7 Quick Takes Friday - December 21, 2012

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Maybe it's just me, but the first words that come to mind when someone says "Lenten retreat" are not "Caribbean cruise." Am I right?

At any rate, it's not a terrible idea to show Simcha some love today, given that she's being attacked by the Minions of Voris.

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I sent a Christmas card to Fr. Luke Suarez, priest in Newtown, CT today. Poor man. What a crushing burden he has, and so soon into his ministry.

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If you're looking for a random act of kindness to do today, please visit this post to learn how you can help out a fellow Catholic mom blogger who is in need of some Christmas cheer!

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The kids and I set up and decorated our Christmas tree on Sunday:

Gabriel was impressed:

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My eldest son asked me to take a picture of him after we got dressed for church last Saturday. Isn't he handsome?

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I'm thrilled to say that I'm officially a prayer warrior for Joann:

Look at that face! And that hair! What a sweetie.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Christmas Emergency - Spread the Word!

The Anchoress writes:
There is an agency in Paterson, New Jersey, connected to Catholic Charities, and doing outreach and counseling for troubled families — in some cases Dad is jail or recently out — who are struggling to make it and succeed as families.
Normally, this organization receives donations of toys from specific outlets, and the run-offs from other charities but this year, because it is New Jersey, where Hurricane Sandy has already cut into stores of toys meant for Christmas, this group has received nothing. Normal avenues — like the Sheriff’s Department and even a famous toy store — have come up empty. There is too much need, not enough to go around, and this group is afraid they will have to cancel their Christmas party (“a Hot-Chocolate-and-Toy Giveaway”), because how can you have a Christmas party — even a modest one — for kids (toddlers to around age 14) and have no gifts?
Spread the word, folks! An address to which to send gifts is at her link. If you can't help with a material gift, spreading the message via social media and prayer support are both very much appreciated.

The Question of Evil

I was going to do Quick Takes today, but then I heard the news about the school shooting.

My father is an assistant principal at an elementary school in New Town, North Dakota. The first news story I saw today said something about a school shooting in Newtown and that the principal had been killed. My heart just about stopped until I read further and it said Connecticut. I cried tears of relief, but also horror.

My mother is a teacher, too. So is my stepsister. I have aunts, uncles, cousins, and dear friends who are teachers.  I have a daughter in elementary school and a son who starts kindergarten next year. I hope to God I never get a call like the one so many people -- too many people -- received today.

I can't fathom this evil. I just can't understand it. I suppose I should be grateful I can't. All I can do is pray, pray, pray for everyone involved.

A Prayer To The Holy Innocents

Holy Innocents, you died before you were old enough to know what life means, pray for all children who die young that God may gather them into His loving arms.

Holy Innocents, you were killed because one man was filled with hatred, pray for those who hate that God may touch their hearts and fill them with love.

Holy Innocents, you experienced a violent death, pray for all who are affected by violence that they may find peace and love.

Holy Innocents, your parents grieved for you with deep and lasting sorrow, pray for all parents who have lost young children that God may wrap a warm blanket of comfort around them.

Holy Innocents, those around you certainly felt helpless to prevent your deaths, pray for all who feel helpless in their circumstances that they may cling to God for courage and hope.

Holy Innocents, you who are now in Heaven, pray for all of us that one day we may join you there to bask in God's love forever.


Catechism of the Catholic Church, #309:

If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.

7 Quick Takes Friday - December 7, 2012

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Please, please pray (and fast if you can) for Baby Dominic and his family today. St. Dominic, St. Padre Pio, St. Nicholas, St. Ambrose, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, St. Peter Benedict Shock, St. Henry Dobrovits, pray for them!

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Last weekend, we went to the annual Knights of Columbus party, and guess who was there!

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Look what came in the mail yesterday!

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Elanor drew the following during Mass last weekend:

Yes, that is Mary and the disciple John at the foot of the cross. I am one proud mama.

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Incidentally, if I read one more blog post about how daycares are the epitome of all that is evil and wrong in the world, and how no mother who truly loved her children would ever sent them to such hellish places, I'm going to scream and throw something. I went to daycare as a kid, and somehow I survived, as did my siblings.

Yes, my kids go to daycare, and have since they were infants. I wish I could stay at home with then, but it's not possible. Our daycare is not a cesspool of filth with 50 kids to 1 adult, and our caregivers are not overworked and underpaid drudges who hate their jobs and their lives. It's ticking me off more than a little at the assumption that all daycares are like that.

