My Son, a Priest? - A Vocations 7QT

Friday, April 29, 2016

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!

So you're going along as a good Catholic parent - educating your kids, caring for their needs, helping them grow in virtue - and then someone goes and asks ,"Do you think one of them will be a priest or nun?" Have you thought about it? How does one support a vocation you have never seen in action up close?

I've got some thoughts on that!


Make friends with some religious!

First things first, see what those in religious life are like!

Invite your pastor over for dinner, join up in a work day at a local convent, volunteer to help out in the rectory. Anything that provides the time and opportunity to see who these people are.

It will be very difficult for you to support your children in, or for the kids to imagine themselves doing, something they have never seen in action.


Get to know them doing fun stuff

Now that you've gotten a bit acquainted, invite some religious to do something that is just fun!

Therese dancing with a Jesuit scholastic.
Guess what? Just because someone has entered the religious life does not mean they have shed all non-praying hobbies and interests.


Stuff I've done just for fun with my friends in religious life!

* Swing Dancing
* Happy Hour
* Broadway Jam Session
* Poker (You gotta watch the retired sisters. They can read EVERYBODY.)
* Hiking
*Giving blood
*Hatch ducks in a stairwell (there's a story there...)
* Lectures of interest
* Parties!


Let the kids get to know religious as someone who will care for them

When Therese got turned around and lost at a bigger parish event, she just kept walking on her little 19 month old legs until she got to the table with the most priests in clerics. 
One of them happened to be the bishop.
She just patted his leg and started chatting away.

She has been around priests so much in her little life that she has learned to associate them as "safe person who will take care of me."

Entering religious life involves learning to trust non-blood family members like family. I am very convinced that this is a skill much more easily learned young. 


Involve the kids in prayer

Prayer is a major part of any religious life, and it is a skill that takes building.

Kids have a surprising adaptability to anything that keeps repeating in their lives. So I've chosen to make the Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary some of those repeating things.

It will not be pretty and it will not go smoothly (for a while), and that's ok.
Accepting that fact is the real secret to having a prayer life with littles everywhere.


Check your intentions

'I am one of those people who seriously considered entering religious life. I was really bummed when it was clear that was not the state of life God was calling me to lead. I have to be careful and discern to make sure I'm supporting whatever call the kids, or anyone else, is receiving or if I'm projecting what I had hoped for in my own vocation.


Finally, live your married vocation as best you can.

One goal of Catholic parenting is to gift the children with the most positive, yet realistic, portrayal of the various vocations - one of which is marriage.

Marriage is not a lesser vocation than religious life, just a different one, and this is the vocation parents get to personally model.

26 Letters to Heaven - The Review

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I fell off keeping up with a week by week recap of our homeschool preschool adventures using 26 Letters to Heaven. Largely because John starting having huge learning leaps and I just needed to keep up with him.

In the past year we've gone from barely making it through a story (and even then mostly ones he had heard before) -- to being able to do a whole reading hour with mixes of books he had heard before and brand new ones.

His imagination play has exploded.

We've learned that he adores vintage style books with lots of rhymes, repetition, and decent pictures.

We've learned I do not care for books where there are no words. (I am not the author, please don't make me write your book as I go. Thanks.)

He can now cut out pictures along lines, knows his colors, can moderate his glue usage (praise be the Lord!), and complete many art projects solo once he's set up.

He recognizes most letters and can distinguish between upper and lower case.

He can count up to 12 reliably, and can sort objects by various categorizations.

I'm pretty pleased with how this year went.

Therese has just been along for the ride, but she seems to add consonants to her vocabulary as we covered them with John. Little ears pick up many things even when it looks like they're not listening.

So how did 26 Letters to Heaven work out?

I LOVE the booklists! The book is cheap enough that I would recommend it for the booklists alone. Using them made me feel like someone who knew so much about children's literature (I don't) leaving the library with all of these awesome old school kids books.

The activities were pretty hit and miss for us. A lot of that is due to starting this book with a young 3 year old. He certainly aged into it as we went.

