Fashion Therapy for Three Year Olds

For about a month, zu had a problem that we could not for the life of us figure out. I won’t go into detail, to save her from future embarrassment, lets just say she was potty trained and Regressed.

We tried taking her to the pediatrician (tummy problems?), tried ignoring it (a cry for attention?), considered punishing it (especially after the wiping-it-on-the-floor incident…), and the potty-charts upon-potty-charts, but nothing seemed to work.

Then my friend jenn mentioned that maybe this is a Control issue, not a rebellion or necessarily emotional issue like we’d thought. We’re planning a move and I’m pregnant, so there’s a lot going on in z’s little 3year old world. A lot that she has no control over.


is it any wonder she loves Fancy Nancy?

so I stopped doing what they typically advise you to do with 3 year olds—give them a couple options of what to wear in the morning, to limit choices—and instead let her have full reign of her closet.

the problem stopped! She loves picking out her own clothes—she lays out her outfits the night before and sometimes also before nap, for those afternoon wardrobe changes. And sometimes also her sister’s outfits, though junie owns a disappointing amount of “casual dresses”.

If we had only known it was as easy as letting her mix leopard print, stripes and tutu-skirts, we would have had a lot easier time this winter. Fingers crossed that the success continues….

Book Notes

The Beginner’s Bible Come Celebrate Easter Sticker and Activity Book by Kelly Pulley
_240_360_Book.1486.coverEven though it is not remotely Easter yet, we’ve already gone through this book—cold weather but no snow left me with some bored kids! Both girls enjoyed the stickers, and June colored in it (though the pages were sort of glossy-ish, which is not Best for coloring). Some of the activities were too old for Zuzu (who is 3), like the word search, for example. Zu has been asking me a lot of questions about death lately and about Jesus dying on the cross, so going through this with her gave me some good opportunities to answer questions and for her to ask questions. Overall, I’d recommend this activity book for kids maybe ages 4 – 8 years old (if you want them to be able to do all the activities—June is only 1 and still had fun with it).

(I received this book from Booklook Bloggers for review)

Helper By Design: God’s Perfect Plan for Women in Marriage by Elyse Fitzpatrick
I think that this book would have been best for me if I’d read it anytime between high school and my first year or so of marriage; but, going on 8 years married, many of the lessons in it I’ve learned from other sources (or from experience!). I’d recommend this book for any newlyweds, or women who have questions about submission/feminism/etc. Fitzpatrick spends much of the book talking about God’s created design for the role of women and how we are to relate to our husbands. I wish there had been a little bit more practical implementation steps involved—but maybe going through this book with a group would add that.

The Soup Club Cookbook by Courtney Allison, Tina Carr, Caroline Laskow, Julie Peacock
I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a cookbook before, but this one caught my eye, since I’ve been all about Soups this winter. Plus, soups are great for entertaining—they feed a lot of people and its easy to ask people to bring sides—salads, breads, etc. So far I’ve tried one of their non-soup recipes—the honey ricotta crostinis, which were a hit with the entire family!—and a soup, the baked potato soup, which was again delicious (it is hard to mess up a potato soup though). I though the book had good instructions on starting a soup club (which I don’t plan on doing, no time for that), and some fancy things that I’ll never really have time/desire to make (like if you want to go from-scratch with your sour cream or roast and peel by hand about 100 chestnuts), and nice pictures/easy instructions. It also had a good amount of soups that my family would actually eat and some ones I could slip in there when the family is really hungry and not too picky, to get them to be a bit more adventurous. I’m really looking forward to trying the black bean mole chili and the Italian Wedding soup.

(I received this book from Blogging for Books for review)
The Wind Blows Through the Doors of my Heart by Deborah Digges
I’ve been bumping into a lot of Deborah Digges poems the past year—online, in anthologies, etc—and so I finally buckled down and interlibrary loaned a book. What really struck me about her writing is the density of description and language—makes my poems feel like paper-mache next to the statue of David. So yes, read this one!

Less Obvious Gods by Lisa Coffman
I think that I picked this one up after reading one of Coffman’s poems in an anthology. My favorite poems were those about her painter friend—the ekphrastic poems are personable and compelling. I can’t remember the over-arching idea of the book though—probably pregnancy-brain!

19 Weeks!

baby size:: 6 inches long, or heirloom tomato sized

foods i’m loving:  strawberries, chinese, grapefruit

foods i’m hating: food and i have a love-love relationship right now. 

best moment this week:: wendy was moving around enough for bryan to put his hand on my belly and feel her too–i’m hoping for a chance for zu and june to do that too, soon. 

gender:: a sweet baby girl!

symptoms:: tired, and my back/hips hurt when i do too much. we’ve been house-cleaning/fixing up quite a bit this week and i can only seem to get things done in little spurts of energy.

what i miss: my old energy and strength and being able to move furniture

movement:: yes, i’ve felt her moving much earlier than the other two, probably because my body is all worn out from carrying babies already

emotions:: a little stressed lately, we have lots going on with a potential state-to-another-state move and potentially selling our house and buying another house and a potential new job for bryan, oh just lots of potential things that we won’t know about for sure for another few weeks. also my side of the family continues with the ongoing drama/problems that i can’t do anything about anyway.

