Sunday, July 29, 2012
My little Bubsy. This has been such a fun summer with you. Your personality has really blossomed these past few months.
You are busy and into everything. You have a fearless streak too. You will wander and explore and not even look back to see if I'm following you. Perhaps you take it for granted that I will always be there. That is good, a child should be able take it for granted that her mother will always be close by.
You love watching TV. I like to watch you watch TV and especially like to watch you sit in your big green chair. I can just see everything being worked out in your little mind.

You have the funniest facial expressions. You recently started chewing your tongue as you concentrate. It's so funny because your Dad does the same thing. We get a kick out of it.

Love you, Bubsy boo.

I Have A Dream...

Saturday, July 28, 2012
Farm in Vermont.

... to one day live on a farm. A nice little homestead with 10 or more acres of land, replete with vegetables, animals and children. A little slice of heaven where we could garden, keep bees, raise a few chickens and a goat (for the goat cheese, of course). I have big plans for this farm. 

We are not alone in our dream of country living. There seems to be a real "back to the land" type movement among a certain group of people. Those individuals and families who are already fairly crunchy and health conscious to begin with, those who hold seemingly conservative religious values and those who distrust the growing control of the government. More and more people wish to live a simpler and more agrarian lifestyle and we are some of those people. 

Of course, there's a little wrench in our plans (other than our utter lack of knowledge of farming) in that we seem to produce babies with craniosynostosis and therefore proximity to major maternity and pediatric hospitals is a must. 

Alas, we aren't giving up city life anytime soon, but a girl can still dream.

7 Quick Takes: The Medical Edition

Friday, July 27, 2012

What a week!

1. I came down with mastitis earlier in the week. No fun. It wiped me out for a couple of days. But as they say,  "sleep, riches and health, to be truly enjoyed, must be interrupted." I'm feeling much, much better. 

2. We met with Hannah's neurosurgeon to get a second opinion on Abby's situation. It was a very good meeting in that we walked away with a lot of information and a plan of action. Abby will most likely be having surgery in the next few months (I'll write an entire post on the surgery later). It will be major surgery--on her skull and she will be in the hospital for about a week. I'm okay right now, but I'm sure as the time nears I'll be a nervous wreck. Please pray for my baby.  

3. After meeting with Dr. Butler, we've decided we want him to perform the surgery (as opposed to the neurosurgeon who performed Abby's first surgery). We just really like him and feel comfortable with him. He's a native Californian and his wife went to Berkeley, so there ya go. Now the tricky part is switching doctors. We're not sure how to go about this. I feel kinda like it's breaking up with someone. It's not him, it's us...maybe if we just stop returning his calls he'll get the idea. (Just kidding, we would never do that.)

4. After our doctor's appointment we headed down to the Cape for a much needed getaway. We stayed overnight and left feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever lies ahead. 

5. Abby has another appointment at Children's this afternoon for some final head scans. I'm hoping it will be a quick appointment.

6. We are leaving on Monday to head out to California for my sister's wedding. We're so excited and can't wait to spend some quality time with my family. The girls are lavished with attention whenever we visit and it's just so fun for us to watch people love on our children. 

7. Orphan Profile: Beatrice. My little love.

This Little Girl

Thursday, July 26, 2012

is facing transfer to an adult institution THIS YEAR! 
Click her picture to learn more.
Stella is a "communicative and sociable girl and likes to babble."(Sounds like most little girls I know.) 

I'm sure she would thrive in a home that would encourage her girliness. She deserves a Mama who will talk with her and paint her toenails and braid her hair.

Are you her Mama?

She is in Russia, Region 26. For more information about adopting from that region, click here.

Fulton Sheen: Reflections on Celibacy

I just really loved Fulton Sheen's take on celibacy. This excerpt is from Treasure in Clay (The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen):
"Marriage and celibacy are not contraries in the area of love any more than atomic research and theology are contraries. All love is from God and all truth is from God. Celibacy and marriage both want love. Both are roadways to that ultimate. Celibacy uses the direct current; marriage uses the alternating current. Celibacy travels by air; marriage by roadway. Celibacy is like poetry keeping the idea ever in mind like a dream, but marriage uses a chisel and brush, concentrating more on marble and canvas. Celibacy jumps to a conclusion like an intuition; marriage, like reason, labors through ebb and flow, step by step."

