Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

Cookies and Kittens and Other Cute Stuff

Hi all. We’ve been busy around here the past week or so.

First before I do anything else, here is Agnes’ grave marker! It was installed in time for us to visit on Memorial Day. It is so pretty. We are very happy with it.



Octopus and shark cookies, with interested facial features.

Octopus and shark cookies, with interested facial features.

Okay. Since I made those cute lamb cookies for the Holy Ghost parish Easter dinner, I’ve been waiting for an excuse to make more cute cutout cookies. Finally this week I found an excuse: the celebration of Stephen’s baptism day! He was baptized on May 28, 2011 when he was just barely three weeks old. We want to celebrate these sacramental anniversaries in our family, so we took the opportunity to throw a little party, complete with cute animal cutout cookies. I wanted to do octopuses and sharks because those cutters appealed to me this time. If you are interested, the set of cutters I bought is this one from Wilton. It has any animal you could ever want. Any. Animal. The cookie recipe I use now for these cutouts is the “Glazed Butter Cookie” recipe from The New Best Recipe Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen. I haven’t talked about those guys for a while, but I want you all to know that they are still a big part of my life. Especially now that I can’t live without these cookies. I like this recipe because the dough is easy to work with, you don’t have to chill it for hours before you roll it out for cutting, plus the directions say to roll the dough between two sheets of parchment which is pure genius. Nothing sticks to anything and the dough rolls out perfectly even with very few tears. That’s “tears” rhymes with “pears” not rhymes with “beers,” though this recipe certainly cuts down on that kind of “tears” as well.

Nap time

Nap time

Also this past weekend we went to visit my Aunt and the new kittens one of her cats recently birthed. There were four kittens in the litter and we wanted to adopt one of them! It was a fun trip. Stephen enjoyed playing with all four kittens, who were all energetic and very adorable. We decided relatively quickly that we wanted to take the fluffy one, the only kitten that has long fur. We had been discussing potential kitten names for a while so it was pretty easy to decide on a name. At this point in the story I would like to stop the narrative in order to fill you in on a bit of history. As you know, we already have a cat named Sashimi. We adopted Sashimi a few years ago when we lived in Billings, MT, and we thought it was funny to name him after the Japanese raw-fish appetizer “sashimi.” Ha ha. Aren’t we funny and so witty. Anyway so. We wanted to continue the ethnic food theme with our new cat as well. We tossed around some ideas like Pakora, which is a chickpea flour fritter from the East Indian culinary tradition. We considered Cannoli. Taquito. Nori. Ramen. As you can imagine it gets ridiculous very quickly. Frijoles Refritos, “Frito” for short. Combo Plate #2. Gravlax. Wonton. I refer you back a few lines [ha ha aren’t we funny and so witty]. We named the fluffy kitten Pakora and vowed to bring her home with us.

Oh, but all the other kittens are so cute and look at that one, he really gets along well with Pakora and my Aunt says he’s even more snuggly and I really wanted to get another snuggly kitty. But then, if we get another kitten, what should we name it? Gravlax? Jeremy said no way. I quote directly from Jeremy’s mouth: “That is the worst name for a cat ever.”

Gravlax (left) and Pakora (right)

Gravlax (left) and Pakora (right)

Guess what we ended up naming the kitten? Gravlax! I’m so happy we did because every time anyone says the name Gravlax everyone in the room kind of titters. It’s hilarious. Also, it’s very much in keeping with Sashimi’s name, since Gravlax is a fermented fish that is also eaten raw. I think the name is awesome. Pakora and Gravlax. It rolls off the tongue so well. And they really do get along well with each other. Sashimi did take a few days to get used to the idea of two new kittens, but I think they have already worked out their differences. They have all played together a few times, and they can all eat in the same room without a throw-down occurring.

stephen and iconsFinally, we hung up our icons in our new house. It took awhile to get around to it, but I’m so happy we finally did it. It looks great! There is plenty of room to continue adding icons as our collection grows. So long as add to it symmetrically! We plan to have icons for each of our children’s patron saints, as many as that may be, plus whatever else we decide to add. I’m excited for the possibilities.Gravlax likes Mary!

