Friday, November 6, 2020

Look who’s blogging!

What is even happening, is this real? The blog is back! For today. Where to even begin?! Linking with Kelly! 

1) I was reading through my blog the other day, reminiscing about my oldest pre-teens being little toddlers and realized it is simply unjust that I’ve given so little blog-attention to my younger half. So here are a few gems:

2) Yesterday all the kids were talking about their belly buttons (naturally) and Joe was pointing out that we ALL have belly buttons (but kept insisting on calling them “navels”) He went around the room identifying that each person had one and once he got to me he said “even mom has a navel! A super OLD and shriveled and wrinkled navel!” 

He’s not wrong.

3) I don’t know if have many good quotes from Fred but I have decided that he is quite possibly the most delightful human being on the face of the earth, and I could sit and converse with him for hours and not get bored. His favorite thing to do is talk incessantly about things that he is actually fairly scared of, most of which he has actually made up himself. 

For instance: he has created several islands in his head that are located “off the coast of Asia” (everything is in Asia in his head) They are called “Souf(like “south but with an F)-A-Fanna” and “Mada-creepy-island” (no relation to Madagascar, surprisingly). Both islands are the home of all the “cweepy fings”, such as: lava monsters (which he also calls “dangerous habits”), skulls, mummies, pirates, dinosaurs, mannequins (he is terrified of mannequins). Maybe this is a coping mechanism, like if he mentally puts all the things that freak him out on far away islands he doesn’t need to worry about them? Either way it’s thorough entertaining, 4-year-olds are the best. 

3) Then there’s Anastasia. Sweet perfect Anastasia who can do no wrong in the world (winketty wink). I actually hopped on my blog to try to jog my memory as to whether my older 3 girls were as insanely clingy as she is (Bernadette and Lucy absolutely were, thank you blog). She had about a week long jag of alwaysalwaysalwayscryingnevernotcrying and I was sure something was wrong but then she suddenly stopped and started saying actual words and having lengthy (albeit unintelligible) conversations with us and I breathed a long sigh of relief that she was just going through a legit development and we would be avoiding sending her to toddler counseling. For now.

4) One of the reasons that these gems have gone undocumented on the Internets is that I went ahead and deactivated the Old Insta-account for now, (and I go back and fourth deactivating and reactivating Facebook depending on the extent to which I desperately need to peruse Facebook marketplace.) At some point I realized that I was constantly thinking about life in Instagram captions and that’s just weird. Also I was totally baffled by why, after 30+ minutes of Instagram scrolling I was spiraling with anxiety (wasn’t actually baffled). Why do I suddenly feel like my house isn’t pretty enough, my husband didn’t bring me enough (or any) breakfast in bed, and my children were all wrong- in all ways? So I decided to take a break and see if it made a difference and it was huge. I got back on for a few days and that’s all it took to see that it just shouldn’t be in my life right now. Maybe one day I will be a totally mature, confident woman with complete self-mastery and no insecurities and will be able to handle it but for now I’ll be mostly off. That being said I’ll probably pop on to post that I wrote this- because let’s be honest, who even knows what blogging is anymore? Hypocrisy thy name is Ana. 

5) Just in case anyone was wondering, daylight  savings does not get any easier the more kids you have. Going on almost a week of 4 am wake times, which is only killing me a little. Also in case you were wondering: you’re never too old to complain about daylight savings.

6) What else? I made these snickerdoodle bars the other day and they were absolutely amazing. I really want to make this cake today because I basically can’t stop baking right now**. Hashtag fall. 

7) Lastly here’s some photographic evidence of all the children on All Saints Day, which is where the above 3 photos were from (I don’t just dress my kids up like that on a daily basis.)

Our lady of Fatima, Saint Cecilia, Saint Kateri Saint Sebastian, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, and little Saint Jacinta. 

**Since beginning this post I actually baked said cake and it was... OK. I wouldn’t bake it again. I know you were all dying to know how that turned out. You’re welcome.

