Sunday, May 10, 2015

Motherhood is easier than I expected...

To new (or struggling) moms, on Mothers' Day.

(I know, I know. Three whole Mothers' Days... I must be an expert already. :P But here's my developing philosophy and, hopefully, wisdom I have been blessed with so far.)

Motherhood is the most instinctive, rewarding thing I have ever done. Following those instincts (while requiring selflessness you never knew possible) makes the experience so much simpler. Go to your baby! Nurse your baby! (Again.) Hold your baby! Sleep close to your baby! If there's even the slightest possibility, sacrifice, more than you thought you could, to be home with them as much as you can while they are young. Society says that everything else you do is more important than being a mother; don't believe that lie.

God knew what He was doing when He created babies and their needs. You are NOT spoiling them, and they are NOT manipulating you.  God did not provide parents to "train" their children. We are here to allow them to grow into themselves, and to guide them by our example. (Maybe the hardest part.)

Do your best to be the unique version of motherhood your children need. They will help you (even though it might not feel quite like that's what they're doing...).

Listen to your mommy intuition, and trust your child. There is nothing more comforting at the end of the day than to know you made your choices based on what you believed was best for your family, regardless of the societal norm and others' opinions. If you're questioning something "everybody does," research it! Find peace in information that supports your hunches.

Even better than information is support. Seek out moms who are making similar choices, and moms who have "been there, done that." Having real, live people (even if they're virtual conversations) of whom to ask questions is *invaluable.* Knowing you are not alone in your struggles and insecurity makes everything much more bearable.

...Now, I'm not quite sure how to close this, because it was originally just supposed to be a facebook status, but I kept typing. Oh, well. Happy Mothers' Day!

Monday, March 9, 2015

An Unspoken Battle

The female body is so incredible. The more I learn about birth, breastfeeding, babies' instincts... the more in awe I become of God's design.


When it comes to my particular anatomy, I am more than frustrated. A woman's ability to conceive and carry children is part of her innermost identity, and when there are deficiencies or obstacles to her body working properly, it affects more than her physical being. Even with regular recourse to our Creator (as imperfect as it may be), that flaw in her femininity can make maintaining confidence and peace in every area of her life a struggle.

Let's go back a bit.

During our engagement preparation, Bryant and I learned the Creighton Method of Natural Family Planning. And I am so grateful. Through charting, we were able to identify my progesterone deficiency and treat it with a bioidentical supplement (called Prometrium) just in time for the wedding aka honeymoon baby aka our greatest miracle, Josh. Although I had a little trouble accepting the intervention, I am SO incredibly thankful that we did not have to go through the trials many couples face in order to identify low progesterone. The *standard* way of identifying low progesterone is to suffer the loss of at least two babies before a conventional doctor will even consider looking for a cause. God knows I am too weak and sinful (at least so far) to deal well with a tragedy like that, so He allowed us to find and take advantage of NaPro Technology.

Once Josh was born (many of you witnesses can attest to this), our way of life began to change, erring more towards the "natural" side of things. Yes, I became a hippie. We use cloth diapers, see a chiropractor, have all but emptied our home of chemicals, buy mostly organic, and all that jazz. Up until recently, I was holding onto hope that those changes would be enough allow my body to boost and balance its own hormone production.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case. After nineteen months of lactational amenorrhea (Praise God for THAT fantastic design!), I began cycling and thus charting again. One sign of low progesterone I have been observing is a short post-peak phase.

This is where it gets tricky.
Many women experience several odd cycles post-partum before their body regulates itself. This can be either before or after the child has weaned. (Josh is still nursing, which is another active player in the dance of my hormones.) Had I not previously been diagnosed with low progesterone, I wouldn't have given a strange cycle another thought. Because I was, though, the NaPro doctor I had been communicating with gave me a new prescription for Prometrium without even seeing me. And that just rubbed me the wrong way.

