Marriage

Guys, I went to a wedding on Saturday. And no offense to every other wedding I’ve been at, but this was the best. Like, it was the most beautiful wedding Mass ever. Like, it was better than mine.

Yes. I got more spiritually out of this wedding than I did my own.

(To be fair, I had Gather Us In as the opening song. Oh, the way we were.)

This was a Novus Ordo, Versus Populem Mass. Totally normal, totally in English. Nothing exceptional. Except- it was exceptional. It was so well said and reverent and joyful that the utterly unbelievably exceptional experience of transcendence that happens at EVERY MASS (even the ones with Gather Us In) was able to shine through in a way we don’t get to experience very often.

I was so proud of my cousin and his wife for doing it this way. I was so thankful to the priest for putting so much thought and effort into his homily and the way in which he moved through the Mass. I was so heartened in my vocation of Christian marriage that I wanted to have a baby.

Yeah, you read that right. A Mass was so beautiful and made me so happy to be in my position in life that I WANTED TO GET PREGNANT.

Buzz and I had been bickering most of the day. I was late getting up and selfish getting ready and cranky driving and just generally in a bad mood. He was in a bad mood too, and doing things that annoyed me and being annoying and we were just not at our best. Even in the church before Mass we were fighting. Not about anything big but I was being obnoxious and he was being annoying.

And then…this Mass. This Mass you guys. It was so gorgeous. The homily was so beautiful, all hinging on the sacred nature of the vocation of Christian marriage. How through Christian marriage we will save the world. And finally, the altar of sacrifice. How we take vows in front (or off to the side of- because again, GATHER US IN) of the altar of sacrifice because we are offering our marriage and ourselves to God through this vocation.

We don’t ever hear that. Marriage should just be funsies, all the time, right? I mean, weddings are just one big party! But they’re not. They’re the beginning of a life devoted entirely to each other and your family. You lay down your life for your spouse every day, and you do it joyfully because that is your vocation. Even when you’re feeling obnoxious. Even when they’re annoying.

And that? That is amazingly beautiful. And it made me look over at my husband and apologize to him because I was not being a selfless wife, I was being a cranky person who did not care about anyone except herself. And he apologized to me too. And then we went and drank and had a lovely night.

And as far as getting pregnant? Well, the homily was pretty awesome but unfortunately it did not remove the psychological and physical reasons to avoid right now. But I’m impressed with myself that I felt that way. Maybe soon.

Congratulations to Jack and Olivia, and thank you for sharing such a beautiful example of Christian marriage with all of us.

Snaps from a Weekend

We have had a weekend y’all. So much fun so much to do, so little sleep.

And waaay too many gin and tonics. Although that’s probably just me.

On Thursday evening Buzz had work dinner (see previous post for snark) and I took the kids to see their uncle run his open mic. And then they climbed up on stage because of course all the patrons wanted to see them. Obviously. 

$4 vodka mixers yo.


 

Friday was zoo ala Carte, when my father in law buys us a ton of food and it’s just delightful. 

(Even me. The girl that married his daughter’s husband. I get food tickets. That’s how nice these people are.) 

We wrapped up the day at Irish Fest with just me and buzz and I discoveee I really like dry cider.

Also how cute is my sister’s little family?
Saturday was my cousin’s wedding, and it was so glorious that om going to write about it next time. But here are some of the more superficial pics I snapped that day. 

I got to get dressed by myself. It was amazing.

I was really feeling my look. 

We’re related.


It was a really nice bathroom and I really wanted to stea stuff. 

Sunday was Irish Fest, now with 100% more my new lady love, Megan!

The misspelling belies how much unneeded the black coffee. 

Buddy was so mad that people were paying attention to Squeaks that he tried to climb back in the womb.

Monday we all took off to recover and watch the eclipse- for the three seconds the clouds parted.

Joey could care less about the eclipse. 

Fiat

When I was in college, I read Jaroslav Pelikan’s Mary Through the Centuries. Although I had known all this since childhood, it was the first time that I read a rational argument based on the contradiction between Eve and Mary.

Tradition holds that a “no” to God, uttered by a woman, doomed humanity. We also hold that a “yes” to God, uttered by a woman, saved humanity. 

