Meet Rita Buettner:

“When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.” After struggling with infertility, my husband and I were blessed to adopt our two sons from China. I’m a working mother who writes about family fun and faith. Oh, and I own hundreds of flyswatters. Join me on Twitter, say hello at openwindowcr@gmail.com, or follow me on Facebook

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Thank you, Allison! You are much too kind! I had seen the idea of picking a person to pray for every day on another blog and LOVED it!

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YOu always come up with the greatest ideas!! Those lucky boys!! #RockStarMom

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Open Window

7 Quick Takes: Piggyback rides, succulents, salmon, and how great it is when your son loves you more than his bathrobe


~1~

After a long day, I picked up the boys and we drove home. I was asking questions about their day and not getting much. When we finished dinner, Daniel climbed into my lap, and I said, “Can you just tell me about one part of the day that was good?”

He leaned back against me and said, “Right now.”

I still don’t know what happened at school, but it was such a great answer—and a perfect reminder to me to find joy in the moment.

~2~

Our boys are really into giving each other piggyback rides. I’m not a huge fan of this idea since it seems a little dangerous, but the other morning I was clearing the breakfast table and glanced over to see big brother giving little brother a ride—while reading a book.



Maybe it’s not as difficult as it looks.

~3~

Besides riding piggyback, our younger son’s favorite thing lately is making things out of duct tape. He really wants to make long ropes of duct tape. Then he and his brother pull each other across the floor.




Who knew duct tape was so strong?

~4~

How was your Mother’s Day? We had a fairly low-key day. We went to Mass, and the priest asked people to put their hands on the shoulders of the mothers who were with them. So I would like to tell you about the blessing, but instead of hearing it, I was working on prying our boys apart as they jockeyed to try to stand in the best position to have a hand on my shoulder.

It probably shouldn’t have amused me as much as it did, but it was definitely an authentic mothering moment for me.

Then we went to lunch, and I had some lovely salmon and a free Mother’s Day beverage the restaurant offered.


Then I went home and napped the day away. Ha! Not exactly. I went home and did some writing. But that was a gift in itself.

A highlight of the day was when Daniel gave me the Mother’s Day card he had made in school.


Not much can top learning that your son loves you more than his much-loved bathrobe.

~5~

Our sons had two friends over for a play date last weekend. I was trying to be a relaxed mother with just a handful of rules. At one point I said, “In our family we don’t throw stuffed animals around the living room.”

Our 6-year-old guest looked at me and said, “Oh, I can see why. They probably get all dusty.”

Ah, the honesty of children.

~6~

A friend dropped off this sweet little pot of succulents this week. Aren’t they beautiful?

She thinks I can keep them alive, so I am remaining optimistic.


~7~

I cooked quinoa for the first time! As it was cooking, I suddenly realized I would need to strain it, and I panicked.

Immediately I texted a friend to ask for advice on straining quinoa. She wrote back right away with two possible ways—using a mesh strainer, or a regular strainer with a paper towel.



Everyone should have a friend who is a quinoa expert. Dinner turned out well, but our children didn’t like the quinoa. Good thing I’ve heard it takes a child 13 times trying a new food before he knows whether he likes it.

Read more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum. And have a wonderful weekend!

May 19, 2017 09:29
By Rita Buettner


A commencement goodbye


During my 19-year career, I’ve seen colleagues come and colleagues go. The hellos I look forward to. The goodbyes I dread.

This week I’m facing another farewell. On Friday one of the colleagues I work with most closely is leaving.

He and I are both former journalists whose paths crossed 12 years ago when we were in different jobs—back when he was a news reporter and I was a public information officer. Back then, I didn’t know him well, but I could tell he had a sense of humor and that he was good at his job. A couple jobs later for each of us, he applied for a position in the office where I work and landed it.

Over the past six years we’ve brainstormed and strategized and worked our way through some incredibly challenging times. We’ve celebrated many small victories—and a few big ones. We’ve agreed and disagreed and praised and criticized each other.

We’ve laughed more than people should probably laugh in the workplace, including this week when some of our colleagues pranked him by filling his office with balloons.




