Monday, October 29, 2012

Little Miracles

We have survived our first major-ish parenting moment as of 9:45 this morning. Sweet John Paul came through his surgery with flying colors, and proceeded to come out of anesthesia smiling and cooing at the astounded attending nurses. When we were finally allowed into the recovery room to hold and nurse him, he was perched on a nurses' hip batting at the ID cards hung round her neck and sucking on his paci like nothing had happened.

My children are both tougher than I am.

We have been praying for half a year for this morning, and while it wasn't a majorly invasive procedure, it was still surgery, there was still a 2 hour chunk of time where he was anesthetized and intubated, and he was still treated to a rocking epidural (a caudal block, more precisely) that was at least as good as mommy's birth day cocktail. (Though from the looks of his charmed recovery, it may have been even better.)

Yesterday after Mass, we approached Father to ask for a blessing and prayers for healing. He one-uped us by ushering us into the sacristy and proceeded to perform the Anointing of the Sick (also called Extreme Unction), which was a beautiful and unexpected gift. It is the one Sacrament I'd never witnessed, and it was quick, profound, and powerfully reminiscent of his Baptism just a few months earlier. God is so good, even when His answers aren't ours.

This afternoon while JP slept off his buzz, Dave and I were remarking on how all our prayers of petition and intentions for his healing were not answered the way we were hoping (miraculous intervention) but were realized instead through medicine. And that is still a miracle.

Sitting in the bright, beautiful waiting room of Rocky Mountain Children's Hospital and interacting with the kindest, most professional medical staff, we were so grateful. Grateful for a job that provides insurance coverage to be able to seek the best treatment, grateful for living in a big city with cutting edge facilities and incredible doctors, grateful for living in a country where the very best medicine is being practiced, and where access is truly available to anyone who needs it (and don't let anyone tell you otherwise - we have enough doctors and nurses in the family to know that this is the reality. No one is turned away. Even to the hospital's detriment.)

So I guess I'm just grateful; grateful for a little man who is sleeping in the next room over, all stitched up and slightly bruised, but headed towards a full recovery, and grateful for our friends and family.

I'm also grateful for a wonderful husband who held my hand, bought me more coffee than was wise this morning, and lightened the mood by bringing me into the 21st century this afternoon via Youtube. I don't know what was more disturbing, the song itself or the reality that I was somehow wholly ignorant of a phenomenon which had commanded more than 500 million views.

It turns out going to be before 9 pm has real consequences people.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Top Ten Reasons to Dislike Mitt Romney

Don't hate, participate.

At the voting booth, that is. Read on, friends.

A lot is being said in the media about Mitt Romney not being "likable" or that he doesn't "relate well" to people.  Frankly, we struggled to understand why.  So after much research, we have come up with a Top Ten List to explain this "unlikablility."

Top Ten Reasons To Dislike Mitt Romney:

1. Drop-dead, collar-ad handsome with gracious, statesmanlike aura.  Looks like every central casting's #1 choice for Commander-in-Chief.

2. Been married to ONE woman his entire life, and has been faithful to her,  including through her bouts with breast cancer and MS.

3. No scandals or skeletons in his closet. (How boring is that?)

4. Can't speak in a fake, southern, "black preacher voice" when necessary.

5. Highly intelligent. Graduated cum laude from both Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School...and by the way, his academic records are NOT sealed.

6. Doesn't smoke or drink alcohol, and has never done drugs, not even in the counter-culture age when he went to college. Too square for today's America?

7. Represents an America of "yesterday", where people believed in God, went to Church, didn't screw around, worked hard, and became a SUCCESS!

8. Has a family of five great sons....and none of them have police records or are in drug rehab.  But of course, they were raised by a stay-at-home mom, and that "choice" deserves America's scorn.

9. Oh yes.....he's a MORMON. We need to be very afraid of that very strange religion that teaches its members to be clean-living, patriotic, fiscally conservative, charitable, self-reliant, and honest.

