Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Because some breakups are awesome news.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gay 'marriage:' what's the Christian response?

So a couple of friends have appeared from the mists of time (aka high school) and engaged me via facebook in the same sex 'marriage' debate. Besides being pleasantly surprised by the ensuing civility on all sides, I've come away with a renewed interest in educating other Christians on the Church's teaching on homosexual attraction - namely, on why it is far and away the most compassionate voice in a clamoring crowd of opinions on the matter.

I read a fantastic book a year ago that hit it out of the park and really, really helped me to refine and convey my own opinions and arguments on the matter. It's called "Born to Love" by John R. Weiss and is written as a kind of dialogue (think Screwtape Letters or Between Heaven and Hell) between a priest, a young dating couple, and their homosexual friend.

I don't think there's any reason that we as Christians - and Catholics especially - can't be engaging the culture more directly on this issue. It isn't going away any time soon, and it's only going to become more polarized and more hostile if the Church doesn't speak clearly in love.

Read it, lend it, make your voice heard. You never know who might be listening.

Friday, January 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. All I can say is, I'm tired.

So, so tired, and so incapable of doing any further reorganizing of the crappy, second-hand furniture populating my house that stands in open defiance of the force of nature which is nesting and taunts me to 'repurpose it.'

2. I watch too much HGTV. (See above post.) Dear husband and I had an actual argument/animated discussion about the merits of sanding, stripping and refinishing furniture while 7 months pregnant and living on a budget. ps apparently sanding is hard work. and I don't own a sander. Dave: 1 Jenny: 0

3. After reading this beautiful reflection of Ana's, I really dug down deep and just...wait for it...sat around on the living room floor with my sweet Joseph for much of the morning. I didn't get a whole lot of work done before naptime, and I didn't get any furniture pushed out into the backyard. But he hugged me around the neck like 15 times in under an hour, and we played catch and hot damn, my boy's got an arm!

4. I had the chance to talk, really talk, to my best friend from college this morning, and even though both our kids were experimenting with varying decibel levels in the background and we're like, two thousand flipping miles apart, it was like we were together again in the grim Ohio valley winter, sipping terrible, affordable coffee in our dingy apartment kitchen all over again, talking about God's plans for our lives and where we thought we might be headed. Thank God for girlfriends who take time to dream.

5. I have hit the gym 6 times a week religiously for the past month of this pregnancy, (that's weeks 24-29, for anyone out there who cares even slightly more than not at all) and have accomplished thus: nothing. By that I mean, I have continued to gain at the exactsamepace as I did with my first pregnancy; you know, the fabulous one where you read maternity magazines constantly and excitedly puff your stomach out after meals to fake a bump as early as trimester one. And sit behind a computer all day with your feet propped up eating White Cheddar Cheezits. Yeah, that one.

Suffice it to say, I was expecting perhaps, oh, slightly different results from running interference with a toddler all day and breaking up the monotony with 60 minutes of cardio each evening. But apparently my body can't differentiate between processed carbohydrates and time spent strapped to an elliptical machine. Boo hoo. I'm realizing as this pregnancy continues that I am 1. still alarmingly obsessed with body image and 2. still very much under the illusion that I am the one calling the shots here. And He is working it out of me, one humiliating doctor's appointment and shopping trip at a time. Le sigh.

6. I met this guy at a conference a few years back and, honestly, I loved him. Now feeling confirmed in my love by his fiery reaction to our dictator in chief's latest shenanigans.

7. It turns out, Wheel of Fortune is an awesome drinking game. But then, I think I always knew that deep down...

Be sure to hit up Jen at Conversion Diary to read something that may or may not be more edifying and may include a photo op featuring clowns and Budweiser Original. Don't say you weren't warned.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Size matters

Just got back from a glorious morning off, which consisted of sitting in a dirty waiting room full of old and infirm citizens and flipping through an 11 month old copy of Glamour (Are all women's magazines as slutty as Cosmo now? Shocking.) whilst pounding a bottle of flat orange soda whose caloric content made me gag almost as much as the flavor itself. But I digress. And hopefully successfully process 4,000 mg of pure, unadulterated glucose with nary a blood sugar uptick.

I would have to say the highlight of a morning spent in the company of the hoards of obs/midwives/nurses-who-went-to-2-year community-college (maybe) who staff my lovely neighborhood Kaiser clinic had to be the weigh-in on the industrial cattle scale. I know it was cattle rated, because I saw hoof prints all over the platform which I gingerly ascended in bare feet (every little ounce counts). Or maybe those were my hoof prints. One can never be sure.

The point is, I've reached my goal weight for this pregnancy! Go me! And 11 flipping weeks early!


Just a little.

(Not to finish a brag with another brag, but my blood pressure also fell into the category of 'small child/professional athlete.' I know this, because I googled those numbers on my phone while sitting in the exam room frantically searching for something upon which to hang my shreds of pride/dignity.

Hear that, baby? We're all done gaining weight! What a relief...now maybe I can stop drinking those tiresome breve lattes stirred with sticks of butter for breakfast every morning.

Nothing but efficiency for me and my offspring.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This guy...

Is becoming seriously helpful. And seriously opinionated. No idea where he gets that from. Ahem.

Anyway, venturing into the wild unknowns of toddlerhood has me continually scratching my head and wondering 'did I really say that word in front of him at some point?' and 'I wonder how many more months/weeks I have until he can rat me out to daddy that I (insert massive motherhood failure here) today...'

I picked up this book at my fav thrift store (Attention Denverites: Savers on Littleton and Windemere. It is phenom for baby clothes, books, and maternity wear... and the occasional designer shoe, if you're the kind of gal who will stick her bare foot into someone else's discarded footwear based solely upon the ratio of brand-name-status-to-rockin'-ass-price.)

I am that kind of girl, and I'm not ashamed. 2 pairs of JCrew (made in ITALY, people) flats and a pair of Sperry's will attest to that. My husband thinks it's slightly gross/weird, but probably not as gross as including a $150 line item in the ol' monthly budget for footwear. So there.

Anyway, the book is 3 parts stupid and 1 part intriguing, and I've spent the past 2 days haphazardly implementing the very serious suggestion that baby through toddlerhood is actually a compressed span of the entirety of human evolution (if you're into that sort of thing), and that our littles are actually mentally and emotionally progressing from monkeys to Neanderthals to little cave people between birth and age 3. Or something like that.

Anyway, the good doctor (famed for his more notable work, the Happiest Baby on the Block, which may or may not contain anything useful depending upon the craziness of your particular child) recommends that rather than reasoning with a tantruming toddler, mom or dad get down to their level and grunt to them, repeating their own words and short phrases to convey empathy and understanding.

Since my wee genius has like, 3 words in his whole vernacular (4 if you count curse words), my attempts to impart said brilliant strategy sounded a lot like this:

"NO. No NO NO no!" and "Unks! Unks unks UNKS" (which we believe to mean juice) along with a smattering of 'Yeps' and 'Dudes.'

Quite the little orator I'm raising, no?

Anywho, I feel like this new channel of mutual understanding and love has opened up between us every time I squat down to eye level with him and start making jungle noises.

Or perhaps he is just alarmed enough to calm down and enjoy the spectacle which is first-time motherhood personified.

In either case, UNKS UNKS UNKS.


Monday, January 23, 2012

March On

Hundreds of thousands of peaceful demonstrators will descend upon our nation's capitol today, marking the 39th year since our Supreme Court ruled in favor of the willful, arbitrary murder of unborn children. (The media won't cover it, but thanks to Facebook and Twitter and text messaging, we'll bear virtual witness nonetheless.) Millions and millions of lives have been lost since then, and perhaps millions more consciences have become so deadened to the reality of sin and evil that it begs the question: will our society survive the scourge of abortion?

I speak not only of the millions dead, but of those of us left standing, shaking our heads, and wondering ... "Is this really happening? And can I do anything to stop it?" And also of those who don't wonder, who know, and who embrace death willingly, championing it as some kind of salvific and fundamental human right. People like our Commander in Chief.

Our world has never been - will never be - a safe place. Adam and Eve made that choice long ago. But we still have the power to choose good, to restore a bit of safety to this world of chaos and sin.

Let this be the year then, when America chooses life, chooses to restore the sacred inviolability of the womb. Our Creator Himself, born of a woman, would not today be guaranteed safe passage into this barren world.

We can never know how many other of God's gifts have been denied entry.

No more.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pill pushers

Just in case anyone was worried about anything serious this election cycle, like, oh, I don't know, the ass-dragging economy, a nuclear Iran, soul-crushing gas and grocery prices at home and general tomfoolery abroad... The big O has once again got our backs.

Don't worry, you might be missing your mortgage payments and your children might be learning next to nothing/undergoing social engineering and reprogramming at your local publicly-funded school, but Kathleen Sebelius and her team at HHS, under the Obama administration, have made sure that no greedy, woman-hating, fundamentalist religious types will deny anyone their daily dose of synthetic hormones.

Oh, and in case you were worried, they'll also have to pay for it.

Screw you, religious freedom.

