7 Quick Takes Friday (Birthday edition)

— 1 —

It’s my birthday, my absolute favorite day of the year. Because I never had to go to school on my birthday and my first jobs in newspapers always gave me my birthday off, I usually take a vacation day. Today, however, I am going to work—I have too much going on to miss a day—but I’m blessed to have a job I enjoy working with some fantastic people. And I’m not cooking dinner tonight, so it’s almost like taking a day off.
I asked my mother to pull a photo of me from my first birthday, back when I was cute and small and not likely dropping hints about how badly I’d love a watch with an unbroken band. When my mother started flipping through her photo albums, she discovered that we celebrated my birthday three times that year.
My godfather and his fellow waiters at the Quarterdeck Restaurant in Ocean City, Md., sang to me.
I blew out the candle on my cake at home at one party.
And then I had yet another cake at another party at home.
In fact, my mother has evidence of birthday celebrations every year, such as this one from birthday No. 4.
Anyway, my birthday was apparently celebrated early and often. There goes my theory that third children don’t get time in the spotlight the way their older siblings do. In fact, maybe that excessive partying contributed to my lifelong belief that my birthday should be a national holiday.
— 2 —

Speaking of birthdays, I have a theory that your favorite season is the one in which you were born. I am a July baby, and I love summer, even with the hot, humid weather. My husband was born in October and his favorite season is fall. But that’s where my research ends. What’s your favorite season, and is it the season in which you were born?
— 3 —
My camera, which I purchased back in April for a mere $45, has served me well for the past few months. I have apparently dropped it too many times, however, and now it won’t take a photo unless I play with the zoom first. The video feature works fine, but I use it mainly for photos, so this is problematic.
Now I have to decide whether it’s worth it to take it somewhere to have it fixed or start saving up for a new one.
My other question is whether there are cases to protect cameras when you drop them, like those cases you can buy for iPhones. Am I the only person who is constantly dropping my camera? Is there anything I can do to protect my future camera from its owner?
— 4 —

Dancing down the Ocean City, Md., Boardwalk


Imagine you are my 3-year-old son. What do you think you would miss most from your beach vacation?
The sand? The ocean? The boardwalk?
None of the above. What Daniel misses is the water and ice dispenser on the front of the refrigerator at the house where my parents and brothers were staying.
He carries an empty cup up to a floor lamp in the living room and holds it under the shade.
“Diss one goes auk-a-mat-a-lee,” he says proudly. Then he makes the noise of water gushing into it.
Then he walks over to a lamp with a pull-chain and pulls the string to “fill” his cup.

When the lamps failed to produce adequate ice to go with the invisible water, he took out the boys’ Don’t Break the Ice game and filled the cups with plastic ice himself. Then he took them back to the lamps/water dispensers.
So we know why the beach was such a hit. Now if we could just move permanently to a house that has a similar feature, we would have one happy 3-year-old.
— 5 —
Leo has been asking questions about God the Father and Jesus and how they can both be God but also different at the same time. He’s really pushing me to explain, and it’s such a great challenge.
The other night we had a long conversation, delving into Heaven and Hell and how God the Father is Jesus’ father and how Jesus was a baby when he was born. This is fascinating stuff to a 5-year-old. I wasn’t sure how I was doing with my answers.
Then Leo stopped me and said, “So Mama, you mean that Jesus is God’s skin?”
And I stopped to think. It isn’t how I would have said it, but OK, we do say that “The Word became flesh” so I think that’s a pretty good grasp. Maybe I should start asking the questions and let him give the answers.
— 6 —


A friend gave me an early birthday gift—a tool to make your own crustless PB&J sandwiches. Leo and Daniel are not fans of bread, but if they do choke down the bread, they skip the crusts.
Now I have said here on this blog that I am not cutting crusts off sandwiches for our boys, but that statement was obviously false. The truth is, it’s hard to find things I can pack in those lunchboxes every single day.
I brought the tool out yesterday morning and Leo wanted to use it right away. So I put him to work making sandwiches, and he was perfectly happy. Maybe he can just take over the lunch packing for me. Now that would be a birthday gift.
— 7 —


One of our annual beach traditions is getting steamed crabs. It’s usually the one time John and I eat them all summer, so it is such a treat. This year for the first time the boys wanted to hammer the claws and eat the meat. If all goes well, we’ll make sure they have some crab-picking skills to go with their Baltimore accents.
Read more quick takes at Jen’s Conversion Diary.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.