Seven Quick Takes: One for Each Year of Marriage

I married a really amazing guy seven years ago this month (believe it or not I began writing this before our anniversary almost two weeks ago). It is really hard to believe that it has been seven whole years, but I am not sure we could have done everything we have in less than seven years. And none of these things we could have accomplished without Grace and the mutual help we provide each other.

Seven years later, we have 4 children, a PhD (his, not mine), a great job with great colleagues (again, his, not mine), 14 peer reviewed publications (his), an awesome blog (mine), a house perfect for us, friends all over the country, a great parish, and hopefully a life of increasing grace, holiness, and love. And since we have made it seven years, I will take a peek at what each year brought us.

1. Year One: Our first year of marriage began a month after we both earned our Masters of Arts (theology for me, philosophy for him). We had a great wedding with lots of family and friends. We were married in St. Louis, honeymooned in MI, and moved to Buffalo, NY by July.

Our first year was the first of our thriftiness. Together we worked to live on a very small budget. The first summer was hard in many ways as M worked in a factory for six weeks (6:30am-3pm), I battled morning sickness and looked for work, and we worked on establishing friendships. M did everything possible to make way for a four year PhD track, working with his adviser on his Topical even then, excelling in coursework, working to publish papers from his coursework.

Nine months in we had our first little girl, and she has been our worst newborn sleeper by far. But we persevered through the first months of parenting, M supporting me all the way, doing work at home, changing diapers, spending hours awake at night with the baby. Our first anniversary we celebrated while visiting my sister and her family in Illinois.

A week before our 1 year anniversary.

2. Year Two: Our second year we continued to live in our one bedroom apartment, and having a baby brought me into the world of playdates with other awesome Catholic moms. We spent hours together at least one morning a week, fed each other, supported each other. M continued to excel in his work, and I worked part-time with G tagging along in a Religious Education office. By the time of our second anniversary, I was three months pregnant with our second and we had moved down the street to our two bedroom apartment.

In the Boston Commons in August after a day of sight seeing.

3. Year Three: It always seems like it takes a good two years to feel established in a city for me. At that point, you call it home without thinking any more. This year, we got more comfortable in Buffalo as our friendships were strong, our family was growing here, and we knew it would be our home for a couple of more years. M spent the summer doing dissertation research, and then decided to write something like two pages of his dissertation a day during that school year.

L came the First Sunday of Advent, and it was my favorite Advent. For some reason it is easier to sit around and rest when the rest of the world is rushing to buy gifts in the daily Buffalo snowfall. We did not travel that Christmas, but family came to us, and by the time Christmas was over, I was ready to be up and about.

Going to a wedding in Buffalo.

 4. Year Four: Here begins the most stressful time of our marriage. That summer M finished his dissertation drafts, and got ready to apply for jobs. Everything was up in the air about where we were going to be after this year. It was a very bittersweet year as well, as we have awesome friends in Buffalo, and while we wanted him to get a job, we knew we would have to leave.

Thanksgiving trip to visit (great) grandparents in Georgia.

M applied to 80 job openings, some more relevant to his expertise than others. Right after Christmas he went to the APA conference for interviews, and then spent all of February flying out to various on-campus interviews. February 17, he got the job offer in St. Paul, and life seemed a lot brighter. But then we had to find housing, pack up, say goodbye, and move. We had a lovely vacation weekend with friends about a month before we moved.

5. Year Five: Our fourth anniversary was our last in Buffalo, we then embarked on a five week interim, leaving our stuff in Michigan in my in-laws garage and basement. I was second trimester pregnant with F that summer. It was stressful and relaxing at the same time. By August we were moved into a colleague’s house in St. Paul (they had funding to do a year of research elsewhere).

During our five week tour of the midwest.

Once unpacked, I spent a lot of time getting ready for baby and trying to get oriented in our new city. It helped that the philosophy department is full of awesome Catholic families, and we got to know some people right away. But even so, nothing prepared me for having a newborn right at the beginning of my first Minnesota Winter.

That winter we decided to buy a house, I was treated for postpartum depression, I started writing for Truth and Charity, we house hunted, we bought a house, and we adjusted to having three kids. It was a lot. 

