Thursday, May 31, 2012

Anne has her first molar, and other baby news

Last night, I awoke at about 4 am. Hark! What is that noise?

*baby cries*

I tried to go right back to sleep, since Anne sleeps through the night now, so this has to be a nightmare.

No such luck.

It was Anne. And she was pissed.

I did wait just a hair to see if she'd go back to sleep on her own, but that, of course, would be too simple. It goes without saying that she didn't. I head into her room to find her gnawing on the side of her crib. I checked her diaper, just to be sure she didn't sneak a poo in, and she hadn't. So I just held and rocked her for a time. She was pretty squirmy with her newly slimmed down legs kicking a lot, but she settled in, and I tucked her back to sleep. Unfortunately, she didn't actually fall asleep again right away, so we were all pretty tired this morning. Alas.

But this morning, I had a sneaking suspicion, and took a feel inside her mouth. I found a brand new lower molar through her gums. Eureka! She seemed in much better spirits when I left for work this morning.

But anyway, other exciting baby news. No, I'm not making an announcement, just so you know. :) My younger sister is expecting, which we've known about for some time. Very exciting. The other day she went in for her ultrasound and I was all anxious to know if she was going to find out the baby's gender. She was under strict instructions to call me after the ultrasound.

One hour goes by. Then two. I start to worry.

Suddenly...hark! The phone rings. I pounce on it.

"How did it go?"

"Um...not exactly as we were expecting."


What does that mean?! It can only be a girl or a boy, right?

Wrong. :)

She's having TWINS. Twin baby boys, to be exact.

We're incredibly excited. But equally terrified for her, of course. :) Her kids will play together *so well* though, it'll get easier and easier I think. I'm an eternal optimist.

So for me, of course, this means that I'm going to have to knit MORE and FASTER. I've been working on this, but my fingers can only move so fast.

Oh, and my record for gender prediction stands at 100%. I am *wrong* 100% of the time. I predicted girl for my sister. I was WRONG, WRONG, VERY WRONG.

Cam, I think you're having a girl. So if you indeed have a boy, my record will remain intact. :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Anne having a bad day

This morning, Anne was running around in her onesie, which is her outfit of choice for summer nights. And she's sleeping great, so I don't know what her deal is, but every.single.morning, she turns into Pod Anne: She Who Terrorizes the Household.

She'll usually play for a bit after her morning nursing session. But then, when I come downstairs from getting ready, the whining begins. I can usually pacify her with some Cheerios and removal of the safety latch from the Tupperware cupboard for her perusal.

After I eat breakfast, I pop her into her high chair for some cereal. She does this thing lately where she won't let you feed her (*swat!* *swat!*) unless she's also holding a spoon. Sigh. Once she refused further food, I took her out.

Well. She came running over to me, crying. She points to the kitchen table. I survey the options. Small bottle of fruit juice? It's sealed, so I hand it to her.

She glares at it. Then she glares at me. Then she TURNS AROUND AND WALKS AWAY without a word. When she reaches the other end of the kitchen, she turns around and runs back, sobbing.


She points to the kitchen table again. Bowl of Cheerios? They are offered. They are resoundingly refused. Stray toy? Another turn and walk away, with zero acknowledgement. Until she races back, of course, sobbing. Suddenly, she points to the table again, jabbering in an angry-like fashion. Cup? This produces a cackle. I put some water in it, and let her drink from it. She likes this. She tries to grab aforementioned cup, which I don't let her do, since it's full of water.

A protest ensues.

Finally, I empty the water and just hand her the cup. This makes her happy for a solid 2 minutes, which was a real coup this morning, seriously. Until she threw the cup in disgust and opened her mouth in one of those catroonish howls in which I can see her tonsils. Even picking her up and just holding her netted big rolling tears and lots of pouting.

It was just one of those mornings.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Some cuteness

Anne has expressed an interest in going into my parent's pool, and so I got on the lookout today for a cloth swim diaper for her. I never end up using a whole package of the disposables, and I also always forget to buy them in the store. In this case, I thought cloth would be much preferable.

On etsy, I ended up getting her a little swimsuit, and the bottom is a swim diaper. The seller is called Lil' Stuff by KellyLulu. Super, super cute. Looking around on etsy made me want to switch to cloth entirely, but I doubt we'll do that now. If Anne were our first, I'd definitely give it a try. But at this point, I don't think the expense to get started would be worth it. I'm hoping to have Anne on a little pink potty by this time next year. :) That may not happen, but it's a good goal, I think. But once the babies start having solid poop, cloth seems like it would be manageable to me. We don't have to change Anne's diaper all that often now. Cloth with a newborn seems overwhelming to me, but I'm a wuss, so I'm not a good gauge.

I'm back, and I'm hot

It's the unofficial start of summer, and as usual, I have a frown face. I know it's odd, but summer is actually my least favorite season. I hate being hot, and we don't have central air conditioning. Plus, I'm anti-social, and in the summer, everyone is out in their yards and want to talk to you the instant you step out of your house. It's just the season in which I am out of my comfort zone.

