7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 115)

February 4, 2011 | 87 comments

— 1 —

It’s been too cold to do anything this week. I’ve basically just been sitting around my living room, shivering, trying to survive. It’s interesting to think that when I lived in Bismarck, ND, highs in the 20’s would be perfectly normal; yet it seems downright barbaric when I experience it now, living in central Texas. I think that part of it is that our house isn’t built for long cold weather blasts. It is impossible to get this place really warm (I actually resorted to pulling up a chair and sitting by the open oven yesterday). And I guess the other part is simply the contrast: last week the highs were in the 80’s! You can get used to almost any climate, but a sudden, 60-degree plummet in temperature is going to make it hard to function. Anyway, I’m ready for warmer weather now!

— 2 —

I recently got in a debate with someone about which is harder: having kids or having dogs. I came down firmly on the side of “having dogs is harder” side. My friend, a dog lover, seemed unconvinced by my arguments. Then I came across a my trump card. Over at Dooce, Heather Armstrong wrote a post about the latest with her dogs in which she said:

One of the dogs puked something all over the new rug in Leta’s room. I say something because I finally learned to stop trying to figure out what it is. That information is never rewarding. You’re never like…I’m glad I know my dog just puked up her own feces.

She mentioned that they’ve found dog vomit in six different places over the past few days, then added:

(Having your adorable, soft baby give you a kiss only for it to reek of black licorice is not unlike discovering that your dog has just puked her own feces.)

See, no. No. I have a threshold for cleaning up feces-vomit, and it’s once. That will happen once in my life, and then it will never happen again. And this is why I can never own a dog. I can deal with poop. I can deal with vomit. I cannot deal with an small mammals that sometimes combine both into one substance. My friend was all like, “But with kids it’s harder to–” No. To any sentence that begins like that, I simply hold up my hand and say “feces-vomit.” Kids don’t do that. Dogs do. There. I won. And thus, the kids vs. dogs difficulty debate has been settled once and for all.

UPDATE: My husband, a dog lover, quickly chimed in to point out that this isn’t an issue with all dogs. Fair enough. However, my rejoinder is that there is some chance that you will end up dealing with this if you get a dog, whereas the chance with a kid are virtually zero. To my mind, the debate remains settled.

— 3 —

Our foray into not having cable is going well! We hooked up a computer to our TV, and now we can stream content from Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, etc. right onto the television. Other than the few occasions that we’ve wanted to watch certain live sports, we haven’t missed cable at all. And our TV time is more purposeful: without the ability to flip channels, we don’t spend any time mindlessly sitting in front of the television anymore. Add in the fact that we’re saving money each month, and this has been one of the best decisions we’ve made lately.

— 4 —

As part of our TV/technology overhaul, we installed Linux Mint on our two family computers. It’s a great operating system! It’s fast, easy to use, and runs on all open-source (i.e. free) software. The kids can’t get enough of Tux Paint, and I hear that TuxMath is a big hit as well. Our favorite program Stellarium, which will show you what the sky looks like from pretty much and time and place on earth — and from on other planets as well! You can point to stars to identify them, superimpose the constellations, customize the amount of light pollution toΒ gaugeΒ what you’ll be able to see from your area, and do about a thousand other amazing things. I can’t wait to explore it more.

— 5 —

During the first trimester of this pregnancy I went back to my old eating habits. I got this idea into my head that shoveling pasta, crackers and chips into my mouth was the ONLY POSSIBLE WAY to deal with morning sickness. Long story short, I ended up feeling like a hungover zombie, and remembered all those profound dietary insights I first learned a couple years ago. After cutting out wheat and processed foods, I feel drastically better. I actually started to keep a food journal detailing how I felt before I made those dietary changes, to review next time I try to convince myself that I can eat whatever I want and it will be fine.

— 6 —

On a somewhat related note, I recently discovered a new blog that promises to be a favorite: Wellness Mama. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking read, check out her post about why she and her family gave up grains. My anecdotal experience has been that some people can eat grains with few ill effects, but others are amazingly sensitive to them. I know a few people who have gone grain-free and report a tremendous difference in their health and energy levels (especially in those who were dealing with autoimmune issues). Also, it just kinda makes sense that humans can achieve optimum health without grains, considering that they weren’t available in significant amounts throughout the vast majority of human history. Anyway, I thought the article had some good food for thought.

— 7 —

If you live outside of the United States, be sure to come back by here on Monday! I’m going to write a post where I seek the input of people who live outside the U.S., and I want to get your input.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Below is a linky list if you’d like to add a link to your own 7 Quick Takes post. (1) Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your post and not your main blog URL. (2) Include a link back here.


