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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7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 30)


— 1 —

Wondering how we spent our anniversary? Well, I had a work event to attend that evening, so John went alone to Daniel’s preschool back-to-school night. I know, I know. You probably imagined us waltzing barefoot on the beach as the sun set.

But, when I realized I would be finished before 8:30 p.m. and that John would probably be released from the preschool meeting then too, I called him.

Within minutes we found ourselves sitting at a table at our local French restaurant, having adult conversation, reading a chicken-finger-less menu, and asking the waitress to describe the charcuterie du jour.

Life doesn’t get much better than a late-night bowl of French Onion soup and a pile of garlicky mussels and conversation with your husband.

Then dessert comes. And you discover that it’s on the house with a candle because your husband may have just happened to mention that it’s your anniversary.



Meanwhile, my husband, who thinks I take a few too many photos, is lamenting that I didn’t photograph the charcuterie du jour. So we’ll have to go back. Maybe even before our next anniversary.

— 2 —

Last week I told you how I packed Leo’s apple for his school assignment in his outside pocket of his backpack and he thought I’d forgotten to send one, so he was apple-less all day. He got to do all kinds of fun things with his apple this week, so he seems to have survived the ordeal.

Then yesterday when I picked him up, he told me he was starving “because there was no lunch for me.” Um, what? The school participates in a program that brings lunch to the students once a week, but the parents have to pay in advance. And I had paid—and have the email confirmation to prove it—but apparently there was some error.

His kind teacher found one for him—so I’m not sure why he was starving—but my reputation is really going down the tubes.

— 3 —

John and I are still sitting separately at Mass on Sunday, each with one son, and last week it was my turn to sit with Daniel, who is not quite 4. He was restless, but generally quiet except when he yells during the songs since he doesn’t know the words. Hey, our child of God is participating.

So we’re sitting there, and it’s almost the end of Mass, and Daniel places his firm little hands on my head, turns my face so he can talk right into my ear, and whispers, “Mama. I have diarrhea in my pants.”

Ugh. Why does this have to happen right now? Do I have a change of clothes for him in the car? My mind is spinning as I try to think of a solution. I do not like to leave Mass unless it’s an emergency—which this might be.

Then he leans in to whisper again.

“Mama, what’s diarrhea?”

Aha. That’s when I realize he is just making conversation.

“I’ll tell you later,” I whispered.

And we made it through to the end of Mass—no change of clothes needed.

As Daniel said at the end of Mass, shouting it out after everyone else had already said it, “Thanks be to God!”

— 4 —

Because we were at Mass at a new church—well, new to the boys, at least—I had reminded Leo and Daniel that they each could make three wishes.

Leo doesn’t ever tell what his wishes are, but I assume that instead of wishing for peace on earth, he is probably wishing for something more along the lines of these real lightsabers created at Harvard and MIT.

— 5 —

The night before our wedding John and I had our rehearsal dinner at a Chinese-Japanese restaurant that we loved.


Taken at our rehearsal dinner: you have to look closely to see my dragon necklace.

There was a waiter there who always gave us lots of attention when we came in to eat after we were married, but the restaurant closed and we never had a chance to say goodbye to him.

Last week John and I walked into a different Chinese-Japanese restaurant, sat down, and a waiter came for our drink order.

John—who never forgets a face—looked up and said, “Jimmy!” And there he was—our friend the waiter.

It had been almost five years, but he remembered us and that we had been about to go to China to adopt a little boy—Leo, who has been part of our family since December 2009.

Now we are looking forward to taking our sons in to meet this man who was also born in China and talked to us about his home country even before we traveled there ourselves.

I love how small the world is.

— 6 —

We celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival by meeting friends at a Chinese-Japanese restaurant and sitting in one of those special little rooms where you have to remove your shoes. Our fellow diners can tell you how soundproof those rice-paper walls are—or aren’t—but it was a nice way to keep the children contained and occupied.

While we were there, the boys tasted their first sushi—all fully cooked. Daniel was too busy eating the steamed dumplings to pay much attention to the sushi, but Leo loved it. Maybe I should start making sushi for his lunches. How hard can it be?



— 7 —

My brother-in-law George has been going on and on about how we absolutely had to try Pizza John’s in Essex, Md., so John and I took the boys over there for a slice—and, well, let’s admit it, some Maryland crab soup, because our boys are more excited about soup.

The pizza was fantastic! I’m not sure it’s the best pizza I’ve ever had, but it was outstanding.



The soup smelled good, too, though I didn’t try it myself.

What’s your favorite pizza place?

Read other quick takes at Jen’s blog.

September 27, 2013 09:56
By Rita Buettner