What I’m Into–September

1.  Arts and crafts: I’m not into them at all.  At all.  But Girl 1 is.  So now I am too, and Girl 2 as well.  Our fireplace is covered with paper napkin snowflakes.  Today they’ve moved on to Halloween decorations.


2. Thin Within:  Weight Watchers is out, Thin Within is in.  I can eat whatever I want, and I never have to be hungry, and I’m still (slowly) losing weight.  The catch?  I can only eat when I’m hungry and I stop when I’m just barely full.  So hard, but exactly what I needed to work on.  Kind of like Geneen Roth but from a Christian perspective.

3. I haven’t been reading much else lately, recovering from my book binges of the last few months.  Our book club is reading  Incidents In the Life of A Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs, so I’ll start that soon.  I know it’s super sad, so it’s taking me a while to get the nerve to dive in

4. Movies: I’ve watched a lot of movies, the main criteria being finding it for free on Amazon Prime or at the library.

Footloose: Continuing my 80s kick.  I’m finishing it as I type this.  Looking forward to a big dance finale at the end.  I should spend more of my life dancing.

10 Things I Hate About You: Funny watch this movie about high school seniors, which came out when I was a high school senior.  Now I get what the fuss about Heath Ledger was about.  That and why all the kids kept singing, “You’re Just Too Good To Be True” over and over again on the bus to World Youth Day 2002.

The Prince and Me: Slight Julia Stiles kick here.  (Round-faced girls of the world, unite!)  This was cute enough but I got bored and fast-forwarded to the end.

Hope Springs: Another movie starring Meryl Streep as the long-suffering wife of a jerk.  Only in this one the guy comes around.

High Fidelity: Waste of time, tho Jack Black is pretty funny.

High Spirits: Watched this on fast-forward the whole way through.  (Don’t ask.)  Thus, a slightly lesser waste of time.

Rounders: About poker.  Entertaining enough.

Moonstruck: Sweet, despite Nicholas Cage.  Why don’t they make rom coms like this anymore?

Big Wedding: Just awful

Next up: Moms Night Out, on Jennifer Scott’s recommendation.

5. Pandora: This was a big thing ten years ago?  More?  But it’s still the only way I listen to music.  I’ve put together what (I must admit) is an easy listening station.  Most of the songs are from before I as born.  But they put Adele on there so that’s something right?

Be careful if you “like” Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen because they will play every single damn one of the 234354353 covers every musician and his uncle has made of it.

I never get tired of hearing this song:

6. Consignment Sales: For the first time, I sold some stuff at one of those biannual kids’ consignment sales.  Between it and a pre-sale that a friend hosted, I net about $40.  I spent $47.  So . . . worth it?  I dunno.  It’s a lot of work for the return it brought.

It’s nice to have all that stuff out of my house, and have something to show for it (namely . . . more stuff, but newer stuff that I wanted . . . I think).  The things I sold would go for little to nothing on eBay and probably wouldn’t do well at the local consignment store, either.

I read a blog post by a woman who supposedly makes thousands of dollars selling at these things, and I have a lot of trouble believing it.

Still, there’s something satisfying about it.  I just like buying and selling stuff.

7. The search for a signature scent, or at least something new: the hunt continues.

8. I’m still obsessed with Myers Briggs.  I compulsively try to guess the MBTI type of everyone I know.  Pretty sure Girl 1 is ENFP.  I was reading the description of that type last night and though, “Aha!  That explains a lot.”  Maybe it’s dangerous to categorize a kid so early.  But it’s healthy, I think, to think about how certain traits might be part of her personality that need to be worked around, not rooted out.

. . . Linking up with Leigh Kramer.  Thanks Leigh!  (Also, possibly with Jen for Seven Quick Takes at a later date.)

5 Favorite Things About Gaining 20 Pounds

(When you aren’t underweight to begin with)


1. Perspective: Over a year ago, I thought I wanted to lose weight.  Now, I want to take my self of 20 pounds ago and give her a gentle shake on the shoulders.  “Hey hot stuff, what are you talking about?”  Then, I’d lick my finger, touch it to my old self, and go “tssssss.”  Hawt.


2. Economy: Haven’t been tempted to go clothes shopping in months.  Well, until this week.  When I bought fat clothes.

3. More perspective: Not all my problems are caused by excess weight!  I have more on my gut than ever before, and yet my lower back feels better than it has in a long long time.  Not because of the extra weight, I’m sure, but despite it.  Just due to the passage of time.

4. Um . . . hmm.  The first few hours of a new diet are always exciting.

5. Uh.  Well. . . . Nope, that’s all I’ve got.

An ADHD-friendly little girl’s room



Girl 1’s room used to be a complete disaster most of the time.

We would send her into her room to get her pajamas on and put her clothes away.

She’d come back, twenty minutes later, vaguely disoriented and still in her clothes.

She would have trouble finding her pajamas in all the mess and then forget what she went in there for.

If she did find and put on her pajamas, she would leave her clothes on the floor or, at best, piled on top of the dresser in her closet.

(At age 5, Girl 1 hasn’t been diagnosed with ADHD, and she may never be.  But she displays many of the symptoms, so ADHD-geared solutions are really helpful for her.)

I really wish I had taken a more representative “before” picture.  It was 3 times worse on a regular basis.

G1 room before G1 roomAFTER

Our pitfalls were

1. Too many clothes that she didn’t wear, mixed in with the few pieces she did wear,

2. Dress-up clothes perpetually out of the bin and on the floor, mixing in with her regular clothes,

3. An antique dresser with drawers that were hard to open and shut, and

4. A closet bar too high for her to reach.

Inspired by Organizing Solutions for People With ADHD, we revamped the closet, culled through the clothes (storing some of it in bins in another closet), and moved the dress-up clothes to little sister’s room.





1. Shoe bin 2. Clothing bins (one for shirts, one for pants, etc.) 3. Bin for church shoes and dance wear 4. Toys with lots of pieces, to be played with one at a time 5. Bin of clothes to be taken out when the weather changes 6. Hanging rack at Girl 1's height

1. Shoe bin
2. Clothing bins (one for shirts, one for pants, etc.)
3. Bin for church shoes and dance wear
4. Multi-piece toys & games, to be played with one at a time
5. Bin of clothes to be taken out when the weather changes
6. Hanging rack at Girl 1’s height

We (and by we I mean Pat) installed a Rubbermaid custom closet organizer.  It’s nifty because you buy a certain size range (4′-8′ in our case) and you can adjust it to fit any sized closet within the range.

It is a huge thing for Girl 1 to be able to hang up her own dresses.  She really takes pride in it.  (Thank you, Montessori school, for teaching her to hang things on a clothes hanger!)  She even insists on hanging up her nightgown.

Also key are these Sterilite stacking, open-front bins.  (3 for 5 bucks at Walmart.)  So-ho-ho much better than sticky dresser drawers.  She can see where everything goes and doesn’t have to go through the additional steps of opening and closing drawers.

She was so proud of her “new” closet and eager to put her clothes away.  The newness has worn off a bit now, but she’s still able and generally willing to put her things away with a gentle reminder (or two).  She is far from being a neat freak but she can appreciate the niceness of having her room tidy.

We keep the toys and books in the living room and the basement, so Girl 1’s room stays serene and (mostly) clutter free.

Now to figure out little sister’s room . . . .




I’ll link up tomorrow, for the first time, with We Are That Family for Works For Me Wednesday.

Faith and Myers Briggs

I got sick of hearing about the Four Temperaments.  For a while there it seemed like everyone I knew was talking about it.  I didn’t like the way it seemed to lead to navel-gazing, and to fitting everyone in the world into one of four little boxes.

My view has softened a bit, especially since hearing Art and Laraine Bennett give a talk on their books, The Temperament God Gave Your Kids.

All the same, I’m more interested in what I’ve learned about the Myers-Briggs type indicator.  It allows for more nuance.  And since reading up on it, I’ve come to an amazing discovery:

Not everyone thinks like I do.

This helps me appreciate my husband more.  It helps me nurture my children.  It helps me to stop judging other people.  (Especially those with “P” at the end of their MBTI type.  As a “J” I tend to have little patience with “P’s.”)

But more and more MBTI helps me in my faith.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and just recently I found a passage in Magnificat that explains it all:

Our natural, spontaneous way of acting (and with religious people it can pass unnoticed when it seems harmless and neutral) is to live by what our feelings tell us is the truth of things . . . how we experience and perceive ourselves, others, events, and, of course, God.  We tend to judge ourselves (do we not?)–our prayer, our spiritual life, our progress–on how it seems to us, and we just assume this is the reality . . . .

Christianity stands on objective truth, not on subjective perception, intuition, reasoning or whatever, whether collective or individual.  . . . We Christians must look to Jesus, and to Jesus alone, for our vision of God, ourselves, others and the world around us. . . . And how different this is from the notions of God that the human mind and heart produce of themselves.

– Sister Ruth Burrows, O.C.D. (excerpted from her book, Hidden Spring)

Reading about my type (I think it’s ISFJ), makes me realize my “subjective perception, intuition, reasoning.”  I tend to cling to tradition, to shoulder responsibilities instinctively, to crave approval for doing the right thing.

This insight into my own subconscious has made me step back.  When I’m making a decision or even just forming an opinion or starting to get emotional: am I really basing this on reality, or my own distorted view of reality?

Of course, we all see reality through our own personality.  That’s unavoidable.  But it’s helpful to step back.

Am I clinging to habits and ways of thinking just because they feel right to me, because it’s my default?  Or am I going to Jesus first and going from there?

It’s really helpful.

And since I read this in Magnificat, I’m linking up with Jessica for What We’re Reading Wednesday.

What I’m Reading, Twitterature Style

Oh the pain–the pain!!–of being a grammar snob and then realizing you titled a past post, “Book reports in 140 characters or less.”  Fewer, Laura, fewer.  “140 characters or fewer.”  **So embarrassed**

Soldiering on, here are a few more very brief thoughts–with letter grades–on books I’ve read in the past few months.


  • Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
    • Outlaws, a mystic, wild West, workings of Grace, power of a (The?) Father’s Love.  Not my usual type but WOW.  Starts slow finishes strong.   A+
  • The Story of a Soul, Therese of Lisieux
    • Is St. Therese INFP?  I have trouble relating.  Still glad I reread it after many yrs.  Better not grade a Dr of the Church?
  • Cherries and Cherry Pits, by Vera Williams
    • Luscious illustrations and a sweet story.  I remember this from my childhood and now enjoy reading it with my kids.  A
  • The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
    • O Ernest how I admire your prose.  O Ernest how this story bores me.  2 dull, didn’t finish.

Linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy for Twitterature  (on Monday) and (next week) with Jessica at Housewifespice for What We’re Reading Wednesday.  Happy reading!


Scent of a Woman

Anne- Laure was immaculate.  She wore underwear so delicate it could only be hand-washed and she had perfect nails and lustrous, onyx hair that she’d never tried to highlight, a trend that she considers vulgar and base. . . .

When she came to bed, she did so smelling of rosemary with her dark hair in a high bun, hair I had been besotted with back in grad school, but now no longer touched. . . . .

Anne had on her “special night” perfume, a heady mix of bergamot and neroli, along with a silk rose blouse and wide-legged, wool pants with heels.

– Courtney Maum, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You


Pelagia always smelled of rosemary.  It was a young, fresh scent, and it reminded him of festive meals at home. . . . In the darkness he held her face in his hands.  It still smelled of rosemary, and he inhaled the scent so deeply it hurt his mending ribs.  

–Louis de Bernieres, Corelli’s Mandolin

I’ll never be remotely French.  I’m quite attached, to my machine-washable, cotton, Hanes 6-packs.  Also I’ve started highlighting my hair.  Around age 30 I became less concerned about looking like I’m trying too hard and more concerned about looking like I’m not trying at all.

But I would like to smell nice.

