Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Busy Day in Pictures

We had a busy day today! Nani took us to "The City" for a Girl's Day of shopping and fun! And I snapped pictures along the way. Sadie is looking so big these days!

Mae Babe is ready to head out shopping!

Nani and Sadie pick out sun glasses!

Mae is hoping for grown up food at lunch...

Sadie eats a cheese bread roll.


More Cuddles!

The girls' favorite store is Costco because of the carts.

Ready for the trip home!

Sadie and Belle.

Getting sleepy...

She's out!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm Back!

Yay for a computer that is 99% up and running. I re-ran the startup disks and the hardware check (it came back as okay!) and my computer is dong everything it's supposed to, unless I try to open multiple windows in tabs, then it instantly freezes and crashes the program. I'm hoping it's one of those things that will be fixed with the next update (because that's usually what seems to happen with Mac problems that we've had in the past). Now to get my mind out of "fix the computer" panic mode and back into blogging mode.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Oh No... A Very Sick Computer...

Blogging may be a little slow going this next week. I am afraid that my computer, while less than two years old, is on it's last little legs. For those of you who have any computer skills, here are the symptoms:

Quite suddenly (one moment my computer was fine, the next it was about as useful as a paperweight...) my computer started "thinking" with the little mouse arrow turning into a colorful circle that moved at first and then just froze. None of the commands worked (it's a Mac Powerbook) and I finally just ended up pressing the button until it turned off manually. This happened every time I turned it on.

And it turns on very slowly. None of the "Apple" programs work (even the dashboard with the calculator). However Microsoft Word does seem to work (very, very slowly).

I can't find the startup disks at the moment (two moves since we got the computer) because I was trying to find the hardware test disk...

Thankfully it's under warranty until fall so it looks like it will be going back to Best Buy. Unfortunately the last time we went into Best Buy when it was making a funny sound they said they would have it back to me in a minimum of two weeks. Ugh.

Is this God's way of telling me I need to give up my computer for Lent?

This is going to make my year of dresses a little more difficult too. Guess I'll keep snapping pictures and post them later (or upload some onto Paul's computer...).

Now to straighten up the house... The girls and I were away with Nani and Grumpa (while Daddy worked on his thesis in a quiet house) and there's a lot that needs to be done...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Technical Difficulties

Your regular scheduled blog is experiencing technical difficulties (mainly that my computer is apparently not a fan of the internet connection where I am at the moment... I hope... if it's still not working when I get home it'll be going back to Best Buy where it's, thankfully, still under warranty...). I will be back tomorrow though, even if I have to borrow Paul's computer!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Cleaning and Facebook

A few weeks ago I did a little "spring cleaning" on facebook. I deleted around 50 people, mostly acquaintances that I had worked with in college, but that I hadn't spoken to in years. I wasn't planning on doing anything else.

But lately, opening my facebook page was becoming a chore I avoided. Sure I wanted to check to see if I had any messages from my closest friends and from family members, but reading status updates in the "Top News" section was becoming rather disturbing. There was a young man ranting about a young woman he "had not beaten" (she was apparently, from the gist of the post accusing him of this), while his family members and friends threatened her with colorful language in the comments section. There were posts about someone being charged with elder abuse and someone else losing custody of their children (these were accusations flung at each other that made the "Top News"). And then there was just the general profanity.

A quote from a college english professor begins to come to mind whenever I read anything filled with expletives. He said in class one day that whenever he read anything filled with profanity he began to question the writers intellect because he felt they lacked the ability to express themselves in any other way. Now I wouldn't go so far as to question a posters intellect based on a status update, but over the years his words have given me pause. There are far better ways of expressing emotion than resorting to four letter words (particularly the same four letter word over and over again...).

I know that you can block people's posts so they don't show up, but at that point is there really a point in keeping them on your friends list if you've decided you don't want to see anything that they say?

Last night, however, I read something that was the last straw. A "friend" had been involved in a conversation and for whatever reason, facebook decided that it was "top news." As it involved religion my attention was captured and I began to read. By the second comment she had used the words "Catholic" and "Nazis" in the same sentence (as in "the great Christians of the past that fought against the Catholic Church and the Nazis..."). By the end I was ready for a second round of spring cleaning.

I began by thinking: "Wouldn't it be nice if my facebook was filled only with people that I genuinely like? People who don't use the f-word in every sentence or that compare my religion with a regime that committed genocide?" And I started clicking delete. Over and over again.

At the beginning of the month I had 282 friends (or something like that). I ended the night with 121 friends. All of my online/blogging friends made the cut (apparently you Catholic bloggers don't use very much profanity on facebook!). All of my family members made the cut. Most of my family friends made the cut (the woman who made the comment was actually someone I'd grown up going to Church with from my parents' generations...) Lots of teachers made it. And of course my best friends through the years were safe.

And I really like the change.

Now I just need to start spring cleaning in my house...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Food on Maggie's Outfit

Sadie is very bothered by dirt or messes of any kind (although she loves to make them!). I snapped these three photos yesterday when she was lamenting the fact that Maggie had food on her sleeper:

A Big Day with Big News!

I got a bit distracted last night, first by the combox, then by the dress that I'm sewing (yay! So far so good!) and finally by a two year old who was determined to stay awake (around midnight!). I was determined to be productive however, once the migraine painkillers finally kicked in, but my to-do list was just too long!

I'm back though and have some great news!

First, the Maggie news! Maggie, took a break from learning to walk yesterday and said her first word. Now, whenever she doesn't have my full attention and wants me she can squeal and say "Mama!" and she was delighted to find that it works in capturing everyone's attention!

Now for the other news! No it's not that kind of news (the rumors have already started in our own town as people wait for "that kind" of news!)! It's law school news!

A while back I conducted a poll, which is still in the sidebar to the right. Catholic University topped the poll with 21% of the votes, Saint Louis University came in second with 15%, Ave Maria was at 13% in third place and Boston College was in fourth place with 10%. While we haven't heard back from all the colleges Paul applied to yet, we've heard back from the majority.

The decision isn't official yet (since we're still waiting on a few schools) but my favorite little school in South West Florida sent us a letter yesterday doubling the scholarship that they offered Paul! He had been offered a larger scholarship from another law school and so he had asked that it be matched and they actually beat the other offer (definitely worth it to try to negotiate scholarships for law schools!)!

So I'm very excited about this news! This made my day!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Laundry Detergent Commercials and Modesty (the lost art...)

