Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dear Mom of Many

Dear Mom of Many (and all the rest of us moms too),

Maybe today you're wondering as you fish for a pair of shoes under the bed or find a clean shirt for Mass, whether this, all of this, is worth it. 

Maybe someone is screaming while someone else loudly proclaims their dislike of *insert dish they liked yesterday*. 

Maybe it's been a really hard day and you'd just like someone to tell you that what you're doing is amazing. 

You are. It is. Even when it feels more like a practice in repetitive motion than a vocation, it matters. 

I am not a mom of many. But I have one. My parents raised nine of us. 

I am telling you as you find a clean pair of socks for a toddler from the unmatched sock bin that what you are doing today is awesome. 

Even if it doesn't feel big, know that these little building blocks are creating the foothold for your children. 

Today, all nine of my siblings will be in the same place together. We will be celebrating 40 years of marriage for my parents. 

And we come together with great joy in seeing each other. The height of our joy is found in each other, in being together. 

We were children who picked at each other, called names, and the like. Constantly. But, through it all, we were told, fight the world if you must, but God gave you these siblings, love them. 

The message took years to sink in, and it permeates deeper every year. Love these people. They are the bearers of a shared childhood, a shared history, a common understanding. 

So, we love each other, differences, faults and all. 

The years were hard and long, filled with sacrifices (some by us, most by our parents). But, now, we all stand as adults, coming together to celebrate our parents.  We are doing so excited to embrace each other, to be together, to celebrate together. 

Mom stopped matching socks after number 7, a pretty fair concession to the craziness of the days. 

But to you, still struggling in the moment, I just want to say, hang in there, hold on. It's can be great now, but it's going to get even better.  

And from one of those kids, I just want to say. Thank you for loving through the monotony of laundry and dishes. Thank you for loving through your openness to life. 

Thank you for giving the best gift possible, a sibling to love. 


The cranky teen who complained loudly when they broke my stuff but who wouldn't trade any of them now. 

Happy 40th anniversary Mom and Dad. Thanks for the 8 greatest gifts I could ever have. 

My girls, loving each other now, and hopefully even more in the years to come.  Prayers for our infertility struggles are always very appreciated. God bless you and your families. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

{TT} Prepare


Good Friday morning!  Playing along with Clan Donaldson.  A day late on my Theme Thursday, ironically enough, it's about preparation.

This time of year is all about preparing.

I've been working on handmade Christmas presents feverishly.  I'm trying to get the bulk of Christmas shopping done before Advent so we can relax and really focus on the actual reason for the season.

My look at Prepare:  a Christmas project nearly finished.

Other ways I'm preparing this year include participating in a Jesse Tree Ornament Swap.

I made Esther's tiara and am looking forward to the designs of others that should be showing up on my doorstep soon!

Another big thing we are preparing for right now is (one of) my little sister's wedding.  One daughter is a jr bridesmaid, the other is the flowergirl.

We've been practicing her wedding hair (and paying for it in candy).

And glittering shoes (a very fun new project!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Defense Rests

I saw a post floating around Facebook in support and recognition of mamas who have needed a c-section.  The post spoke to the censure that decision can have....and about how we should stop apologizing for a medically necessary surgery.  Because sometimes, it is necessary.

But rather than embarking further into the controversy of birth, it got me thinking about choices we all need to make from time to time that are outside what might be popular.  Pretty much any parenting decision has a counterpoint that holds the opposing view with fervor.

It got me thinking about my tendency to hedge such choices and even apologize for them.  To apologize for non-choices as well.  But you know what?  The world hasn't earned an apology from me.  It hasn't earned one from you either.  Do God's will and you'll find the world would like many, many apologies.  But reading that post, it just struck me how much of myself I directly or indirectly apologize for or hide for the comfort of others.

I'm done....or at least working towards done....apologizing. 

I homeschool, I let my tots cry it out, I had a c-section, then an induced VBAC.  I only have two kids, and they're pretty great.  I've spent eight years of my life trying to conceive, and some days I feel super done with ever timing my life around that endeavor again.  That is, until I read this from Dwija and then I feel like maybe, just maybe I can hold on a little longer. 

My decisions are different than anyone else's.  That's really as it should be, seeing as how God made me to be me.  But still, the struggles I face make me feel like apologizing over and over again.  When I show up with two kids at a Catholic homeschool event and another mom is talking about being exhausted by the constant stream of children they've been blessed with?  What did you say?  I was watching my 9 y/o help the 2 y/o while I sit here feeling guilty that life isn't harder. 

But my life is different hard.  As a friend with a similar struggle pointed out after mass the other day.  We walk with a more hidden cross.  It isn't the exhaustion and overwhelmed weight of that mama carting six kids to seven locations, it's quieter.  It's having no one to nurse where I feel the weight of my cross.  It's my oldest having no close-in-age siblings where I feel the weight.  It's knowing that my 2 y/o is likely my last where I feel the weight.  And it is weighty.  The guilt I feel for not bearing the same burdens as everyone around me is crippling when I add it to the weight of my already heavy cross.  Because that weight isn't supposed to be there.

I need to stop the defense, put down the weight of guilt.  It wasn't meant for me to have the burden you carry. 

A lifelong defense has been my weight, how I look.  I am reticent to post full-body shots very often, and even in that, it's an inward apology of how I look.  Since contemplating this defense, I've mindfully posted full head-to-toe shots the last two weeks Sunday. 

I am even working to take greater care and joy in my "look".

You know what, I've worked hard to look like this.  I'm not entirely happy with what I see in the mirror, but I know what that image has done, what it is capable of.  I regularly rise before dawn to do strength training, I reluctantly avoid carbs, I jog 5Ks.  All for the sake of losing weight.  Some of that focus is to feel better about me (although knowing the kind of intense workout I'm capable of makes me much less inclined to apologize for how I look), some of that is because I'm 17 lbs above the magic number on the scale that every time I have achieved, I've gotten pregnant.

I've worked hard to make the scale budge, but I'm letting go of the constant apology I feel I need to give for it not moving.  I don't want to be the role model of apology and self-recrimination to my daughters. 

Little by little, I'm going to work on letting the defense rest.  Because being defensive is exhausting, and I need no apology.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Short and quick! What I wore Sunday:

Scarf: Charlotte Russe 
Blazer: Sam's Club (for real)
Pants: gifted
Shoes: Rose Gold Toms (zulily ftw)

Hair accessory: Lilla Rose clip 

Check out more at Fine Linen and Purple!