Thursday, August 27, 2009

Theology of the Body: Kristine Mauss

"Theology of the Body" is the teaching that we speak a language with our bodies and we are created to give glory to God through the language bodies speak. Pope John Paul II taught this for years in his Wednesday audiences. By studying this teaching, Andrew and I have really come to understand the deeper meaning of our union as husband and wife.

From my experience, learning about the Theology of the Body has led me to recognize that every teaching of the Church has a purpose and it is all meant to bring us closer to Our Lord.

Our friend, Kristine Mauss is a very talented speaker! She just started a new ministry called "Theology of the Body NW." John and I got up "early" (8am) yesterday so we could listen to her on the radio. The following is the video of what we listened to:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Adventures in Cloth Diapering: Reviews and New Diapers!

We just bought our second batch of cloth diapers! I was so eager to pre-wash them when they arrived that I forgot to take a picture of them to show you... As I am typing they are being pre-washed so they are ready to be used!

Before I tell you about our new diapers, I wanted to give you reviews on the diapers we bought last month. As you may recall from my first post about cloth diapering, we first purchased 3 Bum Genius 3.0 diapers, 7 Indian pre-folds, and 1 Bummis Super-Snap Cover.

Bum Genius 3.0 Review:
  • We like how simple this diaper is. It is very easy to put on!
  • I love that this is a one-sized diaper, meaning that it should fit John until he is potty trained.
  • The pocket diaper dries really fast, the inserts take a little more time... but it's not too bad.
  • We are pretty disappointed with the quality - after being washed only two times, one of the seams securing the Velcro began to come undone. On a positive note, I had an easy time getting a replacement diaper from cottonbabies. Their customer service was great!
  • Just last week, one of the inserts began to fray, revealing the layers of the insert. Not good! =( So, once again, I will be contacting Cottonbabies to see if I can get another replacement.
  • Overall, we are not too impressed with this brand. We are having issues with wear and it has only been one month! Thus, we will search for a better diaper.
Indian Pre-fold Review:
  • I really like these pre-folds!
  • Stains come out mostly in the wash. The sun takes care of what ever is left.
  • No major problems with leaking!
  • They are very cost effective!
  • The only down side we have noticed is they make John look like he has a big bottom (not that it really matters!). This also means that his clothes are tighter when he wears a pre-fold.
Bummis Super Snap Cover Review:
  • This has been a good cover.
  • I like the snaps on this cover, compared to the diapers with Velcro. I think the snaps will last longer.
  • The cover dries very fast!
  • If the cover does not get poo or pee on it, it can be used a few times before being laundered.
  • The down side is you have to buy different sizes as your baby grows. This isn't bad, I just love the idea of diapers being one-sized!
On to the new diapers: we just bought 3 Fuzzibunz one-sized pocket diapers (they are a lot like the Bum Genius diapers we have), 6 Chinese pre-folds (they are a little thicker than Indian pre-folds), and 2 one-sized Blueberry covers. Everything has snaps this time because I think they will endure more years of diapering than Velcro. We shall see how these new diapers compare after a month or so!

Other good news is I think we have enough diapers to do cloth full-time. I will have to do wash every other day, but that is about how often the diapers should be cleaned anyway.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From Three to Get Married, by Fulton J. Sheen:
The Church reminds poor mortals with their weak bodies to keep their eyes on heaven, for there are two human bodies there: the Body of our Lord through His Ascension, and the body of the Blessed Mother through her Assumption. On the fifteenth of August, each year, the Church commemorates the taking up of the holy body and soul of Mary into Paradise, where she was crowned as Queen of Angels and Saints. The Church does not teach that Mary did not die, but only that her body did not suffer corruption. If our Lord did not disdain to take on the sufferings of life to purify them, and the pang of death in order to conquer it, He would not dispense His own Mother from them. If He, the new Adam, would drink the chalice of sufferings, she, the new Eve, must have a share in them. But though she died, her body was not corrupted but assumed into heaven. The primal penalty of sin was the dissolution of the body: "Dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return" (Gen. 3:19). But if corruption was the penal consequence of original sin, it follows that she who was preserved from original sin should also be preserved from its penalty, namely, corruption. Quite apart from the ancient Christian tradition concerning her Assumption, it hardly seems fitting that she, who gave the world Him Who conquered death, should herself be completely under its heel. Should not He Who, by His own Divine power, rose from the dead, use that same power to preserve His Mother from the grave, so that His Resurrection and Ascension should have their counterpart in a lower level in the Assumption of His Blessed Mother?

