Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2016

Day 304: You Have Dignity Because You Belong To God

"We let our ability to do things speak to our dignity.... You are not valuable because you do things. You are not valuable because you look good or because you have a charming personality or because you have been successful at work. You have dignity because you belong to God." ~The Reverend Brian Larkin, Homily for 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 23, 2016. 

Listen to the full homily here (choose the one for XXX Sunday in Ordinary Time).

His homily is directly related to a physician-assisted suicide measure on the ballots in Colorado next week, but is applicable to everyone. He tells a moving story about Pope John Paul II at the end of his life, and discusses how, as humans, we all have inherent dignity. Even if we are not productive (something I could use a lesson in). Even if we are suffering (which we all will at times).

I'm so glad that my church is clear about its stance on human dignity. We aren't valuable because someone wants us or because we are doing s…

Day 303: Jonny Lang + Frankincense

One of the CDs we listened to last night was Jonny Lang's Long Time Coming. It's been quite a while, and I was so pleased when "The One I Got" came on. How could I have forgotten about that gem? I've been thinking about it all day.

I also recently purchased some essential oils, so I'm well on my way to becoming a hippie. So far I mostly diffuse them and I'm looking forward to learning more about how to use them. I also made some foaming hand soap with castile soap because it's amazing how fast little boys go through hand soap (and, yet, still manage to do a terrible job washing their hands). Today I took a long, hot bath with some lavender and diffused some frankincense and, I must say, it was very relaxing. I give it a thumb's up.

Day 302: Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was our 11th wedding anniversary. Traditional and modern gifts both listed as steel. Hm. Well, we don't do anniversary gifts, so instead, we stayed home and ate shrimp (him), salmon (me) and fishsticks (kids). We listened to some good music, ate a box cake with sprinkles. We drank gin and tonics and watched baseball.

I remembered our wedding first dance song, Bob Dylan's "Never Say Goodbye," and smiled. I tried to find a link to it on YouTube to post, but of course I could only find covers. Classic Dylan. We thought of some more upbeat-sounding songs, and had intended to take dance lessons. Then things happened, checks got "lost" and we didn't. So we settled for this slower number and I don't regret it.

My spouse is good, holy, hard-working, generous, kind, patient, smart, and fun. No one else would have put up with me for this long. He daily answers "no" when I look around at the chaos and ask if he regrets any of his life decis…

Day 300: In Which We Eat Turkey

I forgot to hit publish on Day 300. To celebrate the three hundredth day of the year, we had turkey! Just kidding. We got a great deal on turkey breasts at Cash Wise and it was thawed and ready to cook. We also had a can of biscuits and some potatoes from my father-in-law's garden. So as it went, I channeled my inner Janis and whipped up a half decent meal! So what if I forgot a vegetable! It was bland in color but fab in flavor.

My gratitude for the day was that we can have this delicious food. I have never had to go hungry and I take that for granted way too often. Like almost always. We do try to buy what's on sale and to be good stewards of what we have, but the fact is, we are extremely lucky that we don't have to worry much about our grocery budget, or food allergies, or where our next meal is coming from. I should try to remember this when I complain about always having to make all the meals for the ungrateful child set.

Day 301: Happy Bullets

The kids are playing legos and singing their own medley of Jame Taylor's "Mexico" and "Shower the People" and it makes my heart swell. We went to school Mass today and I remembered, as I do weekly, how one of the things I like so much about a small, Catholic school is the way the big and little kids are integrated. The fifth and sixth graders sit mixed in with the kindergartners and first graders for Mass, probably to keep them from getting too wiggly and out of control. I enjoyed seeing a big (kind of punkish-looking) kid helping a kindergartner tie his shoe, and an older girl sharing her music book with a little one and helping her follow along. I found a Christmas gift for my sister today and I'm so excited about it. I'd love to share a link but she occasionally pops on to ye olde blog, so I can't. Yet. Gifts are my love language and I'm thrilled about this one. I have a love/hate relationship with the Internet, namely social media. But I fou…

Day 299: America's Pastime


Yes, I'm shouting. I'm a little bit excited. I have absolutely no stake in either team winning; I just love baseball. The one and only thing I still miss about having cable is watching sports, namely the Twins and the Bison (football). We. Love. Baseball. With this crazy summer, we didn't even catch Fox's weekly game. I've got myself a Leinie's Autumn Tea Shandy, a hat I need to finish knitting tonight, and I'm parked in front of the TV. Life is good.

In other news, my husband got home super early today, and came bearing a load of groceries. A man after my own heart. He also led a whole-apartment cleanup hour and made supper. So basically he is killing it today.