What about the SAHM who earns extra money by watching a few kids in her home, in addition to her own, during the week? Is she evil incarnate, too? Are her kids going to grow up to be serial killers just because she gets paid to watch three or so extra kids?

I'd better stop before this turns into a blog post of its own, but seriously. Not all daycares are created equal, and some of us who have no choice but to work outside the home put a lot of thought and effort into choosing caregivers for our children. We don't just plop them in some run-down center where they're locked in cages and fed bread and water, and call it good.

Ahem. Stopping now. Really.
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Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, pray for us!
(photo from here)

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I have fallen in love with sweet Joann - and not just due to her name. Look at that red hair and sweet face! Oh, I hope she finds her forever family soon.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Possessive last names make the Baby Jesus cry

Originally blogged last year, but it bears repeating.

Don't make Baby Jesus cry.

A Christmas card PSA from your friendly neighborhood grammar/punctuation freak:

When signing your Christmas card/letter (or return address labels), do not sign them like so:

Merry Christmas from the Wahlund's!

If your intention is to send Christmas greetings on behalf of your entire family, then you want your last name to be plural, not possessive. For example:

Merry Christmas from the Wahlunds! means there is more than one Wahlund wishing you a Merry Christmas. In fact, the entire Wahlund family wishes you a Merry Christmas!

The possessive form, on the other hand, indicates that something belonging to the Wahlund family is wishing you a Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas from the Wahlund's... what? The Wahlund's cat? The Wahlund's dog? The Wahlund's thermonuclear bomb facility? 

If your last name ends with an 's' or 'z', then your best bet is to use a workaround such as, "Merry Christmas from the Glass family!" Or you could add an -es. But for the love of all that is holy and innocent, do not use an apostrophe to create a plural form of a surname. Please.

Baby Jesus will thank you.


Someone who has seen this on her received Christmas cards entirely too often.

Such sad news today.

Dear, sweet, two-year-old Henry died today due to complications from surgery.

Please pray for Carla and her family during this difficult, sorrowful time.

Lord of all gentleness, surround us with Your care and comfort us in our sorrow, for we grieve at the loss of this little child. As You washed Henry in the waters of baptism and welcomed him into the life of heaven, so call us one day to be reunited with him and share forever in the joy of Your kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our Mother of Sorrows, pray for us.

St. Henry, pray for us. 

Happy belated birthday, Gabriel!

I'm a day late, but yesterday we were busy celebrating. :)

I can't believe it's been a year since my sweet baby Gabriel was born!

One year ago yesterday, fresh from the womb

His first birthday started with morning snuggles from his big sister.

And ended with a birthday brownie after supper!

We love you, Gabriel!

This Is What We're Up Against

A few days ago, a Facebook friend (someone I knew in high school) posted the following:

I'd largely been ignoring posts like this, but I decided to respond.

There was more debate on the thread, but the OP sent me a private Facebook message and we had an interesting exchange. I'm posting it here (with her knowledge and permission) as an illustration of what we're up against. Based on other conversations I've had, this how many young women (mid-to-late-twenties) see the world. Her words are in green, and my responses to her are in blue.

Hi Joanna! First off, I am more than respectful of your choices. Coming from someone (like myself) who needed an abortion to save her life given the genetic disease I have...I am personally pro choice. I love my little girls that I already had and I wanted to live for them instead of die for a baby I hadn't even met.  

So, a baby isn't an actual child unless (general) you can "meet" them. I have to say I was rather offended by this, given that I have two children I never got to "meet" -- but who are still my beloved children nonetheless.

Not to say it was an easy choice for me and I still think about it. I assume you'll have the respect for me to keep this private. [Note: I did ask her permission to post this exchange on my blog at the end of our conversation, and she gave permission.] There have been and are some great Republicans and Democratic leaders :-) have a great day! You have a beautiful family.
I'm sorry you were lied to, but direct abortion is never necessary to save a woman's life. (I can send you proof of this.) I'm sorry you felt you had to make that choice, but even so 99.9% of women who abort do so for reasons other than life of the mother.

I had some great doctors at [Prestigious Hospitals] given me medical evidence to the contrary. They have all studied medicine. I think it was a good idea to listen to them. When you have M.D. behind your name, I will happily listen to your medical opinion.

I can put you in touch with several MDs who can prove that you were lied to, if you wish.

