Posted in Faith, Humility, Jesus

Past me can be so wise and thoughtful

Today is one of the days where one of my Gospel Reflections is published on Catholicmom.com. Having to write these way in advance, I always forget when they are coming out and get surprised when they pop on my feed. Especially because, they are normally words that I am needing to hear (read) at the moment.

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for taking over my typing and allowing me to reflect in a way that, hopefully, invites others deeper into the Gospel.

 

Link to reflection: https://catholicmom.com/2018/06/25/daily-gospel-reflection-for-june-25-2018/

Posted in Family, Motherhood

What’s going on ’round here on the 1st day of summer

The heat here has been ridiculous lately. I know that I live in the North and I know nothing of heat…but as a pregnant woman, the suffering is real. It has cooled down a considerable bit since we got a big storm this week, but I’m still going to whine about the heat whenever someone asks how I’m feeling.

And we have a two-year-old now! Vivi’s birthday celebrations were so much fun, especially getting to be with family who we don’t get to see regularly. Vivi is finally at an age where she will play with her cousins and family and is just so much fun to be around…most of the time. We are definitely in a stage of tantruming when things don’t go our way, but so far those are pretty few and far between.

She has come a long way in her communication skills as well. Her review for speech therapy is today and, though this journey feels difficult at times, I think it has been fruitful. Hopefully, her case manager will agree and we can move forward. At some point, I would love to actually collect my confusing and varying thoughts on what speech therapy for a pre-2-year-old is like, but that is for another day.

Other than that, work continues. Work in my diocesan office, work in my parish office, work at the house…at times it seems like nothing but work and my OVERWHELMED light blinks at an alarming rate. Which is probably why I stayed in bed until 10:30am yesterday. Yes, I probably needed the rest, but I definitely didn’t need the guilt that followed. And, I am a bit spoiled because I have jobs that are fulfilling and taking care of/preparing the home for Baby G is exciting but I also dream of days filled with nothing but newborn cuddles and homemaking as my only occupation. (Listen up, Powerball people, I NEED those numbers!)

Also, a huge shout out to my husband for the amazing work he does inside and outside our home but particularly with all our home improvement at the moment. Vivianne’s Big Girl room got cleaned, painted and assembled in record time and now we are moving on to Gia’s. I love that he makes our house a home in so many ways and celebrating him for Father’s Day this past weekend fell so short of all the praise and thanks he deserves.

So, between my daydreams of stay-at-home-motherhood that often consume hours of my day, though,¬† I am loving this summer. Time with my growing family, sunshine, a less hectic work day and easier evenings have my heart and won’t let it go.

 

Posted in "Normal", Body Image, Family, Learning Confidence, Motherhood

My daughters make me beautiful

 

I still don’t know if I genuinely believe the title I just typed above…but I’m trying.

It never really hit me when Viv was born how she would feel about me or herself. I mean, focusing on keeping the tiny infant asleep and/or fed was more than enough for my brain to handle at the moment. But being pregnant with another daughter now while watching Vivianne grow into a smart, walking, talking, little person has really opened my eyes to my concept of how we identify beauty in ourselves and in others.

There are endless posts these days about mothers accepting and loving their stretch marks. Recently, I’ve also seen a lot of mothers suggesting that the are working on loving themselves mainly because little eyes and ears are always around us. Those little eyes and ears will soak in that negative body image you have of yourself faster than a sponge. And right now, both of those sentiments are hitting me pretty hard (and probably only about half of that is because of the pregnancy hormones)

I’ll admit, loving my outer appearance is not my go-to. I hide from pictures, focus on flaws in the mirror, and complain about my looks to my husband probably more than the average gal. And it has been that way ever since I can remember learning the words “thigh fat”. I’m not proud of it and I’m not done with it, but that’s where I find myself. Especially now as my oldest is giving my eyes dark circles and my youngest is pushing the baby bump she is creating in place of my “waistline” a little further out every day.

Recently, though, after apologizing to my husband for the billionth time about looking like a bum in public, Vivi caught my eye and I realized…she doesn’t care. She doesn’t care that my eyeliner isn’t perfect. She doesn’t care that my hair is more dry shampoo than follicle. She doesn’t care that more of me jiggles than I’d like…and in fact, she likes laying on Momma more than Daddy most days because I’m “softer”. She loves her Momma for so much more than those things and the way I look probably doesn’t even factor an ounce into that love. (Coincidentally, she also hasn’t looked in a mirror and is completely herself with wild hair flowing, stained romper outfit and skinned up knees. But I couldn’t love her any more either.)

I also know that, despite all my work and constant reminders to myself and to her about what beauty actually is, eventually this culture will teach her that she has to care. That she has to always look a certain way and dress a certain way and act a certain way. I’m terrified of that day. There are so many things I want to freeze for her now including this genuine love of people despite appearance. But here in this moment, I am settling on the vow not to add to that overpowering voice.

I will love myself for her…and for her sister…and for me.

I will stop dwelling on scale numbers and acne scars.

I will praise God for the beauty of my body that has carried children and groceries and the weight of the world at times.

I will revel in true beauty that comes directly from God and do my best to give that beauty back to Him and the people he has trusted into my care.

 

Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes, but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God.

