A comment on the NY vote

“I apologize for those who feel offended,” Mr. Grisanti said, adding, “I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.”
- New York Times

What you say makes absolutely no sense, Mr. Grisanti, as no one was being denied rights prior to this vote. Every adult in the state of NY had the exact same rights: to marry one, non-related, unencumbered, consenting adult of the opposite sex.

Those are the exact same rights shared by you and your wife. They were not being denied to anyone before.

What you have done with this law is granted special, unnecessary privileges to a certain category of people based on their sexual preference, privileges that could have been granted by law without making a further mockery of the institution of marriage.

Please quit deluding yourself into thinking you're some sort of civil rights hero, because you aren't.

Our son: future deacon?

A few nights ago, as we were getting the kids ready for bed, William picked up a rather large, hardbound book of fairy tales and held it high in front of him. "Look, I'm being Jesus!" he said, pacing back and forth.

It took a minute, but we realized he was mimicking the deacon at Mass, when he goes to read the Gospel. After we stopped laughing, we explained that the deacon was not Jesus, but rather he was proclaiming the WORD of Jesus.

Then we beamed in pride. God willing, we have a future deacon -- or priest -- in our midst!

7 Quick Takes Friday - June 24, 2011

Thanks to Hallie for hosting this week while Jen is enjoying her babymoon!

1. I set up an ExpectNet Online Baby Pool for people to guess about Señor/ita Cuatro's sex, weight, birthday, etc.

Feel free to make a guess! Winner gets naming bragging rights. ;)

2. This week has been kind of tough pregnancy-wise. On Monday I was so dizzy I had to call in sick to work. I even went into the doctor, but he diagnosed it as a "weird pregnancy thing" and told me to push fluids, in case it was the heat. (On the up side, we got to hear baby's heartbeat again - nice and strong at 160bpm.)

Tuesday I was okay, but in the evening I became nauseous and the next day I had a headache all day which, as the day progressed, seemed to be developing into a migraine. (Thankfully, I was able to head it off with Tylenol PM and lots of sleep.) Today's been pretty good, and I'm hoping tomorrow will be as well.

3. Another weird thing that happened this week: my paycheck bounced. It turns out that the company who does my company's payroll is using a new bank, and one of the wire transfers was miskeyed, so the correct funds didn't get into the necessary account in time. I was affected, as was my boss, my boss' boss, and several of my co-workers. Luckily, we were alerted within hours of the screw-up, and Collin quickly transferred some money into our account from savings so we wouldn't overdraft. My company wired the money into our account the next day and are reimbursing NSF and wire transfer fees, so it's only a temporary annoyance instead of a big problem. Still, like I said, just one more bizarre thing in a very weird week.

4. I signed William up for T-ball yesterday! His uncle Chaun, who loves sports and has no sons of his own, has volunteered to take him. He starts July 16 and he is very excited!

5. I also got my first haircut in about six months yesterday. I didn't go very short but I took off some length (which feels much better in this heat) and added bangs and some layers. I'm pleased with how it looks.

6. My secret fantasy is to have one of those uber-short pixie cuts, something like this. However, I don't think I'll ever have the facial structure or body shape to really pull it off.

7. Finally, I leave you with this:

Makes me very excited for our upcoming vacation, even though I don't know if I'll be able to go on the new Star Tours (depends on what their restrictions are for pregnant women).

Happy Friday!

Happy Father's Day!

We have had a lovely day so far. We went to Mass, then to Collin's favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch, then to a movie (we saw Kung Fu Panda 2, which was very good) and now we're at home, about to grill steaks, have some cake, and have Collin open his gifts. I called my dad already, and Collin's currently talking to his.

I'm so grateful for all of the wonderful fathers in my life, especially my spiritual fathers. On this Father's Day, I think it's particularly important that we pray for our priests.

Lord Jesus, we your people pray to You for our priests. You have given them to us for OUR needs. We pray for them in THEIR needs.

We know that You have made them priests in the likeness of your own priesthood. You have consecrated them, set them aside, annointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with Your Body and Blood.

