Sometimes living life in a big family does feel like a three-ring circus, but that's my life, and, all-in-all, I LOVE IT!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What Does Throwing Live Babies Into The Trash Have To Do With A Woman's Right To Choose?

I'm not debating abortion rights.  I'll leave that subject for another day.  This post is not about abortion rights.  This post is not about a woman's right to choose what she wants to do with her own body (which, by the way, I think many women make some very un-informed choices, but, again, that's another topic that I'll leave for another day).  This post is about the Born Alive Infants Protection Act being violated time and time again in an effort to ensure that a woman's rights are not violated, and in an effort to ensure that the abortionist is not held responsible for an abortion gone wrong.  This post is about a body totally apart from it's "host", a baby's body surviving outside of it's mother's body.  This post is about the inhumane treatment of abortion survivors.

I get that the whole idea of a woman choosing abortion is to ensure that her BABY DOES NOT GET TO SURVIVE.  BUT what if her choice doesn't work out?  What if against all odds her baby does survive the abortion procedure ~ then shouldn't the baby's rights replace and surpass the mother's original choice?
Does the right to choose abortion give the medical professionals the right to leave abortion survivors unattended to die?  Does a woman's right to choose abortion also give medical professionals the right to falsify records, instructing nurses to enter "zero-zero" for the baby's vital signs, when the baby is actually alive and breathing?  Does the right to choose abortion mean that it's also right to put live babies into bio-hazard bags and throw them in the trash?  Does the right to choose abortion give abortionist the right to sever the spinal cords of abortion survivors?  Does the right to choose abortion give one the right to decide that a living, breathing baby is not worthy of living?  Not worthy to breathe? Not worthy to put every effort forth to ensure it's well being, to ensure it's comfort at least, if not it's survival?  Is a life only worthy of medical intervention if the baby is wanted by it's mother?  Is a life only worthy of compassion if it's wanted by it's mother?  And if a baby is not wanted by it's mother, does that mean that every effort should be made to ensure that baby's death?

I guess based on something I read recently, a woman's right to choose does include all manner of foul and polluted behavior.  In 2009 a mother in Virginia delivered her baby in her own home, and then she smothered it with a pillow.  The judge said the mother had every right to do that, he said that a mother can do whatever she likes with her baby so long as the umbilical cord is still attached.  He said that one cannot call a baby a baby unless it can live independently of it's mother.  It's all about a woman's right to choose.  In fact, the law is only about a woman's right to choose.

And I guess I just don't get the law, I guess I'm just not progressive enough to get how any of this is about a woman's right to choose.

Now this is a little off topic, but I've read of groups such as Rachel's Hope, and Rachel's Vineyard, and Project Rachel, and Circle of Prayer, groups that offer prayer and counseling to women who regret having made the choice to abort.  And I've read about 'adopting' an abortionist, where you find the name of one abortionist, and you pray for him/her.  

But, I'm thinking now of all the doctors, and nurses, and technicians, and politicians, and judges, who maybe made the choice to say no to offering even some small comfort to an abortion survivor.  People who may have looked at a suffering soul and felt no compassion.  And, as sad as their choice makes me, I'm thinking that maybe one day they will have regrets too.  So, if you feel inclined, I invite you to join me in prayer for them.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Laser Dacryocystorhinostomy? No Thank You!

(Warning! Gross photo inserted into this post!)

First let me tell you that I know I'm being a big baby, but that's who I am.  I am also a freak when it comes to my eyes.  I can't even do eyedrops, I am such a baby.  During an eye examination I feel like jumping out of the chair and running right out of the office when they come with the drops, or when they examine my eyes with that awful machine!  I have to do my 'labor and childbirth breathing exercises' in order to stay calm (I do those exercises a LOT at other times too, whenever I am experiencing any kind of pain, or when I am trying to steady my nerves, I use what I learned in Lamaze and it has come in very handy over the years).

Okay, so I went to the eye doctor a few months ago to get a prescription for progressive lenses (to be able to see things far away and also to be able to read without having to change glasses all the time). I just wanted to be able to get up in the morning, put on one pair of glasses and not have to take them off until bedtime.

