Tuesday, January 26, 2010


We all went to my 20 week ultrasound this morning and saw the baby. It was really encouraging to see the little one on the screen! Most days, I get really focused on feeling pregnant (read: nauseous, tired, achy, moody) and I forget that there's a child in there. So, good to see you Little One!

We were surprised with Monica's gender at the birth, so this time, I wanted to find out ahead of time. Kevin was not so sure so we just had the tech write the result on a piece of paper so we could take it out later. Since Kevin was really really not sure, I hid the paper away for the remainder of the day. We took it out at dinner and looked at the result together, and it's a...surprise to you and everyone else! Sorry but we're going to keep it a secret from fam, friends, and the blogosphere.

Monica (obviously) did not really react. When she sees the ultrasound pictures of the baby, she says, "Puppy!" If that presumption continues, she's going to be sorely disappointed in June. Kevin ended up being sad about finding out. Not that he is sad about the baby's gender, but he is sad about missing out on the surprise in the delivery room. I feel a little bit of that, but I am looking forward to mentally and emotionally connecting to this baby in a different way than I was able to with Monica.

I'll post a little pic of Baby Dos as soon as I can. The motherboard on our laptop died a couple weeks ago and we're in the process of getting a new computer and extracting our other data. Oh, technology...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sea, Sand, Sun, and Unfortunate Events

We're all hanging out in Clearwater for the next couple of days, and the weather is fine! Each year that goes by I become less tolerant of the winter and more passionate about sunshine and warm weather. So, when Kevin called me from work a couple weeks ago and asked, "You wanna go to Florida?" I thought I might just be in the middle of a fabulous dream. But no pinch was necessary. Kevin is attending a three day conference and Monica and I are hanging out at the beach and the pool. (Pics to come!) The weather was sunny and about 70 degrees today. There has been no ocean swimming, but the heated pool is a favorite.

Monica really does love the beach though. She just toddles around, picking up interesting things off the ground (read: shells, leaves, rocks, and garbage) and smiling a lot. She's not really into climbing on the playground as of yet so toddling and the occasional swing sesh is about all we've got at the beach. I never really thought about what 15 month olds do at the beach or at the park. At first, it didn't seem like much: toddling, picking up stuff, babbling. But I see now that there is a whole lot of discovery and limit testing that goes on. I realized how much I take for granted in walking through sand in barefeet with relative ease and staying focused on a destination (i.e. the water) and being able to walk up inclines without looking like I'm rock scrambling. This is an age that requires a lot of patience for repetition and very simple activities.

Kevin was busy with a late business dinner so I took Monica out for dinner by myself. Arg. It was a series of unfortunate events.

We went to a well known seafood restaurant that seemed tasty, but not too touristy. I was right on both accounts, but it was a tad too upscale for soloing it with a milk intolerant toddler. When we walked in, I told the hostess that we were a party of one and a highchair. She gave me a blank stare and said blandly, "Just a high chair?"

Seriously? If the girl had stopped to think for a second, she probably would have realized that
1. A toddler would not be hanging out by herself for a meal at this restaurant.
2. I cannot fit into a high chair.

After straightening out debacle #1, we moved on to others. The highchair's buckle was broken, which I thought wouldn't be a huge deal...except that the chair didn't fit underneath the table and Monica was trying to stand up in it every other second. So, I caught one of the four hostesses (not the one from Debacle #1) and asked for a high chair with a functional buckle. She was only able to find other broken high chairs. It wasn't until she got the manager to assist her that they found a functional high chair.

Debacle #3 was the menu. I only got one menu which had no children's options. Arg. I chose a chicken dish that I thought Monica would like and ordered that, except that I realized about 15 minutes later that the sauce was probably really buttery so I talked to the waiter about plain ol' grilled chicken. He asked me about any other options on the childrens's menu...that I never saw. Apparently there was a separate children's menu that the hostess did not offer. Excellent. So, I changed our order only to receive the dinner sized crab cakes instead of the appetizer size.

Debacle #4 was the timing. By the time the food came, Monica was already full from the bread that I had been giving her in small bits to distract her from fussing and destroying the table while we waited for food. She ate almost none of her meal. I guess we'll be eating grilled chicken and steamed veggies for lunch tomorrow.

But, honestly, aside from tonight's restaurant adventure, the trip is going really well, and I am incredibly thankful for this chance to get away from the cold grayness that is January in Michigan! More to come...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy Fifth Anniversary Kevin!

These five years have been full of growth, change, and fun! I hope and pray there are many more.

Thank you for helping me to become a better wife, a better mother, and a better woman. I love you!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Trespasses Against Us

Trespasses Against Us by Christian M. Frank, the latest installment in the John Paul 2 High series, is a breath of fresh air in teen literature. Today's secular teen fiction tends toward the erotic and sensational but does not have much to offer in the way of quality, realistic, and morally sound literature. There is also Christian teen fiction, but sometimes the characters and stories are so clean that it does not mirror real life. However, Christian M. Frank is looking to change that.

Christian M. Frank is actually a team of people who took their pen name from their alma maters, Franciscan University of Steubenville and Christendom College. The initial "M" is for Mary, the Blessed Mother, who "keeps the peace between [them]." This team of people is looking to write books that are realistic, exiciting, morally sound, and geared specifically toward Catholic teens.

One strength of Trespasses Against Us is its characters. The teens in the series come from all different types of families: small and large, single parent and two parent homes, divorced and remarried, permissive and oppressive. The characters have a conversational style that is typical of young people, but the authors do not resort to crass and offensive techniques to keep the reader's attention. The plot is also fast-moving and exciting; it incorporates technology (i.e. texting, email, instant messaging) that many teens use on a daily basis. There are some very dramatic and violent events which may not be for younger readers. But these are events happening in high schools around the country and the team of authors takes on a difficult task in tackling them from a Catholic perspective.

The authors also do a great service to the reader by making sound, Catholic teaching accessible and applicable to everyday life. One challenge many teens face is applying religion to everyday choices. Trespasses Against Us uses the plot and framework of the series (a significant amount of time is spent in a Catholic high school classroom) to connect Scripture, the catechism and papal teachings to situations facing the characters and somce of those situations may even be similar to those of the reader.

In short, Trespasses Against Us is an exciting, entertaining, and educational read. If you have or know of a teen who could use something fresh and worthwhile in their literary diet, try introducing the John Paul 2 High series. I don't think they'll be disappointed.

This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company . Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Christian M Frank's Trespasses Against Us.