Thursday, December 30, 2010

Big Announcement

I'm finally letting the cat out of the bag!  It's been a long time in coming and it is such a relief to finally be able to share this news.  At this point I believe we have shared this news with all those who are close to us, either in person, through the letter in our Christmas cards that went out early this week, and also through Facebook.  So now it is time to share here.

The big news??  We're expecting again!!  We found out in mid-October but decided that we wanted to wait and see how things went before we shared the news widely.  Then we learned more.  We're having twins!!

My high risk category just went up again.

Turns out we have identical twins.  They share a placenta but thankfully are in separate sacs.  The variations on twins are way more complicated than I ever imagined.  Not that I ever gave it much thought.  The idea that I may one day have twins has probably never entered my mind!

Thankfully, the pregnancy is going smoothly.  I'm nervous going into every appointment (understandably) but so far we've received nothing but good news on the progress of these two babies.  I'm currently at 15 weeks.  I'm being watched carefully with ultrasounds every two weeks and appointments with my regular OB also every two weeks starting after my next appointment (which is about 3 weeks away currently).

I'll post more later about how things have gone so far. I did keep a written journal for a little while from about the time we found out until just after Thanksgiving.  So I may post a few select entries from that to give you a flavor of how things have been so far.

In the meantime, here are two pictures from today's ultrasound.  Enjoy!!
Baby A profile at 15 weeks

Baby B profile (and waving hi) at 15 weeks
One last thing, I am giving all the credit to our Blessed Mother for how well things have gone so far.  I have been asking for her prayers and intercession constantly (although it may be better described as begging). Sleep is already becoming difficult, so I spend much of my time lying in bed praying the Hail Mary.  I appreciate all prayers you may be willing to offer up for us as we make it through the next several weeks.  Pre-term labor is one of my biggest fears right now (in addition to a few other possible issues that could come up).  Thank you!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Today's Innocents

Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, a day that I have taken note of more in just the last few years.  On this day we commemorate the death of the innocent young boys killed by Herod's army in his attempt to find and destroy the newborn king he had been told of by the Magi (Matthew 2: 16-18).  We consider these innocents the first martyrs for Christ.  And so, on this day, we remember these innocent children.

On a feast day like this I can't help but also remember how many other children have lost their lives.  It might seem natural that I may be thinking of my own children, but actually I'm not.  I'm thinking more about the many, many children who have lost their lives through the abominable act of abortion.  At this time, probably close to 50 million children.  50 million!!

These are the innocents of our own time.  Not that abortion is new, but that 50 million is just the number of children killed in the United States since 1973 and only from those states reporting numbers.  So really, that number could be (and most definitely is) a lot larger.

Today I happened to be in the car during part of a broadcast of today's mass at the local Newman Center.  We got in the car just at the end of the Gospel reading and then listened to the priest's homily.  He spoke about the Innocents of Bethlehem and then about abortion.  He mentioned that about one in every three pregnancies ends in abortion.  This is just sad! 

What really struck me, however, was when he mentioned that for every 1000 abortions in a year, there are 17 adoptions. Only 17!!  I know so many people who want to adopt children, several who are on waiting lists and have been waiting for a long time.  Many people, after investigating their adoption options, will opt for international adoption because of how complicated adoption is domestically.

Not only is it complicated, but there seemingly aren't that many children available for adoption.  Otherwise, why would couples have to wait 12, 18 or even 24 months to receive a match.  And that wait doesn't include the long paper work process.  Seems to me that we could have a lot less abortions if we educated people on the wonderful benefits of adoption.

And adoption means less killing of innocent children.  These are innocent children, there is no way to sugar-coat it.  The small, innocent boys of Bethlehem lost their lives around the time of Jesus birth.  They were mourned by their mothers and families, no doubt.  Those who have gone through the pain of abortion often also mourn the loss of their children, as is evident in the Silent No More Campaign

We should all mourn the loss of today's innocents.  These children who would now be in their middle-30s and younger.  Children of my generation that we never knew.  These children could be scientists, lawyers, doctors, teachers, construction workers, mothers, fathers, friends, and neighbors.  These are the innocents of our generation.  Wouldn't it be nice if our children could live in a world where abortion was non-existant?

God Bless the innocents who lost their lives over 2000 years ago and the many innocents who lose their lives each day to the evils of abortion.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Quick Takes Friday, vol. 12

Today is the beginning of a two-week break from work for me! No vacation time required; it’s all holiday and bonus days given to us by the University. So excited!! Here are seven things I plan on doing during my vacation.


Christmas Shopping. First and foremost, the Christmas shopping has to get done and a few packages have to be mailed off to people who don’t live close (two nieces, a godson, a “secret saint” gift). I’m looking forward to going shopping in the morning when the stores open instead of fighting crowds after work or on weekends. Yay!!


Daily Mass and maybe Reconciliation. Daily Mass is something I used to do before I got married and I lived closer to our church. Now, I just can’t get there and trying to go to the noon mass on campus just hasn’t worked out for me. I am planning on attending the evening mass this coming Monday and I hope to attend a few more. How nice it’ll be to go to daily Mass and not be thinking about anything else! And as for Reconciliation, well, it’s just been a while. I find it hard to get to unless I’m not working. So I should probably take advantage of the fact that I’m not working this week and go.


Put away the wedding dress. Yes, I’ve been married for over three years now and the wedding dress is taking up mucho space in one of our few closets. Storage space in our house is at a premium!! So next week, I plan on finally taking it to a bridal shop for them to send out to be dry-cleaned and preserved. It’ll be nice to have it in a more manageable box.


Clean the house!! Oh man, does my house need it. After working all day, doing errands on weekends, and trying to keep some semblance of a social life, I am just too tired to clean the house. One day I will ask for a maid to come in once a year to clean things like blinds and other hard to clean things, but for now, I really just need to get the basics done: bathrooms, dusting, vacuuming.  I want to feel like things are somewhat fresh, even if just for a short time. I think the maid idea would make a great Mother’s Day gift. I’m only asking for it once a year.


Attend a Baptism. One of my friends had a baby in November and the Baptism is the Monday after Christmas. For once I am really looking forward to attending a Baptism. Baptisms can be so hard (along with baby showers and other baby things). But this friend has been through so much to get pregnant. Three years of struggles until she finally started seeing a NaPro Tech doctor and finally got pregnant. So happy for her and her husband!! I am finding myself most excited about babies that come after much waiting and praying. So this Baptism will be very special. (Not only that, but she has been so supportive during my losses as well, attending Zachary’s funeral and Brigit’s burial service, and having lunch with me on Zachary’s due date. She’s been an awesome friend!)


Christmas cards. I haven’t done these yet, but I’m not worried about it. Christmas starts on Dec. 25, so who says I need to get them out during Advent? I’ll be working on them during this next week and I plan on putting them in the mail just as the Christmas season begins. I see people on Facebook stressing out over not having their Christmas cards done yet. Why? Christmas hasn’t even begun; we have all the way through mid-January!


Read!! Oh there are so many things I need to read!! I have stacks of Catholic magazines, newsletters from religious communities and other Catholic organizations, our local Catholic newspaper, and tons of books. True, I won’t get through all of it in the next two weeks, but I’d love to make a dent in it. I’d love to clear out most of the old newspapers and magazines, read one book, and catch up on all the blogs I read. I’m also interested in adding a few things to my own blog, but that’s low on the priority list at this point.

Merry Christmas to all!! I hope it is a blessed Christmas for everyone!!

