Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's a Boy!

We just had the mid-pregnancy ultrasound the other day, and everything is perfect, and in August we will meet our little boy!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Today is the feast of the Annunciation, the day of the Incarnation, when the Word of God took flesh of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  For nine months He will dwell in her womb.  Although we are in the middle of Lent, the Church suddenly presents us with the expectation of Advent.

Since today Christ began His stay in His mother's womb, and Mary must have begun her preparations for His arrival, I began my preparations for Christmas.  Today, that consisted of making a list of all the people to whom I will give gifts and wrote down ideas for a few of them.  The list is mostly blank, but I have begun.  I also have an ulterior motive for beginning very early this year:  we are expecting a new baby in August, and based on my experience with my first, I don't expect to accomplish much beyond caring for children, doing damage control on the laundry, and feeding my family between August and December.

Happy Feast Day!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yarn Along

I finished the basket I was working on last week.  It dramatically improves the orderliness of the toys in this particular corner, and well as increasing their interest for my baby girl;  she loves to pull her toys out of a basket. I haven't done much reading this week aside from my Lenten reading.

Yesterday, I started a knit washcloth.  I have taken up knitting several times in the past, but this time I am determined to learn it properly.  This is the very first knitting pattern I have undertaken, and I have carefully read directions and watched videos to learn each stitch I will be using.  So far, it's going well.  People talk about tension in crochet, and I've never had any difficulty with it there, but I seem to have trouble keeping my tension even in knitting.  I suppose practice will help to even things out.

Yarn Along hosted at small things

Sacrifice: Enough

The house next to my in-laws' house has been partway though a construction project for a couple years now, and there has been no work done in well over a year.  The owner of the house began the project assuming he would get funding that never materialized, and so the house stands half-finished, clad in plywood and plastic sheets.

It's a terrible position to be in, and one to be avoided:  having begun a project and lacking the resources to finish.  I think sometimes that is the reason we are unwilling to freely give of ourselves when we are called to make sacrifices.  The sacrifice I am often called to make at this season of my life is pacing with a crying, struggling, tired-but-not-sleeping baby.  As the minutes crawl past, I grow impatient, fearing that I will come to the end of my endurance before the baby is asleep (it hasn't happened yet).  I forget that God gives grace sufficient for every sacrifice He asks of me.

The lesson yesterday was the story of the prophet Elias, who at the command of God went to stay with a widow and her son.  As he arrives, he asks her for a little water and something to eat.  She replies that she is just gathering sticks to cook a meal of the last food she has in the house "that we may eat it, and die."  Elias replies, "Fear not, ... For this saith the Lord the God of Israel, The pot of meal shall not waste, nor the cruse of oil be diminished until the day wherein the Lord will give rain upon the face of the earth."  God will provide what is needed for the things He asks.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Small Successes (Vol. 8)

1.  I have a pan of lasagna in the refrigerator all put together and ready to go in the oven when it's time.

2.  My kitchen is spotless.  I put an extra effort into cleaning it today, and took care of all the little messes that have been hiding in the freezer and in the microwave and behind the canisters on the counter.  And my lasagna mess is totally cleaned up.

3.  I rolled with it (that is: didn't get upset and frustrated) when my baby skipped her morning nap this morning.  It was tempting to be frustrated by this, since I'm just getting our schedule figured out, and started to settle back into it after the time change and a round of teething.  Maybe she'll go to bed more easily tonight.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yarn Along

I am currently crocheting a basket to contain baby toys in my bedroom, and reading A Mother's Rule of Life.  I'm not totally convinced about how the basket is turning out, but it will be functional, and use up some extra yarn that was just taking up storage space.  A Mother's Rule of Life is interesting so far.  Her solutions are not going to be my solutions, but she seems to do a good job of formulating useful questions.  It's also an enjoyable read.

Yarn Along is hosted at small things.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The other day on of the Small Steps prompts was about being careful of the feelings of our children.  My oldest, and the only one I get to see face to face so far, is not quite nine months old, and I glossed over this thinking it didn't really apply to me.  It wasn't as if I was going to belittle or ignore her efforts or ideas.  Then naptime came, and we struggled.  I paced and paced, and she cried and fussed.  My arms and back grew tired and achy, and my patience wore thin, and my tone of voice became harsh and my hands less than gentle.  She cried louder, and I heard the cock crow the third time. I cried as I comforted her, and eventually she fell asleep.

