7 Quick Takes Friday - August 31, 2012

Tomorrow, Collin and I celebrate eleven years of wedded bliss! In honor of our anniversary, I'm treating y'all to quick takes of some of my favorite wedding memories. Aren't you lucky?

--- 1 ---

These were my "wedding tennies." I flatly refused to wear heels; I wanted to be comfortable on my wedding day and not spend the entirety of my dance with aching feet. My mother bought a $10 pair of white canvas shoes at Wal-Mart and decorated them with beading, lace applique, and tulle. They were so comfortable!

--- 2 ---

These were the centerpieces on our reception tables. My mother borrowed the rose bowls and mirror tiles from a friend of hers whose daughter had recently married, so they didn't cost us a thing. She decorated them with tulle and I bought white floating candles shaped like roses to put in them. We had little wedding bell favors on all the tables as well.

--- 3 ---

My wedding dress! It was $250, and I paid $50 dollars for alterations. It was actually my second choice because I couldn't afford my first choice, but I was still pretty happy with it (and even happier with the price!).

--- 4 ---

The first song we danced to as man and wife was Elvis' "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You," but this is what I consider to be our real wedding song:

The deejays played Don McLean's "American Pie," but Collin and I and all of our friends spontaneously started singing the Weird Al lyrics instead -- and each one of us knew every single word by heart and were singing in unison, complete with dramatic gestures. It was quite a performance.

My, my this here Anakin guy
Maybe Vader some day later, now he's just a small fry
And he left his home and kissed his mommy goodbye
Saying, "Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi."

--- 5 ---

Our cake was actually made of styrofoam. Only the top was real cake. See, we had a dessert reception with cheesecakes and a topping bar, so wedding cake would have been rather redundant, and I'm not a big fan of buttercream cake frosting. We did save the top to eat on our first anniversary, but it was disgusting. :P

The topper is a blown glass blue rose. I couldn't find a topper I really liked anywhere, and then I ended up getting the rose as a shower gift and thought it was perfect.

--- 6 ---

These glasses were my favorite wedding gift, given to us by my best friend and college roommate, Rose. They're called "Arthur and Guinevere" goblets. A funny story about these - Rose had purchased and shipped the glasses to us weeks in advance so we could use them at the wedding reception. I unpacked them immediately after they arrived, and it's a good thing I did, as the company had accidentally sent us two Guinevere goblets! I called the shop and explained that our wedding was not, in fact, a same-sex union, so I'd need an Arthur to replace one of the Guineveres. :) They were aghast at the mistake and sent us an Arthur right away.

--- 7 ---

This is a big group shot with Collin's entire family (siblings, parents, and maternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins). For whatever reason, we hadn't had time or hadn't been able to take a picture with them before the ceremony, so we did it after -- and it ended up being one of my favorite group shots of the whole day! Collin's grandparents used it for their Christmas card that year.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes Friday - August 24, 2012

--- 1 ---

My car hates me this week. On Wednesday, it wouldn't start. The battery was completely dead. (And no, we hadn't left the lights on or anything... it just picked that day to die.) So, we had to have it towed to the Nissan dealership to get a new battery installed.

This morning, I was backing out of the driveway and realized that something felt odd. I stopped the car, got out, and saw that the rear driver's side tire -- the same one that went out on the interstate a few weeks ago and had to be replaced -- was completely flat. I ended up having to take our minivan to work today (Collin walked the kids to daycare, and then he put the spare tire on and drove our car to the local Firestone). Turns out the tire had a screw in it.

What a pain.

--- 2 ---

William was sick for a full week. He started vomiting last Thursday, and yesterday was the first day since that time that he didn't throw up at any point during the day or night. Collin took him to the doctor earlier this week and was told it was a virus and we just had to let it run its course. Hopefully, it has...

--- 3 ---

I realize that The Hunger Games just came out on DVD (we bought it via iTunes the same day it came out), but really... are Hunger Games cakes/cupcakes really appropriate?

Collin saw this one at Wal-Mart.

I saw these at Fry's.

Quoth my husband: "May the odds be ever in your flavor!"

--- 4 ---

Muffin Pan Pizza has been a HUGE hit in our home. Elanor asks me to make it almost every night! (I don't, but that doesn't stop her from asking...) I found a pizza dough recipe that uses quick-rise yeast, so it's actually something I can whip up at night after I get home from work. (I usually have some dough left over and use it to make breadsticks. Yum!)

--- 5 ---

My silly monsters.

--- 6 ---

I ordered the above from Rae's Gifts on Etsy (Rhiannon is giving 20% of her August sales profit to Reece's Rainbow!) and I absolutely LOVE it. Do you want one, too? See below....

--- 7 ---

Rhiannon has donated one of her gorgeous Family Name Prints to Andrew's Facebook Auction! Go bid now, and take a look at what else there is to offer!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes Friday - August 17, 2012

--- 1 ---

Please pray for the family of Peter Benedict. He was born yesterday at 5:27pm EST and passed into the arms of Jesus a few hours later at 9:05pm. This was not unexpected as Peter had previously been diagnosed with anencephaly, but his family is grieving nonetheless. I know Peter's mommy from an online FB group, and she is such an amazing woman.

--- 2 ---

Back in May I posted about the song Child of My Heart by Sarah Hart and how strongly it resonated with me. I can't find the lyrics online anywhere so I took a few minutes to transcribe them.  

Child of My Heart 
by Sarah Hart 

This world was not for you to see 
My arms were not to hold you close to me 
But still I know you are child of my heart 

I weep for all we will not share 
for sweet memories that won't be there 
but even through this dark, child of my heart 

 I see you with the angels 
safe inside the arms of God 
I hear you rejoicing in heaven's love 
In Heaven's love 

Who on earth could fill this empty space 
for one's life can never be replaced 
and you are numbered like the stars 
child of my heart 

And I see you with the angels 
safe inside the arms of God 
And I hear you rejoicing in Heaven's love 
In Heaven's love 

I can't say how much you are missed 
Every day I imagine your sweet kiss 
But someday even this shall pass 
You will run into my arms at last 
I will know just who you are 
Child of my heart 

 Child of my heart

The last paragraph always makes me cry.
--- 3 ---

Today is the last day to enter the Catholic Sistas giveaway! Check it out!

--- 4 ---

Daisypath Graduation tickers

And not a moment too soon. We are both so anxious for him to have nights and weekends that aren't wholly dedicated to homework.

--- 5 ---

Speaking of my husband, he briefly stopped by a casino last night (long story). The first thing he did was put $10 into a Ghostbusters-themed slot machine. He hit a jackpot and got $80! Then he, being the intelligent man that he is, cashed out and left.

--- 6 ---

With another weekend comes another attempt to conquer the laundry pile. I can never get caught up -- mainly because I have no one to help field the kids while I try to get work accomplished (see #4). Have I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to having my husband back?

--- 7 ---

Ivan's story breaks my heart. He is running out of time! Why can't he get the care he needs?! Sigh. Poor little guy - I wish I could fly over and bring him back here.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

A Question for Harry Reid

There is one entity in the United States, other than Romney himself, that possesses full, complete, uncensored copies of Romeny's tax returns.

The IRS.

Given this, why isn't the IRS going after Romney with charges of tax fraud, tax evasion, etc., if indeed he has paid NO taxes the last 10 years on his considerable income? That's their job.

Why should Harry Reid expect us to take his accusations seriously if the IRS - the government entity responsible for collecting taxes, as well as the interpretation and enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code - doesn't?

If merely looking at Romney's tax forms are enough to convict him of tax fraud in the eyes of the public, surely the IRS should be able to convict him in the eyes of law with documents they already have in their possession, right?


7 Quick Takes Friday - August 10, 2012

--- 1 ---

Elanor had her first day of second grade on Monday. (We had considered holding her back a year, but after a two-hour meeting with her special ed team, we've decided to revamp her IEP and advance her to grade 2.) Here she is just before we left:

And with her matching Hello Kitty fedora:

I can't believe my baby is in second grade!

--- 2 ---

I'm amazed by the technology in her classroom. A few days ago, Elanor drew a picture on one of her room's iPads and then told her teacher about what she drew. Her teacher e-mailed me the picture and a recording of Elanor's story! You can see the picture and listen to her story here. (It won't work if you're on an iPhone, just FYI, because the app requires Flash.)

--- 3 ---

More bragging about my eldest... she drew another family portrait for me the other day, and showed off her math skills, too! 

--- 4 ---

Look what I bought the other day:

Love!!! Thank you, Target!

--- 5 ---
Gabriel, a.k.a. Captain Adorable

Steve, a.k.a. Captain America
Uncanny resemblance, no?

--- 6 ---
I swear, this kid can sleep anywhere.

--- 7 ---
This is what happens when I say, "Kids, let me take a picture of all of you together." Violet refuses to stand anywhere near her siblings, Elanor tries to put the baby in a headlock, and William... is William.

--- BONUS #8 ---

Fantastic news, everyone - gorgeous redheaded Nico HAS A GRANT FUND!!!!!! If you can spare some cash, throw it in the pot - every little bit helps!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Screw You, ACLU

Dear ACLU,

I read your blog post titled History Is On Our Side: Why the Federal Contraception Rule is Constitutional.

