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

The Tree of Life

Daniel and I went to see Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life on Saturday, partly because we’ve been meaning to see it and partly because our favorite little artsy movie theatre in town (Miracle 5) closed on Sunday and we wanted to go one last time. The Tree of Life takes place in Waco, TX where we lived for six years and much of it was filmed there. It was fun to see town landmarks like the ALICO building and rows of old houses with pecan trees and live oaks. Waco was a booming town until the early fifties when a huge tornado whipped through the city, killing hundreds and destroying huge areas of town. In many ways, Waco looks stuck in the fifties. Old painted advertisements still cover the brick walls of downtown buildings. So, it really was a perfect place to film for a story that takes place in the fifties.

My first impression of the movie was: beautiful, and LONG. It is a long film. There isn’t much dialogue and there is shot after shot of sunlight through live oak leaves. I’ll admit that at times it felt a little too artsy for me. We left the theatre saying….what did it MEAN? I wasn’t really sure I liked it just after seeing it. After talking about it more and reading a little commentary, I think I did like it.

A friend sent me this article: The Tree of Life and the Lamb of God, that Dr. Candler, one of our professors at Baylor, wrote. I found it really helpful.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

On a separate note, we celebrated the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin yesterday. What a beautiful day of hope! Tune in later to Feast! for pictures and recipes from our celebration. I’ll probably post a link here, too.




August 12, 2011, 6:04 pm
Filed under: Children, Pregnancy

Triumph 1: This is Little Bear’s 3rd day of wearing big boy undies and having NO ACCIDENTS. Not one. What a little guy. Does that mean he’s potty trained? When do we celebrate?

Triumph 2: I successfully taught a 45 minute ballet/movement class to SEVENTEEN 3 and 4-year olds. 17! Did you hear that? SEVENTEEN?! Since I taught a 3 and 4-year-old class last year of only four little babies that often felt like organized chaos (or just chaos?), I’ve come a long way. I even got comments from the mommies about how organized the class was and how well it went. And of the 5 littles that came in nervous and crying, I had no crying ballerinas by 10 minutes into class and all but two participated the whole time. Success! The class is so big that it might get broken into two classes so I can give each little dancer more attention. But we’ll see. Whew. Such cuties!

Pregnancy Update: Week 31!

Another good week! I had the shortest prenatal appointment ever on Wednesday. I arrived at 10:55 and was home by 11:15. Heartbeat and baby size are just right and my blood pressure remains fine. I honestly wasn’t crazy about the midwife I saw (I’ve had appointments with the other two midwives at the practice and like them immensely). My favorite midwife is on maternity leave but should be back by the end of September, October 1st at the latest. If I carry to term, then, she’s all set to deliver Lucy. If I go into labor early, then I’ll request the other midwife that I feel comfortable with. I do feel strongly about having a connection with the person delivering my baby and the midwife I saw this morning was a little too brusque and not personable AT ALL. I had meant to ask her to check the baby’s position because Benjamin was breech for awhile (luckily he turned before labor started) and I’m curious about whether Baby Lucy is head down yet. But I felt so rattled by her demeanor that I completely forgot. Well, I’ll go again in a week and a half and I’ll ask the midwife I like to check her out.

Feast of St. Dominic Post at Feast!
August 12, 2011, 12:51 pm
Filed under: Feasting, Saints, St. Dominic


Read our new post on Spanish Orange Chicken for the Feast of St. Dominic!



Benjamin at the Fire Station and Potty Training Update
August 10, 2011, 5:04 pm
Filed under: Children, Pregnancy


Benjamin is getting to be such a giant and has been (for the most part) super sweet this week. He has been going through a defiant stage, constantly pushing the boundaries and trying to be the boss. But this week he has been extra precious. Yesterday I took him on a tour of the Fire Station. He about lost his little two-year-old mind.

Sorry for the bad quality iPhone pics. I always seem to forget my camera during the best photo opportunities. He has told me that his very favorite moment was getting to touch the steering wheel.

The fire fighters were super nice. They seemed a little bored. I guess there’s a lot of downtime between emergencies. They even let him spray the fire hose.

I think Mama got some major brownie points. Hopefully enough to last me awhile, because the bigger my tummy, the sleepier I get and the more I just want to hang out at our house…which is a tall order if you’re the world’s most active two-year-old boy.

At least 10 times a day I have a cute attack.

Lately he’s made huge strides in potty training. He actually started potty training REALLY early by his own insistence (read the post here). But although he began pooping only in the potty (except for rare accidents) and consistently peeing in the potty, he still would have wet diapers and pull-ups several times a day. Since he started so early (before 21 months!), we didn’t push it and just let him take his time. Lately, it seems that his bladder is a little bigger and he has more control so we’ve been putting cotton undies on him whenever we’re at home to see how he does. I ordered these organic ones from Ana-K.

He thinks they are beyond awesome and gets really disappointed if he doesn’t get to wear them. He was having one or two accidents a day but hasn’t had any for a couple of days and I’ve even been letting him wear them during nap time without incident, although I put pull-ups on him at night. It would be awesome if he was totally done with pull-ups before Lucy gets here and we’re in diaper city once again, but I know kids sometimes regress with potty training when a new baby arrives so…I’m just not going to sweat it.

