NO Tricks or Treats

All Hallows' Eve Sign for front porch

My family is blessed to be able to spend All Hallows Eve celebrating the Saints with friends and Priests in our parish community.

I usually make a cute sign out of scrapbook materials to let let all would be trick-or-treaters aware that we do not have goodies. Here is the sign that I will be posting this year.


All Hallows’ Eve

All Saints' Day Costumes JOYfilledfamily kids


Vigil of All Saints
The Liturgical Year Vol.14 ~ Dom Gueranger Imprimatur 1927
Let us prepare our souls for the graces heaven is about to shower upon the earth in return for its homage. Tomorrow the Church will be so overflowing with joy, that she will seem to be already in possession of eternal happiness;but to-day she appears in the garb of penance, confessing that she is still an exile. Let us fast and pray with her; for are not we too pilgrims and strangers in this world, where all things are fleeting and hurry on to death? Year by year, as the great solemnity  comes round, it has gathered from among our former companions new saints, who bless our tears and smile upon our songs of hope. Year by year the appointed time draws nearer, when we ourselves, seated at the heavenly banquet, shall receive the homage of those who succeed us, and hold out a helping hand to draw them after us to the home of everlasting happiness. Let us learn, from this very hour, to emancipate our souls; let us keep our hearts free, in the midst of the vain solicitudes and false pleasures of a strange land: the exile has no care but his banishment, no joy but that which gives him a foretaste of his fatherland.




…Orate pro nobis!

Day 10: Birth Plan ~ 31Days of reflections from a pregnant mama

Regardless of what type of birth you are planning, a birth plan is highly recommended. The birth plan is a written record of your desires for your upcoming birth. I have learned thatimage good doctors appreciate a written birth plan. It allows them to have a clear understanding of you as a patient and your specific requests. It will ultimately lead to better birthing experience for both parties.

A written birth plan should be reviewed with your physician (or midwife) prior to your last trimester. The birth plan will open further communication between your doctor and yourself. The doctor may offer suggestions, denials, and/or seek special permis sions to accommodate you. Always, request that the birth plan be placed in your medical records.

You should also bring several copies of your birth plan when you go to the hospital/birthing center. I usually give the admitting nurse another copy of my birth plan, post a birth plan in my birthing room, and have copies on hand to give to new nurses.

Be certain to review your birth plan with your husband – it is a representation of you both. The better your husband understands your requests, the better he can advocate for you at your most venerable time.

There are many online resources for creating a birth plan. It can all be a bit overwhelming. I have posted my most recent birth plan. This is a birth plan that I used with my first VBAC and one that I plan to use this time around if I opt for a hospital delivery. I had great success with this birth plan. I briefly reviewed my birth plan with my doctor (Asst. Chief of Staff) that delivered Papi. She sent me straight to the midwife once she took a quick look at my desires, stating, “You don’t want me. You want a midwife! I’ll be there if there is in fact a medical need.” Her humble admission and willingness to pass me off for care allowed me to secure the midwife team. My requests were heard and special permission was sought. All of which were put into my electronic medical files so that all staff members caring for me would have complete access to my requests and approval. It was my hospital-homebirth!


Here is a copy of my birth plan as a PDF.  All personal identifications have been removed.


Name & Medical Number

  • Due Date:____________
  • OB:______________________
  • Birth Facility:__________________________

Mother: ________________     Father:__________________     Siblings:___________________________

We appreciate your kind care and respectfully request the following for our labor and birth.

  • Intervention only as medically necessary (noting routine) and with our consent (not general)
  • Freedom to move about, our choice of positions for all stages of labor
  • Encouragement of natural relaxation techniques
  • Relaxing, unhurried environment
  • (option of having) whole family together during entire birth process

We recognize that true emergencies do sometimes arise, and we will be relying upon your skill in the event of such a circumstance. We hope to have full communication in that case, with you informing us of all our options. If there are items in our birth plan that cannot be accommodated please let us know immediately so that we may anticipate the change.