There’s a commercial that I’ve seen a couple times while I was over at Nani and Grumpa’s with the girls and I can’t help but internally wince every time I see it. It’s for laundry detergent and it shows a father who is looking for something to wipe his filthy hands on when he notices a white mini skirt (which apparently belongs to his daughter) drying with the rest of the laundry on a line outside. He goes over and grabs the skirt and wipes his hands off and then throws the skirt in the hamper.

In the next part of the commercial the daughter, a pretty, blonde teenager, finds her skirt with brown stains on it in the hamper and shows her mom, who makes a little face and reaches for the detergent (by the way, this makes me glad that I don’t use this particular detergent!).

And of course the commercial ends with the girl in her mini skirt saying goodbye to her unhappy looking father as she goes out the door in her barely there outfit with her mother smiling happily.

Where to even begin?

There’s just so much wrong with the picture that this commercial paints and perhaps the most disturbing part is that I’m sure it is a pretty accurate depiction of what goes on in many households in our culture.

Mothers who either want to be their daughters friend and put aside the role of mentor in an attempt to be “best friends” or who are attempting to relive the “glory days” of their youth aren’t doing their daughters any favors (I’m sure there are father’s who do this too, but probably less often with their female children… After all, what father wants to see his daughter dressing like she’s ready for a night out on the streets?).

I would say that the entire scene emasculates the father, but the fact is, in this scenario, the father was emasculated long before this situation unfolded. If he hadn’t been emasculated the commercial would have begun with him wiping his hands on the skirt and holding it up and saying “there’s no way you’re going to be leaving my house dressed like this.” Instead he slinks over and hides it in the hamper, hoping that he has ruined it, but unwilling to take a stand against his wife (who is apparently okay with the outfit) and daughter.

Which brings me to another story that came to mind as I was typing this. On Ash Wednesday when we went to Mass there was a beautiful young woman (I would guess around 18) who walked into Mass by herself, and stayed around after Mass looking at the pamphlets on celebrating Lent. I was impressed that she was there on her own and was glad that she had made it.

At the same time her outfit, a very expensive looking bright pink mini dress with gigantic hoop earrings and stiletto heels, would have seemed better placed at a night club than in Mass. Yet as I watched her briefly on her way into and out of Mass, it was clear that she had absolutely no idea that there was anything odd or inappropriate about the outfit.

And then the thought popped into my head: she’s never been taught that it’s inappropriate!

It’s almost as if dressing modestly and being conscious of dressing modestly, has become a lost art. Dressing sexually is so commonplace that girls and young women do it without giving what they are depicting a second thought. I imagine there’s a very good chance that the young woman on Ash Wednesday got dressed up to go to Mass. However, without any solid grounding or education on what was appropriate she relied on what she sees on a daily basis passing for “dressed up” and the result was what we saw.

We have a duty to our children to teach them to respect themselves. Girls are taught these days that they can be whatever they want to be and do whatever the boys can do, but the message that their femininity is a gift from God is put aside as something from a bygone era. Actual feminine grace is replaced with an overly sexualized show that debases what we truly are.

And that, like that particular Tide commercial, is very, very sad…

My Favorite Things (or What I've Been Up To!)

I've been busy making chaplets! I have a to-do list that I can't see the end of because I keep finding chaplets that I want to make! This Saint Michael is one of the latest that I added to my shop!

Very rarely do I design a chaplet and then make one to keep for myself. This one falls under that category!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Prayers with Sadie: A Hail Mary

When we pray before bed each night (before the family rosary) I'll say the first part of each verse of a prayer and then she'll usually add the last word. We'll do the sign of the cross, an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Glory Be. Sometimes though... Sadie gets creative:

Me: "Hail Mary, Full of..."
Sadie: "Grace!"
Me: "The Lord is with..."
Sadie: "Thee!"
Me: "Blessed art though amongst..."
Sadie: "Wo-Men!"
Me: "And blessed is the fruit of you-"
Sadie: "Jesus!!!!!"
Me: "your womb, Jesus... Holy..."
Sadie: "Baby you're the one!"
Me: "Mary, mother of..."
Sadie: "God"
Me: "Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death."
Sadie: "Amen!"

"Spiritually Immature"

A couple of weeks ago someone online told me, after reading my blog, that she found me to be “spiritually immature.” I believe, from what was said, that it all went back to my headcovering series. I managed to keep from firing off a knee jerk response (“I’m not sure calling someone ‘spiritually immature’ is the most ‘mature’ response”).

Instead I took a deep breath and swallowed my pride and admitted that I do have a lot of growing to do. I then asked that she pray for me.

Did I think that she was right on the basis of her comment (my defense of headcovering as a sign of "spiritual immaturity")? No. But was the underlying claim true? Yes. I still have a lot of growing to do! I am spiritually, very much like a toddler, taking shaky steps on unsteady legs, praying that God keeps me upright!

Unsurprisingly this received no response at all (actually, the way the conversation had been headed I wouldn’t have been altogether surprised to receive another snarky comment… so I guess no response may be the best possible end result).

Perhaps that’s why, recently, I’ve noticed online accusations (towards others) of “spiritual immaturity” that got me thinking about what is being said when those words are flung around (or are at least implied).

The words themselves are kind of redundant. Most people, even people who try very hard, aren’t living lives of “heroic virtue.” The vast majority of us aren’t saints (yet). Hopefully we all will be someday. After all, the only tragedy in this life is to not become a saint.

When I hear the accusation, either said in an outright way or implied, my first thought is that while it’s a) not a very nice thing to say, it’s b) probably true and lastly c) possibly says more about the speaker than the listener since saying that someone else is “spiritually immature” gives the speaker an air of superiority that sounds suspiciously like pride.

The basic definition of “immature” is “not fully developed.” So to be spiritually immature is to be not fully developed spiritually. Can any of us make the claim of being fully developed spiritually while on this earth?

It’s hard to develop spiritually in a world where so much emphasis is placed on the physical world and the “importance” of the individual. I often feel like I’m taking baby steps on my journey and slipping and sliding backwards when I lose my temper or say something unkind.

Still I am grateful when my conscience tells me that something is wrong. That sting of conscience is preferable to the silence that this world cultivates when faced with evil.

And prayerfully, through God’s grace, may each of us grow spiritually a little more each day.

Hopefully, as we do, we can find ways to help others on their own journeys towards God, without condescending and pointing out the obvious, which in this case is a struggle that each of us must strive to overcome.

My Growing Girls

While I'm pretty average in height (5'5") I remember thinking of myself as "short" growing up, until the spring and summer before junior high when I suddenly grew something like eight inches (and then stopped!). Even in college though, people usually thought I was younger than my age and at work when asked what year in school I was my response of "sophomore" was often met with "at (fill in the name of a couple local high schools)?"

