Friday, January 23, 2015

Why I Still Love Goldie Blox

A few years ago, I jumped onto the Goldie Blox train and really never looked back. My daughter is only three right now, but I have a set of Goldie Blox stashed in the closet for when the comes that she is old enough to play with them.

I've heard talk about how this particular idea is condescending or makes assumptions about girls that feed the boy/girl toy ridiculousness. Maybe that talk is correct. Here is what my daughter is teaching me about little girls:

Some little girls like ribbons, glitter, and all things pink no matter how much their moms do not understand it.

STOP. Do not attempt to revoke my feminist card. I know I am already on probation, but hear me out. Yes, I still seriously eye roll at the Lego Friends set ups with their hair salon set ups, and the pink aisle makes me throw up in mouth a little bit. My bad ass, action figure daughter happens to love the color pink, and will happily wrestle her brothers in a tutu so my argument against pink feels a bit deflated these days.

If my pink, TMNT ballerina was given the choice, she'd grab a Goldie Blox set up in a heart beat. Maybe she'd only pick it up because it had pastel colors or a cute blonde cartoon on the box. Does it matter why girls like a toy? If the goal of this grass roots company was to get little girls interested in engineering, SUCCESS! Well played, ma'am. I want to buy all your merchandise and broaden the playroom's horizons a bit beyond ponies, so you win, my friend. (For real. Look at all these things that even the He-man playing little 80's girl writing this wants to own.)

Thank God for little girls like Hattie. It is not just my closed mind that she alters. She now has three brothers that love them some wheels and dinosaurs, but do you know what toy is most likely to cause a knock-down, drag out fight?

A sparkly My Little Pony named Strawberry Sunrise.

The guys check out the ponies while Hattie is otherwise occupied.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sheenazing! 2015! All the Exclamation Points!

You will have to excuse me this week. I get really jazzed about the Sheenazing Blogger Awards. So Jazzed. JAZZED. I don't care how many times I do not win, the fact that readers think I am worth of a nomination for anything makes me JAZZED. So, look at how pretty it is this year:

Thank you again for thinking other people should know how under-appreciated I am! So, a few things:

1. WOW. Nominated under Cathofeminism with a HM under Jess. I have a major identity crisis now.

2. This inspired me to create a survey. I am going to spend some time thinking about it, but it should be up sometime this month. I want to chat about the blog name and content.

3. I can think of no better time to remind all you super cool party people that ye olde blog can be social media'd in many ways: Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. So here is a challenge for you: head over to your favorite and share the page or your favorite post. Let's see if we can get this little corner of the Internet a Sheenazing Award this year!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Note to My College Self

Hey there, Jess.

I know you have tons of things to focus on right now (concerts, God, boys, school, work, art, writing, family drama) and that it feels as though you are bursting at the seams. You are having a great time figuring out how to be an adult, but there are some tough parts to this part of the journey also. The good news? You marry a wonderful man and the children you never thought you would be able to have are just out of this world amazing. In short, things work out.

I am writing you today to gently remind you to focus a bit more on a few things while you are there, getting your college on. Before you know it, those four years are over and life is moving on whether you are prepared for it or not.

Enjoy those Fridays nights. Enjoy the crap out of them. Play your SoCo and Dispatch a little bit louder. Light a few more candles. Write a few more pages each night, recording the details of what it feels like to be in this moment of your life. Write about other things also, and illustrate those stories. Use your paints and colored pencils more. Stay up a bit later and for heaven's sake, order an extra Gumby's pizza or ten, because you will never get to eat one again once you leave Manhattan, Kansas!

Sleep in from time to time, and cherish those siestas.

It might seem like there isn't time for you to read all the required material for class, but there is. Read it and take notes. Don't sell that Art History book in between semesters, thinking you can wing it. You can't. You get a D in Art History II. Keep those art books. Get more involved in your study groups. Read more books that are not on a syllabus. Stop trying to B.S. your way through the more  difficult classes just because you know you can get a 'B' without trying, and try!

Be grateful for the opportunity you have to go to daily Mass and keep going, soaking in every holy moment of silence and the ability to pay attention. Try to force your introverted self to talk a little more to the others in your circle.

Stop the push and pull in your head that wonders if you are good enough, smart enough, holy enough, pretty enough.

When that friend stops by spontaneously and asks you to go with them, GO!

You have a great head on those shoulders, and you are plenty responsible. What you don't see coming, is the time ahead of you as a parent. While it is fulfilling in unimaginable ways, your ability to read, write, sleep, eat, draw, paint, nap, go to concerts and be spontaneous is temporarily, mostly put on hold. You will miss it. You will be happy and blessed beyond measure, but you will miss studying painting techniques and philosophers. You will miss writing for hours to music blaring as candles burn. You will miss Gumby's pizza. You will wonder what memories you would have made if you had just gone when your friend asked you to go.

You will forever be annoyed for yourself for getting a 'D' in Art History II.

Before you know it, it will have been ten years since you had the chance to go to a museum or to Mass or to your bed or to pee alone and just for you. You will be busy trying to make memories and teach lessons for those beautiful children you are raising, and you will be trying not to take one moment of your time with them for granted.

So don't take this time for granted either. Play a few more games of Hide and Seek on that beautiful K-State campus. Maybe go play in the snow a few times at Benedictine. You still don't need to learn that fight song, but you will want to have some good stories to pass on. Like that one time a guy stole your friend's drumstick. Or you met that lead singer. Or that time you ate Gumby's pizza all week.

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015: Let Us Talk Books.

My reading list for this year is broken up into three categories: Finish, Read, and Re-read. As it is dangerously close to mid-January and I have not read a page, I really should get to work.

I will be linking up with Melody for this post, so that I can pour over the reading lists of others.