  1. Elizabeth

    Okay, I agree with you on the feces-vomit because I never want to think about feces-vomit again. Ever.

    I like Wellness Mama as well… though I follow virtually none of her guidelines. Maybe that can be a Lenten sacrifice? I literally cannot imagine life without grains.

    • Dorian Speed

      Aha! Lent! That’s just what I need! I keep looking around for my motivation to try all these great recommendations for eating better…wait, this is coming across as not in the spirit of Lent.

      • BettyDuffy

        Dog vomit is gross–but on the plus side–some dogs not only eat fecal matter, but they also eat their own vomit. Sometimes they vomit and you never know, because it’s gone soon as they’ve had a good look at it, nudged the lego aside, and re-consumed the regurgitated feces. They also eat kid vomit–don’t tell me that’s not a plus.

  2. Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    UGH! Your comments on dogs summarize why I never wanted to be an RA in college. Too much getting out of bed at 3 in the morning to have drunk freshmen puke all over you.

  3. Renee

    Hey Jen,
    Faithful reader who rarely comments here. I was way behind on your blog and saw that you just turned 34! Happy Birthday! I did as well! And I’m pregnant with baby #6, due in June, which makes me one baby ahead of you.

    Our family gave up grains and sugar over a year ago. Some of us still cheat because we can, but one of us in particular has terrible stomach/intestestinal issues so we monitor her closely. I never would have thought it would have helped, after all, I baked all my own whole wheat bread and we ate plenty of fruits and veggies. Grains = Fiber, right? Fiber = Good for you, right? But the difference has been AMAZING. I would encourage everyone struggling with stomach pain or IBS to look into it.

    The Nourishing Gourmet and Cheeseslave blogs have lots of grain-free foods if you’re interested in more research.


    • Jessica


      Wow, I’m impressed your whole family–with 5 kids–could give up grains and sugar. I guess it helps if everyone’s doing it. When I was living with my parents I had to give up sugar for two months on an anti-candida diet (that ending up not doing much good) and it seemed nearly impossible when there was still so much in the house that I couldn’t eat.

      I’m curious about your experience, since Wellness Mama makes it sound like there are absolutely no repercussions for giving up grains cold turkey. I know for vegetarians, for example, they have to be careful about getting protein from other sources. Have you made any conscious efforts or found any need to supplement anything you would normally get from grains?


  4. Courageous Grace


    I feel your pain about the cold! Here in DFW there is currently over 2 inches of snow on the ground (over the ice which has been there the past 3 days) and it’s still falling heavily. I also used to live in a colder climate (western WA) and think this current cold Texas weather is insane! I miss my hot summer already.

    As to your #2, I agree that dogs are harder than kids but for a different reason (I’ve never had a dog that eats its own feces). The kid I can get to be quiet indoors. The dog (a corgi) has the loudest bark and it’s taken me over a year to get her to woof quietly instead of the shrill bark she normally uses.

    I’m really a cat person.

  5. George @ Convert Journal

    My wife and I moved to the south (in 1980, when you were 3 BTW!) and soon discovered the phenomena described as “thinning blood.” It’s true. Well, it isn’t really thinner but you really do acclimate and after a while your previous tolerance of cold unfortunately disappears. It has been a bit nippy over here lately too.

    My post this week… Stealth technology hides pro-life marches. Press coverage is more than merely biased. A 2011 SFO March for Life picture essay. Chick-Fil-A under attack for their Christian values. Ongoing scandal at the CCHD. Tax payer support for child sex slave entrepreneurs. Martin Luther King would support homosexual marriage – NOT

  6. Christian H

    I eagerly anticipate Monday.

  7. Ciska @ This Journey of my Life

    I went from eating grain, sleeping 15 hours a day and still being tired to not eaten grain (gluten-free, so I do eat corn and rice) and sleeping 9 hours, being completely fit the entire day. As soon as I eat grain, I will be tired for a whole week. So glad I got rid of the gluten!

