Friday, March 8, 2013

Baby and family news and more

We welcomed a new precious boy, RM in January.  I wish I could say things were not complicated but he had low blood sugar and had to spend an extra couple of days in the hospital.  How I wish that weren't the case while we watched him being poked too many times.  We were sick in our house before, during and after his birth and he ended up developing RSV and possible pneumonia.  His color wasn't good and we ended up bringing him to the emergency room of our small town hospital where it became clear he needed treatment at a larger hospital and would need to be air-lifted.  This was very difficult for us and again RM had to be poked too many times.  He made a quick and strong recovery and we were able to come home after just a few days.  In between his birth and being hospitalized for being sick, I was having anxiety or panic attacks.  I had experienced anxiety and panic in the last trimester with my third daughter but it affected really only my sleep.  I was having some hints of this same thing in the last part of my pregnancy with RM too but it was not too difficult to deal with.  But his anxiety after he was born WAS difficult and it was not during the night but while I was awake during the day.  I did not feel good and after several days I called my OB and they had me come in.  I knew that I would be given some medication and though I don't like to take anything more than a mild pain killer, I was desperate for the anxiety to stop.  He put me on a low dose of Zoloft.  Within hours I felt completely back to myself.  It was quite a relief.  I couldn't continue that way another day - my whole life felt skewed.  I was agitated within and it was not really because anything anyone would do but I was just not myself.  I lost my appetite too and felt I had to cope alone which was isolating.  Jason was home a lot during that period and he barely saw me.  I don't think he realized how bad it was until after I was "back to myself" which I really hadn't been until before I was pregnant.  While pregnant, I was coping but not having anxiety but everything was a push for me.  Now I am back to myself.  We are finding a new normal with another person in our family.  I am very happy and glad to have energy again to get to projects, get outside with the kids on nicer days and exercise.  During my postpartum appointment, my OB and I decided I would only remain on the drug for a total of three months which I feel is reasonable giving time for my hormones to return to normal.

As for homeschooling, AJ has been back to public school since soon after Christmas break.  He just didn't have it in him to put the effort forth.  He depended on the idea that homeschooling would be easier than regular school.  It wasn't.  It was a challenge though I made it easier for him in ways he needed it to be - like in Biology, making it less college prep and more basic.  I was putting forth all my effort and he was not.  I have seen growth in him because of being homeschooled though.  Now that he's back to regular school, he's actually doing quite well.  But I know it's easier there.  He's hanging out with his friends again and is in robotics and metals classes which compliments his work with his grandpa getting trained in machining.  He's pretty excited about this and will be going to a competition with a team.  I feel good that I made an honest try of homeschooling him since he consistently wanted it.  I am letting go of his lack of effort which was really quite apparent and disappointing.  It cost us some money and for me, time and energy but those are the sacrifices we make for our kids even if things don't work out.  I wish it would've turned out differently. 

Spiritually, the whole episode at the birth and after with RN took its toll on me.  I have been rather dry even before that time for a few months - probably since after fall time or maybe after the election which was disappointing.  I felt burnt out.  I was really trying to reach out to others to share the truth but hearts are cold and minds are made up.  I can hope a seed or two was planted.  Regardless, I felt tired and deflated.  I was in a parish program with my mom and husband at the time.  It was beneficial but I didn't "feel" much from it.  My husband, JR had a major transformation though.  My mom too has had one in the last year.  For these, I praise God.  I told the Lord too that if I didn't feel Him for a time, I would persist and have faith and know He was there.  I am persisting.  JR and I are praying together now and sometimes as a family. I am watching him grow.  This is enough for me for the time being.  I will wait on the Lord to show Himself to me in the which ever way He may choose. 

Next month RN will be christened on the same day our oldest daughter, MT will receive her sacraments.  JR's mother is making both garments.  She also made the girls' baptism gown.  The bishop will be presiding.  It will be a special day.  Eight years ago AJ received his sacraments when MT was baptized.  Now she will be receiving them when her baby brother will be baptized. 