In the serious moments, we often have very different styles and approaches to problems. Sometimes he’s right. Sometimes I am. Sometimes we both might be right, but for different reasons. I don’t know what he’s learned from me, but he has taught me many things.

The other day he said, “I know you don’t usually listen to me,” and I stopped him.

“I always, always listen to you,” I said. “I just don’t always do what you say.”

When he called to tell me about this job offer, I knew right away he was going to take it.

“As your colleague, I want to ask you to stay,” I told him. “But as your friend, I know you should take this job.”

And—certainly not because I said to—he did. It’s a perfect next step. He will go on to do amazing things there—just as he has as a member of our team. I will continue to throw myself into my work as I always do, working alongside some terrific people. It will be different, and I will miss working with him, but I have faith that all will be well.

My life right now is focused on commencement season. At commencement, all the conversation is about how endings are really beginnings that bring new opportunities and new discoveries. And, as much as I resist these transitions and would love to avoid them altogether, I feel certain that is true.

I find myself remembering a moment two years ago when my Jesuit friend, Father Frank Nash, decided to move on to a new position at another university. At the time he said the easy choice for him would be to stay; the more difficult, more daring choice was to go. I find myself realizing that even though I did not seek out this opportunity, this is still a time for me to grow.

After all, whenever you most feel you have reached an ending, you find a beginning—a possibility you never realized was there.

So here we are. An ending and a beginning. I wonder what the next chapter will hold. 

May 17, 2017 08:57
By Rita Buettner


An adoptive mother’s thoughts on Birthmothers Day

Our boys are such brothers.

As I watch them playing or arguing or just sitting next to each other while they watch TV, I find it hard to imagine either one of them without the other. They’re different in so many ways, but they go together like peanut butter and jelly.

But that isn’t how the story started. The story began as two completely separate stories in two different parts of China. Each had a different starting point and different people there to write and shape the first chapters.

I have so many emotions when I think about how those stories unfolded, even as I feel deeply grateful to be part of this part of their stories—of our story as a forever family.

Today, the day before Mother’s Day, is Birthmother’s Day, and I find myself wondering about the women who gave our sons life. They first held them and fed them and made the most difficult decisions I can imagine.




If I had the chance to speak with one of our sons' birthmothers, there is so much I would want to share. He has such a compassionate heart. You wouldn’t believe his sense of humor. You should see how creative he can be. Wait until you see him on the monkey bars. But what I would want most would be to listen, to know them, to understand them, to marvel at the mothers who gave our children their beginnings.

The other day a friend posted on Facebook about her daughter’s birthmother, and one of her friends commented about how the birthmother must also wonder about my friend, an adoptive mother who is raising her daughter. Is it astonishing that that never occurred to me?

Yes, I imagine each of my sons’ birthmothers wondering how he is doing, thinking about him, imagining the life he has now. I just never considered that she would wonder about me, the forever mother who is raising the child she gave birth to. As mothers, we often feel important but invisible, supporting in the background. But of course she must wonder, just as I try to understand each of the people who has played a part in helping our children grow, each of the people who have loved them—whether for a little while or for a lifetime.

What would I tell her about myself? I’m an imperfect mother. I fail every single day. I forget to send in the field trip permission slip. I get impatient when he can’t find his shoes in the morning. But I love him so very much. He’s my life. He brings me—and his brother and father—unimaginable joy. He’s growing into a strong, kind young man. You would love the person he is becoming. And I hope one day you get to see him again.

I think of our sons’ birthmothers often. We talk about them, wonder about them, pray for them. They will always be part of our children’s stories—of our family’s story. We will probably never meet them on this earth, but they will always be treasured members of our family. And I am so very, very grateful to each of them.

May 13, 2017 11:09
By Rita Buettner


7 Quick Takes: Chilly baseball games, honeysuckle, entering a new whole new world of Pokemon fun, cow birthday cards, and more

~1~

We have had some gorgeous spring days. We have also had lots of cold, wet ones. When we went to watch Daniel play baseball on Saturday, it was so cold and wet that I just wanted to go sit in the car. But you can't go sit in the car when your son is playing in a baseball game. So we stayed on the icy cold metal bleachers, while I wondered whether anyone would ever call the game due to icy cold mist.

