Friday, November 30, 2012

7 quick takes

1 - How about a happy, peppy song?  It's a fun video, too.

2 - On Twitter I have 250 followers, and I bounce back and forth 249, 250, 249, 250.  Tomorrow I will probably be back down to 249.  It's funny to me because I'm not sure what it is that I say that makes someone drop me every other day and then I wonder if it's because of what I don't say - nothing funny or intelligent - but in the end I just don't care.  I'm amused I have more than 20 followers in the first place.

3 - Thank you to everyone who gave advice for my friend Beth who is joining the Church.  Please don't forget her in your prayers!

4 - This morning Bennet was playing Mass.  His chalice was an old Folgers container.  The hosts was a leftover waffle tore into bits.  Purificator, a dish rag.  The patent, toy baking sheet.  The paul, a toy skillet.  Corporal, another dish rag.  Chalice veil, kitchen hand towel.  It was so cute.  But for Christmas my kids will be getting one of these lovely little toy Mass kits.

Impressed by my phat skills of knowing all the sacred vessels and whatnot?  In college my bff's and I made up a song for the names of things in the order they are assembled for Mass, from the bottom up.  It helped us remember during our sacristan training.  I'll share it with you.

Sung to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me"
Chalice, chalice, this I know
Purificator, patent, host
Paul, corpral, chalice veil
Cruets, ciborium, finger bowl*

(The "remix" part is to the tune of the Chili's babyback ribs jingle and requires two people)
Part I:
I want my finger bowl, finger bowl, finger bowl. (repeat)
Part II:
Cruets, credence table
Cruets, credence table
(in a low voice, I and II together) Ciborium

* these items are found on the credence table, of course.

5 - I am either experiencing some kind of deficiency or my body is getting ready for sick season because I am eating clementines all day long.  Yesterday I also had a PBJ made out of leftover waffles, too, which was more about not letting the waffles go to waste.

6 - Teresa had better start crawling today!  She's been close for awhile - she gets up on all fours and does the rocking thing - but after last night's disruptive sleep and the fact that she's awake two hours earlier than usual... I want to see something for all this!

7 - Thanks to Jen for hosting!  Have a good weekend and don't forget to come back Sunday for the first of the Advent series!  Lisa Hendey will be kicking things off for us!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pre-gaming for the Advent series

If you watched my first ever vlog then you know that beginning December 2nd and running through December 24th I'm hosting an Advent guest blogger series on Ye Olde Knotted Life.

If you didn't watch the vlog then I'll fill you in:  I'm having an Advent series featuring a different guest blogger every day.  I actually had so many people say 'yes' that I'll have 24 posts, which I will add, as they come, to the Advent tab that I promise I'll put in at the top of the page.

The gist of the series is this: Each blogger will share a little something about how they keep the Season of Advent in their home.  Some will talk about special feast days, some books, some prayers, some common traditions, some not-so-common traditions.  There will be new moms, moms with older kids, single women, even a nun! 

I'm really excited about the series and I'm hoping that this series will accomplish both of my goals: 1) showcase the beautiful variety of ways we can celebrate Advent and 2) inspire all of us as we journey towards Christmas.

In the meantime, here's some great links I've stumbled upon to get you going:

Let's Pump Up Advent This Year from OSV
Advent 101 from the USCCB (thanks, Bishops!)
All kinds of Advent resources from
Start a New Tradition aka Wise Men and Not an Elf on the Shelf from Life Happens When
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Advent from Karen Edmisten

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What I Wore Sunday

These are acutally pictures from last Sunday.  This Sunday I wore a different dress (this one brown with small white polka dots) and a different cardigan (this one royal blue).  Same boots. 

Anyways, last Sunday I attended a Mass at the Cathedral because my very good friend was being awarded a Diocesan award for all her outstanding work. 
 So Katie, the award-winner, wore a super cute dress with super cute heels, and a nice, sensible cardigan.  She also wore her Pere Marquette Award, because she's awesome.

I wore a maternity dress because I'm fat and it fits, a cami, and a brown cardigan.  And some boots.  Love the boots. 

Dress: Target, like 3 years ago
Cami: Target
Boots: Christmas gift
Cardigan: hand-me-down
40 extra pounds: Lydia and Bennet's pregnancies

Thanks to Fine Linen and Purple for hosting!

