Thursday, June 30, 2011

Small Successes-June 30th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. After four years in this house, we FINALLY got new carpet for Madeline's room and the baby's room.  Thanks to a generous gift from my parents we were able to get their rooms carpeted.  The gift was something my brothers and I got because my parents recently sold the house I grew up in and they wanted to give us all a "little something" from the sale.  Madeline is quite happy with her new carpet and I'm thrilled that I no longer have to wonder when we'll get around to having the baby's room completed.

2. At long last, the new kitchen table I ordered from Wal-Mart came in.  The first one we ordered arrived at the store damaged and the store refused it and cancelled my order.  So I had to reorder the table and wait for what seemed like forever again.  This Monday the table made it here.  On Tuesday and Wednesday I spray painted the legs and apron of both the table and the matching bench (they were off white and my kitchen chairs are white).  Yesterday I put two coats of glossy polyurethane on the tops of the bench and table.  They look pretty good with the exception of each of them having a mark where two rather unintelligent mosquitos decided to commit suicide.  I'm contemplating whether or not I need to sand it down again and do a third coat.  I'd prefer to be done at this point to be perfectly honest.

3. The kids are likely the ones who'd call this a success.  Last night, I wanted funnel cake and cotton candy, so I mentioned to Bryan after dinner that I bet the carnival our church was hosting would have them.  So we managed to find a parking spot that was only a block away from the church (We can call this the adult success.) and we took the girls to the carnival.  Most of the rides look like the type where a priest should be standing by to offer last rites prior to you getting on, so I saw no point in buying the girls  the $20 ride all night passes.  Instead, we got a sheet of tickets and the girls each got to go on about 5-7 rides (depending on the kid).  I was going to ride the carousel and stand next to Ellie but apparently pregnant women aren't allowed on the carnival rides.  At first, I had no idea what the woman was talking about until she pointed at my belly.  Yep, at 25 1/2 weeks along I momentarily forgot that I was pregnant.  Talk about pregnancy brain!  Bryan stepped in and got on the carousel with Ellie while I stood on the side and took pictures with my phone.  I did get my cotton candy and the funnel cake.  The cotton candy was good, but the funnel cake left much to be desired.  To add to the carnival success, I also touched base with several of the VBS volunteers while I was there and found out how their planning was coming along.  Not too shabby for a spur of the moment decision.

Bonus:  I'm on top of the laundry.  Two more loads to go and everything will be washed. I also need to tackle all the clothes that need to be folded.  Perhaps with my parents taking the girls for lunch a a movie will give me enough time to get some of that completed.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Another In-Law Vent

I feel like my blog lately has been all about me complaining about my in-laws and random book reviews.  It seems that my in-laws have quite the penchant for doing their best to upset me when I'm pregnant.  What's not to love about people like that?

A few weeks ago Bryan emailed his mother with what could essentially be described as a list of grievances.  This was all in response to her claim that I not only defamed her character in front of his children, her grandchildren [because me being the mother of those children is of no issue] to her co-worker, but have also done a great deal to drive a wedge in the family.  Keep in mind that I am not part of this "family" a point which has been made abundantly clear by my in-laws many times over the past ten and a half years.

All I did to start this firestorm was to accidentally reveal the gender of the baby to a woman who knew who I was and looked very familiar to me.  Almost instantly I realized the woman was my mother-in-law's coworker.  It was at the moment that I asked her not to reveal the gender of the baby to my in-laws as my husband did not want them to know yet since they have little to no involvement or interest in our children.  That statement is absolutely true and both my husband and I stand by it 100%.

Bryan's email triggered my mother-in-law to run to his brother and sister.  Rather than dialogue with Bryan via email, she decided to go on a smear campaign.  She unfriended me and Bryan on Facebook as well as a few of our friends.  She sent messages to those friends stating that we told her she could not be friends with them [NOT TRUE] and that we are embarrassed by her [Bryan told her he was embarrassed by her immature comments on Facebook, not that he was embarrassed by her, there is a difference.].  My best friend was kind enough to let me know about my mother-in-law's message.  She agreed that the message from her seemed to have the intent to twist Bryan's words to make her look like a victim.