looking forward to:: warmer weather, being able to go on long walks outside

must-read modern poetry

earlier this week, our university library asked that I compile a list of books for them to consider adding to the poetry section of the library. picking a “few” favorite poetry books was no easy task, but I tried to limit it to a reasonable number and to books that I thought were beneficial to student writers, beginning poets.


the list

The Southern Poetry Anthology: Volume V: Georgia by William Wright, Paul Ruffin
Flight: New and Selected Poems by Linda Bierds
The World of the Ten Thousand Things by Charles Wright
What Work Is by Philip Levine
Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions by Maurice Manning
Thomas and Beulah by Rita Dove
Late Wife by Claudia Emerson
Collected Poems by Jane Kenyon
Migration: New and Selected Poems by W.S. Merwin
Delights and Shadows by Ted Kooser
Shadow of Heaven by Ellen Bryant Voigt
Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich
Moon Crossing Bridge: Poetry by Tess Gallagher
Unattainable Earth by Czeslaw Milosz
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda
The Country Between Us by Carolyn Forche
Desire Lines by Lola Haskins
The Selected Poetry of Rainier Maria Rilke by Rainier Maria Rilke
Poems: 1962-2012 by Louise Gluck
Opened Ground: Selected Poems by Seamus Heaney



what poetry books would you add to this list?

A Map of the World by Ted Kooser


One of the ancient maps of the world
is heart-shaped, carefully drawn
and once washed with bright colors,
though the colors have faded
as you might expect feelings to fade
from a fragile old heart, the brown map
of a life. But feeling is indelible,
and longing infinite, a starburst compass
pointing in all the directions
two lovers might go, a fresh breeze
swelling their sails, the future uncharted,
still far from the edge
where the sea pours into the stars.

Book Notes: February

Ruth and Esther, the John MacArthur Study Guide
bryan bought this guide for me for Christmas, since I’m writing on Ruth right now. I love it. I thought it would be hard to get through—I’ve never tried a macarthur study guide before—but the questions and supplementary reading really expanded my understanding of the story and what I could learn from Ruth.

Your Family In Pictures by Me Rah Koh
I would recommend this to anyone with a nice camera who is looking for some basic tips on how to take good photos of her family. The pictures are gorgeous and she gives easy to follow instructions and tips on how to recreate similar affects with your own photos. I like how they used examples from amateur photographers too. If you’ve taken a basic photography class though, you’ll likely find most of the information too basic. (I did receive this book for free from Blogging for Books)

Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Gluck
I really admire how louise gluck always tries something different every book—her style shifts a little each time. while this is not, so far, my favorite of her books, I enjoyed most the persona of the artist, the long dream poems, and the prose poems. I did miss some of the biting wit of her earlier books.

Loving the Little Years & Fit to Burst by Rachel Jankovic
i’ve read these before but wanted to reread them—both are short books filled with short devotionals for moms of little ones. Short, but oh, they pack a punch! You know how some women adore Beth Moore bible studies? I adore Rachel Jankovic bible studies. Something about her writing style and way of applying scripture really makes things click for me. I plan on rereading these every year or so—both for the encouragement and the challenge they provide. If you want a taste of what her devotionals are like, she blogs HERE. (and fingers crossed she’ll write more books!)


what are you reading this month?

How To Make More Time For Your Writing (or whatever else!): Limit Media

So stop reading this blogpost and go write! Just kidding (sort of). Another way that I make more time for my writing is limiting my time on the internet, watching tv, and watching movies–probably the most obvious way to save time!


I don’t have a smartphone, unlimited internet at the house (we use a limited data plan, just for my work), or cable, so I don’t have much temptation to overuse media when I’m home. But, if you are like most people and Do have all these things, there are some ways you can try to cut back—

  1. Give up social media for a set period of time. If you have a writing project you want to complete, but find yourself on Facebook every five minutes, commit to taking a break from Facebook for a month or so. You won’t miss much (I promise) and it will be there when you get back. (this can work for Pinterest, twitter, or whatever site sucks up your time the most).
  2. Limit how many blogs / email mailouts that you subscribe to. I used to be really bad about reading too many blogs—i know blog writing is outdated, but I love it!—so I found that I saved a lot of time when I limited my blog reading to just my friend’s blogs and a few absolute favorites. Now I think I read maybe ten blogs or less, none of which update more than once a week or once a month.
  3. Don’t keep the tv on “for noise”. I know a lot of families that do this, though we have no problem with noise in our house (two toddler girls = lots of squealing). The problem with this is that you may walk down and get sucked into a HGTV tiny house marathon. So beware!

You would really be surprised how much time you have when you cut back on some of these other things. watching one or two TV shows a night might not seem like much, but what if you gave up one and used that thirty minutes to write a new poem? How much better is it to create something new rather than passively absorbing something created for the masses!

What are some ways you limit media?