Seven Quick Take Fridays

1) First off, Kate Wicker‘s new book Weightless has just come out recently and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy! Congrats Kate, you have a book published AND are having a baby in the same year, I think you earned a year off :). If you are a woman, love a woman, have a daughter, a sister or are friends with a woman, this is an outstanding book…for both and/or all of you!

2)Secondly, Sarah Reinhard’s book Welcome Baby Jesus! is now available via Amazon.com. I am going to order a copy shortly for family reflections for Advent and Christmas.

3) And for my last good Catholic mom/book news: Lisa Hendey‘s new book A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul, is available for pre-order on Amazon. Why wouldn’t you want to pre-order this for the mom, grandma or mom-to-be?

4) In non-book news but Catholic Mom news…Simcha Fisher is NOT writing a book :(. But, along with at least one NCR commenter, I believe that by combining her posts from the new and old versions of her blog, her NCR posts and her posts at what was once Inside Catholic and is now Crisis Magazine online…I think we have one gem of a book I would LOVE to read. (Oh and read the link on that post, it is worth it if only to learn about Mark Shea’s blogging beard!)

5) Because, you know, I guess this has turned into a blogging Catholic Mom’s post, I will ask you to read about Rachel Balducci’s relationship with caffeine and coffee. Total smile-a-thon.

6) And in other Faith and Family Live! news. They celebrated their 100th podcast this week! WIN!

7) And finally, in related news, Catholic dad and former band front man Dan Lord (aka Mr. Beguiles, wife of the beloved Betty Beguiles) blogs today about God and being a band front man. This is going to be some kind of blog series, so stay tuned!

My final shameless plug for today is that you will come on over to Conversion Diary and read more from the beautiful, smart, and talented Mrs Jennifer Fulwiler (who also links to Dan’s article and has a youtube video of his band!). 

Small Successes

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1) I managed to keep all three kids and two dogs out from underfoot of the appraiser we had come by the house last week. Score that the appraiser came during Elmo’s World…

2) When someone sent me an invite to Google+, I didn’t hesitate and joined up.  Usually I am loathe to be one of the first to do anything “untested” but I am really enjoying it. Although I have no plans to give up facebook anytime soon.

3) I have made it four days saying the St Ann novena (keep scrolling down it’s there with some other wonderful prayers) I found through Elizabeth Foss. I am typically terrible at remembering novenas so this is a big one for me!

4) Not only did I make it to speech therapy for Shelby a second week in a row with both boys in tow. Afterward, I got both boys home to have a playdate with their grandparents while I took Shelby to the pediatrician for her well-child exam (Jeff met us there). We were seeing a doctor we had never seen before in our five years of being with the practice (although she has been there all five years) who was wonderful with Shelby and was excited to give us the two referrals we asked for as they gave her new resources for parents and the prescription we needed (for eczema, ugh!). Bonus, no shots needed (that made things go quite much better).

5) I have not freaked out once about our upcoming vacation or that I will be without Jeff for the first three days of it (my parents, two of my brothers, their girlfriends, my grandparents, my aunt and my cousin (who is a teenager) will be there, but it’s not the same as having Daddy there). Not one time! 😉

It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that.~Danielle Bean

Please visit Sherry for this week’s edition of Small Successes!

{pretty, happy, funny, real} William edition

{pretty}

These are William’s eyes. I never thought brown eyes were pretty until I saw his. They are really dark deep brown, like dark chocolate hershey kisses. This isn’t a great shot of the eyelashes, but all of my kids inherited beautiful thick, long lashes from their father.

{funny}

Okay, this is Will’s bedhead. He normally has curls, but his hair is an entity in and of itself. What is the funniest thing about this hair, women pay good money to have hair that  looks like that. And his just does it.

{happy}

There is nothing happier than a little boy who discovered his father left the sprinkler on in the back yard and takes advantage of it!

{real}

This is how the majority of my pictures of William come out (sigh).

Join us at Like Mother, Like Daughter for lots more {pretty, happy, funny, real}

If you want to know why…

I posted a password protected post, ask me for the password. You can email me at crazytowntimespublisher (at) gmail (dot) com…it is not anything particularly personal just something that some people find scandalous and I respect that.

A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings

1) I am thankful for blessedly, unseasonably, mild weather. It is gone today, but it’s been wonderful for the last four-five days. Actually being able to allow my children to play outside has been a wonderful blessing.

2) I am thankful for swimming pools on days when the sun is super-hot and there is no breeze.

3) I am continually thankful for my wonderful husband. I’ve seen this week that not all husbands are created equal (and neither are all wives, for that matter) and I feel exceptionally blessed to have one who does live up to the hype in every way.

4) I am thankful I have my life and not anyone else’s. Sometimes it is very hard for us to see the lives of others around us. This week I got a terrifyingly large look into two different families’ lives and it was eye-opening. It’s like that saying that if we took all our troubles and put them in a pile and saw everyone else’s we would grab ours back.

5) I am thankful for all the little things in life like turning the pillow over to get the cold side. Small, but can turn a bad day right around.

Please join Judy for  A Thankfulf Woman’s Book of Blessings!

Ten for Tuesday

Today’s questions are all zoo related. So I guess if you’ve never been to the zoo, you’re out of luck! There were provided by Lindsey at The Rowland Family.

1. What is your favorite zoo to visit?
The National Zoo in Washington, DC.

2. Do you visit a zoo very often?
No, for many reasons, the main one being distance.

3. Do you have a membership to a zoo?
No, but that will probably change.

4. When you visit a zoo, do you stay all day or just an hour or two?
All day. Since it’s a few hours to get to a decent one and back!

5. Do you buy food at the zoo or pack a picnic lunch?
The zoo doesn’t allow outside food, so we picnic in the parking lot. We usually end up getting bottled water inside though.

6. What is you favorite animal to see at the zoo?
At the National Zoo those would be the pandas (of course) and the aldabra tortoises. At the NC Zoological Park, I am partial to the Gorillas.

7. What is your least favorite animal to see at the zoo?
Not a  huge fan of chimps throwing rocks. Also dislike any kind of rodent (strongly) and okay with snakes, but not my fave.

8. What is your favorite memory of going to the zoo as a kid?
It’s not my memory, but my dad accompanied one of my brother’s classes as a chaperone on a trip and at the Lion exhibit, one of the kids mentioned they would like to see some sunglasses and high heel shoes (one of the teachers was wearing those that day, who in their right mind wears high heels (stilettos at that) to a zoo) in the lion enclosure. Always gives us a chuckle.

9. Do you visit the gift shop when you go to the zoo?
YES! I collect turtles so I’m always on the look out and I love stuffed animals for my kids. And cute t-shirts.

10. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best and 1 being the worst) how nice is your city’s zoo?
The closest zoo is one city over. It is an old school zoo with the animals in cages, not habitats. It ranks a -1 (that’s right folks a -1). They also do not allow strollers, so no way our kids get to go in since it’s a ton of walking.

Check out Ten for Tuesday over at Roots and Rings.

Taking it Too Far

Did you stand up and cheer when Mila Kunis accepted the invitation from a Marine to his Marine Ball? I will admit I did.

But I got uneasy when a female Marine asked Kunis’ co-star in their upcoming movie Friends With Benefits, Justin Timberlake.

And then, a third Marine made a ploy for a star. Betty White. While Mr. Timberlake and Miss Kunis both accepted, Ms White graciously declined, citing previous work commitments.

Let the Betty White bashing commence. Doesn’t she know it’s her patriotic duty to attend this Marine’s ball with him? Hasn’t she gotten the memo, if you say no to anyone in uniform, you might be tried for treason in the court of public opinion?

The original ploy to Mila Kunis (who, in case you’re wondering, is Ukrainian born) was done in a bet between Marines. Are the subsequent Marines serious in their endeavors? Are they seeking their 15 minutes of fame? And why are we in such a bind over celebrities accepting Marine Ball invites? Is their support of the military more important than that of the average American? And why these Marines? Are they more important than any of the roughly 20,000 other active duty Marines?

Ms White is 89 years old. She is busy working and making a living and a life, which is a lot more than the majority of 89-year-olds could say. For people to berate her for turning down a Marine is unconscienable. Clearly, she is at a point in her life where jetting off and betraying work commitments is not part of her lifestyle. Not to mention the jobs of several people depend on her working.

Enough is enough already. It’s like a bad joke that’s been taken too far at this point. No one attending a Marine Ball has any more patriotism than someone not even asked. I know many single young women who would have accepted either of the male Marine’s invites and some men confident enough in themselves to have accepted the female Marine’s invite.  And I wouldn’t accept an invite on the grounds that I am married, would that make me less of an American? Less patriotic? Unsupportive of our military? I beg to differ.

It’s sweet of Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis to accept the invitations to the Marine Ball, but the Ball is supposed to celebrate the birthday of the United States Marine Corps and, unfortunately, their attendance will detract from that. It will become about the paparazzi getting shots of the famous and very little attention will be paid to the Marines themselves or the Marine Corps itself. Do these shenanigans make these young members of Hollywood look like better Americans? or Is it all a strategic career move?

Supporting our military means much more than attending one dress-up military function. It means daily defending them against detractors and contacting our elected officials to ensure that the military get what they need. It means helping organizations designed to assist our military members and thanking them in person when we see them. Let’s get real folks and concentrate on the things that matter. And not on Hollywood silliness. Semper Fi, y’all.

The Countdown

Okay, I will admit it loudly and proudly. There are days when the countdown to Daddy coming home are definitely on. These days range from everything from two children who fight all day long and no amount of time-out or other punishments will cure to days like today. When I wake up before Daddy has even left with a sinus headache so bad that the sinus over my left eye is visibly swollen. (And by visibly swollen I mean when the two-year-old comes up and touches it (OUCH!) and says, “Mama have big boo-boo on eye.”)

Then there are days when we just miss Daddy. Days when over and over I am asked, “Where Daddy go?” Or when someone is being disciplined, “Not want Mama, want Daddy!” Trust me, in those moments, Mama misses Daddy as much as the child does.

I love my children. I treasure my time with them. Especially my time one on one, but I have deep respect and value for their father and their relationship with them. Daddy allows children to ride on his back like a horse. Daddy plays games that include loud, high-pitched, ear-shattering screeches. Daddy allows late bedtimes. Daddy is the “fun parent.”

But as the “fun parent” Daddy has also learned to respect what I do day-in and day-out: the 15 million questions I have to answer about anything from bodily functions to why we shouldn’t be mean to each other; the thousands of little messes I clean up from  potty accidents, food fights and science experiments conducted in secret run amok; and the kisses for hurt bodies and feelings.

Having Jeff gone during the week during the school year (and during the day in the summer) is insanely difficult at times. Having to juggle school work for one with a dentist appointment for another and making sure the dogs are fed and knowing it will not get done if I am not the one who does it is pretty exhausting. And stressful. Last year when I dislocated my kneecap after dinner one night, I called Jeff to let him know but told him not to worry about coming home that night. And somehow, in agonizing pain and with limited mobility, I got Shelby to school the next day and kept the boys on schedule.

But, as I tell anyone who asks, this difficult time of us being in different places when we want to be together, has its advantages. By Friday night, when Daddy gets home, the kids are sick of me and want their Daddy and he has missed them all week and is ready to take full charge of them. And I am exhausted and more than willing to comply with everyone in the interest of being able to use the bathroom uninterrupted and maybe a thirty minute nap.

I have no idea how single parents balance and juggle all the needs to two parents or how parents endure longer breaks (ie military deployments). I do not think I would ever be capable of that kind of “extreme parenting.”

The countdown isn’t on in our house because the kids and I don’t enjoy each others’ company or that we are constantly on each others’ nerves but because we value who Daddy is and what he brings to the table that I cannot. It’s a gift that I could never duplicate for my kids and am eternally grateful they have.

 

Small Successes

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1) I got Shelby to speech therapy with both boys in tow and kept them occupied for the full 30 minutes with no one (including Mommy) having a melt-down!

2) I remembered both Jeff’s step-mother’s birthday and his older brother’s so they are actually going to get their birthday cards a) at all and b) by their birthdays!

3) I cleaned my bathroom. I do it most weeks, but this week I felt very successful at it for some reason!

4) I’ve come up with three meals this week using all stuff we already had on hand…and they weren’t our usual meals either!

5) I completed this list which feels like an uber-success this week!

Join Sherry for Small Successes.

It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that.~Danielle Bean