Quick Takes

1. Streamlining our cup collection inspired me to buy one of these tumblers for each child (are the Tervis tumblers popular where you are? They are all the rage here). We got a first initial, except for the boy who shared an initial with his brother — we opted for the last name initial. And then they were out of “I” cups for Isabel, so we went with a pretty flowering dogwood. It’s fun to see what words you can arrange:

As reader Anne pointed out in the comments from the dog post, I think I should (and will) make a list of all the things about life with a dog — things you should consider if you are feeling iffy. This will be the post for people who find themselves googling the phrase “should we get a dog?” If you have to ask, I think you already know the answer. Then I’ll try to counter with information from a hardcore dog lover to balance. Maybe something like, “You know you’re a dog lover if…” Do you have an answer for that? Please feel free to leave in the comments!

3. With the puppy gone, we are back to doing things like playing with toys. I didn’t realize how much life was “on hold” around here until yesterday. With the dog gone, we could take out toys! And play with them on the floor! Henry is currently enjoying his train set, and it’s so fun to hear him playing and talking quietly to himself. “I’m very social,” one train just told another.

Until now, our free time in the afternoon involved either sitting in the fort at the swing set (so the dog couldn’t jump on the littles) or having them on my bed with the ipad. That’s just no way to live. It’s not.

4. Isabel isn’t feeling great today; she spiked a temp and I’ll admit I loaded her up with motrin before heading out. I had a date with my mom — her first shopping excursion since December! — and I was just too excited. I know that’s selfish and I realized that wasn’t smart or safe, so I told my mom Isa had a low-grade temp. I’m pretty sure it’s allergies (her eyes are watering profusely) but my mom can’t risk getting sick.

5. On that note, after Monday my mom will only have ONE chemo session left. Thank you Jesus! Each time my mom has her chemo, I have made a poster for her with the number of chemos she has left (dad, will you send me a picture of one to include here?). This Monday I can’t wait to make a poster with a giant ONE on it!

6. Having said that, I will be out of town for her very last chemo! So I’ll have to have a special ZERO lined up before I go. Where am I headed? Are you ready? To… ITALY!  With MY HUSBAND. I’m having kind of a big birthday this year and Paul is really showering some love upon me. (Any suggestions for us? Please share!)

7. I’ll close with this lovely photo from my backyard, one small area where I feel like I’ve actually got it together (aside from the spray painted chair, thank you Henry!)


Hiya, Jen! I’ve been praying for you girl. Love you.


  1. Rachel- for what it’s worth, I think you did the right thing about the dog. Your experience has also made me trust my own gut instinct not to get one. Secondly, I’m thrilled that your mum’s chemo is almost at an end- what a blessed relief. Finally, you lucky ducks- Italy will be fabulous and what a way to celebrate your big birthday! I passed that milestone myself last year. Ciao Bella!

  2. Wow! Happy Birthday! And Italy – so awesome!! Okay – I have to say something about the dog thing. You should have shared more about the situation with Henry and Isabell. Not being able to play on the floor? That’s crazy. I think that would have more than mitigated a LOT of the negative comments. Even though I supported you anyway, I would have been a lot more vocal than I even was. You totally did the right thing. Have a WONDERFUL vacation with your hubby.

  3. Adrian G says

    Congratulations when it comes! But you’re too young to have a big birthday (working daily with females, this always seems like the right kind of thing to say). Italy, wow! I’m just wondering, did you put HUSBAND in caps in case some people thought it might be Enzo? 🙂
    You both have a wonderful time. I’m sure you can’t fail to find it really uplifting and inspiring.

    • Adrian G says

      ps, on the dog front. I neglected to say that, as far as I remember, the dog chose St.John Bosco rather than vice versa, and kept following him around, thus relieving him of any need to discern God’s will in that regard. But if you find a dog starts following you…don’t blame me!! 🙂

  4. Congrats on the trip to Italy! I just had to comment on the dog thing. We had the dog, which belonged to an older child who left home and the dog. Well, to tell you the truth, I am sure that I must have a longgg time in purgatory because of that dog and my attitude. We had a love/hate friendship. Now you and the dog are happy!

  5. I think the Lord is very kind to have provided a a good neighbor/family to take the dog. He knows your heart was in the right place, even if some people online are less forgiving:)

    So, wow–Italia! Went there (like your sister) on my honeymoon in 2007. Jon and I are both Spanish/French speakers, and we got by just fine–I think I remember you writing that your husband spoke Spanish?

    Anyway…we made it like a pilgrimage, not a hedonism-fest, and it was SO meaningful and refreshing. We bought a rosary near St. Peter’s, had it blessed by an elderly priest in the square. Then every time we could, we ducked into whatever church we walked by to pray a decade for some special intention. It was beautiful, and grace abounded!

    I have a few books on the shelf about lodging in Italy’s monasteries (which are safe and clean!), and a Catholic’s Guide to Rome, etc. Please let me know if you’d be interested.

    I look back on that time as a real gift from God, and we got to experience everything that makes us say “Italy” with that mystic excitement: the food, the gelato, the music, the architecture, the land, the history, the hot sun and the cold marble, the incorruptibles,…..

    I hope it is as memorable for you and your husband. Truly.


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