7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 190)

— 1 —

Thank you for all the awesome comments to my anniversary/pregnancy post earlier this week! Here are the details:

  • I’m a little over 12 weeks.
  • I’m due in mid-April.
  • I’m willing to admit that, after one boy and then four girls in a row, I would be just fine if this baby were a boy.
  • I don’t think my older kids really believe that it’s possible that we could have a boy. Their impression is that every couple of years we go down to the hospital and they give us a baby girl. I think they suspect that Joe and I are just naive, and haven’t figured out that the hospital has put us on the “all girl” plan.

— 2 —

Huge, huge pregnancy-related news: I tried an experiment to manage morning sickness this time around…and it worked! With my previous five pregnancies I would be so sick during the first trimester that I could barely function (I once wrote about it here for those who missed the fun). Based on my other diet changes that led to big results, on a hunch I came up with a plan for keeping morning sickness under control. The results were stunning. I had a few days of bad nausea, but I could count them on one hand, and they were all the result of veering from the plan. I was still tired and didn’t feel perfect, but it was a huge improvement from any of the other times. During my five previous pregnancies, on an average day I would rate the way I felt as a 3 on a scale of one to 10. This time the average day was more like a 7, sometimes even an 8 or 9. I wrote up what I did here.

— 3 —

I was looking for some kids’ math fact songs to help my kids learn multiplication tables, and in a you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up moment, I found this:

I didn’t listen to any of these gems, but it certainly engages the imagination to contemplate what they mean by “in the style of.” I assure you that it is only out of heroic levels of self control that I am leaving this at one take and not making it into a a series of posts so detailed and long that it redefines the theme of my entire blog. When I first encountered it, I stared at this list of songs in awe for the longest time, occasionally snickering as I imagined what its lessons might contain:

If five haterz step to Ludacris in the club, and he has to stab each of them two times in order to get them to get them to show respect, how many total times will Luda have used his knife at the club?

— 4 —

Our science lesson got kind of out of hand this week. The book, which is evidently targeted at children with different temperaments than mine, suggested a game in which kids imitate molecules’ behavior in the various the states of matter by their interactions: for gas, they would drift around the house, ignoring one another; for liquid, they would hold hands loosely; for solid, they’d come together in a tight bear hug. Solids are where it broke down. My son would inevitably hug his super-sensitive sister too hard, or decide that putting her in a headlock would be the best way to convey the nature of solid-state matter, and the result was a lot of pushing and shrieking. I would tell them to cut it out to no avail, but when I shouted that it was time to be a gas, they instantly separated and began spinning independently throughout the house. (Playing pretend is always more fun than listening to mommy.)

Unfortunately a particularly bad episode erupted just as I was signing something for a UPS man who had come to the door, and I had to interrupt him to yell over my shoulder, “Be a gas! BE A GAS!!!!!!”

(I suppose it could have been worse. This could have all happened with a background of thundering bass beats with Chamillionaire shouting, “Six times eight is forty-eight, $*%&@!”)

— 5 —

So I went to my hematologist the other day. I hadn’t seen him since the last pregnancy, and when he asked what was new I said that I just finished filming a pilot for a reality show. I was expecting some kind of “WHAT did you say?!”, guffawing reaction, but instead he smiled and said that was nice. As it turns out, he knows the Jones family who have the Quints by Surprise show on TLC, and they even filmed an episode or two at his house. He’s plenty familiar with the situation, and seemed to be under the vague impression that a measurable percentage of the population now has their own reality shows. We had a long chat about the reality genre, the pros and cons of doing a show, and he even shared some interesting behind-the-scenes stories about how this family has made it work to have camera crews in and out of their house all the time. And my takeaway was…


— 6 —

I was so concerned about this fact that I looked it up on my smartphone before I was even out of the building, and confirmed that yes, it is possible to conceive five children without the aid of special medicine or technology. And I know that we’re not supposed to do this — I know that we’re supposed to be humble servants who seek to glorify God by being open to his holy will, even when it is notΒ our will — but as I walked out of the office I turned my eyes heavenward and said, “Don’t even think about it.”

— 7 —

Well, this is a weird juxtaposition, but since I’m too lazy to rearrange all my other takes so that this won’t be back-to-back with #6, here’s a super inspiring comment that BenderΒ left to my post about what makes a good life:

Life is hard when all of your time is filled with doing things for and with other people.

Life is harder still when all of your time is empty and alone, and you struggle to find something to do to fill that abyss in your life. To have what some might think is the ultimate freedom, the radical autonomy to be without any duty or obligation to others, is actually a taste of Hell.

To be with others who have need of you, need of your love, need of your self-giving, is the more authentic freedom, paradoxical as it may seem, because it is more true to our nature as human persons — we are made to love and be loved in truth, and it is in such truth that we are set free. We are free to be who we are made to be, social creatures made for fruitful loving communion with others in one being.

