Thursday, January 31, 2013

Everybody can breathe a sigh of relief... Downton Abbey Season 3 DVD set has shipped. If it hadn't by the time I left for home tonight, I would have become convinced that my beloved Amazon hated me, was trying to smite me, and generally was trying to ruin my life. I would have contemplated another panic-stricken phone call to customer service. But happily, that is all avoided now. Really though, this tested my patience. I've never had to wait this long for a pre-ordered item to ship before. Even Amazon is human, I suppose.

In the mean time, Mike and I have been watching another BBC show in the evenings, Call the Midwife, about a small group of Anglican nuns and lay nurses who serve some of London's poorest women in the late 1950's. It's quite good. I definitely get emotional watching this show, and nightly I tell Mike exactly when I'll next be fertile so that we can make another adorable baby like the ones we're seeing on this show. Oh wait, I'm digressing again.

Anyway, this is a very thought-provoking show. Can I just say that I'm extremely grateful that certain dated childbirth practices are no longer in current usage? Holy smokes. On the positive side, I do think the show sends a good message about home births. An uncomplicated pregnancy can very much result in an uncomplicated home birth for many, many women.

Good stuff. Some of the story lines are heartbreaking though, and this is based on a true story.


We'll be done watching Season 1 tomorrow. I'm hoping that Downton arrives for a grand viewing Saturday night, but I don't know. You can bet that I'll be obsessively taking advantage of the tracking number between now and then.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Potty time

My Downton Abbey discs still haven't shipped. MEWING!


I may or may not have just gone into my order and changed the shipping speed, hence paying for shipping anyway even after the order changing shenanigans of yesterday (we don't have a Prime membership. Yet). I'm denying everything. But hey, sometimes $2.98 is just worth it.

UPDATE: This morning my shipping speed moved back from "Shipping Soon!" to "Not Yet Shipped," hence my agony. In the *5 minutes* since I upped my shipping speed, it's now once again "Shipping Soon!" and the delivery date is set solidly for Monday, rather than late next week. It's very obvious to me that Amazon loves me, and knows how much I want Downton Abbey. That is all.

Anyway, potty training wasn't expected to be on my radar screen at this stage of Anne's life considering Henry would have rather died than sit on a potty until he turned 3 years old. And even then he wasn't all that crazy about it. But Anne is a completely different child. She's been coming up to me, saying "Potty!" with pleading eyes and pantless legs for at least a month now. But when I take her into the bathroom she shrinks in terror from the Big Bad Toilet. I can't really blame her. She's tiny. She could realistically fall in.

I kept putting off looking for a new potty chair, but this past week she's been bringing me one of her little "Learn New Words!" board books and pointing to the picture of the potty that is in there. Obviously, she's ready to start trying to learn.

So the hunt begins for a potty chair. I spent the quiet portions of my morning reference shift carefully examining the current potty market and looking at adorable pictures of chubby toddlers sitting on a potty while reading a book. I looked at potties shaped like frogs. I looked at potties that played music and offered a real flushing sound. I looked at potties that cheered for the baby when a "deposit" is made. Finally, I settled on a simple Baby Bjorn potty in Anne's favorite color of pink. It looks very much like the potty in her little book, so I think she'll be pleased.

I ordered it right on Amazon. It actually cost less on there than I even dreamed of spending, and it saves me from stopping at our scary Toys R Us on the way home from work today. It's due to arrive next week. We'll see how this goes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I am TIRED. And I actually slept good last night. Shocking, I know. But I taught my biggest class of the semester this morning and that always drains me. At least, that is what I'm telling myself is the reason I'm contemplating a nap in my office.

The class went really well, I wish I just wasn't shot now for the remainder of the day. At least I have enough energy to obsessively check on the status of my Amazon order of Downton Abbey Season 3.

It's release date is today, and as of yesterday afternoon my order status changed from "Not Yet Shipped" to "Shipping Soon." Glorious day! They usually get those pre-orders out real fast.

But then I checked the order again this morning, full expecting to see the happy "Shipped!" notice, and there was none. Still "Shipping Soon." And the culprit appeared to be the second DVD I'd ordered (a gift for Henry) which was also due to be released today, but which is now saying it won't ship for another several days.

I panic.

I call Amazon. I confused the very sweet customer service representative who kept offering to change my shipping speed for me, but that's not what I was asking. I just wanted to make sure that my order was in fact set to leave the warehouse today. If not, then I would break up the order.

He assured me that my order was being packed. I thanked him and went back to obsessively checking the order status. Suddenly:

"Not Yet Shipped."

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Obviously, Hotel Transylvania was conspiring to ruin my life. I immediately axe it from the order. I can order it separately when it arrives in stock in a few days. Downton Abbey sat there innocently until I got back from teaching. Then it told me once again that it was "Shipping Soon" and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Just checked again. Still "Shipping Soon." Mew.

I'll combine Hotel Transylvania with some other things so that I can get free shipping. I've got my eye on some Easter gifts for the kids. I tend to spoil the children at Easter, but I love Easter, I can't help it. I'm on the hunt for a baby music player for Anne since she loves to listen to music and dance and begs me to play my iPod music for her at every opportunity. Unfortunately, the only song that she wants played over and over and OVER again for her to dance to is "Moves Like Jagger."


Oh, I've decided on one fun Lent project for this year. The Catholic knitters/crocheters on Ravelry are hosting a Lenten shawl knit-along and I'm going to take part. You knit any shawl pattern that you like, but by Easter you give the shawl to someone or donate it. I'm going to aim to donate my shawl to the Theme Tray auction at Hank's school, as I know that is the fundraiser that they rely on the most each year. I'm excited. I'm choosing my pattern and yarn now.

Going to sign off now before I fall asleep over my keyboard.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Thinking about Lent

I had Children's Liturgy of the Word this past Sunday (a very small, sedate group) and we spent some time talking about upcoming items on the Church calendar. I find this stuff fascinating, so I can only hope the children aren't just humoring me. We have Candlemass on February 2nd, so we talked about blessed candles, and then the feast of St. Blase next Sunday with the blessing of the throats, one of my favorite of the year. The children seemed quite taken with the St. Blase/fish bone story.

*pats self on back*

We also broached on Lent, since there are only a few weeks left until Ash Wednesday. And I'll be with them the First Sunday of Lent, happily, breaking out the purple cloth. We got to talking: what will we each be doing/giving up for Lent this year?

The answer is that I have absolutely no idea. But I LOVE thinking about it! I adore this part of the liturgical calendar, so much fodder!

Anybody want to offer in a comment what you will be doing for Lent this year?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Our Downton Abbey obsession

That's the start of my Lady Edith Shawl, very much still on the needles. I work on it diligently each night as we re-watch Seasons 1 and 2 of what may be our favorite show of all time, Downton Abbey. It's taking quite a while, but I don't mind. Come spring, I'll have a lovely new shawl.

