7 Quick Takes Friday - February 24, 2012

My Week In Pictures (+ 1 Video)

- 1 -

We hosted a Dungeons & Dragons game last weekend that went later than intended. Someone was pretty tuckered out afterwards.
- 2 -

Violet has been potty-training herself. I know, it's amazing. After two tough cookies I'm about due for an easy one! She's very enthusiastic about ripping off her diaper and sitting on the potty (so much so that I finally bought her pull-ups), and she wants to wear underwear so bad that she stole her brother's Spiderman underpants (and put them on over her tights)! She's getting her own set of big-girl underwear for her birthday on March 5.

- 3 -

Love that smile.
- 4 -

Elanor and her best friend, her cousin Candyce. They're only 4 months apart and they're constantly asking to see each other or have a sleepover.
- 5 -
One of my co-workers is getting married tomorrow, and we threw her a bridal shower at the office. This was the cake. It was supposed to say "Best Wishes." We spent the entire party telling her that she could have a wish, but only ONE. (And yes, I did submit this to CakeWrecks.com)!
- 6 -

I made blueberry muffins from scratch last weekend and they turned out wonderfully. Yum! Here's the recipe I used.
- 7 -

Here's a short video I took of my grandma Violet making Gabriel smile. So cute! Please ignore the obnoxious Diego DVD in the background.

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Today's Psalm

Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

7 Quick Takes Friday - February 17, 2012

--- 1 ---

Oy, what a week. I'm thankful for the 3-day weekend at hand, mostly so I can get more sleep. 5am comes awfully early when I'm woken up by a baby 2-3 times per night, no matter what time I go to bed.

--- 2 ---

I'm loving having my grandma here. She helps me amuse the kids at night when I'm trying to get dinner ready, and she's even been gracious enough to do laundry and some cleaning while I'm at work during the day. It's like having a live-in mother's helper. I'm going to miss her when she goes back home in March!!

Gabriel has really taken to her as well. All she has to do is pick him up and he's all smiles and cooing! It's so adorable. I'm going to try get a video this weekend.

--- 3 ---

Just a reminder that the Phoenix 40 Days for Life Campaign starts up again on February 22! Sadly, my work schedule is not as flexible this time around so I won't be able to participate as much as I'd like, if at all. :(

--- 4 ---

Speaking of things I wish I could do but can't due to my work schedule... the Institute of Catholic Theology has opened 4th Quarter Registration! Those classes look terrific and I wish I could take one, but logistically it's impossible, especially with a baby who is exclusively breastfeeding. One of the downsides to living in Surprise. Oh well... maybe someday!

--- 5 ---

The debate surrounding the HHS Mandate is really irritating me. I think Glenn Reynolds sums up my frustration well:

But note how the narrative in the press has shifted. The Obama Administration says that churches who oppose contraception still have to pay for it. And then, when people object, suddenly the talk shifts from who pays for contraception to whether someone wants to ban it.

It’s as if we passed a law requiring mosques to sell bacon and then, when people objected, responded by saying “What’s wrong with bacon? You’re trying to ban bacon!!!!”

--- 6 ---

Of additional frustration are the misconceptions regarding the new ultrasound law in Texas. A FB friend of mine posted a news story on her wall about how it was legalized rape (ugh, I know) and we've been going back and forth. I had a long comment carefully explaining that the law does not force a woman to have an ultrasound, because they're done anyway as standard medical procedure to date the pregnancy. Of course, a woman can refuse an ultrasound but it's really not safe to do an abortion without an ultrasound, given that the wrong gestational age or pregnancy complications (an ectopic, for example) could cause problems if not detected prior to the procedure. I also pointed out that women were free to refuse to see the ultrasound, if that was their choice.

The latest reply on the thread this morning? A friend of hers says, "Why do you think it's fair to FORCE a woman to look at an ultrasound? Do you think people should be forced to look at X-rays before having broken bones repaired?"

Seriously, people, READ THE THREAD before commenting, and use some freaking logic! First of all, genetically unique, developing human being =/= broken bone. Secondly, if you break your leg, the doctor WILL SHOW YOU the X-ray before fixing it -- not as a condition to fixing it, but as a part of informed consent, so you know exactly what's wrong and what needs to happen to fix it. I'm sure you could refuse to see the X-ray if you wanted to, but why wouldn't you want to see exactly what the problem was? And why would the ultrasound information make any difference to a woman if unborn children are merely clumps of cells or masses of tissue, as PP et al like to claim?

--- 7 ---

One of my friend's friends from the convo above went off on a tangent about how the new personhood laws are trying to say eggs were people. *sigh* I explained the difference between an ovum and a zygote, and she actually admitted that she'd hadn't taken the time to actually inspect the merit of the claims of the opposition (that is, she didn't bother to look at their arguments, because if she had she would have realized that no one is trying to claim that an ovum is a person). However, then she went on a tangent about how saying that human being were, well, human beings would then mean any woman who had a miscarriage or stillbirth could be thrown in jail. *headdesk*

I pointed out that prior to Roe v. Wade, in states where abortion was, in fact, illegal, women weren't prosecuted for having a miscarriage or a stillbirth. My friend replied that I was wrong because her great-grandmother in 1923 was offered an abortion after a car accident. Uh, yeah, I wasn't arguing that abortion never happened when it was illegal. I was arguing that women weren't prosecuted for having miscarriages when abortion was illegal.

(Incidentally, my friend's great-grandmother declined the abortion, and gave birth to my friend's grandmother. Which is fabulous, and you'd think my friend would be happy, right? Well, she's happy her great-grandmother "had the choice." ??? Sorry, don't get the logic... you're happy your grandmother was almost killed, which would have negated your existence as well as your children's???)

If you ever hear reports of my untimely death, it's likely that my brain exploded after reading too many of these types of arguments.

On that cheery note, have a great weekend!

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A Valentine's Tale

Or, "The Day I Was One of Those Moms."

In early 2007, Elanor, who had just turned two, was attending a local daycare center in Fargo, ND.

A few days before that Valentine's Day, the lady who ran the center told me that they were going to have a Valentine's Day party. All the kids were going to make valentines for each other, and they wanted each child to bring in a valentine box.

I inwardly winced; I knew I could wrestle all weekend with a glue gun but still produce something that would look like a head-on collision between Sesame Street and a nightmare. I really didn't want to make my toddler blush with shame.

I had a sudden inspiration and knew exactly what to do: I called my mother. All the Martha Stewart genes in the family had passed me by, but my mother had them in spades (my sister got them too; I somehow managed to cop the bibliophile genes instead).

I explained what I needed and asked her if she'd be willing to whip something up for Elanor.

"A shoebox with some paper doilies or construction-paper hearts will be fine," I told her. "Nothing too elaborate."

She enthusiastically agreed (in hindsight, that should have been my first inkling of what was to come), and promised she'd have it done by the following weekend.

Sure enough, she called me the Friday before Valentine's Day to tell me the box was done. We made arrangements to meet and pick it up.

I had asked for a shoebox with some artfully arranged stickers, stamps, or maybe some curling ribbon.

What I got was this:

A pink princess castle with five turrets and a drawbridge.

"Mom," I said. "I asked for a shoebox."

"I know," she said apologetically. "But I found this really cute idea online, and... well, I got a little carried away."

"She worked on it for hours," my stepfather offered. "It turned out really great, don't you think?"

On Valentine's Day, I walked into the daycare with that box, and every single woman in the room turned and stared at me -- or rather, at what I was carrying.

"This is Elanor's valentine box," I said sheepishly. "Her grandmother made it."

As the other mothers exchanged glances, I knew I had become, for once in my life, one of those moms. (It's never happened since.)

I Am the 98 Percent

Doesn't have much to do with the post, but hey, it's funny.

One of the Obama administration's justifications for the HHS' contraception mandate is that “Contraception is used by most women: According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute [affiliated with Planned Parenthood - hardly an unbiased source!] most women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used contraception.”

First off, this argument is completely irrelevant, as the U.S. Bishops point out:

If a survey found that 98% of people had lied, cheated on their taxes, or had sex outside of marriage, would the government claim it can force everyone to do so?

Fr. Andrew over at Shameless Popery also discusses why this justification is both specious and dangerous:

By appealing to the behavior (not belief) of a particular religious group, the Administration (and others) are trying to indict the validity of an actual well-formed Catholic conscience. The claim might as well be: No one really holds that religious view so why should we respect it? This is how a government begins to form a litmus test for who's conscientious objection is worth respecting. We must all be extra careful to not muddy the "conscience" pool further.

