Monday, August 30, 2010

Bishop of the Week: Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California

This last summer (June I think) our diocese newspaper closed down. It's been replaced by a new magazine with the same name and we just got our first copy. I haven't read it cover to cover yet but I am convinced that it's worth the $12 a year subscription fee.

Bishop Soto's columns in the Catholic Herald were always exceptional, but his first joy and hope column in the new magazine stood out as a particularly outstanding piece.

I feel very fortunate to live in a diocese that is blessed with a shepherd that isn't afraid to speak the truth and proclaim the teachings of the Church. Here's a highlight of what he tackled in his first Catholic Herald magazine column:
"Another area where Catholics should do more reflection and cultivate new habits is in the sexual practice of marriage. One habit that has taken hold of many marriages is the use of artificial means of contraception. The prevalence of the practice in and outside of the Catholic community has made contraception the unquestioned default mode of marriage. As a consequence, sexuality and relationships are misunderstood and misused; and their true purpose is misplaced.

These comments are not just about the "pill" or other forms of contraception. This is more about the habit of using artificial means. The habit has shaped the hearts and minds of many, especially the young. Marriage is no longer understood as the covenant of love between a man and a woman that creates life, because procreation is no longer associated with sexual intercourse. In this new social situation, many shrug their shoulders and wonder why a sexual relationship between any two people who care for each other cannot be called a marriage."
We are very fortunate to have a bishop that doesn't carefully avoid less than popular teachings, but instead leads us to follow the teachings of the Church. And that's one of the reason why our own Bishop, Bishop Jaime Soto, is this blogs most recent Bishop of the Week!

8 Weeks

Maggie is eight weeks old today and rapidly outgrowing the clothing that I have out for her. I'm going to have to do some switching around pretty soon. Today I was downstairs with the girls and needed a cooler outfit for Maggie. I only had a couple of twelve month sleepers that I'd washed and needed to put away and I grabbed one and tried it on her. It was a little long in the legs (by about an inch) but other than that it was actually pretty fitted. Here she is in a 6 month sleeper:


I don't know why I purchased a single newborn outfit this time (I think it was just one exceptionally cute sleeper that I bought at Target the week before Maggie was born "just in case" she was littler than Sadie). And while she was "smaller" than Sadie by a little over two ounces and 1 inch, she's quickly grown and is now bigger than Sadie was when she was much older (and Sadie, who is now a size 4T at 2 was never dainty for her age!). Maggie is such a big girl!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Princess Sadie and the Pink Tutu



My First Knit Sweater

We've had a cold front moving through this past week (yay! I love being out of the triple digits!) and I've been able to pull out some cold weather outfits (or at least cooler weather). And I discovered my first non-scarf knitting project. I made this for Sadie when I was around three months pregnant (winter 2007-2008). It was the first time I'd knit anything other than a straight line back and forth (I only knew how to knit, it took me a while to figure out how to purl!) and I poured over this book and finally figured out how to read knitting notations.

Here it is, my first sweater:

Of course, Maggie is almost too big for it. At least she got to squeeze into it once though!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Children's Bible and a Trip Down Memory Lane

I've been keeping my eyes open for a certain Bible for the last couple of years. It was the Bible that I had in grade school and I can still clearly see many of the illustrations in my mind's eye.

Paul and I had talked about it a few times, and he'd mentioned that he would like to find a copy of the Bible that he had when he was younger too.

Then Rosy (Maggie's Godmother) came to visit for Maggie's baptism. She walked downtown and came home from the new Christian book store in town with a gift for Maggie. As she showed it to me she explained that she'd gone looking for this particular Bible, because it was the Bible that she'd had when she was younger and she'd loved reading it and looking at the pictures. She credited it for making her a person who loves to read.

Then she flipped open the cover and I recognized it (the picture of the inside cover from amazon is towards the bottom left hand side of this post). It was the same Bible I'd had when I was little! I felt like a little kid at Christmas!


When Paul came downstairs and started flipping through the pages he realized that it was the same Bible that he had had when he was in grade school!

Since then I've done a little exploring on Amazon and found the older version of the same Bible that we all had when we were kids. We had the 1965 version (which is shown on the right hand side of this post! It still makes me smile, looking at the cover!) Maggie has the 2006 version.

And it is such a wonderful book!

I'm already looking forward to reading it with the girls. For now we've been reading this children's Bible, which Sadie already enjoys (we had to read the Genesis stories over and over again yesterday).

The stories are at a grade school reading level (I think I got it in second or third grade), so it's still a ways off (I can hardly wait! I'll probably take a trip down memory lane and page through it myself!).

Did any of you have this Bible when you were kids? I'm curious about how popular it was, since all three of us had it when we were in grade school (it's pretty impressive when a Bible is approved for Catholic, Protestant and Jewish children, which this Bible claims on the back cover).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What About The Right Not To Breath in Pot Smoke?

I've been working outside in the little garden patch in front of our apartment. It's tiny, but I've filled it with lavender and violas and it's come along nicely in the past week, from the bare packed earth littered with cigarette butts that it was when we first moved in. But it really is only pleasant to experience when we're getting out of the car, and then there's a good chance it will only be pleasant for a moment.

