Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Some Second-Hand Finds

I just wanted to share a few great (and cheap!) finds we made recently.  As I've mentioned before, we're totally obsessed with thrift shopping, and have acquired most of what we own as second-hand items in some way or another. 

There was a large consignment sale in town for kids' items last week.  A friend gave me an early admission pass, so we hit the sale early...along with about a hundred other people!  The line was over an hour long!  But I think it was worth it for the deals we got.

Tom picked out all the stuff for Sly, which means he chose entirely brown-colored sweaters and corduroys (which is exactly Tom's ideal outfit)!
I love the leather elbow pads on the one

I picked out all the stuff for Stella (some of which she won't fit into for a couple years), which means she got a bunch of girly dresses and cute mary-janes.

A few days later, we were browsing Goodwill, and I found this little treasure.

It's from 1957.  Now I can add this to my "collection" of vintage Betty Crocker cookbooks (I have the 1950 one - the reprint - as well as the 1969 one, which is the one my mom used and that I grew up with).  I Googled this one, and it looks like they now sell a reprint of it as well, if anyone is interested.  The one we found at Goodwill, though, is definitely an original.

The recipes are all pretty straight-forward and simple.  One thing that's a bit frustrating is that for a number of the dessert recipes, they want you to use a Betty Crocker boxed mix as a starting point.  This wouldn't be a problem, necessarily, except that in 1957 they offered many more varieties than they do today.

The singular of "cookies" is spelled "cooky"...interesting
"Why go to the drug store?  You can make your own sodas at home" - oh, so charming...
Ways to make your breakfast cereal more interesting by adding fruit decorations.  But check out the last one: Old Black Joe.  Oh my gosh!  Tom and I are wondering whether they left that one in the book for the reprint.

 I love looking through old cookbooks, largely because it's so interesting to see the changing tastes of society.  There are plenty of things that people apparently used to eat that just sound weird or unappetizing now.  Such as this recipe below, from a 1950s sorority cookbook I picked up somewhere.


Friday, September 21, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 18)

I got a hair cut this week.  It was mostly just a trim of the split ends.  I like my hair long, and Tom has made his disgust towards the idea of a "mom haircut" (defined by him as anything shoulder-length or above) very adamantly and abundantly clear.  But the stylist showed me a neat little trick for helping my constantly-falling-in-my-eyes swoopy bangs to stay to the side a little better.  You pull them over to the side you want them on, and then backcomb them underneath.  It does seems to help.  Give it a try!

After two years, Sly finally started referring to our cats by name.  But it took us a while to figure out that's what he was saying.  He calls Iive (pronounced "ee-vay")  "Ah-bye" and our cat Lance is "Niet" (yes, like the Russian word).  He still doesn't use the terms "cat" or "kitty" as a more general reference, though.  Instead he calls each of them a "mow" [meow].  For example, Sly sees one of us walking down the basement stairs, and yells out "mow! poop!", since that's where - you guessed it - the litter box is.


This one is self-explanatory

I've started running again!  For years, during college, I was a daily runner.  But basically from the moment I found out I was pregnant with Sly, I dropped the habit.  I've only run a handful of times since then.  But because there's an annual 10K race coming up very soon that I have participated in for seventeen years straight and CANNOT miss, I decided that I want to at least get the worst of the pain and cramping out of the way now so that I'm not completely incapacitated next weekend.  So I've been shlepping around with the cumbersome double-jogging-stroller, and experiencing the fun of having to prepare three people to go on a run - getting everyone properly fed, clothed, changed, and timing the whole thing just right to minimize crying - several times a week.

I must add that on days that I run in the morning, I feel much happier throughout the day.  I remember I always used to say running made me happier, but I forgot that it really does.

Sly was working on Legos silently for a long time, then turned to me and said "choo-choo!".  He actually did make a choo-choo.  I love the enormous smokestack!  It makes me kinda proud, because this is the first time he's ever made something that looked like....something.

Maybe I'm sheltered or something, but this incident surprised me...

So my husband often tells me incredulously about how many people from his office - even the ones who make just slightly over minimum wage - go out to lunch every day, spending about an hour's wages each time.  The other day, he was talking to some of them, trying to convince them of how much cheaper it would be for them to pack a lunch.  I guess the responses were pretty noncommittal, with people saying they don't have time, etc.  So Tom said, "well what kinds of things do you usually eat for dinner?" and after receiving their answers, said, "it's easy.  Just throw the leftovers in a tupperware, and take it to work the next day."  The response he got?  "Ewww!  That's disgusting!  I do NOT eat leftovers!!"

