Essential Worker Husband, You’re My Hero

When your car pulls into the driveway after work your little fan club gathers at the windowsill, shouting & squishing their round faces into the pane of glass. They wave eagerly when they see you climbing the porch stairs, & jump for joy if they spot the occasional surprise treat in your hand. You open the door slowly, since the dog is always barking happily, wagging her tail at record speed as you attempt to come inside.

You barely squeeze through before the kids take their running leaps into the stronghold of your arms. They giggle & squeal as you lift them up high for big bear hugs. Even our big kid can’t wait to tell you about her latest drawing or video game obsession.

Yeah you’re their hero. & you’re mine too.

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Catholic Books for Younger Kids: 7 favorites on our bookshelf right now!

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As parents we know that reading with our kids is important & research has shown that even the youngest children benefit from listening to their parents reading out loud. Not only does it aid brain development & refine language skills, it also introduces important concepts to kids in an age appropriate way. I am always looking for ways to incorporate spirituality into our daily routine & faith-based books for younger kids are a great way to do just that!

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up & Easter just around the corner these seasonal picks are perfect companions for chocolate coins & Easter baskets. Without further ado, here are 7 favorite reads on our bookshelf right now (& links to get them on yours too!)

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See Yourself Through The Eyes of Love

Sunday morning I bundled up the kids & headed to Mass solo while my husband worked his 8th day in a row. I asked my oldest to help me wrangle the littles & prayed that things would go smoothly. Mass has been an exercise in humility lately trying to keep my 18 month old boy from bouncing out of the pews & not having my husband there as usual meant I was on my own this time.

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Love Nudge For Couples App: 5 Love Languages Review & Giveaway!

PSA: Valentine’s Day is almost here! While it’s true that you don’t need an occasion to show to show you care celebrating Valentine’s Day is a good excuse for a romantic gesture. You may be making plans to help your sweetie feel extra special but, how can you be sure that you’re showing affection in the way that means the most to your mate?

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St. Joseph and the Blended Family

I was managing a small chiropractic office and the doctor I worked for was talented and nice but also eccentric and quite a talker! The only two employees in the small home based practice, we chatted all day between patients. With his kids running in and out, family was a common topic of conversation. At the time I was expecting my second daughter, the first child that my husband and I would share biologically.

One day during a lull while discussing my growing brood the doc asked, “So, how does your husband feel about the new baby on the way?” I smiled and responded that naturally, we’re both excited and a little nervous. “Our oldest is in 3rd grade already,” I said. “It’s like we’re starting over!” He laughed in sympathy, then said “This will be a whole new adventure for him though since this is his first child.”

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Our Multi-Generational Home

The family car was packed to the brim. 3 kids, 2 adults, and all the belongings we could stuff in what little space remained. I sat between my sister and my brother in his car seat and twisted myself around enough to look out of the back window. My heart felt heavy as I watched our childhood home shrink from view.

Not only were we leaving the only home I could remember, the comfort of our neighborhood, the backyard with the grapevines, and my best friends who lived down the street; but the home still held half of our household. It would be the first time I could remember that we would live with only our nuclear family.

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Finding Time With God

Yesterday was tough. Really tough. It was one of those days. You know the kind. Where it all seems to be falling apart and you can barely keep it together. Where you run on coffee and adrenaline. One of those days that you just don’t stop. I knew there was a lot to do that day and wanted it to start off with some quiet time with God.

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Pear Harvest Photos

Hello All,

I wanted to share some photos from harvesting our pear tree in the backyard the other day.

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It was a sunny and humid afternoon which made for hot work but we still had fun!
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My husband has been shooing the kids away from the pear tree all summer so they were happy to finally have the okay to pick the fruit!
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He sat in the shade on his boppy and a blanket most of the time. Next year, buddy!
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The tree had little spiders and bigger daddy long legs in it. One scared little Miss Muffet behind me and she was less interested in picking after that.
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Hope was enjoying the shade of the tree. She loves having the whole family outside at the same time.
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Going up to get the good ones! When a pear is ready to harvest it should come right off the branch without resistance. If it’s not yet mature it will try to hang on.
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After we harvested all of the pears I brought them inside, inspected them and washed and dried the good ones.
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I have bowls full of pears in various sizes in my kitchen now and I’m giving them away in bagfuls!
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Pears don’t ripen on the vine. They need to sit in room temperature for about a week to soften up. If you put them in a paper bag it speeds up this process. My family is planning to use them for pie and other recipes.

