Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day 289: A Baby's Tale

Day 289 of captivity. 

I've given Mom so many contractions, hosted late night dance parties and continue the general messing with mom's body... And still, here I remain. 

Mom tried to evict me last night buuuut she was too dilated. So they sent her home. After contracting all night, she came in for the second attempt to find the OB wing completely full. She and Dad are camped in triage, watching my heartbeat and more contractions... But no real progression. Foiled again!

Even from my dark cozy lair, I continue to wreck havoc. 

The nursing staff is helping too- Mom ate this for lunch:

I know, right? Mwahahahaha. 

Uh-oh. What's pitocin?

Over and out,
Bebe Deux

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#5Faves: Second Baby Buys

We do not need a lot for this baby - but a few things were in order for Bebe Deux:


(Her very own) Wubbanub

Before Grace's first Christmas, we drove from New Orleans to Lexington, KY and Toledo, OH for two residency interviews before arriving home. On the way up, we stopped at a family friend's house for the night. Will's best friend from medical school and his wife Whitney gave Grace her wubbanub. Whitney was in her intern year of pediatrics and said these were a big hit. Honestly, I was dubious. A stuffed animal attached to a binky? Really...interesting?

Then, we stopped by Will's aunt and uncle's house for his UK interview. His little cousin M "borrowed" Grace's little binky and we couldn't find it. Desperately, I gave her the wubbanub and life was wonderful again!

Over a year later, Grace is still enamored with her dino. Sure, it looks silly - but the animal is light enough to carry around, sits on the baby's chest, helps the baby learn to grab on, and becomes a fast friend in the middle of the night.

And for all those times when Grace just needs some time to relax, her wubbanub and her blanket are there.


Grace has this blanket in blue, and it is her most favorite possession (after her dino wubbanub). Satin on one side and velvety on the other - this blanket is super soft and cuddly. Machine washable to boot!


This just arrived in the mail - and with all the rave reviews, and I am very excited to try and use it! We do not have the sink space we did in New Orleans, so the babies have to be washed in the tub - but small babies are slippery and small. This is the perfect solution: mildew resistant, light, contorts to hold baby slightly upright.


This is the gift of all gifts. We are being given this beeeeeautiful stroller, and will be celebrating spring by walking in the Life Without Limits 5k in Philly this April (for cerebral palsy research!). It's also going to give me few excuses to get outside with the girls every day during the summer, and a nice outlet for exercise and freedom.

It'll also be a good reason to revive my postpartum Couch to 5k training!



Anything you splurged on for your baby? Any basics you're re-stocking?

Linking up with Jenna - hey-oh!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How It Feels: 40 Weeks, 5 Days Pregnant

Well, it feels a bit larger, to start.

Then, it feels like a pain.

A pain here, and a pain there... I've had the lower back pains, the round ligament pains, the tightness across my abdomen, mini contractions (I dislike the term false labor, as if I am imagining all of this)... Plus, I am not breathing well at night, reflux, small appetite and bladder, and have a need to flip over like a pancake every few hours while sleeping when I can (+seriously loving on my body pillow)...

I do not want to rush this pregnancy (Bebe Deux, I get it! It's cold outside!), but today is my second day of maternity leave... and I am using it to work on more power points for my March classes, instead of caring for a newborn. Frankly, it is nice having this time off because I am so burned out and tired. But but but...

I really want to hold my baby.

Will was able to take four days off - today is his last day. He has a big EM test tomorrow, then back to work. I am trying to enjoy today and not sigh a lot. Or get more stressed - we already had our few days of me sulking and crying. Husband is, of course, the best (taking care of me and studying hard? Total rock star.).

Still, we have our good times:

My in-laws are here too!

But more on that later, because they are super awesome and deserve a whole post of praise.

So yes: radio silence, sadly, does not mean I am currently in labor. I am reminding myself that my baby is healthy, growing, and safe. I am cherishing this time with sweet baby Grace. I am (better) learning patience, contentment and perseverance. I am really loving the family time, and increased nap time.

