— 1 —
I haven’t drunk coffee in almost a week. I think it’s the longest I’ve gone without coffee my entire adult life. My beverage of choice is now black tea (Tazo Awake or Tazo Focus). It’s definitely a minor miracle, attributable mainly to finally catching up on the sleep I lost in the first year of Girl 2′s life. I wasn’t liking the taste of the Starbucks I was brewing at home and gave tea a try one morning. Then I decided not to buy more coffee when I ran out. So weird.
— 2 —
My stats are down on the blog, which I think is due to the dearth of fashion posts lately. People want to read what I have to say on fashion more than, say, Montessori for special needs, or consequential ethics. It’s a strange strange world we live in, and you just never know what’s going to happen to you in life. That’s all I have to say about that.
— 3 —
Just in case you do want to read what I have to say about consequential ethics (and my two favorite television shows), you can read it over at Mary’s blog. You know, just in case.
— 4 —
My eBay hobby continues to chug along. I’ve moved into the vintage coffee mug and used toy market. I’m gonna be rich, I tell you. Filthy, stinkin’ rich.
— 5 —
Have you seen that trick on Pinterest where you re-use an Airwick Plug-In thingy and fill it with essential oil? I tried it with lemongrass oil, and my house smelled awesome. It didn’t work so well when I tried to re-fill it a second time. The wick only lasts so long.
— 6 —
What I’m doing now is sprinkling some cinnamon oil on a unscented little white votive candle and burning that. It smells great, but doesn’t last as long.
— 7 —
My Thanksgiving was great, thanks for asking! ;-) How was yours?
Quickest quick takes ever, for me! Woo hoo! Happy weekend.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
This time I got a normal one! I almost did a little jig this morning.
Girl 2, my almost-two-year-old, spent at least a half hour this morning carefully scooping from a dish into an egg carton. She worked happily, quietly, deliberately, filling up each of the twelve little cups. We then moved on to pasta, then little beads.
It was exactly the kind of activity I’ve been encouraged to try at home during the three and a half years I’ve had Girl 1 in Montessori classes. And it was the first time it’s ever worked.
Until about age four and a half, Girl 1 would never ever sit still long enough for this sort of thing. The rice would end up on the floor, she would be bored, I would be frustrated, and in five minutes she’d be pestering me for something else to do, while I was still on hands and knees cleaning up the mess.
I have a love/ hate relationship with the Montessori method. Mostly love, but a little hate. It emphasizes the innate capacity for learning that every child has, and the way the child naturally learns things in a certain order, at certain stages.
Montessori contrasts with the American tendency to want kids to learn everything faster, earlier, so they can get into the best college, get the best job, earn the most money. (Pamela Druckerman has an interesting discussion about this when she contrasts French and American approaches to childhood education in Bringing Up Bebe.) I get a bit disgusted by the way every child’s toy and book seems to be geared at getting kids to know their alphabet and read read read as early as possible.
For instance, Girl 1 started reading over the summer. Pat and I nudged her along, introducing her to the concept of phonics and reading to her a lot from the very beginning. But putting letters together to form words only clicked for her when she was ready. And now, a few months into her pre-K year, her reading has plateaued. Every now and then I ask if she wants to read to me from the BOB books, but most of the time she declines.
And I’m not worried about it. Girl 1 can do anything she wants if she’s motivated enough, but you are in a world of hurt if you try to get her to do something she doesn’t feel like. If I weren’t immersed in the Montessori philosophy, however, I might feel obligated to push her along at home and pester her teachers to push her along at school. Instead, I really do trust that Girl 1 will read just fine when she is ready. Loving books, knowledge . . . wisdom . . . is so much more important than checking off the “reading” box as early as possible.
Montessori emphasizes the different phases of child development, the sensitive periods, the child’s (supposed) natural inclination to model what adults do. This put me at a loss when my child didn’t fit the mold, didn’t want to model adult activities, didn’t get with the program the way the other children did.
Because Girl 1 was my first child, I didn’t know: is it her? is it me? is it all in my head? am I not disciplined enough? am I too strict? am I not patient enough? am I not doing enough to nurture her development?
So, watching Girl 2 scoop rice this morning was like a little epiphany about Girl 1. It’s not me. It’s just her. And she’s fine. Some attention/ sensory issues probably, but overall she’s right on track. And even if she isn’t right on track, I can accept that. I just need to get my bearings straight so I can know. It’s not me. It’s her.
And thank you, God, for giving me a normal one next.
One of the many things I don’t understand about God, though, is why he gave me Girl 1 as my first. If I
had my “normal” child first, I don’t think I would have felt so distressed with a later-born outside-the-lines-child. I think I could have been more patient, with myself and with her. But maybe because of Girl 1, I’ll be more relaxed and patient with Girl 2.
A lot of parents refer to the eldest child as their “guinea pig.” I think ours is also a sacrificial lamb.
My thoughts on my two favorite t.v. shows of late, Breaking Bad and Foyle’s War, and the shortfalls of consequentialism: Read all about it over at Atelier.
Here’s a little song and artwork for you:
In the spirit of tomorrow’s holiday, here are some things I’m especially thankful for right now, in no particular order:
1. Good health! We’re several months into the school year, and the girls have not yet had a serious illness. This is a HUGE improvement over last year. I’ve been giving them daily Vitamin C and probiotic supplements. (I’ve tried colostrum powder, but the girls are princess-and-the-pea like and can detect it in their milk. Also I’d like to try cod liver oil, but I’m not optimistic about how that will play out.) Maybe the supplements have something to do with it, maybe we’ve just built up immunity. Who knows? But I am very thankful.
2. Girl 1′s imagination: it has taken off during the past six months. She entertains herself for hours at a time, which is a complete change from the previous four years of her life, during which time pestering me was her primary occupation. Plus, Girl 2 generally wants to tag along and do whatever her big sister does. So, BOTH girls can be occupied for long stretches of time with only occasional refereeing needed by me. Thank you thank you thank you God!
3. Pat’s new job: He’s been at his current job for about six months now, and it allows him to work from home. We both love the situation, and he really enjoys his work. What a blessing.
4. My family: my in-laws, who live in town, and who are so so good to us, and my parents, who live far far away but who visit frequently. We’ll be enjoying their company as you read this.
5. Speaking of your reading this: you, yes you, reading this! Thank you for reading my blog! I really appreciate it. I started this on a whim, thinking it would be satisfying to share my thoughts with the world. And it has been!
Bonus #6: Hallie at Moxie Wife and her weekly Five Favorites link up. Thanks for keeping us looking on the bright side of life every week, Hallie! (**Update: just realized there’s no linkup this week, but I’m still thankful for all the weeks when there is!)
And Stop Treating a Haircut Like Confession
For most of my life now, I’ve felt like a failure. A hair failure, that is.
Every time I go to the hair dresser, it’s like going to confession, where you say that line, “I firmly resolve to sin no more . . .” hoping that if you find yourself thinking, “yeah, right,” it doesn’t invalidate the whole thing. I mean, you have the best of intentions, but you know yourself . . . .
So at the hair dresser’s, when she shows me how to blow out my hair, I’m all like,
Yeah, yeah, I’m totally going to do that. Never mind that, my entire life until now, I wash my hair (if at all) at night and sleep on it wet, then slap that frizzy mop up high first thing in the morning. No, never mind that. This haircut will change all that. From now on, I’m going to give my hair a proper, half hour blow out with a round brush and styling product. Each and every day. That’s right. Yes, ma’am.
And then of course I go right back to the same old routine. And then I feel like a failure.
So today I had one of those mind-blowing, life-changing epiphanies that seem to be coming fast and furious since I turned thirty:
All women throughout history have worn their hair up when doing manual/physical work.
Not all women who do manual/physical work are failures.
I do manual/ physical work all day.
Therefore, I am not necessarily a failure.
Try and invalidate that syllogism if you dare. . . . No, nevermind, don’t. But you see my point?
Ma Ingalls = not a failure.
Rosie the Riveter = not a failure.
Marie Curie = not a failure.
Me = not a failure.
How about you? How do you style your hair on ordinary days?
This is what I wore today:
I went on an exhaustive search for the perfect blazer earlier this Fall. The one I went with was a stretchier, more casual number (without gold buttons *sniff sniff* ). I mostly was concerned with finding a tailored yet comfy everyday jacket. I figured it would have to do for dressier use, as well, because I wasn’t about to buy a second blazer.
THEN I found this baby at the Episcopal church’s rummage sale. Gold buttons! Ding ding ding!
Maybe it would better if it were more fitted and a little less boxy? It’s hard to find fitted blazers that are wide enough for my shoulders, though. Just reading descriptions of jackets that are a “shrunken” style gives me the willies because they are so uncomfortable for me.
My life: vale of tears, etc. What can I say?
Linking up with FL&P today. Happy Sunday everyone!
I am so happy to share a guest post today from Mary Boctor, who offers some guidance on adding a little style to that most uncomfortable and awkward stage of pregnancy (and of life?): the third trimester. Mary is currently expecting her fourth baby, and she’s a trained personal stylist. She blogs at Atelier about living and dressing with style.
Today I want to share with you some of my third trimester staples (though most of these items are great to have even earlier). I’m thirty-three weeks along in my fourth pregnancy, so I’ve had some time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Of course, every pregnancy is different – different weather, different circumstances, different emotions, but there are a few things that are always a good idea. I’ll start at the beginning:
Undergarments… that fit! It can be so tempting, especially when on a tight budget, to ignore what can’t be seen. But then more than your budget will be tight, and that means panty lines, straps that pinch, and cups that overflow. That being said, undergarments that are maternity specific can be pricey, and aren’t an absolute must. I have been really satisfied with this microfiber number, because they sit comfortably below the belly and deliver on their “no panty line” promise. And the price is definitely right. For bras, it doesn’t fit if it doesn’t contain you and/or it’s too tight. Size up at that point!