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Escapades in our New Home

This week dawned bright and early Monday morning. The half-light was stealing beneath the shade, gradually softening the darkness in our room, accompanied by the dulcet tones of the cat throwing up under our bed while we were in it.

So that kind of sets the scene.

We also had the great joy and pleasure to witness water dripping in our kitchen. Not in a friendly and expected location, no. Water from inside the wall was dripping through the window frame and plopping onto the sill. Water that we can only presume has somehow broken free of the confining tile tub surround. So…does this mean no more showers until we get it fixed? I couldn’t say. We are thinking of hanging an extra plastic curtain on the inside wall of the surround to see if that stops the water, but there are actually a number of locations where a crack may have breeched the seal. We knew the bathroom tile was something we would have to do sooner rather than later, but we were not planning to do it this soon. Plus…the available evidence suggests leaking has been a longtime issue, so I’m afraid to think about what the condition of the interior walls may be. I’m sure whatever the case, their condition is going to be expensive.

100_2102100_2103100_2104But there have been lots of fun escapades, too! We went to an early-season yard sale over the weekend and bought a little plastic kids’ bowling set. We took it up to our finished attic that is currently empty since we haven’t decided what to do with it yet. Well, I guess we decided it should be a bowling alley!

We have also been unpacking boxes at a ferocious rate. I told a friend on the phone that we are “almost done” unpacking, except for four or five boxes of knick-knacks, five or six maybe seven boxes of books, oh and all those flat picture boxes that have who-knows-what in them. Yeah, almost done, indeed! Well, we sure are close to being all unpacked considering where we started not even two weeks ago! Our house looks more like a home every day. Our furniture looks really good in this house, almost as if we collected each chair and lamp with the mystical foreknowledge that we would end up in this very house. The wood tone of our bookcases matches the woodwork of the house. Our flower-print rugs coordinate with the existing color schemes. Our big brown sofa that I wanted to slipcover actually looks perfect in the cozy living room, just the way it is. Amazing.

Today Stephen and I had some fun in the neighborhood, too. We went to a local antique store to pick up some housewares that I decided I would rather not buy new. The store was wonderful, had a bit of everything, and I can definitely see myself popping over there any time I need a couple more wine glasses, or a large serving bowl, or some picture frames, or long-handled teaspoons, or a cool tablecloth, or a old-fashioned door handle, or, or, or…

Today I purchased a number of small glass jars and bottles to use for storing spices. Some additional forks, spoons, knives because we only have four of each. Some vintage linen cloth napkins. Four ceramic soup bowls since the only “soup” bowls we have are Christmas-y and melamine. You can’t put that stuff in the microwave. I already thought of some more items I would like to find at an antique store. I recently read a book about “being green” by recycling and reusing antique stuff. It creates waste to buy a new tablecloth, so it is “green” to buy a vintage tablecloth. I can see the truth in that, and I can honestly say I never thought about that aspect of antique/second-hand items. I’ve always just gravitated towards that market because it’s more interesting to me, but now I will do it more intentionally!

Finally, our escapades frequently take us to the local branch of the library, which is within easy walking distance. Even for Stephen! He knows the way, and he always assumes we’re going to the library if we go outside or go for a walk elsewhere around the neighborhood. He is such a cute little bibliophile. His current favorite library book is Wooby and Peep. I like it too. The illustrations are very interesting, and the animal characters are likable. The neighborhood animals appear to be nosy, looking over the fence, and they often have funny comments about the action. There is some subtle humor adults can appreciate, and broader comedy for the kids. I recommend it.

Hopefully our escapades continue more in this fun direction and less in the cat-puke direction. I would appreciate that. Kthxby

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7 Quick Takes: August 9

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary. It’s Friday! Go over there for more quick taking.

