Birthday card shopping, St. Francis, flea marketing, wedding fun, and more (7 Quick Takes)


Today is my husband’s birthday! I don’t know how we will celebrate, but our boys and I picked out a few gifts, and we each chose a card for him. Going card shopping was more fun than I expected it to be as we read almost every card in the store.

Whenever I go card shopping alone, I think there are very few decent or halfway-entertaining cards for sale. When I went shopping with a fourth grader and a sixth grader, however, we laughed our way through the aisle.

Maybe 11-year-olds are the target market for greeting cards.


Today is also the Feast of St. Francis. I love that John’s birthday is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, a saint who became very important to me right before I met John. I wrote about that here.


Last Saturday John reserved a space at a flea market near our house to sell some of the items we’ve been setting aside to get rid of for the past few months.

I dropped him off early to set up and get started. Then I brought our sons back to help a bit around mid-day. As we pulled in, our younger son, “I don’t feel that good.”

I was a little nervous because a huge portion of his elementary school had been sick with a stomach bug the week before, but he also gets car sick, so there was a chance he was fine.

And he seemed to be. He bounced around, visiting the other tables, eating snacks I had brought, and laughing with his brother. Then, just as it was time to leave, he vomited.

As I cleaned him up and got him to the car, I saw our plans to go to my cousin’s wedding that night slipping away. But when I talked with our sitter for the evening, she said it would be fine. She’s planning to be a nurse, and she’s amazing. She wasn’t worried about vomit and didn’t want us to miss the wedding.


So, we went to the wedding, and it was beautiful.

John and I had the best time seeing my relatives and celebrating with the bride and groom.

My uncle gave this magnificent toast, referencing his own wedding—where my brother and I were the ringbearer and flower girl—and reading an Irish blessing my grandmother shared with him and my aunt as they were getting married.

The sitter didn’t call or text the whole time, which seemed like a good sign.

(This is when the ominous music begins.)

When we got home, we hurried into the house, and I cheerfully said, “How did it go?”

“He threw up everywhere,” she said.

I’m not sure how you compensate for that.


Even rarer than going to weddings is getting out the iron—which was one of our shower gifts. I pulled it out to iron my $7.50 dress. As I ironed, I thought affectionately of how my seventh-grade home economics teacher would be pleased to see me using the skills she taught me so many years ago.

Suddenly I realized the wrinkles in the dress weren’t going anywhere.


Then it occurred to me I hadn’t actually turned the iron on.

Maybe I need a home economics refresher.


We have two trumpet players in the house now. It’s glorious. I remind myself of just how glorious it is when I can’t hear anything but trumpeting because we have two exuberant musicians—one with experience, and one with a single lesson under his belt.

As loud as it can be, I love the excitement around the trumpets. Our younger son came home tonight thrilled to be counting down to his December concert. He even knew the date.

I can’t wait.


Our twin nephews turn 2 this weekend. Two! It’s one of my favorite ages, mostly because it reminds me of how old our sons were when we met them.

We ordered them a Thomas the Tank Engine tent just like the one our sons had when they were little. I’m so excited to see if this newly minted 2-year-olds enjoy it as much as our boys did.

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.