Tips to Look After Your Husband, 2018.

A friend of mine shared this amazing picture with me, and, I mean, the parallels to my happy home just abound.

Have Dinner Ready

I mean, ready is a strong word. I like to have some part of the meat (maybe? maybe we’re being “healthy” [read:lazy/poor] that night and going vegetarian) at least sort of cooking. Or in the fridge. Or at least in the car from the grocery store.

Listeria? Pssh. It’s fine. It’s Wisconsin. You can leave stuff out for awhile.

I feel like he definitely knows I’ve been thinking of him when he sees the hastily scrawled “Taco Tuesday” thing on the menu board. (Taco Tuesday is not a thing. It will never be a thing. I need to stop trying to make it a thing.)

Prepare Yourself

Guys, this lady suggests only 15 minutes. I like to have a breakdown around 1:30, put everyone in their rooms, and pass out face first in a pillow for an hour or two. I find the pillow wrinkles and runny  mascara to be a super sexy look. Sometimes I even brush my teeth when I get up. I know. We’ve still got it.

And I’m not messing around with any ribbon. My husband is a chemical engineer at a food ingredient plant. As long as I’m not wearing work boots and literally covered in meat products I’m the sexiest thing he’s seen all day.

Clear Away the Clutter

I totally run through the house frantically tying my hair bow and dusting before my husband gets home. I even do one better. I hide all the Target things I’ve purchased that day too, natch.

Prepare the Children

My husband’s little treasures are currently naked inside Snuggy Tails and coloring on the floor. I haven’t wiped the donut residue that their grandparents left yet and the boy smells suuuuuper funky. So…

Minimalize All Noise

I like to bind and gag the children before he gets home. There’s none of that pesky noise then.

Some Don’ts

Screaming “STOP IT I SAID STOP HITTING YOUR SISTER I WILL TAKE ALL THE THINGS AWAY!!!” isn’t relaxing? What?

And yes, I’m sure he’s been through some crap today. But was it literal crap? On his literal person? No? Then come talk to me after a glass of wine.

Make Him Comfortable

Ahahhahahahhah a lie down ahahhahahhahaha soft soothing tones ahahhahahahahhahaha I’m sorry I can’t this is just too much ahahahahahahahhhahahha.

Listen to Him

“Darling, let me listen to your day…ah cool. Okay. So the doctor called and I switched their appointments and I figured out who is going to watch the kids and did you do the Amazon order and I have to be gone on Thursday night so I’ve got a girl coming for an hour and did you get that present? No it’s fine I’ll do it. STOP HITTING YOUR SISTER. Okay let’s eat we’ve got stuff to do.”

 

Make the Evening His

So…making him make me a drink and watch figure skating is off the table?

The Goal

To make it through another day. Good job, Buddy. Fist bump. It’s phase two.

Catholic Sistas Post: Talk to Your Mother

So I’m super honored and happy to be able to write for the amazing Catholic women’s blog Catholic Sistas. Here is my post from this month

On a beautiful crisp morning, my family and I were heading to the Marian shrine to Our Lady of Good Help in northern Wisconsin. It was Saturday, there was a wide-open expressway in front of us, and we had about an hour and a half to go. Both kids were strapped in their car seats (read: contained and not able to destroy our plans quite as easily.)

“Hey! Let’s say a rosary on our way up! That’s a good way to prepare for the shrine,” I suggested cheerily, turning down the music.

My husband looked at me like I had suggested he pull over and take a few shots of whiskey. “No! I can’t do that! I’m DRIVING!”

Read the rest here.

Oil Me Up

I am not terribly natural. I’m mostly a ball of stress and caffeine getting through the day on lorazepam and Advil until nighttime and my lover Unisom comes to call. (We’ve been together since my pregnancy with Joey, but he still gets me into bed every night.)

I asked my OB if I could have an epidural at the curbside when I got to the hospital.