We're running into the opposite sort of experience with Sadie. When she came into the world, 22 inches long, she was already "tall." The last time I measured she was right at three feet (and that was before Maggie was born!) and I know she's grown... I just haven't gotten her to hold still long enough to measure her.

I didn't realize how tall she was, however, until we were at Mass on Saturday and she walked ahead of me and passed an altar server. She came up to the boy's shoulder. I would guess he was nine or ten... and she is now two and three quarters!

Which brings me to the issue that we run into the most frequently with our little towering two year old...

People think she's much older than she is. It seems that the assumption is that she's four, or maybe five. You really only have to be around her for a few moments to realize that she's much younger, but that doesn't stop frowns and glares when she's squirmy (she's quiet at Mass 95% of the time, just squirmy) that I really don't think she'd get if she were an average sized two year old. After all, the expectations for stillness with a five year old are much higher than for a toddler, but few people seem to realize that she is still a toddler!

In Maggie News: she took six steps pushing her sister's doll stroller on Sunday afternoon and now seems determined to learn how to walk. She keeps standing up and letting go of what she's holding on to (she sometimes raises her arms like a "V" and smiles) and trying to just walk without anything. I can't believe how determined she is!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We braved a storm yesterday to go to Mass. There had been a break in the storm right around the time we had planned on heading out that made us brave enough to give it a try... besides, the weatherman said that the storm wasn't supposed to hit until 11pm and we would be home way before 11pm.

Except that a mudslide hit and then an accident and while we sat there waiting to go through the road status changed to chains... And we were stuck.

So we found a motel and bought some baby food and toothbrushes and settled in for the night.

When we woke up this morning I called and the roads were still closed (for cars without chains or 4 wheel drive). We decided that we would buy cables (our car isn't supposed to use chains... we were hoping that the manual would say cables were okay...) if the roads were still closed once we were ready to go.

Thankfully once we got on the road I called the 800-number again and the road had reopened. We scooted through before it closed again (the storm is raging outside and the mud walls were sliding down with small-ish rock and mud slides all along the road in addition to the snow) and are now home safe and sound.

Mae was particularly relieved. She has a tough time being away from home and when she saw where we were she started zooming around checking to make sure her toys were still here.

And Sadie is glad to be back near her potty. She had a bit of a trauma yesterday with an automatic flushing toilet (I will now mention my loathing for automatic flushing toilets) that set us back a week or so in potty training... We'd been accident free for the most part for over a week...

Now to make pizza for lunch! I am so glad to be home!

Today's picture is a blast from the past! It's over a year old!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sadie Frown of the Week: Bearing False Witness

I just read about one of my favorite high profile priests and found that accusations have been leveled against him and that he has been placed on administrative leave. He vehemently denies the accusations and I believe him (I'm not mentioning his name, although I imagine it will be in the news soon enough, because I don't want to help the slander spread in any way, even in defense of him...). Unfortunately the words of his former employee mean (apparently) that he must be placed on administrative leave while the situation is investigated. As he points out on his own site he is being treated as guilty "just in case" and now must try to "prove" his innocence.

My first thought when I read this horrible news was this: There is a sin I would not want to have to explain to God on judgement day. Seriously. "Hi God, um... remember that time when I bore false witness against a priest who had helped people around the world with his direct, straight forward explanations of the faith? Yeah... I was just... um... kidding?"

Sex abuse is horrible. Yet in a different way, these types of lies, both against clergy and against lay people (often times men who have tried to help their communities and made enemies) can be just as damaging and traumatic. Lives are destroyed. Reputations are lost. Cases drag on for years and years and then, after being dragged through the mud the accused is acquitted with a whisper. After all, an acquittal doesn't quite get the same ratings that some drug addled woman ranting about sex or harassment gets.

Anyone can say anything. And in a society where a premium is placed on getting what we want, instead of doing what is right, telling a little lie for money, or attention or to hurt someone in a position of power that we've decided we don't like, may not seem all that bad anymore.

I'm sure Satan attacked this particular priest from every angle. After all, he's a man who has strengthened the faith and understanding of many. When that didn't work Satan decided on the next best thing: an attempt to discredit his work and all the good that he has done by leading someone weaker into sin.

We should pray for all involved. Maybe Saint Gerard Majella is a good patron saint for this case. He was falsely accused (google him to see how he became the patron saint of expectant mothers) and the woman who accused him finally repented and told the truth. What a sad day...

Murder and Marijuana

Our entire county was shocked by a vicious crime earlier this week. In the beginning, very little was known. We heard that two people had been murdered and that two more had arrived at a local store badly injured. This took place in a little town two and a half hours from the county seat and ended with a police car chase down highway 101 that left the suspect dead.

In our area it's hard not to instantly think of drugs when you hear this sort of thing. In the past twelve months we've heard about fires and kidnappings and it always comes back to the same cause: Marijuana production.

We've spent the last couple of days waiting to hear more information. Tonight the local news was shocking. Here's the story as it was told on the news:

A 911 call came in on Sunday night from a town two and a half hours from the county seat. A law enforcement officer (on the news they said a CHP officer, in other reports they've said sheriff's deputy) called a couple who live out in the rural area and asked them to go over and check on their neighbors. When they arrived they found their neighbors dead, with their throats slit and the killer, who was still in the house attacked the two rescuers with a tazer (to the face) and then slit both of their throats as well. The two who had been sent as rescuers somehow made it to the local store separately, where 911 was called again.

The man was able to give a description of the attacker and his car and later that night law enforcement officers spotted the car and attempted to pull it over. The suspect fled and after a very long chase down highway 101 (which is very curvy and cliffy up here) crashed into a tree and was killed.

Both rescuers have survived. The woman was sent to a University with a slit windpipe and the man was later released from the local hospital.

If you're from our area, there's still a good chance you'd be wondering, after reading about all of this, about the motive (and how drugs, very likely fit into the picture). I lived in Humboldt county when I was growing up (actually in Garberville, the town that the two victims were taken to the hospital in) and I can't view marijuana production and use through rose colored glasses as other bloggers can.

And then the reporter announces the next sentence and it all makes sense:

The suspect was linked to the scene by evidence found in his car, which included marijuana packaged the same way as marijuana found at the scene of the crime.