For more Quick Takes check out the Quick Takes Post at Jen Fulwiler's blog where there are always lots of links to many great blogs.  Thanks to Jen for her wonderful Quick Takes hosting!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Living Typical Day, Thinking of the Alternative

Today was a typical day in my life, a fairly typical Monday.  I had my adoration hour, went to work, came home, had dinner with my husband (leftovers, nothing exciting there either), and we spent our evening decorating the Christmas tree, watching a little TV, and basically just hanging out.  Yes, it is cold, it snowed, the schools were out and the university was on a two-hour delay.  But none of this is really that out of the ordinary for our lives.  It is December, after all.

So what is the alternative?  Why would I be thinking of something else today? 

Easter weekend this year I knew there was a very good possibility that I was pregnant.  I had been disappointed the cycle before so I had resisted calculating the potential due date until after I had taken a test.  On that Monday I took the test and got a positive!!  I was so excited!!  And then I got an email from a friend telling me she was pregnant after several years of infertility struggles!  It was such a great day!

As any woman who has ever been pregnant can tell you, the next step is knowing when that due date is.  Your life for the next several months revolves around that date and you can't even imagine what life will look like after that date.  My date?  It was December 13, 2010, exactly one month after my friend's due date.

Yep, today is my due date.  How I wish I was sitting here nine months pregnant or holding a baby or sitting in a hospital right now.  But alas, my baby didn't make it.  It is sad just how many children don't make.  Life is precious, and that has been emphasized for me in so many ways the past three years.

So today ... it was a normal day, but also a bit surreal.  I did what I do most days.  Yet in some ways I knew that things could have been very different.  Yep, surreal.  But I still have my faith and I trust that God knows what He is doing.  I certainly have no control, that is obvious.

I have anticipated this date for a long time.  Even after the loss of the baby I thought about what this date would bring.  Would I be sad?  Would I remember?  Would it be on my mind all day?  All I can say is that the thought was there, but I got through the day without a hitch.

If you know someone who has gone through a pregnancy loss, I'm here to tell you that they will never forget their due date.  I remember all three of mine.  And each year as they pass I think about what "could have been."  It may sound sad, but at the same time it's a good thing.  I'm glad to have these moments when I can think about my children.  I would hate for these children of mine to fade away from my memory.  I cherish these times when I can remember that I once eagerly expected the birth of this particular child.  So should a friend share something like this with you, don't downplay the date, that just causes more pain.

The child we lost in May of this year was a girl.  I wrote about the whole miscarriage experience on this blog this summer.  She died at 9 weeks (around May 10), we found out at 10 weeks, and the D&C was at 11 weeks.  She died due to a chromosome anomaly called Trisomy 16.  And, most importantly, her name is Brigit Ann.

So today, I remember Brigit Ann and what could have been, if only things been different.  I imagine her in Heaven with her siblings Casey and Zachary, being watched over by the Blessed Mother, and participating in the constant worship of our Heavenly Father with all the saints.  I wish we could have had more time with Brigit.  Instead, I can just say how much I love the little girl that I never saw and never got to hold.  And I ask you, little Brigit, to pray for us.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Opening up about Miscarriage

Miscarriage is often a silent suffering.  So many women keep it to themselves.  Whether this is because they don't want to make others feel uncomfortable, are afraid of what someone might say, or don't want to sound negative, I don't know.  Unfortunately, because of the perceived taboo on discussing this subject in our culture, women, and men too, often suffer in silence.

I don't know why, but when I had my first miscarriage it never occurred to me to keep it silent.  As a matter of fact, we had not yet told anyone we were expecting so I could have avoided telling anyone anything at all if I had wanted.  But I chose not to.  And like I said, I really don't know why.  So we told our families and then our friends and then co-workers and others.  We held a memorial mass and we named the baby. 

But what surprised me the most was how many people told me that they too had had a miscarriage!  Some of these women I had known for several years.  None of them had ever spoken about it before.  That is, until they heard about mine, then they opened up to me.  It got me thinking about how important having support during tragedy really is.  And here were these friends of mine who I was never able to offer support to because I never knew of their suffering.

I also recognize that every individual is different and will handle situations differently than others.  Miscarriage is a very sensitive topic and some women prefer to keep it between themselves and their husbands.  That is fine.  But I do think there is a benefit to having some sort of support, whether through an anonymous online forum, a close friend or group of friends who have also "been there," or through a spiritual advisor or something along those lines.  The grief of losing a baby is very like the grief of losing any member of your family.  It doesn't matter how long or short that life was.

So I feel for those who suffer in silence and don't seek out support.  I hope that my openness through my three losses will help others to see that it's not so scary to talk about it.  Or at least, if they know me, would come to me for a listening ear and the empathy that only someone who has suffered the same thing can understand.  Although, I don't write about it as often as I thought I would, this topic has also become one of the reasons I continue to maintain this blog.

I was inspired to write this post after someone I know posted a link on Facebook regarding Lisa Ling talking about her recent miscarriage on the TV program "The View."  I don't watch this show, not just because I work during the day (and don't own a DVR), but also because I don't normally agree with the points of view of the women on this show and I can't handle the bickering I often see in clips that are shown at other times.  Regardless of my personal opinion, I was glad to see this topic come up.  Here is a short article about Ling's appearance as well as just a 1 minute clip of the beginning of the discussion.  I wish I knew how the rest of the conversation went and if the show's hosts asked appropriate and sensitive questions or not.  But Ling's words in this clip are so very true!!

Miscarriage is definitely a shock to anyone.  And it's a tragedy.  It's too bad that we live in a culture that treats death as a taboo topic, to the point that we can't openly grieve for the lives who were lost before birth.  It's a real pain that those of us who have gone through it will always carry with us.  It doesn't matter how many living children we have or how long it has been since the loss, the pain will always be with us.  We don't get over it, but we do learn to live with it.  I wish we could also learn to live with it in such a way that we can share it with others and celebrate those lives that we enjoyed no matter for how short a time.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday on Saturday, Vol. 11

Better late than never!  And since I've also missed the last few weeks, I figured it was better to go ahead and do a Quick Takes post a day late than not at all.  So here we go ...


Happy Advent!!  We started Advent last Sunday while the rest of the world started celebrating Christmas about a month ago.  This is one of my favorite aspects of the Church.  We don't rush into anything!  That's so true for so many things in the Church, isn't it?  We're a very deliberate group of people.  Before Christmas, we get four weeks of preparation.  Four weeks to reflect on the hope of the second coming, the joy of the first coming, and so much more.  THEN, and only then, do we get to Christmas.  And Christmas isn't just one day!!  I love it!  But for now, I just want to wish everyone a good Advent.  May it be a wonderful time for you and your families to properly prepare for the arrival of the newborn King!!


We got good news at work this week.  Not just good ... surprising news!!  For those who may not know, I work at a large research university.  Normally we get four bonus days off between Christmas and New Years, plus a day for Christmas and a day for New Years Day.  That's 6 total.  This week the president announced three additional bonus days!  How cool is that!  So now I will be off from Tuesday Dec. 21 until Sunday January 2, returning to work on Monday January 3.  I also have a floating holiday.  I'm thinking I may use it on Monday Dec. 20, why only work one day that week?  Two whole weeks off.  And that means online two more weeks of work left!!  I can't wait!  (The benefit to the university: millions of dollars in savings in utility bills!  I may have not had a raise in three years, but at least they aren't cutting our pay, imposing furloughs, or doing major lay offs.  I'll take what I can get!)


We finally have to get new phones.  Hubby and I have flip-style phones that we have had for over three years now.  The screen on the outside of Hubby's phone went out a while ago and recently the inside screen on my phone started blinking when I was using it and now goes out on occasion (more and more so).  I open my phone and get only a blue screen.  Not good.  I could still make a call if I had the number memorized, but who memorizes phone numbers anymore!!  That's why I have a cell phone!  So we're finally breaking down and getting new phones.  I kind of wanted a smartphone so I could have Internet and email anywhere I wanted, but we decided not to make that leap yet.  So we're getting a package that includes text messaging, which will be new for us.  I'll still have my iPod Touch for email, Facebook, Internet, and other things (when I'm somewhere that has wireless capabilities).  And, we'll be paying less!!  We'll be switching companies and getting a good deal by buying online, plus getting a discount through my employer!  Hubby is most happy about this.


