Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's been a long, long time...

Hi there!

I am going to try and wake up this sleepy little blog and get back into it.

So much has happened since I last posted, namely the 8 of us moved half-way across the country.  We are settled in and getting used to a very different lifestyle for our family.  In almost 16 years of having kids we have almost never lived near family and now we are within a mile or 2 of many of our relatives.  We are still pinching ourselves that we can drop by and say hi to grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles!

We have a big and lush backyard considering we live in the desert.  It is filled with pecan, citrus, persimmon, and fig trees.  And also a new playset for the littles!

We are also loving the rugged outdoors of Arizona that we missed while we were away.  Peter went on his first camping trip over Thanksgiving weekend.

This little guy, our youngest, turned 2 and has already busted the leaf blower we got him a couple of weeks ago.  He is a brute, but he is such a cute ham that none of us can resist his brutish charm!

The Advent books are wrapped and ready to go thanks to the helping hands of teens and tweens.  This will be our first year doing a Jesse tree, and we are excited to start a new tradition.  I am such a better mother now that I have eager, willing teens and tweens to help me execute the ideas and traditions that swirl around in my head.

We love our parish!  I am participating in a saint study about Edith Stein and it has been life changing.  I am also homeschooling one child this year.

I hope to share more soon!

A blessed and happy Advent to you all ~

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Life Lessons in 17 Years of Marriage

We have been married l7 years this past April.  I have grown, changed and been humbled along this journey with my beloved.  It is amazing to look back at the lessons learned and life lived with this man I chose.  I love being married to Greg and we are blessed abundantly.

Here goes the trip down memory lane!

Greg and I are both oldest children in our families and tend toward the people pleasing side of things.  In our early years we made some decisions that we thought would make others happy, but in the end did not make us very happy.

Lesson learned - We now try to discern what is best for us as individials and as a couple and for our family through regular prayer and adoration.

We had our first child just after our 2nd anniversary and then had 3 children 3 and under just a couple of years later.  Children are a blessing, and for sure they will bring out your strengths and weaknesses as a couple.  I know we struggled with expectations of one another during these early years and keeping score was all too common.

Lesson learned - We now see that we each need to use our strengths in child rearing.  If I am about to scream and yell from exhaustion, he can usually muster the energy to play and get the kids corralled for an activity.  When he has had a tough day at work, I can keep trucking on through the evening duties to give him a mental reprieve.

Greg left his job 7 years after grad school and took a job here in KC with a local company.  We were very happy to be settled into a new career.  We had always wanted to move into an urban neighborhood and live inside the city boundaries.  It was a fun adventure to sell our suburban home and find an 80+ year old house in a quaint part of town with lots of walkable activities.

Lesson learned - Sometimes you just need to pack your bags and start a new adventure together.  The hard work can bring you closer together.

We made a dream come true when we moved to an urban neighborhood, but we quickly realized that another decision we made was causing a storm cloud to grow over our family.  We had chosen sterilization back during year 6 of our marriage and as our move brought a renewed growth in our faith life the realization of what we had done was sinking in.  Through the grace of God and a powerful reversion we mustered the strength and determination to have it reversed.  Often these reversals will bring more babies and for us it brought our first miscarriage.  Then we were blessed with 3 more kids who are with us today.

Lesson learned - There will always be dark times in marriage, but taking the life-giving component out of our marriage only made it darker.

We have found 5th grade to be tough year in school for our kids.  Lots of changes in school, with friends, and it is the one year we have always dealt with teasing/bullying.  Now that we have started homeschooling this has changed for the better.

Lesson learned - We realized how important it is to work together as parents for the sake of our child. Our children need to see us be willing to stand up for them and their dignity.

As Greg and I have grown in our faith, we have returned to the sacraments with zeal.  The sacrament of reconciliation has humbled us and brought us closer together in marriage since it has made us look closely at how we treat one another.  It is practically free marriage counseling!