Of course growers can twist this and say that legalization would have prevented this (because stealing marijuana that was legalized just wouldn't make sense, right? People never steal things that are legally produced just because they don't want to pay for them?) or that it quite simply can't have anything to do with it because marijuana doesn't make people act differently (I'm trying to come up with a more articulate response but "whatever.... keep living in that fantasy world..." is all that really comes to mind). And of course there are the many friends of the suspected murderer on other blogs (that I don't want to link to because they are all about marijuana production) who say he was a gentle giant and never could have done something like this (again not fathoming that drugs can cause major personality changes...).

In other local pot news, we drove by our old apartment the other day and this apartment (which had four small children living in it and people and people who smoked pot outside) had crime scene tape all around it. I'm sure that had "nothing to do with marijuana" either... I just pray those four little kids are okay...

My New (Made By Me) Skirt

Not only is this Day 70 of my Year of Dresses but I made today's skirt last night. It's pretty simple, but I can already tell it's going to be a favorite. I love the length!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Journalists Don't Just Misunderstand the Church...

I just finished reading this article by Dr. Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at MIT. It's really interesting (okay, I was a science and math geek as a kid, so I realize that "interesting" is relative and that what I might find interesting my husband and many [most?] other people would find brain-numbing):
"I repeat, there was and will *not* be any significant release of radioactivity from the damaged Japanese reactors.

By "significant" I mean a level of radiation of more than what you would receive on - say - a long distance flight, or drinking a glass of beer that comes from certain areas with high levels of natural background radiation.

I have been reading every news release on the incident since the earthquake. There has not been one single report that was accurate and free of errors (and part of that problem is also a weakness in the Japanese crisis communication). By “not free of errors” I do not refer to tendentious anti-nuclear journalism – that is quite normal these days. By “not free of errors” I mean blatant errors regarding physics and natural law, as well as gross misinterpretation of facts, due to an obvious lack of fundamental and basic understanding of the way nuclear reactors are build and operated. I have read a 3 page report on CNN where every single paragraph contained an error..."

Read the entire article here.
I'll admit, my first thought when I read the final paragraph was "Wow, that many errors? And the report isn't about the Catholic Church (and more specifically the Vatican?)?" A three page report on CNN where every single paragraph contains an error? I bet we could beat that...

But I digress. The article is, in itself definitely worth reading.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Rainbows, Spiders and The Sign of the Cross

Daily Dose of Cuteness: A Sadie Quote

Sadie (looks at me very seriously after hearing her sister cry in the other room while she and I were having a special movie night watching a princess movie): "Me Baby Too!" (while pointing at her chest).

She got lots of hugs and cuddles and yes, once, Maggie fell asleep five minutes later (this was two nights ago, not last nights long night!) we did get to finish watching her movie together.

Then there's:

Me: "Who's your favorite princess?"
Sadie: "Holy Baby Princess!"

And also:

Me: "What kind of birthday party are you going to want this year?"
Sadie: "Holy Baby!"
Me: "Not Ru and Lumpy?"
Sadie: "Holy Baby! Holy Baby!"

Hmmmm.... I wonder where you find nun birthday decorations... At least it will be an easy Halloween costume to make...

They Just Won't Sleep!

If Maggie took a bottle I would have thought someone had poured sugar and caffeine into it. Since she doesn't I have no idea what was going on last night. I do know, however, that she and her sister had us parents beat.

Sadie woke up with a scream at 10 pm and in the fifteen seconds it took me to get to the baby room Maggie had joined in the ruckus. So I scooped up Maggie and settled down at the edge of Sadie's bed. Sadie, however, decided pretty quickly that she wanted to be in the big bed and when she realized the answer was no, it was too early, the screaming recommenced. Daddy tried to help, but this was one of those nights where everyone wants Mommy's lap and no one thinks there's enough room for anyone else on it.

I did get them both settled down. Maggie even fell back asleep. But I could see Sadie's little eyes staring at me, waiting for me to try and move. In a desperate move to get Maggie into her crib I whispered: "Maggie's asleep now. Should I put her down in her crib?" In a reasonable voice Sadie said "Yes!" I thought maybe, just maybe, this has a chance at working.

I made it halfway across the (very small) room to the crib before the shriek from Sadie's bed shattered the quiet and woke Maggie back up.

Thus began a stretch of wakefulness that involved Maggie giggling hysterically while bouncing up and down, until even Sadie was ready for her to be asleep and was getting grouchy at being kept awake by her energetic little sister.

I will note that when Sadie woke up at 5am she was much quieter and didn't wake Mae Babe.

In other news Maggie stood up by herself for the first time three days ago and then again yesterday (she did it without holding on to anything the first time and fell backwards into a sitting position... so I think she kind of frightened herself! Last night she gave it another try!).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sad Statistics

I found this horrifying (yet important) post over at The Catholic Key. It's a look at the leading causes of death in New York City in 2008...

"Let’s break it out with some leading causes of death in New York City in 2008:

Cause of Death Number of Deaths
Heart Disease 21,844
Cancer 13,116
Influenza/Pneumonia 2,578
Diabetes 1,708
Stroke 1,669
Deaths by All Causes (excluding abortion) 55,391
Induced Abortions 82,475
The number of people who died from abortion in 2008 in New York City is 149% of the number of people who died from all other causes. Put another way, abortion accounts for 60 percent of all deaths in New York City..."

One Long Night

If you see me today and my eye looks a little bit swollen it's because I got clocked with the fist of a two year and a half year old at 3:30 am last night. She went through a two hour phase where she would almost fall back asleep every fifteen minutes, then she'd drop "Holy Baby" and start flailing and screaming "Holy Baby, Holy Baby" in a terrified voice while flailing about. I'm not sure the punch was an accident because she seemed to think that I was part of the Holy-Baby-snatching-conspiracy. I also became the bad guy when I insisted on having my head our from under the covers instead of having the quilt she'd pulled up flat across my face (and she would check this by reaching over and grab/smacking my face to see if the quilt was there). Needless to say, it was a pretty long night. And that is why my blogging brain is mush at the moment. Sleep deprivation will definitely do that to you.

Now she's sound asleep and I feel like I should wake her up in hopes of getting her back on our normal schedule, but to be honest, I'd rather not face the wrath of my so-not-a-morning-person daughter when she still wants to be asleep and someone is trying to wake her for a reason other than, oh, I don't know, ice cream sundays.

Oh, she's stirring! I'm hoping I don't have a little grouch here after her long night.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sadie and Sister Scholastica

Sadie has a best friend. Her name is Sister Scholastica and she and Sadie are inseparable. As you can probably guess, Sadie hasn't quite mastered the name "Sister Scholastica" but she has dubbed her "Holy Baby" after the DVD and she take Holy Baby with her everywhere.

