Weekend Link Love, July 25, 2015: Death Penalty, Rejection, and Parenting

But not all at the same time . . . .

Hello Friends,  Real quick-like, here are a few choice picks from the internet of the past few weeks:

1. Check out this article on how a Mexican drug lord recently succeeded in a meticulously planned prison escape.  It made me think about the death penalty and Catholic Church teaching on it and whether need for the death penalty is really so rare.  In Mexico anyway?  I dunno.

2. I loved this article from Money Saving Mom.  My daughters already have to deal with feeling rejected by other kids from time to time.  I know what it’s like to feel rejected.  I’d give anything to shield them from it, but I can’t.  Crystal discusses how to handle it constructively.  

Honestly, as a mom, I wanted to rush in and scoop them up and protect them. I wanted to express anger and frustration and say things like, “That was so rude and mean… You can never play with those girls ever again!!”

I hurt for them. But I knew deep down in my heart that trying coddle and bubble wrap my kids is doing them a disservice. I cannot shield them from hard things forever.

. . . .

Because there’s a world out there that will crush you in two if you don’t develop backbone, stand strong, know the truth that you’re enough, and lovingly forgive and believe the best about people.

So part of growing up is learning to love others even when they do unloving things to you. It’s forgiving when you are slighted or skipped over — whether intentional or accidental. It’s not harboring bitterness and anger toward people who don’t treat us fairly.

. . . .

I also told the girls that the best remedy for times when you feel lonely and left out is to do something for someone else. Reach out to someone else. Be interested in other people’s lives. Look for ways to serve. Find opportunities to show love.

3. I learned a lot from this article from this Wall Street Journal about the Confederate battle flag brouhaha in South Carolina.  I’ve been seeing a lot more of those flags flying in our town.  I didn’t have a strong opinion on the flag earlier.  My feeling before was, “Just take it down already.”  I have a soft spot for federalism though (or states rights, but that phrase has a negative connotation), and there seemed to be some connection.  I honestly had no idea that the flag was resurrected in the mid-1900s in reaction to the civil rights movement.  And now . . . yeah, seriously, take it down already.

4. On a lighter note, here’s a good resource showing proportionally how much electricity various household items use, and how much energy-saving strategies actually save. It’s something I’ve been thinking about because it looks like we actually will be moving to a bigger house soon, and I’m not looking forward to those utility bills.

5. Remember that singer, Jewel, and her album Pieces of You?  I know some of you remember it.  And that song “Sensitive,” where she whines in her little girl falsetto,

Please be careful with me/ I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that wa-ay.

Anyway, that makes me roll my eyes and think, “Just get over yourself already.”  But, as Modern Mrs. Darcy explains well, there really is something to “highly sensitive persons” and parenting one is quite a challenge.  So much of the characteristics she describes her son having are also things we’ve noticed and–um– been challenged by with Girl 1.  It’s not so much an issue of having your feelings hurt easily, a la Jewel, but of having overactive physical senses.

6. Speaking of parenting, this funny article by Rob LaZabnik, a writer for the Simpsons, made me laugh: “They’re Back! How to Cope with Returned College Graduates.”

So the time has come for you to cut the cord. And by that I mean: Take your kid off your Netflix account. He will be confused and upset at first, not understanding why this is happening to him, but it’s a great opportunity for him to sign up for something all by himself.

Which brings us to money. It’s finally time to channel your Angela Merkel and get tough with your young Alexis Tsipras.

It also make me think, “No God, please no.”  Also, who is Alexis Tsipras?  I don’t even know, but I still laughed.

7.  Hope you’re having a lovely weekend. Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

On Virginia Woolf and Maria Goretti

Combining a [not so] Quick Lit post with a Seven [not so] Quick Takes post . . .

Virginia Woolf image via Wikipedia

1. I just finished Virginia Woolf’s, A Room of One’s Own, and it gave me so much to think about; I could go on and on.  Primarily, though I was struck by Woolf’s emphasis on writing for its own sake, with no specific telos*.  Toward the end of the essay, Woolf emphasizes “reality” and that women should focus on reality and not people and relationships.  The implied premise is that women before had been confined to the world of relationships–the drawing room and the nursery and their duties therein–and they hadn’t been encouraged to explore the world as it is.

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.

It is much more important to be oneself than anything else. Do not dream of influencing other people, I would say, if I knew how to make it sound exalted. Think of things in themselves.

See human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality . . . . Our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women.

In other words . . . Ladies, shake off your concerns for other people and any responsibility you have to help other people through your writing.  Focus on being yourself and writing what you want to write and describing the world as you see it.  In other words . . . prioritize work over relationships . . . like men do.

2. And just after reading Ms. Woolf’s essay, I turned to a shorter one by John Cuddeback, in which he proposes that men should prioritize relationships over their work [like women do?].

We need to do more to reimagine and then reinstate a different model of family life. At the center of this model will be a husband and father whose very success in life is fundamentally, though not solely, seen and judged in terms of what he does in the home. Indeed, a central measure of his manhood will be the quality of his presence in the home.

I tend to agree with Dr. Cuddeback.

3. At the same time,when I start mentally criticizing Virginia Woolf, I catch myself and remember that

My life is better than pretty much any woman’s from any other time period or any other part of the globe. 

If I were a man, I might prefer to live in other times or other parts of the world (a [male] taxi driver once extolled North Africa to me as the best place in the world to live), but as a woman, nope.  I think I have it as good as it gets, and possibly as good as it ever will get.

I don’t know how much credit Virginia Woolf deserves for my enviable position, but . . . .  I can take so much for granted that perhaps it skews my understanding?

4.  Virginia Woolf also makes statements like,

“Chastity … has, even now, a religious importance in a woman’s life, and has so wrapped itself round with nerves and instincts that to cut it free and bring it to the light of day demands courage of the rarest.”

After reading Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist and (a few months ago) Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and of the horrific sexual assaults both women experienced I think . . . maybe we’ve unwrapped those nerves and instincts too much and thrown out the baby with the bath water?  Nerves and instincts are not virtues, but they can be preemptive self-defense measures.

5. Still it bugs me that the Catholic Church hasn’t done enough to unravel “nerves and instincts” from what is actually the virtue of chastity.  (Consent!  Consent is implicit in the definition’s use of the word “gift.”)  I mean . . . if you’d humor for a moment, please picture a Venn diagram: physical virginity and chastity are two separate circles that overlap a great deal, but are not concentric.

So that brings me to Simcha Fisher’s post on Saint Maria Goretti.  (She also uses the baby-with-the-bathwater-cliche but that’s coincidental.)  I’ve mulled over a post on this saint for almost a year, planning to write something around her feast day.  But July 6 came and went.  Probably I was sleeping/eating/gestating and not much else.

As it turns out, my essay was written for me, in various comments to the post.  (Reading the comments to Simcha’s posts is usually a waste of time, but occasionally I slip back into old habits.)

The objection to how St Maria Goretti’s cult is often presented is the notion that she was canonized because she managed to die before her attacker was able to succeed in raping her. Usually in words to the effect of “die rather than lose her chastity.” Which leads to the horrific implication that she would indeed have lost her chastity if he had succeeded in overpowering her against her will before killing her, and that his action carried out against her will would have been a sin on her part, and that anyone who does NOT fight to the death against a rapist is somehow “accepting” and therefore complicit in the attack and committing a mortal sin themselves.

. . . .

Did he say, “Let me rape you, or I’ll kill you,” and she said, “I’d rather you kill me”? That would give the impression that being raped is sinful, which seems confused. Or did he say, “Let’s have sex,” and she said no, and then he got angry and killed her? If the latter, then she was trying to avoid sexual sin (perhaps indeed for his sake as much as for her own), but there’s no reason, in this version of the story, to think there’s any worrisome implication that she was trying to avoid the pseudo-sin of being raped.

. . . .

She was 11. He had a knife and already heard the word “no” many times without impact. If anyone sees the potential for HER to sin in this situation, get thee to a therapist. Consent was not an option.

. . . .

I am sorry but this is trying to paper over an ugly truth in the Catholic Church.. the Church cared more about little Maria Goretti’s purity than it did her life. Maria Goretti was definitely not canonized for her forgiveness but for her purity. Pius XII mentioned as much in his homily at her canonization. It was all about her purity; she was a symbol used to condemn Italian girls who were sleeping with the American GIs.

These ^ are all other people’s words, not mine, but I’ve had the same back and forth in my head.

6. And I ponder why so many (all?) cultures place more weight on women’s physical purity than on consent, or on actual virtue, or on men’s chastity.  Like Dr. Iannis says in Corelli’s Mandolin,

It’s a fact of life that the honour of a family derives from the conduct of its women.  I don’t know why this is, and possibly matters are different elsewhere.

I do, sort of, understand why this is.  In the grand, sordid, scheme of life men generally have to have some assurance that children are their own before they’ll support them.

Simcha’s description of why Saint Maria G. was canonized is a nice idea but it certainly isn’t the story I’ve been told.  In fact, in his homily during her canonization homily, Pope Pius XII stated,  “With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity.”  The Church’s teaching is a lot more nuanced than the crude-if-necessary emphasis on physical purity that so many cultures have.  But you wouldn’t get that impression from Saint Maria Goretti’s story as it’s traditionally been told.

I have no neat, insightful conclusions for you.  Just my thoughts.

7.  Oh phew! I have more links to share, but that’s enough for tonight.

Have a great weekend!

* Telos = secret code word used by conservative-Catholic-liberal-arts majors to identify themselves to one another.

The Summer of Bratitude and Other Assorted Thoughts

I read Jenny’s recent post with a lot of interest.  I think her point there and, even more, her point here, are basically what I was trying to say here.  I thought it then and I still think it now: we have a shortage of religious vocations because sex has been oversold.  Consequence-free sex.  And even those of us  who go into marriage committed to Church teaching probably still underestimate the consequences.  This makes me sound . . . um . . . frustrated and dissatisfied.  And I’m not, generally.  It’s just that the consequences of my sex life are still screaming at me at friggin’ 10 pm, as per usual the past few weeks, and the convent is starting to sound not half bad . . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seriously, the brattiness levels here have been off the charts.  I understand why some find the word “brat” offensive.  I’d never call my child, or any other child, a brat within their hearing.  Maybe they’ll read this in five or ten years and be offended but seriously . . . if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, etc.

I was so out of commission the first three months of this pregnancy, I must have let discipline slide a lot.  I generally did whatever was the path of least resistance.  I don’t remember many details.  But man, give them an inch. . . .  We still get fast food way too often, but I’m cutting back.  It got to the point (still is at the point) where, if they get nuggets and fries Chick-Fil-A, they whine because I didn’t also get them ice cream.  Ridiculous.  For Pat and me both, eating out was a huge treat when we were growing up.  And for my kids it’s no big deal.  And of course the only one I have to blame is myself

. . .  and the new baby.  Even now, at 18 or so weeks, I can’t stand the thought of cooking meat.  I cooked some bacon the other day, and I just recently started heating up those pre-grilled Tyson frozen chicken strips and can stand to eat them.  But thinking about them grosses me out.  I’ve been eating a lot of cold cuts, and beans.  But you can only eat so many beans.

Where was I?

Yes, bratitude.

Seriously, we went out and bought an extra crib mattress for our bedroom floor, so Girl 1 can come in and sleep on it when she gets scared in the middle of the night, as she does almost every night.  Lately Princess comes in, wakes me up, and starts arguing that the mattress is not comfortable enough.  Like, really really arguing with me at 3am after waking me up.

Recently she said, “When I’m a grown up, and I have a little girl.  I’m not going to set up a mattress.  I’m going to let her sleep in my bed.”  We’ll see about that, and anyway I couldn’t care less.

So my scathingly brilliant idea I just came up with this evening is to buy a bag of miniature marshmallows.  Tomorrow evening, I’ll set out 5 for each girl.  Every time they get out of bed or scream at me from bed, I throw away a marshmallow.  I think I got the idea from this:

I’ll let you know how it works.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Y’all, I am just so tired.

This is the story of my life right now.

I’m mostly stopped trying to do any more than I can do.  It’s just what I can do is so pitifully little.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We have a contract on a house, and it’s an emotionally exhausting process.  I remember–now–why we said, “never again!” when we did this seven years ago.

Basically, the house we’re looking to buy has everything we want: location, size, layout, yard, view.  It also has mold, radon, and bats.  Oh my!  And it’s at the tippy-top of our price range.  I have plans to write a post titled, “Kicking Dave Ramsey to the Curb,” because that’s what we’re doing.  So crazy.  We’re still in the middle of inspections and negotiations, so it may all fall through.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I love Lisa’s summer momiform.  I’ve been shopping at LOFT a lot too, since Girl1 has a weekly vision therapy appointment in a professional/retail complex that has a LOFT at the other end.  I drop Girl 1 off, then mosey through the parking lot with Girl2, who has to balance-walk on every curb, inspect every blob of guano, and generally move at a snail’s pace.  Then I have about ten minutes to look through the store and hurriedly try things on before going back through the parking lot to get Girl 1.

Then walk back through the parking lot to try more things on while the girls scream and shriek at each other, fondle the jewelry, lick the mirrors, turn off the store lights, etc.

Then I maybe buy something, or maybe have a saleslady order a size or color not available in store through the website for me, because shipping is free if you order through the store.  Then we leave a stuffed mermaid in the store, just for the fun of returning for the third time in one day.

What mermaids wear to Mass

Then the next week, I bring 75% of my purchases to the store to return them (saving on return shipping fees) and repeat steps 1 through 1,000,000.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After all that, though, I have no cute maternity outfits to show you.  Today, this was my #ootd and it possibly also was my #potnb*, embellished by the three-year-old with thigh sequins and a makeshift Frozen necklace.

IMG_8844

(*pajamas of the night before)

I bought these Lou & Grey linen “jogger” pants (in navy blue) at full price (ouch) and they were worth it because they are so comfortable.  The waist is huge, which works as my belly is expanding.  I don’t look really pregnant yet, but the belly’s definitely expanding in a slow, all-over spread.  The pants are really baggy and probably look awful but I don’t care.  I also got these linen pants when LOFT was running a 50% off in-store special; same deal: baggy, frumpy, comfy.

I’ve fallen into the trap of feeling fat and buying clothes that are too big, which makes me look sloppy and bigger.  I’ve fallen and I can’t get out.

But it’s an ego boost.  I made a huge order of maternity pants from Asos and nothing fit.  I ordered them all about a size bigger than my pre-pregnancy size.  I still have post-traumatic stress from ordering maternity jeans last go-round 1 and 2 sizes up from my pre-pregnancy size and still barely getting them past my knees. Oh the misery.  Never again.

So.  This time I ordered all these baggy, jogger-style pants a size up and they were ridiculously, ridiculously huge.  Like these:

IMG_8792 IMG_8793

During her first pregnancy, my sister Martha ordered a bunch of maternity stuff from Asos.  She mentioned to me that she returned everything because “nothing really worked.”  And I remember thinking, “Seriously?  Do you really need to be that picky?”  (Don’t you wish you had me as an older sister?) And now . . . .

Also, I ordered some maternity shorts from Target (these and these).  They’re all fine, but my legs already are retaining water like you would not believe.  This happened with my prior pregnancy, too.  I felt like such a fat cow.  “omg! I’m eating so much my legs have gotten visibly fatter!”  But now I realize it’s just water.  And there’s not much I can do about it.  Except to drink more water (trying to), eat more protein (trying to, but see meat problem, supra), and (supposedly) wrap wet cabbage leaves around my legs (nope).

So I’m returning all the shorts. There’s no need to expose my legs to the world.  Except I might possibly keep this linen pair, again non-maternity, again from Lou & Grey.  Because it is summer, after all.

And if only my dimples were on my face.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

Whew!  Okay, the girls finally have fallen asleep. . . .  Thank you for anyone still reading through to the end of this ramble.  I’ve missed writing here.  I wish you all the best for the rest of the week, and I hope to post again soon.

Friday Link Love (and some quotes): June 26, 2015

1.  Even children experience His Passion, for our natural age has very little to do with our Christ-age, and the fact of being in Christ at all implies a state of childhood in the soul, a child’s almost infinite capacity for experiencing joy and sorrow completely.

–Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God

IMG_8801

 

I ordered a copy of Angel in the Waters for the girls.  I read it to them for the first time Tuesday night.  Girl 1 read it to herself multiple times and was weepy and mopey all day Wednesday.

“I just can’t stop thinking about Angel in the Waters. *sniff* “

“Does it make you sad?”

“No, it’s just . . .  *sniff* . . . The baby is just so little and so cute.  *sob*”

 

2. “Fed up with law practice? In about a year, you can be a computer coder, says lawyer who made switch.”  Pat has pretty much the ideal job.  I can’t say switching hasn’t crossed my mind . . . .

3.  We had the perfect family dinner a few weeks ago at my former-new-favorite sushi place (we’ll call it FNFSP).  The girls tried new food–shrimp tempura!  We called it “shrimp nuggets.”  The girls gobbled it down.  They loved using chop sticks.  Pat and I enjoyed delicious sushi.  Taking the girls out to real restaurants has been mostly disastrous for years, and this was like a light at the end of the tunnel.

IMG_8683

And then . . .

  • Both girls puked that night, and all the next day, and most of the next.  And then . . .
  • We felt better Saturday and took an overnight trip to my cousin’s graduation party, and then,
  • I stupidly bought them Happy Meals during the car trip, and then . . .
  • Girl2 puked in the hotel pool . . . multiple french fry filled heaves before Pat could get her out of the water (we tipped the unfortunate lifeguard/ pool cleaner).  And then . . .
  • She fussed and cried all during the pool party the next day.  We let big sister swim but not Girl 2.  I just couldn’t risk doing that to my uncle.  And then . . .
  • Last week we noticed some unauthorized purchases made on our debit cards.  We cancelled the cards, contacted the bank, got the money credited back, etc. etc.

But still . . . .

  • We couldn’t figure out how it happened.  Both of our debit card numbers had been stolen.  The cards were still in our possession, so they must have been skimmed.  But Pat hardly ever uses his debit card for purchases.
  • The only place we’ve both used our debit cards lately has been our own bank’s ATM and, oh yeah . . . .

at FNFSP.

Insult upon injury x 1000000000.

6.   Girl1: [out of the blue] “Man, I like Jesus too.”

       Girl1: “Mom!  Your bum bum is just like your [pregnant] belly!”

Girl 2: “I weally want Jesus to come back. . . . I weally want Uncle John to come back. . . . I weally want Jesus to come back.”  [conflated identities, perhaps?  they both have beards]

Girl 1: “That’s a picture of my mom and dad when they got married.”

LittleFriend: “Your mom looks really different!!!”  [So. I’ve. been. told, kid.]

Girl1 [just now, looking at the photo I posted of our FNFSP trip]:  “Ewwww, yuck.   From now on, I hate FNFSP.”

7. Have a lovely weekend. Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

 

What My Kids Think About Their Daddy

46622_10150258046460506_892040505_14335563_7890495_n

1. What is something your dad always says to you?

Girl 2: “Clean up.”

Girl 1: “Yes, cheeks?” and “What are you doing?” and “Don’t stick your hands in your bum bum.”



2. What makes your dad happy? 
G2: Draw something

G1: When we’re not doing
anything that makes him mad and when we don’t bug him for stuff.

IMG_8796

3. What makes your dad sad?

G1: When we’re, like, screaming around and messing with his stuff and . . . that’s all.

G2: Hit him.


4. How does your dad make you laugh? 
G1:When he doo-doodle-ees [tickles] us.

G2: Do funny fings.

5. What was your dad like when he was a child?
G1: He had a different kind of face and blonde hair and he was like . . .Mr. Harry and looks like . . .

G2: Play with stuff.

IMG_2492

6. How old is your dad?
G1: 33

G2: I fink . . .  [holds up two fingers]


7. How tall is your dad? 
G1: He’s like . . . all the way up to the door.

G2:[reaches way up]


8. What is his favorite thing to do? 
G1: Tickle us

G2: Read stuff
IMG_0448

9. What does your dad do when you’re not around? 
G1: Look for us

G2: Cwean up . . . daddy awways cwean up . . . and vacuum.


10. If your dad becomes famous, what will it be for? 
G1: Loving

G2: [Gives a thumbs up.]

IMG_2531

11. What is your dad really good at? 
G1: Writing faster

G2: Writing
12. What is your dad not very good at?

G1: Trying to carry something heavier than the couch {NB: Pat is the only one in the house who carries anything heavy at all.}

G2: Dwawing
13. What does your dad do for a job? 
G1:  Try to write something and work something and . . . I don’t know.

G2: Painting stuff

[He did some painting around the house yesterday.]

[He’s a software developer.]

14. What is your dad’s favorite food?

G1: Chicken cake [giggle], soup, macaroni, lasagna, sauce, broccoli, and apples and peanut butter.
G2: Rice and beans [what we had for lunch today] [not his favorite]

15. What makes you proud of your dad? 
G1:When he does something for us like put on us movies.

G2: Give me a kiss.
16. If your dad were a character, who would he be? 
G1: Maybe . . . Larry the cucumber on Veggie Tales ’cause of his green shirt.

G2: A king


17. What do you and your dad do together? 
G1: Draw pictures and turn on the light and eat hot dogs.

G2: Write




18. How are you and your dad the same? 

G1: He was born and . . . I don’t really know!

G2: [Holds hands out ~12 inches apart] This tall like a huge baby like this!

IMG_6439

19. How are you and your dad different? 

G1: I don’t know.

G2: Then we will get eaten by a dragon.



20. How do you know your dad loves you? 

G1: Because he’s my daddy!

G2: Give us a nice hug.
IMG_4340

21. What does your dad like the most about your mom? 

G1: He loves you also and . . . he jokes.

G2: Holding hands.

22: Where is your dad’s favorite place to go?

G1: Library and church and museum and playground . . . mostly playground.

G2: Mass

23. Hold old was your dad when you were born?

G1: 29

G2: [holds up 3 fingers]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“

Linking up with Sarah and Diana.  You should too!

What My Kids Think About Me

1. What is something your mom always says to you?
Girl1 (age 6): You call me “cheeks”!

Girl2 (age 3): Don’t make a mess!

2. What makes your mom happy? 
G1: When we love you and try to make you a drawing.

G2: Give you a kiss


3. What makes your mom sad?
G1: When we hurt you and do something bad.

G2: When we be naughty.


4. How does your mom make you laugh? 
G1:When you say something funny and make me a silly drawing.

G2: When you make me a craft.

5. What was your mom like when she was a child?
G1: Long brown hair and glasses and you wore an orange and red tutu.  {True}

G2: . . .

IMG_8795

6. How old is your mom?
G1:32

G2: [Turns around and stretches her arms back, towards me, holding up two index fingers]


7. How tall is your mom? 
G1: As tall as the top of the lamp

G2: This tall [reaches way up]


8. What is her favorite thing to do? 
G1: Give us hugs and kisses and probably sleep together.

G2: Draw

IMG_6452


9. What does your mom do when you’re not around? 
G1: Try to look for us

G2: Don’t kick


10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? 
G1: Me and Girl 2

G2: It will be fwee [3], dus’ like me!

11. What is your mom really good at? 
G1: Writing faster and drawing words.

G2: Dwawing pictures with girls, babies  . .  boys . . . mamas . . . daddies.
12. What is your mom not very good at?

G1: Rollerskating {true}

G2: When you hoed my hand you won’t swip.
13. What does your mom do for a job? 
G1: Chores and clean the floors
{I have no idea how to explain being a lawyer to them.}

G2: Mop and bwooms and paints and dwawings.

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?

G1: Hamburgers and . . . what else? Hmm.  Chicken shrimp and fried soup and . . . that’s all.
G2: [wanders out of the room]

15. What makes you proud of your mom? 
G1: When you [long pause] . . . do something better than the house looked like last year.  [Tangent about how she liked the house better before I redecorated.]

16. If your mom were a character, who would she be? 
G1: Maybe a fairy or a queen.


17. What do you and your mom do together? 
G1: Read a book and do chapters and tractors [???] and probably more toys and stuff.

18. How are you and your mom the same? 
G1: Because you’re my mommy

19. How are you and your mom different? 
G1: Because of my face and your face is not exactly the same.

20. How do you know your mom loves you? 
G1: Because of all the fun things we do.



21. What does your mom like the most about your dad? 
G2: When you wuv him and he’s good at playing the guitar.

G1: . . .

G1: Do you like fried soup Mommy?

Me: I don’t think I’ve ever had fried soup.

G1:  Yes you have!  At that restaurant . . .

Me: Oh!  You mean Sopa Azteca.  Yes, I like that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“

Linking up with Sarah and Diana.  You should too!

Five Favorite Books Lately

I’m going to review them ultra quick.  Blink and you’ll miss it.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.  A beautifully written page turner.  So many elements in common with Patchett’s Bel Canto: South America, dramatic beginning, characters stuck waiting in stressful situations and separated from their cell phones, opera.  But still a completely new and original story.  Really enjoyed it.

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen . Middle schooler turns to 1950s teen popularity manual and writers about the results.  Funny and heartwarming.  Anyone else wonder if a fourteen-year-old actually wrote this?  I don’t really doubt it, but this little part of me wonders.

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the LongestDan Buettner: Investigation of lifestyles in areas with unusually high number of people living to be 100 (topic addressed here).  Easy to read, although I think it could have been written better.  Also, his conclusion is that our life expectancy and quality of life are within our control.  I think his studies suggest the opposite, as most of the centenarians he profiles were just living the life customary to their particular culture.  They aren’t countercultural, as we would have to be to imitate them.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, audiobook read by Cherry Jones: We all finally listened to the whole thing on our last car trip.  Really enjoyed it, especially hearing her sing the songs with a fiddle accompaniment.  Only qualm is that Ms. Jones reads Pa’s lines with a Southern accent.  Charles Ingalls was born in New York and spent most of his life in the Midwest.  Seriously?  All the same, looking forward to getting the next in the series.

