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June 28, 2013

7 Quick Takes - 53

Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting!
--- 1 ---

You know how when you're all worried about something that you really have no control over and can't do anything about? Do you all do that?

Well...okay, I do.

You know I've mentioned a few times about Dwija and her fighter-baby. Well, Cari at Clan Donalson has set up a great way to DO SOMETHING, when really, you have no way of DOING anything else, but it makes you feel good to just DO SOMETHING!

Looks like the response has been terrific so far and Cari is leaving the donate button up through Sunday. So if you're interested in helping out with Dwija's laundry room, check it out!

--- 2 ---

Today is the first time since I've been a manager at my current employer (5+ years) that I have an associate leaving the company. I'm happy for her because she's worked hard the past couple of years to gain an associate's degree and has obtained employment in her new field. I'm sad because she's an invaluable employee and done a fantastic job acclimating me to the position I took on last fall. We're having a party to celebrate her today. Just because.

--- 3 ---

33.6 Miles, that is how many I have run in June. I'm planning for maybe 3 tonight (before or after Crossfit and then a long run tomorrow. But don't be surprised if all I really do is a long run tomorrow. I am so much more tired and sore when doing CF every day, but I love it. I will work through it to go long tomorrow, I have to. I really need to get to 7 or 8 miles. I am trying to build up so 13.1 on August 17 will be doable. To be honest, I think it's doable no matter what...but the more I build up my mileage, the less sore I will be afterward!
--- 4 ---

Do you think it's odd that I actually admire people who are able to be open to conceiving a baby after a loss? The thought of it just makes me shudder right now. Maybe it's because of my age and the timing in my life of my loss? Perhaps it is because I had already begun to think Gregory would be my last go-round with this child-bearing thing because I turn 40 later this year. But, honestly, I am deathly afraid of having the same thing happen should we be blessed with another baby. I can't stand the thought of reopening the gravesite for a sibling to share the space with Gregory. Is it okay to talk about such things? Should I just shut up about it?
--- 5 ---

I participated in the Kansas City Corporate Challenge Swim Meet this weekend. I was feeling kind of good about myself on Tuesday night. It was the 50 breastroke. When I was a competitive swimmer growing up, Breastroke was my thing. I'm not going to lie, I was very good at it and no one ever had to teach me the stroke...I just knew it, I was a natural. I had not been in the pool for a workout in well over a year, probably 18 months or more. So, I showed up, jumped in the warm-up pool, swam a couple hundred yards to make sure I wouldn't drown and waited for the event. I swam it under the seed time I gave them (44.39). And for my age group, I came in 7th overall and 3rd in our company division. Yay!

I didn't feel as good Wednesday night because I didn't swim backstroke as well as I hoped I would. But again...after at least 12-18 months out of the pool, it really wasn't so bad. I got 4th in division, so still picked up some points for my company.

It was fun and made me realize I should probably try to work in some Master's Swim team workouts at some point. But for now, I'm sticking to the running/Crossfit. But it's an option to pick up a 10-swim pass and show up for master's workouts every so often.

--- 6 ---

How cool is it that my kids have never met a grandmother they didn't like? Rest assured, Grandmas of the world, if my kids are sharing any time in your vicinity, they will cuddle and hug you, and hang out with you and try to make you feel like you are their grandmother, too. And not to short-change the biological Grandmas...my kids love them to death, too, but I love watching my kids interact with the non-biological Grandmas.

I have seen this happen a couple of times, but the most awesome relationship I have seen my kids develop with a grandma-that's-not-their-own is with Grandma Lueckenotte. (And let's be clear, my dad's second wife...she's lumped in with regular Grandmas. My kids love their Gammer!!) She is my sister's husband's mom and my kids actually call her "Grandma Lueckenotte". We see my BIL's family throughout the summer since my sister has children with birthdays in June, July, and August. so she's kind of like the "Summer Grandma" too. I just love it when in-laws aren't really in-laws, you know?

Dominic and "Grandma Lueckenotte"
--- 7 ---

Had an interesting exchange on one of my Facebook posts yesterday. I read the Anchoress' blog in which she deplored the lack of Cursive Writing education and I posted it and agreed with it. I have never heard of a development impediment that would cause someone to be unable to write in Cursive. I had always figured my kids were just sloppy when we couldn't read it and they've paid the price (through lower grades on assignments that were illegible). Personally, I don't think my kids have any development impediment and I just think they are sloppy, but I wonder about this. I mean...do all doctors suffer from this impediment? That's only partially tongue-in-cheek, by the way.