I'm also still doing the mystery knit-along, and after this week I think we'll have the first glove done. I can post a picture after that. :) Mike is all confused:

"If it's a mystery, how come you know what you're knitting?"

Which is indeed a very good question, no?

I too was a hair disappointed to know what we were knitting from the very first clue, but the designer needed to give a lot of sizing information up front so that everyone would be happy with the way their finished item fit. And man oh man, I can see why.

Ravelry has been abuzz about this knit-along, with lots of demanding knitters wanting additional clues and help along the way. From requests for how to knit both gloves at the same time, to critiques about how the lace pattern is working up on the suggested variegated yarn, the designer has been shepherding quite an opinionated group. Before we knew that our mystery item was gauntlets, I was amused by a few people who posted that they would NOT be participating if the mystery item was _____ (fill in the blank). A purse, a hat, you name it. If there was even a possibility that it was one of those things, they weren't knitting it. They were taking their needles and playing elsewhere.

I mean, really. This is a *knit-along*. Let's not take ourselves too seriously. As well, it IS supposed to be a mystery, that's part of the fun. If you're not willing to live dangerously, then this is not the project for you.

At any rate, the end design is the only mystery that remains at this point, but I'm enjoying it very much all the same. And the show.


I love this show. And their hats!!! My God, the hats. I wish women still wore hats like that. The music, the clothing, the plots, everything is just so SWEEPING on that show. I'm so, so enjoying it.

We have not started watching Season 3 (so no spoilers!). We pre-ordered the DVD's from Amazon and they ship out on Tuesday. Then we'll savor each episode at our very own pace. Plus, we're usually asleep between 9 and 10 pm on Sundays nights, which is when the show actually airs. The children have drained the life out of us by that point.

We're nearly done with Season 2. I have belly dance tonight, so no Downton. We plan to watch the final episode, the Christmas special, tomorrow night.

*pulse races*

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Henry's contest

"Mommy, there is a big contest at school for the Year of Faith, and the winner gets to have lunch with the bishop!"

"Well that sounds very exciting. What do you have to do?"

"Make a poster showing how a priest or nun helps everybody with their faith."

Uh oh. Art work is not our strong suit. Hank has inherited my utter lack of any artistic talent whatsoever. There are unspeakable past art projects to which I still repress the memories.

"Ok, Honey. What is your idea for your poster?"

"A priest baptizing somebody."

"Oh. Well, that's actually a really great idea. Let's start a sketch."

*sketching commences*

"Hum, well Hank I'd make the priest a bit bigger. People don't generally have heads that small."

"But if I erase it'll look bad."

"Let's get a fresh sheet of paper."

*sketching continues with just a hair of whining starting to come into play*

"Well, the people are better, Honey, but the baptismal font is, well, far too large. It's bigger than the priest, he wouldn't even be able to reach the top."

*Hank scowls*

"But I won't be able to make another one that looks this good."

"Well, I think we're going to have to take our chances. And while you're at it, re-draw the baby. Right now it looks like the priest is about to toss him into the font, and we can't have that."

It was a very long evening.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh Etsy, how you tempt me with your enticing ways...

I discovered Etsy several years ago, and it became my favorite spot for buying rosaries and headcoverings. But in the past year, I'm finding myself shopping on there more and more, and I have to admit that I'm quite addicted. I love the allure of handmade items, so I purchase quite a few gifts on there (for items that I can't make myself, like jewelry, soap, belly dance veils, and patterns) not to mention the yarn, my God the yarn. In fact, I have some self-striping Valentine's yarn on its way to me right now from the lovely Laurel of Spinning Fates.

At any rate, I thought I would review my most recent Etsy acquisition, an interchangeable knitting needle case from SouthernWoolies. This is the case that I bought (all photos from SouthernWoolies):

My situation was thus: I have (ah hem) a LOT of knitting needles. I no longer buy fixed circular needles (with the exception of 16" circulars that I use to make hats) and instead have a few interchangeable sets. Ok, *several* sets. So, I have tips in different sizes, and then cords that screw into the tips so that I can make them 24", or 32", or larger, depending on what I'm making. Theoretically, this should save you money, but naturally I have mostly offset this potential cost saving measure by acquiring interchangeable tips in multiple different materials. I have a wood set, because wood needles are my very favorite. But I also have tips in metal and some in acrylic. Each interact differently with different types of yarn, so I like to have options with whichever tip I choose for an individual project. I'm a compulsive knitter, I can't help it. And I love my needles.

My metal set has it's very own case that I tote around with me, but my other needles do not. So what I did last year was head to JoAnn's to find a solution, feeling all crafty and self-sufficient. I ended up buying this large plastic bin for art supplies, dividing it up into labeled slots that would fit my tips, and happily slapping them all in there. I also had some squares that I squeezed my fixed 16" circulars into, plus the other cables. The cables weren't too happy about this, but I told them that they had to manage.


All my tips fit inside.


The cables were very unhappy and uncoiled themselves every.single.time I opened the bin.

The 16" fixed circulars rebelled regularly and stuck out all akimbo.

When I added a needle sizer to the mix the bin refused to close.

The tips rolled around in their slots and made a giant racket every time I got the bin out.

The entire shebang was gigantic and took up precious shelf space in our guest room closet.

"What's that noise? Did it start to hail outside?"

"No, Mommy just got her knitting needles down."

As you can see, the cons far outweighed the pros. And like any good overachiever, I trudged on with my crappy needle bin, resenting it more and more every time I had to wrench it out from amongst my swift, yarn winder, and guest pillows and blankets that sit atop the single shelf in the guest room closet, listen to its grating rattle, and then wedge it back in. I so long for my own "craft room," but that dream is a far, far off one, dear reader. For the time being, I'm sharing space in the single room that is the guest quarters, Mike's office, the kids play area, and our general "not sure where else to put this" space like my belly dance sword, costumes, and our DVD collection.

Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I turned to Etsy.

Beautiful hand-sewn knitting cases abounded. I found several that I liked, but the ones featured on SouthernWoolies were my favorite, and the listing said that the tip slots were large enough to hold more than 1 set. Bingo! I ordered the fetching lime and black print that you see above.

It arrived yesterday. I immediately pounced on it, unwrapped it, and took out my awful needle bin one last time to get my tips. I slid everything inside.


I fit all of my wood and acrylic tips in, plus ALL of my 24", 32" and 40" cables (of which I have, you know, *many*). There is still more room for additional tip sizes should I acquire them. Even my needle sizer fits in with ease, along with my little tightener to screw the tips into the cables.