No one ever did. So we froze and (sort of) cheered.



For the record, I still prefer baseball to soccer.

~2~

Did you get a comic book on Free Comic Book Day on May 6? We came home with a few copies we have enjoyed and one that turned out to contain foul language. So that one went into the recycling. But that was its own lesson and conversation.

~3~

Our boys have been into Pokémon cards for a while now. But we are just discovering the local Pokémon world, in a way. We had heard about a Pokémon Club that meets two Saturdays a month at Amazing Spiral, a comic book store near Belvedere Square in Baltimore, and Leo and I went for the first time this weekend.

There were children trading cards and others battling with cards. I had no idea what would be involved, but a store employee was there to mediate the card trading, and it all went smoothly.



I started chatting with a few of the parents sitting along the side, and I met a father who had adopted one of his sons from Korea and one from China. So while our sons talked about mega something GX cards, we talked adoption and traveling to China and whatever else parents chat about while waiting for their children to complete Pokémon trades.

The dad and his sons also told us about a similar program, Pokémon League, that meets at Alternate Worlds in Cockeysville on Sundays from 1-4 (but not this Sunday). So the next day our whole family went.

As we walked into the room where the Pokémon League meets, I saw older teens playing other games (Magic? Dungeons and Dragons? Some Star Wars game?) in other parts of the room. I suddenly had this sense we should just pitch a tent there because we might be coming here all the time for years to come.

The Pokémon trading was great, and we will definitely be back. The boys don't understand why the Pokémon League won't meet on Mother's Day, and my explanation failed to satisfy them.

~4~

My little sister's birthday came out of nowhere this week. I knew it was coming, but I think two-day shipping has made me less concerned about planning ahead--and planning ahead was never my strength in the first place.

I looked at my schedule for the day and realized I had no meetings in the middle of the day. What are the chances of that? And during May, when we are counting down to Commencement, one of my favorite moments of the year.

So I emailed Treasa and offered to bring lunch to her, my mom, and her little girls. It was so much fun. And, of course, I brought a homemade card celebrating my baby sister and her affection for cows.



~5~

What am I doing for Mother's Day, you ask? Our tradition is to go buy a flowering plant in a hanging basket. Our other tradition is for me not to cook dinner that day. No matter how we celebrate it will be a lovely day.

~6~

Some of the flowers this year are just beautiful. I didn't even remember that we had honeysuckle in our yard, but we do! And it is lovely this year.



~7~

After dinner last night I realized one of the boys kept burping. At first I thought maybe there was something wrong. Then I realized his brother was acting like a conductor and conducting him in a burping performance. It was synchronized and creative and...odd. And maybe offensive? But I just let it be.

You pick your battles, you know? And maybe one day one of them will be sitting in a job interview, and the question will come, " Do you have any other talents you didn't include on your resume?" and my son will stop and say, "Yes, I do. I'm part of a burping orchestra."

Read more quick takes at Kelly's blog, This Ain't the Lyceum. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day! If this is a difficult day for you, please know you are in my prayers.

May 12, 2017 08:32
By Rita Buettner


As a parent, every day is Christmas morning


“Every day with a child is like opening a Christmas gift.”

One of our social workers told us that when we were beginning the adoption process.

I loved the idea, but I didn’t realize just how right she was.

Every child is full of gifts, full of talents, full of possibilities we can only guess at as we watch them grow.




When I see our little boy hit a baseball and take off for first base, I am in awe of the gifts God has given him that allow him to do that.

When I see his brother making a promise to himself that he will learn to ride a bicycle—even if he has to fall many times along the way—I am in awe of the determination God has given him.

Practically every day brings a moment of discovery. When did our 7-year-old learn to tie his shoes? Where did he get that hilarious sense of humor? Where did his big brother find the patience to help with first-grade homework? When did he learn how to unload the dishwasher? How do they find the words to ask such simple, yet challenging, questions about God?

Some days I forget to look at our children and see them as gifts to be opened. Some days I’m trying to get lunches packed and breakfast served and backpacks closed and jackets zipped and everyone on their way in time to begin the day.

