28 June 2013

Weekend linkage

Life with Ellie: Lately she has been practicing two new life skills. First there's singing, which consists of such melodious sounds as "aahhhAHHHHaaahhh . . . ooo!!! . . . ahhhEHHHHH . . ."

Can you believe this hair?!

It is so cute to hear her experiment with her voice. I can hardly remember the early weeks when all she could produce was a loud, frantic cry. Now she can carry on quite a conversation.

Well, and there's crying too, sometimes. But not very often. It's more fun to practice smiling.

She's got her happy pants on.

Her second newly-acquired skill is standing up. She has realized that while I'm holding her she can push with her legs and help support herself. Of course, she's still bowlegged and so ends up looking rather like a cowgirl-- or a sumo wrestler. And after four or five seconds she decides that it's toooo hard and collapses back down onto my lap.

So there.

Babies are a lot funnier than I gave them credit for.


Speaking of funny, look at this bird.

The most famous brand from every state.

Russell Moore on this week's SCOTUS rulings regarding same-sex marriage. "The gay and lesbian people in your community aren’t part of some global Gay Agenda conspiracy. They aren’t super-villains in some cartoon. They are, like all of us, seeking a way that seems right to them . . . Some will be disappointed by what they thought would answer their quest for meaning. Will our churches be ready to answer?"

If you've never read GOOP, ha! You should. I get the newsletter, which sometimes has useful beautiful things, but mostly just because it makes me laugh. So pretentious. (We found the perfect pair of jeans for afternoon jaunts to the art gallery, and they're on sale for only $395! Then when you come home you can whip up these limoncello chevre canapes while the nanny irons your bath towels!)

Speaking of laughing at pretension: "My Imaginary Well Dressed Toddler Daughter." Her name is Quinoa. Need I say more?

27 June 2013

new url: yea or nay?

When I started this bloggity blog back in 2008, it was named-- for reasons too complex and random to recount here-- Laffy Taffy. I changed it to A Mad Tea Party several years later, but the web address didn't alter. Hence the current mismatch.

This has bothered me for a while and I am considering changing it. What do you think? Less confusing? More so?

(The new URL would probably be rebekahsmadteaparty.blogspot.com.)

26 June 2013

that's what he said

chomp on daddy
As per request, here are all of Jared's conversational gems from the past year-ish. Categorized and everything.

Concerning His Wife

"No, I'm not going to stop making fun of you. It's one of my principal pleasures in life."

"You are expensive. But I still love you."

"Well, it's a lot easier for you to sound condescending than it is for other people."

"Aww, do you feel as bad as you look?"

"Well, I didn't need a binder full of women to find you."

"If you're such a smartypants, why don't you know about cashews?"

"You're very convenient to have around."

"You're so fat, I can't even shut the car door!"

"I think you would like being a partridge."

"You're the best wife I've ever had."

"I love you even more than bacon."

"Babe, why do you have a big bag of weed in the kitchen?"

"You must be a camel."

"So your finger is like a gateway drug."

"You are my delicate chain-smoking flower."

Concerning His Child

"It's rather blobby."

"When it's crying in the middle of the night, I will call it your baby. When it's being really cute I will call it my baby."

"Yep, you're our little bundle of joy . . . and crying and pooping."

"I do not think the chiropractor would approve of that position."

"It's basically impossible to not take a cute picture of you."

"You are a hiccup machine!"

"Yeah, [she is a] screech owl."

"That's what daddies are for: to irritate their little girls."

"Ellie, soon you will be so old you can apply for your NAACP card!"

"Hey! Did your mom tell you to [spit up all over me]?!"

"You know, she really looks like Jabba the Hutt in there."

"Ellie, what are you going to do with all your chins?"

"Don't worry, she can't go anywhere-- she's in the halfpipe."

"Hey! No TV until you're thirteen!"

Concerning Food

"People at work ask me if you're a gourmet chef or something, because I'm always bringing such amazing things in for lunch."

"I have a new rule: quiche must always contain bacon."

"I know! You can do the dishes while I eat ice cream and brownies. Don't I have good ideas?"

"Do you want some dark chocolate? You need your anti-accidents for the day."

Concerning Himself

"If I were Matthew MacConaughey, I wouldn't have this problem."

"If this real estate thing doesn't work out, I can always go be the yeoman of somebody's cellars."

"I’ve made up my mind. I’m voting for Antoine Dodson, all seats."

