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.

What’s Saving My Life in this season of cold & the plague

And how a 1990s sitcom prepared me for Lent . . . .

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy has a great link up idea–“what’s saving my life.”  

Even though most of us can easily articulate what’s killing us, few of us pay attention to what’s giving us life.

We’ve had a sickness that just won’t end and has taken a variety of forms: cold for Girl 1, croup –> pneumonia for Girl 2, sinusitis for Pat and me + bronchitis for me.  So we’ve been cooped up and miserable, but these things have made it a bit less miserable:

1. Essential oils diffused in this diffuser.  I don’t know whether they actually do anything, although inhaled lavender oil has been shown to reduce asthma symptoms in mice.  They sure smell nice, though, which makes me feel better.  And they don’t give me a headache like cheap, chemically scented candles.

2. Neti Pot–for when I wake up with a headache and don’t know why.  Whaddya know?  It’s impacted snot.  Nothing like infusing your nostrils with salt water.  Hurts so good.

3. Down comforter–I got the warmest one I could find and “gave it to Pat” for Christmas.  It’s warmer even than the 4 or so mismatched regular comforters we had piled up on the bed.  Pricey, but oh so worth it.  Pat runs cold at night and he sleeps a lot better now.

4. Plush mattress pad–now I sleep better at night with this.  We have an extra firm mattress, which we bought relying on the common wisdom that firm mattresses are good for your back.  Eight years later, I found myself sleeping more comfortably on the couch.  When I slept on the bed, I felt more sore in the morning than in the evening.  Guess what?  Firm mattresses aren’t so good for bad backs.  There’s even a study to prove it.

5. Friends Season One--I get nostalgic watching this show even though I’ve never watched it much before.  And I think it’s more than a lingering fondness for crushed velour, turtlenecks, and the Rachel. Last night it hit me–that first season was filmed in 1994.  That’s over 20 years ago.  Twenty years ago. Last night I watched it and thought about how quickly life passes by and how close we are to death.

And that, my friends, was my segue into Ash Wednesday and Lent.  Never saw that coming.

Remember man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.

What’s saving your life this cold cold winter?

I’m linking up with Call Her Happy for Five Favorites, and I’ll link up with Modern Mrs. Darcy when she does the link up again.

I’m thinking about . . .

1. The Synod.  But I haven’t read the “working document,” or whatever it is, yet.  So, I’m trying not to spout off opinions.  Not too many, anyway . . . .

2. Joannie’s post on the same topic, and especially what she says here:

[O]ver the past six years I’ve worked with a lot of people.  I’ve encountered the human heart.  Fresh out of grad school, I was armed with the Catechism and the Summa and I was ready to beat Church teaching into every soul and mind.  Now I’m still armed with those treasures, but I’m ready to propose it.  Just as God does.  I’ve encountered a weak and frail humanity that needs love and care and healing.  It needs the Truth.  But it is too wounded to be beaten further.  It needs to be loved.

3. Gradualism, as in Sr. Theresa’s story here and Caleh’s story.  Especially Caleh’s story.  It’s been in the back of my mind ever since I read it a while ago and it is so relevant now.

4. How it’s easy for me, having lived my whole life in a protected bubble of  security, to forget how much the American family has changed.  For the worse, and children are the ones who suffer the most.  This really hit home for me the one year I practiced “family” law.  What is the right approach for people who haven’t had a stable marriage in their ancestry for generations?

And how do you keep from “being so eager to bring lost sheep into the fold that we shove out the sheep already here,” leaving them to feel like suckers?  As Caleh puts it, “the Church IS for everyone…not just for those of us who happen to sin the trendy way.”

5. I think Pope Francis gets it.  He emphasized that it takes courage to marry and have a family.

It’s a bit off-topic but, I love this little anecdote:

[Pope Francis] told the story of a woman who said her son was in his 30s, had a girlfriend, but wouldn’t get married.

“I told her, ‘Ma’am, stop ironing his shirts,'” the pope said.

6.  I really like this picture, even though it reminds me of the Jehovah’s Witnesses tracts my piano teacher kept in her music room.  I don’t know where it comes from.  I can’t read the artist’s signature.  Anyone know?  It’s called “Adoration,” by David Bowman.