Are you kidding me?  I asked Tom what his co-workers did with leftovers, and Tom says with a look of shock, "they throw them away."  Is this normal?

Ummm....Ok, I can't think of one more right now, and Stella is screaming at me, and I have an apple with caramel apple dip (a seasonal item at Aldi right now!) waiting for me...Sorry.

Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Adventures in Migraineland

Twice in the past week and a half, I have gotten migraines.  It's weird because these days, I rarely get them anymore.  I think the cause is the broken sleep I've been getting at night (through to her credit, Stella has been a stellar - ha! terrible pun! - sleeper, compared to a lot of little ones) combined with some serious dehydration.  I've just been really bad about drinking enough, which is especially important now since I'm nursing.  Also, I'm still kinda in the excited post-partum stage of "YES! I can drink coffee again!  I can drink beer! I can drink wine!", and have been choosing too many of these yummy yet dehydrating drinks over good-for-me things like water.

I always know when a migraine is coming, because there are a series of unpleasant pre-migraine symptoms that I go through.  First there's the visual weirdness, where I can't really focus on any one object, and everything in my vision is sorta fading in and out.  Then comes the phase where the part of my brain that deals with formulating thoughts and whatever part deals with actually turning that into language and speech seems to be basically disconnected .  It's like I can think of a concept or idea that I want to say, but when it tries to come out of my mouth, I'm either speaking completely different words or else actual nonsense.  And lastly I move into the stage where consecutively different parts of my body goes numb one at a time - my foot, then my arm, then my mouth, etc.  And then finally it's time for the awesome pounding headache to kick in.

The good news, though, is that as soon as the symptoms start, I know a migraine's coming and can often head it off by taking Excedrin.  Unfortunately, that has aspirin in it, which - who knew? - can cause a breastfed baby to experience random and dangerous hemorrhaging!  According to the internet (which, I agree, is not an expression that should inspire a ton of confidence) after taking aspirin, you should not breastfeed for several hours, then things should be alright.  Newborns don't wait a couple hours.  So this means I've been forced to deplete my precious and already-tiny stores of pumped milk in the freezer, thus prolonging any longed-for baby-free excursions on my part.

The second pre-migraine stage - the brain-not-working one - is my favorite.  When I was going through that craziness last week, we happened to be driving back home in the car.  Tom had never actually been present when I was experiencing my pre-migraine symptoms (in the past, he's only had the joy of coming home from work to a wife in an excellent mood due to a long day of migraine-suffering), so I think he didn't really believe me when I warned him about the whole not being able to speak properly part.  The rest of the ride basically looked like this: Tom driving the car at a very unsafe speed, trying to get me home in time to take some drugs before the headache got worse, me laughing/crying in frustration at my completely failed attempts to say anything I wanted to say to him, and Tom just getting a total kick out of the whole thing.

I tried for a full minute to get out the word "mouth", without being able to clearly wrap my head around the word for mouth, only the concept of it (i.e. "that thing on my face that's supposed to be speaking the right words for me right now, but is totally letting me down").   I eventually had to point to my actual mouth, and ask "what's this called?!!".

Tom then gave me a little test.  He pointed at a sign, asking me to read it.  The sign said "runaway truck ramp."  "Okay, I've got this", I thought, as I confidently said, "trutch!"  Tom burst out laughing, and told me to try that again.  But even the word had already flitted out of my confused little brain.  I had to ask him to repeat the word again just so I could hear it.  He did, only for me to say again, "trutch"....about eight more times!  We finally gave up on that one.  The next sign said exit: "Edgup!".  Tom burst out laughing again, and I finally decided to give up.  We arrived home, and I lay on the couch, resigning all attempts to speak for a while.

This same verbal-impairment stage provided some more amusement today. As it was just starting up, I became convinced that I could fool it.  I was certain that my brain didn't work properly only if I actually tried to speak, but that it would be fine if I was writing.  I typed off an e-mail to my husband, convinced that it made perfect sense.  Several hours later, I came back to the computer and saw his response saying that he wasn't even going to try to understand me because he had no idea what I was trying to say.  Huh?  I looked back to see what I'd sent:
"my mind is sorta fussy now. It's weird, but it's harder to hard than it is to type right now. I'm hoping that this time I can do away again before it too bad actually again. Wow. I can't talk now, but write. Weird now."
Ha!  That's awesome.  And that e-mail was after I'd gone through a few times and edited some of the more obvious mistakes.  The worst part is, though,  that after sending what I believed to be a perfectly coherent e-mail to my husband this morning, I felt confident enough to use the next fifteen minutes to finish writing (and mailing off!) a pile of thank-you cards to Tom's various relatives who have sent baby gifts recently!!  Yes sir, they're going to think very highly of the obviously intelligent woman Tom chose for his wife...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

One Boy, One Girl...and Hopefully it's Just the Beginning!