"Hold on a minute. I'm trying to figure out how to turn that into a compliment."

"That's me, Mr. Mom."

"That thought is an alien invader into my common sense universe."

"Urgh. Me caveman. Where my woman?"

Concerning Everything Else

"Okay, here's what should happen. Rick Santorum should win and then appoint Mitt Romney as Secretary of State, Ron Paul as Chairman of the Fed, and Newt Gingrich as Press Secretary."

"I think Paula Deen looks like Miss Piggy."

"Reverence for church meetings is a Belgian ale."

"These are the Visigoth grandmas. They sit around knitting things and playing Tiddlywinks."

"Stupid post office. Off with its head!"

"Hmmm. If I was an apron, where would I be?"

"No, we followed the Jared method [not the Bradley method]."

"We will choose plan number C."

"Listen, Ellie. Your mom is good at words and cooking. Not math."


Me: I've had enough sad and serious for today.
Jared: There's always Napoleon Dynamite . . .
Me: NO.
Jared: Well, it's not sad or serious!
Me: It's really dumb!
Jared: You're really dumb.

Jared: Do we have any ice cream?
Me: You cannot eat ice cream right now!
Jared: You're disrupting my kingdom.

Me (melodramatically): But seriously, babe. Do you think I'm pretty?
Jared (straight-facedly): Nope. Not pretty. Ugly! You are so ugly. I like ugly girls, and that's why I married you, because you were the ugliest one I could find. Ugly ugly ugly ugly ugly ugly ugly ugly. . .

Me: What are you doing rummaging through the fridge?
Jared: Looking for something to drink with rum.

Me: I guess it doesn't matter if you're English or Amish . . .
Jared: Everybody wanna pimp out their ride.

Jared: When we install the new cabinets we have to measure the space is between the radiator and . . . um . . . you know, the other thing.
Me: Wall?
Jared: Right. The part you can't walk past.

Me: I like the name Genevieve.
Jared: How would you spell that?
Me: G-E-N-E-V-I-E-V-E. And I like Eliza too.
Jared: How would you spell that?
Me: With an E. I also like Rose.
Jared: How would you spell--
Jared: hahahaha

Me: I look so fat.
Jared: You're pregnant. You're supposed to look fat.
Me: Simon sent me some Youtube video, because apparently everyone has seen it but I haven't. Whatever.
Jared: What video would that be?
Me: I think it's called Gangnam Style.
Jared: Babe. Everyone has seen that. 

Me: You need anything at the grocery store?
Jared: Booze.

Friend: So Jared, what do you do?
Me: He keeps me sane.
Jared: Yeah, it's a full-time position.

21 June 2013

Weekend linkage

"Do you want some dark chocolate? You need your anti-accidents for the day."


Life with Ellie: Right now, the best part of being a mom is when I come into the room and Ellie starts in with her leg-kicking, arm-flapping, huge-smiling, practically-hyperventilating am I ever happy to see you!!! routine. She can entertain herself for quite a while, which is nice when I need to do something that is difficult/impossible with baby in tow, but as soon as she spots me again it's party time.

I love that she recognizes me, that she notices when I'm gone. I know that some people can get annoyed by how clingy babies are and how they depend so fully on their moms, but it honestly doesn't bother me. I like being needed.

p.s. I've chronicled my husband's quotable quips for more than a year now. Very entertaining, yes, but I can't wait until Ellie is old enough to talk, because then you will be getting posts like this. (Camp Patton is the best for laughs.)


Global grandmothers and their signature dishes.

Twelve speeches nobody ever heard. Very interesting!

This video has been making the rounds, and odds are you've seen it, but she does make some excellent points. I like how she doesn't try to set out certain rules of modesty but instead speaks to the desire behind a modest or immodest appearance. I think that is the right place to start. (Also, I appreciate her statement that we can celebrate beauty and promote modesty-- in fact, the two go hand in hand. A lot of modesty lectures omit the truth that yes, women are beautiful and that's a good thing. Which leaves a girl feeling as if any attempt to look pretty or to find flattering clothing is "flaunting herself." Boo.)

The frugal economist's guide to eating out. "Hip people do not always have superb taste in food."

20 June 2013

pretty happy funny real #2


I love it when dinner is both delicious and good-lookin'.

Last night I made a variation on this sausage rice casserole. We liked it a lot. After a few more tweaks, the recipe will be ready to post. :)

Have you tried any good new recipes lately? What are your favorite easy dinners?


