Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

I've been wanting to recommend this book for a while now and I'm not sure what's been holding me back. The more I've thought about the book the more I think how nice the story was and how skeptical of a reader I've become.

The Shoemaker's Wife is a well written, and romantic love story of a realistic yet beautiful marriage. And yet while reading it I found myself thinking not enough was happening, that the plot line wasn't inherently exciting somehow. But this isn't due to a fault of the author or story, I think it points more towards my own desensitization at how marriage is usually portrayed, especially within modern and contemporary fiction. My reaction to The Shoemaker's Wife should have been one of appreciation, I should have been revelling in the fact that marriage was being portrayed so accurately, by exploring true love over the course of a long period of time and sacrifice, not simply a passionate spurt of attachment. 

Adriana Trigiani tells a woven tale of the lives of two Italian children at the turn of the twentieth century living only a few miles apart in the Italian Alps, who grow through difficult and trying circumstances, but who don't pursue their romance until a chance meeting after they have both immigrated to New York. Its a very romantic plot to start from, but what is the best part of the story is following both Ciro and Enza through their difficult childhoods, the daring and courageous ways in which they both risk travelling around the world to better their lives, and the hard work it takes to make a successful life in the New World by themselves and together. The journey for the reader is a good one, both characters struggle and grow. Not only through the difficult process of emmigrating to a new country, but in the society that surrounds them. World War I breaks out and Ciro dutifully volunteers in assitence to the country that gave him new opportunities, yet he returns scarred with a keen sense of the importance of love being at the heart of life.

Enza almost martyrs herself for her family back home in Italy by working a slaves hours in a sewing factory and then all night for the "family" who allow her to stay in their home. The two characters come to realize their love, and Trigliani's description of their marriage is a interesting depiction of a real marriage that is very uncommon in today's literature. It was so refreshing to see a marriage written about in a respectful and meaningful way.

The faith of both characters is not ignored either which I also found refreshing. The Church is portrayed in a good light throughout the novel, even when Ciro's local priest abuses his power and has Ciro and his brother thrown out of town. Enza's faith is always shown in a reverential manner and stays with her throughout her life and it impacts her marriage in different ways that I enjoyed reading about. Most importantly though, in a novel depicting the entire lives of characters from turn of the century Italy it was both historically accurate and keen of the author to at least portray the faith of the characters rather than predictably downplay or ignore its reality.

If you're looking for a good romance that has substance and a healthy view of marriage along with a great story I think this book is worth your time!

(The Sheenazing Blogger Awards are still going on at A Knotted Life today! Please feel inclined to throw me a vote...or any number of the awesome blogs nominated!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sheenazing Blog Awards!

Wow! It appears my little blog has been nominated twice over at The Sheenazing Blogger Awards hosted by the lovely Bonnie at A Knotted Life

Its a great thrill because I know this is a teeny tiny blog, but to be nominated alongside such great actresses bloggers who do so much for the crraaafftt is such an honour! Ok, Anne Hathaway moment over, oh no wait, I'll channel a little more Anne Hathaway to beg for your vote in the Best Lifestyle and Best Underappreciated blog categories!

And thank you to the wonderful little nominator out there-I could kiss you! (I made my husband swear it wasn't him!) Or at the very least buy you copious amounts of alcohol!!

So if you too would like to be put on my list of "People I will buy copious amounts of alcohol for" please go and vote vote vote! And while you're there make sure to check out all the really wonderful blogs that have been nominated because they're really all worth a read. Voting is open till Thursday evening so get on it! And thanks again to Bonnie who must have mad organizational skills and a giving heart to give so much of her time to promoting Catholic blogging! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What I Wore Sunday...January Edition!

I'm back on the bandwagon folks! Linking up with the contagious What I Wore Sunday girls at Fine Linen and Purple!

Here's the goods:

In all truthfulness I haven't posted for the past couple weeks because I've been wearing the same damn thing every week. Its beyond boring to me so I thought the blog audience would be put to sleep by it! 

And it was actually warm enough to attempt a dress so I had to take advantage! The dress is last years Old Navy, the sweater is from last summer? J.Crew, and its the same old same old boots, and I believe this is my $3 H&M belt.

I really wasn't paying attention to Captain Jump-A-Lot on the couch but my husband found it hilarious. 

And this was me suntanning in Canada in January:

I look like a beached grey whale I know but it was honestly the nicest day we've had since October and I was trying to soak up the sun. I look so much less ghost like now! Oh wait...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Seven Quick Takes vol. 30 (Or the Pregnancy Insanity Edition)

Joining the not-insane, pregnant lady Jen and all the other great takers this week as per usual.

