Monday, May 30, 2011

Stomach Bug

Last week Madeline was sick with a stomach bug.  I blogged about her vomiting just before the ultrasound on Monday and her being home from school for essentially three days.  Now I'm sick and I'm totally miserable.  I haven't felt this bad since I had the flu for almost two weeks two years ago.

I spent all day yesterday with an awful pain on my right side combined with heartburn and other unpleasant symptoms.  I woke up this morning feeling totally beat.  I managed to squeeze in eating a little this morning and watching a part of a movie with the family before I decided that camping out in my bedroom where I could be close to my favorite bathroom was the choice place to be.

At the moment I desperately want to feel better so I can enjoy what's left of the weekend.  And, I'm probably making myself feel worse as I worry that my poor baby is probably also feeling sick as a result of whatever bug I have.  The baby has just been moving around a lot the past two days and I wonder if she is feeling as miserable as I do.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Quick Takes Volume 10

Madeline was sick for part of this week and this illness threw a total monkey wrench in an already busy week.  
This was the week of Fun in the Sun Day for Ellie's school and the Spring Fair for Madeline's school.  Since Madeline was sick on Monday I didn't get to go to Ellie's last ever Fun in the Sun Day at her school, but thanks to another mom from her class, she didn't have to miss out on the fun.  I went to the fair at Madeline's school on Wednesday and scored not only a bad sunburn, but I got a farmer's tan, too.  Now I'm waiting for my skin tone to even up so I can wear tank tops in public.  Ninety degree weather and being pregnant is not particularly fun.  I'm incredibly grateful for the swimming pool and central air.  I don't know if I'd survive well without them.
On Monday I had my 20 week ultrasound and we found out we're having another little girl!  I'm incredibly excited about this.
I learned this week that if you're pregnant and you are very hot you likely are not going to care how cold the pool temperature is, you're just going to get in and cool off.  I seriously swam in 75 degree water on Wednesday.  Ordinarily I won't consider anything below 78 degrees, and I prefer not to swim unless the water is somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-86 degrees.  The awesome solar rings we use on the pool combined with temps in the high 80s and low 90s got our pool water up to 82 degrees today.  I was so happy to discover this.
Primer adheres very well to dry skin and not not wash off very easily, even when you scrub hard enough to feel like your skin is going to come off.
The baby's room is painted.  This morning I primed the walls.  Bryan painted the ceiling in the afternoon.  (I can't paint a ceiling to save my life.)  This evening I painted the room a very pretty blue.  The room looks very sweet.  I can't tell you how relived I am that I have the nursery painted. 
I found real hula hoops, made by Wham-O at Target today.  I had one of these hula hoops when I was a kid and I LOVED it.  For the past ten years I've been looking for one of these and I couldn't find one anywhere.  All I could find were the poorly made easily breakable ones that you find at Target and Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Obviously We Made the Right Choice

Over the past eighteen weeks or so I've had a few moments where I wondered if keeping this pregnancy a secret from some family members and friends was a good idea or not.  The past three days are proving that it absolutely was.  In fact, if I could go back in time three days, I would have urged Bryan to keep this news quiet for just a few weeks more, if it could be helped.

With Madeline and Ellie we pretty much told everyone that we were expecting right away.  I was happy to share our joy with others, but I frequently found myself wishing I wasn't fielding rude comments, prying questions and what I am fairly certain was feigned interest.  What I disliked the most was the unsolicited comments and remarks that the baby "better" be a boy.  Given that I really wanted a girl during each of those pregnancies I found remarks along those lines rather upsetting.

This time around I enjoyed keeping our joyful news to ourselves.  I didn't have people calling me almost everyday during my first trimester asking me how I was feeling.  I didn't have my in-laws pestering me asking if this one feels like a boy.  How on earth would I know if the baby "feels like a boy" when I've never been pregnant with one?  I also got to enjoy several months of no one asking me about names or trying to lobby for me to name the baby after them.  Ok, Madeline's soccer coach is the exception.  He's been lobbying for a little Rohan since he found out I was pregnant many weeks ago.  When he learned the baby is a girl he decided that was OK, we could just call her little Roheina.  I think we're going to pass on that suggestion.

In the past three days since the pregnancy has been known to Bryan's side of the family, all of the grief I had been hoping to avoid has flooded in like a collapsed dam on a small town.  The in-laws seem rather unimpressed that they will have another baby in the family.  My mother-in-law's "husband" has made references to the ultrasound picture saying that our dog is pregnant.  My sister-in-law in trying to guess the baby's gender based on the ultrasound picture has made crass comments that it looks like our little boy is trying to "reach his erect wee-wee."  Who, I ask you, makes such comments about an unborn baby?  I can't tell you how livid I was, and still am about that remark.

What I was prepared for in the least was for anyone to make comments that three kids is enough already.  I'm sorry, but three children in a span of 10+ years is not a lot of kids.  It's not as though I've had three kids in three years or anything like that.  My first child was born in September 2001 and my third child is due in October 2011.  And, it's not that we've chosen to have another child that is the issue, it's actually that this particular person is irritated that she will have to buy gifts for another one of our kids.  Not once have I ever told anyone that they must purchase a present for my children.  I find a comment like this incredibly disturbing considering it came from Madeline's Godmother.  Further proof that I need to find more suitable Godparents for this new baby.  Clearly we haven't done too well in picking Godmothers the first two times.

What I find absolutely remarkable in all of this is that friends, neighbors, parents of my children's classmates, and people who I only know through blogs are more excited about this baby than my husband's side of the family.  And just in case you think that maybe babies are a dime a dozen on his side of the family, they aren't.  We have the only children.  I'm happy that my family are excited about the baby.  My mom has been happily announcing our good news to my aunts who are all delighted to hear about their new great niece who's on the way.  I've yet to hear a negative comment from them.

Maybe the odd reaction I'm getting is just a result of the Culture of Death that seems to have a firm grip on most of society.  It's all very bizarre.