She was the flesh-girt garden of the new Adam, and it is unthinkable that the heavenly Gardener, once He had gathered His human life from her as a garden, should suffer it to be overrun by dust. The chalice that contains the Blood of Christ does not become a profane cup when once the wine of life is drunk. Only holy hands may touch it. There is no reason to believe that, once He conquered sin by His Resurrection and ascended to the glory at the right hand of the Father, He could forget the one who had given Him a human nature. A son remembers his mother even more in triumph than in battle. He spoke to her in the battle of Calvary; then He should not forget to call her to himself in the triumph of His Ascension. He Who received the hospitality of this spiritual Bethlehem would not be an ungrateful Host. As the homes in which great men were born are preserved for posterity, so His Home (which she is) would be preserved for eternity. If the innkeeper had only given shelter to that maid on Christmas night, history would never have forgotten his name.

It is incredible then that she who housed Him should not have immortality, not of name only, but of body and soul. If He Who conquered death ascended into Heaven to be a mediator between God and man, then should not she, who received the high summons to share in His Redemption, be near Him now in Heaven, to mediate between His power and our needs, as she did at Cana? Certainly she who begot Him Who empties all sepulchers should not herself be one of its first inhabitants. Corruption ought not touch her who begot our incorruptibility, nor should she whose virginity He preserved in motherhood be now a virgin body despoiled and ravished by death. Eve, our first mother, lent her ear to the tempting Satan and justly was returned again to dust, but Mary, our new Mother, who lent her ear to the Holy Spirit, could not be the prey of the self-same dust.

A church once consecrated may not be delivered over to profane use, nor shall the temple of the living God be profaned by the dust. Die indeed she ought, for she should have no other law than that to which her Son was subject; but corrupted she should not be, for she gave birth to Him Who broke the jaws of death. For a member of the human race, death was normal. Clothed with the power of God, dissolution would be abnormal. There are only two empty tombs in all the world: the tomb where the Resurrection and the Life was buried for three days, and the tomb where the Mother of the Resurrection and the Life was laid when she fell asleep in the love of the Lord. Mary's empty tomb was to woman what Christ's empty tomb was to man, with this difference: that only through His power was her tomb made empty.

Friday, August 14, 2009

7 Quick Takes ~ Vol. 5

Hosted at Conversion Diary

1. Our friend Neil came over on Wednesday night. He is studying at Franciscan University in Ohio. Andrew used to live with Neil in Bellingham at the Xavier House (Catholic guy's house). It was really great seeing Neil again! He got to meet John for the first time:

2. One of my best friends/former roommate, Chelsea, married the love of her life on August 1st. I was blessed to stand by her as her matron of honor. Congratulations Kent and Chelsea!!

Pictures taken by Alyssa Gifford.

3. We watched Phantom of the Opera a few nights ago. It was good, but I don't get why it is so popular... to be honest, it was kind of weird; but I have had the sound track in my head all week!

5. We opened up our home to a Sister from California. Her name is Sister Mary Joseph. She came up to assist with the Vacation Bible School that we had at our church. It was such a blessing to have her here. I had many good conversations with her. It is nice to meet an orthodox Sister. She left on Sunday and I was sad to see her go. After spending so much time with her, I really view her as a bride of Christ!

My parents with Sister Mary Joseph in our church.

4. On August 7th my brother celebrated his 27th birthday. We celebrated with him the evening before by going out to sushi in Seattle. Aaron, you'll be 30 before you know it! Weird. Happy Birthday Brother!

Here we are at the Sushi restaurant.

6. Simple Mom has really inspired me. I recently made an 8-week meal plan. My plan is to cycle through these meals and swap out meals as we get bored with them. Having this plan also makes shopping easier. I really don't like shopping; so with this plan I am able to cut grocery shopping down to two times per month! I like that. =)

7. And now, the reason you have come to our blog: an update on John. He is becoming very skilled with his hands. He loves to hold his burp cloths and smother his face in them. He also sucks on his fingers a lot. He continues to be a very sweet and calm baby. I love snuggling with him. I feel like the luckiest person to be able to hang out with him all day! Right now he is sleeping on my lap and I am typing with one hand! Here is a video I just took today:

John and Pooh from Andrew St.Hilaire on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

TV and Table

We just recently bought a TV. For the last year, we lived without one, and didn't really miss it. We subscribe to Netflix and have been watching movies on Andrew's laptop. It will be nice now to watch movies on a bigger screen. After we bought the TV and were waiting for it to be delivered, we realized that we needed to get a table for the TV. We have a coffee table and a side table that we bought from Target. They are nice and we thought it would be good to get something that matched. Unfortunately the TV table that goes with our other pieces of furniture costs around $175.

