Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Where a Kid Can Be a Kid...

We were supposed to go to the pumpkin patch today, but it turns out that neither of them open until next week (although they've already started advertising, which is why there was some confusion). Since we'd planned a big day we decided to make up for it by going to Chuck E. Cheese. Sadie is a big Chuck E Cheese fan.

When you walk in the front door, they stamp the child's hand with a stamp that is only visible under a black light and then they stamp one of the parents' hands with the same number. The numbers have to match to take your kid home. This is such a great safety precaution, although when we go to Chuck E Cheese it's usually during the week at around 11:30, which means that we pretty much have the entire place to ourselves.

We got a meal deal today that came with a hundred tokens. That meant that Sadie got to go on all the rides that her little heart desired (she loves the fire engine ride and the Chuck E Cheese photo car ride) and the grown ups got to work for about an hour to try and win all the tickets that we possibly could. We've gone twice now and have saved up 720 tickets. Only 1280 more until we have enough to get the big Chuck E Cheese bouncy ball.

We also learned that it's pretty much impossible to get Sadie to smile when she gets her picture taken by the photo machine that turns the picture into a sketch afterwards. She's so busy looking up at the video screen with her face on it that no amount of effort can get her to look down under the screen at the video camera. However, those pictures may make an appearance when she's thirty and her father finally allows her to go on her first date.

Three Hour Naps, Spiders and a Pumpkin Patch

Sadie is asleep. it took a while to get her to go to sleep because we are at that short, wonderful time of year, where we don't need a heater or an air conditioner and so the room is entirely silent. Sadie isn't used to going to sleep in a silent room. I turned on her teddy bear which makes a heart beat sound, but he really just seemed to irritate her (although she loves him to pieces when she's awake).

It may also have to do with the fact that she took a three hour nap today. She's down to one nap a day now, but it tends to be a super long power nap, although three hours is on the long side even for those naps who are in the "super long" category.

She's also almost completely recovered from a nasty little spider bite on her leg. We noticed it after it happened and never saw the spider. At first it looked like a mosquito bite. By the next day it was the size of a fifty cent piece, which, if you think about it, is pretty big for a bug bite, particularly on a baby (unfortunately the "next day" happened to be Saturday. Why do things like this always happen on the weekend when you can't call the doctor in the office?). It didn't really seem to bother her until Saturday night when she started screaming when we tried to put cream on it. Yesterday it was a little smaller and today it is down to the size of a quarter and no longer seems to hurt at all. However if you ask Sadie where her "ouchie" is she will point to the spot, although one out of four times she accidently points to the wrong leg.

I am now paranoid about spiders and am checking for them everywhere. I think it happened when we were in Trinity Center on Friday. It doesn't help that she has such sensitive skin and that mosquito bites tend to stick around for weeks when they get to her. I hope this spider bite fades faster!

Tomorrow we should get some cute pictures. We're headed into the city to go to a pumpkin patch. Sadie is going to go crazy when she sees big pumpkins. She's already in love with the little ones we have here and lugs one around with her all the time.

Monday, September 28, 2009

"On Being Catholic"

I just read the article, On Being a Catholic: 'Back to School' on Catholic Online by Canadian journalist David Warren. It reminded me of a homily that I heard recently that I have been going over again and again in my head (the homilies point was actually the exact opposite of the point of this article, which is why I'm still thinking about it). It bothered me quite a bit, but I'm not going to go into that just yet, because I want to think it over a little bit more. If you don't make it over to read the entire article, here are my favorite highlights.

"Yet we have today, at least in the more progressive and nominal Christians of North America and Europe -- most certainly including Catholics -- the curious notion that Christianity is compatible with Islam. That it is likewise compatible with all other religions. That it is compatible with a Darwinian cosmology, and therefore with atheist materialism. That it is part of "diversity"; and so on. "

This is the part that reminded me of the homily... The phrase "Fullness of Truth" kept going through my head on repeat... It seemed like that what was missing. I felt like the Catholic Church was being reduced to "just another church" on line with any other church in the world. But now I'm doing what I promised not to do and writing about the homily before I've thought it through. Let's just say that this is a preview of the post I'm working out in my head.

"I have a day job writing newspaper columns. I make clear that I am a Catholic. ("The worst kind, a convert," as Marshall McLuhan used to say.) I get a lot of mail. And whatever our bishops and bureaucracies may think they have achieved, in the way of teaching the faith, I get to see their results.

For sure, some of the Catholics who write to me are well-educated and well-formed. But on inquiry, I find a large proportion of these are also converts; and that even among those who are not, most have learnt the Faith by their own efforts. Many of these are, as one can see by the way they phrase religious ideas, careful to avoid heresies.

But many other correspondents, declaring themselves to be ‘cradle Catholics’, are at no pains at all.

I often wonder what the Church is for such people. A nice venue for a wedding, to be sure; a bit of formal "closure" for a funeral. A building that may be worth including on an architectural preservation list, since no one is ever going to build another like it. Beyond this, some vague sense of an ethnic identity.

"I was born a Catholic," someone wrote to me recently (already in error: Nobody is born Catholic), "unlike you. Don't you dare tell me what a Catholic should believe!"

The sense of some Catholic ethnicity -- hyphenated Irish, Polish, or whatever -- goes with other sentimental thoughts. But Catholic means "universal," so there is a problem when we find nostalgic mush on both sides of the hyphen. They may or may not vaguely remember a rather cumbersome Catechism."

Okay, this part probably really spoke to me because I have so many "Cradle Catholic" friends from my "Catholic" College that this really applies to. Being Catholic for some seems like more of an ethnicity than a religion.

"But the whole thing may now apparently be reduced to a "bottom line." It comes down to being nice to people and trying not to notice if anyone is mean. It is about being open-minded, and accepting people as they are, unless they happen to be very religious.

Indeed, whatever else Christ may have done, according to this very common view, He reduced all the Ten Commandments to just One Commandment: that "you mustn't judge people."

I wish that were a parody of what I am told in e-mail so often, by self-described Catholics -- who then go on to judge me. I've been told these things not only by the laity, but even by several "modern" Catholic priests, one of whom was clever enough to add the word "misogynistic" to describe my opposition to abortion. "

This one gets me into more debates on the forums. "You're not supposed to judge" is an excuse for any sin under the sun and is usually followed by a judgement about exactly what sort of person I am. The argument "what exactly do you think they mean when they say that "reproving the sinner" is a spiritual work of mercy?" usually doesn't get any response. But you really should check out the entire article! It makes more sense altogether without my scattered thoughts in the middle!

Daydreaming about Mantillas

The baby is napping and I am daydreaming... about mantillas. It's because I bookmarked a couple of sites that I stumbled across the other day and I can't help but go back and visit them. I shouldn't be imaginary mantilla shopping. I have all the chapel veils I need. The first one, a white lace triangle, was highjacked by Sadie and is still being held hostage, with no sign of being returned in the near future. Thankfully one of the women at our church brought one to me that she had worn years ago and had run across, and I've defended it from little lace happy fingers.

Paul also bought me a black rectangle lace mantilla a while back. I actually was surprised that I like the look of the rectangle cut better than the triangle. The veils on my dream list are from these three stores:

And here are the veils. I've always wanted a gold or beige veil because both white and black feel like they stand out so much against my hair (although looking at some of the gold ones, I have to admit that they are rather bright). Here they are...

This one is for Sadie so she I can reclaim the one Paul bought me after we got married!

This picture is here because of the peineta (the piece under the mantilla). I'm just crazy about how these look, although I'm not brave enough to wear one (yet)!

I probably wouldn't actually wear something this bright, but I love it! And who knows I've been getting braver lately!

This might be my favorite. I love the color! I just wish it was a rectangle, but I think it's so pretty that it definitely makes the list!

