Skip the Drama, Stay with Momma

"But I shall show you a still more excellent way" 1Cor12

7 Quick Takes Friday #9

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There were two deaths in my circle of the world last week.   Two sets of parents each lost their young son.  The family for whom I asked prayers in my last post lost their 20 year old son to illness Sunday at 3am. My cousins lost their 17 year old son Monday at 3pm, who was shot in the neck by a drug dealer. I will write a little about them in my last two Takes, but first, let’s have a little humor, shall we?  Laughter is good.

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My husband and I were enabled by my mom to get to confession Saturday morning.  She came over to watch the oldest two so that we could go. Hurray! Walking out of the confessional is literally like stepping out, cloaked in sunshine, daisies and butterflies encircling my head, with an internal big, fat, yellow smilie face (because, forgive my vanity and over-awareness of cultural norms, but, I imagine that I’d look plain stupid waltzing out of the booth with a childish grin on my face, even though I have every reason to!).  Basically, it’s like this:

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To double the intense feelings of having been forgiven and saved by God’s mercy and grace, I walked into the church to say my penance, and there’s Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  

Silence & peace.  There were about 20 others (mostly blue haired ladies, because we young people like to put off “gettin saved” until we’ve had our jollies of youth) scattered throughout the pews, kneeling in silent prayer.  
For once I was allowed to fully feel the weight of my sins lifted from my shoulders without worrying about a get-away juice cup or the I-Have-To-Peepee dance of my oldest son, the grace and mercy of God washing my soul and embracing me for who I am.  So silent it was that you could hear a pin drop.  It was more silent than silent.  One could probably hear a cotton ball land on the carpet,  …or the overly punctuated, and long, drawn-out PFFFFTTFTFT! OF MY BABY FARTING!

Ahh.  Brought back to earth by my senses.  Yes, I brought Collin because his breakfast is attached to me.  I was not embarrassed because in light of the room filled with elderly ladies and gentlemen (who didn’t budge at the sound), I thought, “Hey! it just as easily could have been any one of all y’all!” …and I sensed they knew it, too.

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So I’ve obviously been extra emotional due to these deaths of children: Joseph was 20 and Justin was 17. But it doesn’t follow that I’ve been extra patient with my babies.  In fact, I’ve felt a little more frustrated by them.  And by “a little more” I mean,  A LOT MORE. They sense that I’m experience emotional strain and they reciprocate it.

 That’s all there is to it. Grocery shopping Sunday evening, I was wearing Collin on my hip in a sling, while attempting to push my ever growing heavy shopping cart.  My neck started hurting as I was throwing my weight into steering the cart around the corner to the next aisle, where I needed to buy 5 lbs of pasta. “great, 5 more lbs to haul…” I was thinking as I heard giggling on the other side of the aisle, approaching my direction. 
I rounded the corner to a near collision with an adult woman, my age, breathless and laughing.  Face full of joy, cheeks pink with exhilaration, hair swinging in her face as she halted just short of my heavy cart.   There was a child on her back! 

"OH! I’m so sorry!" she apologized.  I realized she was rapidly gaining control of her countenance and being made to feel foolish by my shocked and probably condescending gaze, "I’m just playing …a…a game… with my kids.." and she moved around me, with one kid piggy backing and two or three skipping behind her. 
I managed to squeak out, “No, it’s okay!” but I don’t think she heard me.  

Too late, I realized that this woman was beautiful. She was incidentally pretty, taller than me (and that’s saying something!), but the beauty I beheld was magnified because she wasn’t angrily, hurriedly shopping like the mad woman I was, trying to de-shelf half the store and haul it home before someone on my hip wanted to nurse. Granted, she didn’t even have a shopping kart with her so I have no idea what she was doing, but it was refreshing to see her, in a place associated with tantrums and impatient children and parents, playing with joy. I wished I could have stopped her and introduced myself. 

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Monday morning, I walked into the living room to behold the couch and carpet strewn with what looked like a complete Poptart in the form of crumbs. I stood there, eyeballs bulging, and I ate my own words as I heard my son speak them for me, “What a mess!  Do you think Momma wants to clean that up?  No, she doesn’t!”  I was ashamed that I have spoken semi-sarcastic words like this and they’ve stuck to my son’s mind.

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Monday night, after hearing the news of my cousin, Justin being shot and dying in the hospital, I was completely in angst and frustration over the matter.  So of course, my oldest two were hyper, as if I’d fed them nothing but cookies and undiluted fruit juice all day, bouncing and running and and jumping and tumbling all over the living room.  My middle child, who has turned into a finicky eater, would not eat his macaroni and cheese I’d served for dinner (SERIOUSLY WHAT TODDLER DOESN’T LIKE MACARONI AND CHEESE?!), so I was attempting to administer a cup of yogurt before bed time, as he ran from one end of the living room to the other in between bites.  

I was trying to get him to sit down and let me scoop away, getting the feeding over with asap, but it wasn’t working.  He just kept jetting away…
In frustration, I absentmindedly shoveled one more spoonful of yogurt— INTO MY INFANT’S MOUTH?!!? I blinked my eyes and realized the baby in my arms was enjoying the vanilla yogurt I’d just given him.  

"WHAT AM I DOING?!?!?!" I cried in bewilderment.  I don’t plan on introducing solids until he’s 6 months old and can sit up, unassisted.  And that was it for this momma.  After everyone in the house took turns crying over tooth brushings, gathering lovies and ceremonious fallings upon the floor due to "slippery carpet syndrome" and subsequent "slippery bed syndrome" ("The bed’s too slippery, I can’t get in it!!!!!”), my husband and I bade goodnight to our snuggled cherubs. 

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 Joseph Langenkamp, 20 years old, passed Sunday morning around 3am.  It’s hard to write his name. This family, the Langenkamps, is a family I grew up watching in the pew next to my family at St. Francis de Sales. I remember watching them, dressed head to toe in hat and suit attire, complete with handkerchief, each Sunday.

 I watched them as a family of three children, blossom to the family of nine, each baby with the signature Langenkamp baby blues and shock of white blonde hair.  They shame a family with a wildly behaving only child, while their 5 youngest, sit peacefully in the laps of the four oldest.  

They are the family that exclaims to the world “IT CAN BE DONE!” without ever having to open their mouths.  The Langenkamp’s children are 7 boys and 2 girls (I have hope yet for a baby girl!).  Joseph, the second oldest, contracted Ecoli at a very young age and has been fighting illness since then.  For him, a simple runny nose could turn into hospitalizing pneumonia.  This past weekend, that is basically what happened, to save the details.  His heart stopped three times.  

My husband and I look to Joseph’s parents as mentors, as a living testament to the fact that children are a beautiful and physical sign of God’s love to us as a gift, and that having more than two children is, in fact, the opposite of the burden that our culture cries. Knowing this family, I am comforted knowing that Joseph was fully spiritually equipped to confidently face death and enter into God’s Kingdom.  I pray that my husband and I will do that for our children.  It is the most important thing parents can do for their children.  I am devastated for Mark and Sue, and their remaining children. Please pray for them to feel and know God’s peace. I also ask for the intercession of St. Jane Francis de Chantal, patron of parents separated from children. (!!)

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My mother’s family is large.  She is the youngest of 8 children. So, I have many cousins, and many, many more second cousins. Many of my first cousins are old enough for me to consider them an aunt or uncle.  My cousins Mike and Joann are the fist of the many Aunt & Uncle-type cousins.  It is their son who was shot, trying to purchase marijuana with counterfeit money. Tossing my frustrations aside over the circumstances of Justin’s death- and knowing that my frustrations must be fractional to his parent’s complete shock, I focus on the beauty of familial love here on earth. During the funeral Mass (if you’ve never been to a Catholic funeral, you are missing out.. it is the most beautiful type of funeral I’ve ever known, and been given the most fulfilling kind of closure), father gave a beautiful homily saying something very simple: “Do not ask WHY our beloved has been taken from us, you will drive yourself mad.  Ask HOW.  How can we prepare ourselves to meet our beloved in the end?” 

Contrary to the homily, I spoke with my dear, dear Aunt at the reception afterward, who looked at me with the most troubled eyes I’ve ever seen. “….why…?” she shook her head. And me, with my most inept ability to speak with compassion or feeling emotion, barked out in a Fr. Corapi-an voice, "Get in front of the Eucharist." 
She looked taken aback by my lack of compassionately-worded support, yet she closed her eyes and nodded, silently, signaling to me that she understood.  
Only in Christ can we be given answers.  

That is what I meant to say.
But I am not a speaker. 

I walked away, going, “WHAT DID I JUST SAY?!” This was to my aunt, the grandmother of Justin! I can only attest that The Holy Spirit took the reigns at that moment because I am not that bold a speaker. 

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I’m posting this on a Monday.  I’ve had ten minute writing intervals here and there, throughout the weekend, and no more.  I’ve been terribly occupied with my family, which is a good thing, because when I find myself desperate to write, I have to deny the luxury, combat my frustration and remember I’m trying to lessen myself. Even my one “escape” I’ve got to be willing to give up.  I missed the link-up deadline with Conversion Diary, but go check the other Quick Takes out anyway! —-correction, I just made it! yayyyeee!

Simplicity, Sanity, & Supermoms. Part I

 I want to talk abut "BARE MINIMUM MODE".  (Yes, it’s Jennifer Fulwiler who, to my knowledge, first penned the term. I can’t help that I’m always referring to her blog- it’s so genuine!)

Right now, I am in the thick of Bare Minimum Mode.
And I am relieved and rejuvenated to know there’s a name to it! YES!  A Cathsorority friend of mine posted this article on Facebook last week (I can’t promise I don’t rake through Conversiondiary some days, but this was a coincidental find).  I read it, and with a sigh of relief, realized I’m not (that) lazy.  Ever since I became pregnant with our first child, I’ve been in the dumps, feeling like I’m “being lazy” because the house is a shambles, while trying a variety of things to help myself out of it (vitamins, drinking more water, half-heartedly eating less gluten, reading inspirational motivational stuffs, making checklists, setting alarms, LOTS OF COFFEE…), while every now and then, dazedly blurting out “WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!”.  

The above article helped me to realize that while I definitely have tired, lazy, selfish tendencies, each mother and her family has a different temperament, and that this phase of my life is, again  …just a phase. (cue Incubus song).  …but not only is this a simply a phase, it is an extremely difficult one!  I am trying to fit into the shoes of a veteran mother and wife.  Something I certainly am not, yet.  

I basically expected to give birth to our first son and BAM, also be instilled with the keys and secrets to being an awesome, efficient, multitasking robot of a mother and wife. Oh, how naïve

Something about becoming a mother that I didn’t realize I was being hurled into is the depth of self sacrificing to which I would need to surrender.  

