Friday, October 29, 2010

Boo!

Halloween weekend is upon us, and as the kumquat's first one, we are so excited! He's going to be a monkey...and don't worry, pictures will be forthcoming. We are actually going to take him trick or treating because there are people that want to see him dressed up, and because come on, he is totally going to RAKE in the candy! He's adorable!!

[caption id="attachment_349" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="So cute, wait til you see him in his monkey costume!"][/caption]

And being too young to eat it...Daddy and I will be forced to consume it for him...oh darn! ;-)

Today we will be going to see Daddy in his costume for work. They do themes and there is a judging and everything. He is the spoon, and gasp, is running away with a dish today! :-o It is always entertaining to see what these departments come up with. (It's a hospital, so if you go into PMC and are treated by a cow...well, just look out for the moon!)

So, yesterday I was watching a video of one of my new facebook friends, Emily. Her son was in the saint's parade at his school...it was pretty darn cute! :) I was wondering if there are Catholic parents who do this? Do kids like this better than dressing up as the latest hero? Or do you do both?

The kumquat being the first of, hopefully, many fruits on our Spano tree, we are super excited to see these holidays through a young ones eyes. We are going to let them dress up for Halloween, probably keeping it away from the ghoulish. I say probably because if our kids want to dress up like Dracula, we'll probably let them (if they want to dress up like Jacob or that other guy from Twilight...um, not! ;-)). But I know this is a heated topic; there are a lot of Christian parents who are against Halloween. It can become quite a heated debate.

So, I'm curious, what are your thoughts? Do you think kids should be able to dress up for Halloween and go door to door begging for candy? :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Choices, We All Have to Make Them

Our lives are filled with choices; do I wear red today, or blue. Drink water, or a Coke. Eat a greasy burger, or that healthy salad. Some choices are mundane and have little consequences for the world around us, and other choices (get married, or become a nun) affect many people around us. As parents the choices that we make have lasting consequences. Our children will be shaped by these choices, and their kids might be shaped as well. There are a lot of different choices when it comes to parenting; often these do not equate to right and wrong or good and bad. It is not "more" right to have a schedule for naps for your kids than to not. It is simply a choice.

I wonder what gives people the audacity to do this; and I mean when there is not abuse in any form happening. Not like "I can't believe you let your 2 year old play 'cook' with your real stove when you're getting the bath ready for your 1 year old that you plan to leave alone in the bathtub while you read a book". I mean, just different choices that people don't agree with; what gives you the right to question me? (And of course, I mean 'you' in the general sense! ;-))

I've recently taken some hits from family members who, I'm sure, think that Jason and I are extremely selfish parents. We don't like to pass the kumquat around. We try to let the two grandmas and the grandpas (if they want) hold the baby, but honestly, even passing him off to them is hard for us. And, no, it's not because our parents are crazy and we don't trust them. It's because we absolutely adore holding Dominic. He is so sweet and cuddly right now, and we know that this is not going to last, and honestly we want to enjoy that as much as we can. We are new parents so we are also getting the feel for how we want to parent, and so we aren't spending as much time with our families as we did before the kumquat made his arrival.

So, some people in my family decided to tell me that it's unfair that they are not getting to hold Dominic. I'm sorry that their feelings are hurt, and that certainly was never our intention. And it's OK for you to not agree with us about what we're doing, but it isn't OK to be disrespectful and attack what we're doing. If you want to voice your opinions, that's OK, but do not make passive-aggressive comments as you step away. Do not attempt to guilt us into doing things by pointing out that my parents will die. Um, yeah, I know all about that mortality thing. But mostly, please be prepared to hear the truth delivered to you bluntly if you cannot be respectful to our choices.

I've decided that in the future when things come up about what we are or aren't doing with our little kumquat(s), that I'm going to say "thank you for your opinion. Are you excited to see <<insert new exciting movie coming out>>?" And hope that they take the hint!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Endometriosis, or the Wrath of God?!

One of my favorite tweeters, @VitaCatholic, got me talking about endometriosis--or more specifically using the pill to treat the pain associated with it. I mentioned my bout with it, and she thought I should do a post about it, so here I am. :) Thanks, by the way.

So, the title of this post sounds ominous. Bear in mind that I am not normally one of those people that thinks that ALL bad things that happen to someone are a direct punishment from God. I'm not even sure that I totally think that my short, intense bout with endometriosis was, but if not it would be highly coincidental. So, the story.