How is your week going?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Learning the New, Building the Now

This past weekend, we went to Will's advising attending's house for lunch. Just Will and I - we were going to take Grace, but at the last minute, decided the windchill was too cold and time with Nana would be better spent.

Will's attending is a very interesting man - he did two residencies: one in internal medicine, then one in emergency medicine. His wife is from Japan, where she was a critical care nurse. They have one son, who is obviously very loved.
A woodpecker in the Poconos

They have two bird feeders outside their dining room window, and I was amazed at how they could identify those birds so quickly. Will can too - as part of homeschooling, they tracked birds for Cornell. I've always loved bird watching, but know very little about it. I've been on the Audubon website a lot recently, enjoying John Audubon's plates as well as trying to learn how to identify more birds in this region. Our neighbors have about 11 bird feeders, so we see a multitude of birds every day outside our windows.

I also liked learning that his attending has taken piano lessons for the past six years. It reminded me of the line from Robert Frost's "The Death of the Hired Man": "He studied Latin like the violin/ Because he liked it".

This Lent, my personal sacrifice is keeping a spiritual art journal each day, based on the day's mass readings. It sounds like fun: it's really hard for me. It's a sacrifice of time and pride. Just ten minutes. Seems harder than it should be.

My other Lenten sacrifice is daily rosary with Will, though I'm peetering on this commitment because he won't be home for most of Lent. I need to be stronger here - Lent is the devil's playground for spiritual attacks. I need more prayer.

I couldn't decide how to write this without sounding overdramatic, but I am really not looking forward to March -- which is a shame, because March is my favorite month. My mom will be here the first two weeks in March, my birthday and Will's birthday are in March, St. Patrick's feast day and St. Joseph's feast day (and more!), and it'll be the first month with our sweet second baby.

But Will won't be home. He'll be in the SICU 14-16 hours/ day, and just thinking about his January month in the MICU still ties my stomach up in knots, and I'm going through it all over again with two babies. Appropriate, perhaps, that most of my 40 days march through Lent will be giving up my dependence on my husband's help.

It makes me angry, and anger makes me sad. Residency makes me feel like a single parent whose significant other stops by for dinner. Maybe this is an unfair comparison.

I've been meditating on these lines, also from Frost's "The Death of the Hired Man" poem:
“Warren," she said, “he has come home to die:
You needn’t be afraid he’ll leave you this time.”          

“Home," he mocked gently.

“Yes, what else but home?
It all depends on what you mean by home.
Of course he’s nothing to us, any more
Than was the hound that came a stranger to us          
Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.”

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.”  
I am trying to learn this new life. I am trying. And in learning to love the skies I am under, I am reminded of the Trinity. I am not in this marriage alone, or even with only Will. When we got married, we were married before God, and asked for his blessing. We invited him to always be with us. And when I'm sinking, why don't I reach for God enough?

I am sitting quietly in our home, our domestic church. My protruding belly has me leaning forward a bit more, and my back aches accordingly. In my tiredness, I am broken. In my fear, I am alive. Through my tears, I am washed anew. As I watch the birds outside our dining room windows, I smile at God's goodness. There are so many different birds, so many types within the same species. Humans are made in the image of God, and his creations are made in the image of extended glory. We cannot fathom the diversity of his goodness. We'll never know the depth of his mercy. He's always welcoming us home, bidding us to be with him in every moment.

God, you teach me so much.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lent: More Than Just a Season of Temptation

by Marianne Robison
{originally posted at UC's Newman Center blog}

I cannot remember a time when Girl Scout cookies did not arrive during Lent. Sitting smugly in their brightly colored cardboard boxes they seemed to mock my Lenten sacrifice, which, for many years, was invariably “no sweets.” In those moments I would begrudge the necessary self-denial of the Lenten season as well as all of the temptations which would inevitably ensue. It had seemed so easy to give something that I liked up on Ash Wednesday, but as the weeks progressed my resolve weakened. Growing up I wasn’t entirely certain how my sacrifice primed me for Easter besides the fact that I would be good and ready to stuff my face with chocolate when the holiday arrived.

