Jude Landry Store

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My patron saint for 2011

Jennifer over at Conversion Diary has a cool little thingy (yes, I know nothing about internet terms or codes) that will select a saint at random to be your patron for the year or for whatever you choose. I think it's a really great idea and I'm really stoked about my new patron for 2011: St. Gerard Majella, the patron saint of motherhood - very fitting, huh? I'll keep you posted on the hopeful revelations and insights coming my way in 2011 through the intercession of St. Gerard. Check it out.

And I promise to post some Christmas pics and stories when we return to Starkville, but for now, I'm just enjoying our "time off" with fam and friends! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Aloha Chloe and Art!

Chloe and Art, we hope you're having a great time at all of those luaus in Hawaii. Know that we're missing you this Christmas season and praying for your safe return. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thanks be to God!

You may remember my post here about Baby James. Well - the latest MRI results show that he has NO BRAIN DAMAGE!! Bonnie has more info on her blog right here about his recovery. Thank you so much for any prayers you might have said on his behalf, and thank you, Fulton Sheen, for your intercession.

Thank you, Jesus, our Miracle Maker and Healer.

I like her, too.

I've been working on this post in my head for a long time now.

I love my girls, that goes without saying. But I feel like I harp on Charlotte's difficulties way. too. much. Maybe I don't on the blog, but if you are a family member or friend of mine in real life, you've heard it from the horse's mouth, and I'm sorry, especially to you, Charlotte.

It's important for me to remember and share with you, the good things about her. Because, while I will always love her, I do like her, too.

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I like her eyebrows and the sound of her squeal.
I like her tipped ears and the face she makes when she's pooping.
I like when she grins at me while nursing.
I like the way she fits in the Moby, so tight beside me.

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I like how quickly she falls asleep, cradled with a blanket beside her.
I like that she actually takes a pacifier and the occasional bottle.
I like her giggle and little jumping dance.
I like her sad bottom lip when she's crying.


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I like the way she watches Joan, with amazement and awe.
I like her smell and the little mole on her tummy.
I like seeing Jude when I look into her eyes.
I like her name, first, middle, and last.
I like that her socks and shoes actually stay on.

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I like her bald spot and the red strawberries on her scalp.
I like her butt in fluffy cloth diapers.
I like how good she is at Mass.
I like that she can be held by anyone.


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I like the way she was born.
I like her dimples and fair skin.
I like that her clothing size and age always match up.
I like her little naked body, especially in the bath.
I like how she burrows into my shoulder when she's sleepy.
I like how she looks in Joan's old clothes.
I like the feeling of her forehead against my neck.


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Yep. I like her, too.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Those Landrys' Gift Exchange

Because we'll be out of town for Christmas morning, we always exchange our individual family presents the morning before we go. We dressed Joan and Charlotte in those adorable matching pjs from Tootsie and Big Poppa and had coffee and pancakes for breakfast.

Joan got her first tricycle and some books about the lives of the saints and a gift from her friend, Henry. Poor, Charlotte - she got teething and gas accessories, but we know she'll love them! Jude had a STATE Christmas this year, including koozies and an ornament - definitely not as cool or thoughtful as his gift for me... a handmade booklet about our trip to NYC, the one during which we lost our camera. It is awesome. I love designers. Especially my designer.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer






Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hodge Podge

This post doesn't really have a theme, unless adorable photos and videos is an acceptable theme. These were taken from a few different playdates with our friends in Starkville who attend the story hour at the library. We've been so blessed to meet a ton of new kids around my girls' ages with nice stay-at-home mothers like me! Thank you, Jesus - because there's not much else to do in Starkville but play and chat... We also have a special video to thank Chloe and Art for the beautiful cradle they sent Joan for Christmas and another of Joan singing her favorite Advent song. Enjoy!

And the one of Joan and the paper towel roll is of her making a snowman...

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer





Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Verbatim

"No, Momma. I can't wear that (a red firefighters hat). I'm a girl."
"But girls can be firefighters if they want to."
"No, I want to be a princess fireplace."
"Ok... so do you want to wear the hat, now?"
"No. I'm just too late."
"Too late?"
"Yeah, and too heavy for that hat."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oh. That's what that's for.

I had an epiphany.

Savings accounts. When we were first married and living in an apartment and were both working, we were saving my entire pay check. But at the time, we had no idea what we were saving for - sure we made purchases along the way that we used some savings on like the down payment for our house, furniture, a new computer, and extra funds for when I stopped working to take care of Joan.

But I've been really hard on us lately about having to dip into that savings every month just to break even. I've felt like we should at least have something to show for if we're going to dip into it - but we don't. We're just using it to live and not to live more luxuriously, but more simply. We've scaled back as best we can right now and that's it. There's no more give anywhere (except maybe that $9.99 netflix account).

There's this cultural pressure (as reasonable as it is) to always be saving, paying off debt, and getting ready for the future. But it is our future, now. This is what our savings are for. Just getting by. And I'm ok with that (today, anyways), because at least we're getting by.

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. 
Matthew 6:34

Thank you Lord, for your generosity, especially shown through our parents. Please provide for us today, because today is all You require.  Amen.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Happy Sunday!

Today we're celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe's Feast Day by lighting our new candle seen in this post all day long today. Maybe we'll get around to making some tissue roses for Mary, too.

