7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 216)

May 10, 2013 | 53 comments

— 1 —

The baby turned one month old this week! We’re finally drifting into something that looks like a routine, and the PPE (Postpartum Ennui) is slowly getting better. I was starting to feel like things might never improve. I was so profoundly unmotivated and uninspired that I suggested to Joe that maybe life as I knew it was over, and from here on out I would spend my days shuffling around like a zombie, not trying to do anything, letting go of all my goals outside changing clothes every few days. (The doom-and-gloom predictions got even more ominous than that, but I’ll spare you the drama.)

I had forgotten that it can take a long time to bounce back from traumatic experiences, especially when they occur over a long period of time. Now that I think about it, after we went through a difficult few months in 2005, after everything finally blew over I felt like I had adrenal fatigue for a couple of months afterward. Whether or not it was a diagnosable condition, I was definitely mentally and physically exhausted from being under so much stress for a prolonged period of time, and my body needed a few weeks to just zone out and chill.

I think that’s where I am now. On those moments when I catch myself engrossed in Dora the Explorer thirty minutes after the kids have left the room, I need to remind myself that I’m probably still in recovery mode.

— 2 —

My kids must have such a different impression of the Tooth Fairy than I did when I was a kid. In my childhood, I would always put my tooth under the pillow the night I lost it, and the Tooth Fairy would come promptly and leave me a lavish gift that was exactly to my liking. It is so very different around here.

My kids often puzzle at the fact that sometimes we can’t put the tooth under the pillow for a couple of days because the Tooth Fairy is “out of town.” Then there was the time my six-year-old put her tooth under the pillow and it was still there and there was no gift the next morning (this was a couple of weeks ago, when she had the misfortune of losing a tooth the day the baby came home from the NICU). The Tooth Fairy is also a kind of an erratic figure to them, since sometimes she leaves really nice gifts, and other times it’s a couple of crumpled dollar bills that look like they’ve been stuffed into the pockets of some mom’s jeans for a few days.

When I was a child, imagined this fairy to be a perky, confident being, kind of like a Martha Stewart with wings. I think my kids imagine a disheveled slob floating into their room each night they lose a tooth, rummaging around in her overstuffed bag for a random gift, then barely getting her act together enough to stumble out the window and drift over to some other kid’s house, probably getting lost a couple of times along the way.

— 3 —

The great new Feedly app interface.

After acting like the Google Reader shutdown was the worst thing that has ever happened in human history, and specifically calling out Feedlyย as an “alternative” that was too depressing to think about, you might be surprised to hear that I am now a big Feedly fan. In my defense — and to the Feedly team’s great credit — it was kinda lame when I wrote that post back in March. The Android app was basically useless, which was problematic for those of us whose lives revolved around reading blogs on Android tablets.

But the folks and Feedly stepped up in a big way, and added a ton of features to their app (to give you an idea: when I first downloaded it a couple of months ago, they were on version 7; now they’re on version 15). I would go on, but it is embarrassing to admit just how important it is to my quality of life to be able to read blogs in a convenient format.

— 4 —

To my shock as much as anyone’s, we’ve actually been sticking with the healthy eating thing. This is seriously surprising to the mother who was regularly letting her kids have Cheetos with a side of Goldfish for lunch just last month.

The ease of the transition was all thanks to the fact that the kids jumped the shark with their obsession with junk food. You see, for the longest time I had resisted making changes to our diet because it would be too hard. “I just couldn’t deal with the kids constantly whining about not having their favorite snacks around!” said I.

But then it got to the point that they were constantly whining for me to get them their favorite snacks when we did have them in the pantry, and I realized that I probably wouldn’t be dealing with that much more whining if I stocked only high quality foods in the house. So I just stopped buying crackers, chips, bread, pasta, tortillas, etc., and stocked up on tons of fruit and veggies instead. There were a couple of days that I’ll henceforth refer to as The Great Dorito Famine of 2013, but after we got past that it’s actually been fine. I leave fruit sitting out on the table all the time, and the kids have learned that it’s easier to just have some of that than to try to coerce lazy mommy to get off the couch to get them something else.

— 5 —

I continue to be inspired by the concept of Bento Boxes, and got a few plates with multiple compartments to experiment with. Granted, my concoctions are totally uncreative and boring, but I’ve found the concept to be key to avoiding processed food at meals.

Green beans, rice crackers, sour cream, tomatoes, and pickles for my pickiest eater's lunch.

For whatever reason, I’ve found that it’s easier to get the kids to eat good food when I give them little bits of a variety of different things, rather than trying to get them to eat one thing in big quantities.

