7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 93)

August 20, 2010 | 33 comments

— 1 —

BE PREPARED FOR THE AWESOMENESS. I’m working with Kickstart Media to do an unbelievably cool blog upgrade that includes a breathtaking new design and a looooong-awaited switch to Word Press. I guess it’s possible that nobody cares even slightly as much as I do about all of this, so perhaps I should say, BE PREPARED FOR ME TO TALK ABOUT THE AWESOMENESS. Assuming nothing goes horribly awry (and, really, what could possibly go wrong with migrating a blog with a custom domain, 1, 000 posts and 23, 000 comments to a different platform on a new server?) it will be up sometime next week.

— 2 —

A big thanks to my friend Hallie for hosting 7 Quick Takes last week. I was in Raleigh for a family emergency, so it was nice to know you all were in good hands. Because of all the travel I was offline pretty much the whole week. Did I miss anything?

— 3 —

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like to fly. In particular, I am not a fan of turbulence. As my plane was bounced around on its descent to Raleigh last week, it occurred to me that I have a new item for my Lost Bet Ideas list. (Do other people do this? Keep lists with their spouses enumerating the most torturous things they could sign up to do if they ever lost a bet? No? Anyway…) If I am ever ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that I am right on some issue and want to throw down with a bet-to-end-all-bets, I will dramatically announce that, on the minuscule chance that I should be incorrect, I will go on a flight on a Hurricane Hunter, one of the planes that flies into the center of hurricanes. I’m not sure if there is any activity with a higher “Not For Me” factor in all the universe.

— 4 —

So people fly into hurricanes? Seriously? I’m not done with this subject.

I came across an article where a journalist when out in one of these planes that flew intto the eye of Hurricane Gustav. For a while my career plan was to be a journalist, so my mind immediately flashed to an image of me working at a newspaper in Florida, and my boss coming in and giving me my assignments: “Interview the new police chief, go to the City Hall meeting, and, oh yeah, fly into the center of a Category 4 hurricane.”

Actually, that would never happen, because the resulting article would read like:

Orlando, Fla. — Journalist Jennifer Fulwiler went out on the Hurricane Hunter this weekend to get an insider look at the practice of gathering data about hurricanes via airplane. She reports, “AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! SOMEBODY KILL ME!!!!! I JUST CHUGGED MY SECOND FLASK AND THIS STILL SUCKS!!! I JUST THREW UP ON THE PILOT!!!! AAHHHHH!”

— 5 —

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be flying out to Renewal Ministries‘ studios in September to be on their show The Choices We Face with Ralph Martin and Peter Herbeck. I’ve been a fan of that show for a long time, and love the work that Martin and Herbeck are doing, so I’m honored to be a guest. Air travel aside, I’m really looking forward to it. It won’t air for a few months, but I’ll update whenever it’s going to be broadcast.

— 6 —

This is so lame, but the upcoming show taping has caused a sort of Clash of the Titans over here as Vanity and Sloth battle it out in my head. On the one hand, I’d like to lose a few pounds if I’m going to be on international television. (And no, this ain’t the Saint Diet. This is the Me Wanting to Lose Weight so that I Can Wear Cute Clothes on TV Diet.) On the other hand, I keep backsliding and re-gaining any weight I lose. I’d love to say that it’s because I’m at a level of spiritual maturity where I am fully detached from concerns about my physical appearance, but it’s more that I don’t like to move and I do like to consume large plates of food.

This situation has been a good opportunity, however, to work on the sin of pride, specifically as I recall the proclamations I used to make when I was about 22 that neither age nor childbearing has any impact on a woman’s ability to lose weight. I wish I could go back in time and slap my 22-year-old self upside the head with my scale.

— 7 —

This is “back to school” weekend for us, though it’s a little complicated since we haven’t nailed down exactly what “school” is going to look like this year. At least no one can accuse us of rushing into things.

I’ve come to realize that it might take us a couple years to find the right educational model for our family. We seem to be misfits of sorts: we can’t afford private/parochial school, public school isn’t a good fit for us, but the classic homeschooling model isn’t quite what we’re looking for either (though it’s probably closest). Lisa of Cheerfully Chaotic has started a homeschooling discernment series where parents who are/were similarly on the fence will share their experiences. I’ll be reading with interest (and may beg her to let me do a guest post so that I can collect all my scattered thoughts on the subject).

Have a nice weekend, everyone!

I look forward to reading your posts!

[linky list temporarily down due to technical problems]


  1. Kristen @ St Monica's Bridge

    A word on school choice: are charter schools an option or is there one nearby that might fit your needs? A girlfriend has her son part-time homeschooling and part-time in a charter school and loves it.

