Friday, March 30, 2012

Seven Quick Takes (Vol. 11)

1. Fact: If you put a laundry basket of clean clothes right next to a laundry basket of dirty clothes, the cat will sit in the clean ones every time.

2. We were at the store last night, and picked up our first thing for the new baby!  A pack of adorable little hair bows!  Thinking back to Sly, I know it will probably be awhile before she has enough hair to hold one, but...we couldn't resist!  It was cute to see Tom so excited about them.

3. Speaking of the new baby, we've been trying to prepare Sly.  He's only 19 months old, so I know his understanding of the whole thing is very limited.  We're to the point now where when we ask, "Where's the baby?" he smiles and points to my stomach half the time (the other half the time, he points to his own stomach!).  But I know he's going to be totally taken by surprise the day he finally sees her, and has to accept that he's not the baby anymore.

4. Recently, Sly has been crazy about wanting books read to him.  I know I should be thinking of this as a positive thing.  But I'll be honest - it's getting really tiring!  He would be perfectly happy to sit for HOURS being read to (the same books over and over, of course).  Always, at the most inconvenient times, he indicates that he wants me to read to him, and has a tantrum when I don't.  I understand that a big part of it is probably just the closeness and attention that he's looking for.  I try to give this to him in other ways, but sometimes it just won't cut it.  I think he's just destined to be a book lover, like his parents.  A good many more times do we have to read "My First Word Book" before he can read it himself? ;-)

5. One of the things I'm supposed to be doing during Lent is "going for a walk every day, even if it's short."  Well, with the recent return of colder weather, I've really been stretching this one.  I might go to the grocery store one day and consider my stroll through the aisles sufficient for a "walk" that day.  I'm being too wimpy!  I really need to just get outside!

6. I finally bought a new camera!  For the past two years, I have been saving up every bit of money that I received as a birthday or Christmas gift - because gift money is really the only money that is "mine" instead of "ours"...and "our" money needs to be kept under a very strict budget!  The intention was that I'd keep saving up until I had several hundred dollars, and could buy a nice SLR camera with a huge zoom.  But after reaching $180 the first year, people stopped giving me gifts of cash.  And I began to realize the impracticalities of such a fancy camera.  First of all, I'd have to learn to use it properly.  No more relying on the "auto setting" to take decent pictures for me.  Also, I wouldn't want to lug it around with me.  Since it wouldn't fit into the little pocket in my purse, I'd end up never having it when I wanted it.  I realized it made the most sense to just replace my crappy point-and-shoot with a better point-and-shoot.  So the other day, I took my $180 and bought a Canon Powershot Elph - basically the same camera I used through most of college, and loved (until it died on me eventually).  I'd eagerly awaiting its arrival in the mail!

7. Some friends of ours are getting married in a few months, and want to do pie instead of cake for the reception.  She's asking some of us to bake a pie, and I waited too long to choose a type, so I'm left with peach pie.  I've never made a peach pie before, so I don't have any reliable recipes to use.  I'd like to test out a couple before the wedding, so I know I won't be bringing her a dud!  If anyone has a good recipe, I'd appreciate if you could send it along!
This is exactly how good I look when I'm baking

Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lost and Found

Late last night, Tom invited a handful of our friends over.  But only the men showed up.  I didn't feel up to much, and being the only female anyways, I decided to just duck out and head to bed.  The guys, though, went for a long walk around the neighborhood.  We live on a large hill, and there are many long "Pittsburgh staircases" all over the place, leading down into the streets and valleys below.  While walking down one of these with the guys, Tom had realized that our cat, Lance, was following them.  He tried to grab Lance to take him back home, but apparently the cat seemed spooked by something and - very uncharacteristically - hissed and ran off into the woods.  Tom went back to try to find him after the friends went home, but with no luck.

Lance[lot] is MY cat.  My mom and I - hopeless "cat people" both - fell in love with him in a pet store years ago.  He was the last kitten left from his litter, sick with a bad cold, and six months old already.  His price was marked down from $600 to $100 (he's a purebred Siamese) because no one wanted to buy him.  But we had to have him.  He slept with me every night while I was in high school, and anytime I was visiting from college.  Once I moved out and had my own place, I convinced my mom to give him to me.  So Lance and I go way back.