Sometime in the last few years I realized that something was lacking in my understanding and in my approach to Lent. After all, this season is considered the pinnacle of the Catholic calendar year. It is during this time that we ought not to feel burdened (i.e. by our self-denial); rather, we ought to feel liberated as we strip ourselves of those vices which bind us more closely to the material things of the world than to a spiritual relationship with our Father in Heaven.

For, truly, that is the purpose of the Lenten season: to grow in love and appreciation of God.

We have marked 40 days of our calendar year as different from all the rest, and this is because this period of time is filled with spiritual opportunities. First and foremost, we have the opportunity to renew our appreciation of the ultimate sacrifice of love the world has ever seen. As we let the incredible significance of Jesus’ conquest over death sink in, we have the opportunity to find a new perspective on our lives and on our relationships and to remind ourselves once again that love conquers all.

Ideally, the period of Lent should be treated as a kind of extended retreat as we strip ourselves of those worldly things which may ensnare and enslave us. That being said, I know as well as any college student (or adult for that matter) that time stops for no man and that our responsibilities and obligations will not be reduced during this time period. Our to-do lists will not spontaneously shrink so as to accommodate time dedicated to prayer, since prayer is an activity which requires a definitive allotment of time to focus your energies towards God.

Or is it?

Certainly, focused contemplative prayer is extraordinarily useful in developing a deeper, more intimate bond with God, but the commitment and mental dedication for such an activity can often be so intimidating as to prevent us from engaging with God at all. We may shy away from the activity unless we are in the right mood or mindset. However, as Blessed John Henry Newman once said, “[Faith] is not a mere temporary strong act or impetuous feeling of the mind... but it is a habit, a state of mind, lasting and consistent.” (Magnificat, February 2015)

To build our relationship with God, the first step is to recognize that He exists beyond the prayer space. Once we realize that God’s spirit permeates every nook and cranny of this earth, we will also realize that every space is sacred. If every space is sacred that would mean that no matter where we are we are prompted to sanctify our actions.

So, this brings me to the meat and potatoes of my advice to my dear readers approaching this Lenten season, and which is stated most eloquently in the words of Saint Paul in the second reading on Sunday: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Life may be characterized by nonstop activity, and I say this both in the sense of working adults as well as in the sense of biology. Organisms constantly interact with one another and all of the little cells in our bodies are constantly influencing each other simply because they exist together. It is in this ebb and flow of interaction that we can recognize the glory of God’s spirit as it prompts relationship between all of the elements of our world. The tiniest element of our world—an atom—moves aimlessly around until it bumps into another atom and then voila! The two become one in an entirely new molecule!

We humans are not so different from the rest of God’s creation as it is in our constant activity that we bond with others and grow as a result of our union. Granted, spiritual bonds are different things entirely from the kind of molecular bonds which I was talking about earlier, but the illustration is still useful. The point is that God created us all to be active creatures and our activity may therefore be blessed if it is done with a sense of appreciation and love for our creator.

I am here drawing upon the spiritual practices of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection who “resolved to make the love of God the end of all his actions.” I would try to paraphrase some of his beautiful ideas, but he speaks far more eloquently than I can in his novel published posthumously and titled, The Practice of the Presence of God:
“Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love... Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for love of him?” 
“The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.” (Magnificat, February 2015)
It is up for us this Lent to open ourselves to encountering God both in the quiet stillness of our hearts as well as in the business of everyday life.

Marianne is my hilarious, holy and helpful second sister (the fourth of us six kids); she is a double major in biology and English, with a minor in Spanish because we can't convince her to triple major.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How It Feels: 39 Weeks Pregnant

So, wicked back pain since last night. Aches all over. I have a hard time breathing only when I am attempting to go to sleep. Oo! Reflux too. Never fails. I feel like a pancake, always needing to be flipped over after a few minutes on each side...

