The Hidden Scars - Dealing with Miscarriage and Secondary Infertility

Monday, May 22, 2017

I am told I am lucky.
I got my boy and my girl right off the bat.
"You're so lucky!," say strangers on the street. "Now you're done!"

Ummmm, why? I always wanted to finally turn around and ask, "What makes you say that?"

Because I didn't feel lucky.

When we had an early miscarriage after our second child was born, it was much more heart wrenching than it had to be due to social pressure to fall within certain reproductive expectations.

The following are real quotes real people have really said to me.
Like to my face.
And meant them.

Once you have a boy and a girl it's "so nice you're done!" It's a statement, not a question.

Any pregnancy less than two years after the last child was born must have been an accident. Because "why would you even want that?"

DEFINITELY never tell anyone about a pregnancy before 12 weeks. Because "what if something happens?!"

Well something did happen, and, ya know, it was not helped by keeping my child some deep secret.

Following our miscarriage it took a lot longer to get pregnant with our next baby than expected.
It's impossible to convey, without living through it, just what it's like to hope so hard every month.... and then see that tell-tale temperature drop on the chart and know that it wouldn't be this month.

Or the next.

Or the next.

But from the outside looking in everything looked perfect!
We're very healthy and active people. We have two cool kids who fill our days with antics and adventures.
But people are not Legos. You can't just swap out one kid for another, and my heart longed for the baby we lost and the ones I was no longer sure would ever be coming.

Sometimes it seemed like no one else even remembered that baby happened.

I entered a weird twilight zone where I would hope against hope that friends would make their pregnancy announcements on Facebook instead of insisting on telling me face to face. IKEA and Target on the weekends was like walking into a maternity catalog. It felt like every other woman in a 50 miles radius could get pregnant but me.

I faced the possibility that we might end up as a two child family.
With our boy and our girl. Socially approved.

I recoiled from the social approval. It felt backhanded. "Good job meeting the Orwellian ideal!" No room for difference. No room for growth. No room for humanity or empathy in there.

I am currently pregnant with our "rainbow baby" who is due to arrive at the end of September. This was a pregnancy announced right away. This child will not be hidden, her birth order will not be excused, and I sincerely hope she's not the last.

I hope for a society that is less focused on a reproductive ideal, and solely focused on the gift of humanity present in each child. I hope for there to be love and understanding for mothers like me who are suddenly staring at a battle with infertility. I hope for a first child and an eleventh child to be equally welcomed. I hope for the silent struggles and wounds of our hearts to speak.

Emotional and spiritual healing from my miscarriage is an ongoing process, so I was thrilled to see Peanut Butter & Grace was publishing a book focused on miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss - Blessed Is The Fruit of Thy Womb by Heidi Indahl

What saint better understands what it is like to lose a child than Mary? The book prays through the rosary using meditations from Scripture, reflections, and prayer intentions. What I find most valuable are the questions and journal space within the book to write down the emotions and thoughts that arise from our prayer. 

The book does a great job of grounding the reader in the guidance of Mary and Scripture while consciously allowing the reader to process her own grief and experience. That processing is always followed up with a prayer intention for the larger world. 

Our grief is not unique. So many mother's hearts all over the world and throughout history bear the scars of child loss. Own your story, write it down, talk about it, don't forget your children, but also remember that others are with you bearing the same grief. Bearing the same wounds. Reaching out to each other, beginning through prayer, can be the first fruit that reconnects us back to each other.

Blessed Is The Fruit of Thy Womb is available on Amazon. You can follow more from the author, Heidi Indahl, on her blog Work and Play, Day by Day and on Facebook and Instagram. I received access to a free digital preview copy of the book for review, but all opinions and commentary is my own.

A Tactile Prayer Life - Making Your Family Altar

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I am a very tactile person when it comes to prayer. I like to have physical Bibles, prayer books, and rosary beads. This works out well when trying to teach little kids about prayer since they are very tactile too!

My greatest struggle with prayer is just starting! I have found having a family altar, or oratory, very helpful as a reminder that we should have prayer in our homes. Here's the typical things we have on our family altar.

Note: Apologies this will not have many pictures. Many of my liturgical items, kid faith art, and statues got crushed/beheaded in the move. A new opportunity for improvement awaits!


Nothing makes you think of Jesus more than seeing the guy himself in the moment of his crucifixion. Even young kids really get what the cross is all about when they see at least one crucifix on a regular basis.

Family rosary is never gonna happen if it's always proceeded by a scramble to find rosaries scattered all over the house. It also helps the kids to understand that rosaries are not toys when they are kept in a special place in the house.

Holy Family Statue

I really love statues of the Holy Family since they often show Jesus as a small child, and it seems to blow kid's minds that once upon a time Jesus was a little kid like them. It presents Joseph and Mary in their context as Jesus' mom and foster father which has helped my kids understand what the big deal is about them.


Fire is one of those magical elements that signal to kids "this is a big deal".
Having a candle stash by your altar is nice when you want to light a candle as a reminder to pray during a particular period of time during a day. Maybe someone is having surgery, is in labor, or doing a job interview. One more way to stay prayerful even when we have to attend to daily concerns.

I have three stashes of candles around my house: candles for prayer, candles for emergencies, and candles for ambiance/make the house smell pretty. I strongly suggest getting unscented candles for your family altar since it's sad to have to blow out a prayer candle that is making you nauseous.