How many remotes do you have for your TV?  Don't include the remotes for other accessory items (DVD players, etc.).  Just to operate your TV, what do you need?  We need three remotes now!  Three!!  Yes, it's crazy, especially when you consider that two of those remotes are universal remotes.  Apparently not all universal remotes are really universal.  We have one to turn the TV on, one to turn on the volume (volume comes through a Bose player that's connected to the TV, not really an accessory since we wouldn't hear anything without it in this set-up), and then a third to change the channels.  We used to have two: the one for the volume and the second for everything to do with the TV.  Then we had to get a special box from our cable company for something (HD signals or whatever) and it came with a universal remote.  For some reason we can't get that remote to turn the TV on and off.  Thus we use three now.  Geesh!


Winter has arrived in Kentucky.  We started getting snow this week.  Not a lot, but enough to make the roads slightly slick.  None of it lasted long.  That is until today.  I would guess that we have about two inches of snow on the ground now and it's still coming down.  Doesn't look like it'll be stopping anytime soon.  So I'm changing my plans for today and staying inside.  In my immediate future I see hot chocolate, watching the SEC championship game (Go Gamecocks!), doing some knitting, and maybe I'll take a shower at some point.


I got a haircut on Friday evening.  No, I won't be posting pictures because I haven't done anything different.  It's just shorter and looks pretty much like it did about 9 weeks ago when I last got it cut.  But I'm so glad to have it shorter again!!  It was feeling really long, a sure sign that's it's time.  Feels so good!


I saw this posted on Facebook this week.  It was so cute I thought I'd share it here.  Those of you with beautiful, large families will especially appreciate this.  Enjoy!!

Check out more Quick Takes at Jennifer Fulwiler's post at Conversion Diary where you'll find her Quick Takes vol. 107 and links to over 80 more!!  Thanks Jen for hosting!!  Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Story of the First Thanksgiving

I realize that this may be a little late, but I just ran across this story and had to share.  Check out The True Story of Thanksgiving: Squanto, the Pilgrims, and the Pope.  This is a really fascinating story.  Go check it out and then pass it along.  Thanksgiving may have been last week, but it's always a good time to be thankful!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy New Year! Happy Advent!

A new liturgical year has begun!  Happy New Year!!  And with a new year we have a new season of Advent.

What are you doing this Advent?  Do you have an Advent wreath?  A Jesse Tree?  Special devotionals for the season?  Are you waiting until closer to the actual Christmas season to put up decorations or are they all up already?  Any acts of penance?

We started our Advent by pulling out the Advent wreath from the attic and placing it on the kitchen table.  The plants that were on the kitchen table have been moved to the living room.  Luckily I had bought Advent candles a couple weeks ago, so those were ready to go and we lit our first candle tonight when we sat down for dinner.

At church this morning I picked up the Little Blue Book for Advent.  Have you heard of the Little Books?  There are several for different liturgical seasons.  We usually get the Advent/Christmas book (blue) and the Lent book (black).  Our church gets them and provides them to us for a $1 donation.  The Advent/Christmas book has reflections and readings for all 27 days of Advent and the 16 days of Christmas.  Each day has a reflection or historical info of some kind or customs and traditions or information on a particular feast day.  Then on the second page for that day it has a Gospel reading (this year it is taking it all from the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew) and usually some sort of question to reflect on.  We've gotten into the habit of reading it each night after dinner.

As for Christmas decorations we decided to take things slow this year.  I don't like the Christmas stuff to overtake Advent to the point that we forget the whole purpose of Advent.  So, besides the Advent wreath hubby also put up the Christmas tree only.  No decorations or anything, just the tree.  So far that is it.  My plan is to allow hubby (yes, I said "allow"*) to put up the nativity scene (except for the wise men and the baby Jesus) next Sunday.  On the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, we'll put up the stockings and decorate the tree, and anything else hubby wants to do that I'm not thinking of.  On Christmas Eve, assuming we attend midnight Mass, we'll put baby Jesus in the manger when we get home.  We'll move the Wise Men in on January 2 when we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany in the Church.  I imagine we'll take everything down around the 8th or 9th when we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord.  I love that we can coordinate our decorations to the Church's feast days so well!!

Then there is shopping.  What a way to ruin the spirit of Advent!  I know several people who were on a mission this year to finish their shopping before Advent started so that they could enjoy the Advent season without the hassle (and frustration) of shopping for Christmas gifts.  I didn't attempt this completely, but did get some of it done so that I could bring things to my family over the Thanksgiving holiday.  So now my parents and my niece and nephew are done and I got gifts for my two godchildren as well.  So all that is left now is my husband's family and, of course, hubby himself.  I expect to knock all those gifts out pretty quickly.  So my shopping this year will not be much of a hassle!  I hope!

How about you??  Lots of shopping to do?  Are you keeping things simple?  Or are you already done?

The last thing, I'm going to take my time with Christmas cards as well.  I've decided that since they are "Christmas" cards and not Advent cards, that I'm going to get them done over the next few weeks and put them in the mail the Monday following Christmas.  This way people actually receive their Christmas card from us during the Christmas season itself.  Yes, some people will think I procrastinated, but I don't care.  I know what I'm doing and I'm planning it this way.

That's about it for us this year.  The Advent wreath, Christmas decorations being put up slowly, not too much Christmas shopping to do, and getting Christmas cards out during Christmas instead of Advent.  We are not doing the Jesse Tree, it's a tradition I'm still very unfamiliar with, but have been reading about it some on other blogs.  I think I may look into it more when we have kids, looks like something good to do then.

What are your Advent traditions?  How are you marking this season in anticipation of the birth of our newborn King?  Whatever you are doing, I hope it is a holy and blessed Advent for you!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Birthday Celebration

My birthday was on Thursday of this past week, but we didn't have much of a chance to celebrate on the day of.  This was fine, because I already knew that hubby had plans for us over the weekend.

Back in October he had told me not to make plans for around my birthday and that I may even need to take some vacation time at work.  Then I went on a business trip in late-October and when I got home he told me that due to technical difficulties the plans were moved to the weekend.  Ever since then, I've been wondering what we were going to do.  I had a guess but when I asked him about what I needed to pack he told me casual clothes were fine.  So okay, I thought, nothing fancy, which blew my guess out of the water.

Turns out he was just trying to throw me off.  Saturday morning he told me that yes I would need to wear something nice Saturday evening.

And it turns out that my guess was pretty accurate, it was just the details I was missing.

So we drove north and headed into Covington, KY, which is just on the other side of the Ohio River from Cincinnati.  We had a room at a Marriott right on the river and my dear sweet hubby had even requested a room with a balcony (in November?) overlooking the river.  This picture I found was basically the view we had from our room.

What you don't see in the picture was the stadium for the Bengels, off to the left of what you see.  We had a pretty good view of it as well.

After getting settled in we headed out again for dinner.  We accidentally took the wrong bridge across the river and got lost and discovered that we had a Louisville map and about 5 Lexington maps with us but not the Cincinnati map we had bought a few months ago when we were last there.  So we turned around, found the bridge we had come across and went back over the river and then found the correct bridge from there.