But on a good day, on the best days, I pause and realize that I am in awe of the gifts my husband and I have been given. How, I wonder over and over and over, are we so blessed to be parents to these children?

Especially for us, as adoptive parents, the journey brings surprises. We have no expectations that our children will be good at music or football or writing or chess or cooking. Each of them gets to find his own path without any preconceptions that they will be able to lift three men on a bicycle like Great-Uncle Antone or have a great sense of direction like Grandpa. But, of course, even when you know your family history well, each child's strengths and interests are still a mystery.

Every single day is a surprise as we discover something new things about each of our children. Their strengths, their weaknesses, their likes, their dislikes, the way they laugh and hug and run and tell jokes at dinner, all of it gives us an idea of the people they are becoming.

As we watch them grow and learn and change, I realize so much of who they are seems to have nothing to do with us. I can’t hit a baseball or run like the wind or do math facts that fast or sing a song in a goofy opera voice that makes my whole family laugh. It reminds me that this journey isn’t completely in our hands. These children are ours, but they are also His. And we are just honored to be part of their stories.

Today, like every day, is Christmas Eve. And tomorrow, yet again, will be Christmas.

I can’t wait.



May 09, 2017 10:25
By Rita Buettner


“Don’t step on a crack. You’ll break your mother’s back!”


It’s a beautiful evening, and I’m walking with my boys, enjoying the last daylight in the sky and the spring breeze.

Our sons aren’t walking. No, they’re hopping and skipping, avoiding the cracks that are everywhere on the sidewalks and streets.

“Don’t step on a crack. You’ll break Mama’s back!” they tell each other.

They jump higher than they need to and laugh as they land, teasing each other when they aren’t careful enough, chiding me when I don’t play along.

“Mama, you’re breaking Grandma’s back!” a happy voice reminds me. They can see that my feet aren’t small enough to play this game well—and that only adds to the fun.

They turn back to their game, avoiding every tiny crevice in the cement, united in a cause and yet competing with each other at the same time.




Who knows how old this game is or where it came from? It’s a game I played as a child too, but I never taught my children. I didn’t need to. Some things children learn from their friends.

They laugh and laugh, even as I get frustrated sometimes when they nearly leap into walls and land a little close to strangers coming the other way. But they’re children. And part of being a mother is telling your children what might happen and then letting them find out for themselves that you were right.

There are easy and difficult moments to motherhood.

It’s easy to watch them laugh and run and play. It’s easy to pick them up when they fall and hold them when they’re sad. It’s easy to tell them I love them over and over again. It’s easy to marvel at the young men they are becoming—even though they’re still such children in so many ways.

But it’s a little hard to realize they are growing so quickly. It’s difficult to step back and let them learn some consequences themselves. The questions, the problems, the challenges—those will grow, too. And I can only hope God will give my husband and me the wisdom, the strength, the courage to handle each stage we will encounter as a family.

He’s brought us this far. And these are His children He has entrusted to our care. We’ll stumble on the cracks and even fall, but I feel certain He’ll guide us through.

Tonight He’s watching as our sidewalk jumpers come bounding back to hold my hands at the curb. And He knows I will never tire of holding those hands.

But moments later, those hands have slipped out of mine, and the boys are back to their game, jumping away from me as they skip over the cracks.

May 08, 2017 10:33
By Rita Buettner


7 Quick Takes: Not camping this weekend, dominoes and dishes, my favorite response to Jimmy Kimmel, Star Wars Day, and more


~1~

What will this weekend bring? Well, as much fun as camping last weekend was, I can’t wait to spend a few relaxing, comfortable nights in my very own bed. What do you have planned?

~2~

My mother always told me not to return an empty dish to someone who brought food to a gathering. I had to return an empty baking dish to her from Easter Sunday—it’s still the Easter season, right?—and I couldn’t seem to find the time to fill it with food. Besides, this is my mother, and she knew she would just be lucky to get the dish back before next Easter.

So I was going to take it back empty until I thought of putting two photos of our boys into it.


Of course, now I don’t have anything to give her for Mother’s Day, but let’s worry about that next weekend.

~3~

Our boys are on a dominoes kick. I don’t remember ever caring about dominoes as a child, but I watch as they set up these elaborate lines of dominoes and then knock them down.



