Monday, February 4, 2019

Hello, 2019

It feels like we're finally, finally settled back into our post-holiday routine. As much as I love the excitement of different events and visits, these past two weeks of normalcy have been really rejuvenating! I think that today would be a nice chance for a good old-fashioned update and let y'all know what exactly I've been up to since the year began, what I've been watching on Netflix, and some articles I've enjoyed around the web (a post on what books I've been reading will come later this week).

January began with a snowfall that we could actually play in, and I know that I've already talked about this, but I am still thinking about how glorious it was. I know some of you who are living in frigid temperatures right now probably don't want to hear this, but snow is so beautiful. Especially when you live in Oklahoma and don't ever get snow that you can play in!

I've started letting my toddler pick out picture books from the library and we picked up this book weeks ago. We keep renewing it and have read it numerous times. It simply tells the story of Tolkien (and The Hobbit), and the illustrations are awesome with all sorts of little details that are explained at the very end of the book. The illustrator and author clearly did their research. I highly recommend it!!!
Back in January, my husband took a weekend trip across the country to hang out with some friends who he hadn't really spent time with in several years. While he was gone, we had a really fun time eating salted caramel gelato, spending time with friends, not cooking (between leftovers in the fridge and a soup sale at church, we were set for the weekend), and watching Netflix. However, the two days prior to my husband's departure, and his first day being back, were pretty rough because we couldn't be in the "daddy's gone" schedule, but he was preoccupied with other things so I was mostly solo-parenting anyway. However, it was still a good weekend for everyone, and it made for a fruitful conversation for us. Next time one of us goes out of town for a weekend, we will be better prepared!

I think this is one of my new favorite teas for the wintertime. When I finished my 
box of Double Spice Chai, I wanted more of that flavor-and I love how this tisane 
isn't caffeinated (so I can drink it at nighttime) and while it's not actually chai,
 it tastes really delicious. I put a splash of milk in it and it's creamy and spicy and good! 

I am two weeks into my breastfeeding-friendly Exodus 90 plan, and it's going fairly well so far. I've learned, though, that I have to be semi-flexible. For instance, I took my kids to a friend's birthday party a few weeks ago, and my toddler only ate a couple bites of his cake and ice cream. Instead of throwing out the whole plate, I ate it-we can't be wasteful, right? ;)  But overall, I've been keeping up pretty well with my practices, and I am LOVING the peacefulness and quiet of life around our home and in my life.
I wrote an article for a parenting supplement/mini magazine 
thing put out by Our Sunday Visitor! The extent of my freelance writing has 
previously been online, so seeing my article on "Reclaiming Love" 
in a physical copy that I can hold is exciting.
The end of January included my birthday, and it was awesome. My husband surprised me by taking the day off of work, and that was the best gift. I slept in an entire hour, and when I took the baby to the coffee shop for my writing time, the sky (since I was leaving an hour later than usual) was all orange and pink and it was GORGEOUS. It was such a great birthday gift from God :) The rest of the day included playing a game with my husband, snuggling up on the couch with the baby and re-reading The Awakening of Miss Prim, eating the donut that my husband surprised me with (cream-filled and maple glazed!), making food with my toddler, and having our neighbors over for dinner. It was a really delightful day-so simple and wonderful.

On Candlemas/The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (which was Saturday), my husband spontaneously suggested that we attend Mass at the local Fraternity of St. Peter parish. I quickly became so glad that we hauled ourselves out the door! Although we have been in the OKC metro for 3 1/2 years, we have never attended Mass at this parish since it's a bit of a drive for us. But it was so good to attend the Extraordinary Form Mass again, and it was awesome that even though it was early on a Saturday morning, the church was full with young, large families.

Stations of the Cross lined the parking lot, which I think is really cool!
Afterwards, my husband spontaneously took us to a breakfast place he saw online. We go there, heard it would be an hour wait, but that outside seating was immediate. So we went outside (the waitress even brought out her jacket for our toddler to wear, since it was windy), but within ten minutes or so, they found a way for us to get a table inside. And the food was so, so good. I love hot breakfast, but don't like making a big fancy breakfast at home (I dislike making the kitchen that dirty early in the morning) and it was such a fun treat!

The next day, since the Christmas Cycle had ended, we finally packed away our nativity sets. Poor Baby Jesus got dropped a few weeks ago (why did my toddler ignore TWO non-breakable Baby Jesus figurines nearby and pick up the breakable one???) so next Advent when we pull out our boxes, we'll need to glue his head back on. 

My toddler loves to get cookbooks from the library, and he recently picked up a donut cookbook. So, on Sunday, we made a batch of chocolate cake donuts. They were a tad bit on the dry side (I think I put a teensy bit too much flour in them), but it was nothing that chocolate glaze and a glass of milk can't fix ;) It's a lot of fun to bake with my toddler, and we love donuts, so we may have to try out one of the raised recipes before we take the book back to the library :)

My toddler continues to be completely obsessed with his baby brother, and the baby loves grinning and laughing at his brother's antics. These two kids are such a joy. Even though they always seem to start screaming/crying at the same time. I'm excited to see them continue to grow and develop! 

