Birthday celebrating, toy shopping, and doing more holy things today (7 Quick Takes)


I’m chronicling our daily lives on the blog this week in the Week in My Life challenge, so I could probably have given myself a break from 7 quick takes. But the quick takes are a highlight of my week! Besides, my mother and my nieces look forward to them (and maybe you do, too), and I wouldn’t want to let anyone down. So here we go!


My twin nephews are being baptized tomorrow! I’m excited and nervous because there is sickness in our house, and I am just hoping that some of us can represent in a non-contagious, supportive, enthusiastic, loving way. John is godfather to one of the baby boys, so our priority is getting him there.


Leo had a fantastic birthday on Friday, turning 10 on the 10th. We stopped to buy donuts for his classmates and teacher—his birthday twin—and when we went to pay, we were order number 10!

God is in the big things, of course, and the grand things and the amazing, mountain-moving things. But He is also in the details and the tiny moments. I really believe that He knows how much delight we can find in some small exchange or interaction or birthday donut receipt.


My sister Maureen and her four children came to town in time for Leo’s birthday. They actually came to meet their twin cousins, but the timing worked out well for us with a ready-made party for Leo’s birthday.

Because I realized I had a work event that night and I wouldn’t have time to make dinner, I called my mother earlier in the week and asked if we could have the party at her house. I told her what time we would come and which meal Leo had requested. And then I said, “Wow, this sounds sort of rude. I just invited us over and told you what to make for dinner.”

Her reply? “If you can’t do that with your parents, you can’t do it with anyone.”

So we did.

And my niece Elise made a tesseract—you know, Madeleine L’Engle-style. If that’s not a sign of a great party, I don’t know what is.


My parents gave Leo cash for his birthday, and he was ecstatic. We spent most of the next day shopping for the perfect toy—and we found it. He settled on two Transformers. I’ll never get back the time I spent wandering toy store aisles, but I now have a much better idea what our boys want for Christmas. And that’s worth something right there.


A friend sent me this article this week, and I thought it was beautiful. I love the idea that we can offer to help one another in specific, tangible ways.


Last Sunday we skipped Sunday School because our children both had colds and didn’t seem to be quite themselves. So we headed home from Mass. When we walked into the house, Daniel said, “I feel bad we aren’t doing more holy things today.” Then he asked me to stay out of the living room, and he assembled religious items from all around the house for a beautiful display. When he led me back into the room to show me, I was amazed.

The boys and I sat together and prayed our own litany of the saints.

It was a great reminder for me that even though I think my husband and I are the ones who have to teach the faith—and we are—our children are also teaching me. And they do teach me, every day.

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.