Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why, Florida, Why?!?!?!

Over the last eight months I've grown to tolerate certain things about our current state of residence.  Like the fact that creeping, horrible humidity is already returning, even though it's still March, so that soon it will feel like we're swimming the moment we step outside our door, even when it's 7 o'clock in the morning.  Or the fact that is was pretty much in the 80s all winter long (and I'm a sweaters and cocoa by the fire type of girl... I'm the type of person who wants to shout:  "Why, oh why, would you move a school from Michigan to Florida!", although admittedly most people would probably think that complaint is just insane...).  I think my body has begun to adjust to "85 degrees and 100% humidity" and I'm pretty sure that when we visit California I'll be shivering in sweaters when it's in the triple digits, because the heat there is so dry.

Lately, I have tried not to think too much about the plethora of creepy crawly things that make the everglades (which are all of what, three miles away?) their home, and that hardly think those fences on Alligator Alley are a boundary (I saw what looked like a snake skin floating in one of the lakes... I'm still hoping it was just a fish at an awkward angle.. but whatever it was it was not small!).  I've even not made a big deal about the spider bite that I woke up with one morning last month, that, after going through various stages I will not discuss here (but that frequently brought to mind the word "necrosis"), has finally turned into a quarter sized scar.  I've trained the girls to look for alligators when we pass canals and lakes (this ensures they're pretty terrified of even approaching the edge of any and all wild bodies of water) and we've spotted over 30 wild alligators since our move (100% from car windows).

I've even begun to ignore that the real estate here feels like it's 90% strip mall, 9% gated community and 1% naturally occurring neighborhoods (you know, the cute little ones, with personality!).

And I'll admit, Florida is beginning to grow on me.  A little (and more each time we travel out of South West Florida...).  I can at least can imagine us living here for three years.

I can even take a deep breath and think of things I like about the state (although admittedly when I do this the list sounds a little pathetic, showing that I have plenty of room to grow).  The birds are pretty.  The parks are awesome.  And while the prices for various attractions are insane, there's often amazing discounts for residents that mean we pay a fraction of the cost.  The gardens and landscaping is stunning.  And the walking/bike trails are better than anyplace else I've lived (although you have to dodge careening cars piloted by people who should have lost their licenses decades ago, when you cross the street!).  Oh and you never, ever, ever get cold.  Even in a torrential downpour (unless you think 68 is "cold").

However there is one thing that is unforgivable.  If you live in Florida and you were hoping to be caught up in the Mega Millions fever, you already know what I'm talking about.  Because while 42 states, D.C. and the Virgin Islands all participate in Mega Millions, Florida (along with Alaska, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Mississippi and Alabama...) does not!  Oh Florida!  Why?!?!?

Any Maryland ticket buyers scrambling to check your tickets?  I saw that it had been won on this mornings yahoo story, but I didn't see if it had been claimed yet!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Week 7

The third time around my stomach muscles are giving up the fight a bit earlier.

Here's the first picture in the Pregnancy Week by Week series!

And since I had a little old lady come up and start talking to me about hoping for a boy today in Target, I guess I'm showing!  And apparently the comments have begun!


The Little Pink Crib

There's a small pink plastic crib that found it's way into our house at some point over the last couple of years (I think it came with a My Little Pony or Baby Princess doll, or something like that) and yesterday it became the focus of Mae's entire world.  She was a toddler obsessed.  And she had big plans for it.

Now when I look back on Sadie's toddlerhood, her love of babies started pretty early.  She was younger than Mae is now when we found out we were expecting (she was 2 when Mae was born) and she loved hugging my baby bump and running over and kissing it.  So far, until yesterday, Mae Bae hadn't shown any sign that she noticed Sadie's non-stop talking about "a new baby."

It's pretty much impossible to miss Sadie's enthusiasm.  She pours over the pictures in my pregnancy books.  Paul has realized that by saying six short words, Sadie will set of a on rant about how what he's saying is simply not possible (and those words?  "What if the baby's a boy?").  "It's a sister."  She'll begin and then launch into a long winded speech about girls and sisters and how the baby is not a brother.

Beyond that, Sadie asks about 50 times a day (if that number is an exaggeration, it's not much of one!) how big the baby is.  The answer, "about the size of a blueberry" does not seem to satisfy her, since she then launches into:  "Is the baby ready to come out yet."

Yesterday, however, Mae walked over, carrying her little pink crib, and began to show an interest in Sadie's passion of baby watching.  I'd gotten the girls into their pajamas a little early and had finally laid down on the couch, realizing that it was still at least half an hour until bedtime and there was no way they'd be asleep anytime soon.  Usually the girls will race back and forth across the room for a solid half hour before bedtime.  Instead, Mae climbed up next to me with the crib, and placed it in my left hand.  Then she grabbed my shirt, pulled it up a bit and started tapping on my belly button.

I tried switching the crib to my other hand so I could steady her (since she was teetering on the edge of the couch). This led to outrage.  She grabbed the crib and put it back in my other hand and then went back to poking at my tummy.  She spent her time until bedtime repeating this, taking the crib away from me, looking at the baby bump, handing the crib back to me and poking my belly button.

I think she may be listening to her big sisters non-stop baby talk.  I wonder if I'll spend my day today carrying around that little pink crib...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Making Room...

