7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 151)

November 11, 2011 | 52 comments

— 1 —

I am loving this “6 for 6” thing I’ve been doing! (Well, I was loving it a lot more until the time change came along and — DESPITE THE PROMISES TO THE CONTRARY — somehow made me get less sleep and have less time to myself in the morning, but since I’m trying not to complain about Daylight Savings Time this time around, I’m not going to talk about that.) Anyway, for over a year I’d been in the habit of rolling out of bed at the last minute possible each morning. The impact of getting up at 6 AM each day has been more far-reaching than I could have imagined. Some examples:

  • I’m more tired in the evenings, so I go to bed earlier and usually sleep better.
  • I’m not as tempted to eat and drink at night. Rather than mindlessly munching on snacks and sipping wine, I just go to bed.
  • By the time the kids get up, I have a good handle on what “work” I need to do that day. I’ve checked email, glanced at my to-do list, looked at my calendar, and maybe even had time to pay bills, do writing, or whatever other desk tasks I needed to hit that day.
  • When the kids wake up and see me dressed and moving in a clear direction (rather than shuffling around in my pajamas, wondering aloud what day it is), their behavior is better and they seem more cheerful. It gets the whole family off to a good start.

— 2 —

I’m going to the Behold Conference in Peoria, IL again! I’ll be out there for the event on March 10, 2012. Though I’m not speaking this time, the organizers were kind enough to invite me back as an alumna, since I spoke last year. If you have any interest in attending, I encourage you to do so. They’re slowly making it into more of a national gathering than just a local event, so it’ll be a great opportunity to get some encouragement, receive the Sacraments, and hang out with likeminded women. Kate Wicker is speaking, and Hallie Lord‘s coming too. Hope to see you there!

— 3 —

Speaking of fabulous bloggers, how much do we miss Meredith of Like Merchant Ships? I wish I could somehow bribe her to come back to blogging. Same thing with Shannon of Rocks in my Dryer. I really miss their voices in the blog world. (What on earth could they be doing that’s better than sitting in front of their computer monitors?!) Is there anyone who’s stopped blogging who you wish would come back? 

— 4 —

Has anyone ever used one of those LadyComp monitors? If so, do you like it? It’s some little device that takes your temperature each morning, then does your charting for you. I’ve heard rumors that it’s great, but don’t know anyone who actually has one.

Speaking of which: The other day I got involved in a conversation between two acquaintances who were talking about Natural Family Planning. The first woman was considering making the switch from contraception, and the second was an NFP advocate who was telling her about how great a certain method is. I nodded vigorously in agreement, emphasizing that I was a big fan of this particular method. But then I noticed a certain look cloud the face of the first woman. She’d seemed so open and interested, and now she looked like she might faint. I quickly interjected “Oh — that’s not the method we use!” She let out a sigh of relief, and resumed cheerfully asking how she could learn more about this practice.

— 5 —

The other day I was going through old notebooks and I found some sketches that looked familiar. I realized that it was a database schema that my husband and I worked on back in early 2001 for this website idea we had. You see, we thought it would be really cool if there were a site where you could see who your friends were friends with, that would connect people’s social networks virtually. “It would be fun, ” I recall saying, “if you could post pictures and updates easily so that all your friends could know what you were up to, and then easily connect with other people in your network!” We had the database logistics all worked out, and even knew people at venture capital firms that might have funded such a startup. Instead of executing on this idea, which was basically Facebook, we traveled and threw a bunch of parties instead. Hmm. Not sure if that was the right call.

— 6 —

Sometimes people ask if I ever get stumped after six takes, and find myself unable to think of a seventh…

— 7 —

…The answer is yes.





  1. Laura O in AK

    I could seriously see getting stuck with quick take #7, too. Although, it’s more about thinking people don’t want to hear some things rather than coming up with what to say.

    • Jessica

      Coming up with that lucky number 7 is tough for me, too. Either I’ve got a bunch of things I have to pare down, or I get stuck at #4 and have wrack the ol’ noggin for more Quick Takes. I’m too scatterbrained to have random QTs, so I like to use a theme each week. It helps (if I don’t run out of themes)!