No arbitrary time limit, routine induction of labor, or stripping of membranes

Attendants and Amenities:

  • Husband to be allowed to stay with me at all times
  • My other children to come and go as desired
  • To bring music
  • To dim lights
  • To wear my own clothes during labor and delivery
  • To take pictures and/or video during labor and delivery

Labor (Stage 1):

  • Once I’m admitted, I’d like:
  • No routine vaginal exams
  • To have intermittent rather than continuous electronic fetal monitoring
  • No routine IV – to stay hydrated by drinking clear fluids (saline lock if IV is needed)
  • To eat if I wish
  • Unrestricted movement and positions throughout labor
  • No arbitrary time limits or routine augmentation
  • Membranes left intact to rupture spontaneously, esp. prior to engagement of head
  • Pain relief by relaxation, birthing pool, shower, walking, and other movement and position changes
  • Opportunity of signing: Against Medical Advice” waivers if certain options are declined

Please do not offer me pain medication. I’ll request it if I need it.

Birth (Labor Stage II):

I’d like:

  • Choice of comfortable and effective positions
    • Birthing pool, squatting, hands and knees, whatever feels right at the time
  • To birth at my own pace with no arbitrary time limits
  • Encouragement to birth slowly and gently following pushing urges, allowing tissues time to stretch and pelvic outlet to open properly
  • Possible compresses and perineal support to allow tissues to stretch
  • A mirror available to view birth
  • To touch my baby’s head as it crowns
  • The room to be as quiet as possible
  • To risk a tear rather than have an episiotomy
  • My husband to help catch our baby

Birth (Stage III)

After birth, I’d like:

  • To allow baby to clear own mucus naturally rather than routine suctioning
  • Baby to be placed on my abdomen immediately upon birth; warming by skin-to-skin contact and blankets placed over baby – putting off any procedures that are not urgent
  • To allow cord to stop pulsating completely before any clamping, cutting or administrations of medications to mother
  • My husband to cut the umbilical cord
  • Local anesthesia should there be any tearing in need of repair
  • Time for breastfeeding and natural separation of placenta
  • No manual exploration of uterus after birth
  • Breastfeeding as desired by myself and baby – on demand
  • Not to get routine oxytocin (Pitocin) after I deliver the baby


After delivery, I’d like:

  • All observation/examinations/procedures for baby to be done in my presence
  • Rooming-in with baby
  • My husband to stay with the baby at all times if I cannot be there
  • My children (3 girls and 2 boys) brought to see me and meet the new baby as soon as possible after birth
  • Bathing done at parent’s request, by parents, or not at all if parents desire
  • I DO NOT want my baby to receive ANY routine injections/vaccinations without being consulted first (this includes Vitamin K). We will commence immunization with our doctor after the birth
  • Vitamin K given only with informed consent of parents. (Oral dosage in my presence)
  • NO eye medication/treatment
  • Pediatric exams in mother’s room
  • PKU test given only with informed consent of parents (after a length of breastfeeding)
  • NO circumcision
  • 100% breastfeeding on demand; no bottles, water, pacifiers, etc.


  • My brown scapular (cloth necklace) is to remain on for the duration of my stay in the hospital
  • A Priest may be requested to visit in the case of an emergency for either my baby or myself
    • Priest’s Name & Number




This is day 10 of my pregnancy reflections. I realize that the idea of the 31 Days series was to have 31 posts on one topic within the month of October.  Let’s just say that I’m functioning on my own terms these days.  I won’t have 31 posts in October but perhaps I can manage 21 more posts before my baby is due – that’s 4 more months for 21 posts. 

You can find the other posts of my 31 Days here.

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Fall Edition

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~


mumkin JOY

Mumkins!  We made three of these beauts for the RMGS bake sale.  I saw the idea on BHG and Pinterest, of course.  Here’s the best inspiration/tutorial that I found.


pumpkin cleaning JOY

Dad and the littles helped prep the pumpkins for the mumkins. 

Dragonfly was less thrilled about actually putting his hand in the goo but would take an occasional stab at it, only getting one seed out at a time.

RMGS Bake Sale JOY

The RMGS Bake Sale was a success!


Papi at the bake sale JOY

This is Papi at the bake sale.  He prefers nature’s candy.  I found these pics on my camera when I went to upload.  Turns out the girls from the bake sale tied him up in the kitchen.  I’m not sure how long it lasted but he didn’t seem to mind.  NO MORE FRUIT CUPS!!!