But we had a very nice weekend. We got some gardening done. I have a black thumb, so I try not to touch flowers and other plants lest I kill them. But we do have success each year growing tomatoes and peppers. We love the small cherry tomatoes, and those plants PRODUCE. With two plants, we get more tomatoes than we can use. The bigger tomatoes, on the other hand, don't like me, so I don't push that envelope. We don't want them influencing the other plants with their negativity. :) We also planted several types of bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, and lettuce. Out front, we finally put in a new small bush to spruce things up a bit and some mulch to hide the ugliness. Plus, I won't have to weed as much. I HATE weeding with the fire of a thousand suns. Another reason to dislike summer.

Happily, the heat wasn't bad this weekend. We don't have our window a/c units in yet in our bedrooms, and we didn't need to put them. We were fine with just our fans, including Anne. Who has been sleeping from her bedtime at 7:30 pm until 6:30 am every morning.

*angels sing*

Both children played very cute this weekend. Henry and I worked on a 3D four seasons puzzle (dreaming of autumn...) and Anne has been sucking on the faces of her new dolls. I could tell that Henry was wishing that he had a brother when he convinced Anne that she "enjoys" this new game whereby he charges into the room and tackles her to the floor. Also heard from the living room this weekend:

"*I* am Optimus Prime."

"Anne, you're Megatron."

*Transformation noise*

It was nice to be home more, and now it's a short work week, yay.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Off for Memorial Day weekend...

I probably won't blog until next Tuesday since I'm of for a long holiday weekend. Mike and I have a fun morning of garden weeding planned for tomorrow while Anne naps (ha!) and plus we'll relax and generally spend time together. I'll be doing lots of knitting. I have some gifts I'm working on, plus my knitting group is about to start our summer knit-along. So fun! We're each going to be knitting the quite infamous Clapotis. Which is really just a shawl. But it's not just a shawl to knitters. :) I'm going to be making mine in a worsted weight harvest colored tonal yarn (the color is called "foliage" how fabulous is that?), and I'm really excited.

It's supposed to get really warm here this weekend and since Anne's room doesn't have standard sized windows, we're going to have to move her to our guest room in her pack 'n play so that she can be in a room with an a/c unit. I'm *really* praying that this doesn't interfere with her sleeping through the night, which she's been doing so well at. But if we leave her in her regular room, she'll only have a tabletop fan, and if it's uncomfortably warm, I can't imagine that would work well for her. Ugh. When the baby sleeps through the night NOBODY IS ALLOWED TO BREATHE lest it disturb the precious equilibrium. We'll see how this goes, sigh.

At any rate, have a great weekend, and talk to you all on Tuesday!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Catechetical musings, and a cute Anne picture

Isn't she precious? I swear, just within the past month, she was a baby that happened to be doing all of these things that she looked too little to be doing. And overnight...she's a little girl. I don't know how this happened, but frankly I don't like it.

Anyhow, over the weekend, I had my last Children's Liturgy of the Word installment for this academic year, and since I mentioned that I was contemplating not participating again next year, I thought I'd post my concluding thoughts. I have to admit, the shine rubbed off of everything after Palm Sunday. It was not an experience to remember. That was by far the worst week. I've also had some good weeks, but I've also had many mediocre weeks.

And so it got me to thinking about whether or not this particular ministry is using my talents (such as they are) to their fullest. Maybe a different ministry would be better suited to me? Lectoring sounds appealing.

So, on Sunday I wasn't exactly looking forward to my assignment. We were set to discuss Matthias being chosen to replace Judas amongst the early disciples and Jesus' prayer for all of us prior to his ascension. went really well. Dang it! This makes my decision all the more difficult. :) But it did go well. I'd count it as one of my best weeks. No week has truly been a debacle or anything. But there have been weeks where I was *dying* to hear the organist chime up for the offertory hymn and I could skedaddle the little troublemakers out of there.

So, we'll see. I have some thinking to do this summer. Oohhh, it's all exciting, what will she do? :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fun times with flame-bearing headdresses, swords and other weapons

So, my belly dancing life has been very interesting of late. To me, at least. :) And hopefully you all enjoy at least reading about it...

Where to begin, the possibilities are oh so intriguing... Well, my balancing. My 6 week session comes to an end this Thursday, and I have to say, I'm sad and I will miss it very much. I loved taking this class and I've gotten so much out of it. We've learned a short choreography and we all have to add a short improvisational section for a solo piece. The fact that this doesn't totally terrify me and send me home sobbing demonstrates how much I've grown as a dancer since I started taking belly dance 4 years ago. *puffs up chest* This makes me happy, albeit with no guarantee that what I improvise will look good or remotely interesting. But I'll give it the old college try.