Perfect Solution

I've been on Facebook for at least three years now.  In that time I have been repeatedly irritated by my in-laws and the many stupid comments they make.  I have a mother-in-law who likes to "friend" my friends and then make embarrassing remarks, her "husband" (she's still technically married to my father-in-law in the eyes of the church) makes crass and inappropriate remarks on both my page and my husband's.  Then I have to deal with my brother and sister-in-law as well as my father-in-law's live in girlfriend's comments.  For the most part, these are people who hardly know us.  We rarely see them despite the fact that they all live less than 1 1/2 hours from us.  Bryan's approach is to simply ignore the stuff they post.  I can't help but see it and get irritated by it as a result of seeing it.

Yesterday when Bryan posted an ultrasound picture of the baby and captioned it "gender?"  we got all sorts of comments.  The most offensive from my standpoint, and one that made my father's blood boil was my mother-in-law's "husband's" comment that it looks like Oscar, our family dog, is pregnant.  So this man likened our child to a dog.

My solution to the Facebook problem is to unfriend those who irritate me.  This morning I unfriended the irritating man who's civilly married to my mother-in-law.  Bryan had suggested that I change settings on Facebook to make it so he couldn't see or comment on anything, but I'm happier not having my name attached to him as a friend.  Over the next few weeks I think I'll start to systematically eliminate people from my Facebook friends list and be able to enjoy it as a less irritating place to visit.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Peter Rabbit's Little Friend

Just a little while ago the girls and I went out back to harvest the strawberries which are quite bountiful at the moment. While we were picking we noticed that a lot of strawberries had nibbles taken out of them.  We were confused as to how our berries were being consumed given that we have a wire fence going around them to keep them safe from nibbling creatures.

A few minutes into picking, I was a bit startled when I saw something furry inches away from my hand.  Remember, my mom raised me to believe that every wild animal has rabies.  After letting out a scream, I took a moment to compose myself and get a closer look at the furry creature.  It was a baby bunny.  I managed to pet the poor, scared animal on the back.  It brought back memories of our bunny, Oswald, who passed away three years ago.  I was hoping to remove this little bunny from our garden but he decided to bolt through the berry plants.  Eventually he left the garden or found a very good hiding place.  I hope he grows very fast so he can no longer fit through the fence.

Despite our furry friend feasting on the berries we still brought in a nice heaping mixing bowl full of delicious strawberries.  I'm looking forward to many more.

What A Day!

Yesterday was rather eventful to say the least.  From 6AM til 8PM my day was packed with more than enough excitement.  Some of it I could have done without and other moments I'd happily repeat several times over.

Madeline woke up not feeling well.  Actually, she went to bed on Sunday night not feeling well.  Her stomach had been bothering her, but I figured it was due to lack of sleep from the sleepover party she went to the night before.  Turns out I was wrong.  As soon as we arrived at the admissions department of the hospital where I was having my 20 week ultrasound done, Madeline began to vomit.  Thankfully, she made it to a trash can so she only created a contained mess.  We had no idea that was coming!  I figured that was simply going to set the tone for the overcast day that was supposed to be "Fun in the Sun Day" for Ellie's school.

Fortunately, Madeline's vomiting was limited to that single incident and we were able to do the ultrasound without any extra excitement.  The ultrasound was probably the best one I ever had in terms of clarity.  And I don't know if we're just old pros at this now, but it was the first time Bryan and I were able to fully follow the ultrasound.  I knew what we were looking at before the technician even had a chance to tell us.  Things that caused me worry with the last pregnancy were quickly not a concern for me.  This baby does not have choroid cysts, like Ellie did.  We also got to see the baby's feet and ten perfect toes.  I was pretty far along before I finally got to see Ellie's feet.  We got to watch the baby's heart pump blood with this neat feature that showed the blood in orange as it moved through the four chambers.  The spine and all of the baby's bones were shown in amazing detail.  My only regret is that I was given just three pictures from the ultrasound.  I wish I had a few more.

Finding out the gender was pretty easy.  Our first glimpse of the baby was of the bottom.  I suspected that I knew exactly what I was looking at as soon as I saw it.  Bryan also picked up on it as well.  Minutes later when the tech focused in on finding out the gender she had a perfectly clear view and our suspicions were confirmed.  Unfortunately, the tech didn't realize we would want a picture of this to show family and ten minutes later when she went back to get a picture for us, the baby wasn't being quite so cooperative.  Let's just say that someone enjoys crossing their feet at the ankles.

The night before the ultrasound Bryan wanted everyone to take a guess at the gender.  I honestly had no idea and he wasn't accepting hermaphrodite as a valid answer, so I picked girl since I had scored an adorable girly toy for $2 this past weekend at a yard sale and I really wanted to be able to use it.  Not to mention I love buying dresses.  Madeline and Bryan guessed girl, and Ellie was still holding strong to boy.  The catch with guessing was Bryan said the winners would get ice cream and the loser would have to buy it.  It was a joke, but Ellie didn't like that the guesses were stacked against her.  She insisted that she would not be buying us ice cream if she was wrong.

When we discovered the gender, it turned out that the majority was right.  We're expecting another little girl!  I can't tell you how thrilled I am that I get to add another beautiful little girl to our family.  I spent a good part of the day yesterday digging through the girly clothes that I had saved from when the girls were babies.  Surprisingly, I already have a nice amount of 0-3 month and 3-6 month clothing.  I guess it's a good thing I've always saved my favorite outfits from each size!

Since Madeline was sick yesterday,  I wasn't able to take Ellie to her Fun in the Sun Day.  I managed to find a mom from her class that was willing to look after her and bring her home so she wouldn't have to miss out on the fun.  Having a sick kid at home meant that I couldn't go out shopping for pink things.  I was more than a little bummed.  I spent all this time waiting to find out and then I was stuck in a holding pattern.  I suppose it could have been worse.  We could have gone to the ultrasound and not learned the baby's gender.

