Thursday, August 16, 2018

starring, the boys!

I started this post as an exclusive "boys' birthdays" post but that was several days ago and methinks that now I ought to just add some more summer happenings and join Kelly for some early quick takes.  Here we go!

1) I am embarrassingly behind on posting about the boys' birthdays but I see no other way than to just post (in mostly chronological order) as if there has been no delay and as if I have been posting as frequently as ever. My blog, my rules I guess. I say mostly chronological because I am going to go ahead and double up my boys birthdays in one post before posting about the awesomeness that is my husband and the defense of his bad ass dissertation (which will be its own post, if it kills me), even though Joe's birthday technically fell after the defense. Again, my blog, my rules.

Freddie's second birthday was a whopping 2 months ago which is insane: how in the heck did this summer come and go so fast?! I was about to grab some super adorable pictures from his big day but it appears my computer has deleted all of them, which I am more than a little angered about. I know that I did indeed photograph his big day because I posted this little buddy on Instagram, from my camera, not my phone, which was one of many pictures that have disappeared from my piece of crap computer. I guess it will just have to suffice for as the entirety of photographic evidence of his birthday.

His birthday was the best because I have never had a child's birthday be so thoroughly anticipated by every member of the family except the child having the birthday. He mostly did not know or care that he was turning 2, but the other kids talked about nothing else for at least a week leading up to the day. As the above picture demonstrates, gift opening was a sibling affair and I think Joe managed to get the first turn with all of the toys he got.

2) In honor of him turning two I decided to chop off his little curls

As you can see they were definitely just turning into a curly mullet, and this new do makes him look as old as he is.

2 going on 22. Happy late (on the blog) birthday, Fred!

3) Then Joe turned 4. That sentence makes me die a little inside, life goes too stupidly fast. We were in Ohio with family for his big day so he actually got 2 big days: his big party day the day before his actual birthday and his actual birthday. On his birthday he let my mother-in-law know that "after this birthday, I'm is all done having birthdays", which sounded so terribly morbid but he just meant that he was done celebrating turning 4. Pictoral evidence of all the fantastic fun:

2 cakes + 1 family party + a pinata the size of himself + 1 smaller family celebration + more sugar than any child could ever need = best 4th birthday ever.

4) My boys have never seen Paw Patrol, nor will they ever see it (they watch enough junk). However, my mom got them these matching shirts, which happen to be the only matching shirts we own, naturally I got a tad overly excited and did a little photo shoot. I know what you're thinking , "there aren't enough pictures of her male offspring in this post!" I know, right?! Here you go

I'm sorry, I could not resist.

5) I scarcely make things from Pinterest that end up tasting as good as they look, but these cookie dough cheese cake bars were an absolutely exception. I altered them a tad and made my own cookie dough instead of using refrigerated dough because I did not have any refrigerated dough, which was great because I do think you need more cookie dough than one refrigerated pack would give you. I need to throw a party soon so I have an excuse to make these oreo rice krispie treats because I have a hunch they will also be as good as they look. If you've tried them and they're not don't break my heart, just let me try and fail. That's what Pinterest is for.

6) We are maybe possibly going to start up our home school the last week of August, which fills my heart with 90% fear/dread and 10% excitement, that seems like a pretty standard proportion of emotions for homeschooling, right? We are doing a new-for-us Co-Op thing called Classical Cottage School which will be a whirlwind day once a week but will hopefully offer some community and a small break from me teaching my children myself, so that's contributing to that 10% of excitement. The boys and their intense penchant for destruction are the primary contributing factor to the 90% dread. Beer me.

7) I think that's all I have for now, stay tuned for gratuitously proud and gushing post all about how my hot husband is now a Doctor of Theology! (or just unfollow this blog now, I understand)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

vacation celebration

While I was pregnant with Lucy Mike started working on the very beginnings of research for the project that would turn in to his doctoral dissertation (for chronological reference I was pregnant with Lucy six-and-a-half years ago.) On June 30th, 2018, Mike actually walked out of his basement office (where he has been writing the majority of this masterpiece) and said the words "I'm finished". And my heart danced and sang and I definitely cried some happy tears and posted a celebratory staged Instagram gem of the real life printed out thing.