You see, in our county we've had a number of "doctors" come through town and set up shop on the side of the road. People come through before hand and spread the word. Sometimes there's an ad in the paper. When the "doctor" actually arrives he has people standing up and down the side of the highway advertising his "service." He sells medical marijuana cards, usually for around $200 a pop.

You can get them for anything. Headaches. Cramps. A hangnail.

A recent report in a newspaper claimed that one of our former next door neighbors (his family still lives next door to my family and the stink of their plants drifts over constantly) had made over a million dollars selling the cards. I wouldn't be surprised since he constantly writes in to the paper, telling everyone that every single plant that God made is good for the human body (can anyone spot the flaw in that logic?).

Back to my complaint though... Before we moved we lived next to growers and while there was a quarter of a mile between there house and ours, our home would stink like a skunk had sprayed for months leading up to autumn and the harvest. At least it wasn't year round though...

There isn't much room in our new home for growers to grow outdoors, but since it seems that many of our neighbors have cards, we get to smell the smoke. At night people sit out front and smoke pot. In the morning people sit out front and smoke pot. I open my door and it smells like pot. I open the window after a hot day... and the house fills with the smell...

California makes me feel a little bit crazy sometimes. And what bothers me even more than the basic legalization of marijuana (because let's face it, if anyone can get a card for no reason whatsoever, it basically is legal) is the fact that those of us who don't do drugs have to breath it in all the time.

I have a prescription for hydrocordone that I don't use, despite my headaches, because I don't like putting chemicals in my body if I absolutely don't have to. I'd like to have the option of not breathing in marijuana smoke too. And more than that, I don't want my seven and a half week old daughter and two year old exposed to it every time we open a window or walk outside.

All the druggies in California have there rights. What about the rest of us?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eggplant Lasagna

Here's a recipe that I absolutely love. I've added to it a little and have noted the additions at the bottom so you can leave them out if you want to try the original recipe!

1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium eggplant, thinly sliced
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 jar marinated artichokes



Important Tip: To remove the bitterness from the eggplants, slice and salt them, letting the juices drain away for 20 minutes in a colander. (I usually let the eggplant sit closer to an hour and drain and it really does make a difference!). Rinse away the salt and then prepare the recipe as directed.

Preheat oven to 425F. Coat baking dish with margarine or butter. In a skillet saute onions and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano and salt. Saute until tender. Spread 1/4 of tomato mixture into greased baking dish. Place one layer of eggplant over tomato mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 of cheese. Continue to layer tomato mixture, eggplant, and cheese. Cover and bake for 25 minutes or until eggplant is tender. Uncover and bake until cheese is light brown.

My addition: The artichoke is an optional add-on that I came up with while I was playing around with this recipe. I also usually add more basil and oregano than the recipe calls for, along with extra garlic salt (which also isn't part of the recipe). I also usually only layer this recipe twice (my layers must be thicker because they fill up the entire pan).

Can You Spot the Bishop of the Week?

One of these Bishops deserves a Sadie Frown and the other definitely deserves the title of Bishop of the Week (I need to start posting those again!). Can you tell which is which?

Freezer Cooking: My Strategy

Before I gave birth to Maggie I had some spectacular freezer cooking plans. However things worked out in such a way that I wasn't able to plan a day to go to The City to shop for food until July 5th... which ended up being the day after Maggie decided to make her appearance, opting for a birthday with fireworks every year, rather than arriving to a home full of carefully prepared meals.

I wasn't about to give up on my dreams of a freezer full of homemade meals though.

All the descriptions I'd heard of freezer cooking involved one big day of cooking large batches of meals that were then frozen into meal sized containers to use later. And with a two year old and a newborn, one big day of cooking was pretty much out of the question.

So I made some smaller goals and began to work towards them.

Thankfully, Maggie doesn't mind being put down in her bassinet, and she sleeps for fairly long stretches, which has given me the opportunity to work towards having a full freezer.

In the beginning I was a little overambitious. I tried to convince myself that I could push myself to make one or two large meals every night, until I'd met my goal. And while I probably could have, I came to realize that slowly working towards my goal was a better plan.

Every three or four days I would make one huge meal, that ended up being the size of between three and six family sized meals at our house. I would let the meals cool after we'd eaten that nights portion, and put the girls to bed and then I'd come downstairs and move the meals into zip lock freezer bags, that were dated and tagged with the name of what was inside. The dinners would further cool that night in the fridge before being moved into the big freezer.

Earlier this month I met my goal of frozen thirty meals. We don't use them every single night. If the girls are calm, Paul is home, and I'm headache free, I'll probably end up cooking. On busy days, I just pull out a frozen meal and we're ready to go.

And because I know that I'm not going to be stealing away any single day to cook 30 more meals in the near future (maybe that will be possible someday in the far off future when I have older kids) I am trying to make one big meal each week to replace what we've used.