In the two years since Josh was born, I have had lots of discussions and done quite a bit of research (not all on facebook mommy groups) about natural hormone balancing. So, clearly, that's the next step for me, right? If only it were that simple.

Medical care providers who are familiar with:

  • natural hormone balancing
  • natural-term breastfeeding
  • Natural Family Planning

are few and far between. May I even say nonexistent? I have had a few suggestions from friends, but so far those have been strikeouts, either because of out-of-network expense (RIDICULOUS! Health insurance is a joke for people who seek alternative options.) or just logistics/lack of experience in this tiny niche. So here I am. Unbalanced. Searching.

I guess the real point of all of this is to ask for prayers. This is another area of my life that has been deeply shaken by this situation. Not that I'm questioning God or faith or anything like that. Just that I'm not even sure what to pray for. Why is it that we fearlessly ask God for spiritual gifts and healing, but when it comes to something like this, we wonder if it is the right thing to ask for? Of course God, my loving Father, desires my body to work as He created it to! My struggle now is accepting the way He has planned for that to happen... A miraculous, instantaneous recovery would be my ideal, of course. But not likely.

Something I've picked up from my Familia training (group for Catholic mothers of young children) is a question to ask in trials. Instead of asking, "Why?" as we are so inclined to do, we should be asking, "How?" How is God asking me to grow from this? In which virtue am I called to grow in this situation?

Maybe I'm supposed to be asking for the humility to accept the Prometrium (which, to me, feels like a band-aid- covering up instead of fixing the problem). Maybe I'm supposed to be asking for self-control to make the harder lifestyle changes that may allow my body to heal itself. (As I sit here eating cookies.) Maybe I just need to grow in patience and trust, that when God has another child to give us (I pray, I PRAY that He does), my body will show us. In any case, I truly appreciate your prayers.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In and Out

*This is a bit of a tribute to two friends who were my inspiration to pick blogging back up. (Even if just for today!)*
Like most areas of my life, this blogging thing is quite cyclical... I suppose if I had more of a following, I might be more consistent, but as it is, I don't mind letting it slip through the cracks most of the time. I do the same amongst weeks of reading, meal-planning, crafty projects, even laundry and dishes! (I'll be honest: it's rare that dishes DON'T get neglected.) You just can't be on top of everything every week. Or, (as Darci says: ), you can't be SuperMom! But it's also like my grandma's plaque says: "This house is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy!"

Maybe being SuperMom just means being the best version of ourselves. Some ways I've heard it said are: "To be holy is to be uniquely you." or "To be perfect is to change often." To tie this into the other post that revitalized my desire to blog (Erin's: ), being your version of SuperMom requires lots of self-knowledge and some self-pampering! From my new literature of mommy blogs, I recognize that loneliness and loss of identity is common for us! I mean, I *know* I used to like to read and dance and sit around at Starbucks, talking to friends. But I can't tell you the last time I've done one of those things, at least the ways I used to. As Erin concludes, it's just another season! And in each season, different roles take priority.
It's a drastic change to go from the season of independence and "self-discovery" (college) straight into a season of nearly 100% self-sacrifice (with varying degrees of honeymoon in between). A few Mays ago you might have found me napping (okay, not that different than today). But at that time I had plenty of time to visit with friends, read whole books at a time for leisure, take a shower on my own time (the height of luxury!), and no way would you find me meal-planning! Now any spare time I have, and most leisure activities, are geared directly or indirectly towards the sanctification of myself and my family. (Okay, other than taking hot baths and baking desserts. Although I could probably philosophize my way around those, too!) For example, the books I'm reading now are The Power of a Praying Wife and Brideshead Revisited. The first is pretty self-explanatory, but the second, a novel, I'm reading with a threefold purpose: first, because it led to the conversion of a fellow mommy blogger; second, because it's a classic and I'm looking ahead to homeschooling; and finally, third, I hope I might enjoy it! 
As trying as this season can be, I know the leisure time of empty nesters' season will come with its own sense of loneliness. So, for now, let's focus our skills and talents on the sanctification of ourselves and our families. But don't forget to do a little rekindling of interests and leisure activities for your own enjoyment, because, as I've also read, "You cannot give what you do not have!"

