Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fry 'em up, baby!

This spring we've been really lucky about getting morels to eat. Travis' family gave us a bunch, he went mushrooming with them and brought home more, he found some under his grandparent's bushes, and we had some growing right outside our back door. Crazy.
This one was all bent over on itself - needless to say, it was HUGE.

I'm holding this one.

All fried up and ready to go. So, so good.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lydia Dancing

Our daughter loves music. She dances to Baby Einstein classical music, jingles in commercials, in her carseat, any time she hears something she likes. Needless to say, it's incredibly cute.

Congrats Nick & Mia!

Over the weekend our good friends Nick and Mia got married. It was a fabulous weekend filled with lots of good friends, good food, Marconi bread, Banana Split ice cream, techno music and fun dancing. Travis and I were both honored to stand up with the happy couple. We wish them every blessing possible. Much love the the new Mr. and Mrs!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It was supposed to be about Jenky

My last blog post wasn't supposed to be about Obama or Notre Dame as much as it was supposed to be about the silence of the Bishop of Peoria. However, it seems pretty clear that I missed that target.

One commenter made some good points on my past post, but the one I want to address is about George W. Bush, who was also honored by Notre Dame in 2001. I agree with Bill's statement, "this has not been the first and will not be the last person they invite to speak who is both simultaneously "for" and "against" life."

To majorly oversimplify, Obama is much more pro-life than Bush in areas of social justice and torture, ie waterboarding. Bush, on the other hand, is against abortion. Obama, as reported by the Washington Post "strongly criticized the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth ban. In the Illinois state Senate, he opposed a bill similar to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which prevents the killing of infants mistakenly left alive by abortion."

To be honest, I don't remember if anyone was upset that Bush was honored by ND. I think some eyebrows should have been raised and that we should have been upset. There are plenty of people who are in complete agreement with the Church's teachings and ND could have honored them. But should we have been as upset about Bush as we are about Obama? I don't think so; when it comes to whose policies are de-humanizing and killing more people (innocent or guilty), Obama wins.

Here's a good article about comparing abortion and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't address all the horrible things Bush let happen, but I think it makes a good point.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our Lady

Some of you who read this might be upset that Obama was honored by Notre Dame, despite the teachings of the Catholic Bishops of the US. If that's you, you probably are also embarrassed or frustrated or saddened by the so-called "Catholic" university and its identity crisis.

Some of you who read this might think it was right for the president to be honored since he's an honorable man. You may be Catholic or not. But if you are Catholic you probably don't attend Mass every Sunday.

At our house we waited a long time for Bishop Jenky, our bishop, a member of the Holy Cross order which runs ND, and a member of their Board of Trustees, to make a statement on this issue. While we waited we hoped that he was so silent, while 83 other US bishops publicly opposed the choice to honor Obama, because he was using his power as a board member, brother and bishop on the inside to make a difference.

However, even after the graduation day he has remained silent and will most likely remain so. Perhaps he is being obedient, which I can respect, but I would think that his role as a bishop - a leader of the people - would be to make a stance against it. I often checked the diocesan website and carefully read the diocesan newspaper to see if there were any remarks. When I continually found none I called the newspaper to make sure I hadn't missed anything. They pointed me here, to the April 12th edition's editorial written by Bishop Jenky. All it is, though, is a blanket statement: abortion is bad and politicians should work to stop it.

To me, this isn't enough. I really wish he would use this opportunity to talk about the value and dignity of each life and to teach what that should look like:
- no death penalty
- no torture
- immigration laws that make it easier for people to come here, work here and support their families back in their native lands
- thorough support of mothers in need, whether they are pregnant or have a 3 year old
- charity towards immigrants, unwed mothers and fathers, mothers and fathers who chose abortions and others who are often mistreated by Christians and conservatives
- no abortions
- no contraception which cause abortions (ie the pill)

There's a really great list of coverage, reactions and statements about President Obama's presence at Notre Dame here:

I'm interested how other Central IL Catholics feel about our bishop and his silence. Any thoughts?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

to boldly go...

Hmmm... did you see Star Trek yet? My impressions as someone who occasionally watched Next Generation growing up but is only familiar with the original crew of the Enterprise because they're part of pop culture:
- I liked the following characters and thought the actors portraying them did a good job: Kirk, Scotty, the Russian kid, Sulu, McCoy.
- Pregnant, girly girl me cried at the beginning with the birth and the sacrificial love.
- I have heard that Z. Quintos (Spock aka Sylar) is a bit of a jerk in real life, and I'm a fan of Heroes so it was hard for me to like Spock or to feel any empathy for him at all.
- My friend, Jolene, was in the movie. She was on set for 3 months and ended up in 2 shots. It was, for lack of a better word, neat to see her up there on the big screen. (If you see it, she's not in the credits but has big blue eyes, a blonde bob and is unjustly attractive.) So part of me was thrilled about the movie just because I'm thrilled for Jo.

