28 February 2013

The Book Monster

Forget cookies... our little guy cannot get enough stories! Toys? Boring. Food? Not exciting. But if I sit him on my lap and pick up a book, he gets a big smile on his face and starts waving his hands enthusiastically. For the past week, stories have been the ultimate panacea: calming him when he's upset, relaxing him when he needs to go to sleep, and entertaining him between times.

The catch? (There had to be one, didn't there?) He has favorites. Daddy and I can cycle through those five stories over and over all day long, but if we introduce something new to the mix, the frown comes out, and he becomes wiggly and unhappy.

So what? Be happy your kid likes books, and stop complaining already! Oh, please believe me, I am happy that he likes books! But the adult brain is not wired to read "The Fire Engine Book" and "Whose Baby Am I?" fifty times a day without melting. And no, I am not exaggerating: we read stories all. day. long. My mom made it a goal to read her babies 20 stories a day; we pass that mark before lunchtime.

Will this wind up being a case of "too much of a good thing"? Is he going to be sick of hearing stories next week? I've never heard of a kid this young rejecting toys in favor of books.

Sede Vacante

Goodbye, Your Holiness. We will miss you. Ora pro nobis!

25 February 2013

What I Wore Sunday {5}

Late getting this up! Little Bear is teething and seems to be coming down with a cold, so he wanted constant holding yesterday. He was pretty well-behaved during mass, though; I missed the homily while changing a messy diaper, but he was fairly quiet and happy all through the liturgy of the Eucharist.

Totally forgot to wear purple again this week! I remembered on Saturday... maybe I need to start setting out my outfits the night before. I can't remember if this week's outfit is a recent repeat or not...

Shirt: thrifted
Skirt: Sears
Boots: (not shown) Sears, same as last week

The little guy's outfit is from Carter's, a gift from Grandma! He stayed cute for approximately two minutes after this photo was taken before smearing lunch (yogurt) all over himself.

Go visit the linkup over at Fine Linen and Purple for more!

22 February 2013

Seven Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 20

So much sun! Our weather has been absolutely beautiful this week: sunny blue skies, light snow flurries, and no temperatures below -20! It's been lovely.

Little Bear and I went to our parish's first "mommy & me play and pray group" meeting yesterday, and I'm still not entirely sure what I think about it. I felt like the odd one out: youngest mom, youngest kid, only one with just one kid, only non-Army family... The other moms were nice, but they all had so much in common, and it felt like I didn't have anything to contribute. I feel guilty for even being unhappy about it, though, because how many times have I lamented the absence of a group for Catholic moms and littles in our area? Now God gave me what I've been asking for, and I'm going to find more things to complain about?

Insomnia and a whiny child had me up most of the night, so I hammered out my thoughts on the (entirely overblown, IMO) situation with the German archbishops' statement regarding emergency contraception and rape victims. It should be posted soon; I'm just waiting on a fact-check from a moral theologian.

Matt spent the first several days this week out of town for work. It was so good to pick him up from the airport Wednesday night! Little Bear was so excited to see his daddy: he was bouncing up and down and saying "Hi! Hi! Hi!" He wouldn't let go of Matt for the rest of the evening. :-)

Wonderful news: Matt has been offered (and accepted) a permanent position with his department! He was hired for a stimulus grant position, the funding for which runs out this summer, so we were starting to worry about whether he would have a job come July 1. I'm so glad we don't have to restart the whole job search process! God is so good.

Recently, the ergo has been a lifesaver in keeping Little Bear happy; he has been fairly whiny all week, but if I put him on my back in the ergo and start vacuuming, he quiets right down and either nods off or looks around happily. We certainly have a clean house this week.

Well, I had an interesting fact for you, but then I did some research into it and now I'm not sure whether it is a good thing or not. My mom sent a container of white mushrooms home with me yesterday because the package said that one serving contained 100% of your daily vitamin D. That's exciting, because the winter sun in Alaska is inadequate for vitamin D production, so we are always looking for other (non-pill) sources. Reading up on it online, though, I discovered that the mushrooms have high levels of vitamin D if they are bombarded with Ultraviolet-B radiation. Is this still a good thing? I'm not sure.

Don't forget to check out more quick takes at ConversionDiary.com!

Catholics and the Morning After Pill in Cases of Rape

I really try to avoid getting into anything political here, but having read so much stupid reactionary flame throwing from Catholics about this, I felt a little obligated to throw in my two cents.

