end of september quick takes

Well, it’s fall now and if I seem obsessed with seasons it’s because summer in South Bend is HOT, fall is crisp and gorgeous but FLEETING, and winter is grey and freezing and ETERNAL. And I don’t do well with change. But before September is gone I wanted to reflect on how back to school went and other random thoughts/things.

1)¬† Evangeline starts her fifth week of school this week and it’s going really well. She’s made friends, likes her teachers, and loves the playground and snack time (of course). I spend the five minute drive home peppering her with questions about the “works” she did, but she rarely is able to tell me much about those. Understandable. She was exhausted after school for the first week or so but has adjusted and now she’s her normal three year old self the rest of the day. I try to make sure she gets a car nap once or twice a week because she needs it every so often, but girlfriend will not nap in her bed anymore.

2) Evange in school means mornings look different for me now. If she’s not up, I get her up by 7:20 and get her dressed and do her hair so we’re eating breakfast by 7:30 and she has plenty of time to eat before hopping in the car at 8, to get to school before 8:15. We have not been late yet! Woot! Zelie is along for the ride but by the time we get back she’s nearly ready for her morning nap. (She’s been waking up at 5am… blerg.) But I’m so glad she still takes two naps, because I get to finish my tea with a book on the deck and it has been glorious. I usually have time to shower, too, and get some things done around the house. I sometimes feel like I should do more with that time, but I got a part time job that will start soon, so I’m just enjoying the freedom for now.

3) Which leads me to books! I finished Crazy Rich Asians (I dropped my library copy in the bathtub – oops), read six or so essays from Flannery O’Connor’s Mystery and Manners (highly enjoyable), and now I find myself working through three non-fiction books, which never happens. Catherine of Siena by Sigrid Undset (really enjoying as spiritual reading), The Grace of Enough by Haley Stewart (reminding me I want to go further with gardening next summer, and also maybe be open to backyard chickens again), and No- Drama Discipline (which I’m reading v v slowly but is good). Oh and I’m on Harry Potter #5 audiobook for those car naps.

4) Fall! We went apple picking, the weather was perfect, I was so happy.

5) We’ve lived in our house for six months now and I feel pretty settled here. I found this bench at a rummage sale and decided to give it a chance and I’m pleased with the results. My favorite part of the house is the backyard, though, so I want to get more use out of the fire pit and just soak it all up before it’s covered in snow (gahhhh). I had the chance to host a group of mom friends for a prayer and playdate time twice this month and both mornings were warm so we were outside. I really enjoy being able to practice hospitality and get more use out of all this space. Different note – we’re renting out the house for a few football weekends and that made us decide to buy a TV. I am equal parts horrified that we own one, proud of myself for navigating Best Buy and setting up Chrome Cast, and guilty that our house feels too luxurious now. But it has been nice for college football viewing. (And Evange got some Silly Songs With Larry when she succumbed to the miserable cold we’ve all been fighting this week).

6) Speaking of the house, life with a housemate has been swell. He’s super busy so he’s not around often, but when he’s home he is great with the girls and they love him. And if he’s around for dinner and Chris is still at class, he does the dishes while I put the girls to bed and it is the best thing ever. Highly recommend.

7) I’ll end with a little pat on my back because this month marked one year of cloth diapering, and I’m still going strong. Well, actually, several of the hand-me-down diapers with velcro fastens need the velcro replaced, which has made me use more disposables in between washings, but once I get that sorted it’ll be smooth sailing. I even took them traveling – to NJ for Christmas and to RI this summer – because we drove and would be in a house with washer/dryer so why not? I’m still finding satisfaction in the re-usable-ness of them and I don’t mind the work involved, so we’ll see how long it goes.

Anyway, Happy Monday! Any good fiction recs? I’ll take em!

 

summer to do list

This time last year we had a two month old and were gearing up for a cross country move and road trip with two babies under two. This summer is about chilling hard. Chris is taking Latin and we are home until a little road trip vacation to Rhode Island the first two weeks of August, before his fall semester starts. I want to keep things simple and enjoy this season, but also have some things to point back to and say, I did this, I had a good summer. So this is my super easy to do list for summer 2018.