The other great discovery I've made is the benefit of varying the size of the meals. I've been making sure to freeze a few giant meals now and then, when I had extra food so that if we ever have unexpected guests, or just decide to invite family over at the last minute, we can pop something in that we know will feed everyone. It takes the stress out of having guests over.

Coming soon: A recipe for eggplant/artichoke lasagna (very similar to the one pictures above, but slightly tweaked!)!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Constant Vigilance

Life with a toddler and a newborn= Constant Vigilance...

I now find myself saying things I've never said before like: "No... You cannot touch your sister's eyeball... I'm serious... Stop... Stop trying to touch her eyeball!"

Before Maggie was born a friend told me that living with a toddler and a baby could be like living with a gorilla and a tiny kitten... where the gorilla was constantly finding ways to try to kill the kitten...

I can definitely understand that now!

Sadie loves her little sister and is always trying to hug her and kiss her and scoop her up out of my arms. She just hasn't gotten the "gentle" part down yet. At least not consistently...

I do look forward (eagerly) to the day when she understands it consistently...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Losing the Baby Weight: Week 7

Maggie will be seven weeks old tomorrow and I've been avoiding my "weekly weight loss" posts since week 2. That's because those first two weeks were so easy. Just like last time the first twenty pounds just disappeared. And then they stop disappearing: halfway to my goal.

I have thought: If only I were one of those women that gained the recommended twenty to twenty-five pounds, I'd already be back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

But that just doesn't sound all that realistic to me either (and I don't think that's realistic when there's almost 10 lbs of baby in the picture). It just doesn't seem like we're supposed to be back to our pre-pregnancy weight two-weeks after giving birth. That seems just a little too quick!

I was trying to take it easy until I got the okay from my OB (which I have now). And I'm definitely not going to be "dieting." I'm just trying to eat as healthily as is possible and am walking as much as I can (the triple digit heat we've had here has made that difficult). Hauling around a fourteen pound seven week old and an almost forty pound two year old won't hurt either. I think my arms are stronger than when I was playing rugby and surfing or spending five days a week at a karate dojo.

Actually walking and hauling the girls around is a little easier this week. Nani and Grumpa gave us this stroller day before yesterday, and yesterday we took it out for a spin in town.

I hadn't wanted a stroller where the girls were sitting side by side (because right now that has them a little too close for comfort, since Sadie has "helpful" down but not "gentle") and I really liked the idea of having a little shield between Sadie's and Maggie's feet. And they've been cuter than I imagined was possible. Sadie sits forward as far as the harness allows and holds Maggie's hand. Yesterday they both fell asleep on the way home from our evening family walk.

But it is heavy (especially with all that baby in it!). I'm hoping it's going to be a big part of my workout/weight loss plan.

And now for the seven week update: 27 lbs down... 18 lbs to go. It would be nice to reach my goal by Christmas!

That would be around 4 lbs a month... I think that should be doable... especially now that we're getting to the time of year when it's not actually too hot to go outside!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Migraine Update: Something that Works?

I received a bit of advice today from one of the Physicians Assistants at the clinic we go to. She said that when you feel a migraine coming on you should head straight to the bathroom and run a very hot bath. Then stick your feet in the water and stay that way (keeping the water hot) for twenty minutes. The point is to draw the blood towards your feet and away from your head where the blood vessels are expanded.

I hadn't had a migraine in a couple of days and was beginning to wonder if the post-baby hormones were balancing out, when I felt the dull ache and growing pressure that always precedes them. So I gave it a try. I didn't have twenty minutes to spare, but I did manage to steal ten. I was skeptical. I've learned not to get my hopes up. If the hydrocordone that they gave me after the c-section doesn't even take the edge of one of these headaches (much less make it disappear), could something as simple as sticking my feet in hot water really make any difference at all?

It did. As I sat there with my feet looking slightly swollen, the headache disappeared. At first I was still skeptical that it would last for any length of time. But it did. And I spent the rest of the day headache free!

I did a little googling tonight to see what I could find on this cure and here's a little more information:

"Migraines are caused by the expansion of blood vessels in the head, causing pressure on nerves, usually in the temple area. Submerging your feet in hot water expands the vessels in the lower extremities, while placing an ice pack on the back of the neck, or the temple, helps constrict those vessels. The combination helps blood move from the painfully expanded vessels in the head to the feet."
It may not work for everyone but it certainly did work for me today! And hopefully it will keep working!

Maggie at 7 Weeks

Maggie certainly isn't "dainty." At not yet seven weeks, she is already wearing 3 and 6 month outfits. And today, at her "two month" appointment we found out why. She is currently weighing in at 14 lbs flat and is 23 inches long. That puts her in the 95th percentile for height. She is "off the charts" for weight!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Saint Thomas' Words on an Old Problem

Here's a quote that I just ran across here, that is so relevant in our world today:
"I answer that, Neither living nor lifeless faith remains in a heretic who disbelieves one article of faith.