Jesus with little girl

Adoration, by David Bowman

7. Speaking of people who “get it.” Kelly does.  Why am in bed, using my laptop to browse blogs, when I spent the entire day looking forward to going back to sleep?  There’s a constant tension between sleep-time and me-time.

Happy weekend everyone. Click over to Jen’s for more quick takes.

Laura’s Very Exciting Life

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

Happy Friday folks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!}

[I Will] Own the Night, New Year’s Reflections Part 3

After all the tantalizing lead up (here and here), now is the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the moment when I reveal my New Year’s Resolution:

No more internet

After 8 p.m.

Except e-mail and Netflix

Except Friday and Saturday nights.

I started Wednesday night, and it feels so weird.  I can’t count the number of times a thought crossed my mind and I turned to look it up but then stopped myself.  I kind of felt in withdrawal.

My evening was so peaceful, though.  It was quieter, too, without that loud flushing sound that I usually hear at night as my time goes down the toilet.

The big downside of this resolution is that I will have less time for writing this blog.  I’m sad about this because I do enjoy it.  My perspective is a bit different than Lizzie’s in that I feel like the time I spend blogging is well spent.  It’s certainly much better spent than time I used to spend on Facebook.  I know not many people read my blog, and I know I’m not doing much to improve the lives of those that do.  Somehow, though, just getting my thoughts on (virtual) paper is valuable to me.  I have way too much swimming around in my head and writing some of it down is therapeutic.  Also, I would like to be a writer in some capacity other than just a legal one, although I don’t have anything specific in mine.  Blogging is the simplest starting point I can think of, and sharing my blog with a readership beyond just friends and family is a part of that.  I (certainly!) don’t obsess about style and grammar but I think I’m gradually improving.

But.  But. But.

I can’t seem to write blog posts at night (which is usually when I find the time) without first reading all the new posts from the blogs in my blog reader (that number increases every week).  And then I read things that they link to.  And then I Google a random thought that comes to me.  And then I check to see whether that thingamajiggy is on Amazon (of course it is).  And then I check to see if anyone has posted anything on Pinterest in the last ten mintues.  And then . . .

Lizzie might have used this in her New Year’s resolution post, but I swear I thought of it first.

Yeah.

So right now I’m writing this in Word.   It’s 10:15 p.m.  I’m feeling tired so I’ll end this and turn out the light.  I’ll copy and paste it into WordPress in the morning afternoon.   Maybe I’ll be rested enough to get up and post this before the girls wake up.   Or at least I’ll be well-rested whenever I do wake up.*  My finger is itching, just itching, to click open my web browser, but I’m not gonna do it.

Wish me luck.

* I was neither up before the girls nor well-rested this morning, due to an overabundance of wakeful children in our house last night.  But I did resist the temptation to browse the web.  Surely, surely virtue is its own reward.

A Look at the Bad Old Days: New Year’s Reflections, Part 1

Happy New Year everyone!  I don’t know about you, but Pat and I partied long and hard last night.  We watched not one but two episodes of Foyle’s War on Netflix.  (By the way, Foyle could kick Sherlock‘s lily-white, smart ass blindfolded with one hand tied behind his back.)  And, we ate some treats that are Perfect Health Diet compliant in the letter if not quite the spirit of the law.

Queso dip: we ate it with Nut Thins

Sugar-free, gluten free German chocolate fudge bites

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about the past year, how my life is now, and what I need to do to get things where I want to be.  To start off, here is a look at the Dark Ages of my life: around late July or early August of last year.    Girl 1 was 3.5.  Girl 2 was about 6 months, not quite mobile yet, and grumpy as hell about it.  One day I decided to journal my day to figure out just what it was I did all day.  I find it kind of amusing in retrospect, and maybe you will too:

6:30:     Nurse G2 in my bed; she tosses and turns for an hour

7:30: Pat takes G2 out

8:20: P brings G2 in, almost asleep.  Nurse her.  G2 now fully awake.

8:30: G1 awake.  I shower.  G2 cries.  P goes to work

9:00: Dress, do hair, change G2’s diaper, wrangle G1 to the bathroom after she has leaked into her pants and run around bottomless.  Make breakfast and coffee.  G2 screams most of the time.  Check Facebook.

