7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 136)

— 1 —

Please don’t tell me that July is almost over. Because that means that it’s almost August, which means that I actually have to start thinking about the Fall, the season of doing stuff. I am a little daunted about how this whole “homeschooling with a newborn” thing is going to go (read: IT HAS EPIC FAIL WRITTEN ALL OVER IT). Not to mention the fact that we’re getting the kids involved in some activities! Activities! The kids are only now getting old enough for this, so I haven’t yet had the experience of being one of those moms who’s always on the go (read: I NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE AND I LIKE IT THAT WAY). Long story short: I hear that ominous Jaws music every time I think about the Fall semester. So let’s not discuss the fact that August is almost here.

— 2 —

Can’t…type…laughing…too…hard…Okay, let me pull myself together to warn you that there is some brief profanity in this video…but you need to watch it anyway, because it is the pinnacle of human achievement.

— 3 —

You know where else it was gettin’ real this week? At my National Catholic Register blog. For those of you who missed the fun, I wrote a post about talking to atheists about faith. Professor PZ Myers responded by resigning as president of my fan club, and his commenters came to a consensus that I’m pretty much the most useless person in the world. Then I shared my thoughts on his post, but, alas, it did not change his view that I have the IQ of a bowl of oatmeal. Between the four posts there were over 1, 000 comments, and my email inbox was flooded with people weighing in from both sides of the fence. (And yes, I did think of writing up a little parody to the above video involving lyrics like “It’s gettin’ reeeeal in the PZ comment box…”)

— 4 —

One amusing note is that some Trucknutz-related news broke in the middle of this, which had a hilarious effect on my email inbox. For better or worse, many people immediately think of me when they see Trucknutz (because of this post…well, I hope that’s why!), and so I got a lot of emails about this story. I wish I’d taken a screenshot of the subject lines in my inbox, because it was something like:

Your horrible Register article
Thanks for a good post
TRUCKNUTZ!!!
That garbage you wrote at NCR
Trucknutz story
UR AN IDIOT
Did you see this Trucknutz story?
Liked your post about evangelization and atheists
Trucknutz
Your post was the stupidest thing I’ve ever read
You were NEVER a real atheist
Trucknutz!

— 5 —

It’s getting kind of Lord of the Flies over here with this weather. As the days of being confined indoors have worn on, our range of activities is getting more and more limited, to the point that the kids spend most of their time hitting each other and screaming these days. It got so bad the other day that I actually suggested that we do some crafts. Not knowing how one goes about such a thing, I pulled out some artsy looking toy that one of the kids had gotten for Christmas, but that, in a moment of what would turn out to be great foresight, I had stored away. I don’t know what this thing is called, but it involves a spinning apparatus and big bottles of brightly colored paint. You know where this is going.

Based on all the crafty blogs I read, I had envisioned this to be a calm, organized activity that would lend itself to closeup pictures of smiling children leaning forward and quietly pondering the project at hand. Instead, my kids descended on this thing like piranhas. I stood there frozen as they somehow managed to pop open the paint, grab at the spinner thing, tear the special rounds of paper, shove each other out of the way, and make sounds like rabid howler monkeys, all at the same time. I’m not good at mental multitasking, so I just stood there and flapped my hands in horror, not sure which feral behavior to address first. It ended with the kids slipping around a paint-coated floor, their shirts looking like a failed modern art experiment, and me vowing to seek revenge on whichever soon-to-be-ex friend foisted this toy on us (until I remembered that, umm, I was the one who bought it).

Anyway, if anyone has ideas for indoor activities that don’t involve spinning things and paint, I’m all ears.

— 6 —

I keep pinning things to my “Fun Things to do with Kids” board on Pinterest, thinking that one of these days the time I spend on that site will pay off because I’ll actually enact some of these ideas I get from looking at pretty pictures on the internet. However, so far my ration of “doing” to “sitting on the couch and looking” is not very good.

— 7 —

I was going to write something else here, but I’m going to go watch the Whole Foods Parking Lot video again. Youtube says it has 2, 414, 615 views, and I’m pretty sure thatΒ 2, 414, 612 are from me.

Have a nice weekend!

————————-

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Comments

  1. says

    Wow, I get to be first this week. Just watched your interview, Jennifer, and enjoyed hearing more of your story; I honestly had no idea you were so recent a convert. I would’ve thought it was closer to 10 years now. I’m thankful to know you.

    ~Jess

  2. says

    You are classy and kind, and I think the PZ Myers followers could learn from you there. But I’m thinking that class and kindness are not things to which they aspire.

    I think Trucknutz should give you a cut. πŸ™‚

    As one who does have older kids in activities, and who also does not want to leave my house, I feel ya!

    Waiting for your post entitled “Stop Extravert Tyranny!” so that I can paste it far and wide…

  3. says

    #3- *sigh* What is it about online commenting that so often brings out the rude and nasty side of people? You are a major sign of contradiction to atheists, therefore, they have to marginalize you as much as possible. (If you aren’t stupid or lying, you might be right… and you can’t be right, therefore you are stupid or lying. It’s circular logic, but it is logic. Sort of.)

    Take it as a sign someone’s reading it; God will find the right readers for you!

  4. Denise says

    I actually find your back-and-forths with PZ Meyers rather fascinating and … enlightening. I hope he and his followers don’t cause you any real pain!

    (I also find it confusing that so many anti-Catholics troll a Catholic blog. Don’t they have any volunteer work to do? Or do they imagine they are benefiting humanity as much by being Trolls as if they spent that time at a homeless shelter or teenage crisis center?)