    Raleigh, where I grew up. Not too sad I left it, actually, it's much nicer just to visit now. I'm sory you had to visit under such stressful circumstances.

  2. Eva

    Oh no- I'm sure that the whole new look will be fabulous, but I'm not that great with change. I'm still having trouble getting used to the fact that you re not called Et tu anymore :).

  3. George @ Convert Journal

    Your new blog design sounds exciting and Kickstart Media looks very talented.

    Still… I will miss the current one. You don't speak much about being a techie, but I know you put a lot of work into it. Also, your blog was a big inspiration for me to jump into this too.

    I'm looking forward to your comments on the switch.

  4. drustee

    Had a good laugh about #6 – I'm just gently trying to lose some of the weight I gained with my third baby (4 months old now), and I'm really thinking it was easier with the first two.

    Thanks for your blog Jennifer, and all the work you obviously put into it. Fingers crossed for a smooth changeover.

  5. Kim

    Jen, I am so with you on the sloth/pride dichotomy regarding depriving myself of large plates of food. I've been deep into a slothful "it's vain to care about how I look" phase now for a couple of years and, uh, I'm definitely overdue for a resurgence of pride, for sure!

    And…oh no, I'm going to miss this blog design! It's been my favorite for a long time! I'm with Eva on still missing "Et tu."

    God bless you!

  6. Ann

    Homeschooling was the most fun thing we did! I hope you enjoy it immensely.

  7. Mary @ A Twist of Faith

    I am right with you on #7. Part of me still wishes we could afford our oldest to our parochial school, however since I became a full-time Mom this spring financially that is not an option. This fall starts our journey into home school.

  8. SursumCorda

    "the classic homeschooling model isn't quite what we're looking for"

    Model? Model? We don't need no stinkin' model!

    I don't see what can be called "classic," anyway, given that when we homeschooled a mere 20 years ago there was no "model" and precious few examples; we made it up as we went along, and found it as exciting as flying into a hurricane. Oh, wait, bad analogy….

    If you think there's just one right way to homeschool, you have some serious reading to do. Everyone I know who homeschools does it differently. That's the point, actually. πŸ™‚

  9. Camille

    Jennifer! I certainly hope you get a chance to write a homeschooling guest post at the blog you posted – I would love to see your thoughts on it. We (luckily) have one more year before kindergarten and I am trying to collect all the info I can.

    Also – I would love to hear your thoughts on the Fr. Corapi talk you went to. My husband and I are going to the one in NJ soon and I am so looking forward to it!

  10. Martha

    Jennifer –
    FWIW, we tried homeschooling (FAIL), then tried a part-time homeschooling/school hybrid (which worked well for 2 years, then was a disaster I attempted to make work for 2 year.) And then we went to our parish, which made us a financial aid offer we could not refuse. I am shocked that apparently God had a plan for it and had things under control. πŸ™‚ hope that gives you some hope.

  11. Anonymous

    I homeschooled last year, but this year we're doing public school with "extras" from Mommy afterwards as time and energy permit (Shakespeare, French, nature study, etc.) So far, this is working out splendidly.

    I really think what it comes down to is being involved in your children's education and in their life, no matter what setting or combination of settings. There's no magic bullet.

    This past year has taught me not to be afraid of homeschooling or public schooling. The first day I homeschooled, I fully expected a S.W.A.T. team to land on my roof and take my children away. LOL I soon learned I had nothing to fear from my neighbors, and I became confident in my ability to teach.

    This year, the first day of public school, I was afraid my daughter would come home swearing and wearing mini skirts at the age of 7. Instead, she came home smiling to tell me how she said a prayer at lunch.

    So from now on, we will make the decision for public or homeschooling on a year-to-year basis based on prayer, our child's needs, and the family's needs.

    May I suggest reading the book Going Public by David Pritchard and Kelli Pritchard if you haven't already? It's excellent reading for parents in general (not just school stuff).

    Take care!

    – Z.

  12. Marian

    About schooling options:
    What is the right and possible choice for each school-aged child and your family THIS YEAR?

    That is all that you need to prayerfully , thoughtfully determine . Maybe that'll turn out to be what's best for your family for the long term. Likely not : ). Kids, with their differing styles and changing/unknown needs… our families in their different seasons… God with his various plans for us (that sometimes only He knows and is proved right in the end) in different seasons… you can't see those right now.

    As much as we like to choose THE BEST thing in our minds and then confidently move into THE PLAN for the long haul… well, many thousands of sensitive parents can testify that God doesn't give a whit about our wisdom and our plans!

