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!

7 Quick Takes Friday #8

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I’ve never had dreams of food -that I can recall- however, I dreamt of melting butter last week, when I had meant only to thaw it.  Then, in real life, I woke up going  ”hmm, that’s strange.” because I am a diligent thawer of something as delicate as butter.  And wouldn’t you know, later that day, I melted the two sticks of butter I’d sat out to thaw.  GAHHH TWILIGHT ZONE!

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And then I took a Tarjay Vacay.  I have been waiting for nearly 4 years for Disney’s Peter Pan to be “released from the Disney Vault” and come out on DVD in order to have more boyish movies for my children.  Aside from the racism, sexism, negative ideals about the family, smoking and violence I never noticed until now displayed in the cartoon,  I love it! So, little me strolled up to the movie section, gazing at the rows and rows of the de-vaulted Peter Pan treasures, and texted my husband, asking him if he wouldn’t mind me purchasing a BR/DVD for our boys.  
He responds with: “Jif! Crunchy! Juice! Granola Bars!”

So I say to myself, okay, he approves and also requests a few other things… crunchy peanut butter… etc

I walk in the door at home and present my husband with his crunchy Jif peanut butter and he blurts out, “Why did you want to get Peter Pan?”  
"uhhh…. for the boys. You know I’ve been talking about getting it for the last few years! I know they’ll love it."  I pulled out the DVD and a look of confusion followed by a look of hilarity crossed over his face.  
"OHHH, I was talking about Peter Pan peanut butter!"

…let it be known, that I never, ever discuss peanut butter brands with my husband, nor have I ever purchased the Peter Pan brand.  

Blinded by the belly, my dear. PB&J on the brain.

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I want to put out a visual of what a typical evening with my boys may look like.  As this was happening to me on Monday night, I oddly wished for the moment to be captured and saved, to laugh at in later years:
some may visualize me, hair curled, eyelashes curled, makeup brushed, rosy cheeked, while the children play and the baby giggles and blows sweet little raspberries in a nearby Moses basket, as I gently hum the tune of Debussy’s Clair de Lune and stir a decadent, simmering pot of spaghetti sauce…

En réalité:  I am barefoot. Yes, that’s about the only thing correct from the above speculation.  My hair is unwashed, frazzled, and some part of it has swung and is caught by the corner of my mouth.  I try to spit it out as I realize I am also spitting into the frying pan currently sizzling and possibly burning the vegetables I was single handedly trying to sauté.  

In the other hand is, of course, cradling my 5 month old, who is currently nursing my left boob.  At five months, Collin is too big to simply cradle with one arm.  So how am I nursing him and stirring my vegetables at the same time?  
Barefoot I am: one foot, flat to the floor, the other, hoisted up, toes grappling onto the oven door handle while my leg is bent at a 45 degree angle, supporting the lower half of my nursing 5 month old.

Spitting, sizzling, nursing, slurping, sweating.  To top it off, my 3.5 year old nonchalantly waltzes into the powder room, right in front of my nursing/cooking spectacle, swinging his arms happy as a lark, bellowing, “I’M GOING TO DO A POOOOPY-POOP!”, which means to me that in 2 minutes or less, he’ll need his fanny wiped clean.

"Well, sure."  I replied.

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I can’t guarantee much about life, but something I absolutely guarantee is that if you’re trying to blog with an infant who is learning to use his limbs, he will make sure you stay disciplined about time spent writing by slapping your device, inadvertently erasing an entire unsaved draft.  ”1, 2, 3….” deep breath. It stunk anyway.

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I want to share this beautiful piece I read earlier this week.  Sarah Mae posted it on FB.  It weaves itself further into my Lenten effort of magnifying the Lord, lessening myself, and serving my family better. When Craig and I argue, it always helps each other when we acknowledge that we are both still trying to fill the occupations into which we’ve placed ourself: A mother, a father, a housekeeper, a provider. It wasn’t like we were married and BAM! “Carolyn possesses all the grace, patience, and selflessness needed to be a mother and wife!”  and likewise for my husband.

We got pregnant, got married (yes, in that order) and BAM! I found myself saying, “WHY do I have to be the one searching under the bed for all Craig’s dress socks!? WHY can’t I have a half hour to give myself a manicure?!”

"One of my biggest adjustments to motherhood was the constant giving, giving, giving. […] I did not even know I was selfish because I had lived my life pretty selfishly all of my life and had never really been accountable to anyone. But then when I had my children and they were always always always there, I did not have anything in me that knew how to handle the burdens."

Something I could have been told 50 times by veteran moms all around me, and I still could not have sufficiently prepared for, is the LITERAL giving of myself: body, time, thoughts and words. ALL OF ME.  My morning coffee. A moment of silence to collect my thoughts during a time of high stress. The well laughed about peeing-alone. My prayer time. My personal space. Anything I enjoyed to myself, I have given to my children, or I have set aside for them.  Babysitting or nannying couldn’t have even prepared me for it, because baby sitters get to go home at night and sleep a full 8 hours, uninterrupted, and return the next day, having enjoyed the solitary moments of applying makeup or showering. 

"I had never faced my own selfishness until I had children.

Now as an adult, I can see that my children have been my training grounds for building godly character in my own life. Jesus wanted me to learn to be like Him so He gave me children.

When I was so very helpless and overwhelmed and wanted answers, I turned to Him and to the Bible. How did He influence His disciples? How did he lead them in such a way that they all gave their lives to His cause?

Oh, how I wish the answer had been an easier one–Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.

And then, He, the God of the universe, knelt down on the dirty floor and washed 120 dirty toes of men feet, the night He was going to sacrifice His life for these very same men!