First off, is this really news? Yes, the fact that the archbishops made a public teaching on the subject is newsworthy, but they didn't pull that teaching out of thin air; we thoroughly discussed this in my Christian Moral Principles course five years ago. It is based on established bioethical principles and decades of scientific understanding of the female reproductive system. The USCCB approved similar guidelines several years ago. All of the combox flamethrowers yelling "Humanae Vitae Evil Liberals Hell!" are only making themselves look stupid and the Church look bad.

Here's the basic rundown, in case you've managed to avoid it. The German archbishops released a statement yesterday explaining that Catholic hospitals in their jurisdiction would henceforth be making emergency contraception available to rape victims in cases where the pill would act to prevent conception. They carefully clarified that in cases where the pill would act as an abortifacient, it could not be given.

"[Care for rape victims] can include prescription of the `morning-after pill,' insofar as it has a preventive and not an abortive effect. Medical and pharmaceutical methods which result in the death of an embryo still may not be used."

Media outlets saw the story and thought "Catholics + contraception = controversy!" and made a big kerfuffle about it. Reactionary Catholics read headlines, didn't bother researching the subject thoroughly, and started yelling about Humanae Vitae and hell.

If a woman is threatened with rape, no sane person questions her right to defend herself. If she is raped, the principle of self-defense gives her the right to protect her body and her eggs from her assailant's sperm, for as long as fertilization has not yet occurred. If fertilization occurs, the right of self-defense does not allow her to take an abortifacient, because that would be an act of aggression against the life of the innocent child, not an act protecting against the action of her attacker.

Emergency contraception does different things, depending on where the woman is in her cycle. If she has not yet ovulated, EC works to prevent ovulation from occurring. If she has ovulated but the egg has not been fertilized, some forms of EC prevent fertilization/conception. If she has ovulated and the egg has been fertilized, then the drug may act as an abortifacient.

Many of the commentators I've seen so far have been claiming the point moot "because sperm live such a short time" or because "there's no way of knowing when a woman will ovulate." Sperm can live for up to a week within a woman's body. The ovaries create luteinizing hormone (LH) in preparation for ovulation, and a urine or blood test can indicate whether a woman is ovulating or preparing to ovulate within the next 48 hours. Fertilization/conception occurs within 24 hours of ovulation. If a woman does not test positive for LH, she is not immanently ovulating. If a woman is not immanently ovulating, conception is not yet possible and emergency contraception to prevent ovulation from occurring, thus protecting her from becoming pregnant from her attacker's sperm, would not be immoral.

Others who disagree target the drug manufacturers' claims of preventing fertilization once ovulation has occurred. This would clearly be morally permissible, on the principle of self-defense, because there is no new life yet. However, because we do not currently have the ability to ascertain with certainty that ovulation but not fertilization has occurred, critics are correct in stating that emergency contraception cannot be morally given once ovulation is immanently occurring, as indicated by the presence of LH.

To clarify, a standard pregnancy test looks for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), not LH. A woman's body begins producing hCG once implantation occurs, not when conception occurs. It can take a human embryo a week to travel from the site of fertilization in the Fallopian tubes to the uterus, where it implants and triggers production of hCG. For this reason, a standard hCG-detecting pregnancy test cannot provide confirmation that conception has not occurred, and is thus inadequate for determining whether it would be morally acceptable for the rape victim to take the Morning After pill.

All of that said, it is incredibly important for doctors and other hospital personnel to be thoroughly informed of Church teaching in regard to the beginning of life: if there is any question as to whether conception has occurred, emergency contraception would be immoral because of the possibility of abortion. When there is certainty that ovulation has not yet occurred, however, emergency contraception may morally be given to a victim of rape.

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20 February 2013

Lenten Ember Days

Today, Friday and Saturday are the three ember days of Lent this year: the spring ember days always fall the week following Ash Wednesday. These days of voluntary fasting and abstinence are set aside by the Church to focus on God as revealed through Creation.

The observance of ember days, four sets of three days throughout the year set aside for fasting and reflection on Creation, comes from ancient Israelite practice:

Zacharias 8:19
Thus saith the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah joy, and gladness, and great solemnities: only love ye truth and peace.

In the mid-1200s, Bl Jacopo de Voragine set forth the various reasons he was acquainted with for the ember day fasts. He said that the Lenten ember day fast should be for the intentions of tempering our inclinations to luxury, of casting away vice and letting "boughs and herbs of virtues" grow in us, of suppressing disordinate concupiscence, of rooting out pride, and of growing in innocence.

