Monday, October 28, 2013

Dear Newlyweds - Purposeful Blogging Week 20

Linking with From Mrs. to Mama

Dear Newlyweds:

Are you still giddy from the wedding and your reception? Are you home yet from your honeymoon? If not, why are you wasting time checking your email!

Congratulations on getting married! These are exciting times for you. Let me talk to you a bit how things are different now and how they SHOULD be different now, even if you lived together before marriage. Let me talk to you first...

Confession: My husband and I lived together before we were married.  We were already engaged when his roommate decided to move in his girlfriend. For us, it was a bit of a tricky situation. Neither one of us were actually thrilled with the idea of "testing out the marriage waters" before committing to each other. We were committed to each other already with a wedding planned for a less than a year into the future. We liked to tell ourselves we did it for cost savings (yes, there were actually some) but we did it because we didn't want to find new roommates or apartments for less than a year (and, to be very honest, we felt like our commitment was already there and had it not been very important to us to be married within the Catholic Church (and being a Sunday), we would have immediately stopped and purchased a marriage license and married right then and there).

Marriage is more than "just a piece of paper." If that was all it was, then everyone would be married. 

We treat our marriage differently than when we were engaged. That, I believe is key to success. This is a new phase in your life. You aren't boyfriend/girlfriend or finacees. You are husband and wife and, as such, your relationship and how you treat each other now needs to reflect your new roles in each other lives. This can be hard. Horn and I immediately felt like our relationship was different. We were different. We were now untied, in front of God, family, and friends as one. I have talked to a number of friends who lived together before marriage - some with the intent to "see if it worked" and some with the same purpose as us. For those that lived together after engagement, they also seem to feel that being married is somehow different than just cohabiting. 
We have unwavering trust in each other. As I wrote about last week, I take Horn's role as head of our household seriously. I trust him to do what is right and just as much as he knows my intentions and heart and knows that I have entrusted them to him. Am I tested? Absolutely. Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy—heavier than the Law of Moses. (Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1615).

We fight. That is ok! Marriage is an adjustment. Actually, as we are both attorneys, we cross-exam and interrogate.  Frequently, Horn has to tell me to just listen and not interrupt. What we do though, is be fair. We finish the argument, come to a resolution, and then it is over and should not be revisited. Unless the spouse repeats the behavior which, in my mind, means the resolution that was decided on previously can be reasserted. Actually, one of the things that Horn accuses me of is that I look for reasons to argue.  This is a bit true. It is a personality thing - I want to talk through things and get his opinion and usually, he agrees with me so there is little input, from his perspective, that needs to happen.

Spend time together, alone, each and every day. It is so important to reconnect with your spouse each day. Sometimes the "alone" is sitting in the car in the garage while the toddler is sleeping behind us. When we are lucky, it is a few hours when the toddler actually goes to bed at a decent hour. Sometimes it is just a few minutes before we drift off to sleep or as he is getting ready in the morning and I am still comfortably in bed. Reconnection is so important and so many of our issues are resolved by a hug and a moment of silence together.

Tell each other you love the other, each and every day.

Go, look fondly on your wedding. Remember it as you remember it in your mind and don't let anyone change your perception of how great your day was.  Find rules for your marriage that work for both of you. Be happy and remember the purpose of you union.

Love, Hannah

3 days camping and hiking in the rain. Loved him more afterwards.

Friday, October 25, 2013

7 QT, 2013.31

Joining Jen at Conversion Diary and Clan Donaldson!

1.  Horn and I attended a wedding in South Bend this last weekend.  It was absolutely lovely and we had a blast. I especially enjoyed drinking gimlet after gimlet on a child free weekend. The drink choice was entirely appropriate as the reception was held in the Studebaker Museum.

2. Before the wedding, Horn and I did some tailgating with Sportsbeard podcast crew and Drewrys Brewery. I started my day with lager and ended with gin.

3. We hit the stores on campus for apparel.  How did Notre Dame alumni member forget anything ND related? I do not know how he did it. He got "the shirt" and I found a jersey on clearance for the incredibly low, low, low price of $15.99.

