Saturday, March 29, 2008


Travis and I are using cloth diapers for our baby.

- Because Americans throw away 50 million diapers a day. And it takes one diaper 500 years to decompose!
- Also because we can end up saving over a $1,000 in diapers, especially when you note that we will be using our cloth diapers on 2 or 3 children.
- And because we are trying to live more simply. This mentality was instilled in us by our parents. Speaking only for my upbringing, I was raised by parents who gardened, recycled, composted, hunted, only spent money they had and kept the house at a little cool in the winter and a little warm in the summer. My mom used cloth diapers on all 3 of her kids and never thought it was that hard.
- I also feel a call by my Catholic faith to be more responsible for the Earth. I hope to be a good steward of all that God has given me.

Will we give up and switch over once we see how hard it is?
I doubt it.
- Cloth diapers of today are not exactly what I wore 25 years ago. The standard prefolds my mom used (and then turned into dust clothes) are still used, but many cloth diapers look like disposable. The shower-cap-like rubber pants I wore have been replaced by fabrics like flannel and wool and covers that are more breathable than those of yesteryear.
- Since I'll be stay at home mom-ing it, there will be time for laundry and hanging diapers out to dry.

But isn't this just a trend now that it's hip to go green?
- No, it's not. As I pointed out above, this is something that was nurtured by our backgrounds and it's something I've considered for a long time.
- And I do want to point out the following: disposable diapers are horrible for the environment because of how they fill out landfills. However, cloth diapers can put a strain on the environment due to energy costs to launder. Our energy efficient washer and dryer should help with this, though, as will my efforts to dry the diapers on a clothesline.

Here are some links that you may find interesting about diapering:
Cloth diapers are eco-friendly:
Flushable diapers:
Pros and cons for disposable and cloth:

Friday, March 28, 2008


Right now is one of those times when I feel HUGE. The baby is low and heavy and I'm uncomfortable. So to distract myself from the bigness that is me, here is one of my youtube faves. I could watch Ok Go videos all day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Birthday to my
wonderful, kind, funny, smart, talented,
hard-working, good-looking, noble-hearted,
loving, dedicated, devout,
top notch, grade A, good daddy
I love you!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Will I make it to the due date?

Easter Sunday, after Mass, Travis walked out of the sanctuary into the vestibule. There Dr. J, a local family practitioner whose sons are in the youth group we lead stopped him.

Dr. J: How much longer does your wife have?
Travis: She has five more weeks.
Dr. J: Oh no she doesn't!

Travis was then told that he should never be more than 3 hours away from me at this point.

I'm not saying I want the baby to come now. But I am saying I'd be more than okay with the baby coming a couple of weeks early.

Heartburn is really kicking in. My back always hurts. I'm tired but it's hard for me to sleep. And I'm having contractions - mostly Braxton Hicks (my stomach has never been so firm!) but I also have been having some contractions that feel like menstrual cramps. I think I shall go make the bed with the flannel-backed vinyl table cloth underneath the fitted sheet now. One never knows when the water will break.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday

Jesus Christ is risen!
Alleluia! Alleluia!

He is risen indeed!
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Behold the Cross, on which hung the Savior of the world.

Come, let us worship.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday

Today is the first day of Easter Triduum, the three days that lead us to Easter.

On Maundy Thursday we celebrate the Last Supper, when Christ instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood. Mass is celebrated for the last time until Easter Vigil, after which the altar is stripped and the Tabernacle is emptied. The Blessed Sacrament is carried away and often there is a Holy Hour in a "garden" so that we can pray as Christ asked Peter, James and John to do in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The following words are from the Eucharistic Prayer:

On the night he was betrayed, he took bread and gave you thanks and praise. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:
Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you.
When supper was ended, he took the cup. Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said:
Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

34 Weeks Exactly

This picture doesn't really do justice for just how big my belly is. But it should give you an idea.

