Monday, December 6, 2021


I have a confession to make. I am trying to figure out how to feel about confession. Part of me knows that I am super hard and scrupulous on myself and I am trying to reconcile what that means when it comes to confession. Is what I did actually a sin? Do I need to actually go? Why is going so stressed? Are we all supposed to be so scrupulous?  Are most people not this way? Do most people just make mistakes and not think about the impact they have on others? I am just unsure of what to think.

I do think that every time I come out of the confessional I do feel loved. I do get told not to be so hard on myself, that I am fighting the good fight, making hard choices etc. And yet, somehow it just doesn't make sense at times putting it all together. 

I have figured out that I want to be able to make more mistakes and not berate myself. I do think that would be best. I am not sure how that is confession addressable though. I wonder if this carries over to my kids, and I do think it does. I am sure they will need just as much therapy as me, even if I have tried to break the cycle of abuse. 

Anyway, if you are someone that reads this and I know you, or don't know you. Pray for me. Also, Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Different from what you expect

 I remember telling myself a story about being left out. Years ago, I saw a social media post of a friend and many mutual friends getting together and i had FOMO and all of a sudden felt excluded. I had rationalized that I had said something that had this person pull away, as another encounter she was distant too. 

So i first texted her and she had no idea why I was upset. She had her own issues and life that wasn't trying to shut me out. It just was what it was. But I called her and told her my interpretation, and really she could have called me silly or just dumb or yelled back at me. But she sat and she listened. She listened to all my grievances and was glad to hear me out. She explained how the situation was much different than what I had thought it to be, and I don't think I fully understood that day, but I got a different response than I expected. 

You see I usually expect someone to either be doing something behind my back to exclude me or to blow up back at me. When I didn't get this response, my brain was perplexed. And as I now have learned about how the brain learns that you can actually be retrained to know that a different response is a possibility and then actually know one is loved, this friend's response years ago is sticking with me. I am thankful for this encounter. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

As I lay here

 I was sitting in bed trying to sleep just a little longer this morning, but my head decided to wander in thought, so I thought I should get it out. 

It went from first how divergent in character I am, to how I would not survive an internment camp to how there are so many at the border that are living this internment camp life daily. To I wonder if there is an authority that lets human trafficking happen because it benefits them and their selfishness. To the idea that perhaps they don't even know that they are being selfish because they have grown up thinking abuse is right. 

And that had me finally thinking about the police. I know that the police are a hot button issue. A lot of people think we need them and really that we need more of them so there will be less lawlessness. My hot take is that we don't. That a system that was founded on catching runaway slaves and has never ever had that addressed is going to remain bias no matter what. Even the "good cop" is going to have internal bias to think that a certain profile is a criminal or that everyone is a criminal as I learned certain police departments do. The former perpetuates abuse the latter perpetuates mistrust. I am not certain of the solution. 

My bias would be to take away all of the guns in this country sans hunting and sport rifles. I can allow people to hunt animals and use them well and to have sport rifles like archers have bow and arrows for target practice. I really don't think we need to have weapons every time we leave the house. At times I am terrified that every third person is carrying a weapon concealed in their clothes when out and about. I try to let it not bother me when I send my kids off in pairs down the street together, but it creeps in there every so often. Honestly though, they aren't the target. 

The mentality that we need more guns on our person when the police are a mess is so odd. And I know this is such a complex issue, because the brown skinned person, they aren't likely to really be cared for by the police, at least not in the same way. So in some ways, a self protection measure makes sense. But I absolutely wish it didn't have to be that way. 

But how do we actually solve the bias of going after the brown person? How do we solve the abuser mentality that goes along with police work? Scrap it? Counsel the heck out of people? Undo our patriarchal society that allows always at least half of our society to be less than? If you know please tell me. The abuse the hurt, it's just not okay.  

Friday, September 17, 2021

This pandemic

The pandemic is still happening. Its been interesting living in a pandemic. I birthed a baby in a pandemic, I helped start local recycling iniatives in this pandemic. I taught my kids in this pandemic. Life has gone on around us and yet its been drastically different in some ways too. 

Nature is always growing and cycling and adapting to whatever comes its way. Beautiful flowers can grow in sidewalk cracks and trees will expand despite little care for them. Their roots are usually solidly deep. The squirrels will collect their acorns and hunker down for the winter. The bees, butterflies and mosquitoes will continue to pollinate things. The storms, though, a bit rougher, continue to give us rain. Sadly there is climate change, but not due to a pandemic, but we are aware of it more in the pandemic.

I think that is it, we are aware more. At least I hope we are aware more. Perhaps too often we carried the status quo and became robotic in our daily lives. I know for some because of circumstance, in pandemic times it became more chaotic, but for others, it simplified. It gave a chance to step back and see. To see what we really want or need in our lives. To see where help is needed. To see how we view one another. To see what we really are capable of doing. Perhaps it helped us to be healthier, perhaps it helped us to find a creative solace as many of the norms changed. Perhaps it created a big giant fog that has yet to be lifted. But the pandemic did something, something to hopefully open our eyes and see things in a new way. Because we should always be trying to learn and be curious, otherwise how else will we ever learn to see beauty in this planet and lives of ours we were given.

