Monday, January 31, 2011

petit appetit

I make no secret of my bambini's selective food inclinations.  They get it from their mother. 

The creations by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers featuring food carved into all kinds of things like animals, cars, trucks, and houses grace the pages of several stories for children (and foodies), including simple books like Baby Food and Dog Food, short stories in verse like Fast Food, and longer imaginative stories like One Lonely Seahorse, Gus and Button, and Dr. Pompo's Nose.  In this day and age where some children don't know what a tomato is, the "Play with Your Food" phenomenon this duo has begun is an able -- and fun -- antidote to that ignorance.  How Are You Peeling? is a valuable tool for helping children develop emotional intelligence -- knowledge of both their own emotions and the vital skill of empathy for others.  Simple text labels the incredible range of expressions on the fruits and vegetables.  Food for Thought is another great teaching tool for basic concepts. 

The ageless struggle between parents and children to get children to eat what's given to them is given a new spin in Sugar Would Not Eat It, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Giselle Potter.  Leo adopts a stray kitten on the day after his birthday.  He names her Sugar and decides she must be hungry, so he offers her the last slice of his birthday cake.  But Sugar would not eat it, in spite of the threats, guilt trips, nagging, and bellowing he directs her way as he's heard his friends and neighbors describe of their own similar experiences.  In the end, the last slice of cake *does* get eaten -- by whom you can probably guess.

Giselle Potter has illustrated (and written, in some cases) a few other books we've liked, including Eugene Field's poem Wynken, Blynken, and Nod; Three Cheers for Catherine The Great; The Little Piano Girl: The Story of Mary Lou Williams, Jazz Legend; and Chloe's Birthday... And Me.

Cautious as we are in our food choices, there are some tasty books out there to satisfy even our pickiest palates ...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

a different kind of marathon

Some people train for and run marathons.*  I gave birth (the fourth time around) drug-free.

It was a decision I came to after much prayer, preparation, and experience with medicated births.  I am, in a way, reticent to bring it up, but compelled to do so today, the raven-haired lass's half birthday, both to preserve my memory of it and to serve as an encouragement to other mothers.

By divulging this, I'm not looking for adulation or trying to make any mother who gave birth medicated feel like she worked any less than I did to bring her child(ren) into the world.  I am not.  It's not meant to be a publicity maneuver.   I've thought about posting this story on each month-iversary since the raven-haired lass was born, but I'm still not sure I have the chutzpah to do it.   But here goes...

When I learned our fourth child was on the way, I thought long and hard about his or her birth and how I wanted it to transpire.  The fourth time around, I did *not* want an epidural with its attendant medical interventions and after-effects.  That was the jumping-off point for me reading The Birth Book by Dr. William Sears and his wife Martha, a nurse, and Dr. Robert Bradley's Husband-Coached Childbirth (he being the namesake of the Bradley Birth method), as well as reading accounts online of and conversing in real life with women who'd given birth drug-free.  I thought through the entire labor process, reconciling myself with the idea of "pain with a purpose," an idea that the pain of childbirth has a very real and noble purpose, *and* that it does have an end.   

I still hadn't decided to commit to a drug-free childbirth, however, because I just wasn't convinced I could handle it.  Of course I knew women had done so for the entire course of history, but I wasn't confident I was up to the mental and physical challenge.

As the day of my due date approached and then passed, the prospect of induction became more and more probable.  I knew I would likely not be up to the challenge of an induced labor without pain relief (as I reasoned here), so I'd already arranged to have an epidural if I needed it but could forego it as well at my discretion.

The night before I was scheduled to be induced, the contractions I'd been having for over a week finally organized into a consistent, progressive fashion.  By the time my beloved and I arrived at the hospital for our induction appointment, I was far enough along on my own to do without interventions.  I decided then to go for the drug-free birth.

I took it one contraction at a time.  During each one, I'd only allow myself to think about breathing in and out.  As the contractions each built in intensity, I focused on relaxing everything except that which was contracting, and visualized the contraction building like a wave, cresting, then dissipating.  I repeated to myself something I'd read in reference to the girl I knew undergoing treatment for a malignant brain tumor whose motto for the physical fitness classes she taught was "I can do anything for one minute." That's about the length of each contraction -- a minute or so.  Then I'd have a few minutes to regroup before the next one.  I prayed for God's mercy upon the pain I was experiencing, and tried to offer it to him for the sake of my unborn child.  My beloved was with me as I labored both at home and in the hospital.

