7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 76)


— 1 —

This weekend we’re going to visit my mother-in-law, Yaya. If you’re a new reader, you can read this post and it will tell you everything you need to know about her and what I can expect from a visit to her house this weekend. I’m looking forward to hanging out with her, as well as swinging by the ARCH conference while we’re in Houston.

A few days after the last time we went to visit, I was dropping my son off at Mother’s Day Out and told him to tell his teacher what we did that weekend. He said with a wide-eyed look: “We went to visit Yaya. She lives in a house where she does crazy things.” Well said.

— 2 —

I feel like I’m getting savvy about the whole preschool thing. Now that some of my kids have been going to a Mother’s Day Out program for more than a year, I’m learning the ropes. For example: I’ve finally learned that when you see a sign-up sheet for class parties, you need to jump on that thing QUICK. Because the list of options always looks something like this:

  • Carton of strawberries
  • Bag of M&M’s
  • Bag of baby carrots
  • Loaf of bread
  • Block of cheddar cheese
  • 10 individual-sized Beluga-caviar-topped Fleur du Maquis soufflés shaped into the likeness of St. Caesarius of Nazianzus

And if you space out and forget to sign up when the list is first out, guess which one you’re going to end up bringing. It tells you what kind of person I am (and what kind of simian limits I have in terms of being able to function in polite society) that I just about dive over people when I first see those lists posted. And when I manage to sign my name next to the most ridiculously easy item, I feel like thrusting my arms in the air and whooping a chant of victory over the parents who are not as fast with a pen as I. (This is why I try not to leave the house.)

— 3 —

People ask me about our stroller almost every time I use it, so I thought I’d put in a plug for it in case anyone else finds it helpful: we have a Joovy “Sit-and-Stand” stroller that can hold three kids (two sitting and one standing). I love it because it’s lightweight and very portable, reasonably priced, and includes an attachment for holding an infant seat. Great, great product.

UPDATE: After I posted this I saw on Amazon that evidently it’s only designed for two kids. Hmm. That would explain why it’s always so cramped when I have one kid sitting and one kid standing in that back part. It might also explain some of the startled looks I get. Oh well, at least I haven’t resorted to putting a kid down in the storage area…yet.

— 4 —

A few months ago I mentioned that I was reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and was considering doing a series of posts about it. I haven’t gotten around to it yet, and anyone who’s read the book can probably guess why: it’s such an information-packed book that it’s hard not to get bogged down in the details. For example, in one paragraph Mr. Dawkins might make a statement that attributes fringe Christian beliefs to all Christians; in another paragraph he might misunderstand a fundamental Christian belief; in the next he might correctly interpret an actual doctrine, but I disagree with his conclusion — and that’s just on the first page of one chapter!

I hope to get around to those posts eventually, but if you’re looking for a good, short take on his book (as well as books by other popular atheists) I recommend this interview Kathryn Jean Lopez did with Fr. Thomas D. Williams. They did a great job of giving an overview of the basic responses to some of the most common claims of the anti-religion set.

— 5 —

It looks like my husband and I might be headed up to the Portland, Oregon area in a couple months. Anyone have any suggestions for can’t-miss attractions in that area?

— 6 —

I recently got a letter that made my week. Maybe my year. It’s from the son of a reader, and offers some thoughts and suggestions in response to my Scorpionator post:

How awesome is that?

— 7 —

Speaking of letters, I am SO sorry that I’m bad about replying to the notes that are sent to my P.O. box. “Reply to letters” has a permanent place on my to-do list, but I just haven’t been able to get to it. Know that I read and cherish every single one of them!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

————————
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Comments

  1. Nichole@40daysof says

    That letter is hilarious? Where on earth did he get the idea about the road runner?

  2. Rebecca says

    Okay, so I totally have insomnia and am feeling rather loopy, but I have to say that I laughed hysterically at that last bullet on #2. THAT was HILARIOUS and more so because it is SO true (if a teeny bit exaggerated.)

  3. Maia says

    Though the Army takes me far from home these days, Portland is my hometown. If you are there on a Saturday night, catch the vigil at St. Stephen's. Cantores in Ecclesia sings there, and you will not be sorry to miss it. (My only itty bitty claim to fame is that I was able to sing in this choir when I was in high school.) They sing Tallis and Byrd, but even if it is purely a Mass with plainsong, it will be wonderful.

  4. Amy says

    I read the other day that if you put alcohol on a scorpion they go crazy and sting themselves to death, and I immediately thought of you. 🙂 Of course, I would be afraid to try this "remedy," thinking that any scorpion in MY house would not go crazy and sting itSELF to death but would come after me!

  5. Monica says

    Portland: Powell's Books, definitely.

    And your Scorpionator post will live forever, I am sure.