I have learned a lot about things in the pandemic, and as I said last time I am not an authority, but perhaps I can share what I learned. At least, I will record it, so perhaps I won't forget that I did at one time know it. For now, this is enough, tomorrow is another day to write. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Not an authority

 I have struggled to write anything in the past year. I think perhaps its mental fog, my normalcy was no longer there and everything just jumbled up. But also I realize more and more as I get older how I am not the know it all authority that I thought I once was in my early twenties. Perhaps this leads to more compassion for others in different situations, at least i hope. And also I've been listening a lot more. And I think this has been good to do. I don't feel unfulfilled in this way but yet different. I do, though, want to write again. To make sense of the jumble inside my head. 

I am throwing it out there that these are my thoughts, my opinions. They are likely to grow and branch and not be completely stagnant, again, I at least hope of this. But I am not an authority, except to myself and my children. I just want to stay curious and keep learning about people, about God, about life, about myself, about nature, about other cultures, and everything in between, And today I will begin. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Birth Story

 I absolutely wanted to write down Oscar's birth story. But I haven't been able to because we had a high needs baby that would not let me sit down to type at all. Honestly I was often terrified to pick up the phone, because it was going to end in a breakdown. Walks weren't even peaceful because somehow they just wouldn't work for little O. But we have gotten some treatment and fixed a tongue tie and I feel like today is the first day I can breathe with this baby. So here is his birth story.

For the month prior to Oscar's birth there was a lot of prodromal labor, meaning a start and stop of contractions that were warm up ones that would be getting my body ready for the read deal. The problem with prodromal labor is that it never becomes real labor that amounts in a baby and its oh so tiring. I think I was miserable enough that a few friends sent a meal prior to baby and I absolutely appreciated it. 

So 37 weeks came and went. 38 weeks came and went. 39 weeks came and went. 40 weeks came and went. The whole neighborhood was watching me as there was nothing else to do in the pandemic but be on baby watch. Any time someone saw me out on a walk they would be surprised that I was still pregnant. We went on a lot of walks, many to the local coffee shop. Oscar is half made of Metropolitan Coffee bakery. 

At one point I realized that I was paranoid that I wasn't going to be able to go into labor with the kids home, so I grumbled about it and eventually Keith believed me that this was what I needed as I kept not going into labor. I also was concerned with the positioning of Oscar because there was so much start and stop labor that I though maybe he was stuck. So I went in to an ultrasound clinic for a position check. It caters to the homebirth crowd and maybe the unsure about pregnancy crowd. It was great to see him and while he was in love with his hand, it wasn't in his way for exit. I felt incredibly relieved. 

The boys went to their grandparent's house that night and I definitely felt more at piece because my late night kids weren't on site and I could rest a little better. Just the girls remained and they are down by 9pm at the absolute latest. And on top of that because I was supposed to have forest school with the kids the next day but I told the other moms that i wasn't up for it, the one said we want to take your girls to the zoo, and so I knew in the morning my girls would be gone. 

So what do you know but at 5am labor started, and it continued and became stronger instead of fizzling out. I put together a puzzle in between contractions and then started another one while sitting on the yoga ball, but the second one never got finished, the contractions were too hard. I have to note that this whole time I was watching the Gilmore Girls, its my labor show, it is so familiar and calming that I am just in a zone with it. I texted my midwife at 8 to let her know that labor was happening and by 11, Keith said you should probably tell her to come now. So we did, and she came by noon. Baby was born at 1pm on the dot after just two pushes. The amazing thing was that he was 10pounds and 2 ounces. I had no idea that he was that big because his labor wasn't that terrible. Stella at 10lbs was tough, but she was also positioned the wrong way at first and had to spin on her head a bit. Oscar was in the perfect spot to come right on out. I think he was getting there the whole time in the last month of the start and stop labor. 

So we had him and it was pretty calm despite having a baby. The girls came home the next night and the boys the night after. They all mostly loved their new brother. 

But then something went amiss. Little buddy at about a week old started needing a lot of care, a lot of movement and just became uneasy to settle. He stopped nursing to sleep. He started having to be rocked all the time, or bounced or walked up and down the stairs. Part of me though, well maybe now I finally get my high needs baby, but also I was emotionally a wreck because it was hard, like really hard and 1 week post partum you should not be getting 10,000 steps without trying because you are just trying to pacify the baby. At 3 weeks it was a bit worse, and we visited the subject of reflux. I took the baby in at a month old and they said that dairy was possibly the culprit and I kind of thought he didn't react well to it. I made him super gassy, so we cut that out and still have it cut out mostly. And yet it still wasn't the issue. 

It wouldn't be till 7 weeks old that I was able to process that this wasn't okay, and I called a breastfeeding hotline. And the lactation consultant listened to me and based on all the things I was saying told me that I should have him evaluated for tongue tie and reflux. And it turns out he has both and a mild case of laryngomalacia, which makes him flare up a little more even so and have some weird breathing things. It is supposed to slowly resolve itself to be fine by age 1. 

And so here we are, processing and loving on this little guy. Welcome to the world Oscar. 

Btw, yes, he is named after St. Oscar Romero.  

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Coping with what is

 Five kids is actually hard. I love them all, and I wouldn't not have them, but this period of taking care of a baby with four bigger kids is hard. Maybe some are better suited than me at this. Maybe they can take it all in stride, but some days are a struggle. And mostly I am coping and making it through, but it is tiring. And perhaps this is redemptive suffering, and perhaps this is how I am to see God right now, in the inability to just be free, but to have limited abilities. I know I feel this each baby, and perhaps this is my last baby, and it feels like it is,  it feels like its harder and harder each time to take another on. The thing is, is that I absolutely love this baby, despite his colic and need for constant motion. Actually that makes me love him more as I have to get outside of my head of what I know and think should be happening be present to what is. So we carry on as hard as it is trying to learn and to love. 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Baby memories

Trying to remember bits of a 5th baby's life: 

Early Oscar memories: 
 You started mimic smiling at 4 weeks old and now you like to greet if each morning with a few. 

At 5 weeks old you rolled from back to belly trying to get to me to nurse. Your mama was amazed. 

You really seem to like to listen to music, especially Jack's Mannequin and The Rocket Summer

You like to be in motion: walks outside, running stair laps, dancing, rocking in the rocking chair, and bouncing in the exercise ball. 

You love to wiggle, punch and kick

You like to snuggle close cheek to cheek. 

You enjoy the sound of the fan and that is running water. 

Sleeping on mama and daddy is the best. 

You seem to be an early riser and get up for some quiet mama or daddy time before your big siblings get up. Sometimes your biggest sister will get up too and you enjoy her quiet presence too. 

You like the car when it's in motion. 

You are well loved by all your adoring fans, each in their own ways. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Statistics aren't helping me

It's been a strange week, as I am now overdue. There was a death from covid and a wedding announcement and tons of snow all in one week. Statistically my head says this should already be over, and yet I am not. I am still miserable and huge and waiting. Part of me thinks that I am not allowed to have these nice things, that perhaps because I have taken steps towards healing myself, that somehow I won't be allowed to get what I want. It comes from a long line of many of my big supposed to be good exciting life events being attempted in sabotage. It becomes a head game to the nth degree because I absolutely want to delight in these moments of non repeat and yet sometimes, I just feel on guard that someone is going to take this from me. So what to do, go through it? Yep. 

Here are a few things that I am trying to delight in: 

1. Some beautiful friends took all 4 of my external children sledding this morning without me, I got to have 2 hours to myself to run errands and do some solo walking in a nearby neighborhood.

2. I have enjoyed watching Gilmore Girls with Helena, just cuddled up beside each other. 

3. So many people have asked how they can help and I am doing my best to try and let them. 

4. A neighbor snow blowered our driveway earlier in the week just in case the midwife needed to get here in the foot of snow that fell. 

5. Most people are kindly checking in on me to make sure I am feeling okay instead of just in a way of producing something. 

6. My midwife will kindly chat with me and listen to me in a way that is kind and respectful. 

7. I am enjoying watching the big kids take care of Stella, its not always perfect but they truly care and its wonderful to see. 

8. My next door neighbor, whom works at the local coffee shop, just kindly listen to me while I shed a few tears in the drive thru.

9. My Target order was correct today. 

10. All the librarians know me and kindly wish me well and safe deliveries and will feed my kids with their lunches because its sometimes just really hard to do all the things.

11. Our local recycling initiative is being well received. 

12. A husband who is able to understand and also willing to do way more than his share in these last few weeks. 

13. Middle of the night chats with God and sometimes my husband if he happens to be awake too. 

14. My almost four year old's antics of being a mermaid and her constant imagination. 

15. How big H is getting in her understanding of things. 

16. Just the feeling of love from so many neighbors that are picking up groceries and making meals and helping with replacing overused baby things. 

Maybe I can do this. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021


 I did the word generator of the year mini program from Jennifer Fulweiler and got the word delight. I mostly passed it off when I got it. I didn't think much about it except that it was a good sentiment. That sure I could be a bit better at delighting in things. And then I had a nightmare and woke up sobbing in grief. 

That grief had me realizing how much I've conditioned myself not to happy or delight in big life events. Every birthday, every holiday is a struggle. I'm 4 weeks till my due date of my 5th baby that I'll hopefully get to see grow up. Even writing that was a struggle. I am at the end where everything hurts and I'm not sure what will actually hurt to do or not. But the thing is that I am so close to the end of gestation and while my body aches from 5 full term pregnancies and 2 others that didn't make it there, there is a tiny person that I get to meet soon. One that seems to be active and curious about the world be already.

I want to delight in these moments where perhaps it normally is a struggle due to past conditioning and circumstance. I don't want to hide, even though it's very easy for me to shell up and just be. So I'm going to try my best to find some peace and joy and delight in these last moments of not knowing. Thanking God for these days with my four bigs before my responsibility changes and my abilities change once again.