    • deltaflute says

      *with much sarcastic humor* Don’t you know that being religious is the worst thing ever? I mean people kill people in the name of religion. Priests molest children. Religion is just bad and should be eliminated. Oh, but don’t bother noticing that some of the world’s worst leaders and atrocities came about through secularism/atheism. Yeah, more religious people do harm. πŸ˜›

      That’s the mindset for “trolling” the blogs. They want to persevere atheism and convert people.

    • Mandy P. says

      I call those types Evangelical Atheists. Most run of the mill atheists I encounter don’t give a fig what other people believe in so long as you leave them alone. But there’s a group that apparently feels the need to try and convert everyone else to their beliefs (or lack thereof). And that’s what we got an absolute ton of on that thread. The ironic part to me was that they could probably use some lessons on evangelism from Christians. You don’t win friends and influence people by bombarding their blog to call them mindless morons.

  5. deltaflute says

    Wow, reading the comments on that atheist’s blog was crazy. And his comments about evidence for love was nutty. How in the world can he say what love is exactly because it looks different for different people (there are supposedly 5 love languages and various dialects)? And how does he know it’s love and not something else like pity, friendship, lust, etc? But trying to reason with a militant atheist is like trying to explain to your two year old why playing with the light socket is a bad idea. Eventually they’ll have to learn the hard way. Sadly he just doesn’t understand you. His only interest is trying to “prove” that all believers are crazy or silly children who believe in “fairy stories.”

  6. says

    Getting Real in the Whole Foods Parking Lot was absolutely was really fun to see and hear. Thanks!

    Thank you also for persevering through your spiritual and verbal battle from #3. Can’t imagine how much you must have stung someone that they are shaving you IQ points as a result. Seems very godlike of them or very much like that host from “Weakest Link” game show.

    Thank you finally for describing what ‘some’ summer days are like in what I hope is more homes than just yours and mine, “Kids took to hitting and screaming”. I am also not crafty. I don’t have the patience for that stuff. I didn’t figure out what Michael’s was until I was 39.

  7. says

    Are atheists ever embarrassed by some of the PZ Myers and his support base? It seems at the end of the day, from the tone they choose in their writing is that they’re not that serious at all being atheists.

  8. says

    I have succumbed, I now have pinterest:) following you too:) As we are building this is sooo handy for dh to see and to discuss ideas. Love it!!

  9. says

    Reading #1 – about starting homeschooling – made me think of a beautiful book you might like to read – “A little way of homeschooling” by Suzie Andres.
    Here’s the amazon description:
    Suzie Andres and twelve other Catholic homeschoolers describe how they implement an “unschooling” style of teaching in their homes. Drawing from St. Therese, St. John Bosco, John Holt (How Children Learn and How Children Fail), and ancient philosophers, the families paint a picture of authentic education without the constraints and pitfalls of typical modern education. Andres admirably addresses the question of whether a Catholic can happily and sanely unschool by explaining it as a sensible approach to the mystery of learning, not as an ideology in competition with her faith. The heart of the book is the honest and humble description of home education by twelve homeschooling mothers who have embraced unschooling in varying degrees. Anyone interested in education and particularly home education will be inspired by their narratives. http://www.amazon.com/Little-Way-Homeschooling-Suzie-Andres/dp/0983180008/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1311930542&sr=8-2

    I hope that wasn’t too long to post. I recently finished this book and loved it (and no, I am not one of the families, I just like the book, and love unschooling because it makes homeschooling fun, not daunting)

  10. says

    Jen, one of the things that came up (at least in passing) in the great atheist debate/name-calling of #3 was a question of atheism as a religion. It seems to me that a really good case could be made that it is.

    Sometime when you are trying to think of a good topic to write about, please consider that. Maybe it could be part of a broader piece on everyone having a devout religion (at least of their own crafting) and where that comes from within them?

    Just a thought… thanks always for organizing 7 Quick Takes Friday.

  11. says

    Good luck with starting homeschooling Jen! Thanks for the opportunity to do the 7 Quick takes. This is my first time – Yay! (and Whoops, I linked to my blog, not the specific post, Sorry!)

  12. says

    One thing which stuck out to me was the subject line “You were never a TRUE atheist!”. It struck me because this is exactly what I hear from many Evangelical or Reformed Protestants when they here of a Christian “de-converting”. They say “They must not’ve been a TRUE Christian”. :/ Funny, the parallels you find between Atheism (especially New Atheism) and religion.

    What many New Atheists don’t realize is that not all atheists are stringent, scientific, and rigid. Some are only “nominal” atheists and may indeed be very open to discussing religion. Also, the fact is, concession must be made by both sides in order to discuss the “issue” of God, because otherwise no one would change. Atheist can’t prove He doesn’t exist (because you can’t prove a negative) and Christians can’t directly prove He does (because you can’t prove that a being supersedes time, space, and matter exists using temporal, spacial, and material means).

    I know that statement needs qualifiers, but I have get to work!

  13. says

    Love the gracious (and humorous tone) re: PZ Myers.

    You can totally homeschool with a newborn! Especially if the newborn naps and likes the bouncy seat, or moby wrap, or whatever. (It’s way too hot here to use a moby this week….maybe by September?)

    Hoping things cool off soon, for you and me both!

  14. says

    What is wrong with people?! First of all, I never understood how one couldn’t be a “real” anything… atheist, christian, etc. In my book, if you believe in the tenets of that belief-system, then it’s real to you. And secondly, Trucknutz need to stop.

    Can’t wait to see the video, I have to scoot to VBS.