Liturgical Year Items

These rotate depending on the time of year. I stash my blessed palms in a vase on the altar during the Easter season. We fill a red construction paper heart with the names of our loved ones who have died and place it on the altar for the month of November. There's a huge range of what you could do, but changing the look of the altar with the seasons has really helped my kids see where the differences are in the liturgical seasons.

Holy Water/Other Blessed Items

It's amazing how many blessed items a family can accumulate! In order to keep them together (and not forget they are blessed and should be treated differently) I like to keep them near our altar. Not necessarily on the altar since they are not all needed on a regular basis. A great example for this is the blessed chalk we use for the Epiphany house blessing. We only do the blessing once a year, but the rest of the year I need to manage not to use the chalk that is blessed as regular sidewalk chalk for the kids (because we did have father bless Crayola sidewalk chalk. It was on sale.)

Kid Faith Creations

The kids both participate in our Little Lambs faith formation program which sends us lots of super cute liturgical year crafts. Some of them are things I think are clever and useful for family prayer, and the kids get a lot of pride in seeing something they made go someplace as special as the family altar.

For more ideas about family altars, I highly recommend the book The Little Oratory: A Beginner's Guide to Praying in the Home by David Clayton and Leila Marie Lawler. It is very detailed so don't be afraid to take what you need and come back for more later.

This post is part of the Catholic Women Blogger's Network (CWBN) monthly Blog Hop! Make sure to click over to the hop to check out more posts on this month's theme: Different ways to pray - holiness in our daily lives.

Do you have a family altar? How to you like to physically live the liturgical year in your home?

Gender Reveal! + Happenings

Friday, May 12, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!

Happy Friday everyone! This was an exciting week in the Hoberg household.


Our Moving Truck Finally Arrived!

We can finally stop camping in our house! The first thing we legit cooked in our kitchen was spaghetti and it tasted so good after so much frozen food!


....But There Are Some Problems

The first thing we started unpacking was the coffeemaker (#priorities) only to find it smashed to pieces. Some other pieces were deeply dinged and a crate was temporarily lost. Somehow all of the boxes got piled into our sunroom and not in the room there were directed to be in. The box excavation is coming along and I got to get a new (super nice) coffee maker at Target.

So long trusty old friend. I feel like we've gone through a lot together.
.....your replacement is pretty awesome though....

We're Planting Our First Garden!

Having been apartment dwellers our entire marriage, we are so excited to have dirt! Tomatoes went in first, and the garden space already had chives, oregano, and strawberries thriving - even in it's neglected state.

I think peppers are next. John wants to make sure we include sunflowers, pumpkins, and radishes. I have no idea how the interest in radishes suddenly appeared, but rolling with it.


Dealing with the Wildlife

So far we've found that our yard is also home to: rabbits, gophers, chipmunks, various birds, and ants. 
Huge, swarming, ants. 
We're investing in some ant traps for the house, and hoping the current fencing around the garden is enough to give our new plants a chance.


Gender Reveal!

We found out the gender of new baby this week!
John and Therese got to be in the sonogram room for the big reveal and see their new sibling on the monitor.

Big brother and big sister are happy to tell you that.....



We're all incredibly excited!
Thanks to everyone who sent girl baby name ideas! We've got a good list going. Now we just have to winnow it down to one!

First Minnesota Sunday!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

It's our first Sunday in Minnesota! I already feel like we hit the parish jackpot with this one. 
Beautiful music, great preaching, and learning, spiritual growth, and community opportunities galore!

We got lucky that today also happened to be the Sunday of the Knights of Columbus Pancake Breakfast benefit. After mass we got to go down and have yummy food while meeting new people.

Y'all, people are super friendly here! For each person we met they had 3+ people they wanted to introduce us to. We got invited to dinners, set up with homeschool group info, and Matt already has his Knights of Columbus paperwork in progress.

After spending many years as the only family with young kids at the early morning mass, we were thrilled to see so many families with littles all over the full church. Then we were told this was actually a very lightly attended mass as today is Confirmation day for the diocese and most families will be at the Basilica today. It just gets better!

We're still waiting on the moving truck to get here, but they say it should be this Tuesday. I cannot wait to have a functioning kitchen again! I wrote up my tips for moving with young kids over here.

Here's what we wore for My Sunday Best with Rosie at A Blog For My Mom!

Kid take away from Therese on our way out the door: "That's a very nice church."

Dress: Kohls
Belt: JC Penny
Shoes: Nordstrom
Infinity Veil: Veils By Lily
Bump: 20 weeks!
Yesterday was the 20 week mark for baby - halfway there! Tomorrow is our anatomy scan when we will (hopefully) find out if it's a boy or girl in there. The kids are currently campaigning for boy after almost a month of saying girl. I'm still trying to convince them that this is not a democratic process.

We have a likely boy name but zip zero ideas for girl names. If this baby is a girl I will need all the suggestions! We like saints names preferably and I'm good with uncommon ones.

Moving Halfway Across the Country with Young Kids

Friday, May 5, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!

This past week we moved from Berkeley, CA to St. Louis Park, MN. It's been a saga. I would not claim moving with kids is easy, but there are some things we did with this move that made the process easier.