So for this balancing choreography, myself and my classmate Amy are balancing swords, while our friend Lauren has thrown her hat into the ring to balance a shemadan (candleabra). When we practiced last week, we speculated on interesting strategies we could add to our number. You know, cool things that would look awesome but wouldn't risk setting fire to the drapery. Like maybe we could swoop our swords over her head and/or blow out her candles?

Yeah, we nixed that idea pretty quickly. The possibilities for disaster are rife here, especially since this hafla is going to be right in our adorable-but-not-so-large studio. I joked with Lauren that even our choo choo step is risking a trail of wax drippings on the floor. Famous last words for belly dancers and a shemadan:

"Before we light the candles, should we pull your hair back?"

Hopefully, this is going to go well.

Then there is our other group number, involving the entire performance group. For some reason, we always come up with a cane choreography for the haflas in which we'll be smashed into a small space. And canes actually make me even more nervous than swords. Granted, I'm still afraid that my sword will grow a mind of its own and on hafla night decide not to stay on my head. But for the most part, I'm comfortable with my sword. I can get it on my head while dancing, and it really does stay put. Usually. If it swivels, I can adjust it without even having to touch it due to the excellent tutelage and advice of my wise instructor. But canes? We *swing* them. At high speeds and velocity. And there's glass in the studio. And people. With eyes that can be poked out. It's not a good combination. So I'm actually a bit nervous for that choreography, and I'm not normally anxious about group numbers anymore. *sweats*

And then there is my solo. I know that I can do it, but I can't help it, I'm still always, always nervous about dancing solo. And I'm going to improvise, which is more frightening still. But I've been preparing. Yes, it is possible to PREPARE exactly how you're going to make shit up on the spot. You knew I'd find a way, didn't you?

I've been putting the song I chose on a lot and just dancing to it. This reassures me that I do know movements that coordinate with the different beats and tempos within the music. And I've been working on increasing my memory of my entire movement vocabulary. Because in the past it seemed like whenever I'd try to improvise, I could only remember a handful of moves. What I did is make a list of every single movement I could think of, that I've ever learned in my 4 years of belly dancing. To spur my memory I tried to divide them into different groups: slow/rolling hip movements, rapid, staccato hip movements, torso movements, head, neck and shoulder movements, and traveling steps. Then I transferred them all to index cards, one movement per card. Below each movement, I listed some variations on it. Ideas for layering, other arms, or other positions. I also added cards for arm movements I don't often think to do. I mixed all the cards up and look through them often. I also will select 3 and put on a random song. Then I'll improvise and make sure to add those 3 movements in in several different ways throughout the song. What I'm hoping is that my body will start to remember movements other than my fall-back favorites, which total about 5. I love hip drops and chest circles. I also do a lot of what I call "bicycle hips" a rolling hip movement, and hip circles. But obviously, it gets pretty boring if I just do those things again and again. :) I mean, there's nothing wrong with repeating some movements. I've learned that you shouldn't just toss out every move you can think of, because it looks erratic and sloppy. You should allow the music to "tell" you what type of movement to place at that spot. And that may involve doing the same movement multiple times. But you don't want your overall dance to feel repetitive. Anyway, this is all crazy, isn't it? A belly dancer with index cards? But hey, it's working for me.

And I've come up with what I hope is a winning psychological strategy. What I fear most when dancing solo is audience boredom, no question. I'm constantly battling my own brain:

"They're bored, aren't they?! Look at them, they're bored! That kid in the back is texting!"

They're not bored. Well, at least they're *probably* not bored. And even if they are, I'm going to lie to myself and say that they're not. The power of positive thinking, sister! As I walk in, I think to myself "They're going to love me!" No, I'm not joking, I really do do this. Otherwise, I may dissolve into a puddle of tears and run off the stage. And that would just ruin the ambiance. So we have: "They love me, they really love me!" As well, I've been thinking about The Beatles a lot lately. I haven't gone off the deep end, stay with me. I promise that it's relevant. Mike and I have been watching The Beatles Anthology in the evenings this week and I'm really enjoying it. And the early footage just kills me, it's so cute. Them with their mop tops, performing their happy early songs. They look so peppy. And I had an epiphany.

What would The Beatles do?

That's a loaded question, if ever there was one. But just thinking about those early years, when they still performed live, it gave me inspiration. When I'm dancing by myself, and I'm feeling nervous, I should think to myself: "What would The Beatles do?" They'd smile winningly, despite their apprehensions. Look happy, no matter what. And put on a good show. And that's what I aim to do too.

So, as I dance, I'm assuring myself that the audience loves me and I'm channeling The Beatles mop top years. If it works, I'm not complaining.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Anne's first birthday bash

Someone was obviously a hair sleepy upon party commencement. But she cheered considerably after seeing all of the people and wrapped gifts awaiting her. Although, admittedly she didn't realize that anything was actually *in* the gift bags and assorted wrappings. She was just excited about the wrappings themselves; very selfless of her, don't you think?