  15. says

    Like others I remain somewhat shocked at how vituperative some of the atheist commenters got at NCR. They have themselves a lovely echo-chamber at the PZ Meyers site so I’m guessing they aren’t really challenged very much about the sanctity of their precious evidence. They just can’t seem to allow for a different belief system and seem to think it is their right to demand that Christians prove our faith to them. It was an enlightening exchange in many ways – not the least of which was the grace with which the more vicious of them were handled by the commenting Christians.

  16. Marion says

    I hear you about the kids going nuts indoors in the Texas summer! Here are some things that, when they work, keep them busy for awhile:

    Picnic under the kitchen table. We put some blankets over the table, throw some pillows and stuffed animals underneath (along with the kids) as well as some picnic food that doesn’t make a mess (cheesesticks, etc.) They can keep at this for awhile…

    Easter egg hunt. We had a basket of leftover plastic eggs from Easter (sans candy) and the kids took turns hiding them all over the house for each other. This was their idea, and yesterday, they clocked 2 hours of egg hunting. Probably anything could be substituted (i.e. plastic spoons).

    Scavenger hunt. Draw (or write) a list of things for them to find either outside or in…things you don’t mind them gathering (i.e. a dust bunny, a kitchen rag, a scorpion (kidding)) This one takes a bit of prep, but you can get some mileage out of it.

    Store. Gather some basics from the kitchen/pantry which you don’t mind getting knocked around (canned food, peanut butter jar) Give them some shopping bags, and let the consumerism begin (someone plays cashier, someone else the customer, etc.)

    Hope at least one of these helps!!

  17. says

    You did a great job on your interview on EWTN … thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

    A craft that is pretty contained? Paint-by-Numbers … I know you said no paint, but this is paint in very small doses AND the kids are quiet looking for the numbers.

  18. says

    Hah! Thanks so much for sharing that video. And I see all you pins on Pinterest.. I may have done an entire 7QT dedicated to Pinterest. I seriously have issues.

  19. Mandy P. says

    Ooh August is almost upon us! We’re sending our oldest to the parish preschool this year. I’m really excited for him. He’s really looking forward to meeting other kids his age and making friends. I just can’t believe how fast the kiddies are growing up.

  20. says

    Ok so it turns out that you either:
    a) have a lot of Drudge readers on your site
    – or –
    b) have readers who have the google alert for “trucknutz” set up

    πŸ™‚ I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who found and sent that to you!

  21. says

    I really hope nobody ever feels irrational compared to PZ Myers. Don’t forget that he is the guy who thought it would be a positive and useful thing to do to get someone to steal a consecrated Host for him so he could publicly desecrate it.

    Rational people, even haters, would consider such an act below them.

    I can’t imagine ever taking an object that is sacred in ANY religious tradition, whether I thought the tradition was stupid or not, and intentionally abusing it just for the sake of abusing it.* I certainly wouldn’t consider such an action “rational.”

  22. says

    We always have lots of fun and minimal damage with the following:

    Painting rocks.

    Drawing a basic picture of a flower, butterfly, whatever..and having the kids glew elbow macaroni to the outline…for some reason, they LOVE this! You could get more elaborate with seashell pasta or those little wheel things, etc.

    Toothpicks (well, that might be damaging with your boys, ha ha) and marshmallows…just put ’em on the table and let your little architects go to work…this keeps my kids busy for hours! They have built structures that are 3 + feet tall! And, of course, they eat as they go…just make sure they are eating the mallows and not the picks, LOL

    Homemade play-dough…not hard to make…lasts a long time….lots of fun.

    Building with paper or plastic cups…we had always done this and then I learned that there are major national competitions for such things…who knew? Anyway, cup-building is fun for kids and not messy as long as the cups are EMPTY!

      • says

        I love it when people reply to their own posts to correct their spelling or grammar… mostly because it makes me feel less silly when I do it myself. πŸ˜‰

  23. says

    You should check out the youtube video about having your minivan pimped out. I think they call it “Mom my minivan” I would look it up but the kids are already screaming and it is only 8:00! I am feeling your pain about the weather and not being able to go outside. We have major cabin fever. I have been playing lots chase with all the kiddos to get out their extra energy. Have a great weekend!

    P.S. I’m a Southern Baptist convert and I really liked your article. #5 was a major reason for me to convert.

  24. KyCat says

    I was thrilled to hear that it’s Lord of the Flies there too! I hate to see summer ending but my children need some time apart before some human parts get broken! (I realize since you homeschool this doesn’t help you, I’m sorry. :o( ) I love my boys but whew, it’s gettin’ real in the Carlson living room!

  25. Karen LH says

    I have the same reaction to spring that you have to August. I am the world’s worst gardener, and so when things start growing, I start feeling guilty and overwhelmed right from the get go.

    Spinning things and paint… oh my!

    One of the other things that was amusing about the Great Atheist Debate was the general theme: WHY would we even CARE about what theists think? … all while descending en masse upon your comboxes to discuss what theists think.

  26. Courtney F. says

    RE: #3, I love how the Prof uses Comic Sans for the parts of your article he quotes. Comic Sans being the bane of the internet, it’s an little additional, childish (and utterly unsubtle) dig. What a maroon!

    • says

      Oh gosh I didn’t even notice that at first. Too funny. “If we can’t get her with out-of-context quotes, we’ll get her with Comic Sans!”

  27. kk says

    Jen,
    I would love to hear your thoughts on atheist convert Edith Stein, St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, whose feast day is August 9th.

  28. says

    Woo- hoo! Welcome to the “I ticked off the dullards” club! Listen, whatever you do, don’t EVER say anything like “you know, Catholic television could use some improvement,” because- and I speak from experience– that’s what really riles Catholic blog readers!

