In Which I Ask Your Advice on All the Things, Show You My Kids, and Chestertonianize You


(Sarah said it's a word so I'm gonna go with that.)

1.
First, in just a very few weeks we will be headed off to Rome!  I know!  And apparently, we need some good walking shoes.  The kids are all set after I scored some Keen sandals on Ebay and I have a few pairs of close toe shoes but here's what I need:  Women's sandals that are super comfy for walking but don't look like hiking shoes.  Like something I can wear with a skirt and not look like a total nerd.  Any recommendations?  Oh, and it has to be something I can get for like $25 or less or off of Ebay.  Ain't nobody here is going to be paying $100 for a pair of shoes even if they are the Best Things Ever.

2.
Related:  Ten hour middle of the night flight with four young children.  Keeping them occupied we could do...but I don't want them occupied.  I want them asleep.  Because we'll be getting there and it will be the middle of the day and if they don't sleep, oh my goodness, the next few days will be rough.  That would not be fun.  Here's what I have:  ear plugs, some of those neck pillows (do those really work?), blankets.

What else can I do to get them to sleep?  Thoughts on melatonin?
(I know.  A lot of people recommend Benedryl.  We've decided we may be willing to compromise some of our natural tendencies and try that for the first time ever if we absolutely have to.  But I would love to hear if there are other things that could work first.)

3.
Picture break!
The other day my mom and stepdad took us to see Robin Hood performed at a local children's theater.
You can't tell because they hadn't yet taken off their coats but they decided they all had to wear green in honor of the occasion.  Those are my nephews on the end :)

Let's get a close-up of that hat, shall we?

Thanks to Kelly for her inspiration.  Or at least for her pinning someone else's inspiration.  John Paul whipped this up before we went and was heartbroken to realize that it was way too small for his noggin.  At least it sort of not really fit David.

He was making me laugh by sandwiching himself up in the seat :)

It was really well done and the kids loved it.  I took a chance bringing David, too, and he sat through the whole two hours and only got antsy at the very end!  It was different than the version we had read.  Do you know what I never knew?  That Robin Hood isn't one book and doesn't have one author!  (Should I not admit that?  Does everyone else know that?)  I guess I just assumed it was one book.  Apparently it's a legend of English folklore and there are many versions and stories that have been written.  So there's your fascinating fact for the day.

4.
Back to advice:
Shampoo.
Do any of you have a great natural shampoo and/or conditioner you use?  One that doesn't have unpronounceable ingredients and all the harmful chemicals but still works well?  I cannot seem to find one that doesn't either make my hair greasy, fried-looking, or give me dandruff.  I've been trying to figure out my hair since having Luke when it totally changed on me.

(And yes, I've done the whole no shampoo thing.  Three times.  I even got like two months into it once and my hair and scalp still looked like death and didn't suddenly transform like everyone says it will.  I just got pseudo-dreads.  Maybe it's our water?)

4b.
Related:  Maybe it really is our water?  This is what the bathtub looked like when I filled it up the other day:
You can't even tell how blue it really was!  But it was like aquamarine blue.  You wouldn't notice it in a glass but when all filled up in the tub it was clearly not clear.  Should I be worried?  Um, thank goodness we filter our drinking water?

5.
Latin people:  John Paul finished Latina Christiana I months ago.  The program is okay and he did fine enough but I can't say I'm super thrilled with it.  We used the DVDs.  I was just going to have him go onto II but then heard about Latin for Children from Classical Academic Press.  Anyone else make the switch?  What are your thoughts?  And what level do you think would best follow the Latina Christiana I if I switched?

6.
"Those underrate Christianity who say that it discovered mercy; any one might discover mercy. In fact every one did. But to discover a plan for being merciful and also severe—THAT was to anticipate a strange need of human nature. For no one wants to be forgiven for a big sin as if it were a little one. Any one might say that we should be neither quite miserable nor quite happy. But to find out how far one MAY be quite miserable without making it impossible to be quite happy—that was a discovery in psychology. Any one might say, “Neither swagger nor grovel”; and it would have been a limit. But to say, “Here you can swagger and there you can grovel”—that was an emancipation." - G. K. Chesterton