Installation of Fr. McNeely as Pastor JOY

It’s official, our parish now has a Pastor.  Deo Gratias!!



Anything for a Friend

Melody has generously given me a blog award.  I must say, I share her sentiment…

I must confess that I am a terribly ungracious blog award-receiver in general. They often come with requirements and I usually procrastinate and then don't end up acknowledging the kindness.

I’ve failed to follow the guidelines for blog awards for far too long.  I apologize to all those who have graciously acknowledged my blog with an award in the past - trust that your intentions were added to my prayers.


This one is for you Melody!  The good Lord has blessed me through your blog and even more so through your friendship.  I will forever hold a place in my heart for you and your dear family.  You have and continue to play an important role in my journey.  You amaze me with your talents especially your way with words.  You put a voice to my heart’s promptings and provide me solace, knowing that I am not alone.  More impressive than your talents are your desire and willingness to lay everything aside for Him. 

I will continue to hold you near in prayer.  May the Good Lord give you the grace to live the radical life, inspire and lead many souls home.

I too, pray that we meet one day if it be His holy will.  Until then, you know my number.  Smile

7 Things about Myself

  1. I’m not a procrastinator, I just work best under pressure. Which is what I’m doing now.  I should be working on final details for a bake sale that is scheduled for this Sunday but instead I’m here, blogging away.
  2. I’m currently fighting the temptation to become overwhelmed with having another boy on the way.  The moments when I witness one little man jumping off the table with scissors in hand towards another little man do not help the temptation.
  3. I can easily see myself living as a hermit or perhaps in the cloistered life especially when I’m post rage from the example given in #2.
  4. My heart was melted several weeks ago.  Dad went to help his mom clean out  her attic.  He came home with a few boxes full of treasures.  One of which contained a large ziploc bag full of letters.  Turns out that Dad saved every letter I ever wrote him while in high school. Sweetness!  I’ve shared more sweetness about my beloved here.
  5. I’m a wannabe crunchy, homestead loving, minimalist….. You saw the “wannabe,” right?  I desire to go al’ natural in almost all areas of my life but fear that my laziness lack of know how will lead me to failure.  I even dream about living off the grid.  Dad humors supports me for the time being.  We pray to joyfully go where the good Lord leads us!
  6. I’m not very good at majority of things but I’m often told how gifted, confident, blessed with time, talented…I am.  The truth is, His grace allows me to fake it until I make it.  Showing up is the real challenge.  I’ve learned if I just show up He can do the work.  He is my everything!!!
  7. On a more serious note, I have a cross, a secret of sorts.  I have sought direction and received absolution.  I have peace but consequences remain.  Dad and I have committed to carry this cross on our own and not burden others with it at this time in our lives.  I share this for three reasons.  One, too often we look at our neighbor and think that they have it all together and they don’t struggle like we do.  The reality is, as children of God, we all have a cross to bear.  Let’s keep our eyes on Him!!  The second reason I share this news is because I sense that many believe there is time to ask for forgiveness. To those that fall into this category, I urge you, DO NOT BE PERSUMPTIOUS for you know neither the day or the hour – seek forgiveness today!  Lastly, your sins of today will forever leave a mark on you while on earth – consequences.  Yes, the Good Lord forgives all that come before Him with true repentance but we are human and live in an imperfect world.  Do not tread the waters lightly.  Avoid unnecessary occasions of sin, pray for spiritual protection always, and visit the sacraments often.  Make frequent acts of reparation! 

7 Other Bloggers

This is a tough one for me since I have many blogs that I follow and Melody and Tiffany have already been included with this award. I hope to be back soon with my 7 nominations.


The rules:

  • Recipients need to thank the giver Include the logo of the award in a post or on your blog (yup.)
  • Post 7 things about yourself
  • Pass the award onto 7 other bloggers of your choice and let them know they’ve been nominated 
  • Day 9: Pregnancy Loss ~ 31Days of reflections from a pregnant mama

    Wave of Light

    There is plenty that I could write on this topic but nothing more powerful than the healing received through prayer. 

    My soul is deprived of peace,
    I have forgotten what happiness is;
    I tell myself my future is lost,
    all that I hoped for from the Lord.

