IBreviary

One month ago, I was given my iPad, and one of the first things I did was to download the iBreviary app. When we were in Liverpool, we attended a Benedictine parish and I would sometimes make it there for morning prayer. Because of that, I’d been wanting a missal and/or prayer book for the Divine Office, but both are rather expensive. I’d also wanted to wait for the new translation before getting a missal.

So when I started looking at the App store, I looked for a breviary and was thrilled to fine that they had it and hat it was free! I love having it. I don’t pray all the hours yet. My plan is to first get in the habit of Lauds, and then add more as I go. It also came in handy when we were at my in-laws’, as we used the app to pray Vespers together.

The app also has the daily Mass readings, and various prayers. It’s really a wonderful resource, one I highly recommend.

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We Survived!

The road trips with the kids, that is. They had never been on a long car ride, given that wedding drive in England. They’d been on a long flight, and plenty of train journeys, but they could also move around and nurse on those trips, so it was with a bit of apprehension on my part that we set out on the first leg of our journey. The first leg was the longest, as we drove what would’ve been an 8-9 hour trek without the children. Add a couple of hours with the children because of all the stops. After a couple of days, it was time to drive another 5 hours to get to the grandparents’ house for Christmas. Finally, there was the 10 hours of driving time back, which we divided over two days. We survived it all, and I learnt a few things in the process.

– No matter when Charlotte last nursed, or for how long, she will ask for more Mummy milk within 30 minutes of being in the car. The interval between getting in the car and asking for Mummy milk becomes shorter with each stop. I suppose that’s the downside to her habit of “grazing”.

– we didn’t factor in Kieran’s ongoing phobia of hand driers, nor his more recent phobia of automatic flushing toilets. The result was a lot of screaming at the first couple of rest stops until we just started finding bushes for him. Forcing the matter wouldn’t have solved anything; he’ll et over these fears in his own time.

– Chocolate + curve = sick toddler and wardrobe change. We’d give Kieran something for his carsickness, but I couldn’t find anything for Charlotte since she’s under 2. Thankfully, she was fine after that.

– On a related note, Murphy’s Law states that the one time I don’t have towels on the kids’s seats is when such sickness will occur.

– I used to think nothing of driving 12 hours in a day, but I’m clearly out of practice. I’m very thankful my husband helped with the driving. Today I drove the 5 hours, and was fine, until I got home exhausted. Where are Virgin trains when I want them?

All in all, it wasn’t bad, and i’mvery glad we got to see my husband’s family for Christmas. The kids had. Blast with their cousins, especially, but also had fun with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and great-grandmother.

Book Nook

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On our latest visit to the library, when I was trying to find a book for Charlotte, Hilda Must be Dancing by Karma Wilson caught my eye.  Growing up, my grandfather had a stuffed hippo named Hilda, so I was immediately drawn by that.  As I thumbed through the pages, I thought it looked like a fun book, and so we took it home.

I’m so glad I did!  It’s a cute book about a hippo who loves to dance, but who, in dancing, wreaks havoc in the jungle.  The other animals try in vain to get her to choose another hobby, until they find a solution that is agreeable to everyone.  The illustrations, too, are great.  I’d recommend picking it up if you happen to see it.

Merry Christmas!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas celebration. This is the first year we’ve traveled for Christmas with the kids, but they’ve done well. They’ve certainly enjoyed being with grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. I wish everyone a very happy Christmas, and at you continue to have a wonderful Christmas.

Book Nook

Whenever we head to the library, Kieran often already has a type of book in mind.  The last time we went, he’d decided he wanted a couple of books about Thomas the Tank Engine.  This came as no surprise, since he loves trains and has been happily watching and playing with Thomas trains lately.  So we went and looked down the aisles and happened upon some Thomas books.  I was holding Charlotte to keep her from running off, so I didn’t look through them, unfortunately.  Instead, I had Kieran put them in the bag while we went to another section to get a book for Charlotte.  Let this be a lesson to always look through the books before checking them out.

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Now, the books he chose (Blue Train, Green Train and another one whose title escapes me) aren’t bad books, just way too young for my children.  They were in the older kids’ section and were written for children who are starting to read independently.  However, my children are used to books that are a bit more complex, and so something of that sort didn’t keep Kieran’s interest.  I maintain that books can be written at a level that beginning readers can read while still being interesting for them (The Cat in the Hat comes to mind).