6. Year Six: Newly moved into our 1950s first ring suburban house, we thought things would finally settle down. We took an awesome vacation with our closest college friends and all the children resulting from marriages since college, only to come home to the great basement flood of 2013. Our finished basement was waterlogged. Fortunately, it was an interior leak, and insurance covered an entire renovation of our basement. I suppose it was worth the five months of waiting for insurance companies, contractors, and all of that home renovation hassle to have a brand-newly finished basement.

Summer of the flood.

Once the basement was complete, we tried to settle into normal life. But by March we learned we were expecting again and by early May we had buried our first child, JP (lost through miscarriage). I again faced PPD, and by our sixth anniversary we were ready to have a happy year. We had already been through so much. I believe that our little baby in Heaven blessed us in our marriage, and we have grown better and stronger since the.

7. Year Seven: This last year has been one of healing and peace for me (for the most part). We enjoyed our vegetable garden, canning, and house painting last summer. I finally got used to three little girls, and we learned about little T (born three weeks ago) in September. We have settled well into our house. M is still very happy in his work. And my hesitation about having another baby has been overcome.

We had a successful kindergarten homeschooling year, survived a not so bad winter which brought us up to over 20 degrees nearly once a week. M and I dabbled in movie reviewing (more still to come!). Things are going great! We have been so blessed in our marriage and in our life, and I would say something more profound but baby brain has gotten the best of me.

All the family that came out for T’s baptism last weekend. Four generations worth including great grandparents, grandparents, us (parents), and our children, plus cousins and great-aunt and uncle! And this is about 5% of the whole immediate extended family that M and I have.

And since these are supposed to be quick takes, I am linking up super late with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, November 7

1. My (philosopher) husband just called, and I asked him if I should write quick takes today. His response?

“There are no Quick Takes; Only the Mind.”

2. Two years ago right now I was in labor with this one (the one that looks 2, not that other one):

A realistic depiction of a child: frizzy hair and food on her face.

Now she eats corn dogs. I have never had all of my out-of-womb children over the age of two. Does that make sense?

3. For her birthday, I decided to replace the long destroyed toy stroller cover. I sewed it in about 90 minutes last night. No, I am not opening an Etsy shop, though I know you all really want hand made, badly machine stitched, toy stroller covers. I am pretty pleased with the result, and so is F. We let her open two presents first thing because she would have just about lost it if she could not find her stroller all day. She is happiest about having a buckle.

NOT for sale. I love this fabric pattern.

4. F and I finished weaning this week. We were down to naps and bedtimes and well, being pregnant makes barely nursing not very nice at all. So, we decided it was time to be done. Two years is the longest I have ever nursed a baby (17 and 19 months for G and L). She seems cool with it, and we make sure to be cuddly before bed during our old nursing time. And for the record, I have now been pregnant and/or nursing for 6 1/3 years straight.

Things I made in this picture (all recycled from previous years): St. Joan’s armor/vest, St. Gemma’s cloak, St. Lucy’s skirt.

5. Here is our All Saints picture. I did not have time to take one before the evening Mass we went to, so we only have a poorly lit, after party, past bedtime, high on sugar photos.

6. When I got home from the grocery store last Saturday, the children spent about 10 minutes pretending to be cows and pushing around gallon milk jugs before I decided that the milk should probably be put away. Who would have thought milk could be so much fun?

F is getting so big.

7. So, did I just prove that there actually are quick takes and not just the mind? I don’t know. But you philosophers out there can debate that amongst yourselves. I am going to go have some snickers bars now… (fun size)

Linking up again with Jen at Conversion Diary.

It’s a BABY!

My philosopher mom friend suggested that I name this post, “It’s an individual substance of a rational nature.” I can’t escape the philosophers!

I know that publicly announcing a pregnancy at seven weeks along with a due date that is not until the beginning of next June might make people feel a wee bit uncomfortable, but I really cannot keep blog silence about it anymore.