  • read books (including fave summer re-reads – we’re on HP #3 audio and I’m reading Anne of the Island)
  • Frequent trips to the library to beat the heat and summer reading program ūüėć
  • keep the garden going
  • try not to kill all the houseplants
  • get Zelie sleeping through the night
  • move the girls into one room
  • get to the beach sometimes weekly
  • get to the nearby convent to pray sometimes weekly
  • exercise in the humidity somehow
  • learn to make margaritas and keep trying new recipes from the amazingly huge Cook’s Illustrated cookbook that Maya gave me ūüôĆūüŹľ
  • go see a few movies by myself (Oceans 8 is the only one on my list. what other movies are coming out this summer? I live under a rock.)

That’s it!

What’s on your list for the summer?

ridin solo

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It’s like S-O-L-O.¬†Okay, I still have two days left of this so I’m really tempting the crazy toddler fates by blogging now, but this past week with Chris away has gone wildly better than I feared, and this is why. I know you are dying to know.

The interwebs. FaceTime and WhatsApp are amazing. What an age we live in. And Evange has only cried for Daddy once so far.

A potty miracle.¬†Evangeline is back to normal in this arena. I know on an intellectual level that my mood shouldn’t be affected by my toddler’s behavior, but try telling me that when she is constantly doing little poops in her underwear all day. However, that has not been the case (I have received this as a wondrous gift) and she’s woken up in the mornings in a great mood and it’s set the tone for the day. Wooooooo hoooooo!

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Amazing family and friends.¬†My mom arrived the day Chris left and stayed for three and a half days. It was so fun to have her here! Once she left, I received a barrage of kindness in the form of babysitting, meals provided, meal invitations extended, playdates, and a second trip up to South Haven to play all day with my sister’s in-laws who adore the girls. So grateful. (They even watched the girls so I could get to a Saturday vigil mass, thereby avoiding doing zone defense on Sunday morning.)

Summertime exploring.¬†I’ve remembered that (when I have no other choice) I really love finding free events to take the girls to. We hit up South Bend’s Best. Week. Ever/First Friday and it was great. Evange loved the different concerts (including Dan the Music Man, hilarious) and walking across the overpass over the St. Joseph River that runs through downtown. She tried really hard to get a dance party started but no one else was feeling it. Today we drove up to a bluegrass festival along the river front of Niles, MI. Another free event with music and a river, another win.

Relaxing the screen time rules.¬†AKA giving into Evangeline’s demands for movies more often than normal and telling myself not to feel guilty about it.

Introverting hard.¬†Without Chris around, I’ve been reading a lot after bedtime. I finished¬†Someone¬†by Alice McDermott (I think I’ll keep going backward chronologically and read all her novels),¬†One Beautiful Dream¬†by Jennifer Fulwiler (finished this one super fast, 10/10 recommend), and now I’m working on¬†Hannah Coulter¬†by Wendell Berry. It’s my first time reading anything by him and I’m loving it so far. Not sure exactly why I started with this one, but I want to read his poems and essays too.

Sleep. The girls are sleeping well. Zelie went three nights in a row with no night feedings, which was a first. Another unexpected grace.

And that’s it! This is the longest I’ve been apart from Chris, and it’s weird. It’s given me new empathy for parents who have spouses who are deployed, or travel often for work, or are incarcerated. I’ve been trying to offer up the hard moments for them.

school’s out

One. Chris finished finals and we did our 2018 inaugural beach trip! Grandma got the girls super cute suits. We found a playground and had a chill time. Evangeline had fun running in and out of the very cold water until she fell over and got soaked and that was the end of that. Zelie was content climbing on Chris and eating sticks and being just way too stinking cute.

Two.¬†Chris’s roommate and best man from Stanford has been staying with us for the last week and a half. For Chris, it’s meant a buddy to watch the playoffs with. For me, it’s been a taste of living in community and I’m reminded that I like it. It’s nice having someone else with us for dinner and to play with the girls (and Kevin does the dishes while we do bedtime – praise!)¬†We’re planning to rent a room to one of Chris’s fellow M.Div’s next year and I’m looking forward to that more now.

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Three.¬†Kevin got us tickets to Hamilton! I think as a thank you for letting him stay? Setting the bar high for future guests! JK, JK. JOKES. But it was awesome. Even the phenomenon that is Hamilton aside, I was struck by how amazing live performances are. We were asked (ushers yelled at people during the first song) to put our phones away and just sit and enjoy being present to these men and women who are brilliant at their craft. Refreshing. And a treat for me to be away from the girls and in Chicago for a day. I’m super grateful to my friends who watched them – when Kevin first told us he wanted to buy tix I thought, there’s no way we can go, but I asked anyway and ROSE AND KATHERINE ARE THE BOMB. #FRIENDSHIP

Four.¬†I’m reading this and I see a lot of my own conversion story in his, and he reminds me of a lot of my friends. It got me working on a post on my conversion, which is fun to write, but still in my drafts.

