30 May 2014

One Hot Mess

Oh you guys.

Earlier this evening I was flat on my back on the couch, because that'sa-how we do it after dinner these days. Keira-Lou was running back and forth between the guest bedroom where Daddy was hanging some clothes and me on the couch. At one point, I had my head turned away from her so she slapped her little paw on my cheek, turned my head, and then slammed her head, full force, into my nose.

OW ow ow ow ow ow ow OWW.

You know how much that hurts, right?

I burst into instantaneous, unbidden tears. She was just trying to play, and I obviously didn't want to scare her but I couldn't help it. It hurt so bad I let out a wail and tears started pouring down my face. She, terrified, hightailed it back to Daddy, who had already started out to find out why I was sobbing on the couch.

Mess.

She was just trying to play, and she's only a year and a half old. Her head is hard as a rock, and in the 95th percentile so also big and heavy.

Michael got me some ice in a plastic baggie so hold over it, and I just kind of laid there, trying to calm down, and meanwhile she was still terrified and I couldn't calm her. For the remainder of the evening, she was completely out of sorts.

I didn't hear anything crack when it happened, so I don't think my nose is broken. It's even odds that I'll wake up in the morning with two black eyes. Fingers crossed, eh?

*Linking up with Blythe at The Fike Life for her One Hot Mess linkup!

29 May 2014

Sometimes...

Sometimes you go to Panera Bread alone for lunch, and they somehow lose your order between the register and the monitor three feet away where they put together the orders.

You stand there, pregnant and hungry and ready to vomit because you're pregnant and hungry, and you realize that the ladies who ordered right before you are long gone with their food and the people getting their food now weren't even in the parking lot when you first started waiting here for your lunch.

So you speak up, and sometimes the dude behind the counter is obviously inclined to believe that you're trying to scam him. Luckily, you resisted your urge to throw away your (usually useless) receipt, and so you have some proof. He realizes that he hasn't delivered to anyone your cup of broccoli cheddar soup and half of a turkey avocado BLT, sans bacon, and of course he remembers that because you're the only person in the world who asks to have the bacon taken off a BLT. (I hate bacon; I know, I'm a space alien.)

He throws together your meal slightly haphazardly, but for heaven's sake who cares, you're starving, remember? But you make a quiet promise to yourself not to come back. This is really inexcusable.

And then sometimes they give you an extra hunk of still-warm French baguette and a free cookie for your wait.

And all is forgiven. See you soon, probably, Panera Bread.

28 May 2014

"Answer Me This" Linkup, Week 7!



Kendra at Catholic All Year is hosting a weekly linkup. She provides the questions, you provide the answers, and then you link up with everyone back on her page. It's a great way to get to know a little about your fellow bloggy travelers, as well as a chance to consider some things about yourself that you hadn't before. Join us! 

But! Kendra was in France with her family, the lucky ducky, and so this week's AMT was being hosted by Haley over at Carrots for Michaelmas.

Kendra's answers, next week's questions and the linkup can be found here.

I'm getting this in juuuust under the wire because we were out of town and I didn't make much time for blogging. But I'm glad I waited because I just got my hands on the pictures this morning and they're worth squeaking in just under deadline.

1. Beach or Mountains? Where would you rather be?
Beeeeach. I haven't been to the mountains since I was little, whereas my parents sacrificed like crazy so they could buy a second home in a shore town in New Jersey. In fact, we just got back yesterday from five glorious days with most of the crew -- we didn't get enough sleep and I'm pretty well burnt to a crisp, and I can't wait to go back. The grandkids love to play together and the adults experiment with new cocktails (not me this year, as I'm preggers). Look how much fun these kids are having:


Ring-around-the-rosie during the nightly cousins dance party on the back deck.

You guys. This dress.

Billy is just such a cool kid.

Kelsey was not crazy about the sand. She sat in this chair and ate almost that whole baggie of Veggie Straws. My kid was running headlong into the freezing ocean at this time, so I'm a little jealous of this sweet 'fraidy cat in her safe perch. 

Gotta keep hydrated during the dance party!

Sweet, shy Kelsey.

Do the can-can-can!

So sweet!

Hi, Logan! You'll be boogying with the big kids in no time.

We'll just enjoy the moment where Kelsey borrowed her cousin's shoe and skip the little cat fight that followed. 

"Hi, Uncle Billy!"

P.S. My brother is a professional photographer, which is why these photos are so ridiculously awesome. You can find out more about him at his website, and if you're anywhere near Philadelphia you should hire him. He is so, so good.
2. Which is more fun: Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning?
This is a toughie... I love it all. I think I'm going to have to come down on the side of Christmas morning, though, just by a nose.
3. What’s the most embarrassing childhood outfit you remember wearing?
I started using my babysitting money to supply my own wardrobe at the tender age of 12, because part of my parents' sacrificing to buy a shore house included our clothes. The rule was that you wore what Mom brought home or you bought your own. It's reasonable and I intend to do the same with my children, but I might make a bit more of an effort to bring home style (sorry, Mom). 

