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.
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 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:
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!
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.
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!
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.
(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)
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!
I had high hopes for this ticket. I planned it out in my head. The debts we would pay. The remodeling we would do. The jobs I would quit. Oh, well…there’s always Saturday.
I’ve been reading a lot more blogs lately. Well, I’m really just binge-reading one and now I have formed an entire friendship in my mind between myself and this woman. We’re very similar, I’m sure she would like me very quickly. But between that and hopes of a million dollar winner, I keep getting lost in a dream world.
With baby #2 growing more and more every day, my husband and I were faced with the challenge of adjusting what childcare looks like for our family in the upcoming months. One of the options is more time at home for me. The thoughts of a smaller paycheck is terrifying, but even the small amount of time I’ll be able to spend at home with my kids is so exciting. I dream of being a stay-at-home mom almost every day. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m overworked (3 jobs and ever so slowly finishing my Master’s degree) or because I’m lazy (not having to get dressed for work every morning sounds like a dream), but being at home is all I can think about lately. And I’m having a really hard time figuring out if that’s because of me or if God is truly putting it on my heart that this is something to consider. We have longs talks about this, but He never just comes out and says anything. Typical.
All of this to say, I want to blog more. I want to reflect more. I want to pray more. I want to share more and find my voice. I want to find my place. I want to be known and loved. I want to be more intentional with my time and my thoughts.
Lent is calling me to something new, I can feel that…I just need to figure it out and maybe putting words to (digital) paper is one of those things.
That’s a lot of what it feels like lately. No thriving here. Day by day, moment by moment, I am getting through. A large portion of it is lack of sleep, for sure. Another part, though, I think is feeling disconnected from who I was and who I thought I would be. The cliched phrase is something along the lines of God laughing at our plans and, while I love keeping God jolly, I kind of wish He’d let me in on the joke every once and a while.
And, unfortunately but not unpredictably, right now the focus of my “I wishes” is revolving around my physical appearance. Still got the baby tummy, still got the stretch marks, still not the gorgeous, twig who can confidently do anything she wants and has a perfect heart of gold. And, like most bad feelings I find myself in, I don’t shake them away easily. I’m defining myself by the way others define me and/or how I look at any given moment. Not the precious child of God who has a unique place in this world. Thank goodness I have a baby girl, who is thankfully the spitting image of her daddy, to distract from the fact that I don’t love myself the way that I should because of some ill-conceived notions in my head. So, I’ll love her, and her daddy, the very best that I can and hope that along the way, I will learn to use some of that unconditional love on myself as well.
Today is Vivi’s first day at the babysitter’s house. *Pause for highly emotional moment*
And, besides the constant feeling of wanting to go and pick her up which began at 8am, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed, and let’s face it exhausted. I thought that things were crazy when I was the only one who needed to leave for the day but, unsurprisingly, getting three people up and out the door in the morning is 3x the crazy. So, all day long I’ve been brainstorming ways to take control before I lose my sanity completely.
My newest project, which I’m still madly in love with (check back in 3 months), is bullet journaling. Now, I am a master of making 17+ to do lists with overlapping items and losing at least 4 of them in the Bermuda triangle, so the thought of having everything together in one place was super appealing. But I actually think that what drew me to this the most was all of the pretty Instagram posts of intricate gorgeous page layouts…so really I’m just hoping at some point my handwriting will magically correct itself into art. The ability for me to use this technique to marry the practical with the creative is (hopefully) what will keep me committed to this new highly organized lifestyle. Well, that and the adorable 2 month old who will only require me to work even harder to stay a step ahead (or at the very least caught up) with her ever-changing world.
I fear I only turn to writing when I’m hurting…or trying to prove myself. I want it to be more than that. I want to write (or paint or say or sing or…) something that matters. Something that makes the world better, even if that betterment is just in encouraging myself. I want to remember that this blog exists and do so more than every few (ok, many) months.
Especially now with this little one around, I want to be and do better in every aspect of life, including this digital account of my life which no one may ever read. Challenge accepted.
Ok, the writing (again) has gone off the deep end…but I want to keep trying! I have been writing daily in my prayer journal, which has been super good for me and even if this venture falls through, I hope to keep up with that one…for one thing my little journal I found at Target is SUPER ADORABLE!
Anyway, as you may have guess, a lot has happened since September. And at the forefront of everything is my beautiful, dancing little baby who is scheduled to be welcomed to the world in June 2016. (I hope that’s a good enough reason to have fallen off the blog world!) Our little Wonton (or Won, as we affectionately called him/her) has certainly taken up a lot of my focus and already rocked our world. Whether it be the 3 months of morning sickness, additional doctor appointments or the STRICT budgeting that’s happening, Baby is #1 these days.
And that long introduction to this post leads me to this, finances have been on our hearts and minds a lot lately because they seem to tighten every day. So, Momma has taken to couponing and searching out ways to decrease our spending as much as possible, including looking for as many freebies as possible.
Enter Influenster. I heard about this site via a YouTube channel I subscribe too and instantly fell in love! They send out boxes of products to be sampled and reviewed for free! I love this for 2 reasons: a)free (duh!) and b) I honestly think the customer review process is super helpful both as a reviewer and customer. Especially with the baby products we’ve been researching non-stop, hearing what other people have to say is uber helpful.
Long story short, my first Influenster VoxBox was a super hit, especially the shampoo and conditioner (from a brand I already love!) bath salts (which go great in my jetted tub) and #SnackWayBetter chips (this Baby is always hungry). I highly recommend this site and hope you will check it out, whoever you are reading this very boring and very inconsistent blog 🙂 Sign up here: https://www.influenster.com/
PS I now plan to use this blog as both reflection space and review space…hopefully a good mixture will happen!