How important then is woman? And how important then is every single one of our answers to God?

Yes, all of salvation history hinged on Mary’s answer to God at the Annunciation. Yes, Mary, by virtue of her Immaculate Conception had the unique privilege of already having been saved by the Son she was agreeing to carry. But she was human. It was a decision. 

Our decisions will never be like that. But they give us a chance to say yes or no to God throughout the day, throughout our lives. 

Am I more like Mary or like Eve? 

I have never turned away from God for no reason. I always have reasons for my sins, for my “no.” But then, didn’t Eve have reasons? The serpent told me to, I didn’t think you’d find out, Adam did it too! Not reasons to turn away from God.

And didn’t Mary have reasons? Wouldn’t Mary’s life have been easier if she had said “ugh this really isn’t a good time,” to God? Certainly nothing in my life compares to having to agree to be essentially a single mother in 1st century Palestine and then watch my baby die on the cross for humanity. 

I’m selfish. I yell at my kids when I get frustrated. I have a reason- they’re misbehaving or I’m tired or I’ve had a long day. I am mean to my husband. I have a reason- he said something insensitive, I’m tired. I say no to God in a myriad of ways as He tries to work in my life. I always have reasons. Are they reasons good enough? Sometimes. Often not. Often I’m just selfish. 

Am I more like Eve or like Mary?

I want to do what I want when I want. I pay attention to all the big stuff, shouldn’t my life be easy? Eve’s no says yes, it should be. God wants you to be happy all the time. Mary’s yes says no. God doesn’t want us to be happy in this world necessarily. He wants us to be happy with him in heaven forever. That requires sacrifice. 

Our Lady, help me to be more like you. 


(Image via wikiart.org.) 

Stages of a Work Dinner

1.) Husband informs you he needs to stay late for a work dinner sometime next week.

2.) You agree automatically, probably because he could say something like, “Darling, I’m leaving you for someone without a front butt and taking the children,” during dinnertime and I’d be like. “Fine, whatever. Give Buddy some more toast, will you?”

3.) Stop and realize that you just agreed to more alone childcare. Ask husband where he’s going.

4.) He hems and haws and won’t look at you.

5.) “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”

6.) *tiny voice* “Really expensive restaurant…”

7.) What?

8.) *ahem* “Really expensive restaurant.”

9.) Oh, you mean the restaurant we could never afford to go to? That one. Fine. Fine. Have a good time. “WORKING.”

10.) Stew about that for a week or so, passive aggressively dropping it into every conversation involving food, drinks, work, or evening.

11.) Decide screw that, if you get dinner and cocktails with real adults I get to order delivery pizza and invite my sister over.

12.) Eat all the pizza.

13.) Tell husband he has to stay away long enough that you can get a couple of solitary Criminal Minds episodes in. Because if he’s missing bedtime he sure as hell isn’t going to also take away a quiet evening to yourself.

14.) Yell at children until they stay in their bedrooms.

15.) Begin drinking.

16.) Text husband repeatedly about what he’s drinking and eating and who he’s sitting next to and doesn’t he miss you?

17.) Husband stops responding. Probs too busy with his martini and raw oysters.

18.) Remember you don’t like raw oysters. Or oysters at all.

19.) Don’t care. Still mad.

20.) Get to a particularly creepy episode of Criminal Minds. Text husband and tell him he’d better call before he lets himself in or I might accidentally call the police because he’s obviously trying to kill me.

21.) Ask him what he’s eating now. Get mad about whatever the answer is.

22.) Eat some more pizza.

23.) Husband says he’s coming home.

24.) Alert the police to stop the perimeter around your house.

25.) Husband gets home.

26.) Bug him about the whole evening.

27.) He assures you nothing fun happened, it was a work dinner.

28.) Don’t believe him, because probably no one sat on his head or threw a piece of bread at him. Probably.

29.) He assures you he’d rather be home with you.

30.) Don’t believe him, but thank him anyways.

Marriage. It’s about compromise.

Things Buddy Wants To Be For Halloween.

I’m sorry, I don’t mean for this blog to become omg look at my son he is so cute drooooolzzzz, but kid is in a particularly hilarious stage lately. 

