What a whirlwind life is while raising children! The time goes by so quickly and every so often, I stop to take account of where we are and I realize they are growing up so quickly right before my eyes!

I go back to work Tuesday this week and my children go back to school Wednesday. They begin the second semester of the school year. In five short months, Sarah will be halfway through high school. And this summer, we will be embarking on life with a high schooler, two middle schoolers and two elementary kids. When I look at my kids, I see them growing, but my brain still thinks of them as little. Sarah is on the brink of womanhood and yet, I keep thinking, “How can she be much over the age of 8?” Dani is moving quickly through young adolescence and establishing herself firmly in things different from her older sister. I love this, because it shows how unique each of our children is. And it’s exciting to think about the new activities I’ll be entrenched in a couple of years from now (choir, theater…). And Helen is getting better with her cheer and showing me yet another path for raising a daughter — one completely unexpected due to my lack of participation in something like cheerleading. Dominic will receive Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion this spring. He is a lot like his older sister, Sarah, in that  feel as though he has been ready for these Sacraments for ages, he is so mature for his age. As we were discussing receiving the Holy Eucharist recently, his innocent face made wide eyes as he told me how he “cannot wait to be united with the Lord” in this way. What 7-almost-8-year-old talks this way? I love it. Finally, the baby boy, Vincent, is progressing through Kindergarten quite well. He’s quiet, yes. But he is smart and he works hard and wants to do his best. I don’t remember noticing the growth that happens in Kindergarten with the other kids. I have determined that it must be due to the fact that I don’t have any more children behind him that I can pay enough attention to notice!

At the beginning of the school year, Sarah didn’t have a clue as to what she might want to do after high school. She only knew that whatever it was she wanted to do, she needed to get through it without incurring debt. So she started thinking about the options. Recently, she’s become a bit more aware of some options available that will help her in this quest and I am pleased she is considering them. She worked her tail off during the entire semester, which included volleyball (fall sport) and maintained her excellent grade point average and is well on her way to an academic letter for the second year in a row. She also lettered in volleyball this past season, so she received a Letterman Jacket for Christmas. It thrills me to see how much she loves it.

Dani discovered midway through the fall semester a love for Choir and a continued love of performing music. Her school provides the opportunity to switch electives every 9 weeks, so that is why she was introduced to Choir midway through. Her school also allows a switch to “year-long” choir, should a kid find their true love, so she’s now switched her schedule to be a part of choir the remainder of the school year. She tried out for her school’s musical, High School Musical, Junior, and was cast in a couple of different roles. I think that is awesome! She’s very excited. She recently told me that this year’s musical at her school is the VERY FIRST musical the school has ever put on, so this will be a great learning experience for her. It will also keep her preparing to continue in these Fine Arts into High School. It looks like it will be over in time for her to still participate in the swim team in the spring for her school as well, though we are not 100% sure on that yet.

Helen has adjusted very well to her new school. She has been in counseling since last January and I am impressed with her improvement in confidence as well as a reduction in her physical ailments that we figured must have been due to anxiety. She started running this fall and really enjoyed doing that. She also continued to participate in a Cheer Program through the school district that is giving her experience in doing some things that will help her, in the future she hopes, to do cheerleading in high school. Recently, she told me that she thinks the help she has received through counseling and the environment she experiences at school has helped her to be a more outgoing person and that she is happy.  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see her happy. We weren’t sure what was going on with her when she was suffering so much pain and not knowing the tools to deal with it. When we decided to attack her issues as though she had anxiety and got her some counseling, it made a world of difference for her. Now, she keeps a journal for herself that she can review with her therapist and she and I keep a journal between the two of us. It’s helped our communication and given her an additional outlet if she wants to talk about something that might be too uncomfortable to say out loud. She even bought a journal for Dominic for Christmas so that he “would have a place to write down his feelings.” She is playing basketball and enjoys that as well. She is receiving some extra help on reading at school, but she doesn’t feel like it is a bad thing. She understands she needs the help and therefore commits to it fully.