Right, right, right, having the ol’ unplanned pregnancy and baby thing is the obvious sacrifice. I’ve done that one.
But that sacrifice is, quite honestly, an easy sacrifice (I say that lightly- I don’t mean to belittle the sacrifice of giving life.), once a mother gets down to the nitty gritty of actually BEING the mother: the tiny, pinpricking sacrifices mothers make daily.  Constant pinpricking needles which are the tiniest of sacrifices, build up, and can make mothers feel suffocated.  A mother can find herself saying “can I not even have one moment -ONE MINUTE- to myself …to BREATHE!?”  

Part of my thinking, as a new mom, in my earliest of days was similar to this:

"Okay, so I’ve gotten the baby washed/fed/sleeping," or, "I’ve gotten the kitchen cleaned/laundry done/bills paid, SO…"
 ”… now I deserve some time for myself.”

But nearly every time, my “Me Time” gets interrupted.  By the mailman, by a phone call, by a waking child, by whatever under the sun could go wrong, my me time was always interrupted or short-lived.  I’m not exaggerating. Any mom knows this.  Simply peeing without someone laying at my feet, rolling Hot Wheels around the *extremely sanitized* toilet is considered “me time” nowadays.

 It really translates like this: my time = my will. <that’s how I’ve been looking at my free time.  Anything I really want to do, is part of MY TIME.  IT’S MINE FOR GOODNESS SAKES! Let me at least have that!

So, after nearly 4 years of continually, frustratingly fighting for my deserved “me time”, I’ve some to a conclusion:

I don’t want my time, Lord.  You take it.  My time is yours.


"Thy will be done." (Matthew 6:10)

If there’s something I really want to do, I now pray a quick prayer, "Lord, if it is Your will that I do this, help my baby to nap/behave/be occupied long enough so I can either get it done, or get some part of it done.”

One of my fave Catholic writers discusses the battle we wage when we battle for MY TIME.  Peter Kreeft hits the nail on the head (as usual) by calling it what it is, pride.  ”UGH, really? This is what it is? Pride?” said I, upon reading his excerpt:

“Pride does not mean an exaggerated opinion of your own worth; that is vanity. Pride means playing God, demanding to be God. ‘Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven,’ says Satan, justifying his rebellion, in Milton’s Paradise Lost. That is the formula for pride. Pride is the total ‘my will be done.’  Humility is “thy will be done.” Humility is focused on God, not self. Humility is not an exaggeratedly low opinion of yourself. Humility is self-forgetfulness. A humble man never tells you how bad he is. He’s too busy thinking about you to talk about himself.”

 This is not a new thing to me.  It swings me back around to my current pilgrimage toward becoming less, so I can hardly be shocked when I blundered onto these thoughts.  It’s just like… ugh!  I gotta surrender my time too?!  

Yup.

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Shifting my paradigm, y’all. Little by little, facet by facet.  It is helping to bring my soul to a deeper peace.  Instead of frustration about not being able to write my 7 Quick Takes last week, I’m assuming I wasn’t supposed to. And wouldn’t you know, I’ve been inspired to write this entry! Perhaps it’s to help a friend of whom I’m unaware, struggling like I am.  Perhaps its just a little reprieve for myself.  Whatever it is, I thank God for allowing it right now.  I’m not saying that I’ve now mastered a complete surrender of my will to God’s will.  Goodness gracious, I’m only human!  This is going to be a continual LIFE LONG BATTLE.  But now I know. Now, I can move forward to becoming the best version of myself.

And this isn’t to say that I’ll never get my ME TIME.  But by not expecting it at every job Well Done, I am surprised to be given it.  I regard it, then, as a grace from God, not an entitlement.

SO.  Bare Minimum.  What is that for me?  

I’m breaking this up into 3 parts, or else I’ll have a mile long blog entry, and I know I’ve probably lost 3 quarters of my readers by now anyway soooo…

Part 1: What I DO
Part 2: What I Cook (and Pinterest ideas that have made my life easier)
Part 3: How My Children and I Function, Together

For me, Bare Minimum Mode is an indefinite period of time where I don’t go to any extra efforts to be anywhere except home, doing what needs to be done in order to survive. 

 This is pretty cleansing for me because a lot of time, we as mommies tend to feel like we HAVE to be… anything that “every other mom” seems to be doing.  Truth is, we don’t.  And truth is, “every other mom” isn’t doing it all either.  I’ve come to believe that the very happiest of families know what they need, and don’t go chasing around what they think they need, to keep up with Sally Supermom’s family.  These bare minimum moms actually become a supermom of their own, in my eyes anyway.
Here’s a rundown of my Bare Minimum household stuff as of right now.  It fluctuates and changes according to where we are financially, seasonally, and how I am mentally.

The Bare Minimums for me are:

  • The only time the whole family goes “out” is on the weekends: For groceries, to Mass, and to visit my parents or my husband’s parents. 
  • To the doctor if there’s an illness. My second son now has an ear infection, and our youngest is recovering from a double ear infection (I thought breastfed babies hardly got ear infections!?).
  • Many times, we have our family come to visit us.  I become easily vexed with the constant watching, chasing and corralling I have to do with my running boys. I vex to the point of exhaustion. So that when we get home, I need a nap or I’m irritated with my energetic boys until they’re in bed for the night.  I guess I’m pretty introverted.  If everyone comes to our house, I can actually enjoy the company.
  • We are not enrolled in any extracurriculars. Any. 
  • I hardly make note of how much TV is being watched (DisneyJR). I do turn it off, but I’m the opposite of the strictness I used to be.
  • I do laundry once a week. Note: not ALL of the laundry. Probably about half. And half of that half sits in a basket, not put away (but, at least folded, if lucky) for us to rake through as needed.
  •  The sink is always full of dishes. I try to get a viewing of a clean, empty sink twice a week. 
  • I vacuum 2-3 times a week (our carpet shows dirt like none I’ve ever known. Which is a good thing, I believe, or else I’d never vacuum.) 
  • I shower once a week. Twice if I seize the opportunity. A good round brush blowout, and my hair will last a whole week.  Luckily, I don’t have excessively oily hair, and a spray of Dry Shampoo will sustain it if I’ve got to get to the doctor with someone mid-week.
  • I absolutely delight in freshly manicured nails and a vivid colored nail lacquer. But right now, keeping them filed to a length which doesn’t trigger my gag reflex is proving challenging. (long nails make me wretch.)

    BAREST OF MINIMUMS: 
  • Feed people.
  • Wash people. 
  • Trim 60 fingernails once a week (+20 more of my own, if I’m lucky)
  • Wipe rear ends. 
  • HOLD THE BABY. 
  • NURSE THE BABY. 
  • Take lots and lots of photographs. 
  • I blog when I can.

If absolutely nothing else:

  • Bellies are filled.
  • The Rosary gets prayed.

Right now, holding and nursing the baby takes up a ton of time and space.  Baby 3 is 4 months old so he’s getting heavy, and too large to cradle with one arm.  Wearing him in a sling or a wrap helps me do a ton, but eventually my back and neck need a break. 

As this is the third round of baby-dom for me, I am conscious that this constant baby rocking, walking, nursing, bouncing, holding is a very short, albeit very intense, and extremely necessary phase for myself and especially the baby.  I am familiar with the benefits of being in constant contact with my newborn and I’ll alligator-snap anyone who tells me it’s coddling the baby and a “letting him control me” thing.  Wrong-o!

Okay, I’m spent.  Part II to follow very soon. 

Write to me, and tell me what your bare minimums are! I’m always looking for moms to copy from!

7 (kinda)Quick Takes Friday post 2 (for me)

Here we go again! I skipped last week’s 7 Takes, so I packed both weeks together this time: 7 Quick Takes is hosted by Jennifer Fulwiler at conversiondiary. After reading my takes, go check out the many other peep’s takes all linked-up on her blog. Many of the writers are downright hilarious. I just read Jennifer’s from last week, and laughed out loud the whole time. She listed 6 recipes and one Advent tip that is VITAL for those who use the storage space in their attic, if available.

Here go my 7 (We’ll go backwards this time, like conversiondiary):

7) After 3.5 years, I have achieved the status of NINJA MOM.

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I received my black belt on (last) Monday night at about 1am. I’d watched a late movie because I unwisely drank a late coffee as an effort to open up my nasal passages from this madness they call “a cold”. Boy #2 was heard from his crib throughout the duration of the movie, being a little turd, flopping around on his bed and jabbering away.

Movie finished, #2 finally sleeping, I entered the room to cover him up with his blanket and was immediately confronted by a fragrant odor.
My poor boy was not BEING a little turd, he simply HAD a little turd.
So, with my highly refined mom-skills, I was able to change his diaper without waking him up. I walked out of the room wearing my imaginary Mommy Ninja Black Belt (given to me by a mom-trainer who looks like Pai Mei), and noted that I can check-off “Change poopy diaper in the middle of the night without waking child” from my bucket list.

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PAI MEI APPROVES.
(http://killbill.wikia.com/wiki/Pai_Mei)

6) I am not one for pomp and circumstance

I may be artsy fartsy, but I’m not really crafty …schmafty(?). And by crafty schmafty, I mean I don’t do a bunch of refrigerator “art”, or save toilet paper rolls, popsicle sticks or keep a stash of cotton balls and glitter: cute little crafts for every season, reason, or holiday.  I don’t even do Christmas cards, for goodness sakes.  I get as far as taking a few photos of my children, and if I upload the photo from my camera onto the computer, I count that as an accomplishment.

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^This is as crafty as it gets. And I wouldn’t even qualify it as crafty. It’s artsy fartsy. My oldest boy loves watercolor, and I think this is beautiful.

Nearly every time I find myself trying to micromanage, I end up stressed out and frustrated.
Thursday afternoon, it was rainy and windy and yucky out. So I connected our TV to YouTube and thought we’d listen and dance to Christmas music! Note that this is me REALLY stretching on the pomp&circumstance here.
So I turn on Frosty the Snowman and my oldest two seemed to enjoy the music—- and the power goes out.

FOR FOUR HOURS.

Enter screams of terror mixed with blind running and jumping of excitement about candles being lit, blended with tripping and falling over each other, doused with me in agony over stepping on legos, blocks, and die-cast cars and airplanes. I felt like the bad buy from Home Alone as he broke-in through the window:

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Only with two toddlers by my side and an infant in my arms.

We packed up, by candle light, and drove to my parent’s house for the rest of the evening. That’s an extreme example, but a vibrant one, nonetheless.

5) Instead, we went on “The Polar Bear Express”


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We packed up the boys in their pajamas, I threw on my bathrobe (thanks Grandma Cook!), made coffees, warm milks (which I forgot in the microwave), bagged some cookies, and we drove around town in our car, momentarily renamed “The Polar Bear Express”, listening to the Christmas music we were cut off from a few days previously, and enjoying the beautifully decorated & lit houses.
And that, folks, is the most pomp&circumstance this mom’s ever been. It was lovely -anything involving coffee and cookies always is, right?- cozy, and my boys loved it. Baby C slept the entire time. Easy. This was also on our second boy’s birthday. I would love this to become a tradition we do for his birthday every year.

4) We began praying the Rosary daily.

I get anxiety about how I believe my children will react to my plans. 9 times out of 10, my belief is incorrect.