Fortunately, my MIL is here! I have my 40 week appointment tomorrow morning (one day early). Bebe Deux is due on Thursday. I am finishing up a lecture on The Great Depression for my younger kids. It's also inspired me to write a treatise called "The Gold Standard: A Guide For Middle Schoolers Who Want The Simple Complicated Answer"... because, seriously. Raise your hand if you want to read this book.

My appetite is small and my baby is active. I love the end of pregnancy, but I'm very excited to meet my second daughter and hold her close. I've been scrolling through memory lane, looking at all the pictures I took of Grace when she was a neonate. I can't believe how little she was, and what a precious gift I've been given - now, twice!

Bedtime snuggles - I am really savoring these:

GHB is wearing pajamas her Robison aunts + uncles all wore, her mama included!

Will has a big test coming up on February 25, so he is taking vacation February 20-24 to study and spend time with his little girl. I hope she comes earlier to maximize her Dad time! That will be a very precious commodity come March when he's in the SICU.

The unromantic part of this pregnancy is my overwhelming tiredness, especially as I rush to finish prep work/ complete more grading. My brain is not cooperating quickly. Other than that, we're celebrating Mardi Gras up here in the snow drifts!

Celebrate good times, y'all!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

10 Ways To Celebrate Valentine's Day Without Presents

My husband never remembers Valentine's Day.

It's a mind block. It bothers me. It shouldn't, and I shake it off, but it does.

My mom always gave us kids special Valentines and lovin' (she's a gifts person) and we grew up helping Dad pick out a card, oo-and-ahh over them getting dressed up to go out, and admiring the present/ flowers my dad gave her.
A girl can dream, right?

I never minded being single on Valentine's Day because I knew, if I got married, my spouse would surprise me each year! Well, reality checks happen in life. The last time Will voluntarily remembered Valentine's Day was 2011, when we first started dating. Well, not even dating. We had two dates, and he was replying to a message. (I was thrilled he replied on Valentine's Day!)

The next year, we didn't celebrate Valentine's Day as an engaged couple. I don't remember why. Then, we got married. I got pregnant. That elusive date rolled around and... he didn't notice, even though I left him a note and cookies before I drove back to Cincinnati for work*.

Nothing. No message or acknowledgement. I felt super-duper sad. I called him back after our nightly chat and prayers. I remained calm and heartbroken. He was apologetic and confused.

We had never celebrated it before. I'm always finding a reason to make something into a special occasion. He's not into holidays. I know this.

I'm always looking for a reason to make something into a special occasion. ("You're home earlier than expected! Yay!!!")

This year, he's working on Valentine's Day, which is a relief. My expectations automatically dropped upon reading his schedule. Instead, I'll be hanging with my best girl, Grace Harriet, and my MIL, watching Jane Austen (or something British/ romantic) and not going into labor (yet). Will and I do have plans to go out the next night and I'm really excited for that.
My Valentine (2014)

This is part of really accepting the other person as they are, for better and for worse. Will is an incredibly thoughtful and loving husband. He's thoughtful and loving on holidays too, just not in a holiday-specific, gift-giving way.

Here are ten "gifts" Will gives to me each day, sans presents:

10. He's patient. We don't fight. This isn't to say I don't get mad at him or he doesn't get irritated with me - but he stays calm, and I stay calm-ish. We talk it out. He listens to my side, I listen to his side, and we give each other space (especially if the irritation feels palpable). We have a No Yelling rule in our family, and it's held strong.

9. In this same vein, he's honest and direct with me. He does not avoid topics. It made me very uncomfortable at first, and now, it gives me strength to be as direct and honest with him.

8. He puts me first. He puts me before our families, our work, our children, our to-do list, his fun activities. Now, this should have an asterisk by it, perhaps - he does not skip work for me, or neglect Grace - but I know I am his Most Important Person, period.