Armed with my Lamaze I was able to withstand the eye drops the technician put in and the awful machine.  Then she went through the eye test with me (easy, no Lamaze techniques required), and she created a prescription, she had me try it (I was amazed!  I could actually read words from far away!), and everything was fine, or so I thought.  Then she told me that normally they would dilate my eyes with drops but because she saw that I had very narrow tear duct openings she would wait until the doctor examined me (oh good, no more drops in the eye!).  The doctor came in and re-examined me with that awful machine and he agreed with everything she told me, and he added that I should never to let anyone put drops in my eyes to dilate them because there was a chance then that the tear ducts would be completely blocked and that would be big trouble for me, it could cause glaucoma and even blindness.  He also said that it could just be something I was born with, that due to the shape of my eye this was my normal situation, or it could be something that developed recently and he wanted to monitor it so I would have to come back in three months for him to better assess the situation.  He asked me if I had trouble with my eyes tearing all the time.  I don't.  If I go out into the air though, then they start tearing a little, so I wear sunglasses no matter the weather, even if it's raining I have sunglasses on.  He also asked me if I was sensitive to light and I said yes (another reason I am constantly wearing sunglasses), he asked how long my eyes had been sensitive to light and I said for as long as I could remember.  He said that gave him a clue that I was most likely born with these weird eyes (he didn't use the word weird but that was the gist of it).  He asked me if I was prone to infections.  I've never had an eye infection (knock wood!).  He then went on again to say that it's probably just the natural shape (or rather unnatural shape) of my eye, but he said if it turns out to be a degenerative condition that they could do a very simple laser surgery.

Last week I went back to see him again.  The technician put drops in my eyes and did that awful machine again (Lamaze again!),  but she assured me they wouldn't dilate the pupils, then she went over the same exam as last time, and the same questions again.  Then the doctor came in and asked me why I was there to see him.  I told him that he wanted me to make this appointment so he could check my tear ducts to see if they had gotten any worse.  He looked at the chart and said, "Oh, yes!"  He put more drops in my eyes to numb them (MORE Lamaze!), he looked at them, said a bunch of numbers to the technician and then he moved the machine closer and I felt a lot of pressure (as in it HURT) in the corner of my left eye (forget breath in one-two and breath out one-two, I was on to "quick breath, quick breath, quick breath, quick breath, blow and repeat"!).  After the exam he said I better have the laser surgery on the left eye to prevent it from completely closing.  I asked if it was worse than last time and he said no but it was worse than the right eye.  He told me the surgery would be done in his other office by his colleague, and that they had just acquired a new machine, and with this new machine there was much less bleeding.  (BLEEDING???!!)  I think the technician must have seen the horror on my face because she quickly said, "It's very safe, and it doesn't take more than an hour."  (AN HOUR???  What happened to "very simple laser surgery"?  I thought 'very simple laser surgery' meant a little 'zap-zap' and it's over.)  And the last thing I remember him saying was, "This is just preventive surgery."

So I very reluctantly agreed to the laser surgery.  I made the appointment for March 6 before leaving the office and then went home and googled all about it.  YUCK!  It is NOT a little zap-zap very simple laser surgery.  There is anesthesia involved, there is cutting, there is bleeding, it involves nasal passages, there is after-care, there is swelling of eye and nose, there is bruising.  Oh no.  This is not a good thing.  
Then I read studies about how this type of laser surgery may not be as good as traditional surgery.  I also read about the many problems some patients developed after the surgery (nasal problems, dizzy spells, bleeding, bruising, infections, etc.).  No, no, no, no, no.  I am not having any of this.  
I read that most patients who have been suffering with infections or constant tearing from blocked or partially blocked tear ducts are usually very happy after this surgery.  But patients that weren't suffering were very UNhappy once they had surgery to 'correct' the 'problem'.
I am having no problems that I feel need correcting.  Having to wear sunglasses all the time is no big deal to me.  It's definitely not worth taking the risk that things could be much, much worse.

And I have no intention of going through this:

No how!  No way!

