Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Postcard from the Volcano

I have put off writing this review, not because it's taken me this long to read the book, but because I wasn't sure what I wanted to say about it. I did some searching online to see what others have said about it, and haven't really found any other reviews. I know my opinion, but expressing it, in this case, is difficult.

A Postcard from the Volcano was written by Lucy Beckett. From the back cover, "Beginning in 1914 and ending on the eve of World War II, this epic story follows the coming of age and early manhood of the Prussian aristocrat, Max von Hofmannswaldau. From the idyllic surroundings of his ancestral home to the streets of cosmopolitan Breslau menaced by the Nazi SS, Hofmannswaldau deals with the truth about his own identity and confronts the modern ideologies that threaten the annihilation of millions of people."

Overall, I'd say it was a good read. I found the characters to be interesting and real, and the history to be fascinating. The story gets bogged down just a little with philosophical discussions, but at the same time, the book wouldn't be what it is without them. Thoughts of God, Christianity, Judaism, and Atheism are interwoven with the world of music, art, and philosophy. In many ways, Lucy Beckett touches on themes found in the modern world.

Each character faces their own moral dilemmas, and deals with them in very human ways. When Max's unborn baby is thoughtlessly aborted, we see the struggle that takes place within him. We feel the loneliness and loss when those Max love leave him behind one by one.

The one caveat I find is the almost sensual love Max is portrayed to have with his best friend Adam. Although it seems to be very innocent, after all it is one-sided and unacknowledged, it is enough to make the reader wonder what road they are being taken down. I am unsure if I am misconstruing the intent or reading too deeply. Perhaps that is the case. But these thoughts of Max are found throughout the book and seem hard to overlook.

I am very interested to see what others thought of this book, and if I'm the only one who saw this side of it.

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 A Postcard from the Volcano.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When It's 114F Outside

We long to be outside.

And veg in front of the TV and hibernate until October.

Another Preschooler Activity

Cornstarch, water, and food coloring. Alone, these three are nothing. But when their powers combine...

...they make for one happy kid.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Great Preschooler Learning Game

Initially, I only made the shapes with tape on the floor, with the idea that we would hop from one shape to the next when I called them out. Fritter wasn't really ready for that game yet, though. So, I remembered the beanbags I had made him a few months ago, and came up with this idea.

We had Fritter stand behind the line and when we called out a shape he had to toss the beanbag to that shape. He really enjoyed it and did very well. Dh and I took turns with him, and when it was our turn, he told us which shape to throw it to. We tried to get one beanbag into each shape.

It was really cute watching him think about the names of the shapes and which ones still needed a beanbag. And just think about all the skills this game helped him develop!

Of Baby's Ears and Grandma's Heart

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of you who have kept my grandmother in your prayers. The doctors were able to shock her heart into doing what it is supposed to be doing, and the last I heard she was being released from the hospital today and will be flying home tomorrow. God is good!

The title above mentions that this post is not just about my grandmother. Ladybug has been fighting a cold for about a week or so now, and while she has remained chipper, it's obvious she doesn't feel good. Yesterday morning, after coming home from a walk, she threw up all over the floor. I brought her into the doctor who looked her over and said we would just need to wait it out. She checked her ears and said they were perfectly pink and sent us home.

However, this morning, I went in to get her after she woke up from her nap to find her left ear filled with crusty blood. Completely alarmed, I brought her to my husband while I called her doctor. The things that ran through my mind were scary, as I'm sure you can imagine.

We were told to take her into a pediatric Urgent Care, where we were informed her ear drum had a small perforation that allowed the "juices" to come out from a severe ear infection.

The doctor said she'll be fine, and the perforation will heal quickly. She is on amoxicillin and a decongestant, and Tylenol as needed.

Poor little thing! She didn't even let me know. She was not especially fussy, she slept well last night, she has not been grabbing her ears, and just yesterday afternoon we were told they were perfect. *sigh* Now anytime she gets sick, I'll be worried about an ear infection and won't know what to look for.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Prayers Needed

My grandmother's heart has started beating irregularly, and so they have postponed her release at least another day. Please pray that her heart starts doing what it's supposed to do. Also, she's getting antsy sitting in bed all day and just wants to be at home, so please pray that she is given patience and comfort. Also, my grandfather could use a few prayers. He's 90 and this has understandably taken its toll. I will continue to update as I learn more.

