Recently in Parenting and Family Life Category

The gift of emotion....

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Dr Greg Popcak:

"’s important to remember that your emotions are God’s gift to you, and not the people around you."

Happy Mother's Day!

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And a special hug to the mommies out there who lost little ones to miscarriage or infant death this past year -- and to those who would like to be mommies.

May your day be filled with flowers, chocolate, and love. Even if you have to discreetly purchase your own chocolate, as I did.

Good Morning World!

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It snowed. Again. This is the third time in recent weeks that I *thought* the piles of snow were dissipating, spring would be on it's way soon, snow days would be a thiong of the past. Yes, you know you have had it with winter when you've had it with snow days. The first ones are a much needed respite from the normal routine. After a while, all they are is a diversion of responsibilities that cannot be put off. Children, education, chores only work well with routines and too many breaks in the routine just set you back to the beginning. (Wow, I can't believe I'm saying this.)

It's nearly impossible to home school the little ones when they are so excited their big brother is home; and when he's home, the last thing on his mind is school work.

Last week I started taking classes to become a CNA. My husband juggled a lot around to work third shift so I can take the classes during the day, and the home schooling will not be interrupted.I was so burnt out. I was stressed. I woke up every morning at 4 dreading the everyday battle telling the boys to get out their school books and punishing them everyday when they refused. All day, every day. The kids and my husband combo seems to have breathed new life into homeschooling. I come home from class to hear "we did biology, handwriting, math..."


For a brief moment, gone are my daily fears of my eleven-year old spending his life on my sofa eating Hot Pockets and playing video games.

I am enjoying the class as well. My original plan (and still is) was to use this as a stepping stone to becoming an RN. Once I had employment at my local hospital and get into the education reimbursement program. Full time hospital employees who go to nursing school have their education costs covered as long as they promise to work for that establishment. Actually, I'm in a similar CNA program now. My schooling is covered if I work in one of the eight area hospitals or long-term-care homes in the area.

What I did not expect was how excited I would be to become a CNA. Everyday I learn more about the need for compassionate care for the elderly (and the lack of). I can make a small difference in the world.

The cons? My husband's hours are cut drastically while I'm doing this. If we can hang in there, it will all be so much better later, but in the mean time, I am praying for God to give us a helping hand. I know He will because each day I get another small sign this is what I should be doing.

Is This Woman STILL Talking???

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What a relic. Erica Jong on motherhood:

Mother and father are presumed to be able to do this alone—without the village it takes to raise any child. Add to this the dictates of "green" parenting—homemade baby food, cloth diapers, a cocoon of clockless, unscheduled time—and you have our new ideal. Anything less is bad for baby. Parents be damned...

Attachment parenting, especially when combined with environmental correctness, has encouraged female victimization. Women feel not only that they must be ever-present for their children but also that they must breast-feed, make their own baby food and eschew disposable diapers. It's a prison for mothers, and it represents as much of a backlash against women's freedom as the right-to-life movement.

*Blink Blink*

Cooperative child-rearing is obviously convenient, but some anthropologists believe that it also serves another more important function: Multiple caregivers enhance the cognitive skills of babies and young children. Any family in which there are parents, grandparents, nannies and other concerned adults understands how readily children adapt to different caregivers.

My own observations as being a child of baby boomers, married to a child of baby boomers, and most of my friends are children of baby boomers: they make the suckiest grandparents I've ever seen. This attitude of parents needing help is completely lost on them. Many of us were practically raised exclusively by our own grandparents while they pursued their lives, and in turn can't be bothered with their grandchildren because they "did their time". I understand 55 no longer represents grey hair in buns, granny boots, and baking cookies with love for the grandchildren, but is the cookie baking part all that bad?

