Birthday Tears

The day the boy was born I didn’t cry.  I had been an emotional wreck the entire pregnancy and this lack of tears surprised and worried me.  Honestly, after a short, intense labor I was so tired and happy to be done with it all crying was the last thing on my mind.  I had seen too many reality TV shows where the moms cry with joy when their child was born.  I thought that maybe something was wrong with me.  I was the woman who nearly had an emotional breakdown in the bottle aisle of Target trying to select “the right” bottle, so where was my emotion for my child.

Apparently I was saving those tears.  I didn’t cry on his birthday, but I have every Birthday since.  The first few years it was tears of thankfulness that I was his mom and the overwhelming responsibility of that.  The last 5 years it has been that the gap is getting bigger and he will never have a sibling to hang out with and be buddies with.  IF… he ever has a sibling at all.  A few years ago we were moving and we didn’t throw a party for his birthday because we were selling our house.  It was just a low key family celebration.   After that I stopped throwing big parties… partly so he isn’t spoiled but also because I am so sad on his birthday because of what we are all missing out on.

Garden – August 2015

The garden is doing okay.  We had a LOT of rain this summer.    In July I picked many green beans.  The plants looked horrible with holes all through the leaves, but I did pick a lot of beans.   Right now I am waiting for tomatoes to ripen.  The marigolds I planted to repel pests are trying to take over.  The zinnias are from a seed packet I received at a friends wedding last summer. All of the cucumber, pumpkin, and zucchini were decimated by squash vine borers.  I was so disappointed since I love to be drowning in zucchini since it is a perfect excuse to make zucchini bread and mock apple pie.

garden aug2015

To the left is the “big bed” where attempt 2 with the squash is, the rest is a mix of peppers, tomatoes, carrots and marigolds. The middle bed is blackberries and pole beans. As well as carrots and broccoli. The small bed in the center is raspberry bushes .

garden july 2015 zenniaaug2015

I did plant some more squash as a last ditch effort to get some zucchini since the vine borers should be done for the season(hopefully).

zuch august2015

I need to figure out what to do with the blackberry bush it has quadrupled in size this summer.  They were sad clearance plants I bought for $2 a container.   I have planted carrots and broccoli once I gave up on the pumpkins so hopefully we will have some fall broccoli.   I may put some peas in again, they grew so well and so quickly.

I am just waiting for tomatoes to slowly ripen.  My favorite has been the Cherokee Purple.  I don’t like raw tomatoes, or at least I thought I didn’t but those are really good.  They haven’t produced many and the squirrels have tasted a few too.   My mother in law is sending tomatoes over at an alarming rate and I have been making marinara sauce to freeze.

Something more….

It has been a busy few months.   The end of the school year, the fair at church, a quick trip to Hilton Head and then CatholicHeart Work Camp.  I am tired.  The crazy thing is in just a few weeks youth group will start up again and fundraising for next year begins.   Didn’t we just get back!!!!

Camp was, as always, an incredible experience.  The first year I went it was so overwhelming, and was really hard to put the kids first when I was uncomfortable and stressed out.  Each year it gets easier.  This was my first year planning all of the transportation for the trip and it all worked out in the end.  We had a great trip and there were some very touching moments.  For some of our group they had a significant experience in embracing their faith and becoming more comfortable being Catholic.  Our priest was able to come down one evening and see the kids in action and help out with reconciliation.  He was able to stay for our group time that evening which was great for both him to hear what the kids were doing and experiencing and for the youth to see his support of them as well.

Even as great as experiences like that are, even for myself as an adult, I find myself wanting something more.  I don’t know what that is exactly.  I feel like I need a retreat or something to re-focus me since I feel so tired.  Not tired in the physical sense but just worn out.  Life seems to keep me busy.

Growing up I never remember going anywhere in the evenings.  I never remember my parents going anywhere either, except Dad would go to Knights of Columbus meetings.  Now we are SO busy and have been for years with meetings and B has class.  I’ve not volunteered for anything new so I am not sure why it seems to overwhelming right now.  Am I too busy?  This week I had a meeting Sunday, a group from church got together tonight, I have a fundraiser meeting tomorrow night, Friday my family is coming to visit and Saturday is a long awaited date night 🙂     I don’t know how to pull back on these commitments though.


I love spring.  There is so much hope and promise and energy in the air.  Tonight the air in the backyard smelled lovely.  Trees are blooming and the peonies finally opened and were beautiful, but the showy blooms are always so short lived.