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ten Favorites (or Five Favorites take two times two)

Well, I missed a day... So we'll just call this two (or three) posts in one! 

Thanks to MoxieWife ( and housewifespice ( for hosting the link-ups!

Five Favorite Qualities of My Husband

Bryant has an unending store of patience for me. Enough for the both of us, as I have less than plenty for myself. But, even when I ask him how he puts up with me, he tells me it's never "putting up." Aw , so sweet!

His strong desire to do what's best for our family
I don't know that I need to add much to this one; it's pretty self-explanatory.

His passion for sports
Whaaaaat? Okay, I have to be honest: this one is misleading. I'm glad his passion is watching sports teams and not video games or gambling or any other number of much more relationship-damaging options. 
Although his enthusiasm and the loyalty he gives to his teams are reassuringly transferable!

His fun-loving heart
Bryant is always ready for a joke or a game of cards. ...I could do without a little of the competitiveness, but overall, he's a fun guy to be around!

His centered-ness on the Faith
While we can always do better on praying together, I always know we're coming from the same basic place in moral and theological (and most other) discussions. It makes things SO much easier that he trusts and is knowledgable about the Church's teachings. I wouldn't have the leader of my family any other way!

Which leads me to Part Two of this post: What We're Reading Wednesday!

I've started this book a few times already, but I'm going to use it for a Lenten meditation this year. Hopefully I'll make it through! The Power of a Praying Wife is part of Stormie Omartian's series, including The Power of a Praying Husband and The Power of a Praying Parent. Each chapter introduces one way you can pray for your spouse (his reputation, his health, his finances), and then explain why and how you would want to do that. It's a really great gift for a new bride! (And I assume new husband and parent.)

Now here's the fun part. Josh heard about the Five Favorites link-up, and he wanted in on it! So without further ado, Joshua's Five Favorites. 

The "nummies"

Being naked

Knocking over towers of tissue boxes

Throwing balls at who-knows-what

Eating things off the floor 

My son, ladies and gentlemen. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Nope. Not a word. But how I'm feeling! (A combination of excitement and discouragement.) BeCAUSE (excitement) we are looking at buying a house! But (discouragement) that means we will have to tighten our budget even more than we already have. 

I'm just going to start this out by saying financial prudence is one of my most challenging weaknesses, mainly for two reasons. First, I feel greatly convicted by knowledge. Ex. "Regular visits to the chiropractor help boost the immune system? Josh HAS to have that!" "Grass-fed butter has more vitamins and nutrients? Well, why would we use any other kind?" The other reason is that sometimes I just don't have a strong grasp of the concrete realities of our budget. Ex. Buying things in bulk because it's a better deal without seeing how much is left in checking...

So now that we're looking at a house (more on that later), the ethereal budget to which I've given an occasional, fleeting  thought is going to need to become a familiar friend with whom I live every day. The biggest area of improvement (other than spontaneous purchases/eating out) needs to be the grocery bill. 

Just the thought of that is overwhelming. Many of you know that over the past two years, I've "gotten really into" the real/organic/whole food idea, and I'm not willing to drop that just because we need to spend less money. It's what's best for our family, even if it is more expensive. But I know if I have some accountability and encouragement, I can stick to a budget AND continue to feed my family well!

I've already had some discouragement this morning in a place I was searching for inspiration! There's a "100 Days of Real Food" blog, and she did an "On a Budget" series. Unfortunately, her weekly budget of $125 is painfully close to what our monthly budget is likely to be!

So, tell me. How much do you spend on groceries, for how many people? And what percent would you say is real food? (Unprocessed, natural, homemade, etc.)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Momiform Progress!

