Saturday, May 31, 2008

Disaster: Round Two

Since we are living at Mark's parent's home all of our belongings are scattered in family members' basements and pole barns. One basement flooded yesterday. Fortunately, the majority of our things were spared. Unfortunately, our mattresses very wet. We tried the best we could, and only time will tell if they are wrecked from mold.

Blankets are still MIA. Luke is still sleeping with my pants. It's a little awkward.

Good News: I have a new bike! I got my last bike for my 10th birthday, so it was long overdue. We've attached the bike to a bike trailer and Mark and I have been out nearly everyday with Luke in tow. When the weather is good we live in such a gorgeous area. In addition to biking around lakes and trails, we have this only minutes away.

Hello Summer!


Around 15-months of age Luke became attached to a certain green silky blanket. Without any prompting or routine he began to carry this blanket with him everywhere. It's gone on road trips, attends Mass, restaurants, and has a continual morning breath smell from being sucked on all night in the crib.

Because he couldn't spare the two hours a day it needed to be washed, his grandmother found an (almost) identical blanket in blue so that I could "tag team" the blankets and get them washed without tantrums or nap strikes. This system works, as long as I can keep track of both.

Both blankets are MIA. Two nights ago the blankets went missing. This is a disaster. Both Mark and I became super-sleuths as we searched the entire house for the missing blankets. We searched every cupboard and closet, looked under beds, inside baskets, the fireplace, washing machine, fridge, in the cars, outside...EVERYWHERE! After an hour of fighting bedtime without his blanket, Mark grabbed a silky pillow case and threw it in the crib. That worked.

Yesterday, sometime between nap and bedtime, the pillow case went missing. The same routine followed last night racking our creativity searching for the missing blankets and pillowcase. I crawled around the house trying to gain a toddler's perspective and came up short, they can't be found. Luke was up until 10pm while I was digging though linens trying to find a blankey replacement. We are out of blankets and out of pillowcases.

Last night Luke went to bed with a silky pair of Minnesota Vikings pajama pants.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Break

The summer is here. Our days are spent on bike rides, the baby swing, and reading novels while looking out at the lake. During the long and seemingly never-ending winter I would look at the clock and await lunchtime, bath time, bedtime, as the hours went by slowly and creative measures had to be taken to prevent too much boredom. These days the time passes so quickly that bedtime is pushed an hour later, and days begin at first sunlight. I'm happy to say that in the midst of this pace of life that I've set the computer aside significantly. The outdoors has provided much entertainment, and Luke tolerates less play indoors while I type away at the computer.

While I enjoy blogging and have so many little anecdotes spinning around in my head, I'm not sure how regularly I'll be blogging this summer. I've been looking forward to this summer for years. College is over, law school is done, and this is the last summer before our transition to our life in the mainstream. Once it's over life will never be the same, and I'm intending to make the most of it.

I'll end with my summer reading list. Happy reading!

Josephine B. Trilogy, by Sandra Gullond
Her Infinite Variety: Stories of Shakespeare and the Women He Loved, by Pamela Berkman
The Memoirs Of Cleopatra: A Novel by Margaret George
The Boleyn Inheritance, by Philippa Gregory
The Royal Diaries: Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, by Kathryn Lasky
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Monday, May 19, 2008

Healthy Living: Update

Awhile ago I posted about healthy living/eating. We've had successes and a few failures, but here's how we've come along.

Since Easter we've been eating steel-cut oatmeal with ground flax seed every morning. Out of the many brands we've tried, we've preferred the locally-grown from our co-op. These taste much more "from the earth" whether it's due to the lack of processing or packaging I don't know, they cook longer and taste "healthier."

Our dinners are generally healthy with our staples being boneless, skinless chicken breasts, salmon and tilapia, paired with brown rice, and dark greens. To make these dinners healthier I've tried locally grown brown rice and have experimented with more uncommon grains such as barley and millet. The difference in taste with the locally grown food is amazing.