Since the email from Bryan my mother-in-law has left a few hostile and condescending voicemails on Bryan's phone.  She has also left a few messages on our home phone line.  Bryan does not want me getting involved, so I have the displeasure of sitting by and being a spectator as I hear remark after remark coming from the in-laws blaming me for all sorts of things.  Quite honestly, it's stressing me out and making me less and less willing to have anything to do with these people in the future.

My sister-in-law recently decided to throw her hat in the ring.  After several hostile text messages and voice mails to Bryan's cell, she decided to send an email.  This email led to another bout of blame Karen for everything under the sun.  The back and forth emails between Bryan and his sister reached a new point in accusations today.  This morning Bryan forwarded me an email that started off "Dear Karen, oops, I mean Bryan," which insinuated that I am the one who has been authoring all the emails that are coming from my husband.  She went on in the email to state that I am excrement, but not in terms quite as nice as that.  I so badly want to respond, but frustratingly, Bryan does not want me to say a word.  So, I'll say some of what I want to say here.

First off, if I were the one writing the emails, there would be no spelling, syntax, or grammatical errors.  Turn of phrase and choice of vocabulary would be much different.  My tactic would not be as calm as my husbands.  I would lay out, in detail, the many things my in-laws have done of the years which back up why Bryan and I have come to a point in our lives where we do not want to deal with their childish and petty behavior.  I would also point out the inaccuracies in their convoluted memories of past incidents.  I have been accused of calling my sister-in-law a murderer and spreading a rumor stating such.  Not true, I did however not hide the fact that her grabbing my abdomen and twisting it very hard when I was in my first trimester with Madeline was what lead to me having severe cramping followed by lots of bleeding and subsequently two months of bed rest due to what the midwife termed a "threatened abortion."  So she didn't murder her first born niece in utero, but she made pregnancy very difficult for me for two months.  If someone called her a murderer, it was not me.  My midwife actually wanted me to press charges against her for assault.  In hindsight, I probably should have.

My sister-in-law, the super sleuth, spent her weekend at the shore questioning her parents about their involvement with our girls.  She started by interviewing my mother-in-law on the beach.  She found out just how many times she has seen the girls and talked to them in the past year.  She also asked about what kinds of gifts the girls have received from her.  Then she asked my father-in-law and his girlfriend what their involvement with the girls has been, phone conversations and the all important gifts.  Her determination is that my mother-in-law is the one who tries harder but is not rewarded.  So apparently being a grandparent is all about gifts.  Personally, I'd take the grandparents who spend quality time with the kids over the one who occasionally drops presents off on the porch and runs away before anyone knows she's there.  Presents don't matter to me.  The rest of the world could stop buying gifts for my children and we wouldn't be the least bit bothered.  In fact, we'd probably be really happy to see a decrease in the quantity of stuff that gets imported into the house.

My sister-in-law also made sure she let us know that both of her parents are "really great grandparents."  Ok, sure.  Bryan and I tend to disagree.  Great grandparents will call and talk to the kids.  They will take the time to build memories with them and spend time with them.  They take an interest in the kids and don't act as if they are a burden.  While my father-in-law isn't an  incredibly involved grandparent, he is genuinely happy to be a grandfather.  The man is literally giddy that he has another grandchild on the way.  I'd classify my parents as great grandparents.  They do what they can to be at events that are important to the kids, like soccer games and chorus concerts.  They actually know their granddaughters.  And like my father-in-law, they have never made statements that they "didn't choose to have these kids" [my children].

Over the years as these in-law incidents have arisen, my parents have been the ones I complain to first [after Bryan, that is].  About five years ago my parents told me point blank that it was pretty obvious that they [my in-laws] don't like me.  I knew there were some who didn't like me much or at least that was the vibe I got, but it really struck me when I came to the realization that other people saw it, too.  I tend to think that my parents [my father, actually] hit the nail on the head.  Bryan agrees with them.  The in-laws, claim that I am delusional and apparently Bryan is now also delusional by extension.

