Friday, July 22, 2016

7QT-Hiatus


1. So, an almost two month blogging break isn't bad by my standards, right? I have a bunch of posts (in my head, naturally) that I'm planning on writing, including but not limited to the start of the school year, budgeting, the Mediterranean diet and how our family eats, and for a brief moment I considered touching on politics, but nah. That would just make me ragey, and put me in a foul mood for the rest of the day, and give everyone else a headache. So I'm going to veto that plan for now (see what I did there?). Rather than write an actual blog post, I'll just share some pictures and brief accounts of our recent trip to the glorious Midwest this past month and a half. Beginning with..

2. 
Gianna's first haircut, by Miss Benay (who cut my hair as a baby, and my brother's hair, and Tony's hair...what can I say. An Italian woman's dedication to a hairdresser is a powerful thing). As you can see, Gianna was unimpressed by the whole experience. 

3. 
Playtime with Uncle Mark on our first Saturday morning back in Wisconsin. I'm pretty sure I've scared my little brother away from parenthood, at least for the time being. Sorry, Mark!

4. There was a lot of this:
First time in the neighbor's pool. She loved it. ❤️ 
And this:
If there was ever a picture that captured Alessandra's personality...

4. Some quality time at the Jelly Belly factory with my bestie and two older children:
Tony: "I shall dominate the world! With or without my shoes on the correct feet!" 

5. Merry-go-rounds in the village.
"My horse is SO much better than yours."
"Nuh uh!" 

6. Meeting cousin Hugo for the first time (he and Gianna were born 10 days apart!):

7. Aaaaannnnnnd returning home, to immediately get back in the groove of trashing the house.
It's a talent, really.

Will is still on leave for another glorious week, so I'm enjoying a whole lot of lazing around, organizing things for our upcoming move in January (Lord Jesus don't get me started on this foolishness), and thinking about baking. And blogging. And cleaning. Maybe one of these days, I'll follow through.

Happy weekend! 







Saturday, May 28, 2016

Delay

  Anyone who knew me in high school (okay, and college) will wholeheartedly agree that I'm a master procrastinator. Major term paper due tomorrow, one that would normally require weeks upon weeks of backbreaking research? Sure, I'll crank that bad boy out the night before, beginning around 1am. Biomedical Ethics midterm? Why, what's wrong with reviewing two months worth of class notes the night before? And so what if it's my 21st birthday? I can always go out to celebrate on the weekend!

  (Yes, I actually spent the night of my 21st birthday, on Halloween no less, studying for a midterm. I'm not sure if that makes me sound incredibly studious or incredibly lame). 

  My point being, I tend to leave important deadlines to the last minute. Adulthood is no exception. See: inviting 12 soldiers and their families over for a Thanksgiving dinner at our house, and not shopping until the day before, waiting until I was in full-blown labor with Alessandra and barely making it to the birth center in time, waiting until I was down to the VERY LAST CLEAN CLOTH DIAPER before deciding I should probably do laundry...you get the picture. I always promise myself that I will grow up, get things done in a calm, leisurely manner, and not running around like an addict who can't find his stash (inappropriate analogy? Possibly. I've only had one cup of coffee this morning). This rarely pans out. For starters, old habits are hard to break. Furthermore, I generally have the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality. Pretty much every last-minute deadline, whether it be a test, term paper, childbirth, entertaining, what have you-works out in my favor when I leave it to the last minute. However, being an adult (or so I keep telling myself) I know I need a good kick in the butt every now and then, and I need to get my &#$% together. 

