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Whatever Wednesday: LA edition

The hubs and I made it to LA on an uneventful flight from STL, but I have to admit that being I experienced quite the 80s flashback over the last two days…

Walking though the airport, I spotted a man with a true to life Jheri Curl. Now the funny thing is not the fact that the man had a Jheri Curl but the fact that the “Soul Glo” theme from “Coming to America” became stuck in my head.

Then on the plane, where I was in one of the most uncomfortable positions ever owing to the fact that my seat did not recline (we were in front of an exit row and our seats did not recline, citing FAA regulations) and the kind folks in front of me and the hubs reclined their seats ALL the way. So I practically had this woman’s head in my lap and I am sure it wasn’t the most comfortable having my knees jammed into her spine. It was one of the few times in life that I’d wished I was shorter. Anyway, on the plane, there was a guy sportin’ a red ‘Members Only’ jacket.

Our hotek room in LA is very 80s chic, complete with fluorescent lighting and decor in golds and reds. The plus side of our trip is that LA is so fantastic! I am trying to get my head around that I am going to be living in the ‘city’ again and this time with kids! We found an apartment in Pasadena and it’s only a few blocks from parks and the market and Colorado Blvd… The route of the Tournament of Roses parade!

Now we just need the Badgers to get to the Rose Bowl this year and it’d be just right!

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Back from Vacation and a great post to come!

I spent the weekend in beautiful Nashville TN, visiting a friend and helping her shop for her wedding dress. The weather couldn’t be better as we were able to spend some time at Arrington Vineyard and The White Room Bridal Shop. She did end up finding “The Dress,” pulled by non other than yours truly! It was very exciting and I even told my husband that I should get a part-time job at a Bridal Store. He kind of laughed at that one… not sure why. (Wink)

I rented a car to drive down, rather than fly, and I was pleased as punch to have driven a 2010 Subaru Forester. It was so nice! Plus the drive there is just gorgeous… the hills, the trees, the bluffs… much nicer than driving through Central Illinois (no offense.)

But I am glad to be home with my family and all the fun that follows! Come back and visit tomorrow. I will be addressing a great question on Natural Family Planning and some of the Church’s teaching on procreation and birth control. You may have an opinion, you may not know what the Church really says on birth control, so come back and see!
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Pax Christi!

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Ask CCM Tuesday (Rated PG-13)/ Giveaway

Hope everyone had a happy Labor Day! The CCM family spent the morning test driving minivans and we have it narrowed down to the Toyota and the Honda. I was planning on grabbing a girlfriend and test driving without the kiddos but I am really glad we did it as a family… primarily to see how everything fits together WRT our beastly car seats (We have a Britax Roundabout and a Britax Regent.)

Back to the task at hand. I didn’t get any questions for this week so I thought that I’d channel my past teaching self and administer a little quiz. Your incentive: You have a little over 24 hours (until Wednesday Sept 8 at 4pm CST) to email me your answers. Email them to caffeinatedcatholicmama@gmail.com Of the correct answers, one will be chosen at random to receive your very own, hand-crochet (by the CCM!) cup cozy. It’s made out of cotton, thereby making it suitable for both hot and cold beverages.

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Ready? Here you go!
(BTW: The theology questions are rooted in Catholicism.)

1. True or False: When people die, they become Angels.

2. Who said the following (in reference to a man loving his wife:) “it is necessary to insist that intercourse must not serve merely as a means of allowing [his] climax… The man must take [the] difference between male and female reactions into account… so that climax may be reached [by] both… and as far as possible occur in both simultaneously. [The husband must not do this] not for hedonistic, but for altruistic reasons. [If] we take into account the shorter and more violent curve of arousal in the man, [such] tenderness on his part in the context of martial intercourse acquires the significance of an act of virtue.”
a. Dr. Ruth Westheimer
b. Joseph Ratzinger
c. Karol Wojtyla
d. Dr. Sigmund Freud