What I Learned Wednesday: Mastitis

Mastitis is a bit*h.

That is all.

But if you arrived to this post hoping to find some information regarding mastitis, I suppose I should offer some. This is taken directly from the Ask Dr. Sears website.
Treating mastitis is much like treating engorgement only more urgent. Try these suggestions in addition to those listed under engorgement.
  • Rest, rest, rest. Mastitis is an illness, so take a medical leave from all responsibilities other than breastfeeding. Take your baby to bed with you and nurse. Rest relieves stress and replenishes your immune system.
  • Alternate warm and cold compresses on your breasts. Cold compresses relieve pain; warmth increases circulation, which mobilizes infection-fighters in the inflamed area. Lean over a basin of warm water, stand in a warm shower, or soak in a warm bath. Warm water or a warm, wet towel is more effective than the dry heat of a heating pad. For cold compresses, use crushed ice in plastic bags or bags of frozen vegetables, covered with a thin dishtowel to protect your skin.
  • Gently massage the area of tenderness. This increases circulation, helps to loosen any plugged ducts in the area, and mobilizes local immune factors. Try doing this while soaking the breast in a warm shower or bath.
  • Breastfeed frequently on the affected side. If it hurts to nurse the baby, start the feeding on the breast that is not sore, and switch to the sore side after your milk lets down. Breastfeeding is usually more comfortable when the milk is flowing. It's important to empty the inflamed breast. As in other parts of the body, fluid that is trapped can get infected. Your baby can empty your breast more efficiently than a breast pump. However, if your baby is not nursing well, you may have to use a breast pump or hand expression to get the milk out.
  • Vary the baby's position at the breast, so that all the ducts are emptied.
  • Take analgesics for fever and pain. Acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen are safe to take while breastfeeding. Unrelieved pain not only decreases your ability to produce milk, but suppresses your body's ability to fight infection.
  • Drink lots of fluids, as you would if you had the flu. Fever and inflammation increase your need for fluids.
  • Boost your immune system with good nutrition.
  • Sleep without a bra. At other times, wear a looser fitting bra that does not put pressure on the affected area. Or if possible, go without a bra.
  • Don't quit nursing at this point. Weaning increases the risk of a breast infection turning into a breast abscess that requires surgical draining. Continuing to nurse your baby is the best treatment for engorgement, mastitis and breast infections.
  • If baby refuses to nurse on the affected breast, it may be because inflammation of the milk glands increases the sodium content of your milk, giving it a salty taste. Most babies either don't notice or don't mind, and go right on nursing. Some may object to the change and fuss or refuse to nurse from that side. Try starting the feeding on the unaffected side and finishing on the salty side. As the inflammation subsides, your milk will soon return to its usual taste.
Thankfully, I am past the worst of it and feeling much, much better. I tried to rest and nurse as much as possible and I think those two aspects were the greatest contributors to getting over the infection quickly.


Monday, July 23, 2012

The other night we watched the movie Nanny McPhee. Oh, who am I kidding, I watched the movie and Matthew asked me later how it was.

It was such a cute movie, I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.

The story was lovely, the scenery beautiful and the costumes creative. Plus, I loved the names of the characters in the movie: Evangeline, Lily, Simon, Sebastian, Adelaide, etc. Love all those names.

But my favorite part was during one scene in which the father (played by Colin Firth) is explaining to his kids why he and his wife wanted so many children (they have 7) and he says to them, "you are all so delicious." 

What a wonderful line. It's exactly how I feel about my own children and exactly why I want more little ones. Each one is so delicious.  

"Please don't go...I'll eat you up, I love you so."
~Where the Wild Things Are

Pretty Pink Piggies

Saturday, July 21, 2012
The other night I painted Hannah's toenails for the first time. I told her she was getting a treat and then painted her toes a pretty pink. She loved it. 

Since then whenever she looks at her feet and realizes her toenails are still painted pink, she points them out and smiles and says, "treat, treat." Because painted toenails are most certainly a treat.

She was walking around like this for a while. I had to tell her it was okay to walk normally.