  2. jen

    the lady-comp meter looks great — the cost is the only reason i wouldn’t use it.

    • Katie @ Wellness Mama

      The lady comp is great. I’ve had several of my NFP clients use it with good success. It is costly though… I just use an NFP app on my phone now.

  3. Jessica Snell

    Oh, I get stuck too, which is why I only participate every week or two – it takes me that long to collect 7 – but I enjoy reading yours every week all the same!

  4. Anne Bender

    Love your number 7-you have a wonderful sense of humor!

  5. Lauren

    The idea of Lady Comp sounds nice, but is the only thing it does is take your temp? To me, that’s a problem because the majority of unintended pregnancies occur from intercourse during the pre-ovulatory phase, not the post-ovulatory phase. The temperature pattern, while effective, is only for confirming that ovulation has passed. I’m of the understanding that for the pre-ovulatory phase, Lady Comp determines the start of the possibly fertile time (or phase II) by using data from other cycles of other women, which doesn’t make sense to me. To me, the single most effective way to manage this phase is to watch for your mucus pattern changes.

    • Christina

      I have a cousin who is a Lady Comp rep and he and his wife love it (they just had their first baby and insisted that it wasn’t a Lady Comp error 😉 While Lady Comp begins by using a generic cycle, after a few months of use, it gradually adjusts to your specific patterns and becomes more accurate. Most people actually have a small downward shift that happens in the pre-ovulatory phase which usually goes unnoticed, which I’m pretty sure LC also detects.

  6. Michael

    That’s what stops me from doing my own 7 takes each week. I’m not sure I’m creative enough to throw out that many ideas in one sitting.

  7. April

    I miss Rocks in my Dryer!!! She’s one of the first blogs I read and how I found your blog. We should start a campaign to bring her back. 😉

  8. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    I love getting up early and my days run so much more smoothly when I do. (For all the same reasons. Wondering aloud what day it is? Um, yes.)

    But staying up late is tempting….so I appreciate the continual encouragement. In fact, since you sometimes have a hard time coming up with 7 takes, please just copy and paste one of these joys-of-early-rising takes every week, and you’ll only need 6 fresh ones : )

  9. Jeanne G.

    Argh! I just wrote a thoughtful comment and forgot to type in the CAPTCHA code! I can’t even remember what I was saying!

    Oh yeah, #7 is the reason I couldn’t do Quick Takes last week. I could only think of 4 or 5, so I skipped it.

  10. Anna

    Re: #3 One blog that I really wish would come back is Kristen at My Small Treasures. I think she is a talented writer and I always felt uplifted after reading her blog.

  11. Jenny

    Yes, I miss Kristin of Small Treasures … where did her lovely family go? Nothing on the blog since April …

  12. Bonnie

    Wa-Hoooo for Behold! We’re thrilled you’re coming back!

    Also, #4 made me smile. We get that, too.

  13. Marie

    I totally want “Like Merchant Ships” back in my life. I often go and rummage thru her archives, whining and wiping away tears. Meredith, why don’t you just blog 1 or 2x a week? We miss you, girl!

  14. Judy

    Oh, but to have a nickel for every idea we’ve ever had or invention we’ve considered; only to see it HOT on the market several years or decades later!

    I must catch up on your blog and read about this “6 for 6”. Sounds interesting:)

  15. Linda

    Love the last two takes!

  16. Karianna@Caffeinated Catholic Mama

    Lady Comp does look very interesting! I need to get back to temping more regularly.

    Good for you about getting up at 6a! That is my goal at some point, once I figure out how to dislodge myself from a toddler and preschooler without waking them… (they wander in around 5a.)

  17. @JaredThaddeus

    The company that makes Lady Comp, by the way, for those interested, also makes “Baby Comp” for those trying to conceive.

    I am glad number 1 is working. I get about 30 minutes of prayer, reading, and coffee by waking up at 5.15. I could sleep longer, but wouldn’t trade that time of day anything. At 5:45, the lay monastic bells go off also known as children. I wish we had pitter-padder of little feet, instead we have sounds similar to the balrogs.

