Thursday, June 30, 2011

Feast of the Sacred Heart

A plenary indulgence is available tomorrow if the Act of Reparation is recited publicly (with the usual conditions of sacramental Confession and Holy Communion).  A partial indulgence is available to those who recite it privately.

Tomorrow would be a good day to to make an extra-special effort to go to daily Mass if you are able.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

A pretty new hat for her first birthday.
This is one happy baby with the funny Scottish fuzzy cow that her grandma sent for her birthday.  She's absolutely delighted with it.
I think my baby has learned to play dress-up.  She puts a scarf around her shoulders and crawls around the house like that.

I'm not sure what the attraction is, but this is the book that my little girl gets in trouble most often for pulling off the shelf to play with (she's awfully hard on books, especially those with paper pages).  Maybe it's the bright blue cover.
This is mama's attempt at re-direction.  It works ... sometimes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Yarn Along

I've been knitting a green dishcloth this week.  It seems to come out much better with smaller, bamboo needles.  I think I must knit very loosely.  As you can see, I haven't made a whole lot of progress knitting this week, probably because I have been reading this book.  The Blue Fairy Book, edited by Andrew Lang, is a collection of classic versions of fairy tales from all over the world.  These are non-Disney-fied versions were the evil characters (and occasionally the good characters) sometimes come to very sticky ends.  I'm thoroughly enjoying it, and I may have to explore some of the other books in this series.

Be sure to head over to small things for more knitting and reading.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blessing Before Childbirth

I had the privilege yesterday to receive the "Blessing of a pregnant woman in danger of childbirth" according to the old Rituale Romanum. The prayer asks specifically that the "child live to be reborn in holy baptism, and continuing always in your service, be found worthy of attaining everlasting life."  It's a wonderful blessing.  Here's the Blessing of an Expectant Mother (in English) and the Benedictio Mulieris Praegnantis in periculis partus (Latin text on p. 349-350).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'm beginning to see ...

that sometimes the things I consider a cross are really a blessing.

A couple weeks ago, my baby abruptly stopped sleeping through the night.  It seems she's teething.  Every night I hope that this will be the night she will go back to sleeping ten or eleven hours at a stretch.  Every night I am disappointed.  Last night, I was still wide awake, tossing and turning (and probably driving my poor husband crazy) when she woke up.  I could tell that state of affairs could have gone on for several more hours.  By rocking my baby to sleep, I effectively rocked my self to sleep as well.  After I put her back in her crib, I went back to bed and fell asleep immediately.

This morning, when I woke feeling relatively rested, I thanked my guardian angel for the help.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

My wonderful husband decided that I needed a lamp on the new piano.  Doesn't it look inviting?  I think it's just perfect!
The swaddling blankets for my baby boy are finished.  I'm starting to feel like I might be ready for him to arrive.
When I cut open an apple at lunch, one of the seeds had sprouted.
Lunch for my little girl involves a lot of chopping:   in this case, apples and cheese.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yarn Along

I'm still working on the same book as last week, and I don't really have anything further to say about it.  I'm working on another strip of the same blanket in Tunisian crochet, and in between strips I crocheted a washcloth using the same technique.  I'm really happy with the way the washcloth turned out; I will probably be doing more like this.  My baby surprise jacket just needs a few finishing touches: seams, buttons, and weaving in ends.

Be sure to visit small things for more knitting, crocheting and reading.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Word

Yesterday my baby girl uttered her first word.  There have been some sounds that seemed to make sense in context, but we weren't quite sure whether she was really using them as words, or just coincidentally babbling that particular sound at that moment.  This time was abundantly clear.  I asked, "Would you like another bite of <whatever it was I was feeding her -- I don't remember>?" and she responded with a hand pushing the spoon away, "NO NO NO."  Her daddy and I cracked up, which made her angry.  Poor baby.  You said "NO," and your mommy and daddy laughed.

A few minutes later, her daddy left the room for a moment (to get something for her, no less) and she wailed, "aaAA- DA-DA-DA!"  He is, at the moment, the preferred parent.  He denies this, but it's true.  And it's okay.  It's good for daddy to get to be a superhero.

"Mamama" has seen some somewhat ambiguous use, and "Nanana" is a sort of universal complaint.

To be fair, I've been trying to supply the word "No" along with the gesture when she refuses something, and that is clearly what she means.  I guess it worked.

But still.  My baby's first word was "No."

Friday, June 17, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 14)

1.  I read an article in the local newspaper sometime in the last few weeks about "math anxiety."  It talked about people who label themselves as bad at math, the social acceptability of that label, and the fact that anxiety very effectively shuts off the parts of the brain needed to do math.  This article had several interesting points, but one in particular resurfaced the other day when I read another article in Parents Magazine.  According to the article in the newspaper the foundational skill that people with math anxiety struggle with is quickly identifying which number is greater than the other.  According to the article in Parents, the game UNO reinforces this concept, and children who play UNO do better in math than those who don't.  (Now I'm thinking about the rules of the game and wondering how exactly it does this ...?)

2.  Leila at Like Mother, Like Daughter has been posting about teaching reading.  One of the things she emphasizes is the use of good books and high quality literature.  This reminds me of my experience learning music.  I started with Suzuki piano, which uses real classical music from the best composers right from the beginning.  I find the "music" offered in most method books repulsive, similar to reading exercises in many beginning readers.  There was a valuable link to turn of the century children's literature in the comments of this post.

3.  A recipe for an apple dessert that I must try:  Scalloped Apples Dessert in the Slow Cooker.  This looks really tasty, and really easy.

