My Outside-the-Lines Child Growing Up

Sweet Girl 1, you matured so much this summer.IMG_6761

You learned to ride a bike.

You taught yourself to whistle.

You taught yourself to snap your fingers.

You can put your hair in a ponytail by yourself.

You persevered in swim lessons, even though you didn’t want to put your face in.

You conquered your fears and took an airplane ride and discovered it was fun.

You attended vacation Bible school and enthusiastically participated in the songs, crafts, and games.  You loved learning about Jesus.

IMG_6763

You play with your little sister.  You watch out for her.  You treat her tenderly (most of the time).  She worships the ground you walk on.  She never wants to be away from you.  She wants to be you.

IMG_6741

 

You can draw in the lines.

You can draw in the lines.

 IMG_6762

 

I like to think of you as my outside-the-lines child.  I hope you always will march to the beat of your own drum.

Drawing in the lines, though, gives you so much satisfaction.  You take joy in making beautiful works of art.

IMG_6760

As your skills increase, your frustration decreases.  You can focus so much longer now on a project.  You take pleasure and enjoyment in your work.  (And I’m grateful for Montessori’s insight that a child’s play is really her work.)

You have become more capable, more focused, and more independent.

IMG_6759

Being your mommy now involves less headache and more heartache.  My heart aches at your beauty, inside and out.  My heart aches because you are not really mine.  You are on loan to me from Someone who loves you even more than I do.

Sweet five-year-old girl.

7QT: What I’m Into (August Edition)

 1. This survey, which you should answer if you were homeschooled for a combined total of seven years or more, in a Christian environment (“Christian” being widely defined).  It closes September 15.  It’s done by a group called Homeschoolers Anonymous, which, um . . . has an axe to grind.  Some of their questions reflect that, but they’ve had over two thousand people answer it thus far.  The results should be interesting.

2. On the blog:

 80s Movies

Survey says Better Off Dead should be next on my list.

Also, Weight Watchers  <sigh>

Four days into it, I’m liking the Simple Start program.  I doubt I’ll lose weight on it though, because I eat a LOT of those Power Foods.

 3. Heather King: I don’t follow her blog (for now).  I usually don’t have the attention span to read long, deep blog posts.  But I did enjoy this one about avoiding both the Catholic Right and the Catholic Left.

The Catholic Right are like, my people–well, except the far far right and even then that’s subjective isn’t it– but I’m feeling a need to distance myself these days.  Not from individual people but from knee-jerk responses, slogans, untested presuppositions.  But then the Catholic Left (or the Left in general) still makes my stomach clench and my blood pressure rise.  So there.  I’m a rugged individualist.  *snort*

But back to Heather: I came across this piece of hers in Magnificat

The Good News . . . [is w]ishing people well in our hearts, especially people who have hurt us. Letting people off the hook. Saying, “I’m sorry”; when appropriate, saying, “No,” saying, “Come higher, friend.” Transforming our anger, rather than transmitting it. Praying to be relieved of the desire to be the favorite, to be consulted. Refusing to respond to violence, whether physical, psychological, or spiritual, with more violence. [emphasis added]

I think about that a lot: “the desire to be the favorite, to be consulted.”  Why do I blog again??

Also, I’m reading King’s Shirt of Flame, as a follow up to St. Therese of Lisieux’s  Story of A Soul, which I just finished.

4. In addition to Shirt of Flame, I’m reading . . .

What Alice Forgot (re-reading this for book club)

Hemingway’s Old Man & the Sea: I wanted to give Hemingway another try (especially after his character made me laugh as portrayed in Midnight In Paris).  Oh my, the story is not gripping me at all.

Seven Principles That Make Marriage Work: This is insightful but I can’t seem to make myself keep reading.  I think I’m burned out with self-help type books for the moment.

Not too long ago I read Curly Girl and started the author’s protocol for wavy hair.  According to her generous definition, my head of “texture” and frizz is wavy hair.  So I’m washing once a week, towel-drying very gently, and using curl cream.  It’s nice having a way to do my hair other than (a) taking a long time blow drying or (b) just wearing it up.  I like the way it looks for the first few hours.

A good wavy-hair day

A good wavy-hair day

But then the wave seems to fall out, leaving my hair looking just messy.  But my hair’s gotten dry and damaged over the last year or so, so maybe it will take some time and a few haircuts?

5. Staying at home: The last half of the summer has been pretty quiet for us.  The girls play nicely together and I’m enjoying our peaceful days at home.  Girl 1, perhaps, feels like Rapunzel locked up in a tower?

