Friday, March 30, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday - Lottery edition - March 30, 2012



Well, I did it. I bought a lottery ticket today. Yes, just one. With odds of one in 176 million, I won't win, but I thought it'd be fun to dream about what I would do with 347 million dollars.

--- 1 ---

The first thing I'd do would be to hire a tax attorney and a financial advisor to get the best advice on investing and tax liability when I start spending my money. Actually, we'd probably hire Collin's brother as our financial advisor. Not sure who we'd use as our tax attorney.

--- 2 ---

Once all the tax/financial mumbo jumbo was taken care of, I'd calculate how much we could invest to enable us to comfortably live off the interest for the rest of our lives, and invest accordingly. We'd also invest enough to pay for the kids' college educations.

--- 3 ---

At that point, I'd pay off all of our debt -- mortgage, car payments, student loans, everything. Then, I'd pay off all the debts of immediate family members (with the exception of credit card debt -- they're on their own for that). I'd also buy my father and my brother houses, since both are renting right now.

--- 4 ---

Then the charitable giving would begin! I'd give enough money to my parish so that they could finish furnishing the interior -- pews with kneelers (we don't have them yet), statues, stained glass, the works. I'd also give my church money enough to enlarge the parking lot and build a new social hall/office, as well as a Catholic school (once that school was built and staffed, I'd send my kids to it).

--- 5 ---

Several of my favorite non-profits would get an extremely large donation -- Reece's Rainbow, Maggie's Place, 1st Way CPC, Immaculate Heart Radio, Catholic Answers, St. Vincent de Paul, and others.

--- 6 ---

Travel would also be on the list! First and foremost would be a cruise to Italy. My dream is to someday see the Vatican. We'd also go to Disney World, and all around the country visiting friends and family.

--- 7 ---

Finally, if we had any money left over (hah!), I'd pay to have the entire interior of my house painted a color other than peach (almost every room in our house is peach, and I loathe it). And I'd install a jacuzzi tub; maybe two (one outdoors and and one indoors).

Oh, I'd probably go back to school, just for fun, and get a master's in Catholic theology (or a similar degree program).

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

3½ Time-Outs Tuesday - March 27, 2012



1


I had a thought while listening to an episode of Catholic Answers Live the other day. The host and guest were discussing the "wrongful birth" court case that was recently decided. I think that the doctors' attorneys would have won the case if they had asked the parents if they had ever given their daughter a birthday party. If their answer was yes, then it raises the question of why they bothered to celebrate what they believed was a wrongful birth? And if the answer was no, I think that would show the court and the world just what kind of parents they were to that poor child. In my opinion, the best decision in this situation would have been to terminate the parental rights of the couple who were so burdened by the gift of their daughter, and give her to a new family who would love and cherish her for the miracle she is.


2


My friends Luisa, Rachel, Michelle and I went out for a bite to eat after the Phoenix Catholic Women's Conference (which was AWESOME!). As we were waiting outside for our table, a lady sitting next to us made a comment about how cute Gabriel was, how she was seeing babies everywhere and wished she could have another one, but she'd "gotten fixed." I was in a pretty cheeky mood, still flying on the great spiritual high from the conference, so I commented, "Were you broken?" Her reply was, "No, but my husband thought I was." She suddenly looked so sad. I felt terrible for her. How is that any kind of marriage if your husband thinks you're broken and encourages you to mutilate your internal organs so he'd be happy? And really, there but for the grace of God go I. I'm sure if we'd have stayed Lutheran, Collin would have eventually gotten a vasectomy or I'd have gotten sterilized.


3


So, Babette Josephs apparently believes that I am a "man with breasts." I have to say, this is the first time I've ever been tempted to send a picture of my genitalia to someone. Dear Ms. Josephs, is it so hard to realize that women are in favor of ultrasound bills because they love women and want them to have fully informed consent before making an irrevocable life decision? Perhaps you should actually listen to the testimony of women in favor of these bills -- women who did NOT have informed consent and suffered because of it.

Also, I was very offended by Ms. Joseph's comment! President Obama, I expect your phone call by the end of the day.