I love the size of this one and the fact that I could wear it like a shawl and then pull it up to cover before going into the church.

This is my second favorite color out of the veils here and it has the larger size, making it my favorite veil. Sadie would have a field day if she got her hands on this one. Oh well, buying a new veil is not on the list of priorities for the near future, so I don't have to worry about her getting her hands on it!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daddy's Little Princess Bunny

Sadie is so happy that Daddy is back from his weekend away at school! She even managed to stay up until her got home last night! She doesn't like it when he's gone and practically rips the phone out of my hand when he calls. Thank goodness for speakerphone because she hadn't quite gotten the hang of putting the phone to her ear yet (unless it's the little toy phone that came with her kitchen... she walks around with that pressed to her ear all the time. Once when the real phone rang she ran over and picked her little phone up.). Today's post are our most recent Sadie and Daddy pictures. Enjoy!

It Couldn't Hurt to Ask... On Toddler's and Behavior in Church

Mass has been increasingly difficult to survive lately. Sadie has had a severe case of The Wiggles that starts as soon as we walk in the door and ends as soon as we're back outside. The Wiggles are, unfortunately, usually accompanies by The Squeals and sometimes general fussiness. I've been spending a lot of time in the back of the Church and even more time outside on the front steps or, when the screaming gets really loud, around the side by the cemetery (our Church is very old and very poorly insulated, with thin windows... even when a parent goes a distance from the Church the crying can still usually be heard inside).

Today on the way to Mass, I had a thought. If Sadie can recognize the difference between a backhoe loader, a giant excavador, a skid steer and a bulldozer, she may be big enough to understand what Mommy is saying when I ask her to be quiet. So I turned around in my seat and looked at her. She was angelic in a little red velvet Christmas dress (that may or may not fit by Christmas) and black patent leather shoes with her little boom box on her lap playing music, and a sweet little smile on her face.

"Sadie," I said, "we're going to Mass right now to see Jesus. And you need to be very big and be a very good girl. You need to be very quiet while we're at Mass, okay?" She continued to smile and play with the boom box. "Do you think you can do that?"

"I definitely think she can Mommy," Paul replied from the driver's seat. "She's such a good girl, she won't have any problem being good at Mass today."

I turned back around as we pulled into town. I didn't really think it would work, because even if she was listening and understood what I was telling her (both very possible) what are the chances that she would have the self control to actually sit quietly for an entire hour without making a peep?

Apparently I underestimated her. She sat on my lap for 90% of Mass and spent the rest of the time alternating between standing in front of me and being held in her father's arms. And she didn't make a peep until after we'd received communion and had come back to our seats. Then she said "ya ya ya" several times. I put my finger up to my mouth (she's recently learned how to shush and thinks it's pretty funny) and she stopped talking and starting looking around with her finger up to her mouth.

There was one moment of cuteness I just have to share. When the bells rang for the consecration Sadie was standing on the kneeler and started to dance. Then she went back to being serious and watching what was going on around her.

Today was definitely a success. I hope "asking" her to be good during Mass keeps working! I actually heard father's homily today (and it gave me an idea for another post...).

40 Days for Life : A Prayer for Day 5

Today's 40 Days for Life Devotional

Day 5 - September 27


May the truth of the final judgment shape our thoughts, priorities, and choices here on earth.


The King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

-- Matthew 25:31-46


Caring for others is not optional.

Jesus' picture of the final judgment concludes with this sobering word: the wicked, who failed to care for others in their various needs (e.g., the hungry, the thirsty, the aliens, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned) will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous who did seek to meet those needs will end up with him, enjoying eternal life.

We know that this was no parable! Jesus has given us fair warning! Everything in God's Word points to the truth that compassionate concern and practical care for all people, especially for the poor, the destitute, the weak and needy is required of us, if indeed we hope to escape the punishment of the fire of hell.

And who are the poor and needy, if not helpless, unborn babies, as well as the aged and infirm at the other end of life? Surely the "least of these" embraces not only those at both ends of the continuum of life, but all others in between. Just how we, as Christ's true followers, respond to his admonition "inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me" will determine whether we enjoy eternal bliss in his presence or the bleak and dreadful reality of eternal punishment in hell. Nothing in God's Word could be clearer!


Gracious and merciful Father, we gladly embrace your Word that counsels us to care for the least of your children, and we renew our dedication to defending the unborn and all whose right to life is compromised by our godless society's selfish lack of concern. Free us from our own failures and sins so that we will be truly pro-life in every area of our lives. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Rev. Ben Sheldon
President Emeritus, Presbyterians Pro-Life

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Outfit of the Week

This weeks outfit of the week is in honor of our third anniversary (which was earlier this week). We actually got married a year to the day from our first date.

It's funny because we got married before I converted and looking back my first thought is "I can't believe my shoulders aren't covered!" These days I would be searching for a little sweater or cover of some sort to go with it.

A Big Girl!

Sadie is learning, learning, learning and gets a huge smile on her face every time she tries something new. This weekend it has been:

1) The Itsy Bitsy Spider
2) Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes (the song)
3) Combing the first half of the Itsy Bitsy Spider with the second half of Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes= "The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout, down came the rain and washed the spider out... knees and toes knees and toes" (by dance motions)
4) Shushing people
5) Putting her finger up her nostril (this evolved from shushing people... maybe if I don't make a big deal over it she'll forget how to do it...).
6) Nodding her head up and down and smiling when ever anyone says yes.
7) Pointing at the TV and saying "ah" whenever a touchdown is made in a football game.

I was watching her tonight as she excitedly fluttered around Paul after he got home from school and she just seemed so much more grown up! There are so many things she's learning to do!

We also went to the Harvest Festival today. There were a ton of vendors there, but the high point was definitely the string band that was playing kids songs. Sadie even danced a little! It was quite a day!

Geocaching: A Fun Activity for the Whole Family

My husband says that Geocaching is like the video game "Mafia Wars." Very addictive. I don't see how you can compare something that involves going outdoors on a giant sort of treasure hunt to staying inside and staring at a computer screen and playing a video game, but I guess his point is that once a lot of people start looking for geocaches they find it hard to stop.

My Aunt and Uncle and cousins first discovered geocaching years ago and got my grandparents hooked on it. Then my parents joined in and when I was home from college they would take me along. Paul never really liked it, but now that we have a little one, we're getting back into it (and hopefully once he sees how much fun she's having he'll enjoy it a bit more too!).

Geocaching is basically going out and looking for little hidden boxes that people have stashed all around the world. All you need is a hand held GPS. You get the GPS coordinates online (sometimes with other hints is you want) and you go find the hidden treasure box (which is often times an ammo can).

You end up at places, even around your hometown that you might not have otherwise gone. Yesterday we went about an hour out. I wore clothes that I wouldn't mind getting dirty, because I had a feeling I would be the one scrambling around in the dirt if any scrambling was required (it was and I ended up scrambling down a cliff... which was not anywhere near the geocache and then scrambling across a rocky embankment... which again was not anywhere near the geocache). There are different terrain difficulty levels from super easy (you could reach it in a wheelchair) and getting increasingly more difficult. My grandfather uses two walking sticks to get around and he has a blast finding them. It's great for families.

There are even virtual caches where you get sent to a sight that has some sort of information (usually like a monument of some sort) and then you enter the info on line to get credit for the find.

Once you find the geocache you open it and write your username on the log (register on the site before you go out). You can also bring along a bag of nick nacks or toys or coins (or pretty much any small, inexpensive thing) and trade it in for something in the cache. This is particularly fun if you have little kids. Then you go home and "log the cache," which means going to the website and finding the caches you just found and writing a little note that includes what you traded (if you traded anything). There are even "travel bugs" which people take from one cache to the next, that make their way around the world.

