Sunday, February 28, 2010

Name that Religious Site!

This was one of my very favorite places in all of Israel. Can anyone guess where it is?

HInt: It ties in with today's Gospel reading?

Five Points Fitness in Corte Madera: The Reason I May Never Get Another Gym Membership...

I woke up this morning, bright and early, thinking about fitness. Today is the start of Week 21 of pregnancy #2 and, probably due to all the energy I've had lately, I've started to think about getting back into shape post baby. For a lot of people, that would probably involve getting a gym membership. I'll have to be a little more creative. You see, after our last gym-experience I'm a little gun shy of signing on the dotted line for a membership at any gym.

It wasn't always like this. I begged and pleaded for a gym membership when I was sixteen so that I could swim laps to get ready for lifeguard training the next year during the long winter months. My best friend and I even managed to get up at 4:30 in the morning to drive ten miles to the closest gym, in my rusty 1973 Volkswagen Beetle that more often than not had to be roll started even on not so cold mornings, to work out before school.

I got a membership at 24 hour fitness during college, during one of their twenty something dollar a month promotions, and was spending an insane amount of time working out back when I was playing rugby.

I even got a membership at the Sports Science Institute when I was going to school in Cape Town, South Africa, although it involved walking about six miles to get there, which in itself was a pretty good workout.

Working out at a gym was a big part of my life. So when I met Paul it seemed natural that we would work out together. He'd worked as a personal trainer for a few years and had a membership at a gym in Corte Madera. As a surprise after we'd been dating for a few months he got me a membership too and we started going together most days after work. Then I got a job working at another local gym, and my boss gave Paul a free membership too.

Canceling our membership at our old gym was a relief by that point. It had been a great gym when I'd started going, but midway through new owners had taken over and the gym had been transformed. Originally it had been the type of gym where people went to work out. One day it was reorganized (and sold) and became Five Points Fitness.

Now it looked more like a daycare center, where harried trainers were saddled with groups of ten kids under the age of twelve and instructed to teach them free weights. Watching from an exercise bike on the second floor was almost painful. A free weight hit the floor every fifteen seconds and it usually wasn't an accident. It looked like a painful lawsuit waiting to happen.

We got engaged and moved out of the city. We got married. A year after we got married we found out that we were expecting a baby. Sadie was born and I can honestly say that I hadn't thought of Five Points Fitness in quite some time....

... Until we got a phone call from Paul's mom saying that a collection agency was calling her demanding to speak with him and saying that they were going to destroy his credit and his life.

This was a major concerned. I'm more than a little obsessed with credit. I make budgets. I don't have late payments. And I'd never heard from a collection agency before.

Paul got there number and called back. It turned out that Five Points Fitness had turned our names over them to collect something like fifty dollars. On top of that was the collection agencies fee, which meant we now owed something like two hundred dollars.

I was shocked. I'd stood next to Paul when we'd cancelled our membership. We even knew the guy who'd done the paperwork: Rory. After listening to the threats of the cussing collection agent Paul called Five Points Fitness. We were very naive. We thought that since we really hadn't done anything wrong, we wouldn't have to pay. It was all one big mistake.

After about twenty calls Paul was finally put through to the owner, by an innocent desk person who hadn't yet been told that he absolutely wasn't taking our calls. He and Paul talked. And argued. They demanded that we show the receipt that proved that we'd stopped our membership. The claim was that we'd never cancelled it and so they'd kept trying to bill us. I remembered Rory handing me a receipt... Three years earlier.

Now I don't know about you, but after three years I don't know where most of my receipts are. I keep pay stubs. I keep important warranties. But during a big move it would never have occurred to me that I would ever need the receipt that said I'd cancelled my gym membership, ever again. Paul told the owner that Rory had handled the cancellation. The owner explained that he didn't work there anymore.

Here's the part that really bothers me: after a long argument the owner of Five Points Fitness finally admitted that it was fully possible that they'd made a mistake and that we didn't owe anything at all... he followed that statement by saying that he needed to cover his own costs since it had gone to a collection agency, so that we at least needed to pay. He wouldn't budge.

We ended up paying two hundred dollars to the collection agency after talks between Paul and the less than honest owner broke down.

So that's why when I think of getting back into shape, I'm a bit leery about getting a gym membership. I know there are plenty of gyms out there and not everybody has such horrible business practices (and horrible business ethics) but after this experience signing any sort of agreement would make me feel a little vulnerable. I guess my plan will include lots of walking and chasing Sadie around outside in the garden.

If you've stumbled across this site because you're think about getting a membership at Five Points Fitness in Corte Madera, you're one step ahead of where we were: at least you've been warned. And if you do get a membership you know now to keep your receipts. Forever.

Today's pictures are from those early days when we still had gym memberships :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Second Trimester Energy Boost and Crafting!

Sadie is sleeping and I just finished sewing her first Mommy-Made Dress (hopefully I'll have some pictures up here soon... that is if Sadie fits into the dress... it's a 4t and looks a little small for her 20 month old frame!)! There were some minor and major mistakes along the way (someone turned the setting for stitch length to 6- or baste- and I'd never even thought about stitch length, much less needing to check or adjust it!) and I learned some important sewing lessons that I'm not going to forget anytime soon.

I'm feeling particularly industrious today. It must be that second trimester energy boost! It's finally here!

Here are the projects I've been working on lately:
  • Rosaries- I taught myself how to make wire rosaries and have been working like crazy on them! I'm hoping to open an etsy shop sometime in the very near future and rosaries are quickly becoming one of my favorite things to make! It's taking me about two hours to make one now although when Sadie "helps" me it can take considerably longer.
  • Crochet- I'm working on a gigantic rose colored blanket for Sadie. I started it a while back and told her I was making a blanket for her to have on her bed when she was ready for a real twin size "big girl bed." Which brings up the question of why I made it so huge. it will easy drape down either side of her "big girl bed" when she finally grows out of her little one. In fact, it may be big enough to go across our king sized bed. It should be a fun blanket for her to make forts out of though. Hopefully it will be done in time for her next birthday. I've got three and a half months!
  • Knitting- I have a aquamarine scarf on one pair of needles, a cable knit sweater I haven't touched in ages on another, an easter sweater for Sadie that matched her newMommy-made dress, and a different cable sweater for me that has been 90% finished since December. All that is left is one part of the final sleeve. I'm sure it will be perfect by next Christmas!
  • Sewing- Having finished up Sadie's dress I think I'll try another. I received some of those super-sale patterns I got from Vogue (the vintage ones were on sale for $3 something but the sale was over by the time I came over here to post on it!) but I think I'll try three or four more little Sadie dresses before I risk that much material on my sewing skills.
  • Needle Point- I found a bunch of squares with nursery rhythm characters on them and have been stitching them up with embroidery floss. I'd like to make a nursery rhythm quilt (Sadie's a little obsessed with Mother Goose at the moment) but I may end up framing them and putting them in her room (when she has a room!) until I get around to the quilt idea!
  • Felting- my felting plan has been on hold for a few weeks, after the last debacle. I knit the material I need to make mittens, now I just need to felt it and see if it's going to work or if we're in for another disaster!
Those are the main projects I have going at the moment! Paul would tell you that I need to work on finishing old projects before I start new ones (but he'd also blame it on my personality type on those personality tests- INTJ... so I guess I'm hopeless!). Now that Sadie's awake I have to run! I promised that we'd go on a walk and bake a cake today!

