7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 20): Back to Blogging, A pirate ship in my family room, and Get me to Texas!

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!


I think it’s about time I breathed some life into this barely-limping-along blog, isn’t it? I’ve posted precisely two new pieces in the past month – way worse than the dozen or so I’ve been averaging since I started blogging. Sure, I had a decent reason for some of the lull. And really, except for the fact that I’ve had a difficult time producing finished pieces from all the writing I’ve been doing lately, I’m not too fussed by that only-two-posts-in-a-whole-month thing.

But the bottom line is that I’ve realized I’m a happier person when I’m productively blogging. Just like I’m a happier person when I’m involved in a choir (check), and in the middle of a good book (nope), and keeping up with the dishes (nope). It’s time I checked off at least two of those boxes, right?

So last week, in the middle of my aforementioned writing-related frustration, I issued a pathetic Facebook plea for blogging ideas. And I received some good ones. (Yay! Thank you, lovely friends!) I’ve been busy writing ever since. Next week, I’m planning a Let’s Kick This Blog Into Gear Week. Not quite as intensive as Jen’s Epic Blogging Challenge from the summer, but close. Here are a few things I’ve got in the works:


In response to the Facebook plea, a long-time friend of mine jokingly answered, “The new affordable health care act is always a fun topic.”

“Ha!” I thought. “That really is funny. I wouldn’t touch that thing with a ten-foot pole.”

I chuckled to myself, thinking about how wound up people are on the issue and how absurd it would be for me to write on the topic anyway, given that I don’t have a strong opinion on it. Or even a clear position for or against it.

Chuckle, chuckle.

“But then,” I thought, “I do actually have plenty of opinions when it comes to health care reform in general, and even some when it comes to the Affordable Care Act in particular.” Maybe it would be good to express my neither-for-nor-against opinions. We’ve got quite enough of the rabid for’s and against’s, as far as I’m concerned. Maybe it’s time for some of the muddled middle.

So I’m throwing caution to the wind. Next week I’ll be giving you my miscellaneous, muddled thoughts on health care reform. In two parts, because even my muddled thoughts are lengthy.


The same friend, in more seriousness, also suggested that I write up my take on how to raise children who don’t feel entitled to everything.

Now, of course I don’t really know how to guarantee that outcome. My oldest child is only three years old. And even if my children were grown and happily settled outside of our home, I concede that all individuals are different. All children are different; all parents are different. There is no one recipe for success.

But I think it’s important to parent with a recipe in mind. (And not one that you find in a book.) I think it’s important, rather, to consider the qualities you value in adults you admire, and contemplate how to instill them in your children. I also think it’s important to consider your family members’ personalities and your household situation, so as to devise practices that will help everyone and everything (schedules, space, etc.) to get on as well as possible.

In sum, I guess you could say that my parenting motto would look something like this: “Think not on the type of childhood you want for your children, think rather on the type of adults you want your children to become. Also, think of your family’s sanity.”

If you’re not turned off already, come back next week for an example of a parenting “recipe” via my own personal parenting philosophy.


And one more topic for next week: We live in a pretty interesting old house, so my best friend suggested its history as a good subject for a blog post. I haven’t known quite what to do with the house, as far as the blog is concerned, but I really would like to write about it. And now somebody’s asked. So, what the heck. This 150-year-old Victorian beauty (poetically juxtaposed with the dinosaurs, racecars, and Happy Meal toys strewn throughout it) will get a treatment on the blog next week, too.


Moving on.

I’m assuming that all of you who read Conversion Diary or Moxie Wife saw this week’s big conference announcement, right? (For those who didn’t, those two lovely bloggers will be teaming up to host a conference aimed at Catholic mothers next July in Austin, Texas.) I am absolutely one of the throng of women who gasped and squealed and did a little dance when I read the news. (Okay, it can hardly be called a “dance” – more like a groggy little wiggle, as I was still lying in bed at the time.) Whatever – I was excited. And I was calculating like mad, trying to figure out how I could get myself there. The biggest hurdle is convincing my husband that it wouldn’t be a terrible idea for me to fly by myself to Texas with a three-month-old in tow. I’m working on it.