I've been brainstorming other fundraising ideas these past few days and have started listing things on facebook that I can survive without.  Yesterday my Sit and Stand Double Stroller went to a new home.  Today it looks like my bike will be headed out the door.  And there are three people interested in the bike trailer so it will likely follow suit soon too.  

Here are the three items that will be making our apartment feel quite a bit bigger as they head out the door:




My favorite Craigslist responses though, have been the ones that are mildly insulting.  I listed the bike and trailer separately, but added a note saying I'd be willing to knock $20 off the price of both for anyone who bought them together (since that would save me from having to remove the trailer hardware from the bike, which is one of the top things to do on my checklist this morning.  

After receiving a few dozen emails from people who love the bike and are willing to pay full price I got an email that said:  "I'm not really happy with the appearance of your bike.  But I guess I'll take it off your hands for you." They then proceeded to ask for  a discount with a grand total of $40 off (making the bike $10).  

Yeah.  I think I'll pass.  I wonder how often that strategy actually works.  

But I am excited at how quickly everything seems to be selling.  Now I just need to find my wrench so I can take the back wheel off and remove the trailer hitch...

The Bae Battle

If you were anywhere on the law school campus last night you might have heard it: an ear splitting scream, going on and on for a solid ten minutes as I attempted to negotiate with Mae over something she finds utterly horrible.  She believes that it's some sick form of abuse and she's pretty certain that if she fights me on it long enough I'll just give up and let her teeth rot out of her little head.

That's right, rot...  can you guess what it is?  This great struggle that last night was accompanied with plenty of tears?

She hates having her teeth brushed.

I got her a new Go Diego Go toothbrush and baby My Little Pony Toothpaste that she loves to carry around.  For a day that solved the problem and she tilted her little head back and let me brush her pearly whites.  I imagined she was shocked when it wasn't bad at all.  We'd reached a turning point, I told myself.

Then we went right back to wrestle brushing, in which she runs as fast as she can and evades me and then kicks and screams and flails about while I try to get the toothbrush to actually touch each tooth.

I think back to Sadie's not quite two bedtime routine.  Sadie hated having her hair washed.  But at least that was only once a week.  But she always thought having her teeth brushed was kind of fun.  Not so with Mae.

Mae is very into doing things by herself.  And there are plenty of things she can do by herself (she's awesome with a fork and spoon).  Brushing her teeth, however, is not one of those things (not even close).

I'm hoping we head through this phase quickly... but I have a feeling we may be stuck in it for a while!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Banned?!?!?!

On another note the last three links I've tried to post from this blog to facebook have all been blocked (I can paste them in as long as I don't actually attach the link, if the link is attached they let me know my site is banned).  When I just sent in a complaint they finally allowed me to use the little form but said that the site had been reported for being "abusive."

Um... okay...  this makes having a facebook blog page slightly more difficult... since every link I post comes up as forbidden.  I mean, it's not like anyone is forced to subscribe to this blog on facebook.

I'm trying really hard not to roll my eyes a dozen times while writing this post.

I can think of quite a few things I see on facebook that feel way more "abusive" than any thing I put on this blog based solely on language and content.

On the other hand my immediate thought was: "banned from facebook... hmmm...  I think this might mean I've 'made it' as a blogger!"

Or maybe their just starting to crank up the censorship in time for the upcoming campaigns and elections!

Almost There! And a Full of Grace Creations Coupon!

Yay!  I'm very excited!  We're almost halfway to having a fixed car thanks to the wonderful boom in headcovering and headband orders yesterday and today (if you haven't got one yet and you want to take advantage of our 15% off coupon Car15 it's still working at the moment in my shop!)!

And now that Full of Grace Creations is back up and running after a small break while I focused on making more headcoverings, beginning to restock our chaplets, and getting slightly more sleep (that need to sleep in the first trimester gets me every time!), so I thought I'd extend the sale over there for anyone who's in the market for a rosary, chaplet or jewelry!  The coupon is also Car15 and will give you 15% off everything in my rosary store!

I do have a few new chaplets I should be adding in the next days (they're photographed and everything I just need to create new listings!) and I'm accepting custom orders!  And now for a few pictures of some of my favorite Full of Grace Creations items:







Just Another "Man with Breasts..."

Even in college, when I was a crazy out-there communist being indoctrinated by incredibly liberal professors, I had a problem with feminists.  Or more specifically I had a problem with the form of feminism I saw being touted as a wonderful solution for all of humanities problems.  I had friends who thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and I was always more than willing to hop on the what's-trendy-on-the-far-far-left bandwagon, but as I read modern feminist authors in my gender politics class I found myself frowning quite a bit.

Now I should stop and give my standard disclaimer.  I'm very thankful for those women who gave us the vote.  And who worked to rip down barriers so that I could try to be whatever I wanted to be (although I roll my eyes a bit since many feminists seem to think that that means I've wasted my life with the decision I actually made and love).

However at some point the writings we poured over just descended into angry rants in which "empowered" women are placed on pedestals as the epitome of humanity and men become things regarded with a slight level of disdain, even in their most "enlightened" form.

The thing is, that even back then, when I was basically enthusiastically drinking the kool-aid and believing every word my professors handed down from their podiums, this struck me as wrong.  Very wrong.  Which is why I went the communist route.  Because at least communists seemed to care about everybody.  And besides, my favorite professor of all time was a communist.  (Don't worry.  I obviously outgrew that phase too!)