I had desired to teach my boys the Rosary. My oldest is 3.5 years and definitely old enough to know the prayers. He knows his ABC’s and all the other toddler learning songs, the complete lyrics to Justin Bieber’s song, “Baby” (“it’s cool on the playground, butIREALLYWANNASEEHERONDAWEEKEND”), and play him any one of his favorite Disney movies and he’ll watch the movie while reciting the lines and singing along exactly. For me, all of that’s sweet and funny, but it ain’t doing nothin’ for his eternal soul. It’s like feeding him a bunch of candy.

Where’s the wholesome stuff?
Where’s the REAL stuff?
Santa, Lightning McQueen, and the “Guardians” don’t exist.
The Father, Son & Holy Spirit, and all His Angels and Saints do.
My job, as a Christian parent, is to get my children to heaven. Why would I delay teaching my babies about Jesus? I feel like instilling Christian values, morals, prayer, and of course the Sacraments first and foremost is imperative for how they grow into adults in this society. I don’t want my children growing up, and thinking it’s okay to set-aside their Christianity for a later time, for when “they’re ready”. If I parent them that way, they will live their adult life that way… and they may never “feel ready”.  

Ready or not, for the sake of their eternal souls, I’m stamping this knowledge into their hearts, so they will always have it. Just like teaching our kids to read, or to eat healthy foods, we know it’s good for their mind and body. We don’t let them choose to learn to read or eat their veggies “when they’re ready”. I know this is good for each one’s soul. 
"let the children come to me, do not prevent them"

One Sunday, many months ago during Mass, I noticed my oldest boy speaking along to priest’s words  during the Consecration, and I realized, “He should know the Rosary”.  November came and I finally let go of my anxiety of outbursts of temper tantrums over doing something other than watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the morning.


About a month ago, I gave my boys their breakfast, opened Youtube, and found a link for Children’s Rosary (lots of photos). They were excited, interested, and quiet. I let them wander about the room and quietly play with toys as the video played and I prayed along, out loud. To my surprise, my younger boy sat through the whole 20 minutes, and I noticed my oldest crouching over a tower of legos mumbling along to the Hail Mary.
I chalked it up as a success in my eyes!
We try to do this every morning. No pomp, no circumstance. Just relaxed, prayer.  Sometimes my oldest asks to pray it, and my heart swoons.  Other days, he says, “I VERY DON’T LIKE THE ROSARYYYYY!” and I bribe him with chocolate milk. Either way, the Rosary, gets prayed.
 

3) I drew a “Rosary Board”.

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I found myself getting frustrated trying to show my oldest how to hold his Rosary. Nearly every time he gets ahold of his little, blue, hand-knotted Rosary, it becomes the propeller of a helicopter. So I drew the Rosary on a large sheet of paper, utilizing my drawing board from college, for the boys to be able to follow along with their fingers.

I numbered the decades so that at minimum, they’d know generally where we were.

2) This year, we only did stockings on Christmas Day.


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Commence gasps and feelings of sorrow for my little boys.
Guess what?
They didn’t notice a difference.

We woke up, emptied their stockings (I filled them with a few small toys, a movie, crayons, fruit snacks, new toothbrushes, a couple “squeezy yogurts”, and a sketch pad for Lexington), got ready for Mass, and celebrated the birth of Jesus. 

My children were as joyful, and perhaps even more so, as the rest of the little boys and girls throughout the world who have full bellies, a roof over their head, and both Mommy & Daddy present on Christmas day.

My boys received presents from their grandparents, great grandmas and aunts and uncles. They experienced the excitement of opening a present. This obviously is not what my husband and I originally planned to do as far as presents this year, but we had to be flexible.  I am so, so, so thankful that I’ve given the whole “presents vs. Presence” extra thought, because this year I was truly put to the test.  And my reaction was that of peace and happiness.  This, so far, has been a most beautiful Christmas.

1) Enough with my words! Gobble gobble gobble! Here’s one more (fuzzy) photo of our youngest boy and I on Christmas day.

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Merry Christmas!

The Circus Act of My Natural Birth

{In this photo, I was in labor. Early, happy, excited labor -but labor nonetheless, and I wanted a last shot of luxuriously blow-dried hair, because I know by now, that won’t be happening for the next few weeks… months maybe.  It’s good.  I’m at peace with neglecting my vanity.}

So we’ll just dive right into it then…

Friday evening, the 14th I began feeling mild contractions— heavy menstrual cramps for the ladies who’ve never experienced them— or waves of the sudden onset of impending diarrhea for the men who’ve never experienced menstrual cramps.  Also, I experience a sudden congestion in my sinus cavities before each contraction.  Strange, I know… but relevant, now that I think about their location in relation to my body’s central blood vessels and nerves.

The morning came and they persisted. I knew that my labor had officially begun. How exciting!  I’d been preparing for this for 9 months and was anxious to put my knowledge and research into practice!  The playoffs had arrived, and this was the championship game.  My husband and I called/texted my parents who took our boys for the day so that I could labor peacefully at home.

It made such a huge difference to labor in the quiet, comfortable of our home.  Instead of my previous two births: basically panicking and hustling out the door for my epidural, instead, I eased my way into each contraction.  For the better part of the day, I was able to shuffle about, crocheting my blanket project, napping and lightly snacking as each contraction came and went.  I mostly experienced one or two every half hour.

The contractions slowly increased in intensity throughout the day.

 After a long afternoon nap, my husband and I took a tour of the grounds on our property.  That’s saying something for me, as I never take “tours” or hikes or walks outside… I’m not the outdoorsy type.  Walking is supposed to help gently encourage the baby further into the birth canal (gravity, duhhh).  I really enjoyed just slowly walking with and being by my husband, talking, joking and laughing. 


{On the far side of our little pond, which I never visit.  Bugs.  That’s why.  I don’t enjoy bugs or their bites.}

We decided to install the infant carseat and took a small drive to get a “dying man’s wish” of some greasy McDonald’s French fries. 
I know that’s a terrible choice, but whatever.


{my husband snuck a lot of ridiculous photos of me…}

So after a relaxing, restful day, the intensity of my contractions picked up at 4pm. I remained in our living room with our orange medicine ball, hanging over it, sitting on it, kneeling over it while crocheting the blanket I’ve been working on through each contraction.

I decided to upload a contraction timer App for my phone which helped a ton. My children have a little Pottery Barn Kids chair that I moved to and started leaning over for support.  As the contractions picked up in intensity and frequency, I didn’t want to move from the chair.  My husband made a joke that I normally would have laughed about, but as another contraction began, I told him, “No, no, no, that isn’t funny, this is serious right now…” and I began to breathe through the throbbing wave.

{My husband later told me that this photo made him think of the scene in Disney’s Tangled where Maximus hides and poorly disguises himself behind a rock… like so:}

I realized we needed to head to the hospital when I found myself in a meditative rest -almost sleeping- in between each contraction.  Yet the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart.  I knew I would absolutely refuse to get into a car for a 30 minute ride to the hospital if I’d waited any longer.

 I had probably 10 contractions which I had to work through in the car, in the parking lot and into the emergency entrance.

Of course, we enter and I’ve got a large audience in the waiting room, silently watching me work through the one contraction I had at the desk. Seriously, why were there 20 people in the waiting room at 9:30 on a Saturday night!?


I refused a wheelchair and Craig and I walked our way to the labor and delivery floor. It was difficult and I began to become emotional, knowing “this is really happening”. Craig let me hang onto him and supported me through each surge of pain that coursed through my body.

We finally made it to triage where I was examined and told I was dilated at 6cm and fully effaced. 
My doula, Maren came, as well as my OB (to my great surprise!) and we all walked to my birth room.

There I chose a chair to kneel in front of, on top of a cushion, and work through many contractions. 
Sitting on the toilet actually felt nice too, but I could tell I was making my nurse and OB nervous that I would deliver into the toilet, so I moved toward the bed…

I felt extremely relieved to not be forced to have a hep-lock placed into my hand.

Quickly, I realized the nurse attendant was extremely respectful of our crunchy wishes (no medication, no IV, ability to freely move, intermittent fetal monitoring, no vaccinations, eye goo, etc) and she asked me before she did anything to me or in preparation of the baby’s arrival.

Such a stark contrast from my last experiences. It was so nice to be fully mentally present and feel fully integrated into my labor and delivery of our child. Not just a vessel.

I began to be so uncomfortable that I sought different positions. The labor bed had the capability to transform into a sort of step ladder shape so that I could squat on it foreword or backward, with different handles for me to use for support or to hang onto. The nurse and Maren attached a huge metal bar, encased with soft sponge, as I decided to turn forward and rest semi upright on my back in between contractions.  (Not typical of a natural birthing mom, but it brought my tailbone some relief!)

I began to feel some relief in pushing and crying out during the intense waves of insanity that tore through my lower back and hips.

Here’s where the one man—er, woman— circus act began.

I lost it.

Completely lost it.

I was pushing, but our baby wasn’t moving.  

With each push, the pain intensified instead of bringing the reported relief that each laboring mother is supposed to experience.

As I had just finished a particularly shocking contraction, we heard a knock on the door and in walked a man with a table full of tools and medicines, “I hear someone called for an epidural?” he sang merrily.  (&!^%!@?#%*!!!!!!!!?)  

"NOOO!!!" shouted everyone synonymously. 
"no thank you, " I heard myself squeak.  And everyone laughed at my little, polite refusal.  

Out backed the epidural man with his table of drugs.  If I had a chance to back down and get an epi, I’d lost it now, I thought to myself with a sense of finality and triumph over the temptation to escape the fear of the unknown…

The contractions were double-peaking and so closely on top of each other by now that I refused to let my OB (who’d remained in the room with us the entire time) check my cervix for progress.

When he finally did check me, he informed me that he needed to aid in pulling the cervical lip back; that it was keeping our baby from being pushed to the point of crowning.  Which explains the abnormal pain.  I was pushing our baby into a wall, basically.  


{This diagram illustrates why I was experiencing such pain.  I wasn’t fully dilated, yet still pushing.  Ouchie.}

So instead of my OB doing the typical perineum stretching that happens in the final pushing stage, he was aiding in cervical stretching. And it hurt. It was like rubbing salt onto exposed nerve endings in an amputated arm.

At this moment, I closed my eyes and did not open them to anyone for the last half of my labor.  It was me against myself, I knew, by myself.

I sang the opera: 

http://youtu.be/ojeLyPo_Wz4?t=20s

Held a long, low note of a male Tenor with each contraction and crazily thought I might be auditioning for the part of a pirate in the musical Pirates of Penzance. (which I did do in 7th grade).

I bellowed like a blind, old cow. 
I barked like a constipated, fat dog (Craig’s favorite sound to recount).
I wailed like a banshee,
Screamed like a girl riding down a roller coaster. 
 


Screamed like a horror film heroine.


{Psycho, anyone?}

I Bellowed in such a way that I actually heard my OB utter the word “water buffalo” during my resting period.  