It was interesting to learn that the pope announced his resignation.  Presently our world waits to have a new pope elected.  I pray for the Lord's will and for guidance of our cardinals.  I continue to pray for the state our world and for our country.  I continue to have hope in the Lord's mercy. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

We're having a BOY!  Honestly, I never really knew how much hearing those words from the ultrasound tech would mean to meEven after losing my firstborn son shortly after birth and having four girls since.  For JR, my husband, he was moved to tears at the news and told me how much he wants this for me.  I told him how much I want this for us.  The whole family is very excited - extended family included.   Though we would have welcomed a girl, this is a special blessing for us.  I know it will be different because of the feelings that emerged in me those several short days I had with my baby boy before he left us.  There is something special in having a baby boy - different special than having a baby girl.  A few days after receiving the news, I pulled out the box of boys things I have been saving since the loss of BP.  I have never much attributed those things as being his but they are somewhat tied to him naturally.  I was amazed that as it's coming on 10 years later that many of the things are classic and not out of style and they seem new still.  The reality of what it means to have a son of my own from birth (hopefully to raise) has been coming to mind.  He will certainly have lots of little mommies.  Even AJ, my full-time stepson who will be 16 years old talks of things he will do with his brother.  I respond by telling him that the relationship will be whatever he makes of it.  :)  I also think in regards to the boy toys and activities - perhaps different than AJ.  I think of the help he will be to his dad later on.   We are just getting serious about names.  I pray we have inspiration and will feel convicted in a name together. 

Homeschooling AJ is going well.  His scores are good.  I have been pleased with most of the curriculum I picked out and it is an amazingly free feeling to have chosen the mix of it mostly on my own with some inspiration from others rather than a set curriculum or choosing an online school. The Biology text is okay to me but not so much to AJ.  So we'll probably switch into something else if we continue next year.   I even write my own tests for that since they don't provide any.  For writing, I have written a few quizzes also.  I plan to have lots of fun and creativity in Geography though I understand that many don't give that subject much emphasis.  I can see how that could happen but I personally love Geography and all of it's components including some culture.  I plan to overlap World History with World Geography and Writing.  AJ is a good kid though in some ways he is the typical teenager in ways I wish he wasn't.  He has some strong negativity which I hope to help him with if I can.  This includes being negative about many small things.  He is often a good deal negative with his sisters though not always.  I know this is normal.  I just wish he could see that it doesn't have to be that way.  Thankfully, he's busy between working for Grandpa in the mornings and homeschooling in the afternoon.  But this negativity can come through in his attitude about his school work.  I don't appreciate it but I feel more concerned than affected I guess.  I pray for him and I plan to give him some tools though I don't claim to be much capable.  I pray the Lord will lead me and one tool I am starting to use tomorrow is giving AJ a weekly Scripture verse which I'll incorporate into his school work that week.  As I have mentioned before, there is great power in Scripture - after all it is the two-edged sword.   Plus there are great messages of truth and offer of healing.  I sense with AJ that though he has some strong moral and religious convictions about life, society and the Catholic or Christian faith, he lacks a personal relationship.  We could do more to cultivate it in our home but Jason and I bring in faith into life lessons which come up a lot and JR's story of his experience of Jesus is powerful.  I try to set an example.  AJ prefers many secular distractions and even currently rejects more Christian ones.  I guess when I was his age, I already had my conversion experience.  With JR, not so much yet but some foundation was laid.  I pray that foundation for true conversion is there and will take hold in AJ.  

