Friday, February 27, 2015

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 77

Joining Kelly.

1. It has been a light posting/doing week this week because oh my gosh! the sickness! While Clare recovered from the fever that had her down on Sunday and Monday, we're all coughing sniffling messes. As Charles astutely diagnosed as I was coughing up a lung this morning, "We all have bronchitis. Every single one of us." I mean, we're all fine. Just coughing. And sniffling.

2. On the bright side, everyone got some sleep last night. As in slept through the night. (The night before I did 4 or 5 wake-ups between the kids, so the improvement is marked.) The gobs of sleep (on top of a 4ish hour nap yesterday) seems to have improved Clare's overall well being, so that is a step in the right direction.

3. None of it, though, is good news for my Lenten goals so far, but a house full of sickness is some sort of penance in itself, right?!?

Sleeping girl

4. In muuuuuch happier news, I got a new computer this week. I got a MacBook, because we decided it was just a better investment than a PC laptop. I've spent too much time going down the rabbit hole of photo organization. I mean, I had over 1400 pictures on my iPhone alone. Eep! Charles has a week of nights coming up, so we know how I'm spending my evenings. Next up? An external hard drive to back those puppies up.

Throwback to when Clare was Peter's age.

5. Before the plague hit, I was able to capture this shot that depicts with great accuracy what it is like to wrangle Clare and Peter these days.

Standing in the cart, trying to pull his sister's hair.

6. I can't even talk about the weather today, so I'll just huddle up with another cup of coffee, say a prayer of thanksgiving that I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and enough money to pay a comfortable heating bill. And a prayer of thanksgiving that we didn't end up in, like Michigan. I don't know how they do it up North.

7. And the dress debated 'round the world. It's totally white, y'all. I don't care what "they" say.

Have a lovely weekend!

post signature

Monday, February 23, 2015

Transformation! {Kitchen Update}

Even though I am the least crafty person ever, and even though my project barely qualifies as crafty, I'm linking up with Ana, because I can.

For the uninitiated, when we moved into our house in Wichita last summer, it included this horrible, horrible sight:

From the moment I laid eyes on the Green Monster, I said that the first thing I was going to do was paint it. Well, once I got here, that promise got delayed by: 1) other painting projects, 2) indecision about what color to use, and 3) the realization that the whole kitchen needed paint, not just the Wall O Doom.

Finally, a few weekends ago, Charles announced that we were doing the kitchen and forced me to (finally!) make a decision about paint. I could not have been more thrilled with the outcome!

Which left unanswered the question of what I wanted to put on the wall.

Meanwhile . . . I know I've mentioned before that I saw the sunrise through our kitchen window on Christmas morning. I made this little number, because it put the Canticle of Zechariah in my head.

Ever since then, I've been noticing the sunrise in the mornings. I've been appreciating the dawn and seeing Christ in it, opening my heart to God first thing in the morning in a way I never have before. I felt called to say the Morning Offering. Problem? I don't actually have it memorized. So, I would go fumbling through my phone, getting distracted more often than not.

Solution? Kendra's printables! I decided to print and frame the Morning Offering. I also decided to put up a copy of her Grace Before Meals, because I wanted to have it up in our kitchen somewhere. Once I got those hung, I finally felt inspired to put stuff up on Zee Vall.

Fancy me took a plain, cheap blackboard and put lots and lots of coats of silver craft paint on the frame. In retrospect, I should have either tackled my fear of spray paint or used a layer of a dark paint under my silver, but live, learn and craft on. Or something like that. I used a chalkboard marker to put "Today" in fancy-ish letters and add "ora pro nobis" at the bottom. In the middle, I update with what's for dinner and what we're up to for the day. I add a saint at the bottom, and done. It takes about 2 minutes a day. (Thanks, Grandma, for the amazing calendar that has saints every day! It makes daily saint finding a breeze!!)