Until next year, Happy weekend!!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Quaranteaster Quick Takes

Linking up late with Kelly, the ever faithful Friday quick takes hostess.

1) Speaking of linking up, I know I floated the idea of  doing an Easter outfit  link-up but then I realized that it was a very overly-ambitious idea for someone who has shown herself to be the worst, most inconsistent of bloggers. Also there was a decent percentage of our family that only had t-shirts and gym shorts on all day (ahem Joe and Fred) and we never did get a family picture like I had hoped and dreamed. But! I will take this opportunity to showcase my new favorite dress that I did actually wear the entire day, because it is one of my best thrift store purchases and was procured for only $1 (!!) My girls loved it so much and would not stop telling me how beautiful it was all day and our resident 11 year old photographer kept asking me if she could take pictures of me in it. So here you go, just me, in my one dollar dress, no link up, no family picture, sounds about right for this Easter.

2) I attempted to get back to running last week and after one attempt I ended up posting this on Twitter:

I only wish someone had been around recording me because it would have made such a perfect GIF. I was also thoroughly impressed with my own ability to jump back up after wiping out just to escape the eyes of the many onlookers. I took that as my sign that running really is not for me right now and have not attempted another run since. It was a nice idea while it lasted, but I think I'll just stick with my trusty old Jillian workouts where no one can see me.

3) After 3 weeks of zero trips outside the confines of our yard with the kids, we decided to venture to a nearby open field area with a nice walking path next to it and it was utterly glorious. It was so surreal to get into the car with the kids and realize it had been almost a month since we'd done that.

Fred frequently wears clip-on neck ties with his t-shirts. I hope he does it forever. The weather was so gorgeous last week and I'm trying to just focus on my gratitude for that gift instead of complaining about the really crummy weather we've got coming this week, but will likely devote an entire quick take to complaining about it once this week is done.

4) We had a really nice Easter Sunday despite being quarantined, but I would be a lying liar if I said it wasn't kind of crushing to not attend Mass. It definitely was. We are really close to our neighbors (i.e. our house is actually connected to our neighbor's house) and since they are older and were not able to see their grand-kids for Easter they asked if they could fill eggs and hide them in our yard for a little Easter morning egg hunt. It was the sweetest. Then MORE of our friends dropped off eggs for us to hide for another hunt in the afternoon followed by a supper fun ZOOM group chat where we prayed together, so many blessings from a very good God during this weirdest and hardest of times.

5) We spent the better part of Triduum and Easter watching the show The Chosen with the kids and even though I only really caught little bits (Fred the 3-year-old was maybe not its intended audience) it was one of the most well done and beautiful shows about the life of our Lord I've ever seen. I highly recommend.

6) We don't usually take a spring break for our homeschool because I prefer to end early and begin summer sooner but we also don't usually operate under stay at home orders for months on end. So as acting principal and superintendent and the only teacher for all the grade levels of Clairvaux Academy I made a last minute executive decision to have holy week be our spring break. I figure we will just do school a bit longer this year since, well, we won't have anything else to do and the structure is good for these long days in the house. After a week off I have come to the conclusion that I have ever needed a break from homeschooling as much as I needed this one. I got to do things like clean the house and read to the 3 year old without feeling like someone's education was being neglected. Plus we played games during the day and went on bike rides and it was really wonderful. I'll be spending the rest of today planning for the rest of the week and I'm maybe dreading it a tiny bit but I'm sure it'll be ok. I learned a valuable lesson though: let yourself take breaks!

7) I'm making chicken cordon bleu casserole tonight with our Easter ham leftovers and I'm maybe a little bit excited because 1) I LOVE ham leftovers and 2) I'm basically Liz Lemon.

Give me all your favorite Easter ham leftover recipes and have a wonderfully  happy quarantEaster Week!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

baking and birthdays and big headed babies, oh my!

I know, I know I'm going overboard with this blogging enthusiasm, even posting quick takes an entire day early! I have to say that posting last week gave me this wonderful old-school thrill of blogging days of yore. Lets bring them back.