I love the second trimester nesting/energy boost!

In the Garden?!?!

The baby monster is watching Side the Science Kid. She spent the day yesterday trying to convince Grumpa that she had hidden the remote control down in the garden. She almost got him to believe it (he would have if he hadn’t known that she’d been inside all day long and hadn’t had a chance to take it outside).

It all started when the remote disappeared and Grumpa asked Sadie where it was. She ran straight to the side door and pointed out at the garden. When he asked her again five minutes later she did the same thing. Every time she was asked in the living room she’d run to the door with a huge smile and point out.

The remote control was later found underneath her toy lion.

Sadie is remaining silent on how the remote got under her toy lion, but would likely blame one of the cats if she were talking.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Prayers for Layla Grace!

I was zooming around the net while Sadie's napping and stumbled upon this site... I have now stopped crying (because I'm not currently reading it).. be warned, it is a tearjerker. It's about a toddler, Layla Grace, who is living her last days with neuroblastoma. Prayers for this sweet little girl and her family.

Doctor's Visit #4- 20 weeks along- part 2

I was so exhausted last night that I tucked Sadie into bed at around 7:30 and I didn't even pick up my computer and attempt to write a quick follow up post about my appointment. I'm pretty sure I was sound asleep by 8pm (about three hail Mary's short of my daily goal... although waking up twice with Sadie gave me the chance to finish.)

I dropped Sadie and Nani off at a museum/aquarium and went to the doctor's appointment. It was an hour an a half until the park closed and since my doctor's usually right on schedule I was sure I'd have plenty of time to spare.

Begin the waiting period: I only waited for about ten minutes in the waiting room. I've been hard at work on my latest project and was wrapping wire rosaries in the waiting room when they called me back. After the preliminaries (yay! My blood pressure was almost normal yesterday!) the nurse left and it was back to waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

After twenty minutes of waiting I remembered that I'd promised to give up reading gossip magazines and put down the article about the Jonas brother's wedding last month (I was really bored). Then I tried to remember the specific wording of my resolution because I think it was to stop buying those magazines, and "accidently" glancing at one in the waiting room wasn't exactly "buying" one. And does People magazine really count as a "gossip" magazine?

It probably does.

At least it was totally unintentional.

So I put down the magazine and moved across the room to the hard backed chair to work on my second wire rosary of the day (I'm getting pretty quick at making them!). Staring at the clock I realized half an hour was up. And then forty five minutes passed. And then an entire hour. In a few minutes the park was going to close, leaving Sadie and Nani out front waiting for me without a cell phone (Grumpa had theirs)! Finally the doctor entered the room.

She felt the bump and said "everything looks perfect!" and got ready to walk out.

I eyed her skeptically. You see, she kept telling me everything was "perfect" with Sadie and when I'd ask her if she thought she was a tad big she'd say she's "perfect" and yet the first think she said when she lifted Sadie up into the world was "I knew that she was huge!" so I'm trying to get slightly more specific answers this time around. I mean, I'm okay with big, I kind of expect it since Paul is almost a foot taller than me, and really I know there's nothing that I can do, but I guess I'm just the kind of person who would like to have an idea if the baby I'm carrying around is particularly gigantic! And since this baby is already measuring 2 weeks bigger than it's due date, I'm particularly curious (Sadie was only measuring 2 days bigger at this point).

Here's pretty much my entire appointment as I remember it:

Me: "See I was just wondering if you thought this baby was a little on the big side too, because at the ultrasound it kept saying that the baby was at least a week bigger than her due date and so I was wondering..."

The Doc: "We haven't changed your due date."

Me: "Oh I knew that, I was just wondering if you think that she's big?"

She gives a generic "perfect size" response. I decide that since she's paused long enough for me to ask a question I should go on and get the most out of my two minutes.

Me: "I was also wondering when we'd set a date for the section. I figured not yet, but everyone keeps asking me when we'll know by."

The Doc: "We won't do that for a few more months. But the c-section will probably be scheduled about a week before your due date. And we're going with July 11th for your due date? So how does the 4th of July sound? Wouldn't that be neat, to have fireworks for your baby's birthday every year?"

Me: "I didn't think you'd want to be working on the fourth?"

The Doc: "Well it depends on the day of the week.... and whether or not the hospital will let me schedule one for a holiday. They might not. But we'll probably end up doing it between the fourth and the eleventh."

Me: "And I guess it doesn't matter if the baby's all that big this time?"

The Doc: "No, it doesn't matter nearly as much."

The other answer I get when I ask if she thinks the baby is going to get big is that "you're husband is very tall." I guess that is as close to a "probably" as I'm going to get.

As soon as I was out of the room I raced over to get Nani and Sadie (Grumpa had met us at the park and had ended up waiting so they had a warm car to sit in and I was only seven minutes late) and we started the hour and a half ride home. It was a lot of sitting! And we discovered that Sadie would only stop crying if we put Sarah Bareilles' "Love Song" on repeat. The second the song switched the water works would start. It was a long ninety minutes.

I do wonder if we'll end up with an earlier date simply because I was at 3 cm a month before my due date and 4 cm a week before and I would think that might make them nervous since I'm not supposed to go into labor this time around... We'll have to wait and see though!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Doctor's Visit #4- 20 weeks along- part 1

We're getting ready to head into the city for doctor's appointment #4 today! It'll be great to hear what she has to say about our giant baby and the sonogram. I wonder when they'll schedule the birth (hospital has a no- VBAC policy in case you're wondering)? I expect everything to be absolutely normal! Maggie Rose has been kicking up a storm and even kicks at anything that touched my stomach these days. She kicks at Sadie a lot when she nurses!

I'll give an update tonight on how everything went!

Bishop of the Week: Bishop Robert Francis Vasa! (Again!!!!)

Earlier this week I was tipped off in the comments section that Bishop Vasa (who might very well be my favorite Bishop in the entire US at this point!) had stood up for Catholic teachings yet again and basically said that the hospital in Bend had departed from Catholic practices and was no longer Catholic.

After reading so much about the entirely un-Catholic events that take place at "Catholic" Universities, it was heartening (although still sad because it's sad that this sort of thing is necessary) to see a Bishop stand up and say that what is going on is wrong and that you cannot do these things and remain Catholic. I have to recommend his weekly posts at the Catholic Sentinel again!

"BEND — In the course of the past several weeks I have focused on what it means for individuals and institutions to be Catholic. I have done this, in part, because of a concern about Catholic colleges and hospitals in general but also, in part, because of very specific discussions I have been having with the administration of St. Charles Medical Center, a Catholic health care institution, in Bend. Over the course of the past several years I have struggled with the difficulty of trying to reconcile some practices ongoing at the medical center with clear Church teaching. In January I wrote: “It is not uncommon for faithful Catholics to question the Catholicity of these public institutions especially when they seem to be expressing and holding public views which are, or strongly appear to be, contrary to the clear teachings of the Church. At what point are these institutions no longer ‘in the communion of the Catholic Church on this earth?’” I have come to the very difficult conclusion, after much discussion and discernment, that it is time to acknowledge that which has become very clear to me, namely, that St. Charles is a community hospital and should no longer be identified as a Catholic institution."
"In 2007 the diocese was presented with a report on the level of compliance with the ERDs (“Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services”) and that report indicated that there were a couple of areas of grave concern. While the commitment to adhering to Catholic principles was clearly present the same could not be said about adherence to or avoidance of certain immoral medical practices.

