Tuesday, January 23, 2018


(I have definitely hesitated to write about this, as I am not trying to give my blog any sort of a miscarriage or infertility angle, but I read this post by Mary the other day and felt really convicted to give each little life it's due honor and to document each time of grieving, because every single soul matters so much.)

Ever since getting married I have pictured myself as a mother of tons of children, at least 8, maybe 12. Whatever God saw fit to give, that's what I wanted, and while I know that God has a specific plan for every one of us, I also assumed that he wanted that for me too.

At the year's start everybody was blogging or gramming about their word of the year, generated with Mrs. Fulwiler. I held off even getting one because it felt too trendy, or something. Then I got my word and immediately felt like it was weirdly accurately, spot on, and very much a word from the Lord. I have held off writing at all about it because I've been fighting accepting that it is even my word for the year. Irony of ironies.


That's my word. How completely fitting it is.

In November we had our second miscarriage, the first was 6 years prior. After the November miscarriage we were blessed to conceive the very next cycle.

But then we miscarried again, for the 3rd time. His name is Dominic George and, as with our other lost little ones, he has taught me more in his extremely short time here than I ever thought possible.

The ironic thing is that this postpartum period was the most committed I have ever been to using NFP to have a bigger gap between children-- 3 years was my hope. My general attitude toward the child spacing was "we'll have a baby when we choose to have a baby". But then after the first miscarriage I had a huge change of heart and really hoped and longed for whatever children God wanted to give, whenever He wanted to give them. I feel like that was part of His plan, to convict me all the more that none-- not one of these little ones-- was "chosen" by me, but that He chose each of them and has given each of them us as completely undeserved gifts, the most recent loss has only served to strengthen that conviction.

But I have found myself in a place of confusion. Being open to life is what God wants, right? The desire to bring fourth new life is what God wants, right? He wants me to have a huge family, right? I look at these 5 beautiful lives I have right here to care for, to give my everything to, to nurture and to teach and I feel discontent because of the desire to have more -- I am having trouble accepting that THIS is where God wants me and that THESE are the children he has given to me and maybe only these children forever.

I had a beautiful mentor for several years when we lived in South Bend, her name was Debbie. She helped me through my postpartum depression and anxiety, she gave me guidance spiritually and I would say that one of the number one things she taught me through her words and example was acceptance of God's will. She has 5 children living and had had 5 miscarriages in her life, and I remember when she told me that the beautiful acceptance of the will of God that she communicated, I have thought about it so much since this third loss. She taught me acceptance of His will in the very practical every day things- saying yes to him in the pile of dishes in the sink, saying yes to Him in the loads and loads of laundry, saying yes to Him in homeschooling even though I struggle with it daily, saying yes to Him during bouts of PPD, saying yes to Him in miscarriage, saying yes to all of it if it is what He wants. Right before we moved from South Bend, Debbie was diagnosed with mesothelioma and last month she passed away. I don't think it was any coincidence that I was forced to really think on the many things I learned from her right after these 2 consecutive miscarriages, when I was struggling with so many things that she helped me through when I met with her. I have been overwhelmed by the blessing of her life, of the many things she taught me while I was blessed to have her as a friend.

A "huge family" may not be God's will for me, and His will is all that matters. I am called to give all the energy and love and life that I have to these little ones and no additional little ones for right now. He has lavished so many gifts on me, He gives and He takes away, He wants only the good for me and my "yes" to His plan is my path to sanctity.

He is pleased with my openness to life, yes, but He is pleased ultimately with my grateful acceptance of His will, whatever or whoever and whenever it may be.

Saint Dominic and Saint George, pray for us!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Kitchen Revamp

Nothings says "blog comeback!" like a post full of pictures of my kitchen. But seriously, it's been too long and I miss the blog and we just had our cabinets painted to that is basically blog content being handed to me on a platter and I have no excuse to not accept it and pass it on to the masses.

I have mentioned it before but I will say it again that our home hailing from the mid-90s is loaded with the honey-est honey oak-- in every room, every where. The wood floors are a honey oak and I don't mind it, but every vanity, every cabinet and even the fire place (not any more!!) are or were, the same oak color. It was too much.