    And no, it does not matter if you are right.

  29. says

    I would have loved to seen pictures of the kids “painting” and “spinning”. Sounds like a riot of fun! (said from someone when doesn’t have kids)

  30. says

    Relating to so many of these this morning! I always shave off a chunk of purgatory time (I hope! LOL) when I have to take my 5 kids to Whole Foods.

  31. says

    What a great 7 takes! The video makes me remember my 7 years in LA with… um… not exactly fondness.

    But… TRUCKNUTZ! I have a story!

    Even up here near the 45th parallel, I’ve seen a few vehicles sporting Trucknutz. Just weird. But when I wrote this post (http://mosaicsynapse.blogspot.com/2011/07/on-stereotypes-and-how-they-drive.html), I definitely thought of you. I don’t mention Trucknutz by name, but there’s a link in a key spot in the post. And now that I’ve said “Trucknutz” and “key spot” in the same sentence, I realize it’s probably time to wrap up this comment.

  32. says

    Oh, will you PLEASE write a post called “Winning Hearts for Jesus with Shrooms and a Ball-Peen Hammer”? Because that would be so awesome. And hysterical.

    I have a ball-peen hammer if you want to borrow it for inspiration. No shrooms, though.

  33. says

    Jennifer, hey there. I linked to your Register post today. Our Atheist and a Catholic blog ended, and I found a way to make a connection to your insightful post over there. I’d say you’re doing something right if you’re getting axed from the fan club of the atheists. πŸ™‚ Keep going, girl. As for August, yeah, hearing you there. Trying to enjoy a few more weeks of peace while I can. Tennis starts for my oldest son August 8, I think. It’s all over after that. Good luck with that homeschooling thing. I respect those who take it on, but still can’t see myself doing it.

  34. says

    Congratulations, you have pissed off the Science Blogs people. You are clearly capable of independent thought. (I don’t know if that guy still writes Good Math, Bad Math; or if that biologist still writes Aetiology because I have been banned from Science Blogs because they made me SO MAD. That whole franchise is obviously a mouthpiece for cookie cutter leftist agenda.)

  35. says

    Thanks Jennifer, this made me laugh!! I’m glad I’m not the only one who freezes when crafts and kids are involved. LOL

    I post my first 7 Quick Take Friday, ummm Yeah I have no idea what I’m doing. HA!

  36. says

    Check out http://www.quirkymommasite.com for good craft ideas. There is a linkup every week (I do twitter promotion for it but don’t contribute) of play ideas and there is a wide variety of craft things to do. I loathe complicated crafts and this linkup has really simple ones to really complicated ones. Lots of good ideas though.

  37. says

    I both was and was not surprised at how cruel people were to you on your athiesm/Catholic article this week. I commend you for handling it so gracefully! They were a harsh crowd indeed.

  38. says

    wait a minute…..you homeschool? do you homeschool All your kids? That…..is…………….
    …..AWESOME.

    I started homeschooling my 11 yr old brother last yr due to my mom having to put too many thousands of miles on her car, not to mention gas and time in simply making the trip back and forth to pick him up from school….(an awesome Catholic school at that)….but she also has a weird muscle condition in her right calf-which is why the driving was too much for her….

    …..so I offered to homeschool my little bro. I loved it and it looks like Ill be doing it again this fall. Im due to have my 4rth in a few weeks, and will be starting the homeschooling for our eldest, who is turning 5 this week. We only committed for the 1 year, just to keep ourselves in a good perspective check.
    ….So its a total ‘epic fail’ situation, BUT……it can be done so WELL if you do it with God’s grace! Honestly he has given us the “Recipe”. That is, prayer, devotion, and ORGANIZATION….better known as “order”. With time management, organization, you can do it. But you do also need a laid back personality too….to deal with the falls and storms along the way so you dont end up looking like a reinvention of Cruella Deville by the end of the year.

  39. Martha says

    You haven’t realized yet that those crafty blogs are lying? Or, all (or most) of the children in them have reached the age of reason?

  40. says

    I just bought some of those foam sticker projects from Hobby Lobby for $1 each. Kids loved those as an indoor project. And they’re not messy. Could also buy foam stickers and hats/crowns/visors for the kids to decorate. Will keep them busy.

    Your posts always crack me up, I love your sense of humor.

  41. Christine says

    I havent read any other comments…but physical activites work best for me. Throwing things (rolled up socks, stuffed animals etc.) into a basket, dancing to music, playing follow the leader, balance things on their heads…stuff like that. Anything that will wear them out!

  42. says

    Well I’ll confess; I have nine children (19-due in September) and I don’t do crafts OR activities. I stay home a lot and like it, too. With so many siblings they don’t need outside activities to get socilization and it would just be too much for me to keep up with.

    As for homeschooling with a newborn, I have done it many times and find it incredibley easy. the baby sleeps or lays in the bouncy chair and eats their fingers. I can even nurse while teaching phonics or algebra. Now toddlers on the other hand, that gets scary. They think they should be doing what everyone else is but simply don’t have the attention span.

    After our family Bible study I give little toddlers a 3×5 card to chew on and a piece of paper to wrinkle. This keeps them happy for an amazing amount of time since they seem to think they are doing the same thing everyone else is (I watch out for pieces getting soggy enough to come off and give them a new card or paper every once in a while.) As they get older I add a set or two of flash cards and dollar store color books and colored pencils (they don’t mark furniture, melt in the heat and are not edible! NO crayons or markers until the child is older and then only under strict supervision!) I spend a few minutes with the youngest first (After Bible study) so they have their mommy time and aren’t jealous. Then I work my way up the ladder with each older child doing as much independent work as possible alone. It works for us.

