Tuesday, May 31, 2016


"A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2016."

Johnny//3 years

Trixie//7 mos

Yesterday was Johnny's birthday. In celebration we walked to the Dairy Queen that's just a few blocks from our house. Johnny "biked" there on his balance bike. Biking is his favorite activity. He goes so fast that we have to jog to keep up with him. He also loves ice cream. We split a Blizzard three ways, putting a little in an extra cup for him. He was thrilled to have his own. Someday Trixie will get in on the Blizzard, but for now she just watches the rest of us enjoy. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

t h r e e

Everyone's heard of the terrible twos, but our friends with older children warned us that it's the terrible threes we need to be wary of. 

Johnny turns three today. We had a party for him last night with family and his godparents and best buddy Iggy. My grandma said that three is such a precious age because kids are not old enough to understand birthdays, or to expect gifts. But they are old enough to take in a party, and enjoy opening the gifts.  They are actually somewhat amazed that they get gifts. I think that was pretty accurate of Johnny. He seemed to enjoy his party in a sort of sweet and blissful unawareness. 

Until it was time to go to bed. Then we got our first taste of the terrible three's. Lots of tears, kicking and screaming, and refusing to go to sleep until 11:00. And then still waking up at 6:00 am. We've all been a little out of sorts today as a result. 

Despite being cranky I've still felt a warm glow about me today. It's the anniversary of when I became a mom. It's another year that we've gotten to spend with Johnny, who, it's true, does make us a little crazy pretty much every day, but he is our joy. I feel deep gratitude for Johnny's good health. I feel the strength and unity our family possesses from everything we went through during his first year. I feel tired. After all, it's been three years of sleep deprivation, but I also feel happy. Very happy. 

Happy Birthday, Johnny! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016


"A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2016."

Johnny//3 next week! The first thing Johnny says every morning is, "outside, bubbles." Here we are outside, blowing bubbles.

Trixie//7.5 mos. Trixie is getting very close to crawling! She's also getting very chubby. Just in time for summer.  #beachbody

I missed a couple of weeks in this 52 project. I have a good reason, too.  Johnny broke the memory card for my camera. I didn't lose any photos, thankfully. They were already all on the computer. The card will actually still be read by the computer.  But there is a tiny little switch on the side of a memory card that locks it so no new pictures can be written to it.  He busted that tiny little switch so that it can't be unlocked. 

It's actually really great having a new memory card. I was beginning to feel uneasy with the almost 3,000 pictures on my old one, like I should be doing something with them before adding anymore. Now I've got a clean slate. Only 26 photos, and so many more that I can take before that nagging feeling to organize and store them returns. 

Monday, May 9, 2016


"A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2016."

Johnny//2 years, 11 mos. We have been blowing bubbles every day for the past week. "Bubble" is also one of the words that Johnny says best. 

Trixie// 7 mos. Looking at her Papa.  You can tell in this picture how much she loves him. 

That time I cried because I saw a baby in church

I went to mass last weekend by myself for the first time since I have become a mother.  Alex was cantoring for the Vigil mass. I have tried doing mass on my own with the two kids a couple times before when he has cantored. I survived it, but just barely. I've been working on letting go of the need to DO everything. It's OK if I'm not a super mom who can do mass alone with her children. I don't need to be good at that.

So Alex went to mass by himself Saturday evening, and I went to mass by myself Sunday morning. And it was AMAZING!

Normally I feel strongly about having my kids in church with me. I grew up in a churches that had nurseries and cry rooms.  The babies were not in Church and I don't think that's the way it's supposed to be. Jesus said "let the little children come to me" and I think he meant it. I like bringing my children to church.  I like bringing them into the presence of Jesus.  I want them to start learning now that this is what we do, and this is what believe.  But all that being said, it sure was nice to go to mass all by myself and be totally focused. It would be A-OK with me if we make that a once a month thing.

Anyway, I was sitting there in church without my children, and I couldn't help but notice everyone else's children. Do you get that way? When you're away from your kids all you want to do is play with the other kids around you? Well, that was me Sunday morning.