I have noted elsewhere that while adherence to the principles in a general way is commendable, that alone does not identify an Institution as Catholic. There must also be an adherence to those practices which are also a part of what it means to be a Catholic institution. Sadly, after having functioned in a particular way for a large number of years the board did not see how it could now align the medical practices of the hospital with the ERDs to a degree that would justify an ongoing sponsorship relationship between the Diocese of Baker and St. Charles.

As bishop, I am responsible for attesting to the full Catholicity of the hospitals in my diocese, a responsibility I take very seriously, and I have reached the conclusion that I can no longer attest to the Catholicity of St. Charles. The board is responsible for the operation of the medical center and for its compliance with the ethical guidelines it deems suitable for St. Charles. The question the board faced was whether it could alter its present practices to the degree required for continued identification as “Catholic.” It was the board’s determination that it could not meet that standard.

I see before me two distressing options. I must either condone all that is being done at St. Charles and its affiliates by continuing a sponsorship relationship or I must recognize that those practices are absolutely contrary to the ERDs and distance myself from them. It would be misleading to the faithful for me to allow St. Charles to be acknowledged as Catholic in name while, at the same time, being morally certain that some significant tenets of the ERDs are no longer being observed there.

This is not a condemnation of St. Charles. It is a sadly acknowledged reality."

This is just part of Bishop Vasa's post. Read the Full Article Here.

I think it's especially important for our Bishops to speak out these days, when moral relativism is so rampant. I read the very skewed comments following an article over on the Contra Costa Times that had been written about Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's visit to my old Alma Mater and was horrified (although having lived in the East Bay for 6 years I can't say I was particularly surprised). A number of commentators seemed to hold the view that if the Bishops and Vatican haven't said anything about what's going on at the Catholic Universities it must be okay.

No. That logic is entirely false. The fact that the Vatican hasn't ripped away the "Catholic" name from certain Universities does not mean that their actions are "okay." I remember reading (I think in the Pope's book Jesus of Nazareth) a quote that compared some Catholic Colleges and Universities to the parable of the wheat and the tares. If you remember that 's the one where a bunch of weed seeds gets sown in with the good seed and the weed plants grow up with the wheat. The servants ask if they should pull out the weeds, but the owner says no to wait until they're full grown and then they'll sift through them and through the weeds into the fire:

He proposed another parable to them. "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds 10 all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?' He answered, 'An enemy has done this.' His slaves said to him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' He replied, 'No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; 11 then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, "First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn."'
At the same time I'm relieved that there's a Bishop out there who's speaking out so clearly against Catholic in Name Only Organizations. It lets those who doubt the truth know that there is a clear path, there is such thing as right and wrong, good and evil and that is an important fact to remember day to day in a world where the truth is often twisted into an attitude that everything is relative.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tides May be Turning in the Golden State...

As a Catholic in California I've learned not to expect to much politically. I go to the polls and vote, and I know that the majority will vote in the exact opposite way most of the time (I have been pleasantly surprised once or twice recently).

One gets used to being disappointed again and again. Our voters will tell the world that 12 year olds should be allowed to get abortions without their parent's knowledge and for years have kept reelecting the same idiots over and over again and then wonder aloud why our state seems to be in a downward spiral that it just can't seem to pull out of (doing the same thing and expecting different results is crazy, but this is California). So when I read this article this afternoon, it made me smile:
Political sea change?
Californians turn against Pelosi, healthcare reform according to pollster; Boxer could be in trouble too, says another poll

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat who describes herself as a Catholic but has rejected the counsel of her own bishop, has apparently fallen from grace with California voters.

While likely safe in the liberal San Francisco district she represents, a Field Poll shows Pelosi as widely unpopular elsewhere in the state. “More Californians now offer an opinion of the job being done by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and their views are more negative than positive,” said a statement released by the Field Poll in late January. “At present, 46% of voters disapprove and 39% approve of her performance overall.


Pelosi’s remarks in a Dec. 21 interview with Newsweek magazine, in which she reaffirmed her support for abortion and same-sex marriage even though she had been previously counseled by San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer, prompted a written response from the archbishop in the archdiocesan newspaper Catholic San Francisco.

“It is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching to conclude that our freedom of will justifies choices that are radically contrary to the Gospel -- racism, infidelity, abortion, theft,” wrote Archbishop Niederauer in his Jan. 15 column. “Freedom of will is the capacity to act with moral responsibility; it is not the ability to determine arbitrarily what constitutes moral right.


Also in possible political trouble is California’s junior senator, liberal Democratic firebrand Barbara Boxer, who is up for re-election this coming November. The highly respected Cook Political Report has moved heavily Democratic California to the category of a toss-up state in the upcoming senate race based on recent polling. A Feb. 15 Rasmussen poll shows Boxer barely ahead of various Republican challengers – by 4% against Carly Fiorina, by 5% against Chuck Devore, by 4% against Tom Campbell.


Leisa Brug Kline, DeVore for California campaign manager, said in a prepared statement released the same day as the Rasmussen poll, "This morning's Rasmussen numbers affirm what we've known for some time: that Barbara Boxer is eminently vulnerable…”
It's raining here right now, but after reading this it seems a little brighter outside. Maybe common sense will prevail in the upcoming elections. It would certainly be a welcome change!

Note: Cook Political Report would like to point out that they didn't rate the state "Toss Up" (it was "Lean" when I looked) so Cal Catholic had that part wrong in their article. On the upside my little-read blog is apparently read enough to cause people to become indignant and rude. I'm not sure why that continues to surprise me, but it does.

I said that reading this article makes me happy and posted an excerpt from the article saying it cheered up my day and someone demands an apology. Hmmmm... you might want to demand your apology from the person who wrote article. And try take yourself a little less seriously.

Tractor Days...

Sadie has become a champion napper! She went to sleep yesterday for Nani and when we went up for naptime today it only took five minutes before she was out cold!

She had a very exciting morning today. A government agency is doing some environmental restoration to the river that we live on. So BLM has been out here a lot checking things out (they had an archeologist come out and make sure there were no artifacts, although there was some joking around that he wasn’t looking very hard) and today they brought out an excavator and a backhoe and dug some giant 18 ft deep holes. Then they put pipes in and covered the holes back up. For the next two years they’ll be monitoring the holes and the water level to see how low the water table is. These things definitely don’t move very quickly.

We had been waiting for the tractors all week. The BLM guy would come out each night and say that they would be there the next day and then the next night would come back and say that things had gone slowly and that they would probably be there tomorrow. Sadie was getting a little impatient! Two mornings ago she woke up at 6am and was ready to go out and look for tractors.

They finally arrived today! This week has been gorgeous. It was blue sky and short sleeve weather. When we peeked out heads outside to see the tractors it started to pour. But we certainly weren’t going to let something like a little rain stop us , so armed with umbrella’s and Sadie’s super stroller we headed out and spent a good hour watching the excavator and the backhoe work. And of course there were some tears when we headed back in!

And here’s a picture of Sadie’s new tractor ride. Grumpa created it for her and it was a huge hit. She thinks she needs at least one tractor ride a day. When it gets a little warmer it just might happen!

Mr. Francisco?

