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

My Attempt to Beat Summer
August 31, 2011, 5:36 pm
Filed under: Advent, Pregnancy, Seasons

So I’d just like to brag and say…I’ve been a super good sport this summer. I’m almost 9 months pregnant in August and I feel that I have kept griping about the heat to an absolute minimum…most of the time. But it’s starting to get to me. Big time. I have mentally prepared myself for more miserable heat until next Monday but after that I’m throwing a pregnancy hissy fit if it hasn’t started to cool down. Now, I’m not asking for any autumnal miracle, I know I live in Florida and I don’t expect it to get cool I’m just done with infernal heat. I don’t want to see any highs above 94 degrees until next June. You got that, Florida?

Until next Monday when nature appeases my pregnant whims (I’m going to think optimistically here), I have a few tricks up my sleeve to physically and mentally beat the summer’s heat.


If it’s not time yet for apple cider and hot cocoa, I’m going to fully enjoy the beauty of iced coffee. Click here for my beloved Pioneer Woman’s Iced Coffee recipe (her photo below).


Yesterday morning, Benjamin, Aunt Vanessa, and I went to the activity pool so he could go down the slide, swim around, and get all his energy out before naptime. The water is not only a refreshing temperature but it’s also my one chance to feel weightless and give my hips a break from carrying Baby Lucy’s weight around 24/7. On Friday, our friends Thomas and Kellie invited us over for dinner and a night swim at their fancy abode. Lounging in the pool with cocktails abounded (I didn’t drink one, promise), and Daniel and I felt like we’d just spent an evening in The Great Gatsby. I’ll probably start inviting myself over to everyone’s pool in the near future. C’mon, it’s for the baby.


Full Moon Apiary makes an amazing bar soap that makes me feel like I’m showering in Autumn. Honey, cinnamon, heaven.


I’m not going to be so ridiculous as to cook it and pretend it’s really fall, but having it on my counter is making me feel that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.


No, I’m not setting up my Advent wreath three months early, I’m just ordering a candle kit for making 100% Beeswax Advent Candles from Toadily Handmade. We’ve gotten Advent candles from them for the past two years and I just love them.

How are you staying sane in the last throws of summer heat?



My Happiest Memory
August 29, 2011, 7:29 am
Filed under: Children, Husband, Motherhood

 Last week at prenatal yoga, we did a pose for an extended period of time and our instructor asked us to think of our happiest memory. “What IS my happiest memory?” I thought. Nothing immediately jumped out at me. I considered the usual: wedding day, engagement, Benjamin’s birth, all days filled with joy, but none of them seemed as if they were hands down the happiest so I kept thinking.

Then a series of images filled my head…simple ones. I thought of Saturday mornings when Benjamin races into our room on his little toddler feet to snuggle in our bed, saying something adorable or singing a little song to himself. Moments when Daniel and I look at him and then look at each other, silently communicating….isn’t this wonderful?! I remembered the evening after we found out we were pregnant with Benjamin, lying next to each other in bed in quiet wonder at the miracle that life is…the gift that had been bestowed on us. I thought of an evening a couple of weeks ago when Daniel and I had a date night: we went to evening Mass, went out to dinner, then came home and prayed the Rosary together. Afterward I looked at him and told him how grateful I am that we are sharing this life of faith together and he held my hand and brought it to his lips. I felt so loved, so safe, so overjoyed to be at his side learning to love God together. Yesterday, Benjamin was playing with his crane truck, narrating his own little story as he manipulated blocks in the claw, pretending to drop them in a dump truck, his precious voice prattling on, interjected with “see me, mama!” “watch this!” as I sat cross-legged on the floor with him. Daniel held my hand as we relaxed in the afternoon light and our baby girl kicked and punched and rolled in my womb. Overwhelming gratitude and perfect contentment rushed over me and my eyes filled with tears: THIS! I thought. This is my happiest memory. My precious little family, our love, the gifts of God filling our home and hearts. Does it get better than this?