4. Huge disappointment for our brief 3 hrs on campus - not making it to the Knights of Columbus steak sandwich booth.

5. Surprise of the weekend? Waking up early enough to made it to campus for Mass in the Basilica. The Asst. Dean of the School of Architecture was presiding. Horn was concerned when we ran into 4 co-presiders on our way in.  He made the comments that it looked like a grouchy rector had cleared the seminary for 8am services.

6. After hearing the homily, I completely understand how almost all other priests fall far far far short in the homily department. Wow. Outstanding and practical application.

He didn't care that it was 40 degrees outside, he just wanted to play in the sprinkler.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Marriage - Purposeful Blogging

Week 18: Random facts about your other half
Week 19: Your strengths and weaknesses in your marriage - See more at:
Week 18: Random facts about your other half
Week 19: Your strengths and weaknesses in your marriage - See more at:
Week 18: Random facts about your other half
Week 19: Your strengths and weaknesses in your marriage - See more at:
Week 18: Random facts about your other half
Week 19: Your strengths and weaknesses in your marriage - See more at:
Joining from Mrs. to Mama in Purposeful Blogging.

Check out the weekly topics and join in purposeful blogging!

Weeek 18: Random Facts about my Other Half
  • He was born the day after his parents anniversary.
  • He met his best friend about 30 years ago.
  • He went to Notre Dame for his undergraduate degree and if you mention his dorm, Flanner Hall, he gets upset because it is no longer a dorm.
  • He likes PBJ and thinks that I am a heaven because I do not like PBJ. He is convinced it is because my parents bought terrible PB when I was growing up (they didn't).
  • He can sleep through anything.
  • He can drive for long distances at night but hates driving those same distances during the daytime.
  • He insists on doing laundry because he thinks I don't do it correctly.
  • He likes computer and video games. I routinely have to hide my computer to prevent him from playing.
  • He is my most uncompromising supporter.
  • He loves me despite my faults and daily failures.
  • He thinks I am beautiful. 

Week 19: Personal Stregnths and Weakness in Marriage
This is a wonderful topic for me to address as I have had two really great opportunities to examine strengths and weaknesses in marriage during the past week.

The first time I touched on this topic was during my termly guest lecture spot during Horn's ethics class. Each term I like to debunk the straight laced appearance he has by discussing his juvenile delinquent days. They enjoy it and I love doing it.

He actually asked me to speak to his class on the topic of marriage and family. We, by no stretch of the imagination are not even close to being experts on this topic. So very far from it but we can talk about communication and differences of opinion.

Horn and I dated for 5 years before becoming engaged. Yep, FIVE years in a society where marriages commonly do not last this long. I didn't have a time limit, there wasn't a put up or leave ultimatium issued. He and I both had issues that we needed to resolve with ourselves (and some with each other) before entering into the sarament of marriage.

As we are both attorneys, we often receive questions about our marital arguments.  Honestly, there aren't many but those that we have usually involve one of us saying, "Let me finish before you cross examine me." I did talk about the need to acknowledge the other person's opinion and feelings even if you disagree with the opinion.

I also talked about the need to talk about topics during the lovey dovey days.  For us, even though we had dated for such a long time, we still haven't shared all our opinions on all subjects.  For instance, just last week Horn found out that I don't like PBJ sandwiches. He is still in shock. What I stressed though, was to make sure that people, as a couple, want to have the relationship go in the same direction. The intent and purpose of marriage needs to be clear for both parties.

This was further reinforced this past weekend when Horn and I attended the wedding of some of his friends (in the spirit of full disclosure, the cousin of his ex-fiancee). The groom's cousin is a Southern Baptist minister and choose Ephesians 5:21-30. The minister did a wonderful job on this tough passage. He stresed how important it is for couples to complete each other and compliment each other. When a man marries a women, they each bring unique traits to marraige that enhance the other.  For Horn and I, this is completely true.

Unlike the other couples at our reception table, the passage selection wasn't offensive to us. It actually provided us a wonderful opportunity to discuss our strength and weaknesses while we had lag time after the ceremony and before the reception.

One of Horn's overriding concerns about me in our marriage is how when I get stressed or after a long day of a toddler only wanting me to touch and hold him, I turn away from him rather than turning towards him. He sees it as me making him my lowest priority rather than he being my first priority in life.

