Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Five Favorites: Toys! (11.18.2014)

As the holidays are rolling around rather quickly, I wanted to take a minute and share some of of the playroom favorites in our home. I know that it can be difficult to figure out gifts that will get some use for relatives or even your own kids, so I have put together a list of toys that are pretty gender neutral according to playroom habits here. Linking up with Jenna at Call Her Happy for Five Favorites!

All the toys on the list are regularly fought over enjoyed by both boys and girls, no matter to whom they actually "belong." (I have no idea if that is the correct usage of "whom" so I apologize to those that grammar.)

Kitchen and Play Food
I am always stepping on plastic food, and someone always is carrying a bucket filled with plastic food. My favorite thing is when all the kids are in the playroom huddled around their kitchen while I am making dinner. It is my favorite, because then I am not stepping on them!

Whether it is building the tracks, destroying the tracks, or connecting the trains, every child in this house wants to be doing it. I really do not know what is so appealing about trains, but "choo choo!" is always in the top twenty first words.

Scooby Doo
A ten dollar set of the Mystery Machine team and the kids are busy playing. The best part? Hearing them mispronounce the names. 

You wouldn't think that ponies would be neutral ground in the playroom, however most men I know can recall playing ponies with their sisters, and my children are no different. I don't know what it is about ponies, but they are intriguing to everyone in the playroom. Bonus: the ones with plastic, curly hair make fabulous teethers. 

Building Blocks
Last, but certainly not least: any sort of building block. They mesh well with any of the above mentioned toys, and they are equally as fun to construct or deconstruct.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Election Blues and Reds

I don't know if you knew, but there was an election yesterday. I know, right?! I have voted in three states in my life, and all three of those states had some really important races decided last night: Kansas, Florida and Texas. Needless to say, my social media pages were abuzz this morning.

I have never really been a party line voter. There is much talk on social media, particularly during elections, about our obligations as Catholics when it comes to voting. Some believe we have the duty to be one issue voters. Some believe it is always voting (or abstaining from voting) for the lesser of two evils. Some haven't thought about it much past checking a few boxes and getting a sticker.

In the book, Render Unto Caesar, Archbishop Chaput writes:

Historically, most American Catholics preferred the Democratic party because it generally spoke for Catholic interests better than any other party, at least until abortion emerged as a central national issue. Today Catholic loyalties- assuming a "Catholic" voting bloc even exists- are more complex. Today, in practice, all political parties have self-described Catholics who are willing to trade their religious and moral convictions for power. All political parties have parts of their platforms that fly in the face of Catholic teaching. And all political parties contain Catholics who like to keep their personal faith tucked safely away at home.
I remind myself of Chaput's wise words before every election. I believe strongly in the Church's social justice positions. There is no political party that encompasses that. I take it candidate by candidate, and must use logic and information to inform my decisions, because simply abstaining from voting is also not an option.

Now, we have our newly elected officials. What will we ask of them? I believe it is far past time for us to ask more from our politicians than speeches with the word "pro-life" included. If we are celebrating pro-life election wins, we should be following through and demanding our leaders vote pro-life, and pass bills that are pro-life. (And not just pro-baby. I searched for a post that I have either written or imagined that I have written on how being pro-life is more than simply being anti-abortion, but I am terrible at tagging my posts and giving my posts weird names.)

Voting = badassery!