The reason of this is that the species of every habit depends on the formal aspect of the object, without which the species of the habit cannot remain. Now the formal object of faith is the First Truth, as manifested in Holy Writ and the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth. Consequently whoever does not adhere, as to an infallible and Divine rule, to the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth manifested in Holy Writ, has not the habit of faith, but holds that which is of faith otherwise than by faith. Even so, it is evident that a man whose mind holds a conclusion without knowing how it is proved, has not scientific knowledge, but merely an opinion about it. Now it is manifest that he who adheres to the teaching of the Church, as to an infallible rule, assents to whatever the Church teaches; otherwise, if, of the things taught by the Church, he holds what he chooses to hold, and rejects what he chooses to reject, he no longer adheres to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible rule, but to his own will. Hence it is evident that a heretic who obstinately disbelieves one article of faith, is not prepared to follow the teaching of the Church in all things; but if he is not obstinate, he is no longer in heresy but only in error. Therefore it is clear that such a heretic with regard to one article has no faith in the other articles, but only a kind of opinion in accordance with his own will."

-Saint Thomas, Summa Theologica

You Just Have to Read This One...

This is just an awesome post on the NCRegister by Mark Shea. I ended up reading most of it out loud to Paul and wanted to post some of it here for you to appreciate, but since I couldn't pick out one single part that was less awesome than the rest, I thought I'd just give you the link and let you read it on your own!

20 Years After Ex Corde Ecclesiae

As Paul gets ready to go back to school for another year (he'll finish his Masters this spring) I stumbled across this article on CalCatholic (emphasis mine)...
"Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) -- "Only the Catholic university that conserves its identity will have a future," the prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education said just days before the 20th anniversary of John Paul II's document Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, in speaking about the continued relevance of the document on Catholic higher education, explained that if a Catholic university loses its identity, it becomes just like any other.

The Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which established guidelines for the functioning of Catholic universities, was presented by Pope John Paul II 20 years ago Sunday. Cardinal Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education and prefect emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura, spoke with CNA about the importance of the document on Aug. 13.

According to Cardinal Grocholewski, two motivations led John Paul II to write the document. The first was the importance that he attributed to the Catholic university, which, he said, the pope himself explains best at the end of the document in an exhortation for Catholic witness.

The second reason, the prefect pointed out, was that John Paul II believed it was necessary to create legislation outlining the nature and mission of Catholic universities, while giving them juridical norms for their creation and the composition of their faculty.

Ex Corde Ecclesiae has produced "great results," he said, most of all we can see this in the foundation of so many Catholic universities "with a clear disposition" since its publication in 1990.

Citing the creation of more than 250 Catholic universities during Pope John Paul II's pontificate, he said, "many of these have had a guideline from the very beginning, a clear vision of what a Catholic university should be."

This has been especially significant in African and ex-Communist countries, he explained. "I think that many universities, also based on this document, have strengthened their identities, which is very important," he added.

CNA asked the cardinal about certain challenges that have come up in the course of applying norms for John Paul II's ideal for the Catholic university, such as the need for a "mandatum," a statement from the local bishop that assures theologians are in communion with the Church's teachings.

The cardinal prefect said that this is a question of methodology as with any other field of study. He explained that "to be a theologian, one must believe in the Sacred Scriptures and Tradition and must be united to the Magisterium (teaching) of the Church."

"It is a rather risky assumption if a single person wishes to be more important than the Magisterium of the Church," he remarked. "

To read the entire article click here.
I'm really praying that next time around Paul ends up at a Catholic University that actually has an authentic Catholic Identity. We will have a better idea of what to look for this time around...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Matching!

Here's a picture I snapped of Sadie and Maggie as we got ready to go to the county fair yesterday. Sadie has been avoiding having her picture taken for the last few weeks, but yesterday I asked her to say "cheese" for the camera and she actually said it! And now she thinks pictures might not be that bad! Now if I could only get her to look at the camera...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mirgaines... and another option that isn't going to work out...

Ugh. As those of you who regularly read my blog know, I've been having a bit of a problem with migraines recently. I've been trying not to dwell on it too much, and have been going to the local clinic to try and figure things out (between two and four migraines a week is just not fun!), but the new symptom that popped up last week really had me panicked.

A few days ago I was sitting downstairs holding Maggie when the right side of my face went completely numb. Paul was upstairs putting Sadie to bed, and she was having a tough time, and I sat there panicking, afraid that I was having a stroke and trying to remember if I'd ever heard of migraines causing numbness (these days weird symptoms have me thinking "migraine?").

While I was pretty determined to avoid taking medication originally, between the vertigo and lightheadedness and the numbness (and the skull crushing migraines themselves), I finally caved in and began taking propanolol today. Propanolol is usually a blood pressure medicine, but apparently it's also used for migraines because beta-blockers are supposed to work wonders on migraine sufferers. It was the only medicine that the pharmacist could come up with that was okay for someone who was breastfeeding, that wouldn't risk drying up my milk supply.

I was a little nervous about starting it. After all my blood pressure hoovers at around 96 over 58... so I wasn't sure that taking a medicine designed to lower it further was a great idea. I mean, even when I was in labor my blood pressure was that low (and I've noticed when it dips even a tiny bit lower than average I would get sick).

