Quick Takes with Grandma


1. So last week Dom went to Denver for the Catholic Media Conference. He was giving a talk on new media and parishes… I think. And on a panel about blogging. While he was away my mom came out to be with me. I was actually a little surprised that she came since my dad just had a stroke two weeks before. But he wanted her to come. He can’t drive yet, but he can walk to church, to the store, and to his speech therapy. And since he hadn’t been swimming, he needed the exercise. So he told her he didn’t need a baby sitter and to come on like she’d planned. And she did.

And we had a lovely time. The kids love having Grandma here. I do too. And I got a few nice pictures of my mom with Lucy.


Just look at Ben and Lucy loving on each other!

But then she notices Mama. No brother, no matter how wonderful, can compete with that!

2. And Mom got some rare pictures of me. I rather like them, so I thought I’d share. I’m usually the one hiding behind the camera.






3. Yesterday we finished reading The Children’s Homer by Padraic Colum. Bella is also deeply immersed in D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths. Between the two of them, boy is she in love with the Greeks. The other day I overheard her quizzing Sophie on Greek mythology. From the other room I kept hearing her yell: Poseidon, Troy, Ithaka… This is what I dreamed homeschooling would be like.

4. Bad news: Anthony threw dried shiitake mushrooms all over the office.
Good news: I found out after the big kids had picked them all up.
Really! They picked them up without an adult to ask them to. Amazing!

5. Tuesday morning I heard a rustling behind the closed office door. The three big kids were in the girl’s room and Dom was dressing. What was Anthony up to? Surely no good! I called to him and the doorknob rattled. Sure enough he’d locked it. While I was fetching a butter knife to unlock it, he managed it himself. I opened the door and he immediately handed me a mostly eaten lollipop. Sophie’s lollipop that the fish guy gave her at Saturday’s farmers market. Oh dear. I just had to laugh.

6. Some scenes from our Saturday farmer’s market outing. No pictures of the actual market. Just play at the beach afterward:

Sophie finding pretty rocks and shells

Bella explores the seaweed. She also found a huge horseshoe crab shell.

Sharing their finds.

Ben rolled up his pants and ran along the waterline until he—inevitably—went too far and got soaked.

My four plus a friend they made, a little girl who was Bella’s age, but closer to Sophie’s height.

Anthony doing his picture face at our favorite seafood place.

7. Today I popped out to get the mail and all four big kids popped out to to run around the yard. Ben spotted a flock of turkeys in our neighbor’s yard. Three adults and seven or eight babies. I stalked them down the street and then they crossed the street. One of the adult flew up onto a roof and then walked around for a while before flying down again.

Turkeys crossing the road

See Jen for more Quick Takes

6 Responses to Quick Takes with Grandma

  1. Enbrethiliel June 30, 2013 at 11:37 am #


    I love history books the most when they were written by someone who saw the whole bird’s eye view—and based on the excerpt you’ve quoted, “The Church under Attack” is one of them! Thanks for the review. =D

    But I’ll admit I think the title of this post should have been the title of the book. It’s much more (small-C) catholic, highlighting that the Reformation and other sixteenth-century crises were indeed everyone’s problem, not just those of the faithful Catholics.

  2. Melanie Bettinelli June 30, 2013 at 3:40 am #

    E, A fair criticism, but since I hadn’t even finished the first chapter of the book I wanted to leave room to post more excerpts if I came across other passages I liked and maybe to write a formal book review when I’m done reading it. So I thought I wouldn’t use the book title for this excerpt in case I wanted to use it for the review. I wanted an eye-catching title, and I liked that first sentence.

  3. Melanie Bettinelli June 30, 2013 at 3:44 am #

    It does seem like this book is written as a counter to a Protestant-centric version of history, which is what I learned even going to Catholic schools.

  4. Enbrethiliel July 1, 2013 at 4:07 am #


    Ack! I didn’t explain myself clearly. *blush* When I said that I thought the title of this post should have been the title of the book, I didn’t mean that *you* should have used the book’s title, but that the author should have used *your* title. Not that she could have known about it while writing the book, of course, but I really do think it captures the spirit of the book better. =)

    It’s true that we get the Protestant version by default. I remember the pleasant shock of reading a biography of St. Joseph Calasanz which, when setting the historical context, described Philip II of Spain as a great Catholic monarch whose one tragedy was not being able to keep a greater corner of Christendom united by marrying Elizabeth I of England. When we think of that failed courtship, we normally imagine Philip as so greedy for England that he thought nothing of marrying his dead wife’s half-sister. And of course, there’s the shadow of “Bloody” Mary’s reign (and not a word about “Bloody Bess” to provide perspective), to boot! It is quite startling to think that Philip could have had other motives for wanting a marriage with Elizabeth—and yet, it is only fair to him to consider that, aye? Yet the Protestant narrative is so rooted in the cultural memory of Anglophones that one almost needs to speak Spanish before one can get the other view!

    (For the record, the book on St. Joseph Calasanz *had* originally been written in Spanish. I was lucky to get a really clumsy English translation when a Spanish missionary priest visited my parish.)

  5. Kelly M. July 1, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    I have read Diane’s other two books and LOVED them. I found them both thorough yet not dry or overwhelming. I still reference them when my kids have questions about history. I didn’t realize she’d written a new book; it’s definitely going on my Wish List. I’ll be curious to hear what you think abou the rest of the book. I found once I started, I couldn’t put it down.

  6. Melanie Bettinelli July 1, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    Oh, Enbrethiliel , I shouldn’t try to respond to comments when you have a headache. You were clear. I just misread.

    But I think “The Trouble with the Sixteenth Century” while catchy would be misleading since the book covers the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries.

    An interesting take on Philip and Elizabeth. I have so many blindspots that I don’t even realize are there. I want to do better when teaching Bella history, but it’s hard to know where I have to supplement when I only know the Protestant propaganda version. I think I need to read more before we get to the Reformation and later. Hopefully this book will, help but because the scope is so broad it’s necessarily thin. She does a great job of acknowledging how shallow her coverage is, but still I need more.

    Kelly, I will have to look up her other books.

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