Talking with Tots

So it’s Wednesday instead of Tuesday, but I’m still committing to blogging about the fun things my children say (because it’s both of them now!)

Here are some highlights:

Me: Alisdair, what would you like for lunch?
Alisdair: A turkey sandwich
Me: Okay, do you want it as a roll-up or on bread?
Alisdair: On bread. With the turkey on the side. And peanut butter and jelly on the bread.

Alisdair: Was that thunder? I love the booms. They are loud.

Alisdair: When we get home, I want to wear pants. Not shorts. I don’t love shorts. I love pants. They make me feel better.

Éamon is not quite so verbose, but he’s picked up a couple things over the past few weeks that are adorable (of course, I am his mother so I might be a little biased.)

At every vehicle that drives down our street: Car! Car! Caaaaaaaar!

At every four-legged animal he sees: Pig! (anything with wings is “bird”)


Anyone who wants to join the fun is free to and add your link in the comments! Thinking this week I’ll work on some kind of logo and figure out how to do a legit link-up. :) Any number of things by any number of the kids in your life (if they’re not yours, I’d recommend getting permission from the parents or keeping them anonymous).

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Answer Me This – Periodicals and Bad TV

Answer Me This3

1. What is your favorite room in the house?

I really like our bedroom. It’s a good size, I like our furniture, it’s usually a pretty reasonable temperature (we have hot and cold spots elsewhere), and the lighting situation is about what it needs to be. It just needs a coat of paint and new window treatments and I’d be happy. Mental note: add to 2015 goals.

2. Do you subscribe to any magazines or other periodicals?

The kids have a gift subscription to the National Geographic magazine for preschoolers. It is a favorite for in the car and on the potty.

Ian gave me a subscription to Magnificat last year for Christmas and I read it pretty much every day.

We have a few other subscriptions too, but they were all free. I think right now I get Martha Stewart Living, Family Circle, Taste of Home, and Better Homes and Gardens. I only pull them out to put new reading material in the bathroom if we are having guests. My original plan when I got them was to have material for the boys to cut up, but that’s going to have to wait until at least fall since we spend so much time playing outside at the moment!

3. How do you feel about the sign of peace in Mass? Enriching? Awkward? Overdone? Just right? Some combination of the above?

At our parish it’s done (IMO) just exactly right. You shake hands with the people immediately around you, hug your family members, and maybe wave to a few people if you catch their eye a few pews away. 30 seconds max, then moving on. I don’t like it when we’ve visited parishes and everybody decides they need to hug everyone else in the building, including the priest. To me, that is a huge distraction.

The sign of peace is actually optional, and I wouldn’t mind it if it was omitted, but I do think that would be interpreted badly by Catholics and non-Catholics who aren’t familiar with why Mass is the way it is. Catholics have the unfortunate reputation in the US of being unfriendly, which I think is mostly a lack of understanding of the type of worship that Mass is (different from the fellowship-style worship that characterizes the practice of other Christians). Catholics can have that kind of worship too, but the Mass is the major expression of our faith and we do it a very specific way for a reason. But not everybody knows that.

4. What is your least favorite sound?

No contest: The high pitched whine of a child who refuses to understand that the noise he is making is having the opposite effect he intended. Luckily, due to relentless consistency, it doesn’t take long for the offending child to remember that honey catches more flies than vinegar.

5. What was your favorite TV show (or shows) growing up?

Wow, I watched so much crud growing up I don’t even know what to tell you. Seems like the TV was ALWAYS on. I remember I liked Eureka’s Castle as a kid. I remember nothing about what was on it, just that I liked it. I also really liked this low-budget Canadian TV show called PJ Katie’s Farm. It was the best. There was this woman who made these farm animals out of modeling clay and just moved them around and played pretend like a kid, but it was on camera.

I remember watching Home Improvement with my mom and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.

6. What are your favorite TV shows now?

I guess I still watch some crud. American Ninja Warrior has me fascinated this season, to the point that I really think I want to try rock climbing. I also watch The Amazing Race (Ian and I like the idea, but we just know if we ever got picked to be on it we’d be that bickering couple everybody hates.)