Last week, I went on Craigslist to look around for a swing. I also decided to browse through the furniture section. Guess what I found! Yep - the exact table that we wanted from Target - for only $75!! I could not believe my eyes when I saw it! I immediately emailed the person who was selling it and said we would buy it.

So here is our new TV and table:

For now, we will not subscribe to any cable TV. I hope that we never do, unless an option becomes available where we can only subscribe to particular channels (EWTN, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel...) I think, actually I know I would waste my time watching TV if we had it. Also, we do not want to use the TV as a babysitter. I want to have the TV be a family activity, not just a method of zoning out. Life is too short to waste time vegging on the couch watching TV ;)

Our First Anniversary! ~ August 9, 2009

Last Sunday we celebrated our first anniversary! I really can't believe that it has already been a year! I have loved every minute of our marriage and I look forward to living the rest of my life with Andrew.

To celebrate we went camping (see previous post), and then when we came home I packed a little bag for John and he spent the evening with his Grandma and Grandpa Stockton. We went out to Tony's Pizza - Yum! - and enjoyed the beautiful view. When we came home, I brought out a surprise: At our wedding, we did not have ordinary cake. We don't really like cake, so we had a desert table with pies, cookies, and an ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery. While we were camping, I had my mom go to Cold Stone and buy the same cake we had for our wedding (cookies and cream). Andrew was really surprised when I took it out of our freezer! I love to see his face when he is surprised! =)

We didn't really get to eat any of it at our wedding because it was gone fast. We tasted whatever we could scrape off of our faces ;) Now we have more time to enjoy it and it is really good! It's a pretty big cake, so we have been eating a little each night. I mentioned last night that it's like celebrating our anniversary for a whole week!

Andrew, dune. It's hard to find words that don't sound silly or cliche to describe how happy I am with you as my dear husband. Thank you for sharing your life with me and for giving me the gift of your unconditional love!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Camping with the Herrings

This last weekend we went camping with the Herrings. We camped up near Crescent Lake. We had a great time. John slept in the sleeping bag with me. It was pretty cramped... We are going to go camping again next week, and I might try to figure out a different sleeping arrangement. Also, it didn't help that our tent was on a slight hill, so we kept sliding down hill during the night! =)

On Saturday, Becky met us at a trail head and we went on a hike to see a waterfall. John slept the whole time in our wrap (see pictures below). He was pretty cute!

Unfortunately we were camping next to a dysfunctional mother and her children. She was yelling at her children the whole time and cussing at them too. The "F" word was commonplace during the day. If John were any older, I would have told her to please stop swearing around my child... though I wish she would stop swearing for my sake too. Why is it that it is socially inappropriate to swear around children (even though she swore around her own children), but not around other adults? I pride myself on not swearing - ever. I don't want to exposed to bad language either.

Anyway, I'll stop complaining... we really DID have a good time! I love camping. There is nothing better than waking up to fresh outdoor air! We also had foil dinners one night, which I am quite fond of! I can't wait to go camping again next week!

John sitting in a Bumbo

Here's my boy!! He is getting SO big! He has been wearing 3-6mo. clothing since he was two months old. He will be three months old in three days! It is hard to believe!

Adventures in Cloth Diapering: The Sun is Amazing!

We have been using cloth diapers part-time now for about 4 weeks. Everything is going well. I am getting a good system down! For a while I was getting discouraged with stains. So I went online and did some research on getting stains out. In multiple places, I found the advice to lay the stained diaper out in the sun. I thought "yea right, why would that do any good..."

It worked!!! I was so amazed! Here is the proof:

Before: EWW!

After: WOW!

John's Baptism ~ July 26, 2009

John was baptized on July 26th - the feast of St. Anne. John's Grandmas are pretty happy about that! ;) We invited our close friends to join us for John's first Sacrament. Many of them attended. It was very beautiful to witness my son being cleansed from original sin.

After his baptism we invited everyone over for a baptism party. There was good food and great company! We hope to honor this day every year by making it a special day for John. The following are pictures from that day:
John's godparents are his Uncle Lou and Aunt Jenna

I had a hard time deciding what to write on the cake... I could have said "Happy Baptism," but that seemed kind of weird. The words "Welcome Home" kept coming to mind. I wanted to give John the message that the Catholic Church is his home. No matter what paths he may wander on during his life, he will always find his home in the Church - with God his Father and his Mother Mary.

John's baptismal gown was a gift from both sets of grandparents. It will be used with all the children God blesses us with. Grandma St.Hilaire embroidered John's name and the date of his baptism along the hem of the gown. We will do this for everyone who is baptized in this gown.

Welcome Home John!!