Sunday, March 31, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: Easter Edition!

This has been an... interesting day so far.  Patrick and I left Mass during the readings.  Apparently we discovered a new allergy today and it's one that makes me pretty sad (it's not like there's any that make me "happy" but why can't it ever be something like... oh.. I don't know... liver...).

This past week I'd begun to suspect that Patrick was (is) developing asthma.  I've heard him wheeze.  He'd gasp in and wheeze out, but never for more than thirty seconds or so and never severely.  I made a note of it in my head and thought I'd talk to his doctor and the allergist about it when we go in next week...  Since Paul and I both have asthma, the possibility of our kids having asthma doesn't really come as a huge surprise... but still, we hope...

Paul was holding Patrick and I had Mae when Mass started.  I heard the soft, quiet, baby breath wheezing sound and my head snapper around to meet Paul's eyes.  Patrick wasn't distressed.  He was smiling.  But he was wheezing.  I mouthed "He has asthma!" to Paul who nodded, as I realized that all week I'd forgotten to mention the wheezing episodes to Paul.

Then he started to fuss and look like he was in uncomfortable.  Paul took him to the back.  I brought the girls back a few minutes later because Mae was acting up (she wanted to sing along with the Mass)... which was fortunate because things started getting worse with Patrick.  He started to scream (at least screaming means he's getting air...) and I took him into the hall.  The smell of incense was actually pretty strong in the hall, so we stepped out into the cold outside air (and it certainly felt cold since we'd left our coats in the car since it "wasn't that cold" just walking from the car to the Church).  Patrick started gasping, taking huge gulps of air in.  After a few minutes, of Sadie who'd followed me, complaining that it was cold, we stepped back in.  Instant wheezing.  We stepped out.  Gasping and gulping the thankfully cold air.  

I was beginning to wish I had the car keys.  I dashed in, got the keys, left Sadie with Paul and dashed back out.  And we sat in the car, where Patrick, who's face was red and covered in a rash by that time, fell asleep pretty instantly, his breathing a bit raspy, but much improved.  Paul and the girls were too worried to stay much longer, and so they came out a few minutes later.

I'd been sitting in the car, cuddling Patrick, and wondering what this meant.  You've given me a baby who's allergic to wheat... who breaks out in hives if I receive the Eucharist... and who's now allergic to incense.  Am I supposed to be learning something that I'm just not getting?  Is hammering into my head "your preferences are just preferences and don't really matter?" the theme of the year?    Because apparently it's hard for me not to go instantly to the narcissistic place where Patrick's allergies are about me, although I instantly feel guilty when I do that, because really on my side it's just a minor inconvenience... but at the same time it's hard to think of the hugeness of this if these allergies don't go away as he gets bigger.  I mean corn, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, coconuts, potatoes, bananas and now incense?  It's easier to focus on the here and now than to worry about what happens if these allergies are here to stay.

Does this mean no more TLM for our family?  I mean, you do run into incense more often at the latin mass (which is usually something I like...).  Or are we just going to go to the ordinary form on the bigger feasts when the incense comes out?  I have no idea.  Obviously we can't go to a Mass with incense at this point (I did notice our cathedral had "incense free" Masses in their bulletin online, although it would already have occurred by the time we were forced to leave).  I was actually incredibly grateful to have stumbled across this post this morning, because, as I sat in the car with Patrick thinking about these things, and wondering what comes next, the quote came to mind...

At least the appointment with the allergist is only 8 days away.

Now on to the post I actually planned on writing... deep breath... and go:

We did have fun doing baskets before Mass.  And we had an egg hunt after Mass, out in the cold air that Patrick finds it so easy to breath in.  And of course, I took lots of pictures.  So, after much rambling, here is today's What I Wore Sunday, outfit (It's also my What I Wore for Easter outfit):

The dress is actually my bridesmaid dress from on of my best friends' wedding this summer.  Yes, it's a maternity dress, but the way the pleats fall in actually works pretty well as a non-maternity dress (even if it weren't covered up with a sweater).  The shoes are from Payless, and probably weren't the best choice for carrying Mae for an extended period of time.  I believe that sweater was from the clearance rack at JCPenny's when we were in Montana.  And the belt was taken of my clearance Macy's sweater! 

