The Grandest Sandbox of Them All

Spending an entire day with our 2-year-old grandson was awesome and amazing this weekend. His daddy brought him over early with his “visiting bag” (diapers, clothing changes, books and sippy cup). Daddy received a half-hearted ‘bye-bye’ wave; we’re working on improving the wave, but love that he LOVES spending the day with Grandfather and Grammy.

Anyway, Grandfather and I were finishing our coffee while Gabriel played with his stash of thrift-store Hot Wheels cars on the living room carpet. Thinking out loud, making plans for the day, I mentioned that we should go out to the sandbox because it’s not raining, and the little guy springs up and runs to the front door to go outside. There’s no way we’re going to say “no” to that exuberance! It’s PLAYTIME outside NOW, something that has been scarce because of a 2-week cycle of never-ending rain.

This is why Grandfather and Gabriel are playing with his “Mighty Machines” (CAT Construction Toy set) in the sandbox at 9:00 a.m. I love taking photos and videos; capturing special moments and preserving memories for myself and others, but especially for Gabriel. He’ll have his own scrapbook this week with these photos (and more). We uploaded two short videos from Grandfather’s iPhone, Playtime! And another, Playtime – part 2. Enjoy!

It took some negotiating, but playtime in the sandbox ended 2 1/2 hours later. We’ve got some plumbing issues in the house, so Gabriel had to take a shower (perhaps his first?) to clean up after a morning spent in the sandbox. We tried to make the shower quick and easy, using the handheld sprayer so he wasn’t traumatized by water spraying in his face, and washing his hair while he lay on the shower floor on a folded towel. More laundry for me, but there were no tears and he had a fun time doing something different, I think.

Grand Sandbox Fun -- Grandfather & Gabriel

Grand Sandbox Fun — Grandfather & Gabriel


No more rain! It's sandbox time at last!

No more rain! It’s sandbox time at last!


Playing in the sandbox must’ve tuckered him out, because he actually slept during his nap after lunch. When he woke, we visited the Art and Algorithms Festival taking place in downtown Titusville. NASA provided an inflatable planetarium on Saturday. The three of us spent 20+ minutes watching the show (sitting on the ground), pointing at the stars and the sun and the growth of the universe as it rolled across the sphere above our heads.

We enjoyed an early dinner at Caffe Chocolat included a scoop of vanilla ice cream for Gabriel, and he loved every spoonful while Grandfather valiantly kept the little guy clean with a wet wipe and I took a few photos and enjoyed him enjoying his ice cream treat.

A scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream is a Special Treat!

A scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream is a Special Treat!


Gabriel got permission to spend the night with us, so we headed home in plenty of time to meet his 7:00 p.m. bedtime. We had a few minutes to spare because he’d had a shower earlier in the day and wouldn’t need another, so Grandfather wracked his brain for a last hurrah for the day. Grandfather drove to a local construction site and saw some “mighty machines” up close for yet another treat for this special boy who fills our lives with joy. You should have seen his little eyes light up! Oh, I think I have a photo of that moment!
Dump Truck -- Mighty Machine Style!

Dump Truck — Mighty Machine Style!


Gotta touch the hub!

Gotta touch the hub!


I’m learning the names of each “mighty machine” … Excavator, Steam Roller, Grader, and Dump Truck, (and others) because learning real names of people, places and things is important for vocabulary development and effective communication. The mighty machines we enjoy in his world of play, watching “Mighty Machines” on Netflix and seeing/touching in real life are great experiences we’re blessed to have with him and look forward to sharing with Benjamin when he gets a little older.

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A funny thing about prayer

A good prayer doesn’t have strings attached, unless you consider heartstrings. When I pray, I think about the answer I’d LIKE to get, sure, but I wait to accept God’s will in the matter.  I’ve recently realized that God knows what’s in my heart, because I allow my heart to be open. Most of the time I don’t know the words anyway, so an open heart simplifies prayer. Which means that it’s not easy to immediately understand if a prayer has been answered.  Sometimes the answer is clear, other times it takes years of distance and pondering to see God’s wisdom. Like Dory singing “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” I “just keep praying” for my needs, the needs of others, and especially for blessings received. I pray for answered prayers,  whether the answer was “yes,” “no” or “not yet.”

