5 Ways to keep that toddler BUSY

RosalieContrite
March 17, 2016
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Those non-stop action tiny tots are tough to keep busy! Here are my five favorite ways to keep my toddlers busy.

1. Task Painting. It sounds so much messier than it is. I just set my dear toddler up with one of her daddy’s retired undershirts, brushes, water, and paint. I tell her we should paint for her friends, aunts, uncles or grandparents. She feels she has a task or a mission this way.  She takes it seriously! We even mail them sometimes and everyone feels so loved!

Do small things with great love!
Do small things with great love!

2. Messy food. There is nothing quite like some messy food! The kids seem to adore eating it, playing with it, and smearing it all over kingdom come. Just plan on a bath, but they will be so happy! We like avocados. Get those healthy fats, baby!

Avocados and Phil and Ted's high chair, for the win!
Avocados and Phil and Ted’s high chair, for the win!

3. Tea time. I often set out fun tea cups, and we sit at the table and have a fun ‘tea time’. I let her pour for me and we chat about whatever she would like. She LOVES this time, and I do too!

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Tea time!

4. Help with yard work. Don’t give them anything strenuous to do that could hurt them, but they can certainly help pick up little sticks or, you know, just hang out in the pile of leaves! It’s always a fun time! They love to follow me around and ask what I am planting and ‘help’. I always let them try to help dig in the ground. What is more fun than dirt?!

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Playing in the leaves.

5. Sand. Box. Nuff said!

Box O' Sand.
Box O’ Sand.

Pax Vobiscum, 

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The Prayer that changed my Marriage

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My husband and I have always bickered. We would sometimes go to bed angry. We would pick silly battles and sometimes shout. Nothing was strikingly wrong in our marriage, but it was also not picture perfect – until we found this prayer.

The game changer, for us, came when I hung a piece of artwork over our bed. It was nothing special, but it had a scripture passage embroidered on it – one many know by heart (1 Cor 13). I had never spent much time on it, because it is repeated everywhere from weddings to shirts to books. It turns out, there is a reason it is repeated everywhere, and that is because it is powerful!

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The piece that hangs over our bed.

One night, after many spent laying beneath this piece, I said to my husband, “Let’s say this verse to each other before we go to bed, at night; it’s there anyway.” He nodded and agreed. I reached out and grabbed his hand and looked him in his soft brown eyes, as I repeated the words. I thought of the words as they passed through my lips. “It keeps no record of wrongs.”  If I wanted to love and to be loved, I couldn’t keep a record. I had to let it go. I closed my eyes and made that secret eye roll we all make when we know we have to swallow that pill of pride, and let it go. I couldn’t be proud.

I had to admit that for all I had to forgive my husband, I needed Christ to forgive me even more. I could see the great gift in having to forgive difficult trespasses. When we do it, we can more fully appreciate the goodness and abundant love of God. Amazing!

We have continued to take turns reading this passage to one another, each night, and we always experience a softening of our hearts, exchanging smiles and holding hands. The more we say it, the more it comes to our minds during the day as we have conversations or disagree. I cannot recommend this practice highly enough. It has changed our marriage so dramatically.

Pax Vobiscum,

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5 tips for keeping love alive with kids

Our littles.

When you have babies, you know your spouse is your number one, objectively, but they can begin to feel very disconnected from you. These are the top 5 ways that I use to keep a connection with my husband during our busiest of times, including having newborns!

Our littles, Rivkah (10m) and Charlotte (3).
Our littles.

1. Listen to the same podcast. Maybe he listens to it on the way to work, and you listen while nursing the baby at 3AM? Wherever, whenever you listen to it, once a week, come together and discuss it. Don’t set up time expectations for this conversation, or you will end up feeling forced. Allow it to come naturally. How did you feel about the podcast? Did it interest you? If it’s true crime, do you have a personal hypothesis? If it’s a story, do you have ideas about where it may go? You will be amazed how you can have a conversation with your spouse that is interesting and fruitful like when you were first dating!