We parked at the end of the church parking lot today so that we could walk really far like Juan Diego had to to get to Mass. It was long enough to retell the story and I love that Joan could fill in the parts of his story for me.

And we also celebrate Guadete Sunday - the third Sunday in Advent. Joan was super excited that Fr. John actually worn pink vestments today and that we FINALLY get to light the pink candle. She's been waiting on that for a while now.

Rejoice in the Lord always! The Savior is truly near!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Birthday Wishes!

Here's a video for Sara on her birthday, and because we didn't think of doing this until now, we're including Mark and Tootsie for their November birthdays. 








Breakfast of Champions

By no means would I consider my dad to be the world's greatest chef. In fact, we sometimes kid that he uses almost every dish in the kitchen to prepare meals (right, Mom?). And I guess there was that cooking phase he went through when he got a wok one year... But it's important to note that he taught me to make one of my all time favorite meals.

Jambalaya.

No, not that jambalaya.

His jambalaya only has rice, egg, and ham. Actually I thought this was jambalaya until almost college. But I would beg him to make it for me as a child and I would sit at the bar and watch him at the stove and I just couldn't wait - and I was disappointed when my bowl was empty. It's just so good.

Well, Dad, I want you to know that now, every time I'm making rice for a dinner dish, I make a little extra so that I can have jambalaya for breakfast in the morning. And this morning I actually had ham and when I took my first bite, I thought of you.

I love you and your jambalaya.



I also want to say that Charlotte slept from 10:30 pm-7:00 am without even crying out for a pacifier. A good night sleep + Jambalaya for breakfast = A great start for Saturday.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Feast Day, St. Juan Diego!

Today for St. Juan Diego, Joan colored these paper dolls found at Paper Dali,




She's so cute. I thought she kept asking me if she could bring St. Juan Diego and Our Lady in the van with us and she got frustrated and said, "No! The FAN!" She wanted me to hang Our Lady of Guadalupe from her fan like yesterday's Our Lady of Lourdes! 

Then we watched a little clip of Juan Diego - Messenger of Guadalupe on youtube, but I hope we win a copy of it from CCC through Catholic Icing for ourselves. If you blog - check it out!

I also had intentions to visit church with Joan this morning because our evening plans conflicted with Mass, but that didn't happen. I thought it would be nice to park at the very end of the parking lot and have her walk the long way to the front of church, the way Juan walked so far to get to Mass. But maybe we can still do that on Sunday's Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

St. Juan Diego, pray for us.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

I've said it before, my kids are helping me get to Heaven. Most of the time I unfortunately use that phrase with exasperation because that day was especially trying for me. And even though today possessed some of those kind of moments, I should recognize that not all of the "get me to Heaven" lessons are from stress. 

I've never been more touched by the celebrations of feast days and liturgical seasons than I am now. Having kids and attempting to guide them through our beautiful faith has done wonders for my own spirituality. First, it changes my perspective - I'm no longer a high schooler in CCD or a college student at a bible study, but a wife and mother living out a vocation. 

Having kids also holds up a mirror to my face and reveals more about my habits and passion (or lack there of). I have to be deliberate about what I say and do, because she's watching. And today was no different. We celebrate Mary's Immaculate Conception and to get a 2 1/2 year old to understand that is a huge feat. Even though she may not get most of the concept, it benefitted me to harp on it all day long, keeping it foremost in my thoughts and words (we talked about it A LOT) and letting it spill over into my heart. 

Thank you God, for my children and for the quiet way they teach my simple heart.

And Mother Mary, ever pure and holy, thank you for your prayers and shining example.

Amen.

So, that kind of came out of left field. I was just going to nonchalantly post our celebrations of today for you, but I guess I needed to be reminded of a few things first. Anyway, here's what Those Landrys did. It began last night with a little youtube clip from "Bernadette, Princess of Lourdes" (a great Christmas present, maybe?) to help me explain where her title came from.



Then for breakfast, she ate scrambled egg whites on toast to symbolize Mary's purity and white milk (no chocolate milk this morning...) in a blue cup representing Mary's signature color.


Then she colored an image of Mary as The Immaculate Conception and we hung it in the "sky" just like the way St. Bernadette saw her. She said, "I want to be Bernadette, too." So I gave her her rosary and we said our Hail Marys under her mobile. 


I tried to sing "Immaculate Mary" with her a few times, but she didn't really want to. But then I caught her being so adorable - she got down on her knees (all unscripted) and was saying the prayers on her own. I switched the camera to video and hoped to catch more sweet innocence. Check out how cute she is!



Later tonight, after Mass, we plan to have an all-white meal again. We're making chicken alfredo pizza with mozzarella. No pictures of that though, I decided to do the post now. Both girls are actually asleep - yep - at the same time!!! Have a wonderful feast day!

Oh, and I'm really excited about tomorrow's St. Juan Diego feast day because yesterday while shopping at Kroger, I found an Our Lady of Guadalupe candle. Yes, at Kroger - in Starkville! I need to find some silk flowers and I think we'll do some more reenactments. I might have a little actress on my hands...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy St. Nick's Day!

This was our first year celebrating St. Nick's Day and I've got to say, it's one of my new favorite feast days. I gave it my best shot - here's what we did...

