Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One of the greatest joys . . . .

. . . is seeing how much my children love each other. My 12 week old was laying on my bed and along came Caleb, my 2 year old. Now this should invoke fear in Andrew, but instead, all he did was give Caleb the biggest smile and laugh. Caleb began laughing back and bouncing around Andrew . . . which only made Andrew laugh more . . . . it is moments like these that make my days so filled with joy!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Our Culture and Breastfeeding

This past weekend at mass we went to a different church than we normally do. This one has a cry room, so I went into the cry room with our 10 week old Andrew and 2 year old Caleb and my husband sat in the main church with our oldest, Joshua. Andrew needed to eat as soon as we got there, so I pulled out my handy little Hooter Hider knock-off I made myself and nursed him through the first part of mass. Shortly after I started, a woman with an infant about the same age as Andrew came into the cry room. She sat right in front of us. I noticed she looked at me strangely, but I did not think much of it. Toward the end of mass, I saw her pop out a bottle and formula, mix it, and give it to the baby. Now, I really do not like formula. The older I get, the "crunchier" I get, I like all thing natural, especially for my children. I honestly get sad when I see a baby getting formula. I often wonder why; Is there a reason the mom cannot nurse her baby? Does the baby need supplementation?

After mass, this church had coffee and donuts in the church's hall. This lady came in with her baby and I started to talk to her. As one does with any person with a baby, a good conversation starter is "How old is your baby?" . . . we talked for a bit. Then, all of the sudden, she said "I nurse too, at home. I fed her before mass, but knew she would not make it through mass, so I gave her a bottle. I nurse her and give her formula." Now, I have no idea why this woman felt the need to share that. But, I immediately felt sorry for her and wished I had enough courage to challenge her and encourage her. This was obviously her first child and she was clearly nervous about breastfeeding in public. I remember when Joshua was a baby, I was terrified to nurse in public . . . I would shroud him and I with a huge blanket, and later, resorted to going into bathroom stalls when he got big enough to pull the blanket off (all of my children really do not like being covered while nursing). Now, with my third, I feel comfortable nursing pretty much anywhere. I am aware of other people being uncomfortable with it and will be discreet, but other's opinions do not scare me so much anymore.

I wanted to tell this woman, that it is OK to be nervous about breastfeeding in public, but that she can do it. There are great resources out there to figure it all out and that the more you do it, the easier it becomes. I wanted to tell her that it is the best thing for her baby and that I applaud her for keeping up with nursing at home. But, I did not . . . I did not say those things I wish I had.

You see, our culture seems to be so negative towards breastfeeding. Most photos of babies easting in mainstream TV shows, magazines, all show the baby eating out of a bottle. I was even reading an article in a Catholic magazine (that I know is pro-breastfeeding) about taking children to mass and the author stated that women who need to feed a baby should either bring a bottle, or if they nurse, sit in the back and completely cover yourself and the baby. I was appalled, I felt that even his pro-family publication was sending the message that breastfeeding a baby at mass is somehow discouraged. Or, at least if one has to, make sure you are out of the way and near no one else.

Our popular culture makes it hard for a woman to want to do the right thing by her child. Even formula cans say that breast milk is best, but yet . . . having a problem nursing, use formula . . . want to give up because it is too hard, use formula, worried about nursing in public, use formula . . .

I wish that it were easy for every woman. I wish that each woman had a friend help them through nursing for the first month like I did. I think I would have given up if it not were for her. I wish every woman would pick up the phone and call a lactation consultant when things got tough. Even this last time with Andrew . . . I remember praying one night as I was nursing him, "Lord, I wish I did not have to do this." But just then, I remembered why I nurse him. Within the next few days I asked friends what to do, called two different lactation consultants and stuck with it. And, you know what, it got better! I could not have done ti without the support I had from those friends and lactation consultants who rallied behind me, gave me suggestions, and the encouragement I needed to continue.

If I get the chance to meet that woman again, this time I will take the opportunity to be the encouragement she may need.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pool Days

The last few days have been very hot. I have made a conscious effort to get the boys to the pool. They love going so much, that I wanted to make sure we got a lot of time at the pool in this week. So, we have spent a good portion of each day at the pool.

I must admit, I love going to the pool too!! First, there are the times that we take the double jogger stroller and walk to the pool. I LOVE the exercise. When at the pool, I love watching the boys play. Joshua has been an angel. Although, he took lessons in the "big pool" he does not beg to go into the pool. He has learned that when Mommy brings all the boys to the pool by herself, that we only go into the kiddie pool. Joshua is a joy to watch too. He has become more brave even in the kiddie pool, as he has begun a little game with himself. He throws a toy that sinks to the bottom, he swims to it and gets it. This game is repeated over and over again.

Caleb loves to splash and play alligator (which he learned in swim lessons). He has gotten quite bold at running a diving into the water . . . I am waiting for a life guard to put an end to this even though he goes so slowly, that he could not possibly hurt himself. He is also learning the delicate art of sharing. It is a fun thing to see him negotiate with the other children at the pool to either get a toy he wants, or get back one of the toys we brought.

I love little Andrew at the pool too! Often, he is in the sling and as close to me as he can get. Other times, like today he gave his brothers a special gift . . . he fell asleep in his stroller. That allowed me to take both Caleb and Joshua into the big pool. Both boys were thrilled. Caleb wanted to jump to me as many times as he could and Joshua became more adventurous in the big pool with each passing moment.

I love Andrew in his cute little "Freddy hats", as my grandpa calls them. Gosh, that little baby can turn on the charm and smile so big sometimes . . . it makes me feel like the luckiest mom at the pool.