10. And one more point.....pundits say because of his wealth, he can't relate to ordinary Americans.  I guess that's because he made that money opposed to marrying it or inheriting it from Dad.

Apparently, he didn't understand that actually working at a job and earning your own money made you unrelatable to Americans. My goodness, it's a strange world, isn't it?
Personal Information:

His full Name is: Willard Mitt Romney
He was Born: March 12, 1947 and is 65 years old.
His Father: George W. Romney, former Governor of the State of Michigan
He was raised in Bloomfield Hills , Michigan
He is Married to Ann Romney since 1969; they have five children.

Education:  B. A. from Brigham Young University, J. D. and M.B.A. from Harvard University

Religion:  Mormon - The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints

Working Background:  After high school, he spent 30 months in France as a Mormon missionary.  After going to both Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School simultaneously, he passed the Michigan bar exam, but never worked as an attorney.

In 1984, he co-founded Bain Capital a private equity investment firm,  one of the largest such firms in the United States.

In 1994, he ran for Senator of Massachusetts and lost to Ted Kennedy.

He was President and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

In 2002, he was elected Governor of the State of Massachusetts where he eliminated a 1.5 billion deficit.

Some Interesting Facts about Romney:

Bain Capital, starting with one small office supply store in Massachusetts, turned it into Staples; now over 2,000 stores employing 90,000 people.

Bain Capital also worked to perform the same kinds of business miracles again and again, with companies like Domino's, Sealy, Brookstone, Weather Channel, Burger King, Warner Music Group, Dollarama, Home Depot Supply and many others.

He was an unpaid volunteer campaign worker for his dad's gubernatorial campaign 1 year.

He was an unpaid intern in his dad's governor's office for eight years.

He was an unpaid bishop and state president of his church for ten years.

He was an unpaid President of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee for three years.

He took no salary and was the unpaid Governor of Massachusetts for four years.

He gave his entire inheritance from his father to charity.

Mitt Romney is one of the wealthiest self-made men in our country but has given more back to its citizens in terms of money, service and time than most men.

And in 2011 Mitt Romney gave over $4 million to charity, almost 19% of his income....

Just for comparison purposes, Obama gave 1% and Joe Biden gave $300 or .0013%.

Mitt Romney is Trustworthy:

He will show us his high school and college transcripts.

He will show us his social security card.

He will show us his law degree.

He will show us his draft notice.

He will show us his medical records.

Mitt Romney's background, experience and trustworthiness show him to be a great leader and an excellent citizen for President of the United States.

You may think that Romney may not be the best representative the Republicans could have selected. At least I know what religion he is, and that he won't desecrate the flag, bow down to foreign powers, or practice fiscal irresponsibility.

I know he has the ability to turn around this financial debacle that the current regime has gotten us into. We won't like all the things necessary to recover from this debt, but someone with Romney's background can do it.

But, on the minus side, he never was a "Community Organizer", never took drugs or smoked pot, never got drunk, did not associate with communists or terrorists, nor did he attend a church whose pastor called for God to damn the USA.


So this is basically my version of an email forward. I received it from a dear friend, actually read the thing in its entirety, and immediately wanted to share it with as many people as possible. So, dear readers, if you get an email from me in the next few days saying all of the above...well, you heard it here first.

(Please continue to keep our family in your prayers as we head into Monday's surgery. Bl. JPII, pray for us!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Glorious Case of the Mondays

It's 5 minutes to noon here in the Rocky Mountain Empire, and I can honestly say it feels like 5 pm.

So far today we've had blown out diapers, barfed up breakfasts, and suffered the emotional and physical consequences of our little gluten-sensitive bread addict scoring a 'fix' in the form of a stolen baguette last Friday night. Let's just say diapers and tantrums from the underworld, and leave it at that.

Also, I just found a fist-sized chunk of sparkling clean asphalt in my dryer. All morning I'd been wondering 'is that the sound of rocks in my dryer?'

Close. Oh so close.

So glad I catered to his highness' sweet tooth and whipped up a batch of these bad boys for elevensies. Little ingrate.

