Thursday, July 03, 2014

Garden Update

Thursdays are usually for Small Successes at, but I'm not feeling all that successful at the moment, even with the small stuff. Instead, how about an update on our little garden!

A few weeks ago I posted pictures HERE of our new garden getting started. Just the finished boxes, put in place, and filled up ready to go. Since then we've been watching it slowly grow. Here are just a few current pictures.

So here is a view of the full garden. My husband put together a cage of sorts with some PVC pipe and a green mesh and put it over the bush beans that you see on the left side of the picture. We have lots of rabbits around here and they like the bean leaves. So far, no rabbits have gotten in. Next to the beans Hubby planted a bell pepper plant and one plant each of yellow squash and zucchini. In the box in the back of the picture are 4 tomato plants (where Hubby is standing) and basil.

It's a teeny tiny bell pepper!! Isn't it cute? It's about an inch tall. I can't believe we are growing things that we'll be able to eat one day. Can you tell I'm a total newbie to this. I'm sure my husband is amused.

We also have the start of some tomatoes. I tried to get a picture, but apparently I wasn't very successful.

And just for fun, here is how my children like to ride their bikes: over to the landscaped corner of the yard where they can play in the dirt. And apparently it is cool to pile the dirt on the seat of the bikes. Doesn't that sound like fun? I don't think so, but I'm not a three year old boy. The three year old boys find it incredibly fun! They crack me up.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Lawn Chair Catechism, Week 6: Union Workers

I gave myself a challenge this summer to read along with the book A Well-Built Faith and to blog about it. I knew it would be hard to squeeze in the time to not only read but to also write a blog post each week. And since this is week 6 and it's only my 3rd post, I'm obviously not quite meeting the challenge. But here we are once again, I'm not giving up! So on to our Law Chair Catechism discussion:

This chapter was chock full of information! Full to the brim! I don't even know where to start, so it's good that we have access to the leader's guide with some helpful discussion questions. The first two questions really get to the heart of what I took away from this chapter. I'll just touch on each of those.

What does it mean to say that spirituality is not just a slice of the pie that represents our life, but is the whole pie?

There is an exercise in this chapter where Paprocki lists several things that make up our daily life (work/school, eating, sleeping, play, family, exercise, spirituality, etc.) and asks the reader to create a pie chart in which you show what percentage of your time is spent on each of these things. I've done something similar to this before in leadership/management classes or workshops and in a "Seven Habits," Steve Covey seminar I did once. I was tempted to do it again because it is always an eye opener, but I ended up skipping it. I knew what it would reveal and it wouldn't have been pretty.

What I wasn't expecting was for Paprocki to then tell us that the spirituality component shouldn't be just one small (likely embarrassingly small) slice of the pie, but it should encompass the whole pie. Everything we do should revolve around our spirituality.

Reminds me of when St. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing.

Then I read this question and I thought about recent events. Hold onto your hats, I'm delving into current events:

The Hobby Lobby, Supreme Court lawsuit that came out this week is all a result of people who are trying to live and breath their spirituality. Their religion, their faith, their spirituality has infused itself so much into their daily lives that it influences their work life as well. It is commendable.

It is so easy to check our religion at the door, to keep it to that one hour on Sundays and not bring it home with us. But then we are nothing but frauds. We need to remember always that we are sons and daughters of God. We need to be charitable and loving to all those we come in contact with so that they wonder what makes us so special. We need to let our Catholic faith influence how we do our business, raise our families, and interact with our everyone we meet in our lives. We need to consider what our faith teaches us when we vote for public officials and people to represent us on every level of government.

That is freaking hard! Yes, we are going to fail. But we need to keep trying ("Always we begin again" as St. Benedict says). We should set aside time throughout our days to stop what we are doing and spend even just a few moments in prayer. We should make our work a prayer, whether your work is filing sales reports, cleaning the house, working at a retail store, going to school, changing diapers, running a business, whatever it is offer it up as a prayer.

This is something that will be a difficult challenge for me. But I think (I hope) I'm up for it.

What's the difference between belonging to the Church and being the Church?