Find a way to make baths happen everyday

During the moving process there is so much upheaval. The packing and moving makes living spaces very dusty, and being outside so much meant by the end of the day there was a decent amount of dirt, dust, sand, sunscreen, and who-knows-what on these kids. 
My kids are very used to bath time starting the train to sleepy time. If I can just get them in a tub at the end of the day, nighttime goes so much better for everyone!


Bring the white noise machine

We're used to sleeping with white noise machines in each bedroom, and I was very grateful for that during the move. Having that consist sound for sleep was great for thin walled hotel rooms and even for getting used to the sounds of our new home.



Much of the time it only made sense for one of us to be at the apartment/house and the other to be the kid wrangler. The best mode of kid wrangler is out of the house, and if you need to be out of the house might as well do fun stuff!
I became kid wrangler so the kids and I had adventures! Everywhere! We hiked the trail next to the hotel, made a whole ceremony out of getting free snacks from the hotel lounge, tried out our new library, 


Plan one fun meal each day

We were traveling, in different hotels, and then essentially camping in our new house for over a week (and counting).  We had bagels with cream cheese and bananas for breakfast, and sandwiches for lunch, most days. We requested a fridge and microwave in hotels which greatly broadened our meal options for non-restaurant meals.We liked to pick either lunch or dinner to be the fun dinner out. It was a great way to stay on budget. Honestly, my littles could only handle one restaurant meal each day from a good behavior stand point alone.


Don't Over Pack

I know this is so hard when traveling with little people, especially when you cannot be exactly sure when that moving van will show up at your new place, but traveling with only as much as you need saves so much headache. Especially because we were flying, I wanted to keep our number of bags, and the weight of those bags, on the lower side.

My strategy has been little kids all share one brown duffel bag which they pack under mom supervision. We generally bring enough clothes for five days at a time. We always always always pack swimsuits, fleece jackets, church clothes just to be prepared.
Each kid gets a kitchen size trash bag labeled with their name put into the duffel. Socks, underwear, swim suits all go in a gallon sized ziplock with their name as well.
All kid toiletries go in Mom or Dad's bag since that helps streamline the set up process when we arrive out destination. 


Preparing the Kids for Moving

We prepared the kids for moving for months. They saw pictures of the new house, we researched local parks, parishes, and activity options so we could talk in more detail about what would be around in their new neighborhood. We read probably every picture book about moving our local library had in their catalog. Our favorites were The Berenstain Bears Moving Day and Moving by Fred Rodgers (aka. Mister Rodgers!).

We were also very honest about the process of moving. We each encouraged the kids to ask questions and made sure not to sugarcoat things. We probably will not be back in our old town for a long time so these goodbyes will very likely be the last in person visit for most of their little friends. Talking about how they met the friends they have now is useful for helping kids picture how they might make new friends in their new neighborhood. Because they have had success at this friend thing before!


Prepare Yourself

Little kids will generally mirror the attitude and perspective of the adults. If YOU are not happy about moving, are scared or unsure if this is a good idea, the kids will probably follow your lead. The best prep for getting through the moving process is to get yourself prepared! Figure out what you need to feel secure in the decision to move and what you will need set up in your new home first off.

For me, picking a parish is huge. I use my parish as home base for finding community and if I can find a solid parish I have a lot more confidence that connections will happen.

Have you ever moved with little kids? What are your moving tips?

Ballet While Pregnant - Yes You Can

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

One of the big contradictions in pregnancy advice surrounds exercising while pregnant. Generally everyone accepts that exercise of some sort during pregnancy is to be encouraged. Where the disagreement happens is when we try to decide what we mean by "exercise". EVERYTHING is, apparently, potentially dangerous.

Yoga - might stretch something wrong

Running - might fall

Pilates - might use your core muscles

Biking - might bounce too much

The list could go on and on. Some of these fears are valid and some are due to outdated understandings of pregnancy. But what, especially first time, pregnant moms hear is "this is something that could potentially hurt my baby" so they don't do it.

Y'all most pregnancies are not that fragile.

Birth is a marathon of an event. I can guarantee you it will be much much harder than necessary if you have not allowed yourself to maintain strength and flexiability.

18 weeks pregnant.
Some have been surprised that I have still been taking my regular Ballet classes - even well into my second trimester. Most are a little shocked when they hear that I fully intend to keep dancing through my third trimester too. When I push a little about why they find this surprising they mention that they assumed it would be too hard to do Ballet while pregnant, especially showing. Some insist it is dangerous.

I suppose it is dangerous, but so is crossing the very busy streets around here. I have yet to hear anyone suggest I avoid doing that.

Last night I had my last in-studio class. Not because of the pregnancy but because we're moving. I fully intend to keep training on my own. I can give myself a barre and center fairly well at home.
I don't do pointe work on my own (nor to I encourage anyone to do so, pregnant or not), but I can certainly keep up the training exercises that will allow me to get back to pointe work when I pick a studio.

I believe pregnancy is actually an excellent time to be dancing Ballet. Pregnancy forces me to pay much more attention to how I'm holding my center and turn out. I cannot cheat strength when my center changes so much from week to week. Being forced to be honest about my current abilities can only lead to better work.

Yes, exercise can be dangerous during pregnancy, but I believe most women have the common sense and wherewithal to listen to their bodies and be honest about their limits.