Love this kid.

My Iced Mocha Recipe

I'm a sucker for anything that involves chocolate and/or coffee. Rather than spend $4 every day on an Iced Mocha at Starbucks, I came up with my own little recipe.

My cheap-o Iced Mocha Recipe
*2 scoops instant coffee
*Half a cup boiling water
*Homemade chocolate syrup. I use this recipe, but with 1/2 cup less sugar than what is called for.
*2% or Whole Milk

Combine water and coffee. Stir and let cool.
Put 2 spoonfuls of homemade chocolate sauce into a tall glass.
Fill up glass halfway with some 2% or even whole milk. 
Stir chocolate sauce and milk.
Add in coffee.
Add ice.
Insert straw.
Drink and enjoy.

Simple, right? And quite delicious.

Starbucks, eat your heart out.

7 Quick Takes

Friday, July 20, 2012
Ok, this is getting a little pathetic. This is like my 14th post today.

So, the other night Matthew and I had a talk about adoption and how much the Reece's Rainbow children have been on my heart lately. And much to my surprise and delight he didn't give a flat out "no." He mentioned some of his concerns, which are all completely valid and totally rational and I shared my thoughts as well. I don't want to delve into it too much out respect for his and our privacy, but I will ask you to please pray for us and for the seeds of faith to grow, grow, grow!

Despite everything, I can't help but mentally plan the logistics of an international adoption and what would need to be done beforehand and during to make the process go as smoothly as possible. I probably shouldn't even entertain such thoughts, but I just can't help myself. So allow me to fantasize a little about what would need to be done to prepare for an adoption. Indulge me.

Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray for discernment, pray for guidance, pray for the child. Inevitably, adoption would have countless challenges, so prayer would be an absolute necessity for survival.

Read and research. The following books have been recommended as must reads for prospective adoptive parents and I found a few others that I would want to read as well.

Prepare for the medical challenges ahead and research child's medical conditions as much as possible. I actually see our experience with craniosynostosis as an advantage here. We are very familiar with doctors and hospitals and being advocates for our children's health. 

Blogger Tiny Green Elephants gives great advice on how to best prepare for an adoption here. She and her husband are adopting two children from Eastern Europe. First on her list is to "get real about your personal finances." You don't need to be rich to adopt. In fact, I was really surprised at how low the income requirements were. But it wouldn't hurt to be debt free and have savings specifically set aside to fund the adoption. However, I have absolutely no qualms about asking for money for an adoption, if it came to that. 

Make sure house meets home-study requirements. This would be things like make sure there are working smoke detectors in the house and such.

Organize and update paperwork.  My passport has expired so obviously that would need to be renewed. Also, it would be important to have all necessary certificates and paperwork set aside in a special file. 

I can't think of  something else that would be important to do beforehand. Suggestions? 
I have already thought that if we were travel to say, the Ukraine, I think I would pack one suitcase full of food. Is that even legal? I don't know. Not like lettuce, obviously, but things like canned goods and peanut butter that we could eat while we were there.

If I'm being honest, we probably won't adopt, at least not anytime soon. But I'm praying that if this is God's will that the little sliver of possibility be cracked wide open. These babies are worth it.

Stella and Beatrice
(Click their names to learn more.)

For more Quick Takes visit Jen at Conversion Diary.

Guardian Angel, That is Not What I Meant

Before I went to sleep last night I said a little prayer to my guardian angel that he would wake me up this morning in time for the early Mass. I didn't want to set my alarm because that would wake up the other little people in my bed and then there'd be no getting to Mass. 

At 4am my little wannabe nursling woke up ready to play. I just got her back to sleep. It's 6:00am. So I guess I will be able to make it to the 7am Mass after all.
So excited for this lovely blogger and her family.

They just got the call they were chosen to be the adoptive parents to another little boy. They pick him up Tuesday.

How crazy would that be? Bam, here's a baby.

So exciting.

Project 333 Update

Clearing out my closet and getting my wardrobe and accessories down to 33 items was both easier and harder than I expected. It was challenging in that I had to plan ahead for a change in seasons, so even though I didn't need a sweatshirt or a fleece right now in July, I would  most likely need one in October. I also had to plan for my sister's wedding, so a dress and a belt which I will probably not wear at any other point during the three months had to be set aside for the wedding. 