This morning I read an article by Simcha over at NCR that reminded me exactly why the feminist thought we were force fed at my "Catholic" college, was so distasteful to me.  State Representative Babette Joesephs announced at a rally to protest pre-abortion ultrasounds that the female legislators who don't oppose the bill must be:  "men with breasts."  To be exact she said:
"I don't understand it... I don't believe they're really women... I believe they're men with breasts."
And apparently she didn't just say it once.  She said it twice.

Simcha writes a great response (that also happens to sum up the problem that I had with modern feminism even when I was a bat-poo crazy college student):
"The representative’s crass phrase, “men with breasts,” shows a level of contempt for women which is hard to countenance.  In her view, woman are made of two things: breasts, and the freedom to kill. 
But the thing that strikes me about her remarks is how anti-man they are—not just anti-pro-life-man, but anti-men-in-general.  Calling your opponent “men with breasts” implies that all men are, by definition, the enemy.  It’s like saying “the devil in disguise” or “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”  It assumes that the worst thing you can say about a woman is that she’s like a man." 
Read more here.


It's odd because some women seem to have spent quite a bit of energy encouraging women to act exactly like men.  They've worked to free us from those pesky moral qualms of conscience and they tell us that it's great to act like men, to go out and have one night stands, to sleep with whoever you want, because if men can do it, so can we!  Instead of extolling men to rise above a basically accepted stereotype in our culture, they've dragged women down into the mire and told us we're free to wallow. 


But at the same time they denigrate men when it's convenient (as it apparently is for representative Joesephs) and let us know what they really think by showing that they feel that it's insulting to be placed in the same category with them.  


They've told us that we can divorce our body from it's natural functions without consequence and when that doesn't work they tell us that murder is an acceptable solution to the end life that's formed when nature follows it's course regardless of our meddling.  


Embracing our bodies as they naturally are means we're somehow less feminine to this particular line of thought embraced by women who would very much like to tell us exactly how we are supposed to live our lives.


I'll admit that it's odd to me that there's so much fuss over these ultrasound bills.  "Forcing women to have ultrasounds!"  they screech.  "What's wrong with you!  Rapist!  Rapist!"  And ignore the logical response of:  "Hold on.  Women have ultrasound when they're having abortions.  What's wrong with requiring the doctor to ask the woman if she wants to see the screen before he begins cutting up her child, so she can actually have an option to have an understanding of what it is she's doing, before she does it."  


Unfortunately logic doesn't often come into play much when hysterical ranting takes their argument so much farther.  


Come on Philadelphia!  You can do better than Representative Joesephs, can't you?


But what do I know?  I'm just a man with breasts and a pregnant baby bump, right Representative Joesephs (and all those fun first trimester hormones that help me to write exactly what I'm thinking surging through my veins!)? 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Car Trouble and a Sale!

The thing about just barely getting by is that things that are seemingly small when you have savings and a little extra money become nearly insurmountable challenges when you just don't have the cash to pay them off.  Or they sit on your credit card (as could possibly be the case with this small family emergency) and collect interest for a year or two).  The last example of this was the hospital bill from last year.  The majority of it was forgiven, but the $1000 bill that was paid before the "forgiving" happened is still there, waiting to be completely paid off.  

On Saturday the car started acting a little funny.  On Sunday they changed it's oil and said it needed a new water pump, but that we could bring it back.  We were planning on bringing it back yesterday afternoon (the next day).  However, apparently sitting in the parking lot between Sunday and Monday caused some major new problems to be discovered.  Now it needed a new regulator and another new part that involves ball bearings that I can't remember the name of.  $400 morphed to over $1000 very quickly (wait, how much is our car worth?!?!?!  It's a 1999 Town and Country!  Is it even worth that much?!?!  It's going to have to be since we won't be able to replace it reliably for that price...).

Still I've come up with a kind-of solution.

A sale on my shop!  The coupon code will stay valid until I've paid off the car bill!  I'm hoping this works!

And now, presenting the coupon code:
Car15

Car15 will give you a 15% discount at A Snood for All Seasons and has been activated so you can use it now!

Happy Shopping!

Prayer Request Update!

We received some wonderfully good news about my friend who is struggling with stage 4 ovarian cancer, who I've asked for prayers for, this week.  Her original doctor couldn't get her in for surgery for over a month.  But it looks like her new doctor will be able to get her in this week!

Continued prayers are very much appreciated!

Sadie knelt down by her bed last night and asked all the angels and saints and Mary to pray for our friend and my heart melted a little.

And thank you again to everyone who has said prayers for my friend and her health.  Hopefully I'll have more good news soon!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Praying Outside Abortion Clinics with Little Ones


I’ve been hesitant to write this post because of the strong reactions I received when I asked people what their opinion was on this topic on one of the forums.  But the topic has been floating around in my head, popping up more and more frequently until I can think of practically nothing else when it comes time to blog. So I’ve decided to risk the criticism of other parents (and people who’ve never actually been around a child but are eager to give parents advice!) who know what’s right for me and my children a second time  (the first time being on the forum) by writing the post that I’m apparently meant to write. 

When we moved out to Florida Paul joined the school’s prolife group and we excitedly talked about going to the local Planned Parenthood to pray with the group.  I had Paul ask one of the more experienced members if it was an environment that would be safe for children and she said that it absolutely was and that families frequented the prayer vigils.  But it always seemed like we had something on Saturday mornings.  And I was sick for a very long time.  So the idea was nearly forgotten until 40 Days for Life rolled around and I realized that our Saturday mornings were now wide open (no more ballet) and that we were all well enough to go.

