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. 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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

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!

The Duggar Disaster and What Their Real Tragedy Is

 and why reality t.v. is evilFail

Jim Bob and Michelle, why the hell did you allow your children to become national celebrities when you knew this skeleton was in your family’s closet?  That’s what I can’t wrap my mind around.

A victim of sexual abuse should never have his or her identity as such made public except by her own choice to make it public.  Those girls had no choice in whether they were on that show (I mean, maybe they had a family discussion about it, but does anyone really think they had any real choice?), and now they have no choice about the fact that millions of people know about that terrible, painful, embarrassing** experience in their past.

And Joshua Duggar, if he’s repented and reformed and come clean the way he says he has–he really should be able to move on with his life.  He shouldn’t have his name dragged through the mud now.  But, because of a choice his parents made for him, everyone will know about this shameful sin of his past, no matter where he goes.  And his wife and children will suffer terribly too.

I’ve read a lot of opinions (as much as I try not to) about–oh, is he so bad?  Has he repented?  Should everyone forgive and forget?  “He was young and we all sin and he’s repented.”   Or, “sexual abuse is different from other sin, and he didn’t really have any counseling, and he hasn’t really had to repent.”  My sense is it’s somewhere in the middle–a fourteen-year-old doing incestuous stuff is messed up and needs serious, serious therapy and punishment.  But he’s not necessarily the same as adult pedophiles, who are basically non rehabilitatable.  But confused boys growing up in repressed environments and/or who are perhaps too close with “family friends” who turn out to be child pornographers . . . those boys can turn into non rehabilitatable adult pedophiles.

I don’t know.  It’s none of my business to know what’s really gone on with him.

But what we all do know is that the Duggars’ show started in 2008, and they knew all this had gone down in 2002.  Maybe the media is hypocritical and anti-Christian and the media’s really the party at fault here (I don’t think so) but no one should be surprised that the tabloid press tried to dig up some dirt on the poor, pious Duggars.  They should have seen it coming.  And they shouldn’t have done the show.

Whenever you get more than two moms together, soon enough somebody’s going to throw around the phrase “parenting fail.”  I cringe a bit when I hear my friends say it because whatever little mistake (if that) they’re referring to is never, ever, anything close to failure.

But this: this was a parenting fail by Jim Bob and Michelle.  I can’t imagine what would cause parents to subject their children to this risk other than incredibly stupid naiveté or severe greed, or both.

And another thing: even if a family doesn’t have a skeleton this bad in their closet, there’s no guarantee that they won’t.  There’s no insurance against your children doing terrible things.

That’s the thing with reality t.v.: it seeks out people who are messed up and need a whole lot of outside affirmation.   And even if the people on reality t.v. aren’t messed up to begin with, the fame messes them up, the way fame seems to do, and then they’re already in the public eye for everyone to scrutinize their failings.

I’m not giving up my HGTV any time soon, but for the most part, reality t.v. is evil.  And other ways people make celebrities of themselves are dangerous too.  I feel kind of uncomfortable about this blog.  Not many people read it, but I make it available to everyone.  I even make certain attempts to get more people to read this.

I think, if we make certain parts of our lives public, we need to be sure to keep our private lives private, especially the personal lives of our children, who have no choice in the matter.   I’m pretty sure I’m on the safe side of the line, but . . . it’s something I need to reevaluate often.

If TLC ever comes knocking at my door wanting to make a show about my life, please remind me I wrote this.

(Just don’t hold your breath.  😉

** A victim doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of but I’m sure it’s embarrassing nonetheless.

The Tiny Documentary and Unfulfilled Childhood

It’s a little . . . dangerous?  presumptuous?  arrogant? judgmental? . . . yes, judgmental . . . to write about what you think is wrong about someone else.  But if the person made a documentary about himself and publicized it to the world does that make it less bad?  If you think so, you can read my thoughts on the documentary, Tiny: A Story About Living Small over at the Mirror.

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.

Would you let your daughter enter a pageant?

Mommy, I don’t want to be a ballerina anymore.”

“Okay, sweets, what do you want to be?”

“I want to be a princess.”

“Well then, you’d better marry a prince,” I thought but didn’t say.

Not until a week later did it strike me:

Maybe she means she wants to be a beauty queen.

. . . .

Read my thoughts on the matter at The Mirror and let me know yours.

DUNLAP HAROLD

My Outside-the-Lines Child Growing Up

Sweet Girl 1, you matured so much this summer.IMG_6761

You learned to ride a bike.

You taught yourself to whistle.

You taught yourself to snap your fingers.

You can put your hair in a ponytail by yourself.

You persevered in swim lessons, even though you didn’t want to put your face in.

You conquered your fears and took an airplane ride and discovered it was fun.

You attended vacation Bible school and enthusiastically participated in the songs, crafts, and games.  You loved learning about Jesus.

IMG_6763

You play with your little sister.  You watch out for her.  You treat her tenderly (most of the time).  She worships the ground you walk on.  She never wants to be away from you.  She wants to be you.

IMG_6741

 

You can draw in the lines.

You can draw in the lines.

 IMG_6762

 

I like to think of you as my outside-the-lines child.  I hope you always will march to the beat of your own drum.

Drawing in the lines, though, gives you so much satisfaction.  You take joy in making beautiful works of art.

IMG_6760

As your skills increase, your frustration decreases.  You can focus so much longer now on a project.  You take pleasure and enjoyment in your work.  (And I’m grateful for Montessori’s insight that a child’s play is really her work.)

You have become more capable, more focused, and more independent.

IMG_6759

Being your mommy now involves less headache and more heartache.  My heart aches at your beauty, inside and out.  My heart aches because you are not really mine.  You are on loan to me from Someone who loves you even more than I do.

Sweet five-year-old girl.

I Don’t Like Being A Mom, And That’s Okay

A friend once asked me point blank, “Do you like being a mom?”  I found myself at a loss for words.  I love love my children more than life itself.  They are a precious gift and raising them is my top priority.  But do I like being a mom?

Not really.

Read all about it at The Mirror and let me know what you think.