And the whole thing folds up, closes with a magnet, looks smashing, and is barely larger than my hand. I tell you, I never thought such a miracle was possible. My cables issued a personal thank-you, slipping into their nooks with ease and staying coiled like a dream. A flap folds down over everything so that nothing will slip out, and it sits on the shelf barely taking up any space at all. I have a small, separate pouch that I popped the 16" fixed circulars into so that they wouldn't look messy in my lovely new case, although they *would* fit if I put them in there. If I wanted, I could *easily* fit this case into my knitting bag and have all of my needle tips with me. Not only is it small, it's super light.

The seller offers iron on size labels which I didn't get (although I probably should have) and she also makes ereader covers and baby hats and bonnets. I'm very pleased with my new case. Definitely have a look at her shop if you are in the market for a handmade case, the prices are more than reasonable and my item is well made with care.

Hurray for Etsy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A pleasant weekend, as Ordinary Time settles in

Isn't he precious? I made him over the long weekend for Hank. He's a snail, and his name is Milton. If you can think of anything cuter than a snail named Milton let me know, because I don't think it exists.

"Mommy, can I sleep with my new snail?"

"NO!! He's needed for photography, and for knitting group show-and-tell on Tuesday. I don't want him to get all squished up before then."

Because stuffed snails have such pressing media obligations...

Anyway, we had a glorious weekend. I brought both kids to Mass with me on Sunday and despite Anne being at a *really* tough age for such activities, I've been able to manage it (not always well, mind you, but I do what I can). Our garbage disposal gave out over the weekend and I wanted to leave Mike the time (and ability to hear the thoughts running through his own head, you parents know what I'm talking about :)) to work on that while all 3 of us were at Mass. I was chancing it a bit with Anne's nap, but I packed up a sippy cup, some crackers, her St. Joseph board books, and my resolve. I also put on a headcovering, which I haven't worn in a while to Mass due to sheer laziness, since wearing one always provides that physical reminder that I should strive to be prayerful. And not in a panic-stricken frenzy. We set off.

It went really well. I've already thinking about Lent, as I always do at this time of year. I love this little stretch of Ordinary Time between Advent and Ash Wednesday. Anne behaved very well. She always loses it a bit right around the consecration, but I can always distract her by taking her to examine the nearest stained glass window more closely. While we were over there, following communion, one of the ushers came over to praise Anne for her good behavior. Our parish has the best ushers. There is this flotilla of older men that wear suits and ties and just look so dapper.

After Mass, Henry wanted to attend the open house the parish was hosting at the old school building. The building has been converted into a parish center, hosting religious education classes, a food pantry, parish offices, and a daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration chapel. I was very interested in the chapel, as daily Mass is one of my favorite things in the world. The chapel is adorable and cozy, and for Lent I'd like to attend daily Mass at least once per week. More on that in a future post.

The kids and I enjoyed refreshments in the old gym before heading home to find a new (and working) garbage disposal, hurray! I also realized that Anne had snatched a little prayer card from the chapel with the name of an upcoming first communicant on it for us to pray for. She ultimately destroyed the card, but let's all pray for little Louis C. :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Oh John Paul...

"Good morning, Apple customer service, Dedrick speaking, how are you today?"

I don't know what it is about the customer service people I'm talking to this week, but they all have really interesting names.

"I'm good."

"Good to hear."

He verifies some personal identification information, including the serial number of my iPod, which is unfortunately etched in minute script on the device. This is NOT making me feel better following my traumatic eye doctor visit; I actually had to go get my new glasses in order to read it! *feels depressed* Next thing you know, I'm going to be one of those little old lady librarians who wears her hair in a bun and peers over her glasses at you.

"So how can I help you?"

"Well, I have a new 7th generation iPod Nano, and I'm concerned about the battery life. I'm not even getting 2 hours of power from it, and I'm only listening to music and podcasts, not using any of the video or Bluetooth features. That just doesn't seem normal."

"Oh no, Ma'am."

Ugh, I'm a "Ma'am" now.

"Let's go through the settings and see if we can identify anything."

We do, but we don't. Ha!

"Ok, the next thing we can try is to reset the iPod to factory settings and then reinstall the latest software. That *should* help the battery life. If it doesn't, then we'll know that the problem lies within the iPod itself."

Sounds fabulous to me. He walks me through resetting John Paul (which always sounded a little scary to me since it takes all the content off the device, but we put it back on) and tells me to keep an eye on him. If the battery continues to drain as quickly as it has been, call them back and they'll take it from there.

Happy day. I just took John Paul on my walk and I can already see a difference. Before, even that 20 minute voyage would result in a quarter of the battery life draining. Now, it was still fully charged upon arrival back at my office.

*happy sigh*

I have to admit, I'm regretting a bit not looking into getting a refurbished iPod Classic. Those have the old click wheels (how I miss thee! I HATE touch screens, which I know makes me a bit of a freak), have gigantic capacity, and are simply designed to play your music and podcasts, all with the old 30 pin system such that I wouldn't have needed that silly adapter. However, the new iPod Classics cost about $100 more than the Nanos, so they're not cheap. I *could* have looked into a refurbished or used one, like I mentioned, but who knows if I wouldn't have had problems with that as well. As long as John Paul behaves from here on out, I'll be happy.

I guess I expected this brand new iPod Nano to be much like my old one (a 3rd generation model) except with more capacity. It's not. It's much more newfangled (does using that word also make me sound old?!) and has features that I don't have any interest in using. It's biggest selling points are the 16GB capacity and its reasonable price.

We'll see. I'm feeling warmer toward him right now, let's hope this sticks.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I had a bad feeling about last night. I couldn't totally put my finger on it, but I think that parents develop a fine tuned sense of the home environment and the level at any given time of their child's volatility in an attempt toward self preservation. I just *knew* that following 2 good nights, Anne was going to give us trouble last night.

12:30 am: I am awakened by the sound of Anne howling.

I close my eyes and pray for it to stop.

It does. For about 3 minutes. Then it starts back up again.

I give it a little time to see if she'll put herself back to sleep and get up to investigate. A peek through her keyhole reveals that she is laying down. When that is the case, she often will go back to sleep on her own. I tiptoe back to bed.

1 am: I am awakened by the sound of Anne howling.

I resolve that I am going to have to stay up for a bit. I go in, pick her up, change her diaper, and rock her for a bit. After a solid 15 minutes of rocking, I can tell that she is nowhere near sleepy. I, on the other hand, have a bladder that is about to burst. I rock for a few more minutes, and attempt a desperate put-down.

As expected, it fails miserably.

Anne begins to scream. I know that I'm going to have to go back to her, but I simply *need* to use the restroom. I hurry about my business, and in the 20 seconds that I am in the bathroom, I hear that sickening sound.

*Loud Thud*


Yep, Anne climbed out of her crib.

I run out of the bathroom and collide with Mike in the hallway. We rush into her room and find her waiting at the door, screaming, ducky blanket tucked under her arm. She's clearly unharmed, but seriously pissed off.