So we’ve been getting up on Saturday mornings and heading over to our local Planned Parenthood.  It’s on a side street, and there’s a grassy area that some of the kids play on, although our girls have both been more than content to stay in the double stroller with a large amount of snacks and books to gaze at.  There are dozens of people of all ages.  There are large amounts of senior citizens from local churches.  There are plenty of college students.  This last weekend there was a busload of high schoolers ready to pray and hold signs.  And there are plenty of families with children of all ages who come and pray the rosary with the group and in small family groups.

The peacefulness of the area belies the great evil taking place inside.  The only contact we have with workers was a security guard with a shirt that tells us he’s armed.  He came over to tell a few of the older gentlemen that there shoes were on the grass and that they needed to step back onto the sidewalk.  He spoke to me first, since I was on the edge of the group nearest the entrance and said in a gentler voice that the babies were okay where they were (our front tire was barely touching the grass).  I got the distinct impression that he didn’t want to be there, but that his job was his job and that he was doing it.  He walked around looking vaguely miserable.

There were two grey haired women acting as escorts into the clinic.  When a woman would arrive they run across the parking lot with a huge umbrella and hold it up so that the woman can’t see the line of people praying.  I thought it odd though when I watched what happened when each woman left.  They would sit in their chairs cackling (which is what they’re doing when they’re not hustling women in) and did not move an inch.  The woman was on her own for that long walk back to the car.  They didn’t care if she saw the group now.  Planned Parenthood had gotten her money.  The woman was now on her own.  The sad reality was striking, even from the sidewalk.

Sadie was the most enthusiastic about the part after the prayers, which is when we go and hold signs.  She held a sign, in her stroller, that said “babies are awesome” and was gleeful about being big enough to have her own.  People honk and wave.  With my now noticeable pregnant bump I held a sign that said: “Honk for Life.”  Most of the reactions are positive.  Occasionally an angry looking senior citizen makes a rude gesture.  

When the girls have had enough sun, we head home. 

But yesterday morning, before Mass, Sadie began talking about the experience.

“What did we do yesterday Mommy?”  She asked. 
“What did we do?”  I replied, thinking she was talking about going to the local water park for the first time ever.
“What did God think of what we did yesterday Mommy?”  She asked the question and then continued to answer her own question:  “God was pleased.  We helped babies.”
“That’s right, we prayed for babies yesterday.” 
“We prayed that mommy’s would keep babies away from bad people.”  Then she looked at me as if to reassure me:  “Our baby is fine Mommy.”

No we haven’t gone into any long explanations of what happens at Planned Parenthood.  One day when we were going and she was her regularly bubbly self full of questions I asked her if she remembered the pictures of babies when they’re very tiny (she pours over a book on fetal development that we have and loves the pictures of babies when they’re only days old in utero, and even loves looking at one full page picture of an egg in a fallopian tube).  I explained that some mommy’s don’t know that their babies are babies when they’re that little and so we have to pray that they know that they’re babies and don’t hurt them.  Sadie nodded and began talking about helping babies. 

She’s now enthusiastically excited about going to “pray for babies.”  Her simple three year old faith shines through as she talks about it.  After all, she’s praying for the babies, so they’re going to be okay.  She’s not frightened and in our house she was bound to hear something about it sooner rather than later.  Our children often understand far more than we give them credit for, just from picking up bits of overheard conversations (and homilies!  She’s heard plenty of homilies on abortion since she was born!). 

This caused somewhat of an uproar with some people when I brought it up on the forum (after another mom was attacked for mentioning taking her children to a prayer vigil a single time when they didn’t have daycare).  It was strange to me because I also understand parents not taking their kids.  It’s a personal decision. However, I have a problem with people telling others that this decision is going to scar their children for life, and that no child should be taught anything about abortion before their able to understand it fully at the age of 12, (yes that was actually said). 

If they don’t understand it fully, they should not be there, some said.  I pointed out that children don’t understand the Mass fully, but we still go as a family and it is still beneficial for all of us to do so.  Yes, they said, but the Mass isn’t disturbing.  There’s nothing a child could ask about the Mass that would upset them.  Really?  You can’t think of anything about the Mass that could make a person a teensy bit uncomfortable?  Do you understand what the Mass is?  Do you believe that you’re receiving the body and blood of Christ?  Do you believe that he died for our sins?  Can you not imagine how, when explained to the questioning child, this sacrifice could fall into the same category as something that is “potentially be difficult for a small child to understand” or something that they might find “disturbing.” 

They’re just for show, others said.  That’s the only reason a parent would take them.  My instant reaction to this statement was that it was sad to see someone have such a low opinion of their fellow man’s motivation.  I take my children with me everywhere.  They’re with me all day, every day during their waking hours.  They have been all their lives.   We eat as a family.  We pray as a family.  We go out together as a family.  Going as a family to pray in front of the clinic is a natural extension.  It would feel unnatural to leave them somewhere else, because we don’t do it.  We pray the rosary at night as a family.  And we pray in front of the clinic as a family. 

There are plenty of reasons that people take their children to pray with them.  It’s something each family must discern and decide on their own.  I doubt that many of the motivations are as negative and horrible as I’ve heard some people suggest, however. 

