Saturday, January 31, 2015

children's museum

Greta and i went to the children's museum for the very first time last week and loved it! i'd always assumed that the museum was geared more for older kids, but the subject came up at at our mom's group at church last month and we decided to go as a group. lo and behold, the bottom floor is designed for elementary-age kids, but the middle floor is designated as the nursery, and the top floor is entirely water play -- fun for all ages! 

in every new room, Greta would sit back and take it all in before starting to explore. she absolutely loved the "spaceship" made out of recycled foam noodles and water bottles. lots of buttons to push and walls to climb! 

the next section of the toddler play area includes beads to scoop and shovel, wooden balls that run down a track, light tables, and a gigantic black pegboard with thick plastic cylinders you can put in the holes -- just like a lifesize Lite Brite. the sand section was also a HUGE hit. she's never played in sand before, so she wasn't quite sure what to make of it at first. but after her initial reticence, she played with it for a solid twenty minutes -- raking the sand into patterns, sweeping it off the table with her hand, and letting it trickle through her fingers. i can't wait for her to play in all of the sand at the beach this year! 

we finally ventured up to the third floor to play in the water. the museum provides waterproof aprons for the kids, but she was a little small for the apron so i just took off her pants, socks, and shoes, and let her go. she was definitely not interested in the overhead shower feature, although a few of her little friends ran right under the water, shrieking with delight! Greta's favorite thing was splashing with plastic bugs and putting her hand under the faucet to feel the running water.

after changing into dry clothes, we headed back down to the first floor and she discovered another favourite play area: a carpet-covered pallet with holes drilled in it. colored lights were mounted in the holes so that when you'd put a clear cylinder in the hole, it turned bright red or yellow or green. such a simple concept, but it's so perfect for this stage when they love putting things in something and taking things out of something. it was essentially like a gigantic colorful puzzle. toddler crack!

after over three hours (and a few snacks), we decided to call it a day. but we'll definitely be back -- hopefully with Nick next time! at some point, i'd love to invest in a dual Children's Museum/National Aviary membership so we can take full advantage of these fantastic places. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015


i think it started selfishly, with making my Christmas wish list for Nick. i'd been curious about Jennifer Fulwiler's book, Something Other Than God, for quite some time, and i've been wanting a good Catholic study Bible with plenty of room to write in the margins. so those two went on the list right away, followed quickly by a few others that Amazon "recommended" for me (Danielle Bean's Momnipotent, and My Sisters the Saints, by Colleen Carroll Campbell). 

and then, on a whim, i searched for "Catholic apps" on my kindle fire and discovered Laudate, which is a treasure trove of resources, including the daily readings (in print and audio form), podcasts, prayers, and an interactive rosary that automatically updates the mysteries for the day of the week. it also includes an examination of conscience, which i skipped over with a little niggling thought in my brain that i hadn't been to confession since last Easter. that day, i listened to a meditation on the daily Gospel reading while folding laundry. next, i found the Catholic Study Bible app from Ignatius Press/Lighthouse Catholic Media, which includes free downloads of several fantastic lectures by Scott Hahn. i listened to his fascinating Lamb of God podcast, enraptured, while scrubbing the bathroom.  then, i stumbled upon the world of Catholic podcasts from Fountains of Carrots, This Inspired Life, and The Jennifer Fulwiler Show. now, i'm not going to pretend like i never listen to the #ThrowbackThursday playlist on Spotify or my beloved 5 Seconds of Summer station on Pandora any more, but the majority of the time now, i'm choosing to stretch my brain and learn about something while i prep dinner or iron. 

and then, the Sheenazing Awards happened, honoring some of my favourite bloggers and introducing me to dozens more fantastic blogs. Nick himself came across the amazing blog Catholic Cuisine, which illustrated how rich the liturgical year truly is. and i spent a few days obsessed with pinning recipes and craft ideas to celebrate feast days. (we'll dip our toes in the waters of liturgical living with honoring our own namedays and patrons, plus one or two additional saints per month -- starting with St. John Bosco on january 31!).

many of these bloggers contribute to the Blessed Is She daily devotionals, and so last week i signed up for their daily emails with all of the mass readings plus a short reflection. armed with all of this technology that gives me no excuse ever to not pray and read my Bible daily, i've had the sweetest times with Jesus this week. and still, in the back of my head, was the thought: you need to go to confession. and i would think back, yeah, yeah, i know. sometime soon.

well. today's first reading was Hebrews 10:19-25. 

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary
by the blood of Jesus,
by the new and living way
which he opened for us through the curtain,
that is, through his flesh, 
and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
with our hearts
sprinkled clean
from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed with pure water.

and i thought: well, that sounds an awful lot like confession. and then i read the devotional, which -- no joke -- concluded with this. enlarged font and everything.  

and then. AND THEN! on Thursdays, we pray the rosary while meditating on the Luminous Mysteries (Jesus' baptism, the wedding at Cana, the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, the Transfiguration, and the institution of the Eucharist). so i was following along on the Laudate app, which includes a little explanation for each mystery. the commentary for the Third Mystery reads: "The preaching by which Jesus proclaims the coming of the Kingdom of God, calls to conversion and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him in humble trust: the inauguration of that ministry of mercy which he continues to exercise until the end of the world, particularly through the Sacrament of Reconciliation which he has entrusted to his Church." 

so. i'm convinced. i need it, and i want it, and i'm hungry for more.