We try more rocking. I desperately take her down to the couch where we can at least lay down, but it gets bloody COLD down there at night and I am not happy. The instant she drifts off I carry her carefully upstairs, where she...

...wakes up and begins crying again.

I bring her into our bed. Several knees and elbows later, Mike offers to take her. He walks her to her room, holds her for approximately 3 minutes, and puts her down in her crib.


Yes, our daughter is a master manipulator. She *knows* that she can get away with heart tugging at Mommy that she can't with Daddy. Next thing you knew, she was sound asleep.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Good news

My eyes and noses have shipped. :)

Anyway, it's a good day. Henry is starting ice skating lessons this coming weekend, so we're going out to buy him skates tonight. I'm hoping that he'll really like it. I also cast on for his Finding Nemo  socks and they're absolutely adorable.This is the picture from Abi's store:

Henry's socks will be custom made to fit his foot, of course. I love knitting socks. Especially when the yarn does most of the work of making them look good.

In other exciting crafting news, the wolf pattern is now mine. I absolutely cannot wait to be united with him in the flesh. I have some gray wool in my stash that is perfect for him. And yes, I do find it amusing that my wolf will be made from sheep's wool.

I also brought down my Crocheted Softies book last night that I got for Christmas. Henry spent a solid 5 minutes looking through all the patterns before declaring that he would really like a crocheted crab and snail.

"Let me see the snail. OOhhhhh, his name is Milton?! Yes, we must make him."

Upon looking through my stash, I discovered plenty of green and cream cotton in order to make Milton come to life. Excited.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Be still my heart...

I've been really into my knitting and crocheting of late. Besides my dancing, it's my hobby of choice. I've also been very good about finishing up projects that I've already started. I mean, I've always got more than one project going. Different projects for different settings for different needs. Currently, I have a shawl and a sweater on the needles, plus the Downton Abbey mystery gauntlets for the knit-along, plus the gift I'm making for Karen which will soon be done. To me, that sounds very reasonable. :)

Since I'm about to finish something, today while I was eating lunch I was playing around on Etsy looking at crochet toy patterns. I love to make toys. So along with some socks for the kids (with Finding Nemo self-striping clown fish yarn courtesy of the talented Abi Grasso), I was thinking one of my new projects would be some toys. Henry loves the hippo I made him, and I have a few things in mind for Anne and my nephews. I search for "Crochet Toy Pattern."

Cute results occur. On the second page or so I spot a crocheted wolf that I fall in love with on the spot. I admire him. I look through the other patterns in the store (all very nice, but none grab me the way the wolf does. Well, there is a reindeer that I ogled, but he's not in season right now). I send the link to my knitting group. Next thing you know, I can't imagine my life without the wolf. I have him queued up for purchase and soon he will be MINE.

As I'm searching, I come across a link to another Etsy store that sells safety eyes. I own many safety eyes, I use them on nearly every toy that I make. I don't embroider eyes (because I'm not that good at it) unless the toy is going to an infant. You have to be careful, even with safety eyes, for choking hazards. I usually buy them from Knit Picks when I'm ordering yarn. Although their selection of eyes (*snorts*) is small, they have the basic sizes and colors and I haven't needed anything other than that. Or so I thought.

That is until I discovered this store. Safety eyes in every conceivable color and size, and what immediately caught my eye were the larger eyes. I favor larger eyes, and the biggest that Knit Picks carries is 12mm, which work just great for most faces, don't get me wrong. But this place has gigantic safety eyes, and sometimes you just want big eyes, kwim? But then, BUT THEN, gentle reader, I discovered something that was heretofore unknown to me. What is that, you ask?


Safety noses!! I about fell out of my chair. Visions of cute nosed animals filled my head. Heart-shaped noses, pug dog noses, TRIANGLE NOSES! I also found googly eyes, eyes with eyelashes, and slitted cat eyes. My life flashed before me. Next thing you knew, my cart was full of pink noses and big brown eyes.


My package of eyes and noses is due to arrive next week.


Adventures with my Kindle

Yesterday afternoon, I was working away at my computer.


Suddenly, I see that little alert out of the corner of my eye signalling that I have a new message in my yahoo email. The subject reads "Your Recent Order with"

Well that can't be good. I haven't ordered anything from Amazon, even a Kindle book, since exactly a week ago when I ordered my iPod adapter (which came and works, by the way). I had a bit of a backlog of books to read on my Kindle and was trying to get through them before I ordered anything new. Feeling a bit anxious, I click on the message.

Amazon cheerily informed me that my download of 2 Kindle books was complete, and here was my receipt. I scan the message quickly and see two titles that I've never heard of before.

Uh oh. Somebody besides me bought 2 books on my Amazon credit card. That can't possibly be good...

Another message pops up: "Your Recent Order with" This one for yet another digital download of a mystery book. All told, we're now at nearly $20 in books. I do the reasonable thing.

I panic. Clearly, I am under attack by some kind of vicious hacker.

In seconds, I am on Amazon's web site and going to my Kindle account. I see the 3 downloads in question but am relieved that no new ones have appeared. I immediately call Amazon customer service.

"Hello, Kindle support, Opie speaking, how can I help you?"

Yes, his name was really Opie.

I explain the situation and Opie tells me that he is refunding me for the 3 downloads. Great, but I'm worried about a larger issue of how these got downloaded to begin with.

"It's usually just a mistake. It had to have happened either from the web site or from the device. It's probably fine."

Not exactly the vote of confidence I was looking for.

I explain that my Kindle is currently at my home, where my toddler daughter was also residing. Perhaps she got her hot little hands on my Kindle and somehow managed to download multiple books? That seemed unlikely, but it did amuse Opie. I kept my eye on my Kindle account for the rest of my work day and saw no new downloads. I changed my Amazon password and tried not to worry.

Later, I pull into our driveway and open my car door. Hank greets me.

"Mommy, Anne got your Kindle, and she was PUSHING and PUSHING buttons!!"

Mystery solved. When I turned my Kindle on, it was still open to the Kindle storefront.

She's a very resourceful little stinker.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

This feast has held a special place in my heart since I got married 8 years ago. In that year, our wedding Mass was the day before the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which made it stick out in my mind. Every year, our anniversary falls during the Christmas season, varying of course in how close it is to this feast. I just love that our wedding occurred liturgically during Christmas. :)

But I also love the symbolism of this feast, and the fact that it signals the end of Christmas and the beginning of the winter segment of Ordinary Time. It feels like such a fresh start for January. And Lent/Easter is never far off, so something to look forward to.