We have been informed that the situation with my mother-in-law is entirely our fault.  Our busy schedule was cited as part of the problem.  After working a full time job and commuting 1 1/2 hours each way to work three to four days a week in traffic (Bryan works from home one to two days a week), Bryan is usually very tired and worn out.  He also volunteers his time coaching both of our girls for soccer.  Weekends from September through May are typically consumed by soccer games.  In addition to keeping the household running [because you know, I do nothing because I'm a stay-at-home-mom] I also  volunteer my time to help out at the girls' schools.  The time commitment for this work varies.  It could be an hour one week and six or seven another week.  Then I selfishly tie up Sunday morning and teach a religious education class in addition to teaching on Thursday evening.  I also volunteered to direct the parish VBS program.  Add in the fact that I also selfishly use up about ninety minutes of our  precious weekend and take my children to Mass every Saturday night or Sunday morning without fail.  I wonder what my in-laws think we should be cut from our busy schedule.  Should we yank our kids out of soccer which they enjoy so they can sit at their grandmother's house totally bored and miserable?  Or, would it be better if we just abandon our faith and sink into a state of mortal sin to please a few people? Sometimes it's not possible to please everyone.  I believe this is the situation we have on hand.  My in-laws can't be bothered to come to our home.  Soccer games tend to happen at the same time as wine festivals, and attending Mass is non-negotiable.

Oh and since I'm essentially vilified by my in-laws, let me put it out there that in nearly ten years of parenting, I have been the one to make the effort to make sure my children know both sides of their family.  For Madeline's first two years of life, I was the one who drove up to Philadelphia a couple times a week to bring her to visit Bryan's homebound grandfather and his cousin who took care of him.  I visited his grandmother (also homebound) many times.   Madeline and I saw Bryan's grandparents more than he did during those years.  During these years, I could have visited my widowed Grandfather instead, but I chose to visit his family believing that he [my grandfather] would live longer than them.  Turns out I was right in one case and wrong in the other.  There are times I wish I had visited him a few times more in those years, but I reasoned that he had more great grandchildren visiting him and since Madeline was the only great granddaughter for Bryan's Pop and one of a small handful for his grandmom, that I made the right choice.   I also have been the one to bring the girls to visit my father-in-law.  Over the past eleven years I have probably seen my father-in-law more than my husband has.  I'm the one who brought the girls to visit my mother-in-law at her office, too.  How soon some people forget all the effort I have made to ensure my children know their family.  With two kids in school and one on the way along with all the obligations we have on any given week, it's a lot to shoulder.  I can't be everything to everyone, and I'm not about to try especially when it's not recognized or appreciated.

If you've read this far, thanks.  I hope I haven't wasted too much of your time.  If I'm the evil incarnate my in-laws make me out to be feel free to say so in the comments.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ice Cream!

I think I must have stumbled on another craving.  The past few days I've had many moments where I've had to drop whatever I'm doing and get myself a sugar cone filled with mint chocolate chip ice cream.  I've had dilemmas, where I couldn't decide if I should go pee for the one millionth time for the day or get ice cream NOW.  Then there have been the moments where I was near freaking out because the freezer did a really good job in making the ice cream rock hard and therefore too difficult to scoop.  Fortunately, Bryan was on hand to make sure I got my ice cream cone right away.

I figure I'm getting some calcium from my several cone a day habit.  Since my car goes in for service tomorrow night I'll need to make sure I replenish the ice cream before I find myself without transportation on Tuesday.  I can't imagine the horror of being trapped at home with two kids, a dog, and no ice cream.  It's too dismal a scenario to ponder.

I'm fairly certain the ice cream craving is the reason why I'm now at plus five pounds.  I'm curious as to how much I'm going to gain this time around.  I really expected to have gained more than five pounds by 25 weeks.  I can't believe I'm only fifteen weeks away from my due date.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Small Successes-June 24rd


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. Madeline is now officially a fifth grader.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not since it means she will be attending the middle school in September.  She made the Honor Roll (again) and also was given a few awards at the 4th grade awards ceremony last Thursday.