You may be aware that yesterday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. But you may not be aware that today is the feast of St. Gerard Majella, patron of expectant mothers. How beautiful that the days fall right next to each other. We have been praying especially to St. Gerard this pregnancy, from the very beginning of its possibility.

On Monday we had an ultrasound. I was in trepidation of this ultrasound for weeks, but also really thankful for all of the symptoms I have been having no matter how uncomfortable they have made me. For the record, they have not been that bad yet. Despite the lingering all day “morning” sickness, I have not once actually gotten sick. It is a struggle to eat certain all vegetables. I have been pregnant enough times to know how to not push my limit and figure out what I can get to my stomach without too much trouble (pizza, Chinese food, potato chips…there are some healthy things, I promise). I even have been eating salad (smothered in sweet raspberry vinaigrette). And the thought of cooking and eating dinner is wholly unappetizing. 

Back to the ultrasound. I could not face the 20 minute drive to our family clinic alone. The last time I drove in for an early ultrasound was the day we found out that JP was no longer alive. I did not want to see this baby alone. So, we dropped the kids off with a friend, and M drove.

After checking in a waiting about three minutes we headed back to the ultrasound room with the tech. After a little talk about dates and whatnot she turned out the light and began the scan.

The arrow is pointing to the baby.

I stared anxiously at the screen waiting to see something, and the tech immediately said, “Do you see the baby’s heartbeat?” And there it was fluttering at 145 BPM in the tiny little body just beginning to have arms and legs and hands. The baby was alive and well. Tears filled my eyes as I gripped M’s hand, and I felt so relieved that this baby was still with us, that this baby might be born in eight months time. Since the ultrasound my “morning” sickness has been in full force (still no physical evidence of it, thankfully), but this baby really is making itself know!

And now we wanted to share it with all of you, and ask your prayers for the health of our baby and my health. Your prayers carried us through the loss of JP, and I am so thankful that I can ask you once again to pray for a tiny little baby of ours.

I want to share with any expectant mothers and those hoping to have another baby a wonderful order of monks. The Transalpine Redemptorists in Scotland have a first class relic of St. Gerard, and if you send them an email or a letter they are more than happy to touch a small piece of fabric to the relic and send you in the mail a third class relic of St. Gerard. They do ask that you donate the cost of shipping, but are happy to mail it either way. It comes on a long enough ribbon to tie around your ribcage, and I have been in the habit of keeping it in my pillowcase (that is why it is wrinkly). The relic and sacramental serves as a good reminder to ask for the intercession of the patron of mothers and expectant mothers, as well as having physical contact with a holy saint in Heaven.

In Dread of Bedtime: Going Solo

I am a fairly spoiled stay at home mom in terms of the help I get from my working husband. My husband as a university professor has a fairly light schedule of hours that he must be physically “at work.” This means most days in the summer and on his long Christmas break, I have him at home. He works those days in his study, and then comes up for lunch and is done for the day by five o’clock. This does not mean he has to commute at five, he is upstairs from his study and talking to me and changing diapers. During the semester, he goes to campus 3-4 days of the week, and works at home at least two afternoons. This means that once I get the kids settled in nap/quiet time, I can escape for an hour to my haven of the treadmill in M’s study in the middle of the afternoon. Then, I get to take a shower. I also do this on the weekend afternoons. It is wonderful.

M at work upstairs in the afternoon.

Then there is bedtime. After dinner (which I cook), M does the dishes, and then we put the kids to bed. We do this together. On bath night I take care of the two older one’s while M does the youngest, and on non-bath nights I dress the one year old and he encourages the older two. We do our family prayers together, while I nurse my still nursing 22 month old. (I asked her last night, “Are you going to nurse until you are two?” Her response, “Yah!”) Then I put the “baby” to bed, and M tucks the girls in and reads them a chapter of our current bedtime story. It is nice, and it is a great routine.

Tonight it is not going to be that way. Tonight, M has a Dinner and Talk he is going to, and I have had a slowly growing dread of the post nap time. I think I am going to have to pull the Skype card while I make our heart, butterfly, and flower shaped mac and cheese and fish sticks. For the record, I never cook like that. When M is home, I like to cook like this (steak is like a once every two months things):

Steak and Bearnaise sauce, grilled veggies, baked red potato wedges. (Well, M does the grilling)

If we get the food eaten by 6pm, I should be able to clean the whole kitchen before bedtime. Then I can manage the PJs and teeth brushing. I can manage the prayers and nursing. I can manage putting F down while the other two bounce around wait quietly in their beds. I can even read them a story.

