Answer Me This – Another Husband Bonus

I really enjoy this link up of random questions from Kendra. So I’m joining in again for Answer Me This.

Like I did once last summer, I’m also including my husband’s answers to the questions after mine.

1 – How long have you lived in your current home?

Me – Just over six years. We moved here when Miss was about three months old.


Our house is now officially on the market, and hopefully our new house will be finished in September.


I have wanted a white farmhouse with a tin roof for all of my adult life. I smile every time I drive up to this house.

Ben – “Too long.”

2 – How do you find out about news and current events? 

Me – Mostly on Facebook or from my husband and sometimes my mom. When important stuff happens, it’s usually all over my FB feed, and I can’t stand to watch the news. The cadence of a newscaster’s voice  is like nails on a chalkboard to me (they all seem to sound the same), and I have yet to find an online news source that I like.

Ben – “Internet, I guess.”

3 – Would you be able to make change for a twenty right now? For a dollar?

Me – No and yes. I almost never carry cash in my wallet, but I do have some change in there right now that adds up to a little over a dollar (I had to go check, because usually I don’t even have that).

Ben – (Change for 20?) “Hell no.” (For a dollar) – “Huh?” (he doesn’t carry change).

4 – What’s the craziest food you’ve ever eaten?

Me – Although I grew up eating very safe, normal, not-at-all crazy foods, I have become more adventurous in my food endeavors as an adult. I’ve eaten some mildly daring things, like raw oysters and squid-ink sauce on ravioli, but not much I would consider crazy. I guess the craziest things are those I made when Ben and I used to do our at-home version of the show Chopped. The dish that comes to mind immediately is The Great Pickled Herring Disaster from a few years ago. The other might be the dish I made with plantains, tofu, and bacon bits.

Ben – “I grew up eating cow tongue.” (I’d like to add that he also once ate blood sausage and likes to eat raw shrimp heads, shell and all, when we get sushi in Des Moines)

5 – Which of the commonly removed parts have you had removed? (tonsils, wisdom teeth, appendix, etc.)

Me – None of them. I still have all my original parts. Every time I go to a new dentist, he or she is always shocked to find that I still have my wisdom teeth. The only thing I’ve ever had surgically removed from my body was a nine-pound baby.

Ben – “Well, I am sans appendix”

6 – What’s your favorite sport to watch on TV?

Me – I used to watch college football a lot. I grew up watching Michigan football, and continued to watch it up until a few years ago, when life with little ones made it difficult, and the team was so bad it wasn’t worth the effort. I don’t think I watched a single game last year in its entirety. Now that Coach Harbaugh has come home, I may find it worth my while to watch again.

These days most of my sports watching is on a bit smaller scale though.




Ben – “Wrestling, of course. (pause) People are going to read that and think I mean pro wrestling (laughs)”

For Kendra’s answers and more, check out her post here.

Thanks to my husband for playing along. What about you??

Answer Me This – Summer!

For the summer, Kendra is back with her Answer Me This link up. Yay!

Here are her questions, and my answers:

1. Any big plans for the summer?

We’re putting our house on the market, and building a new house. That’s pretty big.

Also, I’m going to Edel, with Super Friend! That’s definitely big.

And we’re going to a wedding at the beginning of August, where I will be singing many songs for the reception afterward, along with the band that consists of my husband, his brother, two of his cousins, and a family friend. Big.

Other than that, we’re at the Farm for the rest of this week, we’ll be going to the pool a lot, the girls have a few weeks of YMCA camp, and we’ll be soaking in the gloriousness of summer in Wisconsin.


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

Well, I think I’ve mentioned before that I had an imaginary friend named Banny. At some point in my childhood, I guess I no longer felt the need to have Banny around. My explanation for his departure was that I accidentally killed him by jumping on my bed without realizing he was taking a nap between my mattress and box spring (which was where he slept?). You’d think this would have been traumatic for me, but it wasn’t at all. Perhaps I should be disturbed by that, but I’m not at all.

