What I Wore (Palm) Sunday

…to be remembered as the Sunday I got locked out the church and missed the entire homily, and not even at the same time.

Okay, so. Miss Maddy is having what I certainly hope is a growth spurt, which resulted in one (non-consecutive) hour of sleep for me last night. For a fun little stat, consider that our Mass today was twice as long as all the sleep I had. Ouch.

Due to Johnny's crazy work schedule and the fact that he's the schola director, he left early this morning and Maddy and I went to Mass separately. He took a turn holding her during the Gospel, and immediately after, I decided to seize the opportunity (my first in five hours) to go to the bathroom during the pre-homily announcements. Before I did, Johnny asked me to run out to the car to grab a chant book he forgot (A+s all around today…). On the way back in, I discovered that all the church doors were locked. Finally, I got to the farthest door from the parking lot, the door through which the Palm Sunday procession had entered just minutes before. Also locked, but Johnny was standing right there with Maddy and let me in.

I was still on my original mission of a bathroom trip, and I thought I'd surely have time for that (only about three minutes had passed since the end of the Gospel). It's a good thing I don't gamble for money, because when I came back, the homily was over. There was Johnny, standing in the front of the church, directing the Credo while holding our wide-awake, multi-colored afghan-swaddled baby. Someday we'll look back and laugh, right?


Dress: Motherhood Maternity

Sweater: Loft via Twice ($1.11, including shipping!)

Scarf: Hand-knit by me, worn due to outdoor procession and 35-degree weather


I don't usually mix patterns, so I'm hoping that stripes and spots was actually a good idea, and not just the result of a sleep-deprived delusion. No need to tell me if it was. ūüėČ



Linking up with FLAP for What I Wore Sunday!



7 Quick Takes: Very quick indeed

— 1 —


First, this weather. ¬†It snowed for most of today. ¬†Is it because our Christmas lights are still up? ¬†At this point, I’m kinda just planning¬†on turning them on for Easter.

— 2 —


After several very long months, we’re all looking forward to April, when Johnny’s work schedule will get significantly more normal. ¬†Today is day 13 in a row that he’s put in a full day at the office, and it’s been several months since he’s had a work-free day. ¬†I’m sure he’s looking forward to it more than I am, but man…I’m really looking forward to it. ¬†We’re going to do crazy things like sleeping in on the weekends and eating dinner before 9:00. ¬†Living on the edge.

— 3 —

If you have 20 minutes or so, I recommend reading this article about the “Gentleman Thief” of Venice. ¬†Besides the story itself (which is worth reading), the illustrations are very fun.

— 4 —


Now that Holy Week is upon us, I’m feeling the pressure to get all of our altar cloths finished. ¬†With the purchase of rose fabric (not pictured), we finally have all the necessary colors (though I’m always on the lookout for gold). ¬†I just need to iron and hem them, and we should be equipped for all liturgical needs.

— 5 —


As a more ambitious sewing project, I’m stepping up to the plate as “Mom of a little girl” by attempting to make matching Easter outfits for Maddy and myself. ¬†I chose simple patterns, though that wasn’t enough to satisfy the woman at Joann’s who said with a frown, “Yes…I’m sure you can do it.” ¬†Now I want to get them done just to go back there to show her.

— 6 —

Well, I’m running out of steam here. ¬†I’m guessing it’s because I’m accompanying the¬†Notre Dame basketball game with a beer, and I’m still somewhat short of my (never impressive) tolerance. ¬†At the risk of blogging under the influence, I’m just going to say Go Irish, and leave you with baby photos:

— 7 —


Happy six weeks to Maddy! ¬†Today was the first time I got her to smile by tickling her, which is a fun milestone. ¬†She’s been lifting her head up much better and staying awake and alert for longer stretches, so she’s really starting to become more interactive.


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

Passiontide for the Cheap and Lazy

In which I lose any and all credibility as a church lady of good taste.

It’s possible that tonight, Johnny and I have reached new lows in following the letter of the law at the expense of everything else. ¬†He asked last week if it would be possible for me to make purple Passiontide coverings for all of our sacred art. ¬†I quickly realized two things: I didn’t want to hem 10+ little squares of fabric, and I didn’t want to pay for enough non-fraying fabric to cover everything (seriously, it was $12 a yard). ¬†This led us to tonight’s scavenger hunt: Find All the Purple Stuff in the House.

I did buy tissue paper at Hobby Lobby, because at $1.29 a package, there wasn’t much at stake if it flopped. ¬†Well, flop or not, it’s now covering a fair percentage of our walls.


Don’t worry – it looks just as great in person.

Next up, I needed something to cover the canonized popes on Maddy’s Pope Mobile (jealous?). ¬†I realized that Post-Its would be perfect, but the only purple ones on hand were large flags. ¬†Forgive me, JP2 and Pius X.passiontide-7

Finally, Johnny wanted the crucifix on our home altar to have something a little nicer. ¬†Enter…a purple onesie.passiontide-8

At least it’s somewhat penitential to look around now, so that must count for something, right? ¬†The chances that I’ll remember to do better next year are pretty low, so I’ll just set a goal of classing up this tradition by the time our children are old enough to remember.

Baptism Candle Tutorial


When we were planning Maddy's Baptism, I wanted the mementos of the day to be as beautiful as possible. Baptism only happens once, after all, but I'd love for her gown to become an heirloom and I hope to light her candle every year on her Baptism day. The gown came together beautifully, thanks to my mom's efforts, but a survey of the Baptism candle options was disappointing. They all had a distinct…felt banner vibe that I wanted to avoid. I'm pretty sure I could've gotten one to match my own late-'80s model. Then Mom sent me a link to this tutorial for a custom candle, and I decided that it was a craft that even my mom-to-a-newborn brain could handle. Given an attempt or two, I was right.


