Smile-makers of the Moment

I feel like things have been a little (unintentionally!) dreary and serious on here lately. So, let’s start a new recurring list of things that currently brighten my days!

  1. Lemongrass + Bergamot diffuser blend

    eos.jpgI am in LOVE with the smell of Lemongrass lately. It feels so fresh and summery and uplifting. Definitely a keeper! (Also, I feel a longer post on how much I love EOs coming soon!)

  2. My Mother’s Day necklace

    necklace.jpgI already mentioned this necklace once but it is worth another visit. Yes, I did send the EXACT thing I wanted to my husband but he still pulled it off. All of Rakstar Designs things are so pretty and high on my “remember you must not buy all things at one time” list. You can find the Etsy shop here.

  3. Netflix’s Evil Genius

    We’ve already binged the whole thing, but I could watch it again and again. Yes, the main thrust behind pushing play was that we are Erie residents (though this particular event happened before I moved to Erie) it really does suck you in. The documentary is really well made but can be a little much at points (no one needs to actually see the collar bomb detonate, movie makers)  And being able to spot familiar places on something “famous” is always a plus.

  4. These sandals

    Sanrah Wedge SandalYes, they are Crocs. Yes, they are pretty much glorified flip flops, but for this pregnant swollen-footed Momma, they are currently a saving grace. Just dressy enough to wear to work and comfortable enough to endure the entire day. I can guarantee I will get my moment out of these babies.

  5. Mango Bubly

    I love sparkling water. And, I definitely loved it before it was cool #hipster. I used to only go for the generic unflavored cans from the grocery store until I discovered a couple flavors of La Croix that weren’t too sweet, mango being one of them. I picked up a case of Bubly due to the lower price this week and was pleasantly surprised by the taste. Bubbles, here I come!

  6. Made for This: The Catholic Mom’s Guide to Birth

    I am going pretty slow and steady on this book since I’m STILL supposed to be working on my thesis (like, at this very moment, I should probably be writing), but I’m finding it to be so empowering. With Vivi, I definitely was a little scared of giving birth since I had never done it before. But, now that I’m a veteran, I like the idea of feeling more control and connected to the experience. And I’m definitely wanting to have a more intentionally spiritual experience with Gianna, but we shall see. Overall, it’s a great read and definitely helping me get ready for September.

  7. Bump Boxes

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    I’m a subscription box addict. I think I just really like 1) getting mail and 2) being surprised by what’s in that mail. I originally ordered this for my sister-in-law as a baby present but was then surprised with my own box by my mom a couple months later (Thanks, Causie!) I’ve received two so far and they are so fun! I’m currently loving the sonogram frame that came in my latest pack.

  8. This water bottle (hydration is key!)

         I’ve had this for a couple months and am still in love. It’s the perfect size to carry around all day and make sure baby and I are getting plenty of water. I also really wanted a glass water bottle to escape those nasty plastic bottles I’ve been dragging around for a while and so I could also add some yummy oils to my water (lemon water is my non-bubbly jam)

  9. Guilty pleasure Youtube videos

    I gave up Youtube for Lent this year and it was very eye-opening to discover how much time I spend on the site. In particular, I love makeup/lifestyle videos, which is so not me. But we have guilty pleasures for a reason, right?  In fact, I found myself missing Dani from Coffee Break with Dani while I was away (Happy 5th anniversary, btw!) So catching up with all my online video friends has been quite fun!

  10. Podcasts

    I couldn’t pick just one here. I love all of the podcasts that I currently subscribe to and am always looking for more. They are great to listen to while I work around the house or in my very quiet office. Current faves include The Catholic Feminist, Among the Lilies, and While You Were Folding…love me some strong Catholic ladies on the airwaves!

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I am a horrible person…an ongoing saga

This thought runs through my mind several times a day. Sometimes several times an hour. Most recently, I overheard a coworker talking about how wonderful her daughter, someone I know, is at being a working mother and reflecting deeply on her experiences and on and on and on. She is a proud mom, I get that. But my automatic response was 1)Insecurity 2)Inadequacy 3)Jealousy 4)Anger.  These are old friends who visit me often…and I hate them.

