Happy New Year!

Happy new year, friends!  A lot has happened since I last wrote here.  Most significantly, Little Guy arrived in mid-December:

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We are all in love with him.

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I’ve been determined to Take It Easy this postpartum time, for once.  So far, so good.  I’m feeling a lot like a glued-to-the-couch cow,

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but Little Guy is napping well today, so maybe we’ve turned a corner, maybe.  And I’m so happy not to be pregnant anymore.

Seriously, I’ve left the house for two pediatrician appointments, Christmas day Mass, Christmas dinner at my in-laws, and one walk around the neighborhood.  That’s it!  Even my homebody self is getting cabin fever, but this postpartum experience is so much better than the last two, so I’m sticking with what works.

These days I’m

reading:

Lactivism: How Feminists and Fundamentalists, Hippies and Yuppies, and Physicians and Politicians Made Breastfeeding Big Business and Bad Policy

(Pretty ironic reading this while nursing almost constantly. What’s going on here in my subconscious? . . . I read an interesting review in the Wall Street Journal before Little Guy was born, so anyway.)

The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women (I don’t agree with a lot of her premises but it’s interesting reading a modern feminist/ French perspective on the low-birth-rate crisis in the West.)

I Believe in LoveA Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Thérèse of Lisieux

watching:

Homeland.  So addicted.  I’m beginning Season 3, which is not the best, but I hear it improves in Seasons 4 and 5.  Claire Danes is so good, as is Inigo Montoya, uh, I mean, Mandy Pitinkin.

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Damien Lewis is good too, but I’m sick of the whole Brody/Carrie thing.  I’m inclined to agree with Saul (pardon the French):

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During the day, I watch a whole bunch of Strawberry Shortcake Berry Bitty Adventures

and The Magic Schoolbus.  Over and over and over and over and . . .

We’re so ready for school to start back up.

eating:

whatever delicious meals my kind friends make me, plus Cliff bars and lots of yogurt

wearing:

ratty old yoga pants and tee-shirts and pajama pants.  I just ordered the Metro Skinny pants from Athleta (currently on sale), hoping they’ll do the trick when it’s time to go out into the world.

Baby’s sureto wake up any minute so I’ll leave off here.  Thanks to everyone out there still reading this blog!

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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.

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.

Real Estate Related Brain Dump

Is brain dump a vulgar expression?  It sounds kind of crude to me.  But I wouldn’t know; I was homeschooled.  And anyway, a brain dump is what it is.  But with a real estate motif:

1. We are probably moving, after all.  It’s fun to be looking at houses.  We’ll stay in the same town, preferably in the same neighborhood.  It’s just time for something a little bigger and with a better layout.  And preferably a view!

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2. I’m having some inner turmoil over (hopefully) moving to someplace bigger.  Our main level is 1040 sq ft, with about 750 sq ft of finished basement.  I’m guessing 90% of the people in the world would consider this a HUGE house.  Even in this country a few decades ago, this house would be average for a family our size.  . . . At least once in the recent past, Pat and I said something to the effect of “We’re never moving again.”  We were committed to staying minimal with our possessions in order to fit in our house.  But somewhere along the line it stopped working.  There’s a voice inside telling me I should just try harder to fit into the house we have.  But I tell the voice to shut up.  Plus, the layout of the house is a pain.  No door leading directly into the back yard.  No entry way, poorly-placed doorways and basement stairs.  And a tiny kitchen, which makes cooking healthily from scratch that much harder.  Anyway, that assuages my conscience a bit. . . . Right now I’m already itching to start throwing stuff out and packing because the clutter overflowing in this little house is driving me nuts.  It’s silly because I know that if we get a bigger space we’ll just fill it with more stuff.  *sigh*

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3. We want to rent out our current home, instead of selling it right away.  Current rents are significantly higher than our mortgage payment, so it makes sense to try it out.  But being a landlord is a lot of work, I know, even if your tenants pay.  And if they don’t pay it’s a long process to evict. . . .

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4. What we’re doing first is refinancing our current mortgage, and drawing out some of the equity to use as part of a down payment on the next house.  Because the new loan will be at a lower rate, our monthly payment won’t go up.