The worst specific thing I can think of was the dress I was forced to wear to my aunt's wedding. It was this horrible peach brocade dress with an enormous square collar and just no shape to it whatsoever. I loathed it. I loathed it so much that even with the benefit of time, I still resent it a little bit that Mom made me wear it. (Yes, that's unreasonable. Completely. She worked hard to outfit the seven of us. But seriously, you guys, it was SO UGLY.)
4. Your house is quiet, you don’t have to do work (housework included). What do you do?
Currently, at nine weeks pregnant, the answer is always sleep. At no point do I have no work/housework to do, and yet I still work in the nap because it's needed. Under non-pregnant circumstances, I'd probably fire up the Netflix or read, because I'm not, actually, much of a napper.
5. What movie do you want to watch when you’re feeling under the weather?
Harry Potter and [fill in the blank, because I'll watch any of them a gazillion times]. 
6. Did you have an American Girl doll when you were little? If so, which one? 
I did not. I feel like I was maybe the wrong age? I know I wasn't aware of them until I was well out of my doll stage. We were Barbie kids, as I discussed previously in the inaugural AMT

23 May 2014

Miracle!

You guys. I have had a miracle.

On Wednesday, Michael and I went to my OB/Gyn for my eight-week ultrasound. We got a good look at our little bean, heard his or her wonderful, 164 bpm heartbeat and got a due date of December 29. Merry Christmas, baby!

God is so good.

Afterwards, I had that whole long "you're pregnant, tell us everything about everyone you've ever met" conversation with one of the doctors. I had only seen this doctor once or twice before during my last pregnancy, but I had liked him. He started off by asking me if I had any concerns, and I told him about how useless I've been with the hyperemesis gravidarum. He asked me what I've tried, and I said, basically, "Everything. Zofran made me feel worse; Phenergan I thought helped me last time but it's definitely not helping now except that it makes me sleepy and while I'm asleep I'm not throwing up but I just don't have time for two naps a day; gingersnaps/candy/ale makes me feel better for about 0.5 nanoseconds but then it comes back up like fire, Doctor, I am not even kidding; etc., etc., whine whine whine."

He asked me if I had ever tried vitamin B-6. I said no, and honestly I probably said it like, "Um, really, vitamins is your big solution? This nausea laughs in the face of cancer-patient-grade anti-emetics and you think a vitamin supplement is going to help? Don't waste my time, dude." Because I was about to barf and being about to barf makes me mean(er).

He was so patient with me, y'all.

He explained that it's a good first place to start, and that for some patients vitamin B-6 in combination with doxylamine succinate, the active ingredient in Unisom, is a nausea cure for them. Plus, obviously, it's not the same as blitzing the baby with all these weird chemicals (because B-6 is a vitamin found in nature, obviously, and doxylamine succinate is safe in pregnancy) so let's start there.

I did not run right out and get them, because I honestly didn't think there was any chance they would help. But the next day, on our odyssey from Virginia to the Jersey shore (from whence this story comes to you), we stopped at our favorite place on Earth: Costco in Delaware, home of tax-free shopping. (Can you hear the choir of angels singing? They also sell booze. TAX-FREE BOOZE.) On our way out I wandered to the pharmacy on a whim -- which is a miracle in itself because we had just had Mexican food for lunch and I was seriously feeling nauseated -- and the nicest pharmacist ever helped me. She got me the Vitamin B-6 from behind the pharmacy counter and  even though they didn't carry Unisom she found me the Kirkland generic with the doxylamine active ingredient (and thank the good Lord for my chemistry background or else I would not for the life of me have remembered what to ask for!). When we got back in the car, I popped a vitamin.

Inside of an hour, I felt 80% better than I have in weeks. When I went to bed, I took the generic Unisom and slept like a champion. When I woke up, I was a little queasy because I was hungry, but I was able to face eating in a way that I'm usually not able to and I took more B-6 with breakfast. When Keira was having lunch several hours later and I smelled it without having eaten again myself, my stomach turned over a little but two days ago that would have sent me running to throw up.

I feel human again.

God is so good.

He put the right doctor in front of me at the right time, to push past my resistance -- 100% born of frustration -- and convince me to give this ridiculously-simple-sounding remedy a try. Even if it stops working in a week, I will be so grateful that I got a low-nausea Memorial Day weekend with my family at the shore. I'm sure I'll still hit the occasional wall, where I have to stop chasing a toddler and sit down, but my life until yesterday was all wall.

I even stayed in the house while my mom cooked meatballs today, and that is amazing. When I was pregnant with Keira, Michael was cooking meatloaf and I had to hide upstairs in our bedroom with a rolled towel under the door.

This is a miracle in my life. I am so grateful I could cry.