{Now I know what a water buffalo is, and what it sounds like}


When hollering proved insufficient, I punched my own thigh in disbelief of the reality of the pain. I slapped it like “DAYYYYYUMMMM!” as if I could not believe such sensations were gaining victory over me. 
I thrashed my head- shaking it saying “NO NO NO NO NOOOO!!!!!” absolutely forbidding the pain to triumph. 
And then, after each contraction, I raised one hand or the other into the air, eyes closed, like a passionate gospel singer, and slowly grasped at absolutely nothing.


{Or Mariah Carey.}

The few times I did open my eyes, I refused to focus them on any one.

I was gone. Lost. Completely lost. 
Craig tells me it frightened him to see me so lost, knowing he could do nothing to help me find my way out.

At this point, soaked in sweat, I actually sobbed, saying “I don’t want to do this anymore!!! What else can I do! Please!!” I looked my husband full in the face for the first time and I knew there was nothing. He firmly urged me on. My nurse urged me and my doula reminded me that I was born to do this. Finally my water broke— 


And I felt a new pain.  A welcome pain.  Our little boy was descending.  Finally descending.  I gave two great pushes, and out came our little boy’s head.  

"Open your eyes and look down!" I was told.  But I refused to open them until my husband placed our boy onto my chest.  

Craig caught our little Collin John Paul.  I opened my eyes as Collin was handed to me, and I was completely taken aback by the shock ofjet black hair covering his head, his beautifully colored, baby pink skin (our other boys came out grayish/purple because of the epidural I believe), and the amount of vernix still coating his little body (indicating that he perhaps wasn’t overdue like we’d all believed).  

And it was: love at first sight.  I feel bad for my first boy…I didn’t know and I was too afraid of the unknown to appreciate seeing him for the first time.

I was filled to the brim with a complete sense of peace.  Of love.  

And then I barked, “NEVER AGAIN!” to the whole room.

And 15 minutes later, I caught myself saying, “well, next time…” 

I realized my voice had a sudden similarity to that of a heavy, life-long smoker, and I laughed at my labor charade. 

This birth humbled me to my core.  It fulfilled my identity as a woman.  

My life is full of incompletes, of goals never accomplished, of things started backward, or not carried out from A-Z. 

But this one.  This I can humbly claim.  I can know in my heart, “I really did it.” 

It wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t enjoyable.  It wasn’t.  

But it was amazing. It was better than winning a sporting event.  Better than winning a gold medal.  Better than getting a raise, a promotion, a new possession, being famous, walking the runway, jumping from an airplane…better than any achievement, award, reward or drug I could ever possibly attain.  And I got to experience it.  I did.  Just me. 

And I am humbled by that privilege.

But I must admit that I’ve never in my life felt or understood the genuine meaning of the word GLAD.  I was SO GLAD it was over and completed.

Will I do it again?  

…how about asking me that question again a year from now… ;)

Dare I talk Christmas? …and other magical holidays…

Well, as a parent, it’s time to think about Christmas.
Ugh, but who wants to when the weather is so beautiful and warm?

Well, if you’re a planning parent- which I am finding myself increasingly becoming- one must think about the dollazzz.

Some parents who, in my mind, are extraordinarily wise (my sister is one), start putting the dollars away as soon as January and then begin gift-hunting as soon as summer hits.

I like this idea because I have found myself in the opposite position:

Using latest paycheck to divide among my gift-receivers and scrambling to find gifts for all within the month of December. This is what I did before I had kids. …I didn’t give many gifts, and I still got stressed out!

When we had our first child, my husband and I decided we’d follow a gift rule for all of our subsequent children:

Three gifts each. With a set max spending limit per child.

Here’s our reasoning:

First of all, financially speaking, it can only help maintain a conscious level of spending. I grew up with beautiful Christmases. My sister, brother and I never got a new puppy or a pony, but we never felt left wanting. In fact, my favorite part of the gift opening was the stocking stuffers- it still is!
I know that some parents actually open a credit card to pay for their gifts. “…spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need…” says the Dave Ramsey inside my head.

So if we know before the month of December what we are willing and able to spend, that’s a plus in the long run, and monetary stress off of our shoulders.

But why just three???

This idea I obtained from my cousins who follow it with their children:

-Because baby Jesus received three gifts. (gold, frankincense & myrrh)

-Because I want our children to have a Christ-centered Christmas.

-Because, as a child, being given gifts with no limits can inflict emotions of greed, selfishness, jealousy & envy and negate the spirit of giving and love that’s supposed to resound in our hearts when we say “Merry Christmas!”

We also don’t do Santa.

“OHHH MY GOSHHHH— YOU’RE NOT DOING SANTA!?!? YOU’RE TAKING THE MAGIC OUT OF CHRISTMAS AND THE MAGIC OUT OF BEING A CHILD!!!!!!!”

This is what I hear from the peeps who don’t understand our decision.

(This Christmas photo is pretty magical to me)

My answer: no I’m not.

A.) Magic is not an important part of the kind of life I want our children to depend upon.
Imagination, creativity, freedom to dream, explore, experiment and dance silly are integral parts of childhood and are encouraged by myself. But magic? No.

B.) To be encouraged that characters with supernatural God-like powers exist: that they are GOOD (the Good Witch of the East/Wicked Witch of the West, anyone?) and that these characters will grant us material, earthly possessions if we are “nice” is not in-step with my ideal of Christian teaching to our children.
The only “magical powers” I want my children to trust in and rely on are the ones that derive from God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

So one may safely assume that we don’t do Easter Bunny, tooth fairy, Halloween or any of that other hallmark, gift-y materialistic-y nonsense.

I realize I use those words harshly, but I’m trying to stick a point.

I grew up believing and trusting in a Santa and an Easter Bunny… But I also never understood the real meaning of why we celebrated these holidays. I never experienced real joy in celebration of these holidays in my heart until college, shamefully. I am a late spiritual bloomer and a bad listener, I suppose. My parents really did try to tell me. But my dad did not convert to Christianity until my early high school days. The foundation was not as firm with me as it is my little brother who’s 6 years younger. I can’t blame my parents, they were on their spiritual journey! As am I.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable or harmful to teach our children the real reasons we celebrate Christmas or Easter. If I’m concerned about the ultimate attainment of getting my children to Heaven, can I start centering their focus on Christ too soon? I think not.

Happily, Catholics do celebrate a Saint Nicholas. And this is the “Santa” our children will grow up knowing.

(Our happy Christmas boy, last year)

I’ve written once before about how we don’t celebrate Halloween in the way society celebrates it. Glorifying the spooky, the gruesome, the witches and vampires is, again, not in step with how I want my children to be reared along with Christianity.

Mostly, because I acknowledge there is evil present. Real evil. If glory isn’t given completely to God, who, is it then given to? Again, as Catholics, we happily celebrate the real lives of saints who, as human as you and I, lived their flawed human life, in struggles & turmoil, triumphs and blessings but always turned to Christ to lead their steps, always giving all glory to God.

 I remember, after being told that Easter Bunny and Santa did not exist, my young mind trying to work out the confusion of who exactly that magic came from, whether magic is real, and who should I trust or look to for miracles?

The answer is obvious to me now. But I feel that as a parent, if I keep it very simple until they’re old enough to understand, I will continue to teach that God alone provides true and worthy miracles. That if my children are finding themselves wondering if “magic” is coming from anyone other than God, they need to stay away from it. It’s why we don’t encourage zodiac/astrology reading, fortune telling, palm reading, ouija board or anything involving a spiritual realm that has no full foundation in Christ. I wrote about that a few months ago, here.

(Oddly enough, I played the Wicked Witch of the West in our high school musical, The Wizard of Oz…. goodness, it was a blast!)

I don’t think this will take the excitement out of Christmas morning. I still get excited and I’m on the opposite side of our kids now!
I think, however, it will add a sense of true gratitude and love.

I never knew, growing up, in my Christmas present high, to look at my parents and say, “You gave me these things? You did this for me? Thank you. Thank God for you, Momma and Dadda.”
It was always “yeah, yeah, baby Jesus was born, but CHECK OUT MY NEW IPOD!” …of course iPods n’éxistais pas 20 years ago… But you know what I mean.

No, I don’t have some high expectation of overly reverent, saintly children who open their toys and run them down to the homeless shelter and then run back to church to sing praises to God.

I mean, I’d be thunderstruck if one of my little boys did that. I’d be proud to tears. But I know they are kids. I know. I was one. 

I’m hoping I can lead them to be better human beings, though, than I AM.

The way I place importance upon material possession in times when those materials honestly have nothing to do with the reason for celebrating, can help them become better human beings, I believe. And teaching them to trust in the miracles and powers of God alone will aid in leading them to Heaven, I hope.

This is the way we would like to raise our children.


But I’m not writing in blood.
And I’m certainly not writing this to point judgmental fingers at parents who wish to raise their children differently.

I know friends who grew up with little to nothing and now take great joy in giving to their own children what they could not be given in their own childhood. Many parents take Christmas -in a true Christmas spirit of joy- as an opportunity to give to their children and to others.

I write this not to justify my thinking, but for others. For others who, like me, need the idea. I genuinely appreciate a different idea. Sometimes a simpler idea. Sometimes an idea that makes me uncomfortable about my own decisions, makes me think a little deeper.  And if the idea is backed with good, God-centered reasons, I feel relieved to convert from the societal norm. Parents are placed with great pressure to keep up with what our neighbors or other family members do or have. Whether we want to admit it or not, I’m sure we’ve felt it from time to time. So there’s my idea. With my reasons for it. Until I find a better one :)

Care to share yours?   

Also, the stocking?  I count that as “bonus” :)

Out of my lack of being able to speak charitably due to my impatient and overly aggravated prego hormones, I made these “memes” the other night while I was up with heartburn, brewing over ….ahhh… just STUFF.  

I’ve been thinking, after reading repeated, multiple angry, confused, uneducated and ignorant statements made by people I know, people I don’t know and celebrities we all know, that I want to take my skin off and scrub it on one of those old-fashioned washboards.  Like, the sheer amount of absence of intellect or even rational reasoning makes me writhe in my own skin.  

I am not an overly intelligent or exceptionally well-educated person by any means.   I am ignorant of MUCH.  And I don’t deny that.  

But what I am seeing surrounding all things moral-issue-related is inflated pride, and absolute unintelligence.  

It’s a terrible shame, because we are human and capable of intelligence.  But educating our intelligence takes work.  and as humans, we are lazy.  We form our opinions, we belt them out and we run others over, while we pride ourselves on our fully educated intelligence.  

But are we humble enough to question our education?  To say, “hmm… where’d that opinion of mine really come from?”

We constantly talk of INTOLERANCE & HATE in the world.  I agree it exists and sadly is practiced toward others.  But what I think the greater problem is, is ignorance and pride.  

We THINK we know the evil of a certain type of person or group or religious affiliation, but do we? Really, do we? Have we really done the research to fully educate and support our beliefs?  