If you're a mathematician (or know 1st grade math) here it is in numbers: 2 years of masters work + 6 years of PhD work + 2 years of a full time teaching job while dissertating = 10 years of so much hard work and so much being a graduate student that we are ready to transition beyond. Even after he finished the text and sent it off to his committee, he still had to complete the bibliography, which his completely clueless wife thought "would be about 20 pages or so??", but nope, it was a beast of a bibliography and when he finally finished that up I demanded that a vacation to celebrate happen and happen NOW.

Grad-school budget and primarily little and very dependent kids didn't give with much vacationing, so even though this was a celebratory vacation for our family, it was also our very first family vacation ever (unless you count a couple days in Holland MI when I was pregnant with Joe, and even if you are counting that this would be our first in 5-ish years and so it was 100% highly anticipated and 100% called for!)

We decided to head to Williamsburg to try out the Great Wolf Lodge (not not NOT a sponsored post, I promise!) and didn't tell the kids until a few days before. Telling kids that you are going to a giant indoor water-park is the equivalent of telling adults that they're going on an extended European vacation, or a tropical all inclusive resort stay (depending on your preferences, I prefer Europe). They were ecstatic and talked about nothing else in the days leading up to it.

It did not disappoint.

It was so fun for all of us, although Joseph's very favorite thing was the elevator we took to get to our room, so it isn't necessarily every kid's cup of tea.

Joe "Cautious" Hahn contemplating going down that slide. He contemplated it the entire time. He never did it.
Watching all the brave big kids having more fun than them but telling themselves how much smarter their choices are.
A brief break from the insane slides.
The older 2 girls could go on all of the rides and the park was small enough to be able to send them on their own and have them check in with us, since we were often keeping tabs on the littler ones who were not as excited about the giant slides. Almost 6-year-old Lucy was even able to go off and do the medium slides on her own if I was venturing down the big ones with the older girls, which I did quite a bit because it was so darn fun.

Our second evening we mixed it up a bit and found quite possibly the nicest park I have ever visited called Kidsburg in Williamsburg. The not-as-water-thrilled kids (Joe and Fred) were on cloud nine with giant play ships, canons, and a zipline, which happens to be the key to my girls' hearts. That and giant indoor water-parks.

Overall it was an absolutely wonderful way to celebrate this huge accomplishment for Mike, and also celebrating getting to see more of him, which we are all so excited about. He defends next week and the celebration continues because I get to go with him (sans kids!!) for 2 nights which will undoubtedly be blissful and I am so excited.

Congratulations (almost) Dr. Michael Hahn, we're so proud of you!!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2018


10 years. 

I was thinking about having this be a mini-blog post on Instagram, but it just seemed fitting that the celebration of 10 years of marriage would warrant a little dusting off of the neglected blog. This one's for you, Mikey (though it will probably be short because it started as an Instagram post, but it will have lots more pictures!!).

I keep thinking of the snipit from scripture (and I am pretty sure it's in multiple places, so I'm going lazy here and not citing it):
"Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife"
-Several places in scripture

Since that day 10 years ago we have clung to each other. I never could have known to the degree that I would need to cling to Mike. I think somewhere in my brain I thought marriage would be easy, that I could handle the ups and down fairly independently. From the moment we arrived at our new apartment away from home, away from families, I knew I was wrong. 
Within a few weeks of living there my first trimester sickness started and Mike was suddenly married to an invalid and I had to be completely vulnerable (throwing up in front of someone for the first time is kind of epitome of vulnerability).

During the birth of our first child I clung so hard to his hand it was sore for a week, I had never known that kind of need for someone. When I prepared for my unexpected c-section with Bernadette, I leaned on Mike in all new ways in my utter terror at what I was sure was my impending untimely demise (I was a tad dramatic about needing a c-section). He was a rock and comforted me and strengthened me in so many ways that would foreshadow the kind of support he would give me in later years of marriage.
I thought that nothing in the world could bring us closer than the births of our children- until our miscarriages. The loss of those 4 babies that no one else in the world loved and wanted as much as the two of us, that shared sorrow but then shared comfort that we could not find anywhere else but in each other, has brought us closer and strengthened our love more than I ever imagined.
When we got married 10 years ago I loved him, but what I think no one could have really prepared me for was how that love would be strengthened and tested most especially through suffering and the choice to cling to nothing but God and each other during those times. I am in awe at how much more I love him now than 10 years ago, and I cannot wait to see what that means for the decades to come.
Here's to at least 5 more decades, Michael Scott Hahn - I love you the most!!!

