Thursday, November 17, 2011

More Scare Tactics Regarding Co-Sleeping

So about a year ago, it was these terrible PSA billboards to scare mothers out of sleeping with their babies in Milwaukee:

There's a new ad out on billboards in the same area now, and it's done with just about as poor taste as the previous one:

Really, really morbid, and really inappropriate. The first one in particular is just sick... but they've only toned it down slightly with the current ads. The reason babies in certain areas of Milwaukee die while sleeping with parents is not because of the co-sleeping... it is because their parents are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, they smoke, they were sleeping on a couch, or they were co-sleeping while formula-feeding, meaning they'd lost the hormonal level of awareness of their babies' presence while sleeping which breastfeeding gives.

It maddens me that people may see these ads and, not knowing any better, be worried about my baby... "Oh, that Erin who sleeps with her baby, she's taking horrible risks!" I, and all other co-sleeping moms I know, do not have any of these risk factors, and we bedshare intentionally, in an effort to actually improve our babies' chances of survival, as well as for bonding and biological well-being (oh, and because we're lazy... snicker).

This article is well worth the read. It refutes the ad nicely. And, based on the numbers of SIDS deaths in cribs that is quoted in the article, should there be ads depicting cribs in separate bedrooms as gas chambers or something? Certainly there'd be outrage over that!

For info on sleeping with your baby - a biological norm - I recommend these books:

And for a humorous, sarcastic take on the butcher knife ad, see this.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Feast of St. Martin of Tours

We did a little something for the feast of St. Martin last Friday... in addition to reading about him and singing the St. Martin song, we made these delicious horseshoe cookies just like last year. No lantern-making this year, although we did pull out last year's lanterns and light them on the dinner table, along with a St. Martin candle. Here's Caroline running the food processor to grind up the almonds...

...and measuring out one cup. Have I mentioned how much I love this food processor? Whole almonds to ground almonds in under 30 seconds!

Caroline shaped them into horseshoes... St. Martin was a soldier, and in the most famous story about him, he was riding his horse when he met a poor beggar suffering from the cold.

After the cookies had baked, we rolled them in powdered sugar. So buttery, so yummy... delicious with a cup of tea or coffee!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pretty Baby Pics

A bunch of Lucy photos for those who like to ooh and aah over baby pictures... this one is when she was almost six weeks old, wearing a cute little dress and matching sweater that my mom got for her.

Here I am holding Lucy... this was the weekend that the older girls went to spend a few days with Chris's parents. We'd gone out for a dinner date to Mellow Mushroom and then to a talk with dessert and coffee at our church... which is why I'm actually wearing makeup and have my hair done, ha ha. That's only been happening on days when I leave the house, and the makeup's been forgotten a few times. I've got to get a haircut... if I don't have a chance to do my hair, it is out of control. The lady who cut it before Lucy was born did not listen to what I said about layers not working with my hair!

Lucy at six weeks old

Wow, makeup in this photo too! Must have been a Sunday and I'd been to church. I love how babies look wearing gowns... like little legless things, hee hee.

Lucy in the sling, probably looking at a ceiling fan

Lucy with her adoring fans (not ceiling fans this time)

so sweet...

Tim, is this an early Bob face, possibly??

Lucy is eight weeks old here. In trying to decide who she resembles, I look at these and think she looks like me in my baby pictures, and a bit like my brother Mike's baby pictures...

Leaning forward on her own here... she has a strong neck. Tummy time - who needs it? ;)

looking a lot like me and Mike's baby pictures here

eight weeks old, showing off her cloth diaper. my only baby still able to fit in newborn-sized diaper covers at close to two months old.

how to manage taking your older children outside on a chilly, windy day while keeping the baby warm (until she resists being in the sling while awake and wants to nurse, which was managed in the sling while she was still wearing her coat...) - and the mug is how I stay warm, by drinking tea!

Two months old today! Still wondering what color her hair will be... it's not fallen out completely yet like the older girls' hair did when they were babies. Her eyes are still blue but have lightened up... thinking maybe they'll stay that way.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

All Hallows Eve, All Saints, and All Souls!

Saint Clare of Assisi and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

The girls dressed in their saint costumes on All Hallow's Eve (the evening of All Saints Day, or Hallowe'en). They were so excited about their homemade costumes! I was glad, because with a newborn, I didn't have the time to get too elaborate. The only time-intensive part was pinning and hemming their veil/mantle pieces - whatever they're called.