As a Catholic, a woman, and an American citizen, I was grossly offended by your assertions about my faith, my life, and my ability to participate in American society.

You assert the following: Access to contraception is crucial for women’s equal participation in society. 

False. I have not used contraception since 2003 and I participate fully and equally in society. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in technical communication, and I work full-time in my field (and have done so since 2003). I also have four children, ranging in age from seven years to eight months. I vote in every election, primaries included, and stay informed regarding political events. 

Yet you claim that it is impossible for me to participate equally in society unless I use contraception -- moreover, that it is impossible for me to participate equally in society unless my Church pays for contraception! I can assure you that I have survived and flourished in society without anyone purchasing contraception on my behalf. When I was a poor college student and a non-Catholic, I managed to obtain my own contraception, quite easily, and without forcing someone else to violate their conscience to provide it for me.

You assert the following: Controlling whether and when to have children has had a direct effect on women’s ability to make their own paths in terms of their schooling, careers, their families.  

Absolutely, and there just happens to be an excellent way for a woman to control her childbearing -- it's called controlling when and with whom she chooses to engage in sexual intercourse, since sexual intercourse is the biological act intended to create children. 

If she chooses to engage in that act, she should accept the responsibilities inherent in that choice.
My husband and I have chosen to use Natural Family Planning to both achieve and avoid pregnancy during our marriage. We don't ask anyone to pay for our lifestyle, just like we don't ask anyone to pay for our daycare or the other expenses that come with having children. We've accepted responsibility for our choices, and we especially don't ask anyone to violate their consciences so that we can shirk our responsibility for the choices we make.

You assert the following: The contraception rule is also essential to eliminate the gender disparities in health costs: child-bearing women pay 68 percent more for out-of-pocket costs than men, in large part because of reproductive health needs. The contraception rule is therefore essential to gender equality on many levels.

In other words, the Catholic Church, affiliated organizations, and Catholic business owners must be forced to violate their beliefs and their consciences so that men don't have to take equal responsibility for the choice to engage in sexual intercourse, and you call that "gender equality." How is that remotely logical?

Finally, you give a laundry list of cases where the court ruled against religious freedom, and all of your examples cited discrimination based on gender or race. You end your list by saying the following: Fortunately, in all of these cases, the court rejected the claim that religious beliefs can trump anti-discrimination laws.

You have failed to clue into the fact that discrimination based on race or sex is unjust because it is based upon one's inherent state of being. Discrimination in the context of recreational birth control is entirely just, because it's discriminating based on a desire to engage in a voluntary behavior, not on a state of being. The Catholic Church refuses to pay for contraception for everyone -- man, woman, child, gay, straight, black, white, etc., and She has every right to do so. Free exercise of religion -- which includes not subsidizing sinful behavior -- is a guaranteed right in our Constitution. Free birth control is not.

Moreover, there is a large, gaping hole in your argument -- the refusal of the Church to subsidize contraception does not inhibit access to contraception. Condoms are available at the dollar store. Inexpensive contraception can be purchased at Target or WalMart for $4/pack. Drugstores all across the country carry contraception available for purchase. Abstinence and NFP are free or very low cost. The county health department and other organizations -- one of which the government keeps throwing money at for this express purpose -- reportedly provide free or inexpensive birth control.

No one is forced to work for a Catholic employer in the event that s/he is unwilling to take responsibility for his/her own sex life and wants their employer to subsidize it for them. And yet you claim I can't equally participate in society unless I not only use contraception, but force religious institutions to pay for it as well?

I am a Catholic woman who assents 100% to the teachings of the Catholic Church. I am an American woman and a working professional with a college degree. I am a married woman who has been pregnant six times and has four beautiful children here on earth. I am a woman who has taken control of her own fertility, and who takes responsibility for her own sexual choices.

Finally, I am a woman who will fight the HHS mandate with every breath of my body and every fiber of my being because I loathe and resent your pandering condescension. You claim to stand for civil liberties, but you degrade and insult every single woman in this country -- especially those who take responsibility for their own sexual choices -- when you insist that we can't possibly participate equally in this society unless we become exactly like men. That was not the goal of feminism, and never has been.

I can participate equally in society while retaining both my femininity and my fertility, and I can do it without forcing anyone to violate their religious beliefs. You would do women a much greater service if you helped them realize their potential to do likewise instead of telling them that they can't possibly participate equally in society unless they pretend to be men.

Sincerely yours,

JoAnna Wahlund

P.S. I had a different word in mind for the title of this blog post, but restrained myself. You're welcome.

Welcome to The Catholic Working Mother

Click here to order The Catholic Working Mom’s Guide to Life , released May 28, 2019 by Our Sunday Visitor Press. My blog,  The Catholic ...