Another time I paced with the baby, this time in the middle of the night.  She fussed and struggled and wiggled, and I cried because I was so tired.  I prayed, and this time I didn't pray that she would fall asleep.  Instead, I offered my midnight pacing for others, and mumbled a Rosary.  When the baby woke up when I put her down, I decided that meant it was God's will for me to say another decade.  My soul was a peace, and my patience remained intact.

I resolve, therefore, to give willingly when my baby is extra needy, because this is the penance God wills for me right now.

Small Steps Together hosted at In the Heart of my Home

From my Lenten reading

If the Lord did not wish those things to be sold in the temple that he did wish to be offered there (for the reason that motives of greed and dishonesty are apt to poison such transactions), consider how much more severe would be his punishment were he to find any occupied there in idle laughter or gossip.

                 -- From Homily 63 of St. Bede the Venerable, Priest

Friday, March 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes (vol. 11)

1.  This Lent I am eating oatmeal for breakfast instead of my usual cold cereal out of a box.  After nearly gagging on the first morning, I've decided to eat it cold, with plenty of milk, and I'm planning to forgo adding any sugar to it.  I think on Easter morning I'll be celebrating with some sort of very sugary, no-redeeming-nutritional-value cereal.

2.  I'm also reading the propers for daily Mass, the explanation of the stational churches in the back of my Fr. Lasance Missal, and the Matins readings of the day (which are generally a sermon on the Gospel of the day).  If I get a chance, I am planning to also read the week's selections from The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers.  I also have two or three other things on standby if I should somehow have enormous amounts of time for reading.

3.  For next year, I'd like to figure out a family devotion of some sort, particularly for the children.  I haven't yet decided what.  I've seen several ideas, but nothing that really jumped out at me.  Right now I'm leaning toward a Jesus Tree because we really enjoyed the Jesse Tree during advent.  Hopefully this year I can get the preparation done.

4.  It's a bright, sunny, beautiful day outside, and there's an owl hooting somewhere.  Maybe it's something else that just sounds like an owl to me.  I don't really know that much about bird calls.  A brief search turned up no similar bird calls.

5.  Tomorrow being the second Saturday of this month, there is an extraordinary form Mass in town tomorrow morning.  I plan to go and take my little girl.  My husband can't come because he works on Saturdays.

6.  Daylight saving time is going to make getting to our usual 7 a. m.  Sunday Mass particularly difficult this week.  I'm not fond of daylight saving time; I like to have sunlight in the morning.

7.  I'm debating whether to go wake up the baby.  She stayed up late last night and slept late this morning, which is not a pattern I'd like to continue.  On the other hand, directly interfering with her sleep habits usually backfires.  I'll be waking her up to go to Mass tomorrow and Sunday, which should help to reset her clock ...
I guess I'll let her sleep as long as she wants.

7 Quick Takes hosted at Conversion Diary

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I would love to observe Lent according to the old law, with forty days of fasting.  I can't.  I feel ill if I go too long without eating, and furthermore I'm pregnant.  Every Lent I chafe over the things I can't do.  Never mind that there are only twenty-four hours in the day, and I have to sleep some of them.  Never mind that I have physical limitations.  The things I wish I could give up are entirely unrealistic, but it insults my pride.

This Lent I am trying to learn humility.  I will offer to God the things that I can, and trust that if God wants the rest, He will give me the ability.  I plan to let the matter rest there, but I am proud, and I doubt it will be that easy.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras Daybook

Outside my window ...
Darkness, with the threat of tornadoes, thunderstorms, heavy rain, and flash flooding.  I'm afraid that we may not be able to make it to Mass tomorrow.  I am bitterly disappointed.

I am praying ...
that the weather conditions and predictions change before tomorrow morning.

I am wearing ...
a purple shirt.  It is Mardi Gras, after all.

I am creating ...
a crocheted basket to contain the toys that the baby plays with in Mom and Dad's bedroom.

I am reading ...
A Mother's Rule of Life.  So far, it's interesting.

I am listening to ...
silence.  A very tired baby went to sleep early tonight.  It seems that she realized that today was exciting and didn't want to miss any of it, getting up extra early and refusing to take a nap.  However, she slept through most of the parade today.