2. Schedule a contact. Once a day, with certainty, contact your spouse while they are away from you. Whether it is text, e-mail, a call, facetime, whatever you like, send something that says “I’m thinking of you” in your own words. I often try to send a text mid-morning, and he does the same. I get such a big smile knowing that he thought of me and that he knows I’m thinking of him.

3. Pray together. I know this is cliche, but do it. Do it, daily! Whether you are just holding hands, barely awake mumbling the “Our Father” as you fall asleep or saying a whole rosary while kneeling, make sure you do it. This is so powerful for us. When we have been bickering or arguing, this time serves to soften our hearts to one another. We often apologize, and forgive one another for petty arguments! God is good! 🙂

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4. Have mini-dates. With kids, it’s hard to get away, and if you COULD get away, babysitters aren’t free! My husband and I have crafted “mini-dates”. Sometimes we make a different dinner for the kids and feed them, and then, set them up with an activity. We would then, eat alone together at the dinner table. The kids are there, but it’s nice to have couple time! Our other favorite “mini-date”, is getting the kids to bed on time and watching a Netflix show together. We do not ever watch the chosen show without one another. We wait for the other, and pause the show if he/she needs to leave the room, to show him/her respect (sounds silly, but it makes him/her feel important and needed).

5. Phone free time. Maybe you don’t think you or your spouse have an issue with phones. Let me squelch any speculation. You totally do! 😉 Have periods of time in your week where phones are not allowed. You can synergize these tips and have your podcast conversation during this time. Get a basket. Everyone in the family can put their phones in it for the duration of the electronic free time. You will be amazed what happens! You will make eye contact, talk, joke, and even notice how attractive your spouse is when they are looking back at you with no distractions!

Pax Vobiscum, Nerds!

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THIS CATHOLIC LIFE: a podcast for REAL Catholic women

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I am very excited to announce a coming podcast from The Contrite Catholic: Rosalie Contrite called THIS CATHOLIC LIFE. It will be in concert with tenured, guest co-host Martina of Little Southern Blog! Please, send us your hopes for topics, your wants, ideas, and feedback! Podcast links will be posted here and Little Southern Blog, as they become available!

Show us your support if this is something you want to see!
We hope to cover REAL Catholic life! From NFP pitfalls to bikini debate to kids drinking Holy Water, we are going to discuss it in a refreshingly REAL way!

If you hope to see this as a lasting effort, please support us by spreading the word and letting us know!

Pax Vobiscum, Nerds!

The Abortion Debate: How BOTH sides are getting it wrong

RosalieContrite
March 10, 2016
pregnancy

When it comes to controversy, there is no topic quite like abortion. Best friends can fast become sworn enemies, exchanging hateful rhetoric and stinging venom in a debate that has been around as long as mankind. Christians, as a group, took a stance on contraception and abortion in a document known as the ‘Didache’, around 48AD. That is not in dispute in this post, nor is that the topic of discussion.

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I am not writing to hammer and drill the same tired speech, proclaiming how abortion is wrong. Shouting accusations and judgements has done next to nothing to endear either side of this movement to the public. It has smothered dialogue, leaving nothing more than polarized enemies. In the interest of moving this legal and social discussion forward, I will outline the biggest mistakes that I believe each side is making. It is my hope, regardless of your political or religious affiliation, that these critiques will resonate with you, as a reader. I am not debating the moral status of abortion. That is not in question in this post.

Without further ado, the greatest mistakes in the abortion debate:

Pro-Life:

Graphic Posters: The reality of abortion needs to be recognized, especially by those considering it; however, it does not need to be seen by the general public, who may or may not be very young, be very sensitive to death, have experienced a miscarriage, or may be unable to handle these images. I cannot tell you how many times, in college, I saw the devastating images of dismembered fetal humans. It did nothing to change my mind, and it seemed a strange tactic. Why weren’t there pictures of starving children or any other type of victim being paraded through my college quad? I will tell you why. This is not an appropriate way to get your message disseminated.  People do not parade posters bearing the pictures of the dead body of Gerri Santoro (cautiously view these images), trying to raise awareness about what happens when women try to perform their own abortions. This is just in bad taste, and it does NOT facilitate dialogue.

