Friday, April 30, 2010

A weekend of faith, fun, and crafts

Thank God, today is Friday. Every day at work for the entire semester has been so intense, particularly the past few weeks. Luckily, exams are here, and things seem to be winding down. I'm looking forward to working on some writing this summer.

This morning, Mike had an exam at 8 am, so things were pretty hectic for me since I was getting myself and Henry ready solo. Hank insisted that he wanted to get dressed himself (I was pretty skeptical) and I was amazed when he came down with (a) clothes that matched, and (b) clothes actually *on* his body. Luckily, I thought to check that he had underwear on (yep), and that his pants were on facing the right way (nope) before heading out to pre-k.

When I finally had everything ready, and was ready to go, naturally, Hank had made a beeline for his toy room. I approached the room to the sounds of a Rescue Heroes alert:

"Attention Rescue Heroes! A tornado is approaching! Everyone, take cover!"

And with that emphatic declaration, the Rescue Heroes song kicks on with much inspiration. I walk in to discover Hank dancing dramatically around the room. It was so funny, I didn't mind the fact that I could have been halfway to work if I only had myself to get ready. Ah, the life of a parent. It's a joy, so we keep signing up.

I've been working away on my summer table set, and I'll post pictures when it's done. So far, I've crocheted a table runner and 2 place mats. They all incorporate in summery yellows, pinks and greens. I have 2 place mats to go, and then they all need to be blocked so that they'll lay flatter. I'm enjoying my new seasonal table set habit. I hope to have the summer set done by Pentecost. Liturgically, it's still Easter, so that's what I tell everybody when they wonder why I still have pastel Easter eggs and coordinating colors out on my table. So there :)

I'm all inspired by my desire to start back up an official evening devotion time, per yesterday's post. Poor Hank went to bed sobbing last night, because he wanted to do our prayers first, and we hadn't done them yet. Sweet little procrastinator. He was SO overtired, and he's suffering from seasonal allergies, so he just needed immediate rest. But I like that he treasures our usual night routine so much. Tonight, I'll make sure we get it in before he gets too rundown.

At any rate, I may stop by our local Christian bookstore on my way home today, see if any inexpensive Catholic Bible study catches my eye. As for the Catechism, I think I'm going to try out using it as spiritual reading in the evenings in the form of a reference tool. Each night, I can think of a topic that is on my mind, or page through the index for inspiration, and then read the section(s) dealing with that topic. I'll let you know how it goes :)

This weekend, I'm planning on doing some gardening, crocheting, playing with Hank, and having my parents over for dinner. It'll be fabulous to have a break from work.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Evening devotion time...

Lately, I've gotten out of the habit of my evening Bible reading time, and have been trying to jump start back in. What I find, is that I'll read a chapter for a few days, and then for a few days I'll forget or it'll take longer to get Henry to go to bed, and then I don't have the energy. But the evening just seems like the best time to do it, to me. It's when I'm most relaxed.

I also have a nice copy of the Catechism that I enjoy pulling out to look things up. And I'd like to read through the whole thing. Problem is, as soon as I start reading from cover to cover, I give up before we even get past the reason for our belief in God. Maybe I should see it more as a reference work? But I feel like, as a Catholic, it's my duty to read the Catechism. We have a nice, bound book with all the details of our faith and why we believe in them. How can I not read that?

I have the attention span of a 2 year old. That's part of the problem right there. I've bought booklets with reading suggestions so that I could read through the whole Bible in a year, just picked a book of the Bible and the Catechism and just tried to read a section per night, I've tried all kinds of things. What works for you? I need suggestions. Comments, please :)

Remember the days before they could talk?

It seems to me, sometimes, that we long for those non-talking days, no? I think that thought flashes through all parents' minds at times - like when your child is throwing a category 10 temper tantrum in the middle of Target. Of course, you take the wonderful with the challenging. That's part of our job.

There's the Fort Knox-like way they keep secrets:

*CL and Henry driving home from pre-school*

"Mommy, you going to like it. Oh! I was not supposed to say anything."

"What, Honey?"

"I was not even supposed to say that."

"Is it a secret?" *CatholicLibrarian pictures adorably constructed Mother's Day gift, and smiles lovingly*

"YES. I not supposed to say anything... Want me to tell you?"

"No, Honey. I want it to be a surprise. I can't wait to see what you made."

"It's a tea pot."

Or, the interrogator-like questioning style that they develop rather quickly:

*at BJ's, ordering tires for my car*

"Mommy. Who's that guy?"

"That's the Michelin Man, Sweetheart."

"Who is he?"

"He's...huh. Well, I guess he's a mascot. For tires."

"Is he real?"

"Well, he's a mascot, Honey, so he's not really real."

"Is he a guy in a costume?"

"Yes, Honey."

"Who's inside the costume?"

"I don't know, Honey."

"You have to tell me."

"I'm not holding out on you, Sweetheart, I just really don't know."

"Is it Peter Parker?"

"No, Honey, the Michelin Man isn't a super hero, he's just a tire guy."

And suddenly, the thing that I dreaded from infanthood has come to pass:

"Hi Sweetheart, Mommy's home! Come give me a kiss!"


"What do you mean, no? Mommy needs a kiss." *eyes narrow*

*Hank backs away, slowly*

*I grab him and kiss his cheeks relentlessly*

Perhaps this is the reason for the reluctance.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Precious Catholic Child

I haven't posted a picture of Henry recently, so I snapped one of him last night. Here he is, posing with his big wooden rosary beads :)

He was a bit of a challenge last night, but I hung in there. Much duress was involved in getting him home from pre-k (and away from the Lego structure he was building with his friend Alex) and forcing a bath on him. But in between those incidents, all was well. Until we got to bedtime, that is. But that's another story.

At any rate, he has been praying so cutely lately that I simply had to post about it. In the past, our nightime routine included reading some stories out of his children's Bible. We've read through the entire thing several times, and he has some of his favorites memorized - (Jonah and the Big Fish, Adam and Eve, Daniel in the Lion's Den, David and Goliath). I always bring that Bible to church with us, and Hank is very good about paging through it every week, "reading" it during Mass. Lately though, I've noticed that he doesn't request it as much at bedtime, maybe because we've done that for so long. So last week, I pulled our rosary beads out and we started a new bedtime routine, and he seems to be latching onto it quite adorably.

