Saturday, I mean Sunday Takes

Late to the party, as always. I started writing these on Saturday, and now it is somehow Sunday. 

1. Ryan is going to preschool two times a week in the afternoons this semester as opposed to last semester's three mornings a week. He finally started this week (on St. John Bosco's feast day! Patron saint of school children!) after a few delays (some inevitable like sickness and some embarrassingly silly ... what parent can't drag herself to Target for a few crayons and a crib-sized pillow in a timely manner?). I don't know if it is because we have been together for most of December and all of January or if I just let the bickering and yelling overshadow the good, but the first afternoon he was gone, I'll admit to being shamefully baffled when Conor came to me with a book asking me to read it. It hadn't occurred to me exactly how much Ryan and Conor play together and thus, babysit each other, until Ryan was gone. This is what we looked like without Ryan on the second day of preschool this week:

Post-nap solace, despair and utter confusion as to what to do upon realizing Ryan wasn't here. He is even attending one day less than last semester, and we are at a loss. A certain little brother later confided to Chris, "I miss my brother. He is fun. Is he at school?" 


^^^ I was informed the bear had a dirty diaper. Conor definitely gets his liberal use of baby wipes from his father. 

Watching the dynamic at home shift while Ryan is away doing crafts remains to be sweet and fascinating. We (Ryan and the rest of the family) are not ready for him to be away all day, five days a week at all, but there have been so many benefits from preschool so far for everyone. Except I'm not supposed to call it preschool, according to Ryan. He goes to class. A grad student's son!

2. I'm aware how pitiful it is to think it is such a novel thing to read a book just to my second child. Step up your game, Katrina! The library received many hold requests from my account on Friday. You all were so wonderful with your recommendations on books with loyal sibling relationships. Check out the comments here if you missed it. Do you have any recommendations for books that display good manners? We need some literary reinforcement! I should add that I'm not a fan of manners books that show the bad behavior/negative language. We have enough enthusiastic exclamations of "buttcrack," to fill our ears already. 

3. Ryan requested that this prayer card be taped onto his locker. I'm not sure where he got the idea of pictures other than the normal child photo so they can see which one is theirs on a locker, but I most definitely obliged. 

4. This can be number four and five. I honestly told Chris that the one thing I wanted for Christmas was a reading light. Falling asleep on my own has always been difficult for me so growing up I would read, and for the past few years I horribly fall asleep looking at my phone. That habit needs to go so I thought if I had a reading light, all my sleeping problems and wasting time problems would be solved! And they immensely have been, I'm happy to report. I love being able read at night without bothering Chris with a bright lamp, and it is so enriching to not spend the last minutes of my day on social media.  The above photo is from a night Conor had woken up vomiting, and he asked me to sleep with him, but without touching him on his makeshift floor bed of towels in our room. His sweet request and the reading light made it a pretty decent night!

5. And in that photo is one of my latest reads. Chris came home from his retreat with Silence by Shasaku Endo and while he had been away the internet blew up with commentary about the new movie based off of the novel.  Chris had mentioned the idea that we go see the new Martin Scorsese film while we were in San Diego, and I shot it down because I'm a lame homebody who has to hear about new things from friends and the internet rather than my husband before I'm enthusiastic about doing something. How annoying! Anyway, I didn't realize that it is only showing in select cities, and the closest one to us now is Chicago! The upside is that we have both now read the book before we see the movie which is the best order of events, in my opinion.                                                                                                          

6. Here's a look at what is new to the shop, and what I've been working on. This welcome the stranger piece is a draft for a new group of works. I know our society is largely starving for works of mercy, and I feel like I personally need to work on the corporal works of mercy so painting them has been a moving experience of challenge. 

7. Next weekend is  the Edith Stein Project at Notre Dame! This is my favorite conference, and I always leave refreshed and extra alive. Here is the conference schedule. I'm sad my favorite lecturer and girl crush will not be there this year, but this awesome and inspiring lady will!  I will have a table for Hatch Prints selling paper goods and mugs so if you are local, come see me in the lobby of McKenna Hall on campus.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Thursday Takes

1) ^^^ This girl hid our cordless mouse that goes to our computer, and it was missing the whole day until I found it with the diapers. Obviously she was sending me a message to actually carry out my new "do not touch the computer when you are in charge of the kids" rule. Anyway! Better get these quick takes up before she stuffs it away again.