I could see a lot of them being great with a 4+ year old, and I probably will steal some of the ideas as supplements as we go along through PK4 and Kindergarten.

I ended up using a lot of Pinterest ideas in the end. I just searched for the letter of the week plus preschool activity and dozens of ideas at my fingertips!
This had the benefit of pictures of the end product. John has turned out to be a very visual learner. If I can show him what I am wanting it to look like in the end, he can make it happen.

He found the specific step by step instructions frustrating, and taking them directly from the 26 Letters to Heaven book meant I had to give it to him orally or spend time making an example ahead of time. Nope, not going to happen. Pictures for the win!

Next Year + Summer!

We're moving on from a largely reading/activity based "school" day to one that includes workbooks!

I do feel that John would benefit from a group learning situation part-time. We're looking into an activity for the school year (probably soccer or ballet) that can provide more physical outlet.

Next week he starts swim lessons! We're putting him through the Red Cross learn to swim program with all three sessions back to back before the kids head to Texas for Grandma time at the lake!

Therese is still along for the ride a bit, but she is starting to pick out her own books at the library and she'll get to participate in a lot of the same activities John is doing.

Starting in PK4 I start doing some fun things on the regular like hatching butterflies and field trips to places like the firehouse.

It's going to be a fun year!

Here's a round up of some of my favorite homeschool posts from this year.

How We Homeschool Right Now


Homeschool Preschool: Letters B and C

What Little Kids Think About Homeschooling

The Little Flower Collective 7QT

Friday, April 22, 2016

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum for a special edition of 7 Quick Takes sponsored by The Little Flower Collective.


The Little Flower Collective is the brainchild of my friend Samantha. She created this wonderful little online boutique that "celebrates the unique beauty of every woman. 'If every flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness'."

All of the items are made by women, for women, and are ethically sourced.
A percentage of the profits is also donated to help women. For example, right now 10% of all shop profits go towards teaching girls how to code + write.


I picked the Ada Lovelace Infinity Scarf to try out.

It's so comfy and soft!

I really like the lace inset that mixes up the look of the scarf.

I'm thinking this could make a good veil back up for mass too. I'm always on the lookout for something in a neutral color for weddings, first communions, and other events where dark colors are not ideal but wearing white would be weird. (More on what I think about that here.


Never heard of Ada Lovelace?

Ada Lovelace was a brilliant English mathematician and is considered to have written the first computer program between 1842 and 1843. She referred to this hypothetical computer as an "analytical engine" and even went so far as to ask questions about how people and society would relate to this technology for collaboration. 

Truly a woman ahead of her time.


My package also came with this great Benedictine Blessing Bracelet!

Sam didn't know this when she sent it to me, but I'm allergic to most metals. I can only wear most metal jewelry for a short amount of time before my skin starts to burn and itch (with the exception of my engagement ring and wedding ring - go figure.)
Well I wore this all day without a single mark. The cord lifts the metal above my skin, so there is no metal touching me. It's amazing!

No cross burned into my skin like I'm a vampire! (True story.)


My package came with these great little name tags. The idea is you define who and what you are.


My other favorites from the shop.
Get It Girl mug. (Because your coffee should always give you a pep talk.)
Hydrangea Dress

Let Us Be print (Mother Angelica quote)

See something you like?

I have some discount codes for you!

Use UNDERTHYROOF until the end of April for free shipping.
(There is also a 21% off sale going on until the end of April in honor of Sam's birthday! HAPPYBDAYSAM)

UNDERTHYROOF10 will get you 10% after April. It never expires. :)

Making Your Prayer Active -- The Stretching/Pilates Rosary

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I run into problems with my prayer life due to my super active brain. My mom used to tell me I read and think faster than I could talk or write. I memorize things quickly, and am almost always thinking about five things at once -- except when I dance.

There is something about physical movement that slows my mind  down and lets me focus. I developed this stretching/pilates rosary because I noticed I was saying the rosary with 3/4ths of my brain elsewhere.

