Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy Advent!

What a wonderful month this November was! So full of memories. We were incredibly blessed and incredibly busy, particularly through the second half of the month. As you can see below, I was able to show off our lovely city while Kate was visiting. Fortunately, we didn't have a repeat of the fog that enveloped us during Mom's visit. So, Mom - this is where we live! :)

St Paul's Cathedral (an exceptional building and parish!) is behind Kate, on the left. The Capitol building is on the right. Just behind Kate, far below, is the Mississippi river. Further off to the right is downtown St Paul. We live across the river, a few miles left of the Cathedral.

Baby notes: I passed my glucose tolerance test, so hurray for no gestational diabetes. That means that if our little guy is HUGE (in the likeness of his father), I have only genetics to blame, rather than my diet. Fortunately, I'm actually measuring a tad on the small side - though that measuring stuff is nowhere near an exact science. I probably shouldn't get my hopes for a "normal" size (under 9 lb.) baby too high.

Recipe: Mark and I are doing Bradley classes in preparation for someone's arrival. As many of you know, Bradley devotees are pressured to consume unholy amounts of protein, in hopes that it may have a healthy influence on the pregnancy. For that reason, and because I can only eat so much cottage cheese (it's high in protein), I invented a new recipe for Protein Pancakes that doesn't compromise flavor!!! (This makes enough for a filling meal for 2)

1/2 c. flour (if you really like it, use whole wheat...I don't)
1/2 c. old fashioned oats (NOT instant!)
1/2 T baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 egg
1-2 splashes vanilla
1 T brown sugar
2/3 c. milk

(a bit more flour or milk may be needed to achieve correct consistency)


bowl 1: Combine dry ingredients, mix.
bowl 2: beat egg, mix in rest of wet ingredients
Combine and mix bowls 1 and 2
Cook on griddle/pan over whatever heat works best for you.

Mark prefers these to regular pancakes because the flavor is better, thanks to the vanilla and brown sugar, and, they're healthier because of the fiber in the oats. So, where's the protein? - eggs, milk, oats and flour are all great sources!

Other additions: I recently tried substituting some of the milk for cottage cheese, for an added protein punch. I added too much, but I think a little less would've worked well.

Hope you're all doing well!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The busiest week of the year

The third week of November will always be a crazy one in the Archibald family, it includes our wedding anniversary, Mark's birthday and Thanksgiving. Fortunately, this year we have a week to recover before Advent begins. Though crazy, the past week has been a blast!

We celebrated our anniversary prematurely by spending the night of the 16th in Hudson, WI and wandering around Stillwater, MN, the oldest town in MN, that evening and the following day. The weather was stunning - beauty and temperature...stunningly chilly, as you will notice from how bundled we are in the pictures.
Mark and I bought fancy travel mugs for each other as our anniversary gift. Mark wanted a picture that included his new mug. :) The St. Croix river, which divides MN and WI, is behind him.
This is a picture of very cold Betsy, with a quickly blossoming belly. Behind me is downtown Stillwater and the St Croix river. Mark and the (in)famous Brandy-soaked, marzipan-covered fruitcake. This is the cake Mark has every year for his birthday and feastday. My faithful blog readers may remember the last one, from a post around April 25th, Mark's feastday. The side of the cake reads "I love you Daddy!" I couldn't resist adding that touch on his first birthday as a Dad. :) It's hard to believe I'm married to a 28 year-old. Mark was a mere 24 when I met him, though only for 2 months; where does the time go?!

My mom was in town for 2 days, earlier this week! It was great to have her here, and show off the ole', dorm apartment. She happened to pick an incredibly foggy day to visit us, so the skylines of Minneapolis and St Paul were both completely enshrouded in thick gray fog; I was particularly dissapointed about St Paul, as the Cathedral overlooking downtown and dwarfing the Capitol building, is a sight to see. Oh well, I guess she'll have to come back. :) On a different note, the guys in our part of the hall behaved themselves, through no influence of mine or Mark's, and not a peep was heard during her visit, unlike when Kate and her friends were here.

Speaking of which, Kate is due to arrive for another visit in a couple days! We're so thrilled that she's coming back to see us, and for more than a few hours this time around. :)

That just about gets us up to speed. Of course, Thanksgiving was in there as well. We had a WONDERFUL celebration with friends, food, some praise and worship, and lots of laughter. It really was as perfect as Thanksgiving could be, away from family. We are very blessed!