3. At the Consecration, the bread and wine take part in a doctrine known as _____________ to become the Body and Blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
a. transfiguration
b. transcription
c. translation
d. transubstantiation

4. True or False: The beginning of the Liturgical Year is the first Sunday of Advent.

5. Which of the following is NOT a liturgical color:
a. red
b. brown
c. green
d. violet/ purple

Have Fun!
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Every Tuesday is “Ask CCM Tuesday!” If you have questions about Catholicism, conversion, RCIA, Natural Family Planning, Breastfeeding, Cloth Diapering, Frugal Living, Knitting, Crochet, Biology, Forensic Science, Marriage, Parenting, Gentle Discipline, etc., etc., please send me an email at:

CaffeinatedCatholicMama (at) gmail (dot) com

In your email, please include your first name and your location and let me know if you want your name withheld when I answer your question on the blog.

Pax Christi!

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Bunk Beds!

This weekend brought some changes to our household. The biggest of which is the addition of Bunk Beds to the Bear’s room! The husband and I have been discussing the sleeping arrangements for a bit and we’ve decided that it was time to start transitioning The Dragonfly out of our bed and into her own and since The Bear tends to slide out of her toddler bed (for lack of space) we thought “Let’s upgrade the Bear to a twin bed and move the crib/toddler bed into our room.” One of the husband’s co-workers now has 2 kids in college and 2 kids in high school and since there is now the room, the two younger girls were no longer going to share a room and he was looking for a buyer for the bunks. We got a great deal for them and are very happy.

For now the plan is to have The Bear on the bottom bunk and The Dragonfly will sleep in the crib in our room for naps (and eventually at night) until she out grows the crib. After she outgrows the crib… who knows. I don’t like the idea of The Bear being on the top bunk until she is older (like 6) but I don’t think we will have the Dragonfly in the “master suite” until she is three. I figure we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

The Bear is loving the bunks. All of her animals are on the top and right now it’s acting as a refuge for her if/ when she has to get away from her little sister. Last night was her first night in the bigger bed and she only woke up/ cried out 3x, which is a lot better than I thought she’d do! (I mean you figure, new bed, new bedding, waking up to see a bed above you rather than the ceiling…)

The hardest thing for me is seeing the changing table in the basement. We were not really using it since The Bear potty learned and the Dragonfly likes to roll during diaper changes, but that table’s been in that room for 3 years! I know that we are not done having kids but seeing all of these changes kind of makes my uterus hurt!

Since a post is nothing without pics, enjoy!

Bunks and Babies
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Cheesy Bear showing off her new bedding
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Crib in the “Master Suite” (Our bedroom is tiny. That’s our bed you can see on the Right side.)
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WWMD? WWED? WWYD?

A few years back, those WWJD bracelets were huge. I am not sure how they got started but everywhere you looked, there was someone wearing a bracelet that said WWJD (What would Jesus Do.) I guess they were used as kind of a conscience guide, a moral compass of sorts. You don’t see them much anymore but the sentiment is still here.

Earlier, I talked about the importance of the varying Elizabeths in your lives and this week, one of my favorite bloggers wrote a piece on how we need to stop judging each other and start helping each other. Last week, I was struck by Strep Throat. I’ve never had this illness and I was sure that I was dying of something for sure. (OK, I can be a little melodramatic but it was horrid.) What made the situation worse is that my husband was traveling for work and not home. I know that a character flaw of mine is that I am too proud to ask for help when I need it. I’d rather muddle through and hope for the best rather than just saying “Hey, I can’t do it all… I need help.” This illness made me lose my pride and ask for help and help arrived in my friend, Paulette.

Paulette is the mother of 4 grown children and quite a few grandsons, but no granddaughters so she’s adopted my girls as her own. When I called Paulette on Thursday and asked for help, she came right over. I can’t tell you much as to what happened as I spent most of the day either sleeping, vomiting or nursing but I know that my girls were happy and my dishes got done (Bonus!) She repeated this on Friday, when I finally decided to go in to see what was going on and stayed both nights until my girls were in bed asleep before heading home herself.