  18. Roselady

    That lady temperature looked really cool until I realized it cost $485…think I’ll just keep sticking with the manual method.

  19. Roselady

    Oh my, that computer temperature is $485. Despite its coolness, I think I’ll keep sticking with the manual method.

  20. karyn

    I love the Lady Comp. It was worth the price. The only reason I don’t use it now is that the baby chewed the wire and it’s too expensive to replace. It’s very conservative (it gives you a warning light very quickly in your cycle) so I don’t think there would be errors.

  21. Katherine

    Ugh. I get up by 6. Usually before 6. It helps some but not as much if my kids actually slept past 6! They just get up too early!

  22. Verushka

    The best fertility monitor by far is Persona. You can only get it from someone who will buy it for you in the UK and mail it to you, or else I believe you can buy one on the UK eBay. (& much less expensive than Lady Comp!)

    It’s better because Persona takes your pre-ovulatory phase into account. It, too, “learns” about your cycles as time goes on. It’s frighteningly accurate (as you can easily tell by using another method along with Persona). And you can buy the Persona strips online as well, but the big secret is: The ClearBlue ones work just as well and those you get in your local drugstore.

    It’s ridiculous that it can’t be sold here; it’s by far the best natural family planning monitor that exists.

  23. Jamie

    Yay NFP!! Sounds like a great conversation! I hope your friend makes the switch! :o)

  24. Trisha Niermeyer Potter @ Prints of Grace

    It is amazing what getting up early can mean for your entire household. In high school, I’d wake up an hour before everyone else and have my prayer and reflection time. When I was nannying and got up at the same time each week day, I also would build morning prayer time into my getting ready for the day routine. It really does make a difference.

    The Behold Conference sounds like it will be amazing! I would love to attend so I could meet some of the remarkable women I’ve been reading about and inspired by. We’ll have to see if I can get there. It would be so exciting to meet you and Kate Wicker!

    God bless!

    • elizabethe


      In fact, I read this advice in almost every “mom spirituality” book. Something that says “get up and say prayers before you start your day” and “make your kids stay in their rooms until you are ready for them to get up.” HA! Any tips on how to do that would be much appreciated. I go through a cycle about once every one to two months.

      After a week of really bad mornings, where I am grumpy and feeling frazzled trying to get the kids breakfast while they jump up and down in the kitchen grabbing things, I say, “I really need to get up before these kids so I can have some peaceful prayer time and get a good start to the day.” I set my clock to get up earlier than my kids, first day is great. 2nd day they wake up about 15 minutes after they hear me get up. Third day they are getting up when I get up. Within 5 days they are up before me and coming to my bed to wake me up. I can’t seem to make them stay in their rooms quietly like some other moms manage. They start screaming to be let out and whining about how hungry they are — that’s a GREAT start to the day, let me tell you. After 7 or 8 days everyone in the house is cranky and sleep deprived. Soon enough, I miss my alarm and we all sleep in until 8. They are well behaved, I decide sleep is more important than what time I get up. Repeat cycle.

  25. Katie @ Wellness Mama

    I’m blocking my schedule to hopefully go to the Behold Conference and I’ll register early if I can. It would be great to see you and Hallie and it sounds like such a great conference!

    #7 cracked me up. Most days, I have trouble just getting one good topic out, much less 7!

  26. Mariana

    I don’t recommend the ladycomp — just take your temperature and record it in one of the many online apps out there — their interpretation will be better and clearer, and you can always do it yourself.

    If you want to add “tech” to your nfp life, consider the Marquette method/Clear blue fertility monitor combo.

  27. Kat L

    #4: I lol’d! I felt bad promoting NFP when I had 3 kids under 3. Now that my third will be 3 by the time I have my fourth, I feel a little more qualified to talk about it.

  28. Beth Anne @ The Catholic Couponer Blog

    It’s funny that you said that about number 6 and 7 because I only had 5 and made up 2 more finally but I used to do a link-up TOP 10 TUESDAY! Now that one was kinda hard 🙂 I find these lists are easier to do if you make them about a theme.

