Sunday, June 30, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: Throwback outfit!

Top - American Eagle (2008)
Skirt - American Eagle (2004)
Sandals - Target
Earrings and necklace - gifts

I realize the title of this post may be a tad misleading. I've never worn this exact outfit before here on WIWS, but I've owned both of these long enough to make this a throwback outfit. I got the shirt before we got married, after eying it for months on the table at American Eagle. I got the skirt years before that, while I was still in high school. I really didn't think they'd ever fit again. But they do! I'm so excited. I love that there are actually things in my closet that are classic enough to be worn for nearly a decade and still feel stylish. 

I tried something different today, and actually took time to read the readings and a reflection before Mass. I've done it before, but it's been a few months. It helped me refocus quickly once I could actually hear what was being said. Emily was relatively quiet during Mass today, but Erin was not. The heat didn't help our cause -  it's been in the mid-90s here for three days now, after beginning the week with highs in the mid-60s. Poor Emily hit her head on the pew and snuggled up to sleep on my chest in the Ergo after crying and screaming in Dan's arms. Erin fussed and talked and finally found happiness sitting in a grownup chair, looking like she owned the place. I still give her a B, since she could have been much noisier and crankier, and she's only 1. I'll give Emily an A, since she had a valid reason to be screaming at the beginning, and was sleeping until the very end when we left. 

Hope you all have a great Sunday and a wonderful week - try to stay cool! Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple, as always!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Volume 43

Thanks to Jen for hosting!

--- 1 ---
Emily and Erin had their 1 year checkup yesterday! Other than showing up 20 minutes late for their appointment, it went great. For the record, we were late because I made the appointments 3 months ago and I only got a reminder for Emily's appointment - which was second, not first. Oh well. They were very accommodating and saw us anyway. Our girls have really grown this year! They are both 10 inches taller, their heads are about 5 inches bigger, and they have definitely gained weight too. Erin has almost quadrupled her birth weight (6 lbs 2 oz to 22 lbs) and Emily has almost tripled hers (7 lbs 2 oz to 19 lbs 14 oz). It was really humbling to realize how tiny they once were and how God has blessed our little family over the past year. The shots were not too fun - it's so scary to hear your child wail in pain and fear. But it's nothing compared to the diseases they protect against, so it's worth it in the end.
--- 2 ---
My brother and his wife recently moved back to Oregon from Arizona, so we went up to Portland to visit them this week. We planned a trip to IKEA with a quick stop at H&M - two of my favorite in-person stores - as well as a visit to their new house! The trip went pretty smoothly, overall. We timed the driving with normal napping and sleeping times, so the girls were happy in the car. The only time that we drove while they were awake, I squeezed in the back seat between their car seats to keep them company. Did I mention my mom drives a Corolla?
Erin, watching a plane in the IKEA parking lot

Emily, watching a plane while we load up the car

--- 3 ---
I wrote a few weeks ago about how Erin called me "Ah-ma". I really thought she was just trying to say "mama", but apparently she had other ideas. We were playing with her Elmo doll, and suddenly she looked at the doll and said "ah-ma!" Watching their favorite Elmo video on Youtube later in the day, she pointed at the screen and said "ah-ma! ah-ma!". Everywhere she sees Elmo, she can name him. Sometimes she says "mama!" but mostly? "Ah-ma!" I am so proud of how she's aware that Elmo can be in a book, on TV, on my phone, or in her hands - what an amazing little girl!
--- 4 ---
Emily, quite proficient with saying "bye" whenever anyone makes a move towards any door, has also added "yeah" as her response to any question. She's got the inflection idea down, which is impressive. I can't get over how snuggly Miss Emily is - wearing her around in the Ergo will never get old. I love wearing Erin too, but Emily is just a cuddlebug all the way.
--- 5 ---
We had a fun little episode yesterday evening, involving something that had really never crossed my mind until earlier in the week when I read Mandi's post. I was giving Emily and Erin a bath, and they were playing while I sat beside the tub. I looked away for about a minute, and suddenly there was silence. I whipped around just in time to see an ominous smear on Emily's chest. Yep, she'd pooped in the tub. For the second time in two days. Only this time, she'd gotten curious and decided to grab some. Lovely. Much to her delight, I rinsed her mouth with the handheld showerhead, drained the tub, and got everything and everyone cleaned up. We topped it off with a tooth brushing, complete with strawberry banana baby toothpaste, and fervent prayers that my babies would be healthy. I really hope we never repeat that. Lessons learned: don't put all the toys in the tub, and bubble bath can be dangerous camouflage. All you moms know what I mean.
--- 6 ---
Our trip to H&M was really more of a mission, involving some shirts that I just had to have. For reference, I have to wear collared shirts for my job, and most often that means polos in the summer. After eight years, most of my polos have had it. I knew I didn't want more polos, since they tend to shrink and have thick, itchy ribbing around the sleeves. So I polled my friends and got a lead to these shirts. I love them. They are perfect for work - nice and cool, with cooperative collars. I also can wear them outside of work, which I can't say for polos. That's a plus for sure. Here's the first one on its inaugural outing today:
I finally got brave enough to post a makeup-free picture!