I had gotten him a child's prayer books, let me find a link...ah ha! And suddenly, he's all into it. He likes to open the pages to the 3 traditional prayers, all of which he has memorized - the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. We say those. Then he likes me to say the Apostle's Creed so that he can recite it back. As you can see, routine-oriented-and-structured Catholic Librarian translates into routine-oriented-and-structured offspring. It's just in the genes.

Next, we move on to one of his new favorites, the Act of Contrition, which he calls "God, I'm Sowy." It's a new version than the one I have memorized, and I dig it. After that, he insists on saying both the morning *and* night prayers, despite the fact that it's 7 pm. And finally, we have to say the "Pwayer for my fwiends." It's all very precious.

Oh! My new rosary beads from Cam over at Full of Grace Creations:

*Very* thrilled with them - I use them every day. I love that the stones are gray, and that it has a Celtic cross, very different from any other rosary that I own. And even though this has nothing to do with anything else in this post, me with my beloved new pink head covering, in headband form:

:) Hope you have a blessed day!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Being a Catholic housewife

My husband has taken to referring to my headcoverings as my "housewife scarves," which he says with a smile and an eyebrow raise, meaning, that he likes them. Because recently, I noticed that I often reach for them to wear on the weekends around the house instead of just twisting my hair up into a bun or a ponytail, like I usually do. And I have to say, I'm enjoying it quite a bit. My hair has gotten longer recently, and I hated feeling I was always wearing it up, just to get it off of my face. The headbands and shorter scarves allow me to wear my hair down, but keep it back out of my way. I adore them.

And I've come to adore acquiring them on etsy a tad too much. I *llooovvveeee* etsy. I mean, it's my new But whereas I was able to replace my amazon book buying habit with a public library card, I'm still spending real money on etsy. I'm a sucker for handmade items, and etsy is a treasure trove. When Mike commented on my newfound crush recently, I made sure to pipe in that he should be grateful I have such wholesome obsessions - you don't normally see support groups popping up dedicated to those who simply cannot help themselves around crafts, books, rosary beads, and head scarves.

Anyway, I'm still awaiting my 2 new additions from Garlands of Grace, but in the meantime...*guilty smile* I found another headcovering vendor on etsy and I tested the waters. They were only $11! And shipping was next to nothing. I barely spent over $20 for 2 coverings. So you see, I'm really still a very good girl :)

The first is this one, which I wore all weekend:

I like, love it. It ties, so it stays put nicely, and it can act as a short scarf or convert to a headband. My precious multi-purpose head covering; I love you so.

The other one is my first experiment with a longer veil:

I wore it to Mass on Sunday. Word to the wise - if you have a covering with both ties *and* snaps (for a taper in the back), do the snaps first. This caused me no end of consternation and muffled swearing for about 10 minutes. Once I figured the snap thing out, my head covering world improved. I like it real well, but I think I now have a definitive preference with these coverings: my absolute favorites are the shorter scarves, and bonus is they can also act as a headband, because I like headbands too. *Tiffany plots future purchases...* You can see where the problem comes in.

Anyway, I happily wore my pink scarf and did some work out in the yard on Saturday. The Catholic Librarian is planning her summer garden, and as you will be unsurprised to learn, she does this with no small amount of overplanning, overstructuring, and overzealousness. I've gotten both front and back weeded pretty well, but you know how weeding is. Two days later, and somehow a weed has not just started to grow back in, but it's a full-fledged young adult weed with wild hair and a bad attitude. How do they do that?! It's infuriating. And I am a ruthless weeder. I go right for the roots.

"Mommy, look at the pretty yellow flower."

"What?! WHERE?!" *spots offending dandelion* *viciously rips its delicate yellow head off*

"Ok, don't worry. We're ok again."

We have fresh dirt, we just need some topsoil, and we're good to go with some annuals and vegetables. I will report back in.

So then, on Sunday, I have yet another installment in what is a continuing saga for parents: Mass With the Children. Not an easy thing.

Henry has suddenly taken to boycotting Children's Liturgy of the Word, and I have no idea why. He says that he's "scared," but he says it with a smirk, so I know that he's up to something. He's declared that he prefers to sit back in the pew with Mommy at church, where he then drives me nuts for a straight hour. Getting into my purse and breaking things. Pulling my hair. Poking me. Whining. You know, all the good stuff.

I will grant, he's not loud and disruptive. For the most part. Nothing like what I will simply call THE INCIDENT from last November, and leave it at that. Now that he's 4, I set high standards for his behavior at Mass, and for the most part he earns at least a B most Sundays. That's pretty good for a boy that age.

I thought about it, and I think my strategy is going to be to just let the children's liturgy thing go. The more I mention it, the more he takes the opportunity to declare that he doesn't want to go and would rather stay with me in church. I think it's newness has worn off and thus it's not so exciting for him anymore. As well, Henry had inherited my shyness. That may have a lot to do with it. He's still at Mass, and that's what's important. We'll get there.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Time for prayer amongst the daily grind


I'm exhausted, and it's not even noon. Not a good sign. However, it's a good kind of tired. I'm getting things done at work, and my I get to go home to my boys later. Life is good.

When I arrived home, also exhausted, yesterday, I was thrilled to find a package for me containing the rosary I'd won from the A Woman's Place... giveaway! Ever the seeker of instant gratification, I ripped right into it, much to Mike's amusement. It's positively lovely. It has a beautiful Celtic cross and a Miraculous Medal centerpiece, which are my favorites. The beads are an iridescent gray.

My mom always told me that when you receive a rosary as a gift, the very first time you pray with it you pray for the intentions of the person who gave it to you. Thus, this morning on my way into work, I started a rosary for Cam and family, and their intentions :) I got through 3 decades, but never fear! It will be completed on my way home :)

On my way home, I'm also treating myself to a stop at our local Catholic store to pick up a case for it, so that it won't get scratched up in my purse. I'm terribly excited.

This morning, I've already managed to survive a 2 hour workshop on promotion and tenure, and half of a 2 hour reference shift, so clearly prayers are already being answered. What a long, long day...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Feeling particularly librarian-like today

*perches glasses on nose*

Given the sheer volume of work on my to-do list of late, I've really been buckling down at work. I've even had to miss my lunch-time knitting group for over a week (I miss you girls!). I've been pretty efficient all week, because, well, I've had no choice. Stuff (much more of it than there ever was) has to get done. Plus, this year marks a bit of a scary milestone for me. I had my final reappointment review last year, which means that preparation of my tenure dossier is a mere 2 years away. And you know what happens to people that don't make tenure. It's true, they don't die, but they have to leave their jobs! This is terrifying.