1. This week I updated my About page. It’s better than it was before, but it’s not nearly as interesting as Jen’s. One of my dreams for my blog is to craft a truly exciting, amusing, informative About page. I know. Dream big.

2. This week I’ve been fielding a lot of phone calls about Agnes. I never realized this before–and this is my advice to you–if you really want to feel popular you should have a special needs child. People can’t get enough of you! Everyone wants to talk to you on the phone, and join their program, and sign up for their services. It’s great. Anyway, I talked to a case manager RN with my insurance company, and one of the things she asked me was how do I cope with stress. It was a lead up to the “never shake a baby” speech. So she asks me this question, and I’m like, “…..” And she says, “You know, exercising, cleaning, deep breaths, listening to music, how you cope with stress.” And I’m like, “….uh…” Because all I’m thinking is a)I cry. b)drink wine. c)despair. d)eat crappy food. None of which I felt comfortable sharing with Sharon, RN from the health insurance company. So I told her that I cry which seemed safe enough, and I told her that I write a blog. On reflection later that evening I also realized that I cope by reading stupid magazines, reading blogs (Grace’s, Mary’s, Jen’s, Emily’s, Ree’s to name my favorites), and snuggling with my kitty.

3. Speaking of the kitty, it seriously a drag that we can’t have the cat in our bedroom at night anymore. We used to sleep with the cat and it was so cuddly. But now there’s an infant in the room and the cat might jump into the bassinet and smother Agnes with his majestic fur. I don’t think he would do it, but I can’t be sure because I have caught him jumping into the bassinet during the day when Agnes isn’t in there. It’s a risk that I’m not willing to take. But…mah kitty…[sniff].

4. Speaking of smothering, I can not believe how humid it is here in Northeast Ohio. I did grow up here, but I’ve been living in the arid West since 2008 so I’ve forgotten. Holy Mother of God it is disgusting. I feel like shaving my head and passing out in front of a box fan.

5. Speaking of smothering, have you seen this? I think these memes are the best. Click the picture to see some other great examples.

6. I just watched the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love this week and I adored it. I love Steve Carell in his more dramatic roles. I loved him in Dan in Real Life as well. Crazy, Stupid, Love had a great cast and lots of great moments between Carell’s character and Ryan Gosling’s character. But I especially loved at the end where Carell’s character is talking to his wife from whom he separated at the beginning of the film, and she says, “We’ve had one heck of a year.” And he says, “Oh yeah, how so?” I can so relate to that. And as a side note, I’ve seen all this hype about Ryan Gosling online and in women’s interest magazines and all along I’ve been thinking what’s the big deal? Now having seen this movie I can kind of get it.

7. Have you ever noticed this? Maybe I’m crazy…but…there is a resemblance.


Seven Quick Takes: July 26

Once again I am joining Jennifer and all the fine bloggers at Conversion Diary for a Quick Takes Friday. I do it when I feel like it, okay. Don’t judge me for my sporadic linking-up.

1. I’m down to two pumping sessions! Tomorrow maybe I’ll do two again, then one on Sunday. If I’m motivated I might do one final time on Monday morning, but Agnes is coming home Monday so I probably can’t be bothered to pump after Monday morning!

2. We’re trying to get the house ready for a fragile newborn. I resurrected my trusty old housecleaning schedule and adapted it for our current house. The important thing will be to keep the carpets vacuumed and the surfaces as dust-free as possible. Agnes has some respiratory trouble. I hope we can make it clean enough for her to do okay at home! Hello, daily vacuuming! Also I need to get my life back in control. The cleaning schedule will help me stay on track and actually maybe accomplish some things around the house in the midst of caring for a toddler and a needy newborn with lots of doctors’ appointments.

3. The cats really like the changing station I set up in the guest room. I’ll probably have to kick them off the mat when it’s time to change Agnes’ diaper.

Cats (l to r): Iggi, Sashimi.

Cats (l to r): Iggi, Sashimi.


4. My husband delivers pizzas. He gets an employee discount. Apparently as his family, I get the employee discount as well. This could be trouble. In related news, dinner tonight was delicious.

5. Yesterday I wore a pretty new skirt, put on makeup, and even styled my hair before we went to visit Agnes at the NICU. I guess my effort really paid off because one of the nurses made a special trip to Agnes’ cubby just to tell me that I looked “lovely.” That’s why we ladies do it, folks. So the NICU nurses can enjoy our put-together style. No seriously, I feel a lot better these days now that I am taking some time with my personal appearance. And since Agnes is doing so well, I’m not afraid to wear mascara, and I feel much perkier when I don’t look like I just rolled out of bed and threw on a t-shirt.

6. I had my six week postpartum appointment with my OB on Wednesday, even though I was only five and a half weeks postpartum. He’s on vacation next week. I really like several of the OBs at that practice, but it seems like every OB has one question on the brain when meeting with postpartum women: What are you doing for birth control? I always tell them we do fertility awareness, natural family planning. So far I haven’t had any trouble from docs when I give this response, though I suppose I will probably get resistance as I get older. I wish they would give me a little trouble because I would love to explain the process to them and show them that it really works!

7. I really love coffee. I also have nothing else to say for my seventh quick take. So…coffee. It’s the best. I’m a cream and sugar kind of gal. I don’t like flavored creamer because it gets too sweet by the time you add enough to make the coffee creamy. And coffee has got to be strong!


Head over to conversion diary for some more fun quick takes! Thanks for reading!


Seven Quick Takes Friday: April 12

Quick Takes are being hosted by Grace over at Camp Patton this week since Jennifer just had a baby!

100_15761. Today while Jeremy was out riding his motorcycle around town, he found a crazy house. This house looks like it’s straight out of Star Wars or something. I said, “I expected Luke Skywalker to walk out at any moment. You know, before he was a Jedi. When he was just a sand farmer.” Jeremy said, “I think he was a moisture farmer.” Whatever, this house looks like a space station. It doesn’t look anything like the other houses in the neighborhood or even in the whole city.


2. Stephen is obsessed with motorcycles. Pretty much the highlight of his day is when he gets to see Jeremy ride out on his bike. Stephen makes a “bzzzz” sound with his lips and waves his finger around in a circle any time someone says the word “motorcycle,” or if he’s just thinking of motorcycles, or if he hears a sound that is like a motorcycle. His favorite thing to do is read Jeremy’s motorcycle owners handbook and look at the pictures and say “bzzzz” and wave his finger around. Sometimes when he wakes up in the morning, the first thing I hear over the monitor is “bzzzz. Da-Da. Da-Da. bzzzzz.” It’s pretty much the cutest, and it almost makes me not mind that I’m hearing this little gem before 6 in the morning.

3. Speaking of motorcycles, we took a sock monkey with us as Stephen’s toy in the car this evening, and Jeremy and Stephen thought it would be fun for the monkey to ride the motorcycle. “bzzzz. bzzzzz.” (waves his finger).100_1567

4. There are lilac bushes right by my apartment building! I had no idea those bushes were lilac since we didn’t move here until after the flowers were done and then it was winter. But this week the flowers came in, and they are just now starting to get really fragrant. I love lilacs. They’re one of my favorite flowers along with daffodils and sunflowers.

5. I heard from my friend in St. Cloud. Apparently she was just very very busy and didn’t have a chance to write back before now. I hope she’s not too embarrassed that I called her out on my blog… At least she’s still fairly anonymous to all y’all.