To whom it may concern: I do not have "the perfect family" just because I happen to have an even number of boy children versus girl children. I have the perfect family because we live, laugh, love, and grow in holiness together -- and that is something that will not change no matter how many children we have.

Visit Acts of the Apostasy for more Time-Out Tuesday posts!

Friday, March 23, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday - March 23, 2012



--- 1 ---

No quick takes last week because Gabriel and I flew to North Dakota to visit my family! Specifically, we went to my stepgrandma Betty's 80th birthday party. We had so much fun, and it was great to be home! You can take the girl out of North Dakota, but you can't take North Dakota out of the girl. Here are some highlights from the trip.

--- 2 ---

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

The birthday girl with her step-great-grandson!

--- 3 ---

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The whole family.

--- 4 ---

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My BIL Drew and my niece Adlee Beth (it was my first time meeting Adlee - what a doll!)


Adlee and my nephew Carter swinging together! Aren't they cute?? They're less than a week apart in age (April 2011 was a very good year for babies, it seems).

--- 5 ---

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Grandma Jan [my mom] got to spend some good quality time with her 11th grandchild.

--- 6 ---

We also got to visit my dad, my grandma Violet, and few other members of that side of the family, plus Collin's brother and his family.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

This is my first cousin Jessica, who's a little older than Elanor, with Gabriel. Like Elanor, she loves babies!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

My nephew Connor and his mom Ramona (who is due with Connor's little baby brother or sister this fall!). Connor reminds me so much of Violet, and he was so good with Gabriel.

--- 7 ---

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Finally got me some Potato Oles after craving them for two years. Mmmmmm.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Took this on my way to Mass in Michigan, ND. My initial thought was, "I should hope so!"

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

While I was gone, Collin took the kids up to Prescott so they could see snow. He almost got caught in a blizzard on his way back. Meanwhile, up in North Dakota, it was an amazing 75 degrees! Talk about a role reversal!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Free

Yesterday, Mitt Romney fielded a question from a college student who said that what would really make her happy was free birth control:

Campaigning at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. yesterday, Mitt Romney quickly criticized a student for wanting "free stuff" from the government.

"You're all for like 'yay freedom and all this stuff and yay pursuit of happiness,'" said the college-aged girl. "You know what would make me happy? Free birth control."

Romney had a decent response, which was to say, basically, "If you want free stuff, vote for Obama."

But I have a different response.

You know what would make me happy, College Girl?

Free daycare. My husband and I currently pay $350/week for daycare. (That's actually an amazing deal, considering we have 3 kids in full-time care and one child in before/after school care. That amount also doesn't include the extra money we'll spend this summer when my oldest is on summer break and will require full-time care.)

Let me do the math for you. That's approximately $18,000 per year. It's approximately half of my take-home pay. It's worth it for me to work because the other half of my salary pays for our mortgage and a few other bills, including my student loans. Still, it's a big chunk out of our budget and I would love free daycare so I'd have more disposable income to spend on other things, like clothes and groceries. Maybe I could even buy my kids brand-new clothes at Target or Wal-Mart instead of Goodwill and Saver's. Maybe I could buy cuts of meat that aren't heavily discounted because they're about to expire.

By your logic, since having my daycare paid for would make me truly happy, then I should get it. Are you willing to shell out $18,000 a year so I can be happy, too?

No? I didn't think so. And I have news for you - you can be happy! You already have a free form of birth control at your disposal. It's called abstinence, and it's 100% effective. In the unlikely event that you are married and have a serious reason for postponing pregnancy, you can pay $10 for a thermometer and practice the sympto-thermal method of NFP. (And you know what? I'd be more than happy to pay for your thermometer. I'll even loan you my copy of The Art of Natural Family Planning. Just drop me an e-mail with your address.)

In the unlikely event that you have a medical condition for which contraception might alleviate your symptoms, it's better to get treatment for your actual condition in order to improve your overall health (birth control pills will do nothing, or may even exacerbate, your medical condition; see testimony to that effect here). However, if you do need hormonal therapy for medical reasons, I'm willing to bet your insurance already covers it, just as Sandra Fluke's does.