I took the first pill this morning. Within an hour I was feeling dizzy and lightheaded. Paul explained that when he picked the prescription up the pharmacist said there was a small chance I'd get lightheaded, but that that should go away with time. The pharmacist also said that it would take some time to build up to doing any sort of exercise. However, when the dizziness started I wasn't exercising. I was sitting in the car working on some needlework as Paul drove.

Hour two made my lips feel numb. By the afternoon I was nauseous, dizzy, and lightheaded, with numb lips (but hey, at least I didn't have a headache and my face wasn't numb!).

I decided to give it a few more days and see if there was any change. And then I sat down to write this blog post. I decided to google propranolol. As I read about it each site with drug information made a point of saying that this drug was not recommended for breastfeeding mothers and could harm infants.

So two things have me pretty upset right now. 1) Maggie was sick and colicky today, for the first time in her entire life. She's usually such a happy, laid back baby. Today she cried (huge, miserable tears) for most of the afternoon. I didn't even put two and two together and suspect the drug, because it was supposed to be "safe." I figured that her stomach was upset from being in the car for so long (we drove to a fair over by the coast with Nani and Grumpa). Long car rides used to make Sadie colicky, so that was the first thing that popped into my mind. And 2) Before writing this post and doing my research I took the second dose of the drug. And Maggie is going to be very hungry in a couple of hours...

Thus the decision to stop taking the propanolol is pretty easy. It made me feel pretty sick and there's a chance it made Maggie feel sick too. The second part of that sentence is enough for me to make the decision to tough out the headaches.

Besides, taking a drug that makes me feel sick all of the time, so that I don't have headaches half of the time, doesn't make a lot of sense... Hopefully these post-pregnancy hormones level off soon and I go back to once monthly migraines. Who knew that one or two migraines a month would ever feel like a nice number that I could easily deal with?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Outfit of the Week

After writing the last post I thought I'd do a little searching to convince myself that there are still classy, beautiful options out there. Here's the latest store that I've discovered on etsy: Linaline is based out of Tel Aviv. She has some beautiful skirts and some really comfortable looking (and beautiful) dresses.

This was the first dress that caught my eye.

My first thought when I saw this dress was that it looked comfortable and cute! It looks like something that I could chase Sadie around in and relax in during those rare moments of silence and sleep.

What Are They Thinking: Girls Fashion Today

We ran into The City today for my 6-week post-baby check. And it's official, I am now cleared for toddler lifting. I will confess I've been picking Sadie up for about a week, very, very carefully. We made a stop at Target for wipes, and a stop at Costco to pick up Maggie's thank you letters before heading home and one thought at Target kept going through my mind (after walking past the girl's clothing section to get to the baby section): "What are they thinking?"

I'll be the first one to admit that my fashion sense doesn't mesh well with the current trends, so "what are they thinking?" isn't an altogether uncommon thought. And at least I haven't seen an eight year old wearing a shirt that says "porn star" in years (that was at the mall when I was in college and was pretty shocking).

The outfits that I saw today weren't quite in the same category as those shirts, but it also made me a little sad that they seemed to be the only option for little girls who are only a little bit bigger than Sadie is (we're buying her 4Ts and these were 5s and up).

What happened to dresses for little girls looking like dresses that are meant for little girls? They don't have to be quite as frilly as the dress on the left (which is from Chasing Fireflies, a catalog that I wistfully page through every time that it comes). I remember lots of plaid and floral when I was little (once a year we went to Sacramento and shopped for dresses at the Gap there). Why does the entire girls section of Target look like a window display for Hot Topic?

At least the baby section still has monkeys and kitties and flowers on the onsies.

Sewing skills just seem to become more and more necessary all the time...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Maggie's Big Day

Today was a pretty big day for our family! The Feast of the Assumption is Paul's birthday and we also chose it to be the day when Maggie would be baptized.

In Paul's words:

"Today Maggie the pagan cuteness becomes Maggie the Christian cuteness."


These days we always seem to be running late. So, the entire family was up this morning at the crack of dawn, in an attempt to avoid lateness. We were successful. Maggie slept through the morning preparations and we were out the door and at the parish hall with 45 minutes until Mass (time enough to get Maggie dressed and get the hall ready for cake and lemonade afterwards).

Here's Maggie, patiently waiting while we got Sadie ready to go.

And here's Sadie in her matching princess dress!

There were some tears because she wanted to wear her purple princess pajamas...

With ten minutes left we made our way over to the Church and during the 9 o'clock Mass, Margaret Rosella was baptized!

Here we are with the Godparents!

And here we are with Father Lito!

The first cake, from the gathering in the parish hall.

Maggie slept through most of her big day. She woke up while she was being baptized and was awake during part of the Mass, but didn't cry. She just lay quietly in my arms, sucking on her binkie occasionally.

Here we are about to change back into our regular clothes.

And here is the cake we had at Nani and Grumpa's house (and because we also got Paul a carrot cake for his birthday we had a LOT of cake!).