— 6 —

Speaking of me being sunglass-blessed: My mom asked me what I want for Mother’s Day, and since she already does sooooooo much for us I wanted to think of something super easy for her. I offered the usual protestations of not needing anything at all, but since I knew she’d get me something anyway, I said that I’d love a new pair of sunglasses if she had any of her usual freebies handy. She gave me this pair of Tom Fords, which she happened to have lying around:

I’ll just be tacky and tell you that they retail for almost $400. I noticed that the model is called the Jennifer, ย which I take as a divine sign that it is an immutable part of my destiny to have outrageously awesome sunglasses.

— 7 —

The Novena to the Holy Spirit starts tomorrow if you’d like to finish it on Pentecost! For those of you who aren’t familiar with it (or with novenas in general), it’s a nine-day series of prayers, with each day focusing on a different gift of the Holy Spirit. I have always found the Novena to the Holy Spirit to be a particularly powerful experience, and highly encourage you to do it.

[UPDATE: Oops! The novena begins TODAY, not tomorrow. That’s what I get for blogging while tired.]

Hope you all have a great Mother’s Day weekend!



  1. Beth Anne

    I think it’s awesome that the Novena to the Holy Spirit starts tomorrow since the confirmation students at my parish are also getting confirmed then!! It’s been interesting to find out that there are TONS of other readers out there besides Google Reader (Gasp I know!) I’ve been enjoying the Flipboard app. It makes me feel famous by making blog posts like a magazine/book.

  2. deltaflute


    Will notify you by e-mail so you won’t forget! And no, I wasn’t paid. Just informing because if you’re like me you don’t remember.

  3. Melody

    The take about the Tooth Fairy had me cracking up! Maybe your kids appreciate eccentric characters! hahaha. And thank you for the link to the novena. I am not familiar with novenas and I plan to check it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hannah

    Being the melodramatic wuss that I am the first month of Leo’s life was spent measuring the time between emotional breakdowns (we eventually got to the point where I lasted several hours, miracle of miracles!) and days with acceptable hygiene (I refuse to acknowledge how loose I use those words). Keep up the amazing job and know that you’re in our prayers! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. GeekLady

    Any potential postpartum drama on my part has just been overshadowed by the revelation that the baby girl we’ve been referring to by name for the past 18 weeks is really a boy.

  6. Amelia

    Thanks for the novena reminder. We need major prayers around here, so we’re doing ALL THE NOVENAS.

    I love your tooth fairy description…that’s basically how it goes around here too.

  7. elizabethe

    true story.

    My son lost two teeth in a row, like within a couple of days. We always give him a silver dollar. So, the first tooth, he got the silver dollar and all was find. The second tooth when under the pillow and the tooth fairy forgot about it. I was in his room in the morning as he was checking under the pillow and he said “the tooth fairy forgot to get my tooth.” Just at that moment, I saw he had left his silver dollar laying on the floor so I said, “well, she was probably upset that you are not taking care of the last dollar she gave you.” I thought I was pretty clever.

    then he lost it and said, “No, Mommy! The tooth fairy is not real, it’s just an invention and you are just making that story up because you forgot to put a dollar under my pillow for my tooth!”

    5 years old.

    Jen, where did you get those plates! I totally want them.

  8. Laura

    Love those sunglasses!! The tooth fairy at our house looked just like yours, that is why she just gave up and stopped coming all together. It is so much less pressure that way ๐Ÿ™‚ I know, bad mommy. Oh well, the kids lose a tooth, they bring it to me, I give them a quarter. Not a bad deal all the way around. Have a blessed Mother’s Day!

  9. Erika Evans

    Wait, that is what your ‘pickiest eater’ will eat? Even my more adventurous eaters would eat….the crackers. You are lucky.

  10. mamabearjd

    That’s funny, I just switched to Feedly this morning and you were first.

    Bagged organic apples at Costco. I know the wrappers are wasteful, but the weekly tab for organic apples from Central Market was insane. I’ve been buying 2-3 tubs of the bagged organic apples and putting them in a low drawer in the fridge.

    I think the tooth fairy we knew retired around 2007. That’s when I started seeing really sloppy action around my house. Obviously there wasn’t a good training program, though I did see him/her throw a $20 at a child for losing a molar (maybe to make up for slighting said child several times in the past?) but warning said child not to make it public.

  11. Molly R

    Actually, the coolest thing about the Holy Ghost novena is that it is the very first novena, institute by Christ Himself. He told the Apostles to go into the upper room and pray after the Ascension and they did,until Pentecost. So the novena would actually start today, so that it concludes on the vigil of Pentecost.

