Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in spirit, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:3-12

Oh Lord,

Teach me to seek You and reveal yourself to me when I seek You.

For I cannot seek You unless You first teach me, nor find You unless You first reveal yourself to me.

Let me seek You in longing, and long for You in seeking.

Let me find You in love, and love You in finding.

~Saint Ambrose of Milan

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>

Name: Erin Yonke

Location: Aurora, IL

Info: I'm happily married to my husband and champion pro-life activist, Matt. I stay home with my three small boys; Ambrose (11/06), Peter (3/08), and Joseph (9/10).

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It has been a gorgeous day.

I am really tired.

Our car is broken and needs to be repaired. Most unfortunate, since this car will be totally useless to us in a few months. Sigh.

I wish the children would stop talking at me for 3 minutes. Just three. That's all.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

my chatty boy and the ways he makes me laugh.

Today I took Ambrose to his first dentist appointment, as we've been growing concerned about the condition of his front teeth. I'll spare you the boring details of the appointment, but it went very well. I loved the dentist, and it was a relief to have taken him in. At least I now have professional reassurance that everything is OK.

Anyway, our dentist of choice is quite a drive from here, so I had a nice long car ride with my boys and my sister, Kyla. The thing is, my boys talk. Alot. Especially Ambrose. I mean, incessantly.

The winning quote of the day:

Kyla: Ambrose, how many words do you use each day?
Ambrose: Huh?
K: How many words do you use every day? Do you count them?
A: Uhhhhhm, no. I don't count. I just like to talk about them. (slight pause)
And exercise, too. I don't like to exercise. I just like to talk about it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

"By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your passion, You did confirm the universal resurrection, O Christ God! Like the children with the palms of victory, we cry out to You, O Vanquisher of death: Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas, round two.

Okay, so I attempted making chicken enchiladas again for dinner tonight, and they were amazing. I have an extraordinarily happy and full stomach this evening.

The winning recipe: White Chicken Enchiladas , with modifications.

Oh. so. good.

And for the record, that's not my photo. It's the Pioneer Woman's, which is why it's so pretty.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Celebrating my birthday boy.

Today I celebrate two very important events in my life: the anniversary of my marriage, and the birth of my second son, Peter. Since I posted about our anniversary a few days back, I'm moving forward to celebrate my birthday boy.

The past year with Peter has been incredibly therapeutic for me. At the end of his first year, I remember an overwhelming sense of relief; of completion of something very difficult. As a small baby, he was clingy and fussy and demanding and exhausting. We battled thrush constantly through his first year, for reasons unbeknown to me at the time, and I spent copious amounts of time and effort trying to ward it off. In a word, as Peter turned one, I felt depleted.

This year I have watched him become one of the most pleasant, kind, content and enjoyable people I know. He, as a toddler, is truly a comfort to me. Caring for him is rewarding and sweet and full of cuteness, and I am so thankful for him in ways that I just can't fathom trying to express in a blog post. I love him so much. He is such a sweet gift to me.

But there are some things I should express, for the sake of documentation. So here they are:

~Peter is the best co-sleeper there ever was. After Ambrose, I didn't believe such a child could exist. But, there is not a more enjoyable way for me to sleep than cuddled up with him. He somehow blends into you, doesn't mind being nudged, but also likes to snuggle.

~Peter is a great eater right now. He is not at all finicky about his food selection and generally has a strong taste for vegetables and healthy proteins, even when faced with the option of sugary sweets. He will gladly eat a giant salad for lunch almost every day,and was frankly not that into his birthday cake after the candles were blown out. I fear that one day he'll change his healthy ways, but I am so appreciative of them right now.

So, many happy returns to my little brown-eyed boy! As you can see from the pictures, we had a wonderful day.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Super Coupon (or, actually productive coupon-clipping)

So, my mom recently introduced me to this site:

Essentially, it's a site that lists the current specials and deals at your local grocery stores, and offers links or other information about additional coupons to use alongside those deals in order to get some really. good. values.

