Tuesday, April 24, 2018

bringing blogging back

I know the song reference is a stretch, but I'm rusty right now. I read Kate's post the other day and it was quite timely because I had just been brainstorming about how I could motivate myself and other bloggers to bring back the old school blog. I miss it, I feel like I need it, although I have literally no clue how to actually fit it into my life. Even my spiritual director suggested I take some time for  "that thing I like to do" (he's pretty old and I don't think the word blog means anything to him, but he knows that I in days of yore I enjoyed some sort of online writing, although I think he might think it's more official than it is).

Here's the thing though: how does one blog when one's life is in a state of what feels like total disarray 100% of the time?? What I mean is, how do I justify squeezing in a blog post when all other aspects of my life are done fairly half-assedly?  And not even entirely out of laziness, I just simply don't have the personal resources to do all the things I am tasked to do perfectly, so I do them all imperfectly. And I'm becoming cool with that.

For instance:

When I do the laundry, it goes a little something like this: Someone pees their pants. "S##t I need to do laundry now". Do a load. Wait a day. Another pair of soiled undies. Crap, I need to do more laundry. Put more in. Wait a day. Or two. Poop. Shit. Laundry. Wait a day. Or three. Now it's been a week. There are approximately 6 loads of laundry to fold and put away. No one has clean underwear. Turn all the clothes right side out. Throw them in their appropriate piles. Toss the boys in their drawers. Command that the girls start putting their own laundry away. Have them throw their unfolded piles into their drawers. Meanwhile Joe has peed himself again. Throw another load in. Start the weekly cycle over.

Not joking. At all.

But when you do laundry and life like I do laundry and life, it feels wrong to even try to squeeze blogging in. However, since I have been spiritually directed to do so, I will throw out my unfolded, haphazard, half-assed, contribution to the bloggosphere and move on.

If Blythe can do it WITH 8 KIDS, I have no excuse.


So small, lame life update it is! Fred is getting bigger and smaller every day! What I mean by this is that he is physically growing bigger, while still somehow simultaneously being more of an infant every day. I'm talking multiple night wakings some nights (and we are total detachment parents, here, no indulging whatsoever, but he just neeeeeeeeds MANNY!!!! He calls me Manny). I have never had an almost 2-year-old who speaks almost ZERO words, except for Manny. I've actually never not had a new baby or been about ti give birth when my youngest is his age, so I guess this is what happens? He's still the baby so why not act like the baby!?

Joe is quite possibly the most delightful little person on the face of the earth. He begins sentences with "Mom, it seems to me that..." or "I don't want to ruin your day, mom, but..." And sometimes if Mike or I have done something and one of us asks "who did that", he will answer us with "Your husband did it" or "Your wife did it". He is 99% convinced that he is *actually* a T-Rex. Today, I told him he needed to go sit on the potty and he said "Uh-huh, yeah, sure, that's a possibiwity" His best friends are made up, their names are John Henry, John Michael, Dee Dee and John Intemphan. He brightens my life.
I mean, seriously, look at him! Star of the Easter picture, that Joe.

I turned 33 at the end of March. I don't feel a day over 40.

April has been a doozie of a month for a variety of reasons, the weather being first among them. But then there is homeschooling. I've read a lot of books that paint a nice picture of a peaceful homeschooling, where everybody is reading great books, working science in to baking projects and gardening, where there is no pressure to "get your school work done" because LIFE is school! This is not my experience of homeschooling. We have great days, days where things are just great. But April just didn't have very many of those days. There was mostly whining anytime the sound "sch..." came upon my lips. Drudgery. All drudgery.

Easter was an extremely welcome break. But I feel like that was ages and ages ago.

And now we've got 2 weeks until testing and I cannot tell you how extremely excited the 2nd and 3rd graders are.  Also the 33 year old.

Mike has set his dissertation defense date so by August he will officially be Dr. Michael Hahn, and we also celebrate our 10 year anniversary so my summer expectation may be a little over the top. Until then, it's still April.

All pictures shamelessly stolen from FB and Insta, because lazy blogging is better than no blogging!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Nighty Night

Since relocating to this little town I have had a rather hard time abiding by the speed parameters set for those operating motor vehicles. If you are driving anywhere in town the speed limit is 25 mph, and when I am actually following it I have to restrain myself from anxious twitching and it may or may not be the case that I have been reprimanded by the local law enforcement twice since moving here, once in the form of a warning and once with a full-on ticket.

Last week at the park one of my offspring announced very disproportionately proudly that "mommy got pulled over on the way here! She was going (I will not name the speed) miles an hour!! She's going to have to pay ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!" To all the other park goers and I was only mildly mortified.

The silver lining in all this, and the way in which is relates to this blog post and my latest little DIY project is coming.

Now.

There is a thrift store that always has all sorts and kinds of cheapo furniture displayed outside in front of it's building, and when I was previously playing Vin Diesel and speeding passed I couldn't adequately scope it out in any sort of a safe way, but now thanks to that ticket I am appropriately scared slow and crawl through town at a turtle's pace with the rest of the inhabitants, which makes it totally possible to glance at that thrift store's offerings, and on Saturday I spotted these 2 matching end tables:

Terribly ugly, but match-y! It just so happened that "matching night stands" had been on my "to get at thrift store" list for some time because Mike and I are in the process of becoming real adults and having a real live adult master bedroom (as opposed to the bachelor pad-looking room we've been sporting for close to 10 years). So I hopped over to the thrift store as soon as I could and snagged them for a whopping $2.70 a pop.