I am grateful for ...
no rain during the parade this morning.

From the kitchen ...
tuna salad sandwiches for dinner tonight.  After a day of feasting and parties, no one wanted anything fancy.

A picture thought I am sharing ...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Baby's First Carnival Parade

We went to a parade this evening, and, as I expected, the baby was fascinated.  Here are some pictures.
The side of one of the floats.
Dukes on horses

One of several marching bands.
As you can see from this sign, this particular Carnival organization (Krewe of Proteus) has been parading since 1882.
Children sitting on seats bolted to the top of ladders.  Up high, they can see better and catch things thrown from the floats.
You can see the members of the Krewe in masks and costumes throwing beads and other things from the floats.

The Krewe of Proteus is still using the same float chassis they have been using since the early 1880's.  Notice the wooden wagon wheels.

We saw the parade early in the parade route, while it was still light outside.  Before electric street lights, flambeaux were used to illuminate the parade.  The metal piece you see (although here it is dull and soot-covered) is supposed to be a reflector to reflect the light toward the floats.  They are still carried as a traditional part of the parades.

Friday, March 4, 2011

7Quick Takes (vol. 10)

The Carnival season is in full swing around here, so let me tell you about it.

1.  King cakes actually refer to Epiphany, which is when they begin to be available in the local bakeries.  The king cake celebrates when the tree kings come to worship the infant King.  There is a tiny plastic baby hidden inside the cake.  Presumably for legal reasons, the bakeries put the doll inside the box, but not inside the cake, so you have to hide it yourself.

2.  Strawberries are also in season around here, so here's one way I enjoy my king cake:

3.  As my husband would point out, traditional king cakes are not filled.  They are just a sweet bread with colored sugar on top.

4.  While we haven't been to any parades yet, there were several last weekend, with more this weekend and Monday and Tuesday.  If I manage to get my camera to a parade, I'll post pictures.  

5.  There are actually two reasons to put your hands up as the floats are going by at a Mardi Gras parade.  People throw things from the floats:  beads, cups, doubloons, stuffed toys, and other random things.  Sometimes these things are thrown rather hard, so you put your hands up to catch things, but also to protect your face.

6.  Safety rule:  Don't bend down to pick up a doubloon while the float is going by; people around you are paying attention to the things still being thrown from the float, and your hand may get stepped on.  If you want it, put your foot on it and wait until the float has passed to pick it up.

7.  For those of you who may have heard otherwise, most of the parades are family-friendly fun.  In fact, the people who end up with the most beads and other trinkets at the end of it are under 12; the men on the floats love to throw things to kids.
Betty Beguiles is hosting 7 Quick Takes this week.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Small Successes (Vol. 7)

1.  I made it through a night in which the baby woke up more times than I can remember without getting impatient and frustrated.

2.  I was polite to the man who scared my baby and made her cry in the grocery store yesterday, and then, instead of leaving her alone, kept trying to make amends, which just made her cry more.  She cried because he was too loud and too close, and then in trying to cheer her up, he continued to be too loud and too close.  But I was nice, and refrained from giving him a piece of my mind.

3.  Just for fun, a big success for a small person:   This week the baby is eating o's like a champ, complete with a very competent pincer grasp.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Yarn Along

This week I finished both the book and the shawl.  The shawl was something I began several years ago and has been languishing in a box ever since.  It feels good to finally finish it.  Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss is inspiring.  I'm really excited to start homeschooling, but I have a few years to go, since my oldest is all of eight months old.

hosted at small things

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I am attached to my own will and my own schedule.  But as the mother of an eight-month-old and another due in August, my time is not my own, my body is not my own.  I have duties to my husband and my babies.  When I procrastinate, I am putting my own will first:  not doing the tasks I consider undesirable.  When I grumble at being interrupted, again I want my will, my time, to do the things I want to do.

Yet when I finally give up my own will, life is easier.  When I finally give up procrastinating, I find the task is quick and easy, and it feels good to have it done.  When I stop trying to divide my attention and just enjoy by baby, we are both happier.  When I respond immediately to her instead of finishing what I was doing I have a sense of victory, like I just dealt the devil a blow (which I suppose I probably did).

My resolutions for March:
Decide what needs to be done at the beginning of the day, and do it without procrastinating.
Respond to the baby immediately, without grumbling.