    I’ve been following this blog for over a year, so you can be certain I will be here next week to answer your questions. πŸ˜‰

  8. klh57

    Dogs vs. kids: our dog (a Pembroke Welsh Corgi) was my first son and the girls frequently heard me tell them that their brother listened to me and behaved better than they did! He knew the yard boundaries and would stay there when told, he didn’t jump up on the furniture, and he never threw a tantrum. Yes, I had to deal with dog vomit when he got sick but it wasn’t feces (thank goodness!). On the other hand, the girls didn’t shed all the time, (causing me to vacuum at least once a day), insurance covered their medical costs, and their life span is infinitely longer (he passed away from cancer at 13) while they are all officially adults now. Do you know how difficult it is to explain to your youngest daughter that we have to put her constant companion to sleep because the cancer is causing him so much pain that the morphine isn’t even working anymore? She called me a murderer – “but Mommy – we’re Catholic – we’re pro-life!” I had to explain that we had been force-feeding him for her – if it was up to him, he would have already shut down and curled up somewhere to die, but now his morphine dosage was higher than a human’s and he was whimpering through it – it wasn’t fair. So, she held him in her arms at the vet’s office while he was put to sleep. I can’t ever live through that again. I felt as though I was losing a child. His presence definitely blessed our family though and you may find that you have a child that needs a dog (which was true for our youngest) – in that sense, he was a gift from God.

  9. Sarah @BeatenCopperLamp

    I’ve given up gluten out of necessity, but all grains? Yikes! I still love rice, potatoes, and corn. But the insulin argument does make some sense. I imagine a grain-free diet would be more expensive, though.

  10. Misty

    I have to agree with the no-cable comment. While we still do have cable we have a DVR and it has totally eliminated useless TV watching. It makes me feel like I can get my money’s worth because I record a favorite series for each family member and we never have to sit through commercials.

  11. Lizzie

    looking forward to Monday from over the ocean in London, UK!

  12. Cath

    Do you want to exchange some cold for some hot? πŸ™‚

  13. Kathleen@so much to say

    #4–Stellarium sounds AWESOME. Have it open on another tab for later perusal on (gasp) yet another snow day. (This is ridiculous.)

  14. Joy

    Oh my goodness. This dog puke issue… I have two dogs. I love them. However. They drive me INSANE!!!! The puking is so awful. It’s not their own feces (thank You, God!!!) but it happens way too often, and even though we have hardwood floor throughout almost our entire house, only one room carpeted and only two very nice rugs my husband purchased in Bahrain… guess where they ALWAYS(!!) puke?? It’s like they go, “Hmmm… I’m queasy, let me puke HERE!” But my dachshund is the most perpetually happy being on planet Earth and sometimes that happiness teaches me in very profound ways.
    I’m thinking of the whole cable thing here, trying to convince my husband we need to do the same. Can you get Food Network shows and HGTV through Hulu though?

  15. Liesl

    We must’ve had your warm weather in DC the other day – it was almost 60 a couple of days ago! Meanwhile, it seems like the rest of the country is under sheets of ice. You can have your warm weather back, I’d like a bit more of winter please.

  16. Allie

    Linux Mint is awesome. By far one of the better Linux distros out there. I run Fedora on my laptop for school, but I would love to give Mint a try some day. It sounds like it’s a great distro for a media box.

    • Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin

      Echo that on Linux Mint. It’s very hard to beat Linux Mint when you’re first switching over from Windows. Clem and his team include software for captive multimedia codecs like MP3s, DVDs, and so on, that many linux distros won’t ship with install (including Fedora and Ubuntu). And you can use not just Linux Mint help, but also Ubuntu help, which is some of the most extensive in the world.

      If you plan to dual-boot, I suggest that first, you thoroughly defrag windows; second, plan your partitions. Since the Mint team suggests new installs rather than upgrades, here’s the scheme I’d suggest. It helps make sure that you don’t have to move all your data.

      Partition 1: Previously used space x 1.3 for Windows.
      Partition 2: About 10GB for / (root)
      Partition 3: about 15GB for /home
      Partition 4: extended partition, which holds your logical partitions
      Partition 5: swap partition. Put it at the end of the disk. Anywhere from RAM +0.5GB to 2x RAM.
      Partition 6: Data. Use the rest of your drive. Format using the Ext3 filesystem, and install Ext2IFS in Windows, so you can read and write to it while using Windows. The only data I keep in my /home partition are various configuration files. I edit the /etc/fstab file to make sure that my data partition gets mounted in something like /home/USERNAME/files (tho, with a multi-user system, creating a directory like /home/files and ensuring everyone has read/write privileges would probably work better.

  17. Monica

    Oh my. I say kids are harder. My dog has never ONCE talked back to me or done something insanely stupid that made me want to yank all my hair our, which my kids cannot lay claim to.

    I will say this though: The harder to raise, the greater the reward. πŸ™‚

  18. Sheila

    Warning: gross story follows!

