the table as a family of four for the first time. Peter was in a good mood and played happily in the high chair (and maybe eyed our lasagna, too!), not flailing in our laps/arms, not in the bouncy seat, not asleep. He felt integrated into the family, and it felt complete and right.

You know you have an older sister when you are given a pink cup and purple bird to play with.

Praying: for peace, especially in the Middle East, and for the safety of refugees and those persecuted, particularly in Iraq.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Answer Me This - Aug. 10

Joining Kendra for her rocking cocktail party!

1. What do you still want to do this summer? I'd like to go to the Botanic Gardens. Otherwise, I don't have much of a summer to-do list. Since the kidlets are still little, and we don't have school obligations, summer just means hot. I'm ready for fall. Cooler weather, fall stuffs, me waxing poetic about how much more fallish things are here than in Phoenix (which is still not nearly as fallish as, say, New England). Bring on September!

2. What's your favorite kind of pie? Apple. Hands down. Apple pie is probably my favorite dessert, though my heart does dearly love ice cream. I (freakishly, I admit) don't like my apple pie a la mode, though. Apple season is just another reason to look forward to fall.

Couldn't decide if this should be pie or summer -- but went with pie for whatever reason.
3. How much sleep do you need each day? How much do you get? Barring illness/pregnancy, I'd say 6 hours is my functional level, as in I feel pretty good and feel reasonably rested and awake. Of course, 8 is always better. Rarely can I sleep more than that. Since Peter's sleep is horribly inconsistent these days, so is mine. On average, though, I am getting 3 + 2 + 1 (indicating the interrupted chunks where I wake up with the baby), so I can't complain.

4. Do you prefer to swim in a pool, lake, river, or ocean? I prefer not to swim at all. If I have to swim, I'd prefer a heated pool, but really, I'd rather not swim at all. I'm not a particularly strong swimmer, and it's not an activity I enjoy. I'll happily hang out at a body of water, take long walks on the beach, whatever. Just please don't make me get in it in it if I don't have to.

5. Do you know any poems by heart? I know the poem I recited in 3rd Grade, "Lincoln" by Nancy Byrd Turner. I can do "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost with a quick review to make sure I have everything in the right order. Not that they are poems, but I can still do the Preamble to the Constitute and First Amendment. I can probably come pretty close to reciting The Lorax, but would probably miss chunks, like the time I tried reciting How the Grinch Stole Christmas one year. I have a freakishly good memory, but thankfully no longer remember the large chunks of Shakespeare and The Canterbury Tales I once had to memorize.

6. Do you use the public library? I do. I love the library. I read books so fast that, unless it is a book I want to reread/reference frequently or own for some other reason, buying books is really a waste of money and space. I am a devotee of digital library space as well -- I love borrowing ebooks to read on my phone. Lastly, I love taking Clare. We can check out picture books, read them over and over for a week or so, and give them back before I have to hide them, lest I go crazy reading them one.more.time.

I don't know if I ever posted this, but Clare is in front of the library, overlooking the "castle" across the street.
 Happy Sunday-ing!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Peter - 4 months

Peter turned 4 months on Thursday -- I am trying to savor each moment with him in a different way than I did with Clare, because I realize that the time goes so quickly. For example, I'm trying to enjoy each snuggle, because soon he's going to be sitting and then crawling and then into everything, and not wanting to chill with his Mama.

He is the happiest baby. He is always smiling, is quick to laugh, and is a total flirt.

His eyes are almost entirely brown now, with just a slight ring of blue left.

His head control is great. He can readily roll from belly to back and can roll back to belly, though I haven't actually seen it. I have found him on his belly a couple of times when I know I had left him on his back. He can also do it if he's not strapped into the swing and such. I little more back strength, and I'll be able to carry him on my hip, and we'll all be a little bit happier.

He loves hanging out in the bouncy seat.

I suspect another book lover on my hands. Clare and I have started reading him board books, which makes him smile and smile.

He is the most inconsistent sleeper. I never know if I'm putting him down for 15 minutes or for the night.

He is pretty much totally in 3-6 month/6 month clothes. I actually really love his current wardrobe, so I'm okay with that. :-)

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Grand Adventure

Today, I'm over at Lives of Doctor Wives, talking about last year's Grand Adventure.

Hanging in the STL.

Check it out! :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Currently, Vol. 5

Joining A Mama Collective and Natasha for Currently.