My halfhearted apologies for my lack of poor quality, unedited photos on ye olde blog lately. Blame the Blogger app. I'm sorry that I can't make you feel better about your photography skills today.

And now, baseball.

Day 298: Hospitable Friends (and No Cavities!)

Today the boys and I headed back to Fargo for dentist appointments that we scheduled six months ago before we knew where we'd be living or what we'd be doing. I'm muy grateful that my kids don't mind the dentist (#1 loves it), so there was no anxiety or crying. Also no cavities! Whoop!

My biggest gratitude moment of the day was when a friend agreed to take #3 during our appointments with less than two hours notice. I had plans for him with another friend, but then her little dude ended up with croup (sad face!). My mom's group friends are just the best. For real. They are so generous to provide their home, toys and snacks for us at a moment's notice. I really hope that no matter what happens here, I'm able to sustain these friendships with these generous and kind people.

Day 297: Our Old Friends

Since we stayed in Fargo on Saturday night, we headed to the 10:00 Mass at our old parish, St. Joseph's, on Sunday morning. I enjoyed it so much! Fr. Larry gave a great homily and said Mass reverently and the kids weren't terrible. We wolfed down donuts and headed to the gym. I got to visit with so many of my favorite old friends. Such a joy! I felt real joy and delight. We ate lunch with our family besties and the I'm all smiles just thinking of Sunday.

I'm not against new friends, and I find myself able to picture us settling here, but there's just something about sweet old friends. I love them so much, and felt so happy to hang with them like the old (Sun)days.

Day 296: JPII & A Dose of Humility

Saturday we held a fairly impromptu birthday party at a hotel in Fargo for #1, who will be turning 6 in a couple of weeks. The cousins I mentioned in 295 were there and we were joined by a friend family, grandma, grandpa and Auntie Kathy. I managed to forget all the things at our apartment, including my sanity, and I had a mini-meltdown. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law swooped in and saved the day by actually remembering stuff and thinking about things we might need. Details.

So often my pride tricks me into thinking that I'm the only one who can do the things correctly and that everything will fall apart without me. It turns out that it's possible to pull off a casual sixth birthday party without super detailed plans. It worked out and he and his guests seemed to have a great time. We only broke one planter at the hotel, so that's a victory, I guess. As it usually does, hindsight proved that it was actually a pretty great day.


Saturday was the feast day for my favo…

Day 295: Fab Friday

Friday we had my sister-in-law and her husband and their two kids here, and we had a great day. I channeled my inner Janis (my mom) and made apple pie and lasagna. We ate well, played, laughed, and Katie took the boys to the park so I had some quiet time. Yay! I got a few minutes to enjoy a beer and some knitting on the porch since the weather was fabulous. I actually felt continuously happy throughout most of the day, which is big for me. With my melancholic temperament, it's easy for crabby or at least indifferent to be my default. I needed a happy, fun day and that's just what I got!

I also found my missing Babb's Coffee House gift card, and if that doesn't elicit some gratitude, nothing will.

Day 293: Linkadoodle!

I'm coping out here. I've had a few tabs open of stuff I wanted to share, so here are some links.

About Those Unthinking, Backward Catholics - Archbishop Chaput. Chaput is awesome.

How We Discuss Imperfect Heroes With Kids - Kendra from Catholic All Year. We all know Kendra is my hero, so it was great to have a new post from her. She's busy. I admire how truthful she is with her kids, and how well-thought-out her parenting is. The Interwebs seem to think Columbus Day shouldn't be a thing because he wasn't perfect. I like her perspective.

Why "Don't Look" Won't be Enough - Jenny at Mama Needs Coffee. I can't have a link fest without Jenny. Terrifying but true. We all need to address kids and pornography, and way earlier than we think we should.

Raising Saints - More Jenny. I wish she was my next door neighbor.

Take a free Love Languages quiz here. My spouse and I both took it. We haven't taken it for the kids yet but I'm pretty sure we'…

Day 292: Hospitality

Oh the gratitudes for day 292. It's been a couple of months since we've been in our new town, and I've met a few people. The folks here are friendly, but are not really my friends. I connected at Mass with a fellow mom of 3 boys and we were able to get together Tuesday, and I felt all the feels.

We have the same ideas about several things and got along great. My kids dominated their toys and I admired their beautiful out-of-town property with plenty of room for little (and big) boys to run. We discussed starting a mom's group. I know exactly zero people, but she had a handful of people in mind who may want to join us. I'm so excited, since I've mentioned around a thousand times that my mom's group was a lifeline and was basically the reason I am not a complete failure as a stay-at-home mom.

