7QT: Do not ask for whom the toddler grunge comes…


…it comes for thee (but today, mostly me). Might as well take this Curious George-provided break to blog instead of wallowing in my mild cold and the mom guilt that comes from writing a post decrying television for little kids and then letting my 20 month-old get hooked on the mischievous monkey. (Which sounds like some nefarious import complete with anonymous contact, The Man in the Yellow Hat.) Anyway, I’m sick and I’m the worst when I’m sick. Chris applied for a PhD program and took a German final while sick with this grunge earlier this week and I can barely do any laundry with all of this whining I have to get done. But at least we all got sick this week because next Tuesday….


We fly to San Diego for two weeks!! I’m so excited despite the lack of visceral satisfaction a comparison of the two weather forecasts usually brings.


I’m not complaining but I also am.

Still, I’m excited to see my family and for Christmas and even to visit the tiny Anglican Use parish we were adopted by this summer. It will also be nice to run along the beach because…


I finished Couch to 5K about two weeks ago and I’m working on this 10K plan now. I seriously can’t believe I like running. It is very much out of my slug-like character. Chris asked me if I was going running in the morning and followed it up with, “I still can’t believe we’re having this conversation.” #sluglife

I also grabbed a jogging stroller for $15 on Craigslist and didn’t get murdered when I picked it up in the middle of nowhere. (Upon leaving the house in the woods in the dark: “Be careful. There are a ton of deer on these roads.” I drove about 10 mph the rest of the way back to 95.) My birthday present from my parents this year is an entry fee for a 5k along the marina in downtown San Diego I’m going to run with my brother (who will totally smoke me) and sister on my birthday. Fun fun.


How is your Advent going? Ours is going well, thanks for asking! A good mix of joy and anticipation, I think. I’m doing a better job at not being an Advent grinch without going into full Christmas mode. And there’s also nothing like a resolution to holiness and inevitable visits to Confession to remind me that Pelagius was a heretic and Augustine isn’t our family’s patron saint for nothin’.

We have an Advent calendar with flaps that reveal a Bible verse. Christopher is really into lifting those flaps and mildly interested in my homilies to explain them as long as I mention “Jesus”, or “Jee-Jee” as Christopher is fond of saying.

I nabbed a Nativity scene at Goodwill. It was missing a Joseph and they all look positively Scandinavian, but it will do on our minuscule decorating budget. I strung up some Christmas lights, also procured for next to nothing at Goodwill, and they might be Christopher’s favorite part of this whole extravaganza so mission accomplished in the wonder side of things, I guess.


Our Advent candles are wreath-less on our prayer table, which I decorated with purple tulle left over from our wedding. Fire hazard? Perhaps. Pretty? Eh. Liturgically appropriate? Nailed it.



This episode of Curious George is about George’s ill-conceived decision to change the clock to push back his bedtime. He just had a daydream in which the Man in the Yellow Hat said, “This is great! I can read all the books I want and you never have to go to bed again!” Truly a dream from a toddler’s perspective, because he assumes his caretaker will have infinite free time while he plays silently alone with his ball for the rest of eternity.

Speaking of books (I am nailing these segues), I just finished H is for Hawk* by Helen Macdonald (beautiful, desperately sad at points). It was nice to read concurrently with The Once and Future King, the current assignment for my middle school lit class, since Macdonald interweaves her own story with TH White’s experience training a goshawk. Falconry shows up in extreme detail throughout White’s Arthurian take so it has been helpful to know some of the terminology as well. My students seem to be enjoying the book when they’re not complaining about their homework.

And as a follow up, I’m reading/binging that great classic of British aristocracy, The Royal We. I thought some chick lit would be a good palate cleanser after H is for Hawk. I’m also still working through Robert Louis Wilken’s history of the early church, The First Thousand Years, which also may describe how long it takes me to actually finish (though I really am enjoying it!).

I also recently whizzed through the first two books of the Neapolitan cycle by Elena Ferrante after so much hype. And I truly enjoyed them while I was reading it, but now that I’ve taken a break I think I agree a lot with this critique of the books:

The Neapolitan novels are not great literature; they’re potboilers dressed in exotic Italian vestments. They have won their audience for the same reason highbrow soap operas such as Downton Abbey appeal to those who like their domestic melodrama to come with a patina of European refinement. Ferrante’s saga is overwrought, forgettable, and ultimately without substance; the novels have no real conclusion, no resolution. They finish without teaching us anything and end only because their author ran out of ideas.

I did used to love Downton Abbey, after all.


Chris sent in his first PhD application on Tuesday and so the main thought around here is “IT BEGINS.” We both waffle between hubristic confidence and abject resignation about where he’ll get in. Ah, the life of a humanities scholar is full of existential (or essential, depending on which side of that debate you fall) angst.

We’ve been in New Haven almost three years, which, when we first moved here was probably 2 years and 364 days longer than I wanted to live in Connecticut. But now, if we do end up elsewhere next summer, I will be very sad to leave. We’ve made sweet friends, our parish just entered an exciting new chapter, and I also feel we’ve finally settled down a bit. We’ve officially gone a year without moving cities, converting to anything else, or bringing any babies home from the hospital. I finally feel the buzz of waiting for the next new thing has abated, at least for a few more weeks until we start hearing back about Chris’ applications.


I leave you with this Star Wars version of “Let it Go” my sister sent me yesterday. I do love making fun of the prequels.

Go see the rest of the quick takes at Annabelle’s this week.

*Links to Amazon are affiliate links.

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