How We Met

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

When Alicia, from Sweeping Up Joy, put up the questions for this edition of JEI (Just Enough Info) I realized that I have not told the story of how we met!

1. How did you meet your spouse?

We're one of those Catholic dating site success stories. We met on!

Back then it was free if you were college aged. I had made an account over the summer with my Mom thinking we would get to the end and would have to pay - which would be the end of that. But it was free so it stayed up. Matt was brand new to the area, he had just moved here to start grad school at UC Berkeley, and in a moment of extroversion he had made one to meet more people.

I was a sophomore in college then, so I was a little younger than he was originally looking for, but he says he "made an exception for me".

We met in person at a local coffee shop, escorted by my college hallmate (because meeting-a-guy-from-online! We'd seen the movies.) We decided to head to mass at the Newman center afterwards and our first dinner was the student dinner in the Newman center hall following mass.

Now it was a longstanding debate about whether or not that meeting was classified as a "first date". I said yes, but Matt always referred to it as "zeroth date". I conceded the argument as his Valentine's present.....eventually....

My hallmate decided he was safe for us to have an actual date on our own, so we had our real first date the next week making an Apple Pie at his place.

The actual pie that started it all.
Cooking, namely cooking our way through each issue of Cooks Illustrated, was a central part of our dating time.

2. What’s your ideal date? or What’s your funniest dating story?

I have to admit I'm not a fan of the traditional dinner and a movie date. It seems to use a lot of time that doesn't involve real interaction.

I far prefer things like hiking or exploring somewhere new.

This first, ever, photo that Matt took of me on a hike in the Marin Headlands with some of my friends from college.
Now that we have kids, we've become pretty good at stay-at-home dates. My favorite involves bringing drinks to the rooftop of our building after the kids are down for the night, and hanging out there watching the lights across the Bay.

If we get to go out for an evening, I like trying new restaurants with my husband. He's very much a foodie and has a talent for knowing where the new cool spots are in the area. I know by the time we leave for the date he has scoped out the menu, the ingredients, reviews, the chef, and things in the vicinity. It's like having your own private food expert!

3. What couple from literature, TV, or the movies best mirrors you and your spouse?

Gosh this is hard.

The closest thing I can think of is Jim and Pam from The Office, but that's largely because I thought Matt looked a bit like Jim while we were dating.

See what I mean?
I've honestly never seen or read about a relationship and thought "oh-em-gee-it's-US!" Just hasn't happened yet. I'll get back you if I do!

I'd love to hear your answers to this week's questions in the comments!

A Week of Big Announcements!

Friday, January 27, 2017

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

Things have been a little quieter on the blog due to lots and lots of big developments! Everything I thought/hoped would happen over the course of this year  happened in one week! Here's all of the big announcements and news.


Husband Got a New Job

Matt got a (somewhat surprise) offer for a job on Thursday, terms on Friday, and we had the weekend to decide. We officially accepted the offer on Monday.

Which means....


We're Moving to Minnesota

And the new job is in Minnesota! Twin Cities to be more specific.
Hit me up with your local tips, homeschool/Catholic stuff in the area, and any and all tips for surviving winter with kids. Or just surviving winter. I'm from Texas, I do natural disasters not long term dark and cold.


We're House Hunting

We will probably be renting for the first year (due to the REALLY not sure about this winter business). If you have tips on neighborhoods, leads on 3+ bedroom houses for rent, etc.
Very much looking forward to having our own laundry machines!


New Baby Makes an Appearance in September

Yup, we're pregnant!
It felt like it took forever, but we are expecting baby due in mid-late September. Interviewing midwives now so any recs for homebirth midwives in the Twin Cities would be awesome.


John's reaction to the moving and baby news: "Momma, I'm excited about the new baby.....and the new backyard." #SameLevelofExcitment

He's also very interested in what baby looks like each week, and very concerned this baby does not have legs or hands yet. Sorry kid, growing a baby takes a while.


The Importance of Being Earnest opened

Opening weekend went great! Happy to be back onstage tonight.

If you're in the SF Bay Area, you should come see the show! You can find ticket info here.


We're still awaiting reviews to come out (and I'm dying), but in the meantime photos were released!

Some are from our early (before we knew what our costumes would be in final form) photoshoot, but the others were from one of the last dress rehearsals. My cast is gorgeous!

What I'm Doing Here

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"What am I even doing here?"

I would be lying if I said that thought has never crossed my mind - in fact, it has happened in just about every situation. I question what I'm really working towards in ballet, in parish work, in auditions, even at the park. I wonder what I have to offer that is any different from everyone else or if I am making any forward movement at all.