  43. says

    Sheesh! I just read the back and forths on the PZ Myers blog. You seem very fine with all of it, so I’m sure you don’t need the affirmation, but I assure you that I have always found your arguments/essays to be both profound and eminently logical. So there!

  44. Tara S says

    #3: It seems like such an odd thing to do – to judge a system of spiritual tenets *only* by the behavior of the most fallible and flawed of the people who claim to adhere to those tenets. I get it to a degree: in the eyes of a strict atheist there is no spiritual reality to account for, and therefore measuring religion in terms of its possible truth makes no sense. But as for the sheer number of people who don’t even look at the tenets in terms of utility – in terms of how much good a person could do *really* applying them to their own lives to be a better person, it seems like something more – like the work of intentional confusion (“War of Art” style).

  45. says

    What I found amusing about the P.Z. Myers commenters were the ones who kept insisting you’d always been a closet Christian and had never been a real atheist. None of them could provide proof of this assertion. So, they require Christians to “prove” God exists, but they don’t require proof for their own beliefs; instead, they put their trust in P.Z. Myers and believe his words as the gospel. Ah, irony.

  46. Dave says

    I love Myers’ notion that probing a hypothetical belief system for internal consistency is analagous to doing drugs.

    It’s worth remembering that for every rabid combox warrior, there are many many lurkers. The lurkers are the ones who really benefit from these discussions. And the lurkers see Myers acting like a cranky dope who doesn’t know how to think, and you acting like a loving and rational person.

    Keep fighting the good fight. πŸ™‚

  47. says

    I refuse to look at Pineterest . . . way too many people I know LOVE it and I cannot get sucked in!

    I am just like you. I like staying home. My kids are not in many activities right now. I know there will be a day that I will be driving them all over, but for now, I like that they are young enough that it does not matter.

  48. says

    I love watching your Pinterest board. I probably look like a stalker, repinning all your stuff. lol. I try some of the crafts and stuff and it ends up pretty annoying and crazy like your story.I think that’s normal. πŸ˜‰

    I also was curious as to why so many anti-catholic people hang out at the Register. It’s so WEIRD! I love that sight, you and Simcha crack me up, and I love your perspective.

  49. says

    Jen, I wanted to thank you so much for your humble words on the faith. I am amazed at how gracious you were (are) towards those that have opposed what you have said. I struggle in this area so much and love when I can see strength like yours. Even if you haven’t felt it…it is seen! Does that make sense? I’m running on nooooo sleep as well. Seriously mushy brain over here.

    God bless you! Thank you for your witness!

  50. RosieB says

    Jen, A comment about the craziness over at NCRegister.com – you have certainly generated tons of traffic to that site from catholics and non-catholics alike!!
    Great job, I think the fact that so many people are hitting the site speaks volumes of your thought provoking writings!!

    Have a great weekend!

  51. says

    On the “don’t tell me July is almost over” thing, there is a bright side. When the summer ends, we move ever nearer to sane weather conditions again–even if we have to wait until October/November for this. Psychologically speaking, those cooler days seem much nearer to August than to July.

  52. says

    Jen, I watched most of your interview on EWTN this week and it was very inspiring. I’m so glad you write and speak. Thank you! Don’t worry about homeschooling with a newborn. You’ll figure it out. πŸ™‚

  53. says

    I think it’s great that you posted the links to posts attacking you–humility, intellectual freedom, etc. He’s got an ax to grind and some manners to learn! However, across 4 years of reading your blog, I do wonder if you are losing your ability to recall accurately how your mind worked when you were an atheist. Some of his critiques of your NCR post seem valid to me.

    I’ve always believed in God, but I was raised Unitarian and devoutly skeptical. After 24 years in The Episcopal Church, I’m beginning to find it difficult to remember what it was like to be the Unitarian me. I remember that I used to think the concepts of “sin” and “redemption” were for losers, but I no longer know why. For this reason, I would never attempt to write an article about “How to convince a Unitarian that Jesus is divine”; I’d just say, “Read Mere Christianity and see if it does anything for you, and if you ever feel like checking out my church you’re welcome to come.” That’s about as far as I can take it. My conversion was very much fueled by my WANTING to believe, and I can’t really see any other way to approach it.

  54. says

    Jennifer, what you need re: crafts is a plastic bucket and a bunch of stuff you don’t mind getting wet. Play a guessing game about whether something will float or not. Race various objects across the water using your breath. Make paper boats and float lego men in them – whatever. When the water is just getting tiresome give them a bit of food colour and get an extra 10 minutes out of the activity. It is my fool-proof go-to Sunday School activity for any lesson about Jesus in a boat.

  55. says

    Just wanted to say that while I love the selection of yummy things at WF, it is ridiculous. Also, ain’t nobody gets between me and my quinoa. How true that is!

  56. says

    No paint. No markers. Seriously. This is the law of the land and none shall cross those most sacred lines!

    Colored pencils and crayons ONLY. Because I am an evil, mean mother who hates creativity and happiness and only cares about the carpet and sanity πŸ˜‰

    Glue sticks are about as dangerous as it gets around here…

    “It’s gettin’ REAL in the Fulwiler kitchen y’all…”

  57. says

    Whew, you have tougher skin than I! I doubt I could handle that kind of an inbox, eek!

