Monday, June 29, 2009

Family Photo Meme

Having been tagged by Karen of (sorry have not figured out how to do the fancy linking thing yet) here is a family photo and the story behind.

This was taken last summer (2008) on the beach in Maine, featuring in addition to Elisabeth and myself my wonderful SIL Karen and her daughter C. We were happy to discover last year that we would be pregnant at the same time and due about a month apart.

The plot thickened when E. decided to wait and be born in March and her cousin decided to come a little early. In reality they were born nine days apart. How much fun is there going to be watching these little girls grow up together.

Already I have the happy memory of two babies happily hanging out in their carriers as we introduced them to the wonderful if chilly beaches in Maine.

I tag Mindy, Molly, and anyone else with a photo to share and a story to tell.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Quick Takes vol #20

  1. Have begun to get language explosion around here with new words almost every few days so I thought I would work on manners too.  Whenever she would pull on my legs and say 'Up' I would answer 'Up please' and it seems to be working.  The 'please' is not very clear but there is definitely now a word of some sort coming after 'UP'
  2. The weather finally gave us a break this week and a couple days of sun.  Ventured out to the playground and check out a local arboretum which was holding a tree-house exhibit.
  3. Don't think Elisabeth fully appreciated the work that went into constructing the tree-houses we saw however the stairs got raves.  We are very much into stairs right now!
  4. Last date night included a wonderful beef fried rice and watching Mama Mia which I heartily recommend.  Sometimes there is nothing better than a joyous and fun-filled musical.  I'm still humming the tunes almost a week later.
  5. When choosing a spouse there are the big things you look for; compatibility, intelligence, a sense of humor, and feeling mutual respect and attraction.  Then there are the happy surprises!!  Marrying someone who likes to cook definitely has its benefits :-)
  6. Received word this week of two lovely baby girls born to friends of mine, this combined with celebrating this weekend the high school graduation of a cousin (by marriage) I have had the great privilege of knowing since she was two years old has me thinking about the passage of time.  'The Circle Game' is one of my favorite songs and as I get older its bittersweet message rings truer and truer.
  7. This weekend traveling to New Jersey to honor and celebrate with the graduate!
Come read and enjoy other Quick Takes hosted by Jen at www.Conversion

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Small Successes: June 25th

  1. Went with couple of friends to a local arboretum yesterday.  Am very much a homebody, but with all the rain we have had recently wanted to make the most of some nice weather and explore some of the parks local to us.  (we did get rained on, but only a little.)
  2. Have now for three Saturdays in a row, made dinner together with Charlie to be enjoyed as we watch a movie.
  3. With said husband's help got upstairs bathroom deep cleaned and tub re-caulked.
Read more and share your successes at Faith and Family, Live!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Body after baby: Plateau Tips

  • This week finds me again holding at the same weight, while I am grateful that the current weight loss appears real and to be holding but there is 2-3 more pounds to my initial goal so I have been gathering tips from friends and other weight loss buddies:

  • Change some little thing somewhere, different breakfast or mid-afternoon snack.  If you have been doing the same activity try changing it a bit.  Not necessarily more just different.
  • If that does not wake up your metabolism then adding more intensity might be needed.  Jog occasionally during your walk.  Increase the incline on  a treadmill.  Add more weight during strength training.
  • Re-measure portions just to check for portion creep.
So this week I will reassess my portions and focus on hills during our walks.