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

When I was a kid, I used to go to an amusement park called Boblo Island.


They had a ferris-wheel-type ride there that I don’t remember the name of. As I recall, it started out flat on the ground and you got into these little cars that started to rotate around the wheel and rise up off the ground. It went very fast, and in addition to that, there was a steering wheel inside the car that you could turn as fast as you wanted to make your individual car spin around. It was my favorite ever.

Beyond that, I always like pretty much all roller coasters and fast rides.

4. What’s on your summer reading list?

Surprisingly, I don’t actually have a summer reading list this year. Right now I’m finishing Confessions by St. Augustine.

After that, I think I’ll read Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us and A Dark Lure, which are on my Kindle waiting to be read (the latter of those was a free download). I also have a lot of other books at home that I want to read, like 10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, St. Rita of Cascia, The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home, and Therese, Faustina, and Bernadette: Three Saints Who Challenged my Faith, Gave Me Hope, and Taught Me How to Love

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

Yes, on a plane. I don’t think anywhere else.

6. What is your favorite smell?

New baby. And a very close second is newly baptized baby/chrism oil.


That’s it for this week.

You can see Kendra’s answers to these and check out others’ posts/answers here.


Answer Me This – Mmmmm, Cheese!

This is the last time Kendra is hosting the Answer Me This link up (at least for now), so I couldn’t miss out this week.

1. What is your favorite picture book?

Oh my. No way could I answer with just one book. I wrote a guest post for the 101 Books blog last year about my favorite fictional picture books. That post included the top 15 books, but I linked it to a post on my blog that had 101 wonderful picture books.

Sooo, yeah. I really love picture books. If I had to choose one favorite favorite fictional picture book, it would probably be:

It is the book I enjoy reading the most, because I love doing the voices of the characters. And it makes me laugh. A close second:

And one more newish book that I love:

Because, obviously.

A couple of favorite nonfiction books include:

We have three copies of ^^ this one ^^. One has been read so much it’s falling apart. Lass used to sleep with it.


This book is huge, and it is filled with wonderful drawings of so many different animals, several of which I had never heard of before.

Ours has been taped and re-taped. Lass used to sleep with this one too.


2. Are you a boycotter?

No, not really. I did switch to buying Blue Diamond almond milk after learning that Silk (the other main brand of almond milk) is owned by a company that supports Monsanto. But, if Blue Diamond isn’t available, I’ll buy Silk.

On the other side of it, the day after the SCOTUS ruling about Hobby Lobby came out and everyone on my FB feed was in an uproar about how awful HL is, I went there and bought a bunch of stuff. It was stuff I needed anyway (most of it, though I did decide to buy some 4th of July decor I hadn’t planned on), but I made a pointed decision to purchase it from Hobby Lobby rather than JoAnn fabrics a few doors down, because I wanted to show them a little love in the midst of all the haters.

3. How do you feel about cheese?

Oh, I LOVE cheese. I think cheese is just wonderful. Unfortunately, I’m boycotting cheese right now.

I am someone who tends to gain a zillion pounds when I’m pregnant. I start gaining weight practically the very minute the second line turns pink. So, I gained (relatively) a lot of weight in the brief time that I was pregnant recently, and it really sucks to have to try to lose pregnancy weight without the blessing of a baby to snuggle while you do it. So, I need to lose the extra pounds ASAP. The fastest way I know of to do it is to get back to strict paleo eating, including no dairy.

Yeah. I love cheese.

4. How many pairs of sunglasses do you own?

I think three or four. I have a pair that I always keep in my car, and a few more here and there. I think I have two pairs in the cabinet by my back door, and maybe another pair somewhere that is scratched. . .


5. How long has it been since you went to the dentist?

About six months. I need to schedule appointments for myself and the girls, but I am being oppositional and putting it off. My dentist’s office always calls me an absurd amount of times to try to get me to schedule an appointment. I always tell them that I will call them when I am able to schedule it (usually they call me when I’m somewhere that I can’t look at my calendar or at a time when I’m in the middle of something else).