    I love how you had a situation about number 4 this week. Esp since the Duggars announced their 20th child this week and I was reading that they don’t do NFP bc that is wrong they just don’t use anything. And I’m thinking if I had 20 kids we’d be eating ramen everyday and sleeping on cots. But to each it’s own.

    That thermometer looks nice but WAY out of my price range.

  29. Kate

    I have a Lady Comp and love it. I really like just having the thing take my temperature and the red/yellow/green lights for chances of conception. It’s easy and I don’t have to do a bunch of charting (or remembering what the thermometer said, or being able to read my 5 a.m. chicken scratch.) It’s also large enough that the cat doesn’t bat it off the nightstand and onto the floor, but I think that’s a problem that might be unique to us.

    I found it adjusted to my cycles fairly quickly since I inputted a bunch of data when I first activated it. After the first couple of months, I double-checked it with the clearblue test sticks, and the results from the two have been completely in sync.

  30. Kendra @ The Nerdy Wife

    I hear you on the benefits of getting up early in the day. I notice a difference in my mood and productivity when I do. It’s still a daily challenge to get myself out of bed though!

  31. Barbara

    cracking up about the woman’s face clouding over. I’ve had to reassure people that we don’t “use” any method except the “gap” time when we felt like it was the right thing to postpone. And it worked as evidence of the big gap!

  32. Angie @ Many Little Blessings

    I have considered going to the Behold Conference, since it’s within driving distance for me. I’ll have to keep thinking about it!

    I’m also sad that Meredith doesn’t blog anymore. I think that every time that she posts on Facebook (we’re Facebook friends). I got to visit with her and pray the Rosary one morning at Blissdom in 2010. It was really great.

  33. Monica

    I lov!e your 6 for 6 idea, and I missed it the first time around, so I’m glad you updated about it…I wrote about an effort (http://andillraiseyou5.blogspot.com/2011/10/ya-hear-that-yup-its-angels.html) I made to stop getting up at the last minute. And you are so right about it making a difference in the children’s behavior. When I’m better prepared and calmer, etc., they rise to the same.

    All these takes were great — I loved 6 and 7

  34. GeekLady

    Gotta be honest, I’d never use that LadyComp thing, despite that its shiny. As it is, I don’t even really keep up with the Creighton Method because I can’t find an instructor in the Houston area. I’m well enough acquainted with my body to just run around using a hacked up adaptation of the method that roughly asks “did I have a fertile sign in the last three days”.

    Although I kinda want to smack that lady with her horrified look. Why do people always assume couples with kids using NFP equal method failures, and couples without kids using NFP equal method successes? Grr.

  35. T.

    Jen, I love your blog! I always get such great ideas from you, and then I tell my husband that I got them from “the atheist lady” – which is shorthand for “the lady I heard on the radio who converted from atheism to Catholicism and writes a blog that I love”. I hope that you don’t mind, but if I call you by name he says, “huh?”.

  36. Emily B

    I think I need to try something like your “6 for 6” thing–it sounds like a great way to start each day!

  37. Kara McIntee

    Lady comp seems nice. I use an app for my phone to track stuff. I like it and it was cheap.

    • Kara

      Jenn can you delete this comment? I didn’t mean for it to say my full name or link to my family blog. I meant for it to link to my other one. I can’t figure out how to delete it myself. Ty. 🙂

  38. Sheila @ Seasoned Joy

    I miss Meredith at Like Merchant Ships a lot – she’s my most missed blogger now that Joy at Grace Full Mama and Jess at Making Home are blogging again.

  39. Kristy

    I’ve been using LadyComp for 7 years now. It has certainly been very conservative with identifying possible phase 2 days and reliable. With my body changing a lot with pre-menopausal symptoms, we occasionally cross check cervix to verify fertility or infertility. No unexpected pregnancies yet (and I was always a “fertile Myrtle” with my other six kids), but it keeps the door open as we prayerfully discern God’s will for us and our family.