I did reach a point, as I'd read I likely would, when I'd had enough.  I knew that meant it was nearly over, and I prayed even more fervently for mercy and a speedy (yet safe) delivery.  There were moments when I felt I was about to lose my cool, but with the help of my beloved, my obstetrician, and the nurses gathered 'round, I hung in there.

As soon as the lass made her entrance, it was just as I'd read and heard it would be.  The pain was gone.  In its place was jubilation.  I was so thrilled to meet our lass, to check her out from tip to toe.  I felt a rush of endorphins (though I was worn out!), and, more so than when I'd been medicated, I was able to soak up everything happening around me.  I bonded with the lass instantly, and my physical recovery was overall much speedier than from those births for which I'd had epidurals.  I was up and around not too long after she was born.

Every birth is a miracle -- and a tremendous accomplishment for the mother who brings to birth the child she has carried in her womb for ordinarily somewhere in the vicinity of 40 weeks.  Whatever the circumstances surrounding the birth of a child are, each child is a gift from God; each mother is given the grace of God to be that child's mother and bring it to birth; and each child is his or her own unique person to be treasured and respected as one of God's own children.

Having said all that, when an expectant mother considers the impending and inevitable birth of her child, she has a lot to think about and many choices to make as to how she wishes the miraculous event to transpire.  Babies will come on their own terms, so the plans a mother makes may very well go out the window should medical necessity warrant, but she should still make a plan for her baby's birth and prepare herself for it to both go according to plan or not.

Deciding to deliver our raven-haired lass drug-free was a long time coming for me.  I wasn't mentally prepared to undertake such a challenge until this pregnancy.  I know it was God's grace that provided the "mental toughness" (as my dad calls it) to see me through the experience.

Our darling clementine has been a jolly, peaceful little lass from the beginning, and I can't help but wonder if part of that is owing to the manner in which she made her entrance into this world.

Mothers are designed to bring their babies to birth naturally.  There are many factors influencing each delivery, and each woman is different.  I pray each expectant mother receives the attentive and skilled pre-natal care she and her unborn baby deserve.  May each pair be surrounded by the love and care of family, friends, and care givers, enabling them to bring about safe, healthy deliveries each and every time, in whatever setting and manner deemed best for that particular mother and child.

*As for running marathons -- not me, no thank you.  I could never do that.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

far out

A sick day from school was no excuse for a day lolling around doing nothing (that came later in the week when Mama succumbed to the full force of The Sniffles).  On Monday the elder lad was coming off a fever he'd run over the weekend, so he stayed home from school.  He and his brother had been engrossed by the space-themed play set their aunt and uncle had given them for Christmas over the weekend, and the intergalactic fun continued on the sick day.  Thus was born the thematic approach to our unexpected stay home day.

We read Martian Rock by Carol Diggory Shields (illustrated by Scott Nash), in which a group of Martians set off in a space ship from their home planet to explore the galaxy looking for signs of life.  They refer to the planets as "orbs", and as they visit each one we learn a little something about the composition of that planet.  The last one they visit is Earth, where they land on the South Pole.  Thinking there is no life on this orb just as there hadn't been on any of the others, they are about to head home until they encounter a colony of penguins...

Since this is a multi-age classroom (ahem), we also read Helen Oxenbury's Tom and Pippo See the Moon, one of the gifts the lass received for her second birthday.  Tom asks Daddy all about the moon and considers going there himself in a rocket with Pippo (after a good night's sleep).  Considering our affinity for Tom and Pippo, and the insatiable interest children have in the potty and what transpires there (there's a drawing of Tom sitting on his gazing at the moon), this book is an instant winner here. 

To develop logic, critical thinking, and spatial-relational skills, we worked our new solar system puzzle. 

Add to this the space-themed songs from our Schoolhouse Rock playlist.  And for "glowing screen time" (I can't take credit for that term, but I love it), we watched an episode of the PBS show Word World about compound words entitled "Race to the Spaceship/Sandbox Surprise".

Not too shabby for a sick day...

Friday, January 28, 2011

not-so-fun Fridays

We've spent these past three Fridays (and a few other days too in this same time frame) in a doctor's office or urgent care setting -- not for anything especially urgent, though.  The six of us have all fallen prey to The Sniffles over the past ten days or so, with resulting ear infections for some.  Others of us have had brushes with other infections that required immediate attention so as to not develop into something more serious.  Though we are collectively improving, some of us are still rather like faucets (including Mama and the raven-haired lass).