IIJA (I don’t feel like writing the words every time so let’s go with this) is something that pushes me in a hole that takes me forever to work my way out of and has so many triggers. My housemates, people from my past, my saint of a husband, work criticisms…really anything. I’m so susceptible to these enemy attacks.

And I know without a doubt that is exactly what it is: an Enemy attack. And, boy, is he good at it.

I haven’t figured out a good counter-attack yet. I’m trying my best to pray for those who trigger me and hold the spotlight of my anger. I’m trying my best to “keep my eyes on my own paper”. I’m trying my best to love myself as God loves me.

I’m trying. I’m usually failing. But, with the loving support of my family, I move forward and try again.

Pray for me as I pray for you.

Mother’s Day weekend 2018

I “millennial read” (ie saw the headline and read the first paragraph) of an article that claimed that the woman who founded Mother’s Day kind of regretted starting the day after all was said and done. I sympathize. This was my 3rd total Mother’s Day, 2nd with a baby outside the womb, and probably the best experience so far.

Last year, the tension in my marriage and family life was so high, I spent more of the day crying than smiling. My expectations this year, then, were super low.

And in all honesty, it wasn’t like I magically got everything I’ve ever dreamed of this year, but something felt different, felt better. We were in a better place as a family definitely, but I think, more than that, I was in a different place spiritually.

I’m trying to be open and trusting right now in my life and it is the one of the hardest tasks I’ve ever taken on. To be honest, I’m failing more than I’m flying. Closing my true self off to the world has apparently been my MO for a while. Old habits die hard.

But, as the wonderful gifts my hubby (and my girls) got for me indicate, though I still need a lot of interior work, I have some awesome guides to lean on along the way.

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Day-to day-mothering isn’t easy. Life isn’t easy. But, boy, it’s worth it, even just to see my (almost!) two-year-old pretending to be a duck at a spontaneous zoo trip or the simple Mass and brunch as a family that started our Sunday.

I am truly blessed.

 

I think the Devil lives in my shower

There are many people and things (we just caught a mouse not long ago…yuck) that live in my house. Most of them I love. Most of them are harmless and I can deal with reasonably well. But not the one that lives in my shower.

Admittedly, I don’t clean my shower as often as I should. Any sort of cleaning that happens in the bathroom usually falls at the end of my to do list out of sheer distaste for the chore.But it isn’t the filth that accumulates on the walls and floor of the shower that gets to me. It’s the Devil that lives there.

It happens every time. Armed with spray bottles, brushes, paper towels and the thought that we cannot possibly go one more day with the shower in the state that it is in, I prepare for battle. Without fail, I get frustrated. (*spray, spray*)And angry. (*scrub,scrub,scrub*)And mean.(*SCRUB, SCRUB, SCRUB*)  I tell myself that no one else cares about the state of the house. I’m the only one who ever does anything.(*VIOLENT OUTBURST OF THROWING DIRTY PAPER TOWELS*) Every person in my life is ungrateful. I have long, drawn-out fights with my husband, who isn’t even in the house. I turn into an ugly, utterly selfish and inconsolable brat.

The feeling lasts for a while. I marvel at how beautiful our shower can actually be normally while forcing back tears of anger. I put away my cleaning supplies and find something else wrong with the house to be angry about. Eventually, my anger turns into sadness and despair and I can only focus on the negative parts of each day and of myself. Flaws abound and I convince my self of my utter worthlessness. I have the very bad habit of letting these, among other, moods force me into a black hole that takes me a while to climb out of on my own.

I hate the person that this ritual turns me into but I still haven’t found a way to avoid it besides actually letting the shower fall to pieces.

I cleaned our shower yesterday. I’m just now finding myself starting to  come out of the hole.

Lord, have mercy.

 

Summer List

I think in lists. I write in lists. My “bullet journal” is really just a book of lists…but at least they are all in one place!

So, my latest list obsession is planning what this summer will look like because it’s the last one as a family of three. Consider it part nesting/ part focusing:

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Make ALL the freezer meals!– Baby Girl will be here before we know it and, if my first baby taught me anything, it is that I won’t even be able to think about meals after the new bundle of joy. We were very blessed the first time around to have friends supply us with dinners for awhile and I was majorly craving Smith’s hot dogs, which was an easy fix, but this time I want a fully stocked freezer and lots of easy go-to food all around. (Hello and welcome back, nursing Momma appetite!)