As I see it, I have 3 major hurdles before me that I need to conquer prior to me feeling comfortable about my chances to get tenure. I'm pretty diligent, so I'm in good shape thus far, but I like to be realistic as well. I need to:

(1) Publish 1 more solo authored article in a peer reviewed journal. I've been trying to work on this all semester, and aforementioned to-do list has always gotten in the way. Summer is my set apart time for having my way on this, and if I still am not able to do it, I may burst into tears right in the middle of the library. Hopefully, this will not happen.

(2) Garner enough faculty interaction so that several of them can write letters of recommendation for my tenure dossier. I'm working on this one, and we're getting there. I'm shy, so this is tough, but I channel Charming Tiffany and all usually goes well.

(3) Get more involvement in the major national professional association, in this case the American Library Association. I've been on a few committees for the round table that I'm a part of, but I've been jonesing for a coveted two-year appointment on a major ALA division committee for *years*. You'd think volunteering to do an undisputably onerous, vexing, and altogether lacking in anything remotely resembling fun activity would make you ripe for selection. Not so. There are *many* librarians out there that need this sort of committee work on their CV's in order to achieve tenure, so competition is fierce.

So, those are my goals for the next two years. Today, I arrived and glanced at my calendar. I have "WRITING DAY" written in bold through the whole day. However, this is what happened:

First, I had a scheduled (short) meeting first thing this morning with one of our technology coordinators about moving our Reference Desk computers to our soon-to-be new home at the Circulation Desk. This summer we will be launching a brand spanking new combined services desk at my library. Such excitement.

Then, I went back to my office. A slew of email awaited me. I slogged through it, and awaited my 10 am student appointment. He never showed. However, at 10:01 a yet different student materialized out of thin air asking if I could help him with something. Of course. That's what I'm here for. I just wish his question related to something other than the literature surrounding heart bypass surgery techniques. That's not exactly my area of expertise.

After that, someone stopped me to have me notarize a document for him. That would be my husband :) I then realized that I needed to compose an email summarizing developments in our pending Reference Desk move to the librarians in my building. Quickly, this document turned into Summa Tiffanyoica. I was pleased with it though, so I sent it off. I haven't gotten any responses back. Hopefully, this does not mean that they all hate me and my nefarious plans.

After that, I was starving, so I scarfed down lunch. I then took a quick walk, because I'm still on my weight loss quest. I got back, and stared at the pile of printed library guides in desperate need of updating on my to-do table. They've been there for a llloooonnngggg time. *sighs* I went through them, so that I can then send them off to our assistant who can make the online changes. Bless her soul.

I then turned to my article pile, but remembered that I have a book that I've been asked to review, and seriously, I've had it since last year. In my defense, between then and now I've reviewed probably a dozen other books, and this was the last one in the stack and it's so, so hard for me to squeeze these reviews in. It's a cool book too, called Contemplative Crochet: A Hands-On Guide for Interlocking Faith & Craft. How totally up my alley is that?

I've started the review, but hark! What is that over there? Yes, it's my pile of article materials. It has dust on it.

Ah, but wait! I have good news. In a complete shocker, I received an email this afternoon notifying me that I've been selected for one of those glorious 2 year division committees, in this case one affiliated with ALA's Reference & User Services Association. SCORE. This is a major coup for your Catholic Librarian. She was happy. She celebrated. This should take care of item #3 on the list. See Supra.

It's all good. But. I'm not going to finish this book review today. And do I have time to finish it tomorrow? It'll be pretty tough between two meetings and a reference shift. And what about Friday? Once again, I see two meetings and a reference shift on there. This is bad. The article will get dustier.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New readers, a beautiful spring day, and childbirth of yore...

An odd mix of topics in the title, no? Despite the continuing mountain of work, I'm in a really good mood today. It's a beautiful spring day in Western New York, and...*drum roll*...I've lost 2.5 lbs! This is a big yay. Working nicely toward a goal number that will remain unnamed...

At any rate, I also wanted to mention how thrilled I am that I now have 18 followers!! I love you, my followers! I really, really have grown to treasure this blog. I always enjoyed writing, but never fully found the right outlet for it. I never could keep up a traditional journal, and although I loved creative writing as a young adult, I never pursued that more formally as an adult. This blog is truly ideal for me. I allows me to write and be creative without taking up a lot of time, and I have the opportunity to explore topics that are meaningful to me. It's like my own personal little space in the world :) I'm a happy girl. Just please - never remove yourself as a follower even if you decide never to read my blog ever again - this would devastate me :) Once a follower, a follower FOR LIFE.

One last housekeeping item, and then I'll move on to the topic of the day. My new rosary from Cam at A Woman's Place... is in the mail, so I refrained from entering this week's giveaway lest I become too greedy :) But Cam has a beautiful rosary bracelet with St. Gerard medal up for giveaway this week! Head on over to enter for a chance to win it. St. Gerard is the patron of expectant mothers, so this would be a great gift for yourself or a loved one who is expecting a baby. There are more for purchase at Cam's etsy store, Full of Grace Creations.

Ok. This is going to be one of those Tiffany stories, so settle in with your tea cup. I'm a woman, right? So, all my male readers, I'm certain that you knew this would happen one day. I'm going to talk about CHILDBIRTH. And I'm going to volley around some words that normally do not come up in polite conversation. Anyone who wishes to abstain from such musings, feel free to stop reading now :)

Lately, Mike and I have been watching Season 3 of Mad Men on DVD. What on earth does this have to do with childbirth, Tiffany? Stay with me. Anybody else watch Mad Men? Great show on AMC. It's set around a New York ad agency in the early 1960's. It's a fascinating, nostalgic look back into the culture of that time period. The ad men knock back whiskey during business meetings and pat the secretaries asses at will. And everybody smokes. And drinks. Even the pregnant women. I didn't say it was good nostalgia. It's just a very evocative period piece.

Mike and I watched an episode over the weekend that I haven't been able to stop thinking about. And ***SPOILER ALERT*** If you're catching up with Mad Men, and have not yet gotten to the end of Season 2, don't read any further. You will be spoiled for a major plot development. If you don't care about spoilers, read on...


