Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Is it just me, or is Lady Gaga an idiot?

"Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you're wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn't love you anymore." 
Lady Gaga
Wow. Seriously?? I am not sorry to say that I could not possibly disagree with this quote more!! It is just plain false, Lady Gaga! First of all, YES, your career can and most definitely WILL wake up one day and tell you it doesn't love you anymore! Especially if you are in the "show business" business. But any career a woman chooses carries a high risk. What happens when you're too fat, too skinny, too old, too young, not experienced enough, too experienced, too opinionated, too hard-working, not hard-working enough, too soulless, too shallow, too profound.... for your fans or your employer or the world? I'll tell you what, your career looks at you and says "You're fired." "You're not hired." "You're laid off." "You're being replaced." Maybe those are not the exact words "I don't love you anymore" but they're pretty darn close. 

Secondly, "some women choose to follow men" is such a negatively stereotyped phrase. Yes, some women enter into relationships with men, and some choose to marry those men. But if you're a smart woman, before you ever date a man or eventually marry him, you will be following one man very, very closely. Listening to him. Obeying his every word. Devoting all your heart and soul to him. Holding back nothing of yourself, but giving your whole self to him. Completely surrendering to him.
At this point it's almost a little too obvious to say who I'm talking about, but I will, just because he's the coolest guy ever and I like his name! Jesus. And the fact is, if you are in fact following this man, then the persons you choose to date and the man you eventually marry will be following him too. And such a man will not hurt you the way so many people hurt each other in this world. The way somebody or somebodies clearly hurt Lady Gaga at some point in her life. She's the same person who once said, "
Well my music was different in high school; I was singing about love—you know, things I don't care about anymore." So somewhere along the line, somebody hurt this poor woman enough to make her give up on love altogether and actively preach against it! And for that reason (among others), I pray for Lady Gaga.

Lastly, the thing that bothers me most about the quote is that she puts "following a man" in OPPOSITION to "following a dream." I don't know how many of you have seen the movie Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts, but it's one of my favorites. It was set a few decades back, but the themes are timeless. It's about a group of beautiful, amazingly gifted, young women in college, all preparing to take the next step in life. Julia Roberts' character seems convinced that in order to be fulfilled, a young woman MUST enter into a professional career of some sort, that married life will not fulfill her. As the movie comes to an end, we find that both professional life and married life have their pros and cons, and both lifestyles are EQUALLY, albeit differently, fulfilling for women.
What always strikes me in the movie is the idea that women who choose to marry young and start a family are all too often harshly criticized as settling for something less. As if listening to God's call and making her vocation her true, number one priority is somehow foolish and makes her less of a woman, leading a life that is less fulfilling than her career-seeking peers. Although this movie is set in the 40's or 50's, this theme is still so strongly present in our generation! 
I think as a married woman, I am easily offended by this particular mentality, particularly because I can say from experience that married life is EXTREMELY fulfilling! It also bothers me that so many people think that married women who have chosen to completely give up on their "careers" in order to have a family, when the reality is that they've simply put marriage and family ahead of their careers; prioritized one ahead of the other. And for those who truly have made being a wife and mother their life's work, I say more power to them! And more power to working moms! And more power to work-from-home moms! In fact, more power to MOMS! 
Married life and motherhood isn't an easy life, but one thing it most definitely is - is FULFILLING. And with Thanksgiving approaching tomorrow, I can honestly say that I am so thankful to be a wife and mother. I am thankful for the vocation God has given me. I am thankful for my own mother, who has been a working mother, a work-from-home mother, back to a working mother and has done it all with more flair than Lady Gaga has ever been able to muster in all her shenanigans!
 So. Whether you're a woman who's focusing on a professional career right now, or a woman who is devoted to family life, or a superwoman who can do them both, give thanks! Give thanks to God for whatever life he has given you, and let's not get down on our fellow women who may have been given a different path than our own.   

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Four Random Things All Thrown Into One Post

Yesterday, my best friend, Jaime, shared this link with me, so I thought I'd pass it on. What an incredible miracle! Let's just pray for the parents of that child, that they give thanks to God their baby was not harmed, and that they have learned their lesson to never, ever leave their children alone again!!

I also came across this amazing article from about a month ago. Very interesting stuff! Of course, Gemma isn't even close to ready for real food yet; she's only 3 months. But considering how fast the first three months went, I'm quite confident the next few will fly by as well, so there's no harm in reading up early! I've ordered both of these books from the library; have I mentioned how much I love the Cincinnati Public Library system? Seriously, it rocks. They have everything. Anyway, for those of you who are mamas to food-eating little ones, I want to hear your opinion about the article. What do you think?? Have you tried this? Has it worked for your kids? If you haven't tried it, would you consider it?

Next, I wanted to talk a little bit about my most recent library checkout, Bedtiming, by Drs. Marc Lewis and Isabela Granic. Devoured it in a matter of days. I like that it's not really a "sleep-training" book; it doesn't really tell you how to "sleep-train" your child, but rather when the best times to do so are. If you're like me, the term "sleep-training" might make you feel uneasy. For me, all that comes to mind is the "cry-it-out" method and I have these tragic visions of listening to my child screaming in the other room all night. 
However, the authors define "sleep-training" fairly loosely - it could be establishing a consistent sleep routine/schedule, getting your child to sleep through the night, nap sufficiently during the day, sleep in his/her own crib or bed, etc. They also assure the reader that there is no one way to "sleep-train" your child, that there are many viable methods that can be very effective, if used at the right time. Whatever your opinions on "sleep-training", if you are a parent to little ones, I highly recommend this book. Like I said, they do not push any one method; the book simply describes the periods of cognitive and emotional development of the child, and how each period of development offers either opportunities or roadblocks to the "sleep-training" process.
Rent it. Borrow it. Buy it. Just give it a read; it's well worth it.