Since I had to stay at home, I worked on straightening up the place and organizing baby things while Madeline became one with the couch.  Once Ellie returned home she spent some time going through baby things with me, and that's when I added a little extra fun to my day.  In an effort to avoid tripping over Ellie in the baby's room, I slammed my big toe into a basket that held a bunch of rattles.  End result: basket 1, me 0.  I came away with a toe nail that spilt down the middle about 1/4-1/3 of an inch.  Fun!

After the toe stubbing incident I decided that I needed to direct my focus towards the VBS meeting I was holding last night.  I got everything organized and realized that my attention to girly baby clothes put me a little behind on meeting preparations.  I then rushed to create samples of the VBS crafts for the arts and crafts portion of the program.  I wanted to give the teachers an idea of what the kids would be doing in order to help them in planning their classroom activities.

Somehow I managed to pull everything together in enough time to be prepared for the meeting.  I'm very happy that the meeting went well and that I didn't run over time wise.

Since Bryan's side of the family was still unaware that we are expecting, he posted a picture from our ultrasound last night.  Amazingly, the response from his family has been underwhelming.  It appears that wishing my brother-in-law's dog a happy birthday on her Facebook page is more exciting than a new addition to the family.  Is that not truly bizarre?

Yesterday was certainly a full day!  I'm still riding on a cloud of absolute joy knowing that there's a 90% chance that we'll be welcoming another little girl to our family.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Slight Rant

Before I write the post I've been wanting to write all day about today's ultrasound, I just want to put something out there.  It is not helpful or even kind to tell an excited expectant mother that 10% of the time the ultrasound is wrong in determining gender.  Are we clear on that?

Tonight as I was happily telling some of my friends at the VBS meeting the results of our ultrasound from earlier today one of the volunteers felt the need to take the wind out of my sails.  I am fully aware that ultrasound technicians can make mistakes when determining gender.  With Ellie we had multiple ultrasounds because of an abundance of choroid cysts (I know what they look like!).  We also went to a place called FetalFotos and had an ultrasound done there after the first tech wouldn't say she was certain that the baby looked like a girl.  I sat on edge for months wondering if the girl I was having was, in fact, going to be a girl.  I don't live in a fantasy world.  I know people have been told they're expecting one gender and they have another.  That's precisely why I will have a week of clothing for a child of the opposite gender hanging in the closet just in case.  That's also why the vast majority of the clothes for the gender I've been told I'm having will have their tags left on until my mom gets a call from the hospital telling her she can cut them off and wash them.

Anyway, it comes across as a cruel passive aggressive move when you take it upon yourself to tell an excited expectant mother that her child might not be what she was told.  Why bother to plant that seed of doubt?  My next post will be about the ultrasound, my crazy day, and the baby's gender.  Do me a favor and trust that what Bryan, the tech and I all saw is likely exactly what we will be brining home from the hospital in 20 weeks or less.
Arrived at hospital for my ultrasound and Madeline begins vomiting in the admissions area. It's shaping up to be a memorable day!

Friday, May 20, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken

I know I'm a day late on this, but I still wanted to do a post.  This one is all done with my iPhone with the exception of the one picture that isn't mine that I've decided to share anyway.


We saw this rainbow as soon as we stepped out of Target this evening and were delighted to see that it stayed with us until we got home.  You can't tell in this picture, but there are actually two rainbows.  There's a VERY faint one above the vivid one.


Ellie drew this picture complete with happy clouds and sun during the final religious education class for the third graders last night.


Saturday night, Kelly, who blogs at Xtrophy Design Studio, texted this picture of her husband to my husband.  I'll honestly never look at a Spiderman mask the same way again.  Flyers' fans don't dress like this to watch games at home, but Bruins' fans apparently do.  I think it goes without saying that Bryan and I were very amused by the picture.  As soon as I saw it I told Bryan to text her back and tell her I was claiming it for this blog post.


These are just a fraction of the delicious homegrown strawberries that I picked today.  There will be plenty more in the coming weeks.

Quick Takes Volume 9

I'm done teaching religious education classes for the school year.  My kindergarten class finished this past Sunday and last night was the last class with my third graders.  I'm going to miss them all (Except Ellie and the few kids that I see on a regular basis. It's hard to miss your daughter's soccer teammates and your outback neighbor when you see them all the time.)
The laundry is still not folded.  Ok, some of it is, but I'm doing my best to avoid the living room so I don't have a visual reminder that 75% of the laundry is still not folded.  
Things are coming together well with vacation bible school.  I had a productive meeting yesterday, and I got a lot accomplished today, as well.  I'm feeling confident that things will go smoothly.  I just need people to register their children so I don't have to worry about enrollment anymore.  Next year I'll have to market the program better.
I have fresh strawberries from my back yard sitting in my kitchen. There's nothing better than homegrown fruits and veggies.  Our blue berry bushes are coming close to giving us lots of berries, and the tomato plants now have flowers on them.  I'm very excited about all the delicious produce that's going to be coming from our gardens.
Three more days until our first peek at the baby.  I can't wait to see our little one in black and white.  I'm praying that he or she will be cooperative Monday morning so we can find out the gender.  I'm excited and nervous at the same time.  The nervousness is simply because I'm afraid the baby will be like Madeline and have the cord strategically placed between his or her legs.  I'll be praying that the baby is a total show off on Monday.  Perhaps I should have Bryan stop at Starbucks on the way to the ultrasound to make sure the baby is nice and active.
I scheduled the baby's baptism this morning.  Super plan ahead mom that I am, I made sure that I set the date for a weekend when I won't have to teach religious education.  The baby will be baptized on the 6th anniversary of Ellie's baptism.  
We're gearing up for an activity packed weekend.  On Saturday we will be attending my best friend's daughter's confirmation, followed by popping in on our neighbor's first communion party, followed by Madeline going to her best friend's sleepover birthday party.  And that's just Saturday!  Sunday we need to spend some time at soccer games and hit the 6PM Mass.  It's going to be a long weekend.  Something tells me I'm going to need a nap somewhere along the line.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Small Successes-May19th

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I remembered to make cupcakes for Ellie's class to celebrate her birthday.  Mind you, this child is not a May baby.  Her birthday is July 13th, but they let kids with summer birthdays pick a day to celebrate their birthday at school.  I figured this past Tuesday was the easiest day.  I didn't freak out when I went to make the cupcakes and discovered that I didn't have cake mix or icing.  I simply dashed to the grocery store and grabbed what I needed and still managed to get the cupcakes made, not iced, before it was time to get Ellie from school.