Hank and I were admiring the Christmas decorations for the last time yesterday during Mass. He got to see the wise men at the stable, and yesterday also marked the Rite of Acceptance for the RCIA candidates in our parish. Whenever I see an RCIA ritual, I think of my friend Irena who came home to the Church during the Easter vigil in 2011. That was such a special year, and although I'm a cradle Catholic, I learned so much from her about the RCIA process. I was sad that I couldn't be at the different rites with her since she lives about 7 hours from me (although I was at her baptism/confirmation, wouldn't have missed that for the world, even at 36 weeks pregnant!) but each week we would talk about the rituals and how excited she was about them all. So meaningful.

So anyway, the Rite of Acceptance was yesterday, formally marking those participating as catechumens (preparing for baptism) or candidates (already baptized, but preparing for confirmation and full communion in the Church). This year we have 6 adults who will be received into the Church on the Easter vigil. Beautiful! I get teared up just thinking about it.

Henry and I were also talking about his upcoming first reconcilliation in early March. He's nervous about it, but I'm trying to reassure him. Back when I was making my sacraments, we did first reconcilliation AND first communion in second grade. It seems to be the norm that it is not done that way anymore. Henry does first confession this year (in second grade) and first communion next year in third grade. But I promised him that I would buy him his very own big boy rosary from Carm at unbreakablerosaries to commemorate the occasion and we went online yesterday to select one. He has his eye on one (the center medal is Bl. John Paul II, I'm thrilled!) and as long as he doesn't change his mind (which he's prone to do) I'll order that by the end of the week. He's precious.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Too tired to come up with witty title

I mean, I could have called this post "Elbows in my sternum" or "Knees in my diaphragm" but it's too depressing to focus on the endless stretch to which I was awake last night with my daughter (nearly 4 hours, not that I'm counting). It was one of those nights in which I just hit rock bottom. There were tears (mine), there were angry denials of juice, there was much body contorting and tantruming, and overall there was much sleep deprivation.

BUT, we had a nice morning, and I'm trying to focus on the positive. I can't help but amuse myself by thinking what the world would be like if we all never matured and consequently handled being upset or in distress the way toddlers do. For instance, I'm not feeling good at work today. I thus:

(1) Throw my coffee cup at somebody during a meeting;

(2) Refuse to sit down and bow my body over the chair, screaming;

(3) Deliberately refuse to make eye contact with someone who is talking to me;

(4) Interrupt anybody at anytime to demand a snack and some milk; refuse to take no for answer;

(5) Go out into the lobby and cry continually from my perch in a heap on the floor.

It would be interesting.

At any rate, we're focusing on the positive, no? To the extent that I can stay awake to do so, that is. I have belly dance tonight, and I just hope that I can make it through class without collapsing. That is my prayer.

In other news, Mike and I have started re-watching Downton Abbey from Season 1, as we await our pre-ordered Season 3 DVD's from Amazon. They are released in late January every year, and we have found that we prefer to patiently await them rather than watching the episodes as they air.

So each night after our volatile little Anne is safely tucked into her crib for the night, we play a board game with Henry, and await the real fun that is to come. Henry goes to bed. We turn on Downton Abbey.

I just love this show, and the Jimmy Beans Wool Mystery Knit-along is based on my absolute favorite character, Lady Violet. We received our first clue last weekend, and uncovered that we are going to be knitting Lady Violet's Dinner Gauntlets. As we started the first 2 episodes of Downton, I worked on my gauntlets. They feature a lovely "rosebud lace" panel and are going to have a ruched feature with either a ribbon or laces of some kind. We shall see. After I finished clue #1, I moved on to my Lady Edith shawl, which was designed by KnitPurlGurl Karrie, who I mentioned passed away around Thanksgiving. It's just a gorgeous pattern, this is what the finished product will look like:

The yarn that I chose is also a solid spring green. I wanted to knit this in memory of Karrie, and I wanted to use the same color that she did. This works out perfectly with my annual January - May addiction to any and all spring colors. I absolutely love the pattern, well done Karrie! I've never enjoyed knitting a shawl this much. The edging is this beautiful leaf lace, I can't wait to wear it!

And somehow, I'm now knitting *2* Downton Abbey related projects while watching the show.


But it makes me happy. And I need something to lift my spirits given the nights that we've been having. Here's hoping for a good weekend.

"What is a week-end?"

I just love her!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Uh oh. Boom!" - Anne's world at nearly 20 months, and an update on my at-home retreat

Ok, so I'll get to Anne in a moment. I read day 2 of my 33 Days to Morning Glory retreat, and I have to tell you gentle reader, that I adore this book. I have a difficult time reading what I would call deep theological books. Classic works by the saints, for instance, are obviously so, so crucial in our faith, but I simply don't enjoy reading them cover to cover. I suppose I'm not as mystical as they were. :) I enjoy very practical, slice of life memoirs when I read non-fiction, and thus I have read and enjoyed St. Therese's Story of a Soul. I actually even found St. Frances de Sales Introduction to the Devout Life very approachable and read the whole thing. Although not a memoir, I could easily understand what he was suggesting and apply it to my own life.

So in 33 Days to Morning Glory our author is very much giving us real world anecdotes to drive home the points he is raising about devotion to Jesus via Our Lady. And I love how he divides the retreat into concentrations on 3 great Marian devotees in our faith: St. Louis de Montfort (obviously), St. Maximillian Kolbe, and Bl. Teresa of Calcutta. It all feels very contemporary and reachable. St. Maximillian lived not that long before I was born, and I overlapped with Mother Teresa for quite a while before she died in the late 90's (I remember the day she died vividly). The book is also humorous and light. I'm so glad that I decided to do it. I can even renew this retreat every year if I like, and I will remember the date that I begin since it's the day after my wedding anniversary. Very handy. The consecration date is a week before my birthday, which these days could use a bit of a spiritual boost, let me tell you.

Anyway, I'm very happy with the book and I will continue to post updates as I work my way through the 33 days.

So, Anne. She slept all night but was up for the day at 5:15 am. Why God, why?!?!

When I got downstairs, I found her in sour spirits, unsurprisingly.


"Anne, what are you saying 'no' to, I didn't ask you anything?"


That chica is so, so sassy. I can't believe how quickly she picks up new words and understands what we say to her. Oh, AND, I think we need to invest in a potty chair; she's showing signs of readiness.

*long suffering sigh*

Oh, the day that the only butt we wipe is our own... *cups palm over eyes, looks far off into the distance*

*silence reigns for a moment in the living room. I bask and then realize that this is not a good sign*

*glances to left*

*Anne is on floor, struggling to remove pants*

"Anne Honey, don't take your pants off."


"Honey, you hate the toilet. You can go in your diaper. We'll get you your own seat soon."


"All right, but I know how this is going to end."

*takes Anne into bathroom*


"Yes, that's the potty. I think you already peed though, Sweetie. But ok, let's take your diaper off."

*pops Anne on top of toilet*

*Anne resists sitting on toilet*


See how that goes?