What I Wore and What I Ate: a Thanksgiving recap

I finally have time to sit down and post all these things.  And now that most of you have moved on to Christmas despite the fact that it's still November, you may not care anymore.  But if you do, well here you go!
6 month old Teresa wore a hand-me-down onesie and some cute polka dot pants.

4 year old Lydia wore a hand-me-down dress, hand-me-down cardigan, shiny red shoes, and pink socks that she was certain matched her dress and shoes.

Everything I wore came from Target.
I think the watering can really makes the picture.

This was supposed to show the detail on the neckline.  It's what you get when a toddler is taking your pictures.

And now what we ate for lunch.
(My cranberry fluff turned out well - yippee!)

And then the kids did dishes.

For supper Mom set out a bunch of yummy, lighter food. 
Veggies and dip and lunchmeat and soup...

... homemade bread and grapes and cheese and jam.

Then on Saturday we hosted Trav's family for Thanksgiving. 
Here's the hubs cutting our first turkey. 

Every year I trace the kids' hands and we make a turkey.  Then on the same page I write a list of all the things they're thankful for.
Lydia said picnics and going to Grandma's.
Bennet said "all birthday for me" and all the people he loves.
James' list was made up by me, filled with things I know he likes, like trains, chicken nuggets, and his speech therapist.

Special Announcement

P.S. - I will add a new tab at the top of my blog with all the links to each Advent post.  I know that when you hear an idea you like on December 20th it may be too late to put it into practice this Advent, but maybe not!  So you can revisit these posts, all conveniently gathered in one place, next fall so you and your family can adopt a new tradition next year.

P.P.S. - Please note that my hairdresser has been on maternity leave, so my lame bangs have a legit excuse.

Friday, November 23, 2012

7 quick takes

1 - I need something beautiful, so we're going to listen to this song.
I look at the people around me and I wonder what we are all doing.  What in the world have we done, and what are we going to do?  For weeks now I have been heavy hearted.  I walk around feeling discouraged most of the time and occasionally even abandoned.  I am trying to choose hope.  I know that sometimes in life we have only hope or despair.  The two are laid out before us, ours for the taking.  I have tried to hope.  But I am tired and I feel defeated, worn down, and alone and so sometimes it is hard to hope.

2 - Sorry to start out on such a sour note.  If I've been grumpy about you putting up your Christmas tree last week maybe now you understand my scrougeyness.  Now that Thanksgiving is officially done with I am much more tolerable of Christmas music and merriment, though I'm not really "feeling it".  (I read the article "An Advent Plan for a Non-People Person" and laughed a little and nodded my head a whole lot.)  I am ready for Advent, though.  I am asking God to give me a fruitful Advent and then a joyful Christmas. 

3 - On a happy note, the song above is called "Grace's Waltz" and it was written by Fernando Ortega in honor of his grandmother Grace, which is sweet and lovely.  The first time I heard it I was enchanted and I swore I would walk down the aisle to it when I got married.  I did, and it was perfect.

4 - On Wednesday I was able to attend the funeral of a wonderful woman, whom I had the pleasure to call Grandma Ba.  She wasn't my grandmother, but my friend Sarah's.  My first day of high school I met Sarah - our lockers were next to each other - and we have been friends ever since.  Sarah is great about sharing her family with her friends and so I got to know Grandma Ba fairly well over the years.  She was kind, funny, and so proud to be Swedish. 

At the funeral we sang the hymn "This Is My Father's World."

Sarah and I actually sang this song in our high school choir and I've always loved it.  The last verse always brings a tear to my eye but in the context of Grandma Ba's funeral - well, let's just say there was more than one tear!

This is my Father's world. 
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet. 
This is my Father's world: 
why should my heart be sad? 
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! 
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

5 - Thanksgiving.  I took pictures to join Grace's link-up.  I took pictures to post of our awesome food.  And then I forgot the camera at my mom's house.  oops.
I wore jeans, a muted magenta top with cloth roses around the neckline, and a grey cardigan with small white dots.  I looked cute.

