a book on grief for all of us

November 27, 2018

I’m not well-acquainted with grief. My parents are still alive and in good health. I’ve got all four siblings still alive and kicking. My four children have no lost siblings waiting for them in the afterlife. My family of origin has only two deceased aunts & uncles out of 12. So while I don’t wear grief comfortably, increasingly it’s journeying alongside me. My cousin whom I grew up with’s little daughter, a year older than our oldest, is on hospice at home from brain cancer. Another close friend passed from cancer earlier this year, a loss so large it’s hard to mourn. And other adults in my life lost to cancer. But the grief Laura and Franco Fanucci have walked through, and AA and I have walked alongside them at times, is an entirely different burden. Miscarriage. Babies lost as premies from a terrible tragedy. Babies longed for and waited for with heavy empty wombs. These griefs these write about in their book, “Grieving Together: A Couple’s Journey through Miscarriage.” And it’s a book like nothing I’ve ever seen! It addresses loss for both the parents, not just discounting the dad like so many others out there. It gathers many stories from other couples, too. The resources for parishes and couples is astounding. There’s a whole chapter on understanding the Catholic Church’s intricate teaching on loss in the womb. And if you’re still sorting through your own suffering, it’s a book you can piece through, not one you have to…

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Books for 1-3rd graders that we love

November 4, 2018

My sister and I were talking about books her daughter (2nd grade) and my son (3rd) are really loving and then I thought, I should just do a blog post about them because then I’ll remember them myself! So please tune in at the bottom and tell me what you guys are loving reading in your household at these ages. I’m using my amazon links so that means if you click through and buy anything I get a sliver. Just so you know. F A M I L Y Mercy Watson. This pig is a family favorite and her adventures are ha-larious. Anything by Kevin Henkes. Especially the Lilly books. Especially this one. Great Pie Robbery and other mysteries. A HUGE family favorite. Millie-Molly-Mandy. Girl adventure power tales from the 1920’s.   C H A P T E R Pony Scouts. This early reader (level 2) is kinda a chapter series but it’s also just a really fun one for any horse lovers out there. I can’t find a boxed set so I just am contented to buy them one-off used via ‘zon. Magic Treehouse, of course. Freddy the Pig. It’s hilarious and my son wolfed it down. There are tons of them so also grabbing them used. Narnia. Got a used box set and it’s so sweet. The Penderwicks. Adventure, kids, all good stuff. American Adventures. He got the whole set as a gift from my family and every single one was riveting and he loved these. He’s a…

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watching and letting them grow

October 22, 2018

She IS the mini boss around here. I’m finding that letting my kids learn and grow means a lot of me observing. Of course I step in and stop the fighting. Like, you know, every other minute or so. But when no one’s life is imperiled, and I can actually keep my hands to myself, I try to just observe. Observe them laughing and saying funny dramatic off-key things. Observe them negotiating and haggling with a honed craft to make any street vendor proud. Observe them making dire proclamations about whomever they’re hating on that moment (Mama side bar: “we only hate the Devil”). And when I observe and I take meager mental notes and I pat myself on the back or, just as quickly, kick my own shins as to where they learned THAT, I remember. They are not mine. They are their own. They aren’t accomplishments of mine. They are their own masterpieces unfolding. They aren’t just an inverse of the mirror in Snow White (showing me my worst). They are their own struggling, gasping, reaching spirited person. Prone to virtue and vice. Made in the image of their Creator. I still have many years of big parenting work ahead. Guiding and teaching, disciplining and snuggling. But today, and maybe for you, too, today I am content to letting them grow with a little water and a little sun and a whole lot of air. — If you haven’t seen that the Blessed is She Advent reflection book is…

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Letters, Fall, School, Sanity, Sewing

September 6, 2018

This is probably a 7 quick takes but I may only have enough steam for 6! Joining up with Kelly and the ole gang because she hosts the best party on the internet. 1) Letters If you haven’t joined the 41, 538! 38,718 Catholic women on the internet who wrote to Pope Francis, I don’t know what’s holding you back. These are women from across the spectrum of politics and social justice, education levels and employment. We are the wide tent of the Church respectfully requesting answers. Please, check it out. 2) Fall It’s sweater weather, on a much lighter note. My favorite very short season. I love autumn in Saint Paul. I love the crisp mornings, brisk walks, and cool evenings. I love that I can go outside without my sweat sticking me everywhere. Fav season but it lasts about three blinks. 3) School The big kids are launched! I cannot tell you how relieved I am to see our first grader loving it up. She has had moments of frustration and exhaustion but she recovers her mood more quickly than ever before and still awakens at the crack of dawn, awakening me too to “ZIP ME UP” a la Lucille Blueth. Our fierce, snuggly four year old will do two mornings of nature school and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with mama and toddler baby sister as classroom “helpers” though how much can I help when I’m prying her dead grip off the easter egg tray? Otherwise it’s…

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Musings on our sweetest summer

August 29, 2018

It was my best summer as a mom. I finally figured out why. Our days had just enough flow and just enough ebb. We only had a few activities: swimming/tennis down the street and violin for our oldest. We did a few sessions of the rec league gymnastics we signed up for but enthusiasm ran low on that so we just stopped. And that was part of the peace: if something wasn’t working, I had the flexibility to say, let’s not do it anymore. In sharp contrast to years past when I thought we paid so we must go. If it’s taking years off my life, meh! Also: don’t pay extravagantly for anything you aren’t willing to suffer through forcing your children to do. And I’m only willing to stake my claim in violin, so the rest of it: nope. Our amazing babysitter (wahhhhh at college wahhhhhh) took the kids to swimming and tennis lots of days so I could chill with the baby at home. That was an enormous load off my shoulders. She is a gem, literally. We have never had consistent babysitting help and I will always budget for it now. We did fun outings but only when everyone was in the mood and I had the energy. The MIA, the farmer’s market, the library, a dear friend’s horse barn, etc. I am too old to drag children around to have “fun”–again, just nope. Two kids out of four still nap. I covered this in a highlights video on…

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What Did I Buy Online in the Last 6 Months?

July 17, 2018

It’s maybe the free shipping, or mostly saving me the hassle of trekking through a store with my four small children, but yes, most of my purchases for me, the kids, and the household, have been online in the last #forever Amazon prime day is some kind of celebration/deals day for Amazon? Trying to get people to sign up to be Prime members? I haven’t read the fine print. But I did think it would be interesting to see what I’ve bought on Amazon lately. So all of these are my affiliate links meaning I get a few cents based on what you buy through the link. Doesn’t cost you anything! H O U S E Shelves. These, these, and these. Finally hung more of this in the basement because #clothdiapers #drybetter Huge glass jars for my husband’s kefir obsession. K I D S For my rambunctious four year old boy, this has kept him happy for days! He’s all about tools. For my six year old girl, this is the perfect bribe gift for finishing her reading lessons. We literally set it in front of us, in the packaging, as we work through All About Reading. My eight year old wanted this stack of cards for a friend of his. M E This pink dress that I really love. Most exciting mom purchase of all. B O O K S My dear friend Laura’s forthcoming book on miscarriage. My sweet friend Haley’s forthcoming book on their life path. My amazing friend…

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