--- 7 ---
Last but not least, I shared my thoughts on feminism and why I can't align myself with the mainstream feminist movement over at Fine Linen and Purple today. How do you feel about feminism? Would you call yourself a feminist? I'm really curious to hear what people have to say on this topic!
Showing off a few of my favorite things.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: Birthday Party Sunday Best

Emily and I. Prior to the cake-smashing. Isn't she adorable?!

On me:
Top: Fred Meyer sale rack
Skirt: Speechless (thrifted)
Shoes: Target

On Emily: 
Dress: thrifted
Sweater: Carter's
Shoes: Okie Dokie

We got together with some friends and family today to celebrate Emily and Erin's birthday. We planned the party for a park near our house, so that we'd have plenty of space to play and eat cupcakes. It was a very enjoyable little party, and the rain even held off until well after we were safely home! My suspicions were confirmed as far as cake - Emily was very offended when I offered her a taste of frosting from the bottom of her "1" candle, and when I handed her the whole cupcake to try, she smashed it on my shirt. Lesson learned. I suppose there are worse things than babies who prefer healthy food, right? 

Mass today was a success in a few ways. All of us were dressed up (even Emily and Erin!) and we managed to find a spot in the parking lot. We also didn't get a flat tire from driving through the leftovers of a car accident all over the street on the way. Emily and Erin were a little fussy, particularly Erin, but we made it the whole way through and didn't have to make an early exit. I did spend a good portion of the Liturgy of the Eucharist in the cry room with Erin, but she wasn't as cranky as she has been in the past. Overall, I'll give Emily an A- (bonus points for politely saying "bye! bye!" to everyone during the Sign of Peace) and Erin a B-, since she never yelled so loudly we actually had to go outside.  

We found a small diaper bag on the clearance rack at Target last week, and I took it to Mass this morning for its inaugural outing. I love our big double diaper bag, but it's too bulky to take everywhere, so I often find myself unprepared if I leave it in the car. Now I can have the best of both: a small bag for carrying around and a larger bag for longer excursions. The trial this morning was very successful, and I felt much better prepared than in weeks past. As a bonus, my outfit from Mass translated well to the party (other than the shoes - I ended up barefoot for most of it). Gotta love comfy dress clothes!

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple and Camp Patton!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 42: First Birthday Edition

Thanks for hosting, Jen!
--- 1 ---
Emily and Erin turned one this week! That's definitely the headline - our girls are officially a year old. They are such a blessing in our life, each and every day. We had lots of fun celebrating their birthday with our families last night.
Erin (L) and Emily, waiting for cake.

--- 2 ---
I made their cake myself. I think it turned out pretty cute! I found the circus cake idea in a vintage kids' cookbook years ago, and I finally got to try it out. We had vanilla ice cream with it (thanks Grandma!).

We had cupcakes too, mainly because Emily and Erin aren't quite old enough for a whole piece of cake yet. We wanted each girl to have their own little cake with a candle, so cupcakes seemed like the perfect solution! I made them from the same confetti cake mix as the big cake, but I used smaller, more baby-friendly sprinkles on the frosting. 