    The dog vomit reminds me of the last time I ever babysat. New Years Eve, and a dog that ate some tinsel off the tree that was still in the corner. It was an endless cycle of the dog huddling in the corner, vomiting, coming over to me for sympathy, then returning to the corner and “recycling.” Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Not feces, but oh so gross. I was a young teenager at the time and was convinced that I would never be able to have kids because I was so sensitive to vomit – just thinking about it would make me heave, so it wasn’t like I could go clean up the mess and break the cycle. I knew I’d just add to it if I went near that corner, and that certainly wouldn’t have helped anything. Maybe now that I’ve typed it out I can get it out of my brain, at least for today.

    But my brother used to have a dog that frequently had feces vomit. She died of cancer and they never got another dog and I think that probably has something to do with it.

  19. Donna@workofcreation

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a dog vomit feces before — but I have had one make some pretty tremendous nastiness after eating half a ham. UGH. My kids have never made anything so nasty as that dog did.

  20. Kate Wicker

    I’ve been shoveling in too many carbs lately too and not even the wholesome whole grain variety. Ugh. I feel like there’s a stone in my gut.

    Having just added another baby to our family – a needy rescue dog that’s a Great Dane and Lab mix, I have to say kids are a bit tougher, but it’s a close call. πŸ™‚

    My parents’ perfect therapy dog has the greatest disposition and is so sweet, but she does eat poop. They somehow look past it and still think she’s flawless.

  21. Theresa Doyle-Nelson

    Brrrrr… it’s very chilly here, too – about 80 miles south of you, Jen. Our little town managed to get by-passed by the ice and snow that has essentially shut down San Antonio, but we are on alert by the school district that they might close early today.

    Blessings on your day!


    • Erika

      You must not be too far from me–I’m in Corpus Christi : ) I’ve been loving the cold, but I’m from the north and not a fan of Texas weather! And my kids were beyond thrilled with the unexpected four day weekend!

  22. Nichole@40daysof

    I am going to check out the blog about being grain free.

    Here’s a hilarious fact:my dogs eat a food that is grain free! Their organic treats are made with oat flour, but that is the only grain they get. They’re allergic to the other grains.

    BTW – my biggest fear in getting a dog 11 years ago was the poop eating. It has NEVER happened with either dog. The one I trained from a puppy has been told that poop is yucky so often that he prefers to only go on a walk so as not to defile his yard. You should see what happens when his toy lands anywhere in the vicinity of poop. Game over! He will not play anymore. πŸ™‚ The other dog is less fastidious – he will go in the yard. But he has never eaten any. Thank God!

  23. Gail

    My m.i.l. recently brought up this idea that humans aren’t intended to eat grain, and my thought was would Jesus really have used bread at the last supper and called himself the bread of life if it was such a bad idea to eat it? I’m not saying you all are wrong about grains/gluten making you feel rotten, I just don’t understand it when it comes to Jesus and the Eucharist. What do you do at Mass?

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Gail – It’s funny you should bring that up, because I was just thinking about that! I do receive the Lord’s Body at Mass — the small quantity of wheat doesn’t seem to impact me.

      One thing that Wellness Mama pointed out in her article is that grains are processed much differently today than they used to be. E.g. harvested grains used to sit outside for quite a while before they were processed, which gave them a chance to ferment and sprout. I’m also pretty sure that they were eaten in smaller quantities, since food like bread was less plentiful when it all had to be made by hand.

      Anyway, interesting question!

    • Katie "Wellness Mama"

      Hi Gail, I get this question often actually. I hope to post on this soon, but like Jen mentioned, the type and quality of grains are vastly different now, and they contain many proteins that they didn’t in Jesus’ time. Also, the particular strains of wheat that were supposedly eaten in Jesus’ time often do not cause a reaction if they are sprouted and soaked or fermented (which is how Christ would have consumed them). Of note also, is the fact that meat was also an important reference for Christ, as he referred to himself as the Lamb of God more often than any bread reference. I too have no trouble with the Eucharist at Mass, even though I test with sensitivity to wheat… but then, we don’t believe that it is strictly bread anymore anyway, but rather Christ’s actual flesh.
      An interesting note, many times in the Bible, grain consumption is associated with periods of famine or exile (Manna from heaven in exile, corn in egypt during famine, bread in Ezekiel as a punishment, etc.
      For me, I know that grains don’t work well in my body, especially in any large quantities. I understand the reasons some would have for eating grains in their biblical state (fermented, soaked/sprouted, etc) especially if they are non hybrid variates like the popular grains today. What does frustrate me is when people use the Biblical argument for bread to justify consumption of pizza, soda, white flour, or things with refined sugar. Christ did not say “I am the Pizza of life” so to extend this to unhealthy foods, of course, seems ridiculous. In my opinion, avoiding at the very least, processed foods containing white flour (which reacts just like sugar on our insulin levels) is part of treating our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Of course, no one is perfect on this my any means, but it seems like a logical step.
      If the focus is on whole, natural foods in as close to a state as God made them, it seems logical that our bodies would react well. I hope this helps some! I know this is a tough question for many, and I do hope to sum up a lot more in a post soon.
      Thanks for reading! -Wellness Mama

