The Kids Are Alright (And the Parents Are Too)

(Everyday Bravery, Day 3)

In the years since I became a parent, there have been a series of signs I’ve wanted to hang on my person/child/stroller/grocery cart while my children and I roam in public. They include:







And of course:


But lately the one I’ve wanted to plaster all over everything (to be brave enough to shout to a world that often views children as burdens) is:


Because the general public? They tend to see us at our worst.

They see me carrying a hefty two-year-old across the parking lot, his flailing body tucked under my arm. They see him screaming his way through the grocery store because that blasted place puts a blasted balloon every five freaking feet. They see me balancing a baby carrier, a massive mom purse, and a cup of coffee on one arm while dragging the two-year-old with the other. They see me shooing and barking the two older boys in the right direction like some sort of frizzy, frazzled herding dog.

They see us running late. They see us overwhelmed. They see us hushing little ones who are accustomed to yelling and singing and roaring as loud as they like. They see a toddler who is frustrated to have been put on a short leash and boys to whom tact is a foreign concept.

They don’t get to see us at home, at peace, actually enjoying one another.

(Not that home is always peaceful. I am thankful every day that the general public doesn’t get to see my sons flipping out because I’ve told them to pick up their toys or me shouting a crazed, wild-eyed JUST EAT YOUR FOOD, ALREADY.)

Ours is a happy home. It may be chaotic and disorganized and screamy, but it’s also full of love and imagination and wonder.

Those strangers don’t get to see my husband hoisting the boys up to the refrigerator door to see if they’ve become magnetic. They don’t get to hear me reading The Story of Ferdinand to that two-year-old at naptime. (“His mother saw that he was not lonesome, and because she was an understanding mother, even though she was a cow, she let him just sit there and be happy.”) They don’t get to brush the curls off his forehead or kiss his great, big, squishy cheeks.

They don’t get to watch these boys build museums and castles and railways together. They don’t get to see them chase each other in their Star Wars fantasies. They don’t get to eat Brennan’s Saturday morning French toast or my killer chicken pot pie. They don’t get to see our baby girl kick and jump and squeal with glee when her brothers approach.

Brennan and I are almost always tired. We’re often worn thin, overwhelmed, frustrated with our kids – but in them we also find our greatest joy.

We delight in these children, and they delight in us and in each other.

So when you see us out and about, wrestling with a stroller or a car seat or a child, don’t pity us too much. Don’t think those brief moments of struggle or stress or embarrassment are accurate representations of our lives. The kids are alright. (And the parents are too.)


This post is the third in a series called Everyday Bravery: A Write 31 Days Challenge. Every day this month I’m publishing a blog post on Everyday bravery – not the heroic kind, not the kind that involves running into a burning building or overcoming some incredible hardship. Rather, the kinds of bravery that you and I can undertake in our real, regular lives. To see the full list of posts in the series, please check out its introduction.

These Walls - Everyday Bravery

I’m also linking this post to Bobbi’s (of Revolution of Love) Weekly Writing in October link-up. Check it out to find other bloggers who are trying to get back into the writing groove this month.


Interested in coming along with me as I share stories about my family and chew on the topics of motherhood, politics, and society? Like These Walls on Facebook or follow the blog via email. (Click the link on the sidebar to the right.) You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram and you can find me at my politics blog at the Catholic Review, called The Space Between.

An Honest Little Vignette of Home

I had a good but exhausting day today. We seem to have spent most of it running in and out of the car in frigid temperatures. (The boys actually, literally cried this morning when we left the house, they were so cold.)

We went to preschool, to home, to preschool, to pick up lunch, to drop the boys off at my grandparents’, to the hospital for a doctor’s appointment, to my old workplace, to my board meeting, back to my grandparents’ to pick up the boys (who were melting down for reasons like “I can’t believe you drained the water off my mandarin oranges!” and “I know I lost my mittens but you must make them materialize immediately! I am absolutely bereft without them!”), and then back to home.

By the time we came home at 9pm and I had lugged the 40-pound three-year-old inside, upstairs and into bed, I was DONE. I laid down on the sofa with the annoyingly-still-awake two-year-old and waited for Daddy to come home to put him to bed. My husband then woke me up at 10pm from my sofa-slumber for leftovers that he had lovingly heated up for us. Ah, this is the life…

Just now as I walked through the kitchen to put the leftovers back into the fridge, my eyes scanned my counters, completely covered with dirty dishes, empty cans, and boxes of food; my sink, full-to-the-brim with disgusting, days-dirty dishes; my floor, bearing piles of vomit-clothing, pee-clothing, toys, and stuff. And I thought of my family room, which is coated with a layer of toys and dust and dusty toys. And the rest of my house, which contains yet more piles of vomity laundry, not to mention a still-half-decorated, supremely crispy Christmas tree.

Why in the world am I telling you this?

Probably, in part, because I’m suffering some sort of exhaustion-induced delirium. Also because I thought tonight’s scene provided an honest little vignette of life in our home. I offer it up for any time I seem too preachy on self-help or something similarly nauseating.

Also – and this is probably the most sincere answer – because I want your opinion: A kitchen so covered in dishes that you can’t function in it means just one thing, right? One simply must take one’s children out for breakfast in the morning. The poor little dears shouldn’t suffer such a sight, should they? Rather, they should be strapped into their car seats as soon as they wake and whisked off to some fast-food establishment, where they can be stuffed with breakfast-appropriate fats and sugars. Right? RIGHT?

Please leave your answers in the comment section. But only if they’re in the affirmative.

P.S. Don’t worry, aunts and other worriers – I promise I’m nowhere near a breaking point. I’ve actually had some lovely little breaks lately, including the several child-less hours this afternoon. I’m just tired. Normal tired. Now, off to bed with me!

Monday Morning Miscellany (Vol. 8): St. Nicholas Day, Toilet Hate, and SNOW


I started writing this post as a 7 Quick Takes Friday, so I was all set to open with a “Happy St. Nicholas Day!” but, um… see numbers two and three. The day was fun, but it pretty much sucked the life out of me.

Anyway, it took my boys a few minutes to remember/discover their goodie-filled shoes Friday morning, but when they did, their delight was, well, delightful. The little one ran up to me with a look of glee and a shout of “Wa-pop!” and the big one with a “Wook what Nickwas bwingt!” Totally worth the effort it took to remember the whole deal.



We celebrated the good saint’s feast by hosting a little St. Nicholas Day party for friends. Except it didn’t end up being so “little” after all: we had 18 kiddos (two four-year-olds and SIXTEEN three-and-under’s), plus nine adults. I meant for the party to actually be St. Nicholas-focused: I bought materials to make these cute little St. Nicholas ornaments, I thought I’d do some sort of reading or lesson on who St. Nicholas was, and I planned to print off some St. Nicholas coloring pages for the kiddies to work on.

Also, my friends and I had decided to make the party a cookie swap.

But… did I fulfill those expectations? No way. Neither the ornaments nor the cookies were made, the lesson was not planned, and the coloring pages were not printed. One friend did bring this cute St. Nicholas book, which I read aloud to the swarming mass of children. But, you know: 18 children. Surrounded by toys. And each other. Very little attention was paid to me and my feeble narration, I assure you.

Whatever. For once I was dressed and made-up before my guests arrived. The house was clean-ish and arranged for the party before it even started. And I actually had the food ready (pretty much) on time. Also, we had no injuries, no broken toys, no spills, and no major fights. So the party totally goes down as a win in my book.


The only real hitch was this little guy:


He’s been like a big, flashing neon sign of hyped-up emotions lately. When our guests arrived, he was so EXCITED he ran around the house screaming and roaring, throwing himself on the floor once per lap to flail his limbs and scream some more.

When things didn’t go his way, he was so DISTRAUGHT he sobbed and carried on like he was experiencing an actual trauma. Not like his mother had just told him that no, he couldn’t go outside to play while he had dozens of guests in the house. Especially since it was raining.

Then of course when people started to leave, he became HYSTERICAL. He screamed and sobbed and sniveled, wet-faced and shaking, begging for hugs and kisses from the departing children. Those poor kids. No one wants to hug and kiss someone who looks like that. Still, a few of the kind souls obliged him.

After everyone left, my little guy calmed down considerably. He was really quite lovely. For about five hours. Then it was back to the grind.


Speaking of the grind, I have a potty training question for you experienced parents out there. Or, maybe it’s not so much a potty training question, because (other than nighttime) my three-year-old son is already potty trained. It’s just that he hates going to the bathroom if it’s not his idea. With a passion.

The child actually potty trained pretty easily. (I attribute this to waiting so long – more than 2.5 years – to work on it. By that time he was just really, really ready and it wasn’t that big of a deal.) He gets through most nights dry and he hasn’t had a true potty accident in weeks. And it’s common for him to just announce that he has to go and go ahead and go like it’s no big deal.

But. Almost every single time that we ask him to try to use the restroom, he fights us on it. (We ask him to go at pretty reasonable times, I promise you: when he first wakes up, when we’re about to leave the house, when it’s time for him to go to bed, or when we’ve noticed that it’s been hours since he’s gone.) We tell him that it’s okay if he doesn’t actually go, but that he has to at least try.)

Once he hears our request, he loses it: He claims he doesn’t have to go, he cries, he runs away, sometimes he throws himself on the floor. It’s lovely. But once we get him in the bathroom (sometimes we pick him up and bring him in there, sometimes he comes under threat of a time-out), he goes! He used to stop crying immediately, brighten up, and say (unprompted), “Oh, I did have to go potty! I’m sowwy, Mommy and Daddy!” But increasingly he continues to cry and claim he doesn’t have to go potty while he is actually going.

Any ideas as to what this is about or how to address it? We’re several months into this issue and it has gotten very, very old.


On to happier things. Yesterday we had our first snow of the season. (The first snow, a real snow, in a part of the country that’s not accustomed to getting much of the white stuff. So yes, this snow qualifies as happy!)

The morning was something of an adventure for us. We had planned to make the 9am mass and then head straight to a Christmas tree farm afterward to select our big, honkin’ tree. I’d packed sandwiches and snacks and everything. But as usual, we were running late. We were in the car and ready, but would have been embarrassingly late to mass, so we decided to switch the two agenda items. We went straight to the tree farm instead.


We selected one of the few remaining big ‘uns (12 feet!) as the snow began to fall at 9:30. By the time we were on our slow way 45 minutes later, the tree tied precariously to the roof of our minivan, everything was white. My Minnesota-born hubby, who is normally more than a little impatient with the local slow-snow drivers, was thankful for them this time, because of our Christmasy cargo. We munched sandwiches as we trudged through the snow, listening to Christmas music on the radio. It was really all very happy and festive.

Before mass

Before mass

We made it safely to our (rural) church and waited in the parking lot until it was almost time for the 11:30 mass. The church, which is usually filled to the gills with hundreds of people, had no more than 30 that morning. So intimate! And so revealing of wiggly, whispering, wanting-to-play-in-the-snow toddlers!

Really, it was fine. I was happy to have my whole family together at mass. (We spent most of September/October keeping one or both of the boys home because they had a series of awful colds and are too little to know how not to cough all over strangers. November was challenging because I had to cantor/sing in the choir a few weekends and Brennan doesn’t feel comfortable monitoring the boys by himself during mass.) And anyway, it was so lovely to watch that snow fall outside those tall church windows.

