Carrots for Michaelmas: Musings of a Catholic Wife, Mother, and Occasional Redhead

Our House, Part II: The Kitchen
September 15, 2010, 3:43 pm
Filed under: Our Home

So I waited for a day when the kitchen was somewhat tidy to take some pictures. This post is primarily an attempt to make John, one of our previous housemates, jealous and convince him to move with his lovely wife to Tallahassee and come cook with us. We miss you, Sterchis!

Our house was built in the 40s but the kitchen was recently renovated and we adore it. This door opens into the laundry room. The other side of the kitchen is open into the dining room.

I love the stainless steel appliances, the oak cabinets, and the original pine floors. Don’t you want to come visit, John?

There is tons of counter space to store yummy veggies from our CSA or our garden!

Gas stove, John! Buy your ticket, already! Make us a lemon souffle! Of note: the bottom cabinet to the right is empty and Benjamin has claimed it as his own. He likes to climb in, close the door, and pop out with a sneaky grim.

I love cooking in this kitchen. It’s really where we spend most of our time. And it will be even more fun to hang out there when the weather turns cool and the warmth of the oven is enjoyable instead of oppressive. Are you sold, John? When shall we expect you?

There are no pictures of the sink and opposite countertops because I was too lazy to dry the dishes and put them away. Sad, but true.

Our House, Part I: Benjamin’s Room and Benjamin, the Artist
September 7, 2010, 2:29 pm
Filed under: Children, Our Home

Folks have been demanding pictures of our house. We bought a precious house built in the ’40s in midtown Tallahassee in June and we are loving having our very own place. Now that I’m done with my classes I am actually getting some house things done, like unpacking us, which is very exciting and we’re almost done with painting.

I’ve taken pictures of Little Bear’s room which was a despicable peachy vomit color. We chose a pale yellow for the walls and a bright blue for the built-ins.

It’s still pretty bare and I haven’t done a window treatment yet. Any ideas for that? I love the pirate map of Florida that Daniel’s folks gave us and we have since added a beautiful icon that Brandon gave to Benjamin last Easter.

I love these built-ins, a huge closet and big drawers, because they have amazing storage and look pretty so a lot of furniture like dressers, etc is uneccessary making the room look big.

I keep most of Benjamin’s diaper stuff in the bottom left drawer and just change him on the changing mat in the bottom left corner. He’s always been so squirmy that we have been changing him on the floor or on a bed since he learned to roll over.

Here’s Benjamin “chilling” on the mat Marianna gave us. I put chilling in quotes because he obviously still MOVING like always, kicking his little legs. And I love the precious diaper holder my mom got us.

A Portrait of the Artist and his Creation. Benjamin was playing with our homemade playdough in the kitchen floor while I made dinner last night and he decided to stick all his little fisher price animals in his “pie” as he called it.

Here’s a close up. Looks like Lion is having some trouble.

Little Bear had very strong opinions about where each animal should go. I tried to place the sheep somewhere and the Artist clearly expressed that no, indeed, the sheep’s place in the animal pie is somewhere else entirely.

A Tale of Woe and Vomiting
September 5, 2010, 3:08 am
Filed under: Children, Motherhood

Whilst we were enjoying a shepherd’s pie at our house tonight with friends Jeni and her precious baby Jax, Benjamin suddenly lost it. Just fell apart in completely uncharacteristic wails. He was inconsolable and unable to vocalize what the problem was (quite unusual since he talks nonstop all day, every day). I decided to take his temperature just to be safe and sure enough, 102. Even stranger, he fell asleep while I was sticking a thermometer into his bottom. Sleep does not come easily to our Little Bear, especially if he is being prodded in the bum with the “tempatures” as he calls the thermometer. So, the fever and the strange behavior convinced me something was quite wrong. He proceeded to fall into a restless sleep full of whimpers on my shoulder and I did what anyone with wonderful family does when their little boy is ill and their husband is working a 12 hour shift: I called my folks. My brother, who lives down the road came over to thumb through my baby medical book so I could hold the sleeping, feverish toddler and my mom and dad arrived to give more experienced advice. One look at Benjamin’s HIGHLY unusual lethargy which was promptly interrupted by violent vomiting convinced us all that we needed to head to the only urgent care clinic open on a holiday weekend. So, off we went to sit in the waiting room for a bit. The last time we took Benjamin to the walk-in clinic the task of keeping him in a chair in the waiting room was a Herculean feat, but tonight he just whimpered in my arms and occasionally lifted his head to vomit. The poor angel.