The girls are wearing their Old Navy outfits and Payless shoes.  And Patrick wore his fancy thrift store button up shirt and sweater with his Old Navy pants.

There's my white lace snood...  which caused a moment of panic when I didn't think I had a single cover in the car because I'd changed bags (and then found three).

Here's Patrick's basket.  I got him a Bunny (which you'll see in a brighter picture below) from Katherine, who writes of Pie and Palestrina, and who has just opened a great Etsy shop, Caritas Creations, that I strongly suggest you all head over to check out!  And he got a print of Saint Patrick from Portraits of Saints, a shop where I could easily spend every penny I make with very little effort!

Here's Sadie's basket with Mae's picture (because apparently when I was setting things up last night I was too sleepy to get it right).  Mae got a Saint Joan of Arc picture.  We'd also gotten her a pretty bracelet from Sarah, that she loved (she loved it so much she wouldn't let me help her put it on and ran around holding it in her hand instead... it's pictured a few pictures below).  Oh and she got a re-gifted bunny that Sadie was given years ago and never played with or showed interest in.  It's been a much bigger hit this year, along with a bunny from Nani, than it was when we first gave it!

Sadie's picture was a little girl Saint Therese of the Child Jesus.  She was excited the Saint Therese was wearing a purple dress!  She also got a crown and a pair of shoes I'd been saving from a sale in the distant past when Disney was having an 80% off plus 10% off plus free shipping sale.  And of course, she also got a beautiful necklace from Sarah's shop, that she loves (and it's had her saying "Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us!" all morning long).

Maggie was the most excited about the treats (she had one piece of candy and a special gluten free granola bar):

(And finally a close up of her bracelet!)

Here's Patrick inspecting his bunny!  It's perfect for him.  He was flinging it around by its ear within seconds!

Late last night I finished dying the eggs.  After we got home it was time to be thankful that it wasn't raining as we headed into the backyard.

Things were still pretty muddy out there:

Mae didn't quite get the idea of a basket to keep her eggs in...

And I'm pretty sure her sister mugged her, since at one point she had six eggs and then suddenly there were only three:

After a five minute dash the eggs had been found:

And Patrick snuggled with Daddy while I made sure that the chicken had finished cooking (it had) and peeled eggs for the girls (I think Sadie has eaten four or five by now):

Here's a random picture of Patrick and Giraffe that I snapped while we were getting ready.  I believe Giraffe had offended him in some way and was in a bit of trouble.

And of course there were the beans.  The girls had earned 197 beans (they looked very small in the bottom of the mason jar... until I counted them).  I had made the mistake of promising each a jelly bean for each bean earned...  And we ran out of jelly beans.  But the bean jar idea was a definite success.  Suddenly everyone was looking for ways to help, on the off chance that they might get a bean..

I'll link up with Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday, when their post goes up!  And of course this is also, What I Wore Easter!

Camp Patton

I hope you had a wonderful day!  Christ is Risen!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Approaching Change and Fear: Thoughts on Our New Pope

This post has been slowly forming in my head these past few days, and yet, to be honest, I have no idea what I'm going to say.  Like many of you, I've found a strangeness and difficulty as I've fumbled through Holy Week this year, and I best work through my thoughts by writing them out.  Hopefully I won't offend everyone too horribly.  Remember, I'm just working through this too, in my own way.  Now I can't guarantee you'll get anything worthwhile out of them, but I guess that's a risk with any blog post.  So... here goes...

When I was little, my mom would warn me about changes to my schedule in the upcoming week, because apparently something like "Hey, let's go to the bank today!" on such short notice, would send my little world spinning off kilter.  It was much easier to say: "We're going to the bank tomorrow morning!" which for some reason was not upsetting, since I had time to process and think about the change.  So apparently my innate "not a huge fan of change" traits stretch way, way back.

Of course, we had quite a lot of warning that change was coming, when Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (that's a mouthful, but it's what he officially is called right?  Plain ol' Benedict just doesn't quite seem respectful enough...) announced that he was abdicating and I rushed around the house talking about it to anyone who would listen (namely Paul, when he was home and the Four Year Old, when he wasn't).  I wasn't upset or anxious.  Just sorrowful.  It was something we'd known would likely happen soon, as he appeared ever more frail in each new image broadcast over the media... but I hadn't wanted it to happen just yet.

