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

Benjamin Hospital Update
April 14, 2012, 2:38 am
Filed under: Misc | Tags: ,

Our little bear has improved significantly since this morning! His oxygen levels started to go up and they didn’t end up having to give him any extra oxygen. He got breathing treatments throughout the day as well as an IV of steroids. After assessing him this evening, the Dr. thought there was a good chance that he WILL get to go home tomorrow instead of in 2 or 3 days as they previously thought. Benjamin had an x-ray of his lungs to make sure he didn’t have any pneumonia. His lungs were free of pneumonia but the Dr. said they showed his asthma attack was VERY bad. I’m glad I didn’t delay taking him in this morning when he continued to wheeze!

I was so proud of our sweet brave boy during this tough day. He was good as gold except for one major meltdown in the early afternoon when the novelty of the hospital wore off and he realized that being there is boring and dreadful. So hard to see him cry and beg to go home! He also had a really hard time when they were trying to put in his IV (Daniel took him to the treatment room for that while I was with Lucy. I tend to faint when I get shots or blood drawn, so I think he knew he would be better at handling the situation.) Daniel was so amazing with Benjamin all day. Our family is so lucky to have such a wonderful daddy!

And if you have to be sick in the hospital, at least you get to snuggle with Daddy and read Dr. Seuss.

Please continue to pray for our sweet boy’s recovery and that he will improve enough to come home tomorrow! I am so grateful for my precious family, medical care, insurance, and grandparents in town to bring us food and treats for Benjamin, and for your prayers.


I Hate Asthma
April 13, 2012, 5:22 pm
Filed under: Health, Prayers | Tags:

Just a quick note to ask for prayers for our sweet 3-year-old Benjamin Bear. He started having trouble with his asthma last night and after two breathing treatments, I took him to the pediatrician this morning who promptly had him transferred to the hospital. He’s wheezing, coughing, and having very labored, fast, and shallow breathing. The Dr. at the hospital is getting him set up with an IV of steroids as well as getting him some more oxygen. Benjamin is being sweet and compliant and still a little impressed with the novelty of his “special bracelet” and “a sleepover at the hospital with daddy.” But, I think our little spitfire is already starting to get bored. Please pray that he can recover quickly and go home tomorrow instead of in the  2+ days that the Dr. expected! I’ve never had one of my babies in the hospital for anything other than their birth so the whole thing is new, scary, and dreadful! Thank you for your prayers, you wonderful folks.

Easter 2012
April 10, 2012, 11:16 am
Filed under: Easter | Tags: , , , ,

And I’m back after the Holy Week silence! Happy Eastertide! We had so much to celebrate this Easter: the Resurrection of Our Lord, my older brother’s confirmation, Lucy’s first Easter, dear family and friends. This is Lucy’s sweet Easter dress:

The Easter Vigil was three hours long and the little lamb slept through almost all of it. Is it just me or is she looking more gingery? I would love it so much if she has red hair. And I really think her grey-blue eyes are here to stay!

Lucy and Oompa at Easter dinner. We had a full house! 19 folks!

THE HAM! I’ve mentioned that we bought an organic, local pig with our friend Kaitlin and Ted. The menfolk successfully butchered it leaving us with a freezer full of pork. Daniel brined the ham in a molasses and coffee porter (his homebrew) brine. Oh. My. Yes. Turns out real ham isn’t pink! It’s the color of pork chops. The nasty nitrates (nitrites? I always get them confused) that are added. Eew. Just a little fun fact about our nasty food industry.

All the different kinds of lettuce Daniel has been growing in our garden! So pretty in a big Easter Sunday salad!

Daniel sweet sister brought deviled eggs. Yum. Guests brought so many delicious side dishes.

I made coconut macaroons. The first batch was covered in chocolate. The second batch of chocolate underwent a tempering disaster at my hands. I made them because the only ingredients are honey, egg whites, coconut, and vanilla and almond extract so my gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free little boy could eat them. But then his eyes swelled up and eczema went crazy so he might be allergic to coconut. Food allergy fail. More on that later.

Weather was gorgeous so we ate outside (it’s a good thing because we wouldn’t have all fit in the house).

I hope you had a wonderful Easter Sunday!

It’s Holy Week…
April 4, 2012, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Easter, Lent | Tags: , , ,

…hence the blogging silence. Until Easter, this will have to suffice, dear folk:

Daniel and our friend Ted butchered a pig on Monday night. Moral of the story: we will be eating ham on Easter Sunday.

My brother will be confirmed in the Catholic Church and receive his first communion on Saturday night. So excited for him!

I found out I’m probably allergic to dairy. Blerg. Almond milk just isn’t the same.

I finished the first of the Hunger Games books. I enjoyed it, but I have mixed feelings about whether I should have enjoyed it. Taking a break from the series until Holy Week is over…

Here’s what we’re listening to this week:

Now it’s time to snuggle this blue-eyed darling:

I hope you have a wonderful Holy Week as we prepare our hearts for Easter!