She obviously knows now when she goes. I don't know that she's telling us BEFORE she goes, it seems to be after the fact. And that's fine, she's still very young. But it's obviously bothering her to have a wet or dirty diaper. And she's AWFUL on the changing table, she hates the process of having her diaper changed. A lot of the time, I notice her grabbing herself (SIGH, *so* much crotch grabbing goes on in our house between the two of them) and she seems distressed. In each instance, her diaper is very wet or dirty. So she didn't tell us that she had to use the potty, and it's almost like she's upset about it. I also notice that her diaper will be dry, and then when she does go, it's suddenly very heavy, so she's able to hold small amounts and then go a bunch at once. In other words, she's showing signs of being ready to train.

One potty chair, coming up.

She's also very into books, both of my children are.

*beams with pride*

Henry now READS IN BED. Isn't that just the most precious thing ever?! As soon as I sit on the couch in *my spot* (next to the end table with lamp where I can put my knitting supplies) Anne rushes to the bookcase to select one of her books and brings it to me. And she has her favorites, clearly. I don't know how many more times I can read We Go to Mass. I'm thrilled that she likes that book so much, but variety is the spice of life.

All right, back to work for me. I just helped a patron on our online chat service find historic weather data for Ithaca, NY.

*fastens Super Librarian cape*

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A pre-Lenten retreat

Before we get started, I'll let you know that Anne slept better last night, just in case you were worrying about it for me. Chances are, you have your own lives, but I know you love me anyway. The only problem was that she was up for the day and screaming by 5:30 am, but I suppose you can't win them all. Someday, we'll sleep like normal people again. Someday...

At any rate, I wanted to talk about this new book I got for Christmas, and the at-home retreat/Marian consecration that I'm going to be doing, starting TODAY!

The book that I'm using is called 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration by Fr. Michael Gaitley. I heard about it on Greg and Jennifer Willits' podcast, The Catholics Next Door. What the author does is take St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary method of a 33 day preparation period followed by a consecration to Jesus through Mary. I own a copy of True Devotion to Mary, but I never made it all the way through the book. Fr. Gaitley modernizes the approach by including meditations (rather than long litanies and prayers) on the work and life of St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximillian Kolbe and Bl. Teresa of Calcutta. The meditations are only a few pages long each and include a brief prayer. At the end of the 33 days, the consecration prayer is included. He has a chart for dates on which you could do the retreat, since it is optimal to finish on a Marian feast. I'm starting today and finishing on February 11th, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

So far, I LOVE it! The meditations are so interesting and engaging. If anyone else decides to get a copy of this book, let me know, because I'd love to follow-up with you on your experience. It is not available for Kindle, but is a mere $10 on Amazon for a print copy. My sister got it for me for Christmas. The next starting date is February 20th, and finishes on March 25th, the feast of the Annunciation. It would make a nice retreat for Lent, which starts on February 13th this year, with Easter falling on March 31st. So the retreat would finish up right at the start of Holy Week. Think about it!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Feet in my kidneys - a tale of my night

Today is my anniversary. :) Unfortunately, it's coming at the expense of a miserable stretch with Anne. I will say that yesterday evening was great - she was totally back to normal. We played, we read books, we enjoyed her company. Then she went to bed.

She was up for the first time (you know that's a bad omen when in relation to sleep, a parent uses the phrase "when she woke for the *first* time...") just as I shut my eyes around 10:30 pm. Anne has always had that knack. It doesn't matter that she is not in our room. She apparently has a radar that goes off when mom's eyelids close.

Mike goes in. Finds that Anne has wet through her sleeper. He changes her and strips her crib sheet. Gets her back down. All is well.

For 20 minutes. Then she's awake again. *sighs*

I go in, and I'm in there for what feels like an eternity. I attempted one put down, but as I was arranging her blankie on her, I could see that she was unfolding the cry face, so I just picked her up for another soothe. I was awake anyway, why prolong the agony?

By the time I got her down for good it was about 12:30 am. I get back in bed. I can't sleep.

Perhaps God is smiting me.

I fall asleep about 1 am. Anne is up again at 2:30 am. Then she's up again at 4:30 am. Then she's up for the day at 5 am.

I tried bringing her into bed with us, because I was so desperate, and due to said desperation, I forgot that this NEVER WORKS. The child has never wanted to sleep in our bed. She turns. She kicks. She sits up and exclaims "da da!" when she discovers that we are not alone in the bed. As you might imagine, it went poorly.

All told, I got about 3-4 hours of sleep last night. This does not make for a happy Tiffany. But you know how it goes. Nights that epically bad usually do not repeat themselves the very next night. Usually.

In other depressing news, my new iPod Nano is being insubordinate. Mike got him for me for Christmas because my old iPod (Max) was at full capacity. Plus, I've had him for years and he would frequently freeze up on me while playing. That would terrify me with regard to dance performances in which you simply bring your own iPod and have to play it on whatever dock happens to be at the venue. If the iPod is frozen, no music = no dancey.

My brand new iPod Nano is green, and I've named him John Paul. He's quite adorable. I wasn't sure what to think of his touch screen at first, but I'm getting used to it. He has many features that are far superior to Max, and has double the capacity. I do love him. Except that this newest model of iPods (and apparently iPhones as well, though I don't have one of those) has a new output feature. Instead of the large "plug-in area" if you will, that we all use to connect our iPods to our computers, our iPod docks, etc. the new generation now sports this much smaller output that I think is called a "lightning plug." Or something like that. The old plug is called "30 pin" if I'm not mistaken. What this means is that John Paul will not work with ANY of my equipment without an adapter. Which costs **$40** from Apple.


The reviews for the adapters on Amazon are positively scathing, with livid people complaining about Apple robbing them blind. I thought I was rising above the nastiness by searching online and finding a much cheaper generic model somewhere else. I ordered it. It came in yesterday.

Right, it doesn't work.

*insert appalling swear word of your choice here*

I mean, it fits into my iPod, and then it fits into the old plug system, but my accessories (my dock and FM transmitter in my car) do not subsequently play my music and podcasts. And I NEED this thing to play with ANY dock for my dancing. I can't even return this cheap adapter because it would cost me more in postage to do so than to just throw it in the garbage.

Let my experience be a lesson to you, dear reader. Generic adapters for the new Apple devices = NO NO.

With much humility, I just went to Amazon and ordered the $40 real Apple adapter. I'm feeling punchy about it, but from what I'm reading this will in fact work to output my audio. I had a little credit from Amazon coming, so it cost me about $20, but I'm still rather pinchy faced about the whole thing.

At this point, as long as it works, I'll hold my tongue. I should have it next week.

*nostrils flare*

Monday, January 7, 2013

Of painful weekends and Mystery Knit-alongs...

Well, I'm alive. I think that after the weekend I just had, that's the good news. Let's get started...