    As for summer activities, we also have devolved into spinning and paint here. So my 3 year olds spins in circles until we either yell at him or he hits his head on something and then he begs to paint watercolors. He did a rocking version of the creation story the other day. Apparently light is green and dark is black, so he’s like 50% an artistic genius πŸ™‚

    But you wanna know the best paint? Water on construction paper!! It shows up dark colored marks, then fades so they just keep re-painting. Kept my 8 month old busy for like 8 minutes, which is pretty darn good, then he was happy just chewing on the paintbrush for another 10 minutes at least. Unfortunately my 3 year old spent like 2 minutes on that before he insisted on ‘real paint’ lol!

  58. says

    I hand out crayons, colored pencils, a few sheets of white paper, a few sheets of colored paper, safety scissors, stickers, a few pieces of tape per child, some pipe cleaners and/or bendaroos, plastic stencils, short pieces of string, and other odds and ends. Then I lay out the ground rules about staying at the table and no fighting and let them do whatever they want with the supplies. It keeps them busy for about an hour.

  59. elizabethe says

    There’s probably a very clever comment to be made comparing the “kids with spinning paint craft thing” and the “atheists in comment box” subjects.

    I second others who have said their favorite was the comments trying to prove that you were never a “real” atheist. I love the guy who quoted your old conversion blog to prove that you’ve always had monotheistic tendencies. That was hysterical.

    I think crafts are WAYYYYY overrated. I have two kids, and my friend has two kids (same ages) and sometimes we have a mental moment and say “won’t it be fun if we get together and do some age appropriate seasonal craft activity with the kids!!!!!!!?” and then we gather materials and prep and set it all up and every single time it ends exactly the same way. After about 5 minutes one of the kids has run off, two minutes later another kid has run off and the two other kids are eating the crafting materials or getting it all over themselves, and then me and my friend are sitting at the table alone doing the craft by ourselves while the kids chase each other around the house. it’s NEVER EVER worth it.

    Somehow it doesn’t seem appropriate to treat it as a disciplinary moment. “If you won’t sit quietly and glue together your summer festival landscape out of craft paper shapes, you’re going to have to do a time out!”

  60. says

    I have severely limited internet access at present, so I’m going to have to wait a bit before I can laugh until I cry at the youtube video you posted and the most recent comments on your National Catholic Register article, but I’m looking forward to doing both. God bless!

  61. says

    Hey! Ho!

    I think is actually the first time I have ever commented on your blog! I am not a big commenter and you already get so many comments I am sure I would have nothing to add that others haven’t said. BUT then I was adding my link to your cool linky-thing and it told me to comment. So I obeyed. Hello Jennifer! Love your blog!

    Do you actually read all of these comments!? You don’t have to answer that. (Especially if you don’t, in fact, read all the comments and never see it).

    • says

      Replying quickly to say: Yes, I do read every single comment (even if it sometimes takes a few days), and I’m so sorry I’m not able to respond to most of them! Working on that. πŸ™‚

  62. says

    I am making a mental note to watch the video after the kids go to bed! I think, also, that you are very brave. It would be tough to get all those negative comments but you doing a wonderful job!

  63. Jenee says

    I haven’t read your blog in a while, but it’s one of my favorites…I can’t get over the fact that someone doesn’t like you! I don’t even know you and I’m all “how dare they say bad things about Jen?” πŸ™‚

    I don’t know, but I love your writing and your blog helped me so much throughout my conversion to Catholicism. I think you rock, Jen!

  64. says

    Can’t wait to read the quicktakes! Good luck with homeschooling, just take it easy the first year, that’s what my mom did.

  65. Tara S says

    Oh dear, I just read his “response to the response to the response” (whew!) and some of the comments. One comment was funny:

    “If Catholicism is based on an imaginary deity, and a mythical/fictional holy book, there cannot be any intellectual consistency. Unless one is blinded from reality by delusional thinking.”

    Actually, yes, yes there can! Intellectual consistency does not at all stipulate a basis in reality. Taking another example from Chesterton, a small system that leaves out a lot of information and possibilities can indeed be intellectually consistent – as in the crazy guy down the street who is convinced that the electrical company is spying on him via a huge conspiracy involving all his neighbours and friends. He can come up with a completely rational explanation of everything he believes, an explanation that has no inherent contradiction, and is in fact a very tidy and intellectually consistent view of the situation. The fact that it is completely nuts is beside the point. Catholicism could still be wrong and be quite intellectually consistent. The two questions are not necessarily the same.

    So who is operating outside of reality? Obviously I think I’m right, and he thinks he is. But what makes me a little more inclined to give myself more credit than I give to those who vitriolically and unequivocally assault belief in God as stupid, is that I came to my conclusions perfectly willing to accept that there was no “knowable God”, or that if there was, he may look like anything at all, in the form of any religion or no religion. I am still willing to stipulate that I may be mistaken, no matter how devoutly I believe what I do. But these types, in much the same way as the vitriolic religious types will cling angrily to their view, show a key symptom of lunacy: a lack of ability to accept that they may be wrong. Any group can show it – there are Catholics like that, too, and it makes me very, very skeptical of their *real* personal belief system (as opposed to the beliefs they avow in assuming a particular label, and are supposed to try to live up to).

    Wow that was long. And I have no snappy conclusion! How awful. πŸ™‚

  66. Amity says

    For stuff to do indoors with little kids, I recommend The Common Room blog (one of about five I read regularly, along with yours). I hardly ever use her suggestions, because it takes work to go look up the posts (pathetic, I know), but they sound fun and mostly very easy and always cheap or free.

  67. says

    I’m so glad you have thick skin, Jen. Commenters will say just about anything, won’t they? It’s a good thing you have such Fortitude.

    I can’t believe July is almost gone either!