If you did not have a regular exercise routine pre-pregnancy, don't be afraid to start movement now! You will need to start slow and steady, preferably with a teacher, but there are certainly more choices available to you than just walking the entirely of your pregnancy.

How did you keep moving during pregnancy? What is holding you back from starting movement?

Last weeks in California!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!

This is our last full week in our apartment! Next week the movers come and we move out to a hotel until we fly out to our new digs in Minnesota!
I feel like both my time for blogging, and need to write, have gone way down in all the moving hustle so here's some thoughts on the past weeks and moving.


We had our last Dominican Easter! 

I sang A LOT. I logged about 15 hours of singing last week. Consider it my goodbye gift to the parish. Making it to Easter brunch felt like crossing the finish line.

I am crazy proud of all of our RCIA attendees who received their sacraments this year!

It was a rainy Easter here but there was enough of a break in the rain to do a (very quick) confetti egg hunt and fight in the park.

Part of the joy of Easter is smashing the egg shells from the confetti eggs.

Overall, I am not sad to be leaving California.
Things feel like they came/are coming to a natural conclusion point here. I am very happy with what we have been able to do in our time here in Berkeley. I will miss some people and places, but it does feel nicely closed. I know there will not be enough time to say goodbye to everyone, for one reason or another, but we are giving it our best shot!


The movers come next week!
Because this is a company move we have to have the moving company pack us, but we can prepare by getting rid of anything we can not/do not want to take with us.

My Lenten 40 Bags in 40 Days project was a success. Not all of my "bags" were physical bags. Taking the time to transfer medical records, set up plans for the coming year, clean out my email files, etc. counted as some of the bags. We still have some remaining food items, art supplies, cleaners, etc. to get rid of in the next week, but I think we're in very good shape for the movers!


My husband just completed his last business trip out to the Twin Cities without us!
(Yea for less solo parenting in my future!)

Speaking of solo parenting, congratulations to reader Lissa who won the pocket rosary from Rosaries by Allison! I hope you enjoy it!


The bump is finally showing!

I'm 18 weeks along this week, and per what seems to be my usual it just seemed to pop almost overnight. Since this is my 3rd pregnancy to come this far along, we can be pretty sure this is just how I roll.


Doing Ballet while showing is not nearly as challenging as I thought it would be. I can still jump and move as well as ever. The challenge is re-negotiating what centered and balanced feels like each week. Turning is a little more difficult, but I think that has more to do with re-learning how to get on my leg each class (aka. centered! It's the never ending dancer struggle.)
Hopefully I have one more class before we move, then I will probably switch to training at home for a while until after this little one is born.

I have been surprised by how many people expect pregnant women to "stay active" yet there does not seem to be much actual moving that they approve of pregnant women performing. Listen to your body obviously, but pregnancy is just not as fragile of a state as it gets made out to be. In fact this is prime time to get moving. How can we expect women to do the marathon that is birth without any physical training?
Someday I'll write a whole post on Ballet and continuing movement while pregnant. 


During all of Matt's business trips to our new home state, he has made it his job to investigate all of the arts, food, and natural sites as he can. He's making it very hard not to look forward to living there!

7 Things They Might Not Tell You in RCIA

Monday, April 10, 2017

We're on the edge of Holy Week y'all! 
This year I have been helping out with our parish RCIA program. RCIA is near and dear to my heart. My mom is a convert and so are some of my best friends. Hanging out with people who genuinely want to learn more about the Catholic faith and are seeking understanding is a great experience for re-lighting your own faith fire!
But there are a lot of little things involved in Catholic practice that might not get communicated in RCIA classes.


Crossing Yourself When Passing a Catholic Church

My husband did not grow up with this tradition and he took him months to finally ask me why I was always making the Sign of the Cross when we passed a Catholic church (on public transit, making the Sign of the Cross at odd moments gets you a couple stares.)

We do this in acknowledgement that we are passing the real Presence that is truly residing in that place. It's a pause of reverence. It doesn't take very long but it is an easy way to remind yourself of why that building is different from any other building.


Praying a Hail Mary When You Hear an Ambulance Siren

There are lots of variations on this one, but I grew up with saying a Hail Mary when you heard an ambulance siren. It is a spiritual work of mercy to pray for the living and the dead. I don't need to know the specifics of the situation to know that that sound means that someone is in great need of help. I'm praying both for the person in need of care and for the emergency workers who now bear a responsibility for life saving measures. The prayer acknowledges that this need is happening in my community, is something I should care about, and offers the only help I am able to give at that moment.


All the Extra Prayers at the End of the Rosary

Hopefully, you covered what the rosary is and generally how to pray it in RCIA class. 
Then you get to your first time saying the rosary in a group. Maybe it's the night before a funeral, a post-mass rosary, or with a parish rosary group. You get through that last standard prayer, Hail, Holy Queen, and then everyone around you JUST KEEPS GOING. From memory. 

It's not just you, most rosary pamphlets don't include those additional prayers. However, there are some basic patterns!
The typical additional prayers are: The Memorare, St. Michael Prayer, Prayer for Vocations.
Prayer for Vocations has a lot of local variations, but the first two are fairly standard. There might be other additions, especially litany prayers but most of those are easy responded to with a "Pray for Us" at the end of each name. 
If you experience this in a rosary group or other regularly meeting group, ask the leader if they would not mind writing down the list of prayers they do at the end. Most are happy to help and you will be better able to participate!