6 - I have a goal of getting Teresa to take a bottle by December 14th so I can see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Oh seriously.  You can call me a nerd and I won't care.  WHOA buddy!  I am excited!  I really, really loved reading the book, and as a fan of Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" I am certain that this will be visually beautiful and intelligently done. 

Did you know Benedict Cumberbatch (he plays Sherlock on the BBC series that I love!) is in it? 

So is Martin Freeman, of course (Watson from BBC's Sherlock), and for some reason I have a small, silly crush on that man. 

(Okay, I know the reason.  It's because he always plays a kind man.  I like kind men.  But don't tell Travis about this crush because then he will tease me to no end.)  And James Nesbitt is also in the movie and I love him!  Okay, enough rambling.  I'm happy.  I'm looking forward to it.  The end.

Okay, ps. I told Travis.  He made fun of me.

7 - Here's a couple of recipes I tried recently and they were all hits.
Sweet and sour chicken.  I didn't use the eggs because James is allergic but the cornstarch was enough.  They were great and everyone asked for more, and more.
Sweet dinner rolls.  I tried these last year for Thanksgiving and they were so popular I brought them back for Christmas.  Bread machine friendly recipe, but it can easily be made "the old fashioned way."

Have a good weekend, and thanks to Jen for hosting!

Monday, November 19, 2012

advice for a convert

Last night I was tickled pink to get an email from my old Eureka College friend, Beth.  We were English majors together and, though she was infinately more sophisticated and cool than I was, we bonded over Wilco and books and became friends.  I was thrilled - thrilled, I tell you! - when she told me that tonight she begins RCIA classes to convert to Catholicism. 

Beth asked if I would pray for her and if I had any advice to share.  I responded with five bits o' wisdom and a promise to carry her as an intention, but I wondered if you good folk would join me.

Would you also, please, say a prayer for Beth?

And what advice would you give her?  You can read my list below, but what would you add? 

1 - Ask questions if you don't understand and rely on the Catechism. Sometimes well intentioned Catholics don't understand the faith well or sometimes we just can't explain it well. If we give you an answer that seems kind of wonky look it up in the Catechism for clarification.
2 - Attend Adoration - even if it's just for 5 minutes. Our belief in the Eucharist is THE most important part of our faith - make sure you embrace it AND have a real love for Christ.
3 - Embrace the Church's teachings on sexuality - and therefore NFP (natural family planning) - if you haven't already. It can be a real sonofabitch but if you understand what the Church teaches about sex then you'll understand what it teaches about marriage, masturbation, procreation, divorce, etc. But don't just "understand" it - embrace it, live it out with charity and joy.
4 - Know that satan is very real and he will try to attack you during your conversion and probably soon after. A lot of converts lose faith shortly after Easter Vigil and I'm certain it's because of satan. Be prepared for that. I will pray for you.
5 - Lastly, take advantage of the Church's teaching on redemptive suffering. I swear, I don't know how people who aren't Catholic handle the bad stuff in life without it. Redemptive Suffering makes so much sense and it truly makes the yoke easy, the burden light.

Now it's your turn!  Head to the comment box to congratulate and welcome Beth and then share a bit of advice with her!

And don't forget to pray for her!  Thanks, friends!

And Beth, this is for you:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

search results

Search results that brought people to my blog in the last week

a knotted life blog
father christopher weldom
hallie and dan lord
the knotted life
i have 2 bald spots on each side of my head and i have very little hair
strawberry shortcake
thomas the train birthday party blog
train birthday blog
5 month old baby girls*

*I'm hoping this is not a perv.

Friday, November 16, 2012

7 quick takes

1 - I heard of this guy yesterday and I am in love.  Love Love Love.  That's the name of another one of his songs that's also super good.

2 - Like you, I am also eagerly awaiting the next season of Downton Abbey.  (Unless you're my friend Lisa who somehow got her hands on some illegal downloads or something.)  But I just want to point out that Masterpiece Theatre is doing it exactly right with another show as well.  If you haven't watched Sherlock you need to start now.  It is seriously so great.

In honor of my love for Sherlock I give you this:

3 - Let's do High/Lows for the week.  For me, the High was napping, tied with doing puzzles with the older two kids.  The Low was cleaning poop off the sofa.  Your turn!

