Monday Mumbles – 36

It’s another Monday. Mumble much? Yeah…me neither. 🙂

1. Remember TOOJE? the friend that started Monday Mumbles? Yeah, she doesn’t blog anymore and I miss it, but I totally understand why. It’s a commitment that I don’t really have time for either sometimes! But…every so often, I think, “Man, I wish she’d post” and then I go check to make sure I didn’t miss something…and find out that I didn’t.

2.  So, I’ve been sitting on something for…like…12 days.  And I realize that I just can’t sit on it any longer.

I’m pregnant and due late July.  (I told you…it’s only been, like 12 days since I took the test!!)  I’m such a bad secret-keeper.  (more on that later)

3.  I’ll have a more in-detail post(s) on the impending arrival of Hughes baby #6 I am sure.  But for now, I have to tell you how crazy it feels to be so open about this so early.  It’s not really all the crazy, I mean, the baby exists whether I tell the world about him/her or not.  My last pregnancy was tumultuous through the first 12 weeks, trying to balance progesterone and maintain the pregnancy and all that jazz.  So far, I have had no issues with progesterone this time.  I count this a miracle, but I’m not out of the water yet.  I will have another round of blood work on December 3 that should give us a better idea if high levels of progesterone are here to stay with this little one.  I will gladly accept your prayers.

4.  Low progesterone and the accompanying fear of miscarriage was one reason I kept the news of Vincent’s impending arrival quiet for 13 weeks.  Another was that I was in a very unfriendly inhospitable work environment when the topic of openness to children surfaced.  And, my insecurities re: family size and my state in life as a work-outside-the-home mom were still fairly intact.

With this pregnancy, I had strong showing in progesterone in my initial blood work, my work environment is completely different and I have shed my skin of insecurity to don a far more confident outlook on God’s call to work-outside-the-home-motherhood.

5.  Furthermore, I wondered to myself, why do I want to wait until the first trimester is clear before announcing publicly that I am pregnant?  The baby is no less of a baby just because I am only 4 weeks from conception (6 weeks gestational age).  And if I were to miscarry, I would be very sad (I know that probably doesn’t even touch how I would feel about it, but words probably can’t describe, so “very sad” it is) to lose our little one, so I may end up explaining to people anyway about the pregnancy.  So, I decided that I just want to be happy about the baby and tell anyone about the baby and let them see and feel our joy.  Honestly, very few people are sad at the news of new life, I have found over the years.

6.  So…do the kids know?  Why, yes, I am so glad you asked!!  We took the fam out to get family portraits done Friday night and afterward, at dinner, informed the kids of their new sibling.  I could see the wheels spinning in Sarah’s head.  I couldn’t tell if she was calculating just how a new sibling impacted her personally, or if she was just trying to process the whole thing of being the oldest of six.  Dani and Helen immediately informed us that they hope they get a baby sister.  Dominic told me that he needed a baby brother.  Then he said, “I need a baby brother named Vincent.”  So I told him, “Well, Dominic, you already have a baby brother named Vincent.”  And he said, “Well…I need another one.”  haha

7.  Last night, though, Dominic said to Craig, “I hope we get a baby girl.  hmmm.  I think we should call her Rebecca.”  I thought that was so cute that I texted Rebecca to tell her all about it.  Then I thought about the fact that my Sarah is “Sarah Rebecca”.  🙂

8.  So…do my parents know?  Why, yes!  Yes, they do!  They were both thrilled to hear the news.  Here is how I told my dad when I called him to wish him happy birthday on Saturday.  As I was relaying all that was “up to date” in Kansas City, I said, “Well, we’re gonna have one coming off the bench next summer.”

My dad:  then, “huh?  what?”

Me:  “Well, you know, we got the basketball team covered, and now they’ll have one coming off the bench sometime next summer.”

My dad:  “Ha!  Really!  Wow!  What a surprise!!”

So, then I agreed…what a surprise, indeed.  A blessed surprise.

Following that phone call, I called my mother and let her in.  She was excited as well, and she said…”Wow, you’re just going right on past 5 and having 6, huh?!?”  Yes, yes we are.

9.  So…does Craig’s mom know?  Why, yes!  Yes she does.  Craig shared the news by phone with her last week.  He tells me that he thinks she was very surprised and she said, “Congratulations!”  Which, by the way, is really the only proper response, IMO!

10.  Oh and about those family portraits, let me share a few with you:

Our First Family Portrait including Vincent
Love our Jayhawks!

Sweet pic of my boys
Me and my girls

My girls!
All of my children

My girls!



Dominic and Vincent

First pic with Craig taken in probably 4 years
Vincent — the best photo of him ever!

My five children



 I hope you all have a fabulous Monday!!



Afford to Raise a Large Family?

It happens more often than I like.  The non-work conversation at work turns to kids and how many people have.  And if I choose to participate in this conversation and offer up the information they are dying for, that I have FIVE children…all of a sudden SOMEONE pulls the OMG! face. 