Oh, Jesus, I never knew this is what it would take to be a true Christian–a believer with integrity. But, if giving up your life is what you did–as you said, for an example for me to follow, then it must become my own standard-the way to reach my own children–to lay down my life….”


This is a hard truth.  And if someone is a person of material comforts, it would be enough to say, “…and that’s why I’m not having any children.” or, “..and that’s why I’m only having ONE child…” 
Those words are reflective of a very empty sadness. An empty sadness that I have been guilty of allowing myself to be deceived in the past.  I used to not want any children, if you’ve not read my past posts, for the above reasons. 

My children bring my husband and I to Christ.

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I have to postpone my final installation of my 3 part piece, Simplicity, Sanity, & Supermoms til next week.  I’ve had allergy issues this week, or maybe an oncoming cold, rendering me foggy-minded.  It’s taken twice as long to write my 7 “quick” takes.

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I’d like to use my seventh take to ask for prayers for a couple my husband and I look to as mentors: for their ill son, who’s currently hospitalized.  I don’t feel comfortable sharing details, but please pray for their son’s health and his parent’s peace of mind and trust in God’s will.  
Also, join me in prayer for our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI during his last week in the papacy. The only other pope to voluntarily step down was Pope Celestine V, in the year 1294!  That’s over 700 years ago!

"Pope Benedict felt a great affection for St. Celestine.

He declared a Celestine Year from August 2009 to August 2010 to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the saint’s birth and he visited the saint’s relics twice during his pontificate. During a trip to L’Aquila in 2009, Pope Benedict placed the long woolen pallium he received when he was elected on the saintly pope’s casket and left it there as a gift.

Pope Celestine is mostly remembered for “his reluctance to take up this sort of burden of the Apostolic See” and “actually flees when he hears word he is going to be made pope,” Birk said.

He was plucked at the age of 79 from his secluded life as a Benedictine monk and hermit and thrust into the pontificate after the College of Cardinals broke a two-year-long deadlock and elected him in 1294.

While he never fled, Pope Benedict never kept his reluctance to become pope a secret.

The then-78-year-old pontiff told a group of German pilgrims the day after his installation that he equated the growing consensus among cardinals to elect him pope as “an axe” getting ready to fall on his head. He had been looking forward to a life of peaceful retirement and said he felt “inadequate” for a job that demanded great “dynamism” and strength.

Pope Benedict’s coat of arms features a bear carrying a pack, symbolizing the weight of the episcopate. Pope Benedict has said the image gave him the encouragement to carry out his ministry like a beast of burden, but with confidence and joy.”

Source here.

I find this all extremely interesting and am left in wonderment about BXVI’s spiritual role in our time, especially for the duration of his life from this point on.  I agree with Elizabeth Scalia of Patheos blog, that Benedict XVI may be The Quiet Pope.  But it doesn’t follow that quiet be uninspiring, or unmoving. 

I just edited my entry and am disgusted that each Take begins with "I WANT" "I’D LIKE" OR "I HAVE" ….Cue the Beatles song, I, Me, Mine.  Yuck. 

Have a great week!  Go check out the 7 Quick Takes Friday linkup over at Conversiondiary!

Simplicity, Sanity, & Supermoms. Part II {FOOD}

So here’s part two of my Bare Minimum series: What I Cook.

 I have definitely cooked crappy dinners. We definitely have days where (as Jen Fulwiler puts it) my children’s meals consist mostly of goldfish, or graham crackers. Cereal is always a fallback. Good ol’ trusty.

This is like the fourth or fifth time I’ve sat down to finish this entry, and each time I do, I’m like,”WHY am I writing this, again?” I feel completely unworthy of the advice I’m giving. I’ve got friends who are way more motivated and organized than I am, who should be writing this, and who could contribute way more! So just keep this in mind. I am constantly asking for advice from my family and friends. I was only half way finished putting this series together when I had a conversation with a friend about couponing!  NO! I don’t really coupon! WHY!? I just don’t know enough! So there you go: Everyone has to start somewhere, and everyone is in a different place, a different pace and of a different temperament. Take something I do that might work for you and your family, tweak it, make it better, then share it with me! Or take something that I do totally wrong, and relieve me of my ignorance, please!

That said, let’s set the foundation about what my family and I consume:

I’d probably qualify myself as semi-crunchy. (crunchy= granola hippie or, as some have called me, “Earthy”) If I had the funds and inexhaustible drive to search for the optimum health foods—- I’m not gonna lie, I still would probably drive through McDonald’s and order some fries and a Coke. I try to maintain a balance of healthy food choices, and ingredients, but we allow some junk. That’s us in a nutshell.

It all boils down to what I’m willing to sacrifice. Health, money, or time?

If I were willing to sacrifice my money, my health and the health of my children, I’d buy a ton of frozen foods and prepared meals. We’d eat out often. I would never cook.

To me, I like to believe that my time is well-spent cooking meals for my husband and children. By doing this, I’m saving money and I’m looking after the health of my family. There are many days during the Bare Minimum Mode when I can barely find a minute to pee, let alone cook a meal. So here is what I do:

My Basics for Meals:

  • Stick to what you know: Now is not the time to try recipes which contain ingredients you’ve never tasted before. I can’t afford the time or money on a meal experiment.
  • Don’t be enslaved by brand names. We buy the store brand for just about everything save for a few items that I definitely notice a difference in flavor/quality or ingredients. It saves money. I always laugh, thinking of the Dave Ramsey line about Heinz 57 Ketchup vs the store brand ketchup “…Heinz claimed to be thicker, tastier. The store brand is accused of being watery, uglyyy …and made in the same factoryyyyy…”
  • It pays to shop around. There is a particular store which I refer to as The Russian Storefront. I can’t stand shopping there. It’s always cold, they’re always out of essential groceries, and their produce sucks assmar. I don’t like it, my husband doesn’t like it, and even my oldest boy whines “NOOOO, I DON’T WANT TO GO TO W**-***T!” when we pull into the parking lot. But guess whaaaat: the groceries they do carry are cheaper than everywhere else. Shopping there cuts our grocery bill in half. I go elsewhere for the other items. I go to Target when I want a vacation. Tarjay Vacay!
  • We buy fresh and organic to an extent. I’m aware of the partially hydrogenateds, the high fructose syrups, and the artificial sweeteners that are packed into nearly all dry grocery foods. I buy organic if it’s ever on sale- mostly, I wash fruit in a water/vinegar mix. I read the labels and avoid buying food for my boys containing any of the above ingredients. At first, it took a little extra time at the grocery store, but now I know what’s semi-healthy and that’s what I go back for. I also have ambitions to drown -er- grow a tiny garden this summer with the aid of my mother and my green thumb husband.
  • I make the bulk of my meals from scratch. Cooking from scratch is the best for my family because I can better control what ingredients go into the dish, the recipes generally make larger quantities or are easily doubled, and it’s cheaper.  No, I don’t roll out and make my own pasta, milk my own cow, nor churn my own butter.  I definitely buy some frozen foods, I put half a pack of instant vanilla pudding into my cookies, and I always keep a box or two of cake mix for an easy dessert when family visits. We buy a frozen pizza every two weeks and it qualifies as our “ordering take-out”
  • We never go out to eat.

I internally freak out pretty easily when we go out, so eating out with three baby boys is a trifecta for me.
Imagine me, for a moment:    

Attempting to discreetly wrestle a 4 month old under the bewildering fabric of a nursing cover while he flails his limbs, gazes distractedly at the fabric’s print, perhaps screaming, perhaps squalling, while I’m having letdown (MILK EVERYWHERE). Baby perhaps sputtering, coughing, or possibly drowning, whilst my middle child may or may not be wailing in protest of the bondage of highchair-ery, or of the crackers he’s not being fed quickly enough because I’m busy with the noodly nursing baby and the fabric which feels like the volume of a ship’s multiple sails yet also like a simple tea cozy because noodle boy is now wrapping himself with it, negating its purpose and threatening boobie exposure. All the while, my husband frantically waits (in a forced, nonchalant manner) for the YouTube app on his phone to detect WiFi to silence the middle child, while our oldest boy jovially rattles on about EVERYTHING he sees, does, tastes and touches, as well as providing the sound effects of pirate life and animal bellowings because he loves to hear his own voice- but who can blame him?

I repeat, we never eat out.  I know I will someday be wined and dined, but I don’t even want it right now.

  • Generally, I cook 2-3 HUGE meals (dbl batch) a week and freeze half of each, so that I have two meals I don’t have to cook the second week. 
  • The rest of the week I keep very simple. Meat & veggie, with pasta or rice.
  • I freeze nearly everything. Especially uncooked veggies or cooked pasta or rice. Those items thaw nicely and can be used or added to any meal with ease. Here is a pretty good Pinterest link on the basics of freezing food. I have hopes to save for a deep freezer un jour

 Pinterest is a great source for meal ideas, if you know what you’re looking for!
The Pinterest Recipes that have earned a permanent fixture in the family menu are:

BREAKFAST:

  • Breakfast burritos- I’ve shared this one before, here. It’s such a great breakfast go-to. Instead of wasting $6-9 dollars on a small box of 4 frozen (full of mystery ingredients) breakfast burritos, taking 2 hours (which includes stopping to change diapers, feed children or get them to nap) on a Sunday afternoon gets me 2 weeks worth of breakfast for my husband and I. I don’t know if that can be beat!
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  • Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Biscuits.  OH.MER.GERSH.

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LUNCH:

  • Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad- I make this maybe twice a month instead of buying lunch meat. It’s mostly to feed ME. It makes a quick sandwich, and I save myself from grazing or eating the boys’ graham crackers as a meal. I cut this recipe in half. It calls for 4 large cans of chicken, I use 2, etc.. However, I used more Greek Yogurt than the recipe calls for. This is a flexible recipe. I used chopped almonds instead of pecans, I added way more celery because I love the crunch. image
    [Source: http://foodfolksandfun.net/2011/12/day-4-of-12-days-of-christmas-fun/]

DINNER:

  • Pasta Milano- A chicken dish derived from a recipe from Macaroni Grill, it’s my favorite dinner. Full of flavor, freezes and reheats wonderfully. This recipe calls for only 2 chicken breasts, three strips of bacon and half a pound of pasta, so it’s fabulously easy to double and freeze for a quick meal next week.  This one does take a little more time than the other recipes, but once you get the method down, it becomes second nature to throw it together. If I can do it, so can you!
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  • ChiliThere is no such thing as a small pot of chili.  I’m not a huge chili fan, but my MIL’s recipe converted me. I just found the above Pinterest recipe today, and it’s nearly identical.  I do not double this recipe.  In fact, I cut it in half (only 2lbs of meat, etc.) and there is still enough left to freeze for dinner next week in addition to lunch to send with my husband to work for a few days.  It can be served by itself, or over rice or pasta. You don’t have to use beef.  I use a mix of beef and italian style sausage. My sister makes chili with ground turkey, and I think it’s delicious.  A very flexible recipe; one can use the beans they like, can add potatoes or extra vegetables, make it spicy or sweet. 
     
  • Polska Kielbasa with vegetables- This one is my easiest go-to. Chop up veggies of choice, sauté to desired tenderness, throw in diced Kielbasa and brown.  Serve over rice. You don’t even need any sauce or dressing with it because the Kielbasa is so flavorful. 
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  • Crock Pot Roast.  I haven’t made this in a long time, but the secret ingredients make all the difference!  This is another flexible recipe, as you may add veggies and serve with pasta or rice.