Much to my chagrin, I understand what he is saying. I do do that and I understand how it puts him on the defensive. He is here to be my helpmate. To help me handle the day to day struggles I have just as I am here to help alleviate burdens from him. We cannot do that unless we share our struggles with each other.

Sometimes our struggles aren't pretty.I have to say that I get much more frustrated with him than he does with me. He doesn't have the same stresses as I do. As I explained to him, no one will think poorly of him if our house isn't in order (in order, not neat...that will never be a practical thing) or if Hannabert isn't meeting developmental milestones. Those will always be criticisms of me. Likewise, I don't know how he struggles with the burden of knowing that I make  more than he does and he feels like he isn't able to give me everything he wants me to have.

For us, I think that alot of our stregnths and weaknesses require us to change our perspectives. What I desire from our marriage is to feel safe, loved, and supported. He does that for me each and every day. I don't need gifts. I need to know what when I come home and I am upset, he will soothe me. He needs me to come home and hug him before I get upset over the state of the house or the fact that there are clean clothes that need to be put away and yet they remain, in neatly folded piles on the floor of the rec room.

Friday, October 11, 2013

7 QT 2013.30

Joining Jen at Conversion Diary.

1. Funny things Hannabert said/did during the last week:
  • Volunteered to drive home from daycare.  "I drive mama."
  • Gave me some of his "chicken nugget" roast beef and mashed potatoes when he noticed that I had already eaten and had asked Horn to get me a second searving.  "Here you go mama!"  Every meat is a chicken nugget to him. I don't know why.
  • On homemade pumpkin purree: "Pumpkin poop?"
  • "Just a minute. I have an idea." He uses this for a lot of different things...including trying to make us coffee, retrieving his vitamins, and getting cheese sticks. It is frequently followed by:
  • "Uh huh. I NEEED you!" This is also used in a variety of circumstances. Usually when he is in a tricky situation.

 2.  Sadly, I learned that one of my law school classmates passed away after a car accident. Sean was my ice cream study buddy for our entire first year. His wife was also in the accident and also passed away from the injuries she suffered just yesterday. It hit me, hard.

God our Father,
Your power brings us to birth,
Your providence guides our lives,
and by Your command we return to dust.

Lord, those who die still live in Your presence,
their lives change but do not end.
I pray in hope for my family,
relatives and friends,
and for all the dead known to You alone.

In company with Christ,
Who died and now lives,
may they rejoice in Your kingdom,
where all our tears are wiped away.
Unite us together again in one family,
to sing Your praise forever and ever.


3. I have an interview on Monday with an elder law firm. They do estate planning, medicaid benefits, and veteran benefits. From what I have read about the firm, it seems family friendly and I definitely think that this is a growing area of law. 

4. At the end of the month, I have another interview. This time with a non-profit organization that provides pro-bono legal services to those that would not be be able to afford them. I strongly believe in attorney's giving back to the community and a huge thing is that Ohio will now grant CLE (continuing legal education) credits for pro-bono work. I really hope that this encourages more attorneys to volunteer.

5.  Prayer for guidance for me and those making decisions would be greatly appreciated.

Glorious Saint Cajetan, acclaimed by
all people to be father of providence
because you provide miraculous aid to
all who come to you in need, I stand
here before you today, asking that you
present to the Lord the requests that
I confidently deposit in your hands.
(Mention here the
graces desired.)
May these graces that I now request
help me to always seek the Kingdom
of God and his Righteousness,
knowing that God — who dresses with
beauty the flowers of the field and
abundantly feeds the birds of the
sky — will give me all other
things. Amen.

6. Horn, Hannabert, and I are volunteering with Engaged Encounter tonight, greeting people and carrying their  luggage. Horn and I went the October weekend back in 2008 and felt that it was so very wonderful for us. We volunteered in February (right before Hannabert and I got mono diagnosis) and loved the Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center. The priest who were attending the evening Mass were very nice to a cranky toddler.  Please keep all the couples in your thoughts and prayers (especially that they learn the value of praying together).