I am pretty happy doctoring at the best clinic in the nation. [Prestigious Hospital] had a great reputation and is world renowned

It's sad that the best clinic in the nation told you that you had to kill an innocent child to save yourself. It's never necessary. It may not be easy, or cheap, but it's never necessary. [Prestigious Hospital] has bought into the culture of death. They see unborn children as expendable, as opposed to innocent human beings with the right to life. That's why I never vote Democrat - I believe in human rights for all human beings, even in difficult situations.

And isn't a human right to decide what happens to your own body? No one has to have an abortion

Yes, but a baby has his/her own distinct body and DNA.

They have the right to choose

Not true. See theunchoice.com. Forced abortion still happens here. And: http://www.westernjournalism.com/nevada-judge-considers-forced-abortion-sterilization/

No one should have the right to choose death for an innocent human being.

So you would rather have unwanted babies born?

Now, note the jump in topics here. We'd been talking about her choice to abort due to medical reasons, and upon recommendation by her doctors. It segued into a generic "woman's right to choose," and all of a sudden she's saying that babies who aren't wanted should be killed. It doesn't sound like she's really thought about this topic all that much.

I don't believe anybody should be killed just because somebody else thinks they are unwanted. By that logic, we should just go in and kill everybody in foster care right now.

There is no such thing as an unwanted child. Millions of couples are currently waiting to adopt.

Abortion is a human rights issue. All human beings should have the right to life, born or unborn.

I don't think the scum that rape have the right to life

Scum that rape are not innocent human beings, are they? But at least they get due process of law before they are executed. Unborn children don't even get that much.

Are you pro death penalty?

Somehow, I knew that was coming...

It's really irrelevant to the question of abortion, because the unborn are always innocent. Convicted criminals are not, and society has the right to protect the citizens from them. However, I feel that in our society the death penalty is no longer necessary because we have effective ways to protect society without resorting to the death penalty.

Do you think divorce should be illegal?

Whaaa...? What does this have to do with abortion? I attempt to bring the conversation back on topic...

No, I frankly don't care what contracts the state chooses to enact or dissolve. But it's really irrelevant to the question of abortion, which is what we're discussing.

I am just fascinated by your views. Yes they are different than mine. You are an intelligent, well thought out woman though.

Sadly, it seems she's never heard the pro-life viewpoint expressed by an actual pro-lifer before.

Do you think it's acceptable that 99.9% of women get abortions for reasons other than rape/incest or life of the mother?

I think they should have the right to choose. I don't agree with everyone else's choice, no, but I also wouldn't have had 4 kids like you did. That doesn't mean that everyone should be limited to two children just because I think it is a good number.

I mean I think it is crazy it is so hard for people to adopt and that it costs so much money given any random drug addict woman can pop out an unwanted child whenever she wants.

So it's a "right to choose," with no thought as to the consequences of that choice.

And I don't think people should be able to choose death for another innocent human being. I believe all human beings have the right to life, regardless of the circumstances of their conception.

I don't think everyone should think or believe what I think or believe. We all have our own reasons. I think the balance and two party system we have is great

In the meantime, more innocent children will die, and Obama will continue persecuting the Catholic Church. The economy will keep tanking, gas prices will continue to rise, And jobs will be lost as companies shut down or slash hours in order to avoid having to comply with Obamacare.

I doubt given the nature of our country's government abortion will likely always be an option.

Perhaps. But with Obama in office, it will be much harder to enact regulations regarding health and safety.

I meant it will likely never not be an option.

Bush didn't take it off the table

More of the country is pro-life than ever before. At the very least, I would like to Roe versus Wade repealed so that individual states can enact their own regulations.

Now that Obama is back in office, he will be able to appoint judges to the Supreme Court who will continue to champion for abortion on demand without apology, at the expense of innocent lives.

But we'll keep working to change people's hearts and minds, and continue to provide assistance for those in crisis pregnancies.

I never voted for Bush, by the way, and I wasn't too thrilled about Romney when he got the nomination.

Fair enough.

Do you see what I saw? All her talking points are taken from Planned Parenthood's rhetoric. She gives no thought whatsoever to the children who die, only the women who shouldn't bring "unwanted" babies into the world. And when I asked if abortion on demand was acceptable, she dodged it by saying women "should have the right to choose." She won't say what it is they're choosing.


On Saturday, November 10, my husband graduated from the University of Phoenix with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology with an emphasis in Software Engineering.