We talked a lot about him.



We hung stockings and waited for the morning to see what he'd put in them.





He brought St. Nicholas gold coins with chocolate inside (thanks Lisa for this link!), silver coins with their patron Sts. Joan of Arc and Clare, a Miraculous Medal and medals of St. Bernadette and St. Clare.






And because Joan's been dealing with a shoe blister since Thanksgiving, he brought her some "Band Angels."




We're hoping the band-aids will also help with teething... 





Then we went to church to thank God for our blessings and to honor old St. Nick by dropping off a coat for someone in need.





And this was just cute, so it's going up too! I think she looks like my sister-in-law, Chloe and Chloe's mother-in-law knitted this adorable sweater! Thanks June!



Now we're getting ready for The Immaculate Conception on Wednesday. I'd love to know what you're doing or if you have any ideas for my little ones!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Romans 8:28

We know that all things work for good for those who love God.


You might remember, we lost our really nice camera in New York City, along with all the pictures of every touristy thing you can do there. And yes, I was distraught at first. But I'm over that now and basking in the generous blessings of God.

We got a new camera. Well, MSU bought Professor Landry a camera, but the Landry family can use it in between work projects. Our old one pales by comparison and I don't really miss it. We're just thanking God for making something good - no, better - out of something bad, even though we don't deserve it.

Enjoy! (And just so you know, you can click and hold on the picture to move it around if you see that some of the picture got cut off. Sorry, but I'm not sure how to fix this.)

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wow. All before 8 am.


There are only two good things about having to feed Charlotte in the middle of the night,
  1. She falls back to sleep immediately.
  2. The Holy Spirit yells at me.

Tonight’s feeding gave me great peace and the grace to write about it here.

I have been feeling so much pressure lately. First financial pressure: pay off that debt, save that money, live like retired folks, and still have enough money to get through the month. None of these will happen for a long time and we even have trouble with just getting through the month and breaking even.

And then there’s that motherly pressure to successfully cook, clean, discipline, and educate, with enough time to still enjoy the 2 small ones I care for daily.

Even more now is the pressure of Advent, mainly from the blogging community, to prepare and celebrate a certain way.

In October and November, I began thinking about our Christmas traditions and how I wanted them to be different this year, with much less emphasis on Santa and commercialism and much more on the preparation and remembrance of Christ’s birth and awaited second coming. But as we began Advent, I got this nagging feeling of guilt, which was not of God, for not doing enough and I started to question that the things I enjoy, (putting up the Christmas tree, listening to Christmas music, and watching Christmas movies) were in some way keeping me from experiencing a holy Advent.

Maybe this pressure came internally, but much of it comes from the world. We hold standards for ourselves and for each other and sometimes those are well intentioned, but sometimes they create impossible expectations. Only we can discern what we’re asked to give and do for God.

Thankfully He is much kinder than the world. Yes, He asks us to give a lot – but only what we have, no more and no less. And our ability to even give comes from His grace – let us not forget this as we pat ourselves on the back for giving or doing ‘a lot’ by our own standards. I challenge us to take a break from patting ourselves on the back or beating ourselves up. Let’s take a look at our life this season, are we ready for Christ to come? If our hearts are in the right place, whether or not we put up that Advent wreath or Jesse tree, we’re ready.

Thank you, Lord, for Your forgiveness and the sacrament of confession, which brought me such peace. And thank you Jesus, for the two coins I have to give. May it please You and humble me. 
                                                                                                     Amen.

Luke 21:1-4
And this penance from Fr. John, Matthew 6:25-34

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Breastfeeding in Public: My Pet Peeves and Solution

** Men, feel free to skip this post if you'd like...**

I like to feed my babies in public. It's probably because I don't want to miss anything or maybe I'm just too lazy to get up and leave. But the main reason is because I think it's a really beautiful, natural thing - and I shouldn't have to go hide away to do it.

At the same time, I want to make others, males especially, feel as comfortable as possible when I'm nursing while still maintaining a spirit of modesty. I've finally discovered the perfect nursing attire to accomplish that.

Here are my pet peeves about nursing in public,

* I don't like having half of my stretchy stomach skin and fat spilling over the side of my jeans for everyone to see.

* I don't like having the other half of my back showing from behind.

* I don't like pulling a shirt's neckline over a breast on one side because it stretches it out.

* I don't like using a nursing cover or blanket because my kids don't like it and fight it and I feel like it brings more attention to what I'm doing anyway.

* I don't like using a tank top under my shirt to pull down over a breast because I'm almost always using that tank top to give me a modest neckline anyway - pulling it down defeats its purpose.

* I don't like using nursing tanks because they don't have any breast support on their own and wearing a nursing bra under a nursing tank is cumbersome. Nursing tanks are also not long enough to cover my back side when sitting down. (I've got a long torso, and yes, I like to wear low rise jeans...)

* I was using a skin tight stretchy tube top that covered just under my bra down to my jeans, but it wasn't long enough to cover my back side and it was constantly "catching" the fabric of my top shirt because it was entirely made of stretchy fabric.

The Solution:
I took an old white tank that I knew was long enough to go over my jeans when sitting down and cut off the top right under the arm holes. I was left with a little white tube top.