Give us a little longer, I wished.  Eight years wasn't enough (funny how with one leader it goes by like that and with others it can drag on.  and on.  and on.).

Still, I was excited for the conclave and held my breath alongside the rest of the world to see who would step out onto the balcony and celebrate in our little toy cluttered living room in the middle of the day as we waited to receive the new Pope's blessing.

I'll admit, I felt a catch in my throat when they said that he was a Jesuit.  I thought back to our time while Paul was in a Jesuit theology program and had to rally my flagging enthusiasm by rushing over to the computer the first chance I had and reading about our brave new leader, the man chosen by the College of Cardinals to be our next Pope.  And what I read reassured me greatly.

In the days that followed I found myself surprised that I wasn't instantly entirely joyous about the announcement of our new pontiff.  I don't know why I'd expected the sadness of missing our last Pope to completely disappear, but I guess in hindsight, I did.

"And had I instantly felt affection for Benedict?" I found myself asking (because in my thoughts he is just plain Benedict).  I remember feeling defensive of him very early in my journey towards Catholicism, but I couldn't remember that moment when I actually became emotionally invested in this man who was to listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit and guide the Church through our darkened world.

Then the attacks started, and of course, they didn't come from the quarter that I expected.  This is scary, I've been told.  He's changing everything, I hear.  Wait, there were puppets?  I read the words, not clicking on the link.  It's hard not to feel anxious when it seems that quite a few people who you generally relate well with are all panicking.

But I've been determined.  "Let nothing alarm you."  I've repeated in my head.  It is Holy Week.  The devil would love to see us up in arms.  He would love to have us at one another's throats.  And what do we know really?  What have we seen from this gentle man?  His affection for his brothers and sisters?  His compassion for the poor? His simplicity?

I watch him on the news and I find myself annoyed, not by his beautiful actions of loving kindness, but at the reporters' analysis.  I feel the sting of their condescending comparison to the retired Pope who I still feel such affection for.   My heart aches.  But is that ache from anything that the Pope has actually done?  No, it isn't.

Watching CNN there were multiple references to the Pope's PR moves, as if the baby kissing, and wading into crowds and foot washing were just publicity stunts.  It shouldn't surprise us that the world would immediately suspect something of that sort.  But shouldn't we at the very, very, very least, give this man who is our shepherd the benefit of the doubt as to his motivations and accept that he is doing this because he loves God and expresses that love by loving the whole of God's creation?

I've been challenging every sad rebellious thought this week by reminding myself what the Pope has actually done and then my following it up by reminding myself that I'm Catholic and I'm not the Pope.

He is the Pope.  His personal style doesn't match my own.  But it doesn't have to.  I'm not the Holy Spirit.  And let me say it again:  He is the Pope.  He is the successor of Saint Peter.  And I'll say it again: I think that we should at the very, very least start out giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Does that mean that everything he does will be right or perfect?  Of course not.  He's a man. He's not speaking infallibly all the time, or even most of the time (or even ever for all that that has been used).  But he is the Pope.  And he deserves our respect.  More than that, I think he deserves that we listen and watch and try not to run around like a bunch of chickens with our heads cut off.

So let's take a deep breath.  Let's stop attacking each other.

My heart feels as if it's dropping into a bottomless pit, not because of Pope Francis' actions this week, but because how I've seen us talk to each other.  I've seen people attack the Pope.  I've seen others respond, calling anyone who's afraid of what's going on "Protestant."  And I recoil at that because, while I'm resisting the fear I've felt (remember, I'm not the biggest fan of change!), I can certainly understand why others around me are feeling it.

The devil is doing his work well as we approach Easter, sowing dissent during this time when our eyes should be fixed on the cross, and ultimately, the empty tomb that tells us that He is Risen!

If I'm honest, I have to admit that I am learning from Pope Francis already, in a painful, heart stretching sort of way (is growing ever comfortable?).  For as I've heard terms like lace-loving-Protestant used and thought "no, no, they're just afraid," I've begun to think more and more about those "Cafeteria Catholics" and have felt a greater compassion for what they might be afraid of these past years.