But it was also easier to get down to "brass tacks" than I expected too. It felt really good to purge my closet. Plus for the past six months or so I've been adhering to the No Fuss Wardrobe, so I've learned how to take a few items and create countless outfits. If you haven't checked out Haley's No Fuss Wardrobe, do it, you'll love it. 
So here's what made the cut:
* Two "nice" short sleeve T-shirts
* 1 Sweatshirt
* 1 Fleece Jacket
* 1 Pair of Jeans
* 1 Pair of black capri pants
* 2 Cardigan sweaters
* 2 tank tops
* 1 chambray long sleeve shirt
* 1 Pair of shorts
* 1 Pair of black bermuda shorts
* 1 Bridesmaid dress
* 1 Belt
* 2 sundresses
* 1 Pair of flip flops (I panicked when I first thought each shoe would count for one item, but fortunately 1 pair of shoes= 1 item)
* 1 pair of running shoes
* 1 Pair of nice black flats
* 1 Pair of Tom's shoes
* 1 Pair of sunglasses
* 3 Pairs of earrings
* 1 Necklace
* 1 Pair or running shorts
* 2 workout T-shirts
* 1 pair of yoga pants

For a grand total of 30 items. Not bad.
For more info on Project 333, check out the website here.

Be more with less.

Gotta Brag for a Minute

Thursday, July 19, 2012
Not sure if I've mentioned it on this blog before, but I hail from a super athletic family. Like, super athletic. All my siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and parents were and are athletic superstars. 

This year I have two cousins who will be going to the Olympics on the women's water polo team. We're hoping (of course) that they will win gold. 

This is my cousin, Maggie. She's the youngest member of the Olympic team and will hopefully be one of their starters during the games. More impressive than her water polo playing skills though is that she's just an all-around awesome kid. 

So make sure you root for the U.S. Women's Water Polo team in the next few weeks!

Big Sister is Watching You

"Step out of line and I'll be after you."
Hannah really is a very good big sister. She and Abby are great playmates (most of the time) and she generously doles out plenty of hugs and kisses on her little sister. Lately, however, she's took it upon herself to oversee Abby's upbringing.

Usually her treatment towards Abby is gentle and motherly. We often hear "this way, sister" or "C'mon Abu." 

But lately we have noticed a bit more of a Stalinist tone in her dealings with her little sibling. Abby often gets scolded with a "No, sister!" or punished with a "fall down" in which, you guessed it, Hannah pushes Abby down. (In Hannah's defense this is a "game" she played with her older boy cousins and apparently does not yet realize it is not a "game" to be played with people smaller than you.)

Recently at dinner Abby stood up in her high chair and Hannah took it upon herself to demand that she "SIT DOWN!" And while I appreciate Hannah's concerns for her sister's safety, I had to gently remind her that I am the parent and not she, thank you very much. 

Big sister just likes to be in charge. Now I wonder where she gets that from?

Project 333

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's no secret I've fallen in love with the orphans of Reece's Rainbow. I know some people may be sick of hearing about them. These children who are abandoned, abused and treated worse than animals. These children who have Down Syndrome, are HIV+, little babies with no eyes or noses. These children who are left to spend their lives stuck in a crib, never getting outside, or playing with toys, or knowing a mother's love. 

Obviously it would be easier to simply go on as if they didn't exist. They live thousands of miles away, they would be easy to ignore.

But when I look at these children, I see my own children. I wouldn't leave my own babies hungry, dirty or alone and so I cannot abandon these orphans any more I could my own children. 

I have to believe it is the whisperings of the Holy Spirit that keeps prodding me to do more for the sake of these little ones. I've never been so willing to embrace sacrifice before, so obviously these children are helping me too. 

And so in the spirit of sacrifice and for the sake of Stella and Beatrice and all the RR orphans, I have decided to partake in Project 333. For 3 months, I will only wear 33 items of clothing, which includes shoes, jewelry, and outwear. (But it does not include underwear-thank goodness.)