4 - When I have nightmares they frequently take place in the same location - this big, old mansion with gorgeous, wide, wooden stairs and rooms with lots of windows.  It is older and unkept and it feels like there's something evil there.  I might not dream about it for months but then it will show up again, or at least a close variation of it, and I'll be reminded of how I've "been there" before.

Does anyone else ever have this happen?

5 - If you like Cardinal Dolan &/or Bishop Jenky &/or Venerable Fulton Sheen I want you to go to Bishop Jenky's blog and watch this great video of Dolan and Jenky joking about all the chins they have and speaking about Sheen's cause.  It's really funny and full of personality.  It makes me happy to be Catholic.

6 - Also, here's a little something I don't understand.  Why do women post pictures of "dreamy" guys on Pinterest?  I was going to say something but then I saw this and pinned it.
Except I would end it by saying, "Out of respect for your husband, your marriage, and Jesus Christ, I encourage you to delete it." instead of the "Just saying."

7 - Someone tell my 2 year old that 5:25 is not a good time to wake up.  Please and thank you.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What I Wore Sunday

This is my first time participating in the What I Wore Sunday link-up.  I was going to do it last week because I was wearing this fantastic blue dress and I thought I looked fantastic.  And then two different women asked about my pregnancy.  er, um, just fat, thanks.  So no pictures were taken and that dress will move to the back of the closet.

But this week no one asked about upcoming due dates and so I thought I'd go ahead and join the fun.  On this warm but very blustery day I wore:
An old black dress.  I think I bought it at Target while in college.  It's super duper comfortable - I will probably sleep in it tonight.

And old red cardigan.  It was a Christmas present from back when I was thin and so is now way too small.  Whatever, I still wear it.
Grey maternity tank from Target.  Very stretchy so it's perfect for nursing and modesty purposes.

Sock bun.
I swear my hair is thinning in the front.  Do you see all those bald spot looking areas?  Eeek!

Sparkly shoes from Target.  Got them there last spring.  Love, love, love them.

Red lipstick and old, cheap hoop earrings.  

Head back to Fine Linen and Purple for more fun!

Friday, November 9, 2012

7 Quick Takes

1 - If you haven't watched this yet, please do.  Dwija posted it first and I'm so glad she did.  I've watched this over and over again since Tuesday.  It's a bit silly and fun, and it's supposed to be because our Catholic faith is fun and we should be lighthearted! - but it makes me choke up every time I watch it.  All I can think is that if I didn't believe in God I would want to because of the hope and promise in JPII's words. 

2 - An Obama-loving friend of mine wrote this on Facebook, "To all of my red friends, be not afraid, we come in peace."  I wanted to comment, "Oh thank God!  I hope that means you will no longer expect me to pay for free abortifacients."  But I figured that no matter how sincere those words of mine are - truly without a bit of sarcasm - she and all her friends would probably think I was just picking a fight and being dumb.  So I didn't.  Maybe that makes me a coward but then I read what Kaitlin said and I realized that she nailed what I'm thinking and it's something I don't think my FB friend can understand: 

I fear that I'm inadequate to raise children who are capable of withstanding the assaults that are ahead. Can I truly raise martyrs? Am I even strong enough to be a martyr myself? Maybe not to death, but to jail? Or to joblessness? What will I be asked to sacrifice for my faith? And I'm sure some will read this and think I'm being melodramatic and that it can't possibly come to that. I hope you're right. But I believe you're wrong. It's already happening.

3 - I have tried to focus on HOPE this week.  Not Obama's hope, which Bob Rice perfectly described as "optimism based on the human spirit; [while] our hope is rooted in Jesus Christ and in His saving power."  You should read Marie's post on Hope.  It's a great summary, to which I would add,
"In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world!" -John 16:33

5 - Here's my latest post at Ignitum Today.  It's a review of The Little Way of Advent: Meditations in the Spirit of St. ThereseIf you're looking for a good book to help you keep Advent I recommend this one.  I really liked it and look forward to slowly reading it and praying in a few weeks.

6 - My cousin Darcy sent this picture to me.  I was really touched that she even thought of me and I wanted to share it, especially in light of my post "People at the Grocery Store Think I Have too Many Kids."