EXTRAS:

  • Crusty Bread- This is hands down, my greatest Pinterest treasure. It’s a three ingredient, no-knead bread. I whip it up in a bowl at bedtime, let it sit til the morning or until the next evening, throw it in the oven, and I have fresh bread with dinner (spaghetti night, anyone?), or toast for breakfast, or extra bread when I’m out of regular sandwich bread. It freezes nicely.
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     I recently cut my dough in half and made two mini loaves: cute little baby loaves.  I used to work at Jeff Ruby’s and they serve bread with a salty crust which I still think about and drool, so I sprinkled coarse sea salt on the top of one loaf before baking and it turned out beautifully. Make sure you read the instructions carefully, and read the comments for further ideas and tips. Before my mom gave me a dutch oven with a lid, I simply used my crock pot with foil as the lid to bake the dough.  For these two loaves, I used two of my mini crock pots with foil.  Chopping fresh rosemary and mixing it into the dough before baking is absolutely delicious. The blog gives other flavor ideas that sound lovely!

So there you go! visit my Pinterest board for more ideas.  As far as food goes, I try to pin recipes that are realistic to accomplish, and that I’ve tried and approved. 

Next week I’ll post my final part to my Bare Minimum Mode series: How I function with 3 Boys at home. 
Please message or Tweet me with your Bare Minimum recipes! 

7QT (#5)(correction!)

Bienvenue to 7 Quick Takes hosted by Jennifer Fulwiler at ConversionDiary!

After you’ve finished reading my QT’s, if you’re a mom, or even someone who values personal space, Go check out Jen’s #6 for the week.  Ahhh I’d love it.  I never have my free space.  NEVER. -wait a minute. I do. When I’m brushing my teeth.  Most nights.  Though brushing with baby in one arm is a frequent occurrence as well.  So I’ll rescind to NEVER. There’s a sleeping baby in my lap right now. 

Last week consisted of much frustration, a sick baby, breastfeeding problems (TMI warning) but finished off with a beautiful celebration: the dedication of my parish’s newly built church and alter. (possessive of parish= parish’s?) 


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1. This is nap time at Bumpy Bridge (the name our oldest boy gave our house) on Tuesday:

  • Emmett laughing maniacally in his crib while bouncing up and down on his bottom, simultaneously flipping through the cardboard pages of a picture book.
  • Lexington prancing on his tippie toes, doing laps around the mattress, bellowing “I HAVE TO DO A PEEPEEEEEE!” as if he needed permission to go to the bathroom. (I’ve had marked discussions with him before, about how if he has to go, to get up and use the toilet. And that he doesn’t have to ask because using the toilet is better than peeing where we sleep.)
  • Laying with Collin, trying to nurse him to sleep so I could sneak out and start some fraction of the mountainous laundry which has magically cultivated by itself. 

    (EVE, Y U EAT OF FORBIDDEN FRUIT, NOTICE NAKEDNESS, AND MAKE LAUNDRY FOR ALL GENERATIONS!?) Collin drifted off for 10 minutes, but then woke up suddenly and began ululating like the little dinosaur which attacks Newman on Jurassic Park (his newfound voice, of which he’s proud) and pedaling his feet in the air so rapidly, the blankets stood no chance of me attempting to tuck him back into a cuddle bug. 


Another cup of coffee it is, then.

2. I attempted to wear Collin on my back with the Moby Wrap.
I failed.
This happened a few weeks ago, and I’d forgotten about it until I found a photo of it on my iPhone early last week.
Visualize:
Me, watching a baby-wearing video on how to wrap your baby on your back, thinking, “easy enough!”.

I get to the point of successfully hoisting Collin onto my back, the wrap properly placed with the middle of it across his back, the rest of it hanging on either side of me onto the floor.
At this juncture, I was hunkered over, saying, “Okay… now what?” whilst the first warning burp was fired: a lovely, wet, gurgle, which boiled, not quite to the opening of the baby’s mouth, threatening the back of my neck.
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                              [Laughing here, but not for long.]

Three curdle-y burps warning my ear canal later, I was still hunkered over, stuck at step one, baby drool drenching the fly aways at the nape of my neck, entangled in a tiny fist, and sweat rolling down my forehead.
I decided baby back wearing is for the double-jointed. For the life of me, I could not work the miles of fabric around my back, laden with baby because my arms would not bend BACKWARD.

3) Collin now has double ear infection. Anyone who knows anything about ear pain can tell you that swallowing is no bueno, let alone drinking through a straw, or in an infant’s case, bottle feeding or breastfeeding.  So, Wednesday night, I started getting the rejection.  Ahh.  It immediately was brought to the emotional state I experienced 3.5 years ago, when my oldest boy went on a “nursing strike”. :

 I was a new mom, a new breastfeeder, and had been so caught up with being pregnant and thinking about the presence of my baby, that I didn’t even know to read about breastfeeding and its challenges.  ”Challenges” is an understatement. Long story short, He had only been breastfeeding for 3 months when we switched to the bottle.  I felt like a failure, I felt a real sense of loss.  I felt angry frustration and confusion.  I felt like I’d lost a bond with my child. I was depressed and I cried, alone when no one was around, for two weeks when I realized I was finished breastfeeding.  Since then, I’ve become borderline psycho about no bottles.

 Fast forward past successfully breastfed baby #2 and here we are with #3 who’s ears hurt when he eats.  I started noticing reluctance to nurse on Thursday and by Friday, it was full throttle crying. All day. I was so stressed out that I now have clogged milk ducts in multiple places on both sides.  The pain of this is akin to an aching, cavity in your molars. 