Of course, Jen and Hallie have received a tremendous response to the announcement. And the (lovely) venue they’ve chosen won’t be large enough to accommodate everyone who says they’d like to go. So there’s a good chance that there will be some disappointed ladies come registration time. And who knows, I may be one of them. Ah, well… c’est la vie. For now, I’ll just keep on being excited and hopeful. That’s way more fun than anticipating disappointment.


Given my current “condition,” weepiness keeps sneaking up on me these days. A few hours ago I started crying because… Shutterfly has some pretty Christmas card designs. Ahem. Here are some other things that have made me cry this week:

  • The officers and sailors of the current USS Dewey granted a Pearl Harbor survivor’s dying wish, and in doing so, treated him with the utmost kindness and respect.
  • This video of the typhoon wreckage in the Philippines. Those little girls… oh, my. I just want to reach through the screen and touch their little faces and give them some small measure of comfort. Awful, awful, awful. (By the way, please consider helping the excellent Catholic Relief Services, which has a strong on-the-ground presence in the Philippines, to provide much-needed aid to the storm’s victims.)
  • A British WWII Veteran died with almost no one to attend his funeral. When the word spread, hundreds gathered to honor him.

Need a tissue?


As you might have guessed from Take number three, I am not a very fun mom. However, I occasionally experience little bursts of ideas for fun (and easy! always easy!) activities for the boys. I landed on a good one this week. I moved our coffee table out of the way, slid our sofa and loveseat together, and told the boys it was a pirate ship.

They. were. thrilled. They ran for their swords and their “pirate” hats (really, Revolutionary War-style tricorns), while I turned on their pirate shanty CD and made them treasure maps. They climbed on and off their “ship,” jumping and wrestling all over it while yelling “Argh, maties!” (Or “Argh, bebies!” in the case of the two-year-old.) They fought with their swords until somebody hit his brother too hard. And they perfected their jumps off the coffee table, onto (1) their ship and (2) the floor (er… the ocean?) (Confession: I totally encouraged the sofa jumping because I was trying to get a mid-air picture of it.) We’ve kept the family room set up like this all week. Their pirate ship happens to be a super comfy, cozy place to write in the evenings.



So, three years into this Mom Of Boys thing (and maybe just about to learn that I’m a mom of THREE boys? My 20-week sono is next week!), they must be rubbing off on me or something. I may not be spending tons of time devising creative ways to entertain toddler boys, but some decent ideas are coming to me nonetheless. I guess I’m starting to think like them.




Have a great weekend, everyone! I look forward to “seeing” you here often next week! Don’t forget to stop on over to Jen’s for the rest of the Quick Takes!

5 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 20): Back to Blogging, A pirate ship in my family room, and Get me to Texas!

  1. Hi Julie! I’m new here from Jen’s (and I’m also among the devotees who are over the moon about their event!) I just wanted to say that you’ve inspired me with your pirate ship. I’m 3 weeks postpartum right now and my creative-play ideas for my two year old stop at Curious George on Netflix, but soon I will be doing fun things like this again i hope!!

    • Hi Kate! Thanks for stopping by! I had to laugh when I saw that you commented — because I had your own (beautiful) blog open on one of my browser tabs at the time. I’d also found you through 7 Quick Takes. Congratulations on the new baby! We find ourselves watching Curious George a lot too — and we have no newborn (yet) as an excuse. I’m glad you like the pirate ship idea!

  2. I love your thoughts on parenting! We have five children 7-15 and people always compliment us on their behavior, but I wouldn’t be able to come up with any exact recipe either. I think what you said sums it up perfectly – if I had to do it, I might add that the ultimate goal is for them to get to heaven, of course 🙂 Also, I’m a big fan of old houses with lots of character so I look forward to seeing more posts about it. Have a good weekend!

  3. I am so SO excited about the “not a conference” and not the least so because if I can go and if all my blog friends go…well, gosh! We will all get to really meet! If it fills up and I can’t go, I may just see if I can fly to Texas and mill around aimlessly outside in hopes of catching a glimpse!

    Also, I am really interested to hear your thoughts on the Affordable Care Act. And I would also REALLY like to hear about your house!

  4. Hi Julie! I think you are a fun mom. You may not think of yourself that way, but I bet your boys do!
    Oh my goodness, I am with you on the conference. Maybe, maybe I can make it work. I can imagine how much fun it would be to meet all these fabulous and interesting blogger in real life. 🙂

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