Thinking about . . . Blogging stuff. I love my little blog, and I love being able to share myself in writing, which is the way I share myself best. I find myself wondering about what more I want (or don't want) out of the blog. I have no interest in changing my content to gain readers or fit formulas or maximize hits or whatnot. That's not why I write, and I can never write if it isn't authentic (or assigned!). I also have been contemplating watermarking (or otherwise identifying) my pictures. I'm juuuuuust starting to toy with graphics (because it's fun!). I'd, in theory, love to use more good pictures (and fewer iPhone pictures), but who are we kidding. Most of my photography these days is on my always-handy iPhone, which better allows me to capture those fleeting moments in my kids' lives. And as worthy and uplifting a hobby as blogging has been for me, my vocation to that of a wife and mother. I don't want this to take away from that. Don't worry, family, the blog isn't going anywhere. I'm just thinking about stuffs. :)

Reading . . . I finally jumped on the bandwagon and read The Fault in our Stars and, I hate to say it, but meh. I found the whole thing painfully predictable, and as if they were trying too hard to make me cry. I choked up maybe a little, but I actually found myself relating more to the parents than the star-crossed teens. How lame and grown up of me. I actually got to the end, and thought, "Wait! What! Where is the profound truth or dramatic tears I was waiting for?!?" Maybe I need to go back and reread the end or something.

Loving . . . Back to School season! Even though I'm not going back, and Clare still has some time, my heart gets all twitterpated seeing school supplies and backpacks and clothing ads. And my Facebook newsfeed is starting to feature more and more First Day of School posts. Ahhh!!! Since we really don't know where we'll be 3 years from now, we haven't made any decisions about schooling for our kids, but I loved school. I still love school. I love learning. I truly hope to pass that along to the kiddos, whatever decision we make. And Charles and I both love school/office supplies, so I assume that my kids are genetically predisposed to the same.

Thankful for . . . family time this weekend. Saturday, we were able to go to the park and then grill brats for dinner. Sunday, in spite of splitting Mass to accommodate Clare's lingering cough, we were able to get out for the evening, making a lap around the mall and getting pizza.

Planning . . . I'm all about meal planning lately. I have a serious desire to stock pile all the meat and all the non-perishables. Right now, I'm planning and shopping for two weeks at a time (with at least one quick trip to the store for fresh foods like milk and produce), but I'm wondering if I could make a month work. Maybe once we have a better feel for Charles' (ever-changing) schedule I can give it a go.

Dreaming . . . of a giant pantry, chest freezer, and space to create the food-prep/meal planning world of my dreams. Alas, maybe someday.

Praying . . . a special intention for a dear family member. And, as is so often the case, my heart turns to Psalm 121.

My first ever graphic. Proud of myself.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 72

TGIF -- linking up with Jen.

1. It has been a heck of a week. Sick kids. Nights. My brother-in-law and nephew passing through on their way home to Colorado from their river adventure. After kayaking the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, they touched salt (water) in New Orleans!

2. I am so, so so, so thankful that Charles' program only does nights one week at a time, 6 times a year. 6 nights in a row? I got that. Another 3 weeks of this? I can see why it drives people to insanity.

Listening to Jordan Puppy's heart.

3. That said, I am vowing here and now to never use the term "single parenting" to describe my residency experience. Yes, I've done the bulk of parenting for the course of this week. Yes, that includes all bedtimes and mealtimes and dishes and whatnot. But (and it's a really stinking big but), I'm not actually alone in my endeavors. I'm not single at all. I am so so blessed to have an incredible, loving husband who has my back. He doesn't want to be gone any more than we want him gone, but he is with us every step of the way. And he's doing what he's doing, ultimately, to provide for his family. Nothing is more family-focused than that. I prefer the term "solo-parenting." Real single parents have their own set of challenges, and deserve much more love, respect, and support than to have their struggles co-opted by whiny wives in time-consuming fields.

Dinner time fun, night float style!

All I get are these toys? Really?

4. Meanwhile, Miss Clare has gotten some kind of summer cold. Her nose is running like a faucet, her eyes are trying to keep up, and she has a yucky cough. Poor kiddo. I am also pretty sure that the early phases of it are what has woken her up the past couple of nights.

5. So, of course, Peter and Charles are both trying to get it, too. Peter has the slightest bit of a runny nose, and Charles was feeling off when he headed to the hospital this afternoon. So far, I have managed to avoid it. Is there a novena for not getting the cold that is being passed around your house?

6. What I didn't miss out on was a nice case of hand foot mouth disease last week. Okay, it was actually blessedly mild, but it didn't change the fact that I went from feeling like yuck to feeling like my hands and feet were on fire and totally gross at the same time. Lucky me, I have now reached the skin peeling phase of this fun virus, meaning I feel like my 10 fingers are 10-skin shedding little rattle snakes. So. Blankety. Disgusting. Plus, I have tender, new, pink skin peeking out the tops of all my fingers. That's fun too. Somehow, both kids seem to have cleared the HFM hurdle and have this cold/respiratory system thing instead.

Sick of hearing me talk about it? Me too.

7. In sillier news, in spite of the runny nose, Clare's newest little thing has turned the princess love up a notch. Now, in order to play princess castle, she needs to also wear her tutu and her sparkly headband. That way, she's like her princesses with a "beautiful dress" and a headband (errr...tiara). She also uses that tutu to dance "like a ballerina."


Have a lovely weekend!

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