Good Friday 2016: On Mercy

This year has been more of a rough and tumble into the Triduum than most years, though I suspect that the years to come will be similar in style. As I write this, we are in the three hours of agony and are, as Christians and Catholics, encouraged to take some time to meditate and reflect on this time that Jesus was on the cross.  My cell phone is off, my babies are resting, and I am writing because it is my best method of focus.

It’s easy for me to think of Mercy and how I need to have it for others; how we need to have it for the world and for our opponents and enemies.  But today I have been contemplating my biggest opponent in need of Mercy: myself.

“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

This meditative prayer comes from The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy, and today marks the beginning of the Divine Mercy Novena. It is strong on my heart these days, and can be said as part of the rosary-based prayer or on its own.  It is repeated 50 times throughout the chaplet, “emphasized in this way as it reminds us over and over again of our reliance on the saving action of Jesus. We cling to God’s mercy not because of our own actions but because Jesus acts on our behalf. In repeating these words we learn to trust Jesus more deeply.” (reference)

My everyday actions illustrate a complete lack of trust in Jesus. I am distracted by my work, by my family, by my own thoughts and fears and insecurities.  And I worry, as much as I tell myself not to worry, but I do.  As much as I want to be a Mary, I’m a total Martha.  I’m a Martha who wants to love people and serve them but finds herself too busy and in nonstop motion to stop and look around.  I’m a Martha who lets insecurities hijack her abilities and lets fear dominate her good intentions.  I’m a Martha who loves, a lot and without end, but hides when worried or scared or nervous or prideful.  I have failed many a friend and sister.  I have hurt and let down people that I love, dearly, and pushed them away.  I have let others opinions of me, even if they’re just in my head, dominate my thoughts and paralyze my nature.  I hide, a lot. I am prideful and insecure and greedy and forgetful and selfish and materialistic and I take people I love for granted. I am sensitive, yet callous in reaction to my fears.

Yet, somehow, I have Grace.  I have a life that is full of blessings and every day I am given a glimpse of heaven with the love I have surrounding me.  And on today, this most beautiful and sorrowful of days, I am humbled.  Any good in me is by and from Christ.  Anything lacking is because I need Christ.  Today, we mourn for the sorrow and sufferings of a man who so dearly loved us that he was prepared to die for us, for me. I mourn my own humanity that murdered this man, this innocent.

As someone who avoids the daily news and details of tragedy, I can fully understand how some fellow Christians don’t like to focus on the crucifixion. I’ve had dear friends wonder why we would put so much effort and contemplation into the sin and sadness, when from it Christ made all things new. As my son told me this week (and yes, I wept), “Jesus opened the gates of Heaven, Mommy!” But to me, they go hand in hand. To fully appreciate the beauty of the resurrection and to fully value life, we must grieve death and face our part in it. It only makes this Sunday morning more joyful, more beautiful, and more meaningful.

I accept my shortcomings, but I commit to a lifetime of battling them and finding the good in what the world sees as weak or silly. I commit to a lifetime of fighting the fear I have about others’ opinions of me, and to instead turn my gaze to those who don’t have anyone to think of them. I commit to a lifetime of trying to live and love in a way that honors the life that was given for me.  And I am thankful for the daily opportunity for such awesome Grace, and the unconditional love and forgiveness that comes with it.

“Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.”




Good Friday 2015: On Mary

Year-to-year, on Good Friday, I am humbled by the love God has for us to sacrifice his son. On Holy Thursday, I weep at the loneliness and pain that Christ must have felt in that moment, when his disciples couldn’t stay awake with him and he knew the cup couldn’t and wouldn’t pass from him. I am sorrowful, thankful, and awestruck by this.

This year surprised me and has me reflecting not only on Jesus, but also on his mother.   Last night at church, for obvious reasons, I couldn’t help but to reflect on the faith and suffering of this woman. I can’t comprehend the pain she experienced. Regardless of your stance on Mary, I imagine that any parent and any person who cares for and loves someone can relate to the nature of this woman’s love for her son.

I look at my babies, my two perfect little gifts from God, and I imagine being a witness to the world’s scorn and condemnation of either of them.   If Christians think that a poor virgin carrying a child that she couldn’t explain was brave, imagine that child that you love and have poured your heart and soul into being tried and crucified as a criminal.   And she didn’t know why it was happening, except that it had to happen.

I don’t worship Mary, contrary to beliefs of some outside of Catholicism. I don’t hold her higher than or equal to Christ, as misconception leads some to think.   But she is an integral part of his life, of this story. Any mother that bears and raises a child can account for that.   Any mother that has changed diapers, wiped tears, sacrificed her desires (and sleep) for her child knows this to be true.   She said yes, and carried him. She said yes, and raised him. She said yes, and held back and wept as her baby was crucified.   Any parent knows the love that she had for this child. Any mother that has lost a child, at any stage of life, knows the grief she must have experienced.   For this I don’t worship her, but for this I do ask her for strength in my hard times. She is the servant that let His will be done, and by doing so gave us the most intimate, physical connection with God. For this I revere her. This is an active love for me, not above my relationship with Christ, but greatly enhancing it on a daily basis.

Today’s story is a love story. Today’s sorrow has a happy ending.   Today’s pains and grief result in the greatest gift mankind has ever received. But on that day on Calvary, Mary only knew of one thing, that her beloved little boy was being murdered as a crowd watched.

Not just for me, and not just for you. The grief she experienced was for each and every single person we encounter, just as the pain Christ felt was non-discriminate.

Becoming a parent can serve as an eye-opening reminder of the love and sacrifice our parents gave – or were unable to give – each of us. Today I look beyond the great love my parents have for me, and appreciate the models of parenting displayed to us through both God the Father and Mary.   It’s so easy to forget or not realize but, for me, not today.

Easter blessings to you and yours.

Good Friday 2014: Behold the Wood

Five years ago, I wrote on an old blog about my reflection on Isaiah 53:6, “Each of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”
Now, I reread that text and reflect upon how my shallow ways and self-centered tendencies continue and newly materialize as a mom.  I think of how he did what he did for not just me, but for my babies.  And I am humbled beyond words.  You think nobody could love your kids as much as you do?  He does.  He loves us so much more than our little brains can comprehend.  You think you do things for your kids or loved ones that they’ll never fully appreciate or understand?  He definitely did that for me, and for us.  Today I am speechless, as I am every Good Friday.
Every blessing I have, every gift I receive, my babies’ smiles and my husband’s love…it’s all from him.  Every anxiety I feel, every worry I carry, every bad day/week/month…he felt them all at that moment. Today is a reflection of that day where he gave his own life for us, where he allowed all of our iniquities to fall on him.  And nothing can separate us from that love, from that sacrifice.  It is a terribly heartbreaking, humbling, and Good Friday.
We mourn.  We wait.  We pray.

[Real Food Friday] Link Love: Kale! + Homemade Girl Scout Cookie Recipes

Since it’s Friday (and I’ve already posted once today…who am I?)  I just wanted to share two fantastic links for your enjoyment.

100 Days of Real Food – I’ve already geeked out on here and even more on Facebook about my love for 100 Days of Real Food.  Finding Lisa Leake’s blog a few years ago was a huge turning point for our diet.  I wrote a little bit about that here  and have more in queue about our transition.  But for today, I’ll share a link that I certainly appreciate: 5 Ways to Easily Eat Kale.  I often hear friends say that they have no idea how to implement this incredible super-food into their diet.  We primarily use kale in our daily smoothies but earlier this week I used it in place of spinach for a veggie lasagna.  Delish!  I think we’ll try the eggs recipe tomorrow morning…

Eating Rules – I found Andrew Wilder and his blog through 100 Days and I really like his approach.  He has three simple rules:   1) when you eat grains, only eat 100% Whole-Wheat grains 2) don’t eat high fructose corn syrup and 3) don’t eat hydrogenated oils, trans fats, or anything that’s been deep-fried.  So simple yet so not simple.  But the love this week is for his most recent post, Why I Don’t Buy Girl Scout Cookies and how the beloved treats break all three rules.  I admit, I’ve enjoyed a couple of cookies when offered here and there but we haven’t personally bought them in two years.  There are other reasons to consider not buying GSC (this blog doesn’t go there) but ultimately, they’re packed with gross stuff.  This weekend I’m finally going to try out a few Pinterest-sourced recipes for homemade Caramel Delights and all natural  Thin Mints.  (If I were super disciplined I’d try this one for Whole-Wheat, Honey, and Agave Samoas…we shall see!)

Have a beautiful weekend!  xoxo

Squawking + Discipline 101

I am putting aside my incomplete [Real Food Friday] post to ask for some help or insight…so much for consistency.