2. On Wednesday I got caught up with the laundry.  It's washed, not folded. I also decided that I'd stop avoiding the mess in the kitchen and just wash all the hand wash items that were filling the sink and countertops.  I didn't have it in me to dry them, too, but I washed them.

3. Can I count watching movies as a success?  Sure, why not?  We dropped most of the premium cable channels back in December and subscribed to Netflix.  A month or two ago I put a bunch of movies that only I would watch on the DVD queue.  By a happy coincidence, Netflix decided to send me something that was on my queue after another movie was already on it's way.  So on Monday and Tuesday I took a break during the day while the kids were at school and I watched Mrs. Brown and Washington Square.  And today, The Queen arrived.  Looks like I'll be watching another movie this week.  It's very rare that I watch any TV while the kids are at school so this week has been very out of the ordinary for me.

4. Because I can't follow rules and just stop at three like everyone else.  I got all the data for the VBS organized and updated in the spreadsheet.  I'm going to conquer this pregnancy brain thing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In One Week...

In just one week, I may know the gender of the baby who I currently call Ignatius or Polycarp Ignatius (Piggy for short).  Bryan is dead set against the name Ignatius.  He's such a killjoy.

The closet is filling up with toys, diapers, clothes for both genders, and various baby items.  I'm beginning to feel like a kid eagerly awaiting Christmas morning.  The thing is I'm nervous.  With Madeline we weren't able to find out the gender because the cord was perfectly placed between her legs.  It was one of the most frustrating moments.  Nothing we did could get her to move in such a way that the cord would go somewhere else.  Ellie was much more cooperative.  She was quite the show off for every ultrasound we had.  I'm praying that this baby will also be a show off.  This ultrasound next Monday is likely the only peek we will have of the baby before he or she is born.

So while I'm super excited about the ultrasound, I'm also very nervous that the baby isn't going to cooperate.  He or she needs to keep the cord out of the way or I'll spend the next twenty weeks going insane.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm the Frog in the Well

Think back to the word problems about the frog stuck in well from when you were in school.  Year after year there were questions about frogs who found themselves down a well trying to get out.  Hop up 5 bricks and fall back two every night.  He's x number of bricks from the top, how many days will it take for him to get out.  Yeah, don't think about the fact that the frog will eventually get tired, starve and give up trying to get out of the well and just die.

Anyway, I digress, sometimes I feel a bit like that frog in the well when it comes to writing book reviews.  I'm always happy to have plenty of reading material and I enjoy writing reviews, but right now I feel like I'm never going to pare my stack of review books down to single digits.  Take today for example.  I wrote two reviews and thought I was making decent progress.  I even have another two reviews that I hope to have published by the end of the week.  Then Ellie happily ran back from the mailbox with an envelope that could only have a review book in it.  Only, I was wrong.  It didn't have one book, it had two.  So this evening I have the same number of books to review as I did this morning.  The good news is the two new books are children's books (with illustrations) so I'll have Madeline to help me assess them.

Now I'm not complaining about this at all, but I do feel a little discouraged that I just can't make a dent in my pile of review books.  I blame being pregnant for the back log.  Ordinarily I'm zipping through books  and find myself looking for something new to read.  The first trimester killed me.  I couldn't read for more than five minutes without feeling overwhelmed.  I'd get dizzy, my stomach would start turning and I'd have to put the book down.  I had weeks where I never even opened a book [that didn't have pictures on every page].  While that was my reality, I'm pretty sure a book arrived on my doorstep just about every other day.  Ok, I'm exaggerating a bit, but I have close to twenty books awaiting a review at this time.  Some of them may never see a review from me, but most of them will.  Maybe I'll have to do a rapid fire review post sometime in the future where I offer a decent blurb about a handful of books.  That will help this frog get out of the well.

Someday, I'll get to read the small stack of books I brought.  Dork that I am, I'm dying to delve into Blessed John Paul II's Theology of the Body, the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and The Rite. (Sounds like great poolside reading, doesn't it?)  I did take a break from reading review books during holy week and I spent a nice chunk of my time reading Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week.  Maybe someday I'll get a few moments to blog a review for that book.

Book Review: Listening to God with Blessed John Paul II

Our Sunday Visitor has a nice series of little books called Listening to God.  Each of these books focuses on a different saint or blessed of the Church.  Previously I have reviewed Listening to God with Mother Teresa. I recently had the opportunity to read a new book in this series, Listening to God with Blessed John Paul II which was compiled by Amy Welborn.  Just like the Mother Teresa book in this series, the Blessed John Paul II book did not disappoint.

This book is separated into a collection of one hundred quotes from Blessed John Paul II and a related piece of scripture that will inspire the reader.  Each of these quotes and it's related scripture only covers a single page in the book.  This is a book that will best serve the reader when read one quote at a time.  It's really not a book which you can read in an afternoon and fully absorb all the wisdom which it has to offer. You could really take this book one quote a day (use the table of contents and find a topic that speaks to you at the moment) and spend the rest of the day pondering what it has to offer.

No matter what your station in life may be, this book will surely have something in it which will resonate with you and help lead you to a deeper relationship with God.  The quotes, which are taken from various homilies, addresses, General Audiences, and writings, serve a wide range of audiences.  This book is a nice treasure trove of inspiration.