5) I saw the light though.  After going through the stresses of baby 1, and the weathering yet peaceful nursing period of my second baby, I realized that fixing this is not going to take a tap of a finger and instant gratification.  This is going to take time and patience.  

Friday and most of Saturday, I walked around holding baby Collin upright, so his ears wouldn’t hurt from the pressure while laying back (i.e. BREAKING MY BACK AND NECK) and walked, rocked, and bounced on our orange medicine ball until he chose to nurse, for as long as he would do it. It involved a lot of crying from Collin, headaches for me, and no moments to myself.   I had to pump -something I really don’t like doing- a few times.  I applied heat to my clogged areas (sock filled with rice, microwaved 20 sec). I nearly cried, many times. But today, Sunday, he began to nurse like regular.  It was such a huge relief.  I probably couldn’t have had the patience to do this were it not for the help of my mom, who watched the older boys one afternoon, and of my husband, who took off Friday to help with the boys and basically clean up after the disaster zone I’d made of the house.

It’s taken three children to realize that, with human beings, there are no short cuts.  There are no schedules or equations.  Each person is completely different.  It’s time.   As a Mom, I owe ALL of my time.  ALL of my personal space.  DARN PEEING ALONE!  I can when I’m dead! -and the relief is far more gratifying than the shortcut, which hardly helps in the long term anyway.    
 

6) Since before I was in high school, our Parish has prayed to be able to build a new church.  10+ years later (that’s a minimal guess), on the Saturday Vigil, I got to witness and, even better, participate in the dedication of our new church and alter.

 My parents have contributed much to the preparation and building of this church, and were part of the celebration on Saturday. It was fun to listen to them talk about all of the intricacies involved in the preparation and building of this church, especially about the rehearsal:

My mom told us that aside from a man claiming to want to enter the new church before the dedication in order to pray, instead began shouting, holding up one of the Missalettes (which my mom believed he mistook for the Bible), yelling “IN SHA ALLAH!  ALLAH IS THE TRUE GOD!”, and other alarming ramblings which implied he did not like this particular church, and that he was indeed not praying, the dedication went off without a hitch.

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7) We could not have made it to the dedication Mass without my mother-in-law and Sis-in-law.   They visited early in the day to help dress and feed the boys while I was learning the ways of the Breastfeeding-whisperer.  They kept the boys entertained so that I could shower and dry my hair, uninterrupted (an extravagant luxury for me nowadays). 
For them I am so very thankful.  We made it, notwithstanding Lexington grass-staining the knees of his crisp, clean khakis on our way in, and notwithstanding him also peeing all over one of the brand new toilets and the subsequent wall behind it, the celebration was beautiful.  I love the smells of the chrism oil and incense. mmm!

Credits this week go to my Mom for taking the boys, Mom in law for helping us get ready, Sis for her thoughtful gift, and my loving, steady husband.

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          [My Mom, Dad, & Baby Collin]

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!

A Comeback? Maybe?

I was hoping to snap back to blogging as soon as I pushed out Mister Collin.
It’s just not working that way.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I spend all day. All. Day. Feeding three boys. Feeding them and then wiping rear ends.

Totally unglamorous but then again glamour is not known to lead a human being to a life of love and fulfillment, so I have hope.

When I do have a few free moments and two free hands, I use them to feed myself, shower or take great leisure in simply reading and catching up on news, social media, and writing grocery lists while finding new dinner recipes.

I ignore phone calls.

I have a handful of people to whom I owe email replies.

Even I, in my laziness, know that this is beyond laziness; it’s just trying to find a normalcy that includes space for me too.
I’m not whining, just stating what it is.

For almost three years before getting married, I was a waiter and bartender at Bonefish grill. I absolutely loved the job. It’s odd because I never thought I would. I looked at serving as a trashy kind if occupation that I wouldn’t sink to doing.

I got over my pride years earlier and served at various restaurants until I was hired at BFG. Love the employees, love the company, LOVE the food, love the people who come in to eat there. Most of all, I love serving.
I enjoyed dinner rush. I thrived off of it! Many times, I found myself multitasking with so many tables, I felt right at the threshold of completely losing it if I allowed the pressure to overcome me. But for the three(ish) years I worked there I never did.

What allowed me to succeed (and make lotsa moula) was the conscious foresight that dinner rush is just a short period.
It always ended.
I always felt a great sense of accomplishment sending every table home, happy and satisfied with their dining experience, knowing they’d come back to request my tables again. (Though I got a few creepers along the way, which my now husband had to scare off, but that’s another story) Just a short period.

Flash forward to today and that’s what gets me through this time.

And the Incubus song periodically pops into my head too…

“Yeah it’s just a phase,
It will be over soon…
Yeah it’s just a —”

Imagine that going through Momma’s head as she’s changing an epically poopy diaper. 

I used to be a big fan.

Anyway there you go.

So I have ambitions of starting a short series relating to eugenics and how our generation and younger can better relate to exactly what it is and acknowledging how it’s woven into the very fabric of our culture without us even realizing it.  We’re stitching with it! It’s there but we are blinded by the propaganda that covers it. 

I intend to do this by utilizing my favorite medium: Harry Potter. BOOM.

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… ;)

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. …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!

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!

So we didn’t have electricity for 24 hours due to windstorms that swept through our area this weekend. It brought back flashes of the power outage my city (and many surrounding) experienced about 4 years ago. That summer, we went almost a week without power. I think?  It was definitely a few days. 

It was tough then but I must say that this 24 hours has been worse by far with it being in the upper 90’s as well as having two toddlers and a 7 month pregnant belly. 