Move/Decorate/Prepare both the girls’ new rooms– Vivi will be moving to make way for Baby Gia and the nursery will be switching rooms as well due to the strange configuration of the upstairs of our house. To prevent this from being a daunting, annoying task, I’ve taken to Pinterest to plan and design the cutest rooms for my daughters. Yes, a lot of the actual work will fall on my hubby but trying to make it as fun as possible for everyone is my mission.

Write– Lots of writing needs to happen, and it won’t all be fun. My thesis has been an ongoing “monkey on my back” for the past year and I just need to get it DONE before the lack of sleep and brain power disappears. But, to balance, I want to blog more and maybe start actually banging out one of the books that are floating around in my head.

Read– This goes hand in hand with writing. Yes, for a while it will be more articles than books, but I have a growing list (and pile!) of non-school books that are calling my name. Female Catholic writers have been on fire with putting books out lately and I’m going to devour them all!

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Current read…so good!

Home-ify the house– We have been in our house for 4 years this upcoming July, but it still looks pretty much like the house we bought back then. Partly because we have been pretty busy these past couple year, partly because we have had our home open to our housemates (we will be down to only 1 this year!) and partly because I’m lazy and don’t really have an eye for decor. But I’m ready to change that (again, probably nesting hormones at work!) My mind has big plans for gallery walls, well taken care of flowers beds, freshly painted walls and really just making this place more “us”. Stay tuned to see what happens!

Family fun (planned and unplanned)– Vivi is at the age where she loves and INSISTS on being outside whenever possible. And, in all honesty, she’s a pretty fun kid to be around. I’m excited for using our Zoo membership, trips to the beach and parks, longs walks and really just being around my favorite people in the whole world, including a mini-babymoon for Matt and I will Viv spends some time with cousins and grandparents.

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The wild dogs are a MUST SEE for this little cutie at the zoo.

 

I think summer really brings out the best in me. The freedom, even if it is just perceived, brings joy to my soul. Maybe because I”m a July baby ( PS #30 is happening is year…eeee!) or maybe because I need the sunlight and warmer temps, but summer always feels light and full of possibilities. I’m ready, summer 2018, let’s do this!

Hey, look! A weekend happened…

…and I didn’t write. So surprising.

But, I didn’t write because it was a full weekend. And, I should have written because it was a full weekend. The irony is not lost on me.

First things first, my husband is a saint. I am fully unshaken in my belief of this. He handles everything with an ease and grace I will never attain. From my fender bender Thursday evening after a long day of work to reminding me Saturday that we are truly blessed in our lives, no matter what my ultra-comparative, anxious, extremely selfish brain tells me, he is the best thing that God has allowed in my life. And I am truly grateful for him each and every day.

Second, with my schedule slowing down for the summer, I finally feel like I can fully live my vocation and I have missed that this year. There are main things that keep me from being the best wife and mother I can, some of them real, a good deal of them in my head. But with the warm sunshine and open Sunday afternoons, a lot of those things fade away and I feel the joy again, especially in the mundane tasks that I have to rush through during the academic year. I put more love and care into my tasks and my heart is lighter.

All in all, the weekend was fantastic even if I would have never chosen it for myself. Praise be to God.

I smell the smoke

I’m not burnout. At least, I don’t think I am…yet. But I can smell the smoke. The burnout is on the horizon. And me, being the sad little candle I am, I’m giving it everything I can until the flame disappears.

Today, I’m probably feeling this way mainly because I woke up feeling like I was a million degrees every hour last night. Heat waves don’t mix with pregnancy hormones and sleep loss makes me an extremely grumpy person.

Also, I came back from a not horrible, but also not what I wanted to hear thesis meeting.

And my work day today will be at least 12 hours, meaning I won’t be home before bedtime.

And I feel like a pregnant whale.

And I’m tired…did I mention tired?

The plan? I’m going to go to Confession in between errands tonight to try to build up some wax. I’m going to try to take the rest of the day moment by moment. I’m going to breathe. And, probably most importantly, I’m going to stop telling myself that I can’t do this and deserve an easier life because neither of those things are true nor are they helpful.

