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 . . . .

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(*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.

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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.

thoughts deep and heavy, like the snow . . .

It’s 4:45 on a Friday morning, and I can’t sleep and I’m thinking about . . .

1. This phrase:

Be kind

The tricky thing is when “everyone” includes your husband and his hard battle is living with you.

2. Um, and you with him.

The oatmeal: “why working at home is both awesome and horrible” (rated R)

3. Co-parenting is hard, yo?*  Pat and I recently ‘fessed up to the fact that we each do okay with the kids on our own, and we do okay with each other without the kids, but trying to deal with the kids together drives us up the wall.

4. And in my moods where I tie life the universe and everything together metaphysically while preparing the girls’ fifth snack of the morning, I think . . . marriage and co-parenting are so hard that, no wonder people don’t do it as much, in a society where marriage isn’t required for (a) men to get sex and (b) women to have financial security and children.  At the same time, I mean, I like living at a time when I could support myself and where single mothers aren’t ostracized and marginalized.

Anyway.

5. On a related note, here’s this short article, about the role government played in the crumbling of black families, and how that fits in with the lingering spiritual ramifications of slavery.

Oh yikes, heavy.

6. This article by Dave Barry was funny: The Greatest (Party) Generation.

Dave Barry, “The Greatest (Party) Generation”

I don’t know how accurate it is, but I like his point that

We modern parents. . . rarely pause to celebrate the way our parents did because we’re too busy parenting. We never stop parenting. We are all over our kids’ lives—making sure they get whatever they want, removing obstacles from their path, solving their problems and—above all—worrying about what else will go wrong, so we can fix it for them. . . .

Yes, we’ve gotten really, really good at parenting. This is fortunate, because for some inexplicable reason a lot of our kids seem to have trouble getting a foothold in adult life, which is why so many of them are still living with us at age 37.

They’re lucky they have us around.

7. I dread errands where I have to get the kids bundled up, into the car, then out of the car into a public place with lots of havoc to be wrought, then back in the car again.  Just with two kids, it’s a pain (especially when the process throws my back out), and I love M.T.’s witty post about doing it with four: Dear Navy Federal, Get a Drive-Through.

Click back to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more Quick Takes. Thanks for hosting Kelly!

* I mean in the strictly literal sense, of parenting along with the other parent, not just where the parents are divorced or separated.

Splendid Saturdays

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

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

sledding

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

livingroom

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.

 

If I were born 100 years earlier, I would have been a nun.

. . . and what contraception, the vocations crisis, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, and Fifty Shades of Gray all have to do with each other.  Read all about it at The Mirror.

Actually, I just looked it up and Virginia Woolf was born almost exactly 100 years earlier than I.  You’ll have to read the article to see why that’s significant.  (If at all; I think it is.)

Sometimes I have those bursts of mania brilliance where everything is alll connected.

Lucky for you, this time I wrote it down. 😉

 

Marriage to an INTJ

In which I critique my husband’s personality.

1. Pat’s birthday and our anniversary are around this time of year.  Lately I’ve been thinking about how much Myers-Briggs helps me understand him.  We’ve known each other for 14 years, been a couple for about 12, been married for 8.  And only now, I’m getting to the point–with certain traits–where I realize, “This is just who you are.  I’m not going to change it.  I don’t need to change it.”  (I’m a person with many pet peeves.  Lucky Pat.)

So first of all:

INTJ is one of the two rarest of the MB personality types, which makes me suspicious whenever someone calls himself INTJ.

For the record, Pat took the official test for work (the type you actually have to pay for).  He got the results and was like, “Okay, whatever,” as was I.  At the time, neither of us knew anything about the MBTI.  It wasn’t until several years later, when I started learning about Myers Briggs, that I looked back at his results, saw “INTJ” and thought, “Aha!”

So, just sayin’.

Here are some facts (or likely facts) about INTJs that I’ve come to accept:

2.

INTJs do not love broadly.  They love specifically and intensely.

Thanks for picking me, hon!

3.

Dark blue represents areas of the INTJ brain that are most active (ie need little stimuli before use). Light purple represents areas of the brain that needs a lot of stimuli before use. White areas represent areas where little activity goes on until a LOT of stimuli is present.

We both got a kick out of this one.  I have no idea how scientific this is, but it’s fairly accurate as far as I can tell.  Except that Pat’s “factual recall” is good.  Aesthetic recall . . . yeah, no.

Also these:

 

 

4.

 

I treat people exactly how I want to be treated.  I leave them the hell alone.

 

Fortunately, I’m never on the receiving end of the following trait (because of #2, above), nor is anyone in our immediate family.  The rest of the world, be forewarned.

As an empathetic people-pleaser, I have trouble with this one.   But I’m learning the value of not giving a care what people think.

5.  Similarly:

 

Therefore, if we’re going to do something social, I usually need to plan it (even though I’m on the introverted side, too).

 

6.

This isn’t really true, but kinda/ sorta true.  And funny.

 

7.  Finally, fortunately, Pat has found his career niche in software development and data science.  No surprise there!  He loves creating and mastering complex systems.

INTJ because that death ray isn't going to invent itself.

I found this chart recently.   See the list for INTJs?  Whaddya know?

 

Is there an INTJ in your life?  Or has Myers Briggs helped you understand a significant other?   And did you or he/she choose a career that matches your type according to the chart above?  Do tell.

. . . linking up with our favorite INTP, Jen, for 7 Quick Takes.

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!

Marital Bliss in the Land of the Walking Dead

1. This post was supposed to be all about how I’ve turned over a new leaf in life. For the past four weeks I’ve focused on balancing my hormones, reducing stress, and practicing awareness. I’ve cut out coffee (again), done yoga and deep breathing, and cut down big time on my internet usage.