Sts. Gerard and Gianna Molla, ora pro nobis.

22 May 2014

Role models for Catholic children.

So this is making the rounds on my Facebook page: Catholic School Apologizes For Picture of "Poor Role Model" Ellen DeGeneres On Dance Invitation. It's been shared by several of my "friends," probably because Newtown, PA, is where I went to high school (I lived one town over). 

Some background: The school sent out invitations to the eighth grade dance with the tag like "Live from the Red Carpet" and a picture of Ellen holding an Oscar statue. When some parents complained, the principal apologized ("I was obviously NOT thinking.") and requested (or, according to BuzzFeed -- ugh -- "demanded") that the invitations be returned so that they could be destroyed, and new invitations sent out. The principal, without referring to Ellen's sexual orientation, said that Ellen is not a good role model because she doesn't live her life in alignment with the principles of the Catholic Church. 

Follow me so far? Good. Because the apology and the rescinding of the offending invitations are exactly right. It would have been better if the incident hadn't happened at all, but as that ship has sailed an apology was in order.

Now. If people I know were just posting this story, I wouldn't have much to say about it. But, naturally, they're posting with some of the most bigoted commentary I can imagine: 

"These bougie, over-privileged, low-life white moms and dads of Newtown don't have anything better to do than call the principal of their kid's Catholic school and say they don't like Ellen because she's gay?"

"Priest's [sic] are raping Children [sic] whom [sic] attend the Church." [The young lady who wrote this comment might have benefitted from some Catholic schooling, by the way, as her grammar is atrocious.]

... And more, but let's just deal with these two, shall we?

First: Those "bougie, over-privileged, low-life white moms and dads" -- because their race is relevant here, according to the over-privileged white guy I know who posted said comment -- are paying a premium for a Catholic education. Newtown, PA, is in one of the top school districts in the state of Pennsylvania. Unlike some places, a Catholic education is not the only alternative to failing schools, but a sacrifice that parents make so that their children can receive a Catholic education. A Catholic school has an obligation to present good role models to the children under their care. Ellen DeGeneres is an outspoken lesbian with a wife. She is not the person you put on your eighth grade dance invitation. I bet that some of the moms who complain watch and enjoy Ellen's talk show, but that doesn't make Ellen an appropriate role model for eighth graders. If I enjoy watching Modern Family, but I complain that my child's Catholic school showed it to my child, I am not hypocrite. I am a parent who recognizes that children and adults are not the same thing. I am unlikely to be influenced by the depiction of a gay couple in a way a prepubescent child might. We spend most of our time as parents deciding what is age appropriate for our children. 

I guess that makes me a bougie (ugh, that word appears here three times and it just makes me cringe!), over-privileged, low-life white mom. Because I would have called to complain.

Secondly: Can we cool it already "priests are raping children" meme? No priests were even mentioned in this story. I did a little Googling -- because for a hot second I entertained the notion of wading into the fray, only to decide not to argue with idiots, especially as it got uglier -- and in two seconds discovered that Catholic priests commit sexual abuse at a rate that is less than 100 times that of public school teachers. Furthermore, the Catholic Church did more to report and combat the abuse than did the school districts in question. The same 2004 Department of Education -- you know, that right-wing think tank -- report that is linked to above tells of 225 admitted cases of educator abuse in one year in New York. How many were reported to police? All of zero. ZERO. More facts about priest sexual abuse here.

To sum up: good for the parents who complained. Good for the principal for apologizing. And I should maybe think about pruning my Facebook friends list.

20 May 2014

Timeline of a slow-motion disaster:

Friday afternoon: idiot neighbor lady "gets dizzy" while driving and plows into the back of our parked car, knocking the tailpipe askew and doing a number on the bumper. Maintenance man comes to knock on our door, because he heard it happen and came to investigate (bonus: he told Michael that it looked to him like she was planning to hit and run until she saw him witnessing her). Idiot neighbor lady and Michael exchange insurance info, Michael makes requisite calls. Geico, her insurance company, requires that the damage be inspected to make sure that it's "new," because there's no customer service like treating the victim with suspicion, so Michael makes an appointment to bring the car to an approved body shop, which cannot take it until Tuesday. 

Tuesday morning: Michael takes the car to the approved body shop required by idiot neighbor lady's insurance, then goes to nearby rental car place to get the pre-arranged rental car, as we are going out of town over the weekend and cannot do it in our second car, which is a tiny Honda Civic. Rental company tries to give us a Dodge Journey, which is NOT the same class as our Honda Pilot, and which we know from previous rental experience is the least comfortable car we've ever had the displeasure of riding in. Michael stands his ground and they agree to give us a Tahoe. 

OH BUT WAIT.

The Tahoe is sent for cleanup, but in the meantime the rental agent comes back and tells Michael that idiot neighbor lady's insurance policy was brand new, and in fact had become active the very morning that she plowed into our poor, unassuming, did-I-mention-parked car. Therefore, Geico has to perform an investigation and thus he cannot take his rental and leave. Because somehow, the age of the contract between idiot neighbor lady and her insurance company is our problem. 