Lesson learned - Frequent confession is very healing.

We both have things we are good at.  I am a good cook and Greg can fix most any little and sometimes big broken thing around the house.  I am not always patient, but he is very patient.  He can talk to kids and be calm and loving when I have reached the end of my line.

Lesson learned - Allow your strengths to shine and be used for the good of your family life.

We did not always pray with our children, but it is a regular part of our lives now after our reversion.  Most often our children look forward to it!  We are always trying to get better in this department as busy lives and hectic schedules seem to interfere with family prayer time a lot.  We always pray before meals.  We often pray together in the evening.  We sometimes read a prayer book with the big girls and discuss it.  We would like to do family rosaries more often and we are working on that goal.

Lesson learned - No matter how simple or short the prayer our children look forward to the time spent praying together as a family.

We are very conscious now about making time for the 2 of us.  Our days are filled from dawn until way after dusk with big kids and little kids and it can take a toll on us.  Greg and I crave a deep friendship with one another.  It takes hard work to make that happen with all the people around us.  We have taken to going on evening walks or quick run for a coffee together a few nights a week.  We also make time for longer dates at least twice a month.

Lesson learned - Use your teenage children to babysit so you can get that much needed alone time.

I try to pray for Greg everyday.  I try to know what his needs, struggles and desires are so I can offer them up to God.  I choose different forms of prayer, but always make some offering for him.  I have grown to love offering a Novena or a rosary for Greg.  I have even tried and maybe only once succeeded in the 54 day Novena.  It is powerful and humbling for sure!

Lesson learned - Of all the people in this world Greg needs me to be praying for him.

Greg and I are more in love now than the day we married, I think he would agree.  Our love is deeper and built on all that we have experienced together.  Mostly importantly, we try to center our life around God and our faith.

Lesson learned - We still have so much to learn!

Please pray for us as we begin another chapter in our adventures together.  We are moving back out west to be near family and start a new job.

St. Joseph - pray for us!

What is the most important lesson you have learned in your marriage?  

Friday, May 15, 2015

The joys and what nots of long blogging break

Hellloooo out there!

Not sure if anyone even reads this little bloggy thing here anymore, but today it's getting an update.  Our family has been busy and going in so many different directions.

There is little news and big news around here.  So here we go...

My one year anniversary of blogging just came and went in March.  I was planning to write about how much I love the online community of Catholic women bloggers and the support that they all give one another. There is no shortage of variety and topics in this community and there is always something to learn.  A blog redesign was also on my short list.  I changed a few things about my blog but still have a lot more to do.  I updated the family photo and decided to add the sketched heart to represent my change of heart about my faith and family life.  More changes and hopefully more writing coming to the blog soon.  And thanks to my little group of readers, I appreciate your support!

We are wrapping up our first year of high school and our first year of homeschooling.  Both are huge accomplishments in my book.  We have had success in both and I plan to homeschool 2 of the kids in the fall.  High school has been great, but the reality that my oldest only has 3 more years at home is really sinking in for her and for us.  Luckily, as it is sinking in for her, I think she will try not to go to far from us.  She loves her little brothers and sister and can't imagine not seeing them.  Maybe more babies would keep all my babies in close proximity of me.  No news to report there, we are holding steady at 6 kiddos.

All the above seems like little news compared to the big news.

The big news is that we are relocating our family to Arizona for my husband's new job!  Yes, we are moving our family of 8 this summer to the sweltering desert.  I grew up in Arizona and we met and got married out there, so it is not completely foreign to us.  We are all onboard for this family adventure!  I am excited for my husband and so grateful for his hard work.

All the new "what nots" are keeping life exciting!  We are looking at high schools, houses, and parishes and hoping to be settled in a couple of months.

Ironically, I hope to have more time to blog in the coming months even as we are moving because an active job search will no longer be dominating our life.