  12. Sarah

    Those sunglasses were meant for you! And I’m pretty sure we share the same tooth fairy!!

  13. Barbara C.

    Um, according to your link, the Novena starts today, Friday.

  14. Lauren (LPatter)

    Re: Jennifer glasses – I always think I’m a little weird, not being a superstitious or supposedly materialistic person, when I’m eyeing a piece of clothing at Marshalls or TJ Maxx and instantly want it because it is made by Ralph Lauren and has my name on it! (Often they just say “Lauren” on the tag.) And I remember looking for a pair of navy dressy heels for a wedding when I was in college, and Nordstrom was having a sale (usually way out of my price range) and the perfect pair was there, called Lauren, I just thought it was too amazing! My mom has a pajama brand that is about 3 letters off from her name that she loves. So funny. Otherwise kind of uncharacteristic for us.

    It must be our inner children looking for those name magnets at novelty stores, right? I think Grace Patton posted something about that awhile back. ๐Ÿ™‚ lol. (Though as a Jennifer I bet you could always find yours, right? Unless they were sold out!)

  15. Kathleen Basi

    $400 sunglasses?????!!!!! I will never understand why, first of all, anybody thinks a pair of sunglasses is worth that, and second, why anyone would pay for it!!!

  16. Patty

    Ah yes, the tooth fairy. She was never very Martha Stewart-esque around our house either. Once our oldest found her tooth still under her pillow in the morning and wrote the tooth fairy a note saying, “My tooth is small so maybe you didn’t see it.” The next night she left the note and her tooth on her window sill, to make sure it would be seen! And I just found this gem in her folder the other day: “Dear Tooth Fairy, I swallowed a tooth on June 1, 1991. I will tell you how I lost it. We ate pizza. And I had a very loose tooth. Please believe me.” As I recall, the tooth fairy was very trusting and left her money that night. That daughter is now 29 and in a religious order.

    Thanks for the invitation to do the Novena to the Holy Spirit! Sounds wonderful.

  17. Margaret

    I *knew* if I put off making a decision about a Google Reader alternative long enough, someone else would do the work of testing all the options and then I could just go with the winner. The buzz about Feedly has definitely been better of late, so I might need to make the jump finally…

    Also, love the shades. And happy first month, baby!

  18. Michelle

    I need a good pair of sunglasses like that! They look awesome on you!

    I’ve been following Paleo for 2 weeks now. but I haven’t had the guts to put the kids on something more restrictive. Maybe it’s because my husband is the one who’s dealing with all the whining, LOL

  19. Britt Fisk

    Those glasses were made for you! So pretty.

  20. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    The tooth fairy sounds more like an aunt I have…

    And, I would like to thank you for your reminder of what life is like with a newborn. How soon we all forget. I am getting prepared to lower my expectations and increase my cable package as we speak.

  21. Carol@simple_catholic

    I am glad that you are starting to feel better Jennifer. You have been in my prayers.

    Thanks for the reminder of the Holy Spirit novena!

  22. Jennifer

    How funny is this–Not only did we share the same tooth fairy growing up, but I think our children must be sharing the same tooth fairy now! We have had more mornings start in tears than I care to admit because our assigned tooth fairy is so forgetful and haphazard. It’s gonna be rough when the next two kids come through the line up!

  23. Wendy Lister

    Welcome back Jennifer – your post this morning was like having coffee with an old friend. I can now rest assured that our family’s Tooth Fairy has relatives in Texas.

  24. Chris C

    Thank you, Jen, for hosting!
    Love it here and love this fun hop…heading to read as many of the other bloggers now that I can squeeze and then come back later for more…:)

    Congrats on the little sweetie’s 1 month bday!
    Happy Mother’s Day!

  25. Dwija {House Unseen}

    I have been trying to leave a comment for, like, 15 minutes or something, but I keeping having to say things to my children like “pants that are too big are big because you are not big enough yet to fit into them so take them off and put on the ones that are the right size…” (not said: before I freak OUT)

    So I’ll just say love the Bento and love the sunglasses.

  26. Natalie

    Great to hear that the healthier eating is going strong. Having fruit out on the table all the time has been helpful for our family as well. My husband made a dramatic change in his diet and has lost over 100 lbs in the past year (he needed to do it). His good habits, which include eating lots of fruit and veggies, have rubbed off on me and our two kids!