It's so easy to think of church in terms of the parish we attend each week. That's the "church" where we know people, where we give our money, and where we spend time each week. We may know intellectually that our one parish is part of a much bigger, universal, world-wide Church, but it's often hard to completely grasp what that means. We don't see it, especially if we live in an area with only one Catholic Church.

I think for me, as I came back into the Church fully, I got a sense of the world-wide Church on a smaller scale by being a member of the Cathedral parish in my diocese. Between that and some involvement I had for a short time on the diocesan level I was able to expand my horizons some and see the Church as a bigger body than just my one parish. Of course, the Church (with a capitol C) is 100+ times bigger than that. But the point is, I, all of us, don't just belong to a parish or belong to the Church, we are the Church.

There would be no Church without the people, you and I, in it. Reminds me of the song that goes "We are all one body ..." (which I realize is based on Scripture, but the song is what popped into my head first). Jesus came to save and he left us a Church so that we could all be one. He didn't leave us a building, he left us a leader. We just celebrated the feast day of St. Peter and St. Paul this past Sunday. Jesus called Peter the "rock" upon which He would build His Church. Peter was just a man, a poor fisherman, but he became the leader of the Apostles and the foundation upon which the Church was built.

How interesting that it was a person. We are all people and together we make up the one body that is the Church. When I think of it that way I really begin to see how much bigger the Church is then just the millions (billions?) of people on this earth who are members of the Catholic faith. Do you see it, too? It's the communion of saints!

The communion of saints: all those who have been received into Heaven, all those who are being cleansed in Purgatory, and all of us here on earth, still fighting the good fight. All of us together, saints in heaven and saints-in-the-making on earth are members of the Church. We ARE the Church.

How cool is that?

For more discussion on Chapter 6 of A Well-Built Faith: A Catholic's Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe by Joe Paprocki, go visit the Week 6 discussion at

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bored Puppy Syndrome and Other Odds and Ends

Recently a friend of mine referred to her young children as bored puppies. The reference was to the craziness that seems to come out of nowhere when it is time for quiet time or nap time or bed time. I immediately realized that I too have a couple of "bored puppies." Every. Single. Night.

We have the same bed time routine every night. It hasn't changed in months and months. But that doesn't matter. Put them to bed, turn out the lights, crack the bedroom door ... and then the partying begins.

Part of the issue is that it is still light outside at this time of year. That certainly doesn't help things. You leave two three year old boys in a semi-dark room for just a couple of minutes and the chatter starts. That chatter quickly escalates, especially if no one goes in to put a stop to the madness!

This was Monday night. Which really isn't any different than most any other night. I was feeding Silas in his room listening to things slowly get out of hand in the room down the hall. Nothing like two bored puppies chewing up everyone's shoes and nothing being done to stop it. At least in this case there was no destruction. But still ...!

By the time I was finally able to put Silas down (who was only half done and didn't care for being stuck in his crib when he wanted his second course) I walked into the other room to find Bored Puppy Syndrome in full bloom: they were in the opposite beds, there was lots of giggling and shrieking, stuffed animals went flying through the air, and bed sheets were all twisted up. Honestly, I have no idea how I managed to NOT laugh at the antics. I play mean mom on TV, but really I'm laughing on the inside.

The amazing thing is how quickly these two little guys can hop back into their beds and have all the stuffed animals back in place. Two seconds flat. Seriously! Those are some mad skillz!

Threats of timeout, a chat with Hubby, and then I managed to get back to Silas. I continued to listen to things escalate once again (they just can't help themselves) and watched as Hubby enforced timeout. Eventually we had two sleeping boys. It just takes us an hour or more to get there. It is so much like watching bored puppies it's surreal.

In other news, Silas is now 6 months old and I did not get a picture of him on the day of. But we're finally having some professional pictures done this coming weekend and I can't wait to see some beautifully done pictures of all three boys! He also had his 6 month well visit and he's doing well. He's growing and gaining weight but apparently plateauing on the growth charts. He's healthy though, so we're not concerned. I'm going to take him back in a month just for a weight check and as long as he's going up we're not going to worry about it. He may just be a peanut. That's okay with me.

We did attempt to start him on some rice cereal, but it didn't go over very well. He was completely confused by the spoon. The boys had no interest until well past 7 months old, so I'm tempted to just put it away and wait. Hubby thinks we should keep trying. "We" would prefer to wait, but "he" is welcome to keep at it if that's what "he" wants to do.