A handful of this year's choices!


Mere Christianity- I am several chapters in, but I think I need to take a large chunk of time and read it all at once, because C.S. Lewis requires a little bit of getting used to each time I delve in.

Anna Karenina- I am enjoying it so far, but I still get name confused. Russians.


Count of Monte Cristo: An oldie that I have not read yet. 

Yes, Please: Amy Poehler, of course. I'm hoping to love it like Bossypants and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

My Sisters the Saints: I realized that this year I had an oddly large number of fiction books on my list so I needed a good Catho read!

Brothers on Life: Forgive me a guilty pleasure. I read a few years ago that Matt Czuchry (of Gilmore Girls and The Good Wife fame) had written a book. Glancing through it, it is more like poetry and the sort, but I am intrigued!

The Way Forward: I might be a sucker, but as a social justice junkie, I went against my instincts to avoid books written by politicians for Paul Ryan's work. We shall see.

A Couple of Blaguards: I am a giant Frank McCourt fan girl, so this is self explanatory. 

A Monk Swimming: Frank's brother Malachy writes also!

A Lucky Child: Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy: I can't remember how this landed on my radar, but I bet I will cry.

Breaking Through: Catholic Women Speak for Themselves: Catching up on something I should have read two years ago.

Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell: I have been waiting since October for this. It is released sometime in January, so I can promise to have a book finished this month. Ha!


Great Expectations: It is my favorite classic, yet I did not own a copy until recently, so I have to read it again!

There you have it! What books are you dying to get into this year? If you need some ideas, Swing by the link up via Melody!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy New Year. I Haven't Written in Ages.

Kiera tagged me in this ages ago, and I am a bit rusty when it comes to writing regularly, so I am determined to follow up!

Four names that people call me:

1. Jess

2. Mom

3. Jessica

4. Sassafras. Long story.

Four jobs I have had:

1. Waitress at Benedictine College's Monte Cassino Inn

2. Totus Tuus for the Diocese of Wichita

3. GED instructor

4. Domestic and sexual assault advocate

Four movies I have seen more than once:

1. Veronica Mars (Don't judge me.)

2. 10 Things I Hate About You

3. The Big Lebowski

4. Step Brothers (Believe me. I know.)

Four books I’d recommend:

1. The Sum of My Parts (major trigger warning though)

2. Angela's Ashes

3. The Long Loneliness

4. Great Expectations

Four Places I’ve Lived:

1. Newton, KS

2. Kansas City, MO

3. Riverview, FL

4. Houston, TX

Four Places I Have Been:

1. Toronto, Canada

2. Chicago

3. Boston

4. Baltimore

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:

1. Asleep

2. At adoration

3. Date night with my dance partner (that is how Calvin refers to Matt when talking to me)

4. Dinner with old friends

Four Things I Don’t Eat:

1. Peas

2. Liver

3. Onions

4. Pepper. Anything with the word 'pepper'.

Four of My Favorite Foods:

1. Chocolate

2. Toasted ravioli

3. Cheese

4. Cheesecake

Four Things I’m Looking Forward to This Year:

1. Figuring out our new schedule as a family of six

2. Sleep

3. Some financial planning

4. Seeing the Royals make it to the playoffs again!

Four Things I’m Saying:

1. Stop, Frank.

2. Calvin, what just happened?

3. Hattie, stop screaming.

4. Arthur, just a minute.

Four People I’m tagging:

I'm going to cheat a bit here. As I have been really bad about blogging, I have also been completely out of touch with those of you that read the blog! I'd LOVE it if I could call you all out of your fox holes and get you to choose one of the above sections and answer in the comments. Pretty please?

I'm begging. Don't be scared.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Five Favorites: The Breastfeeding and Picky Mom Edition

I have a few other posts in the works over the next several days, but I have a sleepy Thor on my lap, so this should be an easy one to write up!

I do not like breastfeeding. It is a little too much physical contact for me, but I have picked up a few favorite items that have made it much more bearable. Since breastfeeding is pretty much all I do these days, I thought I would share the items that make it a little easier! I'm not getting anything for suggesting the brands below. They are just my favorites!

Quality Nursing Bras. My first rodeo, I just purchased some from Motherhood and assumed they would get me through. I assumed wrong. The fit was always wrong, and the material was itchy or bunchy or pokey... I ended up destroying my regular bras in the short 4 months I nursed my oldest. The next time around was also filled with uncomfortable and crawl out of your skin unsupportive bras. So, I got smart. I hit up ladies on the internet for their favorites, and I came up with a few really great options! (Soma, Breakout Bras, and Linda's Online if you were wondering.)

Nursing Tanks. I did not invest in nursing clothing of any kind until I had my third babe, so there were many ill-fitting button ups and lifting up the shirt moments. So awkward. Enter Undercover Mama. These tanks doubled my nursing time, no joke. They turn any shirt you own into a nursing shirt, and I felt much more confident not having skin hanging out as I nursed. 

Boppy. A nursing pillow is a must for me. Incredibly helpful. I find the Boppy to be great but there are others on the market. 
Versatile bottoms. Jeans are rough postpartum, so I like to stick to skirts or yoga pants. I feel a bit more put together than I do wearing sweats or clothes that are ill-fitting. I like New York & Company and Old Navy Active Wear for yoga pants. They are a bit thicker and come in long lengths. 

Momzelle shirts. This is a new favorite, but I FOUND my nursing shirt! Momzelle was a Zulily find for me, and I had to run to their site and raid the clearance/sale racks. I love them. They have a counterpart in Canada with equally amazing stuff. These are the tops I love, because it negates the need for layers. In Houston, that is a must!

These are a few items that help me to handle nursing for longer, so I hope that in sharing I help someone else to find something that works for them!

Thanks to Jenna for hosting!