Monday, January 21, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Breastfeeding Edition

So a friend of mine posted an article entitled 6 Reasons to Stop Breastfeeding the other day. And although I am all about women as individuals making good choices for their families, honestly, I found the the post troublesome.... So I thought I'd put some positivity out there, and highlight reasons to persevere in breastfeeding.

Because it's nutritionally superior. If your parents were anything like mine, they worked their butts off so I could have the very best - of education, nutrition, love, support. So why wait till your child is learning their ABCs? The best for their growing bodies is breastmilk! It's specially formulated for that child at that moment in time - your body produces specialized milk with all the good stuff they need to gain weight and brain development. It's the infant version of eating their wheaties!!

These are the days of miracle and wonder by the incomparable Amanda Greavette

It's free. Gotta admit, I can be a lil' cheap. And this stuff isn't only awesome, my body just makes it. Laying aside the cost of breast pads (for leaking) and some specialized wardrobe pieces (nursing turtle neck, anyone?), it doesn't cost anything. Well you do have to drink a lot of water. But that's free too, so n/m.

It's a miracle. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't think there is any other situation wherein your body starts leaking a liquid and it's actually GOOD - for you and for someone else! Lactation is something sort of crazy and miraculous that I can do - it makes me feel very womanly (and slightly bad-ass).

Mother and Child by Mary Cassat

It's good for me. Although losing weight due to breastfeeding may be a myth (especially if you eat like poop because you think you can get away with it), breastfeeding does lessen your risk of cancer! It also sends all sort of awesome messages to your body to shrink the uterus back to its normal pre-baby size, to not ovulate for a while, and to love the little baby in your arms (thanks to that hormone oxytocin which is released when you nurse). This means that nursing can also help lessen PPD, although I certainly understand it can also make it worse for some women and am not pushing it as a cure-all for this very serious issue.

This time is so short. The fact is, my baby won't be a baby forever. I have such a small window of time to nurture her in this special way! Even if I am so blessed to have more babies to nurse, this is her time to have me loving her in such an intimate way. When she looks up at me and smiles, or pulls back to have a little chat during her snack, my heart melts as I realize, this won't last. Soon it'll be sippy cups and goldfish. So is it such a huge sacrifice to make for her for a year, maybe two? I don't think so, but even if it is...

Sacrifice is good for me. It is not good for me to get my way too much of the time - then I start mistaking my will for God's will, and begin to think I am really hot stuff. I need to have other people around me, daily, who call me to 'die to self' - because it makes me stop thinking of myself, and become a servant of others, just like Christ. Breastfeeding forces my husband and I to see our bodies not as our own sensory wish-fulfillers, but as holy temples consecrated to God, that we use to serve one another and our families out of mutual respect and love. My body changes, and that kills my vanity; my time commitment to my husband changes, and that kills both of our selfishness in our relationship; my ability to do whatever I want changes, and that kills my possessiveness over my time.

I'm not claiming that breastfeeding is alway easy or fun or always feels great. But I think that's a good thing - it makes me realize that my vocation is hard, but good, and worth doing. I am a mother and that is a rough job. But I am called to this great adventure and with every nursing session, diaper change, patient word, kind smile, I am forming my soul and my daughter's.

Statue of Mary nursing Jesus at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Ok y'all, another person with a snazzy snazzy blog is Cari at Clan Donaldson. I love her (and you should too). Fellow Mom and Catholic...y'know, soul sister from the same Heavenly Father! 

And she loves a pair of awesome boots and she wrote about her love for those boots. And then the maker of those boots (Old Gringo) said they would GIVE HER THE BOOTS - but only if she gets 100 comments on that post! 

You know what I'm asking of you. 

Go comment on her post (link here) and get her those boots. 

Cause every mama 
a rockin' pair of boots!

Monday, January 14, 2013


After Mass, Zuzu has a lot to say to her best friend (born 9 days before her), Hope.

Hope's mommy also has a blog found here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Working Woman Wonderings

So I did it....

My first full week as a "working" mom!

It was...HARD. But fun too, at times. And a bit tiring, but not as much as I thought it would be.

Maybe the most surprising was that I felt that I was at work ALL DAY (my day is 9:30-2:30), but if I had stayed at home that day, I would be saying "it's ONLY 2:30?! I miss Mr. O!"  It is disappointing to feel that I worked oh-so-much and then look at my hours and see I really am only part-time.

I am so proud of my parish for being not being afraid to hire me, a nursing mama, and letting me bring Zuzu with me. I feel supported and appreciated; not once this week did anyone treat me rudely, unprofessionally, or discourteously. My nursing was respected, Zuzu was coo'd at but not overly-so, and the pastor was still comfortable asking me to take on projects and do my job.

So it's clear that it's doable. But is it what I am called to, here and now? I am still figuring that out. My Boss and I agreed that we would keep the lines of communication open, and that if it didn't work for either of us, no hard feelings.

I wonder if it's hard for me, mentally, to be doing this because I never thought I would work outside the home. One of the things Tom and I agreed on most strongly before we wed was that once we had children, I would stay home with them. We wanted it that way - the home is a sacred space that should be tended by a diligent and faithful guardian. All my life, I have aspired to be that guardian.