I read this in Orthodoxy a few months ago and really appreciated this, especially that bolded line.  It reminded me of the times in Confession when I've had a priest sort of belittle what I've said like it's not that big of a deal.   Anyone else have that experience?  It really bothers me.  I don't think I'm an over scrupulous person and if I'm bringing it to Confession it's because I know I did something wrong.  I don't really care if it's a "common" sin or really, if it's a "big" sin or not, I know I hurt my relationship with the Lord and I want to confront it and fix it and be healed of it.  And I want the grace to not do it again.  I really really appreciate when a priest treats each Confession with reverence and gets that.  The freedom of Christianity lies in accepting mercy but knowing that that mercy was (and constantly IS) needed.  To see ourselves in our true state in all our gloriousness and wretchedness is quite the feat of Christianity indeed.

7.
Today while we sit in a 58 degree house (new furnace that yes, we did end up needing after all is being installed as we speak...thank you, dear men for coming on a Saturday afternoon!) the boys are doing this:
And for some reason it makes me happy.


The End.  Except for the part where you fill the combox with all of your wise and experienced advice.  Thank you!


Go see Jen for more Takes and Sarah for more Chesterton!


42 comments

  1. Re: #6 -- Oh, yeah, I've had the priest say something like, "Well, everyone does that!" Ummm, that doesn't mean it's okay, though, does it, Father? Didn't you ever hear the hypothetical, "If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?" And, no, I do NOT struggle with scrupulosity! The priests at our parish don't tend to minimize what we confess, thank God!

    re: #4: I do the baking soda to clean hair thing, so I don't know about what might be good other than that (and it sounds like that's not working for you), but I have been looking around at wellnessmama.com and have found a lot of interesting things. You might check there for shampoo ideas.

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  2. 1. These sandals are super comfortable and I think cute enouh to wear with a skirt. http://www.amazon.com/Teva-Womens-Mush-Tread-Brown/dp/B003TU14QC/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1396118391&sr=8-13&keywords=teva+sandals+women

    6. That has happened to me, and I hate it. I was once scolded in Confession for taking too long and "rambling on". It was really hurtful.

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    1. I've been looking at Tevas and those are a great price! I'm a little nervous about the flip-flop thing with walking and big crowds but the reviews look great so maybe I should go for it. Thank you!

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    2. I had a pair of those and wore them out from all the walking. I regurlarly walked several miles at a time in them, and they were super comfortable.

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  3. Chacos and Birkenstocks win for comfort - but not for price :( Maybe you can find some clearance steals somewhere?

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    1. Checking Ebay now, thank you! Birkenstocks always remind me of priests because I've known so many deacons and priests who lived in them! Maybe a good choice for our pilgrimage :)

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  4. Found you via 7QT...I use Nature's Gate tea tree shampoo and conditioner; we have soft water and it's the only thing that works longer than two weeks on my hair. Also, my parents did mucho traveling overseas with mucho kids and swear by melatonin to help with jet lag; 20 or so minutes before you want to fall asleep. I recommend adding a little warm milk, cozy blanket, and maybe soft music or a book on top of that to help.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, sometimes something will work for a few weeks and then it just stops or something. I've had issues with Tea Tree drying out my scalp and causing dandruff but maybe one of their other types would work for me. Thanks for the melatonin advice.

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  5. Teva Mush anything! Super comfortable, not too expensive. Not the prettiest things ever but definitely comfortable enough for long bouts of walking. I can't wait to see pictures from your trip!

    Melatonin. Defintely better than Benedryl, more effective, and it's GOT to be safer than Benedryl (which I haven't been above using myself, but these days I prefer melatonin to help my kids that have a hard time winding down at night).

    And ask the folks at Classical Academic Press where they recommend you begin after LC1 (though I bet they'll say Latin for Children A). They are so great at answering questions. I plan to use their Latin programs from here on out. I'm doing a Song School Latin giveaway on my blog in a couple of weeks, so keep your eye out for that too!

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    1. See, I forget that these places are actually run by, like, PEOPLE that I can call to help me. Duh. That would probably be my best bet, huh? And another Teva recommendation...on it. Thank you!