1.) A priest. (Awww! My heart! It is warmed! I am a good mother!)

2.) A ninja priest. (Say what?)

3.) A ghost priest. (Um…)

4.) A turtle.

5.) A baby turtle. (Well yeah, don’t leave cute points on the table.)

6.) Darth Vader. (I think this is just a ploy to get to wear his uncle’s cherished collectible mask.)

7.) A ghost. (Me: “Aww, like a cute ghost?” Buddy: “No. A ghost to scare people.” Oookay.)

8.) Sarah (of Sarah and Duck.)

9.) Duck (of Sarah and Duck.)

10.) A conductor. (Me: “Like on a train?” Buddy: *scoffs* “No. Like to teach people music.” Gosh, Mommy.)

Exactly How It’s Supposed to Be

Sometimes I’ll be hauling children into my house and fighting with them about whether it’s playtime or naptime and stumbling over toys that are left in my formal living room and the pillows that are not left on the couch like they OBVIOUSLY should be and I have to run after my son who is using my family heirloom dining table as a racetrack for his firetruck and my husband has left his dirty nasty underwear on the floor for the…well, how many days have we been living here?th day straight and I am struck by the thought, “This is not how it’s supposed to be.”

I’ve known I was going to live in my house for a long time. When I was pretty young I knew that it would be mine. And then when we spent a year fixing it up it was done expressly with the plan of my moving in. It was my house. I knew exactly what I wanted and where I wanted it and it was my house.

My being the operative word.

I was single. Really, really, really single. I hadn’t ever really had a boyfriend. I dated only occasionally because most people bugged me. The one guy I was interested in left me at a Starbucks because he was contemplating the priesthood. (So I got that square on Catholic girl bingo.)

I was in a profession where people either got married super late or not at all, and even if they did their fates were tied to whatever university would hire them. I was seriously limiting myself professionally by swearing to stay in Milwaukee, and I couldn’t really hope to find the perfect guy on top of it, right?

I was going to live alone in this house of mine. If I allowed myself to picture my life there, it was definitely alone. I would jump out of my car by myself and walk unhindered into my house. I would not have to brush away the tiny flying bugs that might be on the porch because my children are terrified on any bug at all (It’s summer. Get over it.) I hang my bag in the empty, clean closet and walk through my clean living room to make myself coffee or pour myself a glass of wine, depending on what time of day it is. The kitchen is of course spotless, because I only had to put away my healthy breakfast dishes in the morning. I flip on the TV to some ridiculous cable channel that I still know exists, and sink down at my clean desk that is in no way colored on to see if there is anything pressing that requires my attention. After relaxing and enjoying the evening I replace what little detritus there was from one person relaxing for an evening and go up to my bedroom that is decorated exactly how I like and painted gray without anyone whining about how “gray is such a depressing color!” and definitely doesn’t smell like adult male bottom. Just…all the time, I don’t know why. There is no lingering scent of diaper or little girl lipstick or whatever in the air. Because I have a library/office and a guest room/exercise room. Why would I keep diapers or crappy makeup in either of those?

I fall asleep spread out in my own bed, with the light of the timed candle in the window making the room all cozy and warm. Ahhh.

This is how it is supposed to be. This is what I expected.

(Ignore the fact that without my husband and his chemical engineering degree/job/ability to provide for us, I would be lounging on a futon I found on craigslist and my bonus rooms would be furnished with whatever I managed to steal from my parents’ house. Because I was underemployed in the way that only a Catholic girl with advanced degrees in Jewish Studies can be.)

But…not really. There have been a few times over the years we’ve lived here that I’ve come close to living this fantasy. My kids are in bed early, my husband traveled for work, I was essentially on my own. Yeah, there was the lingering ammonia diaper smell, but I could ignore that. I’m writing this now in a quiet, clean house while my kids are at a movie with their grandma(s.) It’s delightful. My coffee is hot. If I could still afford cable it would be on, but I’ve got Netflix going on in the background. No one is touching my throw pillows.

And I’m overwhelmed with the thought that…this is not how it’s supposed to be.