  In a mere four days, we will bid farewell to Will, who will depart for Fort Knox for 6 long weeks. My mom arrives in the Springs that very day, and 2 days later she, I, and my crew will depart for Milwaukee. I'm really looking forward to this trip, but I'm not looking forward to the prep. The "prep" being laundry, packing, map routing, food preparing, grocery shopping, overnight bag packing, car cleaning...the list goes on. My mom and I were chatting a few days ago, and she reminded me to make a packing list for the kids and I. Right. I'll get on that. However, I'm looking around our house, which is in desperate need of a deep clean, there are boxes in the garage from our most recent move that still need to be unpacked, the kids' playroom looks like a tornado ran through it but it's THEIR playroom and I'm NOT signing myself up for that job, people around here insist on eating every day so I still have to prepare meals, and the laundry has reached an alarming state. SOOOOOOO my list kind of looks something like this: 

Laundry. Much laundry. 
Check out Google Maps, compare to Mapquest. Determine not only fastest route, but route with rest stops with playgrounds (yes, they do exist!), Chik-Fil-As, Burger Kings and McDonalds with child play areas. Must find places where kids can get the wiggles out. 
Pack for everyone. Laundry first. Impose harsh restrictions on what children can wear for the next few days. 
Clean house. Thoroughly. I detest coming home to a disaster area after a long vacation. 
Grocery store. Probably should make a shopping list first. 
Drop Murphy off at dog sitters house. 
Arrange for someone to cut the grass at least once during our absence. 

  What have I done thus far? I've thought about making a packing list. Thought very seriously about it. Decided that was too much work, and proceeded to write this blog post instead. 
But with this awesome guy (who's kind of sporting a Jersey Shore-ish look as of late) insisting that he wants Papa time with the kids today and I should "take it easy," well, who am I to argue? 




Friday, May 20, 2016

7 Quick Takes-WeekEND!!


1. I haven't participated in 7QT in...I don't know how many months, so I figured I'd get back in the game. Also, pregnancy insomnia strikes again, and I've been up since 3:30. Imagine how much I could accomplish if I was a CEO of a major corporation while battling sleepless nights. Then again, about half an hour ago I remembered I threw a load of clothes in the washer last night before I went to bed, and I could totally get a head start on laundry if I went downstairs and threw them in the dryer. That seemed like too much work, so I continued to flop around in bed until I got the brilliant idea to write a blog post. Best to stick with this stay at home mom gig. At least I can wear yoga pants.

2. One more day of work for Will, then weekend, plus a few extra days of leave he's taking to help me pack up for our upcoming trip to Wisconsin. It's ridiculous how excited I am about this (both the leave and the trip). 

3. My kids have decided they love the song "Uptown Funk." I do, too. It's catchy, has a great beat, and it's a nice break from Lady Gaga's "Telephone" (Alessandra's current favorite. Don't judge me). The problem? We're having a bit of an articulation issue. When my kids beg me to play "Uptown Funk," it's sounds like they're saying uptown really bad word.

I can't WAIT until they request this song in public. 😖

4. I texted this meme to my mom yesterday, with the title, "The Ballad of Mark and Marisa's Childhood." 

5. A mother at the bus stop asked me yesterday if I was an expert in moving and unpacking (brought on by a conversation about the possibility of us moving back to Georgia this winter). I definitely got a good laugh out of that comment, and invited her to come over and take a look at our garage. Nope, I'm about as far away from the "expert" level as one can get. I'd like to think that as a military wife who has done 7 moves in the past 10 years, that I've got this down to a science. Lol NO.

6. Will thinks this baby is another girl, based on my first trimester morning sickness and craving for anything loaded with sugar. As for me, the verdict is still out. I think it's safe to say at this point whatever I think will be wrong, so just stick with my husband's guess, mmmmkay? He's 3 for 3, and I'm 0 for 3 when it comes to gender prediction. (Though interestingly enough, my guesses are *usually* correct when it comes to my friends).

7. Looking forward to warmer weather, BBQs with friends and family, Popsicles, lazy days at the pool, July fourth festivities, and chubby babies in swimsuits and hats. Summer can't get here fast enough.

Happy weekend!



