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

The Mountains: Part I
June 29, 2011, 8:40 pm
Filed under: Misc

We are enjoying a week of cool breezes, relaxation, and little mountain hikes in North Carolina with my parents. It is LOVELY here.

One goal in making the trip from Florida was to attend our dear friend Jane’s wedding to a wonderful guy, Ruben. If I were smart, I would have taken my camera to all the wedding events but…alas. Jane was breathtaking and everything was perfection itself. I’m adding some images I found on the interweb of the various locales to give you a feel for things.

The rehearsal dinner was at a beautiful old-timey house in Valle Crucis:

We ate finger sandwiches and treats on the porch. Met some of Jane’s friends and relatives we didn’t know and actually got to spend some quality time with the bride, groom, and their parents. Imagine that! I don’t remember the last time I actually had a conversation with the bride at a wedding event. The weather was perfect and Benjamin entertained himself by collecting pecans from a field and making a pile of them in the gazebo. Later he told us that he wanted “to go back to the nut house.” He didn’t realize how funny it was but we laughed mercilessly.

The next day we got woefully lost on the way to the church for the wedding ceremony but made it only a couple of minutes late. Thank goodness, too, because I don’t remember when I’ve ever enjoyed a wedding so much. (Let’s just skip over the unfortunate journey to find the location and how all the racing up and down mountain roads made Benjamin violently carsick. Luckily, an extra shirt was stowed in my bag for him. Not because I planned it, just because I’m too lazy to clean out the diaper bag.) The ceremony was at an ancient Episcopal church on a mountain:

Breathtaking! The inside is beautiful wood, simple, and gorgeous. It was a small group of attendees, 50-60 at the most, and felt so intimate and special. The hymns were accompanied by a banjo and guitar and the readings were read in English and Spanish because Ruben and his family are Guatemalan. Jane and Ruben looked so happy and it was delightful to be present. When they were pronounced husband and wife, the church bell was rung. It felt like something from another era. Absolutely perfect.

The reception was held at an old apple barn:

Delightful! Food was gorgeous and vegetarian (like the bride) and instead of a big fussy wedding cake, Jane’s aunts and grandmothers made 8 regular cakes of various delectable flavors. There was dancing, toasts, mingling, joy, and simplicity. Everything about the weekend had Jane and Ruben’s beautiful and thoughtful fingerprints all over it. I really can’t remember ever liking a wedding so much.

Now we’re taking long naps, reading long books, and taking long walks while homebased at the house my grandparents built on Beech Mountain. Benjamin is having the time of his life and we’re having some wonderful family time with my folks. I can’t remember the last time I was this relaxed and I probably won’t have a week with so much leisure time for a good long while.

Widgets and Summer Fun
June 21, 2011, 11:32 am
Filed under: Children, Seasons

I added some widgets to my sidebar and now I feel super fancy.

This little guy and I are having the BEST summer

We try to fill our early mornings with outside fun before it gets too miserably hot: the park, the pool, playing with trucks on the back porch. Before naptime or just after we go to the Brogan Museum of Arts and Sciences to see giant animatronic bugs, cool sciency children’s stuff, and beautiful Italian Baroque paintings, the Museum of Florida History to see Mastadon bones and a steam ship replica, or the Library to pick out books and do Storytime. In the late afternoons we play inside, bake and cook, and occasionally watch Beauty and the Beast, Milo and Otis, or How Garbage Trucks are Made. It’s a wonderful routine and I’m loving it.

June 19, 2011, 6:37 pm
Filed under: Husband

Happy Father’s Day to the best daddy!


Benjamin and Baby Girl are lucky to have such a wonderful man as their papa. And Daniel and I are lucky to have wonderful fathers in our lives, too!

St. Anthony’s Pasta
June 18, 2011, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Farm Life, Feasting, Saints, Seasons, St. Anthony of Padua

At long last, I finally posted a new recipe on Feast! 

And hey, I noted how to make it Gluten-Free and it includes these delicious amazing tomatoes from Daniel’s garden:





Blueberries for Benjamin
June 18, 2011, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Children, Farm Life, Green Living, Tallahassee Places to Go/See/Eat

Look at that expression! My dad and I took Benjamin to a U-Pick-‘Em Organic Blueberry Farm this morning and I took this one just as Benjamin said, “Kurplink, Kurplank, Kurplunk” as his first few berries landed in his pail.

