7QT: Baby selfies, murder, and the Cold War

Linking up with Kelly for my first Seven Quick Takes. I feel like a real blogger now.


My grammar students have a quiz on Monday so I put together a Powerpoint Jeopardy game (their favorite) for them to help review this chapter. Since I have to make up thirty questions for this thing, I usually take inspiration from the books I’ve been reading recently. This time they happened to be Rebecca and the Lord Peter Wimsey detective novels. One of my students: “There’s a lot of murder in these questions.” Yes, yes there is.


In order to buy some more time lying around in bed in the morning after I nurse Christopher, Chris and I sometimes (often) give him our phones – or our “shiny rectangles” because babies don’t know what phones are but our nine month old definitely knows what a rectangle is? – with the selfie camera on. He likes looking at himself. We have a narcissist baby. He took this selfie all by himself this morning.


Work those angles.

 I have to say he has the duckface down.


A friend put us on to the Cold War board game Twilight Struggle. Chris and I had an epic multi-night battle last weekend so I could learn and we’re looking forward to starting another game of mutually assured destruction this weekend. Also pizza.

Can our marriage survive the Cold War?


Good reads this week:

  • You Don’t Have to Go to Grad School (to have a life of the mind) at Carrots for Michaelmas – Haley nails it. I had a hard time adjusting when we first moved to New Haven. Everyone around me was a grad student and almost everyone was single. Being newly married and having a “pay the bills” type of job caused a minor identity crisis for me. I was insecure introducing myself as an administrator in a room full of Yale grad students because I kept thinking about what it signaled about me. It took some humility to step out of the Organization Kid role and realize I’m not defined by my accomplishments or how many books I’ve read. It’s still tough occasionally but I’ve felt so fulfilled by taking care of Christopher and supported by our parish community that all those insecurities have faded into the background.
  • Among the Anti-Vaxxers by Ross Douthat – I have vaccine debate fatigue, but as always, Douthat handles it gently and articulately.
  • I heard about this guy on NPR. One Man’s Quest to Rid Wikipedia of Exactly One Grammatical Mistake on Medium.com. I’m thinking about showing it to my grammar students but it might backfire and just serve as more evidence that a passion for grammar leads to strange habits.
  • Wendell Berry’s “Room of Love” by Jake Meador at Fare Forward – Confession: I’m an aspiring crunchy person who doesn’t like Wendell Berry’s fiction. But Jake’s post makes me want to reconsider and restart Jayber Crow.

In Berry’s work, marriage isn’t simply a social contract or an emotional bond; it’s a way of orienting oneself to the rhythms of creation. It’s the process of undergoing an organic “breaking,” much as one would break the earth when plowing, in order to produce a harvest. Seeds are planted and in time we reap a harvest—Paul might say a resurrection. For Berry the language of marriage is never far from the language of health, flourishing, and beauty. It isn’t the only means through which a person can come to God, of course. Jack Beechum shows us that. But it is one way.


Did you know that as part of the Year of Consecrated Life, the Day of Open House with Religious is this Sunday? We’re going to visit Christopher’s godmother, Allison, who is a postulant with the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and hopefully pray Vespers with them. I’m so excited. She is a dear, faithful sister from Georgetown and it’s always a treat to see her.


In True Confessions of the Organized Mother, I was rifling through my purse for my keys yesterday and something just did not smell right. Since I’m a strident believer in the maxim, “if it smells like poop, it is poop,” it was quite alarming. Then I discovered the cloth diaper that was in our portable wetbag was indeed not a clean one and had probably been festering for, hm, a few weeks? I threw the whole (still closed) thing in our bathtub and have been too scared to look at it.


What a pleasant thought to leave you with. Hey, let’s check out the weather.


Much like the groundhog, I wish to bite the mayor and descend back into the depths of my burrow.

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