Baby Archibald is growing, growing, growing! He definitely had a growth spurt last weekend, and doesn't seem to be showing signs of slowing down...not that I necessarily think that he should, but I'm beginning to think that my fears of birthing a watermelon aren't unjustified. I am 26 weeks along, going on 35 (in my humble and medically unsubstantiated opinion). Mark is incredibly eager to meet our son, and watching me get bigger by the minute is only adding to his impatience. Obvious signs aside, it's still hard for me to believe I'm pregnant, let alone that I'm going to hold my son in my arms in 3 months...STRANGE!!! All that to say, I'm excited, but glad that I have these 3 months to continue to prepare myself for his arrival...please Lord, may he not come more than 2 weeks early (but 2 weeks early would be great!) :)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone we love, and if you're in Michigan, we hope to see you in a month!!! Hurray!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Birthdays and Adventures, not related

First, and most importantly, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Kate!!!" There are so many great things about being 24: you can celebrate one year of your life for each hour of the day, you're now officially in your mid-twenties (according to "Betsy's official designation of decades"), you're old enough to be respected but young enough to not have wrinkles (ok, obviously I've run out of ideas...). Anyway, the point is, you're a great sister, I love you, and I hope you're having a wonderful birthday!

Not that I always have to talk about pregnancy, and perhaps I can blame this more on the inspirational weather (sunny, for a change!) than on "nesting," but I woke up with a mad motivation to clean, clean, clean. So I did. It's so nice to sit in a clean apartment with the windows open and the sunshine and crisp Fall air streaming through. It will be even nicer once the gentleman outside is done mowing the quad. ...Air streaming through...that means more dust! oh dear. Yes, something unusual is definitely happening to me.

Speaking of which, for the second time in the past month, and perhaps the 4th time in my entire life, I did what I honestly thought I would never ever ever do. I ate ramen noodles... voluntarily, and today, even eagerly. (May I please blame pregnancy?) Oh the shame! Mark was quite shocked, as he used to eat them in his single days and, once he met me, heard no end of my tirades about how ramen noodles aren't food, or if they are, are a VERY poor excuse for it! Well, I have to admit, just before I devoured my bowl for lunch today, I said, with a little smirk, "Thank you Jesus for this poor excuse for food" and proceeded to thoroughly enjoy every last one of those stringy noodles (chicken flavor, in case you were wondering).

Well, pregnancy-related or otherwise, that won't be the first crazy thing I've done since carrying around this little boy....
My adventures with cups: In case you doubt the authenticity of these accounts, my sister Heidi was witness to at least a couple of them.
- I poured myself a can of pop. Literally. It ended up on me. I completely missed the cup I was holding in my left hand and poured it right onto my shirt - and this was no near miss, there were a good 4 inches between the cup and me.
- I attempted to fill a glass with water from the dispenser in the door of the fridge, ...but the cup was upside down. Guess where the water DIDN'T go.
- For at least a week, I wore a sample, on the front of my shirt and/or lap, of whatever beverage I was drinking. Thankfully, I mostly stuck to water.

I think perhaps there should be a warning from the surgeon general on every pregnancy test that reads something like this: "If this test is positive, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery for nine months."

"Why?" you may ask. well, I hesitate to mention, as I know my mother will be reading this post, but I will anyway (don't worry, mom, I'm fine!)
-The front license plate on our car is now hanging askew, as the result of a little collision I got into ...with a large pipe, our parking garage, ...before I had so much as touched the gas pedal. Impossible, you say? Not so, my friend, not so. If there's a pregnant lady, there's a way, and I discovered it. Ok, this one is understandable (at least that's what Mark told me). Friends of ours had driven us to the airport and then parked our car in our parking garage until we returned. Upon returning, I got into the car, failing to notice that our car, a manual, had been left in 1st gear without the parking brake set (we always leave it in neutral with the parking brake on). I turned the car on and promptly lurched forward at what seemed like death-defying speeds, right into a 10-inch diameter steel pipe labeled "sewer." Thankfully, the pipe survived with not even a scratch; I survived with no scratches and no sewage shower (!!!), the car survived with no other damage beyond the license plate. Thank you, Lord!
- Last night, I drove 3/4 of a 10-minute drive home, at night, before realizing I didn't have my lights on. The car that was about to pull out in front of me clued me in. Thankfully, that was as eventful as it got, so I'm fine, the baby's fine, the car's fine, and the other car wasn't a policeman. I count my blessings. I also ask Mark to drive whenever I have the option.

