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


A Dinosaur Birthday
February 8, 2012, 6:58 pm
Filed under: Books, Children | Tags: , , , , ,

Ever since his farm-themed two year birthday party ended, Benjamin has been telling me that he wanted a dinosaur birthday when he turned three. “Well, you shall have it, my love,” I told him.

Daniel’s parents picked out some pretty fantastic decor and our Little Bear dressed like the paleontologist he is with his special dinosaur fossil digging hat. I told him that he could invite whoever he wanted but he just wanted it to be family: uncles and aunts, grandparents, and mama, daddy, and Lucy. And hey! I wasn’t going to argue with that!

The little stinker was VERY specific about what kind of birthday cake he wanted: “Chocolate with chocolate frosting and with dinosaurs on top that look real…but you can eat ’em.” Since he requested chocolate, I knew I would make my favorite chocolate cake of all time that my friends Lara and Rachel made for me years ago on my birthday. They covered it in edible flowers. It was gorgeous and scrumptious and I was overwhelmingly awed by their combined artsiness and culinary skills. I won’t post the recipe because it’s their family recipe, but I’ll make it for you if you come over. Their aunt created it and she passed away recently. So, as I stayed up late the night before Bear’s party to bake it, I thought about his precious little life just beginning and I remembered Lara and Rachel’s aunt and praised God for her life, too. I will tell you this: the recipe includes coffee and cinnamon so…yeah, it’s amazing.

My friend Jenna who owns a cake business took pity on me and told me how to use chocolate molds to create the requested edible decorative dinos. They’re not perfect (Jenna is probably giggling as she looks at this) but Benjamin thought they were pretty cool and we’ve been making dinosaur shaped candies all week to his delight.

“Happy Birthday, dear Benjamin…”

Bear was quite taken with his birthday “grappler logging truck.”

What a nut.

And I was quite taken with the treasure box, treasure (buffalo nickels), and beautiful illustrated Treasure Island from my folks for our boy. (Treasure Island was one of the honorable mentions from 10 Books You Must Read to Your Son and one of the books most likely to be found on the shelves on Downton Abbey’s Nursery in that delightful guest post from Katherine.)

As for other birthday loot, the birthday boy is currently snuggling with his Benjamin-sized T-Rex stuffed animal named “Ronny” from my brother and he’s been moving dried lentils all around the kitchen floor with his new construction equipment set from Aunt Vanessa and Uncle Travis. Win.

So glad we got to celebrate our boy with such wonderful extended family!

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Tomorrow You’re THREE!
February 7, 2012, 4:31 pm
Filed under: Birth, Children, Motherhood | Tags: , , , , ,

Oh, Benjamin, my little paleontologist,

Tomorrow you will wake up and you will have turned the venerable age of THREE. The twos that I have loved so much will be over.  I loved the day when you turned two.

And I loved your First Birthday, too.

So many gifts of grace you have brought to our lives. The Blessed John Paul II wrote that the enemy of true love is selfishness. Being your mother has made me (a little) less selfish and therefore more able to love. I love your daddy more, your grandparents more, your uncles and aunt more since you were born and taught me what true love is. Every morning when your precious arms clasp my neck and every night when you demand one more snuggle, a drink of water, a song, a prayer, and an extra kiss you are vessel of God’s grace to me.

Just look how precious you were that first week you were born!  On the night you were born I began to learn, and am still learning, that to die to myself everyday for love of you, your sister, your father, that is freedom. Freedom to love without limit or bounds. Such a gift. And when I held you, dearest, on that first night after waiting so long and through the pains of labor to meet you, love for you was overwhelming. So precious, so sweet that it hurt. And it hit me like a blow as I looked down at you, that Our Lord loves us like that. Like a mother loves her newborn. Even more than that.

My soul, I loved your babyhood.

And I’ve loved the twos as well. Oh how I’ve loved the twos! You have been such a lovable, clever, amazing chatterbox! From the moment you wake to the moment you crash you are talking up a storm: stories, jokes, and QUESTIONS. SO MANY QUESTIONS. Sometimes, I’ll admit, after a bazillion questions, you mama will be about to lose it. And I have to remind myself how amazing you and your “why”s and “how”s are. “Why can’t a real owl sleep in my bed?” “Why does that tree have white bark?” “How do robot arms work?” You never stop. And that is just how it should be.

This year you had to learn to share the spotlight with your baby sister. And you have done it brilliantly. You love her SO MUCH. The gentle and loving way you have with her makes Daddy and I so proud. You are so caring and sweet and seeing you two together makes me love you even more.

Little bear, I have loved every day so far with you. But as I was baking your birthday cake for your party the other night, I told Daddy, “I love now. I love now the best.” I love now, dearest. And I will love your now no matter what birthday you’re celebrating. Happy Birthday, big three-year-old guy.

(Birthday party post to come!)



Happy 27th, Daniel!
January 3, 2012, 2:13 pm
Filed under: Husband | Tags: , , ,

Happy 27th Birthday Apple Streusel Breakfast to the most wonderful husband and daddy!

This man. I am grateful for him every single day. Of the innumerable things I adore about him, I love that he is constantly creating. He writes poems and stories. He grows food from the ground. He bakes bread and cooks feasts. He builds beautiful things out of wood. And he loves his family and takes care of us. He works long hours so that I can stay home with our babies. He can calm infants, change diapers, build changing tables and learning towers, and makes our little girl smile and laugh like no one else can. He builds dinosaurs with our boy, tells him about the things that live and grow in the world around him, tucks him in at night, and teaches him about Our Precious Lord. He prays for us, asks Our Lady for protection for our family, leads us, loves us and above all grows ever more devoted to Christ Jesus, Our Lord. His love and friendship fills my life with grace and I can’t imagine sharing life with anyone else.

Happy Birthday, Daniel. We are the luckiest to have you leading our family. We love you so.