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!

Friday, February 2, 2018

blogs the word (quick takes, baby!)

Hitting up Kelly's link-up in an attempt to not neglect yee old blog so long this time!

1) I have to blog-document the fact that I did finally succeed in potty training my very first male offspring a few weeks ago, and after only TWO failed attempts (where I literally threw in the pee-soaked towel). I had never had a kid who had such a hard time tolerating the concept of defecating  anywhere other than in his pants and I would say that was the biggest hurdle because once I convinced him to try it and once we had one success it really wasn't that bad.

That said, I will always and forever hold to the conviction that potty training is evil and is quite possibly the only task of parenting that makes me want to curl up in the fetal position with a flask by 11 a.m. I don't even try to salvage pooped in undies anymore, I just cut those nasty-ass mothers right off and throw them away.

2) Then there is Fred.

I have never had a child quite like Fred.

His favorite things include: Screeching. Not talking. Screaming. Outlets. Metal objects near outlets. Unplugging my lamps and carrying them around the house. Any and all lotions. Opening lotion bottles. Spreading lotion all over himself. Screaming when said lotion is taken away. Hiding in bathrooms. Making piles of toilet paper. Plungers. Plungers in toilets. Screaming when taken out of bathrooms. And so on...

He is the cutest walking heart attack.

3) The older I get the more intolerant of unpleasant weather I have become, I'm only a few years away from Morty and Helen Seinfeld status and Del Boca Vista relocation. I am increasingly clueless as to what on earth to do with my children so that you would think I was the earliest spring chicken at this mothering thing. They were actually begging me to take them to Mass today for the Presentation (#whenyourkidsarewayholierthanyou) and I said "no" (because #deviltoddlerFred and #imreallynotholy) but honestly, Mass sounded tempting just so we could leave the house!! However, I opened the door and the arctic winds blew at my face and the "hell nooooo" swelled in my throat and so we didn't. Then the super guilt ridden mother inside me started yapping in my head about doing something since they had already realized it was a special feast day so I had them take every single candle out for us to light while singing a hymn and then we had cookies and hot chocolate.

Those bananas are literally never going to be ripe enough to eat.
I heard "you're going to burn the house down, mom" no fewer than 10 times.

 4) This brings me to number 4 because I make the most bomb hot chocolate in the world and I wanted to share what is probably somebody else's recipe, but I didn't look it up anywhere so I'm not technically stealing it. Also, it's basically chocolate and milk and you could totally figure it out on your own but Imma own like the culinary poser I am.

ANA'S Gormet Hot Chocolate (emphasis on "ANA" and said in a very sultry voice)

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 -3 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
2-3 cups milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar.
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)

Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips with cream or half and half in 30 second increments in the microwave and stir until smooth (I suppose you non-microwave users could melt it on the stove top, or maybe you just don't deserve this delicious hot chocolate...... ((kidding)) ). Heat milk on stove top on medium to high heat (or play fast and loose like me and put it smack dab on HIGH because your psychotic children are yelling that they want hot chocolate NOW and you're afraid they will set the place on fire if the electric burner doesn't get a flippin move on!!!). Once milk is hot whisk the melted chocolate in, continue whisking as you add the powdered sugar and whisk until lumps are gone (basically just never stop whisking).

Serve it hot so they burn their mouths and learn their lesson to stop yelling at you to hurry up.

KIDDING, serve delightfully warm with mini mallows and homemade whipped cream and watch their delightful little faces light up with gratifying smiles because you really are the best mother in the entire world...


5) Mike and I watched A Ghost Story the other day and I had an existential crisis that lasted a day, seriously I think I weirded Mike the heck out. I love Casey Affleck so I was willing to give it a try, but Casey Affleck IS UNDER A SHEET THE ENTIRE MOVIE. I have never watched such a deeply depressing movie whose goal is really to do nothing at all except make you very, terribly sad. SO DEFINITELY WATCH IT (WINK).

6)) I am reading Kristen Lavransdatter because I was not about to read it when everyone else and their mother was reading it a few years ago, you know I don't like to do things that other people are doing. But man I probably should have because it is SO DANG GOOD. The real issue now is making any effort to do anything else at all but sit and read it all day every day. This blog post and the fact that we got any school done today at all are basically miraculous.

7) The newest Take Up and Read journal is available for Lent and it's beautiful both in aesthetics and in content. I highly recommend and not just because I wrote for it, but mostly because I wrote for it and I am super awesome.

Alright I think I got all the sarcasm I have in me out of my system and I should go do something productive like drink hot chocolate and read my book. TGIFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


(I have definitely hesitated to write about this, as I am not trying to give my blog any sort of a miscarriage or infertility angle, but I read this post by Mary the other day and felt really convicted to give each little life it's due honor and to document each time of grieving, because every single soul matters so much.)

Ever since getting married I have pictured myself as a mother of tons of children, at least 8, maybe 12. Whatever God saw fit to give, that's what I wanted, and while I know that God has a specific plan for every one of us, I also assumed that he wanted that for me too.

At the year's start everybody was blogging or gramming about their word of the year, generated with Mrs. Fulwiler. I held off even getting one because it felt too trendy, or something. Then I got my word and immediately felt like it was weirdly accurately, spot on, and very much a word from the Lord. I have held off writing at all about it because I've been fighting accepting that it is even my word for the year. Irony of ironies.