Anyway, I am very grateful that Cursive is taught in my childrens' school as I consider it a valuable skill. But apparently, in the world today, the value of this skill is not held to the same esteem. We have computers and word processing, there's no reason to learn how to write Cursive, say the nay-sayers.

Well, I will just say...that I am glad I am able to write in Cursive when I write thank-you notes, I think it adds a personal touch because no one else in the world would write exactly as I did...

Have a terrific weekend and be sure to go check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Posts!


June 26, 2013

NFP Guest Post At Carrots For Michaelmas!

I am really excited to tell you that today, I am featured with a guest post at Carrots for Michaelmas. I was so excited when Haley e-mailed to ask me to write a guest post about my experience using the Marquette Method of Natural Family Planning (NFP). Although, she may not realize just how excited I was since it took me about a month to get it to her! But she graciously accepted it when I sent it and today it is featured on her blog. Please go visit Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas and read about using Marquette Method of NFP!

My husband and I have used NFP to space and grow our family for almost 12 years. We have five children here with us, and one in heaven, but as I’ve written before, we don’t have a large family because NFP has ever failed us. The first NFP method my husband and I learned was the Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) as taught by Couple to Couple League at the time. Over the years, I have come to appreciate the way we were taught because they had some Theological “oomf” behind them. This appealed to our intellectual desire to understand the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexuality and not simply do NFP because we were told to do so. Understanding God’s plan for marriage and sexuality has kept us motivated and rooted in faith with regard to NFP over the years. Without the theological understanding, we might have given in to the frustrations and opted for something non-natural (like sterilization or contraception).

It’s easy to get sucked into “method wars” among NFP’ers. I try not to do that anymore. But early on, when I heard about the Marquette Method, it was often accompanied by a comment about how it’s not necessary to spend all that money on an ovulation monitor when you can just monitor your physical signs and get the same result. I found out 8 years after we started using NFP that the Marquette Method was actually a better fit for me, considering my body, my lifestyle and our family set-up. Read more here.

Five Favorites - 1

Just what I need, to start participating in another blog carnival each week, right? I guess it might keep the creative juices flowing over here on ye ol' blog.

Today, I am participating in Moxie Wife's 5 Favorites. She did a great job summarizing what's going on with deal Dwija and her baby. Remember when I asked you to join me in prayer a couple of weeks ago? Well, good job, because things are still going well (as can be expected) for Dwija and her baby. Her update is here. I am an emotional wreck following along, but praying as much as I can that they can make it to 24 weeks so that fighter of a baby can make it. My own intrauterine death was not a result of placental abruption, but my doctor did say that most of the cases of 2nd trimester loss were a result of that. I just love that Dwija's little baby is such a miracle and a fighter!!

So, on for Five Favorites...

1. Gel Nails. Begrudgingly, I recently gave mine up because I hit a point where I am too busy to get my nails done regularly (even three weeks apart!). But I had gel nails for about 4 months and really loved them. I could go 3 weeks between nail salon visits -- if I had the French Manicure style. No chips, no cracks, no broken nails, and they were pretty for all that time. I may go back to them if I end up with time, but with summer full of crossfit workouts in the evening, volleyball practices and games and other activities for the kids, just not going to work right now. But they are definitely a favorite!

2. My purse and wallet:

These came home with me from Walt Disney World. Sarah helped me pick them out. I love carrying them around and I get a lot of compliements. I'm usually the type of gal who picks up whatever looks like it is the most practical from the cheap rack at Target or Walmart for a purse, so this was pretty big for me to actually get a stylish purse/wallet (the combo thing is totally not normal for me!)

3. Sandals -- I really like a nice pair of comfortable sandals that will go with my work clothes. It's gotten hot and humid already this summer, so it's nice not to have to wear shoes and socks and slip on a pair of sandals instead!

4. In that vein, I also enjoy my flip-flops. What is better than being able to slip on covering for the bottoms of your feet in nothing flat? Flip-flops have come a long way since I was a kid. They make them so that the support on the top comes down to the middle of your foot (I remember when it actually hurt more to wear flip-flops because you literally had to flip the bottoms up to come along with you!)

5. Swim suits that are modest and flatter. I don't have one. But I want one. :)

Linking up with Hallie at Moxie Wife today! Go check her out and also keep praying for Dwija!

