Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: One Whole Year

{In all pictures but two, Peter is on the left, Ethan on the right.  Can you tell which two are different?}

In the hospital, born May 30, 2011 (picture probably taken 5/31/2011)

Probably one month old (I didn't label this picture)

2 months, 7/30/2011

13 weeks, 8/29/2011

17 weeks, 9/26/2011

5 months, 10/30/2011

7 months and a week or so, Jan. 2012

8 months, 1/30/2012

9 months, 2/30/2012 (I love the smirk on Peter's face!)

About 10 months old (I'm so bad about dating pictures!!)

Easter Sunday, 4/8/2012

11 months old, 4/30/2012

1 day shy of 12 months, 5/29/2012

Happy Birthday, Boys!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Witnessing to Life

This morning my husband, my two boys, and I joined with other friends to attend a Memorial Mass for a little child who left this life way too soon.  It was a beautiful Mass and I felt privileged to attend and be a witness for the sanctity of life.

Our friends struggled for several years with infertility.  They had prayed and discerned the road to adoption and had started the mounds of paperwork when they suddenly became pregnant.  Nine months later they welcomed into their lives an adorable little girl who, I might add, is as cute as a button.  Then this spring they became pregnant again.  Unfortunately, this pregnancy ended all too soon.  Through prayer, our friends both had strong feelings that this precious life that was lost was another girl.  With that they were able to name her and I absolutely love the name they picked: Rachel Philomena.

Today was all dedicated to Rachel Philomena.  The Mass was beautiful, the priest offered encouragement in his homily for us to all be united with Rachel in heaven one day, and in the intentions we prayed for all mothers who have experienced loss or are still waiting.

And then at the end of Mass, as the priest was processing out, many in the congregation started singing the first line of a Marian hymn that I now can't remember.  But no announcement was made, it seemed spontaneous to me (but I don't regularly attend this parish, so maybe this is the norm at daily Mass there?).  And it was perfect!  I started feeling a little teary thinking of Mary and baby Rachel and all the babies who lived such short lives before God brought them home to be with Him.

As many of us gathered in the lobby area of the church after Mass, my friend introduced the priest to a couple of us and told him that we all met through an infertility support group.  I then had to laugh at the thought.  Here we were, four women who had met through an infertilty support group yet there we stood: three of us with children and two of us pregnant.  We certainly didn't look like a group of infertile women!

But that's the beauty of this support group.  We have become friends and support each other in many ways. These women have been there for me during my losses, we have all prayed for each other in times of surgeries and failed adoptions, helped each other out through months of bed rest, supported each other during various attempts with fertility drugs, shots, and blood draws, commiserated over doctors who don't understand the Catholic position, and we come together in many ways to celebrate successes but also to grieve and mourn with each other.  I really couldn't ask for a better group of friends.

And so today, we all came together to witness to the life of Rachel Philomena.  Little Miss Rachel represents many hopes and dreams for all of us.  We have all prayed endlessly for children and God has heard those prayers, but sometimes those prayers are answered in ways we don't expect.  Rachel's short life may be insignificant to some, but not to us.  We know that her life was important and cherished just as much as any child.  Her life stands as a witness to all of us that every life in the womb is cherished and should be welcomed into the world no matter the circumstances or how long or short that life may be.

And with a name like that, she has some pretty powerful intercessors to guide her in praying for all of us still here in this world.  I feel privileged that I was able to be a part of today's Mass and to be a witness for the sanctity of life as proclaimed to us through Rachel Philomena and her amazing parents.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day ...

To my mom for all she has done and still does for me!

To my mother-in-law for raising such a wonderful son!

To my husband's grandmother, for being such a sweet lady and a great grandmom!

To Peter and Ethan's Godmommies, for being faithful role models for them as they grow up.

To all the mother's in my family, aunts, sister, sisters-in-law, cousins, for all you do to raise great kids!!

To all my friends who are mothers and work hard every day to provide the best you can for your children.