For example, as soon as I got the go-ahead to sponsor a screening of the new epic film, Mary of Nazareth on an outdoor screen at our church, I prayed for good weather. But that was my external prayer, the prayer in my thoughts. The prayer in my heart was different. Passion resides in the heart, not the mind. My heartfelt prayer was that this incredible film would lead people to a closer relationship with Jesus through His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. I thought, “How could anyone watch this film and not be moved by Mary’s incredible faith in God? Her trust? Her love?”

In my opinion, actress Alissa Jung’s portrayal of Mary is a gift to mankind. She brought Mary to life in our crazy world where lots of people expect instant gratification and avoid heartache and pain. In this film, we see and feel Mary teaching by example–patience, faith and steadfast love, even through immense suffering. We see what it must have been like for her to ponder the words of Simeon, and realize she shared these thoughts and other events with the Apostles after Christ’s death. 

The morning of the  movie, November 16, dawned weakly, as if the sun didn’t even want to show up. The sky was gray with rain clouds. It rained steadily. Not our usual spate of Florida showers followed by hot sun to dry everything out. The entire day was dreary and wet. While my husband and I enjoyed a late breakfast in Titusville, I was speculating that others would expect the movie to be cancelled due to rain. I knew this from recent experience.

Smart phones are pretty convenient. I googled a patron saint for good weather while finishing breakfast, and the saint is… St. Clare. As we’re walking out of Waffle House, out loud I beseeched St. Clare, Jesus, Mary, Joseph and God to open a patch of blue sky to encourage others. Perhaps to encourage myself, as well. As we were driving home five minutes later, not one, but two patches of blue sky opened in the gray gloom above us. It was great and I thanked St. Clare, Jesus, Mary, Joseph and God in the car as we headed home. (I’m new at blogging, otherwise I would’ve snapped a quick picture of those patches of blue sky to post here.)

In retrospect, the prayers I prayed for good weather for November 16 weren’t what I thought I was praying for, because my open heart’s prayer wasn’t about weather. My heart’s prayer was for people to draw nearer to Jesus Christ through the faithful and loving example of His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The night of the movie, it was still raining. (With a sponsored screening, the DVD has to be returned within 2 days to avoid hefty late fees; we had no rain date plans.) “The show must go on” was my goal, so a solution was found. About 100 people in lawn chairs crowded together under a covered breezeway at 7pm on November 16. Everyone was closer to their neighbor than they would normally sit. As event coordinator, I thought about everyone’s personal safety in the event of an emergency, but my heart and mind were reassured that all would be well. We prayed a “Hail Mary” and began watching Mary of Nazareth, enjoying the grand adventure of close quarters for 2 1/2 hours (with a unanimous vote for a 15-minute intermission).  

Special memories were made that night, and the true feeling of love for our neighbor must’ve pleased Jesus and Mary as we moved our chairs close to our brothers and sisters in Christ on that wet evening. I feel that my heart’s prayers were answered in a way that requires pondering for years to come. The influence of this great movie and the unusual viewing situation was unique. 

One more point… the location of the outdoor screen was placed in front of our parish’s Marian shrine, opposite the covered breezeway where we sat en masse. Mary’s presence behind the screen had an impact I can’t fathom yet. It’s still in the “pondering stage” for me, and perhaps others present that evening!

7 Quick Takes: How I became an “instigator” and brought Mary of Nazareth to Mims, Florida

— 1 —

Confessions Audiobook

Confessions Audiobook

My name is Monica. My patron saint is St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine. In the summer of 2012, I decided (for the 3rd time) to read Confessions, by Augustine of Hippo. Because reading the book had been a dismal failure twice before, I turned to Audible.com and chose the Confessions audiobook as my FREE book for signing up. I highly recommend this version narrated by Richard Ferrone. His voice will forever be the voice of St Augustine to me! 

— 2 —

Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine

Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine

I volunteer in the office of my local Catholic church as editor of the bulletin, website, Facebook and Twitter. I receive and review information about a variety of things and sometimes nuggets of gold are discovered. When I was still basking in the after-effects of listening to Confessions, I came across the movie trailer for Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine.