Yet we know, too, that they are one with us and share our human weaknesses. We know too that they are tempted to sin and discouragement as are we, needing to be ministered to, as do we, to be consoled and forgiven, as do we. Indeed, we thank You for choosing them from among us, so that they understand us as we understand them, suffer with us and rejoice with us, worry with us and trust with us, share our beings, our lives, our faith.

We ask that You give them this day the gift You gave Your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus: Your presence in their hearts, Your holiness in their souls, Your joy in their spirits. And let them see You face to face in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread.

We pray to You, O Lord, through Mary the mother of all priests, for Your priests and for ours. Amen.

Our priest, Father Hans, with Violet on the day she was born.

7 Quick Takes Friday - June 17, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. Quote of the Day: "I don't want a religion that accepts me for who I am. I know who I am and am unimpressed. I want a religion that calls me to be better than I am even as I resist it." ~ Matt Archbold from Creative Minority Report

2. Hello, second trimester! Some sources say 12 weeks is the beginning of the 2nd trimester, and others say 14, but no matter how you count it, I'm there, baby! (Fourteen weeks today.) The fatigue is a bit better but I'm still getting nausea from time to time -- had to take two Zofran on Tuesday, actually. Ugh. Here's hoping that dies down quickly.

3. We don't have any big plans for Father's Day... Collin might have too much homework for us to actually do any family activities together. :( Still, the kids and I have gifts for him and I'll probably cook a fancy supper (or we'll go out; he hasn't decided which he'd prefer) on Sunday. We'll also attend Mass, of course. We just received Inception via Netflix so maybe he and I will watch that on Saturday or Sunday after the kids are in bed.

4. I put on a maternity shirt this morning and was reminded of what seems to be the cardinal rule of maternity clothing: if a shirt is size XL, some manufacturers assume that the woman also has XXXXXXXL breasts. Thank goodness for Cami Secrets and safety pins.

5. Elanor has learned a new phrase: "But I didn't mean to!" She seems to think she can say it after being naughty and it excuses her from suffering the consequences of her actions. Not so, little girl, not so.

6. This made me chuckle:

7. Hey, did you know you can opt out of getting paper phone books? It's true!

Happy Friday!

A wonderful quote

Leila made a comment at her blog recently, and it was so wonderful and uplifting that I just have to share:

Children, every single one, are a complete and utter blessing. They are a gift from God to their families, their nations, the world. They are the hope and reason for our future. They are always a good, never an enemy. They are good for this world, and our greatest resource. They are made in the very image and likeness of God. I honestly can't think of any earthly thing better than a new baby.
All I can say is: Amen!

Our Harry Potter Love Story

The two of us, back in the day.

Betty Beguiles is hosting an engagement stories link round-up, so I thought I'd participate!

It was a dark and stormy night...

Oops, never mind. I slipped into my English major mode for a second there. :) Anyway...

It all started one fateful day in June 2000. I was a student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY, and I was still on campus because I was taking a summer class (Spanish 2030). I was in a campus computer lab, reading the latest rumors about the fourth Harry Potter book. I'd read the first book during Christmas break at the urging of my mother and my aunt Sheri; I'd been immediately hooked and ordered the second and third from Amazon in February. By that summer, I'd reread all three books a million times, was eagerly awaiting the fourth, and was a certified Harry Potter addict.

While looking for Harry Potter webpages on Yahoo! (remember, this was before the heyday of Facebook and forum-based message boards), I discovered that there were five or six Harry Potter “Yahoo! clubs” – forums where members conversed by posting messages at a common webpage. It was sort of like a message board, but more of a thread format.

I noticed one called Harry Potter for Grown-Ups, and it immediately piqued my interest. I'd wanted to join a Harry Potter web club or mailing list, but I'd been afraid that I'd wind up in the middle of a bunch of eleven-year-olds whose posts looked something like, "i lik hagrd becawse hes kewl." I was looking for conversation that was a bit more up to my level. So, I clicked on the link and started reading a few posts. I was delighted -- adults, having adult, mature discussions about Harry Potter! So, I signed up and began reading and posting messages regularly.