Sunday, May 15, 2016

Thank You

  This is a long overdue blog post, but I can't thank everyone enough. Those of you who commented on my blog, Facebook page, and Instagram account with prayers, advice, and those who shared your own stories of unexpected pregnancies and struggles. Words cannot express the gratitude and love I felt reading your comments, and truly, part of the reason it took me such a long time to write this post was because I honestly didn't know how to respond. To say "thank you" seems woefully inadequate. To say I was blown away by your kind words, your compassion, and your raw honesty is a massive understatement. I wanted to respond to everyone personally, but every time I tried, I would break down in tears, humbled beyond words and convinced I would never be able to say what I wanted to say without rambling, or repeating myself. I still believe that I will never be able to find the right words, so please accept my heartfelt thanks, and prayers for all of you.

  Pregnancy-wise, everything is fine. Baby's heartbeat has been strong and consistent at my last few midwife visits, and our ultrasound is scheduled for June 1. Naturally, Will is going to have to miss this one as well (thanks, Army!!) but my mom will be in town, so she and the kids will get to see their new grandchild/brother or sister on the big screen. I'm finally, FINALLY past the "I'm going to throw up the contents of my stomach as soon as I open up my eyes in the morning" stage, and Will has been awesomesauce about letting me get as much rest as possible. So, yeah. Back problems aside, I'm having a healthy pregnancy, and from the looks of it, a healthy baby.

  As I mentioned, Will is going to be absent for a good chunk of time this summer. He'll be doing training at Fort Knox from the end of May to the middle of July, so boo. I don't really feel like hanging around Colorado solo with three little ones during the whole time, so my mom is flying out in a few weeks, and she's going to help me pack up my brood and my trusty SUV and drive back to Wisconsin for an extended visit. I haven't been back home in a long time, and I'm already dreaming of visits with family and friends, dinners at my favorite restaurants, taking the kids to Bay Beach in Green Bay for some cheap carnival fun, and Fourth of July festivities. It's going to be great, and I'll confess, I'm excited to visit the good 'ole Midwest during the summer again.

  In other news, we moved into a new house in the Springs, one with a "get things done" landlord, a finished basement (which has been turned into a playroom), and a noticeable absence of mice! Imagine that! It's also considerably closer to our church, where Tony will attend kindergarten in the fall. Let's all take a moment to let that sink in.
    Yes, this Tony. With that killer dimple. 

  There's a chance we may be headed back to Fort Benning a year earlier than originally planned. On one hand, I love living here in Colorado, and I know I'll miss this state terribly. I've never lived in this part of the country before, and there are still days when I wake up and can't believe how beautiful Colorado is. I love the area, I love being so close to Denver and all the opportunities the city offers, and we've made some amazing friends here. So yes, I'll be very sad to leave. That being said, accepting a job there would be good for Will's career, there's a chance we could find a decent place to live on base, we have family in Atlanta, and Destin and Disneyworld aren't THAT far away. ;) So, whatever happens, I fully intend to make the best out of our situation. Such is Army life, right??!!

  Today is Pentecost Sunday, and I have lots to do-including a trip to the grocery store and convincing  a stubborn 3-year old that ratty sweatpants are not appropriate for mass-before church at 10:30. As always, thank you for reading, and for your kind words. I am grateful beyond measure. 


Sunday, April 17, 2016

When Facing the Unexpected


  I'll be honest...this may be the most difficult post I've ever written. It involves sharing a whole lot of personal information, going waaaaaaay out of my blogging comfort zone, and going in to more details about my body than I ever would have imagined I would share online. (I should probably take this opportunity to inform you that I'll be discussing my cycles, natural family planning, and as I said, a whole lot of personal information. If you're prone to getting squicked out by discussion of periods, post partum hormones, etc, you may not want to continue reading). For a long time, I thought about  avoiding this post altogether, and just posting the standard happy announcement. But...that wouldn't be honest. I've been making an effort this past year to share everything; the good, the bad, the ugly, and not just gloss over the trials and tribulations we face as a family, simply because it's not a neat and tidy story. So, honesty it is.

  For those of you who haven't guessed by the picture or the first paragraph, I'm pregnant. Twelve weeks. And this pregnancy was very, VERY unplanned. Let me back up a bit.