Week 34 Pregnancy Update
August 26, 2011, 7:00 pm
Filed under: Pregnancy, Saints

Great appointment with my midwife on Wednesday! Lucy seems to already be head down in the right position which is wonderful and her heartbeat sounds beautifully strong. I’m staying healthy as well and I can’t believe that we will be meeting her in 6ish weeks! The only negative news is that I tested positive for Group B strep and so will need to show up to the hospital earlier than I had hoped to get an IV of antibiotics at least 4 hours before she’s born. But the midwife said that if I come in to get the IV and still have some laboring to go, she can send me back home (we literally live down the street from the hospital) to do my laboring there and I can come back to push. I’ve been having more Braxton-Hicks than I remember having with Benjamin but I haven’t had the mentrual-like cramps like I experienced Monday all this week so I feel relieved about that.

I’m loving my ballet classes this year! I have really precious students and Saturday we start Nutcracker rehearsals…in 100 degree heat.

If you get a chance, check out Daniel’s scrumptious post on Feast! for St. Rose of Lima’s Day. Pancit and Lomo Saltado! Both were delicious.

Hello, Third Trimester
August 24, 2011, 8:17 am
Filed under: Pregnancy

It’s 4am and I am battling some lovely third trimester insomnia due to:

A: Waking up to pee every two hours.

B: Hearing a weird rustling in the ceiling that may have been “the wretched mouse.” (We haven’t seen or heard from TWM for weeks, thank goodness, but…is he/she back?)

C: Inexplicable hunger.

D: The heat of August that doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon.

E: A giant belly that is seriously getting in the way of finding any comfortable sleeping position.

After mid-pregnancy was really fantastic (we had a good run, second trimester!), halfway into the third trimester I’m starting to really feel those pregnancy symptoms. I’m TIRED all of a sudden, having trouble sleeping, and a little emotionally on edge. I’m also having more achy sensations than my last pregnancy. Every few days I’ve been having some menstrual-like cramping if I’m on my feet too long. It goes away immediately if I put my feet up, so I’m not too worried about it, but I’ll mention it to my midwife at my appointment tomorrow (today?). Last time I didn’t have any of those sensations until I was a week away from delivery, but every pregnancy is different and I started having them around 28 weeks this time around. Anybody else have this? My concern is that if I get the cramping too often they’ll put me on bed rest…so my ability to teach ballet and take care of a toddler would definitely take a dive. My plan is just to take it easy as much as I can.

The pregnancy is finally becoming real. Daniel and I preregistered at the hospital (which, conveniently is in walking distance from our house…maybe I’ll just walk myself into labor in a few weeks and show up at their door?) so we don’t have to fill out any paperwork when we arrive for Lucy’s delivery. The staff in the “women’s pavilion” were so helpful and walked us around for a little impromptu tour of the labor and delivery rooms and post-partum rooms. Apparently, their policy is to stay in the hospital for two days after a vaginal delivery which seems a little long to me. Last time we stayed two days and it was just TOO LONG. So I’ll ask the midwife about whether she can ok us to leave sooner if everything is dandy.

After several days of “the terrible twos” last week, Benjamin is having a very sweet week. But lately, bedtime has been a challenge. We see his little face peeking out of his door with requests of varying degrees of absurdity including:

“I need some waaaaaater!”

“I need to go pottyyyyyyyy!”

“I need you to snuuuuuuggle with meeeee!”

“I need to get covered up!”

“I need a soooooong!”

“I need more animals in my bed!”

“I’m ready to wake up now!”

“I had a good naptime, is it over yet?!”

“I need some gummy treats!”


I guess we’re just going to have to crack down on the getting out of bed trick. I think since we potty trained we got more lenient about getting out of bed to go to the bathroom, but now he’s manipulating that and staying up til he’s overtired. He’ll tell us he needs to pee at least five times and then when we don’t let him out for that anymore, he tries to convince us he needs to poop. The little stinker.