I'm calling it stretching/Pilates, but these are really movements I've taken from yoga, pilates, ballet, and other movement forms. It's a mishmash of ideas. Take what works, leave what doesn't.

The important thing is to work both sides of your body equally, and I encourage you to start on your weaker side (for me it's my left - like bad.)

Note: I am not a certified instructor of anything. Do not use this if you are not medically cleared for physical exercise.


Yoga mat and Rosary.

Make sure you wear clothes you can easily move in. I like to do this barefoot, but you can wear socks if you prefer.

Have a water bottle handy.

Holding the Rosary

I generally just hold my place onto the rosary beads with whatever hand is on the mat during that set. You'll need to work out what works best for you with your balance and range of movement.

Basic Pattern

All Glory Be's = Child's Pose

All Our Fathers = While on all fours with a flat back, gently wiggle your spine from side to side - looking toward your hip as it moves to the right, and the same on the left.


Creed - I like to sit cross legged on my mat and just hold the rosary while saying the Creed, I find I do better with the rest of the set if I take a minute to mentally get ready for both the prayer and the exercise.

Hail Marys - On all fours, do "Cat-Cow" for the entirety of the 3 Hail Marys. Don't bother counting, just get your movement fluid.

First Mystery 

First 5 Hail Marys - Stretch out the left arm and right leg. Hold for the entire set. Optional: make this more challenging by making little circles with your arm and leg.

Second 5 Hail Marys - Stretch out the right arm and left leg. Hold for the entire set.

Second Mystery

First 5 Hail Marys - Still on all fours, lift the right leg, crunch in with the right leg in attitude (make sure you keep your back flat!).

  • Option 1: Leg back to straight and lifted
  • Option 2: Leg back to straight and lifted, tap down, lift back up
  • Option 3: Leg back to straight and lifted, tap down, tap crossed over to the opposite side, lift back up
Repeat for the whole set.

Second 5 Hail Marys - Repeat on the left.

Third Mystery

Lay on your right side. Place arms either behind your head (for a stronger abdominal workout) or left arm flat on the mat, right arm supporting in front.

First 5 Hail Marys - Lift right leg pointed up as high as you can, flex back down.

Second 5 Hail Marys - Lift right leg flex up as high as you can, point back down.

Forth Mystery

Lay on your left side. Place arms either behind your head (for a stronger abdominal workout) or right arm flat on the mat, left arm supporting in front.

First 5 Hail Marys - Lift left leg pointed up as high as you can, flex back down.

Second 5 Hail Marys - Lift left leg flex up as high as you can, point back down.

Fifth Mystery

Option 1: Plank 4 Hail Marys, move back to downward dog for 1 Hail Mary, Plank 4 Hail Marys, downward dog one Hail Mary.

Option 2: Plank the whole decade.

Final Prayers

I use this as a cool down. Spinal twists normally feel really good at this point.

While seated on the mat, take right leg, cross over left (right foot on the floor, left leg entirely on the floor and bent.) Wrap left arm around right leg, breathe, lift and turn as far as you comfortably can to the right, with right arm going behind you.

Repeat on the left side.


Let me know if these make sense to y'all. I might have my husband help me make video or gifs to show you the movements when he gets home from Minnesota. :)

Inspirations of the Week - 7QT & 100th Post!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Happy Friday 7QT link up with Kelly over at This Ain't the Lyceum.


Y'all, we finished choreographing the ballet for showcase!!

And it's not even the week of dress rehearsals. Boo ya.


I recorded the whole adventure in my first attempt at a day in a life post.

Things I learned.

* I get more done before 10am than I do the whole rest of the day.
* A lot of my day is spent having my plans thwarted and changing gears quickly.
* Yet, somehow I typically manage to get done what needed to get done.


I went to a talk last Tuesday at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology on Matteo Ricci SJ and his work in the Jesuit China missions.

Apparently he was also a map maker, and he created the oldest surviving Chinese map that shows the Americas. 


The talk got me all inspired to check out the China at the Center exhibit going on over at the Asian Museum of Art in SF.

