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!

 

Laura’s Very Exciting Life

Travel, haircut, oral surgery, software testing, etc. . . .  Also, drugs.

Happy Friday folks!

1. If you haven’t already, check out Mary’s guest post yesterday, which has tips and inspiration for decluttering.  It’s motivated me to throw quite a bit of stuff away over the past few days, which is always a picker-upper (pun not quite intended, ha ha ha).

2. My sweet baby nephew was baptised last weekend, and I was privileged to be his godmother.  I made a whirlwind, 36 hour trip down to the Sunshine State for the blessed occasion.

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3. The night I was in FL, I slept the best night of sleep I’ve slept in a long long time.  I remember the first five minutes or so of being in bed at my parents’ house, trying to get comfortable.  Next thing I remember, my alarm was going off, seven hours later.  Delicious.

4. Speaking of Florida, I can’t resist sharing some beautiful pictures that my brother, Stephen, took down there recently.  They almost make me want to buy a real camera, almost.  But I doubt I’ll remember to bring it around and use it.  So I stick with my humble little iPhone4 and enjoy the photography of others.

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5. Speaking of photography, here are some selfies for the ages.  I took them because *drumroll* I’m getting my hair cut Saturday.  Yay!  I’m going to a lady who’s trained in the Ouidad method, which is supposed to do wonders for curly and wavy hair.

My hair is only slightly wavy, so I don’t know for sure if it will work for me.  But I’m sick of having my hair look crappy unless I spend 30 minutes blow drying it and using a round brush.  I just hate doing my hair.  And anyway, my blow drying broke and I’m not going to bother replacing it until the fall.  If ever.

So anyway, here is my hair today, looking like it does pretty much every day.

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Here it is on a good day.  I slept on it wet and the stars must have been aligned in my favor that night, because I woke up with it looking okaaaaaay.

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Can I get it to look like this every day, just a bit shorter?  We shall see.

6. The haircut experience, if nothing else, will be more enjoyable than the other self-improvement measures I’ve taken lately.  Namely, one gum graft, wherein a periodontist removed tissue from the roof of my mouth and stuffed it into the gums under my lower front teeth, where the gums were receding.  The idea is to keep enough gum tissue down there that my teeth don’t fall out.

It’s the second time I’ve had this procedure done (in a different spot this time).  It’s really something, feeling someone saw into the roof of your mouth.  Fortunately, the local anesthetic was effective (except for the last few sutures–ouch).

I was working at a Big Law Firm in DC when I got a gum graft the first time.  It was a Friday, and I remember feeling like it was the happiest day of my life because I took half the day off of work and had the whole weekend free.  I was getting skin carved out of my mouth and then sewn back in, but who cared?  I took half the day off of work.  I felt so free, like a kid playing hooky from school.

Truth be told, I felt kinda sorta the same way this time around.  Ana knows what I’m talking about.  Also, this time, I got hydrocodone afterward.

7. Pat was published on his company’s blog recently.  His post is about effective software testing techniques, which is a subject near and dear to his heart.

Aaaaaand, that’s all folks.  Have a great weekend!

For more quick takes, click on over to Conversion Diary.

Five Favorites of the Moment

Real quickly, some favorite things of the moment:

— 1 —

What Not To Wear is now on Netflix!

Folding laundry just got bumped up a lot higher on my priority list now that I have this to watch.

— 2 —

Two pink marshmallows playing in the snow.

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— 3 —

Shea and grapefruit hair conditioner from Bert’s Bees.

I found this for 50% off at Target (of course) and gave it a try.  I’m a lot more optimistic about my hair now than I was a few weeks ago.

— 4 —

This CD of Advent music from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles.   You can hear some samples on the website.

Girl 1 is fascinated by the fact that the singing she hears is from nuns.  Vocation nurturing for the win!

— 5 —

Travel sized Doodle Pros (aka Magna Doodles).  We couldn’t wait for Christmas to replace the one that broke.  We bought one for each girl.  Life. Saver.

Bonus #6:  Homemade whipped body butter from For Goodness Soap (local small business).  I have the chamomile scent.  I use it every day after I shower, and I love the way it feels and smells.

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I’m  joining up with Hallie of Moxie Wife, for her Five Favorites link up.  Thanks Hallie!

How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bun

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.

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.

Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post cover ...

Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post cover featuring Rosie the Riveter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marie Curie = not a failure.

English: Marie Curie

English: Marie Curie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Me = not a failure.

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How about you?  How do you style your hair on ordinary days?

What I Wore Sunday: Confessions of a Vain Mommy?

This is what I wore to Mass today.

New red coat (clearance find!) from Anne Klein.  Chutzpah to wear purple tights with nude heels from Martha.

New red coat (clearance find!) from Anne Klein. Chutzpah to wear purple tights with nude heels from Martha.

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Scarf close-up

Scarf close-up

The girls wore matching gold sparkly dresses and pink sparkly cardigans.   Have I mentioned how much I love having little girls?

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What I really want to write about, though, is last week.  Last Sunday, I spent over an hour (okay, almost two), getting myself showered and dressed, working on hair, trying out an eyeshadow technique I saw on Pinterest, etc.   Pat got himself and both girls ready.  We then gathered up the girls and their accoutrements into the van in our typical rush.

Before we left, Pat snapped a pictures of me.

IMG_1326[1]Ugh.  Well. . . . That was a waste of time.  (I truly truly am not fishing for compliments here.  A lot of you left sweet, encouraging comments last week, which made me feel much better and which I appreciate.  Still, subjectively, I was not happy with how I looked.)

We got to our pew and I looked down to see that Girl 1’s tights were on backwards, so the dingy part that is supposed to be on the bottom of her foot was instead on the top.  Her shoes were on backwards and . . .

My own fingernails were dirty.  With eyeshadow, I think.

I don’t believe our God is one to play “gotcha” with us.  But, man, I sure felt I was being taught a lesson.

Somehow, the hours before Mass have become “me” time, and that just doesn’t seem right.

Is God glorified when we put on nice clothes for Mass, when we wash and nicely arrange our hair, when we put on a bit of makeup?  Sure. Is He glorified when I perfect the latest eyeshadow technique from Pinterest and spend long (futile!) hours with a round brush trying to get my hair to look like Kate Middleton’s?

Hmmm.

I’ve  never been a high maintenance kind of girl (at least not as far as the externals go, emotional maintenance is another story).  So, I’ve always felt silly, vain, when I spend a lot of time on my appearance.

And yet, after having two kids and turning 30, I’m convinced it’s not a bad thing to have a nice two-hour stretch once a week to take care of myself: to take a long shower, to take whatever depilatory measures are necessary, to “do” my hair nicely, to play around with makeup.  It’s not a bad thing.  It might even be a good thing.  It’s not just vanity.  (But yes, I realize it is a luxury I am extremely blessed to have.)

At the same time, it doesn’t feel right to do it on Sunday morning.

So this is where I was going to write about how I’ve started making Saturday evening my “me” time: taking a nice long shower, putting my hair in Velcro rollers overnight, picking out my outfit, maybe doing my nails, so that I can get ready quickly in the morning.

But then real life intervened.  We stayed out late at a lovely gathering of dear, old friends.  Once we got home and got the girls to bed, my tired mommy bones weren’t up to anything more than going to sleep.  Then this morning, my Saintly Husband let me sleep in, and I had about half an hour to get ready.

Somehow, though, like the way I turned out a bit better this week:

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I’m not really sure what the moral of the story is here.  Spend time with good friends whenever you can, and get as much sleep as you can, I suppose.  All the same, next weekend I will try to implement my new Saturday night routine.

My hair looks better when I do the Velcro rollers anyway.  😉

Fireman’s wife with curlers in her hair, ca. 1955. Photograph by Honoré Desmond Sharrer. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

As usual, I’m linking up with Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday.  Check there for lots of Sunday finery!

Condition Your Hair and Feed Your Baby In One Easy Step! { phfr }

I’m participating again in the Pretty Happy Funny Real link-up at Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Pretty

Two sisters trying on their matching Easter dresses (from Costco, of course).

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Happy

My daffodils are coming up!  Spring is coming.

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Don’t those poor yellow guys look happy now that I saved them from suffocation under the landscaping weed-prevention cloth (it never blocked many weeds, only my daffodils).

Funny

I decided to give myself a coconut oil hair conditioning treatment.  I threw away my shower cap in my recent spree of decluttering efforts.

 

So I Seran Wrapped my head.

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I just scooped the coconut oil and smeared it into my hair, rather than melting it first.  It worked fine except that some little clumps fell out of my hair and onto the floor, and . . .

 

Real

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Oh yes.  She did.

Thank you for hosting, Leila and Co.!