A New Day Dawns

We battled the flu this whole week, and it won.  It made its way through almost everyone in our house, even causing TJ to take a trip to the ER on Tuesday night.  To sum up this week...Clorox wipes, chicken noodle soup, Popsicles, Gatorade, Jello, Lysol spray.....Uggh.
But the sun is shining, today is a new day, and we are still here, moving on.

Four years ago for my birthday, TJ built this kneeler for me.  I loved it so much, but it was never in the right spot for me to really use it.  There was no room for it in our bedroom and when it was upstairs by the kids bedrooms, I swear they could hear me when I knelt down to pray because someone would always wake up way too early.  It got moved into a spot in Evelyn's room where it has sat for months.  But since we moved some things around in the house, it's now in the perfect spot to actually get used.  And I'm really needing to use it.

My sister gave me this book  for my birthday.  And so, when Monday came I pulled it out, knelt down and began to pray and read.  Each week focuses on a different saint and a scripture verse.   The first one focuses on the Blessed Virgin Mary and was so relevant to my life that day....of course.
This is what I read and kept me going all through my nasty week...

"Be with us in our celebrations and those moments when life is painful and difficult.  Help us to accept God's perfect plan for our lives.  Take our hands and lead us to your Son, Jesus.  Amen"

I pictured Mary leading me by the hand all week as I was in the midst of sickness, anxiety, and worry.  And she did.  I was overcome by so much generosity from so many people.  TJ's  mom came over and brought sick kid food and ended up taking TJ to the ER and staying with him until they got home around one in the morning. She made us her chicken noodle soup that everyone loves.   My mom brought  the kids home from school and picked up some supplies that Thomas needed to do a school project.  Friends brought us dinners, and picked up Thomas and Annie from school, and prayed for us.  I am so grateful to you all.

My birthday is on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.  January 22 marks the date that abortion became legal in our country.  Sickening.  My parents brought over this rose for Pete on my birthday.  A rose for his life and in memory of all the babies who are not given the chance to live and die by being aborted.




My children are not baby crazy.  They do love to hold the new baby, just not all the time as I hear some children do.  Thomas and Annie are still weirded out by a baby's spit up.  Before picking the baby up I'll hear them ask me if I have just nursed or not. (to lessen their chance of being spit up on!) That's all right because to me, it makes the moments when I see them grab the baby on their own, all that more special.  I love to see an older sibling with their baby brother or sister.  We're starting to hit that phase!





Sometimes It's Just Hard

I celebrated my thirty fifth birthday today. Thirty five years old.   I feel like I just turned twenty five....how can that be? 

But we didn't celebrate my birthday like I had hoped we would.  Instead of breakfast in bed, which I was so looking forward to, everyone slept in until 8:30 since both TJ and I were up ALL night.  TJ took care of  Evelyn who had the stomach flu, and I was with Pete on the couch.  It was a long night.

I knew from the moment that I cracked open one red eye this morning, that today would not be about me and I was alright with that.  We had a sick one to take care of.  TJ immediately started cleaning bathrooms, while I started in on the laundry.  The kids were sent downstairs to watch a movie while we cleaned up and took care of Evelyn.  We had to split up for Mass.  We were out of diapers and wipes and food, so Thomas and I went to the grocery store after mass.  At one point while we were at the store, I noticed from the extreme pain in my stomach that I had not eaten or drank anything yet that day and it was already eleven thirty.  I couldn't hook Pete's car seat in the top of the shopping cart, so I had to put him in the main part of the cart, leaving no room for groceries.  We had to pile the food all around him and when he started screaming I momentarily panicked because there was no way I could get him out of his seat.  He was drowning in food.

I cried a lot tonight.  Not because I was sad about my birthday not being the perfect day, no it was more about being anxious that Evelyn was sick, sad that I had yelled at the kids today, I was extremely tired, a little depressed about turning thirty five, and my body was on a sugar high from consuming two doughnuts, a whole package of peanut M&M's, peanut butter on a banana, and a popsicle, along with two big sugar cookies.  I was starving, remember?  I have also felt off because I haven't been able to work out or sweat since having Pete.  I realize that my body needs time to heal, but when you go from working out every day, to nothing, and eating the amount of food I have been lately, I wish I were able to workout and sweat.