2) I don't mean to brag, but Chris has perfected a subtle smokey eye ... from a boxing spar. I'm sure when he enters the boxing ring, his intention is not to leave looking like he is better at applying eye shadow than I (which is really not a huge feat), but that is exactly what happened the night before we left San Diego. Check it out:

3) That photo is from our flight back to the Midwest. I will be so sad when we stop being pampered by the combination of the academic calendar and cheap flights. This year we spent two whole months with my in-laws. It breaks my heart that the kids and Chris' siblings don't get to grow up along side each other as neighbors so those two months were cherished, toddler fights and sickness and all (we were the worst house guests ever and brought a stomach bug that hit everyone like dominoes). 

^^^ the four little boys on Christmas morning

4) I've also noticed the kids relate best to books so I'm looking for recommendations for chapter books and picture books with strong, loyal sibling relationships. It always pains me to think about brother combinations such as Mufasa and Scar or Cain and Abel (am I really referencing Disney and the Bible in the same sentence?) as examples for them. I think we are about to start The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with Ryan. 

5) To go along with my new no computer rule, I really want the kids to see me reading independently more. The first few years of motherhood were very pathetic in terms of reading, only kept afloat by the occasional book club meeting. Rather than lament over those years of lost literary opportunity, I'm resolved to put more books on hold at the library so all I have to do is pick them up rather than take three loud children through the quiet areas of the library. 

6) Elise is pretty much weaned from using me as a lovey during the day after a winter break of me wearing turtlenecks or buttoning my shirt to the tippy top. It's a fashion statement. A fashion statement for sanity! 

7) In shop news, I changed things up and released a blue mug, and I love it. They are currently sold out (God is good!), but I can't wait to get my hands on more. 

Not quite there

^^^ Unrelated, but current (as in taken tonight!) photo

A couple of years ago, a kindred spirit farther along in the whole raising good souls vocation assured me that someday, someday, my ever so magnet-like children would play independently. The memory of that conversation was replaying in my head yesterday evening when I was in our room after being bidden adieu by not one, not two, but all three of our children. The boys were playing Star Wars in the office, a game that involves the door closed, the lights off and iTunes playing The Force and then The Imperial March songs over and over while annoying our patient neighbors and wielding pretend light sabers. I had followed Elise to the door, upon which she banged her dimpled hands, walked through when her brothers opened it, and then closed as she turned to make smug eye contact with me as she coldly shut the door in my face. 

And so, there I was, basking in the glow of independent play and folding laundry in our room. "Am I there? This must be it," I incredulously thought as a placed a rugby shirt atop another rugby shirt. I listened closely for a bit just to do a quick check that they weren't silently getting into mischief as there is a direct correlation between the amount of silence and the amount of destruction. Nope! Loud as ever. Good. The apartment wasn't going to burn down. I returned to reveling in this ability to fold a load of laundry in one go and started once again to think about the memory of the conversation with my friend when I heard ...

"MOM! Conor glued his fingers together with SUPER GLUE!" 

I guess we aren't quite there yet. 

(The removal surprisingly wasn't bad. Acetone nail polish remover!)

(Concerning how he got into the super glue - I had been repairing toys the day before (toys that had been in the fix queue for an embarrassingly long amount of time), and I went to open a tube of super glue. I couldn't get it open! I figured I had accidentally glued it shut last time so I put it down on a shelf in front of me, and then opened a new one. After I finished being a toy doctor, I put the newly opened tube in the drawer out of reach from the kids, but I didn't remember the stubborn tube I left on the shelf! Conor didn't manage to take the top off, but he managed to crack open the body of the tube, thus creating a whole lot of excitement).


Two things can be predicted pretty darn consistently. The day that I plan as my product shoot day will be ridiculously cloudy even for South Bend standards, and any week that is bound to be a hefty work week will be the same week the kids come down with an illness. Poor guys.  I really need to take advantage of this predictability by doubling up on the salad for them preemptively since they do actually enjoy salad. (I'll tell you my secret ways). 

