Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy

A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy by Sarah A. Reinhard arrived on our doorstep somewhere in the second half of my pregnancy.  I will admit that I was a little skeptical that there would be much new in the book for me given that I was currently smack dab in the middle of my eleventh pregnancy.  I was surprised to find that there were things for even a seasoned Mom to glean from this book.

First, this book is not full of the nitty gritty physical and medical aspects of what is going on when you are pregnant.  If that is the kind of book you are looking for, this one is not for you.  Second, this is not a book that you will sit down and read in large chunks. This is a book meant to be taken in slowly in small pieces over time. Unless it arrives in your home when you are already most of the way through your pregnancy. Then you just might find yourself reading the entire thing at once.

What this book is a spiritual guide to the path you travel when expecting a new baby. Each chapter covers a week of your pregnancy.  Your experiences are covered from a faith based or emotional perspective. Each chapter ends with a short prayer that is relavent to that phase of your pregnancy.

I'll admit that a few weeks after our little Isabel died, I saw this book laying on my bedroom floor and found myself reaching for it.  Yes, that seems a little strange to some folks I suppose.  But I had remembered seeing something in the book on stillbirth so I found myself sitting on the floor paging through the book looking for something that might help me sort out the mess in my mind.  Although the  topic was covered very briefly, it did help me to realize that the path we are currently walking is not one we are traveling alone.  I suppose my one complaint was that the topic was touched on so briefly that I felt a need to read more.  I know folks do not like to dwell on the possibility of losing a baby rather than bringing one home but when it happens, you need something to lean on without leaving the house.

One particular section of the book that spoke to me the first time I read it was the reminder to pray for our husbands.  Alan often reminds me that it's incredibly hard for him to connect to the baby during pregnancy or to watch the times I'm in pain for some reason or another.  There is something about a pregnancy that can leave a husband feeling incredibly helpless.  Our last pregnancy was full of so many minor bumps in the road that I know Alan was feeling particularly helpless this time around.  The reminder to focus on praying for him and the burdens he carries was particularly needed.

If we are blessed with another pregnancy, I hope to be able to say that I was able to spend time each week reading this book and praying my way through each week.  But until that time, I hope to recommend this book to other expectant mothers, both first time moms and those of the more seasoned variety.  We can all use the reminder provided that each chance to carry a new life is the greatest gift and miracle that will ever touch your life.

These Kids of Ours

I'll admit it. These past few weeks have taught us quite a lot about ourselves and our little family. I've watched the kids all step up and be rather amazing.  I'm very grateful that we have spent so much time focusing on siblings being friends and not tolerating rude or hateful behavior towards each other in the name of "that's just how siblings are to one another." Not to say they don't argue but rather that they have learned for the most part to respect one another rather than be just plain mean.  This meant they each had a friend or two to turn to in the past few weeks.  I can't imagine how lonely things would have been for them otherwise.

The older children have been helping with cooking and laundry and diapers and putting the younger ones down for naps. The middle kids have stepped up and helped quite a lot as well.  Which was a reminder to me that Bryan used to do all that stuff when he was their age just because he's the oldest and I needed the help.  I need to remember to require the same help from the other kids that I required from him.  I can't imagine how much more challenging the past few weeks would have been if I had a house full of kids who were used to having everything done for them.  The help has made a huge difference.

So, hm, I guess I'm saying that I think my kids are rather awesome and I'm not quite sure how we would have managed without them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Saint Catherine Laboure and Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Marianne Lorraine Trouve has written a new book for the Encounter the Saints Series covering the life of Saint Catherine Laboure.  As with the other books in this series, this biography is written at a level that is perfect for children in the 8-10 year-old range.  The story is told in fairly simple terms while managing to give a decent amount of detail.  A glossary is also included in the back of the book to explain terms in the book that may be new to the reader.

I found this book to be a quick simple read. The story was engaging without being overwhelming.  Even though it is written for youth, I found that there were a few details in the story that were new to me.  This book is a wonderful way to introduce your child to the story behind the miraculous medal.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Saint Catherine LabourĂ© . The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your family Advent activities and supplies this year, such as Advent wreaths and calendars for kids, as well as Christmas decorations such as nativity scene sets and religious Christmas gifts for the whole family.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Meal Plan

We have reached the end of the wonderful meal train that was providing us with dinners for the past few weeks.  The ladies who provided the meals for our family over the past few weeks were incredibly generous so we even have some extra food in the freezers.  But now it is time for us to take over again and for me to start planning meals again.  Granted, I think we'll be relying fairly heavily on freezer meals for a few more weeks because I am still not back on my feet.  The meds still have me too weak to function and my doctors are arguing over who is responsible for regulating the dosing so I'm somewhat stuck unable to function at the moment. No, I am not happy and yes, I do plan to start taking things into my own hands very soon if I don't get a better answer.  It's way too important that the other children have parents available to them who are able to function and be parents.  They are a huge priority right now and I won't feel better until I am able to start taking care of them again.