To all those whose babies are already in Heaven.  Your faithfulness in the face of pain and suffering and your prayers for your children make you amazing moms!

To all those facing an unplanned pregnancy, that you will recognize that you are already a mother as well, will accept the child within you, and give that child the life he or she deserves.

To all those who are spiritual mothers to those around them.  May your prayers be fruitful in the lives of all you touch.

For all those mothers who have gone on to the next world: especially my two grandmothers, my husband's paternal grandmother, my Aunt Janet, and many other mothers who are missed every day.

And most especially, to Our Lady, the Blessed Mother.  Thank you for being the ultimate role model of motherhood. and thank you for continued prayers for all mothers of this world.

Friday, May 11, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday, vol. 41


I never liked Biology in school.  I had to take it in college and I opted to do it over the summer so it was the only class I took.  But there are still some basic biology concepts that did stay with me.  I am starting to think that's not the case for many people.  I get all sorts of interesting comments from people when I am out with my twins.  Sometimes I just don't know what to say, most of the time I don't say anything.


Sometimes conversations with strangers go something like this:

Stranger: Oh, are they twins?
Me: Yes.
S: They look a lot alike, are they identical?
Me: Why yes, they are.
S: That's so cool!  Do you have one of each or are they the same?
M: No, both the same, two boys.

I'm not going to tell a stranger that identical means everything is identical.  I hope it is that people just aren't thinking when they ask this question.  Or maybe they have forgotten that identical means one fertilized egg that splits.  How can you get a boy and a girl out of one fertilized egg?  I do find these conversations highly amusing, but more and more I find myself walking away from these conversations shaking my head in disbelief.  It's getting harder to give people the benefit of the doubt the more I run into some variation of this conversation.


Just a couple days ago I was checking out at the grocery store in the self-check lanes.  I was the only customer so the cashier came over to see the babies and she struck up a conversation.  First she tells me that she and her boyfriend have been talking about having a kid.  {Um, yeah, okay, thanks for sharing!}  Then she goes on to tell me how there are twins in his family, lots of them, and that they skip a generation and his mom was a twin and that most of them are boy/girl twins [i.e. fraternal] blah, blah, blah.  So of course HE is going to have twins.  I couldn't help myself.  I usually don't say anything to people, but this time I couldn't contain it.  I turned to her and said: "I don't think your boyfriend's family history is going to have any effect on your fertility."

Just in case you don't know, if your husband comes from a family with lots of fraternal twins, that will have NO effect on whether or not you release one egg or two (or more) eggs during a cycle.  If the fraternal twins are on your side of the family ... that's a different story, maybe.


And let me just say here that I haven't looked much into whether or not fraternal twins really are passed down within a family or not. I have identical twins, so I don't really care.  But from the little I have heard, it is not necessarily true that fraternal twins are passed down through families.  Maybe it is, I don't know.


I'm also tired of people asking me if twins run in my family.  Just to set the record straight: identical twins are random.  So it doesn't matter.


I've made an interesting discovery.  When I go out with the boys I either gets lots of strangers wanting to see the babies or talk to me or I see people trying to check the boys out without appearing to be gawking (and I'm okay with the gawkers, it means I don't have to get into a conversation with a stranger).  Or, I get absolutely nothing at all.  And it all depends on how the boys are being transported, which depends a lot on what store I'm in and what or how much stuff I am getting.

Scenario #1 (moderate to heavy grocery store trip): The boys are strapped into their double stroller that I push with one hand while I pull a small grocery cart with the other.  In this scenario we get lots of looks, etc.  In one of my trips to the grocery this week I even had a gentleman call me, "Hey, ma'am!" from about 10 feet or so away.  I thought maybe I had dropped something or he knew me from somewhere.  But no, he just wanted to see the boys.

