Life is Worth Living

You Took 7 Kids Where!?!

We loaded up all 7 children and took them to a museum this morning.  And out to eat.

 

Are You Nuts!?!

Yes.  Yes, we are.

But you see, one gets desperate in the wintertime when we’ve had about four weeks of subzero weather.

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Here we are, finally ready to go.  It was quite the production just to get loaded up, as we had to do it twice.  The first time, the baby decided to load her pants and blow out her entire outfit.  So then we had to unload and then reload again, with clean clothes.

So today we drove even further north (not kidding) and made it to a  museum called the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn, ND,* where a kind lady met us at the door to charge admission.  This lady took one look at us all, and then decided that we qualified for the Group Rate because we had so many children that she couldn’t do the math to figure out how much to charge us for entry.

Now, did I learn anything at this museum?  Nope, because I was too busy either holding the baby or corralling the little children.

I did notice, however, this sign:

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Enter a caption

After I read that sign, I decided it was a very good thing to be born now, in these days, than to be alive 150 or so years ago.  Can you imagine daily killing rats!  Oh, no thank you.  I’ll gladly change dirty diapers all day.

Back to the Museum

My children thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  Thankfully at this museum there were a few wooden chests lying around that one could open up and feel free to get into the spirit of things by dressing up.

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Here’s a shot of the children sporting some fancy furs.

And here are the boys in some other fun coats and hats.

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So in all, the museum was a success.

And so was eating out.  I was a little nervous about this, but we just do what all sensible parents do.  We bribe them.

“Now children, if you’re really good at the diner, we’ll stop at the gas station and buy you fountain pops and candy for the ride home.”

“Yay!”

And that, my friends, is how you do it.

At the diner, I was very thankful that the waitress brought out their milks right away, as this gave them something to do.  But even better was that the milks had lids.  (See photo below.)  No sensible parent buys drinks for children without lids.

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Note the lids.

Secondly, while we waited for the food, I remembered that I had a pack of cards in my purse, so I gave it to the children, and they played Up and Down the River.  This kept them pretty quiet until the food came.

This was one of our most successful Dining Out Trips, for there were no major incidents.  So of course we drove straight to the gas station and bought them fountains pops and candy.

We listened to Anne of Green Gables on the way home.  I love that book.

Happy Presidents’ Day Y’all!

 

*Of course, after the initial fiasco of changing diapers and running back into the house for sundry objects – hats, sunglasses, water – we had to drive straight to a coffee shop.  One must be properly medicated with caffeine to survive this kind of endeavor.  And then we drove north towards the Arctic Tundra.  Might as well be in Canada.

 

Life is Worth Living

Lipstick: It’s Not Just For Your Grandmother. Most Popular Fun Post of 2018

As we’re nearing the end of the year, I thought I’d look back on my stats.  Today I’m reposting my Most Popular Fun Post of 2018.  Obviously this resonated with a lot of you.  Pass it on to your friends!

Later this week, I’ll repost my Most Popular Serious Post.

But today, enjoy a little lighter fare!

Lipstick: It’s Not Just For Your Grandmother

A week or so ago, I mentioned something very important in my post on How to Survive Barfing Children.  (Click HERE for it.)  You’ll notice that Point Number 2 mentions Lipstick.

It occurred to me yesterday afternoon that many of you may not understand this one.  You see, I grew up around a grandmother who was convinced that lipstick was the key to a great life.  Ok, other things were important to her too, like family and big jewelry, but there is something simple here that she taught me.

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Grandma Martha.  Not only did she always wear lipstick, but she also never left the house without a Big Fancy Hat on too.

While of course one can go overboard with relying on material things for happiness, there is something to say about a little dash of color and an attempt at looking well put together.  I always go back to what Paul Harvey, the decades-long, iconic radio broadcaster, had to say about it all.  You will always perform better if you dress the part.  Statistics prove it.  (Click HERE for a Wall Street Journal article on that.)

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Paul Harvey.  My grandmother named my father after him, literally.

My grandmother knew this secret—attempt to dress well, throw a little lipstick on, and Bam!  Most of the time, you’ll feel better.  No, it won’t solve all your problems, but it might help.