6. Beauty rituals: I paint the girls’ fingernails and toenails every Saturday.  They resist having their nails clipped less that way, and we all enjoy our little mani/ pedi date.  I usually wash and comb out their hair Saturday evenings, too.  (Often at other points during the week, but I make a point to do it at least every Saturday.)  I usually paint my nails too, and sometimes I even hand wash my bras in the sink.  Maintaining any sort of routine usually eludes me, so I’m enjoying having these simple pleasures on the reg.

 7. Quiet time: Speaking of simple pleasures–or not so simple–on the reg: the girls are each taking a nap or quiet time every day!

This is huge huge for me.  Girl 1 gave up her nap around age 3, right at the time Girl 2 was born.  I could not get Girl 1 to take a quiet time for the life of me.  If I made her stay in her bed, she pitched such a fit that it was useless trying to get Girl 2 to nap.  I tried quiet time activities, busy boxes, all to no avail.  So I let her stay up and watch shows or something, but she never left me alone for long.

And, from an early early age, Girl 2 sensed that Girl 1 was up having fun.  So she resisted her naps mightily, very early on.

Girl 2’s theme song is Aerosmith’s  one and only #1 hit:  “I don’t want to close my eyes/ I don’t want to fall asleep, cause I’d miss you [sister]/ and I don’t wanna miss a thing.”

By 26 months or so, Girl 2 was gave up naps altogether and I threw in the towel and didn’t force her to take them.

After a few weeks of that, however, I had a minor meltdown.  It is not sustainable to spend 12-14 hours a day in the company of young children with no reprieve!!!

So I tried again and made both girls stay in their bed for an hour.  There was much crying and wailing but they got used to it within a few days.  I think Girl 1 is just finally at a stage where she’s capable of quiet time.

Girl 2 sleeps for 45-60 minutes.  Girl 1 usually doesn’t sleep, but she lies there, kicking her wall.  It doesn’t bother Girl 2, though.

As long as she knows Big Sister is confined, too–not having fun without her–she sleeps!

8. Oh, did I mention I’m on Facebook?

 

Linking up with Leigh for What I’m Into and with Jen for 7 Quick Takes.  Have a good weekend everyone!

 

It’s Been A Brat Pack Summer

Plus something truly truly truly outrageous

I don’t know if I’m regressing in maturity or what but I’ve been on a 1980s teen film kick lately.

1980s movie posters

It started with

1. Sixteen Candles, which I think is hilarious.  A few more thoughts on it here.  Sixteen Candles led to . . .

2. Pretty in Pink, which I also enjoyed, though not quite as much.  If you’ve seen it: do you prefer the actual ending, or the original ending that was changed before the movie’s release?

So after those two, I had to finish out the John Hughes/ Molly Ringwald trilogy with . . .

3. The Breakfast Club: I had the impression this was such a classic, but maybe that’s just because it played every single weekend on TBS every week of my youth (I wasn’t allowed to watch it).  I don’t see what’s so remarkable about this one.  Were there no angsty teen movies before this?

4. Say Anything: Okay, I really like this one.  Am I just a romantic sap, or is it actually good (setting aside the f-o-r-n-i-c-a-t-i-o-n)?  I can’t tell.

5. What should be next on this list?  Just don’t say Dirty Dancing because I started watching that and couldn’t get past the abortion-as-compassion motif.  Pat got me to watch two of the Back To The Future movies (I fell asleep during the third).  Should I give them another try?  Or something else?  Oh, and I liked Ferris Bueller.

Linking up with Heather for Five Favorites (even though #3 isn’t my favorite; it’s someone’s favorite).  :-)

 

Wait a second, forget The Breakfast Club. I just stumbled across a real favorite:

Molly Ringwald is starring in an upcoming movie about . . .

JEM and the Holograms!!!

Truly outrageous.  Truly truly truly outrageous.

That just made my day.

The Mental Health Diet

and how it made me fat:

I treat my body like a temple/ 

You treat yours like a tent.

Jimmy Buffet

I’ve definitely been in the “tent” camp lately.  (Get it?  Tent?  Camp?  Yuk yuk.)

via Wikipedia

We left the Perfect Health Diet (“PHD”), after over a year of inconsistent-but-persistent resolve.  Pat lost some weight, and we felt pretty good overall.  But I didn’t lose weight, and it seemed like a lot of work for negligible results.  So we quickly slipped from PHD to mostly whole foods to . . . what I call the Mental Health Diet (“MHD”).

The MHD consists mostly of convenience foods, take-out pizza, dinners out, and fast food (I discovered the Taco Bell cantina bowl–yum!).  I started a tasting tour of sorts, trying out all of the kids-eat-free nights at our local restaurants.

My mental health diet

 

Not surprisingly, my weight has skyrocketed.  At least I think it has.*  I haven’t weighed myself in several months.  But all my clothes are tight.  I’m kind of dreading fall because even the jeans I was so excited about recently are feeling uncomfortably snug now.

Harumph.