I called the office to cancel.  I told the receptionist that I had many social functions coming up over the next few months and I definitely didn't want to show up looking like a prize-fighter.  I told her that I had originally thought this was a little nothing surgery and I just read that it's not.  Her response was that "It is nothing!  You won't feel a thing before, during, or after.  This is so you don't have to wear glasses, right?"  I told her that it was the tear duct surgery and she said, "Oh.  Okay."  She didn't argue or try to convince me otherwise.  Whew!  Oh, a wave of relief flushed over me!

So I'm putting this eye surgery on hold until I really, REALLY NEED to have it done! (God-Willing that will be NEVER)!
Laser Dacryocystorhinostomy?  No thank you!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sing Me Irish, Mommy

There has been a big split in our family.  And I mean a big division.
At first I tried staying neutral, then I tried playing peacemaker, then things got so bad that I just gave up.
And now things have not only gone from bad to worse, but from worse to WORST.
I don't think these two ladies will ever see eye-to-eye.  And, in the beginning, I had a hope that at least while they might never be the best of friends, they would at least be cordial to each other, treat each other with a modicum of respect, and that they'd make sure not to involve the children, but it's gone beyond that now too.  "All the king's horses, and all the king's men..."
It makes for very strained family gatherings to say the least.  It's gotten to the point where Ray & I enjoy it so much more if one or the other is not around when the family visits.  
I have to say, I did see both sides at first, but now, I think they have both behaved in a most negative manner, they both have acted hateful, malicious, and antagonistic, and the only side I'm taking now is the side of the grandchildren.

I'm wishing so much to have my Mom here now.  Just to talk things over with her, and maybe to have her give them one of her pearls of wisdom, such as:  "Oh, get over yourselves!  Quit yer bellyaching at each other and just get along!"  My Mom was very "no-nonsense"!  I miss her a lot.  And I'm asking her to ask the Greatest Peacemaker of All to intervene.  Because it's going to take a miracle and I am no miracle worker.

I've actually adopted an attitude I never thought I would ~ "accept and move on".  I'd love it if we were one, big, happy family.  I have to accept that we are not and move forward.
I'm concentrating on the Blessing of grandchildren and the joy they have brought to our lives.  I'm concentrating on the Gifts God throws my way everyday.
I've been missing my Mom so much lately (she's gone six years this month).  And while searching for Irish music to put on the playlist on my blog I found an Irish folksong my Mom used to sing to me ("That's How I Spell Ireland" ~ the song has my name in it, and my Mom said she always loved that song and that's one of the reasons she picked my name).  In fact, it was my favorite lullaby that she sang to me.  I used to climb up onto her lap as she sat in the big rocker in the living room, and she would rock me to sleep as she sang, and my request would always be, "Mommy, sing me Irish.  Sing me Irish, Mommy."
I cried and cried when I found that song.  Jayden said to me, "Umma, are you crying?!"  I shook my head yes and told him why I was crying, and he said, "Well, at least you're a little bit happy, right?"  Later on he was telling everyone, "Umma was crying today, but they were happy tears."
It's hard to explain to a little seven year old boy the jumble of emotions I was feeling, but he's right, there were very happy tears there mixed in with tears of longing and loss.  It felt good to have that release of emotion that finding this song brought out of me.

Mommy, sing me Irish.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Contemplative Prayer

My brother-in-law Donald suggested I read Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton.  It is very deep.  Some parts are too deep for me.  It's about developing an approach towards 'centering prayer', going deep inside yourself to connect with God on a deeper level.  Allowing God to reveal Himself to you.  Instead of the constant plea and/or praise that entails a jumble of words from us to God, it's more about quieting the spirit to be open to receiving The Spirit.

It's also about developing a monastic spiritual life without having to join a monastery.  It's about being alone with the Holy Spirit even when you are with a crowd.  You don't have to be physically separated from others in order to achieve this.  But I think it is something that will be a challenge for me to achieve.  I am so easily distracted.
And since I live in this 'worldly' world and not a monastery, and since the life I live is far from cloistered, I don't hold out a lot of hope for myself achieving this goal.