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 Blessed John Paul II.  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.

Book Review: Inconceivable

Is it possible to read a book that will make you angry, feel frustrated as well as inspired, and cry?  Depending on your outlook, you may get just that when you read Inconceivable.  Inconceivable is the story of Carolyn and Sean Savage and their experience with a botched IVF (in vitro fertilization) transfer.

You might think that my anger or frustration in reading this story comes from the fact that a fertility clinic impregnated Carolyn Savage with another couple's embryos.  You would be wrong.  I was so irritated to read of this couple presenting themselves as "good Catholics" who knew that IVF was deemed morally unacceptable by the Catholic Church and still proceeded to pursue this option.  I found their statements which pretty much alluded that they felt they knew better than the Church to be arrogant and that left me feeling very annoyed through most of this book.  The story is compelling and certainly one that keeps you wanting to read, but I continually found myself thinking that this whole situation could have been avoided if they had only heeded the wisdom of the Catholic Church.  The other thing that totally irritated me about the Savages was their lack of repentance for disobeying this Church teaching.  Why did this irritate me?  Well they decided to pursue surrogacy, which failed, and as I was informed recently they are now expecting twins who are being carried by a surrogate.

In reading this book you'll likely find yourself smiling at how this couple selflessly decided to stand up for the sanctity of life when whey learned Carolyn was carrying another couple's genetic child.  They went against the medical advice of their fertility doctor and chose not to terminate.  Surely other couples would have considered terminating upon learning of this surreal medical mixup.  So, despite the things that angered me about the situation, it was nice to read of this couple who were willing to turn their lives upside down and put their hearts on the line to protect the unborn child who they legally could not keep.

This story is at times very heart wrenching.  The anguish and agony the Savages suffered permeates the entire story.

Overall, it's not a bad book.  There are some typos, such as not capitalizing the M in Mass, which I found distracting, but the story is well written.  It's a nice pro-life story that speaks volumes of the Savages commitment to the innocent unborn.

I was provided with a complimentary review copy of this book by FSB Media in exchange for my honest review.  You can learn more about this book by visiting Harper One, the publisher.

Later this week I'll also be hosting a giveaway of this book.  Stay tuned.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Quick Takes Volume 8

Madeline's week of NJASK testing is finally over.  For months we told her it didn't matter how she did on it since we were planning to homeschool.  All of that changed when we decided that she was going to get her wish and attend the middle school next year.  At that point, this test became vitally important since she needs to perform very well on it in order to have a chance at being accepted to the TAG (Talented and Gifted) program at the school.  I spent a week praying a rosary a day and asking our pal St. Joseph of Cupertino to pray that she does well.  Ok, I totally forgot to pray for her today, but she says she knows she did awesome on the science portion.  I guess watching the Discovery and Science channels has paid off.
Taking Oscar for a walk almost everyday is working out nicely.  He's figured out that I won't put him on a leash until he's gone out in the back yard and done his business.  I don't think he's figured out that I'm essentially using him so I don't have to walk around the neighborhood by myself.
Ellie's first week of wearing a patch over he eye for four hours a day has gone quite well.  She hasn't complained much and she's been very good about wearing the patch for the full four hours a day.  I will say I was a bit stunned when I mentioned this to Bryan and he told me that he scared her into it.  He told her that if she didn't wear it the doctor was going to remove her eye.  I hope she realized that he was was teasing.  Poor kid has mean parents.  Equally shameful, I'm rather enjoying calling her Patchy and Pirate Ellie.  Arrgh matey!
My mom and dad got me two pounds of the best vanilla fudge ever (Douglass Fudge from Wildwood, NJ) for my birthday.  I've consumed somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of a pound in the past two days. This can't be good.
The strawberry and blueberry plants are sprouting out more berries with each passing day.  Pretty soon I anticipate we'll have lots of tasty homegrown berries to harvest.  I really need to find a recipe for making strawberry preserves soon.
I'm less than a week and a half away from my ultrasound.  Not only will we have our first peek at the baby, we may also find out the gender of our little one.  I can't wait to know if I'm buying clothes for a boy or a girl.  I think my parents are convinced the baby is a boy based on the small mountain of boy clothes they brought at Kohls on Wednesday.  We'll just have to wait and see.  I really have no idea.  As long as the baby doesn't mind being my living doll I'm happy.
Ellie's ear recheck today went well.  Once again her ears are looking good.  Here's hoping the next time  I bring her to the doctors will be for a well visit.  I'm tired ear infections followed by ten days of trying to remember to give her an antibiotic twice a day.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken


Bryan is always telling me he's pretty.  I needed to take a picture of Ellie with her Daddy and I was quite happy with how this picture turned out.  If you don't think Bryan is pretty, you have to admit the cutie he's holding is a pretty little girl.


I love how my mom lights up when she admires the artwork my girls make for her.  The bonus, of course, is my girls beam with joy at her reaction.  Everyone should have a Mom Mom like this.


I find Ellie's drawings rather amusing.  On Saturday we went to a diner and she drew this lovely portrait of Madeline or "Mobline" as Ellie spells it on the back of her placemat.  Bryan and I thought the picture was a riot, but Madeline didn't appreciate it at all.  You can also see Ellie's rendition of a fork in the bottom right hand side of the drawing.  Evidently, neither of our children knows how to draw a fork that looks like a fork.  The top picture is proof that I'm not feeling energetic enough to draw with sidewalk chalk in the driveway.  Ellie wanting me to play with her while Madeline and Bryan were at a soccer practice settled for my idea of playing crime scene investigator.  I laid on the concrete selfishly trying to soak up the last rays of sunlight for the day while she drew a chalk outline of my body.  Once she was done she insisted that I move so she could draw my face and hair.  It's a good likeness, don't you think?