So much sniffling and time spent in doctors' offices has worn Mama down, but considering the relatively minor ailments afflicting us, I am filled with humility and gratitude for our overall good health.  We're redoubling our hand-washing efforts and stocking up our apothecary shop with probiotics, vitamins, and natural remedies like cranberry juice in an effort to restore us to vitality and its accompanying vim and vigor (or something like that).

But for now, here's hoping to catch up on some sleep...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

faulty logic


me: "You know, raisins are dried out grapes."

younger lad: "What are dried out raisins?"
me: "Raisins."

him: "What are dried out chips?"
me: "Chips."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

funny face falls flat

The younger lad is not one to wolf down his dinner -- or lunch, for that matter.  He's usually not in a rush.  As I sat helping him finish up the pancakes he was dipping in applesauce, I tried to get in touch with my silly side and started making funny faces at him -- not in a poking fun kind of way, but more one to get him grinning in spite of his sniffles.  I love that grin.

I furrowed my brows at him, then opened my eyes wide.  Then I pursed my lips and puffed up my cheeks.  "Not like that, Mama," he said indignantly.  "Don't look like that!"

"How do you want me to look?" I asked him, returning my expression to baseline.

"Like that."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

two cute

My sweet girl,

'Twas two years ago this morning 'round seven or so
when I first met you.

Every day you grow sweeter
(and more confident in your abilities in fending off wily brothers),
with endearing expressions such as "pwease, Mommy-O," and "thank you, Daddy-O"
and much kindness to all.

Just as quick to call dibs on a purple dump truck passing by
or wield a play power tool to fix your dollhouse
as you are to don a tutu (and insist upon leggings),
you relish bubble baths, raisins (and chocolate chips), books, helping in the kitchen, and all things pink and purple.

You and your siblings are under the weather with ear infections and much coughing and sniffling,
but that hasn't kept you from reveling in the (scaled back, but still pink) birthday festivities
so lovingly planned for you (with your input, of course).

Those enchanting eyes, that delightful giggle --
what a ray of sunshine you are to us.

May the peace of Christ be with you, my sweet girl, your whole life long.
How we love you so~

Friday, January 21, 2011

tutti fruity

Call it Kindergarten humor, musician mama style: a form of collective address I hadn't thought of until this evening when the lass (who will be two tomorrow) and her brother (the younger) started a round of antibiotics, thus joining their elder brother already on them (such drama is beyond the scope of this post).  The younger lad's elixir has a certain fruity aroma.

As in... tutti frutti.

Then it hit me -- the musical connection:

As in... "all y'all" (a regionalism that needs no further explanation).

Won't the lads love that?! I'm sure the elder lad will be happy to demonstrate pronouncing the full stop necessitated by the double consonant: "TOOT-ee."

Let's try it out:

"Tutti! To the Bambini Ride!"
"Tutti! Hands to yourselves!"
"Tutti! Bouncy balls *up* the stairs only!"

Talk about speaking their language...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

the salad days

My beloved sometimes refers to this season of our family life as "the salad days."  He means it like Nicholas Cage's character in the movie Raising Arizona does -- the happy days -- but every time he says it I always wonder about dessert.

To be sure, these days of early childhood are probably the simplest our family life will be for a while to come in terms of schedules and interpersonal matters both within the family and with those we encounter when we venture out in the world, until at least the bambini are grown and on their own.  They're definitely the sweetest, especially when Mama receives "96,000 kisses" from the younger lad.  There are some considerable logistical considerations of having four young children, however, three of whom still very much dependent on adults to tend to their physical and emotional needs, that are all-consuming -- at least for Mama.

Though the expression "salad days" is also defined as "a period of youthful inexperience"  (along the same vein as someone who might be called "green" or inexperienced), I can think of another term for it, at least in my case: survival mode.

I've heard mothers who've "been there" and "done that" caring for multiple young children refer to the weeks and months after the arrival of the newest child one as those in which everyone is in "survival mode".  This means our expectations are such that we're not trying to mount ambitious projects or take on other things -- our focus is on taking care of each other and getting through the day with a minimum of fisticuffs, bonks, sniffles, and droughts of drinkable yogurt.

I've been told things *do* get easier as the bambini get older and a little more self-sufficient (at least logistically), but then there are new issues to be addressed -- often much weightier, at least emotionally, if maybe not so physically taxing, and there are other kinds of logistics to wade through.

Each day is a gift.  We have no promise of tomorrow.  Instead of just surviving, we aim to thrive.  These days that means baking cookies, reading books, and changing diapers.  The days of getting in a car and driving away without first buckling four car seats are coming, though.  As sweet as these days are (for the most part), God willing they'll keep getting better...

Monday, January 17, 2011


me, to the peanut gallery: "Look at the pretty clouds!  The pretty sunset!"
lass: "Jesus make 'em!"

That more than makes up for my unimaginative description.

Friday, January 14, 2011

household help (random)

Some household hints my bambini might find useful someday (and might help others in the meantime):
  • toothpaste + old re-purposed toothbrush = shiny sparkly pretty (and minty fresh) wedding rings
  • Demystifying where to put which corner of a queen-sized bedsheet (and other sizes, too) is as easy as finding the tag.  The corner in which it's sewn goes at the foot of the bed, on the right.
  • According to Grannie: paper towels can stand in for coffee filters.
You're welcome. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

wishful thinking

Cruising the parking lot with a Ride full of bambini awaiting my beloved on a quick jaunt into the hardware store, we scoped out the outbuildings and dog kennels along one side of the asphalt spread.

"When [my brother and I] have our own house, we'll have one of those for our dog," the younger lad declared.

"Will it be a big dog or a little dog?" I asked him.

"A big dog -- but we'll still be your sons," he assured me.


When his fanciful request for Chocolate-Covered Sugar Bombs (that's the blanket term my mom used for any of the myriad nutritionally-bereft offerings in the cereal aisle) was denied, the same lad brightened and said, "when I'm grown, I'll get those."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

garden flower

On this day 36 years ago, my  mother carried gardenias (or "garden flowers") in her bridal bouquet.  In the Victorian language of flowers, gardenias symbolize joy and purity.  That's what I wish for her and my dad today, her birthday as well:  pure joy, with much love...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Virginia Lee Burton's books

With snow in the forecast, there is  much discussion of snow plows.  There are lads beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of driving their Tonka trucks through the snow in the backyard, there is one lass who is very determined to put her boots on and get out there too, and there is Virginia Lee Burton's Katy and the Big Snow.   It's one of our favorite books.

Katy is a big tractor at the disposal of the town of Geoppolis.  After one doozy of a blizzard, she dons a snow plow and clears streets otherwise impassable even for other snow plows.  With dogged determination she keeps working until the doctor can get his patient to the hospital, the firetruck can get to the fire, and the rest of the city get on with life. 

We first met Burton's magical work in Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, about one old-fashioned steam shovel named Mary Anne and her devoted operator Mike Mulligan who wouldn't relegate her to the junkyard in favor of one of those new-fangled gasoline-, electric- or diesel-powered shovels.  He claims he and Mary Anne can do the work of 100 men in no time flat.  After some high-profile jobs digging canals for ocean liners and cellars for skyscrapers, Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne are left to find work outside the limelight.  Modern times might have meant the end of the steam shovel in most places, but Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne find a way to keep serving together.

Time, progress, and efficiency play a central role in Burton's The Little House, about a house built in the country that watches a city grow up around it.  The house is abandoned and falls into disrepair, but eventually a descendant of the house's original owners returns to love it back to life.   This book won the Caldecott Medal in 1942 for illustrations. 

As in The Little House, Maybelle the Cable Car centers on a symbol of a bygone era and its struggle to stay current.  In San Francisco the cable cars have long been a fixture of public transportation, but there is a faction of folks who think they should be replaced by buses and other more modern and efficient vehicles.  Maybelle and her sister cable cars show they are still as relevant as ever in serving the city's transportation needs.

One of the all stars of children's literature, Virginia Lee Burton illustrated the charming stories she wrote in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s with intricate detail.  They are a visual feast and auditory pleasure for both the one reading aloud and the one(s) listening -- almost enough to distract from the wonder of powdered snow outside the window when it's time to thaw out from all that cavorting through the stuff, if only for a little while....

Sunday, January 09, 2011

standing by

Some friends of ours are going through one of a parent's worst nightmares: their son is ill with cancer.  He is two years old.  He was diagnosed with leukemia two days before Christmas.  

I saw his mother this morning at Mass.  She came by herself while her husband stayed home with their son, whose immune system is now depressed by the chemotherapy treatment he is receiving and therefore can't really be in a public gathering like that.   She went home to take over for her husband so he could go to a later Mass.

