Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Nerdy, Nerdy Family

My husband's birthday was the other day. Since he is a Catholic philosopher and since we both love St. Thomas Aquinas, I gave him a commentary by St. Thomas. (Yes he liked the book. As I noted, we are a nerdy family.) Happy Boy helped me wrap the present and then we brought it out to the living room. Happy Boy ran up to my husband with the gift and said, "Happy birthday, Papa! Here is a St. Thomas Aquinas book!" I guess he is too young for me to tell him what kind of presents we are giving.

My husband's older brother called him up and wished him a happy birthday. Then he gloated, "This may be your birthday, but tomorrow I turn 12,000 days old. That is much better because 12,000 is a very Biblical number." They then quickly calculated when my husband would turn 10,000 days old. If you think that's nerdy, you should see them when they get together with the rest of their family!

In other nerdiness news, my husband started a blog which is primarily in Latin. When he is feeling benevolent* he translates the posts into English.

*Meaning, when he has the time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Me to a T

I took this quiz and was pretty impressed with how they pegged me. Make this hair brown, a little longer and lots more split ends (ahem) and that is what my hair looks like. The only other difference is that this picture looks nice, but mine always looks bad, even when I try to style it. But since they are talking about ones ideal hairstyle, I guess I would have to agree that what they show pretty much is what I would choose.

Your Ideal Hairstyle:

Full and Textured

Muffins for My Honey

My husband has to leave early for work on Thursdays and often doesn't have time to eat breakfast. Since he has a large break between classes in the middle of the day, he usually comes home about ten. I try to have something waiting for him and most of the time it is muffins. They are easy and Happy Boy loves to help me them, so they are my natural fall-back. At my cooking blog, you can see our family's new favorite muffin recipe.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bananas for Boys?

This CNN article claims that eating lots of bananas will help you to conceive a boy. I must admit I am a little skeptical. It didn't give any statistics about the study at all. Since the normal boy:girl birth ratio is about 51:49, I wonder what it was in this case? If it only went up a couple points then it may have been a fluke. On the other hand, if the ratio went up significantly, I might start eating bananas by the bunch if I don't get any more sons.

This reminds me of an antic dote a pregnant friend relayed to me. She said that when she and her husband told her non-Catholic NFP-ignorant inlaws that they were expecting, the inlaws asked if she wanted a boy or girl. She said that she wanted a boy but based on the time of conception thought she was having a girl. She told me there was dead silence and looks of utter disbelief on their faces. I guess they didn't know the benefits of charting. ;)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Penderwicks

Recently Elizabeth had a post about how much her daughter enjoyed The Penderwicks. Since I love children's chapter books (I am hesitant to say "young adult" because most YA is trash) I immediately requested it from the library. I am always on the lookout for quality books that are easy for me to read while parenting children who need lots of attention.

I am not quite done with it, but I have loved every chapter. The charming style reminds me of E. Nesbit, or other older writers. Even though the story takes place in modern times, the children actually behave like children ought to: they play outside, use their imagination, and never touch video games. The whole family is delightful: creative, academic, polite. The father even speaks Latin sometimes!

Some of the reviewers on Amazon complained that the story was "idyllic", but that is one of the reasons I enjoyed it. I suppose if idyllic stories aren't your style, you can always read Braless in Wonderland, or any other number of pathetic modern stories. Sure it's not very realistic (it's possible, but not probable), but I'll take that to this any day.

Jealousy and Danger

Every time Reeda sees me holding Happy Boy she drops what she is doing, runs over, and starts crying. I don't want to not hold my son and reward her jealousy, but her screams drive me bonkers, so I am not sure what to do.

In other news, Reeda is all monkey-business. She is the most skillful climber I have ever seen. (At least, for age.) Many one year olds are not even walking yet, and she is scaling her high chair. It is quite the experience to see someone not even 20 pounds adroitly climb three feet into the air. Most of that experience is fear on my part, but there is some amazement there as well.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Post Worth Reading

Flannery wrote a beautiful post about supernatural virtues, grace and God's goodness. Here is an excerpt:

The happiest moment of my life was the moment when I realized that "good" is said of God, not because He happened to take that side of the opposition but could conceivably have taken the side of "evil," but because He is Good in the deepest and truest sense of the word, and it is not possible for Him to be evil: and that if it were possible, "good" would not really be good.

A Field Trip to the Zoo

My husband took his biology class to the zoo yesterday, so we decided to come along. It was wonderful weather and the students were cheerful and polite, so it was a delightful afternoon.

The striped animal you see is called a bongo. We had been hoping to see the okapis, but there were only tractors in their pen. Happy Boy liked that, but the rest of us were disappointed.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tax Weekend

The weekend before April 15th is drawing to a close. For the first time in our married life, my husband and I are not scrambling to get everything done. Instead, our rebate has been earning interest in our bank for the last month. I wish I knew what we did differently, so I could remember to do it next year. :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Poisonwood Bible

Nutmeg's book club was hosted by Erin this month. She chose The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. For once I thought I would take a stab at the monthly book. I finished it a little late, but oh well.

My first impression of this book was that I couldn't stand the author's style. However, it turned out that she had five different styles: one for each of the women in the Price family. Luckily, only the mother's narrative was convoluted and abstract.

Out of the five narrators, I liked the oldest daughter's the best. Hers were the least substantial, but also the most humorous. She was exceedingly narcissistic and stupid. To be pretentious she would try to use large words, but would inevitably use the wrong word, which would result in some funny meaning which she never intended.

My next thought concerning the book was that, with all due respect to Erin, the story reinforces my opinion that families shouldn't go abroad to be missionaries. (Forgive me, Erin. I have no idea in what capacity your family served as missionaries, or what the circumstances were.)

The father in the book was amazing. Nathan Price was the most self-righteous man who ever walked the face of the earth. He would never listen to correction, even when not doing so made him look like a fool. Because he mispronounced the native language, he would consistently say, "Jesus is a poisonwood tree. If you want your children to be saved, they need to be terrorized." If someone tried to tell him otherwise, he would get angry. His holier-than-thou, self-righteous Bible-quoting attitude reminded me a lot of the wife in Flannery O'Connor's story Parker's Back. They both make me wonder how much of a Christian I really am. Is my prideful attitude going to harm my salvation? I don't think I am prideful, but neither did they and they clearly aren't true Christians. On one hand, I don't want to be like them, but on the other, I don't want to pray like the Pharisee, "Thank you God that I am not like them."

What I liked best was how Africa was described. Leah, and to some extent Rachel, spoke of the vastness and beauty of Africa in such a way that it sounded almost mystical. I got the impression that it was a much more powerful continent than any of the others. In the others, man is able to submit that land to his will, but in Africa, man submits to nature. An example would be that the cities are very unnatural and it is easier to survive in the jungle. Another is that they can't build normal roads because the jungle overtakes them.

Overall, I would say the book was just okay. I didn't hate it, but I don't think I would recommend it either.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Growth Spurt

Happy Boy has always been on the small side. It has only been in the last six weeks that I put away the last 2T clothing item. I have been building up a decent sized wardrobe in 3T and am pretty content with it. However, I recently noticed that some of them are already looking a little small! I couldn't believe it! Most 4T won't fit him for a while, but some already are. I realized that I have only a couple items in that size. Now I am left scrambling to find clothes for him before his pants turn into capris. At this rate, I won't be surprised if he is totally out of his current size before the end of summer.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Vocation to Love (By Keeping House)

It seems that everyone is talking about this powerful post by Elizabeth Foss. Every wife, mother or wife-to-be should read it. If you haven't, you are seriously missing out.

Every word that I think of to describe it falls short in some way. Moving: yes, but more than that. Critical, no because it was more of a positive thing. Encouraging: not exactly. Oh, how I want to put her all words of wisdom to practice immediately. Unfortunately, things like this take time to perfect or we might burn out, as Nutmeg alluded to. (Her post is very good too; read it if you have the time.)

For me, I know I need to improve on my usual standards and I have to figure out the best way to do that. I have read a lot of blogs and websites about the best ways to keep the perfect house, and I know that some people's ideas won't work for my family as well as others. I think I will start by walking around with a critical eye and start with the first thing that I see that ought to be done. Over time, hopefully I will develop some sort of system to help me persevere.

St. Anne, pray for us.