10 Good Books Featuring Big Families

09/20/2011 Comments (73)

Let’s talk about books! These are some of my “big family” favorites:

Picture Books

1.  Mr. and Mrs. Pig books written and illustrated by Mary Rayner

Hilarious and true-to-life adventures of a family with 10 piglets, who clearly love and cherish each other, but also spend a certain amount of time driving each other crazy. I cherish the scene where Mrs. Pig realizes she is too darn fat to change the sheets on her children’s multi-tiered bunk beds; and my kids love Mrs. Pig’s Bulk Buy, in which she uses tough love to cure an infatuation with ketchup. Illustrations are priceless. 

2.  The Father Who Had Ten Children written and illustrated by Bénédicte Guettier

Offbeat picture book about...READ MORE

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Old Movie Review: Night of the Hunter

09/16/2011 Comments (22)

Last weekend we watched Night of the Hunter (1955, directed by Charles Laughton) with our older kids. Some of them didn’t get it, and one was disappointed that it wasn’t “live action”—I guess he meant color? Anyway, this is a black and white movie, and even though I’ve seen it before, it blew my mind; and some of the kids haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

A synopsis: A young father is fed up with worrying about whether his family will survive the Depression, so he robs a bank, killing two people. With the police on their way, he thrusts the money at his young son John, and swears him and his little sister Pearl to secrecy about where it is hidden—hiding it even from their mother...READ MORE

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Mary Sees Us

09/15/2011 Comments (192)

“Just try to imitate the Blessed Virgin,” my old pastor would always counsel me. This was when I was a teenager struggling with all the usual teenager sins. The only thing I could see that Mary and I had in common was the color blue: her mantle, my hair. So his advice, while technically excellent, was entirely unhelpful.

When I became a mother, I thought the imitation would come more naturally. But the opposite happened: The more I tried to imitate what I heard about Mary, the wider the gulf between us became.  Imitate someone who was free from original sin, and so had no inclination to be impatient or sarcastic, self-pitying or lazy, lustful or arrogant? And whose Child, while clearly...READ MORE

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Funding the Couch Bum

09/13/2011 Comments (38)

For the first time in a long time, New Hampshire pro-lifers had reason for hope.

It had become public knowledge that Planned Parenthood routinely lies and exploits women and routinely commits financial fraud.

We heard from their own employees that most of the services they provide to Medicaid patients can easily be found elsewhere.

And with high unemployment and foreclosure rates, it kind of chafed to learn that NH Planned Parenthood CEO Steve Trombley rakes in $250,000 a year to head a non-profit, taxpayer-funded organization.

And a lightbulb went off in the minds of NH voters.  It was kind of like the moment when mom and dad realize that their son’s college friend, who’s been crashing...READ MORE

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Boots Or Shakespeare?

09/09/2011 Comments (47)

In college, we used to play a game called “Boots or Shakespeare.” It started out easy: Coke or Pepsi? Swimming or skiing? And progressed onto harder choices: Would you rather be deaf or blind Frozen or burned? Always lonely or never, ever alone?—the idea being that your choices were mutually and permanently exclusive. Once you chose one, the other was off limits for good.

The choices were also supposed to be sort of existential opposites of each other, but I guess I’ve gotten dumber since I left college, because I can’t think of any good examples. Anyway, I knew I had won when my friend James would make the “my head just exploded” gesture.

One stumper for me was: Great songs ruined by bad...READ MORE

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Mother's Little Helpers

09/08/2011 Comments (103)

A priest once counseled me to make my children help me more. There are so many of them, he said, and it’s generally their messes I’m cleaning up. What a simple solution to my irritability, my exhaustion, my frustration with my duties!

I’ll forgive that priest some day.

In the meantime, let me explain, Father. When your kids help, it doesn’t help. At least, not for the first 46,923 times you get them to help. They need to be trained, and it would be faster to train an olive tree to grow in the shape of an ampersand. It would be faster to train a cocker spaniel to type in Mandarin.

It would be faster just to do the job myself.

But, of course, that’s not good for them. They need to learn...READ MORE

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Things That Have No Right To Exist

09/06/2011 Comments (179)

This weekend, as a way of rewarding myself for schlepping two weeks’ of trash and recylables to the dump, I visited the swap shop, where stuff that’s not quite garbage can be had for free.  I found a much-needed chair (we go through chairs like Kleenex at our house - -and yes, I do mean that some of us wipe our noses on chairs), a couple of wine glasses, and a jackpot:  two complete sets of Phillip Pulman audio books.  Score!

Philip Pullman is the guy who said,“The Lord of the Rings’ is essentially trivial. . . If I was [arguing] at all, I was arguing with Narnia. Tolkien is not worth arguing with.”  And so my bibliophagous kids harbor a deep, glowering resentment of Philip Pullman.  They...READ MORE

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The Grandmultipara Pushes Back

09/02/2011 Comments (99)

I may have mentioned two or three thousand times that I am pregnant. For my readers who have not achieved the magnificent title of Grandmultipara (and “advanced maternal age,” damn your eyes), let me tell you that along with all the horrible things that happen to your body with each successive baby, there are also some benefits. Besides the baby, I mean. (Babies are all right, if you’re into that whole “boneless with love in the presence of a gift straight from the arms of God” thing.)

For your first several pregnancies, people think you’re either cute, or comical, or an idiot, and they’ll treat you accordingly. But once you’re visibly pregnant with your seventh child or beyond, the tide...READ MORE

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs at I Have to Sit Down. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and nine children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.