And here is Maggie with her godmother/namesake, Rosy!

Now she's back to sleep! And no one is sure when anyone will be hungry enough to eat the carrot cake... We did drop the left overs from the other two cakes off at Paul's work. Hopefully his co-workers will finish them off!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Growing!

For the last couple weeks I've been saying "Maggie just looks REALLY big to me." Every time I would make this statement Paul would say- "Sadie was the same size when she was her age." Now, on the one hand, I know that Sadie was a big baby. She has been in the 99th percentile since the day she was born and doesn't seem to be slowing down. On the other hand, Maggie just seemed gigantic to me, for her age.

So today while I was over at Nani's house with the girls I happened upon Sadie's baby book and took a look to see if my suspicion was correct. Sadie was 9 lbs 4 oz when she was born and 22 inches long. Maggie was 9 lbs 1.3 oz and 21 inches long. At four weeks Maggie weighed in at 12 lbs 15.5 oz. At eight weeks Sadie weighed in at 12 lbs 3 oz. Maggie really is a pretty big girl! She was bigger at one month than Sadie was at 2 months!

I can't wait to see how big she is at the two month appointment.

In other news I didn't get nearly as much use out of the first size of cloth diapers as I expected to (which is related to the news above). While I skipped the newborn size and bought the diapers that said they were for babies "up to 16 lbs" Maggie is no longer squeezing in to them very well. Today I broke down and ordered two dozen regular sized pre-folds. I'm really hoping these last longer than a month and a half. Now I just need to find some time to put away the baby outfits that are smaller than 3-6 months... At least over the course of two girls most of the newborn outfits got worn a couple times before they were outgrown!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eucharistic Bouncers?

I just found a job that I think Paul would be perfect for. I think he would make a good Eucharist Bouncer.... He was working as a doorman when we first met... It's tragic that the job is necessary in some places though...

Freezer Cooking Recipe: An Easy Chicken Pot Pie

I have been slowly making my way towards having a month worth of frozen meals in the freezer. And now, I'm so close! 28 frozen dinners sit in our freezer. Two to go!

While I love the idea of spending one day a month cooking, it just doesn't seem like something that is going to be happening here in the near future. So a couple times a week I'm making big batches of food. We eat one and freeze between two and five meals for later (I've frozen a couple large meals in case we have guests).

Here's the latest recipe we tried. It was based off of one in a book, but as usual, I ended up improvising (the one in the book was turkey for starters):

An Easy Chicken Pot Pie

  • 16 oz frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained (I double the recipe and since I was a little bit short on the amount of frozen vegetables and didn't want to open a new giant bag I added one gan of cut green beans and they were a great addition).
  • 2 14 3/4 oz cans creamed corn
  • 10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups cooked chicken- chopped (I bought a family sized breast and split it between the three pans)
  • 2 12 oz tubes refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

Mix everything except the buttermilk biscuits in a 13 x 9 inch pan (I greased the pan with butter first). Top with biscuits (next time I'll quarter the biscuits so that I can cover the entire top, instead of using the biscuits whole, although the three biscuits we used were perfect in the little pan!). Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes (it only took 30 in our super hot oven) or until biscuits are golden.

This was an instant family favorite. And it's so easy! This is perfect for nights when you really don't feel like cooking, but need to feed your family!

A Female "Catholic Priest" In Our Own Back Yard...

Another tale of female ordination... unfortunately in our own diocese.. Here's a piece from the story on California Catholic:

“...Having been trained in religious education through the Archdiocese of Los Angeles she brings to Truckee more than 50 years of teaching and ministering to the ‘unchurched,’ specifically those who were injured by the church either its clergy or legalism,” said the Sun’s special report, written by Colleen Williams.

“Reverend Beaman knows personally the pain of rejection from the traditional Roman Catholic Church,” wrote Williams. “After a failed long-term marriage and divorce she married a man who not only shared her religion but her politics and love of the ocean, who happened to be a Catholic priest and she, her husband and her seven children were shunned....”

Read the entire article here.


As much as I didn't enjoy hearing or reading about Anne Rice's rant against Christianity, one thing that stuck me is that at least she's honest with herself. She doesn't believe what the Church teaches. So she's leaving (not very gracefully... but that's another story...).

But the idea of saying: "I don't believe what the Church believes, but I'm a Catholic and the Church is just wrong about what it teaches..." completely baffles me. Maybe it's because I'm a convert and so I chose to be Catholic, which involved consciously accepting the teachings (I know a lot of cradle Catholics do this too, but it is so sad to see all the people who don't...).

And talk about moral relativism: If I don't agree with something it's legalism? The Church needs to be less legalistic?

What skewed logic...

Coupons and Surveys: Another Week of Savings!

Here are todays coupon-ing finds:

I'm so tired that I can't quite find the motivation to get up and walk over to my purse to get out my receipt and check the exact cost from today's coupon-ing adventure, but it came out to a grand total of $4-something after we got our extra-bucks back. It would be free if we lived in a state without sales tax (I guess I should be grateful it's not as high here as it is in the bay area... when we went to SF last month it was 9.5%... Yikes!)!