They are exhibiting the Ricci map, and the 1674 Verbiest Map: A Complete Map of the World. It's on loan from the Library of Congress and has this is the first time it has been exhibited in history. 

Nerd time!!

I love these old maps  because of the annotations. They're full of information about the current assumptions about animals, people, and cultures. It's the stuff assumed to be so obvious and clear that it might not be recorded elsewhere.


Other thing that has inspired me this week: The Well Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer.

I picked it up off the new books shelf at my local library branch assuming it was a homeschooling book. (I had enjoyed her other book The Well Trained Mind.) Come to find out, it is a homeschooling book - just for homeschooling yourself.

It takes the Great Books lists that are floating around everywhere, puts them into chronological genre lists, and explains how to get the most out of each book. The genres are: fiction, autobiography, history, drama, poetry, and science.

There are some books I've read before, but plenty more I'm guilty of referencing all the time yet have never fully read (Roussesu and Plato are my worst offenders.)

Time to just read them!


I am starting with the fiction list, which begins with Don Quixote. Oh my goodness, that's a thick book!

I have a rule that all books need to grip me by page 50 or I'm allowed to quit. I've decided that rule is going to hold true with completing these lists. There's a history book coming down the line that is over 1800 pages that better be a good one.


Matt is going out of town for a business trip next week. Gearing up for some solo parenting time!
I should probably take some of my own advice and just throw a party

Still in a Southern kind of mood following the New Orleans trip. Bet I could find something that goes well with mint juleps.


Bonus: Blogger tells me this is my 100th post!! Whoop whoop!

Day in a Life

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I thought it would be fun to record, for a whole day, what my life is like.
I will preface this by saying that there are at least two very abnormal occurrences, but, as they are negative occurrences, I'm ok with those being in here.

So here is a normal(ish) Monday around here.

6:45am     Matt wakes me up by handing me the basal thermometer (NFP life!) John crawls into bed with me and asks to "go to the green library and get Dig Dogs, Dig". He means the downtown library. I tell him maybe.

7:00          Breakfast! Matt has already made coffee and stuck a bagel in the toaster for me. I pour coffee, get cream cheese on the bagel, and sit down to eat with the kids.

7:20          Matt leaves for work on his bike. He'll go running after he gets to work so he leaves a little earlier than usual. We consult on the dinner plan before he leaves. I check through email and facebook on my phone while the kids finish eating.

7:30         Time to wash off the kids and get them changed and dressed. Therese managed to give herself a banana shampoo so she gets a thorough rinsing in the kitchen sink.

7:32         Kids actually getting dressed now. John picks out his own clothes and dresses himself. I tell him it might be a little chilly outside and suggest he wear pants instead of the shorts he has pulled out. He decides to keep the shorts, and I decide to let him live with being uncomfortable later.

7:35        I swig the last of my coffee in between getting Therese dressed and changed and getting myself dressed. I noticed we were running low on wipes when I was changing Therese. I make a note to order more later.

7:38        I change directly into clothes I can move in. Helps make sure the working out happens.

7:40        Kids are suspiciously quiet. I poke my head out to see they have gone outside - despite the family rule about no outside play until 9am. (This is an apartment building with close quarters after all.) John - the instigator and only one physically able to open the back door - gets to sit in time out while I gather up laundry. 

7:46         I strap Therese on my back in the Ergo and get ready to haul the hamper downstairs to the laundry room.

7:52         We're back upstairs after putting in the double laundry load (and waiting through John putting in the quarters). I unload the dishwasher while I have Therese on my back and away from the oh so tempting knives.

7:57         Pour my second cup of coffee and a little milk for Therese.

8:00         Therese down for morning nap. I note my dinner recipe needs to be in the crockpot for 8 hours. I set John up with a watercolor wings project I made up and head to the kitchen.

8:25          Dinner in the crockpot! I ooh and ahh over John's progress and run downstairs to switch the laundry.