We fall very short in a few categories. With all of our driving and travel we've been eating too much fast food, drinking too much coffee/diet coke, and are up too late eating ridiculously buttery popcorn. There is definite room for improvement, and I'm hoping this summer to meet new goals in healthy living. We're looking forward to the weather improving and plenty of outdoor exercise and time on the lake.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Every morning is the same. When I get the baby out of the crib I greet him with a Good Morning, and he greets me with a smile. I have a sippy cup of milk and we plant ourselves on the couch. We watch Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He holds me tight and we snuggle together. Once he's sufficiently awake I won't be able to get hold of him until bedtime.

There is something majestic about a still morning. The quiet solitude of morning has always been a special time for me. I've replaced the morning news with Playhouse Disney, but I love that across from my cup of coffee I've got a little boy tucked in my shoulder.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Power of Prayer

Things have been busy with the family. We take things day by day and slowly check off the to-do lists as more and more activities mount. As my previous posts have alluded to, I'm pretty much in "Auto-Pilot" mode these days and have been plagued with feelings that I'm not doing quite enough for myself, the family, the planet, whatever.

Through it all I've realized that I really need to return to prayer as nourishment for my soul when I feel like I'm running on empty. When feelings of inadequacy strike, prayer brings me back. My prayer for these days goes something like, "Lord, I don't know what you want with me right now. If I'm doing enough, make me feel content. If you need something from me, please open a door and throw it on my lap. I don't know if my time is time needed for You, if my treasure is Your treasure, if my talents are talents You need. I want to serve You, show me how."

Now, two days after Mark's graduation I have something on my lap. I have something to pray about and something to make a decision about. God listened, and now I have to answer.

Monday, May 12, 2008

One Big Happy...

This is a picture of Mark being hooded by the elected Professor of the Year. To be hooded is a great honor.
Our family after the ceremony. Wow. We made it!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


We just returned from Mark's graduation. It's been a long weekend in a hotel. We've spent lots of time in the pool, the car, and restaurants. We're all a little tired, but very happy to have attended Mark's graduation.

More to come after a good night's sleep.

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Today's the day! Luke and I are driving to St. Paul this morning to join Mark for his graduation festivities. I am a bustling with to-do lists, to-pack lists, and "don't forget" lists. I woke up at the crack of dawn to iron what seemed an endless graduation robe, along with assorted dress shirts. We've learned a lot through this whole experience. I'm not only talking about the factors involved in Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, but really learned. The entirety of our marriage and family life has been within the compass of law school.

It's all been a little crazy. Sometimes the situation felt impossible, sometimes we felt like things couldn't get any harder, sometimes we felt that we were all alone. But, we've overcome, and now it's over. We've learned. One of our biggest lessons has been the sacrifice of family. We've learned the benefits of having a family who wants the best for you and pushes you to succeed in spite of unexpected obstacles. They've come to the rescue when we most needed it, and just when things get too overwhelming, someone always shows up to lend a helping hand. I can say confidently that we couldn't have done it without them.

There are many more transitions ahead of us, and while it's a mix of fright and excitement, we are confident that we can get through it. Pair a trust that God with a family that will do anything for you, and we'll be able to tough it out a little longer.

Praise God!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Round Two

One of my recent posts was very personal. The post "Pride and Consciousness" stemmed from the inevitable feeling of inadequacy that we all feel. Although there weren't many comments on the blog, I had quite a few encouraging emails with support and the understanding that we all need prayers to embrace where we are in life. We must always remind ourselves that no one's life is perfect and that we all struggle from time to time.

I wanted to address one comment in the case that I was misunderstood:

"Some people might think that YOUR life as a stay at home mom is ideal! My life is boring too."

I believe that regardless of our state in life that we at some point feel inadequate. Of course, how could we be fully content, as St. Augustine explains, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in You." Part of the malcontent can drive us to our best, while the other weighs us down and can act as a burden while we covet and compare our lives to others.