Thanks for following along here and Gob bless!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On being 89 and saying goodbye

I recently went on a trip with my mom, my sister, my 5 year old son, and my 5 year old nephew to see my dying grandmother.  My sister and I drove the 8 hours with our boys to the city in which my grandmother lives and it was a blessing to have those 8 hours together as our lives are busy and usually consist of quick texts or 10 minute phone calls to catch up.

My sister and I connected and spoke deeply about things weighing on both of our hearts.

I think I have shared here that my dad died suddenly from melanoma cancer when I was 11 and it is my dad's mom that we went to see on this trip.  When I think of how quickly my dad died sometimes life feels very fragile.  I look at my own husband and kids and can be filled with fear for the fragility of their own lives.

But my grandma, Mary, she is one tough woman.

Although she looks fragile now at 89, I loved listening to her talk about all she has survived in her life.  It fills me with a renewed hope that we are all stronger than we think we are.

My grandma lost her own dad to turberculosis at the age of 11, she had polio when she was 9 months pregnant with her 2nd child, she had open heart surgery when she was pregnant with her 3rd child, she went on to have a total of 5 kids and my dad was the oldest and only son.  Then she lost her only son when he was a mere 35 years old.  She lost her husband, my grandpa, several years ago and yet she is still so sharp and glad to be here among her remaining family which is 4 daughters, 20 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildern!

It was hard to listen to my grandma say that she wished she could really convey in words how much she loved us.  Honestly, it reduced me to tears.

What is it like to look back at your life and want to convey the love you have for your family?  Could I even convey it in words?

It seemed hard for my grandma to find the words.

This trip reminds me how deep the human strength can be.

We can endure so much and still be happy!  

Blessed Virgin Mary - pray for us!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Back to blogging on this St. Patrick's day with an interview

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

We have been busy, busy around here and I thought I would jump back into some blogging by sharing a little about what keeps our life so busy.

Irish dancing keeps us busy!

I have had several people ask me what irish dancing is like and how we found our way into this activity.  I thought interviewing Annie would be a fun way to tell you more about it.  She is a pretty straight forward and the answers reflect that about her.  However, Annie loves this sport and she loves the frills of wigs, dresses and dance steps.

We have several practices a week and regular travel to the surrounding states for Feis competitions.  Annie is working on becoming a preliminary champion and she is currently working towards a first place award in each of her dances which is 4 to be exact.  She has been placing between 2-5th lately and hopes to start getting some firsts soon!

I love irish dancing because overall it is modest and family oriented.  We have met some great families through Annie's dance.  It is also an incredible cardio workout and so so so much fun to watch!


How did you become an Irish dancer?

My aunt did it when she was a kid and when she came to visit us once she showed us some dancing and I really wanted to try it so eventually I started taking lessons.

How much do you have to practice?

2 days a week for solos and once a week for team dances/performance numbers. 

What do you love most about being an irish dancer?

When you go to a feis and you place well and all your hard work pays off. 

What is your biggest accomplishment as a irish dancer?

When I won my solo dress a few years ago - I was so glad I didn't have to wear a school dress and I was really excited for lots of sparkles. 

What's the most painful thing about dance?

Well my worst and pretty much only major injury was when I twisted my ankle after landing on it wrong after a leap so that was no fun but in general dance is hard on your ankles knees and hips. 

How do you get your hair so curly?

It's a wig :) it takes a lot of bobby pins to hold it in place.  

What's your best memory as an Irish dancer?

The people who I dance with always make for good memories - we had a great time last year after the St. Louis feis just hanging out and having fun. 

How do you remember all the steps?

I don't know you just keep doing them until they're stuck in your brain and you just remember them.

Where do you compete?

I compete a lot of places -pretty much all over the Midwest. 

What is your goal?

Short term -To get to Preliminary champion Long term- to place at worlds. 

What kind of dance mom is your mom?