7. He encourages me! While we were dating, I decided to stop working for the family business full-time and becomes a nanny. He told me how proud he was of me to make the new leap. When I got my teaching job, he would brag about me. When he gets home from work, he thanks me for taking such good care of Grace (and sometimes, how great the house looks!) and always asks about my day and/or what I've been writing lately (since I don't always hit 'publish').

6. He respects me. My feelings, my thoughts, my body, my needs, my concerns - there's nothing he doesn't ask about or takes into consideration. When I get crabby, he makes sure I eat a snack or take a nap. He doesn't take my time for granted, and says it's okay if I don't get all the chores done because he'll help me when he gets home.

5. He motivates me. Will loves being active, playing games, reading interesting articles; moreover, he loves sharing things he loves with me, and even teaching me. He went rock climbing recently, and is excited to introduce it to me once I am more in shape/ less pregnant.

4. He's hilarious. I should really start writing down all the pithy things Will says. He brightens my day with his wit, especially when I'm over Grace's temper tantrum or frustrated or just really, really tired.

3. All the small things. His gestures are small and spontaneous. He prays with me. His kindness, his smile, the way he loves Grace.

2. He loves me - and says so. I am a words of affirmation person and just hearing how much he appreciates me or misses me or is thinking about me - it means a lot, and often carries he through the days he's hardly home.

1. He makes me want to be the best version of myself. Even when I'm grumpy.

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

*We lived apart our first six months because of my job and his school, in case you're new here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

#5Faves: Ballet Moves for Pregnant (and Postpartum!) Women

In the irony of having my knee area hurt so badly today that I can hardly walk, I'd love to share my love of ballet and how well it works with the pregnant (and postpartum!) body.

I've wanted to be a ballerina since I was 3 years old - or so a drawing from preschool revealed. Unfortunately, my parents could not afford dance class for me when I was younger; in high school, I enrolled in adult lessons at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (through the University of Cincinnati) as strength and balance training before lacrosse season started, and absolutely fell in love. I continued to take classes in college, and I enjoy it now in a less structured setting.

The best part of ballet is that you can practice anywhere: all you need is a chair and space! It's been a good way to exercise without needing a lot of time, energy or expertise. A few moves can keep you active (especially when tired and pregnant), and usually helps boost energy levels as well!


The Positions

When in doubt, these are wonderful to learn how to master.


First Position Demi-Plie: tones the inner thighs and buttocks - helps you find your center

Arms should be out!
  • Begin in first position
  • Rotate legs within hips; bend knees over toes; raise arms about chest level, leading with elbows
  • Return to first position 
  • 8-16 reps

Tendu Front: works and strengthens legs, as well as core for balance

  • Begin in first position with arms down and rounded (also known as "low fifth")
  • Shift weight to right foot: point foot down, then flex ankle out (foot will be up and flat), point toes down again, and return to first position.
  • Meanwhile, your arms can move upward ("middle fifth"), to extending outward (while ankle is flexed); then, return to middle fifth and lower arms.
  • 8-16 reps (each side) 

Here is a simple Tendu as well:

((Her videos are good and short, but you generally start about 25 seconds in))


Rond de Jambe: helps increase hip joint mobility

  • Begin in first position with arms down and rounded
  • Shift weight to right foot as left heel leads the left leg forward, ending with a pointed foot (arms at middle fifth)
  • Circle leg to side as arms open to the side.
  • Return to starting position 
  • 8-16 reps on each side (motion is continuous, not static)

((I love his videos - very fluid, insightful and more in-depth))


Standing Cabriole: leg pulsing exercise that also strengthens the abdominals and back

  • Begin in first position with arms down and rounded
  • Extend leg forward, leading with heel in flexed position
  • Lower leg by squeezing inner thighs as heel comes to toe of standing leg
  • Repeat to create the pulse (imagine you're squeezing a beach ball between your legs; squeeze your buttocks, and lift up and out as you pulse inward)
  • Return to first position
  • 16 reps each side


The best book to use if you're interested in learning more? New York City Ballet Workout. (All of these moves were best described there for me! They also have more stretches, work-outs and ideas for cross-training.)