Do you have any recipe ideas for my pear crop? Let me know in the comments!

❤ Cait

My Team Green Experience

I was checking out at the convenience store I stop in for gas and snacks for the kids a few times a week. The cashier, a kind older woman smiled down at my rotund middle and asked how far along I was. “32 weeks!” I said with joyful exasperation. “What are you having?” she asked. […]

I was checking out at the convenience store I stop in for gas and snacks for the kids a few times a week. The cashier, a kind older woman smiled down at my rotund middle and asked how far along I was. “32 weeks!” I said with joyful exasperation. “What are you having?” she asked. “I’m not sure actually, we decided not to find out!” I replied. “Oh my goodness!” she exclaimed with a puzzled look, “That’s crazy! How will you know what color to paint the nursery?” I grabbed my items and smiled “We’ll find out soon enough!”

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Postpartum: Why Its More Than Just The First 6 Weeks

We’ve come home, bonded, and established nursing. We’re back to driving, cleaning and errands. When weeks begin to turn to months, especially at the 6 week point, the pressure is on to let go of our birth experiences and move on. We are expected to be completely healed and back to our daily grind full force. We’re cleared to exercise and should be focused on getting back into pre-pregnancy shape. People around us start checking in on us less and we put pressure on ourselves to be back to “normal”. This pressure is only stronger by our society’s obsession with post baby celebrities in their slinky dresses and Instagram models posing with their newborns in body shapers and full glam.

Yet, I don’t feel normal. I had a harder delivery and slower recovery this time and I don’t feel “over it”. I just got to a point where I’m almost totally pain free and besides the occasional stroll I haven’t started working out. The world may have forgotten but my body hasn’t as it continues to feel  the twinges of muscles repairing themselves from surgery, the ache of streams of milk, and my noticeably weaker knees. I’m still sporting my linea nigra , stretch marks and a fresh red scar. I still feel emotional about having a newborn. But I’ve reached the 6 week mark! I’m not “postpartum” anymore. Why don’t I have it back together by now?

When I was pregnant I used a week by week pregnancy tracker, asked my midwife a million questions and googled every little symptom. Yet up until today I had neglected to brush up on anything regarding the post-partum period beyond my c-section recovery.  This was not due to me thinking that I know it all by the third time around. I just got so wrapped up in the baby that I forgot all about checking in with myself.

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So what did I learn on my quest for knowledge? That the postpartum period doesn’t abruptly end at the 6 week mark, but consists of 3 distinct phases:

The Initial or Acute period- This is the first 6-12 hours after your baby is born where you’re potential for complications is higher and you’re monitored closely by the hospital or midwife.

The Sub-acute period- which last 2-6 weeks, when you are more stable but still recovering from delivery. This is what most people think of as “postpartum”.

The Delayed period- According to an article on The Journal of Prenatal Medicine website, this period can last up to 6 months! The article states:

“This is the time of restoration of muscle tone and connective tissue to the prepregnant state. Although change is subtle during this phase, it behooves caregivers to remember that a womanʼs body is nonetheless not fully restored to pre-pregnant physiology until about 6 months post-delivery.”

No wonder I don’t feel normal again yet, I’m not! The article goes on to say that in some ways we may never be back to our pre-pregnant state and certainly, our lives are changed by our little ones forever. Yet, once the baby comes Earthside we’re encouraged to show as little evidence of carrying a child as we can. We’re told to get back to work, tone up and erase the marks left on our bodies as quickly as possible. As if it’s something shameful.

We shouldn’t be ashamed. We should be proud of all of the ways in which motherhood has changed us, body and soul! Though sometimes I struggle to appreciate my postpartum body, it has done amazing things. These lines and scars are symbols of sacrifice and strength. This vessel has co-created with God. Its loved, housed and grown my family. It continues to nourish myself and flourish my baby. When the temptation to rush back to some false sense of normalcy comes I need to remind myself to take it slow. To be less eager to shed these signs of pregnancy, these physical memories, and to fully appreciate them for the beauty that they represent.

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Did you feel pressure from yourself or others to get back to normal after baby? Share in the comments below!

❤ Cait