1) I know up until that last post I hadn't attempted another "run" of any sort, mostly because I'm seriously struggling to find the motivation to do anything other than day drink and pound handfuls of white cheddar Smart Pop (which cannot be considered "smart" when consumed in the vast quantities in which I consume it, but I digress). However a few days after I shared about my accidental 5k and my general commitment to never run again, my sister started a really cool Easter5k on Facebook, which has given some small new found motivation to to something, other than exercise my forearm muscles with extreme snacking. I've been on 2 whole runs since last week and haven't gotten lost once! I'm basically an Olympic hopeful.

2) I turned a whopping 35 years old on Tuesday and I have to say it was the weirdest-ass birthday I've had to date, thanks to the COVID quarantine situation. But I did get this wonderful little pearl and crucifix necklace from the Little Catholic gifted from my MIL and I just love it. Here's some blurry photographic evidence. Not sponsored, just love it.

I also got a hefty supply of tamarind paste which I am intending to make some authentic Pad Thai with for a little belated birthday date night with Mikey. We'll see if I can not screw it up.

3) I also got the movie My Fair Lady with the expressed intention to have a fun movie watch with my girls and it turns out... I hate that movie! I like some of the songs and of course Audrey Hepburn is stunning but man, is there a character in existence as horrible and unremorseful as Henry Higgins ?? Am I missing something? Worst movie/play ending ever too. Talk amongst yourselves.

4) I've done more baking this week. I have made at least 4 loaves of this banana bread recipe, which is always and forever just my favorite banana bread recipe (add chocolate chips, you won't regret it). I've also made a whole lot of these homemade granola bars, but add 3/4 cup of peanut butter because my kids like them better that way and I figure they're more substantial that way too.

5) This is Annie (and Annie's giant head):

She has my vote for Most Awesome Human Being in ALL categories EXCEPT napping. She has not taken anything longer than a 45 minute long nap in months. She mostly averages 2, 20 minute naps a day. It makes for some seriously intense homeschool days. She's still the best. 

6) What do you think about an old school Fine Linen and Purple style link-up with Easter garb even though none of us will be attending Easter mass is person? Just a thought, I'd be the happy hostess if there's any interest (and if another, more faithful blogger hasn't already decided to do this) Let me know!

7) I have tried to not have this pandemic be the only thing we are focusing on here at home, so as to avoid any unnecessary anxiety on the kids' parts, but despite my best efforts it has kind of taken over  (it doesn't help that MD just issued a stay-at-home order threatening residents with a misdemeanor if you leave for anything other than food and medical care. It's gotten a little intense). Anyways! Fred, the resident 3 year old, has started making up his own pretend "viruses" and incorporating them into play, because what's more fun than a plague-like virus in imaginative play! The most recent is called the "Tony-ette" virus (that's how it's pronounced, I asked him how to spell it and he said ZX7FTG, but I thought you might have trouble with that pronunciation), wherein the sufferers have various ghosts and mummies in their nasal passages. It is highly contagious and will kill you immediately. Watch out for it.

With that I will leave you. Have a happy and Tony-ette-free weekend!

Friday, March 27, 2020

quick takes, quarantine coping mechanisms edition

Now seems like a better time than ever to pretend like my blog hasn't been dead for the last six months. Joining Kelly for quick takes, quarantine coping mechanisms edition.

1) I gave up Instagram for lent and within the first week of quarantine I hopped back on, but I think it actually started making me more sad about the current state of things (newsflash! Instagram does not fill the void that real life friends occupy! Big surprise) So now I'm finishing up lent Gram-less and we'll see if I can stick it out...

2) Although I have gone out a total of 3 times since the beginning of social distancing I still managed to smash our giant 12 passenger homeschooler-mobile into a neighbor's garage rendering 2 windows utterly shattered. Only Ana can manage to potentially total a vehicle while in quarantine. I'm here to make you feel better about yourself. You're welcome.