Yes, the truth is the truth.  It doesn't mean that I agree with them in the least on what is right and what is wrong.  But I think I understand a little more what it means to be afraid by someone who's practice of faith is so visibly different from our own, especially when they were raised in a time when many said "oh no, that's not a sin..." and twisted falsehoods until they almost looked like truth.

Let us all step back, in these last hours before the holiest day of the year, and be gentler with one another.  Let's give this man, who the College of Cardinals trusted enough to elect to lead us, the benefit of the doubt, rather than letting our thoughts run wild with "what I think" this act that he has done might mean.  And let us pray that God gives Pope Francis the strength to lift the heavy load that he has taken upon his shoulders, so that he may guide us through the years that are to come.  It cannot be easy to bear that responsibility, and let us not add to his burden by disparaging him, or indulging in anger.  It is nearly Easter, after all.  Christ has died for our sin.  We wake to find that he has defeated death and that his promise is that we are to be resurrected with him.  Let us turn aside from the anger and strife of this world and love with our whole hearts.  Let us strive that through his grace working in our lives , we might be made worthy of his sacrifice.

Friday, March 29, 2013



We spent a while talking about the Easter Story today.  I brought down the crucifix we bought in Bethany and Sadie was fascinated, asking questions and looking at the little nails in the hands and feet.

And finally I couldn't resist and snapped a picture:

The other thing that was pretty today was the weather.  Although Sadie was pretty adamant when we were in the shade that it was still "cold."  I guess she had a point.  The creek and little ponds at the zoo were still pretty much frozen solid... although I think 40s count as "warm" after weeks of highs in the 20s!



Okay, so I've had a problem.  I couldn't find my chili powder anywhere.

And I use chili powder heavily in my cooking.  I would search and search and think "didn't I leave it right there?  Nope, that's the curry powder!  Why's the curry powder out?"

And today I finally realized what I'd done:

By switching the tops I managed to look at the chili powder several dozen times and completely miss it.

I'm glad I'm not really losing my mind!  It really was right where I left it.  And I was looking right at it without seeing it.


Patrick really, really, really wants to crawl.  He can push his upper body up, and then his back side up... just not at the same time.

He has one very strong motivator that's causing him to work so hard on his mobility.  Can you guess who?

Oh yes.  She's asleep on the book shelf.

And here she is rocking her very own toddler MUST WEAR CARDIGAN AND BOOTS style.
He knows that, while Mommy watches him like a hawk, mobility is a plus when Mae Bae thinks your the greatest thing in the world and wants to pick you up and kiss you and dance with you and sometimes try to ride you like a pony during tummy time.

So he's motivated.  He spent a good thirty minutes trying to push himself up into a crawling position this morning.  Although to be honest, I'm not quite ready for him to be mobile...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

This Morning's Adventure

So this morning I decided to share a little piece of our day.  Okay, I started out thinking I would type out the whole day and than realized it would be way, way to long and no one would ever read it.  Wonder if anyone will make it to the end of our "exciting" four hour journey of our cozy little house:

