Don't know how to explain roe v. wade to your kids? Try this.

I wrote this post last year, but my intentions for today are still the same: take all the kid to Mass, do some donating, and fast from sweets. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn, pray for us.

If I don't plan on doing something, I rarely do it.

Spontaneity only visits this house a few times a year, and when it does, it's usually for emergency post-dinner fro yo runs in July.

So I'm making my plans now for the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I credit the bishop of my home parish for giving me the little nudge to plan ahead; if a way-busy bishop can begin his preparations for this sad date months in advance, then a little SAHM can find the time, too. 

I see no reason to exclude my little guys from marking the import of this day. They are, after all, the smallest survivors of this modern-day holocaust. And if anyone can understand the importance of protecting life in that most comfortable and familiar of places, the womb, it's a child. 

1. Go buy diapers, wipes or formula for your local crisis maternity home.

Maternity homes and crisis nurseries almost always have an immediate need of these baby basics. Gift cards to grocery stores or Wal-Mart are always in high demand, too. Sure, just writing these life-saving homes a check would be just as useful. But kids will understand the necessity of diapers and giving them to moms and babes who need them so urgently. 

2. Attend Mass--and offer it up. 

I'll be honest here. I've only once attended Mass alone with both my kids, and man, it was a) a humbling experience and b) not one I'm eager to repeat. Even during Sunday Masses with Sean, I fret over my children's behavior. Next Wednesday, I'm planning on taking the boys to (a hopefully brief) noon Mass, sitting waaaaaaay in the back, and offering up any mortification for the pain unborn children suffer during abortion, and for their grieving, hurting mothers (and fathers). 

3. Say a rosary for all unborn babies and mothers. 

If you already say a daily rosary as a family, mix it up by praying the pro-life rosary, created by Bishop Richard Garcia, who served a while back in my home parish. I'm just saying... that's one fine diocese. :)

And if you're feeling brave, go say that rosary outside of an abortion clinic. It's not for everyone, and it's not even feasible for all moms with kids at certain ages. I know I cannot take Amby and Joe at their ages right now, since Amby's not content to sit in a stroller, and our town's abortion mill sits directly on a very busy road. 

But. There's nothing in the world quite like praying at the very place where children die, week by week. And there's nothing more powerful than bringing children--real, beautiful, vibrant, happy (or fussy, either will work) to witness to the reality of life, and to the reality that unborn children become life's best blessings.

4. Give up sweets for the day, and say why.

In that letter from Bishop Soto, he designates January 22 a day of reparation. When I think of all the reparation that needs to occur to atone for the sins of 57 million aborted children since 1973... I get discouraged. I want to don sackcloth and ashes pull a Jonah in Nineveh, running through the streets and shouting about repentance. 

But I'm a mom with three little kids, and to do that, I'd have to push my double stroller while running and shouting. So I'm going to give up my Dove dark chocolate and mini cinnamon gummy Valentine's hearts for the day. I'm going to tell Joe and Amby that I'm sad that not everyone understands that every baby growing in its mommy's womb is precious. That this makes God sad, too.

5. Read Angel in the Waters to the kids. 

Few books have paired fetal development and theology as well as Angel in the Waters. Haven't heard of it or seen it yet? Take a peek:

Since we already own and cherish this beautiful little testament to the value of each life, I'm thinking of purchasing a few more copies and sending to friends and family.  

Have other ideas for marking this day as a family? I'd love to hear.


5 best store-bought gluten free snacks

There are few snacking experiences more unsavory than buying a bag of $6 gluten-free pretzels and finding that their taste remarkably resembles stale hay and their texture calls to mind sea-salted sand.

I speak from a wealth of gluten-free snacking experience. Learn from my mistakes (and my husband's "great goggly moogly!" expressions upon seeing my grocery bills).

Bonus: Save for the pretzels, all of these options are less than $3.50 each. Why are the pretzels expensive? Heck if I know. They're just pretzels, after all!

There's a reason I only buy these cookies in single-serve packs. I'd inhale a larger bag of them just as quickly.

There's no shortage of gluten-free chips in the world--obviously corn and potatoes are as gluten-free as you can get. But Barbara's Cheese Puffs are like the sophisticated yet hippie granola aunt to the tawdry, neon-orange Cheeto. Eat them and feel like the hippie, classy aunt.

Ever have those English Tea Sandwich cookies by Mother's? Ever been ADDICTED to those cookies for your entire childhood, only to eventually learn that those little gluten-ladden puppies were the root of your digestive distress? Ever had to give up all (decent-tasting) sandwich cookies and RUE THE DAY you ever had your first one, because you've never found a suitable replacement?

Yeah. Vanilla Chex tastes a heck of a lot like English Tea Sandwich cookies. I should hoard it in my basement for after the bomb drops.

More than just a salt vehicle, this sturdy chip can hold up under a dip or makes a fine layer in a pretzel/little cheese/little turkey sandwich.

I get these cuties at Fred Meyer, but I wonder if they're in Kroger stores around the country. They're half as expensive as the Annie's brand gluten free crackers, and come in a bigger bag.

Soooo, these are my go-tos. What am I missing? What's the greatest gf snack I haven't discovered yet? Tell me and share the love.

Linking up with Jenna the Happy.


editor in chief / the family yearbook.

Hey! Did you hear the one about the mom with three little kids who neglected her blog so much, her year-end recap came three weeks late?

Yeah... C'est la vie, dommage, and all that. Hit it!


... in which we eschew playing outside for wearing outside play equipment, inside. It was cold, y'all. 


... in which the Bathroom Car Wash opens for business. I'm pretty sure my rugs are still damp.   


... in which I learn I'm pregnant, develop IAS, and read a ton of books ("a ton," in my case, being five). 


... in which we win at taking family Easter pictures. 


... in which these awesome people come for a visit!


... in which The Belly and I enlist small people to douse my feet with cold water during the 100 degree, no AC, hellish heat wave. 


... in which the heat wave continues and I opt for cooking outside rather than turing on the stove. (It was totally sanitary. I'm sure.)


... in which storms loom on the horizon.


... in which Amby's unrequited love affair with juice begins. 


... in which the pumpkin weighs the same as The Pumpkin. 


... in which she arrives


... in which we start to get a little matchy-matchy.

I'm adding what has to be the last link to Dwija's 12 in 2014 link up. But I had to do it, since looking at my recap of 2013 made a wee bit misty eyed. 

These kids. They grow and change so fast, and it's up to mom to document it all. That's such a responsibility, but such a joy, too. I used to be the yearbook editor at my high school and university, producing, designing and proofing hundreds of pages of content--documenting other people's memories. 

I'm still the editor in chief of memories, here at home. There's no staff to direct, and I don't get a private office. There's no year-end awards banquet. But the role is still pretty prestigious, at least to me.  

Ok. Sappy Mom, signing out.