Now, back to that beautiful weather. I need to go enjoy it. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe, spill-free, ramen-less day!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Drum roll, please

First, I have to apologize to my 3 fans for the delay in this post. Yesterday, I had to run straight from my ultrasound to an all-afternoon training seminar for work that continued through the day, today. Secondly, I also have to apologize for the fuzzy pictures. We don't have a scanner, so I had to use my digital camera to get post-able images, which resulted in less than clear pictures, esp. for the profile pictures which are already blurry because baby's head was tucked in a funny position that made it hard to reach with the ultrasound waves. So........ :) :) :)

...We're having a.....
For those of you less-than-ultrasound-savvy folks, that's a picture of the backside and legs of our baby boy, with his little boy parts front and center (yes, he does have a full left leg, it's just in shadow.) :) He certainly wasn't shy about showing off that part of himself; it was the very first thing we saw as the ultrasound began! His head, however was another matter. The images on the screen at the ultrasound were clearer and he looks SUPER cute, if I can say so, but this is what we came home with:

The shadowy image above his nose is his right hand.

I should also mention that it doesn't look I need to worry about him being a Leap Day baby, after all. He measured a week larger than expected, so my due date has been moved up to 2/20/08. I'm thrilled, as it's one week less that I have to wait to meet him!

Last night, Mark and I celebrated by beginning our baby registry. I discovered that it's dangerous to bring along your very excited, sports-fan husband! Our son isn't going to lack sports-related baby items if Mark has anything to do with it. I tried to remind him that chances are we'll have girls as well, and I'd rather not wrap them all in football-patterned receiving blankets! :)

It was so amazing to see our first child, our son, yesterday morning. He looks healthy, as far as we can tell, though the tech wouldn't have been allowed to tell us otherwise. She seemed very friendly and excited for us, and asked if we might bring him in for a visit after he is born. That leads me to believe there's no cause for concern. :) Praise the Lord for our healthy baby! Please continue to keep us all in your prayers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Church and Lay Communities

Mark and I attended a conference this past weekend on "Community and the [Catholic] Church." It dealt with the role of private lay associations and ecclesial communities in the Church. The first talk covered (then) Cardinal Ratzinger's Pentecost address, The Ecclesial Movements: A Theological Reflection on Their Place in the Church (1998), (the picture is of that day, '98,) and subsequent talks drew heavily from JP II's Christifideles laici (1987). Ratzinger posited that these 20th Century lay movements are the "fifth wave" of the Holy Spirit, referencing Missionary Monasticism, The Cluniac Reform, The Mendicant Orders, and Missionary Expansion as the 4 previous "waves" of the Holy Spirit through history, all following a similar, recognizable pattern. The conference also covered Canon Law, the nature of the Church (e.g. there’s more to her than parishes), the role of the Bishop, and more. It was really fascinating material, and especially helpful for me, as I have wrestled with the very issue of where "Community" fits, not realizing that Popes have spoken extensively on the subject. Praise the Lord!

There were so many quotes on the conference; it’s hard to choose which to include, so in case you need some good bathroom reading material, you can print these off: :)

Ratzinger - '98
"...It should be said quite clearly that the apostolic movements appear in ever new forms in history - necessarily so, because they are the Holy Spirit's answer to the ever changing situations in which the Church lives...A retrospective glance at the history of the Church will help us to acknowledge with gratitutde that, through all her trials and tribulations, the Church has always succeeded in finding room for all the great new awakenings of the spirit that emerge in her midst. I therefore recommend that the new ecclesial movements be spread, and that they be used to give fresh energy, especially among young people, to the Christian life and to evangelization..."

JP II - '87
“Since the Church’s task in our day is so great, its accomplishment cannot be left to the parish alone… There are many other places and forms of association through which the Church can be present and at work. All are necessary to carry out the word and grace of the Gospel and to correspond to the various circumstances of life in which people find themselves today.”

"In recent days the phenomenon of lay people associating among themselves has taken on a character of particular variety and vitality. In some ways lay associations have always been present throughout the Church's history as various confraternities, third orders and sodalities testify even today. However, in modern times such lay groups have recieved a special stimulus, resulting in the birth and spread of a multiplicity of group forms: associations, groups, communities, movements. We can speak of a new era of group endeavors of the lay faithful. In fact, alongside the traditional forming of associations, and at times coming from their very roots, movements and new sodalities have sprouted with a specific feature and purpose, so great is the richness and the versatility of resources that the Holy Spirit nourishes in the ecclesial community, and so great is the capacity of initiative and the generosity of our lay people."

(Back to me...) As a last note, before you get the idea that the place of lay associations within the Church is all ironed-out, I should add that the Church recognizes the current tension that exists as she seeks to find each movement’s place within the structure of the Church. On that note, some quotes from the outline by Fr. Bob Oliver, STD and Canon Lawyer, who was the main speaker at the conference:

"At the present time the Church is still developing canonical forms for lay movements. Such forms will (eventually) address many of the practical issues that the members of our communities face in living the life of the Church and participating in its mission."