But enough of my pity party.

What I want to remember from this day is that sometimes life is just hard.  Sometimes it just stinks and there is no way around it.  Things don't go our way all the time.  It's just part of life.  It's about having five children.  We are in the middle of raising young people and sometimes we just have to roll up our sleeves and dig in.  And I understand that.  But sometimes it's still hard, and that's okay.  Cleaning up throw up in the middle of the night is never fun, I don't care who you are.  Having the flu make it's way through your children is never fun.  But that doesn't make me wish we didn't have five children.  That doesn't stop us from being open to life.   TJ said to me tonight, "I know this birthday is no fun for you, and didn't turn out the way you wanted it to, but we have our five children and were in the middle of it all.  We're doing it together.  We're still making a gourmet meal and celebrating your birthday in the midst of the flu.  We're doing it together."  That comforted me so much.  He's right.  We are together in this phase of life that is hard.  I'm so thankful for him. 

And despite the turn of events for the day, he tried so hard to make my day still special.  He asked me all day long what he could do for me,  when Thomas and I came home from Mass, he had hung up  birthday signs around the kitchen that the kids drew for me, had presents wrapped and ready for me to open on the counter, cleaned the bathrooms for me, took all the kids to Thomas' basketball game so I could take a nap, bought me new running shoes and running outfits for my birthday, and made a gourmet meal of tuna steak on top of rice.  The night before he made us lobster tails for dinner!  It was so wonderful.  I truly appreciate all his efforts and the fact that he had been up all night with Evelyn, I know he was just as tired as me, if not more, but he never showed it.

I'm so grateful to have TJ along with me.  God bless him for all that he does for me.  And though he will never understand the tears that come for a few weeks after having a baby, he always tries to understand me and make me feel better.

I am desperately going to try and welcome thirty five.  I'm going to start over tomorrow, grateful that I have another day to live, grateful for my husband and our children.  And try and remember that it's okay when life gets hard.  It's okay when life doesn't go the way you plan for it to go.  I still may have anxiety about sickness, but at least I have these wonderful little people and my husband to get through the difficult times together.



A mother experiences great joys and intense sorrows.  But if she submits her life to God, every season of  her motherhood serves His eternal purpose. - Herb Vander Lugt

Having a tiny person, completely dependent upon you. 
Its truly amazing.
Its a privilege and I feel honored that I was chosen by God to be the mother of these five children.

For the past ten years, I have been pregnant, watched my body expand and then shrink back to normal.  I have nursed, changed diaper after stinky diaper, and comforted sick children.  I have coaxed first words out of babies and witnessed first steps, first teeth, first days of school.  I have worried.  It makes me sick to think of the hours over these past ten years that I have spent worrying, but I have.  Whether it's about their health, their souls, their temperament, or their development.  So much for a mother to worry about. Ten years is a long time.

I would like to change my worry into trust.  I want to trust in whatever God;s plan is.  I want my motherhood to serve Him.  I want to use my vocation as a mother to get to heaven.  I want to have confidence that TJ and I are doing the absolute best we can to raise holy, respectful, and happy children.  I want to finally stop comparing our parenting decisions and my mothering skills to any one else, because I will be the only one held accountable for my actions.  I'm tired of getting frustrated, yelling at them when I feel out of control, telling them what to do over and over again.  Because, lets be honest, I do these more often than not.

I think of that quote, "a mother experiences great joys and intense sorrows...."  we are in a period right now of great joy.  Holding my newborn all squished up in a ball high up on my shoulder, having small people in my home all day, listening to kids practice spelling words, sing, and play together.  These are joys.  I'm doing my darnedest to recognize these right now, fully aware that joyful times will not last forever.