The good news is, tonight is the last Presidential debate! And yes, I'll be live-blogging it on Facebook per usual, though I have to admit, I'm so ready to hang up the social network towel again once this whole sh*tstorm has settled and Team Mitt can begin mentally rearranging furniture at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And making plans for re-installments of English busts and whatnot. Seriously sick of politics this go-round. And since I thrive on the stuff, I can only imagine how the average, temperate media-consumer feels. And it ain't good.

Today, while filled with bodily fluids, tantrums and poor culinary decisions, is nonetheless the feast day of my favorite not-quite-a-saint-yet of all time: Bl. John Paul II.

We were privileged to make the pilgrimage to Rome in 2011 as a family and stood in St. Peter's square while Pope Benedict declared him 'blessed.' It was one of the highlights of my life, and certainly remains one of the coolest things we've done with Joey. Which I will no doubt hold over his head for the rest of his life.

Incredibly, we were able to go back to Rome this past summer, this time with our little John Paul in tow, and early one Sunday morning as Mass came to an end in the Basilica, one very naughty mommy snuck her little chunker up to the altar and touched his little fist to his namesake's tomb. Way cool.

On a more serious note, our sweet John Paul has a medical condition he was born with necessitating a relatively simple, out-patient surgery that is scheduled for this coming Monday, a week from today. His doctors have assured us it isn't complicated or especially dangerous, but he does have to go under general anesthesia, and I can't come into the OR with him. So, that's really hard.

We've been praying under the patronage of Bl. John Paul II since we discovered his condition when he was just 1 day old, and we have confidence that he can be healed without the surgery, if God wills it. Will you join us in prayer this final week? We would have loved to have received an immediate healing for our little man, but how cool would it be if they get him onto the operating table and discover there's no longer a reason to operate?!

Way cool.

So Bl. John Paul II, patron of the unborn and of the youth (among other awesome and numerous things), pray for us on this, your feast day.

And please excuse the mess.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Since he has the funniest verbal faux pas and substitutions around, I thought I'd subject you all to a rousing round of 'sh#t my kid says.'

Sure to be a feature only a mother could love.

Without further ado:

"Chalkit" = chocolate
"chalkit" = coconut milk
"chalkit" = reward me if I pretend to use the potty
"pooooop" = use the potty
"mommy poop?" = use the potty
"i pee" = use the potty
"mommy pee" = use the potty
"mommy bunzer" = mommy is currently using the potty
"booty juice" = prune juice (my little geriatric patient has a tricky stomach)
"booty juice" = gatorade (watered down, before you notify the CPS)
"almonds" = almonds
"eggies" = eggs (at least 2 scrambled easy per morning, much to his cholesterol-concerned pediatricians chagrin
"john pawl" = john paul
"jaypeeee" = john paul
"a drink, mommy" = serve me libations
"nack, mommy"= feed me
"oh wine, mommy?" = pellegrino in my sippy cup, please
"nice wine, mommy!" = any bottle I pull from the fridge or cupboard. Can't really fault him...
 "nice hair, mommy!" = don't put me to bed
"chip-ahs" = tortilla chips, nasty gluten free crackers, and more recently, crunchy fallen leaves. Eww.
"grey-pah" = grapes. We have thousands of grapes growing in our yard and garden. It sounds MUCH more glamorous than it is. He eats them straight off the vine, never mind they're withered and rotting from the recent frost.
"bunzer!" = take all my clothes off
"bunzer!" = bath time
"bunzer!" = I am streaking in front of the open living room window
"8,7,9" = I don't know. Rainman?
"8,7, Romney" = clear as a bell. Good little Republican
"coffee beans, JP's mouth?" = traumatic flashback to a certain incident in Anthropologie which haunts us all...
"coffee" = Starbucks
"coffee" = coffee
"beer" = beer
"Jesah" = Jesus
"Jesah house" = church, varying denominations
"Wine please?" = Eucharistic prayers

Clearly, we are doing something so right.