Visit read other updates and join the challenge yourself.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Quick Takes vol #19

  1. I won a book giveaway!! I want to thank Anne of for hosting and also Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, the official sponsor of the Catholic summer reading program.  It is really exciting that I will not only be receiving a free book but one of ten chosen by their editors and then voted by many others.  Voting ends tomorrow, go check it out!
  2. This week rather then complain about that fact that it has been raining for weeks on end I chose to focus on being grateful that I have a warm dry home to live in.  My roof is not leaking and nor are my windows. 
  3. The first water babies class was not a great success, she cried through much of it.  She was not terrified and screaming to get out but would only not cry if we did not move around in the water too much and she could rest her head on my shoulder.
  4. I am planning to give it another try next week.  I would like her to be comfortable playing with us in a pool, however it is not a must so whether we keep going after next week is an open question I guess.
  5. As Father's Day comes around, I am enjoying the wonderful father-daughter relationship I'm seeing develop between E. and her daddy, missing my dad and giving thanks as always for our Heavenly Father
  6. My godfather, one of my father's best friends has always been a wonderful gift of love and encouragement to me.  My father was not Catholic and so my godfather was one of my role models for living as an adult catholic in the world.  Now that I too am a godparent, I pray I do as good a job of modeling Catholic love and Christian charity as he did for me.
  7. Hoping the sun shines a little on our weekend plans!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Small Successes: June 18th

  1. Completed my first book review for the Catholic Company.  Which is also a success of being less afraid to try new things.
  2. Got our upstairs completely vacumned, and I have high hopes for the downstairs this weekend
  3. Used the grill for the first time this summer, hoping getting into the habit early will provide many tasty dinners.

What are your small (or not so small) successes this week? Share them over at Faith & Family Live!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Saint Thomas Aquinas: a review

Saint Thomas Aquinas by Raissa Maritain
114 pgs  (10-13 year old)
Sophia Institute Press

Having recently been given the privilege of becoming a reviewer for The Catholic Company, I read Saint Thomas Aquinas by Raissa Maritain, a biography translated into English by Julie Kernan.   Beginning with Saint Thomas Aquinas's childhood, education and religious formation, the book follows his path up to and beyond his death, discussing also process of his canonization,  highlighting some of his major works of literature, the Office of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Summa Theologica.


   While I enjoyed the book I'm not sure what the age target was: the vocabulary is a little difficult but I wonder if a teenager would find the tone a little condescending.   One note of caution to parents: while most concepts are well explained or defined, the tradition of bodily relics (namely, in which two shrines his arms may be found)  is unexpectedly raised without  much context.  This may be a new and uncomfortable concept to some children.  Overall the book is a nice overview of St. Thomas's life and work, and perhaps would work well as story to be read with your child, or a jumping off point for a confirmation student wanting to research Saint Thomas. 

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Quick Takes vol #18

  1. April showers continued into May and now June: the flower beds are green and blooming from what I can see running to the car.
  2. Still working my way through 'Orthodoxy', it is one of the those books that has been recommended to me several times so I push on but so far it has not grabbed me
  3. Attended the 8th grade graduation ceremony for my 'little sister' and her twin.  We were matched at the beginning of her 6th grade year.  Having watched her grow and mature through the tween years I am excited for what the high school years will bring. 
  4. Have finished the first book I am to review for the Catholic Book Company: now I just have to write the review and believe I have something to say that someone would be interested in.
  5. Elisabeth has added 'up' to her vocabulary and uses it to express her want to be picked up and carried, or released from high chair, stroller or crib.
  6. Precious moment: Recently she spontaneously laid down by our patio doors and when I got down next to her, she started pointing out the moving clouds to me and babbling away (about the sky I guess, my understanding of infant babble is pretty poor).
  7. Weekend plans: Shopping and chores around the house, giving thanks for being together.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Body after baby: Body Image

        This past week went well, a lot of rain so three 30 minute walks was a challenge but we had a beautiful weekend and so I made the most of it.  The scale is the same and so are my goals.  I truly hope to push past this last plateau and lost the last 2 of the 20 pound goal I had set for myself, but if I don't I do see the accomplishment of the 18 lost and appreciate that to a great extent my body does what I ask of it.
This weekend as my daughter walked around in a onesie still sporting that wonderful healthy toddler 'beer-belly'  I began to think about how I wanted to raise her with a healthy body image.  Like most women I've not always thought kindly about mine.  I am on the shortish side and as a former gymnastic have an athletic, stocky build; so size 2 and willowy I will never be and have finally after many years made my peace with that.
Is there a way to save E. some of that anxiety if given her genetics she too is not tall and willowy ( or whatever the sought after body type is when she is a teen and young woman)?  I want her to value health and strength, to understand about taking care of her body so that it can take care of her.  Most importantly I want her to know that she is fearfully and wonderfully made.   Like her mother before her, that may be something she needs to figure out for herself but perhaps I can ease and shorten the journey.