Saturday was good. All was normal, Mike and I went out to dinner to celebrate our 8th anniversary (actual date is Tuesday). Then I woke up on Sunday. Hank comes downstairs crying.

And so it begins...

Hank is sick. His head and stomach hurt, he says, plus he's cold and his "whole body feels weird." We tuck him into the couch with an afghan and some juice. Anne meanwhile, hasn't slept well at night nor napped well in days, and it's clear that she's once again teething due to her drooly ways and consequent stinky sleepers. She begins a reign of terror that lasts from the moment she awakes at *5:40 am* until 6:30 pm, when we literally couldn't take it another moment, and shipped her up to bed. Besides when she napped, all she did ALL DAY LONG was the following:

(1) Screamed;

(2) Cried;

(3) Threw self on floor;

(4) Asked for things (like a cup of milk, or some cheese) and then when handed aforementioned item, threw them down violently; broken up only by some

(5) Whining.

At one point, I offered her one of her favorite books, and do you know what she did?

She made A DISMISSIVE SOUND and TURNED HER BACK ON ME!  Attitude was positively *oozing* from every pore. It was just one of those days in which you wonder who replaced your sweet, loving toddler with this feral, demon child.

It was ugly.

Anyway, I don't know when I've ever heard so much crying for such a long period of time, ever.  Over the din, I was telling Mike that for me, hell would be listening to a baby cry on a non-stop repeat forever and ever. It makes me so anxious to hear a continually crying baby, I just want to jump out of my own skin. For Mike, we agreed that hell for him would be being strapped down and for ALL ETERNITY and being forced to watch full volume reruns of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. But I digress.

All this fun and I haven't even finished chronicling the day yet.

The highlight of the day was definitely Mass, and the feast of the Epiphany. Henry was too sick to accompany so, so I sadly went alone. He was looking forward to seeing the wise men arrive at the nativity scene from their perch of traveling across the altar for the past couple of weeks. I went up to the nativity so that I could take mental notes and describe it to Hank when I got home. The wise men looked lovely in their gold robes.

And the Epiphany has always been special to me. I read in a "Name Your Baby a Saint Name!" book years ago that Tiffany is derived from Epiphana, so therefore I consider my name a Catholic name; it makes me happy, so humor me.

After I arrived home and had lunch however, the day took yet another turn. I was really tired from being up with Anne, but I felt kind of weak. Chilled. Achey. Uh oh...

Suddenly, I felt lousy. I was so cold I could barely function and it hurt to lift Anne or generally cavort about the house. I had zero appetite.

I was miserable. I felt absolutely awful and there was no rest for the weary. Anne's screaming did not cease for a sick mom. Mike was doing all of the heavy lifting with regard to the kids but it's not like I could relax with Anne's antics reverberating through the house. It was a LONG day.

By the time she fell asleep in my arms before 7 pm I couldn't believe that I had made it. I was in bed before 9 pm. Good riddance on that one.

This morning, I had a fever rash (I get these all the time after I'm sick, real attractive) and had lost 3 pounds.  I'm just glad that that is over.

But in exciting news, the Downton Abbey Mystery Knit-along started yesterday, the first clue has been posted! I've taken a look at it, but I have not knit it yet. It appears that we are knitting gauntlets (what I would call long fingerless gloves). There is a provisional crochet cast-on, which I've never done before, and a lace panel in the first clue. I'm a bit intimidated, but can't wait to dive in later today!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Actual conversation heard outside my office door

I swear it, this really happened, at approximately 9:30 am this morning right outside my office door:

"Hey Susan, how are you?"

"Well, all right, but I was just at my eye doctor, and according to her I'm getting really old and falling to pieces."


"Oh ugh, I was there recently too. And you know what she told me? She said I needed BIFOCALS! She actually used the word BIFOCALS! And I said, 'Bifocals? I don't think I need those.' And you know what she said? 'How old are you?'"


"And I said 'it's right there in my chart, I'm not saying it out loud!' And she said 'Well, you've reached that magic age that starts with a 4...'"


"Well, mine told me that I have cataracts in both eyes. I don't need to do anything right now, but in a few years I'm going to have to deal with it. Boy, I just felt terrible when I left, like I'm getting ancient or something and am just going to keel over at any time!"

Clearly, we are all under attack right now from evil eye doctors.

I think I'm going to need to order some yarn to make myself feel better.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"You're falling apart": An uplifting tale of life after age 35...


Yes, as if to add insult to last month's mammogram (everything's fine, I am just apparently old enough now to warrant a baseline mammogram given that I'm "so close to 40!") I had an appointment with my eye doctor yesterday that was nothing short of anxiety-inducing. Let us chronicle.

I always hated hearing about the doom and gloom that awaits us all beginning at age 35, and that experience has only intensified with each passing year. I will grant, I have noticed some changes that have started in the past year or two, coinciding precisely with when I turned 35.


The skin on my hands is a little thinner, I have a few more lines around my eyes when I smile. But I don't mind those things (well, I could live without the thinning skin, but I don't mind the facial lines). I think it's much more attractive to age gracefully than to put yourself through the nightmare of plastic surgery that so many Hollywood actresses feel compelled to do these days. And have you seen some of them? I feel so sorry for them. We're all going to get older, it's just a fact. I know we all wish that we could freeze what we looked like at age 25 and look that way forever, but that ain't happenin'. So the choices are to live with it (and apply Olay liberally each night, ask me how I know this) or to have surgery, and I don't know about you, but the former looks a heck of a lot better. Not to mention cheaper.

But I digress. I made an appointment with the eye doctor because it's been a few years since I've been there, and I know that I need to keep up with my eyes. I was born with a birth defect in my macula, and I had a lot of trouble with my vision as a child. I had a very good opthalmologist back then, and my vision improved a lot by time I was an adult. I now only wear glasses for reading, and my distance vision is quite good. But genetics aren't on my side, plus I work in front of a computer all day, and I otherwise engage in lots of activities (reading, knitting) that strain my eyes. My appointment was yesterday afternoon.

I arrive, Kindle in hand for what I was sure would be a lengthy stay in the waiting room. I read one paragraph.


I actually wished that they had been running behind. But alas.

I'm taken into a preliminary room with a nurse who asks me lots of eye questions. Then she asks if it's ok for them to dilate my eyes.

Ugh, I forgot about that.

Well, I mean, I GUESS, since otherwise they can't really do anything with me. I submit to the drops.

God only knows what she put in there. There was a series of at least 4 different things. My eyes immediately feel watery and crappy. Then she tells me that she's going to measure my eye pressure, or some such thing. She proceeds to stick, I swear it, A ROD, millimeters from my poor eyeball, and she pushes back my my eyelids to make it bulge even more.

"Try to relax."

Oh really? I'll take that under advisement.