So I keep wondering - why am I letting that go? Why am I leaving my hearth unattended for 5 hours a day, 4 days a week? Part of it is because I feel guilty for the school debt I brought to my marriage; I want that to go away as soon as possible. I also want to be of service to my parish, and the job of assistant to the pastor is really a ministry.

When stated this way, home seems like this glorious refuge, and work a dutiful slog. But I know that's not true - it's more complicated than that.

Would I work if we had all the money in the world? Of course not.

But do I think it's right that I can go to work with my baby, but would chose not to, and put my family under more financial strain? I don't know.

I am still figuring this all out. But I am lucky that I work someplace that wants me to be holy more than it wants me to work for them.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Quick Style

This week hosted by Hallie because Jen is recovering from her hospital stay. Say some prayers for Jen! 

Today I bought a Boba. Ever tried it? I've been wanting one for a while and was SO excited to get it. I wanted plenty of time to try it out before Italy, since it's the carrier I want to take there. Zuzu has never been happy in a stroller for more than 7~ minutes, so I'm not going to bother lugging one over there.  Is baby-wearing big in Europe? If not, I'm gonna be a trend setter! 

This picture and a great review of the Boba for babies from The Art of Making a Baby

My mother and I both have 'Mary hearts.' Y'know, that book Martha Heart in a Mary World? Not us, NO SIR, we have MARY HEARTS. The proof is that I have 4+ leftover bottles of various punch ingredients sitting in my fridge and bajillions of leftovers. My mother and I both would die of embarrassment if we ever ran out of anything. 

In a fit of spontaneity, we jumped in the car and zoomed down the road to take Zuzu to the beach for the FIRST TIME!! 

Standing! (with mommy's help)

(watching the waves come in and go out) 

Daddy shows her the sunset

Zuzu received some rockin' gifts for her Baptism, but I think I liked this the most: 

Isn't that crazy? A parishoner made this just for her! She is so blessed because she is so loved! 

She also received these items: 
So cool! This is a tag on a gift bag from MY godparents, Pat and John


If you need some new tunes in your new year, check out In Living Collar by the seminarian group Sixtus! Zuzu's godfather, Fr. Joe, was in this acapella group and they are quite good! 

Running out of things to say, so tomorrow is the BCS national championship, Alabama v. Notre Dame. Since I prefer schools that don't honor President Obama and betray their Catholic heritage, I say ROLL TIDE ROLL. 

Image from He Sew Made That on Etsy!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Zuzu's Baptism: Part I

So today was Zuzu's Baptism. It's sort of a big deal for Catholics cause it's a Sacrament (outward-sign-of-inward-grace-instituted-by-Christ-deep-breath!) and the first one we receive. It marks the beginning of our life in the faith: it what we do to begin our children on the road to sainthood.

Hard to believe she's not already a saint, eh? (photo by Jen)

The day very quickly became very HECTIC. Our schedule was:

Private Mass w/ Fr. Joe...........2pm
Public reception..................4pm
Private reception at our house...5pm

It was my bright idea to have the 'private reception' (read: 18 people including 2 priests and a partridge in a citrus tree) at my house. Do I need to explain to you the horror of the house after Christmas? The sprawls of wrapping paper, gently cascading over askew couch cushions atopped with piles of stocking stuffers, while piles of candy wrappers do a gentle dance with the tumbleweeds of dog get the picture.

I was flipping out a lil. Despite my team of devoted servants friends and family, I was so frustrated. I was rushed, it was so dang HOT, Zuzu wouldn't nap, I couldn't get a hair appointment...nothing was going my way. As I zipping up my dress, I vented my frustration to Mr. Oram. His off-hand comment was "Who are you trying to impress?"
Ooooh normally that would make me SO MAD. I would hop up n' down and puff and tell him he was a BIG MEANIE.
Instead I thought...who indeed. So I changed (into a dress that fit better, was more nursing-friendly, and was cooler) and really allowed myself to get excited.

It was so beautiful. 

She slept through (practically) the whole thing.

Until she woke up for pictures.

I surprised myself by struggling to hold back tears. Why didn't anyone tell me this would be so moving? (cause most people can figure that out on their own duh) It started at the very beginning. As Father John said, "Susannah, the Christian community welcomes you with great joy," my sweet girl kicked up her legs and beamed a joyous smile to all her adoring fans. I began to cry. She is such a gift!

Zuzu with the best godparents a gal could ask for - Jenny-Jen-Jen and Tom's best friend, Father Joseph

I suddenly realized that I was standing here, on the threshold of the rest of her life. Day upon day will slip by, like glittering beads on a translucent string, and I will be busy at work, at work, at work in her soul, my soul, the souls of my family. Forming and building the kingdom of Heaven here on Earth, preparing myself and my own domestic church for Christ's second coming.

I kept crying and crying because it was resounding in my heart, the Truth and Beauty of my calling, the reality, the responsibility, the joy and really, the continued sentiment that -

I am honored to be her mother.