Paulette gives selflessly. She thinks nothing of what other things she could be doing, rather she focuses on what is needed at that time. She tells me time and time again that she’s been there… she’s been a mother with little kids and a husband on the road and in her case, like mine, she didn’t have family near… she also didn’t have her own Paulette. Just that little action of being there for a mother is huge.

So, maybe, instead of thinking WWJD we should be thinking WWMD (what would Mary do) or WWED (what would Elizabeth do? ) While Christ was fully human and fully divine, Mary and Elizabeth were fully human and fully mothers.

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So what can you do to help out another mother in your life? Think small… fix an extra lasagne and drop it off, call her up to see if you can take her kids for an hour or two, offer to pick her kids up from school, pick up an extra latte or tea next time you are hitting the drive-thru. It doesn’t have to be much but it will mean a lot to her. What would you do?

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3rd Sunday of Lent

I’ll be vacationing with the family next week and may not be posting all that much, so I leave you with this thought:

How can you worship a homeless man on Sunday but then ignore another homeless man on Monday?

Pax Christi!

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2nd Tuesday of Lent- Getting out of your comfort zone

Ok, Ok, I admit it. I haven’t been the best about blogging everyday but I am getting better. I’ll be honest, sometimes I feel like I haven’t gotten my message from the Spirit and I figure it’s better to not write anything than to write a bunch of dribble.

Today I took a Spinning class with Francis at the Y. (If you have never done Spinning, I encourage you to try… it’s a great, low impact workout. You might be a little saddle sore after your first few classes, but it gets better!) Anyway, Francis is a fantastic Spin instructor. Her rides are set to good music and she pushes you. Today was a particularily tough ride… lots of hills (high resistance) and lots of speed. The goal of the ride was strength and speed work. About 40 minutes into the 60 minute class, Francis started to tell us to “get out of your comfort zone.” That’s almost a Francis motto and I am sure that it’s used by personal trainers the world over. Why?

Let’s think about this. If you are pushing a certain weight or running at a certain speed or swimming on a certain pace and you are feeling good and groovy and thinking to yourself “Hey I could do this all day!” You are in your comfort zone. You are not going to get any stronger or faster by hanging out in the comfort zone because your body has adapted to the workload and doesn’t have to work as hard (translation: burn more calories) to do the workout. But man, does it stink to push yourself out of that comfort zone. It hurts, your breathing accelerates, your mind starts saying stuff like “you can’t do this.” You know what… You’re right. If you think you can’t do something, you won’t. If you KNOW you can do something, you will.

Sometimes we stay in the comfort zone of our prayer life. We are afraid to push the envelope a bit and work a little harder. We stick to our “Our Fathers” and “Hail, Marys” and attend Mass only on Sundays, etc, etc. Why? Is it fear of failure? Fear of not knowing what to do? I invite you all to challenge yourself in your prayer life. Say the Divine Mercy Chaplet, go to Adoration, meet me at Church this Friday at 7 to do the Stations of the Cross. If you are used to traditional prayers, try praying extemporaneously. If you are used to telling God whatever comes to you, try a time-honored prayer like “The Angelus” or the “Anima Christi” (I heart the Anima Christi… especially in Latin!)

Get out of your comfort zone in your home as well. For a while I have wanted to put an image of Divine Mercy in my home but I resisted because my husband is not on the same path as I am, spiritually, and I didn’t want to make him feel weird to walk in to see Jesus greeting him. But this weekend, I bought one and it’s proudly displayed under our Crucifix in out foyer. I got out of my comfort zone and I am displaying for all to see that a Catholic Family lives here and that we are headed by Christ. That act took me out of my comfort zone because I always felt that the home should be equal parts him and her as far as decorating, but since Christ is such a large part of my life, why would I allow that part to be censored?

Look within and decide where your comfort zones lie and challenge them. Only good can come of it as it is only by challenging the self do we grow.