From the first week that we moved into this house I was scheming about painting our kitchen cabinets. The kitchen is the room that you walk into right away in this home, and it is also the room I spend the vast majority of my time in.

And I hated it.

Every single day for the last year-and-a-half I would think about how much I wanted to paint the cabinets but it just wasn't in the cards, either because of budget or life craziness but FINALLY the stars aligned and the week after New Years it happened.

And so....


When I posted some initial before and afters on Instagram every single person thought I did this myself.

In 2 days.



My main criteria with this project was that I would not lose the use of my kitchen for more than 2 days, so when hiring a painter (I TOTALLY HIRED A PAINTER), I made sure that he would be able to finish in that time and finish he did.

We used to have this really crazy ugly florescent light (well actually LED, but totally looked florescent) and the top 2 things on my list of "things I want to update in this house" from the time we moved in were:
1) paint kitchen cabinets and
2) get new kitchen light
Do you see that thing? It was like a UFO landing in my kitchen every day.
No longer
Warm, non-florescent light- so glorious.

There are definitely other things that could stand to be updated in the kitchen-- the counter-top is a really cheap composite that is supposed to look like granite or something, but it has gouges all over it and the back-splash is not the greatest, but honestly, since painting the cabinets neither of them bother me in the slightest and so the rest of the updates may never even happen while we live here and I am totally cool with that.

I was also really pleased with my Pinterest inspired cabinet top decor:
Purchased entirely from the Goodwill + already owned those green orbs and cake plate and the Joseph.

I am super thrilled with how it turned out and get excited to walk into my kitchen now. I am one lucky lady.

Thanks for reading and hopefully I will not let a month and a half pass before I am back again!

For local peeps, I went with Dave's Custom Painting and was very pleased. They were very punctual and did a great job.

Friday, November 24, 2017

thankful turkey takes

Linking up with Kelly for some Quick Thankful Turkey Takes!

1) First and foremost I want to say THANK YOU to you- my sweet blog readers- for your love, prayers and words of encouragement after my post about our sweet Agnes. I went back and fourth mentally for a couple of days about whether I should post about it and in the end I am so glad I did, God really provided so much comfort through the responses. Miscarriage is such a crazy thing- it happens to so many women-- so many women I know in real life and on through this internet community, but I would never have known how many of you have also lost little ones because it is something that is so difficult to talk to each other about. I discovered this really beautiful Instagram account called the Little Souls around the time of our miscarriage and I would highly recommend it for those of you struggling to find an outlet to share about your loss. I offered the difficulty for so many of you and felt so much peace in knowing so many of you were praying for me. Thank you so much.

2) I am so extremely thankful for this little break from school. I love homeschooling, really I do, but I felt like I needed this chance to do nothing even more than the kids, though I think the thing they are most thankful for right now is no school. Whatev. Fred and Joe are just bringing it with the "we're-going-to-sieze-this-chance-to-dump-EVERY-TOY-BIN-while-you-try-to-read-a-history-lesson-in-the-other-room" shenanigans. They are so cute but so very much 2 little walking heart attacks.

3) I am a little bit of a hybrid between Buddy Elf and Molly Shannon from The Santa Clause 2 around this time of year, and I am so thankful that Thanksgiving came and went because now I can decorate ALL THE THINGS!!! I actually did my mantle and door way on Wednesday because my parents were coming for the holiday and I just could not help myself. I break all of Kelly's rules, because I've always been a rebel, but I do try to limit the Christmas music until the feast day so that's something.

4)  My wonderful parents are here!!! I am so very grateful for their sacrifice in coming to visit our family for this Thanksgiving, it has been such a fun visit, so fun that we're barely thinking of taking pictures we are enjoying it so thoroughly. They are currently watching White Christmas with my kids while I listen for stirring toddlers during nap time. They are amazing people.

