Monday Morning Miscellany, Resurrected

A long while back, I pledged to publish a post every Monday morning – nothing too weighty, just some miscellany that was bouncing around my brain – because I made a habit of easing my way into the week via lazy Monday mornings of coffee and blog reading, but few of my favorite bloggers tended to post new content on Monday mornings. So I figured, “Why not me?”

I ended up doing it a grand total of, I don’t know… maybe four times? That’s me and my stellar follow-through!

Anyway, I currently have just such a jumble of miscellany bouncing around my brain and the household conditions seem somewhat conducive to writing, so I thought I’d give the concept another stab. (This time with no promises: I have no idea what next Sunday night/Monday morning will bring.)


Let’s start with some pictures!

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Isn’t that sweet? With their biggest brother now away at Kindergarten for so many (sooo… many…) hours a week, the younger two are already becoming closer. And littlest brother has begun to really look up to younger-older brother.

This morning I even caught him keeping his big brother company in time-out. (No, I’m not sure how effective that particular punishment turned out to be.)

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Biggest brother has been adjusting really well to Kindergarten – much better than I’d expected. As long as the days seem and as full as they must be for him, he comes home happy. I think his personality must be well-suited to the constant stimulation of school, because if anything, he’s seemed more satisfied and pleasant in the evenings after school than he normally is. The other day, he even decided to write a book:

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It’s done my worried (about him being away at school) heart so much good!


The other night I was perusing a few old blog posts on my phone that were similarly miscellaneous to this one – 7 Quick Takes and {pretty, happy, funny, real} – and I was enjoying them much more than I expected to. Until a month or so ago, I’d mostly stopped participating in those link-ups because I didn’t feel like many people were reading those posts, and if folks weren’t interested in them, then what was the point?

But now I see it! Looking back, it’s so fun to get a glimpse of what was running through my mind at the time I wrote those posts, not to mention the funny things my boys were doing and saying. So I think I’ll try to get back into writing them, even if it’s just a “Monday Morning Miscellany” every now and then. I have a feeling the little things are more worth remembering than I’d given them credit for.


Speaking of funny things my boys are saying… My second boy, this one:

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He’s something of the sensitive type. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a rough and tumble boys’ boy who says things like “I wuv you so much I want to punch you!” But he’s also a great animal lover and was disturbed to learn recently that – yes – people eat animals.

Poor guy.

He’s especially fond of pigs and chickens, so he really took the news pretty hard. (By the way, I get why he never made the connection with pigs, because we don’t exactly set a plate on the table and say, “Here’s some pig fer ya!” but… um… that’s exactly what we do with chicken.)

Kiddo’s been trying to solicit promises from me that we won’t be eating any of the animals he’s become acquainted with: “Mommy, we won’t eat the babysitters’ chickens, right?” Me: “No, we definitely won’t eat the babysitters’ chickens.”

And days after my aunt and uncle’s pig roast, he was still sulking: “Mommy, I don’t want people to eat pigs,” and “Who was dat pig we cut up at Aunt Kaff’s house?”

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But now!

The other day we were heading home from the grocery store at dinnertime with two hot rotisserie chickens in tow, and the very-hungry boys were admiring the smell of the chickens.

“Mmm… they smell so good! Mommy, how do you kill chickens? Do you shoot them?”

“No, you cut off their heads.”

“But where are these chickens’ heads? I don’t see them.”

That’s because they’ve been cut off.

The hungry tummy and the frank discussion must have caused some shift in my sensitive boy, because he suddenly shouted: “Mommy, I wuv pigs! To EAT.”


Let’s wash that down with a sweeter quote.

Last week I shared our very exciting news that Walsh baby #4 looks to be a GIRL. I’m still working on getting used to the idea (haven’t even bought anything pink yet!), but the boys are all in. The other day our second little guy put his head on my belly and said:

“Mama, I wuv your bewwy because a baby sister’s in it.” (Big cheesy grin.)

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The belly, along with the rest of us, just after learning that baby’s a SHE!


On Friday, the anniversary of September 11, I re-posted a link (on Facebook) to a piece I’d written a couple of years ago regarding my own experience of the attacks. If you haven’t read it, the story in a nutshell is that I was working about a half-mile from the Pentagon that awful morning. So in addition to the horror that most Americans felt upon learning what happened, I also experienced some of the real-world effects of those events: I saw streets fill with people and cars, I encountered heavily-armed police, I was temporarily stranded due to the public transportation shut-down, I could smell the acrid, biting smoke from the Pentagon, and the next day I saw it billowing into the sky.

The anniversaries of that day are always hard for me to bear, but for some reason this year’s really got to me. (I think because the weather was almost exactly like that of September 11, 2001 – gorgeous.) I ended up spending little time on Facebook, because all the memes and the images of the Twin Towers and the promises to “Never forget” and especially the videos – they were too much for me. I’d jump on my phone’s FB app thinking of something else and then WHAM, I’d catch a glimpse of the Twin Towers about to collapse and I swear my blood pressure would jump about a dozen points.

I can’t believe how much hold that day still has on me.

I was an awful grump on Friday, depressed and anxious despite the beautiful weather and the fact that I’m going to have a girl (!!!), and it took until mid-afternoon before I finally realized what was causing it: September 11 and that stupid, no-good, beautiful weather.

So I decided to do something about it. I took the boys straight from the bus stop to an ice cream shop, where we sat under that awful, clear-blue sky and thumbed our noses at it. We let ice cream and sprinkles and peanut butter and adorable, sticky faces work their magic.

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And work, they did.


Let’s come up from that heaviness with some pics of Baby Don King:

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This is what comes of finally deciding to comb all the tangles out of his hair. What am I going to do with this head of curly frizz?!

Also, have I told you that his big brothers have now Christened the poor kid “furball”?

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Well, I do believe I’ll be getting in this post just past my “morning” deadline. I’d hoped to finish it up before the boys woke this morning (HA!), but instead I chose to sleep in. (No Kindergarten to get ready for this morning. Bliss…)

So, though I had no early-morning peace to enable this post’s completion, as of noon I have: given one urine-soaked baby a bath, changed his crib linens, done three loads of laundry, gotten myself and three boys fed and dressed, done dishes and loaded the dishwasher, picked up a random assortment of stuff, gotten the baby down for a nap, and yes – finally finished writing this post. I’m proud of myself!

Have a great week, everyone! I hope to “see” you back here soon.

These Walls - Monday Morning Miscellany, Resurrected

SOTG, Mommy Triumphs, Personhood For Animals, Feminism, And More: 7 Quick Takes Friday(ish) (Vol. 28)

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!—1—

Yes, I’m more than a little late to the 7 Quick Takes Friday game this week. Right now my free time seems to come in five to fifteen minute spurts. And my two-handed free time comes about once every six hours. (I know, I know… such is life with two preschoolers and a newborn. I know.)

As I mentioned in my {phfr} post the other day, this week I received a certain little book in the mail, one the Catholic blogosphere is all kinds of excited about – “Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness And Accidentally Found It” written by none other than Ms. 7 Quick Takes Friday / Ms. Conversion Diary herself – Jennifer Fulwiler.

Anyone who reads Conversion Diary regularly will know that Jen has put an incredible amount of work into this book (SOTG). And let me tell you, even from just the first few chapters, it shows. I’ve been enjoying Conversion Diary for several years now, so I suppose I’m not the most unbiased reader. But seriously, this book, which tells Jen’s atheist-to-Catholic conversion story (and, um, how she “passionately sought happiness and accidentally found it”) is so well written. It’s captivating – the kind of book you don’t want to put down.

Except that, given the two preschoolers and the newborn, you kind of have to. Which is why it will take me longer to finish this book than any page-turner I’ve ever read before.

Also. Jen’s running all sorts of contests right now to celebrate her book’s launch. A couple of them involve taking pictures of the book – one is for “the most epic selfie” with SOTG, the other is for a picture of it in the weirdest place. I don’t have a chance in either category. I’m way too self-conscious to try for an epic selfie, and I’m sure that other folks have way weirder places to take book pictures than I do. All I can think of is to take pictures of my book on a big pile of laundry, or a counter covered in dishes, or like this:


Are you calling me weird?


Speaking of the two preschoolers and the newborn, let me tell you about a triumph I had the other day. At the grocery store. (Anybody who’s not currently a mommy to small children may as well just jump right over this take – I won’t blame you for being uninterested in the minute triumphs of life with littles.)

We were smack dab in the middle of a very busy day, just finishing up at the barber’s shop (both boys taken care of!), and everyone – especially the baby – was getting hungry. But we needed just a few things at the grocery store. So I took a gamble and decided to risk it. We walked straight into the store without stopping to stow the stroller in our van. Which left me with a conundrum: how to get a three-year-old, a two-year-old, a newborn, a stroller, and a load of groceries (too heavy for the stroller) through the store by myself?

Answer: You’re not by yourself! Put the littles to work! My three-year-old pushed the cart (a small one, but still!) by himself, with just a little help on the turns. My two-year-old pushed the stroller with some guidance from me.

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Our little caravan must have made quite the sight, because people kept stopping to stare. “How old are they?” a few of them asked, looking bemused.

But the boys did great! They didn’t crash into anything or run over any toes, or even fight or take items off the shelves. I was quite the proud little mother hen. Especially when we returned to the car and I thanked the boys for being such good helpers. “Anytime, Mommy,” my older son told me. “You just wet me know when you need me.”


After developing something of an aversion to it at the end of my pregnancy (why? I have no idea), I’ve fallen back into my old NPR habit. So you can expect me to resume sprinkling random NPR-gleaned tidbits into my 7 Quick Takes. This week, I’ve got two:

First, for the amazing and courageous amidst the horrible. Last week, Fresh Air aired an interview with Tyler Hicks, a New York Times photographer who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his photographs of the 2013 mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya.

I found the interview to be more moving than I expected, especially the story behind the photograph of a mother and her two young children. The image shows them lying quiet and still, on the floor next to a counter covered in cups and saucers.

Of course Hicks had no way of knowing what became of the three. Shortly after he was awarded the Pulitzer, however, the woman made contact with him. She’d seen coverage of the prize and recognized herself amongst the photos.

It turns out that she and her children – a 10-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy – had spent five hours lying on that floor. Five hours of fear and the most incredible stress. The woman had spent the entire time talking and singing to her children, focused on keeping them calm and still and quiet.

I have a two-year-old boy.


Two-year-old boys are busy. They are not known for their ability to remain still and quiet. I have no idea how I’d get through that situation with him (and another child to boot!). No idea. Just thinking about it makes me sick. What an incredible mother. And what awful, horrific circumstances she found herself in.


This past Monday, the Diane Rehm Show aired a discussion on efforts to grant legal rights – indeed, personhood – to animals. At first I was puzzled to hear that Robert Destro, Catholic University law professor and director of their Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Religion, would be one of those participating in the discussion. Then, ahh, yes – it came to me:

Legal rights – personhood – for animals. Animals that are deemed sufficiently sophisticated on a cognitive level. A personhood that is based on intelligence, on ability, rather than on humanity. What a dangerous thing, to attach personhood to a set of cognitive criteria, to maintain that being a person is somehow distinct from being human.

Yes, this (false) person/human distinction calls to mind the debate on abortion. But it also begs us to consider those who have already been born. Newborns, perhaps even older infants, wouldn’t meet the criteria discussed for personhood. Neither would some people with cognitive disabilities. Do we really want to live in a society that grants legal personhood in such a way that a chimpanzee would qualify, but my four-week old would not?

Definitely a person.

Definitely a person.


I’ve never thought of myself as a feminist before, but I might just start doing so. Because Simcha Fisher is right, as usual:

Yes, some evil people call themselves feminists, and do dreadful things in the name of feminism. So what?  People do dreadful things in the name of democracy, and people do dreadful things in the name of beauty. People do dreadful things in the name of Christ our savior. That doesn’t mean we abandon the name. That means we rescue it, we rectify the misuse.


You know one of the things I love about my husband? In the evenings when he’s playing around with our boys, he captures them and holds them tight and when the little one yells, “Wet me det down! I wan det down!” He responds, “Oh, you want to get down? Okay!” and then forces the kid into a little disco dance, complete with music and hand motions.

Oh. My. Goodness. It’s hilarious. Sometimes it can be so entertaining to have small children (and good daddies) around.


It’s also entertaining to have good grandpas around. And my boys have the best:



Happy weekend, everyone! Don’t forget to stop over to Jen’s to check out all the other Quick Takes!

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 17)

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

— 1 —

Well, it looks like I’ve done it again: I’ve fallen into the rut of only blogging when I have a list of miscellaneous items to post. 7 Quick Takes? {pretty, happy, funny, real}? Monday Morning Miscellany? Check, check, and check. Anything requiring more substance and focus? Nope and nope.


It’s just that, well, I have a schedule all-of-a-sudden. I know, I know: Most of you have bunches of kids, or kids in big-kid school, or kids Who Do Activities, or official jobs, or all-of-the-above. I only have a preschooler and a bunch of doctor’s appointments.

But still, I’ve gone from a wishy-washy “Schedule? Who needs a schedule?” mentality to an “Oh-my-gosh-I-actually-have-to-be-someplace-at-a-particular-time?” one. All-in-all, this is a good thing. I’m a happier person when I have places to go, people to see, and a bit of structure in my life. And my boys seem to be too. But it’s been taking some adjusting.

This week we had two playdates, two days of school, a sonogram, an ob appointment, a 2-year-old check-up, and the arrival of an out-of-town guest. It’s not like I wasn’t busy before the start of the school year and the onset of prenatal appointments; it’s just that life seemed a little more malleable back then. Now I’m (shocker!) relying a lot more on my calendar to get me through my week. I’m prioritizing sleep. And I’m having to plan. What a concept.

Looks like writing time will be the next thing to plan for. Because I can no longer trust that a sufficient period of available time will magically appear. And apparently, I can no longer stay awake past 11pm.

— 2 —

Speaking of the pregnancy, here are some quick updates from this week:

(1) I had my 12-week sono on Tuesday and the baby was very stubbornly uncooperative. After three tries, the doctor just kind of went with what she had. The tech said that it had been a long time since she’d had such a stubborn one at 12 weeks. Wonderful! It bodes so well, doesn’t it?

(2) Morning sickness has made a comeback – every day this week. I feel like trying to cajole the baby, like s/he can somehow put a stop to it all. But… what was I just saying about stubbornness?

(3) Last night I asked my two-year-old where Mommy’s baby was. He lifted up my shirt and gave my belly a kiss. Be still, my heart! This older-children-aware-that-they’re-getting-a-new-sibling thing is going to be so cool. My first two are just 15 months apart, so there wasn’t exactly any awareness coming from big brother back then.


(4) Yesterday I tried on a pair of shorts that I hadn’t worn in a few weeks and I couldn’t come anywhere close to fastening them. As I haven’t gained any weight in the past month (wonder of wonders), it’s got to be that my shape is starting to change already. I’m just 13 weeks! Craziness!

(5) The other day, my three-year-old asked me if the baby was going to come out of my mouth. Fortunately, there were no follow-up questions.


— 3 —

I’m a little freaked out by the animal presence in my house right now. No, I suppose it’s not as bad as Jen and her scorpions. But this morning my husband came upstairs from his morning workout in the basement and said, “Just so you know, I found a snake down there.” I’m sure my eyes got all bugged-out big as I looked at him, begging him to be teasing. “You’re kidding.” “No.” “Really?! How big was it?” “Very small – small enough to get caught on the glue trap.” (We have mice too.) “Why would you tell me this?! I don’t want to know this!” “Because if you see the boys playing with a ‘string’ at some point, you should know that it could be a snake.”


And then this afternoon, I found a bird flying around upstairs. Inside the house. I ran around closing doors and opening windows and opening doors and closing windows on all three floors of the house, squealing and jumping most of the way, until I became fairly confident that the little stinker had flown out. For now, a couple of windows remain open, and interior doors remain closed, just in case it’s still inside. When my three-year-old (who was very excited about the whole thing and presented a box that he suggested the bird could live in) gets up from his “nap,” I plan to let him look around for the bird. Surely he’ll do a more thorough job, with far more delight, than I’m capable of right now.

— 4 —

Said three-year-old is currently singing Fountains of Wayne’s “Radiation Vibe” in his crib. You can blame his father.

— 5 —

I heard a fascinating piece last week on one of my local NPR stations’ midday programs: “The McCormick Spice Guru.” According to the station’s website, “As the chief spice buyer for McCormick, Al Goetze regularly travels the globe seeking herbs and spices from farms in some of the world’s most exotic regions. Goetze joins us to talk about his job and what goes into bringing the spices to market.”

Like I said, the piece was fascinating. I think it was one of the most enjoyable hours of listening I’ve had in some time. Mr. Goetze spoke about his travels, how spices are grown, what they look like in the field, how they can be used, etc. If you have any interest at all in cooking, gardening, plants, or world travel, you should check it out.

— 6 —

Do you remember my mention of Nella in last week’s 7 Quick Takes? She posted the happiest of updates on her blog this week: her cancer is in remission! Stop on over to her place to share in her joy. And please continue to keep her in prayer. Nella still has a couple of chemo treatments left, just to be sure she’s done everything she can.

— 7 —

Our sister-in-law is visiting us this week and we’re so happy to have her with us. She’s a jewelry designer who is in town to participate in a couple of local arts and crafts fairs. Her designs can be found on her website. If you like glass beads and creative, high-quality jewelry, you should check her out!


Stop on over to Jen’s to see everybody else’s Quick Takes. (And to wish Jen and her hubby a happy 10 year anniversary!) Oh, and if you haven’t “liked” These Walls on Facebook, I hope you’ll do so. Have a great weekend, everyone!