Todays pictures are from our geocaching adventure yesterday. My favorite spot was an old graveyard out in the middle of nowhere. There were a ton of "unknown" graves, including the "unknown stagecoach robber" shown above and an "unknown Spaniard." You can definitely find some interesting sites and little ones love running around looking for treasure!

40 Days for Life : A Prayer for Day 4

If you haven't already, check out the 40 Days for Life Website!

Day 4 - September 26


We ask God that we may understand the concept of justice, as a gift he gives and as a responsibility that shapes our work.


Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

-- Amos 5:24


Justice, a key theme of the Scriptures, is something God does and that we too must do.

When God intervenes to save his people when they are helpless and in slavery in Egypt, he "does justice." He manifested his justice in the plagues that were sent upon Egypt, whereby Pharaoh was convinced that he must let the people go. Justice is manifested as, in awe and wonder, God's people see the Red Sea open before them, allow them to pass without even getting their feet wet, and then close again to drown their powerful enemies.

God is a God of Justice; he rescues us when we cannot save ourselves. His justice, above all, is seen in Jesus Christ, who, when we could not save ourselves, rescued us from the kingdom of sin, Satan, death, and hell. The mighty work of Christ on the cross and in the resurrection is the perfect manifestation of God as the God of justice.

We, then, are to be the people of justice; we are to "do justice" by intervening to save the helpless in the name and by the power of the God who saves us who are helpless ourselves. That's why we have a pro-life movement; that's why we have a 40 Days for Life Campaign; that's why saving the unborn is our business.


God of Justice, you heard the cry of your people when they were being oppressed in Egypt, and you proved yourself to be the God of justice, who rescues the helpless. You likewise rescued us from the kingdom of darkness, and brought us into the Kingdom of your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who saves us from the power of Satan, sin, death, and hell. Make us people of justice, ready to intervene to save the helpless. Indeed, as your prophets have announced, let justice roll on like a mighty river, to save all who are in need, especially the unborn. We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Friday, September 25, 2009

We Love the Itsy Bitsy Spider

Sadie has a little boom box that she carries around that is filled with music. It makes every single trip we go on so much more comfortable, because when Sadie has the little blue plastic boom box in her hand she is usually happy. She plays games with it. One game she likes to play is to switch the song any time someone says "I like this song." This doesn't happen very often, as she has over a hundred preschool/toddler age songs, but occasionally a Disney song does come on. Today when the theme song from Enchanted came on Nani, who was in the seat in front of me, said "don't say that you l-i-k-e this s-o-n-g." As soon as she said the words, spelling out like and song, Sadie clicked the button and changed it to the next song and smiled.

There is one song that she listens to every time though. The Itsy Bitsy Spider. And today when it came on she looked over at me and started to try to do the hand movements. She does the spider like the sign language sign for "more" and then she twists her hands a little (she's doing the spider hand movement in the picture). Then she lifts her hands up and wiggles her fingers to do the rain. And off course next the sun comes up. Now I'm not sure where she came up with this, but she has been trying to run around behind me and make the circle in front of my bum (thank you Sadie, apparently that's what reminds you of the sun?) while giggling (at least she knows she's being silly).

Her other achievement is the ability to "shush" people. I put my finger up to my lips and shush her when she uses her "outdoor" voice indoors. She started to do that today at lunch and I made a shushing sound without really thinking about it and she got a huge smile and brought her finger up to her mouth and then spent the next five minutes looking around the table at everyone and smiling and shushing them. She certainly learns quickly!

40 Days for Life : A Prayer for Day 3

I wish that there was a 40 days for life event going on near us! I looked on the site and the closest one was over three hours away... Check it out though, there may be one near you that you could participate in.

Day 3 - September 25


We pray for God's gift of strength as we strive to protect human life during these 40 Days for Life.


Loving heavenly Father, help us to see the worth of all human beings by the way in which you provide for us. We would ask that you provide also the faith, grace and courage to enable us to protect that which is so precious to you. Through Christ our Lord, amen.

Dennis DiMauro
Lutherans for Life


Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

-- Matthew 6:25-26

Natural Family Planning: Part 7: Pius XI

I haven't had a chance to write a NFP post in a quite a while and since the baby is still miraculously asleep (at 7:30 am!) I thought I'd steal the chance right now. Hopefully I won't be cut short by Little Miss Bunny, who is most definitely not a morning person.

As I've talked to various people about NFP over the years, I've come to realize that it is largely misunderstood. There seems to be a belief that the Vatican took the command to "be fruitful and multiply" and using that bible verse alone has decided to make us all have giant Catholic families... Something seems to be missing....

While Genesis 1:28 is a beautiful verse and is used in the NFP argument, it is hardly the sole basis for condemning artificial birth control, as various Popes and other theologians have taught us again and again.

Unfortunately, ignorance is bliss for many in this case and if the percentages you hear quoted about the number of Catholics who use ABC are correct, it seems that many have either ignored the teachings or never heard of them. My next series of NFP posts will give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they haven't really heard the Church's reasons behind the condemnation of all forms of artificial birth control. That's where we'll start:

Pope Pius XI

It is important to realize that in the first modern papal condemnation of unnatural methods of birth control, there are both a call to generosity in service of life and the acceptance of the principle of spacing babies through natural family planning. The reasoning of Pope Pius XI concerning generosity emphasizes the supernatural destiny of Man:

"Besides God wishes men to be born that they may be worshippers of God, that they may know Him and love Him and finally enjoy Him forever in heaven; and this end, since man is raised by God in a marvelous way to the supernatural order, surpasses all that eye has seen, and ear heard, and all that has entered into the heart of man."

God had no need to create the universe. He did so simply to share his goodness with others. By entrusting procreation to couples, He put Himself in the position of needing couples to cooperate in the procreation of those "others" with whom God wants to share his life and happiness in heaven for all eternity. There is also no question that spouses benefit by being parents adn that children benefit from having ample brothers and sisters.

(Pope Pius XI issues Casti Connubii, "Chaste Marriage," on December 31, 1930, to reaffirm traditional Christian teaching against unnatural forms of birth control.)

Taken from The Art of Natural Family Planning, 4th Edition, by John F. Kippley and Sheila K. Kippley

Perfect timing. Someone just woke up, so I have to run!

Update: The Kippley's Website can now be found here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Don't Worry the Squirrel is Safe

When we saw the fox in the backyard a couple of days ago, he looked pretty cute. We looked around and didn't see any cute furry animals for him to go after (there's a reason are cats are indoor cats) and so Sadie, Nani, Grumpa and I stood by the window and watched him prance across the back lawn. Except suddenly, he stopped prancing. He skulked a ways and then ran up into a tree. I had never known that foxes could run up into trees. We thought that he was going to get onto the roof of the house, because the tree almost touches it. Instead, about ten seconds later, we saw exactly what he was going after. A squirrel plummeted out of the tree, side by side with a free falling fox. Even without seeing the squirrels chipped ear I knew who he was. Alvin. Sadie's new squirrel friend (Teddy disappeared mysteriously a few weeks ago).

I couldn't let a fox eat Alvin.

I ran outside and yelled and the fox and I were face to face. He went from being a cute, fluffy forest animal, to being a snarling ball of fury with evil, beady eyes. He was not frightened in the least. Luckily he was distracted for long enough for Alvin to escape into his burrow. The fox was still looking at the squirrel's tunnel so I threw a water bottle and stomped my feet (very dignified, I know) and he finally sauntered away.

Sadie watched the entire incident from the window and apparently it made quite the impression. She started searching through her animal books looking for foxes and squirrels and pointing them out. Today when we got home from the library Sadie sat down and showed Nani a picture of three foxes. When Nani asked her what Mommy said to the fox Sadie smiled and said "Na! Na! Na!" (which is her word for "No!" after reading Bartholomew Bear. It made quite the impression!

