I DID IT!!!!

The toilets may not be clean, and the kids might have skid marks on their underwear, but I’m pretty darn thrilled right now.

I should clarify: The novel’s not actually finished. I’m a “winner” simply by hitting the 50,000 word goal (did I just say simply?). After I clean toilets and do laundry (yes, my hard core friends, I may cave and do a little of this on a Sunday **GASP**.  I figure God wants me to have peace of mind, and I’ll have that when my home and kids are clean again), I think I’ll have the story done in a week.  Then shopping, edits, shopping, edits, gift wrapping, edits, and… you get the idea.  Here’s hoping that I’ll have something ready to submit to publishers by early 2014.

The month of NaNoWriMo, Insanity, and Inspiration has flown by, and I have loved every minute of writing.  Well, every minute that hasn’t been constantly interrupted by “Mommy, I’m hongry!” or “Mommy, I need go potty!” or “Mommy, can I pway on your iPhone?”  It’s been a blessing to feel that I’m following the leading of the spirit, and I have definitely felt the Spirit at work.

Now, to celebrate, I’m going to go pray a Rosary while I walk my poor, neglected dog, who usually gets a walk every night and has had exactly three since the start of the month.  Then, some vino!


7 Quick Takes Friday – Gratitude!

On this day after Thanksgiving, it only seems appropriate to write a 7 Quick Take Post about Gratitude.  The hard part is knowing where to begin…

— 1 —

I’m thankful for… Family, of course!  And not having to drive to spend time with them on Thanksgiving day (though we did miss seeing my in-laws and look forward to their return in the spring!).  In addition to my parents, sisters, and their children, we were also blessed to see some extended family, including my second cousin Scott, who is about to open a bike shop and bar in Chicago (so excited for him!).

— 2 —

I’m thankful for… short lines shopping this morning, which left me with three hours of writing time at Starbucks.  Less than 1400 words to go till I’ve met the Nanowrimo goal, and loving every minute of it!

— 3 —

I’m thankful for… An opportunity to feel like a good mommy.  Ah, so rare.  When the younger children were asked what they were thankful for, Bear said “This food.”  His cousin, sitting next to him, said, “Nuffing.”  (He’s really just very ornery and will always do the opposite of what he knows his mother wants him to do!)  Then Bear said, “God, Jesus, and Mary.”  Sorry to gloat, but – hey – my kid’s got it down.

— 4 —

I’m thankful for… Great family pics.  Got these yesterday, from a photo shoot a few weeks ago.  In the interest of minding our budget this year, we probably won’t be doing Christmas cards, so this might be the only time you see these.

Just us Engelmans:

All of the cousins.  It may be too small to see the details, but let me tell you, these are some good looking kids. And, as an added bonus, they really love each other.

And a little fun and goofiness…


— 5 —

I’m thankful for… The special talents God gives to each one of us, and the blessing of being able to use them to glorify Him.

— 6 —

I’m thankful for… Great books, that entertain while leading me to become a better person.  I’m currently reading Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, and loving it.

— 7 —

I’m thankful for… Well, Bear said it best.  “Food, God, Jesus, and Mary.”  Though maybe not in that order.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes Friday – Death, Nicknames, and Sibling Love?

— 1 —

This is my first 7 QT Friday! I’m so excited to be joining the club. Thanks, Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary, for hosting! Her 7 QT post for today is absolute laugh out loud funny, and well worth your time.  Mine really isn’t funny at all, but I hope you’ll still read it!

— 2 —

As proof of my lack of humor, I’ll start off with death.  Did you know that JFK wasn’t the only person to die on this date fifty years ago? CS Lewis died less than an hour before JFK was shot, yet his death was overshadowed by the assassination of the American President. Interesting to think for a moment of the two men – one who wasn’t a Catholic, yet whose writings have brought people to the Church in droves, and another who was a Catholic, whose actions, at times, were so very disparate from Church teaching.

— 3 —

Off of death and onto life… Bonita has been reading the Beverly Cleary books and has aptly renamed Boo, Ramona. Between scribbling on the big kids’ homework and permission slips, taking a single bite from a gazillion different apples, throwing toys all over the living room and then insisting “It was Bear!”, “It was the Dude!,” and,”It was Bonita!”, I believe this name just might stick.

She does bear an uncanny resemblance, does she not?

— 4 —

Speaking of nicknames, did you know mine growing up was Buffy? No, not after The Vampire Slayer. I’m way too old for that. Apparently, there was some TV show that had a little sister character named Buffy who was “a real brat,” and thus my sisters gave the name to me. I believe it still fits, does it not?

— 5 —

Nanowrimo is going swimmingly! Or, it was until yesterday, when an investigative conversation with our associate pastor, Fr. Michael, led me to feel that I have to go back and rewrite the last four days of action. Rewrites will have to wait though. I’m at 31,876 words and counting, which leaves me a little bit behind the goal (I should have been at 35,007 as of last night), but Ray’s been amazingly supportive so I’m confident that, if nothing else, I’ll be able to catch up while he’s home over Thanksgiving break. Darn it, this is a goal I WILL achieve!!!!