The garden is taking shape.  Peas and broccoli are up as well as spinach.  The lettuce is taking over.    I planted tomatoes, peppers, basil, rosemary, beans and carrots.  I get a little overzealous.  We found blackberry and raspberry bushes on clearance and added beds for them as well.  I still need to plant more beans as well as squash (summer and winter), pumpkin, cucumbers and cantaloupe.    Looking at the list, that seems to be quite a bit of plants.  I never know what is going to work and what isn’t.  I don’t expect every plant to produce much, especially after last summer’s failures at gardening.  What I do enjoy is when it actually works….seeing seeds + sun + water = food for my family to eat.  We enjoyed our first salads from the garden this weekend.

I don’t know if it is spring and new life everywhere but I am really struggling this month.  Mother’s day was hard.  I just expected by this point, 5 years after we decided to try for another baby, we would have more.  Part of it is X is growing up, and it is breaking my heart, but it probably would anyway.  I can’t know how I would feel if he had a sibling to take half of my attention away.  Spending time around my niece this weekend was really, really hard.  She is nearly two!!!

The sad thing is nothing has changed.  I still can’t seem to loose any weight and I am stuck in the same place and I have been for the last 5 years.  With no better chance of having another baby.  I am seriously considering giving away all of the baby stuff as I come to terms with the fact we may only have one child after all.

My prayer life has been severely lacking lately.  I am just so ticked off that things aren’t working out the way I wanted or expected them to.  I know that is it  stupid to think like that, but I almost can’t help myself.

Today I am drowning.

I never know when it is going to hit or how bad it is going to be.  That familiar ache has been with me a lot lately.  B pulled out a shirt that he hasn’t been able to fit into for a while and he remembered it was the shirt he wore at the hospital when I had our son.   So the ache has been there all week anyway.  We have been enjoying a nice spring break.  X lost his first tooth, visited his 7th state and he could read the menu when we went out to dinner on Sunday night.  I love that he is growing but it makes me so sad that he is missing out on a sibling.

I thought I was fine.  We have a plan.  I am trying to accept whatever God’s will is.  I wonder how long it will take for the ache to go away.   I think maybe it is getting easier, maybe I am coming to terms with things as they are.

Then tonight I am at the grocery store, I managed to not buy all the cute and fantastic things I wanted to buy.  I was ready to check out and then the only lane without a crowd and I am behind a cart with a car seat in it with the tiniest newborn baby girl.  So tiny and perfect with a yellow bow on the dark fuzz of her head.  And the tears just started rolling down my face.  I couldn’t help it as the hot tears streamed down my cheeks as I checked out.  By the time I finally got into the car I was bawling.

Why do I want something SO much that I can’t have?  Why does this hurt so badly?  How can any good come of this?   I desperately want a baby and I desperately want X to have a sibling( or 3).   I have no idea if God’s answer is “NO” or “not right now”.  THAT fact drives me crazy!

I guess it is fitting as we walk through Holy Week that feeling so isolated and forgotten helps me have a glimpse of the Lord’s suffering.

Dear Teacher

Dear Teacher,

We think you are awesome.  We wish we could keep you through the 5th grade!  You do hard work.  27 first graders is a lot to handle.  2 hours at the winter party was enough to make me wonder how you don’t leave crying and willingly come back every day.

The thing we are tired of is the incessant list of websites to log on so my son can practice his skills at reading and math so he will be prepared for the MAP test.  We are tired of the guilt trips.   We are tired of him complaining that he doesn’t qualify for this reward or privilege because he hasn’t been on certain websites.

The thing is we severely limit screen time around here.   We aren’t hippies that hate TV.   We get home between 4 and 5pm most days which gives us only a few short hours to complete homework, reading, and study spelling words.    Plus we have dinner to cook and eat and take care of the bedtime routine.  We are not willing to sacrifice family time so you meet  scores on a standardized test.   We are not willing to sacrifice anymore of his childhood or make him give up his few precious minutes a day to be a kid and PLAY, his chance to go outside and breathe fresh air and run and wiggle and get dirty.   He is 6, there is plenty of time to study when he is older.


