Saturday, March 31, 2012

7 quick takes

1 - Aaahhh... boy bands...  I love this song, though I'll probably hate it by summer.  These boys are so little, like 13 year olds.  Is it silly of me that I wish NKOTB was singing this song?  Probably.  I also wish all men wore pants with the crotch in the crotch.  Ugh.

2 - Today I had a playdate with two friends whom I know from my college Newman Center days.  I hope that wherever you are you have friends like I have.  Friends who are funny, honest, thoughtful, and supportive.  Friends who love God and His Church and beer and $1 McDonald's ice cream cone bribes for good behavior.  It was a beautiful day, perfect weather at a park, a picnic lunch, 10 kids age 7 and under, and lots of good conversation.  So what if the conversations were always interrupted by a crying/whining/disobeying/tattling child?  It was perfect.

3 - I wrote a review of Hallie Lord's book Style, Sex & Substance over at IGNITUM TODAY.  Go check it out and share your opinion of the book in the combox! 

4 - Have you heard the good news about  Blogger friends Katie and Kayla are building a website filled with information on natural family planning.  It doesn't matter if you practice or are interested in nfp because of your religion, because of how "green" it is, because of infertility issues - there will be helpful resources and support.  They will include sympto-thermal, Creighton, NaPro Technology info, etc.  I encourage you to check them out, like them on Facebook, and snag yourself a button.
Best button ever.
5 - Lydia's birthday is coming up in early May.  She wants a Strawberry Shortcake birthday party which means I've been pinning things.  The funny thing is that there are four versions of Strawberry Shortcake. 
The one on the left, who I loved as a little girl, Lydia doesn't love. The one on the far right Lydia does not love, and I'm glad about that because she's a little too mature for me - not as sweet,cute, and little for my almost 4 year old.  The Strawberry in the middle was revamped with longer hair and uglier clothes before she morphed into the one on the right.  It's the Strawberry in the middle that Lydia loves - she's all about "working together" and "friendship".  I can live with that. 

6 - Speaking of Pinterest:

Why does everyone seem to want to put everything in a mason jar?  I wonder if this mostly appeals to people who don't otherwise eat food out of mason jars.  But since my mom has canned food and grape juice my whole life, and taught me once though I haven't tried it again, it's not cute and novel for me to eat food from one.  In fact, I always look at these things and think about what a pain in the butt it would be to prep the jar, bake the food in the jar, eat out of the jar, and then wash the jar again.  But maybe I'm just lazy. 

7 - Actually, I am lazy.  There's no way I would dye my cake batter 5 different colors and take the time to pour a little of each into a kabillion jars.  Or even one cake pan. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

my birth after a stillborn

I live in this weird place, what I refer to in my head as "between the land of the living and the land of the dead". 

I delivered a stillborn son 18 months ago.  He was dead, and then he came back to life.  But his return to life, at first, only promised us another, innate, death.  There was shock, a sort of disbelief, and much to mourn.  I can relate to the mothers of stillborns.  I understand, at least, their first hour.  I stood there.  I did that. 

But then God, for some reason, moved me past that point.  The mothers of stillborns cannot relate to me.  My son is slap in their faces, I think.  I did not finish that grieving process and so, in many ways, I am still dealing with it.

I was then promised a severely disabled boy.  Cerebral palsy, seizures, blindness, a blank mind - all of these things were offered to me as options.  So I can relate to mothers of special needs kids.  I know about the fears, loneliness, and questions of worth and ability.  I lived through the follow-ups, specialists, and therapies, especially in the first year.  I stood there.  I did that.

But then God, for some reason, moved me past that point.  The mothers of special needs kids cannot relate to me.  My son is a slap in their faces, I think.  The odd thing is that with every thing that was given back to us - sight, a healthy brain, fine motor skills - it seemed to simultaneously make the load lighter and focus my grief more intensely on the things that were still missing.  I felt like there was always another heartache, another thing to mourn.  But I was pulled out of that, too, and so I'm trying to figure out how to grieve something that isn't gone.