Finally, I forgot to post here that I had an article up on Catholic Sistas this past Friday. Check out Marriage: A Catholic Understanding when you get a chance. I was especially surprised that Big Pulpit linked it up on their Friday Extra post. Never would have guessed that in a million years, but very honored by the link up.

Speaking of Catholic Sistas, if you don't follow the blog, I encourage you to check it out. We're currently working on a series of posts on the Anima Christi prayer (part 5 went up on Monday), there is a series started on Proverbs 31, and this coming Thursday I put up a guest post that is a letter from a mom to her unborn daughter who is not expected to live very long after birth (prayers for all of them, please!). The Thursday post will bring tears to your eyes! I'm amazed too at how this worked out. I won't go into details, but as it turned out, Thursday is also the day this precious baby will be induced. Putting the post up that day is a total coincidence. God works in amazing ways!! Anyway, all I can say is, we have a lot of good stuff going on at the blog. Posts go up usually four days a week and we have a lot of great talent.

There's a brief update on the goings on in these parts. I've been so sporadic with my blogging lately, but I do like to share when I can. I'm hoping to do another Lawn Chair Catechism post this week, too (I missed last week). Hopefully you'll hear more form me soon!

Friday, June 13, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Cinnamon Rolls, Doughnuts, Pizza, and Other Non-Food Takes


Not food-related: yesterday at Catholic Sistas there was a post all about fathers. It was a post in pictures and it was fun to look through. Sweet pictures, funny pictures, and everything in between. If you get a chance, go on over and check out 12 Things Catholic Fathers Want To Tell You About Themselves. I contributed a picture to the endeavor. I bet it won't be hard to figure out which one it is. 


Speaking of awesome dads, my little boy's awesome dad took him to a doctor appointment last week. Ethan had to have an echo cardiogram done and the appointment got made for a day and time that would require me to either bring the baby with me and cancel a meeting or ask Hubby to do it. So Hubby agreed to do it and he took Ethan in. I think the two of them had a good time. I was told that Ethan was really good, he brought his "baby" with him (a small blanket with a monkey head in the middle), and he got to watch Curious George during the echo. Hubby said he didn't seem to mind the procedure at all. And then afterwards, Hubby took him to a local bakery for a cinnamon roll before dropping him off at school. The cinnamon roll was definitely a highlight for the boy! He still mentions it and even Peter will randomly tell us, "Ethan doctor, had cinnamon roll." I think Peter is going to need his own "Daddy Date" soon, cinnamon roll included.

By the way, the echo cardiogram was good. He has a heart murmur, but apparently it's nothing to worry about.


This morning, both of the big boys got to have a little daddy time. Their daycare was having a "Doughnuts with Daddy" time this morning, so Hubby took the boys in a little early for that. I had them take the van and I loaded it up with all the usual stuff I bring every day. Silas and I came a little later and I fed him in his room as normal and then Hubby brought the boys by to say good-bye to me before heading up to their room. We then switched cars in the parking lot and both headed off to work. I like that our daycare does little things like this for the kids and parents. The boys had been looking forward to having doughnut with daddy all week. Although, I think the appeal of the doughnuts was bigger than time spent with dad. But that's okay, they'll still remember it.


Since the boys got to have doughnuts today I couldn't resist having a little treat myself. So after leaving the daycare I made a quick stop at the same little local bakery that Hubby had taken Ethan to last week. I bought myself a cinnamon roll and the guy running the cash register stuck two in my bag. I almost didn't notice and then he made a "side" comment and I realized what he had done. Two for the price of one! This is why small businesses are so great!! And those cinnamon rolls were so yummy!! Mmmmmm!