  68. shwell says

    I agree, don’t do crafts yet or activities, wait till they are bigger……
    some new things to do indoors –
    take the matresses off the beds or out of the cribs and lean them against the hallway/living room/bedroom wall and they can make tunnels all around the house, then you can just lean against one and pretend you are part of the game while they crawl around, when someone gets tired just flop down a mattress and take a nap.
    I also took an old white tablecloth,or use a sheet, laid it on the kitchen floor and let everyone paint (sorry!!) circles on it and put on hand prints, then when it’s dry cut out the centers of some of the circles and hang it from the ceiling, or in a doorway, throw any soft thing, balls, blocks, small stuffed animals through the holes, I think we call it “balls through a hoop” and it has been a favorite for 3 or 4 years now. You can have kids on both sides, higher and lower holes, can get crazy but is a lot of fun. You can sit on the couch and nurse and catch a few items to throw back once in awhile
    Afterwards you can always do a puppet show through the hoops, our boys favorite is the pet skunk who constantly comes and stinks up the show, the other characters hardly have any lines to rehearse and there is no plot at all, huge laughs for everyone
    Bubbles are always an indoor favorite
    Making an trap for Daddy when he gets home
    line up all the chairs and make a bus, bring all the stuffed animals for a ride, take turn being the driver and saying where to go
    Have fun with those kiddos, they grow up way too fast

  69. says

    Make the activities group ones – swim lessons (cheaper to pay for private lessons for 3 of your kids at once than to drag them to group lessons that are not concurrent); martial arts; some art lessons. But really, your kids are all still young. Aside from swimming (an essential skill and good exercise), you can still focus on things like park days and indoor gym days that serve the double purpose of keeping them ALL busy and allowing you to socialize with the other moms. As homeschoolers, we were able to set up all sorts of multi-age classes that served our needs as families – soccer, Irish dance, swim, tennis…people were glad to get our business during school hours and bent over backwards to accommodate us.

    Do not sacrifice family sanity for individual kids’ activities!

  70. says

    I can sympathize about not being good with kids and crafts. Actually, I’m good with crafts – it’s the kids that give me trouble! About ten years ago, for six months, we were taking care of two additional children, in addition to our two (kind of an informal foster care) and had a blast. I don’t know if it’s just that I was younger or what, but we had a great time that six months. This week, I led the knitting club without my husband and thought I would lose my mind – and it was only three fourth-grade girls!! (My hubby is the one who does well with kids – I should be medicated.)

    Don’t worry too much about formal “schooling” while your kids are young. They’ll learn a ton if all you do is read to them, play with them, get them to help around the house, and pray with them. They’ll be teenagers soon enough.

  71. says

    Dearest Jen, you have a healthy respect for the responsibility of teaching your children at home instead of having someone else do it for you. There isn’t an ounce of failure potential in that recipe. I’ve never even met you and I’m SO proud of you. Go mom!

  72. giarose says

    I’m still laughing thinking of that video!

    I sympathize with the screaming and hitting kids. I’m not sure if it is the heat or the newborn that is fueling the rage, but we’re in the same boat. We did crafts today too. Buy the kids one of those stained-glass coloring books (not necessarily of stained-glass, but images on see-through paper). The boys spent a good hour or so coloring and then covering up any available window space not already covered from another stained-glass window craft we did last summer…

    another non-spinning paint idea: beeswax or wikki stix. so fun (and easy!) to do in this heat. wikki stix package says: Thousands of Ways to Play! Tap into the kids competitive spirit and challenge them to see how many ways they can come up with.

    have fun!!

  73. Nina says

    Oh, Jen, I just love you so much. I’m so glad that I subscribe to you so that I get these reminders to read something other than stressful email correspondences and stay in touch with the Catholic world. This was a great 7 Takes for a Postpartum mommmy. I am in awe of you.

  74. says

    Homeschooling with an infant focuses on life skills – making drinks, snacks, peeling vegetables, learning how to do laundry, checking cupboards for inventory, writing shopping lists and notes, helping with the baby….

    Plus lots of reading good books together, making up stories whilst Mommy nurses and naps. Reading Rainbow, the matching books from the library and activities were an absolute wonderful gentle curriculum that even now my almost adult kids remember πŸ™‚

    If you can get grocery delivery that’s even better!

  75. says

    “For those who believe no proof is necessary, for those who don’t believe no proof is possible.” Stuart Chase. So where does that leave us, as Christians who want to share God’s love? Jesus said to pray for those who persecute us. As a high school religion teacher I have encountered students who do not believe. I want so desperately for them to “get it,” to at least be open to the mystery of an omnipotent God who loves them so much He would die for them. Sometimes the only thing that reaches people in these situations is to show them this kind of love. It often hurts, it’s humbling, but when we show unconditional love, especially in the face of ridicule, the darkness is revealed for what it is. This itself can be very convicting (and painful! πŸ˜‰ Pope John Paul II said that “faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of the truth.” Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit. We must pray for people who have not received or haven’t been open the the gift of faith, and in the meantime we must ask God for the strength to withstand the ridicule of non-believers, with His grace (the best witness.) I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, Jennifer, I’m just remembering how exasperating and hurtful it can be to be attacked for your faith. But as someone once said to me, when you suffer in this upside-down world we live in, “You are storing up treasures in heaven.” Keep up the good work. Our brothers and sisters are worth it and you can never out-give God. I promise to pray a rosary in confidence that God will do this work…

  76. says

    First of all, love the video! We need to watch it every time we need a pick me up.