6:10 am- Wake up to a screaming Mae Bae.  Feed Patrick quickly while Paul goes downstairs with the girls.
6:15am- Hear Mae screaming, Mama!!!!  Mamaaaaaa!!!!!!”  Pick up Patrick who is dozing off to sleep again.  Tell him it is actually morning despite how we both feel about it.  Go downstairs.
6:17am- Tell Mae that she has to wear pants.  No really.  She has to.  It’s too cold not to.  Pick her up.  Hold her while Paul gets the Tylenol and pants.  Day 2 of a fever.  Put her in the monkey pants which she simultaneously loves and hates.  Tell her stop unbuttoning buttons on the cardigan she insisted on putting on as soon as she got downstairs, because she’s unbuttoning so that she can cry that they're unbuttoned.
6:20am- Cuddle on the couch with sick Mae. 
6:25am-  Ask Paul if he’s going to get ready first (he’s trying his best to catch a few more minutes of sleep on the couch).  Point out that Mae will scream her head off if I go upstairs.  Make him promise that, on the off chance I do slip away, he’ll wake up to make sure Mae doesn’t attempt to waltz with Patrick, whose happily playing on a blanket on the floor.
6:28am- Tell Mae that that is the top button and it is buttoned and there are no other buttons that can be buttoned.  Repeat ten times.  Repeat in intervals all morning long.
6:31am- Sprint to the stairs when Mae gets up off the couch and ambles to the other room.  If she doesn’t see me go up the stairs she doesn’t get upset.  Unfortunately she has a sixth sense about these things and catches me nine out of ten times.  Thankfully, today is that tenth day, and I make it upstairs without hearing screaming downstairs.
6:35am- Check emails, blog comments and facebook debates.  Gather up some fabric that I’ll need for the days sewing downstairs.
7:35am- Come downstairs dressed, hair up, and ready to start the day (Yes, Paul is awesome and gives me a bit of time each morning to get things done!  He realizes that this keeps me much, much saner than I would otherwise be.)
7:36am-Begin asking Paul if he’s going to go get ready.  Because really, I want his seat on our couch.  Take advantage of Patrick being asleep and Paul going upstairs to hold Mae Bae in a blanket on the couch.  Halfway through the cuddle Mae screams in rage and gets up, because she’s in the “wrong” blanket apparently and is furious about it.  Cuddling resumes once I wrap her in the correct blanket for this morning.
8:07am- Patrick begins to cry.  Wrap Mae in her blanket and lay her on the couch. Go into the kitchen and change Patrick.  Convince him to take his binkie while determining that the dishes in the dishwasher are not clean (we’re waiting on a part for the repair, so it’s really a toss up whether it works or not each time we run it), and squeeze a few more dishes in.  Start it and hope that it works (it does... most of the time).  
8:10 am-  Decide that bacon is the way to go this morning.  Peel an orange for Sadie. Wash an apple for Mae when she turns her nose up at the orange.  Begin cooking bacon.  Pack Paul’s lunch.  Forget to write “Paul” in pink sharpie with a heart like I do most mornings (it’s the running joke in this house).
8:29am- Think “I’m getting really good at this whole bacon cooking thing.  I think I’ve got it down.”  Wince as bacon grease pops and splatters all over my shirt. 
8:30am- Hear Sadie say:  “Maggie’s being naughty!” for the first (but certainly not last) time of the day.  Run into the room.  Find Mae Bae playing in a puddle of water after removing a sippie cup top.  Mop up some of the mess, then hand Mae a small blanket and tell her she can clean up the rest.  Be thankful because, on a naughtiness scale of 1-10 this is a 1. 
8:32am- Remember the bacon.  Race back into the kitchen.
8:33am-  Pour bacon grease into bacon grease jar and do a little dance (okay, in my head, it’s still too early for real dancing) when I realize that it’s full and I pretty much have enough grease to last for the indefinite future!  Marvel that I’m that excited over bacon grease. 
8:46am- Run downstairs to turn off seedling glow lights.  Sympathize with seedings who are confused because they sometimes get a full 24 hours when I forget to turn off the light at night.  Note that of all the rows, only the single row of non heirloom tomatoes have not sprouted.  Make mental note to soak peat tablets tomorrows so I can start the other seeds… which I should have started like… last week.
8:47am- Remember why I’m downstairs.  Because Mae has decided that this is a “naked day” and I’m getting a sleeper to put an end to the otherwise endless rounds of diaper removal.
8:48am- Find diaperless naked toddler and wrangle her into her sleeper.  Consider putting the sleeper on backwards.  Decide to give her a chance to prove that she can wear it like a big girl without stripping down.  Give thanks that there are no puddles on the living room floor.  Ask where the old diaper is.  Follow the preschoolers instructions and find it on top of a chest on top of a pile of blankets, along with toddlers other clothes.
8:50am-  Begin work on the first quilt top of the day.  Sew standing up at the counter while answering the little girls clamoring questions.  Wonder where on Earth Paul is.
9:00am-  Sooth Patrick.  Put on an Audio Sancto sermon about Peter denying Christ.  Continue to sew, while the girls play/ destroy the living room.
9:26am- Look at the clock.  The quilt top is half done.  Wonder if I need to go up and make sure Paul hasn’t fallen and been knocked unconscious or had a heart attack.  Begin to worry about the amount of bacon I cook.
9:37am- Hand Sadie a kiwi.  Tell her that “no, cookies aren’t for breakfast.”  Continue sewing.
9:38am- Sing to Patrick, who’s bassinet sits next to the sewing machine so he can watch me sew. 
10:00am-  Worry about Paul some more.  Hear him coming down stairs.  Ask him where he was.  Learn that he went back to sleep.  Stifle annoyance since he hardly sleeps at all and he has let me take two naps this week, which is some sort of a record.  Feel annoyed.  Remind self about those naps again.  Hand him his lunch.  Say goodbye, while telling Patrick “Yes that’s Daddy!  He’s wearing sunglasses!”  Realize, by Patrick’s scream, that he is not convinced and is pretty sure that the sunglass wearing man in our kitchen is an intruder.  Get him to stop crying after Paul says goodbye and walks out the door. 
10:10 am- Finish quilt top…  Think, I need to make 6 quilt tops today before I go to sleep and tonight needs to be a peg doll painting night.  Realize that getting to bed before 1am is likely out of the question.  Try not to add up the hours between 10 and 1…