My first real perfume was Estee Lauder’s “Beautiful.”  It was a wedding gift from my godmother.  (The advertising campaign works well, apparently.)  It’s a lovely scent, especially after an hour or so, but the “top notes” that hit my nose upon the first spray are not my favorite.  I think they are “green” or “floral” scents, but they smell harsh and chemical-y to me.

I moved on to Estee Lauder’s “Pleasures,” and I’m almost through my second bottle.  It’s warmer but still, I’ve decided, more cool and floral than I’d like.

What to try next?

I’ve fallen in love with bergamot, since using a body butter scented with bergamot oil.  Also I love the smell of cardamom.  I keep a bottle of cardamom pods in my spice cabinet.  Handed down to me when my sister moved, they’re long past the “use by” date, but I stick my nose in the bottle for instant aromatherapy.

And smelling like rosemary is a heavenly idea, isn’t it?

I don’t really know where to begin, especially as I have limited options in my town.  Pinrose has a fun program that suggests scents to you based on your style, color, and music preferences.  It is limited to its own line of a dozen or so scents, though.

Based on an internet search, I think I might like a scent called  A Bientot by Jacques Zolty (bergamot, cardamom, and rosemary!), but I’m hesitant (to put it lightly) to spend three figures on a bottle without sampling it first.

I’ve heard Sephora has an in-store perfume recommendation machine, but I haven’t had the chance to try one.  The nearest Sephora is a ways away from me.

What about you?  Do you wear perfume?  If you do, what do you wear?

As for the books: I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You is a cautionary tale of sorts, a story about a man who cheats on his wife then tries to win her back.  It shows the troubles that come when self-absorbed people attempt marriage.  You can read more about it here.  It has some extremely explicit sexual content, so be forewarned.

You can read my quick review of Corelli’s Mandolin here.  I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Linking up with Jessica of Housewifespice for What We’re Reading Wednesday.

*Scent of a Woman is a movie I’ve never seen.  The title comes from a blind character’s supposed ability to decipher a women’s personality, simply by her scent.  What would my scent say about me, I wonder?


7 quick takes: all about women

Aristotle’s thoughts (one of them, anyway) on women, blog posts by women, my two little women:

1. I generally think of all those ancient Greek philosophers dudes sort of like I do C.S. Lewis: lots of good ideas about life in general, but sorely lacking in their understanding of women.  So I was surprised to read this post by John Cuddeback:

[E]ven among those who greatly value childbearing, the good health of the mother can slip from the forefront of attention. Where it belongs. . . . Husbands need to make this the special object of our intention, deliberation, and action.

His essay is based on a text by . . . Aristotle.  Hmm.  I didn’t read enough of that guy I guess.

2.  Reading that just made me doubly grateful for my husband, who takes excellent care of my health, physical, mental, and otherwise.  I’m very blessed.

3. Or should I say I’m very lucky?  Obviously I’ve been blessed to have the great husband and children that I have.  But are others not as blessed?  Or are we all equally blessed in different ways?  Simcha has an interesting post on that idea (haven’t even read it all yet, but I will).  Kind of reminds me of Ann Voskamp’s theme in her book, One Thousand Gifts about how we should see even suffering as a gift  Definitely a concept to gnaw on for, like, the rest of my life!

4. Elizabeth Foss just wrote a post on my most recent read, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.  I haven’t even read her whole post yet, but I look forward to reading it.  I’m interested to see what another Catholic says of this very secular book.  Part of me, though, wonders if it’ll take the fun out of our book club discussion.  “Aw man, Elizabeth Foss has already thought of everything.”  Nah, there’s always more to talk about.  ;-)

5. The girls and I had a fun trip to Lowe’s earlier this week.

[Flower] pot heads

[Flower] pot heads

Orchids were half off.  So I bought two.  Natch.

I’ve yet to keep one alive for more than six months but I keep trying.

6. La dee dah.

7. Have I mentioned I’m on Facebook?

Happy weekend!  For more quick takes, click over to Conversion Diary!

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.


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.



You can draw in the lines.

You can draw in the lines.



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.


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.


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!