8:30          John is still going strong on painting so I roll out the yoga mat and start to stretch and warm up while I say Matins and Lauds. (On all fours pilates/yoga during Matins - side lying, plank, and back during Lauds.)

8:42        John finishes his project but Therese is still not asleep. John gets to watch a PBS Kids show for the next 15-odd minutes of Therese nap time and hopefully she'll sleep a little bit.

8:50       Prayers and Pilates done. I'm just starting to feel warmed up but I don't want to push too hard, too fast this soon in the day. Mondays are when we send out the weekly young adult email newsletter so I start typing up a group email of additions and changes for the core team.

9:00       Therese sounds like she's finally asleep. I decide to give her the 15 minutes the laundry has left in the dryer to power nap.

9:25        Emails finally done and order placed. Time to grab the laundry and wake the sleepy baby.

9:44        Laundry is folded and mostly put away. (John is still working on putting his clothes away.) I change the baby and gather library books.

9:56        Laundry fully put away, stoller packed up, and we're out the door to the library! (Mondays are a regular library day for us.)

10:01       We perfectly miss the bus. Walking downtown it is.

10:03      I realize the downtown branch doesn't open until noon on Mondays. To the trusty North branch!

10:15      We arrive! John spent the entire walk asking, "Do you see Star Wars? Where Star Wars?" over and over again. I'm very glad to be at the library.

10:38       Books acquired and checked out. Matt had texted and emailed a book request so we had to venture into the adult section stacks. I refrained from adding more books to the 4 I'm concurrently reading (even though some looked really cool). Go me!

10:55      Back home. About to send the kids out to play on the patio when I notice it still has not drained well from the weekend rains. I pull on boots, grab the broom, and attempt to unclog the drains. It doesn't do much - the joys of renting. Decide to let the kids play outside anyway and just accept that Therese will be soaked through to her diaper.

11:05       Transfer the dirty dishes from the sink to the dishwasher. Heat up some leftover spaghetti for the kid's lunch.

11:15       Well they're not just soaked, but also muddy from head to toe. Everybody back in. I get them washed, changed, and in their places at the table.

11:20        Lunch on the table. I say blessing with the kids before putting together my lunch.

I like to drink warm stock at lunch. Don't knock it til you try it.

11:40       Everyone is done eating. Therese needs to be changed again with all the spaghetti sauce she has gotten on her clothes. (This is why laundry is an everyday chore.)

11:45        Reading time on the couch.

12:03       We've blazed through 3 new library books (including a very fun one about a Yiddish speaking chicken who lives with Spanish speaking parrots in Brooklyn.) Now it's time for naps. I put the kids down, and sit down to write the young adults newsletter.

12:10        Yea Katie already wrote most of it! Just need to add in some more prayer intentions and do some formatting. Team work!

12:15        There are plenty of emails to attend to. Decide to power through some of those since I can still hear Therese talking to herself.

12:35        There is a kid door opening. This is not good. Time to do a nap reset! John is moved to my bed, Therese gets changed and put back down. Normally this is not necessary until 1pm, if at all. 

12:47        Nap reset in progress. Let's see if it takes. I only enforce nap/quiet time until about 2:30. I don't really care if they sleep, they just can't mess with each other (or me) for a while. It's how we stay sane in the land of littles.

1:10         John tries to escape nap again. He's put back in bed with some solid threats about the loss of park time if he can't stay in bed.

1:15         John's escape woke up Therese. She doesn't sound mad yet, so I wait to see if she'll put herself back to sleep.

1:25         John comes out again. No park this afternoon now.

2:00         Therese still hasn't gone to sleep. I rock her and give her more milk before laying her back down. Last chance baby! At least no peeps from John.

2:20         Hallelujah, they sleep!

2:25         Start some theraband exercises to get my feet ready to dance later. Because I have ballet class and rehearsal on Mondays, I don't do barre on my own those days. I gchat with some girlfriends at the same time. 

3:20         I really didn't expect napping to happen this well. More email and social media time. Sounds like some more fun dance plans are in the works!