The couple of hours we spent at these new friends' house boosted my mood dramatically. I'm so grateful for her openness and hospitality.

Day 294: Knitting

Aaaaaand we're back. There was a dying computer scare and I've given up on the Blogger app. So I'll bang out what I can before the toddler comes over and dumps my coffee on my keyboard.

It's October, which means kitting is back! Yay! Every year I think that I will continue to knit all summer so I don't suck at it come fall. And every year I tuck it away at the end of March and forget I even know how to knit for six months. 
Hats and scarves are my specialty. I made a blanket once, and by that I mean I made about 2/3 of a blanket intended for my first baby and my mom fixed my mistakes and finished it in time for my second baby. So what. 
The toddler needs a fluffy hat to match his brothers' and #2 has been pestering me for a scarf. And of course Halloween is coming up so I'm knitting them head-to-toe costumes. Ha ha ha. Kidding. We lost one of the hats for a costume we already have, so I knitted a replacement and I'm working on the white beauty above for…

Day 290: Single Parent

I felt like garbage yesterday, much like I do right now. My husband would never tell me if he also felt like garbage, so let's assume he didn't. Either way, he did all the meal preparation and cleanup, all the entertaining, all the fight moderating, all the kid-bathing and bedtime. He was basically a single parent with a guest leaving dirty tissues around. And he nailed it. I'm grateful to have gotten sick on a weekend, when I had a reliable backup to call in. I mean, even when I'm not sick, he does all the things on the weekends, but he did them with literally no help from me, and without complaint. Someone start a file for sainthood.

Day 289: Friends, Conversation, Brunch

I've got no pictures to post, which is OK because I'm not a real blogger so I don't have to follow blogging "rules." Gratitude item from Saturday is getting to have great conversation over brunch with two dear friends. I drove to the big city alone and really enjoyed my morning, which lasted until about 4 p.m. It's amazing what good conversation can do for a person. It really is a gift.

Day 288: Stepping Stones

Friday was a big day for us, despite my throat feeling like I was constantly swallowing glass shards.

I've recently discovered a stay-at-home mom's dream, which is a great play center open a few times during the week. It's in the basement of a Lutheran church near our school. We checked it out for the first time Wednesday, and the director mentioned that they have date night/kids night out about once a month and that it was coming up!

The little guys loved the play center and talked it up to #1. Like WAY up. So I signed us up for date night, where we pay a very reasonable amount and can drop the kids off for playing, snacks, movies, and their favorite, BIKES AND TRIKES (that's them shouting it, which they did for about a half hour before we dropped them off). A couple of years ago I thought I'd never be able to see the day, since the brood of introverts didn't even like stopping at a park if there were other kids present.

Well, they marched right in and hit up …

Day 291:

Well, I'm not grateful for the Blogger app right now. It hasn't been working on my phone, and my energy/motivation/desire to charge and open up ye olde laptop is low low low. But I did it. For you. And then my laptop wouldn't connect to our wi-fi. What? For real? I zoned out on Facebook and email for 10 minutes on my phone before realizing that I could use my phone as a hotspot. So stick it, wi-fi.

I'm sick today. Like my whole face hurts from sinus sick. My husband took the kids outside so I could lie down, because he loves me. #grateful

In God's great mercy, the boys were really good this morning while I moped around coughing on everything and trying not to leave Kleenexes everywhere. We played the world's longest game of Uno, ending in a tie. The toddler played by himself in his room for a long time until I freaked him out by watching him on the video monitor. I had to move the camera to find him, since it's usually aimed at his crib, and the movement fr…

Day 287: Grow Young With You

I had a more serious post brewing but you'll be shocked to find out that I haven't had time to really think it through. So,

anyone remember this?
I sure do! I pulled it out as part of my Start Listening to All Those CDs Again plan. It's so good! It just makes me smile. I can't pick a favorite right now; there are so many good ones.

I could share a specific memory brewed up from at least four or five of the songs, but I think only Callie and Molli will probably appreciate them, so I'll spare you.

I think I will share one that I love, though. When I mentioned Steve Earle's voice a few days back on I'll Change For You. Andy Griggs' voice on this one reminds me of that, not quite as "bad ass" but soothing in its own way. I was obsessed with this song during those silly teenage crush days!

Day 286: Jim Gaffigan

The last couple of nights my spouse and I have watched Jim Gaffigan's Obsessed comedy special. It did not disappoint. He's so funny. He's not vulgar, he's hilarious, and he genuinely seems like a decent person. Jim Gaffigan for President!