This Week’s Miscellany: Vol. 7
March 31, 2012, 1:59 pm
Filed under: Misc | Tags: ,

Coming Up in the Liturgical Year: Palm Sunday! I can’t believe Holy Week is almost upon us! Other than a very special Easter lunch feast, we haven’t developed very many Holy Week traditions in our family, yet. Any suggestions for Holy Week activities, recipes, etc. that are helpful for little ones to learn to observe Holy Week?

Listening to: Handel’s Messiah (so good during Lent!) and also some of the other recommendations from Simcha Fisher in this post about Lenten music. Also completely obsessed with Feufollet these days. We read about this young Cajun band in Garden and Gun and then looked them up on Spotify. Sooooo good. And I’ve always hated it whenever Daniel connected with his New Orleans roots by forcing me to listen to Cajun music….now I see the light. You should probably listen to this right now:

We’re also listening to The Chieftains Voice of the Ages album featuring Bon Iver, The Decemberists, etc. Especially great on St. Patrick’s Day.


Kony 2012 Video Reopens Uganda’s Old Wounds: an excellent piece by my friend James Arinaitwe, a Ugandan, on the contraversial Kony 2012 video promoted by Invisible Children.

Chesterton on a Child’s Imagination by Christy at Fountains of Home. The topic reminded me to tell everyone I know to read Anthony Esolen’s Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child.

Lazy Parenting 101 by Kate Wicker

The Quotable Benjamin:

Benjamin on why people should wear shirts in public: “Sometimes people don’t want to see other people’s nipples because they’re kinda yucky and other people wouldn’t want to see ’em.”

“Daddy is SO SWEET! He knows how to take care of us. AND he knows how to take care of chickens. Some guys don’t know how to take care of their chickens! But daddy does! Daddy’s THE BEST!”

“Do princes poop?”

Pictures Worth Sharing:

The boys checking out the progress of our oats in this beautiful warm weather.

Sibling snuggles!

Getting to be such a big girl!

March 30, 2012, 2:56 pm
Filed under: Breastfeeding, Motherhood | Tags: , , ,

(Lucy getting a snack before Ellie’s wedding, Photo courtesy of Jade Pierce Photography)

Well, I feel like I’m at a motherhood crossroads with my sweet baby girl. I’ve been following the principles of ecological breastfeeding very thoroughly since her birth. I read Sheila Kippley’s The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding and Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood which promote mama and baby togetherness, on-demand nursing, co-sleeping, no pacifiers, no bottles, baby wearing, exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months, and daily naps with baby (what’s not to love?!). Ecological Breastfeeding naturally delays the return of fertility because of super frequent breastfeeding as a way to naturally space out babies.

The natural baby spacing aspect of this method of mothering is what attracted me to it in the first place since I’m terrible at charting. But then I really adored the close relationship with my baby that ecological breastfeeding supports. I guess it’s a good thing that I really enjoyed it because I was surprised and a little bit bummed that my fertility returned after only 5 months. I was seriously really careful to follow all the principles, although occasionally I didn’t take a nap, and was shocked that my fertility returned before I even started solids with Lucy. I had friends tell me that it would be so unlikely for my fertility to return before a year if I was co-sleeping still. Oh, well, not having to even consider NFP was nice while it lasted! And it did delay the return of my fertility a month longer than after I had Benjamin. And the past five months have maybe been the best of my whole life with my precious baby. What a light this sweet girl has brought to my heart!

Anyhow, now I need to decide if I want to continue doing ecological breastfeeding or make some changes. Should we get the crib out of it’s packaging and start moving her toward sleeping in her own space? Should I start pumping so that I can occasionally leave her at home with Daddy?

As for co-sleeping, I’ve slept much better having her in bed with me than during my desperate attempts to try to get Benjamin to sleep by himself during his first six months, but maybe we could move towards sleeping through the night if she had her own room. She’s such a good sleeper already! We got 5 hour stretches for the past three nights which was awesome. We tried cry-it-out when Benjamin was 6 months old because I was so sleep-deprived I thought I would lose my mind. But I don’t want to go that route with Lucy, I just can’t. Whatever we choose to do sleep-wise won’t involve tears.

And as for no bottles, I hate the idea of having to pump (I pumped so much when I was working during Benjamin’s infancy that the idea is just repellant to me) but on the other hand, having a girls night also sounds amazing. But who knows if she will even take a bottle? And washing out bottles….blerg. Hate it.

And what kind of NFP should I use? I was using the sympto-thermal method (kind of) but taking my temperature at the same time each morning after having uninterrupted sleep is just…NEVER going to happen. Uninterrupted sleep? What is this miracle you speak of? So, I want to look into NFP methods that look for other fertility symptoms, not temperature. Got any recommendations? Part of me doesn’t really want to bother…babies rule.