Huge Variations in Fasting Rules

One would think that being required to fast and abstain from meat on the same days as all other Catholics in the world would mean that there were identical rules all over the world. 
But no. 
There are large cultural, local, and national variations in what constitutes appropriate fasting and abstinence.
Best rule of thumb is to look up the requirements in our country and diocese and start with those. If you feel called to a stricter practice, run it by a priest or trusted Catholic friend. Don't be intimidated by people who give up red meat or animal products for all of Lent or also abstain from water. Those are extra and you're not doing it wrong if you are following your country and diocesan guidelines.



You might notice people bending down on one knee before going into the pews on Sunday. They also seem to have other pauses and bends at other times. I don't think I got clear on when to genuflect/bow/kneel until I was an altar server growing up. Here are the basic rules:

* Genuflect with your right knee touching the ground (Fun Fact: This position is reserved for reverence to God so go down on your left knee to propose fellas!)

* Genuflecting is preferred but a bow at the waist or head is appropriate in situations when genuflection is physically difficult (say when super pregnant, arthritic, or holding crying baby.)

*Genuflect or bow when: entering the pew, crossing the alter or tabernacle, before receiving the Eucharist (Side Note: we don't genuflect when returning to the pew after receiving communion because your body is at that moment a living tabernacle. Whoa!)

Again, there will be local variations but these are good general rules.


Home Holy Water Fonts and Other Practices

Catholics are big on the domestic church concept, but the options can seem overwhelming. Know that beyond basic praying and teaching of the faith within the family none of this is required. But it's fun!

For most brand new Catholics, I recommend just starting with observing the major Solemnities and seasons in the Church calendar and Holy Days of Obligation in the home. Eventually you will develop your own traditions - maybe around the saint you chose as your patron at Confirmation or the date of the Easter Vigil you entered the Church (Easter will not always be the same calendar day!)

For this first Holy Week, maybe set aside a little table, or top of a desk or dresser, to place your blessed palm from Palm Sunday, your Baptismal candle, etc. 


What To Do If Your RCIA Class Missed Some Big Stuff

Don't panic! Your RCIA class is not meant to be completely comprehensive of everything there is to know about Catholicism. I've been Catholic since birth and I'm still not out of things to learn.

But what if you think you missed something really big and important?

When I asked women in some Catholic facebook groups I participate in what they felt they missed in RCIA, hot topics came up frequently as untouched in RCIA. Top among those was Church teaching on Natural Family Planning. Thankfully, most dioceses should have a coordinator for family life that should be able to direct you to NFP instruction in your diocese. There are also lots of awesome organizations and helpful facebook groups to help answer your questions.

Don't be afraid to talk to your pastor if you truly feel like big topics are missing in your program. Everyone wants to make sure you are as prepared as possible for this next step!

The pocket rosary giveaway with Rosaries by Allison ends this Friday! If you have not entered yet, head over to do that on this post.

Did you go through RCIA? What things surprised you about Catholicism? What got missed in RCIA class?
Also, early welcome to the Church to all of the Catecumens and Candidates reading this!

Five Ways I'm Rocking Motherhood

Monday, April 3, 2017

I got tagged to participate in the Rocking Motherhood Challenge back in February by Lovely Little Lives. It sounded so cool and I was so ready to write my take on it....and then I completely forgot about it. But my memory was jogged when Sweeping Up Joy wrote her list of ways she's rocking motherhood, so I'm going to hop back on this bandwagon!

We Explore

At the beginning of our school year we committed to doing at least one field trip or excursion each month. I am one of those people that may or may not be able to rally the troops for a spontaneous adventure, but I will fulfill plans on the calendar like it's the law.

Top picks from this year have been: California Academy of Sciences (think natural history museum, aquarium, and planetarium all rolled into one), Hoes Down Festival at our CSA farm, and Angel Island excursion that also turned into Civil War re-enactment adventure.

I Foster Reasonable Independence

One of my goals as a parent is to work myself out of a job. I want to raise my kids to accept the responsibilities they can reasonably take on, and to be able to make good choices without my constant vigilance. 
That means, as soon as I can, I am working with them on scaffolding physical, social, and emotional skills. This ranges from working on specific fine motor abilities so they can learn to dress themselves to going over how to answer adult's questions and what to do when another kid tries to take your toy.

Yes, it means basic things like getting ready in the morning will take a little longer for a bit, but the payoff of not having to hover and do everything for multiple little people is worth it! The kids are always *so proud* once they have mastered a new skill, and getting to be there when that light bulb moment happens is one of my greatest rewards in parenting.

We're Adventurous Eaters

My husband works in the food industry and we both enjoy cooking and trying new foods - cooking together was a central part of our dating and engagement years. 
Encouraging the kids to try bites of foods that have a new taste or texture has become important to our family culture. Part of why that works is mom and dad are trying new things too. Not everything is a hit. Sometimes experiments fail and the kids get to see how we handle failure and work towards preventing food waste even when the initial attempt was less than tasty.

This process has resulted in some odd favorite foods with my kids. Their top picks are: sushi, miso, nori, swanky cheeses, spinach pancakes, green salads, brothy soups, and most raw veggies.

