Monday, January 31, 2011

The Plague

We were hit hard with influenza last week. Special K went down on Tuesday and it was a steady fall of dominoes through most of the family the remainder of the week. Thankfully, Leo was very cooperative and decided to lay low and ride out the bug in the safest place possible. As of this morning, we have mostly returned to normal temps. We're all a bit washed out, congested, and woozy, but on the mend. We'll be lying low for a couple more days and sparing the world from the plague.

We've enjoyed seeing all the comments guessing at Leo's arrival date, time, and weight. I will be closing comments now, as several of your guesses have come and gone.

Keep us in your prayers. Hopefully we'll be loving on our new little guy very, very soon! Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Your Best Guess

As we await the impending arrival of little Leo, let's have a bit of fun. In the comments section leave your best guess as to the date and time of his final delivery. Take a guess at his delivery weight and we'll use that as a tie-breaker, if needed. I will tell you I have delivered as early as 9 days before my due date and as late as 9 days after my due date. The winning guess will win not only bragging rights, but a gift certificate for $25 to Amazon.com. More than one entry maybe made by a household as long as each entry represents a different person in that household. Winner will be announced as soon as possible after Leo's arrival. Say a prayer for us, and happy guessing! Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 4: Soothing Repetition

Needles Clicking


Practicing Pianist
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In No Hurry

Baby Leo is still hanging out, in utero, enjoying a few more warm days in the oven. Moving day is fast approaching for the little guy and contractions, waddling, discomfort, cleaning, packing, napping, and wild swings of hormones fill my days. My bag is packed, birthing room is chosen, our bedroom/my sanctuary is about as immaculate as a room can get. Funny, I'm not yet in a frantic hurry to welcome the little guy. We just have too much going on.

Karate Kid was awarded a generous scholarship to Mount Saint Mary's University, and was invited to participate in a competition for 2 full scholarships. She and I made the trek to Emmittsburg Sunday morning for the written exam. That would have been a very bad day for Leo to choose to arrive.

JayP has had a completely full social schedule, especially with all his involvement in our parish youth group. He and Karate Kid joined 27,000 young people at the Verizon Center yesterday for the Youth Mass, Rally, and March for Life. They had an amazing time. He's also busy helping plan the annual lock-in for the youth group coming up this weekend. Yesterday would have been a bad day for Leo to choose to arrive. If he comes this weekend, that will definitely throw a wrench into JayP's much anticipated weekend plans.

Oleander was chosen as a first alternate in the annual Flute Society of Washington student competition. Essentially, that means she took 4th place overall and may have a chance to compete for a top 3 spot if one of the top 3 need to drop out of the competition. The Flute Fair is in mid-February, so she is extremely busy preparing her piece as well as rehearsing on Saturday mornings with the flute choir that will perform at the fair. Leo can't come on a Saturday.

Skoshi A and Special K are working hard preparing pieces for their piano competition in early March. They need every lesson and rehearsal opportunity they can get to ensure they are well prepared. Leo, baby boy, Tuesdays are no good either.

My sister arrives on Thursday, hoping to catch Leo's birth. Leo, you need to hold on until at least Thursday night.

This little one will be entering the busy lives of our busy little family. It will be good for us all to slow down, set aside our full schedule, and enjoy the gift of our new family member. We're just waiting on him.


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Friday, January 21, 2011

Lowbrow

This may come as a complete surprise to many of my readers that also know me in person, but I have a confession to make. My family and I are not and have never been above appreciating, what I call the lowest form of humor. Yes, we enjoy a good ol' pooh joke from time to time. Recently my mother sent a link to an online cartoon set to the music of "Splish Splash", in which a baby sings about p**ping in the tub. I laughed my head off. Our kids watched it multiple times, the laughter hardly dying down with each new viewing. Embarrassing, I know, and as she sent it to my siblings, I had no one left to forward it to, much to my chagrin. Although I think I know a family or two that may have appreciated it.

My siblings and I have always played practical jokes on each other. The type of jokes only we would appreciate. As kids we used to booby trap each other's beds and we never limited ourselves to just the tried and true short-sheeting. We were known to leave vaseline on sheets, pinecones under the covers, and straight pins sticking straight up through the fitted bottom sheet. Some may find our pranks downright mean, but we found it absolutely hysterical.