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    2. I would also recommend CAP. My husband is the Latin teacher here and we used CHC's Latin Readers before switching completely to CAP's Latin programs. The kids watch the DVDs, complete the work and my husband just reviews it with them. And all the kids love CAP's website. If you want someone else to teach your kids Latin, and have them enjoy it, I'd try CAP.

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  6. I just want to mention that you should definitely not try benadryl for the first time on the plane because it sometimes causes the opposite effect... definitely want to know that ahead of time!!

    I second the Teva mush sandles. I got some last summer when I had to walk a couple of miles a day, often in a skirt or dress. They worked out great!

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    1. That's right, I've heard that! Eek. That would not be cool at all. Thank you for reminding me!

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    2. I second Tamara. It does work, I gave it to my daughter this past year when she had an awful cough and our pediatrician's nurse recommended it over cough syrup -- and it did -- and she kept asleep for a nice long time. But, my son can't take Benadryl, or any sedating antihistamines because it has the opposite effect, or at least very fitful sleep, which would not be good on a jet sitting near anyone else. Chances are it would not have that effect, but just try it, or the melatonin before you leave. I have never had good luck with melatonin, but warm milk with vanilla and cinnamon I heard works well. Pack a thermos? Probably can't take a thermos through security can you?

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  7. We have been using CAP Latin and love it. I'll be calling them for recommendations for my kiddos as well.
    I can't say enough good about Keens. I actually prefer them over tennis shoes for exercise. And wear them with skirts. You could definitely find some on eBay. I did a quick search and got 8000 results. Haha. Several under $20.
    Have you ever read through Elizabeth foss' post on her Disney trip? It may be worth checking out if you haven't. She has lots of great ideas.

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    1. Thank you! People seem to love Keens so I should definitely see if I can score a cheap pair!

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  8. How exciting! Have an awesome trip!!

    We just got Hylands 4kids Calm and restful homeopathic tablets. It was on sale and wanted to try it during trips or transitions when the kids were needing some help resting. I havent tried the full dose-You need 2 pills every 15 min for 8 doses. Sounds like alot and seems troublesome but we tried their brand for the flu and had great results so I bet it is effective. One bottle has 125 melt away caps. They taste good too :)

    I use Dessert essense coconut shampoo. You can get it at Vitacost for under 4 bucks a bottle. I really like it and I have fine, thin hair. It smells awesome too!

    For shoes, what about the one style crocs makes. They are more of a slim slip on and I'm assuming they are cozy, I'm just not sure of the price.

    Will be praying for u all!

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    1. Under $4?? I think that one wins to try next especially since my hair is thinner than ever. Seriously, I feel like I have a different body after having Luke!

      Can you believe we've never owned a pair of crocs? Or even tried them on? I can't imagine them being comfortable but everyone raves about them so I guess I should give them a shot!

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    2. Crocs do have cute shoes for women -- my daughter wears an adult size and they have some new slip ons that aren't the big chunky style. I don't recommend buying Birkies used. You really have to meld them to your feet or you'll be in pain. They have quite a break-in period.

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    3. I use the Desert Essence coconut shampoo and conditioner too- just forgot to mention. Its been working for me!

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    4. I just ordered some and am excited to try it! The reviews are glowing :)

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  9. Re: Benadryl. It's not a bad idea, but give it a test drive a week or so before so you can monitor your kids' reactions at home. While it makes most children sleepy, it actually makes a very small percentage of children hyper instead. My Mom used to use the Benadryl trick on overnight car trips on her three kids without issue, but a friend recently found out (much to her chagrin) that her one year old was in the small percentage of hyper Benadryl recipients. She didn't pre-test it, so the one year old was bouncing off the walls for the entire overnight flight to Europe.

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    1. Aaaaah!! Oh, that would be awful!!! Especially at that age!

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  10. We have done a handful of flights from the West Coast to Europe with babies and toddlers. We've never given them anything, and they've always watched their little movie screens until their eyes are about to pop out, then we say lights out and they finally go to sleep. They can only get a few hours of sleep on the flight anyway. Even best case scenario, it's like 6 hours by the time the kids eat and the plane quiets down, before they turn on all the lights and pass out yogurts.

    Then you need them to rally until an early bedtime with LOTS of reminders about how they will probably wake up in the middle of the night and with hungry tummies because their bodies are confused about what time it is. I always give them something to eat right before bed and tell them that they mustn't get up until it's light out. If they wake up they should lay very still until they fall back to sleep again.