"Lay ecclesial movements are a relatively new gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. The ecclesiastical hierarchy has endorsed, encouraged and validated these movements, but not without controversy and not in an unqualified manner."

Our community in St. Paul, for example (the Community of Christ the Redeemer), has overwhelming support from, endorsement from, and a close relationship with the local Archbishop, Coadjutor Archbishop, and Auxiliary Bishop. (The latter also happens to be the President of SPO’s Board, and therefore indirectly Mark's boss!)

What we've been up to

This is the view from our living room window. Not bad, eh? :) It's been a good couple of months in the expanding Archibald family. Expanding, yes indeed. I keep thinking I should have Mark take a couple of pictures of me every now and then, for posterity's sake, but then I wonder if I, or anyone, will ever really want to look at pictures of me at the largest I've ever been, and growing. Ah, pregnancy. :) Baby has been kicking like crazy for a few weeks now. S/he already has predictable sleep/wake cycles, with the most active times being approximately noon and midnight. Mark, not yet being able to feel the baby, has made numerous comments about how feeling the baby move is the ONE AND ONLY part of being a woman of which he is a bit envious. I'm not sure what parts of my predictable pregnancy-related weekly crying spells don't appeal to him?

Two and half weeks ago, the Fenton family married off another one. Heidi is now officially a Keiser. Hurray!!!! I wonder who Kate is going to marry, in order to keep up with last names like these new ones we've adopted! Heidi and Kevin are already off in Rome, where they will be living for 2 semesters. Mark and I have grand plans, though yet to be solidified, to visit them in late Spring '08 during baby Archibald's whirlwind tour of Europe. Please keep this trip in your prayers, as it would be a wonderful opportunity for Mark's side of the family to meet their newest relation. I am a bit concerned that a passport for baby might be difficult to get in time, but God can do anything!

Kate dropped in for an afternoon, this past Friday. Yes, she was in St. Paul! It was great to see her, and show her where we live, etc. She was here for the weekend, for the wedding of a friend of hers. We had been informed that we probably weren't going to be able to see her at all, so it came as a surprise when she called to say she had a free afternoon, and could she come over? I was dissapointed that we weren't able to have anything planned, so we couldn't make the most of our visit and show her around a bit, but she was exhausted and I was on the verge of a cold (which has me in its clutches, at the moment) so I suppose an afternoon of chatting in our apartment was probably for the best. She came with a married couple, friends of hers from W.P. and Fort Hood. I have to admit, I felt a little bad for the husband, having to spend an afternoon with 3 other women, doing what women do best: talk. :)

Our work and personal lives are very busy, especially as they are often one and the same. Mark has taken on many new and demanding roles this year with SPO, not to mention being a Chaplain. I am loving my very-part-time job as a prenatal nurse! I am also taking on a role as a women's group leader for a few post-college age women. I'll also be pastoring a least a couple of them, which presents more challenges and, I am sure, ample opportunities for my own growth!
This is Mark, hard at work in our dorm living room. The red couch, coffee table, and life-size Our Lady of Guadalupe belong to the University, but the rest is ours, including the mess. Why do photos always make my home look messier than I see it? Perhaps this is telling...

Life in the dorms has not entirely lost it's rosey-hue. I can not help but appreciate all the blessings we have at our fingertips. The occasional "f-bomb" (as Mark calls them) yelled in the hall, and poor taste in VERY LOUD music has yet to make me think that living here isn't for us. It simply highlights the necessity of our presence, that much more. In the boys' defense, they are very polite and quickly turn down their music when I request they do so, which I've done all of once. Last week, while Kate was here, we recieved what I can only guess was an apology card, shortly after said volume request. The card, which was unsigned, was a pink, sparkly, Winnie-the Pooh number, that had been duct-taped to our door. It read "Congratulations on Your Baby Girl." I laughed as I said to Mark, "well, I guess we're having a girl." :)

Speaking of which, THIS FRIDAY is our 20 week ultrasound!!! God-willing, Baby will cooperate and let us know if we're parents of a boy or a girl. :) I was telling Mark that when I feel the baby kick, I think about baby as a boy, but when I think about whether we're having a boy or girl, I think about the baby as a girl. I guess I'm just completely confused! Anyway, please post your guesses, and if we are able to find out, we'll let you know who's right! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Sometimes it feels like contemporary worship music is more "me" focused than God-focused. Mark was sent this link by his boss, of all people. As soon as this short clip began, I knew I had to post it for the enjoyment of all...

Monday, September 3, 2007

Definitely worth the read!


