Friday, October 28, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 28)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 149)

1) I finally finished writing all my thank you notes. That was a huge feat. I'm glad I'm finally finished.

2) Last weekend Joseph and I went to a fun Halloween Party Play Date. Joseph and I went as football fans - he was a Redskins fan, I was a Titans fan. The party was super cute (thanks, Vanessa!) and we had a great time. The pool full of balls was a huge hit.

3) This week has been crazy busy - or maybe it just feels that way. Will was super busy at work, so I basically didn't get to see him until Thursday evening. That meant that everything on my to-do list had to happen while I was watching Joseph. And everyone who has ever had a baby knows it takes twice as long to accomplish anything when a baby is around. But, I'm happy to report that I was able to get through nearly everything on the list.

4)Joseph squirmed his way out of his bouncy chair yesterday. I usually don't bother strapping him in when he's right next to me, but yesterday I stepped away for literally about 1 minute and he managed to do this:
where he was when I turned around
where he was 5-10 seconds later (I was
getting my camera - dont' worry I didn't let
him fall completely)
5) My parents are coming to visit this weekend. Will and I are going to the Northwest Center's "Indian Summer Ball" and they're going to watch Joseph for us. I'm excited to see my parents and also to be able to support such an amazing organization. I haven't seen my mom since Joseph's baptism, and I think she's going to be surprised how much Joseph has grown!

6) Did I mention that I'm SO EXCITED to dress up? Because I am. I bought a dress on Wednesday and can't wait to wear it! Yay for fancy schmancy fundraisers :)

7) It's supposed to snow this weekend. SNOW! It's only October, people. SNOW. That's all I have to say about that.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Snapshots from a Sunday

Yesterday I was honored to participate in Cari Donaldson's first ever "Snapshots of a Sunday." Here's what it's all about in Cari's own words:
     1. Each participant would be assigned one hour today, Sunday, October 23rd.
     2. In that hour, they needed to take a picture, posed or candid, of people or objects, anything that would      
     provide a glimpse into their life in that particular moment.
     3. They would then process the photo however they wanted, email it to me, and once I had the day's 
     worth of pictures, I would string them together in chronological order in a post.

What a fun idea! Now, go check out all the fun photos!

Freezers and Baby Food

With fall in full swing and Joseph only a month or two away from starting solids I'm in the market for a good freezer for our basement. I am hoping to make all his baby food and would like to get a head start with all these great fall apples and squashes. But if I want to be able to make everything from fruits and veggies that are in season that means I'm going to have to make a ton then freeze it for the rest of the year.

I need to get on this so I can go ahead and make a bunch of apple sauce and buy some butternut squash and sweet potatoes and maybe some pumpkin or other squashes. If I were really on the ball I would have thought about this at the beginning of the summer and reaped the benefits of all the delicious summer fruit. Alas, I did not.

I started looking online for stand-up freezer and there are so many different options. I don't even know where to start. So, if you happen to know anything about buying a freezer or have a freezer that you're particularly happy with I'd love to hear from you. What features would you recommend?

Also, if you have any baby food recipes that you use and like I'd love those as well. I have a couple baby food cook books, but am keeping my eye out for good recipes :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Guest Post: Thoughts on Baby Books

I put together a baby book for my firstborn. I wanted something that would make tangible the earliest moments of her existence. Thank you iPhoto for making this so easy. I started the book with scripture, a portion of Psalm 139 that reads like a children's story. It's extremely similar to the story of the runaway bunny who tries to run away from his mother's love but cannot. I wonder if Margaret Wise Brown's book was inspired by this psalm or if it speaks to the universality of mankind's longing for God's inescapable love.

O where can I go from your spirit,
or where can I flee from your face?
If I climb the heavens, you are there.
If I lie in the grave, you are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn and dwell at the sea's furthest end,
Even there your hand would lead me, your right hand would hold me fast.
If I say: "Let the darkness hide me and the light around me be night,"
Even darkness is not dark for you
and the night is as clear as the day.
For it was you who created my being,
knit me together in my mother's womb
I thank you for the wonder of my being
      for the wonders of all your creation.