Ps. kindly disregard that mountains of medical data decrying the myriad dangers of hormonal contraception, both to the human body and to the environment, and open wide.

Pps. If pollution and cancer don't get you going, perhaps skyrocketing societal ills ring your bell

Sunday, January 15, 2012

the honest truth

Every time I feel my baby move inside of me, I think about whether or not I could bring myself to kill him or her, should the 'need' arise (finances, domestic violence, an illness that threatens my life, societal or familial pressure, etc.) and I can never reason all the way through to the final decision: an abortion. I am confidant that no woman on earth truly wants to hurt the baby growing inside of her; it defies biology, logic, our very humanity. 
 I wish that every woman had the support during pregnancy that I do. For those who don't, I pray that now, today, someone will reach out to them and offer hope, support and real help for the darkness they find themselves in. 
In the end, nobody chooses abortion, they merely succumb to it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday, Glamor Edition

1. Final countdown for molar numero quatro means very little sleep was had by all last night. This resulted in a house being left with an unattended stove burner burning merrily away, a case of inverted underwear whose wearer shall remain nameless, and a heated debate in the car on the merits of McDonald's vs. Starbucks coffee (I know, how sad that anyone would enter into this debate in favor of Mickey D's) and the tragedy that perhaps many adults have never tasted a truly great cup o' brew and therefore continue to bolster the sales of Folgers/Maxwell House and the like. So much ignorance. So much suffering. Such a sad little First World convo.

2. Joey spent the entirety of the morning whining, dripping snot (sorry, teething produces more fluids than any other natural process known to man, including birth, and it is freaking disgusting), and circling my legs like a baby shark, bedecked in all of mommy's old racing medals which clanked merrily around his scrawny neck and carrying a tiny, one-armed statue of Padre Pio which he occasionally and piously kissed/worshiped. (For the benefit of all my non-Catholic readers)

3. I dump-cleaned (husband's term) my 'central command station:' a beleaguered Pottery Barn armoire we inherited in one of our many moves and which serves as our collecting dumping ground for bills/craft items which I will never use to make anything crafty/cast off electronics and vitamins, prenatal or otherwise. Dump cleaning basically involves throwing away 99% of the content of whatever you happen to be cleaning, and scores high on the emotional gratification scale, especially for a preggo. Plus, it's cheaper than a retail therapy session in the Target dollar bins.

4. I add items to my to-do list even after they've been completed, if only to check them off and feel the rush of victory. Sad. True. Potentially evidence of mental illness.

5. My mother in law bought me this for Christmas and let me tell you, it has been life-altering. Case in point, I have only been to Starbucks thrice in the entire month of January. Who needs foam when you can make it at home?

6. I've spent a lion's share of most mid-days this week listening to this guy via the internets, and I feel deeply and spiritually motivated not to shop by the end of each show, which is probably the answer to my loving husband's daily prayers.

7. A trip to the gym may or may not be in order when the little man awakens, depending entirely upon whether or not we can feign 'wellness' sufficiently to be declared germ-free for the Kid's Club. Yes, I'm one of those terrible, selfish moms who sends my visibly ill child into the germy enclosure of communal toys and sharing time. But in my defense, any and all illnesses from the past 4 months have been contracted there as a result of similarly negligent mothers desperate for an hour of kickboxing class and free HGTV, so I guess I'm in good company. (Disclaimer: I would never send him in with tummy issues)

So there you have it folks. A day of week-ending glamor in the life of a SAH/WAH mom.

I know, I know... roll tape. We livin' the high life. Maybe Jen's doing something even more interesting.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lowered Expectations

Honestly, who doesn't love this? If you don't, then your childhood must have been sparse, at best, and cruelly absent of culturally relevant material for later therapy sessions at worst. Or perhaps just pious.

Anyway, I can't even think the phrase without hearing the theme music. (And no, our parents didn't know we were up watching MadTV at 11 pm on Saturday nights. Crazy rebellious tweenagers were we.)

But honestly, I've gone so far past where I'd imagined I'd be, in terms of a functioning adult responsible for the care and feeding of smaller humans, that I think my bitchy 17-year old self would have slapped me. Or judged me harshly and self-righteously from the safe and rosy perspective of inexperience. Case in point, I just freed my firstborn from his filthy highchair prison and commissioned him to go and 'spread your shredded-turkey laden hands all about the house.'

Call me crazy, but it makes me feel like I'm thismuchcloser to being a little bit, oh, I don't know, in control when I'm at least pretending to give the orders. Or saying things that are more or less inevitable 7.8 seconds before they happen, thereby imagining that I actually instructed my son to pull clumps of hair trimmings out of the bathroom trashcan and transfer them neatly into the nearby laundry hamper. (What, we do home haircuts for the men in this house. White trash much? At least I'm not using a Flowbee.)