Last Friday my mom and dad made settlement on my childhood home.  I'm happy that my parents no longer have to maintain two houses, but I'm sad that I'll no longer be able to visit this house.  It was on the market for over 5 1/2 years so we've known for a long time that this day would come.  Bryan took this picture of me the day after Easter.  It was our last visit to the house.  I'm going to miss this house.

Really Blogger?

Did you seriously have to eat two of my most recent posts?  Very uncool.  Because of my inability to think straight these days there's really no way I'll be able to replicate what I had even posted.  Thanks a lot blogger.  Why don't you come over and drain all the water from my pool while I'm sleeping while you're at it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Small Successes-May 12th

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. My dad and I celebrated our 33rd and 74th birthdays yesterday.  My parents came up for a visit and we did some clothes shopping for the new baby.  Based on the big bag of clothes my mom and dad brought for the baby, I'd say they're guessing that baby number three is a boy.  I still have no thoughts either way on the gender.  This pregnancy isn't really any different from my pregnancies with the girls in terms of how I feel.  We're hoping to find out the gender on May 23rd when I go for a 20 week ultrasound.  It will be our first peek at the baby.  How I've lasted this long without going crazy is beyond me.

2. Our swimming pool is now open.  We're nowhere near having warm enough water to go swimming, but our pool has gone from a murky swamp that would make Shrek happy to a crystal clear body of water.  I am now being asked daily by Ellie when she can go swimming.  I hope it gets really warm here fast!

3. The dog and I have begun taking nice long walks around the neighborhood in the morning after the girls go to school.  I figure it's probably a good idea if I start doing something that could be construed as exercise so that I'll be in good shape when it's labor time. It has the added benefit of allowing me to get some color, too.  My arms and face are starting to tan.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm 33 Today!

As you can probably deduce from reading the title, today is my birthday.  Yay for me!  A good friend of mine posted this clip from a favorite Disney movie, so I decided to share it here.  It's not really Isma's birthday in the clip, but how she looks is pretty much how I feel today.  I'm not bothered that I'm getting older, but I'm certainly worn out and am ready for it to be May 12th.  It's been a long day, but a memorable one nonetheless.  

The day might have been a little more enjoyable if I hadn't decided to eat copious amounts of raw chocolate chip cookie dough last night.  And yes, I know I shouldn't be eating it and I know I really shouldn't be eating things with raw eggs while I'm pregnant.  Rest assured, I really learned my lesson between the hours of 12:20AM and 7:30AM today.  Today was clearly not a day of intestinal fortitude.

My parents visited today and we did some shopping for baby clothes at Kohls and then we had pizza and cakes.  Yes, I said cakes.  Today is my dad's birthday, too.  I'd say Dad's birthday was off to a much better start than mine.  He didn't eat raw cookie dough last night.  Smart man!

We still don't know the gender of the baby, we hope to find out on May 23rd, but it appears that my mom and dad are guessing boy.  I now have loads of cute boy clothes handing in the baby's closet.  We did pick up a few girl outfits and the cutest five pack of Carter's onesies.  Bryan thinks we're having another girl and he was shocked when he saw the huge pile of boy clothes my mom and dad brought for us.  The good news is they brought them at Kohls and we can return them with no problems if we find out we're having a girl.  Whatever the ultrasound says we will still make sure we have a week's worth of outfits for the opposite sex just in case they're wrong.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review: Great Teachers

Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of reading Pope Benedict XVI's Great Teachers.  Having enjoyed other books based on catecheses from his weekly general audiences, I suspected that I'd be equally pleased with this book.  I'm happy to report that I found this book every bit as good as his series entitled The Fathers.

As you can probably surmise by looking at the title of this book, Pope Benedict XVI, discusses the great teachers of the church in this volume.  His ability to tell the stories of each of these inspiring great minds will hold your attention and keep you wanting to know more.  Some of those featured in this book have been discussed to some degree in his volumes on The Fathers, but by no means are the stories redundant.

In reading this book I came to know a handful of saints a bit better, and I was introduced to the work of many other great minds.  The Pope's way with words will leave you wanting to read more when you come to the final page of this book.

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 Great Teachers-Pope Benedict XVI.  They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

As a reviewer for The Catholic Company's Catholic book reviewer program, I was provided with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Comfort Cross Giveaway Winners

Sorry to keep you all waiting for a couple days past when I was supposed to announce the two winners of the My Comfort Cross giveaway.  I got wrapped up in going to yard sales, and doing things for Mother's day and I just slipped my mind.

The ever handy Random Number Generator decided that comments 2 and 4 were the lucky winners.  Congratulations for Gardenia and Xtropy Design Studio.  Please email me at Karen@KarenInMommyland with your contact information.  Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway.

Little Saints in the Making Giveaway

Over at Little Saints in the Making, Cecilia is doing a lovely giveaway to celebrate the 3 year anniversary of her business Hair Bows 4 Life.  The winners will be announced tomorrow so hurry over to her blog for a chance to win one of several great prize packages.

Friday, May 6, 2011

If only they were antisocial...

If my girls were antisocial instead of popular social butterflies I think life would be a little more peaceful.  Of course, my girls aren't the least bit antisocial and there's really no holding them back from socializing.  Most of the time I don't mind that my house feels like kid central when it's warm outside, but there are certainly days where I wish small people didn't feel the need to converge on my lawn and drive me insane.

This evening is one of those days where I wish my girls were a little less popular.  Two of Madeline's friends rang the doorbell a little over an hour ago wanting to play with her.  I thought I was off the hook since she had just left for two hours of soccer practice.  No such luck.  Ellie happily ran to the door and offered to play with them.  Yep, an eight year old and a ten year old were more than happy to play with my five year old.  Ordinarily I'd be happy that Ellie has someone to occupy her time, but today happens to be day one of patching her good eye and she's currently outside running around like a crazy person with only an eye with poor vision.  I have to say I'm surprised she hasn't hurt herself yet.