I have a patented cold cocktail of drugs that I take every time my nose starts to itch and yeah okay I’ll probably die of an ulcer, but it’s like my sinuses don’t even exist anymore! Yay!

I don’t like feeling..well…much of anything, and certainly nothing unpleasant.

And I tend to think that the best ways to get through those feelings are chemicals. Tasty tasty chemicals that they put into pill forms and I can wash down with a glass of white wine from Aldi.

(I’m KIDDING. I don’t have a problem.)

(Except that I only buy my wine from Aldi.)

So I am not crunchy. I’m the opposite of crunchy. I’m like a barely cooked chocolate chip cookie, which is oddly also how I make my chocolate chip cookies. (Or Seared Dough Balls, as my loving husband calls them.)

I have heard people tell of essential oils and their benefits. My sister loves them. A bunch of people I love and respect love them. I was sure they were lovely, but why am I gonna fool around with lavender and witch hazel when I have a perfectly good analgesic RIGHT HERE y’all. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Well, last week, I was desperate. I went to Dermy for the most hallowed of traditions for the Irish, right up there after Holy Mass and dinner with mam…the shave biopsy.

(Pasty girls say hey!)

Anyway, it wasn’t healing the way it should because I’m a bleeder and have awful skin and my bra was rubbing on it and wow, you do not need to know all this stuff about a random part of my side. But it was PAINFUL. And even more painful, I was thinking I was going to have to go back to the doctor to see what to do about it and then I’d have to drop the kids off and take a shower and make an appointment and ugh, I’d rather die of sepsis.

So I was whining about this to my sister, because at approximately 50 weeks pregnant and mother to the most…um…high maintenance toddler on the planet, she really needs to hear about how my bra is bugging me because it’s rubbing a cut under my arm. I don’t know why she likes hanging out with me.

And she was like, “You’re not going to like what I have to say.”

Ugh. I know. I have to go to the doctor.

“Oils.”

Ugh. Worse.

But again, desperate. So I let her mix me up a little jar of something and something that smells like incense during Holy Week and I slathered it all over my weeping wound and went to bed like, “Hah! I’ll show her. This is ridiculous.”

And damned if the thing wasn’t, like, healed by the morning. And the secondary wounds that the bandaids gave me (because I have super sensitive pale skin, just to up the sexy quotient) were totally gone too.

So it took me like twelve hours to be converted to essential oils.

I was like scanning my body, looking for things to oil. I considered throwing away my Mucinex for a bottle of coconut oil and something. I put it on cold sores and eczema and that weird crusty spot on my scalp and…ugh oh man, I’m all about the essential oils.

Ugh. My sister was right. Again.

I should give Poldark another chance.

Catholic Sistas Post- Practicing NFP

So I’m super honored and happy to be able to write for the amazing Catholic women’s blog Catholic Sistas. Here is my post from this month. 

For a long time, I did not understand why the Church would put so much upon us. I waited to be intimate with my husband until we were married. And now because of medical issues I can’t even have sex when I want to now that I am married? That hardly seems sporting. I was whining about this in confession once, and a priest friend told me that obedience always precedes understanding.

That made sense. I did not like it, but it made sense.

Read the rest here.

Eight

Dear Eva,

Tomorrow morning when we wake up (together, as per birthday tradition in this house dictates,) you will be eight. I know, I know. I say this every year. But I seriously CANNOT BELIEVE IT. Eight is…big. I remember eight. I remember feelings from eight. I made major life decisions (hey homeschooling!) at eight. Eight is NOT A BABY ANYMORE AND THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE AS YOU ARE MY BABY.

*ahem*

Sorry.

But you’re not, you’re my big girl now. You’re in second grade. You’re learning multiplication and division and Latin and cursive and doing really well.

You are hilarious. Your grandma told you you came almost a week  before your due date, and you nodded sagely and replied, “I’m not very patient.”