40 Days for Life : A Prayer for Day 2

The 2nd Day of 40 Days for Life. Click here for Daily Devotionals.


Lord, we thank you for those who have repented of committing abortions and have resolved to defend life. We too repent and resolve. We repent of every instance in which fear has made us silent when we should have spoken. We repent of the ongoing bloodshed in our land, and for thinking that we can deprive the unborn of protection but keep it for ourselves. We resolve that we will advance the cause of righteous candidates for public office, and that we will be more afraid of offending you by our silence than of offending others by our speech. We resolve that we will proclaim your name to the nations, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Five Minutes a Day

I just ran across this ad (quote below), which is trying to sell stories for parents to read to to their kids. Except that it makes one huge assumption, which is that parents who don't have time to spent five minutes reading their kid a story they have in their home, will somehow be able to manufacture five minutes to spend with their kid after spending the time having found and printed the story...

Huh, that's funny. I thought we were supposed to have time to "do it all." I mean, just ignore the fact that there are a finite number of hours in the day and if you spend most of that time at work, you're spending most of your time away from your children...

I know that many mom's really have to work to support their children and that must be incredibly hard and they should have all the support that we can give them... what gets me is that many don't and if the way you spend your time tells what your priorities are... it doesn't paint a pretty picture about where are kids fall on our list of priorities.

The average working parent in America spends less than 5 minutes a day reading to their children.” So opens the presentation by StorySomething.com, which allows parents to customize children’s stories – with their son or daughter’s name incorporated into the tale – and print or email it to themselves. This product works with the iPhone so that busy parents can create customized bedtime stories for their children – complete with illustrations – so that they can be read any time, anywhere.

So that's my little rant for the day.

Added: Since my husband read this post and said it's unclear who I'm ranting at I'll add a little clarification. I don't think there's anything wrong with the product. I was merely inspired to write this post because the need for the product (parents unable to squeeze in time to read to their offspring) is, in my mind, directly linked to the feminist thought that we could all do everything and do it well (and let's face it we can't be in two places at the same time!).

The product reminds me of quite a few products on the market in which your kids name can be added to a story or song or video to make it more special. That's great if you want that sort of thing! What I have a problem with is parents who put work before their children.... especially when it's not necessary to put food in their mouths and keep a roof over their heads (and is instead because they want to live in a bigger house, drive a nicer car, go shopping more often...).

Dear Man...

Brooke had a great post today over at Tending to the Truth (one of my favorites blogs!). She discovered this gem on the internet and I wanted to pass it along for anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

Dear Man,

No offense intended kind sir, but I do not desire to be you. On the contrary, I am proud to be quite different. This current movement of modeling your clothing and your mannerisms has been pushed upon me by society for far too long. ‘Tis a pity that your foul mouth has infested mine, and that it has become acceptable for me to utter such filth in the presence of others. We have strayed from our feminine ways of modesty, reserved nature, and politeness, exchanging these for provocative attire, brashness, and ill manners. Often such motives are to appeal to your unbridled masculine desires, and in doing so I am losing my identity as a unique and respectable sex. I have been fooled into believing your wants should be mine as well. I have rejected such beautiful and intricate attire for fear of appearing weak or unattractive beside you. My fight for equality has become a fight for the right to imitate and please. In my struggle for equal dignity, confusion has occurred, making it a struggle for your ambitions and manly qualities, or often to appease them, and even you have forgotten who I am.

I have received what the so-called “feminists” of my sex have asked for: I open my own door, walk in behind you, pull up my own chair, and pay for my own meal. In our blindness for more power rather than equality, my innate qualities have been underappreciated. Delicacy does not imply a lack of strength, and displaying my emotions does not mean I lack the ability to be logical. In envying your qualities, I have forgotten to value my own such as my nurturing nature, sensitivity, and compassion. In lowering my standards, I have equally lowered yours. For this I apologize and promise to work to regain the respect and dignity those in the past have worked so hard for. I only ask that you help me in this fight by supporting my right to be equal in dignity and rights with a role distinct from your own. I now realize that just because I now have the right to act like you, does not mean I should. I desire, not to be treated like your fellowmen, but rather as your compliment and counterpart, whose qualities although quite different, are just as valued.



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Backhoe Loaders, Brush Rigs, Ambulance and Fire Trucks

How many trucks can exist in one small town? The answer in our town is "a lot." And today Sadie saw a lot of trucks. We went geocaching with Daddy and Nani and Grumpa and Nini and Gigi before going out for an anniversary lunch. The geocache just happened to be at the fire station in town. Sadie knows the names of pretty much every truck we see these days and she wasn't all that impressed by the ambulance or the "fire chiefs truck." After spending about five minutes looking for the geocache she spotted the garage. And it was full of fire trucks (she gives me a look when I say "fire trucks" because she recognizes them as "fire engines" in her truck and tractor book). She squealed and raced across the parking lot. Once inside the garage (which had a water tender, a brush rig, a rescue truck and three fire engines- Grumpa told me the various names of the fire engines but I can't remember them all! Sadie probably can...) Sadie tried to escape. She sensed that Mommy and Daddy weren't going to let her stay forever and that was exactly what she had planned.

After we returned to where Nini and Gigi were geocaching Sadie tried twice to escape and sneak back to the fire truck. She did get a stuffed fire dog out of the cache though and after that accepted that it was time to go to lunch.

But who could have guessed that lunch was going to be so exciting? Cal-Trans had torn the sidewalk that runs through downtown up and are removing the roots of the trees (and several giant trees) while business goes on as usual in the shops that open onto the sidewalk. We were having lunch in a place that just happened to look out at the backhoe loader (one of the tractors that Sadie is the most obsessed with in her book). While we watched the backhoe loader work a procession of other trucks and large vehicles went past and Sadie was delighted to see a RV towing a boat, a RV towing a hummer, log trucks, container trucks and tons of cars and pickup trucks. It was quite the day! I'm not sure we'll ever be able to top it!

The "Right" to Die

It seems that the respect for life is dwindling abroad as well as at home. In an article titled "It's my life and I demand to end it when I want" David Aaronovitch demands the right to end his own life on his own terms. Here are a few highlights.

Past ambiguities about what you could and couldn’t do tended to favour those whose job it was to interpret them — usually the priestly classes of the professions. But over the years we have come increasingly to believe that our judgments about ourselves, albeit as informed by some experts, have a sovereign quality. We have gradually applied this to our clothing, our sexual existences, our capacity to choose and change partners, our fertility, our spiritual beliefs — and now, inevitably, to our deaths. The choice to do as Freud did, to say: “I want to die now, please help me,” is no more or less than the choice that I want for myself. And even that understates it, I realise, because it is the choice that I now demand.

Life has become so devalued in the West that the choice to live or die sits next to choices about sexuality and fertility (in Mr. Aaronovitch's mind at least). But in some ways he is right to make that link: Our culture's frivolous treatment of fertility and the lives that result from it ties in to the devaluation of human life. We can kill our unborn children in the womb and now Mr. Aaronovitch makes the next logical step, we should be allowed to kill ourselves as well. Has life really become this cheap?

So why should we not have the right to determine, within reason, when and how we die? Some religious people will say, in essence, because God says so. But one may observe that sometimes God so invoked seems to have served mankind well (as over opposition to eugenics) and sometimes badly (as over, say, family planning). Church folk will forgive me for addressing some of the more secular objections raised in July’s Lords debate.

"Within reason"? Who defines what is "within reason?" Suicide is now "reasonable"?