I suppose I sound ungrateful.  James, my little (alleged) miracle, was restored to me - like Lazarus to Mary and Martha.  But I never let myself deal with these thoughts and feelings at the time - there wasn't time! - and so now I continue to find them bursting out of me.

Of course, you see, all of this is magnified and made much, much worse by my approaching due date.  The things I had stuffed away as I told myself to stop crying are coming back and sometimes they leave me practically immobile.  Probably hormones are, in part, to blame but I am also aware that there is much more to my frequent naps, sleeping in, skipping out on certain social events, and whatnot.  I am emotionally and mentally and physically exhausted.  My head hurts from crying, or from straining to not cry.  I am sleepy, sleepy, sleepy.

And when I think about this labor I am terrified.  I do not want to go into labor.  I do not want to push this baby out.  The last time I pushed a baby out he died.  I don't want to have fetal monitoring because I don't want to know when her heart stops.  I don't want to be in a hospital surrounded by people I don't know and procedures I don't care about.  I want to be at home so that when this little girl is placed in my arms I can lay in my own bed, in my own house and cry over her still little body without anyone bothering me.

When I think about her future I do not plan her baptism but her funeral.  With my other children I pictured their names on resumes and wedding invitations; with her I picture a tombstone.

I want some kind of closure but forcing it hasn't worked so I suppose I must just continue to deal with things as they arise.  And so here I am, unable to spend much time or energy in "the land of the living" but shut out from "the land of the dead".  I'm not sure who will relate to this - I seem to be alone in this situation but there it all is for you.  I am tired, scared, and exhausted from mourning a long list of things that didn't happen. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

7 quick takes

1 - In high school my friend Mindy made me a mix tape with Harry Belafonte songs on it.  Because we were awesome like that.  When you listen to this song don't think about Beetlejuice just think about shaking your hips.  Go ahead, no one's looking, you can "hoist that skirt a little higher!"

2 - Today is the nationwide Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally at 12 noon.  There will be a group at the federal building in downtown Peoria - just 20 minutes from my house.  I wish I could go but there's one reason I cannot, and he is named "Bennet."  Bennet loves to wander off and so I am pretty sure that while comforting my "I-should-be-at-home-napping" 18 month old my middle child will walk away and end up standing in the street.

So at noon my kids and I will say a "St. Michael the Archangel" prayer to join those who are gathering across the nation. 

3 - On a completely different note, here's two posts that are really great reads:
 #1 - Cynthia's 7 (Good) Reasons to Swear
 #2 - Putting It That Way by Rebecca Frech

4 - Recently my husband began watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix.  At first I made fun of him - he's a high school teacher so why would he want to relax by watching a tv show about high school?!  But now I'm hooked. 

5 - Travis' 30th birthday is coming up this Monday.  His festivities include going fishing with his brother tomorrow, a family cookout, and permission to watch a movie and go out to eat with some friends after work - and I won't complain.  This is just as generous as when he took me to Boston for my 30th birthday.  I'm such a good woman...

6 - This Sunday, March 25th, I will be speaking in the Atrium at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, IL following the 5pm Mass.  The talk, titled "61 Minutes: Witness to the Alleged Miracle" will begin around 6:30pm.  The event is free and is hosted by the parish youth group.  If you're in the area it would be great to see you there!

The hat Lydia is wearing was made for me by Jenny Traig, author of Devil in the Details, Well Enough Alone, and the Crafty Girl books.  We volunteered together once upon a time.  Just a little factoid for you.
7 - I share this picture with you because officially, and seemingly unofficially, Winter is over.  Robins in my yard, daffodils blooming, trees budding, rabbits hopping all over the place.  But I knew that Spring was here the other night as I drove home on the country roads with the windows down.  The air felt cool after a warm day and it smelled like the freshly spread manure on the prepped-for-planting fields.  Aahhhh!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pray for a baby, a momma, and a priest

Hello friends.