  After Gianna was born, Will and I agreed to wait before even contemplating getting pregnant again. We had multiple reasons for this decision, but the most important reason had to do with my health. I made an appointment with my neurosurgeon when Gianna was a week old (I had a excruciating back pain during my pregnancy with her, and I knew something was seriously wrong). My neurosurgeon immediately scheduled me for an MRI, and when I got the results back, he said that without a doubt, I needed surgery. I had a microdiscectomy when Gianna was 4 1/2 months old, and the second-no joke-I woke up in recovery, my neurosurgeon was standing over me. He said that when he actually opened me up, my back was far worse than the MRI had shown, and I was going to need spinal fusion surgery. His exact words were, "I don't know how you were walking, let alone carrying a pregnancy." Since then, I've been in a lot of pain. I've been attempting to manage the pain through weekly PT appointments and pain medication, but it really isn't ideal. So, Will and I both agreed that we needed to get my back fixed once and for all before even considering another baby. 

  As far as birth control goes, we use NFP. I understand there are quite a few, shall we say, strong opinions on the matter, but we use it for both health and religious reasons. We have used NFP successfully in the past, both to avoid and achieve pregnancies. No, it's not always easy, but it worked for us. Until, obviously, now. 

  I've heard many people (health practitioners, NFP instructors, friends) talk up ecological breastfeeding-in other words, exclusively breastfeeding your baby for as long as possible, babywearing, co-sleeping, not using a pacifier-as a fantastic way to delay the return of your fertility. Now, I realize that EB works wonders for many women, and I myself have many friends who WILL NOT get a period until their babies or toddlers are completely weaned. I am...not one of those women. Despite exclusively breastfeeding, babywearing constantly, and co-sleeping, my period returned at two months postpartum. Not cool, nature. Not cool at all. It was especially difficult for me, as I now had to worry about charting my cycle with an infant who had, at best, unpredictable sleep patterns, not to mention I was taking pain medication daily for my disaster of a back. I tried to chart, I really did, but it seemed like the universe was working against me. In addition to getting my period at two months postpartum, I was getting two VERY heavy periods every month. I was exhausted beyond belief, getting migraines constantly, and having painful PMS back pain on top of my already excruciating back pain. Will and I were being obsessively careful about avoiding sex during what I thought was my fertile time each month, but again, my body was doing all sorts of screwy things.

  At the beginning of February, I was looking through my CycleGoPro app on my phone, and realizing, "ugh. Lovely. Time for my first period of the month to show up. No wonder I've been craving pizza and ice cream lately." Well, a few days went by, and no period. I started to feel cautiously hopeful; hey, maybe my body was finally starting to right itself! Could it be that I wouldn't have to suffer through this nonsense more than once a month? Well, twelve days went by. At that point, I was confused, and I was starting to get nervous. I pulled Will aside one day after he got home from work, and asked him if he thought I should buy a pregnancy test. Will laughed, and said, "There's just no way. That would seriously be a one in a million chance. Buy one if it will put your mind at ease, but I really don't think you have anything to worry about. If you're not-and I'm SURE you're not-I think you should give your midwives a call to see if they can figure out what's going on with your body." That made sense, and I agreed that the chances of me being pregnant were slim to none, so I ran to Walgreens, picked up a test, and came home just as Will was getting Gianna ready for bed. I told him I was going to take the test immediately just so I could sleep that night without worrying, and Will agreed. I went into the bathroom, peed on the stick, and prepared to wait a few minutes for the results to show up. 

  I didn't even need to wait 10 seconds. The second line appeared almost immediately, and I burst into hysterical sobs. I was crying so hard I couldn't even see. Will, naturally, was in a complete panic, and he was yelling, "What's wrong? Are you okay? Open the door!!" I opened the door, handed him the test, and collapsed on our bed, still sobbing. "WHAT? How is this possible? There's no way...is a false positive likely?" Nope. False negatives are fairly common, but false positives are almost unheard of. Will was doing everything he could to calm me down, I couldn't stop crying, Gianna started crying because she saw her mama was upset...it was chaos. 