As adults, it is well known that I am the most uncool and least funny of the three of us. Our brother, who often leaves humorous comments here on my blog, is the funny one as long as he doesn't go too far and become downright offensive. Our sister is the cool one. Not only is she hip, she is really a joy to be around and everyone looks forward to having her visit. She's even a favorite of Wingnut. I am the bossy one, constantly telling everyone what to do and how to do it. The school marm aunt that corrects the grammar and spelling of her nieces and nephews on Facebook.

This week I turned the tables on them all and pulled a prank that my sister declares made her a very proud sibling. Sissy has a terrible habit of never logging off her accounts when she comes to visit. She was here in November and had used our computers to check email and update her Facebook account. Before she left, she neglected to logoff her Facebook account from one of our computers that is rarely used. The other day, I decided to use the rarely used computer to check my Facebook account. Lo and behold, I discovered her mistake and I made her pay. I updated her status to read "I play in my p**p." Yup, I completely stooped to potty humor. My kids were in hysterics. Suddenly I was the cool one. It was an absolute power rush. It was all I could do to just sit back and watch the effects of my handiwork. Her status was up on Facebook for hours before my sister discovered it and the comments she was getting continued to add to the hilarity. Her own husband and our dad left scathing remarks, elevating the prank to all new levels. I could not stop laughing. Finally, after a call from our dad, Sissy discovered the joke and immediately texted me, asking if our 15 year old son had hacked into her account. I reassured her he was not smart enough to do such a thing. I began leaving hints for her in the comments of her status. She still did not catch on. In the end I had to come out directly and admit that it was indeed me and not JayP responsible for impersonating her. She was duly impressed, but did make it very clear that payback is a b@#$%. I sure hope it was worth it. In anticipation of Leo's impending arrival, my sister is coming to help out next week. I am hoping for mercy.
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MCP Project 52 Week 3: Shades of Gray

Winter Cattail
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Caller Beware

I know. I know. I haven't been posting lately. The problem is the couch is so comfy and the computer is so very far away from the comfy couch. So sue me. Anyhoo, I've had this post rattling around my brain for two weeks and I find myself finally at the computer, far, far away from my comfy couch.

We have a telemarketer problem. They call and call and call. Thankfully, we have caller ID and most of the time our caller ID actually does what it is supposed to do. It tells us who is calling. Unfortunately, and all too often, the caller ID does not tell us who is calling and only displays we have an incoming call. When this occurs, we end up having to answer the phone, with much trepidation, as the incoming call very well could be a dreaded telemarketer. Usually the task of answering the "incoming call" calls falls to yours truly, but one Sunday evening, while I was out playing chauffeur, Wingnut answered the call.

You know the telltale pause of a telemarketer before they pick up their side of the phone. Just such an irritating pause occurred with this call. This got Wingnut's dander up. The daring caller asked for Mrs. M. after the significant pause. Wingnut answered politely I wasn't in; to which the caller asked to whom he was speaking.

"You called me. Who do you think this is?" he responded with a bit more irritation in his voice.

"Mr. M.?"

"Why, yes, this is Mr. M. Now you tell me. Why are you calling my house on a Sunday evening at dinnertime? Are you trying to p@%% me off?"

An uncomfortable pause was then followed by a very meek, "Uh, Mr. M., this is U., JayP's friend. I was calling to see if he needed a ride to LifeTeen."

U. had paused when the phone had been answered because he could not discern between Wingnut's and JayP's voices. As he couldn't be sure to whom he was speaking, he naturally asked for me, rather than embarrass himself by mistaking the identity of the voice on the other end of the line.

Amused, Wingnut quickly apologized, "Oh U.! I am so sorry! Tell your dad I'm sorry I said p@%% me off. Boy, U., you'd make a terrible telemarketer!"

"That's all right, sir. I've got something else lined up." (Young Master U. is discerning a vocation to the priesthood while studying at a high school seminary).

Upon returning home and having the above story relayed to me, I immediately called our dear friends to apologize for my neanderthal husband and his p@##% mouth. Mercifully, they were having a good chuckle over the whole episode. It is a blessing, indeed, to have such wonderful and understanding friends!
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Mo's Boys

Leo is head down and we did not have to do anything more drastic than take a few doses of Pulsatilla and lie on the floor with hips raised above my shoulders for ten minutes at a pop, twice a day. Now he needs to stay there. His little head wasn't engaged and was free floating there for a few days, but I definitely felt his noggin fully engage yesterday while I was shopping at the commissary. Can you say, "YEOW!"

