Weekend Links/SQT

Well, happy weekend! I need to express that it’s been absurdly hot and humid and at this moment a really intense cloudburst is dumping sheets of rain, while the sky just a few houses over is bright and blue. Summer weather at its weirdest. However, 3 out of the 5 family members are napping (two of whom are Lucy! and Maeve!) so Lena is staring at the rain/trying to catch a dying fly on the window, so it’s a good time to do a really quick Quick Takes post.

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You watch the Great British Bake Off (or Great British Baking Show for us Americans), right?! WHO KNEW that a show about amateur bakers could be so fascinating? But between the pastel baking stations, the British flag bunting adorning the white competition tent, and the little black lambs bleating in the scene transitions, it’s beautiful. Then, there are the contestants, whom you grow to know and root for (or against) as the season goes on,  the quirky hosts, and the wonderfully British judges who provide the most quotable food critiques imaginable. It’s just pure fun. Plus, of course, the “bakes” all look amazing. This article at The Kitchn is helpful to understand some of the baking terms that are just so foreign to us, though it doesn’t explain the obscure British  cultural references that we have to look up throughout watching (like “Tatty byes!“). Tom and I love to watch this at the end of stressful, busy days when drama/anything heavy is just too much.

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I was inspired by Deirdre to actually address my rather persistent diastasis recti since the whole doing-nothing-about-it approach was proving futile. I bought the Mutu System this week on the day it was 45% off, which makes it cheaper than a pair of new running shoes or high-end yoga pants (so definitely worth it, for the ease of having it totally guided). I’m looking forward to actually starting it…probably next week? We’ll see. The nice thing is that I now have permanent access to the program and can start it when Tom’s schedule is a little lighter.

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My parents saved my childhood dollhouse, and we’ve talked about sprucing it up in time to give it to the girls at Christmas. I may be slightly optimistic, but how fun and beautiful is this dollhouse remodel?!

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One of the (ongoing) travails of my daily life is Maeve+sleeping. As in, there’s not much of it and it’s hard-won. Por ejemplo, last night, she woke at 9:30 for what I thought would be a typical “first wake” of the night from which she’d nurse quickly back to sleep (as she usually does). But this time, she did not. She did not want to nurse, at all, ever, no, no, no. Didn’t want to be rocked. Didn’t want to cry herself to sleep. I’m still not sure what it was she needed/wanted, other than to be UP and AWAKE and SOCIAL! So finally, when the crying herself to sleep was also a bust and keeping us from sleep too, she acquiesced to nursing in a rocking chair and passed out. At 12:30 AM. Yeah.

Now I’m thinking we’ll have to really buckle down and help her learn to fall asleep on her own, especially for naps, because I just won’t have another Lucy-type sleeper!! Hannah mentioned this site and I’m really finding it helpful since she takes all the baby sleep research and books and distills it into short, practical, helpful posts. So we’ve dug up the infant swing and trying to get her to fall asleep in it, since the other day she ended up finally falling asleep at my mom’s in the outdoor baby swing (granted it was 103º out and crazy humid) when nothing else had worked. So far, she has fallen asleep for two naps today in her swing with just minor struggle, but it’s a little battery-operated one so she wakes up as soon as it stops swinging. Ha, well, it’s a start.

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I’ve been really into gazing at Carl Larsson’s paintings lately. He and his wife Karin, were both artists and raised 8 children together in this totally idyllic and beautiful Norwegian country cottage. I want all their textiles, art, furniture, etc!! Here are paintings of his lovely, cozy bedrooms.

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And some photos from Tom’s phone, from the last few weeks months! (He often forgets to open his Amazon Prime Photo app, and thus I never see the treasure trove of snaps from his perspective).

Such as...this one from Mother's Day!

Such as…this one from Mother’s Day!

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Girls in Rompers

Me in a pic?! Wonder of wonders.

Me in a pic?! Wonder of wonders.

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Father-Daughter Selfie time at the winery

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Tom took the girls to the hardware store and Lena freaked herself out when she almost knocked some screens over.Tears.

Tom took the girls to the hardware store and Lena freaked herself out when she almost knocked some screens over. Tears.

Big sis entertainment to the rescue!

Big sis entertainment to the rescue!

Lucy's baptism day celebration on the Nativity of John the Baptist, with the traditional pazookie + baptismal candle

Lucy’s baptism day celebration on the Nativity of John the Baptist, with the traditional pazookie + baptismal candle

Morning, sunshine!

Morning, sunshine!

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That’s all I got. Go see Kelly for more Quick Takes!

 

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Currently, Vol. 5

Recovering: from a lovely mini beach vacation earlier this week, and the three days before that in which everyone but me was sick with nasty summer head colds. The beach did seem to be a great antidote though (those Brits were onto something when they “went to the shore for their health”).

With that in mind, I’m just here to drop a few pictures (half of which were taken by my much more on-top-of-it sister-in-law/her dad…

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Someone super excited to start the road trip…

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…and some great links that I’ve been saving to share. Some of these things are probably old at this point, but still worth sharing I think!

4 Reasons Midwives Are a Superb Women’s Healthcare Solution

This is an excellent and informative article by our friend Joy. I can firmly attest to the truth of all the facts she mentions here, and I think it’s worth a read even if you love your epidural (which is totally fine, btw) and/or think midwives are illiterate backcountry women asking you to go boil some water (they’re not). Particularly in light of the recent Planned Parenthood scandals and discussion about women’s healthcare. The only thing I’d add here, is that if you are someone who really needs or wants the hospital setting/drugs, you can still use a midwife! Many midwives only practice in hospital in conjunction with an OB system, so that is a very common option for anyone not ready to go 100% natty.

Our Marriage is Stronger Because My Husband Isn’t My Best Friend

Another article by a friend, Julie (we have a lot of talented writer friends!). This one sparked a lot of interesting controversy amongst the comments, but I totally understand where she is coming from. Tom and I had only known each other for a short while before starting to date, and then got engaged less than 6 months later, so I would never say we were some kind of life-long besties or anything. Many people missed her main point though (probably because of the click-baity title) that while a spouse can be a best friend, he or she is actually much more than merely that.

To the Gentleman in the Target Parking Lot

I already shared this on Facebook, but it’s just so good. It’s hard to imagine fielding such vitriol but apparently lots of adults have little self-control. Anyway, if you see a mom of multiple little ones trying to navigate any place in the public sphere, just a) offer to help or b) smile and say something positive (and no, “You’ve got your hands full!” does NOT count).

Hope you’re week is full of joy and cheese!

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Currently

Listening to:

The lull of two sound machines. Synchronized naps, be mine forever!!

Eating:

All the glorious snacks that Costco provides: mango peach salsa, sweet and salty trek mix, Food Should Taste Good brown rice crackers, etc.

Tonight we’ll be feasting on Ziti al Forno in honor of St. Catherine.

Watching:

Anne of Green Gables, in 30 or 45 minute intervals after the girls are asleep. It’s only fitting to commemorate Jonathan Crombie’s death. It is SO GOOD, and Tom has never seen it! (Thankfully, he rectified his sad situation of never having heard of/read the series shortly before we started dating. Otherwise, I would’ve gotten him on that train post-haste. AOGG is probably one of my very favorite childhoold/adolescent/adulthood series ever). Seriously, though, the acting in this mini-series is top-notch and just so enjoyable. We’ve been researching our future PEI road trip.

Who can resist Gilbert Blythe’s impish smirk?

Mostly, though, we cannot WAIT until Gran Hotel’s next season is finally released in the US! We thoroughly enjoyed the first seasons on Netflix back in February/March, and keep our eye on Netflix for the moment it arrives. C’mon, Netflix, ándale!!

Reading:

Finally finished The Betrothed last week. I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood to get into a longer book with a fascinating plot and historical setting.

I just got this book, which is proving to be super interesting, and will get its own review when I finish (which, given my motherhood-induced track record, could be months).

And, since I’m on an Anne kick, I’m listening to the series, starting with the very first book, on Librivox (this is the version you want). Lucy Maud Montgomery is laugh out loud funny, and just such a darned good writer. I was captivated by her stories as a kid, but I really appreciate her humor and subtlety as an adult. I put it on while I’m getting meals prepped or cleaning, or anytime I think I’ll be able to hear the recording over the clamor and hubbub around here.

Planning:

May will be busy! A blogging conference this weekend in rural Maryland, my sister’s graduation and our second big road trip with the girls, Tom’s birthday, lots of end-of-the-year school trips/stuff for Tom, my high school’s 40th anniversary Gala, and probably more that I’m forgetting!

Playing:

Outside, as much as possible. It’s classic spring: rainy one day, up in the 80s the next. Lucy has discovered digging in the dirt, and her life is now complete.

 

 

Sweet little girl (most of the time...)

Sweet little girl (most of the time…)

Glorious crabapple tree outside our window.

Glorious crabapple tree outside our window.

Clicking:

Some good perspective on dealing with sibling rivalry (not that we have ANY of that round here…):

“Remember that in an infant’s or toddler’s eyes, older siblings are akin to movie stars.  And to think, for one moment a celebrity actually looked at me while taking that object from my hand. In was in my hand, and now it’s in her hand. Wow! She noticed me!”

Hilarious lessons to be learned from Kristin Lavransdatter!

This may make you tear up (or maybe that’s just me + hormones).

I intend to make these soon and very soon!

Just in time for swimsuit season!

Well, I hear some stirring upstairs, so free time is up!

Around the Interwebs

So, occasionally I’m able to finish an article, essay, or blog post before my iPad is lifted by the resident toddler/klepto. I’m a sucker for other people’s lists of interesting, engaging, funny, weird, inspiring, and so on links, so I thought I’d share a few of the ones I’ve come across lately!

  • This one’s more of a PSA for anyone to whom I’ve ever given cloth diapering advice: I AM SORRY, I WAS DOING IT ALL WRONG!! Really. Go to Fluff Love University (and its companion Facebook group, where amazing cloth diapering gurus will promptly help you solve your dilemmas) and follow their advice instead! Who knew there was so much science behind those fluffy waste receptacles.
  • I thought this little video about the youngest priest in Baton Rouge was both funny and inspiring. He’s my age, and I loved hearing about his gradual conversion from checked-out adolescent, to reluctant young 20-something, to priest, who raps to evangelize:

“I would just go to the Adoration chapel every day, for hours and hours. Go to parties, leave the parties, and go be with Jesus. Go on dates, leave the dates, and go be with Jesus.”

  • This article from Verily Magazine, about not having strippers or other distasteful practices at bachelorette parties was spot-on: 

“I suppose it is all intended as good fun, but there is something a little gross about involving a stranger’s nudity in          a celebration that is supposed to preface a wedding.”

  • If you use essential oils at all, I recommend this article, as well as the website she links to at the bottom. Good info about why you should not ingest oils and on being cautious with their use, especially around children.

 “Misquotable or not, Pope Francis is our Pope. He’s our father. He’s also a figure of contradiction and amusement and confusion and excitement and all the other adjectives for the rest of the world, looking on in wonder/disgust/mild curiosity. So yes, he will be in the news. And yes, all the things he says will be analyzed and dissected and translated and represented to you, the consumer, to ingest. But it’s your responsibility to monitor the quality.”

“All in all, Franciscan’s study abroad program offers an intimate setting, excellent education, and life-changing experience.” 

That’s all I have time for; someone is chattering away in her post-nap prison and occasionally shrieking, so I’ve got to go!