  I cried all night long. I woke up every hour on the hour, remembering the positive pregnancy test a few  feet away from me on my nightstand, and I would just burst into tears. Will would wake up, hold me, tell me that he loved me and he would take care of me, and tell me everything was going to be okay, and he would rub my back until I fell asleep again. I just couldn't believe it. The thought of going through another pregnancy with chronic back pain made me want to vomit. Even if I didn't have chronic pain, the thought of two under two (especially with two older children) was absolutely terrifying to me. Our families were going to freak. My neurosurgeon was going to think I was dumber than a box of rocks. And last but not least, how was this going to affect Gianna? I already suspected that my milk supply was dwindling, and I was taking a bunch of lactation-boosting herbs to continue nursing her. None of which were safe to take during pregnancy, so I had to immediately discontinue using them. 

  It took me a long, LONG time to come to terms with this pregnancy. I cried at my first appointment with my midwife. I cried pretty much every single night for two weeks straight. I felt selfish and ungrateful, knowing how many friends I have who are struggling with fertility and would kill to be in my position. I cried when I finally admitted defeat, realizing my milk supply completely dried up, and I had to switch Gianna to formula. I didn't want to tell anyone. I avoided talking about it with Will, and every time he gently brought up announcing the news to family and friends, I talked him out of it. After I got over my initial sadness, I felt anger. At everything and everyone. I was angry at God, for clearly giving me more than I could handle. I was angry at society, for making me feel embarrassed and needing to defend having more than the "acceptable" number of children. I was angry at NFP for failing me. Most of all, I was angry at myself. For not making an appointment with my midwives as soon as I realized something was kind of screwy with my body, for not making the time to take a Creighton NFP class (with my friend, who is a certified instructor and had offered her services to us in the past), and for not being more careful. And most of all, for seeing this pregnancy as a huge burden. I was so ashamed of myself when I realized I had resentment towards an innocent baby, a baby whom I knew I would fall in love with the moment he or she is placed in my arms. 

  I ended up confiding in one of my close friends, and she gave me some great advice. "Don't show your fears or sadness to those you know won't understand, but with those who WILL, don't hold back. " We eventually told our families, a few more of our close friends, and shortly thereafter, we made the official announcement online. For the most part, people have been very supportive and happy. We've had to field a few of those "hilarious" questions such as "ya know what causes that, right?" (Har! Good one!). I've also become more comfortable admitting that while yes, a baby is always a blessing, that doesn't mean I can't be scared about the timing, or sad about the circumstances. I had this (irrational) fear that I would be kicked out of some kind of Catholic club for not being over the moon about another pregnancy, and that couldn't have been further from the truth. My Catholic sisters were supportive, understanding, and as patient as can be with me while I cried about my fears and grumbled about our hyperactive fertility. 

  Everything is going to be okay. I know it is. I will make it through this pregnancy, and at the end, we will have a beautiful, and, God-willing, healthy baby to show for it. Yes, our life will become slightly more chaotic, but that's certainly nothing new. I'm slowly allowing myself to feel excitement over the impending newborn stage again, and buying tiny little clothes and hats for our newest addition. I'm doing everything I can to try and manage my back pain, and get as much rest (as possible) during the exhausting first trimester. It wasn't easy, but letting go of my fears, anger, and anxiety has given me the peace of mind I so desperately needed. I'm slowly but surely getting back into a daily prayer routine, and in the midst of my worries, remembering that I have so, so much to be grateful for. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Lunch Crisis

The Airplane Restaurant in Colorado Springs. Loved by kids, tolerated by adults. 

  Y'all, I need help. Normally I pride myself on making most meals at home, and I do...for dinner. However, since I've been sick and dealing with awful back pain lately, many of our dinners have been kind of thrown together at the last minute. That, however, is not the problem. The problem is what I have dubbed my Lunchtime Laziness. 