It is one of those Monday’s.  We had a really good weekend, but when Monday rolls around it all catches up with you.  The boy headed off to school in pants 2 inches to short that I would swear fit last week!  His room looks like he pulled every piece of clothing out of his closet to get dressed and  ours is not much better. Nearly  every dish in the kitchen seems to be dirty and there are bags and boxes everywhere.   The main reason for this chaos, apart from laziness, was this weekend was the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner at church.  It is a fundraiser for our youth group.  This year I was the one doing all of the cooking.  The event took a lot of stress, a lot of work and a WHOLE lot of prayer.  It was successful and I managed to cook some pretty delicious food for 80 people!  It was awesome to see our parish come together to support our youth group and everyone had a great time.    My feet hurt, but my heart was happy by the end of the night.

A tiny parenting win

I am amazed at how quickly our son is growing up. Though like any parent we have our struggles.   Our evening routine has been a serious struggle for years for various reasons. There would be threats and yelling and tears. Sometimes EVERY.SINGLE NIGHT.   Almost always on nights when B was away at a meeting or in class.

Now I am slow to catch on to this idea, but he is our only ( L) kiddo and we tend to think he is not as capable as he is of doing things on his own. Or more likely I get too impatient and it is faster if I do it myself. Yeah not really teaching him anything that way am I?

So a few weeks ago he was complaining he never got to watch TV. We severely limit screen time. (though there are no rules at Mamaw’s house no wonder he likes it there so much!). We told him he was welcome to get up in the morning and watch TV before we left for school if he woke up early AND was completely dressed before the TV came on.   So far it has made mornings much easier since he has an incentive to wake up on his own. He has been wearing his school clothes to bed “cause it’s faster” and I’m fine with that. We did have to adjust the rules a bit and say he can only watch PBS and the TV goes off at 7am because those last 10 minutes before we leave the house are a little nuts if he is distracted.

The other change we made was I showed X how to start the shower and adjust the temperature. So instead of the 20+ minute battles over bath time I just tell him to take a shower.   He still asks me to check the water temperature and still runs around the house without clothes too much….BUT no fighting, no yelling. He can do it all himself and that little bit of independence has made him so proud and mostly cooperative.

Finding Balance

The last month was the most balanced time I have had.   It was busy and I seemed to run all over town, but this Advent passed by peacefully, even with all the crazy of this time of year.   I was so happy one Friday realizing that the week was so balanced and I started thinking about what was I doing that made the difference.

– Prayer.  I have been praying everyday.   I went to adoration 3 times in one week.   We are fortunate that the cathedral here has a perpetual adoration chapel and when I found myself with some spare time before and after meetings I was able to pop into the chapel in addition to my regularly scheduled hour at our parish.

-I went to Mass.  Every week during advent I made it to at least one week day Mass.  It helped focus me, calm me and remind me where the center of my life should be.

-Taking it easy in the kitchen.  We have had more hodge-podge meals while I prepared for the holidays.  Everyone was fed, it might have been weird, but I gave myself some grace and didn’t stress if we didn’t have a “real meal.”

Working part time has given me the opportunity to fit all of this extra in. It has been a huge blessing.  My mother-in law was able to spend so much time with her sister this fall.  We didn’t realize she had so little time left.  She passed away on the 18th.  I am just happy we were able to give her the opportunity to be home with her sister when she wanted to be and she did not have to worry with helping us out with watching the boy.

Now that I have had a taste of balance I am not sure how to go back to the way things were before.  I don’t think we can financially sustain me working part time much past the summer. Everything has worked out so far, I just need to keep trusting that it will continue to work out.

A heart full of gratitude.

Christmas Tree 2014

Christmas Tree 2014

I am curled up on the couch next to the christmas tree on this lazy Tuesday morning.  I’m cozy in a hoodie and leggings ( seriously why didn’t I know about leggings before now!!!!)   and I am grateful for the time off – 2 weeks of it.  I can hear B and the boy downstairs playing with nerf guns and the washer and dryer humming along.  Christmas gifts are wrapped.    We traveled over the weekend and celebrated Christmas early with my family.  We have never been home before 5pm on Christmas Eve, so to have the whole day here tomorrow seems like such a luxury.  I will spend the day prepping and baking for Christmas dinner, because after midnight Mass it will be a SLOW morning on Christmas Day.

Today is a good day.  Snuggles and giggles with the boy, time to pray, a leisurely breakfast and no need to leave the house.  Sure, I could run to the grocery for a few last minute things, but they aren’t necessities.  We can get by without those last minute additions to my list.

I am grateful for today.  I am not stressing about the things we don’t have or the uncertainties of the future because right now things are good.