Enough about doughnuts and cinnamon rolls, we went out to dinner last night as a family. For a family with two working parents, it's amazing that we do so well cooking and eating at home for the most part. But every once in a long while we do have to improvise. So last night we went to a local pizza joint. We had gotten a gift card at Christmas time for this place but hadn't had a chance to use it until now. It's very close to campus and a very popular place so we knew we wanted to wait until things slowed down at the university. And it's summer now, so things are definitely slower! The restaurant was still really busy, but at least we managed to find parking.
The whole experience was a comedy of errors. As I approached the restaurant I saw Hubby walking up the sidewalk to the front door. So I expected him to get us a table and I'd be able to walk in and plop the kids right down. After I managed to get all four of us out of the car and arrange how we were going to walk in and slowly make our way to the building, we got in and could not find Hubby anywhere!! I texted him and got no reply. The hostess finally puts us at a table and I happened to look out and see Hubby standing outside at the corner of the building between the two front door. Obviously he hadn't gotten my text so I wasn't sure if I should bother calling him or not. I tried to arrange the toddlers at the table and eventually gave up, left all three kids there, and went and grabbed Hubby. Then we had a cup of milk spill (what is with waiters who grab a bunch of napkins for you and then plop them down right in the middle of the mess? Now how am I supposed to clean this up?). And then Silas didn't want to be left out, so he had to create a pooping mess for me to clean up. Glad the food was good!!


The funniest thing about our experience out last night was when Ethan decided he was finished eating. He climbed down from the table and told us he was finished. "I done, I done," he kept saying. I was trying to get him back into the booth and out of people's way. We were sitting right near where the wait staff was coming in and out of the kitchen.I was trying to reason with my toddler (which I know is pretty useless anyway) that he still needed to sit with us, that he didn't have to eat anymore if he was done, and that, unlike at home, there was nowhere for him to go. None of that was convincing him. "No! I done, I done." It was crazy and silly all at the same time. I was inwardly laughing at my "creature of habit" toddler while I was trying to keep him from tripping over the people coming in and out of the kitchen area. Eventually we did manage to get him back into the booth and he even ate some more of his pizza too.


Our weekend plans will hopefully include a trip to the library, some house cleaning, writing some thank you cards, taking Hubby out for breakfast on Sunday, and maybe even me cooking dinner Sunday evening. We'll see about that last one. Hope you have some great weekend plans! Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!!

This week's Quick Takes fun is being hosted by Kathryn of Team Whitaker. Go visit for more blogging fun!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Small Success Thursday, No. 8

We have our garden boxes done and in place. Admittedly, I had very little to do with this. Unless you count keeping the children out of the way while Hubby worked on the boxes. Which really, that can be quite the task! Especially with a baby. Try keeping two toddlers inside the house while Daddy is outside sawing or painting or doing other things with power tools. So, okay, this is definitely a success for me! I shared a couple pictures of the early stages of the garden boxes in THIS POST. Here's the rest of the pictures:
Painting the concrete board

Finally in place, dirt sitting by ready to go in.
I did help with placement, which took many tries.
And those boxes are much heavier than they look!!

Dirt in and seeds planted. I wasn't home for this part,
Hubby and the boys did all this together. Silas and I went shopping.
The success here is that this is finally all done and 99.8% of the credit goes to Hubby. Can't wait to see what we get out of this!

As of this week I have now been back to work for three months. This also means that I have been successfully pumping for three months! With as much of a struggle as breastfeeding was in the beginning and how much I was not enjoying it, I really, truly thought that we wouldn't continue once I returned to work. But we did. Twice a day every day I leave my office (or I leave a meeting early or interrupt a conversation with a coworker or student or stop doing something right in the middle or ... something), and I walk to a different building to pump milk. And I've been doing that twice a day, every day for three full months now. I never thought I'd last this long. And Baby Silas is doing great!! Isn't he cute?
Almost 6 months old!!

I took a walk on Monday! I finally did what I have been saying I want to do. Monday after dinner and some play time, Hubby took the twins up to do baths and I stuck Silas into the ring sling and we went for a walk. I think I managed to walk about 30-35 minutes. It felt great and Silas got a little snooze in as well. I had a little baseball cap for him that he looked sooooooooooo cute in. Oh my goodness, this boy! I got back home just after the boys had had their evening snack and read some books and Hubby was getting ready to get them upstairs to bed.So far, that's only one day this week, but it's a 100% improvement over last week and the week before that and the week before that and ... well, you get the idea.

