Friday, March 27, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday -- 3/27/09

1. Success (or, "Perfectly Obvious:") I've learned how to upload pictures!

2. We are enjoying the arrival of Spring, both indoors and outside. These are some little beauties from my own yard:

3. How Waverley returns thanks:

"Bless us, O Lord, these thy gifts, bounty receive, bounty of Christ, Amen."

4. Our seedlings are taking off:

We estimate ripe tomatoes by early June.

5. Last night I dreamed that I purposely ran a red light with my kids in the car. Tomorrow, I'm taking Tigaloo to a chiropractor appointment that's over an hour away. Maybe I'm just nervous about driving that far with her, alone. It's been a long time since I drove anywhere with only myself and a small baby in the car. I wonder if nursing moms have more anxiety about car trips than bottle-feeding moms? I remember feeling great relief about taking Wallaby anywhere in the car, knowing I could hand him a bottle of breastmilk if the need arose.

6. Currently reading: Chesterton's Orthodoxy.

7. Notre Dame. There's something I'd like to say about it, but that must be another post. See coverage over at American Papist.

for more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Feast of the Annunciation. . .

. . . and fourth anniversary of Wallaby's original due date (3/25/05.) When I found out I was pregnant, the Resurrection lilies bloomed. He was due on Good Friday/Feast of the Annunciation. He was born, prematurely, on my godfather's birthday.

With what longing I prayed for my son!

When we brought him home, he weighed less than four pounds. But that hasn't held him back one bit.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What a Weekend! -- My Little Town Edition

As always, the weekend was here and gone in a blink.

I ran errands alone first thing on Saturday morning. I quite enjoy this "adult" time. We live in a very small community, so a morning's worth of errands provides a good opportunity to visit and catch up with neighbors and acquaintances while getting work done. My "to-do" list had about eight items, and I finished them all an hour!

Mr. C. took Wallaby to the local John Deere supply to pick up a lawnmower part. That was an errand planned just for them. What little boy wouldn't want to visit the tractor store with Daddy?

Waverley and I walked to the post office and library. Drop off mail, return books. Stop at the corner market on the way home for lunch provisions.

We live only two blocks from a little corner market with a nice deli. A market that: is closed all day on Sundays; that will run a credit tab for you, if you make arrangements; that runs a raffle each week for fifty dollars worth of store credit. I absolutely love living in this little town founded long ago by thrifty and fervent Catholics. When I look out the kitchen window and over the neighbor's roof, I can see the steeple of my home church and the gold cross gleaming at the top. From the living room, I can see the parish church where I grew up, and the parochial school I attended for a time. City hall is in view from my yard, and we can watch the trains go by on the nearby track. When the weather is nice, we can hear the tinkly chiming of glass soda bottles being refilled at the bottling plant, where the work is done with the doors open most of the time.

And always time, its flowing marked by the deep ring of the church bell each quarter hour, and the Angelus bell at twelve and six.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blue Jeans!

Ya'll: I wore my blue jeans today! Tigaloo is 13 weeks, and I got my old blue jeans on.

I think it's from all the digging. In any case, I'm relieved to know that I may not have to purchase a new wardrobe.

Friday, March 20, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday -- 3/20/09

1. Tigaloo slept for 11 hours last night! All the uninterrupted sleep was so worth the pain of waking up with too much milk this morning.

2. A young man has asked me out on a date -- and I've accepted! Yesterday at lunch, Wallaby asked, in all seriousness, if he and I could go on a date and leave Mr. C., Waverley, and Tigaloo at home. So in the near future, I'll have the pleasure of a dinner out with my darling son. (Make no mistake: Wallaby likes to eat for the sake of eating, and he likes to eat at restaurants. We try to keep this a rare treat, so I wasn't surprised when he requested dinner at a restaurant over any other activity.)

3. I started this blog somewhat impulsively at the beginning of Lent, and it still shows. I had no idea how hectic life would become in these last few weeks. I'm still defining my objectives here, still looking for the perfect language with which to frame this journey. Once we get the garden completely planted and more of the work around the yard (and house) caught up, I'm hoping to spend some time spiffing up this site. For all who are kindly bearing with me: Thank you! Also, comments are very welcome.

4. Yesterday was the Feast of St. Joseph. I hope everyone enjoyed a blessed and peaceful day under his loving patronage, especially all husbands and fathers, and those families buying and selling homes during this economic downturn.

5. At Mass last Sunday, instead of ringing bells during the words of institution, the acolytes. . . shook. . . "clackers." Does this happen in anyone else's parish? I've never experienced this before, and I was. . . distracted, at the very least. These "clackers" are unwieldy wooden objects the size of a football, roughly, with a handle and clapper. Can anyone clear this up for me?