Blogging might be one of the biggest areas of that last wondering. The blog world isn't exactly lacking the voice of a Catholic mom, but here I am talking anyway on the tiniest off chance I might be your brand of weird.

In case you're new here, I want to take the chance to let you get to know me a little better!

Intro time!

I'm a Texas girl living in the SF Bay Area. I'm home with my 4 and 2 year old during the day, and I dance, act, and sing by night. More on the About Me page

Why I Started Blogging

My first post was in July of 2015. I started writing my own blog because I had noticed that no one asked me any questions that did not relate to my kids. Ever. I figured that if no one thought I had anything to say than I had better start talking!

How This Blog Got Its Name

My husband suggested the name Under Thy Roof after my first few choices for blog names were taken. I wanted something to  simultaneously reference the little domestic church and the big Catholic Church.

Under Thy Roof references the words of the Roman Centurion in Matthew 8, which are also the last words we speak in preparation to receive the Eucharist at mass, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." I like to think of my home, and my personhood, as being God's first and foremost. Hence it's all his roof. I just live and work here.

What I Do Here

You might have noticed that I write a lot about Catholicism, Parenting, Homeschool, Performing (mostly about Ballet but I throw some theater in there too), and I have a penchant for writing strong articles when something makes me mad.

I honestly think there are other people on the internet who can cover the first three better than I, in fact I know they do (maybe with the exception of this particular issue), but I feel like I'm speaking in an echo chamber when it comes to performing. I know it is not because there are not moms working in the performing arts, because I work with some of them and I am one, but their voices are hard to find outside the theater.

Performing is a big part of who I am, and that did not die with that first positive pregnancy test. Continuing to take my opportunities to perform, even with little kids, takes some creativity and gumption but has been well worth it. I am proud to show my kids that they enhance my life, and that it is possible, even desirable, to grow your passions at the same time. We've found a beautiful balance in our lives that allows both my husband and I to pursue what we love. 

I don't think I'm the only person like me out there, so I am writing this for her. 
For the mom who is currently walking through the intense loneliness and isolation of that first year with baby.
For the young adult who feels like they are a social pariah for wanting to be fully Catholic.
For the new homeschool parents who worries their kid is missing out.
For everyone who wonders what might have happened if they had stuck with ballet a little longer.

If I might be your flavor of weird, stick around and introduce yourself! If you just think I'm weird, stick around too. Lord knows you're in good company. 

Small Space Living - Or How We Live in a Two Bedroom Apartment with Two Kids

Monday, January 16, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes.

When people think of small space living the image of the tiny houses that are so popular in HGTV-land come to mind. But most of us small space dwellers are not living in a custom made tiny house we have to ourselves on gorgeous property. The vast majority are living in apartments. Some of us are even crazy enough to do it with kids!

We have lived in apartments our entire marriage. Our first child was brought home to our first apartment - a one bedroom walk up in a building that didn't have laundry facilities. We made that work until our first child was almost two, and I was expecting our second child. Then we moved to a two bedroom apartment where our daughter was born, and where we currently live with our 4.5 year old and 2 year old.

Here's the lowdown on apartment living with kids!

What I like about it

It's easy to keep clean. It's not a big space so it only takes a few minutes each day to tidy.

It's convenient. I love not needing to have a car. If I had to buckle two kids into car seats and find parking (especially in the SF Bay Area) I feel like we would go on far less adventures. We currently are an easy walking distance from a grocery store, library, two parks, and our parish. We're right on a bus line so it's super fast to get downtown.

It forces creativity and thought about objects. I don't have all the space in the world, and that means I can't be a pack rat even if I wanted to be.

It's just big enough for our needs. I'm not forever cleaning rooms we never use and I don't need to use extra power to heat a large house.

What I could live without

Shared laundry facilities. If you've seen this post you might have figured out that I do not enjoy the shared laundry room situation. One of the things about apartment living is that a lot is dependent on neighbors having decent life skills. I don't enjoy having to stop the washer before actual flames appeared due to overstuffing the drum (smoking washing machines smell terrible FYI). Using quarters for every laundry load adds up too.

Tiny kitchen. I was in my second trimester with our daughter when we found this apartment, and so happy about finding a decently sized place, at a good rent, and in a decent location, I did not pay as much attention to the kitchen as I probably should have.
Ours is TINY. I mean really tiny. The entire thing is a three stride long shotgun kitchen, with an electric stovetop that looks straight out of the 70s (probably is from the 70s), and a less than standard size oven. We make it work, to an impressive degree I think, but never again on the electric stove or tiny oven.