I'm not quite sure when I'll go into labor. Part of me thinks I'll be a little early, but I don't really want to allow myself to think that in case I go past my April 30th due date. The baby moves up and down inside me: sometimes he's in my lungs and it's hard to breathe, sometimes it feels like he's in my crotch. I've started having braxton hicks contractions (at least I think that's what they are). They are infrequent but they feel like menstral cramps, which I've been told is what my contractions will probably feel like.

Sometimes my belly is lopsided now, depending on how she's sitting inside. Last night she inched up into my upper abdomen and it was amazing to see this little hump of a butt make a small mound at the top of my belly. So amazing.

Side note: the laundry basket in the back is filled with supplies for the home birth: clean towels, baking sheet to lay out instruments on, pads, electric heating pad, vinyl table cloths, etc.

Thank you, Mom

Last night a couple of college students (freshmen from the suburbs) came over for pizza. We have a tradition here that when you come for pizza you help make it. So I put them in charge of the dough. Neither one had ever really cooked or baked before - and definitely not something from scratch. I had to teach them about water temperature so yeast doesn't die and how to level off a cup of flour. One of them made the comment, "My roomate is never going to believe I did this."

So I would just like to say, "Thank You, Mom!" Thank you for teaching me how to bake and cook and to have confidence in the kitchen. Thank you for passing on your great skills in the kitchen and for enjoying creating meals and treats for your family. And thank you for raising me on homemade food - pancakes from scratch, mouth-watering meatloaf and lasagna, spaghetti sauce that didn't come from a jar and your cinnamon rolls that are more than delicious. I really appreciate it and so does Travis.

The recipe for the pizza is below. It's super duper good.

Basic Tomato Sauce

1 14ozcan crushed or diced tomatoes, undrained
2 small cans of tomato paste
1/2 large onion
Minced or fresh garlic
Olive oil
Brown sugar
1/4 C milled flax seed if you’ve got it
Spices: oregano, basil, parsley, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika…

Chop up the onion.

Heat up a large, deep skillet with enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
Add the chopped onion and at least two heaping spoonfuls of garlic.

When onions have softened some add the tomatoes and paste; mix together and turn down heat.

Add the brown sugar, 1-2 Tbsp depending on personal taste.

Add milled flax seed followed by the seasonings to taste, omitting some of the hotter ones if you prefer.

Stir occasionally as it thickens.


3 cups flour (can use 1c whole wheat)
1 package fast-acting yeast
1 cup very warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

In a large bowl combine 1c flour and the yeast. Add the water and stir.

Add the oil, sugar, salt and remaining flour, blending it until it forms a ball. (You may need to add more water, oil or flour depending on the texture and humidity in the air. It should moist but not sticky.)

Turn it out on a lightly floured surface and knead 8 - 10 times, form it into a ball and let it rest -preferably near something warm to help it rise some.

Brown sausage or make sauce while rising.

When the pizza is ready to assemble hold the dough up, gently pulling it in a circle, give it a couple of good tosses, catching it on your fist, and then put it on a lightly oiled, floured or corn mealed pan, working the dough to fit.

Add the Basic Tomato Sauce, cheese, any toppings wanted and top with more cheese.

Bake at 500 for 10-12 minutes.

9 little birds

So far we've had 9 birds get into our house. We're not exactly sure how they get in, but they do. A couple of weeks ago I came home to a bird flying between the kitchen window and the dining room window. The bird had eaten all our apples and then puked them all up and had pooped all over. The bird had also been upstairs in the apartment where my cousin is currently living and had pooped all over there, too.

To put it in Travis' words, "After that, I vowed no bird would leave our house alive again."

And he's been true to his word.

The next bird Travis caught with his bare hands, took to the garage, but in a plastic bag and then chopped it in half with his axe.

The next bird Travis smacked with a broom, leaving it alive but knocked out. That bird was taken to the garage and beheaded.

The last bird was whacked by the broom and died on impact.

My advice to the bird community is stay away from our house!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Another reason why I'm doing a home birth

There are many polite people in the world who ask what hospital I'm going to for the delivery and when they hear I'm doing a home birth they say, "Oh," avert their eyes and change the subject. Clearly, they are not comfortable or supportive (at least at first) of my decision to labor and birth at home.

However, below is a perfect example of why I don't want to go to a hospital. Many thanks to Rixa at The True Face of Birth for allowing me to copy and link. The following is the story of the birth of Rixa's new nephew.

She did almost the whole labor at home and got to the hospital an hour before the baby was born. She was laboring on her hands & knees, as comfortably as you can when a baby is on the way, but when she was ready to push the nurse asked her to flip over onto her back. She didn't want to, and her husband spoke up several times for her as well. The doctor (one she had never met, since she was with a large OB group that rotated call) came into the room and insisted--I kid you not--that she flip over "because it's easier for me." She really didn't want to but she was in no place to argue since she was now in Get-The-Baby-Out-Mode...So she flipped over and then started the most excruciatingly painful experience of her entire life.
Read the rest here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Oh how I love this song!

This is Yael Naim's song New Soul, which you probably recognize from the new Apple Macbook Air commercial. It's lovely, lovely, lovely.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

We LOVE Lebanese food!

Today I happened to bump in to the sister-in-law of my good Lebanese friend, Sr. MC. Sister-in-law and I hugged, chatted and she happened to mention that the local Maronite Rite church was having its Lebanese Food Extravaganza today. So of course Travis and I headed over there - heck yeah!

Oh my goodness, how we love that food!

Right now we're both hankering for some hummus, tabbuli, kibba, baklawa and flat bread. And throw in lots of olives for me!

Friday, March 7, 2008

My husband: the subject of bathroom graffiti

Today Travis found out that written in one of the bathroom stalls in the girls' bathroom is the following:
Mr. E is sexy.
Whoever that tart is, she needs a talking to. I mean, she's right, but that's not for her to think or say.

Baptism Class

Last weekend Trav, our baby's godmother and I went to a Baptism class. New parents have to attend one in our Diocese and godparents are encouraged to attend. I had tried to get out of going, asking our parish priest if we could be exempt but after I didn't ace a pop quiz he gave me, he said I still needed to go.

These were the questions, my answers are in italics.

How old does someone need to be in order to be a godparent?
Old enough to be Confirmed.
(This was right but since I didn't have the age he said it wasn't right. I argued it didn't matter because our godparents would be college grads.)

Can a nonCatholic be a godparent?
It depends on how liberal the priest is. But, no, a nonCatholic is a sponsor or something like that, not a godparent.
(Witness is the correct term, but he counted it as right.)

Can a priest celebrate the Sacrament and be a godfather at the same Baptism?
Yes. I've seen it happen.
Actually, no, he can't.
Oh! That's right, Fr. C was the godfather and Fr. D was celebrating! But ours will be members of the laity.
(So wrong again.)

What did we learn at the class? The history of the Sacrament, most of which none of us knew. But we didn't learn a single thing to better prepare us for the Sacrament or to prepare us to raise our baby Catholic. Basically, the class was exactly what I thought it would be, a beginners look at the Sacrament. If the Diocese is going to make people do this they should at least offer an advanced class for those of us who know and practice our faith. It wasn't the Deacon's fault who was teaching us, he didn't know us one lick (since we had to go to another parish for the class). But we could have taught the class.

Good recipes

Today at work we had a staff lunch to raise money for our Relay for Life team. Two of the dishes served were mine and went over really well so I thought I'd share them.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 & 1/2 C coarsely crushed pretzels
3 Tbs sugar
2 3oz pkgs Strawberry Jello
1 container Cool Whip
1 24oz container frozen strawberries
1/3 C butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 C sugar
2 C boiling water

Melt butter, mix in 3 Tbsp sugar, let cool a bit while crushing pretzels. Mix together, spread on bottom of 9x13 pan. Bake 10 mins at 350. Cool completely.

Dissolve the Jello in boiling water; add frozen strawberries, breaking up with fork as you stir. Chill until slightly thickened.

