Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Pink Stork Solutions

I would gander to say that most women encounter morning sickness to some degree or another.  I am certain the market would be quite profitable for some brilliant mind if they had the time, money, and resources to dig up the origins of morning sickness and more importantly develop a natural remedy.  I've researched this topic for hours and have come across many, many recommendations natural and pharmaceutical.

I wrote about the topic in this post: To Remember About Morning Sickness.  I had researched most of that after the nausea had subsided with Lourdes so I didn't have a chance to test out the theories, but I am sure they would help so much.

I wanted to pass along this new company that a friend introduced me to a couple weeks ago called Pink Stork Solutions:  Morning Sickness and Prenatal Health.  This is not a sponsored post, but I couldn't keep this information to myself especially given the topic of morning sickness.  I know how desperate I have been in the past for relief.  This company seems to have researched and gotten to the core of why women encounter morning sickness.  The reviews are honest with most claiming that it didn't take the sickness away, but reduced the effects of morning sickness tremendously.

They offer two plans.  The first being for mild symptoms and the second for severe.  The descriptions for each plan are clear and will guide you through which plan to buy.

I am assuming that you are wondering why I am passing along this information at this time.
We found out two weeks ago that God had given to us another child to love and hold.  We were over the moon.  It was the best telling our children that baby #10 would be gracing our family in October.  My due date was October 7th which is my dad's birthday.  John and I were just giddy about our new baby.  We had a series of ridiculous events that week and I kept saying to John, "I don't care!  We get to have another baby!  Those things don't even bother me compared to the gift of a whole new person."  Our kids cried with excitement when we told them.

That was when I learned about Pink Stork as I had texted my friend to let her know about our newest and she told me about this new company.  I ordered THAT night!

Sadly, the day the package arrived we learned we had miscarried our baby.  I am a selfish lover.  John's mom always says that it is so hard to give them back.  Man. I felt this HARD.  I don't know why, but my first emotion was ANGER.  We wanted so much to see and hold that baby in our arms.  We wanted so much to know who you were.  The moment we find out we are expecting LIFE shifts in a different trajectory.   We know that in 8 or so months a new person is coming which affects so much in our home from homeschooling, to room arrangements, on and on.  My mother heart starts immediately going and preparing my nest for a new person.  When that comes to a sudden HALT, emotions can go wild.  This is the fourth child we have lost to miscarriage.  It is comforting knowing those little souls are waiting for us on the other side, but humanly I cannot help but want to have known WHO and stare into that beautiful face a while on this side.

I hope Pink Stork is able to help someone in the throes of morning sickness and I am hopeful that if we are given more children, this will help.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

No more Uncle Billy moments

I guess this is the time of year I'm supposed to write a post about what I've resolved to do.  It's always about weight loss and how this will be the year I will have a complete body transformation and finally win $10,000 from AwesomeBody.com and humbly accept my award.  Also, my spiritual life will grow by leaps and bounds to the point of levitating on the daily.  In that order, of course.

Not this year.  I have two resolves this year.

First:  No more Uncle Billy moments

Let me set the scene: In Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, Uncle Billy is most famously known for absentmindedly misplacing the money that was to be deposited in the bank.  Although throughout the entire movie, he is best known for his fumbles, so much so that he must tie string on his fingers to remind himself of various tasks.  He is always rummaging around the Building and Loan, sloppily dressed with hair awry.  Always fumbling.

No More Uncle Billy moments.

So, this came about as I was spending time with my mother in the hospital.  As I was preparing to leave one evening and fumbling through my purse, half panic-stricken that THIS MUST indeed be the time I've lost my keys forever and will never be able to return home to my family, my mother says to me, "Hey, Uncle Billy, where are your keys this time?" 

I know it was a small detail, but it had mountainous meaning for me.  I was fumbling through my purse, a lot like I fumble through making dinner, a lot like I fumble through cleaning, a lot like I fumble through grocery shopping, and a lot like I do many things.

Honestly, since that day I've purposely said to myself, "Slow down, Uncle Billy.  Why are you in a hurry?  Why are you hurrying right now?  Slow down and look around.  Look at people in the face.  Look at the faces of your precious children.  Look at the apples you are picking out to feed those precious children.  Examen those oranges with pleasure in God's great creation.  Look at them.  Carefully cut that kale salad up for those little mouths to eat."