I wouldn't really say my mom is a dance mom cause she's not really into any of the sparkles or spray tan stuff but she definitely supports my dancing and wants me to do well. 

What kind of dance dad is your dad?

My dad, like my mom, isn't really a dance dad but he drives me places and he pays for all of it so he definitely helps in that way.

~Here are some photo highlights of our Irish dancer ~

Practicing her leap in the garage

On point in her hard shoes
Performing at the KC Irish Fest 
In her school uniform
In her performance outfit

This is how happy dancing makes her
She is really happy i this pic because this was the day we bought this dress

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Is it a season... or just life?

I am joining the ladies over at Blessed Is She for their Thursday link-up and this week it is all about family.

Here is an updated version of my very first blog post here at a Catholic reversal. 

Thanks for joining me!


I have a teenager, tweens and toddlers ranging in age from 14, 12, 11, 4, 3, and 15 months. So yes, I do have my hands full and am very busy most of the time.

Sometimes, I think about how easy life would be if we still just had our oldest 3 daughters.

No one would undress at the Christmas program (2 year old), no one would scream out their sister's name during her Christmas program performance (again, 2 year old), no one would hit their head on the church pew (3.5 year old), no one would cartwheel down the stairs while we visit with the lovely family who brought us dinner after the birth of #6 (again, 3.5 year old) and the baby would not be left in the car because we changed our drop off routine for Mass (way to go Dad)!

As my 3 oldest daughters have grown, so have the problems and challenges.  We would still have sibling rivalry and tears because “she wasn't nice enough to me”. Life would still be messy because teens and tweens are dumpers just like those toddlers. We would still have the chaos of navigating the decisions of high schools, friendships, sleepovers and what the chosen extra-curricular activities should be in any given year.  

Am I too old to be in the season of babies still? 

The outside world would say yes. 

We listened to the outside world for many years and were “done” with the baby season of life after #3. We opted for a vasectomy and that was it. We would be done with the difficult toddler and baby phase, and life would get easier. 

Or does it? 

God has entrusted these souls to us and we are to form their consciences and do it well so they can navigate the secular world. Like the kids, the job seems to grow bigger with each passing year. 

The baby season did pass and our 3rd daughter was about to be 3 when we realized that we had closed the door on God in our marriage and our chance to embrace this season of bringing life into the world. 

A reversal was part of God's plan for us.  

To date, we have welcomed 3 more children into our family. 

As the chaos has grown with each additional child, so has the love between us and between our children. The big girls can see how much we loved on them as babies and they see what kinds of tantrums they used to throw. They sometimes can't believe they did that...

And the 3 little ones, well, I say they are the lucky ones as I watch them get smothered with love by all their siblings and adoring friends who cannot believe “how we do it”

I am hoping that God will continue to give me the grace to handle more than I can imagine possible as long as I trust and have faith in him. 

So if the world tempts you to be “done” with this season of life you might not realize that built in babysitters and housekeepers also known as teens and tweens make life in a big family a lot easier.  

Now that I am 41, and I see my season of fertility winding down, all that help around the house gives me more time to savor these sweet babies (big and small).

What season of life are you in?  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real} in February


Genevieve got her braces on this week!  Second child and the second set of braces.  I got used to seeing them on her and it seems like they have always been there.  As bias as I am, since I am her mother, I think she looks very pretty.  I think she was extra excited too!  


Elizabeth was so happy to celebrate her baptism anniversary this week!  It was one of my New Year's resolutions to make a special dinner/dessert for each of our kid's anniversaries this year.  I have been very sporadic about it in the past, but as with everything, now that I have big girls to help with coraling and cooking, life is a lot easier.  She requested ribs and chocolate cupcakes.  YUM!


Or NOT!  I reached for a spatula the other morning as I was about to scramble some eggs and...
Someone was asleep at the switch as they we putting the knives away!  Knives in the drawer please.