But what I dread is the after story, after tucked in, waiting for them to actually sleep. I can count on them coming out of their beds at least three or four times for “one last” prayer, hug, drink, potty, etc.

But maybe tonight will be different. Maybe tonight, they will remember that I have been “meaning what I say” for a few weeks now, and listen to me. So, I will face it courageously, and pray for patience (and obedience). Also, to the Archangels…who should intercede for us extra on Michaelmas.

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, September 12

1. I have heard from other moms about having a bad week or day this week, and I confess that it has been particularly rough for me here in the Spencer house, especially trying to figure out how to parent an almost four year old. I hope that part of it is just the end of the threes and transitioning into not needing a daily nap. I also know that part of it is my lax parenting with her, and that my parenting must be balanced with my personality. So, I have made some parenting plans, and I hope that by sticking with them, with all the kids, I will stop losing it entirely with them. You know you need to change something when you are confessing being impatient with your kids regularly…

2. Today has been the best day all week, and not just because it is Friday. I know that my success in not losing it will not be so easy every day, but I plan to persevere even on the hard days. We did our morning hourish of reading, catechism, math (sandpaper number tracing), and then for writing practice the girls made birthday cards for two different “C”‘s who have birthdays a week apart and are also 20 years apart in age. G (5) and L (3) worked on the cards for two hours, and F (22 months) and I worked on the weekly sheet and towel laundry along with the biannual-seasonal-clothing-dresser-swap.

3. The biannual-seasonal-clothing-dresser-swap is biannual, because it seems we only have two seasons in Minnesota: Winter and Summer. (We even have the furnace on today to keep the house from dipping to jacket weather.) For those of you not familiar with this, it means that I changed out all the summer clothes for winter clothes and checked the sizes of clothes to see what fits whom. Anyway, I used to think the whole changing sizes and seasons thing was a chore with just G, and now it takes a whole morning with three! I imagine that one day the older girls will be able to do more of it themselves. We also had a basketful of clothes handed down to us from a friend I had to sift through. As it is we have way to many pants and tops for the girls for the cold weather, and not nearly enough dresses and skirts. I did the skirt thing with leggings for them last winter, but they had holes in the knees by mid-February and that is not going to cut it. So, we are going the more practical pants route. Is it weird to put skirts over colored skinny jeans? Because I might just encourage that. They are so much cuter in skirts!

The hungry hawk is in possession of this squirrel’s sibling on the other side of the Ash.

4. Wednesday I noticed four baby squirrels coming out of a nest in our backyard Ash tree. They were squeaking and climbing up and down the tree, and were pretty cute to watch. M even stopped work for a minute to admire them.

The Circle of Life moves us all.

Then yesterday I glanced out the nursery window, and saw a young hawk with a baby squirrel pinned under its feet. I mentioned it to G and L and they started shrieking and sobbing, “No! No! Chase it away! Don’t let it kill the squirrel!” Knowing that M would want to see the event, I called him up from the study to calm down and explain to the girls about how hawks have to eat as well. All animals have a purpose, and hawks is to eat baby squirrels. The girls stopped screaming, but were not convinced of the goodness of the hawk. At least it was free-range “happy” squirrel veal, right?