Dominic is also playing basketball. I am not sure it’s going to be “his thing” — much like any physical sport might be difficult for him — but I am so happy he wanted to try. He and I finished the Harry Potter series about a month ago and he loved the story. He and I are reading the Chronicles of Narnia together now. He continues to do well in school and has made a few new friends, but he also keeps in touch with friends from his old school. I love that they can pick up right where they left off and talk about things like they did when they saw each other each day. Dominic also has determined that after he is an FBI agent, he will be a best-selling author. He is already writing comic books in the mold of Dav Pilkey (the Captain Underpants series is a favorite of his, as is Dog Man). This kid used to hate to try drawing, he would get so frustrated. But now he is trying his hand at new characters and thinking up fun stories! I love that.

Vincent is in Kindergarten and that is enough for now. He tried gymnastics in the summer, and I think he would be good at it, but he lacked the attention span needed to get into it more seriously and the cost didn’t justify his lack of interest. He is reading like a pro! He doesn’t like it much, but he can do it. He really enjoys math and science. So maybe that will be his niche. Honestly, if he could spend every day hanging out with Dominic, that would be his ideal life. Thankfully, Dominic feels the same (most of the time) so they have a good time playing together.

Craig and I keep plugging along. Craig will continue working nights for the foreseeable future. Since that is pretty much what he has always done, it’s not a huge deal, but he does end up missing some things that I know he’d rather not miss. But for really big deals, he can ask for an evening off (like when Sarah was confirmed last spring, for example). I have been back at my new/old job for a couple months and I am happy there. Sometimes it takes doing something else to realize that you were where you were supposed to be. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to return.

I still Crossfit and of course, with the new year, I am focusing yet again on cleaning up my diet and losing weight. Last year was rough on the routine and I didn’t stick to my healthy habits. But I’m committed once again and I know I will get back to my “fighting weight” at some point this year. Sarah does crossfit, too. It’s done wonders for her power, quickness and confidence in volleyball. It’s also given her an outlet to keep working hard. One thing I know is that there is no one out-working my girl. A few may match her, but no one is working harder.

16 Things 2016 Taught Me

Hello! It’s December and I am taking inventory of the growth I have made this year. The only way to know what I need to take on in 2017 is to take stock of where I am now. When I started this blog post, I put the title as “XX Things 2016 Taught Me” and decided I’d jot the things down and wherever I ended up, that would be the number. An additional note is that these are things 2016 taught me about MYSELF, MY MARRIAGE, MY CHILDREN, MY WORK and MY LIFE…way too long of a title, so I left it as “Taught Me.” Also, they are in the order I thought of them, so there’s no rhyme or reason or importance given to the number next to each.

  1. 35 miles per hour is plenty fast enough with your 15-year-old in the driver’s seat.
  2. The world won’t cave in if my children aren’t in Catholic school.
  3. My weight doesn’t define me. I read that quote on a piece of paper lying around Dani’s bed when I was cleaning up after the girls. I love that she tells herself that and it was a cue to me to get my act together on that little bit. I’m forever struggling with how heavy (or not heavy) I am, but nothing changes the fact that I am working to be healthy at whatever weight I happen to be at the time.
  4. Some kids really can’t tie their shoes until well past age 5.
  5. I’m still an early-morning person. I still get up for crazy-early morning workouts. I like the later workouts, but I am far too busy playing mom-taxi in the afternoons and evenings, so the morning it is!
  6. Some kids are ready for more heavy literary material earlier than others. When Sarah read the Harry Potter series, starting in 2nd grade with the first book, she needed a break of about a year or so between books 3 and 4. Dominic and I read the books straight through this year starting in March and finishing recently. It’s true — each kid is different!
  7. Dani and I are quite similar personalities. Much more similar than I thought.
  8. I probably dealt with depression and anxiety as a child all on my own. Helen struggles with some anxiety and has been in counseling for almost a year. The growth has been AMAZING (wonderful therapist!) and she teaches me every day that children absolutely can be incredibly in touch with their feelings and mental state and simply need someone to listen to them and provide help — either directly or through a therapist. Sometimes I look back at the things I went through as a child and I can see that many of the things I did to cope with the voids in my life could have been alleviated if someone had allowed me to talk about things openly.
  9. My marriage needs more work now. When we were having babies every couple of years, we were forced to connect and communicate for the survival of the baby and the kids. I had taken our strong, connected relationship for granted. I have started to realize that not having babies requires us to take the time to cultivate our relationship in a new way. I’m not saying I’ve been good at it — only that I have learned that I need to work on it.
  10. I am not a salesperson. The qualities it takes to be a successful sales person are simply not a strong enough part of my core personality that I could make a living selling anything, even real estate.
  11. It’s okay to take risks, as long as I understand when the game is up. I took a risk delving into real estate for a year. I had a great job that was less risky on the family and financials but had an opportunity that I would have kicked myself forever if I wouldn’t have taken it. It was not the good fit I dreamed it would be. Lucky for me, the people I used to work with still liked me, so I got to go back to the bank. I’m still glad I tried, but I’m really happy that I was able to “go home.”
  12. My siblings are still my best-est friends. A year ago, our whole family came together here in Kansas City — all of my siblings, all of our spouses and children…together. I believe that time together nourished my soul so well that I weathered the storm of my job change and some other things going on with our family much better for having had that time with all of them. I can’t wait for us all to get together again!