Be forewarned - so much preggo whining...


My reaction to the week as well

It was a top notch week in which I meal planned, freezer cooked, DIY-ed, outfit put together, crafted with three toddlers, and felt spectacular about life. Oh wait. I didn't do any of that. I completely hit the third trimester wall and all I wanted to do, and had the energy for, was lie around. I am not a fan of just lying around. 


He's not in the third trimester but definitely crazy

Soooo the third trimester of pregnancy has been officially declared a mental disorder right?? 
Because it really should.
I'm constantly irritable and grumpy. Everyone and everything annoys me. I really should ban myself from Facebook because all I want to do is comment "This is stupid." on everything.  I'm sure I'm a real treat to live with too.
And of course theres the constantly fluctuating emotions, flying between anxiety to guilt to frustration to well....every kind of emotion. I'm constantly second guessing my thoughts to probe if its just a hormonal hallucination or an actual thought based on reality and fact. Its a mental tightrope!


I'm starting to believe that the ancient tradition of woman going out to be by themselves, or with another wise woman, for the last couple months of pregnancy was a great idea that we've been totally mistaken in getting rid of. Actually that's probably where that whole idea of "confinement" you always read about in British novels came from...


I will need many servants for my "confinement"

Whoa. How awesome would it be to holed up in the country house while servants waited upon you?! I could really go for a confinement right about now...


I'm thinking I should be feeling guilty about not leaving the house this week. And not getting my kids out of the house this week. The weather wasn't too peachy, and that whole couch thing was calling my name. Now I kinda feel I just shouldn't break my streak I have going...good thing theres always Mass to get to!


I swear one of these days I'm going to write about NFP. I swear! I feel like there must be something more written than the almost saccharine "in love with NFP, NFP is so great, NFP is so easy!" posts and the "NFP doesn't work even though I never follow the rules and don't really know what the rules are and now I have 2 whole children!" posts. There needs to be much broader discussions to more realistic attitudes, situations, and practices of NFP. Obviously this doesn't appeal to everybody, and it doesn't "sell" NFP, but for those of us in the trenches it would be sorta nice to know. Right?


I had an awful email exchange yesterday with a NFP medical professional belonging to a method which I will not name because I'm feeling really kind. I was asking questions about my specific charts and wanting to know further information about the circumstance I seem to be in and was responded to as if I was an uneducated child who simply refuses to follow the rules and acquiesce to the method. It was downright upsetting to me, and I'm not normally (as in when I'm not pregnant I guess) the type to get upset over things like this, but when NFP and the myriad effects it has not only on a woman, but a marriage, and pretty much every aspect of one's life is totally disregarded by someone who is supposed to be a proponent of NFP something is seriously effed the hell up. If an NFP method ever becomes more important than the woman, the couple, or treats a child as a mistake, there is something seriously wrong. The whole point of NFP is to respect the woman's body, marriage and its most intimate act, and the procreation of unique human beings. When these are not the goals of someone teaching natural family planning, or the method itself, it completely works against the spirit of natural family planning. 

Tirade over. I'm still a little upset...ok...a little more than upset...I'm working on it...

{seven and a half}

Thanks for making it through my pregnancy stream of consciousness! If you are feeling generous feel free to throw a couple prayers for me and my craziness. I'm hoping this won't last for the next two months...but I know it will! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

St. Francis de Sales and His Advice to Crazy Pregnant Women

It's the Feast of St. Francis de Sales today and I thought I'd share this snippet of his because I should probably have it tattooed to the back of my hand so I can read it on an hourly basis! 

These quotes are from a short letter de Sales wrote to "A pregnant woman suffering lassitude and discouragement." So not exactly "crazy" per se, but most definitely third trimester. Oh yeah, definitely third trimester. I just looked up the definition of "lassitude" and it means "a state of physical or mental weariness; lack of energy." Or they could have put up a picture of me right there. I am the definition of lassitude right now. I am lassitude. 

Moving on...these letters are found in the collection Thy Will Be Done! Letters of St. Francis de Sales, a little known book of St. Francis's letters of spiritual direction written specifically to those dealing with real life problems (even though I'm sure all of St. Francis's advice applied to real life problems, I mean, cmon!). I found a copy at my mom's and was surprised to find that he wrote specifically to pregnant women, and also was surprised that these pregnant women of a good couple hundred years ago seem to have the same feelings I do in this whole pregnancy business. 

