Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Twitterature April 2014

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a monthly link-up for sharing casual, tweet-sized book reviews.  I worry that I forget to record books I've read because I always feel like I've read more titles than I end up posting.  Life with littles, perhaps?  Anyway, here's what I've read (and remembered!) lately...

Crunchy Cons :: Rod Dreher

Ron Paul will always be my first political love, but I found myself saying, "YES!" on nearly every page of this book.

Cliff's Notes: It's okay to love organic produce grown in your area, feel queasy about guns, be staunchly pro-life, recycle religiously, AND call yourself a conservative.  Phew!

The Fault in Our Stars :: John Green

A bit teenagery, but the story and characters were hard to resist.  Keep the tissue box close.

Looking forward to the movie (out sometime this year, I believe?)!

Pride and Prejudice :: Jane Austen

I finished this a bit late for the Motherhood and Jane Austen Book Club discussion, but it was a lot of fun to re-read through that lens.

P.S. I totally blame Mr. Bennet more than I ever did in the past.  He can't make any effort to rope in his daughters?!

Dad Is Fat :: Jim Gaffigan

Oh, this book.  So funny.  So worth sharing with another parent--preferably your spouse.  There was laughter, cry-laughter, and we're-not-the-only-ones! laughter...great stuff all around from an immensely funny man.  Worth reading!

Friday, March 28, 2014

In which dying to self sucks.

And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."--Luke 9:23

There's something romantic in the idea of dying for someone else.  We think of war movies, of a soldier risking his life for a friend.  A secret service agent jumping in front of the bullet for the President.  Airplane passengers rising up against hijacking terrorists.

{This is a lovely image...makes me rethink how I just shove crackers and sippy cups
at my sick charges, then shout, "Need anything else?" before I head for the hills...}

"Dying to self" sounds romantic, too...though maybe not to the same extent.  Putting someone else's needs first sounds noble and good.

But doing it?  Oh my goodness, it's awful sometimes.

This past week, the girls were sick.  Then Professor was sicker.  We made the hard choice to cancel a much-looked-forward-to trip to Minnesota.

So here we are.  Still in our tiny apartment with beer-pong playing neighbors and a drug dealer who sells out of a laundry basket and trash in our "yard" and little people who need attention and baths and three meals a day and a husband who could hardly get to the bathroom himself.

And I didn't. want. to. deal.

I thought selfish thoughts.  I dreamed of monastic life, just me, my books, and some contraband junk food in my cell.  I retreated into a book or a screen whenever I could, trying to escape the monotony of my life for just five minutes.

Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and follow Him.  And I suck at that.

There's nothing romantic about changing bed sheets because somebody puked; it's just gross.

There's nothing romantic about a sick husband who text messages you updates about his queasiness levels.

There's nothing romantic about doing dishes--and, as an aside, for anyone who quips about buying "yummy-smelling dish soap" or "pretty sponges," I say, shove it.  Dish washing will never-ever-ever be romantic or fun, AMEN.


You're probably waiting for the epiphany moment in this post, the little nugget that pulled me through, got me over the hump, the quick fix to set me back on the straight and narrow...but I don't have one.

The only thing I've learned is that in order to follow Jesus' words, I need His help.  I suck by myself, but when I cry out for help, He helps, and I suck a little less.

Hopefully, I suck less than I did at eighteen, and even a little less than I did last year.

And if I am better than before?  I know it's not because of any force I applied to my own bootstraps.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Day Free Laundry Died

{found via}
So it's bad to have mold inside your kitchen faucet, right?  One of our knobs was moldy green inside, and water was streaming from it whenever we ran the tap.  I ignored it for a while, but when fish start swimming through, you have to call maintenance.

"Yep, that looks bad.  We'll have to replace the whole faucet."


You would think--given how much I complain about our apartment--I would be delighted.  Oh joy!  Oh rapture!  Something sparkly and new in my kitchen!  But all I could think about was laundry.

Our handy-dandy rollaway washing machine, hidden in the closet so that maintenance didn't squeal on us,1 and whether or not it would be compatible with the new faucet, was my only concern.

{via Amazon listing; this isn't our actual washer...
I'm such a bad owner: I don't even have pictures of her!}

And Gentle Reader, I am a fit of despondency, because my sneaking suspicion was correct: We won't be able to hook our little washer up to the sink anymore (because the faucet is different).  It's shiny and new and beautiful...and ruining my Free Laundry Dreams.

You see, it's $1.75/load in the washer outside my door--but at least it's right outside my door.  It pains me to basically throw away quarters, but throw them away we must.2

I take solace in the fact that we're only here through July.