2. I organized some of my craft things in the laundry room.  Over the past several months the craft supplies I have for my religious ed class were starting to take over.  I was able to get a nice chunk of the stuff under control.  I still have a way to go before I can call the room finished.

3. Last Saturday morning we all went outside and weeded the gardens.  The gardens look a lot better now. I'm hoping we can keep them looking this way.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tired of Anti-Children People

This will likely come across as a rant, but I'm sick of anti-children people.  For the past month my mom has been pushing me to RSVP for my cousin's fiancee's shower that takes place late next month.  My main reason for dragging my feet was I suspected that my girls wouldn't be allowed to attend.  I suspected this simply because I know they're not invited to the wedding reception.  Anyway, my mom, and my aunt [the mother of the groom], wanted me to just bring the girls to the shower.  I called tonight and asked if I could bring them.  Instead of getting an answer on the spot, she asked for my email address and told me she needed to call the bride's mother since she's paying for the fire hall bridal shower.  I just got my answer.  Unless I don't have a babysitter, they don't want my girls there because then they'd have to let other people bring their kids.  Do you think the mother of the bride is telling her daughters-in-law not to bring their daughters?  I suspect they'll be there.

On some level I think if you are asking me to take time out of my Sunday to sit in going home from the shore traffic while nearly seven months pregnant to attend a poorly timed "give-me-a-gift event" the least you can do is let me bring my children.  Perhaps I'll just stay home and relax by the pool.

It just really irks me how some people act like having children around is such a burden.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Book Review: Happy Catholic

What's not to like about the sunny title of a book called Happy Catholic?  The book is written by Julie Davis, the same person who also blogs under the title Happy Catholic.  In her book, she seeks to offer us "glimpses of God in everyday life."

Overall, I found the book to be warm and lighthearted.  Quotes come from a variety of sources: scripture, saints, The Onion, Futurama, and even some Monty Python material.  Maybe you're scratching your head right now and trying to figure out how Monty Python or The Onion could possibly have something that inspires a glimpse of God.  Don't worry, Julie Davis makes it work and it all ties in beautifully.

Overall, Happy Catholic is an insightful book filled with quotes and Julie Davis' reflections on those quotes.  This book will lift up your spirits.  It's like chocolate brownies for the soul (if chocolate brownies don't cut it for you feel free to substitute some other food, it's ok so long as it's not chicken).  If you're looking for something you can read at the beach or poolside this summer, consider picking up a copy.  You'll be glad you did.

Visit Servant Books for more information on Happy Catholic.  I was provided with a complimentary review copy of this book by Servant Books in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Review: New American Bible Revised Edition

On Ash Wednesday of this year the revised edition of the New American Bible translation was released.  This edition is the first major update to the NAB in twenty years.  The New Testament portion of the NABRE is exactly the same as the NAB, the changes have been made to the Old Testament.  In addition to the updated language of the Old Testament, this translation also includes a complete revision of the Psalter.  This translation of the Bible is intended for private use and study.  The lectionary does not use this translation for Mass.

As with any approved translation of the Bible, it's really a matter of personal preference when it comes to which translation you like.  If you're like me and you prefer the updated language of the NAB, you'll likely also like the NABRE version.  For comparison purposes, you can check out the difference in language between the NAB and NABRE translations of Isaiah 9:1-2

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, As they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as men make merry when dividing spoils.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing; They rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest, as they exult when dividing the spoils.

The changes in language as slight, but it gives you an idea of what you can expect to find in the NABRE translation.  I personally had no issues with the old translation and I really can't say that I prefer one translation of the Old Testament over the other.

Now that I've covered the translation itself, I can shift focus to this particular Bible.  This New American Bible Revised Edition Black Ultrasoft NABRE is actually quite nice.  The faux leather cover feels nice in your hand. The pages have a gold tone gilded edges.  Because of the gilded edges, the corners of the pages curl upwards a bit when the Bible is set on a table in an opened position.  It's not really a big deal and considering the pages are very thin, I think you would have a hard time turning the pages without the gilded edges. Since the pages are so thin, you can see a shadow of the text that is on the back of the page.  The font is small, but it isn't so tiny that you can't read it easily.  The font for the notes, however, is considerably smaller so those who find it hard to read very fine print may not appreciate the size of the font. In this Bible, you will find the words of Christ in red, although it looks more like a maroon to me.