The biggest annoyance for me at the moment is that the children who are here now (six and ten year old sisters-the eight year old must have gone home) really want to come inside or go in the backyard to play.  I would prefer to keep everyone out of the house and backyard so the dog doesn't go nuts and so I don't get any questions about some of the baby stuff that's on the deck and in the house. [I still haven't announced my pregnancy to the neighbors, or Bryan's side of the family.  Let's just say I'm enjoying the peace that comes with keeping this news tightly under wraps.]  After forty five minutes of his incessant barking, I gave up and decided to go sit on the front porch.  This option is slightly less irritating than staying inside.

At some point I suppose I will have to spoil all of this outdoor fun with friends and call Ellie in for dinner.  Since this means I will actually have to put dinner together I'll happily sit out here on the porch soaking up some sun just a little while longer while trying not to be too annoyed that my kids are too popular for my current patience level.

Quick Takes Volume 7

I'm really bad at doing coming up with these quick takes.  What's it been several months since the last time I did this?

*Reminder the My Comfort Cross giveaway ends today.  Leave a comment on that post for a chance to win.*

I'm slowly but surely getting things ready for the new baby.  Yeah, I know I'm only 17 weeks 5 days along and I have plenty of time, but I'm the kind of person who needs everything ready yesterday.  I'm doing my best not to totally obsess over baby stuff these days, and I'm getting over the fact that things aren't the same as they were ten years ago when I was originally looking at baby gear.  A lot of the new improvements seem like a step backwards in my opinion.

I'm making my way through the ever growing stack of books and products I need to review.  I'm doing my best to not feel guilty that I currently do not have the time or energy required to crank out reviews every few days like I had in the past.  I don't exactly do well with having to move along at a slower pace.

Ellie's appointment with her pediatric opthamologist was today.  She now needs to have her good eye patched for four hours a day seven days a week.  I suppose this means I'll be looking into getting her some cute cloth eye patches soon.  For now, she has some girly adhesive ones.  I sincerely doubt her sensitive skin will do well with the adhesive.  She usually gets a rash from bandaid adhesive.  Something tells me she's not going to like me calling her Pirate Ellie and saying "Aargh" at her.  On the bright side, she doesn't have a hook hand or peg leg.  Things could be worse.
Things for Vacation Bible School are going well.  Registrations are coming in slowly but surely and there's certainly a healthy interest in the program.  I'm trying not to drive myself too crazy with the planning and preparation that goes into directing the program.  Thus far, I think I'm doing a good job at relaxing.
With only two weeks to go with religious education classes, I submitted my end of year survey and let them know that I will only be teaching one class next year (Kindergarten).  As much as I'd love to keep teaching two classes, I think it's not feasible or practical given our family circumstances.  I can easily teach a Sunday morning class while having a newborn, but Thursday nights just aren't going to work for me.  I did volunteer myself as a hall monitor for the Thursday session.  I figure I can walk the halls with a baby with no problems.  I think it's a decent compromise.  I'll still be contributing on some level and I won't feel guilty that I'm not being generous with my time.
With each passing day, I'm having an easier time coming to grips with the reality that my girls will not be homeschooled next year as I had hoped.  Madeline is very excited that she will get to go to the middle school.  I'm hopeful that she will thrive there and be happy with her friends.  I take comfort in knowing that we know most of her friends families and the fact that already she seems to have a pretty good head on her shoulders.  My biggest concern is that her innocence will be corrupted on the school bus, but then again, I remember not understanding half of what kids were talking about when I was in 6th-10th grades so maybe it's possible to be bombarded with adult material and not actually pick up on it.  Ellie is elated that she will finally get to go to the public elementary school.  She has several friends who go there and she's very much looking forward to it.  My only worry is that she will have a mean teacher like Madeline did for her 1st grade year.  On the bright side, the teacher Madeline had retired a couple years ago.
I had an appointment with my midwife today.  Everything looks good with the baby.  I just love hearing the baby's heartbeat.  He or she has been quite active this past week.  I'm convinced that pretty soon his or her kicks will be detectable on the outside.  My twenty week ultrasound is set for May 23rd.  I certainly hope that I'll be able to find out the gender on that date.  I'm anxious to get the baby's room painted and decorated ASAP.  I'd also like to start buying gender specific clothes.  People keep asking me if I have any guesses on the gender.  I'm really not sure.  Bryan's guess is that it's another little girl.  The girls are mixed in their opinions.  One day they think it's a boy and the next they're convinced that they're going to have a little sister.  Either way, Ellie has strong opinions.  If it's a boy, she's naming him Daniel and if it's a girl she NEEDS a purple blanket.  I can make the purple blanket happen but I don't think she's going to get her wish with the name unless she can convince him to go that route for a confirmation name.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

If you put baking soda and vinegar in the washer....

Expect a problem.  I'm very sensitive to perfumed laundry detergents.  They bother my nose and I can't stand to be around them.   It's typically the only issue I ever have with any kind of hand me down: getting the smell of the flowery detergent out of the clothing.  Usually baking soda does the trick.  It may take a few cycles in the washer, but the smell comes out.

My mother in law recently gave us a Christmas themed woven throw that belonged to Bryan's grandmother who passed away last December.  As soon as she told me that she had washed it, I began to groan.  I can't stand the smell of her detergent.  (Doesn't she know we have a washer and dryer here?)  I've washed this throw a few times and still the perfumed detergent smell lingered.  So last night I decided I was going to give baking soda and vinegar a try.  The result?  The white side of the red and white throw is now dark pink.

I'm washing it again with baking soda and some stain remover.  I wonder how it will look in another hour.

Small Successes-May 5th

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

How on earth did May get here already?  Time is just flying these days.

Before I start in on the successes, take a moment to visit my comfort cross giveaway sponsored by  Two winners will be selected tomorrow.

