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

by | Jun 14, 2015 | Answer Me This | 32 comments

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

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

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.”


  1. Isabelle

    I LOVE all the Cadfael novels! (Dominican nuns do as well, which is a problem, because it means charity demands I share them with my aunt, life is tough), and Death comes to Pemberley is pretty great. And Jonathan Strange and Mister Norell is awesome (and the BBC adaptation pretty amazing, apart from the Man With The Thistle-Down Hair, he's only alright). Right, stopping gushing, taking care of child.

  2. Elizabeth

    So, I'm super curious what on earth is meant by "particularly Catholic misbehaviour"?! 🙂

    • Elizabeth

      P.S. You should try the Ladies No. 1 Detective series. I really loved them. They're set in Botswana, and it was neat to learn a bit about that culture also. I think Mma Ramotswe may be one of my favorite literary characters, actually.

    • Kendra

      When *I* know, you'll know. Or maybe someone else has watched it already and can allay our fears. I just didn't want to not mention it, since someone did warn me, in case it's really bad and you guys would all be sitting there wondering why on earth I told you to watch this show.

    • Sandra

      I think I was the one who warned you (if it was on IG). I wouldn't say it was particularly Catholic misbehavior; more like (serious) misbehavior by a particularly Catholic man (Fr Grau). Anyway, it kinda ruined the show for me so I haven't watched anymore but if there's some kind of super redemption or something that outweighs that let me know.

    • Caroline

      yes, Gran Hotel is grandly entertaining in a completely ridiculous, foolish, waste of time, way, where there are no consequences it seems, for anyone who commits any crime! It just seems to be forgotten! And yes, Julio still has his over sized napkin to carry around his worldly possessions. One would think he'd spring for a small napsac. And it seems about half of the actors are in another Spanish show set in the fifties called Velvet, which was also greatly foolishly waste of time, though entertaining. I stopped watching it after the first couple of episodes in season two. Too much sex once season two began. The actresses who play Alicia and Laura are in it sporting 50s hair.

  3. Amanda

    I am ROFL about the stick farm! Ah, kids are so gullible, I love it 🙂

    And you totally can't do this: "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." and leave us all hangin! I might die of the suspense, mostly cause I'm bored and it's summer so I have nothing better to do that worry about what my fav bloggy friends are up to. And because I'm impatient about everything. God keeps trying to develop patience in me (hello 10 day late 3rd baby) but unfortunately I'm hard-headed like that.

    Btw Cranky Frankie makes a triumphant return in this post, I love it! You'd posted so many happy faces lately I thought perhaps he was outgrowing the crankiness. Is it odd to say I'm kinda happy he's still his same old cranky self? I dunno, it makes him kinda unique somehow. And it reminds me of my Peter who also tends to get very mad/sad about every little thing, since babyhood.

    • Kendra

      He's still got it. 🙂 And I'll keep you guys posted. Nothing to tell yet.

  4. October Rose

    BBC is making a miniseries of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and it is quite good! But do read the book first. 🙂

  5. Lizzie

    I LOVE the cadfael books. I may also be a bit in love with the character Hugh. Another one for the book crush list. It's set in such an interesting time in English history, and I think the Catholicism is portrayed pretty well.

    At the end of the summer I think I'm going to try to toilet train my 22 month old. That is enough excitement for me. I want to take advantage of the pants free freedom of warm Southern Ontario weather before it's over for the year.

    I really like smooth and fast rides. There's one at six flags, something to do with a batman movie, I can't remember the name.

    I tend to read whatever book crosses my path, but I am planning on rereading the Poldark novels by Winston Graham. They are a little soap opera-y, and somewhat gothic, but I do really like the dynamic between husband and wife when things are going well, and again, it is an interesting time in English history 🙂

    My dad suckered me in on a few things, but I've got post nap mushy brain and can't think of anything specific.

    Yes I have napped in public, I am ok with this,but somewhat embarrassed by the occasional occurrence of drool…

    I LOVE newly baptised baby smell too 🙂 and lemon and curry. Unless I am full, then curry doesn't smell so good.

    • Isabelle

      Love Hugh Beringar! Although, in the TV series, only the first actor who plays him is any good. My husband and I call him "Proper Hugh Beringar", but there is then "Bad Hugh Beringar", "Fake Hugh Beringar" and "Rubbish Hugh Beringar" 😀

  6. Kris

    No one else answered the questions in their comments, so I'll take a stab:

    1. No huge plans, but every summer we take a 5 day camping trip with 8 other families to the mountains of North Carolina. We have been doing this for years and all my kids (and all the other kids) love it and wouldn't miss it, even the older teens. Our family did not get to go last summer, at the last minute, because my FIL became very ill and subsequently passed away, so we didn't want to be in the woods with no cell service at the time. So we're REALLY looking forward to the trip this year.

    2. I don't remember believing anything particularly strange. Nothing that comes to mind, anyway.

    3. I love roller coasters. My all time favorite is Great Thunder Mountain railroad at Walt Disney World in Orlando. And Space Mountain.

    4. I have a book list a mile long and it just depends on what arrives from the library. I'm on the waiting list for All The Light We Cannot See, but I'm number 342, so I'm not holding my breath that I'll get it before the end of the summer. I love to read and will pretty much read anything reasonably good.

