Friday, February 28, 2014

Ciao y'all

Forgive my radio silence yesterday, but girl's night out called and I answered, and I just couldn't seem to find the time to do my duty. The margaritas, however, were delicious.

I've been noticing some new faces around the comments lately and some increased activity on bloglovin and Facebook, so I thought I'd go ahead and introduce myself to you dear new readers. No doubt you've stumbled over here via the Edel Gathering homepage or perhaps Jen or Grace sent you (so my stats tell me), but at any rate, you are very welcome here. Very welcome indeed, Mrs. Bates. 

I just figured I perhaps owed you a little introduction and I figured what better way to do that than in a feigned third person interview? Plus, 66% of my offspring are wailing themselves to sleep right now and my husband is working for at least another 2 hours tonight and that soothing white noise on the sound machine? It's just the background ambience I need in order to conduct a proper interview with mahself. 

Without further ado, may I present to you, Mama Needs Coffee's FAQs (or something like that).

1. Who is this coffee lover, and how much caffeine does she actually consume? 

Hi, I'm Jenny. I'm married to Dave, who works for the Archdiocese of Denver. We live in a southern suburb of Denver proper, and we've been happily married for 4.5 years, in which time we've accumulated 6 separate addresses. The most recent address before this one was in Rome, Italy, where Dave worked as a journalist for Catholic News Agency, covering the Vatican beat. Yep, that's a real thing. We're pretty much done moving for now, though, much to the relief of grandparents on both sides. Italy was a blast. It was also supremely lonely/frustrating/confusing/charming/historic/socialist. Choose your own adventure from the archives and see for yourself.

(Oh, and I drink one to four shots of espresso per day, depending upon the night before. Yes, even when I'm nursing/pregnant. Makes 'em smart and tough.)

2. Why are your kids so close in age? Are you done?

Honestly, I was almost 27 when we got married, and Dave was 30. We're just making up for lost time.

In all seriousness though, we're practicing Catholics, and with that we believe in managing our fertility naturally, and without the use of birth control. As even a cursory examination of this blog will tell you though, I know a lot about contraception, and even if I were straight up atheist and living la vida loose and loca, I still wouldn't be popping the Pill. It's not only a moral issue, but a medial issue. And an environmental issue.

As for the 3 kids in 4 years? What can I say, we just like 'em. We figure we'll keep going till we get an ugly one. Meanwhile, please be at least a teeny bit classy when you're asking me about my sex life in the Target checkout line. I warn you, my comebacks can be a tad caustic when I let fly the first things that come to mind. 

3. Why blog? And why not monetize it, or at least learn some basic design-y tricks to make it look less like…it does?

I've been blogging since 2006, long back before it was cool. What started out as an outlet suggested to me by a college fling (who, incidentally, was a huge fan of this site called "Et Tu, Jen?") ended up having greater longevity than the relationship. We ended, but the virtual ranting didn't. And so 8 years and one name change later, here I be. Speaking of Jen, she claims the title of her forthcoming book was inspired by the headlining quote on my old blog, which is, admittedly, a good one

I haven't monetized it because honestly, it seems like a hassle. And because I have a full-time job already. (More on that later.) I write because it makes me feel alive and because it's how I process the world. Whenever I get emails asking about sponsored posts or guest posts I turn them down, not because I'm not flattered, but because that's not why I'm doing this. I don't have a brand to build, and honestly, I swear kind of regularly. And address controversial topics. And frankly, I like having the freedom to to so. (However, if anyone wants to send a killer diaper bag or amazing footwear my way, I will happily write you a love story and host it here.)

4. You have a real job?

I mean, 3 kids in diapers, you do the math…

No but really, I work full time, from home. Hence all the recent chatter about a mother's helper. I'm the content editor for a news aggregator called Heroic Media News. It's a news site that features content on life issues from all over the world. On a given day we cover everything from euthanasia to abortion, and surrogacy to the death penalty. It's fascinating stuff, and what makes Heroic Media News different than just about any other site is that the content is 100% relevant to major bioethical issues of the moment, but is pulled from a wider variety of sources than almost any other news outlet can claim. Secular, religious, state-run media, academic papers, you name it. If it relates to life and family issues and it's breaking news, you'll find something about it on Heroic

Our parent company, Heroic Media, has been in business for the past decade and is focused on offering life-affirming choices and resources to women in crisis pregnancy situations through various media outreaches; billboards, tv commercials, radio spots. You name it, they've done it. And they've done it well.

In addition to curating the content for the website, I also direct the content for a weekly television show by the same name. It's currently slated to begin airing on EWTN in April. The show, (which I will infrequently appear on as a guest anchor) will cover 5 breaking stories from the week. The aim is to "catechize through the news," which sounds odd, but hear me out. Technology and legislation - especially in the reproductive sciences arena - is moving ahead so quickly that there is often little or no thought given to the morality of a new advancement. We're so caught up in the "can we?" that very often nobody stops to ask the "should we?" What we're trying to do with Heroic is help people to reason through and to understand the moral and social ramifications of issues like abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and end of life care. You'd be surprised how few people have ever heard a homily on IVF, or who have ever discussed palliative care versus extraordinary measures with their own families. We want people to have these conversations. They're important. Maybe even the most important. 

So Heroic Media News. Read it. Bookmark it. Visit it every day. And feel very free to send news tips my way any time!

