Seven Quick Takes: A sick day, stem cells, and fearlessness

1. A sick day

I woke up this morning sounding like someone’s grandma with emphysema.  I was set and determined to go to school anyway, but Teacher Man pointed out that we are given sick days for a reason.  So, I took one.  I even dropped Little Man off with his sitter so he could play with the kids and I could take a nap.  Which I did.  For an hour and a half.  I’m feeling a little bit better, but my throat is still sore.  Bring on the Popsicles and let’s hope for an early night tonight.

2. Stem cells that could be less… sticky

I won’t bother rehashing the whole thing (Simcha does a great job of talking about the whole idea here).  But, the gist of it is that scientists think they might have found a way to make stem cells for treatment of things like macular degeneration and some types of cancer from the patient’s own white blood cells.  As with most things, there are opportunities for this technology to be used for good or for evil.  I, for one, will definitely be looking at how this all turns out.

3. Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart

When they read together with their matching glasses sitting on the edge of their noses.

This article has been making the rounds on social media today.  It’s pretty amazing and I love what great friends these guys are.  I can only hope that my best friends and I are this awesome when we’re the age of these two.

4. Full House guys reunite on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Fantastic.

5. I was a little off

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I made a hat for Little Man.  I think the sizing was off by a touch or two.

6. Fearless

Little Man has been working on cruising around the coffee table and he’s getting pretty good at it.  The only problem is that he has now decided that he doesn’t need to hang on to anything anymore and he should just be able to walk.  Unfortunately, his leg strength disagrees with him and he wobbles and falls.  Which is okay (we all fall, right?); it’s just funny to see him think Oh, yeah, I can totally do this.  And he so, so can’t.  🙂

7. Project Life Baby Edition

As I’ve briefly mentioned before, I’m doing Project Life for Little Man’s baby book.  There’s a sale on Amazon right now for the Baby Edition (link in picture above and here).  If anyone out there is thinking about getting started on a baby book or is looking for a good baby shower gift, this is a great buy.  I’ll write more about Project Life when I have more completed pages to share.  For now, I’ll just say that I’ve definitely found this as an easy way to document Little Man’s first year of life.

Check out the other Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.  

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Five Faves (vol. 5): Comfort Reads

I’ve been busy lately (I know, nothing I haven’t said before) and I’m struggling to find things to post about.  Little Man is still his sweet, awesome self, but the rest of my days aren’t particularly exciting.  What to write about?

While I ponder that for the next short while, here are my Five Faves for the week.  I was thinking about books that I return to and read over and over.  Teacher Man doesn’t understand why someone would want to read a book more than once.  I love reading books and watching movies over and over.  If it’s a really great book or a really great movie, you get to know the characters and you feel like you’re visiting old friends when you re-read.  These books aren’t in any particular order and I promise more than a basic plot summary.

Also, I think maybe the title is a little misleading.  These aren’t all books that I find comfort in.  But, they are the books that I turn to time and time again.  Also, feel free to click on the photos to get to the link for the books on Amazon.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Is it bad for me to say that if you don’t like this book you must be made of cold, hard stone?  Whatever.  I don’t even care.  I’ve read this book pretty much every year since I was in 6th grade.  Every time I read it, I learn more about myself (cue the cheesiness) and a new perspective on the world.  Also, it’s just a beautiful book and practically perfect in every way.

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

If you want to get really freaked out about where we’re going as a society, read 451.  I’m always astonished at how even though this book was written, what, forty years ago, that it’s amazingly accurate to how we live our lives.  There’s no mention of the Internet and we aren’t quite to the level of burning books yet, but it’s creepy how close we are.  Bradbury also as amazing style that is very much his own and makes his characters sound so real it’s amazing.

3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This book was in the bag that I brought with me to the hospital when I had Little Man.  I’ve read it over and over and over and over.  The March sisters are the people that I feel like are my friends (in a totally not-creepy way) and I love visiting them every few years.  Even though I know the story and it’s completely predictable, I never tire of it.  Each of the sisters is different in their own way and seeing them go through their struggles and achievements at times when I’ve gone through my own makes me feel even more connected to them.  Also?  I want to be Jo, but I’m pretty sure that I’m Meg.

4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Gatsby is complete perfection in every way.  This is a book that I’ve taught a few times and I each time, there’s another layer; it’s like an onion.  Fitzgerald has a remarkable ear and every single sentence is perfect.  The clash between the life of Nick and the life of Gatsby is one that stands the test of time.  The yearning of Gatsby to relive the past is something that all of us can relate to.  We all have parts of us that show up in Gatsby, even if we don’t want to admit it.

5. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

I hear Crutcher speak as an English teacher conference that I went to during my first few years of teaching.  He read a selection from this book (when you read it, it’s the part about the little girl knocking the Happy Meal on the floor) and he explained that it was a real story that he witnessed when he was working as a counselor in Spokane.  It was a heartbreaking story, and I picked his book up right away.  While this book was the first one that I read of his, all of them are great reads and would be worth picking up.

Be sure to go Moxie Wife and check out the other faves for the week.  

Five Faves (vol. 4)

There’s no rhyme or reason for these Five Faves, friends.  I know many of you out there are at the Walk for Life in D.C. (or wishing you were there or praying, as I am here, for all of the babies aborted since Roe v. Wade), but this post has (almost) nothing to do with abortion or the Walk for Life.  I decided that I needed a little pick-me-up, so I’m trying to focus on a few things that have brought me joy in the past couple of weeks.

1. Okay, ONE post. 

I know I said nothing to do with the Walk, but I always love reading this post by Maggie.  This year, my Little Man’s name made the list and it makes the whole thing more real for me than before.

2. Mrs. Meyer’s

You know you’re an adult when you get excited about buying a mop and some new cleaning solution.  Yesterday, I got both.  I haven’t gotten into the whole natural/green/dyi cleaning solution craze, but someone on the Internet  (so it must be true, right?) that I could use this multi-purpose solution on my kitchen floor (laminate) AND my hardwood floors.  Gasp!  So, I went to my local store and smelled all of their different flavors (which were DELICIOUS) and chose the lavender scent.  I used it last night in the kitchen and early today in the living room and I’ll agree that this works great!  Excited to try some of their other scents at some point too!

3. My Sisters The Saints: A Spiritual Memoir by Colleen Carroll Campbell

I know I promised that I would devote a whole post to this, but I also know that there’s no way that I’m going to have time for that in the near future.  So, the book gets the bump here!

For those of you who are Catholic moms, you’re going to love this book.  Campbell weaves her own personal story with her discovery of different female saints and how their paths relate to hers.  One of the things I really liked about it is that she switches back and forth between herself and the saints pretty seamlessly and she spends a good amount of time on both.  As a young Catholic, I can relate to her personal story in many ways.  The saints she chose (you’re going to have to read to find out who!) are ones that I knew a little bit about, but I was pleasantly surprised but how much I learned.

Altogether, it’s an enjoyable read, and I highly recommend it.

4. Clean My Space 

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I’m gradually starting to sense a bit of a theme here.  But, seriously, you can spend some serious time on this YouTube channel.  There are videos on how to clean just about anything!  While I haven’t tried all of them (okay, or any of them), it’s fun to watch and she makes everything seem so simple!  Click on the photo for the link.

5. Shabby Apple Dress

Sorry, I couldn’t make it bigger for some reason and I’m WAY too tired to try one more time.  

Swoon.  Just… swoon.

6. Happy!

I pretty much have no opinions whatsoever about Pharrell, but this song makes me want to dance.  Turn it on, clap along, and have a mini dance party!

When you’re done dancing, head on over to Moxie Wife and check out the other Five Faves!

“On that midnight train to Georgia…”

For some reason, Little Man doesn’t like getting his diaper change.  There are a few changes where he’s willing to comply, but mostly he cries when he first gets on the table.  I don’t know why this is, but I do know that a way to get him happier is to sing to him.

The problem is that I can’t sing.  I mean, yes, I can sing in that blasting-your-favorite-song-in-the-car kind of way, but not in the people-like-listening-to-me kind of way.  I have no tone and I *think* I’m perpetually flat.

Nevertheless, as any mother would, I sing to keep my baby happy.

This was easy when it was Christmas time and I could sing carols.  Little Man was particularly fond of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (you’ll find my favorite version here).

I’ve been trying all kinds of songs for Little Man since Christmas (he likes most of the Beatles, but HATES my rendition of Louie Armstrong singing “Hello, Dolly!”), and I think I have found the winner.

He’s especially fond of the “woo! woo!” about a minute and half in.  🙂

PTI

Sorry, there’s been a little break here.  But, it was crazy, CRAZY I tell you!  In all of the craziness, it was also a red-letter week here at our house.  Little Man mastered a few things.