In fact when Holy Baby isn't with us we know that we're only moments away from potential disaster. Holy Baby is Sadie's lovey. If she notices that we've forgotten Holy Baby somewhere she goes from zero to inconsolable in about five seconds flat.

Maggie has a doll of her own "Baby Bosco" who Sadie calls "Don Bosco!" Sadie thinks that Maggie and Don Bosco should be as inseparable as she and Sister Scholastica are and frequently brings Don Bosco over and tells Maggie his name (usually when Maggie has settled down to nurse). Don Bosco does sit with Maggie in her car seat when we go on drives and he always makes her smile!

In case you're wondering where Sister Scholastica and Baby Bosco are from, they're characters in the Holy Baby DVD series (there are two DVDs: Holy Baby Seven Prayers in Seven Languages and Holy Baby 2 Jesus Loves Me He is the Bread of Life. I purchased these two DVDs after entering a giveaway at Modern Catholic Mom when Sadie was a baby. At the time I thought: I never win anything and I was really impatient to get a DVD designed for Catholic babies (and involving the rosary!) and I ended up ordering the two DVDs and forgetting about the giveaway. A few days later we found out that we had won!

It worked out perfectly, however. We donated two of the DVDs to our parish's library and kept the other two.

In the first Holy Baby DVD, your child will learn the prayers of the rosary (in seven languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, Vietnamese and German). In between prayers they watch "Sister Scholastica" pray while a song plays. And then while the prayers are being spoken in the different languages, colorful images are shown on the screen.

Holy Baby 2 is also filled with cheerful music, along with parts of the Mass. The girls have only recently started watching Holy Baby 2 so Baby Bosco might be gaining popularity with Sadie soon (I'll have to make sure she doesn't steal her sister's doll too!).

Lately the Holy Baby DVDs have been a lifesaver. If I need to fix a quick dinner and the girls are particularly rambunctious I can pop one of the two DVDs into the DVD player and silence instantly falls over the house. Maggie will giggle and Sadie will grab Sister Scholastica and collapse on the couch with a huge smile.

Sadie loves counting the number of items in each picture (there are three nuns in a statue so she says "one, two, three!" and giggles) and naming Mary whenever a statue comes onto the screen that depicts Our Lady. She's also making the sign of cross frequently throughout the day and sat on my lap before Mass yesterday helping me "learn" how to make the sign. Two days ago we were looking at a book and she pointed to Our Lady of Guadalupe and said "Mary!" When I asked her who Mary is she said "Mother of Jes! Mother of God!" in an enthusiastic voice (she can't quite say "Jesus" yet).

This DVD is helping our girls learn the prayers that we say every night in our family rosary and is helping them be excited about them! And I don't feel bad about letting them watch it when I have something that I really need to get done because they're learning prayers and parts of the Mass! To top it all off, seeing Sadie walking around with a little nun doll (in a habit!) always brings a smile to my face! Especially when she bursts out singing: "Holy Baby, You're the One!"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Future of the Internet

I write a monthly article for a local political journal and while exploring the options for this month’s piece I stumbled across a small story (that I can’t find now!) that said that the Obama administration was pressuring a group called ICANN, who controls Internet domain names to hand control of the whole domain name process over to the United Nations. The story was instantly alarming.

I began to turn the arguments that would be inherent in such a situation over in my head. Which would be preferable? Would it be better to have governments, with their own agendas and issues with censorship and free speech, controlling domain names? Or would it be better to have a private company (although ICANN is a non-profit) holding the reins?

I have to say that as encroachment on religious rights becomes the norm (Catholic colleges can’t opt out of providing abortion coverage? And there’s the ever present threat the stating Christian beliefs may soon be classified as “hate speech…”) I am exceedingly uncomfortable with the idea of any government controlling the Internet in this way. So I set out to learn what ICANN does and what is really happening at the moment.

When I first began my search I found a bunch of old conspiracy theory sites. Then I found a Time article and from there was able to launch a much more effective search and find answers to my questions. First off, in layman terms, what does ICANN do? Here’s the answer (I tried to simplify it!):

One of ICANN’s jobs is to ensure that the internet has stable and secure identifiers. They coordinate the domain names system (DNS) and numeric addresses that are used to reach computers who are online. These DNS names help users find what they’re looking for online. Each computer has an IP address, but these IP addresses are long strings of numbers. A DNS allows familiar letters to be used instead of numbers and that is what a domain name is. So instead of typing in 9 numbers, you type in to get to my blog.

Five years ago the US government renewed ICANN’s contract to continue with this job for another five years. This fall, the contract is up and there are many people who would like to see this job turned over to the UN. Here’s an important quote from the article:
"Last month the U.S. circulated a proposal that would have essentially given world governments a veto over any new proposed TLD “for any reason.” That proposal was ultimately softened under public pressure, but the Obama Administration continues to place pressure on ICANN to give governments more say over its policy decisions. If it's too principled about free expression, the logic goes, ICANN and the U.S. may face overwhelming pressure to cede authority to the UN."
One of the reasons foreign powers are pressuring the turnover is because they feel that the US could use the US based company to unfairly control the internet. An example of one of these worries in action is shown in an article in the Washington Post in this way: Say the US decides Syria is misbehaving and decides to use ICANN to retaliate. They could, theoretically, use Syria’s country code domain (which you’d see at the end of Syrian websites) to direct people to freedom of expression sites.

At this point the commerce department worries that a large number of foreign countries are going to lobby the U.N. to take control of the system. And the International Telecommunications Union, a 145- year old agency of nearly 200 nations and Territories, is eager to take over.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the entire situation is the anti-ICANN quotes that I found attached to many articles. There is certainly a movement demanding that ICANN step aside so that other nations can decide through “consensus” what is appropriate and what is not. This makes me very uncomfortable. This “democratic” process could easily be used to control the speech of dissenters across the political spectrum. I find that to be incredibly troubling.

And that is one of the main reasons I hope that ICANN does end up successfully renewing their contract this September. I’d rather see a “too principled” company allowing free expression online, regardless of what opinion is being voiced, than have the countries of the world deciding by consensus which voices shouldn’t be heard.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Critical Mass

Here's another great video from the vortex. In a time when too many think the Mass is about "us" instead of God, it is certainly timely:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nursing and Fasting: Just Don't Do It!