--- 3 ---
Erin (top) and Emily, enjoying their cupcakes. 
The girls didn't quite dive into the cake like I expected. Actually, I'm not sure what I expected. They each gave it a good taste - Erin had a few more bites than Emily - but they seemed much more enthusiastic about the graham crackers Grandma offered afterwards. I guess I can't really complain about kiddos who prefer healthy food! Emily definitely enjoyed smearing the frosting around and making a mess with it. It was a very fun evening overall, and we all slept well last night.

--- 4 ---
I came up with a great idea for Dan's homemade Father's Day present (even better than the $5 barbecue grill!), and I even had time to write a DIY blog post on how to make your own Jar of Awesome. If you're looking for a good, budget-friendly anniversary or birthday present, I definitely recommend this!
--- 5 ---
Speaking of budget-friendly, we're really working on the grocery budget. It's hard - food costs money! There really isn't a way around that, either. I mean, there are ways to save money, such as coupons and buying in bulk, but at a certain point, you just can't save much more. I was really relieved to see a document that talked about food costs for families - while I'd love to go to the store and get a lot for a little, maybe there are better things to stress over. We're doing fine according to this!
--- 6 ---
I was over at Fine Linen and Purple this past week, writing about building a postpartum wardrobe (link just in case you missed it!) and sharing my favorite postpartum clothes and outfits. And more love for all the new mamas out there: Katie wrote a fantastic post today about loving her postpartum body for what it does, not how it looks. She's got it right, and it's definitely worth a read!
--- 7 ---
Today is the first official day of summer. It's been cooler and rainy this week - definitely not hot summer weather - but school got out this week and the neighborhood kids have been playing in the park during day, so it really feels like summer. The weather will catch up soon enough.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy first birthday, Emily and Erin!

Emily and Erin are turning one today! One year ago today, we met our sweet baby girls just after 9 pm.
Erin (L), Emily (R)
They've grown a lot since then:
Hanging out chatting - 2 months old
First Halloween - 4 months old!

5 months old!

Headed out shopping with Mommy and Grandma 

Baptized! August 6, 2012 - 6 weeks old.

A very interesting conversation. ~6 months.

7 months old.

8 months old!

9 months old!

Walking with their activity table - 10 months!

Our first Mother's Day together - almost 11 months old!

11.5 months. All ready for bed, drinking bottles like big girls! 
The last year hasn't always been easy, but it's been filled with more joy than I ever thought possible. Happy birthday, Emily and Erin! I love you more than you could ever imagine. God truly blessed us when you joined our family.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Homemade Father's Day Present: Jar of Awesome

I really wanted to have something sweet and special for Dan this year for his first official Father's Day. I was also operating on a budget, so I had to stick to something homemade. Pinterest is full of ideas for homemade gifts, but most of them are either really complicated or relatively costly once you buy all the supplies. I ran across an idea for making a "date night jar" a while back, and that one seemed doable - but then I thought of something even better. What if, instead of date ideas, I wrote things I loved about Dan and put them in the jar? I'd call it a "Jar of Awesome", and he could pull them out and read them at his leisure. Here's how it turned out:

Want to make your own Jar of Awesome? Here's what you'll need:

-wooden craft sticks (similar to Popsicle sticks, but bigger - I found them at Target)
-extra fine tipped permanent marker
-quart sized lidded canning jar
-pretty paper for tag
-ribbon or string to tie tag around jar

1. Write the awesome things about the lucky dad on the sticks. It's helpful to make a list first so you don't waste any of the sticks. You can write on one side or on both - but if you write on just one side, you can face all the blank sides out so he has to pull the sticks out to read them.

2. Put the sticks in the jar a few at a time, so you can make sure they're all straight and tidy. This also makes it easier to face the written sides towards the center.

3. Cut a label out of your pretty paper (I used some leftover scrapbooking paper) and use your creativity! I wrote "Jar of Awesome - Father's Day 2013" on mine, but you could tailor it to the recipient and the occasion.

4. Punch a hole in the top left corner of the tag, thread the ribbon or string through it, and then tie a bowknot around the top rim of the jar.

5. If you'd like, wrap the jar in a gift bag and tissue paper, and get ready to delight your favorite dad on Father's Day!