The pages include:
  • A wedding photo (seemed like a good place to start)
  • The wedding vow about lovingly accepting children from God
  • A pregnant belly photo
  • An ultrasound photo
  • A paragraph on how we chose her name
  • A paragraph about her birth
  • Newborn photos from a few minutes after birth
  • Newborn photos from a few days after birth
  • A keepsake birth certificate
  • Baptism photos and a portion of the baptismal prayer
  • Photos with family and scripture about family
  • Baby feet

I'm hoping to read the book to our firstborn, 16 months now, to help her understand that she's been special and loved from the first moments of her existence and, secondarily, to help her understand what will happen when her little sister is born. I'd also like it to be something she can read and enjoy as she grows older. Any other suggestions? What would you put in a baby book? Any other scripture passages that would be good for the littlest's baby book?
God Bless,

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pasta with Chicken and Garden Vegetables

I was looking for something different to cook for dinner last week before Joseph was born so I adapted this recipe to fit what I wanted. I added chicken and omitted the mushrooms and onions. I also upped the amount of tomato. So, my recipe looked like this:


olive oil
8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
2 small zuchinni, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 small yellow summer squash, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1/8 tsp. pepper
16 oz. corkscrew macaroni, cooked and drained
1/2 C. finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese (I used the stuff out of a can)
shredded mozarella


1) Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Cook chicken until it is not longer pink inside then add garlic to chicken and oil and cook for about 15 seconds.
2) Add zuchinni and squash and cook for about 4 minutes.

3) Add tomato, oregano and pepper and cook for about 2 more minutes.

4) Combine hot corkscrew macaroni, Romano or Parmesan cheese and the chicken and veggie mixture in a bowl. Toss well.

5) Serve pasta immediately.  Sprinkle with mozarella cheese, and enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 27)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 144)

1) I would just like to point out that this is my 27th quick takes and 27 is one of my favorite numbers. It's awesome for many reasons. To start 27 is odd, and odd numbers make me happy. It's also an awesome number because it's my age, but really that's just a coincidence - I've been a fan of the number for a while. I think 27's biggest claim to fame, however, is the fact that it's a perfect cube (3^3), and perfect cubes are just awesome.

2) Joseph is getting more and more squirmy. He's figuring out how to move around and get where he wants to go little by little. Evidence of said squirminess:
I want. the. ball.
Just chillin' while mom eats breakfast.
3) My hair has been falling out at an amazing rate lately. I knew this was going to happen sooner or later, but it's still a little disconcerting. Hair seems to be everywhere. Maybe it's time to get pregnant again so my hair will stop falling out....just kidding - for now anyway :)

4) This week Joseph and I have been sick. That means we've been cooped up in the house trying not to spread our germs. I've run a few small errands, but nothing major and we had to skip out on a few social outings - story time, visiting a friend who recently had a baby, and mom's group. I can't wait for us to both recover so we can get back into a normal routine and see people!

5) Joseph went on the swing for the first time this week. He seemed to enjoy it. Here's a short clip of him swinging.

6) I saw this on Facebook and it took me far too long to figure out. How long will it take you?

7) Here's a video that's been going around for a few weeks. I really liked it so I figured I'd repost it here. The guy in the video does a great job drawing parallels between the Holocaust and abortion. If you have the time it's definitely worth watching, but be forewarned - there are some graphic images from the Holocaust shown.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


For our honeymoon Will and I took a cruise to the western Caribbean. We chose to cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines because of the "freestyle dining" (Will especially likes this). Will originally booked our trip and was talking to his dad about it when his dad said he'd like to pay for our trip as a wedding present. We were super excited and he even upgraded our room to a suite!

After our wedding we headed to one of the hotels near the airport since we had a 6(ish)am flight the next morning to Miami. We arrived in Miami mid morning and caught a taxi to the Cathedral for mass. What a great way to start our life together as a married couple.
After mass we headed to the ship. The first couple days of the cruise we spent relaxing, exploring the ship, planning what we wanted to do over the next few days and just spending time together.