First there was the point made by Lord Mackay of Clashfern, that “any proposal to alter the current position involves a judgment that a certain kind of life, or a certain span of life, has become unworthy of support from [the] principle [of the sanctity of life]”. To which I reply: “No, it doesn’t.” What a proposal might do is to permit the liver of a life to decide its value — not Lord Mackay, me or the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Finally someone brings up the sanctity of life! Thank you Lord Mackay. And Mr. Aaronovitch: "Yes, it does."

Third, and related, was the contention, advanced by many, from the Bishop of Exeter to Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws that the law ought not to be changed because people would either feel “pressured into dying” or actually would be pressured into dying.

This seems to be the problem we're all facing... but hey, it would cut costs... and we really need to cut costs if this health care plan is going to work....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Serious Case of the Wiggles

Sadie is sound asleep, taking an early afternoon nap. She’s even snoring, making a cute little whining sound (she’s still a little fussy).

Sitting through Mass has become quite the challenge. I’m beginning to look back on her less mobile days fondly (at least for the couple of hours each week that we’re sitting in pews). I used to worry that she was going to cry and disrupt the service as I rushed her out of the church. These days I worry that she’s going to break free of her father’s grip and race up to the altar screaming (or laughing) as she goes for the chalice (we’re big on cups these days).

I bought her Church Shoes, which I’d read could help children understand the seriousness of the situation, but I think that a straight jacket would be more effective.

Instead we shuffle her back and forth between us and try not to go completely insane!

On Sunday she spent 90% of the hour on the steps out in front (at least you can hear everything from there). She cried for most of it and if you’d told me in advance, I never would have believed the reason.

And here it is: Flowers.

Anticipating a rowdy hour we sat at the very back of the church so that we could make a quick exit when the wiggles struck. Unfortunately Sadie noticed the beautiful vase of flowers on the table behind us, in the nook under the stairs that go up to the choir loft, about five minutes into the service. She decided that those flowers should be hers. She reached for them. I stopped her. A tantrum ensued. I took her outside.

We make sure that the outside time isn’t fun. She has to be held until she calms down (we don’t want to encourage tantrums, just so that we can go outside!). And this Sunday she calmed down pretty quickly on each trip outside. Then we would go back into the church and she would see the flowers from a few feet inside the door and the screaming would start.

Who knew that in twelve months a leaking diaper would seem so much easier to deal with then a severe case of the wiggles!

"The Case for Killing Granny": Newsweek Reaches a New Low

Newsweek has done it again. Here's an article titled "The Case for Killing Granny" by Evan Thomas. We're about to run off to Mass (today is our anniversary, three years of wedded bliss and four years since our first date) but here's some food for thought. Although it certainly isn't the kind of thought I like to start my day with....

But the need to spend less money on the elderly at the end of life is the elephant in the room in the health-reform debate. Everyone sees it but no one wants to talk about it. At a more basic level, Americans are afraid not just of dying, but of talking and thinking about death. Until Americans learn to contemplate death as more than a scientific challenge to be overcome, our health-care system will remain unfixable.

It doesn't seem to me that the problem lately has been a fear of death in America. It's a lack of respect for life, which is apparently a problem for Mr. Thomas.

There is no way we can get control of costs, which have grown by nearly 50 percent in the past decade, without finding a way to stop overtreating patients. In his address to Congress, President Obama spoke airily about reducing inefficiency, but he slid past the hard choices that will have to be made to stop health care from devouring ever-larger slices of the economy and tax dollar. A significant portion of the savings will have to come from the money we spend on seniors at the end of life because, as Willie Sutton explained about why he robbed banks, that's where the money is.

"Overtreating patients." Is that what we're calling saving lives these days?

The desire to see a physician is often pronounced in assisted-living facilities. Old people, far from their families in our mobile, atomized society, depend on their doctors for care and reassurance. I noticed that in my mother's retirement home, the talk in the dining room was often about illness; people built their day around doctor's visits, partly, it seemed to me, to combat loneliness.

Let's ignore the fact that many of the elderly actually need to see doctor's far more than a young person because their health is failing. My grandmother died this past summer and she had to see the doctor many times a month because she had frequent bladder infections, which nearly claimed her life on a monthly basis for years before her actual death.

Check out the article if you can stomach it. It let's you know how little respect some people actually have for life.

Added: I just posted this and after talking with my husband one more thought popped into my head. The basic idea of cutting costs and not ordering unnecessary tests is one that could help fix part of the problem with our system. However Mr. Thomas sites his grandmother's choice not to undergo further procedures (and she was allowed to make that choice) and then tries to derive implications that could be used across the board to cut costs.

That's where we disagree.

If a person who is dying of cancer doesn't want to go through yet another round of chemo it's their choice. I have a problem when the choice becomes the insurance companies or the governments (as some now claim it will be) and is taken out of the individual's hands. That's why the second quote about making "hard choices" is so disturbing. Who will be making these hard choices? More then ever this causes me to wonder if our elderly will be pressured towards ending their own lives, a claim which I thought earlier was just a political scare tactic. It seems to be a real possibility if many people agree with Mr. Thomas' views.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Rough Day Made Better: Sadie Falls in Love

Sadie had another tough day. She tripped and bit a hole in her top lip. She still doesn't seem to be feeling great, although she's not sick. I am waiting for her eighth tooth to break through and explain it all away, any day now.

The day started out badly when I had to wake her up so that we could go on a planned trip to Redding to do some food shopping. Sadie is not a morning person. I am, but apparently she takes after Daddy. I never realized that sort of thing was so ingrained at such a young age. After a rough start, waking up, we went into town. We were early (she could have slept a little later!) because we wanted to grab lunch before we went to the store (afterwards we'd have to go straight home with the groceries in the triple digit heat) and we decided to go to a local toy store. We were hoping to get some ideas for Christmas (I was favoring the Radio Flyer pedal cars) but as soon as we walked through the door Sadie's eyes light up. She had seen him.

She only had eyes for Rody.

I think Rody (who we've named Robby, which is the name of Sadie's cousin, two uncles, her Grandpa and her Grumpa... there's so many it's hard to keep track!) will be one of those toys that she looks back on fondly in twenty years. It reminded me of a rocking horse that I had (although the rocking horse was brown and fabric) and while we hadn't planned on buying anything, we left the store with Robby.

The horse was between two bicycles in the store and Sadie spent the entire time we were there trying to move them to get to Rody.

When we got home she repeatedly kissed his nose, patted his back and ears and tried to shove me away any time I touched him to steady her. And of course, they "galloped" slowly across the room together. I think she's in love... It's only a matter of time before she's horse crazy.

Love At First Sight: Sadie and Robby

We were trying to pass the time while waiting to go to lunch today and my husband and I took Sadie into a small local toy store to look around. I love the store because it has lots of low tech toys that require actual imagination. When you walk in you see Radio Flyer bicycles and tricyles and they usually have those Radio Flyer pedal cars (although they were sold out today). There are doll houses and toy horses and stuffed animals and tons of wooden toys, along with hundreds of other items. Sadie saw what she wanted the moment we walked in the store though.

She only had eyes for Rody.

I think Rody (who we've named Robby, which is the name of Sadie's cousin, two uncles and her Grumpa) will be one of those toys that she looks back on fondly in twenty years. It reminded me of a rocking horse that I had (although the rocking horse was brown and fabric) and while we hadn't planned on buying anything, we left the store with Robby.

The horse was between two bicycles in the store and Sadie spent the entire time we were there trying to move them to get to Rody.

When we got home she repeatedly kissed his nose, patted his back and ears and tried to shove me away any time I touched him to steady her. And of course, they "galloped" slowly across the room together. I think she's in love... It's only a matter of time before she's horse crazy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Baby Attacks Tomato!