Moral of the story: Geico is the worst. I'm not crazy about idiot neighbor lady either.

{I know, I know, repeatedly calling her "idiot neighbor lady" is not charitable. She claims to have been dizzy during the incident. But I lost a lot of sympathy when our hero maintenance man told us that she appeared to be fleeing.}

17 May 2014

"Answer Me This" Linkup, Week 6.



Kendra at Catholic All Year is hosting a weekly linkup. She provides the questions, you provide the answers, and then you link up with everyone back on her page. It's a great way to get to know a little about your fellow bloggy travelers, as well as a chance to consider some things about yourself that you hadn't before. Join us! 


But! Kendra is in France with her family, the lucky ducky, and so this week's AMT is being hosted by Haley over at Carrots for Michaelmas.

Kendra's Haley's answers, next week's questions and the linkup can be found here.

1. What's the scariest thing that's ever been in your yard?
Well, we live in an apartment and don't have a yard, and in fact I've never had a yard in my adult life (sad), so I'm going to go back to my childhood: when I was twelve or so, we were hanging out in the back yard and all of a sudden my sister started screaming that I had a daddy long-legs on my face. I slapped myself across the face hard enough that that sucker landed four yards down. 

Goll-Y that story still makes me shudder. 


2. Beards. Thumbs up or thumbs down?
Generally pretty thumbs down -- my imaginary prince has a military high-and-tight haircut and is clean-shaven -- but my real-life prince, my husband, does have a goatee most of the time. It works on him aesthetically so I deal with the fact that it's scratchy and occasionally poke-y when he kisses me. It's just an issue of length, I think.


3. If stuff breaks, can you fix it?
I'm pretty good with my hands. I build furniture like a champ, and I used to help build sets when I was in plays in high school, so I am proficient with power tools, etc. But I'm not very good at things involving electricity. I'm an engineer, but not that kind.


4. What was your first car?
I drove my dad's hand-me-down Lincoln Town Car for about two years, during my senior year of college and my first year living in Virginia. My friends all called it the Land Yacht or The Good Ship Colleen. It served me pretty well even though it only got like twelve miles to the gallon. (It was a little hard on my wallet.) It eventually died -- actually it tried to murder me when the tie rod broke and I lost my steering (thank God in Heaven that I was parking when it snapped and not on the Capital Beltway, which I had been about half an hour before!) -- and I had to buy my first car.


5. How often do you eat out?
Too often. Entirely too often. If I put a number on it, I'm just going to feel bad. In my defense, I'm pregnant and very, very ill. Cooking is just not possible right now.


6. Why is your hair like that?
Oh. Oh jeez. I know you asked this question without being able to see me, Kendra (via Haley), but I feel like you must have been able to see the disaster on my head. My feelings are, irrationally, just a teeny bit hurt. 

Okay so I'm too far out from a hair coloring so I'm pretty shot through with gray -- because I am the daughter of and sister to hair dressers, I will not be letting my hair go gray (not intentionally, anyway; neglect is another story). Added to that is the fact that I've decided to give up the pipe dream of ever having nice bangs, so I'm trying to grow them out and they are at THE most awkward length. Basically it's just a graying mop. It. Is. Scary. 

The worst part is that I look good in bangs, just not my bangs. I have very fine hair, but a ton of it -- basically, a new hairdresser always looks at me askance when I say "I have a ton of hair," because it really does not look or feel like it, but then as soon as they start to blow-dry me, they're like, "Holy moly sister, you have A LOT OF HAIR." So it's the worst of all worlds: it never looks full because it's so fine but it doesn't style well because it's so heavy. And bangs... They just don't sweep to the side because of the weight, and a full bang looks great on me except that my bangs grow at a rate of about an inch an hour, so unless I want to a) hack at them myself, which, NO or b) go broke paying for bang trims, I'm just giving up and going bangs-less. 

End essay about my hair. But it's a sore spot right now.

14 May 2014

In which I decide to stop making excuses about my lack of bloggery.

The more I think about this, the more I think there's no good reason for keeping it off the blog. I'm currently blogging fairly incognito-ly, which is to say that I don't think anyone I know "in real life" is reading.

I'm 7.2 weeks pregnant (or so... I don't yet have a due date), and thank the good Lord for his blessings. I only had to undergo two rounds of Clomid to conceive this time, and that is a wonderful, miraculous thing. I am overjoyed, truly.

However.

Oh, however.

For the second time in two pregnancies, I am dealing with the scourge that is hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).

You guys. It is the WORST. If you gave me the choice between a) delivering a full-term baby every six weeks for nine months and b) HG, I would unhesitatingly, unblinkingly choose to a) give birth all of those times.