One day near the end of June, the group got into a discussion about why grown-ups enjoyed Harry Potter. One person thought it might be because we all wanted to revisit our childhoods, which sparked another conversation. (By the way, the entire record of this conversation is archived at the Harry Potter for Grown-Ups website, so feel free to go and look! You can search for messages by number, which is why I've provided them; I think their archives go back to 2000 and beyond.)

One member posted a message saying that she would only go back to her childhood if she could go back knowing what she knows now. I replied to her message in total agreement. My message was as follows:

Message 2949: My biggest problems in adolescence were worrying about how popular I was and how fat I was. If I could go back, I'd say to hell with society's conventions and really *live* my life without worrying about being popular or thin. I thought that because I wasn't thin, I wasn't worth anything -- thankfully, I now know that life is NOT a dress size, and I'm perfectly happy being a size 14. [Oh, to be a size 14 again...] I'm having the time of my life at college, and I have many wonderful friends who like me for ME, and not for what size I wear.

Soon, there was a reply to my post - a person by the ID of Jarnor23 (a.k.a. Collin Wahlund). His reply was as follows:

Message 2963: Oh, I'm in complete agreement about that. Waaay too many women are given this totally unrealistic idea about what a woman should look like. Personally, those uberthin women do NOT attract me. I know it might sound odd, but I actually prefer women who look like real women. There can even be something about a "flaw" that I find charming if the woman has a really beautiful personality that actually makes me feel the beauty of the woman is enhanced. And as much as the media would also like to make you think all men are steriotypical [sic] pigs who just want their supermodels, I'll bet you'll find a lot of guys who agree with this. Maybe not all, but then again, I've met some pretty superficial and shallow women too. ;)

Naturally, this reply astonished me. A man who didn't like the look of supermodels?? Who thought supermodels were too thin?? Was he for real?? The mischevious streak in me surfaced, and I replied with the following message:

Message 3019: Will you marry me? *grin*

I kid you not - that was my reply. Of course, at the time I was being facetious. However, Collin replied with:

Message 3064: Geez, I've never had a proposal before... er, how about a definite maybe? :)

I replied to that message with:

Message 3079: Sounds like a plan to me! :)

That, I thought, was the end of it. The next day, I traveled back to North Dakota, as my summer class had ended and I planned to spend the rest of the summer in my hometown. However, when I checked the board again I found his reply:

Message 3100: Sounds good by here too! So... maybe you might check your Yahoo mail for a little letter sent by electronic owl, and maybe I'll get a response back? :)

I checked my e-mail, and sure enough, there was an e-mail from Collin! After I replied, I posted the following response:
Message 3181: I just sent an e-owl in reply! :-) I think we'd better stick to owl post rather than this board for individual messages, because I think some people might be getting annoyed at us. :) Thanks for the letter!

After that, our correspondence continued via e-mail. For a solid week, we wrote e-mails back and forth, most of them 16k or more! We talked about EVERYTHING – Harry Potter, our hobbies, our likes and dislikes, etc. As it turned out, Collin had grown up in the same area I had (he'd lived in Valley City, Jamestown, and Fargo, ND, but was currently residing in Minneapolis, MN). We'd grown up about 40 miles away from one another, but hadn't “met” until we were living 850 miles apart! (Later, at our wedding, we discovered that my stepfather and his grandfather had known each other for many years, but neither of them made the connection until that day!)

During one of my e-mails I mentioned that I really wanted to go to the “Harry Potter Release Party” that the Fargo, ND Barnes & Noble was having to celebrate the release of the fourth book, but I didn't have anyone to go with and I really didn't want to go alone.

Collin surprised me by writing back and suggesting that we go together. I couldn't believe that he'd be willing to drive all the way from Minneapolis just to go to a Harry Potter party with me, but he insisted that it wasn't a problem. So, I said yes. We agreed to meet beforehand and go to a movie, then to the party, since the book wasn't being released until midnight and the party itself didn't start until 10pm or so.

The day we were to meet was July 7, 2000. I spent that day in Detroit Lakes with my best friend, Abbi (who was later my maid of honor), and confided in her that I had a date, and I was going to meet a guy that I'd met over the Internet. She was worried, but I assured her that we'd been talking weeks, and he didn't sound like an axe murderer. Besides, I was going to meet him in a well-lit place with plenty of people around (which is an excellent rule of thumb for meeting anyone from the Internet, by the way).

