7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 226)

July 26, 2013 | 47 comments

— 1 —

Wow! Seven posts in seven days. I kind of felt like a wimp for only doing a week of daily posts, since plenty of other bloggers commit to doing the same thing for a full month, but  I see now that a week is verrrrry much my limit. It’s been great, I’ve learned a lot, I’m more energized to write, and I’ll definitely do it again in a few months…but it’s good that Sunday is the last day. It would only take a couple more days of this to end up collapsed with my head on my keyboard, drooling and muttering, “Too…much…blogging.”

— 2 —

One of the biggest things I’ve taken away from this experiment is how little free time I have right now. Well, I guess I already knew that. But I understand it now with a whole new level of clarity.

For years, if I could get the littlest kids to nap at the same time, I’d have a good block of time to work on writing or other projects almost every afternoon. Alas, that time does not exist anymore. Even when I can get the baby and the toddler to do simultaneous naps, the four bigger kids have all these pesky demands like, oh, wanting to be fed lunch, and by the time I’m done helping them, one of the little ones is awake again. (I recently posted my daily schedule here.)

I will go for hours at a time jumping from one task to the next, trying to hold in mind the four other things that I’m also supposed to be doing. For example: I’ll be making lunch for the five big kids, but at the same time, the toddler’s diaper needs to be changed, the baby is waking up from his nap and starting to fuss, the phone is ringing, and someone starts screaming that her sister poured orange juice into her milk. These days, I consider it a slow period if I’m just working hard at one urgent household task and don’t have a million other things that should have been dealt with five minutes ago.

— 3 —

This is why I’ve been staying up too late. I’m the type of person who absolutely has to have a little quiet time in order to stay sane. I could easily go days — maybe even weeks — without socializing or even leaving the house. No problem at all. But give me a full day with noisy people all up in my grill all day long, and I start to feel like my brain is melting.

In theory, I believe that it’s best to take your personal time in the morning. I’m the world’s biggest night owl (I’m not entirely convinced that “morning people” even exist), but I think that having some time to get in a good mental place in the morning is a key factor in feeling on top of your life. Rolling out of bed at the very last minute would be like an NFL player sleeping on the field and waking up to play once the game has already started. If you don’t stay ahead of the curve, you’ll be crushed.

But here’s the thing: in our small house, I’m likely to wake up the kids if I get up early (there is this one creaky spot in the stairs that betrays me EVERY TIME). Right now, the late-night hours when everyone else is sound asleep are my only chances to get a few moments of silence. One of these days I’ll aim to get back on an early-rising schedule, but for now I’ll stick to staying up late.

— 4 —

I got to sneak away to meet Calah Alexander for lunch this week. I first discovered her site when she wrote “What a woman in crisis really needs, ” which is one of the most powerful blog post I have ever read. I’ve followed her writing ever since then, and love her thoughtful, humorous style. Her posts are humble and honest, and she always brings a fresh angle to everything she writes about. If you don’t follow her, you should.

Ladies who lunch.

Ladies who lunch.

— 5 —

I don’t think I ever mentioned that we had the baby baptized. It was an amazing day, of course. His godfather is my cousin, Br. Claude Lane, the Benedictine monk iconographer (who couldn’t make it because of vows of stability and stuff). I was surprised and delighted that his godmother, my friend Jessica, was able to make it.


Jess and I originally met through blogging circles, and we’d never actually met in person since I live in Texas and she lives in Virginia. It was such a treat to finally meet face-to-face, and really made the weekend extra special.

— 6 —

So, I got an iPhone. My cell phone company caught me in a weak moment, and I accepted their offer to get a free one if I signed my life away to them for another couple of years. I blame Instagram: I kept seeing all these crisp, gorgeous photos that everyone was taking with their iPhones, and then I’d try to do the same on my Android and end up with a black, blurry mess. Here’s my short Android vs. iPhone review:

The camera on the iPhone is better — vastly better — but the Android has a better user experience. It is as if the Android designers worked day and night to create the most amazing phone possible, but by the time it was time to deal with the camera, they were exhausted and just didn’t care anymore. I do like my iPhone, but, other than the camera, it’s not the vast improvement over Android that I thought it would be.

Anyway, what apps do I need?

— 7 —

I was cleaning up blog files and found my old “two stout monks” commenting policy, based on old Benedictine monastery rules for guests. That sign really does offer the perfect rules for blog commenters. I think I’ll add it back to the main page.



  1. Joy

    I totally agree with you about the phone. Only for me, the change was the other way. My iPhone met an unfortunate fate at the hands of one of my daughters two years ago. (She took it out of my purse at the park… and left it there. *sob*) And my husband’s was stolen out of his car. So rather than get new ones, we switched to Androids. Annnnd, I keep asking if we can get iPhones again. 🙂

  2. Beth Anne

    #3 – is SOOOO ME!! I also live in small quarters and I usually wait for everyone to go to bed and get some peace and quiet and then do some introvert stuff aka surfing the web/reading blogs and stuff and then go to bed. That survey of morning people totally stressed me out getting up at 6am for fun? No way!

    I LOVE my iphone but I’m kind of an apple snob. I have an iMac, iphone, ipad, ipod touch, etc. I did have an android phone about 3 yrs ago and I HATED it. I think it was the cheapest android ever though. So an iphone seemed SUPER awesome compared to it and I had an ipod touch (which is basically an iphone without the phone) for awhile before I got the android..so I was used to how iphone stuff is…idk

  3. Jeni @ Patron Saint {of Poopy Diapers}

    Whoa!! Could my 7 QT be any more timely??

    Check out the crazy awesome pictures (if I say so myself) I took with my iPhone 4. Whole new meaning to camera phone… I want to upgrade to the newest version at some point (by the time I can upgrade who knows where we’ll be, 6b, 8z?).

    Have fun with it! I love mine.

    • Jeni @ Patron Saint {of Poopy Diapers}

      As for apps, all mine are preschool apps lol. Worth gold to me in the doctor’s office though! Anything Toca is fun for my kids…

      Photography-wise, Photogrid is pretty handy and Pic Collage is very fun (time consuming but cool).

      Course there are the regulars: Pandora and Spotify, Urbanspoon, Instagram and then of course some Catholic ones you probably already know: Meaculpa Pro (so that no one thinks I’m taking confession seriously while I flip through my phone in line), the Marians of the Immaculate Conception’s Mary and Divine Mercy apps are my favorites. For list making I like Paperless.

      Surely someone has cooler apps…

  4. bobbi @ revolution of love

    1 – The difference is that you spent each day writing amazing and thought provoking posts. Whereas I rambled a little, stuck on a photo and called it a day.
    2 – Agreed!
    3 – Again, agreed!
    5 – Congrats! You look lovely, btw. (Although, whenever I see you “dressed up” I think of the story of how Hallie tried to be your personal shopper. I think that sealed my fangirl status, for both of you. ;-))
    6 – I love my iphone. I have a ridiculous amount of apps but my faves are iMissal, iConfess, Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin, Spotify, Goodreads, Kindle, Pinterest and CardShark.

  5. Chris

    Thank you for hosting…I love your 7 QTs.
    Congratulations on the sweetie’s baptism, as well….lovely picture.
    I’m enjoying the 7 in 7 challenge, as I’m just getting back in the swing of things after returning home from a cross country trip with the family. It’s keeping me focused and planned in blogging about the trip:)

    God bless!


  6. Leila@LittleCatholicBubble

    Yay for meeting Calah, and oh my gosh how do you look so gorgeous after having a baby? Love that baptism photo. From one late owl introvert to another, nighty-night!

  7. Claire @ Everything is Grace

    If I only were to recommend ONE app to you it would be ‘ iPieta ‘. It is such a fantastic app with the bible, Church Calendar, prayers and lots of spiritual reading e.g. JPII, Benedict, Francis, St. Therese, St. Patrick, St. Josemaria, Vatican 1&2…. etc etc. It is so invaluable, I simply could not live without it!

  8. Joanne @ Our ABC Life

    A. Your schedule wore me out. I am trying (not) to imagine what my schedule will look like come late October when I am trying to motivate 3 little ones out the door by 8:15 and I have definitely not thought of the (seemly) impossible task of trying to get out the door come next year when the 4 yr old will be in pre-K at the Catholic school which starts a half hour EARLIER than the preschool / mother’s morning out program they go to now. Yeah, maybe if I continue to not think about it I really won’t have to deal with it. How’s my approach? : )

    B. The floor in my parents house squeaks – which wakes up my mom. I have seriously memorized where the creaks are and definitely avoid them like the plague. But man when I misstep on one it seems SO LOUD!

    C. Oh Godparents. The jury is out on the godparents for baby numero tres. Do we go with someone from our (insanely small mission) church or some of my friends from college? Decisions… decisions!!!

  9. (Tasoni)

    This is definitely not what I expected my first comment on your wonderful blog to be, but iPhone camera is something I really get!

    You think your new iPhone camera experience is “eh” and it’s true. The camera is wonderful; the standard app to use it? Not so much.

    Download Camera Awesome from Smugmug. Free and amazing. (The only downside is you have to take an extra step to get the pictures you love/edit out of the app and onto your camera roll.)

    Some amazing features? Rapid fire shooting (great for catching a kid in action) and the ability to set exposure and focus point separately (hit the preview with two fingers). Let me know if you need more tips, but the best thing to do is download and start playing with it!

  10. Renee


    When I get a free hour or two without the children, I go crazy and clean with bleach. It’s impossible to do any chore that needs that level of attention and requires gloves.

  11. Christine Johnson

    First, can I say that the fact that I wrote yesterday for this post, had it auto post at 7 am, and I’m STILL about the bazillionth on the list is disheartening? There are morning people, Jen, and THEY HAVE QT POSTS ABOVE MINE! :-p

    As for apps, I’d recommend taking a look at CatholicMom.com’s Tech Talk series. My top recommendations are Shopper and Gas Cubby (if you do a gas/maintenance book). If you travel at all, Packing Pro is fantastic.

    Finally, people do this for an entire month?! Whew! Thanks for making it easy!

    • Christine Johnson

      Uh, I did NOT post “New Theme: Magnate Express,” blog gods. That’s so STRANGE that it showed up like that, especially when the preview said I posted Seven Quick Takes last.

      Anyway, now that I’m not on my phone, I can give you the Tech Talk link: http://catholicmom.com/tag/apps/

  12. Mamabearjd

    You can download the Divine Office app – it has some audio – I try to play it softly while making breakfast, though the bigger kids claim the voices are creepy.

  13. Kelly M.

    Yes, I’m a night owl when it comes to writing. Trying to write during the day, especially now that the younger ones don’t always nap, is about as productive as letting them do the writing for me. But of course, exhaustion due to travel, illness, etc. will often cut into that quiet night time and I can’t recover it.

  14. Emily B

    Morning people do exist and I am one of them!
    My youngest son has to be to swim practice by 5am so I am up at 4:35 am 5 days a week. I would never choose to get up at that time but once I am up I enjoy it! If I wasn’t a morning person I would probably come home and go back to sleep. Instead, I get morning prayer done, sometimes I exercise (trying to get better about that), and I go to 6:45 Mass before I have to pick him up at 7:30.

    I’m not a napper. I get by with 6 hours a night during the week and on weekends I naturally wake up later, like 7:30, but still not late.

  15. el-e-e

    Two stout monks! Hahahaha! That’s awesome.

    Happy weekend to you! Hope it’s a restful one. Your #2 made my brain hurt. You’re superwoman, for sure!

  16. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    An emphatic yes to #3! My baby (okay, he’s 3) quit napping, which somehow has made our “quiet time” absolute chaos this week and I’m feeling it. My defense mechanism is to read and read and read to shut out the noise. So, yay for finishing 3 novels this week! It’s probably better than hitting the wine….

    And #4? Jealous.

  17. Michelle @ Endless Strength

    I never had an Android. And to be honest, I really don’t understand what people mean when they talk about “user experience” and all that jazz. I’m just a roll-with-the-punches person with all things technology. My husband is a Mac geek and so we have iPhones and the iPhone is the only smart phone I’ve ever had and I love it.

    I do my run in the early morning…it’s also when I pray my rosary. It is my quiet time I guess. and I agree…it helps focus me for my day and I have noticeable struggle on the days I don’t do it.

  18. Rita @ Open Window

    I hear you on the daily blogging thing. I had signed up for a daily blogging challenge for July so I’m doing your #7for7 at the same time (hope that counts), and it is doing me in. I have no time to myself. And why did I think it was a good idea to blog daily while we are also packing our house for a move and before our children are in college…or even elementary school? Your daily blogs have been terrific, though. For the iPhone are you looking for things for you or the children? All I seem to have on my iPad are games to keep little ones entertained….

  19. Amy

    I am completely in agreement about one week being my limit for daily blog posts. I started out the week ahead of the game, writing at night and scheduling the post for the following morning. I got yesterday’s post up at about 10:30 and still have to get around to today’s! I HAVE been really enjoying daily posts from you though!

  20. Hevel

    #1. I had to cheat by posting twice today and will post twice tomorrow. Two days just got way too busy to even think about posting.
    #5. Mazel tov!
    #6. My son’s Sony Experia phone has the same quality camera as my partner’s iPhone. Samsung cameras are pretty awful, though.

  21. Lisa Schmidt

    I did the great big Droid to iPhone switchero recently, too. I’m with ya. I really miss the sleek Google integration. But, I’m not giving up hope just yet.

    Here’s a couple fun apps I recently found.
    1) Bring your kids’ coloring projects to life: http://mashable.com/2013/07/18/colar-review/
    2) Bump (to share all those photos you’ll be taking now): http://mashable.com/2013/07/18/colar-review/

    *Re, godparent. As I pray about godparents for my babe in womb, one person who I don’t know all that well outside of Catholic social media keeps coming to mind. Glad to see your selection is of the same cloth – a gentle confirmation for me! TY!

  22. Catherine

    #s 1, 2, 3 — Yes, yes, yes! So much prefer quiet morning time but CANNOT give up the guarantee of quiet night time.

    #5–Congratulations!! Just from the picture, did you stop veiling after Lent? Would love to hear more of your thoughts about that.

    #6–My husband just got an iphone last week. I am now constantly stealing it to take pictures!

  23. Amelia

    Yes, morning people definitely do exist…and I’m one of them. In fact, I will go so far as to say that before the invention of electricity, the vast majority of the human race were morning people, because really, what else are they going to do at night, after it’s dark?? That could just be my theory though, but I really cant’ imagine people staying up too late when they didn’t have electricity.

    Anyway, my natural cycle is to go to bed between 10-11 and wake up between 6-7. If I didn’t have kids, I’d probably go to bed between 9-10 and wake up between 5-6, but with kids, I stay up later so I can get some free time and time with hubby as that only works at night (my kids all get up as soon as I get up, or earlier).

  24. Kris, in New England

    We are an iHouse. Started with an iMac and iPods and never looked back. We love our iPhones – they really do help with communication and household scheduling. Of course you must know that there is an Evernote app for the iPhone… Another app that is wonderful is the 1000 Gifts app; but you also should “friend” 1000 Gifts on Facebook. I also love StarWalk for those crystal clear nights when the stars just sparkle. Goodreads is a must along with Facebook and Pinterest (oh dear Pinterest…). I also have a SleepMaker app that lets me fall asleep to my favorite sound – soft surf crashing.

  25. MyFemnineMind

    Well, since you asked….you need Ahaba Marriage Meter!

    It’s designed to help couples communicate on things like fertility signs, relational needs, moods, experiences, and more. So how I use it, I turn on the notifications and set them so I get a notification to record my Info a little bit before my husband gets off work. So I record my fertility signs, my mood, and my experiences that day, then my husband gets an automatic email sent to him and gets a heads up about how my day is going! So he knows if I’ve had a super stressful day and maybe am feeling disappointed, and he knows if I’ve had a great day and am feeling inspired, or I’ve received good news or whatever.

    The app also gives couples education on the relational needs of women in different parts of her cycle, and gives the couple suggestions on ways to honor those needs. So for example, women who are menstruating often do not have as much energy as in other parts of her cycle, and they often feel pulled inward and have a higher interest in reflection. So a way that she can honor herself is by removing unnecessary engagements from her schedule to allow herself more time for rest and reflection. A way a husband can honor his wife at this time is by taking on some of her normal chores, again to allow her more time for the rest and reflection that she needs. The couple gets information like this for all the parts of her cycle, and the couple can also chart in the app the ways they have honored one another that day. I love it!

  26. Rosemary

    Congrats on your little man’s baptism!! What a joyful event. 🙂 I think I love baptisms even more than weddings.

  27. Deanna

    iPhone vs Android; I still have a non-smart phone but I’ve decided I am getting one as a reward for finishing 5 weeks of boot camp. I’ve got 4 more to go. Now I wonder what to get?

  28. Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook

    An app you might like is My Secret Hideout. You drag leaves onto your tree, and as it changes the description of your hideout changes. It’s very soothing. Unless you try to figure out how it works. So don’t. Just enjoy your virtual hideout, with an observatory and a stillroom and a cozy sleeping chamber….

  29. Jules

    I use feedly, facebook, and twitter obsessively on my iphone. Bookworm and Tower Madness are both fun little games.

  30. Janet

    Laudate is free for Iphones and Androids. It is amazingly comprehensive in Catholic content.

    My teens stay up too late and my 8 and 4 year olds rise too early. Sigh. I am also someone who needs quiet time. I am sad that the 4 year old is giving up naps; I read to him, I fall asleep, he leaves!
    I am melancholic with some phlegmatic traits, ISFJ, and my sleep profile is EW, varies, L.

    Thanks for blogging all week!

  31. Colleen Duggan

    I just wanted to thank you for hosting 7 Quick Takes every week. I was hesitant to jump on the bandwagon, but once I did, I’ve found it to be so much fun. So thanks again!

    PS. Love the monk commenting policy.

  32. Emily Davis

    Um, I don’t like my iPhone. My husband finally insisted this last upgrade when we switched companies and I still had my super old, no data plan, just texting and answering phone.

    I love the iMissal and Laudate.
    I don’t do Facebook, twitter or anything on my phone. It’s too much of a leash that way.

    Have fun playing with yours.
    Blessings and thanks for the fun week.


  33. Jess

    My iPhone got me in trouble in the confessional once – I was using iConfess when confessing as it is great for examination of conscience prior and lists them all out while confessing. Through the grate the priest saw the glow of my phone and said, “Are you checking your email while in Confession???” I almost had a heart attack! I explained what I was doing and then he launched into a conversation about what a good idea that ap was and did I think other people knew about it? It was the weirdest confession I’ve ever had! 🙂

  34. TheReluctantWidow

    #3 – that is me! I have found that I need a good two solid hours after the kids are in bed to just chill. Most of the time my kids go to bed by 9pm in the summer (a little earlier during the school year) so I can get to sleep by 11pm. BUT, as my kids get older, without my husband to help me corral them into bed, this summer it hasn’t been odd for it to be 9:30-10pm before they are off to the Land of Nod. Sadly, that doesn’t mean they sleep until 8am. They still wake me up with their demands for attention and food by 6:45am.

    I am not giving up my practice though because it’s the only time I get to focus on whatever I want to do, even if that means doing it while catching up on a load or two of laundry.

  35. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries

    I love that Two Stout Monks image – if only everyone lived by their rules everywhere! I’ve very much enjoyed your seven days of blogging challenge, and it has been a challenge to find time and gather thoughts when that time I set aside actually surfaced. I empathize with the small house and creaky stairs. We have the same issue, though this week we have an added stressor of being at my mother in law’s with our bathroom ripped apart. That makes for an even more interesting schedule!

    Happy re-birthday to your babe! How neat that the Godmother is someone you met through blogging. I’m continually blown away by the connections I’ve made even in my short few months of blogging regularly.

    That is all. 🙂

  36. Marcy K.

    My husband and I just switched companies and got iPhones a couple of days ago. It launches us out of the dark ages where we had 4 year old “smart” phones that were grandfathered in with no data plan. My son chose an Android. We all love our phones. I have had an iPad for a year so have a bit of app experience. In the past two days I’ve downloaded tons of apps. The usual ones of course (Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Kindle) I also got a flashlight app, iBreviary, EWTN, AnyList is supposed to be good to share lists w/another person but I have not used it yet. RL Scanner, which I haven’t used yet is highly recommended to be able to scan bar codes to find deals. I’m excited that I also bought a new case for the phone: http://www.speckproducts.com/candyshell-flip-for-iphone-5.html It comes Tuesday. I’m looking forward to Facetiming my hubby too. I’m going to CMN again and that will be a great way to show him around. Congrats on the phone.

  37. Carolyn@4Life4Life

    Your numbers 2 & 3 are my life right now. I failed at the 7 day challenge, and DEMAND you tell me how you did it in my unraveled QT’s. But I see now. You must’ve had to do it with one foot, while your hands tended to the children and urgent house chores. I stayed up to finish my QT’s …and even at that the baby disturbs so easily and can’t really be put down.

  38. Micaela @ California to Korea


    #6: I just got my first smart phone in a long while (dumb old pone whilst in Korea) and it’s a Samsung. There is a feature called “swype” that, as far as I’m concerned, blows iPad/iPhone typing out of the water. It’s sooooo easy to type on, even for my clumsy fingers. Not that I wish buyers remorse on you or anything…

  39. Kassie Rutherford

    The picture of you and Calah!

    The mother-loving picture of you and Calah!

    My life has been made. Love it. Y’all are beautiful!

  40. Cam

    Okay, so when I saw your post scorpion vs. alligator post a few hours after Calah posted about meeting you I totally had to wonder: Did you and Calah discuss the great alligators versus scorpions debate? Since she lives smack dab in the middle of the land of the alligators?

    I just had to read that post out loud to my husband, and it had our five year old running over and staring wide eyed and saying: “Those don’t live in Michigan do they?!?!?!” at your scorpion picture (and having lived with both in places we lived in the past, I tend to agree… if I had to choose one, it would be alligators outside instead of scorpions inside!).

  41. Steph

    I’m confused. I have an Android (Samsung) and my picture quality is definitely on par with all my family and friends on the iphone. Perhaps it was the phone not the operating system?

  42. Lynn

    Seriously, sweep some baby powder into all the cracks around that stair! Lift the edges of the carpet if needed and squirt it in. It will hopefully fill up the space that produces the squeak, and then you can sneak to your heart’s content!

  43. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    Um, I’m a little late on the commenting and whatnot. I have been dealing with multiple crisis (crisees? crisises?) as well…the food, the diapers, the naps. So needy.

    Anyway, I want to know more about your son’s Godmother. Mike and I are already wondering who our next kid’s Godparents will be. We are very choosy (in a good way!). No, I’m not pregnant again yet, but the Godparent thing is on my mind.

    How did you and Joe come to this decision?

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