How we have kids in this space without going crazy

So how to deal with all this plus kids?

1. LEAVE. Everyday. I really can't stress this enough. In an apartment there is no backyard, basement, or extra rooms to take a break from being in each other's faces all day. Sometime between 9 and 10am we will leave the house. Everyday. Sometimes to the library or a park or some other adventure. Sometimes we just wander around, going nowhere in particular. We don't come back until lunchtime, and by then everyone handles being back home in a much more pleasant manner.

2. Use the space thoughtfully. When you are home, think about structuring the use of your space. Maybe you make a cozy reading corner for story time. I have a spot on my couch where there are blankets, my oil diffuser, a table for my coffee, and my books where I write and have my downtime. Having these designated mini-areas helps prevent the I-live-in-a-hotel-room kind of feeling.

3. Toy purging and curating. Number one issue with space and kids - kid stuff. Especially toys and books, since they seem the most prone to exploding all over the house. Yes, there are some genius organizational potential to be found on Pinterest, but really the best option is to make sure what you have is what you want. 

4. Ground rules for noise and patio time. We are lucky enough to have a shared patio space with our next door neighbors, but I've made some ground rules for when the kids can be out there and for noise levels in general. Kids seem to like being up with the dawn, but there must be at least an attempt at keeping the noise level down until 9am. It helps that we start chores about 7:30 and lessons at 8:00. By the time we're ready for some bigger play it's normally about 9:00 anyway. By having the rule it's much easier to be consistent for the kids and considerate of our childless neighbors.

5. Tidy Times. We have a few set "tidy times" where everyone helps do a 5-10 minute pick up: before we leave in the morning, before nap, before dinner, and before bed. These are timed for a very important reason - they are all right before we leave the house or kids go down to sleep. Therefore your tidy time will pay off for longer than 20 minutes. Makes such a difference for feeling like it's worthwhile to clean!

6. Make it pretty. Especially if you're a stay at home mom or if you work from home. This is your everything space: your office, your rec room, your craft space, your school room, etc. You will spend a lot of time here, and you can't just go home at the end of the day. Make it pretty! Make it somewhere you *want* to be. For me this means adding photos (in frames), purging the space of clutter every so often, and rotating seasonal decorations.

7. Love on your neighborhood. For most of us apartment dwellers, we're here for a reason. Maybe you're saving for a house or maybe you are temporarily in an area. We are living in this apartment so we can live in a very walkable area - less than a block away from our parish, groceries, restaurants, and parks, and a short bike ride to the husband's work - so it only makes sense to take advantage of that proximity. Choosing to see the positives in the situation really helps to make apartment living more of an enjoyable state.

What are some of your small space living tips? Have you ever lived in a small space with kids?

The Double Gift and Burden of Faith

Friday, January 13, 2017

I was asked to provide my honest reflection and opinions of the new book Walk in Her Sandals edited by Kelly M. Wahlquist. I received a free copy of the book to review, but all opinions are my own.
This is a special CWBN Blog Hop! You can see the other blogs in the hop here.

The first thing that struck me about this book, Walk in Her Sandals, is that these are meaty chapters. This is not a frilly women's spirituality book that has many words yet says little.

The fiction imaginings helps the reader become immersed in what might have been going through the minds of women close to Jesus around the time of his Passion. What might it have been like to see such drastic changes in their loved ones who followed Jesus? What was it like to hear the stories about Jesus from those who actually saw them happen? What would we really do when faced with the fantastical yet real?

It's uncomfortable to think about, isn't it? It's uncomfortable to wonder if you would have really been a Christian if placed in these women's shoes (or sandals). It could not be excused as something "I just grew up with" or "what I've always done". For these women, saying they were followers of Jesus could not be hidden beneath such platitudes. They carried a true burden of faith. This is part of our Christian heritage. It is part of what it means to inherit the Christian tradition - to not shy away from what is hard or what is uncomfortable.

Often our greatest gifts are also our greatest burdens. Women know this in a very intimate way. Pregnancy is tough, and dealing with our fertility (whether hyper-fertile, sub-fertile, or infertile) is something we don't get to just forget about. That does not make these bad things, in fact, I would argue that the burden of our gifts make them greater gifts still because we have to continue to accept them as gifts.