Then I measured and cut a piece of elastic that fit snugly around my ribs, just below my bra. I folded the top of my cut tank top around that piece of elastic and sewed it shut. I was left with a long, elastic topped undershirt that fit snugly below my bra. But what happened? Throughout the course of the day, that elastic would work its way down my back and I was constantly pulling it up. So now I safety pin the elastic top to my bra strap in the back in two places and it stays put. The front elastic doesn't work its way down at all because it still fits pretty snugly.

So now, when I'm in public, I cradle Charlotte and with the opposite hand of the breast I'm using, I hold her head in place over that breast. With the other hand I reach under my top shirt to unhook my nursing bra and pull that down. With that same hand, I begin to lift my shirt over the breast, just enough so she can find the nipple and begin to feed.

None of my back shows. None of my stomach shows. And as long as nobody is peering directly above us when she's latching on, none of my breast shows. It was hard to believe that Charlotte's head and my arm were enough to cover everything that's left exposed, but Jude assures me, it is. And now when she's done, I slide my shirt back down over the breast before I move her head and hook the bra back up. Piece of cake.

I still haven't figured out how to nurse in a dress, though...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Get the Herrs to Disney World!

My friends are finalists in a competition to get a free trip to Disney World. Visit this link and vote on their video CUTE SISTERS WITH POTATO PASSION as your favorite. You have to register your email address, but you can always unsubscribe later.

And here's a video that won them a mini van - aren't they so talented and adorable!



We miss you Herr babies!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

She's learning...

I'll admit, sometimes when I take a video, I'll do it a few times to make sure that Joan will cooperate and say the "right" answers to my questions. But this one is a one take wonder and it makes me feel like she's actually remembering stuff we talked about during the day. So even though she's watched Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer twice since we got it on Netflix, she also knows what we're truly waiting for and celebrating, and this makes me happy. Now excuse me, while I change into my pjs, drink a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy watching a Charlie Brown Christmas with my family next to our beautifully lit tree. Good tidings to all.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The little things

Jude tucks me in randomly at night when the covers shift and my shoulders aren't covered. Sometimes he thinks I'm sleeping, but I'm not.

I like this, and I'm thankful.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Verbatim

"She's gonna be shaptized."
"Do you mean baptized?"
"Yeah, baptized and shampoo."

"Joan, what did you watch today?"
"Some news."

"Momma, can I have a sip of that?"
"Of what?"
"Of butter."

"Momma, I want to go to Anna's house."
(this wouldn't be that cute, except that she means Louisiana)

"Momma, I need to go poo poo."
"Well, it's ok if you want to go poop in your pull-up, but if you want to wait until we can find a gas station or a store, then you can go poo poo there."
"No, I don't want to go poo poo in a store, I want to go poo poo in Wal-Mart."

"Papa, I'm going to a party?"
"Oh, a party? Who's gonna be there? Anastasia?"
"No, she's in the TV."






Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Is it too much to ask,

that you let me finish eating my lunch alone,
or finish hemming your father's pair of pants,
or finish cooking dinner,
or finish using the bathroom,
or finish folding the laundry,
or finish paying that bill,
or finish typing an email,
or finish writing this post without being interrupted?

It is?

Fine. Then I'll have a Dr. Pepper.
But can I finish it?

Monday, November 15, 2010

I know, I know... I'm one of those...

I'll confess. I was ready for Christmas music and decorations before Halloween this year. I'm sorry. It's just that my house looks so pretty and smells so good and sounds so beautiful (Jude loves to play live Christmas music for us on the guitar).


But in my best efforts, I made it a point to not gloss over Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day. We celebrated those days with new traditions this year and that helped me table my Christmas obsession for a while.


And I still want to give equal attention to some fabulous feast days and holy days coming up, namely, Christ the King and the Presentation of Mary, St. Nicholas's day, and The Immaculate Conception. And we'll also be starting Advent in a few weeks, so I can get my wreath out (along with other decorations, right?) to kickoff our Christmas season. And for the first time since I was in Catholic school, we'll put up a Jesse Tree. (I had to take back the ornaments I bought yesterday because I can't excuse spending the money on them, when I can find printable symbols here...)


Anyway, this post is really about getting me some free Christmas cards from Shutterfly here. (Bloggers can get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly). 


We've never done Christmas cards before (we're too cheap) but Shutterfly is giving us such a great deal  and just look at some of these designs... I haven't decided yet what we'll choose, but I'm pretty sure it'll be a flat stationery card with photos because Jude really prefers matte pictures to glossy ones. But wait, isn't my birthday coming up, too? Just a week before Christmas. I might need to plan a party just so I can send out these cute invites


Are you ready for Christmas, too? Then you should check out Shutterfly!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Contentment

So, I've kind of been writing this post for a long time, now. Basically the second we found out about more expenses for our Illinois house. And I had this great shpeel about Earthly contentment and then Fr. John's homily last weekend made me rethink some of my reflections. Bonnie also said some of the exact same things I wanted to say in her post here. So I'll try not to sound redundant.

I have a tendency, some might even call it pessimism, to speak in an absolute tone. Without actually using "always" and "never," (because my Family Relations 101 professor would be so disappointed if I did...), I can somehow make whatever situation I'm in sound like it will last for eternity. Does anyone else do that?