The fantasy I had at 20 when I was single? Is not the fantasy that 24-year-old married Kathleen had and certainly not the one that 29-year-old mom Kathleen has. As annoying as it is to admit to myself, I would not ever want to live without the diapers and the lipgloss and the cars and the pillows tossed away so we could cuddle and my desk drawn on and covered in pictures my daughter has left for me. I wouldn’t want to live in my dream bedroom because my husband wouldn’t be there with me. I wouldn’t want to have a spotless kitchen because that means I didn’t spend the evening relaxing with my husband and drinking G&Ts instead of washing the dishes. Heck, even the stupid candle I don’t like anymore because my husband has trained me to sleep in complete darkness over the last five years.

I guess my life isn’t what I thought it would be. I guess no one’s is.

And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

Vacation

Buzz took off the last week or so and I decided I was on vacation too. I mean, as on vacation as I could be at home with kids. BUT STILL.

Things I Did On My Vacation:

1.) Slept. A lot.

2.) Napped. Every day.

3.) Met my Goodreads Challenge and upped my book number to 150 for the year.

4.) Said things like, “Sure fine whatever, eat the pancake that fell on the floor.”

5.) Read Under the Banner of Heaven and decided I’m glad I’m Catholic.

6.) Refused to eat any breakfast that was not cooked by my husband because I enjoy being waited on.

7.) Finished lesson planning for the next year.

8.) KON MARI’D MY HUSBAND’S CLOTHES AND RECLAIMED MY CLOSET.

9.) Switched to velvet, slim-line hangers and my life has changed.

Things I Did Not Do On My Vacation:

1.) Blog (which is why this is a day late and in listicle form)

2.) Laundry (which is why my kids have worn tank tops or diapers to bed the last few nights.)

3.) Have to manually empty the sump pump like I did every half hour yesterday. (That was fun.)

4.) Made a healthy, well-balanced meal.

5.) Done a whole lot except stand in my closet and marvel at the prettiness.

6.) Shower regularly.

7.) Really anything productive.

That’s pretty good for a summer vacation, I think.

Taking Your Four Year Old to the Dentist For the First Time In 15 Easy Steps

1.) Ignore recommendations by literally every single major child-health organization that they should definitely see a dentist before they’re four because pssh that’s ridiculous he’s your baby and if he’s not your baby anymore maybe you need to have another baby and ugh can’t deal with that right now how many teeth can he have, really?

All of them?

Oh. Okay.

2.) Make appointment for four-year-old and his big sister so that he can see how not scary it is. Also you can only have to skip one afternoon of napping. But mostly the emotional trauma. (Mostly the nap. Shhh.) Make appointment for their father’s summer vacation for maximum number of soothing hands/voices involved and a chance for him to get to see what your life of herding cats is really all about.

3.) Tell four-year-old repeatedly about the appointment. Beam in happiness as he gets genuinely excited about being a big boy and think with pride about how wonderful he’s going to do just waltzing in there for the first time.

4.) Arrive at dentist’s office, both kids excited for their appointments. Four-year-old begins telling office staff and other patients in the waiting area about how this is his first time and he is pretty excited. Feel smugly adorable.

5.) Go back with Big Sister for her appointment. Four-year-old seems to do really well. He stands next to you and calmly takes in the scene.

6.) Realize he’s not standing calmly so much as literally shaking.

7.) Assure four-year-old that it will be okay. Look at how well Big Sister is doing!

8.) Have four-year-old start whimpering and then full-on crying and clinging to your body like a spider monkey.

9.) Give up on having him be on his own in the chair and lay down underneath him, cradling his little shaking body and murmur soothingly to him whilst getting sprayed with grape toothpaste and gunk from between your kid’s never-professionally-cleaned teeth. Mmmm.

10.) Not really  mind because he picked you over Daddy.

11.) Have dentist tell you that his bottom teeth are cracked and ask if you know when that happened. Shrug and respond, “Frankly I’m surprised he still has teeth. This kid has no fear.”

12.) Walk out of room with four-year-old who is now all puffed up with bravery and saying things like, “Me pretty brave. Uh-huh.”

13.) Tell him you’re so proud of him and that you can’t wait to see him be brave again in six months when you come back.