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Phantom Baby Cries

I am not convinced that my mind is heading out of town. After a pretty good workout this morning (it wasn’t great because it was not my very missed spinning class) I managed to get the girls home and down for a nap. That meant, shower time for Mama! In peace no less. Right before jumping in, I sneaked a peek at LR and she was snoozing happily. Now, earlier this week, when I hit the shower, I managed to wake her up with the screeching of the curtain on the rail and had to take a crazy fast shower so I could soothe my crying babe. Since that incident, I have been working really hard at making my getting into the shower as steathy as possible.

As I get in and start washing my hair, I hear… cries. Oh, no. I’ve woken the baby, there went my hope for a long, luxurious shower without interruption. Granted, my showers are not that long to begin with but since my hair’s been falling out (postpardum hairloss) it’s taking a little longer because I have to make sure all of the hair is off of me. Gross, but what can you do. I zip through the shower, turn off the water and hear… silence? So, either she woke up, cried and fell back asleep or she never woke up and I imagined the whole thing. Looking at how she was positioned… I believe it was the latter rather than the former.

On that note, everyone have a very happy New Year! I said that I was not going to make any resolutions, but I will resolve to blog a bit more.

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Thankful vs. Grateful

As we enter into the week of thanksgiving, we finally take the time to slow down and decide what is important in our lives. For most of us, food, shelter and family are at the top of that list. We might throw in friends or pets or maybe that new promotion but there are times that I wonder if we are really thankful for all of those things or are we just grateful for them. What’s the difference, you ask? I try to think of “thankful” as being more of an external emotion, while being grateful is more of an internal emotion. I am thankful that my husband has a job and I am grateful that I don’t have to deal with the things that he does. Thanks is easy to express, but gratitude… not so much.

Often we tell people thank you and what is their common response? “No problem,” as if you were implying in the first place that it was a problem. Humans are not made to live in isolation and it is inbred in us to want to help the other person. This is very inherent when you look at the altrusistic nature of toddlers… they love to help just for the sake of helping. Somewhere along the lines of time, we lose that desire to help our fellow man just for the sake of helping and we view our desire for help as being a burdon on someone else. Faith teaches us that we are supposed to always help each other because that is what Jesus wanted of his followers, but one has to ask, if we are doing all of the helping, WHO is being helped? There is no shame in asking for help, but the deadly sin of pride keeps many of us from asking for help. On His way to Golgotha, our Lord fell, not once, not twice but three times. When we ask for someone’s help, we are acting as Jesus TO them. There is no shame in asking for help, there is only sin in thinking that it is too much for you to ask for help.

 

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”- Colossians 2:6-7

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Mommies have too much to do

Tonight was a really rough night here. Scratch that… today was a rough day. My husband caught a 5am flight out West and my day started at 5am as well with the girls getting up. I was confident that everything would work out well but I was wrong. Lucia is 10 weeks now and that has to be a factor, but this child decided that sleep was for suckas and would not sleep unless she was in arms. I tried the sling, the wrap, the bouncy chair… all bupkis. I would guesstimate that her total sleep for today was at most 2 hours.
When she fell asleep at 6p, I was super excited, thinking “Great, she’s out. I’ll get Brigid down and everything will work out well.” Nope. She woke up 40 minutes later. Brigid had a lonely bath as I was trying to get her sister to sleep, story time was cut short and she had to endure Lucia’s crying as I was singing her to sleep. By 830p I had reached my limit and I did something I thought I’d never do… I called my mom, crying. She told me everything would be OK and that I could do this without DH being here. She calmed me down and I was able to finally get Lucia to sleep and I finally was able to eat as well.
I love my husband, but I don’t think that he would have been able to endure what I went through tonight… hell, what I go through everyday. Mommies surely have the bulk of the work to do in many families and I can’t help but wonder how Daddies get away with so much?
Is there a disconnect in the nurturing styles between men and women? Is the bond between mother and child really so strong as to supercede everything else, or have men, through years of conditioning just taken themselves out of the picture?

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