Confession:  I haven’t read a lot of parenting books.  I read books about babies and plenty of books about Real Food.  I was around babies a lot growing up and nannied so much that I’m comfortable with many stages of childhood and reinforcing other parents’ discipline decisions.  But I’m increasingly aware that this stage of my kid’s childhood intimidates me.   As H’s parents, we are in charge of the initial response to unwanted behavior and discipline in general.   And there are so many theories and books out there…where does one begin?  A few books have been recommended but life has been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to read them yet.  But the time has come.

H is 14 months old and generally a very happy child.  As long as you let him sleep and keep him fed, he’s a total lover.  But he has mastered this SQUAWK.  At first it was cute (“Awww…you’re experimenting with sound”!) but, after a few days, we began twitching every time it happened.  We tried ignoring it, we tried shaking our heads with serious faces (he just laughs at our alleged serious faces…oh dear).    But the squawk has reinforced that we have no idea what we’re doing.  Not that any parent does, not that any lone theory applies to every child, but we need help.  Yes, the squawking is likely a stage and he’ll grow out of it if we don’t feed it (right?) but it highlights that we need to start deciding how we’re going to approach discipline.   It’s a personal choice for every couple and we will ultimately decide where we fall in the chart of options.  I guess we’re looking for a few good starting places.


Too soon? Too soon.

Any tips or reading recommendations?  Insights? Any specific to squawking are welcome with open arms!

[Top Ten Tuesday] Favorite Baby Items: 4-12 Months

Is it terrible that I can barely recall this time?  I mean…it wasn’t that long ago but I am struggling to remember our concerns were, what Harry used, and what we preferred.  Initially the memories are fuzzy because you’re sleep deprived, nursing all hours of the night, and just trying to maintain some composure.  Then you realize it’s fuzzy because it’s happening so…stinkin’…fast.

A lot of the same favorite items from 0-1 month and 1-3 months stayed at the top of our list as the months continued.  The Ergo and Moby continued to be worth every little penny.  Cloth Diapers are a way of life around these parts.  We sent Coconut Oil to Harry’s new school in the place of traditional diaper cream.  And the one about Zero Expectations?  That’s not going anywhere.  The following items emerged as the year ticked on and, whether a singular item made the list or a theme emerged, these are in no particular order:

Maclaren  Umbrella Stroller – Now of course you don’t need a Maclaren stroller specifically.  We just happen to love ours a whole lot.  We debated strollers for a long time – “test driving” just about every kind you can imagine.  And as we got closer to our Chicago trip last October, we had to pull the trigger.  An umbrella stroller just made sense – it needed to break down quickly and easily, be light enough to walk around/travel with, and durable enough to withstand a lot of city walking.   Maclaren is generally a great quality stroller and I geeked out over the shoulder strap for ease of carry when it’s closed.  Throw in the fact that we scored a great deal on the floor model that we could still use a BBB coupon with…sold.

Toys/Jumperoo/Walker  – Several of the toys mentioned in the 1-3 Month Post were still toys that H loved.  Our favorite trick was to rotate through toys, hide some for a while, and then he’d flip out when he found them again.  Not books, though.  Books are always available and never in shortage.  Three of his very favorites to read through together and on his own: My Big Animal Book,  Spanish Words, and, to my heart’s delight The Very Hungry Caterpillar (surprise surprise, he loves the food). Some of the new toys we introduced at this time we kept appropriate for his developmental stage.  The Rainforest Jumperoo he inherited from his cousins was a massive hit until he was about 9 months old.  When “cruising” officially started, he wanted nothing to do with stationery activity.  His sweet friend Lucy lent him her Melissa and Doug Chomp & Clack Alligator walker and he is still in love with this guy.  He also grew more interested  in tactile toys – standouts being the B Squeeze Blocks  and good ole Stacking Rings.  The other favorite toys are the somewhat obvious balloons and the bouncy balls from the wire cages at WalMart (you don’t really need a link for those, do you?).


Legwarmers – H’s Aunt Steph likes to make fun of his love for legwarmers.  Okay, my love for legwarmers and Matt’s inability to stop me from putting them on our son.  But the truth is that when H got more and more active, these were more than just aesthetically pleasing.   They became the best way to keep increasingly active legs warm, and change diapers as “the flip” came into play.  You know what I mean…the flip that makes diaper
changing and dressing babes SO MUCH more difficult.  With these I don’t need to go through the extra steps of pulling up pants on a babe who just saw the remote control across the room and wants nothing to do with me.  A onesie + legwarmers is my absolute favorite combo (when it’s too cold for just a cloth diaper).  They became our go-to for around the house lounging.  Okay, maybe some errands, too.

Lovey…and a backup! – I referenced this in the last Top Ten favorites as an afterthought.  Well afterthought no more…this kid is in LOVE with his bunny, Stinky.  Why the name Stinky?  Because he chews on the ears until they’re hard and crusty and smell to high heaven.   But he also walks around dragging him by an ear or arm, Stinky trailing behind him like Michael Darling and his teddy bear in Peter Pan.  It’s absolutely precious.   Some kids never take to stuffed animals but I think most little persons find comfort in something – a pacifier or blanket – and my advice as soon as you identify that object is to STOCK UP.  Stinky was getting some wear and when he lived up to his name, we’d take him from H for a day to wash and let him air dry.  When I wised up to the idea of a backup, I discovered he was discontinued and sold out.  Not cool, Jellycat.  I placed orders on random online boutiques, three times getting an email that they were out of stock and unable to fulfill my order.  FINALLY one came in the mail and with how excited I was, you’d think the bunny was my lovey.  Now we rotate them and never let Harry see that more than one exists.


Music TableI mentioned several toys earlier but this one deserves to stand alone.  You may recall that Matt and I are anti-battery operated toys.  We’re not total grinches – we just prefer constructive toys that don’t play the same songs over and over or randomly start talking in the middle of the night (it happens…and it’s creepy).  We love BOOKS and activities that incite the imagination.  But this toy is our big exception.  You can choose different options (so it’s not always the same sounds or theme) and H was playing with it as soon as hand-eye coordination strengthened.  And it’s what kickstarted his dancing…and we love his dancing.  Do the same songs, phrases, and noises still get stuck in our head?  Of course, but his little bouncing bottom makes it all worth it.

Bath Tub / Toys – Harry always enjoyed bath time   After he fought with RSV at 4 weeks old, he even loved the warm showers we’d take with him to help him breathe clearly.  But since the time he could sit up baths have become something super special.  This boy LOVES his Primo bathtub, to the point where he refuses to take baths in a plain tub when we travel.  He’s comfortable in this one and it has been great at every stage of growth.  With toys, we’ve kept it fairly simple but H is certainly never bored – we pour water from the ducks, write out messages for Daddy, and give kisses to the fishes…to name a few activities.  Afterward we pile them all into his organizer (okay that’s mommy’s favorite part).

Sunscreen + Swim Float – Once H hit 6 months, we had a lot of pool time and we’re pumped for this year.  The basic supplies were swim trunks, a long-sleeved SPF shirt, a sun hat with a brim, this really awesome pool float (witha detachable shade!) and, of course, sunscreen.  There is a whole post or two’s worth on how we’re beginning to evaluate our skin care.  We’ve long evaluated our diet and since moving to a Real Food diet, we hit the slippery slope of scrutinizing every single thing we digest and chew.   Then H came along and we started looking at skin care products more closely.  His skin is just so perfect and beautiful, I didn’t want to put nasty chemicals on it.  I’ll refrain from the long list of things we avoid…but you learned last time that we’re obsessed with Coconut Oil.  One of the things it definitely doesn’t do is protect him from the sun.  Our latest discovery is from our awesome friend Sarah’s newest adventure into the world of Arbonne.  Basically, I trust their products on account of their high standards (WAY higher than the FDAs) and I’m pumped about their sunscreen for H.  (Yes, it’s pricey…but knowing and supporting an Arbonne consultant has benefits.  Let me know if you want to ask her questions about it!)  More than anything, I recommend reading up on ingredients to avoid and checking out your sunscreen options.

Video Camera – We dropped the ball here.  We caught some good moments on iPhone camera and more than enough pictures but given how often Matt and I watch old videos and sigh, we wish we’d taken more footage.  If you don’t have a video camera or if you’re like me and your iPhone’s memory is always filling up with pictures, I recommend a Flip Cam.  That’s our new plan.