I couldn't help it, I was instinctively pushing back *away* from the rod in my eyeball. Have you ever heard anything more ridiculous than to RELAX while such a thing is going on?

Then came the the inevitable letter reading quizzes, clicking upon seeing flashes exam, and the ever popular "which is better?" segment.

"A or B?"

"Um, I guess A."

"Ok. A or....C!"


"They look about the same."

"Really? How about A or D?"

"D." I suppose.

"Ok. Now, 1 or...2!"

The verdict?

"Well, you're falling apart."

A real uplifter for the new year, no?

" It happens to all of us after age 35. Our lenses lose flexibility. This decline will continue until you're about 60. Then it will level out. That's the good news."

That's good news?

"Your distance vision has actually improved."

Well see, THAT is good news.

"But your reading vision has reduced. You're going to need a new prescription for your reading glasses, and a light bifocal is a consideration."


"The bad news is that no matter what, your vision will only continue to worsen as you get older. Ten years from now it will be so much worse than it is right now."

Let's just keep the good news pouring in, shall we?

"I think we can skip the bifocials for now, but you'll notice a significant difference in your new glasses. Do you have any questions?"


What's next, being addressed with the word "geezer" or "fogey" being tossed about?

I went out to survey my glasses options and chose a small wire-rimmed pair that are cute. I think they were brown. This process would have been easier had I been able to actually SEE clearly.

"When do the drops wear off?"

"3-5 hours."


I go out and get in my car. I don't know about you, but I do think that *seeing* is an important quality in a driver. I could see things in the distance, but I couldn't read a thing close-up.

I carefully head home. Hark! What is that up there on the right?


Pit stop everybody!

Clearly, after this appointment, and since I won't be able to read for hours, I need a glass of Chardonnay. I go inside.

Instead of trying to really pick anything out (you do need to read in order to do that) I grabbed a bottle of something that appeared to be white wine from a display right next to the register. I hand it to the cashier.

"Can I see your i.d. please?"

Wait. You can hear it, can't you?

*ANGELS SING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

Shazzam!!! I may be a woman rapidly approaching middle age with declining eyesight and apparently ancient lady parts, but damn it, I STILL GOT IT!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

From the depths of Christmas celebrations, she rises...

Looky here, I'm back. :) It's one of those mixed emotions kinds of days. Obviously, I loved being home and am sad to be back at work away from my babies. In some ways, it's nice to have my routine back, but it's bittersweet. And this morning was anything *but* routine.

Anne was up for 2 hours in the middle of the night (I have no notion why, and given that this is kid #2, I think I've finally learned not to analyze these things too deeply; young children just wake in the night. No sense in getting depressed about it. I think it's a fair assumption that by time they are teenagers, they're no longer going to want my company in the middle of the night) and both Mike and I had to take a shift going in to soothe her. It then took us some time to get back to sleep. Hence, at 3 am, we're up reading with our bedside lights aglow. Come 6:20 am, I glance at our clock and utter a word that I dare not repeat. Luckily, Henry doesn't start back to school until tomorrow, which meant that I could stay in bed a bit longer than usual. He has to be in his classroom saying morning prayers at 7:42 am, so needless to say, when we're having a typical morning we all have to be up by 6:30. Today, since we didn't have him to worry about getting ready, I stayed in bed until 6:50.

Both children and Mike were still sleeping (I peeked in at Anne through her keyhole and glared at her while she snoozed away; lovingly, of course) so I tiptoed around and straightened my hair/applied my makeup in the bathroom and let them sleep. By time I was done shortly after 7, Mike was awake. We had breakfast together without either of the kids, which is pretty unprecedented. As I was finishing up, Henry came downstairs in his PJ's, looking rumpled and confused. I had a quick cup of coffee while reading one of the latest Love Inspired titles on my Kindle, then went up to brush my teeth and fetch Anne, who was just stirring. Naturally, she looked cute enough to eat in her reindeer footed sleeper. I brought her down, got her some breakfast, and then she "helped" me pack my lunch. As soon as I was done, it was time to leave, since I had the first morning reference shift. Anne's face was still all warm and kissable when I left. I felt sad.

I got in the car and froze my buns off, since the temperatures have suddenly dipped into the teens around here. I listened to a podcast on my way in and felt a bit soothed. As I was walking from my car to the library I realized that I forgot my shoes.


I had on my boots, and usually I leave my cute black Mary Janes in my office to slip into. But I took those home since I was going to be off for nearly 2 weeks, and naturally, they did not cross my mind this morning. I remembered that I did have an emergency pair of shoes in my office, although they only marginally match what I'm wearing. However, they're better than my boots, so they're on my feet presently.

I got in and checked my email. I sent off a few and mercifully remembered to turn off my automatic replies that I was out of the office. I made tea, and fetched my snail mail. As I got back to my office to mix my tea before my 9 am reference shift, I realized that it was somehow 8:58. I mixed my tea, grabbed the latest Library Journal that I need to order some books from, as well as my copy of Holy Days: Meditations on the Feasts, Fasts, and Other Solemnities of the Church by our beloved pope to review for Catholic Library World. I step out of my office and close the door. The instant the latch locks, I realize that I left my keys inside the office.

*repeats scandalous curse word from earlier in the morning*

I got set up on the desk and observed the completely empty library. So I put up the "Librarian will be right back!" sign and fetched the sub-master key from our facilities guy. I rescued my key ring and was back down at the desk within 3 minutes.

Needless to say, I'm feeling off-kilter this morning, but I'm hanging in there. I'm looking forward to reviewing the Holy Days book I mentioned above. I also am excited about my new subscription to Word Among Us: Catholic Mass Edition, also my very first Kindle subscription.

I've bought the little Living Faith devotionals for a long time (for a while in print, and then on my Kindle) and they come in 3 month increments. My latest one lapsed after December, so I thought I'd try something new. I've always liked Word Among Us, but have never taken out an official subscription. They offer a 30 day free trial for Kindle, so I took advantage.

So far so good! For each day, it includes the Mass readings plus all the Mass prayers if you are able to attend daily Mass. There is also a daily meditation, and longer articles that you can read over the course of the entire month. If you keep the subscription, it downloads automatically to your Kindle each month and charges $1.99 to your credit card. It's very easy to navigate amongst the articles and the daily meditations, they clearly set this digital edition up with ease of ebook reader use in mind. I read today's installment at 3 am when I was trying to get re-sleepy after soothing Anne. I really enjoyed it.

We'll see how I stick with it for January, but if I like it, I won't cancel the subscription and February's issue will just download for me and then begin charging me. I think $1.99 is more than reasonable for a month of content, and you can immediately cancel at any time, which is a another advantage over a print subscription. I'm super pleased.

I hope that everybody had a wonderful new year, and I look forward to chatting with you Monday through Friday again as we begin 2013. :)