What I was addressing in my post was that nagging self-doubt that keeps us from doing what we're called to do, regardless of what that is. For an at-home mom it can be very easy to wonder if she is doing enough for her soul, her body, and her mind because she spends her waking hours caring totally for her children. It is inevitable for her to wonder if she is neglecting important aspects of herself as a person that have been pushed aside because of the children at the present forefront of her life.

In the same way a law student, for example, may feel that he or she is neglecting important aspects of themselves due to the constant pressure of studies. We all approach similar hurdles regardless of our state in life.

I think it's important to support one another in our unique callings. I think it's important to be honest about the triumphs and trials we all endure on our differing paths to holiness.

God Bless.

Just Because

This afternoon I was trying to empty the dishwasher. I have the best little helper in the world, but I was in a hurry and was looking for a quick distraction. I filled up a (clean) Tupperware container with water and put a few buoyant toys in it. My thought was that he would experiment a little with the toys, maybe splash a little, and at worst, dump the container.

When he pulled his diaper off and tried to bathe I pulled out my camera...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

White Gowns

This was a weekend of white dresses. My best friend Jenni is getting married in December. Saturday afternoon she called me wanting me to see a couple dresses she had been trying on at a boutique. Without hesitation I ran to the car and was on my way to meet her.

The dress Jenni tried on was stunning. Her mom, sister and I looked at her with our jaws dropped and eyes filling with tears. While I realize that it's just a dress, a wedding dress is very special.

Sunday was First Communion at church. Young girls wore white dresses with lace veils and gloves. They too were stunning. As I watched these second-graders through Mass I prayed for their special day. I don't think that it's a mere coincidence how much a first communicant resembles a bride. One young communicant caught my eye as her mother draped her arm around her shoulder, holding her lightly after receiving Christ for the first time. The small girl rested her head on her mothers shoulder while her mother wiped her own tears away.

This image stayed in my mind quite awhile. There are many occasions where it is appropriate to weep, but I am always struck when tears come not for sadness or joy, but for complete and overwhelming awe. As a mother, how amazing it must be to have the child that you carried as a vessel now a vessel for Christ, a living tabernacle of His love.

Life is a never-ending cycle, and I feel so blessed that I am able to witness the beauty of family and faith. On one side I get to see a dear friend prepare for marriage, a sacrificial giving of oneself, and on the other I am able to witness the love of a mother for her daughter as they are first able to share in the Eucharist. I think tears of awe and white gowns go hand in hand.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pride and Consciousness

I think I might need to take a break from social networking. I have a profile on Facebook and have had a largely enjoyable experience. It's a great way to keep in touch during a time in life where it's difficult to keep track of graduations, engagements, marriages, and babies. The break I need to take from Facebook has nothing to do with my friends on it, but rather the negative perception I get when I compare my life to others.

When seeing what friends and acquaintances are doing in their lives, it's too easy to compare. It's even easier to cluster everyone's great experiences into one. After glancing through profiles it's easy for me to say to myself "Well, I should be buying a home, getting a Master's degree, doing missionary work in China, starting my own business, making cloth diapers, attending daily Mass, having another child, and traveling to exotic locations." Of course, I don't know a single person who does all of this, but it can seem like it to an insecure mom who's trying to determine if she's doing a good job.

I have goals set for myself and for our family that I am daily trying to attain, yet I waste my energy comparing myself to others who are doing trying to do their best, too. Almost everyone I know, no, everyone, struggles with the occasional bout of thinking they're not as good as the rest and if they changed only a little that their problems would be solved. I'm an advocate for self-improvement and trying to do our best in general, but if we feel awful when we compare our efforts to our neighbor's then what's the point? In fact, I believe it to be an obstacle toward holiness rather than a tool. In that case, it's important to surround ourselves with those that lift us up while we all try to do what we can given what we have been individually blessed with.

As far as Facebook goes, on tired mornings with dishes in the sink from the night before, a cranky toddler and a rainy day, I shouldn't dwell on others' achievements and my failures, but pick myself up from where I'm at and look forward to the afternoon.