6. We've got lettuce! Tiny lettuces are growing in my garden! No sign of life from the carrots, yet, but the lettuce is growing beautifully.

7. I want to be perfectly clear about the digging I mentioned in my previous post. The only lifting I've done lately is hoisting Tigaloo to my breast for hours and hours of nursing. (Admittedly, that's getting to be quite a task, as she's gaining 8 ounces each week.) I've done some walking since she was born, but no real, hard work or workouts. I just don't want to give the false impression that performing heavy labor is just all in a day's work for me. I'd like to reach that point eventually. (Would that be the point of "Warrior-Fit?") Take heart, all couch potatoes: if I can dig, anyone can!

Happy weekend!

for more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Only Leverage....

First of all, Mr. C. and I have been living at a mile-a-minute since two Fridays ago. On one hand, we're only able to function at this pace because we've been perfectly in tune with one another. (Praise God!) On the other hand, we can only keep up this way for so long, right? Right? There is no end in sight, which is both exciting and exhausting.

This past weekend presented the arrival of perfect Spring weather here. Saturday afternoon also presented all three children napping for the same two hours. Mr. C. and I worked on the site of our soon-to-be garden: It had been landscaped with rocks by our home's previous owners. We shoveled, and shoveled, and shoveled some more. We dug out a ton of rocks. Literally. It was fantastic. The sun shining, the breeze fresh and soft, the dirt just damp enough to give way easily, the aroma of turned earth rising up like perfume.

Two hours of shoveling cleared out about one-third of the area we're wanting to plant.

I used everything I'd ever learned about "lever," "fulcrum," and "pivot" in my search for the most ergonomic shoveling posture.

Given the current economic climate here in the States, my goal is to have our house paid off as soon as possible, and have the only "leverage" remaining in my life that of the shovel's handle against my thigh.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Golden Butter Cake Recipe

I haven't tried this for myself yet, but here is the recipe for the cake we enjoyed this weekend:

1 Duncan Hines golden butter cake mix

1 sm box vanilla instant pudding

1 (8oz) sour cream

½ cup oil

½ cup water

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 eggs

Grease a bundt pan. Mix ingredients together and pour into pan. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Invert pan right away and place on cake plate. Pour icing over warm cake.

7 Quick Takes Friday -- 3/13/09 -- What a Weekend! Edition

1. Traveling with 3 under 5 on the "Spring forward" time change weekend? Foolish! Fortunately, everyone woke up in time and in a pleasant demeanor on Sunday morning, and we arrived at 8:30 Mass just as Father was giving his opening announcements.

2. Despite the folly of our scheduling the visit, we had a fantastic time with my in-laws. The travel was easy, hospitality generous, company warm, and weather delightful. Wallaby and Waverley enjoyed the run of the farm all of Saturday afternoon. Sunshine, wind, and small children freely running. It's their little slice of heaven on earth.

3. We also enjoyed some delicious food. In addition to homemade fried chicken, I ate the best yellow cake I've ever put in my mouth. The trick? Add a tub of sour cream and a package of instant vanilla pudding to a yellow cake mix.

4. Waffles. Wallaby and Waverley had never eaten waffles, so Sunday after Mass, Grandpa treated us to breakfast out, and we all ate waffles. Now I know that two tiny kids can devour a waffle in 2 minutes flat. If they ate all their meals that quickly, they could free up 7 more hours a week.

In praise of waffles:
Wallaby: "How come we can't stay at Grandpa's house?"
Me: "Because we have to live here at our house."
W: "Can we move this house by Grandpa?"
M: "It is possible to move a house, but Daddy and I aren't going to do that."
W: "Can we build a house by Grandpa?"
M: "You'd have to ask Grandpa, 'Can we build a house in your yard?'"
W: "No, I don't want to build a house in Grandpa's yard. I think build it a little closer to that waffle place."

5. Our garden seeds arrived Monday! The seed company, Baker Creek, included 2 free seeds packets: a lettuce and a parsnip. Mr. C. worked up a seed bed for the early plants, and on Monday evening we set out carrots, parsnips, beets, cilantro, silverbeet, and lettuce. Monday evening we started all the indoor seedlings: tomatoes, peppers, basil, and amaranth. The Love-Lies-Bleeding amaranth has sprouted already, but there's no sign of life from anything else, yet.

6. When we came home from our trip, I remembered that Tigaloo was scheduled for her first round of fever-inducing vaccinations on Wednesday morning. Surely enough, by Wednesday afternoon, she was running a fever and acting sluggish. Her fever spiked up Wednesday night, and yesterday was more of the same. I get scared when my babies run fevers. Fortunately, her fever broke last night.