Sometimes I get so caught up in the emotion that I'm feeling, be it disappointment, exhaustion, abandonment, or jealousy, that I can hardly imagine a time, past or future, when I won't feel it anymore. And thank God for Jude, the voice of reason and reality in my life, because he reminds me about the goodness of the past and of great things to come and can even find something good about that moment, as horrible as I feel during it. (This is what made him a ridiculously great birthing coach!). He tries to encourage me to find goodness right now and to stop longing for something better.

I'm constantly saying, "Won't it be nice when..." and "I can't wait for...." And when those things come to be, I find something else wrong and say, "Won't it be nice when..." and "I can't wait for..."

My whole defense for this line of thinking was our innate longing for eternal salvation. I'll always be able to find something wrong with Earth, right? And Heaven will be perfection. And even though this is absolute truth, I'm forgetting some important things. Fr. John reminded me...

We are a resurrection people, an Easter people. We celebrate the resurrection here, in present time. And while our hope for people who have died is to go on to a "better place," we live in a good place. And this does not negate the burdens that we carry daily, but instead gives meaning and purpose to those crosses - salvation.

And I'll bet that this isn't new to most of you - many have probably heard of redemptive suffering or uniting our suffering with Christ. And I'm sure a lot of us offer it up when we're dealing with something. But when do we ever unite our resurrections? When do we rejoice with the Communion of Saints for something good in our life - even small pleasures? Without death, there is no resurrection, and there is no resurrection if we dwell in death.

Today, my prayer is that I may participate more fully in both Christ's passion and resurrection and that I, too, may say, "Abba Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will" (Mark 14:36). And when the time comes for me to carry my cross, may the courage for every step come from joy and gladness.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Verbatim

Joan says some pretty funny things. Here's a few that I've been holding on to to share...

"Joan, where do you live?"
"I live at Chuck E. Cheese."

"Joan, what did you dream about?"
"The Jacket Man."
"Is the Jacket Man a nice man?"
"No."
"Oh really?"
"He's a cute man."

"Joan, what are shenanigans?"
"They're in Sulphur." (FYI: Sulphur is where my parents live...)

"Joan, have you ever seen Mary in the sky?"
"Yes."
"Oh really? What did you say to her?"
"Trick-or-treat."

Friday, November 5, 2010

3003 Geranium Dr.

(disclaimer: I usually think a lot about my posts before writing them, but I have a feeling this one might be a rant. Get ready to read a line or two from Debbie Downer...)

Who knew an address could make me nauseous? I'm being a bit overdramatic, but truly when I hear this address, see it on paper, or just mentally think of our house in Illinois, I get a fat knot in my stomach.

It has been the source of so much tension and frustration in our lives, and hopefully, the source of tremendous grace. I realize I haven't mentioned the house too much on the blog. I think that's because I'm still in some kind of denial about it. If I don't talk about it and don't write about it, the problems there aren't really affecting us. But the latest news regarding the house deserves its own blog rant.

We put the house up for sale in February of 2009. It stayed on the market even after we moved to Mississippi. We lowered the price several times before and after we moved to MS until it finally got down to $16,000 below what we paid for it. We saw two separate contracts fall through and one was only a week away from the closing. We paid mortgage on the vacant home for 11 months while we rented in Mississippi and waited for renters for 7 months. The renter we desperately settled on has 4 kids and is using Section 8 assistance to help pay for the rent - which doesn't cover our total mortgage cost. We switched realtors, prayed novenas, and buried St. Joseph. It's been an ordeal.

And now finally, after having a bit of relief from carrying that vacant house for so long, we learn what a great burden it is to be landlords. For Section 8 to approve of the house, a few minor repairs needed to be made. And then we learned of a mice infestation (gasps! I know you're thinking, "what kind of renters are they?"). Our property manager reassures us that the renter is actually quite clean and seems to take good care of the house. The only thing we can think of is that having the house empty for a long time and having a little creek and weedy area behind the house caused some mice to move in unnoticed. Either way, extermination is hopefully doing its job. And then the dishwasher needed to be replaced because the cost of a repair is almost equivalent to a slightly used dishwasher. And now the furnace needs a repair. And did you know, all of this costs money? Money that we kind of need right now.

I just want it gone.

And what's sad is that I can tell myself, it could be so much worse or at least we have a big beautiful home to live in now or we have everything we need right now and more, even with these expenses or so many other people have a lot less or have hurt a lot more or at least our families have been so generous or we won't have to deal with this forever, but some days it doesn't help and it's one of those days. And I'm just hoping that God's grace carries me to tomorrow when the burden seems lighter or I'm somehow stronger. What's that St. Paul writes, "When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor 12:10).


Want to know the first part of that passage? "Therefore, I am CONTENT with weaknesses, insults, HARDSHIPS, persecutions, and constraints, FOR THE SAKE OF CHRIST; for when I am weak, then I am strong." Whoops.


Maybe tomorrow's post will be filled with a little more contentment and suffering for the sake of Christ. But in the meantime, pray for me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Best answer ever.

"Joan, how much do you love me?"
"A big much."