At first I was skeptical and fairly sure that things like this would only lead me to purchase things that I don't need for the sake of "saving" (spending) money. Some of the deals were just so good, though, that I couldn't *not* give it a whirl, especially with a $4 off an $8 package of diapers coupon.

Additionally, there was a sale on bacon-wrapped fillet mignon steaks (yeah, yeah, they're not *top notch*, but even BAD fillet mignon is still just bad fillet, right? I thought they'd be nice to have around for Easter-tide.) Anyway, the deal was buy 1 package, get 1 free at $7.99/package of two fillets. THEN, I printed two coupons from the manufacturer's website, one for $3.00 off of one package, and another for buy three, get the fourth free. So, in the end, I got three packages for free, and got $3.00 knocked off the one that I did pay for--adding up to a grand total of $5 for 8 bacon-wrapped fillet mignon steaks. Not bad, eh? I figure, even if they're not great, we can find a way to eat them at that price!

All in all, the steaks were the only thing I bought that would not have been on my grocery list originally, and as I'm marveling at my receipt right now, I'm estimating that this grocery bill would have been roughly $22 more than it was if it hadn't been for all the clipping.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

today is not my anniversary.

(I'm posting this a bit late, as some computer troubles prevented it from being posted last night. :) )


But, we did celebrate today. We spontaneously decided to go out last night after realizing that our other opportunities were very limited until well after Easter. (And, as many of you know, we share our anniversary with Peter's birthday, which makes it kind of hard to make the actual day a date night.) Anyway, it was great and we ate good food and reminisced.

I can't believe we've been married for five years--what an astounding and wonderful five years it has been. And moreover, I can't believe what a different person I am now than I was then, and all the things we've both become that we never, ever expected to be. I am so blessed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I can't wait to watch LOST.

We haven't watched since before Lent began, and I'm totally stoked to get caught up.

Aside from that, today was thoroughly uninteresting--with one exception. We used the grill for the first time this year. And it was delicious.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

well, oops.

It's not Lazarus Saturday. That's next week. Oops. But it is the fifth Sunday of Lent, on which we commemorate St. Mary of Egypt. A reminder to as all, as we near the end of the fast, that through repentance and the mercy of God, even the greatest of sinners are transformed.

I had a really nice time at a kids birthday party (that was also fun for the adults!) this afternoon & evening. The boys are wiped out, and I'm glad to be home early enough, with children in bed to have some relaxing time with Matt. Good night!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lazarus Saturday

I really love Lazarus Saturday (to be celebrated Sunday). Here's to a foretaste of the resurrection.

"By Your word, O Word of God, Lazarus now leaps out of death, having returned to this life. Therefore the peoples honor You with their branches, O Mighty One; for You shall destroy Hades utterly by Your own death.
By means of Lazarus has Christ already plundered you, O death. Where is your victory, O Hades? For the lament of Bethany is handed over now to you. Let us all wave against it our branches of victory."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Talking with Ambrose lately has become a series (barrage? attack?) of questions--primarily, "Why? WHY? WHY?!!!". Oftentimes his questions are nearly impossible to answer, especially given their incessant nature and strong demand for an immediate response. I find it totally endearing and simultaneously feel as though he is tying knots in my brain each time we talk. Anyway, in hopes of not forgetting these strangely charming & fatiguing chats, I've posted one.

This is a very real, standard, and unedited conversation that I had with Ambrose while out on a walk a little while ago.

We had just passed a woman who was carrying a large bag of clothes.