And the fact that laundry is way faster now.  As Professor said while pulling out a load, "Whoa...this is like five loads' worth from our little guy."

Indeed.  We may now lack economy, but we have gained much speed.

And drying?  Well, we're still letting the air take care of it.  'Cause I'm cheap like that.

R.I.P. Little washer.  We hardly knew thee; I never even appreciated you enough to give you a name.  Godspeed, my friend.  Godspeed.

1 It doesn't say anywhere in our lease that we *can't* have a portable washing machine...but I don't really want them to see it and put it into our lease. So, sshhhhhhh--it's our little secret.
2 P.S. This is doubly painful for me, as I have a certain yen for quarters. They're of a great weight, they jingle nicely in my pocket, and they're perfect for vending machines and gas station runs--both of which I am an obvious fan.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Linkety Links for February 2014

Just a few things I've enjoyed chewing on this month; they're random, but good in their own rights.  Please note that a link here doesn't mean I endorse everything said on the other end (and likely vice versa!).  I'd love to hear what you've been fascinated by during this cold, dreary February!

"Instead of crafting a nation of self-fulfilled, happy workers, our DWYL [Do What You Love] era has seen the rise of the adjunct professor and the unpaid intern: people persuaded to work for cheap or free, or even for a net loss of wealth."
In the Name of Love
Slate offered thoughts on how damaging the phrase "Do What You Love" is to the laborer's psyche and sense of societal contribution...in just about every field.

"My reason for quitting Facebook primarily had to do with the danger of (a) talking too much and of (b) pride. The Bible exhorts Christians to refrain their lips (Prov. 10:19) God warns of the dangers of hasty speech (Prov. 29:20). I found that social media encouraged me to violate both of these principles."
Why I Kissed Social Media Goodbye
Adam Groza makes some excellent points, and while I'm not ready to pull the social media umbilical cord, I am spending less and less time there.

"I decided that if Mama is what I want to pursue as a job, then that’s exactly what I want to treat it like... I want to be present and intentional which is not at all easy for me with so many distractions. I am just ready to be a little more proactive and a little less reactive, and I think that is the great discipline of motherhood."
The Discipline of Motherhood
I feel like I'm still crawling out of the life-with-this-baby-has-been-so-crazy-and-sleepless-and-why-does-she-still-have-this-horrible-eczema hole.  I'm ready to inch toward intentionality again, and this was a good kick in the pants.

"And for me, I’m letting go of this idea that just because life isn’t going my way, my children aren’t perfect, there are meals to be cooked and laundry to be washed and folded in the midst of growing hearts into adults (that I pray love the Lord), that being a Mom is hard."
Stop Saying Being a Mom Is Hard
Speaking of kick in the pants...I needed to hear every word of this.  All jobs are hard, but that doesn't make endless whining okay.

"Now I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible. I used to engage with the media knowing that some of it would be adversarial, but now it’s superfluous at best and toxic at its worst. If MSNBC went off the air tomorrow, what difference would it make? If the Huffington Post went out of business tomorrow, what difference would it make? Arianna Huffington accomplished what she wanted to accomplish. She created this wonderful thing. And what have they done with that? They want clicks, I get it. They’ve gotta have clicks for their advertisers, so they’re going to need as much Kim Kardashian and wardrobe malfunctions as possible. The other day, they had a thing on the home page about pimples. Tripe. Liberal and conservative media are now precisely equivalent."

Alec Baldwin: Good-bye, Public Life
Alec Baldwin's open letter to the world about retiring from private life is long, winding, full of profanity, and opinions I can't even begin to agree with.  That being said, I share it because it demonstrates just how much media has changed in the past ten, or even five, years.  I'm done with celebrity news; no more random clicks in sidebars, no more following celebrity storylines (though that had decreased in my life significantly, anyway).  Increasingly, the news is worth less and worthless and I'm wondering how to stay informed in such a hate-saturated, polarizing, skin-deep media culture.  Suggestions?

I Hate Celebrity Culture
Similar to the above, though much more philosophical and academic (and with a fun accent!).  This actor discusses the American glorification of charisma and personality and other fun nerdy topics.

And to end on a positive note, I dug up this gem on a CD from the library...and I pretty much haven't stopped playing it since.

Here's to warmer weather (and much excitement in the Jorgenson household!) come March!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Twitterature :: February 2014

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a monthly link-up for sharing casual, tweet-sized book reviews.  Here's what I've been reading since last time around...

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode :: Crystal Paine

Delivers on its promises.

A must-read for harried mamas everywhere.

I'm already re-reading it...


The Holy Bible (ESV) :: Uh...God

A lifetime in church, eight years of making my faith my own.

And I've only just read this thing cover to cover.