    Stole the Thomas Merton quote for my post today, because it hit me like a ton of bricks. Love it, and thank you. 🙂

  6. Dawn Farias says

    OK – I LOVE your #2, so funny! And the letter from the young boy is precious.

    Maybe I'll see you at ARCH tomorrow! That would rock.

  7. Elizabeth says

    I laughed out loud about your update for #3. Hey man, whatever it takes to get them to all fit and be happy! (coming from the girl who rode in an umbrella stroller at age 8 when she threw a tantrum about walking in Chicago).

  8. Kate says

    Is that roadrunner carrying a fork in his beak? That's awesome!

    Re: Portland. Pamper the bibliophile in you and visit Powell's bookstore. It may possibly be the largest used bookstore on the continent. Just…be aware that it's easy to spend the whole day (and whole wallet) in there!!

  9. Lauren says

    I must have missed the post that you were reading the God Delusion, but how timely because I just checked it out from the library. (Pause for a moment for how embarassing that is…I felt like a heathen. I started blabbering on about how "I'm so curious as to what he has to say about the Lord" and "God bless you!"! Ugh…)

    Anyway, I'm also reading Scott Hanh's Answering the New Atheism which is a response to the God Delusion. It's excellent to read with it. May the Lord protect us both and others who read such a bleak perspective!

  10. Jen Rouse says

    Powell's City of Books (www.powells.com) is the number one, biggest must-see when you're in Portland. It's the world's largest independent bookstore. It takes up an entire city block. Need I say more?

    Other than that, Portland is also known for its brewpubs, lots of hiking and biking, and good coffee.

    About an hour outside the city is Oregon wine country, and there are a ton of beautiful wineries and tasting rooms. Check out The Horse Radish in Carlton. (www.thehorseradish.com)

    Are your kids going to be with you? Do they like the Ramona Quimby/Henry Huggins books? Those books are all set in Portland, and there's a park near the Klickitat Street neighborhood with statues of all the famous Beverly Cleary characters. (http://www.multcolib.org/parents/cleary)

    Have fun in Portland!

  11. ChrisV says

    I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your YaYa stories. Unfortunately our own YaYas have gone home to God … enjoy the blessing you have!

  12. Elizabeth says

    I love the stroller, mainly because the back to back kids can't mess with each other. Also, I would definitely do the three kid thing too. LOL

    So, when are you getting the pet road runner?

  13. byzymom says

    Thanks for the stroller info. I am currently looking for a good double stroller. We have a 1yr old and a newborn. My goodness they can be expensive!
    Maybe I'll have a look at the one you recommend.
    LOVE the letter 🙂

  14. Paul H says

    I was a bit puzzled by this quote from the Joovy stroller manufacturer's description on Amazon.com:

    "It allows parents to make out too because the caboose is lightweight and folds up compactly."

    How exactly do the stroller's compact and lightweight attributes help the parents to "make out"? Maybe "make out" doesn't mean what I think it means. 🙂

  15. Paul H says

    Regarding your possible trip to Oregon, you might want to contact Carl Olson of the Ignatius Insight blog. He lives somewhere in Oregon, and he might be able to give you some tips from the perspective of a Catholic and a bibliophile. You can find him on the web at either of the following sites:

    insightscoop.typepad.com
    http://www.carl-olson.com

  16. TXMom2B says

    I just bought that same stroller to use once our second child is born. Thanks for the recommendation! I don't read much about it but it is so lightweight that I had to choose it.

  17. Anonymous says

    You may already know this but if not you may be interested in the fact that Schott Hahn wrote a book called "Answering the New Atheism" in response to atheist Richard Dawkins' bestseller "The God Delusion".

    Enjoy your weekend!

  18. Alishia says

    Don't miss the Deschutes Brewery. Beer samplers, good burgers and awesome desserts. And a mere walk for the most important not miss:

    POWELL'S BOOKS!!!

  19. Teacher Mommy says

    I needed this assignment today. I'm too scattered for one coherent post. Seven mini-posts were perfect.

  20. Christian H says

    I began writing a series of Dawkins-refuting posts, (http://thinkinggrounds.blogspot.com/2008/09/dawkins-directory.html), and probably got a few dozen out, but I eventually gave up. As you say, there's so much that asks to be addressed.

    But I was feeling very frustrated and angry and overwhelmed by the task, and I was afraid that I was coming off as angry and argumentative in tone. Since this is one of my complaints with Dawkins, I didn't want to make the same infraction. As much as a like logic-crunching, I just felt kind of miserable doing the whole thing. Hopefully you do a bettr job than I do, and reach a wider audience. I've left that link above if you'd like to see my approach?

    Ooh, and you could get either a roadrunner of a mongoose to help with your scorpion problem. They both hunt venomous creatures.