6. We spent a good portion of the afternoon cleaning the apartment a bit. We figure it won’t be so hard to clean after we move out if we do a little pre-cleaning now. We did the bathrooms and started to wash the insides of the windows. We also plan to dust and wipe the kitchen surfaces and vacuum a couple more times before we get down and dirty right at the end. We’ll do a nice, thorough clean after we get all our stuff moved out. One of our friends here generously offered to come over and help us, and she’s a professional! So it shouldn’t be too painful.

7. Jeremy took Sashimi the Cat for a “fit to fly” physical this morning to prepare for his cross-country plane flight to Ohio next weekend. The vet said Sashimi is actually probably a Ragdoll breed cat, not the Chocolate-Point Himalayan we had thought before. He has the exact coloring of the “Mitted” Point Ragdoll. And his temperament, coat quality, and personality are all in line with a Ragdoll’s specifications. That’s pretty exciting for me. Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve always liked the sound of a Ragdoll cat and wished I could have one. And here, these past couple years we’ve actually had one! Sashimi is actually on the small side for Ragdoll, weighing only 10 or 11 pounds. Also I think he might be bulimic, which is not generally common for Ragdolls (or any breed). He throws up after eating all. the. time. I had to clean up four puke piles today. That is more than usual and I don’t know what’s going on. Maybe it’s a flare-up of his bulimia. It comes in spurts. Heh. Heh heh. I think you know what I mean.

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Just a few snapshots tonight of what we’ve been up to the past day or two.

We made smoothies with our awesome dumpster blender.

We made smoothies with our awesome dumpster blender.

Stephen wasn't sure that he liked it. But he tried it.

Stephen wasn’t sure that he liked it. But he tried it.

"Meow. I'm cute. And awesome."

“Meow. I’m cute. And awesome.”

Look. Look at this bacon.

Look. Look at this bacon.

We bought these for our road trip. Yes, we've been eating them already. How can we resist?

We bought these for our road trip. Yes, we’ve been eating them already. How can we resist?

Our moving boxes.

Our moving boxes.

I actually need to talk about the boxes. We stashed our moving boxes on the balcony to keep them out of the way and we knew they would be safe and dry out there because we live in New Mexico. I can count on two fingers the number of times, in the last six months, that it’s rained for longer than five minutes, and one of those times was today. Go figure. So Jeremy draped some garbage bags over the boxes so they wouldn’t get wet. Then a few minutes later, it stopped raining.

Jeremy wrote up a new to-do list. We have to finish the list this week. OMG.

Jeremy wrote up a new to-do list. We have to finish the list this week. OMG.

Some awesome new toys we can bust out for Stephen on our road trip.

Some awesome new toys we can bust out for Stephen on our road trip.

And that just about covers the photo-worthy moments of the past couple days. At least that covers the moments where I had the camera handy and was able to take a decent picture. So, I guess it doesn’t cover very many moments…but…whatever. This is my blog and I can do what I want.







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Progress is Progressing

We’ve been spending most of our time plugging away at our moving to-do list. The most recent accomplishments are:

1. We cleared out our kitchen of all kinds of glassware, plastic storage tubs, extraneous spoons and gadgets and cutting boards, dry goods we won’t use and half-empty bottles of vinegar, etc. We also identified a few items we want to unload right before we pack up and leave. We’ll need them between now and then, but we won’t need them once we get to Ohio and move in with my gracious parents.

2. Jeremy cleaned the car. Picked out all the trash, dusted and polished the insides, washed the windows inside and out. It looks great and ready to go on a long, muddy, dusty road trip.

3. We decided where we are going to procure moving boxes and packing supplies. We looked at a bunch of different options, but the cheapest one ended up being good ol’ Lowe’s down the street. Their boxes are the least expensive and come in three very useful sizes. We had good forethought and saved all the specialty packing supplies from our last move. That means we won’t have to repurchase bubble sleeves for glassware, lamp boxes, picture boxes, or anything like that. We even saved a big roll of bubble wrap. Go us.