    Sometimes they get up anyway, but if we give them a graham cracker or something and send them back to bed right away that usually works.

    We've really had an easy time acclimatizing on the way to Europe. The way home is what gets us. They're back at home, they're not walking all day, and not being constantly stimulated, and not eating gelato twice a day, so they can't sleep when they are supposed to and we go through a good week of grumpiness and colds.

    But I think it's worth it!

    Have a great trip. Pray for all of us chumps back here.

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    1. Babies and toddlers and kids I should say. And we're doing it again in May!

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    2. Awesome! Where are you going? Our plane leaves at 10:30 p.m. and gets in early afternoon the next day. I was assuming that it would be kept mostly dark for sleeping and there wouldn't be interruptions but I guess that doesn't make sense now that I think about it. Ugh. At least there won't be too many hours before it's bedtime again?
      Yes, I'm totally expecting the adjustment back home to take a while. And the stimulation and treat detox adds to the jet lag. I'm going to try to give them as much vitamin C and airborne as I can to stave off any sicknesses but it happens almost every time I've flown. Better not plan much for when we get back...
      Thanks for all the help!

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    3. You do essential oils right? I love mixing up a batch of immune boosting EO to ward off sickness when we travel. I mimic doTerra's On Guard.

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    4. A bit! And I have a sample of On Guard that I should use. Thank you for the reminder! I should probably make another batch of elderberry syrup to build us up before we go, too...

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  12. I'm attempting the whole no 'poo thing... we'll see... but I'm going to try Radiantly You's shampoo bar. It's a (local!) direct sales company, but it's all natural stuff for actually affordable prices. (radiantlyyou.com)

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    1. I have one of theirs! It smells awesome but it seemed to do the same thing that another shampoo bar I tried years ago did. Make my hair really tacky and dread-y. I tried the other one for a while and it just kept getting worse. I do wonder if it's our water messing up the whole detox thing... I know other people rave about it and their other products I've tried are awesome

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  13. #6: I've had the priest do that with me sometimes, and I don't like it either. It's hard enough to admit your faults aloud in the first place; when you do, you want to be taken seriously!

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  14. I say enlist the help of the boys in the matter of sleep. Talk, talk, talk about it before you go--it will be like a long car ride, maybe hard to sleep but important to try, you can "play" or do activities for X amount of time and then it will be quiet time and time to close your eyes, Dad and I can read a quiet story (or you can watch your screens or whatever you decide) but it will be time to be quiet and close your eyes, it won't be as easy as being at home, the sooner you go to sleep the sooner we will get there, etc, etc. Maybe let them bring a "lovey" or special (small) pillow or blanket or book--have them think about what might help them sleep in a place where it will be hard to sleep. I've used those neck pillows and didn't see much difference between that or just a small pillow. I saw these pillow cases but can't see bringing a full size pillow for each (-: https://www.prayerpillowcases.com/index.php My parents tell me of one all night trip we had to take (we didn't usually travel at night) and I at age 2 kept everyone entertained much longer than anyone wanted to be entertained )-: So take everyone's advice with a dose of prayer and make your decision what to do as there is no guarantee any one thing will "work" the way you want. You have the graces from the sacrament of marriage to know what is best for your children and to handle any situation that may arise!

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    1. Yes, we've just started the conversations with the little two in earshot of how neat it will be to sleep on a plane! I pray that I can be flexible and handle whatever happens with grace...come to think of it, maybe I'm just the one who'll need the benadryl ;)

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  15. I can't believe nobody has mentioned dramamine to help kids go to sleep. Granted, not a natural product, but we tend towards motion sickness in our family so I always have some with me when we go on long car trips. I take it myself when I go on air flights or I will get sick. The non-drowsy formula will knock you out, my mom used to give it to my sister and me for long trips too and swears by it.

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    1. I was just reading that that might be a better option than benadryl! Thanks for the tip!