I have ended up buying a number of things I never would have purchased without coupons. Take the yellow bottle of Dulcolax... No one uses it... but it was a $3 money maker... and how could I pass up getting paid three dollars just for putting something in my cart?

I've also found another way to make shopping profitable. A while back I saw a post on hip2save about Nielsen's National Consumer Panel and I applied. I had read that a lot of people get put on the waiting list and didn't really expect to hear anything back, but almost immediately I received an email informing me that I had been accepted and that a scanner would be shipped to my home. Here it is:


So, now I scan in everything that I buy (that does take a bit of time) and enter in the information about coupons and sales (that takes even more time). Every Saturday I transmit the information to an 800-number in exchange for points for free stuff.

The best part is that it motivates me to get things scanned and put away faster when I get home (after all, if I'm scanning them I might as well put them where they belong).

...Now to get some sleep...

Tomorrow Paul has the day off and we're having a fun family day!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How I Ended Up At Mass When I Just Wasn't Going to Go!

I was not going to go to Mass this morning. I just couldn't imagine it. Nani had been called to jury duty and Paul had a 9-6 shift and I wasn't about to attempt to take Sadie and Maggie to Mass by myself, much less try to work in the office afterwards with both of them by my side. So I called Diane, one of my best friends and the Church secretary and told her I wouldn't be able to make it.

The morning started out and I wasn't in the best of moods. By the time Paul came downstairs I had to rush out to the car to get the Moby wrap and I asked him to get the stroller out of the garage and lift Sadie into it, since I'm still technically not supposed to be hauling around her 35 + pounds of weight. I had the vague idea of going on a walk before it hit the nineties and we were trapped inside for the rest of the day. The following 10 hours seemed very long indeed without the option of going outside. I headed east, away from the Church, towards a meadow that we go to play in. On the way I started to pray a rosary and before I made it to the first decade I felt a very strong pull to stop and head back towards the Church.

I reasoned with myself as I turned the stroller around and started up the hill towards our parish. I said that I wasn't going to go to Mass with the two girls alone, I would just walk in that direction and then maybe turn back and go to the meadow. After all, I wanted to get in as much exercise as possible too. When I got to the street that turns off the main road towards our parish I followed it, still not planning on actually going inside. We turned on the next street as well and finally I pushed the stroller up the steep drive into our parish's parking lot. Maybe I would just wait a little while and say "hi" to Diane when Mass was over and make sure she'd found somebody to replace me for this weeks work. But still I felt drawn closer and, having come so far, I didn't see the sense in stopping. So I pushed the stroller up the handicap ramp and peeked through one of the front windows.

I was late, and I could tell it was either the gospel reading or the homily, but the feeling of being drawn somewhere persisted. Finally I gave in with a small prayer that went something along the lines of this: "since you seem to want me here today, please don't let this be a disaster..." As quietly as I could I opened the door managed to pull the heavy stroller in. We stood in the back as the homily ended and I knelt by Sadie and held her hand (Maggie slept on in the wrap). When it was time to receive the Eucharist I whispered and asked if Sadie wanted to go up with me (she'd been quietly sitting in her seat). She lifted her arms up and I picked her up (only six days until I'm cleared to legally lift her!) and set her down. She held my hand and walked up to the front like a big girl. Then we went back to our usual seat in the front row and she sat next to me on the pew (something she hardly ever does since she's usually on someone's lap).

Since she was a little fidgety I handed her a song book to look at. And that almost turned the trip into a disaster. I had unknowingly selected the only songbook in the parish without a Mary sticker on the inside of the front cover. Sadie started to frantically turn the front pages back and forth, looking for the sticker. I realized what was going on and switched it out for a songbook with a sticker. Disaster averted. No tears or screaming needed. Sadie spent the last few moments of Mass glancing back and forth between the sticker and the statue in front of us with a huge smile. Then she stood with me like a big girl when Mass ended, obviously very proud of herself for behaving.

I was confident enough after Mass that we did stay to work in the office. After a few minutes in the office I was surprised to see a form outside the window walking by. The figure passed by and then turned and came right up to the window to stare in. A curious little doe was looking in, her face inches away from where I was standing (I think I'd gone over to sharpen a pencil). She looked at the four of us (and all of us who were awake, that is, everyone but Maggie, got to see her!). Then Sadie colored on a piece of paper on the ground with a pencil until we were surprised by a knock on the door. It was Nani and she had been excused from jury duty because all the cases had been resolved without trials. So Sadie enthusiastically went with Nani to order a cake for Maggie's baptism (on Sunday) and we finished up our work and went out to a girl's lunch.

I'm so glad that I listened to the feeling that I had this morning and went to Mass. While I'm sure there will be wild times and tantrums in the future it reminded me that not every Sunday (or weekday) Mass will be trying.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Maggie at 1-Month

Sadie's Favorite News of the Day: A Lower Age for First Communion?