We found our way to the west part of Cincinnati, up a very steep hill (I wouldn't want to be on that hill when it was snowy and icy) and found the restaurant hubby had made reservations at.  We were surprised at first to find the restaurant on the first floor of this pretty tall building.  But once we got inside we realized that the hill we took to get up here was enough of a view!!  It was pretty cool!!  We could see all of downtown Cincy, the river, and across to Covington.  We had a fabulous dinner as well: calamari for an appetizer, salad, entrees (I had penne in a vodka tomato sauce with chicken and hubby veal with prosciutto and cheese with some green beans and a polenta cake), then we finished the meal with a vanilla cappuccino for hubby and a raspberry sorbetto for me.

Once dinner was over we headed back into Cincinnati and found our way to Music Hall (pictured left).  The concert on Saturday night included a work by Salieri and three by Mozart.  Very much a Classical Era concert.  All three Mozart pieces were choral/vocal works (not my favorite) and because all four pieces were composed somewhere between 1773 and 1780, there were no clarinets.  Also, Paavo Jarvi was not conducting (actually, I don't know who the conductor was, his name was unfamiliar and he wasn't listed on the orchestra personnel page, maybe he was with the choir, I don't know).  Regardless, it is good for my musical ear to hear things I wouldn't normally choose to listen too and the concert was very good.

The Salieri Sinfonia in D major, the only orchestral work on the program, was nice, had some good solo parts for the winds and many enjoyable moments.  Next was Mozart's Solemn Vespers, the longest piece on the program.  I don't know that I had ever heard this piece before and certainly don't recall ever studying it when I was in school.  It was really interesting to see how he set the various parts of the Psalms in regard to what the choir sang and what the soloists sang.  After an intermission the soprano soloist joined the orchestra for Mozart's Exsultate jubilate.  Finally, the last piece on the program brought a good number of the orchestra members back on stage (most had played during the Salieri piece and then had left for the middle two works).  The concert ended with Mozart's Mass in C Major, and this was probably the best piece on the program (in my humble opinion).  Again, Mozart's understanding of the Mass itself as a Catholic was evident to me in how he set the parts of the Mass.  I noticed that during the Credo that the choir sat and only the soloists sang the part that normally when we recite the creed in Mass we would bow for, and the orchestration was lighter as well.  Little things like that were noticeable to me.  The settings were beautiful and I enjoyed all the music.

Why am I not a fan of vocal music?  First, I'm a clarinetist.  I spent way too may years studying and playing orchestral, band, and chamber music and thus have very little knowledge of vocal music.  It's just not in my listening repertoire.  Second, I think that because I'm an instrumentalist, I just don't hear the words.  For me, the voices just become another "instrument" amongst the orchestra.  I often forget to follow along in the words and have no idea what they are saying.  I'm much more comfortable listening to lines of instruments moving around each other and forming interesting sounds than I am trying to understand a message being conveyed through a choral work.  When I try listening to the voices, I then miss the fun of the orchestration.

Sorry for the aside.  People hear I'm a musician and they automatically assume I have a great love for all sorts of choral works I have never heard of.  Why is that?

Moving on ....

Luckily, after leaving Music Hall, we only got turned around once in Cincinnati.  For all you who are scared of driving in big cities with lots of one way streets, you have no idea how easy it is to get back on track when you get lost, the one way streets actually make it easier!!  (Go ahead and laugh, but it's true!)  I easily navigated my husband back on track within one block and we quickly found our way back to the highway.  Piece of cake!!

But the fun didn't end there!!  At 4:30am we were rudely awakened by what I thought was my alarm on my iPod.  I hadn't remembered changing the sound and soon discovered that I was correct!  There was a fire alarm in the hotel complete with an announcement telling us to make our way to the stairwell.  So my first thought was to use the bathroom!  We threw some things on, grabbed our coats, and headed out to the hallway to discover people all standing outside their rooms at the railings looking down towards the lobby of the hotel (picture a hotel with an open middle and all the rooms open out to that).  No one seemed to be willing to leave, yet the announcement kept coming on and we were told that the fire department was on its way.  We walked around to the street side of the building and looked out the windows to see if anyone had arrived or if anyone was standing out there but all seemed quiet on the street.  Hubby noticed that there were still people at the front desk, so obviously they didn't think this was much of an emergency.  By then the alarm finally stopped and we were told that we could return to our rooms.

I didn't sleep well for those last three hours I had, making it difficult to get up when it was finally time.  We found a letter form the management under our door apologizing for any inconvenience the false alarm might have caused us during the night.  I don't know how it didn't inconvenience anyone, it was way too loud to have slept through it or to have stayed in your room when it was going off.  But maybe some people weren't inconvenienced!

After breakfast we checked-out and headed up to the Covington Cathedral, St. Mary's Basilica, for Mass.  Our hotel was just down the street from it and we had been there earlier this year so pretty much knew where we were going. The one way streets and construction had us going a couple blocks past the Basilica and back again, but we easily found our way into the parking lot. This church is amazingly beautiful!! If you are ever in the area, you must check it out. "Stunning" doesn't even begin to describe it!   The picture on the right is of one of its many stained glass windows, probably the most amazing of them, but this Church is filled with many, many more!!  The Bishop of Covington presided at Mass this morning and we enjoyed his homily. It's always refreshing to have a homilist who tells it like it is (abortion is evil, no ifs, ands, or buts!).

Following Mass we headed home and back to our real lives once again. I'm so glad we got to do this and that my husband surprised me with such a fun weekend. He's such a blessing to me!! In another couple days we'll be packing again, this time to head south to visit my family for the Thanksgiving holiday. In the meantime, it is nice to be home.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Asking for Suggestions

As a blog reader I am often running across book reviews or discussions of books that other bloggers have read.  Bloggers like to read, no question.  Books, other blogs, online forums, news sites, etc.  So who better to ask my question to than to fellow bloggers (assuming, of course, that anyone reads this).

At work I have joined a new committee, the employee news blog.  I would link to it, but due to some technical issues, we had to create a new blog and it is currently empty.  At our first meeting, I made a suggestion and also took on the task of writing a regular column interviewing fellow library employees about what they are currently reading.  I think it'll be a fun column to do.  Who doesn't want to know what the librarians are reading?  Plus, I think what a person is reading can give a bit of insight into what kind of a person he or she is, which is one of the focuses of our employee newsletter/blog (and a much better way, in my opinion, to learn about your fellow employees than the boring employee profiles that used to be so common).

Getting to the point of this post: if you were talking to someone about what they were reading, what would you ask?  I need a nice list of questions that I can use one of two ways, either I'll be emailing the questions to people and getting their responses back or I may get a chance to actually sit with someone one-on-one to ask them the questions and have a real conversation.  So the questions should work in either situation.

Also, the type of books people may be reading could vary widely.  Fiction and non-fiction; school related (we have lots of staff and faculty working on additional degrees); professional related (reading something for research purposes, writing a book review, etc.); teaching related (many people teach classes in all sorts of areas); and who knows what else.  In other words, this won't all necessarily be reading for pleasure.  Though, we are talking about library employees, so I imagine there is plenty of pleasure reading being squeezed in whenever possible.

So what would you ask?  What are you curious about when talking to others about what they are reading?  Any suggestions?  I'm all ears, because currently I have no idea what to ask beyond just what someone is reading and why they like it.  I need some ideas to help me focus and think more broadly about this.

Overall, I am looking forward to getting started in this new assignment.  I think it'll be fun!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Progress, Maybe

Back in September I wrote a long post called Seeking Answers in which I shared some of the research and reading I had done on estrogen dominance and the effects on our bodies of estrogen in the environment.  I had meant to do an update on changes I've made sooner than this.  If you haven't read the first post, I recommend it.  It is a little long, but contains some links to some good articles I had found.  It's always worthwhile to educate ourselves.