  24. Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    I’m still days away from starting to raise my first child, but I think I know enough about kids and dogs to conclude that you are COMPLETELY correct!

  25. Julia at LotsaLaundry

    Glad there was no need to update us on blood clots or other ugly things. Though the poop-vomit covered a lot of ugly ground. Never heard of it; our worst experience was a daughter with waist-length hair who threw up in an upper bunk at 2am and covered her younger sister as well. Not that I’d rather have dogs, but…

  26. Michelle

    1. I wish I were only a week away from the 80s!
    2. Kids = more awesome than dogs any day of the week. however, I thoroughly enjoyed this take. I was laughing out loud in my cubicle. I agree…never would I ever clean up feces-vomit more than once…that dog would be re-homed…immediately. Gross!
    3. We went without cable for awhile…I loved it…hubby, not so much. But I will say, that you and your hubby are much more techno-savvy in that arena than either of us!
    5. I, too, ate horribly my 1st trimester. I’m trying to clean it up now. (I’m due with my 5th about a week after you are). By the way…we do lots of girls in our family, too. I had three – then had my son – we will find out soon the gender of this one…I’m betting it’s another girl. πŸ™‚
    6. I need to check out that blog. I need someone to convince me that I don’t need breads, pastas, etc. I need someone to tell me that it’s going to kill me to eat them (because I love them so much) …they do horrible things to me, I know because i gain weight when I eat anywhere near what’s considered a “healthy” amount.

    loved these takes today. Have a great weekend!

  27. Christina

    Because of certain health issues, I’m actually someone who needs grains. And lots and lots of salt. That was pretty much all that kept me going during my pregnancy. I always find it interesting how different our bodies can be with regards to nutrition needs.

    …I would like to write more, but my baby has poop overflowing from her diaper. Another time!

  28. Grace

    Yikes. I feel you on that cold. Nightmare.

    Love the quick takes!

    I accidentally linked twice…super sorry!

  29. deanna

    So with you on the dog! And, dogs need you forever, there is no learning to clean up after itself, no taking itself on a walk, getting it’s on lunch, etc… Children grow up, dogs don’t.

  30. Laura

    Getting rid of out TV about 12 years ago was the best thing we’ve ever done. I wonder sometimes how we would ever fit watching tv shows into our day since we long ago filled that time with much better activities. Sure we occasionally miss a good show or something important, but you get over it pretty quick. I hope you guys stick with it for a long time!
    God Bless.

  31. Christy

    Hi Jen!

    Another great post!

    And YAY LINUX!!! We are a Linux-only household, and this actually sounds great for your kids…my husband is the CEO of a company called Kiddix Computing, which provides a Linux-operated kids-only operating system that you download onto your computer. There’s a ton of games, educational stuff, and parental control adds to work with.

    You can check it out here, at http://www.kiddix-computing.com.

    Thanks again for the quick takes; have a great weekend! πŸ™‚


    • Catherine

      That is the coolest thing! We are a linux-only household too. My husband is a programmer; I forwarded him the link. Definitely something to consider in the future!

  32. Kelly

    First time I managed to link a 7 quick takes, yay! I plan to give up TV and facebook for Lent. I don’t think the rest of my fam does though, so…should be interesting.

  33. Craig

    1. Dear God, make Texas warmer this winter for Jennifer, thanks, Craig
    2. Cats are the easiest πŸ™‚
    3. cable schmable
    4. checking out their site right after this
    5. Godspeed on the journaling
    6. OK, now there are two sites to visit
    7. I’m not Canadian but Canadians rock – eh?

    God Bless and Keep You and Yours

  34. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith

    Dogs, I will take dogs over cats ANY day. I cannot get pass the litter box. My oldest is allergic to both, so the decision is an easy one for our family.