So, here's a slightly pathetic attempt at planning meals for this week.  Breakfast will be whatever Alan and the kids throw together each morning.  Lunches will be sandwiches and leftovers.
M: salisbury meatballs over rice
T: ravioli
W: cheesy chicken casserole
T: honey glazed chicken
F: tuna casserole maybe
S: should be pizza and movie night

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Quiet Times

I'm hoping everyone will understand if things are a bit quiet around here for a while.  Yes, life simply must go on especially with all the other children in the house who need things to get back to normal.  And yet I'm having a hard time sorting out my own thoughts and feelings and finding things to say or share.  I know there are things that are going to change around here and I think I'm just slightly afraid of what life will look like on the other side.  Once the numbness has worn off.  And we ask for folks to pray for our family over the next few months.

A friend shared this song with me the other day and I think it's something several people could maybe benefit from.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Our sweet baby Isabel. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Warning: brain dump ahead.

It's been a little over a week.  The guests are heading home.  I'm rather glad.  I'm tired of having other folks around and just want time alone with my family.  Neither Alan or myself are truly very social people and having so many people around in our space is rather overwhelming.  While we appreciate the concern and help, we're truly ready to be alone. 

I'm grateful for my children who all take such good care of each other.  And play well together.  And fill the house with noise.  It's a reminder that life goes on. 

The kitchen is full of food from so many wonderful friends.  It seems like every time I turn around, more food has shown up in the house.  This means I don't have worry about feeding the kids or running to the store which is awesome.

I'll admit I'm not so thrilled with the florist showing up.  We don't do flowers well around here so I'm sure they are all going to die.  Not what I need right now.

I'm a little tired of answering the how are you doing question.  Part of me wonders if I should really answer it the way I feel but I'm sure that would not be considered polite.

I'm very grateful for my husband who has been picking up so much slack and taking care of the kids so I can just rest.  He's been a rock lately even though I know he has his own nightmares running his head right now. 

Anyway, it's been a week.  One we hope to never repeat. But one with a purpose. I just haven't figured out what that is quite yet.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Isabel Rose 

Born November 6th 2012
Died November 6th 2012

There will be a funeral Mass Held at St. Mary's Parish In Holley NY
11 am Tuesday November 13th 2012
with internment to follow.

In lieu of flowers please donate to National Right Life or Birthright International 

Thank you

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Isabel Rose, Our Newest Saint

For the folks who did not hear some where else, I just wanted to share that our littlest angel was born and died on Tuesday.  Hard to say, harder to imagine.  We are doing ok here with family and friends helping to take care of the house, cooking, and kids.  I will say there is something slightly surreal about watching your husband doing cpr on your own child.  We don't know exactly what went wrong and we have decided not to pursue invasive measures to find out.  We'll have a funeral next week sometime.  Please pray for our other children.  The littlest ones obviously don't notice a difference but it it hitting some of the other ones rather hard. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chicken Gyros

I just wanted to share that the chicken gyros from last week's meal plan were absolutely delicious. Bryan did most of the work making the meal and it was super easy to throw together. As long as you plan to allow the meat to sit in the marinade for a few hours, this is easily a meal that can be made in 15 minutes. I'm sure that the recipe is not quite authentic but it tasted pretty darn close to me.  All of the kids loved it and as proof, there were no leftovers.  Alan added a bit of garlic to the cucumber-yogurt sauce to give it a bit more of a kick.  Gabe calls the sauce ice cream but as long as he eats, it doesn't really matter what he calls it.  The recipe can be found here and if you make it ahead or double what your family needs, it is a super easy meal to toss into the freezer for later.  Just make sure the whip up the sauce the day you eat.  Next time we will try a crockpot gyros recipe using lamb and ground turkey.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Meal Plan

The truth is the real meal plan this week will likely be whatever other people feel like cooking. I've somewhat given up on keeping up with the meal plan this past week.  I'm assuming next week will be pretty close to the same.  Just feeling very tired, constantly nauseated, and frankly worn out. 

M: cereal (B), sandwiches (L), BBQ chicken (D)
T: eggs (B), sandwiches (L), spinach tortellini soup (D)
W: yogurt if it gets made (B), sandwiches (L), taco ring (D)
T: cereal (B), leftovers (L), pulled pork (D)
F: eggs (B) sandwiches (L), south of the border skillet (D)