Photo Credit

The conversation can take a number of directions once my family size has been established and publicized.  

ONE:  “You don’t look old enough to have that many kids.”  This direction is ABSOLUTELY a BIG thumbs-up.  I highly recommend it to anyone searching for something to say to the lady who just admitted that she has 5 or more children. 

TWO:  “My hands are full with the two I got!  I don’t know how you manage that!”

THREE:  “Are you ????”  And be assured the answer has a 90% chance of being YES to any or all three.  😉

FOUR:  The most recent discussion at work came from a well-meaning and most definitely not insulting question about just how people can afford to raise a large family.

I’ll go ahead and tell you that if you think you’re about to read an earth-shattering post about how we’re raising our family, paying for activities and going to retire at 55 with plenty of money to live on, then you might want to move right along to the next pie-in-the-sky-dreamland blog you can find.  We are, by no stretch of our imaginations, wealthy.  We’re only marginally self-disciplined with money.  We make ends meet and we work our butts off in the process.  We sweat out the bills from time to time, and there are those days we have to say “no.”

But — somehow, we have enough money to keep our family in clothes and shoes that fit, feed everyone enough to stay healthy, keep a roof over our heads, beds to sleep in, keep the lights on and ensure we are toasty in the winter and cool in the summer.  Sure, we do some things to keep our costs from getting out of control.  We keep the thermostat at 65 degrees in the winter and make sure everyone has some layers on.  We keep the thermostat at 76 in the summer and try to stay cool by going swimming, or just getting out of the house for activities.  I do hand-me-downs where I can (although my girls and their unique body types have made this difficult to do), consignment and thrift shops, and watch the sales.  At the end of the day, though, I’m sure there are many moms out there that could put me to shame with how much further they could stretch a buck.

The conversation at work started innocently enough.  I mentioned that I needed to buy Sarah size 9 Women’s shoes when only 3 months ago, I bought her size 8.5 women’s shoes.  (Yes, I checked and her toes were at the end of her shoes, and when we bought them 3 months ago, she had 3/4 of my thumb width of room to grow.  The girl just keeps growing and growing and growing.)  So, the question was asked, “Just how do people afford to care for a large family of children?”  This woman followed up her question with a back story that she was 1 of 6 children growing up and she had no idea how her parents did it either.  She also shared that most days, now as an adult, she can barely seem to keep herself in clothes, maintain her health with doctor/dentist visits and such.

Now, I’m the first to admit, there ARE financial reasons serious enough for some folks to limit their family size.  I’m not the person that’s going to tell anyone who says they are avoiding pregnancy due to financial strain that if they would just manage their money right and make the right sacrifices, they could afford to have another kid.  That is irresponsible.  My husband and I have been at that point a couple of different times in our marriage — it would NOT be a good time to be open to a baby because our finances were in shambles.  We were sad that we couldn’t be open, but we worked hard to get to a point where we could.  And if we would not have been able to get to that point, we might not have the children we have — but somehow, it worked out.

Sometimes, the finances aren’t spectacular, but it’s not a dire situation, and God blesses a couple with a baby.  And that has happened to us.  And this is what I said to the woman at work and what I’ve said to others who have asked me.

We’re not rich, but we’re making it.  We do what most people do and just put one foot in front of the other every day.  We go to work, we come home and care for our family.  We’re blessed to have our jobs and we’re blessed to have our Catholic parish and school that is supportive of large families.  Yes, the big expenses come about — Orthodontia, Glasses/Contacts, Club Volleyball, Club Swimming, Ballet Tuition, etc — but we still just take it one thing at a time.

Our orthodontist has a program that allows us to pay for subsequent children and their orthodontia at the rate of the first child.  So, even though their prices may increase, we are locked in for the rate we paid with our first child through their services.  Vision insurance is a steal when it comes to a family the size of mine.  The co-pay for annual check-ups is only $10 and then the co-pay for frames is $35 and they pay for lenses (up to $150) every 12 months.  Now that we have my husband, me, and two children in eye-wear, we’re reaping dividends from having vision insurance.  The medical bills for actually having a baby is still pretty steep since we have a QHDP insurance program and pay 100% out of pocket for non-preventive services up to our deductible.  But once the deductible is hit, the insurance picks up everything 100%.  I’d like to see the Catholic high school come up with a better discount program for 2nd child at the school and plan to negotiate that should we seriously consider sending our children there, but there’s always the option for public high school and we live in an excellent school district.  

And honestly…college is just gonna hafta be on the kids.  First of all, who knows if college is the right direction for all of our children.  My husband wasn’t cut out for college and he has a great job making a good living without having gone through the expense of college.  I put myself through college (albeit ending up with some debt along the way) and it didn’t kill me.  Perhaps there will be scholarships available or military academy appointments…you never know!