Oh, and I’m probably going to take a giant nap while Vivi naps tomorrow. Somehow, planning out future naps seems to talk me down from the ledge.

Sisters

(Side note: I have challenged myself to write everyday for the month of May. Prepare for many unrelated thought bubbles. Good luck and God speed.)

Sisters have been on my mind a lot lately. Ever since we found out a couple weeks ago that Durney baby #2 is a girl, I’ve been dreaming of the relationship she will have with her older sister.

I always wanted a sister. My mom’s Ob/Gyn told me I was getting a sister. I got a Nathan. To be fair, ultrasound technology was no where near what it is today back in 1991.

So, the idea of sisters and sisterhood escapes me and seems like a magical fairy land. Now, when I talk to actual sisters, I know this is not the case. Television sit-coms also re-enforce this. But it is still so foreign to me and therefore still magical.

I daydream about the matching outfits and tea parties and princess dance time.  Pink is everywhere and my girls love and like each other every moment of every day. Pregnancy hormones are great sometimes.

But while I daydream, I also brace myself for hair-pulling, poor clothes sharing and whining. Balance is key to life I suppose.

I’m still hopeful for my girls. I tell myself that I would be 400% better at female friendships if I had a sister. And, though I try not to live my life vicariously through my children, this is one part I’m excited for. Bring on the tiaras and makeup and slumber parties. This Momma is ready. (But pray for Dada…maybe he’ll get a boy next time)

It’s May

The weather is finally starting to tip the scales to warm. My crazy schedule is starting to lessen. One more week of Religious Education, one more college worship service. The end is in sight. The calm is in sight.

I still don’t know what I want this blog to be. But I do know that I want it to represent me in an authentic way. And I absolutely know that means random, scattered, half-thought-out ramblings. It is not the well crafted dream I have in my head…that’s me trying to be someone and something I’m not. So, I choose now to accept that and move forward in the most authentic and honest way I can.

And, it’s May today. Welcome, new month of possibilities. I greet you and I look forward to what you bring. And I hope you are kind to me because, after the year I’ve had, you feel like the calm and peaceful reward I’ve been working toward.

Let’s have May be a reset button. Let’s get down to the important things. Let’s have faith and trust in the plan. Let’s just be.

I’m actually NOT doing it all

People ask me that a lot. “How do you do all of that!?” They are being kind or nosy or are genuinely curious whether or not I can bilocate (I can’t…sad but true).

And I get it. From the outside, my season of life right now does bring on those questions. Three jobs. Finishing my degree. Pregnant. Toddler at home. Believe me, it makes my head spin too.

But, I’m going to let you in on a little secret…it’s not me.

I gave a talk at my parish during Lent about my experiences in ministry. I like leaving people with small succinct takeaways during my rambling, so my first point of interest during that talk was this: I am desperately, desperately, DESPERATELY in need of a Savior…and that Savior is not me.

It sounds obvious, and it is, but, do you want to know the other secret? I forget this ALL the time.

And then I try to do it all. The results of this type of work are frustration, exhaustion and hopelessness. The biggest reason this happens is, that when I try to do everything all by myself, I try to become a person I’m not. I’ve had a whole lot of practice trying to be someone I’m not and I fall into this hole all the time. And I dwell there. I, with help from the Enemy, fill my head with the lies that I’m not good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or (insert adjective of your choice here) enough.

That hole is not where I’m called to live. When I remember my real calling and surrender the work that I have been given back to the One who entrusted it to me, that’s when the pieces fall perfectly into place. The work day flies by with high levels of productivity and family time increases in both quantity and quality. My peace is found again.

When I re-calibrate my perspective to remember who is really in control, I also remember that I am incredibly blessed by all of the above. Jesus has entrusted many people and tasks to my care so that I can be the little pencil in the hand of God. (Momma T shout out!) I am privileged and humbled to share in this work of building the kingdom.

So, the newest plan I have to remember who I am, whose I am and who I work for is to take a cue from Momma Mary and constantly turn it all back to my loving and merciful God:

And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age
to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant,
remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
(Luke 1: 46-55)

PS We go to the doctor to see Baby Won 2 and find out his/her gender today! Prayers are welcome!