Hey, Uncle Billy, look at the bottom of your precious baby's feet.  They really are unreal, all those lines unique only to her.  Hey, Uncle Billy, Have you ever turned around in the car wash to watch their faces watch the automatic machine?  It is wonderful especially when in squirts the Tri-colored foam.  Who needs Disney when your car wash squirts Tri-color foam?  Hey Uncle Billy, have you noticed how darling two-year-old hands are?  Look at them.  Look at the dirt under his fingernails.   Stop fumbling around.  Hey Uncle Billy, slow down.  Your children and their simple ways are enough entertainment for a lifetime.  Stop fumbling around.

So, I resolved to not fumble.  Just today, in fact, I was striding into Hy-Vee and felt Uncle Billy coming on.  I purposely stopped, realized the mission at hand, and slowed down.  I was on my way to buy food for our Epiphany Party.  They were so excited back home.  What a pleasure I had to be buying food for our Epiphany Party.  This one action triggered a series of following actions.  Because I slowed down, I got out our fine china and gold chargers.  I got out our stem wear and let the kids have grape bubbly in the tall stems.  They loved it.

Hey Uncle Billy, Did you know Kapaun watches you make dinner every night?  Did you know that he stands on that chair watching you no matter how long it takes you?  One hour.  No problem.  He stands there watching.  Look at him.   Look up and no more fumbling.

Secondly, I am attempting to make a holy hour everyday or at least spend some time alone with HIM in the chapel each day.  I look forward to our date everyday although it takes a considerable amount of minutes to calm my inner Uncle Billy and focus on Our Lord.

Those are my resolves.  Here's hoping to 2016 being fruitful in this endeavor. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Teaching our children about sexuality

Teaching our children about their sexuality is something we've invested a lot of time preparing for.  We wanted to do a thorough job trying to understand every angle a child experiences when learning about sex.  I have asked countless individuals and priests their recommendations for preparing our children for a sexualized culture.   This is what we've discovered so far and I wanted to share the resources we've found and what we've experienced so far.  Please add any additional resources or ideas.  We would love to hear what you have found for your family.

1.  We decided that John and I would tell our children together as a couple about God's design for sex.  It is one of the most important topics we will teach them about so why would we not approach this subject together as a united team.  I AM SO GLAD WE DID THIS.  It certainly appears to have left out any uncomfortability as we are there sitting next to each other complimenting and validating each other while presenting the topic to our children.  NOTE:  We didn't tell our children all together as in everybody in one room.  We told Dominic separate from the age-appropriate girls, but John and I are there together while we are speaking to both groups.

2.  We very much intend to not just have ONE talk. We intend to have an on-going conversation reading different bits of material together mixing encyclicals with other great resources that I will list below.

3.  Most of our talks will be in the comfort and familiarity of home.  I've asked many friends about when they first learned about intercourse.  I received a variety of answers which included some being told by their parents, some went on special trips with a parent, many learned from kids at school, and far too many learned from their encounters with pornography at a young age.

4.  While we stressed the seriousness of the sin involved with abusing our sexuality either with pre-marital sex, self-abuse or masturbation, or viewing pornography, we told them last night that our goal as a family is to stress the beauty of life and God's plan for each person.  We have a two fold goal.  YES, this is a mortal sin BUT Please know of this big, beautiful world God has created and how He has made you for a specific purpose.  It is a tricky thing in parenting because on one hand you want them to never put their soul in mortal danger so a parent can tend to pound and pound the subject out and then the child is left dulled by the repetition.  On the other hand, we don't want to neglect the seriousness by only portraying how wonderful life is.  I believe you must present both.

We've found these valuable teaching tools that I would recommend to invest in for your children.

1.  Good Pictures, Bad Pictures by Kristen A. Jenson and Gail Poyner

We've read this with everyone including Clairvaux (5 years old) on up.  It's a powerful 5-step plan to inoculate your children again the epidemic of pornography.