Cecilia chose one of her patron saints, Clare. Here's how we made her costume: First, she wore brown sweatpants underneath. If it had been colder, she would have also worn a long sleeved shirt underneath. For the tunic part, we used one of Daddy's brown t-shirts turned inside-out to hide the logo writing on it. Then we took an extra piece of clothesline rope and tied some knots into it and made a belt - I looked at photos of some Poor Clare sisters and this is how their belts looked. Then we hung a simple wooden bead rosary over her belt. The white part - I believe this piece of the habit is called a guimpe - is just a size 4 turtleneck. A plain white t-shirt works as well and is not so tight. The arms of the turtleneck are just tied around the back of her head. Then I hemmed a black piece of fabric... it was 3/4 of a yard, I think. I safety pinned it to the turtleneck in two places. I also had to pin the back of the brown shirt because the neck was sliding off one of her shoulders.

We made the monstrance very cheaply and easily. See the tutorial for step-by-step instructions. Saint Clare took the Blessed Sacrament up to a window of the convent when the city was being attacked, and the enemy turned and fled when they saw it.

To make Caroline's costume, we began with a hand-me-down dress from our neighbors... it looks to be handmade, and we decided the green velvety material made it look like a dress for royalty. Then I hemmed a white piece of fabric, one yard. It was held in place by the crown, which I cut out of cardstock. Caroline decorated it with craft sequins.

The finishing touch to the costume: a basket with a piece of bread (yes, it's real, from the loaf of Irish brown bread we'd baked earlier!) and some fake roses. Elizabeth of Hungary was taking bread to the poor, of which her husband didn't approve - it was not the kind of hing royalty should have to do, he thought. So when he pulled her veil back (where she was concealing the bread), he only found roses.

On All Saints Day, we did some fun yet schoolish activities... here the girls are playing Saint Memory using the cards that can be downloaded for free here.

Caroline told me everything she could remember about St. Elizabeth of ?Hungary, and then she illustrated her narration. Cecilia did the same. We're going to make a family All Saints book and add their saint each year.

Cecilia illustrates her saint.

Next, we made soul cakes. They were the original "treat" that was given to people coming door-to-door. Catholics in England used to knock at neighbors' doors and ask for a "soul cake" in return for offering prayers for the dead of the family. There are various ideas of how these soul cakes were made... not sure if there was a particular original recipe. I think this really illustrates how Hallowe'en is truly a Christian holiday and doesn't have to be a gory secularized day!

Cecilia wearing a dress-up dress, as usual, while making the soul cakes...

They each got to sample one before leaving for Mass, and then they shared more with friends at the park, where we went for lunch and to play after Mass and before ballet class!

Then we met with the same friends and another homeschooling family from our church on Friday for our first All Saints Party!

Here are the snacks... my friend Beth pulled all of these ideas for food together. Many of the ideas were found here at Catholic Icing... Bugles for St. Gabriel's trumpet, Goldfish crackers for St. Peter (and any of the apostles who were fisherman), pretzel sticks for St. Bernadette's firewood...

Here's the pumpkin cupcakes I made for the cupcake walk... I topped each one with a printed holy card on a toothpick. I got the here from That Resource Site.

The kids played Saint Bingo... here's St. Nicholas!

The older kids helped the younger ones, and everyone got to pick out prizes.

We did the cake walk out on the driveway since the weather was so nice. We played a Catholic children's CD and when the music stopped, I called out a saint. Whoever was on that saint went to choose a cupcake.

She ate more than just the frosting, I promise. ;)

Last, we did St. Isadore the Farmer's Pumpkin Race. The kids rolled pumpkins across the yard as fast as they could!

St. Clare, who looked more like St. Francis at this point since she'd removed her headpiece, ecided kicking the pumpkin was easier than rolling it with her hands... she decided to pick it up and carry it the rest of the way back to the driveway!

Blessed Kateri and Mary, Queen of All Saints, take their turns!

We used holy cards and religious medals for prizes, along with candy corn and candy pumpkins and gummi "snakes." Click the photo to see it larger and read the labels.

Here are all the saints who dressed up! We had fun and hope to make this an annual tradition!