For more information on this New American Bible Revised Edition Black Ultrasoft NABRE please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.  

I wrote this review of the New American Bible Revised Edition Black Ultrasoft NABRE for the Tiber River Blogger Review program created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, the largest Catholic store online.  I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Small Successes-June 16th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. The huge pile of ironing that was sitting on the living room couch is now wrinkle free.  Unfortunately it's still there.  Volunteering at Madeline's school yesterday for over three hours ensured that I didn't have the time or energy to actually put it away.  Hopefully that will happen later today.

2. I turned a sleepless night into a productive one when I decided to just get out of bed and handle VBS paperwork.  The spreadsheet for all of the VBS info is now totally updated.  At the moment, there are only nine spaces left for additional students and I have all of the volunteer teachers, aides and student helpers that I need.

3.  After a lot of stalling, I finally got all the cardboard rectangles cut out for the Divine Mercy grotto craft that I planed for the VBS.  Bryan helped me get over 100 rectangles cut out of the many boxes I had been saving.  The process went smoother than I expected and I have plenty of cardboard left over for my religious ed class so I'll likely be making more grotto rectangles soon to get the task out of the way.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review: Understanding The Mass

I recently had the opportunity to read Mike Aquilina's Understanding The Mass 100 Questions 100 Answers.  As with every book I've ever read by Mike Aquilina, this book did not disappoint.  Whether you're new to the Mass or are a seasoned pro, you're likely to find something new and enlightening in this book.

What is this book?  Well, it's a book that is comprised of questions and answers surrounding the Mass.  The questions cover every aspect of the Mass and are grouped into nine categories.  Those categories are as follows: Basics of the Mass,  The Eucharist:  The Real Presence of Christ, Scriptural and Historical Roots, The Celebrant, Obligation and Opportunity, Rites, Properly Equipped, Receiving Communion,  and The Parts of the Mass.  Essentially, this book covers all the basics and more.

With the new translation of the Roman Missal coming this Advent, this book will answer some of the questions many Catholics are bound to have regarding changes to responses.  Those who may balk at the new translation may feel better about those changes after reading the explanations in this book.

As I read through this book I couldn't help but think this would be perfect for anyone who is new to the Catholic church.  It would make an excellent gift for someone who has just gone through RCIA or someone who is considering converting to Catholicism.  The book provides excellent catechesis on the Mass.

I was provided with a complimentary review copy of this book by the publisher, Servant Books, in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, June 10, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken

Capturing moments in our life....


A glimpse at the baby's nursery.


I found a dress to wear to my cousin's wedding/renewal in August.  The best part?  I got this dress for $17.60.


A couple of Christmases ago my mom gave me this weather station thing where I can see what the temperature is outside.  The unit I keep in my bedroom has this woman who thinks it's time to start taking her clothes off as soon as we hit 47.  This morning out porch was a nice cool 74 degrees (compared to yesterday's 98), but Miss Weather Girl is wearing far less clothing than I'd dare to wear.  Something about her makes me wonder if she's a "working girl."


My baby graduated from kindergarten this Tuesday.  This past school year went by in a flash.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Small Successes-June 9th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I swapped all the baby hangers in Madeline's closet out for adult sized ones.  This decision not only ensures that her clothes will no longer be falling off the hangers faster than I can hang them, it also saves me from having to buy more baby hangers for Ellie and the baby's closets.  I now have more than enough baby hangers to stock two closets. Since I was spending some time in Madeline's room, I managed to discover clothes that she wore on Palm Sunday that were stuffed under her bed for some unknown reason.  I also removed a small mountain of outgrown shoes from her closet.  Eventually that dirty laundry and gym sock smell will be extracted from her bedroom.  I can't wait.