5. Did you study journalism? Or English? 

Yes. And no. I mean I was a journalism major for a semester, I think. But I was also a history major, an English major, a psychology major, an earth sciences major, and I ended up turning my tassel for a degree in the now-defunct school of mental health and human services. (Hail, Steubenville, made up majors.) 

So no, I didn't actually graduate with an official mandate to write, but writing has always been my thing. My first ever real published article appeared in Our Sunday Visitor way back in 2007, and the publishing bug bit me hard. Real hard. To date I've published more than 50 pieces for various publications both in print and around the web, and there's more fun coming this spring.

6. So, a book?

Honestly I'd love to write a book. (And no, no deals currently in the making. Not any solo projects, at least.) I think I'd write about contraception, and about how very wrong our culture has got things in that department. Or maybe about parenting and motherhood. (This would largely be a blooper reel, as I'm sure is self evident.) Or perhaps a memoir of our 9 months in Italy. At any rate, one day…

7. Do the things you write about really happen to you? Surely you're using hyperbole.

With very few exceptions, the shit that gets laid down on this page is real. I don't know if there is something about my manner or person that invites utter weirdness from strangers, or if perhaps I am just more attuned to finding and then recounting the humor in daily encounters, but let me assure you, I really do discuss teenage promiscuity with strange men at the Grease Monkey, and I've been known to encounter all kinds of … kinds at the big red bullseye. Plus, my kids are really weird themselves, and are thus an endless source of material. Just this morning I was trolling the Drudge Report with JP on my lap when he excitedly shouted "there's daddy right there! there he is!" while pointing at my laptop. The image he was so jazzed over was of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, so I'll leave that to your imaginations as to who my baby daddy more closely resembles…

And with that cliffhanger, I'll bid you a lovely evening, and repeat my gratitude for your time and interest. Truly, it's an honor to have so many new readers. I hope you'll take off your coat and stay a while.


  1. I love this! I obviously haven't been reading you long enough, because I didn't know most of this. I'll have to hop over and check out Heroic Media News. I was just hearing yesterday on NPR about the new "advancement" that would (might?) allow for three biological parents for a child -- the father, the "mother" providing nuclear (I might have that wrong) DNA, and another woman providing mitochondrial DNA. Scary stuff. I'm assuming it's already on your radar, but thought I'd toss it out there just in case.

  2. And to think, I knew you back when you were just the lady whose baby was Pope Benedict's farewell kiss.

  3. Ha! Loved this.

    but one request -- could you take off the decipherthiscodeinordertoleaveacomment trap? It makes iPhone comment leaving very difficult. But either way, it's your blog. :)

    1. done and done - I didn't even realize it was on there! Thanks Martha :)

  4. I've been reading you for a long time, Jenny (before you were cool!) and I didn't know about your job. I mean, I knew you had a job but I didn't know you officially worked full time from home or all the good things you did. How exciting.

  5. so, i saw chiao. and i was like, 'crap. jenny's giving up bloggin for lent'. glad you're not.
    in other news. i think not trying to make all the money off your blog is nice. i wouldn't fault you for making all the money off your blog. but i like the authenticity of not feeling like a customer.
    that being said, i'd still read you tomorrow if you decided to make all the money.
    that is all.

  6. Ha! Do you know how I met you? Grace included both of us on an email when we were close to due with some baby or other. You told a story about a horrifying experience getting a pedicure, where the woman working on your feet was blithely talking about the culture of death in China. Your voice in that email was so funny, so simultaneously appalled by the story while maintaining a sense of humor, that I knew I would follow your blog to the ends of the earth.

    Not sure why I just told that story publicly. Not awkward at all.

  7. I'm one of the newbies and so appreciated this post. Makes me reeeaal happy I'll get to enjoy posts from you in the future :)

  8. I just love hopping over here to read your wittiness - it knows no bounds! And I first started coming over through Colleen. She's cool like that.

  9. Thanks for sharing! I've been reading since the famous Pope Benedict kiss (do you have the photo framed somewhere in your house?) and love, love, love your honesty and adventures in motherhood. I didn't know about your job, but thank you for your pro-life witness…as an adoptive mama to three precious little cuties (also 3 under 4!), I thank you for your good work and will definitely check out Heroic News! Blessings to you and your adorable family.

  10. Jenny it's always nice to read your writing, and especially nice to hear you write about yourself. I can't wait to buy your book one day. And Texas this summer. I'm there.

  11. Thanks for the info. I am a new reader, and, so, it was nice to hear more about you. My youngest son studied in Rome for a quarter this past fall and lived within a 10 minute walk from the Vatican. What a beautiful and historic city.

    Blessings to you and your family.

  12. Oh my goodness, I keep marking your posts as "unread" in my bloglovin feed so I can come back and comment. I've been reading your blog since you started your overseas adventure and you always make me smile. or laugh. or reflect. Which are all awesome.
    Thanks for sharing about your job- what an awesome site! And how amazing you are to juggle all that. I also hail from Steubenville, but I think I missed you there- graduated with a nursing degree in 2006. Or maybe not- I was shy ;)
    Thank you for sharing your journey- your kids are all so adorable and you tell it like it really is, which is a great inspiration to me in living out my days with littles too. <3 Look forward to meeting you at Edel!


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