Later that evening, I drove back to Fargo and over to the mall movie theatre. We'd already exchanged pictures in prior e-mails, so I recognized him immediately. I'm not sure if it was love at first sight, but it was definitely "like" at first sight! He gave me a hug, and it felt very natural and very right. I think the thing that made me fall in love with him, though, was while we were standing in line to get our tickets (we saw the movie "Chicken Run," and it was great!). He turned to me, quite suddenly, and said, "My God, you're beautiful." I think I blushed and stammered something incredibly articulate like, "Oh, um, thank you." It was the tone, not the words, that had stunned me -– he sounded so incredibly awed and sincere.

After the movie, we went to the party at Barnes & Noble. We had a lot of fun – and we talked, and talked, and talked, and talked some more. We talked so much that we ended up sitting in his car in the parking lot until 2am! (Okay, maybe we did a little more than talking... but not much more.) ;)

I remember thinking, as I was driving home, that I had just met the man I was going to marry.

After that, we saw each other every single weekend. During one of our weekends, I accompanied him to his grandparents' fiftieth wedding anniversary party. We'd been dating about a month at that point, and I was very nervous to be meeting all of his relatives – parents, brothers, grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins – in one fell swoop. I was especially nervous because Collin had confided in me that he'd been getting some ribbing due to our age difference – I was 19, he was 25. However, the weekend went very well, and by the end of it his grandmother had asked me to call her Grandma (something, according to Collin, she'd never asked any other girlfriend of his to do), and his aunts were giving me wedding planning tips. (Never mind that we weren't engaged...)

It's a good thing gas prices were pretty low back then, as he was driving 470 miles, round-trip, every week – until it was time for me to go back to Laramie. I found myself reluctant to go back – it was so far away from him! I loved the University of Wyoming, but I didn't want to be 900 miles away from Collin. However, via LOTS of phone calls and e-mails, and even a visit from Collin a few months into the semester, our love continued to flourish and grow. During our conversations, marriage had come up several times, but he'd said that his finances wouldn't allow him to purchase a ring for some time, so I accepted that it would be a while before we could get officially engaged.

After the semester ended, I flew to Minneapolis to spend a week with Collin before going home for Christmas. Among other things, we planned to go and see the Harry Potter exhibit at Dayton's in downtown Minneapolis. (The original building is still there, but it changed to Marshall Fields, and now I think it's Macy's?) Collin had already attended, with his aunt Cheryl & her family, and said that I had to go see it. So, the day after I arrived, Sunday, December 17, 2000, we went to see it.

There was almost no line for the exhibit, which delighted me. Collin, however, was surprised but not particularly happy about it. I wondered why, but unbeknownst to me he was incredibly nervous and wanted to spend the time waiting in line to calm his nerves!

We went through the exhibit, talking the entire time, and at the end I sighed and said, "Wow, that was fantastic!"

Collin said, "It's not over yet."

I looked around, confused, because I didn't see anything else. Collin, however, handed me his program and said, "I don't think it's in your program."

I looked at his program. He'd taped a little sheet of paper to the end that basically said the last scene was where he proposed to me.

I looked at him, and he was on one knee with a ring in his hand, saying -- something. My mind was frozen! All I could think was, "A ring! He has a ring?? He has a ring!!" (It turns out he'd borrowed the money from his aunt Cheryl, and she had helped him pick it out. It was exactly the kind of ring I loved -- small, simple, classic.)

Suddenly, it occurred to my still-frozen mind that I should say something! I blurted, "Yes, yes, of course! Yes!" and gave him a hug.

The rest, to use a cliche, is history. We called all of our friends and family that night and broke the happy news. Everyone was very happy for us (although I doubt my mother will ever get over the shock!). We went over to his aunt Cheryl's house to celebrate by playing a game of Harry Potter trivia. I, of course, kicked butt. (The winning question? "What was the spell that Ron's twin brothers gave him to try on Scabbers?" The answer: "Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow; turn this stupid, fat rat yellow.")

