Recently . . .

Getting back to “normal” after a visit with my family in FL last week.  The primary reason for the trip was my grandma’s funeral.  She actually passed away and was buried several weeks ago, but the service was held later.  I think I’m still at the beginning of wrapping my mind around her passing.  I do think taking an SSRI dulls my emotions and that’s troubling a bit.  But b/c of the meds I’m not so troubled about being not troubled.  So weird.  Also, her death was a long, slow one at age 95 so it wasn’t a shock.  Still . . . we had a great time, including a day at the beach.  It was even worth the 2 a.m. arrival home the other night.

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Dealing with insomnia.  Coughing, hacking children don’t help.  Waiting for Benadryl to kick in (for me!)

Reading

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin and Lit by Mary Karr.  Finished both recently and recommend them both.  Looking forward to the movie adaptation of the former, which will be released soon. . . .

Also the Wall Street Journal.  I ❤ the Wall Street Journal.  It’s almost my only source of news, which probably gives me a lopsided perspective.  I pride myself that I don’t agree with all their editorials.  Not yet.  . . .

I’m mostly skipping coverage of the presidential race.  Can. Not. Stand. to listen to or read about politicians in all their politicianyness more than I have to.  Once the race narrows down I’ll read a bit and figure out who to vote for. . . .

I also enjoyed reading “How to Stay Catholic” by Michelle Arnold at Catholic Answers.

Various American Girl books–Molly, Samantha, and Addy–outloud to the girls.  And the Ramona books.  Always the Ramona books.

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Painting our fireplace.  Can you believe it??  I had a bit of energy one recent Saturday afternoon, and the girls were playing nicely so I went for it (Pat had to spend a couple hours helping me finish later that night).  Like most of my DIY projects, I prioritized Just Doing It over doing it just right.  And it shows.  Kind of scary with something so permanent.  . . . Common wisdom is to mix latex paint and water 50/50.  I didn’t add enough water so it went on thicker than I expected.  I might go back and even it out later.  But I’m happy I did it.  Hoping eventually to order a mantle like The Nester’s.  Possibly these guys could make it.

Before:

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After:

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I cleaned the sooty areas of the brick with Scrubbing Bubbles, which worked well, as you can see here (right side washed left side not):

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Watching nothing in particular since we finished the last episode of Dark Matter on Netflix. . .

Watched a few episodes of “World’s Worst Chef” on Netflix and it was entertaining. . . .

I checked out the 2010 movie adaptation of Ramona and Beezus from the library.  The girls have watched it a couple times and, from what I can see, it’s pretty good.  Not great, but pretty good.  . . .I have fond memories of the PBS television series made in 1988 from the Ramona books, starring Sarah Polley.  As far as I can tell, the only way to get them now is to find the VHS copies that pop up on eBay.

They’ve also watched the newer, live action Charlotte’s Web movie.  It’s been ages since I read the book, so I don’t remember how close it hews, but I like it. . . . Recently I watched Big Eyes with Amy Adams (apparently a true story with a fun Tim Burton style) and Philomena with Judi Dench (also based on a true story, not sure how accurate).  Thought they were both good.

Cooking very very basic, boring meals:

Spaghetti and meat sauce (browned ground beef with a jar of marinara sauce),

frozen chicken breasts stuck in the oven at 400 with some baby carrots and bottled Italian dressing drizzled on top

beef stew (browned stew beef, chopped onion, baby carrots, simmered in a crock pot or on the stove with beef broth, worcestershire, and tomato paste),

Sometimes I’ll fry a steak. . . .  We still have pounds and pounds of beef in the deep freeze from the half a cow we bought from some rancher friends.

Tacos

Chili

*snore*

Shopping online.  Subscribe and Save from Amazon works for a lot of staple household products.  I order peanut butter from Soap.com (aka Diapers.com . . . a subsidiary of Amazon but for some reason with better prices on Smucker’s creamy naturay).  Some supplements from Vitacost.  And I just finished Christmas shopping for the girls at Jet.com.  It’s interesting seeing how Jet compares with Amazon.  The prices are often better, though the selection isn’t as big.  Also, the shipping is really fast and the web interface is very clean and less overwhelming than Amazon’s.

Still pondering what to name this little guy inside me.

Feeling huge.  I fear this baby will be BIG.  Girl 1 was 7.5 pounds.  Girl 2 was 8.5 pounds.  See where this is headed??