13. I love each of my kids completely differently, and that is okay.

14. The cutoff for Kindergarten works for us. Sarah is a “baby” of her class. Dani is one of the oldest of her class. (Missouri cutoff is August 1 — child must be 5 before August 1 to go to Kindergarten). I toiled over the impending decision for Vincent — do I send him and have him be the youngest or do I hold him and have him be the oldest? I went with my gut and sent him and I am glad I did. He sometimes mentions that he wishes I would have let him wait because he does not like to be the last kid to turn 6. But other than that — he is doing great! It has worked well for us.

15. Our faith sustains us always. There have been some things over the past few years that have caused me to ask God why things happen the way they do. I’ve suffered some setbacks, but also found comfort in my faith when things have been tough.

16. I need to pray more — frequently, with more structure and with more intensity.


And here’s to perhaps blogging a bit more frequently in 2017!! Happy New Year!


It’s been so long that I am not sure what I should write. I’ve toyed with the idea of closing it all up for good. But then, the idea still gnaws at me. So…I don’t do anything.

In all honesty, it’s okay. I’ve been so busy that I don’t have time to write a coherent thought most of the time. I came back to my REader last week and read a recent post by my friend Rebecca at The Road Home. And I had to dash off to get home and pick the kids up from the bus stop, but I told myself, I should send her a text to let her know I had read her post. I can’t remember what great thought I had about it that I would share with her…because the moment passed and I completely spaced it off and now I can only remember that I had wanted to reach out to her to let her know I”d read her post, how proud of her I was for whatever she wrote and let her know I was praying for her and love her.

It’s crazy when life gets like that. I feel like my life is one big ball of spaced out moments. I hear of a friend who has lost a parent and I make a mental note to pick up a card and drop it in the mail to let her know I am thinking of her…but it never happens.

My children began attending public schools this fall. All of them. After much prayer and discernment,  we decided that long-run, that was the way to go for our family now. Sarah was kicking butt in high school and getting the kids going “in the system” ahead of high school seemed like a great way to keep that ball rolling. Couple that feeling with the fact that our school district is phenomenal (the elementary school my children attend was named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School) and the kids have great attitudes about school in general, and I can say we made a wise decision for our family. Of course, we’re still active in the parish and blessed to have that still. It was a difficult decision but one I can say has turned out to be the best one for us.

Our schedules are hectic once school starts. Sarah has volleyball practices and matches/tournaments. And she has a helluva school load with an AP class and honors all the rest. She also likes to see her friends sometimes. Oh yeah, and go to homecoming.

Dani is at the middle school and chose to run cross country. She ran for class president — didn’t win, but met new people and learned new things. She’s getting the hang of some newfound independence and has been cleared to be recommended by me to people for paying babysitting jobs.


Helen, Dominic and Vincent are all at the elementary school. Helen gets extra help in reading, which is so critical for her! She had some extra help at home before, but I love that she is able to get some remedial help within the framework of the school day with her teacher. Helen has been impressive with her spelling ability and of course, made some good friends. She is doing cheer as an extra-curricular activity and seems to enjoy it.Dominic is his usual sweet self reading everything in sight, dominating his “mad minute” quizzes, and continuing to kick butt on minecraft or Star Wars video games, LOL. Oh yeah and he is playing flag football and enjoying that, too. Vincent is learning to read! Kindergarten has been very good for him.  I must admit I was worried since he is on the young side, but it’s working out quite well.