I have to admit, I was a little depressed reading this book, knowing that I'll never realize that 'Oneness With God' that monks, and those that lead a life of prayer experience, because I'm just not all that spiritual.  So I went searching for articles on prayer that might help me.  I found something that I really connected with:
"There is no difference between scrubbing the floor and praying.  There is no difference between balancing your checkbook and praising God.  It's all the same energy from the same Source, and the only difference is how we use that energy.  Every moment is the same in God's Eyes, for every moment, every exertion of energy can be used to praise Him, and we waste those moments when we don't have Him front and center in EVERYTHING we do."

I know that it is a vocational calling to live the life of the religious.  But I think the secular life, while not fully immersed in the spiritual twenty-four/seven, can be a life that is Spirit-filled.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Exceptionally Nice Weekend

Nothing out of the ordinary, but a really special weekend with family and friends.
On Saturday Ray's sister Susie stopped over with his Mom, and Jillian and Rudy were along too.  And they had some extra special news for us, but first I have to tell you a little story about Jayden and Jillian.  A few months back Jillian had a miscarriage, and at that time Jayden went into a whole long story about babies and the 'waiting place' (I've posted about this so you might remember).  Anyway, soon after Jill lost her baby we found out her sister Jackie was expecting.  It was Christmas time and we were talking about how many babies there would be here next Christmas with all the cousins having babies this year, and Jayden said to me, "There will be five babies."  I corrected him and said, "No, there will be four babies, there will be Sophie, and Eóghan, and Baby Ray, and then Jackie's baby, that makes four."  Jayden said, "No, there will be five babies, there will be our three babies and Jackie and Jill's babies."  I reminded him that Jillian's baby went to Heaven before it was born and he said, "I know, but it's coming back again.  She's going to have the baby in October.  It will be here in time for Christmas."
I had told this story to my sister-in-law Susie. 
Well, during their visit on Saturday morning Susie leans over and says to me, "You're not going to believe this. Remember what Jayden told you about Jill?  Well, she's expecting and her due date is September 28th!" 
I don't know what this connection is that Jayden has with people who have passed and those that are about to arrive, but there is definitely something there.

Jackie and Scott are expecting their baby in mid-May, and Jill and Rudy are expecting in September, how wonderful for these sisters to be having babies so close in age, and how wonderful for all the cousins!  They all grew up together and now their children will be growing up together.  Sweet.

Erik & Lori stopped by too with Sophie & Mia, and Brian & Flora stopped in with Baby Ray so Ray's Mom could have a chance to see all the kids.

Here's Ray's Mom ~ Helena ~ with her great-grandchildren:

Later in the afternoon a few of Brian & Flora's friends stopped by for a visit and they brought along some gifts for Baby Ray.
Saturday evening we went out to a delicious dinner with my sister Diane & Steve.  It was really a nice day.

Sunday morning Ray drove into Manhattan to pick up a coffee table he bought at a thrift store there one day during the week on his lunch hour, and Erik went along to help him.  It's a big round coffee table with a marble top.  Erik says from the workmanship he would estimate it to be about a hundred years old.    I've been wanting something new because Jayden and Mia are getting kind of big for the little IKEA table they've been using, and I figure with more little ones about, we'll be needing to fit a few more chairs around the "kids" table soon!  I usually don't let Ray pick out furniture by himself but I am extremely happy with his purchase!
Lori and the girls joined us later in the day for pizza, and Mia & Jayden said they were both happy with the table too!

Now, take a look at this big girl standing on her own, almost ready to walk on her own!  Sophie already transfers, and uses anything she can get her hands on to steady herself as she takes a few steps here and there:

And, of course, I have to show you her shoes!

And I have to show you this little man, Eóghan is like a water faucet, drooling all the time!

Not only is he soaking wet, but we are all soaking wet too!  He finally cut one tooth through.  And here's a brave soul sticking her finger in his mouth!

It was really another nice day at home!

And today a lot of family had the day off for Presidents' Day!  So it was another day of leisure, and more family visits!

Mia and I made Wanda's Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies:

('Can't thank Wanda enough for this recipe, it is a favorite of both Mia and myself!  Katie and Jayden love them too!  Wanda has the recipe posted on the sidebar of her beautiful blog along with many of her other delicious recipes, if you are interested you can go HERE, just scroll down a little.)