This book has one of the most intelligent and honest reflections I've seen about maternity in a general Catholic women's spirituality book. The story they chose to fictionalize is the story of Miriam who is following Mary Magdalene to the tomb of Jesus on Easter Sunday. There is not a pregnant woman in sight, yet there is something very true about maternity in this story. It is the story of women being called to carry life, and that starts with a spiritual acceptance of life.

We often talk about "spiritual motherhood" in the Catholic Church, but I don't think it comes off well. Too often it's seen as some sort of bone we throw to women who are struggling with infertility. Like somehow caring for strangers is supposed to take away that longing for an infant of your own to cherish. Or it's assumed that we have no need for spiritual motherhood once we have our own biological children. Neither of these things is true.

We are all called to reach outside of ourselves, of our own little groups, and of our own families to care for the Other. Spiritual parenthood is not something exclusive to women - men too are called to spiritually father. One of the best insights I've heard on spiritual parenthood actually came from my bishop during a diaconate ordination. In his homily, he shared the advice he gives to priests who are having a hard time praying and being so constantly available to others: it's not about you. You aren't praying to "get something out of it". You aren't caring for a friend in need to get good karma. You are doing it to practice loving.

At a very fundamental level, Love is one of the most basic vocations in the Christian life. Love is the thread that runs through this book, as it runs through the Passion of the Christ himself. The book begins on Palm Sunday, through the Passiontide and Easter Sunday, and ends on Pentecost.

If you are looking for something to help you reflect more deeply on Christ, scriptures, and our lives as Catholic women this Lent - this might be the book for you!

It is designed to be done in a group, though I could see going through this book as a private devotion as well. Copies can be ordered on the WINE: Women in the New Evangelization website. There will be an accompanying journal available during Lent!

What experiences have you had with faith? What are you struggling with as Lent approaches? What have been your experiences with spiritual motherhood?

Achieving Quiet When You Have a Busy Life

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Our topic with The Zelie Group for the month of January is "Quiet". Quiet is often longed for my moms, with many feeling like they never achieve it. I live a very busy life, home with two little kids during the day and dancing or rehearsing at night, yet I still feel like I live a quiet life.

I believe quiet is largely an inner state. My life is busy but it isn't stressful. It's hard but it's not overwhelming. Quiet, for me, is finding that inner balance and healthy mental place. Here are the practical ways I make quiet happen.

Commit to a 20 Minute Prayer Something

A surprisingly large number of prayers and devotions only take 20 minutes. I alternate between praying a rosary, reflecting on the mass readings of the day, and prayer journaling in my prayer time. I've found that I need to treat prayer like an exercise, it's a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it. Just like with my physical workouts, I do better when I vary my spiritual workouts.

Find Your Rest Time

I commit to the first hour of nap time as my rest time. During this time I cannot work on emails, write blog posts, check social media, workout or memorize lines. (During Lent this also becomes a no tech time too.)

This is the single best choice I have made for managing my time during the day. I have the type of personality that really will work non-stop from when I wake up to when I go to sleep. I have to schedule my rest and provide incentives to myself. I only watch my Netflix shows during this time. I will make DIY foot soaks, try out new face masks, make a tea tray for myself, or just listen to a whole music album.

It's the beginning of naptime so if we have a very short nap day rest has happened. I've found rest has to be a priority or it won't happen.

Ask For What You Need

In order to make the space for quiet in a busy life, you have to do some personal discernment to understand what that means for you. Is actual silence a requirement for you? Do you need to leave the house? Do you need a buddy to help keep you accountable for praying or resting? Are there thought patterns and blocks for you to mentally quiet down? If so, can you talk with your spouse, a friend, a priest, spiritual director, or counselor to work out how to break down those mental barriers?

There's going to be some trial and error, but it is worth the effort.

Recoup Your Lost Time

If your struggle is simply finding the time that isn't filled with daily tasks, work on clearing up the time clutter. Is there a way to cut down on laundry or cooking time? You could streamline some of your daily routines or make some set routines. Are you always searching for things? Perhaps it's time to do some purging and organization.

Maybe you get surprised by time. Sometimes an appointment is late, I'm waiting for the bus longer than expected, or I have a 20 minute walk between locations. I always have a rosary in my purse so I can pray on the walk home from the park, and I bring along my current book so I can sneak in a chapter if the opportunity arises. The goal is to have the ability to do the things that mean "quiet" to you when you have the chance to do them. Carpe diem!

Do these things sound helpful to you? What brings quiet into your life? Do you have a totally different definition of quiet from me? I'd love to hear about it!
Post your answer in the comments or link up your own post!