At the end of Season 2, we find out that Don, the main character, and his wife, Betty, are expecting their third baby. At the beginning of Season 3, we see Betty at the end of her pregnancy. The episode that so captured my attention is appropriately entitled "The Fog." The episode opens, and we find that Betty has gone into labor. She and Don hurry to the hospital.

The setting is Summer of 1963. And this is how Betty's labor experience went. Don pushes her in a wheelchair to the main reception desk at the hospital. A nurse greets them.

"Ok, Mr. Draper. Your part here is done. You go to the waiting room and we'll take it from here."

So while Don goes to drink whiskey and read the newspaper in the hospital waiting room, Betty is wheeled to labor and delivery. First, we see her having to fill out a sheaf of paperwork while still in the wheelchair and in terrible pain. Next, we see her in the requisite awful hospital gown (some things never change) in still more pain, as the nurse tells her,

"Ok, Mrs. Draper, we're going to prepare you for delivery now. You will be shaved and given an enema."

This is where those "not so polite" words come into play. The degrading nature of both of these totally unnecessary procedures got my eyes narrowed right away. But the worst was yet to come.

Pretty soon Betty is understandably writhing in terrific pain, and the nurse keeps poking her arms to give her unspecified pain medications despite her protests. She's told that the medication will put her into a "twilight sleep." Soon thereafter, Betty begins to hallucinate. She wanders in and out of consciousness. When conscious, she's still in so much pain that she thrashes and calls out for her husband. The nurses restrain her, tying her limbs to the bed, and telling her that her husband is not permitted to come back.

Next thing we know, Betty is waking up. In her arms is a precariously perched adorable newborn complete with blue cap on little cone head. Don is now in the room. Betty groggily looks at the baby and murmurs,

"Oh, she's beautiful."

Don answers,

"Betts...the baby is a boy."

"Oh. A boy. Yes, a boy."

That's right, her husband, who was in *another wing of the hospital at the time* knew the gender of their baby before she did. In the case of an emergency cesarean section, I could understand this, but not when an uncomplicated vaginal delivery is involved.

This brought back a memory of my own mom telling me about the birth of my older sister, Rhonda, who was born in 1970 and the only one of us for which she had a vaginal delivery.

"oh yes, I remember pushing for a little bit, and then the doctor told me that they'd take it from there, and they put a mask over my face to put me out."

*Catholic Librarian's eyebrows raise to ceiling* "But, but...why would they do that? How could you deliver the baby if you were unconscious?"

"I don't know, I was just grateful."

I was always so shocked by that story I never really knew what to think. Now, after some Googling yesterday, I know that this "twilight sleep" thing was very prevalent into the early 1970's. And, there was a whole lot of buzz about it in the context of this particular episode of Mad Men.

Apparently, the way I felt after watching the episode was the exact reaction the writers were angling to portray. Betty's frantic, pain-filled emotions, the helplessness of her situation, the utter lack of choices or control she had over her birth experience, her isolation from her husband, were so palpable that I'm still thinking about them 2 days later. Granted, there are certain things that can occur during labor that can impact our birth experiences in a way that we did not plan for. This happens all the time. Most women do not plan to have a c-section. But they happen, and you do what is recommended by your doctor for your own health and the safety of your baby.

This was something else entirely. There was a "this is just the way things are done" aura going on, and women did not feel free to question it back then. Having a vaginal delivery, but yet being denied the opportunity to even witness your baby's birth and experience it with your partner just blows my mind. I was speechless after the episode ended, it was just so horrible.

Oh, and this is how it ended. Poor Betty, marooned in the hospital for weeks afterward, is in front of her hospital room window holding the baby, waving to her other 2 children down on the sidewalk below. Because, of course, they were not allowed into the hospital to see their mother or their new brother. Even now, 2 days later, the whole thing still makes me angry.

It all got me to thinking about how glad I am that things are different now. Our births may not always go according to our carefully drawn up birth plans, but we have choices. And thankfully, the culture of 'men in the waiting room' has changed (baring emergency circumstances, of course). I'll never forget the moment that Hank was born. My doctor announced "It's a Henry!" and held him up for us to see. The look on Hank's face, complete with arched eyebrow, clearly seemed to say:


She put him on my belly and he kicked around and did that adorable little "wah, wah" newborn cry. Mike and I were able to touch him right away and tell him that we loved him. And I'm so grateful that Mike was by my side and not doing shots in the waiting room :)

It was an excellent, excellent episode, and it really made me think hard. We women are called to sacrifice of ourselves in many ways. For some women, one of these ways is through childbirth. And I'm glad that nowadays we have some say in how we experience and offer up that suffering, if that makes any sense.

Ok. Childbirth talk done. At least until I'm about to go through it again myself. Then you'll hear about it again, and in oh so much detail :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Crafts, surly preschoolers, ideas on becoming involved in parish life, and hark...a rosary!

I started off the day kind of down this morning, because I knew that a mountain of work awaited me at the office. Then I logged in and discovered that I had won the rosary giveaway over at A Woman's Place... and all seemed better with the world :) Of course, my husband will ask (ok, he's *already* asked) with arched eyebrows, "do you really need another rosary?" And he asks this not because he disapproves of rosaries, but because I am a bit of a rosary collector :) It's true, I own quite a few rosaries. But I love them, and this one holds special significance because Cam, whom I admire greatly, made it by hand :) I'm super excited.

In other handmade items news, I've been busy with my crocheting lately. I finally finished the shawl I was knitting for my sister Shauna'h:

This baby took me quite a while to create. You can't really see any detail in this picture, but the pattern creates a striped effect, and its quite long. I knitted my brains out for several weeks. I didn't realize when I took up knitting that it takes quite a bit longer than crocheting. This is hard on those of us who are attention span challenged. I am afflicted with GBE Syncrome- Gets Bored Easily. You heard it coined here first. But the nice thing about knitting is how solid the texture turns out. This shawl is *warm*, it's almost like a coat.

Anyway, I've also been obsessed with dish cloths lately. I made this one:

and this one:

as well as this one:

for my mother-in-law for Mother's Day. I secretly covet the middle one, the knitted buttercream multi-color. I'm going to make one for us too :)

I did make this green/white one for us because it matches the accent colors in our kitchen:

but I didn't love the pattern. It was one of those wherein the directions are so complicated that you have to keep looking back at them time and time again, you can't ever get into a rhythm. The others I included above are from a pattern book entitled "2 Hour Dishcloths." 2 hours is about all the time I want to spend on a dish cloth. The attention span thing again.