  21. Sarah Boyle Webber says

    I rarely comment but I love your blog and even if I only update mine on Fridays, it's a good discipline. Thanks!

  22. Anonymous says

    I am surprised no one has mentioned The Grotto- a very beautiful and peaceful place.
    http://www.thegrotto.org/

    Also Portland is famous for it's roses so a trip to the Rose Garden would be in line- although they may not be blooming in May.
    http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/finder/index.cfm?PropertyID=1113&action=ViewPark

    Char

    If the roses are not blooming than the rhododendrons would be.
    http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/finder/index.cfm?PropertyID=27&action=ViewPark

  23. Anonymous says

    That letter was from my boy. We do a lot of dictation, but it's good to break things up, so I asked him if he'd like to write a letter to the scorpion lady from the computer, and he jumped on it. The road runner idea apparently came from a book he read called Thunderfoot about a road runner whose feet swelled up from a rattlesnake bite.

    I showed him your post this morning, and when we scrolled down to #6, a smile spread across his face as he realized it was his letter. He was so happy that "she really liked it!" It's funny, because I can only imagine how much mail and email you get, and you've got a kid or two to take care of and such :), so I didn't expect an answer at all. So when I saw this before bed last night, I actually teared up a little for my boy. Thanks, Jen!

    chris

  24. Adrienne says

    Portland is my hometown also. I don't live there now, but I love visiting (living there is expensive, but visiting is pretty reasonable as there is no sales tax!) In fact, Maia an earlier commenter and I grew up together. She did mention a beautiful Mass, but as a back up option you should try Holy Rosary. It is lovely. Or if you feel like checking out a different rite, you should check out St. Sharbel's. It is Maronite Rite and the priest "Abuna" is wonderful! Holy man.
    If you are going in the summer months, you are going at the prettiest time of the year. The weather is fantastic as it is not humid and the highs are usually in the low 80s. I also highly recommend the microbreweries. Portland is the microbrew capital of the world. Also, FYI, if you need to buy anything in the airport, prices are not allowed to be artificially higher than outside of the airport, so it is a good place to shop. Enjoy your trip there! We're headed there ourselves in July. I can't wait!

  25. mary says

    2) I do the exact same dive when the preschool sign-up sheet appears for parties, always praying that I can get away with just bringing a bag of chips!!

    3) We have the exact Joovy Sit-N-Stand stroller, which I regularly use for my 3 children — 5-year-old standing on the back, 4-year-old sitting on the back, 2-year-old sitting on the front. PERFECT for the mall or other quick getaways!!! It gets heavy, but I love using it for all 3. 🙂 And it REALLY does only take one hand to fold it up — love that feature!

  26. Robin says

    Oregon!

    Go to my old blog here and click on Oregon in the word cloud. My daughter graduated from Willamette University a year ago and we took family out for the blog event, so we covered a lot of ground. Don't miss The Grotto, the Chinese Gardens, and of course your uncle's hang out, Mount Angel Abbey. (I'm the one who emailed you awhile back about his Christ Pantocrator icon.)

  27. Anna says

    I live in Portland, OR. (Actually, in the Gresham suburb). Definitely stop by Powells and the Grotto. One of my favorite parts of the Grotto is the St. Anne chapel, where they have pictures of Mary from a bunch of different times and cultures. They also have outdoor Masses there during the summer. (I think at noon on Sunday… and if you go – bring a hat! Shade is iffy.)

  28. Julie Cragon says

    We used to ride 3 on a banana seat bike and 1 on the handlebars so I know your safe with 3 in that stroller.

  29. DM says

    Regarding "The God Delusion", Terry Eagleton–regarded by many as Britain’s most influential living literary critic– began his review: “Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology.”

    He has now published a response in his book "Reason, Faith and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate". There was a good review on CBC's "Tapestry" a little while back:

    http://www.cbc.ca/tapestry/archives/2009/110809.html

    The radio show / podcast is fairly interesting and covers various aspects of religion and spirituality–without ever getting too saccharine.

    Another good interview was Fr. Richard Rohr (a Franciscan):

    http://www.cbc.ca/tapestry/archives/2009/092009.html

  30. MamasBoy says

    Regarding Portland area attractions, it depends on how long one is going to be there, and how far one is willing to travel.

    1) Powell's books has already been mentioned. It takes up a whole city block. They also have a separate technical bookstore, about the size of an average Barnes and Noble. Whether you want to grab a book on Perl, bridge design or the mechanics of flight, they have a book that talks about it.