P.S. hearty congrats to Ana on sweet baby Lucy, who I've not seen pics of but who is no doubt adorable.Yes, yes she is. Thanks for making me want to have another baby someday, Ana.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why Contraception Doesn't Prevent Abortions

Hear me out.

Possibly thanks to Obamacare and probably thanks to willful ignorance and most likely due to Planned Parenthood's eternal campaign of misleading statistics and empty promises, there's a funny little 'notion going round the world today that contraception helps to prevent - or to somehow reduce the number of - abortions.  And as even some of the most battle hardened, vaginally-preoccupied womyn's rights crusaders will agree: that's a good thing.

Fewer abortions good, less birth control bad. Because one is dependent upon the other, right?


Abortion and birth control are two sides of the same coin. The currency of which is the prevention and/or the destruction of nascent human life. While some forms of contraception, such as the condom or the diaphragm, are not themselves capable of destroying human life, (as are many chemical contraceptives, including forms of the Pill, the patch, and IUDs) they are a kind of 'gateway drug' into the abortion mentality.

For a woman - or a couple - who are seeking to avoid pregnancy by means of contraception, they have already set themselves up as being 'against the beginning' of life. (From the Latin: contra: against, ception: beginning) As such, when the 'unthinkable' occurs, be it breakthrough ovulation, or a broken condom, the new parents panic. They weren't planning on getting pregnant; they were planning on having sterile, questionably unitive sex divorced from procreative sex. When their attempts to thwart nature and the moral law fail, they seek the next logical solution: abortion.

I'm not saying that any couple using contraception would be open to considering abortion, should their birth control method fail them. What I am saying is that the very act of using 'birth control' (an oxymoron if ever there was one) pits prospective parents against prospective offspring.

In other words: they have made their children their enemies.

This is the fundamental reasoning behind the Jewish theological understanding of abortion as an act of justifiable violence against the fetus as 'intruder' in a woman's body. Without denying the humanity - or at least the nascent humanity - of the unborn, the Torah makes exception for abortion when the mother's life is 'threatened' by her unborn child or the pregnancy sustaining that child.

But I digress. The issue here is the ridiculous claim that widely available contraception, whether 'free*' or low cost, is a fantastic safeguard against abortion.

"Look," the argument goes, "People are going to have sex - lots of it. They need to have access to substances or contraptions which prevent pregnancies from resulting from all that sex. Otherwise, the world will be overrun with unwanted adult fetuses. Can you imagine?!"

Contraception, in other words, is a solution to the problem of people. Too many, too closely-spaced in age, too much medical baggage, wrong chromosomal or genetic name it.

The thing is, abortion is also a solution to the problem of people. It's just a solution which acts a bit further down the line, in most cases.

I can hear the enraged sputtering from here, so before anyone self-induces carpal tunnel with a frenzied comment session, let me be clear: I do not believe most people who contracept would choose to intentionally abort their child. At least not in the stereotypical, 'visibly-pregnant and hurrying furtively into a dirty corner 'clinic' with a pocket full of twenties' way.

What I do believe, however, is that people who choose to contracept are damaging their consciences and hardening their hearts in a very real way, whether or not they acknowledge or comprehend the sinful nature of their actions.

Sin, you see, has consequences. Whether or not we acknowledge our actions as sinful...heck, whether or not we even believe in sin, reality stands. And the reality is, contraception and abortion are about as intrinsically linked as are sugar and cavities. One doesn't always cause the other, but it sure as heck predisposes the midnight snacker to more frequent trips to the dentist's chair.

So please, when you hear politicians - or your Pilates classmates - tossing around the 'birth control prevents abortion' stat, set the record straight: birth control does not prevent abortion.

Self-control prevents abortion.

A properly formed conscience informing the owner of the wrongness of murder prevents abortion.

Abstinence prevents abortion.

Education prevents abortion.

But a little pink pill? I don't think so.

There's a reason, after all, that Planned Parenthood is fighting so hard to keep Obamacare and its promises of subsidized hormones alive.