June 25, 2013

Helen Told Me She Wrote A Book

Helen told me from the back of the car last night that she wrote a book. I said, "That's so good, honey, I can't wait to read it!"

And then she gave it to me.

I will translate: 
The Book About My Mom
She loves me. She loves the tangs (things) that I mack (make) her. Your mom loves you, too. And all so (also) mee (me) too.
I miss you wean (when) you are goan (gone). She's tha (the) Best Mommy ever maid (made) and I am so glad that she is my mommy.
Love Helen

The Book About Mommy
Your Mommy <3 you too
so mush (much)

This one doesn't really need a translation.

I thought it was cute she made it into a book and made sure to tell others that their mommy loves them, too.

This is standard fare for the kind of stuff Helen draws up for me almost every day. I am so blessed.


June 24, 2013

Monday Mumbles - 49

Happy Last week of June! I can't believe this year is half over. Although, I must say, I'm looking forward to an improved span of time to get through this year. I don't think I want another 6 months to match the first.

1. Typing this up after I came in from a 5K run this morning. Glad it's done!

2. It is humid. It is SO humid that my body is beading up sweat 15 minutes after I have completed my run:
I like to sweat and all...but it's hard when the body won't cool down when I'm done doing that which I did that made me sweat! :)

3. Busy week (for summer!) ahead. Work, volleyball, crossfit and the Corporate Challenge swim meet. I'm swimming the 50 Breastroke and the 50 Backstroke. Should be interesting. I haven't raced since maybe 2007? I can't even remember if I signed up for Corp Challenge that year... I guess I can only remember the last time when Dani was 1, almost 2? Yikes. A long time ago.

4. I took all the kids to the water park by myself yesterday. I had thought before hand it would be harder to do that than to do the adjacent amusement park. But surprisingly, I found it much less stressful to do the water park. I think it was because there was something to do with the little ones all the time...no waiting in strollers while the older kids rode the rides. We could play in the pool area and I could send Sarah off to ride a slide and report back, or send the girls off to something within my sight with orders to stay together and come back when finished. All the kids had a blast.

5. Of course, there are no pictures since I was there on my own and didn't trust myself not to drop the phone in the water or something.

6. A full weekend of Vincent hitting the sack the same time as all the rest of the kids. He fussed a bit Friday night and Saturday night, but last night went right down again with no fussing or crying. I figure if we can just stick to it, he is gonna be bedtime trained completely. 

7. #6 is very good because we hope to transition Vincent to a big boy bed soon. We're going to get our bunk beds for their room all put together sometime in July. I wonder if Dominic will be a big boy and claim the top bunk? I hope so.

8. I guess ^^ that means we'll disassemble the crib and put it away. That's weird. And sad. And weird.

9. NFP Girl moment: So, I'm having major ovulation pain this cycle. I hate that.

10. I can't seem to finish any posts other than these Monday - Friday list-type posts. I guess I'm kind of in a rut. Blah.

Have a great Monday!


June 21, 2013

7 Quick Takes - 52

It is Friday! I am linking up with Jennifer Fulwiler today!
--- 1 ---

If you remember from Monday's Mumbles, Sunday night we began putting Vincent in his crib at the same time all the other kids went to bed. Up until then, we had been pretty lenient...allowing him to dictate his fall-asleep time by holding him on the couch or letting him sit with us until he finally dropped off to sleep. After four nights of him screaming bloody murder and then falling asleep -- he was also staying in his crib ALL. NIGHT. LONG. It's been great to go to bed and not be awakened a couple hours later by Vincent demanding me to come and hold him or bring him to my bed! So, then last night? Craig laid him in his crib and he laid down, allowed Craig to put the blanket on him and we shut the door and he was quiet! He went to sleep without fussing! And he still slept all night long! Hallelujah!!!
--- 2 ---

I screwed up on my eating plan this week. I had some bread for the first time last night, I drank some Margaritas last Sunday (and last Thursday). I haven't been strictly keeping out the artificial sugars and I've had a diet coke or two.

The good news is that I haven't returned to a huge diet coke every day or anything. And overall, my eating is still light-years better than before, and I'm still working out to burn some extra calories making it in the past week or two. But I really do need to get back on the wagon. I'm thinking maybe July 1...hit it hard again with no sugars, no artificial sweeteners, no salad dressings, only lean protein and veggies.