Lastly, I'm looking for advice! We're going to be flying to San Diego in a few weeks. We are very  fortunate to have a nonstop flight, however, it is about a 4 1/2 hour flight, maybe a titch longer. I have read that it'll be best for me to nurse Gemma during take-off and landing, so I'll be doing that. But my concern is with the many hours in between take-off and landing. My little one does NOT take long naps; they usually only last 30 minutes. I just don't want to be that parent that everyone on the plane wants to stab by the end of the flight because Gemma won't stop crying or something. So. Anyone know any special tricks that work for a 3 month old?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Apples? Oh yea. Apples and Pumpkins? Double oh yea.

Family life is a bit like a runny peach pie - not perfect but who's complaining?
-Robert Brault

Quite true. Family life isn't perfect, but let's be truthful here - how unbelievably boring would life be if it were perfect? Having said all that, I'd like to conclude that my family has had a pretty perfect October. (This is where I'd insert the appropriate emoticon of that gleaming, sarcastic smile one makes after making an absurd statement, if such an emoticon actually existed. I digress.) But seriously, it was an awesome month. Not really 'perfect', of course, but that's what makes it so fun. 
Before I get into all the highlights, let me first say this: I'm really bound and determined to update my blog more often. There's a few reasons for this.
Reason 1: I'm a chronic procrastinator, so I'll use this as therapy to work through this particular flaw.
Reason 2: Hopefully I won't be so overwhelmed when it comes time to update. When I wait too long, then there's soooo much to write that I end up a) becoming stressed about it and b) writing way too vaguely about life and leaving out potentially entertaining and awesome details!
Reason 3: Well, having more frequent posts is just more exciting for my hoards of avid readers! (Insert previously described emoticon.)
Why did you need to know all that? So that you can keep me honest, people! (Seriously, yell at me if it's been too long since the last post.)

So a few weeks ago, the Rhoades fam took an excursion to an apple orchard. It was Rocky's and, of course, Gemma's first time ever apple picking so this was a big deal!! Sadly, it was raining when we got there, even though the ever-reliable weather man had promised a clear afternoon. Nevertheless, we Rhoadeses are optimists and weren't about to let anything rain on our apple-picking parade... not even rain. So I put the Gemster in her Baby Bjorn and the two of us took shelter under my trusty Yankees umbrella that somebody gave me during the summer that I worked for the environment, as I like to call it. But THAT is a story for another time...
Anyway, Rocky and I had the greatest time picking apple off trees and chomping right into them to see which ones were worthy of taking home. (Don't worry Mom, it was an organic farm -- no pesticides, no one else touching them, no need to wash! haha) Oh, and for the record, this IS acceptable apple picking protocol at this orchard!
We had a great time, despite the rain. In fact, the only real disappointment of the rain was that I was unable to take pictures, due to fear of my camera getting wet. So, we went back two weeks later to snap some shots and buy more apples! (But mostly just to take pictures.)

So, being in the Fall spirit and with Halloween right around the corner, we of course had to go pick some pumpkins! Another first for the hubster and the Gemster. Had a super fun time again even though we got a whole bunch of those bramble things stuck to our pants and shoelaces. (Is that what they're called - brambles? Ya know, those spikey ball things?) Anyway, here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure:

So then, we went home. And I got this great idea to take pictures of our little baby INSIDE the big pumpkin! Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But we hit a few bumps along the way... 
Bump 1: Gemma has a big booty. (Of course, it's mostly diaper, but still.)
Bump 2: We cut a bigger hole for her to fit through. But she was still a bit to tall for it.
Bump 3: Apparently, sitting inside a pumpkin is CHILD TORTURE. Seriously, this kid was not having it.
Anyway, here are the results of failed operation Take-Pictures-of-Gemma-In-A-Pumpkin:

Fortunately for moms and dads everywhere, crying pictures are still completely adorable. Pitiful, but adorable.
So we moved on from there to hopefully redeem ourselves with a successful carving experience. And succeed we did! I'm not sure if Rocky really enjoyed gutting the pumpkins but he did a great job nevertheless. He even helped me finish sorting out the seeds from the stringy stuff once he was done. Why wasn't I finished with the sorting, you ask? Well... Mom, Dad, if you're reading this, I'm sure you're already laughing. You see friends, sometimes in my life, usually while working on some sort of inane project like this, I happen to engage in what some might call perfectionist tendencies. In other words, I was not about to have even one tiny little piece of stringy stuff on my seeds! I digress... again.
So. We sorted them out, baked them up, and munched happily away on them as we carved big ole faces into our fresh, rotund little gourds. 

Yes, those are upside down flower pots. Seeing as I killed my plants long ago due to my extreme lack of a green thumb, I figured I could still put them to use somehow! 

By the way, I do indeed have some great pictures of Gemma on her first Halloween. Once I upload those pics, I'll post them!! Toodles till next time! :)
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