I love the simplicity, especially when children today have access to so much technology. Apparently the earliest version of dominoes was invented in China. I joke with the boys that everything was invented in China, except maybe French fries. Of course the other day, after we had been camping, they asked who invented toilet paper, and the answer was a man in the United States.

~4~

Did you watch the video of Jimmy Kimmel speaking about his son who was born with a heart condition that required emergency surgery? My favorite response to what he said was this post, “Hey, Jimmy Kimmel…Do You Have Any Idea How Right You Are?” 

Meredith Toering writes:

“The thing is… I have this house full of broken-hearted babes, the bravest and most beautiful souls, because of this very thing, of exactly what Kimmel said:

‘No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life.’

The devastating reality here—is that so many do.

For so many families across this globe—they have to choose.”

It’s true. It’s a significant reason so many children wait for families in orphanages in China. And it’s absolutely heartbreaking.

~5~

The other night I took Daniel to baseball practice. A friendly dad started talking to me about how much Daniel had improved since last season. We talked on and on, but all I could think was that I had no memory of him at all. All this time, I have thought I had such a good memory for faces, but this man didn’t even look familiar.



He was so nice, talking about Daniel’s skills and analyzing his progress. And all I could come up with was, “The boys on the team seem to get along really well.”

Later I realized he was the one pitching to the boys. Now I’m afraid he’s the coach. What if he was the coach last year, too?

Let’s pretend he looked really familiar and I just couldn’t remember his name.

~6~

We celebrated Star Wars Day—May the Fourth—at breakfast.



I told the boys we were having Light Saber Soup, but no one believed me. They ate it, though. They always do. They just love soup for breakfast.

Speaking of fun random days, May 6 is Free Comic Book Day! Our library is celebrating and so is the only comic book store I can think of right now. 

~7~

Did you know Pope Francis has a new First Communion book? I just ordered one for our nephew who will receive his First Communion next weekend (and probably doesn’t read my blog). You can read more about it on my friend Robyn’s blog

Find more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum, and have a wonderful weekend!

May 06, 2017 08:54
By Rita Buettner


7 Quick Takes: Not camping this weekend, dominoes and dishes, my favorite response to Jimmy Kimmel, Star Wars Day, and more


~1~

What will this weekend bring? Well, as much fun as camping last weekend was, I can’t wait to spend a few relaxing, comfortable nights in my very own bed. What do you have planned?

~2~

My mother always told me not to return an empty dish to someone who brought food to a gathering. I had to return an empty baking dish to her from Easter Sunday—it’s still the Easter season, right?—and I couldn’t seem to find the time to fill it with food. Besides, this is my mother, and she knew she would just be lucky to get the dish back before next Easter.

So I was going to take it back empty until I thought of putting two photos of our boys into it.


Of course, now I don’t have anything to give her for Mother’s Day, but let’s worry about that next weekend.

~3~

Our boys are on a dominoes kick. I don’t remember ever caring about dominoes as a child, but I watch as they set up these elaborate lines of dominoes and then knock them down.



I love the simplicity, especially when children today have access to so much technology. Apparently the earliest version of dominoes was invented in China. I joke with the boys that everything was invented in China, except maybe French fries. Of course the other day, after we had been camping, they asked who invented toilet paper, and the answer was a man in the United States.

~4~

Did you watch the video of Jimmy Kimmel speaking about his son who was born with a heart condition that required emergency surgery? My favorite response to what he said was this post, “Hey, Jimmy Kimmel…Do You Have Any Idea How Right You Are?” http://annvoskamp.com/2017/05/hey-jimmy-kimmel-do-you-have-any-idea-how-right-you-are/

Meredith Toering writes:

“The thing is… I have this house full of broken-hearted babes, the bravest and most beautiful souls, because of this very thing, of exactly what Kimmel said:

‘No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life.’

The devastating reality here—is that so many do.

For so many families across this globe—they have to choose.”

It’s true. It’s a significant reason so many children wait for families in orphanages in China. And it’s absolutely heartbreaking.