  40. Laura

    I would love to go to the Behold conference, although it is a bit of a hike for me and I’ll be only 15 days away from my due date. But, if I go, then I would get to, like you said, see you AND Hallie Lord! You’ll know it’s me because I’ll be the extremely pregnant woman practically drooling over you.

  41. R.C.

    Okay, there’s something I’m missing, here.

    Why did the lady “almost faint” when Jen voiced approval for the method, when previously she’d been interested in it? And then, when Jen said she hadn’t used that method, she resumed interest?

    Why did that lady think any method is good so long as Jen didn’t use it? That makes no sense: Jen’s good folk!

    Apart from that, for $500, I should think they’d *implant* a device which’ll wirelessly take your internal temperature and broadcast it to an external base you keep beside your bed…itself a 4G device which’ll contact a (well-secured) Internet data-server and update your charts and history for you. And maybe do internal hormone sensing as well, thereby producing effort-free NFP with two simultaneous methods.

    Okay, all THAT would maybe be more than $500. But if I’m paying multiple hundreds of dollars, I want ease of use and plenty-o-bells-and-whistles, y’know?

    $500 feels like a lot if you still have to basically set your alarm to wake up at the same time every day, take your temperature and (I guess?) plug it in to the little computer.

    • Luisa

      Presumably because Jen has lots of kids, so the lady must have thought that the method Jen uses isn’t working.

  42. Amy

    I thought about getting something like the
    Lady Comp a few years ago. I have 7 kids
    and was trying to become a CCL instructor,
    but couldn’t follow through with it because I was
    frustrated with charting and getting resentful that
    I sucked at NFP. I love all of my kids. They are a
    blessing, but homeschooling 7 kids & life in general
    Is tough. I needed a break from pregnancy.
    I discovered the ovulation method by Families of America
    developed by Mercede Wilson (this is what the nuns of Mother
    Theresa in India teach the poor women there)which charts mucus
    only & a secret that a friend who has 9 kids told me.
    I DON’T USE the RYTHM Method! But, I do use
    it’s formula to know when to start looking for signs. The formula
    is obstain from days 8-18. Around day 7, I check for
    mucus, if I have any I obstain . I have a fairly normal
    27-28 day cycle. I start looking for my last day of the more fertile mucus
    Around day 14- 15. You need have 3 days more abstinence. Usually,
    By that time, I’m dry. Baby #7 is now 2 years 4 months
    old & I’m still not pregnant. I got my fertility back
    When he was 12 months old. This method has worked
    For me & taken the worry out of my life. I finally
    Feel like I have some control again. It still sucks
    to obstain when you REALLY want to have sex!!!!!
    But, I’m thankful to have discovered this method.
    Hope my humongous e-mail helps someone.
    God bless!

  43. Grete

    I’m so excited you’re coming to Behold (I’m one of the organizers.) I missed you last year as I had just had a baby (He was just 3 days old). I had planned on coming with my newborn, but the little guy had other plans- he was born a week past my “due date”. Can’t wait to meet you.

    Glad to hear the getting up early is going well. I try that some days, but it seems like the children just know that I’m trying to get moving before them and they wake up, too. Then we’re all up too early!

  44. Marcia

    Yeah for coming back to Peoria. We’ll be happy to see you again. Think you can convince your hubby to return too? This time he might get to enjoy the trip rather than studying!

  45. Dina Murphy

    I sucked at NFP. I use an app for my phone to track stuff.

  46. Rebecca Holter

    I’ve been using LadyComp for almost six years and love it! I would never want to go back to doing NFP without it……it was worth every penny!! 🙂 When I charted my cycle myself, I was always second guessing whether or not I had “read the signs” accurately. LadyComp makes it so easy! Everyday it gives you a green light (not fertile), red light (fertile), or yellow light (needs more info. to be accurate). The longer you use it, the fewer yellow lights you’ll see (I see maybe one per month now). God has blessed us with four sweet babies and each one was intentional…..there have been no “surprises” since we started using it.

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