I should start by pointing out the my readers that this is in fact satire (it took me halfway through the article to figure that out). It comes far too close to the skewed political correct reality that is a fact of life, day in and day out, in California:
Mr. Bernardino and Rabbi Serra
by Rev. John Juedes

The San Bernardino City Council has approved a resolution to change the name of the city. It will now be called Mr. Bernardino.

Councilwoman Poly Ticly-corect stated, “It is important for separation of church and state that we do this. This name change retains the Hispanic heritage of our city while eliminating the religious problem of having our city named for ‘Saint Bernardino.’”

In a related action, the council will change the names of “Crosswalks” and “Rail Crossings” to “Passwalks” and “Passings.” A council news release stated, “We cannot show any preference for religion, so we must remove the word ‘cross’ because of its obvious connection to Christianity.”

The council noted that state Attorney General Gerry Brown has already ordered Caltrans to change signs across the state. Not following suit would open the city to legal action by the ACLU. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has proposed a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

The city of Santa Barbara has already changed its name to “Barbara.” The California Supreme Court is expected to pass a ruling in June which would have required this change.

The Santa Barbara Mission has changed its name to Santa Barbara Community Center so it does not offend residents who are atheists or adherents of religions other than Christianity.

Father Serra founded many of the California Missions. Textbooks in California public schools will be required to call him “Rabbi Serra” instead of “Father Serra.”

Informed that Serra was actually a Roman Catholic priest, not a Jew, a spokesman said, “We cannot let the facts of the past interfere with our future diversity. The Catholic Church will be allowed to continue to call him Father Serra if it is willing to give up its tax exempt property status. Our textbooks already avoid using the titles ‘Rev.’ or ‘Pastor’ for Martin Luther King, so we are following established practice.”

See article here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Favorite Things: Brilliant Bows!

I am thrilled! Sadie's anti-bow phase seems to be over!

Sadie has been going through a phase (for the last ten months approximately) in which she refuses to wear bows, clips, hair ties or headbands of any kind in her hair. Since she also isn’t a fan of hair cuts, which without clips are necessary to keep her quickly growing bangs out of her eyes, this has been something of a problem. Cutting her bangs while she’s asleep has been only marginally successful, since she sleeps restlessly on her side or stomach pretty much all of the time. Laying face down is not the best position for getting a hair one’s bangs trimmed.

In the beginning (after the hair tie rebellion began) I would try to sneak a bow in her hair, but that just resulted in a tantrum when she realized that there was a hair tie of some kind on top of her hair and that it had clearly been placed there without her knowledge. She can be quite indignant if she thinks she's been tricked into something...

So for a while I just gave up and did my best to keep her curls brushed and washed (I think they can hear the ruckus miles away when the weekly hair washing happens). She still ended up looking like a little ragamuffin most of the time, because her curls go crazy after about 10 seconds of playing and stand out all over the place, but what can you do?

Today we were looking at pictures of "tiny baby Sadie" and she was very curious about the bows that "tiny baby Sadie" was wearing. Then when I went to my WIC appointment and Nani watched her they talked about bows. And tonight when Sadie was getting ready for her bath she took Nani into the bathroom and pointed for a bow and let Nani put it in her hair (I'd gone into the other room and was shocked when I walked in and Sadie was sitting on Nani's lap with a bow in her hair and she actually knew that the bow was there and wasn't panicking about it!). She kept the bow in for her whole bath and bedtime routine and then even went downstairs to show it to Daddy and Grumpa! I really hope this means that her hair-phobia phase is over.

And here's the reason why! One of my friends owns a bow shop. When I found out that I was having a baby girl the first time around one of the very first things I did was go online and order around a dozen bows! And if you've seen "tiny baby Sadie" pictures you know that they usually involved a bow!

I love the bows Stephanie makes! She's has two blond little girls (who were bald babies not all that long ago) and she got the idea to start making bows when none of the bows she had would stay in Hope's hair. The business has expanded and now there are lots of bows to choose from!

Here are a few of my favorites:

If you have a daughter or niece or granddaughter or just know a little girl who'd look cute in a bow, check out Brilliant Bows! You might be surprised once you start looking around by how many bows you absolutely "need"!

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Country Fun with Toddlers and Tractors

This last October we went to a festival at a local winery. They had hooked up a trailer to the back of a tractor and gave the kids a ride through the grape vines to a pumpkin patch they had set up. Sadie loved it! The ride also inspired Grumpa, who decided that Sadie needed her own tractor ride at home. Here's the result as Sadie sees it:

What is Grumpa up to? And why is my stroller in the back of the old trailer that Grumpa hooked up to his tractor? This looks like it could be good... but will Nani and Mommy go along with it?

This just keeps getting better and better!

Rolling along...

Heading up the road to see Nini and Gigi!

And down to see the river and the ducks!

Through the puddle...

Life is good! In fact it gets even better when I'm in the driver's seat!

Got my hat, got my gloves, ready to go to work!

Grumpa, how do you wear these things?!?!

This may very well be the best day ever!

More on the Big Girl Bed

Sadie woke up after only forty minutes of napping. Since she’d gone to sleep at 1:30 (she’s starting pushing her nap back two hours, but it means she sleeps for longer) I knew she would be cranky if she didn’t get back to sleep, and after several unsuccessful tries I brought her up into the big bed and laid down next to her. She was instantly out.

An hour and a half later (our nap turned into a Super Nap) she was wide awake. She sat up, hugged a stuffed animal and looked around the room with a slightly confused look on her face as if she were trying to figure out how she got there. So I decided to ask her a question.

“Sadie, where is your Big Girl Bed.”

She gets a little smile and then points at the bed we’re sitting on.

“But where’s Mommy’s bed.”

The little smile gets bigger and more mischievous and she pauses before pointing to the same spot.

“But where is the Big Girl Bed Sadie sleeps in at night.”

Points again to bed she’s in.

After about five rounds of this I leaned back and pointed to her bed and said, “but what about that bed.”

Sadie’s smile got even bigger, she did this little fake “surprised” look and then started pointed to the “Big Girl Bed.”

I was pretty funny though seeing her try to convince me that she was in “her” bed and that she didn’t know what I was talking about!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sadie Frown of the Week: NBC's Olympic Coverage

Sadie and I were all fired up this afternoon. We were planning on watching the US/Canada hockey game. It would have been Sadie's first hockey game and I just know that she would have loved the sport. After all she loves football and baseball and just seems to be a sports-loving-girl.

We'd gone out with Nani and Grumpa and Nini and Gigi for some late afternoon Geocaching, but we made sure that we were home in time for the game... or almost in time... Sadie and I rushed in three minutes after the game had started, flipped on NBC... and found.... Russia playing the Czech Republic...

I took a deep breath. Maybe they would switch over afterwards. Or maybe it would start from the beginning after the Russian/Czech game ended. I flipped onto the satellite info and it said Russian/Czech hockey game, skiing, ice dancing...

Another deep breath. I reread the description. I flipped ahead to see if it would be on later. No sign of American/Canadian hockey anywhere.

So I flipped up to USA (the channel), which has had some Olympic events (they must be owned by the network or something). They were showing Pirates of the Caribbean. But I still had hope.

I flipped up to CNBC. Curling. Norway vs. Sweden if I remember correctly. Now Norway's red, white and blue checkered pants are pretty awesome, but we were looking for US/Canada hockey! The curling was almost over though, so I looked ahead to see what was on next... Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Models... seriously?!?! Instead of one of the major events for the North American teams in the Winter Olympics.