The heat makes me completely lethargic and useless. Useless to my own children, even!  My mind gets foggy and I just can’t even think.  I made it through the morning and brought Emmett to nap early. Thank God it’s the weekend- my husband took our oldest boy out to do some yard work. But truthfully, I know it was so that I could just lay on top of our bed, uninterrupted and be miserable.  I was roused when I heard them sneak into our bathroom an hour or so later for a cool shower. I was staring at the ceiling trying to convince myself to get up and make the best out of the situation when suddenly, the ceiling fan started whirling around and I heard the AC kick on. 

After the power was miraculously restored -miraculous, it seemed indeed!- I jumped up, quickly showered, after the boys, and blow-dried my hair believing that there might be a chance of another outage. 

As the house started to cool down, I regained my energy and liveliness. I made my hair look nice, dressed in something other than a Tee and sweats, put on some make-up, and I began cleaning. And I kept scrubbing and tidying… 

How unlike me! …granted, the house is still far from being spic and span, but I cleaned a few spaces that I never touch. That’s a pretty big deal for this momma. 

I’ve been reading- on the side, as kind of a leisure read- this beautifully motivational and fairly “new” writer (she just published her first book).  Her name is Sarah Mae. (http://sarahmae.com/)   

I like her because she’s umm…like me :)   And by “like me” I mean she isn’t this crazy-motivated-driven woman who seems like she “does it all”.

 She’s got kids and she doesn’t like to clean. She didn’t like to get dressed for the day especially if she wasn’t leaving the house. 

Me! Bingo!
But she writes about how she SHOULD clean, how she should get dressed, even if she knows she’s not stepping foot out of her front door. She delves into the  “why”.  Her thoughts aren’t prophetically original, but they are real, they are wise and they are humbly human.  

So I’ve been taking a few minutes each week to read a few of her entries here and there, not totally devoted, but enough to get the gist and be mildly inspired to step up my cleaning game.  

Today, as I was scrubbing a dingy bathroom sink, a click happened. 

“If I have the privilege of being able to clean; of having the cleaning instruments, my hands my energy, my health, and the AC, nothing in my house should ever get THIS messy. Not everyone is blessed with all of these things.” 

I thought this with shame at my laziness. Then I was more humbled to shamefully think that it shouldn’t have had to take losing power for 24 hours to make me have such an idiotic epiphany. 

But it did. 
I’m just a baby. 

As it is, I know I’m going to continue to slide toward laziness. But I’m glad I had my shoulders shaken today as a reminder to fight off personal convenience and comfort for the love and betterment of my family and myself.  

If I had it my way, I’d read all day. Books, articles, blogs, essays, news. My head can’t get organized enough with information. I always have questions that need answered and researched and backed up.  But my counter tops?  It’s an “organized mess”. Ugh. I’m one of THOSE types. Yes I am, yes I am. 

When I DO clean, I can’t just “get it done”. I have to look at every little thing amongst the clutter, consider its potential for future use, or “oh! I’ve been wanting to read this, let’s check it out real quick…” or, just like Sarah Mae says she does herself, I remember suddenly that I wanted to do this or that or look something up, so I procrastinate with the excuse of something much more important demanding my time.   And thus, the job gets only half-done most of the time. 

Sarah Mae writes that one might be more motivated to keep a tidier home if she can look at her daily work as a type of worship to the Lord and as a way of loving my husband, my children and myself.  I think that’s a great thing to do. “I offer this for you, Lord!” 

So I am trying to live likewise. Offering my waking sacrifices to the Lord for myself and for others. Living a constant prayer. Every action an action of worship and praise to my Creator. 

It’s not easy to do, nor is it comfortable. But that’s not why I am placed here on earth, is it?  To be cozy and apathetic? Boooorrrringgggg. 

I know me. I know ima gona fail and find myself one week with yet another 5 laundry baskets of clean, unfolded clothes stacked up on various tables throughout the house. But maybe not. Maybe just two baskets! And that’s better than 5! 

I’m glad for any improvement in myself. 

I write this entry, kind of to make myself more accountable for having my “epiphany” (even though it’s not even worthy of the word) so that I don’t sweep it out of my mind on Monday when letting that dirty dish sink pile up a few more at a time than should be, as I continue to sip my coffee and read about something much more important.  “Bookmark that sucker and get the dishes done!” …even though I should have done them the night before…

I’ll be a big girl some day.

PS: the book I’m reading in the pic is The Birth Book, by  Drs. Martha and Bill Sears. I read it before my last labor and delivery and I swear it saved me and gave me knowledge when my epidural failed.  The great satisfaction I experienced from feeling the last half of my labor and delivery has got me enamored with wanting to try this birth in as natural a manner as possible.  Trying to brush-up!

So we didn’t have electricity for 24 hours due to windstorms that swept through our area this weekend. It brought back flashes of the power outage my city (and many surrounding) experienced about 4 years ago. That summer, we went almost a week without power. I think? It was definitely a few days.

It was tough then but I must say that this 24 hours has been worse by far with it being in the upper 90’s as well as having two toddlers and a 7 month pregnant belly.

The heat makes me completely lethargic and useless. Useless to my own children, even! My mind gets foggy and I just can’t even think. I made it through the morning and brought Emmett to nap early. Thank God it’s the weekend- my husband took our oldest boy out to do some yard work. But truthfully, I know it was so that I could just lay on top of our bed, uninterrupted and be miserable. I was roused when I heard them sneak into our bathroom an hour or so later for a cool shower. I was staring at the ceiling trying to convince myself to get up and make the best out of the situation when suddenly, the ceiling fan started whirling around and I heard the AC kick on.

After the power was miraculously restored -miraculous, it seemed indeed!- I jumped up, quickly showered, after the boys, and blow-dried my hair believing that there might be a chance of another outage.