    Second, let me just say THANK YOU for your witness and sharing your story of your conversion with readers! I know you take a huge risk every time you do this as you are well aware of the criticism you might receive from “those other readers.” Honestly, I don’t know how you do it. God obviously gives you this grace to respond with humor though I know it must hurt you deeply.

    Praying for you as you continue your journey!

  77. Chantal Chauvet says

    Hmmm, I wonder why Myers keeps continuing to read your posts. Keep it up! With a few more prayers he might switch to the other side.

    • says

      haha good point. Let’s all start a prayer campaign. Then he’ll eat his words about him leading a fan club πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  78. Billiamo says

    The tone of the spurned lover: “You were NEVER a real atheist — never, never!”

  79. says

    Jen, this will be the easiest year to take the kids to the activities with the baby. Next year it will be harder because the baby will be a toddler! Also – learn from my mistakes! ; ) Limit the number of activities and try to find more things that all the kids or even the family can do. Keep the HOME in Homeschooling and you’ll all feel better! God Bless you – you certainly are taking some hits for the kingdom this month!

  80. says

    This is totally unrelated to any quick takes, but you should keep your eyes out for this great picture book on the lives of Sts. Benedict & Scholastica called The Holy Twins. It was written by Kathleen Norris and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. I bet your little Pamela will appreciate it when she’s older.

  81. TXMom2B says

    Is it common for atheists to be so vicious and vulgar? I’m being serious. I just don’t read atheist posts and I clicked on the one you posted before I saw your warning. The lack of human decency was horrifying, and it’s not like I lead a cloistered life. When you were an atheist, did you write like that? Is that aggressiveness their cultural norm? I hope he is the exception, but I stumbled across something equally vulgar and mean several years ago.

  82. says

    Oh, atheists run the same gamut as Christians. PZ Myers and his crew are just the atheist version of the Westboro Baptists. They have no manners, and think that it proves how rational they are.

  83. says

    Hi, Jennifer, I just wanted to write you a quick note and say “hello.” I found your blog a long time ago, and was a regular reader once upon a time, but then went through a busy time in my life, and lost track of a lot of the people I used to follow. I re-visited your blog for the first time a few days ago and spent hours reading through your archives, all the way back to the place where I stopped a few years ago. I’m so glad I did, it reminded me of how much I loved reading in the first place. I’ve linked to a few of your articles since then, and I’m looking forward to keeping up with you in the future! Blessings to you and your family.

    Rina

  84. says

    Oh Jen, 1) You are hilarious. 2) We love you. 3) You are on the right track so know that these pain-in-the-butt responses you get and harsh words are obvious indicators that you are both reaching people and making them think. You are going to always ruffle people’s feathers putting the faith out there — but for every email you got, you make a hundred people think about the truth in your words.

    God bless you! Thank you for bringing people to the Church and letting God move in you in such beautiful ways. We are praying for you. Twice you have popped into my head incredibly randomly at mass just before communion and I offered it for you — so know, the Holy Spirit is guiding your efforts. <3

    And at least when dreaded Fall comes, you can step outside again, right? Our temperatures are similar to yours here in North FL. Our humidity is killing me.

  85. celineanavocci says

    hahahahah you’re funny! I am out of words! LoL at the video too… πŸ˜‰ great post!

  86. says

    I know I’m late to the party (I usually am) but just gotta tell you that I love your posts, and I hope you don’t let the naysayers get you down. You always strike me as sincere and REAL, which I would prefer any day to reading about how you take all your young kids to daily mass, followed by a half-hour of adoration, then after breakfast you do a saint craft with your littles, followed by saint story time, lunch, nap, family chaplet of divine mercy…etc. Just be faithful to prayer and listen to who God says you are. Remember you are only ever called to be your authentic self.

  87. Denise says

    Re: #1, and probably echoing other commenters: Don’t sweat it. You are going to do just fine. If nursing is going well you can homeschool during that time; during nap times; if some of the younger ones no longer nap, enforce a “quiet time” in the morning/afternoon (during baby’s nap times, perhaps) for all the other children while you homeschool your oldest. (The last could make him feel special and make the others want to start schooling!) Other moms have written tons in blogs about how to involve the preschool/toddler crowd in schooling, but I admit I’ve had only epic fails there. πŸ™‚ So my method was more to school when they are not about. And really, first grade still doesn’t require that much more one-on-one time than K.

    Based on what I’ve seen other moms do/say, just start with what you consider bare bones (like the 3Rs), and add in what you can, if you can. Your child will not end up “behind” if he doesn’t get a lot of science/history/foreign language in the first grade. Plus there are a ton of great picture books that you can read to all of them that will cover an amazing amount of ground. Check out Maureen Wittmann’s “For the Love of Literature” if you haven’t already.

    Your line, “I NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE AND I LIKE IT THAT WAY,” really made me LOL! That’s me! From one introvert to another, don’t pressure yourself too much. I learned all-too-slowly that God made me the way I am and I do not need to feel a lot of pressure to change it. Yes, I force myself to do certain activities to provide enriching activities with my kids, but there is this insidious pressure – in homeschooling as much as anywhere else – that we “owe” our children exposure to a million different things. The reality is that we don’t; we owe them love and loving experiences of God. If a mom/dad loves to be out and about and take their kids everywhere, then wonderful! If you like to be at home and your kids have a load of free exploratory time, then wonderful! You don’t need to make yourself miserable as an introvert to be a good homeschool mom: I think your kids would rather be ANYWHERE with you when you are content, rather than at the most amazing event in the world when you are stressed and snappy.

    OK, enough cheerleading! πŸ˜€ Besides, Simcha Fisher has said pretty much all the above and much more eloquently!