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.

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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.

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:

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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.

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

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

One win and four near misses.

Oh Stitch Fix, it’s not you; it’s me.

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

They delivered!  They really did!

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

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

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

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

[ Also: Stefano Furiani ballet flats from Crocs]

Verdict:  Returning both.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Necklace from Amazima Ministries, gift from my sister

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

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

Takeaway:

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

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

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

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

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

Friday Link Love June 5, 2015, Plus More About the Duggars

1. I enjoyed John Janaro’s post about his lovely family and about learning the value of being there for your family, even if you can’t do all the things you’d like to.

2. I’m excited for Ben & Anna Hatke’s summer in Italy, isn’t that picture of Anna and her girls the sweetest?  And I think Anna has her capsule wardrobe down to a science.

3. Also, I appreciated Erica’s post, sharing her experience with postpartum depression, especially her insight that “Looking back, I know that I should’ve talked to my doctor about postpartum depression. But when I was in the thick of it, I couldn’t make proper decisions for myself.”

4.  Pat and I have moving on our minds, and he mentioned a hilarious skit from Portlandia about a pair of movers who use a bicycle instead of a truck.  Ridiculous, right?  Except that, in Portland, it’s actually a thing.

This news clip is almost as funny as the Portlandia sketch (which is not available on YouTube).  At about point 1:07  in the video, a guy says something to the effect of, “When it’s just two guys and a truck, it takes hours, but if you have sixty-nine people with bicycles, it only takes a matter of minutes.”

I mean, yeah, if I had that many people helping me move, it would going pretty quickly even if we did it on foot!

5. Caroline’s post about the Duggars and Gothard Institute got me thinking more on the subject.

My impression is that a lot of Catholics are inclined to support the Duggars.  The Duggars don’t use birth control and they homeschool and they support traditional marriage.  So their belief system seems similar, on the surface, to Catholicism.  I never watched their show much or read their books, but I think I had that general inclination too.

As I’ve read various things about Bill Gothard  and his Institute, and the Duggars’ connections to it, I became more inclined not to think of the Duggars as part of “my team.”  This was the case even before the scandal broke, although I didn’t follow the show much so it wasn’t an important issue for me.

The Duggars are not “my people.”  Well, I can’t say that about them personally because I don’t know them.  But that whole school of thinking, which they seem to subscribe to, is not “my side.”

I think about this because my natural tendency is to rally around people I think of as “my side.” It’s an ISFJ thing, but a lot of people have the same tendency.  Take politics, for example.  It’s easy to think of Republicans as good guys and Democrats as bad guys (or vice versa!).

More and more, though, I see that we’re all just weak and fallen and we all have the potential to be good or bad guys, and to switch from one to the other depending on the choices we make on given day.

It’s normal to rally around and give the benefit of the doubt to someone we have a personal relationship with.  But it’s better to be cautions about doing the same with someone we don’t know, if even they seem to have all the right boxes checked.

And what I’m trying to get at here is that reality t.v. is not a good ministry tool.

The Duggars are poor poster children for Christianity.  (I’m sure they said all sorts of things like, “Oh we’re not perfect.”  But come on.)  For that matter, though, which of us is a poster child for Christianity?  (By which I do not mean to imply, as some have, that sexual abuse is no worse than any other sin.)  It’s dangerous to put ourselves in poster-children shoes.  We should “let our light shine” but keep it on a more personal level.  And we should be careful about putting others on a pedestal.

There’s a good reason the Catholic Church doesn’t canonize people until they’re dead!

6. Oh dear, so much has been written about this poor person already, but I like Pia deSolenni’s post on Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner’s cover photo in Vanity Fair: “[T]he cover photo suggests that a woman’s identity is based on whether she’s able to arouse a man. And it’s not original in that regard.”

7. I enjoyed Rachel’s post about morning sickness, because just the other day, my chiropractor asked me, “Have you tried ginger?” when I told him I’ve been nauseous.  Being the people pleaser I am, I told him I would give ginger yet another try.

And yes, actually, I am pregnant!  I never know how to announce it, so here it is, a little bonus 8th quick take for those who stuck it through my diatribe about the Duggars.  Baby #3 will arrive in early- to mid-December.  We’ll find out in late July whether it’s Girl 3 or Boy 1.  The girls are very excited.  Girl 1 is insistent that it’s a boy, and that we’re naming him Joseph Henken. (??)  She also tells me, “Wow Mommy, your tummy is already just as big as it can be!”

Have a lovely weekend.  If you need to find me, I’ll probably be on the couch.  Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.