His college career started in 1993, when he was 18 years old. Nineteen years later, after a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, his parents’ divorce, our marriage, six kids (four on earth, two in heaven), various full- and part-time jobs in the IT/tech support industry, and going to three different universities in two different states, off and on… he finally reached his goal.

The last two and a half years, he was taking classes full-time while working full-time and being a full-time parent.

The big moment is at 5:58.

Words cannot express my pride in him.

7 Quick Takes Friday - November 2, 2012

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Happy (belated) Halloween from my pumpkins!

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And from these pumpkins too -- Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz), Master Yoda, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker.

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Can you guess my costume? Answer is in #6....

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Trick-or-treating in style!

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But it can be tiring, too. 

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Have you guessed yet?

I was a Ramen Numeral.

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Here's hoping sweet Nannette will be able to celebrate Halloween with her forever family someday.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes Friday - October 26, 2012

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I've been a lazy blogger lately. Well, not so much lazy, more that blogging has dropped low on my list of priorities. Not sure if that will change anytime soon; now that we're entering Holiday/Birthday season (Gabe and I = Nov, Collin = Dec, Elanor = Jan, William = Feb, Violet = March), life will get even busier.


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Our camping trip to Roosevelt Lake was fun! We drove the Apache Trail (scary, but gorgeous), visited Tonto National Monument, and went to Mass at Holy Angels in Globe, AZ. We also had to make a quick trip to the Globe Wal-Mart after the first night to get some warmer clothes and an air mattress, which made the second night much more comfortable.

Here are a few pictures from the Apache Trail:

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Elanor drew the following at our campsite, using only a stick. She said it was a puppy.

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How YOU doin'?

Can you believe this little guy is going to be ONE next month (one month from today, actually!)? Neither can I.

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'Cause he thinks we're blessings, not punishments!

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Meet my son, the butterfly whisperer. We did this "Butterfly Adventure" thing at the State Fair and he was the only one of the kids the butterflies would go near. 

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No, I didn't try one. But I was tempted.

I had a deep fat fried Reese's peanut butter cup instead. Collin had, I kid you not, deep fat fried BUTTER. Ah, fair food.

---Bonus 8 ---

Violet has started calling coffee "foffee" -- just like Kara's Tessa! (I think that's where Violet learned it from, lol.) Coincidentally, you can buy great coffee to benefit Kara's adoption of Nico! What could be better?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Our ultrasound of Noel, at which we discovered s/he had died
Miscarriage Prayer
My Lord, the baby is dead! Why, my Lord—dare I ask why? It will not hear the whisper of the wind or see the beauty of its parents’ face—it will not see the beauty of Your creation or the flame of a sunrise. Why, my Lord?
“Why, My child--do you ask ‘why’? Well, I will tell you why. You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty—he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth.”
I am humbled before you, my Lord, for questioning Your wisdom, goodness, and love. I speak as a fool—forgive me. I acknowledge Your sovereign rights over life and death. I thank You for the life that began for so short a time to enjoy so long an Eternity. -- Mother M. Angelica
My positive pregnancy test with Chris
Missing my babies Noel (12/2006) and Chris (03/2009).

Also, please pray for a friend of mine who had a miscarriage today.

Going Off the Grid

Family camping trip this weekend at Theodore Roosevelt Lake. No Internet access. See y'all on the other side.

Today at Mass

William: "Are we going up to the chameleon?"

Me: "...what are you talking about?"

William: "The chameleon. Is it happening today?"

Me: "Do you mean COMMUNION?"

William: "Yeah!"

St. Francis, patron of chameleons, pray for us...

7 Quick Takes Friday - October 5, 2012

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Prayer request - Collin's grandmother fell the other day and fractured her pelvis. :( She's expected to make a full recovery, but she'll have to spend the next few weeks in a nursing home healing up and doing physical therapy. Please pray for Bernice's speedy recovery, and for Collin's grandfather Billy! Unfortunately, this means they'll be unable to attend Collin's graduation.

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One silver lining, though, is that the University of Phoenix streams the commencement ceremony live online, so his grandparents will still be able to watch him graduate even if they can't physically attend the ceremony. :)

--- 3 ---

I didn't watch the Presidential debate. I was too afraid I'd get so frustrated that I'd throw something at the TV. I did enjoy watching the recaps, however. And I definitely plan to watch the VP debate!