    But I will call this to mind,
    as my reason to have hope:
    The favors of the Lord are not exhausted,
    his mercies are not spent;
    They are renewed each morning,
    so great is his faithfulness.
    My portion is the Lord, says my soul;
    therefore I will hope in him. 
    ~ Lamentations 3:17-18, 21-24

    I’m passing along a tradition that I just became aware of, Wave of Light: Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day

    A tradition on this day is that at 7:00 pm in each time  zone a Wave of Light will move across the country, and the world. All families who have lost a baby either by pregnancy or infant death should light a candle and leave it burning for at least one hour. The wave of light will serve as a reminder that there are those of us who still remember – and those who have not suffered a loss pause to surround us in love.

    My family will be lighting five candles this evening in honor of our blessings in heaven. 

    May my beloved children and saints; Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Teresa Agnes, and Maria Luisa ~ pray for us!

    I was directed to this tradition via FB friends and Catholic Sistas.


    This is day 9 of my pregnancy reflections. I realize that I am a few days behind.  I’m trying to own it and fight the urge to account my absence to placenta brain our sleep deprivation. 

    You can find the other posts of my 31 Days here.

    Simple Costumes

    tunic cut

    Sparkles and Sweetie finished up the base of their costumes two weeks ago.  Sparkles couldn’t wait to sew something after her first sewing project.  Sweetie jumped on board.

    I followed a simple tutorial for a tunic (Bible time costume) that I found on YouTube.  My fabric is sheets from the thrift store. 

    The girls sewed their tunics and are gathering accessories.  We hope to have every thing completed by the end of this week.

    We opted to purchase the boy’s costumes this year.  Originally, Papi wanted to be St. George and make Dragonfly the dragon.  I almost went for it since Nana bought Dragonfly a darling dragon sweat suit like costume.  Needless to say, I backed out of that idea - it just didn’t feel right having my lil’ guy representing the Devil.  Good call, I know.  Smile

    Dad spotted the perfect costumes at Costco.  We couldn’t pass them up at $24 a piece!  It’s all about simplicity in our house these days!

    warriors for Christ

    The boys have been wearing their costumes daily since September. 

    Day 8: Date Night ~ 31 Days of reflections from a pregnant mama

    Store up your love bank – take as many date nights as possible while you’re waiting for your new bundle of joy.  Date nights will be few and far between for the first few months once the baby arrives.


    I needed this reminder today.  Dad came home and sDate Night 10.12.12aid, “Let’s go out tonight.”  I was still in my workout clothes from my 6am walk.  My eyes were bloodshot and I politely declined his invitation so I could plop myself in bed.  It took all about ten minutes for me to realize what I had just done – dissed my husband for no good reason.  I give thanks for His grace to help me see things clearly – I have a husband who wants to be with me!

    Deo gratias!!!

    We had a short and sweet date night to the movies.  We had plenty of conversation.  Nonetheless, we’ll be certain to take our Date Night Questions the next time we go out.

    Gift cards are one of the best gifts to give a couple with a handful of children.  They make date nights an easy option without the guilt of spending money.  Dad and I love gift cards!!!


    This is day 8 of my pregnancy reflections. I realize that I am a few days behind, four days to be exact.  I’m trying to own it and fight the urge to account my absence to placenta brain our sleep deprivation. 

    You can find the other posts of my 31 Days here.

    Day 7: Simplicity ~ 31 Days of reflections for a pregnant mama

    The call to simplify has intensified with each pregnancy and birth.  Perhaps it’s because, with each pregnancy I gain a better understanding of how inapt I am – I can do nothing without Him.  He calls me to a simplicity that helps me to embrace my weakness and depend on His strength.  It’s a spiritual and physical simplicity.

    My prayer life is far from glamorous or saint worthy.  It’s merely what I can do, when I an do it, with enough sacrifice that causes discomfort but does not have me stray from my vocation – a wife and pregnant mama homeschooling and nurturing five blessings.  I give thanks to God for leading me here since this hasn’t always been the case.  I trust that a new season will come my way soon enough, His grace will lead me through anything that is asked of me.  I seek to find peace and joy in the moment before me, the present. 