Assets Marvelous Mama Maternity Shorts. Okay, maybe these aren’t absolutely necessary, but they are great for under dresses and skirts. They keep the look smooth without being too constrictive. The third trimester can be an uncomfortable time in more ways than one; twenty bucks isn’t too much for a little bit of extra confidence on big occasions.
Full Panel Jeans. I find that these are the most comfortable option once the belly is full blown. The band on the demi-panels that I love just seems too tight by the third trimester, and it irritates my pregnancy sciatica. If you are on a budget, try H&M, asos, and Old Navy. I also just discovered that even Wal-Mart online has some super inexpensive options. Who knew?! Whatever the brand, look for a pair that is uniform in color (i.e. doesn’t have “feathering” or other embellishment on the hips or rear) to avoid drawing the eye to any one area, such as the widest point of your thigh. Dark washes are especially flattering, as dark colors recede and thus give the appearance of decreased size.
Long Tees and Tanks, depending on the season. Too-short shirts are unflattering and uncomfortable. Look for fabrics that are thick enough that they can be worn alone, if you choose. Such shirts make up the bulk of my maternity wardrobe. I pair them with shorts, jeans, linen pants, alone or under a blazer.
Stylish flats. I don’t forego heels just because I’m pregnant, but for everyday wear, flats are the way to go. Depending on the weather, tall boots, booties, or ballet flats complete an outfit without sacrificing style or comfort.
Non-Yoga Pants Comfort Wear. There comes a point in every pregnancy (for me, at least) when I don’t even want to bother with the constriction level of jeans. And I have nothing against yoga pants, it’s just that when I get out of them in the morning I feel more productive and ready to meet the day’s challenges. In summer, this isn’t a big issue because there are lots of light weight dress options that are cool, comfortable, and pulled together. In winter, it’s a little more difficult but tights with a tunic top works great, or even a casual dress if I know I’m sticking around home.
A Special Dress. I spend the majority of my time home with my kids, or out and about in casual settings, running errands, playdates, that sort of thing. Yet, I find it absolutely necessary to have at least one dress that is special occasion appropriate. Target has some really cute options for $40 and under. Topshop is a nice midrange retailer, [editor's note: Topshop's maternity line is Duchess-of-Cambridge approved!] and if you’re looking for something that will last many a pregnancy, Isabella Oliver has lots of beautiful items.
Thanks so much for the pointers, Mary!
I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year, for the first time. My parents and grandparents and my brothers are coming up for the holiday, and I’m so excited! And a little nervous about the dinner. But mostly excited, because I do enjoy cooking for people.
Ordinarily I might skip our diet for once, but my Mom is sensitive to gluten, corn, and oats. So, I’ll be doing this Perfect Health Diet/ primal style.
Here’s what I’m planning to make:
- Roast turkey (duh); I’m going to try to brine it ahead of time. (It’s my first time roasting a turkey. Why not make something as complicated as possible the first time you do it, I always say.) A friend suggested brining it in a styrofoam cooler, outside overnight. That way it doesn’t take up space in the fridge. I plan to do that so long as the weather is cold.
- Make-ahead gravy along these lines, using rice flour and homemade chicken bone broth.
- Make-ahead freezer mashed potatoes. Most of the time potatoes don’t do well after being frozen. But I tried this recipe already, and it really works!
- Wild rice “stuffing.” I made it for Thanksgiving dinner last year with the following modifications:
- I added about a cup of toasted chopped pecans. I think the crunchy pecans contrasted nicely with the chewy rice.
- I used Lundberg Wild Blend Rice in place of wild rice.
- I used jasmine rice is place of basmati.
- I skipped the parsley.
- I used a cup of frozen pre-chopped onion and green pepper in place of the fresh onion.
- Homemade cranberry orange relish (I’m going to make this ahead of time and might substitute rice syrup for honey.)
- Green beans with mushrooms and bacon (or another simple veggie dish; Pat doesn’t like green bean casserole, and it’s better to skip the canned soup anyway).
- Rolls: regular store-bought rolls for those who aren’t sensitive to wheat, plus a gluten and corn-free alternative if I can find one.
- Pickle and olive tray
- Gluten-free pumpkin pie (I’m still pondering whether to use this healthy, sugar-free recipe for the filling, or just pull out the old White Crystals O’ Death).
- Sweet iced tea . . . because we’re Southern and it’s our life blood. Maybe I’ll sweeten it with Stevia
No sweet potatoes! I know! But Pat doesn’t like them, and I like them best with brown sugar and marshmallow so . . . I’m breaking with tradition and skipping them entirely.
My game plan:
- Buy all ingredients
- Make and freeze potatoes
- Make relish
Monday and Tuesday next week:
- Make pie
- Make gravy
- Defrost turkey
- Make rice stuffing
- Brine turkey
- Defrost potatoes
- Roast turkey
- Reheat potatoes, rice stuffing, gravy
- Cook green beans
- Warm rolls and pie
Also, I’m looking for ideas for a simple centerpiece. Simple, because I’m not crafty, and because I don’t want it to clash too much with my busy blue and white china.
What are your Thanksgiving plans?