However, going back to Guttmacher's "research," their number is quite skewed and dishonest.

You know how I know this?

It's because I am the 98%.

Note that the claim is that "most women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used contraception" (emphasis mine).

Those two words are the key to the deception. The statistic is not "98% of Catholic women are in favor of contraception." Nor is it "98% of Catholic women are currently using contraception to prevent pregnancy." It is "98% of Catholic women have used contraception."

That is ME. I used hormonal contraception from approximately June 2001 to February 2003. At the time, I was a practicing Lutheran, not a Catholic. In May 2003, my husband and I converted to Catholicism, and I had already thrown my pills away and started using NFP by that point.

But if a researcher came up to me on the street or called me on the phone and asked, first, "Are you Catholic?" and second, "Have you ever, at any point in your life, used contraception?" my answer to both would be, "Yes."

But is that an accurate reflection of my current views regarding contraception? Does my answer mean that I demand free and available contraception for my especial use? No.

That statistic also does not reflect any of the following facts:

(a) many Catholic women who have previously used contraception at some point in their lives no longer do so (or wish to do so);
(b) many women who self-identify as "Catholic" are not practicing Catholics;
(c) many women who self-identify as "Catholic" and who may attend Mass occasionally or even regularly do not believe the tenets of their own faith (i.e., they are Catholic for reasons of family pressure or family unity instead of a conviction of faith, and thus don't adhere to the tenets of Catholicism).

The CDC, when conducting research into how many Americans smoke tobacco, did not ask "Do you now or have you ever in your life smoked" without any regard as to if that person was currently smoking or had stopped smoking a decade ago. They had very strict criteria for who was considered a current smoker: "In 2010, an estimated 19.3% (45.3 million) of U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers; of these, 78.2% (35.4 million) smoked every day, and 21.8% (9.9 million) smoked some days."

The CDC does not consider someone who smoked for a period of two years nearly a decade ago to be a "current smoker," so why does the Obama administration consider me, someone who used contraception for two years nearly a decade ago, to be part of the 98% of Catholic women who are allegedly clamoring for this mandate? Or, in other words, why does the Obama administration think that every single Catholic woman who has ever used contraception is in favor of forcing Catholic institutions to pay for free contraception for everyone else?

It'd be like expecting members of Alcoholics Anonymous to be in favor of forcing Baptist churches to provide free liquor for everyone! After all, those members have had a drink -- and even drank consistently -- at some point in their lives. In that case, they MUST be in favor of free booze for everyone, right?

A better survey for women would ask the following questions:

(a) Do you fully believe in and practice all of the tenets of the Catholic Church?
(b) If the answer to (a) is yes, do you currently use a contraceptive method of birth control?
(c) If the answer to (b) is yes, why did you lie in (a)?

In the fictional survey above, both (a) and (b) can't be "yes" answers, folks. If a practicing Catholic woman fully believes in and practices all of the tenets of the Catholic Church, then she doesn't use contraception for the purpose of preventing pregnancy.

If she does use contraception and it's not for therapeutic reasons (i.e., it's not used primarily to treat a medical condition with the unintended side effect of being contraceptive, allowed under the principle of double effect), then she's not a practicing Catholic; she's a dissenting Catholic, or a non-practicing Catholic. She is a Catholic butt.

How does it make sense for the government to make laws that bind a religion to provide something -- free of charge, no less -- that only dissenters or non-practitioners of that religion demand? Not only is it nonsensical, it's unconstitutional.

Susan G. Komen Has Caved to Planned Parenthood's Bullying

I was going to do Quick Takes, and then I saw the news that Susan G. Komen has caved to Planned Parenthood's bullying. I had just signed the "I stand with Susan G. Komen" petition, too. At least I hadn't yet sent in a donation (had intended to do that tonight).

Instead, I'll send that donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and continue my boycott of Susan G. Komen and pink products.

It's a shame. I very much admired SGK's assertion that they wanted to give money to clinics that actually did mammograms as opposed to only performing manual breast exams and mammogram referrals. I also thought it was nice that they were no longer funding an organization whose products -- abortion and hormonal contraception -- increase one's risk of breast cancer. But in this case it seems as though politics won out over common sense.

Edit - Also, I'm following Kara's lead and abstaining from Facebook today, in prayer for our bishops and for those deceived and intimidated by the abortion lobby. Jesus, for the sake of Your sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

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