Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Seven Quick Takes

Thanks to Jen, our hostess.

1. Central Texas is bracing up for as much as 1" (that's 2.54 cm!) of snow today, and everything is just falling apart. Events are being canceled, friends are warning each other not to go out in these dangerous conditions, and provisions are being stocked with the kind of care you might expect in rural Alaska. I myself canceled a rehearsal for a play I'm directing for the homeschoolers, but I have an ulterior motive -- I feel so morning sick (and all-day sick) that I really have less than no desire to leave the house.

2. As I was feeding my kids leftover pizza for breakfast (again), I thought how low we'd sunk from our cheerful planning at the beginning of the school year. Then I was getting up and making breakfast every morning, and we started our lessons at 9:00 with a clean table. Then the flu struck, and shortly after we all recovered (a month-long process) we got pregnant. Now our former weekly shopping trip, made with the assistance of a crafted list, has devolved to Darwin stopping at the store on his way home or at odd times, picking up whatever he can remember that we need (I just can't man up enough to take all four kids through the store anymore). The state of the pantry and the fridge are haphazard, though we're glad that before everything went south we signed up for a 40-week share from a local farm. At least we have vegetables.

This all leads me to think that it wouldn't be a bad idea for a family to have an list of emergency running procedures for times of chaos like flu season or early pregnancy -- a kind of bare-bones how-things-get-done list just to make sure the kids don't eat too much leftover pizza for breakfast.

3. We do have some communication advances: Jack, almost 15 months, can now answer "yes" to questions. Usually he does this with a deep head bob and a grunt, but sometimes he'll say, "Yeah". He's also gotten good at following basic directions, which means if I tell him clearly and slowly, "Jack, go find your cup on the kitchen floor," he'll toddle off and get it.

4. The neighbor girls have introduced my girls to this series of books called Rainbow Magic, about a pair of human girls who assist the trendily-named fairies of Fairyland in finding various magical items that get lost. (The fairies seem rather incompetent -- they can't seem to do anything without the assistance of two pre-pubescent girls.) The books are harmless if fluffy, but there are a ton of them (it's one of those interminable Scholastic series, though interestingly enough we've determined that it's originally from England), and the ladies have been checking them out en masse from the library. Things have come to a head, however, and I'm putting my foot down on allowing any more of these things in my house. For one thing, they've become a trigger for nausea for me (seriously), and for another, Jack has already thrown one of them in the toilet. It flicks on the raw to have to buy such a dumb thing from the library, so that's the end of trendy series for a while in the Darwin house.

5. Watched the new The Lion in Winter recently, the one with Glenn Close and Patrick Stewart, and it's just not up to the standard of the old one. Both leads are fabulously talented thespians, of course, but I just can't buy Glenn Close as the aging beauty of the world.

6. I've only just discovered that you can listen to various radio stations on iTunes. This is useful knowledge since we don't actually have a working radio in the house.

7. A few months ago I bought nice pillows for Darwin and myself (at least they were the highest-end option at Wal-Mart). And we've spent the last few months waking up with neck aches and trying to pound the things into shape. Anyone have a recommendation for a really comfortable pillow? After all, for the amount of one's life one spends in bed, it's not worth it to have a lousy pillow.


Anonymous said...

Hello Mrs. Darwin, I have a request to make of you. Go on over to and say hello. This is a nice young Catholic couple who just found out they are expecting their second. I really think y'all would hit it off fabulously. :)

Rebekka said...

I like my feather/down pillow from Ikea.

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

There's a hilarious King of the Hill episode where the Austinites--I mean Arlenites--are having a winter barbecue, in shorts and t-shirts, when these white flakes start falling from the sky. At first nobody can figure out what's going on, then suddenly they realize, panic, leap into their cars, and speed off, skidding and crashing into each other on the 1/16" of snow.

Which leads to the real reason for staying the heck off the roads if it snows or ices; Central Texans have no idea how to drive in inclement weather.

However you really do need to spring for a reliable weather alarm radio, because unlike mild snowfall, tornados are not forecast in advance.

lissla lissar said...

(Falls over laughing at the idea of panic because of 1 inch of snow)

I really shouldn't laugh. Every single blasted winter we have accidents on the first snow day because somehow, during the (counts) five or six months of the year we don't usually get snow, everyone has forgotten how to handle it. It's pathetic.

I'm so sorry you're morning sick. Our food budget skyrockets during the worst of morning sickness, because of non-planning, mama thinking dinner sounded good but now can't eat it and needs junk food, etc.

Oh, no.


I have just realised that the next time I get pregnant, I don't think I can just feed our kids takeout for four months, because of our eldest's diabetes. Unless I memorize all of the local fast food places' nutritional information.

Anonymous said...

1. Radio. I download the local talk radio show podcasts from the websites and listen either on my computer or on my mp3 player.

2. I respect snow and ice. I moved to Milwaukee from Memphis last year. The city has snow removal equipment, we have a suite of shovels, ice breakers and a snowblower, and we have snow tires for the car, but it still scares me to drive on snow and ice. It is a learned skill and you don't know who has it and who doesn't.

Anonymous said...

PS "can't buy Glenn Close as the aging beauty of the world"

This is why "Fatal Attraction" never worked for me. He had Anne Archer at home and we were supposed to believe he would have a fling with Glenn Close? I mean, really.

RL said...

1. I had to laugh when the boss said we're going to get some snow that might accumulate and that we can work from home, because he will be. He's from upstate NY. Of course, he explained that it's the TX drivers that are to be feared.

2. Darwin may not appreciate me opening my mouth, but I've been the exclusive grocery shopper for 10 years. Shopping with kids is hard on any parent and takes twice as long. Shopping with the wife is insane, it takes three times as long and you spend twice as much money. I just go it alone.

7. Over 10 years ago I bought very expensive down pillows and ended up with severe neck pain. I went back to a beat-up flimsy down pillow that leaks feathers and enjoyed it until a month ago. Rhonda wanted a new pillow and decided that mine wasn't good enough for our bed. We went to Wal-Mart too, but I made sure I got the thinner of the two downs. I don't really like it, but it's not as bad as the thick one she got. Every night I punch and tell it, "I hate you. I hate you. You'll never be my pillow!"

RL said...

This is why "Fatal Attraction" never worked for me. He had Anne Archer at home and we were supposed to believe he would have a fling with Glenn Close? I mean, really.

Indeed! That affair only made sense if he was married to the likes of Rosie O'Donnell or Hillary Clinton.

Melanie Bettinelli said...

1. The funny thing is we're expecting 3-6 inches tomorrow night and the reactions here will likely be similar. Why do New Englanders always forget how to drive in snow over the summer?

2. I so sympathize. We do the same thing about running out of food and spending far too much during that dreaded first trimester. Here's praying it passes quickly.

7. I like a very thin pillow, highly compacted over years of use. I dread the day I have to buy a new one. All the new ones in the stores are about three times too thick.

I'm seriously considering packing my pillow along with me, giving up major suitcase space, when we come to Texas in February because all the fluffy pillows at my parents' house give me a serious neck ache.

lissla lissar said...

I like fluffy pillows. And thousands of blankets. My bedroom at my parents' house had really bad insulation, and I developed a protective burrowing-into-piles-of-blankets habit that I've yet to grow out of, to my husband's dismay.

We Canadians also forget how to drive in snow in winter. We don't get panicked about it. We substitute unjustified pride in our snow-driving skills. We therefore have lots of accidents on the first couple of snow days.

Margaret Mary said...

On radio - try
You can set up multiple playlists and customize each. It's great.

On food - Don't feel too guilty. Kids are resilient. You're in survival mode now and there will be compromises there. It won't always be this way. Someday you'll have beautifully planned, balanced meals. You may even indulge in garnishes. Someday, you will have a child or two who is old enough to assemble a pot of chili or bake a meatloaf. I promise. For now, if you have a day you feel like cooking, make double and freeze some. Have breakfast for dinner. Spend one lucid hour every week or so in planning. If you have stuff on hand, at least there's some hope, right?

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Is it even possible to have pizza too often for breakfast? (Says the woman who used to give her children microwaved burritos for breakfast. They were, however, homemade microwaved burritos.)

Anonymous said...

1. Excuse me, they were predicting isolated areas of up to 5" here in Houston. That's unheard of. It's all melted now, but it's below freezing, so it really means there's gonna be some ice patches. Joy. I spent my day off frantically purchasing a warmer coat for GeekBaby and knitting mittens.

3. It's amazing what they can do isn't it? Mine has figured out how to work the ice and water dispensers in the freezer door, and can locate anything if he's in a helpful mood. Especially my keys. He can even distinguish between "work keys" and "home keys".

5. I can't believe they remade The Lion in Winter. I feel like watching the old one in rebellion now.

7. Nice pillows. We're side sleepers, so we have these great thick latex foam pillows, they're thick and squishable and bounce back to their original shape very well. Kind of an in-between pillow between memory foam and really fluffy down. Found them at Dillards, but most department stores seem to have them. They were between $30-50 apiece when we bought them, and worth every penny I scrimped from coffee to buy them. Bet they go on sale after Christmas too.

Anonymous said...

Oh and I frequently feed my kid microwaved cheese quesadillas, for any meal where I'm too disorganized to have something planned. At least pizza has a least one vegetable.

the other Sherry said...

Have you tried candied/crystalized ginger? This last pregnancy I found it really helped during 1st trimester queasiness. My cheapest local source was the asian grocery.

Our almost-6-mo is now at the combat-crawl stage, and so is able to do things like tip over the trash can and chew on wadded-up tissues... I remember when I first learned the "sweep out the mouth with your finger" move in CPR class in high school and thought eeeewwwwww. Now it's a basic survival skill, at least for the next year or so.

Unknown said...

Hey Meri, this is Teddy Bort. I've been following your blog since Lucas mentioned it on his.

I bought my wife a pillow last year for Christmas. It's a combination of down and feathers and it is awesome. Double-tree hotel uses the same pillows, but if you don't care about the hotel branding you can get it for relatively cheap from JC Penney: