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.

Heil Hitler

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 Hitler.  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!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

9 Months Old

I am thousands of pictures behind and even more blog posts in my attempts to capture how I feel about our children.  I can sure worry with the best of them.  I am not easy going when it comes to them and their lives.  The time I have with them can not compete with the love I have in my heart.  Their lives are so wonderful and have brought such joy into our hearts.  With that joy, I have felt so many daily sorrows.  Some big and so many are so small that I have never vocalized them to anyone.  Sitting with Dominic tonight before bed, I sat and listened to him tell me all about everything.  Gosh, that is so painful.  Why?  Time slipping away I am sure.

I cannot help but whisper to God, "Please let me have more children."  I love these children so much.  Their lives are so beautiful to me. 

Our Lourdes is NINE months old today.  She has her bottom two teeth and is standing everywhere.  She says a few words and loves to show us where the light is.  She came with strong velcro attached to my hip.  She is very slow to get on solids and still won't take a bottle.  Her little stomach is very sensitive and seems to react to most foods I've given her.  She still nurses like a newborn.  The girls carry her around all day so much so that I realized today that she was never on the floor.  Ever.  If she wasn't sleeping, someone was playing with her.  What a lovely life you have.

I had planned to go last week to be with my mom, but we had to take Lourdes to the ER in the middle of the night for a croup attack.  After several hours there, we headed home and I just didn't feel comfortable leaving her as she still didn't feel well.  On Friday, I left her with John for three days while I went to be with my mother.  The Thanksgiving turkey never took a bottle for three days.  I have a freezer full of milk, yet she waited for her beloved to come home.  He fed her baby food and gave her drinks all day of breastmilk out of cup.  One would think after that long she would have taken it. Nope.  I told my sisters when I returned home that she nursed her lips off.  Goof.  Anyway, I was so thankful to sit with my mother and am so grateful to John for his saintly love and heroic efforts in holding down the fort. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Mother~a few prayer requests

May you be rewarded in eternity for the prayers and sacrifices offered for our family especially my mother during this time.

Her scan last Tuesday did not show as we were hoping for.  The tumors are still present so they will move forward with the (as they phrase it), the "Atomic Bomb" of chemos (B.E.A.K).  They described it to us as bringing her to a point of death and then back.  We have such high regard and respect for her doctors, but those terms sure scare a family.   We all were a little weary after last week.  Cancer has been such a roller coaster of emotions.  You always want God's will to be done, but trying to find your mindset and footing during the ups and downs can prove to be quite the challenge.

This round of chemo is what they have been preparing us for for many months.  She will be hospitalized for 4-6 weeks and then will stay in Kansas City for another 4 weeks for monitoring.  She might be able to go home around the beginning of next year (She currently is receiving treatments about four hours from her home).  They will rescan in March.   These are the current plans, but as we have found, plans can change in a day.

She asked me for the first time to ask people to pray for her.  She is really afraid for this treatment.  We are almost going on a year now since her diagnosis.

My second prayer request would be that Lourdes would take a bottle.  I REALLY want to be with my mom next week during chemo and specifically stay the night with her during her treatments next week.  If they are what they say they are, I do not want her alone.  The catch is that children are not allowed in during this time so I cannot bring Lourdes.  She refuses every bottle we've tried to give her, but in order for me to stay with my mom at night, Lourdes needs to take a bottle.  I have enough milk stored up from her time in the NICU so that won't be a problem.  She is getting up several times at night to nurse so please pray that God will be merciful on this small, but important detail.  I wish so much to be with my mom especially during the nights (We live three hours from Kansas City so I can't go back and forth.)

Thank you so much.  I know so many people who are suffering from cancer and other illnesses.  My heart and mind are often without words when you see the vast suffering everywhere you look.

God Bless You.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Enthronement to the Sacred Heart

On Friday, October 9, 2015, we enthroned our home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I remember my parents doing this as a child and feeling such security knowing that Jesus was especially watching over our home. You can read more about the significance and importance HERE.  I also loved this explanation HERE about what the enthronement actually means, how we live it out, how it sanctifies families and marriage.  I love many aspects about this beautiful devotion namely we are inviting Jesus into our homes and proclaiming Him king of our household.  As stated on the blog, " The goal of it is to unite the tabernacle of the church and the tabernacle of the home in order to make domestic churches of the homes."
(Damaris is hidden behind Lillie.)

Our Lord Jesus Christ made these twelve promises to those who honor His Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French nun, whom he called “the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart” and the Heiress “of all Its treasures”, in the 1670’s. They show us how much he cherishes this devotion. Considering that the blood that redeemed us at Calvary came from His Sacred Heart and that so much love and light still exude from it, we can easily understand why! These promises were revealed in one of many private revelations that Jesus gave St. Margaret Mary. Our Lord promised the following:

 1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
 2. I will establish peace in their families.
 3. I will comfort them in their trials.
 4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and, above all, in death.
 5. I will shed abundant blessings on all their undertakings
 6. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Lukewarm souls will become fervent.
8. Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection.
 9. I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. The names of those who promote this devotion will be written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
12. I promise thee, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

 Keep in mind in the 12th Promise that our Lord asks us to receive Him in Holy Communion in a state of grace on the First Friday of each of nine consecutive months, a First Friday devotion.

If you have any serious sins on your soul, it’s important to have them absolved in the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) first. (If for some reason you miss a month, the following month becomes your first again, but considering the graces Jesus offers us here, it’s more than worth following this schedule!)

As with all of God’s graces, these promises are contingent on our obeying His Will for us through prayer, the sacraments, reading and studying about our faith, and listening to His Holy Spirit. This is not as difficult as it may sound, however. What it involves, after all, is trying our best to live a good life pleasing to God, in obedience to Him, and sharing His love with others!

 Think also of those parables in the Gospels in which Jesus spoke approvingly of the good and faithful servants who served their master diligently and thus were rewarded when he returned (Matt 24:45-47 and 25:14-30 ).

The ninth promise, incidentally can help with the seventh and eighth. Just as looking at a crucifix can remind you of the immense depth of God’s love for us, so can looking at an image of our Lord and His Sacred Heart such as the one above further personalize that love for each of us, and for you in particular.

Seeing His Sacred Heart ablaze with love and light can be a source of great consolation after a hard day or during a trying time in this often loveless world! And remember, His love is not just for us sinners or for fallen humanity in the abstract, but for you as well!

These promises, like this devotion, remind us that God’s love for us is such that he doesn’t want to lose any of us to Satan and Perdition. The Good Shepherd will search after His lost sheep, but, we must want to be found.

 As St. Augustine, the 5th Century bishop of Hippo, one of our greatest theologians and a Doctor of the Church once said about God “He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.”
Fr. Courtney has a special devotion to the Sacred Heart.  He had us pray a novena in preparation.  He blessed the picture and encouraged us to come to his heart in times of trial and sorrow and seek his protection and comfort. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Beauty in Suffering

She always apologizes for her hair.  I see nothing but her beauty.  I see her sacrifices for souls.  I see her port in her right shoulder and her tri-line in the other shoulder.  I see her C-section scar and other scars that only a handful know about.  I truly think she couldn't be more beautiful than she is now.  I love her hair.  I love her heart more.  I love her beautiful and suffering eyes.

Last weekend, several of my siblings came to be with her as she received her second round of chemo.  She will have a PET scan Oct. 20th to show if the cancer is gone.  If it is gone, they will do one more round of chemo.  If it is not, they will finish chemo and begin radiation.

It is our privilege to sit beside her during this time.  I wish I could accompany her to every blood draw, every scan, every consult, but right now God did not want that.  She always tells us that our duties are at home and that makes her most happy.  She is such a person of resolve.  She sees God in EVERYONE.  I mean EVERYONE.  She listens to her doctors and accepts what they tell her to do-no questions.  She knows God has a plan for her. She suffers so well.

She is my dearest of friends.  I haved loved her my whole life.  She asked me why I was taking pictures of her.  I do want to remember this time with her, but more importantly I always take pictures of beautiful things I see.  I SEE nothing but beauty. 

Before getting sick, she worked out at CrossFit most days.  She continued her workouts even after being diagnosed.  She is so strong.  She set a goal to do 100 squats everyday no matter what.  She has kept them up even during chemo.  We went for a walk down the hall and did some stretches together.   She said it felt so good after laying in a bed for five days.  Isn't she amazing!

I told her I took a Pure Barre class so she wanted to try some of those moves and stretches. 

There is never a baby she doesn't want to hold or love.  I inherited my love of babies from her. 
She requested that evening to watch the new Cinderella movie.  It was so fun.  We got snacks and turned down the lights.  She loved it.
Chemo meds

Her last day was very difficult with nausea and headaches.  The nurses really worked with her to help make her comfortable.  Thank you, my mother, for suffering so well.  Thank you for loving us enough to offer your life for ours and those we love.  Thank you for blazing the trail.  She gave us many gifts and showed us much love, but right now she is doing her greatest work confined to a bed in a city that is not her home.  She is suffering so that her children and others may get to heaven.

John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, but to lay down his life for his friends."