Reversal #376 of my life as a mother. Life has gotten really expensive over the past few years and I am now, personally, going to cut the hair of all children under the age of 10 in our house.  If you are willing and over the age of 10 in our house, I will definitely cut your hair too.  Here is my first go at it!  Not too shabby, just a few little nicks here and there.

Linking up with Like Mother Like Daughter to share some everyday contentment from our little family life.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Some blogs you may want to check out - a link up

Today, I am joining my friend Erica over at Saint Affairs for her very first link-up!

Recently, we in the Catholic mom blogosphere, had the opportunity to vote for our favorite bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters in the Sheenazing Awards over at A Knotted Life.  Erica thought it would be wonderful to for us smaller bloggers to share what we love to read.  

I am one of the smallest, newest bloggers in the world of Catholic mom blogs.  There are so many wonderful blogs out there and they all have something inspiring to share.  I chose blogs of all varying sizes that I love to read but most of them did not make it into the final/honorable mention of the Sheenazing Awards.

Here we go!

Blog:   Saint Affairs
Author:   Erica

I have to include Erica in my list because we have become friends over the past year and she has inspired me in many ways.  She was also the first ever (outside of my family) commenter on my blog!  Erica is a talented writer and has an inspiring story to share.  I love reading about her perseverance and her talents.  You should definitely check her blog out!

Blog:  Melody's Harmonies
Author:  Melody

Melody is a young, married Catholic wife who is hoping to start a family soon.  I think we found each others blogs through another link-up.  I love reading about her adventures and decorating creations!  It is fun to read about some one's life that is so different from your own.  I remember fondly, the days of being young and newly married.  I hope that God will bless melody and her husband with a new little family member soon and she will be able to share that journey with us.

Blog:   Tima Borges
Author:   Tima

I just discovered Tima's blog within the past few weeks.  She has a reversion/reversal story as well!  She is a writer and speaker with a lot of time and energy devoted to the topic of marriage.  Check her out!

Blog:  One Catholic Mama
Author:   Amelia

Amelia has a straight forward and no nonsense blog that is full of the kind of variety that I like to read.  She is a courageous writer too!  She always inspires me to write more of what is just on my mind at any particular moment.  I love getting a sense of her life and style through her blog.

Blog:   Tattered Veil
Author:   Krystin

Krystin has an amazing reversion story!  If you love conversion stories you should check it out.  She also chronicles her life with 6 kids, who she homeschools, one of whom is autistic.  I can relate to her as we both have 4 girls and 2 boys, and we also both use the Mother of Divine Grace homeschool curriculum.

Blog:   Blossoming Joy
Author:   Melody

Melody writes about Catholic, big family life in a way that I can relate to.  She has also been married about as long as I have and so there are many posts of hers that seem to mirror my life.  I am also trying to cut the sugar addiction out of my life and she has many wonderful posts about making lifestyle changes regarding food.

Blog:   Little Catholic Bubble
Author:   Leila

Leila is a big time blogger, but I had to include her because I have learned to many more important facts about the Truths of our faith through the Little Teachings.  She is a wealth of knowledge for anyone looking to learn more about the Catholic faith.  Leila also gave me a little encouragement when I emailed her and asked if it was crazy to start a blog and share our reversion story.  She responded with, "If it changes even one heart, or is the catalyst for one new birth, then you have changed the world!"  

Do you have some lesser known blogs that you love?  

Please share or link-up with Erica so we can all enjoy some new reading!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A mother for 15 years...

I have been thinking about motherhood lately.

God has blessed our marriage abundantly in this department.  We do not know the pain and suffering of infertility.  We do know the pain of mistakes made in haste because we saw more children as a burden.  Our abundant blessing is not taken for granted.    

The 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade was just a week ago.  I was in my own mother's womb waiting to be born on January 22, 1973.  My prayers in the past week have been centered around conversion for all to see the dignity of every baby.