Bonus #4
I have finally completed my application to start the process of becoming a Benedictine Oblate through the St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana. I've have been praying about this for several months now and have had the application sitting on my desk since March. I finally got it filled out and am handing it over today to be mailed off with several others. Thus starts a new journey! I haven't mentioned this previously and I don't know how much I'll share about it on the blog (at least initially). Eventually I may share a few things, but we'll see how things go. The process to become an Oblate takes at least a year, possibly longer if you're juggling a young family at the same time. Prayers appreciated!

What are your small successes this week? We're all sharing over at

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Big Brother "Reading"

I so wish I had a picture to go along with this post. But when this happened I was feeding the baby and I didn't want to intrude on the moment by trying to capture it with a picture. Anyway ...

Saturday I was sitting in our family room feeding the baby when Ethan brought a book over for me to read. I told him I couldn't read right then but that I would once the baby was done.  But he couldn't understand this concept. I'm assuming that at this age there is no concept of time and everything must happen NOW because there is no such thing as later. So far, all evidence points to this conclusion.

After much frustration (on Ethan's part) and many tears, somehow Peter ended up agreeing to "read" the book to Ethan. Ethan was immediately happy again and I watched to see how this would go.

I saw Peter take the book into his lap and Ethan sat down on the floor next to him. With the two of them sitting right next to each other (which by itself is the cutest thing ever), Peter opens the book.

"Someone ripped this book." Peter says. The text block is tearing away from the cover on this book (can you tell I'm a librarian?), Ethan agrees, and I laughed to myself at this exchange.

I found a picture: the book.
Peter proceeds to flip to the first page and says, "One dog." Moving on to the next page he continued with almost the exact words of each page.

I was impressed when I heard him "read" on the page with the picture of a maze, "One dog going in, three dogs going out." And then he got to the first exchange between the two dogs about the hat and it was perfect:

"Hello. Hello. Do you like hat? No, don't like hat. Good-bye. Good-bye."

I was sitting across the room in tears from holding in my laughter. I was enjoying listening to Peter read with a little help from Ethan here and there as they went through this book page by page. And for three year olds, this is a pretty lengthy book.

The kicker for me is that this is a library book. It's been in the house for only about three weeks. But library books are so loved here that we read every single one, every single night. So I've started limiting how many we bring home. And unfortunately we don't get to the library as often as I'd like so we end up keeping them for the whole four week loan period.

I love that the boys love books so much. I also love seeing how well they can get along when they want to (it doesn't happen all the time, I can assure you). And I love that Peter tried to read the book and did a pretty good job at it too. I can't wait until the day when they really can read a book! Oh the worlds that will open up to them.

Lawn Chair Catechism, Week 3: Who's the Boss?

When I saw the title of this week's chapter I immediately thought of the old TV show "Who's the Boss?" It was one of my favorite shows as a kid, but I never could decide who really was the boss.

There's no question who the boss is here. It's God! This chapter is all about authority: who has it, who is it passed on to, and what it means for us today. Many things struck me about this chapter, including the idea that Tradition (with a capital "T") is one with Scripture, the two cannot be separated. Also, that Tradition is the passing on of Church teaching, NOT just acts of doing something the same way over and over again, i.e., "we've always done it that way."

Since returning to the Catholic faith over a decade ago and learning more about the faith in the process, I was taught the difference between Big-T Tradition and small-t tradition. However, I hadn't actually associated Tradition with the Magisterium in quite the way that is presented in this book. Reading through this chapter I had kind of a "duh!" moment. If Tradition is the passing down of the Church's teachings to subsequent generations, than it is obvious that the Magisterium is the keeper of Tradition, guided by the Holy Spirit. In the same way, we wouldn't have Holy Scripture if it weren't for Tradition. It's not like the question of the chicken and the egg. In this case we know that Tradition came first and Scripture second.

Oh how that would shock our Protestant brothers and sisters! But I digress ...

This question from the leader's guide goes along well with my thoughts from this chapter:

What advantage does having a Magisterium--an official teaching office--give to the Catholic Church?

This is one of the reasons I love the Catholic Church. In my few years away from the Church, I never felt drawn to other faith traditions (small-t tradition, by the way). I didn't consciously leave the Church, it was more of a slow falling away in the busyness of going to college and being out on my own for the first time and never really internalizing the importance of my faith. I believed in God, but didn't see the importance of attending a service on a weekly basis. I had occasion during my college years and early 20s to go Mass and I did, but never felt the need to make it a habit. I also attended services at other churches, but that usually had more to do with circumstances (peer influence or music gigs on Easter or other special days) than it did with me "checking out" a different faith.