I can only imagine what morning sickness is like. I have only ever had morning-noon-and-night, unrelenting misery, not mere morning sickness. It was in some ways easier with my first pregnancy: my responsibilities were fewer (read: I didn't have a toddler), and thus if need be I could sacrifice whole weekends to just sitting around trying to curb the nausea and vomiting; plus, I had some na├»ve  hope that it would only last for the first trimester. On the other hand, this time my husband knows what to expect and that is immensely helpful.

He has been a rock star. I mean that with the utmost sincerity. He rearranged his work schedule so he can handle both the morning daycare drop off and the evening pickup, he's been doing all of the baby's baths and most of the meals (picking them up from restaurants, that is, because I could cook but only if they want me to actually vomit in their meals).

I don't know how to even describe the magnitude of the disruption to our lives. But when Mama literally can't do anything without retching, life changes. A lot.

The best part of my day is the time between dinner and Keira's bedtime because I sit on the couch while she runs around being funny and distracting me from the horror show happening in my stomach.

Please say some prayers for me that this time the HG doesn't last every moment of my pregnancy, as it did with Keira. St. Gerard has been getting an earful from me already, but I would appreciate a few more intercessors!

In which I make some excuses.

It's been relative radio silence around here for the last week or two. I'm working on a couple of things but they're not ready yet, and I'm feeling a bit clogged in terms of other discussion topics.

So just a note to say that I'm not giving up and I'm not giving in (did I just slip into song lyrics there?), and we'll be back to our regularly-scheduled all-over-the-place-ness of this blog soon enough.

Stay tuned!

11 May 2014

"Answer Me This" Linkup, Week 5

Happy Mother's Day, all y'all! 

Extra, extra special prayers and love for those struggling with infertility and miscarriage. 

And it may be Mother's Day, but around here we owe mad props to Daddy. As I mentioned yesterday, I have pinkeye. Because I'm trying to avoid re-infecting the little, I've been self-quarantined. Michael took Keira down to his parents' in the morning yesterday to spend some time with her Bella and Poppy while he helped them out with some household-y stuff, and then he took her to Costco for some supplies we needed (our washing machine smells AWFUL and I'm trying a bleach-and-then-vinegar home remedy from the interwebs to chase away the funk and I'm thinking it might take more than one round, hence the Costco-sized bottles being an absolute necessity as we were almost out of both bleach and vinegar), and then watched her el solo for the remainder of the afternoon. I'll tell you what, listening to your big strong husband playing "Ring Around the Rosie" with an eighteen-month-old (my favorite part is the thud as he hits the ground! Sorry downstairs neighbors!) would make even the coldest heart melt. 

Super. Hero.

UPDATED TO ADD: He also got her up this morning and took her to early Mass so I could sleep in (I sing with the choir at a later Mass, which happens to fall during nap time). He hates taking her to Mass alone because she can be extremely disruptive and he gets so embarrassed. I had a little scary moment when I pulled up her camera to check on her -- it's not unheard of for her to sleep this late but I was surprised -- and she wasn't there. But she's safe and sound and holy! Seriously, what a guy.

Anyway! Moving right along!




Kendra at Catholic All Year is hosting a weekly linkup. She provides the questions, you provide the answers, and then you link up with everyone back on her page. It's a great way to get to know a little about your fellow bloggy travelers, as well as a chance to consider some things about yourself that you hadn't before. Join us! 

Kendra's answers, next week's questions and the linkup can be found here.

1. What's for dinner?
Oh goodness me. I have no idea. That's bad, isn't it? But we're picnicking this afternoon for Mother's Day and I'm not sure we'll have dinner. Maybe just a huge, late lunch. 


2. What's the last thing you borrowed from someone?
This is actually really hard to answer. I tend to be more of a lender. I lend primarily books -- and only sometimes get them back, even though I invested in a personalized stamp with my name so that the lend-ee would not forget whose book they stole -- and my friend recently wore a bracelet of mine in her wedding. The same friend sometimes shops my closet for occasions because I have dresses in every color of the rainbow, for all seasons, in a fairly wide range of sizes. And yet I can never, ever find anything in the right season that fits. 

So... The last thing I can honestly remember borrowing was a fur stole from my mom's wonderful neighbor, Carmelina, to wear to a friend's wedding in January in the snow (somehow I have no photographs from this event). She got it at a secondhand shop for crazy cheap. That stuff just doesn't happen to me. But that was ... 2009? I am really not a borrower, probably because I don't have much family nearby.


3. What is your favorite prayer?
St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
By the Divine Power of God,
Cast into Hell Satan,
And all the evil spirits who wander throughout the world,
Seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.



Do you say it differently? A lot of people say it differently.


4. What is the oldest thing in your house?
Hmmmmmm. I don't have that many things that have been handed down, which means that most things are, at most, as old as my college degree. My husband's maternal grandmother gave me a miniature antique teacup and saucer (maybe it's a demitasse?), and my husband's paternal grandmother gave me a Japanese vase she brought back with her when her husband was stationed there in the early fifties. They're both safely packed away because we have a small apartment and a toddler, or I'd show you. 

I have some Irish silver jewelry from my maternal grandmother, who passed away while I was pregnant with Keira (and who gets a lot of the credit for Keira because as she was dying of painful pancreatic cancer, she was apparently offering up her pain especially for my struggle with infertility; that brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it!), but it's not especially old.


5. What's the best concert you ever attended?
It's a tie between finally seeing U2 in 2009 (on the Revolution tour) and seeing my favo(u)rite British rock band, Elbow, in 2011. We're seeing Elbow again tonight, first time they've been back in town since 2011, and I'm so excited!


6. Do you have a nickname?
My family calls me ColCol, my nieces and nephews and some friends' kids call me Auntie Col and some of my friends call me Cols. I always wanted a nickname I could write on tests but alas, it was not to be. Every piece of schoolwork I ever handed it said my full name on it. Actually, that's not true! In eighth or ninth grade social studies I came to be called Vanna (as in White; we played a lot of history games and I always would be the chick at the blackboard turning over answer squares), and I actually wrote Vanna on all of my schoolwork for that one class. 

I don't know why I even remember that. My other memory of that class is that the teacher (flagrantly erroneously) told us that diplomatic immunity meant that if a foreign diplomat assassinated the president, he wouldn't be prosecuted -- which I mostly remember because my dad reminds me constantly to this day as if it's my fault my teacher told me something wrong.

10 May 2014

Gotta laugh...

... Or else I might cry.

I woke up this morning with my right eye semi-crusted-shut. My husband confirmed that it was looking a little droopy. It's been three weeks since Schmear had pinkeye (two weeks and four- to five-ish days since she was contagious) but it found me at last.

Luckily we have antibiotic drops left from her infection.

Hubs was all, "Are you sure you want to take something that wasn't prescribed to you?"

And I'm all, "Dude. It's not narcotics, it's eyedrops. Yes, I'm sure I don't want to go to the doctor again to get it confirmed that I have pinkeye, which I already know, when the drops are right here."

[Because I went to my GP two weeks ago to get a strep swab -- which epic sore throat turned out to just be killer allergy post-nasal drip wonderfulness -- and excepting my lady doctor I hadn't been to the doctor in YEARS.]

But I'm worried there isn't going to be enough drops. I'm tempted to cut corners and only dose the one eye to save on them, but I can foresee that backfiring. I think I probably caught it early enough that whatever is in the bottle will do the trick... Right?

Happy early Mother's Day to me! :)

07 May 2014

Prayers FTW!

... As if there was any doubt.

After a good two weeks of boogering it up big time, our little sweet face is (maybe -- no jinxes!) back to her old sweet self. We had been enduring wall-to-wall tantrums and hitting. (It's not that she was getting away with it; it's just that punishments didn't phase her. At all.)

We had fallen away from saying her bedtime prayers with her -- I know! Bad momma! -- partly because she's young and it'll be a little bit before she's able to say them with us, but mostly because we just weren't prioritizing it. Bad momma.

Last night, I plunked her in her crib after she smacked me in the face with both hands simultaneously at bedtime. I was so mad at her. Because she knew she was being punished, she refused all of her nighttime accoutrements: pacifier, lovey, stuffed lamb and monkey, and blanket. I put everything where she could reach it and left the room. I figured she would calm down, grab everything and go to sleep.

But it wasn't long before I started to feel bad. I hadn't given her an opportunity to apologize, I hadn't given her any nighttime snuggles, and I hadn't said her prayers with her. I went back in and picked her up. She kind of sniffled in my ear and said, "Sowwy, mama." I thanked her for her apology, sat with her in the glider, and we said her prayers. When the prayers were done, I gave her a kiss, gave her all of her stuff, laid her back down, and made the sign of the cross on her sweet little forehead. She peacefully went to sleep.

This morning was still a little bit rough. She did have a meltdown, but for the first time in weeks she calmed herself down. She played happily until Daddy was ready to take her to daycare. Her nanny reported a much happier kid. When she got home, we tried on her new tutu:


And she was just her old happy self for the rest of the night until bedtime.

You had better believe we said her prayers tonight.

You had better believe I am not going to let them slip again.

----------------------------------------------------

On a related topic, what version of "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" does everyone use with their kids? I have been using the one I grew up with:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

But when I just googled it, looking for a graphic, I came across nine million graphics that went:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
May angels watch me through the night,
And wake me with the morning light.

I don't think I want to switch from my childhood version. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to deal with the topic of death, and they'll be familiar with the concept from young childhood this way.

My sister switched to the new version with her daughters. I believe she did so after I was babysitting one night and putting the girls to bed. The younger one was just a baby, eight months or so, which means the older one was not quite four. She was saying her prayers and we got to that one, and she said the version from my childhood, segueing into:

O Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this night, be at my side,
To light, to guard, to rule...