As the house started to cool down, I regained my energy and liveliness. I made my hair look nice, dressed in something other than a Tee and sweats, put on some make-up, and I began cleaning. And I kept scrubbing and tidying…

How unlike me! …granted, the house is still far from being spic and span, but I cleaned a few spaces that I never touch. That’s a pretty big deal for this momma.

I’ve been reading- on the side, as kind of a leisure read- this beautifully motivational and fairly “new” writer (she just published her first book). Her name is Sarah Mae. (http://sarahmae.com/)

I like her because she’s umm…like me :) And by “like me” I mean she isn’t this crazy-motivated-driven woman who seems like she “does it all”.

She’s got kids and she doesn’t like to clean. She didn’t like to get dressed for the day especially if she wasn’t leaving the house.

Me! Bingo!
But she writes about how she SHOULD clean, how she should get dressed, even if she knows she’s not stepping foot out of her front door. She delves into the “why”. Her thoughts aren’t prophetically original, but they are real, they are wise and they are humbly human.

So I’ve been taking a few minutes each week to read a few of her entries here and there, not totally devoted, but enough to get the gist and be mildly inspired to step up my cleaning game.

Today, as I was scrubbing a dingy bathroom sink, a click happened.

“If I have the privilege of being able to clean; of having the cleaning instruments, my hands my energy, my health, and the AC, nothing in my house should ever get THIS messy. Not everyone is blessed with all of these things.”

I thought this with shame at my laziness. Then I was more humbled to shamefully think that it shouldn’t have had to take losing power for 24 hours to make me have such an idiotic epiphany.

But it did.
I’m just a baby.

As it is, I know I’m going to continue to slide toward laziness. But I’m glad I had my shoulders shaken today as a reminder to fight off personal convenience and comfort for the love and betterment of my family and myself.

If I had it my way, I’d read all day. Books, articles, blogs, essays, news. My head can’t get organized enough with information. I always have questions that need answered and researched and backed up. But my counter tops? It’s an “organized mess”. Ugh. I’m one of THOSE types. Yes I am, yes I am.

When I DO clean, I can’t just “get it done”. I have to look at every little thing amongst the clutter, consider its potential for future use, or “oh! I’ve been wanting to read this, let’s check it out real quick…” or, just like Sarah Mae says she does herself, I remember suddenly that I wanted to do this or that or look something up, so I procrastinate with the excuse of something much more important demanding my time. And thus, the job gets only half-done most of the time.

Sarah Mae writes that one might be more motivated to keep a tidier home if she can look at her daily work as a type of worship to the Lord and as a way of loving my husband, my children and myself. I think that’s a great thing to do. “I offer this for you, Lord!”

So I am trying to live likewise. Offering my waking sacrifices to the Lord for myself and for others. Living a constant prayer. Every action an action of worship and praise to my Creator.

It’s not easy to do, nor is it comfortable. But that’s not why I am placed here on earth, is it? To be cozy and apathetic? Boooorrrringgggg.

I know me. I know ima gona fail and find myself one week with yet another 5 laundry baskets of clean, unfolded clothes stacked up on various tables throughout the house. But maybe not. Maybe just two baskets! And that’s better than 5!

I’m glad for any improvement in myself.

I write this entry, kind of to make myself more accountable for having my “epiphany” (even though it’s not even worthy of the word) so that I don’t sweep it out of my mind on Monday when letting that dirty dish sink pile up a few more at a time than should be, as I continue to sip my coffee and read about something much more important. “Bookmark that sucker and get the dishes done!” …even though I should have done them the night before…

I’ll be a big girl some day.

PS: the book I’m reading in the pic is The Birth Book, by Drs. Martha and Bill Sears. I read it before my last labor and delivery and I swear it saved me and gave me knowledge when my epidural failed. The great satisfaction I experienced from feeling the last half of my labor and delivery has got me enamored with wanting to try this birth in as natural a manner as possible. Trying to brush-up!

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.

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

Why I Shall Never Again Sport a Bikini... →

The link above is wonderful. It’s actually titled “5 Reasons to Keep Bikini Pictures Off Facebook”

In typical Carolyn-type blogging fashion, I’ma gonna piggy-back off of her entry and expound upon my own thoughts.  It adds wonderfully to my previous post about 5 things I’d like to say to women.

This site offers retro, modest-ish suits... to help start anyone in their search...


Number 3 alone from the Bikini blog is sufficient enough for me to have turned away from the bikini days.
Waltzing around in my underwear in front of the general public- let alone freely POSTING photos of myself in nothing but on Facebook is something I would never do.
So why would I think wearing a bikini is any different? Cause it’s brightly colored, or has frill or a print on it?  sure….

Hey I’m a mom. Yes. Yes I am.

But that doesn’t mean I’m fat and covered in cellulite. This is my third pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean my body is gone to shambles. I am an athlete. My body is blessed with the privilege of muscle memory and rapid recovery. My stretch marks faded to the same color of the rest of my skin. I also don’t over-eat. I’m a tall girl and weighed 123lbs before I became prego with my current little sugar.

So one may assume that I too -mom of three that I am- could wear a bikini if I wanted to.
But I don’t want to.

The truth is, I’ve never found bikinis comfortable in the slightest.
I’ve never enjoyed the feeling of eyes following me around the swimming pool.
I’ve especially detested catching men I don’t know and/or don’t like taking enjoyment out of watching me tiptoe around in my bikini, hoping no one would notice- knowing by their shifting eyes that they indeed have.

I wore a bikini because …um that’s what girls are expected to wear. That’s how I felt anyway.  I -much like the vast majority of young women, I’d like to believe- just did what was “normal” without questioning it …until very recently.  What a blessing and an eye-opener it is to become a mother. It’s made me question my ignorances and strive to be better.  Heaven forbid.  (I see the nazi-fem in the corner tsk-ing and shaking her head in disbelief of my welcomed “oppression”) 

I always thought the more modest swimsuits were just plain ugly. …or maybe i just didn’t seek out those other options. I am GLAD to be able to use being a mom as an excuse to wear a bathing suit that covers all of my top and all of my bottom.

Secondly, I feel SO MUCH better about myself wearing a swimsuit that I think is cute AND comfortable.

I remember that literally EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I arrived at the pool, I dreaded taking my clothes off to reveal my body-in-bikini.


I hated it. (but I wouldn’t let anyone know THAT.)


I would sit as long as I could until maybe there was a chance that no one was looking and I could snatch my shirt and shorts off real quick and hop into the water for cover.

Wearing something that covers the parts of me that I think should only be for the viewing privilege of my husband eases me. I can actually enjoy being at the pool. I can also enjoy a compliment on my swimsuit because I know it must be genuinely given and not in total distraction of the parts of my body that it is NOT covering.

Also, I feel more confident. I remember shopping for a new bikini, expecting to look like the Victoria’s Secret model wearing it in the advertisement. How disappointing it was when I didn’t look like her. Then, upon arriving at the pool, I’d notice other girls who look more like the VS models in their teeny weeny bikinis, and I’d feel even more insecure.
"WHY WONT MY BODY LOOK LIKE THAT?" I would wonder in depression.

It all ties into the lie that women are telling one another: that we are, in fact, an object and are free to flaunt and use it for sex if we so deem. And that we should consider ourselves “liberated” by being such. (yet today there are daily news articles over the anger that women feel over being objectified by their body, pressured by societal expectations and photoshop-izing of it, and “WHY IT MUST STOP!”)

Cover up that stuff and -BY JOE!- I can have a conversation with someone who will actually look me in the eyes and not 12 inches below. (it’s about 12 inches, right?)

I also integrate this thinking into how I wish to present my children.  
ESPECIALLY my daughter, if I am ever blessed with one.  By allowing her to, at the earliest of ages, bare her midriff and exhibit her yet-to-be matured bosom, I am teaching her that it’s no different than a boy’s mid section or chest.  (“WOMEN ARE EQUAL!” that nazi-fem shouts from the back.)


And that couldn’t be farther from the truth!  


Exposing a woman’s stomach exposes her womb:  The most sacred of places on a human body is the one that bears new life.  And allowing her to frame her chest like turkey on a platter, reduces it to just that.  Women are given a chest for one reason: to nourish the new, unique life within her womb. (umm breastfeeding = reduction in Breast Cancer risk, anyone?)

If I were to teach my daughter to dismiss those crucial facts about her body, she then reduces her understanding of her sexuality to a mere object solely for lustful purposes, misinterpreting the value of the human body which will also lead to a distortion of how she perceives (or ignores) the dignity of a new human life and ultimately perverting her understanding of true L.O.V.E: God’s love.  And these warped perceptions will radiate into all facets of her life.

If I were to teach my daughter to “flaunt it”, to “work it”, that’s all she’ll ever know about the value of her body.  And it will confuse her when after “flaunting it” I tell her that beauty is deeper than skin, and that she needs to be a “good person” too in order to find a good man.

 She’ll be further confused when she stumbles through multiple relationships that hurt her because she thought by giving the boy her body, that she would be loved.  Yet, she isn’t.  She’s been used for it.  And she’ll search her whole life, unhappy, filling it with the material things that only amplify her physical appearance.  Unless by God, some sort of wisdom befalls her and she reads a few books that make her question all that she understood about herself up until that point- and that she doesn’t angrily and obstinately throw it aside!  

By allowing my daughter to dress this way, it opens doors to child predators who flood Disney World/Land, the pools she swims at, the schools she attends, the sports she plays, and all other public events she attends.

Read just a hair of a fraction into how to be aware of child predators and all the articles will tell you they infiltrate kid-friendly environments, watching and waiting.  Perhaps for the ones wearing that innocent “Fairy” costume I thought was so cute when she wanted to wear it to the park. They also infiltrate blogs and Facebook pages, looking for the mother who posts “cute” photos of her daughters wearing “big girl clothes” all over without regard to privacy settings.  (It’s why I barely post photos of my own children on this blog.)

Now that’s sort of cynical for me to go that deep of a route of thinking for my daughter that I’ve yet to bear.  But shouldn’t I???  Shouldn’t I, as the guardian of a human soul, be aware of the possibilities of what may befall that person if I don’t scratch the surface of even my intentions for dressing her the way I do, as innocently as they are formed?  Wouldn’t I be an irresponsible parent indeed if I didn’t think about how she will be formed to view her body?  Forget thinking that by being a responsible parent I must have been PLANNING financially… what about planning spiritually, emotionally, logically?

 I can give my child money, but if she doesn’t know what can happen when she uses it to buy and wear a lacy bikini, I’ve hurt her far worse than not having saved the cash for her to buy it.
 

No, no.  No more bikinis for this momma.  Thank you!  

Cute swimsuits that cover are out there, it just takes a little more effort to find them.  
A fellow Cathsorority sister ads The Shabby Apple on her blog (http://caffeinatedcatholicmama.com/  she’s awesome!) and I was delighted by all the collections on the site.  Hopefully, it will give any one who is in need of a boost to find classy clothes some hope.  

I found swim bottoms (on sale!) at Lands End last year that I paired with a tankini top from JC Penny and it worked out perfectly.  Here’s the link: 

http://www.landsend.com/pp/womens-beach-living-mid-length-swimmini~235384_59.html?bcc=y&action=order_more&sku_0=::HME&CM_MERCH=IDX_women-_-swimsuits-_-shop-by-silhouette-_-bottoms-skirts