The changes we've made so far are fairly simple things.  Here's a quick list:
  • At work, I got rid of the plastic cup I kept there and replaced it with a ceramic mug
  • I bought actual silverware to keep at work as well and got rid of the plastic-ware.  I've only accidentally thrown away one fork and one spoon so far.  Good thing I bought a four piece set.
  • I can't switch entirely to organic products, but I have switched to organic yogurt.
  • I have also added a vitamin B6 supplement to my diet.  I bought 100 mcg tablets that my husband cuts in half and I take one half with breakfast, another half at lunch, and my multivitamin at dinner.  From talking to a friend who was also taking a B6 supplement for a related issue, what I am taking is a very small dose, but it's a start.
  • We got rid of quite a bit of our plastic storage containers.  We bought several glass storage containers in different sizes.  We didn't replace everything, but quite a bit of it.  We still have some plastic storage containers, but for the most part we are using the glass.
  • We no longer heat anything up in the microwave in plastic, it all has to be in glass or on a plate or bowl.  This is easier now since we have much more glass storage anyway.
  • Finally, I have stopped buying those mini carrots.  I love the convenience of them, but have opted for regular carrots that require peeling and chopping.  Not sure if this really makes a difference and it wasn't in anything I read, just my own decision.  Based on the principle that whole and real is always better than processed.
In my original post I mentioned that I had an appointment coming up in October that I was referring to as the "Clomid appointment."  Well, I did go to that appointment, though I should have canceled (ah, well, the co-pay isn't that bad).  The nurse and my doctor both noticed that I had lost weight!  At that point I was about 14 pounds down, enough that it was noticable.  And by the time I attended that appointment my cycles were starting to look normal and I had ovulated a couple times.  Definitely an improvement over previous times when I waited months to ovulate even once.  So ultimately we decided that clomid wasn't necessary at this time.  The whole purpose of clomid is to help you ovulate which I'm obviously doing.  So we're giving it a couple more months before we discuss things further.

As for my weight loss.  I'm pretty much holding steady at the 14-15 pounds I lost.  With the holidays approaching, I think I'll be happy to hold that and start again in the New Year.  That is, unless something happens between not and then!

So that's the update and kind of where we are at the moment.  I think the changes I've made are good ones and are all very simple things to do.  There are probably more things I could do and may make some more changes over time.  For now, one thing at a time, small steps.

Friday, November 05, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday, vol. 10

I've been pretty tired this week and feeling a little crappy, so I was going to skip this week's Quick Takes.  And then I got an inspiration.  So here it is!  Hope you enjoy!


Today is my father's birthday!  Happy Birthday, Daddy!!  He has always been special to me and a real role model in my life.  Here are six reasons why.


I am the oldest child of four.  On more than one occasion I remember my mother reminiscing about when I was little, and probably barely walking, when we still lived just outside of Boston, she could look out the window and see me and my daddy taking a walk.  She said I always liked spending time with him and sometimes she would be jealous of that.  (As an aside: I love my mother too, and she got over the jealousy when my sister was born!  That's a story for another time!!)  My point, I always liked that image my mother created in my mind of the bond my father and I had early on.  Obviously I was too young to remember those moments, but I'm grateful for the image I was given of them.


Playing games with my dad!  We weren't much of a board game kind of family.  We did have plenty and did play them on occasion, but I remember playing cards more often then board games.  (Personally, board games get boring for me.)  Daddy taught us to play hearts, gin, gin rummy, cribbage, poker, and many others.  Card games are games you could play and still (generally) have a conversation (at least in my family you could, but then again, we can carry on a conversation no matter what we were doing).  Plus, I think he liked to involve math skills whenever he could (cribbage, anyone?).  And even if you're weren't playing in the game, you could still participate in the conversation or help out a younger sibling who was just learning.  I loved card games in my family!


Speaking of math, I was pretty good at most math skills, though a little slower at quick addition and such than my dad.  But he taught me a neat trick that I have never forgotten and plan on teaching my kids one day as well.  It had to due with multiplying by 11.  It's easy with the one-digit numbers, I think everyone catches on pretty quickly that 11 x 2 is 22 or 11 x 5 is 55, etc.  It was the higher numbers that he taught me about.  For example 11 x 34 is 374.  The trick?  Add the numbers together, put the result in the middle of the original number.  It gets trickier when the two numbers add up to higher than 10, but it can still be done: 11 x 76 is 836, can you see it?  I played around with higher and higher numbers and always was able to figure out the trick.  Is this a useful skill?  Maybe.  I guess it depends on what you do with it.


And speaking of games, my dad used to travel a lot.  When we lived in New York he worked in an international department in IBM (we almost moved to France when I was in first grade!) and traveled a lot.  Even when he was promoted and we moved to Atlanta he still traveled quite a bit.  Plus, when he was in town there was the commute to get to the office near the city and home again.  He would often come home from work with a scrap piece of paper that he had written some license plate message on for us to figure out.  Some are kind of tricky!  It was always fun.  I still look at license plates regularly hoping to spot one that needs some figuring out.  And then there were the games he'd bring home from a business trip, and by games I mean some puzzle or word game from the magazine in the airplane.  They were always kind of interesting things that made you think.


Anyone remember the IBM motto from the 80s (maybe earlier, but my memory doesn't go back that far).  Anyone?  I do.  My father used to tell us it every morning when we left for school.  Think!  That was it, plain and simple: Think.  I don't know why, but I will always remember that.


Finally, I have so much respect for all the service-type things my dad did.  It's something he did that taught us kids tons through nothing but example!  He was involved for several years with the Special Olympics as a volunteer (he ran the gymnastics competition, literally: he had the schedule, told other volunteers where to be, gave out awards, etc.).  He chaperoned band camp, ran the band's biggest fundraiser (a concession stand at the Braves' stadium, which later became a concession stand at the GA Dome), he helped with band and color guard equipment, he sold Christmas trees at church with my brother and the other altar servers, and he did many other things.  As a result I've always felt called to help when given an opportunity.  My heart-strings are easily pulled by those in need and I like serving others.  I've even thought about getting involved in the Special Olympics in my area.  One day, I have a good example to follow!

Happy birthday, Daddy!  I love you!!

Check out Jen Fulwiler's blog Conversion Diary which hosts these weekly Quick Takes.  She has an awesome blog.  And for this week's full round-up of Quick Takes see her post here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

All Soul's Day Mass

This evening we attended the All Soul's Day Mass at our parish.  I have always liked this Mass, it is always so moving, and my parish has always done such a nice job with it.  Tonight was no exception.

The tradition at my parish is to invite the families of all parishioners buried from the parish in the last year to light a candle in their memory.  They read about 5 names or so, the families come forward and during the pause the choir sings a verse of "Jesus, Remember Me."  Then the next 5 or so names are read and so on.  Following the candle ceremony they then offer roses to anyone in the congregation who has lost a loved one.  You can take a rose and then place it in a vase on the steps of the altar.  It makes for a very nice display of roses on the altar for the remainder of Mass.  After Mass, the families are invited to keep the candles they lit.

Last year we attended this Mass as one of those families who had lost a loved one.  Our baby Zachary had died in January 2009 at 22 weeks into my pregnancy.  For All Soul's Day we were invited to be there and to light a candle for him.  It meant so much to me to know that his life was recognized, no matter how short.

This year when we lost Brigit we decided not to do a funeral mass.  Instead we held a burial service only.  As today's feast day approached I knew I wanted to attend this service.  Since we didn't have a funeral I didn't expect that Brigit would be a part of the candle ceremony and we didn't receive an invitation as we did last year (which was no surprise, I wasn't expecting one).  I did intend to place a flower on the altar for her.