Even after I tell them that repeatedly, they still call me several times. I don’t like to be hounded, so now I’m just not scheduling it because I’m being ornery.

6. If you could visit any religious site in the world, where would you go?

The only religious site I have been to so far is the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help.


There are so many places I want to go. Guadalupe. Lourdes. Fatima. Rome and the Vatican. Cascia (that’s where Saint Rita is from).

If I could choose one place to go right now though, I would choose Jerusalem and the surrounding area. The Holy Land, I guess is a better was to say it. Someday. . .

To see more answers, go to Kendra’s link up.

Tomorrow is Miss’s first day of school outside our homeschool. I’m not sure if I’m going to bawl, or think of it as no big deal, since she’ll be back with me at home next week. I’ll let you know which way it goes.

Answer Me This – Mass Confusion

I’m linking with Kendra for Answer Me This again.

For fun, you should give your answers in the combox 🙂

1. What is your favorite room in the house?

The office. Really just my chair, but since the chair is in the office, and very often my husband is too, I’ll say the office.


2. Do you subscribe to any magazines or other periodicals?

No. But it’s funny you should ask. I have a story about this.

Once when I first started graduate school, I stupidly opened a credit card, or increased the credit line on my existing card, or did something like that in order to get some “prize package” that had grocery deals (not really) and a free five-year magazine subscription, and maybe some other free things (nothing really worthwhile). The only thing that was really true from that “deal” was the magazine subscription (I was so dumb). I selected “Mademoiselle” from amongst the available titles, and began receiving monthly installments right away.

Turns out I’m not really a magazine person. But they were free, so I didn’t think too much about it. Five years went by. I think they stopped publishing Mademoiselle, because at some point I started getting Glamour instead. It’s basically the same thing, and I wasn’t reading them anyway, so I didn’t care.

Somewhere along the line, I realized that five years was looong past and I was still receiving the magazines. I started to wonder if I was being charged for them somehow and checked through my records, with no indication that I was. I tried to find a way to contact the magazine publisher. I had a hard time finding a contact number. I forgot about it. The magazines kept coming.

At some point, I finally did get ahold of a contact number or website or something and I requested that they stop sending me the dumb magazines. I started graduate school in 1998. Those magazines had been coming for waaaay more than five years. And they had followed me through at least six changes in residence. It was kind of creepy.

But, as I said, a couple years ago (or maybe a year? I can’t remember), I finally got the magazines to stop coming.

Guess what showed up in my mailbox a few weeks ago.


I see they’re still publishing the same article “5,000 Ways to Please your Man and Get Him to Commit For LIFE.” With a different title, of course.

I’m not paying for it. Why do they keep sending it to me?? I don’t know how to make it go away. For LIFE.

3. How do you feel about the sign of peace at Mass? Enriching? Awkward? Overdone? Just Right? Some combination of the above?

Well. Let me first admit that I was very confused by this question, and by Kendra’s answer until I got to the part where she said, “I think it’s nice to make some eye contact with the people around me.” That’s the first sentence of her very last paragraph in response to the question.

Up until I read that, I thought she was asking about the Sign of the Cross. I was very confused and concerned to think that there was any controversy over it.

Oooooh, the sign of peace. Yes, I think they might have mentioned something in RCIA about how some people don’t like it.

So. Now that I have the correct sign, I’ll proceed to give my answer.

When I first started going to Mass, I really didn’t like it. I got all uptight about it in the moments leading up to it, especially once I started learning the progression of the Mass a bit better. “Ugh, he’s saying ‘Peace I leave you, My peace be with you,’ it’s almost time.” I dreaded the sign of peace because I’m shy or introverted or whatever, and it felt so awkward!