I’ll post an update in the near future about my midwife appt tomorrow. It’s one of the midwives that I really like and I’m going to try to remember to ask her what position she thinks Lucy is in. I always have the hardest time telling which baby body part is which.

And what’s the deal with red raspberry tea? Am I supposed to drink it now? I read a bunch of warnings about drinking it in earlier pregnancy but now I keep seeing stuff about how it helps with delivery, etc. Fill me in, folks.

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 22, 2011, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Our Lady, Saints

I love Botticelli. His images of Our Lady are probably my favorite. This one is titled “Madonna of the Magnificat” but I thought of it today on the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary because the angels in the upper section are crowning her Queen of Heaven. In the image, she is writing down the beautiful poetry, the Magnificat, from the Gospel of Luke when she tells Elizabeth:

My soul doth magnify the Lord.

And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;

for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Because he that is mighty,hath done great things to me;

and holy is his name.

And his mercy is from generation unto generations,to them that fear him.

He hath shewed might in his arm:

he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.

He hath put down the mighty from their seat,and hath exalted the humble.

He hath filled the hungry with good things;and the rich he hath sent empty away.

He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy:

As he spoke to our fathers,to Abraham and to his seed for ever. 



Life Update: Housemates, Date Nights, Friends, and a Question
August 21, 2011, 12:58 am
Filed under: Children, Community, Feasting, Saints

Well, we found them: the world’s greatest housemates. Our dear friends, Brian and Lois, moved into our third bedroom/library a couple of weeks ago and will be with us as they raise support for doing long-term missions in Nepal. It is so fun to have them around to share meals with and they could not be more helpful and great. This is our fourth endeavor into communal living and we feel like we are finally experiencing what we’ve always hoped it could be. They do awesome things like deep-cleaning our bathroom, weeding the garden, and cooking delicious meals without even being asked! It feels like we are really living in community, rather than attempting to run a household while having folks renting a room. And perhaps most amazingly, so far, 5 people sharing a bathroom hasn’t been half bad! Does that mean we don’t shower enough?

Because Baby Lucy’s arrival is only 7ish weeks away (eek!!!), Daniel and I have been trying to have as many special dates as we can, just the two of us, in the remaining weeks. Last night after Benjamin went to his weekly slumber party at Daniel’s folks house (yes, having grandparents in town is THE BEST!), I picked up Daniel from work and we went to Mass before our dinner date. At Mass, I ran into a friend I had done some musicals with in high school–Colleen. She and her husband have a baby and just moved back to town. It was fantastic to reconnect with her and she promises to hook us up with other Catholic friends our age. We really don’t have any Catholic friends in town which is hard. So the prospect of having some is thrilling!

When we got home from dinner, we were pleased as punch to read the splendid post about the Feast of St. Helena of the True Cross that our new contributors to Feast!, Joseph and Helen Thompson wrote as their debut post.

Read more about the Thompsons here in the About section of Feast! We are so excited to have them on board.

I have been so bad about getting our camera out and taking good pictures of Benjamin lately. Here’s just a few low quality iphone pics to tide you over until I get it together:

Silly boy “helping” with the dishes. He always want to help do real work: with the chickens, in the garden, cooking, etc. “I want to do some work, Daddy!” is his rallying cry.


Losing his two-year-old mind over his excavator from Uncle Garrett!

So this blog is about to reach 10,000 views…not a whole lot for a blog, I know. But, I was thinking it called for some kind of giveaway. Thoughts? How do you do a giveaway? What would you want for a giveaway? Cheese? Books? Books about cheese? Chime in, please.

Feast of the Assumption
August 16, 2011, 5:40 pm
Filed under: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, Feasting

Check out Feast! for last night’s menu, pictures, and recipes: Assumption Salad, Stuffed Zucchini, Baked Apples with Butter Rum Sauce!