I am finding more and more that, no.  There are sadly many more people than I would have ever believed possible that don’t do that research.  They simply disagree based on their own self-held pride and toss whatever ludicrous notions that are presented out the window, never giving it a second thought.  

All I can do is laugh about it.  I’ve been laughing in disbelief all day.  That’s why I can’t read too much of the absolutely idiotic— and I mean idiotic in the strictest, most sincere meaning of the word —banter that goes back and forth on certain blog/news/social network forums.  I am astounded at it.  But sadly, I know I’m not above it.  I’d love to think that I am; that I’m smarter than your average bear, immune to my own pride and prejudices… but I know I have them.  I am only human.  

I think, though, that this realization is what can make a difference in our world.  Corny as it sounds: Loving my fellow human beings above all else.

I will always stand by my understanding of right and wrong, good and evil.  But the word JUDGEMENTAL is not something I’m ready to fling as much as others.  Because I understand the meaning of that word.  There is general judging: discerning, understanding, reasoned educating.  …and there is eternal judging: determining the outcome of someone else’s eternal salvation based on their actions or words.  The first, I try to do while continually understanding my own faults and education.  The second, is absolutely not in my power.

"There are not 100 people who hate the Catholic Church; But there are millions who hate what they believe the Catholic Church to be."

-Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen



I think this sentence is fitting for many, many other facets and groups of people in our world as well and can be applied to the most current hot topics that have arisen in the news this week. 

ahhh…. so I continue to refer to my GIFs above and just laugh.  welp, that’s all I’ve got …for right now.

What your Doctor won't tell you about Birth Control... and may not even know him/herself. →

A problem exists with the way medicine is currently practiced. One issue is that things really aren’t set up so doctors can get to know their patients well, thoroughly answer all questions and concerns, and also adequately inform their patients of all options and the ramifications of each one. A 15 minute office visit just doesn’t lend itself to this. This is true in the area of birth control just as anywhere else. Overworked doctors, little rapport, a multi-billion dollar contraceptive industry, and incomplete education for OB/GYNs can make it difficult for patients to really know what happens to their bodies with any given birth control method. I passionately believe that women deserve to know how their bodies naturally work and how each form of contraception interferes with their natural functioning. How can they give informed consent without it?


This is a simple, yet thorough explanation about the things doctors may not tell women about Birth Control and probably don’t know themselves.  In fact, I’d HOPE doctors don’t know this, or else I’d be enraged to know they’re shelling out scripts left and right knowingly putting women at such risks.  

This week has been National NFP Awareness Week, and wouldn’t you know it, I haven’t posted a single thing!  I told you I was off my groove.  I’ll try to share some of the more exciting and informative posts I’ve read this week, later today or tomorrow.  


This is such a wonderful talk representative of Catholic views.  While she’s not the most eloquent speaker -she’s nervous and not very fluid- she makes profound and thought-provoking statements that opponents of NFP and pro-life views often times -to me personally, anyway- reject or have not pondered before.  Think deeper than the “band-aid”.   Her last statement -from Ghandi- is my favorite.

"Dr. Pia de Solenni is an expert on life issues, issues related to women’s health, the new feminism, and culture. She holds a Sacred Theology Baccalaureate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) and a Sacred Theology Doctorate, summa cum laude, from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. In 2001, Pope John Paul II awarded her the Prize of the Pontifical Academies for her groundbreaking dissertation—an analysis of feminist theories in the light of St. Thomas Aquinas’ teachings" 


OHH hai.
So I’m deciding to take my “maternity leave” from my blog for a while.
As the weeks stretch on, I’m finding myself increasingly uncomfortable, irritable, completely forgetful and with total negligence of grammatical correctness (which irks me greatly) or any sort of polite decorum.
See what I mean: polite decorum? Isn’t that kind of redundant? Whatever.
Its just best that I stay away from writing about much other than whining about my pregnancy. I can’t collect my thoughts on the normal things I like to write and read about. So, to some this may be a good thing. But don’t be too excited, I still wish to at least post good articles to reference from time to time. And I’ll be back in full throttle soon enough.
It’s taken until my third pregnancy to decide which part of it I enjoy the least. I’d have to say the last trimester is it.
Not only is my body very uncomfortable, I’m anxious about everything. I see dust everywhere. It needs to be GONE RIGHT NOW. The mountainous tasks that are rolling around in my head feel so urgent that I sometimes feel a rising panic if it’s not getting done quick enough.
Having restless leg syndrome (RLS) in combination with a searing heartburn has never been as forceful as it seems to be this pregnancy. I could see someone using it as a method to torture top-secret government information out of me, if I had anything to tell. Just affect my body with RLS and heartburn, and I’ll do or say anything to stop it.
I’ve been becoming a huge fan of Apple Cider Vinegar and just vinegar all together. I always see vinegar listed as a home remedy for all sorts of ailments: from blemishes to heartburn to sore feet to allergy relief (http://4life4life.tumblr.com/post/19573669446/the-neti-pot-saga-i-as-well-as-most-in-the)! Then I’ve seen it listed for all sorts of housekeeping solutions: from bug repellent to fabric softener.
It is one of those things that finally, after seeing it repeatedly praised for its many uses, I decided to try it and now I am in luuuurrrve. I use it in some form, almost daily: to clean or to self-medicate.
Epsom Salts is one of those things as well. I’ve always seen containers of them at the store or read about their uses, but never given them a try.
I was reading that soaking in a Epsom Salt bath can help relax and ease muscle pain.
Number one: I’m not a bath-taker. To me, taking a bath is just soaking in my own filth. Mmmm. Relaxing with my dead skin cells sloughing off of me and floating all around. Sounds sooo calming.  Number two: I don’t have time for a bath. By the time we’ve wrangled our children into bed, I want to be in bed too.
Buuut, desperate times calls for…
An epsom salt bath.
I tried it and I’ll say one thing. Well two: I was so relaxed and sleepy after soaking for 20 minutes that I wondered how legal epsom salt baths should be.  And then I made note that I shall use them as another instrument for coping with my labor when the day arrives.
I slept really well. Minus the necessary nighttime potty trips. But I woke up less for those even.
I am always amazed at the wonders of an old natural remedy or an old trick that lays forgotten while we constantly search for the miracle drug or miracle cleaner.
I am more shocked that some of the more basic homeopathic treatments are completely to the ignorance of my doctors.
I was talking with my OB about my discoveries of some heartburn remedies that have been around for ages. He was about to write me a prescription and looked at me with wide, unblinking eyes, “oh wow! I’ll have to get some Aloe Vera juice! I get terrible heartburn, myself.”
I’m thinking, really? How does a doctor not know this?  I was talking to my nurse about how baking soda can be drunk in water (minimally, watch that third trimester swelling!) to reduce heartburn and that if you sit in a shallow bath with a half-cupful mixed in, it can help relieve the pain of and reduce hemorrhoids.  She looked at me, puzzled, and said, “that’s crazy! I’ve never heard of that one before!”
…and I go to an OBGYN practice which specializes in promoting the natural birth approach.  This doesn’t make any sense to me!
If they’re promoting this natural way of labor and childbirth, shouldn’t they be knowledgeable about some of the basic, natural remedies to ease pain or any of the symptoms a pregnant woman experiences throughout her pregnany?
All I’ve been offered by them is prescriptions for medicines. I’ve had to do my own homework to know what I now know. And it’s taken me three pregnancies to get where I am— and I’m STILL learning!
Woe to the mother of her first baby who never knew better, simpler, safer solutions to her discomforts! …that was me!
I can’t help but to continually refer to The Birth Book by Dr. Bill and Martha Sears. In the book, Martha gives a history of how the birth scene has progressed -or should I say medicalized- over the decades. Birth has become a “condition” inwhich nature and it’s processes are too slow, or not good enough.
Women have become less confident in themselves, and completely distrustful of their own body and the map that it lays out, plainly for us to read. We need the doctor to tell us what to do and how to do it, as if we weren’t born with the natural equipment to begin with.
A nice personal example would be during my second son’s labor, after I’d received my epidural (which later failed), my labor slowed and didn’t progress. (hmm, wonder why?) So my OB, offered to break my water for me. My husband and I considered it and decided to give it a try.
After three unsuccessful attempts, my doc had not broken my water. He left to go see a movie with his family as my husband and I sat there, mildly frustrated.
I shifted my extremely limited position in my birth bed, and immediately experienced the rush of water. &#8230;and panic as the epidural then began to wear off and I started feeling things I knew I wasn&#8217;t supposed to&#8230;
It was not until I kissed the forehead of our little Emmett that we noticed a huge gash on the top of his head from the water-breaking-instrument.
He still has a scar under his baby hair.
If I had just trusted my body to know what to do in the first place, to have the patience that my doctor did not (hey, his family wanted to go see a movie for crying out loud.), my labor would have progressed. Emmett would have been born on his own if I’d let him- without being cut by a foreign instrument.
But with advanced medicine today, how can we argue with it? Without it, surely the death rate would increase as would disease.
For modern medicine, I am thankful. And Dr. Sears’s book acknowledges that was well: doctors and hospitals and medical interventions are truly a gift.
But the book challenges a mother to know her options. No, not just to know ABOUT her options: “I can have an epidural or I can go without. There. I know my options.”
But to really KNOW her options: to know the risks involved with an epidural. How an epidural affects the baby and consequently, the baby’s ability to breast feed. To know alternative pain medications that are available instead of the epidural, and their risks.

To know, to fully know what entails having a natural, unmediated birth. To know that being unmediated does not mean that the mother just lays there screaming her brains out through the pain, just blundering blindly through it. There are better ways.
We just have to exercise our responsibility to equip ourselves with the knowledge to know better, to have a wholesome balance with nature and medicine -if needed.
I’m hoping and praying that this birth is the turning point for me. It’s taking courage and hard work: reading and a lot of networking with other, wiser mommies.
And that’s why I won’t be writing as much for the next two months. I keep up more with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram— and even those, I’m laying off, save for picture postings: the quickest and easiest of it all.
Until my next prego strife, all mommies are in my prayers (as much as I can focus them) and I ask my Christian bros and sisters to pray for me. Peace and love!

OHH hai.

So I’m deciding to take my “maternity leave” from my blog for a while.

As the weeks stretch on, I’m finding myself increasingly uncomfortable, irritable, completely forgetful and with total negligence of grammatical correctness (which irks me greatly) or any sort of polite decorum.

See what I mean: polite decorum? Isn’t that kind of redundant? Whatever.

Its just best that I stay away from writing about much other than whining about my pregnancy. I can’t collect my thoughts on the normal things I like to write and read about. So, to some this may be a good thing. But don’t be too excited, I still wish to at least post good articles to reference from time to time. And I’ll be back in full throttle soon enough.

It’s taken until my third pregnancy to decide which part of it I enjoy the least. I’d have to say the last trimester is it.

Not only is my body very uncomfortable, I’m anxious about everything. I see dust everywhere. It needs to be GONE RIGHT NOW. The mountainous tasks that are rolling around in my head feel so urgent that I sometimes feel a rising panic if it’s not getting done quick enough.