4. I got my medical files faxed over to the practice that will begin seeing me as soon as I get to Ohio, like literally almost the next day. Thanks to my mom for hooking me up with the doc, who just happens to have expertise in high-risk pregnancy. Plus they even accept Medicaid, and will even see me if I’m uninsured (all they want is a deposit that they will refund when I can finally produce proof of coverage).

5. One thing I haven’t done yet that is actually the most important is file an application for Ohio Medicaid. As far as I can see, it’s impossible to do before I actually get to Ohio. The online application they want you to fill out doesn’t leave space for soft answers. “Income: I don’t know? Medical expenses: I don’t know? County of residence: will be Summit county in 3 weeks?” I think I actually have to call and talk to someone and that is frankly a very terrifying prospect. As if it might even be possible to talk to a person at the Medicaid office. So I keep putting it off.

6. We are poised to cross off a few more list items by the end of the week, but we can’t do it quite yet. We are very close to being able to file our tax return. And we’re honing in on travel arrangements for the cat. We also need to hear back from two of our prospective overnight hosts on the road to confirm that we can stay with them. When those things happen, our list will be almost entirely completed!

Not much news from the docs this week. The only new information is that apparently our road trip perfectly coincides with the point in my pregnancy when the doctors will want to start seeing me really often to monitor the baby. So, my primary OB wasn’t too keen to hear that we plan to be on the road for two weeks. It’s also getting close to the crucial time when my docs may induce labor and delivery for the health of the baby. My doc here told me it isn’t likely I’ll carry my little girl past 38 weeks, and it could end much sooner than that if things start to look awful. It all depends on what my next ultrasound reveals. If the baby looks good and is still showing signs of development, we can road trip. If the baby doesn’t look good, they will want to start monitoring about twice a week. Which means I will be making last minute travel arrangements to get my butt to Ohio as soon as possible. That will be very expensive and inconvenient and a big fat bummer, so I hope the baby looks good and my road trip gets the green light. As it is, we’ve already planned to contract the second half of our trip so we get to Ohio sooner. We’ve already booked our trip through Billings, so I really hope we don’t have to alter that part of the trip. Or God forbid, skip the trip altogether.

Hoping, hoping, hoping….


Cake Research During National Bake Week

Yesterday was the kick off day for National Bake Week! In honor of that festive occasion, I started doing some research into what kind of cake I want to bake for my husband’s birthday next week. His only request is that the cake be sheathed in chocolate frosting. So many possibilities! Of course I could do chocolate cake, or yellow cake, but what about the less common choices like peanut butter cake, coffee-flavored cake, some sort of cake with fruit filling, pudding filling, different kinds of cake together in one cake, GAAAH! The possibilities are endless! How about you tell me your suggestions in the comments, and I can go from there!

As you may already know, I get a big kick out of National food days. Who even decides these things? There’s at least one commemoration for every day of the month. Here are the food days I plan to celebrate in April.

First Week of April: Bake Week

April 1: Sourdough Bread Day (we bought a loaf since I never started my sourdough culture again when we moved)

April 7: Coffee Cake Day (we just had coffee cake for Easter…but I must do another one!)

April 8: Empanada Day

April 10: Cinnamon Crescent Day (may be trumped by birthday cake)

April 12: Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day

April 16: Eggs Benedict Day

April 18: Animal Crackers Birthday (woohoo! throw a party for the cracker!)

April 20: Lima Bean Respect Day (I hope we don’t have to actually eat a lima bean, just demonstrate respect…)

April 23: Cherry Cheesecake Day

April 28: Blueberry Pie Day

I really like the baking ones, apparently. I wasn’t too attracted to things like Day of the Mushroom (April 16) or National Prime Rib Day (April 27) but maybe you want to celebrate some different days from me! I hope I get to do those days at the end of the month. Our official move-out date is April 22, so we’ll have to celebrate Cherry Cheesecake and Blueberry Pie on the road!