I have a bunch of projects in the works, including a summer set of placemats and a table runner for our dining room, a spring/summer shawl, and some queued up afghans.

It's not exactly craft related, but I figured it fit here to mention that I test drove the Jessie Steele apron that my good friend Irena gave me at Easter:

There I am, making Aloha Chicken in my new apron. I was thrilled :)

So, for my 'Catholic Stuff' segment I thought I'd relate my struggle with trying to find a way to get more involved in my parish. When we first moved to our house, I switched my membership from the city parish we were attending near our apartment (and that I loved), to one of the nearby parishes. 2 were within easy walking/driving distance. They were about equidistant from our house, so I felt free to select the one that best suited our needs. At the time, Hank was just over a year old, and I can feel the sympathy vibes now, those of you with children at (or just past) that age all want to hug me. That's a tough age to expect children to remain quiet for an hour. And many Sundays, Mike does not attend Mass with me, so I'm kid-wrangling solo. Of course, Mike is happy to watch Hank at home should I feel that it's best to leave him behind, but I tried (and try) to limit that as much as possible. I feel that children belong at Mass as much as practicable.

To make a long story (*snorts*) short, I chose the parish with a cry room. I figured, oh great! This way I can attend Mass without worrying about Hank causing a disruption. Well.

I think cry rooms can be useful. But here's the thing: inevitably, people without a raucous toddler in tow will sit in the cry room, for reasons that I simply cannot begin to explain. And the cry room at this parish was *tiny*. TINY. You get two families in there, and oxygen is running in short supply. As well, I think oftentimes, when parishes have a cry room any parent that chooses not to use them are often made to feel bad. And that shouldn't be. They are there to fulfill a need, but they should not be mandatory for anyone. I was quickly realizing that despite not having to worry about Henry disrupting Mass, I loathed being behind a wall from the rest of the congregation.

And so it went. After a few months, I noticed that I was getting depressed when thinking about going to Mass. I finally admitted to myself that I found that little cry room stifling and isolating. I wanted out.

So I went back to my old parish, in the city. It's a spectacularly beautiful old church, with wonderful priests. And no cry room. But the pews have that little divider in the middle - voila! Instant toddler gate. My depression lifted immediately. I was back in the congregation! I felt part of a community again! It was wonderful.

Last year, the pastor changed the Mass times, and since I had to drive longer in order to get to that church, the changed morning Mass time wasn't working in our morning routine with a 3 year old in tow. So I decided to re-explore the 2 local parishes. I figured as well that with Hank soon to start CCD, it would be nice for him to attend with children from our local neighborhood.

I tried the other parish, the one I didn't select last time because of its lack of a cry room. And I found that I loved it. It's an old parish, with long, established ties in our village. A beautiful church building with all the traditional Catholic elements that I love. I quickly felt at home.

So here I am, a year and a half later, and I still love the parish. But I'm beginning to feel that I'd like to be more involved than simply attending Sunday Mass. I keep scouring the weekly bulletin, looking for something to catch my eye. There is a parish woman's group, but it meets on an evening that Mike teaches, so I can never attend their meetings. I kept wondering what to do, when finally the answer came to me: I should stop worrying about it and just pray that God lead me wherever he wants me to go. So, now I feel better.

Yesterday, I arrived at Mass with a cranky Henry in tow. I scoured the bulletin again, and nothing caught my eye, so I figured I'd try again next week. One of these days, something will present itself, and I'll know that it's the right opportunity. In the mean time, I had to deal with Henry, who grumpily declared that he didn't want to attend the Children's Liturgy of the Word this week, he wanted to stay in the pew with Mommy. Sigh.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Barely able to catch my breath...and, being a Catholic in difficult times

The past few days have been *crazy* at work. The only reason I'm even able to blog right now is because I'm at the reference desk and I have a temporary lull in activity. Yesterday, when I got home I was (a) tired, (b) headachey, and (c) cranky. It's just been like that all week. I couldn't possibly be more excited about the fact that it is Friday. We have a cold front blowing through today, so although I don't think I'll get out to plant my seeds tomorrow, I do plan to commence my vegetable gardening research in earnest. Looking forward.

Now that I have a chance to breathe today, I was pondering blog topics that I store up in my little brain. One of them is what I call "Why Am I a Catholic?" heavily related to "Being a Catholic When It's Not So Popular." This is a topic near and dear to my heart, because my faith is so important to me. Yet, I'm a quiet person, so it's not something I really talk to people about unless they explicitly ask me. The reason this is on my mind I think is fairly obvious to everyone: the Church has been in the news lately about some child abuse cases.

Whenever the Church is in the news for something disturbing and/or generally unflattering in some way, the same reactions start to make themselves known. All sorts of people publicly declare that they won't give money to the Church anymore, that they feel ill at ease attending Mass or the sacraments, and overall that they just don't want to be Catholic anymore.

For whatever it's worth, this is my take on things: I always cringe when I hear those reactions. Because, let's face it, priests are human, and humans are going to make some pretty awful choices sometimes. But all of us are going to be held accountable for those choices before God someday. All we can do is try to put things right again in humility. So these types of terrible things that happen do horrify me (as well they should), but they do not shake my faith in the Church as the pillar and foundation of our Christian lives.

In my opinion, for many people that leave the Church, their faith (and their attachment to the Church) wasn't that strong at that point to begin with. I'm certainly not pointing negative fingers here; our faith lives are a journey, and everyone is at different places. I know what it feels like to struggle spiritually; it's not fun. But lashing out at the Church as a whole is not the answer. Weed the unhealthy vines, certainly, but hang on to the foundation.

Catholicism is the faith of my ancestors, but it's also the faith of my heart. To the extent that my piddly witness can work for the good of the Church, I pray that it bears fruit. In the end, I try to be a good Catholic, but oftentimes I fail. And sometimes, so we do we all.

I suppose it's never going to be popular to be Catholic. The whole celibate male priesthood in and of itself makes the Church ever so unpopular in everyday conversation, not to mention sanctify of human life and sexuality issues. In my mind, the day the Church becomes popular in the secular culture would be the day that would alarm me the most.

That's about all the brain power I have for today. I wish everyone a blessed weekend and holy Sabbath day :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Headcoverings, the ongoing quest...

