The Scrawl Vol. 3, No. 2

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As of today, it’s been two months since the last edition of the Scrawl! Yikes! Part of the reason for this is procrastination (triggered by the terrible angst of having pictures on multiple devices and rarely getting a kid-free moment at the computer), but part of it has also been my deliberate attempts to live more present to my little family and devote the non-crazy-busy moments to worthy tasks (which doesn’t exclude blogging, but you get the general idea). We’ve been on the Fast Metabolism Diet for almost 12 weeks now, and while I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of it and am working out a good rhythm for it, it is still a lot of work, and much of my time is consumed by meal prep. But I’m excited to report that, for the first time since getting married, part of my normal daily routine (thank you John for letting me consistently sneak out during naps) includes personal devotional time, exercise, and a little bit of creating (sewing or painting or crafting of some sort). It really isn’t much, but considering that always before, these were things that I snuck after everyone else was in bed at night if I had the energy, it’s light years better. Of course, things still get tricky when I’m so exhausted that I have to sleep during naps or I’m behind on work or John is teething or something, and I still have my days where resentment of others’ quiet time when I have none sneaks in and I have to do battle with all those temptations, but it feels like such a huge step in the right direction.

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The kids are continuing to delight us with their development, play, and other antics. Maria is super into stories, and quotes her favorites all the time in her imaginative play. “Take this, Mama, it’s dripping honeycomb!” “He opened a bottle. Slime!” and so on. She loves to sing, sometimes songs she knows, sometimes ones she’s making up. The other day, she started out singing, “God loves a cheerful giver, hahahahaha!” and switched gradually to “God loves a cheerful dinner, hahahahaha!” She loves going places and having company over.

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John is walking now, and is proud to carry things in both hands as he toddles about, especially books. He’s expanded his vocabulary to include “nuh” (nurse), “muh!” (snack), and “gobbledegobbledegobble” (accompanying a hand down my shirt, this one also means nurse). He says “please” in sign language very well. He can climb down the stairs holding the railing (he never did learn to crawl down them backwards). He continues to love table food, especially meat and beans. He loves to play with Maria, and while some days they spend the greater part of their time together squabbling over one or two toys, books, or chairs, most days they play together peacefully. His favorite animal (at least in books) is the dog, whose sounds he loves to mimic.

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Stephen has continued to work hard with his painting job (which also includes sanding, drywall stuff, and all kinds of things that I’m sure I would not name accurately), and after Easter will begin another part time job, this one as Coordinator of Liturgy and Catechesis at a nearby parish. He’s added Ukrainian to his linguistic pursuits, and on occasion will oblige us by spelling our names in Cyrillic.


Stephen’s parents came for a visit this past week, which was lovely. We went out for ribs to celebrate his dad’s birthday and came home for lemon meringue pie. We got to go to a concert performed by the Wheaton Women’s Chorale at St Paul’s Cathedral, which was beautiful. And of course there were plenty of games and stories and shopping and lovely fellowship!

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Of course we’ve been keeping busy with plenty of other escapades; we’ve been trying to keep up a monthly Evensong and potluck, which has been delightful, and I’ve even found time for misadventures like slipping on the ice and falling on cement steps while holding John (we’re both fine) and being the lady with little kids that the drunk guy decided to sit behind that one night at Liturgy (thankfully we had plenty of people keeping an eye on us who were ready to move in when it appeared to be necessary). Besides this, our life has been pretty humdrum and peaceful. I think.

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I leave you with John’s exciting nap hair. Until next time!


The Scrawl Vol. 3, No. 1

Here it’s been how long since I last posted? Phew, but it’s been a crazy month or so.

We were sick a lot during Advent, so yet again, we didn’t get much of a chance to make Christmas goodies. We did manage soda cracker toffee, springerle, and I think maybe one other? I don’t remember what it was. And then we started a restrictive diet at the beginning of the year, so we couldn’t finish out the twelve days of Christmas with that sort of goodies, either. God willing, as long as we don’t have due dates (like hindered us last year) and nasty colds next Advent, we can do better!

“Take a picture with me, Mama!”

Busy with Grandpa. Stephen’s parents came for John’s first birthday and Christmas, and we had a lovely visit…until the Christmas plague began, and we all started dropping like flies.

One of my favorite Christmas picture outtakes. Crazy family.

Love these folks!

We got in some games and some first birthday cheesecake before everybody got miserable. As always, it was good to visit.

Taste testing the batter. Yum, yum!

John is a year old! He loves climbing, playing close-sister-in-the-closet, nursing, doors of all sorts, climbing, tuna, salmon, egg yolks, almond butter, jerky, hummus, and avocado (among other delicacies), climbing, outyelling everybody else at Mass, being silly, climbing, singing, and getting into the fridge. He says Mama, Dada, Jesus, and Hi. He cruises around furniture and stands alone very well. 

Having thus demolished his cheesecake…

How big is baby? So big!

Maria received kitchen toys for Christmas, and there really wasn’t anywhere for them to go, so on St Stephen’s Day, I took a diaper box and an Amazon box and made her a little stove to cook on and store everything in.