2. Ellie graduated from kindergarten on Tuesday.  I can't believe my baby is a first grader now.  Mean mom that I am, I've been having her do about 45 minutes of 1st grade work every morning since school ended.  My goal is to make sure she's ready to do lots of writing when she gets to the elementary school. Her sister wasn't prepared for the amount of writing that first grade required so we're being proactive.

3. The shade and curtain rod are up in the nursery.  My mom picked up the scarf valence I needed to complete the window yesterday so I'll be putting that up later today.

4. I'm working on getting the laundry under control.  If I get three or four loads washed today I might be able to catch up.

5. I almost forgot, Madeline made the travel soccer team.  We're very happy that she made it, but at the same time we're disappointed that her current coach didn't get the team.  It's a bittersweet victory.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Defamation of Character

Alternate title for this post: Why I Really Need to Get Better at Figuring Out Who People Are Before I Speak

Since late Friday night, life around here has been drama filled.  Actually, that's an understatement.  Life has been bubbling over with drama and it's oozing all over the place.  I don't go looking for drama, it just comes and finds me.

Friday night is when we found out that Madeline's soccer coach didn't get the travel soccer team.  Instead, the board decided to take a vote on a night when two of the supporters for our coach of choice were unable to make the meeting.  The result: our coach lost the board's vote by one when he would have won it by one vote had our supporters been there.  The weekend ended up being filled to the brim with soccer drama.  On Saturday night, things were starting to clam down a bit.  It was then that we found out that Madeline made the travel team and our coaching staff (Bryan, Coach R and Coach D) began to discuss the possibility of our girls playing for this coach in order to give them the opportunity to play more challenging teams.  That in turn spilled over into Sunday and still the drama is bubbling over even today.  Feelings and emotions on the part of the one coach are very raw at the moment.  Every time we think we've reached a point where we can just have peace, texts, emails or phone calls start.

As if the soccer drama wasn't enough, in-law drama has peaked.  FUN!  On Monday I very innocently visited the religious education office at our parish to drop off some VBS registration checks that I had recently received, to pick up a few more registrations that had come to the parish office and to chat with the deacon and his assistant.  I had Ellie with me and she had a good time visiting with me until she decided that it was time to go NOW!.  On our way out of the office, while I was still talking with the deacon about VBS things, I ran into yet another person congratulating me on my pregnancy.

Ordinarily, someone congratulating me on this joyous event doesn't cause any problems.   This time was different.  I recognized the person right away, but I couldn't place her.  Name: blank, How I know her: blank.  I naturally assumed that since I was in the parish office that I knew her from something church related.  In this instance, I assumed wrong and didn't realize it until after I had happily announced that we were expecting another girl.

What I wasn't prepared for was the person's response.  "Oh, and we were so hoping this one would be a boy!"  I'm sure my expression turned to one of complete confusion but not before my expression of delight over the thought of another little girl had faded from my face.  You see, this is a remark that I'm used to only getting from my in-laws.  It was at the very moment that the woman looked up and said, "You don't look disappointed at all.  You look delighted that it's a girl!" that I realized that I had just revealed the baby's gender to my mother-in-law's co-worker. Arrgh!

I asked her to please not reveal that she knew the baby's gender to my in-laws as my husband did not want to tell them at this time given that they have almost no involvement/interest in our girls.  This woman gave me her word that she would say nothing.  I don't want to jump to judgement on anyone, but I think it's pretty safe to say that she didn't keep her word.

On Monday evening my mother-in-law left a ranting voicemail on Bryan's cell phone.  Bryan, not one to  return calls when the person on the other end of the line is certain to be irrational, chose to ignore her.  Yesterday, I got a private Facebook message from his mother that had a tone that was less than friendly, particularly the part where she questioned why she is unable to see my Facebook wall.  Bryan told me he didn't want me to respond to her and I complied. (Note to self: Next time Bryan says I don't listen to him, cite this.)