What I've been watching on Netflix:
My month of Netflix ends in a couple days, and in the past few weeks I've seen a couple of interesting things! Here's some quick reviews:

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Teen romances aren't usually my thing, but I had heard this one recommended so much over the past several months, and on one of those days when the baby and I finally gave up on sleep at around 5 a.m., I decided that it was just the time for some lighthearted entertainment. was okay. Lana Condor and Noah Centineo have undeniably adorable chemistry and do a great job portraying their characters, and the  movie was fun to watch, but it just wasn't as great as so many people have made it out to be. Someone online made the comparison to A Walk to Remember, and I find that interesting because while these two movies have different plots, there are a couple of strong similarities (quiet girl finds her life entwined with a boy who is a little on the wild side, girl is shamed/disgraced by the school, both kids are from single-parent homes). Yet, A Walk to Remember involves the guy seriously manning up and becoming a person of integrity, which I just don't see as much of in Peter Kavinsky. And Lara Jean, while fun and delightful, seems to lack the moral fiber that Jamie displays. Also, the parents in A Walk to Remember seemed to help their kids strive for greater things in their relationship, but while Mr. Covey is supportive and creates a loving environment in their home, his gesture of care before Lara Jean goes off on a ski trip is to give her a bag of condoms. I could go on and on, but I'll stop there ;) Cute movie, but definitely not "good" by my standards.

The Punisher, season 2.
I LOVED season 1 of this show, and the teaser trailer for season 2 looked amazing, so I was pretty excited about this. Jon Bernthal did a stellar job portraying Frank in this season, and  Ben Barnes was incredible as the mentally-tortures Billy Russo/Jigsaw. I loved the whole Jigsaw storyline, I loved getting to see more screen time from Curtis and Madani, and I enjoyed seeing Frank take on a pseudo-father role in regards to Amy. However, the season as a whole felt very unfocused and disjointed; new villains were brought in the first couple episodes, largely ignored, and then came back in the story at the very end. And they had nothing to do with the Jigsaw storyline (also, their whole storyline felt rather flimsy to begin with). It was an enjoyable season to watch, and since I began reading a book on trauma as I watched this, I thought it was interesting to see what I was reading played out onscreen by the severely traumatized Frank Castle. If anything, this season gave me the PERFECT image that I relate to so much as a stay-at-home mom:

My husband walks in the door after a long afternoon of the screaming kids, laundry, dinner preparations, and diaper explosions. He asks "How are you?" 
Thank you, Jon Bernthal.

Shtisel, season 1.
This is a delightful Israeli drama about an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family who lives in Jerusalem. The youngest child, Akiva, is figuring out his job as a teacher, his desire to be an artist, and his wish to have a relationship with a woman. His other siblings have their own issues that they deal with in their families, and offering his guidance and support is their loving, widowed father. It's a slow-moving show, but it's quite lovely to watch this family love and care for each other, and I really enjoy seeing how the characters practice their faith. It really is a good example to me of how we should all be passionately living out our faith in such a way that it impacts our entire lives! I have a couple episodes left of season 1, but so far it's pretty good.

What I've been reading around the web: 
I love this reflection by Avera Maria Santo on what it's like to for her to carry the cross of SSA: "The Wood of the Cross, the Wood of the Bed."

Right after the March for Life, there was tons of uproar (from all sides) concerning a group of teenagers from Kentucky. I was really frustrated and disheartened by the way these kids were being treated (and by the whole incident in general), and I was immensely grateful for Bishop Barron's words of wisdom that pertain not just to this incident but to all of our online interactions: "The Internet and Satan's Game."

This was such a thought-provoking and interesting reflection on how Abigail Favale came to learn that femaleness is not a social construct, and how she became pro-life: "Confessions of a Feminist Heretic." 

As someone who loves handicrafts and sees great importance in them, I really loved this reflection on how engaging in "pre-feminist-movement activities" can be really beneficial for women: "How I Discovered Empowerment Through Sewing."

I have a tendency to get really focused on how much I can check off my "to do" list each day, so I really needed to read this reflection on motherhood. I think there is so much good wisdom for all women in here, regardless of whether or not you are a stay-at-home-mom: "He is Shaping Us."

I really enjoyed this piece on the value of sharing about one's life and experiences, and I read it right as I had been thinking about my own story. I started thinking that I really need to actually put together a condensed version of my story (I've read a couple books on evangelization that talk about the benefit of doing this), so perhaps that's something I'll actually do in this new year: "Evangelizing with your story." 

Thanks for joining me in some Monday rambles! I hope that each of you have a lovely day :) 


  1. I love Bengal Spice!! My mom introduced me to it a few years ago, and it's been a favorite ever since.
    What a wonderful birthday!! I'm glad you got to have such a nice day :)

  2. Ahhh! I love Bengal Spice too and so few people do!

    Thanks so much for the shoutout for my post. <3 So grateful it resonated with you and encouraged you. God is good.

    1. I think it may have been a post that you made in the FoC group asking for tea recommendations where I first heard of Bengal Spice (I know I heard about it from that group at some point in the past handful of months). I am so grateful that this tea is in my life now; it's just awesome and I love that I can drink it at nighttime without danger of being hyped up on caffeine! And my pleasure-thank you for sharing such wonderful reflections on motherhood!