Overall, I'm super pleased with how the wall turned out and absolutely love how I'm using the chalkboard. It makes me think about my day, and helps me be a bit more intentional. I very, very purposefully put the Morning Offering right by the coffee pot. It ensures that it is one of the first things I see every morning and encourages me to take a moment to pray it as I start my day. One of the best decisions I've made.

Keurig pictured, but the main coffee pot is right next to it.

(Side note: My poor girl came down with a bug yesterday, so we're laying low again today and, hopefully, getting better. Please pray she recovers quickly and that none of the rest of us get her bug.)

post signature

Monday, February 16, 2015

My Egg-Free Life (Vol. 1)

I've decided to work on a little series about my egg allergy, mostly to record my experiences/experimentation with egg-free baking, egg substitutions, and navigating my allergy. Today, though, I'm just going to talk a little bit about my history with eggs.

I was diagnosed with an egg allergy before I remember. When I was a baby starting solids, my parents were having a hard time keeping food down and vomit away. The doctor suspected a food allergy. Dairy was the first suspect, but over time, they were able to isolate eggs as the culprit.

This was in the (very) early 80s and food-labeling was not what it is now and food allergies are not what they are now. The internet was still something used by scientists and the military and no real people had even heard of it. Computers were equally not-for-public-use. Accordingly, it took some trial, error, and a lot of learning to figure out what I could and couldn't eat. Pretty much everyone who I grew up with has a story or a memory about that time I ate that candy/ice cream/bread item and threw up on the couch/in the car/outside the shoe department at Robinson's.

My doctor thought that I would outgrow the allergy by the time I was 10 or 12, or by adulthood at the outset. When I was 18, my allergist did a skin test that resulted in an immediate positive, a massive welt on my arm, and tingling in my fingers. They didn't even wait 5 minutes before agreeing that I was allergic, cleaning my arm, and deciding not to give me a flu shot after all.

I cannot eat egg in any form, either straight or in baked goods. I can usually eat food processed in facilities that use eggs, but there are a couple of brands of pasta that I avoid. My response is mostly GI. I have never had a true anaphylactic reaction (Praise God!!), but I have had bad asthma attacks when I consume more than a bite of something. Knowing what I know now, I probably should have been more worried than I was at the time. It has only taken 33 years and too many incidents of accidental ingestion (usually when I'm at an event and don't want to rock the boat by being difficult and asking too many questions) to finally start carrying Benadryl and my inhaler in my purse.

As an adult, I've taken more ownership of my allergy. I've learned to read labels. I've learned what I can eat and cannot eat when I go out (and usually, I stick to it!). Perhaps most importantly, though, I've learned to prepare food at home that conforms to my allergies. The only time we eat anything containing egg is when Charles scrambles them for himself and the kids (who, thankfully, have no known food allergies!) on an occasional weekend.

I don't expect that to change. My allergy seems to be severe enough that it is just part of my life. And I'm okay with that. I'm so used to eating this way, that it would be a big deal to do anything else. I do, however, want to continue to be creative in the kitchen so that my family and my guests can continue to be exposed to a range of foods and not feel "deprived" with egg-free eating.

post signature

Friday, February 13, 2015

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 76

Joining up with Kelly, who is so cool that I just tried to type her name with an extra 'e'. That's how I show my affection. Apparently.

1. This is totally going to be an update post. Sorrynotsorry.

2. Clare, probably like all toddlers, is an enigma. When we leave to go to a friend's house or the library or the store, she REFUSES a jacket like it is made of burning hot lava. "No no no no no do not want a jacket!!!!" Then, last week, we get some serious snow flurry action (only a dusting accumulated), and the very instant-second-moment she saw it, she was insisting on going outside. And very compliantly let me dress her in alllllll the layers, no questions asked, no sass given. Anything to run around in (falling) snow, I guess. Girl loves snow. Yes, there will be a collage of nearly identical "Clare in the snow" pictures at the end of the season. ;-) On the plus side, jacket issues aside, it seems that Clare and I have gotten over the 2 year old hump. Famous last words, I know. She's acting much more reasonable, and I feel like I've developed a better slew of coping techniques for getting through (most of) her unreasonable moments. I'm eager to see where I end up falling in the "which is worse, two or three?" debate. We even managed a little (very very simple) crafting this week. I'm not crafty, but she likes it, so I decided to "let go and let glue." No really, that's what I told myself when I relinquished control of the bottle of Elmer's.