Medieval folklore said that the weather of the ember days predicted the weather of the coming months, thus today's weather would foretell March, Friday April, and Saturday May. We're going to hope that this doesn't pan out, because we still have several feet of snow and are well below 0!

19 February 2013

Songbirds and Sunshine and Useful Information

A good-sized flock of Bohemian waxwings has been hanging out in our yard the past several days, eating fermented chokecherries and warbling as they fly unsteadily into windows. They are such interestingly-colored birds: ruddy tufts on their heads, grey bodies, blush breasts, black and white wings, yellow-tipped tails, and bright red undersides of the tail feathers. Little Bear pounds on the windows whenever he notices them flying around, and stares up at the trees when we walk outside to check the mail.

If it was a little bit warmer, I would have him outside much more; the sun has been out full-force recently and the bright blue sky and sparkling snow look simply gorgeous, but it is -24 F... too cold for such a little guy to play out in the snow! We get our daily walk to the mailbox, but that is about it.

On a totally unrelated note, check out ElectingThePope.net! It is an excellent source of information on the upcoming conclave and the rules that govern it, and would be a good resource to direct people to if they have questions about what is going on.

17 February 2013

What I Wore Sunday {4}

Happy first Sunday of Lent! Our pastor had a wonderful homily today, connecting Lent to not only the 40 days of Christ's trials in the wilderness but also to other 40s: Noah on the ark (40 days), the Israelites in the desert (40 years), and human gestation (40 weeks). I'd never thought of that before! It made sense, though, as Father showed how each of those times, like Lent, is a period of preparation which brings suffering--not pointless suffering, but suffering that leads to and prepares for something joyful. The recreated world after the flood. The promised land "flowing with milk and honey." The precious life of a new child.

In honor of Lent, I planned to wear purple today... Then we slept through the alarm and woke up with 15 minutes to get out the door, but Little Bear was still sleeping and I didn't want to wake him by turning a light on, so I just kind of threw on whatever came to hand and hoped that it matched.

Sweater: thrifted
Skirt: thrifted, or a hand-me-down?
Boots: Sears (their super winter clearance is still going on! Lucky for me, since I needed bigger/non-heeled boots to accommodate my broken toe.)
Haircut: by my amazing husband!

Have a fabulous Sunday, and don't forget to go see the other ladies and gents linking up with Fine Linen and Purple today!

15 February 2013

Seven Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 19

Happy first Lenten Friday! What are you having for dinner? I'm making Matt's mom's homemade macaroni and cheese, but with elbows instead of shells, because that's what I have in the cupboard. Sorry about that, Matt. I'd love to hear other ideas of meatless meals for this Lent... It seems like I get stuck rotating between just a few meatless meals, and it would be nice to introduce some more variety.

Last night, Matt and I went out to dinner by ourselves for the first time since Little Bear was born! It was so nice to have a quiet meal together again. We weren't planning to do anything special for Valentines Day, but my mother offered to come babysit so that we could go out, and we couldn't turn down an offer like that!

It sounds like Little Bear was pretty happy and well-behaved while we were gone, which was good to hear. He was hungry and very eager for mommy time when we got home, but apparently not sleepy... he stayed up for two more hours. Maybe he was over-excited by having his evening go so much differently than usual?

The restaurant where we went for dinner is right next to the riverbank; in the summer, they have a floating dock for canoers and boaters to moor their crafts and come in. In the winter, the river freezes over and becomes a thoroughfare for snowmachiners (snowmobilers, for the non-Alaskans out there). By midwinter the ice is thick enough to easily support regular vehicles, and an "ice road" is marked out leading from the bank right next to this restaurant over to a road/boat launch on the other bank a little ways upriver. The boat launch is no more than a mile from our apartment, so after dinner tonight, we decided to take the ice road home.

That there is proof that my husband loves me: never in a million years would Matt up and decide to walk, let alone drive, out on a frozen river. Because I said that it sounded fun, though, he did it for me. Isn't he great?

We are pretty sure that my toe is in fact fractured; it has been sore and swollen with a dark purple jagged line across it since Sunday night, and the joint in question is immobile. Matt buddy-taped it to the adjacent toe for me, and I have been trying to avoid stubbing it on anything else. Little Bear thinks that it looks like a toy now, so I'm doing my best to keep him from biting it!

I am so, so thankful that the sun is back! We are getting nearly nine hours of daylight now, and are still gaining seven minutes per day. It is so wonderful to throw open all of the curtains, pull up the blinds, and have enough light to fill the apartment without using any electricity!