Here is his response to the pregnant woman going crazy with lassitude (I'm sharing only the important bits in an effort to not completely re-hash the book, because the book is good!):

"My dearest daughter,

I am not at all surprised that your heart seems a little heavy and torpid, for you are pregnant, and it is an evident truth that our souls generally share in their inferior part the qualities and conditions of our bodies.

--A delicate body that is weighed down by the burden of pregnancy, weakened by the labor of carrying a child, and troubled with many pains, does not allow the heart to be so lively, so active, so ready in its operations; but this in no way injures the acts of that higher part of the soul, which are as agreeable to God as they would be in the midst of all the gladnesses in the world. Yea, to God these acts are even more agreeable in truth, for they are done with more labor and struggle; but they are not so agreeable to the person who does them, since - not being in the sensible part of the soul - they are not so much felt, nor are they so pleasant to us.

--My dear daughter, the child who is taking shape in your womb will be a living image of the divine majesty; but while your soul, your strength, and your natural vigor is occupied with this work of pregnancy, it must grow weary and tired, and you cannot at the same time perform your ordinary exercises so actively and so gaily. But suffer lovingly this lassitude and heaviness, in consideration of the honor that God will receive from your work. It is your image that will be placed in the eternal temple of the heavenly Jerusalem, and that will be eternally regarded with pleasure by God, by angels, and by men. The saints will praise God for it, and you also will praise Him when you see it there."

First of all, I think its amazing and a testament to how brilliant and grace-filled St. Francis was that he just gets this whole pregnancy thing. As a man, a priest, and someone living way back in a time without What to Expect When You're Expecting it blows me away that he understands so well the emotional upheaval and just plain old toughness of pregnancy. Describing the heaviness of pregnancy is so spot-on, at least for me. Heaviness applies to not only my emotional outlook right now, but most definitely spiritually. I've struggled each pregnancy to varying degrees with this, and I'm sure most women do. To be understood by a man with such wisdom feels so validating and supportive somehow. I don't think even our husbands fully grasp this concept and I know my husband listens to me whine day in, day out, so for a priest to be so finely attuned to a woman's emotions and spiritual struggles is beautiful. 

Secondly, I love how he acknowledges that such an important work, i.e. growing a baby!, is a good enough excuse to not feel happy go lucky, or spiritually "glowing" so to speak. Pregnancy is a burden, it is wearying, it is physically draining. The advice to "suffer lovingly this lassitude and heaviness" pierces to the core of the sacrifice of pregnancy, I believe. This week I've struggled especially, and felt generally miserable due to the constant lack of energy, the stresses of responsibilities, the anxiety of impending birth, coupled with how seemingly endless this all feels. It is hard to suffer lovingly. It is hard to suffer lovingly when all you want to do is be the opposite of how you currently feel. I'm not sure exactly what suffer lovingly means for me. I think it means to keep going as best I can without so many extra expectations placed upon myself to keep up to my usual standards.

Third and last point I promise, that whole section of "your image that will be placed in the eternal temple of the heavenly Jerusalem" is pretty crazy stuff. Crazy as is you can't really believe it because it seems to amazing. Eternally regarded with pleasure by God?! Saints will praise God for it?!? I mean, this concept is just staggering to think about. Work I'm doing...eternal honor and regard in heaven...yep...those are pretty crazy truths to reconcile to a human mind. But I believe in St. Francis's insight into the spiritual life and its reality. I think he knows what he's talking about here, and if so, then that is the most incentive you will ever have in doing something that's difficult.

I guess there is something to all this talk about St. Francis being one of the greatest spiritual directors the Church has ever had...

Monday, January 21, 2013

G.K. of the Day!

I was just perusing an older copy of Gilbert Magazine, from whence I get most of my G.K. gold, and found this gem of Chesterton answering a letter to the editor when he was editor of his own magazine G.K.'s Weekly. 

"Dear Mr. Chesterton,

     You seem to support the Catholic notion that the chief object of marriage is the procreation of children. It is the typical masculine and mediaeval argument, smacking of the stud farm. You apparently think nothing of nobler aspect of love and sex.
Mr. Herbert


Dear Mr. Herbert,

Well, Catholics will not resent being called masculine and are used to being called mediaeval. But what strikes me as truly extraordinary is the implication that there is something low about the objective being the birth of a child. Whereas it is obvious that this great natural miracle is the one creative, imaginative and disinterested part of the whole business. The creation of a new creature, not ourselves, of a new conscious center, of a new and independent focus of experience and enjoyment, is an immeasurably more grand and godlike act even than a real love affair; how much more superior to a momentary physical satisfaction. If creating another self is not noble, why is pure self-indulgence nobler?
 Your friend
G.K. Chesterton"

I think that last line is the most badass response to this oft asked question I've ever heard!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Seven Quick Takes vol. 29

Happy Friday everyone! Linking up to the fine takers again this week, and yay for Jen feeling better!