You are definitely not patient. But even though I get frustrated with that, like, a lot, it’s only because you want to experience and learn as much as possible as quickly as you can.

You like to “joke.” Your idea of a joke is basically any verbal interaction where I’m not telling you to do anything. There are some mornings when we don’t have to rush and be anywhere and you follow me around saying nonsensical things while I’m getting ready, and then inevitably at some point you sigh happily and say, “I love joking days.” It makes me wish we had nothing to do at all ever except cuddle and joke and walk around the house together. That would make you so happy.

That’s all I want. For you to be happy. I know that in the long run, your eternal happiness rests in the next life with God. And you are taking great strides this year to grow in your faith. You go to confession regularly, even though I know how nervous you get before. You are making your First Communion and tell me all the time how you think you’ll feel like you can fly when you receive the Blessed Sacrament for the first time because it will be so special. You are good and loving and kind and even when it’s hard, I know you want to be the good little girl God made you.

I want you to be happy here on earth, too. I know sometimes you aren’t, and that breaks my heart. I want nothing more than for you to know peace and happiness inside yourself.

I am so lucky to be your mommy. Days like today I really think about that. Your mama only got one birthday with you- when she had you. This is the seventh I’ve had, and that’s amazing. I will never ever know what I did to deserve this gift, but I am so so thankful for every single moment I get to be your mother.

I love you, sweetie.

Love,

Mommy

Still thankful.

I wrote this last year, and if anything it’s more true today. This has been a hard year. A really hard year. But it’s been a year I’ve been able to be here, and that means it’s been wonderful.

***

Six years ago today my husband lost his wife. My daughter lost her mother, whom she’d never really remember. A hole was ripped in people I would come to love very soon afterwards that nothing can ever fill, no matter how happy and fulfilling our lives are now.

There’s nothing I can do about that. And it sucks.

I can do some stuff though. I can be here for my husband. I can tell my daughter stories I’ve learned from other people so it feels like they’re her memories, like her mama is still here with us not only in spirit. I try to do those things every day, and more so on days like today.

The biggest thing I can do, though, is so simple. I can be thankful.

I am thankful for my husband. We don’t agree about everything. We are very stubborn. We have our share of disagreements and yeah, sometimes I look back at skinny, free 2010 me and wonder what happened and WHY. But I am always, always thankful for him. I am constantly reminded that I could be without him. In the blink of an eye, my life and marriage could be over and I can never forget that. I am so so thankful to have had four and a half years of marriage with him already.

I am thankful for my children. I get to stress about birthday parties. I get to potty train. I get to lie awake at night and worry about how she’s feeling and whether I’m doing the right thing or whatever. I am so unbelievably privileged that I get to do that every day.

I am thankful that I get to live in my dream home, happily and healthily.

I am thankful that I get to be 29, even though I’m mad about turning 30. I am thankful to have this time with my mom, with my sister, with HER mom. I am thankful to be friends with her brother’s new wife and watch them start their family. I am thankful to be here to see my niece and when my brother falls in love and gets married.

I am thankful for budgeting and sick kids that climb in bed with me and then need help with their own blankets at 3:30am and gross colds and grocery shopping and taking out the trash and those few quiet minutes at the end of the day when my husband and I are finished with everything we need to do and can just be together.

I am so lucky, and I am so thankful.

MSL: Winter Edition

Martha doesn’t waste any time with these boring months in which she can’t throw parties to make other people feel  inferior because they don’t have a cottage farm. She bunches January and February together.

Okay I call bull on this. No one- NOT EVEN MARTHA- does weight training on New Year’s Day. Just because you copy and paste your workout schedule from week to week doesn’t make it true.

Just the ornamental ones. Not the functional beds. Rich people, yo.

Martha is nothing if not liturgically correct.

Stay tuned for next month’s issue, when we wait with Martha as she finds out the results of her PAP smear.

