Friday, September 25, 2009

We're Home!

And we miss the mountains already! We're detoxing today and trying to get back in the swing of things, thankful for our time away but happy to be home safe!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blogger Break

I'm off! I'll be back in a week. The blogess and her family are going on a vacation. We're all looking forward to it...I think we all need some time from the hustle and bustle.
Off to Big Sky we go!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Monday was one of the days, a perfect storm of exhaustion, frustration, lack of patience and a full plate of tasks to complete. After breaking our routine and working all weekend, Monday morning was a flurry of laundry catch-up, grocery replenishing and trying to get back into our general daily groove.

It wasn't working. My three year old was not cooperating. Luke, who I admit is quite a good boy and very responsive to our discipline techniques, would have none of my instruction or correction. Whenever he behaves this way I'm always looking for a culprit, "That's not my Luke," I'll say to him, and then rack my brain for a cause to his naughtiness.

I attribute Luke's behavior to these things, and in this order, 1. Lack of attention 2. Lack of Sleep 3. Diet 4. Influence of other children. I'd say he fit the first three requirements quite nicely. To add to the mayhem, I myself was tired and felt that I had significant 'catch-up' to do around the house. A recipe for disaster.

By noon my buttons were pressed, and by six o'clock I truly lost it with him. So what did we do? Took a step back and tried to get back on track. No blogging, no to-do lists, no cartoons, no fruit snacks or boxed macaroni. Now, on Wednesday morning things are going much better. Only time will tell what the day has in store, because now I REALLY have things to do, but I think Mr. Compliant will be a bit more cooperative now that I have my bearings down a little better.

Everyone has bad days, both moms and children. Monday was one of them, Tuesday was one too, but I have hope for today. After all, I'm blogging, right? So something must be going right!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A daddy thing.

I laid the outfits out the night before: two matching shirts, pants, socks, shoes.
I showered that morning, time running out, thankful at my planning ahead.
Baby was sleeping in the crib in his onsie, "Please get the big boy dressed," I called, "Clothes are sitting on the couch."
I hustle into church clothes, clasp my shoes and wake the baby to get dressed.
"We're ready and waiting in the car," he calls, we might just make it on time, I think to myself.
I grab baby's clothes on the couch, change his diaper and start getting him dressed.
Shirt is swimming on him. Tag says 3T.
Run to the car, idling in the garage.
Take the big boy out of the booster, look at his tag; 6 months.
We were late.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What is Love?

If you've ever read A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon VanAuken, even if you don't remember all of the details, you're left with the understanding that Sheldon loved Davy very much. Describing the type of love they shared for each other he gave the example that love was "a glass of water in the night," meaning that he loved her so much that, if she asked, he would lovingly get out of bed in the night to get her a drink of water.

In our house I would like to propose another example.

This morning we were up early, and to our horror the coffee beans were gone! Quickly falling into a state of despair and hysterics I began to question my ability to get through the day, let alone the hour without my whole beans for the grind-n-brew.

But, never fear, Mark is here! Without so much as a beg, Mark pulled on a sweatshirt and left for Wal-Mart to buy a pound of Seattle's best.

Six-thirty in the morning, jammie pants to Wal-Mart to get coffee for Mal. Now, that's love. We drank the whole pot!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Review: Dressing with Dignity

Phew. I had a hay-day with my latest reviewing item from The Catholic Company. A few weeks ago I had an intense discussion with a friend about morality, modesty and standards for Catholic dress. The book Dressing with Dignity came up to review, and not having read it, I was excited to select it as my next item from The Catholic Company.

Dressing with Dignity is a Catholic manifesto stressing the importance and theological basis for Catholic female dress. Although the back of the book quotes, "Given the circulation it deserves, Dressing with Dignity has the potential to rout the fashion world's penchant for giving women little choice of chic yet modest attire...," the target audience for this book is solely orthodox Catholic women. As much as I would love a wider audience to read about modesty and virtue, let's be honest, how many readers are you going to lose when the author explains that you will go to Hell for all eternity if you have a mortal sin from the repercussions from immodest dress?

The big bomb shell of Dressing with Dignity is this: As a female, dressing modestly doesn't mean keeping improper body parts covered and looking generally presentable at all times. On the contrary, the author claims that pants worn by females is immodest. The author spends the entire book defending why skirts and dresses are the only modest clothing in the eyes of the Church.

The book does have great quotes from past Popes, Saints, and philosophers such as Alice von Hildebrand and Padre Pio. The quotes are insightful and definitely are cause for reflection. Anyone today, Catholic or Protestant, Christian, Jew, Atheist, etc. would probably argue that many women dress disrespectfully for themselves and those around them. The author also stresses the importance of femininity; looking and behaving presentable so as to honor yourself and the family. I couldn't agree more and was further convicted that appearances, while not stressing them, do give impressions to others, and that it is important to present yourself in the way you want to perceived.