Now I know that many of you do not wear lipstick.  In fact you may not even own any brightly-colored fun-in-a-tube.  This is too bad because after all, St. Thomas himself speaks of it in his Summa Theologiae.  (Click HERE for that one.)  If there are any further lipstick naysayers, please know that I understand.  I was once one of you, as I gave it up for a time, just to see what it was like.  (I was miserable.)  And truly, I suppose it’s not for everyone.  (Like those with a vocation to the Carmelites?)  But for me, I had to go back to lipstick, because it’s just that fun.*

Some of you, however, may be thinking, “Yes, yes, lipstick is fun and all, but what will my husband think?”  Well, try it out.  Tonight when he arrives home, greet him at the door with your lipstick on and his favorite drink in your hand.  It will be impossible to not smile at that moment.  Lipstick is so powerful, after all, that you may even be wearing sweatpants, and you’ll still have fun.

So, when there just isn’t enough coffee in the house and your hairspray runs out and it’s -20 degrees outside and your children are all screaming…quietly walk to a mirror and brighten your day with a splash of hot pink.

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Or red.  I prefer red lipstick.
*Do I need to say, “all things in moderation?”  One probably shouldn’t own bags and bags of makeup?  You know that, right?
Life is Worth Living

Almost There! Photopost

It’s almost Christmas, and we’re getting ready!

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We hope you’re eating lots of cookies and chugging the sprinkles like this gal.
  1. A few weeks ago, here’s how I worked on my Christmas cards:

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    I love Asiago and red wine.
  2. And here is how I scrubbed onesies full of poop.  (Laundry doesn’t go away during the holidays.)  It just so happens that a dear friend stopped by and gave me the coffee.  May God bless her thoughtfulness!

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    Cheers!
  3. Here is my son traveling to his doctor appointment wherein we didn’t discover much of anything.

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    He says thank you for all the prayers!
  4. Here is our sweet Christmas tree.  It has a gaping hole in the back.  But that’s what you get when you wait until two days before Christmas Eve to buy one.  (As of last year, we decided to wait until the last possible moment to get one.  Oh the excitement!)  Then we decorate it on Christmas Eve.  Click HERE for last year’s Sweet Thang.

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    For the record, this tree was $11.25.
  5. And, here are the rest of the children helping with the cookies.
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I’m not sure if you can see it, but those cookies on the left are supposed to be Spritz.  They’re the worst ones I’ve ever made for two reasons.  1.  We had no almond extract.  2.  We also had no cookie press.  However, they are still edible.

In any case, I pray that your Christmas may be holy and jolly!  Come, Lord Jesus!

 

Life is Worth Living

Cocktails, the End of a Successful Hunt, and the TLM

The other day, well, I mean the other month, my husband made a few drinks.  I meant to share them with you then, but I forgot because I was busy.  So, I’ll share them today because they’re good, and we’re celebrating the end of a successful Hunting Season.

Now I’d like to share a photo of my husband’s dead deer too, but there isn’t one.  You see, he had a Doe Tag and according to him, “Does are hardly worth taking photos of.”  So not only will there be no photo of him with his deer, but there will of course be no antlers to mount on the garage walls.  The boys were seriously disappointed.  One can never have too many antlers on one’s walls apparently.

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Some antlers on our garage wall.
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A pile of antlers that haven’t made it to the wall yet.

 

Brandy Alexander & a Sidecar

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Which one is mine?

On to drinks.  As I said, we’re celebrating a swift end to the Hunting Season, and I’d like to highlight two of our favorites: a Brandy Alexander and a Sidecar.

The drink on the left is a Brandy Alexander.  My husband and I began drinking these after reading Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, in honor of Anthony Blanche.  Those of you who have read the book or watched the (good) version of the movie (with Jeremy Irons) know what we’re talking about.  There’s a scene wherein Anthony Blanche downs three of them in a row, which is a bit reckless, no?

Normally a Brandy Alexander is made with cream, but as we never have any on hand, my husband makes them with whole milk, which of course is not as creamy, but still good.

Brandy Alexander:
Equal parts Brandy, Creme de Cocoa, and Cream

Sidecars are way too strong for me, but my husband insists that they’re classic and tasteful.  I’d probably be rather drunk if I attempted one.  Nevertheless, here’s how they’re made.

Sidecar:
3 parts brandy, 1 part lemon, 1 part triple sec

Enjoy!

And lastly,

The Traditional Latin Mass

A good friend of mine sent me an article written by Jake Neu and published in Crisis Magazine this morning.  It’s excellent.  (Click HERE for it.)  It’s also interesting that more and more people are choosing to attend the TLM.

A big Thank You to Jake Neu.  Your sentiments are mine as well.

Life is Worth Living

Opening Day of Deer Season: A Solemnity

Now there are seasons that we celebrate in this household.  You know, like Christmas, Lent, Easter, Hunting, and Advent.  It just so happens that we’re about to embark on Hunting Season this weekend.  Today is in fact Opening Day for North Dakota.