Dan said this was by far the perfect gift for his first Father's Day with his family, and he loved it. I think it would also make a fabulous gift for an anniversary or birthday. I hope you all had a fantastic Father's Day too!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Illusions of Productivity

I don't know about you, but I really struggle with productivity from day to day. There are so many things I need to do, things I could do, things I should do (but don't) and things I actually do. The need-to-do list is probably pretty similar to most moms': things like tending to my girls' needs, housework, laundry, cooking, work, church, and errands. Things I could do: spend more time praying, reading, meaningful time with my family, watch more TV shows I enjoy, get the idea.

The things I should do list overlaps a lot with the could-do, though I probably wouldn't include TV on that one. I try not to dwell too much on what I'm not doing that I could be - that list has the potential to be miles long. The last one, things I actually do, is probably the one I ought to dwell on a little more. I have a theory that our brains are wired to be busy, not to necessarily register the necessity of that busy-ness. So for example, if I spend twenty minutes on Facebook or searching something online, my brain feels like I accomplished something. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't. (For the record, I didn't spend any time googling that). But that illusion of productivity persists either way.

Don't get me wrong - as a blogger, I'm a big fan of social media. Sometimes, though, I have to remind myself to unplug. I have an easier time focusing on those need-to-do things when I do. I read in a book the other night that as a culture, we've managed to find the time and money to connect ourselves constantly via the Internet over the last few decades. We also have collectively redefined the concept of the family dinner and outsourced most of our food preparation over the same time period. As a trade-off, I don't think this is such a great one. Obviously, not everyone spends all their cooking time on the computer or phone, but if I wonder where I'd find the time to make three meals a day or do anything else on my should list, I suppose that might be it.

Obviously, as humans we're wired to be social creatures. This means that we are drawn to seek other humans, and so social media is very appealing - and even necessary for our mental and emotional health, in my opinion. The illusion of productivity, however, can be a trap. We're all given the same number of hours in a day. It's how we use them that makes them count. My goal, therefore, for this week, is to spend less time checking my phone and more time living this beautiful, blessed life of mine. I'll still spend time blogging - probably a little more than normal - but I'm hoping to find some balance within the should, the could, and the actually.

What are your goals for the week?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: Three Months of Skirts (and counting!)

We have really fantastic lighting at midday, if you can't tell.
Sweater - Ann Taylor LOFT via St. Vincent de Paul
Tank tops - Target and Costco
Skirt - Van Heusen via St. Vincent de Paul
Wedges - Target

It occurred to me this morning that it's been almost 3 months since I wore pants to Mass. I had thought it would be harder to keep the promise I made to myself not to do so, but it hasn't been as difficult as I thought. As I've said before, I arrive at Mass in a more focused and reverent frame of mind when I'm dressed up. I feel like I'm setting a better example for my daughters, too. I don't necessarily have a show-stopping outfit every week, but that's not really the point. You know the saying "you get out of it what you put into it"? - for me, that's it. We're going to spend time with, and even receive, Jesus every week, so we might as well dress like we're going somewhere special if at all possible.

As far as Mass behavior goes - Erin did pretty well once she fell asleep, and Emily never succumbed to sleep. So she was pretty fussy. Age-wise, I'd give Erin a B+ and Emily a C. They weren't overly loud or cranky, just a little fussy and talkative. They'll learn. They're learning. We're learning, too. 

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple and Camp Patton!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 41

Thanks to Jen for hosting!