I'm Not Isolated

One of my most important discoveries as a new mom with my first baby was I do absolutely terribly when isolated alone in my house. I know other women can experience that alone time as a calming and centering choice, but I positively wither. I need other people and interaction on at least a semi-regular basis.

Interacting with others has been so important for continuing to grow, both intellectually and in my relationships. Humans need other humans. 
I need someone to bring me back to the ground sometimes. 
I need encouragement.
I need to care about people who are not in my same phase of life.
I need to be willing to broaden my world.

If I only interact with moms, my world shrinks. I owe my kids the minimal effort it takes to reach out of our little world and allow the Holy Spirit to act in our lives.

I'm Committed to Growing My Own Talents

Back in the day I was very involved in dance and theater. I kept saying I would get back to them "someday". "Someday" has a funny way of getting pushed further and further into the future - especially with little kids in the picture. (You can read more about the story of coming back into dance and theater in my #LoveRebelMom post over at the Koala Mom.)

I cannot allow myself to make excuses to avoid the good. Accepting my talents, and weaknesses, and working with that reality is a big part of honoring who I am. Allowing my motherhood to inform my experience, and not hinder it, has made me a better dancer and actor. Allowing myself the space to grow my talents has made me a better mother.  

Tag, You're Up!

These are the other mom bloggers (or bloggers who happen to be moms?) I'm tagging to tell us how they are rocking motherhood!

Kaitlyn at Tea with Tolkien

Christina at A Gentle Mother

Allison at Reconciled to You

#Rocking Motherhood Tag Rules

1. Thank the blogger who tagged you and link to their blog. 
2. List 5-10 things you believe make you a good mother. 
3. Tag some bloggers to join in the #RockingMotherhood Tag. 
4. Grab the #RockingMotherhood badge and add it to your post or sidebar.

How are you rocking motherhood? (BTW, I want to hear from my godmothers, grandmothers, and spiritual mothers too!)

I Survived Two Weeks of Solo Parenting + A Giveaway!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes.

Today is the last day of the longest stent of solo parenting I have had to do to date (yea!!) The past two weeks have been testing, clarifying, and surprisingly fruitful. Here are some things I was immensely grateful for during this trip.



I learned a few trips ago that continuing to eat our regular style of meal, even when I'm the only pair of hands for the shopping, prep, cooking, and clean up, makes me feel loads better.
But I'm still only one person, so the crockpot has been amazing!
And I'm talking easy, toss it in, crockpot meal. None of this browning, saute, do-75%-of-the-recipe-before-it-goes-in-the-crockpot business. Top winners have been Rosemary Garlic Chicken and Pho.


Movie Nights

By that token, having a movie night series post dinner has been great! Since there is normally only an hour or less until bath time once dinner is over, it takes us a 2-3 nights to finish a movie.
We're on a musicals and British children's movie kick. Meet Me in St. Louis and The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep. Have been big hits.


Blog Community

When my husband is traveling it can feel like I haven't had a real conversation with anyone all day. Thanks to my ladies of Everyday Ediths and Young & Wild Catholic Mamas who have been great for encouragement, prayers, and interaction!
Also a huge thank you to Allison Gingras for having me on A Seeking Heart radio show last week! It was lovely chatting with you! If you missed the show, you can listen to it here.


Self-care Strategies

Not every day is sunshine and roses, and it gets hard when you realize that it's just you on deck. I have taken advantage of all of these self-care strategies this past week, and they have made all the difference for me!


Babysitters Who Got This

We were able to set up sitters for the Mondays and Fridays of this trip so I would be able to have one night at the Ballet studio and one leading the Endow group and Adoration at our parish. It was so nice to have that time and know my kids were going to be fine.



I lean heavily on prayer, especially the rosary and the Liturgy of the Hours, when Matt is traveling. My greatest struggle with prayer is just starting. I like to say the Office of the Readings and Morning Prayer together after breakfast, Evening Prayer after putting the kids down, and Night Prayer before bed. Those time triggers make all the difference for making my prayer time happen!

I have heard a few priests refer to the rosary as "Mary's Rocking Chair". and I totally get it now. No matter how stressed or overwhelmed I get, saying the rosary is like climbing onto your moms lap and just being held for a while.


Speaking of rosaries, I have a giveaway for you all!

In celebration of this little blog getting to 200 Facebook page likes. I'm giving away a pocket rosary from Rosaries by Allison! Thanks for visiting this little corner of internet and being awesome everybody!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reset Tools - For When Your Day Has Derailed

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ever have one of those days where it feels like the entire day just got off the rails? Life starts to feel out of control. While your rational brain knows these are all little insignificant things happening, the impact has worn on you and you just want a reset button.

We had one of those mornings today. 
A bad night of sleep, while already sleep deprived, plus early rising toddler and misbehaving preschooler.

I was emotionally done with today before 8am.

Since I, clearly, cannot actually check out of the day before it's really began, I started my bad day reset tools. These are the things I use to get in a better mood, clear my head, and mother in a less irritated fashion. I start with whatever sounds good at the moment, or just pick one at random.

Drink Water and Have a Snack - When I'm having a bad day, I stop taking care of my own needs because I'm going into crisis mode. Taking 5 minutes to have a snack (preferably with protein in it) and a big glass of water helps me start the train of properly taking care of myself again.