Friday, August 31, 2012


Pregnancy for me is never very easy though I have heard many stories of others who've had it much worse.  Still, I have had increased nausea and vomiting in the last week, regular headaches and fatigue.  I wonder how I'll ever get to some of my tasks.  Then after a rather rough day which included all of the above symptoms, I had a burst of energy.  The problem with this is that it was at 9:00 PM.  What am I going to get done at that time of day???  Actually, I was putting my girls down a little late and had a good amount of fun with them at bedtime.   Lately with all my symptoms, bedtime has been yet another task and it makes me sad that life is like that right now most of the time.  I decided I would simply enjoy feeling good once I said my goodnights and gave kisses, noses and hugs all around.  When I have had other energy bursts, I have gone for walks or really got a lot done around here.  It feels good. I thank God for those times of reprieve.  Ever since my first pregnancy I have said that I wish I could just hibernate for nine months - I'm halfway serious about this though I know that I really don't want this since I have children to raise.  I'm thankful that these symptoms lift when the babies are born.  The next day after giving birth, I feel "back to myself."  I almost forget what it feels like to be "me" during all those months.  It is actually easier for me once the babies are born. :)

Since my post last week, tensions have been lighter around here.  God is good like that not to allow things to be burdensome for too long.  I had to think why there was a change and it was actually - no surprise here - communication.  Naturally, an opportunity to parent arose that brought this out between me and AJ and then my husband, JR became involved.  Communication is key to easing tensions.  I have to remember this.  I don't mean nagging either - that's different.  I need to remember to not only pray in the midst of difficult situations which I was doing, but also pray for the divine opportunity for communication and healing. We'll see how the weekend goes.  :)

This week, I have been occupied with watching the Republican National Convention.  I continue to have hopes that our current president will be out of job after this election.  I also continue to have some reservations about Romney but I hope in him and continue to pray for God's mercy on our country.  I had to remind myself that as much as I watch politics, I need to be praying continuously.  At Bible Study, my mom pointed out that Billy Graham is calling the faithful of this country to fast for 40 days up to the election.  This would begin something like September 27th.  Though I am not in a position to fast, I am willing to give up something(s) and to make prayer commitments.  Perhaps others will join in this.  Fasting is a powerful means for the Lord to work and we cannot underestimate it.  It can be easy to forget in the culture we live which only reminds us from every angle of each and every last way of how to gratify ourselves. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Since my last post too many weeks ago now, I have become pregnant for the 7th time.  Currently I am 16 weeks and have felt the usual fatigue and nausea though it is starting to abate now that I'm into my second trimester.  We are praying for a healthy baby and with all the girls we have together, it will be interesting to see what gender the baby is at my next appointment.  I have had to get used to being pregnant more so than with any of the others though I knew we would likely have another, it happened a touch sooner than I was prepared for.  I had hoped to find greater success with weight loss to have a better time with the pregnancy and possibly avoid gestational diabetes this time.  But I only made a dent and now have had to let it go for the most part though I am being more disciplined about my diet and testing my blood.  My husband, JR had been more than ready for me to become pregnant again and in all actuality this baby and HC will be the largest spread we have had with our children with 2.5 years apart.  HC just turned 2 and she is turning into a little kid though still so sweet and good natured.  I am savoring this pregnancy in case it's my last.  I will be forty about the time the baby comes.  It would be nice to move forward and focus on the children I have but I know another baby is possible since we will not get in the way of God.  I do plan to use the Fertility Monitor and charting (FAM) to avoid pregnancy.  I have two close college friends (both also from Franciscan University) who are also pregnant right now - each with their 9th pregnancy though each also suffered a miscarriage.  I have other peers who are having babies still and so I feel I have others around me who are in my situation having children into their late 30s and even early 40s.  

Besides this, I am also committed to homeschooling my full-time stepson, AJ who is 15 and entering 10th grade.  I never thought I would homeschool him.  I say this because he is the only one in our family in his age group, he is very social, he can be negative with his sisters (can be normal for his age) and because of our dynamic issue.  This last one is complicated but obviously the Lord has been doing great work.  AJ has been asking to be homeschooled and I see that the local school is not challenging him.  He got all As and Bs last term and he never had homework and he has learning challenges!  I first thought I might slide into public schooling at home but in looking at the wealth of curriculum choices out there, I became inspired to go my own way and will be doing the traditional homeschooling.  He has been working for grandpa at his business in town which offers him skilled training.  He'll be busy with that.  Our town is small enough too that he easily hooks up with his buddies.  I pray for the Lord's help in this for both of us and for his Grace.  