Having restless leg syndrome (RLS) in combination with a searing heartburn has never been as forceful as it seems to be this pregnancy. I could see someone using it as a method to torture top-secret government information out of me, if I had anything to tell. Just affect my body with RLS and heartburn, and I’ll do or say anything to stop it.

I’ve been becoming a huge fan of Apple Cider Vinegar and just vinegar all together. I always see vinegar listed as a home remedy for all sorts of ailments: from blemishes to heartburn to sore feet to allergy relief (http://4life4life.tumblr.com/post/19573669446/the-neti-pot-saga-i-as-well-as-most-in-the)! Then I’ve seen it listed for all sorts of housekeeping solutions: from bug repellent to fabric softener.

It is one of those things that finally, after seeing it repeatedly praised for its many uses, I decided to try it and now I am in luuuurrrve. I use it in some form, almost daily: to clean or to self-medicate.

Epsom Salts is one of those things as well. I’ve always seen containers of them at the store or read about their uses, but never given them a try.

I was reading that soaking in a Epsom Salt bath can help relax and ease muscle pain.

Number one: I’m not a bath-taker. To me, taking a bath is just soaking in my own filth. Mmmm. Relaxing with my dead skin cells sloughing off of me and floating all around. Sounds sooo calming.
Number two: I don’t have time for a bath. By the time we’ve wrangled our children into bed, I want to be in bed too.

Buuut, desperate times calls for…

An epsom salt bath.

I tried it and I’ll say one thing. Well two: I was so relaxed and sleepy after soaking for 20 minutes that I wondered how legal epsom salt baths should be.
And then I made note that I shall use them as another instrument for coping with my labor when the day arrives.

I slept really well. Minus the necessary nighttime potty trips. But I woke up less for those even.

I am always amazed at the wonders of an old natural remedy or an old trick that lays forgotten while we constantly search for the miracle drug or miracle cleaner.

I am more shocked that some of the more basic homeopathic treatments are completely to the ignorance of my doctors.

I was talking with my OB about my discoveries of some heartburn remedies that have been around for ages. He was about to write me a prescription and looked at me with wide, unblinking eyes, “oh wow! I’ll have to get some Aloe Vera juice! I get terrible heartburn, myself.”

I’m thinking, really? How does a doctor not know this?
I was talking to my nurse about how baking soda can be drunk in water (minimally, watch that third trimester swelling!) to reduce heartburn and that if you sit in a shallow bath with a half-cupful mixed in, it can help relieve the pain of and reduce hemorrhoids.
She looked at me, puzzled, and said, “that’s crazy! I’ve never heard of that one before!”

…and I go to an OBGYN practice which specializes in promoting the natural birth approach.
This doesn’t make any sense to me!

If they’re promoting this natural way of labor and childbirth, shouldn’t they be knowledgeable about some of the basic, natural remedies to ease pain or any of the symptoms a pregnant woman experiences throughout her pregnany?

All I’ve been offered by them is prescriptions for medicines. I’ve had to do my own homework to know what I now know. And it’s taken me three pregnancies to get where I am— and I’m STILL learning!

Woe to the mother of her first baby who never knew better, simpler, safer solutions to her discomforts! …that was me!

I can’t help but to continually refer to The Birth Book by Dr. Bill and Martha Sears. In the book, Martha gives a history of how the birth scene has progressed -or should I say medicalized- over the decades. Birth has become a “condition” inwhich nature and it’s processes are too slow, or not good enough.

Women have become less confident in themselves, and completely distrustful of their own body and the map that it lays out, plainly for us to read. We need the doctor to tell us what to do and how to do it, as if we weren’t born with the natural equipment to begin with.

A nice personal example would be during my second son’s labor, after I’d received my epidural (which later failed), my labor slowed and didn’t progress. (hmm, wonder why?) So my OB, offered to break my water for me. My husband and I considered it and decided to give it a try.

After three unsuccessful attempts, my doc had not broken my water. He left to go see a movie with his family as my husband and I sat there, mildly frustrated.

I shifted my extremely limited position in my birth bed, and immediately experienced the rush of water. …and panic as the epidural then began to wear off and I started feeling things I knew I wasn’t supposed to…

It was not until I kissed the forehead of our little Emmett that we noticed a huge gash on the top of his head from the water-breaking-instrument.

He still has a scar under his baby hair.

If I had just trusted my body to know what to do in the first place, to have the patience that my doctor did not (hey, his family wanted to go see a movie for crying out loud.), my labor would have progressed. Emmett would have been born on his own if I’d let him- without being cut by a foreign instrument.

But with advanced medicine today, how can we argue with it? Without it, surely the death rate would increase as would disease.

For modern medicine, I am thankful. And Dr. Sears’s book acknowledges that was well: doctors and hospitals and medical interventions are truly a gift.

But the book challenges a mother to know her options. No, not just to know ABOUT her options: “I can have an epidural or I can go without. There. I know my options.”

But to really KNOW her options: to know the risks involved with an epidural. How an epidural affects the baby and consequently, the baby’s ability to breast feed. To know alternative pain medications that are available instead of the epidural, and their risks.

To know, to fully know what entails having a natural, unmediated birth. To know that being unmediated does not mean that the mother just lays there screaming her brains out through the pain, just blundering blindly through it. There are better ways.

We just have to exercise our responsibility to equip ourselves with the knowledge to know better, to have a wholesome balance with nature and medicine -if needed.

I’m hoping and praying that this birth is the turning point for me. It’s taking courage and hard work: reading and a lot of networking with other, wiser mommies.

And that’s why I won’t be writing as much for the next two months. I keep up more with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram— and even those, I’m laying off, save for picture postings: the quickest and easiest of it all.

Until my next prego strife, all mommies are in my prayers (as much as I can focus them) and I ask my Christian bros and sisters to pray for me. Peace and love!

When is Life Worth Saving? →

As it goes, I had probably the worst night’s sleep last night. That’s what I get for offering up sacrifices… Ah, I joke.  But really. I need coffee.  

I wanted to post this article because I continue to be absolutely astounded at the complete rejection of science by -sadly- the vast majority of people I know and, as ObamaCare has been upheld, many Americans as well.  But my mom made a good point to me:  How could we expect anything less from the same court that passed Roe v. Wade?

I posted this on FB:

A common misconception by abortion proponents and even those who think artificial contraceptives and EC’s are okay is that “pregnancy” beings at implantation, and that is the important issue at hand.

I agree that pregnancy begins at implantation… but WHEN DOES LIFE BEGIN? the answer is at CONCEPTION. A new life must be created -that is, conceived- before it may be implanted.

Contraceptives without a doubt prevent pregnancy… but the more important issue at hand is that they kill a LIFE to do so.

So my next question, since so many reject these facts, is: By what logic or type of self-created science do the opponents of these facts figure when human life is created?  

What exactly IS created, if there is no human being just moments before implantation?  Was it just a lifeless, formless blob o’ cells that spontaneously “knows” (within each and every human female’s womb, nonetheless) that it needs to be implanted?  Because if said blob is really not alive, wouldn’t it just sit there, like a ball of dirt?  Like a pebble?

And if this blob IS alive… is it a living polar bear?  a living bumble bee? a living fish?

If this blob is not a human blob, what is it, then?  

I can answer all of these questions, but I want to know what others think, if they’ve thought about it at all. 

Because if we have no other answer- if that blob is nothing other than a human being, then how can we reconcile our ease of mind when we talk about our acceptance or welcoming of abortion or contraceptives which can and do abort a human being?  

I often hear the worn-out… “well, it may be human, but it’s not viable" or "I can’t afford that one right now" 

But think about the source of these excuses… they completely ignore the equal value of all human life.  If the life isn’t quite capable of jumping jacks yet, we may dismiss it as disposable.  If the life makes us feel uneasy about our own comfort, the life is dismissed as disposable.  And I mean disposable in the worst sense.  Not put in the corner.  Not ignored.  But terminated.  Killed.  …killed? Really?  That’s our answer? That is what America upholds?  Land of the free?

And that’s the complete wrong way to think.  All life is indispensable.  However dismayed I may feel about the presence of a human being in my life, that human has a right to be there just the same.  No matter his/her color, size, development, malform-ities, diseases, gender, income, sexual preference, dependencies, addictions, no matter his/her rapist father or the annoying habit of loudly whistling a happy tune when I don’t want to hear it.

 Because as long as we can rationalize that the tiniest, most innocent form of human life is not worthy of its right to life, then I believe the rest of the world will always continue to manifest racism, sexism, genocide, slavery, trafficking, and all other forms of the objectification of a human life.  

I am bewildered that this isn’t at the forefront of every American’s thoughts as we approach elections.  That people actually get offended when the subject is brought up. Where is the offense to be had?  

How can I be personally offended when talking about the value of human life?  I can’t!  It is a discussion I want to have!  Why would we be offended when talking about this?  I’ve experienced close family members and friends who’ve become wildly offended to the point of irrational and insulting words being barked at me, and then they refuse to discuss it at all.  Why?  Why the instant shut-down?  Why the insults?  Why the vulgar language?  Why do these people think that I am personally attacking?  I ask pretty general questions.  Easy ones to think about or research.  I don’t seek anyone out by name.  I write on my blog and I contribute to pro-life causes… yet I am the one getting sought out and insulted.  

What is there to be afraid of?  What is there to even get angry about? 

If I am completely upside down wrong, I want to be treated the same way I write.  With logic. with science. with questions. with heart.  I may have a passion for this subject, but I am not afraid or personally offended to hear the other side.

{perhaps that’s mostly because I’ve been on the other side and asked the questions to myself already :) }

Busy

Busy I’ve been. I’ve been reading but not taken much time to regurgitate any of my thoughts. And that’s fine.

Now that I’m in the grand third trimester, I’ve finally felt myself motivated to clean and organize: something I’ve not felt even a tiny inkling to do for the previous six months leading up to now. Yikes. So, imagine what’s to be done. I mean.. YIKES.

I wanted to take a moment while having difficulty falling asleep comfortably, to reach out to mommies.

I have a beautiful Cathsorority ( what’s that? http://caffeinatedcatholicmama.com/what-is-cathsorority/) sister who recently posted that for each time she feels the stress or uncomfortable pains of pregnancy, she offers her suffering up for all women trying to conceive or struggling with fertility. Is that not beautiful? 
By doing so, my Cathsister is not only praying for others, but taking the focus off of herself: off of obsessing over every little detail of her pregnancy and wallowing in her pity or even the limelight of pregnancy. I believe that by praying for others when we are suffering, God not only hears us -as the Beatitudes tells us- but it can lessen the possibility of postpartum blues. It’s just a thought. No real science behind it other than the realization that when we are busy taking care of or sacrificing for others, we leave little room to feel sorry for ourself. I could be wrong there, but I don’t think it could hurt to think about it further.

Regardless- the reason in writing is because I’m getting less and less sleep. Which I guess is fine because it’s preparing me for the imminent future anyway. However I can’t totally agree with that because depending on the parenting style used, a mom may get just as much or better sleep once her child is born.