I am a breastfeeding, cloth diapering, homemade-baby-food making, co-sleeping, home schooling, "green" Mama. I really don't take any issue with parents who makes different choices. The more kids I have, the more I understand there is no one-size-fits-all parenting style for every individual or every child for that matter. Or every stage of life. I truthfully don't bat an eye at mothers who choose differently and say they are doing the best they can with what they have. Amen, Sistah because in the end what the kids need most is love, attention, moral structure and health. We can't give that if we don't got it. Erica Jong's tirade isn't that. It's simply angry, vicious anti-life diatribe disguised as a calling for parents to take care of themselves...or something. I don't even know.

Whatever. As Jeff Culbreath would say, she's "jumped the shark".

Venerable John Paul II on marital infidelity:

"The strength of such a (mature) love emerges most clearly when the beloved stumbles, when his or her weaknesses or sins come into the open. One who truly loves does not then withdraw love, but loves all the more, loves in full consciousness of the other's shortcomings and faults, without in the least approving of them. For the person as such never loses his/her essential value. The emotion which attaches to the value of the person is loyal," Love and Responsibility, n. 135.

I just stumbled on this site. Lots of wisdom here.

Times Are Changing

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The other day I accompanied my five youngest children and three of the the neighborhood children along with their mother to the park. During a break in the shade, the 11-year-old boy looked at my left hand and asked "you're married?!?" I stared at him blankly for a second because I never had a child ask me this with such interest. Ever. He was genuinely intrigued by my answer. (Of course my immediate second thought was to answer "yeeeaaah...I guess you can say the grace of God..." But that's another story altogether. Or is it?)

Cisco chimed in "you ask me that everyday! I keep telling you my Dad's not my step-dad, my mom's not my step-mom!"
"I know, I just wasn't sure. Everybody-most people-have a stepdad or a stepmom."
Then Matthew went on to ask what a stepparent was and how he would be afraid of having a stepparent.

Interestingly enough, I thought his mother was married because she referred to her live-in boyfriend as her "husband". I have been seeing this more and more-"this is my husband. This is my wife,". No, you're not. No ring, no license, no same last names, kids perhaps, but nothing holding you down whether you want to leave or go.

Facebook is an interesting place because you really see how people's lives are unfolding through their status'. I know I'm no exception. I currently can see an old friend who has children with their live-in significant other and the relationship is not doing well. Come the end of the school year, that person is leaving. Lots of people are replying that it's not good to stay for the sake of the children. I believe there is truth to this. A relationship that can't be saved won't get better because there are children. But while I think children are not necessarily an incentive to stay in a lousy relationship, they are a good enough reason to assess what the problem is and turn a lousy relationship into a good one, if it's at all possible. Marriage is a good reason to do this, period. Do the same rules hold true when there is no marriage? I want to say "no." If the original idea when a couple first got together, when love was easy before life made it a bit more challenging, was never to commit, why would that change for the better when the rose colored glasses are removed?

Of course this brings me back to the very logical reason why abstaining until marriage just makes plain old sense. Why have children, be tied to people that it may turn out you don't even like? Marriage certainly is not a sudden sure all; it's hard. I know there are little things each day that when you are so wrapped up in this other person's life, it's so easy to feel slighted by common, everyday mistakes. What happens when you take commitment out of that equation? If I were cooking dinner, doing laundry, taking care of children each day for someone who won't commit, I'm sure by month six, I'd be throwing the spaghetti at his head instead of placing it lovingly in front of him each night. By month six and 2 days, each and every moment would be a chorus of "why won't you marry me? Why won't you marry me? Why won't you marry me?" "Oh, you like those white socks? Imagine if you married me you'll have that everyday for the rest of your life!" By month 7, all respect I may have had for this man will be lost, and the disdain I have will clearly show. By month 8, I'll be so resentful that I'm being used, I'll be off doing "my own thing".

I know, I tend to lean towards being a shrew, so maybe I'm not the best example. However, I'm not that extraordinary in many ways, and I'm sure many relationships have followed this same path.

When I was trying to decide this morning between going back to bed after I got the teenager up for her Regents and seeing the husband off to work, I procrastinated by reading article on the lovely Helen Mirren.

In it she talks about feminism and sexuality (as if there's another subject talented actresses talk about these days).