Linking with Jenna for more!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

My View (vol. 29)

What I am reading: history books - I have three power points to finish this week. I am not freaking out, no, why do you ask? (WHY DO YOU ASK?!?)

Also, Doctor Grumpy's blog. He makes me laugh!

Love what I am eating: Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and Macintosh Apples (not at the same time) and THIS:


Meal planning: Crockpot week! I bought a family pack of chicken breasts - I'm currently planning on fixing creamy chicken and broccoli over rice (again, because it delicious, warm, comforting and easy-peasy) and am on the hunt for another chicken crockpot recipe. My friend Jess posted 33 three ingredient crock pot meals, which all look good.

We do have BBQ sauce, so I might fix baked barbecue chicken. Oh! If I remember, I'll e-mail my mother for the recipe for Chicken Crack, a ye olde family favorite. I don't know it's "real" name - our family loves it so much that we call is Chicken Crack, because it's addictively delicious. (Stay tuned! At the very least, I'll have her fix it when she comes in March.)

Any [delicious/ healthy/ easy] chicken recipes you love to share?

This week in history: It was an awesome week from the vantage point that Will was just home more. I am trying to jump ahead in work for when Bebe Deux comes, while simultaneously keeping up with grading and teaching. Will loves being back in the ER, and is studying for a big test at the end of this month. The great news is that he was granted a few vacation days after bebe is due!!

Meanwhile, I am big things poppin'...!

Grace is doing well in therapy - I am constantly reminding myself, "Slow progress is still progress." Some days are awesome days. Some days are fighting days. And then, some days are surprise-filled.

Yesterday, Grace and I went grocery shopping; I bought her a Valentine's Day balloon and she loves it.

This morning, Will was holding Grace next to it while they waited for me to put my boots on before leaving for mass. Grace started hitting the balloon with her right hand on her own - THIS IS HUGE. She does more with it when prompted by us, or forced to - we have not seen a lot of willingness to use it on her own. Okay, tearing up. Our daughter is a rock star!

She discovered PhotoBooth this week:

We're celebrating Mardi Gras from afar:

We had good friends come visit!

Prayers: This week, I encountered a young Catholic really struggling with the Church. The interaction was extremely hostile. I'm still feeling very troubled by the lack of mercy and compassion shown to our fellow Catholics and human beings, as well as boxed-in version of thinking.

Please pray for those whom are being spiritually attacked - let Christ's light shine into the darkness of our doubts and the drudgery of our life on earth, as Job said today in the first reading. This earth groans beneath the weight of our fallenness, and I pray for renewed strength to carry our crosses.

Also, tomorrow is my cousin B's birthday. She passed away 6 months ago - please pray for her, and our family. I miss her so much.

Next week, I am going to: NOT GO INTO LABOR. I've given Bebe Deux multiple reasons not to come before February 16.

If you're a lady and on twitter, you should join in the Blessed Is She's #BISchat tomorrow evening at 9 pm EST. Here's the transcript (most of it!) from last time/ January's session. Such a wonderful community of women!

Have a great week!

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Internet Ire and Righteous Results

The readings for February 6, 2015:

First reading: Hebrews 13:1-8
Responsorial Psalm: PS 27:1, 3, 5, 8B-9ABC
Alleluia: Luke 8:15
Gospel: Mark 6:14-29

Pope Francis “hanging out” via Google with kids with disabilities from around the world

There is a lot of hostility being generated in the online worlds. I teach my history students that this is the result of fear. Fear prompts a tongue lashing, or a dismissing of people and ideas. Fear prompts distrust, disloyalty, and a vengeful spirit. There is no peace where there is fear, and the growth of hate.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid? 

Who do we hate? We hate the ones who disagree with us, who challenge us. We hate that our pope makes gaffes (like we all do – and none ex cathedra, I might add). We hate when fellow Catholics misrepresent the universal Catholic Church. The Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen rightly said, “Not 100 in the United States hate the Roman Catholic Church, but millions hate what they mistakenly think the Roman Catholic Church is.” The kaleidoscope of faith should keep us humble. Too often, however, we miss the irony of ourselves not showing mercy and love to others.