They say a pictures worth a thousand words, so here are three Sadie pictures for todays blog. We have yet to master the fine art of self feeding. But she does enjoy herself!

Outfit of the Week

I forgot to post my Outfit of the Week yesterday! It's an old picture (Paul has long hair! And it got way longer before he cut it.) of a jacket that is still an absolute favorite. I was a little nervous to wear it at first because the print is so bold, but over time it has become a favorite. The purse came with soaps in it from Bath and Body Works.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Hay Truck and a Snake!

Sadie still is a little under the weather (which is mostly manifesting itself in extreme fussiness) but we still had an exciting day today. First off a hay truck showed up at our house this morning to deliver 10 tons of alfalfa. Sadie could hardly believe her luck. We walked down together (she was still in her pajamas, although we did put on a jacket because it's finally getting chilly at night) and checked things out. First we walked all the way around the truck. Then we went in the barn where the hay was being unloaded. Then Sadie decided that it was much cooler to be carried around the hay truck by Grumpa then to walk with Mommy.

So Sadie and Grumpa walked around the truck again. Sadie tried to pick the bugs off the front grill and Grumpa even opened the door so that Sadie could look inside the cab. Then she went over and Grumpa let her stand on the bed of the truck and then, when she got brave and started trying to walk away, across the bed, got up there with her.

She did get momentarily distracted by the pumpkins in Nani's garden and even found one that was no longer attached to the vine (probably the result of a thieving ground squirrel) and carried it around for the rest of the day.

By midmorning though, it was clear that Sadie wasn't feeling hot. She curled up on my lap and slept for three hours (my arm has almost recovered. Every time I tried to move and shift her weight at all she would start to whine and fuss in her sleep.).
The other surprise of the day came when Nani and Sadie were walking down to water the lavender. Sadie started pointing at a plant on the ground next to her foot. Nani looked at it and didn't see anything. Then a snake shot out and went between Sadie's feet before disappearing into the grass. Sadie, who had a frog jump and land on her chest earlier in the week, is still fearless when it comes to slimy, slithery animals.

And that is our very exciting day.

Today is Opening Day

There are a bunch of idiots tramping around outside carrying rifles. This worries me immensely.

It's not that I have a problem with hunting in general. But today is Opening Day and it seems like quite a few people out there are determined to make some very bad decisions. I won't lay the blame completely on "city people" (or Flat Landers to use the term that is more common here) but I would be willing to bet that not a single car parked by the side of the freeway belonged to a local.

Here's the problem: I just drove into town and over the course of the ten mile drive we passed at least a dozen trucks full of hunters. They had stopped on the side of the interstate (because now they're in the country) unloaded their guns and binoculars and were waiting for the deer to cross the freeway. I have to wonder if they really plan on firing a rifle at a deer on a freeway (this seems like a recipe for incarceration and disaster) but I can't think of any other reason to flock to the freeway.

Locals have spots where they go and those areas are deep in the woods.

Today I saw hunters with their guns looking for deer in a subdivision, next to houses, and another group standing with binoculars looking into someone's beautiful green backyard for any bucks that might be hiding there.

These specific hunters by the freeway all have large shiny trucks (and with all the dirt roads local cars are seldom shiny here) and brand new camo gear. And the lack of common sense tells me one very important thing: these people should not have guns! In fact they don't seem to have the judgement necessary to operate a motor vehicle.

These hunters don't seem to understand that, while they have left the city, they are still in town (or next to a major area freeway) and that that is not the wilderness! It is not a safe place to hunt. There are people here! I can only imagine how busy the poor game wardens are trying to keep all of these people from killing each other.

At least the locals go far enough out that when they mix booze and hunting they aren't likely to shoot anyone innocent bystanders!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ding Dong the Fridge is Dead....

I expected the worst, but even still, it was disgusting. I pried open the refrigerator in the little travel trailer that is next to our cabin. I could have sworn that I cleaned it out when we stopped using it a couple of years ago (around the time when I became pregnant and the cabin was completed). Apparently I did not, so today when I ventured to complete my deep cleaning of the trailer so that we can start using it again, I had no one to blame but myself.

We used to live in the trailer. The cabin was a huge upgrade. While the trailer had a sink and ice cold water the beds were teeny tiny and hard on both of our backs. We were thrilled when Paul and Dad finished the cabin and we were able to buy an actual bed (it's probably why we went out and got a king size) to sleep in once the cabin was finished.

I was lucky enough to have saved the swine flu mask that they gave us during our visit to the doctor's office last week when Sadie was sick. Because we've had mouse issues in the past I put it on before I went inside. Earlier this summer when I started the cleaning project I found that any time I went into the cabin I ended up coughing for a couple of days. So Sadie is definitely not allowed in until it's really been cleaned out. The fridge was making a strange swishing sound and I braced myself as I opened it. I half expected water (I don't know where it would have come from... I was basing this fear purely on the sound that it was making...) to rush out and flood my sneakers (I had an even greater fear that somehow a raccoon had opened the fridge and was stuck in there trying to get out...). There was no flood of water (and no raccoon), but the smell was nearly as bad.

English muffins. I remembered once I'd pried the door open. There had been a sale on English muffins. I'd bought three packages and frozen them to make little pizzas later. Apparently when the fridge had died (and it is most definitely dead) the english muffins had liquified. It wasn't a pretty picture. There was mold everywhere. It may take a while for me to look at english muffins the same way.

After two hours of scrubbing the fridge and freezer were clean. I was still hopeful that the breaker was switched, although this was truly wishful thinking since the fridge light was working and I imagine they would be on the same breaker... I did try to tell myself that the light was probably battery operated, just to keep the dream alive for a little longer). I was happy to find that the tiny living room was free of mouse "evidence" (to put it delicately), which means they must have moved on for the time being (we do have those electronic devices that are supposed to make sound to keep the mice away).

With the trailer closer to working order we are closer to having (kind of) running water, in the form of a garden hose plugged into the trailer. The downside is that the water empties out into a tank that has to be dragged up a steep hill to be emptied (something my husband is not all that exited about).

I am happy to say that the mask worked and for the first time since I've done a day of cleaning I don't have a cough. Now I just need to finish the tiny bathroom and the sleeping area (two very narrow beds) and we'll have our own little area to spend time in during out waking hours. I love the cabin, but it is almost completely taken up by the bed and the crib. If we're not sleeping or watching a movie, there isn't much room to move around.

And while the initial opening of the fridge was kind of horrifying, it wasn't that bad once I started working. I kept my mind on the reason for the two hours of scrubbing, which was making a nice place for my family to spend time and have meals together. It may be tiny, but I have a feeling in a few years (once Paul finishes all the years of grad school and is a canon lawyer or professor) we'll look back on our trailer and cabin wistfully. In the meantime, I'll never let it get this out of control again!

The downside is that my Dad went down and checked on the fridge and it is, in fact, dead. It had a good, long life for a refrigerator, having been manufactured in the 1970s. He said he can pull it out and we can get one of those little fridges for dorm rooms to put in... but that will probably be in a few months. Still I'm glad I got all that mold out. It'll be in it's place for a while longer and it would have driven me crazy to know how bad it was inside if we were spending time in there.

Tom and Jerry and a Cement Truck

Sadie is feeling little bit sick today and needs lots of rests (recovering from her shots). We went into town for Grumpa to get his hair cut and while Sadie and I were walking down the street a cement truck from the local quarry went by. The driver saw me pointing and Sadie staring, wide eyed (she's been looking at the cement mixer in her courderoy bear book and her truck book) and tooted the horn. It may have been the high point of Sadie's day.