With the hectic schedule, we have little time for me to write. I spend most of my “free” evening time reading Harry Potter with Dominic, or walking our dog.

Yup…that’s right, we now have an 8th member of the family — Tardus!


I’m not quite sure how it happened, but one day the topic came up that we should allow a dog to join the family, and all of a sudden…the perfect pup was available at a local shelter! He is a really good dog and we all love him dearly.

The thought that has been on my heart for about 8 months is that I should start writing chapters to a book I may eventually put together. Of course, if I don’t have time to write here, how would I have time to write that?!?

Well, have a great Wednesday. Will I post another blog after this? Maybe.

No More Whining

Yeah, I think I’ve been a bit whiny. So…now I decided to get over it. Thankfully, for me, it is that simple (not easy…simple).

So much of my attitude and outlook is connected to feeling unsettled in some way or another. My routine has been amiss ever since I changed jobs last summer. When that job didn’t turn out as I would have liked, I moved onto another job. My routine is still not set.

As much as I like working from home and the flexibility it allows, I also dislike it for the same reason. I am a routine-oriented person. I like my schedule. When my schedule goes awry, my life goes awry, and my emotions and feelings get all screwy. If I don’t have a set way for my day/week/life, I get irritable…and hungry.

I’m in the process of righting this ship right now. I have a promising meeting today and await feedback on another that I had Wednesday. Today’s is the third and final meeting in the process. I pray for wisdom, strength and humility.

We finalized communications on a major decision impacting the children. As with everything, I worried about it far more than I needed to. I am humbled to be mother to such phenomenal kids and blessed to see how they trust us to always do what we think is the best for them long-term.

I made it to my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday and, after missing last week, was up only 1.4 pounds from two weeks ago. I’m just going to keep on chugging along, try to make good decisions where food is concerned and keep up my activity. I made it to Crossfit four days this week and they were all pretty hard workouts. I’m starting to feel more confident and comfortable in my skin again knowing that I can do the different movements and skills.

All of this has helped me brighten my outlook and see positive things and not negative. It’s also made me see how whiny I was being and, honestly, self-centered. Every time I succumb to my anxious feelings, I realize that I think far too much about myself and I stop feeling concerned for others. I get distracted from God and forget the real purpose in my life — to know, love and serve Him as a wife and mother and daughter and sister and friend. As I am coming out and realizing that perhaps I have been a little unfair, felt a little too wronged — I need to remember that life is hard for everyone and everyone is trying to do the right thing for their own families. Everyone struggles with something. I should work harder to have compassion for others and to try and lift up my own struggles and offer to God to use them to better other people in their struggles.

So…there we go. I’m done whining and I’m ready to move forward in a positive manner.

And for a little Flash Back Friday action — what about these pictures that showed up on Craig’s “memories” in Facebook?? Take a look! They all made me smile.

Four years ago…





Seven years ago — on an Easter far far away — we had only four children…

and the youngest was only a few months old
The three girls would pose for pictures together.
She’s always been such a pretty and sweet girl.
And Helen has always loved her black olives.


Monday Mumbles

Well, it’s been a long time since I posted on a Monday or used this format. It isn’t even my own brainchild, but I like it anyway. So I will do it. Mondays are good for mumbles..

