Afternoon tea, 5 things you might not know about me, Pokemon tournaments, and more (7 Quick Takes)


Last weekend two friends and I needed to meet for Sunday school curriculum planning, and I was having trouble figuring out a good time to get together. My husband is painting our basement, and I wanted to keep an eye on our boys at home while he worked.

So I spontaneously invited my friends to come for afternoon tea, and we had such a wonderful, productive time. I lost track of how many pots of tea we enjoyed as we talked and planned and discussed ways to help children connect with our Catholic faith.

When they left, I felt rejuvenated and determined to invite people for afternoon tea more often. It was such a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon with friends.


As one of Daniel’s homework assignments this week, he had to write a paragraph about something people don’t know about him. He picked five things instead of one because he had to write five sentences.

I loved the assignment. My life feels like such an open book that I am struggling to answer that question.

But maybe you don’t know all of these:

  • I’ve sung the National Anthem before an Orioles game (as part of a singing group).
  • I’ve been inducted into my high school athletic hall of fame.
  • I own hundreds of flyswatters.
  • I am allergic to mangos.
  • I was born by C-section.

Daniel’s list is more interesting, of course.


Earlier this week I was looking through some of my posts from last year, and I realized how often I have been writing about how our boys are getting older. And…well…they are.

But they’re also only 8 and 10. So I’ve spent the past few days looking for ways to remind myself how young they still are.

Sure, they think they’re so big and tough, but they still argue over who gets to sit with Dad at church and they come running when they get hurt. They crawl into our bed in the morning and ask these fantastic questions, full of a child’s curiosity and wonder. They let me hug and kiss them when no one is watching. And they still love building things out of blankets and pillows.

I marvel at how quickly our children are growing, but I should also stop sometimes and notice that they’re still young in many ways.


You can cook and enjoy dinner without photographing it, but why would you?

Last night I made a pot roast using a friend’s recipe, and it was so good. John said it was the best pot roast he had had in 20 or 30 years.

We will be making this one again. It was so good on a chilly winter’s night.


We took down our Christmas tree! I sort of miss it, but the living room feels a little bigger.

Well, it would feel even bigger if we hadn’t been doing so much Lego- and Trio-building in the living room. But I don’t mind.

What are living rooms for if they’re not meant to be lived in? And can you really live without Legos all over the floor? I’m not sure I want to find out.


Just when I thought our sons were moving out of their Pokemon interest, they got all excited to go to a Pokemon pre-release tournament over the weekend.

We went and met friends there and had such fun. I didn’t understand what was happening with the Pokemon cards and battles, but the boys did, and I had a great time chatting with my friends while we waited for the children to finish battling.

We were there for 3 ½ hours. That’s not a complaint. It’s more of an observation in case you ever plan to go to a Pokemon pre-release tournament. Take a cup of coffee and a book or meet friends there and kick back for a while. And if your friend mentions she has a great pot roast recipe, ask for it right away.


Today is my half-birthday! I hope you have half as much fun today as I do. I also hope you celebrate your half-birthday with half as much energy and excitement.

I actually don’t have any plans. But I always think of the year I turned 7 ½ when my parents threw me my only childhood birthday party with friends. They served half-pizzas and I blew out the candles on a half-cake.

I have a feeling today will be just as great even without a party.

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

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.