Get Outside - This instantly gives both me and the kids some breathing room. Get some Vitamin D and go slow. You don't even have to go anywhere. Some of our best walks have been going very slowly around the block inspecting all the bugs, flowers, and other critters we find.

Hot Beverage - Something about warm drinks makes me instantly feel cozy. Coffee is my go to, but you could also go for the soothing chamomile tea option.

Aromatherapy - My husband won a bunch of essential oils and a diffuser at his company Christmas party and I have been making excellent use of them! Lavender is an obvious go to when stressed out, but I find mixing it up with other scents helps me snap out of my mental funk. My favorites right now are the Uplift, Fresh, and Focus blends from Everyone.

Pamper Time - If I can take a break (maybe during naptime, have the kids play outside, or have a movie afternoon) I like to do some pamper time things. I make a DIY foot soak with epsom salt, baking soda, and some essential oils. Use a rice sock. Give myself a hand massage with yummy smelling lotion. Sometimes my muscles need a little reminder to stop holding all the tension.

Get Moving - Once the kids are in a more cooperative mood (or at least occupied) I get moving! Turn on some music that makes you happy and have a dance party. Stretching is super great for getting me in a better mood. I will often do my Pilates/stretching rosary to get me reset both physically and spiritually.

Call on Helpers - When  it feels like the above tools are not working (which happens sometimes) I call in reinforcements! I might call my husband just to commiserate. Text with a friend. Go to the park and introduce myself to someone new. The goal is to get me out of my mental rut and get re-grounded in reality. 

What are some of your bad day reset tools? Do you do something totally different?

Solo Style - My Sunday Best

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Linking up with A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best!

We're midway through my husband's long business trip, which meant today was a solo parenting mass day with the 4.5 year old and 2.5 year old.

Today is Laetare Sunday, so I sent the kids off in search of something pink to wear that would fit our mass clothing requirements.

Guess who got a chocolate donut today....
John normally wears his black loafers as his "church shoes" - AKA. shoes least likely to be covered in mud. Khaki pants, and a shirt that has some sort of collar.

Therese has a few dresses that are officially "church dresses". Since her favorite color is pink, she had no problem finding some pink options in the closet.

She was tickled pink that all the Fathers were wearing her favorite color. She may have thought it was just for her, and I may have let her carry on with that notion.

Dress: Kohl's?
Scarf: Charity Wrap
Shoes and Bag: Target
Not pictured - Ivory Chapel Cap from Veils by Lily

I own exactly one pink clothing item, so I'm pretty proud of myself for remembering to wear it!

Mass was definitely on the aerobic side for me, but we made it through with enough good behavior to join in coffee and donuts downstairs.

We're officially in second trimester with this baby, but I still don't feel like I look any different. Eventually we'll earn a bump age in these pictures once there's a bump to speak of. 14 weeks as of yesterday!

My husband is in Minnesota for job training, but has gotten to take the time to find us a family car (first car ever for us!), blinds and some furniture for the new house. Today he tried out Sunday mass at our new parish. He reports lots of young families in the pews - an encouraging sign!

How was mass for you today? Did you remember to wear pink?

A Good Confession

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

When I was preparing to make my first Confession, back in 3rd Grade CCD, my pastor told us a story about his first confession as a little boy. He wanted to make a really GOOD confession, so he wanted to have a really good sin to tell.
He decided to confess to the priest that he had killed his mother.

The priest, rightly, suspected this might not be the case and inquired a little more into why this 7 year old thought he killed his mother. The story of desiring to have a really good first confession came out, and the priest gave him a little talk about the importance of saying sins you actually committed.

I gleaned from this that a good confession did not necessarily entail having a big mortal sin to confess, but I was still confused about what makes a good confession. I always seemed to be confessing the same things every time, which, when the goal is never to commit those sins again, seemed to be the spiritual equivalent to spinning my wheels.

I was not just trying and failing to do better - I did not fully understand why these sins were a continual struggle or how to start stepping towards defeating those perpetual spiritual struggles.

It was not until going to a talk given by one of my favorite Dominican priests on the 7 Deadly Sins that I started to understand how to make a good confession. That talk gave me the words to name the root causes of my little spiritual struggles.

The one that blew my mind the most was Acedia. I had never heard the term before. Acedia has to do with sadness at a spiritual good. This is when you will do ANYTHING besides pray, go to mass, or pursue other spiritual goods. The very thought of going to confession or praying fills you with sadness and restlessness. Suddenly all those times I convinced myself I had "just gotten too busy" to pray seemed less innocent.

Having a name for root sins was a game changer for me. I could tell the priest specifically what I was struggling with and get much more fine tuned advice that addressed the root issue - not just my venial sin symptoms.

The beauty of examining your sins to find that root pattern is that each of the deadly sins is countered with a virtue. There is a practicality in the teaching that forces us to see ourselves as we really are, but also gives us the virtue road map to lead us out of those sinful patterns. It allows us the brutal honesty necessary to make a good confession, and the fighting chance to really mean it when we say "I firmly resolve with the help of your Grace to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasions of sin."

This post is part of the monthly CWBN Blog Hop. Check out other responses to "my true feelings about Confession" over at Reconciled to You.

There Be Changes Underfoot - 7QT

Friday, March 17, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!