She absolutely loved her party, and loved being the center of attention. Although I did my usual tornadoing (mentally at least; my house standards are considerably lower than they used to be with 2 children in the house now. Exhibit A: "What did I just step on? More crumbs. Crap. There's no way I'm going to be able to sweep the kitchen floor until next Saturday. *shrug*") I did enjoy having family over. My mom's sister was in town from out of state, so we had my grandmother and all 4 of her children together, which is rare given the distance. We kept it simple: we ordered pizza and wings and I made cupcakes. I think for Henry's first birthday I had coordinating Elmo plates, cups, napkins and decor. This time I slapped the pizza on the dining room table and called it a party. So much easier.

Anne received yet more beautiful clothes for her collection. Hank lived in sleepers and rompers for the first 2 years of his life. Anne has dresses, skirts, coordinating sweaters and cardigans, leggings, blouses, trousers and specialty tights.

She also got 2 new baby dolls and a buggy to push them in, which was so cute it brought the house down. She knew just what to do with it, too, as if bred in by evolution. The instant we put it in front of her, she was off!

The baby dolls (one of whom I've named Molly, which Mike finds incredibly amusing) are taking a lot of abuse from her sucking on their faces and dragging them around behind her by their arms.

My mom got her a dolly swing which she doesn't quite know how to use yet. She picks it up by its handle and drags it behind her, the poor baby doll frantically clinging to the swing bar. Oh well. The baby currently in the swing is also the one that cries when you put her bottle to her mouth. Just what  I need; another noisy kid in my house. :)

So that's Anne's big first birthday. It was a good day and a good weekend. I cherish my memories from last year, but we had some good ones to add on this year too. Life goes on, and it's all good.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Exactly one year ago today, the day started off quite interesting. And there followed one of the most special days of my life. I've been having a hard time with this day approaching because my memories of last year are so meaningful that I couldn't bear the thought of new memories competing with those. Plus, it also means I'm another year older, but that's a separate story. :)

Anyway, I know that I'm very blessed, and that this is a wonderful season in our lives. I should just enjoy every moment.

We're having a family party for Anne tomorrow, and I'll be certain and post what I know will be pictures so adorable it will hurt just to look at them. I know that she's getting some new baby dolls, plus a baby doll stroller and lots of new clothes. She's going to love being the center of attention. She's so, so precious.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Multitude of things, but importantly, a perking...

Happy feast of the Ascension. :)

Happily, I'm not feeling like Death today. I left work early yesterday, and just crocheted and relaxed for the rest of the day. It took the sting out of the partial weaning thing too. Mike made us enchiladas for dinner, Anne cut a tooth and was back to normal talking to her toys, I took a nice hot shower, and we watched Mad Men. All was well.

My nasal congestion does seem to be clearing (and my lips are better too, for those that care :) ), although I have coughed a few times. *glares* If this settles in my lungs, I'll just start crying. If that happens, I'll probably be too inconsolable to blog, so at least you'll be spared. I still haven't felt well enough to resume my daily walks, and I'm trying to conserve my energy for my balance class tonight. We'll see how that goes.

In other news, I'm preparing for Children's Liturgy of the Word this Sunday. It's my last one for this "year", since the program takes the summers off. I've finally admitted that I'm considering not participating again next year.

I've gotten a lot out of it, but honestly, I don't know if it's where my strongest skill set lies. I like helping out in the parish and feeling like a valuable member of the community. I'm certain that at least some of the kids take something positive away from our sessions together. However. I'm an introverted person, and this feels a lot like herding cats. I think one needs a more commanding voice and personality to really keep the kids in check. It's not like they're running wild in the sacristy when I'm back there, I maintain control. But it's HARD for me to do that, kwim? I'm not enjoying it the way that I used to.

But at any rate, I'm committed for this Sunday, and we'll see how it goes. It'll be decision time this summer. The parish is looking for new lectors, and I'm contemplating signing up for that instead. I'm a good reader. *halo* I have good pacing and all that. And Henry is old enough that he'd be ok sitting by himself in the pew while I did my reading and processing in. Mike would have to be there for me to bring Anne, but I think we could make it work.

So, we'll see. I have time to make up my mind. In other church news, Henry has been very cute with his Magnifikid! He even followed along with the readings and prayers last week. That is one nice thing over this option rather than a generic children's missal like I had gotten him previously. The Magnifikid! has the specific readers and liturgical prayers in them. He's a definite follow-alonger. It's precious.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Bet you just can't wait to read this post. :)

Well, I'm still sick. Anne is still sick and also cutting a tooth. Henry has been "testing" us a lot lately in terms of his behavior, I left my pump at home for the first time since last August, and my car needs $250 worth of repairs. It wasn't the best of mornings.