5) I am not sure if a Christmas card is anywhere in our family's future but I did want to get an updated family picture for framing purposes and so I am super thankful that my parents were here to help us on that front.  The kids actually cooperated- especially Fred- who said his own little version of "deeeeez!" for almost every shot. Joe tantrumed in between each picture but as soon as one of the adults said the word "candy" or "cookies" he snapped out of it and gave the fakest smile in the world.

This one is going on the wall post haste.

6) I am a little bit overly excited to get to baking Christmas cookies, these are my current fav (recipe thanks to my sister-in-law!) and I am so excited to make and eat all of them but I realize that this is several weeks away so for now just give me all of your fav baking recipes so I can at least start to compile a list so appease by Buddy Elf side for the present. Thank you!!

7) Happiest of Thanksgiving weekends to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

our holy little soul

(Disclaimer: this post contains terminology pertaining to the female reproductive system, if that makes you uncomfortable, please read no further.)

On the feast of All Saints I discovered I was pregnant. 2 days later I began to miscarry.

About a week before I took that pregnancy test Joseph announced at lunch that "mommy has a baby in her belly!", and since I had just finished the bodily functions that women receive to confirm that they are not pregnant only a week prior to his little announcement, I did not think it necessary to take a test. Clear that bodily function was something else entirely, but I didn't know that at the time.

All Saints' day came and all the kids were sick so we had to cancel plans with friends for that day. I had slept terribly and complained to Mike that I was waking up with a bad headache every single day. That day I had another one, so I medicated with my typical Tylenol/caffeine cocktail and drank tons of water, but something else was going on-- the coffee smelled and tasted awful, I could not stop running to the bathroom to pee, I felt nauseous and no food sounded good to me whatsoever.

After everyone had gotten to Mass, and I took the kids for a special McDonald's feast day lunch, I got the boys in their beds for naps and collapsed into mine for one. But then I had to pee again-- I had literally just gone right before I laid down so I decided I would just grab one of the tiny pregnancy test strips from my huge Amazon prime collection and take it. I actually said these words to myself right before I took it: "only the Blessed Mother just finds herself with child, you do not need to worry about that happening to you."

I know the Creighton fertility method well, and had been (lazily) charting signs for months and had known with "confidence" that my extended nursing of Fred was keeping me infertile (I was having anovulatory cycles, I had seen my doctor about it and he said it was normal). Plus, I had had a cycle only 9 days before I took this pregnancy test. There was simply no way it could be positive.

And then it was. Very positive right away. WHAT?! HOW!?!? I ran down to tell Mike who had not yet left for work meetings and we just stared in shock at each other, and laughed, and celebrated. And I worried. I knew it couldn't be right-- what was that cycle? I took another test.


I went to the store that night and bought one of those super expensive ones that says the word on it and...

 Right there.

That night I cried with Mike about my worries-- the first of which was how on earth I had just had a cycle and then gotten so many positive tests. I read online that that can happen with ectopic pregnancies, so I slept fitfully that night and got to the doctor asap the next day.

That day was the longest day ever, but by the end we were reassured that they saw nothing ectopic on the ultrasound but nothing in the uterus either. They said that my levels indicated I was very early along and so maybe they just couldn't see anything for that reason. I was scheduled to go in 48 hours later for more blood work to see if my levels were going up. Naomi wrote me this sweet note while I waited to ultrasound results:

For the next 24 hours I hoped so much that everything was just ok, we talked about the baby, hoped that he/she was growing and the kids even started to name him/her. But by the afternoon of Friday I started spotting and knew it wasn't ok. The tests the next day confirmed what I already knew and this sudden, expected joy was gone as soon as it had come to us.

One thing I struggled with initially was why God even had us find out-- or why not find out once the miscarriage started so that all of our hopes wouldn't have gotten up so high? And I immediately felt the answer strongly in my heart: God wanted us to know about this little soul for as long as we could, He wanted this person to be rejoiced over and loved and accepted and welcomed into this family, even for just a few days.