100_1483Finally I want to share these cute Stephen pictures. He’s like a cat or something: when the window is open, he perches there and just hangs out, looking and sniffing the air or something. This morning they were actually sharing the perch. As you can imagine, that didn’t really last long enough to get a picture. Here Stephen has his sippy cup in the first photo, but it looks like he’s holding up some binoculars! Cute.100_1484


The Road Trip, Man. It’s Gonna Be Epic

First, before we get started on today’s post, here is a gratuitous picture of my cat:

sashimi in toy box


Stephen had pulled out every toy that is usually stored in that compartment of his shelving, and the cat moved right in.

Okay, now for the post.

We are in full swing planning our move and how we’re going to get all of us, all of our stuff, and the cat to Ohio with the least amount of fuss. We’ve got the stuff worked out, at least. U-haul offers this service called “U-boxes” that you can rent instead of a truck. They deliver these shipping containers to you, you fill them with your stuff, then they truck them to wherever you need them to go. The containers are stored in a U-haul warehouse until you want them delivered, then U-haul delivers them. Of course, it is a little cheaper if you go to the warehouse on each end and tow your own containers. You can also tow your own containers across the country, if that’s what you want to do. We are having them delivered, and it is a huge relief to have that all sorted.

As for the cat, we know we will have to send him to Ohio with airplane shipping. That’s how he got to New Mexico. It was a pain, but there are precious few options for animals. No way can he come in the car with us. I just hope he doesn’t wig out too badly when my parents collect him and we aren’t around. And then take him to their house wherein resides a large black dog and another prickly kitty.

As for us, we are planning to take the “scenic route” from New Mexico to Ohio. The quickest route would be to head up through Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, then to Ohio, but why take the quickest route when you can take a longer one? We actually have friends all over the country because we’ve lived in many different places and our friends have moved around as much as we have. We plan to go North to Denver and stay a couple days, stop over in Virginia Dale, CO to visit the Abbey of St. Walburga where Jeremy lived for a couple years, then head up to Billings and stay a few days there. Then it’s East through North Dakota where we have a friend in Richardton at Assumption Abbey. On to St. Cloud, Minnesota where we plan to stay a couple days visiting friends from our Grad School days. From there we’ll continue East, stopping in Milwaukee where we plan to stay in the area a couple days visiting friends. There’s a neat pilgrimage site near there, too, called Holy Hill. Then we go down around the Great Lakes hitting Chicago where we have a couple friends77777[<–from the cat standing on the keyboard]. From there we make the final push East to Ohio. We plan to stop briefly in the Toledo area to catch our breath with some of my extended family before taking the last leg home to beautiful Cuyahoga Falls.

Whew. It’s going to take about two weeks for a total of 2,600 miles. Plus the short side trips and any in-town driving. By the time we get to Ohio, Stephen won’t even remember what it’s like to sleep in a crib. We plan to take some books to read aloud to each other, and a wide variety of car seat activities for the munchkin. Luckily, the way we’re figuring the trip so far, we don’t have very many days where we’ll be on the road for more than 5 hours a day. That’s still a lot, I know, and I’m sure Stephen will start to protest long before we arrive at our destination. But I am hopeful too because we have lots of overnights where we’ll just be hanging around town visiting, so our trip will be broken up. I think the longest leg we have planned so far is the push from Richardton to St. Cloud, and even that is only around 6 hours, maybe a bit more. It will be hard, but it sure beats the alternatives

1. Just getting there as quickly as possible and having a cranky baby plus missing the opportunity to visit friends.


2. Taking three weeks to do the trip with the added cost of more overnights in hotels and the added pain in the butt (literally) of being in the car for so long and still getting the cranky baby.

The main thing I’m really praying for at this point is for my doctor to say it’s okay for me to take a leisurely road trip. I know I’m probably at risk for premature delivery, but there has been no indication so far that that is going to happen soon. I have an appointment on Monday when I’ll ask about it, but I’m really hoping he doesn’t tell me I have to fly to Ohio. That will throw the hugest wrench in our plans. Hoping, hoping, hoping….