~5~

The other night I took Daniel to baseball practice. This dad started talking to me about how much Daniel had improved since last season. We talked on and on, but all I could think was that I had no memory of him at all. All this time, I have thought I had such a good memory for faces, but this man didn’t even look familiar.



He was so nice, talking about Daniel’s skills and analyzing his progress. And all I could come up with was, “The boys on the team seem to get along really well.”

Later I realized he was the one pitching to the boys. Now I’m afraid he’s the coach. What if he was the coach last year, too?

Let’s pretend he looked really familiar and I just couldn’t remember his name.

~6~

We celebrated Star Wars Day—May the Fourth—at breakfast.



I told the boys we were having Light Saber Soup, but no one believed me. They ate it, though. They always do. They just love soup for breakfast.

Speaking of fun random days, May 6 is Free Comic Book Day! Our library is celebrating and so is the only comic book store I can think of right now. http://www.amazingspiral.com/free-comic-book-day.html

~7~

Did you know Pope Francis has a new First Communion book out? https://www.amazon.com/Your-First-Communion-Meeting-Jesus/dp/1586179861 I just ordered one for our nephew who will receive his First Communion next weekend (and probably doesn’t read my blog). You can read more about it on my friend Robyn’s blog. 

Find more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum, and have a wonderful weekend!

May 06, 2017 08:54
By Rita Buettner


Our camping trip: The good, the bad, and the creepy-crawly


Disclaimer: If you are a real camper, I should confess that we didn’t pitch a tent. We stayed in a rather rustic cabin with an electric light. We had access to a real kitchen. We were only about a half-hour from home. We had cell phone service. And the toilets may have been far away, but there were toilets, and they flushed. So judge if you will, but it was as close to camping as I wanted to try.

So we went camping and survived. In fact, we did better than survive. We made it home intact and with stories to tell. No one was eaten by a bear, no one was bitten by a snake, and the children had lots of fun.



Here’s what I liked:


I didn’t have to plan meals. Because we went with our Cub Scout pack, someone else thought about all the meals. And there seemed to be lots of meals and snacks involved. It seems to me that food is a big part of camping, and we weren’t exactly living off the land. If we had been, we would have eaten this....



We were together. My husband came too, so we were camping as a family of four. When bedtime came, and there were anxieties over spending the night in a bug-infested cabin, I was especially happy we were all there. We prayed and asked St. Francis of Assisi to intercede for us and keep the bugs away. I feel certain that he helped.




There were some really fun moments. Our sons had a blast. They loved the rope swings and the ropes course. There was even a fishing spot nearby. The boys had the chance to roast marshmallows in the fire—and I do mean in the fire. I managed to take some photos to capture the best parts, and I am always grateful for an opportunity to get pictures of our boys.



We got plenty of exercise. The latrines were up a hill and far away from everything, and our cabin was up another hill the other way. I'm nor sure whether this should be listed as something I liked. Let's just say we were happy to be there on a sunny day.

The sounds of the woods were fascinating. Every time I woke up during the night, I heard owls or frogs outside. And the only thing better than knowing owls and frogs are nearby is knowing they are on the other side of the wall.

It was easy to forget life outside of the camp. Even though I had worried about leaving my many writing assignments to go camping overnight, I hardly thought of them while we were camping. It was surprisingly relaxing to be away from civilization.




I didn’t pack much for the trip, but I did bring a Frappuccino. When I woke up and realized I had a Frappuccino to drink, I was so happy.



Here’s what I wasn’t a huge fan of:

There were insects and big spiders. As I was trying to check my email while falling asleep, a moth kept landing on my phone—the only light in the room. I finally gave up. You can probably tell I was really into living in the wilderness. In the morning when we woke up, Daniel said, “There’s a big dead ant on my pillow.” And there was.


This spider was not in our cabin. It was right next to the door of the girls' bathroom.

We could all have used more or better sleep. Somehow we all fell asleep even though the cabin was hot and there were insects flying around. Then in the middle of the night, John and I heard a huge bang. We jumped out of bed thinking one of the boys had rolled onto the floor. We still don’t know what it was, though the best guess anyone came up with involved Bigfoot throwing a rock at the cabin.

I felt so dirty. I really missed my own shower.