My mom gave me a beautiful antique Rosary and I prayed with Our Lady to the Lord while we waited. Prayers, the presence of my sweet parents, and the distraction of tending to my sweet boy, was all that was holding me together. But a few tears did escape. Maybe it sounds dramatic, but you don’t know fear until you have a child. You have no idea. NO IDEA. Furthermore, Benjamin has never really been sick before. A couple of runny noses, but that’s about it. Once we went back to see the Doctor, Benjamin started to talk again, respond to us, and regain a little spunk. The Doctor was fantastic with him and thought he had a viral infection of some kind, a little bug, but did a strep test just to be safe. Turned out negative. So we went back home and after vomiting again, Bear really perked up and started to act like himself again. We gave him a bath (Daddy was back from work by this time) and read books and pushed the pedialyte to get him rehydrated. He was quite thrilled with his “special juice” as he called it and really seemed back to normal. I checked his temperature again and it had gone down two degrees. Daniel and I moved his big alphabet mat into his room and put a comforter on top to make a bed for Mama and Benjamin to sleep on. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep in a separate room tonight because I’d be worried he’d get sick in his sleep and I wouldn’t be there. So we snuggled down and the little guy is slumbering soundly on our special makeshift bed. 

I cannot express my relief to see my spunky little busybody return to us after the scary unresponsive lethargy. And I’m so lucky to live close to sweet family who loves him just as much as I do. I hope my sweet boy is all better tomorrow!

Summertime Comes to an End
September 3, 2010, 8:06 pm
Filed under: Children, Motherhood

I can feel Fall in the air, even through the 90 degree heat. The mornings are cooler and the humidity is decreasing. Maybe it’s all in my head, but it feels different. I’m looking forward to spending more time outside with Little Bear once the mosquitos go away. Speaking of which, we’re in the market for a new jogging stroller. Any suggestions?

We’re still taking advantage of summer while we can!

Nudity, a Hose, and Daniel's Parent Dog Louis. What could be better?


This is Benjamin running down the boardwalks at the Junior Museum.

What a happy, sweaty, little face!


It is now renamed the Tallahassee Museum, but will always be the Junior Museum to me. The Museum is mostly outside and includes a walking trail to view natural habitats for native Florida animals, otters, bears, red wolves, etc. Benjamin loves it. We try to go at least once a week.

Sometimes Benjamin looks JUST like his daddy’s toddler pictures:

And then sometimes he looks JUST like his Uncle Garrett (my brother), and not just because they both like to wear silly hats:

Amidst all the fun, we’re trying not to forget that summer is a time to relax:

I am so enjoying being home with this little guy. 

Two Suggestions
September 3, 2010, 3:34 pm
Filed under: Books, Feasting, Motherhood

1. Katherine sent me the link to this great article by Jessica Snell in Touchstone: The Feast Goes On

“As with the food I prepare, all the traditions of the church year turn the ordinary work of my vocation into a daily reminder of the gospel. The life of a stay-at-home mother is derided by many as repetitive and boring, but what those critics do not realize is that the repetition is not rote, it is rhythmic. It is not like being a cog in a factory but like providing the structure of a hymn.”

2. I cannot say enough about Wendell Berry’s essay: “Feminism, The Body, and the Machine.” It is brilliant. Please, please, please, get your hands on a copy of it and let me know what you think. He covers many themes, one of them being marriage.

“Marriage, in what is evidently its most popular version, is now on the one hand an intimate ‘relationship’ involving (ideally) two successful careerists in the same bed, and on the other hand a sort of private political system in which rights and interests must be constantly asserted and defended. Marriage, in other words, has now taken the form of a divorce: a prolonged and impassioned negotiation as to how things shall be divided. During their understandably temporary association, the ‘married’ couple will typically consume a large quantity of merchandise and a large portion of each other.

The modern household is the place where the consumptive couple do their consuming. Nothing productive is done there. Such work as is done there is done at the expense of the resident couple or family, and to the profit of suppliers of energy and household technology. For entertainment, the inmates consume television or purchase other consumable diversion elsewhere.

There are, however, still some married couples who understand themselves as belonging to their marriage, to each other, and to their children. What they have they have in common, and so, to them, helping each other does not seem merely to damage their ability to compete against each other. To them, ‘mine’ is not so powerful or necessary a pronoun as ‘ours.'”