Super Easy, Super Yummy

I've been trying a few new recipes from a cookbook my sister-in-law gave me, Deceptively Delicious (thanks, Chloe!). They're recipes that include pureed fruits and veggies so mealtime becomes less of a head ache for mom's with picky eaters (husbands included...). And what I love, love, love about this book - other than the amazing illustrations - is that the recipes really are familiar and kid friendly. Most of the time I flip through cookbooks, I find myself smiling and thinking yeah, right. And I turn the page. And I've been hiding veggies in our meals for a long time now, but I like having some recipes to try out, too.

A few nights ago, I made chicken nuggets with a broccoli puree and served them with sweet potato fries. I'm the only one who didn't like something on my plate. I wasn't a fan of the fries. They were much better at that pub in New York.

But tonight was a real hit with the fam. I made tortilla "cigars" and homemade refried beans. This recipe is really good and simple, so I thought I'd pass it along. (I adjusted the measurements, but here's what's in the book)

1 c sauteed or roasted chicken
1/2 c shredded cheese
1/2 c yellow squash puree (I used half squash, half zucchini)
1/2 c carrot puree
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
whole-wheat tortillas

Basically, cook up that chicken and mix everything together, spread it on a tortilla, roll it, bake it for a few minutes and call it a day. I've done this before without cream cheese - and I think that's what made it so good this time, or maybe it was the veggies...

Then I just heated pinto beans, mashed them and mixed them with chili powder and garlic powder. But don't google how to make homemade refried beans - they all say it takes over an 2 hours to make.

But next time I spend 5 hours (on and off) pureeing fruits and veggies for my recipes, I'll try to eat less candy bars and drink less cokes whilst doing so - and yes, facebook users, I said, "whilst."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yay for All Saints Day!

Getting a two year old to understand and enjoy All Saints Day was a little tricky, especially after the Halloween craze had ended. But we did our best.

Jude bought us donuts for breakfast and I explained to Joan that eternity (hopefully in Heaven) goes on and on like the circle of a donut. She finally understood when I told it to her like a fairy tale, "We'll live happily ever after - forever and ever."

Joan colored a picture of St. Joan of Arc and one of St. Bernadette, or as she likes to call the portraits, "St. Joan Bernadette Landry." This evening, we turned off the lights and lit four candles for our departed family members, friends, clergy, and those forgotten while praying the litany of saints, during which Joan singed a chunk of her bangs off. And did you know it's actually, "From Lightning McQueen, Deliver us O Lord" instead of, "From the lightning and the tempest, Deliver us O Lord?"

But the finale of the night was finally getting into that Halloween candy she's been eyeing since Thursday. She's pretty smart because she chose a huge lollipop that's taken her over an hour and a half to finish. Jude just negotiated a tootsie roll for her less than half eaten sucker and now the candy bowl has been hidden.

Happy All Saints Day!

And don't forget about thinking of and praying for the souls still awaiting paradise on tomorrow's All Souls Day. I'm going to try to bring Joan to the cemetery... we'll see how that goes...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What a week!

I've been typing and erasing, typing and erasing, trying to come up with a cute little blog post that would melt your heart. But sadly, I can find no words that will do this week justice. You're just going to have to check out these adorable photos.

Here's this week's play by play...
Wednesday: A halloween story time at the library
Thursday: Feeding the horse at Landon and Oliver's house and trick-or-treating at the sorority houses on campus (apparently Snow White was in Phi Mu...)
Friday: trunk-or-treating at St. Joseph's and trick-or-treating at the shops on Main St. during Pumpkinpalooza
Saturday: tailgating and watching State beat Kentucky



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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dangit.

Of course a few days after I start bragging about how I'm gonna make this Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day special this year, I forget that it's St. Jude's feast day. You'd think I'd be used to the bitter taste of humility by now, but I'm not.


Thanks Kaitlin, for reminding me that today indeed celebrates my husband's patron saint. 


Join in prayer with me:
Most Holy Apostle, St. Jude Thaddeus, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered your beloved Master into the hands of his enemies has caused you to be forgotten by many. But the Church honors you, and I invoke you as the special advocate of those who are in trouble and almost without hope. Help me to realize that through our faith we triumph over lifes difficulties by the power of Jesus who gave his life for us. Come to my assistance that I may receive the consolation and succor of heaven in all my needs, trials, and sufferings, particularly (here make your request) and that I may praise God with you and all the saints forever.

St. Jude, apostle of the Word of God, pray for us.
St. Jude, follower of the Son of God, pray for us.
St. Jude, preacher of the love of God, pray for us.
St. Jude, intercessor before God, pray for us.
St. Jude, friend of all in need, pray for us.
St. Jude, pray for us, and all who invoke your aid.

I also want to wish my lovely parents a very special anniversary - 32 years, I think! We are all so privileged to witness your marriage and may God continue to bring you many more happy years!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day

For one of the first times as a mother, I feel prepared for a holiday. I've been so motivated over the last few months to take a better look at the calendar and prepare my girls for the celebration (or reflection) to come. I haven't done a great job yet, but I'm trying. 

Joan's at that age where she remembers what she did and heard, and I don't want the rest of the world to be the only voice she hears. I'm not naive in thinking that I can shield my kids from everything secular, especially when I live a pretty secular life by most standards. But we can teach them to find Christ in all things and we can instill in them a desire for more, more than anything the world can offer. And we'll pray that they'll seek that fulfillment in Christ alone. 