3:23        Aannndddd....John is up.

3:30        Chips and salsa time! John and I settle in to watch The Land Before Time while we wait for Therese to wake up. 

4:00        Time to get going on the afternoon chores. I go wake the baby. She's less than thrilled. 

I notice we're on our last 4 clean diapers, and diaper day is not until Wednesday. I make a note to email the diaper service. At least we still have some disposables leftover from Christmas travel.

4:30        The link to the Mercy Project just came through! Quick post to the young adult facebook group, then back to tidying up. 

4:43         Matt is home early! Time to take the chicken out of the crockpot and crisp up the skin and veggies under the broiler.

4:50        Drumsticks and wings with the veggies are in the oven. I remove the bones and other good stock bits and put them back in the crockpot to make stock later.

5:00         Dinner is just about ready. Matt threw in some of the leftover challah in the oven to heat up.

5:40         Dinner is done, and Matt and I start cleaning up. The kitchen is really too small for two people to work at the same time. I let Matt finish packing up leftovers and scraping dishes while I say Vespers in our room.

5:46        Vespers done. Back to the kitchen to get the stock going.

5:54        Stock is set up to slow cook in the crockpot for the next 11 hours. Time to get my hair up in a ballet bun.

6:08        Bun in, dance bag is packed, and I'm out the door after saying goodbye to the husband.

6:11        After some technical issues with nextbus, I can see my bus is coming in about 5 minutes. I snag some reading time.

6:14       Or the other line comes mysteriously faster. I hop on and head downtown. Maybe I'll catch a less crowded bus for the transfer.

6:25       Pretty sure this bus got here at the same time as the other line. Oh well.

6:27       Bus here! But very crowded. At least I get a seat. That does not always happen.

6:40       Arrived with plenty of time. Time to get coffee across the street from the theater and get a little recharge time. A little time with coffee and a book goes a long way.

7:00       Break is over - time to head over to the studio and get changed.

7:02       Notice on the bulletin board says early registration discount for the summer workshops ends Friday. Eep. Better get moving on that.

7:10       My partner is already in the dressing room so we go over the rehearsal schedule and workshop the costumes that just came in while we get changed. Yea multitasking!

7:15      Dressed and ready. The previous class is still going - working on their piece for the student showcase.

7:17      My instructor was walking by so I snag her to run the costume skirts by her. So far so good! It's imperative that we finish choreographing today. I mentally prepare for a late night.

7:20      Feeling sufficiently nervous about doing good work tonight. I start warming up my feet and ankles on the bench.

7:31      Other class finally wraps up. We set up barres.

7:35       Class starts.

9:10      Class over. Quick break before rehearsal.

9:15       Rehearsal

10:20     We finish the choreography and call it a night. Change super fast back into street clothes.

10:25     At the bus stop.

10:30      On the bus. It feels so good to sit down!

10:38      I watch the next bus I needed to catch pass me before I could get to the stop. Walking home the rest of the way.

10:58      Home! Now I'm really tired. I say hi to the husband and take my hair down. I get really protein needy on long dance days so I make myself a snack of salami and crackers. Lots of water.

11:07      I realize that I probably left my warm up shrug on the barre in the studio. Send a quick email to my instructor about it. Fingers crossed it gets saved!

11:17      Shower time!

11:39      All set for bed. Night prayer than a little time with my book.

12:05am   Night all!


We'll see how many people stuck it out to the bottom here.

This was a pretty normal Monday, aside from the terrible naptime and running out of diapers. That's not normal - I swear.

The Dance 7QT!

Friday, April 8, 2016

I was inspired by rehearsal last night to do a round of dance 7 Quick Takes! Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum.


We are in the homestretch for getting this dance choreographed and down pat.

When asked what the story is that the dance is trying to convey, I put it something like this:

We're two mischievous girls (or fairies, I'm cool with that) who are having a fun time in a meadow (I picture somewhere in the French countryside). They are at a point where they are a little flirty but still really can't be bothered with boys. It's much more fun to dance with your BFF instead.