We went back to NBC, hoping that they might have come to their senses and found a recap of the 1980 Lake Placid USA/USSR match up. Now as interesting as this would have been as an intro to the game today or as a nice touch to add at intermission, it was downright insulting to those of us who knew the game was on and couldn't find it!

Paul had woken up to see the game (he's still on night duty) and finally found an explanation online. The game had been switched to MSNBC. We looked at the satellite menu and found that we would have to pay a ridiculous amount of money to get the game since we don't have the channel as part of my parent's package (and their package has tons of channels! It's crazy!).
So we are mighty annoyed. Paul and I have both been reminiscing about the days when the Olympics were on pretty much around the clock instead of select events with the favorites shown at 11pm (not everyone has Tivo!). This morning when we got home from Mass we checked NBC to see what even was on... any guesses to what it was? "Paid Programming."

I think NBC has proven that they aren't worthy of the Olympics. It's time to pass the responsibility on to someone who will do a good job and actually show the events that people want to see.

Maybe they can even find a network that shows the good events at a reasonable hour instead of in the middle of the night! I would have missed out on spending fourth grade obsessing over ice skating if they only showed it at 10 o'clock at night! The little kids that are the most excited about it are already in bed by then!

My Little Ponies!

Nani gave Sadie a My Little Pony tonight (Sadie got a little spoiled on our trip into the City yesterday) and Sadie spent most of the time during our bedtime routine brushing her pony’s pink hair with the little pink comb. Towards the end of the bedtime routine she handed me the pony and the brush and pointed to the pony.

As I started to brush the pony’s hair I hummed the My Little Pony theme song and Sadie went crazy. She started dancing and bouncing up and down with a huge smile on her face. When the song ended she took the pony, handed it to me again with the brush again and gave me an expectant look. When the humming started the dancing started. She was having a blast.

She also sings every single time she gets into Grumpa’s truck. She likes to stand on the back seat before she gets into her high chair and then she pretends to sing the Little Mermaid Song (the one without words, from the part when the sea witch steals her voice).

And we watched a few minutes of Snow White this morning and a lot of singing along accompanied that experience.

With all this singing and dancing I’m starting to feel like I live in a musical!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ave Maria...

At night we say our family rosary and much of the time Sadie seems to be trying to stay up to listen to the prayers. More than half the time she makes it and then fusses in her bed when we're done praying and it's time for sleep. Two nights ago I stumbled upon something inadvertently that puts her to sleep, and I'm really, really, really shocked at how well it works.

The first night we had finished all of our prayers and Daddy had left to go get ready for work. Sadie was still fussing and will usually fuss for a half hour to an hour trying to go to sleep on her own. During Lent a few years ago I memorized a bunch of the prayers tht I was learning as a new Catholic, in both Latin and English. So as Sadie fussed I decided to say a decade of the rosary in Latin. It was met with immediate silence.

In the dim light I could see her eyes closed peacefully after one pater noster and three ave maria's. I wondered if it was a fluke and tried it again last night. The exact same thing happened.

I still wasn't completely convinced though, so I tried it out today during nap time. She was fussing and resisting and pointing at her dolls and trying to convince me that she wasn't all that tired (although she'd had three tantrums in the previous ten minutes).

I didn't think of the rosary right away. I started by singing five lullabyes. She pointed at her dolls again. I said an our father in English. Her eyes were wide. And then I switched over. Before I'd completed the third ave maria her eyes were closed and she was fast asleep!

I don't know why this works, but I'm thrilled to find something that does! This is making life much easier and making for a better rested baby!

Sadie's First Barbie!

Sadie slept through the night last night and so, today, when we went into town, she got a Big Girl Reward. Her very first Barbie. It’s actually the ballerina Princess Ariel doll. When I handed it to her in the store she gazed lovingly at Ariel and then proceeded to kiss the plastic repeatedly as she was pushed around Target.

Then a near disaster occurred. We got out to the parking lot and Nani tried to open the Ariel doll’s box. Unfortunately the people who designed the packaging had apparently anticipated that the box needed to withstand a full-scale attack and had designed a complex system of anti-doll-removal traps that were nearly impossible to get past. Sadie was nearly having a meltdown by the time I dug through my diaper bag, found a pair of nail clippers and used the nail clippers to completely destroy the box (and finally freed the doll).

Half an hour later Ariel found herself dancing around in the rice on Sadie’s plate at lunch. And on the way home from our big day of shopping I glanced back and found Sadie completely asleep, with Ariel cradled in her arms. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Nap Time and Weaning

Nap time has become something of a struggle.

We’ve entered into Phase 3 of weaning. Phase 1 was night weaning. Phase 2 involved cutting out Sadie’s morning feeding. And now, Phase 3 means no more nursing before naptime. There was a one-month gap between each of the “Phases” and so far it’s worked out pretty well for us. At least it has from my point of view.

Phase 4 is set to launch towards the end of March and will complete the whole weaning process. It will mean no more night time feeding. I have a feeling that it might be the most disastrous of the phases. We can distract Sadie pretty well during the day… but she still pretty attached to nursing, particularly her bedtime feeding. She gets teary if it’s late…

But for now I’m focusing on Phase 3. Sadie doesn’t really see why she should take a nap if she isn’t going to have a naptime feeding. Nap time yesterday went something like this:

We told Sadie it was nap time and she hoped into her big girl bed. Then she sat up and giggled. We had been riding around in the tractor an hour earlier and she sat up, pointed to the side of the house that the tractor was parked on and said :

“Ga… ga… gump… pa… gump… gum…pa…. gumpa… ga….. gumpa….. gumpa…..”

She went on that way for at least fifteen minutes repeating “Grumpa” over and over again. I finally, hopeful still, started to read Goodnight Moon. She lay back on her pillow until we got to the picture of the three little bears sitting on chairs and then she jumped up enthusiasticially and grabbed her two bears, Chris and Oatmeal. Next I got a lesson on how her bears were like the bears in the pictures. They both had the same ears and noses. Sleep was a little bit further away after that.

I decided to give it the Super Nanny try and sit in the chair and let her figure out sleeping on her own. She grabbed the curtains. I said no. She cried. She laid down. She sat up. She giggled. She leaned off the bed and snagged every toy she could reach and pulled them onto the bed. She played. She threw them off the bed and started to cry. She laid back down.

After nearly an hour of this she got off the bed and ran crying over to me. Since we are still weaning I had offered to rock her in the rocking chair earlier (she had refused and gotten into bed). Now the rocking chair idea didn’t seem quite so bad. She curled up on my lap and I rocked. Two minutes later she was snoring and I gently put her back in the big girl bed.

I hope this gets easier soon!

Update: Today’s nap went much better! I gave Sadie a choice: I told her that she could be rocked to sleep in the rocker and then put in her bed, or she could go straight into her big girl bed and fall asleep. She opted for the rocker, changed her mind, tried out the big girl bed and then finally got up and sprinted back to me (I was still in the rocker knitting). So I rocked her to sleep and she is now soundly asleep. And it’s been 70 minutes, so it’s a good nap! Yay!

Tomato & Tuna Pasta Sauce: A Recipe for Little Ones from Annabel Karmel

I have been trying to work new recipes into our weekly routine and this one became an immediate favorite: it's from Annabel Karmel's First Meals.