My husband and I don't expect others to pay for our daycare. We chose to have sex, and we've accepted the responsibility that goes along with that -- which, in this case, means caring for the children that have resulted from our actions. Not only do I not expect you to pay for my daycare, I don't expect you to pay for my fertility monitor and supplies that we intend to use to avoid pregnancy in the immediate future. See, I'm a responsible adult and I pay for my own supplies when I choose to engage in sexual activity. I don't expect my sex life to be subsidized by you, by the government, or by anyone except me and my husband.

I don't expect you to pay for my daycare, so don't expect me (or anyone else!) to pay for your birth control.

Disclaimer: I have no problems supporting programs that offer daycare subsidies to single parents or couples in need. I've been helped by such programs in the past. However, for some parents (single or otherwise), daycare truly is a necessity. This is not the case with birth control. I'm responding more to the thought process that "X makes me happy, so therefore X should be free" as opposed to a specific need for daycare -- which is often a necessity -- and a specific need for contraception, which is never a necessity and seldom a medical need.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Are You in the Market for a Headcovering?

Please do NOT purchase from the seller "Garlands of Grace." The owner made some very anti-Catholic comments on her Facebook page this morning.

It's On My To-Do List has the full scoop, including a list of Catholic businesses who sell headcoverings to shop at in lieu of Garlands of Grace.

I bought a snood from Cammie at A Snood for All Seasons and I love it, so I can give my enthusiastic recommendation for her shop!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm Going to Be on The Catholic Channel!

I received an e-mail this morning from a radio producer, asking if I'd be a guest on Gus Lloyd's "Seize the Day" morning show on The Catholic Channel (SiriusXM 129) tomorrow (to talk about my conversion story)!  I don't have a SiriusXM subscription but I'm a huge fangirl nonetheless, thanks to The Catholics Next Door podcast. Squeeeeee!!!

I accepted the invitation, and should be on around 9am Eastern time (6am AZ time). (I totally got the time wrong earlier and said 12pm AZ time, oops!)

I'm excited and nervous at the same time! St. Clare of Assisi, pray for me!

Edit - several people have asked if there's a way to listen online. Since SiriusXM is a paid service, you need to have an account to listen online. They do offer a free 30-day trial membership, but it requires a credit card to sign up (and I assume will incur an automatic charge if you don't remember to cancel). It may be available after the fact in YouTube or podcast format; I will ask if it's possible to get/share a copy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Squishy!

"I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy." - Dory, Finding Nemo

Picture taken by Elanor.

Friday, March 9, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday - March 9, 2012



--- 1 ---

We had a good time celebrating William & Violet's birthdays at the zoo last Sunday. Some pictures:


Grandma Violet touched a stingray! I posted this picture to FB, and my brother commented, "Grandma won't even go outside if she hears their [sic] is a frog outside but she will touch a stingray. Haha."


Violet hanging out in the stroller.


We rented a wheelchair for Grandma Violet since it was a lot of walking, and these two monkeys tried to shanghai it whenever they could.


He was having fun!

--- 2 ---

Grandma flew back to ND yesterday morning. We miss her. :( I did get a nice picture of her and the kids the night before she left, though:


--- 3 ---

Anyone else a fan of The Hunger Games trilogy? I've wanted to write a review for ages but haven't found the time - but Fr. John Hollowell has kindly put my thoughts into words! See God in the Hunger Games (no spoilers, but he does talk about some plot points in vague terms).

--- 4 ---

Speaking of The Hunger Games, does anyone want to go to see the movie with me? Collin hasn't read the books so he won't want to go. The movie comes out March 23, and Gabe and I will be in Scottsdale already on March 24 for the Phoenix Catholic Women's Conference, so it wouldn't be too hard to meet up with anyone that evening to go to a showing.

--- 5 ---

A friend of mine on FB said the following, describing her sons' bedroom: "It's like the boy section of toys r us puked all over the land of Mordor." LOL!!! I know the feeling!

--- 6 ---

I get to see Kara this weekend! Yay! Say a prayer for her and her husband on Sunday!

