Thursday, August 16, 2018

Something to make life easier...

I just got off the phone talking with my mom about the joys of dogs with "dietary indiscretion".  I sometimes forget that the illnesses that I see, day in, day out (and especially around the holidays) are not bread and butter issues to everyone else.  Yes, these things are gross to pick-up and are never a great way to end your day.  Fortunately most of the time these issues follow under the "this too will pass"  outcome.  Most of the time it's a dog who ate something they shouldn't, such as cat food, human food or who knows what else.  Most of the time we never know.

I think my husband thought I was kind of crazy when we registered for a Bissell SpotBot for our wedding registry.  It was only a couple months after we were married that he knew I was genius.  I mean, yes, I'm a vet and I deal with gross stuff all the time.  But who really wants to scrub carpet for all manner of things?  Definitely not my hubby.

I've actually mentioned this product to a couple of clients (and no, I don't have a contract with Bissell) because I think it's a great stress reliever to have something that just does the work for you.  Whether it's a kid accident or something else you just plop this on top, fill up the clean tank and empty the dirty tank when you're done.  Yep.  Not much is easy. So between my favorite probiotic for my pet and the spotbot, things don't faze us quite as much.  At one point, one of the tubes broke and while we had it at a repair shop to be fixed, my hubby and I wondered whether we still needed it.  Yep.  One of our children, I don't even remember if it was human, feline or canine proved that it's still a great way to make life easier.  I almost bought one for my sister before she got her new dog (but she said her house didn't have much carpet, so we didn't bother) but I recommend this for anyone who wants to not have to scrub carpet.  Now if I could just find an easy way to deal with crumbs in my kids car seat...

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

6 Nights Home in 20 Days

My family and I have been doing a whirlwind of traveling.  Unfortunately having several 10 hour trips in the car.  We have done 4 10+ hour trips since Memorial Day and my son, the dog and I have one more to go.  I think my husband and cat are relieved to hold the fort down (oh and the fish too!)

My son is a pretty good trooper, but I think he's getting hooked on Amazon Prime video.  My husband and I tried to keep him away from videos and devices at least until he was two and now it's pretty much free reign during a long road trip- for everyone's sanity.

So, as you can tell, I've gotten behind on a lot of stuff, my blog for one and pretty much everything else.  I am glad that I had the foresight to wash our sheets right before we left so at least I've got a clean fresh bed to come home to after an 8 hour drive turned 12 hour.  Unfortunately a fatal crash down the line from us shut down the interstate and ended up adding 4 hours to our trip, which is rather hard to explain to a five year old that the "fast lane" became a parking lot.

We tried to keep our patience and model to him that our loss of 4 hours of our time was nothing compared to the loss that someone now had to deal with in their family.  "We may be later getting home, but someone is finding out that their family member is going home to Jesus and not coming back, so we can remember to be grateful even in our impatience."

Sometimes it's hard to know what part of these little messages we share with him get processed, but we believe they are seeds we are planting.  Seeds of compassion, seeds of patience and gratefulness.  Oftentimes, these seeds and plants need to be nurtured in our own hearts.  Perspective.  It's something that we need to work on at every stage in our life.

So as we go through this whirlwind of travel, and all the hardships, annoyances and work that ensues, we will remember to be grateful for this time with family and friends and the memories.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


My son and I had a great day at the pool yesterday with friends.  It wasn't a sunny day and it was a little cooler than the typical 80-90 degree weather we have been having, but it was a lot of fun.  All together it was 6 kids who move around so much that they never really figured out they were truly cold.

As I talked with the other moms, we all lamented that although the kids are excited for school, we are not exactly.  All the things we planned to do during the summer haven't really gotten done.  I just started trying to clean out the garage yesterday and have hit a bit of a roadblock because my husband really needs to be involved (otherwise he knows I would just throw out and give away a bunch of stuff, such as the lifetime's worth of car washing sprays and polishes).  My husband pointed out that we shouldn't have so much if we were actually using it.  I pointed out that means you actually need to use it.  Otherwise it's just taking up space.

Maybe he can teach my son how to wash the car this summer.  I taught my son, and he was excited, "how to clean a bathroom".  I was maybe a little excited that he was interested in doing this but I think it's going to be a couple of years before I'm done with the "cleaning it up for real" duty.

Whether it's my sons homework, the garage or the various other projects I had intended for this summer, I have to remind myself that it's always easy to think of things you want to do with your summer, and if I was so focused on my to do list, we wouldn't have been able to travel or take advantage of a myriad of other opportunities and adventures to come our way.  Hopefully I can get a couple things crossed off my to-do list, but the most important one- "building memories with my child" has happened, so I'll be kind to myself on the others.

Monday, July 23, 2018

How's your prayer life?

That's the question I found myself being asked by an old friend and I realized after our conversation I never really answered it.  I answered her with all the things I'm doing at church and as a Lay Dominican and all the things I'm trying to stay on top of and struggling to do.  I still struggle with saying the Liturgy of the Hours 3 times a day and while I'm getting better at my daily Rosary, the angels often "finish" it.