    I think I've mentioned here before that the best advice I've ever heard on schooling options was from a panel of parents who amongst themselves had tons of experience with all options (some of them with very strong preferences for one or the other). All agreed: It's a new and prayerful decision for each child each year. Maybe it will stay the same. Maybe not.

    So, like the rest of life, take the next step for right now, and that's all. It's freeing and frustrating all at the same time ; )

  13. Young Mom

    Thanks for #7, we are asking alot of questions about how we want to school our children.

  14. Liesl

    I'm trying to watch my weight too. I'm only 23 and it still seems impossible. Or maybe I just like chocolate a little too much!

  15. Tomasino

    Jennifer, I'm so excited for your move to WordPress! (See, there are a couple other nerds out there.) When you get everything set up just like you like it, please remember to double check that your RSS/ATOM feeds are still spitting out full-text. Don't worry, I'll still click over to your site to see your awesome new design, but for daily reading, it's a big pet peeve when I have to click out of Google Reader to finish an article. I'm sure you know what I mean.

    God bless!

  16. TwoSquareMeals

    I'm excited about the homeschooling discernment series! I SO need that. We are supposed to be homeschooling my six-year-old, but we have done nothing for the past year. Trying to get ready to move overseas may have something to do with that…but eventually I do actually need to settle on something and try it!

  17. Barbara C.

    There's no such thing as the "classic homeschooling model". EVERY family does it different from highly structured learning to absolutely no structured learning and everything in between. That's what makes homeschooling great…it adapts to the needs of your family.

    In my house a kindergartner only does about 30 minutes of formal work a minimum of three days a week (math and reading). First through fourth graders do no more than an hour of formal work each day (math, vocabulary/spelling, logic, history, faith. Then they get lots of free time to play and explore and watch television (PBS and Netflix).

    Just KISS until you find your rhythm, and then be prepared for that rhythm to change …frequently.

  18. Anne Marie

    Michigan is pretty in September, warm days and cool nights, not to much color yet, but I hope it's nice when you are here. If you are going to be doing an overnight and need a place to stay we are just outside of Ann Arbor and have a big ol' house with a private guest suite. Just sayin.

  19. Roxane B. Salonen

    Jennifer, it was so fun to catch up. I took a blogging break this summer, which included reading. I'm going to try to get back at it now. So, I feel like I missed a bit but I was heartened to hear of your joys and sorrows. I'm struggling with the weight thing too. Wish we were closer so we could lend one another some support. I think it takes a team effort sometimes. I am really curious about your move to Word Press. I keep trying to find out what it is about Word Press that is causing so many people to make the switch. Our newspaper blog just switched over and, because I used to post there first then cut and past to Blogger, I lost hundreds of photos that I will have to go back and re-post. I am sick about this, so am no longer a fan of switch-overs. Life was better when my photos were all on my blog. I want to make books of my blogs someday for my kids to enjoy, but it's going to take me a year to get all the photos back on. Alright, I'm venting now, but since you're a tech-oriented gal, I thought you might be receptive. Don't worry – this will not happen to you. I understand now why it did. Just wish I'd had some warning. Sigh. Have a great summer, and kudos on the upcoming gig, which will require flight. I used to like flying until I had kids. Now I still like it but I am always a little sick at take-off, thinking of my demise and how will my children live without met, etc. πŸ™‚ That's where faith really becomes important, right?

    Hugs to you in Texas. My husband will be down there for work in September. It's his turn for catfish. I'll be in Pennsylvania in October. You're not planning to be there, too, are you? πŸ™‚ I hope we can meet again someday…somewhere.

  20. Tres Angelas

    We didn't make the switch to Catholic schools until my oldest daughter was nine. To the best of my recollection, the only thing she learned in public school was that Santa Claus wasn't real.

    This year she's beginning her freshman year at Paul VI High School. It's a killer financially (seriously), but in our area the other options aren't options.

  21. Dawn Farias

    From #1: "I guess it's possible that nobody cares even slightly as much as I do about all of this"

    You know I do!! Can't wait to see the new site.

  22. Dawn Farias

    And here's a list of plug-ins you might like once you're all set up. Unless that is part of your package deal with the new design. I can't wait! Yay! I love Blogger, but I love WordPress in other ways.

    You're going to love the SEO options and replying to comments from the dashboard and Akismet for blocking spam and….

    Looking forward to any posting you do about the switch.

  23. Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    Nooooo! Don't leave blogger. It won't be nearly as easy for me to check my little dashboard and see when you've updated!