Have a great weekend, and don't forget to check out more quick takes with the crowd over at ConversionDiary.com!

14 February 2013

Entering Lent

As I'm sitting in a silent house, sleeping baby sprawled across my lap, the sun slipping toward the horizon, thoughts of Lent come easily. Our Ash Wednesday was so hectic I barely had space to realize the meaning of the day, that we had entered into the season of Lent. Today, though, for some reason it is much clearer.

What are you giving up for Lent? It's a question we are all familiar with, hearing it from fellow Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and at times the familiarity of the idea seems to cheapen it. You hear that people are giving up sweets, "because we always do," or alcohol, "because my wife is pregnant and she can't drink anyway." Kids try to give up things they don't like: "Sorry Mom, I can't eat that--I gave up spinach for Lent."

I read another blogger's reflections on giving things up recently--I'm sorry I don't remember who, or I would share the link--where he wondered how much more seriously people would take the decision of what to do for Lent if they were giving that thing up forever, not just foregoing it for the next 40 days. The idea struck a chord with me, because last year Matt and I both gave up complaining. We did a pretty good job of sticking to it through Lent, but I think we all know how much of an impact it had after Easter... None. We had slipped right back into our old habits by the end of the Easter octave.

Is complaining a good thing for me? No. I don't even particularly enjoy it. It is just a habit, a bad habit, that may occasionally make me feel better if I'm having a crummy day but more often adds an air of negativity to my own perception of life as well as my listener's. How much better would life be, for me and those around me, if I sacrificed my desire to complain permanently?

Now, I know there are several different rationales for the concept of "giving something up" during Lent: depriving oneself of a good thing for the sake of offering the suffering up or strengthening one's self-control, devoting one's time (free time or time which would have been spent doing something else good) to prayer and charitable work, and rooting out something which has grown up in one's heart, dividing one from God. I would submit, though, that all of these can be boiled down to sacrificing the desire for something for the sake of growing in holiness.

Giving up Brussels sprouts one year, spinach the next, and systematically working your way until you aren't eating any green vegetables isn't what I'm talking about. Scripture and Tradition both clearly show that physical fasting is important, and giving up certain foods during Lent is a great example of the first reason above (offering up a privation and strengthening self-control). Unless you have an inordinate love for Brussels sprouts which gets in the way of your relationship with God, though, giving them up for the rest of your life simply isn't going to have much spiritual impact.

Giving up complaining one year, committing to set aside the smartphone when you're with your family members or during prayer time the next, and slowly chipping away, Lent after Lent, at the things separating your soul from God? And doing your best to never go back to a vice once you have given it up? That could do so much.

So what am I giving up? Well, I'm picking up last year's "no complaining" again, but I am also going to try to focus on the virtue of obedience and what it means for me at this stage of my life. I realized yesterday that being unable to fast was more of a struggle than fasting itself has ever been. It took more effort than I like to admit to acknowledge that, if the Church says that nursing mothers are not among those supposed to follow the dietary restrictions of fasting, given that it is likely to deplete milk and thus harm the baby, then it would be wrong for me to do it.* Over the next six weeks I also plan to read more theological works in place of fiction, and of course will be praying for the upcoming conclave!

What are you doing for Lent?

*I did cut out foods that I particularly like, and made sure that I only ate when I needed to and had small servings of nutrient-dense foods.

11 February 2013

All the Excitement I Could Want

By now I'm sure everyone else has heard about Pope Benedict XVI's intention to step down at the end of the month. What a surprise! I am so grateful, as I'm sure we all are, for his years of wonderful leadership and service to the Church.

While that certainly overshadows any of my news for today, I suppose I will write about our weekend (and why I was sporting the frazzled mommy look yesterday) anyway. Little Bear and I spent Thursday through Sunday at my family's house, helping to keep everything running smoothly while my parents were out of town celebrating their anniversary. I was glad to be able to help, and it was fun to spend time with the eldest of my sisters still at home, but nights were hard without Matt around to help with Little Bear.

The kiddo has been rolling over for several months now, but he picked this weekend to learn how to get up on his hands and knees, rock back and forth, and scoot backwards. It got to a point where every time he rolled onto his stomach, he would pop up onto his hands and knees--even if he didn't want to. I cannot tell you how many times I woke up to him whimpering, eyes closed and head hanging down, as he rocked back and forth on his hands and knees: body language clearly saying, "Mommy, why? I just want to sleep." Poor boy... I hope he gets over this phase soon!