Even while I was still pregnant with Stella, I started getting the comments.  You know the ones I mean.  "Oh, one boy and one girl - the perfect family!" or "Oh great!  Now you can be done!"  Thankfully, I haven't had to deal with any that have actually been rude (but I'm sure those comments are in store for me, should we at some point dare to have - gasp! - a three child family), just rather presumptive.  I mean, how do you even respond to stuff like that?  My method has been either an awkward crooked smile/shrug combo, or to mumble something like, "well, we'll see..."  Also, it's mostly been limited to the occasional stranger in the grocery store.  I really don't get out much, and most of the people I socialize with on purpose are other Catholic moms who have learned not to comment on family size.  Tom is out earning the bread in the public sphere, though, and has given me the impression that he hears these things more often from his co-workers.

baby Sly

It's just mind-boggling to me to think about being "done" having kids right now.  I've always thought I would have a number of kids.  For us, we think of this as "just the beginning" of our family.  For the record, I do believe there are legitimate reasons for needing to limit family size at two, or whatever other number - I just don't have the impression right now that that's what we're called to do.  But it's so weird to think that if we were following the path of the typical American family, we may well be boxing up and giving away all the baby clothes and toys as the kids grow out of them - knowing that we won't we having any more.  As much as I dislike actually being pregnant, I couldn't imagine knowing that I'd never grow a baby inside me again.


Yes, kids grow up SO fast.  But I think it's been easier for me to watch it happen because I have the hope that there will be more babies down the road.  This isn't the last time I'll get to sniff in that amazing new baby smell, bathe a little one in the sink, have my finger squeezed by five tiny little strong fingers.  So it's easier to just let them grow up, and feel excited for all the new things they're learning and doing.


Plus, it's possible that by the time I'm really starting to miss the newborn stage, grandkids will start to come along, and I'll get to experience the cycle all over again.  At least I hope so.

baby Sly
But I don't want to fall into the trap of presuming anything, myself.  It's possible that - through circumstances beyond our control - these could be the only two children we have.  But it's not the plan.

Notice I just used the word "plan".  I hate that.  I hate that I think that way, and that it's the word everyone uses when they talk about family size.  Because really, all life is given by God, and all life is a gift.  I can plan to have as many kids as I like, but that doesn't mean they will be given to me.  The reason it's such an issue, I think, is from the very real fact that a lot of people these days plan not to have children.  That didn't used to be such an easy thing to do.  Now, instead of married couples allowing the children to come when they will, it's assumed that each pregnancy will be consciously and carefully planned out by the parents.  Even the midwives asked me last time whether it was a "planned" pregnancy.  Tom and I just sorta looked at each other, unsure how to answer.  I finally said, "um, well....we didn't do anything to prevent it."  And the midwife immediately answered, "well, that means it's planned."  I hated that she had to put that label on it.  What does it matter whether it was planned or not?  This only leads to the trouble of "unplanned" babies being considered "unwanted" babies. 

Avoiding pregnancy is now the default, so if conception ends up happening, it's given the passive verb - "unplanned".  (Because of course, you didn't do anything to help make that new life, right?  There was no way at all you could have anticipated that an act naturally geared towards reproduction might possibly result in...reproduction?!)  But if the pregnancy wasn't an "oops" (because isn't that really what people mean by "unplanned"?), then it's assumed to have been a fully intentional, thoroughly-discussed, "let's-pull-out-the-spreadsheets-to-calculate-this" active decision to make a baby right now.  Tom and I understood, of course, that sex tends to produce offspring.  We realized - and even hoped - a baby might result.  But did we "plan" that?  I would say no.  Something inside me just cringes at that word for some reason.

Anyways, we don't really have a plan about our family size.  Our plan is just to be as open to children as is reasonable, and to continue to pray and discern so we can better understand God's plan for our family.

Friday, September 14, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 17)

 Watch this tear-jerking video of the wife of a police officer who was recently killed.  I'm so impressed by her courage, love, and faith.  I doubt I could handle myself with such grace if my husband had just died.

 I made my first-ever actual crockpot meal this week!  I guess I'm just old-fashioned and like to make things the hard way?  Well...not anymore!