A Statement of Christian Doctrine against the Neo-Malthusians


This is an essay I came across last night. Mark teased me for reading all afternoon, but it is such a fascinating essay that I just couldn't stop. It also relates to my line of work, which may explain my particular interest. Interestingly, it was written in 1922, but far from being outdated, it is excellent food for thought as well as a glimpse at the adolescence of our present-day state of moral decay.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Are you a Type A or Type B Personality?

I came across this short video, yesterday. I thought it was pretty funny, esp. since Mark is a type A and I'm a type B. I wonder what our children will be? For the record, I always hang up my towel after my shower, but the dishes and the bed...well, those are a different story. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

We've moved

Mark and I have nearly settled into our new home in Ireland Hall, on the campus of the University of St. Thomas. Aside from innumerable little things that I can't find places for, such as votive candle holders, Christmas decorations, picture albums, etc....we're all moved in. As soon as I do find a home for all that stuff, I'll take a few pictures of our new place for your enjoyment.

So far, we love living here. It's no Alaskan cruise (Mitzel's) ;) but I do occasionally feel like we're living at an all-inclusive (though perhaps sub-standard) hotel - not a bad feeling, believe me! I mentioned that to Mark and he laughed and asked when I thought the maid was going to show up. Har, har.

I am so thankful that this is not our first living arraignment as a married couple. I am absolutely sure that had it been, I wouldn't appreciate the value of each of the added perks that comes with living here. For example, our first week here, I did 4 loads of laundry, which was about 2x the normal volume, not because I absolutely needed to, but because I was so excited that it wasn't costing me $2.25 per load. I never would have guessed that I would do laundry with wild abandon simply because I could. Talk about the simple pleasures in life.

I also learned, rather quickly, that simply because we have free cable TV doesn't mean that it needs to be turned on, and further, having 75 channels is no guarantee that there's anything worth watching.

The one and only bump-in-the-road that I've hit was discovering, half-way through making our first dinner here, that the oven racks, which were here until the apartment was cleaned 2 days prior to our arrival, are MIA. Roasting pork in an oven with no racks proved to be an adventure, but I made it work, with 4 small corning ware dishes holding the pan above the heating element. The pan only slipped 4 times, and somehow the roast never bugged an inch off the pan (Thank you, Lord!). I don't think I'd be so lucky with cookies, so those will have to wait until I can find new racks.

Oh, on a different note, Mark and I went to my first official prenatal visit this past week. Everything looks great and we were able to hear the baby's heartbeat loud and clear at about 160 bpm (very healthy!). We are planning to find out baby's gender at our next ultrasound, which is yet to be scheduled, but usually happens around 20 weeks. Obviously, right now we can only guess, but I'm thinking it's a it a mother's intuition (I guess we'll see how on-target that intuition stuff is.) :)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mood swwwwwwing!

I have to say, so far this pregnancy has been relatively uneventful, but just today I found out what it can do to one's emotions! I got a healthy dose of embarrassment when I made a quick phone call to UHAUL to change our truck reservation. I explained to the poor gentleman on the other end, that 7 am was too early for us to pick up the truck and could we please reserve it for the afternoon instead. He then asked how long we needed it for, and as I sat there trying to think it through, a thick brain fog settled over me (though in fact, I knew perfectly well going into the call exactly what hours I wanted it for) and suddenly out of nowhere I BURST into tears. Between sobs I sheepishly tried to explain that I'm pregnant and apparently very emotional right now. Well, evidently this poor man doesn't deal with a lot of pregnant women, as he panicked himself and was suddenly EXTREMELY helpful, prompt and kept telling me to "relax, it's ok." Hahaha, of course it's ok, it's a UHAUL truck reservation, not a life-changing event! Goodness me. Well, I suppose I have to have a few of these little embarrassing nuggets to store away for good laughs later.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Baby's first picture!

Mark joined me for my first ultrasound, this morning. I'm 7 weeks, 1 day along and baby measured exactly that. Hurray! We got to hear our little guy's heartbeat, nice and strong at 152 beats per minute. For those of you who aren't ultrasound picture savy, the baby is the oblong shape on the left, and the round ball on the right is the yolk sac.
I continue to feel absolutely wonderful, some tiredness aside. We're so thrilled to have been able to see our baby, as I was getting a little anxious about feeling so great. (Although I hear sometimes morning sickness holds off til week 8...I'll keep you posted.)
Praise the Lord for his wonderful blessings to us!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Introducing the next Julia Child...