Annabel Karmel's Tomato & Tuna Pasta Sauce

Preparation: 5 minutes; cooking 20 minutes
Makes 4 portions
Suitable for freezing

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 2/3 cups canned chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp superfine sugar
1/4 tsp dried mixed herbs
3 1/2 oz canned tuna in oil
2 tbsp soft cream cheese

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic, and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, except the tuna and cream cheese, and cook uncovered over medium heat for about 12 minutes.
  • Drain and flake the tuna, add to the sauce, and heat through.
  • Stir in the cream cheese until melted into sauce.
I made it for Sadie with bow tie pasta and it was a huge hit! Sadie ate a huge amount and dinner and then started giggling and pointing when she saw me get it out at lunch the next day. And the recipe made enough that I have a little tupperware container of the sauce frozen for next week. Even Paul, who hates tuna, tried it on a cracker and said that it was good. In fact it was pretty popular with all of the grownups in our house! If you have a toddler, you might want to give this one a try (it's in the 9-12 month section of the book, but for someone that tiny I think you'd have to figure out something other than bow ties!).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Dancing Bunny!

Sadie loves to pretend that she’s a tree. She thinks that the kitchen is the best place in the entire house to dance and goes in there, waving her hands in the air and pretending to be a tree like the ones outside that are “blowing in the wind.” She spins and dances and leans from side to side. It’s pretty cute (in my biased opinion anyway) to watch.

Sadie’s other favorite dance involves making “vrooming” sounds and pretending that she’s driving a tractor. Anything can be a dance these days.

She also pretends she’s a bird, a butterfly and a pony (the pony dance is one of my favorites because Sadie tries to do a little prancing step and gets so into it she almost falls over).

And where is the best possible place to dance?

In the kitchen of course!

We think that it’s because Sadie loves to hear the sound of her feet tapping as she zooms around the floor. Sometimes she even brings her penguin Mike along (a member of the penguin bowling pin set who someone forgot to sew flippers on) and they dance together in the kitchen. What fun!

Ash Wednesday: Sadie's Ashes

Sadie was not thrilled about the ashes yesterday. Here reaction to being brought to the front of the church when Mommy and Daddy got their ashes looked something like this:

No crying, just trying to disappear back into daddy's chest.

After we went back and sat down I took a little smudge of ash on my finger to see if she was more comfortable with Mommy doing it. Let's just say the reaction was an adamant "no." She gave me her hand and let me smudge a little cross there (because I had a feeling she'd want one later) and then clung to Daddy's shirt, turning every few minutes to give Mommy a severe looking pout before glancing up at my forehead and frowning. Daddy's ashes didn't seem to bother her.

When we got in the car I tried to come up with an appropriate 19 month old explanation for the ashes. I finally told her while we were waiting in the car for Daddy that the ashes were a sign to help us remember to be good. After that she started to look at them and smile.

By the time we got home she loved her ashes. She showed them to Nani. And then she took Nani's hand and ran all the way to the river to show them to Nini. Everyone had to see Sadie's barely there little smudge on her hand and she kept showing it to me all day long, even after they had long since rubbed off on her pink "Princess" sweatshirt.

I wonder what she'll think of it all next year...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Trusting in God's Plans

Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

Matthew 6: 26-34

I've been worrying a lot lately. You see, we know that we can't make the cabin work (very well at least) with four people (take the cabin challenge: move 2 adults and a toddler into a 10x15 foot cabin without running water and then add an infant on the way and you'll see what I mean). So I've been trying to figure out a way to design a budget with rent payments and water and all the rest of the things that would be wonderful additions to daily life. And I just didn't see how we could possibly do it.

Now the amount that we were off by wasn't a huge amount and probably wouldn't seem like all that much to some people, but it was beginning to seem pretty insurmountable to me.

Since trying to balance the budget and failing so miserably, I've been a bit difficult to be around. I've nagged Paul for buying a soda to stay awake during his night shift. I've scrutinized the credit card bill and been sick over the $250 a month that goes to gas stations (apparently the 600 mile round trip commute for Paul's school is expensive even with a Prius). I exasperated the whole migraine problem I've been having by stewing about the budget and was very tempted to cut one little thing out that would have "solved" the whole problem very neatly.

You may have already guessed it: Tithing.

It's funny because we used to make much more than we do now and yet we spent and spent and spent (and saved some) and, because we were still most definitely lower class, we were able to justify not tithing and told ourselves that it was something that we would do someday. A year ago something changed. I'd watched our parish struggle to pay bills month to month for almost a year and suddenly a light went on in my head: we may not make much, but we were still members of our parish and we still needed to do everything that we could to support it.

Paul was all for the idea when I brought it up. It became our New Years Resolution for 2009. And while the amount is small I knew that cutting that weekly check out to balance the budget simply wasn't an option. So I didn't bring it up.

I put my little budget folder aside and after a few more days of feeling stressed stopped thinking about it. Sadie keeps me so busy that being distracted isn't particularly hard to do and I've been keeping my hands busy with knitting and needlepoint for a money-making idea I've been cooking up (more on that later).

We had driven by the two apartment complexes that were at the top of our list, but that was even more discouraging. One of the complexes was very expensive for our area and while we weren't sure about the second complex it didn't look like they were renting. There were no big welcoming "2 bedroom/1 bath" signs up.

Yesterday while driving into town with my parents we stopped by the second complex to see if anyone was in the office. The manager was standing outside and while there is a problem (they are full right now) there is an even bigger upside. I've been walking around with a huge grin on my face.

This beautiful apartment complex is 100% HUD subsidized. The manager said the rent runs from $30 a month to $1050 a month and then said that there is a family of two with an income similar to ours (and rent is based on income) and that they pay $150 a month. I almost started jumping up and down! And the wait list is 3-6 months... I can wait 3-6 months for a $600 reduction in rent (the difference between the two apartments)!

As we drove home from Mass today after dropping off our application I began to think of the verse at the top of this page. God takes care of all of us. It may not always be in the way that we planned, and it doesn't always make as much sense as it did this time around, but in my experience when I trust in Him and stop trying to force my own plans and ideas things tend to work out better.

His way is always better than our own.

Now I just wish I could remember that all of the time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Finally Asleep!

Nap time was a disaster today! Or at least it started out that way. Sadie is finally asleep.

She started to fall asleep at 11:30, and then went into wide away mode and cried because she couldn't sleep until 2. Those hours, particularly from 12-2 were very, very long. I was amazed at how someone so tiny can be so stubborn! She's usually a pretty good napper, but today she was upset about location. She didn't want to be in her bed, so I let her go into the big bed to lay down, but then she decided she didn't want to be in that bed either. I finally sat next to her and looked the other way (I think that's Super Nanny advice? Or one of those shows like it...) and after about five minutes of sniffling she fell asleep.

Now I feel like I need a nap! I think we'll both sleep well tonight!

Apron Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is.....

Maureen (Suburban Prep)!


I just sent you an email so I can get the mailing info all ironed out and your new apron on its way!

I love giveaways!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Last Day to Enter the CNS Apron Giveaway!

Before I run off to Mass I just wanted to quickly post a reminder that today is the last day to enter the CNS Apron Giveaway!

Just click here and go to the comment section to enter!

More Genius Remarks in the Comments Box..."Kill Babies or they Might Cost You...."

This morning I found this bit of compassion tossed into the combox:
Mackenzie said...