3) The other day I found a large package of toilet paper in a closet that I had forgotten I had put there and I have literally never been as excited at the sight of toilet paper in my life and methinks I will never again be. Also speaking of things that bring me more joy than they probably should, here are some pictures of my newly styled school room bookshelves, because why not?

 4) Last week in a desperate attempt to feel less trapped in my home I decided to go on a "long run", which for me means anything longer than 15 minutes (I was aiming for a 20-30 minute trek, and my run is more of a glorified old-lady-at-the-mall-speed-walk) We have not lived in this town for even a year and I am an extremely directionally challenged individual so after multiple wrong turns and being clueless as to where I was I suddenly saw a restaurant on the road that I knew was multiple miles from my home and I saw the PA state border (I live in MD and was not planning a multi-state run) and it became clear I had gotten quite lost. So I turned around and started retracing my steps back and what was supposed to be a TOPS 30 minutes run became an hour long jaunt and I feel like I am still recovering. I have not attempted any length of a run since, which brings me to my next coping mechanism during quarantine...

5) Baking. I had a large amount of frozen apples from the fall that I had overcooked and I was about to throw them away when my sister told me about this recipe for these oatmeal jammys. They have to be one of my new all time favorite recipes and worked so great for my overcooked apples, they are basically just a mini apple pie or whatever-fruit-you-choose pie. I really want to try them with cooked blueberries because I love blueberry pies.

6) I've been hitting up Hoopla and Libby along with the rest of the nation during quarantine and I am now deep into Jane Eyre and loving it. Why have I never read it? Why did everyone in high school always make it sound so long and boring? I'm also reading The Hiding Place and it is helping to put this time in life into major perspective.

7) If you're reading this and have 5 minutes please comment with your favorite quarantine activities with rambunctious little boys (that do NOT include water, beans or the pouring of water or beans) I'd be most appreciative.

And hopefully I will be adding blogging to the long list of things helping me get through this time, because this seems like a good idea.

Happy weekend at home! 

Monday, September 23, 2019

Anastasia Zoe's Birth Story... Finally

I've never waited this long to pound out a birth story here on the blog and I am starting to worry that if I do not do it, the entire event might just be erased from my memory since that is what happens if one does not log all life events on the blessed Internet.

Anastasia's birth. Here we go.

Leading up to Anastasia coming into the world I was really seriously considering trying another all natural birth, which would have been my first since Naomi's super-natural tub birth 10 years ago. I went back and forth and listened to hypno-birthing stuff (not not not for me) and prayed about it trying to gear myself up for just doing it, Nike style. But then my doctor called one day after consulting with the hospital I was going to give birth at and let me know of 3 requirements that were the policy of this hospital for V-BAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) patients:
1) I would need to be constantly monitored,
2) I would need and have an IV, and
3)... wait for it... I would need to have an epidural.

It sort of made sense because the concern is that your c-section scar can tear and if it does they want you to be ready for an immediate emergency c-section. It was definitely more stringent that my previous hospital experiences and maybe unnecessarily so but honestly, I needed someone to make up my mind for me as to how I was going to go about pushing this babe out and it was ultimately helpful for that reason. I had had so much anxiety the entire pregnancy over something going wrong with Annie in utero or during birth and was just so eager for her to be safely stateside and I was also super anxious over birthing at this new hospital with this new doctor- I just wanted to be on the other side of it and be holding my girl.

Cue Easter Sunday. I woke up feeling... not right. I was 38 weeks 3 days and had had all my other non-c-section babies by 38 weeks, 4 days (Joe came at 37). I was totally ok with going another week, but also totally ok with holding our baby sooner. The kids hunted for their baskets, we had a nice Easter morning and then headed to mass. At mass I was contracting, as my kids would say, "like the Dickens". I kept needing to sit and breath and I felt so labor-y. That continued for the rest of the day and then I had some other physical symptoms that indicated that labor was likely in my future. At my 38 week appointment I was 3 cm and the doctor felt pretty sure I'd be seeing him in the next week but I was still not counting on anything.