...Before I get to that, get out your calendars because we're heading to Michigan, hurray! Mark and I will be in Ann Arbor, and surrounding region, from June 24-July 4, driving back on the 5th. We, esp. me, would love to see long-lost friends, babies old and new, family, etc. Please let us know if you'll be around while we are so I can make sure we see you!

Now, for the really important news... I like to putz around in the kitchen and occasionally I'm pleasantly surprised by how something turns out. Today, I managed to create the easiest, healthiest, cheapest snack known to mankind. I thought I'd let you all in on my little secret. I must admit, I have a nagging feeling that I'm not the first to have discovered this, but as I haven't done an internet search on it, I feel justified claiming it as my own invention: "Homemade" Hummus.


-1 can of garbanzo beans, aka chick peas, drained and rinsed
-A couple/few tablespoons of your favorite savory salad dressing. Our current fav. is "Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan dressing"
-Triscuits, or some other whole-wheat-crispy-something


-Mash/blend/puree garbanzo beans to desired smoothness
-Add dressing, stir, add more to desired consistency
-dip Triscuits and enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2007

On the move

This is Mark playing kickball with the teens at a recent youth-group event. Isn't he handsome!

On to the news at hand: Mark applied for a hall chaplain position at the University of St Thomas and we found out earlier this week that he got the job!!! Hurray! This is excellent news for us. He will remain at SPO, but in addition he will be working for UST as a chaplain which means that we will have free room/board/misc. in Ireland hall. Strange though it may seem, I am actually excited about moving back into the dorms. Let me assure you, it's not as awful as it sounds! :) We will be living in an apartment, NOT a dorm room. In addition to free room and board (utilities, laundry, internet, etc.), there are countless other benefits: a quick walk across the lawn to daily Mass, living just across the street from the women's household and a dorm away from another chaplain family who are good friends of ours, being able to exercise without the hassle of membership fees (!!!), saving a substantial amount of money for a downpayment...the list goes on. Anyway, we're thrilled! Thank you, Lord! :)

On a sad note, this does mean that Max, our beloved little man, will have to go to a new home. Unfortunately, Mark was not able to convince UST that our cat should become the new school mascot and subsequently this lack of vision means that the no-pet rule applies even to us. I am confident that there is a home out there for our toilet-trained wonder of the world. Say some prayers.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

It's official!

My nursing license arrived in the mail on Monday. I'm officially a licensed and registered nurse. Yikes and Hurray!!! Last night Mark and I met with our couple's group. They surprised me with a little celebration, including the sign pictured above (pictured at home in our apartment), a gift of (unpopped) popcorn, a cake that said "Congratulations, Betsy" and (popped, buttery) popcorn to be enjoyed by all. I was so excited; my 2 favorite things: sugar and popcorn. They know me so well! :) I think Mark said it best, as he was sharing with his men's group that he feels as though I've been redeemed from slavery. Strange but true, I didn't know how good it would feel to have that part of my life behind me! Praise the Lord. Now, what's next....

Welcome to the family, Fartinella!

I tell ya, middle children can never be trusted! In my defense, Heidi was asking for trouble when she told us his first and last name, but absolutely refused to tell us anything more than his middle initial: F. So, what's a middle child to do, but invent the worst possible name imaginable. Well, bro-in-law-to-be, I hope you don't take it personally. Welcome to our crazy but wonderful family. I think you and Heidi marrying is an "excellent idea!" ;)

Friday, May 4, 2007


Well, I caved under pressure and paid the $7.95 for my "unofficial" NCLEX exam results. (Unofficial: the testing center's website has the simple "pass/fail" result 2 days after testing. Official results arrive via the mail a month after testing.) I was tired of hearing people say "no, no, I'm sure you did great; everyone thinks they fail" and knowing that indeed I had failed.

So, here are my results cut-and-pasted (with ID and reg numbers xxxx for security purposes.):

The Pearson VUE Testing service has recorded your unofficial results as shown below. The Board of Nursing to which you applied for licensure will mail your official results to you within approximately four weeks of your exam date. Please note that a passing result alone does not authorize you to practice as a licensed nurse.

Exam Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 at 9:00 AM
NCLEX ID: xxxxx
Registration #: xxxxx
Grade: pass

I am utterly amazed! I was so convinced that I had failed and I simply wanted that assurance so I didn't have to keep hearing otherwise from well-meaning individuals. I really had no idea that there was even the remotest possibility that I had actually passed! But I did!

I attribute my passing the exam ENTIRELY to the grace of God thanks to all your prayers! Thank you so much! I really couldn't have done it without you!

Now I have to figure out life after the Boards....