    2) The Columbia River Gorge is fun to see. The highlight would be Multnomah Falls, at over 600' tall, but there are many other waterfalls with access ranging from a short hike to drive-by viewing. There is also a restaurant at Multnomah Falls, if your husband wants to take you out for a nice dinner.
    http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/columbia/recreation/waterfalls.shtml
    http://www.multnomahfallslodge.com/

    Area day trips.
    1) Mt. St. Helens
    2) The headwaters of the Metolius River
    3) The Oregon Coast. The most beautiful coastline I've ever seen.

  31. Jenny says

    I am very interested to hear your thoughts on "The God Delusion". A family member has been questioning their faith and what they believe and decided to read this book. I have not read it, but have been trying to talk with them about it. Maybe I will suggest Scott Hahn's book as a follow-up.

    p.s. I love the scorpion letter!

  32. K.S. says

    Another Portland reader here. You can't go wrong with all the attractions mentioned. If you're coming in early summer the roses will be in bloom at the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. Also in Washington Park is the Japanese Garden, which is said to be one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens outside of Japan. Both are beautiful places anytime of year, simply for the views of the city. And the Grotto is a must see!

    Your stroller take made me laugh, because my sister had the same stroller and despite it being made for *two*, she always managed to fit all three of her kids on it as well!

  33. kate says

    also a portland gal here.

    we love the Edgefield. It's a hotel, slash brewery, slash movie theater, soaking pool, herb gardens, distilary, golf course, etc. It's amazing. McMenamins Edgefield. Great!
    All of the mentions to the grotto, rose garden, downtown, all very good.
    A quick 45 minute drive down the gorge will take you to Multnomah Falls. It's beautiful.
    Portland is beautiful this time of year. Enjoy!

  34. Johanna Lamb =) says

    Portland is one of my most favorite places every visited.
    Definitely- Powells books

    if you have a car, dive out to the Columbia River valley and see Multnomah Falls (largest -or second largest- falls west of Mississippi) if you are ambitous you can hike to the top and the veiws are absolutlety breathtaking.
    Portland is a wonderful place and I hope you have a wonderful time there!

  35. Mitch says

    You must go to Powell's when you go to Portland, it is the most amazing bookstore in the world. While your there make sure to go to the top floor and check out the rare books room (they let you hold and look at many of the books, some over 400 years old!)

  36. Em. says

    I would totally put 3 kids in that stroller … who needs manufacturer recommendations anyway? Ha.

  37. alicia says

    Portland OR has a great farmer's market/Saturday market. If you have time to get a little south, there are some wonderful local wineries – I am especially fond of Willamette Valley Vineyards – they are just off the I-5 near Salem.

  38. Elizabeth says

    I would LOVE that stroller…and I HAVE put one of my kids in the storage area! #1 used to LOVE it when I had #2 still in the infant carrier! LOL
    LOVE the Road Runner answer to the scorpion problem 🙂

  39. Tami says

    We have the Joovy Big Caboose (two seater in front with sit-stand in back). I got it when I had a 3 year old, 1 year old and a newborn. Now that I have a 6 year old, 4 year old, 3 year old and a 1 year old we don't use it so much (funny how having all except one over three makes such a difference), but it was a lifesaver back in the day. Worth every penny!

  40. Dianna@KennedyAdventures says

    totally unrelated, but I was THRILLED to hear you on "The Good Fight" while I was driving to work today! It may have been an older recording, but I just wanted to say thank you for using your gifts, and being an inspiration!

  41. Anth says

    While in Portland, you must try to drive up the Columbia River Gorge, and preferably hike around Multnomah Falls. The Gorge is incredibly beautiful and one of the best places in Oregon. You just drive east on Hwy 84, which conveniently goes right through the Gorge. Hopefully you'll have a car so you can do that!

    (I found your blog via Single Solitary Things and have been lurking for a couple of weeks. Hi!)

  42. Elena says

    Finally caught your interview on the radio today- great job! and a good discussion. They cut it in half for Father Larry, but I hope I get to hear the entire interview soon.

  43. Leah says

    Hi, Jen.

    I really hope you do get around to doing some posts on Dawkins (I'm in the middle of reading it myself).

    I'm a atheist college student dating a nice Catholic boy, and, after I spent Spring Break reading apologetics (Orthodoxy, The Great Divorce, Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters, and Case for Christ), we're taking a look at Dawkins.

    I went back and read your archives also over break, and have discussed some posts with the bf, so I am looking forward to your take on God Delusion.

  44. Jackie says

    Sit and Stand strollers are the best. After my husband and I found out we were expecting our eighth child, after a NINE year hiatus, we were blown away by the explosion of stroller options. Yet we kept going back to the tried and true Sit and Stand. It served us well then, and we spent HOURS deciding on whether or not to stick with a single stroller (since we were only expecting the one baby, you see, and already had two used single strollers lined up), or go for that Sit and Stand. We finally left Babies R Us, slumped over a little, because we didn't really need it . . . yet. : )

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