Doesn’t he look just like Daniel in this one? We started out just after 7am (which was no problem because my son wakes me with his dulcet tones every morning around 6:15am). Benjamin was very excited and taking everything very seriously.

Well…maybe not too seriously.

The blueberries were gorgeous, sweet, and cool, covered in morning dew.

After putting about 10 berries in his bucket, Benjamin decided a taste test was in order.

They must have passed the test because a whole lot of eating and very little picking followed.

(Evidence) Benjamin’s pail is the one on top.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B (AKA “The Tremendous Mouthful”)

But can you blame him? Look how beautiful they are! The flower was Benjamin’s addition: “I picked this pretty yellow flower for you, Mama.”

My 23.5 week pregnant tummy seemed rather in the way. I thought I should get at least one shot of Baby Girl since there are so many of Benjamin.

Grandaddy and Benjamin strike a pose as we head over to the scales to have our berries weighed.


Blueberry picking seems an appropriate activity during the last of the Summer Ember Days when we pause to thank God for the bounty of His Creation.

My Giant
June 15, 2011, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Children

I’ve been pulling the baby things out of the closet to see what will work for the new baby and what we might need to buy or borrow. The bouncer we used with Benjamin got kind of weird and moldy during the move (it was in a POD for awhile and then in our laundry room sans air conditioning.) But Benjamin thinks it’s GRAND.

He’s been sitting in it, making it play songs, lounging and playing in it. I’m planning to attempt to wash out the nasty material and maybe I’ll keep it around just for him and find a new or gently used one for Baby Girl. The reemergence of the bouncer reminded me of Baby Benjamin’s favorite sleeping position:

The juxtaposition makes me realize that I have a young giant in my house–certainly not a baby anymore.

But we’ll have another baby in the house soon enough! Less than four months to go!

Second Trimester has been a breeze and I’m so grateful and a little sad that it’s almost over because I know the fatigue will probably be back with a vengeance for the final three months. But hey, this pregnancy has been so different from my last one, maybe I’ll get off easy? I’m actually ENJOYING being pregnant this time around. During my last pregnancy I remember thinking each night…one more day of misery down! I was honestly miserable during the entire nine months. At 5+ months I hadn’t even stopped vomiting and I felt like a truck had run over me each morning…and all day. I’m so glad this one has been different.

Some recent quotable quotes from my now giant-sized son (Note: he often uses the pronoun “you” when he talks about himself):

“I know what we should name my baby sister.”
“What, Benjamin?”
“Granola. Or Lucy Granola.”

‎”I want a little black puppy dog and I want to name him Licorice.”
“What would you do with your dog, Benjamin?”
“Poop. I’d poop with him……Or we could dance together.”

‎”The birds are singing because they’re happy!”
“Why are the birds happy, Benjamin?”
“Because you’re being so respectful to mama!”

‎”The grass is happy today! Because it got a haircut!”

‎”I would like a garbage truck and a crane, please. Not the toy kind. The BIG kind.”

Benjamin (in bed last night): “Daaaaaddy! You have a diaper probluuum!”
Daniel (from our bed): “What kind of diaper problem?”
Benjamin: “A penis problem.”
Daniel “…what happened?”
Benjamin: “You pulled out it.”

June 2011 Reads
June 11, 2011, 2:38 pm
Filed under: Books

I LOVED Esolen’s 10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. Please read it, whether you have kids or not. I found it just as useful for my personal development as for how I want to raise my children. Esolen is witty and hilarious and his literary references are delightful. His ideas weren’t a huge shift from what Daniel and I have wanted for our children but he articulates so many of my vague intuitions so well!

I also finished Glittering Vices By Rebecca DeYoung. Great book and very helpful for examination of conscience. Sometimes, though, she seemed to leave out some important ideas but that’s probably just because I was expecting a more Catholic view and she is Protestant.

After meaning to read it for a couple of years, I finally started Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain. I’m only in the second chapter but I’m enjoying it immensely. A Catholic book club is reading it this August so I’m gonna get a head start and take it with me to NC when we go on vacation and attend Jane’s wedding.

Benjamin has been reading some summery books lately featuring one of his very favorite things in the world: BERRIES!

We bought him Jamberry last fall during a trip to The Book Shelf in Thomasville (great local book store!) and he has loved it ever since.

And I just ordered Blueberries for Sal from Amazon used books last week. We’ve read it a couple of times and he seems to dig it.

What are you and/or your littles reading this summer?!