Friday, June 1, 2018

adiĆ³s mayo

Linking up with Kelly to celebrate the fact that May is finally over!!

1) It was a really long month, full of lots of good things and lots of hard things, and overall we are just really excited for June with pool trips and as many activities as I can cram in because: have I mentioned that Mike is defending the dissertation that never ends in July? Oh I have?? Are you sure? Just in case I'm going to mention it some more.

2) Where are all my wives of doctoral students? Please do tell me how on earth you got through the last few weeks before the defense because Mike is probably the very best at balancing family with work even during this insanely busy time but he happens to be married to a wife that is the worst at handling any less than normal. Also every time he tells me he "finished" something I get all excited and think it's that he finished a chapter but it turns out it's the first of 3 sections of a chapter and I get a tad nauseous and just try to say something that sounds excited (in fairness he has finished almost every single chapter, I'm just a serious wimp). He also keeps comparing the process to childbirth and apparently the current phase he is in is transition and almost to pushing, so I think it best to just leave him alone right now. If you need someone to hang out with post 8 p.m. hit me up- I'll be watching Office reruns alone eating baby carrots.

3) I want to thank you sweet friends for all the love and prayers after my last post. I always feel a little hesitant writing those blog posts but your kindness in your responses and all the prayers you offer up remind me that this online community is a legit community. Thank you!!

4) I took the kids to my parents at the beginning of the month to celebrate my first year successfully administering end of the year Iowa tests (and to give Mike a chance to write his little heart out without children screaming outside his office door) and it was lovely. Every smile time I'm with my siblings and their kids my heart just hurts that we don't live closer to them - still have my fingers crossed though.

5) These boys.

I do not know how I got so lucky to have a pair like them but lately I've just been sitting on porch  watching them in awe of it, not a super productive thing to do but so good for the soul.

6) We had been thinking for a while about potentially sending Naomi to school next year and I'll admit that the thought of not homeschooling all 3 girls for a year was super exciting BUT we have decided not to send her after all and I'll admit I'm a tad terrified. I know I can do it but I don't know if I can do without turning to consistent day time drinking starting at 11 a.m. Kidding, but seriously how do you keep doing it year after year after year after year after.....   how?

7) Meanwhile I will work in offering up the various anxieties and frustrations for sweet Kendra and her family who could really use prayers.

Friday, May 25, 2018

time slows when you're losing babies

When I started this blog I was having babies in relatively quick succession. Those days were so full of chaos: beautiful, loud, quick moving chaos. Every day was like a whirlwind and at the end of a baby's first year I would wonder how on earth it went as fast as it did. And even though the days are still delightfully full of chaos, they are still loud and beautiful, I'm now finding myself in a different place.

Last July I got my first cycle back post-Freddie and started looking weird right away, but I chalked it up to breastfeeding and stress. Then November came and I miscarried. I weaned Fred hoping things would right themselves. Another early miscarriage and I began to see doctors and ask questions. I found some supplements recommended online, but no real answers and no real solutions, just month after month of not conceiving, but after 2 consecutive miscarriages, I was ok with not conceiving until we figured things out.

I don't need to spell it out (but I'm going to, because that's what bloggers do), but obviously you know where I'm going. I did not think that this last month's pregnancy test would be positive one bit, I wasn't even going to take one. I was running around trying to get the kids ready to go to the library, but I was feeling off, food wasn't sounding great, I was due to start that time of the month, so I grabbed one and took it really quick. I was about to throw the kids in to the car when I checked it and it was clearly positive. I could not run down the stairs fast enough to tell Mike, my heart was jumping out of my chest with excitement, and fear, and hope. I just didn't think we would lose babies 3 times in a row, so I prayed and I prayed and I feel like every moment I was breathing I was praying for the baby.

I canceled that library trip, threw on a movie for the kids and got into a doctor that day to have my hormone levels checked and hopefully get on progesterone right away. But too many nurses and other doctors who don't know my situation and a lot of un-returned phone calls meant things were entirely too delayed. (I have no idea if it would have made any difference, but I won't ever know)

The beauty of this experience is that, contrary to the days flying by when babies are coming and coming, when you know that at any minute you could no longer be pregnant with a child- when you've experienced all too frequently the precariousness of bringing forth new life- every moment slows down for you. I only had a few days with this little one where I *felt* so pregnant: that beautiful, bone-deep exhaustion that only comes from giving every ounce of your body for another person. I told myself to live each moment, and love each moment with this baby fully, and I truly did.