5. I was nominated for the 10 book challenge, under the rule that I list 10 that have stayed with me. It is not meant to be a list of the *best* books I have ever read, but ones that have impacted me the most (off the top of my head):

  1. The Complete Works of Jane Austen (I cannot pick one.)
  2. Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales (Still the best spiritual book for lay people that I have ever read.
  3. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (duh…)
  4. The Rule of St. Benedict (When M and I read it in college, we knew that we wanted it to influence our family life.)
  5. Kirsten Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (I love they way she presents motherhood and womanhood. And her insight into humanity is incredible!)
  6. After Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyre (Virtue Ethics are the best kind.)
  7. The Conservative Mind by Russel Kirk (An understanding of conservatism that I agree with.)
  8. The Complete Works of Laura Ingalls Wilder (They are even better as an adult.)
  9. The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber: A History of Vatican II by Fr. Ralph M. Wiltgen S.V.D. (This transformed my understanding of the modern Church, especially growing up post-V II.)
  10. Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (I will never forgive Hardy for being so cruel to his characters, and I am scarred for life…)
The pattern is called “Ozborne Slub.” I am so glad the seam looks straight in the photo…

6. I never shared my curtains that I sewed back in July (though they have photobombed a bit).  They cover all the kitchen windows including our long ones and the back door. I managed so easily because it was a stiff cotton broadcloth. I had been putting sewing them off for a year, and now that they are finally up, I am pretty happy with them, and they add a lot to the kitchen. 🙂

7. I leave you with our blue hubbard watch:

Has it grown since last week? I can’t tell…

Linking up again with Jen at Conversion Diary.

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, May 9

1. Blogger’s Log (Stardate: today!): So, apparently I have to write quick takes every Friday, because my sister and brother so look forward to them. My sister, S, likes them as much as she likes my brother’s fun Star Trek like updates about studying:

I am not sure if they read anything else on my blog, or if anyone else likes my quick takes, but my sister and brother do, so these are for you two! (I bet my mom likes them, also.)

2. Let’s see… I guess we have hit storm season around here. How are things going down in St. Louis? We had sirens go off the other night at midnight for a thunderstorm warning, which was not really cool, because I don’t need sirens to tell me it is raining at night. G is pretty terrified of tornadoes, and any loud noise from outside or any clouds moving visibly in the sky are immediately under scrutiny. A few weeks ago on a clear, lovely morning, a white fluffy cloud moved through the sky in our direction. She flipped out and ran to the house yelling about it being a tornado. So, I was casually discussing this with our doctor yesterday morning (we have been going there a lot lately; this time it was a well visit), and she informed me that there was a tornado that touched about a mile from our current house. G stood there listening wide-eyed to the whole discussion. Now she is upping her prayers for safety from storms.

3. We have been so abundantly blessed by all our friends in the Twin Cities since our miscarriage. We have been showered in food, prayers, and friendship. While I do still do not feel fully recovered, it is nice to know that I don’t have to worry about several meals a week. Actually, most dinners this week have been covered by people bringing them over or the leftovers. Plus, we have a crazy amount of baked goods to consume. I just want to say thank you to all of my friends for all of your love and support. And to people who might be suffering in the same way we are, do not be afraid to share your sorrows with family and friends. Their love and support can help you through the difficult time.

4. M is off to Michigan for a conference this weekend. In fact, he is there now. I hope he enjoys his 48 hours in his home state. I was originally going to try to “go it alone” with the kids this weekend, but after last week, I feel pretty post-partum still and I am really grateful to my mother-in-law for flying in from Michigan to help me with the kids. She just did all the lunch dishes! What a great lady! M is home again Sunday morning, so he is not getting out of the Mother’s Day festivities…whatever we end up doing… Mass and food will definitely be involved.

5. We went to our last home school gym co-op of the year today. For some reason, I always find it exhausting. G is thrilled to be playing with other kids and doing her art class, but the L and F are just shy and clingy the whole time. I might be shy and clingy if I were them, also. We are in a huge gym full of scooters and mats and balls and really nice home schooled kids of all ages. When everyone is bigger than you, you just can’t handle things. Maybe we just need to do things with the home school crowd more than once a month to get the kids used to it. I don’t know, maybe it is just hard to be younger than school aged with a whole bunch of big kids. Plus, I am much more comfortable at home, and am not a huge fan of taking the kids places alone. Okay, I suppose I need to get over it and just take them places.

Blogger Susanna Spencer sporting
the no make up look.

