Thursday, May 31, 2012


Last night before she went to bed, Middle Sister told me that she needed to wake up at 6 this morning. "I set my alarm, but come in and make sure I get up," she said. "Don't let me stay asleep. I HAVE to get up."

So at 6 this morning I knocked on her door and got a mumbled response. Opening it a crack, I reminded her that she wanted me to wake her at 6.

"I was up too late last night trying to get my mascara off," she replied sleepily.

"you told me to make sure you got up at 6," I said.


"You also told me not to take no for an answer."

"Well, I'm saying no," she shot back. At that point I figured that I'm going to lose either way, so I closed her door and went downstairs to enjoy my coffee before she gave me trouble for waking/not waking her--whichever she considered the greater offense at the time.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

How's It Going?

I get asked that a lot.

I look like I'm perfectly fine, except during a hot flash (at least a dozen a day) when I more closely resemble a tomato.

As of last Wednesday, I am allowed behind the wheel.

That's where the trouble started.

When you tell someone like me that she can get back behind the wheel, she will probably go right back to her old tricks:  6 errands in one morning because 3 of them were "on the way."

I'm not doing anything I'm not allowed to do, but I seem to be doing too much of the stuff that I am allowed to do.

And therefore, even though I look perfectly fine on the outside, I'm exhausted by this point in the afternoon--even on a day when I don't do too much.

I think I was better off when I wasn't allowed to drive, because I was necessarily limited in things I could do by where I could do things.  Clearly I am way too much of a Type A personality to do recuperation well.

TheDad is awfully good about the fact that he called last night at 7:30 and asked me to have the kids turn on the pool filter, waking me up when the phone rang--and then I hung up the phone and completely forgot about the pool.  "You're still healing," he reminds me patiently.

I keep forgetting about that until I find myself trying to stay awake at 3 in the afternoon and know that the next 6 hours are going to be a struggle.

Because really, except for the scar, which is always covered by my clothing, I look perfectly fine on the outside.

You know what I'm learning?  You can't judge someone who is ambling across a parking lot, right in your path.  You can't assume that because they look perfectly fine on the outside, they're fine on the inside too.  You can't assume that walking doesn't hurt them or that they have the energy to walk faster than that.

I hope I remember that even when I do have the energy to walk faster.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bite-Sized Prayers

In the past few weeks, my family was blessed by many friends who showed up here with dinner during my hospitalization and recovery at home.  I can't even express how wonderful it has been to be on the receiving end of a meal prepared and delivered with love.

And the kids are still raving about Sally's Magic Chicken--as well they should.  It was delicious.

Every time a casserole dish came through my front door, I made a silent promise to myself that I would repay the favor, or at the very least, pay it forward.  But I didn't expect that my first opportunity to do so would come quite so soon.

After yesterday's follow-up appointment with my surgeon, I've been cleared to drive (though it's still pretty uncomfortable to do that) and to increase activity gradually, except for heavy lifting.  I got back behind the wheel just in time to pick up a few ingredients for a dinner I'm making tonight for my friend Sally.

As I rolled up those turkey enchiladas, I prayed for Sally and her family.  I prayed for the soul of Sally's recently deceased mother.  And it occurred to me that when our friends made us lasagna, pot pie, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken with spinach and linguine, homemade mac & cheese, pot roast, turkey, antipasto and that Magic Chicken, they were probably praying too.  I know that the prayers and love that were stirred into those dinners helped with my healing.  And I hope that the prayers and love that I rolled into those enchiladas help to bring peace to Sally's heart and to her family in this difficult time.

Don't think for a minute that delivering a meal to a family during a difficult time is a silly gesture or, worse, an unwelcome intrusion.  I was guilty of thinking that--until folks did this wonderful service for us.  Now that I know how much it means, I've resolved never to hesitate to help someone out in this way.

After all, there's a prayer in every bite.

Friday, May 11, 2012

7 Quick Takes

So, it's been a whole week since I posted anything, and I saw Hallie's reminder about the Quick Takes and, well, why not?  Here's a look at the randomness of my world.

1.  I started back to "work" this week.  Since "work" for me means freelance writing, I am "working" from the comfort of my own couch.  I am thankful for laptops that allow me not to sit at a desk, because sitting in a straight chair is not comfortable yet.

2.  One of my freelance projects is a blog targeted to new parents.  Normally this project involves product spotlights and occasional recall announcements.  Yesterday I was asked to discuss the whole TIME magazine-attachment parenting debacle.