Look at all our tomatoes! Pico de gallo, here we come!


On Tuesday night, Jared tried to put Ellie down in her crib and she was having none of it. After about ten minutes of intermittent wailing, he went to get her-- and she immediately spit up all over him.

Revenge is mine, saith the baby.


Yeeeeeah. Front yard? More like front jungle.

Linked at Like Mother, Like Daughter.

14 June 2013

Weekend linkage

"I know! You can do the dishes while I eat ice cream and brownies. Don't I have good ideas?"


Life with Ellie: I love watching her learn things. A baby comes into the world knowing so little. "How to cry" and "how to suck on things" are the extent of her initial skill set. But every week she figures something else out and adds some exciting new element to her life.

In the past couple of days, for example, Ellie realized that she had feet. Adults take feet for granted, but babies are amazed by them. Oh look, I think those things belong to me! How interesting they are! I can even move them-- this is fun!

She also learned how to put her thumb in her mouth all by herself. Previously, she could only do it if she was lying down and her hand was already in the right spot-- in any other position, her arm would just wave about crazily, and she'd get frustrated when her thumb would slip out of her mouth. But suddenly her motor skills sharpened enough for her to guide hand to mouth while sitting upright.

Again, this seems so commonplace to an adult, but for Ellie it's a whole new world. I guess I never realized how much growing and developing a baby does in these first couple of months.

Oh, and her obsession with Mr. Ceiling Fan continues. She is instantly mesmerized whenever she notices him.


Miniature people have adventures on food. You gotta see it.

A graph of brewery numbers in America. I found the complete drop to zero during Prohibition amusing. Apparently they're only counting legal breweries.

"A Gospel That Fits All People."

An uncle teaches his niece how to be a baby. "I would suggest that you do a lot of sleeping, but not in normal human ways. You're going to want to sleep for two and a half hours at a time. That way, your parents will approach but never quite achieve REM sleep, which is going to be hilarious."

This video clip reminds me of, oh, pretty much every time Mom left us with Dad. And this sort of thing is probably what will happen whenever Jared goes somewhere alone with Ellie. I've decided to embrace it early on: dads are just more fun.

13 June 2013

pretty happy funny real


Lid on...

Lid off.

Succulents are right up my gardening alley. Aside from the occasional water, they require little to no care. I planted these hen-and-chicks in a large apothecary jar.


Jared got me these flowers for Mother's Day. Whenever I look out the window and see them hanging on the front porch, I'm reminded of the privilege it has been-- is-- to join the ranks of motherhood.

Only two and a half months in, I can already take Ellie for granted. Of course she's here! Of course I get to lift her out of the crib every morning! Of course I listen to her little coos and squeals as I fold laundry! Yet this was once anything but a matter of course. She is a gift and a delight.


Ellie's hair is rubbing off. Since she sleeps with one side of her head on the mattress, the sides are going bald while her rooster crest is still as perky as ever.

The other day I noticed that her crib bumper had tiny baby hairs all over it, from where she presses up against it while she scooches around trying to fall asleep. I ran a lint roller over the fabric and picked up quite a lot of hair. I was rather sad to see it go! Jared wanted to know if I was going to save it and make a sweater.


We don't have a TV but we do have a large computer monitor and a good set of speakers. So if we want to watch something, this is our setup. Someday we'll refinish the basement and put a really nice entertainment center down there, but for now we make do. :)

Linked up with Like Mother, Like Daughter.

10 June 2013

splendid spuds: butter roasted potatoes

So you have some potatoes and you're wondering what to do with them. They sit on the counter, all lumpy and bland, waiting to be made into something delicious. But mashed is old hat, pan frying is messy, and salad is too much work.

What now? My suggestion: roast them in butter.

Here are three good reasons to try this recipe.
1) Easy peasy. Like mother-of-a-newborn easy.
2) Crispy outside, fluffy inside . . . mmm.
3) Butter!


Butter Roasted Potatoes

2 large russet potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/8 teaspoon paprika
sea salt

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put butter into a 9x9 baking dish and place in oven while preheating.
2) Meanwhile, scrub potatoes and slice in half lengthwise.
3) Once butter is melted, remove dish from oven. Stir chives and paprika.
4) Arrange potatoes in dish, cut side down, and sprinkle with salt. Bake 30-35 minutes or until tender (I stick a fork into one of them and if it goes in easily, they are done). Remove from pan and turn so cut side is on top, then serve hot.