Its been relatively decent weather this week, and my sibs have taken some hits for the team and actually dressed my kids up and taken them outside for me! This is actually a huge deal. 1) Because its a crap load of work getting that much snow gear on wiggling people, 2) because I'm starting to get outrageously awkward and uncomfortable and this kind of thing seems a physical mountain I don't want to climb and most importantly, 3) getting kids dressed to go outside in the winter is one of my top three daily chores that makes me swear like a sailor.


Naturally, instead of being grateful for those couple days of getting the kids outside for 10 minutes of kid-free almost silence, yesterday it snowed all day and I thought I was going to go loco from cabin mccabin fever! You'd really think I'd have better tolerance for this in January...


This is a bizarre story, it kinda makes the mind boggle as to how mix ups in breastmilk given to newborns can be so easily confused and why a woman with hepatitis would even be allowed to donate breastmilk. And I know it doesn't happen often, but this feeds my home-birth fanaticism. It also proves that should anything go not according to plan with this in utero child's birth, (I'm trying to accept and be open and trusting to all possibilities but it takes me awhile to reach that point!) that I will most likely be a crazed psycho mother who will not let anyone else touch her newborn. Just warning everyone.


I may be slightly obsessed with Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals show. And by slightly I mean I can watch it for relaxation purposes. Thank goodness the man cranks out new shows almost as often as I bake babies. I also think I have more of an affinity towards him when pregnant...and I can't figure out why because I have zero of my usual enjoyment in cooking while pregnant. Its a weird phenomenon.


We're, and by "we're" I mean my husband, has been working on renovating our basement to fit another bedroom down there. We've got drywall up so I guess I should start thinking about paint colours. Which is always the fun part of a project, but I've been pacing myself to not get too excited because who knows when the whole thing might actually be ready for paint.


I've been cleaning up my photos this week and I'm still editing pictures from back in November, but I would swear to you that all those things happened yesterday not two months ago! Its a sappy mom cliche I know, but time is really flying by and its so crazy to think about. Stop growing children! Except potty train yourselves! And learn how to cook!


Anyone read Parenting With Grace by the Popcak's? Its a tome so I'm sure it'll take me multiple years to finish but I like that so far its very committed to parenting ideals within the Catholic framework. I always think when reading Christian/Evangelical parenting books that they have to spend so much time justifying the point of view they're coming from before actually laying out parenting tips. Its so much work to constantly have to back up every little idea you have with quotes from the Bible. At the very least when you're Catholic and following the Magisterium so much groundwork is done!

That's it for me, everyone have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

a late-ish {pretty,happy,funny,real}

I'm linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter today, although very late!!, for some photos. 
(And I'm still swooning over Leila's fantastic bedroom!!)


Here's some of my winter bulbs springing up. Because of my unorganized and frantic December the one thing I didn't happen to buy were Christmas bulbs and I was pretty depressed about it. I love growing amaryllis and paperwhites! But lo and behold upon being drug to Home Depot a couple weeks ago I scooped up a bunch of half price orphan bulbs and they're already drastically improving my quality of life. Its ridiculous how seeing something green in this winter white makes a difference to the house.

And my hubs surprised me with a 50mm lens for the camera that I'm trying out...if I fool around with it in my spare time I might be competent with it in about 20 or so years!


A weekend of bordering-on-tolerable-for-humans weather made us get all crazy and go out sledding. I like to think this blurry picture with daddy is really cool.


Is it awful that this picture of an adorable and lonely-looking Max makes me ridiculously happy? Its tough being held captive by a snowsuit.


"I love when my baby figures out how to go downstairs by "himself"!"
Oh wait, no one has ever said that ever.
 But dang it if the little guy didn't figure it out this week and decide that its the greatest thing. Judging by the others looks of horror and shock, it looks like the den of endless toys, aka the basement, might not be the most welcoming place for the little buddy. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Best Books of 2012 List

Since its the middle of January now I'm tastefully late in a little recap of my fav books (and maybe my least fav-because criticism is fun!) of last year. I'm a bit of a bi-polar reader, so I try and cover the gamut of genres. For most of these titles I've written a full post so if you're interested in further random observations just give em a click!