So those are my rather lengthy thoughts on our most recent experiences praying at our local abortion clinic.  No one has to be out there.  I’m not suggesting you go out with your little one’s if the idea makes you wince.  But let’s try not to tear down the people who are there, especially the people who’ve managed to come out with their families to pray together for an end to this evil.  Let’s all try to remember that our own parenting decision are not infallible orders sent down from God himself, but choices that we make as we walk this long path of service towards God.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Next Great Evil

In the last century we've watched as things that have been taboo in the past, have become the norm for our society.  Until 1930 all Protestant denominations condemned contraception as a sin.  Legalized abortion made murdering our children legal in the 70s, and in the 90s some in the pro-death camp were still saying they wished that it was "rare" which, let's face it, admits that there is something wrong with tearing another person apart limb by limb.  But that facade of ethical belief is now falling away, as some in the anti-life camp proclaim that the real evil in this world is adoption and that abortion in itself is actually great.  

Evil, however, has a way of outdoing itself, or at least taking it's sickening actions to yet another level, and that's what I couldn't help but think of when I ran across this post on CMR this morning.  We've traveled along this merry road towards moral relativism for quite a while as a society, since long before I was born, and others have suggested that this is the direction we've been headed in for some time.  Yet society at large always seems to cover our eyes and say "No!  That evil isn't possible here!  We know that's wrong!  That will never be accepted!" right up until the moment when it is and the majority of people embrace the idea as the latest and greatest thing (or at least something that's so necessary that it simply must be allowed).  

And do you want to know what's next?  It's already in the medical journals.  It's laid out for us.  At least one country (in practice) has already decided it's a compassionate option if a doctor and the parents says that a child wouldn't have the wonderful perfect life they've imagined (because we're all guaranteed a wonderfully perfect life, right?).  

Now Alberto Giubilini and Francesaca Minerva have published and article titled: "After birth abortion: Why should the baby live?" asking the questions that some who have watched history unfold these past decades have suggested was coming.  After all, if life is devalued to usefulness rather than possessing any sort of innate value in itself, than this question is bound to come up.  When you strip away the morality of a country and base value on utility, then what value is a new life if it's parents decide they don't want it?  After all, a person is a person based on a choice someone else makes these days and so it's natural to extend that twisted thinking to another level:
"Failing to bring a new person into existence cannot be compared with the wrong caused by procuring the death of an existing person. The reason is that, unlike the case of death of an existing person, failing to bring a new person into existence does not prevent anyone from accomplishing any of her future aims. However, this consideration entails a much stronger idea than the one according to which severely handicapped children should be euthanised. If the death of a newborn is not wrongful to her on the grounds that she cannot have formed any aim that she is prevented from accomplishing, then it should also be permissible to practise an after-birth abortion on a healthy newborn too, given that she has not formed any aim yet." source.
So there you have it.  One of the next great evils already being floated around at the academic level, which will eagerly be handed down as something that should be considered in "rare" circumstances and finally be held up as a great good to free women from a tiresome burden that "she didn't choose."  And it's all because our society has lifted up a new idol, and will defend it at all costs.  They will not admit that sex has consequences.  And they've proven over and over again that they're willing to kill to preserve that "right" even if it goes against reality as it's experienced by humans since the dawn of existence.  


We must all speak out against these great evils.  To be silent is to consent to what is happening.  It might now be cool or trendy at the moment, but it's necessary if we're to stop the downward spiral of history towards this new and horrible future.  And it's necessary if we're going to undo many of the evils already perpetrated against the unborn.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Few Thoughts on Maternity Dresses

I have dresses on my mind this morning.  More specifically maternity dresses.  Sewing them.  Buying them.  And especially shopping for them.  Because to be honest... I usually dread shopping for them.

I've sewed two maternity dresses so far, with fabric that I ordered online when it was on clearance that I didn't end up liking for snoods, and I was wondering if I could keep designing a new maternity dress each week throughout the pregnancy.  Maybe I could sell dresses, I say to myself as I sew, before asking when exactly I would have time for that little venture.

I have a strategy that worked pretty well for my newly sewed favorite-dress-in-the-whole-world (which I desperately need to wash and then take a picture of since I walked nearly eight miles yesterday pushing a huge double stroller while wearing it, in heat that rose to 80-something humid degrees by the time we arrived at home!).

For those who are interested and like to sew, this paragraph is for you:  I took a pattern that I liked and cut out the top portion of the dress.  Then I cut the fabric of the dress off a few inches above the waist.  I took the remaining fabric and made a super wide strip (sewed into a circle) and gathered the top.  Then I fitted the skirt to the short, sewed together top.  It took a couple tries of gradually attaching the skirt at a higher level on the top before I found the perfect maternity fit (there was enough fabric that I could flip the dress inside out and just sew a new seam a bit higher up until it was absolutely perfect).

My newly sewn dress, however, is not the dress I was thinking of when I began this post.  In the past I've lamented the dresses that have been available throughout my pregnancies.  Finding a dress for a funeral when I was pregnant was pretty much impossible (salesgirl to me:  "Oh we don't have anything below the knee here!")  I ended up wearing a cover up from Old Navy with a huge sweater.

Yesterday however, at the midway point in our walk (my walking buddy and I have found Target to be the perfect place to turn around!) I paused in the maternity section of Target and saw a maternity dress that I could not live without.  At least that was how it felt at the moment with a major momentary lapse of self control.