Man, and my lips are *killing* me. Who knows what I'm talking about?! When you're sick and it feels like all of the moisture is sucked out of your very face? That's how I feel right now. I'm also quite whiny and pathetic.

I'm very emotional about the pumping thing. We had a good run, but it's time. Anne's birthday is Friday, she has plenty of milk in the refrigerator for today, and we have several bags of milk in the freezer. I know that we've saved likely thousands of dollars in infant formula due to my dedication and this small $250 pump over the course of two children. It's time. Then why do I feel like crying?

What I really need to do is go back to bed. Anne was up at 5:30 this morning. Could have been worse. But then she wouldn't let us put her down and she sobbed for the entire time I was trying to get dressed and my rat's nest of a head of hair combed and straightened. I feel all woozy. Maybe I should put myself out of my misery and leave early...

But then I'd miss knitting, and I don't want to miss knitting. Because I'm crazy. But also because I love knitting and my knitting friends. I need them, especially today.

Here's hoping for a better night tonight, and a return to full consciousness tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Still sick...

*feels very weak*

Anne and I are still plugging along with our colds. She has reverted to being a sobbing terror in the evenings.

*pick Anne up* "WAHHHHHH!" *struggles to get down*

*put Anne down* "WAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" *puts arms up*

Repeat ad nauseum.

But we're hanging in there. I'm lying low in my office today, writing a book review about the origins of examination of conscience as part of daily prayer, going through a gigantic spreadsheet of infrequently circulated religion titles for a proposed move to our off-site storage facility, and dealing with some student emails. I'm aiming for a quiet evening in which hopefully Anne will not be screaming. But that remains to be seen.

Hank had a Scholastic book fair today at school, and is all excited to show us his selections later. We're planning to watch a PBS series on the space program tonight. And I'm crocheting a cotton tank that is turning out quite adorably. Life is good.

I'm far too weak to practice my dancing in the evenings right now, but I'm hoping to be better prior to my balance class on Thursday. The hafla is now only a month away, and I'm starting to freak out about my oh-so-confident plan to improvise my solo. What was I thinking?!


Monday, May 14, 2012

My love/hate relationship with pumping about to come to an end again...

This will be a short post since I picked up Anne's cold and am feeling decidedly less than 100% today. I will say that she's been sleeping through the night like a champ, but the morning wake up call of 5:45 am is still leaving me very, very tired, especially when sick. We're just hanging in there the best we can.

I'm feeling all vulnerable because her birthday is coming up, and in a few short days, I'll stop pumping. I'll continue to nurse her when I'm with her, but when I'm not, we switch to cow's milk at 1 year. Given that this is an issue relating to my babies, I'm all overly emotional about the whole thing.

I mean, on the one hand, I hate dragging my pump to work everyday. I'm already loaded down with my usual work and purse supplies, and the pump is another large bag to add to the mix. I also have to carve time out of my day to pump, and while that isn't a huge deal, it still can be a headache on some days. My milk supply is already down a ton anyway just due to her solids intake, and so my pumping is now down to once per day. I don't get uncomfortably full anymore. So, it's time. Plus, I still get my cuddly nursing time with her.

But on the other hand...I can't help it, it makes me sad. It's yet another milestone on the road to my baby growing up. And yes, that's a good thing, but it's difficult in it's own way. Due to my age, I don't know that we'll have another baby. And so even though my childbearing years are not yet over and we remain open to possibilities, there is more of a sense of finality this time, like "this could be it." And that elicits an outpouring of emotion.

I remember Mother Angelica once saying "Nothing lasts forever, Honey." Not in this world, at least. We can never get too comfortable or take things for granted, because they could change in the blink of an eye. I have two healthy children and I need to focus on the positives in my life rather than getting teary about things that have come and gone. But it's hard. Change is hard.

I remember so fondly this exact time last year, in the days and weeks leading up to Anne's birth. So special and exciting. Things are different this year, but I'm also (a) getting more sleep, and (b) not feeling gigantic. I guess that's good. :)

I just want to go home and sip tea now. *whines*

Friday, May 11, 2012

Oh, the naivete...

This morning, I attended the periodic reference training session held in the library that I work at. They're topical, and today's topic was maps, but we often begin or end with a "scavenger hunt" type reference question, just to keep us all on our toes in Reference Librarian Land. Today's question was:

I need to find 8 online dating sites that had 1 million or more members before 2004.

We're on it.

As a good reference librarian, I remembered to first think about what type of source would contain this type of information. A directory, no?

So away I go. But where would I find such a directory? I work in an academic library, and I'm not thinking that I'll find a print directory of dating sites in our reference collection. Apparently I'm as bad as the students I complain about, because I went right to Google. In I dutifully type: Directory Online Dating Sites.

One wouldn't think this would be a scandalous search query. One wouldn't think. But the following is an honest chronicle of what appeared on my search result screen (minus links, because I don't want any untoward attention on this blog :) ).