And then.

2. I was up with one or both of the girls last “night” from 3 am on. I won’t bore you the details, except

MY CHILDREN HATE SLEEP!
WHY DO THEY HATE TO SLEEP?
WHY WHY MUST THEY HATE SLEEP SO?

WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT SLEEP?

WHY WHY WHY MEEEEEEEEEEE?

3. The 2-year-old woke up for good at 5-friggin’-thirty (daylight savings time!!!!)  asking for “num num” and “watch Pooh.” I gave her milk and then tried to get her back to bed until the five-year old woke up.

Fine. Whatever.  Everyone’s watching Winnie the Pooh.  Is it a matinée or the late late late show?  Who cares?

I roused Pat and left for my adoration hour.

4.  But first I stopped for a Dunkaccino.  I’d been so good for all those weeks and I felt like a zombie and I just needed a Dunkaccino.

5.  And then my day seemed to turn around.  Around 7:30 am the sunlight came in through the window and streamed down on the monstrance, and it was a heavenly sight of gold and light.  I came home energized and upbeat with a spring in my step.  (Nothing like going off caffeine for 3 weeks to make a Dunkaccino real effective).

A few hours later . . .

6.  I went into Pat’s office to make a joke about the sleeping situation and 0.3 seconds later it turned into an exhaustion-fueled, sugar-crash induced argument about how to solve the non-sleeping nature of our household at night.

Relationship experts often say to use “I” statements when you argue.  Avoid accusations.  Just describe how you think and feel.  This, supposedly, is less combative.

That’s a bunch of crock.  I’ve tried it.

Honey, sweetie pie.  Whenever you open your mouth I just feel like I married a mean, arrogant jerk.

This just pisses them off.

7.  The better advice: just let your spouse win.  Let him be right, even if you know he’s wrong.

And that’s what I did.

After several rounds of arguing, I rose above, took my lumps, and let Pat have his way.  We’re trying his half-baked plan tonight.

He’ll get up with the girls all night.

Jerk face.

 

 

{Linking up with Jen!}

To My Husband, On Our Anniversary: A Song You Hate

I wanted this song for our first dance at our wedding, seven years ago plus a few days (go ahead and listen while you read this; sorry about the ad):

Pat adamantly disagreed:

“You could have just as easily been someone else??”  What is that, a threat?

I had trouble explaining why this song touched me so much.  After seven years, I understand a bit more.

We met when we were eighteen and nineteen.  I think about all the other people I knew at that time.  Some I’ve stayed in touch with, most I haven’t.  But with one–just one–I share a home, a family, a life.

At eighteen, I didn’t really know anything about anything.  Yet I knew almost right away that I would marry you (though we didn’t actually marry until six years later).  How the heck could I have known whom to spend the rest of my life with?   In that sense, you could have been “anyone at all.”  Somehow, though, I made the perfect choice.

Funny how I feel more myself with you
Than anybody else that I ever knew
I hear it in your voice, see it in your face
You’ve become the memory I can’t erase

You could have been anyone at all
A stranger falling out of the blue
I’m so glad it was you

“It wasn’t in the plan.”  I wasn’t out to find a husband, not for a long time.  But God’s timing turned out to be better than mine.

 I’m not very romantic.  I never had a euphoric, crazy-in-love stage where everything felt perfect and you seemed perfect.  I was aware of your faults almost from the beginning (perhaps because they aren’t many).  Were you aware of all mine?  Probably not.  Just as well; you sure do now!  But even when you annoyed me, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that we were supposed to be together.

It wasn’t in the plan, not that I could see
Suddenly a miracle came to me
Safe within your arms, I can say what’s true
Nothing in the world I would keep from you

So honey, thank you for seven wonderful years, and here’s hoping for seventy more.  And even though you hate it, this song’s for you.  I’m so glad it was you.

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The Next Step in the Dance, A Review

Has anyone else heard this song:

and thought, “Wow, he’s singing about me?”

I think the song also could be about Colette, the protagonist of Tim Gautreaux’s novel, The Next Step in the Dance.

 I started the book the Sunday before last and finished sometime around 3 a.m. the following Tuesday.  What a gem.  It’s not often that I give two books in a row five stars on Goodreads, but that’s what happened with this and Corelli’s Mandolin.

The Next Step In the Dance,

tells the tale of Paul and Colette . . . struggling to make it in rural south Louisiana. When Colette, fed up with small town life, perceives yet another indiscretion by the fun-loving Paul, she heads for Los Angeles, with big dreams and Paul in tow. Paul’s attempts to draw his beautiful young wife back home to the Cajun bayou, and back to his heart, make up a tale filled with warmth, devotion and majestically constructed scenes of Southern life.

I’m not into love stories in a big way.  I’ve never read any of Nicholas Sparks’ books and I suspect I would hate them.  This is a love story, however, and yet I love it.  More than about luuuuurve, though, it’s about marriage, about two very flawed people who overcome great odds (eventually) to make it work.

Mostly the books is about Colette’s flaws, how she painfully overcomes them, and Paul’s perseverance in winning her back.  It kind of reminds me of another hard-headed woman and this love story:

which I always will love.  But upon watching it as an adult I lost a bit of respect for Gilbert.  Should he really have put up with quite so much crap from Anne?  And should Paul have put up with quite so much crap from Colette?  I don’t know, but I’m glad they did.

Highly recommended for those who are interested in: love, marriage, Southern literature, Louisiana, Cajun culture, and machines.  (Paul is a machinist and a great many boat propellers and boilers and such are described in great detail.  I must admit I skimmed over those parts.)

I’m joining the “What We’re Reading Wednesday” link-up today, hosted by Jessica at Housewifespice. Thanks Jessica!!