  I can't handle planning more than one meal every day (you mamas who plan every last meal your husband and kids to eat...hats off to you. I have no idea how you do it). I generally try to keep this in mind when I go to the store, and I try to pick up lunch-y type things my kids and I will enjoy; sandwich stuff, fruits, veggies, goldfish crackers, hummus, chicken nuggets for the kids, what have you. Normally I let the kids put in requests for lunch, because I generally have everything they like on hand, and since I'm a "eat it or starve" kind of mom when it comes to the dinners I plan, I don't want to make a big deal about lunch. All that being said...I'm slipping.

  It has become far, far too easy for me to just have the "screw it, there's a drive-thru" mentality when it comes to lunch. I HATE eating out. Really, truly hate it. Eating out with small children is, for the most part, unpleasant. It's hard to find healthy options on the menus, and holy cow does it add up after a while. Sometimes, at the end of a very long week, it's hard for me to say no when the kids beg for a Chik-Fil-A lunch, or offer up healthier suggestions when Tony sweetly asks me for a "pickle burger" from Culver's. I think a treat once in a while is fine, especially on Saturdays, when Will is home for the weekend and we can spend time together as a family. But after looking through our purchases last month from our checking account...wow. The occasional lunch out has gotten a little out of control.

  Suggestions? I'm open to them. Obviously what I'm doing isn't working, so I don't know if I need to *shudder* begin planning meals for lunches to keep myself on track, prepare a small "eating out" budget for us to use as we wish a few times every month, or just throw all my cards up in the air and hope for the best (note: this has not worked out well for me in the past). Help me out, ladies and gentlemen. It's getting a little ridiculous when you have most of the Chik-Fil-A menu memorized. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Musings


Go big or go home. That's our mantra around here. 

Late last night (okay, late for me) I was messaging and later video chatting with a dear friend of mine, a former co-worker whom I met in Germany several years ago. Thessally and her husband are devout Catholics, and we all went to the same church on Ramstein AF base. One of my favorite memories of our friendship was Easter Vigil 2009, when Thessally and I both gave up sweets for Lent, and proceeded to gorge, er, celebrate by stuffing our faces with candy, cookies, margaritas, what have you, after the holiest day in the Church calendar. Her husband, who is in the Air Force, was deployed to Kuwait, and as I'm sure you can imagine, holidays were tough for my friend and her two daughters. Thessally decided to make the best out of a difficult situation, so she invited Will and I over to her home for a delicious pre-Vigil dinner. Then the five of us attended the Vigil (which is SO beautiful), and returned to her home, staying up until 2am, eating, drinking, and laughing. It's one of my favorite memories from Germany, and Thessally and I had a nice moment of nostalgia last night while FaceTiming. 

I haven't been to Easter Vigil in years, mainly because while it is the most beautiful mass of the year, it's also the longest. A possibly 3-hour long mass beginning at 8pm does not really work out when one has small children, so for the past couple of years we've braved Easter morning mass (having to leave for church almost an hour early if we even have the slightest hope of finding a parking spot). Naturally, last night I started feeling funny. Tired, achy, scratchy throat, and despite my fervent prayers not to get sick, well, I'm sick. There are few things I hate more than missing mass on a holy day of obligation, but I just don't feel right dragging my infected butt out of bed and possibly unleashing a swarm of germs upon small children, pregnant ladies, and the elderly. So, I am sitting grumpily in bed, bringing you a blog post while my brave, brave husband dresses the kids and prepares to take them to mass himself. That, ladies and gentleman, is a real man. 

One thing I always try to practice during Lent is humility. This...does not always work out. I know that as a Catholic woman, I *should* pray for peace, tranquility, the ability to accept certain unpleasant situations with grace, and above all, forgiveness. Forgiveness is especially difficult for me. I have a tendency to hold a grudge, to unleash the snark at VERY inappropriate moments, and to ruminate on things that I can never change. Take this past Christmas, for example.