Ramona’s World by Beverly Cleary: Girl 1 is having us read certain chapters over and over.  I can’t complain.  I just love this series.

Started but not yet finished:

Pioneer Girl, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the newly released annotated version of Wilder’s original, never-before-published autobiography.  All the footnotes are fascinating but it makes for slow reading.

Reed of God by Caryll Houselander: There are parts I like about this book, but for the most part it’s not my style.  Everyone I know who has read it loves it.  I’m going to persevere.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead  by Brene Brown: I’m disappointed by this book so far, although I plan to at least skim the rest of it.  It has some great ideas but is written in such generalities that I skim over a lot of it.  Not the page-turner I’d hoped.

Princes at War: The Bitter Battle Inside Britain’s Royal Family in the Darkest Days of WWII by Deborah Cadbury: Well-written look at the English monarchy during WWII.  Previously all I really knew was what I saw from the movie, The King’s Speech (just realized the movie is based on a book by the same name).  I never manage to finish history books, though, and this time it won’t be any different.

I’m linking up with Quick Lit at Modern Mrs. Darcy, and tomorrow with Jenna for Five Favorites.IMG_8474

Friday Link Love June 12, 2015 {Doritos Locos and other edifying subjects}

Some quick links and thoughts on this Friday night.  The first is serious; the rest are light and fluffy.

1. I was touched by Saint* Pope Francis’s recent words about the heroic love of family members who care for sick loved ones.  First I thought–of course– of myself . .. and Pat . . . and how hard it is to care for the girls with their sporadic, cough-variant asthma.  They have so many nights of intermitable coughing during cold and flu season; winter is a cold, cold hell for us.

Then I thought–wow–the pope’s words really really apply to my parents, who are taking care of my aunt as she undergoes cancer treatment.  They, and my uncle, also are caring for my 94-year-old grandmother, who is in a gradual, painful decline and is now bedridden.  We’ve been expecting the end for months now.  My uncle lives with her and takes painstaking care of her full time.  My dad spends many nights over there so my uncle can get some sleep, since my grandmother is restless and needs constant care throughout the night. . . . And this all comes not long after the years my parents cared for my other grandmother; she died in their home three years ago.

They’ve all been on my mind a lot lately.  I’m a thousand miles away and don’t know what I can do.

*So embarrassing.  I have such a hard time catching my own typos.

2. Something else that’s been on my mind is Taco Bell.  Mmm, Baby #3 loves taco bell.  My frequent visits there reminded me of this article, about why food that’s bad for us tastes so good.  [If the link doesn’t work, backdoor your way in by searching Google News for “Taste the Science in Every bite”.]

I’m tasting that science! I’m tasting it in every bite, baby.                                                image credit

The article discussed the Doritos Locos tacos and how popular they are and–let me tell you–that’s no surprise.  They are delicious.  Delicious.  So good.

3. By the way, Girl 1 has taken to being scared to be in her room at night, every night, at any point of the night, starting at bedtime, even with the light on and door open.  I told her tonight about her guardian angel.  We discussed and she pondered for the last hour.  She just now announced she is scared of angels and doesn’t want one in her room.  So much for that.  I told her she could politely ask her angel to leave the room and I’m sure the angel would oblige.

4. My bloggy friend Sarah Isis is such a fashionable pregnant lady, isn’t she?  Next week, I’ll be linking up with her “23 questions” link up, posting my girls’ answers to 23 questions about their mom [me].

~ Ha!  I just realized that the idea is to ask the questions about Daddy and post for father’s day.  Oh well.  I’ll do the one about me for a late mother’s day post and then one where I ask them about Pat in time for Father’s Day. ~

My kids’ answers were quite amusing.  If you’re inclined you should link up too, especially if you’ve already asked your kids the questions (*ahem* Marti Oram, once you’re feeling better).

5. My new bloggy crush is Erica at Thrift Flipper.  She’s paying off her student loans by scouring thrift stores for fashion finds and reselling them on eBay.  I started doing this–on an extremely small scale–about a year ago.  I enjoy cheap retail therapy so much that when I find a great deal, even if my family and I can’t use it, I have to buy it.

My $5-snakeskin-Manolo-Blahnik-find story is one I’ll probably be telling my grandchildren.  Kind of like an old fisherman’s tale. Except they didn’t get away.  Maybe I should have had them stuffed and mounted to hang on the wall.  But then I couldn’t have resold them. For $50.  Anyway . . .

