Skip the Drama, Stay with Momma

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

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… ;)

…and in the end, the love you take…

So here we are yet again at the end of another pregnancy.

Really, could I possibly have MORE thoughts about being pregnant?

I daresay I could and I do! Hoo Hoo hoooo.

[So here’s where I’m going to give my readers an option. If you’re my age-ish, you might remember in grade school the books where you can “choose your own ending”. At the end of each chapter, the author gives a choice to the reader to:

"A.) continue to the next chapter if you want the character to change paths."

Or

"B.) Go to page # whatever if you want the character to feel all warm and fuzzy and live happily ever after."

So I’ll give the high points of my pregnancy and we can end there on a happy, fuzzy, comfortable note and not be offended, good day to you. But if you’re interested in putting personal agendas and feelings of being personally sought-out by me aside to think a little deeper, read on!]

*****

In stark contrast from my first pregnancy, this one was “planned”. I write that word in quotations because as far as a Christian mentality goes, all life is planned by God. So what I mean is that this pregnancy was strategically anticipated by all parties involved.

That being so, I can say that these 9 months have come and gone the quickest of all of them. I’ve had less pregnancy scares (no falls, car accidents, illnesses…) and hardly any physical pain at all. My last two pregnancies came with pretty overwhelming back pain during the whole 9 months.

I am certain that the pleasantry of this experience is due to:

1.) The fact that it’s my third experience being pregnant, thus knowing what to expect makes me worlds less nervous or anxious about my body changes.

2.) Having two toddlers rampaging the house definitely distracts me from noticing and obsessing over every little rise and fall of my heartbeat or sweat production or nail breakage. Basically, I don’t have time to revel in the Pregnant Princess crown that first time moms get to enjoy. And I’ve discovered I like it that way! It has made the time go so much faster. And it edifies my belief that serving others ultimately brings about personal fulfillment and happiness.

3.) I am wiser. I’ve done a ton more networking with other moms. I’ve read a zillion blogs and articles and books about pregnancy, labor and delivery and how to ask the right questions to your doctor. I’m still learning, but I have such a greater confidence in the natural ability of my own womanhood to do what my body parts were created to do!

4.) My generous in-laws gave us their king sized bed along with a memory foam topper. The last half of this pregnancy, I folded that sucker in half and have been sleeping (as my husband calls it) in an ivory tower of back-relieving heaven.

So I begin my 40th week feeling immensely blessed and greatly thankful for the ease and peace that I’ve experienced thus far.

[Here’s the end of the feel-good chapter in my story. If you have a tendency to think that everyone is out to offend you, I’d recommend you press the little x at the top of the screen and carry on to more important tasks. Seriously, there are more important things. Really. I honestly mean it. Life’s too short to get worked up over a pathetic blog entry. I don’t do it.]

Next Chapter:

Here’s what’s different:

Read More

Dare I talk Christmas? …and other magical holidays…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s our reasoning:

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

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

But why just three???

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

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

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

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

We also don’t do Santa.

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

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

(This Christmas photo is pretty magical to me)

My answer: no I’m not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Our happy Christmas boy, last year)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Care to share yours?   

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

The Story of a Ballerina from Africa →

In April, I wrote about 17 year old Ballet dancer, Michaela DePrince, and her parents who adopted her out of Sierra Leone, Africa. When I saw her perform on Dancing With the Stars as a featured performer, she moved me to tears and strengthened my resolve (as if it needed it) that there is no such thing as “an unwanted child” when considering Abortion issues.

Someone responded to me by saying while her story is a triumphant example of how all humans should be treated, she was a lucky one out of the thousands of others just like her in the culture she was born into… thus, the other children who were not so lucky probably would have been better off aborted.

Better off killed. Better off extinguished. Not even given the chance.

Why? How is this logic workable in someone’s mind? That it’s okay to go ahead and kill an indispensable human being because that person might be subject to pain or suffering in his/her life? Who are we to feel that we can stand on the outside and judge the value or —what do they call it now? My prego brain is losing me… the QUALITY OF LIFE! there it is— how can we judge the quality of someone else’s life to be unfit so far as to deem that person not even worthy of the air he or she breathes …or has yet to even experience breathing?


For the general group of individuals who are pro-choice, they tend to be your “bleeding heart liberals” —though I can attest that this is only a stereotype, as I myself am an artist, a dreamer, an increasingly crunchy-granola-“earthy child” and my heart is pretty bloody— But to the bleeding hearts who feel it necessary to, in the case of someone they somehow deem as unworthy of his or her own life that anyone besides the Almighty Creator has the authority to remove that life from them, without even asking permission… that makes no sense to me. It is backward for a group of people who claim tolerance and love above all to be the guidance of their life choices and their “pro-choice-ness” to turn around, point a finger, and say, “YOU. You there, you’re better off dead!”

Those children like Michaela are living saints in today’s filthy world of people bantering over whether or not to eat at Chick-Fil-A because the CEO doesn’t support a certain sexual lifestyle. I say LET THEM LIVE. They are our silent angels among our ridiculously petty selfishness. The underprivileged , I am willing to bet, understand more fully the value of a human life.