Tom went out to the stairs again a couple times today, calling for Lance, but got no response.  Lance is an extremely friendly and people-loving cat.  I've had him fourteen years now, and in that time, he has run away twice before.  On both occasions, we finally found him MONTHS later, when he had been quite contentedly living with another family!!

So when Tom told me that he ran away last night, I wasn't really worried about Lance being hurt or killed.  But I was worried about him "cheating on us" again, and finding a new home.  So I decided we needed to get up some "Missing Cat" signs ASAP.  I printed some out just this evening, put them in plastic sheet protectors, and sent Tom out to post a few around the neighborhood, and along the staircase.

Tom had only been gone about twenty minutes when I got a phone call.  A guy who lives right at the bottom of the stairs had seen my sign, and told me that he HAD LANCE!

So get this: within minutes of Lance running away  last night, he had run up to this guy and his girlfriend who were sitting  at the bottom of the stairs.  They saw that he seemed scared, so took him inside.  That's why Tom couldn't find him last night or today!  And then this evening, within minutes of Tom posting a sign right at the bottom of the stairs, the guy had gone outside again (to smoke a cigarette), seen the sign, and called me.  How crazy!  And I'm especially grateful that I made such haste with the signs, because he told me he was planning to take Lance to the Animal Rescue place TOMORROW!!

Tom went back down to pick up our little runaway (Man, my husband's been doing a lot of favors for me in this story - I need to thank him!).  I gave Lance a big hug, and of course a gentle admonishment about wanting to find a new family again.  It's good to have him back.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Great News!

We are expecting another baby!!  We just had the ultrasound today, and everything looks good.  The baby is due August 21st, which is just five days before Sly's birthday.  This means I am basically going to have the exact same miserably hot "height of summer" pregnancy accompanied by the most grotesquely swollen feet imaginable....but it'll be worth it, just as it was the first time!

I'm 18 weeks along.  We waited a while to make the general announcement.  During the first trimester, we had so much to deal with because of Sly's condition, and it was hard to even think much about another baby (well, except for the fact that I felt like crap all the time).  And then once things settled down a bit, I started getting weird about telling people.  Because with my second pregnancy, we had made all our joyous announcements, and then found out a little later that the baby had not survived...and then there were all the dozens of people to contact and tell the news.  I just needed to wait a little longer to be comfortable with it this time.

And we did find out the sex - the baby is a GIRL!  I'm excited, because I've always wanted a girl.  There're so many "girl" things I can share with her that I won't be able to share with my sons.  Though it might have been nice, too, for Sly to have a brother close in age who he could be rough with. 

Also, I can't wait to start collecting some of those super-adorable little girl dresses and bows and things that I always look at longingly while in the comparatively-sparse toddler boy section of department stores!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Still Sick and Some Scary Stuff

My husband is still sick, after four days.  His fevers have never lasted this long, so we finally buckled down and took him to a doctor today.  Turns out, he has viral gastroenteritis.  He was given some medicine to help with symptoms, and he's not supposed to really eat anything today or tomorrow.  Poor guy - he's barely eaten since Sunday!

Having him out of commission all week has really shown me how much I depend on him here.  Not just for helping with chores, or carrying heavy boxes up and down the three flights of stairs (which we did a lot of this week, since I was switching out all our winter clothes for summer ones)...but just being present - being my husband, being Sly's dad.  He hasn't been much of a conversational companion recently.  And it's just no fun to cook a real meal for dinner when Tom's not even going to eat it.  Sly's still too young to care.  So this week, eating has been a pretty piecemeal affair.