Vilifying the women in crisis: As a sex, women have struggled for every legal right and faced opposition in the workplace. We face prejudice and rape culture, objectification and slut-shaming. We have been seen as lesser in almost every major civilization, save a few brilliant tribal areas which elevated women. We bear the brunt of the responsibility when it comes to bearing and rearing children. When a pregnancy occurs, a man can walk away, but a woman must grow the child in her body. Ideally, she will go on to nourish the baby with her body (I’m shooting daggers at my pump right now!). Men’s contribution to reproduction is pitiful, frankly (love you, Hubby 🙂 )! With all of this, we do nothing by saying that the women who choose abortion are murderers and monsters. It divides us, when we need to stand together.  We need to be there for one another and empathize with each other in a way that half of the population cannot. Instead of vilifying another woman, look at her as a human being, the same way you want her to look at her unborn child, and see what brought her to this choice. This is the way to meaningful dialogue.

Legal restrictions: Restricting abortion through legal means hurts the poorest of the poor. Rich women will always be able to obtain whatever it is that they wish, be it the latest Hermes bag or an abortion. Make no mistake. It only hurts the most vulnerable women. I have had the experience of speaking with a few women who procured both legal and illegal abortions. The legality had no bearing on whether or not they obtained them. It only effected the quality of the procedure and their later outcomes. One woman explained that she procured an illegal abortion from an unlicensed physician and was later found to be infertile, as a result of an infection. Legal restrictions did not stop her.

Pro-Choice:

Assuming Religious Motivation: As an atheist and a pro-choice woman, I assumed that all pro-life women were these sad, subjugated, little women who were brainwashed into believing in an awful woman-hating God. The fact is, there is a significant sect of the pro-life movement that is atheist. Many are motivated purely by science. Nothing physically changes within a baby, at birth. Nothing special happens, at any point during a pregnancy, demarcating the designation of humanity upon the unborn. Acknowledging this does not make you religious; it makes you objective and scientific. In juxtaposition, at conception, a unique, irrepeatable, genetically distinct genome is present. Essentially, everything that person is and ever will be is present, at that moment. That is the science that drives many on the pro-life side. It does nothing to imagine them as scientifically illiterate morons. This isn’t how you create dialogue.

Lowering standards: The conditions and legal protections surrounding abortion care are abysmal. We are not helping women, by allowing them to be treated in dirty or unregulated facilities. We aren’t helping women by not informing them of the risks or by allowing these procedures to occur in a place one wouldn’t even consider getting a mani-pedi. Lying to women about scientific facts surrounding the procedure is something that would result in serious legal repercussions in ANY other healthcare setting. I personally know two women who were lied to about fetal development at the time of their procedures. Who exactly are you helping when you lie? What motivates that? This does not create an environment of trust, and it does not facilitate dialogue. Lying is not ethical. Abortion may be one of the safest procedures for a woman to have, but we MUST recognize that many complaints are never filed because of embarrassment and stigma surrounding the procedure, and statistics are not reliable when doctors are politically or monetarily motivated to generate pleasing results.

Money: One of the saddest realities of this whole situation, is that someone is profiting off of these women’s crises. Monetarily profiting off of an abortion should be illegal. I know this sounds crazy and radical (maybe best proposed by Bernie Sanders?), but the number of former abortion workers (see Abby Johnson) who claim that they are pressured to boost “sales” and are taught to “sell abortions” is not small. Some facilities have been caught giving bonuses for making sales goals. We need to recognize that money can corrupt any situation, and maybe, this is one area we need to remove this incentive. If money wasn’t so enmeshed in this decision and the political conversation, a more meaningful dialogue could be achieved, and women would be better for it.

BOTH:

In closing, I would leave you with the challenge of not demonizing the other side. It is easy to hate your opposition; it is much harder to try to understand them. Humans are unique because of our ability to extensively communicate and reason. Let us act as humans. Do not demonize the people who should be your ally. BOTH sides want what is best for women. Recognizing this may go farther than we could ever dream.

PAX VOBISCUM, NERDS!

 

I welcome meaningful dialogue in the comments. Hateful, vulgar, or derogatory comments will not be permitted.