    We also are exploring the decision of no cable, right now we have limited for it is still over $10 per month.

  35. Jackie

    Re: Cable. We get cable free with our apartment. But my husband and I have decided to commit to a no-TV night once a week. It’s been nice! I think in all it has made us watch less TV in general.
    And I want a dog.

  36. Katie

    We went TV free a couple years ago, mainly because our TV broke, but we haven’t looked back! We do watch movies on Netflix and Hulu sometimes, but the toughest part has been with sports. Our teams never were on local channels anyway, and somehow my husband manages to find them live most of the time online somewhere.
    Thanks for the link! I really enjoyed reading your story with nutrition!
    God Bless! -Katie

  37. Barbara C.

    I agree with Deana that kids are better than pets. Kids eventually grow up, learn to care for themselves, and hopefully be a life-long companion. Pets are stuck at about a two-year-old level.

    We got rid of our cable a year and a half ago. It’s been hardest on my husband who is a HUGE sports person, so he’s having it installed in his man-cave. But given the option I told him I didn’t want it on the family room television. It’s is much easier to police what and how much television the kids are watching with Netflix.

  38. Ruth Ann

    Does California count as being outside the U.S.? When I lived in Texas in the 70s, I felt like I was in a foreign country, having never lived beyond the Midwest. Now I feel that way about CA.

    On the grains issue, I have heard that bread is the staff of life. It has been part of cultures for a mighty long time.

  39. Shauna

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I also just gave birth to my 5th this past Oct! I don’t know if you have already researched this but it is very important to get at least 80 grams of protein a day. Here is a link explaining everything, http://www.blueribbonbaby.org/ The more babies we have and the closer they are in age the more we have to make sure to get the protein in. It is really fascinating to read about Westin Price http://www.westonaprice.org/ Basically first babies usually have a round full face because our bodies were building a baby for the first time but then the children that follow tend to have longer faces, because of inadequate nutrition and not enough protein.
    Anyway I just wanted to pass this information on. I love your blog and have forwarded on your posts to many of my friends and family members. I am also a convert and became a catholic in January 2009! God Bless all that you do and I will be praying for a healthy pregnancy and delivery for you πŸ™‚
    PS No dogs live at our house and I agree completely with you that children are easier…plus they don’t shed!

  40. Ann Voskamp@A Holy Experience

    I’ve been seriously considering giving up all grains.
    I’d never give up kids.
    I definitely could dogs.

    I give thanks today for you πŸ™‚

    Can I just say too — you have profoundly impacted my life for great good, more grace, more Jesus — and I can’t thank you enough, Jennifer.

    Blessings on you and yours, Jen…
    All’s grace,

  41. Michelle

    As always Jen, awesome blog! Thank you for all you do!

  42. Lisa

    I’ve been on a special anti-inflammatory diet for endometriosis, and I have found that I feel better overall without processed foods. I am not even having a hard time without sweets. Without milk…that’s a little harder. Ugh.

  43. Grace

    Netflix rocks! It’s the best for the homeschooler who wants to download good documentaries, keep little ones occupied with endless viewings of Dora the Explorer or Super Why!, and keep the teacher happy with a victorian romance a la Jane Austen style.:) Enjoy!

  44. matching moonhead

    I totally agree about the dog-kid debate. I never wanted pets because I thought that if you were going to put in that much work for an animal, you might as well invest your time in a child that will grow up to be self-functioning and be cuter along the way anyway.

    Unfortunately, I wish that ‘acquiring’ a kid was as easy as getting a dog. I see a dog in our future…by default. This love has got to go somewhere.

  45. jen

    You’ve been through the pregnancy thing before so you can totally tell me to hold my tongue. However…


    It kept me borderline-sane during my pregnancy with my son (which was only 7 months but that’s another story) and it’s what we give my father-in-law to deal with the chemotherapy-induced nausea.

  46. That Married Couple

    We have one of both so far, and I agree that kids beat out dogs any day!

  47. Martha

    You can have my carbs when you pry them from my cold dead hands. People have *only* been eating them for 10,000 years, she says? And I’m supposed to be convinced by that? 10,000 years is a pretty long time.