7 - We've recently started popping our popcorn on the stove.  Occasionally I'll still use the air popper, but popcorn on the stove tastes so amazing that I don't know if I will ever crave microwave popcorn again.  The oil flavors it so butter isn't even needed, just a little salt.  You can find the recipe I use on my Pinterest board, Food I Gotta Make.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

a busy life means a new calling

I know awhile ago I mentioned that something is brewing in my life.  Actually, there's a lot of changes happening in my life right now and I'm really excited about all of them.  This Fall has been a busy one for us - four kids, Travis is pursuing his masters, lots of opportunities to develop my writing at Ignitum Today and other places, speaking engagements, meeting/speaking/working with many of my favorite Catholic celebrites, etc.  Great things - but they keep us busy!

With all of these blessings I have realized that God was no longer asking me to serve Him through the Behold Conference.  Believe me, it is with a lot of sadness that I give my role of Assistant Director back to Him, but I know that He knows best.  Rose and the rest of the Behold volunteers have been working on all kinds of exciting things to develop the ministry and I am 100% certain that their beautiful, fun plans are guided by the Holy Spirit.

I know that the Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to help found Behold Catholic Women's Ministries and the Behold Conference.  He has definitely been generous to me as the work allowed me to collaborate with wonderful, fun, devout women throughout central Illinois and meet heroes of mine like Jennifer Fulwiler, Teresa Tomeo, and Kate Wicker.

At the next conference I will be sitting in the audience, taking it all in, cheering on my friends, and thanking God for Behold.  Maybe we can sit by each other?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

a game show and Sheen

Make sure you watch it all the way to the end!  This video was one of the first Travis and I ever watched of Fulton Sheen - it was the beginning of our devotion.

Friday, November 2, 2012


1 - In light of this song I' just like to say: I hate postpartum NFP!  But the song is goo.

2 - If you live in or around Chillicothe, IL I invite you to come to St. Ed's 5pm Mass this Sunday.  Following Mass their youth group will host the parish (and maybe you!) while I present my talk on James and Fulton Sheen.  If you're on the edge about coming I want you to know that there's going to be cookies and lemonade.
For more info on St. Ed's check out their website. The 5pm Mass is not listed but my husband has assured me that there is a Mass at that time, and since he and his co-worker are the ones who arranged this I'm gonna trust his word.

3 - We had a great Halloween and I hope you did too!
 Monster and ghost pancakes for breakfast.  
Chocolate chips for the ghost.
Green batter with orange sprinkles for hair, Christmas sprinkles for the mouth, googley eye sprinkles for the eyes.  

 Home made Jack-O-Lantern pizza for supper.
 Lined up at Grandma Bert's and PaPaw's house.
 Wedding Bride
 A brave knight.

4 - So what to do with all the leftover candy?  Well, I chopped a bunch of it up and made cookies.
Peanut butter cups, Snickers, 3 Muskateers, Tootsie Rolls, Twix all mixed together.  Yum-o.

5 - If you haven't yet read Rebecca French's article "The Borrowed Baby" at Ignitum Today I strongly encourage you to take a moment and do so.  It is a powerful article, one I am still pondering.  If you are now or ever want to be a parent I think you should read it and think about what Rebecca is saying.

6 - Happy Feast of All Souls!  Peter, pray for me.

7 - Have a fun weekend, folks.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

And all the saints said

"We wanna see you up here!"

Happy Feast Day, everyone! Today we celebrate all the holy men and women who have gone before us - a great cloud of witnesses - giving us many examples of people who loved Christ and lived well.

Some day, I'm gonna be in Heaven (thanks be to God!) - and if the Church, in Her infinite wisdom, sees fit to canonize me I would like to suggest that She make me the Patron Saint of Putting Your Foot In Your Mouth. And Awkward People. And Super Duper Fertile Couples. And Mommas Who Like to Bake.

What would you be the patron saint of?

Now here's a story from my favorite Venerable-hopefully-he'll-be-a-Saint-soon, Fulton Sheen.
Sheen was giving a retreat at a Trappist monastery. Those monks do serious penance - no speaking, no over-eating, etc. Sheen was hearing confessions and a monk came into the room.

"Glory be to God, man! How'd you get so fat in a Trappist monastery?!"

"Fat? I've lost ninety pounds since I got here!"