6. I saw this article yesterday, saying that the “no-make up look is a new beauty standard”. My favorite part is the caption on the picture of a lady that says “Others who use the no make up look include blogger so and so.” I wrote about the morality of wearing make-up a couple of years ago, presenting a few arguments as to when using it could be immoral. What I finally concluded for me was that since my husband really does not like me in make up, I should honor him by not worrying about it. However, I do take the time to do things like groom my eyebrows and I use a nice face lotion to take care of my skin. Within the last year, M found another moral statement talking about using make up as okay when it is the “social custom.” Now, this NY times article says the movement is one inspired by feminism, which when I was first discussing make up with people who had real jobs, it seemed like a huge issue that women had to wear make up in the work force. I am not sure the feminists would agree with not wearing make up because my husband does not like it, plus I have never been a regular make up wearer.

7. I have 26 pages left of Something Other Than God, and it has been a book that I really enjoy reading. So much so, that when I was supposed to be napping on the couch after being up half the night with a sick child (allergic reaction to banana… woops), I could not stop reading. I have realized that as a cradle Catholic, my life will never be as cool as hip converts who have roof-top parties. But that is what it is…

Linking up with Jen and her Seven Quick Takes!

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, March 7

1. Today is a great Feast Day in the Ancient calendar; it is that of St. Thomas Aquinas, M’s patron saint. If St. Thomas Aquinas had an octave day, then it would be on M’s birthday. In fact, since M is the head of our home, he has declared that there is an octave day, and it is in fact his birthday. So, there you go. Eight days for St. Thomas Aquinas start now. That also means that I have to bake a chocolate cake before dinner… Happy Feast day to my dear husband!

2. In case you did not notice, I have updated the blogs look. I hope that C is not too disappointed in the slightly different header. Let me know what you think. I have the old template downloaded, so if you all hate this one I might be willing to change it back. I think I really like it. I just need someone to help me add a few “gadgets.”

3. This week has been pretty penitential for me. The poor baby/toddler, F, has been soooo cranky, and it has been really difficult to keep her happy. She had an ear infection about three weeks ago, which we treated with antibiotics. Then on Sunday she had a low fever that lasted through Thursday morning, plus major crankiness. We went to the doctor and got more meds for her ear, but they have not kicked in yet. She has been screaming half of the time and generally unhappy. She also has a huge bump in her mouth indicating a very large tooth about to break through. I have been used to a very happy and contented baby, and now she is so sad and so unhappy. In your charity, please pray for her that gets her tooth in soon and that she stops feeling uncomfortable, and pray for me that I get more patience with the kids despite my stress…

Good ol’ Jane.

4. Five years ago, today, was my due date for G. She was born eight days after her due date, on the Ides of March. Kind of crazy. Maybe I should put everything aside this next week and reread all of Jane Austen like I did five years ago. That would be lots of fun. Before M and I were engaged he bought this used volume of her complete works; being in possession of that copy may have been one of the reasons that I consented to marrying him.

5. Thank you for all your prayers for my father. I found out from my mom, that he played piano for Ash Wednesday Mass at the church where he is employed. He said he felt like he was at 90% of normal. I guess I need to call him and see how he really is doing! Life just goes by so quickly, I forget to call! Dad, if you are reading this, we need to SKYPE! Maybe you can make F happy! Are you allowed to lift 21 squirmy pounds yet?

6. My next T&C post is due for next week, and I think I have an idea now. I have the hardest time coming up with topics, unless I am at Mass. Then I usually think of lots of things to say about Mass. How many Mass articles makes too many? Can there be too many things written about the Mass? I bet there cannot. So, do you think people would keep reading my posts if I just kept on writing about the Mass? I would be happy to keep on writing them. But if there are any things you really want me to write about, especially from the depths of the MA I once earned six years ago, let me know!

7. And this is for M, my philosopher:

 And this is for his students, who sometimes read my blog:

And neither is your professor… (meme from here)

Linking up once again with Jen at Conversion Diary.

Seven Quick Takes Friday, February 28

1. In your charity, please continue to remember my dad in your prayers. His recovery from surgery is still slow going. Specifically, he is having trouble with nerve damage in his left arm from his surgery. This is particularly difficult for him since he is left-handed, and playing the piano and guitar with his hands is a major part of his life. Please pray for complete nerve healing for him. Also, please pray that he has more of an appetite and is less fatigued. We are so thankful that he was able to have his life saving surgery, that a full recovery should happen, and for everyone’s prayers and material support.