Non-Christians would say it was fate, but I know it to be the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. (I’ve got some experience with Him, but that’s several posts for the future.) Because I had loaned my Audible account link for Confessions to my pastor, he too was excited to explore the opportunity to see the film. So last year I spearheaded a sponsored screening of Restless Heart, the first full-length epic motion picture about a great saint and doctor of the Church, Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. With help from friends, we secured donations to cover the site license and equipment rental ($1,350) to show it on parish grounds. Admission was only $5 because our pastor didn’t want price to keep people from coming to see the movie. He’s great that way!

Restless Heart came to our little town of Mims, Florida, for a glorious night on a 16’x20′ outdoor screen in November of 2012.  Over 150 people sat on blankets and chairs on a grassy slope in the cool night air. Everyone loved it!

— 3 —

Mary of Nazareth

Mary of Nazareth

This summer I received an announcement of a new movie to be released for sponsored screenings on October 1, 2013. The movie is “Mary of Nazareth.”

MARY OF NAZARETH is an epic new motion picture on the life of Mary, mother of Christ, from her childhood through the Resurrection of Jesus.

I watched the movie trailer several times. Each time, my eyes watered and I could feel my heart swell with joy. Once again, it was the stirring of the Holy Spirit in my heart. It was lovely, just lovely, and I knew I had to bring this movie to our little town of Mims, Florida.

— 4 —

Mary by the sea

Mary by the sea

At every opportunity, I played the Mary of Nazareth trailer for co-workers, friends, family. My pastor. My screensaver features wallpaper from the movie. Everyone expressed a delight in the promise of this movie, but it was months from a release date, and no screenings were expected in our area, much less the state of Florida. Money is tight, and the site license for this movie is $200 more than the license for Restless Heart. I needed to raise $1,150, so I wrote letters and called people asking for donations. I continue to show the movie trailer to anyone who hangs around my desk for more than a minute. Mission accomplished–$1,150 was raised in two weeks! Ticket prices started at $10, but the pastor lowered them to $6 so people can afford to come see the movie.  

— 5 —

MON.Mary_.Jesus_-150x150Ignatius Press has been unlocking 1-minute film clips each week, and so I devour these nuggets in anticipation of watching the 155-minute film. That’s right. Two hours and 35 minutes. My favorite clip is “Tunic” — I feel the power of the future event in each viewing.

— 6 —

MON.pieta_-150x150Alissa Jung (pronounced Young) portrays Mary, and she’s incredible. And she’s German. But if you’ve read this far, you’re obviously interested, so I recommend you listen/watch the interview with Alissa Jung by Anthony Ryan, Marketing Director at Ignatius Press. It takes about 20 seconds to begin–be patient. The actress is delightful! If you have time, Alissa recorded another interview for Discerning Hearts blog. The woman interviewing her isn’t identified, but I like her interview better than the one with Anthony Ryan.

— 7 —

MON.mary_.temple-150x150Endorsements.  You must read the endorsements and watch the clip from the audience at the first screening in San Francisco. The last person’s comment brought tears to my eyes. The scene of Mary making bread and giving it to the children and to the Apostles, as she gave us the True Bread of Life, Jesus Christ.

“In light of the reality that the Virgin Mary is God’s created masterpiece and the pinnacle of the feminine mystery, there is no harder person to portray in a movie than her and, yet, Mary of Nazareth offers the best presentation of Our Lady I have ever seen. Mary of Nazareth is an absolute theological and Mariological masterpiece!  It will make you want to love her more than ever. Mary’s beauty is pure and ageless, her feminine mystery filled with wonder and virtue, and her divine motherhood is both tender and captivating.  Without a doubt, this is the most stunning portrayal of the Virgin Mary on film!”

Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC
 | Author, NO TURNING BACK: A Witness to Mercy

Movies like Restless Heart and Mary of Nazareth are not released to theaters. They’re not available to purchase on DVD through outlets like Amazon.com. These incredible movies are only available for sponsored screenings. The preferred venue is in a theater with the capability of playing Blu-ray or IMAX. We need to support Christian films of this caliber.

Are you the person to come forward and decide to make it happen in YOUR community? I’m nobody special. I don’t have connections or special skills. What I do have is faith in the Lord and a willingness to help people know Him better. A desire to share the love of Jesus Christ with all people who are ready to listen.  Volunteer to raise money, find a venue, market the film, (posters and tickets are provided with the site license) and sell tickets. Contact Ignatius Press for more information, the same as I did several months ago. YOU can bring Mary of Nazareth to your community in 2014!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

I fell down and haven’t gotten up… maybe I need a new bike helmet?

