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

Benjamin at the Museum…
January 10, 2011, 6:53 pm
Filed under: Books, Children

On Daniel’s birthday we spent the morning at the Jr. Museum. Daniel started trying out our new amazing fancy camera that his parents gave us for Christmas. We’re still figuring it out but here’s some highlights:

In other news, I finished the last 20 pages of my Wendell Berry book and finished the Susanna Clarke book. I just picked up a trilogy I read 12 years ago called Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, fiction set in medieval Norway. I think I’m going to enjoy it even more than the last time I read it because of studying medieval lit/art and because Undset was a Catholic convert as well and Catholicism is beautifully woven through the books. I know The Brothers Karamazov is on the Books-to-read-before-I-die list, according to Dr. Wood, so I think that’ll be next. It’s just a little daunting.

I realized last night that it’s less than a month until Benjamin’s 2nd birthday. I asked him what kind of birthday party he wanted and he said, “Green!” Any tips for toddler birthdays? Nothing crazy. We do things simple round these parts.

I finished my first knitting project. It’s a thin green scarf made from Texas Hill Country wool. Now I just need to send it to its recipient.

January Reads
January 4, 2011, 6:32 pm
Filed under: Books

I’m ashamed to say that I still haven’t finished Wendell Berry’s The Art of the Commonplace. However, I only have 20 pages left. If you read one book this year, let it be this one.

“To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do it knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such desecration we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and other to want.”–Wendell Berry, “The Gift of Good Land” written 1979.

The other book I’m currently enjoying was a Christmas gift from my best friend Eleanor: The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susannah Clarke. I LOVED Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and this collection of short storied is just as delightful. This one isn’t as weighty as Berry’s essays but it’s full of fairies so what’s not to like?

Some of Benjamin’s current favorites are:


He is obsessed with this Jan Brett version of Goldilocks and has been talking about it non-stop. Sometimes he gets the dialogue confused. He’s been saying “Somebody’s been sitting in my porridge!” instead of “Somebody’s been eating my porridge/sitting in my chair.” It’s cute and I haven’t corrected him.

Happy Birthday, Daniel!
January 3, 2011, 5:48 pm
Filed under: Husband

Happy 26th Birthday to the best husband and daddy!

Your little boy and I love you so much.

The Year of Change
January 1, 2011, 3:49 pm
Filed under: Children, Motherhood

So much has changed in a year.

I went from being mama to a baby with chubby wrists…

to mothering a bonafide toddler that plays silly games with the cabinets…

and helps pick out the Christmas tree…

A year ago he had just begun walking. Now he runs, scales furniture, climbs on playgrounds, and hikes nature trails with Daddy.

He was just beginning to connect sounds to objects and now he not only talks but converses saying the funniest things.

Some of our favorite Little Bear quotes are:

“I want some candy next to me.”

“I want to go to Christmas.”

“There were big dinosaurs and there were little dinosaurs. Benjamin is turning the page now. There you go! Good job!” (While reading his favorite dinosaur book to himself)

“I want to put broccoli on the Christmas tree.”

“It’s bright outside. I need some sunglasses. Not Sun Chips. Sunglasses.” (I’m not sure why he felt he needed to clarify but I suppose we should always try to communicate with clarity so well done, Benjamin).

“Votes for women!” (he may be a little obsessed with Mary Poppins and seems to be influenced by Mrs. Banks’ socio-political views)

“Kick peoples? No. Kick doggies? No. Kick dinosaurs? YEP!”

“Benjamin, where does Jesus live?”  “In Florida.”

“Benjamin, what do you want for Christmas?” “A camel and a baby dinosaur.”

“What do you want for breakfast, Benjamin?” “Butter.”

“Benjamin, if Mama has another baby someday, what should we name it?” “One-two-three. Or Dachsund.”

“We’re here to celebrate Jesus!” (very loudly during a quiet part of Christmas Mass)

“Alleluia means Praise God!”

“Benjamin, what music do you want to listen to today?” “Cute banana.” (I am not familiar with this band but perhaps Benjamin is up on the newest hip and obscure albums)

Anyhow, Benjamin’s not the only thing in our lives that has changed in the past twelve months.

I went from working full-time at Baylor to staying at home then working part-time at Baylor then full-time grad school at FSU then quitting grad school after one semester then working part-time for the ballet school/company. Whew, how many switches is that? But I love my job. It really is the best. And I love spending all but 15 to 20 hours a week with Benjamin. I’m so grateful.

The two biggest changes of 2010 were certainly our reception into the Roman Catholic Church on Easter weekend and our move from Texas to Florida. Both have brought us great joy and both have made us feel at home.

We went from renters to homeowners and from sharing a house with 5 housemates to being suddenly all by ourselves. Not surprisingly, living in the same town as both sets of parents and our siblings makes parenting a whole new ball game. An easier, less-stressful, wonderful ball game. Now I only look back in amazement that we survived 18 months of new parenting states away from family while I worked full-time and Daniel was a full-time student (including writing a thesis). Remembering the exhaustion still makes me cringe and I honestly don’t remember huge chunks of that 18 months. And we’re so grateful for my mom’s good health. 12 months ago she was still enduring agonizing chemotherapy and now she swims miles a day with a beautiful head of new hair and has more energy than I do. Praise God.

The transition from having my best friend as one of our housemates to feeling like I had no close friends in Tallahassee was a difficult road for me. Thankfully, we have been blessed with some wonderful new friends and reconnected with some old ones. We shared New Year’s Eve with fantastic people that I’m so glad to call our friends.

It has really been the Year of Transition for us but filled with many blessings, some important lessons learned, and new questions to ponder. But I say goodbye to 2010 with a thankful heart.