I just figure the amount of tax money going to abortions will be a lot less than the amount that would go to welfare to pay for the kids if they gave birth to them.
Where to begin? I have to admit that the first thought that popped into my head when I read this was "taking evil to a whole new level..." but the sad truth is, it's not a "new level." There are far too many people in this world infected with the strain of moral relativism that tells us there is no good and no evil, that everything is just shades of grey, and apparently in Mackenzie's world, slaughtering an unborn child is a lesser evil than risking (gasp) someday having the child depend on the government.

Having grown up in low income small towns I can match faces to the abstract idea of "kids on welfare" and know amazing adults that worked hard, got scholarships and now work to help others. Perhaps it's because they know what it's like to be down and out, to have the contempt of people like you, Mackenzie, who honestly believe that they are better off dead than given a chance at life.

Valuing money above human life is very, very sad.

I also think its odd that a person can be passionate enough to have a blog about saving the environment, but can so easily disregard unborn human life.

Every life is sacred. Every child deserves the chance to be born, rather than being murdered, ripped limb from limb in his or her mother's womb, which should be the safest of places. Or do you honestly believe that any child deserves this?

You may also want to think about the fact that those children who you're a big fan of aborting, would most likely grow up to be the tax payers who will be paying into the system for your medi-care and social security in fifty or so years. But then again, maybe you don't think life has value after a certain point? I mean if you don't believe that life have value at the beginning than how can it somehow acquire worth and have value at the end?

Taking this logic to the next level I imagine Mackenzie is a big fan of euthanasia? I mean if you want to kill children because they might cost the government money at some point, than you'd probably want to toss in those old, retired folks as well who are no longer "productive members of society."

Once life loses its value and you started placing money and things over people, things go down hill fast. You may even become delusional and start to think that the world out there actually cares about what's inside your fridge.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Letter from Fr. Pavone's Blog

Trying to follow all the claims that have been made about the CCHD and the USCCB has made my head hurt. But to be fair, since I've posted quite a few concerns from the Reform CCHD Now, I thought I'd post this as well (read the entire thing here):
Is John Carr Pro-Life?

Dear Friends,

I received some inquiries recently regarding John Carr, who serves as the Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The inquiries, stemming from controversies over the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Center for Community Change, essentially asked if John is pro-life and committed to the goal of securing protection for the lives of unborn children.

Because I am in a position to answer that question, and because of the fact that hurting people’s reputations never serves our cause, let me state for the record that the answer to that question is “Yes.”

I have had many opportunities to talk to and listen to John over the years, in public and in private, to read his articles, and to discuss our common goal of seeing social justice and peace applied to our neighbors in the womb. His record is clear, and unlike some others, when he talks about justice and peace and human development, he does not fail to include the unborn.

I share with you below his own comments, as well as those of Richard Doerflinger, the Associate Director of the Secretariat for Pro-life Activities of the US Bishops’ Conference. As we work together to resolve the problems that do exist in our Church and in our culture, let’s do so with great caution to preserve the good reputation to which all of our colleagues have a right.

Fr. Frank Pavone
It is a relief to read something from a respected priest that actually answers questions instead of just saying "this is ridiculous" repeatedly.

I won't be donating to the CCHD in the near future (those concerns about where the money has gone are still very much there as my "Bishop of the Week" post pointed out), but then again, I probably wouldn't have anyhow. We belong to a small parish in a community with an unemployment rate that hovers around 20%. Any penny that passes through my hands will be going to the first collection of the day so that the our little parish can pay its bills and help the large numbers of poor right here outside our own doors. It is very much needed.

And I know without a doubt that a single cent won't go to an organization that will use it to end an unborn life.

Life Activist of the Month: Lila Rose, President of Live Action

A few weeks ago I joined the Live Action group on Facebook. I absolutely love getting their updates and reading their press releases and this morning I felt inspired after reading about the President and Founder of Live Action (visit their homepage here!). Here's what their site says:
"Live Action was founded in 2003 by then 15-year-old Lila Rose. Live Action gained formal incorporation and non-profit status in 2008. Lila Rose ( serves as president of the organization."
While the mainstream media spent the days after the March for Life trying to convince everyone that young people were absent from the event, a glance at the March for Life website exposes the lie (just as actually going to the Marches or even seeing pictures of them would have done if certain media sources hadn't been too busy trying to spin the events to match their own convoluted point of views). Here are the stats they've posted on their page:
"Facebook gives us basic stats about the 15,000+ fans of this page. Here they are: 68% are female, 32% male. 66% are 24 and under, 23% 25-44, and 12% 45+."
So it isn't just that there are young people involved in the group, but they make up the majority!

But Live Action does more than just speak out against the atrocities of abortion. They've also gone under cover to expose what really goes on. Here's an article by
"In the video, created by anti-abortion group "Live Action," the organization's president, Lila Rose, posed as a 14-year-old girl impregnated by her 31-year-old boyfriend. She told employees at the Birmingham Planned Parenthood that she needed to have a secret abortion.

At first the Planned Parenthood staffer tried to help her find someone who could give consent, but eventually said the clinic sometimes "bends the rules" and a manager would need to make the call.

Alabama law requires minors to have signed consent from a parent or legal guardian to have an abortion.

But state health officials found that nine minors, ages 13-15, had received abortions at the Birmingham Planned Parenthood without proper verification of consent since November 2008.

They also cited problems with the reporting of suspected sexual abuse. One of the 13-year-olds who received an abortion said she starting having sex at age 12. She was back at the clinic for another abortion four months later."
They've also went undercover in Wisconsin and found doctors at the Planned Parenthood spinning lies as they sold death:
"In the undercover video, when the two women ask a Planned Parenthood counselor if the pregnant woman's 10-week-old unborn child has a heartbeat, the counselor emphasizes "heart tones," and answers, "Heart beat is when the fetus is active in the uterus--can survive--which is about seventeen or eighteen weeks." On the contrary, embryologists agree that the heartbeat begins around 3 weeks. Wisconsin informed consent law requires that women receive medically accurate information before undergoing an abortion.

The counselor then says, "A fetus is what's in the uterus right now. That is not a baby." Dr. Prohaska, the abortion doctor, insists, "It's not a baby at this stage or anything like that." Prohaska also states that having an abortion will be "much safer than having a baby," warning, "You know, women die having babies.""
Another post on the site shows the lie in the last statement. The title: Maternal Death Rate Lowest in Abortion Free Ireland.

I am amazed at how much this young woman and the organization she's founded have done in the battle against abortion.

Photo credit for Lila Rose Photo- David Schmidt from Facebook.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bishop of the Week: Bishop Robert Francis Vasa of Baker, Oregon

Bishop Vasa has been my Bishop of the Week before and I am quite sure he will be named Bishop of the Week again, in the future. During scandals when others seem content to look the other way, or just get along with everyone and do what's easy rather than what's right, he guides his flock and speaks out for the protection of the unborn.
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 10, 2010 ( – Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon has cautiously expressed concern after reports this week that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is listed as a member of a coalition that promotes homosexual “rights” and access to abortion.
I wonder if Bishop Morin has released a statement telling us that these claims are "ridiculous" yet.
Responding to the evidence, Bishop Vasa told LifeSiteNews: “I am not well enough versed in the 'politics' of such associations to make any criticism of the motives or justifications which might be provided but, on the face of it, I would have to agree that support of this organization and an active endorsement of its principles and purposes would appear to be problematic.”
“Why did the bishops' conference join this organization?” Hudson asks. “When LCCHR staff sit in front of a member of Congress, they can legitimately say they are representing the Catholic bishops.”