Our first baby, I did not sleep. DID. NOT. 
Up and down. Up and down. Nursing. Rocking. Laying baby down with the greatest care. Tiptoeing back to bed. Crying. Up and down up and down. Repeat. All night.

Second baby… We coslept and that was the end of the story. No crying. No ups and downs. No rocking. No soaked diapers. No spit ups. I actually woke up right before he would, knowing that he’d stir and I’d nurse him. (there’s actually science behind that! http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/attachment-parenting/4-ways-ap-can-reduce-risk-sids)
After our second child was born, I’d get looks from family members full of pity as they said, “are you getting ANY sleep at all, you poor thing?”
And my honest response was, “I’ve never slept better.”

But as of right now, as my children sleep through the night, I am not. In fact I’m up almost hourly. Yucky.

SO: my intention is to pray for all mommies who are not getting sleep at night. Every hour I wake, I think of and pray for you, dear mothers who are comforting your children. I pray that you’re filled with love and peace as you hold your angel, who wants only you. I pray that you’re given the graces needed to endure the night. I pray that you do get a good handful of hours to rest. And I pray that when the day comes, you find rest at some point. 
It is truly a full time job. There’s no clocking out or saying, “I’m gonna sleep this off and recharge.”

It takes all of who you are. What a noble career.

Goodnight -hopefully- know that when you’re up, frustrated or just plain exhausted, I’m praying for you, along with the Virgin Mother and all the mother saints. I’m praying for you, probably while I eat a toasted bagel with cream cheese.

Woes of a (fairly) Young Momma

In lieu of the last post, in which I declared that despite my pregnant disposition, I was not emotional, I write now it appears, as a hypocrite.

The third trimester has run over me like a big, fat dump truck. I knew the exhaustion would settle back in, but I always forget how difficult it is. Luckily, I’m in the homestretch!

This past week, we had a family celebration for my oldest son’s 3rd birthday. Overall, it was an enjoyable event, especially for our son. Unfortunately, for our second boy, it was not so much.

In the excitement of the arrival of his grandparents, Birthday Boy tore through our living room and with the aggression of a linebacker, shoved his little brother to the ground from behind. This sent little bro face-first to a marble floor. Blood, bruised and busted gums occurred. He is only 17 months old, so to hold a cold washcloth to his upper mouth is like trying to coax a snake to come be pet using the old “here, kitty kitty!” method.

Luckily, due to some of my more naturopath-type friends, I’ve grown in homeopathic knowledge over the years and have a stock of Arnica tablets, Chamomilla and other calming, soothing remedies that almost immediately stopped the bleeding, swelling and inconsolability of our little boy. Follow that up with his pacifier and he was fairly quickly calmed down. But he did not want to be separated from me. I carried him around til he fell asleep.

Crisis over, for the moment. Upon further inspection, he seemed fine. No broken teeth, or bones. Just busted up.

It shook me up right well though and I was distressed for the whole of the party. And I am not good at all at concealing my stress. It permeates to my head and stomach and I feel sick in those areas until I can find quiet rest.

Fast forward three days to Tuesday, and busted-mouth-boy is back in action, his upper gums only a light shade of purple, and quickly healing. I am amazed at how fast the human body heals.

We had my sister and her two toddlers come to play Tuesday morning, along with my mom, who loves seeing all her grand babies in one place. They absolutely adore her.

The slow cleaner that I am, had just set my mom’s large, glass veggie tray out to dry after washing it. My mom moved it to a table next to the door so that she wouldn’t forget to bring it home when she left.

Busted-mouth-boy soon became deeply-cut-boy as he curiously and successfully reached for the tray and pulled it off the table. The tray, as I said, was glass, but a very heavy glass. The table happens to be sitting right at the top of a single step that leads down to our solarium and out of our house. So, standing at this step, is where Emmett grabbed the tray, and by the heaviness of it, he fell forward, on top of the tray, to the marble floor, shattering glass everywhere.

Where was I? Right there. 5 feet away. Watching him do it. My sister? Even closer! But Emmett isn’t a grabber-off-of-the-table-er. And the tray wasn’t in danger of attracting little fingers -wasn’t hanging over the edge. It was one of those odd, shocking moments, that always tend to happen to unsuspecting parents. And I am ALWAYS SUSPECTING!!!! …but I suppose not…

My sister, sitting within 2 feet of Emmett, scooped him up, glass and all. Of course Emmett was crying as I rushed upon him, searching for the inevitable injury.

Then I saw it: 4 inches long on his forearm, splayed open to reveal raw-chicken-like skin, a gaping cut.

What did this confident, sure mom do upon seeing it?

Oh, I panicked of course.

"OH IT’S REALLY BAD!" I was jumping up and down -barefoot on the shattered glass- writhing my hands, saying "OKAYOKAYOKAY What do I do!?!?!?!?!?!!"

Our mom enters the room, saying, “oh it’s probably not that—- yes. Yes, it’s bad. He will need stitches.”

Mom directed me to grab a towel as she slapped her hand over the wound, applying pressure. We tied his tiny arm up in a kitchen towel.

So now, I’m hyperventilating as I rush to grab extra diapers (which I instantly forgot about and left them sitting on the counter), Emmett’s sippy cup of water, pacifier, some homeopath tablets and my purse.

My sister threw mom the keys to her car, saying, “just go!”

We left her with a kitchen full of shattered glass, two toddlers in the living room, and my toddler on the toilet, with a dirty rear end. …bless my sister’s heart.

Thankfully for us, there’s a brand new hospital 5 minutes down the road. Emmett, by now, was calm and happily sucking on his pacifier after being given a Calms Forté tablet (i brought IBuprofen to administer only after he’d been given his stitches because apparently, it can increase bleeding ). By the time we were admitted (which was only another 5 minutes), he had fallen asleep on me.

I however, was on the brink of passing out, as we had to repeatedly show the open wound to each nurse that came into the room. I decided not to look at it anymore, for the sake of staying conscious for my tiny boy.

The doctor and two nurses wrapped my boy in a sheet, swaddle style, to keep his limbs from kicking and flailing while he was stitched up. I laid across him, and held his precious face. I had my mom grab my phone, pull up YouTube and play Elmo’s World while he was operated on. The other two nurses, held his legs and his injured arm steady as the doctor went to work.

The two numbing shots administered caused Emmett to scream like nothing I’ve ever heard come from him or our oldest boy. Three of the eleven stitches, Emmett felt in full. And he looked at me as he cried, with pleading, hurting eyes.

But within an hour, it was over and Emmett had fallen asleep on me again.

When we returned home, my sister, who was leaving for vacation at 4am the next day, had kept everyone alive and content and had tried her best to clean up the glass.


My monologue of woes and stresses now told, I continue to feel pretty darn touchy and emotional. This blog, while mainly dedicated to inform about the evils of abortion and artificial contraceptives, is also therapeutic for me. As I’ve noted, I’m an artist. My hands have to have some rhythmic movement to fulfill in order to clear my brain.

Having typed all of this, I am perfectly aware of the insignificance of the “woes” I’ve told. In fact, while hovering over my boy’s little face, I thought of my 9 year old cousin Breezy (just enter your email), who is ending her battle with bone cancer, who’s had to have her leg from her thigh down removed. I thought of her parents. I thought of the true and heavy stress they’ve had to undergo. I know, my suffering and even my child’s suffering is nothing compared to that.

I know that as a parent, worse may come to us. I pray that I will handle it with the strength that my cousins have with Breezy. It’s got to be goliath.

This is where, without God, I would drive myself completely sick and swear to myself that children aren’t worth the trouble.

But they are. What else on this entire earth is more worthy of my loss of sleep than my own flesh and blood?

I thank you, God, for the lives of my children— all the while knowing that they are not eternally mine, but they are Yours. It’s a hard thing to grasp, and a great faith to possess and maintain. I pray for the grace to understand and bear it, and for the peace that our Virgin Mother must have possessed in order to fully submit her only Son to the world. She was only human, after all.

How a “Stupid Bump” Changed Me Forever.

I am not one to reminisce and rehash past events in my life, but how can I not with this one?  It was the single most life-changing event I’ve known.

Although I’m within a week of being in my third trimester with our third son, I’m still not a terribly emotional person, except for some things.

My oldest child is one of those things.

I was not even a year out of college when I found out I was pregnant with him. (here’s a snippet about that whirlwind)

My life was not on track. I didn’t have everything figured out. I didn’t even have plans to figure anything out. How about that, huh?! I didn’t even have plans!

I didn’t have anyone to worry about or take care of except myself, and I wasn’t even really doing that! I look back on my former self during college years (and even high school) with disgust. The decisions I made were vain, thoughtless and self gratifying. I was working tons but not saving my money. I spent it all on anything I wanted.

We grow up being told, “chase your dreams! Do what feels good! Have no regrets! Live, laugh, love! Be forever young! You only live once! Live in the moment! Be true to yourself!”

We are told these terribly cliché statements but with no context surrounding them.  Embarrassingly, some of us even tattoo these stupid mantras onto our own body or hang/paint the words in our own household. And without wisdom attached, these words encourage reckless behavior and regretful futures in the wisdom-less youth and ignorant adulthood.

And wisdom-less and ignorant, I certainly was. I was definitely being true to that.

I would hear someone rambling on about their past mistakes and how I should learn and be better, but I didn’t care. I was told repeatedly of my potential for “success” and that I had the “Midas Touch”, that I was gifted, that everything I touched moved for me and with me.

But childishly, I thought to myself, “why wouldn’t it?

Nothing was ever difficult for me. I never had to struggle to do anything well. I excelled at anything I put an ounce of exertion into doing. But an ounce was all I ever exerted. My head was always somewhere else; onto my next self-fulfilling “dream”. I never thought about REALLY putting hard work into my life, focusing on a goal, and delaying my gratification for the bigger picture. I wanted what I wanted. and I got it. I never looked for a bigger picture.

I look back on myself during those years and shudder.

But what I do not regret was the choice I made with my husband to love our oldest son.

There is nothing that I have done in my past that has brought me greater, lasting joy than giving life to my son, and our subsequent children.

And I say THIS, coming from a girl, who once hated children. All ages. I used to pride myself on a monologue I would frequently give to anyone within earshot about how I believed all newborns were ugly, scrunched-up things, toddlers were all whining, grubby brats, and the ages beyond until teenager-dom were just annoying, obnoxious, and germ-y.

Bring a baby into the room, and I would roll my eyes and walk away while all the other girls and moms oohed and ahhed over the “sweeeeeeet little baaaaabyyyyy cooo coo coooweoifhawkjfawlkjfhalkjfh BARF!!!!!”

Give me a puppy dog, I always said. Those things are fluffy, cute, and you can put them in a crate overnight with a bowl of food and water. Those things don’t demand any more attention than I felt like giving.

Yet I chose our son.

