Friday, December 12, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 44)

It seems like the Catholic-blogging topic du jour is Santa.  Everyone's sharing whether they "do Santa" or not and explaining why.  Check out some of these posts at: Catholic All YearOne Catholic Mama, and Carrots for Michaelmas.

Our Santa policy will surely get more defined over the years, but for now we're still taking the "neither confirm nor deny" approach (in the words of Haley) that we settled on last year.  We still have a few books about Santa (I weeded out any that weren't otherwise a good story with attractive art work), but 90% of our Christmas book collection is based on the birth of Christ.  I'm confident that Sly understands the "real meaning of Christmas" from the conversations we've been having about it during Advent, and the Adventen [that should be a word.  Like Lenten, but Adventen.  Make sense?] practices we use: Advent wreath, hymn-singing, Nativity sets, Jesse Tree, etc..

At four years old, Sly is definitely getting more interested in the Santa idea this year.  I can tell he's wrestling with whether the tale is true or not.  And I'm okay with that.  If a direct question comes up, I'll probably handle it similarly to my approach to some of our other stories.  When I read the kids a story about a Saint or a version of the Nativity that's faithful to the real story, I often tell them, "This is a TRUE story."  But if we we read a made-up story about some lamb or donkey or camel that was present at the birth of Christ, I don't say "this is a true story."  Sometimes, Sly asks afterwards.  And I tell him, "well, parts are true - such as this and this.  And Mary might have said something like this.  But we don't really know what the lamb was named, or if it happened just this way....What do you think?"

My mom gave Stella a new outfit - a tunic top with leggings.  And I realized that I just don't understand modern fashions.  I was dressing her, and put her in the leggings....with high socks and tennis shoes.  It looked pretty silly.  I think the right "look" is to wear leggings barefoot with ballet flats?  See, I don't even know.  But it's wintertime in Pittsburgh!  It's cold!  So I guess she'll just look silly in her socks.

But remember when leggings used to be called "stretch pants"?  (Or, as we called them when I rowed on the crew team in high school, "spandex pants").  Remember when yoga pants were called "sweat pants"?  I feel like if we called things by their non-trendy names, maybe they wouldn't seem so acceptable as everyday wear!

[Flip-flops also used to be called thongs, which just sounds especially bad these days, but I'm conveniently not mentioning this example because I have been known to wear flip-flops from time to time...]

As much as I am behind on a lot of technology, it's dismaying sometimes to see just how dependent I've become on some things.  The other day I was going to a cookie exchange for my mom's group.  I have been to the hostess's house many times, and yet I'd always just used the GPS to find my way.  When I got in the car, the GPS cord was broken, and the thing would not turn on.  After struggling with it in the car for a while, I dashed into the house so I could print out some directions from Google (which now seems sooooo old-fashioned), but the website with her address wasn't opening.  Gah!  I literally didn't know where she lived or how to get there without my technology!  So I had to get really old-fashioned, and call her on the phone and ask her how to get there.

And then later that night, I had a dream which was scrolling through Facebook.  And my imagination was coming up with realistic-sounding statuses that real-life friends might post, and I was having internal dialogue about them ("oh, that's interesting").  Wow.  Maybe I need to go on a technology fast...

We had some family photos taken last month.  Basically, every year that we have a new baby in the family, we get a professional photo taken.  It provides a much-appreciated yet simple Christmas gift to give the grandparents.  And cheap, too, if you hunt down coupons for free sitting fees and free prints, which I always do.  I've never spent more than $20 on our professional photos.

JCPenny also threw in a few free photo Christmas cards from our shots.  I went against my personal stance against photo cards, and sent those ones to select out-of-town relatives who I knew would love them.

Sly and I are still making our way through his reading lessons.  Recently, the pace has slowed down a lot with us getting through only two lessons a week (as opposed to one lesson a day, which is the intention).  For a while now, I've suspected that Sly could be finishing each lesson pretty easily, if he could just focus.  Reading lessons had become a little martydom for me, a momentous struggle not to yell at him for all his wiggling, messing around, intentional mis-pronounciations, etc.

But I finally found something that's helped him to concentrate on the lessons, and I think it's hilarious how well it's working.  Before we start our lesson, I give him a cookie.  I let him take one bite.  And then I tell him he can finish it only when the lesson is over.  The cookie sits there on the table the whole time.  He has that little taste still in his mouth, and he just can't wait to finish it.  Sly has been moving through the lessons so beautifully since I've started this!  He does know all the sounds and words, he just needed some incentive to concentrate :-)

Nope.  Not above bribing my kid with food.

Over Thanksgiving, Tom's mom treated the two of us to a date night at their local BYOB paint-your-own-picture place (her offer included chauffeuring us there and back, providing us with wine and snacks to take with us, and watching all three kids for the night!!).   It was a "couple painting" night where two people each make half a scene and you put the canvases together to make a full painting.

we're in the leftish foreground

An art instructor taught us how to paint, so no experience was necessary.  It was pretty fun, and I was pretty impressed that I managed to paint something half-decent...even though it is a cheesy snowman.

Tom refused to kiss me under the mistletoe, because he was embarrassed enough by the dorky snowman painting

wed joked that the male snowman is reaching out longingly for the woman, and she's saying, "um, we can just shake hands."

Quick Takes is hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum


  1. Thanks for the link!!

    I love your family nice!

    Cool snowman painting..that's really good!

  2. We liked our photo Xmas card! Thank you for sending it : - )

  3. We use leggings a lot to wear under dresses (so much easier than tights for potty-training girls to pull up and down by themselves-- and warmer in the winter time too), and what I usually do is put the socks on first, then the leggings over the socks. It seems to work pretty well.

    The painting is adorable! We have one of those places here and I would love to try-- but I doubt I could manage anything that cute!

  4. I love the snowmen! We had a date night recently too ... our first since our anniversary, and the ONLY date we've had since the twins were born that our children were in bed when we got back!!

    Your family pictures turned out beautifully. :)

  5. Oh I've been wanting to do a paint-your-own place! Your paintings turned out really nice!
    I love your holiday photos too. My Godson is pretty darn cute :-)

  6. Beautiful pics. Such a sweet family. I have two girls (8 in two weeks, and 4) and I LOVE leggings and tunics for both girls. :-)

  7. wow yall are great at painting! My husband and I went to a painting class and our paintings were not nearly as good.

    1. Thanks, but I'll give most of the credit to the instructor!

  8. Whenever I wear leggings in winter I wear them with boots. I encourage my daughter to do the same, but she wears tennis shoes with them on occasion.

    My six year old just found out about Santa. We never made a big deal about it but I am a bit sad. Oh well.

  9. I have a four year old boy who is at.the exact same place with Santa. :) He is really into it this year. He is my fourth child. Eventually he will pin me down I'm sure and ask if Santa is "real", and then we talk about how it is a fun pretend like building fairy houses and that sort of thing. I like Santa. I just can't imagine being comfortable straight up lying when pressed about it,lol. Your kids photograph so well...even the baby is smiling!!