--- 7 ---


Elanor's school sent this home earlier this week - someone took it at the Daddy-Daughter Dance they went to a few weeks ago. So precious!!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, March 2, 2012

7 Nostalgic Quick Takes Friday - March 2, 2012



--- 1 ---

William turned 4 on February 25. I had intended to do a blog post, but I forgot (I did get one up on Facebook, at least). I still so clearly remember the day he was born, and it seems that 4 years have gone by in a heartbeat.

Then:


Now:


Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
The gun - a "Boba Fett Blaster" - was a gift from his aunt and uncle. The first night he got it, he slept with it.


--- 2 ---

We had planned to go to the zoo last Sunday to celebrate his day, but Gabriel came down with a nasty cold so we rescheduled for this Sunday instead. That almost works better, as it coincides with Violet's 2nd birthday on Monday, so we'll celebrate them together.

William chose pizza for supper, and I had him pick out cake mix + frosting for birthday cupcakes. He went back and forth but eventually decided on pineapple cupcakes with coconut-pecan frosting. They ended up being pretty good, despite my misgivings. 

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
The Angry Birds were my idea (and he was thrilled!). I couldn't find any cupcake decorations I liked at Wal-Mart, so I bought a $1 package of stickers and made my own with toothpicks.

--- 3 ---

As previously mentioned, Violet turns 2 on Monday. Today was my due date with her; two years ago I was working from home and absolutely miserable, desperately praying that she'd choose to arrive sooner rather than later. She didn't accommodate me but came on her own time, and it was perfect.

Then:


Now:

Sadly, this is the most recent picture I have of her. I will have to remedy that this weekend!

--- 4 ---

Gabriel is growing in leaps and bounds as well. I took this picture a few nights ago:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

to contrast with this one, taken the day we brought him home from the hospital:



Time is just flying by. He's gotten to that really fun stage of infancy where he smiles and coos and giggles, and I love it, but at the same time I miss my tiny newborn.


--- 5 ---

And Elanor - oh, Elanor - she's becoming a young lady right before my eyes. Collin took her to her school's "Daddy Daughter Dance" a few weeks ago, and she was so pleased and proud to go to a dance with Daddy.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

A few nights ago, while nursing the baby, I heard them all out of their beds and rolled my eyes, sure they were up to some shenanigans. When I was able to detach Gabriel, I went out to see what was going on, and found all 3 in the bathroom. Elanor explained that Violet had messed her diaper, and she changed it for her because they knew I was busy. And she had! Last night, she wanted to change Gabriel's diaper, so I let her and she did a pretty good job. I'm so proud of her!

She also said last night, "Mom, when I grow up can I have a baby?" Before I could answer, she added, "But I need to get married to a nice boy first." That's my girl!

--- 6 ---

Gabriel and I are flying to North Dakota to visit my family on March 15. My step-grandmother is having an 80th birthday party, and all of my siblings and step-siblings and various other relatives (on my mom's side, at least) will be gathered in one place, so I figured it was a good time to go. I'll get to meet my niece and step-nephew for the first time, and they'll all get to meet Gabriel. I haven't seen most of them since March 2010, so I'm looking forward to it!

--- 7 ---

My friend Beth's son Leo is having cleft palate surgery on March 12, and she's e-mailed a novena prayer for that intention, to begin on March 4 and end the day of the surgery. I'm pleased to share it here. Pass it along if you are so inclined, that we may all be united in prayer for Leo and his family!

Novena Prayer for Leo's Surgery

Dear Heavenly Father,

We commend Baby Leo into your care during his cleft repair surgery.  His body is your creation, O Lord.  Please guide the surgeon's hand and be with all who care for him.  Pour your strength and grace into the hearts of his parents and all his family and grant them your peace.

In your loving mercy, minimize Leo's pain, shorten his recovery, and heal him quickly so that his life may continue to give glory to your Holy Name.

We consecrate Leo to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to St. Joseph.

Amen.

St. Madeleine, Blessed John Paul, and St. Leo the Great, please pray and intercede for him.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!