Their bottom line depends upon it.

*There's no such thing as a free lunch, people. And you'd better believe those costs will be passed onto the taxpayer...aka you. And me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dating Myself (Or Blogging in a Bar)

A mom walks into a bar in sweaty workout clothes.

And orders a burger. And a beer. Neither are gluten free, both promise to be highly delicious.

When I was a starry-eyed teenager dreaming of marriage and babies, escaping once a week to run on a treadmill and then drink alone in public was not part of the script. Probably. Or maybe I'm not giving my 17-year old self enough credit.

At any rate, about 2 months ago, just as the postpartum cloud was starting to lift, Dave and I decided that we each needed a night 'off' during the week. I took Tuesdays, he got Thursdays. Some weeks, it's as simple as escaping to a clean(ish) bathtub with my latest copy of Women's World Weekly (criminally guilty pleasure); other weeks, like this one, I go big...and then I go home.

I guess I'm basically the same girl - pushing 30 - that I was when I was pushing 20. But I'm more comfortable now in my own (slightly less taut) skin. I can do things by myself, like any introvert dreams of, but perhaps feels uncomfortable doing so in an extroverted world. I'm telling you right now: moms need to be alone. Like, maybe more than anyone else on earth. Maybe more than monks and hermits and cloistered nuns combined.

I know that for me and my selfish-ish body, I am touched out by 5 pm on any given day, both physically and emotionally. I've wiped booties, nursed babies, picked bits of refried beans off the wall behind the high chair, and swiffered the kitchen multiple times. I've got to get away and not be touched for a while, not be needed for an hour or so.

I know I'll always be needed now that my boys exist. More importantly, now that I'm married. Husbands come first...and they're a lot cleaner, mostly. But it feels good - no, it feels necessary - to go off duty every once in a while and just be ... me.

Some of the fantastic mommy dates I've taken myself in the past couple months include a sunset run around a newly-discovered city lake, a magazine-laden free for all at Barnes and Noble fueled by decaf Earl Gray, a guilty McDonald's hot fudge sundae (devoured in my car in the parking lot; high shame rating for that one), a margarita and my OWN guacamole that didn't get spoon fed into a gaping baby maw before it could hit my tortilla chips, and a jaunt through my favorite thrift store where the only rule was, I'd try anything on as long as it was 1. in my size and 2. had a Banana Republic or J. Crew label. Shallow much.

As you can see, these little dates run the gamut from free to around 20 bucks or so. Tonight's 2-miler at the gym is being undone by a Stella and a burger, so I'll guess the total will end up around $14.

And you know what? I'm worth it.

I'm such a better mom when I have this time away. And I'm such a better wife. And honestly, Dave's a better dad too. Nothing makes a man like bottle-feeding an angry wolverine, you know what they say.

I'm sure somebody says that.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a beer to sip. Cheers!

Friday, October 5, 2012

7 Quick Ones

 Oh heeeeeeey Jen, thanks for having us.

1. October surpriseeeeee: it snowed last night. And I must say, the frosted Obama signs adorning our neighborhood laws are sparkling under a magical dusting of white.

2. In other surprising news of the October varietal, the national unemployment rate dipped below 8% for the first time in 4 years, conveniently timed to incite warm feelings for President Xanax just in time for November 6th. If anyone is impressed by his mathematical abilities of manipulation, let me assure you it is me. According to his reckoning, I have arrived at my pre-baby weight as of this week!

(Not included in this figure: number of lbs. that gave up looking for somewhere to drop off of my body and politely asked to not be included in the official number. Let's call them 'part time working' pounds.)

3. White pumpkins. Freaky? Or fantastic decor details for a tall tablescape? Anna of IHOD pinned some cutie ones this a.m. that got my heart a fluttering for a trip to Hobby Lobby. Which my boys absolutely LOVE, by the way. Nothing screams fun to a baby boy like aisles and aisles of glittery, bedazzled fall vegetables and plastic Christmas trees. Also, they pipe in the same awesome Sirius station as ChickFilA, providing the soothing backdrop of Christian contemporary rock made all the more awful via instramentalization.