Nor does the subject matter mean the books must be overly simplistic, since I’ve seen at least one Thomas book that is written at a higher level and thus should better keep Kieran’s interest.  I’m sorry that Kieran didn’t get books he liked at the library this time, but next time hopefully we can look through them a bit more beforehand.

Follow Me

Six years ago today my husband and I were on our way to the Bahamas for our honeymoon.  Yesterday we had our anniversary, and our first ever kid-free date since Kieran was born.  I’m very thankful that my parents were able to watch the children while we went to a film.

At our wedding, my cousin sang John Denver’s “Follow Me”.  I’ve always loved the song, but today I started thinking more about it.  We had no idea six years ago that we were going to move to Liverpool nine months later, or that we’d end up living there for five years.  We’d no idea that we’d have two wonderful children at this time, nor that I’d choose to be a SAHM and NFP instructor.  And now we have no idea where we’ll be next year, but we continue on, trying to follow God and each other.  I can’t wait to see where we will go.

Act of Charity

This post isn’t easy for me to write.  On different occasions, in reading about other peoples’ experiences, I’ve heard of something that, frankly, angers and saddens me.  It is that sometimes breastfeeding mums are admonished for openly breastfeeding at church, being told that it is an act of charity to others if they will cover or go to another location to breastfeed.  I’ve been ruminating over this, over the implications of it.  An act of charity to cover or move.  Is it really an act of charity?

For one, it ignores the fact that the child needs to eat when he needs to eat.  He cannot always wait, and it sometimes will create a scene to force the issue.  Yes, some can wait as they get older.  I would expect my four-year-old to wait, for instance, but would not expect the same of an under-two-year-old.

So what about using a cover?  I used a cover with Kieran until he was about 5ish months old, when I got tired of the hassle and he wouldn’t tolerate being covered.  I figured out that I could actually be more discreet by nursing without a cover, since I could feed more-or-less instantly and without an obvious indication that I was breastfeeding (the covers ensure no skin is revealed, but make it obvious what you’re doing, in my opinion).  I really don’t know many children who like being covered to feed, to be honest.  At least not when they’re older than a few months’ old.

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What is it really saying to tell a mother that it is an act of charity to cover or go elsewhere to nurse?  I think it says that many, many people have forgotten the primary purpose of breasts: nourishing a child.  Unintentionally or not (and I try to give the benefit of the doubt and say it is unintentional), it tells mothers that they are not being discreet or modest, I  think.  I can’t help but think of Our Lady of La Leche, then.  For a less stubborn or self-assured mum, it could even result in her dropping some breastfeeds or going to a different church (or ceasing to go), none of which are good options.

Finally, is it really an act of charity to cover or move for the sake of the adults who may be uncomfortable?  It would make them more comfortable, but is that the same as being an act of charity towards them?  There are times when we need to be made to feel uncomfortable in order to truly confront something, and this can in fact be an act of charity.  Charity doesn’t mean we ignore our issues, or others’ issues, but that we help them.  In the case of breastfeeding, I personally don’t think covering or moving is an act of charity for others, for it perpetuates the skewed perception of breasts as being strictly provocative and sexual instead of being the normal way mothers nourish and comfort their children.  Again, this doesn’t mean purposefully drawing attention to oneself or being belligerent about it, but simply feeding one’s child when and as needed.

It should also be noted that not using a cover or moving doesn’t mean exposing oneself, either.  Nursing without a cover can be done modestly.  I’ve stood face-to-face with a priest whilst breastfeeding my daughter, and the priest only commented that she was sleeping, so I don’t think it was obvious that she was also breastfeeding.  Or maybe he just didn’t care.  I personally have no problem with wearing something that can be easily pulled down at the neck, but another way of doing it is to wear a camisole under a shirt and pull the top shirt up.  While I prefer the former, simply due to ease, I could compromise and do the latter.  Another option is to feed the child in a carrier like a mei tai or wrap, though this is easiest if the child is already in the carrier and is a bit smaller.  I can still do that with Charlotte, but it isn’t as easy as it once was, and since I don’t usually wear her on my front, it would probably require more time and distraction.

In the end, I just honestly can’t see covering or moving to be a true act of charity, for the mother, the child, or the other people.  I know I’m a lactivist, and thus my views will be biased in that direction, though I’ve tried to think and talk this out with an open mind.  I just wish it weren’t an issue at all, especially not in a house of worship.  Our Lady of La Leche, pray for us.