Every year I see the question come up on the Catholic forums. Are nursing and/or pregnant mothers excused from the fast? There is always immediately a flurry of responses. For the most part they are filled with common sense. But then the encouragement starts... as in "I'm nursing and I'm fasting and I still have a ton of milk. You should do it too." These answers worry me (more on that below). Anyways here is the formal answer to whether or not we're required to fast, which will be followed by my own experience with the matter:
"Those who are excused from fast or abstinence Besides those outside the age limits, those of unsound mind, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment, manual laborers according to need, guests at a meal who cannot excuse themselves without giving great offense or causing enmity and other situations of moral or physical impossibility to observe the penitential discipline."

From EWTN's Fasting and Abstinence
Now many of us can give up meat. I know that, as I design my food schedule on a budget, we have plenty of days that, unintentionally, don't include meat. And since eggs and dairy products are allowed, it's pretty easy to get adequate protein in other ways (we tried Greek Yogurt recently, I believe it was Yoplait, and it had something like 13 g of protein! It's hard to beat that in anything! And for those worried about health it has 0g of fat! And it was tasty!).

Fasting, however, is an entirely different thing. And the mentality that many of us can fall into can be dangerous. We may think "well she's only nursing x number of time a day... How much can one day of fasting in a week (two during this first week) really affect my milk supply." For some, rare women, it may not be much. But for many of us, the result would be dramatic.

When Sadie was almost one I thought I'd be okay "cutting back" on Ash Wednesday. She was eating a lot of baby foods and while she still nursed quite a bit I didn't think that one day would really affect my milk supply all that much. Besides, I told myself, I would still eat two small meals and one big meal. I wouldn't be doing the whole bread and water thing. Really the main difference was that I was cutting out snacks.

I was fine all day and so was my milk supply. Then it was bedtime and I was faced with a very hungry baby. And suddenly it was gone. I had no milk. And I had a baby who lay next to be and sobbed herself to sleep.

It took over a day for my milk supply to return to normal. And in that time I had a miserable, hungry, cranky baby and a dribbling supply of milk that slowly returned as I ate.

You may be able to nurse and fast. But there's a good chance you may not. And why would anyone want to risk finding out? I think we can all agree that the babe in our arms isn't included in the fast.

Sure, some little bit of pride in the back of my head tells me I can fast every single year. After all, I'm only nursing... well let's see... six.... or seven times a day... and Maggie gets a lot of her food from baby food these days... I tell that tiny thought to be quiet. It's not what's best for my baby. And that is the important thing.

There's very likely plenty of time in the future for fasting. For now, if you're a nursing mom, accept your exemption and know that sometimes it's harder not to fast when everyone else is fasting and you'd really like to join them (aren't we an odd bunch! Really, wanting to fast?).

Besides, there are many of substitutes we can make. Give up the internet (okay, I'm not doing this, but I've heard of brave souls who do!). Or your cell phone (that would be easy for me... I'm always forgetting mine. I haven't seen it in two weeks although I suspect it's dead at the bottom of my diaper bag). Or television! There are lots of sacrifices we can make that don't affect the well-being of our children.

Just pick something that has become a distraction in your life and see how the next forty days go without it!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Headcovering: The End of the Week

Some of you may be wondering why I’ve devoted so much time to headcovering these last few days. My last headcovering post in my Week of Headcovering will be an additional explanation to what I’ve already said.

The reason why I wanted to really examine headcovering on my blog is because I still remember the fear that I felt when I first felt called to cover my head. No one in my parish covered and I had no idea what the history was behind it. In fact, I’d only seen a few elderly women in the back of a parish we’d visited cover their heads at Mass.

Yet the pull was there and despite my best efforts it just wouldn’t go away. I tried to ignore it. But the nagging tug steadily increased. Studying the subject only made it worse. Pretending that it wasn’t there was to no avail. It went on for days and then weeks and then months.

As I’ve mentioned before I made a deal with myself. I gave myself nearly nine months of discerning the idea of covering before I actually began to cover regularly at Mass. But once I set the deadline I relaxed a bit and then began to worry more about what others would think.

Would they think that I was showing off or putting on airs? Would they think that I was proud? I worried and worried and worried about what others reaction would be. And I was especially worried that it would rub people the wrong way since I was a rather recent convert.

The best response to this sort of worrying is this quote by Hallie Lord that I first found on Lily’s Blog The Catholic Wife:
“For a while I resisted the idea of covering my head at Mass because I was afraid I would come across as holier-than-thou. I’ve come to realize what an uncharitable assumption that was, though. I never feel anything other than delight when I see a sister in Christ wearing a veil at Church. I’m a bit ashamed that I assumed others would react less graciously than I did.”
I’m a little embarrassed to say I never thought of it this way! It makes my entire day when I see someone, anyone really, wearing a headcovering in Church, whether it’s a hat or a scarf or a veil. The symbol of submitting to God always makes my heart light.

And in case you were wondering, my own monumental fear of the results of covering were completely unfounded. The few comments that I heard were from people with huge smiles that told me that I reminded them of their younger days. One tearful elderly woman came up and hugged me and told me that she just didn’t understand how it happened but that now everything just seemed so “Protestant.”

As someone pointed out in the comments section, it is okay to be nervous about covering. In fact I think nerves are a perfectly natural reaction. These days, particularly at NO masses, it isn’t common at all.

But my personal experiences have shown me that the nerves fade with time and it is very much worth it. The value of this devotion, in my life, has been exceptional. It remains in my life as a reminder of my vocation and of the necessity of submitting to God’s will in all things.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Headcovering: Body and Soul

Only two (including this post) more headcovering posts left in the series:

One of the reasons I’m so interested in explaining headcovering is because of its impact on my life. Certain devotions have aided me on my journey and I can’t help but be enthusiastic about them. The rosary is one. Headcovering is another.

I’ve often heard people disregard the idea that headcovering can be spiritually helpful without actually giving it a try. It may not be for everyone, but I find it slightly annoying when people make blanket statements that it couldn’t possibly be helpful to anyone (I see that rather frequently on the forums and it always makes me sigh, because, having been in these types of discussions for a while, it’s a pretty sure sign that they aren’t going to listen to a thing anyone who covers is going to say).

While there are a great many things in this world that can be easily put into words and explained, there are others that are harder to grasp with the rational mind.

I have a hard time explaining the causes behind the changes in my life in the last four years in terms that people who aren’t religious understand. The months were a blur of God’s Grace acting in very real ways, his mercy enveloping my entire life with a renewed gift of faith that I had somehow lost along the way. Yet we are still given the choice to either accept God’s Grace or reject it and it was with the help of two particular devotions (and more Grace!), the rosary and covering, that I began to take baby steps towards being able to say “Yes” to God in different areas of my life.

It’s important to remember that we aren’t Gnostic, with the belief that the spirit is all that matters and the body is a thing to be despised. We are Christians and we know that we are both body and soul and that our bodies and souls are intertwined, making up the whole of us.

Thus the things that we do with our bodies can affect our souls, as is often evident with sin but can also be seen in postures like kneeling, or actions like covering.

The physical reminder of my vocation and of the life of service that I must try to live, although I fall short on a daily, and most likely hourly basis, helps remind me of the direction I need to be heading and of the priorities I need to have in my life.

A veil may begin by reminding us of the importance of modesty in dress when we go to Mass (“Does this mini skirt look strange with my veil? Maybe I should put on something a little longer….”) and eventually begin to remind us to submit to God’s will, when it’s not what we’d most like to do at the moment (“I know it’s a fasting day…. But that double whooper looks delicious…” Okay that's not exactly what I meant but I was having a hard time coming up with a better example at the moment!).

I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use a reminder of who is in control now and again!

A Sweater Question!

I'm going to post this particular post on both blogs since I'm asking for opinions (and kind of wincing as I wait for responses!). I knit a lot and have for quite a while. And while I churned out lots of things for other people and the babies, I never actually made a sweater for myself.

Shortly after I found out I was pregnant with Maggie I began this sweater. I planned on wearing it for Christmas when I was a few months pregnant and worked on it all the way to my grandmother's memorial service (a 8 hour drive) and all the way back (and quite a bit during other times too). I designed it in my head. And then I just started knitting the picture that I had in my mind's eye (I tried to write down the pattern but I'm not very good with sticking to writing down what I'm doing when I'm in the knitting zone!). I ended up finishing the front and the back and one and a half arms. Then I just gave up.

I'm not exactly sure how it happened. I was almost finished. I was in the home stretch. But then it got put away somewhere and I just didn't pick it up again. I was off on other projects and it was nearly forgotten on my knitting needles.

I found it the other day and started back up. I finished the last arm by matching it up to the one that was already done. Then I began sewing it together (the body itself was already done! All I needed was the arms!). I put on the body first and Paul told me I looked like a celtic tavern wench at a renaissance fair (Thanks honey!). After I put the sleeves on he was rather non-committal in his answers of how it looked.

So I'm turning to you guys. I think it's okay as a maternity sweater (I love short maternity sweaters). And I'm leaning towards putting it away until it's time to bring it out as a maternity sweater. At the same time I really want to wear it now! It's finally finished! But would it look weird as a non-maternity sweater (I am going to add a front closure to it. I'm leaning towards a narrow strand of ribbon that would tie together on the inside of the front center part)?

Now I will brace for the opinions in the comment section.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Headcovering: The Great Debate (or "Why Can't We All Play Nice?")

I’ll start this post, which deals a bit with the conflict inherent in most headcovering “debates” by saying I’ve really appreciated all of the headcovering comments that I’ve gotten so far. It’s been really interesting to read the comments from those who cover and from those who don’t and no one has fallen into the typical (unpleasant) comments that are so often found on either side of the debate (Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!). But since I’ve been covering headcovering this week (don’t worry I only have a couple more posts on the subject! Headcovering Week is almost over!) I thought I would address the debate itself and the pitfalls that go along with it. This post is the result:

There is one thing that I don’t understand when it comes to the great and unstoppable headcovering debate. It comes in the form of a comment that always comes arises and that always strikes me in a negative manner because it really adds nothing, other than bitterness, to the conversation. It goes something like this:

“I don’t need a headcovering to help me pray better. In fact I feel that I’m called by God to pray with my head uncovered. I think they’re distracting and I would be able to focus less with a cover on my head. Besides, it’s just a cultural symbol of women’s oppression and who would embrace that anyways?”

Sigh. Of course, you seldom get every point here in a single comment, but this sums up the argument that is bound to come up and you usually hear at least a few of them.

First off, the “I feel called not to cover” has always confused me. The first time I heard it I thought that the speaker was being sarcastic, but then I realized that she was genuine. I guess what it comes down to is that I don’t understand why God would “call someone not to cover.” I believe that many women don’t feel the call to cover, but why would God call someone not to do something that is mentioned specifically in the Bible as a good thing (again, I’ll add the standard disclaimer of: while not required). Let’s put it another way.

Have you ever heard someone say: “I feel called not to pray the rosary”? I know that I haven’t. You may not feel called to the devotion of praying the rosary, but would God specifically call you not to pray something that is a spiritual aid for so many? That’s why this response always confuses me.

The comment about covering as a “cultural symbol of oppression” may be the easiest to respond to. While women in some cultures cover as a sign of submission to man, Catholic women cover as a sign of submitting to God (in most cases at least!). I think this comment is a combination of indoctrination in feminist thinking and a lack of education about why Christian women cover.

Sadly think this type of comment is sometimes a response to people who insist that women are required to cover (and let’s face it, forcing women to cover isn’t going to help spread this wonderful practice, because the knee jerk reaction for most of us to being forced to do something is to resist it). On the other hand some of us who cover (and I’ve fallen into this trap before) are more likely to insist that it’s required after hearing the practice torn to shreds by people who hate it. In our over-eagerness to prove that the practice is good, it can be difficult hard not to push too hard.

So my resolution of late is to always remind myself, in these debates, to be more kind even than I feel is necessary. Even if I find myself repeating the same points, over and over again (usually that no one is saying that its required, which seems to be the basic assumption in most arguments against it… even when no one in the conversation has made the claim). Perhaps by kindly uncovering the reality behind this devotion we will eventually dispel the myths that surround it and make the subject a little less contentious.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Headcovering: Hats, Veils and Snoods...

I like big wide brimmed sun hats. I like little knit caps and berets. I like snoods. And of course, as you all probably have guessed, I like mantillas.

When I started covering my husband and I talked about the various types of covering and he told me that when his mom and grandma were young and covering was still common, everyone wore hats. He had also purchased a beautiful white chapel veil for me from our local Catholic bookstore, with little lace flowers covering it, just in case I wanted to go that route. At that point he didn’t really care one way or another if I covered, but he knew that it was something that I was thinking about and he was supportive of me, whatever conclusion I came to.

I first slipped the white chapel veil on my head during a very hectic Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We had made slow progress down the narrow streets of the Old City in Jerusalem, slipping and sliding on the slick cobblestones at one point, and were late for our scheduled Mass. The line of pilgrims waiting was beginning to form and our priest was told he had twenty something minutes to say Mass in the tight space. After bending and kissing the place where they had washed Jesus’ body I felt the ever present tug to cover my head and for once I listened to it. I felt awkward and silly for a few moments but my attention was quickly turned towards the Mass as it began. Thus began my headcovering adventures (in practice).

When Sadie was born nearly nine months later I was ready to begin my next adventure in headcovering, and this time, I promised myself, the devotion would stick. I wouldn’t let fear overwhelm the pull that I felt towards the devotion. I began wrapping the chapel veil back around my bun (not unlike a tichel and thanks to the lace it actually stayed in place!) so that it wouldn’t fall off.

Before long I had amassed a collection of three summer hats and I began to intersperse hats in the Sunday (and Tuesday) Mass lineup. The next year I discovered snoods and I alternated between snoods and hats before, after discovering Lily’s Veils and the veil comb that she sews in (and that I’ve sewn into my black mantilla!) I began adding mantillas back into the lineup (thank you Lily!).

Right now I find mantillas more convenient than hats and at the moment convenience is big for me. My mantilla folds up and stays in my diaper bag when it’s not on my head. It fits there perfectly and I don’t have to worry about forgetting it because, to be honest, these days I feel as though I would forget my head if it weren’t attached to my body.

Hats are great. But they were always getting smooshed under something when I left them in the car until they no longer quite looked like the hat I’d loved during the early months of our hat/hat-wearer relationship. And I found it incredibly hard to find cute hats (or to justify buying another hat even when I saw one of those elusive “that would be perfect for me” hats…). I also always worried that my hats (which weren’t gigantic or unreasonably sized) would block the view of the people behind me since we usually sit in the front row so the babies can see.

The major hurtle that stands between me and my hats however, is my hair. If I ever chop my hair off again (which I have no plan on doing) I’ll be back in my hats. At the moment though I wear buns almost all day, every day and I have a lot of hair. Even my lowest bun pushed my hats forward at an uncomfortable (and slightly ridiculous) angle.

Snoods are pretty equal to mantillas in my mind. They fit in my bag. They stay put. And some are quite pretty. But I don’t think they blend in any better than a mantilla most of the time. In fact, when I wear my black snood, which is solid, I think some people wonder if I’m seriously ill (although I think my style of dress usually helps people realize that it’s for religious reasons).

As a convert from a Protestant family I don’t have the cultural background that many cradle Catholics would have and would be following by covering in a certain style. My family tree has branches from all over the world (Which is probably why I feel like I've had this conversation too many times... always during summer or fall: Person #1: "What are you?" Me: "American." Person #1: "No I mean, what ARE you?" Me: heroic effort to stifle an eye roll as my best friend would usually reply for me that my family was from all over...) so the “this is what was always worn by (fill in the society of your choice)” doesn’t really influence me much.

In the end the advice I would give anyone else would be the advice that I take from my headcovering experiences: Wear what makes you feel the most comfortable when you’re covering your head. If wearing a mantilla stresses you out wear a hat! If wearing a hat isn’t comfortable or you find yourself forgetting your headcovering (or finding it smashed if you left it in the car) opt for something that fits in your purse! And try not to worry too much about it, whatever you decide to do!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Daily Dose of Cuteness: A Sadie Quote

Sadie's version of row row row the boat: "Row, row the boat down the stream. Mary, Mary walks by, a Dream!"

Two Major Events: The Potty and the Ponytail!

I have one more distraction from today's regularly scheduled post (in the series) before I get back to headcovering. We have had a very special week. As I mentioned earlier this week, Sadie has been hitting some big milestones. There are two that have me grinning ear to ear!

The first is that she hasn't had an accident in the past 36 hours! Since we really didn't push potty training and kind of just let her decide to start on her own I'm pretty excited about this! All we really did was read potty books about how big girls use the potty. This morning she started talking a little and was saying some sort of song or rhyme that I couldn't understand and then suddenly said "I... Pee!" So we got up and ran to the bathroom and we made it! It was the first time she'd used words to tell me that she needed to go!

The second big achievement is evident in the picture at right. I have lamented that Sadie hated bows and hair ties (and hair cuts). Her bangs were always in her face as we tried to grow them out. Three days ago she pulled Maggie's hair tie out of her hair (gently) and looked at me. I said "Do you want your hair in a fountain?" expecting the regular screech of "No!!!!!!!" response as if I'd suggested we go to the doctor for shots. Instead she said "Yes." and let me put her hair up. She's worn it up for the past three days and I love, love, love being able to see her eyes! She looks like a different kid! And she's much happier not rubbing her hair out of her eyes every two minutes!

As a result I've been snapping pictures like crazy. Thankfully it was a bright day yesterday or she would be blind from the flash by now...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Headcovering: An Everyday Cover

I'm taking a quick break from explaining why I cover and why it's important to me, to give a little practical covering advice that has worked well for me. At Mass I usually where a mantilla, although I've gone through various phases, from the Hat-Phase to the Snood-Phase to the Mantilla-Phase.

And like a couple of you have mentioned in the comment section, in the last year and a half when I felt the call to cover, I felt the call to cover all the time. You see I wanted to be covered when I prayed and when I went about my day as a reminder to serve God. It made sense to me that I would cover all the time...

... So I tried it for a while with snoods. The reaction I met with was hard...

Women particularly were openly hostile. And not just towards me. Their hostility was particularly directed towards my husband. Women who'd always talked to him at work would now glare as they walked by.

That was the main reason I left off covering after less than a month. Lately I've been experimenting with different types of covering. You'll notice in a lot of the pictures about half of my hair (in the back) is usually up in a scarf. That doesn't seem to bother people nearly as much.

Anyways, I snapped a few pictures yesterday showing how to tie a scarf in the way I usually wear it. It can be worn up, as it is when I first tie it, or pushed back to cover half of your hair. The scarf in the picture doesn't work very well up because it's so slippery, but some of the matte finish scarfs I have will stay up quite well.

And now, here's one way to tie a scarf:

Fold the scarf into a triangle and place on your head as shown:

Pull towards the back of your neck so it covers as much hair as you'd like it to cover.

Cross the ends in the back under your hair (I've only tried this with a bun).

Pull ends up and cross over the top of the bun.

Cross again under the bun, you can do this with the back free as in the picture below or...

You can tuck the ends (the bottom of the triangle) under the part your crossing so that it's fitted to your bun.

Tie in a loose knot.

The final result:

And shown pulled back to cover half of your hair.

Now as long as the bunnies don't spend all night awake, hopefully I'll be back to my regular scheduled headcovering explanation very soon!