The other high point of the day came when Sadie was resting on my lap at Nani and Grumpa's. Since she's under the weather I was looking for a cartoon she could watch. We tried the Tigger and Pooh Super Sleuths and she wasn't all that impressed. Then I found Tom and Jerry. Sadie couldn't stop laughing. She could hardly breath when Tom got smacked over the head with the broom. She laughed until she had started coughing, which turned into hiccups. Then she hiccuped and laughed as poor Tom tried to keep the house clean while Jerry tried to make a mess. Now she's sound asleep on my lap.

When she wakes up we'll read more about Courderoy and Bartholomew! Sadie loves her bear books!

Our Vaccines are Done (for a few years, at least)

Here is a quick Sadie update for the night before we both drift off to sleep!

Sadie had her fifteen month vaccinations today and was up and running around this afternoon. It was the last of her baby vaccines. Now she doesn't need another (with the exception of flu shots) until she turns 4. Maybe that will give her a chance to forget how much she dislikes going to the doctor's office.

She definitely remembered why we were going today. We had a full out melt down that lasted for most of the two hour visit (they had some sort of emergency they had to fit in and were running behind... I can't complain though, because a few times with Sadie's ear infections they've fit us in!).

We have also read about Bartholomew bear several dozen times in the last few days. That book has definitely grown on Sadie. She's not going to be happy when we return it to the library! The best part about that is that when we check it back out in a few weeks she gets so excited (we got to see that when we rechecked out Peekaboo Who, which is another book that she loves).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Potato Soup and Cheese

Here is an old picture of Sadie (from December) that I just had to share! She's playing with her fischer price nativity. She looks so tiny and so different without her curls (these days when I say "beautiful curls" she touches her hair!).

We made potato soup yesterday (Nani did most of the work, although I can take credit for adding the milk and stirring until it was smooth) and tonight when we were having the left over’s Sadie realized that she loves potato soup! She doesn’t like it as much when it’s plain, but she relishes taking a little pinch of cheddar cheese and carefully placing it on top of each and every spoonful of soup. It doesn’t count if the cheese is sprinkled over all of the soup in her bowl in advance. She inspects each and every bite that she takes and then carefully adds a few more pieces of cheese, even if it’s already coated.

Tomorrow we have to go to Redding for Sadie’s 15 month round of shots. It’s not something I am looking forward to! Sadie associates the doctor’s office with shots and ear infections (more specifically with the doctor looking in her ear to see if she has an ear infection, which Sadie thinks is the scariest thing in the entire world). Odds are, even with her little music player, she’s going to be a basket case as soon as we get into the exam room.

After spending almost half a year as a 2T, Sadie is starting to outgrow some of her 2T outfits and has been wearing some of her 3T dresses. She’s also a size 7 in shoes now and seems to be going through a growth spurt. She’s been gobbling down everything in sight. Her current favorite food is cottage cheese and her favorite drink (which trumps her favorite food) is milk. Right now she’s watching her Your Baby Can Read DVD to settle in for the night and in a few minutes it’ll be time for bed. Goodnight!

Bartholomew Bear

Sadie can still tell you what a bear says when it eats a fish (“ahhhhhhhh”) because of the bear eating a fish picture on the wall in the bathroom. But now she can also tell you what a bear says when it’s time for bed (from her new library book where the baby bear, Bartholomew, doesn’t want to go to bed). The baby bear in the book says “nah” over and over again at bedtime and now if you ask her what Bartholomew says she will say “nah nah nah” repeatedly in a quiet little voice. She actually gets shy when she’s saying actual “words.” Of course she’s excited enough about bears that she was bold enough to go up and give the bear in the picture a kiss at the playground.

Sometimes though, if you ask her the same question over and over again (i.e. “Sadie, can you show me where the giant excavator is?”) she’ll look at you like she feels a little bit sorry for you, because you’re so slow and you keep asking but you still don’t know which on is the giant excavator. Once in a while she’ll even raise one eyebrow while giving this particular look. It never fails to make Daddy laugh hysterically. I just can’t wait to hear what she has to say once she’s really talking!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Misplaced Anger

“A new crime is arising in the world today; be prepared for it. The crime of being a Christian. The crime of believing in God.”
- Archbishop Fulton Sheen

One simple fact is impossible to miss these days. People are angry. There are valid reasons, but as I scroll through my facebook home page, reading my friends’ status updates, I can’t help but notice that the anger doesn’t seem to be focused in the right directions. I was particularly struck by a quote that one of my childhood friends posted, ranting about religion. The quote, which is from a song, is sexually suggestive and disgusting and directed at religion. Below the quote were half a dozen comments, praising the choice of lyrics and then the original posters response, which was that the lyric was about being “force fed blame shame and guilt by organized religion.”

The funny think is that this twenty-seven year old man didn’t grow up in a repressive house being “force fed” anything. He had permissive parents who weren’t didn’t practice any particular religion. Yet he is apparently angry enough at religion to make this public statement…

I was curious, I haven’t talked to this friend since high school, so I looked at his facebook info to see if he had even filled in the “religion” section. He had. It says “God…hmmm…not sure…” Below that there was a quote about agnostics.

Okay, so he was raised without religion and he doesn’t actually know what he believes, but he feels the need to bash religion? I thought about this for a good part of the day today, because midway through writing this post, Sadie woke up for her nap so I put the idea on a back burner in my mind and let it simmer. I came up with a few ideas.

On the one hand I remember being confused when I was attending Saint Mary’s a few years before I converted. I had quite a few “Catholic” friends who partied just as much as any student at the school. There was a small number who, after partying would, from time to time, have long tirades about feeling guilty. I remember being baffled when talking with one of my friends about “Catholic Guilt.”

I didn’t quite get why they would do something if they were going to feel so bad about it later on (if I’d known that they had to go to confession to get rid of the guilt I would have been even more confused… confession is, in my mind at least, a strong deterrent to sin). I know that experiences like this gave some of my friends the (incorrect) idea that all Catholics are racked with guilt.

When this idea is added to the popular secular notion that anything that feels good is good and that the purpose of life is self-gratification the sort of contempt that my grade school friend feels can form. He believes that organized religion keeps people chained down to antiquated beliefs that are relics of past centuries. He’s entirely wrong, but he firmly believes in our culture’s social mores. It’s hard to understand how freeing God’s love and forgiveness can be if you haven’t experienced it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were also bothered by a sort of empty, nagging feeling that there is something more to life, but then again many people are excellent at repressing that sort of thing, so he may not even be conscious of the absence of a relationship with God.

If you add his belief that religion just keeps people chained down with shame, to the popular trend that seems to say that it’s perfectly fine to bash Christianity (particularly Catholicism) you have my friend’s facebook status update. It’s easy to lash out at Christians because it’s so popular! If you applied many of the things people say about Christians to any other religious group the person saying them would be accused of being a bigot. When they say it about Catholicism they get encouragement and even praise.

So those are my somewhat random thoughts for the day. And I managed to stay awake until 9 pm for a second night in a row! I’d celebrate if I weren’t so sleepy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chuck E Cheese and a Patriots Game!

I know, I've said it before, but today was a big day for Sadie! We were going to Redding today so Nani and Grumpa could do some shopping (and Sadie and I went along so that Daddy could get some studying down without any distractions) and Grumpa suggested that we have lunch at Chuck E. Cheese.

When we walked in Sadie was a little overwhelmed. We put her on the fire truck ride and she sat there staring around her, wide eyed. Then she saw Chuck himself, and started pointed at the stage. I carried her over, fairly certain that she would freak out when we got close to him. After all, he is one of those giant robotic puppets. It could be kind of scary. Instead when we were about ten feet away Sadie started reaching towards the stage. When she still hadn't panicked when we were about four feet away I stopped and put her down. She raced over to the stage and stood at the edge with her chin on the stage looking up at the giant mouse lovingly.