The Secret Cardinal by Tom Grace: I can't believe I'm recommending a Catholic spy novel written by a Catholic because that seems so highly unusual that it couldn't possibly be a good read-but theres a first time for everything! Definitely recommended if you're in the mood for a well-written thriller that's well done and not offensive.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantle: This book is some hardcore historical fiction but the writing is unbelievable and the story does draw you in. Somehow making Thomas Cromwell a sympathetic figure is a remarkable feat and if you're any kind of literature nerd you should give this a read if only to witness incredible talent. The sequel is on my to-read list this year!

Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy: A book so good its hard to describe. So worth reading or rereading. Beautifully weaves a strange tale with deep spiritual truths, love love!

Kingfishers Catch Fire by Rumer Godden: A unique but interesting look at a woman and her struggles with material poverty, cultural differences, and her own view of poverty, humility, and motherhood. Gooden has a great way of bringing subtle spiritual themes to life. Its a quirky read but worth it.

What Alice Forgot by Alice Moriarty: A contemporary novel that was actually a fun, pleasurable read and left me thinking about it much more than I had anticipated. I've read reviews of people loving and hating it, but I think it was well written and a good story, which are both things that seem hard to come by in good contemporary fiction these days. A woman losing her memory of the last ten years only to wake up to children she doesn't know and a failed marriage is an intriguing idea to me. The story makes one ponder how one lives their life and how small changes make big impact down the road.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons: A classic that I can't believe I hadn't read before. Absolutely hilarious, and perfectly written. Gibbons has created one of the most memorable female characters since Anne of Green Gable in Flora, and how Flora transforms a farm family with her common sense and wit is a joy to read.

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins: I know this is on every list, and I went in skeptically but figured I should read them if only to be hip and current, however, I was pleasantly surprised with the writing quality and the moral themes behind the story. The first novel stands by itself, and although I can understand the choices made in how she wrote the following two, they contain more flaws in characterization and development, and probably veer a little too much into teenage angst, but these flaws are hardly noticeable in how riveting the action is and how pulled into the story the reader becomes.

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers: A re-read for me, but possibly one of the best written mysteries to come out of the Golden Age of Mystery. Sayers is such a great writer that she elevates the genre completely. Harriet Vane is the main character of this novel and I love her so much I want to be friends with her in real life. It really is a must read if you like a great mystery!


Sex, Style, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things That Really Matter edited by Hallie Lord: It really is a must read. A book addressing the major issues affecting Catholic women today written by smart, rational, normal, funny, and faithful writers is something desperately needed in today's Catholic culture. I still have to buy a copy for every woman I know...

Wish You Were Here: Travels Through Loss and Hope by Amy Welborn: I really think this is a great contemporary book on spirituality. I'm not sure if it appealed to me more because I read it in a time where I was struggling a lot spiritually, but I think this book is excellent in accurately describing spiritual struggle in times of great emotional difficulty on a more universal scale that the loss of a spouse. 

Catholicism:A Journey to the Heart of Faith by Fr. Robert Barron: Of course I'm putting this on my must read list. It must have felt a monumental task to compress 2000+ years of Catholic history in one easy to read book but he did it. Because he's awesome. And so is this book.

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie: Yep, I'm fully on the nerd wagon with this one. I'm admitting I have a strange, weird little devotion to historical biographies especially of woman monarchs. I blame being homeschooled. But this book is truly fascinating, a completely strange and messed up life of such a historic figure. I admit I loved it. 

Epic Fails

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D James: It still both pains me and makes me angry to even think of this book. One of my favourite writers ever, obviously one of the greatest stories to base a new pastiche novel upon, and yet such a strung out, simply poor mystery. I go on and on about it in my other, so, sad.

Rules of Civility by Amor Tawles: This is supposed to be a very popular, cool, chic novel to read and I wanted to be enthralled with the jazz-era story of friends in New York City. The strange ending left me feeling unsatisfied but I wasn't sure if it was just because I didn't care at all about the characters or because the story was written from such an empty, modern perspective.

Wow, this list makes me look like a real nerd, but I love reading. I'm also on Goodreads if you care to follow along with my more guilty pleasures that I'm too embarrassed to admit on a blog! And if you've read any of the above I'd love to hear what you think-and I'm always on the prowl for new and great book recommendations!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pope Benedict's Great Annunciation Insights

I've been slowly, slowly reading Pope Benedict's Infancy Narratives since Advent. As per usual with the Pope's writing I'm finding it jam packed with little capsules of mind-blowing insight - seriously, he is so smart it really is crazy! I just thought I'd share this little tidbit that hit me like a truck regarding the Annunciation and the effect it had on Mary:

"The great hour of Mary's encounter with God's messenger - in which her whole life is changed - comes to an end, and she remains there alone, with the task that truly surpasses all human capacity. There are no angels standing round her. She must continue along the path that leads through many dark moments - from Joseph's dismay at her pregnancy to the moment when Jesus is said to be out of his mind, right up to the night of the Cross."(Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, Pope Benedict XVI, pp 37. Emphasis mine.)

