Thursday, August 29, 2013

I Could Not Find an Appropriate Visual Aid for This Post.

I know. The very title of this piece is enough to make you want to vomit and skip over it, regardless of what sort of women’s rights activist you might be. I posted it for comments from the Cathofeminism Facebook community because I feel it is important to acknowledge that this line of thinking is real. It is not satire. It is not a myth perpetuated by crazy prolife groups. There are really men that use women.  Destiny from NWF hits the nail square on the head:

“…(G)oing from an ‘incubator’ to a ‘semen receptacle’ is no progress at all.”

Let’s take a moment to look beyond the crazy here. Look at what it must be like to be a woman on the receiving end of this treatment. Can you blame her? This type of “bro-choice” male uses women for his own sexual gratification and the surge of power. He is selfish. He uses abortion as a tool to get what he wants. That kind of manipulation does damage to women: especially the woman in the relationship.

Abortion is morally reprehensible. It is taking the life of a human being. Allowing men to manipulate, dominate, and control women is also morally reprehensible. It is not a “private” matter. That kind of abuse affects us all. That kind of abuse and use of women as sexual objects is what allows things like this weekend’s VMA debacle to continue to occur. 

Why are we surprised? Look at the aftermath. Look at who is taking the heat. The twenty year old girl. Yes, she is an adult and will take responsibility for her part, but what about the man in the performance? What about those that produced it? There were many people involved in the decision to put that on stage, yet Miley is the one being torn to shreds. (Here is a blogger that first posted about Miley, but followed up with a decent post to remind others that she was not the only one on that stage.)

If we find men that manipulate women into abortion and abortion itself to be morally reprehensible, then we must stop placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of the female involved. We must find ways to remind her that the man using her is not her support. We must find ways to help her say “yes” to her child’s life, no matter the circumstance of the birth. If we are going to tell her that her child deserves life even if she was coerced or raped or showed bad decision making, then we must be there to show her she is not an object to be used. We must be a society that does not treat women as sexual objects, and we cannot simply write it of as “she wants to be used as a sexual object.” When you offer no reasonable alternative, it is not a choice

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Biggest Fear

When I take a moment to reflect on how exactly I came to know and love Catholicism, it always brings me to tears. I am not a particularly emotional person. I usually only cry when I am infuriated. My parents did their best to raise me Catholic, and though the majority of my family doesn't really practice their faith anymore, some how it stuck. Somehow I ended up in college with a group of rather incredibly faithful Catholics. Somehow, I was hired on to teach for the Totus Tuus program. I transferred to a Catholic college and I keep learning the intricacies of my faith.

This faith that I love so much is largely misunderstood in so many ways, and it deeply saddens me. There is a beauty and mystery to the church that so few know. 

My vocation calls me to pass on this understanding to my children and that is no small task. Sometimes I am truly terrified that I do not have what it takes. 

I pray that I do.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Five Favorites (08.21.2013) Baby Items

I have never linked up with Moxie Wife before for Wednesday Five Favorites, and I decided this week would be a good week to do it as Thomas over at Fuller Life put out a call for baby gear tips. I try to keep baby gear simple, so a limit of five items to gush about seems appropriate! (I am leaving out a few of the obvious things like diapers and carseats.) So this is a double link up for

as well as

When you are finished here, click the links above for more favorites and baby gear!

Neutral Clothing

This is something I am so glad I started with my first! We do not find out if we are having a boy or a girl, so most of the clothing that I have from 0-18 months is neutral. As I have noted in the past (see here and here) I am a very picky shopper when it comes to clothing, and when babies are, well, babies, I just try to have clean clothes! I stick to colorful sleepers, onesies and jumpers. (I call onesies that are shorts 'jumpers' I don't know if that is what they are called or not!) Button or zipper, though I prefer buttons because I don't have to completely undress for a diaper change. 
Jumper example. Ignore the insanity.

A Place to Sit Baby Down (or Two)

I love my babies, and I love to snuggle, but you will be happy to have a place to sit Baby down while you take a bathroom break. The two things I use and love can easily be narrowed down to one, but we have a baby frog (can be replaced with a blanket, for easy spit up removal that does not include upholstery cleaning) for the couch and a bouncer. 

Couch Frog

Handy photo opp bouncer

Some Sort of Carrier

This is a new one for me. I love my strollers, and I love how they made me feel like I was a badass, and able to leave the house with my one baby and then with a toddler and a baby. Then came number three. It started with a free coupon for a sling and I was hooked. I have three carriers: a Seven Sling (13 bucks shipping), a Baby K'Tan($50), and an Ergo (I think they tend to run $120, but I bought mine on sale on Zulily for $70). The sling was nice for the first few weeks, but I felt like baby was squished. I like the easy of the K'Tan (less wrapping than a Moby) but the Ergo is really my favorite. I have heard there are ways to try out different carriers before you buy them. Anyway, here are examples of the three:
Random lady wearing a K'Tan
Seven Sling
An "On the Go" Plan

If you are not much for traveling, then this might not apply to you, but a well-stocked diaper bag is key for us. We cloth diaper at home, but as they say, ain't nobody got time for that on the road! I keep ten diapers, a large pack of wipes, a nursing cover, a changing pad, a change or two of clothes per kid, sometimes an extra shirt for me, a gallon (or travel size, whatev) of hand sanitizer and a clean space in the Pilot for a quick change. On the road, gas stations and restaurants cannot be trusted to have clean restrooms, let alone a changing station. Unlike the floor of a public rest stop, I know where the inside of my vehicle has been so we do a quick change in the vehicle on the road. 
We take travel seriously, yo.