We've had a big cut of beef sitting in the freezer for ages, bought right after we got our chest freezer (most useful appliance EVER, btw).  I've been avoiding it, because I just wasn't sure how to cook it.  Tom kept reminding me about the crockpot,and I finally just broke down and decided to use it. I don't know why it took me so long, because it's insanely easy and fool-proof.

 [The recipe I used was for "swiss steak", but it tasted basically like pot roast (is this what happens with all beef meals made in a crock pot? I worry that it might be).  I think I'll stick with making my swiss steak in a skillet.]

 So anyways, I decided that this Fall, I will try to do a crockpot meal or a soup (which I could make earlier in the day and reheat very quickly in the evening) every Wednesday, since that's our "late dinner" night.  It will be a great opportunity to try out new recipes.  And I'm excited to come home to a warm and delicious-smelling meal that's already cooked.  Also, that would probably mean I wouldn't have to cook anything on Thursday either, since such meals usually yield a lot of leftovers.  Score!

Also, I want to try out at least one other new recipe (for anything - it doesn't have to be an entree) every week.  [Okay, post-script and a day later here: I realize that this goal is totally unrealistic of me.  I can't even manage to do meal planning for more than a one-week stretch every three months or so!  Trying new recipes definitely needs to be planned ahead, since there's usually one or two ingredients you don't regularly keep in stock.  And I'm already going to be making a new crockpot/soup thing once a week?  Yeah, not happening.  Oh well, it was a nice thought.]

BUT I have a billion post-it note markers in all my cookbooks for things I will make "someday", and my recipe binder is getting too crammed with untried recipes ripped from magazines or printed off the computer!  Need to do something about this!

So many untried recipes!
My overflowing binder.  Notice some of the tabs: "cookies", brownies and bars", "pie', "cake", "cheesecake", "other desserts"'s clear what types of foods get priority!

I mentioned at the beginning of summer that I hoped to encourage morning glories to vine all up and around the porch.  Well, we were *sorta* successful.  The vines didn't spread laterally as much as I wanted.  But we finally have a few flowers now.

Our dinky and beat-up little "porch" with some dinky vines on it
But there's some beauty on it now!

Looking out at night, with our lanterns turned on

We've officially jumped on the Thomas Wooden Railway bandwagon - ahhhh

Sly's birthday gift from Nana

But I have to say, they're really well-made toys, and even fun for me to play with.

 Photographic evidence of my success at getting Stella to take a pacifier!!....for about 2 minutes.

This little girl has an insatiable need to suck.  Which usually means that Mommy has to offer herself as a human pacifier many times during the day (and night).  She will not accept substitutes!  Gahhhh

'Tis the season for REESE'S PUMPKINS!!  mmm....Tom knows he can pretty much make my day by bringing me home one of these as a gift.  I think it's pretty much as romantic as receiving flowers :-D

The pumpkins, in addition to the other seasonal Reese's varieties (trees, hearts, and eggs depending on the holiday) are so much better than regular Reese's cups, don't you think?  Not only do you get a higher ratio of peanut butter to chocolate, but the chocolate is thinner and softer (no pinched hard edges where it molded into the cupcake paper).

Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Subjects For Daily Meditation

Subjects for Daily Meditation
Remember, Christian soul, that thou hast this day, and every day of thy life:

God to glorify,
Jesus to imitate,
The Blessed Virgin and the Saints to venerate,
The Angels to invoke,
A soul to save,
A body to mortify,
Sins to expiate,
Virtues to acquire,
Hell to avoid,
Heaven to gain,
Eternity to prepare for,
Time to profit by,
Neighbors to edify,
The world to despise,
Devils to combat,
Passions to subdue,
Death perhaps to suffer,
And Judgment to undergo. 

 Print it out.  Put it in your wallet, on the fridge, on the bathroom mirror, etc.!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Baptism and Nuptial Blessing

One thing I forgot to mention was that right before Stella was baptized on Sunday, Fr. Josh gave Tom and I a long overdue Nuptial Blessing!  This blessing is typically part of the Nuptial Mass, however we got married the weekend after Easter.  And since Easter technically lasts eight days and takes precedent over all other holy days, etc., we had to use the special "Easter Saturday" Mass instead.  It wasn't really a problem for me having a non-marriage related Gospel reading, etc.  But we were both pretty bummed that the Nuptial Blessing wouldn't be given to us before starting our marriage, because it's a good one!