This passage made me think of the Annunciation completely differently than I have previously. 

I think I've always sluffed off the Annunciation and Mary's pregnancy and even her whole life because of the whole Immaculate Conception business. Doesn't the Immaculate Conception pretty much guarantee one a direct line to God? As in no waiting for answers, being perfectly in tune with His plans, full of grace and acceptance of His will, maybe even partly knowing his will before it happens? 

But this passage is so insightful. It's true, there were no angel's holding her hand or telling her what to say to Joseph when things hit the fan. Did anyone tell her she was going to have to trek on a donkey schlepping to Bethlehem just when she was supposed to give birth to a child conceived by the Holy Spirit? I think not.

It marvels me that there could be such a gap of knowledge between even God and Mary. For some reason I've come to equate holiness to an ever increasing knowledge of what God's got going on. Somehow instead of faith and reliance on God, I see more intellectual knowledge, more knowing, in Mary and the Saints, which of course (duh, Christy!), is completely backwards. Even in those closest to God what He continues to ask of them is not more faithful obedience to his carefully laid out plans that He gives to them in itemized detail, but a wild and trusting faith that His ways are always at work even when we haven't got a clue. 

Pope Benedict continues:

"The angel departs; her mission remains, and with it matures her inner closeness to God, a closeness that in her heart she is able to see and touch." (Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, Pope Benedict XVI, pp 38. Emphasis mine.)

Isn't that a beautiful description at what a real relationship with God is about? Not outward or visible knowledge or power, but a closeness of the heart. But at the same time something so tangible that Mary could see and touch it. 

I think these two small passages have important implications in regards to the spiritual life and how it really works. Its not magic, it doesn't give secret knowledge, or even elimnates the human problem of feeling helpless and clueless. But it becomes real the more we follow and pursue the inner conversation with God. I love this book for these epiphanies! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Seven Quick Takes vol. 28

Linking to wonderful Jen again this week, make sure you go visit her and pray for her recovery. Is their a patron saint of lung issues?? There must be. Probably half the blogger world has found that out by now...moving on...


I think I'm finally coming out the other side of my beyond-annoying sinus cold/infection(?). Without fail  I will come down with a weeks long sinus infection during pregnancy. I use every natural trick known to man, every vitamin, oil, sleeping position, but I've been so congested since before New Years. It makes me question what sinus' are for actually. Do we ever notice them when we're healthy?? Uh, no. Oh cold medication! I miss you almost as much as alcohol...and yet I can't remember a time where I wasn't pregnant and needed to take something...the irony...

But! I think this time I complained a whole lot less than usual. A sinus cold is waaaay down on the list of maladies when I read about what other pregnant women go through, i.e. Jen, so I offered up my pathetic sufferings. I know, my holiness is astounding.


(That's my baby preggo size pint. It. Was. Delicious.)

In "Stop the Presses" news this week we went to the city AND went out on a date to a concert!! I honestly couldn't remember the last time we did such a crazy thing but it turned out to be a lot of fun. We got a little dinner, a little coffee, leisurely showed up for the concert, sat through the whole concert uninterrupted. It was all so bizarre! And got back to the in-laws at the outrageous time of 11:30 pm! 

The romantic husband I have said, "Going out really makes me remember how much work it is and how much I like staying at home." Lucky for him and our lifestyle then!


iPhone not the greatest for dark concert pics.

We saw Blue Rodeo at said concert. And I know if you're reading from the good ol' US of A you've probably never heard of them but they're probably the greatest Canadian band ever. They're old and on their 25th anniversary tour, but their music is classic in the sense that it seems timeless. They also completely defy genres and somehow are rock, country, blues, jazz, dare I say gospel?, sounding at times. I've loved them forever and grew up on them. It was the third time we've seen them live and they're awesome musicians so its always more than worth it. So go-listen to them-youtube them, pandora them, do whatever you gotta do!


Finally starting to get back on track around the house! It always feels sorta good getting back on track after Christmas. Does that make me a mom or what?! January always gives me this strange and unheard of desire to just reorganize everything. Like my bookshelves, and the bulletin board, and closets. Its weird. We'll see if I actually make progress on it but I think just having the desire to organize should be prize-worthy somehow.