When I saw her in the Communion line and noted that she was there alone, within me there was a sudden and strong propulsion to go sit with her.  I waited until after Communion was finished and the Blessed Sacrament reposed, then I rose from my pew and ducked into hers.

I don't know if she wanted any company.  Maybe she just wanted that brief amount of time to sit in the presence of Christ and be strengthened by the grace, peace, and comfort only he can provide.   I only hope my musical pew maneuver didn't overpower her need for space. 

Whenever something like this happens, we all want to *do something* to help -- to fix it, really ... to make it all better.  All I know to do is pray and to make known our willingness to do whatever the family needs to help get through this trial.  Whatever that means, we're standing (or sitting, as the case may be) by...

Please keep them and all families in similar situations in your prayers.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

playlist: schoolhouse rock

Just for fun, here's a playlist I've assembled from some of our favorite music, all having a little something to do with school:
  • "98.8" by Justin Roberts a feeble attempt to stay home from school  
  • "Snow Day" also by Justin Roberts fever-free, but still hopeful
  • "We're Going to Be Friends" by Jack Johnson made it to school, happy to see everyone 
  • "Alphabet of Nations" by They Might be Giants literacy + geography  
  • "Knocktopus" by Recess Monkey for the class clown in all of us 
  • "Tie Your Shoe" by Justin Roberts mastering this feat is cause for celebration 
  • "Seven" by They Might be Giants the lass's most-requested song of the moment, and a fun commentary on those of our species who are this age 
  • "The Sharing Song" by Jack Johnson a necessary skill
  • "West Indian Counting Song" by Dan Zanes & Friends Sometimes I sing this one to facilitate a transition in activities.
  • "Number Two" by They Might be Giants They're channeling Sir Elton John here, I think.
  • "We Go Duck" by Justin Roberts as in Duck, Duck, Goose
  • "Go Down Emmanuel Road" by Dan Zanes & Friends fans of Sesame Street have probably seen this a time or two or three 
  • "Q U" by They Might be Giants groovy goodness 
  • "Picture Day" by Justin Roberts I almost always wanted retakes.
  • "Meet the Elements" by They Might be Giants never too early to start learning scientific principles ...
  • "Cells" by They Might be Giants Whoever heard of introducing the concept of DNA to the preschool population? 
  • "Science Fair" by Recess Monkey I always cringed at the thought of cooking up an experiment.  This is so not my scene. 
  • "The Bloodmobile" by They Might be Giants Physiology terminology set to music = retention.  This tune is along the lines of those commercials for St. Joseph's aspirin from a few years ago.  As an aside, did you know my mother and I had the same high school chemistry/human anatomy teacher?  The charms of small town life... 
  • "Constellation Conga" by Recess Monkey my new favorite.  Astronomy: why not?
  • "How Many Planets?" by They Might be Giants My bambini can all name "JOOOOO-pi-ter" on a rendering of the solar system thanks to this ditty.
  • "Fire Drill" by Justin Roberts a welcome interruption
  • Why Does the Sun Shine? by They Might be Giants jammin', if maybe not quite right, come to find out ...
  • "Why Does the Sun Really Shine?" by They Might be Giants swanky.  less jammin' than its predecessor, but apparently more accurate Go figure.
  • "Ice Pack" by Recess Monkey After all that science, it's time for recess.  Sometimes accidents happen. 
  • "Billy the Bully" by Justin Roberts Might does not equal right.
  • Sack Lunch by Recess Monkey The elder lad and his kindergartner buddies have recess *before* lunch, so that they'll actually eat instead of running out to play after a bite or two; This tune goes hand in hand with next on this list.
  • "Big Field Trip" by Justin Roberts I've queued this one for many a field trip of our own.
  • "E Eats Everything" by They Might be Giants Both the lads dig this one.  In the video version, Z becomes a Pac-Man-esque creature.  Need I elaborate? 
  • "Not Naptime" by Justin Roberts This is genius in musical form, clearly written by someone who's been there and done that; Justin Roberts is a former preschool teacher.
  • "Do-Re-Mi" by Harry Connick, Jr. music ed 
  • "Gym Class Parachute" by Justin Roberts gym class.  not my scene.
  • Pollito Chicken by Dan Zanes & Friends Spanish lessons 
  • "Little White Square" by Popple This is a theoretical Catholic school playlist; fostering vocations begins at an early age.
  • "Daniel in the Den" by Dan Zanes & Friends religion continued... This is from the Old Testament.
  • "Giant-Sized Butterflies" by Justin Roberts start-of-school jitters; brings me to tears thinking back to the elder lad starting preschool  ...
  • "Strike the Bell" by Dan Zanes Is it time to go home yet? 
  • "She's A Yellow Reflector" by Justin Roberts Sister has after-school crossing guard duty -- no time for chit-chat.
  • "Yellow Bus" by Justin Roberts  Where is that bus?  The poor kid is up and at 'em.  But what day is it again?  Saturday?
I call it "Schoolhouse Rock."