Hoping you all have a lovely week and a fun Halloween!  And that you don’t mind all the affiliate links in this post.

Third Tri[mester]’s the Charm

Hello Friends, How have you been?

I’ve been . . .

Feeling tired but better the last few weeks since realizing (a) I need to keep taking my Floradix iron supplement and (b) need to be drinking a LOT more water.  Those two changes, plus a few trips to the chiropractor, and I’m feeling better than I was most of the second trimester.  Not what I was expecting!

Leading a more Luddite life. I’v removed almost all apps from my phone, and removed my primary email account from my phone too.  And the laptop is in a separate room from the main living area.  Overall it feels good, calmer.

Eating So Delicious chocolate coconut milk “ice cream” because dairy seems to give me heartburn.  It really is delicious.

Watching my sugars, because my blood glucose levels are a little high (although often I felt more like they were low . . . I don’t know what’s going on).  So, I try to make sure to watch as the coconut ice cream disappears . . . . Ha ha.

Also watching Dark Matter on Netflix.  Somehow it’s holding my interest, even though I’m such a snob and it’s all I can do to keep from commenting every other minute about how dumb the dialogue is.  (It’s a lot like Firefly, which I also enjoyed despite myself.)  It’s fun to have a show Pat and I can watch together in the evenings.  For a little while there it was Rehab Addict but we quickly got through the one season Netflix has.

Reading A Walk in the Woods, about a guy who tries to hike the Appalachian Trail.  I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought, especially the first half, which made me frequently laugh out loud.  I’m wondering how the movie is?  I don’t see enough material in there for a movie, but I’m curious  . . . . Now I’m reading Mere Christianity.  Is it heresy to say I’m finding C.S. Lewis a little priggish, or something?  I’m not feeling it.  Also about to start I Believe in Love–about the saint I don’t get.

Wearing maternity leggings and a dress or tunic (I have about five of them).  Every day.  So simple.  Again, much better than the second trimester, when it was too hot to wear leggings.  I’m trying to forget the outfits I wore this summer.

Also wearing Superga sneakers in a gray/silvery color.  Every year around this time I look for the perfect shoe and wind up with something in some garish color or another.  Glad I avoided that trap this year.

Singing “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,” because Girl 1 just lost hers.  She listened intently and then exclaimed, “But that’s not all I want!”

Preoccupied with this house.  I have a list titled, “Things That Will Drive Me Crazy If Not Done Before the Baby Arrives.”  “We” are making good progress.  Meaning, Pat asks me every weekend and most evenings, “What do you want me to do now?” . . . I feel like all my creative energy is going into this house–and this baby.  Haven’t felt much like writing lately, although I do miss it.

Here’s some of the good:

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remember the before for this room?

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the bad and the ugly

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The fireplace will look nice once I get around to whitewashing it (kind of like Jill’s, maybe a little whiter), don’t you think?

Laughing at the positions I find Barbies scattered around the house every day. They’re usually in various stages of undress though so it’s a little . . . inappropriate.

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Struggling with insomnia.  It helps if I stay off of computer screens and my phone in the evenings.  So with that . . . good night and thanks for reading!

(I’ll link up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes, even though I’ve got more than seven here.)

Friday Quick Takes: Lots of New Additions!

And lots of blue, because . . .

1. We are having a BOY!

2. We bought a HOUSE!  Closed this morning.

3. We also recently got a RABBIT, our first family pet (and she’s very much alive–ha ha . . .)

The girls LOVE the bunny.  The bunny tolerates the girls.

The girls LOVE the bunny. The bunny tolerates the girls.

4. There’s a bunch of work we* need to do on the house before we move in.  Right now, it’s full of potential, and I’m dreaming of white walls with wood  accents and lots of light and space.  Ahhh, space.

* We = Pat.

5. I’m 100% absolutely positively sure our house soon will look like this:

via Pinterest

6. Right now, it’s looking more like this:

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Not kind of like this.  Exactly like this.  As in, this is the house we bought today.  I now own a blue toilet and shower.  And lots of potential.

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

Friday link love

Some serious, most not . . . .

I’m coming across news articles and little tidbits I want to discuss with you, but I never remember them. . . . Until now.  I really hope these links work.  Let me know if they don’t work.