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Five.¬†My friend Julia requested that our local library buy this new book that we both want to read (didn’t know you could do that!) and I’m next in line when she’s done. I spent some time journaling through a free ebook of Jennifer Fulwiler’s called¬†A Guide to Your Gifts¬†and it was so great. Her new book is about pursuing your passions while having a family and I was like,¬†hm, I love the sound of that, but … what are my passions again?¬†(Classic Enneagram 9, lol). So, this ebook was great for that and it got me all fired up. I have passions to pursue! I want to write a book! I want to get better at handlettering! I want to change the world! And then I felt like I kind of hit a wall. (I want to learn how to edit photos of my handlettering, but Photoshop/Illustrator/Whatever is so expensive! If you know how to do this for free, can you tell me how?)¬†But I took a small step and committed to write each day for one week, not blogging, but seeing what came out (it was mostly poems). I missed some days and don’t know if I even made it a whole week, but it was something! Finding community with writing is something I would really love … waiting for that.

Six.¬†One of the questions in that ebook was, “who are you jealous of?”¬†Because we’re often jealous of people we see fully living out their gifts. And it got me thinking, man, IG often feeds my jealously/envy. And envy is the least fun sin. If you have any tips on combatting that, please share. I usually want to throw my phone away until I have a cute pic to post, which is terrible.

 

Seven.¬†Inspired by Sarah and also Julia telling me that they can survive the winter here, I think I’m thinking about backyard chickens?? Part of me is like, ugh, chickens are gross. And the other part is like, we have this giant backyard, why not jump on that homesteading bandwagon and learn a lot and get some eggs out of it?¬† #LAURAINGALLSWILDER4EVA #livingthedream

But, we shall see. Maybe I’ll wait til next spring. Oh and the seeds in our garden are growing!! So cool.

Happy Weekend!

Linking up with This Ain’t The Lyceum.

what i want to remember from right now

  • Ice skating with Evangeline for the first time. The tiny skates! She loved getting pushed around in that little green thing, as fast as we could go.
  • Evange learning to hold up two fingers by herself. And just randomly I find her holding two fingers, like she’s always practicing. She says, “Zelie is going to be one years old and I’m two years old!” So proud of herself. And very excited for Zelie’s birthday party. I hope I can make it live up to the hype.
  • Zelie crawling – determined, head down, super fast. flopping down onto the couch or pillows like a little bug. putting every dang little scrap of paper/anything she’s not supposed to eat into her mouth ALL THE TIME.¬†(And she’s sleeping terribly. But maybe I want to forget that.)
  • Zelie making friends all the time. Getting to be pretty interactive – grabbing faces and hair and just so smiley. Kids love her.
  • The girls starting to play with each other.

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  • Evange on a The Polar Express KICK, in March. Grandma and Grandpa visited and she made Grandma read it to her at least 10 times. And she needs to wear her “Santa Claw” hat while she reads. Love this girl.

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  • Our little apartment at University Village. We’re moving to our first house soon and leaving apartment life, especially in the Village, is bittersweet.

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what we’ve been eating: lenten edition

I feel like I’ve been on a good vegetarian kick lately, which feels funny to say because I was a vegetarian for six years, until Zelie’s pregnancy ended it. But it feels (all the feels, sorry) like adulting to learn to cook meat, and we still don’t eat much of it and I’m trying to buy local meat when I do, blah blah blah all that to say, Lent has been a good excuse to get back to my vegetarian “roots.” (My dad is from Argentina, my “roots” are not actually vegetarian at all). Anyway, here’s what we’ve been eating the last few weeks.

  • ALL DA SOUPS.¬† This vegan cookbook (the only cookbook I own!) that I got from my lovely SIL is where I get all my soup recipes. I can throw in whatever vegetables I have lying around, it makes the apartment smell great, and nothing says YOU CAN SURVIVE THIS ETERNAL WINTER like some hearty, yummy soup. I make tortilla soup, peanut stew, lentil-cauliflower soup, 10 spice vegetable soup, and red lentil-kale soup on the regular.
  • BREAD.¬†I just made bread this past week (to go with soup for dinner) using Sarah’s Rustic No-Knead Bread recipe and it was BOMB. Definitely my new go-to. It was so easy! No mixer! I made it the night before because in the past, dough hasn’t risen for me and I wanted to give it more time, but this doubled its size in two hours like it was supposed to! So I put it in the fridge overnight, let it sit out for an hour the next day before baking, and it turned out super delish. I was v pleasantly surprised. Thanks, Sarah!