Today my mother-in-law left Bryan another voicemail.  This time she was ranting about the defamation of her character that "someone" did in front of his child and her coworker.  She also went on to insinuate that he probably was unaware of it as he wasn't the one to do it and that the person who did it probably didn't tell him or think he'd find out.  Sorry, but I called my husband as soon as I got to the car to let him know that I accidentally let his mom's co-worker know the baby's gender.  I also told him that she gave me her word that she would not say a word about it.

I think it's funny that she insinuates that I'm a liar and the bad guy in all of this.  In her last voicemail she accuses me of driving a wedge in the family (a family in which I am not considered a member) and a whole host of other things.  Perhaps someone doesn't understand the definition of defamation of character.

If you never visit your grandchildren, yet you live 20 minutes away and work 5 minutes from where they live, you can't call yourself involved.  Same goes, if you never call to see how your grandchildren are doing or even just to say hello to them.  If you stop by the house for 30 seconds on Christmas Eve to drop off your gifts for your grandchildren and run before they can even give you a hug, you're not involved.  If you decide that you'd rather drop presents off on our porch and run (meaning she didn't even the ring the bell or knock) you aren't very interested in seeing us.  (I had a lovely dessert that I would have loved to share that day.)  If all of the above statements describe you and you have only seen my children for 15 minutes since Thanksgiving, I think it's fair to say that you are not an involved grandparent in any way shape or form.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mission Accomplished

For the first time in over 10 1/2 years of marriage, we have purchased a kitchen table.  This is not, however, the first time I've purchased kitchen chairs/seating.  I've done that, or have tried to do that enough times to make my head spin.  I had a horrible kitchen chair fiasco that occurred many years ago thanks to JC Penney's Catalog.  I can't even begin to tell you how much that fiasco has scarred me when it comes to buying kitchen furniture.

Anyway, if you've been reading my blog long enough you are sure to have seen pictures that show that we do actually have a kitchen table.  Our current kitchen table has a story.  It was purchased back in 1999 when Bryan got his own place from some AOL catalog (it was like the Fingerhut catalog).  We brought the table for about $100, but it arrived damaged by UPS and we were refunded our money and allowed to keep the table.  For the past 12+ years, we have enjoyed our free, damaged table.  What's not to like about a free kitchen table that has served us well?

While our table is still faithfully serving us, we are approaching an era where we need something bigger.  With a new baby on the way, a table for four isn't going to cut it for this soon to be party of five.  I've been trying to find another farmhouse table that is just like our current one only bigger for the past two years.  If I haven't been totally put off by the price, I've been put off by the table's appearance or overall dimensions.  Sadly, our kitchen layout leaves much to be desired in the kitchen seating department.  We have a rather large kitchen, but table placement is only logical in the area between the pantry and sliding glass door and that greatly limits me when it comes to table width.  Adding to the fun, is our powder room door that swings into the dining area. Fun!  That puts me in a position where we either need to install a pocket door or choose a table that can seat six that is less than six feet in length.  Then add to that the fact that I'm not ready to look at buying new kitchen chairs.  I went through a total misery to get the four chairs we have and I'm not about to put them out at the curb.

Fortunately the "Google machine" (Dodgeball, anyone?) helped me out tonight.  Of all places, I found what I needed at Wal-Mart.  I know, I go on about how much I loathe even thinking about setting foot in this store and then I go and order furniture of all things from them.  What can I say?  Desperation and pregnancy hormones make me resort to extreme measures.  The table I ordered had good reviews and I figure it can't be any worse than my current cheap table that I love.  They even had a bench that went with the table.  That allows me to have seating for six.

Sometime in the next week or two my table and bench will be ready for pick up at my local Wal-Mart.  I'm excited that I'll have a kitchen table that will seat six in the near future.  I'm already prepared to paint the apron and legs of both the table and bench to make them match the white paint on my chairs.    What excites me the most is the table will only take up a few extra inches in each direction since it's just ten inches longer and five inches wider.  I'm also pretty happy that I took care of the kitchen table situation for under $200 dollars.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Book Review: Listening to God with Padre Pio

Listening to God with Padre Pio is yet another book in the Listening to God series published by Our Sunday Visitor.  Just like the other two books in the series this book offers one hundred Padre Pio quotes, which cover a variety of topics, and a related piece of scripture.