Now that Lent has come and gone, and I've resolved to continue to cover my head at Mass, I treated myself to a perusal over at Garlands of Grace. I now have 3 headcoverings, and I do love them. Only 2 of them are actually functional for me though, the chocolate brown lace scarf and the black/white velvet headband. The stretch khaki one that I purchased unfortunately isn't working out. It just slips like crazy. The ties on the other 2 seem to make the difference. And I use them regularly, but I was thinking it would be nice to add a few new members to my headcovering collection, so that I have more options on Sundays. And sometimes, I wear them at home, because they're so pretty and keep my hair out of my face.

Well. I immediately knew that I was in trouble when I discovered that they had posted the new spring collection. Dangerous, dangerous. I instantly fell in love with about a half dozen of them, and had to reign myself in. I've been wanting one of the lace headbands, and one of the Cecily style scarfs with ties, so I gave myself permission to buy 2. This resulted in much excitement for my entire workday as I contemplated which to choose.

I did end up scooping up one of the lace headbands, since I've wanted one from the start. I chose this one:

in silver. I figured that will match just about anything, and will go nicely with my dark hair. The big decision was which of the Cecily style coverings to get. I nearly chose an ivory chiffon, but in the end went with my baser instinct that darker colors just look better with my complexion. So I chose this one:

I couldn't be more thrilled. It has ties:

and it can also be worn as a headband:

The other (problematic) covering that I have, is similar:

and I love the style, but it simply does not stay on my head. The stretchy clasp just isn't working for me in that style. It'll stay for a short time folded up as a headband, but even that goes astray after a while. So, I think the ties will keep everything secure and make me very happy. I'm super excited.

So many of the other coverings were so beautiful as well! I'm sure that there is no doubt that before the end of the year, my headcovering collection will grow once again.

The challenges of parenting

I told you so. Remember how I mentioned a few days ago, that because I wrote about how good Hank has been lately, he was now destined to suddenly become as miserable as possible? Right.

Yesterday, I get home from work, and go to give Hank the usual hug and kiss greeting. The instant he looked up at me, I knew. His eyes were red, there were circles under them, and a scowl was affixed firmly on his cute little face.

"Hi, Honey. Boy, you look tired."

"I *NOT* tioed."

"I see. And you're grumpy as well."

"I *NOT EVEN* gwumpy!!"

*heavy sigh* Mike was heading out to teach, so I was taking Hank on solo for the evening. Oh joy.

We made it through dinner and bath with only a few tears. But when we got to bedtime reading, all hell broke loose.

I don't remember exactly what started the precipitous down slide, but it happened quickly. One minute we were reading a truck book, the next minute Hank was sobbing. And making demands. And I was telling him that it was bedtime.

Next thing I knew, Hank was storming about the house screaming, crying, sweating, and stomping, and I was rubbing my temples in the living room wondering why on earth I'm thinking about having another child when clearly I cannot even manage the one that I already have. This went on for approximately *45 minutes*, and by time Hank finally settled down I was contemplating the "Preschooler for Sale - CHEAP" sign out on the front lawn again. It was *horrible*. But I do have the foresight now as a parent to know that my feelings were not unusual, and that this was simply a bad night that would pass when everyone got a good night of sleep.

This morning, Hank awoke in a less than sunny mood, but after about 10 minutes, he settled down and everything was fine. I'm looking forward to an evening at home with both of my boys.

For sure and for certain, parenting is a truly humbling vocation. This anecdote brings to mind a laboring Catholic Librarian, going through transition with her epidural having worn off. Between gut splitting contractions, I would pause to ask each medical staff member through gritted teeth (and there were many; where do these people all come from when you're half dressed and swearing like a truck driver?) if they had a child. Yes? Then, here comes what I really want to know:

"Do you have more than one?"

Because I so very desperately needed to know in that moment that people do willingly go through this again. And they do. And, God willing, so will I. Because it's worth it.

This morning, I opened up my Living Faith devotional to a passage that made my morning.

"Faith is Our Life

During the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said, 'Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life.' Acts 5: 19-20.

As I prepared this devotion, I was struck by the words, 'tell the people everything about this life.' The phrase 'this life' underscored for me that, for the early Christians, faith in Jesus was not a pastime, diversion or sport. It was their life. It was a commitment of their whole selves to the person and teachings of Jesus. As such, their faith formed their attitudes. It shaped their decision-making. It determined their choices. Sometimes their faith led them to prison or even to death in the public arena.

What about my faith? Is it a pastime, or is it central to my life? Is it a mere interest I have, or does it lie at the heart of who I am and all I do?"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Trying to tone up, both physically and spiritually...

So, with the arrival of spring, I've been thinking more about getting into better shape. I still have the perpetual 8-10 lbs I'd like to lose to get to my ideal weight. But more importantly, I do want to just generally improve my physical fitness. I eat pretty well, and I'm fairly active, but I've slacked off really exercising in depth. I walk and dance weekly, but runs have been pretty sparse in recent months, and strength training downright unheard of. I feel a bit out of shape, and I'd like to remedy that, and drop a few unwanted pounds in the process.

So, now what? Sigh. I work full-time outside the home plus I have a small child, so time is at a premium. I'm not a gym person (don't have the money, or the inclination). I've been trying to renew my power walking at work during my lunch hour, which is when it's easiest for me to exercise. I also dragged my hand weights back out in the hopes of getting that in 2-3 times per week at home. I'm going to try that tonight, with Hank. We'll see how that goes. I hope we don't break anything.

I'm going to try and report in weekly on my progress, perhaps this will motivate me. I won't be saying what I actually weigh, not that it's atrocious or anything, I'm just way too vain for that. I can admit that openly :) All I'll say is that I have an average build and I've never been a size 0, nor will I ever see two 1's put together in my weight ever in my life. And I never will. I think my *bones* weigh more than that. We'll use my secret weight from yesterday as my starting point. *makes mental note* As of this morning, I've lost 2 ounces. Ugh. We'll get there. By the end of the summer I'd like to be at my ideal weight. I think that's reasonable. It's about 8 lbs. away.

In terms of spirituality, I've been trying to pray more. God is always in my thoughts, but I wasn't actively praying as much as I should. I've renewed my efforts in my morning offering, my daily rosary (at least 2 decades), spontaneous prayer throughout the day, and evening devotional time with my Bible.