I was almost pleasantly surprised when I read this:

On women's sexuality in the seventies and eighties: "The Playboy Mansion, coke, and the rise of all tha--[Robert] Guccione and [Hugh] Hefner always pushed it as liberation, but it didn't seem like that to me. That was women obeying the sexualized form created by men--though maybe we always do that, because we want to be attractive. But I was kind of a trailblazer because I demanded to do it my own way. I'd say, 'I'm not having it put on me by someone else.'

Yes, exactly. She gets it, at least some of it. Hugh Hefner isn't what God intended for women, but just what Hugh Hefner intended for women. And it's distorted. But then she added:

I didn't want to be the sort of puritanical good girl with a little white collar who says, 'Don't shag until you get married.' "

Oh well. Missed the point. People are so worried about seeming "religious", "puritanical", "judgmental" that everyone is losing sight of "practical". Being stuck with for life, trying to raise healthy children with someone you don't like because you didn't care enough to get to know them before you started reproducing just makes no darn sense. Maybe for the Helen Mirren's of the world who have access to more material goods that can help, but not for the average working person who needs the teamwork and extra hands of two parents.

So Harry Potter, again.

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Priests will soon be 'inundated' with exorcism requests, asserts author

“Soft forms of occultism are like Wicca and New Age,” he explained, adding that “Harry Potter contributes to that with over 400 million books being sold.” The popular book series, he claimed, has helped educate “younger generations in the language and the symbolism of the occult.”

Although many young people have treated the books merely as “entertainment,” he observed, “it actually leads them more deeply into occult practices.

I have a lot of respect for Fr. Euteneuer, so I don't want to undermine anything he has to say, but I can honestly say that I have sadly, known many people who have opened the door free and clear for Satan in their lives, and I can't think of one who did so via Harry Potter. Sometimes I wonder if people get so caught up in issues like Harry Potter and dress wearing because they are easy roads to take in our spiritual lives. Or maybe I'm not that wary of Harry Potter because even though I enjoyed it, I thought it very silly and the people I associate with find it equally silly.

HT: Patrick Madrid via Facebook

A short article by Deborah Molinari on the special opportunities that mothers enjoy to assist in the renewal of the liturgy:

Rooting the family in the liturgical year helps to produce lives which are God-centred and continues the formation and sanctification of the Catholic family that flows from the sacred liturgy. This in turn can then be more readily carried into one's adult life, whether as a priest, religious or as a layman, to be fostered yet further in ourselves and in others. Evidently, everyone has an important part to play in the new liturgical movement, but as it relates to the "domestic church," to bringing the liturgical life into the home, it seems to be the case that in most homes it is the mother who plans and organizes the special celebrations, foods, crafts, songs, stories and prayers, along with appropriate catechesis, for her family in accordance with the Church's liturgical calendar. This is why the Catholic mother's role can be understood as so important and vital for the new liturgical movement, for it is in the home that the formative seeds of the liturgical life can be planted and nurtured.

cross-posted to that other place I blog

HT: a Facebook friend

Very Sweet

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I Tried to Come Up With Some Thoughts

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on this article, but I am drawing a blank. The only thought that comes to mind is how backwards we are as a culture. Just throw the concept of race out already. Done. Finish. As long as you have race, race is going to be an issue.

MIchael Pollan on Julie, Julia, and the Food Network:

How is it that we are so eager to watch other people browning beef cubes on screen but so much less eager to brown them ourselves? For the rise of Julia Child as a figure of cultural consequence — along with Alice Waters and Mario Batali and Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse and whoever is crowned the next Food Network star — has, paradoxically, coincided with the rise of fast food, home-meal replacements and the decline and fall of everyday home cooking.

That decline has several causes: women working outside the home; food companies persuading Americans to let them do the cooking; and advances in technology that made it easier for them to do so. Cooking is no longer obligatory, and for many people, women especially, that has been a blessing. But perhaps a mixed blessing, to judge by the culture’s continuing, if not deepening, fascination with the subject. It has been easier for us to give up cooking than it has been to give up talking about it — and watching it.

Making Babies: A Very Different Look at Natural Family Planning

But another reason for NFP's allegedly high success rate is that couples who use it are prepared to welcome children and so don't blame NFP for unexpected pregnancies. Four of my own five children came the NFP way -- that is, totally unexpectedly -- and that's a good thing, because without them bouncing in as surprises, excuses to delay (the sort of excuses one might hear from a recruit in parachute training) might have gone on for a very long time. As it is, in a mere matter of ten years, my wife and I assembled a complete basketball team. And if menopause doesn't strike my wife soon, who knows what sort of team we might assemble.
Rather than bite one's nails to the quick at the prospect of baby number ten -- which, if one marries in one's early 20s and practices NFP, is a definite possibility -- we should encourage the attitude of the more the merrier, which is a far more attractive case to make than all the goo-goo language about how NFP helps couples "communicate" and about the joy of charting temperatures and discharges and plotting one's conjugal acts as a captain might chart a course for his ship.

The importance of marriage

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Cate Flanagan in TIME Magazine:

There is no other single force causing as much measurable hardship and human misery in this country as the collapse of marriage. It hurts children, it reduces mothers' financial security, and it has landed with particular devastation on those who can bear it least: the nation's underclass.

Two lovely links within that article:

Married 50 Years: TIME Photogallery

Snapshots from a Very Special Wedding

Update on the colic thing

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A few months ago, I was whining about the stress of taking care of family and a colicy newborn. Gabriel is nearly five months old now. He is very happy, he smiles, giggles, and talks all the time, and he loves his siblings. He is thriving well and is pleasantly plump. Note the little sausage legs:

Family Take 2

But he still screams when I try to put him down. Many people told me to ask about acid reflux, and I did. The doctor told me it was gas and to use Mylicon drops. Having gone through colic before, I figured we could last until three months.

Three months have come and gone (he is nearly five moths old now) and while Gabriel no longer has that newborn shell-shockedness about his personality ("Why is it bright? Why am I cold? Why is it noisy? Mommy, where are you? Who are you, you're not my mommy! Where am I?"), a distinct pattern has emerged. While Gabriel loves to nurse, he doesn't like to eat that much. He is always looking to latch on, but when he does, he arches his back and squirms and usually spits up a good portion of what he takes in. And nights, oh man. The past three weeks he wakes up every hour or so and I have to sit in the rocking chair and hold him up on my shoulder. He instantly falls into a deep sleep then, but when hel ies back down, he starts to squirm. For me, dozing in a rocking chair night after night is not very restful. He spends a great deal of time during the day in the sling and/or walking back and forth, back and forth. (If this is disconnected it's because I had to stop about a dozen times to walk him).

On Monday, I called the pediatrician first thing in the morning for an appointment about this acid reflux thing because I.Had.IT. He hasn't outgrown it, and perhaps poor munchkin (er, Mommy) would be much happier sleeping the night with a prescription of some sort of Baby Zantac. For the check-up, Gabriel smiled and cooed and charmed the socks off the nurse and the doctor. The nurse said "this is the most pleasant baby I have ever seen" and the doctor who had been trying to get me to supplement with formula was happy to see how well he is thriving (he didn't even ask me to supplement once) and repeatedly remarked how well he's doing. This baby can't possibly have any issues! When I asked about acid reflux and relayed the symptoms, he said it was gas because he is thriving and developing so well. He told me to use Mylicon. He must have stock in the company.

So here we are. Fussy baby, laundry, dinner. Kids who pretend they didn't know have to do daily chores. I have three quilts I would love to finish...Again, one thing having seven kids has taught me is this too will pass...

Di Fattura Caslinga: Pansy's Etsy Shop
The Sleepy Mommy Shoppe: Stuff we Like
(Disclaimer: We aren't being compensated to like this stuff.
Any loose change in referral fees goes to the Feed Pansy's Ravenous Teens Fund.)

Pansy and Peony: The Two Sleepy Mommies