10:10: Movie for G1.  Hold G2 for 25 min while she falls asleep.

10:32: Movie over.  Bribe G1 with juice to be quiet while I put G2 in her crib.  G1 gets into a bag of clothes needing to be returned to the store.  Leaves clean new shirt on dirty floor.

10:44: G2 awake!  Put on a second movie for G1.  Sit down with G2 to get her back to sleep.  No luck.

11:00:  G2 nurses, still in my lap.  G1’s movie is over.  She wants to touch G2 as G2 is nursing.  Coax G1 to go downstairs while I still try to get G2 back to sleep.  Hear G1 get into P’s office.  (Someone left his door open!)

11:10: Give up on getting G2 to sleep.  Put G2 down on playmat.  G2 screams.  Find G1 playing with hard drive and screwdriver in P’s office.  Bring her upstairs.

11:20: G1 and G2 play together on playmate.  Whew!

11:30: Pat home for lunch; Laura goes to chiropractor appointment.  Pat takes over journaling.

G2 cranks and won’t sit in exersaucer.  Carry G2 in one arm while putting spaghetti on.  G2 grabs at dry spaghetti.

11:50: G1 is naked.  Tell her to put on underpants.  G2 pukes on my shirt.

11:55: G1 still naked.  Tell her, again, to put on underpants.

12:00: G1 wearing underpants.  Tell her to put on clothes.  G2 starts cranking in my arms.  Pasta boils over, creating puddle on the stove.

12:05: Still holding G2, cajole G1 into putting on a dress.

12:10: Pasta almost ready.  Forgot to defrost meat sauce.  Put G2 on play mat and ask G1 to snuggle with her.  Catch G1 pushing G2’s face into the floor.

12:15: Pasta ready but meat sauce still defrosting in microwave.

12:20: Stir meat sauce and put back in microwave while G2 screams.

12:28: G1 wolfs down spaghetti.  Strip G2 and put her in Bumbo seat.  Feed G2 a bit of baby food pears.  Takes 7 or 8 tries because of G2’s bobbing around in Bumbo.  Use one hand to steady her head.  Set my elbow into container of pears.

12:32: G1 takes herself to the bathroom while G2 keeps trying to grab spoon of pears.  No idea whether G1 washed her hands.

12:45: L home.  P still hasn’t eaten.  L & P eat.  G2 cranks.  P eats while holding her.  G1 throws toys down the stairs.

1:00: P leaves.  L takes over journaling.  Try to nurse G2.  Change G2’s diaper.  G1 is drawing in my note pad.  Put G2 in exersaucer.  G2 screams.  Debate with G1 re merits of wiping off the breakfast (not lunch, breakfast) remaining on her face.

1:15: Both girls quiet.  Start on kitchen.  Sweep floor.  G1 plants herself in middle of kitchen floor.  Debate with G1 re merits of her moving.

1:22: G2 getting testy.  G1 entertains her for a while.

1:37: G1 comes into kitchen.  Opens refrigerator and demands cheese.  G2 crying.  Give G1 cheese.

1:46: Put G2 in crib.  She falls asleep.  Miracle! Sort mail while G1 eats her cheese.

1:50: Sweep floor (again!) which is now covered with cheese.  Watch Winnie the Pooh with G1.  Continue sorting a week’s worth of mail.  Do back exercises.  Read to G1.

3:00: G2 awake.  Play with G1.  Debate with G1 re: merits of her taking a nap.  G2 is happy on the floor for a while but begins to fuss.

3:15: Try not to think about chocolate.

3:25: G1 in bed, not asleep.   Nurse G2.  Cajole G2 to sleep in crib.  G1 talking in her bed.

3:53: Sit in bed with newspaper then try to nap.  G1 asleep.  G2 wakes twice; coax her back to sleep.  Forget about my nap.

4:45: G1 still asleep.  Spend time on computer; make meal plan; write grocery list; make dinner.

5:30: G2 wakes.  Nurse her.  Finish grocery list.  Waste time on the internet.  Eat dinner.  Feed G2.

6:30: G1 awake.  Feed G1 her dinner.  Pat home!  Begin countdown to bed time!

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Well, things are a bit better nowadays, and I’ll write about that in my next post.