Glue not pictured

3. Peter, meanwhile, is up to his usual tricks. He's finally regular crawling, though he sometimes goes back to his modified army crawl. Pulling up, cruising, bla bla bla . . . please don't walk! We also did a little sleep training a couple of weeks ago. He got with the program quickly and is still doing pretty well through the night. He broke his first front tooth a few days ago, and his second is right there. I'll honestly be a little bit sad when they're grown in, because he looks so stinking cute without them. He also turned 10 months last weekend. [Cliches about time passing here.]

4. At playgroup this week, we took valentines to the residents of a local nursing home. We visit them a few times a year to celebrate holidays. I love the opportunity to teach my children the value of service -- giving to people without an expectation of return. Giving to people they don't know. Providing sunshine to others. Corporal Works of Mercy and all that.

5. I know I wrote about Confirmation a couple of weeks ago, but it seemed flippant to mention another thing I have loved about having our Confirmation kids over every week: I thoroughly clean the upstairs every week. I mean, we clean regularly and put toys away at least every night anyway, but having people come over (even teenagers who probably don't care), always gives that extra push to make sure things just so.

6. Charles started his third (of three!) months on the medicine floor this week. These are definitely his hardest rotations, but this week, in particular, it is clear how much he has grown as a doctor this year. #proudwife

7. I'm unusually excited for Valentine's Day tomorrow, mostly because Clare is excited, but also because I get to celebrate my loves. I hope you have a wonderful day with those you love. But if you, for whatever reason, feel down this Valentine's Day, wear a pink sweater and eat something with sprinkles. It might not fix everything, but it might just brighten your spirits. :-)

Have a lovely weekend!

post signature

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I wrote about four drafts yesterday. I started another this morning, but I feel like I need to hit publish on this before my mind can sift through the rest.

For the second time in less than two years, my small hometown is facing tragedy of great proportions.

I didn't know Kayla Mueller personally. But Prescott is a 3-degrees of separation town. My dad knows some members of her family. That's close enough for me to for me to feel rocked by the news of her death. Too close. Too close for comfort.

There is evil in the world. People might try to whitewash it or qualify it, but the truth is that there is evil in the world. When I first accepted that fact -- like really, truly accepted it -- I felt crippled. What could I do?

But now? Now I know.

I can pray. I can hit my knees and pray like it means something. Because it does. For the repose of Kayla Mueller's soul. For her family. For our country. For our allies. For our enemies. For her captors. For the still-murky circumstances that led to her death, and for those that caused it. For those still being held captive. For peace. For a world where peace is possible.

Maybe it is too much to ask for in this life, but I have faith in God, through whom all things are possible.

For Kayla all all the faithful departed: Eternal rest grant unto them, oh Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them.

post signature

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Reflections on Making Sandwiches

When Charles worked at Andre House, I became the Sandwich Girl.

Each night, four "guests" (those we served) volunteered to sweep the parking lot/gathering space outside of The Building (yes, that was the main structure's "name"). In exchange, they got to be the first four people served and received a sack lunch, presumably for the next day. Some days, it was a popular job, and the volunteers were selected by lottery. Other days, only one or two people were up for the task.

As the Sandwich Girl, my job was to make those sack lunches. Because Charles' night to run soup line was Thursday, and Andre House does not serve dinner on Fridays, I felt that pouring my love into those lunches was of utmost importance. Two sandwiches (one meat, one peanut butter), a piece of fruit (the best-looking I could find among the food bank produce), some snacks, something sweet, 2 bottles of water. Once a week I would line up the bread, 8 slices at a time, and made sandwiches, assembly-line style. Very often, I reflected on how this was, hopefully, preparing me for my vocation as mother.