1. On Monday and Tuesday I took some time to start ironing the VBS logos onto the tee shirts for the campers and volunteers.  In what I can only describe as pregnancy induced insanity determination, I managed to bang out 120 shirts.  Only twenty more to go!  We will not talk about how the pile of clothes that needs to be ironed is still sitting on the back of the couch in the living room totally untouched.  And we're also not going to talk about the fact that I brought the ironing board and iron upstairs so that I could iron the pile of clothes that is on the back of the living room couch.  Furthermore, we will not be discussing the fact that I have been wearing wrinkled shirts most of this week.  Some of us have priorities.

2. The laundry is surprisingly under control.  I have a load that has to be washed and two in process at the moment.  I plan on taking care of that in the next hour or so.  Life without a mountain of laundry that needs my attention is sweet.

3. I rounded up nearly every article of paper that could be recycled on Tuesday and escorted it to the recycle bin.  I was feeling very accomplished for all of 24 hours until it was time for me to write everyone's obligations for the month of May on the calendar.  Yeah, I apparently recycled the altar server schedule for the special Masses (Weddings, Communions, Confirmations) for the months of May and June.  Sigh.  I really must find a way to override pregnancy hormones that make me throw away everything in sight.  Fortunately I was able to find out the date she has to serve by calling the parish office.  As a bonus, I even made sure to tell the scheduler that Madeline isn't able to altar serve the weekend of her soccer tournament in June, AND I got the date right.  Yay!

4. I did some yard sailing this weekend (after the homeschool conference fail) and found a few things for the new baby.  Now if  I could just find a Bumbo seat and a few other things on my list I'd be thrilled.  What I really need is a visit from the Baby Gear Fairy.  Dear Baby Gear Fairy, I would love an infant car seat, a bouncy seat, a booster seat for the kitchen and a few new baby rattles.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Last Saturday was the big day.  Bryan and I were heading to a local homeschool conference that was literally right around the block from our old house.  The plan was to register our girls whether they liked it or not in Seton's homeschool program.  After years of pestering, Bryan finally gave me the green light for homeschooling despite the fact that he still had some reservations.  So in theory, it looked like MY homeschool plans were going to fall into place on Saturday.

Let me start off by saying I'm not a Latin Mass girl.  I could totally get into the Latin aspect of it with no problem, but I'm sorry, I can't get into the head covering and skirt wearing thing.  Given a choice between the two I'd happily cover my head with some cute kerchief or snood, but skirts on a regular basis just aren't going to happen for me anytime in the near future if ever.  It's just not me, unless of course, we're talking about a cute sundress.  But I digress.  I knew going into this conference, which was held at the Latin Mass parish in our diocese,  that I was very likely to find myself being an oddity in my cute top and sweater paired with *gasp* jeans.  Yes, I was that woman, not only wearing pants, but jeans.  I saw a few men in jeans but I was the lone woman.

Anyway, how I was dressed wasn't the issue, nor should it have been.  I went and looked through the curriculum at Seton, Mother of Divine Grace and one other homeschool place.  I was impressed with how thorough the Seton material is.  Looking at the other places confirmed what I thought when I researched them on line, simply that they weren't the program for us.  I did get the impression that Seton's curriculum is a great way to ram Catholicism down your child's throat.  I don't want to say that it's bad, but I don't think the way to inspire someone to learn and embrace her faith is to foist it upon her in an overbearing way.  I suppose it works great for many families, but I can totally see how this approach could send many children screaming for the hills.

Despite the issues I saw with the curriculum, and Bryan's reaction to the curriculum, I still thought there might still be some hope in this homeschooling venture.  Then I spoke to the son of a Seton representative.  He asked if he could help us and unfortunately, he couldn't give me the answers I wanted to a question about the curriculum.  Then I decided to ask if he was homeschooled.  It turns out that he is, and when asked how he likes it, his response was very telling, and not in a good way.  It was evident based on his response that he wasn't exactly thrilled.  I asked him a few more questions and all my concerns about pretty much forcing this lifestyle on my daughters were realized.  Bryan and I wandered around the conference for a little while more.  We noticed things like children who looked incredibly unhappy, people with poor social skills (as in, they didn't interact well with others) and the family with children ranging from what I would guess ages 4 to 14 dressed in sailor suits.  After passing that family on our way out there was no way I'd be able to salvage my attempts to keep Bryan's support for homeschooling.  In short, my plans went up in smoke and it took less than an hour.

I know many of my readers are homeschoolers.  And I know that many of you are regular mainstream people (I know this based on your blog posts and pictures, and in some cases, our email correspondence.).  Unfortunately, none of you were at this conference to help me prove to my husband that I could homeschool our girls and not turn them into social nightmares.

I know neither of my girls had their heats set on homeschooling.  In fact, Ellie has been pretty adamant for the past two years that she is going to school.  Madeline has been a waffle on the issue which I have come to learn is the result of her not wanting to disappoint me.  It appears that both of my girls are pretty set on attending public school.  Neither one wanted to attend our local parish school which was another failed educational pursuit.

So now I will do my best to come to peace with the fact that the girls will attend the public schools.  I know the K-4 school is decent so I don't have any worries about Ellie.  I will supplement at home, as I have always done, and I will make my presence known at the school.  Madeline will attend the middle school next year and I will be praying that all goes well and that she isn't corrupted by the middle school kids on the bus.

On many levels I'm disappointed that homeschooling isn't going to work for us.  But oddly enough, I feel that I'm gradually becoming more at peace with the situation.  At the end of the day I want to know that the kids are happy and aren't resentful of the choices Bryan and I make for them.  I can tell you there was much rejoicing on their part this weekend when they learned that they will both be attending public school in September.  Madeline couldn't wait to tell her friends the news.  Bryan said it best as I laid in bed moping about the situation, "The girls are happy. Isn't that what we want for them?"  I suppose he's right.

To those of you who homeschool I have to say that I really respect and admire what you do.  Many of you inspire me to do more to further my children's education. You have also lead me to some great homeschooling sources which I use to supplement at home.   And for that, I thank you.
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