I am a convert, before I was Catholic I was a Mormon. Before I was Mormon, I was nothing. I mean, if you asked me, I would have probably said I was Christian, but would have meant it in the the generic I-like-to-help-people-I'm-a-good-person-and-I-believe-in-God-and-Jesus sort of way. Becoming Mormon was probably an integral step in my full conversion, as scary as that sounds. Some day I'll have to do a post on my conversion. At any rate, when I was Mormon I met my now husband who has always been a faithful, devout, Catholic. We became pretty good friends and spent a lot of time hanging out. As a "good" Mormon, I tried my best to engage him in debate and convert him. However, he always had much better responses (the Truth will generally help your case considerably ;-)) and often I could not respond to him without checking with my Mormon authorities first. In fact, I was appalled when some Christian church didn't think that we were Christians, I didn't know much about Mormon theology because I hadn't gotten TOO far from the meat and bread part of training.

So, I had been having a lot of doubts, these doubts were gnawing at me. I mentioned to my best friend (my now husband) and we started discussing my leaving the Mormon church. I also started mentioning it to the people I was friends with in the Mormon church. This was because I was a "good" Mormon, I needed to give them the chance to combat it. And they did, sort of, with love. Man, can those Mormons love, in the love your neighbor as yourself sort of way. I had phone calls and visits and people showing such concern for me. And for various reasons, I faltered. I decided that maybe the Mormon church wasn't "right" but at least they were nice, and cared about me so much, so couldn't that be the Holy Spirit?!

And, that's when the cramping started. I had never experienced cramps in my life until this time in my life. And this was a double you over in pain kind of cramps. These cramps, literally, knocked me down when they started. It was at work, and I was in so much pain. To top that off, I started bleeding every 7 days. Heavy, painful period. Lasted only a few days, but when it comes every 7 days, that's a whole lot of bleeding. Couple that with the excruciating pain, and well, it sucked. :-| Bottom line, it was awful.

I went to the local GYN in Lamar, and he put me on the pill. Guess what? Didn't work, I had break through, horrible bleeding. Ridiculous cramping still. He didn't know what else to do besides a hysterectomy which was off the table at this time. I decided to see my old GYN in Greeley, CO who I had always trusted and liked. He did some hormonal testing, everything was normal. He put me on pain killers, because by this point I was unable to go to work for 2 days every 7 days. He also put me on a couple types of estrogen. Our last resort was either putting me into a sort of fake menopause, or laparoscopy to see if it was endometriosis and try to remove what was there. I opted for surgery.

In the meantime, my doubts about the Mormon church were still gnawing at me despite all the love that those Mormons bestowed on me. Then one day at work two ladies I worked with were having a conversation about Heaven. I was not involved, just in the room. One of them asked the other "do you think there will be marriage in Heaven" and the other one said "I don't know, I've never thought about it" and the first said "Well, I don't, Jesus said there won't be, so there can't be". Wait, what?! Stop the train. This is one of the foundational Mormon "truths", that there IS marriage in Heaven, that you can be with your family for eternity. So I joined the conversation. And I researched. And I talked to my friends that were various Christian denominations, and I talked to Jason who was taking a sort of laid back approach to this during this time in the conversion. Everyone agreed. The Mormons were wrong.

I had pretty much made up my mind to leave the Mormon church when I went in for my surgery. I was REALLY nervous. I have always wanted to be a mom, and I was frightened that it wasn't going to be possible. The doctor went in and looked. And guess what? No endometriosis, nothing. There was a small piece of scar tissue on my bowel that he thought might have been causing some pressure, but really nothing that was on the uterus would account for the horrible cramping or incessant bleeding.

I had some cramping for another week or so, but the bleeding had stopped. By the time I had informed all of my Mormon friends I was leaving the church and had started looking seriously at the Catholic faith, the cramping had stopped as well. By the time my next cycle came along, all my Mormon "friends" who were so good at loving me before had stopped that loving. But I'd found a better love. Christ in the Eucharist. Although I could not receive Him yet, I could sit with Him, and visit Him, and pray to Him. And that love far exceeded any love that I had ever known. And I found when my period started, I didn't have any cramping associated with it, just like what it had been my whole life; and the bleeding didn't start again in 7 days.

So, that's my (long, sorry!) story about endometriosis. I don't know for sure if it was the wrath of God, or a warning, or purely coincidental. But I have a feeling that while I'm getting all of this down my guardian angel is chuckling and thinking "boy, it sure did take a lot to get her convinced!" ;-)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Today I'm Thankful For...

...I thought it would be a good idea to put some of my thankful-ness into words. Sometimes it's helpful to see it written down to remember to always be thankful.

1) My Faith. It is wonderful to know that I always have someone to turn to, and I find such comfort in regular prayer. Granted, I'm not always good about my daily prayers, but with help from my awesome husband I make it happen. Which brings me to...

2) My amazing husband. He is my strength and my best friend. I just love being with him, we always have so much fun and really just enjoy being together. This is wonderful for our marriage and our growing family. And of course that reminds me of...