--- 3 ---

I have made so much progress (down 29.4 pounds as of last Saturday) that I really didn't want to lose momentum. But I wonder if a body just needs a little love in the form of flour and sugar once in awhile? I think the key will be getting back on the wagon and cutting down these last 29 pounds I want to lose. I'm happy to be back where I was about a month before I became pregnant with Gregory, but then I remember that when I became pregnant the last time, I WAS trying to lose about 25 pounds....
--- 4 ---

The premature return to the monthly discernment process of being open to a baby or not really kind of sucks. Usually being pregnant for 9.5 months, plus the first year of said baby's life provides for 2 years of pretty much discernment-free time because 1) I'm pregnant already and 2) the first year is hard enough that even thinking about being open to another baby is not allowed between Craig and me.

Anyway -- the idea that I might have had my last baby isn't new. I felt that way after Vincent. Actually, I felt that way after Helen, too. And there are 3 years between Helen and Dominic -- my largest gap. Regardless of whether it's a new thought or feeling, I still feel sad about it. Is that just a normal woman feeling? Sometimes I feel relieved at the thought that I've had my last baby -- you know, no more gaining pregnancy weight (my doc thinks my issue is hormonal as to why I gain so much so quickly), no more putting job options on hold, an ultimate end to daycare costs, no more diapers, no more bottles, everyone in the house able to walk, talk and get into their own bit of trouble.

So, right now I am in that place where the pros of having had the last baby are outweighing the cons. But guess what? I'm thinking I have quite a few years before menopause hits full swing. Ugh.
--- 5 ---

Helen's ballet production was awesome!! And we have decided she will continue on another year. I think it's a good activity for her to be in. I like the discipline, grace, and poise they teach the girls to possess. While watching the older girls dance in the production, I thought about how wonderful it would be to see Helen in a few years doing toe dancing and maybe having solo or duet parts in a production. Maybe she and her friend Chi-Chi would have some dances together.

One of Helen's BFFs -- and this is one of the best pictures I have seen capturing little girl joy

--- 6 ---

Craig is taking the younger four to see Monsters University today. About two months ago, Dominic said to me, as we drove somewhere, "Mommy, on June 21st, Monsters University will be in theaters, and I want to go!" Hard to argue with that. The best part is that Vincent will likely enjoy the movie, too. He and Dominic both really love watching Monsters, Inc. at our house. When Vincent requests it, it sounds like he says he wants to watch "Don-TORS, EEE!" So. cute. So, we'll see if Craig survives a theater experience with an almost-2-year-old, a 4-year-old and Helen and Dani.

--- 7---

My NFP post is coming along. I actually have about 3 different ones started to see which perspective works the best. Talking to Sarah and teaching her about the changes in her body from a completely natural standpoint and discussing our faith and God's plan for her and her sexuality is one of the most challenging things I've done so far as a mother. And it only just started! 

One enlightening experience was discussing the Gardasil vaccine with her. We were at the doctor's office and I brought it up. My doctor claimed that there are some kids in some situations in which he would recommend the child be vaccinated at age 11 (the age Sarah was at the time). But as we discussed Sarah's environment (Parochial school, parent supervision after school and in the evenings, no boyfriend, no dating/alone time with boys, not sexually active, two-parent home...) he said he wouldn't recommend it at this time. It was interesting to see the expression on Sarah's face when we discussed 11-year-olds being sexually active or not. In her mind, there wasn't any other way to be than NOT sexually active, so we had a little talk in the car on the way home about the fact that -- indeed -- there are 11-year-old girls who are sexually active. It was a good time to discuss choices, environments, etc and drove home in my mind how innocent and protected my daughter is. I'm grateful for that, but then need to be sure and prepare her for the time she will no longer be protected by me and her father. Huge responsibility. Huge.

As a bonus -- watch for a guest post from me next week at Carrots for Michaelmas! (how is that for a teaser?) I'm so grateful to Haley for having me!

Have a great weekend!!

Be sure to go visit Jen for more Quick Takes!

June 17, 2013

Monday Mumbles - 48

Good Monday Morning. I'm writing these on Sunday night and if all went well, I went running this morning. :)

1. Finally bit the bullet and put Vincent in his crib, awake, screaming, kicking, crying -- but to bed at the same time as all the rest of the kids. We have been far too lenient with this one...letting him come to bed with Momma, letting him stay up until 10 because he just wasn't ready to go to bed. I wonder how long I can hold out and do this every night.

2. I hope you all had a wonderful Father's day.

Craig and the kids
3. 5 minutes after I typed #1 above, I went to the boys' room to pick Vincent up and soothe him down a bit. It didn't work. I held him and told him, "It's time to go to sleep. Big boys sleep in their own beds and go to bed without Mommy or Daddy holding them." It only made him mad. Sigh.

4. 5 straight days of Crossfit last week will be topped, I hope, this week by 6 straight days. It's weird. I don't want to miss because I'm afraid I will lose something in the process. I actually did 20 box jumps up onto 20" boxes on Friday. Then on Saturday did 15 more! Box jumps are a total mind-job, I think.

5. Sarah has her first summer league volleyball game tonight! I hope they do well!

6. Helen had her ballet performance Saturday night. I loved it! I even asked her if she wanted to reconsider giving up ballet and she said she did and she would like to still go. So I'll be calling them this week to re-enroll her.  Here I am sitting with Dominic during one of the intermissions:

7. It is now about 8 minutes after I wrote #3 above and it's quiet. Maybe Vincent is falling asleep?

8. Sarah has been watching the reality show, "Dance Moms." I'm not sure what the draw is...but she watches it on the kids' computer which is set up right next to my computer and I find myself watching it for minutes at a time. It's like a train wreck!

9. We have entered this period of time where we can rely on Sarah to keep watch over the kids for an hour or two if we want. Sunday, this meant that Craig and I took a nap while Vincent napped. I haven't taken a real nap (like, laid down in my bed and slept) in the afternoon in so long, let alone get a nap in with my husband! That was crazy. But in a good way.

10. My kids are really great. I took Sarah and Helen shopping for Father's Day gifts. Sarah says, "Mom, Dad *really* needs a new pair of shorts!" so she bought him a nice pair of shorts. Helen says, "Mom, I want to give Dad a new coffee mug that he will use every day." And, she bought him one. Seriously, Sarah and Helen handed me the money to pay for the gifts they bought their dad, and that was way cool. Dani learned two new songs (that were NOT Taylor Swift!) to play for her Dad for Father's Day. I helped the boys out and got a couple things I knew Craig would appreciate for Father's day to be from them.

Have a terrific Monday!!

June 14, 2013

7 Quick Takes - 51

Happy Friday! It's time once again to link up with Jennifer Fulwiler and her awesome Friday blog carnival.
--- 1 ---

Let's talk exercise for a couple of these, shall we? I am 6 weeks in to this Crossfit business. The Box I go to requires you to complete a four week "Foundations" class before you can join and pay their monthly fee and come to whichever workouts you want. It's been one of the more intense and enjoyable exercise experiences I have had. Seriously. I realize that I want to go do Crossfit workouts more than I want to run. I'm starting to think I could probably still train for my half-marathon in August, just by doing long runs on Saturday/Sunday and increasing by a mile (if I start at 6 this weekend) without worrying too much about too many 3-milers or 5-milers mid-week. What do you think?

--- 2 ---

When I started Crossfit in May, the added weight training made my legs tired and my runs basically sucked for about 3-4 weeks. I had a hard time running the hills around here and I felt generally fatigued pretty much all the time. And I do now fall asleep quickly at night. At first, because the workouts were in the evenings, I would be wired for four or more hours at night. Now, I am able to shower and simmer down quickly enough to get to sleep only 2 hours after the workout which works fine with my schedule.

--- 3 ---

Now, I am able to complete my runs without stopping. They aren't always easy by any means, but I can do them without walking anyway. I am even getting a little faster. My average pace for my last few runs has been below 10:30. Last week I ran a mile for time and it was 8:46, then Wednesday of this week, we needed to run a mile for time at Crossfit and I did it in 8:06. I know the added strength is a factor.
--- 4 ---

Sarah started practicing for summer volleyball Sunday! It was good to watch her again. I e-mailed her coach from club to find out what the scoop was for their club and a 13's coach and found out she will be coaching a 13's team for that club next year. SWEET! I really liked her coach -- her approach was hard-nosed, fundamentally sound and pretty much in line with how I would coach if I were a full-time coach. So I'm excited that it seems Sarah will get to play for her again next winter/spring.

--- 5 ---

Summer is in full swing around here. I rather enjoy coming home to a straightened up house every day. My kids are earning their keep! :) And we have had some gatherings with some great photos:

My toddlers always love this playhouse at my sister's house (Vincent is no exception):

I love this one of my oldest carrying my youngest:

Vincent showing me the mud on his hand:

Dominic (Sarah, too) could always fish out the Grandmas...

Dominic sitting with Grandma Lueckenotte

--- 6 ---
Helen's ballet production is Saturday! I'm so excited for her. The dress rehearsal was last night. Chalk this one up to lack of experience, but I had no idea I needed to expect to be at a dress rehearsal for 6+ hours. Holy moly. But Helen got to hang out with one of her BFF's, so it was all good...

--- 7---

I have this post I've been working on. It's kind of like 10 things a NFP momma should tell her pre-teen/teenage daughter. But I can't seem to get it together. It's very disjointed and, I'll be honest, I'm a bit gun-shy of posting it because it's kind of personal. I mean, every parent is different in what they want to do to prepare their child for adolescence and puberty and all that stuff. I have about 4 things, but it seems like I should get a list of about 10 things together. I want to go over the things I have gone over with Sarah, but I'll be honest, I'm a bit shy about posting THAT just in case it might embarrass her in the process. I don't seem to have a problem posting about my own experiences using NFP, or promoting my own thoughts, feelings or ideas on it, but involve one of my children and it becomes a way bigger story, I guess. How do you other Catholic, NFP-promoting mamas handle that sort of thing? Am I being silly? Or safe?

Have a great weekend!!

Be sure to go visit Jen for more Quick Takes!

June 7, 2013

I Knew the Day Would Come I Would Write This...

I knew at some point, I'd have to write a post like this. Only because the words have been working in my head ever since the week we lost Gregory. I wish the push didn't have to be due to a friend having trouble in pregnancy right now. But no matter what, I've thought about this many different times over the course of the past three months.

I really never truly understood the pain of losing a child during pregnancy until it happened. Furthermore, having never suffered complications before, I really didn't understand the pain and anxiety associated with pregnancy for others. I can say right now, I'm extremely afraid to get pregnant again because I think I'd suffer some major anxiety or worry over every little thing -- I'd probably go insane.

When I would hear about complications in pregnancy or friends losing their babies before we lost Gregory about halfway through my pregnancy, I felt true sadness. I often did feel horrible and helpless. As a matter of fact, I was quite empathetic (in my mind) to what was going on and I would offer fervent prayers for her and for her baby and for her family. I'm not going to short-change my effort there. I truly would pray so hard and really try to imagine myself in her shoes, walking that walk of losing a child.

It wasn't my fault, but the fact is I. had. no. idea

Seriously, I had no idea at all what the pain was like. How could I? I had never suffered this pain. I had the perspective that it was God's plan that the baby was taken up to Heaven without spending time on earth with family. There was nothing wrong in what I did -- I was honestly attempting to understand, empathize and offer up any of my own suffering or sacrifice for those who miscarried. Even my own sister, who has suffered losses on the way to her five children she and her husband share earthly life with, could never have helped me understand the level of pain required for true empathy in her situation.

That all changed when God called Gregory home. The pain -- physical, searing, horrible -- in my heart when I was told my baby had died...it's so difficult to convey to someone else. And you really don't want to because you know how painful it is. You never want anyone else to feel that pain.

Now, when I find out about friends losing children, or even friends suffering difficult pregnancies -- that wound in my heart throbs. It is an echo of that physical, sharp, horrible pain I felt the day I learned Gregory died -- but it's still raw. I can't stop tears. I can't stop from praying a Hail Mary and asking our Blessed Mother to come to the aid of that momma who is having trouble or who may already be grieving her child.

When I lost Gregory, so many women came out of the woodwork, so to speak, to share their loss-experiences with me. They provided some comfort, they told me they understood, and because they'd been there, I knew it was true. I was grateful that they shared with me that they'd walked this sorrowful walk in life. 

And for those who hadn't lost a child that offered condolences, I was so grateful for the experience of my past when I, myself, didn't really know the pain of my sisters in Christ. Because I knew their prayers and words came from a pure and innocent place in their hearts - a place untouched by this deep sorrow. And their prayers lifted me and my husband and our family up to a place where we could begin this process of healing. I'm forever grateful and truly understand how and where these prayers originate.