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  • BLACK BEAN BURGERS.¬†¬†I don’t really like hamburgers anymore, but I love me a good veggie burger.¬†Maya made these for me after Evange was born and I finally tried my hand at them. They were easier than I expected and had really good flavor! Chris humors me (he doesn’t think they count as burgers) but on a no meat Friday, they are a winner.
  • HOMEMADE PIZZA.¬†I used the Rushed Pizza Dough and Margherita Pizza recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, but this recipe from her blog is close. This was a fun attempt. My first round, I did half whole wheat flour and I think not enough water and it turned out super crumbly, but then tasted okay/not the greatest when baked. I made two more rounds with all white flour and the third was the best – it actually felt like pizza dough lol. The pressure was on to get it right because we had guests over, but pizza is pizza and it was all good.

Any vegetarian fave recipes to share? I need help transitioning my cooking away from hearty soups when spring/summer/warm weather ever arrives.

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and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

one week of Lent (or, what I can’t Instagram)

1. I CANNOT WAIT FOR WARM WEATHER. This impatience is manifesting itself in various ways, the primary ones in the past week: new, sudden interest in gardening, and online shopping for summer shoes.

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2. I’m still trying to fully enter into Lent. Saw this quote and I don’t fully understand it, but it resonates. Giving up IG, I had hopes for using that time better, but it’s a strug fest. I find I keep checking my email compulsively, and no one emails me except Gap and J.Crew, so…. see point #1.

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3. Fridays are the best. I finally figured out where to park for the free babysitting on campus. They only take kids two and older, but God sent another Adrianna into my life who loves my babies, so I am child free for 1-3 hours and it is glorious. I swipe my spouse ID and get in a work out at the brand new gym on campus (which is GINORMOUS) and feel like the red dress lady emoji. And I usually get to see Chris too, either for lunch or for mass, and that’s a nice treat in and of itself. La dee dee.

4. Knowing I’m going to exercise around undergrads has made me exercise more leading up to Fridays. Fitness Blender is my new jam. It’s free and easy! I can do a 15 minute HIIT in my tiny living room. No excuses. It is hilarious, though, when I try to do it with the girls awake. I wish I could video it somehow. I’m doing planks and push ups with Evange on my back and Zelie standing, holding onto my shoulders. And squats, onto Evange’s head. But, fitness!

5. Minerva, our amaryllis, gifted from Molly’s wonderful mother, Mary Jean, and the Dr. Burr Field Scholarship Fund, is a joy. We opened the box she came in on February 13, the day before Ash Wednesday, and I thought I had killed her by waiting too long to check the mail. She was all white and dead-ish looking. But she is thriving! Literally growing before our eyes. Every day one of us comments, “Look, Minerva is getting so tall!” Evangeline is very curious what color flower she will produce. It’s nice to have a living plant in the apartment in this eternal winter.

 

6. I finished The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott – enjoyed it. Good writing. Something slightly strange at the very end left me with weird feeling about it, but overall, good. I’ve been almost done with A Severe Mercy for several days, just need to finish it off. A good one, too. I recommend. Especially enjoyed getting to know C.S. Lewis better through the letter he exchanges with the author. And on that note, I read his essay, The Weight of Glory, this week. Chris read it for something and lent it to me. “There are no¬†ordinary¬†people. You have never talked to a mere mortal … Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses.” Oh, Clive.¬†Zeitoun¬†by Dave Eggers is next on the list.

7. The other night, Evangeline organized a little dance party. She found a silly hat for each of us, including Zelie, and played music out of this toy barn she has. She is very particular and a bit bossy, and I love it. (Most of the time.) There’s been several moments lately when I’ve thought, “Wow, you can do that by yourself now?” She’s getting to be a big girl. Pancakes are her favorite food to make and eat, and she eats more of them than Chris does.

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It was 60 degrees and we played in the pouring rain for an hour. (Pretending it’s spring). What a cutie bug.