Collin and I were married on September 1st, 2001 (the day that Harry Potter usually returns to Hogwarts via the Hogwarts Express -- which, geekily enough, was partially the reason that we picked that date, since July 31st wasn't a Saturday!), at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in my hometown in North Dakota. We're still very much in love and very happily married. Married life has had its ups and downs -- but luckily more ups than downs! :) Baby #4 is due on December 16, and I'm hoping s/he will wait a day and arrive on December 17, which will be the 11th anniversary of our engagement.

A picture from our wedding dance -- we hadn't intended the Harry Potter theme, but Collin's aunt showed up with HP glasses and started passing them around. Most of our wedding pics feature guests in HP glasses!

7 Quick Takes Friday - June 10, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. I was not expecting to see the parking lot of my office building cordoned off by police tape this morning. I had park a block away and use a different entrance. As it turns out, there was a shooting at the hotel next door this morning, and it involved a person shooting at police officers. Thankfully, no one was killed. I have no idea why they had to block off our parking lot, but luckily they opened it up again an hour or two after I got here so I was able to move my car.

2. Update on Señor/ita Cuatro - I had an OB appointment on Tuesday, and got to hear Baby's heartbeat. S/he kept moving around so we never got to hear it for more than a few seconds, but the NP estimated it was 150bpm. I think I've been feeling him/her kick for the past week, too. They're not butterfly flutters, either; these are genuine kicks. I think we've got a feisty one in there. :)

3. The belly's poking out, too; I'm already in maternity clothes. I still look just fat as opposed to pregnant, but I doubt it'll be that way for long. At least I haven't gained any weight, yet -- I've actually lost about 10lbs thanks to the nausea, and it's weight I can definitely afford to lose!

4. As I mentioned last week, I did indeed write a book review for Catholic Phoenix on Ann Margaret Lewis' "Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes." I was pleased to see that my review was also posted on the Ignatius Press blog, and the author herself commented on my piece over at CP!

5. I'm now reading "The Apostle of Common Sense," and even though I'm only a few pages in, I'm enjoying it immensely.

6. Elanor has her very first sleepover tonight! She's going to spend the night at her cousin Candyce's house. We've had Candyce over to our house to sleep over a few times, but Elly has never gone there, so this is a big event (for both of us!). I'm sure she'll do fine -- she loves going over to Uncle Chaun & Aunt Keri's house -- but I can't believe how big she's getting. I think the worst part will be dealing with the sad little boy who wants to sleep over, too.

7. My niece Adlee Beth was baptized into the Catholic Church last Sunday. Isn't she beautiful? I wish I could have been there. Yay for another sister in Christ!

Happy Friday!

7 Quick Takes Friday - June 3, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. 12 weeks today! According to my BabyCenter e-mail, the baby is about two inches crown-to-rump and is the size of a lime.

I have an appointment on Tuesday and I'm hoping we'll be able to hear his/her heartbeat via Doppler. I swear I felt the baby kick yesterday, but it could have easily been something else (such as wishful thinking).

2. I have a cold. Ugh. Seems to be a summer tradition with me. I caught bronchitis when I was pregnant with Violet. My nose is all stuffed up and my sinuses hurt.

3. William has been making huge strides potty training. For the last two days, he has voluntarily gone to the bathroom in the morning and evening, without me or Collin having to take him or remind him. I'm so thankful; it'll be nice to have only one in diapers for a while.

4. How adorable is my new nephew Carter? If I had more time off I'd drive the 14 hours and go see him! What a cutie!

5. I read a marvelous book earlier this week, one I've been meaning to purchase for quite some time. I noticed it was on sale at Ignatius Press when browsing Chesterton titles, as they were having a sale on all Chesterton books on his birthday (I bought The Apostle of Common Sense) so I picked it up too. It's Murder in the Vatican: the Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes. I think I'll write a review of it for Catholic Phoenix, but suffice it to say that I enjoyed it tremendously.

6. Speaking of Chesterton, I had a realization the other day. Collin and I were confirmed into Catholicism on Chesterton's birthday (May 29)! How cool is that?!

7. Something else very cool - Cam is giving away one of her beautiful snoods over at A Woman's Place! Head on over there and sign up!

Happy Friday!

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