Ambrose: Mama, what is that lady carrying?
Me: Oh, it looks like a big bag of clothes.
A: What clothes? Who's clothes are they? What is she going to to do with them?
M: They're her clothes. Maybe she's taking them home to put them away.
A: Is she going to wash them?
M: I don't know, maybe.
A: Is she going to wash them because they're dirty?
M: Perhaps. I really don't know what she's going to do with them, Ambrose.
A: Are they dirty because someone put them in the mud? Who put them in the mud?
M: I don't think anyone put them in the mud. But maybe. You never know.
A: Why did they put them in the mud?
M: I don't think anyone put the clothes in the mud, Ambrose.
A: Why did they put them in the mud? WHY? WHY, MAMA?!!!
M: I don't know, Ambrose. I don't think the clothes are muddy.
A: Who's clothes are those? Can we go straight? Can I go see those muddy clothes?
M: No, we can't go see them. We're going this way, to our house.
A: Ohhh, but I wanted to see them! What is that noise I hear? Can you tell me?
M: Birds.
A: What are they doing?
M: Chirping, or singing.
A: Why are they doing that? Are they dancing, too? Do birds like to eat snakes?
M: No, birds don't eat snakes. Birds eat bugs and seeds and berries.
A: Why?
M: Because that's the food God made for them.
A: Why?
M: Just is.
A: Can you tell me why? Why, Mama? WHY?!!!
M: What? I don't know--that's just the food God made for them to eat. That's all.
A: Can you tell me why?
M: I just did tell you why. God made birds to eat bugs and seeds and berries so that they don't have to be hungry.
A: But why?

It goes on, but I'm sure you can imagine the rest.

It's another gorgeous day here, but snow is in the forecast for tomorrow.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oh, Spring

Thank you, hubby, for such a sweet post yesterday. :)

I'm a little embarrassed by the "too tired to blog" thing. I really have no explanation, other than that this pregnancy has brought about a form of exhaustion that is totally foreign to me. "Too tired", right now, carries a desperate, I-will-probably-throw-up-if-I-don't-get-to-sleep-right-now feeling with it. But, that's enough whining about pregnancy for one post.

The last few days have been so refreshing--we have been outside nearly all day--lots of walks, riding trikes in the driveway, trips to the park. The sunshine feels SO. GOOD. Oh, spring. I love you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thoughts About Erin

A guest post by Matt Yonke

My wife, the proprietress of this blog, was too tired to blog tonight. But, you may remember, she promised to blog every day through Great Lent.

It's a remarkable feat, I haven't blogged consistently in ages. It takes work and it takes self-reflection, which can be hard to gin up at times.

But before that blissful blanket of unconscious swallowed her, she asked me to blog in her stead. She just asked that I post that she was tired and cute pictures of the kids, but I thought maybe something more was in line.

My wife is a really cool person. I love to be with her. Especially early in our marriage, we spent a lot of time together. More than most couples, I think. We didn't have many friends and they all lived far away. I think it's safe to say we didn't go two days without spending the evening together for a good couple of years.

We've had our struggles, but especially because of her patience and the good she brings out of me, we've forged a pretty loving relationship. It feels real, solid and lasting.

I feel like we're headed for a long, fruitful relationship and I'm so thankful for that. And it wouldn't be that way if it weren't for her being the beautiful, good, strong woman she is.

As we approach our 5th anniversary next week and the birth of our 3rd child in a few months, I couldn't be happier with our life or more grateful for her.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It was so nice outside today. We spent the whole day out, and it was wonderful.

Okay, so back to yesterday. I found this gem at the thrift store whilst hunting for plain white maternity shirts (which are, apparently, a rarity? I ended up going to two thrift stores, then Target, and then caved and just went to the Motherhood store). Anyway, that's not the point. The point IS that I've been hoping to find an inexpensive, wooden, not-pink-or-girly toy kitchen for my boys for the last few months, and haven't had any luck, mostly with the "inexpensive" part.

So, I saw this at the store, thought it was cute, and then immediately noticed that the oven didn't have a door. I wouldn't have even stopped to look at the price if Ambrose's eyes hadn't lit up. "Mama," he says, "I could make you fwench toast on that stove."

And that, as you can imagine, wooed me completely. It was a $4 well spent. It's made alot of french toast in the last twenty-four hours. They could not care less that the oven doesn't have a door.