7 Quick Takes Friday March 15

Today I’m joining Jennifer at Conversion Diary and all the fine bloggers for a quick takes Friday link up. Head over there to read some other quick takes!


1. Today we went to Savers to buy Stephen a new wardrobe. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but toddlers grow really fast. The last time it was warm enough to wear shorts and t-shirts all day and then go to bed without the fleecy sleeper, Stephen was like half the size he is now. So we stocked up, all for under $30. Ka-ching. That even includes a nice dress for me! I love shopping at thrift stores. I got a catalogue in the mail today for maternity clothes, and I’m looking at the $35 dresses thinking they are sooo expensive. Then Jeremy comes home and says, “huh. I don’t think they’re that expensive.” I guess I’m just spoiled by Savers and Goodwill.

2. Maybe it’s a pregnancy skin condition, or maybe it’s the dry mountain air, but my face has never ever been so dry as it has been the past couple weeks. Sure, I’ve dealt with the occasional patch of dry skin, but even in the depths of a Minnesota winter I’ve never had visibly flaking skin all over my face. I’m sorry if that’s gross for you, but it’s really bugging me. No matter how much I use the exfoliating face wash and smear lotion, the dryness won’t go away. If anyone has a tip, I am all ears.

3. I think my cat has a mental disorder. He bites his back until it bleeds, then he keeps licking it and messing with it so it takes forever to heal. He does this mostly when we leave him alone for a while. We first noticed it when we moved to New Mexico and we had him in a kennel for about a week because we were packing and moving and arranging to air-ship him to our new home. Then a couple weeks ago, I was in Ohio and Jeremy went on a retreat for the weekend, and the cat did it again even though we hired a very attentive cat sitter for the two days the cat would be home alone. I’m not saying the cat isn’t strange in other ways, but I’m pretty sure this is the only actually clinical disorder I’ve noticed. I wonder if the veterinarian will diagnose mental disorders in cats…

4. So yesterday was Pi Day, because it was 3-14. Jeremy and I were going to get pie from the Village Inn yesterday after dinner, but it didn’t work out. So we got some tonight! It’s waiting for me right now, patiently sitting in its little take out box. Village Inn has legendary pies apparently. We read about them on the table tent the first time we went there to eat. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, we didn’t save any room for pie. So we vowed to partake of the pie on our next visit. That didn’t work either! So we vowed again. I think we might actually fulfill our promise to the pie this evening. I better hurry up and finish writing!

5. Jeremy and I have been watching Mad Men on Netflix. We are just now finishing the fifth season with one episode remaining. Gosh, why did it get so depressing?

6. When Jeremy and I found out about our baby’s ventriculomegaly, we started a novena to Saint Maria Goretti and we got a mini miracle. The blood test that tests for chromosomal abnormality failed the first time! Which I guess hardly ever happens. So I submitted a fresh vial of blood, and the test came back negative! The first test failure and the resubmission all happened within our novena. At the follow-up appointment when we learned more about the condition and how serious it could possibly turn out, we started a second novena. Today was the eighth day. I’m expecting great things for our little one, with our prayers in the arms of sweet Saint Maria!

7. Stephen has been helping us pray the rosary and our novena in the morning. We pass out rosaries (he gets a knotted cord one) and make the sign of the cross. Then we begin and Stephen pays a little attention, or runs off to chase the kitty, or plays with toys in the room. When we get close to the end, like to the “Hail, Holy Queen” prayer, he comes back and grabs his rosary again, and sits on the couch by us, and prays with us to the end. He makes the sign of the cross and kisses the cross on his rosary, complete with lip smacking sound. Then we all give our rosaries to Jeremy to put away, except Stephen always wants his back right away. Then we go eat breakfast. It’s a very nice morning routine, and I’m very glad Stephen enjoys participating.

The end. Time for pie.


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