Wordless Wednesday: Letting Sleeping Babies Lie

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thank You

for all your prayers. My grandmother's surgery went very well. The last update I had, she was still in ICU, but was expected to move to her room later today. She's already feisty, which is a good thing. We are praying she will be able to fly home on Friday. She still has quite a bit of healing to do, and is still faced with her mastectomy. Would you please continue to pray for a speedy recovery?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Please Pray

...for my grandmother who is having fairly serious surgery on her heart in the morning. She is all the way in Minnesota at the Mayo clinic, and will have to heal for a few days before she can get back on a plane and fly home to Wyoming. After she fully heals from this, she has to face another surgery for a mastectomy. Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mommy's Day Off

My dh gave me the day off today. The only stipulation was that I needed to come home to nurse. Easy enough. I left the house around 8 this morning and headed to Einstein Bros. Bagels. So good! I had never been there before, and I was not disappointed. I ate a bagel, drank my coffee, bought a water and people watched. I don't remember the last time I people watched. I think it was in high school. ;-)

I then headed to Hobby Lobby where I walked through the ENTIRE store. I got a pretty cross for our front door and some fabric to make pockets for my new apron. Then I decided to find a Big Lots, thinking I could maybe find a cheap, but pretty, magazine rack for our front room. No luck. But, on the way there, I drove through the downtown area of my city. I had never been in that area before. I felt like I was on an adventure. So home I went, concluding my first shift off.

On my second shift, I spent the entire two hours at Borders. I drank more coffee (an iced one this time, it was 110F degrees out) and read and daydreamed and brought home two fun books for the kids.

My third and final shift of my day off, I went to the chapel for Holy Hour, and then to end my lovely day on the right note, I went to Reconciliation. Filled with grace I went home, fully intending to stay that way.

Alas, soon enough I found myself knee deep in grumpy kids. The two year old was bouncing off the walls, because it's too hot to play outside. The baby seems to have caught a cold and refused to nap (or maybe it's allergies?).

So here I am, at the end of the day, the kids are in bed and I've had a relaxing bath. I'd like to say I stayed as grace filled as I was after reconciliation. I'd like to say I didn't yell at the two year old as he got into just about everything. I'd like to say I didn't snap at my husband while I was busy making dinner. I'd like to, but I can't.

I can say that on one of my breaks home, I cleaned the kitchen and made lunch for my husband and son and spoon fed the baby. I can say that I thought up a fun game to funnel the two year old's energy. I can say I rocked the fussy baby to sleep. I can say I apologized to my husband. I can say the dinner I made was good, even if it was quick. And I can say that I managed to get the floors swept so it doesn't feel like we are walking on sand.

It's not much, and it doesn't make up for anything, but it does show that I'm trying and I have faith that God will bless my efforts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wyoming Trip - Part 2

Part 1 is here

The cabin is in a fairly remote part of Wyoming. In order to get to it we had to drive up two sets of mountain switch-backs. It's a beautiful drive, and I only closed my eyes to the parts where my side of the car was closest to the drop-offs. *grin* (I'm very afraid of heights.) I marveled at the cows that seemed to be standing at a 45 degree angle. How did they get up there?!

Anyway, after the switchbacks, you actually drive through a raging river. Kidding, it's a creek, but the water does go up to the doors of a truck. Once, when dh and I were still engaged, we drove his dad's truck through the creek and the truck stalled right in the middle. Thankfully, it started up again soon after, so we didn't have to get wet. ;-)

After the creek, we parked and walked to the cabin. This is what greeted us.

To the left of the cabin.

The family cabin.

Directly to the right of the cabin.

The gentlemen hauled all the stuff up and more down, while my SIL cleaned the cabin and I took care of Fritter and Ladybug. The mosquitoes were thick and immune to even extra-super-duper strength DEET. We all came away with many bites.

Anyway, when we were able to settle into the cabin, things were easier, and we were able to keep the two year old contained. That night, the four exhausted adults, and two overtired children tried to share a one room cabin. Fritter kept popping out of bed and then we'd hear Ladybug laugh and then Fritter laugh. We told Fritter over and over again to lay down and go to sleep, but the laughing continued. Eventually, we realized that Ladybug was the one instigating the hilarity. She would stand up in her crib and laugh at Fritter in the cot next to her, and of course he would laugh too. Little sister is already getting big brother in trouble. ;-)

The next morning, we really had to stay on our toes. With a beaver pond right next to the cabin and a waterfall on the other side, I think I aged about 10 years.