    As far as cold – in Dallas kids have been out of school for 4 days. We have about 6″ of snow on top of the 1 1/2″ of ice. TxDoT brought in snowplows from Amarillo for the first time ever. It was in the 70s last week. Should have had the Super Bowl

  48. Lisa Schmidt

    Jen, thanks for the practical tip regarding how you’ve successfully “plugged out” of the cable company’s pockets. I feel so silly for not thinking of that option months ago. THANKS! πŸ™‚

  49. Mary Beth

    No question -dogs are way harder than kids. Hubby is always telling me how dogs relieve anxiety. But that is when he is at work and I am fielding calls from the neighbor who wants our pyrenese to “*ing” shut up (love, your anonymous neighbor who lives next door and calls on his cell phone)and cleaning up the poo/barf thing from the golden retriever,who keeps us up all night because he has separation anxiety and there is no way I am letting him into the bedrooms.

    We have nine kids and two dogs. I will trade anybody the two dogs for nine more kids. not kidding.

  50. Serena

    You certainly convinced me on number 2.

    Your post ‘Explore your doubts, but do so in peace’ was very good and something I really needed to hear. Thank you.

  51. Julie @ The Corner With A View

    I definitely prefer kids over dogs… kids are more verbal!

    Nice idea about the tv– we got rid of cable during Lent one year and never got it back! πŸ™‚

  52. Tracy

    I’ve thought about going gluten free since we try to keep our youngest GF, but I’ve never thought about giving up all grains. Something to think about, that’s for sure. Better than thinking about dogs who… no, I can’t even write it. Ick. I don’t know if dogs or kids are harder, but I do know that kids PLUS dog would definitely be more difficult, and I am not going there. Besides, the cats would not be very happy with me and I’m all about keeping my cats happy!

  53. mrs.marcus

    So agree with you about dogs vs. kids. My husband has a 5 week long business trip in March and I will be joining him along with our cat. I love our cat, but it is really a hassle traveling with him. Finding a place to stay has been difficult. Some places we can’t leave him unattendend (“sorry, Father but we had to bring our cat to mass”). Other places require a $500 non-refundable deposit. Other places don’t just allow him at all. This wouldn’t happen with a baby/child. They are far more portable. πŸ™‚ Don’t get me started on flying with this kitty.

  54. Rebecca

    I must respectfully disagree with you on #2. Although, I will admit my dogs do not snack on their own feces.

    Have a great weekend!

  55. Catherine

    Kids are easier than dogs because you have to take dogs outside every day! Even in winter!! My daughter is lucky if I take her outside twice a week!

  56. Martianne

    I have thought about that grain-free thing before, but I so love them… I am considering gluten-free/casein free for my son (something that will be so hard for me) and I find hubby doesn’t react sell to beans… Plus, I keep going back to maybe following the Body by God book… Then, I wonder: When did eating get so complicated? If we simply try to consume more foods as close to the way God made them, won’t we be healthy? Ahhh, the quandry and the different needs of each of my family member’s individual bodies.

  57. Amy

    Well, I think that that post pretty much summarizes why I don’t own a dog. Mind you, I own two cats, and they puke fairly frequently, and they pee in the bathtub, but then so does my son. At least the cat aims for the hole.

    Good times

  58. Vicki

    Thx for the link to Wellness Mama – looks awesome!!

  59. Karen

    It has been a while, but I enjoy reading your blog and participating in Seven Quick Takes.

  60. Kassie @ Secret Vatican Spy

    I’ve been snowed in for a week in Tulsa – good to know my One True Love, er, Texas, is just as cold!!

  61. Leila

    The part about sitting in front of the open stove made me laugh (sorry). And thank you for giving me one more reason to NEVER own a dog. (I grew up with plenty of ’em, so that counts, right?)

    No grains….what would that universe look like? Hmmm….

  62. Pam

    I was thinking of commenting on the dog story, and then I realized it was #2… which amused me so much that the comment itself flew right out of my head.

    I am, evidently, eight years old.

  63. Brittany

    Props for the #5 self-control save.

    As for #1 – children don’t always love you unconditionally. There are ups and downs. You know you can count on a dog to never change. Is that an upside or downside?

    The 4 inches of ice we received last week has finally begun to melt in Ohio today. My little brother stood on our driveway this afternoon,pretended to whither, and quoted the Wicked Witch of the West: “I’m melting… melting.” I think we’re all feeling Dorothy’s relief today. Spring couldn’t come fast enough.

  64. Laurie

    I”m so pleased to hear you extolling the virtues of life without television reception. From what you’re reporting, it sounds like we went to a similar set up two years ago – and I am so incredibly satisfied with the arrangement. In addition to what you’ve mentioned about the mindless feed of live reception, we’ve also found that by pin-pointing our programs online we’re much more protected from the in-your-face gratitious nature that television seems to delight in these days. Here’s to more people putting the money to better use and cutting the cable cord!