So while Halloween will still be celebrated by Those Landrys with candy and costumes, the Communion of Saints, the Church Triumphant and the Church Penitent, will not be forgotten. I'm using this article here as a guide in making this weekend a holy weekend. 

And in the meantime, you should prepare yourselves for two of the most adorable, costumed little girls on the planet... Pictures coming soon.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quick from the kitchen

So, I learned this amazing tip from my mother-in-law and she probably doesn't even know that I got this from her... until now (thanks Tootsie!). When pouring sauces or leftovers into a ziplock bag, she folds the top rim over so that none of the food gets on the seal. Maybe this is obvious to you reading this, but it was an Aha! moment for me.


In this particular bag is our leftover red beans and rice. I can't tell you how happy I am to make this because Jude always says that it's the best he's ever had - which is a big deal when you've grown up in the Landry home where every meal is delicious and authentically cajun. And I know he's "not just telling me it" - he really means it!

On a side note, I got these diner chairs from the antique store in town because our two bistro chairs were recalled. Splitting wood is apparently a safety hazard. But it's cool, we like the new look.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

I know what you're thinking - two posts in one day?! Well, I'm just trying to make up for staying in my PJs all day for 3 straight days and letting Joan watch so many movies that I'm ashamed to admit. I got a cold that kind of wiped me out and two small cases of mastitis that thankfully cleared up on its own. I guess three weekends in a row with really big events finally took its toll on Those Landrys.

By Thursday I was feeling well enough to bring the girls to a pumpkin patch with their friends from the library and park. (Thanks Laura and Mandi for taking photos for me - I promise we'll get a camera eventually...)

Joan ate it up - though not literally. She'll probably never try pumpkin anything! We went on a hay-ride, played in a huge box of corn, rode miniature tractors, and went through a rather scary maze of haystacks (who puts a plywood roof over a maze intended for 2-7 year olds? It was pitch black in there.). After eating our packed lunch, Joan picked out pumpkins for our family - I'm not sure why mine was the biggest...

On Friday we took Joan to State because they were having a family frenzy event with a band and fun jumps - Joan can tear up some fun jumps, even though she's a toothpick. And on Saturday we tailgated and took both girls in with us to the football game. It was the best game to take Joan to because we were playing the Dragons and their mascot intrigued Joan for 3 quarters (so did a box of Skittles). And they had "princesses" and "queens" at halftime for the homecoming festivities. It wasn't Disney Princesses on Ice, but it was close.


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Add one to the pew!

(Thanks Ted, for that clever line. I hope you don't mind that I stole it...)

Charlotte was baptized October 17th at St. Joseph's in Starkville and it was such a beautiful occasion. What a sacred moment, watching our little girl enter into the door of the Church, surrounded by family and friends. And it was such a blessing to have everyone join us in our home and at our home church. Special thanks go out to Charlotte's god-parents, Art and Chloe Busch (Jude's sister and brother-in-law), who flew in from Ohio to be present. And we appreciate our family members that drove in from Louisiana to be there, also. We know the drive is hard and we are so grateful that you were accommodating to our needs. 

And to our Starkville community, you people are so gracious! When we started looking for a new job a year ago and discerning where God was leading us, we began praying for good holy friends. Please know that God has answered our prayers in you and we don't go a day without being thankful for your friendships! At the same time, we deeply miss our friends back in Illinois (you know who you are!) and in Louisiana. You are often on our minds, too!

Please enjoy the photos from Charlotte's baptism, (thank you Kaitlin for sharing your camera and taking the photos!)



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Monday, October 18, 2010

Short and Sweet

I have lots of blog post ideas that I'll be working on (including Charlotte's beautiful baptism), but right now I'm a little under the weather so this'll be quick.

A few nights ago Jude and I were dealing with two little girls who weren't sleeping well through the night. We were woken up again and again, and it felt like we had just gotten home from the hospital all over again. For a moment I thought (and said to Jude), "I'm just not cut out for this - I'm not a good mom when I don't get any sleep."

Tired and frustrated, I tried to remind myself of my vocation's primary responsibility: to get my children to heaven. I could only sigh, and think, right now they're getting me to heaven.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our second honeymoom (aka, My husband is a famous designer)

It's true. Jude is such a great designer, so much so, that he was selected as a winner in the Art Director's Club Young Gun competition. This award features designers under 30 years of age from all over the world with really great work. Only 50 are chosen and my handsome husband got one! (Sick of me bragging? Here's more.)

Because he got this, Mississippi State paid for his flight and two nights in a hotel in Manhattan to accept the award! Sounds like a great deal, right? That's why we extended the trip, flew me up, and called it a second honeymoon! When else will half the trip be paid for?

By the way, to check out Jude's portfolio, go here, or to put change back in our pockets, visit our store here.

New York was just what we needed! And we were so blessed by the generosity of my parents and his parents who gave us spending money while we were there. (We only had to eat Burger King once...) And thank you to my mom, who took care of our girls while we were away!

So here's what we did - and don't be looking for the photos to go along with it... our camera was lost in transit on the way back (We won't be turning down any prayers to St. Anthony on our behalf if you'd so like - or maybe even St. Jude because it's kind of a hopeless case by now...)