5. I cannot tell you how weird it is to be typing this, because we’ve been Dave Ramsey-ish, super debt averse for a long time.  Borrowing more money against the house, instead of paying the mortgage off as fast as possible, and then getting a second mortgage–these are all things I wouldn’t even consider 6 months ago.  I’m not going into all the reasons we’re ready to take more risks, but we think it’ll be okay.

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6. We’ve been watching a lot of HGTV on Netflix (currently–Buying and Selling with the Property Brothers). (I want to play a Property Brothers drinking game sometime–one shot every time someone says “open concept.”)  The question   is–are we watching HGTV because we’re thinking about moving, or are we thinking about moving because we’re watching HGTV?  Hmmm.

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7. Because of all the HGTv watching, I think of more and more things we “should” do before selling our house.  The thing is, our house is worth about half of the lowest-priced houses you’ll ever see on HGTV.  So I wonder how many repairs and improvements would make a difference?  And even if we could get buyers willing to pay more, would they be able to get enough of a mortgage?  We just got the house appraised and I was surprised at how few details the appraisal took into account.  Anyway, if we rent it out we don’t have to worry about that for a while.  We’ll just have to figure out what improvements to do before renting it out.

Anyone have any moving/buying/selling/renting-out experience to share?

Click over to Kelly’s blog for more quick take posts.  Happy weekend!

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Splendid Saturdays

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Jonathan” [the one on the left].

That’s not scary at all.

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

“Daddy!  You look like a MAN!”

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

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

I’m in love.

Happy weekend everyone.

Click over to Kelly for more Quick Take posts.

 

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.

Five Favorites of the Moment

Real quickly, some favorite things of the moment:

— 1 —

What Not To Wear is now on Netflix!

Folding laundry just got bumped up a lot higher on my priority list now that I have this to watch.

— 2 —

Two pink marshmallows playing in the snow.

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— 3 —

Shea and grapefruit hair conditioner from Bert’s Bees.

I found this for 50% off at Target (of course) and gave it a try.  I’m a lot more optimistic about my hair now than I was a few weeks ago.

— 4 —

This CD of Advent music from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles.   You can hear some samples on the website.

Girl 1 is fascinated by the fact that the singing she hears is from nuns.  Vocation nurturing for the win!

— 5 —

Travel sized Doodle Pros (aka Magna Doodles).  We couldn’t wait for Christmas to replace the one that broke.  We bought one for each girl.  Life. Saver.

Bonus #6:  Homemade whipped body butter from For Goodness Soap (local small business).  I have the chamomile scent.  I use it every day after I shower, and I love the way it feels and smells.

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I’m  joining up with Hallie of Moxie Wife, for her Five Favorites link up.  Thanks Hallie!

Weekend Badness and Goodness {WIWS}

Badness:

Breaking Bad (season 1)

^^ Now that it’s received a Jenprimatur, Pat and I started watching Breaking Bad on Netflix.  I’m only two episodes in but OMG, it’s kind of like Flannery O’Connor wrote a television script and got the Coen Brothers to direct and produce it.  Mom, if you’re reading this: I think you’d love it.  Dad, not so much.  Similarly, Pat was not so into it.  Too much darkness, he says.  But I liked it.  That bathtub thing in the second episode?  I was like, “Yes!  That is AWEsome!”

More badness:

morning glories

^^ Damned deer, ate my morning glories  . . .

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^^and got into our trash.  I think they’re frustrated that they can’t use our backyard as a daycare anymore like they did before we finished our fence.  The fawns can’t jump over it.

Goodness:

Check out the Jack O'Lantern crocs!

Check out the Jack O’Lantern crocs!

^^ Girl 2 is getting to be almost as opinionated as Big Sis re: her clothes:

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^^ and her shoes. Especially the shoes.  This was the view from over my shoulder in the minivan this evening.

More goodness:

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^^ Storytime with Uncle Nick

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^^ Healthy, paleo-ish chocolate tart (stay tuned for the recipe, coming later this week).

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^^ Sisters “sharing” not-quite-so-healthy frozen custard

Shirt, shoes, skirt and necklace are from LOFT (old)

Shirt from Target, shoes here; skirt and necklace are from LOFT (old)

^^ What I wore to Mass on Sunday.

Thanks to the ladies at FL&P for hosting today’s link up and to Mary for her Weekend Diaries link up!