~1 Peter 3:3-4

Posted in Family, Motherhood

The day Vivianne raced into the world…and has been running ever since

I do love a good birth story, but I never thought that Vivi’s had enough substance to share…because it seemed to go at lightening speed! Now that she is turning 2 today (Happy birthday, sweet girl!) and her sister will be making her debut this fall, maybe it’s about time to put this story into words.

Baby #1 was due June 6, 2016. At this point, I didn’t know if our bundle of joy was a boy or girl, though her father did. Matt actually did a really good job of keeping the secret, mainly because I was the only one who knew that he knew the gender.

Being a first time Momma, I wasn’t expecting an on-time arrival but I sure was ready to be done being pregnant. The summer was just starting to get warm and I was past the point of being “cute” pregnant, though I’m not really sure that I ever was…I am not a cute little baby bump pregnant woman…I get pregnant EVERYWHERE.

June 4th was a Saturday and the weekend started out normally. Matt went golfing in the morning and I was having a grumpy day for some reason or another. That afternoon and evening we had a beach day outing with our Catholic Young Adult group which, besides my intense waddling and breathlessness, went pretty well. It was an overall enjoyable day, especially because it involved a Black Raspberry shake from Sara’s!

And then we went to bed. Well, to be more accurate, I probably went to bed around 8:30pm and Matt followed a couple hours later. I slept pretty well until about 5am or so and then my stomach was killing me. I had been having contractions off and on for the past couple weeks, but this was definitely different. I assumed I had eaten something that was making my stomach upset and didn’t give it a second thought, until it wouldn’t go away. Looking back, some of the baby books tell you that your body likes to “empty itself” before the baby comes and that is exactly what was happening.

I didn’t want to wake Matt up so I waited till he started rustling on his own and told him what was happening. He wasn’t entirely convinced it was anything either, his stomach had been a little upset as well. But after talking it over for a couple minutes and timing some contractions, we decided better safe than sorry and startedgathering things to go to the hospital. Looking back, one of the moments I’m most grateful for is Matt convincing me to take a shower before we left…just in case.

The whole way to the hospital I was bracing myself to be embarrassingly told to go home because it was nothing. It was a story I had heard over and over again from first time moms and I was just expecting it was a right of passage. But when we talked to the triage nurse at the Women’s hospital, there was no indication I was going anywhere. And, before I knew it, there was a hospital bracelet on my arm and I was being wheeled to a room around 8am on Sunday, June 5th, wondering if we would have time to make it to Mass after they decided I really wasn’t ready.

We never made it to Mass and this is where the speed really picks up. I got changed into my overly fabulous hospital gown and asked about how we felt about pain meds. We never really made a definitive choice before this point, though we had talked about it and waited a couple more contractions before I VERY SINCERELY asked for the epidural. In the moments waiting up for epidural, I do remember hiding in the bathroom because the pain was so bad and I wanted to stand even though everyone kept insisting that I should lay down and get ready for the needle.

The anesthesiologist arrived not long after that and everything with the epidural went routinely. Praise Jesus for modern medicine! After that, I was able to rest for a while and nodded off to sleep a couple times.

But then, and my husband will still tease me every time I bring this up, the worst part of the whole day happened. Apparently, my blood pressure spiked a little bit to the point where the nurses were worried and they made me lay on my left side. I know, I know that sounds completely innocent, but being in labor and trying to balance my giant whale-size pregnant body on one side was the least comfortable thing I have ever experienced! I’m still haunted.

I stayed on my side till I was very sure I needed to push, though no one believed me. In fact, my doctor had gone to get something to eat and the nurses kept telling me I was fine. I insisted a little more until a nurse finally checked, and confirmed, that it was go time, much quicker than anyone had imagined. In fact, most of the nurses were amazed at how quickly the process was happening for a first timer like me. Naturally, I assumed I could now lay on my back like a normal person but no, the side laying, and now pushing, torture continued.

There was a blur of yelling and crying and finally being able to lay on my back while clutching Matt’s hand and then…there was a baby girl. A beautiful, little baby girl laying in my arms who proceeded to empty herself all over me. But I didn’t care. Vivianne was here and she was perfect. And she wanted to be here in the fastest way possible. AT 12:16pm on Sunday, June 5th, we became a family of 3.

I needed some repair work due to the speed with which my firstborn barreled into the world, so Matt and Vivi got some special bonding time while I was in the OR. I honestly think that is why they have such a strong bond to this day.

We were then moved to another¬† suite to rest and start this new part of our family life together. Lots of visitors and well wishes followed while we were in the hospital the next 2 days, learning all the things about parenthood that don’t make sense until you are in the moment including Matt’s first diaper change and breastfeeding lessons for me. It was hard and beautiful, long and short all at the same time.

And now, two years later, it’s hard to even remember what having a newborn is like, though I imagine we will pick it up well when our Gia is here. The first labor went so fast (no complaints here, though) that I seemed to forget all the things I read and the experiences I wanted to have and the prayers I wanted to pray. But that didn’t make this day any less special or beautiful. Maybe I’ll remember a Hail Mary or two the next time around or maybe it will be quicker. Either way, I am grateful for the experience of Vivianne’s birth and even more thankful for the little girl that was the result of that fast-paced day.

Happy birthday, Vivi. Momma loves you so very much.

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