I have thought about my friend and prayed for her and her family A LOT over these weeks. I realize that once again, I'm in a place where I can't imagine what she's going through. My friend has not lost her baby, but her baby is struggling to make it to viability due to her complication. Her baby is healthy with a heartbeat and everything at this time. All she can do is stay off her feet and wait and pray and ask us to pray for her and her baby. It breaks my heart all over again to know another momma who just wants her child to live, just wants her baby to be here with her...and she is completely at the mercy of God, as are we all.

Right now, I simply need to ask any of you reading this to pray. 



PRAY to our Heavenly Father or ask our Blessed Mother's intercession for a miracle for healing in this woman's womb and keep that baby living and developing.

Find Image Here
Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary,
That never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,
Implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, we fly to thee, O Virgin of Virgins, Our Mother.
To thee do we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petition,
But in thy mercy, hear and answer us.

June 6, 2013

The Truly Terrible Tantrum Stage

Honestly, I've been blessed over the years of babies in our house to have kids that -- for the most part -- didn't throw a lot of tantrums. Well, either that, or I've been blessed with forgetfulness.

These days, I feel like Vincent is making me pay for that.

Vincent, oh my Vincent. 

That boy throws tantrums like nothing I have ever seen. And they don't even make sense! He'll make it very clear that he wants something -- say, a cup of chocolate milk -- and then as you go about preparing it, he starts throwing a fit. Some days he just wakes up throwing a fit. I've never seen anything like it.

The way in which he throws his tantrums is ridiculous, too. He literally throws himself on the floor and kicks his feet and pounds his fists. Lately he's gone to sitting down on the floor and throwing his head backwards. This morning, he was ticked off that Craig wasn't home from work yet when he woke up and he screamed all the way to daycare.
When he was about 6 months younger, he wasn't talking as much and I thought the tantrums were just the result of a lack of communication. But now, he knows how to communicate, and like I said, sometimes even though he communicates he wants something and we go about doing it, he still throws a fit. 

As for how I handle it, I try not to pay it any mind. If we're at home, I just make sure he's in a safe place and ignore him. In the car it's a bit different, though. This morning I thought I was going to go crazy if he wouldn't stop, so I stopped by McDonald's and got him some chocolate milk which seemed to calm him down the remaining way to daycare.

I guess the point of this is to document that this kid...

Hanging out with Daddy
About to do something ornery, for sure
going down the slide
after eating a powdered donut
...is ornery.

June 3, 2013

Monday Mumbles - 47

Happy Monday! It's the first Monday of summer vacay for this kids.  And our household is less one kid this week, with Sarah at her Challenge Camp.  But, we'll mumble...

1. First and foremost -- I ran the whole way of my 10K on Saturday. Feeling pretty good about that because last year, I did not. And I took 9 minutes off my time from last year, too!

Me -- feeling strong after the race
2. The course for Hospital Hill is full of hills. We did the 10K, but the Half Marathon has plenty in the extra 7 miles, too. I know I complained about the hills around my house the past few weeks, but I appreciated them Saturday as I was able to run every single hill -- maybe not fast -- but I kept on running!

3. Now I need to settle in on a Half Marathon training plan for the one I'm running with Rebecca in August...

4. Maggie and Sarah -- I hope you're still planning to come, even though Sarah is expecting twins...you know, it's all about us. ;)

5. I took the younger four to the park AND swimming yesterday. Lucky kids, they are. Here are some pics from the park. No pics from the pool since it was just me and I was doing good just to actually put on my swimsuit and get in the water with them and all.

Helen is my model in the making as you can see

Funny Face
Silly big sis - lil bro
Ready to launch!

See? Model in the making...I'm in trouble later on
6. And yes, Dani avoided the camera for some reason.

7. I found a paper in Dani's schoolwork that came home where she wrote that she plays the guitar, that she's good at it and when she grows up, she wants to be a guitar teacher. I just thought that was awesome.

8. Oh! I "graduated" from CrossFit Foundations Friday night! Friday night's session was a basic review of all the movements and then we did the same WOD (Workout Of the Day) that we did on the very first night. Here it is:

200 Meter Run
15 Ring Rows, 15 Push ups, 15 Air Squats
12 Ring Rows, 12 Push ups, 12 Air Squats
  9 Ring Rows,   9 Push ups,   9 Air Squats
200 Meter Run

You do all that straight through -- keep moving -- no resting.

On the very first night -- May 7, I did that in 8:48. And on Friday night, I did it in 5:37. Holy cow, I took 3 minutes off! The gal running the session said before we did it that it was average for people improve by 3:15 or so, but I thought, oh, no way can I take 3 minutes off...   BUT! I did!!!

