Wednesday, September 18, 2013

5 Favorites

A little brain candy for your Wednesday internet trolling, because I am short on sleep and long on a laundry list of domestic duties to be tackled before my! little! sister! and her family! get here on Saturday afternoon for a prolonged staycation with us. They're moving to Colorado and I could not be more excited. This is how good God is: when Dave got the call about his current job, we were sitting in my in-law's living room in South Bend, Indiana. 4 hours later we were waiting for our flight in the South Bend airport when Lizzie called to say "Guess what...?" At almost the same time, we blurted to eachother "We're moving home!" Shocked squeals abounded, and now, 2 months later, it's really happening. Between our 5 ex-utero children under the age of 4, it should be a really fun couple of weeks while they house hunt. Or so I'm telling myself as I needlessly bleach towels and fruitlessly mop floors.

Anywho, please enjoy the following random. As for me, I'll be rocking my Alpha Rev playlist and swiffering the shit out of the first floor.

The Pope is single-handedly destroying the Catholic Church. Oh yes he is, you'd better believe it. You'll have the easiest time believing it if you spend lots and lots of time trolling comboxes and kvetching over the ineloquence and foolishness of this simple man in white. Oh yes.

The Church exists to evangelize. It is her deepest identity, the role of missionary. So why are we in the habit of strafing our biggest target audience with friendly fire?

I wanted this chair ruhl bad. I passed by it at Target many a morning, giving it the side eye and willing-away it's $140 price tag. Well well well, guess what I happened upon at Goodwill earlier this week, still sporting its Target tags and marked down to $30 dollars? I should probably write a how-to post on thrifting, because I'm kiiiind of obsessed with it, and I'm a little bit good at it. 

My precious
This guy.

He naps only every other day, meaning that on off days (hellooooo, today) I have this sensation of oh holy hell, how is this day going to play out until 6 pm? (He also has an alter-ego where he assumes the persona of "Charkey the dog" and will only answer to such. He also insists on calling John Paul "Gary" while he's in character, to which JP readily barks his agreement. Charkey is a character from Curious George I'm pretty sure, but I have no idea who in the hell Gary is. They both think they're hilarious.)

And so I've had to start thinking of stuff he can do on his ownsome, since mama's gotta work part of the day and my nap window is slamming shut on my typing fingers. Case in point, he was literally perched across my forearms while I typed that last sentence. He's a dainty 28 lbs at nearly 3 years old, so he is a peanut, but still. My forearms. 

Here's what I've come up for 'independent play' options: 
  • Read books (he can't read, but he will stare for 20-30 minutes at a stack of library books, flipping through them at the pace of an actual reader. I don't know, maybe he is gaming the system by forcing all those read-alouds and he actually comprehends at a 6th grade level. 
  • Work on my letters, mommy. This one involves foam letters from the Target dollar spot, a lot of answering questions when he fetches me various members of the alphabet, and then some halfhearted attempts to point out things around the house to match the letter in question. Rosie inspired this idea.
  • Worm or rabbit hunting. Now that the floods have subsided, we're mostly back to bunnies only, but our neighborhood is teeming with rabbits. Think 3-4 on every lawn up and down both sides of the street at dusk. If you drive too fast into the driveway, you can flush an entire Disney animated short out of the shrubs. I send the boys out regularly to hunt and report on the whereabouts of our fecund neighbors. Never fails.
  • Cutting. With scissors. Safety scissors + old newspaper, magazine, bulletin, whatever = 30 minutes (I am not kidding) of uninterrupted and relatively quiet concentration on his part. He is only allowed to cut at his IKEA kiddie table, and he thinks it is the coolest.thing.ever. Then he cleans it all up at the end of his special cutting time. Homeschooling: nailed it.
We hired a milk man. Hell yes suburban motherhood, I have arrived.

Coming soon to the cooler sitting on my front porch: 2 gallons of milk, a dozen eggs, and a pint of half and half every Monday morning. All organic, and all cheaper than our local organic grocery store. I'm lumping this into the category of "why not accept a little help if you can afford it/it's available?" It's actually cheaper than Costco, in terms of gas and sanity, and come on, they have seasonal eggnog. Win/win.

Be sure to check in with Hallie and her legion of favorites.


  1. 1) So jealous of your milk delivery service. YUM.

    2) Also jealous of your thrift shopping skillz. Tell me your ways! Most importantly: how do you get the little ones to cooperate with your store browsing? My Mary (JP's age) is done after five minutes. Tops.

    3) Been meaning to ask you- do you guys know the Willitses? Greg and Jen and their clan recently moved to Denver to work for the Arch too. This is probably a dumb question, because of course you guys know each other, you are all Catholic internet celebs, but JUST IN CASE I thought I should ask. They are dear friends of mine from my home parish back in GA and the best sort of people. Their website is

  2. What I wouldn't give for a milk delivery service! And an awesome thrift store like yours! There aren't any Targets near me (sob) so the couple of tiny thrift stores don't get their brand new merchandise.

  3. Puh-leeeeeze post on thrifting. I am more than a little awful at it. And I have drooled over that same chair. Maybe if you write it, I will learn how to find one... :)

  4. That chair is sooo beautiful!

    Also, can you enforce mandatory quiet time in his room for Joey during JP's nap? John Paul and Cecilia are both on board with the fact that they don't have to sleep, but they DO have to stay in whatever room I put them in until 3 o'clock every day. Cecilia mostly sleeps, John Paul never does... But they stay put and I can do whatever I need to do without any children underfoot while the twins are napping!

    Okay, besides that, here are some more independent play activities that are working well for us right now:

    Hole punching (with a single hole-punch, and then they get to use the dustbuster to vacuum up any mess)
    Playdough (they particularly like making sea urchins/aliens by sticking toothpicks into lumps that they make)
    "Mosaics" - give him a glue stick and let him paste all those things he cut onto a sheet of paper (I don't trust my John Paul with a glue stick by himself, but if Joey can be trusted with scissors he's probably okay with a glue stick!)
    Puzzles (16 or 24-piece from the dollar store)
    Scavenger hunts (rainbow scavenger hunts are our favorite, they have to find one thing for each color of the rainbow)

    Also, this might sound weird, but I send the kids outside with a bucket of peanuts or ice cubes and tell them they can ONLY eat those outside, and they're happy for a LONG time just shelling peanuts or playing with ice cubes. It's kind of amazing!

    Aaaanyway, can you tell I spend a lot of time trying to get the kids to play by themselves?

  5. Thrifting in Denver is the best. I miss the Goodwill on Broadway/County Line like you missed Chipotle when you lived in Rome. No joke.

  6. The hole punching idea is genius!

  7. Milk delivery service still exists?! I can only imagine how great that would be! We're always running to the store "just for milk " (right).

  8. Thank you so much for the brain candy. I'm so happy you're settling in nicely. When my John was your son's age he had one favourite film, "spirit", and yes, he ended up believing he was a horse too at times. He would watch it every day in the afternoon, sometimes falling asleep after a few minutes.

  9. Another idea for independent play is to google busy bags or they are also on Pinterest for toddler or preschoolers...I love them for my 2 year old during homeschool. Even if you only do a few and then pull them out during "quiet time."

  10. This will only keep him happy for a few blessed minutes probably, but still, a few blessed minutes!{keyword}

    And who knows, maybe he's a fledgling seamstress at heart and dying to work on those skillz.

    That is soooo awesome about Lizzy, it is my dream to live near sisters- I will live through you.

  11. Please write that post on thrifting. I need it. I'm not so great at it. I'm really good at two things: working my tail off and NOT buying's the in between that I struggle with.

    I'm jealous of the milk delivery. That's the stuff of dreams.

  12. Love your blog! I'm so glad I hopped over to it from your comment. Will you please write some tips on thrifting? I went to GW last week and came home with an icky purse that I regret spending even $2 on. I need help.

    Nice article on Francis - it's good to have a heads up on what's going on in Rome...

    Jealous of your milk delivery. Cheaper than Costco?!? Be still my heart.

  13. We don't drink much milk, but I saw that they deliver yogurt, cream and butter! Another reason Colorado would be an awesome place to live.

    And I so admire your thrifting success. South Bend is not exactly home to a great selection of thrift stores so I have been so discouraged lately!

  14. i never comment, but thoroughly enjoy your writing. so what prompted me to finally break my vow of silence...

    1. i'm totally jealous of your thrifting scores. like, i may have muttered, "you suck" at the computer screen.

    2. my middle son went through a phase between 2 and 3 where he would pretend to be "charley" the puppy. he was a lot nicer and more obedient when he was a puppy, so we all called him charley. maybe "gary" comes from spongebob, if you're boys are allowed to watch that work of brilliance?


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