Finally, I also get "down time". When Caleb and Joshua are playing happily in the kiddie pool and Andrew is asleep in the stroller (or just sitting happily in the stroller), I get a chance to take a moment to read. I love to read, but often do not get the time to, but over the last few days, I have enjoyed the time at the pool to get some reading done.

Tomorrow is expected to be another hot day . . . the pool bag will be packed and waiting to go!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Frugally Extravagant

My parents were here for A's baptism last weekend. Sunday morning we sat down for breakfast and my mom blurted out "You are a lot like Grandma P." Now, my grandmother is a wonderful woman, but she has a few character flaws that are the first things family members think of when they think of Grandma P. So, I had to pry, "How am I like Grandma?" My mom kept on saying to forget it. She must have forgotten I was stubborn. Finally, she said "You're frugal." I laughed . . . that's it???? That is not bad at all (and necessary when you live in the metro DC area, have three children, I stay home and my husband works for the Church).

Now, you must know. I have expensive taste. I love nice things!! But we are on a tight budget and do not have money to spend on extravagant things. So, if there is something we want or need, I do a bunch of research and try to get it for as cheap as possible.

Here are just some examples of my frugality. Again, it is not a bad thing. Most of the items I got at a discount, or free, are "designer items" or items we could easily do with out.

- Our minivan . . . did tons of research and paid thousands less for ours than any other we had seen with same mileage, year and equipment (we have had it for two years now, so we know it was not a lemon!!)
- Double jogging stroller ($500 new) . . . got new at a discount store for $150
- My sons motorized Jeep that he can ride in . . . freecycle
- Great new kitchen table . . . . freecycle
- Baby sling that everyone says is beautiful and costs $80 . . . $20 from diaperswappers
- Phil and Ted Double Stroller ($600 new) . . . craigslist for $110
- Mamas and Papas Pliko stroller in like new condition ($300 new) . . . $6.99 at a thrift store
- Nursing Cover, just like a $40 Hooter Hider . . . made it myself!!

These are just some examples. But, I rarely buy big items new unless we have to. Right now I am searching for an entertainment center on Craigslist. We get a bunch of free clothing from friends for the boys and we get clothes for ourselves at the thrift store. It is amazing what good things you can find there! I do buy new clothes occasionally, but only when it is on sale.

I will often sell things too . . . you know I do it a lot, when my 5 year old sees me with something and asks me if I am going to sell it. Old furniture we do not use; sell it. Old books; sell them (sometimes donate them). Any item I think someone else may pay money for and it is just around cluttering our house; sell it (J is afraid I am going to sell his toys . . . I am not that bad!!). Doing this has allowed me to buy a curriculum to home school my son with (all cheaply on ebay!), cloth diapers for K and A (used ones of course), and it has allowed me to splurge on grocery items like organic eggs, organic milk, and organic fruits and veggies, that would normally be too extravagant for our budget.

I guess being like Grandma is not a bad thing after all!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The more people I meet . . .

. . . the more I like my FAMILY.

This weekend was a busy weekend. Friday was the 4th of July and Saturday, was our youngest son's baptism and party. My parents came into town on the 4th, as did Andrew's God parents. Unfortunately, their car hydroplaned and went up an embankment. Luckily, they got their car fixed yesterday so they could go home today.

With the accident and all of the people coming to our house, life was a bit crazy. Poor Andy and Jeanine were stressed and their little daughter Teresa was sleep deprived. As you could imagine, with our three boys, their two year-old daughter, we did not get much of a chance to spend time with them and just relax and talk. Today, they got lost on their way to meet us at mass and decided to just go home early . . . I must admit, I do not blame them . . . I think if I were them, I would go home, put my daughter to bed and hop in bed myself with some ice cream and a good movie!!

Well, with all of that being said, last night I came to a realization. We had a bunch of people at our house. Many different personalities and many different ways of doing things. Once everyone left for the day/night, I was overwhelmed with great fullness . . . I love my family and am so thankful that God gave me my sons and my husband. They are all far from perfect (as seen with my son Caleb who would rather hit Teresa than play with her), but they are perfect for me. God handpicked my husband for me. He handpicked my children for me and I would not want any other husband, and other kids. I thank God in these moments for blessing me with what I need! They have changed my life, for the better. I have learned to let go of many things and be more relaxed. I have learned to let them be themselves and guide my sons when necessary so they may be saints one day. I have learned to be thankful for each day as it comes and the chance to grow closer to my family and to God and to strive for holiness together.

Thank you Jesus.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Changes to blog

All marriage info, resources and blogging will be here .

This blog will now be just about me,family, homeschooling, etc.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Life Coaching

I have my MA in Counseling, specializing in career counseling. I have extensive training in time management and have developed a solid life coaching program for those seeking to develop a balanced lifestyle.

If you have read my life coaching posts and would like to pursue meeting with a life coach, or more information, please email me at:

About Me

I am a mom to three amazing and energetic boys (8,5,3) and a wife to a great man.  My hubby and I have been married 10 years and live in the metro DC area.  We are Catholic and love our faith and Jesus. I homeschool our three boys.  I am an ACE certified Personal trainer and I have my MA in counseling and also Life Coach on the side too. And I love to run. I started running the Spring of 2009 as a way to increase my cardio fitness.  And I fell in love with running.  I ran my first 1/2 marathon that December and my first Marathon in April 2011.  And we are currently pursuing adoption.

What you will find on this blog:

This blog is a hodge podge of all of the cross sections of my life.  It is not a homeschooling blog.  It is not a running blog.  It is not a Catholic blog.  It is not an adoption blog.  It is not a family life blog.  It is all of the above. This blog is, essentially, my scrapbook and journal of things I want to remember.