7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 21): Baby News, House FAQ’s, Toddler Meltdowns and Quotes

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In case you missed it, we had a big announcement on Tuesday: We’re expecting another BOY! Boy number THREE!

Heaven help me.

I’m kidding! Kind of.

After my sonogram, my husband headed homewards to pick up the boys from my friend’s house (thank you, Jenn!) while I went in the opposite direction to attend an evening meeting of the board I serve on. It was nice to get all that driving time to myself to help me process the news.

The primary fruit of all my contemplation was this realization: “I think I’ll just throw my hands in the air and tell the boys that I don’t care what they do to each other as long as nobody gets killed. Whatever! I give up! I concede that bones and furniture will be broken. I just can’t worry about it anymore.”

I decided to treat myself to a milkshake AND a big cookie on the way to the meeting. “I just found out I’m having my third boy,” I blurted out to the cashier. “I thought I could use some sugar.” Then, after a moment it occurred to me, “Gosh, I probably should have gone to a bar instead.”


In last week’s Quick Takes I bemoaned my recent blogging lull and vowed to kick it back into gear with three posts this week, on (1) the Affordable Care Act, (2) my parenting philosophy, and (3) a tour/history of my house. The good news is that I actually posted four times this week. (Woo-hoo! I think it’s the first time I’ve done that since Jen’s Epic Blogging Challenge.) The bad part is that I skipped over 1 and 2 and only gave you the house post.

I’d totally forgotten (how could I have forgotten?!) that I’d likely have a gender reveal post to do. And then my grandmother gave me an old washboard and I felt compelled to write about laundry instead. I mean, come on – who wants to finish their (mostly written! I promise!) post on the Affordable Care Act when you can write about laundry? This will teach me to ever announce posts before they’re completely hatched.


Speaking of the house post, I thought I’d provide answers here to two of the most frequently-asked questions we get from visitors:

(A)    How did you get so much furniture?

  1. We both lived on our own for years before we married, so we had two household’s worth of furniture to combine. (Granted, one of those households was a bachelor’s, but the other was of a furniture-loving pack-rat.)
  2. I spent years saying yes to almost every hand-me-down piece of furniture that came my way. (We also purchased and were given some pieces from the people we bought our house from.)
  3. When I first started making money after college, I spent it in true dork fashion: not on liquor and handbags, but rather on an antique dresser set and a custom sofa.
  4. My mother is an interior decorator who is kind enough to give me wholesale prices, so I get to purchase (said) custom, good-quality items at the price of medium-quality ones.
  5. I fill in wherever necessary with items from Target, Home Goods, and Ikea.

(B)    How do you keep this big ol’ house clean?

  1. I don’t. I try (and often fail) to keep it tidy. I clean when company’s coming.

And here are some bonus pictures of the house, which didn’t make the cut for yesterday’s post because it was already too photo-heavy:


My great-aunt’s bedroom set, which I used as a teenager. My parents were kind enough to let me steal it from them when I left home.


Isn’t this bed beautiful? We were recently able to buy it from my mother’s cousin, who had purchased it at my great-grandparents’ estate sale years ago. I love having something that was in an old family home.


No antiques here — wholesale buying from Mom! Yay!


What wacky things do your kids melt down over? Yesterday my 3-year-old lost it (for about 30 minutes?) because he wanted to go to the grocery store. And mean ol’ mom that I am, I thought one trip to the grocery store per day was enough.

After posting that lovely little situation on Facebook, one of my cousins sent me a link to a whole compilation of photos of toddlers who were crying for odd reasons. Check it out – it’s hilarious. I was just about crying myself.


Lately, I keep falling asleep on the sofa at 10 or 11 o’clock at night and if my husband’s already gone to bed, I don’t wake up until 2 or 3 in the morning. By the time I get upstairs and all ready for bed, I’m wide awake! On the one hand, it’s kind of cool because I’ve been able to get some writing done in the middle of the night. (Hello, 7QT Friday!) On the other hand, I should be sleeping. I’m starting to think there really is something to that whole two sleeps thing.


I wanted to have some NPR links to share with you, but I feel like all they talk about these days is the Affordable Care Act. Blah, blah, blah… I already said that one gets its own post; I’m not going to pellet you with links about it. And it seems like all the news segments make me cry. I did a “What made Julie cry?” Take last week. It probably shouldn’t become a weekly occurrence.


Let’s wrap up instead with some quotes from my 3-year-old:

Upon learning from his father that he too will one day grow a beard:
(Horrified) “But I don’t want to be all fikey!” (spikey) “Dose fikes would hurt me!”

After running all the way upstairs to the bathroom:
(Concerned) “My heart is beeping so fast!”

Him: “We’re goin’ have anoder Hawoween!”
Me: “No, the next holiday that’s coming is Thanksgiving.”
Him: “Yay! We’re goin’ to everyone’s houses and say, ‘Tanks-givin’!'”

Him: “Mommy, Mommy! Da baby’s out of your bewwey!”
Me: “Really? Where is it?”
Him: “It’s in the parwor! (parlor) Wiff its baby hammer!”
Me: ???

Happy weekend, everyone! Head on over to Jen’s to check out the rest of the Quick Takes. I’ll usher you out with the following pictures of when we told our boys they’re going to have another brother. They look thrilled, don’t they?



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

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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!