Read more and join the challenge at

Friday, June 5, 2009

Quick Takes vol #17

  1. Elisabeth and I enjoy a wonderful lunch yesterday with a friend and her two month old daughter.  Her daughter is another March baby so as we eat our delicious sandwiches we together marveled at what a difference a year makes.  Reassurance for one mother that the colicky newborn stage does pass and another opportunity for the other (me) to take a moment and recall the many awesome accomplishments of the past year.
  2. To celebrating her fifteenth month (and demonstrating an interest in scribbling) we gave Elisabeth the Crayola beginner markers and coloring book.  She had a blast, I eventually got the stray marks out of the carpet.  We put them away for awhile.
  3. Great week for lunches,  a good friend from St Louis visited and we again enjoyed the fact that despite not seeing each other for a year conversation flowed and warmth was felt.
  4. I give thanks for the wonderful friendships who made during college and graduate school years, have remained and endured into the marriage and parenting years.
  5. Had been on the fence about teaching again this fall but hearing the positive impact I had from former students after their graduation ceremony and watching E. play with other kids at the playground has me feeling much more comfortable about the idea.
  6. June has brought many thunderstorms so far and our first opportunity to cuddle a sleepy baby who did not quite understand it all but decided that the lights and sounds were better enjoyed from mommy and daddy's bed.
  7. Going to a local strawberry festival tomorrow with friends.  Hoping for no rain and a daughter not intent in eating every berry she can reach.
Thanks as always to Jen for hosting Quick Takes at

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Small Successes: June 4th

  1. Managed to execute the sweaters for shorts and t-shirts swap with a minimal amount of mess, thanks in part to some new storage bins Charlie pick up.
  2. Put together a nice donation pile of clothes, which also inspired me to go through E's toy box and put away or pass forward most of her infant toys.
  3. Acknowledging that the five plan for this house is not happening (we will be in the house 7 yrs in July with no plans to move) have started to fix the little things that bugged us but felt we could live with.  A screen door for the front has been ordered, kitchen faucet replaced and we have started investigating countertops for the kitchen.
Inspired by Rosey at
On this Thursday I am so thankful for:
  1. A loving husband to share the good times with and who makes the rough times a little less rough.  
  2. A happy, healthy daughter who loves to explore her world and cuddle with me
  3. Wonderful friends who support and encourage me from afar and when we can get together shares delicious food and great conversation
  4. I am forgiven and loved!
Share (and celebrate) your own and other moms' small successes at Faith & Family Live!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: 15 Months Old

As I start to explore the wonderful world of coloring

What wonderful adventures yet to come!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Body after baby: Week 5

  • New month, new week, same body!  Well almost the same, the scale rewarded my commitment to reduce the amount of refined sugar in my diet by a loss of three pounds. With the help of my local farmers market and plans to go strawberry picking next weekend, I am very hopeful that the plan to focus on healthier sweets is off and running
  • I am a terrible water drinker, I just really don't enjoy the taste and so either don't drink enough during the day or I drink soda.  BUT I believe I have found my drink for the summer, Seltzer with a good splash of lemonade, mostly water but enough flavor to keep me interested.
  • Like my exercise plan, though may try to fit in some pilate to add some variety to the abdominal part.
Okay, that's me.  How is the challenge going for you?
Join the challenge and read more at Samantha's wonderful blog: