7 quick takes, pacifiers, random miscellany

7 Quick Takes: Pacifier Madness Edition

Because I know you’ve all been holding your breath to know how the glucose test turned out on Tuesday, I’m going to report on that first.

I don’t have gestational diabetes.

I know we could have dealt with it and managed just fine for the next 9 weeks or so, but I’m glad ecstatic that I don’t have to think about counting carbs and testing my blood sugar four times a day. It would just be one more thing, you know? My brain feels kind of full most days already.

We celebrated the news by eating a bunch of sugary yogurt with even sugarier toppings from Sweet Frog. (Do you have Sweet Frog? I feel sad if you don’t.)

Speaking of full brains, I’ve been wishing Dumbledore’s pensieve was a real thing that I could order on Amazon. I really, really need one. I have all these lists of things…stuff we need to do before the baby comes, things I need to take with me when I leave the house, errands I need to run, questions I need to remember to ask George. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I get up and “empty my brain” onto a piece of paper so I won’t have to lie there trying not to forget anything.

It seems like a terrible waste of energy. And paper.

I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.” 

Yes. This would be much more efficient.

One thing on my mind lately is the children’s 6 month dental appointment. So far, no one has had any cavities, but we go regularly so that Sam can have a cleaning and the girls can get used to the idea that one day they, too, will have their teeth cleaned.

It’s never boring.

The appointment was supposed to be on Tuesday, but since I was busy vacationing at the midwives’ office for the glucose test, I rescheduled for later this month. Our favorite babysitter is going along to be the extra set of hands (ever tried to wrangle 3 children ages five and under while someone tries to get them to open their mouths wide and starts touching their teeth? It. Is. Madness.) I’ve promised to treat everyone to Chick Fil-A afterward if we survive…but I already know the biggest hurdle we have to face will be before we arrive at the office that day.

The dreaded moment has arrived. It’s time to get rid of the girls’ pacifiers.

I know, I know. They’re 2 1/2. I should have done away with the pacis (or “passas,” as the girls call them) long ago. My sister told me so. “You’ve got to get rid of them early or it’s going to be even worse,” she said, having survived the process with her own daughter.

I should have listened. I was weak. I made excuses. “They only use them when they sleep,” I said, which is true- they turn the passas in when they get up, and I stash them in a high place where they are out of reach. Somehow, I thought only using them for sleeping would make it easier to ditch them when the time came.

(What was I thinking?)

Sam never used a pacifier, and I would have naively said then that people shouldn’t use them. Funny how having twins changed that know-it-all feeling I used to have. The pacifiers have been lifesavers. I’m indebted to them, really.

Did you ever see the old film Reefer Madness? It was all about how smoking marijuana made this group of respectable teenagers insane…they danced! to jazz music! how scandalous! and someone ended up getting shot, I think. Totally over the top craziness- it ended up becoming a cult classic.

No pacifiers. You’ll regret it one day.

Anyway, I can’t help thinking that we are in our own film- Paci Madness. It starts out fine enough…harmless little latex nipples with cute plastic rings on them that help the babies sleep. They don’t cry. They suck happily and drift off to dreamland. The parents sigh contentedly and smile at each other as they snuggle into their own bed, happy to be getting such wonderful rest. It’s all thanks to the paci.

And then…the paci madness starts.

The babies start throwing the pacis. They scream and demand that the parents come and pick them up. The parents drag themselves out of bed two, three, even four times in the night to retrieve the little lost opiates so that everyone can go back to sleep.

At just past two years of paci use, this is where we are.

The time has come to say goodbye to the pacis.

Besides, I know that in a few weeks, the dentist will ask if they are still using them, and I really want to be able to say, “No! They gave those up!” I’m pretty sure I get some kind of Good Mama Award if I do that, right?

Please, friends…pray for us. I think this could get ugly.

To replace the pacifiers, we told the girls they could choose “a special friend,” which is their name for a stuffed animal.

Where would they like to go to look for these special friends?

IKEA, of course.

I think Lucy and Nora have been to IKEA once since they were old enough to remember, but they talk about it all the time. They push their babies in their strollers and say they’re going to IKEA. They drive their Duplo guys in cars and say they are going to IKEA. I’m not sure what IKEA did to make them customers for life, but they got these girls early.

Anyway, I think we’re going this weekend for the special friends and random other pre-baby needs: plastic mattress covers, hooks for towels, a small bookshelf, a lamp.

And probably meatballs. (Why are those so good?)

I guess we could view quitting the pacifiers as a milestone of sorts, just one I’d rather not have to experience.

Other milestones are much more pleasant. Every time we finish a read-aloud book with Sam, it feels like kind of a milestone, too- the kind you fondly note in someone’s baby book (or their homeschool reading log!). We finished Peter Pan this week and are ready to move on to our next book. After some discussion, it seems like it will be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this time.

This post by Micaela made me think. Are we introducing some of these books too soon? Having an advanced reader in the house is challenging- he wants to read better and harder stories all the time, and usually we try to have our read-alouds be things he might not be ready to tackle on his own. I try to guide him toward things that he’s emotionally ready to handle and that won’t overwhelm him. Peter Pan was racier than I remembered- we had to skip some parts when we were reading aloud- but he loved the story and the pirates and the excitement. I know he’ll read the book again in a few years when he’s more mature because he was so fond of it. I don’t want him to be forced to only read The Magic Treehouse books for the next few years until his maturity catches up a bit to his reading level…but I’m not willing to throw him into the deep end with books that he’s not ready to handle.

For now, I think it’s okay that some of the language and some of the themes in what we read aloud together are going over his head. We’re laying a foundation and fostering a love for great language and good stories and deep, interesting characters. It’s okay if he doesn’t get every detail right now.

George is doing another running streak this year. Last year, I participated, too…we ran at least a mile a day every day from Memorial Day to Independence Day. It was challenging, fun, and motivating, and it helped lay the groundwork for my marathon training.

This year, I’m jealous of the running streak (or really, of anyone who can run at all). My joints are super loose this pregnancy- my hips have been popping in and out of joint just from ordinary activities of daily living, so I can’t chance any running until a while after this baby is born. I miss it so much. I think running functions kind of like the pensieve for me…a place to deposit thoughts and sort them out.

The endorphins are nice, too.

At least I have some labor-related endorphins to look forward to…and the running days will be back eventually. Still, if you’re one of those people posting every day about your mileage on social media, please don’t be upset if I stop commenting on your posts for a bit. It’s not personal. I’m just sad without my own miles to claim…and you don’t want me to compensate by starting to post about how many poopy diapers I rinsed off every day.

Hey, maybe now that we are getting rid of the pacifiers, we can tackle that potty training thing in earnest!

As always, thanks to Jen, our amazing host.
For more Quick Takes, visit her at Conversion Diary!
liebster, random miscellany

It’s an award, not a chain letter (ok, it’s kind of a chain letter)

The extremely prestigious Liebster award has a muddled history. It’s a way for smaller bloggers to promote each other and share the love by answering lists of each other’s pressing questions. It might be kind of a chain letter, but I can’t think of anything more flattering than being nominated for an award by a fellow writer I admire. Since I’ve been nominated twice this year, I have two lists of questions to answer.

I should be awesome at this.
I answer questions all day long. For example:

Why don’t Catholics believe in Thor?
Why is that tree (in Patsy Cline’s Walkin’ After Midnight) sadding?
Where is my blankie?
Can I paint the walls now?
What is Saturday? (No, I know when is Saturday. I want to know what is Saturday.)
Did Jesus bleed?
Can I have more cereal?
Do you get to eat an extra marshmallow if your peepee goes into the potty?
Where are my favorite yellow socks?
Can you read this book to me?
Why won’t Sammy read this book to me?
If I flip this H upside down, what letter will it be?
If you could be a planet or a dwarf planet or any celestial object, which one would you choose?

It never ends.

Happily for me, the questions asked by my blogger friends are a little different. Thank you, Rabia and Kendra, for the special recognition of this award. It’s such an honor to be nominated by you!

The rules of accepting the award are as follows:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you. (Does this need to be a rule? Would people not naturally do this? What kind of world are we living in, for heaven’s sake?)
  • Answer the 11 questions of the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers you admire who have fewer than 200 followers. Or fewer than 2000 followers. Or something. This part isn’t exactly clear.
  • Ask 11 of your own burning questions for your nominated bloggers to answer.

First, Kendra’s questions:

1. Where do you live? And why do you live there?

I live in Luray, VA. If you live here, you have to say it “Loo-ray.” Like “Hoo-ray for Loo-ray.” We have lived here long enough to know that.

Luray is the kind of classic American small town where people move to raise kids. They have a duck race in the creek every spring and fireworks downtown every July 4th.We moved here when George started working as an associate pastor at one of the local churches. We didn’t have kids then. It was going to be short-term. It’s been 12 years. We have almost four kids now.

Life happens.

2. What are you currently watching and/or reading?

Watching: Torchwood. We ran out of episodes of Doctor Who and are trying to fill the void. Torchwood is far inferior to The Doctor, but it’s not awful.

The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day (for The Well-Read Mom, a book club I’ve been hosting at my home this past year)

When the Labels Don’t Fit: A New Approach to Raising a Challenging Child by Barbara Propst

3. What kind of Catholic are you: cradle, or convert? (Or considering?)

I was raised Southern Baptist, made a commitment to Christ as a child and joined the Catholic Church just after college. I don’t like the word “convert.” All Christians are Christians, just like all ice cream is ice cream. A Buddhist who becomes a Christian is a convert. A Baptist or Presbyterian who becomes Catholic is still a Christian, just a different flavor. I think the technical term is “coming into full communion with the Catholic Church,” not “converting.”

4. Can you point to one moment or experience that made you a practicing Catholic? (Or want to be?)

I had a roommate in college who was (and is still) a truly loving, caring person. She lived her faith in an active, vibrant but not overly showy way. She made a big impression on me. I started doing my own research, did a lot of reading, started attending Mass at the local Catholic parish, and fell head over heels in love with the Eucharist. That is what ultimately drew me in. When I started the RCIA program at our parish, it was on an exploratory basis, but it became its own journey, and by the end, the pull of Christ in the Eucharist was just too strong for me to walk away (even if I had wanted to). It felt like coming home.

Incidentally, my former roommate makes beautiful things for her etsy shop…and she’s still lovely.

5. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

14, give or take a few, but I really only wear three of them right now. I should just get rid of the heels, shouldn’t I?

6. Are you a good dancer?

My kids think so. I don’t generally dance in public unless I’ve had a glass of wine.

7. Who usually drives, you or your husband?

He does. I like to knit in the car. 

8. What’s your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate it?

Christmas is my favorite holiday. We observe Advent, so we don’t really start with Christmas until Christmas Eve. We usually have our Christmas at home on Christmas Eve, celebrate with a big breakfast, go to Mass that evening, and then travel to spend the night and the next few days with our extended families who live in other parts of the state.

9. Which is correct? Left or Right?

Definitely left.

10. Do you have any scars?

I have one on my left knee from falling on the blacktop at school while jumping rope in third grade. I have another one on my right thigh from falling out of a tree at my grandma’s house. The tree was rotting, and I wasn’t supposed to be climbing it…the branch I was sitting on broke, and down I came.

11. What’s the most famous thing you’ve ever done?

I marched in a special parade on New Year’s Eve with the JMU Marching Royal Dukes for the 700th anniversary of the Grimaldi Dynasty in Monaco. It felt like a pretty big deal, even though all the local ladies thought we were from Belgium (and one of them stomped on our banner when she found out we were Americans).

And now, Rabia’s questions:

1. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you in the past week? 

You know, this week hasn’t been as funny as some others. The worm incident was pretty funny, but that happened last week (I think).

2. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Make coffee. Then drink coffee. 

3. Do you speak another language? If so, which? If not, what language would you like to learn?

I speak some Spanish, a little French, and some Signed English (not ASL). I’m learning Latin along with Sam. I’d like to be better at all of them before I took on anything else.

4. In high school were you into sports, band, choir, art, or something else?

I did band, drama and field hockey in high school.

5. If you were going to write a memoir, what would you call it?

All Will Be Well, with some catchy tagline so people wouldn’t think I was just stealing from Julian of Norwich.

6. When you snack do you go for sweet, salty, fruity, or crunchy?

Sweet. Better yet, chocolate.

7. List three songs at the top of your playlist lately.

“Raspberry Beret” by Prince and the Revolution
“The Longest Time” by Billy Joel
“Restless” by Audrey Assad

8. Which of your parents do you think you are most like and why?

I think I’m a pretty good mix of them. I look a lot like my mom and I can make something out of nothing. I’m pretty driven and have a tendency to hold myself and everyone around me to very high standards, which is like my dad.

9. If you could become a character on a TV show for a week, who would you choose to be?

I’d like to travel with The Doctor, but I wouldn’t really want to be any of the people who did that. Maybe Amelia Pond?

10. What is your favorite blog post that you’ve written?

It’s hard to pick one favorite, but I really like this one.

11. Tell us something interesting going on in your life right now.

I’m trying to figure out how to pick my battles with my very independent, divergent-thinking five-year-old son. It’s never boring.

And now, for my nominees:

Rosie at A Blog for My Mom
Kelley at Over The Threshold
Beth Anne at Beth Anne’s Best
Bobbi at Revolution of Love
Claire at Claire Writes
Maureen at Canadian Catholic Mom
Kathleen at Becoming Peculiar
Rhonda at Naptime Novelist
Sarah at And Twins Make Four
Chris at Campfires and Cleats
Heather at Blessed and Busy

That’s eleven. Some of you don’t update that often, but I hope you might play along, anyway. If you don’t, I guess the Liebster police are going to come get me or something.

Here are your questions, folks- I’m dying to know:

  1. What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten (where, with whom, relevant details…)?
  2. If you could only have 3 books to read/reread for the rest of your life, which 3 would you choose?
  3. What one habit or trait would you erase from your life?
  4. What is your favorite day of the week and why?
  5. What’s your favorite quotation?
  6. Do you wear shoes in the house?
  7. What’s your favorite chore and why?
  8. What one song would you like to never hear again?
  9. What one word are you most likely to misspell?
  10. If you could close your eyes and be any place in time or space when you opened them, where would you be?
  11. If you had to rename yourself, what name would you choose?

That’s all…you can post the answers on your blog if you like (and be sure to let me know- I really do want to know these things about you!).

7 quick takes, random miscellany

7 Quick Takes, 2 Days Late: The Awesome Train of Thought edition

Speaking of awesome, everything is. Awesome, that is. If you haven’t seen The Lego Movie, you should. It’s hilarious. We took Sam tonight on a Mama-Daddy-Sam date to his very first movie, and this movie was worthy of being someone’s very first movie. It was great. The grown ups in the theater were laughing more than the kids.

Also, I’m adding the theme song to my running playlist.

In addition to going to movies and taking up swordfighting with paper towel tubes, Sam has been looking for more adventure in his life and has begun bathtub snorkeling (with the safety goggles from his dinosaur fossil excavation kit and a leftover juice box straw from his McDonald’s Happy Meal).

He wants to try it at Lake Arrowhead.

I think we will probably be saved from watching him suck that algae-filled water into his mouth by the simple fact that when Lake Arrowhead opens for swimming, the juice box straw (and possibly the goggles, too) will have been lost for a long time already.

Sam has also begun reading my blog. He finds it by googling “survin our blessings.”  I realized it when he referenced a post I’d written about Lucy and suddenly started using the word “rogue” (which he pronounces “ROG-yoo”).  I don’t think I use that word a lot (do I?), but he said this blog post is where he first saw it.


That seems like a reasonable way to pronounce it.

Speaking of pronouncing things (or mispronouncing them, as the case may be), this video is a hit at our house. Everyone keeps asking to watch it again and again. I’ll post it here as a public service announcement in case we are the only Dupuys you know.

Now you try it. Doo-Pwee. It’s not that bad. Not Deputy, Duppy, Doopy, DuPREE, or (my personal favorite) Dah-POO-Wee.

Tomorrow’s forecast: more snow and ice.  I am not complaining, because I love snow and ice. Mostly I just need there to be enough that things get canceled and we can hang out at home in our jammies. Still, after being able to go without coats this weekend, even I will be ready for warmer weather when it finally gets here. I feel like winter is the hardest time to be a parent of small children. All the coats need zipping and half the mittens are always lost no matter how careful we are to put them away.

Does that happen to you all, too? And why is it that the moment when I just need them to wear one pink and one grey striped mitten is the one moment that my kids decide they really, really have to match?

Nora, who dressed herself in three shirts, a jacket, tights, and two pairs of legwarmers.

Speaking of colors and matching, I Love This Game. Lucy got it as a Valentine’s gift from George’s mom, and it’s so much fun. Even Sam likes playing. You should get it for the two-year-old in your life.

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(That’s a Big Fat Amazon Affiliate Link. If you click through it and buy something, Amazon will pay me a tiny amount of money for promoting them. Even if you don’t buy the game through that link, you should really get it somewhere.)

It’s a large plush cube with a color on each side. The colors correspond to cards that have tasks on them…things like stomp your feet six times, or make a silly face, or find something that is blue. The child rolls the cube, picks a card with the matching color, and then completes the task. There is no winner, there is no time limit, and everyone in my house thinks it’s the best thing ever.

Part of the reason I had kids was so I’d have someone to play games with me, so having one that even the two-year-olds can play makes my life wonderful.

Lent starts next week on Ash Wednesday. Starting tomorrow, I’m working with Bethanne’s Best and Two O’s Plus More to do a meatless meal linkup each Monday. I’ll also have a post this coming Tuesday for all those of you who (like me) might not have figured out exactly what you’re doing for Lent yet. Expect lots of ideas from people who are already on top of their stuff (and also an explanation from me about why it’s okay if you aren’t yet). All good things.

Also, if you haven’t seen our Lent-stagram photo-a-day linkup yet, we’ll be starting on Wednesday with a daily prompt based on the lectionary readings for the day. Come post your photos on Instagram, Twitter or your favorite social media outlet and make this community photo journal even better.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 quick takes, random miscellany

7 Quick Takes: The Jumble of Thoughts edition

This is true 7 Quick Takes – 7 things you want to know that aren’t long enough to warrant their own posts.

How badly you want to know about these things depends on who you are and how interesting you find my musings about random things (like Suzuki violin, car alarms and Random Guys With Fishing Poles).

SuperSam told me today that he loves me as much as 13 million thousand googolplex thousand gajillion Jupiters in a row. And if all the planets’ orbits were stretched out in a straight line, end to end, and then fused together and then bent into one enormous ellipse, it would not be big enough to contain God’s love for us.


In the world of Suzuki violin at the Dupuy household, things have been bumpy this week. Yesterday, my very stubborn, very articulate son spent two and a half hours trying to argue with me about why he couldn’t/wouldn’t/shouldn’t/didn’t have time to practice his Twinkle Variations. I sat in a chair the whole time and just kept saying, “I hear what you’re saying. Unfortunately, you can’t move on to the next thing until you finish your practice.” He finally did it.

Once he started, it took him less than 10 minutes to play all the variations and 8 repetitions of the first phrase of “Lightly Row.”

Then it was time for lunch. It was time for lunch because he used up our entire morning with his non-practicing, and I let him do it.

I knew about twenty minutes into the whole thing that the approach I was taking wasn’t really working. I also knew he wasn’t going to back down easily. In a very mature, awesome parent moment, I decided to dig in my heels and be more stubborn than he was.

Although he did eventually finish, it didn’t feel like a victory. I hate it when my child’s weaknesses are so clearly coming from me.

Today, I gave him a marshmallow for each variation- he got to eat them at the end. The whole process took 12 minutes, and he got an extra marshmallow for being awesome. Maybe things are turning around.

We have been enjoying the new-to-us van. Every time we get into it, Lucy says, “This is really our car now,” and Nora says, “Hewwo, new van!” The downside: there are these crazy newfangled electronic keys that only open with buttons, and only one of them works. Somehow, George ended up with the working one.

Only the driver’s door has a regular lock. To use it, you have to slide this button on the electronic key thingy over and push another button to pull a valet key out of the top. Then you can put the valet key in the door to unlock it.

When you open the door handle, though, a crazy loud alarm starts, and everyone within a mile looks to see who is trying to steal a van. To stop it, you have to stuff the valet key back into the top of the electronic key thingy and shove it into the ignition and turn it on. Meanwhile, your kids cover their ears and scream at you about how loud the alarm is, and everyone nearby stares as you struggle to stop it as quickly as possible.

George, we have to remember to switch keys.

The Sisters’ increasingly crazy nap time situation has resulted in Lucy’s temporary relocation to a nap spot in the living room. I have begun removing her to a pack and play by herself for nap time. Without Nora to do her bidding, she gets bored and falls asleep. Without Lucy to keep her awake, Nora also falls asleep. There is, altogether, less trouble and more sleep.

There is also a pack n play in the living room, which (as you might imagine) adds greatly to the decor.

Tomorrow, we are making the questionable choice to go to IKEA. It can be pretty crazy on a Saturday, I know, but this trip really needs to happen. We have to get a wardrobe for the girls’ room to have a way to close something up (so that they stop redecorating their bedroom behind closed doors with every article of clothing they own). They also need actual big girl beds, because we need at least one of their cribs for the new baby (and it seems better to make that transition early for many reasons). SuperSam desperately needs a clip on reading lamp that will clamp onto his bed.

Thank goodness we have that van with the stow and go seat…and George’s key, so the alarm won’t even go off when we open it.

It’s 55 degrees here today. Lucy sighed as we passed the Greenway on Wednesday (when the high temp was 16 degrees) and asked if we would ever be able to take a walk there again. “I remember there is a tunnel that I love so much in my heart,” she said. After naps today, we headed out there to walk. We needed to take advantage of the bright sunny spot of warmth…they’re calling for snow and more super coldness next week.

On our walk, we met another twin mom with a little girl in kindergarten and a set of fraternal 2 year old boys who were born the day after Lucy and Nora. That is an instant friendship. It almost doesn’t matter if we have anything else in common. We exchanged phone numbers. I kind of wanted to hug her and buy her one of those BFF necklaces, but I decided to wait.

Also on our Greenway walk, we encountered a Random Guy With Fishing Pole who gestured at The Sisters in their red coats and grunted, “They’s twins?” When I told him they were, he pointed his fishing pole at my stomach and said, “You better not be havin’ twins again!”

That’s one I haven’t heard before. I guess I can add it to the list of things you should never say to a mom of multiples. Or anyone, really.

Also, I guess I officially look pregnant enough that Random Guys With Fishing Poles are going to stop their fishing to call me out about it. Good to know.

You know what’s almost never boring? Attending ecumenical gatherings with my liturgically-minded Catholic kids. We occasionally go to Mission Friends, a non-denominational gathering of parents and kids at the Baptist church in town. The kids hear a story about a real-life missionary, have a snack, sing songs together, and usually do an art project. Today, there was a tray game (just like at a baby shower). Objects related to the missionaries of the day were arranged on a tray. The tray was covered with a blanket, and an object was removed. The kids had to guess what was missing. SuperSam and his friend Aubrey are the big kids now and confidently supplied the majority of the answers.

At one point, the leader asked, “Why would I put a candle on the tray today?” SuperSam didn’t hesitate at all. “Because it’s almost Candlemas!”

(I’m pretty sure from my own Baptist upbringing that Ms. Judy has never heard of Candlemas.)

He’s right, though. Candlemas is this Sunday. Candlemas is 40 days after Christmas- the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Traditionally, churches bless the candles that will be used for the rest of the year on this day. Although our church doesn’t really do that, we still like to mark the day and will probably stock up on new candles at IKEA tomorrow.

St. Brigid’s day is coming up tomorrow, too. Here is how we celebrated St. Brigid last year. If you’re looking for ideas to celebrate either of these days, check out these great posts:

Overview of Liturgical Living in February from Carrots for Michaelmas
Liturgical Living: Candlemas from Carrots for Michaelmas
Candlemas and St. Blaise from Two O’s Plus More
Ideas for Celebrating Candlemas from Catholic Icing

Have a great weekend- and check out more quick takes over at Conversion Diary!