Just today I recieved two prayer requests via email.  I strongly encourage you to join me in praying for the following people:

Cristina and Andrew are my fellow contributors at IGNITUM TODAY.  You may remember when I asked you to pray for their little girl, Maria Isabella, who was diagnosed with spina bifida at 17 weeks in utero.  Recently Cristina and Maria Isabella had surgery to fix the baby girl's spine.  The delicate surgery was a success but Andrew now writes:

Please keep praying for her and for Cristina’s slow recovery. I know that after the surgery was over, many people remarked “Phew, glad the hard part is over”….but the reality that the doctors and surgeons shared with us is that the work has just begun. In many ways, the main surgeon felt that the surgery was actually one of the easiest aspects of this whole process…the prayers need now are for a calm and slow/steady recovery for Cristina’s uterus, allowing her to carry Maria Isabella to-term, without going in to labor early.

I would also ask you to pray for Andrew who, as a righteous husband and father, is concerned for his family.  You can follow their progress at Cafe con Leche.

Fr. Weldon is the chaplain at Ball State where my friend Joanna is a FOCUS missionary.  Joanna sent this prayer request:

I would like to ask you to pray for our chaplain here at Ball State, Fr. Christopher Weldon. He has had back problems that recently resurfaced and is in a lot of pain. He has degenerative discs in his back (he's only 36!). As a result of this most recent injury, he has had to cancel all daily Masses and find substitutes for his weekend Masses.

Please pray for his quick recovery.

St. Gianna Molla and Fulton Sheen, pray for Cristina, Maria Isabella, and Fr. Weldon!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Behold meant to me

As I look at pictures and read the evaluations from the 2012 Behold Conference I am struck by two things: 1 - next year I need to be 50lbs lighter and have someone professionally do my hair and make-up (And that does not contradict Kate Wicker's talk!) 2 - it was beautiful.

The Mass was holy, dignified, lovely.
Someone described the Adoration Chapel as "romantic" and they were right.
The lunch buffet was amazing.  (I got seconds on the hummus.)
The babies, strollers, moby wraps, and pregnant bellies were so refreshing, especially in light of all the HHS junk.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tag - I'm it!

Here's a bunch of gibberish all about me.  I was tagged in this fun little blogging game and I'm going to play along because after a week of recouping I finally feel social again. 

The rules:
  1. The first rule is to post these rules.
  2. Post a photo of yourself then write 11 things about you/your life.
  3. Answer the questions for you set in the original post.
  4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
  5. Go to their blog/twitter to tell them you have tagged them.
I'm the one on the right with a large mouth and glasses.  This was at a FOCUS conference back in my campus ministry days.  I wonder if I still have that watch somewhere.  I loved that watch.
Eleven things about myself:
1 - I'm conflicted about Kanye West.  He's a great rapper but man-o-man is he ever inappropriate.
2 - I really suck at Lent this year. 
3 - I used to think of myself as funny but I don't any more.  The only thing that's changed is that before I was fat and needed to be funny.  Now I'm fat and I've decided to put effort into being kind rather than being clever.  I hope it's working.
4 - My Christmas lights are still up outside.  It would take 5 minutes to unwrap them from the banister but it still hasn't happened.
5 - My husband and I honeymooned in Scotland because #1 I love Braveheart #2 I didn't want to go anywhere hot - especially a beach.  Instead of a bunch of pictures of me in a bathing suit laying around (a thing no one wants to see - even from my thin days) I have all these awesome pictures of me looking cute in jeans and turtlenecks exploring castles. 
6 - I was first runner up in a beauty pageant once upon a time.
7 - I really dislike New York City and Chicago.  They're big and smelly.
8 - I dislike dogs and cats.  We had a dog and a cat when I was growing up but I never had an emotional bond with either.  I had typed out a whole list of things that drive me crazy about dogs, cats, and pet owners but it's better that I deleted it.  I will say, though, a house is never clean if you have small children or pets.  And in my experience it's far worse with pets.
9 - I think New Girl is hilarious.  There's too much sex, of course, but I feel like the jokes were written exactly for my sense of humor. I actually laugh out loud while watching it, which I cannot say for most shows and movies I watch.
10 - I have two brothers and I'm very glad I have them.  But I also wish I had a sister. 
11 - My son Bennet is adorable.  Sometimes it's hard for me to discipline him because of how stinkin' cute he is.