Reading Material

I am one of those book nuts, so this is what I usually give at baby showers and early birthdays especially. Kids love to be read to and it is just my favorite! Here are two of my favorite book series, because they are entertaining, visually fun, and my children do not get bored with them easily:

Baby Lit: These are primers based on the classics. I am obsessed. 

Every kid in my house loves these books, even me.

That's Not My...: We have the book That's Not My Monster, and my kids love it so much it is one of my favorite gifts for babies! Each page has a different texture to it (fluffy, spiky, furry, etc.) and my kids have all eaten monster ear because of this book. If monsters aren't your thing, there are puppies, monkeys, fairies, pirates and at least twenty others from which to choose.

No monsters were harmed during the making of this book.

WIWS (08.18.2013)

Click Me for more Mass fashion!

Boy howdy, what a crazy morning! For three weeks now I have been meaning to snap a photo for What I Wore Sunday, because I have been baby wearing again and I wanted to talk about the carrier a little bit. The first week Frankie boy pooped on me, then last week I left the Ergo in the car due to teething induced sleep deprivation. Third week is a charm!

White nursing tank: Undercover Mama
White/Tan striped shirt: NY&Co
Black/Gray Ergo
Black maxi skirt: Old Navy

Husband was too busy dancing in the parking lot to take a full shot of the outfit. Literally. The above shot was the only one that did not look like this:

I have been making time to read the readings before Mass again, and I also had seen some chatter about homilies from the Cathosorority ladies, so I was trying to be prepared. Unfortunately, here is the run down of Mass highlights:

- Noticing that my son not only has his shoes on the wrong feet, but both socks on wrong (in two different ways, of course) AND his pants were on backwards.

-Husband was attacked by a bee in the parking lot. It may or may not have flown out of our daughter's stuffed cow's tail. 

- I was flummoxed over the guitar player that was preaching after Communion. I was completely distracted by the Gandalf--looking gentlemen and why he was adding his own homily to the Mass. Then Father asked us all to be seated and John Michael Talbot was introduced and I felt really dumb. 

I don't know where my head was today. I had intended to write a post that thanked the Ergo for keeping Frankie comfy during Mass so I have the ability to focus a bit more and help the older two kids to pay attention. Then today happened. 

Oh well. We will keep trying!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Queens

To me it is very fitting that My Favorite Aunt was born on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.  I celebrate Mary Queen of Heaven and Earth and my aunt the Queen all in one 24 hour period.

I come from a line of strong women. That might be a cliché line by now, but it is true. I might not agree with all the ways the women in my family have utilized their strength, but to endure what they have endured takes strength all the same. I can’t help but note the comparisons between the strength it took for Mary to say “yes” to God and give birth to Christ and have to watch her Son die on that cross and the strength of my relatives.

My aunt is a beautiful person, through and through. She is honest, kind and I share her sense of humor. I am so happy my mom has a sister like her!

This post will not be long; a teething baby is calling for his mama, but I wanted to take a minute to tell the Queens that August 15 is always one of my favorite feast days. Much love to my aunt. I hope she has a wonderful day today!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Trains, Dragons and Teeth

When you are a mother, the list of priorities in your life is never what you expected. There are grandiose ideas when you find out you are carrying a child. There are plans to work full time or part time and still be a full time parent. There are plans for possibly staying at home with the piece of your heart that begins to walk and talk and have priorities of his or her own. There are plans to stay in tune with your spouse so that your relationship is nurtured as well. There are plans for being the primary educator and role model. Plans to home school or private school or public school or un-school for some. Plans to help your child work towards their own goals, be it college or something else. Plans to raise a good person and citizen. Then life happens.

You move across country and don’t begin cloth diapering until your son is already three months old, and it is HARD to start again. Your daughter is asking to go potty but the middle of a move seems like the worst time to help her learn. You decide to skip pre-3 for your oldest son because he is a wunderkind, vowing to take him to museums instead and then getting out of the house during the day seems Herculean. The move puts so many new things on your list that self-care and prayer fall to the wayside. Your day consists of feeding kids, cleaning up kids after eating, napping kids, changing kids, bathing kids, getting more food to feed kids that eat more than you thought, and repeating the cycle all over. If you are lucky, you can get one thing done that day that does not involve the children, because their priorities become your priorities. Your need to pay bills or shop for better insurance rates is just as important as the items on your children’s To-Do List, only you do not get to see those in advance. Your oldest planned to plan with his train set and needs help setting it up. Your daughter wants to be a dragon in pretty shoes and needs your assistance, but your youngest is teething and just needs his mom to be close by. There are no more hands to give or tasks that can be accomplished by a tracks fixing, dragon creating mom.

How does a mother even begin to explain how these things become more important than saving money on car insurance or taking the time to update a budget on any given day?

They just are.