I've been wanting a small purse-sized New Testament so that I could have that for anytime I wanted or needed the scriptures. Yesterday, on my way home from work I stopped off at the local Christian bookstore to peruse. They had lots of small New Testaments, but only 1 of the Catholic variety, the St. Joseph New American Bible, Vest Pocket Edition. It was exactly what I wanted, though a few dollars more than I'd planned on spending. It has a leather cover, instead of the paperback I was expecting. I ended up getting it, figuring the sturdier cover was better for getting stuffed in my purse anyway, and it's working out well. I already used it this morning when I arrived at work.

In other devotional news, my fellow (and favorite!) Catholic blogger Cam is having a rosary giveaway in honor of her new etsy store over at her blog. Enter A Woman's Place... rosary giveaway by leaving a comment, and/or check out her etsy store, Full of Grace Creations! She has some beautiful rosaries and rosary bracelets for sale.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring cleaning and gardening, oh joy!

So, I'm back and crazy busy (read: stressed) at work, but I figured, hey. I need a break, right? So here I am, blogging :)

I loved my time off. I really, really needed a breath of fresh air away from work, and I'm so glad that I took those vacation days to be at home, and to be with Henry. I miss my precious button so much today! I loved being with him for 4 straight days :(

Anyway, in terms of my spring cleaning quest, I awoke Thursday morning with a mission: I made a to-do list. *drum roll*...

(1) Straighten basement. *snorts* The basement, as everyone who has one knows, is the repository for all junky items of mysterious origin and things we generally have no idea what to do with. I was actually able to make a dent. I threw some things away and tucked some things that we want to keep into a storage closet down there and it looks much neater. *beams*

(2) Clean out guest room closet. Yeah, didn't get done.

(3) Clean out kitchen junk drawers. Check! We're down to a single junk drawer now. *angels sing*

(4) Go through both my and Hank's closets and drawers to collect items we don't need anymore to donate. Check! This was my big coup for the weekend.

(5) Clean out bathroom vanity things. Check!

(6) Touch up paint where needed. Check!

I was very pleased with how that all went. And all the while, Hank behaved like a dream, playing quietly nearby and being the sweetest boy ever. Because I just wrote that, I'm certain that I'm going to go home from work today and he'll throw an uninterrupted temper tantrum from 5 pm until he goes to bed, but hey. I'm willing to live on the wild side.

Yesterday, the weather was nice enough for us to head out to the yard to start on spring cleanup out there. Inevitably, after the winter, there is assorted crud that needs to be cleaned up from the grass and other shrubbery. I'm all excited, because this year, I'd like to plant a real vegetable garden.

Last year, we planted tomatoes, and had some success with a few minor hiccups. We bought 3 beefsteak tomato plants, and Mike planted them unsupervised, which was a bit of a mistake :) He planted them real.close.together, and they tangled up each other, as well as the bell pepper plants that he also planted by.their.side. We got an overabundance of tomatoes, but the peppers sadly had the life choked right out of them before they ever had a chance. The tomatoes, though wild in their growth, turned out beautiful, we just had way too many of them. I could have opened up a tomato stand on our front lawn and made a tidy extra income.

This year, I'd like less tomatoes overall, but still some of the beefsteak and grape varieties, as well as also peppers (I'll take care of you this year, my peppers; how I love you in my recipes...) of all colors, lettuce, maybe broccoli, perhaps beans. A 'salad garden', really. I'm going to pick up a reference book from the public library this week to help me get started with some seeds, coming to a backyard near me in the coming weeks.

So, yesterday, we headed out armed with rakes to begin our project. Hank and Mike got back from a trip to the hardware store with a rake just Hank's size that was so cute I could hardly stand it. We all raked, and then while Mike cut the grass, Hank and I weeded. He was getting bored, so I got him a little garden shovel to dig for worms while I worked.

Quickly, our adventure turned into an installment of Zee's Garden on Nick Jr.:

"Look Mommy, a WORM!"

"Oh, very nice, Honey. Make sure you leave him in there. He's good for our dirt."

"Oh, he's wiggling. Oh, he's slimy. Want to touch him, Mommy?"

"No, thank you, Sweetie. I see him though, you did a good job of finding him. Why don't you put him back in the dirt; that's his home. We don't want to wave the worm around too much."

"Ok, Mommy. Where is he going, Mommy?"

"Worms like to be real far down in the dirt, Honey. He's just digging deeper."

"Oh yeah, wow. He's going really fast. I help him, Mommy. I'll put some dirt on top of him."

"I'm sure he'll appreciate that, Honey."

We got the back and side areas all weeded, which pleased me greatly. I'd like to plant the garden in the back, since we have a bunch of unused space back there. Unfortunately, that area seems to be near the nest of the resident bunny family, because I always see cottontail rabbits back there. Now, granted, those guys are so cute it makes me want to head out to the backyard and just kiss their little faces. Problem is, well, they'd hate that. Plus, they're an absolute menace to personal gardens. We managed to fend them off the tomatoes last year with some carefully positioned marigolds nearby, but the back of the yard may pose a problem that even marigolds can't solve. The bunnies just run rampant back there. They're so precious, with their little tails just starting to fluff. Yet, they'd eat my vegetables in a heartbeat. And then, I wouldn't feel nearly so motherly towards them. *eyes narrow*

Speaking of mothering, later that day, Hank once again asked me if we would soon have "a baby in our home." Couldn't you just die? Of course, I told him that we're hoping so, should God send one our way. He adds:

"Mommy, could the baby sleep in my room? That way, I could keep an eye on her."

I could have just burst right into tears at how sweet he was being. *hormones rage* If only we could find a way for Hank to lactate, then my job would be so much easier.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring cleaning...

This time of year always brings out the busy bee part of my Type A personality. The snow melts, and I'm itchin' to plow through my basement. Before we went to New Jersey, I managed to have my way with the refrigerator, so that's one seasonal chore done. But many to go.

For the rest of the week, blogging will be sparse to none, since Hank has an "option week" at Pre-K, meaning that if we signed him out for any day(s) this week, we don't have to pay for them. So we signed him out for 3 days this week, saving us some money, and allowing me to spend some nice time at home with him. I have vacation time to spare, so bonus. Given this, I plan to enact the Great Spring Cleaning of 2010, with young Henry by my side for the rest of the week. I can't imagine he'll be too happy about this. He'd rather use the week to enact an epic battle between the Planet Heroes and the Rescue Heroes in his play room, but me, I'll be hip deep in clothes to donate to Goodwill.