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Mark had to wait until after my big exam for his feastday cake, it's his fav: Fruitcake mit marzipan and a healthy dousing of Brandy. Here it is in all its glory, just before a large chunk was -ectomied. :)
As for that exam...well, it certainly could have gone better, but it went about as expected, esp. in light of being out of the nursing environment for 2 years, etc... Anywho, I'm about 95% sure that I'll be visiting Pearson Vue testing center again in the next few months. But thanks for all your prayers! I could tell that they were extremely efficacious; I was peaceful and calm throughout this past week and while taking the exam. Excellent dress rehearsal, you are all to be commended! ;)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

He is Risen!

Like father, like sonDad and the grandkitty
Betsy and Mark, tired after a very long Easter Vigil
Home sweet home, well, the parking lot anyway

Happy Easter! Mark and I had an absolutely wonderful Easter Triduum, though technically I think we celebrated a Quartet. We made it to 4 different Triduum/Easter celebrations at 3 different locations, making for a diverse and somewhat exhausting weekend. Despite the running around and trying to enter into the season, we thoroughly enjoyed the company of Mark's parents who hopped over the pond to join us for a week. Spending quite a lot of time with Mark's parents, celebrating Easter and the baptism of the baby daughter of a British-turned-Minnesotan friend of the family, and having dinner with a Scottish-turned-Minnesotan friend of the family, all on various days thoroughout the week of Mum and Dad's visit, left me feeling as though I was the one on a British vacation. It's a little odd being in my "hometown" and being nearly in the minority with my American accent, but certainly a nice change of pace. Mum and Dad flew home on Easter Tuesday, which to Mark's great delight left me feeling quite sad for a few days (I think I miss them even more than he does.) I hope and pray that we are able to see them again, soon! Mum and Dad just sent us a few pictures that they took during their visit with us, which I'm posting for the enjoyment of all.

Monday, April 2, 2007

What we've been up to

The past month has been a Lenten whirlwind of involuntary fasts of time, comfort, health, (solid) food, and sleep, for Mark and I. It began with Mark contracting a case of strep throat. That lasted a week longer than it should have due to his nurse-wife's inability to recognize feverless strep (who knew?!). That was promptly followed by a 3 1/2 day excursion to and from Leonard, MI with about 40 high schoolers for the annual YES retreat. After arriving home at 2:30 am Monday morning, we caught a few hours of sleep before Mark had his wisdom teeth removed at 1 pm. The surgery was difficult due to his age, impaction, and pre-existing TMJ, which was excerbated by the surgery and left Mark in serious pain for quite some time. (The picture of him is about a week out of surgery, with his heat-pack held by his cap, hands-free, so he can do some work on the computer.) Our Lenten soup dinners became not simply fasts but a necessity as the TMJ pain prevented Mark from chewing even after the holes in his mouth were safe from the risk of dry-sockets. In the midst of all this, I was trying to study for the impending Nursing Boards whenever I could find the time...which, unfortunately was not often and I lost about a month of studying (please pray!). Just as Mark was beginning to "turn the corner" in his TMJ recovery (a phrase used about 5 times in 2 minutes by the oral surgeon, last time we saw him), I headed off for a 4-day women's retreat in WI. I was originally VERY hesitant to go, as I felt I just needed some rest and study-time and a retreat with 180 other women, 2/3 of whom are strangers, didn't seem the way to achieve either of those. After much deliberation, and coaxing from my women's group, I agreed that I would go, study materials in hand, and tithe "my" time to the Lord. Though it should be no surprise, he generously blessed me and it was a truly restorative retreat, which also included nearly 6 hours of study time (more than I probably would've gotten over the weekend had I stayed home and tried to clean, cook, take care of Mark, run errands, etc.) This brings us to a very busy, but eagerly anticipated Holy Week. This morning I got another "all-clear" from my Oncologist and he also progressed me from seeing him every 4-months, to 6-months. Hurray! :) Additionally, we are thrilled to be able to share the 2nd half of Holy Week and the Triduum with Mark's parents as they arrive tomorrow evening for a week-long visit. I pray that Holy Week brings us all closer to the Lord as we follow His last steps to Calvary and await the celebration of His triumph over death and sin! (I also pray, perhaps selfishly, for a peaceful, study-filled Easter season!)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

More Pictures

Due to popular demand (from Adam), here are some more pics from our vacation to Montana and Wyoming, including the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

Yup, that's a little grizzly bear...

...and a moose!
Check out the reflection.