I can’t put it behind me. Sunday, September 8, 2013, was Grandparents Day. It was a typical Sunday watching our nearly 1-year-old grandson for the day. We had a fluke accident during a bike ride, (Grandfather hit a tree and the bike continued forward with the baby in a front baby seat on the bike) and long story short, the little guy was air-lifted by helicopter to a pediatric trauma center 50 miles away.

Life Flight - Helicopter Ride

Life Flight – Helicopter Ride

He was fine, but because his bike helmet had cracked in the fall and he was showing signs of lethargy, we called 9-1-1. Procedure and common sense required a CT Scan, X-ray, and observation. His mama and daddy met him at the hospital and we all sat in the ER with him for 4-6 hours’ before he was discharged. He was fine. No injuries. He was more traumatized by the neck brace, papoose board, IV in his right arm, blood pressure cuff on his left arm, and the piece’-de-resistance, the pediatric neck brace he had to endure for at least three hours in the ER. He’s fine.

Giro Infant Safety Helmet saves the day!

Giro Infant Safety Helmet saves the day!

All glory and thanks to God for keeping our grandson safe and injury-free that day! Two months later, Super Baby is still fine and my husband’s injuries are nearly healed. The accident continues to affect me. For starters, that was the last day I rode my bike.  I’m “overprotective,” I don’t encourage the little guy to take risks or push any physical skill-building activities. Crawling is just fine.

bike adventureSometimes I close my eyes and the accident replays in my head with all the fear and terror of that afternoon. I tell myself I need to “get back on the horse” — so to speak.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to ride a bike with my grandson ever again, and that makes me sad.  My husband shows no interest in fixing the bikes. He retrieved a piece of the tree trunk after the city cut it down–vindication, revenge?  No one else will hit that tree ever again and suffer the “what-if” of a possible head injury. Sounds good to me! But I don’t like being afraid to ride my bike. We’re having good bike-riding weather, so I think about it often. And now I’ve seen this remarkable new INVISIBLE BIKE HELMET — only $535. Too cool!  Does it come in infant/toddler sizes?

Scoured the news for an entirely uninteresting story. Here’s how it connects to my life.

When I scoured the news for an uninteresting article, this was the best I could do. I’ve now got several articles saved for reading later, and I’m particularly interested in finding out about the six-tailed asteroid between Mars and Jupiter that has scientists stunned. (I love it when scientists are stunned!)

 Ortiz Gets Boston Mayor Votes but Didn’t Place 3rd

BOSTON November 8, 2013 (AP)

Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is apparently so popular in the city that some residents think he should be mayor… more

 

As for figuring out how David Ortiz, the World Series MVP, received write-in votes to become the Mayor of Boston, connects to ME, the only link I can grasp is that my dear niece, Jacci, lives in or near the Boston area. For all I know, she or her DH may have cast a vote for David Ortiz, but I seriously doubt this would ever happen, as Jacci is practical and reasonable. While I am a fan of Major League Baseball, I doubt Mr. Ortiz has the time, experience or passion for Boston politics at this point in his life. 

7 Quick Takes — Mid-Life Rebellion

— 1 —

Instead of sleeping Thursday night, I watched a few things online from links in e-mails and blogs. First up was the link to the Explore God Q&A Forum with Jennifer Fulwiler and two pastors.  Next up was a documentary that caught my eye on the YouTube side menu when Explore God ended.  (I wasn’t tired yet.)  I highly recommend it to Catholics, because we generally don’t know much about modern saints and this featured the lives of TWO saints and ONE blessed (soon to be saint). Can you guess their names? Check out the one+ hour documentary, Ocean of Mercy.

By the time the documentary ended, I admit to feeling a bit tired, but another video caught my eye and so what-the-heck… I clicked with the intention of just watching for a few minutes.  Before I knew it, I’m watching the All In the Family episode when Edith Bunker discovers she’s going through “the change.” It was still funny. I watched the entire episode. In for a pound, I then followed it up with the 2-part episode featuring the birth of Gloria’s baby.  Was it a boy or a girl?  I couldn’t remember.  Now I know, and I’m not telling… you’ll need to google it or watch the episode yourself.