  27. Becky

    Try this for the Tooth Fairy’s “not thinking moments”: the next time you forget to leave something under the pillow and your kid complains about it, tell them to look everywhere and while they are looking quick throw something under the bed (by the head of the bed.) I did this once when the Toothfairy forgot to leave something and told my daughter that her treat must have fallen on the floor during the night. Sure enough, there is was, under her bed! Works every time! My daughter also thinks that the Tooth Fairy needs to get herself together. ๐Ÿ™‚

    BTW, this is the 3rd time someone mentioned this novena, so I will take that as a sign and join everyone. Thanks for mentioning it!

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Oh, wow, that Tooth Fairy tip is GENIUS.

  28. Kris

    Thanks for the novena! And that tooth fairy image was hilarious! My children must think the tooth fairy is a careless, lazy fairy who often drops money behind the bed and forgets to take the tooth out from under the pillow….!

  29. Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    Small amounts of lots of food-I’m gonna try that!

  30. christine

    I love our description of the tooth fairy. Our kids, being their logical selves, never believed in it, which made it very easy to be lazy about it. I’ve had a child come to me and say, “I lost a tooth two weeks ago. That tooth fairy must be REALLY busy.” When changing sheets, I’ve found a tooth I didn’t know the child had lost. And just a couple months ago, a child put post-it notes all over the house that read, “Dear Tooth Fairy, I lost one.”
    Your face was made for expensive sunglasses.
    My friend’s husband was transferred to Japan, so they are all there for three years. My friend is just a bit intimidated by the Bento boxes. I most certainly am not made to do such things. I’m quite happy with the directive, “Just make a sandwich.”

  31. Caitie Rose

    Sending the HS Novena to my youth group kids! Keep it cool with those shades!

  32. Laura

    Gorgeous glasses! Also, you are guilting me into eating more fruits and veggies – going to go eat an apple now. Happy Mothers’ Day!

  33. Joy @ Caspara

    Yeah, what is it about the compartmentlized plates that makes them so attractive to kids? To me, they are reminders of the horrors of school cafeterias. To my kids, they are inspiration to eat healthy, diverse lunches.

    As to the tooth fairy… In our house, she is always running a little late. She has been known to have been out of town on occasion. ;-). My second daughter came to breakfast one morning a few years ago, and I asked what the tooth fairy had brought her. She put her hands on her hips and went, “Mo-o-o-m! I know it’s you!”

    When I asked what would put such a preposterous thought in her mind, she said, “Because it’s always a bunch of quarters and stuff, and you never have dollar bills in your purse!”


  34. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries

    I think if anyone is allowed to be in a recovery fog, it is you. I join you in solidarity…at least that’s what I will tell myself. I find that my fog hits whilst driving and realizing I have listened to half of the Jake and the Neverland Pirates CD before actually registering that I was listening to it. In other news, is it odd that I am relieved that you have changed your mind about Feedly? I was beginning to think maybe I was missing something. I don’t know about all the fuss over Bloglovin’ so if you have any wisdom to share about that, I would definitely welcome that. Last but not least, thank you for simplifying the Bento box idea. I’ll confess that I was uber impressed with your determination to create them, but am even more impressed at the simplification of it to make it something more achievable by the average schlub of a mom like me. I’m off to buy compartment plates because I’m betting my littles will eat better this way as well. Thanks!

  35. Dan

    Oh so true about traumatic events taking time to heal.

    Was reading about the victims of the bomb blast and how slow the recovery will be. A 38-year old woman managed to walk ten feet with a walker and said she thought, โ€œOh gosh, this is going to be a long time.โ€ It made me wake up to the fact that the body’s (including the brain’s) recovery time has got its own timetable. I tend to think every ailment should resolve itself quickly else or else modern medicine isn’t doing its job. I got a taste of this patience-testing during a bout with depression – I could scarcely believe how long (a month or two) it took to feel better. Which of course isn’t that long in the big scheme of things.. It was astonishing given that my previous experience of feeling down was on order of a day. It was a quantum change but I can take from it, hopefully, a longer time horizon.

  36. Joan

    thanks for posting the Novena, Jen. Fr. Uche asked us to pray it at noon Mass today, so I was going to search for it tonight. You saved me some time, so i really appreciate it!

    re: Tooth Fairy; a few dollar bills and lots of change is fun to discover under the pillow in our house!

  37. J.R. Baldwin

    The family I nanny for shops mostly at Whole Foods, which has drastically bettered my taste buds. It’s amazing how a little creativity can go a long way on feeding the kids well — like hummus and carrots, peanut butter (or almond butter!) and celery, cherry tomatoes and everything! I’m trying to carry that into my marriage, with a husband who poo-poos most fruits and vegetables. Oh well. Better luck with the kids! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Those sunglasses are FABULOUS!!!