    We call races and generations Houses; and the Hebrews were wont to speak of the birth of children as “the building up of the house;” as it is written of the Jewish midwives in Egypt, that the Lord “made them houses;”  Exod. i. 21. whereby we learn that a good house is not reared so much by the accumulation of worldly goods, as by the bringing up of children in the ways of holiness and of God; and to this end no labour or trouble must be spared, for children are the crown of their parents.

    ~ St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life (3.38)

    My material life is less clear for me.  I have a prompting and charism that I am drawn to but I am always in need of direction from my husband and spiritual director since I have the tendency to be too austere for family life with little ones.  Below are some of the areas that I am currently working on.

    • Frugal Living
      • no superfluous spending – always discerning a purchase from a need or want
      • up-cycle household items or free items
      • thrift store shopping & craigslist bargains
        • ie; dressed the whole family at Easter for $38!!
      • never buy anything full price if a new item is, in fact, needed
      • homemade goods
    • Clean Eating
      • no processed foods
      • no gluten
    • Schedule
      • daily schedule that revolves around prayer and the liturgical calendar – not academics and social calendar
        • Mass, parish functions, take precedence
      • extracurriculars are extremely limitedbusy
        • dinner most be together as a family (perfereably at home)
        • NO SUNDAY activities
        • all liturgical celebrations take precedent over any worldly activity, “PERIOD”
        • No money, no activity.  We don’t break our budget or call on mammon to provide for our wants.  We trust that God will provide for what He wills for us.
      • most extracurriculars have been replaced with an activity that can be done as a family
      • Dad’s work is flexible
        • allowing Him to be head of the household in a physical and spiritual sense.
      • always set time to serve the Church through our parish as well as  time to help a sister or brother in Christ
    • Minimalist living
      • less stuff for me, means more room for Him and those that He has put before me
      • major purge is always taking place in my home
        • so much so that I have caught my two year old playing “…like mama” with a black garbage bag and all his toys. 
      • the house is fully furnished but I remember the time when we moved into a new home with only one sofa and a dining set with four chairs.  we often sat on the floor and had more room to roam in 1600sf than we ever had in 3200sf. 
      • we’ve gradually downsized our living out of necessity and desire.  we continue to downsize.
      • we’re scaling down our wardrobes and not storing quit as much for the different season.

    I am far from my goal but I remain steadfast in my journey, praying that it lead my family home and be done all for His glory.


    We all are inadequate to live the heroism of life in Christ, but God's grace is sufficient to make His power perfect in us in our weakness ~2 Cor 12:9


    This is day 7 of my pregnancy reflections. I realize that I am a few days behind, four days to be exact.  I’m trying to own it and fight the urge to account my absence to placenta brain our sleep deprivation. 

    You can find the other posts of my 31 Days here.

    Rose’s Senior Pictures

    The time has come, Rose is wrapping up her homeschool years.  We decided to have some fun after our school photo session.


    IMG_7453 JOYfilledfamily





    IMG_7660 v2JOYfilledfamily v2



    We remain steadfast in prayer as she continues to discern His holy will.



    O ALMIGHTY God! Whose wise and amiable prov-
    idence watches over every human event, deign to
    be my light and my counsel in all my undertakings,
    particularly in the choice of a state of life. I know
    that on this important step my sanctification and
    salvation may in a great measure depend. I know
    that I am incapable of discerning what may be best
    for me; therefore I cast myself into Thy arms, beseech-
    ing Thee, my God, Who hast sent me into this world
    only to love and serve Thee, to direct by Thy grace
    every moment and action of my life to the glorious
    end of my creation. I renounce most sincerely every
    other wish, than to fulfill Thy designs on my soul,
    whatever they may be; and I beseech Thee to give me
    the grace, by imbibing the true spirit of a Christian,
    to qualify myself for any state of life to which Thy
    adorable providence may call me. O my God! when-
    ever it may become my duty to make a choice, do Thou
    be my light and my counsel, and mercifully deign to
    make the way known to me wherein I should walk, for
    I have lifted up my soul to Thee. Preserve me from
    listening to the suggestions of my own self-love, or
    worldly prudence, in prejudice to Thy holy inspirations.
    Thy good Spirit lead me into the right way, and
    Thy adorable providence place me, not where I may
    be happiest, according to the world, but in that state
    in which I Shall love and serve Thee most perfectly,
    and meet with most abundant means for working out
    my salvation. This is all that I ask and all that I
    desire; for what would it avail me to gain the whole
    world, if, in the end, I were to lose my soul and to be
    so unfortunate as to prefer temporal advantages and
    worldly honors to the enjoyment of Thy divine presence
    in a happy eternity?

    Most holy Virgin Mary, take me under thy protection.

    My good angel guardian and patron saints, pray
    for me. Amen.

    RMGS ~ Hospitality & Love of God ~ Sewing

    Rosa Mystica Girls’s Society met for our second meeting of the 2012-13 Session on First Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. There were twenty-eight girls in attendance for Mass (as a group) and thirty-two girls for the meeting.

    Once again, the girls were divided into six groups; Love of God, Industry, Truthfulness, Humility, Piety, and Obedience.


    Our new Chaplain, Father B, visited the girls while they were eating snack. The girls stood-up to greet him. Father excused them and invited them to finish their food. In fact, he insisted that they finish eating before he began his lesson. I think it’s a French thing. 


    Father B’s lesson was on the topic of hospitality and love of God. He spoke about the life of San Bruno, the Benedictine Monks, and the Cartesian monks.

    Here are some highlights that I took note of from Father’s talk.

    San Bruno, whose feast day we celebrate today (10.6), spent time with the Benedictine Monks. The monk’s role is hospitality, to welcome peosan-bruno_thumb4ple. They will take care of everyone who comes to the door. San Bruno wanted more enclosure. He founded the Cartesian Monks with the approval of San Hugues.

    The Cartesians live in a monastery that is divided into small houses. Each Cartesian monk lives in his one bedroom, in solitude. He cannot speak all his life. He eats in his room. He prays in solitude. The monk’s life consists solely of work, prayer, and study. It is the most difficult life.

    It is said that there are many saints in the Cartesian monasteries that no one knows, only God. They desire to be in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They have a profound humility. In fact, a Cartesian will never name himself as author of a book. His work will only state that it was authored by a Cartesian Monk. Few monks have been canonized because of their humility to remain unknown.


    Why did His heart re-start after three days (Resurrection)? HE LOVES US! Every heartbeat of the Lord is for us, every single one of us!

    Is the heart of Jesus still beating today? Yes, because He loves us.

    Only one man has listened to the heart of Jesus, who is he? John.

    You must take the time to listen to your heart to understand how is works.

    In time of trial or temptation, seek to listen to the heart of Jesus. Say, “I would like to listen to the heart of Jesus.” You will see your heart come down and the temptation will be removed.

    Love God as He as loved you. Pray for the Blessed Mother’s intercession.


    O my God, I love Thee with my whole heart and above all things, because Thou art the supreme Good, and most worthy of our love. For the love of Thee I will love my neighbor as myself.


    apron-front-view-v2_thumb2The girls were then given an overview of their sewing project, a simple apron. Each girl was able to select her desired apron combination. PA050440_thumb2

    The first group consisted of nineteen girls, ages 9-10. Their aprons were completely prepped for them to begin sewing. Note, the focus of this skill set is to give the girls an introduction to sewing so that they gain interest to continue to learn about the skill.

    The other group consisted of nineteen girls, ages 11-13. Those girls were given pre-cut fabric and ties. They were instructed to complete the necessary steps so that they could begin their sewing at next month’s meeting.

    Majority of the younger girls had the opportunity to sew at the machine with the guidance of a mom or older sister. Those that were not able to sew will be the first on the sewing machine in November.

    The sewing helpers did a wonderful job instructing the girls while allowing them to be an active participant in the sewing process.



    The older girls diligently completed their tasks.

    1. turn ties if needed
    2. iron waist and neck ties
    3. pin ties to top fabric
    4. pin lining to top fabric, enclosing the ties
    5. help one another


    A complete tutorial for this project was included in the girls’ Hospitality Binders.

    Name tags were worked on when the main sewing project was completed.



    Agenda for meeting





    We began to close the meeting at 11:45pm, thanks to the reminder from Mrs. G – time flies when you’re having fun!

    The girls wrapped up their projects and labeled their work so that it could be easily found at the next meeting. Their group areas were tidied. The worker moms did their magic while I closed the meeting with a recap of the day’s lesson and skill.