Take yesterday morning, for example, when I furtively glanced about the frozen food section before snatching a 1lb bag of Foster Farms chicken breast nugget pieces from the case and burying them at the bottom of my cart. Whose approval I might have been seeking was not entirely clear, but I felt intensely the shame of buying breaded, processed meat to feed my precious child, and so down to the cretaceous layer of the cart they went. Under the (nonorganic) bananas and romaine lettuce (look at me, everyone, I feed my family produce!)

I may or may not have been thinking about a recent online admission of guilt that came up in my facebook stalkerfeed recently admitting to the purchase and distribution of nuggets to a minor, and the mild panic I felt at the realization that my own shameful protein-enforcing strategy was actually a punishable offense in the online momosphere. Ugh.

So it turns out, much of the expectations I have for myself as a wife and mother hinge mainly on the perception of outside observers of our family, either actual or perceived. I don't really think anyone else is looking into my shopping cart tallying the proportion of complex to simple carbs present and judging my size and appearance based on my slovenly consumer habits, do I?

Honestly, I really do. And I think it's largely a result of the amount of time I spend admiring/stalking/voyeur-ing/comparing other mother's lives/habits/routines/wardrobes, mostly on the internets. Have women always engaged in a little, ahem, healthy competition/comparison making?


Has it gotten a whoooole lot easier to do so on a regular basis without recognizing the inherent disorder in said behavior, and, more importantly, what it reveals about the state of one's own soul?


It's almost like a more passive form of gossip or a more innocuous version of coveting. I'm not saying it's making me a terrible mom to take notes on what others are doing with their broods, but it does incline me towards an unhealthy amount of navel-gazing, in addition to producing heightened levels of jealousy and anxiety. And that ain't good.

These impossible (for me) standards I find myself measuring my mothering against are not only unrealistic, they are actually keeping me from the very real and (often) mundane task of accomplishing God's will for my family for that day. I can't read another Bible story to my toddler because I'm busy researching ways to catechize the young child based on Montessori techniques incorporating Theology of the Body. And I'm looking at mommy fashion blogs. And that's why dinner isn't ready, either.

Come to think of it, some of my most stressful and least-satisfying days as a homemaker have been days that were filled not with busyness and chores but with hours of online ogling, HGTV-watching, Facebook photo-scrolling 'research.'

Except all I have to show for it is ghetto taco salad (a house specialty) for dinner for the 3rd night in a row and a complete lack of energy and/or enthusiasm for my life by the time my husband is home.

Maybe my expectations don't need to be lowered, per se, but rather, personalized and custom-built to reflect the needs of my family and my vocation. And maybe I can get closer to achieving that ideal through prayer as opposed to another episode of House Hunters.

I didn't mean to go preachy on this second inaugural entry, honest. I had every intention of filling the page with witty remarks about things I can't believe I am letting slide with my firstborn and how I went to the gym without makeup this morning and was totally fine with it.

That is, until I realized I wasn't wearing earrings either.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Year, New Name, New Blog

So I'm not quite the battle-hardened culture warrior I once was. For starters, I begin and end most days in maternity yoga pants. For reasons unknown, I do actually get dressed in between, usually down to the 'ol h + m, but inevitably the yoga pants creep back on once my ritual trip to Target has been checked off.

Anywho, I'm not the girl I once was.

So, in keeping with reality, why not, I reasoned, start afresh in this brave, new world of mommy blogging and reinvent my online persona to more accurately reflect reality? The reality of yogurt on everything, sleeping never, and nary a cultural event or protest to attend. Well, not without a small person strapped to my large person and some degree of public mortification/humiliation factored in.

Anywho, veering away from the acerbic social political commentary, (though not entirely. After all, I've had a baby, not a lobotomy) and venturing tentatively into the virtual support group of stay at home/work at home/ trapped at home/ dear God somebody come over and clean my home mothers across the globe, I vow to henceforth bring forth such riveting content as "Pregnancy: how fat can I get?" and "Why I spent our last $18 on lattes and now we're eating 6-month old cous cous as a main dish" in addition to timeless favorites remarking on the general state of decline in western civilization.

Prepare to be wowed.

Also, I may or may not subject the 2 remaining readers out there to my very own, schizophrenic postings on Pinterest, mainly featuring hopelessly ambitions DIY projects involving power tools I don't currently own and pictures of beautiful clothes that I would probably never wear.

Glam it is.

Ps. hilarious