Cynthia's Questions:
  1. Mini-van or other?   Mini-van.  It was a hard pill to swallow but now I love it.
  2. Favorite clothing item?   Right now it's maternity dresses / skirts.  I've given up on pants at this point in the pregnancy.
  3. Best friend in the whole wide world? Why? Travis is my best friend, but when it comes to girlfriends I would probably say Sr. Miriam Caritas is tied with Katie B.  This is a hard question to answer, though.  Friendship as an adult is so different than when I was a child or teen.
  4. Favorite movie? For a long time it was a tie between Sense & Sensibility and Braveheart.  Now I'd probably say 3:10 to Yuma.
  5. Your favorite trait about yourself? I take excellent naps.
  6. Best concert you've ever been to? NKOTBSB.
  7. Most difficult decision you've ever had to make? too personal to share here.
  8. What did you want to be when you were little? President of the USA.  This is because all my teachers  would talk about how we could be anything when we grew up - even the first female president of the United States.  Now there's no way I would want that job.  God bless the men and women who run our country.
  9. Favorite quote? "In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace."  Luke 1:78-79
  10. Most expensive item [at the grocery store] that you have ever purchased?? formula, probably
  11. Best television series you have ever watched? Lost.  But we'll see how Downton Abbey turns out - it might just tie or beat out Lost.
Okay, so now I'm going to break the last two rules because I am still exhausted.  It honestly took me four days just to answer those questions.  I can't think any more.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Young Catholic Believers

A friend of mine put this video together in response to the misinformation that has come out since the HHS mandate.  She writes, "The whole idea is to put out a 30 second video with the integral message that we are young, faithful, practicing Catholics who believe in our faith, religious rights and abstinence/NFP."

Feel free to share it and give some positive feedback - I'm sure there will be plenty of anonymous commenters who will make unkind comments. 

PS - I'm the girl pointing to my engagement ring.  Love it!

Friday, March 16, 2012

7 quick takes

1 - Are you like a virgin trimming your wick?  Better get on that.

2 - It was 81 outside yesterday and we'll probably break the record again today.  You wouldn't know that it's still technically Winter.  I am hoping this has no foreshadowing for a very hot summer.  If that's the case I'll never go outside.
3 - Being married to a high school physics teacher means I actually care about Pi Day, even though I can no longer remember what the heck Pi even is.  Fortunately a friend reminded me of the not-really-important day and I was able to have an apple pie waiting for my husband when he returned from work.  Only two apples in the fridge meant we had a smallish pie but it's probably the best pie I've ever made.

 4 - People often asked me how I was able to plan the conference on top of everything else.  My answer is a supportive husband, free babysitting, and Quiet Time.  James naps for about 2 hours, beginning around 1.  When he goes down Lydia and Bennet head upstairs.  They don't have to nap, and they can play together, but they do have to stay in their rooms, be quiet, and not come down or talk to me until James wakes up or their dad comes home. 

Quiet Time lets me nap, clean, bake, prep dinner, waste time on Pinterest, work on things, or just have some time to myself.  However, this is not to say that Quiet Time is perfect.  Usually Bennet takes off his clothes and diaper and one day he came downstairs after his sister had "tagged" his body with a green marker.
Her name was on his back and his legs and butt were also covered.  Nice.

5 - St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow.  This means I'll be reading and re-reading The Story of St. Patrick's Day today and tomorrow so that by the time I serve specially purchased Lucky Charms with green-colored milk the kids will know who St. Patrick was and what a shamrock can teach us about God.  I've been planning our menu much more than giving them a religious education.

So I'll just tell you about our menu. 

Breakfast - Lucky Charms and green milk
Lunch - an Irish breakfast with bacon, sausage links, eggs, tomatoes, and home made soda bread.
Snack time - Skittles, so they can "taste the rainbow" ya know.
Dinner - Corned beef and potato soup.  Dessert will be a fruit rainbow on min-marshmallow clouds with a pot o gold-en wrapped Rolos at the end.