That's my word. How completely fitting it is.

In November we had our second miscarriage, the first was 6 years prior. After the November miscarriage we were blessed to conceive the very next cycle.

But then we miscarried again, for the 3rd time. His name is Dominic George and, as with our other lost little ones, he has taught me more in his extremely short time here than I ever thought possible.

The ironic thing is that this postpartum period was the most committed I have ever been to using NFP to have a bigger gap between children-- 3 years was my hope. My general attitude toward the child spacing was "we'll have a baby when we choose to have a baby". But then after the first miscarriage I had a huge change of heart and really hoped and longed for whatever children God wanted to give, whenever He wanted to give them. I feel like that was part of His plan, to convict me all the more that none-- not one of these little ones-- was "chosen" by me, but that He chose each of them and has given each of them us as completely undeserved gifts, the most recent loss has only served to strengthen that conviction.

But I have found myself in a place of confusion. Being open to life is what God wants, right? The desire to bring fourth new life is what God wants, right? He wants me to have a huge family, right? I look at these 5 beautiful lives I have right here to care for, to give my everything to, to nurture and to teach and I feel discontent because of the desire to have more -- I am having trouble accepting that THIS is where God wants me and that THESE are the children he has given to me and maybe only these children forever.

I had a beautiful mentor for several years when we lived in South Bend, her name was Debbie. She helped me through my postpartum depression and anxiety, she gave me guidance spiritually and I would say that one of the number one things she taught me through her words and example was acceptance of God's will. She has 5 children living and had 5 miscarriages in her life, and I remember when she told me about her losses, the beautiful acceptance of the will of God that she communicated- I have thought about it so much since this third loss. She taught me acceptance of His will in the very practical every day things- saying yes to him in the pile of dishes in the sink, saying yes to Him in the loads and loads of laundry, saying yes to Him in homeschooling even though I struggle with it daily, saying yes to Him during bouts of PPD, saying yes to Him in miscarriage, saying yes to all of it if it is what He wants. Right before we moved from South Bend, Debbie was diagnosed with mesothelioma and last month she passed away. I don't think it was any coincidence that I was forced to really think on the many things I learned from her right after these 2 consecutive miscarriages, when I was struggling with so many things that she helped me through when I met with her. I have been overwhelmed by the blessing of her life, of the many things she taught me while I was blessed to have her as a friend.

A "huge family" may not be God's will for me, and His will is all that matters. I am called to give all the energy and love and life that I have to these little ones and no additional little ones for right now. He has lavished so many gifts on me, He gives and He takes away, He wants only the good for me and my "yes" to His plan is my path to sanctity.

He is pleased with my openness to life, yes, but He is pleased ultimately with my grateful acceptance of His will, whatever or whoever and whenever it may be.

Saint Dominic and Saint George, pray for us!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Kitchen Revamp

Nothings says "blog comeback!" like a post full of pictures of my kitchen. But seriously, it's been too long and I miss the blog and we just had our cabinets painted to that is basically blog content being handed to me on a platter and I have no excuse to not accept it and pass it on to the masses.

I have mentioned it before but I will say it again that our home hailing from the mid-90s is loaded with the honey-est honey oak-- in every room, every where. The wood floors are a honey oak and I don't mind it, but every vanity, every cabinet and even the fire place (not any more!!) are or were, the same oak color. It was too much.

From the first week that we moved into this house I was scheming about painting our kitchen cabinets. The kitchen is the room that you walk into right away in this home, and it is also the room I spend the vast majority of my time in.

And I hated it.

Every single day for the last year-and-a-half I would think about how much I wanted to paint the cabinets but it just wasn't in the cards, either because of budget or life craziness but FINALLY the stars aligned and the week after New Years it happened.

And so....


When I posted some initial before and afters on Instagram every single person thought I did this myself.

In 2 days.



My main criteria with this project was that I would not lose the use of my kitchen for more than 2 days, so when hiring a painter (I TOTALLY HIRED A PAINTER), I made sure that he would be able to finish in that time and finish he did.

We used to have this really crazy ugly florescent light (well actually LED, but totally looked florescent) and the top 2 things on my list of "things I want to update in this house" from the time we moved in were:
1) paint kitchen cabinets and
2) get new kitchen light
Do you see that thing? It was like a UFO landing in my kitchen every day.
No longer
Warm, non-florescent light- so glorious.

There are definitely other things that could stand to be updated in the kitchen-- the counter-top is a really cheap composite that is supposed to look like granite or something, but it has gouges all over it and the back-splash is not the greatest, but honestly, since painting the cabinets neither of them bother me in the slightest and so the rest of the updates may never even happen while we live here and I am totally cool with that.

I was also really pleased with my Pinterest inspired cabinet top decor:
Purchased entirely from the Goodwill + already owned those green orbs and cake plate and the Joseph.

I am super thrilled with how it turned out and get excited to walk into my kitchen now. I am one lucky lady.

Thanks for reading and hopefully I will not let a month and a half pass before I am back again!

For local peeps, I went with Dave's Custom Painting and was very pleased. They were very punctual and did a great job.