Saturday I brought the two youngest to the library with Little Bear and me. As we stood in the lobby zipping coats and pulling on hats and mittens, we saw a couple whom I hadn't run into in years. The wife, looking over my entourage, smiled and asked if they were all my siblings. I was so grateful to her! I know that it would not be unheard-of for the 9 year old, 4 year old, and 7 month old to all be mine, though people would look askance at someone my age with a 9 year old. These folks knew that I haven't been married two full years yet, though, so I really appreciated her assuming they were siblings instead of my own.

Did I make too much of that? I'm sure it wouldn't have upset me if she'd asked if they were mine; I would have laughed and pointed out the two who are siblings, just as I pointed to Little Bear as mine when she asked if they were all siblings. I guess I particularly appreciated it because I'd been feeling weird walking around with a group of kids all clearly related to me, one clearly mine, and wondering what people were thinking when they saw us. I know, pride; most likely the other library patrons didn't think anything about us at all. It is so easy to feel like everyone else is watching and judging, though.

Taking my youngest sister to mass with us on Sunday was an event in itself, and an occasion of fervent "please don't give us another one for quite a while!" prayers. Not that she was bad, exactly; we were having trouble keeping Little Bear quiet, though, and I guess I was expecting her to "behave herself" on the level that a 6 year old is capable of instead of a 4 year old who is tired and unhappy and wants her parents home. She was pretty good overall; there were just a few times when she decided that she couldn't hear what Matt or I were asking her to do.

It's funny how Matt and I can take the same thing two completely different ways. Just before the consecration, Little Bear was becoming increasingly vocal about his gums hurting, and I had to take him to the cry room and leave my sister in the pew with Matt. When we came back at the sign of peace, the older ladies in the pew behind us were giving Matt sympathetic looks as my sister ignored him. I was mortified; he, relieved.

To Matt, the looks of sympathy meant that they understood, they had been there as parents, and that her behavior wasn't bothering the people around us. To me, they meant that we were not doing an acceptable job of keeping the children well-behaved and preventing them from distracting the people around us.

Has it become obvious yet that I am usually concerned about what other people are thinking?

Maybe this is something I'm supposed to work on this Lent.

Just to cap off our weekend, after I made the mistake of hoping that everything would go back to "not-crazy" now that my parents are back, I may have fractured my toe. It has been painful and swollen since I tripped over/ran into the high chair last night; the pain and swelling have gone down as I've been babying it today, which makes me think it may not be fractured, but I still can't move it. Maybe I just jammed one of the joints hard and it is taking its sweet time getting un-jammed?

Hopefully your weekend was a little less exciting than ours! It's hard to believe that the day after tomorrow is Ash Wednesday... have you decided what you're doing this Lent?

10 February 2013

What I Wore Sunday

Today we are featuring the tired-mommy-after-a-long-weekend look, complemented by funky lighting that makes my skin look the same color as those curtains behind me. Whee.

Top: thrifted, from when I was in high school. That's kind of scary.
Skirt: Motherhood Maternity. I feel a little silly, and a little ashamed, for still wearing the occasional maternity skirt... the stretchy top makes feeding Little Bear in public so much easier, though.

For some less "Why is tomorrow Monday already" getups, check out What I Wore Sunday at Fine Linen and Purple!

08 February 2013

Seven Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 18

The app closed before I could save my first attempt, so here we go again... These will probably be very quick this time.

Snow, snow, and more snow! We've gotten at least a dusting every day this week, but today's accumulation has been particularly impressive. Every time I've gone outside, there's been at least another inch! The kids were eager to get home and shovel after mass (ha), but I was happy to be able to play the "hungry baby" card and avoid spending any substantial time outside, at least for today.

Little Bear has discovered mobility. He spent the better part of an hour rolling and scooting all over the bed last night as I was trying to put him to sleep. He is so proud of himself when he rolls over--it's so cute!

Yesterday evening, Little Bear watched Pride and Prejudice, the 2005 rendition, with me and my sister. He was really well-behaved, sitting quietly on my lap playing with a My Little Pony figurine for much of the time. Matt is very sure that Little Bear was playing with "random colorful toy from Mommy," not "My Little Pony," but his friends found it pretty funny.

I was reminded, watching the movie, just how little I like most of the characters in that book. Don't get me wrong--Pride and Prejudice was one of my favorite books growing up. Re-reading it as an adult, though, I was struck by the dreadful parenting of Mr and Mrs Bennett, sickened by the vapidity of Kitty and Lydia, and exasperated by Elizabeth's blindness to Wickham's inconstancy and indelicacies.