Cooking Supplies –  Here’s the motherload of this list that demands a post of its’ own soon.  Starting at 6 months, Baby Food became our obsession and object of focus.  Where to start, what to try, and so…many…opinions.  The most amazing thing is realizing how incredibly personal this topic (just like nursing) can be for other mommies.  Here’s my disclaimer – every parent does what they genuinely believe to be best for their child…this I trust.  Some parents like to talk about other parents’ decisions in a judge-y or flippant tone.  There’s just no room for this.  We all need to support each other as we work to make good decisions for our babes with what means and capacity we have.  With that being said,  we chose to not use boxed cereals or oatmeal and make all of H’s food at home…Real Food diet from day one.  H doesn’t eat anything that we wouldn’t eat ourselves (minus Puffs…those are necessary for on-the-go).  It’s also one extra way that my full-time working self can love on H and feel solid about what he’s eating when I’m not around.  That’s only 3 days a week but time apart from him never gets easier.  So we get to pour a lil bit of love into his food and a bonus result is the fact that at this rate he eats almost everything we do (except white sugar…because apparently we’re “mean parents”).  To prevent this post from being any longer, here are the basic tools we already had on hand to get started: Jelly Roll Pan (for roasting veggies), Steamer Basket to use with pots (fast and easy way to soften veggies), Blender/Smart Stick/Food Processor to puree softened veggies and fruit (the Smart Stick is seriously awesome for convenience and easy clean up),  Ice Cube Tray and/or Freezer Storage Containers to store food after bulk prep.

Eating Supplies – The quick and dirty rundown: Snack Cup for his puffs and eye-hand coordination practice, Sippy Cup (used primarily for his daily smoothie), Favorite Animal Plates (he loves getting to the bottom and seeing the animals…clapping is typically involved), plenty of Spoons (because  they double as toys and always seem to go missing), Thermos Food Jar (for food on-the-go or warm lunch at school), and reusable snack bags (for his waffles and chopped fruit).  But our very favorite, for wherever we are: POCKET BIB.  Once Harry was sitting up, this thing got way more comfortable and also became the only bib he couldn’t rip off.  The pocket catches food and it’s super easy to clean off.  We also tried the Summer brand but Baby Bjorn is much more durable.

Some honorable mentions – our pack n’ play (Chicco…a wee bit heavy but couldn’t travel without it) and our jogging stroller (Joovy Zoom 360…another category we “test drove” at nausea).  We really do try to keep it simple and minimal.  We had a Bumbo and it was nice (especially with the tray) but didn’t stand out over time.  After seeing how quickly H grew out of things and transitioned into new phases…our focus remained on essentials and things with long-term value, like legwarmers!

[Mommyhood Monday] The Story of Harry, Part III

In The Story of Harry Part I and Part II, we shared the back story on our fertility story.  Basically, I heard I may not be able to have kids, told Matt when we started dating, he was really awesome, we got married, eventually started trying to get pregnant and found it not coming so easily. We moved back to Texas from Vancouver, slowed life down a bit and pondered our options.

In Part II, I mentioned that fertility treatments were not an option for us.  To expand upon that a bit: as a couple, we were lucky that this was a required pre-marital topic of conversation.  Since my fertility was questionable, we talked about what would happen if we couldn’t get pregnant.  As I mentioned in Part I, in the 10+ years I had been given to consider my fertility I came to the conclusion that if I couldn’t get pregnant, then I was 100% called to adopt.  Did I want a sweet, soft baby with baby smells and baby sounds?  Of course I did.  But could I pay thousands and thousands of dollars for a baby that may not happen when there are children out there in need of love and a home?  I personally could not.  And neither could Matt.  And that was nice, to be on the same page.

Now this is a highly personal choice for every person and couple.  If I had not had years to ponder the possibilities, I know how quickly I would have continued to explore every other option.  In this day and age, we women are made to believe that we can do everything and we can do it whenever we want.  At a young age we are pointed to birth control in an effort to “control” our bodies and their natural functions (for our personal convenience or to mask the symptoms of other health irregularities).  Then, we go off of this medicine and expect quick results when we want it to do what we’ve told it not to do for a while.   And THEN we’re pointed to take more drugs and pay more money to get it to do that.  For every single person that’s experienced it, in any fashion, it’s sincerely tragic when it doesn’t happen.  For some, it calls you to question your womanhood and what you have to offer your spouse.  This was something I had always battled.   This is why Matt’s comment in Part I was so epic, “this world will not be deprived of a beautiful mom…perhaps only of beautiful babies.”  Throughout this time he reminded me of this, constantly.  So while we consider fertility to be a blessing…we also had to consider infertility to be a blessing.  All roads still led to a family and plenty of babies out there want one, too.  That was our personal choice.

So as we found ourselves home in Austin, we laid low and began to look toward adoption.  Because I turned down a job offer upon arrival in an effort to rest for a bit, my schedule was far less demanding than when we lived in Vancouver.  Now I was taking care of my nephews (my sister liked to refer to me as her “lady in waiting” in those days) and we were staying in, sleeping more, doing less.   Matt quit drinking caffeine and alcohol and boosted his Vitamin C, taking some of Dr. Shannon’s advice as a last-ditch effort, but I moved on from the daily tasks of charting and monitoring.

I was also fighting the urge to become bitter.  Accepting that God’s in charge doesn’t automatically prepare you for the emotions of His plan.   Embracing the idea of adoption was incredibly easy, but releasing myself from the idea of being pregnant certainly was not.  There were only three instances where I allowed myself to be vulnerable with close friends…to tell them how hard of a time I was having with our fertility test results.  Every single one of them found out they were pregnant within a matter of days.  For each of them I was thrilled and so truly happy.  That part came easy.  But facing a very likely reality that we would never get to experience this gift of biological parenthood, that was heartbreaking.  I didn’t let myself cry over it until I heard a pregnant couple complain about the inconveniences of morning sickness and food cravings.  That was too much for me.  I could be genuinely happy for you, but I was not in a place to sympathize with your pregnancy symptoms.  I excused myself and cried in the restaurant bathroom for 15 minutes.  That was my emotional low.


Can I just say that the Infertility scene in the “Up” life sequence made me “ugly cry”?  Still does. 

Then in early April (four months since we’d moved back), I suddenly grew very lazy.  I had super low energy and felt a little queasy.  I wrote it off but then tried to count back to my most recent cycle and couldn’t.  I was going to dismiss it for a few days more but then remembered that my dear Diana mentioned me wearing an A-line bridesmaid dress for her August wedding.  Since she was going to pull the trigger on that pretty soon, I went to the grocery store for my sister and picked up a test (without telling her).  I went back to her house and took it.


Back in Vancouver, a sweet nurse friend gave me about a couple dozen pregnancy tests when she found out we were “trying”.  I had gone through them during our efforts and taking them became a very sad experience.  I would wait until I was 5, 6, up to 10 days late…all negative.  This “positive” was hard-earned*.

I walked out of the bathroom, stunned, and showed my sister.  She had me turn around and take the other test in the box.  Another positive.  I panicked…”I’m on sabbatical…who will hire a pregnant woman…we’re not prepared for this!”  My sister reminded me of the logic that had carried Matt and me through so much, “everything happens according to a plan and you’re not in charge.”  Clearly.

I texted Matt, “Call me ASAP.”  He called me, out of breath, “Are you…?”  Apparently, unlike me,  Matt had not stopped counting the days.  He had been suspicious before I even thought it an option but didn’t bring it up for fear of dashed hopes. Such a faithful man.

We were pregnant.  We were going to have a baby.  There were many challenges to face and come through, but the seemingly impossible had become possible.  Through no rhyme or reason but solely through the grace of God (though we do strongly believe He did some work through Dr. Shannon).

I will always remember my very first doctor’s visit, specifically when my doctor did the dating sonogram and I saw our baby for the very first time.  I cried and mentioned to her how ever since my diagnosis at 17, I had prepared myself for this to never happen.  She responded with, “It’s maddening what some doctors put young girls through…you didn’t need to go through that for so long.  There’s so much we don’t know.”  I’m pretty sure she thought I was crazy when I told her that I was thankful for it.

And I am.  How else would Matt and I have tackled such critical conversations early on?  My questionable fertility led us to better habits, an incredibly healthier diet, and, most importantly, a surrender to the Lord’s plan for us.  The word “control” finds ways to sneak itself into the lives of the most faithful and we were certainly no exception.  Even in our boasts of obedience to His will and our acceptance of His plan, we were still blindsided.   How sweet is that! (And how foolish is boasting?)  Now our hearts have been opened to adoption and the calling still remains.   This is not to be written off, it is not to be tossed aside or forgotten.  But we got to start our family with Harry.

Look at me, making progress in Harry’s story!  The next one is the last of this series and it’s the motherload…his Birth Story.  (Only 14 months later!)

Peace and Blessings to you as you start the week…make it a meaningful one!

