Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

...people around here need to get in shape.

I know, cliche, right? I was going to be clever and say get back to pre-postpartum shape, but that would be pregnancy. As much as I love my children and would like to add more in the years to come, I'm not clamoring to get on that bandwagon immediately. (God, if you have other ideas, I am most sincerely yours. Love, Betsy)

We have friends, a married couple, who have set individual weight goals and are competing against each other for a (significant) monetary prize that they may spend however they choose. I'm quite tempted to join in the competitive revelry with (against?) Mark. It seems like a fun way to get us serious about our health.


...projects on the exterior of our house. 


...permanent move of a certain sister+family to the St Paul, MN vicinity. Please, God!


...weddings. At least.

Not my own. I am already happily married. ...although, I do have reoccurring dreams that Mark refuses to marry me despite our 3 children together, or that I'm about to marry someone else, or that we're not married and Mark is dating someone else. Strangely, I don't mind these dreams because they serve to remind me how blessed I am. *Happy sigh* 

What are your resolutions for 2012?

Friday, December 23, 2011

*Friday* Quick Takes - for real this time

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

The Girls at 8 Months
Lydia (03/10):

 Annie (12/11):


I love to drive around and look at Christmas lights. Unfortunately, in our neighborhood there are a few beautiful displays and the remainder can be grouped into, "Look, Christmas threw up on their house" or, "What did they think it would look like?" If you're wondering what I mean, this site, uglychristmaslights doesn't hold a candle (led, incandescent or real flame) to what's going on around here.

I took out the trash today, a task usually done by my wonderful hubby. I was shocked to discover that the garbage from our room - a week worth's of Annie's diapers - was nearly more than I could lift. This was even more surprising considering the babe is still nursing 100% (floor crumbs and fuzz notwithstanding) so all that weight came from me. It might be slightly more satisfying to lug around 50 lbs of my body weight in a garbage bag if at least a few of those pounds weren't still hugging my hips. But that would require giving up BK shakes, er, calcium supplements.
For my husband: My Facebook post from yesterday...
The older two have been excommunicated from the first floor. (It was play in the basement or naptime; tough choice, eh?) Now, to get some work done. Willpower, which cupboard are you hiding in? Maybe I stashed you next to the chocolate...
I took all three kids with me to the eye doctor. Iain insisted on wearing his soldier uniform, down to the boots. Did I mention my new mantra: Pick your battles (no pun intended, really). We played "I Spy" while we waited for my eyes to dilate. It's harder than you might think to come up with things to "spy" that a 3.5 yr old can guess, ina 6x9 ft exam room. Regardless, Iain thought it was a great game and wanted to have a go at "spying" something for me to guess. He picked the computer. He was so proud of himself. I made a good effort at having a hard time finding it.
A friend of mine from MI has a dog that gets into the bathroom trash as an act of retaliation when she feels ignored. This friend stopped in for a brief but blissful visit about a month ago. Since then, any time Annie disappears I find her in the bathroom, pulling things out of the trash. This can not be mere coincidence. Nor could it be due to Annie's new-found ability to crawl. (Note to self: keep bathroom door closed.)
Muddy Buddies or Puppy Chow. What do you call it? Either way, I've been craving it all week. All this writing works up quite an appetite. Time to make sure these hips of mine don't shrink anytime soon.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Quick Takes


Er, Tuesday. Moving right along...


Jesus was fully God and fully man, so obviously he had a fully-functioning digestive tract. Yep, guess where this is going...  Something tells me that Iain might be among the first to delve into this particular dimension of Christology, without a hint of disrespect. He just headed for the bathroom chanting, “we are going to the Potty of Christ.”


To cure the “I have nothing to wear” disease, I’m thinking of creating my own Look Book by taking pictures of each of my wearable outfits. I guess that reveals that I don’t have many outfits. I’m okay with that, especially since I’m in a balloon-up-’n-down family-growing season of life. But seriously, when I’m drawing a blank I could look through the pictures, pick something, throw it on and run out the door to whatever event I would’ve otherwise been 20 min late to. It would also enable my husband to give an opinion when I desperately plead “what should I wear?”


I love to sing. I was in choir from 5th-12th grade. I’m humble enough to know that I don’t have a stellar voice, and being twelve years out of practice has taken its toll. However, it wasn’t until Mark and I decided to do simple recordings of our favorite Advent songs that I fully realized that I have a vocal range of only about 8 notes, with an ideal range of maybe 4 notes. On top of that, my vocal control and ability to find and stay on pitch are all but gone. It was a depressing revelation, but it has also prompted me to sing more, hoping that I might retrain this warbley little voice of mine.


Iain loves being involved in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program at our parish. We were out of town for the orientation, so I’m pretty clueless about what goes on in the Atrium. I get little glimpses during the course of daily life: “Mom, that angel’s name is Gabriel!” or he’ll sing lines from a song he’s learned.  Today’s glimpse was prompted by the Christmas song “Mary, Did You Know” which I can almost guarantee they haven’t sung at Atrium. He stopped singing mid-verse to ask me, “What are the actions for this song?”
Glad to know that he’s internalized that every song has actions.