During the priest's homily at Mass today he spoke about how Jesus is with us in death and helps us to enter into Heaven.  Something about how he described this brought an imagine into my mind of seeing my babies upon coming into Heaven.  I could see being led in by Jesus Christ and being welcomed first by my three little ones.  I have always known that they would be there and I pray to be able to join with them one day.  But the imagine of being brought to them by Jesus Himself hadn't occured to me.  Such a comforting image!  It brings tears to my eyes.

Following the homily and the Prayers of the Faithful, the candle ceremony started.  The first name they called was Zachary's!  I was completely stunned and just sat there for a moment.  We weren't on the list, and why Zachary?  After a pause, the priest reading the names said, "Please come forward to light a candle when you hear your family's name called."  So we got up.  I probably looked confused walking up there and back.

I do know some of the people in the grievance ministry and happened to meet one of them on Sunday after Mass and we talked a bit about the All Soul's Day Mass.  So sometime between Sunday and today someone obviously decided to add us (without telling us) and they put in Zachary's name.  Once I had a moment to process everything I knew this was a very nice recognition.  I wish it had been Brigit's name that had been read, but that's okay.  I did go ahead and place a rose in one of the vases in her memory, she was remembered by hubby and I and that's what really mattered.  And I came home with another candle, which I will use for Brigit memory every October 15 and on other important anniversaries.

Did you go to a special All Soul's Day Mass?  Did you remember someone special today?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

What a busy night!!  But we planned for it much better this year.  First, we decided to give out candy from the garage this time.  We live on the main road (a very loooooooong road) in a very large subdivision.  People who don't live in subdivisions or who live out in the country end up here for "trick or treating."  So we have a constant flow of kids (and teenagers and ... even some adults!).  The garage space worked out so well!  It got a little chilly by the end, but so worth it.  The mobs were much easier to handle.

But let's back up a bit.  We carved our pumpkins this afternoon (sorry, pictures are still on the camera).  A few funny things I thought I'd never hear while carving pumpkins:

"Nothing says fall like the Death Star."

"I'm taking my pumpkin into the bathroom."

I laughed about that second one good and hard, more than once.

My pumpkin was carved with a pattern of four ghosts singing and wearing bow ties and top hats.  It was cute, but way more intricate than I thought it would be.  Hubby had to help me out.

His pumkin was an owl in a tree with a crescent moon.  His was the type where you just scrape off the outer skin and leave the flesh and the candle inside makes the fleshy part glow.  It looked really cool.  I promise, I'll post pictures, though the pics aren't as good as seeing it in person.

Dinner was the usual Halloween night pizza.  I got to introduce hubby, aka, my personal chef, to one of my all-time favorite frozen pizza brands.  He actually liked it!

As soon as we finished up dinner it was time.  We put the pumpkins on top of the cars, set out some chairs and a TV Table, and on the trunk of hubby's car set out three little candle holders I have that say "B-O-O" when you line them up (a gift many years ago from my mom).  With a coat on and a blanket tucked around me, we were set.

And the kids came, dressed in all sorts of fun and cute costumes.  I saw three UK Wildcats (all probably about a year or so old), several princesses (Snow White, Cinderella, etc.), cheerleaders, Buzz Lightyear, super heros, all sorts of other cartoon characters, police men, Michael Jackson, and lots of non-descript "costumes."  Plenty of the goulish stuff too, the "Scream" face never seems to go out of style (do you think Edvard Munch would approve?  Or has that face been made popular by some other more recent thing in pop culture I'm blissfully ignorant of?). 

Hubby's favorite costumes were: "Spaghetti dinner": kid had one of those cheap plastic red and white checkered table clothes draped over him, a bowl of "spaghetti" (string?) and meatballs in his hand, and another bowl on top of his head with the fake spaghetti and meatballs spilling out over him; and a 4 or 5 year old dressed as a UPS man.  Hubby said he may start handing out special treats for the costumes he thinks are the best.  Any ideas?  (I suggested full-size candy bars.)

Hubby and I were commenting on the teenagers while we sat out there.  So many of them!  They are obviously too cool to carry Trick or Treat bags, so they come with plastic grovery bags, backpacks, or purses; and some are apparently too cool to wear costumes, so they don't; and many are too cool to say "trick or treat" so they either say Happy Halloween or nothing at all (at least they do, generally, say thank you).  If you're too cool for all those things, might it be possible that you're too old to go out Trick or Treating?

For my own future reference, for those with older kids, when do you tell your kids they are too old to go trick or treating?  Is it in high school?  Or possibly earlier?  I don't remember when I stopped going, but I'd guess it was sometime around 8th grade, give or take a year.

And the garage set up ... totally worth it.  It didn't feel overwhelming, we weren't constantly opening and closing the door, we weren't trying to hold open the storm door while also handing out candy in the little narrow space that is our front porch, and having 10-20 kids show up at one time was manageable when you are sitting in a very open space.  Definitely worth doing again!

How was your Halloween?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Due Date Anniversaries

It's really hard for me to imagine how different our life would be with a two-year old running around.  Would we have had a birthday party this weekend instead of just cleaning the house and watching football?  Would I have nearly the amount of papers and books and just things laying around as I currently do?  Would we have done all our grocery shopping afer 4pm, not getting home until after 6pm to start making dinner?

As each anniversary passes I have different emotions.  The very first time that due date rolls around is hard because you know you should be having a baby, but instead your arms are empty.  The first anniversary you wonder about what your child's first birthday party would have been like.  The emotions may also still be there.  In my case, my arms were still empty at this point, having lost two babies by then.

Now here I am at the second anniversary.  My baby should be turning two had she not died 7 months earlier.  Again, my arms are still empty, even after three pregnancies.  But today my thoughts are all with my first little one.

She is the only one who we never knew if she was a boy or girl.  Over time calling her "she" has become habit.  I sometimes wonder if that is God's way of letting us know; it just sort of happened, it wasn't a conscious decision.  She's the only one for whom we never saw an ultrasound picture.  She's the only one for whom we never had a reason for losing her.  She's also the only one who we were unable to bury, which still sometimes makes me sad.

My emotions have changed a lot in two years.  I no longer get overly emotional about losing Casey.  On occasion I feel guilty about that.  But I know I don't need to.  She is and always will be in my heart, always my daughter and my first baby.

After losing Casey, I never knew how to respond when people asked if we had children.  I often would just keep it simple and say no.  The guilt in my heart each time was horrible!  But we live in a cultural where people don't want to hear about your dead children.  And miscarriage isn't usually even counted among the children you have.  But a little less than a year after Casey died we lost our second baby.  He was so much further along!  I was visibly pregnant at that point.  As a result, the sympathy I got was so much greater.  How could I ignore that child?  And if I don't ignore that child, I certainly couldn't ignore my first.

That's when my answer changed. After that I responded to the question about whether or not I had children with a "Yes" qualified by adding "I have two in heaven."

Such a relief!!  I felt so much better.  Finally I was acknowledging my children to the world.

The first time I used this was at a retreat.  IIt was about 4 months after my second loss and I was standing in line for lunch when one of my table mates asked me.  I responded positively and with my addendum.  There was a slight pause (totally expected) but then a smile and the reply, "That is beautiful."

It still makes me cry when I think about it.

My children are beautiful.  And today I gave my thoughts to Casey Marie.  My little girl who could have been born two years ago today (or around today).  Wow, how different things would be with a two-year old.  Toys laying around, little feet running through the house, child locks on cabinets, and so much more.

Casey, we miss you and love you.  Please pray for us and be a wonderful big sister to Zachary and Brigit.  We love you, little girl, and look forward to the day when we can join you in the Heavenly Kingdom.