I'm not sure whether I read or someone told me that it's never too late in the day to say the Rosary.  Our Lady (and Our Father) will take whatever you have when you have it.  Whether it's in the grocery line, while your waiting in traffic, or drifting off to sleep.  They'll take what you got.  Now of course, They'd love for you to do it with your complete devotion and attention on the Holy Mysteries (and you will get more out of it too) but they will take what you got.  I was told that if you try to say the Rosary and you're sleepy, you can just pray, "angels, if I can not stay awake, please finish my Rosary for me."  I'm not sure how kosher the theology of this is, but I like the idea that if my human weakness and sleepiness can't finish the job, I can call on some angelic help.

My ease of distraction either during Mass or during the Rosary is enough to get me discouraged.  I don't know if it's because I'm a multi-tasked juggling a lot or maybe I have a little ADD, I just have a hard time focusing.  Often during Mass, unless I'm wrangling my five year old (which happens frequently and is a semi-legitimate excuse for lack of attentiveness), it's the first time my mind starts to slow down, and so then many random thoughts come in- thinking about finances, my to-do list, all sorts of thoughts bouncing around.  I will often ask Our Lady to help me focus on the reason I'm there  and help take my distractions away.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who suffers from getting distracted during prayer and Mass.

I believe the important thing though- whether you ask Our Lady or the angels to help that God knows if we are trying.  We are human.  He doesn't ask us to be perfect, he asks us to try and to trust in His grace.  I often think the most difficult mystery for me to contemplate is actually "The Agony in the Garden".  I think it really hits home for me.  I think of the disciples trying to stay awake with Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane and I think of how my fortitude is probably even less then them.

I guess the answer to my friend's question is the following- it's a work in progress.  I take each day and moment at a time.  I work with a delightful person and I found out what one of her favorite things to say when she's getting frustrated with someone- "I'm going to talk to Jesus, because I can't handle talking to you right now."  It's fairly blunt but we actually all laughed when she said it (it was not directed at me.)  But it's really true.  What if we all remembered that you can talk to Jesus so easily, like you're going to talk to a friend or your Mom.  Form and matter are important, but sometimes you just need to open your heart and let whatever's in there come out.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Gwyneth Paltrow? No, I look up to Gianna Beretta Molla...

In a time where we all judge everybody (including ourselves), it's nice to take a step back and look at role models.  While I admit to enjoying People magazine and seeing the latest news with "Duchess Kate" while I am at doctors offices, I try not to spend money (or too much of my time) comparing and idolizing these beautiful and amazing people.  It doesn't really feel productive and often after I have a "guilty pleasure" of reading gossip pages, I realize it doesn't really make me feel better as a woman.

There is one modern amazing woman though who every time I read about her, I feel inspired and that becoming more like this woman is actually possible.  St. Gianna is her name.  I'll talk a little more about her later.

I'm sure that like many others share the viewpoint with me that while St. Mother Teresa and many other holy people are great to look up to, let's face it, when I'm being honest with myself, it's not going to happen.  However, I remind myself not to throw in the towel yet...

The time I used to have for spiritual reading, meditation and time of prayer;  yep, that too, has kind of gotten pushed aside to dealing with the laundry, playing ball at the park and reading to my son.

Even in St. Mother Teresa's own words, "if you want to save the world, love your children."  Let me tell you, as a mother of a toddler, that's a good phrase to be reminded of.  At this season in my life, it's just not possible to do the charitable work and everything else I did as a single woman (including mission trips to Mongolia and other spontaneous outings).  Just changing that poopy diaper, day after day, and wiping that snotty nose and struggling to get the toddler to nap, or waking up at 2 am to clean up vomit.  Yep, that's the more likely route I am going to be taking to holiness....  A wise Dominican priest was just sharing some thoughts yesterday that I thought were quite consoling for a mother of a young child.  His comments were that while there are spiritual giants in the world, look at Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She is obviously very loved by God and she did not have a "dramatic" spiritual life.  She wasn't spending time with the Angel Gabriel gossiping about the goings on in the celestial kingdom.  She wasn't spending time in ecstasy.  She was making dinner.  And there was a time when Jesus, even though he is the Son of God, he was after all, once a 3 year old.

So back to a role model in the modern world.  If someone told you about a working mom, juggling being a physician and a mother of 3 and a husband that travels all the time, you might think of your neighbor, or yourself.  Add on that she was an avid skier and had a propensity to speed?  I can definitely feel an affinity for her.    I'm not going to tell you the story of how Gianna Beretta Molla became a Saint, there are plenty of good resources that do that (I will include a list below).  Please learn more about her and be inspired by someone like you and me who is living the everyday life of a mother.   Hopefully she will become an inspiring, life-giving role model for you too!

I'll leave you with a quote from her, one I will try to meditate on as I do my next load of laundry...