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart,
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

The ability to be kind in the face of cruelty is the redemption of humanity; to seek to benefit others, not just ourselves; to spread love instead of coveting it; to know the race is worth running, even when we struggle to keep up. This is what sainthood means: to be generous in this life as God is with us, and to bring Christ to others in reflection of the way He seeks us. To know of Christ and to know Christ are two different hearts.

Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.

In all our interactions, we must love. These are the greatest commandments. It is our love of God which motivates us to love our neighbor as ourself. Hospitality is in the home, yes, and in all interactions. The internet is not a safe-zone. It is a place where hearts can be met, changed, and nourished. Today, let us not be as King Herod – let us not slaughter the righteous because they mis-worded their argument, or believe something we disagree with, or fear others if we do not publicly act in a certain way.

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Jesus Christ is the same forever, no matter what someone’s Facebook post or Tweet said. Let the Lord be our light!

{Originally posted at Ignitum Today}

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

#5Faves: Staycations

Hello from the snow and the east coast! I am really missing New Orleans these days - Grace and I would take walks every day in the mild winter weather; could walk to mass (and then walk to donuts); live comfortably in our apartment without three layers of clothing or heat, for that matter.

Josef Pieper, in his book Leisure: The Basis Of Culture, wrote, “Leisure is only possible when we are at one with ourselves. We tend to overwork as a means of self-escape, as a way of trying to justify our existence.”

Here are ways I'm creating paradise in my world:


Skype! Facetime. Google talk. However you are able to see and talk with friends and family is my favorite indulgence. Mostly, I call family to check in and so Grace can see+hear her family (so as to better recognize and know them). I'm also trying to Skype friends more, because it's a coffee date without leaving the comforts of home. I've talked to friends in Germany, California, Michigan and Alabama in the past two weeks, all from Pennsylvania.


Citrus fruit. Grapefruit, oranges, pineapple - take me away! Tis the season, after all. If I was more motivated, I would fix pineapple upside down cake. I hear broiled grapefruit is also delicious, but I prefer the raw deal.


Explore locally. We live in a town with a lot of history. Our baby isn't old enough to care or demand, so we're able to enjoy ourselves without protest. I'm looking forward to going to a New Jersey beach this summer too! Eating out, on the other hand, is not Grace's cup of tea. We took her to Five Guys, and she doesn't like french fries. Who is this baby?!


Do whatever you want! Laundry always needs folding, the space always needs cleaning, there is always grading to catch up on... drop it. For an hour (or two) - write, read a book, catch up on a show... something to indulge. This is my new life goal: to embrace a little leisure, to loosen up the standards. Sometimes during nap time, but mostly after we put Grace to bed and clean up the kitchen - there is time for me. I like this time, and I try to use it very purposefully.


Learn something new! Get creative. I really love watercolors and ink, and I am currently getting back into drawing and keeping a daily devotion to Scripture as my inspiration - sort of an art prayer book? Plus I get to use my colored pencils and crayons more. Shazam!


Joining up with Jenna and co.! 

What do you do for stay cations?

Monday, February 2, 2015

My View (vol. 28)

Okay, I think I need to start hitting 'publish' instead of sitting on posts... new-New Years's resolution? I keep repeating: perfect is the enemy of good. perfect is never done.


What I am reading: Mothering: The Complete Guide for Mothers of All Ages by Dr. Grace Ketterman

A consignment book store find - and a favorite parenting book. She is so insightful!

Love what I am eating: grapefruit! fig newtons!

Meal planning:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with sharp cheddar cheese and a bit of ham; yogurt; ciabatta toast
Lunch: apples, ham & swiss on ciabatta (toasted), fruit twists/ fig newtons
Drinking: Coffee, milk, and a loooooot of water
Snacks: grapefruit, orange, popcorn, almond nut thins, colby jack cheese

New recipe try: I have been craving homemade macaroni and cheese and looking for an awesome recipe - TheKitchn delivered.

