Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bringing the toddler to Mass

The game is how long can Will make it in Mass before being taken out at least to the grotto for a quick cool down or to the cry room to finish out the rest of the service?
On a really good day he lasts until the Our Father. (We haven't had one of those in at least 4 months)
Last week he lasted until the Gloria.
This week he made it to the Gospel.
So we're showing some improvement. I know all kids' temperaments are different and that I shouldn't expect  more than he can deliver developmentally. Comparing him to other kids at storytime or Kindermusik I already know he's on the rambunctious and demanding end of the spectrum. But it's hard walking that fine line between exposing my son to his faith and teaching him virtues like reverence and patience on the one hand and overwhelming him with something he's not developmentally ready for, turning Mass into a struggle it doesn't need to be on the other. He hasn't hit me repeatedly in Mass in a few weeks and his squeals for the sake of squealing seem to be lessening. Instead he's moved onto throwing himself in the aisle crying, slamming the kneeler and making fart noises. I like to think I stay pretty calm about things. I offer him distractions in the form of religious books and toys. I narrate what's going on in Mass in my quietest whisper and point out areas of interest to him around the sanctuary. For the most part, none of those help at this stage.

What does help immensely is to be smiled at by the sweet mom I've noticed in Mass with her 3 kids. The one nursing her youngest in the narthex who tells me he's doing exactly what he's supposed to be doing at this stage and that I'm doing a good job too. The mom who points out her phone number in the bulletin in case I have to go to Mass by myself again and I can tag team with her and her husband and the kids. She recommends a couple books put out by Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and refers to Kimberly Hahn when she talks about how important it is that we encourage other moms. Yes, that helped a lot. And I am so thankful that even though my prayer for William to behave in Mass wasn't answered the way I hoped this week, God is so faithful to put people in my life to answer prayers the way He wills it.

I write this in part to commiserate with any of you who are going through the same thing and ask for suggestions from anyone who has passed through this stage. But also because I have faith that one day my little boy will be an altar server or maybe even a priest, or at least someone who can participate fully in Mass with a willing spirit. I'm going to tell him how he used to be and let it be a testament to how hard his Mommy worked to get him there and how God answers prayers.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tasty Treat Thursday

Last week's attempt at making a treat was a disaster, so even though this is the second week my beautiful friend, Allie , has hosted her Tasty Treat Thursday link-up, this is my first time to join in. 

I'm bringing yall a super easy recipe from the Paula Dean Southern Cooking Bible that Brian got me for Christmas. It's Dr Pepper Pecans and if you start now, you'll have a yummy snack in less than 30 minutes. 
Here's what you need:
1 can Dr Pepper 
3 tbsp butter. You knew there was going to be butter as soon as I said Paula, right?
1 1/2 cups Pecans Get local if you can. I'm embarrassed as a Texan using these big-name Illinois pecans.
The ingredient line-up is always my favorite part of recipe tutorial posts.
I like to see the ingredients getting friendly right from the beginning.

 Preheat your oven to 350* and line a baking sheet with foil. Then put your Dr Pepper and butter into a pot together over medium-high heat and let them get all melted in together. Bring it to a boil and then let it keep on boiling for about 15 minutes. It says simmer which made me think I needed to turn the heat down to low, but it's better if you just leave it hot and let it go for a while. It'll reduce down and look something like this.
Yall really didn't need to see that picture, it just shows my damaged stove 
 Stir in your pecans and a Melissa-D'Arabian-sized-pinch of salt and let them cook in the sauce for a few minutes, maybe 5, until they get all sticky and glazed. Then dump them out on the cookie sheet, spread them out and pop them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes stirring and flipping them a little every 5 minutes or so. Remove to a plate and let them cool. They'll get crispy again once they're cooled off.
I liked the first batch so much that I made two more and took some to the ADPi house to share for Alumnae Skit Day and gave some to my father in law. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

I'll start by putting the humble out there. If you're ever feeling particularly bad about yourself just let me know. I'll let you come over to my house and get a good look at my kitchen. Guaranteed you'll be feeling better about yourself in no time! There's nothing like company coming to get the motivation to clean it up though and I have a friend and his new fiance coming Tuesday, so it should be better by then.

In the spirit of reciprocity, would you care to share a failed baking story to cheer me up? I used to think I liked baking, but my goodness I am terrible at the sport! I managed to turn award-winning cookies into the most mediocre things ever to boast chocolate chips. Clearly, I couldn't offer those to the new neighbors I had intended them for so I was forced to eat them all instead. I tried to make a chocolate pie that my friend from college recommended on facebook that he said was easy and perfect for summer. A broken pie crust later I have 2 soupy chocolate pies with melted whipped cream in my freezer. I can't go into anymore details on this because I have a lengthy post planned that's sure to contain lots of pictures and complaints that I may post some day. Breathe easy, my last post was in June. It's pretty likely Will will wake up from his nap before then and I'll scrap the idea.
What it was supposed to look like.

At what point does chocolate become sinful? How much would I have to eat to consider it a venial sin? Do I need to bring this to confession? Really, it bothers the heck out of me when desserts are titled "sinful" and cheese fries are "guilty."

Inspired by this pin  I taped off a square tile in the kitchen and taught Will to pick things up on the kitchen floor and put them in the square. He doesn't quite have the dexterity for sweeping yet, he drags the broom around and then yells when it gets stuck immediately. The problem is that taking stuff out of the square and spreading it back around the kitchen is just as much fun so I have to be pretty quick with the dust pan. Still it occupies him for about 6 minutes which is longer than any other toy except the bubble-blowing lawnmower that blew bubbles exactly once.

My kefir colony has gotten too big and cultures too quickly now. I need to divide it so I posted on my Crunchy Mama Meetup group offering some kefir grains to anyone interested in starting to make their own. Someone else is actually interested and is going to swap me some of her sourdough starter culture for them. How's that for crunchy? I think I'm officially past the baby steps stages now. I'm not sure I'm ready for another growing thing I have to take care of daily, but I tried making kefir bread and it was about as successful as my chocolate chip cookies. Maybe the sourdough will be more edible.

I've made my travel plans to go see Brian again in Yorktown, VA for the second and final time this summer. William and I will be flying into Richmond with him in his own seat! The 31 lb kicking lap baby routine was tired. We'll spend a few days there with Brian until he graduates then drive home to Texas, stopping on the way for him to run a 50K trail race. Sounds like a peaceful easy trip right? Maybe I'll consolidate both trips into one and post some pictures when we get back.

William learned the sign for love and it melts my heart every time he does it for me, or the dogs, or his Baby Blue doll! He also knows more, all done, please, bath, bird, up, down, and help. We're working on thank you, sorry, and go the **** to sleep.
For more quick takes, head on over to Jen's place.