2.  Wonderfully Made!  Babies
A Catholic Perspective on How and Why God Makes Babies (for ages 9 and up)
By Ellen Giangiordano with Dr. Lester Ruppersberger

3.  The Joyful Mysteries of Life by Catherine Scherrer

Other resources that have been recommended to us:

1.  All Things Girl by Teresa Tomeo, Molly Miller and Monica Cops
2.  The Care & Keeping of You:  A Body book for younger girls
3.  The Story of Me (book 1)
4.  Before I Was Born (book 2)

I will add recommendations here that I receive from other readers.

1.  Listen, Son (Family Life Education for Boys) (Seton)
2.  Mother's Little Helper (Family Life Education for Girls)  (Seton)

I would certainly read everything before you present to your children just so you can sift what you deem appropriate for each child.  For example, while the last two books I've recommended are good, they are advanced for many children so proceed with caution.

All these books can be ordered through Gloria Deo bookstore at 888-420-1830.

I want to close with a few tiny tidbits we added and found helpful.

There certainly was an element of nervousness to begin this process for us.  We wanted to preserve their innocence while not neglecting a very important parenting duty.  We wanted to preserve the sacred while making sure they are prepared to encounter the world and all that it might throw at them.  Once we began discussing with them, all the nerves went completely away and we've had many beautiful discussions.  I know the grace will be flowing!

One night we focused on body safety rules that I'm glad we went over with them.  I wanted to add that here as a chapter of the whole picture regarding this subject matter.

I found this on pinterest and thought it was pretty thorough so we just used this.

We added to #2:  Even if an older child or adult asks you to.

We also taught them early warning signs that should trigger their brain to beware of such as sweaty palms, racing heart and a sick tummy.

We never keep secrets that are uncomfortable or bad; we only keep happy surprises!

Be strong, Be brave and Always speak!

Again, these conversations have unfolded over many nights and weeks.  We haven't presented everything at once and while the topics can be serious, we always stress God's beauty and wonder to them.

Friday, January 1, 2016

She came HOME.

My love came home. Our Christmas was wonderful because she was home.  We were told she would be in the hospital until after the beginning of the year, but here she is.  Nothing much mattered to me this Christmas but her.  She will have scans in February to check the effectiveness of her treatments.

I have always had an awareness of the swiftness of time, but my sensitivity to the sand slipping through the hourglass has heightened.  This brings about an ability to push aside all trivial matters and focus on the most important, but it also brings about sadness not knowing what the coming months will bring.

I keep telling her that we are together now.  We have today and we can do today.  I don't exactly know how to navigate through these times.

We are all so thankful for her being home.  I was able to be with her for her bone marrow transplant and last chemotherapy treatment.  I thank all who prayed for Lourdes to take a bottle while I was gone.  She actually never did, but John willingly handled her so I could be with my dear mother.

Tomorrow will be her one year anniversary of being diagnosed with cancer.  Wow.  It seems like it has either been five minutes ago they told us she had cancer or that it was fifty years ago.  I'm not sure which.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Baby's First Christmas

She was afraid of the lights at first, yet mesmerized all at the same time. She wouldn't touch them initially. I could tell her little gears were turning and wondering what in the world were these sparkling lights. She had the same reaction to the fur on my coat this morning. She wouldn't touch it. I just adore these picture.  They were all so happy for her to be putting up her first Christmas tree.

Why is Christmas so wonderful?  I had the biggest lump in my throat most of today and yesterday listening to their excitement and glee.  I observed their faces while we drove around looking at Christmas lights and listening to Christmas music.  Our car was mostly silent except for the oooh's and aaaah's.  Why is the world are we so excited about Christmas?  I think it is so telling of the human heart and one of our greatest of desires which is to give, to serve, and to have hope. 
Why are white lights so enchanting?  I have nursed every one of our babies by the glimmer of the Christmas lights.  It will be one of my best motherhood memories. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Our boy

We interrupted this family photo for a very tired little boy who was done with touring our local seminary. Kapaun is a very easy-going fella, but nap time is important to his functioning at full sweetness.  I wanted to take a picture of the kids and he walked to the side and simply turned his back on all of us.  It was so great.  He wouldn't budge. 

Discerning his vocation, I guess.