It's your first rite of passage, Pete, coming home.  Other than being born, its the next biggest event in a your three whole days of life. 
 I have always wanted the day I brought my children home from the hospital to be extra special.  With Thomas and Annie, I remember coming through the door and carrying my tiny bundle all around the house, showing them the lay of the land as I quietly whispered in their ear.  The house was spotless, of course, because I cleaned it over and over the last four weeks of my pregnancy just to be sure that it would be clean when I got home from the hospital.  And no one would be there to mess it up while I was gone. 
 I'll never forget when TJ went back home to shower one day while I was in the hospital with Thomas.  He cut bunches of peony flowers that were just blooming in our yard and had vases of them set throughout the house for when I walked through the door.  I still love peonies and whenever I see them bloom in May, I think of that day. 
 When I brought George home, TJ and I stopped at a furniture store before even going home.  He ran inside and bought a couch cover, two pillows, a table and lamp so that he could set up a little nursing area for the baby and me.  So sweet.  We had two eager little people who wanted to kiss and hold their new brother.  Grammy had them both dressed in new blue outfits, blue in honor of their brother of course.  I had to share my new bundle with others... 
And then with Evelyn, I remember coming home to a beautifully set table for two, thanks to grammy, complete with wine and meatloaf and a baked potato.   The kids were bathed while we dined and I remember thinking it was a lovely way to come home.  Although I had to share the baby with more hands again...

And now, bringing home baby number five, I think back to the past ten years of our marriage, the different homes we have brought our children home to, and how each homecoming is special. And yours was special, Pete.  Different, but special.
My first request while pulling out of the hospital parking lot was to stop and get a coffee on the way home.  It was a beautiful day, only in the thirties, but the sun was shining brightly. 

Pop had dropped Annie and Thomas off at school before coming to get us at the hospital.  It was only George and Evie who were with us, and we have never brought a baby home with the other children along for the ride.  When we got home, it was so quiet.  George and Evie played and watched a movie while pop and I just sat in the living room drinking our coffee, reading the paper, and holding you.  At one point, as I was nursing you, Evelyn came and joined us nursing her baby too.

I think my body was in cleaning withdrawal and so I began to clean up the kitchen.

It was nice to come home early in the morning this time as opposed to at night.  We had the whole day to just look at you.  You looked so small in our home, and yet you just fit right in.

Grammy picked up Thomas and Annie from school and then went to visit nama Joyce.  They didn't get home until five o'clock.  It was weird having them gone all day.  And then, reality came and slapped me in the face.  Thomas had basketball practice, so he and pop left at six.  There was also a meeting for parents of children making their first penance this year.  TJ went to that as well.  I fed children, and gave baths, all the while feeling sad. 

 I've always gotten sad in the evenings the first few weeks at home, and I can never explain it.  Mornings, I wake up, even with little to no sleep, and feel ready to greet the day.  There is hope and promise in the morning.  What will the day bring?  With the sun shining, a long hot shower and a cup of coffee, I can tackle the world.

Not so, after five o'clock.

I get sad that TJ will eventually have to go back to work.  I get sad that life has changed and wonder if I will be able to care for this tiny person, and give them what they need.  I worry about them getting sick. I'll miss being at the hospital.  I'll cry for no reason, because I'm both happy and sad. 

Waking up the first morning was different this time around as well.  Usually I've been brought breakfast in bed accompanied by all our children surrounding the baby and myself.  This time, Thomas and Annie had to go to school.  I cracked open one eye to say goodbye and have a great day.  TJ took them to school and Pete went along for the ride.  I woke up alone, even without the new baby.  After showering, shaving my legs, putting makeup on, getting dressed, making the bed I felt much better after a long night of little sleep.   I headed downstairs just in time for TJ and Pete to come in the door and hand me a Starbucks coffee.  Awesome.   

George making his own breakfast of pickles and bagels.

I'm adjusting to the fact that as our children get older, life gets faster.  With each child comes more responsibilities and activities.  Sometimes I think I really believe I've just had my first child and should be able to sit and hold him all day.  That was nine years ago.  Today is a much different story.  And that's good.  Different, but good.  I like that I have older children now that can really help.  Whether its making food, or holding the baby, or helping with the other two, Thomas and Annie can really be helpful.

I had to stop and take this picture when I saw Annie holding Pete in one hand and doing her math homework with the other.  A precious moment indeed.

It was a beautiful first week at home with you, Pete.  You fit right in and I can't imagine life without you.  Now, let's stop partying at night and get some sleep!