In order to get more rehearsal time with the studio is booked solid with classes and other rehearsals, the local Jesuits have graciously let us use their living room space.

These guys have seen us do this dance 50-odd times. Last night, I asked them to show us what they have learned. Here's what happened.


Costumes got ordered this week! 

And by costumes I mean skirts that were part of Plan....E for costumes.
Apparently, my costume ideas were shared by other groups performing in this show. I've learned next time I get my heart set on an idea I should just order the things ASAP.


But, as I put it to my dance partner, I'm a Texan armed with a sewing machine and a glue gun. We can make this happen!


Ahhh, it's real!


In the process of training for this show, I've come up with a lot of clever ways to combine training with other things I need to do (taking care of babies, cooking dinner, praying, etc.)

I've developed a stretch/pilates routine that becomes an active rosary, and I hope to write that up next week. 
Also coming next week: day in a life! Ever wonder what it looks like combining motherhood with dancing, running young adult events, and studying? 
Me too, so I figured I should write this down just to prove to later me how this all happened.


We got on the topic last night of what is your favorite dance video? I realized I have a lot, but this is one I could watch over and over again (Center Stage for-eva!). Enjoy!

Dealing with Rejection

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I had my second theater audition this week, and my second rejection without a call back.

Doing anything in the performing arts means gaining some necessary skills in rejection. There will always be someone better. Someone prettier, more talented, stronger, better technique, better range - you name it really.

I have found that I have a very established pattern in dealing with rejections. It starts with what I don't do.

I don't push it out of my head

Even though this is counter to some other advice (to "forget about it and move on") I mentally run through the whole experience again. If there is something there that wasn't ideal, I need to notice so I don't keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

In auditions you're nervous and it feels like time is moving very quickly. In order to slow it down and really see what was going on, I need this second look. 

I don't get hung up on the whys

While looking back to see where you can improve your auditions is a good thing, it's not helpful to get hung up on the whys of rejection. Often, it was not really about your performance - it was about the needs of the company and cast.

Maybe I was too young, or too old, or too short, or had the wrong hair color, or they had enough people who fit my description already. None of those things are really within my control - nor do I want to change them. Best to consider that part a wash and focus on improving the things I can improve.

So enough with the don'ts. Here is what I do.

I do throw myself back into disciplines

I like to look back through the last few weeks and see if there are any disciplines that have fallen by the wayside a bit. Did I fudge that morning pilates routine? Skipping taking vitamins? Decided I would say that rosary later, but never did? This is when I climb back on that horse!

The relevance to the audition is not what matters. It is taking something that you had previously let slip, taking it back up, and trying again. It gives me an achievable success in the wake of a failure.

I do tell people 

I will update people who knew I was auditioning about the rejection. This is partly because it is polite not to leave people hanging, but it is also to normalize the failure. Not getting a call back is not some deep dark secret. Allowing my friends and family (and now y'all, lovely readers) into my failures is what allows me to fully celebrate with them my successes.

I keep looking

Even if I really do not want to, I keep looking at audition listings every couple of days. It is good to remind myself that there are other shows, companies, and schools out there for me to consider. This was not a once in a lifetime shot.

Did I leave anything out? Do you handle rejection completely differently? I would love to hear it!

New Orleans!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

For the first time since our honeymoon the husband and I took a trip without kids!

Matt's good friend from high school was getting married in New Orleans this weekend. We figured out it was actually cheaper to hire a nanny for the whole weekend than to pay just the airfare to bring the kids with us. 

I remembered the plain and simple fact that air travel is designed for adult travelers. When you don't have kids (and their car seats, diaper bags, and super necessary army of distractions) it's a very relaxing experience.

Delta had made some serious upgrades since we last flew with them. We watched Jurassic World together and had popcorn. It was practically a date night.

We went straight to the rehearsal dinner from the airport. Dat Dog has an impressive selection of hot dogs. We tried: Guinness, Beef, Crawdad, and Alligator. All delicious.

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop bills itself as the oldest bar in America (established in 1772). 