The little hard back book is not exactly light reading.  Some of the Padre Pio quotes are very deep and will get you thinking.  I'm not sure if it's Padre Pio's writing style [the quotes are taking from his writings] or just how in depth the quotes are, but the book came across as daunting to me at times.  I likened it to reading St. Augustine.  I have a touch and go relationship with good old St. Augustine.  In short, he makes my head hurt and reading too much of what he has to say too quickly results in what can be best termed spiritual indigestion.  Even taking this book one quote at a time, I frequently found myself on the verge of spiritual indigestion.  Like any form of indigestion, I try to avoid it when possible.

Despite the feelings of being overwhelmed by some of the quotes, the book isn't bad.  I certainly would not recommend reading this one from cover to cover in an afternoon.  In fact, I'm not sure doing that is even possible without giving yourself a severe headache.  I approached this book from the standpoint of reading a quote here or there and reflecting on it.  I think that is really the best way to use this book.  Using the handy table of contents that give you a list of quotes that you can find to suit your current situation, you can turn to a Padre Pio quote that will likely be a source of inspiration or wisdom for you in that moment.

This book was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company.  Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Listening to God with Padre Pio.  They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

I was provided with a complimentary review copy of this book by The Catholic Company in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Please pray for the family of this girl

I signed on to check my AOL email and I noticed a headline that mentioned my hometown, Wildwood, NJ.  It's not often the little five mile island makes news that I'd see outside the local Philadelphia area, so I had to check out the story.

Today, on a field trip, an 11 year old girl on a field trip managed to fall to her death from the ferris wheel on Morey's Pier.  Having ridden on the ferris wheel once, maybe twice, I'm not sure how one falls out, but that's neither here nor there.  Whatever the case, this young girl lost her life today.  Please offer up prayers for her and her family who I am sure must be devastated.  You can read about the story here.

The article says that the Morey's family and their organization offer their prayers for this child and her family.  Sadly, I know just how much the Morey family's "thoughts and prayers" are worth after having listened to crudely callous comments from the head of the organization, Will Morey, on the heels of the death of a school friend's father who was killed by one of their rides many years ago.  I'd say they're as good as non-existant.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Small Successes-June 2nd


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I survived a nasty stomach bug that caused me to lose five pounds in three days.  I can't tell you how upset I am that I lost so much weight.  I tried really hard to get above my pre-pregnancy weight so I wouldn't get questioned about my lack of weight gain [again] at my next OB appointment this Friday and it turned out to be a total fail.  I am once again below where I started.  I know this isn't going to go over well when I'll be two days shy of 22 weeks tomorrow.  The good news is I was able to eat and drink a decent amount of food yesterday and just about all of it stayed in me.  Yay!

2. As a direct result of being sick, the laundry piled up all over the house.  There was a mountain of clothing in the laundry room and on the basement steps that apparently only I could see needed my attention yesterday.  There was also a huge pile of clean clothes on the living room floor that needed to be sorted, folded and put away.  Yesterday I sorted and folded those clothes.  They're patiently waiting in neatly folded piles to be put where they belong.  I also rounded up all the rogue laundry that was found in the bedrooms and bathrooms.

3. I think on last Friday's day late Small Successes post I mentioned that I painted the baby's room last Friday.  I also assembled the crib, put Ellie's old girly bedding in the crib.  On Sunday, before I became incredibly ill, we brought the shade and decorative curtain rod for the baby's room.  I'd love to tell you that those are installed and pretty white sheers are currently hanging on the window, but Bryan hasn't gotten around to it yet.  Perhaps "tomorrow" didn't mean Monday, but rather means whenever I get so annoyed that the job isn't done that I decide to do it myself.  I thought he was going to install them on Tuesday night after he mentioned needing to get some tools from the garage, but he never came back upstairs.  I suppose he got lost.  He did find his laptop and favorite chair in the family room so I guess he didn't get too disoriented.  Maybe I'll install the shade and decorative rod in a little bit.  How hard can it be?  I've installed curtain rods before, but never a shade.
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