7 Quick Takes (vol. 3)

It’s been a hectic week around here.  Thought I’d share some of the fun we’ve been having.

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Saturday was devoted to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd training.  This month’s class was focused on presenting The Prophecies during Advent season.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel. – Micah 5:1

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh: a star shall come forth out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel. – Numbers 24:17

We spent nearly five hours pondering these three verses, attempting to describe the exact moments of presentation – not to mention determine our direct and indirect aims for the children who will receive them.

A particular pattern has arisen during my monthly catechetical training.  At first, I find the required level of detail tedious during our discussions.  Just go ahead and tell me the exact words you want on the album page!  However, my brain eventually rises from the fog of everyday life and snaps to attention.  And I have suddenly returned to my undergrad theology shoes.  Diving into the underlying Montessori philosophy and psychology stirs up a desire to know more.  I always thought a bachelor’s degree was the end of my education, but now I am not so sure.

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Recipe for a relaxing Sunday: chocolate, babies and rest.  With Ryan working on another app deadline, Michael and I took the opportunity to snuggle our favorite baby friends and indulge in my most-favorite brand of dark chocolate.  It is an amazing conglomeration of cocoa products, cane sugar and vanilla.  Apparently I didn’t just stop at the good stuff though.  My food journal (more on that another day) holds me accountable for cookie dough, pudding and milkshake consumption as well.  Which leads me to the next point…

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As of Monday, I am back on the healthy-eating wagon.  An appropriately-timed appointment led to my healthy lifestyle “prescription.”  Remember that wonderful doctor I’ve mentioned before?  He also happens to own a holistic practice that heavily encourages good diet and stress-free lifestyles.  His philosophy is not to require perfection, but to encourage following a reasonable baseline.  Basically, what is the least amount of effort one can commit to that continuously yields results?

It was quite humbling to sit before this man and admit that my will-power is basically non-existant.  I keep making excuses for my bad eating habits, justifying myself the pleasure because I have suffered so much in other ways.  And yet, my unhealthy habits directly correlate with the cause of my suffering.  Endometriosis causes fertility issues – and endometriosis worsens when eating sugar, grains and alcohol.  I can’t afford to eat these products, but I haven’t trained myself to say no to them either.  So, we made a plan of attack I will actually commit to following (pitiful though the effort may seem to my perfectionist eyes).  In two weeks, reevaluation of progress occurs.  Here’s to crossing my fingers and hoping the least painful option works!

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We checked out a ton of new library books on Tuesday.  This one is Michael’s favorite over the last couple of days.  Doesn’t everyone love a good high-diving horse story?  One of my favorite childhood movies featured a girl determined to soar through the sky on her trusty stead.  Reading about Atlantic City also saddened me to think about hurricane Sandy’s devastation of the historic town, especially the boardwalk.  A piece of history is no longer with us.  My heart aches to think of the loss.

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Inspiration took over on Wednesday, and I’ve been cooking up a storm ever since.  For some reason, knowing that I can have one utterly unhealthy dessert each day gives me the motivation to cook Paleo for the rest of my meals.  I also really, really wanted to make strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  So yummy!  Thus far we have been partaking in recipes such as:

  • Cajun sweet potato fries
  • Turkey meatloaf
  • Strawberry shortcakes
  • Tomato basil soup
  • Cauliflower pizza crust

My go-to cookbook has been Make It Paleo by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason.  Every recipe includes a gorgeous photo (hence my inspiration) and tastes awesome.  The authors also strove to keep their recipes simple with minimal ingredients – which means I tend to have most items already stocked.  The only challenge for me is time management.  Late dinners have been butting up against Michael’s bedtime, and that makes for a slap-happy child at the dinner table.  He seems to enjoy the food as much as his parents, between all the wiggling.

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Thursdays are gymnastics days!  A friend of mine hooked us up with the local gymnastics club this fall, and it’s one of the best activities we have invested in for Michael.  He’s definitely not on par with the gal in the above photo – but he learned how to “stick the landing” today.  It was exciting.  The kid has been doing great, especially since I threw him in the four-year-old class with no previous experience.

Week 1 was all about balance beams.  Michael had an intense expression of concentration that first day.  He had never touched a balance beam in his life, but he jumped right in, wobbles and all.  I couldn’t tell if he was having fun until his eye accidentally caught mine and a huge grin invaded his face.  “This is so fun!” he exclaimed before resuming his serious attitude.

Week 2 focused on bars.  I couldn’t believe how brave my little boy can be.  One of the stations required him to jump from a three-foot high mat and grab onto a bar located higher than his head.  It was like an extra-long monkey bar, with his feet dangling above the ground.  After initial help from his coach, he didn’t even hesitate to jump alone on the second round.

This week introduced trampolines.  Few things are sweeter than watching a child bounce with total abandon.  They are so joyful.  Michael is not coordinated enough to do more than travel up and down, but I can envision his potential.  The poise gymnastics naturally facilitates will help him in future athletic endeavors.

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Thanksgiving approaches, so I share with you Michael’s thoughts on the subject.  My favorite is his gratitude for dinner every night.  I’ve been working hard to provide good meals this week (and wash all the dishes by hand, as we have no dishwasher in our tiny apartment).  It’s really nice to be appreciated.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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7 Quick Takes (vol. 2)

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Better late than never, right?  I woke up this morning with the writing muses swirling in my head.  So many wonderful ideas were pouring forth, in that moment of calm before my preschooler was allowed to walk through the door.  But then life happened, and now it’s technically Saturday morning, and I’m determined to write something anyway!

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Good things this week: I am back in the gym post-surgery.  Ok, let’s be honest – it’s been much longer than a month since I’ve graced the doors of an athletic facility, recovery or no.  Being in the weight room is awesome.  But shimmying into workout clothes and walking out the door (even though a gym resides a mere 400 feet away from said door) is not so pleasant.  Luckily I have an efficacious husband who recognizes the value of exercise.  We made a deal last Sunday – I will workout three times a week if he puts it on the schedule during Michael’s bedtime.  Now I am very motivated.

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Efficacious (adjective) = capable of having the desired result or effect; effective as a means, measure, remedy, etc.: The medicine is efficacious in stoppinga cough.

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Bad things this week: Being woken up at 1:30am Wednesday morning to discover our country still under the tyranny of an anti-Colonialist, narcissistic president.  I might have cried and raged into the night for an entire hour.  That might have happened.  Then I succumbed to sleep’s siren call and healing powers.  All of Wednesday I pondered the election results.  How can so many of my country-men fail to recognize the terrible plight our country is in?  I was literally shocked to discover the veil covering so many eyes when reality is so black and white to me.  However demoralized my day began, the feeling just wouldn’t stick around.  It dawned on me that I don’t even really like Romney – and I’m actually glad he’s not going to be the one to step into the void.  I had put so much energy into supporting his campaign because there was no other option and, taking a step back, it’s clear that I swept quite a few concerns into the recesses of my mind.  Next time I want a truly conservative candidate.  I’m tired of lowering expectations to deal with the greater evil.  I am tired of settling for what the Republican machine spits out.  I don’t want a lukewarm option, or a slightly better than average option, or even a good option – I want a GREAT option.  And so I will trudge on for the next four  years.  But I don’t deserve what was voted into our country, and I refuse to accept it.

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On a lighter note, I’ve decided that pants are overrated.  Who wants buttons and zippers and the squeezing of internal organs?  Not me.  Oh no, sir, I prefer the comfort of a stretchy waist band.  Which is why I am considering going “pants”-free this winter.

What about yoga pants with the stretchy waist, you ask – aren’t those excluded from your options, being part of the pant family?

And I return the question to you – can we even categorize stretchy cotton and spandex as real pants?  They are the illusion of pants.  Is it not perfectly acceptable to pair a dressy shirt and cute shoes with black yoga pants and still maintain one is pants-free?   I might even be persuaded to combine leggings with boots and a long sweater (so long as my backside is well covered).  Because everyone knows that leggings are most certainly NOT pants.

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It is getting late and my husband is calling for me to shut off the computer.  Me thinks that is sensible, as I am no longer sure the last paragraph is comprehensible.

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A little treat from last week: Michael’s Halloween costume, Cat in the Hat:

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!