I also really like Downton Abbey, Mad Men (most of the time), and Call the Midwife (most of the time.) When it’s obvious they’ve stepped out of the time period and are either lecturing us about the now (Call the Midwife) or just appealing to “hey, guess what we’re allowed to show on TV now” (Mad Men), I like them less. Parks and Rec is also hilarious, though sometimes it cuts a little close to home for Ian, whose job bears some striking similarities to those depicted on the show.

For More Answer Me This head on over to Catholic All Year!

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7 Quick Takes Friday #60

— 1 —

Sorry for those of you who commented recently whose comments ended up in limbo. I logged in today to realize I had several waiting for approval. I’m supposed to get email notifications but somehow I didn’t. Hopefully that is fixed.

(I do keep moderation on because I also got a few spam comments that somehow evaded the filter. Nobody needs that.)

— 2 —


I’m not as widely read as a lot of blogs, but I’m thinking I want to do a link up. I love link ups (notice how the two blog posts you can almost count on every week are link ups?) and I feel like it would boost my writing productivity. So many ideas, but unfortunately they all go on the back burner until I can dash off quick things.

I’m calling my idea “Talking with Tots” and the posts would be on Tuesdays. (I love me some alliteration). Plus it would give me a regular place to post the absolutely hilarious stuff that Alisdair says (and Éamon too now that he’s increasing his vocabulary by seemingly five words every day).

— 3 —

I looked at my calendar today and realized I only have four more days with the five year old I babysit before he goes off to kindergarten. I wonder how his mom and dad must feel!

— 4 —

I’ve been trying to promote good table manners at home with Alisdair and the other kids. Yesterday, I totally used chocolate chip zucchini bread as a bribe and the kids went for it. Of course, joke is on them because they think they got cake but they actually got vegetables. And I didn’t have to endure any whining about how food was yucky or half to watch anyone chew with their mouths open. Win win (win.)

— 5 —

The kids are really, really super excited about our growing tomatoes and jalapenos. They check the plants every day to tell me if any are ready to pick. Our neighbor’s cucumbers have wound their way to our side of the fence and he gave us his blessing to pick any that grow on our side. So we’ve picked a few of those, too, and now I’m thinking about making refrigerator pickles.


(Éamon tried to help by picking a tiny green tomato. He was so excited I couldn’t be upset.)

So far we’ve made some very yummy salsa and I’ve been eating grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. Tonight for dinner is chili with fresh tomatoes and then I think I might make some homemade sauce. There is something just so immensely satisfying about eating food you grow yourself.

— 6 —

I’ve been taking a break from running this week after I pulled my calf. It had been twinging a little bit last week but I (not very smartly) decided I’d work through it and almost fell over in pain about halfway through my run on Monday morning. It is feeling just about 100% now so I’m excited to get a couple more in before my first race next Saturday! The other bonus was that I let myself sleep in a bit this week, so I’m feeling much more rested than I was last week.

— 7 —

In other excellent sleep news, Éamon is nightweaned! At no surprise to Ian or me, he took to it much more calmly than Alisdair did. I was so exhausted after the last bout of teething I told Ian, “OK, I can’t take it any more.” Amazingly, Ian’s been able to settle him down every single night and we’ve even had a few nights of completely blissful everyone sleeps at least seven hours in a row. Hurrah!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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Answer Me This – Summer Ending

Answer Me This3

1. What do you still want to do this summer?

What DON’T I want to do? Our wall is almost built, so I’d like to complete that and finish off that side of the house. Also trimming back/cutting down several things. I would really like to get to next spring without a huge landscaping project looming.

For fun, I’d like to go swimming at least once more. It’s been so cold this summer so we haven’t gotten to do it much. And I’ve got my first 5K on the 23rd!

2. What’s your favorite kind of pie?

It’s a toss up between key lime and apple. Since it’s summer, key lime wins right now, but come fall I’ll want some apple pie. Preferably using my mom’s crust recipe and topped with melted cheddar cheese.

Oddly, I do not like berry pies, at all (actually, I do, if they are loaded with sugar. I am not a fan of tartness when it comes to pies, and most of the berry pies I’ve ever eaten have been really, really tart instead of sweet.)

3. How much sleep do you need each day? How much do you get?

Ideally I would get about eight hours. This past week I got an average of about three per night and I’ve been an absolute beast to everyone (sorry). When Éamon isn’t teething, I probably get close to 7, because although I’ve trained myself to get up early I still stay up too late.

4. Do you prefer to swim in a pool, lake, river, or ocean?

Pool. Ocean is also OK, but I don’t do feeling plants on my feet. I also don’t like the idea that there are things, that are not people, sharing the water with me. I may be overly nervous about being stung by a jellyfish or pinched by a crab.

Until I had kids I did not care at all about being in a public pool, but now I’m terrified of them swallowing water that someone else peed in. We were absolutely never allowed to do that growing up, but apparently some people don’t care. Blech. (This question is timely, as one of our local public pools was closed for over a day this past week because someone pooped in the water.)

5. Do you know any poems by heart?

No, but I wish I did. I know bits and pieces of a lot of poems, but none completely. I read an interesting book a while ago about how to memorize, and I’ve thought about using the strategies in that book to memorize Bible verses or something similar. Poetry would be good for that.

6. Do you use the public library?

Yes, enthusiastically. Before I began babysitting I used to take the kids to storytime, and I regularly borrow books and movies. Ours has lectures and other activities too, but those will probably be best enjoyed when the kids get older. I love that I can place holds on something online, and then just go pick them up at the desk. Our library system also lets you borrow e-books and read them on Kindle (and you can borrow Kindles, too, I think, that come preloaded with materials). I don’t have a Kindle but I do have the app on our computer, and I’ve borrowed a couple books that way too. I used to buy a lot of books but I’ve cut back, so it’s nice to have the public library there to fill in.

Maybe I’ll borrow some books of poetry!

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Answer Me This (including catch-up from last week!)

Answer Me This3

1. When driving, are you more likely to listen to the radio, to CDs or an iPod, or nothing at all?

For daily driving around with the kids, it’s usually nothing or one of their CDs if they get fussy. There is nothing like “Baby Beluga” to calm a child. If it’s just me, I will listen to the radio.

On long car trips, much thought goes into the iPod playlist. There are usually themes for various stages of the journey. Our “going to the beach” playlist always begins with Kansas’s “Carry On My Wayward Son,” and by the time we can smell the ocean we’re listening to Jimmy Buffett. There are some variations in between, but we like our system.

2. Do you prefer window or aisle?

By myself, window. With kids, aisle. I can sit by myself for long periods of time with remarkable little soreness and so far I’ve been blessed with a strong bladder, so even on long plane rides I don’t have to disturb the people next to me too often. So I’d like to look outside to feel a little less claustrophobic. But with kids, I have to have to have to be able to use the aisle.

I’m kind of excited that for our trip for my brother’s wedding this October, our family gets a set of three seats to ourselves, so we can change where we are sitting depending on what we need at the moment. Plus I don’t have to feel awkward about using the armrest, or touching the person sitting next to me.

3. Do you fall asleep on your side, back, or stomach? What position are you in when you wake up?

I usually fall asleep on my side nursing, and that’s usually how I wake up, but I do like rolling onto my back to stretch for a while before curling back on my side. I used to be an exclusive stomach sleeper, but after a back injury in high school I was told in no uncertain terms to never ever sleep on my stomach again, so I’ve adjusted. I used to sleep on my stomach with the sheets curled up over my ears. I could not sleep at all if my ears were uncovered – thanks to a fear developed from seeing a little too much of a horror movie at a young age. I’m still not sure exactly what it was, but I was convinced that monsters would eat my brain through my ears. When I don’t have kids in my bed, I still prefer to sleep that way, but I don’t have to anymore.

4. When is the last time you attended a zoo, circus, carnival, county fair, or parade?

This year we went to our town’s Memorial Day parade.



I can’t remember the last time I went to a circus. I know I went once very young (maybe I was 5 or so?) when visiting my grandma and grandpa, but besides from shows in theatres I didn’t even know if traveling circuses were a “thing” anymore.

I think the kids are getting to an age where zoos and fairs could be a lot of fun for them, though. I’ll have to remember Simcha’s tips for planning the trip.

5. Do you have a favorite quote or inspirational saying?

I have two, and they are long-ish. The first is from C.S. Lewis:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

I used to be terrified of being hurt. All my life I had been told I was oversensitive and too emotional, so through my teen years and into early adulthood I worked very hard at trying to make myself completely invulnerable – and I got a glimpse of the above. That is a scary place – going through the motions, focusing on yourself, and never daring to really love. I thought I was making myself stronger, but really I was becoming self-absorbed and limited. Deciding to embrace vulnerability has meant that I’ve had to deal with hurts that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise, but it has also made me more real and less fake. My sensitivity can be a great asset that helps me to love others well. This reminds me of that.

The other is from Pope St. John Paul II:

“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.”

I also like this as a reminder. I spent years looking for satisfaction in mundane material things, but it was Jesus I was really looking for, and I think ultimately He is what all of us search for, and He can be found in the honest, loving pursuit of all kinds of endeavors. When I’m willing to say, “OK, I’m willing to stop being selfish,” Jesus is there waiting for me. It sounds hokey to our secular-grown ears, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

6. What’s the best thing about summer?


Swimming is excellent.


So is baseball (especially when your husband and his best friend get to announce a game.)

I never used to like being outdoors, but I’ve been spending a good part of my time outdoors this summer and I love it! Long days, fun times with friends – why not?

(And a quick sum up from last week, since I missed!)

1. What’s your favorite thing on YouTube?

This always makes me smile, and beg Ian for a cat.

2. Who taught you to drive?

My mother started me (when I was only 15 – shhhh, don’t tell!) We used to drive around my grandma’s house because it was very rural so we didn’t have other cars to contend with, although all the roads were dirt back then. When I was 16, I took a driver’s ed class that included a lot of driving practice. My teacher was…interesting. One time while I was driving he slammed on the teacher brake in the car and grabbed the steering wheel to swerve us INTO oncoming traffic because he saw a squirrel on the side of the road and was scared I might hit it.

That was terrifying. (Thankfully, the squirrel, our car, and all the other cars on the road escaped harm.)

However, said teacher ALSO told me I was the best student he’d ever had when it came to parallel parking, so he couldn’t have been all bad, right? (Though I doubt it was his teaching that did it – my mom used to have me parallel park our minivan when we would go places, so if I could do it in a minivan, I could do it in the little four-door.)

3. What’s your favorite thing to cook?

Chicken or eggplant parm. We never ate eggplant parm growing up, but I make it the same way I do for chicken, and it always makes me think of home, and helping (well, more truthfully, watching) my mom make it. It was my favorite thing she made and if we weren’t going out on my birthday I would request that she make it then.

4. Are you a hugger or a non-hugger? Why?

I am a hugger, with exceptions. With people I am very close to, I love to hug them. I am not a fan of hugging strangers (though I’ve learned to live with it – in Ian’s family there seems to be no concept of “strangers,” so even if I’ve never met a relative of his I’m already family and therefore will be hugged, and probably kissed, too.)

5. Where do you pray best?

In bed. It’s an easy place for me to quiet my mind.

6. When is the last time you saw/spoke to your grandparents?

Just a couple of weeks ago as part of my parents’ trip back East. I am very blessed that all of my grandparents are still living. They actually live only about 15 minutes apart from each other, so when we make a trip up, we can see them all.