"The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that He, in His goodness, sends to us day after day"

The Journey of Our Love: The Letters of Saint Gianna Beretta and Pietro Molla

Gianna: The Love Letters of a Saint

Love is A Choice: The Life of St. Gianna Molla (DVD which includes home-video from her wedding and video of her canonization, with her family present at the Vatican).

Thursday, June 28, 2018


Sometimes I forget that my son has no concept of adulthood.  This is a good thing.  Many children all around the world and even in our own country have all too much of an idea of adulthood and the trials of being adults and losing their childhood.

My son is precocious, and so sometimes it's easy to forget he really doesn't "get" that the world is not made for kids.  He already made the comment that I think most kids make at some point, "There's a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, why isn't there a kid's day?"  Especially because of the fact he's an only child, it's hard to help him distinguish the fact the world does not revolve around him.  It doesn't help either that he's really cute and easily becomes the center of attention wherever we go.  We go and volunteer at a convent/house where there are a bunch of Sisters who treat him like he's a rock star.  He knows where they keep the toys, they normally try to sneak him cookies and goodies, it's almost like going to a house full of grandparents.  That doesn't even account for the 4 natural grandparents he has who are also doting and can't help but make him feel like he's a king.

We try to balance things out and I try to teach him that the needs of others do sometimes come before ours.  I think he's slowly picking up on it, but the other day kind of made me laugh.

Unfortunately we have a car that seems like it's accident prone.  It's a good car, but it seems to be a dent and disaster magnet (That's why I like to drive it, as I tell my husband, "It's not a virgin anymore so it doesn't make me nervous that I'm going to be the one to wreck it")   Fortunately everyone has survived all events unscathed, but it has made two trips to the collision center when it's not even two years old.

My husband was sitting in traffic (on one of the few occasions I "let" him drive the car) when a presumed mentally ill man was shouting expletives and roaming through the street.  The green light didn't come quick enough and the man bashed in the side view mirror.  You know, the fancy one that also has blind spot detectors.  Fortunately, my husband was fine.  The man obviously needed help, but it wasn't a great area and my husband presumed the police wouldn't be able to do anything for the man other than what had already probably been attempted.  How do you explain this incident to a five year old?

"I'm sorry, we need to go to the collision center and wait around for a part to get fixed on the car.  No, the man wasn't bad.  No, it wasn't exactly an accident.  The man was sick and needed help controlling his anger.  You know when you can't control your anger and you accidentally break things?  Yep, that's what sometimes happens.  You break things, it's not exactly an accident, but we try to be understanding.  Yes, it's inconvenient" was along the lines of the conversation we had.

As we were waiting, because collision centers don't do anything without a wait, my son looks around and says, "Why don't they have a playroom?  I explain to him, as I'm looking around at people with their police reports, getting rental cars and in situations much worse than ours, "because collision centers are part of being an adult, not being a kid."  He didn't exactly understand but then was happy when I discovered the coffee machine also made hot chocolate.  We made three trips to the collision center and had a 4.5 hour oil change for our other car that week due to a series of events and promising a part when it was not there...

 I'm pretty sure after all the hot chocolate my son has had he is developing an affinity for the collision center.  I'm fine if for the next 20 years or more my son can associate collision centers with hot chocolate and nothing else. #Adulting- may it belong to me and not my kid for as long as possible.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sorry I've been away for a bit...

Between a swollen throat (I think attributable to allergies), working out of the area and then a brief anniversary trip with my hubby, I've been away for a bit.  It seems like every time I try to catch up on stuff, another roadblock gets in my way.  The following may be a little gross for sensitive tummies.

I've been doing some work for a vet that's really sick and it's a reminder to me to be appreciative of all the little struggles in life.  Whether it's sitting for five hours in traffic and finding out my son get's carsick or something else (Here's a glimpse of that conversation; "Mommy, can you get home any faster?"  Me- "I wish we could- no sweetie, we are stuck in traffic."  "Mommy, I'm siiiiiick!"  "What feels sick?" I ask (he can sometimes over-dramatize illness).  "Mommy my tummy's sick."  "Are you carsick?"  "No, I'm HOMESICK, I want to be home already!"

Yep, the prospect of being stuck in a hot car with vomit all over the place kind of took some compassion out of my voice.  "Ok, are you going to vomit?"  "yes, I think so, Mommy".  "Ok, would you like this bag, or this box to vomit into?"  "Nope".  "Ok, what's your plan?  Because if you are planning on just vomiting everywhere in the car, that's not going to fly."

 Sorry, I wasn't the most compassionate Mommy at this point, I struggle to understand why I can't get my kid to vomit into receptacles.  I can get dogs and cats to do it, but not my kid.  "If you aren't going to vomit into some type of receptacle, then you need to swallow it, because it's just not cool to do it over everything."  I wasn't serious on this, I was just hoping he would see the wisdom of not making a mess.

I was apparently not persuasive and heard a small noise.  I'm pretty sure it was a burp.  I'm pretty sure my son doesn't know what a burp feels like and he got body functions confused.  I wasn't going to intellectualize it.  I was grateful that after that, we made it home.  I'll be grateful for making it unscathed through horrible traffic.