Answer Me This: Summer, summer, summertime . . .

Welcome to the return of Answer Me This! Here are THIS WEEK's questions . . .

1. Any big plans for the summer?

Well, I'm having a baby. And while that's not exactly an unusual occurrence around here, it's still the biggest thing I've got going.

We usually spend our summers in Chicago with my husband's family, but because of the aforementioned having a baby thing, we're staying here. All the kids except Lulu are going to a day camp just a couple of blocks from our house. It's a decision I fully expected to regret, because what in the world am I going to do with Lulu all morning three days a week ALL BY MYSELF?! But in the first week, we acquitted ourselves admirably, if I do say so myself. She's such a good baby, I even got a bunch of work done on our homeschool yearbook.

We're also in the midst of sorting out some potentially very big school/work/home situation decisions. So, there could be some very big things happening there, or nothing at all.

Other than that, I'm planning to watch the third season of Gran Hotel on Netflix streaming, and in order to do THAT properly, I have to re-watch seasons one and two. I've never rooted for a character's death as much as I am for Diego's. Seriously. I need him to die. Ideally, repentant, of course.

I feel like I should say here that Catholic All Year does NOT officially endorse Gran Hotel, because Catholic All Year does not approve of adultery. But just between you and me, it's a VERY entertaining show. The intrigue, the murders, the re-murders, the romance, the dresses, the dramatic gazing. And while the characters, even the good guys, don't always behave appropriately, the show itself isn't particularly racy or gory. As far a period soap operas go, I think it's better than Downton Abbey. The characters are more likeable and it's more exciting, what with all the murders. So. Many. Murders. (I have just recently been warned that there is some particularly Catholic misbehavior in the third season. I haven't seen it for myself yet, but . . . ugh. I'm enamored enough with the show to keep going and see how it goes down in season three, but consider yourself advised.)

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

When I was little, we would often drive past a large field just north of San Diego. It looked kinda like this . . .

with stakes for the plants, which were probably tomatoes, but I'm not sure. What it's NOT is a stick farm. But my dad told me it was a stick farm. For growing sticks. And I believed that for a very, very long time.

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride)

I like pretty much all amusement parks. But, in my heart, really, nothing compares to Disney. Every time we go (which is usually only every couple of years because we want it to seem like a BIG DEAL to the kids) I'm just blown away by how great that place is.

Just recently, we made an unscheduled trip to Disney California Adventure, because my sister-in-law was visiting with her two kids, and my nephew is pretty much bonkers for Cars. My kids (except Jack who was backpacking) were more than happy to tag along with their cousins.

And *I* got to ride on my all time favorite amusement park ride: Radiator Springs Racers. It combines the fun and imagination of the old Fantasyland rides that immerse you in the movie (but with amazingly updated technology), with a moderate thrill ride. It's got everything!

And I rode it. Twice. Even though I'm pregnant. (It's fast, but not jerky, so I wasn't worried about it.)

Frankie went on it when we were there in February and loved it. This time, not quite so much.

But, then again, this is how he felt about the (non-swinging) Ferris Wheel:

And this is how he felt about lunch:

SO amused.

4. What's on your summer reading list?

Hopefully, I'll have plenty of time for reading this summer. The first three books on my list are these:

Death Comes to Pemberley : I watched the BBC Miniseries on Netflix and liked it, but didn't LOVE it. I think I'm probably too committed to the casting in the Pride and Prejudice movie. The new actors just weren't the characters for me. Georgiana was great. And Lydia and Mrs. Bennet were well-played. But I wasn't sold on the rest, especially Wickham. But I enjoyed reading The Children of Men, also by P.D. James, and found it more compelling than its movie. So I want to give the book a chance. I have to reread Pride and Prejudice first, obviously.

A Morbid Taste for Bones (Brother Cadfael Chronicles): I was looking around online for Catholic fiction and came across a recommendation for this. It's the first of a twenty book series, which seems like more than I've been interested in committing to since, um, Sweet Valley High. But I'm willing to see how I like the first one.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: Christy and Haley recommended this one in a podcast, and I've been wanting to read it ever since. And Gaudy Nights sounds great, too.

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

Um, yeah. ALL the time. I like my nap and I'm willing to snooze in public to get it if necessary.

6. What is your favorite smell?

My two favorite smells are kind of opposite. I love vanilla, and I love eucalyptus. But not together, I don't think.

Oh! And newly baptized baby head. Mmmm . . . chrism.

And . . . a couple of links for you. This time two parenting posts I liked recently.

From Kate at Modern Alternative Mama:
"I found my older two quite difficult from around 18 months to 3 years or so. And it wasn’t them, it was me. I didn’t get how to deal with them. I had expectations that were not in line with their developmental capabilities, and I was holding them to a standard they couldn’t achieve. I was their adversary.
I learned, by my third child, what not to do…and what to do instead. We’ve had much smoother sailing with three and four because of it. (Yes, because of it. Remember how different they are?)
This is a summary of what I’ve learned."
My toddlers *mostly* do not throw tantrums. Even Frankie, who is a real piece of work, and gets mad about EVERYTHING, can mostly keep it together, especially in public. I have heretofore attributed that fact to my always meaning what I say, and just not allowing tantrums. But, ya know, I ALSO do all this stuff. It really helps.

How to Tantrum-Proof Your Toddler

From Marilyn at Light-in-Leaves:

"It doesn't even really matter what the things are that you decide to make your stand on. What matters is that you pick those things that seem to make life best for your family, and then pursue those goals relentlessly. And always mean what you say. I'm going to list a few of the things that make life easier for us. Some of them may seem kind of silly to you. Hey, they may seem kind of silly to ME in ten years! But I would like to remind you, Me-From-Ten-Years-in-the-Future, that what I'm talking about is pursuing what makes life feel liveable to me NOW. I'm fully aware that not all of these behaviors are moral issues that will Matter in the Eternities. But right now, they make the difference between "Self-Sacrificing-Life-Full-of-Drudgery" and "Fulfilling-Life-Full-of-Little-Joys."
There's a ton of great stuff in this post. And Marilyn and I are almost parenting twins. But I just couldn't agree more with her point about figuring out what will make YOUR family life liveable, and then being really on top of THAT stuff. And not worrying one bit about the rest of it.

Making Life Easier, Part I

Want to play along? Answer THIS WEEK's questions in the comments, or on your blog and link it up below! Please include a link to this post on your blog. The linkup will be open from now through close of business Tuesday.

Now for NEXT WEEK's questions, to answer NEXT WEEK . . .

1. What's the best thing about your dad?

2. If you've got kids, what's the best thing about THEIR dad? (If you don't, feel free to substitute your grandfather or another father figure.)

3. What's the best advice your dad ever gave you?

4. What's something you have in common with your dad?

5. What's the manliest thing you know how to do?

6. Who is your favorite fictional dad?

Stop back by this afternoon if you'd like to see What I Wore Sunday, and how the ol' bump is progressing . . .

Update, here it is:

Thirty five weeks along, we had to split up for Mass because of a combination of crazy days, and I got the early shift. And Lulu's all. "Oh, brother."