14.) Watch as his face falls and his spider monkey tendencies come back. “NO ME COME BACK. I ALL DONE!!!! I BRAVE!!!”

15.) Figure out how many teeth he can actually exist with because ugh this is so much work, y’all.

Planning

We’re in the process of getting ready for second grade here at L’ Ecole Pencils and Eyelashes. And by “getting ready for second grade” I mean a lot of swimming lessons and Irish dance and glancing at the calendar every week or so and exclaiming, “It’s June/July/August already?!!?!”

You know, because I like to be prepared.

I have done some real prep work though, and ordered all of her books for the coming year. This is our second year of doing real elementary school, and I’ve definitely figured out some things that I liked and disliked from last year.

I loved the A Beka Math program, and we’ll continue to use it this year. This is an amazing basic math program. I like it a lot more than other companies’ offerings because they have so much in the way of engagement. The pages are bright and colorful and they do a really good job of explaining the concepts to seven-and-eight-year-olds. It’s amazing. And at $22, you can copy the work pages and use it for other kids. Personally, for us, I found the Speed Drills and Tests unnecessary. But that’s just us.

Same company, same amount of love. We also kept the A Beka English program around. They have separate Phonics (Letters and Sounds) and Language texts but they complement each other perfectly and are easy to finish both in a year. Again, I didn’t use the unit tests. Maybe for higher grades.

We loved our religion seat text from Seton. If you want a Catholic homeschooling curriculum, you can’t go wrong with Seton. I loved that this was laid out daily and in language my kid could understand without watering down the theological concepts. Mortal sin is still mortal sin, even for a seven-year-old. She needs to understand that appropriately and I love that Seton helped give me the language to do it. The artwork is also amazing. The text isn’t meant to be written in, so you can use it for multiple children.

We are changing some things though. I had a rough time with the Latin text we selected for last year. I think it would work great for some kids at some ages, but not my kid at this age. It was too intense and I got too hung up on trying to get her to finish the pages without really learning anything. Not helpful.  So like I wrote about here, we kind of went with a laid-back approach of literally just teaching her Latin. I made her recite prayers and sing songs and practice her cursive in Latin. We started praying in Latin as a family. I made her “teach” her dad some things. It was cobbled together, but it really worked well. In keeping with that concept, we ditched the original text and switched to a primer reader (which my husband remembers from high school hahaha) and decided to use the rest of the stuff we did last year too. I’ll be teaching her more songs and prayers and I’m making it my goal to have her saying the rosary in Latin by the time of her First Holy Communion.

That’s another thing that’s necessarily different. It’s second grade, y’all. Sacrament central. She’ll be making her first confession in September and her first Holy Communion in April or May. So obviously we have to focus on preparation for that. Since we don’t do any organized religion classes through the parish, I have the responsibility to make sure that she’s well prepared and covered in the fundamentals of the faith.

This year we’re using a combination of things. St. Joseph Catechism First Reconciliation and First Communion texts, as well as the Baltimore Catechism I are forming the backbone of our texts. I’ve also ordered Matthew Kelly’s Blessed series, which I will be getting in September and January for the sacraments respectively. I have no idea if I’m going to like it, but I like the idea that it’s made for parish work so I can make sure my bases are covered in her preparation.

Finally, I’m switching planners. I know, I know. If you know me, that’s a huge thing. Last year I bought the Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner, and I did love it. It was gorgeous and the material was so high quality and the accessories were adorable but it just was like eight thousand percent more than I needed. I don’t need to keep track of grades (yet.) I don’t need to keep track of attendance. I need weekly lesson plans, monthly goals, and pages for lists. That’s what I need. That’s pretty much it. So this year I saved like two hundred dollars (I love me some accessories) and bought a pretty binder and found printables.

I found one I love and I can’t find it again to link to it. I’ll work on that. I love that it has the Jeremiah quote from, well, my life on it. I love that it will help center me every week. I love all of that. Mostly I love that it was free and simple and exactly what I need. Five days with six or seven subjects and that’s it.

I created my own list of weeks for the yearly schedule, just using Google Drive. I laminate these and put them in the front of the binder so I can tell what week we’re on at all times. I’m really looking forward to making it mine.