Yesterday morning I was wavering between putting my best foot forward and half-way napping through an intense headache cuddled on the couch with Ryan while Elise raided the bottom half of the Christmas tree. The ten minutes of half-sleep were well worth the indecently naked tree. Laundry was started, we baked oatmeal cookies, we had a tea party (otherwise known as cookies and milk elsewhere), I only mildly used my scary voice a few times, Elise attempted to sabotage the family business by crushing the one lone glass ornament that was supposed to be thrown away in my scanner (!!! thankful she didn't get cut), the apartment was then thoroughly vacuumed while the boys played/trashed the guest room, and by the time noon rolled around my patience threshold was gone with the wind. It wasn't even a particularly rough morning, but some days are just days, italics needed. Chris had mentioned he was going to be home for lunch by noon (such a luxury! we are very grateful to live close to school) so I was watching the door as if it were a oven with cookies in it. Well, an oven with a window unlike ours, ha. 12:01, 12:02 ... 12:07 ... 12:32 ... the angry things I was going to spurt out upon his arrival were multiplying by the minute! Don't mess with a mom's reprieve! The reproachful look I would toss his way was selected out of my mean look arsenal. 

Finally I heard the door to the apartment building open, then a few seconds later our door opened. I turned around from the sink flashing my chosen look as I saw his head first pop in ... followed by a single rose. 

Oops! My mediocre blue steel changed to a sheepish blush. 

We got engaged seven years ago today. What a day, italics evoking a different emotion than above. I insisted we make an anniversary trip to the Grotto citing that we might not be here next year, and my heart is heavy imagining that we won't be able to just swing by the locale of our engagement like it ain't nothing at all.

So happy engage-aversary, Christopher Blake! This is my gift to you, a blog post, since I have been ignoring your encouragements for months. I hope there are only a few tpyos.  


^^^ These barely relate to the post, but I like them.

For the past month and a half plus (so basically for the past two months), Chris has been inundated daily with the latest and greatest news about my newest friend Anne. I've even looked forward to it being my turn to do bedtime for the kids because I would get to spend more time reading. I don't know how I didn't read these books when I was growing up, but I can tell you that I truly believe if I had read them during my formative years rather than the trash I had in my reading stack, I would cringe less when I think about middle school and high school. What if I had had a literary role model like Anne Shirley rather than Scarlett O'Hara (although I don't think Gone With the Wind qualifies as trash), the Sweet Valley High twins, the subsequent Babysitters Club books, some characters in actually trashy books I won't name and some characters from unfavorable Judy Blume books? Anyway, to say that I adore her and L. M. Montgomery is an understatement. 

And I only started reading it because I randomly saw a free Kindle copy on Amazon. I'm so thankful to whatever algorithm caused that happenstance. 

The past few days I've been lamenting to Chris that I was on the last book, Rilla of Ingleside. I was crying not only because of the events in the book, but also because each page I read brought me closer to the end of the series.  Chris asked if it was like I was kind of losing a friend to which I replied with an emphatic, "YES." 

I finished the book yesterday with a sob, and today I thought about starting to read the Chronicles of Avonlea that was included in the Kindle bundle I had downloaded. Whenever one of the books in the bundle ended, all I had to do was swipe to the left on my iPad and lo and behold, there was the next book. The table of contents had reported that Anne Shirley was mentioned in the short stories Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea, but I just didn't know if my wailing heart could be placated by stories of her hometown when I was missing her as the main character. Until then, I had avoided any Internet search while reading the series because I wanted to be as surprised as possible considering I already knew who she married just because of pop culture. But now I was finished with the series and the known story was safe from being spoiled so I googled, "Is Chronicles of Avonlea worth reading?" thinking I would dive down a rabbit hole of Green Gables message boards. Instead, however, I went down a Wikipedia rabbit hole and had to blink a few times when I noticed that there were actually EIGHT books in the series rather than six. Had I been deceived by the convenience of the swipe of an e-bundle??

I had. A fact that I'm both pleased about and peeved about. I'm pleased because I thought I had said goodbye to a dear character when really two books remain. What a pleasant surprise! I'm peeved in the same way that I'm peeved Ryan and Elise were born in South Bend, IN but Conor was born in Mishawaka, IN. The lack of order kills me! 

Anyway, the library has the books on hold for me, and Chris already knows to buy me one of these pretty Anne books a year so Elise Anne and I can be all set when the time is right. 

Okay off to do some work. And I'll have to remember to blog soon about Confession last night!