What did you think of it?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thank you anonymous woman

I try to attend daily Mass 2-3 times a week. Lydia and I go downtown to Sacred Heart because it's at a convenient time (12:05pm) and because the church is gorgeous. No matter where I or Lydia look we see beauty and images of holy men and women. It's hard to not think of God and godly things when your eyes can't escape them!
Last week there were a lot of struggles for going to Mass: getting out of the house; finding parking; keeping Lydia in the pew; keeping Lydia away from the people trying to pay attention while she's trying to show them her book or shoe; keeping Lydia from squealing during the consecration or the Gospel, etc. All those things add up and stress me out. I feel embarrassed that my kid just threw her book two pews back and even more embarrassed that I'm clearly upset with her.
This week I decided to give the other daily Mass attendees a break from my daughter and I and waited until today to go. And when we got there the woman who picked up the aforementioned thrown book came up to us quickly and gave Lydia a rosary in a little white purse. She said she loves watching Lydia at Mass and gets a lot of enjoyment from her. She said she hopes when Lydia's older I'll have the rosary blessed and give it to my daughter.
I felt so humbled by her generosity and thoughtfulness. I felt so grateful for her appreciation of my toddler. Such a little gesture that meant so much to me today!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Highlights from Lydia's 1st Birthday

Big girl with her bottle. So cute!
Family pictures.
Playing with Daddy's belt.

Big Girl with her pretty pink painted toenails.

Her first scraped knee. :(

Yay for rainbows.

Everyone at the park.
Let them eat cake - chocolate, white or pineapple upside down. :)

Monday, May 11, 2009


I'll be posting pics from Lydia's 1st Bday party soon and very soon... but in the meantime make this recipe, Fajita Chilaquiles Casserole, for dinner. It was sooooo good!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

what I want for Mother's Day

I saw a list on Conversion Diary and I thought I'd just throw this out in case Travis reads it.

This year I don't want flowers or breakfast as much as I want to shower and get ready for the day in absolute quiet. No Lydia tugging at me or crying at the door. I'd like to sleep in (if possible). A clean, detailed car would be awesome. And I would like a card, nice and sappy. Make me cry.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

the last day

This school year I've had the absolute pleasure of tutoring a girl in her catechism classes. The whole experience has been very eye-opening, teaching me things and reaffirming some old beliefs.

Teaching me that 6th graders are a lot of fun and the amount of responsibility, intelligence, kindness and fortitude that can be found in one is quite impressive.
Reaffirming that if all students were as good as my tutee is I would have gone into teaching, but they're not so I stayed out of the education department in college.

Teaching me the history of the Divided Kingdom, Samaritans and the prophets.
Reaffirming the knowledge that when we teach the faith we learn it better, but it's impact is even greater when we whole-heartedly believe and live it.

My goal with this girl has been to present a lot of information, hoping that when she hears it again in the future she will be reminded of a lesson we had. I don't think it's important for a 6th grader to remember all the details of the life of Jeremiah, but I do think it's important that when a reading of his comes up at Mass she remembers that the Jews really hated him because of the hard message he was preaching, but he preached it anyway because that's what God wanted of him.

Another goal has been to build her confidence in how to use the Bible. Where are the Gospels, the Psalms, the prophets and the epistles located? How do you use the footnotes? How do you look up further explanations in the Catechism? I think this part is so incredibly important that many times we didn't use the book provided by the parish. Why read a generic summary when the actual words are so much more powerful, captivating and fruitful?

Also, we covered the Liturgical Seasons - a lot. When I was a kid I never knew why the priest wore green for awhile and then switched to purple. But I want her to observe and embrace the Church's calendar, doing so helps us live and understand our faith.

We began each session with a prayer, rote or off the top of our head. And every day we closed by reading a psalm. My hope is that when she doesn't know what or how to pray she'll feel comfortable relying on someone else's words to help her.

Finally, the most important fact that I reiterated over and over again is that God always provides and He is always faithful. If she can carry that with her throughout the rest of her life, hopefully she'll never despair.

Our last class featured a Jeopardy review game power point. I was so impressed with how well she did. Example: she remembered that Solomon had the Temple built and, while she couldn't remember what the Ark of the Covenant was called, she remembered where it was located in the Temple and what it contained. I don't think I knew any of that in middle school. (or high school or even college)

Our final event will be a field trip to the Brothers of St. John in June. She's never met a religious before and we'll be joining the brothers for Office, Mass and lunch. I'm so excited about it (and glad that of the options I gave her she picked monks!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

read this!

Jen tells the story of her daughter's name here. It's a bit of a jaw-dropper, or at least it was for me. Check it out - it's amazing and a short read.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, Lydia Anne!

One year ago today I gave birth to a total stranger. It was the hardest day of my life and the beginning of the hardest 6 months of my life. But today I can say that I love being your mom and I look forward to every day with you. You are smart, fun, adorable and lovely.
You are one of the best things in my life.
May God bless you richly in this coming year.
All my love.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Lydia started playing peek-a-boo a couple weeks ago. She will cover the eyes of the person she's playing with or her own, often she switches back and forth between the two. It is adorable.