(And my husband is looking forward to not getting another $200 bill from Erin Condren.)

(I’m basically sending Erin’s kids to college with how much I love her stuff.)

(My own kids should look into ROTC.)

So tell me- what are you doing differently this year? What did you hate about last year? What did you love?

MSL: A Protestant from Massachusetts Thinks She Knows a Fish Fry

Guys, we’ve reached the height of summer when frankly even the perpetually cool and collected Martha seems to become delirious with the heat. As illustrated by the fact that she has composed a July/August issue devoted to fish fries and a fantasy list of 50 ridiculous things to do during summer if you live on your own Nantucket Island with a stable boy named Noah who is into some weird stuff.

(Just keep reading.)

I can tell it’s going to be bad. I’m a good little Catholic girl from Wisconsin. I know from a fish fry. And you know who we don’t need telling us about fish fries? WASPs from the Northeast.

(Who fry shrimp with their fish. What blasphemy is this?)

But wait guys, first we have to get through Martha’s calendar of random shit. Like donkey hooves? Surely you’re just making crap up now, M.

Also have mole checked. Do we need to know everything, Martha? I don’t want to know when you schedule your PAP smear.

Okay I legit did not even read what this article was about because it clearly was just because Martha had this hat she wanted to wear.

Um. I hope the leash is for Scout and not Noah. Unless Martha’s September issue is entitled How White Middle-Aged Ladies Can Get Into Light BDSM.

That is a waste of space that could be used by WINE GUYS. Peaches. What the hell.

Oh this could be interesting! I love hosting parties and I’m always looking for an alternative to a bottle of wine (that’s a lie, I’m literally never looking for an alternative to a bottle of wine) for a hostess gift when I attend other people’s gatherings, so let’s read on!

Um…okay. I mean, I’m not sure I have a place for an oversized inner tube, but I guess if someone shows up with one I would think it was…sweet?

No I wouldn’t. It would be ridiculous.

Also- party starter? I have had many a cocktail gathering that turned into a pool party. Oh wait, no I haven’t. Because I don’t live in an episode of CSI.

Yeah okay gotta be honest, I wouldn’t be psyched to receive a big-ass bird kite either.

And frankly those look like they would go in the bag with Noah’s leash.

In my family, this would be called “overpacking for ridiculous trips where you never sleep but learn a ton of stuff.”

You do not need a cocktail dress or dark wash jeans.

You need underwear and shorts and that’s it.

To keep her plants watered when out of town, Martha pays a poor person less than minimum wage to do it.

Here at Casa Kathleen, it’s always tea time. Long island iced tea time.

Here we go guys! Martha’s List of Fifty Things to Do In Summer If You Don’t Live in the Real World.

Like no. 3, renting a convertible and turning the GPS off. Followed presumably by being captured by the cast of Deliverance and being eaten for dinner.

In my family we rent Suburbans and fight about whether paper maps or Waze works better.

And walk barefoot along the ocean! Or just in your backyard! Which for Martha are probably the same thing. Poor people. Sheesh.

ATTENTION 99% OF READERS OF MARTHA STEWART LIVING! DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DO A CARTWHEEL OR A HANDSTAND! YOU WILL DIE.

I feel like you’ve never had children, Martha. Because none of those occasions are kiss-worthy. You’re either trying to get them in bed, in the car so you stop getting rained on, or spray them down with bug spray while making precious family memories and wishing you were home with a bottle of wine instead of at the stupid fireworks getting West Nile.

I’d love to, Martha, but I can’t figure out what’s happening with my estrogen production and sorry, too much information? I mean, you can come back next week for my NFP Awareness Week topic HOW BAD EXACTLY WOULD HELL BE? 

Again, you’ve clearly never raised young children. I’ll see your shoes and raise you “never get out of your pajama bottoms.”

All right, here we go with the fish fry. I…recognize none of the food here. I will be honest, I don’t even like fish or fish fries or anything about fish. But DAMMIT DO NO MESS WITH THE TRADITION.

You probably like your old fashioneds without cherries too.

What even is that. My Wisconsin forebears are rolling in their graves.

You’re dead to me Martha.

Until next month.