7. A big "Thank you" to everyone who offered prayers for me last week! Last Friday's event went as well as could be expected. I look forward to the day when the conflict we are involved in can be resolved peaceably. Until then, there is little to do but pray. And that is no small thing.

Here's to a great weekend!

for more Friday Quick Takes, stop over at Conversion Diary.

Friday, March 6, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday -- 3/6/09

1. I did make it to a daily Mass! Picture this: me, my dear friend Somh, and our collective 5 children 4 and under: Wallaby (4), Waverley (2), Sunshine (1), Tigaloo (12 weeks), and Due-Soon (still gestating.) Thursday during Lent is the perfect day for this endeavor, as a sparse service is shorter than one with lots of singing.

2. Waverley tried to escape during Mass, and ran straight for the door squealing at top volume. Does that surprise anyone? It did me, as I've never had one of my kids try something like that. I think she was testing Somh's authority, as I was holding Tigaloo and couldn't really chase her.

3. Regarding the garden: Mr. C. had the brilliant idea of attempting to sprout some of the dried beans from our pantry. That was last Sunday, and so far, we have 3 of 18 beans sprouting! So next we'll try to move the sprouts to dirt here in the house, and go from there.

4. On a serious note: Mr. C. and I are working through an unresolved relational conflict with some other family members, and today we (and kids) will be unavoidably close to these folks at a social event. I would appreciate any prayers for a peaceful day that anyone would offer on our behalf. This feels like jumping headfirst into the lion's den.

5. And some fun stuff: Tomorrow we are going to stay with the in-laws for the weekend. I'm really excited to have a change of scenery more than 10 minutes from my house! This will be the first time since Tigaloo's birth that I've traveled. (And I know we'll get to enjoy the treat of homemade fried chicken while we're there.)

6. This trip will be a good test of the Tigaloo-sleeping-through-the-night system. Will it endure through long hours of driving and sleeping in a different bed in a different house?

7. Just finished reading America Alone by Mark Steyn. Wow. Now I see why his writing is considered "polarizing." Although, that doesn't bother me at all, probably because I tend to be a black-and-white thinker. For anyone interested in the global demography crisis, this is a must read.

Jennifer: I'll do my best to add a link back next week, as I still haven't looked at how.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What Goes Up....

When Mr. C. and I were first married, $30 per week easily handled our grocery needs. As the children came along, we doubled our budget, thinking, "Twice as many mouths to feed, twice the expense." We didn't account for the increase in food prices over nearly 10 years. We also try to buy organic when possible, which drives costs up even more.

My generous estimate at this point is $500 per month for 2 adults and 2 small kids. (Tigaloo is nursing, and won't start solids for many months yet.) Hopefully my estimate is high, and we'll save enough to have a stock-up fund.

I don't really have anything with which to compare this amount. Does it seem high? Low? Since it's so much more than we used to spend, it feels high to me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

What a Weekend! (or, An Appeal to Gardeners) -- 3/2/09

Saturday, Mr. C. and I took the children with us to the bank to close the loan refinancing our home. "Herding cats" comes to mind. The loan officer was very gracious with us. It is such a relief, given the current economic atmosphere, to have been able to re-fi to a shorter term with lower interest. I'd consider this a huge step towards our goal of financial independence.

While Tigaloo was sleeping Saturday afternoon, I cooked up a huge pot of chicken and dumplings. Then Mr. C. and I started seed shopping for our garden. This will be our 3rd attempt at gardening. (The first summer after we married, we planted a garden in a tiny patch of dirt near the confluence of Ignorance and Enthusiasm, and our yield was nil.) This time around, we've the experience of having successfully grown 3 tomato plants and some lettuce, which sets us one tiny step above Woefully Ignorant. And we still have plenty of Enthusiasm.

Here's the list of the seeds we ordered:
- Love-Lies-Bleeding
- Golden Giant
- Jacob's Cattle
- Blue Lake Bush 274
- Hutterite Soup
- Albino
- St. Valery
- Berlicum 2
- Purple Hull Pinkeye
- Harlequin
- Genovese Basil
- Slo-Bolt Cilantro
- Lemongrass (to repel mosquitos)
- Tom Thumb
- Forellenschluss
- Little Gem
- California Wonder
- Five Color Silverbeet (Rainbow Chard)
- Sweet Dumpling (winter)
- Crookneck - Early Golden Summer
- Cocozella di Napoli (zucchini)
- Arkansas Traveler
- German Lunchbox
- Mama Leone
- Rev. Morrow's Long Keeper
- Cherokee Purple
- Isis Candy Cherry
- Yellow Pear
- Blacktail Mountain
- Wilson's Sweet
- Black Seeded Ice Cream
- Golden Midget

So we're probably in way over our heads. I would be appreciative of any suggestions from any gardeners out there! Anyone? Anyone?