Why was the picture his tipping point?  Why did he turn his back and stand perfectly still?  Who knows?  John and I sure thought it was funny.
I think we shut the van door and he turned his head and fell asleep.
Last month  was full of excitement and adventure.  We had four trips to the ER for three different kids.  Clairvaux hurt her arm while playing and wouldn't move it for several days.  We thought she broke it, but X-rays showed nothing.  After several days of a limp arm, we took her back again.  We took Lourdes in the middle of the night for croup and Kapaun fell off the back of the platform to our swing set. I was doing the morning dishes and watching them play up in the fort like they always do.  He was standing in the entry and I thought, "Man, he is going to flip off the back."  I literally turned my head and hear Clairvaux yelling to me that he fell of the back.  I sprinted out there.  He was doing the "I'm so hurt, I'm weak cry."   It broke my heart.  He wouldn't put any weight on his right leg.  I was worried about his head too.  I called our doctor to tell him what happened.  He sent me over to the ER.    Once again, X-rays showed nothing, but it still took several days for him to walk on it.  I took all three of them to our good chiropractor for adjustments.  He checked them out and made sure all was in line.  I will take about a three month nap to recover from that worry. 

Crackers were offered to help settle the suffering patient.  He was milking every last drop of attention. 
 His mothers positioned the patient on the couch and set about the day caring for our invalid.  Everyone wanted a turn.  In the picture, they were reading one of his favorites to him while holding up the book just so.
We still can't believe he is a boy.  Really.  We say it everyday.  John and I make our rounds every night before bed.  We look at each child sleeping and usually say the same thing each night.  We have a voice we speak in about each child.  Kapaun's room is our last stop.  We lean over his crib and giggle about any antic performed that day.  He was so perfectly tailor made for our family.  What a good boy.
Above all his admirers, John dotes the most. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


During the summer, Kapaun and Damaris brought me these flowers everyday.  "Put them in a vase Mama up there."  So proud of their love given.  At times, my sink was decorated with numerous glasses bursting with their thoughtfulness.  Have you ever watched a child pick flowers?  You really should.  Don't miss it.
Everyday someone is always reading on the couch.  I think we should just live at the library and then drive home occasionally.  We go there so often and have so many fines all the time because I can't keep our library cards straight and remember when everything is due back.  The nice lady over at Walt Branch knows my first name way too well.  Absent-Minded Professor at your service I am.

Everyday.  This baby is well-loved from John all the way down to Kapaun. She is a celebrity in our home.  They sprint to get her out of bed and cry if it's not their turn.  Clairvaux has reached the age where she can throw her five-year-old hip out well and tote Tiny around.  Tiny loves it.
Everyday.  These three play outside during school in the mornings.  I can see Kapaun's head popping out.  Their life is fun.  It is new everyday and they play hard. 
Everyday.  They wait together in the music room for someone to be walking their dog.  Although, the mail truck offers equal joy.  They wait and wait for the neighbors to walk their dog.  I heard the run down just last night of the walking schedule.  "Mom, did you know the So-and-So's only walk their dog at night? Why do you think they do that?"  What is especially cute is that he knows the names of each dog passing taught to him courtesy of his little mothers.  He loves every dog, but nothing beats a good old-fashioned Corgi walking by.  Corgis are his favorite hands down.
I love this picture of these two. Completely unaware that I was watching.

Everyday.  More reading.  More chatting together.  Always eating.

No-Shave November

This small incident will go down as one of the funniest, freakish, near panic attackish experiences to-date currently with one of our children.  I was sitting outside pushing Lourdes in the baby swing in Beloit.  Directly beneath me is an old cement stump that once held a fence post.  Kapaun came running towards me, tripped perfectly and fell face first into the cement stump.  I waited for it.  I flinched, twisted, cringed in all sorts of directions because I knew he had just knocked out all of his baby and permanent teeth.  He ran fast and fell hard.  I waited.  No sound.  Did he knock himself out?  Did he hurt himself so bad that the delay cry was coming in 3 seconds.  Nope.
He popped up looking like this.  I don't know what happened because it defies logic and physics.  Imagine my surprise when down went a clean-faced boy and up popped no-shave November.  I laughed and laughed and laughed.  How in the world?  The dirt was so perfectly formed it almost looked like I painted it on.  Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Who's that girl?