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Just Keep Sewing, Just Keep Sewing...

I took a quick break from the nightly routine to post a few pictures of my projects from the last three days.  The piecing quilts are done for the day.  Maybe.  Unless I finish everything else before midnight, which may or may not happen, depending on how efficient I am.

I've pieced 30.  20 to go if I'm going to meet my goal by the end of the month (I'm not yet admitting that that might not happen).

Now to get on to the actual work from my stores!  I hope your having a good Holy Week!

Be Careful What You Ask for...

Just to point out... His head isn't at the top of his bassinet..
He's turned towards the side.
He's not quite that tall.
This Lent I've found a thought occasionally making an appearance in my mind as we've struggled to figure out what Patrick is allergic to.  You see, this little prayer I said a while back, makes its way to the edge of my thoughts and I can't help but thing:  "Well.  That's solved."  and even sometimes briefly:  "Be careful what you ask God for..." although I really know that's not it at all, because this whole thing isn't about me.

It has to do with what I was feeling/praying when I wrote that highly commented on, apparently controversial post, about struggling with gluttony and my horrible sweet tooth... and salty tooth, which make me a sucker for pretty much every junk food on the planet.  

And I prayed and prayed for God to help me out with that just a bit and then bam, prayer answered.  When every single craving you have makes your baby sick the temptation becomes completely not tempting really, really quickly.  I can safely say that gluttony really isn't on my radar as a problem.  When you take out wheat, corn, eggs, potatoes, bananas, peanuts, tree nuts and coconuts... well... there's not a lot left to be gluttonous about.

I'd thought we'd escaped corn.  When I tested it last month, Patrick was fine.  But in the past two weeks the problems returned full force and I began to suspect that the occasional popcorn indulgence might be the cause.  "Really?"  I would find myself thinking.  "Are we just taking every single food I like off the table now? Is chocolate next?  I mean, the rare, nut free, wheat free chocolate that I sometimes indulge in?"  

I feel silly even thinking this, because really, I know this isn't about me at all.  And it terrifies me for Patrick, as I begin to follow allergy sites for ideas and see posts about kids, almost always with nut allergies, in comas or dying from a single missteps (it didn't help my freak outs when one was in Paul's hometown). I find myself wishing I could take his allergies away and keep them forever so that he wouldn't have them.  Because for me, this inconvenience is short term, and while I pray these are of the "he'll grow out of them" variety, I'm also terrified because we have no idea if he will.  Which makes even thinking about this in terms of "me" seem silly and selfish.  But I digress...

So I cut out corn and began to research corn allergies.  The mystery of the past weeks fell away.  He broke out in hives when I drank a tiny bit of sprite we had left over from the time-before-allergies when I was feeling sick.  And when I gave him his vitamin D drops, which had caramel coloring in them.  And when I put a bit of margarine on the rice and tapioca bread that I made.

All of those things have corn in them.  Nearly every processed food (and we'd kicked out 99% of processed foods...) have corn in them.  Even foods you'd never expect.

Take away anything with corn and his skin was beautifully smooth after four days.  There was an incident where someone ate corn chex on the couch and spilled them and got them on a blanket... and the hives returned.  But when he was cleaned off they went away fairly quickly (after my near nervous breakdown, the banning of food in the living room, and a crying call to Paul in the library before a test).  Then I tried a cheese that included "citric acid" and had a few of those marinated peppers that I love so much for dinner last night.  Citric acid is a "maybe"... it might have corn in it, or it might not.  And by bedtime Patrick's little cheeks looked like he had a severe sun burn with a red, swollen, peely look usually reserved for eggs, wheat and nuts...  So... life is changing even more dramatically because corn is in pretty much everything.  

My weight had actually stopped dropping and stabilized, but it's started dropping again.  Bacon mornings here I come... (and when you have to eat a lot of bacon to keep your weight steady, it does eventually become less appealing and craving-worthy... in case you ever wondered!).

I'm ready to see that doctor in less than two weeks, although I've been warned extensively that it's unlikely seeing him will actually change anything... but I want to talk to him about getting an epi-pen just in case... because that would make me slightly less frightened.  

And I'm very thankful for all of your prayers.  I'm praying so hard that he outgrows these.  We've mostly adjusted to avoiding his allergens (with the exception of corn, which I'm sure we'll be used to soon enough), and it really does get easier.  

But as for gluttony?  It's so much easier to kick a sin when you see the immediate effects of indulging right there in front of you, rather than an abstract justification you can make in your head.  If all sins worked that way all the time avoiding them would be a piece of cake... (oh cake!).  Immediate repercussions shocking us out of our excuses would certainly simplify things, although it wouldn't make temptations really temptations I guess.

And that is where my rambling stops...  That's my allergy outburst for the time being.  I'm hoping we've identified everything now.  I don't want to see my little guy crying and hurting because of something I've eaten, ever again... although I known that it's likely to happen.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This Roller Coaster of a Week

Her first Easter.
Easter is nearly here.  Jesus has been welcomed into Jerusalem by the enthusiastic, palm wielding crowd.  We've entered into Holy Week.

We're not there yet though.  We all know what stands between us and the mystery of the Easter Vigil and then the joy of the Easter season, the pinnacle of the year, when he has risen, overcoming death and opening the gates of heaven.  But we all know what comes first.  Friday, now only three days away.  Good Friday.

I cannot think of Good Friday without thinking of my first Good Friday, the Good Friday that fell on the day before my confirmation. I got the time wrong, and arrived a little bit late.  I slipped in the back and was thankful to slide into an empty pew.  My eyes found the thick, roughly shaped cross that had been brought in and placed at the center of the end of the aisle and suddenly I was sobbing.

It wasn't the pretty kind of crying you see in movies.  It was the ugly, trying not gasp for air kind.  I couldn't have even told you why I was sobbing.  For a very long time I prided myself on not crying.  And yet there I was.  I pulled my sunglasses down and tried to be inconspicuous in our little Church, my eyes blurred as tears ran down my checks and plopped on my dress.

It was a beautiful green dry clean only dress that I'd bought when I was young and silly and still spent way too much of my pay check chasing down fashion trends.  And it stands out in my mind to this day, because the tears poured down on the fabric and stayed.  They stained it, a permanent reminder of that feeling, that moment, that somehow seemed appropriate.  That dress has moved with us, from California to Florida to Michigan as a result.  I'm certain I would have given it away long ago without those stains.  Instead I keep it, to run across now and then during the seemingly endless cycles of packing and unpacking and I remember, in a far off distant way, that first encounter with Good Friday.  And I think of it now, because we are nearly there.

I think I find, more and more each year, that Lent, and Holy Week, are never exactly what I expect them to be.  You'd think I'd have figured it out by now.  I'm a planner and a list maker.  I obsess over details.  If you look at the Keirsey temperament sorter I'm a "mastermind" (INTJ) and planning is just what we do.  And so while I know that God has better plans for me than any plan I could ever have for myself, I still come up with grandiose schemes that should have me puttering down the path to sanctity if things just went the way I planned.

Instead the real challenges of Lent and Holy Week are always the curve balls that I never could have written into my thirty point Lent plan.  They're the scandals of the past years that the media seem to fixate on each Lent.  They're sorrow as we say goodbye to someone we dearly loved, reeling a bit at the suddenness and hugeness of the unexpected.

And, as always, part of the challenge of our long walk towards Easter is in the heavy weight of living in a world where sin is not called sin, and you're likely to be called a hate filled bigot who hates women if you admit that yes, you do believe all that the Church that you love teaches.

It can feel almost useless to explain that there is a difference between the sin and the sinner, even as you rush to explain that we are all sinners, though the devil tempts us with the sins that most appeal to us.  You might even explain that we actually are called to judge actions as right and wrong, so we can avoid what's wrong, and that the whole "judge not" thing has been twisted beyond anything that Saint Matthew likely imagined, but as likely as not, you'll find yourself feeling that your words aren't being heard.

Holy Week has arrived, bringing with it it's own unique challenges this year.  Good Friday looms before us.  Jesus suffered death on the cross for our sins.  And so we pray and love and pray some more.  We cling to a God who has conquered sin and death, and remember that he offers each of us the chance, over and over again, to turn to him and be forgiven.  He waits for us to decide that yes, he is more important than sin.  He waits for us to see that while it might not be easy, the hopes and plans that he has for us, and the love that he offers, is greater than anything this world could ever offer us.

He doesn't force us.  We can go on, convinced that we are right, that we determine our own truth, that the God shaped hole in our soul really isn't there and that we make our own rules.  The world will think we're much cooler if we go that way.  Or we can turn, and throw ourselves on his mercy and rise, joyful, on Easter Sunday, knowing that our savior has defeated the sin and death and sorrow of this world and has thrown open the gates of heaven for those who turn to him and love him with their whole hearts.

It's our choice.   And we can only pray that we'll make the right one.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sheep and Company: Super Cute Hats!

On Friday a package arrived at our house.  I resisted opening it.  "For Easter" I told myself.

I knew what was in it.  I'd placed an order with Sheep and Company, an Etsy business opened by a fellow blogger who I know IRL from our time in Florida when her husband and Paul attended law school together.  Her blog is definitely worth checking out!  She blogs about life with her adorable daughter Abigail and husband Matt and I am eagerly awaiting a time in the not so distant future when she'll live much nearer to us than she does now.  I didn't get to know her very well in Florida, being a sickly recluse who basically locked myself inside for much of the 10 months we were there, and I began reading her blog after we moved and wished I had gotten to know her better (this is a trend with me... my shyness makes me the worse IRL friend-maker ever!).  Anyways I digress.  This post is about the awesome-ness that was in that package and I'm getting distracted.   

On Saturday I thought, I'd just open it up for a quick peak.  And then I'd close it back up and put it away.  But when I saw the cute wrapping that just begged to be opened I couldn't resist.  Especially with Sadie begging to help open them!  After ten seconds of indecision, we were opening early "Palm Sunday Weekend" presents.

Sadie was very, very excited:

And then the photo shoot began.  Sadie wanted her picture taken in her perfectly pink hat:

I ordered Sadie an adult woman's hat, because her head is really big for her age (21 inches!) and her hair is usually up to keep it out of her brother and sister's pull-y little hands.  It is perfect for her and stretched enough for her bun, but works with her hair down too!

Patrick got a cute little red baby hat that he was happy to model for us.

It's still cold here and this is perfect for our outside time for the little guy. 

They were pretty goofy as I attempted to get cute pictures.

Then Sadie asked, can Mae be in a picture too?

Unfortunately Mae is a bit more difficult to catch on camera.  She's just so quick!

And while she loved her hat and was practicing putting it on and taking it off over and over again (and was very clear about not needing my help), she was not enthusiastic about me snapping a picture of it.  Sadie insisted we try though.

Sadie, in danger of being pinched, for her longed for "sister picture."

At least by the last picture we almost got a smile.  Mae seemed to realize how silly she was being!

Paul got a men's hat too, which is perfect for his bike rides to school... but he wasn't home for the photo shoot and isn't as willing to pose for me on blog photo shoots.

But seriously!  Head over to Sheep and Company!  These hats are amazing!!! The yarn feels so, so nice.  And as a knitter I tend to be a yarn snob!  Jacquelyn does custom orders (and she's fast!).  And the prices are almost impossible to pass up (homemade hats for around $10-$14!!!  And look at this one!!!  So cute!).