I will never forget those days where I knew and relished having new life within me: I was so happy to be so tired for this new person, I so full of gratitude for each one of my children and hoped so hard that I would get to tell them about this new sibling before we had to tell them they were already gone.
I let the girls bake a lemon pound cake the day we found out in honor of the baby- though we hadn't told them yet and they had no clue what it was for- I knew and I celebrated. I will never get to bake another cake for this baby and I am so glad that we did.

The day I woke up feeling like it was all slipping away I still kept hoping and praying, but I also knew somewhere in my head that I had had all my time with this one and it was ending. I am so glad I loved the moments I felt them growing inside of me. I am so glad I clung to every last hope that things were ok, I am so glad that I dove deep in rejoicing over this little one and loving every single moment even if it is making the grief that much fiercer- this person deserved no less for however long or short they were here.

These losses are so early, and I have had responses from several medical professionals (and people) to the effect of "oh that was just a blighted ovum, or just a chemical pregnancy", and so when it comes to my grief I've questioned what I am grieving. But my question in response to these attitudes is this: should I have not celebrated getting the positive pregnancy tests of my 5 live children until I was sure it wasn't "just a blighted ovum" or "just a chemical pregnancy"? No. Nobody knows what these little lives were that came and went so fast for me, nobody knows whether it was the neglect on the part of the doctor who dragged his feet in prescribing me progesterone shots (which he later said I needed). I have come to a point of confidence in grieving these children, because each one has taken a part of my heart with them that I will never get back, the same way my 5 beautiful living children had a part of my heart the moment I saw the 2 pink lines on their positive pregnancy tests.

The days following these losses are some of the longest and darkest days I've lived, but I have also never ever been so keenly aware of the total miracle that each one of these children are.

The kids named this little one James Casey, since we invoked and still invoke, the intersession of Blessed Solanus Casey to be able to conceive and for healing. Saint James and Blessed Solanus Casey, pray for us!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

bringing blogging back

I know the song reference is a stretch, but I'm rusty right now. I read Kate's post the other day and it was quite timely because I had just been brainstorming about how I could motivate myself and other bloggers to bring back the old school blog. I miss it, I feel like I need it, although I have literally no clue how to actually fit it into my life. Even my spiritual director suggested I take some time for  "that thing I like to do" (he's pretty old and I don't think the word blog means anything to him, but he knows that I in days of yore I enjoyed some sort of online writing, although I think he might think it's more official than it is).

Here's the thing though: how does one blog when one's life is in a state of what feels like total disarray 100% of the time?? What I mean is, how do I justify squeezing in a blog post when all other aspects of my life are done fairly haphazardly?  And not even entirely out of laziness, I just simply don't have the personal resources to do all the things I am tasked to do perfectly, so I do them all imperfectly. And I'm becoming cool with that.

For instance:

When I do the laundry, it goes a little something like this: Someone pees their pants. "S##t I need to do laundry now". Do a load. Wait a day. Another pair of soiled undies. Crap, I need to do more laundry. Put more in. Wait a day. Or two. Poop. Oh great more laundry. Wait a day. Or three. Now it's been a week. There are approximately 6 loads of laundry to fold and put away. No one has clean underwear. Turn all the clothes right side out. Throw them in their appropriate piles. Toss the boys in their drawers. Command that the girls start putting their own laundry away. Have them throw their unfolded piles into their drawers. Meanwhile Joe has peed himself again. Throw another load in. Start the weekly cycle over.

Not joking. At all.

But when you do laundry and life like I do laundry and life, it feels wrong to even try to squeeze blogging in. However, since I have been spiritually directed to do so, I will throw out my unfolded, haphazard, contribution to the bloggosphere and move on.

I mean seriously if Blythe can blog WITH 8 KIDS, I have no excuse.

So small, lame life update it is! Fred is getting bigger and smaller every day! What I mean by this is that he is physically growing bigger, while still somehow simultaneously being more of an infant every day. I'm talking multiple night wakings some nights (and we are total detachment parents, here, no indulging whatsoever, but he just neeeeeeeeds MANNY!!!! He calls me Manny). I have never had an almost 2-year-old who speaks almost ZERO words, except for Manny. I've actually never not had a new baby or been about to give birth when my youngest is his age, so I guess this is what happens, he's still the baby so why not act like the baby!?