In addition, I was quite struck by the second reading from the Office of Readings for today. The topic was prayer and I thought I'd include a few excerpts...
From the treatise On Prayer by Tertullian, priest

The spiritual offering of prayer

Prayer is the offering in spirit that has done away with the sacrifices of old... Prayer is an offering that belongs to God and is acceptable to him: it is the offering he has asked for, the offering he planned as his own.We must dedicate this offering with our whole heart, we must fatten it on faith, tend it by truth, keep it unblemished through innocence and clean through chastity, and crown it with love. We must escort it to the altar of God in a procession of good works to the sound of psalms and hymns. Then it will gain for us all that we ask of God. Since God asks for prayer offered in spirit and in truth, how can he deny anything to this kind of prayer? How great is the evidence of its power, as we read and hear and believe. Of old, prayer was able to rescue from fire and beasts and hunger, even before it received its perfection from Christ. How much greater then is the power of Christian gives the armour of patience to those who suffer, who feel pain, who are distressed. It strengthens the power of grace, so that faith may know what is gaining from the Lord, and understand what it is suffering for the name of God... Prayer is the one thing that can conquer God. But Christ has willed that it should work no evil, and has given it all power over good. Its only art is to call back the souls of the dead from the very journey into death, to give strength to the weak, to heal the sick, to exorcise the possessed, to open prison cells, to free the innocent from their chains. Prayer cleanses from sin, drives away temptations, stamps out persecutions, comforts the fainthearted, gives new strength to the courageous, brings travellers safely home, calms the waves, confounds robbers, feeds the poor, overrules the rich, lifts up the fallen, supports those who are falling, sustains those who stand firm.All the angels pray. Every creature prays...Even the Lord himself prayed. To him be honour and power for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

God's Blessings

The Lord is very, very generous to Mark and I. He never ceases to provide for us! To honor and thank the Lord, and hopefully be a witness to the Lord's great love for those who strive to love and serve him, I want to list some of the material ways he has blessed us, recently: a free trip to the zoo, free movie tickets, sales on grocery items, beautiful shoes for me that were a fantastic deal (one pair was a mere $2.50!!), very inexpensive handsome glasses for me from, I give them 5 out of 5 stars! Endless buy-one-get-one-free coupons for wonderful date nights, a BEAUTIFUL nativity set that was given to us unexpectedly exactly when we were wishing we had one, providing (free) every single piece of furniture and appliance we own (yes, they match and are in good condition), a (free) anniversary getaway that included an eight-bedroom mansion on a lake, money that shows up exactly when we have unexpected bills to pay such as wisdom teeth extractions, etc. A cat that goes in the toilet - sorry, that's not a material blessing, but I just heard a few "plops" that are music to my ears!!! Sense and Sensibility, one of my favorite movies, BRAND NEW for $1.85 (that was just this morning). The list goes on, and I know there are countless other examples that I can't think of at the moment. Maybe you're asking why the Lord does this for us? I can't say for sure, but I can guess that the Lord might not be so generous if we didn't a) tithe without fail, no matter what and b) recognize that we are simply stewards of his gifts, and they are given to us to lead us and others to Him. I hope and pray that we are good stewards of the gifts He gives us and do in fact use them for His glory. Come, Lord Jesus!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Is your 8-month-old potty-trained?

Ok, perhaps I failed to mention that it's an 8-month-old cat. Max, our loveable ball of fur, is well on his way to using the big-boy toilet. For the first time, just today, we heard a couple of beautiful "plops" as the, uh, stuff hit the water. It was the sweet sound of no more litter boxes to clean, no litter dust coating the floor, etc. Before I mislead you, I should admit that we're probably still a few days away from complete freedom from litter. Currently, there is a foil tray with a 5-inch diameter hole cut out of the middle sitting in our toilet. It began with no hole and litter, next there was a 2-inch hole with less litter, and now larger hole, still less litter. This allows Max to slowly adjust by a) balancing 2 paws on the toilet seat b) hearing the splash of the water c) not being able to bury anything when he's done. The next step is a larger hole, which will encourage him to balance entirely on the toilet seat. Hopefully it will be a success! I will be sure to keep you posted. In case you think we're completely nuts (though I won't deny it) there are others who are leading a litter-free existence, ex:

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Spring Cleaning

Actually, just "cleaning" would probably be more appropriate. Mark and I are attempting a first-ever (hopefully annual) Lenten purge of some of the junk we've accumulated in our 1+ year of marriage. I did a quick search for the patron saint of tidiness, but came up empty-handed; who knows if there is such a person - the good Lord knows it won't be me! (poor Mark). Fun times ahead...

Thursday, March 8, 2007


I have finally decided to create an Archibald blog. I'll do my best to keep posts short and sweet, with pictures when possible. Enjoy!
This picture of the Teton Mountain Range is one of the 368 breathtaking pictures from our MT/WY vacation in July '06. We can't wait to go back!