All of this to say that it’s not impossible to raise a large family.  Sure, it’s expensive, but it’s expensive to live anyway.  No, my kids don’t get EVERYTHING.  They have to pick and choose the one or two things they really want to do.  Just like anything else in life, raising a family and how we all pay for it is rooted in our priorities.  And my kids will live if they don’t get the high school prep education that costs a small fortune.  Or maybe I can negotiate that steeper discount and make that work.  

And the most important thing I hope my kids learn growing up in our family is that family is the priority.  Family will be there for you whether you have money or you don’t; whether you get to play special sports or you don’t; whether you go to college or you don’t.  We were poor when I was growing up, but I don’t remember being unhappy about it.  I have more happy memories of sitting around playing cards with my siblings than I do griping about what I didn’t have or get to do.  

And that is my prayer for my family.


To My Pro Life, N F P Doctor

Dear Doctor,
Thank you…
for taking me on as a new patient when I was pregnant with my 2nd child.  My husband and I had been using Natural Family Planning for 10 months.
We were new to NFP—-the mindset, the openness, the Grace.
It was a scary thing for us, this NFP life.  
That sounds so silly to me now.  
I mean, it seems silly that we’d be scared of growing our family and spacing our babies in accord with God’s plan for marriage.  We have found such peace in this life.  And I know that YOU were a big part of helping that PEACE find its place in our hearts.
Thank you…
for the experience in your office whenever I become pregnant.  The receptionists, the nurses and you are all congratulatory at the news of another baby in our family.  
I never have to answer…

Are you going to keep it?” 
Do you want to know your options?”  

And you call “it” a “baby.” 

Not a “fetus.”  
Those may seem like small things to some, but they were huge to me.  Every time.
Craig and I have not always been met with the most joyous reception of our news from some people closest to us.  It seems odd that the doctor’s office would be a refuge from the disappointment of family…but your office has been that for us at times.
Thank you…
for striving to do what is best for me and for the baby.  You treat us both…and you treat us as one.  
You treat me like I already have a baby (which I do) throughout pregnancy and not just after the baby is born. 
Thank you…
because I have never had to answer the question, “Are we doing a tubal ligation after this baby is born?”  I don’t know if you can know how important it is to me that I NOT be asked that question at such a vulnerable time like right after having a baby.  
With every baby, at the end of the pregnancy, I can’t imagine that I’ll be open to doing it again.  
But every couple of years, I have been back in that spot again and wondered how God opened my heart, but so grateful that He did.  
It’s comforting to know that my weak nature doesn’t have to be strong in the face of temptation. 

Thank you…
for being there as we have transitioned from a family of three, all the way to our current family of seven.  Each time we’ve added a baby, there have been some different concerns.  No pregnancy and no baby are exactly the same and I’ve been happy to experience those differences within your care.
Thank you…
for supporting us in our Natural Family Planning efforts.  You know much about the natural cycle of a woman’s fertility.  I frequently learn new things from you.  We have used different methods over the years.  I have been impressed with your ability and willingness to adapt your care to different methods of NFP.    
I think about writing this letter after every baby is born.  This time, I actually took the time.  
We can credit baby Vincent being such a good baby and going to bed at 8:00 like his siblings even though he is only 3.5 months old.  🙂 
Thank you, Doctor.  
God bless you.  

A Time to Share

I verified that Sarah completed her homework last night.  This is not something I do every night.  Many times, Craig has completed the homework tasks and verification before I get home.  This is especially true on Monday and Wednesday nights, when we have track practice.  But, last night, I checked it over for Sarah.  
As I verified all was completed (I didn’t check the correctness of her work, however, I’ve got my limits!) I saw she had a stack of papers in her folder and asked if they needed to be returned to school.  Sarah said “no” so I went through them.  There were spelling papers…a math paper on which she received a fairly low grade (and she reminded me I already knew about that one, LOL) and then…there was this:
As I read, it was all I could do to keep the tears from spilling over (hormone-impacted as I am, these days).  
In case you are unable to read it, it says:

“Heaven is more beautiful than the big Christmas tree at Zona Rosa.
Heaven is more awesome than going to Disney World.
Heaven sounds more fun than going on a plane by myself to New Jersey.
Heaven feels like getting another sibling and being loved forever.”

Okay, so surely it’s obvious that last line is the one that got to me most.  
One of the things I’ve grappled with throughout this pregnancy has been how Sarah *really* feels about it.  She’s never expressed that she feels anything but joy and happiness over the impending arrival of another sibling when we are around.  It absolutely fills my heart with love for my little girl that even with an open page to write, she expresses that getting another sibling feels like Heaven.  
Wow.  I just can’t even put into words how I feel right now, how I felt last night.  
I should never have tried.
I know I’ve written it before and I know I will have many reasons to write it again.
The Lord blesses me over and above my greatest needs and desires every day.