Ads for:

"Dating Site for All." Sounds innocent enough. "The most discreet dating site for adults." Hummmm. Ah. the url has the letter "x" in it. Next!

"Casual dating." The words "first affair" appear in the url. Moving on...

"Free dating sites online." Maybe? "Real generous and sexy people always" appears in the description. *sighs*

A site that has the word "sugardaddie" in the title is eliminated without further ado.

And my personal favorite: "Free millionaire dating. Why date losers with no future? Meet rich single men in your area!" Indeed! Who needs losers?

A site that advertised itself as a "directory of dating" is the first link I dared click on. It actually was a directory of dating sites, but it was a .com and it just seemed...I don't know, skeevy. Is that even a word? The dating sites were all categorized and some of the categories, well. I like to think of myself as modest, but I'm no prude, and I had no idea a market even existed for some of these things. Dating sites for married couples? What on earth is a "married single"? Oh. Oh my. I hit my browser back button.

After scrolling past sites for Muslims looking to find other Muslims and women from other countries looking for American men, I decided that maybe I had met my match in this reference question. I tried to revise my search query which only served to make matters worse. I kept my hand firmly off my mouse until the answer was revealed.

After that adventurous outing, I have to say that I'm glad I'm out of the dating scene. I'm not so sure that this is any better than some shady character slithering up to you in a bar. Ugh.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Henry's holy hour, plus less sneezing at the CL household...

Thankfully, both children seem to be on the upswing. Hank is still coughing, but didn't wake himself coughing last night at all. Anne didn't sneeze once this morning, plus seemed decidedly more "herself" and much less "terror in a purple sleeper."

I'll take it. In other news, I attended Henry's scheduled holy hour with his class yesterday. It was all a little masked in mystery, and turned out to be a holy hour honoring mothers. The priest exposed the Blessed Sacrament, and the children led some prayers, sang songs, and each read a letter that they'd composed to their mother. At the end, the priest led benediction, complete with incense, which the children were quite enamored with. Each mother also received a pair of rosary beads. It was precious.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

And a plague will come amongst you...

The germs continue to sweep through our house. Henry has an unpleasant cough that is keeping him (and us) up at night. And coughs *linger*. How I hate them. Let me count the ways.

Anne, thankfully, is not coughing (much). But she's very sneezy and clingy. Half the time, junk comes out of her nose, so that's good. See what happens to a person when they have children? All decorum goes out the window with regard to talking about bodily functions. Nothing is sacred anymore.

Anyway, back on topic. Snot. So, when junk comes out of Anne's nose, we need to wipe her nose, yes? What is it that is #1 on the list of Things Babies Hate Most?

(1) Someone Is About To Wipe My Nose!!! 

It's not as if I'm approaching her with a piece of sandpaper. I have a tissue, and I *could* be gentle, if only she wouldn't wrench her head away from me and turn in the opposite direction lickety split.

Sigh. So she's been sneezing. And she's been VERY clingy, but honestly, I don't mind that. I secretly love it. Because then I get to snuggle her as much as I want. You can't put her down. After a time, if you make a serious effort to cheer her up, she MAY consent to being put down to play with an approved toy for a short period. She's been especially fond of her toys that play music. She'll push the button and dance. She'll play for a few more minutes. Then she'll come back to be held.

She's precious.

Last night I really thought the bedtime routine was going to be a big debacle since both children were feeling so poorly. Mike and I decided to divide and conquer: he took Hank, I took Anne. Hank, thankfully, didn't cough much and fell asleep in a reasonable amount of time, with a little cup of water by his side. I nursed Anne for what seemed like forever (she wasn't so into her solids yesterday and just wanted to nurse) and got her *really* sleepy, rather than putting her down awake, since I knew the going-to-sleep process is tougher when sick. I got her practically sleeping and laying with her ducky lovie before sneaking out of the room. Naturally, she popped awake, but she did settle pretty quickly after that.

Thus, I seized the opportunity to belly dance in the kitchen. I really can't practice when Anne is awake, unless she's contentedly in her high chair. She either wants me to hold her or goes off to get into trouble. So when both kids are asleep, I pounce. I've taken to creating a messy corner on our counter with my ipod dock, sword, veil, and notebook for jotting down new combinations. I normally don't like messes, but I'm desperate. I cant take the time to ferret all that stuff out each night, time is a precious commodity these days.

Anyway, I have a new veil wrap planned for my solo entrance, and I did finally select a song. It's just a fun Arabic pop song, because, well, they're FUN. And if it's fun, it's easier for me to improvise to. Anything that oils that process along is a good thing. I'm also finally using a veil in a solo performance, although granted I'm shedding it about 30 seconds into the piece. Veils make me very nervous. They're beautiful, but they don't always do what they're told. I don't need a piece of fabric upstaging me. Maybe next time I can use a veil for an entire number, but for the time being, this is an improvement. I've been having a lot of fun with it.