And my niece Erin stopped in for a visit, unfortunately George did not have the day off, but he was able to join us later after work:

He loves Wanda's cookies now too and has asked me to give him the recipe.
And he made us the most delicious chocolate peanut butter cupcakes!  Everything was made from scratch, icing and all:

George is a wonderful baker and he is always making us so many delicious desserts that add to our holidays and celebrations!  I hear he's a wonderful cook too, but I've haven't tasted one of his dinners yet.

Another day to be grateful for!
(Doesn't Katie look like the cat that swallowed the canary?  I wonder what was so amusing?!  Maybe some antic of Jayden's.)

And, our weather has been sunny and bright (although turning a little colder again now), and we have two Winter Crocuses poking their heads up through the brown grass out front:

'Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend too!  And hope you all had a Happy Presidents' Day!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Comfort In Blogging/And Yearning For Another Voice

You'd never know it from the way I jabber on and on, talking a mile a minute, but I'm really not at all comfortable with my speaking voice. I have a heavy New York accent, and that coupled with the fact that I have an uncontrollable vocal tic at times really makes me self-conscious.  I feel so comfortable blogging because when blogging/writing, the voice inside my head is not so deep, not so loud, and it definitely does not have a heavy New York accent. There is something so reassuring knowing that the blog world cannot hear me.

I've been reading lots of articles online about professional speech teachers and coaches, and I've been reading about the many people who have used their help in ridding themselves of accents. And I've found a lot of tips for my particular problem, such as focusing on pronouncing r's (instead of saying the word matter as 'matta' I have to make sure to pronounce it as 'maht-ur'). I have to remind myself that all "r" sounds are pronounced as "ur" or "er".
And I have to remember NOT to add a "w" or "u" sound to everything (I say the word 'off' like "awf", when I really should be be adding an "h" sound like the rest of America does, such as "ohf"). My pronunciations are more like the movie "My Cousin Vinny" (saying things like 'yutes' instead of 'youths'),  I sound like the character Mona (played by Marisa Tomei) and I think it's true that certain not-so-nice assumptions are sometimes made about you when you speak like the characters from "My Cousin Vinny".

So I have a goal, and that goal is to be able to speak "standard American English" so that I can sound like I am from anywhere, and not just from Queens, New York.
There is a college speech instructor I read about who says that the Brooklyn/Queens accent is really a mixture of at least twenty-eight dialects spoken here over the last two centuries, such as Irish, Italians, Germans, Africans, and Eastern Europeans speaking Russian, Polish, and Yiddish, and each immigrant group shaped the accent in different ways. And the result is a native tongue full of dropped g's (such as readin' and writin'), dropped r's (such as mutha and fatha), mangled th's (tanks a lot), muffled t's (a boddle a milk), and many other unique inflections. This professor also says that many New Yorkers speak too fast and condense many words into as few as possible (D'ju eat? No, d'ju?) She also says that professionally and socially, people who speak in this way are unfortunately looked down upon as inferior.

I've also been reading that there are certain phrases that peg me as a 'New Yorker' such as saying "I was waiting ON line" instead of saying "I was waiting IN line", or saying 'sneakers' instead of 'tennis shoes', or calling a big sandwich a 'hero' instead of a 'sub'.

I asked my daughter-in-law Lori to help (she's a speech therapist) but she said that accent reduction is a specialty, so I'm going to try and wing it on my own.  I've read that it takes lots of discipline and lots of practice.  I'm going to go over my consonant and vowel sounds daily, I'm going to practice words and phrases each day, and I'm going to try to remember to take a breath before I speak, I'm going to try and speak more slowly, and I'm going to try to enunciate each word properly (seriously, this is like learning to talk all over again!  Or like learning a new language!  But I read a tip that said if I can train myself to pronounce at least a few of the key words in a sentence correctly that will be enough) .   Wish me luck!

Monday, February 13, 2012

How's That Old Song Go? You'll Find That Life Is Still Worthwhile If You Just Smile

You'd never know that this little guy isn't feeling well again because he's all smiles.

Eóghan's really such a good baby!  Poor thing has been up so much at night coughing, but he still maintains his good disposition.

And here's a little guy that I got to smile twice yesterday!

Baby Ray is such a good little guy too!