Linked at Simple Lives Thursday.

07 June 2013

Weekend linkage

"You know, she really looks like Jabba the Hutt in there."
-regarding Ellie in her carseat

"Ellie, what are you going to do with all your chins?"
-mean daddy

"Don't worry, she can't go anywhere-- she's in the halfpipe."
-when Ellie was lying on her changing table

"Hey! No TV until you're thirteen!"
-when he noticed her staring at the screen while we watched White Collar

"I have a new rule: quiche must always contain bacon."
-after I made this for dinner


Life with Ellie: What did moms do before the internet? I have searched so many things since she was born, including "open fontanelles infant" (turns out it's normal to see her pulse at the soft spot), "live vaccine list" (plus lots of other vaccine-y things), "baby feeding schedule" (am I doing this right?!), and "mastitis treatment" (ugh). All hail the Google.

Goodbye pacifier-- Ellie now loves her thumb. She always ends up sucking it in her crib at night. I'm glad, because I think it helps her to calm down and fall asleep on her own. My finger, Jared's shirt, and the straps of the Ergo are all acceptable thumb substitutes.

Also, an alarming development: one night I laid her down in the crib and a few minutes later she started screaming like she was frightened or even in pain. When Jared went to check on her, he called down the hallway, "Did you put her on her back?"

No, I did not.

So apparently our two-month-old figured out how to roll over. No wonder she sounded scared-- I am sure it was quite a shock! She hasn't done it again so I'm hoping that she forgot how. :) Not that I object to her precocity, but it will be rather annoying to have her flipping herself over like a beetle and then wailing because she can't get to sleep.


Oh, lovely. GMO wheat is invading fields in Oregon and Monsanto has no idea (?!!) how it got there. I am not hardcore about avoiding GMOs, but they really don't seem like a good idea to me. I tend to be cautious when it comes to scientific "innovations" regarding food and medicine.

I'd love to do this to our basement stairs.

T-Rex has prequel ideas!

Contracts are no guarantee of love: "Getting everything that you think is coming to you sounds great, but it's nothing more than a prison.  Good marriages crack that prison open."

The gift of siblings: "They’re less tailored fits than friends are. But in a family that’s succeeded at closeness, they’re more natural, better harbors."

04 June 2013

what kind of mom?

Memorial Day: having fun on Ellie's first picnic.
I don't belong with the creative moms because I have literally no clue what to do with a sewing machine.

(Ellie's nursery is cute anyway.)

I don't belong with the crunchy moms because Ellie sleeps in her crib all night-- on a non-organic mattress.

(I do use cloth diapers.)

I don't belong with the high-achiever moms because I am neither taking Ellie to baby yoga classes nor teaching her sign language.

(I do sing to her and she already has a huge book collection.)

I don't belong with the scheduling moms because Ellie eats at unpredictable times during the day.

(But she lets me sleep for 6+ hours straight at night.)

I don't belong with the cool city moms because I am not cool. Also I drink Twinings English Breakfast instead of fairly traded organic artisan tisanes from an obscure location in the Eastern hemisphere.

(Even though I live in the city.)

What kind of mom am I, then? I don't know. And while I used to worry about this non-belonging, now I am fine with simply being myself. The only label I want is "Ellie's mom."

When I was pregnant with her, overwhelmed by the apparent plethora of parenting strategies, I put my tired head in my hands and told Jared, "I just want to love her and tell her about Jesus!" So. That is what I do.

Mothering is both harder and simpler than I expected. I have discovered that most of the time, I can trust my mama instincts . . . rather than thinking What would a good X or Y or Z kind of mom do? I go with my gut. Sometimes that means letting Ellie cry till she falls asleep. Sometimes it means feeding her again only an hour after she finished. Sometimes it means holding her while she smiles and gurgles, forgetting about the chores on my list. Sometimes it means sticking her in the Ergo and giving her a pacifier while I get dinner ready. She is happy and healthy and we love her to bits. Good enough for me.

I'm so thankful for two wise women who-- before Ellie was born and afterwards-- encouraged me to do exactly this: namely, my mom and my mother-in-law. When I'd say things like "What if I don't know what to do?" or "There are books and articles arguing for opposite approaches!" or "I am so confused!" they would remind me that just as God had given me a baby at the right time, He would give me wisdom to care for her when I needed it. I didn't have to follow a particular method.

They were right. Of course.