Speaking of “Mary Did You Know” here’s an awesome Star Wars spoof on it:


On a different note altogether, fellow parents, I have a question: What non-corporal forms of discipline do you find effective for getting-out-of-bed and don't-want-to-clean-up types of infractions when the "go to your room/time out" is not an option because a) they're supposed to be in their room or b) that would let them off the hook from cleaning up.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Exiting the Cult [of Christmas Cookies]

As some of you know, our family has to deal with all sorts of food allergies and intolerances.  Since this is the first Christmas that I'm trying to avoid flour, my desire to bake gobs of cookies has greatly diminished. Ok, that's a lie, I've never enjoyed baking cookies. At least now I have a better excuse than "my oven hates me and ruins every single cookie attempt, no matter the modifications to the recipe/temp/time/cookware..." 

Despite my long-standing disinterest in the Cult of Christmas Cookies, now that I'm left out of it, I suddenly find myself throwing pity-parties as I watch the baking revelry unfold in the blogosphere around me. What's a girl to do? Well, drown my sorrows in Peanut Butter Cups, for one. Enter the inspired Simcha Fisher. I happen to friends with her on Facebook - note my unabashed hint of pride, and today she posted a link for these. (As a loyal Wolverine, I can't actually type the word). I feel almost famous since my comment about them got "liked" by Simcha, herself!, I know, I need help. From Al Giddings to Simcha Fisher. I really know how to pick my heroes. I included her previous comment for your enjoyment; it's a glimpse into why I love her writing!

Ok, back to the point: there's no flour in these things and what's more, I can substitute Sunbutter and make them Iain-friendly! 

I also tried my hand at Candied Grapefruit Peels. I love grapefruit flavor, but these were too bitter. I think next time I'll just stick with the tried-n-true orange peels. ...dipped in chocolate, of course. A theme seems to be developing, here.

So, here's my question for the blog world: what are your favorite Christmas candy or otherwise flour-free Christmas goody recipes? Please post links/recipes in the comments.

(Note: I'm not so much looking for flour-substitute recipes here; that's a different yet-to-be-written post. Although if you have a to-die-for recipe, feel free to post it now.)

Thanks, in advance! ...and happy cookie baking if you're one of them.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chipped Plans

I awoke with grand plans to finally take the kids outside to play in the snow. Actually, I fell asleep with those plans and awoke to the sound of drip. drip. drip. It was a dreary, wet morning.

On days like this, or really every winter day after 3 pm, I'm so grateful for our overhead kitchen lights. Their warm, cheery glow is like photon-shower of caffeine (yes, I'm a dork.) Today, they motivated me to take "Before" pictures of the various cluttered areas that need addressing. It's Advent-nesting I guess; just in case Christ really does return, my linen closet will be ready. Well, that was the plan, anyway....

...until Lydia began her death-defying adventures. It began with a slip, thud, scream. I didn't witness it, but it was easy enough to deduce that she was running across her room, slipped and hit her mouth on Iain's bed. What took a little longer to realize was that 1/4 of her left front tooth was missing. Later, I was relieved to find the missing piece under the bed. I had been trying not to imagine what that sharp shard could do to her insides!

She's never been a big smiler; always our stoic child. I couldn't even get a picture of her newly-chipped tooth, so I'm not terribly concerned that she's going to be traumatized by her appearance. We're off to the dentist, tomorrow. Hopefully they'll give me some good news - not sure what that might be.

Fortunately, the tooth was the only visible wound of the day, but far from the only - or scariest - accident. Not 2 hours later, the poor girl plummeted, headfirst, over the back of the couch while 3 adults failed to grab her in time. Later, she was standing on a dining armchair, watching me make dinner when the chair suddenly tipped over to the left, she landed tangled in the armrest and a step-stool. I'm still not sure how she survived that one unharmed. *Thank you, Jesus!*

Perhaps I will buy her a pair of weighted boots for Christmas. How many accidents can she have if she can't move?

Suffice it to say, my linen closet is not yet ready for the Second Coming, or Christmas. Maybe next week.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Just Because...

Because it's now the middle of December, I thought I'd share a video from the summer...remember the summer? Those 3 warm months when the sun shines past 3:30 pm? Yes, someday it will return to Minnesota. In the meantime, enjoy the memories.

We took a little family trip to the playground:

In other news, Mark helped me pick out a beautiful wool winter hat. It's quite feminine and goes well with my dressier winter coat. On the long walk to Mass (ahem, across the street) I suddenly felt foolish wearing my beautiful winter hat, dress coat, pretty scarf, skirt and other women jumped out of their cars in their khakis and jeans. Now, I'm not at all against wearing pants, but I generally try to wear skirts to Mass.

In that moment of feeling silly, I made the decision that I would try to banish the silly feelings and instead try to adopt the humility and grace which should be the attire of my soul regardless of my appearance. I may be the sore-thumb dressed-up lady, but if I do it reverently and kindly, perhaps I can be a silent influence on others? (Except on those days, esp. Saturday Vigil Masses, when I literally run across the street, and fling my children and pants-clad-self in the pew as the Responsorial Psalm is beginning...really there is no excuse, I mean, we live across the street!)