A wet spring, patients and patience, Legos, bees, and planning a paper plate party (7 Quick Takes)


Spring has sprung! Or maybe we’re headed straight into summer! But I am so happy to see sunshine and hear birds singing. It’s also been an incredibly moist spring. As I was walking to a meeting at work the other day, I noticed we were growing a beautiful crop of mushrooms on campus.

Apparently they are called a fairy ring. How have I gone this far in my life without knowing this term?

Either way, hooray for spring! We have baby bunnies in our yard and birds chattering up a storm and even some sunshine so the children can play outside.


Although St. Rita’s feast day was a day when the impossible was made possible, we had a few other challenges this week. In random occurrences I didn’t think we had time for this week, I managed to get a small piece of chicken stuck in my throat.

Then our younger son came down with a sinus infection, which didn’t seem like a big deal until he ended up so dehydrated we had to go to the emergency room. And he’s still recovering a few days later. When your son tells you he is too sick to go to sports day at school, you know he’s not feeling well.

Everyone and everything is fine. But I have to admit that whenever we deal with a medical issue, I just feel so grateful that we have wonderful medical care at a hospital that even provides Legos and playdoh and games for your child to enjoy while he waits.

Best of all, when his doctor walked into the room, I realized she was a high school classmate. Naturally. Because it’s Baltimore. And because God always seems to bring people into our lives at the right moments.


Speaking of Legos, our friends gave Daniel the “Father Leopold Celebrates Mass” Lego set for his First Communion and it is such a wonderful set. It comes with a book of the Mass so the boys can say the prayers as they play with it. And Father Leopold has all the different colors to wear depending on the liturgical season. There was even a Lego bone to place inside the altar!

Now we really need to get going on those thank you notes. And by “we,” I mean the First Communicant. But I’m pretty sure I have a role to play here, too.


When our pest man came by the other day, we had our usual little reunion, chatting about our families. I even dared to say, “We haven’t seen any mice lately.” Our mouse is still a legend, of course.

Then I mentioned our carpenter bees, and he launched into this fascinating explanation. The male bees don’t sting, which we knew, but what I didn’t know was that birds only eat the male bees. So the male bees try to get dust on their faces to make the birds think they are female bees.

I love God’s creativity.


When I was looking through my wedding planning folder, I found a piece of paper where I had written, “All the way from Germany for a paper plate ceremony.” I’m sure the Royal couple has something similar in their notes.

I don’t recall inviting anyone from Germany, though we might have invited my husband’s host family or another friend there from his time studying abroad. But I also don’t know why I would have written that specifically. It makes me want to plan paper plate ceremonies as a sort of celebration.

“Please join us for a paper plate ceremony,” the invitation would start. We would make crafts out of paper plates, eat off paper plates, have paper plate games—paper-plate Frisbee throwing?—and perhaps even give prizes for people arriving with the best paper plate hats.

Now that I have this idea, I want to do it. I’m not sure it will take off the way I believe the Christmas-carol-themed pot luck will, but it would still be fun.


Daniel told me a joke the other day, and it’s the best one I’ve heard all week.

Question: Who’s the boss of Inch Land?

Answer: The ruler.


When we were at the pediatrician’s office the other day, she asked Daniel how many days were left in the school year. He broke into this huge smile and said, “Seventeen.” I was so surprised that he knew, especially since he usually doesn’t know what day of the week it is. But then he said they are counting down at school, and it all made sense. Our teachers didn’t even get a spring break—just a long weekend for Easter—and I bet everyone is done, done, done.

As we practiced for a spelling test last night, I was thinking that this year needs to end. Leo’s list was full of homophones, so I was giving him sentences so he could tell the difference between patience and patients.

Patience. Studying spelling words requires patience I am not sure I have. Patience.

When he told me it was the last spelling test of the year, I was so happy. Bring on summer vacation!

P.S. I am thinking of writing a book this summer. Think I can do it?

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.