While I was sitting there admiring all the other little tots around me, a young couple walked in and sat down at the end of my pew with a car seat. They got themselves situated and then pulled the tiniest, freshest little newborn baby out of that car seat, his legs curled up and his back arched, and his faced still a bit smushed. I looked at that new little baby and I started crying. Like, actually crying.

Maybe it was because I didn't have my children with me and I missed them.

Maybe it was because I'm beginning to feel like I could have another baby again. (Um...Did I just say that?)

Maybe it's because that tiny baby in all his newborn fragility, so perfectly formed and miraculously put together, reminded me of the fragile miracle of life. A friend has a miscarriage, another rejoices at a positive pregnancy test, my friend Laura is still grieving the loss of her own sweet girls. Our lives "are like a breath, our days are like a passing shadow." (Ps. 144:4)

 Maybe it was the completely enamored way his parents just stared at him all through mass, and the way I scooped up and loved on my own babies when I got home from mass. It's just the thinnest, faintest shadow of the absolutely extravagant way God the Father loves on us, His children.

I'm learning so much from being a mother. But mostly I'm learning how much God must love us.

Photo Cred: Bast Photography

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

So This Happened Today.....

And I'm kind of a mess.

Johnny had his first day of school, much sooner than we originally thought he would. 

We've gone through a lot with Johnny's hearing this past year. First his speech was regressing, then we found out he had fluid in his ears and wasn't hearing anything.  Then he got tubes in his ears, and he started seeing a phenomenal new speech therapist. 

About a month after that Johnny had his hearing re-tested with a sedated ABR test. We learned that his hearing has gotten worse.  It's hard to describe how much worse, since it's certain frequencies he can't hear, and it's different in each ear. But categorically he went from having a mild/moderate hearing loss to a moderate/severe hearing loss. Of course the first question we had was, will his hearing continue to get worse? There's really no way to know, and we will just keep monitoring it. At this point his hearing aids are still able to compensate for his hearing loss. Theoretically he's hearing normally with his hearing aids. But if his hearing does get worse hearing aids may not be able to make up all of the difference and then he would be a candidate for cochlear implants. 

The results of the hearing test made me sad for my boy, and anxious about his future. I know as a parent you can't protect your child from everything. Not everything in our children's lives can be, or should be easy. It's good to struggle and face adversity because that is how you grow and develop resiliency and character. But Johnny has already been through so much. He already has to work harder than most kids his age. I know there will be hard things in his life, I just really don't want expressing himself and communicating with others to be some of those hard things. 

Two days after we got the new diagnosis for Johnny's hearing loss we visited a oral pre-school for deaf and hard of hearing children. And it was amazing. A few kids had hearing aids, but the majority had cochlear implants (so that means they are completely deaf) and they were talking like there was no hearing loss whatsoever. They were talking like they weren't limited by their hearing loss, and that's what we want for Johnny.

So we started the enrollment process, applied for financial aid, and waited for the school to let us know when he could start. I knew it was coming, but when we got the email with his start date I still got kind of sad. He's only going three days a week, and it's only for half days, but he's my first baby and he's never been away from me.  

Even though he drives me a little bit crazy most days, I'm not quite ready to have him away. I like our time at home, the freedom to stay in our jammies all day, or go see friends whenever we want. It dawned on me this morning that, for the most part, that phase of motherhood is over for me. Starting now I will have kids in school for, oh I don't know, the next 20 years! Or more! I will be in my 50's when I'm done having kids in school! I kind of don't want to go there right now. 

Right now there is just this first day. Our first morning scramble, our first time getting his backpack ready, our first time walking him into his class room. I cried a little as I watched him settle in with all the cool toys. Then he cried a little when we said goodbye to him. The teachers assured us that it will get easier and he'll love it in no time. I know they're right, but I was still so relieved when one of the speech therapists texted me a picture of Johnny playing with some trains. And even more relieved when he was back home and I could say, we made it.  

Right now we will adjust to our new routine of  doing this three days a week. And I will cherish those two days a week I'm not taking Johnny to school, when we can stay home in our jammies and snuggle. Yes, right now there will be lots of snuggles.

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