*I am highly sensitive to the fact that our “hard-earned” positive is still laughable compared to the thousands and thousands of couples who go through longer periods of fertility woes, miscarriages, and those who never receive the positive test result.  I very much believe that the journey for each couple is different, not to be weighed against each other or competed against.  We received a beautiful gift and however any future gifts should present themselves (biologically or by other means), our lessons learned were to never assume where God’s plan is taking us and, no matter where it leads, to never stop counting our blessings.

Thirty and Thriving

When you struggle to remember your WordPress logins, it’s been a long time.  I’d like to say that instead of keeping this up, I’ve been super productive elsewhere and making strides with home projects and meal plans.  I’d like to say my bench is complete.  I’d like to say a lot of things.

What I can say is that I’m now almost 60 days into thirty and have no shame about what I completed on my Roaring Twenties Bucket List: I painted, I planned an “Awkward Mommy Happy Hour”, I finished our Christmas shopping in November (this was huge!), and I got the Four Generations of Howeth photo.  40% is not too shabby.

Since October I’ve started a new job, all three of us had birthdays, and busy Christmas season happened.  January has been busy with work and H starting his lil spanish school (it’s a shame Harry doesn’t translate to a spanish name), and figuring out what a “routine” looks like for us.  To let you know how busy the week feels, all three Howeths were tucked in by 8pm on Fri night and 9pm on Sat/Sun night this weekend.  It was heavenly.

For Harry’s first birthday, we went to the park.  It involved all of Harry’s favorite things: people, balloons, food, and swings.  What more can a little boy want?


H has yet to eat refined white sugar – we found a great recipe with ripe bananas, unsweetened applesauce and spices over at Our Havenhill for his smash cake and clearly, he didn’t mind.  The only pity from the party is that we didn’t get very many pictures and definitely didn’t get one of the three of us.  Note for any mama stressing out over first birthday shenanigans ..don’t worry about the little details and jump into pictures!  If the snack bowls aren’t at least 65% full for three extra minutes…your babe will never know.  Pictures are what lasts.

Speaking of…those who follow on Instagram saw this back in December but I’ll share it here for fun.   For how bad I can be with sticking to things, I’m impressed with myself for pulling this off.  So fun to see the month-to-month changes and transformation.  What a babe!


12:51AM – A Moment

The Story of Harry Part III has taken me a while.  It’s been started about 3 times but I haven’t been able to get it to a place where I’m happy to post it.  It is not meant for brilliance or anything, but it’s still part of Harry’s story.  So it’s special to me.

Much to my dismay, it’s not getting published tonight.  Instead, I am sitting here with a babe that has fallen back asleep in my arms.  And I will do anything I can to prolong the moment.

The mornings may be blurry, the nights may be broken, but there is little chance that you’ve ever heard me complain about lack of sleep since H has been born.  I love these moments.  He’s almost 11 months old (AHH) and with his mean teeth waking him up these recent nights, I soak in the time.  During the day I am generally multitasking.  I make it a point to not be on my phone while feeding Harry and the TV is usually off when he’s awake.  But with my ADHD nature, my mind is a few different places.  I’m working, I’m sending emails while he plays with his blocks, I’m on the phone with a client while he blissfully crashes through board books (could I be any luckier?).  Though I have been blessed with the ability to work from home and be with him most of the week, I’m still working.  Though my eyes are always on him, I’m still divided.

But in the early morning hours, I’m hopelessly devoted.  I didn’t sign up for sleep when we prayed and prayed (and prayed some more) for a babe.  I signed up for these moments, when he’s heavy with warmth, breathing sweet breaths, and filled with dreams.

Thanks to the love affair H has with his crib, he rarely falls asleep elsewhere.  Especially not in our arms.  So tonight,I’m recording in words how special this moment is to me, and I’m off to soak in as many as he’ll let me.

Peace be with you and yours.

[10 11 12] Pumpkin Patch

It’s been a hectic week…we were on vacation in Chicago until Monday evening and went straight back to crazy Tuesday Morning. Last night we managed to meet up with Ava and the Babbs at a Pumpkin Patch. The light was fleeting and Harry had skipped his late afternoon nap so we’re going to give it another go next week. Luckily, this kid is cute enough to make grumpy and sleepy look good.

“This one’s got a crazy look in his eyes…”

“This is our guy. I’ll get it.”

The Money Shot.