--- 1 ---
Whew! It's been quite a week. The warm weather is finally back (yay!) and we've been able to work and play outside after two weeks of mostly rainy weather. I'm still nursing a sunburn from Monday, but I think it's finally starting to heal. I also got this adorable picture of my almost-toddlers yesterday, which completely took my mind off the sunburn:
Emily (L), Erin (R). Too hot for pjs here!
--- 2 ---
This past weekend, we went to the coast for a day. It was a lot of fun to see how Emily and Erin reacted to the sand and the water. Of course, they're much too little to play in the ocean, but we did let them play in the sand. Emily just touched the sand at first, like she wasn't sure what it was, but then she started digging her hands deeper and picking it up in her fingers. Erin was much more interested in the things we'd brought with us, like my keys, my sunglasses, and my sandals, but she played with Emily for a little while. We topped off our trip with dinner at Mo's, a chowder house that's very family-friendly. Dinner is a little challenging these days even at family-friendly restaurants, but Dan and I were both able to eat our dinners while feeding Emily and Erin theirs. Both girls loved the restaurant and were very vocal about their joy in being there. Luckily, everyone around us seemed reasonably tolerant of their joy.
--- 3 ---
Erin took a step all by herself earlier this week. Just one, and she fell over and didn't really seem interested in trying it again. She will walk just fine as long as she's got one hand on something, but she hesitates and then drops down to crawl after letting go. One evening, I tried to entice her with my keys (her most favorite toy ever) and her face lit up. "Keysis!" she exclaimed as she reached for them. Laughing hysterically at how much she sounded like Gollum, I moved them a little out of her reach, and she looked at her feet and then dropped to her hands and knees. Aside from the reference to a movie she's never seen, it was entirely unsuccessful. She'll walk when she's ready. For now, I'll hug my chubby little toddler and enjoy her adorable laugh and smile.
--- 4 ---
Emily has turned into quite the chatterbox. She will sit and babble for several minutes at a time, and respond with intelligent-sounding answers when you ask her questions. She can say "yes" ("ess") and "yeah" ("eah"), as well as "Mama" ("ammm-ah") and "baby" ("bebee"). Oh, and "bye". She's really good at "bye". As soon as anyone in our house takes a step towards the front door, even if I'm just closing or opening it, she starts to wave and say "bye, bye, bye". It's the most adorable thing. Sometimes she waves at herself, sometimes she waves at you, but she has it all figured out as to the timing. I'm amazed. She, like Erin, walks while holding onto something (they do laps around our living room pushing their highchairs) but she has yet to take a step by herself that I've seen.
--- 5 ---
Dan's birthday was on Tuesday. I really wanted to get him a barbecue grill, but it just wasn't in the budget. I'd finally resigned myself to buying a really tiny, inexpensive one and promising that we'd save for a real one over the next year or two. That was, until I was headed out to the hardware store on a quick errand this past weekend, and saw a yard sale. On the grass next to the street was a barbecue. I drove on by, because the house was on the opposite side of the street, but I couldn't help wondering how much they wanted. It was a charcoal kettle-style grill, the perfect size for a growing family. It even had legs, something that most grills in my gift budget didn't. I decided to wait on purchasing one until I'd investigated the garage sale.

The grill was still there as I headed home. I pulled over to the curb, got out, and asked how much they wanted for it. The woman running the sale replied that since it didn't have a grate inside, they were asking $5. I was floored, having expected to pay at least $20. Without considering how I would haul it or that I didn't have any cash, I told her I'd take it. After a hasty trip to the convenience store ATM and a quick phone call to my parents, I had a present for Dan. The garage-sale lady was thrilled with my plans to buy a new grate and clean and paint it for his birthday.
--- 6 ---
Aside from transportation, I hadn't considered how on earth I was going to clean and paint a barbecue during the day with two small children and a husband who works from home. For starters, we have windows into the back yard all across the back of our house. I decided to pull down the blinds, work behind the garage (no windows) and tell Dan he was banned from the back yard until his birthday. I enlisted my mom to come babysit, and set to cleaning during nap time. We'd made a hardware store run earlier in the day, for all needed supplies, and I was well-prepared other than my lack of sunscreen (see take #1). Approximately four hours later, I had a reasonably clean, reasonably nice-looking barbecue topped with a green Christmas bow. I couldn't wait to show Dan, who had done a really good job of not peeking all day. First thing on Tuesday, I brought it out in front of our kitchen window. He was thrilled, and is really excited to use it this weekend! I feel like a frugal rockstar - if you can qualify for rockstar status while sunburnt with an aching forearm and wrist. Oh, and I completely forgot to take a before picture. I know. You'll just have to trust me, it was rusty and badly needed to be cleaned, and now it's much cleaner and not rusty. A win, if I do say so myself.
--- 7 ---
Last but certainly not least, I am a new regular contributor over at Kendra and Emily's blog Fine Linen and Purple, and I had a post there yesterday about how to get dressed like a guy without actually wearing men's clothes. Head on over and check it out, and don't miss Mary's joy journey posts while you're there! Have a great weekend, all!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, June 3, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: Corpus Christi

On me:
Dress - Merona (Target)
Sweater - Mossimo (Target)
Sandals - Target
On Emily: 
Footie pajamas - Carter's

Mass was a little more exciting today than normal - not just because it was a day dedicated (even more than normal) to the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Erin was unusually fussy today, and Dan finally had to take her outside during the Consecration. She's gotten so strong that when she gets upset, it's almost impossible to calm her because she flails around so much. Going outside seems to distract her enough to calm down, however. I was a little surprised that we had to resort to it yesterday, since she'd been in a fairly good mood and had even slept in a little.