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My husband celebrating Deer Season a year or so ago.

Like any other solemn undertaking, we begin this season with many prayers.  For example, the following prayer may be found in the Divine Office in the Proper of Seasons:

O Lord, please let my husband shoot a deer within the first hour of hunting.  You know, O Lord, how I cannot survive another Saturday without his presence.   I’m afraid I might yell.  And look like this:

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Help me.  I need You.  Amen.

As you know, Hunting Season commences with a Class 2 Feast Day, which is of course properly called Opening Day.*  You might also recall that at the recent Youth Synod in October many reforms were suggested by the youth to the Holy Father in the hopes of elevating this most important day.*

Suggested Reforms Coming Out of the Latest Synod

  1. Holy Father, We the Youth ask that Opening Day may be made a Solemnity and a Holy Day of Obligation wherein in all Youth are required to abstain from school and made rather to walk the glorious fields of God’s creation with a gun.
  2. We the Youth ask that this synod might be renamed from “Walking Together” to “Walking Together With Guns.”
  3. We the Youth ask that St. Hubert, patron saint of hunters, be made a Doctor of the Church.
  4. We the Youth also propose Orange Vestments to be worn during these solemn  of days.

I’m not sure if the Youth were successful in any of these endeavors.  I do know, however, that our household will also be praying the following prayer, which may found somewhere in the Bible.  I think Moses prayed it in the Wilderness with those stubborn Hebrews.

O Lord, you see that our freezer is empty.  We humbly ask that you might provide a 30 Point Buck to fall within sight of my husband’s .243 Rifle.   For You are All Powerful and Glorious forever and ever.  Amen.*
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Happy Deer Season y’all.
*Not really.  Nope.  These things never happened.  This is nowhere in the Bible.
Life is Worth Living

Winter is HERE: A Poem to Celebrate!

Now I know that some of you live in warmer climates.  You know who you are.  You’re probably reading this on your iPhone, sitting on your deck, listening to birds sing, while the rest of us are freezing our tushies off and drinking anything hot to stay alive.  I’ll have you know that the windchill was zero this morning.  Zero.  (Yes, it called for an extra cup of coffee just for coping reasons.)

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This was the view out my front window.  Not really…

Anyway, I wanted to brighten everyone’s day with a little poetry.  My daughter recently came across a lovely poem in an obscure South Dakota centennial book.* The author is unknown, and I’ve typed it below for your enjoyment.  Of course one might substitute “South Dakota” for “North Dakota.”

And I must warn my sensitive readers, this anonymous author uses the word butt.  Goodness, the language some people use these days.

Winter in South Dakota

It’s winter in South Dakota
And the gentle breezes blow
Seventy miles an hour,
At thirty-five below.

Oh, how I love South Dakota,
When the snow’s up to your  butt.
You take a breath of winter in
And your nose gets frozen shut.

Yes, the weather here is wonderful.
So I guess I’ll hang around.
I could never leave South Dakota
I’m frozen to the ground!

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*Celebrating 125 Years of History and Growth, pg. 17.  Email me later if you actually want the publisher, etc.  I don’t have the book in front of me at the moment, and I’m too cold to get off the couch right now.  Happy Winter!
Life is Worth Living

Wherein I Offer 3 Articles You Must Read

This last week my family and I moved to a new home.  Deo gratias.

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This is me celebrating with a glass of port at my in-laws.  Not at my new house.  More on that later.

As you can imagine, I am busy unpacking.

So today I offer 3 articles that you should read.  They all come from New Liturgical Movement. And if you have a spare minute, do yourself a favor and read one of them right now.

Here they are:

  1. I’m sick of ugly buildings.  Are you?  David Clayton spells it out for us HERE.  And I’ve added two photos for your contemplation.
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Photo #1.  Ugly Building.  The Capitol of North Dakota.
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Photo #2.  Beautiful Building.  Cathedral of St. Joseph in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

 

2.  Do you have sons?  If they are discerning a vocation to the priesthood, what kind of seminary would you have them attend?  Dr. Kwasniewski writes about this by showing different vocational videos.  One is demanding and requires sacrifice; the other is wishy-washy and features happy-go-lucky seminarians and cardinals.  Click HERE for it.

3.  Why, oh why, can’t we get this right at Mass?  Music matters.  Music becomes a part of us, and if we continually fill ourselves with emotional schmaltzy jingles, then that’s what we’ll become.