I mentioned in a previous blog post that we spent our Christmas (the day, and the week of) at Memorial Central Hospital here in Colorado Springs. Tony had osteomyelitis, and Will and I were scared to death. It is a treatable illness, but it can become very serious very quickly. On December 23, the pediatric ortho surgeon informed Will and I that Tony needed surgery to drain an abscess on his ankle. We knew it was necessary, but that didn't stop us from worrying over every possible scenario. On Christmas Eve day, Will took the girls home while I stayed at the hospital with Tony, who was VERY upset because he hadn't been able to eat or drink anything since 8pm. The surgery was scheduled for 11am, but since we were on "hospital time," he wasn't wheeled in to the operating room until 1:00. By then, I was physically and emotionally wrung out. I collapsed onto a chair in the surgery waiting room for family members, and began sending a text message to Will to give him a brief update. 

Seconds later, a man pulled out a chair at the table where I was sitting, and started talking to me. I wasn't in the mood for conversation with strangers, but I politely answered his (somewhat intrusive) questions about who I was waiting for, what kind of surgery was my son having, etc. He asked if he could say a prayer for my son, and I said absolutely. He began to pray, and at some point looked at me. Or, more specifically, he looked at my cell phone cover, which has a picture of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on it. He launched into a tirade about the evils of the Catholic Church, how I follow a false religion, what have you. He paused long enough for me to say, "Excuse me. Maybe you didn't hear me the first time, but my four year old is having SURGERY. If you're under the impression that I'm going to get into a theological debate with a complete stranger on Christmas Even morning while my son is under general anesthetic, you're extremely confused." Unfortunately, that didn't stop him, and he began to get nasty. Oh, and it's totes cool, he knew what he was talking about because he USED to be Catholic. Well, clearly that meant he was more knowledgable than the pope, right? 

I know what I *should* have done. I should have excused myself, I should have said I would pray for him, I should have done a multitude of things. Instead, I told him to leave me alone so I could pray for my son in peace. When he stood up and told me that he would pray my son would be rescued from non-believing parents...oh, it was ON. My response? "You have no idea how lucky you are. If my four-time Iraqi war veteran husband was here right now, he would kick your ass!" 

Not my finest hour. 

You would think that my anger would have ended there, but newp. I spent the rest of the week stewing about the nerve of this guy, just who did he think he was, and did he honestly think that harassing parents in a surgical waiting room was the way to get them to join his uber fundie church? Oh, and did I stop there? Of course I didn't. I kind of wished in the moment, I had the presence of mind to show Mr. I'm So Much More Holy and Devout Than You this picture. 

Or this one: 

Much holy. Much Catholic. 

So, umm, yeah. Let's just say I had a lot of reflecting to do during this Lenten season. I am not very good when it comes to turning the other cheek, forgiving those who do my family and I wrong, and moving past hurt and anger. Or, you know, all the things that my faith demands I do. After the "incident" at the hospital, I came to an unpleasant realization over the next couple of months. I have, to put it mildly, a lot of work to do. I need to have more patience with my kids, myself, strangers, well, pretty much everyone. I need to focus on prayer, rather than spite. I need to forgive. I need to learn to move on, and accept that some people will never listen to reason or logic. 

On this Easter Sunday, whilst stuck at home in bed, I resolve to focus on what's important (for me, that means not browsing Facebook or Instagram and berating myself for not having a perfect Easter setup for my kids because I'm feeling so miserable right now), but rather watching mass on EWTN live, saying a few prayers, and focus on getting myself better so I can have the energy to do fun things with my kiddos tomorrow when Will goes back to work. This gig (parenting, wifing, being a Catholic woman in today's crazy world) ain't easy, but I always try to remember that we are called to holiness. Not perfection, not a lifetime of never making mistakes, but a life of learning from our mistakes, confessing our sins, and always striving to better ourselves. After all, as St. Augustine said, "There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future." 

He is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia. The happiest of Easters to you.