DH and Fritter on the bridge in front of the cabin. One side is the pond, the other is this:

It wasn't all like that though. At one point Fritter did take a nap, and so did Ladybug, and I was able to sit and just enjoy the beauty of this place.

Tuesday afternoon, we drove back to my MIL's house, where we met up with Fritter's Godfather. We were only able to enjoy one day with him though, because Thursday we headed up to Billings, MT (a five hour drive) for a good friend's wedding.

To be continued...

Monday, July 13, 2009


I promise I will continue with our Wyoming Trip soon. I've been catching up here, and have also dived back in with Flylady (again).
If you've been following me on Twitter, you'll know that we had to come home early from a friend's daughter's quinceanera, because Fritter ran into the corner of the wall. He has a nice bump right above his eye, and though it didn't break the skin, it almost did.

This has been happening a lot recently. Today he was spinning Ladybug's exersaucer (she wasn't in it) and he slipped and hit his other eye on the bottom of it. He has blisters on the tips of his fingers, apparently from touching the hot stove.

Last Thursday, I noticed that one of Fritter's front teeth was turning a grey color. I read online that this can be caused by trauma to the tooth. The only time I can remember him hitting his mouth was a few weeks ago, and I didn't notice anything wrong then. So, I took him to the dentist today, who said that sometimes it takes awhile for the signs to show.

His tooth is grey and a little loose. I'm supposed to watch it for the next 4 weeks until we go in again. It's possible that it will heal, but since he's a thumb sucker, it could prolong it. It's also possible that the tooth will die and he will loose it. This is what I don't want to happen, but there's not much we can do.

This does explain why he's not been eating well, and perhaps why he's been so moody. The doctor also said that at night I should give him some ibuprofen, because when he lays down, the blood pools in the head (at least I think that's what he said), causing the tooth to throb. This could also explain why we've been having such a hard time with bedtime. *sigh*

My poor little man. I really hope he doesn't loose his tooth. I feel so helpless with him being all hurt. I half joked with my hubby the other night that we might want to invest in a space helmet to get him through the preschool years unmarred. ;-)

Friday, July 10, 2009

We've Got Ourselves A Stander!

The sad (or funny) part is, when she gets up, she can't get down, so getting her down for a nap has been interesting. She'll stand up, spit her paci onto the floor and cry until I come in and lay her back down. Funny girl.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


You can see pictures from our playdate I talked about yesterday over here. There are great pictures of the kids. Thanks Lora!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wyoming Trip - Part 1

We left town around 2 pm on Friday for our trip home to Wyoming. We were so excited to get out of town, and of course we hit traffic. It wasn't too bad, luckily, and soon enough we were out of the city. A few miles north of us, we began the climb to the high country. The roads are curvy and the elevation jump is no joke, and it wasn't too long after that we were parked on an exit ramp with stuff thrown out of the car, and the two year old stripped to his diaper.

After we got things cleaned up and headed back on the interstate, we noticed another car parked where we had, with things thrown out of the car and a little kid stripped to his diaper being wiped off by mom. As we pulled into town, I went into a gas station bathroom to better clean off said two year old's Ducky and Beers (that's what he calls his bear), and a girl was hugging the potty. Me thinks that's not a very fun pass.

Soon enough, we were on our way again. We traipsed through the desert in our air conditioning and marveled at how anyone could have ever lived out there 100 years ago. The rest of that day's trip was uneventful and we stopped at a hotel around 11ish.

The next morning, this is what we woke up to outside our hotel.

Fritter was so excited and talked about the "booloons" for hours. We had another long day ahead of us, but we were now in really pretty country, so it wasn't too bad. Because of all the rain recently, the rivers were full and the hills and mountains were green. We arrived at our destination a little after 4 on Saturday.

On Sunday, we rested and enjoyed the company of my B & SIL. They really took to Ladybug, and it was fun to see them play with her.

Monday we drove up to my husband's family cabin. We couldn't resist pulling off the road to take a picture.

To be continued...

A Few Of My Favorite Things

  • drawers filled with clean socks and underwear
  • clothes neatly hanging in the closet
  • quietly napping kids
  • a shiny sink
  • playgroup with a few of my favorite people
  • swept and mopped floors
  • quietly napping kids
  • large cups of ice water
  • swimming pools
  • air conditioning
  • quietly napping kids
  • time to sit alone and pray a rosary

Monday, July 6, 2009

We're Home!

I'll tell you all about our trip when I catch up a little at home.