Our new housemates moved in last week and we are LOVING having them here. I’ll post on that later.

We celebrated the Feast of St. Dominic on Monday night with Spanish Orange Chicken, Sauteed Garden Greens, and Spanish Rice. I’ll post a link to Feast! when we’ve got the post written up.




Pregnancy Update: Week 30
August 2, 2011, 10:53 am
Filed under: Community, Motherhood, Pregnancy

I can’t believe that I’m 3/4 done with this pregnancy (if I carry until 40 weeks, that is ). I still feel pretty great, although I start to lose energy by around 8 or 8:30pm. I think the prenatal yoga is helping to keep my lower back from hurting too much as I carry this growing little girl around.

All good news from our midwife last week: no gestational diabetes, just need some more iron so now I’m taking supplements. Baby Lucy’s heartbeat is strong and she seems to be growing just as she should. My blood pressure is still good and so far everything looks low risk. We’re so grateful. Please keep praying for continued health and safety for Lucy and I during our last few weeks of pregnancy.

Here’s a couple of articles I’ve read this week related to faith and womanhood/women’s issues:

Why I Nurse at the Mall…and at Mass by Kate Wicker:

“I realized that if, as I strongly believed, nursing was a part of God’s plan for helping mothers bond with their babies and a way of using my body the way He designed it to be used, then of all places, I should feel comfortable breastfeeding my children in God’s home. Christopher West, the Catholic author best known for his insightful commentary on John Paul II’sTheology of the Body, describes a nursing mother as “one of the most precious, most beautiful, and most holy of all possible images of woman.” So why should I feel ashamed nursing in church – in the presence of the Most Holy Eucharist – but not at the mall? Do I believe breasts are made to feed babies or are they just meant to be squeezed into rhinestone-clad bras for surfers to ogle on the Internet?”

God’s Fatherhood After Feminism by Matthew Milliner

“After all, that God is “Mother” is not nearly so daring as the orthodox Christian assertion that God has one.”

In other news, our dear friends, Brian and Lois, are back from Nepal and will be moving into our third bedroom today! What an adventure! I’ll keep you abreast of our latest experiment in communal living.


August 2011 Reads
August 1, 2011, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Books

Before jumping into our current reads, a local bookstore plug: The BookShelf in historic downtown Thomasville, GA is awesome. It’s lovely and delightful and does a great job of keeping inventory that is just what you want to peruse on a Saturday afternoon in Thomasville. They’ve got a local authors section, a decent garden/homesteading section, and a fantastic children’s section, as well as carrying various little gifties that are classy and nifty. Basically, there’s no trash. They even have a little tea/coffee/soda bar and an upstairs art gallery. I can’t pretend that I’m all at nostalgic about Border’s closing in Tallahassee, but I would be devastated if this little jewel ever closed.

They also have a good collection of some books I’m dying to have in our home library. Namely, these clothbound beauties, Penguin Classics (you can get them on Amazon):

And they’ve got tons of titles of children’s classics by Everyman’s Library that look gorgeous on a shelf.

Daniel and I went on a little date to Thomasville on Saturday morning and walked around downtown visiting the Sweet Grass Dairy Store, the BookShelf, and our beloved Grassroots Coffee (seriously, the best!). Then, while Daniel relaxed and read while drinking free refills at Grassroots (free refills! every cup of drip coffee is bottomless!), I worked at the Ballet School’s open house/registration event. Have I ever posted pics to show how beautiful the building is where our studio and Ballet Company office is housed?

Check out those Live Oaks with Spanish Moss! I love it. I think it was built at the turn of the century.

We’ve been trying to take advantage of each friday nite/saturday morning for date night/morning while Little Bear has his slumber party at “Ooma” and “Oompa’s” house (Daniel’s folks). I know once Baby Girl arrives, one-on-one time with Daniel is going to be impossibly limited so we’re trying to enjoy these special weekend times during the next couple of months before she makes her appearance. Eek! Only a few weeks to go!

Now for the reads:

I’m almost done with Sigrid Undset’s Catherine of Siena:

I’m really loving it. I love Undset’s writing and I knew absolutely nothing about St. Catherine until starting this book.

I’m also a good ways through The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris:

I like it, but I don’t love it. I can’t really put my finger on why.

And I just started a lovely book that my new friend Helen gave me, Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother by Beth Ann Fennelly:

It’s beautiful so far.

Benjamin is currently obsessed with Dr. Seuss’s There’s a Wocket in my Pocket! My friend Jeni gave it to us because she had some multiples of Dr. Seuss board books.

Benjamin goes around asking people, “Did you ever have the feeling there’s a Zamp in the lamp?”

His other new favorite is a splendid book that Daniel picked out this weekend at the BookShelf. A new Caldecott winner by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by his wife, Erin E. Stead: A Sick Day for Amos McGee.

It’s beautiful and wonderful and endearing. Maybe I’m even more in love with it than Benjamin is.

One last note: Daniel found a nifty Catholic Book list that looks like it will take a lifetime to complete at a blog called The Thin Veil. Check it out. Overwhelming, but inspiring.

Hey, what are YOU reading?