Friday, October 29, 2010

7 Quick Takes vol. 9


It seems that my blogging has become nothing but doing these Friday Quick Takes.  It's good that I have something to keep me doing a little blogging, but I would like to post other things as well.  I've been pretty busy lately, that hasn't helped, but I have ideas, really I do!  So maybe once I get through all the reading I have piled up on my coffee table, I'll actually do a bit more blogging.  I hope!


Speaking of reading, I can't believe how much reading I have piled up into my life.  And I can't seem to get rid of any of it.  I have several blogs I follow now and many of those bloggers post much more frequently than I do (adding to my reading and my guilt).  And then there is my diocesan paper, which only comes out twice a month.  You'd think I'd be able to keep up.  Apparently not.  Then there are about 3 other magazines I get, one magazine I just got 2 free issues of, and another that a friend keeps bringing me her old copies of.  Eventually I'm just going to have to skip some of these things.


Last week I posted about my drive to Normal, IL.  I was there for a conference of the Midwest Chapter of the Music Library Association.  It was a really great meeting.  We had some wonderful programming and it is always nice to visit with other music librarians.  We had a really interesting presentation on collecting for music therapy programs, another great talk about the Circus Collection, specifically the music part, at Illinois State, a very informative talk about Illinois Wesleyan's new Digital Repository, and we were fed well throughout the period of the conference.  I love going to these type of meetings and I really feel that I came away with a lot from this one.


Okay, forgive me, but I need to vent!!  I don't understand why people don't get the concept of a pedestrian cross-walk.  Do you know how many times I see people come to a cross-walk and stop 3-5 feet back from the curb and wait??  All the time!  No car is going to stop for you when you are that far back.  The other day I even saw a woman waiting at a cross-walk and she waved a car through that was slowing down for her.  Lady, it is a *pedestrain* cross-walk!  YOU have the right of way.  Why do people not get that?  And it's not just the pedestrians, it's the cars too.  There is a cross-walk near my office that I have to cross to get to where I park.  It's not at a light, so the cars are supposed to stop for you.  I usually walk right into the bike lane (assuming no bicyclists are flying by) and then stop to make sure that the oncoming traffic is going to stop.  Most of the time they just keep going.

By the way, yes, it is the law around here that pedestrians have the right of way at a pedestrian cross-walk.  Where I used to live pedestrians really didn't look, they just walked.  And drivers got ticketed if they didn't stop.  Okay, vent over.


Tomorrow is the second anniversary of my due date for our first baby.  She was due on Oct. 30, 2008.  Lately I've been thinking about what it would be like to have a two year old right now.  Hard to imagine.  I may have more thoughts to share on this tomorrow.


Today is the last day of the 40 Days for Life in my town.  Officially I think it ends on Sunday, but the vigil outside our abortion mill was only done on weekdays, so today is our last day.  I heard a story this afternoon on our local Catholic radio station about a life that was saved today.  A young woman was at the clinic today, went in for a little bit and then came out again.  She then left with a friend who had come to pick her up.  Shortly after that one of our local coordinators got a text message from her.  She had looked up the 40 Days for Life online (after seeing it on one of our group's signs) and found the Lexington page and the phone number of the coordinator.  She texted to say that she changed her mind and was going to be talking to her parents to tell them about her pregnancy.  The coordinator sent her the number of a pregnancy help center which the girl thanked her for.  That was it.  But so totally amazing!!  Praise be to God for helping this girl to give her child life.


After telling this story on the radio this afternoon, the host of the show then talked about how important it was to vote in the upcoming election and to vote for pro-life candidates.  Your vote counts, and not just in the way we usually think about it.  You are also held accountable to God for all your actions in this life, including the people you may help elect to office.  Voting for pro-life candidates is one of the most important things you can do.  On that note, if you are a Facebook user, I encourage you to join the event Vote Pro-Life WAVE through November 2.  There is nothing to "attend" just change your profile picture to one of the "Vote Pro-life" pictures available from now through November 2 and then help spread the wave to others.  All the images may be hard to find, you have to scroll down the page a bit to find the link.  To help you out here is the direct link to the images.  I believe that you do have to have a Facebook account to view the images.

Enjoy more Quick Takes at the very popular Conversion Diary blog.  Lots of great posts!!  You won't be disappointed!

Friday, October 22, 2010

7 Quick Takes vol. 8

On Thursday I drove about 6 hours to Normal, IL.  For my 7 Quick Takes this week here are seven things I learned.


During rush hour traffic in Louisville, trying to merge will cause the person you are merging in front of to beep at you.  This was normal behavior in New England, I guess it's considered rude in KY.  I'll be sure to send an invitation next time ... in the whole 2 seconds I have between getting off I-64, merging onto I-70-something, and merging into your lane to get onto I-65.


The little bags of old-fashioned peppermint sticks you can get at Cracker Barrels everywhere are great companions on long, lonely car drives!!


Talking on your cell and trying to write down what you are being told while driving 70 mph is not a good idea.  Don't worry, I decided instead to memorize what I was being told and I wrote it down when I got off the phone .... still driving 70 mph.


The stretch of I-74 between Indianapolis and Bloomington, IL is the longest I have ever driven in a straight line.  Ever!


I am still wondering why there were so many corn and soy bean fields that looked like they had a dusting of snow on them.  Anyone know why so many looked so white??


Harvesting season must be over.  Everything is shades of brown.  No corn, no soy beans.  It was kind of sad looking at the emptiness.


Most surprising thing: the absolutely beautiful little lakes/ponds I passed in Illinois!  They were so blue!!  What a spectacular site to suddenly come upon one in the midst of all those brown, empty fields.  They were always so surprising I kept wanting to get a better look, but alas I could not.  What a great reminder of the beauty of life even in the midst of desolation and emptiness.  Beautiful!!

Check out more Quick Takes posts at Conversion Diary and have a blessed weekend!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


My awesome hubby spent all day Saturday working on the yard: racking, edging, mowing, seeding, fertilizing, and watering.  I finally took some time to do a little vacuuming around the house, which had not been done in a while.

I was pleased with what I got accomplished ... until today.

All that new seed and fertilizer on the yard requires some water for a week or more.  So hubby is in and out moving the sprinklers and hoses around to get all corners of the yard.  He did this Saturday evening and then again Sunday afternoon.  Given the drought we've been in, I expect he'll be doing this each evening for the next week of more.

Yep, the evidence is on the floors.  I guess yard work and clean indoor floors don't mix.  Oh well!!  Hopefully we'll have a nice looking yard come spring!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

7 Quick Takes vol. 7

It's Quick Takes time again!!  Enjoy!  And don't forget to check out other Quick Takes at our host's Jen Fulwiler's blog.


I had wanted to do a whole post about the lecture I attended last Thursday about the Council of Trent, but I never had the time.  So instead of a whole post, thought I would mention one interesting thing about that talk here.  The Council of Trent was held from 1545-1563 and was in response to the Protestant Reformation.  One of the main things that got done at Trent was the standardization of the Roman Rite Mass.  But the talk itself actually focused much more on the history that led up to Trent than anything really about Trent.

So the one thing I found really interesting was in regard to the elevation of the Eucharist during Mass.  Up until about the 10th century the Eucharist wasn't elevated right after the consecration.  Also remember that the priest faced the same way as the people, so without the elevation the people could not see anything and did not know when the consecration happened (I don't know when the bells were instituted, but once that was instituted that would have been the only way the people knew that the consecration had happened).  It was around the 10th century when at the request of the people, the priest started elevating the host, the Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  The people wanted to be able to see and adore Jesus in the Eucharist.  So around 1000 AD was when this was put in place.  Interestingly, it was only the Eucharist that was elevated, not the chalice.


Our front porch is done!!  Last weekend, hubby stripped the columns and railings, primed, put up molding on the columns, and then painted the whole thing.  He also replaced the outside lights with something much, much better than what we had.  It looks so much better!!  This weekend we're (hopefully) going to go get a tree and plant it in the big hole in our backyard.