7.  I have been practicing with Hannbert on his Notre Dame kickoff cheer. Ignore the poor parenting involving a ladder. I feel that we are a bit behind compare to from Ryan Ceders & Tiny Flowers, we are WAY WAY behind the learning curve.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Commitment to each other - Week 2 (17) of Purposeful Blogging

 I am joining along with the other bloggers on From Mrs. to Mama on the topic of marriage.

In today's age, marriage is hot topic. As a lawyer who does pro bono domestic relations cases for a volunteer lawyer organization, I struggle with assisting others in terminating what should be a lifetime commitment.  All too often, my clients unfortunately have very real reasons for seeking a dissolution of marriage.  

Unfortunately, when people bring up marriage as a sacrament, many people respond that marriage is no longer important.  Celebrity marriages that, despite television cameras and lavish events, are seen as a temporal situation.  Marriages can be celebrated in a drive-thru or a cemetery

Horn and I dated for FIVE, yes 5, years before he proposed. We married 6 years after our first date. When Horn (or I) mention this when he (I) teach the chapter in our Ethics book on marriage and family, most of our students are shocked. He (I) frequently hear comments about how they would never put up with that; you should be ready to commit after a year.

Our relationship weathered more than a few storms before Horn decided that he was ready to marry. He had unresolved issues with an ex-girlfriend. It killed me to support him through it but he and I needed to have that put to rest before he could more forward. 

Horn became terribly ill in 2006. He suffered from debilitating cluster headaches, often called suicide headaches because apparently all you want to do is carve out the part of your head that is causing you pain. Luckily, after 5 months, a doctor finally realized that he was a diabetic and the headaches were caused by excessive triglycerides that were a result from his liver overworking with his pancreas to control his insulin levels. Because his liver wasn't working to decrease his triglycerides, they were literally popping out along his joints (xanthomas) and causing blockage of blood vessels near his trigeminal nerve. His mother blamed me.

These are just two turning points in our relationship that we worked through. We made a choice to work together and overcome doubts and fears together. Each day, we renew our commitment together. Sometimes it is in a morning, "God bless you," a simple "I love," or in evening family prayer. 

As Catholics, we didn't have much choice in our vows. We spoke the words of commitment that hundreds of thousands of couples had spoken before us. As we married in our church, before our family and friends, we were asking them to help us remain faithful in our commitment to each other and to God.

To us, while the vows we took during our Marriage Mass, were extremely important as a publish statement of our commitment to each other, our more important vows were the ones we wrote to each other during our Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend. 

For anyone who is engaged and needs to fulfill an marriage/engagement obligations, I strongly urge you to do the weekend retreat. No television, no phones, just the two of you, away from distractions. We didn't have doubts about each other but it did make us more resolute in our decision.

When times get hard, and they do, I revisit our Engaged Encounter workbook (Horn insisted we keep them) and look at all reasons we committed to each other. Our wedding was more than a party (my team did win at flip cups), it was a public commitment that, it was a promise that we will stay by each other through sickness and health, feasts and famines, and to love each other all the days of our lives. 

Toddler Sleep...or lack there of

I should have know something would be up in the middle of the night as Horn got Hannabert to sleep at the comfortable hour of before 10pm.  That sometime was a 5am wake-up of, "Mommy, I had a bad dream. I need snuggles." 

He climbed into our bed and promptly told me to leave. I tried to fool him be slowly edging down towards the bottom of the bed. It didn't work and he said, "I need a gumball." Which he didn't get because no one should chew gum at 5 am.  We gave up denying gumballs because he quickly realized that you only need money and when we hid our change drawer, he created "slugs" which resulted in me having to fix the gumball machine.

Slug, Penny, and gumball machine

He then requested we go to "the other room" as he calls the guest room where he sleeps because gosh forbid should he actually sleep in his room. Yes, we have considered "swapping" rooms but have decided that really won't change anything.

I suggested that we change his diaper first. Which, surprisingly, he thought was acceptable. He then requested I turn on the light. I put him down on the bed and, in toddler sad eyes, he requested "prayers." So we did bedtime prayers again.