 It's also been really frustrating for us because he's forced to take a bunch of time off work, and we've already lost so many of his vacation days this year due to other circumstances.  I think Sly and I might have to go on the annual summer vacation to Lake Erie without Tom.  And Thanksgiving and Christmas might not be accompanied by any time off for him beyond the actual holiday itself.  :-(

The scary stuff
Tom's been tossing and turning at night - jumping up to run to the bathroom, having freezing spells which make the whole bed shake with his understandably, I haven't really been sleeping well myself.  Last night, when we were both semi-awake, we heard a sound coming from the floor below.  A light repeated thumping - almost as if a plastic container had rolled down the stairs.  I was asleep enough that I didn't really think much of it, but Tom said with concern, "what was that sound?!"  "Something falling," I answered calmly.  But then I started thinking about it...I realized that one of the cats was right beside me.  It would have been strange for the other cat to just be knocking things down the stairs.

And then Tom said to me, "do you want to hear something creepy?"  I immediately replied, "No!" because I know how easily I can get freaked out about stupid things in the middle of the night (I have nightmares sometimes where some crazy guy breaks into the house and tries to kill us all).  Tom ignored my response, though, and told me in a grave tone, "it's exactly three o'clock".


"I told you not to tell me!!  Why did you have to tell me that?!?!"

3:00 AM, according to some, is the time when evil forces are at their most powerful.  It is the opposite of 3:00 PM, the hour at which Christ died, also called the Hour of Mercy.  Plus, we've seen all three of the Paranormal Activity movies in which a demon moves things around in the house in the middle of the night.  Like I said, my fears can get a bit irrational when it gets late.  So suffice it to say...I was pretty freaked out.

I eventually explained it away to myself.  I remembered that on my way up to bed, I had carried a small plastic bin that was sitting in the downstairs hallway, and put it back on the second floor.  I figured I must have just left it close to the top of the stairs, and the other cat had accidentally knocked it down.

I did fall back asleep, and nothing else weird happened, thank goodness.  BUT!  A little while ago, I noticed that that plastic bin was actually back where it belongs under the changing table - that's where I put it last night, but I had forgotten.  So what the heck was the sound last night?        dun, dun, DUN!

At least we finally got Fr. Stephen over to bless our house two weeks ago.  That actually makes me feel better.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Walking to Mass

This was taken last Sunday, on the way to Mass.  We go to the (Tridentine) Latin Mass.  I say "the" because it's the only one regularly offered in the diocese.  Tom and I have had to either bus or drive to the church for years.  But from our new house, we can WALK there.  It takes about twenty-five minutes.  How many people can say that they're able to walk to the nearest Latin Mass?  Or even the nearest Mass - period.  We're very lucky. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sick Day

My husband was home sick today with a fever.  He gets these inexplicable two-day fevers several times a year.  They totally incapacitate him, and pretty much all he can do all day is sleep.  Sly and I never get sick, though.

It's funny because my basic approach towards Tom when he's like this is just to leave him alone.  I'm not especially warm or caring, I'm not really acting as his nurse.  I might bring him a glass of water and force him to drink it, or suggest that he try to eat something every now and then.  But for the most part, I just stay out of the way, letting him rest. 

Meanwhile, his mood becomes totally and utterly SAPPY when he's sick.  He constantly asks me to lie down with him "for just a little while" because he wants to be near me.  I always refuse, though, telling him that he's generating way too much heat, and I wouldn't be able to stand it.  He tells me every time I enter and leave the room how much he loves me, and how much he loves our son - you'd think he was on his deathbed or something.  He thanks me repeatedly for taking such good care of him.  haha!  Seriously - I barely do anything.  It's sweet, though, and makes me smile.

It's a shame that it had to happen today, though.  Since St. Joseph's feast day is a first class feast, it means you can break the fasting of Lent.  We were planning to celebrate the feast as well as the beautiful weather (high 70's! In March! In Pittsburgh!) by going out for ice cream.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ides of March

My mother-in-law just sent a message saying "Beware the Ides of March" (since it's midnight now, so technically the 15th).  It reminded me about the baby we lost in September.

The due date was set for this coming Sunday.  But as it was close enough to March 15th, it was enough to get Tom pretty excited about a possible "Ides of March baby" (he's a huge Roman history nut).  I had promised that if that was in fact the baby's birthday and if it was a girl, we'd name her "Julia" in honor of Julius Caesar (Julius for a boy, though, I wasn't such a fan of).