Martha I have ridden horses and if you oil your saddles the day before a hard ride you will have ruined breeches. But whatever, you probably have more than one pair.

Martha! She’s just like you! No one had to tell her the Super Bowl was on this day at all.

“Mommy no! I don’t want to go over there! She scares me!”

“Shut up do you want to go to college or not???”

Also, does that say Antarctica???

Yeah obviously and she doesn’t even pretend she’s going to do weight training while she’s there.

If I’m walking out in the snow I’d better get more than cookies. Somebody’d better have a lava cake or something.

This…this just sounds like a bad idea.

“…are the screams of the underlings when they realize what they’ve done. I mean gardening. That’s what I mean.”

Here honey. I love you so much I spent an hour folding this $15 card stock into a heart. I swore a lot. It’s because I love you.

Martha is obviously not super Catholic.

Wrap this up and I guarantee you the person you give it to will be all “Oh my gosh thank you so much it’s a…honey! Look what Martha brought!” with a smile so wide you can see their molars.

I like to keep my calendar and my cutting board in the same place. It just makes sense.

Or you can play Cards against Humanity and get drunk and tell people about your wedding night. I mean, that sounds more fun to me but whatever.

This was a typo. The correct question should obviously be, “Which insurance company can help me after I burn my house down because MY ARTISAN CITRUS PLANTS BROUGHT SPIDERS INTO MY HOUSE.” Geez people. Shop at Meijer like the rest of us.

I accidentally bought a lemon tree once instead of lemons and Martha assured me I could replant it and then harvest the lemons.

 

I feel like this lady and I would not be great friends.

My blanket was on sale at Target and probably made by ten -year-old slaves but it was $19.99. So…

9 out of 10 doctors will agree that the most important thing is that it SMELLS healing.

Oh lady. You’re not Catholic are you?

Yep. Definitely not friends.

Unicorn sweat also works. Both are about as easily attainable at this stage in life.

Nothing says “not getting any” like a vegetarian gratin.

WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL IT HAS A HEAD. Martha! CHILDREN SEE THIS.

Oh yay- a knitting piece! (Psst! Go check out my etsy shop!)

I don’t keep my yarn in a closet like a plebian. I keep a few of the more heathered balls in a $400 wooden bowl that was once used in a Buddhist ceremony and some antique needles for garnish.

Michaels? No?

This could be a horror movie. Don’t. Spill. The. Sap.

Not cute- when I inhale the whole piece of pie while my husband looks on in horror.

Pssh, Martha. You can get all the pincushions you need at Michaels. But you’ve never been there.

Praying and Playing

The kids were playing with their saint dolls in the car today. What follows is a conversation between St. Christina, a 13th century Belgian saint who was known for levitating, and St. Michael, the Arch Angel. (He of “defend us in battle” fame.)

Buddy: Hi! I’m St. Michael the Elf Angel.

Squeaks: No, Buddy. ARCH.

Buddy: Yeah. Elf Angel.

Squeaks: *sigh* Okay. Hi! How are you!

Buddy: I’m good. Have you met my best friend Buddy? He’s my best friend.

Squeaks: Oh! Yes! He’s my best friend too!

(My mother’s heart warms.)

Buddy: Can we get married?

Squeaks: Um. No. But we can be friends!

(Oooh. Friend-zoned. Saint style.)

Buddy: Okay. I have a sword.

Squeaks: I know. A silver sword. I have…I don’t know what this is in my hand.

Buddy: How about I hit you with the sword?

(If it was safe to do a headdesk while driving, I totally would have.

And while this post is not sponsored, it’s just random hilarious stuff my kids say, I suggest you check out the gorgeous (and fun!) saint dolls at Praying and Playing on Facebook for great gifts!

What I Do All Day

When I was in college and grad school, I was super productive. I was trained by years of homeschooling to be a self-starter who loved her schedule and to-do list and got stuff done. My favorite day of the semester was when I went through and scheduled everything that I had due so I would be finished at least a week ahead of time. I thought I was pretty hot stuff at the whole “getting-things-done” thing.