Enter eBay, by which my hobby at least pays for itself and a little more.  So anyway, when I found Erica’s blog I was like, “There’s someone else out there who does this!  And she seems normal!”

6. I had some other links to share with you but I’ve misplaced them now.

7. Have a lovely weekend!  Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

Stitch Fix #2: Maternity Edition {June 2015–early second trimester}

Stitch Fix#2-  Maternity Edition, early 2nd trimester, thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com

One win and four near misses.

Oh Stitch Fix, it’s not you; it’s me.

I asked for some casual maternity wear for this summer–some tops, plus some shorts, linen pants, or casual skirts.  No jeans.  No dry clean only.

They delivered!  They really did!

It’s just their casual isn’t my casual. And I should have added “no hand-wash only.”  And sometimes things just don’t fit.

stitch fix, Pale Sky blottie Pleated Maternity Blouse, thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com

Robbie Jogger Pants, Linen/tencel/spandex blend, size large (non maternity), by Level 99 (similar)

Lottie Pleated Maternity Blouse by Pale Sky, size large (similar) (similar in purple)

[ Also: Stefano Furiani ballet flats from Crocs]

Verdict:  Returning both.

Love the look of this outfit, but the blouse is 100% rayon and hand wash only.  I just wasn’t feeling it $68 worth.

Also love the look of the pants.  But they are uncomfortably snug in the legs, don’t stretch much, and are too low in the rise.  Too bad.

stitch fix, LA made maternity Kaitel boyfriend tank and Level 99 Robbie Jogger Pant, thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com

Kaitel Maternity Boyfriend Tank, by LA Made Maternity, size large

(because this is just exactly what my boyfriend wears when he’s pregnant)

Robbie Jogger Pants, size large (non maternity), by Level 99 (similar)

Verdict:  This looks better in the picture than I thought it did in person.  The colors are too pale for me, and the tank is $58 –too much for this style.  It’s rayon/spandex blend . . . hand wash only.  Wop wop.  Made in the USA though!  Click on my link above to get a similar style from LA Made Maternity, via Amazon, in solid colors, for much less $$.

stitch fix, Daniel Rainn Carrieann crochet detail tie-neck top, thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com

Carrieann Crochet Detail Tie-Neck Top, size large (non maternity) (similar) (similar . . . even better)

Verdict:  Return.  This top is lovely.  Not my usual style but lovely.  It has an attached cami underneath, though, which is too fussy and hot for the summer everyday for me.  And I don’t need a dressy blouse.  Also . . . hand wash.  :-P

Stitch fix Gilli Alina Geo Print Maxi skirt ~ thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com

Alina Mixed Geo Print Maxi Skirt by Gilli, size large (non maternity)

Cap sleeve linen tee from LOFT, size large (non maternity)

Necklace from Amazima Ministries, gift from my sister

Verdict: Keep!  It’s weird because, looking at the pictures, I realize this is the least flattering outfit of them all. The loose and flowy thing isn’t my favorite look.  But I feel put together, if not especially attractive.

However, the skirt is versatile and comfortable.  It has a foldover panel that makes it pregnancy-adaptable, even though it’s not a maternity item. It also has an attached half slip, which is nice because the fabric is a little see-through.  . . . I’ve already worn it at least three times in the six days I’ve had it.  And the $58 price tag is reasonable enough.

Takeaway:

When I think casual wear, mentally I always ask, “Will I feel comfortable wearing this at the playground on a hot and muggy day?”  Only the tank top (and, just barely the skirt) passed the test.  But the tank is too expensive and not a great color.

I wish more items worked out, but trying on these pieces helped me clarify what I’m looking for for my summer maternity “uniform”:

I feel an online shopping binge coming on.  Right now, for hot weather wear, I have just a few tops, the maxi skirt and dress, my now-too-snug Athleta skorts, and some yoga pants. . . . I’ve been wearing yoga pants way too much.  And anyway it’s too hot for yoga pants.  So some more shopping is justified right?  That’s right.

I’m thinking when the weather cools down, I might order another Stitch Fix to get some maternity long pants and long-sleeve tops and sweaters.  For now I’m heading to the wilds of internet commerce on my own. Stay tuned.

And thanks to all of you who have ordered through my referral link to Stitch Fix!  The credit I’ve earned has paid for my skirt and will pay for future items.  I truly appreciate it!