I know I don't need to blog about everything, and maybe to some people this seems like something I should keep quiet, or hide in my heart, and I am in many ways- there are many details I will not share here. But this loss as well as my first miscarriage have been something I've felt so strongly that I need to write about. I think it's partly because they happened so fast, their little lives were here and then gone in the blink of an eye and I am left wondering whether it was all real: did that little person exist? Was it all a terrible dream?

They did exist, their little lives started the exact same way my 5 other childrens' lives started but for some reason, which I won't know until I get to heaven, they were cut extremely short.

The other reason is that I don't want to forget. I know it will fade and this pain that I feel will fade and all the details will meld into each other in my mushy mom-brain and I want to have as many down on paper as I can. I want this little person to be documented in this place along with her brothers and sisters.

Naomi and Bernadette were both Saint Agnes (one of Rome and one of Assisi) for All Saints' day and Lucy was Maria Goretti, so we named our little one Agnes Maria. Mike and I were also married at Saint Agnes parish, which was my home parish where I grew up. We entrust our little soul to Saints Agnes of Rome and Agnes of Assisi, and to Saint Maria Goretti and ask for their prayers for us.

Saint Agnes of Rome and Assisi and Saint Maria Goretti, pray for us!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween

Our family is the only family that I know personally who does not celebrate Halloween, though I don't get out much, so there are probably way more than I know.

I did celebrate it as a child, Mike did not. Our own little family has never celebrated it and this is the first year since starting our family that I am totally ok with it, it only took 9 years. I've gotten questions in the past about why we don't celebrate it but never wanted to join the discussion before (it can get heated and I am pretty non-confrontational) but between the peace I finally feel about it and the lack of any other blog content circulating in my brain currently, I am just going for it.

I wasn't suckered into not celebrating Halloween by my husband, I was pretty much on board 100% from the beginning, primarily because I was exposed to a lot of weird, inappropriate stuff as a young person as a result of Halloween done wrong and me being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But that is not why our family doesn't do it.

We don't celebrate it because we want the focus of all celebratory activities to be centered on and revolving around one of the greatest feast days in the Church (and one of the only Holy Days of obligation in the liturgical year) All Saints' Day.
Baby Naomi Therese as Saint Therese, the best yet.

Now please know that me saying this is not insinuating in any way that YOU aren't focusing enough on All Saints' Day. I promise with all my heart that I am not saying that. But I know myself and I know my limitations all too well and I know that if our family participated in the many festivities available surrounding Halloween, I would be deplete of all necessary energies required to play up yet another celebration the very next day. It's a lot, and I don't have it in me. So we stick to All Saints' day.

I really do love that when we get into October, the thing my girls start whispering about at night is the saints they will chose to dress up as on All Saints' day. I love that they deliberately sit down and read saint books to find out about super obscure saints to be in order to really throw people off (Bernadette was Saint Mildred 2 years ago and Naomi will be Saint Agnes OF ASSISI this year-- didn't even know she existed until today).

I spent the last 5 years or so approaching Halloween with dread and not even because of the kids, but because of how I dealt with it all in my head and heart. At first I felt guilty for depriving my kids of all the fun, then that morphed into feelings of bitterness that Halloween even needed to exist. I've gotten defensive in the past and had a hard time looking through various Halloween costume pictures on social media. But not this year, praise the Lord.

I am so thankful for this year because it is the first year that I finally just do not care, I'm happy about what we do and happy about what everyone else does. I don't care if my kids are a little "deprived", because I know they are not. We do a ton for All Saints' day and they are used to the way things are for us, plus we thoroughly enjoy viewing all the fun Halloween displays in stores and in our neighborhood (with the exception of the utterly inappropriate corpse in the yard down the street). We love looking at all the adorable pictures of friends and family and their cute costumes, and all the feelings of defensiveness have vanished.

I am totally clueless as to where this peace has suddenly come from, but I'm so happy about it. It's possible that I have just grown up a little bit and realized that there are so many bigger, more important things to dwell on than Halloween, but I'm not going so far as to call myself a grown up. Not yet.

Regardless, a happy Halloween to all of your families and a very blessed and happy All Saints' day tomorrow!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Oh, hello!