This next photo Brian & Flora will be using for the invitation to his Baptism next month:

Ray did such a nice job on the invitations.  

They've asked me to address envelopes so between tending to my sick little man here, and addressing envelopes, and due to a few other things going on in the family, I won't be posting or visiting for a few days.

'Hope everyone has a great week!
Love and Prayers,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Magic Sleep Suit

Eóghan used to fall asleep anywhere:

And he used to sleep through the night in a little cradle/bassinet that sat alongside his Mommy's bed.

But then he started to become very fussy when he got tired and he'd fight sleep all the time.  And because he was growing leaps and bounds, it was also about time to transfer him from tiny cradle to big crib at night, and he was having none of that either!  He stopped sleeping through the night.

But Ray came to the rescue when he found this Magic Sleep Suit:

It really is a magic sleep suit!  It works like a charm!  When Eóghan gets fussy during the day, I just say to him, "Do you want to put on your 'night-night' suit?"  And immediately he calms down.  I slip him into the suit, he smiles, he closes his eyes, and it's off to dreamland!
It's the same thing at bedtime, either Ray or I put him in the suit and he goes right to sleep.  Katie said he's doing much better in the crib at night now, he will stay for longer periods, and even if he wakes up, she soothes him a little and puts him back into the crib, and off to sleep he goes again.

I don't know what it is about this suit, but whatever it is, it works!  I highly recommend it!

But I don't recommend it for big boys or clowns!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's Just Who She Is

I never really talk in-depth about family members on my blog as I don't want to intrude on their privacy, and I won't go in-depth now.

But, suffice it to say that I think my daughter-in-law, Lori, is a very good Mom.

We kid her about being over-protective at times, and we tease her about how 'germ conscious' she is, but really, those aren't such bad traits to have.  She's doing a wonderful job raising our two granddaughters Mia and Sophie.

That's one reason I love her.  Another reason is how happy she makes our son Erik.

And here's another reason I love her:

The family was over for Super Bowl Sunday, and Ray wanted to get a picture with all the grandkids, and Lori also mentioned that Mia needed a picture of their little family for a school project.  So she, Erik, Mia, and Sophie got settled on the loveseat to pose.  And with that, Jayden came and stuck his head in the way.

The rest of us all thought he was just being a scootch and said, "No, Jayden!" ~ "Move!" ~ "Get out of the way!" ~  "They just want their family in this picture." ~ things along that nature.  Jayden stepped aside and huffed, "Well, I'm their family too."

And, right away Lori said, "Awww!  Of course you're our family!"
So then we all softened a little and told him as soon as we got a picture for Mia for school he could get in the picture too.  But, of course, once all the picture-taking was done we forgot.  Erik got up and walked away, and we all went about our business.  Everyone except Lori that is.
She pulled Jayden over to her and said, "Wait!  Now I want a picture with the rest of my family."  

(This picture isn't the greatest, but I wanted to show how happy Jayden was to be included!)
(And look at Sophie's little face!  So adorable!)

(Jayden's not smiling as big in this one but I love how Mia is looking toward Jayden.)
(And I love how inclusive Lori is with Jayden in every situation.)

It's just who she is.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday

Ray of course was very happy with Super Bowl Sunday as his team, the Giants, won!
He made sure we all had team shirts to wear while cheering the Giants on:

And while I was happy for him to see his team win the Super Bowl (I'm not a big football fan), I was more excited about another type of bowl:

Sunday morning some of us went bowling and it was lots of fun!

It was Mia's first time bowling and she was thrilled!

Jayden enjoyed himself too:

And this little man enjoyed himself too, but I think it will be a few years before he can lift a bowling ball.

And then it was back to the house where other family members joined us for pizza and to root the Giants on to victory!

(Eóghan looking for lunch!)

(I told you he was the baby that ate the baby!)

(Poor Baby Ray!  He's looking a little concerned here!)

The Peanut...

...and The Pillsbury Dough Boy!

(Poor Eóghan has such a rash from teething.  He's drooling all the time.  His cheeks are so red and raw, but never a complaint from him! We took him to the doctor today and got some cream, so hopefully it will clear up soon.)

(Here's our little cheerleader!)

It was a very fun day all around!