Here are the instructions:

Some of you might be thinking "so what," or "big whoop" and quite honestly, you're right. This project isn't much, but it is something. As one woman put it, the goal behind Project 333 is to "embrace mindfulness over consumption, simplicity over excess, and value over junk." 

I start tomorrow, so I will post some before and after pictures of my closet then. 

Wish me luck!

What I Learned Wednesday: Castor Oil

Did you know that Castor oil has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties and can be used to treat and heal a bunch of external maladies?

We've all heard of using castor oil to kick-start labor or to "cleanse" the bowels, but what I recently learned is that it can be used topically to treat a number of skin issues, including acne, ringworm, cysts, warts and even wrinkles (more about that later). 

Castor oil packs have also been used externally to help heal strained and inflamed muscles, relieve fluid retention and ease arthritis.

Due to its healing properties, castor oil is often referred to as Palma Christi, or the hand/palm of Christ.

Impressed with all that I had read about castor oil, I decided to order a nice big bottle of the stuff. When it arrived, I put it to use right away on my crow's feet. I dabbed a dime-sized portion on my forehead and around my eyes and left it on overnight. In the morning I looked ten years younger. Not really, but my skin did look fresher and my wrinkles were significantly diminished.

A week later I had a stiff neck, so I decided to follow Dr. Cayce's instructions on how to create a castor oil pack. Basically, a clean piece of cloth is drenched in castor oil and placed on the sore area. To enhance the castor oil's healing effects, it is recommended to use a heating pack on top of cloth and leave in place for an hour or so. The next day I felt as good as new.

(However, for the sake of full disclosure, I must admit, I tried this again a week later with my sore neck muscles and it didn't work as well the second time, so maybe it was a bit of a placebo effect, but one never knows.)

Anyways, considering how inexpensive a big bottle of castor oil is and its long shelf life, it can be a great asset  to any medicine cabinet. 

*Note: It is recommended that  high quality cold-pressed castor oil be used and that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding refrain from using castor oil internally.

Remember Declan?

Monday, July 16, 2012
Remember sweet Declan? Of course you do.

His Mom and Dad are working hard to bring him home. Help them by donating to their cause here:

I Can't Get This Child Out of My Head

Sunday, July 15, 2012

She has no eyes and no nose, but I find her absolutely beautiful. When I first saw her profile last night, my heart jumped into my throat. I haven't been able to stop thinking about her since.

And I love the name Beatrice (even though I know that's not her real name). Sometimes I think God uses little attention grabbers like an affinity for a particular name to hook us into a certain child.

God help me, I want her. Bad.

The Reece's Rainbow orphans are going to be the death of me.

A Must Read

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen. Read it. It's a page turner. I'm serious.

I've always been a lover of Fulton Sheen's writings. The World's First Love: Mary, Mother of God is probably one of my all-time favorite books. 

If you haven't heard the news, Fulton Sheen has been elevated to the status of Venerable, a step closer to official Sainthood. One of the miracles attributed to Sheen's case for sainthood is this story about little James Fulton. Read it, it's an amazing story. 

Someday I hope to give one of my sons the middle name Fulton. Did you know Fulton's given baptismal name was actually Peter? He started going by Fulton when he started school. Then he took the confirmation name John, thus Fulton J. Sheen. So hopefully one day, we will have a little Peter Fulton or John Fulton in honor of this great man who has steered so many towards holiness. 

On the first page, he writes:
"When the record of any human life is set down, there are three pairs of eyes who see it in a different light. There is the life as 
1) I see it.
2) Others see it.
3) God sees it.
Let it be said here at the beginning that this is not my real autobiography. That was written twenty-one centuries ago, published and placarded in three languages and made available to everyone in Western Civilization...The ink used was the blood, the parchment was skin, the pen was a spear. "

Venerable Fulton Sheen, pray for us.

A Winner: Take 2

Thursday, July 12, 2012
As promised, I drew another winner for the giveaway to benefit Stella


So the winner of the JCrew Giveaway is...


Congratulations, Sharon! Please leave a comment or email me so I can send you the JCrew gift card. Thanks!

Thank you again to everyone who helped advocate on Stella's behalf.

But this little love still needs a home.

Are you my Mama?