2. One encouraging part of dad’s recovery is that he is allowed to travel. I think he is having a hard time resisting visiting his first grandson that was born to my sister earlier this month. I am excited to have a nephew; now I can peruse the clearance racks for cute boy clothes! After six granddaughters, my parents have a grandson. My brother-in-law probably thinks he is all that for having the first boy, but he is just giving us a chance to pull ahead in the girl department. I think we will try for 10 girls and then maybe have a boy.

3. I still can’t believe that people settled Minnesota. What were they thinking? I mean what kind of restriction is this?

A St. Paul winter parking ban will go into effect starting Saturday.
The city says snowbanks have grown so large that there’s not enough room for emergency vehicles to squeeze down some of the streets.

I am pretty sure that this is God telling us to all move to the South. It is time for a mass migration… We can bring our jobs, homes, and businesses with us. Let us just all move to the same place…

4. Look at our poor snowmen. They are going on 2 months and 3 months:

It is so cold, I feel a little bit sorry for them.

We went out when it was 2°F this morning to a friend’s house, and when we left the house around 1pm it was a balmy 13°F. What a difference! My nose was ice crystal free and I did not care if the one year old took her gloves off!

5. I was making pancakes for the kids on Tuesday for lunch, and M came home after his only class of the day to eat lunch and work from home the rest of the day. G and L were begging for “Nickey Mouse” pancakes with a round head and ears and chocolate chip facial features. M then requested Socrates smoking a pipe while riding on a dolphin. I gave it my best shot:

You see, since he is smoking,
that is a cloud of smoke off the side of his head…

6. Dolphins in our home are often called “dolphinium,” from the brilliant Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Little Pig Robinson. Our favorite passage:

After another hand, two sailors left the cabin and went on deck. They noticed something having the appearance of a large black beetle in the distance. One of them said it was an enormous cochroach, swimming with it’s hind legs. The other said it was a dolphinium. They disputed, rather loudly. Captian Barnabas, who had had a hand with no trumps at all after the cook dealing–Captain Barnabas came on deck and said:
“Bring me my telescope.”
The telescope had disappearedd; likewise the shoes, the sealing-wax, the compass, the potato pot, the straw hat, the hammer, the nails, the bucket, the screwdriver, and the armchair.
“Take the jolly boat and see what it is,” ordered Captian Butcher.
“All jolly fine, but suppose it is a dolphinium?” said the mate mutinously.

Go get the copy from your library today to find out more about the pig from the song “The Owl and Pussy Cat.”

7. Finally, home schooling, even preschool has been a bit of an adventure with a non-morning napping, teething one year old. She wants to get into everything, and when I strap her in she fusses until I let her have the crayons. Any tips for entertaining pre-rational children while trying to instruct older ones? I know I have home schooling readers… some cousin-in-laws perhaps?

There are worse things she could be doing…

Head on over to Jen’s Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes! Also, a bunch of bloggers linked up with her to post everyday this week. I could not commit this time around since I spent a bunch of time writing for Truth and Charity this week, but there are some pretty great bloggers posting out there!

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, Dec. 13

1. Happy Feast of St. Lucy! Today we had our traditional bread machine cinnamon rolls, and no child wore a white dress with candles on her head. It is a bit difficult to do it first thing in the morning when you are trying to get to 7:30am mass, so we saved them for after mass. I really wish I had better traditions for other saint’s days. I think we do St. Nicholas and St. Lucy the best, but maybe that is because Advent is so full of rich liturgical traditions. I wonder if we could go all out like we do for Advent for every season.

2. I discovered that F (13 months) can climb down stairs yesterday. I was finishing up something in the basement, and spotted her almost to the top of the stairs. It was silly of me to have left her unwatched with the gate not blocking the stairs. I asked her to wait for me and not climb anymore, and instead of heeding my request she started carefully sliding down one stair at a time on her belly and feet first. She has the technique. Who needs walking when you can do stairs?