One last thing, for my own sake because I don't want to forget:

Today at lunch, I was telling Ambrose that he'd have to eat his meatballs before he could have a cookie. We talked for quite a while about this while he tried to figure out how to phrase what he wanted in such a way that would get me to consent to letting him eat cookies for lunch. After alot of back and forth, he stood up next to me, put his hand on my knee, and waving one hand around to clearly illustrate his point says, "Okay, how about you could get me some meatballs, and you could put them on my plate, and you could cut them up for me, and then I could just leave them on the table and have a cookie. Okay, Mama?"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pleasantly surprised this evening to have Renata and her kids (and my goddaughter!) over for an extraordinarily chaotic, but really, really enjoyable dinner. I dished up Renee's fast-friendly vegetable soup and cornbread.

I have more things to write about from today, but really need to get to sleep. Goodnight!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The great method of prayer is to have none. If in going to prayer one can form in oneself a pure capacity for receiving the spirit of God, that will suffice for all method. -- St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I've been feeling increasingly lousy since my chicken enchiladas incident on Thursday, and am mostly feeling annoyed about it. Watching 12, 13, and now 14 weeks pass without easing up on the (morning?) evening sickness is really...blech. I feel VERY entitled to feel better now that I'm in my second trimester.

In addition, I think I'm getting some of my wisdom teeth, and it HURTS, which is making me extra irritable on top of being queasy and tired.

I'm making a stronger effort to go into the upcoming week prepared to feel crummy and especially to prepare for the dinner hour (when I usually feel my worst) so that at least Matt and the boys can eat a normal dinner with minimal preparation and clean up. I planned mostly simple meals that don't require much preparation anyway (and am blessed enough to have a husband who offered to help me with some vegetable-chopping), but, since I'm already whining, even THAT sounds like way. too. much. work right now.

But, this is temporary. And worth it. Well meaning people have said things like, "Oh, it must be so hard to feel sick with the little ones around." I guess, in ways. But really, how did I do this twice before without them? They make me so happy--they lighten the mood and remind me of how much I will love this new baby. If I didn't have them, all I would have is sickness and moping.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Today I was doing some reading in the Psalms, and on a whim, decided to read through some of the book of Hosea--an old favorite that I haven't read in years. I realized, as I was reading, what a perfect Lenten meditation it was.

If you're not familiar with the story of Hosea, it begins with God commanding Hosea to take a "wife who plays the whore". And he will love her, and she will leave him. She chases after flashy men who give her flashy things, and yet he loves her.

'And the Lord said to me again, "Go love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the people of Israel."'

The book is full of God's anger toward Israel, as well as sadness, and pleas for reconciliation. Most touching, I think, is in chapter 11 (**Ephraim was the largest tribe in Israel):

"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and offering incense to the idols.

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love.
I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks.
I knelt down to them and fed them."

And, a beautiful call to repentance in chapter 6:

"Come, let us return to the Lord; for it is He who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.
Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I spent the better part of today dreaming of chicken enchiladas. I even sent my dear husband out to the store to get a few ingredients to make them for dinner. And so I set to work-- baking chicken, making sauce, and making a bean-and-rice filling for a vegan version for Matt.

Several hours later, the thing I have fantasized about all day is sitting atop the stove, hot and bubbly out of the oven. And here I sit, too nauseous to eat them. Sigh. First trimester, I thought we were through.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A lesson in boys:

1. Sometimes you should let little boys jump in muddy puddles and make big splashes. It is good for them.

So, we did. Today was that lovely taste-of-true-spring day that always comes and then disappears in March. It was sixty degrees, sunny in the afternoon, and the ground was still wet and fresh with rain and melted snow. It had rained throughout the morning and Ambrose was begging to go outside. Finally, peering out the window, he asked, "Can I put on my boots and go in the mud?"

We walked down the street and splashed in every puddle we found, and wrapped the whole thing up with an ice cream cone from the Banana Split. I wish I'd had the good sense to bring my camera on the puddle jumping walk--the looks on their faces were just so cute. But I didn't, so I scrambled to get a few shots as soon as we got home.

The rest of day consisted of hearty naps, a walk to the park to play with friends, and really, really thorough baths.