My poor husband has been off work sick the past two days. Hopefully a weekend of rest will have him feeling better by Monday!

Homeschooling starts young: My little brother had fun pointing out different countries on the world map to Little Bear this evening.

For more quick takes, visit ConversionDiary.com!

03 February 2013

What I Wore Sunday

A little bit late to the party, but it's definitely still Sunday in our time zone! Linking up again today with Fine Linen and Purple for my second shot at What I Wore Sunday.

So warm outside! It's 10 degrees above zero here, and we are loving it. Light coats for both Matt and I today! Little Bear enjoyed being out and seeing the sunshine and snow as well.

Top: thrifted (Dressbarn)
Skirt: Sears--it's so funny to me that they hold their end-of-season super clearance in January, when we still have so many months of winter left! I always enjoy those racks...
Boots: gift from my mother

No Little Bear in the photo this week; he was "helping" Daddy with the camera. Sorry for the dark photo... that would be why. The skirt is actually a light chocolate brown.

02 February 2013


Today is Candlemas, the last "last day of Christmas." (Secular culture, of course, ends its Christmas observance on December 26 or 31; some Christians extend their celebration to Epiphany on January 6, others to the Baptism of Christ on January 13.) While in the post-Vatican II liturgical calendar we have been in ordinary time since the Baptism, today truly provides a final wrap-up of Christmas.

Candlemas, also known as the feast of the Presentation, is a commemoration of the Jewish practice of a purification rite for mothers and new children. Women were considered unclean after giving birth, and had to wait a ritual forty days (in some groups, eighty if the child was female) before returning to the temple.

The family offered a sacrifice of a lamb, two turtledoves, or two pigeons, and the priest said the prayers of purification for the mother. According to the Mosaic law, the firstborn son also had to be offered to The Lord (Numbers 18:15); the purification sacrifice likewise "ransomed" the child from the temple. Although by virtue of the Immaculate Conception Mary was free from impurity, she was still obedient to the law: Mary and Joseph offered their sacrifice in the presence of the priestess Anna, and Simeon offered the prayers for Mary.

We see an echo of Mary's rite of purification in the Church with the churching of mothers, a ritual which has regrettably been largely forgotten in the West but is still observed in most Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

The name Candlemas comes from the fact that today the priest blesses the candles which will be used in the church over the coming year. A procession with all of the people carrying lighted candles traditionally follows, but this, too, seems to be mostly forgotten in the West.

Today's feast corresponds to the fourth joyful mystery of the rosary, the Presentation of the Christ Child in the Temple. An easy way to mark today would be to say the joyful mysteries instead of the glorious (traditional to Saturday). Singing the Canticle of Simeon, the Nunc Dimitis, would also be appropriate.

01 February 2013

Seven Quick Takes Friday

Our week in 10 words or less: Twelve hours of overtime and two doctor visits.

What? That doesn't count for all seven? Fine...

Matt has been on call and working wonky hours all week. I can't wait for things to be back to normal on Monday! It's been particularly challenging the past few days when Little Bear and I have needed the car during the days; several times, I've had to wake the sleeping munchkin to go drop off or pick up Daddy.

We finally had Little Bear's 6 month checkup, now that he's nearly 7 months and finally healthy. His net weight was the same as it had been a month ago, because of his illness, so we will be going back in about a month for a weight check, just to make sure he's back on track.

This morning we visited the dermatologist, who was very helpful and encouraging. She's pretty sure he just has baby eczema, and gave us samples of several very neutral lotions which I will hopefully be able to use to help him. I say "hopefully," because I have frustratingly sensitive skin on my hands, and break out in hives after applying most lotions.

One good point about Matt working late all week has been that I haven't really had to make dinners... Little Bear and I are fine with a bowl of oatmeal or some yogurt. Tonight, though, I'm actually supposed to cook because Matt will be home at a semi-reasonable time. Not sure what to make; it has to be finished before I go pick him up, but not spoilt by sitting and waiting a half hour for us. Any ideas?

Oh, and it's practically spring! (Stop laughing, husband.) The thermometer may not think so, but the sun does: we have seven hours of full daylight today, and are gaining seven minutes a day! Yes, it is below 0, but the sky is bright blue and the sun is sparkling off the snow, and I was quite comfortable in my dress boots and lightest winter coat this morning. It's so pretty out!

For more quick takes, visit ConversionDiary.com!