Strange to think that we would have been welcoming a new little one into the family right about now.

Friday, March 9, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 10)

1. I finished my re-reading of all the Little House books.  I had read them in third grade, and really enjoyed them.  I still really enjoy them, and I think I get so much more out of them now as an adult.  It is truly amazing how self-sufficient people used to be.  I think it's sad that the majority of us have lost so much practical knowledge of how to do or make things.  We're so dependent on mass-production.

2. Next up on my reading list: The Omnivore's Dilemma (which I read half of over the summer and really enjoyed, but then had to return to the library, and kept forgetting to check out again), and The World According to Monsanto.  Both are books in the whole "real food" movement, and I would say they also fit the Little House theme.  They discuss how industrialized our society - especially our food production - has become.  And the latter book will give me more evidence for my conviction that Monsanto is a TOTALLY evil corporation.  Should be informative reading!

3. Wednesday night, we were praying the Rosary in the living room, in front of our little altar.  Usually, Sly would use this time finding new ways to be really loud and distracting.  But that evening, he decided a couple times to try to "join in" with Tom (who was leading).

The part Tom was saying for each bead was, "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy whom, Jesus".  Several times, Sly joined in.  Although when Sly said the words, they sounded more like, "Ha hab baba gar ma ba ni ba....Gheee-Sus!"  It was the first time he's ever tried to say Jesus, and it just melted our hearts. 

4. As I was typing up that first part of the Hail Mary above, I thought of something.  I think Tom and I are the ONLY people I know who actually say "amongst" in the Hail Mary with the 'st' sound, rather than modernizing it to "among."  Every time I pray this prayer with other people, such as the Catholic Moms group, I hear myself being the only one in the room to utter that extra 'st' at the end, and then I get all embarrassed, and shrink into myself, and don't say the next few words.  Not that I want to change the way I say it.  But I hate being the only weird one.

5. We've had some unexpected money come our way recently: a larger-than-expected tax refund, my husband got a raise and a bonus from work (!!) we've been throwing some of the excess towards my student loans.  That's also where we put all of the money we received as wedding gifts (which was a significant amount, since we didn't register anywhere, and thus hardly received any traditional gifts). It's so exciting to see them getting paid off.  I think I probably had less student debt than a lot of people do these days, but it's been a burden on my mind.  We're going to end up paying it off a lot sooner than we would have.  And once that happens, we can finally start saving for a HOUSE.  Good good news.

6. The other day, I brought Sly to an event with the Catholic Moms group.  This little girl who looked about his age, came up to him and started hugging him.  Sly seemed a little taken aback at first, but then he decided to just go with it, and started kissing her - on the lips.  It was pretty adorable.  But a short time later, I caught him hugging and kissing on another little girl.  Uh oh...we might have a problem here!  haha

7. One of the only real downsides to the place we're living now is that we have no yard whatsoever.  All the houses in this part of town are built right against each other at the sides, and run right up to the sidewalk at the front.  A lot of the other ones have small backyards.  But we're a corner house, so with buildings surrounding us on all sides in the back, we lucked out of a yard.  So far, I haven't minded too much.  But come nicer weather, I think I'll really start missing having our own little patch of grass, or struggling vegetable garden (we're both pretty terrible gardeners, though I can't help but dabble in it each year).

So the plan for this spring is to fill up our narrow little front porch, the stoop, and the walls along the house with potted plants!  I'll create my own little green area to take care of and enjoy.  I think we might even get away with trying a few edible things...herbs are easy to do in pots, and Tom asked for a tomato plant.

See more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sweet Tooth

Chocolate chip banana bread

Ok, ok, I know it's Lent and I shouldn't be baking delicious things.

But, in my defense, the bananas were going to go bad if I didn't do something with them right away.  And after finding about ten black, shriveled bananas in the back of the freezer one time (hehehe), Tom has banned me from ever again freezing them.

Also, it's the Thursday between Ember Days!  Come on!  Fasting and partial abstinence yesterday, fasting and total abstinence tomorrow, and fasting and partial abstinence again on Saturday.  I need something to get me through it!   :-)

my lunch today