At the time, I envisioned some point in the still-distant future when I was packing lunches for my kids to take to school. Lining up the stuff they should eat (the sandwich and fruit) with the stuff they would eat (the snacks and sweets).

Last weekend, I found myself, for the first time in a long time, with the stuff lined up to make four peanut butter sandwiches. One for each member of my little family.

My time has come.

And it was interesting, because, even though each one was made with extra customization, fitting the needs of each member of the family, the love was the same.

It's beautiful, really, how God prepared my heart for making lunches. I know plenty of moms feel dread when noon strikes and the charges decide that they need lunch now. 5 minutes ago, preferably. Believe me, I've been there, too. But there are also moments when I'm prepared or when the natives are a bit less restless or I take a moment to breathe and reflect. At those moments, I feel that love. I feel so blessed to be able to do something as simple -- nay, as important -- as making sandwiches for my family.

Yes, I'm blessed to have the means to make lunch. Food security is an important blessing that I don't give thanks for nearly often enough. But it goes beyond that.

You see, God called us, with great clarity, to feed "the least of these brothers of mine." He didn't leave much room for interpretation. At Andre House, in my kitchen, at the place of some future calling, when I make sandwiches, I feed the hungry. When I feed the hungry, I feed Christ. And when I feed Christ, He gives me more than mere food. He gives me the stuff of life.

post signature

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday Currently Daybook Mumble Musings

I love writing in the "quick prompt" format -- it might not yield the best posts ev-ah, but it is, for me a good chance to do brief updates, reflections and brainstorming.

Pondering: Technology. We're getting to the "break down and buy a new computer" stage. Charles' personal computer is on life support. His work laptop is good for abusing at work, but is too locked down for "normal" usage. My computer still works, but, as I mentioned last week, has clearly begun its march to death. Thinking about what we want, what we need, what we want the kids to have access to when. Plus, we'll be eligible for phone upgrades this spring, so . . . same questions, really.

Watching: Even though it was on, I only really saw the Halftime Show and the last quarter-ish of the Super Bowl last night. I'm not a Katy Perry fan, so I was not real excited about most of her schtick. The Julie Taymor puppets and then the Olympic Opening Ceremonies Chess board were ok, but the rest? Meh. Don't get me started on the Sharks. Even the now-trending Left Shark. The game though, it was a great game. I didn't have a horse in the race, so all I ever want is a great game and last night's delivered. Bonus: no football for months!! Bring on baseball and March Madness!!

Making: A giant meal plan and grocery list for the next 4 weeks, when Charles has an on-service rotation. It's what works on a keeping-my-sanity level.

Residency Reflections: It's hard to believe that we're over halfway through with Charles' first year of residency. Time really does fly. I mean, it wasn't that long ago that we were anxiously waiting for word on the Match. Now, we're under 2.5 years to go . . . and that doesn't seem that long at all. Charles has a challenging schedule the next 8 weeks, but we're ready for it. And before we know it, we're going to be on the downhill slide to second year. It's crazy.

Thankful for: My healthy kiddos.My health. Charles' health. I take those things for granted. I'm sure I'm not alone in that fact, but oh my gosh, are we so blessed. So blessed.

At home: The weather has been, um, inconsistent lately. Last week we had a gorgeous spell, which meant I took the kids to the zoo, because that's what stay at home moms do. Clare had a blast, and I think Peter enjoyed himself, too. It makes up for the fact that it was 8* when we got up this morning. I'm fantasizing about spring clothes for the first time in my life. Is it Easter yet?

Mini-Me loved the flamingos.

This is Peter's "I'm at a bear exhibit" smile.

A happy panda and puppy

Happy Candlemas! (And Groundhog's Day, if you're so inclined.)

post signature