This isn't the funniest part of the special,  but it's the part I could find in 2.8 seconds. 

Day 285: Manny Being Manny

Our newish 2-year-old is really milking 2 for all it's worth. In the couple of weeks since his birthday, he's amped up the tantrums, the yelling, the disobeying, the writhing on the floor and all the other joys of being two. Here are a couple of pictures that kind of sum up our relationship lately.

Despite my eye rolling texts to my friends who commiserate with me, he's actually balancing out some of the two-year-old-ness with some pretty epic cuteness.

It could be that I just don't remember because I was working and tired and pregnant or with a newborn when the other kids were this age, but I think he is the best talker so far at this age. It's a blessing and a curse. Like when he tries to negotiate in the middle of the night, knowing full well he'll win because I don't want him to scream and wake up everyone in the building. But he says "oh yeah" almost any time we remind him of anything. And when he wants his face washed after meals he says &qu…

Day 284: Columbus Day!

Well the blogger app won't work on my phone these days, and my motivation is low for getting out the computer at the end of the day. Yesterday was average and you know average usually makes me pretty happy. We went out for $3 cheeseburger baskets at the Knights of Columbus (Columbus Day!) and all proceeds from the night went toward the purchase of an ultrasound machine for the pregnancy center in Williston. No one here had to cook, our kitchen stayed clean, the burgers tasted great, and the kids acted mostly normal. Everybody wins!

And for your reading pleasure, Kendra uses her usual sensibility to explain how they teach their kids that although Christopher Columbus could have exercised virtue much better than he did, he still accomplished something heroic. Click here for How We Discuss Imperfect Heroes With Kids. (Hint: truthfully.)

Day 283: An Attitude of Gratitude

Yesterday's Blessed is She devotion struck a chord with me. It was all about gratitude, and it got me thinking what a positive effect this gratitude and thanksgiving project has had on my life. I'm still a jerk a lot of the time, but forcing myself to find the good in each day has been what has strengthened me throughout what I'd say is one of the most difficult years of my life.

Click here for yesterday's Sunday readings. Scroll down for the reflection.

Day 282: Seven Quick Bullets

I'm so tired right now, and I haven't really thought this through at all. I'm not sure I can make proper sentences. Today was a great day, and I'm resisting the urge to just list out all that has happened. You're welcome. I'll try to quickly list a few moments where I felt strong gratitude, starting with last night.

My spouse kept the kids so I could travel alone to an event at our old parish and spend the night at a friend's house without kids.The exhortation at said event was so great. Father Craig explained how we can devote ourselves to Jesus through Mary. I wish everyone could hear it, because he made it make perfect sense, at least to me.I went to confession and was absolved of all the sins. Sweet freedom. Slept all night. Boom. Couples meeting this morning with five great couples. I love our monthly meal/meeting/discussion.Driving home today, the scenery did not disappoint. I don't see how people can think the I-94 drive is boring just because it&…

Day 281: Random Randomness

I've mentioned before that one of my goals this year was to listen to more music. We've been getting out our CDs more often. The latest is Roseanne Cash's Rules of Travel. There's a song called "I'll Change for You" which I can't get enough of. I can't find a YouTube video to embed, so click here to listen. Steve Earle sounds so bad ass. I love it. I've always been partial to men's singing voices, and he just kills it here.

I read a blog post this morning which struck a chord with me: Small Change, Small Victories.

And I'm listening to one of my favorite Catholic Stuff You Should Know episodes ever, Father John's vocation story. It's probably like the seventh time I've listened. All the heart eyes. Listen here!

Day 280: Midnight Musings

A certain someone climbed out of his crib last night and appeared in my room at 1:42 a.m, announcing loudly that "I WAKE UP." He then politely demanded "ROCKABYE FEW MINUTES" and "I SLEEP DADDY BED."

So we got up, had a drink a drink of milk, and hit up the rocking chair for a few minutes. Only by God's grace, I didn't completely lose my s*** when he kept demanding "two more minutes" and threatened to wake our whole apartment building when I attempted to put him back in the crib.

Once I had him lying safely on the floor mattress (not sleeping), #2 appeared in my room because his "eyes won't close." So I laid with him awhile. Most nights, this would have driven me over the edge. Again, grace.

While I was doing all the rocking and all the lying and all the snuggling until 4 a.m., I was reminded several times of what a gift it is to have these children here waking me up. Trust me, thoughts like that are not top of mind for me …

Day 278: All The Priests!