9. Helen has been fundraising for her sponsorship fee for her Pageant in August. She has to raise $480. So far, she's raised $155. I'm pretty proud of her. It's no small thing to ask people to sponsor you.

10. 5 days until my Sarah-bear comes back from camp! She may be a mouthy preteen, but she's my girl and I definitely miss her when she's gone!!

Sarah when I dropped her off for her week-long camp


June 1, 2013

3 Months

It dawned on me two days ago that while I was running a 10K today, it would be 3 months since the day we delivered Gregory.

Once that registered, there was a slight damper on the remainder of the day that continued through this morning. It also prompted me to go back and read some posts from before his death as well as some of the stuff I wrote as we were dealing with it all.

It's weird. 13 weeks. Three months. A quarter of a year. 

A lifetime.

Yes, time has sped back up and our lives are back at the clip they were before we lost Gregory. But sometimes I feel like I've aged 10 years through the ordeal. I am still sad. I still haven't made it through Mass without breaking down into tears and/or sobs.

Is it because, had he lived, I would still be pregnant? I find myself fearing the end of July because I don't know what another two months will bring and how I will feel on that due date. When I found out Gregory was on the way, I did something I have done with every pregnancy. I went through my work planner and marked the weeks. So, every week right now, I see how far along I would be. Right now, I'd be 32 weeks along, likely big as a house (as my younger brother has been known to say), waddling, fatigued and maybe a little stressed knowing our family dynamics would change soon.

But, I am no longer pregnant. We said goodbye to Gregory 13 weeks ago. I've dropped the weight gained through the pregnancy and my body has finally begun to act like a non-pregnant one what with my waist shrinking and my cycles regulating. I've become active again, running, doing crossfit, and making healthy changes in general.

When I started running again, I began having some individual prayer time with Gregory. Sometimes I tell him how much I love him and miss him. Sometimes I tell him that I'm running because I want to be healthy for his siblings. Sometimes I just ask him to pray for me, to help me keep going.

The truth is, it's easier to keep going these days. The tears are mostly relegated to weekly Mass, though sometimes my thoughts wander and the tears come at other times. I laugh a bit more...find things funny again. Even though the sadness is still present, sometimes just under the surface, I am able to put on my strong face and save the tears for my counseling sessions or as I'm getting ready for bed.

I wish I could say the fact that it's easier these days made me happy. But, there's a lingering worry that if it's easier then maybe I don't love Gregory as much as I thought I did. I feel caught in this strange place where I'm moving past some of the grief, but I'm not. Or I am afraid to move past it. 

It's kind of like how it is with the other five and my occasional, irrational worries that I might show favor to one kid over another. I know it makes no sense, but there's this nagging worry that I'm giving Gregory the shaft...not giving him enough love or enough of me. The same way I might worry that I don't spend enough time reading books with Helen or Dominic, I worry that I don't think about Gregory often enough anymore (which is silly because I clearly still think about him every day). The fact that the grief is no longer ever-present makes me pause and worry that I'm not making him as important as he deserves to be.

It's this whole big weird mixed bag of feelings that I just don't know what to do with. Our lives here on earth go on. They must. At times, I find that I feel guilty that I now am facing this state in our family life where we won't have a baby in the house. And I let myself look forward to it and feel how that can be a positive development. Of course, I'm not happy that Gregory is not here with us, but the circumstances being what they are, it's kind of like, "Let's make the best of it" right?

I guess it's the lack of completeness I feel about the whole thing. Anyone who knows me knows I am a finisher. I like to see things through to the end. And I don't feel like I got the chance to do that in this case. I don't know what kind of personality Gregory was going to have. I don't know if he would have looked like me or Craig. I don't know if he would have been ornery like Vincent or well-behaved like Dominic. Would he have given Helen a run for her money vying for my attention and affection? Perhaps he and Dani would have formed a brother/sister musical duo or would he have an easy-going, fun-loving soul like his oldest sister, Sarah? 

I only know that he was too loved by God to endure this world, to contaminate his soul with the perversions of materiality, like the Book of Wisdom states.

I guess knowing that God spared him from this world to be with Him for eternity at such a young age makes me happy in one sense -- that such a soul could be my child.

But knowing that makes me sad, too, because wouldn't he have made our lives so much richer with his presence here in our family on earth?