— 2 —

Household chaos. This week’s household chores can be counted on one hand. Washed dishes twice. Washed two loads of laundry. Hmm.  I have a finger leftover. Should’ve cleaned the bathroom or vacuum the living room.  Ah, I picked up the toys off the living room floor. I draw the line at stepping on little Hot Wheels cars.

— 3 —

My 1998 Honda Accord dashboard information warning lights have been on so long I rarely take note, but now they’re down from four lights to three, thanks to my hubby helping me get a new bulb for my taillight. Now it’s just ABS, Maintenance, and Engine.  We’ll open the hood this weekend to take a peek at the serpentine belt and check the oil, water and battery.  Anyone else out there drive around with dashboard warning lights ON? Which is the most annoying light you ignore because nothing turns it off? I hate spending money for EACH light to determine the codes. Mainly because I like spending that money for groceries….

— 4 —

Our church’s Fall Festival was last Friday night. As expected, I was only able to sit down for 3 minutes to eat a quick bite, but that’s par for the course for the folks in charge. No time to sit when you’re zipping from one activity to the next playing “hostess.”  This year’s fall festival included a Chili Cook-off, Square Dance, Kids’ Costume Parade, and a Photo Booth featuring the decorated Pumpkins folks contributed for ambience. Ann, my co-conspirator, supervised the campfire outside for the kids to roast marshmallows; her hubby supervised the old-fashioned hayride.  The pot-luck chili cook-off was lots of fun, and the square dance was enjoyed by young and old.  I’d like to try square dance lessons, but I enjoy the Monday night bible study classes too much to trade.

The next activity I’m organizing at church is called “Screen on the Green.”  We’re sponsoring one screening of the new epic movie, MARY OF NAZARETH. We rent a 16’x20′ outdoor screen & surround sound audio to watch great movies on the grassy slope next to our rectory. Check online to see if “Mary of Nazareth” is playing near you (it probably isn’t, so you may need to spearhead a screening in your area.) Watch the trailer, read the reviews of this amazing movie of the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. If it’s not playing near you and you’re up to a trip, the movie will be playing at our church on Saturday, November 16 at 7pm in Mims, Florida at Holy Spirit Catholic Church (on the space coast of Florida).  Advance tickets are $10 each or $15 the night of the event.

— 5 —

Clothes. I need clean clothes. See #2 above.

— 6 —

These 7 QT aren’t too pretty. No pictures.  Am I the only person capable of personally destroying their iPhoto app on their Apple computer?  Each time I tried to “repair” my database, all I did was worsen the problem. Nothing’s worked, and now the app won’t open and I can’t access my photos.  Grrr.

— 7 —

No photos this week, but I have terrific news. Last Saturday I picked up my one-year-old grandson. When he’d finished hugging, I pulled away to see what special shirt he was wearing. The previous 3 days he’d been sporting costume shirts:  Spiderman, Batman, Superman (included a cape), so my curiosity was piqued.  The shirt said Only Child (crossed out) and under that it said “Big Brother.”  My daughter got my scream on video… another grandchild will be joining our family next July.  Wahoo!  

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes – Lazy Daze

— 1 —

One year old and flying high!

One year old and flying high!


Saturday at Fort Christmas Historical Park was the location of the photo session celebrating my grandson’s first birthday. It was a lovely day with kids running around and parents watching from a shady spot. The professional photo shoot was scheduled between G-man’s morning and afternoon naps because my daughter and son-in-law think of these things (and she probably saw the tip on a blog or on Pinterest). Kelly Verdek was the perfect photographer–he was patient and wanted to be sure he got all the shots the parents wanted. His camera was constantly clicking away and he made some great suggestions, too. The photos are fabulous. If you live in the Orlando area, you might want to schedule a photo session! My daughter especially loves a photo of me and her son. I love all of them because he’s wonderful! How does a Grammy choose a favorite photo out of nearly 100 photos?

Grammy love is "in your face" as often as possible.

Grammy love is “in your face” as often as possible.