Scenario #2 (light grocery store trip): One baby gets to sit in the seat of the grocery cart while the other baby stays in his car seat in the basket of the cart.  I put one of the carry baskets in the bottom of the cart to hold whatever I'm picking up.  I have yet to attract attention for having twins in this scenario.  I like shopping this way!


I'm slowly getting used to attracting attention.  I'm an introvert, I don't normally engage strangers in conversation.  I'm learning that being out with two babies that are incredibly adorable {not that I'm biased or anything} and look exactly alike is going to attract attention.  After almost a year, I'm still not completely used to it, and not sure I will ever get used to it, but it is an endless source of amusement.

For more Quick Takes head on over to Hallie Lord's blog, Betty Beguiles, who is graciously hosting this week.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Special Girl

When I think of my children I think of them all very differently.  Any parent can relate to that concept.  Our children are all very different.  We love them all the same and can't imagine life without them, but we know they are all different.

As a mother of three babies in heaven, I even see all of them in different ways too.  It seems normal to me, but I'm sure may be hard to imagine if you've never lost a baby.  But stick with me and maybe the concept will get clearer.

Casey still seems mysterious to me.  I think of her as a girl, though we never knew for sure, and I believe that influences my view of her as a quiet, motherly-type child.  She's my first child, too, so it fits.  I feel like she is close to Mary and watches over both her two siblings that are with her in heaven and her two brothers here on earth.

Zachary is my sweet, little boy who loves his siblings and wants to protect them.  He's my big protector with the big heart..  I'm guessing the Blessed Mother has to reel in his enthusiasm sometimes (and I kind of feel like I have evidence of that too).

My two boys here, Peter and Ethan, are full of love and are beyond curious about the world.  Peter is the more aggressive one, he knows what he wants and he'll go over anything (and anyone) to get to it.  I can't tell you how many times Ethan has landed on the floor because of Peter's one-track mind.  Ethan is a bit more passive. He has the cutest gleam in his eye when he smiles.  I think there is a trouble-maker lurking under that cute smile, but so far Peter's antics have shown through more.  I carry a secret wish in my heart for Ethan.

And then, there is Brigit.  My sweet little Brigit.  She is the child who truly holds a special place in my heart.  They all do, but there is just something special about her.  Based on what we learned about her after the miscarriage, I know that she would have been a special needs child had she lived and been carried to term.  Every time I think of her in heaven I see her under her big brother Zachary's protection.

For me, Brigit is the silent child.  She is watched over and cared for by her two older siblings.  I also think she is a powerful intercessor.  Although I think of her as silent, it is a holy kind of silence that I'm sure radiates from her.  It's hard to explain.  It's a feeling I have, maybe it's mother's intuition, maybe something else.  I feel that if she was with us here today she would be just like I imagine her: a silent, sweet child who has a power to make people smile and laugh despite any physical or mental handicaps she may have.

She is definitely one of God's special children.  As I reflect back today, the day I like to set aside for remembering my Brigit Ann, I am sad that I was not given the opportunity to parent this special child.  But I am also happy that she gets to spend eternity in heaven, is a powerful intercessor before God, and can bring smiles to the saints all around her.

Check out the Tribute to Brigit I wrote last year.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Thinking about Mary

Today you can read part of my pregnancy loss story over at Catholic Sistas.

A little over four years ago I experienced my first miscarriage.  It was the beginning of a dark time for me as I would go on to have two additional losses (a stillbirth and another miscarriage) over the next two and a half years.  But at the time I wasn’t aware of what the future held (thank goodness for that).  My mind was only on the present sadness enveloping me.

As I reflected on the month of May and honoring our Blessed Mother, I found myself returning to thoughts of that first miscarriage.  The thing is, at the time of that miscarriage, I didn’t really have much of a devotion to Mary.  I wasn’t hung up at all worrying that a devotion to her might detract from my devotion to Christ.  It wasn’t that.  I just hadn’t ever bothered.  But I had a desire to seek a deeper relationship with her knowing that through her I would also deepen my relationship with her Son.