You, my fine readers, were not much help in coming up with a new nickname for Stat Boy (although he and I did get the biggest kick out of Party of Eight's offering of Uncle Rico). The boy no longer thinks Stat Boy best represents who he is. Apparently, it's just too nerdy. Whatever. Solution: let him choose his own moniker. He's happy with being referred to as JayP. I'll play along, but it sounds just as nerdy to me.

Lil' Wingnut is growing up and breaking my heart. The little man, who once burst into tears at the thought of one day leaving me, found another woman. She was the runner-up winner on Wipeout(our cold-blooded kids love that show) last evening. A cute little blond hussy named Tiffany. He actually said she was prettier than me and then in a pathetic offering to me said, "Sorry about that, Mom." He still has no intention of leaving my house. He's just going to bring that other woman into my house. Yeah, that's going to work. I've got my eye on you, Tiffany.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Toy


Photography is a little hobby I've grown an interest in over the last few years, especially after teaching introductory photography classes for our co-op. It was amazing how much I learned while teaching, and not to pat myself on the back too much, I must have done a fairly decent job teaching, as a few of my students have gone on to enter their photographs in various competitions and have received modest recognition.

I was perfectly happy using my little Canon Sure Shot, until I developed camera envy after seeing the amazing photos a friend of ours took using a much higher end camera. It's been the one thing I've been asking for the last year or so. My coveting did not go unnoticed. Wingnut remembered and surprised me one evening with my new Canon EOS Rebel T2i. He is so awesome! I love the new toy and I'm busy learning to use it before our new little bundle arrives.

I've been reading The Pioneer Woman's photography blog, trying to learn a few of her techniques. Did you know she never uses a flash? She much prefers natural light. If a photo won't turn out using the light available, she doesn't take it.

Here are two examples of similar photos taken using only natural light, the only difference between the two is the shutter speed. Yep, It's going to take me a while to get the hang of all the intricacies of this camera. Should be fun.


ISO 6400; f/5.6; shutter speed 1/40


ISO 6400; f/5.6; shutter speed 1/15
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

True Grit 2010: Movie Review


I really had no desire to see this movie.

Reason 1: All too often I just don't get the Coen brothers' films, but Wingnut is a Coen brother fan, so off we went.

Reason 2: I'm not a big fan of Jeff Bridges or Matt Damon. I'm just not a fan of Hollywood types, period.

Reason 3: I felt a sense of loyalty to the original film starring John Wayne, even though I've never really watched it. How does one remake "the Duke" and do him justice?

I am so glad Wingnut talked me into seeing this film.

Reason 1: This is by far the best Coen brother movie. They used a subdued hand and did not rely so heavily on outrageous or gimmicky characters. Rooster Cogburn is a character, but he didn't possess any of the Coen bizarreness one might expect.

Reason 2: Jeff Bridges made a fantastic Rooster Cogburn and he didn't overplay the part. Matt Damon's slightly trivial and silly Texas Ranger was a perfect role for his limited capabilities. But it was the girl that made the film. She was incredibly well cast and the part written for her was brilliant. Not only was she was amazing, she was believable.

Reason 3: Apparently, this film is a much closer match to the novel by Charles Portis. I've never read the book, but I have read in reviews the book focused more on the character of Mattie Ross than on Cogburn. This film did just that. One is left to sort out if "True Grit" applies more to Mattie than to any of the male characters.

This is a Coen brother production and although the violence and language are more subdued than their typical fare, I would still recommend this film for much older teens and adults. A discussion with your teens regarding the theme of vengeance portrayed in the film could yield some very interesting conclusions on the subject. USCCB rating for this film is A-III--adults. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Baby Update

It's been a wild two weeks in the baby business. We have opted for an assisted midwife/birth center birth for Leo, but our family practice docs, who approved my referral to the birth center, have been a pain to work with.