4.  I stumbled upon a fantastic list of lunch ideas at Charming the Birds from the Trees.  I'll have to try some of these.

5.  One of the things I've been pondering in the last few weeks is what, beyond political activism, does it mean to be pro-life?  I've come to a few conclusions.  Does anyone else have thoughts on the subject?

6.  I've also been considering the relationship between generosity and gentleness.

7.  Have a great weekend, everyone.  Be sure to visit Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes posts.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

{Pretty} and {Funny}
Pretty, because I really like this picture (I only wish I could show you how wonderful those stir-fried veggies smelled!) and funny, because, well, I took a picture of my lunch!
I have really missed having a piano in the house to play, and we were recently able to purchase an electronic piano.  Usually I am an acoustic snob, but with this instrument I can play after the baby has gone to bed or while she is napping. She also like to hear me play, which also makes me very happy.
Soft flannel is sitting on my sewing desk ready to be hemmed.  I'm making swaddling blankets for the baby boy who is due in a few more weeks, because I discovered with my first baby that it is nearly impossible to buy blankets that are suitable for swaddling (they're either too small or not square).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yarn Along

My baby surprise jacket is finally back in the works, and looking at my pattern, I realized today that it's nearly finished.  While I have been gathering up the courage to pick up the necessary stitches on the baby sweater, I have been working on a many-years-old UFO (unfinished object, since I know one or two of my readers won't understand that abbreviation).  It's a blanket in Tunisian crochet.  I've been working it in strips, which I will sew together when they are all done, before working a border.  There are four strips there (they're wrapped like that because they want to curl up the other direction when first finished; storing them like this seems to help them relax) and I have several more to go.

Finally, this is a book that caught my eye sitting on a shelf.  The title intrigued me, so I'm reading it.  It's pretty slow going, as it is very dense reading.  I can't tell you much else just yet because I've only just started.

Go read about some more knitting and reading over at small things.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


All the virtues build on each other, so I've been pondering gentleness from that angle.  What are the vices that might keep me from being gentle?  What does it take to be gentle?

The first vice that comes to mind as being opposed to gentleness is selfishness.  If I am thinking of myself and what I want, then I will be harsh and impatient when interrupted.  If, on the other hand, I am thinking of how I may serve others, then I will be quick and cheerful in meeting their needs.  After dinner I usually clean up the kitchen.  If, while I'm doing that, I'm thinking of myself  (I'm tired.  I want to go to bed.  I want to sit down.), then I will leave the job half-done, doing just enough to keep the dirty dishes from taking over, and I'll take twice as long as I need to accomplish it.  If I'm interrupted in such a frame of mind, I'm likely to delay and frown as I respond to whoever needs my attention.  If, however, I'm thinking of others (If I set the timer on the coffee maker, then my husband will have an easier time getting up in the morning.  I should sweep the floor, so that the baby won't try to put anything yucky in her mouth tomorrow morning.), then I move more quickly, do the job more thoroughly, and if interrupted, will respond more promptly and cheerfully.

Similarly, pride will prevent me from being gentle.  If I am proud when I encounter an inconvenience (like the person in the parking garage driving really slowly ... he'll make me late for my appointment!  How dare he!) then I will be incensed because of the infringement upon my "rights."  I may speak harshly either to the offender, if he is available, or to everyone else around me if he is not.  If I am humble then I realize that the big bad world doesn't owe me a thing (and if I'm late for my appointment, then I should accounted for unexpected delays and left the house earlier) and I will remain calm.

In order to acquire the habit of always being gentle I should learn to keep my thoughts in a generous, humble vein.  When I start to feel impatient, I should respond by thinking of the needs of others (remembering, of course, that I also have a duty to meet my own needs; I am unlikely to be gentle to anyone if I am exhausted and cross.)

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like Thine.  Amen.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 13)

I'm a little late posting this, and even later posting several other things, so here are all the things I meant to write about this week.

1.  Yarn Along.
Since my baby surprise jacket is stalled for the moment, I've been working on a crocheted blanket that I started several years ago and never finished.  The baby surprise jacket promises to be back in the works very soon, so I will post pictures of both on Wednesday.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}
2. If I had brought my camera with me to Mass on Ascension Thursday, I would have taken a picture of the {pretty} new floor of the sanctuary of the Dominican Nuns' chapel in Lockport, LA.  The last time I was there it was still a work in progress, and now it is all finished and everything is back in its place.  It looks wonderful.

3.  Speaking of which, I was really {happy} that we managed to find a place to assist at Ascension Thursday Mass on Ascension Thursday (as opposed to Ascension Thursday Sunday, which is what it will be tomorrow at our usual parish church).  Deo gratias.

4.  {Funny}  My baby has recently taken to clapping her hands when we say grace before and after meals (her father and I put our hands together).  That's almost the idea, my girl!

5.  {Real} (but also happy!)  My little girl can now walk if I hold only one of her hands.  She will be walking on her own any day now!

6.  One thing I actually did manage to write a post about was being pro-life.  You all might be interested.

7.  I also had a few things to say about chapel veils.  In case you didn't know, women were required by canon law to cover their heads in church (not just during Mass, but anytime they entered a church) from the time of Pope Linus (the second pope) up until the new Code of Canon Law in 1983.  It is a truly ancient custom, and one shared by our Eastern brethren.  Perhaps we are impoverished by its loss.  Perhaps it should be recovered.

Have a great weekend, and be sure to stop by Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes posts.