I’d love your thoughts on good methods of NFP and gentle sleep training!


11 Things
March 28, 2012, 1:04 pm
Filed under: Misc

My dear friend, the lovely Lara of Little Adventurer tagged me to answer her 11 questions. Reading hers was so delightful that I just had to comply. I haven’t seen Lara since we moved home from Texas and didn’t even know that she and her husband are simultaneously adopting and pregnant! I knew they were adopting, but had no idea they were pregnant, too. How exciting! Two babies!

The Rules:

1. The first rule is to post these rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 things about yourself/your life .
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them that you’ve tagged them.
About myself:
1. At least 3 times a week after Benjamin is in bed I read in the bath tub with either coffee, hot tea, a glass of wine, or a gin and tonic on the edge of the tub. Sometimes Lucy chills in the bouncer next to me, but sometimes she hangs out with Daddy and I get to be all by myself for 5 or 10 or occasionally 20 minutes.
2. Right off the top of my head, I think I’d say my favorite book is Brideshead Revisited. But The Violent Bear it Away would be a close second.
3. Sometimes I’m allergic to coffee, but not when I’m pregnant or nursing. Obvious solution: be pregnant or nursing forever.
4. My husband and I were high school sweethearts and have known each other for over a decade. I still like him a lot.
5. We went to the largest baptist university in the world and came back Catholic.
6. We’re buying a pig with some friends. Well, we’re buying half a pig, and our friends are getting the other half. Let me clarify: It’s not alive anymore. We had the option of paying for it to be processed but our husbands “saw some videos online about butchering pigs” and plan to do it themselves. How could that go wrong?!
7. Benjamin has a slumber party at Daniel’s folks house every Friday night. I know I just made you so jealous. Don’t hate me for having amazing in-laws.
 8. I did Art History grad school for one semester before deciding to be home with Benjamin and teach ballet part-time. But I have a really good story about the conversation that convinced me to quit. I’ll tell you sometime.
9. I think I have had every kind of schooling except for Montessori and Parochial schools. Private Christian school, private secular school, public school, and homeschool. Long story short: planning to homeschool.
10. My parents and Daniel’s parents are still married. What a blessing.
11. My freshman year of college I lived on Cinnamon Toast Crunch, coffee, and no sleep. Slightly shocking that I’m mildly obsessive about natural, real, local, healthy food now. Probably Daniel’s influence.
Lara’s questions:
1. What is your cocktail of choice?
Whew. Amaretto Sour? White Russian? I can’t decide.
2. If you could hop on a plane to anywhere, where would you go?
Rome. Or Paris. Or Edinburgh. This is hard. Is Hogwarts an option?
3. What is your decorating style?
Well, I’ll  ignore the obvious “cluttered mess” option. I honestly don’t know anything about decor terms. Somebody give me a word for the combination of real wood antique furniture, bohemian, and baby gear. Oh, with a touch of “trucks.”
4. What is your favorite garage sale/2nd-hand find?
Well, they’re not so much “finds” as 2nd-hand (3rd-hand?) hand-me-downs from my brother, orignally owned by my grandparents. Butterscotch-colored couches in my living room.
5. What is your favorite flower?
6. Which style icon best describes your personal style?
Lara, your questions are so hard! Friends, help me out here! Who’s my style doppleganger?
7. How would you describe your sense of humour?
I’d like to say witty, but weird would probably be more honest.
8. What is your favorite thing to cook?
Shepherd’s Pie. Hands down. Well, if you don’t count cookies. Or bacon.
9. What is one health habit you are working on?
Cutting gluten out of my diet.
10. Facebook or Pinterest?
Facebook. But I’m not proud of it. It would be way cooler to be able to say Pinterest.
11. Beatles, Elvis, or Willy Nelson?
I’ll be honest. Not a huge fan of any. Don’t hate me, Lara. Probably Willie Nelson if I had to choose. I’ve tried to get into the Beatles for as long as I can remember and I just can’t. That Across the Universe movie was torture. But, I mean, I could jam to Eleanor Rigby like everyone else.
My questions:
1. What’s your favorite musical (I know, how to choose, right?!) If you don’t like musicals…oh, wait, that’s impossible because we couldn’t be friends.
2. Who is your patron saint or who would you choose if you don’t have one?
3. What literary character do you wish you were friends with in real life?
4. Are there any movies that you like better than the book they’re based on?
5. What kind of monster/animal did you think lived under your bed when you were little?
6. If you could live in any era, what would it be and why?
7. Dogs or cats?
8. Mountains or beach?
9. If you were trapped on a desert island with books from only one author, who would it be? (And no, you can’t just say “the Bible.”)
10. Your favorite book when you were a child:
11. Would you rather never be able to drink coffee again or never be able to eat dessert again?
Tagged: (but, if you don’t have time, no pressure!)
Anybody else who wants to! Just let me know in the comments that you’ve answered!