This got me thinking that maybe the PHD helped me more than I realized.  I didn’t lose any weight but I also didn’t gain any.  On the other hand, my weight has climbed steadily ever since coming off it.  Also–now that I think of it–my weight was starting to climb before we got on the PHD.

I stopped breastfeeding Girl 2 around September 2012.  Shortly thereafter I switched from Zoloft to Lexapro.  Due to some combination of those factors (I think), my weight started climbing.  Then in November 2012 we started the PHD and the weight gain came to a halt.

All this is making me want (“want” in a limited sense of the word) to get back on the PHD bandwagon.  Or maybe even do the Whole 30 for a clean break.  Jenny’s experience, among others, makes it sound . . . hmm, not appealing, but . . . like-a-good-idea-ing.**

{Pat is never ever critical when we fall off the healthy-eating wagon and yet he is always game for healthy eating, bless his heart.

Me: “Honey, I think maybe we should try this thing called the Whole 30.  [15 second summary of Whole 30]  What do you think?”

Pat: “Yes, I’m in.  Good idea. . . . There’s always apples and peanut butter, right?”  (PB&A being Pat’s go-to meal.)

Me: “Uh, yeah, about peanut butter . . . .”

Pat: “Um, well, how about homemade hummus??”

Me: “Well . . . .” }

At the same time, I don’t regret our stint with the Mental Health Diet.  Junk food is never good for one’s mental health in itself.  Not feeling the pressure to cook, though, was a definite boon.

The MHD has been one facet of a change of course I’m taking in life wherein I focus less on doing more.  I’m here.  I love.  I’m enough.

We ate junk; ordered out; I hardly ever cooked.  Yet the world kept on spinning.  My kids are as healthy as they ever were (not saying much), and Pat and I are fine.  There’s just more of me to love.  Nutrition and physical health are important but they’re not all-important.    (As usual, I love Amelia’s thoughts on this topic.)  Eating junk probably didn’t help my low energy woes, but the slug life led me to the MHD, rather than the other way around.

All the same, I’m sick of treating my body like a tent.  I don’t want to be forced to wear a tent.  I think it’s time for a change.  Stay tuned.

 

*Update: Since drafting this, I weighed myself and, sure enough: I’m up 10 lbs over the last four months, 20 lbs over the last 14 months.

**Update 2: I decided the Whole 30 would be setting myself up for certain failure.  I signed up for Weight Watchers instead.  More on that later.

I Don’t Like Being A Mom, And That’s Okay

A friend once asked me point blank, “Do you like being a mom?”  I found myself at a loss for words.  I love love my children more than life itself.  They are a precious gift and raising them is my top priority.  But do I like being a mom?

Not really.

Read all about it at The Mirror and let me know what you think.

7QT about lazy sangria, blogging profits, and a UD joke

1. Here’s a visual of my Thursday evening from about 6:30 onward, when Pat mercifully took over childcare and kitchen duties:

Book, Chocolate, booze

Book, stevia-sweetened dark chocolate, booze

2. It’s been a long week.  Both girls sick.  Up 1/3 of last night w/ insomnia.  Up the other 1/3 with Girl 1, who had an earache.  Blah blah blah.  My life is hard, etc.

3. Due to various reasons (see above), I resorted to Tired Woman’s Sangria this evening.  I just made it up.  It consists of the following:

  • Large drinking glass of disappointing white wine (should have stuck with Ecco Domani)
  • A few spoonfuls of diced fruit (in my case, watermelon and Granny Smith apple)
  • 2-3T Simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, cooked together until the sugar is dissolved; I keep some on hand, made in advance)
  • Ice

Soak the wine, fruit, and syrup together and chill in the fridge for as long as you can stand to wait.  Add ice and gulp.

4. Breaking news: forget Kindle Unlimited, Oyster, etc. and just get . . . a library card.  Public libraries have a better selection of electronic books, and they’re free!  It’s in the newspaper so it must be true.  Also, I tried out Kindle Unlimited for the free trial period and was underwhelmed.

5. On a more serious note, I thought this was a good, short article about how Americans (not all of us but some of us) have caused the current influx of undocumented minors emigrating  from Central America to the U.S.

6. And back to less serious notes: I made money from this blog for the first time yesterday!!  I signed up for Amazon’s Affiliate program and made a full ten cents!  That’s right, someone clicked through from my blog and spent $2.50!  Try not to be too jealous.  I want to frame it as the first dime I made, like some businesses frame the first dollar they make.  Trouble is, Amazon won’t cut a check until I make $10.  At my current rate of 4% per click-through purchase, it’ll take . . .

0.04x = $10

x = 10/.04

x = $250

. . . $247.50 more in purchases from readers.  Keep it up folks!  ;-)  . . . Actually, after a few more purchases my rate goes up to a whopping 6% or something like that.  Nevertheless, I’m keeping my day job.