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7 Quick Takes Friday

— 1 —

Yesterday was a bad, bad day like I hadn’t had in a LONG time. It started at 4am with Éamon being awake for no discernible reason. We changed his diaper, but he didn’t want to eat, and he didn’t cry, either. Just rolled around in bed and climbed on top of Ian and me a bunch of times. He finally went back to sleep right around 6am, only to have Alisdair wake up minutes later. So I was already a grump.

The kids were wild. Everyone had a time out (and probably could/should have had several more, but I was just too exhausted). Éamon had two blowout diapers (perhaps the reason for his early morning waking) that necessitated a LOT of cleanup, including furniture and floors. Just as I was looking forward to Ian being on his way home soon I remembered he had a work thing that evening so even after the other kids were picked up, it was just me and my kids until almost bedtime. I might have cried a little.

The good thing is that while today had some leftover grumpiness in it, it was MUCH improved over yesterday. I used to have tons of days like that in a row (or even weeks or months). Not so much the crazy things that happened (they always happen), but just feeling so defeated and down. I’ve grown a LOT in the past year or so, and am so very thankful for it.

— 2 —

Less seriously, tomorrow night Ian, Éamon and I get to see the Pittsburgh Riverhounds play. The last time I watched soccer in person was close to ten years ago (also a professional team). So this will be fun.

— 3 —

Alisdair won’t be attending with us because he’s going to this with his grandparents:

It looks awesome!

— 4 —

One out of our three pepper plants is actually growing peppers!


And some of our tomatoes are beginning to turn orange! If we make it to actually getting to pick some, we’ll have done a lot better than we did last year. I’ve already starting putting things together to grow a “real” garden next year. Alisdair has been really fascinated with the process, and I think by next year he could actually be a real help (though he is enthusiastic about the little things we ask him to do now).

— 5 —

This happened a few nights ago, and illustrates very well the difference between a saver (Ian) and compulsive declutterer (me):

We are in the basement going through a couple of boxes after the kids go to bed. I make several piles – “to file” (which I then file), “to throw away” (which I do), “to donate” (which has a box), “to take elsewhere in the house” (which I do). In the same amount of time, Ian goes through a stack of papers, hands me a couple of old tax returns to file, and then puts everything else in a pile “to go through later.” I ask, “Wait – didn’t you JUST go through them?” Ian says, “Huh?”

— 6 —

Éamon has done very little standing over the past couple of days. Maybe I scared him by pulling out the camera. He is focusing instead on talking. This week the favorite is “cha” (cheese), but he will also say “Pap,” “ow-zah” (outside) and “sha” (shoes).


He also likes to climb into boxes and pretend to sleep in them.

— 7 —

Ian and I started reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series (first book being A Game of Thrones.) We had tried watching the TV show (for some reason or another we were given free HBO for three months so I DVRed the first season) and hated it. More accurately: we enjoyed the story, the cinematography, and the acting, and hated having to sit through or fast-forward the roughly equal amount of time devoted to softcore pornography or violent carnage, because hey, it’s HBO, which means if they can show it they will, but I really enjoyed the first book and am getting ready to start on the second. Ian is a few chapters behind me but he is getting into it too.

After I finished the first book, I told Ian I wanted to see if someone had edited out the gratuitous sex and violence so I could see how they ended up staging certain things on the TV show. He said, “Maybe, but I bet it’s more likely that someone edited it the other way around.” Sure enough, the very first Google result, even with safe search on, was someone who had taken out all of the story and character development to just string together all the scenes with nudity. Sigh. And unfortunately, the rest of the search didn’t go any better.

(But if you, dear reader, know of such a thing – let me know!)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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I Can Stand!

All by myself!


No, don’t take a picture! I will sit down so you can not continue to capture this moment.


This seems to be a tendency with Éamon – whenever I want to get a picture of his antics, he immediately stops whatever he is doing and tries to hide the evidence. Here he is trying to take off the shoes he wears as mittens as soon as he sees the camera pointing at him:


It’s like he knows I’m going to bring these all out someday to get nostalgic about, and possibly embarrass him.

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