What I Learned Wednesday

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I've decided to start a weekly post about something interesting I've learned during the week. To start, I plan on sticking to issues surrounding nutrition and health because they are of particular interest to me.

So, for this week I've learned:

*Women need to be drinking 2% or even whole milk rather than skim or nonfat milk. Skim milk has almost exclusively male hormones because the female hormones have been skimmed away along with the excess fat. 

Women who drink too much skim or nonfat milk may find themselves struggling with acne or cycle irregularities due to the excess male hormones circulating in their system. 

When I told this to my friend, who also happens to be a chemist, she said "that makes sense because estrogen binds to fat." She drinks whole milk. 

Isn't that interesting? This whole time I've been drinking nonfat milk thinking it was the healthier option. Turns out, for me, it's not.

We have made the switch to 2%, but I'm not sure if we're ready to make the jump to whole milk just yet.

Of course there is still the argument that humans are the only mammals to drink milk past infancy, so our bodies may not actually need milk. But if you are a woman and enjoy drinking your milk, then I would encourage you to drink 2%, or even whole milk.

Also, I would strongly encourage you to drink organic milk. There have been numerous studies that show that non-organic milk often has blood, pus, antibiotics, and not to mention a plethora of unhealthy hormone levels.

So for your best bet, drink organic 2% milk. 

Stay tuned for next week's edition: Castor Oil: It's Not Just for Starting Labor...

At the Park

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Proof that I'm not a completely awful mother. We went to the park today and I took pictures of my little darlings. They had a ball, as usual.Then I made them chocolate chip cookies this afternoon using this recipe I found on Mandi's blog. Delish! 
"Hey, Mom, wook at me!"

Like Abby's skater girl shoes?

Queen of the mountain.

Happy girl.

Lost in thought.
I love her blue eyes in this picture. Like the bruise on her forehead? Poor baby.

Mothering Fails

I seem to be in high form in my mothering duties lately. I actually had to write "read to kids" on my to-do list last week. But hey, it worked. Since it was on my list, I did it. Sad, but true.

I'm embarrassed to admit, but the following may have been said by me in the past few days.

"Damn it*, Hannah, you're gonna have to wait. Can't you see I'm trying to read blogs about how to be a better mother?"

"Abby, if you want me to love you, you will not roll around while I'm trying to change your diaper."

Me: "Oh crap."
Hannah: "Oh crap."

"Bubbsy (my nickname for Abby), I know you want to nurse, but Mama reeeaaally wants to get a beer first."

*I think I probably said "dang it," but thought I'd use the former for literary effect.

There you have it folks. I'm just trying to keep it real.

Night Weaning

Monday, July 9, 2012
As I've mentioned, I'm attempting to night wean Abby.  I started a few nights ago and so far, so good.

Going into this night weaning process, I wasn't sure entirely what to expect. I never really had to wean Hannah since she pretty much weaned herself by 11 months. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that by then I was already 4 months pregnant with Abby and my milk supply had decreased a lot. Hannah was quite content to move onto formula, cow's milk, water and juice. Needless to say, every baby is different and Abby has moved into the eating-and-drinking-anything-other-than-Mama's milk-territory very slowly, so here we are.

We co-sleep, which complicates things a tad. And I'm against the whole cry it out method, it's torturous--for me.  So my plan has been to simply comfort her and give her a bottle of water when she wakes up in the middle of the night. She does cry a little, but she is usually able to get back to sleep after she drinks her water. I do think she wakes up thirsty, so the water is imperative.

However, the other night she was up for a good hour and a half, which was tough. Eventually I was able to rock her back to sleep, but that was no fun- for either of us.

But I am determined to succeed and I think that's key. Obviously, it would be so much easier to just nurse her back to sleep when she wakes up at 3am, but I keep reminding myself this is all for a good cause. Last night she slept from 10pm-5am straight. I thought that was pretty awesome, for both of us. I nursed her at 5am since I could see the light peeking through the windows and she went back to sleep after that.

So, less than a week into this venture and we're looking good. Please pray this keeps moving in the right direction. Thank you!