All in all, a very, very good day.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

It Was a Really Nice Day Today

It was a really nice day today. I'm choosing to live in the Chicago fantasy world wherein March won't play its cruel tricks and drop back down to 30 degrees next week.

Monday, March 08, 2010

I'm totally counting this post for today as well as yesterday because 1)I've been going non-stop and 2)There is literally less than two hours of sleep dividing my yesterday from today, so they are getting mushed together.

So, to summarize:

~We saw the Avett Brothers last night and it. was. so. awesome. It's nice to take advantage of the small gap we have between babies right now to do things like that. Once this baby is born, finding time and opportunities for concerts is not going to be at the top of the priority list for a long while.

~To explain my two hours of sleep: We got home from the show a little after 1:30am, were in bed by 2, and then I was up at 3:45 to get ready for work. The sneaky little blessing here? The bagel shop had a new oven installed today (first time in 20 years!) that they haven't been able to get working. My boss just called to tell me to take the morning off, which I can *totally* use tomorrow.

~I feel like all I post about is how tired and weary I am, in one aspect or another. I guess I didn't realize how strong a trend the need and anticipation for rest was in my life until blogging about it. What does that say about my life?

~Lastly, but far from least, I am loving the conversations I get to have with Ambrose these days:

Ambrose: Hey, I have a great idea to go to space!
Me: Oh, really? What's your great idea?
Ambrose: To go to space! I guess I could. In the summertime when all the snow melts and it's warm outside and we could go in a helicopter together and see the moon.
Me: Ambrose, I really like that idea.
Ambrose: Yeah, me too. I guess I could.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Another day, another dollar.

Nice day today consisting of:

1. Sleeping until it was almost light outside.

2. Going to work for a few hours, but not as many as usual.

3. Letting the kids play outside in the nice weather.

4. Making some last preparations for childcare while Matt and I go to a long-awaited Avett Brother's concert tomorrow. Woohoo!!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Put on the spiritual armor, and become a soldier. Strip yourself of worldly cares, for the season of Lent is one of wrestling. Cultivate your soul. Cut away the thorns of evil. Sow the word of godliness. Subdue the body, and bring it into subjection. Keep down the waves of evil desires. Repel the tempest of evil thoughts.

~~St John Chrysostom

I have no idea how to even begin doing this right now. I feel so compromised, so tired, so nauseous. And maybe that is why the Church doesn't require me to Fast, but I still feel like I should have some part in the non-food-fasting part of Lent. I really have no idea.

The weather is getting so nice. It's been sweet to see Ambrose ache for spring in his small three-year-old way. He frequently looks out the window and asks if the sun is melting any more snow. He asks if we can open the windows, and when I tell him it's still too cold, he asks if he can open the (sheer) curtains to "see the sun". He wakes up in the morning and asks, "Is it a summer day?". Oh, warm weather. You cannot get here soon enough.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A lovely day.

Well, I missed yesterday's post. Not because I was lazy or didn't want to-- mostly just because I fell asleep last night before I had the chance. I try not to say it often because it is the most boring, annoying expression, in my opinion, but I am so, so unbearably tired right now.

But, in the happiest of happy news, I was able to spend the day with my friend Renata as she labored and birthed her third baby today. Her baby girl, Zoe Elizabeth, was born late in the afternoon at home, weighing in at 9lbs, 0oz and 21" long. The birth was absolutely amazing, and I feel extraordinarily blessed to have witnessed it.

Blessings, all. Good night.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Busy day.

Missed my blog post last night due to being sick. Nothing serious, of course, just plain ol' being pregnant, it seems.

Anyway, today was a day of running. Went to visit a friend's new house, stopped by Grandma's for a trip to the Goodwill $1 sale, to the bank, to Trader Joes, and to Church, among other things. So, that being said, I'll leave you with this quote:
"In the final analysis he who does not fast does not believe in God, for he does not really believe in the existence of the enemy and the great victory gifted to us over him by our Saviour. He who does not fast does not believe in Him Who said to the enemy, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'"

--Anonymous Monk