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  16. In regards to sandals: I hear you. And I know what you mean about price. HOWEVER, having been to Rome (on a budget) and doing lots and lots (and lots) of walking, please believe me when I tell you that its worth it to spend a bit more on decent shoes. Having said that, these Lands End sandals are AWESOME and are not so expensive: Women's Trekker Closed Toe Sandals. They look cute with casual skirts, protect your toes (which I find important with little kids climbing on me) and are seriously comfortable. I also have a pair of llbean Boothbay Sandals which are pretty comfy too (but the lands end ones are better).

    As for sleeping on planes, havent done that w/ kids in a long long time, but a friend of mine tucks some lavendar oil spray into her purse for a bit of aromatherapy assistance (if you can get it to pass security guidelines).

    Lastly, as to shampoo Ive been through the whole no-poo thing as well, and I hated it. I am currently really liking Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap (I use peppermint) followed by a rinse of apple cider vinegar (I find the vinegar is really important in cutting the residual soap feel that Dr. Bronner's leaves in my hair. If I use the vinegar, my hair is really smooth and soft -- and no, doesnt smell like vinegar all day.) Like any transition, give it a couple of weeks before your scalp adjusts. I've been using this for almost a year now and really love it. I also use castile soap bars in the bath with the kids. You can use the same bar for body and hair which is super convenient. It lathers up great and I dont have to worry about them sitting in a bunch of chemicals. (I use the bar instead of liquid for the kids because they have a tendency to spill the liquid stuff and waste it. I also use the unscented for the kids because, while I loved them smelling like lavender, some of them complained that the essential oils made their skin sting). You can find Dr. Bronners liquid soap at Trader Joes for a good price, or on Amazon, or just order it from the Bronner's website. I am about to start experimenting with it as a home cleaning aid as well... I hear it works great.

    Best of luck! Oh and by the way, I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your post about the annunciation. I especially liked the idea of taking a meal to pregnant lady -- fab. idea, and I can tell you it would be something so appreciated by this pregnant mom who is expecting child #6! Next year, I am sooo doing that for someone else.

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    1. I did try the castile soap and vinegar at one point and maybe I just couldn't get the ratios right because it didn't seem to work for me! I wonder what I'm doing wrong or if it's just my hair or the water?? Or maybe it was from using standard white vinegar? I also tried the baking soda method without success.

      Thank you so much for the other recommendations. I just tucked the lavender oil in the bag :) And God bless as you get ready to meet #6! How exciting!

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    2. I tried the baking soda as well -- it did not work for me. And you absolutely should use apple cider vinegar -- not white vinegar -- as the rinse. Like I said, it took a bit for my hair/scalp to adjust to the new routine but once it did, I have had no issues. But then, everyone's hair is a bit different! I have heard good things about natural coconut oil soaps... maybe you could give one of them a try! Best Wishes... :)

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  17. I don't have any advice on the flying situation, but I am reading Orthodoxy for the first time RIGHT NOW. I'm not Catholic, but super interested in it and just love this book. I'd love other suggestions you might have!

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    1. That's awesome! Chesterton suggestions or just anything? If Chesterton then I would suggest The Everlasting Man or Brave New Family. Or you can find a lot of his short essays full online which are really good. Non-Chesterton: Peter Kreeft of Fulton Sheen. I really enjoyed Life of Christ by Fulton Sheen and need to reread that one. Or Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla (Pope JPII) (I could give Theology recommendations for hours... :)

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  18. Don't do Benadryl, for all the reasons mentioned above. Just get an army of people praying for you.

    I think your kids will naturally sleep on the flight - especially if it's that late at night. We left first thing in the morning, and by the third flight, they slept fine because it was bedtime for them anyway. There will be some adjustments because of the time difference, but for us, it worked itself out pretty quickly. Sure...there were a couple 3 am "wide awake" times, but then we'd all go back to sleep.

    We got home at 2pm yesterday and everyone took a 2 hour nap. Then the girls were wide awake until 10 or so (I don't know...Kevin and I went to bed!). They were all up at 5am (I think...I was still sleeping!). It's all part of the experience. : )

    I love Merrell shoes and sandals - I've always found them the most comfortable and can walk in them for hours and hours. I like them so much I will pay the higher amounts if I need to, because they last longer and replace so many cheaper pairs of shoes. They also make styles that are cute and comfortable. I've had many different styles and have loved them all.

    So excited about your trip!

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