Tomorrow is my sword class again, so we're keeping things interesting. The hafla is just over a month away, yikes. I'm having Mike come to play photographer. This makes me even more nervous, but what can a dancer do?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sneezing abounds...

"Hank, how was your cough today at school, Sweetie?"

"I coughed, Mommy. A lot. And I sneezed too. There was so much snot."


He has a cold, and now Anne has it too. She sneezed all over her Puffs this morning and has now started coughing.

As a parent, I have come to LOATHE coughing. Because 1 person coughing means the entire house gets no sleep. And we know the story with sleep. I can't believe how naive I was as a child and an unmarried adult just expecting that every night when I went to bed, I'd get sleep.

*unladylike snort*

Hank has been coughing the past two nights, and now I'm fearful Anne will join him.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Henry and his Magnifikid!

The first weekend of May marked Henry's first use of his paid Magnifikid! subscription. I had requested a trial issue via their web site, and they're very nice about it, they send you an entire month worth! Each week is its own separate issue, it's quite cute. His trial issues were for March, and by time I decided to go ahead and order him a subscription, our first issues to arrive were for May. They're always a full month ahead, we actually just received his issues for June over the weekend.

And he missed it during April. He kept asking me for it when we'd go to Mass, and wanting to just use the May issues. Me being me (Type A personality) I refused. Using a May issue during April? I DON'T THINK SO.

Thus, yesterday he was very happy to be reunited with his little booklets. This week's included a word fine, which is always a huge hit.

*stage whisper* "Mommy!"

"What, Honey?"

"What does D-i-s-c-i-p-l-e-s spell?"

"Disciples, Honey."

"Oh, ok. I can't find it. Can you help me?"

He really seems to enjoy them, and I'm glad I got him a subscription. He's been a lot better behaved at Mass for a couple months now. I do feel, though, that he's still not "connecting" at Mass, and he goes only because I insist. We'll get there, though. He doesn't complain about going anymore, so that's good. On Wednesday evening, we have some sort of holy hour to go to at his school for a class project, and I'm looking forward to that. He isn't, but alas. :)  I'm sure it's going to be all very cute. He claims that they each have a role "presenting" something, which confused me, since I assumed it was a Eucharistic adoration holy hour. When I asked for details, he asked if I wanted him to tell me (clearly his preferred response) and "ruin the surprise" but in that case, I said no. I'm expecting something adorable. Perhaps a May crowning?


Friday, May 4, 2012

An end to a good week

And why is this? One word:


I've been getting SLEEP. And when that happens, I feel like I could conquer Mt. Everest.

Last night I had my balance class, and although I still have a long way to go, my confidence is increasing. And I had my very own sword with me! It looks all scary and crazy, I love it. And it and I have bonded. It feels secure on my head, and I know which one is mine right away just by looking at the markings on its hilt. It's just a little sword love fest.

Last night we worked on placing the sword on our heads while dancing. As expected, that was hard to do. We also started a short choreography for the upcoming hafla. And although I still need to work on my confidence when dancing in public, I've gotten so much better about performing. Exhibit A: It didn't even faze me when Claire mentioned that we'd each need to come up with an improvised segment to insert towards the end as our "solo time." I used to freak out dancing in a single class number, and now I stick swords on my head and make up stuff right on the spot.

This makes me very proud. :) Life just continues to get more and more interesting as I get older,  I tell you. I think it's because we care less and less about what others think and just pursue the things that we truly enjoy. Because life is short. We should make ours meaningful.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Upcoming 'Year of Faith', and a short book review

I've known about this for some time now, but it's been popping up in my head a bit more lately: the upcoming "Year of Faith" that Pope Benedict announced will take place from mid-October 2012 until late November 2013.

I like dedicated, themed things like this. It's right up my alley. So, when I first heard that there would be a new "Year of..." I got all excited. Then when I heard that it was be the "Year of Faith" I have to admit, I felt a bit deflated. I mean, doesn't that seem just a hair vague?

However, I know that oftentimes I'm too short-sighted, and I trust the pope to pave an interesting way for us. And in fact, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has written a little missive to guide us as we prepare for this upcoming year. It includes goals for the year on both the diocesan and parish level.

For me, I think that the year will be a good time to reflect on a few things.

(1) What does it mean for my life that I have faith in God? How strong is my faith? Are there things that I can do to increase my faith?

(2) What does it mean for my life that I have *our* Faith? What does my Catholic identity mean to me, and how do I reflect it to others?

Relatedly, I've been reading book 4 in the John Paul 2 High series, Undercover Papist, and it includes a lot of apologetics in the plotline. It's making me feel very proud to be Catholic. :) I highly recommend this book, as I do the whole series. In this installment, one of our main characters starts going to a large evangelical church and experiences an emotional conversion. When she renounces her Catholic faith, states that she won't be returning to John Paul 2 High, and is attending a summer Bible Camp affiliated with her new church, another one of our favorite characters signs up as a camp-goer in order to try and convince her to return to her Catholic roots. It's excellent, and may even be my favorite book in the series! The books are very reasonably priced in print from both the publisher and from Amazon, but for Kindle they are a mere $5 each! You should read them!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pattern of the week...