I do have a coloring page of St. Patrick that we'll work on...  so there's that.
What are you doing?

6 - I am finally on the up-swing after the conference.  I've been gathering my thoughts on everything and I hope to write a post very soon with all the details.  Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me so I don't have a single picture from the day!

7 - Santorum will be at a pizza place in East Peoria on Monday.  I really want to go but I'm afraid of losing my children.  What would you do?

Monday, March 12, 2012

unable to communicate - so laugh

My introverted self is waaaay over stimulated after this past, glorious weekend.  Behold was fantastic, and I'm still processing everything.  I have pretty much retreated, and since I don't even have any pictures to post I'll show you this, The Fresh Prince of Downton Abbey.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Hat tip to Lisa for sharing the goodness with me in the first place.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Disbelief in James

Today I made my visit to my midwife's office.  She is a wonderful woman and I am seeing her because, while she only does deliveries in hospitals, she was trained in part by my homebirth midwife.  She understands natural labor and the beauty and good of home birth, as does the doctor she is in practice with.  Today my midwife is gone and so I saw the doctor - an ordinary ob-gyn except that his c-section rate is fantastically low, he's the best in the area at "turning" breech babies, and he also supports homebirth.

He asked if there were any complications with any of my other pregnancies.  I tell him I miscarried my first and that my second was a stillborn because of a knot in his cord.  And before it gets all sad in the room I quickly say, "But he's okay now."

"Oh," Dr. replied, "Well if he's okay then I wouldn't call him a stillborn.  Stillborns are dead."

"He didn't have a pulse for 61 minutes."

"A pulse you could discern."

"That's true.  He was 'P.E.A. on the monitor' when he got to St. Francis."  (Pulseless electrical activity means his heart muscle was still sending some sporadic impulses.  A sono of the heart in the ER also showed the heart "flutter.")

Or as I like to think of it, James' APGAR score was 0 at 1, 10, and 20 minutes - and at 60 minutes! - and he was "mostly dead."  Perhaps because of the chest compressions and mouth to mouth there was enough of something to make him twitch.  And so we called on Sheen and Almighty God instead of Miracle Max.

After I gave the Doctor the last bit of information he was quiet for a moment and then asked, "Where did you deliver?"

"At home, with Bernice."  Bernice's consulting physician - or whatever it's called for insurance and certification purposes in the state of Illinois - is this same doctor.

"I remember your son!  Bernice called me about him and I visited him in the NICU.  I remember looking at him and saying to myself, 'This boy is a miracle.'  How is he now?"

"He's fine.  He sees a feeding therapist for some swallowing issues but socially, physically, developmentally he's fine.  He's a year and a half and he's fine."


It's a beautiful thing to share James' story, especially with people in the medical field.  They ask the best questions, doubt the most, and their responses of silence or disbelief or awe reaffirm what I feel in my heart - that James' healing and life are miraculous.  (I'll say alleged miracle for the sake of Sheen's cause.)

I was able to share James' story this past Saturday to a group of 60 people at an area parish's event.  It was a joyful privilege to tell the details for God's goodness and majesty.  I hope I have the opportunity to tell it many more times.  For people who will listen James' story is a remarkable tale and for me to tell it is quite healing.

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.  Mt 13:16-17

Friday, March 2, 2012

maybe not 7 quick takes

1 - It's like a power anthem.  It makes me wish I was going out tonight.

2 - Here's my latest post at IGNITUM TODAY.  I hope you like it.  (It's about Catholic education.) 

3 - Can you tell my brain is fried?  My brain is fried.

4 - Bennet has been wearing only a diaper for the majority of the day.  I did have him dressed by 8am but then he got "a widdle wet" when he was washing his hands and while unsupervised he stripped.  Right now I'm in a :whatever" kind of mood so this is not a big deal to me.  You can relate, right?

5 - It's time to prep for the talk I'm giving about James.  Please say a prayer for me!