I held it up.  It was navy blue with cute little white stripes.  It was a comfy knit fabric, and it was gathered at the bottom with elastic and buttons, so that it had a little runching at calf level.  And it was a large.  I'm not a large now, but my  bigger than average pregnancy bumps make it hard to find even maternity clothes that fit by the third trimester, and this dress looked like it would have room to grow.  And didn't I just sell something?  Didn't that deserve a dress (the actual answer is "no, no it did not..." but sometimes reality doesn't overcome my pregnancy logic).

One dress?  I asked myself.  What's the harm in buying one maternity outfit for an entire pregnancy?  Besides, I could figure out how to do the runching at the bottom and then I could make my own!

Two hours later I was staring in the mirror with an internal debate battling it out in my head.  Trying on the dress with the giant stroller, Sadie and Mae had been pretty much out of the question.  And it had looked so very big in the store.

But that runching.  It sucked the dress in.  Half the fabric just draped in front of me.  The other half was clinging to every curve, no matter how I tugged or adjusted.  The dress made my baby bump look very cute.  But it left nothing to the imagination.  With the super stretchy fabric, I was sure it would fit me now and in 50lbs.  I was also sure I would want to wear it less and less as my bump grew and that I would never be comfortable wearing it out of the house.  And frankly, that level of clinging, felt more than just immodest.  After years of wearing dresses where I can actually move my legs to walk, the dress was downright uncomfortable.  I put it back in the bag with the receipt and sighed.

We returned to the store with Paul.  This time Sadie came with me into the dressing room, along with three dresses.  I tried on the first one, which I'd kind of liked on the hanger.  "That one works!"  Sadie said.  "I like that one!"  It was true.  This one had a tiny bit of elastic gathering around the waist, but not the massive amounts of elastic on the back side which made the blue dress unbearable.

We gave dress number two a try.  I had grabbed this dress because I liked the fabric, but I really didn't think it was very pretty.  "That one is so pretty!"  Sadie said.  "Can you curtsey?  Are you curtseying?" Sadie was right again.  This dress looked barely bearable on the hanger, but was the prettiest of the bunch when I put it on.

Now it was time for dress number three.  The dress that I'd thought was beautiful on the rack.  I tried it on and Sadie and I both looked in the mirror.  "Not that one."  She told me.  "That one doesn't work."  And it was true.  It didn't work at all.  While it looked like the loosest of the dresses off of my body, the sheer fabric was practically nonexistent when I tried it on.

This time the decision was easy.  And I was impressed with the selection of Maxi-Dresses available at Target at the moment... with one exception that Paul is now tired of hearing about.  So I'll share it here.


Why are they so long?!?!?  I am 5'5".  I don't think that's short.  I don't think that a small dress should go five inches past my feet.  That means that it would touch the floor on someone 5'10" and fit someone who's what... six feet tall?  Most women are not six feet tall!  I understand having "tall" dresses" (like how they have short, regular and tall jeans) but making certain that 95% of your customers will have to take their dresses to be hemmed (or hem them themselves) seems a little silly.  Or are they supposed to drag on the ground?  Because if they are that's just ridiculous!  

End "why do they make these dresses so long" rant.

Anyways... those are my thoughts on maternity clothing at the moment.  At least there are long dresses this season.  2009-2010 was not a fun time to be pregnant with maternity wear.  Maybe stores have figured out that most pregnant women don't want to wear mini skirts?  Do I dare hope they've discovered that insight?  Probably not.  Oh well.  Stock up on maxi-dresses while you can!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sadie's Baby Fever

A little over a month ago, a bit before we knew we were expecting, Sadie looked at me and said something about our family having a baby.  We do have a baby, I agreed, Mae Bae is our baby.  Glancing over at Mae, Sadie shook her head before saying:  "Mae Bae is a very big baby" in a rather disapproving tone.

What the words, and tone implied were pretty clear.  Mae may be "the baby" in the house, as the littlest member, but Sadie recognized that her walking, babbling, opinionated sister doesn't have very much in common with the not so tiny pink baby we brought home from the hospital a little under two years ago.  Mae Bae now has an opinion about being held or kissed or staying in one spot when she doesn't want too and as often as not she's moving at a sprint from place to place.  

Sadie is now over the moon about the idea of a new baby.  When I sit down she brings toys and piles them on my lap while asking if the baby wants to play.  She asks if the baby is going to come out today.  She brings her maraca over and shakes it next to my belly button.  A few minutes ago she brought over a rice cake and asked if the baby was hungry.  And the almost constant question of:  "How big is the baby?" makes me glad that we have a book with tiny pictures that show an estimate of the baby's size during the first trimester.

At the moment she keeps putting her hand on my tummy while saying:  "Me and the baby are holding hands!"

Before we had the positive test, she even felt the need to clarify where God should send the baby (I think she believes he got mixed up last time):  "Dear God.  Please send us a new baby.  To FLORIDA!!!"

Perhaps the sweetest is her nightly prayer:  "Dear God, please make the new baby big and strong."  Last night she added:  "Just like Daddy!"

It's official.  Sadie has baby fever.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Crown

When you're the little sister you don't always end up wearing the crown (okay the truth is usually she won't hold still or keep anything on her head!)... but once in a while...


Big sister seemed to think it was a good idea:


And then they went for a ride together!