I altered the recipe a bit -

  • 1 pound pasta (I used egg noodles - on hand)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole 
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A squirt of mustard
  • Boil pasta, check
  • Warm milk + add in flour (all at once - milk still had thicker consistency after a few minutes)
  • Turn heat to low: add in cheese (stir), more cheese (stir), and more cheese (stir)
  • Add in salt; squirt in mustard (stir)
  • Add in half the pasta (stir); add other half (stir).
WA-LA! Delicious. Grace even liked it! The pasta dish was paired with baked chicken thighs and saluted spinach for me/ raw spinach salad for Will.

Dinner(s) this week: tilapia or chicken drumsticks; baked potatoes; spinach or green beans

This week in history: I kept my head above water and had a lot of fun teaching classes - it's officially second semester! I'm 37 weeks, 5 days today - I meant to post a picture buuuut it's late and I'll post Grace pictures instead. Bebe Deux is head down, kicking me in the ribs, moving all the time and pretty content. My weight and blood pressure is all good, and I'm definitely not in a rush to get this baby out of me. These last few weeks are my favorite weeks of pregnancy!!

Grace is earning her stripes - not only does she love repeatedly climbing the stairs (and we have a lot of them in this old rental house), but now she's exploring with getting down. It's amazing how she'll swing her body off the bed, but when I put her on the cute little wooden rocking chair, she gets panicky. Then again, she'll climb on her cozy rocking chair against the wall in the front room, and stand on it. Luckily, she is following directions well ("Grace, sit down please!"). She is also self-feeding like a champ:

Lots of post-dinner baths, much to her pleasure!

Will finished his very last MICU shift. I just want to thank all of you - friends of the blog, FaceBook page community, tweeting pals, fellow grammers - for the words of wisdom, notes of support, e-mails, prayers and love. I do not think I could have survived this month without y'all. I don't consider myself a dramatic person... but this month was the worst.

I spent a lot of time trying not to feel overwhelmed and get through each day without Will (who came home late, ate dinner, tried to interact with us without falling asleep, and then went to bed early so he could get up early). Intern year feels a lot like trial by fire. I remember feeling overwhelmed by his ER shifts, and now I welcome them back with open arms after the month in MICU!

I think we've crossed critical care fellowship off our list of possibilities. Good experience, definitely, and he'll carry all the lessons he learned into more critical care situations (like SICU in March, and more ICU rotations in residency, at the very least).

For those of you who do not have an Instagram or other social media, you may not have heard of a cool site called Blessed Is She that publishes daily reflections on the Scripture readings by different women, as well as hosting community chats on Twitter and photography challenges on Instagram under the title #projectblessed.

Three days ago, the word of the day was "virtuous" and I'd just like to take a wife-brag moment and re-post the picture and caption:

#projectblessed + @blessedisshe__ : virtuous
:: I don't have any pictures from today, so here's a pre-IG picture of my favorites. Today in class, I taught about Teddy Roosevelt and servant leadership. I wrote a blog post on it too (today! Go read!) but I failed to mention the most virtuous servant leader I know - Will. It's not just because we're married - it's the way he tackles life. He came home after 10 am from his overnight shift, and spent the next 3+ hours helping a lady sort out confusing paperwork so she could donate blood to her mom in the MICU. He never projects on us after a long day, but kisses me hello and cuddles Grace. We both adore him. He'd deny, of course, any compliment - but his virtue is what makes him such an outstanding man, husband, father, friend, and doctor.
Anyways, a lot of emotions this week. If it's remotely touching, I've probably cried over it. Grace and I also survived IKEA last Sunday. Busy week!

Prayers: The Middle East, our Church, single parents, and all special intentions.

Next week, I am going to: Enjoy Will being home more!!! Also, keep plugging away at getting ahead in my classes...

Happy week, all! Happy Groundhog Day!

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