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Helen Oxenbury's Tom & Pippo books

Do you know young Tom and his stuffed sidekick Pippo? Ever since the elder lad's Godmother gave us Tom and Pippo and the Washing Machine and Tom and Pippo Go for A Walk, we've loved Helen Oxenbury's simple, short stories with the charming drawings.

Pippo goes everywhere and does everything with Tom: shopping with Mommy, playing in "muddy places," riding on the back of Tom's tricycle, and reading stories with Daddy.  Along with Olof and Lena Landstrom's books about Will and the sheep duo Boo and Baa, the Pippo books are perennial favorites for our two and under crowd (and those a little older, ahem).

These are high on the list of "must reads" by our lass who will be two soon.  She is all about books and reading these days.  She likes to sit and "read" to herself nearly as much as she likes to be snuggled up in the saftey of a loved one's arms and be read to.  That's why she'll be opening a few Tom and Pippo books that we either don't already have or can't get at the library for birthday gifts in a few weeks.  I think I might be more excited than I know she will be to have these in our family library.

Helen Oxenbury is a prolific author and illustrator of books for children.  Her signature style graces the pages of Michael Rosen's We're Going on A Bear Hunt, which is another favorite of ours. 

For the very young, those not so very young anymore, and we who love them, reading the Tom and Pippo books together makes for memories to cherish...

Monday, January 03, 2011

pretty is as pretty does.

As I crouched down to tie his church shoes, the younger lad noticed the  bobby pins I'd stuck in my hair in a feeble attempt to fix it.  "What are those, Mama?"

"Bobby pins," I told him.

"Why are you wearing them?"

"To make my hair look pretty," I answered.  "Sometimes girls -- some girls -- like to fix their hair to look pretty."  Already I could feel myself sliding down a slippery slope, the precipice upon which I perch each time the lads observe me putting on the little bit of make-up I wear most days. 

"Are you a girl, Mama?"

"Yes.  Or at least I used to be."


"That's cute!" The lass-who-will-soon-be-two noted on each piece of laundry she was tossing into the washing machine.  This was after she told her baby sister that the younger lass looked "so pretty" in her Christmas dress. 

As the lass takes more of an interest in "pretty things" and looking pretty by way of hair "do-dads" (that's the technical term) or tutus or dressy shoes, the importance of cultivating an appreciation for beauty without over-emphasizing the material aspect is ever clearer.  She and her sister are beautiful in the way God created them.  They don't need fancy frocks or bows or frilly things or make-up to make them pretty. 

Sure: it's fun to play dress up at home or even get dressed up for special occasions.  I like to do that myself.  It's important to me to look my best, both for my own sense of self and that of those who might be watching me to see how I manage the particular hand life has dealt me.  It's important for my daughters, too, who are learning partly from me what it means to be a woman. 

I hope to show them by example (and their brothers, who might someday be applying these principles to the women they encounter, or perhaps already are) that we are prettiest when we are reflecting the face of Christ to others, when we take ownership of our identities as daughters of God, and when we present ourselves modestly and humbly to those around us. 

As much as I enjoy shopping for clothes and dressing myself and my bambini tastefully, it's vital I communicate that the clothes (or hair "do-dads") don't make us pretty.  Beauty comes from within.  It is enhanced by our respectful treatment of others and ourselves.  As I've been told many times myself and likely will tell my daughters on more than one occasion, "pretty is as pretty does."

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Pray more.
Trust in God.
Cultivate virtue.
Breathe deeply.
Ease up.
Show mercy.
Uphold justice.
Handle gently.
Take the high road.
Employ humor.
Admire the view.
Stay in the moment.
Pay attention.
Eat well.
Sleep more.
Be thankful.
Keep the Faith.
Related Posts with Thumbnails