7.  So, inside joke for any University of Dallas people (which also applies to many small Catholic colleges): my little brother just set off for a jaunt to Ireland before his study abroad semester in Rome.   He posted some pictures of his group.

I couldn’t help but notice that, while the guys in his group are fair to middling in the looks department, the girls are  H-A-W-T, hot, hot.

“Steve-O, dude, how did you manage this?” I asked.   His reply:

“That’s the magic of the UD ratio.”

He’s a smart one, that kid.

Happy weekend folks!  Click over to Conversion Diary for more quick takes.

What I’m Reading: Book reports in 140 characters or less

Here are my very brief thoughts–with letter grades–on books I’ve read in the past few months.

Fiction:

  • The Expats by Chris Pavone
    • A sort-of spy novel. Page-turner. Takes place in Luxembourg. Narrative jumps around from before, during, and after. Clumsy ending. B-

Non-Fiction:

For Kids:

Linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy for Twitterature (once it’s up) and with Jessica at Housewifespice for What We’re Reading Wednesday.  Happy reading!

And–how annoying is this?–I’m going to name my five favorites of these books and link up with Heather for Five Favorites:

1. Please Look After Mom

2. Grace for the Good Girl

3. Girls On the Edge

4. Seven Silly Eaters

5. Promises I Can Keep

7 quick takes on Quality Cinema, Kindergarten Theology, and Princess Kate

1. By 11:30 am today, Girl 2 had watched Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings, Barbie: A Mermaid Tale, and was back to a second viewing of Tinker Bell.  I don’t know what I’m going to do when Girl 1 is at school three days a week this school year.  

Go ahead and call me Jerry Falwell if you must, but aren’t these fairies giving each a look that’s not quite . . . platonic?

2. Girl 2’s boredom this week was due to Girl 1’s being in Vacation Bible School all week.  She loved it.

Vacation Bible School piqued Girl 1’s interest in matters theological.

Me: “Jesus Obeys God’s Word” (reading the title of a coloring sheet she brought home).

Girl 1: “But Jesus is God.”

Me: “Yes.  Well. . . .”

Girl 1: W”here is God?  Is God up there?”  (pointing at the sky)

Me: “Well, yes, God is in heaven.   God is in lots of places. . . .”

Girl 1: “Is heaven where we go when we die?  I don’t want to die.”  

3. Pat has been underappreciated around these parts lately.

Girl 2: “Dee [Girl 1] — queen.   Det [Girl 2] — Princess.  

Da [Dad] –Bad Guy.”

Me: “What?  Daddy’s not a bad guy.  Daddy can be the king.”

Girl 2: “Otay.  Da — Ting.”

4. And that night, when Pat was making Girl 1 go to bed, Girl 1 uttered a tearful, spontaneous, impassioned prayer:

“Dear God, Please take away Daddy.  He’s being mean!”

5.. At church recently, I genuflected and told Girl 1 that we kneel down that like because Jesus is there and Jesus is the King.  

She thought for a second, then fanned out her skirt and bowed low in an elegant, exaggerated curtsy.  

Princess that she is, I kind of hope she keeps it up.  

6. Which reminds me: here’s a picture of Duchess Catherine curtseying to the King of Belgium.

Here is the most graceful woman in the world, performing what is certainly a well-practiced and exactingly correct curtsy.

Still it looks painful and awkward.  I think curtseys are best left for those wearing ball gowns.  

7. I just came across this bit of eye candy on Pinterest.  Isn’t It lovely?  This is the look I’m going for in Girl 1’s room.  

Image via House Obsession on Flickr

House Obsession on Flickr

 

Happy weekend everyone.  Check out Conversion Diary for more quick takes.

Wine, Whooping Cough, Holy Sex and Other Favorites

and other favorites:

1. Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio:

I’m not a big white wine drinker, but this is heaven in a glass when served chilled.  It also makes my evening blog browse all the more enjoyable, like–

2. Heather’s Tuesday post.  OMG.  She cracks me up.  God bless her.  (Her post is where holy sex comes in.)

( On a scale of 1 to 10, how annoying is it when I put something provocative like “holy sex” in the title of the post as a teaser and then you find out my post isn’t really about whatever provocative word I used??  Never mind, don’t answer that. )

3. Amelia’s post on her family’s experience with whooping cough. Super interesting.

4. Liberté Méditerranée coconut yogurt.  Wow, that stuff is so dang good.

5. Bergamot whipped body butter from For Goodness Soap.  Bergamot is my new favorite scent–spicy and citrusy–and this is the best all-natural moisturizer I’ve tried so far.

Happy Wednesday y’all!  Check out Heather’s blog for more Five Favorites post.