  • Pillar candle (Mine came fromh Hobby Lobby. Make sure you don't get one with a pearlized finish; the coating keeps the wax from melting properly. That was Attempt #1.)
  • Tissue paper
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors (fine-edged, such as cuticle scissors, are better)
  • Blow dryer

Cut a piece of tissue paper slightly smaller than a regular letter-sized page. Try to keep it as wrinkle-free as possible.

Tack the tissue paper onto a plain sheet with a little glue. You want it to stay in place as it goes through the printer, but every part you glue cannot be used as real estate for printing your design, so don't overdo it.


For the art, I googled things like “dove line art” and “baptsm shell.” Choosing your art is where you can really get creative. Heck, if the “felt banner” style is your thing, go for it. I did some simple layouts in Publisher with her name and the date. The only real trick is to keep your page layout clear of the glued spots on your paper.


Put the paper through the bypass tray of your printer, and say a little prayer that it works. Who's the patron saint of printer jams? I'm going to go with Anonymous Manuscript-Copying Monks of the Middle Ages. Anyway, my printer took the paper just fine, and I was ready to do some cutting.



As you cut, the tissue paper separates from the backing paper. The design above was a first draft; I decided that they looked better with a defined border, which led me to create the ones below. Of those, the one on the right won out.



Next comes a step that requires two hands and is thus pretty much impossible to photograph, so I'll just describe it. Hold the tissue paper in place on the candle and blow dry it until the wax melts enough to secure it. I found that it worked best on the hottest and slowest setting. It seems like it's taking forever, but just as your fingers are scorching and you're about to give up, the wax gets a little shiny. Then it starts to soak through the tissue paper, and once that has happened all over, you're done! Just put it in a candle holder to cool (gently! It's pliable.) and let it rest a bit.



Lessons of Motherhood: The First Month

In honor of Maddy’s one-month birthday, here are some lessons I’ve learned since then.

Day 3: Send thank you cards to and/or buy stock in every company that makes products with “epi-” or “peri-” in the name.

Day 4: Chardonnay: more effective than any narcotics (cheaper, too, thanks to my taste in wine).

Day 7: Boys may be more notorious for peeing during diaper changes, but girls can hold their own (or not hold it, in this case). Daddy has been christened.

Day 10: Hell hath no fury like a mother whose doorbell is rung – twice – during naptime.Day 9: The office sent a congratulatory collection of potted plants. If there’s one thing new parents need, it’s another thing to keep alive.

Day 11: Managed a shower alone with the baby for the first time. Feeling like super-mom, which is funny considering that all I did was *not* wake her up for 15 minutes.

Day 14: First solo outing. All diapers are not created equal. After a total explosion on the 6-minute drive to Aldi, I’m not feeling the Luvs. Also, no changing table at Aldi.

Day 19: So this is why the carts at Costco are so big.


Day 21: Johnny just discovered what the peri bottle in the bathroom is for. “I dunno; I didn’t really notice it sitting there.”

Day 22: Get stroller to Target for maiden voyage. Spend 5 minutes trying to remember the “One Second Unfold(tm).” Push for 20 seconds before realizing that the tires are all flat. Given the lack of pump at home, spend 10 minutes in the bike aisle trying to find one that fits. Give up, return stroller to car, and carry baby.

Day 25: Cleaning your glasses using the nearest handy cloth: habit. Using the burp rag: bad.




Maddy at Two Weeks

Here we go, with my attempt to have a bloggy baby book…

At two weeks old, Maddy is starting to have more identifiable routines, which is helping us all get our feet under ourselves again. For example, I’ve figured out that she won’t be put down at this time of day, which happens to coincide with dinner-prep time. I’m hoping I outsmarted her by starting dinner in the crock pot earlier today.

She sleeps for pretty long stretches every night; we nurse two or three times, and she spends about 40 minutes quietly awake at some point during the night. All in all, we’re feeling pretty well-rested (and yeah…I’m sure I just jinxed us).

Unfortunately, she seems to have inherited her father’s childhood propensity for regurgitation, and her mother’s extreme aversion to the same. It’s kind of the worst possible combination, so hopefully her stomach and my milk supply meet in the middle soon. In the meantime, she’s eating and gaining weight like a champ, so I’m not too worried. In fact, she outgrew her first outfit yesterday (thanks to length, not girth, but that’ll happen soon).

Last week at our pediatrician visit, we met with the on-staff lactation consultant, an older woman with a heavy Boston accent who gave me her cell phone number while emphasizing that she’s mostly deaf (“But call me any time of day!”). Thanks to Maddy’s impressive nursing recital, she didn’t have a lot to add. In what is becoming a running theme of our post-delivery experiences, the LC couldn’t believe this was our first baby (she can get in line behind one of my OBs, who tried to send us home early because he forgot this was our first rodeo). I guess we’re fooling someone, anyway.

Maddy is a lot more alert than she used to be, and it’s obvious that her vision is getting clearer. She likes to stare at the wedding photos above our couch, and it’s not uncommon for her to fix Johnny or I with a long, intense, slightly-crosseyed stare. But by far her favorite thing to stare at is herself, in the mirror next to her changing table. Without fail, “Mirror Baby” is her steadfast companion through the most harrowing of diaper changes.

In case you’re not inclined to watch that only-a-grandmother-could-love-it video, let me offer an alternate that’s pretty close: