Thursday, January 9, 2014

This Party Ain't Over, Some of Us Just GOT Here!







Contrary to reports you may have heard . . . the blog is not dead. Maybe it's different than it used to be (it is according to Waltzing Matilda). Maybe it's not what teenagers are doing (it's not according to this guy). But, I'm not a teenager, and I'm okay with it if most of my readers aren't either. And I've only been doing this a short time, so I don't know how it used to be, but I think it's pretty great now.

This blog has grown plenty fast, and has great commenters. It seems to me that if a blog has content there will be people there to read and interact. I've met tons of people, made new friends, and had interesting conversations. However it used to be, I like it fine the way it is.

And as for the "blog is dead" guy. Maybe his (ahem) BLOG post in which he says the blog is dead is convincing about the fact that blogs are not the best ways to reach teenagers or promote products. But what in the world does that have to do with us? I'm neither a marketer nor a teenager. Perhaps blogs aren't great for those guys, but for moms and wives and Catholics and homeschoolers, I do think they're great. And I don't see US all up and abandoning blogs for twitter and Instagram. Those platforms just wouldn't work for what I'm doing on this blog.

So, I'm going to play my mom card and say blogs are NOT dead. Why? Because I said so.

And now, various and sundry updates to previous blog posts. I figure y'all are dying to know what ever happened with . . .



The Girl Scouts

I posted a few months ago about why our family participates in the Boy Scouts but not the Girl Scouts.






This week, I shared a status update on Facebook that appeared to show that the Girl Scouts had created a list of Inspiring Women of 2013, that included abortion activists Wendy Davis and Gloria Steinem. I need to clarify that a bit. The Girl Scouts themselves didn't write the list. They shared a Huffington Post list on their Twitter feed, called the women it listed "inspiring," and invited their followers to comment on the choices or add their own suggestions.

I do think it was in poor taste, but the pro-choice sites I saw are spinning it to the point of being misleading. I don't want to do that. The stuff the Girl Scouts are actually doing makes me uncomfortable enough. I don't see any need to embellish it.




Our New BIG Van 

I've had a couple of people ask how we've ended up liking our new 12 passenger Nissan NV, after I posted some photos of us with the beast last spring:




In case others have been wondering . . . We ARE happy with it. It is huge, obviously, but still feels like a family car. I don't remember what package we have, but it's leather seats (good in case of barfing, which, yes, has already happened), and the bigger engine (so it drives great, lots of pickup, but NOT fuel efficient). It has family type features like seat heat, a backup camera, a USB port so we can listen to music or books on the iPad, and cup holders that pull out under each row of seats.

The only thing that has been a little odd are the headrests. They are great for comfort and safety, but they go up so high and there are so many of them that you can't see out the back window using the rear view mirror. We ended up taking two of them off from the back row, so now we can see out the back. The windows are low enough that the kids can see out, whether or not they are in a car seat. The door is light enough for my six year old to close it, but too heavy for the four year old. There are a total of five car seat latches, two in each of the front rows and one in the very back row. So, it would work even for the folks in the five-under-six club.

I should admit that we ended up keeping our minivan as well. The husband crunched the numbers and the cost of insuring it was offset by the savings in gas for only using the big van when we are traveling as a whole family. I really don't mind driving the Nissan, but it's almost impossible to park at Trader Joe's in that thing, and the Candy Cane Joe Joe's aren't going to walk here themselves. 



Celebrating Baptism Days

I'm not saying that Pope Francis reads this blog. All I'm saying is that I wrote this months ago.




Every Kid is Special (three days per year)


And now this week Pope Francis said this during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's square: 

"Many of us do not have the slightest memory of the celebration of this Sacrament, obviously, if we were baptized shortly after birth. I have asked this question two or three times here in the Square. Who here knows the date of their Baptism? Raise your hand! Who knows? Few, eh! Very few. It is important! It is important to know what day you were immersed in that current of salvation of Jesus! Permit me to give you a piece of advice. More than an advice, a homework for today: Today at home search for, ask for the date of your Baptism. And thus you may truly know well that beautiful date of your Baptism. Will you do it? [People: Yes!] I don’t hear enthusiasm. Will you do it? [People: Yes!] Yes! Because it is to know a happy date! Our Baptism! But the risk is to lose the memory of that which the Lord has done in us, the memory of the gift that we have received. We end up considering it as only an event that happened in the past - and not even by our own will, but that of our parents -, that no longer has any effect in our present. We must awaken the memory of our Baptism. Awaken the memory of Baptism. "

I'm sure he left out the part about the You Are Special Today plate inadvertently.



Cranky Frankie 

In a clear case of blog-jinxing myself, I wrote this post a few weeks ago:

Why I Love the Terrible Twos


I stand by the "generally preferring the twos" part. But I must officially rescind the "Frankie being sorted out" part. Little dude is a complete menace again. He shrieks over everything and anything and seems to be having a "hitty" stage. Fortunately for me, the kids he's hitting are mostly my own kids. Not fortunate for them of course. But it's still my preference. 

He gets sent to the corner for all instances of shrieking and hitting, and he dutifully goes. I'm feeling very glad that he understood the concept of a timeout before the new baby came, so mostly I don't have to get up to remand him. So that's good.

But it happens a LOT, plus he's awfully sassy.

For instance, this happened a couple of nights ago at dinner . . . 

Jim (to me): Frankie needs to finish his tomato before he gets dessert.
Frankie (also to me): Daddy need a go back a work.

He was our King of Epiphany this year, with Betty as his regent (to protect him from usurpers):




So we had macaroni and cheese and applesauce for dinner.


Babies and Blogging and Barfing

The kids have been well this week, which is a relief. I've been a bit under the weather myself, but nothing that kept us from doing school. Lulu is a very pleasant baby and a very good sleeper. But, like all my babies, she only sleeps on me. She loves the Ergo, and her schedule is great for getting through the school day. She sleeps through the whole morning in the carrier, as long as I don't sit down. So, really I shouldn't complain. But watch me do it anyway.

She goes back into the carrier again in the late afternoon and sleeps through cooking and dinner, and then wakes up to be adorable right as all the kids go down, which would normally be my writing time. So we hang out. Or she'll go into a twilight sleep where she'll stay sleeping, but only if she's being nursed or walked.

Good for watching Downton Abbey. Not so good for blogging. I have literally five partially written posts. Oh well, at least I'm going to get these takes done. I hope.

she lets SOME people work!

Fear-Mongering and Pregnancy

I love it when you guys read something and just know I need to see it. Case in point, Danielle had seen this post:




So she knew how I felt about being told I couldn't do stuff while pregnant for not particularly scientific reasons. She sent me these two articles:


Take Back Your Pregnancy

and

New study shows no harm from moderate drinking in pregnancy, but experts urge caution


The first is EXACTLY the kind of information we deserve to have to be able to make informed decisions about pregnancy. In fact, after reading this, I plan to lay off of queso fresco and deli turkey should I have another pregnancy. Because there is EVIDENCE to support that recommendation. I love her conclusions and how she came to them. Hooray for pregnant WSJ economists, maybe they'll save us from the nonsense.

The second is a perfect example of the nonsense. This woman conducted a study that showed that moderate alcohol consumption by their mothers during pregnancy actually improved outcomes on behavioral and cognitive tests given to children. But instead of giving us this information and letting us make informed decisions, she's basically begging us to ignore her findings and just keep following the standard recommendations. And they couldn't find a single woman willing to admit she had ever had a drink during pregnancy? 

I did an interview recently for that same blog about being an introverted mother (the article isn't posted yet). I guess whoever wrote this article didn't see my pregnancy post. Or they just didn't want me to freak out Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda.


--- bonus ---

Look what Amanda from Planning On It sent me!


It's a printed and laminated and bound version of her lovely Catholic Mom planner, which YOU can print for free and laminate and bind yourself. It's really lovely!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!



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17 comments:

  1. The WSJ article is fantastic.
    I especially loved what she wrote about caffeine reduction--no matter what it originally was. That was pretty much the formula I followed. I continued my busy lifestyle of working 30-40 hours a week at Starbucks and going to school full time up until 36 weeks. (Once we don't fit in the door...they tell us to go home.) Anyways, I continued drinking caffeine, just less than my pre-pregnancy, barista amount. Caffeine actually made me feel better, and helped on those days where I needed to sleep, but had an assignment due. Nice to know the experts agree.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with number 1. I think blogs are still highly relevant to certain audiences and instagram and twitter will never replace that.

    I love that WSJ article.

    "Especially this line. The key to good decision making is evaluating the available information—the data—and combining it with your own estimates of pluses and minuses"

    I do have a science background and it drives me crazy that so many doctors makes blanket recommendations that don't really make a lot of sense, just because they don't trust women to make their own logical, reasonable decisions themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh...and one other thing. We have a 12-seater van as well (a Ford) and I do drive it 99% of the time as our primary vehicle. We don't need it for the space yet (we only have 4 kids) but our minivan was totaled and my parents were moving so they gave us their 12 seater van and well..we weren't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. We played with the idea of trading it in, but ultimately decided to keep it and I do LOVE the extra space. Anyway, I drive it a lot, because we only own one other vehicle (a car my husband uses for work), so all week when he is at work, I drive the van. You get used to it and it becomes easier to park. It really does. I was really scared at first about taking it to places like Trader Joes, but it has gotten a bunch easier with time and practice (we've had it about 5 months). The extra gas is a pain, but not as bad as I thought it would be (of course our old minivan was a major gas guzzler...so that could be part of it).

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  3. Re: alcohol in pregnancy. Our 8th baby went unnoticed until I was 16 weeks pregnant and realized that I (at over 40 years old) LOOKED pregnant and tested. The moment of realization happened at the end of a summer full of vacations and picnics and parties and a fair share of wine/beer on the patio while watching kids run through sprinklers after dinner. Imagine my horror and fear! However, praise God, the baby is here, healthy, so smart at a year old and has met milestones the earliest of all of our kids. Now I feel so silly for ever agonizing over having the half glass of wine on New Year's Eve or some such little thing with all my other pregnancies.

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    Replies
    1. The most unsettling thing I found while researching my first pregnancy post, is that there are women out there having abortions because of this misinformation campaign. They find out they're pregnant, realize they've had alcohol during the pregnancy and have an abortion because they assume something will be wrong with the baby.

      We deserve to have the truth and make decisions based on it. (Not decisions to have abortions of course. Other decisions.)

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    2. Oh my that is so sad. Those poor moms! (and those poor babies!)

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  4. So glad you found the pregnancy articles helpful/interesting. Just goes to show the blog isn't dead! I only know you because of your blog, and yet was able to pass along articles I read that reminded me of you. Anyways, I'm too new to this blogging stuff and read/love far too many to buy into the whole "blog is dead" thing ;)

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  5. A question about owning two vans...do you have to move all your carseats every time you switch cars, or do you have two sets of them??

    My dad e-mailed me that second pregnancy article a week or so ago, saying that he "supported my decision to have an occasional drink during pregnancy, and never believed the hype saying it was bad." I found it very frustrating, though, that even the authors of the study inexplicably refused to accept their own findings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have two sets, mostly secondhand from friends. I do not like moving car seats!

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  6. Viva La Blog!

    I'm so glad you wrote out #1. I have wondered if the blog will just be for women like us and what will happen with it as we age. But I like my blogs! Nay - I LOVE my blogs!

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    Replies
    1. Won't it be funny if blogs become an old lady thing, like bridge or something?

      Delete
    2. Haha that is such a funny thought!

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  7. Hi! This is my first time commenting on your blog, but I've been following and reading for about a month now and have to say, I LOVE your blog! So happy I found it and equally happy that the blog is NOT dead. Facebook statuses, Tweets, and any of the other cool new social media outlets are fine for the teens today because sadly, they are the generation that has forgotten how to really communicate. They have trouble carrying on in person conversations and writing anything without text speak is difficult. So what if it's mostly moms reading your blog? I'm sure you didn't set out to target the teen audience anyway ;) Thanks for the great posts. As long as you keep posting, I'll keep reading!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just find it ironic that the guy is blogging about the blog being dead. I mean, really? And it never was going to be a good marketing form, obviously, so I don't see what Pinterest and Facebook and Twitter have to do with it. In fact, how would we have Pinterest without blogs? I mean, most of the things I pin are blog posts on various DIY, Tips and Tricks, or just good articles. Oy, whatever! I'm glad to see the low-key pregnancy tips vindicated by research! As I used to remind people all the time "I am not an invalid, I am pregnant". No need to get in a fuss over something normal, just use common sense.

    Oh, and I'm glad the planner got there! I was a little worried with cross-country shipping, you just never know.

    ReplyDelete
  9. We celebrate baptism days! Last year I just had Mass said for my kids on their day. This year, however, I missed the boat and all the Masses at our parish were full before I got a chance. *sigh* so...cakes and special dinners it is.

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  10. We were part of Girl Scouts for over 10 yrs and I was a leader and on the area Council. None of these current issues were involved in our program what so ever. We encouraged our girls to grow up with Christian values and to treat their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Didn't work for all but that was our focus and not "women's lib".
    What happened to the little Frankie that came to my house and was so good? I fed him Mac and cheese the whole time. He is certainly a piece of work but loveable and funny.
    Liquor didn't taste good to me while I was pg so that solved my alcohol issue. I snow skied during the 1st 4 months of both of my pregnancies and it felt great to be out in fresh air and if I needed to get sick just head to the trees and keep going.
    Nanacamille

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  11. Regarding blogs vs. facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. - it seems that the people who have a high number of "followers" on their blogs tend to be the ones who also do the other stuff and the fuddy-duddies among us (I'm in this group) who don't see the value in time spent that way tend to have fewer "followers", Of course, not all who are listed as followers bother to read, and not all readers sign up as followers. I wonder if clicking on "like" and "follow" buttons has become a substitute for real feelings of affection.

    ReplyDelete

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