I went to sleep Easter Sunday and woke up Easter Monday feeling fairly normal. Here's where I got a little impatient. I hate not being in control of labor things. We were 40 minutes from our hospital and relying on various friends to be on call to watch our kids and some of them would be going out of town for different stretches and I was so worried we would be stuck with no one to leave the kids with if I went into real labor during one of those stretches. So I decided to try to have some very little control over the labor situation. I drank a little caster oil (which has worked with some of my babies but not worked with others) and walked my heart out that Monday. Mike was home from work so it was nice to have him around if the labor symptoms got intense.

Around 2 in the afternoon contractions became time-able and stayed regularly 2-4 minutes apart until dinner time. I texted a sitter and one of the friends who was available to come in the middle of the night that I thought things were getting real and that I'd likely be going in to the hospital. I was so freaked out of a false alarm and did not want to go in too early because of how far the hospital was but Mike did not want me to wait and then risk a car birth - a valid fear. So I got Freddie down for bed, cried a little because labor emotions are no joke, and then we left the kids with a sitter who would later hand them off to the friend over night if this was indeed the real deal.

The whole way to the hospital contractions continued but I was fine in between and sure they would just send me home. Once we got to triage at the hospital I think I told the nurse 20 times that I was sure this wasn't the real thing and that she'd be sending me home but she was awesome and did not agree with me. She checked me and I was 4 cm. Not bad but also only 1 cm more than what I was at my doctor's appointment. She said I should stay an hour and either sit and labor or walk around and then she'd check me again.

I opted for laying down and maybe bouncing on a birth ball because by this point I was utterly exhausted and not interested in walking anymore. I just breathed and squatted through contractions or bounced on the birth ball and 1 hour later she came back.

The verdict?

6 cm and not going home. Hurray!

We went back to the room I'd be laboring in and they started to get things ready for the epidural (I forgot to mention that I was utterly terrified of getting the epidural this time, I just kept freaking out that this would be my time for something to really go wrong since all my other epidurals went smoothly).

Eventually the anesthesiologist come to do her thing and for a little while she could not get the needle through the hole in my back so she had to keep dilating it and it was so freaky and I was 100% sure this was going to result in my greatly feared epidural-gone-bad experience but... it was fine.

Maybe too fine? Dun, dun, dun...

So the epidural was kicking and I laid back to rest and the the doctor trotted off to sleep a little since by this point it was somewhere between 9 and 10 p.m., though I was still cautiously optimistic that I could progress quickly enough to have our baby on Easter Monday. In the past my epidurals had not slowed my contractions at all, and once the doctor broke my water I was pushing a baby out within the hour. HA! So much ha.

So I rested and paid little attention to how often contractions were coming for probably about an hour when Mike looked at the monitor and let me know that I had not had even 1 contraction for the last 15-20 minutes. Crap.

This is where I started to get frustrated. My doctor came in so infrequently, he just kept waiting and waiting to go ahead and break my water and even after he did (the timing of that is hairy in my mind) my contractions still would not pick back up. I wished he would have just given it 30 minutes to an hour after breaking my water to start me on pitocin- because I was TIRED and ready to get the baby out- but he waited hours after breaking it to start the pitocin. Somewhere between 2-3 a.m. they decided to start me on the lowest dose of pitocin, which I was utterly terrified of because I have never had it. It made contractions pick up and hurt like HELL. Yes I had an epidural, but by this point it was no longer working and I labored for at least an hour feeling every ounce of those pitocin contractions but Mike was sleeping and my nurse was "letting me sleep" (so NOT) so when she finally came in I begged her to fix my broken epidural and at this point she became my favorite nurse/person in the entire world.

She had to get special permission from the anesthesiologist to give me a boost of some sort but once she did I was riding that sweet epidural high and around then they had to up the pitocin as well to get those contractions to get me where I needed to be, which still took several hours.

Finally around 6:30 a.m. after an extremely long night of not sleeping and feeling much of my labor and more interventions than I have had before the pitocin did the trick and the doctor checked me and determined I was just about ready to push.

Around 7:15 everyone was in place and I  pushed something like 3 times and had to be asked to stop because she was going to fly out but I was READY and could feel zero of the pushing and then they finally gave me the go ahead to just get her into my arms I was so thrilled.

I longed so deeply to hold this baby after our 3 losses and I am so thankful to Our Lord for the gift that she has been to our family.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Anastasia Zoe

A little over a week ago we welcomed our sixth, sweet baby to the outside world and 5 days later she was baptized. These are the major life events Ana of 5 years ago would've had blogged within a day but I guess times have changed as have my abilities to nurse and type. So! I promise this post will be light on wordage and heavy on pictures. Without further ado...

Anastasia Zoe Hahn

Born April 23, 2019

Weighing 7 pounds 6 ounces.
Quick huge shout out to this guy who ran the show entirely for the first week of Annie's life- all child care (other than newborn), all meals, all dishes, all laundry, all while always telling me to go lay down and keeping the house *relatively* quiet. He is a gem of a man.

She is beloved by siblings...

And now she's a teeny tiny Catholic.

Annie with my amazing sister-in-law, her godmother, who made the very last minute trip down for the very last minute baptism - she is the best.

Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes- we are so very blessed! Birth story to follow some time in the year 2019! JK I'll try to do it before the end of the summer :)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

30 weeks + the name

And just like that we are already heading down the last decade of weeks until we get to meet our sweet little one (starting tomorrow, technically, but I'm measuring a few days ahead so I call the eve of 30 weeks, 30 weeks). I would absolutely be remiss if I didn't type out a few of my thoughts and feelings surrounding this pregnancy before it's over.

I have never- ever ever ever cherished a pregnancy like I am cherishing this one. Does this mean I never complain? Ask Mike (muwahahahaha). No. But I've definitely tried to complain less than my others and I truly do see every single difficulty of pregnancy as a gift and a reminder that I am carrying this undeserved child, whereas with my other pregnancies the difficulties were just... difficult. 

Sometime during our year of miscarriages I was doing some organizing in our storage closet and came across 2 bins of tiny spring time baby girl clothes from when I had Naomi. I got fairly emotional and while the practical side of me was yelling at me to just donate them, I stopped and said a very earnest prayer that God would bless us with another baby girl during some future spring time. And I kept them, trying to be hopeful.

I am pretty sure I prayed that prayer before our 3rd miscarriage and after that 3rd miscarriage I really did start to lose a lot of hope that we would conceive again for a long time, if ever, and I had all but forgotten that prayer. However as our spring due date with our little baby GIRL draws closer I think of that prayer every single day. I think of how beautiful it is that God cares so much for each and every detail of our lives, of our hearts and of our desires. I am so so thankful.

This is the first pregnancy since I was pregnant with Naomi that I have been so present. Present to every week, every milestone, every kick, every hiccup. I don't want to forget. I am so aware now more than ever that this is a very specifically special gift and I do not take for granted that we will be given more of these sorts of gifts. I am loving every second of it. Like a first time mom I have several apps on my phone giving me daily updates of how big baby is and what's new with each week.

Also during our miscarriage year and while we were trying and hoping to conceive Mike came up with the name Anastasia Zoe, which means "Resurrection and Life", very fitting for a rainbow baby. We had no idea if we would ever get to use the name, but as soon as the ultrasound tech told me we were carrying a girl I began calling her just that, Anastasia Zoe- our little ray of hope.

When I was pregnant with Naomi her due date was April 2nd and she came on March 23rd. All of our babies since then have come at least a week -but more like 10 days- early, and I when recently did the math I realized that since I am due May 3rd, a week or so early would fall right during Easter week! (and even if I don't go early Easter season lasts for so long it works either way!)

So that's where I'm at mentally at 30 weeks and that's our baby's name, Anastasia Zoe, "Resurrection and Life", a gift straight from a good and loving God who makes all things new.

One of my very weird side effects of this pregnancy is terrible carpel tunnel so I have typed this entire post with semi to no feeling in my fingers!! Sorry had to get one complain/brag in there for old time's sake and good measure.