Motherhood

The saint of the NICU

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Today is my youngest child’s first birthday! Those of you who were reading a year ago might recall that that wasn’t the best day. It was a rough pregnancy, involving bilateral pulmonary embolisms, hospitalization, and getting stabbed in the neck by doctors (UNNECESSARILY). The birth was not a ton of fun either — without going into detail, let’s just say that getting 12 blood draws in the same arm in one day was one of the better parts of the experience. Then, only minutes after the baby arrived, he was taken away due to... Read More

5 big ideas that changed my life

Combat peer orientation by raising shut-ins!

Every now and then I like to take a step back and examine my worldview. I ask: What core beliefs define my outlook? What are the characteristics of the lens through which I see the world? I was pondering the subject while putting away laundry yesterday, and I came up with a list of key ideas that fundamentally shape the way I evaluate life. (Yes, this is really what I think about while I’m putting away laundry. It’s sad.) I thought it would be fun to post a list of these concepts, then have you tell me which ideas have been most transformative... Read More

The Family-First Creative: A little thank-you gift from me, to you

The Family-First Creative

Guys! You are NEVER going to believe what I did. Actually, you’re totally going to believe it. Easily. Okay, it might be the least surprising thing you have heard in weeks. But I’m still delighted to tell you: I wrote an ebook for you! It’s going to be my gift to anyone who pre-orders my memoir. It’s called The Family-First Creative: 42 Tips for Following Your Dreams While Putting Your Family First, and I am ridiculously excited for you to check it out. CLICK HERE FOR A 10-PAGE PREVIEW I knew I wanted to offer a free ebook... Read More

The secret to not being overwhelmed

Shaun the Sheep overdose.

One of the turning points in my life was an email I received from Fr. Joseph Langford, MC back in 2009. He was close friends with Mother Teresa, and she worked with him to found her order of priests. I had the privilege of getting to know Fr. Langford because I was working with him on a website project, and one day when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed, I decided to seek his advice. I note that this was taken while we were re-organizing the house. (If you interpret that to mean that the living room looks much better at the end of a typical... Read More

A day in the “life”

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Skating in riiiiiight under the wire, here’s today’s post! It’s a glimpse into my day yesterday — which is the perfect post for me because it counts as an update and also answers the question about why I’m flailing in my own blogging challenge. BACKSTORY FOR NEW READERS: It will help you understand the chaos below to know the following: I have six kids ages 9, 7, 6, 4, 2, and 10 months. My husband is a lawyer/CPA. It is tax season. I have a book coming out in April, published by Ignatius Press. And now for more details... Read More

Raise your hand if you need a BREAK

Look at all that SILENCE!

Do you want to hear about my morning? About the moment when the kids woke up the baby just after I finally got him to go to sleep? About how I think my eyes might have actually popped out of my head while steam exploded from my ears like a cartoon character when my attempts to outsource lunch duty ended up with a Rice Crispy apocalypse on my table? Would you like to hear about the “I hate my life!!!!!” voicemail I left Joe that was, as usual, followed by another voicemail five minutes later where I explained that I don’t actually... Read More

The courage to rest

Praying the ancient Vespers prayers at sunset. That's the life.

A few years ago, I found myself in a state of being perpetually overwhelmed. I mean, I still feel that way a lot of the time now, but back then it was worse. There was more of a sense of hopelessness, a feeling that I was sinking and couldn’t figure out how to pull myself up. Nothing I did seemed to get us any closer to having a peaceful routine or a house that didn’t look like it was b-roll footage from Hoarders. I pondered and prayed and whined about the issue for months, then, finally, something clicked. I had an epiphany that would... Read More

Ice cream truck, you’re killing me

Unlike Mommy No-Fun, Yaya is always happy to take the kids to the ice cream truck.

You know how I was going to get all the important things done the other day, but I wrote a post instead? And then I got sick? Well, I finally had a free moment to sit down and tackle some of these pressing items, but an unfortunate event took place, and now I am forced to write instead of working yet again. It’s cool, though. When Joe settles in to watch sports tomorrow night and the house suddenly goes dark because I never did get around to paying the electricity bill, I know that he’ll smile to himself and say, “At least Jen... Read More

22 things I learned in my first ten years of parenthood

Doll face-down in urine on the couch, 2010

As I was sitting here thinking of all the awesomeness that this wonderful, new, non-2013 year will hold, it occurred to me that my oldest child will turn ten this fall. Ten! I have officially been a parent for a decade now, and I’ve had six kids during that time. When I took a step back and considered that I’ve been living in Baby Central for the better part of my adult life, it occurred to me that I must have accumulated some knowledge during that time. I mean, surely I’ve learned at least one or two things about this whole “keeping... Read More

Why I’m going to keep letting Santa and the Tooth Fairy ruin my life

A rough trip down from the attic leaves us with a statue of Mary, Jesus, and St. John the Baptist.

My daughter told me that she has a loose tooth this morning, and her words struck dread into my heart. Right now, I just barely have some holiday cheer going on up in here. We’re actually having a nice Advent instead of having the weeks leading up to Christmas be the stress-fest that they usually are — but we’re hanging on by a thread. I’m like a woman trying to walk a tightrope while juggling a lit Advent wreath with Christmas tree ornaments and a baby. It’s all going fine now, but the slightest breeze could send this... Read More

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