Cardinal Sarah gets it.  You should just read what he writes HERE about Gregorian Chant.  My husband has been reading this article out loud to the children (well, and me too) at supper.

You might also consider buying both of Sarah’s books.

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Now here’s a man.  God or Nothing.
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The Power of Silence.  Your library is incomplete without both of these.

And one more thing.  An invite.

If you happen to be in the Bismarck/Mandan area, and would like to experience the Mass of the Ages, come to Christ the King Catholic Church this Sunday, October 28, at 11:30am.

Fr. Nick Schneider will offer the Extraordinary Form the Mass.  You know, the Mass that St. Maximillian Kolbe celebrated.  The Mass that St. Thomas Aquinas wrote about.  The Mass that St. Therese the Little Flower loved.

And there’s a potluck afterwards, if you want to stay and visit.  I’d love to meet you.

Life is Worth Living

Best Date Night Movie

Those of you who are married, when’s the last time you went on a date with your spouse?

I’ll let you think about that.

If the answer is not within the last two weeks, then it’s time.  If you’re racking your brain right now and can’t seem to remember, then you’re way overdue.  Or, if you seem to recall celebrating your 10th anniversary at Dairy Queen with a baby in tow last year, then NOPE.  You’re way overdue too.  And no, that one time, when you and your spouse went to the grocery store together doesn’t count either.

Now, as you know, watching a movie isn’t the best carefree timelessness that one can spend with one’s spouse, for the obvious reason that you’re not giving your attention to your spouse.  Naturally, it would be better to go for a walk together.  Or enjoy a cup of coffee at a cafe together.  Or a glass of wine at a restaurant together.  Or anything else away from your home and your children – little blessings that they are – so long as you two are together.

And I hate that I have to say this, but you had better not have your phones near you.  Well, maybe you need them for your children’s sake, but absolutely no using them otherwise.  It is abominably rude to check your phone in front of your spouse, let alone other people.  So put it away.

That said, there are times when a Movie Night might be the ticket, especially if grandma is busy and you can’t leave your house.  So, if you’ve already spent at least fifteen minutes in eye-to-eye conversation with your spouse today, then I recommend watching the following movie:

The Quiet Man

The Quiet Man is the best date night movie ever for the following reasons:

  1. It’s clean.  (This is a Miracle.  I guess it did come out in 1952.)
  2. It features John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, who are sure to satisfy both husbands and wives.
  3. It’s set in Ireland, complete with lovely Irish accents.
  4. It’s light-hearted.  The Catholics are Catholic.  The protestants are protestants.  There are some really funny jokes, if you’re able to catch them.

Now this movie is not perfect, however.  For example, you will see a priest support a questionable scheme to convince O’Hara’s belligerent brother to let her go courting.

That said, give it a shot.  It’s still awesome.

Life is Worth Living

Ode to My Box Wine – Splendor of My Refrigerator

Anyone in need of a little lighter fare?

Remember when I wrote that Ode to my Coffee Pot?  Well, I have something else that I’d like to honor and call to your attention.  It’s my Box Wine.

Without any further ado, here is my Ode to My Box Wine in modern, “free” verse.  (Whatever that means.)

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Got this one on sale the other day for $17.  There’s the equivalent of 4 bottles of wine in that thing.  O joyous Safeguard of sanity! O Splendor of my Refrigerator!

Ode to My Box Wine

Even though you take up much needed space in my refrigerator,

I praise you, Box Wine,

for you are gloriously and wondrously made.

O Hope of desperate mothers!

O Comforter at the end of an exasperating day!

Just one glass is enough to fill our hearts with gladness.

After a day of cleaning up urine all over toilet seats, floors, and walls,

and scrubbing feces from onesies and seat-holders,

and wearing spit-up and drool,

You are my Illustrious Reward.

O Vessel of Joy!

Some things must be prioritized to allow for your presence:

Ketchup or Box Wine?

5th gallon of milk or Box Wine?

Sauerkraut or Box Wine?

(Oh wait, we’re German and cannot actually live without sauerkraut.)

Water pitcher or Box Wine?

Some things just have to go.

For you are our Solace in the midst of woe.

O Bestower of Buzzes!

And Terror of Bad Moods!

You are the Splendor of my refrigerator.

May you live a long life

and never run dry!

May you be as a Stone Jar at the Wedding Feast of Cana!

O Happy Box of Brilliance!

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She fits right in.

 

Have a friend who needs a glass of wine?  Be sure to send this post along.