So really it came as something of a shock to me when in the days following the miscarriage I often had thoughts of Mary holding my little baby for me.  There she was in my mind’s eye wrapping that precious child in her loving arms.

Read the rest of the story over at Catholic Sistas.

Friday, May 04, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday, vol. 40


Before the boys afternoon nap on Thursday, Peter had carried a small, plastic toy hammer up with him that I had put on their dresser.  So when I got them up a couple hours later, I handed the hammer to Ethan to occupy him while I changed him.  Peter, I discovered, is very attached to that hammer.  When I placed Ethan down on the floor Peter, who had already been changed and was on the other end of the room, spotted the hammer and made a beeline toward Ethan.  I could see his eyes fixed on that hammer.  Ethan meanwhile had no idea that the object he was crawling around with (clanging against the hardwood floor) was now the object of his brother's affection.  Just as Peter got within reach, Ethan innocently turned a different direction.  I laughed as I watched Peter stop while his eyes followed the movement of the hammer.  This happened a couple more times and was quite the site!!  Ethan was clueless.  So cute!!  Finally, Ethan decided to pull himself up on the changing table, but he had to let go of the hammer.  He put it up on the shelf, let go to pull himself up on his feet, and Peter made his move.  He reached up, grabbed the hammer, and crawled away.  The whole show was so funny!!  And to top it off, I don't think Ethan even realized that the toy hammer had disappeared.


Although I haven't been writing as much on the blog as I would like, I am still writing.  Just not here.  I recently put up my last interview on the blog that serves as an employee newsletter of sorts at my work.  Before leaving for my sabbatical I did several interviews for the series I was doing on "What we're Reading."  The last one is what I finally up called "What we're Reading: from Sonnets to Manga."  I really enjoyed doing this series and hope to continue doing it when I return to work in July.  It's been fun to talk to people who work in a library about what they are reading.


I also have posted a few new posts on my sabbatical project blog.  If you're interested in those, you can check it out at Music Recitals Project.  I wrote up a couple at the end of April and another one just yesterday.


I've also been working on some posts for Catholic Sistas (watch for one from me coming on Monday).  Do you read Catholic Sistas?  If so, we would love for you to come "like" our Facebook Fan Page.  And while you're at it, come follow Catholic Sistas on Twitter as well: Catholic_Sistas.  And, spread the word, please!!


I am so lucky!!  I have a great community around me!  Some friends of mine and I made plans for next week to have a girl's night out.  How many groups of friends plan to go out together and have the plans start with evening Mass?  I CAN NOT wait until next Wednesday!  So much so actually, that for most of THIS Wednesday I thought it was that night.  I was so disappointed when I realized I was a week off. 

And then I got a call this week from another friend.  She invited me to go with her to a MOMs group gathering.  This MOMs group is at our parish, but I have never attended.  I usually work, so it's not something I can attend.  Since being home on sabbatical I thought about it, but I haven't yet made room for it in our schedule.  But this was an evening thing!!  A gathering at a member's house to say a Rosary together followed by socializing.  That just sounds so wonderful to me!!  And I'd be able to meet other moms from our parish.  Unfortunately I realized that the night in question won't work for me.  Sad again!!  But I hope this group will do it again and I can have another chance to join them.


You know what is lacking from this blog?  Pictures!!!  I'm sure you're all wondering if I ever take pictures of my two boys.  Well, yes, I do.  The problem is getting them off my camera to use.  Actually, the problem is time.  I actually have several pictures on the camera that I'd love to share.  The boys are getting so big!  They are 11 months old now.  Where has the time gone??


Finally, a question for all of you married readers: Are you and your spouse involved in any ministries at your parish together?  Like both on the same committee or whatever?  I would like to become more involved in my parish again and would like to do it with my husband.  I have some ideas, but I'm curious what others do.  Pre-Cana classes?  NFP classes?  Something else?  Share in the comments, please!!

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at