Once I was on the path to reconnecting with the Catholic Church and re-learning my faith, I truly came to understand why the Catholic Church makes the claims that it does. And once I understood the history of the Church, the oral traditions of the early Church that led to the compilation of the Bible a few centuries after Christ, and how the whole hierarchy thing works, the concept of the Magisterium fell into place.

The keeper of Tradition has to come from somewhere!! Scripture and interpreting Scripture--there has to be an authoritative source. If not, then what? If there is no ONE interpretation of Scripture than every single person can have their own interpretations and then everyone is right and no one is wrong. That just can't work!! Not with humans, no way. I've seen enough of human nature to know that God would never just leave it up to each of us to form our own interpretations of Scripture. 

And this idea of an authoritative source feeds into my librarian brain really well. Maybe that's why I accepted it so easily. In any case, it made sense and I knew that only the Catholic Church could be the One True Church. Why? Because of the Magisterium.

The advantage of the Magisterium? It makes the Catholic Church an authoritative source. It creates a unity in the teachings of the Church such that everyone (all 1 billion plus Catholics in the world) are all on the same page. It gives us a place to turn for understanding Scripture. It unites us and puts us all on the same page. From the richest Catholics to the poorest Catholics, we all have the same teachings, interpretations of Scripture, and understanding of Tradition.

Now when I listen to my priest give a homily or I attend a Bible Study discussion, I know (hopefully) that I am being taught through the lens of the Catholic Magisterium, guided by the Holy Spirit. There is no room for one individual's interpretation of Scripture, that only creates chaos.

I guess I would also say that another advantage of the Magisterium is that it adds a level of comfort for those of us in the pews. It's nice to know that no matter where I go, which Catholic church I attend, the teachings are the same.

For more discussion on this chapter of A Well-Built Faith by Joe Paprocki, check out today's edition of Lawn Chair Catechism on

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Catholic Writer's Award: Receiving and Giving

The lovely Lynda at Flowers for Francis blessed my blog with this delightful Catholic Writer's Award, originating at Melanie Jean Juneau's blog. I love beautiful art such as that included in this award. It just makes it even more special.

I'm touched to receive this award. And although I see that there are no rules associated with it, it seems only right that the blessings should be passed on. So I am going to do just that! Here are my picks for a few deserving blogs (just a few, because I could literally list 2 or 3 dozen):

  • The Breadbox Letters by Nancy Shuman. Another Kentuckian with an exquisite blog. Actually she has more than one, and I would follow all of them, but then I'd have to drop something else. So I'm sticking with this one for now. But if you visit her blog, check out her other writings too. I know she'll appreciate this award because the art work is right up her ally, and that'll be evident as soon as you land on her page.
  • My friend Michelle's enchanting blog Tales from the Side of the Tub. Michelle and I met online several years ago, are now Facebook friends, have been able to meet IRL [In Real Life] once, and we both write for Catholic Sistas. She's the mom of eleven and has such awesome kids. And they are always saying or doing hilarious things. So she's chronicling them on this blog. I especially love her story of why she named the blog as she did and I'm even going to link it for you so you can check it out HERE.
  • Another favorite of mine is My Favorite People by another friend. She's the mom of six and her youngest is only a day younger than my Silas. She and I also know each other through an online community and we did meet once when I was on a business trip to Dallas. But she's a Midwest girl now! Her children are beautiful and are her favorite people. She shares all about them on her blog. I love seeing her almost daily posts of what her favorite people are up to. 
There are so, so many others I could add to this list, but I need to stop somewhere. From my understanding of the award:

The award has no strings attached.
No rules, no obligations.
A simple acknowledgment of great Catholic writing which brings joy, truth, freedom, or encouragement to others.
It can be someone who writes about prayer; their struggles and pain, bringing hope to others; life in God; faith stories that make you laugh.
Pass this award on to a fellow Catholic writer or two.
Post the recipients name and blog if applicable, award title, logo with a simple link back to

Happy blog reading!!