I haven't blogged about knitting or crocheting in awhile, so I thought I'd update. I'm very much busy at home with my needle crafts. Lately, I'm quite into cotton (as is seasonally appropriate) and have been making some dish cloths and other gifts, including a dress for Anne. Oh, I can post a picture, can't I?

It's made with Lion Brand Cotton Ease. And speaking of Lion Brand, the pattern I'm about to embark on is a free one, and it's for Cottontail Kitchen Towels for Mother's Day. I need their recycled cotton yarn for that, and although I have some in my stash that I can use, I need to stop at JoAnn's on my way home to procure the yellow and the coordinating colors. That's an adorable pattern, you should make some too. :) I'm going to modify it to create some matching dish cloths, as well. I'm a fiend for kitchen knitting. Why? I have no notion. But I love handknit dish cloths and towels.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Those not-so-glamorous parenting tasks...

The children have been particularly active lately ("No Honey, don't do THAT!") and it got me to thinking about the parenting tasks that we all dread in the moment, but can joke about later. :) I think there are many of them, for all of us. Let's hone in on the recent examples...

(1) I Can Fit Through There! - Anne's newest trick is to (attempt to) squeeze her little self through small openings, usually barriers erected to keep her out and from killing herself. Sometimes she fits through, sometimes not. This does not discourage her from trying. She gets stuck a lot, and is now vocal enough to let us know to come to her rescue. Her efforts seem to focus on (a) a shrieking volume, and (b) irritable tone.

"DA DA DA DA *BAAAAAAAAAA*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" *a bursting into tears*

This happens *frequently*. And inevitably, it's when your hands are busily cutting raw chicken or some equivalent task.

(2) Can You Check To See If I Got It All? - This one's a favorite. I'll set the scene: Mike is teaching. I'm home with both children. I've already fixed Henry's supper. I've fed Anne. Finally, I whip up dinner for myself while Anne plays with her Cheerios. This will take some time, because I'm going to want an omelette. I don't know why, but I love breakfast for dinner. I'm weird like that. I mix the eggs and a dash of milk. I cut up some cheese and veggies. I warm the skillet. I begin to cook the egg mixture. I toast some bread and butter it. I may heat up a sausage patty. I pour myself a drink. I flip the omelette. I may utter a swear word, because sometimes I don't wait long enough and make a mess in the flippage process. Finally, the omelette is done. The toast is done. The sausage patty is done. My drink is on the table. I grab a napkin. I sit down. I get Anne more Cheerios. I lift a forkful of fluffy eggs and creamy cheese to my lips and...

Hark. What is that?

It's Henry. And he's in the bathroom.



Yes, that's right. It's a request for assistance involving the action verb "to wipe." Just what I want to be doing right in the middle of eating. Mike and I talk with such longing in our voices about the day when we have to wipe nobody's rear end but our own. Those days are a long way off, my friends.

(3) It Smells Funny Over By Anne - Anne is very insidious with this one. When Henry was a baby, if he dirtied a diaper, the entire room knew about it. One time, on Christmas Eve no less, the entire church knew about it. Anne is not like that. It's all very quiet and dainty, but there's no disguising the telltale smell. So she's scooped up and summarily deposited on her changing table. That's when the fun begins.

For one thing, she thinks it's great fun to twist around real quick-like and attempt to leap off the changing table. She's smaller than we are, so we can wrangle her back into position, but then she plays her trump card: a sudden, rapid reaching motion *down there*.

Suddenly, she has poo on her hands. Which means I get poo on MY hands. Many wet wipes are tore from the container in a panic. Her hands are wiped. My hands are all wiped. And all of this is taking place while desperately trying to keep her squirming butt from smearing poo all over the changing pad. Once our hands are halfway decent, the wiping process continues, and as Mike exclaimed as soon as he changed her first diaper home from the hospital, "this is different from changing Hank when he was a baby; there are so many *folds*!" Yes, the girl diapers do require a bit more time management and wipeage skill. It's all very exhausting.

(4) "Uh Oh. Don't Worry Mommy, You Can't Even See Where the Juice Went!" - Mike and I are tidy people. This is a polite way of saying that we're a bit anal, and quite possibly obsessive-compulsive. If we didn't have children, we'd probably have a white couch. But we do have children. So, we have a hand-me-down couch that is a loud print that we both hate. But I tell you, that thing has had every fluid known to manKIND spilled on it, and no one is the wiser. I'm sure all of my local friends and family are so glad to know this for when they come to visit. When we get rid of this thing, we're just going to have to burn it.

And so, the possibilities are endless, but that's my top 4. Thank goodness for Oxy Deep.