I am about to be 42 years old, and I see my fertile years winding down. How did that happen?  When I was in the trenches with all little kids I thought 40 seemed SO FAR AWAY.

I have discussed with a couple of my friends what a strange place our early 40's feels like.  We feel relatively young and yet we cannot take for granted anymore that we can have another baby anytime we would like.  I think it would be wonderful to have another baby, however, I can see the window closing.  It feels like now or never if we are going to try for #7.  I am enjoying my big girls and all the wonderful conversation we can have together.  And we all literally crack up at the little kid show that we get to watch daily in our house. For now, my cup feels full and I am satisfyingly tired at the end of each day.

Will I be the mother of just these 6 souls?  How blessed I am to be the mother of these 6 souls!

Back in the year 2000, when I was a youthful 27, I had my first child.  She is now a freshman in high school and will be 15 this summer.  I had my second daughter 22 months later and then a mere 16 months later, I had my third daughter.  And after our reversion, we have had 3 more babies all about 22 months apart.  I am looking at my 1 year old baby, and I am usually pregnant again by now.  For now, I do not have a strong desire to be pregnant, but we also leave it up to God and maybe NFP to make the final decision on that.  It is humbling to realize that as we age, gracefully of course, we must offer more if not all control to God.

I have learned so much over these 15 years and self-sacrifice is at the top of the list.  I used to struggle so much with giving up my time and wanting my needs to be met.  Now, after 15 years, I will take a lonely trip to Trader Joe's in the big van and it feels like a mini-vacay!  These children have helped me on my path towards living a more virtuous life, that's for sure!

How long have you been a mother?  Are you in that early 40's phase of motherhood where you feel seasoned and yet you still could imagine just one more soul in your family?

Mary, Mother of God - pray for us!

Friday, January 9, 2015

7 QT's - Christmas and all that jazz

Welcome to Friday and my 7 QT's link-up with Kelly of this ain't the lyceum!

Just a little onslaught of photos for posterity.

I think I will work back in time, so let's start with Christmas Day.

Here are some photos of the big day!  It has been so fun for our big girls to watch the excitement and anticipation the little kids have while waiting for baby Jesus and of course, PRESENTS!

pretty happy
not so happy
We had a lovely Christmas with just the 8 of us. We usually have visitors or we are traveling east or west to see family, but this year it was just us.  We all got dressed up on Christmas morn' after opening stockings and enjoyed a "small-crowd" Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel.

the kid pic
The kids put on a Christmas pageant that they planned all on their own on Christmas Eve.  They had the little ones working hard, but they had to ditch Natalie at the last minute as she was the ever uncooperative 2.5 year old.
a happy innkeeper

hoping baby Jesus will cooperate

a little blurry 
Our children love to buy small gifts for one another and we have always exchanged little gifts between the 8 of us on Christmas Eve.  I usually always buy pj's and sometimes slippers.  It is so fun to see the kids joy in sharing their gifts which are of all varieties of bought and homemade.  I love that everyone says this time, the family gift exchange, is one of their favorite parts of Christmas!

Greg and I were able to sneak away for a dinner at The Melting Pot.  This dinner was a long time coming since we had our gift certificate for almost a year!  We tried to go to dinner back around Thanksgiving.  We had reservations, had the kids all settled, and we headed out only to receive a phone call from our oldest daughter as we pulled into our parking spot.  She said, "The police are at the front door!"  She was trying to stay calm and was not sure if she should open the door or not, poor thing!  Our kind neighbors came over and checked on all the kids.  It turns out it was our neighborhood security people and they were concerned that they smelled fire.  Luckily, there was no fire and we would have had no luck at dinner that night since Greg realized he forgot our gift certificate.

second time's a charm
A few more shots from Christmas day...

coming down the stairs

exactly what she hoped for!

thanks, Grammy!
The new year is here and I hope to blog more regularly!  My word for the year is Prayer.  You can read more about that here.

Stay warm this weekend!