The perfect start to the day!

The Absurdity of Our Thoughts as Reality

It's been an interesting couple of days.  I've watched the facebook conversation that followed the headcovering debacle of "are Catholics Christians?" unfold.  In the threads that has publicly spun off from the original post via a "share" I've seen Catholics referred to as "dogs."

Unsurprisingly I have witnessed the typical Jack Chick type of lie mongering that people who know nothing of Catholicism but who possess a rampant hatred feel a need to spread, including typical comments damning all Catholics to Hell and that sort of thing (I always want to ask people like that when being Catholic became the only unforgivable sin!  After all everyone but Catholics can apparently be saved with a few words, but by virtue of being a practicing Catholic it's straight to Hell in their books!).  I've also witnessed hundreds of Catholics (and people of other faiths too!) standing up for their beliefs and speaking eloquently about our faith.

One anti-Catholic comment that I read yesterday (on a post that had spun off the original post) basically said that the things that he believed about the Catholic Church were true to him because he believed them.

Hmmm... I thought as I read the words.  That sounds awfully familiar.  Where have I heard that before?

And then I remembered: RCIA.

I rewound the past five years in my mind and could practically hear the words, that had bothered me so much when I heard them spoken, echoing in my ears.  I don't remember what we were talking about beforehand, my guess is it had something to do with misconceptions about the Catholic Church, but the RCIA teacher, in a very kind voice, began to explain that some people didn't know what the Church teaches about various practices and traditions.  The moment was set.  She could have talked about evangelizing and spreading our faith.  It was a great launching point.

Instead we went in another direction:  "Some people don't know what the Catholic Church teaches.  They believe that we worship Mary and the saints.  And that's okay too.  Because that's their truth.  It's true to them."

Now I didn't know much about theology.  I didn't know much about Catholicism.  I had my toe in the water and had had more negative education on Catholic teaching than positive (like when the former Christian Brother who taught my Biblical Literature class repeatedly stated that Jesus never claimed to be divine...  That he never said he was the Son of God... And he repeated that throughout the entire semester at the CINO college I attended).

But at the very least I had a brain and logic and that brain rebelled at the point she was putting forth.  Did she realize what she was saying?  That she was spreading the same form of moral relativism mixed with New Age thought that we often see in the world today?  That thinking something is true makes it true, regardless of what the world around us demonstrates is actually reality?

Instinctively I rejected the words.  I wasn't Catholic but I knew that there were such things as reality, truth, good and evil in this world.

It's not true that we worship the saints, and it doesn't magically become true just because some person poorly versed in Catholic theology believes that we do.  It's not true the Catholics believe that we work our way to heaven.  Things in this world don't exist just because we think that they do.  They exist because God created this world.  Our motivations can make our actions good or evil.  But thinking a certain way doesn't alter reality.

I am a Christian because I love Christ and know that he came to bring salvation to all those who were willing to follow him.  I am not a non-Christian because some crazy person somewhere declares it.  There are not two conflicting realities.  Some statements are true.  Some statements are false.

Christ is the Word made flesh.  God spoke our world into existence.  We don't think our world into existence.  But I have a feeling I know where that idea comes from.  After all Lucifer's sin was pride.  He wanted to be God.  And that sort of logic, which is apparently alive and well in our world today, reeks of that particular rebellion.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Snoods!

Our park is closed.  I am trying not to feel like it's closed simply to annoy the people who live near it.  The sign first said that it was closed the week of the 12th.  We walked by, almost every day, to see if they'd started working yet and were rather distressed as the week of the 12th drew to a close and the park was still closed.  On the 20th a new sign was up.  They were beginning work on the 20th now.  It was going on 10am and no one was there yet.  I'm somewhat doubtful it will be open soon.

So today we walked to another park, roughly two miles away and now my legs are reminding me that I haven't walked quite as much as we usually do these past couple of weeks.  I'm really surprised I'm this sore right now (and we're going on another walk tomorrow!).

However I did manage to do another headcovering photo shoot today when we got home from the park.  I picked out a few more favorites and started taking pictures.  I love how the black and white one turned out, even though it's not necessarily a print that I would think of as "my style."  Here's the latest!



















Morning Sickness: A Good or Bad Thing? And Random Ramblings from My Pregnant Brain

One thing has struck me as odd over the course of the first few weeks of this pregnancy and the fourteen weeks of the last one.

When I was pregnant last time I didn't get sick.  I wasn't exhausted.  It didn't hurt to nurse at all.  I had very few pregnancy symptoms.  And every single thing I read said that that was fine.  It didn't mean anything at all.  A few books suggested that it was a blessing to be thankful for.

With Sadie my pregnancy was moderately difficult in the first trimester (I say moderate because I wasn't hospitalized, although the doctor said that if my stomach got worse they would scope it without any sort of anasthesia... and I wanted to say:  "Like I'm doing this on purpose!!!!" since it kind of sounded like a punishment.).

With Mae I pretty much sailed through the pregnancy with very minor discomforts and mild morning sickness (exhaustion was definitely a part of the first trimester though).

I'll admit that last time I thought that the lack of morning sickness might mean we were having a boy.  And the books said not to worry, and so I didn't.

However I noticed something when I went to see the dozen or so people in various hospitals and doctors offices over the past seven months.  Nurses and doctors asked over and over again if I was having morning sickness or other pregnancy complaints and for the last pregnancy I said no.  And their responses, across the board, were that that was not a good sign.