But Hudson also points out that the USCCB has supported LCCR by attending their annual fundraising dinners in 2007 and 2008. “Evidently, the USCCB regards the work of LCCHR so highly it wants to provide support over and above its annual dues,” he writes.

Michael Hichborn of the American Life League (ALL), which is a member of the Reform CCHD Now (RCN) Coalition, told LSN, “I applaud Bishop Vasa for his courage in speaking out on this dangerous alliance, but also for his humility in proceeding cautiously.”

“His reaction is in stark contrast to that from bishops rushing to dismiss our well documented charges as 'calumny',” he added.
It's a relief to hear from a Bishop who is concerned with the truth and the direction the USCCB is taking when associating with (and supporting) organizations that are fundamentally opposed to Catholic beliefs.

You can read also Bishop Vasa's thoughts every week at the Catholic Sentinel.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Woman's Place & CSN Apron Giveaway!

Last year I began to appreciate the importance of aprons. I remember sitting on the bar stools by the kitchen counter at my grandmother's house growing up, watching Mom and Grandma cook holiday dinners and beautiful aprons seem to be the only thing that was missing! I wrote a post back in November about the surprising changes that I noticed when I tied on my apron and have since been on the look out for cute aprons.

Today I'm pleased to announce A Woman's Place's first giveaway! If you can picture yourself wearing the Trend Lab Versailles Black and White Scroll Print Apron enter your name and email (so that I can contact you if you win!) in the comment section for a chance to win a free apron!

I have to say that I love the idea of matching kiddie aprons that are also available on the CSN website and after watching Sadie try to snatch my apron out of the kitchen drawer a few evenings ago, I think it will only be a matter of time before she's demanding one of her own!

If you post a link to this giveaway on your blog and let me know I'll enter you three times in the drawing!

I'll draw a winner on Monday!

The Gargoyle Code

For the past few days I was especially eager to take our daily trip into the post office (there’s actually not a single town in our county that has home mail delivery) to check the box. I was awaiting my copy of the Gargoyle Code by Father Dwight Longenecker and I was beginning to feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning as my book made its way across the continental United States.

You see, Father Longenecker’s blog, Standing on My Head, is one of my all time favorite blogs and his latest book happens to be written in the style of the Screwtape Letters (which happens to be one of my favorite books). It was a winning combination and I could hardly wait to start reading.

I was not disappointed. The Gargoyle Code arrived just at the start of naptime (my parents had picked up our mail on their way home) and as soon as Sadie’s little eyes fluttered shut I began to read.

Like the Screwtape Letters, the Gargoyle Code, takes the form of correspondence between demons who spend nearly every moment trying to ensure their that their charges make their way to the banquet halls below. The two main tempters that the reader encounters are Slubgrip and Dogwart. Slubgrip, the master tempter, instructs Dogwart while attempting to keep control of his own patient, an older Catholic man who is seriously ill. Dogwart, the student, is working on a young Catholic man who is struggling as he tries to figure out what to do with his life.

The correspondences begin on Shrove Tuesday and continue day by day up until Easter Sunday. The demons recognize that Lent is a powerful time in which the “Enemy’s” grace abounds and use any possible means to keep their patients from being transformed by that grace.

The temptations that are used and the sins that are encouraged by the demons in the Gargoyle Code are plucked from our modern world. They are thrilled that many priests in the last decades convinced their parishioners that missing Mass on Sundays wasn’t a Mortal sin, only to wonder later why people just weren’t filling the pews like they used to.

Convincing humans that they didn’t go to confession, but can merely say a prayer immediately after a sin is committed, is another coup for the demons. In a world where many Catholics have forgotten the graces found in these two Sacraments, the description of these temptations seems especially accurate.

Dogwart tries his hand at using sins of the flesh to bring down his young patient, while Slubgrip has found it best to distract his patient from the Mass by pointing out “liturgical abuses” and “heterodox” ideas.

Of course the demonic nature of the tempters causes them a number of problems, as loyalty and truthfulness are hardly prized as virtues in Hell and every demon is out to gain promotions at the expense of others.

This book offers ample opportunity for reflection (and if I can steal it back from Paul I will most definitely read it again, more slowly, during Lent… I finished it this morning, less than twenty-four hours after receiving it and found that it had disappeared into Paul’s book bag less than ten minutes after I put it down! It was pretty clear from the time the book arrived that he was ready to replace his Liberation Theology school book with the Gargoyle Code!).

We can recognize our own weaknesses in the weaknesses exploited by the demons in the story if we put ourselves in the position of the tempted as we read. I found that I had the most in common with Slubgrip’s patient… after all I did write that rant about holding hands during the Our Father a while back, and I have found myself complaining about the monstrous appearance of the Cathedral in the city where Paul goes to school.

This book definitely gave me a lot to think about as approach Lent and prepare for Easter. I need to focus on the Sacraments and let go of the silly little things that I allow to annoy and distract from things that are much, much more important.

If you’re looking for an amazing Lenten read that you won’t be able to put down I strongly recommend starting with the Gargoyle Code. Like me you may read even want to read it through once quickly (because you just won’t be able to put it down!) and then reread it day by day during Lent.

The Fast... Preparing for Lent

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time thinking about Lent this past week. After learning last year that even attempting to fast while nursing is a very, very bad idea (let’s just call Ash Wednesday ‘09 a little disaster in our cabin and leave it at that) I’ve been giving a lot of thought about how to prepare for Holy Week.

Fasting actually seems to be out for the indefinite future. Last year I was nursing. The year before I was pregnant. And this year, as many of you know, I am both nursing and pregnant (I see a pattern beginning to develop here). After being a vegetarian for ten years (from the ages of 10 to 20, roughly) giving up meat for Friday’s won’t even be particularly difficult.

Actually the last time that I really tried to fast was in September/October of 2007. We were preparing for our trip to the holy land and had been reading a lot about fasting. Paul and I had been particularly inspired by a young couple who fasted for forty days before their wedding (we’re talking about two small meals and one normal sized meal a day in this case) and thought it would be a wonderful way to prepare for our journey to Israel and the West Bank.

I didn’t last forty days. After a couple of weeks of faintness and dizzy spells Paul said that he didn’t think I was physically capable of fasting (for long at least). When the nausea started a couple of weeks later we learned that it was actually something else altogether. I was expecting.

The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve begun to think that the discomforts of pregnancy (particularly in the first and third trimesters) are a fairly equal trade when compared with the discomforts of fasting (although I guess they don’t really involve self control, because you don’t really have a choice about running into the kitchen and breaking your fast with the whole pregnancy thing).

Unfortunately, in my case (both times) the second trimester has matched up perfectly with Lent, so I am entering into that joyful time when I feel like I could be pregnant forever.

So I’m looking for alternatives (I really appreciated the discussion about this on CAF! It makes sense with all the nursing/pregnant Catholic moms out there I wouldn’t be the only one giving this some thought). I’m leaning towards the suggestion of completely cutting out junk food as one mom suggested.

With my recent powerful cookie cravings that could be a real test of self-control in the coming weeks.

And to keep this post from becoming too long, I’ll call it a night for now. While I love Advent and the Christmas season, Lent gives me so much to think about…

Ramblings on prayer coming soon…