I had no idea.

I had no idea what real productivity meant. Because there is NOTHING as productive as a mother whose children are otherwise occupied for a few hours outside of the house. If the State Department offered babysitting, we could figure out this whole Middle East thing. And do a few loads of laundry.

My kids were at their grandparents for like five hours this afternoon. I got the following accomplished.

  • Cleaned up from breakfast and the day of school.
  • Made flashcards for all the subjects for the coming week.
  • Pick up rest of house.
  • Vacuum up after Buddy’s toast breakfast in the living room. Because we’re classy.
  • Stage and take pictures of two new Etsy products.
  • Upload listings for two new Etsy products.
  • Order supplies and schedule three new orders that came in today. (Including figuring out where Wailai is in the world.)
  • Almost finished a knitting project I’ve been working on for like forever.
  • Put three coats of paint on some wooden hearts (oooh stay tuned guys!)
  • Sealed a set of coasters.
  • Did four loads of laundry.
  • Changed kids’ sheets and cleaned up their rooms.
  • Made all the beds.
  • Washed and dried and straighened hair. (This is a PROCESS, y’all.)
  • Watched episode 1 of Poldark.
  • Fell in love with Poldark.
  • Texted Sister to see when Poldark would start getting Biblical with the redhead kitchen maid.
  • Was assured it was coming soon.
  • Ordered groceries.
  • Ordered cold meds for husband.
  • Washed hands like eight times.
  • Went through emails.
  • Prepped for meeting tomorrow.
  • Started work on a headband.
  • Almost finished a super long knitting project that I am so done with.
  • Cleaned the basement.
  • Cleaned out kitchen cabinets of candy from Halloween.
  • Sat and stared at the snow softly falling and counted my blessings.
  • Did some more laundry.
  • Wrote this post.

Grad school me was cute and skinny and hungry all the time, but Mom Me? I get shiz DONE.

Temperature Blanket 2018

I love big projects that span the year, like photo challenges or journaling or whatever. But since I refuse to commit to being photo-ready every day for the next year (especially when everyone around me is being felled by the stomach flu), I decided to focus on a knitting project for the year.

The concept of the temperature blanket is simple- just knit one or two rows each day in a color associated with the temperature. You can make it any size, use any colors, stitch, yarn, and needles, and pick the high, low, average, or whatever temperature you’d like.

This is my first one, so I’m going pretty typical. I’m using worsted weight yarn because it’s cheap in large quantities, size 9 needles, and a garter stitch so it’s cozy and really shows off the colors without any complications.

The hardest part was picking colors and temps- living in Wisconsin we typically see below zero and above 100 without batting an eye. That’s a lot of colors (and a lot of money) if you do a typical 5-degree spread. Here’s what I did instead-

I’m using Red Heart Super Saver yarn- they have a ton of colors to choose from that allow me to stay away from the oranges and reds I don’t really like.

For my blanket, I wanted it to be super cozy, so I cast on 300 stitches and am knitting two rows a day. This works well because all the colors “switch” on the same side so there’s a seamless “good” side to the blanket when it’s finished. It will also make it long enough to be cozy. Hopefully it should end up around 60×70 inches.

These are the colors I have on hand for below 0 to 55. I didn’t think I’d need the in JANUARY IN WISCONSIN but apparently I was wrong. Thank you, Amazon Prime.

See? It’s super simple and a really cool record of the year. I love that there will be a pop of green in there and I can remember, oh yeah, remember the day it was 59 in January?

It would also be cool to do to commemorate an anniversary year or a baby’s first year.

(And speaking of which, I could totally make you one through my Etsy shop, linked on the sidebar. Mama gotta hustle.)

Of course, I could get sick of it by March. In which case I’ll have a bunch of yarn in weird colors. But for now it’s better than putting on mascara every day.