Cream together cream cheese and 1 C sugar. Add Cool Whip, mixing well. Spread over cooled pretzels - taking all the way to the sides. Pour jello mix over cool whip layer; chill until set. Can add more cool whip and sliced strawberries to top.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

3 chicken breasts
Olive oil, a couple of glugs
3 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 bag frozen corn
1 medium onion, chopped
Lemon juice, few glugs
1 jar good chunky salsa
1 can rinsed black beans
2 cans chicken broth
Cumin to taste
Chili powder to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste

1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
1 bag tortilla chips

Cook the chicken breasts.
Chop or shred into small pieces. (If you boil them it will be easy to shred them and you can then use that water instead of buying broth.)

Add all ingredients to crock pot except cheese and chips.

When thoroughly warm, serve with cheese sprinkled on top and chip in the side of bowl or crumbled on top.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sad news in Central IL

Today the parents of Benjamin Sargent pleaded not guilty to the murder of their 5 month old son.

They left their 5 month old in a snow suit, strapped in his car seat, placed in the crib in his 80 degree bedroom for 8 days.
They did not move him, change him, feed him or give him anything to drink.
They were home for most of the week, though, playing video games and hanging around.
They are not mentally ill.
They are 23 and 21.
The mother has a 3 year old in foster care.

Part of me wants to cry for this baby, part of me wants to pray for this sad, sad family but the majority of me wants to beat the crap out of these people who most certainly don't deserve the title "parents."

Monday, March 3, 2008


My friend, Pudgy, has a great little tongue-in-cheek post on her blog about the Build-a-Bear stores.

"My teddy bears never wore clothes, nor were they naked. I would like to think of them as the Garden of Eden bears, before the fall of the toy industry."

Read the rest here.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

How do you say "idiot" in German?

This amazingly beautiful picture of me was taken in front of the main altar at World Youth Day 2005 in Koln, Germany. I bought the t-shirt near the cathedral in Koln and I'm wearing it again today, although today (3 years later) it doesn't quite cover my prego belly.
Funny story about the t-shirt. I was with my friend Tatjana while shopping for it and she, a native of Germany, would translate t-shirt slogans as needed. So when I got to this one I asked her, "What does it say?"
"It says 'Believe.'"
"Really?!! Oh!"
And then I realized that she wasn't translating - it's written in English.


"Every time I thought I'd got it made / It seemed the taste was not so sweet..." - David Bowie

My whole life I've wanted to be a stay at home mom. But now that I'm on the brink of it I'm actually quite afraid. And it's not just the fact that we'll be living off one salary, I haven't changed a diaper in years and the house still isn't done (though it is close).

Suddenly I have thoughts about the career I could have had: I was offered jobs where I made a good starting salary and could have moved up. I would have been very good at them but I didn't have the desire to work in a more "corporate" setting. So I settled for a smaller pay and a much better work atmosphere.

There's also the grad school. I would have done very well in grad school, but I was done with being critiqued by the time I graduated. I knew I could present an interesting perspective on a piece of literature and I knew I could do it well. I didn't need another two years of it to get a job I really didn't want anyways.

And then there's the travel - getting outside Central Illinois. Why didn't I study abroad, or live in the UK for awhile, or a big city. But I've been to Italy, Poland, Germany, the UK, Belguim, Luxemborg, the Bahamas, not to mention Seattle, NYC and the four months I lived in San Francisco. I've experienced other cultures; I've seen great works of art; I've struggled with a foreign language; I've lived in a big city and met fascinating people, and I've learned what it's like to venture out on my own - completely without a support system. And at the end of all these things I've always been confident that I wanted to come back home, to my friends and family.

It seems a little silly that now that I'm pregnant and won't be working, traveling or going to grad school I want these things. I guess it's because, while I know I can do those three things well, I have no idea how to breastfeed and discipline and raise a normal, happy, healthy, faithful kid. Years of babysitting mean nothing in the face of raising your own kid.

I've been told this is a normal fear, and every mom I know has assured me that everything will be fine and that it's all worth it. I guess I just need to get back to being who I know I am and who I know God made me to be. And I think I need to stop comparing myself to the women I know who are living the lives I've described above. They're younger than me or have different values and goals. So what good is the comparison, because in the end I'd just want to be right back here: happily married to a great man, big and pregnant with his baby and living in the home he's making for me.