40 Bags in 40 Days is going well! I think was the right choice for Lent this year.
I have deviated from my original plan. I assumed I would rather focus on a particular type of clutter at a time, but in reality I work better focusing on one room or spot at a time. 
The end result will be the same, just a different road. I'm still glad I made the chart so I can look at the list and remember a spot that bugs me. Then I can go and handle it!


The kids room was the greatest emotional payoff.

The kids were required to be hands on helpers for sorting and making decisions about what to toss and what to keep. They turned out to be more ruthless than I.
It did not make for a quick clean, but when it was done they were SO PROUD of their room and the work they put into it.


Sorting through their clothes had to be a whole separate day. We ended up with a bag and a half of donation clothes, and another bag of ripped/stained/full of holes clothes.

But now we have the sweet sweet freedom of everything they put on is appropriate to wear outside the house!
I won't guarantee it's on the right way or matches (since my kids dress themselves), but it's a shirt and pants that are the right size and clean.


In case you missed it, I was over on The Koala Mom with Bonnie for her #LoveRebelMom series.

"I had clung to a number of ideas that made it nearly impossible to purse larger goals. I felt guilty about leaving the kids with my husband too much. I was dismissive that I had any talents worth pursuing. Even if I did, I had no business trying while my kids where still little.

Getting rid of untrue fears and thoughts like those meant my whole world opened up. I was free to pursue talents and hobbies I would almost certainly not have had time for if I was not a stay-at-home mom by day. "


The Zelie Group has become Everyday Ediths to embrace more women as Catholic women, wives, and mothers. I am excited to continue working with fellow Everyday Ediths writers:
Alicia at Sweeping Up Joy
Christina at Psalms of My Life


Finally saw a staged version of Into the Woods last night and...I don't love it. It had nothing at all to do with the actors or the staging (they were great), but the show itself. Y'all, it's a weird show, and full of contradictions. Some of the song lyrics don't even make sense for the characters to be saying. Maybe if it had ended at Act I it would have been ok, I don't know.
So sorry all of my rabid Into the Woods fans. This one is going to go on the "seen it once and I'm good" list.


Save the date for next Wednesday!

I'm going to be live with Allison Gingras on her radio show A Seeking Heart at 10am Eastern.
First radio show and I'm excited!

Ember Days - The Best Part of the Liturgical Year You Never Knew Existed

Friday, March 10, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!

Happy Ember Friday! Have you never heard of Ember Days? You are in good company. They are not a part of Catholic culture that is in widespread usage. But they could be and I think they should be! 
Here's the low down on Ember Days and why they are the best part of the liturgical year you never knew existed.

What are Ember Days?

Essentially, they are 3 days, toward the beginning of each liturgical season, set aside for fasting and prayer and to "to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy" (New Advent). 
They are very ancient practice in the Catholic Church and established somewhere between the Apostolic age and the 5th Century.


When are Ember Days?

They are the Wednesday, Friday, Saturday following:
Ash Wednesday
Feast of the Holy Cross
St. Lucia Day

That roughly works out to a set of Ember Days in each Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.
So why are they awesome?


They are a Liturgical Reset Button

Each of those days are timed toward the beginning of a season, but are typically within the second or third week of a new season. That means they come right at the point when all of your lofty ideals have come tumbling down.
Maybe you are already overwhelmed by all of the prayer options for Lent. 
Maybe you really wanted to focus more on family this Advent but family time has yet to happen.
Maybe you are in a September spiritual slump.

Each of those Ember Days come at a time when you could probably do with slowing down, re-focusing, and re-evaluating.


They are the Main Reason I Have a Clean House

Lemme tell y'all a secret....I don't clean all that often. I tidy. I pick up. I wipe down the kitchen counters and bathroom surfaces (or as I call them the "high consequence areas"). 
But stuff like scouring the bathtub, dusting, sweeping into corners? Yeah....that happens about four times a year for sure. Ember Days!

When the Ember Days roll around, I make sure I set aside time to hit all of those tasks. It makes sense to me to clean out my physical house while I am cleaning spiritual house. 
Because the Ember Days come around just before the part of that liturgical season that involves hosting parities, the house is then cleaned and ready for festivities! So much to love!


They are a Reminder To Pray While We Work

Because I am normally cleaning during my Ember Days, I have to pray while working by necessity if the prayer part is going to happen. 
I have found that to be a huge blessing! Doing the externals of making myself do the tasks I do not enjoy doing, while holding mental intentions and prayers for other people is very humbling. It is an excellent reminder that my work is not about me.


They Are Something The Kids Can Understand

Ember Days are very much an external practice that has a big internal effect. The whole experience is full of stuff the kids can latch onto: praying for people they care about, helping clean out under their beds, making decisions about what clothes don't fit them anymore, etc.

I find that the Ember Days happen often enough for even my little kids to remember the last time they came around. That means they are a convenient way to jump start a family culture centered around the liturgical year.


That Thursday Rest Day is Genius

At first I thought it was odd to schedule the days Wednesday then Friday and Saturday. Why not just go full steam ahead? But I have decided that the Church was wise to make it that way.
Because that Wednesday is probably going to be a little rough as I make myself get moving and get my family back on board.
Because there might be other weekday stuff that, by necessity, should get done.
Because having one of the days fall on the weekend greatly increases the likelihood this might be a whole family endeavor.

Are you observing the Ember Days? Is this the first time you have heard of  them? Going to give it a shot?

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