    5. I do not fall asleep in public generally. I am not someone who easily falls asleep and I need dark and quiet. The exception would be flying overnight on an airplane. That's public and I can usually sleep a bit there.

    6. I love the smell of garlic cooking. And I also love newly baptized babies! Anything baking in the oven is yummy, too.

  7. Amanda

    1. I am also having a baby this summer, but not until the end (God willing) and I don't have many serious plans until then.

    2. My dad is also a tease, and I know he convinced my sister Easter egg trees grew that way, but I can't think of anything I believed.

    3. I really like roller coasters. And tower of terror. I like being safely scared.

    4. I read a lot. I just started Kristin Lavansdatter though so I'm not getting much else read.

    5. I don't sleep in public, but once in high school I fell asleep on the floor of the HousE of Representatives on a very tiring trip to DC. (I was in a chair, not on the actual floor.)

    6. Probably cookies, although it may just be that I love to eat cookies. I only want to smell them if I'm about to eat them. Otherwise, lavender?

    • Kendra

      I am feeling super lazy and nesty with this pregnancy, but I have committed to doing 1,000 things before the end of July. Yay Kristin Lavransdatter! One of my favorites.

  8. Marquette

    I haven't seen the film adaptation yet, but I have read "Death Comes to Pemberly" and it was a fun read! To me it felt completely different from P&P, but it was a fun read anyway. I liked it. Didn't love it. I'd read it again though.

  9. Anna

    I am surprised to read so many people liked Death Comes to Pemberley. I haven't read the book but the miniseries was so disappointing. You can't completely change a character that Jane intended to be virtuous and make him conniving (Colonel Fitzwilliam)! Developing the characters would have been fine but I was upset to see them flipped. Darcy bothered me too but for more subtle reasons. (ALL the eye rolling) I'm the only one though it seems.

    • Kendra

      Yes! That was my problem with it as well. And I never saw Wickham as a BAD GUY either, he's a cad and a gold digger, but he gets what's coming to him so perfectly in the end in P&P.

  10. Anonymous

    This is my first time playing along.
    Thanks for hosting this.
    And congrats on your new baby!

  11. Sylvia

    1. Our big plan is to take our 9 month old daughter to the pool this summer for her first swim. We'll see how it goes, since she pretty much hated baths up until two months ago, and still isn't a fan (although it's not like how it used to be). Also lots of picnic-ing together as a family.

    2. I used to think that the lyrics in 'Billie Jean' by Michael Jackson were "rubber pants, on the floor, in a round". Sad fact: I only found out what the actual lyrics were 4 years ago.

    3. I like a good roller coaster. My favorite rides are at Walt Disney World, and I'd have to say there are three that get high marks from me: Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, and whatever that ride in the EPCOT golfball is (It's not really any kind of roller coaster, but still, it's awesome and I love it). Really, though, ALL the rides. Because Disney.

    4. Books on the to-read list: 'The Fellowship of the Ring' by Tolkien, 'Come Rack! Come Rope!' by Robert Hugh Benson, and 'Joan of Arc' by Mark Twain. Also Middlemarch, Don Quixote, and Les Miserables, but really, who am I kidding? No one, that's who.

    5. My only adventures in public sleeping are typically on airplanes. Because otherwise, there's big potential for sleepytime drool. No one wants to see that. At least from a grownup.

    6. My favorite smell is my baby girl after she's had a bath. And chocolate chip cookies coming right out of the oven.

    • Kendra

      Fellowship of the Ring is great, we've done it as a family read aloud. I loved Middlemarch and really got into it. Don Quixote I thought was enjoyable at first but it just kept going and going and I don' think I actually ever finished it. Les Miserables is on my lifetime to read list. But probably not for this summer.

  12. Christine

    A stick garden? Ha!
    Disney was the first amusement park we had ever taken the kids, and they rode everything. We thought, "Yay! We can go to amusement parks every summer now that we know they like them!" And then we went to a normal amusement park. They refused to ride any of the coasters. It finally dawned on me…At Disney, the kids had no idea what they were getting on. All of the rides have a story or something first, and the coaster is actually hidden. At a normal park, those suckers are out there to see, and the kids were petrified. It wasn't until the last two years that my kids got brave enough to ride them.
    I was so glad to see you brought Answer Me This back, even if it's only for a limited engagement.

  13. Marilyn

    I love the thought that smells could have…opposites. What is next? The opposite of bread? (Milk? Soup?) 🙂

  14. Rosie

    Prayers for those very big decisions! Hopefully things all work out soon 🙂

  15. Ashley Sue

    I love the Brother Cadfael Chronicles! Another good mystery series during that time is the Dame Frevisse novels.

  16. Mary

    I love AMT!
    Poor Frankie. Sweetie with his heart on his sleeve.
    Thanks for all the book recommendations!

  17. Erica Saint

    Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell is on my bookshelf, but it hasn't made it to my reading list yet. I am looking forward to your review of A Morbid Taste for Bones to see if I need to add it to my list.
    Adding my prayers for all that you are discerning! 🙂

  18. jen

    I'm a fan of Ellis Peters. You can also catch some of her mysteries on Masterpiece Theatre.

  19. Lauren @ Here We Geaux

    Stick farm!!! AHAHAHAHAH. If you like eucalyptus, have you tried the "stress free" aromatherapy collection from Bath and Body Works? I have the body cream and pillow spray…best.stuff.ever!

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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