And here's My Sunday Best: Torrential Downpour Edition!
We're experiencing an "atmospheric river" right now. It sounds like it's going to be fun.

Infinity Veil: Veils by Lily
Necklace: Family heirloom
Dress: Hand me down from a college hallmate
Tights and Boots: Target

Potty Training is the Worst

Friday, January 6, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes.

Yeah, I know I said I was going to talk more about our Texas travels today, but I had the *brilliant* idea to potty train my 2 year old once we got back from this trip and now I really need to talk about why potty training is the WORST.


It's Not Intuitive

Nearly every milestone of sorts in these early years involve working with some sort of instinct. Barring some other issue, the kid is pre-programmed to walk, crawl, hop at some point. Pee in a potty? Not a given. 


So Many Steps!

Have you thought about how complicated it actually is to use a toilet? How to sit and not fall in, how to wipe, how to flush, how to pull down your own many things to express to a toddler!


Clothing Becomes the Enemy

Deciding to potty train in winter was a stupid plan. Stupid plan, past Kirby!

Now I have to figure out how to keep her warm enough AND simple enough clothing to make for easy removal.


Overthinking, overthinking everything!

How much water should she have? Is using a pull up going to make it easier or just prolong it? When do we give up and try again later?

It's my blackhole of parenting thoughts.


To night train now or wait until a mythical "later"?

Part of me thinks it's easier to do it all in one go, but I also suspect this kid sleeps like a rock and just wouldn't care to get up.
She's a teenager in a two year old body.


Being. Stuck. In. The. House.

Hands down the worst part. You see, we live in a little 2 bedroom apartment. Leaving is not just a goal to have or a nice thing to do, it's a mental health necessity. When we get outside, even for just 30 minutes, everyone is in a better mood, eats better, naps better - it's a good thing.
Not leaving is ok for a day, maybe two, but by day three everyone is getting less cooperative.

This is why I'll probably never do a three days or bust potty training thing. I've only got two days at a time in me!


I actually don't mind diapers

Yes we cloth diaper, but we have a diaper service to help with the washing and it really doesn't slow me down to change diapers. I think if I hated diapers more it would be far more of an incentive for me to suck it up through potty training.

She WILL eventually train, because they (generally) do, but I hate the process.
With a passion.
I'll probably never write a post about how to potty train and how easy it is, because it's not, but if you're also walking through the fire of potty training I'll have some coffee and a glass of whatever you're having. Unless it's vodka. Then no.

Got some awesome potty training tips? I'm all ears! Just not the three days or bust thing (because, see above.)

We're Back! Successes and Failures of Christmas 2016

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

We're back from Texas!!

I did nothing of significance besides get home with everyone in one piece yesterday and I'm super ok with that. Because flying with two kids, and sleep NEEDED to happen.
We traveled a lot this trip - way more than usual - with short day trips and some overnight. Here are some of the successes....and failures.

Success: I remembered the Christmas Stockings!!!

This sounds silly, but it's been a struggle y'all.
Because we are often traveling for Christmas, I like having the stockings stay consistent. I cross stitch stockings for each kid while I'm pregnant, and I rushed to finally finish Matt's last year....and then forgot to pack them.

But I remembered this year! And by "remembered" I mean Matt reminded me as we were packing to head out the door to the airport. 

Failure: Sleeping

The kids took this trip as inspiration for a nap strike. Not good since they were falling asleep at their places by 5pm. 
One night Therese literally fell asleep into her dinner roll. #PartyFail

Success: Seeing Family!

We took a short trip down to Houston and the Gulf Coast so the kids got to see their Great-Grandparents and had a jolly time seeing the beach with great-grandpa, seeing the cows and cats with one great-grandma and picking fresh veggies with another great-grandma.

They also had lots of fun with their aunts, Grandma, and Big Chief. 

Failure: Seeing Friends

We did manage to see Jacob (yes, the same one) and our friend Amy on our last day, but there were so many other people I meant to see and didn't manage to make happen. Really sorry Dallas people! Hopefully it can happen next time. I'll try and be better about planning before we start the traveling crazy times.

Success: Date Nights!

One of the best gifts my family gives us when we visit is lots of opportunity for date nights! We had a pretty epic one that started as dinner at a fun new place in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas...which turned into wanting to play pool...which turned into making friends with some bartenders...which lead to finding music...which lead to line dancing with new people and meeting a musician who grew up blocks away from me.

Going out with Matt is always an adventure, even after five years of marriage and kids.

What were some of your successes and failures this Christmas?
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