Max is in full on teething mode. He's been wailing if I put him down, and he's getting heavy enough and I'm getting big enough to make it a tiring combination. He's also very mommy-clingy lately. I'm not sure if he knows his successor is nearing the end of incubation and he's gotta get his time in while he can, or if he just innocently loves his mother. But wails and gnashing of teeth happen every time I leave the room. 


I popped into a thrift store yesterday for the first time in months and there was a great chair, but was already marked "sold!". I can't get it out of my was the chair I've been looking for for months! Of course it needed to be recovered...but now I keep thinking about all the cute things I would have done to it. Argh...thrift store regret is the worst!


So with all the excitement of going to the city mid week and having had to pack everyone up and take them there, a late(ish) night, and another day of grocery shopping and driving I'm feeling kinda exhausted and think I should just rest this weekend. Those are my exciting weekend plans. Good thing its also completely freezing outside and theres football on all weekend. But lets just say I'm growing a baby and not being lazy right? 

Everyone have a good weekend! And if you're catching up on Downton...good luck to you!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An Introduction of Sorts

Well, hello to everyone clicking over from Conversion Diary! I had a minor heart attack when Jen linked to me yesterday. Having one's blog hero read this crazy little blog is fairly overwhelming, but having her link here is pretty much the fulfillment of one of my life goals. Like a couple below meeting the Pope, but a couple above having my wardrobe entirely made up of Kate Spade. So pretty awesome!

But I would like to introduce myself somewhat, because I think when you boil blog reading down we really only read blogs about people we know somewhat and actually like. Hopefully these people write things that are interesting or lead interesting lives or at the very least live a life that you completely disagree with but for some reason can't look away from.

My name is Christy Isinger and I'm an at home mom to four kidlets, plus one gestating(!), up here in the Canadian wilderness. And by wilderness I mean 15 miles from the nearest town of 1000 people, over 100 miles from the nearest urban centre. I've been Catholic since...forever...and have no dramatic conversion tale to tell but instead grew up in a very Catholic home and was...wait for it...homeschooled through the entirety of my school years. I then went to very Catholic post-secondary schools where I had whats turned out to be my only real experience of being around other Catholics in my age group. For some reason I've ended up living in such small towns with my siblings and now with my kids that we've always been the only every-Sunday Catholics under 40 in our parishes! Obviously this kind of crazy isolation is to blame for my holding onto my own crazy opinions so staunchly, but thankfully I've got great Catholic friends that just don't happen to live near me to provide some outside perspective!

Thankfully I've somehow kept the faith, most likely thanks to my great husband of 6 years whom I am entirely undeserving of, but who also was a cradle Catholic and homeschooled-yikes! homeschooled couples! So now we've got our hands more than full with 5 babies in 6 years. Its kinda a gong show around here. Here on the blog I try to write about this crazy life and how I'm trying to live in the glowing truth of the home being the fountain of all important things in life, while at the same time trying not to lose my sanity over the 500 times I get asked for crayons, bananas, bum wipes, etc. within a 10 minute period. And (surprise, surprise) how living the Catholic faith isn't as easy as all those saints make it out to know those saints who lived comfortably, amassing private wealth and popularity, while gliding up to heaven...oh that isn't how they lived?? And sometimes I write about books because I'm an obsessive reader of sorts. Actually, I just write about whatever pops in my head and we all hope for the best! So please poke around and feel free to leave a comment or two, its been so nice meeting you new and wonderful people!

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year's Goals...and Pregnancy

I'm really the worst goal-setter. New Year's comes and goes and goals always seem foreign to me. I think I can blame it on the good fractional part of me that both hates change and doesn't like to plan for the future. Or maybe there's also a part of me that's too overwhelmed enough with the present to think of looking for more trouble in the future. Or maybe its just me and all my issues. But, needless to say, crazy-long psychological story short, I'm not great at goals.

This New Year's I thought of my goals for this year and they're just this: 1) survive pregnancy, 2) survive giving birth, 3) survive first few months of newborn-babiness. 

Everything in addition to that is cake.

I can't decide if this is good or bad.

In my craze of thinking about these supposed "goals" I can't quite figure out if I've got a bad attitude towards childbearing in general, if I'm just tired of the whole she-bang (what with the five pregnancies in six years thing), or if maybe I just think having a baby is a really, really, REALLY big deal. 