— 6 —

A big (slightly bitter) shout out to all of the doctors who gleefully prescribed the pill to me in my pre-Faith days – and continue to do so for millions of women and young girls. Ironically, I was on my way to the eye doctor on Tuesday when I heard Teresa Tomeo talking about a recent study that linked the birth control pill with an increase in the risk of glaucoma, from about 1.86% to just under 4%. OK, 4% is still small, but I like 1.86% better. Add to this the 30% increase in risk for cancer and I think the candy story birth control pill mentality is a real winner for women, don’t you? And, hey, while we’re it, a big “thank you” to President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius for making it free for all women! Not just candy – FREE candy! WOOHOO!!!!!

(While we’re at it, I should share Father Hollowell’s post on the pic below.)

— 7 —

Motherhood has its challenges, and the sibling bickering that’s been going on this family recently has at times pushed me to (and beyond) my limits. Thus, I’d like to memorialize this moment of sibling love, as the Dude and Boo take a break from tickling, teasing, and laughing at each other to pose for the camera. It warms a mama’s heart.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Love at First Talk of Immunizations

It’s been a long time coming, but I am more than ecstatic to share with you that I have finally (I think!) found the perfect pediatrician for our family.

Yes, it was love at first talk of immunizations.

Courtesy of www.clareswinney.wordpress.com

You see, we’ve had four pediatricians in the nine years that we’ve had children.  One retired, one had a terrible office manager, one charged us for useless tests, and one had a filthy office.  All of them pushed vaccines, looked down their noses at anything natural, and were in lock step with every government recommendation that exists for children’s “health.”

Am I picky?  Yes.

Am I a little wacko in what I’m looking for?  Yes.  I want a mainstream doctor that practices non-mainstream stuff, like health through nutrition, caution in immunizations, and a general belief that the pharmaceutical reps don’t hold every medical answer known to mankind.

So, after the last doctor, I finally wised up and asked our chiropractor for a recommendation.  It took a few months to get in, but here I am, so excited that I’m actually writing a blog post about it!

Would you believe, when I told her that Bear had experienced a noticeable decrease in eye contact after a shot, she said, “Well, that’s it.  No more shots.”

WHAT???!!!!!  I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!

No more feeling like the school nurse thinks I’m a total nut job!  (OK, I’m sure she still will, and I probably am, but I do feel slightly vindicated.)

No more having to send in the note to school that says immunizations are against our religious beliefs!  I have a firm no-lying policy, and don’t appreciate the State Board of Health forcing me to break that policy.  However, since this is for the health and wellbeing of my child, I figure this falls under the conscientious objector clause, so no, I’ve never gone to confession over this particular lie.

She also took Bear’s very large and irregularly shaped birth mark more seriously than previous doctors, which makes me happy as it has always seemed worthy of investigation to me.  And she is having us pursue an echocardiogram on the heart murmur which was not noticed until a year and a half ago.  I appreciate her diligent caution, for my own piece of mind, if nothing else.

It’s more than forty five minutes away, so here’s hoping the kids never get sick. But I’m willing to drive for someone who actually asked me if we do pasteurized or raw milk, or not at all, who recognizes nutrition as a means for healing, and who is willing to concede thatsome kids just shouldn’t get shots.

My faith in the medical establishment is slightly restored. HALLELUJAH!

Top Ten Reasons Why Husbands Should Go Out of Town Occasionally

10. Gives us an opportunity to catch up on projects we’ve long neglected.  Or, perhaps, start writing a novel.

9. Every woman should be forced to kill a giant wolf spider – or two – in her living room occasionally.

8. Saves money – the company’s paying for his food and gas.

7. An opportunity to assert our independence by doing manly things like taking out the trash and putting salt in the softener (for the first time ever – yeah, me!).

6. Throw chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese on the table.  Everybody’s happy! (Uh, vegan and organic, of course.) 🙂

5. It’s SO much easier to make the bed when only one person has slept in it.

4. Watch the Twilight series – again – with no complaints from the other person on the couch… ’cause there is no other person on the couch.

3. No need to feign a headache. (What, me? No, never!)

2. Sharing dog-poop-picker-upper duties is over-rated.  It’s far better to be the sole poop-picker-upper.  Three times a day.   Every day.  Big poop, little poop.  Sock-filled poop, rainy day poop.  I’ve had enough of poop.

And the number one reason why it’s good for husbands to go out of town occasionally…. (Drum roll, please)….

1. No need to blush or attempt to hide the occasional flatulent expulsion.

OK, honey.  I’ve had my fun.  The spiders are dead, the kids have eaten the nuggets, the poop’s picked up, and I’m flatulent-free.  Please come home.