I’m not sure exactly when my feeling about it changed, but eventually it did. Now I actually really like it. It helps me to feel connected to other people in the parish. I like a lot of the other people in our parish! There’s one man who sits near us almost every week who smiles and winks at me every time I shake his hand (in a kind way, not a creepy way). People have said very nice things to me during the sign of peace, like, “Your children are beautiful,” “You’re a wonderful mother,” and so on. We were traveling, so I went to a small parish on the Feast of the Assumption (on Friday), and everyone there seemed to know each other and they were hugging and waving across the church and seemed to really enjoy greeting each other and wishing each other peace. Yesterday I went to Mass at a local home for elderly nuns, and people hugged me and were so welcoming and kind. I loved seeing those nuns do the sign of peace.

So, bottom line is, I think it’s great. I think it gives people a true opportunity to express kindness and warmth towards each other. And it’s traditional. “Peace be with you”

5. What was your favorite TV show (or shows) growing up?

I had a few. The main ones were probably Dukes of Hazard and Little House on the Prairie (which my Dad and brother called “Little House on the Chicken Coop,” while groaning, every time my mom and I turned it on).

I just bought season one of LHOTP to watch with my girls soon, and I have a whole bunch of homeschool stuff to go along with it. I think they need to be a little older for most of it, but I couldn’t resist 🙂

6. What are your favorite TV shows now?

I don’t really watch TV. It’s just not my thing (like magazines). The only show I sometimes watch is Chopped. Though I will admit to occasionally turning on Golden Girls or Days of Our Lives (on SoapNet in the evening, not during the day) when my husband is away or working nights.

I used to watch “Days” before I was married. And Golden Girls was my favorite all through graduate school.

Now, how about you???

Answer Me This – Bonus Husband Edition

This week I’m doing Kendra’s Answer Me This, and as a special treat, my husband is answering the questions as well.

1. What’s something you’ve won, and how did you win it?

Me: I won my school’s spelling bee when I was in fifth grade. The word that clinched my victory over a sixth grade boy named Darren was “juvenile.” I have a weird love for spelling (and sentence diagramming) and it’s always been something I’m good at.

I went on to the regional spelling bee, where I placed fourth. The word that knocked me out was “nemesis.” I had never heard the word before, and I spelled it N-E-M-I-S-I-S. At the district-wide spelling bee I was the runner up. I missed the word “exhaust.” Forgot the H, and realized my mistake as soon as I saw the look on my Mom’s face in the audience.

Is it disturbing that I have such a vivid memory of this? I swear, I do not feel that my life is lacking because I never won the regional or district spelling bee. . . I do still have the dictionary they gave me for winning my school bee though.


Husband: I won a State Wrestling Championship by kicking ass.

2. Do you save old greeting cards and letters, or throw them all away? Why?

Me: I save things from my husband and children, and some extra special things from other people. I have letters my husband wrote to me during our first year of dating when we had a long-distance relationship. I also printed out all the emails he sent me during that time. Those are all tied up in a ribbon and saved in a box in my closet. I also have birthday and anniversary cards from him, cards from my daughters, some letters and cards from my Grandma, and a thank you card from Super Friend. I also saved all the cards and notes I got during and after my conversion. I throw away most other things after saving them for a bit.

Why do I save them? I’m sentimental. I like them. They make me smile, and I want to be able to look at them when I’m old. I’ve read over the letters from my husband and some of the other notes and cards on occasion. In a world where everything is electronic and sentiments are rarely lasting, I want to be able to hold on to some expressions of love and support and friendship that have meant a lot to me at various times.

Husband: I throw them away. Next. (Note, I pointed out to him that he has a bunch of cards and artwork by our girls on his desk right now that he has not thrown away, to which he responded, “Yeah, but that’s like 1% of all the cards I’ve gotten. . .”)

Don’t let him fool you into thinking he isn’t sentimental. Here’s the upper shelf of his desk:


3. When you’re at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?

Me: Socks in winter, barefoot otherwise.

Husband: Barefoot. And socks in winter.

4. Who’s the most famous person you have ever met? 

Me: Depends who is more famous, Tom Arnold or Joey Lawrence.