3. After over two weeks of various illnesses, we are healthy! Hooray! And I am feeling pretty relaxed about Advent and Christmas coming, so much so that I have not done any of the house cleaning I am supposed to be doing this afternoon. It will get done, just let me sit a few more minutes.

4. And it turns out that some of my husband’s students have been reading my blog. I really have to be careful what I say now! I don’t want to reveal anything that I wouldn’t want students to know… So, here is my “shout out” to you, you students of Dr. Spencer. I hope you find him as entertaining as I do, and discuss a lot in class. That makes him happy.

5. We have not written any of our Christmas cards yet, but we will do them soon. The thing about coming from large extended families and having friends from college and two cities that we have lived in, means that we have lots of people we want to keep in touch with. Further, we enroll the intentions of all of our loved ones in the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest’s Novena of Masses which begins on Christmas. I figure the best gift we can give at Christmas, is the gift of prayer. They have a beautiful shrine in Chicago to the Infant King, I would love to visit it someday, but for now check out: Why a Devotion to the Infant King?

6. G has been in a full onslaught of question asking these days. Everything has to have an explanation, and the explanation has to be further inquired upon. So, either she is cut out to be a philosopher or she is four. At lunch today, “Mom, how does the yoke get in the egg?” I wish I could remember more of her more memorable sayings, but, alas, for some reason, I always forget them when I come to write them down. Maybe I will plan on posting a list of her best questions in a post just for her.

7. I really should get to my housecleaning. I really, really need to mop before the baby wakes up. So, that is all folks. Have a nice weekend!

Linking up with Jen, who is hosting Seven Quick Takes!

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, Nov. 8

1. With the basement finished (my post with pictures is here), I am not sure what else to look forward to, but then I have nothing to complain about either. I guess we can start living in our home unhindered by workmen, their schedules, and daytime drilling and hammering. I want to talk about a few things besides the basement and all of that.

2. M went to a philosophy conference last weekend, and there saw a lot of colleagues that he knows from graduate school, previous conferences, and even former professors. He saw one of my favorite philosophy professors from my undergraduate studies who asked about me and said that he remembered me fondly from being in his classes. That really made my day. For some reason I am always a bit surprised when people, who are not my closest friends and relatives, remember me or are even interested in how I am doing. I just don’t really think of myself a a particularly memorable person. I am thankful to this professor for the beginnings of my formation in more serious, intellectual thought. While I am not doing it professionally, I do enjoy it an aside to the rest of my life.

3. I am also feeling thankful to my mother who came and stayed with us for eight days to help me with the kids while M was away (he was only gone two nights) and celebrate F’s birthday. It is always nice to have house guests who help so much with dishes and cooking that they make it easier to run the house. My father was able to fit a visit in between his church music obligations, and it was great to see him. He took some beautiful shots of our family and of the baby, so if you are on our Christmas card list or a Facebook friend, you will get to see them!

4. After a week of having my mom around at lunch time, I went to make lunch for the kids and had no motivation to do so, especially because they were playing happily in the basement. Even my own empty stomach was ignored to peruse the internet for about 10 minutes before I reasoned to myself that if I just went through the hour process of making lunch, eating, and getting the kids down for naps/quiet time, I could have a quiet time of my own to do nothing (or blog).

5. Question about Minnesota life: If it snows before you rake all of your leaves, what are you supposed to do? Can we count on the snow melting before it really freezes up for the Winter? Further, I wasn’t finished “Winterizing” my garden. Please tell me that there will be a thaw. I will be hiding in my warm, cozy soft basement until then.

6. I have been following a this blog called Blossoming Joy by a Catholic, homeschooling mom since August. There is something about it that I find sweet, and I really enjoy her thoughts and the way she raised her children. Further, I am pretty sure my husband was just like her teenage son when he was a teenager.

7. This is the obligatory comment on my blog about the World Series not turning out as I had hoped. A brilliant author once penned: “Baseball is a cruel, but beautiful game, played in the shape of a diamond.” Let’s all think about that for awhile…


Photo by Canadian Veggie.

For more Quick Takes head on over to Jen!