And then she looked me right in the eye and said:

And to DIIIIIE.

I almost died. It was creepy and hilarious. When my sister got home and I told her about it, she agreed it was creepy and hilarious, and then the next time I heard the girls saying their prayers they had switched versions.

True story.

06 May 2014

Giving until it hurts.

Mother Teresa, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. in 1994: 
I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. 
And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. 
By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. 
And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. 
Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. 
Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today — abortion which brings people to such blindness. 
And for this I appeal in India and I appeal everywhere — “Let us bring the child back.” The child is God’s gift to the family. Each child is created in the special image and likeness of God for greater things — to love and to be loved. In this year of the family we must bring the child back to the center of our care and concern. This is the only way that our world can survive because our children are the only hope for the future. As older people are called to God, only their children can take their places. 
But what does God say to us? He says: “Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you in the palm of my hand.” We are carved in the palm of His hand; that unborn child has been carved in the hand of God from conception and is called by God to love and to be loved, not only now in this life, but forever. God can never forget us. 
I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by adoption — by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of lives. We have sent word to the clinics, to the hospitals and police stations: “Please don’t destroy the child; we will take the child.” So we always have someone tell the mothers in trouble: “Come, we will take care of you, we will get a home for your child.” And we have a tremendous demand from couples who cannot have a child — but I never give a child to a couple who have done something not to have a child. Jesus said. “Anyone who receives a child in my name, receives me.” By adopting a child, these couples receive Jesus but, by aborting a child, a couple refuses to receive Jesus. 
Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child. 
From our children’s home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3,000 children from abortion. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents and have grown up so full of love and joy.

05 May 2014

Must-Read Monday, Week of 5 May 2014

Throughout the course of the week, I'll curate a list of links for y'all to read (if you want! No pressure!), because I wander all over the internets and I may have found something you haven't seen.

Please, please share your must-reads in the comments!

Just two three this week, because I have been busy. And tired. Oh my gosh, so tired!
  • And the always impressive Kevin D. Williamson explains the evocative term "evangelical atheist," with respect to the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing for public prayer at civic meetings: Room to Pray.
  • I won't link to the original, because ew. I will not participate in clicks for such trash. So instead, a synopsis of the Cosmopolitan article "Why I Filmed My Abortion" at National Review Online: Yahoo! I Had an Abortion! Pray for her.

04 May 2014

"Answer Me This" Linkup, Week 4



Kendra at Catholic All Year is hosting a weekly linkup. She provides the questions, you provide the answers, and then you link up with everyone back on her page. It's a great way to get to know a little about your fellow bloggy travelers, as well as a chance to consider some things about yourself that you hadn't before. Join us! 

Kendra's answers, next week's questions and the linkup can be found here.

1. Are you becoming your mother?
In some ways. I spent my late adolescence self-assuredly insisting that I was never going to have kids, because I was afraid I'd be too much like my mom and my kids would resent me. Oh, teenage me.

My mom isn't perfect. But she is an amazing woman. 



2. Coffee or tea?
Coffee, although I think I like it more than it likes me. As a singer, tea is something I've always wanted to like, but haven't ever been able to manage it. I just don't like it. 


3. What foreign country would you like to visit?
Well... Given the time off and an unlimited vacation budget, I'd go back to Ireland and stay until I'd seen all the things. I was there when I was fifteen -- and had my first kiss on St. Paddy's Day night in Dublin! -- and would love to go back with my husband and kid(s). But if we're discussing places I've never been that I'd like to see? I guess Wills and Kate's official visit to Australia and New Zealand did the trick because I want to go to there.


4. Do you cry easily?
I tear up likethat when I hear stories about... Well, I don't want to make anyone else cry. But babies and kids are my Achilles heel of keeping my eyes dry. Just can't do it if I hear a sad story about a baby. And check out my contribution to Blythe's One Hot Mess linkup if you want to hear about my crying for a whole day recently.


5. How often do you wear heels?
I work full-time from home so I live a barefoot life. I try to doll it up for Mass, but I often do two in a row (which, with choir warmups beforehand and the space between Masses is about four hours all told), and my poor flat feet just can't do four hours in heels. I literally hobbled home the last time I tried. 


6. Do you play an instrument?
I play my own little pipes -- my voice box. I never had any kind of music lessons (until voice lessons as a college freshman), but we had a Miracle when I was in middle school or so. My parents dismantled it for Christmas because it was in the way of the tree and never put it back up. They say it's because we never used it but I did! 

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Hop on over to Kendra's blog and link up! I promise it'll be fun. Meanwhile, my little fever-face -- fourth day running with a temperature over 103°! What is happening! -- is finally up and so I have to go get her. Which means I'll be either watching Frozen or trying desperately to distract her from her pleas to watch Frozen in about four minutes. 