This morning, I stumbled upon a second article about Michaela and just had to share. It gives more details about her amazing journey. Even though it’s a Yahoo article (I detest yahoo), give it a chance to alter your own perspective on human life and the gift that it is in itself. The article gives links to some videos of her dancing and my link above has the DWTS feature. She will move your heart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen



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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


OHH hai.
So I’m deciding to take my “maternity leave” from my blog for a while.
As the weeks stretch on, I’m finding myself increasingly uncomfortable, irritable, completely forgetful and with total negligence of grammatical correctness (which irks me greatly) or any sort of polite decorum.
See what I mean: polite decorum? Isn’t that kind of redundant? Whatever.
Its just best that I stay away from writing about much other than whining about my pregnancy. I can’t collect my thoughts on the normal things I like to write and read about. So, to some this may be a good thing. But don’t be too excited, I still wish to at least post good articles to reference from time to time. And I’ll be back in full throttle soon enough.
It’s taken until my third pregnancy to decide which part of it I enjoy the least. I’d have to say the last trimester is it.
Not only is my body very uncomfortable, I’m anxious about everything. I see dust everywhere. It needs to be GONE RIGHT NOW. The mountainous tasks that are rolling around in my head feel so urgent that I sometimes feel a rising panic if it’s not getting done quick enough.
Having restless leg syndrome (RLS) in combination with a searing heartburn has never been as forceful as it seems to be this pregnancy. I could see someone using it as a method to torture top-secret government information out of me, if I had anything to tell. Just affect my body with RLS and heartburn, and I’ll do or say anything to stop it.
I’ve been becoming a huge fan of Apple Cider Vinegar and just vinegar all together. I always see vinegar listed as a home remedy for all sorts of ailments: from blemishes to heartburn to sore feet to allergy relief (http://4life4life.tumblr.com/post/19573669446/the-neti-pot-saga-i-as-well-as-most-in-the)! Then I’ve seen it listed for all sorts of housekeeping solutions: from bug repellent to fabric softener.
It is one of those things that finally, after seeing it repeatedly praised for its many uses, I decided to try it and now I am in luuuurrrve. I use it in some form, almost daily: to clean or to self-medicate.
Epsom Salts is one of those things as well. I’ve always seen containers of them at the store or read about their uses, but never given them a try.
I was reading that soaking in a Epsom Salt bath can help relax and ease muscle pain.
Number one: I’m not a bath-taker. To me, taking a bath is just soaking in my own filth. Mmmm. Relaxing with my dead skin cells sloughing off of me and floating all around. Sounds sooo calming.  Number two: I don’t have time for a bath. By the time we’ve wrangled our children into bed, I want to be in bed too.
Buuut, desperate times calls for…
An epsom salt bath.
I tried it and I’ll say one thing. Well two: I was so relaxed and sleepy after soaking for 20 minutes that I wondered how legal epsom salt baths should be.  And then I made note that I shall use them as another instrument for coping with my labor when the day arrives.
I slept really well. Minus the necessary nighttime potty trips. But I woke up less for those even.
I am always amazed at the wonders of an old natural remedy or an old trick that lays forgotten while we constantly search for the miracle drug or miracle cleaner.
I am more shocked that some of the more basic homeopathic treatments are completely to the ignorance of my doctors.
I was talking with my OB about my discoveries of some heartburn remedies that have been around for ages. He was about to write me a prescription and looked at me with wide, unblinking eyes, “oh wow! I’ll have to get some Aloe Vera juice! I get terrible heartburn, myself.”
I’m thinking, really? How does a doctor not know this?  I was talking to my nurse about how baking soda can be drunk in water (minimally, watch that third trimester swelling!) to reduce heartburn and that if you sit in a shallow bath with a half-cupful mixed in, it can help relieve the pain of and reduce hemorrhoids.  She looked at me, puzzled, and said, “that’s crazy! I’ve never heard of that one before!”
…and I go to an OBGYN practice which specializes in promoting the natural birth approach.  This doesn’t make any sense to me!
If they’re promoting this natural way of labor and childbirth, shouldn’t they be knowledgeable about some of the basic, natural remedies to ease pain or any of the symptoms a pregnant woman experiences throughout her pregnany?
All I’ve been offered by them is prescriptions for medicines. I’ve had to do my own homework to know what I now know. And it’s taken me three pregnancies to get where I am— and I’m STILL learning!
Woe to the mother of her first baby who never knew better, simpler, safer solutions to her discomforts! …that was me!
I can’t help but to continually refer to The Birth Book by Dr. Bill and Martha Sears. In the book, Martha gives a history of how the birth scene has progressed -or should I say medicalized- over the decades. Birth has become a “condition” inwhich nature and it’s processes are too slow, or not good enough.
Women have become less confident in themselves, and completely distrustful of their own body and the map that it lays out, plainly for us to read. We need the doctor to tell us what to do and how to do it, as if we weren’t born with the natural equipment to begin with.
A nice personal example would be during my second son’s labor, after I’d received my epidural (which later failed), my labor slowed and didn’t progress. (hmm, wonder why?) So my OB, offered to break my water for me. My husband and I considered it and decided to give it a try.
After three unsuccessful attempts, my doc had not broken my water. He left to go see a movie with his family as my husband and I sat there, mildly frustrated.
I shifted my extremely limited position in my birth bed, and immediately experienced the rush of water. …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!

When is Life Worth Saving? →

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

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

I posted this on FB:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Busy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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