After tossing and turning, he thought that sleeping in "dada's bed" would be better so with a "come on Mama!" we switched rooms again. At which point, just as he had fallen asleep, Horn's alarm rang...for the incorrect, earlier time. After one snooze and a reset of the alarm to which Hannaber said, "turn it off Dada! Too bright!" he told me we were going to change rooms.  I begged Horn to watch him so I could get 30 minutes asleep as Hannabert had been up since 5am. Horn had the nerve to tell me that Hananbert had been asleep until his alarm went off.

Upon switching rooms with a few "no Mama, my pillow! You put your head there!" he fell asleep...approximately 30 minutes before we had to leave.

Friday, October 04, 2013

7 QT 2013.29

Joining Jen et all at Conversion Diary! I am sure they will put in much more thought than I into their weekly rundown.

1.  Hannabert is becoming more independent. For instance, just yesterday he banned me from being in the same room as him while he was attempting a bowl movement. "Get out mama! Just go!" Independence isn't just for bathroom habits, he also uses a Rubbermaid stool to reach (or attempt to reach) items he wants. This would include various items from the fridge or freezer...

I am sure that this face will reappear in about 16 (hopefully 18.3 yrs) at college

3. Sleep has gone out the window this last week. I have narrowed it down to the possibly following potential reasons:
  • swollen lymph nodes causing head pressure
  • 2 yr molars that still have NOT erupted
  • ADD
  • Sleep disorder
  • allergies
  • too much to see/do as a 2yrs
  • wants to destroy our lives

4. Grandmother is good! She has a sinus infection which is causing some stability issues and will be in a convalescent home until the balance is stable.  I think that her daughters will be talking about making some living decisions as she is 93 and will be turning 94 in a few short weeks.

5. Mom's retirement went well! They feted her a few times and, despite her anxiety regarding the person taking over her job, she seems to be handling it well.  Plus, with the government shut down and possible defunding of Head Start, it was a great time to transition.

6. I have a job interview in a few weeks. It is with a law firm (elder care, estate planning, etc.). It would be a huge change from what I currently do but I think that I am up for the challenge and I would like to be in this area of law.  Prayers appreciate.

7. Pray More Novenas is a great way to find current novenas,  including a daily email reminder with the prayers included! Novenas are a great way to center your prayer life for a few days or few weeks.  Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The Fatima Statute will be present during the ceremony so a Novena or rosary in honor of Our Lady of Fatima is another idea for the next 9 days.  If you aren't a fan of Marian prayers, just pray. Pray for our country, pray for the world. Pray for your loved ones. Pray for those that are lonely or in need

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

October Unprocessed Food Challenge - Working Family - First Meal of the Day

October Unprocessed 2013

I work, my husband works, my toddler even will help out around the  house. It is hard to create easy, fast, and healthy foods. The 2013 October Unprocessed Challenge is a great way for me to take a harder look at what we eat and hopefully make some changes for the better. 

This is especially true in the mornings as we (the adults) are stumbling out of bed and getting ready for the days ahead of us.  The toddler has it pretty easy in the morning.

We find, because of our schedules, we need to eat in the car and typically require something with caffeine in it. For whatever reason, I can't stomach tea first thing in the morning although I do like it.  

Change in Eating #1
So, for this challenge, I endeavor that we will replace our coffee (full of pasteurized cream and sugar substitutes) with something else at least 4x during the month. I think that this is a realistic goal. Something that I can manage in the morning for both of us.

Luckily, I have a great steam kettle and a bunch of flavorful teas. Oh, and i have a Keurig with a reusable pod which makes a great cup of tea.

Change in Eating #2
Besides coffee, I usually do a bagel with cream cheese for us. Check out the ingredients. Insane! I actually have a taste aversion to locust bean and guar gum (I literally can taste it in yogurt). I might go ahead and try to make my own cream cheese. I have thought about making my own bagels again (I tried it once when I was in high school and it didn't turn out very well). I think that it might be fun to try it again and involve our toddler. 

Change in Eating #3
Sometimes the toddler is awake in the morning and wants something to eat in the car. Typically he gets 1/2 my bagel or a PB&J Sandwich. As I recently purchases reusable pouches, I will try to give him some healthier pouch options in addition/alternative to his usual breakfast fare. 

For other items that meet the "real food" challenge, here is a great list by Reader's Digest (always read the label as food is constantly "improving").