Working Moms

Saturday, July 7, 2012
You working mothers have my respect. Monday I substituted for the summer school program at my school. I only worked a half day, but with the effort it took to get everyone fed and dressed (including myself) and out the door, only to return home to a messy house and a hungry family, it felt liked I worked a 12 hour day. I guess, in a way, I did. You moms who do that every single day have my admiration.

Of course, I agree that all moms are "working" moms. I don't negate that. It's just I have a lot of respect for moms who truly have to work outside the home to support their families. And those mothers who work outside the home and are able to stay "open to life" and generous with their fertility, man oh man, you are my heroes. It ain't easy.

God bless you.

Some Days...

Friday, July 6, 2012
I wish I had four kids like right now.

I'm having to remember that being open to God's will for my family size means that at times He says "no" to a baby. Funny, people tend to think that couples who choose not to use contraception will be doomed to have baby after baby after baby. They forget that there are an endless number of factors that need to fall into place in order to make a baby.

Unlike before, I am at peace during this waiting period. I trust that God has a reason for everything and I believe He has my best interests at heart. I really do.

Plus, I also know there is always a calm before the storm, so I should just enjoy this calm while it lasts.

But I have to confess, I daydream about what would make good name combinations for twins.

Boy/Girl: John and Evangeline (like John the Evangelist, get it?)
Girl/Girl: Hazel and Eliza (yeah right, Matthew would probably never go for those), Hazel and Eleanor, Evangeline and Eleanor. The possibilities are endless for girl names.
Boy/Boy: Charlie and Peter, John and Peter, James and John

What would you name twins if you had them?

Lithe & Leggy

Thursday, July 5, 2012
"Lithe and leggy, the pre-school child's proportions are quite different from the dumpy toddler or large-headed baby."
~Your Baby and Child by Penelope Leach

Lately, when I look at Hannah I hear Penelope Leach's description of a child's body in my head.  My little girl is becoming quite "lithe and leggy." Suddenly and overnight she looks tall to me. 

This realization makes me both happy and sad. She's becoming such a lovely little girl, but all remnants of her babyhood are behind us now. Someday, all too soon, she'll be a woman.

 "It is rare that one can see in a little boy the promise of a man, but one can almost always see in a little girl the threat of a woman."~ Alexandre Dumas

What a Difference a Year Makes

Wednesday, July 4, 2012
I don't really write too often about where we live, just in case there's some internet stalker out there who wants to hunt me down, but on days like today (the 4th of July), I just have to mention how much I love our little town. 

Actually, our town isn't so little and it isn't so much a town as a city. In fact our city is quite the historical one. John and Abigail Adams lived here. Peacefield is about 5 minutes away. John Adams was born right next to our favorite local ice cream spot and the Adams' attended church across the street from what is now a Starbucks. Our main street is named after John Hancock, whose father is buried in the town cemetery and the colonial troops marched along a nearby road as they went off to fight the Redcoats at the battle of Lexington and Concord. As you can imagine, for a lover of American history like myself, it's a great place to live.

Despite our city's largish population, it still manages to maintain a small-town feel. This is especially evident on the 4th of July. There seem to be neighborhood parades everywhere.

We went to the same parade today as we did a year ago and I can't help but think of how much has changed in a year. My girls look so much older than they did a year ago and they keep getting cuter too. 
Last year-2011.
Today. Don't mind the nose-picker.

My little patriot.
Waiting for the parade.

What a difference a year makes.

My babies.
I can't help but think of how much I've also changed in the last year. Last 4th of July I was recovering from my 2nd c-section and struggling with a difficult post-partum recovery. I was in a much different place then, mentally, emotionally, physically and even spiritually. I wrote about that here. Looking back, I can see more clearly what a challenging and somewhat dark period that was for me.

Having gone through that time, I am so much more appreciative of where I am now. I feel healthy and happy in nearly every aspect of my life. I feel so fortunate to have healed and moved past what I needed to in order to be in the place I am now. Thank you, Jesus, for that.
Shamefully, I didn't have on my red, white and blue.
But life is like that, I suppose. Some years are more challenging than others. One of my favorite quotes from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is "There are  years that ask questions and years that answer." I love that book. It appears to me that I am in an "answering" year. Of course with new answers come new questions, but I suppose that thought is for another post.

God bless.
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