The thing with my attitude is that although I think motherhood, pregnancy, birth, babies -pretty much everything about motherhood and babies- is awesome, my life experience of the last couple years has proven that its also really hard. Now don't get me completely wrong, I don't walk around in an Eeyore haze of depression all day because I'm pregnant, but I also don't have the same giddiness that so many other pregnant moms enjoy. Again, I think this comes more from my individual experience in how I have dealt with the circumstances of my pregnancies. They've all been to varying degrees unexpected, and usually coming in the midst of just having a baby, not exactly the perfect mental state to surprise someone by the way God! Although He's heard this plenty from me!

I should rephrase the questioning part of me wondering if I'm tired of being pregnant. Because theres no need to question, its official, I'm really tired of being pregnant-and I have great pregnancies! Its just the normal, pregnancy disruption, inconveniences, and uncomfortable-nesses. I know its a miracle, I love my baby right now, but I'm tired of it. I do wholeheartedly know though from all this that pregnancy has a whole lot less to do with the mother than it does about the child. Thank God my personal whims and fancies and feelings don't last for eternity, but this beautiful, innocent child does. My nine months of petulance equals the incomprehensible reward of a child. Really, when you put it into perspective its ridiculous God creates us this way and allows us to be such a huge part of it.

All this complaining being said, I do, even though everyone assumes the opposite it seems, think pregnancy and childbirth and raising an infant to be an extremely BIG DEAL. I have come to view a pregnant woman's mental state something to be treated preciously. Don't throw extra stresses in the way of a pregnant woman! Please! Don't assume because a woman has had a baby before that all the accompanying stress, anxiety, fear, and helplessness that can be felt when facing childbirth and all the unknowns that go along with it aren't felt by a woman because they sure as hell are. You only have to have one child to know how impactful the smallest thing can be in pregnancy, childbirth, and life with a infant. I still think of childbirth with something not far from fear and trembling. I'm most definitely not someone who thinks of it as just another doctors appointment. I never plan on waiting around calmly while in labour. I definitely can't blog from bed minutes after delivery. I turn into a complete crazy person as soon as labour starts. And for some reason I'm still completely devoted to natural childbirth, even though I hate pain and the nitty-gritty of pushing out a baby! So is it a good thing that I am so attached to thinking this baby stuff is such a big deal?? Is it not just proving that I'm getting closer to diagnosable insanity, or is it good motherly instinct??

But even though I have this nagging sensation that my feelings don't match up with my ideals I'm going to try and not force it. My untiring spiritual director keeps trying to get me to accept my actual feelings in hopes of leaning more on God instead of my own prideful determination to make everything go according to my own gosh-darn plans! Maybe I need to grow in more trust, more reliance on God this year through this big and trying baby business. Maybe, its a calling to, dare I say, actual growth in faith?! I also know that I've done so much better than simply survive the chaos that comes from having a baby. We've made it through four already, and each time find ourselves in a bigger, more beautiful, more loving family. Maybe these three singular goals for the year will turn out to be a whole lot more. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 in 12- A year in kid photos!

Because I'm procrastinating about this whole introspection/goal setting business I'm most definitely linking-up with Dwija and giving you 12 riveting kids photos for 2012! Cute kids are such a good distraction! And I feel my once-a-pregnancy sinus infection coming on so I don't know if I could think straight anyway, hopefully these photos are from the right months.

January: Max at 1 month being held tortured by Gemma. I think by the time the fourth child gets thrown in its a bigger adjustment for the baby to get used to the family, not the other way around!

February: We got the babe baptized! Parental duties partly fulfilled! Happy day! (And this is my favourite picture from the baptism because obviously no one was paying attention to Dominic putting the collection basket on his head!)

March: Clearly Max has now adapted to our crushing schedule and is fitting in just fine with the Dora watching. 

April: Aww, baby's first Easter complete with forced bunny-ear-wearing.

May: Finally Spring and the greenery and the children out of doors! And apple blossoms!

June: Just some regular June outside awesomeness. 

July: Swimming lessons at the lake. And sun, sand, and heat! I can't even remember what those all feel like...

August: The farthest we made it from home all year...Calgary! But a trip to the zoo makes it seem much more exotic! 

September: This kid gets cuter and cuter and crazier and crazier. 
October: Coldest Halloween ever? Check. Snow? Check. Winter? Most definitely check. Did they love trick or treating and candy? Oh yes. Still worth it. 

November: Lukey's face says it all. Winter coming and staying in November. 

December: Max's first Christmas complete with chaos, mounds of wrapping paper, and tons of toys and chocolate. Happiness in celebrating another year with this gang of mini-crazies. I can't believe that was a whole year!? Where does the time go? 


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