Where the book starts to get fuzzy for me are the arguments for women to wear skirts or dresses, and that all forms of pants are immodest, or even a skirt with any form of a slit. The author has some compelling testimony from Padre Pio and past Popes, but at the same time, the bottom line is there isn't, nor will there ever be specific standards for dress dictated from the Church.

Also, the author leaves out practical uses for wearing pants, capris or shorts. What about exercise, riding a bike, pulling weeds from the garden? What about moms who are always on the floor playing with children and changing diapers and find that skirts are often too binding or revealing? What about in places like Minnesota where it can get so stinking cold that leaving the house with a skirt would be crazy?

The author has an extensive appendix in the back of the book with resources to find modest dress. As someone who generally wears skirts more frequently than pants, I was very open to exploring the websites the author suggested. The list of websites leaves much to be desired. First, many of the websites are broken, and one address led me to a website with provocatively posed women--not what you want in a modesty book!

The biggest problem I have with this book is the fashion standard the author has, as evidenced by the websites presented in the appendix. The dresses are old-fashioned. I would label many as "Pioneer" or "Prairie" style, and am convinced that I would draw much more unwanted attention wearing such dated clothes than a simple pair of khakis pants.

I don't want to slam this book, because I believe the message is a good one, it's just extreme. I'm finding that the older I get the more comfortable I am in skirts anyway, so maybe someday I'll make the plunge. I think Dressing with Dignity definitely deserves reading and reflection, just with a grain of salt.

To attach, or NOT to attach? That is the question.

I'm going to get in trouble for this. I should just stop typing right now, but I can't help myself. I was reading a facebook note from a new father, gushing about his new baby and his and his wife's parenting style. He felt compelled to share it with the world because of how many people comment on what a content, happy child they have. The whole note focused on Attachment Parenting (AP), coined by Dr. William Sears, a popular pediatrician and author.

AP is a parenting method with the objective of intentional bonding with your baby by using traditional methods, i.e., breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, sole mothering, and responding to your baby's cues for comfort (crying). Sears claims this makes for a happier baby because of the intense mother/baby relationship.

I don't have a problem with AP practices, in fact, I practice every one of them to one extent or another. I think AP intentions are good, especially in this culture where you're made to believe that a baby needs so much STUFF to be a successful infant. Dr. Sears wants mothers to stop putting their little boogers in baby containers and to get them where they really want to be--their arms.

I agree there's most a problem today with high-tech, distant mothers whose bond with their infant is inadequate, and as a result Dr. Sears implemented common-sense, instinctual practices and commercialized them. Here's where I think AP gets it wrong; the claims of a happy-go-lucky bambino as a result of the security he gets from his in-tune, attentive mother.

My argument is this: What if you can never put your baby down? Whether you call it AP or not, the mother of a high needs baby wears her baby not because a study claims it's better, she does it because he screams if she puts him down. She brings the baby to bed with her because, let's face it, if she didn't she would get any sleep. She breastfeeds on demand because he won't take a pacifier and it's the only trick you, the haggard mother, has left to get your baby to stop crying.

The above-described scenario is what Attachment Parenting looks like with the two infants I've cared for, and no one is going around telling me what happy, content doodle-bops I have. So, does that mean I'm practicing AP incorrectly? Does that mean that AP doesn't work? Would a fellow AP mother be convinced I was practicing AP incorrectly because of my less than placid peanut?

Maybe I'm just jealous at the romance and butterflies of a low-maintenance baby. Or, maybe I'm just a little irritated that we live in a day and age where common sense is turning into a scientific parenting method that generations before was called, "Take care of and love your baby."

I don't have any answers, and I'll admit that there are many times that as hard as I try, me, the primary (nearly sole) caretaker of my infants, has no idea what to do to make them happy. A book telling me to hold them more and nurse on demand certainly wouldn't help since that's what I'm already doing!. My conclusion is this: babies are a lot of work, some are A LOT of work, but day by day they become a little less of a baby. I'm convinced that a loving mom and dad will yield a happy CHILD, regardless of the temperament that first year.

So, I'm boycotting the term "Attachment Parenting." I think it sounds silly to say that you "Attachment Parent" anyway. I'm going to coin a new name, it's called, "Yeah I'm a mom."

Take that!


Everything is okay now. After two weeks waiting, my worst fears turned out to be nothing. It was tough experience, and I'm glad it's over. Hopefully now I'll be able to blog with the best of them. Thank you, family and friends, for all of your support and prayers.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009


"Mommy, can you turn me into a dog?"

"Um, no Luke, I can't. Why would you want to be a dog anyway?"

"Because you can tell me to 'roll over, Luke,' and then I'll roll over!"

"You don't have to be a dog for me to tell you that, I can tell right now and you can roll over for me, 'roll over, Luke, roll over.' You can't be a dog, you're already a little boy."

"I don't want to be a little boy. It's too hard."

And at this point I'm not sure that either Luke or a dog would follow my commands, be it 'roll over' or not.