Shortly after they walked out, I saw an older couple rush out the doors. The man was supporting his wife as though she was very ill. I focused my attention back to Mass, but kept glancing back to see if Dan and Erin would come back inside, since I couldn't hear her anymore. Suddenly, the sound of sirens pierced through the air. Since our church is near the downtown fire station, that's not terribly unusual, but this time they stopped right outside. I glanced back once and saw a stretcher on the steps, but I couldn't see anyone. After another ten minutes or so, Dan and Erin came back in, we went up for Communion, and things wrapped up like normal. 

After Mass, Dan filled me in on what had happened. He said I could share the story here (though he was being modest and didn't really want me to). When the couple had come out to the steps, the woman was clutching her chest and struggling to breathe. Dan hesitated for a moment, then offered to call 911. Neither the man nor his wife spoke much English, so he was able to talk the dispatcher through what was going on and make sure help arrived quickly. I'm positive God made Erin fussy just at that moment to make sure Dan was outside to help - doesn't He work in mysterious ways? I'm so proud of my husband, and so grateful for him too!

I'm linking up with Fine Linen and Purple and also with Grace over at Camp Patton!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Shouts of joy

I think I may have mentioned this a few times recently, but just in case you haven't heard, Emily and Erin have entered this stage where they love to shriek. It's a happy thing - they usually have big grins on their faces as they're doing it, most likely because everyone's looking. Sometimes the mood strikes in the middle of the grocery store; sometimes we're at church. Most of the time it's just fine and I move on with what we're doing, smiling and shushing and hoping they get the idea. Obviously, during Mass we make a hasty retreat to the back corner or even outside.

It's made me more conscious of where children are welcomed, though. Certain places are not intended for children - some for moral/legal reasons, others for safety. I take Emily and Erin along with me on the majority of my errands. Most of them are fairly child-friendly, like Target, the grocery store, and the hardware store. But any time we go elsewhere, I find myself incredibly conscious of any noise or behavior. I know it's all normal at this age, and they'll learn soon that there are places for noise and places for quiet. Most of the time, people are very patient and more than willing to accommodate our folding stroller and the occasional joyous shriek. There's a special place in Heaven for these folks, I'm sure of it! When things don't go well, which is fairly often, I inevitably learn something from the experience. Case in point: the day I attempted to take both girls to Mass alone.

It makes me wonder: should everyone have a babysitter when they go out shopping or to pay bills? Are we moms supposed to be hiding at home and doing all our bill paying and shopping online? If that's the case (and believe me, I have been tempted insofar as possible!) when will we teach our kids how to behave in public? As a kid, I remember tagging around town with my mom and my little brother as we went shopping, kept appointments, and paid bills. I remember one incident of chair pulling where my poor mother must have been just mortified (for the record, I was the one sitting down, not pulling the chair). Believe me, we never tried anything like that again. It wasn't an overnight transformation, but gradually we learned what was acceptable and what was not.

While it's rare that we encounter a place we need to go where children are completely unwelcome, there are certainly many places where it's difficult to take them by myself. I wish all stores had doors wide enough for a double stroller! I might feel differently about this in the future (say, around a year from now when Emily and Erin turn two) but for the moment, I think it's very important to bring them with me to do as many different things as possible. I haven't taken them to the library in a long time - I think they were only two months old the last time we were all there - but it's one we need to try again soon. Don't worry, we read, we just have lots of books!

Speaking of books, in the book Bringing up Bébé, the author talks about how it's assumed that French kids will understand the need for them to behave appropriately as it's explained to them. It seems like a sign of respect to see this potential, even if it means standing red-faced at the meat counter while my daughters shriek at each other. I rarely feel like a great mom at the end of any of our expeditions, but I know my girls will be better off for it. Besides, someone's got to show all those stores they need wider doors!