Busy, contented little man. I love the crossed ankles.

I made this little hand cross for John as an Epiphany gift. It’s just the right size for his little paws, and I enjoyed including the tiny details. Creating can be such a prayerful process for me, and I hope to make more time for it this year.

Our M bug got sick again last week. This time, she ended up with some (non infected) fluid in her right ear, which affects her hearing somewhat. She says “What!??” a lot, and I get better at enunciating my words.

The kids were dressed up pretty fancy this Sunday, so I was going to sit them down and get a picture of them together, but John just wanted to say hi to Baby Jesus.

The Scrawl Vol. 2, No. 26

It’s been a few weeks, so posting is more daunting, which means I’ve been procrastinating, sorry! We’ve had a couple weeks of a bad cold and it feels like we’re just coming out of the fog. This picture is from a few weeks ago; I had gone grocery shopping, and at the last stop, Maria fell asleep juuust as I pulled into the parking lot. Poor kids. They handled being woken and dragged into one more store pretty well; it helped that there was a Salvation Army bell ringer and I found some coins on the ground for Maria to put in the bucket.

We hosted the First Evensong of Advent at our place for our parish, with soup and fresh bread afterwards. Fresh bread, how I love thee. It went quite well, and we’re hoping to have Evensong here at least every couple of months, as long as everybody can fit in our little place.

John has big dreams of doing big things, and he wants all of them to come true. Like flushing the toilet. Brushing his teeth with Sister’s toothbrush. Cooking on the stovetop without anyone telling him silly things about the dangers of fire. Chewing on knives. Calling someone on Mommy’s phone. When he is thwarted in one of these or other dreams, his heart is broken. Was his hope truly in vain?

One of John’s greatest desires is to climb off an elevated surface onto another one, no matter the distance between the two.  In one day, he cut his lip doing this in the living room, then broke it open again doing the same in Maria’s bedroom.

Sister was pretty proud of herself for giving Brother a ride in her camp chair!

Before this cold hit, we managed to have cocoa (with candy canes from St Nicholas) and play a game of marbles on St Nicholas’ Day. Maria is finally getting the hang of it, and wants to play it all the time, which of course doesn’t work so well with John about. It’s hard to find ways to do things with her that he can’t do yet, because he still needs constant companionship. We worked it out that day, and I’m glad we did. She craves one on one time, and playing games makes her feel so grown up.

Playing peekaboo with Daddy’s pajama pants. He’s such an impish little guy, and so much fun just to spend time with.

Do you remember when I gave a rave review for the Healthy Farmgirl’s deodorant? We’ve been using it for about a nine months, and I still marvel at how well it works. If you haven’t yet, check it out! I know the price seems a bit steep, but Stephen’s only nearly done with his second, and I’m somehow still on my first, and it’s so so worth it. Anyway! Melinda has come out with a baby line of products! I was excited to try the baby bar soap, and was not disappointed – I used it for both the kids, but also for myself, testing especially on the more sensitive areas where I often get itchy. It’s a mild soap with a pleasant, clean scent, and I have been happy with how it has worked for us. I’ve been cringing at some of the fillers used in typical baby soaps, so I’m glad to have a very clean alternative. I’m also looking forward to someday (when the budget allows) trying some of her other bar soaps. Her Christmas scents look wonderful, who wouldn’t want to just smell like eggnog all season long?

Happy customers here!

Sorry that this post was a bit rushed…apparently my baby is turning one year old on Sunday, and I still haven’t finished writing out his birth story. Wasn’t he just born a couple weeks ago?

The Scrawl Vol. 2, No. 26

Just look at that crazy laughing face! What could be more hilarious than riding on Daddy’s shoulders?

Olive fingers!

Public Service Announcement: moldy dishwashers happen. And there are lots of places in dishwashers for mold to hide. After I noticed it creeping up on the dish racks, I did my research and rolled up my sleeves and blockaded my kitchen thusly, due to a certain little man’s desire to always dwell within the dishwasher.

Where there is a will, there is a way. I finally ended up strapping him in his booster seat, but even so, after I had put us all through the misery of 1.5 hours scrubbing (only about a third of which he was actually in his chair, but still), I had barely touched the surface, it seemed. I put everything back in the dishwasher and resigned myself to washing dishes by hand. Five days later, when Stephen’s dad and I decided to tackle the rest of it, much of the surfaces I’d cleaned off were recovered with mold. With a lot of elbow grease and persistence and Stephen’s mom helping out with John, we got all the mold out we could, and ran white vinegar through the dishwasher just in time to do prep dishes for Thanksgiving. I won’t be taking a clean dishwasher for granted anytime soon, and if I notice mold in there again, I know how to take care of it before it spreads!

Take a picture of me, Mommy!

This crazy man. Right in the midst of Thanksgiving prep, he started climbing everything. He can climb up on the step stool to lord it over sinks and counters, he can climb up to get things off the piano, he can turn on and off the tub and would likely climb inside if his attempts to do so were not so rudely interrupted. He doesn’t walk, though. He’s starting to stand without support for longer periods of time, but if you hold his hands and try to get him to take a step, he sits down with a defiant plop! I think he just wants to have it figured out so that he can do it perfectly on his first try.

