Whole Parenting Family

Catching up in 7 quick takes


Hi friends! Linking up with Kelly & crew. I feel like I’ve been so absent from my lil blog lately and it’s mostly been because of the wonderful weekend retreat we hosted for the Blessed is She team, but also a little because getting into the groove of having a first grader and part-time preschooler means I’m living in my car.

People always talked about being a mom meant living in your car.

I had no idea what they meant.


My car has bug spray, raisins, wipes, water bottles, a variety of Jim Weiss cds, and a handful of changes of clothing. And these are the items I actually have planned to have in there. Remnants of all of them are scattered and dug into the upholstery. First grade is awesome! SuperBoy loves it so much. I’m getting accustomed to not worrying about what he’s doing and just cherish that he is enjoying himself, learning, and making new friends.

A handful of hours a week of nature prek has been a dream for our lil SweetPea! I was (of course, really? yes, of course) more nervous than she was as she watched her big bro go through it all last year. She never says goodbye, she tells me to leave her at the classroom door, and she can’t contain her joy when we pick her up because she got really, really muddy. She’s doing Catechesis too and her favorite part? Playing with lentils because “they’re like dog food.” There you go. Real holy roller.

The MonsterTot (formerly BabyLoves? How does one re-nickname a cute toddler who still bites?) and I nap. And that’s our life between driving around.



The Blessed is She retreat was amazing! Jenna Guizar has founded an incredible movement. We had over 20 women fly in from around the country that are writers and creatives, and then the nine amazing local gals here drove them all from the airport to our house. We kinda played grown-up camp and spent Friday gabbing, with some ladies exploring Saint Paul, and others just nestling into the house and the fudge my mom made. We zipped out to the Lodge Friday night in one long line of cars and made a bonfire (well, one of us is a girl scout so she made it and we cheered), roasted smores (it had been a decade or two for me), prayed a Rosary, and generally got to go deep fast in conversations.

Saturday was a handful of workshops & business talks with ample opportunities for milling about (or resting for the introverts), a hike on the property, and small group discussion. My amazing mom, sister, and dear friend Shea worked tirelessly to prep our meals and clean up after us. I even had an hour nap in! Spoiled!

We did haul all of our butts + 6 babies to the little country night mass Saturday night only to discover VIA A NOTE ON THE DOOR that Mass time had changed to an hour earlier in a neighboring small town. Really? REALLY?? But it meant we got to snuggle in the dark woods of the night (inside, though, because: bugs) with our vino, array of desserts, and hear a spiritual visionary talk by one of our writers. She leads retreats and you can tell. The candles all lit provided the perfect ambiance for it and so really, really, it was okay that night mass was cancelled.

Sunday was a day for quiche, leftovers, Mass (six pews filled by us!), and trips to the airport. Some ladies got to go back to the cities to attend Erica’s art workshop (look for one in your city!), and others got to help me move the 10 mattresses we had hauled out there onto the porch. Yes, it was a lot of floor beds and some ladies even slept in large closets (true troopers).

I hated to watch them file out of the door. I just wanted for all of us to stay frozen in that moment in time, together, able to hug and comfort and encourage each other. It felt very nostalgic while taking place, which is a real juxtaposition. Follow #bisteamretreat if you want to see our social media pics!

Back to normal life, but I feel very fortified by the prayers & love & community we’re building with Blessed is She. If you aren’t a (free) subscriber to the daily devotional emails, you should be. And we’re having a Blessed Brunch west of the Cities this Saturday! And Susanna runs a Blessed is She small group in Saint Paul! So many ways to connect.


Probably due to the joy and not sleeping because I stayed up late talking talking talking, my hyperemesis which had felt under control with medication and watching my exertion has flared up again. This morning while leaning over a bucket while on the toilet I thought, why do my kids wait until this moment to start hitting each other? as the shrieks shook the bathroom door. Why do I even bother closing the door? Closed door = bad behavior. I guess I was trying to spare them any trauma of watching me be sick? Seems like they’re not that bothered by it–except as an incentive to whack each other with any available tools/weapons.

I’m 27 1/2 weeks. This little girl will come soon enough and then I’ll have new challenges and throwing up will be behind me. I’m just reminding myself this is one particular physical challenge. But hey, none of my kids are doing drugs or experiencing psychotic breaks or need extended hospital stays. So really? This part of parenting and growing a baby is hard but it’s not as bad as parenting gets. Not by a long shot.


I made these pumpkin bars for the retreat. And then I ate a ton of them. Probably not smart. BUT SO GOOD.


Today is my last day for Whole Parenting Goods baby leggings pre-sale! I’ll be spending the next two weeks sewing up all your orders so I had to have a cutoff at some point. Although I actually only have a lil fabric left in the more dainty of fabrics! If you want to snag some, use code {shippingfree} and get ’em while you can.

Next I’m finishing up my winter blankets & gift sets. Then probably taking a longish break after this Christmas baby girl arrives. I’ll miss it. I love working with textiles so very, very much.


Hallie’s book  . . . can’t wait to read it. Jenna’s new book . . . coming out soon and I loved her other one so this one will be great! Cristina’s shop is open and I love all of her work . . . .Rakhi’s prints are so so beautiful . . . I love watching talented friends do such beautiful things with their talents!


Finding a routine for a prayer life has been really hard. So has finding a routine for anything, everything (working out? meal planning? errand running?). I am frustrated with myself for not being out of survival mode yet, and entering my third trimester still feeling like each day is an avalanche. I know this is how pregnancy is for me, but it’s very humbling.

I have found solace in my husband’s running. His marathon is in two weeks and somehow him having a regularity (he trains 7 days a week in the very early hours) has given me something to cling to that is of certainty. AA will run and be happier as a result so even if the house is wreck and I have unintended dreds, again, it’s okay.

If anyone has finding-a-routine-while-feeling-sick tips, tell me! I don’t have a ton of energy but I really aspire to get out of this rut. If possible. I’m also feeling larger than a house so I might actually be stuck, physically, in the rut.


  1. Jenny @ Unremarkable Files on September 23, 2016 at 6:46 am

    RE living in your car: yes! And as your older kids get bigger, you feel that your babies are being raised in the minivan!

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 23, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      Haha I’m already feeling that with this toddler so I’m sure I’ll be feeling it triple when the baby arrives in December!

  2. Tacy on September 24, 2016 at 6:45 am

    I’m glad the retreat went well!

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 25, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      It was SO blessed!!

  3. Laurel on September 28, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    SO glad you posted that pumpkin bar recipe. I could eat those all day, every day. In fact, I brought one with me to eat on the plane, but, alas, had in parked in the bag that was in the overhead bin. It was on my bed as I was unpacking the next day and my youngest decided to POKE it to death. She brought it in while I was washing laundry, proudly announcing that she had POKED it. Thanks so much, child.
    Now, I can make more. 🙂

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      Poked. POKED!!? Hahahah