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.

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.

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!

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.

Youth

Things I Thought Would Be More of an Issue at 30 Than Hand Foot and Mouth Disease:

1.) wrinkles

2.) gray hair

3.) My knees

4.) basically EVERYTHING EXCEPT A FREAKING CHILDREN’S DISEASE

Yep. We were felled by the fabled HFMD. Buddy showed symptoms first. No biggie though, right? It’s painless and adults don’t get it.

THEY LIE.

It’s super painful. And in our family, the adults got it waaaaay worse than the kids.

And there’s nothing that makes you feel quite so pretty as your husband refusing to kiss you because your mouth is literally covered in sores.

Yeah. Attractive.

But we’re good now. All good, and back to normal life.

And my website is fixed again and a new issue of Martha Stewart Living arrived today. It’s a good day, y’all!

The Way We Were

Guys. I am informed by Facebook’s On This Day feature (which is where I get all my information like kids’ birthdays and my engagement and other crap I’ve lost track of) that six years ago Buzz and I had our second date, when he invited me over to watch Pirates of the Caribbean.

So many warm fuzzy memories of that day- I got to meet my daughter for real, and she handed me Big Baby and gave me a hug goodnight and Buzz sang her Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah and  I fell TOTALLY in love with her (and her father but I didn’t want to seem creepy.) Buzz had prepared lemon bars for us to snack on when we went downstairs to watch the movie after Squeaks was asleep. We had Maker’s Mark that he had made a “rum” label for to match the theme of the evening. He sat chastely on his side of the couch, but kept scootching over and then did the stretch and arm around the shoulder thing and I…sat there and did nothing because okay it wasn’t all fuzzy memories a lot of it was stomach churning nausea like when is he going to inquire about my I9 form? Am I a babysitter? Does he make lemon bars for a lot of women? Is the crying normal? WHAT IS THIS ARM THING I AM NOT EXPERIENCED AT THIS DATING AN ACTUAL ADULT MAN GAAAAHHHHH.

So yeah, we were mostly just confused that night. But still! We made an effort. I wore cute clothes (that were in a super cute size.) He baked for me and did the cute rum thing. Both of us had so much fun just sitting next to each other that we watched the whole first POTC movie. And…then the second one. Which sucked more than I remember. And the third one…which really sucked totally bad. And then I finally drove home at crack thirty in the morning happy and confused and just…happy.

We had a date night on the same night last week and things were…a little different.

First we only went out because we had a gift card. Sexy, am I right?

We argued about whether to get a reservation. I said no because we literally have never needed one before. He said yes to be safe. We had to wait twenty minutes. Score one for Buzz.

I wore my very nicest leggings. And shoes with toes and a heel. So that’s pretty enticing, am I right? Buzz put on cologne and changed his t-shirt. ROMANCE GUYS.

We had an awesome dinner where no one tried to impress the other with how little/healthy they ate, and instead we split mozzarella sticks and had burgers and it was glorious and very oniony.

We talked about work and the kids and how I’m excited about my writing future and how Squeaks wants to wear a scapular now. I asked him if he thought I was boring because I have literally nothing to talk about except other people’s excrement and how I write kind of funny things that my mom reads semi-regularly. He looked genuinely surprised and assured me that no, he finds me totally interesting and that my life is what he really cares about- it’s the kids, and me, and our family. That’s the important part.

That made me feel good.

We paid and headed home one drink and 55 minutes after we arrived. We thought about running some errands but we were too tired and the thought of going home to some free wine was more enticing.

Once at home, the grandparents were still around to play with the kids so I was able to take off my leggings and shoes and put on pajama pants. Ahhh. So much better. I had a ton of work to do organizing something for our parish, and he had some work to do…well, providing for us. So we sat on the couch and worked on our laptops on opposite ends. No one scootched. No one really felt the need to.

Slightly different than that day six years ago, Matt did not cuddle and coo and sing Squeaks to sleep. Instead we all yelled at each other (she started it) until she finally went to sleep. Ahhh.

I ate a cookie I found in the fridge from Mother’s Day. I offered one to Buzz, but he just said that horrible things were happening to him because of all the onions so he’d better not. I agreed, based on the smell.

The grandparents left and we continued with our work on the couch for a little bit. Then we said our daily rosary together, and watched an episode of Night Court before collapsing into bed.

That’s a lie. First I washed my face with super expensive old-lady soap. Then I lubed myself up with various moisturizers that are probably the same thing but whatever, they might be different for my neck skin vs my lip wrinkles. Buzz put in his mouth guard. I knocked out 50 pages of my book club book and he read his encyclopedia of oddities, occasionally commenting on one that was super interesting.

All of this was around 10 pm.

It was about as far from six years ago as you could get.

There was no impressing each other. There was no cutesy theme. No one baked for anyone else. We weren’t awkwardly trying to be close to one another. Buzz didn’t smell where my hair had rested on the back of the couch afterwards because he loved the way it smelled.

It was way, way better than that.

We aren’t unsure of each other anymore. We love each other and have yoked our entire lives and salvation to one another. We don’t need to pretend to be super crafty or baking or skinny or whatever. We’re just us. And we love each other.

We got to talk about our babies. We have babies (plural.) The fact of Buddy’s existence never ceases to amaze us and make us so thankful for each other. We had seven-year-old problems with our seven-year-old daughter. That’s awesome. She’s amazing and I’m so unbelievably lucky that I got to stick around after that day to raise her, not just think she was a pretty cute kid I met this one time. We talked about what we do to run our lives, and how wonderful (albeit pedestrian and boring) it is. We enjoyed a night to ourselves.

We worked side by side, just enjoying being with each other. We prayed together, something I never thought I’d do with my husband because it always seemed suuuuper lame, amiright? But now I can’t imagine my life without it. We relaxed and watched a stupid show that we both love and then fell asleep in our bed because we’re married and we have a life and a home together and that’s so much more exciting than first date jitters.

Romance is good. It’s wonderful. You need it in your relationship. It just sometimes looks different than it used to.