Thursday the 7th:
We arrived at our swanky hotel in Midtown in the afternoon and grabbed a bite to eat at an Irish pub. The sweet potato fries are blog worthy. After freshening up, (I tried not to look too much like a mother of two small ones from the south...I realize now I should have worn black) we walked about 15 blocks to the gallery opening at the Art Director's Club. Here's one of our only pieces of proof that we were ever in New York,


And we're on the front row on the right side of the crowd here


We also have one copy of us in a photo booth at the party that I'll have to scan and post later. Jude's award was a cube of wood from Coney Island that he had to finish sawing off.




After the show we walked through Times Square and bought Jude some chicken from Burger King (he didn't enjoy the crazy pizzas at the party - the most normal one had cauliflower on it...).

Friday the 8th:
We ate granola bars for breakfast from the pharmacy next door and walked 35 blocks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For lunch we ate NY hotdogs from a street vendor in Central Park. Very New Yorker. We finished some exhibits up at the museum and headed back. For dinner we ate amazing brick oven pizzas and attended a comedy show. ("Get off my face..." That's for you, Jude.)

Saturday the 9th:
Granola again. We walked through the farmer's market, just outside our hotel, and took a double decker bus tour through the city. It brought us to Times Square, Macy's, The Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, The World Trade Center Site, Wall Street, The Statue of Liberty and the Ferry to Staten Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, China town (we got off here and ate Chinese at a hole in the wall and walked through their markets and then on to Little Italy), The United Nations Building, Soho, Greenich Village, and off at Rockefeller Plaza. We went shopping around here - The Lego Store, Anthropologie, The M&M store, and Hershey's store. Ice skating was up and running at Rockefeller Plaza, but we opted out. We grabbed greek food and ice cream at the farmer's market and ate it in Bryant Park. (Project Runway fans, I also had a picture of Parsons... oh well.) And of course, we watched LSU beat Florida in the hotel after this.

Sunday the 10th:
More granola. We attended mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, lighting candles for baby James. The cathedral was both beautiful and crowded. On the way back, Jude hit up a Kinkos computer lab to catch up on his fantasy football account... I love this man. We walked 12 blocks to the Empire State building and ate crab cakes and shrimp wontons at the brewery underneath it. We went up to the observatory, taking all the photos you're supposed to, but it was so crowded - more than St. Patrick's which is kind of sad... We went to a matinee performance of Memphis, the Tony award winner for Best Musical of 2010. Our evening wasn't complete until we made it to an Irish sports pub to watch the Saints lose. 

And we flew back on Monday. 

Again, I'm just so proud of Jude for his achievements and I'm honored to stand beside him as he works. Now I'm just trying to get him to win an award that he has to accept over seas... Oh yeah, he's teaching in Italy this summer. Can you say, "ciao?"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ladies in Lafayette

I haven't had much time to blog lately, and a tiny fear is lingering somewhere in my mind that at any moment my drive to keep blogging will suddenly go kaput. The same is true of my exercising - it's been almost a week since I put on my Kick Box Boot Camp on Instant Netflix... 


But now I'm here and those fears are put to rest for the time being.


I spent a weekend in Lafayette with the ladies from my dad's side of the family. It was so much fun and a well-needed trip for me. I took Charlotte with me (after all, she is a lady... and I hadn't pumped enough milk for both Lafayette and New York) and Joan stayed with Jude at his parent's house. We did what you'd expect, laughing and talking, sharing and joking, eating and shopping. Women are great. I love being a woman. Isn't it a privilege and an honor, ladies? 


We went to this great little Acadian village portraying cajun/creole life in the late 1700s and 1800s. We ate great food and dessert, listened to an impromptu French band - equipped with fiddles and accordions. We shopped at a city wide garage sale and cute little antique shops and boutiques. We finished with cajun food at The Blue Dog Cafe and great stories from the past. The only thing better than being a woman on this trip was being a cajun woman on this trip. 


Just picture us there, three generations of women at a dimly lit round table with jazz music in the background, seafood on our plates and smiles on our faces. Beautiful, just beautiful. It would only have been better if every lady from that side could have made it... we missed you, Amy, Claire, Leslie, Kelli, Cindy, and Stacey!



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sweet Tooth

Well, the novelty of the princess heart stickers are gone. Joan is no longer motivated to poop on the potty - in fact, she's been terrified. So, we stopped making such a big deal about it. 

I casually mentioned on Sunday, "Joan, when you need to poop, just go to the bathroom and do it by yourself." I was just trying to get her in the bathroom, so that we could work on the transition to the potty later. She ran giggling to the bathroom and I waited outside the door. I figured she was just playing around. When she called, "I'm done," I opened the door to a full potty of poop. It was beautiful, well, sort of...

We gave her a piece of a hershey bar and told her that we'd keep giving her chocolate if she continued to go on the potty. On Monday we took her to buy some M&Ms and we made the mistake of giving her the bag while she was sitting inside the buggy.

She kept whining and whining for us to give her some right then. She tried to convince us that she needed to go poop on the potty - she just wouldn't stop. Realizing she had been defeated, she gave up. I was about to turn around and praise her for stopping the whining, and what do I find...

A bag of M&Ms, with a hole in them, several pieces missing, and chocolate on Joan's face.