  1. Saturday was one of those days we ran around all day long. Well, it felt like it, but really we just had to be at a volleyball tournament really stinking early. And then hang around all day watching volleyball. That is fun, but it is very tiring. Then we headed up for my nephew’s 3rd birthday celebration. My kids always like a good birthday party.
  2. For all the running around we did on Saturday, we sat on our butts all day Sunday. We managed to get dinner made, laundry done and naps. Personally, I was all in favor of the nap I took. What would have made it better would have been taking the nap in the bed instead of the chair.
  3. Today is Vincent’s snack day. He loves that day. He gets this cute little gleam in his eye when he reminds us or we remind him that it is his snack day. Cute.
  4. Crossfit workouts are coming along. I went four times last week. Trying for five this week, if I can make it on Saturday this time. We shall see…
  5. Running, however, is not coming along. I was hoping to try and run a couple days a week, but I am just not feeling it. But…I will try to do it a couple times this week and see if I can get going again.
  6. I have been shopping the Fitbits. I think I want the Fitbit Surge — it seems to have everything I am looking for — GPS (so don’t have to take my phone on runs), sync capability with Weight Watchers stuff, tracks sleep, tracks heart rate. We’ll see if I actually pull the trigger to get it. I have a hard time buying something for myself.
  7. Sarah’s confirmation went well. She ended up being the very last one. But that made it possible to get a nice, unobstructed photo. IMG_1949[1]She also took some good photos with friends afterwards. Kids grow up fast. you know they do.
  8. I am reading Harry Potter with Dominic. We are in the middle of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I love how into the story Dominic gets.
  9. As my boys get a little bit older, I find myself enjoying immensely the brotherly love and even the annoyances. Having boys is quite different from girls. Of course, the girls are at the pick-on-each-other-constantly phase of life anyway, sigh. But the boys — rather blissful at times.

Well, I can’t think of anything else, so I’m stopping now. 🙂


10. I lied. I just came up with one. What a great Monday! I got my crossfit WOD in and it was a doozy! Then I opened my e-mail to find one of my leads has decided to move forward so I am going to have a listing — that I worked and won ALL ON MY OWN. 🙂 That is a good feeling.


Okay, happy Monday everyone!

Praying To Let It All Go

Revelation this morning: Ask God to help me let go (of so much…)


I can’t put the length of time together. Maybe it’s always been this way, or maybe I only started fully realizing it was this way in the past 6-8 months. More likely, is that it’s always been this way, I just go in and out of consciousness on the fact that my life is this way, in a social manner of speaking.

What do I mean “my life is this way”? I mean the fact that I only have a small number of true friends. Considering I count my siblings among that small number…outside of family, the number is scarily small. And it bothers me. I know that by the age of 42, I should not care about this, but for some reason, my consciousness has risen to the occasion in the last few months to remind me that I really don’t have all that many friends.

Perhaps my consciousness of this fact is related to big events in my life. Or maybe just small things in my life that feel big. Either way, in the past several months I have felt let down far more than I have felt built up and that’s a problem. I am searching in the wrong places for love and acceptance.

As my children continue to grow up and learn about friendship and all that comes with it, my heart zones in on my own friendships (or lack thereof). I reflect. Truth be told, my initial inclination is to blame myself — I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, holy enough, organized enough, active enough — to garner the sort of likability that seems to accompany a wealth of friends.

What I seem to have to continue to teach myself (as I teach my children) is that I will only ever have a small amount of true friends, most likely. I have my sisters — they always have my back and will be there to build me up and provide the love and support I need. And I have one or two (maybe three) women I can count on outside of that. What wonderful women they are, too!

One of the mainstays in my life from age 8 on up is that surely someone is going to let me down. Many times it has been someone I love deeply. As an adult, I have shielded my heart for the most part, to avoid the heartache, and subsequently loved less deeply and less often. But then over time, I start to let it down…start to count on someone, start to believe “there’s no way that person would betray me” before the betrayal smacks me upside the head to put me back in my place.

My error seems to be lulling myself into the false sense of security that I have more of them…that these extra people that I start to think are my friends — that they won’t let me down, that they won’t reject me or my children at an inopportune time. But I don’t even know if that is it. I mean…we are all human, right? It’s inevitable that humans let each other down at times, but I think it’s the way those betrayals and letdowns are handled afterward that truly helps sift out the strength of the bond. Does an acknowledgement and/or apology occur? Forgiveness is often dependent on the parties involved (I, myself, am a big forgiver — not so much a forgetter, hence the shields I put up — but I definitely don’t stay mad at people…) but if no acknowledgment or apology is offered, there’s no closure. This is the kind of thing I have trouble with.

