Answer Me This – Summer!

Linking up with Kendra at Catholic All Year for a little Answer Me This!


1. Any big plans for the summer?

Well, last weekend we bought a house. We had to make sure last weekend was our closing date, because we’re going to be out of town every weekend from now until August 8th. We’re headed to some weddings, some weekends at our cottage, and I’m headed to Edel! The weekend of August 8th we’re going to spend getting the house ready for the Blessed is She Midwest party we’re hosting the following weekend. So…I think this is going to be a pretty busy summer!

They sent us the most adorable movers!

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I always thought there was someone buried underneath our bathtub, so I showered for many, many years on my tiptoes. Somehow I thought it was less weird to only have my toes touching the bathtub (which was touching the dead body?).

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride)

I looooove rollercoasters. I was a little scared to read other people’s answers and see that a lot of women aren’t able to do roller coasters after having morning sickness during their pregnancies – I definitely am more prone to motion sickness now but I hadn’t considered how it would impact my dare devilry.

4. What’s on your summer reading list?

So, so much. I’m currently reading In This House of Brede (and loving it!) but I want to finish A Mother’s Rule of Life and some Flannery O’Conner. I’m also waiting for my library to provide the 7th Flavia de Luce book, The Girl on the Train, and the first J.K. Rowling mystery, The Cuckoo’s Calling. I read a book or two a week so these should get me through July. You can follow what I’m reading on my Goodreads page if you’re interested (especially if you’re interested in Catholic literature and thriller/mysteries.)

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

Yes. Definitely in college lectures, on airplanes, etc.

6. What is your favorite smell?

My mom always wore cotton scents so in college I loved to sit in the laundry room when I was homesick – the smell of all the laundry reminded me of her. When I was pregnant, my cousin suggested I buy a new bottle of body wash and lotion to wear. She had done this and that smell always brought her back to the days when her little one was a newborn. I bought some cotton scent so now in addition to making me think of my mom, it reminds me of when Kateri was super tiny.

My cotton-scented Mom holding Kateri as a newborn. That's a lot of cotton, folks.

My cotton-scented Mom holding Kateri as a newborn. That’s a lot of cotton, folks.


How Tara Got Her Groove Back

Last weekend my husband and I left the little one overnight for the first time (!) to attend our 5 year (!!!) college reunion. We were both lucky enough to attend this place:

Oh how my heart loves thee, Notre Dame.

We were about an hour away when I first thought, “Oh my goodness – we are about to be around some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met, and my only accomplishment in the last year has been keeping a child alive.” I started to hear that ugly little voice in the back of my head, telling me that I was inferior to my classmates who are experiencing success in their professional lives.

Here’s the thing – the last 1.5 years has been rough. I don’t think I completely understood the change that would happen when I stopped living my life for me and started living it for someone else. I had started to learn to do that in our first year of marriage, but parenthood is different. I haven’t weathered the identity shift from Tara to Tara, mother of Kateri, as well as I’d have liked, and I’m still not in a place where I feel like I completely recognize myself. This weekend, however, put me back on the right path in a couple of ways.

First of all, all of my classmates were genuinely interested to hear what I was doing. Just as I was interested in the details of what they’ve been up to (Federal Clerkships! Dual M.D. and M.P.H’s! World Travel!), they wanted to know what life was like as a mom. They wanted to see pictures and talk about Kateri’s latest accomplishments. They wanted to know how I was – not just what I was doing. The authentic love of old friends just can’t be beat.

Second, we were able to attend our class mass, which was celebrated by President John Jenkins. His homily was beautiful, and hit me right in the gut. He talked about how the last 5 years have brought joys and challenges to all of us. He talked about redemptive suffering, and a God who knows our pain and sorrow. He talked about how good it was that we could come home, and be refilled with the beauty of Christian community. He reminded us to reflect on the last 5 years and thank God for our blessings.

The last, and possibly most important thing, was that I stayed out dancing at the Backer until 3:00 AM.  

In my tennis shoes and mom shorts.

My friends reminded me that the fun-loving, dance crazy, up-for-nearly-anything Tara of my college days was still hiding under that slightly-softer-than-before mama belly. She’s been tempered (thank goodness!) but she still knows how to dance the night away and sing loud enough to completely lose her voice.  Sometimes she can be found at the Backer at 3:00 AM and sometimes she can be found scrambling eggs at 6:00 AM for a little one. I’m so glad I figured out where she was hiding.

Sliding Into Summer

I’m going to link up with Ana and steal her format and content idea. Here’s a quick overview of what summer is looking like for us!

Sliding into summer

Wearing// These jean shorts (because I think they run big so the size makes me feel good and they work for my new post-Kateri body shape. Also, never ever buy from Gap unless it’s 40% off or you’re doing it wrong), my Saltwater sandals (because has Grace ever led anyone wrong?), and a t-shirt. All day, errday.

Eating// sandwiches. For every meal for the next few days because our whole kitchen is packed. (More on that in a minute.)

Our kitchen is completely packed except for one straggler.

Our kitchen is completely packed except for one straggler.

Drinking// LaCroix – tasty, hydrating and free of sweeteners/calories? Done and done.

Doing// a lot of playing at the park. The 3-5 PM witching hour is so much more bearable out of the house.

Sometimes we switch it up and take unflattering, super sweaty selfless at the zoo.

Sometimes we switch it up and take unflattering, super sweaty selfless at the zoo.

Preparing for// our big move! We close on our home on Friday (!!) and there is still much to be done (like packing, switching cable providers, forwarding our mail…and convincing my husband to go out and get us ice cream instead of doing all of the above.)

Reading// In This House of Brede, A Mother’s Rule of Life, and some Flannery O’Connor – all recommendations gleaned from various ladies in the Catholic blogosphere.

Listening// to the Song Exploder podcast. It is ah-mazing. They work with composers/song writers/singers to discuss how a song came into being and its meaning.  Check out the episode on the Downton Abbey theme song, or The Long Winter’s The Commander Thinks Aloud.

Watching// Once Upon a Time. It’s been so good and has some great underlying messages.

Creating// this blog. I sat down and pumped out a few posts tonight and putting some thoughts down has already brought a little peace to my crazy.

Growing// nothing. I literally do not own anything green whose survival depends on me. I guess I’m still guiding Kateri’s growth, but that feels like a stretch. Oh well – black thumb of death over here. Maybe next summer we can work on that. (Sidenote: my mom just called to say she thinks she has pink eye, so it’s possible that I’m growing something nasty in my eyes right now. Is that too much information? Too bad.)

Going// going, going. This weekend is our only weekend together in our new home until August 8th. We just can’t say no to so many awesome opportunities to be with family and friends! Buying a house with a  huge yard was totally a great idea…

At least she lets us relax a little (HAH!)

At least she lets us relax a little (HAH!)

Loving// Kateri’s latest explosion of words/sounds. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of hearing her answer, “What does the Lion say?” Parenthood just keeps getting better and better, and I love it.