He walks!  Kind of!  If we put Little Man next to the coffee table, he’ll hold himself up there for minutes at a time.  Sometimes, even, he’ll stand there without any support.  This only really works when he is distracted by something in his hand.  If he knows he’s standing up by himself, he falls down.

Little Man also has opened up the wonderful world of peek-a-boo.  On Thursday, Little Man and I were sitting on the floor of his room and playing with these big blankets he has.  I was holding one over us and moving it up and down like kids’ groups do with parachutes sometimes.  He thought this was great and we played a few rounds of “Where’s Little Man?” as I billowed the blanket up and down over his face.  Later, I put him in his crib as I went to clean up after his dirty diaper.  When I came back, he had his blanket in front of him and was smiling at me.  I stood there at the crib and said, “Hey, Little Man.  Whatcha doin’?”  He picked up the blanket, held it up in front of his face, and put his head down.  I caught on quickly and said, “Where’d Little Man go?”  He pulled the blanket down and raised his head and smiled.  “There he is!” I cried out.  He was so happy and so stinkin’ cute.  We did that over and over again for a little while.

While he’s good at peek-a-boo, sometimes he gets a little lazy.  He’ll hold the blanket too low and it won’t cover his face.  Then, he just puts his head down.  I swear he must be thinking to himself, If I can’t see her, she surely can’t see me.  Too funny!

In other Non-Little-Man news, Finals are this week and we’ve been getting ready for them in the last week or so.  There was absent work to grade and late work to get caught up on.  Plus, several of the professional development tasks that they threw our way in the last couple of weeks.  But, it’s all gotten done.  I think I might manage to have some time this week to make sure the house is clean and update a few pictures.

Also!  I started Little Man’s baby album.  I decided that I was going to complete it using the Project Life Baby for Him kit.  It’s SUPER cute and I’ve gotten some of the photos in albums and a few of the other cards in place.  I’ll explain more of this as I go and have progress to show.

I also managed to stay up late for a few days and read a great book.  A full post on that sometime in the near future!

For now, good night.  Tomorrow is another day.

Seven Quick Takes: 8 months!

I realized that the last few posts have been very Momma-centered and not very Little Man-centered.  Here is a whole 7QT devoted to my Little Man!

1) It was a big deal today.  Little Man managed to put a Cheerio in his own mouth!  We’ve been giving him Cheerios when he’s in his high chair for the last week or so as a stall while we heat up his dinner.  He’s picked up the Cheerios.  He’s dropped the Cheerios.  He’s thrown the Cheerios.  He’s eaten the Cheerios when we put them in his mouth for him.  But, for the first time today, he did it all on his own!  Proud.

2) We’ve talked about how Little Man has no interest in being on his tummy.  He does, however, love to stand next to the coffee table and band his hand/blocks/little bean things on it over and over again.  He used to only stand for a few seconds, but he does minutes at a time now (big kid that he is!).

3) We managed to get Little Man un-attached to his pacifier at naptime and bedtime (she said while banging on every piece of wood nearby).  It’s a process we started when Teacher Man and I were on break, and it’s been going well so far.  I don’t want to speak of it any further for fear of the magic wearing off.

4) I can’t even believe that Little Man is eight months old.  Pretty soon, he’ll have been out as much time as he was in.  Amazing.  My life has definitely changed since he came along, but definitely for the better.

5) Cup smash!

My sister got Little Man these awesome cups (the picture will kick you over to the link on Amazon) and he LOVES playing with them.  When Is say “playing”, what I really mean is that he waits for Teacher Man or me to build a tower with them and then triumphantly knocks it over.  Then, he chews on one of the cups while he waits for us to build the tower again.

6) Little Man is also now officially taking baths in the big tub.  It took us a little while to move him to the big tub because we wanted to get something to keep him from slipping when he sits (remember, no crawling yet).  I got my act together and got a fun animal bath mat at the store the other day.  So, we put the mat, Little Man, and a few squirt toys in the bathtub and let him have at it.  He was a little unsure at first, but now he likes splashing and kicking around.  Win.

7) I’d seen a picture like this on Pinterest when I was pregnant with Little Man and I was kind of excited to try it out for Little Man’s first Christmas.  I finally had time to try it out the other day.  I don’t think it turned out too badly.

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If you’d like to read some other great QTs, see the link-up over at Conversion Diary here.

Five Faves (Vol. 3): Five favorite things to do during naptime

Okay, so this Five Faves doesn’t have anything to do with Things so much as it does with Time.  As many other Mamas know, naptime is precious, precious time that should never be squandered on frivolous things like Facebook, coffee in peace in quiet, or oggling Project Life stuff on Pinterest or Amazon.

Right.

But, really, I do try to make Little Man’s naps as constructive for me as possible.  Here’s what I find myself doing the most often when he naps (or, what I find to be most valuable).

1) Schoolwork.  

When I found out that I was going to be working part-time at school this year, I made a promise to myself and Little Man that, if I could help it, I wouldn’t work on grading or prepping or e-mailing or whatever for school while he’s awake.  I have so little time with him as it is (well, at least that’s how it feels!), that I want to make sure when he’s up and with me, I can focus completely on him.  So far, we’ve been able to swing this pretty well, and I find myself getting my schoolwork done first thing when he naps.  Then, I feel completely productive and anything else I manage to get done feels like a bonus.

2) Prepping for dinner.  

We’ve been getting A LOT of use out of our crock pot the last couple of months, so sometimes my role is to get everything prepped and in the pot before I leave for work so there’s one less thing for us to think about when Teacher Man and I get home.  There have been a couple of times when I’ve tried to do this while Little Man is up and underfoot in his walker (he’s not crawling yet… have we talked about how great and not-great this is?), and it works okay… but it’s much easier to do when he’s asleep.

3)

4)

5) Facebook.  Twitter.  Instagram.  Blogging.  

C’mon, you know that sometimes you just need to de-stress and look at a screen for a few minutes.  🙂

To read some other Faves, go see the link-up with MoxieWife here.  

On starting a new year

I’m always a little torn about New Years Resolutions.  While I think that it can be good and even refreshing to start the year new and to make goals for yourself, it can also be VERY overwhelming (as evidenced by the fact that few people keep or even remember their resolutions).

But, I thought it might be good to take stock and decide on two resolutions to make this year.  Two.  Two I can handle.

Resolution Number One: I want to try and stand up straighter.  My posture has always been less than stellar, but it’s gotten worse since having Little Man.  I think part of it is carrying him, but the other part of it is the way I’m postured when I’m nursing.  So, standing up straighter it is!

Resolution Number Two: While I’m definitely not the biggest gossip I’ve ever met, I also know that I could be more charitable with both my words and my thoughts towards others.  I’m going to try and keep my mouth shut when people are talking about other people when they shouldn’t be and to not even let those nasty, judge-y thoughts into my head in the first place.

I’m not sure how well I’ll do with both of these, but I think it’s worth it to try.

Seven Quick Takes — Christmas!

The promised Christmas post!

1) We spent Christmas in Idaho with my family which was wonderful.  While I love living where we do and we are blessed to be around Teacher Man’s family, I do wish that my family was closer.  But, we do manage to head out there a couple of times a year and they come whenever they can (which, since the arrival of Little Man, has been more often than usual!), so I can’t complain too much.  It was wonderful to see my family; especially because my brother hadn’t seen Little Man since July!  Moral of the story: I love my family and I’m so glad that we got to see them.

2) Before we went to Idaho, we got to have Christmas with Teacher Man’s family.  It was really fun to see everyone so excited to celebrate with Little Man!  His grandparents got him a very cute elephant to ride on (it’s a little big for him right now, but he’ll grow into it soon enough!).  Adorable.

He has claimed it as his own by putting it in his mouth.

He has claimed it as his own by putting it in his mouth.

3) I got to bake when I was at my parents’ house!  I love baking, but since the arrival of Little Man and working and whatnot, I haven’t been able to bake as much as I would like.  I made these for Christmas morning and they were amazing!  Get the recipe from Joy the Baker here.

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4) Little Man got to play with my siblings and they all loved it!

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5) We all went in and got a GoPro for my brother, but we had all of these clues that he had to figure out and put together.  They consisted of random household objects that all started with the letters of GoPro.  It was hilarious trying to watch him put all of the stuff together.  But, he really loved his present.

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6) We got to give Little Man his first time in the snow.  He was not as excited about it as we were.  If I have learned anything about my Little Man in the last eight months (EIGHT MONTHS?!), it’s that he doesn’t like cold things.  Like at all.

My youngest sister, while I love her, was not on her photographer game for this shot.

My youngest sister, while I love her, was not on her photographer game for this shot.

7) This face:

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