So some cool people are doing a "7 Posts in 7 Days" challenge (initiated by Jen! ... and although I doubt I'll keep up, and I doubt even more you want to hear that much from me, I might as well start anyway!

This might be a cheat, because this post will be mostly pictures. Oh, well!

A few weeks ago I was inspired to revamp my wardrobe with clothes appropriate to my new state in life. Here are a few snapshots of success days! (No judging, you fashionistas. Success, for now, means something other than sweats and a t-shirt!)

I know. My expressions are camera-worthy. You don't have to tell me. 
Also, those spots on my bathroom mirror... Figments of your imagination. 

Have you ever had the urge to simplify and update your wardrobe? I'm loving it! (Ba-da-bap-bap-ba!)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Seven Quick Takes #1 Or "Boxes, Cloth, and Demons"

Well, friends, it's Friday! My first Quick Takes (hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary-another of my favorites!)
Thanks, Jen! 

Today also happens to be a Familia day! Familia is a program for "Mothers of Young Children." Each year, we read a church document on motherhood, marriage, or femininity; this year's is JPII's Familiaris Consortio. We meet every two weeks to discuss, and while, like every group, we started off slow, I'm really happy with the way we're coming together this semester! It's so nice to have a supportive group of women for whom faith is a strong priority.

Shopping addiction
You know the feeling when the doorbell rings and you open the door to see that fabulous brown package? It's kind of my favorite. I might have a spending problem. As much as I try to only buy what is absolutely necessary for my family's well-being, there are just so many fun and shiny things that I just KNOW will make our lives healthier/easier/better. I'm a sucker, even without real advertising. Maybe it's my great imagination. I create my own mental advertising! Catered specifically to my weaknesses, of course. 

Cloth transition
This week has just happened to be a big one in our "natural/sustainability" journey! My mom helped cut up t-shirt scraps for Josh's wipes, and we had enough left over to start family cloth! (If you don't know... don't ask.) We have some "unpaper" towels and reusable plastic baggies on their way to us, AND the fabric for our cloth napkins is washed and ready to go!

Out of groceries
A plus of the "freezer cooking" fad comes with weather like this! I planned to go to the grocery store this week, buuuut it's been pretty yucky out there. So we've started cleaning out the freezer. Usually I use the slow cooker meals for days when my babysitting boys are here, but they were nice to have for snow days, too! Cilantro Lime Chicken- two thumbs up!

Surprise vacation
Speaking of my babysitting boys, apparently I have two weeks off! Their family goes to Florida every winter, and we hadn't really communicated about it well until last week. I've got all kinds of project ideas! (Probably too many; I'll need to pray for realistic expectations!) I'm open to suggestions, but here are a few:
•replacing the elastic in some of Josh's diapers
•working on my t-shirt quilt (VERY in progress... but I took a few months off for Christmas projects
•make our cloth napkins
•refill our freezer! (including lunches for Bryant)
•organize our basement- it's a scary place...
•maybe work ahead on Bradley and PSR plans! But, really, how likely is that?

"Style and the SAHM"
This link leads you to the beginning of a series that became a project for me this week. For those of you who get my Facebook updates, I posted one about dressing like a hobo. Just to prove I wasn't exaggerating, my dad was surprised that I was "already dressed"... at 9:30 this morning when he stopped by to visit. So the good news is a change has happened!
Thanks to the inspiration of the above post, I have a trash bag full of clothing in our hallway to rid myself of. I'll probably share more about my "minimalistic momiform" in it's own post soon, but just know I'm excited to no longer be dressing like a slob!

"A Screwtape Letter for the Unappreciated Mom"
I ADORE this post. Many wonderful people write about things moms need to watch out for: not spending time with your husband, not taking time for prayer and to rest... but none of them have hit home for me the way this one does. Every word was written just for me. 

And it's a good note and reminder on which to begin the weekend!