1. This article is about a young woman who was diagnosed with autism at age 21. **The Wall Street Journal link isn’t working–here’s another article about the same person**   Because she was “high functioning,” it took until college for someone to figure out what was going on.  She describes feeling relieved at the diagnosis, because she no longer feels a need to strain to be normal.  . . . It’s a tricky thing because of course a parent does want his kid to have autism, but you want your kid to have all the resources she can. . . . AT the same time, with 1 in 68 people having autism, is it really a disorder?  Or, at higher-functioning levels is it more a personality type?  And does that distinction matter?

2.. Ann Taylor is being bought out by the company that owns DressBarn.  Weird.  I like reading the Wall Street Journal business section from time to time because it’s fun to learn what’s going on behind the scenes at stores where I shop.  (The full text of the WSJ article isn’t available online, so I’m linking to a different article.)

3. The percentage of African-Americans in law enforcement has remained flat since 2007.  With this and all the related news about the Baltimore riots, etc. etc. . . . it’s so frustrating . . . It’s like no one cares about black men until they get shot by the police.   So many black young people–males especially–are on a life course that’s fundamentally at odds with the law.  And it happens in childhood and many barely have a choice.   And all the hiring quotas and body cameras and police training and whatnot in the world isn’t going to change that.  There’s going to be a tension between young black men and the law so long as so many of them have no real lawful options in life.  Could someone out there talk about this please?

4. On a lighter note, I’m thinking a lot about moving soon and what I’ll do differently.  When I arrange and set up and decorate whatever our next house is, I’m focusing on furniture and window coverings, then rugs and wall hangings, and only after that all the knickknacks.  With the current house, I’ve constantly moved mantle decorations and pictures around, never getting the result I wanted because my curtains and furniture sucked.  . ..  Anyway, I was thinking about all this and then later that day I read a post from The Nester on the exact same point.  . . .This stuff doesn’t come naturally to me but I’m learning! . . . Still, the Nester decorates with a lot more knickknacks than I prefer.  Her pictures make me feel a little crowded.

5. A year or two ago I polled you guys about flesh-toned pantyhose.  Guess what?  They’re officially “back.” Ellen called it: Princess Kate can do no sartorial wrong.

6. I am loving, loving the Bossa Nova station on Pandora.  It’s soothing and at the same time it makes me feel like I’m in an Audrey Hepburn movie.

7. Click over to Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.  Happy weekend!

P.S.  Girl 1 just informed me, “When I grow up I’m going to have five twins!  . . . Their names are going to be Carlos, Carlos, Peg, and Meg!”

Splendid Saturdays

Current obsessions, my living room, and style of romance . . .

1. This has been my view for the last half hour

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2. I finally got my living room looking close to the way I want it.

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3. I’ve been obsessed with mid-century modern design lately.  Obsessed.

4. Being cooped up in my house and my teeny-tiny kitchen for months, my obsessing moved on from home decorating to home renovations.  (But now I think maybe we should move!  So much to think about!!!)

5. Watching Property Brothers continually hasn’t helped.  It’s now Girl 1’s favorite show.  Asked what she likes best about it, she giggled and said,

“Jonathan” [the one on the left].

That’s not scary at all.

6. Last Saturday, Pat entered the living room wearing his tool belt.  Girl 2 exclaimed,

“Daddy!  You look like a MAN!”

Pat didn’t find this *quite* so hilarious as I did.

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7. When your love language is acts of service, the best Valentine’s Day gift ever is a new bathroom ventilation fan.

I’m in love.

Happy weekend everyone.

Click over to Kelly for more Quick Take posts.

 

Should I Stay [in this house] or Should I Go?

and other thoughts at the beginning of the week . . . .

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An’ if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know.

Should I stay or should I go?

Pat and I frequently find ourselves discussing whether we will ever move.  Our mortgage payment is small; so is our house; so is our kitchen.  Fed up with tripping over my family and our belongings, I recently searched for acceptable nearby homes that wouldn’t require a higher mortgage.

Nothing.

So now we daydream about how to make our little starter home more of a forever home.  I watched episode after episode of Property Brothers recently.  Our biggest dilemma is what to do with our poorly-placed staircase.  Could we move it to the back bedroom? Is that wall to the side of it load-bearing?  Or maybe we could extend the kitchen back–merely a matter of, oh, digging new basement stairs.  Child’s play.

We talk as if money is no object.  Of course it is.  But I figure we should dream big and then figure out how to work toward it.  I don’t want to make cheap, little fixes we’ll regret later.