Probably time to do it again.


Eat Move Sleep :: Tom Rath

30 days of research and tips to help you eat, move, and sleep better.

Already going to bed earlier.  And sleeping better.

Can't wait to put more into practice.

The Power of Play :: David Elkind

Research to back up what I've suspected all along:

Kids learn best from play until around age six.

Looks like a formal homeschool year of kindergarten is off my agenda!

Notes from a Blue Bike :: Tsh Oxenreider

Beautifully written memoir on intentional living,

strikes the perfect tone of "how I did" rather than "how to"

and how we can all take more time out of the rat race

and get on our own bikes, riding in the slow lane.

What have you been reading?  I'm always looking for the next great title!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Food Budget Freedom

{via Microsoft Office}
I found an online calculator to see if my family would be eligible for food stamps, just for funsies.

You know, because that's something normal people do for funsies.

The calculator asked about my family members, their ages, our income and assets (bahaha).  A few painless minutes later, it gave me a number.

And that food stamps number was bigger than our monthly grocery budget.

Or, I should say, it was bigger than our grocery budget was last year.  For February, we rolled out a shiny new grocery budget...which is a bit more than the SNAP number--and more than I've ever had for groceries each month in my entire married life.

We came to that new number after much hand-wringing and putting-things-back and not-eating-fruit-because-there-isn't-enough on my part...and an easy, breezy, "Well, just up the grocery budget" from Professor.

Enter more hand-wringing.  Lots of "but what if..."  Thoughts like, But I'm supposed to be frugal.

"Really?" I asked, still wringing my hands.

"Yeah.  We need to eat," Professor replied.  "The girls are growing.  Maybe if we put more in the grocery budget we'll buy less stuff on Friday nights."

I could dig in my heels and stick to my frugal guns.  I could stretch meat more, bake more bread, skip things we really enjoy...


I could rejoice in that big, fat number.  I could thank God for his provision and remember to lean on Him for groceries and everything else.

My friend, this was a watershed moment for me.

My grocery budget seems so big now.  Cheese was on sale, and I had money to stock my freezer.  I even picked up some treats that were on sale because of the Super Bowl.

Also, I ate two bananas yesterday.  Yeah, that's right: two servings of fruit in one day.  Granted, they were both from one of those 99-cents-because-they're-overripe bags (because this still-frugal girl couldn't pass up 14 bananas for a buck), but they were delicious.  And they tasted like freedom.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

OMGosh, I bit my kid...

When Professor and I were dating, our dates looked like this:

Go to the gas station/grocery store.
Wander aisles, chatting and giggling and ogling all the treats.
Spend the few dollars we had rounded up (usually on pop, Ramen, candy, and/or chips).
Go back to one of our houses, eat our treats, and talk-talk-talk...or watch TV.

Exciting stuff, eh?  When we went to his house, we watched from his DVD collection, which included a lot of seasons of ER.

I had never really watched ER while it was actually on TV; the only episode I remember sitting down and watching with my mom was the one where Dr. Greene died.

{Sorry if that was a spoiler for some of you.}

Anyway, ever since I've had children--well, mobile children--I fear taking them to the doctor because of this show.  "Oh no!  You have a bruise on your knee and we're going for your checkup tomorrow...they're going to think I beat you!"

No doctor has ever commented on my daughter's bumps, scrapes, or bruises, because they've always been typical little-kid injuries.  But every time I have a moment of heart palpitations as we're getting ready to go to that check-up that they'll take away my babies and call me a bad mother.

{This isn't just an irrational fear that I have.  A pastor's wife once told me she had the same worries with her boys, but the doctor told her they can tell the difference between injuries from play and injuries from more sinister things, which helped put me at ease.}

And then the other day...I bit my kid.

Scrunch woke up from her nap, happy to cuddle for a minute but eager to get down and play.  Professor brought her some animal crackers, which she dove into as she wandered the living room.  She cruised along the couch and shoved an animal cracker in my mouth, so I obliged and took a little bite.

"Num num num," I said in that animated way parents do.  She beamed and giggled and got so excited she had to sit down.  She grabbed another cracker and came back.

I paid no attention to the texture as she shoved the would-be cracker in my mouth and, reader friend, here is where I must stop and say this: They should not make animal crackers the color of person flesh.  This is why God invented unnatural food coloring.

So, yes, I bit down on my child's finger, and it took us both a second too long to realize it.

But before you call Child Services or think that Scrunch got the short end of the stick, know this: she worked her way up from piddly animal crackers to an Oreo, to help her cope with the pain.  And my child-biting days?   Well, I hope that they're all in the past.

And also that animal cracker companies will work on that food coloring thing.
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