This story from CNA ought to make Sadie happy, although I think she's still going to be more than a little impatient waiting the handful of years that she has before her first communion. With her recent cupping of her hands and pretending she's receiving communion I think we're going to have several years of real impatience ahead:

Today's world requires lower age for first communicants, stresses Vatican prefect

Rome, Italy, Aug 9, 2010 / 05:15 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Children must not be deprived of the Eucharist, source of grace and assistance to them as they begin their walk with Jesus, stressed the Vatican prefect of the congregation for sacraments. In an article in L'Osservatore Romano to mark the 100-year anniversary of a papal decree which lowered the age of first communicants, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares underscored that children should still be allowed to receive the Eucharist as soon as they are able.

The Vatican newspaper published an article by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, titled "Jesus and the Children" on Sunday. In it, the cardinal remembered Pope St. Pius X's "Quam singulari" decree from Aug. 8, 1910 which gave children the ability to receive the Eucharist once they had reached the "age of reason," deemed then at around seven years of age.

"With this decree ... he taught the entire Church the meaning, the opportunity, the value and the centrality of Holy Communion for the life of all of the baptized, including children," wrote the cardinal prefect of St. Pius X.

"At the same time, he underscored and reminded everyone of the love and the predeliction of Jesus for children ... ," added the cardinal, noting in from Bible passages that the youngest "are always very special friends of the Lord."

Emphasizing that there is "no greater love, no greater gift" than that of communion, he said that being with the Lord is "worth more than every other thing in the life of each man" and first communion, as the beginning of our "walk together with Jesus" should not be put off.

"We cannot, (by) delaying first communion deprive children ... of this grace, work and presence of Jesus, of this encounter of friendship with him, of this singular participation of Jesus himself to be able to mature and thus reach fullness."

In today's world, he said, children are in great need of this sacrament and, "thanks to their immaculate and open souls," no one is more disposed than them to the union, friendship, strength and presence it offers.

Citing the 100th anniversary of Pope Pius X's decree as a "providential occasion to remember and insist" on the fact that children can receive communion from the time they are able to reason, Cardinal Cañizares said that rather than continuing a trend which sees children receive communion ever later, if nothing else, today they should be able to receive it earlier than ever.

"In the face of what is happening with children and to the very adverse environment in which they grow up, let's not deprive them of the gift of God," he concluded...

Read the entire article here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Visiting the Cathedral and a Question about the Creed

When we were in San Francisco last weekend I was a little bit torn about where to attend Mass on Sunday morning before we hurried to begin the long drive home. With quite a few beautiful churches to decide between I was tempted to skip attending Mass at the cathedral and take Sadie and Maggie to one of the lovely old churches. I know that it wouldn't really matter where we went, because the Mass is what's important, but since trips to the city are few and far between (it was a year since the last time I'd been down to visit for my five year college reunion) I wanted to take them somewhere special. We've been to the cathedral in San Jose, and we finally decided to go to Saint Mary's of the Assumption, the cathedral in San Francisco.

After viewing the cathedral from the outside it's really hard for me to imagine anyone describing it as "aesthetically pleasing" much less beautiful. Paul has explained that it's supposed to look like a cross from the air, but that he's heard people say that it looks more like the inside of a washing machine from higher elevations. I was pleasantly surprised by the inside (when compared with the outside). It isn't something I would have ever dreamt up, but it wasn't the horrible cement blob that I imagined having seen the outside. And Sadie was, thankfully, impressed into silence. She sat looking at the stained glass that runs up to form a brightly lit cross on the ceiling.

There was one tantrum outside because she wanted to stand at the edge of the railing (and didn't want to hold my hand) and the railing was not designed by someone who had children in mind (when Paul saw it he said something along the lines of "they must not have many kids here..." It's a drop that's a minimum of one story with a huge gap between the ground and the start of the railing.). Other than that though, things went really well.

The Mass itself was beautiful. There weren't many people there (maybe other Catholics who attend Mass on Sunday mornings prefer the more traditional looking churches too?), which was a bit surprising, but lots of tour groups walked by and peered in.

Yet one part of the Mass left me with a question and I thought I'd ask it here. When it was time for the Profession of Faith we started to recite the Creed. At least Paul and I did. The rest of the Church, with the exception of the priest and maybe a small handful of the people who were there, were silent. I had a moment where I glanced up from making sure Maggie and Sadie were happy and quiet to make sure that we were supposed to be reciting it. I think there might have been two other people in the area surrounding us that's mouths were moving. Everyone else just stood there silently... So, here's the question: At your parish do most people say the Creed out loud?

To answer my own question for our own parish: in our little church (which has numbers many Sundays similar to the number at the nine o'clock mass we attended at the cathedral... which struck me as kind of sad since our town only has a few thousand people...) pretty much everyone does. People who don't know the words look in their missiles. The entire church fills with voices professing their faith. It just struck me as odd that it was so silent at that point during Mass at the cathedral...

"Faith is a Personal Act..."

Faith is a personal act–the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbor impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith.

Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 166