In the mean time, my little one shows signs of pneumonia.  I’m taking her to the doctor first thing in the morning.  I’ve been reading up on natural remedies for asthma and croup and pneumonia and wishing I had tried them earlier.  I did give the girls several grams of Vitamin C a day over the past week.  Maybe it helped Girl 1, but it hasn’t been the miracle for Girl 2 I hoped.

I’ve had soggy-lunged little girls for six years now and I still feel like I’m groping blindly for ways to avoid the thrice-yearly regimen of amoxicillin and oral steroids.  On the bright side, Girl 1 is outgrowing it, so I’m hopeful Girl 2 will also.

But my newly-decorated living room wall makes me happy.

Child's artwork displayed in 8.5 x 11' frames from Target

Child’s artwork displayed in 8.5 x 11′ frames from Target

Put a bird on it

I put a bird on it

So does my mantle, despite the roll of duct tape and miscellaneous loitering on it.

Have a lovely week y’all.

1. I’m Still Alive

2. The kids are sick.

3. I’m 75% done painting our red kitchen taupe.

4. I’ve redecorated our living room (but I’m not kidding myself that I’ll ever be done with that).

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5. Even with the kids being sick, I got so much done today because they played nicely.  All day.  It’s like the most productive day I’ve ever had at home.  I spackled all the holes in our living room walls.  I remarked on how many holes there were and Pat was like, “Yeah . . . those walls make us look like we’re a little . . . sketchy.  Like we’re on the wrong side of the tracks.”

6. Inspired by Kelly, I turned my desk into a makeshift standing desk.  Every time I’m at my laptop I’m standing up.  This might explain why I haven’t blogged much.

7. Today I wore this to adoration in the morning and around the house all day.

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When I started to paint, I changed to this:

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And my Style & the SAHM posts still get steady traffic (not heavy traffic, just steady).

I’m living a lie!!

Happy weekend everyone!

Thanks for hosting 7 Quick Takes, Kelly.

 

Important Princess Kate news, blogging faves & childish obscenities

This Thursday night, I’m linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes (or I will tomorrow, anyway).

Big news in the world of fashion and style: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (nee Kate Middleton), recently made a public appearance wearing a navy blue dress with black stockings and shoes.

Shortly after she appeared wearing a brown dress with black stockings and black shoes.

I don’t think this got nearly the press it should have.  I love navy blue, but it’s always a pain figuring out what shoes to wear with it.  I usually go with brown boots and tights.  Another option is nude pantyhose with nude heels (so much nudity!  I’m blushing!).  But, even though Princess Kate wears nude ‘hose, I’m still inclined to take the majority view that–while okay when necessary–they’re not a great look.

But navy and black I can get behind.

2.  Bonnie over at A Knotted Life hosts this awesome event called the Sheenazing Awards.  In honor of Ven. Fulton Sheen, it’s a way for people to nominated and vote for their favorite Catholic blogs in a variety of categories (there’s also a category for best non-papist blog).

You should check out and vote on the list of nominees and check out some new-to-you blogs while you’re at it.  You can vote for me in the “best under-appreciated blog” category–thank you, all of you (I know there were at least three!) who nominated me!

I feel kind of funny about that category.  Do I think I’m underappreciated?  I want to say, “oh no, I don’t feel underappreciated.”  But maybe I do?  If I do I don’t want to admit it.  I’ll admit that I could stand more appreciation if it were to come my way.  Let’s leave it at that.

3. Most of the bloggers I nominated made it to the list of nominees or honorable mentions, but some didn’t.  That’s likely because I didn’t enter in the blog name and URL correctly on the nomination form.  So, I’d like to give a shout-out to

Jill of Dulce Donum, whom I tried to nominate for Most Inspiring Blog,

Lisa of Joie de Vivre, whom I tried to nominate for Miss Congeniality, and

John Janaro of Never Give Up, whom I tried to nominate for Best Blog by a Man (funny category but it makes sense given blogging is such a female-dominated thing).

4. Bonnie somehow neglected my very favorite genre, that of Catholic Lawyer Mommy Bloggers, which includes these ladies (roughly in the order of how well I know them),

Martha of Shiny Happy Catholics,

Theresa of The Brez Blog (soon to go private, I think?)

The mysterious, anonymous, soul-searchingly honest Law In Mom :-),

Liz of The Gupdate,

Annabelle at Written by the Finger of God,

Renee at Cappedocia in Lowell.

Am I missing anyone?  I hope I’m not missing anyone.