  65. Calah

    Oh thanks for the link to Wellness Mama! I realized when we forayed into Nourishing Traditions that grains are our biggest problems, both in terms of weight and how they make us feel. Unfortunately we fell off that train over the holidays, but I’m going to try to get us back on it. I like the idea of giving up grains as a Lenten sacrifice…it makes me think of the Eastern fasting rules, which I’ve always liked. From a distance. I might try the grains thing, though.

    We, too, don’t have cable, and I find that I can be equally as lazy and self-indulgent in my TV watching without it! It’s great. The internet truly is all you need.

    Hope you warm up soon, and many prayers for a safe pregnancy and delivery!

  66. Heather of the EO

    I just want you to know that you just inspired me to get my pregnant eating under CONTROL. I no longer have the constant morning sickness feeling but I’m still eating the same way and I don’t feel well at all. I feel pretty lethargic and zombie-ish and disgusting, really. I have no idea how what I’m eating didn’t even enter my mind. sheesh.

    And that dog thing totally cracked me up. We have a dog and I it really is much GROSSER than having kids…of course, having kids is much harder in many other ways, but yes, our dog makes me want to run away from her smells and vomits. True story.

  67. Love2learn Mom

    I think part of the thing about the cold weather is that your body adjusts to it over time. So a big surprise winter chill is more shocking than much colder weather in the middle of an expected winter season. Even here in Wisconsin, it takes a few weeks to acclimate to the really cold weather. We have to re-adjust to the warmer temperatures in the spring as well.

  68. Melanie

    I am SO with you on the dog argument. My kids beg to move so we can have one since my rule is that 1,500 sq ft isn’t enough room for two adults, four children, my small business AND a dog. I guess that’s one benefit I hadn’t thought of with our small home. No one debates me on that issue.

    We did the same thing with giving up cable about a year ago and it has definitely improved the content of programming as well as cut down on the quantity. An added benefit has been father/son outings for some sports programming where my husband will take our oldest son to a restaurant or friend’s house to view a game. We aren’t big-time sports fans so it works.

    One of my kids explains that our tv only has what daddy puts on the computer, you can’t just change the channels. We stream too.

  69. JoAnna

    It froze here in AZ (Phoenix) the other night. Brrr!

  70. Alishia Hanson

    “Anyway, I thought the article had some good food for thought.” No pun intended, eh?
    Regarding dogs: I like to tell the story of a man who honestly asked me if I ever get any sleep as the mother of three young children (back when three was the status quo around here!). I said we have rough patches but I a mostly well-rested person when there isn’t a less-than-six-month-old in the house.
    Later in the conversation he went on to recount how he and his wife own seven dogs!! He said he cannot get out of bed to go to the bathroom after 4am or the dogs think it’s time to get up for the day. Whenever he wakes up and needs to go and it’s after 4am he has to stay in bed and hold it for 60-90 minutes.
    I’m always amazed at what people will put up with for their pets. It’s not like their pets will grow up and move out one day. The owners are in it for the long haul. And my experience with dogs (mostly other peoples’) is that they only get more high-maintenance, not less.
    Shortly before we had our third child we jettisoned the family dogs. Maybe someday when the children are able to take on pet ownership. For now, I have enough children to love on and to fill my time.

  71. Kmo

    Wait, wait… how is a baby’s kiss smelling like licorice akin to cleaning up dog puke?

  72. Second Chances

    We cut our cable too! Doesn’t it feel great?! We stream as well as I agree that it’s soooo much more purposeful.

  73. Mel

    Oh, I’m right there with ya on the Dogs vs. Kids thing. Plus, I clean up enough poop as it is – I don’t want to add to that. And generally (minus potty training months) that poop is localized to a diaper, not all over my yard and sometimes the house!!

    I’m sure at some point we will get a dog, but I’m holding out as long as I can, HA!

  74. Clare

    I thought the Wellness Mama article was a little ridiculous. She made incredibly hyperbolic claims (grains lead to schizophrenia?) with zero citations or empirical research to back it up. Also, some of her causality assumptions were poorly thought through. For instance, our physical strength might have declined after the industrial revolution, but that was probably because without the hunter-gatherer pressures our lifestyles became gradually more settled and sedentary…eventually allowing us to build civilizations and write blogs. Limiting grains intake might be helpful for some people, but I’d take self-proclaimed wellness gurus with purported semi-gnostic enlightenment over the the medical and research community with a whole shaker full of salt.

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