Husband: Bill Clinton. Or Al Gore.

5. What has been your best work of art?

Me: My blog. It’s my way of being creative.

I also once cooked a coq au vin that was a masterpiece. (see #6 below)

Husband: Honestly, I don’t do art.

6. What is your strongest sense?

Me: Taste. I love me some tasty food. Example: Recently Super Friend and I went out to brunch at a local bar. On the way out, we were both rubbernecking a table of guys. We got outside and started laughing, because we had each noticed the other’s ogling, and both knew that the ogling had nothing to do with the guys at the table, but rather with their huge plate of yummy-looking nachos. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. . .

Husband: (laughs) Hmm. My common sense.

Check out more answers at Kendra’s link up. Also, check out her great post from today about family planning and having babies and not having babies.

Answer Me This – Guns and Daisies

I’m coming in just under the wire for Kendra’s Answer Me This link up.

1. How often do you take public transportation?

Pretty much never, unless I’m visiting another town. I’ve been on the Metro in DC, and taken a cab plenty of times. I’m not really a fan of buses. I grew up in Detroit, as in, the Motor City, where everyone drives everywhere. So I have very little experience with public transportation.

2. How many cousins do you have?

If I’m counting right I have 15 on my Mom’s side and six on my Dad’s side. I have lots of fond memories of fun with my cousins.

Christmas 80 - Champnella Grandkids


For many years, I was one of the youngest, and my next younger cousin and I were sort of excluded from the “big kids,” so we became super close.



Rockin' Cousins! 1979

She has been one of my very best friends for my whole life.

I’m so happy that my girls have tons of cousins (four on my side of the family and 13 on my husband’s side) and love spending time with them.

DSC_0188 DSC_0619They are making such great memories of family time, and they absolutely adore their cousins.

3. Have you ever fired a gun?

Yes, quite a bit, though not recently. My Dad first taught me to shoot with a muzzleloader when I was a kid. Then he and my brother taught me to use a handgun when I was getting ready to move out and live by myself for the first time in graduate school. I had a small revolver that I used to keep in the very creative/secure/safe spot of under my mattress, because I was kind of nervous living by myself. I had a very detailed plan of defense in case anyone ever broke into my apartment. It helped me sleep at night.

After graduate school I worked as a psychologist for the Bureau of Prisons for several years. Part of the training for a position with the BOP is to go to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center for three weeks, in which firearms training is a significant part of the curriculum. So I learned to fire a Glock and a shotgun and an M-10 semi-automatic rifle. I always found target practice to be very fun and challenging. I don’t think I’ve fired a gun since leaving the BOP in 2006 though.

4. Do you ride roller coasters?

I love roller coasters. The last time I rode one was after running the Disney World Marathon in January 2008. We went to the park late at night and there were no lines for Space Mountain, so we rode it over and over and over. Space Mountain barely counts as a roller coaster, but I can’t remember the last time I rode a good big one.

5. What’s your favorite flower?

Gerber Daisies (or Gerbera?). They were the flowers I chose for my wedding.

DSC01379 wedding 034Based on smell alone, lilacs are my favorite.

6. Are you allergic to anything?

The antibiotic erythromycin. I last took it as a child, and it made me feel like something very heavy was pressing on my chest. Also, something that gets in the air around here in the spring, but I don’t know what. Pollen, I guess? It makes my nose and eyes and throat itchy for a few weeks.

See more at Catholic All Year.



Answer Me This – Rotary Phones and Coconuts and Potty Training

I’m linking with Kendra again for Answer Me This! What is it about these question and answer things that is so addictive? I don’t know, but here we go.

1. Do you have a land line?

Yes. I like having one. My cell phone doesn’t work well inside my house. And I just prefer to talk on a regular phone instead of a cell phone if given the choice. Call me old fashioned if you will.

I don’t get it from any stranger. We actually had a phone just like that ^^ when I was growing up.