After mass

After mass

Still happily under the romantic spell of the swiftly-falling snow, my daring, brave Minnesotan chose to take the (unplowed?) curvy, hilly back roads home. The trip was a little stressful at times (like when we couldn’t see anything but white out the windshield), but we made it home safely. If only it hadn’t ended up taking Brennan five hours of shoveling, scraping, and snow-blowing to get the van all the way up our long, steep driveway.



While poor Brennan worked on the driveway, I took the boys out to play in the snow. Last winter was mild, so this was our two-year-old’s first opportunity. It was only the second or third for our three-year-old. Naturally, they were captivated.







So was I.





Have a great week everyone! Stay warm!

Tiny Conductor

Last week at my church choir practice, I was reveling in being part of a choir again. I was enjoying having to stretch my brain to achieve something. I was getting a kick out of adjusting my voice just so to fit in with everyone else’s. I was feeling competent.

Then last night, I took my two toddler sons with me.

It was a cold, rainy night. Past their bedtime. I am brilliant, let me tell you.

Yes, the two-year-old screamed and cried when we got there because he wanted to go home, to bed. (I felt like a terrific parent.) Yes, my fellow choir members kept having to fish the boys’ cars out from under chairs. Yes, the boys made a game of throwing their coats at each other as hard as they possibly could. Yes, they ultimately ended up in a rolling, writhing heap, wrestling at the choir director’s feet. Yes, I had to pry their screeching heads out of each other’s clutches.

But let’s not dwell on those mishaps. Let’s focus, instead, on the few moments when no one was screaming or throwing or wrestling. I didn’t notice it at first, distracted as I was by the two-year-old on my lap, but my older son was trying his hand at directing the choir. He was standing several feet away from our actual director, miming her motions. There was a very serious look on his face. Undoubtedly, the looks on the choir members’ faces were less so.

As the music went on, he got more and more into it. His arms started to flail. He began to jump and dance a little. Then the music really overtook him. He ran up the few steps onto the altar. With every big note we hit, he jumped down a step – still flailing his arms and dancing around. When he got to the bottom, he’d race back to the top to start all over again.

It was like watching some miniature, wild-looking orchestra conductor. If I’d just brought him in his little tux and had a crazy wig to stick on his head, the picture would have been complete. (As it was, he was wearing footie pajamas.) It was all I could do to stop myself from breaking down into a giggling, laughing, snorting mess. And I’m his mother; I’m used to his shenanigans. I don’t envy our (real) choir director at that moment. She had quite the competition.

Ring Bearer

The evening was stressful and exhausting for me. If I’d been a little more self-conscious, it would also have been embarrassing. But our director (a mother of six) and my fellow choir members couldn’t have been nicer about it. There were lots of mentions of their own children and grandchildren, there were lots of comments about how cute the boys are, and there was a reminder that, “Jesus said to let the little children come to him!” Those good people even (gasp!) said that the boys had done well.

Sure, I was bone tired by the time I got in the car to head home. Sure, I resorted to rewarding myself with a chocolate-peanut-butter sundae on the way home. (Yay for ice cream shop drive-thru’s!) Sure, I sat in the driveway until my husband returned home from work and I let him carry the boys inside and to bed.

But overall, I was left with thankfulness for the people we had just been with. And for the larger Catholic culture they represent: a culture that delights in people, in children, in new life. One that recognizes that real people are wonderfully imperfect. One that greets a couple of rowdy, excited toddlers with love and offers their worn-out mama words of comfort.

I was also left with that happy image of my boy delighting – powerfully, physically – in music. This child who makes up songs all the time, who sings loudly and proudly, even when it’s just gobbledygook coming from his mouth. This child who wants, more than anything else, a guitar for Christmas. I wonder how his love for music will factor into his life as he grows. Yet again, I wonder what kind of an adult he will become.

Given the stress I’d been under just a couple of hours before, these weren’t such bad thoughts to be ending my evening with.

{pretty, happy, funny, real} (Vol. 4)

We went apple picking this week. Our sister-in-law is staying with us right now and she suggested that it might be a nice activity to do with the boys. And of course Lisa was absolutely, 100% right: Apple picking is not only that classic, American, feel-good, crunchy, fall-time activity, it’s also perfect for small children. Lots of walking, fruit that won’t smash all over your person, confined avenues of densely-growing trees that don’t allow for easy toddler escapes… perfect.

So why would it never occur to me to do such a thing?

Laziness probably plays a part. So does that fear of toddler escape. And intimidation at the idea of doing something new. But I think the crux of it has been the “survival mode” mindset of having one small boy right after the other. Just as we started to enter toddlerhood with our first, we introduced a second and got pulled right back into baby mode. So all those fun things like trips to the orchard and library visits and heck, time at the playground, got put off in favor of the safety and convenience of home.

Now that our oldest is three and our youngest is two, we don’t have to live like that any longer. (Did you catch that? We don’t have to live like that any longer!) But I keep forgetting. Walking around the orchard the other day, I gloried in the fact that both of my boys (1) can walk by themselves, (2) can even kind of help to carry/push the load, (3) can stay out for an extended period of time without having to be fed/changed, and (4) will, when-push-comes-to-shove, follow my directions. I can scream “Don’t you run into that field!” and have a reasonable expectation that they will listen to me. Do you have any idea how liberating that is? (I’m sure many of you really, really do.)

Anyway, I need to do a better job of remembering that we’re in a short window of (relative) familial freedom. April will come quickly. Third-trimester fatigue and discomfort will come sooner. We should be taking advantage of this brief and lovely season. Maybe I should make myself a second-trimester-countdown calendar – something to pound home the message: “Enjoy this time while you can, lady! Soon enough it will be all you can do to breathe properly!”

On that lovely image, let’s move on to this week’s {pretty, happy, funny, real}.

(Pssst! Wait! Before I really direct you on to {p,h,f,r} I have to put in a little shameless plug. If you haven’t already done so, please “like” These Walls on Facebook. The page is new and I’d love to see you over there. Okay – done. Continue on!)

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~ 

Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!






Gosh, it was a pretty day. The kind of day that makes you want to stretch your arms wide and take a deep breath and maybe even do a Sound of Music twirl around a field or something. Don’t worry: I didn’t.






The reds were indeed delicious, but not as much as the greens, called Mutsu.


We really had to hunt for the apples, but we had such fun doing it. So simple, so so happy.




The boys were so funny pushing our wheelbarrow – especially the two-year-old, who had the tenacity to push it almost the entire time we were there, long after big brother had gotten tired of it. He required a little adult help, but he really did a great job.


This apple was pretty funny too. It had grown in the crook of those branches, so that it was utterly wedged in place. No amount of pushing or pulling could get that beautiful apple to budge. I was interested to see what shape it had grown into, but I suppose it will be rot that finally moves the fruit from its place. It somehow doesn’t seem right to let a knife do the job.



Boys always love rocks, don’t they?


These hives were pretty, but they sure did make me miss our bees. We lost our colony this past winter (they didn’t tolerate our move very well and then an overdose of mite treatment finished the job), so this was the first summer in years that my husband didn’t have a honey harvest. We’re looking forward to the spring, when we can get in an order of new bees.

(And by the way, my beekeeper hubby was puzzled by this picture. Do any of you – maybe a beekeeper yourself – have an idea as to why? I think I’ll go all dorky and explain it in tomorrow’s 7 Quick Takes. If you think you know the answer, leave it this post’s comments section. I’ll give you credit tomorrow and I’ll try to think of a worthy prize to send to you.)


Twenty pounds of apples! So far we’ve eaten a bunch fresh, Lisa has made a lovely apple cake, and we’ve made kielbasa with cabbage and apples. I think applesauce will be next on the list. I’m sure some will make their way to the dear brother/brother-in-law/husband in Indiana. But what to do with the rest? It’s a great problem to have.


Be sure to visit Like Mother, Like Daughter to see what contentment those dear ladies – and all the rest – are sharing this week. Take care!

pretty happy funny real[1]

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!

Monday Morning Miscellany (Vol. 7)

— 1 —

Today is the little guy’s big 2nd birthday! When I went to get the boys out of bed this morning, they were standing up, waving around stuffed animals, and cheerfully yelling. I said, “Good morning, boys!” and then: “Happy birthday, Jude!” True to form, the child dropped his eyes, scowled, and flung himself face-down onto his mattress. He is the cuddliest little thing, but he does not like being the center of attention. I think his motto should be: “Love me, but don’t look at me.”

More motherly mush to follow in a later post, but for now, here’s a glimpse of yesterday’s birthday party:


Oh, and by the way: he successfully made it through his “Happy Birthday” serenade without screaming. He did, however, squeeze his eyes shut the whole time, likely thinking that if he couldn’t see us, we couldn’t see him.

— 2 —

In last week’s Quick Takes, I announced my new Facebook page for the blog… but I forgot to include a link. That’s brilliance for you.

So here you go! If you haven’t “liked” These Walls on Facebook, I hope you’ll stop on by!

— 3 —

Living in the greater DC metropolitan area, just about everybody I know has some relative who works for the government. Most of my closest friends have at least one income earner who is employed by the federal government or a government contractor. So what’s everybody worried about right now? That’s right: a potential government shutdown! I don’t know, it might not be big news in the rest of the country, but it sure is here. I’m saying a couple of prayers today that someway, somehow, people find a way to work together to avoid this thing.

— 4 —

Okay, I’m going to fit in just one more thing to round out this very quick little Monday Morning Miscellany and then we’re off to continue our birthday celebrations.

Mass tips. That is, tips on how to get your children to make it through mass without anyone going crazy. A couple of weeks ago, Rosie (who has four small children, including infant twins) at A Blog For My Mom posted a list of helpful tips and encouraged readers to weigh in with more. If you’re trying to figure out how to get your little ones through church, stop on over to Rosie’s to check out what everyone had to say. I really loved that there was such a variety of strategies: a perfect illustration of the differences amongst children (and parents too).

Two sort of foundational tips from me first, though. (Part of which Rosie alluded to. And Auntie Leila writes about frequently.) Unless you were given the most naturally docile children in the world (Ha!), I think you have to have at least two things in order for any of those tips and strategies to make a difference. (1) Your children have to have some regular practice in sitting in one place (note that I don’t say sitting still). If they can’t sit in one place for the course of a 30-minute meal, they’re not going to be able to make it through a 60-minute mass. (2) There has to be a given expectation that your children will obey you. If they’re not expected to obey your (sometimes loud? Mine are often loud!) directions at home, they’re not going to obey your whispered directions in a crowd of hundreds of strangers.

So, work on (1) and (2), and then be creative about what little things will help your particular children to make it through your particular church service quietly enough to (a) not embarrass you, (b) not distract your fellow parishioners, and (c) eventually learn to get something out of it. Because that last one is really the point, isn’t it?

Just my two cents!

Have a great week, everyone!

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 16)

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

— 1 —

You see this cute little stinker?


He’s turning TWO in a few days. (Which, I have to admit, I’ll be kind of relieved to say. Just like his older brother, the kiddo looks about a year older than he is. I always feel a little awkward admitting to people that the child they took as three isn’t even two yet. You should see their eyes bulge when I point to my older son and say, “That one’s three.”)

Anyway, little guy’s birthday is approaching, so I’m entertaining all sorts of mushy thoughts about the swiftness of time’s passage, etc. Don’t worry – I’ll spare you.

Instead I’ll tell you that the kid’s been eating like a little piggy these days. (The last three times I served hot dogs, the child ate two and would’ve gone for a third if I’d let him. Yes, hot dogs. Yes, two. Go ahead and judge.) And I’ll tell you that I think there’s at least a little growth spurt of the brain going on, because he’s spurted out a bunch of new vocabulary in the past couple of days. My favorites have been “Chee Chee Boom Boom!” as in a request for the book “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.” And also “eddy” (empty), as in: (While shaking his sippy cup) “My cup is empty! Get me some more milk, Mom!” or (while slapping his own little bottom) “No, I don’t have a poopy diaper! It’s empty!”

Genius, that kid is.

— 2 —

While I’m on the subject of my boys, I’ve got to share how pleased I am at some new signs of camaraderie around here. As much as toddlers tend to think first and foremost (only?) of themselves, these boys seem to increasingly see themselves as part of a two-man unit.

There’s all the whimpering and sulking from the little guy when we drop his big brother at school. There’s his delight when we return to pick up the big guy. And there seems to be a lot “we” in the three-year-old’s conversations lately. Last night when I asked the boys if they would like an apple, he answered, “We was sinkin’ about dat.” (sinkin’ = thinking)

The other day the little one came to me, held up his leg, and said, “Ot!” I had no idea what he was talking about. “Are you hurt?” I asked. He shook his head. “Are you hot?” No. “Are you sure your leg isn’t hurt?” No.

I was stumped. So my three-year-old came to my aid. He looked over nonchalantly and said, “He wants you to take his socks off.” The little one nodded vigorously.

“Do you understand everything your brother says?” I asked the big guy. “Umm… Yeah,” he said with a little shrug, as if to add, “Of course I do, Mom. Isn’t it obvious?”


Does this look like camaraderie to you?


— 3 —

I can’t tell you how excited I am to have this sitting before me:


Yes, a little ol’ cup of coffee. I love coffee, especially my husband’s freshly-roasted-at-home-every-other-day variety. (Seriously, once you’ve gotten used to home roasted, there’s no going back.) However, with this pregnancy, just like my first, I have had a strong aversion to the stuff. One day I’m savoring my morning cup, the next day the sight of it makes me want to be sick.

Unfortunately, the aversion eventually extended to my standard second: black tea with lots of lovely milk and sugar. And even hot cocoa wasn’t cutting it. Starbucks’ chai lattes were an acceptable replacement until yesterday, when I could no longer stomach even them.

But! All of a sudden, at precisely 12 weeks, coffee started to look more appealing to me. Thank you, 12 weeks! I’ve never had a pregnancy aversion expire with the first trimester, but this one seems to be (hopefully!) doing so. Wahoo! Off to the store to buy some half-and-half. I am so much happier with a warm cup of something in the morning.

— 4 —


The other day my three-year-old pointed up into these trees and said with delight, “Wook! Dare are fwowers in dose twees!” He’d noticed the uppermost leaves starting to turn. I smiled and shared in his delight and explained to him about leaves changing colors and falling to the ground. It was such a sweet moment.

Later that same day, I listened to this interview with Richard Dawkins on The Diane Rehm Show regarding his new memoir, “An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist.” Now, I’m no fan of Mr. Dawkins, but the interview was mostly very interesting and pleasurable to listen to. (I have no problem listening to the ideas and experiences of people who rub me the wrong way. Most ideas interest me to some degree, even if I disagree with them. It’s a certain tone – i.e. hysterics or yelling – that I can’t stand and avoid whenever possible.)

Anyway, the interview included some interesting discussion on wonder, as you might guess from the book’s title. One caller suggested that children have heaps of it, but that adults have none at all, because they’ve been taught to repress it. Or something like that. I’ve heard lots of similar statements before and I’ve always been bewildered by them. Do the people who claim that adults are incapable of wonder really feel no wonder in their own lives? Do they not feel wonder when they stare at their newborn child? Do they not feel it when they take a drive into the mountains? When they see the ocean?

I’m continuously finding wonder in my own life. I may express my wonder differently than my three-year-old does, but I feel it all the same. I find wonder in nature, in my children, in a good read, in the kindness of strangers. When I encounter it, I ponder it and I say a prayer of thanksgiving. I may not shout, “Wow!” but my wonder counts all the same.

— 5 —

Okay, one more light thing before I get into a couple of serious items: I created a Facebook page for the blog yesterday. Hopefully this will turn out way better than my attempt at opening a Twitter account. Then, I (barely) figured out how to open the account, I got precisely three followers, and then I left town on vacation. I haven’t opened the stupid thing since.

I think this little social media push for the blog is likely to go more smoothly, because I at least understand how Facebook works. I use it, in fact. Like, (I won’t admit just how many) times per day. So if you’re on Facebook, I hope you’ll stop on by to “like” my page. I promise to actually use it.

And I’m sure someday I’ll decide to figure out how to use Twitter too. (My biggest hang-up might be that I don’t understand how to get URL’s to go all tiny-like so they fit into a Tweet. Tips, anybody?)

— 6 —

My friend Mary over at Quite Contrary has a great series going on c-sections right now. It’s called “Under the Knife, Under Control: Recovering From a C-Section.” Tuesday she posted an introduction to the series and a description of what it’s like to undergo the procedure. Thursday she posted on helpful preparations for a c-section. Next week she’ll post on logistics and food. If you’ve had a c-section or you’re about to, you’ll find Mary’s series very interesting and helpful.

I certainly found it very interesting, and I’ve never even had the procedure. (And by the way, a lot of Mary’s advice on preparations would be helpful even to those who expect to have a vaginal delivery. So if you’re pregnant, check that one out! I think I’ll be revisiting it around February or March.)

— 7 —

Nearly two months ago, I wrote a little about Nella, who blogs at Is There McDonald’s in Heaven? Nella discovered she had cancer around the same time she discovered she was pregnant with her sixth child. She underwent testing and treatments throughout her pregnancy and ended up delivering prematurely. Thankfully, the baby now seems to be doing well, but Nella’s treatments have continued and intensified since her delivery, and they seem to be catching up with her. Understandably, Nella is tired. On so many levels. In her most recent post, “Where the Rubber Meets the Road,” Nella asks for readers’ prayers.

So much about Nella’s posts are touching and sobering, but I found the following (in “So It Turns Out I Have Cancer”) to be particularly powerful:

You hear a lot about “battling cancer” and “fighting cancer” and I understand what people mean, but that can be a lot of pressure on a patient.  A lot of the “fighting” and “battling” looks and feels like doing nothing.  It’s hard to reconcile all that brawling everyone’s talking about with laying down and sleeping and watching Downton Abbey reruns and reading blogs but that’s really what it is.  Sometimes the battle is really just the battle to sit down and let someone else do the dishes or pack the lunches.  Sometimes the battle is telling yourself to sit down and accept help graciously.

I had never thought about this before. Do we do cancer patients a disservice when we talk about their “battle” or their “fight”? If I were in her position, I think I’d feel just like Nella. It would be hard for me to accept that I needed help. It would be hard for me to agree to let others inconvenience themselves for my sake. I’d try to do too much; I’d try to live my “battle” even in the mundane responsibilities of my life. I’m glad that it’s finally sunk in for Nella that her role in this “battle” is to rest and let her medicine and her body do its important work. I hope that I’d have the strength to do the same.

Please join me in praying for Nella – and for everyone else who’s engaged in that terrible “battle” with cancer. Let’s ask for their comfort and strength. Let’s ask for their patience and their humility to accept the help and the rest they need to heal. Let’s ask for guidance for their caregivers. And let’s all try to give the best support we possibly can to our own loved ones with cancer.



That’s enough for this Friday. Please stop on by Jen’s to check out the rest of the Quick Takes. Oh, and maybe wish us a little luck for the big two-year-old birthday party this weekend? The little guy is oddly averse to singing and the last couple of times he’s heard the “Happy Birthday” song, he’s completely flipped out. We’ll see how far we get into it on Sunday. It should be… interesting. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Monday Morning Miscellany (Vol. 6)

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I promised myself that I would stick something, even if just a bunch of miscellany, on the blog every Monday morning. I like myself some fresh reading material on Monday mornings, when I’m working to recover from the weekend and gear myself up for the week ahead. I thought perhaps you good people would too.

But more Mondays than not lately, it seems, I’ve written nothing. I blame morning sickness. And boys. But mostly morning sickness. Now that that fog is (hopefully? please?) beginning to lift, I’m trying to get back into it. I’ll start with a couple of updates:

— 1 —

That whole fiery, electrical knives stabbing me in the side of the head thing? In case any of you (maybe as many as two or three?) were wondering, it’s been resolved. I gave in and took myself to the doctor’s on Friday, who diagnosed my usual nemesis: sinus infection. She said that the faulty sinus was probably pressing on a nerve, thus all the burning, shocking, stabbing pain. Three days into my five-day antibiotic, I’m feeling worlds better. What a relief!

— 2 —

I still haven’t read that America piece on the Pope. Maybe this afternoon? After I’m done I’ll have to read a handful of the reactions/explanations, to get a little lay of the land on the controversy. I’ve been holding off on these pieces until I take a look at the original. Which is, I think, a good thing to do. Except that by the time I finally get through it all, I’ll be a good week behind everybody else. Such is how I roll.

— 3 —

My three-year-old had a massive temper tantrum on Sunday – possibly his worst ever. It couldn’t help but make me think of Ana and her girls’ expert tantrum-throwing abilities. (My sympathies, Ana!) But I have to admit that, ugly as it was, I couldn’t help but find some humor in the whole thing. Mostly because of the underlying reason for this tantrum: he did not want to be home.

This kid never wants to be home; every time we’re out somewhere, whether a play date or the doctor’s office, he wants to stay. In fact, he has never once asked to go home. Ever since he was a baby, he has fussed and whined (or worse) as we drive into our neighborhood. He knows the signs: x scenery = almost home. Nooooo!

This Sunday’s tantrum started on our way home from church, when the little guy asked, “Can we get wunch on da way home?” He didn’t like our answer. So we heard variations of “Wunch! I wan wunch out! Not at home! Don’t go home! Picnic wunch! Wunch at park! Paaarrrk! Go back! Not home! Stop! Stop dwiving, Mommy!” (when I wasn’t even the one driving) punctuated with sobs, for our entire twenty minute drive. He grew absolutely desperate as we came up the driveway: “NO! STOP! DON’T! GO BACK!”

We had to wrestle him out of the car seat (he tried to stop us from unbuckling him) and drag him into the house while he tried to throw himself on the ground and/or escape down the driveway. It only got worse when we came inside. He was inconsolable: lots more shouting and sobbing and thrashing around on the floor and trying to get out of the house.

I suppose I’m fortunate in that tantrums have no power over me. I think I see them as something distinct and separate that (so long as no one is getting hurt), I can just ignore. I tend to just zone out and wait for them to end. But I could tell that this one was starting to get to my husband, so I tried to calm my boy down. I held him on my lap and did my sweetest best, but it was no good. I finally had to carry him upstairs and put him in his crib. (Yes, he’s still in a crib. Yes, he’s three. I like to keep them contained as long as possible.)

Anyway, to make a long story less long, I’ll just say that the crib only served to kick his tantrum up a notch. He went wild. I’ve never heard him scream like that: I thought he’d lose his voice. But he also began to tire himself out. So after a while, I was able to bring him downstairs and start feeding him his “wunch” and the tantrum finally, finally broke. Whew.

— 4 —

There were, however, two upshots to the tantrum. First, this:


They almost looked drugged, don’t they? My mom says it looks like I slipped something in their milk. But on my honor, I swear that it was nothing more than a missed nap on the little one’s part and The Big Tantrum on the big one’s.

— 5 —

But better than that short-break-because-the-boys-fell-asleep-on-the-sofa: we got a dinner invitation out of the tantrum! Woo-hoo! I complained about it on Facebook (of course) and one of my aunts commented something to the effect of: “Don’t make dinner tonight, Julie. Come over here. We’re eating at 5:30.”

Seriously? I complain about a tantrum and a boy who doesn’t want to be home and we get a dinner offer out of it? Yes, please! It was great: lots of yummy food, adult conversation, and lots of space and toys and cousins for my boys to run around with. I love this living-near-family thing. I did not grow up with it, but I feel oh so lucky to have it now. Thanks again, Aunt Barb!

— 6 —

To shift gears quite a bit here, what awful news we got this weekend from around the world, didn’t we? First (and still!) the attack on the mall in Nairobi, Kenya. And then yesterday, the attack on the Christian church in Peshawar, Pakistan. At least 60 people have been killed in the former, at least 80 were killed in the latter. Such horror. To suffer a shocking, sustained tragedy on what you thought would be a cheerful Saturday? It’s almost unimaginable. And worse yet, to be targeted in church, while you were worshipping God? It’s a special kind of horrible.

Do you know what I regret at this moment? I regret my reactions to these two terrible events. I normally feel such things acutely; they normally get to me regardless of how far away they seem. But this time, my reaction was muted. I said a few prayers, but mostly, I didn’t want to think about it. I was tired of tragedy. After Egypt and Syria and the anniversaries of September 11 and the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, after the Navy Yard shooting last week, after hearing of a few very sad local deaths and incidents, I guess I was just tired of grieving.

I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to be numb to sad news and indifferent to others’ suffering. There’s quite a lot I need to work on right now, spiritually. I’ll be adding this one to the list.

Please, join me in praying for those affected by the awful attacks in Kenya and Pakistan.

— 7 —

Have a good week, everyone. I’m hopeful for a brightness, a lifting of my own mood. And I hope to be back in this space a few times in the coming days. ‘Till then, be well.

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 13)

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

— 1 —

Well, we survived the first day of school! Though by “survived,” I mean something different than most parents do in referencing that Big Day.

As expected, our big 3-year-old (and his parents) had no problem with the drop-off. He was so busy building with blocks that he barely even acknowledged our goodbyes. (Our 2-year-old, however, cried angry tears and shouted “No bye! No bye!”) Big boy did fine in class; I did fine without him (though it definitely felt strange to only have one child with me); and little brother did tolerably well. He was a little sullen and kept asking for “Beh boys” (his nickname for his brother), but there were no more hysterics.

So. No real problems there. It ended up being the pick-up, post pre-school day that we had to survive. While all of my boy’s classmates ran to their moms with shining, happy faces at pick-up time, my guy ran straight past me, grumbling and grumpy. As we neared the car, all became clear: “I don’t wanna go home!” Now there were tears. And wails. And refusals of my attempts to take yet more pictures of the poor kid: “You already did dat!” I had to wrestle him into his car seat (no small feat; the child weighs 40 pounds) as he continued to sob, “I DON’T WANNA GO HOME!” (What must strangers have imagined of our home life?)

On the drive home, he huffed, “But, I didn’t want to weave!” Once home, we barely made it through the door before he flung himself onto the floor – an action borne of exhaustion and an unwillingness to move himself further into the place where he did not! want! to! be! A few minutes later, when I told him that I’d missed him, he answered, “I didn’t miss you!” (Ouch!) It continued. Him: “Did Daddy miss me?” Me: “I’m sure he did!” Him: “Did my brother miss me?” Me: “He missed you very much. Did you miss him?” Him: “Nope.”

You’d think he’d take a really good nap after all that, wouldn’t you? You’d be wrong. Two hours! Two hours I left those boys in their room before I finally gave in and retrieved their annoyingly-awake little selves. They talked and whined the whole time, except for the few minutes, here and there, where they’d be totally quiet, probably teasing me: “Shhh! Let’s pretend we’re asleep… Shhh… Wait for it… Wait for it… Ha! We’re awake! Fooled her!” Their beautiful behavior continued well into the evening.

I’m now torn between wanting him to go back to school again ASAP because it’s clearly where he wants to be, and never wanting him to go back again, because then he’ll never want to leave.

Here are the before pics:



And here are the after:


Sobbing because he doesn’t want to leave.


— 2 —

Speaking of our 3-year-old and grumpiness… it’s been his M.O. lately. Evidence:

Nina, from the Sprout Goodnight Show: “Sproutlets, are you having a good night?”
Him: “No, I’m NOT havin’ a good night.”

He and I have been having a tough time of it the past few weeks. He shouts a mean-spirited “No!” or is otherwise obstinate in the face of my efforts to get him to… do normal things. Like go to the bathroom. Or wash his hands. Or eat. Or get in the car. So I get angry, and he gets put in time-out, so he melts down, and I get more angry… It’s been a little rough. (But please, do not tell me that “It’s not so much the terrible two’s as the terrible three’s!” At the moment, I cannot take the suggestion that this is going to last for another year.)

— 3 —

Per the above, the other day I happened to re-read a post I wrote a couple of months ago: A Love That Changes You. (If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you will. The re-read pushed it way up my list of favorites.) I wrote it right around my boy’s third birthday, and though the post hammers away at one of my favorite points – that each and every individual person is infinitely precious – it’s filled with love for this little guy in particular. It was good for me to revisit. In this season of “NO!” and “I didn’t miss you!” and “I don’t wanna go home!” it was good for me to recall that image of the rocking chair. It was good for me to read about my boy’s soft cheeks and long eyelashes. It was good for me to focus on my love for him, rather than my frustration.

— 4 —

That same post also touched me in a different, much sadder way, given recent events in Syria. More than a thousand people – many of them women and children – were killed in that chemical attack a couple of weeks ago. More than a hundred thousand have been killed in the two years since the fighting began. Millions have had to leave their homes, to live as refugees, to wander in search of safety.

I thought of them yesterday afternoon as I walked the trails of a local park with my boys. I looked out over the idyllic, peaceful scenery: forest, rolling hills, green farmland. I watched my boys run and squeal and crouch down to investigate small creatures, without a care in the world. We were safe. We were relaxed. We had the luxury of taking for granted our home and our family and our very lives.

Luxury. It’s easy to forget what a luxury such security is. But for millions of people living today, and for countless millions who lived before us, life has not been so much about seeking happiness as it has been about surviving.

There are mothers very much like me in Syria today. Mothers who dare not walk outside with their children for fear they will get caught in a crossfire. Other mothers who feel compelled to walk with their children, seeking refuge from a home that has become too dangerous. As I wrote in that post, “I hear about atrocities and I think of mothers rocking their babies.” It’s a powerful image for me.

I hope you’ll join me in answering Pope Francis’ call to prayer and fasting tomorrow, Saturday 7. Please pray for peace in Syria.


— 5 —

The reason I re-read “A Love That Changes You” the other day is because I heard a compelling, sobering program on NPR’s Fresh Air. The story, called “Program Fights Gun Violence Bravado With ‘Story of Suffering,’” focused on a program at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. “Cradle to Grave” brings small groups of at-risk youth into the hospital to show them the repercussions of being shot. It traces the story of a 16-year-old who was killed in 2004, sharing the gritty details of the treatment he received, the instruments that were used on him, and the impact his death had on his family. To me, the piece pounded away at the “every life is precious” theme from my June post. It was at once sickening, sobering, edifying, and hopeful. It did something to recognize the victims of violence in our own country, to remember the communities in our own backyard where people can’t forget that security is a luxury.

— 6 —

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love Simcha Fischer. This week, I particularly loved her post, “The Allure of Either/Or.” In it, Simcha discusses recent debates regarding rape, modesty, men and women’s sexual attitudes towards each other. She notes how the debates tend to focus on one side or the other: either the burden for good behavior falls entirely on women or entirely on men. She writes:

Why does it have to be one or the other?  Why does it have to be either/or?  What ever happened to both/and?  I have boys and girls.  I tell my girls that they need to pay attention to what they wear, both for their own safety and sense of self-respect, and so as not to make trouble for people they meet.  And my husband tells my boys that they must respect women no matter what they wear; that somebody else’s dress or behavior, whether it’s intentional or clueless, is never an excuse for bad behavior on their part.  Both/and.

As Simcha points out, “both/and” applies to lots of issues. I feel her frustration all the time. Sometimes I shout at my radio: “Why do I have to choose a side? Why can’t both sides be a little right and a little wrong? Why can’t the answer be more nuanced?” I don’t feel that on every issue, of course, but there are an awful lot of political/societal issues that just aren’t easily answered. We shouldn’t feel compelled to answer them in an either/or fashion. I touched on this, on a very basic level, in my abortion post. One doesn’t have to be a pro-life Catholic or a social justice Catholic. It’s both/and. One is incomplete without the other.

— 7 —

Well, this 7 Quick Takes was a little heavier than my usual. So let me wrap up with a nice, simple little story.

Lately when we’ve encountered other families at the park (pretty rare, actually – we tend to go at everybody’s else’s naptime or dinnertime, I guess), we keep experiencing the same scenario: Our three-year-old is so excited to see the children that he follows them around, wanting to play with them. Inevitably he starts chasing them, roaring. He’s three. The kids, who are a few years older than him, plea to me with a whiny little “Can you tell him to stop chasing us?” I agree and then have to go break my little boy’s heart, because the wimpy eight-year-olds can’t handle some roaring. (Or more like it, they don’t want to play with a “little kid.”)

So when I saw a large group of older elementary and middle school kids, accompanied by a teenager, arrive at the park the other day, my heart sank. I braced myself for my little guy’s excitement and the big kids’ scorn. Perhaps with some disagreeable behavior and questionable language thrown in for good measure. But it never materialized. The big kids started straight in on a game and asked my boy if he wanted to play too. One took his hand and showed him what to do. They all talked to him and praised his ability on the playground equipment. (“Wow! That’s awesome! I can’t even do that!”) They commented, repeatedly, on how cute both of my boys were. Before I knew it, they’d taken the almost-two-year-old under their wings too.

Moreover, they were so nice to each other. There was no mean-spirited teasing, they were polite and kind, and they seemed genuinely concerned with each other’s wellbeing. It was enormously refreshing to witness – such a nice, simple little breath of fresh air for the middle of my week.


Well, I guess that’s it. Have a great weekend, everyone, and don’t forget to stop by Jen’s to see all the rest of the Quick Takes!