    The girls were informed of the new handouts that were placed in their binders. They were encouraged to complete the related activities to further develop a Love of God, hospitality, and sewing skills.

    The question of the day was answered, “Can I take home my apron to work on it?” The answer was, “Yes! You may take home the apron to work on it as long as you follow the directions that were given in class, bring it back the following month, and I have the consent of your mom.”

    The girls were also reminded about the upcoming Fall Bake Sale on October 21 – sign-up today!

    The meeting closed with the Angelus.


    Our Lady of the Mystical Rose, pray for us!


    Thank you to all the moms and girls who gave a hand with instruction and after the meeting for clean-up. We appreciate your help! Things were a bit hectic but it turned out great. We especially appreciate all the help from the moms sharing their skills on the sewing machine. Our goal is to assist the girls in following the complete directions (without deviation) in the skill set while being as hands-off as possible. It’s a fine dance but you all managed to make it look effortless. Great Job! We hope to see you all again for the next two months while we complete the aprons. ALL FOR!

    Day 6: Birth Story ~ 31 Days of reflections for a pregnant mama

    Lena & Gary - May 2010

    BABY ENZOglf birth

    This is a bit personal and I usually don’t share such a thing but I’m learning to become an open book – ALL FOR!

    Below is my birth story for Enzo, AKA Dragonfly.  He was my eighth pregnancy and fifth (living) baby.  He was also my first labor after my very necessary c-section for Papi.  I opted to have Enzo in the hospital because despite my greatest efforts, I could not afford the additional costs of a midwife and homebirth.  I doubt I would have opted for the hospital birth if I didn’t have the excellent care of the assistant chief of staff at a hospital with an exceptional model of care for pregnant mamas.   

    I came into this birth knowing exactly what I wanted and needed to have a successful labor.  It was spelled out for the entire medical staff in my very lengthy and detailed birth plan.  The Good Lord gave me the graces to be at complete peace prior to going into full labor.

    This is the story of my 24+ hour labor and delivery that I refer to as my home birth in the hospital.


    Thursday, May 13

    It was a long labor that started after a “calm” that scared me on Thursday, May 13. I was out trying to run errands in my last effort to be active. Enzo decided to give me a reprieve before my long labor to come. His movement for the day was slowed to the point that I became nervous and decided to go into L & D to be checked. Needless to say, he was fine.

    Friday, May 14

    Slow irregular contractions started to take wave on Friday evening. This is typical for me. I knew it was the start of labor for me but still remained poised because I anticipated my normal, long labor to follow. The contractions picked up and were consistent throughout the evening but did not persist. I was able to find good quality rest time. Gary stood home to help with the kids.

    Saturday, May 15

    Saturday rolled around and my contractions started to become more regular but were still mild. Once again, I remained poised. I stood upstairs worked through each contraction and rested when able. I had wondmom at home in laborerful coaches and company from kids who managed to sneak by Gary throughout the day to get to me. Papi helped me out with my birthing ball exercises, Sweetie messaged me when needed, Sparkles and Rose did whatever was asked. I had a great team! Still, I knew I had a ways to go but did leave hope that my water would break soon.

    My contractions intensified Saturday evening and I tried different pain management techniques with Gary within my home so as to prepare prior to the hospital visit. I didn’t want to be stuck without some absolute options of ways to soothe me (this labor) while having no other true support team once I got to the hospital. We finalized the optimal positions/exercises for me using the birth ball. Gary mastered his massage technique and I experimented with the shower and tub. It was concluded that the birthing pool would be a must for me again this time around.

    Sunday, May 16

    I knew I was not anywhere near the point of delivery but had progressed in labor. My contractions were strong enough and close enough to get me to consider making the trip to the hospital. I would have loved to stay home longer but wasn’t sure how I would do in a 1 hr car ride with more intense contractions.

    5 am

    Gary and I decided it would be best to go to the hospital while we were at this point in labor. We were both calm and would be able to set up at the hospital without being rushed.

    Gary drove me to the hospital after Papa arrived for the kids at 6:00 am. I sat in the back of the van on my exercise ball and ate my breakfast between contractions. I continued my hydration regime that I started on Saturday. I wanted to be sure that I did not become dehydrated.