The further paradox, though, is that to fully love the other, to better love our spouse or our children, we must in a sense, put them second, not first. That is, we must love God first, before we love them. But in so doing, we do not love our family members less, but more. In loving God before we love them, God takes our love, multiplies it by His own, and gives it to the other in an even greater and fuller measure than we could on our own. In love, God is not a competitor, He is a multiplier.



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  1. says

    Congrats on your pregnancy!

    Your morning sickness experiment sounds like what I’ve just tried for everyday living for the last couple of months, except I still eat grains. It’s worked wonders for my mood and energy levels!

  2. says

    So happy for your family! So happy you cured your morning sickness. Our last pregnancy brought with it the crushing sickness for 7 months! At one point the only thing I could eat was tabbouleh. I love tabbouleh, but 4 straight weeks of it was a bit much!

  3. says

    Congrats on the pregnancy. We are about the same in gestation πŸ™‚ I’m ten weeks. Number 6. And was posting on FB last night about all the glorious, nasty comments I’ve been getting. I was close to tears last night. Either that or taking to cursing…I just left. Anyhoo…love your blog! Been reading it for years, just never leave comments. God Bless you!

    • says

      People have been giving you nasty comments?? I’m so sorry! We are on #2 and hope that someday we are blessed with 6 πŸ™‚ Congrats to you! Anyone who doesn’t appreciate what you have done is just jealous of your self-giving attitude and copious amounts of love πŸ™‚

  4. says

    As for the morning sickness, I upped the protein, and cut out the sugar. We use our own grains and mill them. Our son has autism and cannot do processed foods so we don’t have them around much. I’ve been better. Although I am a bit worried because I’ve been feeling great this week…a bit early for feeling good. God is in control though (we’ve had a miscarriage before our fifth so I get anxious about that).

  5. says

    Congrats on the new baby, and your anniversary! Maybe you can package this anti-morning sickness thing into a guide? I bet that’d be popular πŸ™‚

    Also, the Jones’ didn’t actually conceive their quints naturally; they used a sperm donor and IUI. So, while you can conceive quints naturally, it’s unlikely and will perhaps feel more unlikely now that you know you don’t know anyone who knows someone who did…if that sentence even made sense. Ha.

  6. says

    Nice, Bender. I love it.

    Also, I am excited to read your morning sickness regimen. I don’t get it nearly as bad as you, but nobody likes that special gift we get for bearing children into the world.

    Still so happy for you πŸ™‚

  7. says

    So excited for your pregnancy! And is it weird to say that I’m excited that people getting pregnant now because they have their babies close to our wedding and it makes it seem like it isn’t really that far away πŸ™‚ Okay, that’s probably weird. Oh well.

  8. Anne says

    Congratulations on your pregnancy and your new diet! It sounds like you followed a modified paleo diet…some people call it primal when you keep dairy in, while paleo is soy free, dairy free, sugar free and gluten free. I did that diet for about 10 months and I am sure it’s what cured my infertility (baby due November 2nd!). Oh and I lost about 80 pounds too. πŸ™‚ Good for you!!!

  9. TheresaEH says

    Good luck with the morning sickness,,,,I shall pray for you eh!!
    Funny you should mention Quints…I am reading books about the the Dionne Quintuplets born in Canada in 1934. The government seized control of them these helpless girls and allowed them to be raised in a sterile environment and invited the public to view them like monkeys in a zoo. I guess not much has changed in the 70 plus years since the Dionnes Quints were born as we now gawk at others on prime time TV and congratulate ourselves on how “civilized” we are.!

  10. Steph says

    We must be pretty similar in terms of our…how should I say it…history with rap music.

    I am still chuckling to myself about that list.

    Here’s my guess at what the actual songs sound like (but I think I will have to go there now and listen to all of them)
    Chamillion: “They see me rollin’, they hatin’, 5 times 4 equals twenty.”
    Luda: “Get back! 4 x 4 equals 16. You don’t know me like that.”
    50 Cent: “Go shorty, it’s your birthday, we gonna multiply like it’s your birthday, calculate 7 times 6, like it’s your birthday…”

  11. says

    a couple of things …

    1. I would’ve appreciated if you would’ve planned your pregnancy to align with mine because I could’ve used that genius cure a few months ago … next time.

    2. I believe it’s “spontaneous” quintuplets … just a little fyi.

    wink wink.

  12. Amelia says

    Chiming in on morning sickness:

    I eat pretty similarly to how you do now. It’s only slightly less strict, though I have Celiac disease so it’s still incredibly strict against most grains. This is my first pregnancy so I don’t have a comparison, but I experienced barely-noticeable queasiness for 2-3 weeks, followed by exactly one week of actually feeling unpleasant and nauseated (nowhere near vomiting), followed by no more morning sickness whatsoever.

    Interestingly, I also have no cravings, which might indicate that my diet is so well-nourishing that even in pregnancy I have no lack of nutrients. I also have a wickedly impressive hemoglobin level and, while I’ve gained over twenty pounds thus far, I have gained nowhere except my huge baby bump.

    I attribute all of this, insofar as I can influence it, on eating well. No pre-packaged foods, almost no sugar, and pretty much no grains or pseudograins except rice (and that only a few times per week).

    Eating well is 100% worth it! I’m so glad I figured this out before I have little kids with impressionable palates around.

  13. says

    Hahaha, when I showed my husband the bit about multiplication tables in the style of rap artists, he asked how we could buy these songs for our five month old daughter. Can you tell we’re first time parents from Atlanta, hip-hop central? πŸ™‚

  14. says

    The comment by Bender was the best thing hands down that I have read this week. Thank you for reposting it in your quick takes, I didn’t see it in the original post. Bender – thank you for your inspiring words.

    The 2nd best thing I read this week is news of your pregnancy Jen – congratulations and God Bless you and your dear little one! Also, congratulations on your anniversary. I know I don’t comment as much, but I count you as one of my favorite bloggers and I wish all the best for you. God Bless your beautiful family! St. Faustina, pray for us!

  15. says

    Ah!!! So happy for you! And you crack me up every time. I had no idea you could have natural quints. Insane. Looking forward to seeing your morning sickness solution!

  16. says

    I am so willing to try anything to make math interesting in this house (i.e. teach itself) I would download the whole Luda math curricula if it would do the trick.
    “When I multiply you multiply, just like that….”

  17. says

    #5 – Oh my gosh! I’ve been meaning to look up how many children you can naturally conceive at once, but I haven’t gotten around to it . . . I definitely thought three was the answer, now I’m curious.

  18. says

    Congrats on the new little one, how awesome! I still have a hard time believing that natural quints are possible…the statistic has to be like one in a billion when both the stars and planets are aligned!

    And hey, maybe I actually would have learned to like math if I had that in the classroom…

  19. says

    #3 had me laughing out loud!
    #5 did also, until I realized what exactly that was implying. Then I stopped mid-chuckle and had a mini panic attack.

    How HOW did you not listen to those math songs? Not even a little teeny tiny peep? I would be very very happy to listen to them for you and give you the run down πŸ™‚ Gonna go google that !@#*% now (just warming up my ears πŸ™‚ )

  20. says

    greetings from a first-time quick taker! love reading yours, love your blog, and love your story slash stories! i look forward to many more moons of reading! πŸ™‚

  21. says

    Congrats on #6! My kids are all the same ages as yours–except for your 15 month old. Other than that, we are perfectly in sync. Makes me wonder if I should take a pregnancy test…

    And, the gas story was hilarious. I’ll have to remember that one.

  22. Mrs. K says

    Just looked at your morning sickness diet link. So so wish I could have read that a few months ago now that I’m in 2nd trimester. Could you please post the recipe or a link to your palak paneer recipe? Want to keep it on file for next time… Thanks!

  23. says

    OH! I could hug you for posting about how you “cured” your morning sickness! I was so horribly sick with my first two that I basically did NOTHING for 9 months straight. No. 3 was far, far better but it is always nice to hear about ideas that could help for the future. I never want to be so laid up and miserable again if I can help it!

  24. says

    Wow… that Bender quote nearly made me cry. Because I know that taste of hell.

    The worst part about it, is there is no support or assistance for that level of hell. There are mommy and me groups, there are widow/widower support groups, senior citizen groups — and the best they have for single people are dating sites!! (it’s own level of hell, believe me!!)

    If people only saw the need to reach out to those without vocations…. what a wonderful world this would be.

  25. says

    Congratulations! I too was a girl-factory! Seven children, five girls. Just keep going,the oods will eventually do what they do. Eventually. I love all my girls, though.
    We lived in the days of Hooked on Phonics. Can’t say I’m sorry…

  26. Martha says

    My mom grew up with a set of quintuplets, and it was the 40’s when they were conceived, so yeah. If you really want to freak check out St. Liberata. One of a set of octuplets, so they say!

  27. says

    Many congratulations on number 6!! I had my first right around the time you had your last one, and as I’m waiting around to get pregnant again over here, I’m all nerves and hope and excitement except the nausea took me out like a train last time around. The specter of another four months of the flu…I cry just thinking about it.

    Long way of saying: you’ve given me some hope! Many thanks!!

  28. says

    I found those gems earlier in the summer, and I actually did listen to the samples because I could not resist! I suggest Reggae Math – my 9 year old doesn’t love it, but the other kids like it. Except “tree times tree is nine” upsets everyone.

    Don’t hesitate to ask us to pray for you. We will be doing it anyway.