I already had grey paint from my mantle painting adventures so I slapped it on and within 24 hours had my very first night stand since becoming Mrs. Michael Hahn.

Dreams do come true.
I will refrain from showcasing Mike's because it has nothing on it but a very boring looking academic book, no sweet frames from sweet friends and fake candles or anything.

Ok fine, here's his with his boring book, I have to prove to you that I did actually paint both.
His is missing the edge of one of the sides on the bottom, which explains the cheapness factor, but it's good because we're really not that ready to be grownups, yet.

In the end we got fixed up with matching night stands for less than 7 bones and I think even my girl Sheena would high five me here for this steal of a deal.

Sleep tight, my friends!

Friday, February 2, 2018

blogs the word (quick takes, baby!)

Hitting up Kelly's link-up in an attempt to not neglect yee old blog so long this time!

1) I have to blog-document the fact that I did finally succeed in potty training my very first male offspring a few weeks ago, and after only TWO failed attempts (where I literally threw in the pee-soaked towel). I had never had a kid who had such a hard time tolerating the concept of defecating  anywhere other than in his pants and I would say that was the biggest hurdle because once I convinced him to try it and once we had one success it really wasn't that bad.

That said, I will always and forever hold to the conviction that potty training is evil and is quite possibly the only task of parenting that makes me want to curl up in the fetal position with a flask by 11 a.m. I don't even try to salvage pooped in undies anymore, I just cut those nasty-ass mothers right off and throw them away.

2) Then there is Fred.

I have never had a child quite like Fred.

His favorite things include: Screeching. Not talking. Screaming. Outlets. Metal objects near outlets. Unplugging my lamps and carrying them around the house. Any and all lotions. Opening lotion bottles. Spreading lotion all over himself. Screaming when said lotion is taken away. Hiding in bathrooms. Making piles of toilet paper. Plungers. Plungers in toilets. Screaming when taken out of bathrooms. And so on...

He is the cutest walking heart attack.

3) The older I get the more intolerant of unpleasant weather I have become, I'm only a few years away from Morty and Helen Seinfeld status and Del Boca Vista relocation. I am increasingly clueless as to what on earth to do with my children so that you would think I was the earliest spring chicken at this mothering thing. They were actually begging me to take them to Mass today for the Presentation (#whenyourkidsarewayholierthanyou) and I said "no" (because #deviltoddlerFred and #imreallynotholy) but honestly, Mass sounded tempting just so we could leave the house!! However, I opened the door and the arctic winds blew at my face and the "hell nooooo" swelled in my throat and so we didn't. Then the super guilt ridden mother inside me started yapping in my head about doing something since they had already realized it was a special feast day so I had them take every single candle out for us to light while singing a hymn and then we had cookies and hot chocolate.

Those bananas are literally never going to be ripe enough to eat.
I heard "you're going to burn the house down, mom" no fewer than 10 times.


 4) This brings me to number 4 because I make the most bomb hot chocolate in the world and I wanted to share what is probably somebody else's recipe, but I didn't look it up anywhere so I'm not technically stealing it. Also, it's basically chocolate and milk and you could totally figure it out on your own but Imma own like the culinary poser I am.

ANA'S Gormet Hot Chocolate (emphasis on "ANA" and said in a very sultry voice)

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 -3 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
2-3 cups milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar.
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)

Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips with cream or half and half in 30 second increments in the microwave and stir until smooth (I suppose you non-microwave users could melt it on the stove top, or maybe you just don't deserve this delicious hot chocolate...... ((kidding)) ). Heat milk on stove top on medium to high heat (or play fast and loose like me and put it smack dab on HIGH because your psychotic children are yelling that they want hot chocolate NOW and you're afraid they will set the place on fire if the electric burner doesn't get a flippin move on!!!). Once milk is hot whisk the melted chocolate in, continue whisking as you add the powdered sugar and whisk until lumps are gone (basically just never stop whisking).

Serve it hot so they burn their mouths and learn their lesson to stop yelling at you to hurry up.


KIDDING, serve delightfully warm with mini mallows and homemade whipped cream and watch their delightful little faces light up with gratifying smiles because you really are the best mother in the entire world...

Enjoy.

5) Mike and I watched A Ghost Story the other day and I had an existential crisis that lasted a day, seriously I think I weirded Mike the heck out. I love Casey Affleck so I was willing to give it a try, but Casey Affleck IS UNDER A SHEET THE ENTIRE MOVIE. I have never watched such a deeply depressing movie whose goal is really to do nothing at all except make you very, terribly sad. SO DEFINITELY WATCH IT (WINK).

6)) I am reading Kristen Lavransdatter because I was not about to read it when everyone else and their mother was reading it a few years ago, you know I don't like to do things that other people are doing. But man I probably should have because it is SO DANG GOOD. The real issue now is making any effort to do anything else at all but sit and read it all day every day. This blog post and the fact that we got any school done today at all are basically miraculous.

7) The newest Take Up and Read journal is available for Lent and it's beautiful both in aesthetics and in content. I highly recommend and not just because I wrote for it, but mostly because I wrote for it and I am super awesome.

Alright I think I got all the sarcasm I have in me out of my system and I should go do something productive like drink hot chocolate and read my book. TGIFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

acceptance

(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.

Acceptance.

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 5 miscarriages in her life, and I remember when she told me about her losses, 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....
Before:


After:

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

In 2 days.

HA!

NEVER.

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.

Positive.

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!