Checked out Bourbon Street that evening with the men. I will say it was cool to see, but I would probably avoid it like the plague if I lived there. Like Times Square for New Yorkers - and anyone else who has seen it once.

Woke up early and walked along the Mississippi. That's the Natchez riverboat down there.
If we had had more time in the city, doing a riverboat cruise and swamp tour would have been right up on the list.

We stopped at Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee before exploring more of the French Quarter. In New Orleans, coffee comes with slightly sweetened, scalded milk. So yummy!
Since our evening before did not end until about 3am, Matt now deems beignets as the instant feel better cure. 
I don't suffer from late nights as much. It's my superpower.

I approve of this condiment selection.

St. Joan of Arc!

What Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop looks like from the outside and during daylight.
Matt had made reservations to tour St. Louis Cemetery #1 - the oldest in the city. You are now required to be with an official tour group to enter the cemetery.

Our tour group was meeting at a nearby church - Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Oblates next door have the right idea.
The church was formerly dedicated to St. Jude, and it still has a grotto to Our Lady with lots of plaques thanking St. Jude for his intercession. 

One of the older tombs with a Spanish style cross.

Some of the tombs had little coins left on or around them. Some believe leaving the tokens by someone you have a connection to will help your wish or prayer be granted.

Some of the tombs were in various states of disrepair. There is still damage from Hurricane Katrina. During the storm there was four feet of water in the cemetery, and many of the stone plaques are still missing.

I did not realize that the names on the tombs are in no way representative of all the people buried within. In fact, the only way to really know how many people are in a tomb is by looking at the church records. Many of the tombs have between 20-50 people buried inside, but only 5 or so names will be inscribed.

We found a funky old book store while exploring more of the Quarter. It had an "Imagination Room". I have no idea what it's used for exactly. I thought it was just for book readings, but the name suggests more.

Found Immaculate Conception Church! Amazing Byzantine Style architecture!
It was locked the first time we came by, and mass was going on the second, so I did not take any pictures inside the church.

Matt had gotten a book of walking tours of New Orleans from the library before we left California. So we hopped on a streetcar and rode down to the Garden District to do the walking tour for that area.

It's gorgeous. It just is.

We wandered into an art fair for a local girl's school that was happening on the lawn of the school - which happened to be within an 140 year old building. Ya know, like you do.

This house was lined with signs along the fence talking about dogs and how awesome they are.

The wedding was at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. So many beautiful churches this trip!!

The reception was in the French Quarter in the Paris Room.

Got a kick out of the antique cross everywhere.

The bride is from Honduras and everyone got these pretty, handmade, wooden bookmarks as a wedding favor. Their names and wedding date is wooden burned on the back.

One of my favorite things about the reception venue was getting to go out on the second floor balcony.

You get there by going through the window. 
I know it seems super sketchy, but it seemed to be designed to be done that way. 

The next morning we did our last little bit of exploring. We were able to hit the St. Louis Cathedral this time! There has been a church at that site since 1727. 

Went through their Holy Doors too. Now to make it to confession to rack up an indulgence.

The Bible of St. Louis was made between 1226 and 1234 for King Louis IX of France. This is a rare copy of the original - which has been kept in the Cathedral of Toledo for the past eight centuries.

Matt's foodie heart was set on getting a muffuletta from Central Grocery for the plane. Got there as they opened, gaped at all the amazing things (giant jars of pickled okra and spicy pickled quail eggs, anyone?), and stood in line for muffulettas.  

They're big and come in only two options: half or whole. 

Clearly, we went with whole.

Matt very much wanted to show you all that the sandwich was as big as his head.
After grabbing our bags from the hotel, we snuck in a very crab filled brunch (crab cake eggs benedict and a blue crab omelette) with my last chance for New Orleans coffee and bottomless mimosa. It was brunch after all.

VERDICT: New Orleans comes highly recommended!

We would definately go back. There were so many museums we missed, tours to do, historic homes to see. 

I would live there. Louisiana is awesome.
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