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Gabriel has started cruising along furniture now. I think he's set to be my earliest walker. (So far Violet holds the record at 16 months.) Ack! Where'd my baby go??

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Now that Collin has more time in the evenings and on weekends, we've having loads of fun playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have a level 17 Jedi Knight named Calantha.

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I can't believe it's already October! I'm still planning Halloween costumes... Gabriel will be Yoda (thanks to the adorable Yoda hat I won from Mary Originals a while back). William is either going to be Luke Skywalker or Spiderman again (he has both costumes and is leaning toward Spiderman). Elanor says she wants to be a cat, but has also expressed interest in being Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (and I'm bidding on an uber-adorable costume in her size right now; see #7). For Violet, I have no clue whatsoever. I have a (rather boyish) frog costume that might fit her, but I think I'll scout around the thrift stores and see if I can find something cuter for her.

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Check out Kara's Halloween auction! Lots of cute items up for bid (including one I donated)! She's also hosting an iPad Giveaway with lots of great runner-up prizes. Please contribute if you can; we need to get Nico home to his family!!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes Saturday - September 29, 2012

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Happy Feast of the Archangels, and happy feast day to my baby boy! I think we'll have angel hair pasta for supper to celebrate.

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I need input! I'm planning a graduation reception/party for Collin on the day he goes through the University of Phoenix commencement ceremony (November 10). Any ideas for food, drinks, decor, etc.? I'm thinking a general gaming/poker theme. Any great party food that can be made ahead of time and frozen, or a cookbook with such recipes? Give me your ideas!

--- 3 ---

My mother and stepfather are flying down for Collin's graduation! Mom hasn't been here since early 2010 (she came a month or two before Violet was born) and my stepdad has never been to our house, so I'm very excited!

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I signed up for FlockNote's "Read the Catechism in a Year" mailing list. What a cool idea for the Year of Faith!

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I tried to get a picture of all 4 kids looking at the camera and smiling last weekend. This was the best of the lot. I love Gabriel's expression!

--- 6 ---

The fall 40 Days for Life campaign has started up again! Join in at a location near you!

--- 7 ---

I'm so thrilled that Kara and her family have been able to publicly announce that they are Nico's family!!! So happy and excited for them!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Don't Read My Blog!

Instead, go check out the e-mail that Heidi sent out yesterday, as posted at Leila's Orphan Report blog!! You won't believe how God is blessing their adoption of Peter through the incredible generosity of others!

Then come back and read my blog. (If I can ever emerge from baby teething purgatory long enough to bang out an actual post...)

7 Quick Takes Friday - September 21, 2012

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It's not "official" per se, although he has submitted his application for graduation. But there's no reason to expect that his application won't be approved, especially given that he's graduating with a GPA of 3.88 (with honors!). I'm so proud of him, and so happy to have nights/weekends back with him!

He's going to go through the ceremony on November 10, and the ceremony will be streamed live via webcast. That's awesome news for our friends and family who won't be able to attend in person! Now I just need to find time to make and send graduation announcements...

--- 2 ---

Collin surprised me last weekend with tickets to Les Miserables. I was so thrilled! Seeing a professional production of Les Mis is a bucket-list item of mine, and I was so happy to be able to cross it off. (And a huge thank you to Kara for watching the kids!)

I had no idea we were going until we got to Kara's place, and even then Collin wouldn't tell me what we were seeing, just that he was taking me out on a special date night. I guessed it, though, and shrieked aloud with joy.

The show was phenomenal. There was a technical glitch in the middle that cut short "The People's Song" and caused a short delay, but otherwise the production was flawless. 

--- 3 ---

Before the show, we ate at Casey Moore's Oyster House. It was fantastic! Collin said they were the best oysters he'd ever had, and my chicken piccata was scrumptious.

--- 4 ---

Yes, I will be having one of these.
Girl's night tomorrow night! Woohoo! 8 Catholic women plus one adorable newborn baby (my goddaughter, baby Monica) - it's gonna be a good time!!!

--- 5 ---

 Speaking of my goddaughter --

Isn't she freaking adorable?

--- 6 ---

True, that.

--- 7 ---
Brant was born January 2007. This touches my heart because the first baby I lost to miscarriage was due in July 2007.

His family may be eligible for an additional $10,000 grant!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Welcome to The Catholic Working Mother

Click here to order The Catholic Working Mom’s Guide to Life , released May 28, 2019 by Our Sunday Visitor Press. My blog,  The Catholic ...