A lot of my inspiration recently came from an article in Woman's Day about spring cleaning, referencing the book Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House. Rest assured, I have a copy on reserve for me via the public library, and I'm all excited about it. My good friend Irena gifted me with a Jessie Steele cupcakes apron when I saw her over Easter weekend (THANK YOU!!) and I'm all eager to tie it on and get to work.

I'd like to go through Hank's closet and clear it out of clothes that are too small for him, which are many. *sighs* I need to get those in labeled bags to haul into the storage for use on a potential future baby Catholic Librarian. Hank and will need to subsequently get to Target to get him some spring and summer clothes, which I can't imagine will be cheap. *another sigh* At any rate, that's task number one for tomorrow morning. His dresser drawers, as well, are ridiculous. I don't think Hank needs bibs or drool cloths anymore, yet they still reside in his room.

I also need to go through my clothes to weed out things that I don't wear anymore, and my drawers. I wouldn't mind going through some other closets and drawers throughout the house, especially the 2 *coughs* junk drawers in the kitchen. Shameful.

The only thing is, I know myself, and I hate how I get when I start to do chores like this. I get all manic and rushy rushy, refusing to stop and even take a breath lest I forget to manhandle the pile of crap that I just noticed hiding in the pantry. Hopefully, I'll manage to get a few productive things done and allow myself to relax with Henry a bit. The house always feels so fresh and clean and after a purge like that.

Thus, I likely won't blog tomorrow or Friday, and I never blog on the weekends. If that happens, I assure that I will post on Monday with a full report of my long weekend. Bet you can't wait :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Back from Easter, and headcovering debriefing...

Ah, back at work from a weekend away. I'm happy to report that our travel, and our trip, went very well. On the way up, I smugly held my tongue as Mike squirmed in his seat and suggested that we make a rest stop. *My* bladder was fine, but I thought it best not to mention this fact. He and Hank hurried to the Mens Room while I daintily combed my hair in the ladies "lounge." What is it with highway rest stops? In New York they're actually somewhat decent. They maintain them and keep them pretty clean. But others, *shudder*. How hard is it to squirt toilet bowl cleaner and maybe take a mop to the floor once a week? Not hard, as we all know. But alas. They'd rather us wallow in squallor.

For the remainder of the trip, I felt quite nauseous. I have notoriously bad motion sickness, yet I get amnesia about this fact before every trip, because I never have the over-the-counter dramamine that I need. I munched on my snacks and sipped my iced tea, and this would keep the nausea at bay for periods of time. And, the portable DVD player resulted in Henry being an *outstanding* boy for the trip, both ways. Gosh, it feels good to be right. *coy smile*

I brought my knitting in the car this time, wondering if, despite the fact that I cannot read in the car due to my motion issue, perhaps I could knit. Yeah. No more wondering on that issue. I can't. Immediate doom-feeling nausea after barely 5 stitches.

On the way back yesterday, we stopped off at Rite Aid for some dramamine, which I immediately consumed. It knocked me out a few hours later, and I napped for pretty much the duration of our foray into central New York. It felt good to get home.

So. My Lenten headcovering experiment. I said I would write fully about this after Easter, and here we are. Overall, I really enjoyed my employment of headcoverings at Mass. I felt that I was more focused at Mass this Lent; that preparing myself by covering my head prior to attending Mass forced me to focus on how very important it is. It made me feel that I was making more of an effort to concentrate at, and appreciate Mass, and that I was trying harder to hear God's voice at that time.

And I got zero strange looks or comments. Granted, this may be because I was wearing fairly subtle headcoverings, in the form of larger headbands and scarves. I do not have a traditional mantilla. Also, I live in a region with a lot of cradle Catholics, and even if most women choose not to cover, they're familiar with the phenomenon and don't think it odd if another woman does. As well, there are a small number of women in my parish that do wear hats to Mass. Thus, I really didn't "stick out" the way I always feared, which was the reason I chose not to cover in the past.

So, with that all in mind, I plan to continue to cover my head during Mass from this point forward. At some point, I'll pick up a few more headcoverings so that I have plenty of options depending on what I'm wearing, and I'll definitely get them from Garlands of Grace. I'm very happy with the ones that I bought from there. I enjoyed this experiment and will continue to blog about it as events transpire :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's Good Friday, and your Catholic Librarian prepares for Easter travel...

It's Good Friday, and I find myself thinking about how quickly Lent has gone by. I've had a good Lent, but I do feel that I've slipped somewhat with the depth of my prayer life. That's something that I'd like to use Easter season to jump start me into remedying. Overall though, I did enjoy my Lent, and I enjoyed my headcovering experiment. I will post fully on that next week. I enjoyed sacrificing eating meat, as well, and I found that this year I really appreciated more how each action that I took throughout the season towards my Lenten promises made me feel that I was joining in Jesus' journey.

This Living Faith reading is from yesterday, Holy Thursday, but I find it resonating with me especially this morning:

"We Remember

He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. John 13:1

This holy night, when we celebrate the Lord's Supper, is rich with remembrance. There is no need to ask, 'What would Jesus do?' for Jesus himself, in word, symbol and action, holds up for us what is most dear to his heart. He chooses to spend his last remaining hours with his disciples. He faces betrayal. He washes feet. He breaks bread. He gives us his enduring presence in the Eucharist, so that he will always, always remain with us.

This night is a testament to what matters. Filled with love and profound compassion, it is a tender, final moment that our faith calls us to celebrate over and over. It is Jesus' legacy of witness and unending presence.

Jesus, thank you for loving me and remaining withi me always. "

More than my personal prayer life this Lent, I feel that I grew in appreciation of my public prayer life, through attending Sunday Mass. And the focus on the Eucharist in this passage brought that point home to me.

Aside from dwelling on Good Friday, I've been preparing to travel to my sister Rhonda's home for Easter this weekend. This is the longest car trip we will have taken with Henry, so my normally spastic preparation process has been keyed up a notch. Yesterday, I stopped off at the grocery store to purchase little packs of veggie chips and animal crackers, and bottles of iced tea for each of us to drink. Mike, always the realist, pointed out that the large bottles that I squirreled away were bound to make us have to stop multiple times to use those nasty roadside reststops, but alas. I wanted to make sure that we wouldn't be thirsty :)

I also have Easter gifts to pack, fixins' for Henry's basket, a full vehicle entertainment toolkit for Henry, including a portable DVD player that I have to set up, DVD's, books, and action figures, and knitting for myself. It'll be a busy evening.