A Review: BiS Planner – A Month In

When Blessed is She announced WAY back at the end of last summer they were coming out with a liturgical¬†planner I was excited — at first it was *only* going to be for the academic year, but as soon as Jenna announced a 2017 calendar year version I jumped on the pre-order.

I wanted to share some thoughts I’ve had about the planner after using it for a whole month. Which I realize isn’t an overly long test run, but I do have some thoughts that I figured as I’m a blogger I might as well share with the internet. ūüėČ

//what I like:

  • the monthly calendar view — I LOVE the layout of this calendar. ¬†It’s not only beautiful but very well thought out.
  • the liturgical colors — the colors that Erica and Jenna chose to use are stunning ūüôā
  • novena reminders — Something this girl certainly needed.
  • the lists — I really like that there is a big to-do, groceries/shopping list/meal plan sections.
  • prayer intention/self-care sections — This was a big driver for me wanting to get this planner for 2017. ¬†2016 was rough, and having little spaces for prayer intentions for the week, a section that asks me what I liked about myself and what I’m grateful for daily helps me focus, and if I’m unable to fill out those two sections, even if the thing I’m grateful for is silly, then I know that I need to regroup the following day.

//what I don’t like:

  • four pages per weekly spread — for me it feels a little, clunky? ¬†This is an opinion that *may* change by the end of the year.
  • the size — when I upgraded from my B&N planner to my PPP in 2015 the size was an adjustment, but it worked well. ¬†The BiS planner feels MUCH larger than my PPP was — which means it’s NOT as easy to toss into my work backpack and go, and part of that beings me to my next point…
  • cover and coil — unlike others I’ve had the BiS planner has a VERY ridged cover. ¬†The lack of flexibility from the cover combined with the size makes it hard for me to want to take it with me – and if I do I feel like I have to put the planner in it’s own tote bag. ¬†Also the binding option looks great, but overall I’m not impressed with the twin-loop style. ¬†It simply doesn’t keep the last few pages secure enough for me.
  • lack of extras — while there are the four pages per week which give ample space for notes, I miss having some extras that other planners gave me. These include a folder in the back to toss things like appointment cards and bills into, a space for addresses, a few extra sheets of note paper, a 2018 at a glance in the back.
  • price — I do love that I’m supporting a wonderful Catholic womens’ ministry with purchasing the planner. I interact with the BiS online groups and read the daily devotions. ¬†That said, the cost of the planner itself was on the high side, and was definitely a decent splurge for me. ¬†The paper and other components are high quality, but I think if it could be offered for a little less in future editions it would be an overall benefit so more women could fit it into their budgets.

//what surprised me:

  • hourly days — When I initially ordered this I was excited to have my weekdays laid out hourly, buuuut turns out this really is NOT my planning style. ¬†I DO need space for each day, but with how I’ve done things to this point, hourly doesn’t work for me. Personal planning style.
  • intentions — I will say that a month in, that this planner has helped me refocus more on family and prayer life.

//thoughts so far:

Overall I¬†am happy with the planner, but at this point I’m not sure I’d want to get another BiS planner for 2018. ¬†I think if I were a sahm or a homeschooling mom this would be AWESOME for my needs. ¬†I actually took it with me to Houston mid-January to show my mom, and she’s in agreement. ¬†It would have been a great option for her, though she liked the Michelle Quigley planners that she used size-wise better (they’re maybe a third of BiS).

I’m currently looking into a way to change my cover and binding out to see if that will help me with my main hesitation to toss the planner into my bag and take it places. ¬†I’ll probably post an update in a couple months, especially if I figure out the cover/coil situation and if that greatly improves my experience using it.

Friday Fives: A Motherhood of Saints

Becoming a mother is probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life so far — and I don’t mean the birth part. ¬†By comparison, even with a scary emergency c-section, that has been the easiest part of this whole thing. ¬†Between getting used to having a tiny person around, to lack of sleep, to adjusting to him being a toddler life has been, let’s just say an adjustment — looking at you two-year molars.

Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is probably my greatest joy. ¬†I mean, I got to partake in procreation and MADE a tiny human being with JP. ¬†My number 2 love came from my number 1 love. ¬†Even when the nights are hard or sleepless I still find myself longing to be home with Bernhard (and JP!) most days.

One of the things about being Catholic that I love is being able to lean on the saints — I like to think of them as a big extension of the whole “it takes a village” part of raising a child. ¬†Prior to becoming a mother I had devotions to several saints, but after becoming a mother I’ve found that has increased for me — even if it’s a simple as invoking a name to help me in the rough times.

Continue reading

That Darn Groundhog… wait?

So the darn groundhog saw his shadow this morning:

Groundhog Day 2017: Winter Is (Still) Coming, Punxsutawney Phil Says

But wait, did you KNOW that the whole tradition of determining if there will be 6 weeks more of winter actually goes back to the medieval era for the Feast of Candlemas?

There’s a little lyric that goes:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There’ll be two winters in the year.

and another that says:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another fight.
If Candlemas brings cold and rain,
Winter will not come again.

Heh… aaaand it’s totally BRIGHT AND CLEAR in Btown today. ¬†Looks like I won’t be packing up the snow boots just yet. :p

Eh, either way we’ll be attending Mass tonight as a family and eating something awesome for dinner ūüôā

Happy Candlemas everyone!

Reflecting on Love and Loss

Two weeks ago my family was blindsided by the very sudden passing of my beautiful maternal grandmother on January 12th. I’ve been trying to distance myself from the event before writing. ¬†As I’m sure you can guess, there has been a LOT of very very raw emotion running around, and I wanted to write a tribute to her that she would want to read. Stepping back from the blog for a bit was the best decision for all parties, similarly as when I was in the trenches of postpartum gumbo.

Continue reading

2017 Booklist

One of the line items¬†on the annual year in review survey asks what the best book was that you read over the last year. ¬†For 2016 I couldn’t think of one, let alone think of a book I had finished cover to cover — chances are if I did it was simple no mind “potato chip” book.

So, one of my resolutions is to read a book per month (or average that) for 2017 – so, here’s my starting list for the year:

1// The Time Travelers Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
2// Animal Farm, by George Orwell
3// Small Gods, Terry Prachett
4// Doomsday Book, Connie Willis
(these are all from the NPR top 100 Sci-fi/Fantasy list)
5// The Book Thief. Markus Zusak
6// The Professor, Charlotte Bronte
7//¬†Wise Blood,¬†Flannery O’Connor
8// Hillbilly Elegy, J. D. Vance
9//¬†The Nest,¬†Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
10// Last Testament: In His Own Words, Pope Benedict XVI
11//¬†The Apostasy That Wasn’t,¬†Rod Bennett
12// The Awakening of Miss Prim, Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

There isn’t any real rhyme or reason to the list. ¬†I just scrolled through the NPR top list I have up there ^^, through Good Reads, Amazon, and some of the blogs I read regularly and tossed together something. ¬†Before last year I used to average 4-6 books per month, which simply didn’t happen last year. Well, I guess it did if you count reading Home for a Bunny and Little Blue Truck on repeat. ¬†I may or may not have a few of Bernhard’s favorites memorized now….

Obviously if I finish all of these I’ll add to the list — and that’s my hope — so dear readers, if I get through this list what else should I read in 2017? ¬†Leave me a comment ūüėČ

Reflecting on 2016 (end of the year survey)

It’s that time of the year again. ¬†And look at this, hey hey, I’m actually posting it somewhat on time this year. ¬†Go me… it’s the little things in life sometimes.

Without further ado, 2016 in review folks:

  1. What did you do in 2016 that you‚Äôd never done before? Let’s just leave it at it being a medical procedure that one doesn’t discuss in polite company. On a better note — we attended GenCon!
  2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Nope, and I meant to make some when I turned 30, but turning 30 really threw me for a loop. Then I had a health scare, then things got busy at work, then, then, excuse excuse excuse.  2017 will be different.  Resolutions include being more patient, moving more and reading a book/month.
  3. Did anyone close to you give birth? yup.  Tis the season of life.
  4. Did anyone close to you die? we lost JP’s grandmother the end of May, and his grandfather last week. It’s been a rocky year.
  5. What countries did you visit? none! I would like to see that change for 2017, but maybe we’ll look into exploring more of the US? We’ll see!
  6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?¬†No credit card debt. ¬†We’re working on that ūüôā
  7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory and why?¬†June 18 — I turned 30. ¬†Lame, but there you have it. November 9th gets nod too.
  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Does just getting through it count?  It was not an easy year for us.
  9. What was your biggest failure?¬†Something I previously wrote about — I wasn’t as patient as I could be with John Paul and Bernhard.
  10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Yes. It was NOT a good year for us in that regard. Marathon of colds, wicked stomach bugs that took all three of us out, we all got hand foot and mouth disease, I ended up in the ER a week after I turned 30, B ended up at urgent care on Christmas Eve. Most of my pto was used on sick days.
  11. What was the best thing you bought? GenCon family day tickets.
  12. What did you get really, really, really excited about? GenCon! We finally made it after 7 years of missing out. ¬†And was awesome. ¬†We’re looking forward to the big 5-0 in 2017.
  13. What song will always remind you of 2016?¬†R.E.M.: It’s the end of the world
  14. Compared to this time last year, are you: Thinner or fatter? About the same. I’m determined to be more active this year, which means at LEAST one Blogilates video every night, even if we go for a family walk or hike during the day.
  15. Richer or poorer? We racked up some debt, so poorer. But that’s ok. ¬†Some of that came from expenses we knew would be coming eventually, but we didn’t think they’d come as soon as they did.
  16. What do you wish you‚Äôd done more of? Played more board games. It’s hard with a toddler… but I wish we had done more of it. ¬†Also hiking. ¬†We’re in a great geographical position for it. ¬†And blogging. ¬†I wish I had written more about life this year.
  17. What do you wish you’d done less of? Being angry.  It was a really tough year, and I spent a good portion of it angry with myself, with JP and with life in general.
  18. Did you fall in love in 2016? Always.  Deeper in love with JP, and more in love with Bernhard.
  19. What was your favorite TV program? The Crown! Though Stranger things is a very close second. John Lithgow put The Crown over the edge with his performance as Churchill.
  20. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Not really.  I already disliked certain people and this year with the high level of emotion with the election cemented a few in their places. *coughcoughlenadunhamcoughcough*
  21. What was the best book you read?¬†Ugh, 2016 was NOT a good year for reading — I honestly cannot think of a single book that I started and finished…
  22. What was your greatest musical discovery? A-Wa:
  23. What did you want and get?¬†Heh… lips are sealed because it’s something personal. So let’s go with GenCon attendance.
  24. What did you want and not get? Health.  And rest.
  25. What did you not want and get? Hand Foot and Mouth disease. My case was severe.  I would NOT wish it on my worst enemy.
  26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? We went to Mass, picked up wings and went camping. The site involved pit toilets and a crazy sounding raccoon who woke us up in the middle of the night. Turning 30 really weirded me out for some reason.
  27. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not having a chunk of debt – but also being able to use my PTO for an actual rest/vacation instead of all the sick days.
  28. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? Attempting to dress my age. It involved purging a good chunk of my wardrobe -including things from college!- and a failed attempt at StitchFix. I think I’m in a better place this year than I’ve been before.
  29. What kept you sane? The usual suspects.  Plus the BVM.  My devotions to her ramped up a bit this year trying to wade throught postpartum gumbo.
  30. Which celebrity/public figure did you follow the most?¬†Lots of deaths. ¬†Mother Angelica, Carrie Fisher… it was a year where a lot of big names departed.
  31. What political issue stirred you the most?¬†The terror in Europe — including but not limited to the martyrdom of Fr. Hamil, the attack in Nice, multiple attacks in Istanbul, and the Berlin Christmas Market attack. (bet you thought I was going to say something about the 2016 presidential election — nope. Already said what I plan to say on that.)
  32. Who did you miss?¬†Family and friends we don’t live near. ¬†The usual suspects. ¬†Not a person, but I’ve been missing Germany a lot this year.
  33. Who was the best new person you met?¬†I’m going with my friend Hannah — she’s got two awesome little kids, and we met them through the coop. ¬†We need to have another wine and whine soon ūüôā
  34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:¬†Self-care and rest are important — they aren’t selfish, in fact they’re something that hugely benefits everyone else in your life at large. ¬†It’s not selfish to ask JP to take B when said toddler wakes up so you can sleep a couple more hours. ¬†No one benefits from mom acting like a martyr.
  35. Quote a song lyric or something that sums up your year:

    “Team by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered, cropped.
    Look at that low playing! Fine, then.
    Uh oh, overflow, population, common group
    But it’ll do. Save yourself, serve yourself.
    World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed,”
    R.E.M., It’s the End of the World.