In order to deliver at the birth center our family practice doctor needs to sign a form agreeing to see Leo within 72 hours of birth. Seemed pretty reasonable to me, but they have refused to sign that form, as they cannot guarantee they can see him within 72 hours. No problem. The birth center had another form that requests the family doc to see the baby within 72 hours but does not expect a guarantee. Our doctors' office legal team will not allow them to sign that form either. Apparently they are a bit freaked the baby will not be seen by a pediatrician within 24 hours of birth, but then they are unwilling to say they will see the baby in that time frame. Yesterday they told me I should just deliver in the hospital. I spent the rest of the day near tears. How did lawyers figure into our birth plan?

Thankfully, the midwives at the birth center have agreed to deliver me at the center without the signed form. They seemed a bit miffed by my docs, as they are a licensed practice and take every precaution to ensure both mother and baby are cared for in every way. They are also equiped with enough expertise and experience to properly evaluate a newborn for release. The form just ensures our family is registered with a medical practice that will see our newest family addition.

So, with just under 4 weeks to go, all is taken care of, and a plan I'm happy with is in place. You'd think I could just relax, right? Wrong. Apparently, Leo has decided he's already had enough of the head down position (he's been head down since 28 weeks) and has reoriented himself in an oblique breach position. Argh! I'm currently taking pulsatilla (a homeopathic used for such occasions) and doing special exercises in attempt to get the little guy to rectify his position. I head back to the midwifery on Tuesday for a check and if the lil guy is uncooperative I will need to head to the hospital for a breech-external cephalic aversion. Sounds like fun! This needs to be done before we reach 37 weeks, so time is of the essence. After all these pregnancies, I finally get to choose to give birth my way, only to have an uncooperative #7, who may result in a c-section and an extended hospital stay. Ironic? Obviously, we could really use some prayers.
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Challah Bread Pudding

I have several posts I'm working on, but I made this bread pudding a couple of nights ago and it was so fantastic I had to post the recipe as soon as possible before I forget how I made it. Wingnut loves bread pudding and he said it was the best he'd ever had, which means a lot. I don't think he's ever said that about anything I've made before.

Challah and Apricot Bread Pudding

1 loaf good quality challah bread*; sliced and cubed
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
3 eggs
1 14 ounce can of coconut milk
3 cups milk**
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter

Place cubed bread and chopped apricots in a large bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together the milk, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour over bread and let soak for 15 minutes, pressing down on bread to make sure all is submerged and soaked.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in a 9 x 13 inch pan and place in oven until butter is melted (watch carefully, the butter will melt quickly and you don't want it to burn). Remove pan from oven and tilt back and forth to coat with melted butter.

Pour bread mixture into buttered pan and spread evenly. Bake for 35 minutes. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving. This dessert is absolutely delicious served with freshly whipped cream, sweetened with powdered sugar and a pinch of cinnamon.

*The pudding turns out much better if the bread has been kept in the fridge for a couple of days beforehand. Fresh bread tends to yield a more mushy/soggy texture.

**Any type of milk/half and half/cream will work, but the higher the fat content of the milk, the more rich and creamy the dessert, we use whole goat's milk and have achieved great results.
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Of Wise Men, Fools, and Cannons

A tradition in our family is for the children to receive one last gift on the Feast of Epiphany. Saturday evening, Lil' Wingnut expressed his desire for a cannon on Epiphany. We basically ignored his request. The morning of Epiphany, he once again expressed his hope for a cannon, to which I responded, "I didn't get you a cannon. You only asked for one last night, and I had already done the Epiphany shopping. I did pick something really cool for you though."

For another 15 minutes or so, the lil' guy moped around the house, moaning and groaning about his cannon. "You probably got swords or guns or something. Whatever!"

Having had enough of his nonsense, I finally told the boy, "You're too young for a cannon. You need to be 12 to own a cannon."

"Really? Why do I have to be 12?"

"It's against the law for little boys to own cannons. 12 year olds are much more responsible than 4 year olds."

Believe it or not, this seemed to appease him. He then began asking if his older siblings were old enough for cannons, to which I responded they were, but they hadn't asked for cannons.

He seems pretty placated about the cannon now. I was feeling triumphant in my ability to outsmart the boy, although I do feel like a bad mom for lying. Of course, Wingnut pointed out how I'm a bad mother for having been outsmarted by the lil' guy once again. He would have just told him, "A cannon? No, you can't have one of those."
Duh!
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