3.  I got some bread baked yesterday, because we were almost out of bread, and I didn't have time to walk down to 7-11 and get more.  Thanks to my Dough Machine, I made some at home.  Little Brother eats large quantities of toast every morning.  A double batch of Portuguese Easter Bread should do the trick.

4.  It's good to have some energy back, and there are some things I can do around the house now.  If someone gets me everything I need from the lower shelves, I can cook.  If someone carries the laundry to the basement and delivers the baskets of clean clothes, I can do the laundry, this ensuring that my yoga pants don't get put in the dryer and shrink to fit the 8-year-old neighbor.  I need those yoga pants right now!  I'm healing well on the outside and trying very hard to follow directions so I heal well on the inside too.

5.  Big Brother came home from college yesterday.  It's good to have him home.  Last night the Big Kids and I sat around eating ice cream, talking and laughing.  It was great.  But having him here is also good for my blood pressure; his school is in a not-so-great neighborhood of Philadelphia, so I often find myself obsessing over crime and accident reports on the news, google-mapping the address to see if it's anywhere near his dorm.  For the next 3 months, I don't have to do that.

6.  I've got a cookbook giveaway going on over at Mom's Fridge!  Check it out!

7.  Things I miss because I'm recovering:  daily Mass, helping out in the library at Little Brother's school, grocery shopping, track meets.  Things I don't miss:  driving, vacuuming, driving, mopping, driving, washing windows, and did I mention driving?  People have asked me if I'm getting stir-crazy because I can't go anyplace.  Honestly, no.  I can get out and walk; there's a Panera only about 1/4 mile away, so I can walk over there.  I'm sure I cancel out the "healthy" in the walk by bringing home a caramel latte, but I am powerless over the caramel latte.

Remember, the Quick Takes are being hosted at Betty Beguiles this week.  Why not link up?

Friday, May 04, 2012

Book Tour: Catholic Family Fun

It's an honor to be part of Sarah Reinhard's Catholic Family Fun Book Tour!  I was reading something else when this book arrived in the mail, but I dumped that in a hurry. You see, I've been a fan of Sarah's blog since she was mom to only one child (she has three now, like I do.) This book celebrates the fun we all want to have with our families and shows us how things like building a backyard obstacle course, eating breakfast for dinner, and singing camp songs are not only family fun, but Catholic family fun. 

What I like best about Catholic Family Fun is that you don't have to go all "Clark W. Griswold" on your family to incorporate the activities described in this book.  Just build it in; don't force it.

Activities in the book are apropriate for a wide range of ages and can be modified if you (like me) have a big age gap between the kids.  Age gaps mean ability differences and huge variations in interests, and that's an extra challenge when planning family activities.  With that in mind, the ideas in this book are labeled according to duration, cost and prep time.  The rest will vary, depending on how many children (and friends) are involved, and their ages.

Chapters in this book include such topics as silly things to do, story starters, crafts, food, outdoor fun, family field trips, saints, service and prayer.  There's a handy appendix at the back that shows you at a glance how much prep time, money, or run time is needed for each activity.  Of course, your mileage may vary there, given your particular family circumstances, but it's great to have a general idea.  Additional resources include a Facebook page and Catholic Family Fun website, which will be updated regularly with new activities and "extras" to coordinate with the book!

My only problem with this book?  It didn't come along until my youngest child turned 10!  I really could have used it when my Big Kids were little, but nooooooo.  Sarah is young enough that she could have been my Big Kids' babysitter.  For that matter, Sarah is young enough that I could have been her babysitter.  But we're peers in parenting now, and I have a huge respect for her.  Read her books or her blog and you'll find out why.

This is a book that will benefit parents, grandparents, teachers, catechists and friends.  Have fun together, and celebrate being Catholic all at the same time! 

Want your own copy?  Ask for it at your local Catholic bookstore, or visit the Catholic Family Fun website or Sarah's book page for purchasing information.  At $11.95, it's a family-friendly bargain!

I'm a stop on Sarah's Virtual Book Tour!  The only bad thing about the "virtual" part is that I don't get to meet her in person.  But read enough of her work, and you'll feel like you know her already.  If you're late to this Book Tour party, just use the link above to see all the reviews and interviews along the way.  I've found many wonderful "new-to-me" blogs thanks to this tour.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book, but no other compensation, for my participation in this Book Tour. All opinions are mine.