On the second night of the cruise we ate at the Japanese restaurant (the kind where they cook in front of you) for Will's birthday. At the end of dinner they even brought out a little birthday cake for him (I wish I could take credit for requesting this, but I'm pretty sure his dad is the one who ordered the cake). On our first shore excursion we went snorkeling and kayaking. Snorkeling was not nearly as fun as we had anticipated because we were put with a group and they kept moving us from one place to another and we never really felt like we got to see anything because we were constantly being moved. But the kayaking was fun and we enjoyed the lunch they served us along with the live music they had for our entertainment.
Live music over lunch? Yes, please.
That evening at the end of dinner they brought Will another birthday cake. We were a little surprised, but it was delicious.
The next day we chose to take a tour around town and then spend some time shopping around. We both really enjoyed this - it was really relaxing and nice being able to just be with one another. This is also where we found a beautiful crucifix to hang in our new home.
going over a bridge toward the end of our tour
grabbing a snack after shopping
That evening at dinner Will was given yet another birthday cake (this is not a typo, this was his 3rd birthday cake). It, too, was delicious.
On our third day off the ship we were able to check out some Mayan ruins. I was really excited to get to see the ruins, and it made the long bus ride to and from the ruins worth it :)
Will and me before getting on the bus to see the Mayan ruins.
Me and Will at the ruins
That night we celebrated our first Thanksgiving together at a nice steak house on the ship. Nothing says Thanksgiving like a good steak, right?
Will's delicious appetizer.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Our last outing was on a private island owned by the cruise line. We just walked around, checked out an old lighthouse, hung out on some hammocks then headed back to the ship.
On our way to the island.
Then we got to see this beautiful sunset on the boat ride back to our ship.

When we got back we had a lovely dinner at the Chinese restaurant aboard the ship.
It was here that Will received his fourth and final birthday cake :) It was a great week!
Thanks Hallie for giving me a reason to reminisce about our honeymoon!

For more honeymoon stories go visit Hallie at Betty Beguiles, and join in the fun if you'd like - "Tales of a Honeymoon" linkup!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Guest Post: Neighborhood

For the past three years we've lived in a little apartment in Manhattan. For the first two years, I was lukewarm on Manhattan. In the third year, I eventually grew to like the city. I enjoyed walking everywhere and having so many interesting activities nearby. Manhattan is not friendly for families or Christians but the difficulties create a common bond and eagerness to help others. Learning to live with two, then three people in an oddly arranged 350 sq ft apartment was difficult.

When my husband and I were first married and moved in together, we both had some furniture and a lot of possessions. Our apartment was so full that it was frustrating to move about. The apartment became more comfortable as we gradually got rid of a lot of stuff but even with creative furniture solutions, the layout of the apartment remained problematic. Our building was originally a hotel and our apartment was part of the lobby. There were two rooms - a separate10ft by 10ft kitchen, really just a 10 ft by 10 ft room with a stove, sink and refrigerator, and a main room with an amazingly high ceiling, even higher than the room was long or wide, and an enormous window with beautiful stained glass detailing at the top. It was a lovely space, especially by NYC standards, but difficult because common activities didn't fit well in this layout. I'd prefer to sleep somewhere quiet, dark, and secluded but the main room was always light, even at night, and always had significant ambient noise of people entering and leaving the building during the day and delivery trucks entering and leaving the building across the street at night. I'd prefer to study and cook somewhere light and vibrant but the table had to go in the dark, secluded kitchen.

Life in our Houston apartment feels luxuriously comfortable. We have a 650 sq ft apartment with one bedroom. The apartment has a beautiful layout with a light-filled great room composed of a living space, a dining space, and a kitchen with counters, cupboards, and even a dishwasher, a bedroom with a walk-in closet, and a bathroom with a washer and a dryer. Eating, sleeping, and other daily activities fit comfortably in the space. Even better than the layout is the fantastic location. I didn't dare hope to find a walkable neighborhood in Texas but they exist! Within a quarter mile radius of our apartment there is a Catholic church, two grocery stores, and a host of interesting shops. It's awesome.

There are some obvious benefits to living in a walkable neighborhood related to physical health, community, and environment. We're all healthier from walking a few miles a day and we've met some nice people nearby. On weekdays, my husband's short commute gives us family time. When he takes the car to work, we're still able to go run errands and play at the pool or the park. He can also comfortably ride a bike to work, take the bus to work, or I can drop him off. If our children were older, they could exercise their independence safely and productively by walking or bicycling to a variety of good activities. Rent in our walkable neighborhood is somewhat higher but a quick calculation bundling monthly rent together with commute-related gasoline costs leveled the differences.

I've recently heard many bloggers, writers, and TV hosts sing the praises of walkable neighborhoods more eloquently than I have done above. There's a great post from the Witherspoon Institute with a stronger and more interesting position - that living in walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods is good for humans and encourages virtue I find Phillip Bess' positions intuitive and compelling.

It seems obvious now, but it hadn't occurred to me previously how big of an impact neighborhood and environment can make on our daily thoughts and inclinations. I am weak and would like to arrange for as much external encouragement towards virtue as I reasonably can. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and comments. God bless.
God Bless,