Joe is quite possibly the most delightful little person on the face of the earth. He begins sentences with "Mom, it seems to me that..." or "I don't want to ruin your day, mom, but..." And sometimes if Mike or I have done something and one of us asks "who did that", he will answer us with "Your husband did it" or "Your wife did it". He is 99% convinced that he is *actually* a T-Rex. Today, I told him he needed to go sit on the potty and he said "Uh-huh, yeah, sure, that's a possibiwity" His best friends are made up, their names are John Henry, John Michael, Dee Dee and John Intemphan. He brightens my life.
I mean, seriously, look at him! Star of the Easter picture, that Joe.

Fred and Joe will sometimes throw a tandum tantrum and you can tell that Fred is just mimicking Joe, mostly because he has literally nothing to be upset about. Every single time I just see Roy and his brother from season 3 of the Office when Roy finds out Pam and Jim kissed. I made my first GIF in honor of this and I still think it's the funniest thing ever:

I turned 33 at the end of March. I don't feel a day over 40.

April has been a doozie of a month for a variety of reasons, the weather being first among them. But then there is homeschooling. I've read a lot of books that paint a nice picture of a peaceful homeschool, where everybody is reading great books, working science in to baking projects and gardening, where there is no pressure to "get your school work done" because LIFE is school! This is not my experience of homeschooling. We have great days, days where things are just great. But April just didn't have very many of those days. There was mostly whining anytime the sound "sch..." came upon my lips. Drudgery. All drudgery.

Easter was an extremely welcome break. But I feel like that was ages and ages ago.

And now we've got 2 weeks until testing and I cannot tell you how extremely excited the 2nd and 3rd graders are.  Also the 33 year old.

Mike has set his dissertation defense date so by August he will officially be Dr. Michael Hahn, and we also celebrate our 10 year anniversary so my summer expectations may be a little over the top. Until then, it's still April.

All pictures shamelessly stolen from FB and Insta, because lazy blogging is better than no blogging!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Nighty Night

Since relocating to this little town I have had a rather hard time abiding by the speed parameters set for those operating motor vehicles. If you are driving anywhere in town the speed limit is 25 mph, and when I am actually following it I have to restrain myself from anxious twitching and it may or may not be the case that I have been reprimanded by the local law enforcement twice since moving here, once in the form of a warning and once with a full-on ticket.

Last week at the park one of my offspring announced very disproportionately proudly that "mommy got pulled over on the way here! She was going (I will not name the speed) miles an hour!! She's going to have to pay ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!" To all the other park goers and I was only mildly mortified.

The silver lining in all this, and the way in which is relates to this blog post and my latest little DIY project is coming.


There is a thrift store that always has all sorts and kinds of cheapo furniture displayed outside in front of it's building, and when I was previously playing Vin Diesel and speeding passed I couldn't adequately scope it out in any sort of a safe way, but now thanks to that ticket I am appropriately scared slow and crawl through town at a turtle's pace with the rest of the inhabitants, which makes it totally possible to glance at that thrift store's offerings, and on Saturday I spotted these 2 matching end tables:

Terribly ugly, but match-y! It just so happened that "matching night stands" had been on my "to get at thrift store" list for some time because Mike and I are in the process of becoming real adults and having a real live adult master bedroom (as opposed to the bachelor pad-looking room we've been sporting for close to 10 years). So I hopped over to the thrift store as soon as I could and snagged them for a whopping $2.70 a pop.

I already had grey paint from my mantle painting adventures so I slapped it on and within 24 hours had my very first night stand since becoming Mrs. Michael Hahn.

Dreams do come true.
I will refrain from showcasing Mike's because it has nothing on it but a very boring looking academic book, no sweet frames from sweet friends and fake candles or anything.

Ok fine, here's his with his boring book, I have to prove to you that I did actually paint both.
His is missing the edge of one of the sides on the bottom, which explains the cheapness factor, but it's good because we're really not that ready to be grownups, yet.

In the end we got fixed up with matching night stands for less than 7 bones and I think even my girl Sheena would high five me here for this steal of a deal.

Sleep tight, my friends!