Not because my religion tells me “ABORTION BAAAAD!” but, because thankfully, I listened to science enough to fully acknowledge that the moment one of my eggs is fertilized, it’s not merely a fertilized egg, it’s a HE or a SHE with his/her own, unique DNA; a human being, separate from me. I at least held that conviction.

Yet I looked into the mirror at the bridal shop and saw my reflection. I had chosen the simplest of all the dresses.  I was beyond being able to hide the bump protruding from under the sash.  And looking at myself, in a wedding dress, it looked so wrong.

that stupid bump" I remember thinking. "It shouldn’t be this way," I thought.

Yet it was.  And it was so right.

So much more right than the way I thought it should have been.

Three years later, that “stupid bump” says, “I love you, Mom,” with a tiny voice every single night, as I close the door to his bedroom.  

I look through the crack in the door, and see “that stupid bump” curled up under the snowy blankets of his queen sized bed and he looks so small, holding his “Baby Lamb” and closing his eyes.

Tonight, as my husband and I kissed him and asked God to bless him, he squealed and giggled with his first, genuine excitement, knowing his birthday will come in the morning.

 Getting to witness these simple delights, these very first realizations, understandings, emotions and victories in a human being who was created by God, yet from my husband and I is equal to no other high or rush of endorphins I could possibly imagine.  And I’ve had lotsa rushes. 

I cry tears of joy to know him, to be in his presence. 

I look at him sometimes and I get flashes of what kind of a person I might be today if I had chosen myself first; my body instead of my son. Those flashes haunt me with images of loneliness and years of empty seeking.  

Lexington has changed me forever. He and our other children are now the recipients of my gifts and talents, my exertions and my love. I shall not be wasted on them, contrary to what my previous lifestyle told me would happen with “brats” in my life. I have grown ten times the person I was three years ago.

I dare a fuzzy puppy dog to even attempt stirring that up within me.

I look at newborns now and I am moved to tears by them. They are each living evidence of a miracle and of true love on earth.  I sometimes have to pinch myself or bite my lip to keep from tearing up and being obnoxiously emotional when I see a newborn in public.

"OHHH IT’S MY ALLERGIES! I GET THEM SO BAD!" (we all know that’s a lie now, because of this) :)

How wonderful a transformation I have made.  I’m still transforming, make no doubt about that… I am still vain and selfish- I mean, this post was mostly about ME, wasn’t it?  But I am aware of it now.  I can change.  I can be better.  I thank God for knowing me better than I ever trusted Him to know me- and proving it to me! I thank Him for giving me my husband, for giving us our wild little Lexington.

Happy Third Birthday, Mister. You are a miracle.

Baby, You Were Born This Way.

I want to write about something that may be obviously apparent to parents of multiple children.
But to the parents with only one child, they might not yet have fully grasped it. For I only began to REALLY notice it after our second child was born.


Especially to the individuals who’ve never had children before, though, is who I write for: DOUBLY especially, to the pro-choice, pro-contracepting individuals who’ve never had children, is who I write this for; for perhaps they’ve never thought about this to quite the extent they should.


I’m sure there’s much more intellectually stimulating writings than mine out there. In fact, I’m absolutely aware of the world of scientific research to support what I’m sharing.

The average, curious Joe may do a tiny lifting of his finger to find this information. I’ve done it and so can you. I’ve generally found that whether or not I litter my blog with links and endless amounts of scientific research backing up what I have to say, whomever reads my blog ultimately rejects what they’re reading on an obstinately angry prejudice or is open to finding out more and does the research him/herself. So there you go, do what you will.
Moving on!

I believe that babies are born, with their personality, their disposition already intact.
I believe that babies are given their personality from the earliest moments of conception.

Because otherwise, when is a human being given his/her personality, his/her predisposition to the way s/he handles emotion, the way s/he communicates, his/her temperament?

At 6 months in utero? 9 months? AFTER birth, a random string of personality traits, plucked from the combined genetics of the mother and father, just spontaneously erupts within his/her brain?

Or perhaps the baby is born with absolutely no personality whatsoever and it’s only developed after coming into the world and being influenced by the environment and people in the human being’s life?

I believe that common intelligence will tell us that the latter must be mostly false.

Common intelligence, from a parent of more than one child, will observe that at the first moments after birth, if the parent is a perceptive one (trust me, not all are) each child is very different than his/her older sibling.

The cry not only sounds different, but a parent can perceive the urgency, the demanding or un-demanding of the cry. Parents more closely observe, over the next few days after arriving home from the hospital, how their baby handles the daily routine of the family: the changing of the diapers, baths, feedings, naps, “tummy time” …etc. All of these mundane events sound like pathetic material to have for observations and conclusions, but if one can consider the newness of life, how drastically different these events must be for the newly born human life, can one not wonder how that baby might handle the situation, depending on his/her disposition?

The differences are sometimes subtle, but if you’ve had more than one child, you can attest to the observation that the baby isn’t JUST yet another baby, like any other baby. Each new baby speaks his/her own personality differently.

My first son- beginning with his kicks within the womb! -was much more vocal about his presence. He was wound tight: vocal from the very beginning. If a diaper was too tight, or a bottle not warmed enough (I only breastfed him for the first three months: he went on a screaming nursing strike after I felt pushed into introducing the bottle to him very early on.) he let me know, loudly. He was up at all hours of the night. He was walking at 7 months and literally running at 8. He was talking before he was one year old and then varying his octaves and tones of voice before he was a year and a half. (I could ask him to say “momma” in a very high-pitched tone or a very low-pitched tone, and he would do it and then replicate the tones with other words.)


My son, now almost 3 years old, is a running, jumping, rollicking, screaming, yelling, non-stop talking wild child in a blaze of endless energy. I truly believe that he has only now begun to reach a satisfactory communication level (according to him) equalling the personality he has been given.

I believe that as a parent, after giving birth to our children, it’s not a matter of “training my baby” to do this or that, or follow a certain schedule that I desire. I believe that instead, my job is to get to KNOW my child. My already uniquely made child. (hence, my Attachment Parenting style of parenting… check out Ask Dr. Sears and this: )

A baby is a human being before s/he is born. This human being is born with limited abilities to communicate his/her personality until s/he reaches the earliest age possible to fully communicate his/her needs. Until then, a parent needs to be perceptive enough to read and understand the newborn human being’s personality.

My second boy barely cried after birth. He slept through the night from the get-go. He only cried (if I could even call it that) when he was hungry. He grunted instead of bellowing or screaming. He is now 1.5 years old and still has yet to purposely say “mom” or “dad”. He started walking at 10 months. He still only becomes whiny when he’s hungry, if I haven’t already fed him. Normally, he’ll just walk up to me and arch his head backwards and look at me with huge, chocolate brown eyes, raising his arms for me to hold him, and I know it’s the “feed me something, Momma,” look.

One might say that the differences in my son’s personalities lie in how I ate while I was pregnant or whether or not I had medication during birth.

First, being medicated isn’t going to be the source of development for my child’s personality. I was given an epidural for my first, wild boy. For our second, laid-back boy, the epidural was placed too high, never reaching lower than my belly button, and was ceased to be administered 2 hours before I began to push. We know that, instead, medications during labor may affect the health of the baby (i.e. drowsiness, unresponsiveness, lack of interest in nursing right away… etc.).

Secondly, I barely consumed any caffeine at all with my first crazy boy. I drank coffee (nearly daily) and Coke a Cola with our second, very calm boy. This third time around, I have had coffee daily.

I understand that environmental influences DO affect the health of the new human life. I do understand and acknowledge that if I were a smoker or consumed alcohol abusively or ate obese levels of sugar while pregnant, I would definitely be putting the physical health of my child in danger. But I cannot agree that I would be putting his/her personality in danger of alteration. This is a difference that many people misconstrue: especially the pro-choice, pro-contraceptive lot.

These people do not understand, or refuse to acknowledge that at the very moment of conception, parents have created, in union with the Ultimate Creator Himself, a very literal separate and unique human being. Like a snowflake, non-replicable. A snowflake the size of a zygote.

To the people who do not or will not understand this, they view having a child as either a commodity, or as an inconvenience. They may contracept, willfully, yet ignorantly flushing down the toilet all other human life that was “accidentally” conceived while on the Pill or IUD or Patch or shot.

We know this happens for a fact. We know that women get pregnant while contracepting. Google “pregnancy rates among contraceptive users” and you’ll find that even Guttmacher Institute (Planned Parenthood’s research arm) gives statistical evidence of failure among chemical contraceptive use. Yep, there’s failure for all types of birth control, natural and chemical. Honestly, the percentage rate does not matter… 0.1% or 10%, the failure rate is absolutely present, and who am I or you to put full faith into a failing chemical that will harm the newly created life, just banking on the assumption that “certainly I’m not likely to be that 1-10%”?

ESPECIALLY when the percentage of failure weighs upon the death of a human life.

But the even more questionable concern rises when we understand that when pregnant, a woman must not continue using her contraceptive because the chemicals will kill or greatly harm the already conceived life.

THEREFORE, how can we pretend to be blind to the “unsuccessful zygotes” that are the result of the effectiveness of the chemical abortions that take place without the knowledge of the poor mother and father who do not view each human life as sacred and unique (even though they think they do)?

We know that within hours of conception, the brand new human being’s DNA is fully formed (check my link below); DNA unique to the mother, unique to the father, unique to any other human being in the world. Hence, my snowflake allusion.

From what minimal biological knowledge I acquired from my college education, in combination with the light scientific research I have found through general internet searches, I am aware that fundamental personality cells are stored within the human DNA.

I have read that complex personality development is later developed and influenced by environmental forces; Yet we are born, already having been given our base personality. At the moment we are given our DNA. at conception.

Yikes. The people who think that contraceptives are OK and that abortion is OK have some answering to do.

What I have written is in the most elementary, rudimentary basics of human development. Pathetic, to some it may be, I really think that one doesn’t need to be a scientist to fully acknowledge these truths. One only needs to have a willful stubbornness to adhering to his/her personal convenience, though, to reject them. And sadly, so, so many people do.

http://www.ehd.org/dev_article_unit1.php

Natasha Bedingfield (Wild Horses) With Ballet Dancer Michaela DePrince - DWTS 2012 (Results) (by AwesomeArtistsLive)

I don’t watch much television.  We purposely do not have cable.  Yes we watch tons of movies, and I’ve definitely got streaming wi-fi.  But we chose not to introduce our children or infest our family life with endless television shows which are hard to monitor if I’ve never seen them before and endless trash commercials.  

However, some evenings, my husband and I enjoy watching American Idol or The Apprentice if we happen to remember which night it shows.  Last night, Craig flipped on the TV, knowing that we had missed American Idol -though now that I think about it, I believe it’s on Wednesdays and Thursdays- and Dancing With the Stars was halfway over.  I’ve never paid much attention to this show, but I was captivated as soon as DWTS started airing the story of this young woman.  

I was deeply moved by her story and am affirmed in my beliefs that adoption is always the better option.  If she had been aborted, there would be no Michaele DePrince to inspire dancers who come from such challenges as she.  What an amazing testimony to life, equality and love.