But it was a great trip, and I am so happy we all went. At the end of our stay, we were getting ready to leave, and Daniel was swinging on his favorite swing for the last time.

“What’s the best part about camping out?” I asked him.

“I don’t know,” he said. “These swings maybe. Or lots of things. But it will never be sleeping.”



He’s so right. The sleeping was the least fun part.

Then a few minutes later as we carried our sleeping bags to the car, I heard his brother say, “Next time we should stay in a tent.”

Wait…next time?


May 03, 2017 10:39
By Rita Buettner


7 Quick Takes Friday: Going camping, cabbage, ham, Harpoon Lagoon, Infertility Awareness Week, and a visit to the cemetery


~1~

We are going camping! I’m not sure how I feel about it, but the boys seem sort of nervous and sort of excited. I’m wondering how we ended up in this spot. I have been camping before, but not real camping—more sleeping in a tent on a school retreat way back a thousand years ago when I was in high school.

But our sons are Cub Scouts, and this is part of the deal.

“Will we find our meals in nature?” my younger son asks.

I hope not. But I don’t really know. I'm not exactly a camping expert. But I would, of course, do anything for our children.

I suspect this trip can only exceed my expectations. I also suspect there’s a blog in it somewhere—and maybe some live tweeting or Instagramming. I’ll let you know how it goes.

~2~

If we are hoping to find our meals in our backyard, we might have to look beyond the cabbage plant our third grader brought home from school. It’s not making much progress.

But let’s think positively. At least it’s still alive.

~3~

I bought a ham to cook after Easter, and it was delicious. Now the hambone is waiting to become soup. Our boys love soup, so I am hoping a ham and bean soup will be popular.

Do you have favorite recipes you use for leftover ham?

~4~

Daniel was practically headed out the door to school on Monday when we decided to make Easter bunny paper towel rolls for his teacher and teacher’s assistant.

We usually make them with kitchen-towel ears, but this time I just drew them on, and Daniel glued the cotton ball tails onto the back of the towel rolls.

It is still Easter, after all.

~5~

When the boys and I went to Chuck E Cheese last week, they were playing Harpoon Lagoon when the jellyfish came out of the treasure chest in the center of the game.

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should really try Harpoon Lagoon. It is one of the best arcade games ever.)

Anyway, I jumped into the game and caught the jellyfish—which means I instantly won 50 tickets.

And Leo yelled, “YOU ARE AMAZING!”

I really felt amazing. But it also made me think. As a mother, I do all kinds of things that are invisible to our children. Many of them are hard. Some of them are easy. Motherhood was never a given for me, and I’m grateful to be able to do anything I get to do for my children.

But I have to enjoy that moment when my sons think I am the most amazing person in the world, all because I caught a virtual jellyfish.

~6~

Infertility Awareness Week is ending, and somehow it got away from me this year! I didn’t write anything about it this week.

But I have written many times about infertility:

Finding hope through infertility

When infertility is a blessing

When it’s not your birthday

When are you going to have a baby?

You don’t have to go to that baby shower: Advice I wish I had received while struggling with infertility

You’d think I might be done with infertility as a topic, but I actually have another idea, thanks to a reader who asked me for advice on how to share pregnancy news with a friend who’s dealing with infertility. Tune in for that post sometime soon.

~7~

Last weekend the boys and I took a pinwheel to their cousin Georgie’s grave. I love taking them to the cemetery, but this was the first time we decided to pick up a little lunch on the way to the cemetery and sit by Georgie’s grave and eat.

We sat and ate and talked to and about Georgie. We discussed Heaven and why people die and how long it takes to get to Heaven and whether people eat food in Heaven.

Then we went to the cemetery pond and looked at the water and the geese.

We even saw the two swans.

We fed the ducks and geese with pellets that were waiting for us there.

We saw a few other people just sitting by graves, spending time in thought and maybe prayer. By the time we left, I felt renewed in a way. It wasn’t an entirely peaceful visit because the children are full of energy and life. But it was good.

I hope you can find some beautiful moments this weekend, too.

Read more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum, and have a wonderful weekend!

April 28, 2017 10:40
By Rita Buettner

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