I think a regular landline phone is more comfortable in general, and easier to hold between my ear and shoulder if I need to be using my hands. I know, bluetooth or whatever, but no thank you.

2. What is your least favorite food?

Coconut. It’s a texture thing.  I don’t mind the taste of it so much, but I can’t eat it because of the texture. It’s followed closely in the level of my loathing by corn bread and grits.

3. What’s on your summer reading list?

Oh boy, lots of things. I feel like I should do a separate post just about this. Right now I’m reading The Little Oratory and Teaching From a State of Rest and See How She Loves Us and Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter. I never used to read more than one book at a time until I started reading Catholic books. I can’t seem to limit myself to only one nowadays.

Very soon I will be starting The Dolorus Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which I’m reading for a book discussion. I saw The Passion of the Christ for the first time on Good Friday this year, and when I read about this book, which the movie was based heavily on, I had to get it. There are a lot more books on my list to read, but I can’t think of any at the moment.

4. Is there something that people consistently ask your advice on? What is it?

I used to get asked questions about mental health or relationship issues all the time when I was working as a psychologist. I’m still licensed and so technically still a psychologist, but I’m pretty far removed from that world and I don’t think people associate that with me anymore.

Nowadays I get asked all the time about potty training. I’m quite vocal about my love of this 3 Day Potty Training Method, so several people have asked for my advice about fast and briefly painful, but effective, potty training.

5. What’s the most physically demanding thing you’ve ever done? 

By far, my delivery of Lass. I had a c-section with Miss, so Lass was my first real labor and delivery. My labor with her was unmedicated, lasted about 20 hours, and she was 10lb., 7oz. Enough said, I suppose, but if you want the full story, I wrote about her birth here (it’s not written very well, but it’s documented anyway).


^^ Very early in my labor


^^ Kind of in the middle I think. There are no pictures of the later hours of labor. I was a screaming hot mess, and not very receptive to the camera, I imagine.

6. How do you feel about massages? 

I think they’re perfectly lovely. I very much like getting one as a special treat now and then. I just try not to think about the slight awkwardness factor of the whole thing and it’s quite enjoyable.

See how others answered these questions here.


Answer Me This! Beards and Other Scary Things

Linking with Haley this time for Answer Me This!

1. What’s the scariest thing that’s ever been in your yard?

Not much scary has been in my current yard. Probably this guy, I guess:


He really wasn’t that scary, but he was missing a leg and his tail. And I have a history with opossums.

Scariest thing ever was a drive-by shooter when we lived in North Carolina (oddly also part of the opossum back story). I guess not technically in my yard. But close enough, since two bullets came through the front wall of my house.

2. Beards. Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Thumbs definitely up.



I love the beard. Though I loved the bald too.



3. If stuff breaks, can you fix it?

Some stuff. I can manage a hammer, most small and some larger power tools, a needle and thread (or sewing machine), and crazy glue. However, beyond the sewing and gluing, I usually leave broken stuff to my husband these days.

4. What was your first car?

A Ford Escort I shared with my brother until he went away to college. Kind of like this one but grey and a few years older:

5. How often do you eat out?

Every other week to once a week. My husband and I go on date nights or we go out for a “family date night.” I have a great love of date nights. Also, I go out to dinner with Super Friend sometimes.

6. Why is your hair like that?

Because it’s thick and heavy. And because I don’t know how to do anything else with it. Or I’m too lazy to do anything else (example: I cannot commit to regular visits to the salon, so hair color and short cuts are out).



Heck, sometimes I can’t even manage that^^ and have to go for a bang-free variation.

DSC_0089 DSC_0091-3


I didn’t have bangs until December. Prior to that my hair had been the same long-and-straight ‘do pretty consistently since I was about 16. Once in a while I’d try something new, but it was always either pretty awful or more trouble than it was worth.

So I always come back to the basic long and straight. The bangs have been my latest attempt at “something different,” and they seem to be manageable so far.

See more answers at Carrots for Michaelmas.