  24. Anonymous

    Finding "the right educational model for your family" sounds so rational and tidy. But it won't work out quite that neatly. What is right for one school year may not be right for the next school year. Loosen up and allow yourself to re-evaluate periodically. Otherwise you will go insane Bwa ha ahahahahahahahahahahahahaa … oh, sorry … see what can happen?

  25. Kasclar

    #6 was so funny!! Thanks for the laugh. Losing weight is hard, and seeing that you just had a family emergency, stress doesn't help. But it can be done. I'm mid-30s, have lost three pregnancies in the last 2 and a half years, and just recently have maanged to lose 13 pounds (as of today). I still have around 8-10 to go to reach my goal weight, but I have much more confidence now. All I'm doing is counting calories will the help of an iPod/iPhone app. It is actually fairly similar to Weight Watchers, you're just using actual calories instead of points, but the concept is the same. Anyway, good luck with the move to a new blog, your schooling decisions, and the guest TV show appearance!!

  26. ekbell

    When I decided to homeschool it was mostly due to the fact that I couldn't see sending my children into the local school system (all public schools were to teach the same subjects, at the same time of year using the same textbooks-there seemed no allowance the normal adjustments needed between a particular teacher and a particular class and I'd heard through the grape vine that a lot of teachers were burning out)

    I'm not a well organized homemaker type. House keeping and getting children to do chores are not my strong points.

    However to my surprise, teaching my children has been the highlight of my mothering career. It's been the one area where I've managed to be reasonably if not excessively structured and organized. [It's also a great way of ensuring that I actually spend quality time with my middle children.]

    So even after we moved to a different location we continued homeschooling.

    Now my main reason for homeschooling is that it means daddy can work the afternoon/evening shift which starts at 3:30pm and still see his children during the week. πŸ™‚

  27. fieryhalo

    Have I told you yet how incredibly thrilled I am that you're homeschooling? That takes some serious, proactive mom-power and it will bless your kids. πŸ™‚

  28. Elizabeth Mahlou

    I think you are experiencing the traditional +10 pounds a decade phenomenon that no one told us about when we were 22!

  29. Sally Thomas

    I was shocked — shocked! — at 43 or so to discover that no, I can't just skip breakfast and go for a walk and lose five pounds any more. I always swore up and down that I would never go on any gimmicky diet — (hello, this is your pride calling) — but when my husband, out of the blue, decided that he wanted to try the low-carb thing, I started with him.

    He has lost about 25 pounds. I am a stronger proponent than ever of the view that men lose weight, while women think about it (actually, I've lost about 10 pounds, which I'm happy about, and though I'm now kind of plateaued, that initial ten came off fast). Seriously, good luck with the weight, and the deadly sins, both of which I know all too well.

    And I agree that there's no "classic homeschooling model." I'd say that nobody hands you a denim jumper the first day, except . . . that I'm . . . actually . . . wearing one . . . right now.

    But other than that, really . . . We've gone through three models that I can think of in the last seven years, from total unschooling to something at least mildly antithetical to that, and I think everyone does some version of this in an attempt to find what fits, especially when you're trying to fit multiple kids who aren't cookie-cutter versions of The Standard Child, for whom things are either Good or Not Good, Period. Of course, the freedom to tailor the education to the child is one of the great things about homeschooling, though honestly, it can be one of the most daunting and frustrating parts, too, especially on the front end.

  30. Paige

    I would like to encourage you to look in to financial help from your local Catholic school. We have a wonderful Catholic high school near our home and believed that we could never afford to send our daughter there. My mother called me one day and encouraged me to pray about her going there. We live in a very nice home that we could easily afford when we bought it but in this economy it has been hard. We go to a local non-denomination church and not the Catholic church attached to the school. We didn't know if either of these things would be a problem with getting help with our tuition. The school was very generous and we are very thankful. I do have a son, but we will not look to this option for him. He has dyslexia and the school would not be a good fit. It may be that in the future you find that your children will have different educational needs and place them accordingly. You sound very wise. I'm sure you will make the right decision.

  31. starrball

    Nooo! the list closed early πŸ™

  32. Anonymous

    If you don't like the way you look in your clothes, why not get new clothes? I always figured if clothes don't flatter, the problem is the clothes, not me. Meet with a personal shopper at a department store and pick out something great to wear on TV. It's just one outfit, it won't break the bank.

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  1. 7 quick takes… - A Life in Balance - [...] This post is part of Jen’s Carnival at the Conversion Diary.  [...]
  2. Convert Journal — 7 Quick Takes Friday (set #9) - [...] sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to…

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