3) Our growing family. We have wanted to be parents for so long and every day, every moment I look at our little kumquat and the family we are growing, I am awed and so thankful.

[caption id="attachment_338" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="At the baby shower that some friends from PMC put on for us!"][/caption]

4) Life. Right now I'm posting this blog from this year's Relay for Life "U" where Jason is learning how to be a better committee member on Lamar's Relay for Life committee (well, I hear he had to teach the teacher something actually! ;-)) But what this is reminding me is that our time here is borrowed and that we need to be thankful for every day...every minute.

This world is not forever, and the next is not promised to us, the things that I have posted about being thankful for today are helping me on my path to holiness. At times my path is bumpy, and there are a lot of curves at times, but I know where it leads, if only I can stay on it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thinking About Thumbsucking

Not ME of course. But babies, well specifically Dominic. He's not a thumb sucker per se, but I've now "caught" him 3 times happily sucking his thumb; and 2 of these times were today! :-o

You see, it seems as though the kumquat can't quite get the hang of the pacifier. If we're holding it in, or are at least there to catch it and shove it back in, he's OK. But, leave him alone for a few seconds, and he really can't handle it. It's out in no time. So, the past couple of days he's really been sucking...like, a serious need to suck. Yesterday I spent about 1/2 hour holding a pacifier in his mouth til he was done. But, today when I came in the room he had decided he couldn't wait for Mama to hold in the pacifier, so he just sucked on his thumb. Note that this seems to content him only about as long as the pacifier does...maybe about 10 minutes both times today.

[caption id="attachment_333" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="It's hard to want to stop it when he's so darn cute!"][/caption]

So, I've heard horror stories about thumb suckers, and we don't really want huge problems with it, but surely there are well adjusted people that were thumbsuckers. So, come on well adjusted people, tell me about it. Please. :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Faith is a Blessing

Before we had the kumquat...actually before I was in my 3rd trimester...Jason and I frequently went to Mass both Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Mostly because we don't get to go Saturday morning since no churches around here offer a daily Mass on Saturday. But, we also really love going. However, during my 3rd trimester, I was so tired, and now we're both so tired still that we rarely do this. Hopefully we'll get back to going regularly to both Daily Mass and both weekend Masses. If the kumquat can make it through 2 Masses in a weekend that is! ;-)

The last two Sundays some little boys that we had never seen sat in front of us. Last weekend we, at first, thought they were alone but later found out their moms were sitting several rows behind us. Don't ask me why they didn't sit with their kids, I have no idea. But, this past Sunday, we figured out it didn't really matter. The kids were pretty obnoxious. Last Sunday I often tapped them on the shoulder and told them when to stand and sit, when to kneel, and shushed them a few times. I must look scary, because they listened. ;-) This past Sunday however, with the moms sitting in our row, the kids were about 8x more obnoxious. These boys are probably right around 7-8, the age of reason. Of the three, only one received Communion, so I'm guessing he was older. One of the boys was continually turning around to his mother (who I guessed doesn't speak English) and would ask her for something and she'd do it, then he'd whine and ask for the opposite. Honestly, I'd have taken the kid out and given him a good talkin' to! It was ridiculous.

The moms, as I said, didn't speak English; they didn't respond to anything as their obnoxious little boys were pointing out, or sing at all. They attempted a couple times to shush their boys, but overall let them be as loud as they wanted. It was extremely hard to concentrate and I was really frustred with the moms.

But then, at the Consecration, as I was praying for this mother and her children, I glanced at my awesome husband. He holds Dominic throughout the entire Mass (unless he is reading that day), feeds him, handles him so that I can fully focus on Mass. When he's older and acts up (which of course won't happen anyway because we obviously will have amazingly well behaved kids <<insert eye roll here>>), Jason will either handle the discipline or share it with me at least. And I realized how blessed I was. These moms were there alone for whatever reason, but between the two of them there were 5 kids, and I'm sure that is hard. I'm sure it's stressful to know your kids are obnoxious. And I'm so blessed to have my husband with me sharing not only in child care, but sharing my Faith.

I'm also really blessed to have Faith. It's something I take for granted sometimes; thinking that everyone MUST know the Truth, and forgetting that God does not bless us equally with Faith. These moms were not paying attention to Mass, maybe it was that they don't speak the language, but if they know their religion, they KNOW what is happening and they should have a desire to show their kids how to behave. But, maybe they aren't there yet. Maybe their Faith is JUST strong enough to get them to show up and know they want their kids in CCD.

Maybe what they need is someone to show them some kindness, and someone to pray for them. So, this week I'm trying to add more prayers for the unconverted. This includes those that are far from the Truth, and those that are trying their best to live the Faith. We are all in a constant state of conversion.