  38. Cheryl

    Nice shades!

    The Great Dorito Famine of 2013 made me laugh!

    Terrific the way you simplified the bento box into a do-able, healthy lunch that actually still looks nice with all the different colors and shapes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Donovan

    Today’s Gospel reading:

    John 16:20-23

    We do Family Gospel time almost every night. This reading brought to mind your Tuesday posting.

    “that a child has been born into the world”

  40. Monica

    Jen, I loved and laughed with everyone reading your 7 quick takes. I love the sunglasses but to pay $400.00??? I am glad to hear the whole family is doing well. I to need to change my diet too, thanks for the example. I always tried to leave a little something under my son’s pillow when they lost their tooth’s.

    I hope in a few years you will be able to film another reality series. Miss seeing all the kids, your dad, Ya Ya and Joe. Would your mom consider a cameo or 15 minutes of fame???? FYI, my sisiter Pat liked your series and has become a first time grandma AKA YaYa….she loved that name and your mother in law.
    GBY and your family

  41. George @ Convert Journal

    On item #3… the announcement of shutting down Google Reader was the end of the world as I knew it! A difficult to believe announcement along the lines of Pope Benedict stepping down or when my old Protestant denomination went far off-the-rails. I covered a lot of ground every day via Reader.

    Frantic search time… leading to Feedly. There may be alternatives for those who follow only a few feeds, but if you follow a lot of blogs then Feedly is on top for flexibility, performance, platform and user support. They have picked-up over 3 million Google Reader exiles already. Feedly is working on a “Pro” (non-free) version. I don’t need it as the free version is really, really good. None-the-less, I will be happy to buy the paid version just to support them.

    It is crucial to the blogosphere that good feed readers exist. Google has a vested interest in Google+ as a walled-garden, controlled user experience (no real philosophical difference from AOL or Facebook in this regard). Blogs in the wild are not controlled by anybody and feed readers are the glue that allow every individual to custom tailor how they listen to those voices. Maybe it is a good thing that Google is relinquishing their dominance (and control) of this area.

  42. Elisa | blissfulE

    Yep! Those sunglasses were made for you!!! You look terrific (as ever).

  43. Roxane B. Salonen

    Okay, I LOVE those sunglasses! You are gorgeous in them; they rock. I need a pair, but I might have to sell one of my kids to get one, and I’d better not. ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. 'Becca

    Hey everybody, did you know you can get neato compartmentalized plates for FREE?! Just make friends with somebody who eats frozen meals that come in compartmentalized plates, and offer to accept all the discards! They are designed to withstand microwaving, so they can go through the dishwasher (top rack) at least a few times and will last years if hand-washed. They are made of plastics that are at least THOUGHT to be safe for food contact. Because you didn’t pay for them, if you find one that was forgotten under the couch and now has moldy ketchup welded to it, you can just toss it. Reusing is earth-friendly, and when the plates are worn out (if they are clean rather than welded to moldy ketchup) they can be recycled, so it’s a win all around!

  45. Melissa

    Our tooth fairy was very busy, the majority of times was unable to attend to the tooth on the first night. Once the kids ended up sticking a note on the front door pleading with the tooth fairy to stop and pick up the teeth (by then we had multiple teeth awaiting)

    … and on another (although maybe not completely unrelated note) I love feedly too.

  46. Sharon

    I hope someone is still following these comments! I have a new Nook and wanted to use Feedly but it is not making any sense to me! How do you add a blog to follow? I enter search terms and it seems to come up with articles that have that term, not with blogs by that name. And if i ever do get it working, will I be able to read previously downloaded pages when I don’t have a wifi connection available? I know it’s ok to ask here because of course I want to follow Conversion Diary and lots of other Catholic blogs?

  47. Kate

    I like to use Easy Lunch Boxes (or the similar Ziploc brand item) when we are out of the house for lunch. They work great for our backyard or park picnics and road trips–they can hold their box on their lap and eat fairly easily.

    When we’re home, I do a muffin tin meal once a week…usually Muffin Tin Mondays. I bought five 6-muffin tins at Dollar Tree for my kids. It’s a good way to give them a little bit of a variety of foods…and I find that it’s an easy way to use up random weekend leftovers!

    I have five kids..ages 6, 6, 5, 5, & 4 and we like Bento style lunches!

Connect With Me On Social Media or Explore My Site



The "THIS IS JEN" podcast is on Facebook & all podcast apps


- Subscribeย on iTunes or Google Play (audio)

- Get weekly bonus episodes on Patreon

- Sign up for my email list to be the first
to know about new tour dates