5. I followed The Nester’s advice and “quieted” my living room after removing the Christmas decorations.  I can’t wait to continue redecorating, but for now I’m enjoying the breathing space that all those bare walls give.  I struggle to figure out how much to hang on the walls.  I love clean, minimalist decorating, but I usually feel like we need more decorative stuff to counterbalance all the ugly, everyday junk that accumulates.

I’m looking at you, Mr. Purple-Ed.

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I’m thinking those lamps should be lower, or perhaps moved altogether. The blue couch is for sale on Craigslist anyway.

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Anybody want my impulse-buy Swiss cheese lamp?

Anybody want my impulse-buy Swiss cheese floor lamp?

 

6. A certain auntie is about to get the best thank you card of her life.

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This is what happens when your six-year-old is great at phonics but still can’t distinguish between the “F” and “TH” sounds.

7. Back to you, Kelly.  Happy weekend all!

On Art, Law Firms, and Choosing What You Love

I love Impressionism.  I visited the Met once and was fascinated Monet’s paintings, the way they look like swirls and gobs of paint up close but then coalesce into flowers, bridges, and people as you step back.

At the law firm I worked at in DC, all the new associates got an office decorating allowance.  Most used it to get their law school diplomas framed, but my parents already had done this for me.  Instead I bought a large, framed poster of Monet’s  Le Pont Japonais a Giverny.  From Posters.com.  Sophisticated I was not.

Monet, Le Pont Japonais a Giverny, via

A partner came into my little office and took a long look at the poster.

“You like Monet?” I asked.

“He’s okay,” he replied with a shrug.

Possibly my co-workers considered choice in wall art declassé.

In her book, Redeemed, Heather King describes a law office she worked at in Los Angeles, noting the framed Impressionist prints on the wall.  Her point was that it was an uninspired, backward, soul-stifling place to work,  not the hip, happening environment she was expecting in LA.

Claude Monet – The Walk – Woman with a Parasol, via

Claude Monet, The Seine at Giverny, via

The law office where I worked, my floor anyway, had mainly modern art.  I recall a mustard-hued, abstract painting of intersecting circles hanging outside the conference room.  Somehow, it didn’t inspire me.

Jean-Honore Fragonard, The Swing (not an Impressionist but similar, I think)

I am running out of wall space in our house.  Possibly my decor personality is Granny-chic.  Possibly that’s because I buy most of my wall art at the thrift store and at rummage sales.  Unfortunately, they often come in glaring brass frames.

Eugène Boudin, Washerwomen on the Beach of Etretat, via

But I don’t care, because Impressionism makes me happy.

****

Linking up with Heather, because that makes me happy too, and because these are five of my favorites of the prints that hang on my walls.

Five of My Favorite Things, Vol. III

I’m back again at Hallie’s fun new link-up over at Moxie Wife and sharing five of my favorite things.  Please excuse my funky formatting and font size.  I’ve just about had it with this Word Press template.

  • Foyle’s War: A  BBC police detective series that takes place during WWII.  Shows what wartime was like for the British and the implications of enforcing a  rule of law during wartime.   But, as one reviewer on Netflix puts it well:

I believe the real reason we love the series is Foyle himself.   He wears well.   He doesn’t say much, but when you get to know him you realize how much rectitude, honor, dignity and civility he has.  Of course, he’s sharp as a tack, too, and always gets to the bottom of it.  But it’s the character of Foyle, who “foils” crime and stands for justice that we admire.

  • This painting:

    Fritz von Uhde 1848 – 1911 Let the children come to me

  • Little curly top (so hard to get a good picture because she’s always moving!):  IMG_1694

Blue and white china, especially Spode “Blue Italian,” which Pat and I registered for and received for our wedding.  (Pioneer Woman uses it too!)  Also, Royal Copenhagen (in my dreams, $$$$$).  But I love just about any blue and white china.  

  • Royal Copenhagen china

     

  • Independent fashion bloggers.  I’ve only recently wandered outside my warm little Fine Linen & Purple “What I Wore Sunday” community and stumbled across the wide wide world of fashion blogs.  Gotta admit, I’m a little weirded out by how many people are out there in their driveways, looking dreamily at the pavement and standing pigeon-toed in front of a camera on self-timer.  (I do basically the same thing, and I’m weirded out by myself each time.  So no judgment here.)  But really it’s refreshing to see so many lovely, real ladies looking pretty and confident, when the fashion industry would have us all think we can be attractive only if we are 6 feet tall and 90 pounds and look 16 years old.

Thanks, Hallie, for hosting this fun link up!!