Having a teenager in our home mixed with little kids holds it's own challenges.  It is nice for quick babysitting needs and some help with household things.  But he is up later and I feel like my evening time is not my own anymore.  Also this age for him holds many lessons and takes much time and energy.  When he comes home from work or there's something with a friend and he shares about it, it seems there is always some kind of lesson in response which can include offering a shift in perspective.  We're fortunate AJ is so communicative.  He likes to be around the family rather than holing up in his room like most kids his age.  But again he requires his own care - though different from the little ones but still care.

In reading Consoling the Heart of Jesus I have tried to embrace humility and service.  I am working at letting go for peace within my heart and entrusting my cares and family to the Lord.  I know He can take care of any needs.  

I know I'm jumping around here a bit, but I continue to follow politics and hope and pray for God's mercy on our country.  I pray that truth can reign and we can have a new administration for the next term.  Honestly though, I have reservations about Romney but I have hope that they will not hold water if he's elected.  I do not want to see the current administration have four more years to continue to increase the deficit at such an alarming rate and take powers that is not theirs to make unilateral executive decisions.  I hold onto hope.  True hope - not the false hope promised four years ago.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Temptation entering Holy Week

As shared in the previous post, I have experienced some graces and help during this Lent.  In fact, this has been one of the better Lents.  It is due to being committed to daily prayer, monthly Adoration on First Saturday, beginning Lent with Mass on Ash Wednesday and confession the following Wednesday and also finishing up an in-depth Bible Study on Jesus which has much personal application.  Additionally, I have been reading the book Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat by Fr Michael Gaitley MIC since the onset of Lent.  This book is amazing and life changing and so down to earth as it is written for "little souls" as the author calls them.  This all sounds like a nice "laundry list" of good, essential things to do to have a good Lent.  But the reality is that despite this, these weeks have been still mixed with failings like the one mentioned last post.  Since then Grace has helped me in this specific area and I feel strength through your prayers.  But there are other failings.  I have come to realize that I am not making progress in the area that burdens me about my health, weight loss and hope for a better future pregnancy for me and the baby.  I am tempted to despair over my failings despite the grace to make better choices daily.  I still fail including to fully give up some things that I chose to give up for Lent.  But as the book above teaches, it is precisely at these times that we need to climb into the arms of Jesus.  This consoles Him rather than us hiding in shame.  He in turn offers us consolation, peace and help.  The fact is, we are sinners and will always sin no matter how close to Christ we may be.  We cannot give in to the temptation to despair.  So I pull myself up to make that climb but then remember what St Therese says about the elevator being Jesus and that we don't have to make that tough climb so instead I let him take me there to Himself.  

So what can this mean for this last, most Holy Week of Lent?  Maybe just in realizing more fully my dependence on Him, I will call on His Holy Name as I strive to do more for Him.  I will call to mind His Most Holy Face in the image of the Divine Mercy and say those words, I trust in You and allow Him to fill me with His Peace so that Love will flow between us. It is there that joy is found according to Father Gaitley.  

I am not even finished with the book yet but it's having a profound effect.  My husband has read a bit of the book too and has received some great insight and help.  This week I aim to forget myself and my sins and look to Christ and His great Love, Sacrifice and Victory!  Praise Him!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Trials and Grace