The translation from the Latin is as follows:

O God, who by Thine own mighty power, didst make all things out of nothing: who, having set in order the beginnings of the world, didst appoint Woman to be an inseparable helpmeet to Man, made like unto God, so that Thou didst give to woman's body its beginnings in man's flesh, thereby teaching that what it pleased Thee to form from one substance, might never be lawfully separated: O God, who, by so excellent a mystery hast consecrated the union of man and wife, as to foreshadow in this nuptial bond the union of Christ with His Church: O God, by whom Woman is joined to Man, and the partnership, ordained from the beginning, is endowed with such blessing that it alone was not withdrawn either by the punishment of original sin, nor by the sentence of the flood: graciously look upon this Thy handmaid, who, about to be joined in wedlock, seeks Thy defense and protection. May it be to her a yoke of love and peace: faithful and chaste, may she be wedded in Christ, and let her ever be the imitator of holy women: let her be dear to her husband, like Rachel: wise, like Rebecca: long-lived and faithful like Sara. Let not the author of deceit work any of his evil deeds in her. May she continue, clinging to the faith and to the commandments. Bound in one union, let her shun all unlawful contact. Let her protect her weakness by the strength of discipline; let her be grave in behavior, respected for modesty, well-instructed in heavenly doctrine. Let her be fruitful in offspring; be approved and innocent; and come to the repose of the blessed and the kingdom of heaven. May they both see their children's children to the third and fourth generation, and may they reach the old age which they desire. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth...

Notice that it mostly focuses on the wife.  I'm not exactly sure why, and maybe it's something I should look into more.  All I know is that I hated potentially missing out on some of these requested blessings for my marriage!  So it was nice to finally have done.

I also really appreciated that the priest took the time to explain the purpose of baptism and the meaning behind the different prayers and symbols to all our guests before we started.

With the godparents (yes, she was screaming throughout)

I wish my mother-in-law had gotten closer, and turned on the flash for this one!

This is the gown...

Which gets layered over this onesie-like garment (which is apparently called a "bubble"?)

You can sort of see this in the first picture of the gown, but we had it embroidered.  In the middle of the bottom hem in white embroidery floss is our last name.  We plan to get all our children's names and their baptism dates written around the edges.  Here's Sly's from two years ago.  Stella's will be added in pink, eventually.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Assorted Cute Photos from an Otherwise Ordinary Life

My posting has slowed down a bit since Stella arrived.  It's not even that I've been too busy to write.  I just feel like life has been pretty ordinary (ha!  my blog title proves appropriate!), without many events or interesting ponderings to share.

....Although some of my favorite blogs to read/look at are the ones where the writers simply document the sweet little bits of "ordinary life" - so maybe I just need to be better at seeing the beauty and blessings in the everyday.  hmm....this is actually a good project for myself....

Anyways, life with two little ones is going well.  I still maintain that the transition has not been bad at all.  But again, I haven't even made it through month one.  I'm kinda waiting for the other shoe to drop...

We had a few slightly more interesting happenings this weekend, which I mostly failed to capture on camera [Yes, I'm the least dedicated blogger ever.  That said, I don't want to ever feel like I'm missing out on real life because I'm too worried about taking pictures of it to share on the internet.  I'll need to factor that in to the proposed "project" I mentioned above].  Our good friends stayed with us, and became Stella's godparents on Sunday.  I didn't get ANY pictures of the baptism itself , but am awaiting some copies to be e-mailed by the grandparents. 

But I did get one of Stella sleeping near the cake at the party afterwards!
She had been wearing a traditional long white baptismal gown, but it had already been removed by this point.  There's something cool about the gown that I also failed to get a picture mother-in-law will be sending me one soon, though.  So stay tuned for "Baptism part II: the stuff I was too distracted to document myself"

Stella got maybe the coolest baby book ever from her new godparents....
(sorry that these came out so dark)

 It teaches counting using themes from Pride and Prejudice.  Some sample pages...
 Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy

 This page shows "four marriage proposals".  I love the artwork!

Also, Sly got a birthday gift from a great-aunt and -uncle: the CUTEST SHIRT EVER!
Cannot WAIT to put him in this!

And here is Stella after someone thought she would like to play with some Legos...
Also, notice what seems to be nail marks on her forehead?  Notice that they are at an angle completely impossible for her to have made herself?  Yes, I have my suspicions about who did that...


In other news, Tom and I are planning a date night for very soon.  The entire date is going to entail us going to a bar (somewhere, anywhere) and drinking alcohol.  Because we haven't been able to do that since before we had kids!  I'm looking forward to it, especially since it's the time of year when they start serving PUMPKIN beer :-)