— 2 —

This is the last weekend of the Art and Algorithms Digital Art Festival here in Titusville, Florida. Of Thursday evenings’ foreign short films, my favorite was the 5-minute film from Columbia titled “Czech Please” and my least favorite was a Canadian film titled “A Pretty Funny Story.” I’m planning to see the classic movie, “Singin’ in the Rain” starring Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor at midnight on Friday, and Saturday’s midnight film is “The Big Lebowski” which I’ve never seen.

Singin' in the Rain

Singin’ in the Rain

— 3 —

Something I never see any more are folks washing their cars in their driveways on the weekends. I haven’t washed my car in nearly 9 months… and it shows dreadfully. Especially the wheels. The brake dust and road grime is disgusting. Do people still wash their own cars, or do they go to automatic car washes? I’m too embarrassed to post a photo of my dirty car. Sad, huh?

— 4 —

For a baby who was born with Acid Reflux and spent the majority of his first six months crying, this baby is one of the happiest babies you’ll ever hear. When you stop to think about it, so much of life is funny when you have nothing to compare it to. Take any word, such as “Whoo!” and repeat it over and over to a baby. Perhaps it’s the way it rolls off your tongue, or the shape of your lips as you make the sound, or the expression on your face. Who knows? A baby’s laugh is balm to the spirit. Want to feel a bit better than you do right now? Click to play!

— 5 —

Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima


I’m praying a novena in preparation for Pope Francis’ consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary this Sunday. Today is Day 8. A great resource to remind you to pray AND they deliver the prayers to your Inbox is Pray More Novenas. If you’re able to donate money to help, this site has experienced an explosive growth this week, and it continues to grow exponentially as more people sign up. Here’s the link to become a “special member.”

— 6 —

Okay, I live in Florida, so I should be used to bugs. I’m not. The other night I came home after a nice Girls Night Out. Got out of my car in the driveway. Walked through a dark garage. I thought I felt something on the back of my neck but didn’t think much of it… I was carrying my purse and a tote bag, my shirt had a wide loose neckline and drooped either right or left all day. I walked into the kitchen and as usual, dumped my bags on the nearest kitchen chair. As I straightened my arm, I saw it. A cockroach on my sleeve. “EEEEEK!” I screamed and violently shook my arm. Yeah, I did the bug dance, too. I thought the bug flew off, so I looked everywhere around me. No bug. My cat looked at me like I was crazy. It dawned on me the bug might still be on me, that’s when I felt it on the back of my neck, near my hair. This time it wasn’t an “EEEEEK!” but an “AUGH! GET IT OFF, GET IT OFF!” at twice the volume followed by some screaming for my husband to come quick! This time I managed to smack the bug off me and watched it run and hide under the antique mahogany cabinet my great-great-great grandfather built centuries ago. My hubby made it into the kitchen just as the bug disappeared. Nothing to be done except pat me on the back and ask if he needs to move the cabinet (we both know he doesn’t mean it… that cabinet isn’t going anywhere… it weighs a ton). “I’ve got some bug spray… I’ll get it,” I tell him bravely. He goes back to his WoW game, and I pull out the empty can of Raid from under the kitchen sink. I’m one of those gals who won’t throw away the empty bug spray can until I have a replacement, you know what I mean? Fumes are better than nothing. There were just enough fumes left to fill the space under the cabinet. I know this because 15 minutes later the cat is sitting near her water dish with a strange posture… kinda quizzical. A dead roach is floating in her water bowl. Ew. I didn’t like picking up that bowl, and I gotta say, if that bug had moved one iota, that bowl would’ve been airborne and I’d be screaming again. It went down in the first flush and the cat’s water bowl got thrown in the sink for sanitizing. Ant and Roach Killer — one of the good things in my life!

— 7 —

Sleep. Still one of those elusive “good things in life” that I wish I could enjoy more often. Perhaps if I went to bed instead of checking my computer it would be easier to nod off. Last night was a record ten hours of sleep. I’ve never been able to sleep that well 2 nights in a row. My sleep clock has a few springs loose, I guess. I did use the special baby lotion last night, and it worked like a charm!
baby bedtime lotion

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes – Shutdown

— 1 —

A household shutdown is imminent.

I’m not able to focus to get any tasks complete. I need a break from this mess that I mostly created by myself. I am a slob!

— 2 —

What would my family’s reaction be to a shutdown?