After that we headed back over to the games. Sadie rode on the giant monster truck and got her picture taken four times in the car next to the mouse (the ride has a camera and it takes a picture and then the picture comes out, not bad for one token, which is equal to 25 cents). Grumpa and I worked on winning Sadie tickets while Nani convinced her to eat a little lunch and then once everyone was fed we all went back to playing. I was actually starting to get sore from shooting baskets (which we discovered was the best game for winning tickets) by the time we left. Sadie was definitely impressed by the restaurant.

Tonight after Daddy left for work he called to see how the Patriot's game was going. Sadie ran over while I was telling him about what had happened on the phone (they were still behind at that point) and started playing with my dress. Then, much to my surprise, she bit my leg! Hard! In fact, it was hard enough to leave a welt/bruise. Ouch! When I said "no, we do not bite" she threw herself on the ground dramatically and cried hysterically. She does not like being told she's not supposed to do something.

By the time the Patriot's turned the game around in the last two minutes Sadie had cheered up. When her team won she ran around the room squealing and clapping. If Daddy had been home to see it he would have been so proud!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Strolling with the Remote

Sadie has a cute little pink doll stroller that her great grandma Gee gave her for her birthday. It has a little bear on it and if you press the bear’s stomach it plays music. She knows how to press the button now to get the music to play, but that’s not the best thing about the stroller.

Sadie’s favorite thing to do with the stroller is kind of a surprise. She yanks her dolls out of it and runs around the room searching. Then she finds the remote control for the television and the satellite dish. She races back to the stroller and then carefully places them in the seat. Then she cruises around the room, pushing them in front of her. Occasionally she walks, pulling the stroller behind her with her dolls piled on the ground.

She also thought it was fun to take the remotes out of the stroller and bring them to Grumpa. She hands them to him and then she takes them back. Then she smiles at him and hands them to him again. She could be occupied by this activity for hours if she could just find someone to play along with it for that long! She tried to trade him the remotes for his coffee this morning, she definitely knows what they do and she thought it was a fair trade, but still no coffee for the baby, much to her disappointment (where she gets that I don't know, neither Mommy nor Daddy drink coffee!).

Right now she’s in her crib watching her “Your Baby Can Read” DVD. She hasn’t watched them in a long time and she loves them, so we’re trying to use it as a way to wind down before bedtime. Ten minutes until lights out!

Fact Checking the Abortion Claim

For my readers who do doubt that abortion will be part of the Obama Care you may want to check out this article on FactCheck.org. It's very enlightening and since this is a non-partisan organization that calls both sides out on a regular basis you might believe them a bit more then you'd believe me. The final sentence sums it up pretty well:

As for the House bill as it stands now, it’s a matter of fact that it would allow both a "public plan" and newly subsidized private plans to cover all abortions.

Of course there is debate over how the language in the article should be interpreted, so you may want to check out their link to their mailbag. I'm not going to post Planned Parenthoods response because I try not to repeat blatant lies (and if you're using Planned Parenthood as your moral compass when checking on what's right and wrong, or even true, there may be some problems) but I will post the letter from Douglas Johnson the Legislative Director at the National Right to Life Committee:

We think that FactCheck.org is in error in the way it uses the term "public funds."
It is true that the Capps Amendment does contain, on page 6, a caption that reads, "(3) PROHIBITION ON USE OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR ABORTION COVERAGE." But this is another red herring, artfully inserted by Chairman Waxman’s seasoned staff. If you read the OPERATIVE clause that immediately follows that caption, you see that the prohibition applies ONLY to the "affordability credit" – that is, it applies ONLY to one very specific type of "public funds."

There is nothing in the Capps Amendment that prohibits the use of any type of "public funds" (or "federal funds") for abortions by the new public option plan, EXCEPT the prohibition on using the "affordability credit." If the Capps Amendment ACTUALLY contained a clause "that prohibits the use of public funds to pay for abortions" (your phrase), then the public option would NOT be able to pay for abortions at all – because once the federal agency collects the premiums (including the abortion surcharge required on pages 4 and 5 of the Capps Amendment), those premiums ARE public funds. They are in a federal account and will be paid out by a federal agency in accord with federal statutes and regulations.

Many government agencies collect funds from various sources – appropriations from general revenues, certainly, but also specific fees required by statute or regulation, user fees, fines, assets of drug dealers, and many others – and, in this case, premiums. Once the government agency has control of the funds, they are all public funds. The drafters of the Capps Amendment understand this very well, and they carefully crafted language that applies only to a single sub-class of public funds.

Again, the Capps Amendment does NOT contain any general prohibition on the use of "public funds" (or "federal funds") for elective abortions. Rather, the Capps Amendment says that the cost of the elective abortions cannot be counted against the "affordability credits" (premium subsidies), but must be counted against the abortion-specific premium add-on (what we call the abortion surcharge). We assert that both sources are "public funds" and both sources are "federal funds."

Thank you for your consideration of these points.

Douglas Johnson
Legislative Director
National Right to Life Committee

Up and Running

Sadie is up and running around again. Yesterday was quite the scare! And how do you keep a fifteen month old who runs everywhere she goes, from trying to walk?

Today Sadie would limp from time to time (usually because she was being too hard on her pulled muscle). She didn't want to "take it easy" and thought that since her leg was now holding her weight, it was good to run, stomp, stumble and chase the cats around (I caught her following Delilah around holding on to her tail at one point).

I will be glad when this flu season is over (not that I'm wishing fall and winter, my two current favorite seasons, away), just because I'm so nervous she's going to get sick. Now she's waking up though so I have to run! Her little eyes are open!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Anti-Abortion vs. Anti-Life

This blog post if for my husband who is pretty frustrated with the media in our country.

We went to Mass tonight, instead of tomorrow so that we could leave Sadie with Nani and Grumpa and hopefully avoid exposing her to the flu (just in case that isn't what's already been going around our house). Paul and I felt completely better today and Sadie is up and running around (which is such a relief, again, thank you for all of the prayers). Our parish on most Sundays is packed full of people and while we love to bring Sadie along it's just too risky right now, especially since she already has an ear infection, although you wouldn't know from the way she was bouncing off the walls. On our way to Mass, which was about forty five minutes away, we were talking about all sorts of topics when the murder yesterday of Pro-Lifer James Pouillon came up.

My husband was outraged, for more then one reason. He had grown steadily more irritated as we watched the news last night and I'd had to listen hard to hear anything that was being said on TV. The reason (aside from the obvious, which you can read about on pretty much any pro-life blog right now)?

It appears that "Pro-Life" is no longer the P.C. term. Every single channel that reported the story talked about the "Anti-Abortionist" that was murdered. Not once was the term "Pro-Life" used. I didn't think "Pro-Choice" is an ugly enough name for the reality of what that stance supports, but apparently they didn't like being contrasted with the name "Pro-Life" because it made them look like they were actually "Pro-Death" (imagine that!).

So our uber-liberal press is no longer using the term "pro-life." We are now "anti-abortionists." While the term is technically accurate it shows the negative way that most of the media outlets in this country want to portray the people who are fighting against the tide to stop the slaughter of innocent unborn children. When you put a thing or a group in negative terms it sounds much more...well... negative for lack of a better description. There's anti-Catholics and anti-semitism, oh and there are those crazy anti-abortionists.

They've let our adversaries name us. It's only fair to let us return the favor. Pro-Choice probably isn't P.C. anymore. How about Pro-Death (my husband's favorite)? Or, if we're "anti-abortionists" they could always be "pro-abortionists." Even with the "pro" in front of it, it doesn't sound very pretty. Or maybe if we're making everybody "anti-" something we could make them "anti-life." I think that fits nicely.

We're "anti-abortion." They're "anti-life." It doesn't seem like there's much ground in between...

"I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked." Revelations 3: 15-17