Train rides!

He doesn’t usually hold still for pictures because the phone is too delicious not to grab. Love this little man.

And at it he comes!


Our Thanksgiving dinner table, minus the dressing, which had to be put back in the oven (I think it did that to me last time I made Thanksgiving dinner, six years ago in NZ, too). I was anticipating the dressing the most, but when I taste tested the gravy, I realized that it’s really the best part of the meal. Yum. We’ve been eating leftovers all week, which has been so nice.

From a trip to the park with Grandpa and Grandma H on one of the warmer days they were here.

Looks like Maria has the whole posing thing down better than John does, ha!

Stephen and I got to have a date with just the baby! We went to Mass, ate breakfast at Bruegger’s, went to Hobby Lobby, picked up some coffee (I’d been looking forward to that part for two weeks!), spent a few hours at Leaflet Missal (supposed to be Christmas shopping, but that was left for the last half hour or so after Stephen was done looking at all the books and I was going a little crazy with John and hunger), ate at Culver’s, then spent a half hour in the sunken gardens at Como before meeting Stephen’s folks for dinner. Maybe a little too much for one date, but it was good anyway.

It was super warm on Monday, so I took the kids to the park. I realized that it was the first time I’ve taken them alone since John was born, because it’s been something we’ve done for family time, but of course it gets dark too early to do it in the evening after Stephen gets home from work now.

The Scrawl Vol. 2, No. 25

Pulled out the vacuum, and these two wanted to take over. Vacuuming with 25 pounds of baby on one’s arm and a scampering big sister takes more coordination than one might expect.

Our little doorman. He’s fascinated with doors, and spends long periods of time opening and closing them.

He climbed up on the box and wasn’t sure how to get down…so he just sat down, hard.

“Sister, hurry up, I gotta go!” Ha. Not really. Remember what I was saying about doors? Well, he takes great offense at the bathroom door being closed, no matter who has done such a deed. And we have to close the door without fail, because it becomes very difficult to use the toilet when the baby is doing one of the following things that may or may not be dangerous: 1. Hanging over the side of the tub; 2. Pulling himself up to the sink; 3. Sticking his arm in the toilet; 4. Fishing through the garbage; 5. Crawling behind the toilet; 6. Checking out the toilet bowl brush; 7. Investigating things draped over the tub to dry; 8. If sister is on the toilet, trying to pull her off; 9. Unrolling the toilet paper roll; 10. Trying to open the door All the Way, which can’t happen because your knees are right there.

They got to watch the lawn workers blowing leaves, which was so exciting. And look. She’s resting her hand gently on his, not grasping at it desperately, as has been her wont for the past 10.5 months. There is yet hope!

Love these kids. It’s good to have a more relaxed week and be able to take time to watch them and interact with them more intentionally. 

Guess what I found?! A baby playing all by himself! You’d better believe I exercised without any help! Or did handwork or something. I can’t really remember what it was that I did, because that was yesterday. I do remember that it was something alone. Which was amazing.

Thank you all who have been praying for a job for Stephen. He is now happily employed, and we rejoice in God’s continued provision and in a new routine and in the hope of being able to make ends meet for a good while longer now.

The Scrawl Vol. 2, No. 24

This is my guy. Outlets and electrical cords and cast iron plant stands. And guess what? He’s stood on his own for a couple of seconds each time twice this week. He’s so much fun, loves jokes, and chasing with Daddy and sister.

Action shot. My sweet little puppy dog. He finds things and carries them in his mouth as he crawls.

Take a picture with me, too, Mama!

Maria decided to use the hat box to cook herself a scarf…I mean hot dog. And John has found a saucer this time.

We had a real snow yesterday! And because we didn’t have to go anywhere, we enjoyed the beauty of it, and the visual peace (the aural peace was disturbed by the roofers hammering and making loud bangs that had me anxiously looking up for falling bodies).

Still my baby.

The Scrawl Vol. 2, No. 23

Last week was peak week for our trees here, so we went on a glorious walk.

Green and red…

And gold and red

This tree is always my favorite. It’s always a beautiful array of colors and a lovely shape and can be seen way up the road.

Then to the park!

Maria’s phrase this week is “I sure can!” which is a pleasant response to a request for her to help with a task.

She gave Daddy and John a ride on the merry go round.

Four years of marriage now! Perhaps I should sit still long enough to think up a sappy and sentimental caption about how wonderful they’ve been, but what I have to say is that God is so good to us, all the time, and reveals his goodness to us in so many, many ways, and especially through the graces of the Sacrament of Marriage. And yeah, definitely even more in love than we were to begin with. Looking forward to the next forty six years of newlywed life.

After watching the repair man fix the ceiling in the laundry room, she found her dress up gloves and a clothes pin and proceeded to fix the wall.

Whenever Maria watches out the window, John tries to look too. I put him up on the chair with her (and stayed right behind him) so he could watch some movers with her.

This week the winds and cold have come, and the sunlight is glorious.

I was experimenting in the kitchen this week. Should I put up my recipe for chocolate filled challah?