Oh life, life, life, why must you be so busy? What happened to the days when I could just sit down on any given afternoon and pound out a post all about how I didn't get any sleep and how someone pooped on the floor? I miss those days.

I know life is utterly crazy for everyone, and that I am not special in any way, but I do so miss the laid back days with just toddlers and babies around, the days when it didn't really matter if you didn't have anything planned for dinner because only you and your husband are going to eat it anyways and you know you'd both rather have Thai food.

But seriously, life lately, linking with Kelly, here we go:

1) I now have a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old thanks to birthday for Bernadette and Lucy. Also I now have 2 teenagers, WTF?!?

Alright Lucy still looks little, but the car kept giving me flash forwards to her life as a teenager-- I love her seriousness in the second photo contrasted with Joe's party face-- that is DEFINITELY a glimpse into how life with them as driving teens will be.

2: Lucy figured out how to ride her bike ON her birthday, and every time she rides I almost have a heart attack.
Always the super chill, laid back mother.

3: I took the kids on TWO field trips, one to some pretty incredible caverns in town, where I managed to take zero pictures. And then to the pumpkin patch this week where I did snagged a few:

Repeat from Insta, guilty as charged.

4: Rooted in Hope launched!  It is SO good!

I'm not just saying that because I am a contributor, it came together really beautifully and I'm so honored to say I am a part of such a wonderful group of writers. It's on prime too and not too expensive, I highly recommend!

5: We carved pumpkins!
Nestled in my lovely dead mums and likely to be our only fall family portrait.

6: I have roughly 5 loads of laundry to do and a bible study to get ready to help lead tonight plus a trashed house so I will spare you the very last one.

7: Happy Fall!!!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Mantle Makeover

Have I mentioned on the blog how much early 90s light oak wood we have in our house? I have? Ok, good, so you know that I don't really like it and it is eeeeeeeverywhere. The floors, blend into the cabinets, blend into the vanities, blend into the fireplace... oh wait not that last one anymore!!

We do not have a home renovation budget. We bought at the HIGHEST end of our budget when we moved, and the house is fine, totally livable, and really nice. But I have this constant itch to PAINT ALL THE LIGHT OAK THINGS ALL THE TIME!!

After last year's spray painting fest + curtain and rug revamp, I took a nice long break from doing anything around the house and was just really working on being content with the way things are. But then I started perusing pinterest for fall mantle ideas and I was done. I have wanted to pant our electric fireplace since I sewed the curtains and got our main living room all set up.

It is such a focal point and I just couldn't stand how it looked like it was emerging out of the ground. I kept feeling like a fireplace should be a wall feature, not something that blends into your floor color.

So after several days of poking and prodding my dear, and extremely patient husband, he finally said he was also on board and encouraged me in my endeavors. He even taped for me!

I wanted a grey tone that would accent the curtains and rugs, but be light enough to not be too overstated. So I went to Lowes and picked a super light grey but when I got it on and it dried it was almost white with hints of light blue. Not what I wanted at all.

So back to Lowes I went with all the kids to get a darker grey, but I made the mistake of using the stupid color swatches and the second grey I got was basically a darker powder blue when it dried. These are the first "After" pictures I took, before I decided I hated it and it would not do-- they don't even do justice to just how blue it looked in person, so blue:

It was at this point that I was feeling like this was the dumbest idea I had ever had and I just wished I hadn't done anything, but there was no turning back so.... BACK to Lowes I went a third time with the kids, this time with a bit of fabric from our curtains for them to so a custom color match with and:

BOOM. Success.

I also realized through this process that our grey curtains have way more brown tones in them than I had previously noticed, which is probably why they go nicely with our brown couches and the browns in the area rug. Who knew!? Lowes is great and they have a "love your color" policy so they took back all the colors I didn't like and refunded me completely.

I think the whole shebang including my few decorative fall items from Wal-mart totally $35 altogether. Not bad at all.

Now I am dying to paint our kitchen cabinets a similar grey and think about it roughly every single day but I'm thinking that my painting ventures will need to have something like a year long break in between them for my sanity and Mike's and for general peace and harmony in the house.