This Lent has been both incredibly blessed so far while at the same time there have been some emerging trials - almost brewing under the surface.  The main part of this trial is long standing though it can come in varying degrees and then go and come back.  It has to do with dynamics in the home and unresolved issues about what it means to have family time and how to use spare time.  I would guess many relate to this to some degree.  I can only imagine the peace that would come with a firm understanding among family members on this issue.  I know some households have achieved this.  I would think it comes with communication and commitment.  Though my husband, JR and I are fortunate to be "equally yoked" we are not always at the same place at the same time.  Right  now, he wants to hang on to some of the superficial things in life more than I do.  I don't mind these things but in smaller doses though.  The hard part is his 15 year old son AJ, my stepson who lives with us follows suit with his dad whenever they're home together.  This can wear on my spirit.  But after some mounting tension and then conflict over the weekend and feeling broken about things, the Lord showed me to have greater tolerance during this season of life.  That's right, it is just a season.  Perhaps we will have more ability to come to an agreement about things for our family and our son and how time is spent but until then, I need to struggle through those irritating times and either draw the line or have tolerance.  I have tended to isolate myself and do my own thing during these times.  JR has noticed this and has felt his own tension rising towards me as a result.  So I also feel that I need to try to be present and perhaps affect change that way (hopefully in a positive way) rather than doing what I have been doing.  The tension steals my joy and it breaks my heart to think that the whole thing and myself included contributes to disharmony and hurt in the home.  Unfortunately, how AJ spends his time has been an issue for me since we have been a family.  He has no sibling in his age range to play with though he does pretty great with his sisters.  He is sometimes bossy and says things that are inappropriate but that can be very normal.  I have tried through the years especially when J was on the road for his job and I was home alone with him to have game night and to invite friends over for him to play with.  But that can only do so much.  He has not been into sports though he did go out for football this last fall.  Because of his personality and his trouble in being productive in play or activity, it has caused tension in me through the years and I am sure it has burdened him too which breaks my heart.  I have been crying out to God to help me overcome this tension - to love better.  It is so hard.  In the early years, I was depressed about it.  It was difficult seeing my own powerlessness.  I had to choose love day after day.  I care so much about AJ's well being.  In that way, I am a good mom and I give him a spiritual foundation and try to offer him a balanced life.  I know he appreciates and we have come a long way.  In fact, I am committed to homeschooling him next year unless there is a huge change for him at high school.  I would have never thought this would happen because he is so social and he needs something outside of the home to fill that need.  But highschool is not a positive experience for him.  He wants me to homeschool him and has for some time.  I told him I would if he had something else, like a job or sports.  I dont want him to be bored here at home and have no interaction with others.  But I think that it could work out if he has something else.  I feel optimistic and that says a lot considering our history.  So God is obviously doing some great things.  I enjoy him, he's a good, handsome boy who's coming into manhood.  I need to tell him more that I'm proud of him and that I love him.  I fail at this and again, this breaks my heart but I know today it can change and improve with God's grace.  If anyone has comments about this or insight or suggestions, please feel free to email me.  I may post it to the site if I feel so led and if I obtain your permission. I do ask for prayers. On a side note, there have been many ways the Lord has been working and I will share more in my next post.  Praise Him!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Lord's mercy and help

I realized yesterday that it has been awhile again since I last posted.  Honestly, life with five kids makes me forgetful.  Somehow, I manage to not forget for long and keep up with what is going on around here but I am less able to be thinking of everything so thoroughly and things come up and surprise me more.  Then I thank God and my Guardian Angel that I didn't forget all-together!  I used to be so good at this and keep up with everything better.  But it gets done - whatever it is and I don't ever really miss things but I'm sure my time with come just because I am human, after all.  

I continue to follow the politics of things and praying for our country especially with the recent Mandate.  I pray for the Lord's mercy on our country and that perhaps things can get better before they get worse.  Many around me think more in terms of the latter.  It's good to be prepared just in case and be watchful for signs that things are about to change dramatically.  Mainly, I mean the economy but any kind of oppressive change.  Mostly, I pray but I am watching.  My husband is feeling the burden to prepare.  Though he hasn't yet. 

I have been praying for grace this Lent to die to myself in ways that are hurting me and even my relationship with the Lord.  I need to lose weight - about 80 lbs , not for vanity sake but so I can be healthier especially for when I get pregnant again.  I do not want to deal with gestational diabetes and see ill effects in my baby.  With the Lord's help, I can do it.  Plus He wants me to let go of habits that contribute to the problem.  So far this Lent, it has been different for me.  I feel His help.  The time is now and I want to do it for Him not just for me or anyone else.