What’s even harder to accept is that usually there is no malice intended. Since people don’t generally go around every day thinking, “hmm, how can I really hurt this other person today?” most of us have no idea that we’ve inflicted any harm. and in our society, it seems, if we didn’t intend to hurt, then the fact that someone is hurt is just a byproduct of life. When my feelings are hurt, or those of my children are, it’s difficult to resolve because if no malice was intended — often there’s no apology or acknowledgment that a hurt occurred, so we are just left to get over it and move on with life. And much of the burden in that is shouldered by the person who is hurt and quite possibly none of it affects the person who unknowingly inflicted the pain. (I’m quite certain a blogpost on forgiveness would be in order on this topic alone!)

Sadly, I teach my children to guard their hearts. Recently, I’ve had to have the middle school friends discussion (sigh)…don’t get too invested, do your own thing, the tide is beginning to turn, sometimes the people you’ve always hung out with don’t want to hang out with you anymore — people change in middle school, their friendships change. Then, while you may very well remain friends once a hurt has been overcome, it will be a changed friendship. How that hurt is overcome plays a HUGE part in where that friendship goes. I remember having this conversation three years ago, too. I would bet on having it again in a couple of years. Teaching my children to put their guards up is all I know how to do, because that is all I know how to do.

And so…I do it to myself. I remind myself to keep my guard up, no one looks out better for me than me.

So I prayed today. I asked God to remove the hurt I feel. I asked Him to fill my heart with the love of Him and for my family so that I no longer feel the sadness of exclusion (of myself or my children). I asked Him to help me forget the things I hurt over so that I can smile and be friendly. I asked Him to remove my self-doubt, to remember that He loves me and it is only His love that I need and only Him I need to serve.

Throughout my life I’ve heard the “Let Go and Let God” mantra. It has always seemed to mean something different. And maybe it should mean something different depending on what is going on in our lives. Right now, I have a burden in my heart that needs lifted. I want to stop crying every time I think of certain things. I want to be able to hear a voice or see someone and not be reminded that I don’t think I can trust.

I want to only worry about pleasing God and the rest of the world be damned. I was there once. But somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that. So, I think that is my prayer now and maybe for a long time.


Confirmation – She’s Ready!

The first of my children is to be confirmed in her Catholic faith tonight. Sarah has been attending “prep” sessions at LifeTeen since September, but she has prepared since her Baptism for this time. I look at my young woman of a daughter and I believe she is ready.

The Catechism of the Catholic church teaches us that “Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the ‘sacraments of Christian initiation'” and that receiving Confirmation is “necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.” (Article 1285) This is the final step for Sarah to be fully initiated into the Church, it will give her the strength she needs to go the distance to know, serve and love our Lord. It is also a responsibility to spread and defend our faith…I think she has learned that part recently.


I often reflect on Sarah’s baptism as a turning point in my faith life. I told her about that last summer in a letter I wrote to her for her to read while she was at Steubenville Conference. I can’t say that I’ve never made mistakes when it comes to raising her and teaching her the Catholic faith, but I can say that I have always tried my best. This is the final sacrament she will receive while she continues to grow up, living with us. The next time she receives a sacrament she will be completely on her own, most likely, making her own decisions. She makes a lot of her own decisions now, but we are here to guide those. In the next few years, she will make more decisions independent of us, her parents. She seems ready for this responsibility.

It has brought joy to my heart to see Sarah continue to grow these past months as she has attended high school, continued to play volleyball, made new friends and enriched existing friendships. She has had an opportunity to express herself through writing on a couple of occasions where her strong faith and beautiful heart have shown through her words. She has also made some new friends and been unabashed in her ability to share her faith with them.

Every time I meet with teachers and/or coaches of Sarah, I am reassured that my impressions of my daughter are not just my feelings as her mother clouding my vision. Others see these actions and values in her and that is so reassuring. Many times early in the school year, new friends would ask Sarah where she had gone to school before high school and when she mentioned “Catholic school” they often followed up with questions. One of her friends enjoys talking with her about it and Sarah’s even extended invitations to LifeTeen events/retreats. She is unafraid to defend her position on core beliefs (life) and has made good, sound decisions on where to be, what to do, who to be around and talk to.

Tonight, she will be filled with the Holy Spirit! Her responsibility will extend to proclaiming “the mighty works of God” (cc 1287). She will receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit — wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. I can only imagine how these gifts will propel Sarah forward in her faith.

I continue to pray for her and all young adults who are receiving this Sacrament.