Hello? Anyone home?  Oh. He’s in his “man-cave” doing serious stuff on his computer–“World of Warcraft”  No reaction. Hmm.

— 3 —

WHICH services would be denied during the shutdown?

Cooking. Dishes. Laundry. Shopping. Vacuuming. Cleaning the toilet. Yard work. Making the bed. Washing windows. Scooping the kitty litter. Washing the car. Non-essential crap.

— 4 —

How long will the shutdown last?

Aim for Christmas.  More crap will be received then, and will need to have a space all its’ own.

— 5 —

Who will resume services when the shutdown ends?

Crap.  Me.  After 2 seconds of serious thought, a shutdown is not  sounding like a good plan.

— 6 —

Is mooching at Mom’s house allowable during the shutdown?

Of course. Mom loves me no matter what. More than that though. She wouldn’t want my hubby to be scarred by this experience. He will  eat like a king!

— 7 —

What lesson will I learn from a shutdown experience?

A shutdown is like a tree falling in the forest.  No one hears it; no one cares. The tree rots. Bugs are happy.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes – Grandparents Day 2013

— 1 —

Giro Infant Safety Helmet saves the day!

Giro Infant Safety Helmet saves the day!


Grandparents Day started great but ended up 50 miles away at a pediatric trauma center. Our 11-month-old grandson is fine, but the grandparents are still a bit shaky about riding a bike with him (after the bikes are repaired and a new bike safety helmet can be ordered for him). Summary of the bike accident HERE.

— 2 —

It’s been a while since I regularly strolled the aisles of the toy departments of local stores. A visit earlier this week freaked me out when I was minding my own business and a stupid Furby toy started TALKING to me as I walked past. I thought those things were GONE for good. After reading Jennifer’s post on 7QT, I would recommend putting the Furby in the trash and gently explaining to her daughter that the little guy left on a pilgrimage…. It would be an act of kindness any priest would absolve.

— 3 —

I am feeling relieved and a bit proud of my accomplishments this month, as they involved three very different learning curves. (Getting our church’s new website organized with menus, content, links, widgets, setting up and organizing our parish’s new Flocknote network for text/email communication with parishioners, and setting up the new email system for the parish staff.)

Of course the rest of my life was put on “hold” until I had time to cook dinner, wash clothes, sleep, (but I don’t do that much anyway), and clean my house. I did maintain the litter box… anyone who’s got cats knows you don’t let the litter box mess pile up, or they find somewhere else to pee and poop in your home!

House Cat #2

House Cat #2


If my daughter reads this post this week, clean out your litter box. I’m sure it needs it. Learn from my mistakes.

— 4 —

New baby in the house

New baby in the house


Parenting styles are not lost on children. I recently showed this picture to my adult daughter of herself when she was about two years old. We had recently brought her newborn brother home from the hospital and no one was getting much sleep in the house. She fell asleep at the table while eating lunch.

She had the exact same thoughts as I did when I found the photo… “Dad made my lunch… because he served it to me on a paper towel.” That’s right daughter! Mommy always served (and still serves) lunch on a plate, whether it’s plastic, paper, or china.

We’ve been married 36 years, and he STILL will make and eat a sandwich lunch on a paper towel. I still complain about the cost of paper napkins.

— 5 —

Chile Verde Pork Tostada

Chile Verde Pork Tostada

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I assume that most folks have a favorite menu item that they order EVERY SINGLE TIME they go to their favorite restaurant. Am I right? The Chile Verde Pork Tostada is only available on the lunch menu. I no longer have a desire to go to dinner there because this lunch item isn’t available on the dinner menu. That’s nuts, isn’t it? Do you ever order something that’s not on a menu? Do you get it?

— 6 —

Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Sangre de Cristo Mountains


My brother is in the midst of a monsoon currently drenching parts of New Mexico. I pray for his and others’ safety as they brave the storm. On the positive side, the creek he uses for water shouldn’t run dry this winter/spring like it did earlier this year!

— 7 —

My sister recommended a movie for me to watch soon… Fargo. If you’ve seen it, what did you think? It’s rated “L” (limited adult audiences by the Catholic News Service. I don’t have a problem with dark humor. (I recently discovered I love to watch “Breaking Bad.”)

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