On Monday I attended another session of what is being called "Companions on the Journey."  It is at my church and being led by the rector of my parish.  This session was all about gratitude.  Unlike the first session, I feel like I got a lot more out of this one.  One thing that gave me food for thought:

When you greet someone and they ask, "How are you?" you should respond with "I am blessed!"  I bet you'd get some surprised looks at the bank or the grocery store, but also just from your friends.  I haven't started this yet, kind of hesitant to do it.  And think about saying that if you're having a bad day.  It'd be hard to be too down on yourself if you had to admit that you ARE blessed despite what may be going on in your life.  Definitely something to think about!


Wednesday night we attended the "Evening of Excitement."  It was a lot of fun!!  This was a dinner/fundraising event for our local Catholic radio station.  It was free and a big announcement was promised.  We saw lots of people we knew, met some people we hadn't met before, and got to see some people we hadn't seen in a while.  The Bishop gave the keynote speech and then we got the big announcement.  The Catholic station currently runs on an AM station and is required to power down between sunset and sunrise.  So it really doesn't come in at all during those times.  You can get it online, but that means only at home or work, not in your car.  So first (not the big announcement) they are increasing their wattage so that they will cover more area (maybe we'll get it in our house!!).  Second, the big announcement was that they will be simulcasting the station on an FM channel sometime in early 2011!  Woohoo!!  That means 24 hours a day it'll be available in the metro area and it won't get hard to hear because of static when you're under power lines at a red light or in a parking garage.  I'm looking forward to the change.  Hopefully more people will discover Catholic radio as well.


We've been going to a lot of things lately.  We attended the third part of the Liturgy series on Thursday of this week.  The priest who presided at our wedding and is now pastor at a few parishes about an hour south of us came up to give the talk on Vatican II.  He is such a history person!!  I've heard him give different talks at Church as well as at Theology on Tap events and he obviously knows a lot of history.  He gave a good talk and made a point to talk about the fact that what happened to the Mass following Vatican II was not the only major change to the Mass in the history of the Church.  I feel like I have a deeper appreciation for the history of the mass overall.

Unfortunately I'll be out of town next week for the last talk.  That one will be about the changes that are coming to the Mass starting in Advent of 2011.  Wish I could be there, but hopefully there will be other opportunities to hear about the changes coming before they get here.  I expect we will.


After the talk last night we went to a new frozen yogurt place that just opened in town.  Actually, Thursday and today was their "soft" opening, the grand opening is Saturday.  It is called Orange Leaf.  It's self-serve frozen yogurt with a topping bar and you pay by the ounce.  There were about 10 or so different flavors of frozen yogurt (everything from vanilla and chocolate to coffee to mango and pomegranate) and lots and lots of different toppings (fruit, candy, sprinkles, cereal, granola, etc.).  You can take one flavor or mix some flavors, take as many toppings as you want, and then you pay depending on how much it weighs.  For the two of us we ended up paying a little under $7.  I didn't think that was too bad.  And the bowls were pretty big, it'd be easy to fill that thing up!!


Finally, just wanted to mention that today was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  There is a lot about this day on the website October 15th.  I lit three candles this evening starting at 7pm for my three babies.  I'd like to see a larger public event in my city to commemorate this day.  But I think I'll start with my church first.  I may talk to our rector soon about doing something next year.  A year to plan should be plenty of time.  Any ideas?  Did you attend a public event?  What did they do?  Was it at a church or somewhere else?

Don't forget to head over to Conversion Diary and check out the Quick Takes from many, many other bloggers.

Friday, October 08, 2010

7 Quick Takes vol. 6

For more Quick Takes, check out Jen Fulwiler's blog Conversion Diary, where she is on vol. 100, for her Quick Takes and links to many other's.  Hope you enjoy!

For my past few Quick Takes posts I planned a little ahead.  This week, that didn't happen.  So I'm winging it!


I finally started going back to the gym this week!  Made it a whole two days.  It's a slow start, but it is a start.  I've been slacking off on the diet and exercise thing, but luckily I've been maintaining.  Hopefully this means a little exercise will jump start some loss again.  We'll see.


Monday evening I attended a talk sponsored by the University of Kentucky Students for Life organization.  The speaker was Rebecca Kiessling, who had been adopted and found out when she was 18 that she had been conceived through rape.  It was a pretty powerful talk.  I wrote a post about what I took away from her talk.  Go check it out if you have a chance.  The post includes a link to her webpage as well.


My husband and I want to one day sell our house.  But we didn't feel like we needed to move while it is just the two of us.  We think this house will fit us fine for one baby, but after that we feel that we need something a bit bigger.  But due to our three losses, we keep putting off our plans.  After our last miscarriage we decided to go ahead and move forward, with or without a baby.  It'll happen one day and we are now in a position financially to afford a new home.  So we're shooting for next spring.  In the meantime, that means fixing up this house.  We redid the kitchen last year.  Our current project is the front of the house.  I wanted to hire a contractor to completely replace the columns and railings on the front porch, hubby decided differently.  So he spent some time last weekend stripping the paint and fixing up the rusted areas above the windows and doors.  Tonight he started priming, he'll finish tomorrow and hopefully paint.  Then we go shopping!!  That's my favorite part.  We'll buy trim to finish the columns off and new light fixtures for by the door and on either side of the garage.  Hopefully by the end of the weekend we'll have much better curb appeal.  I'll post a picture eventually.  Unfortunately I did not take a "before" pic.


Twice in the last couple months I've gotten involved in conversations that somehow evolved into a debate on the clergy sexual abuse scandal.  I find myself defending the Church on charges people throw at it based on misinformation they have heard through the media.  It's very frustrating, as I'm sure many others who have been in the same position know.  I'm considering writing a bit more about my feelings on this topic, once I can get all my thoughts together in some sort of coherent manner.


This past Sunday I had a meeting in the town just north of me.  I'm a city girl and I live on the north end of my town.  So just two miles from my house I was already in what I consider the "country."  Whether or not it is, I don't know.  But no traffic lights, few houses, and long windy roads equals country to this city girl.  What I thought was funny was how comfortable I was driving on these roads.  Winding through areas I hadn't been before, roller-coastering over the hills without adjusting my speed (too much), and enjoying the expansive fields and open areas.  I still prefer to live in a city, but it is nice to drive through such pretty areas.  And I think my cute little car (a Honda Fit) makes it even more fun to drive through such an area.


The meeting I went to was at a little country church.  Amazingly only about 20 minutes from my house.  As I pulled in I noticed a historical marker by the road in front of the church.  It looked like a really cute little church, but unfortunately I didn't get to see the inside.  Our meeting was in a small building behind the church.  I did learn, however, that it is the oldest church building not only in our diocese (Lexington) but also in the Diocese of Covington, from which we had been split off in the late 1980s.  I didn't get a chance to read the historical marker when I left (it really required walking down to the street to read, which I didn't get a chance to do).  So I have several reasons to go back there!  Good thing it isn't too far away, maybe we'll venture up there for a Sunday Mass sometime.


This is my first post using a new template in blogger.  I recently updated my settings so I could add Tabs on the top of my page (which I haven't had time to work on, so nothing is there yet).  I don't know if this is the reason for this new template or if blogger just happened to update things at the same time that I had made some changes as well.  It was a little startling at first, but I do like that I can see what things will look like on the actual post rather than the HTML, although I can still easily switch to the HTML view and edit that way as well.  I'm a bit annoyed that when I change the justification (left justify vs. center) it doesn't necessarily seem to take the first time and I have to click on it a second time.  Maybe it's a user problem too, who knows.  I'm sure I'll get used it eventually.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!