4. Grace is so funny. Her kids are so mental. (I think they're related to mine) Can I get an amen? Can we please scrape together a pile of Hamiltons so she can abandon her mundane daily drudgeries of Costco-going and baby wipe scrubbing for the greater good of multiple postings per day?

Seriously Grace, if we paid for someone to come over and toss hot dogs into Julia's gaping maw and wipe Sebastian down at regular intervals, would you prettyprettypleeeeease post multiple times per day? It would be just like a part time job, except with terrible benefits. And also, it might bring the unemployment number down in the 6% range.

5. St. Francis came to a parish near us yesterday and brought some friendly woodland creatures from the Denver zoo for the 100+ squirming toddlers in attendance to politely ogle. After the good friar exited stage left, his friendly assistants Ali the nose-pierced hipster and Sara the earnest environmentalist showed us a good time by pulling really fabulous creatures out of the Igloo coolers they'd toted over in the zoo van. Like a boa constrictor. And a blue-tongued skink. Oh yes, and a couple of birds from Australia with names from Rod Stewart songs. Which crapped on the floor of the parish hall. (That last detail was a huge highlight, at least for the boys sitting up front)

6. Hey that turtle's name is Kevin! We made it to the next sea and now there are ....

7!  (And if you understood that last one, I feel for ya, I really do. We're on a pirate adventure...)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

E-cards from a sitting President

Dear women of the United States of America,

(particularly those of the Democratic persuasion)

You are being had. Your Commander in Chief sees a sea of vaginas when he looks out at a predominantly female crowd, and if that doesn't turn your stomach, I don't know what will.

Some lovely tidbits from the White House's corner of the internets this morning:

Oh, vote with my lady parts? Or just for them? Wait, did you actually want me to have my vagina drive me to the polls and let it do all the box-checking for me?

Oh, okay.

Or how about this one:

Kind of inspires mother/daughter warm fuzzies, huh?

My dear sisters, whatever your political affiliation in the past - or even at present - do you really believe that this man has your best interests at heart when he is clearly so preoccupied with your reproductive organs that he cannot see past a pair of breasts to the brain above them or the heart behind them? 

I am of the lies that women are being fed about being 'empowered' and 'heard' and equipped with 'choices' by the Democratic party; it's bullshit. The only thing these people care about is staying in power, and the only reason you're getting any of their attention is because you (allegedly) comprise a coveted voting bloc.

If the man sitting in the Oval Office right now (or on a golf course in Vegas, let's be real) really gave a damn about you and your family, he would be working to secure the financial and physical safety of our great nation, not flooding social networks with smutty e-cards trying to play the cheeky frat boy-come-Cosmo girl. 

He is a disgrace. The campaign for the 'woman's vote' via her vagina is a disgrace. And if you allow yourself to be taken in by this kind of patronizing chauvinism disguised as 'progressive' equality ... then my dear sister, so too are you.

We have come further than this as a nation, as a civilization, as a sex

Don't let your person be reduced to the sum of your parts - lady or otherwise. 

(update: the Obama campaign has pulled e-card numero uno without explanation. Funny.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Saint, Therese, go Saint Ther-ee--ese

Seriously, love this girl so much.

For anyone who hasn't read it, check out Story of a Soul, her autobiography. It's a quick, powerful and beautifully simple treatise on the spiritual life, and you will fall in love with her Little Way.

I can't put my finger on it exactly, but my entire family has had a devotion to her from way back when, and we have a fond collective memory of wee Christina (the youngest Senour sister), composing and performing a St. Therese rap for her 5th grade 'Famous Person I'd Like to Meet' project. For realz. And in public school.

If you do nothing else today, toss a quick prayer Heavenwards for her intercession. And watch out for roses! (I was surprised with a dozen of the red varietal last night by a very thoughtful husband, who claimed ignorance of knowledge of the dawning of October.)