Last night (actually Monday night because I wrote this yesterday) we went to a special Mass held at our new parish. The bishop and all of the priests from our diocese are here for Presbyteral Days. I don't really know what that is, but I know there were something like 75-80 priests at the Mass. We took the kids, even though 5:30 p.m. isn't their best time of day, and only one of them seems to "like" church. We thought it would be cool to see so many priests together and fun to do evening prayer with them, too.

So many men dressed in the same white vestments was pretty cool to see. Bishop Folda's miter kept the little one engaged for a while, and overall it was just a cool experience. One kid fell asleep, another got a bloody nose, and the third yelled "That Father wearing him hat!" during the bishop's homily. And still I'm glad we went! We met the bishop on the way out, which all of us but the two-year-old enjoyed.

During the prayers of the con…

Day 279: Confidence

I have been filling out my new 2016 Catholic Planner. Aside: I do realize it's October. Bear with me. That's not what this is about. Part of it includes listing people who inspire you, and then reflecting on why they inspire you. I listed several different people from different areas of my life. I admire them for a number of reasons.

I got to thinking about a couple of friends in particular today while I tidied my house for a quick visit from grandma and grandpa this afternoon. These couple of friends I thought of are confident in their vocations, their parenting, and their choices. Not a "my way is the best way and I have it all together" way, but more of a "this works for me and for my family and I'm content with that" way. 
I've struggled with confidence in who I really am forever, and specifically since I became a stay-at-home mom. A book or blog or YouTube video exists for everything and you can find a zillion ways to validate your way of doing…

Day 276: Pizza Corner!

I forgot to post Saturday! Shocking, right?

Saturday we did some local tourism in Valley City, about 30 miles away. We mostly chose it because none of us had been there AND we wanted the little people to be tricked into napping. It worked!

Moving has taught me to take greater advantage of our local area for things to do and see. We drove around inside and outside of town, stopped at a park, and (my favorite part) stopped at Pizza Corner for supper. Pizza Corner like the beloved North Dakota frozen pizza brand, only in real life. It was everything I hoped it would be. Valley City for the win!

Day 277: My Favorite Power Couple

Two of my most favoritest priests were back together again for an episode of Catholic Stuff You Should know: Success is Not a Name of God. Someone asked me what I thought of the episode and I realized I couldn't remember any of it, so I re-listened while I made applesauce at nap time today. I was so delighted to hear them back together the first time that I didn't really listen. You can almost hear them smiling at the beginning. All the heart emojis.

Background: CSYSK is a podcast by (now) 4 priests from the Archdiocese of Denver. Right now there are two in Denver (Father Nathan and Father Michael) and two studying in Rome (Father John and Father Mike). They alternate weeks, so there's an episode from Denver one week and Rome the next. This summer, the Fathers John and Mike returned to Denver and they mixed it up a bit. They all seem great and I totes want to hug them all right now. But there is something special about the dynamic between Father John and Father Nathan. The…

Day 274: Friday Funday!

Friday was fun! The toddler had his checkup and besides his cold, was deemed healthy. He only cried for a minute and the rest of us managed to get our flu shots without crying. Aside: Here's a story about how my brother almost died, but then didn't, of influenza. Talk about gratitude! Please get a flu shot if you can! 

The boys and I were in the big city for the doctor appointment so we used that as an excuse to visit some of our favorite friends! Obviously.

We had such fun watching the kids interact. We saw them practically every other day all summer, and so they behaved almost like siblings. The kids were so happy to see each other and I was pleased to see the familiarity still there between them even though it's been a while since we hung out. I loved not having an agenda and just spending a "regular" afternoon. We didn't have to rush, we stayed for supper, and I am pretty sure I smiled the whole way home.

I also started Joan of Arc by Mark Twain on Audibl…

Day 273: It's Just A Cold

This is how we spent a couple of days this week. Most of us had colds and were generally miserable. No one was sleeping when and where they should have. 
We managed, and it wasn't until later on when I realized I should really be offering our sufferings up for those people with kids who are really sick. I think helplessness is the main feeling parents have when their kids are sick, and I can't imagine having to spend night after night in the hospital with a child who can't understand what is going on. 
We were sick, but not that sick. I'm grateful for the common cold, I guess.

Day 275: Autumn

Like all of the other moms on the Internet, I'm enjoying the cooler temps of fall. I love being outside in jeans and a t-shirt and being neither hot nor cold. 
I'm grateful that I have kids who need to go outside, and a city with many great parks. Without that combination, it's likely I'd tell the Internet I loved it outside, but mostly I'd be parked on my couch.