I'd think it was a problem with HCG, but when I went to the hospital with my miscarriage, my HCG was still very high (it was actually when it dropped and stayed low that I ended up being very sick, although I imagine that was the other complications causing the nausea).

This time the same questions were asked at the hospital and I said "yes, morning sickness, exhaustion, ect..." and the response was:  "Well that's a good thing!"

Experienced moms who I talk to often say the same thing.  "Are you feeling sick?  Well that's a good thing!"  And I find myself thinking the same thing when I hear a friend is expecting as we pray for "sticky" babies.

I'm sure there must be women out there who don't have any symptoms, who do have healthy pregnancies.  But I also find myself hearing more and more stories from women who have miscarried who experienced the same thing that I did with their first trimester pregnancy symptoms.

So I'll admit I'm relieved this time when I wake up and feel nauseous.  It helps that this time around the nausea has been mild, but still makes an appearance pretty much every day.  On the few mornings when I haven't felt sick at all I do feel a little panicky and am always relieved when it returns.

It does make me wonder how common it is though for women who miscarry to have no symptoms whatsoever, or at least far fewer symptoms.  I'm sure that the many books that I've read that say "no symptoms are a wonderful thing!" don't want anyone to worry unnecessarily.  I just can't help but question how accurate, however, statistically that ends up being.  

Have any of you noticed or experienced this?  Or have you noticed or experienced a difference between your pregnancies with boys or girls?  Sadie remains adamant that the baby is a girl.  I guess time will tell if she's right!

I also find myself wondering, after writing this post and picking out pregnancy pictures to go with it, if this will be another gigantic 9lb baby.  What would a 7 lber be like?!?!?!  When I see more average size babies I always feel like they're so tiny!  


And aren't boys usually bigger than girl?  (Were your boys bigger than your girls?)  Would that mean a 10lb boy would be likely!  Yikes!  Paul came home yesterday and the first words he heard when he walked through the door were me saying to a friend:  "I blame Paul entirely."  "Yup."  I repeated so he could hear what we were talking about:  "I blame you entirely for our gigantic babies."  Although it seems to me he thinks that's pretty cool and I'll find myself reminding him come anatomy scan time that it's "a baby!  Not a turkey!"  There's no award for breaking ten pounds (which I think he's secretly hoping happens).


A few weeks ago I went through our baby stuff and basically gave away 99% of the newborn outfits.  So maybe this baby will be smaller (just because I gave it away!  Isn't that how it works!).  We've never had a baby that really fits into "newborn."  And they barely fit in 0-3.


Wow, I've almost written a second post, inside my first post.  This is how my rambling pregnancy hormone laden brain now works.  I better stop before I start to tell you about the reactions I got wearing my shirt yesterday!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fresh Off the Sewing Machine and Into the Store

I've been sewing quite a bit these past couple months, but I was so busy during January fulfilling orders that I didn't have time to post many new headcoverings.  Most of February was spent recovering from January, and designing new coverings, but I never got around to photographing and posting them.  My goal these past few days has been to photograph and post the three dozen or so new coverings I made last month.  

Yet I kept running into a challenge.  My photographer is Paul and as a full time law student he doesn't have a huge amount of patience with standing around snapping picture after picture of me until I'm happy with the results.  I just can't quite convince him to spend an hour getting five (hopefully) good pictures of each covering (an hour would be quite a few covers, just to be clear!), when he has a ton of reading to do and briefs to write.  

So during nap time today I ventured outside alone, with a cardboard box that had been full of wipes, a large container of wipes, a book, my camera and a headcovering.  After stacking the wipes, box, book and camera carefully on the edge of our balcony I set the auto capture on the camera at ten seconds and starting snapping pictures.  

I found myself liking the pictures where I was looking down the most (I just realized that tonight when I was picking my seven favorite pictures for this post) because you can't tell how sleepy my eyes look.  It's that first trimester complete and utter exhaustion shining through and I'm ready to trade it for that second trimester glow (yeah... I have a ways to go!).  And the second trimester energy boost that has always accompanied my favorite trimester.  

And so here are my favorite pictures from today's photo shoot.  I have enough headcoverings to take pictures of 7-8 coverings for the next four days (and who knows how many more I have in the office... I only counted the ones that were in my bag).

My new goal is to have 150 different covers on my site.  When I finish this week I ought to be pretty close to that goal.  Today's covers were some of my favorites.  They were the ones I picked because they remind me of summer!  I hope you like them!  

And for those of you who are waiting for my convertible headcoverings in lace,  they're coming!  I'm planning on making one in each color in lace, although I don't have them all made yet!  At least a dozen of the coverings I have yet to post are convertible too, so more options are on their way!  Here are the latest:

This one reminds me of summer picnics by a lake... and Fourth of July Barbeque's... 


Adds a Punch of Color to a Simple Outfit


Perfect for an Evening Out!


Shimmering Purple!  Perfect for Lent and Advent!


One of my new goals has been to use each fabric that I have to make three different headcovering.  I haven't quite done this with all my new fabrics, but I'm working on it.  Here's an example of three of my favorites (I kept one of each for myself because I liked them so much!) in a beautiful brocade!

Eye Catching and Vibrant!


Spring has Arrived!


A Subtle Yet Striking Cover!


And that's a little bit of what I've been working on lately!    More to come soon!