02 May 2014

Empathy vs. Religion

One of my Facebook friends (actually a cousin of mine) shared this yesterday:


And while I'm obviously not about to comment on it, because when I saw it she had posted it about fifteen minutes ago and already had a dozen likes (and so that leads me to believe that the majority of her friends are in agreement and would respond to any comment of mine with a good, old-fashioned flame war), I have some thoughts.

Shall we?

First, I think this is true in a very limited way. I think the basics of right and wrong are easily assimilated from society. There's no one out there who doesn't know that murder is wrong, even if some people don't care. This extends to kindness to animals and babies, not taking things that don't belong to you, and not cheating on your spouse.

But empathy is not enough, not even close. In fact, empathy is a well-known signpost on the proverbial road to hell that's paved with good intentions.

Consider a high school girl who finds herself pregnant. She goes to a Catholic high school (which will not let her attend with a baby bump), she has conservative parents who she thinks will kick her out if they find out, and she wants to just undo the problem. Empathy might lead you to help her procure an abortion.

Empathy would have led you astray.

This girl does not need an abortion, she needs support. She needs counseling to help her deal with telling her parents, she needs a place to live if she's right about them kicking her out of the house, she needs help exploring adoption and parenting options. She needs love, not the false compassion that helps her murder the child growing within her because it's inconvenient.

Religion, on the other hand, has something to say about this. The One True Religion, Catholicism, is an especially good resource for answers. Present a moral dilemma to four anti-religionists and you will get four completely different answers provided by "empathy" or "ethics." Ask the Catechism, and you will get one clear answer. The right answer.

How arrogant to think that a single human mind is capable of correctly assessing every situation for its moral answer!

Thank God for His Holy Church here on Earth.

Thank God for the Magisterium, wrestling with issues and passing down what is good and right.

Thank God.

01 May 2014

One Hot Mess Linkup

Blythe at The Fike Life has initiated a linkup for us to share our hot messes. Because nothing makes a hot mess feel better than seeing some other hot messes!

Blythe shared her closet as her mess, but I have to say: I don't think it quite counts. Her closet is messy because the closet system failed. I'm too embarrassed to show my closet because it's like that for no good reason. I'm just messy. It's too small, I have too much stuff, I hate putting laundry away... It's a combination of all those things, none of which amount to an actual good excuse like, "The closet system crapped out."

At first I thought about this and thought that my house is in decent shape right now. There aren't any huge messes (excepting my closet), and if you ignore the fact that I washed the same load of laundry three times because I forgot to take it out of the washer the first two times (durrrrrh), I'm on top of my game!

And then I remembered.

Yesterday.

Oh good gracious, yesterday. I spent yesterday in periodic tears because my daughter might hate me. About a week and a half or two weeks ago, she started this weird thing. Every time she sees me, she slaps herself in the face and says, "NO! Key-a!" I have never, ever smacked her in the face, so I can only assume that she's trying to frame me to Child Protective Services. Then, every morning this week, she threw the mother of all tantrums in the morning about nothing. Our routine is that I let her wake up on her own, and then I retrieve her from her crib, milk at the ready, and she drinks her milk while I change her diaper and then I dress her. We bring breakfast with us to her daycare, because she's just had a cup of milk and she prefers to wait before eating.

But this week, the routine was more like: I let her wake up on her own. I went into her room and she greeted me cheerfully, and handed me all of her crib friends (pacifier, lovie, stuffed Lambie and blanket). I picked her up and carried her out of her room and as soon as we crossed the threshold, she unleashed on me. Three mornings in a row. And I'm not talking about a little whining; I'm talking about full-on screaming such that I was genuinely concerned that my neighbors were going to call the police on me. I would try to hand her milk to her and she would bat it away like it was poison. I would try and hold her and she would lash out at me like I was hurting her. I would put her down and she would scream even louder like I was abandoning her.

There was absolutely nothing I could do to calm her. Yesterday morning was the strongest tantrum yet, and it only ended when she caught a glimpse of my blotchy, tear-stained face. It made her feel bad to see me crying, which is fair because she was absolutely making me cry for no better reason than that she felt like it.

Check out the ironic outfit.

I gathered my jangled nerves and got her to daycare -- through a monsoon, which did nothing to improve my appearance -- at which point I broke down again while telling her nanny about our morning. I cried again on the phone with my husband, because she was making me feel like a terrible parent. I didn't know what was wrong with her, I didn't know how to fix it, and she pushed me away like I was the cause of all of her problems. I cried again when my boss asked me, "How's it going?"

I was a HOT. MESS.

So Daddy is taking over morning duty for a couple of weeks even though he has to rearrange his whole schedule to do so. I shouldn't let an eighteen-month-old rattle me, and I'm not an easily rattled person, but I just couldn't do it again. This morning, she woke up and Daddy did the whole morning routine and she was fine. Cheerful. Happy to be alive.

Sigh.