Right before my eyes I am watching the transformation of a little girl into a woman. Mostly woman now.  It is hard to wrap my mind around our children getting older.  We spend our days together everyday, but somehow they are slowly emerging out of their childhood shells into adults.  I still see them as someone I should/might/maybe would carry around in the ERGO so why are you wearing those clothes and thinking such deep thoughts?

Lillie has probably grown the most this past year.  We wear the same shoe size and she is almost as tall as me.  How?  Why? Where?  She really is the best older sister to her siblings.  She loves Lourdes so much that she gets tears in her eyes when speaking about her.  She is full of love and excitement.

Lillie's best trait is loyalty and compassion.  She can spot someone struggling from a mile away and is so eager to intercept and help out.  She has such a beautiful heart.  Out of all of our children, Lillie loves animals the most.  She is a natural with them.  I have noticed a simple consistency with people that those who love animals seem to be so aware of others and their needs.  Interesting.

These pictures capture perfectly why mothering is hard.  In the above picture, I see a growing mature girl blossoming into womanhood.  In the below picture, I see a little girl who was so excited to dress up for All Saint's Day and ran around and played like a child.  It leaves your head spinning at times.
My VERY favorite thing about Lillie is that she doesn't care a drop about her appearance.  She is so unaware and carefree about her clothes, hair, shoes, whatever.  She is thankful for anything in her drawer and would much rather be doing a million other things than worry about that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

All Saints Day 2015

The planning involved is so intense. I LOVE it and only wish I could sew elaborate costumes because it would be really fun to deliver their desired costumes complete with elaborate plans to fly, bilocate, and all the good things the holy saints did.   Every year, the planning begins way before October.  We always vacillate between going all together as a theme or just letting everyone pick their own.  I could trick-or-treat for hours.  I especially enjoy watching our little ones sprint from house to house trying so hard to keep up with the big kids.  I love watching them lug along their props only to find myself five houses into the the whole ordeal weighted down with paraphernalia.  The kids were ready to go home and it was ME asking them, "Let's go one more block."  We had our traditional Chipotle feast where everyone gets to have their OWN bowl or burrito.  We then make a few stops at old neighbors before hitting up the neighborhoods.
Dominic as St. George

Lillie as St. Gabriel

Rose as St. Agnes

Zellie as St. Zelie Guerin the lace maker

Vianney as St. Ursula

Clairvaux as St. Zita

Damaris as St. Kateri

Kapaun representing the Holy Martyrs of China.  John provided the hair split down the middle for added pleasure.

Baby Kateri played by Lourdes

A great picture into the sun at the Super Bowl of Saints with the Christ the King Sisters.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Please pray

Please pray for my mother tonight.  She is suffering so much.  I am desperate for her. 
Thank you.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

My Radiant Rose

When I grow up, I want to be like Rose. My sister and I joke about that we've learned much about parenting from Rose. She is gentle, kind, sweet, and ever-patient. She knows how to handle every situation with children and loves to learn anything that comes her way. She is the tenderest of souls and loves John and I with a Godliness that must please Our Lord very much. She is a perfect daughter, sister, and friend.   How we were blessed with such a soul, I will never know.
She is determined in the kitchen.  She loves to bake and create to surprise our family.  Shortly after Lourdes was born, I had just started avoiding dairy to see if it would help her stomach.  Rose felt so sad for me, so during nap time she created a chocolate cake to surprise me.  She went to extra lengths to make it free from all things that might upset Lourdes.  I remember with such fondness her scurrying around the kitchen to surprise me and frosting the cake with such pride.  What a sweet girl.  She is the first to make cards for me when I leave the home and the first to recognize any effort I put forth in my daily tasks.  She thanks me for folding the laundry, for making dinner, for cleaning the bathrooms, and teaching her.  She really is a dream.
I find her praying a lot.  I watched her sit down to practice her piano and pause for a moment to pray. She is such a soft place to land.  She loves animals and wants to much to be a dog owner.  She falls asleep clutching her stuffed animal dogs.  How I would love to surprise her someday!!