    I was assessed and given a room. All the amenities were set up since I was dilated to sbaby g birth may 15-mmm at hospital in labor may 16ix and it was baby number five for me. The nurses and midwife thought that I would be having a baby soon. I reassured them that I have long labors and continued to labor on my own with Gary.

    The entire medical staff at the hospital was more than accommodating to my wishes spelled out in my rather lengthy birth plan. I was encouraged to turn in my detailed birth plan by a midwife that I met about a week prior. She reassured me that it would be read and scanned into the system and followed as closely as possible. She also sought approval from another Head of the Department. This approval was placed in my record. I’m sure all of these facts helped me to get the care I,

    12 am

    I continued to practice my birthing exercises with Gary throughout the morning in the hospital. I tried out the shower a couple of times. Sunday afternoon rolled around and I knew that our precious baby would not be coming anytime soon. Everything was going smoothly and slow. I was able to eat and drink through my labor as I wished. I did not pass any opportunities. Gary went out around 4pm to pick up a pizza and more Gatorade. I rested on my back in bed for the first timmom on ball restin may 16 v2e in several months. We ate dinner together and teased that this was turning out to be a great vacation.

    My “vacation” did not last long. My contractions began to pick up again. I refocused and went back to work. Slow and steady was the tempo. My water did not break until 1 am on Monday morning. By that time I had already had three nurses change shift and two midwives. The midwife on duty diligently announced that I could start pushing. I reassured her that I did not work that way, typically I would have four-six more hours of labor. She did not seem too interested in my own assessment but left me to it.

    Monday, May 17

    1 am

    Slow and steadied, I continued. The midwife was scheduled to change shift soon and she made another appearance before leaving. Smay 16-18 birth 003he reiterated that I could start pushing and if things did not progress that we could talk about other options. I was not at all interested in other options and planned to avoid any further discussions at all costs.

    I began what would be my longest battle with pushing. Despite my better judgment, I went for it and started pushing with my contractions at 3 am – 5 am. Needless to say, there was no progress. I knew that I was not cooperating with my body and allowing my contractions to do their job, however slow that may have been.

    It became intense and my back labor was like no other. I spent most of my time in the shower but longed for a break from the back pain. I even managed to place a phone call to a doula (who so kindly offered me her free phone service). I called to inquire if there was a magical way not to have such intense back labor. She reiterated all the techniques that we were already trying. I had become physically drained and emotionally defeated. Not to mention, Gary was out like a log. He was operating on two hours of sleep.

    5 am

    It was about 5 am and I sat on the bed with Gary at my side. We were both exhausted and it was well written on our faces. The new shift of nurses arrived. My nurse, Shawna, walked in and immediately began to put me at ease. She reassured me that I may 16-18 birth 006could take a break to gain a much needed rest. However, I was not completely sold. I was ready for baby Enzo to be out!

    She allowed me to continue as I desired while staying by our side. She saw me through a series of contractions and witnessed my complete exhaustion first hand. She offered me another option, to be checked for dilation. She stated that if I were ready I could continue to push and if not, that I should get some rest. It turned out that I was at nine with some cervix left. Whether this was a result of pushing unnecessarily or just my body taking its sweet time, I do not know. Whatever the cause, I was due for a rest. No more pushing!

    My contractions and hard back labor continued but I was able to withstand them and embrace the work that my body was doing. I was no longer being counterproductive. This was difficult for me because the previous midwife had me so defeated that I began second guessing my body. That’s where Shawna came in. She walked me through my meditations and breathing – reassuring me the entire way that my body was doing its job and baby Enzo would be here shortly.

    12:30 pm

    I did not want her to leave! She was such a tremendous help to both Gary and I. She left on break at about 12:30. At which point I decided that I was ready to have baby Enzo and so I decided to speed things up naturally for myself - a shower always helps me get contractions going. I made Shawna promise that she would come back it I called her.

    Within 30 minutes in the shower I was ready to push. Once again, I began to double guess my body due to the previous long episode of pushing. Where was Shawna? I pulled the emergency cord in the shower and informed the nurse’s station that I needed Shawna. In ran the new midwife on duty.

    She began to introduce herself to me and I interrupted her to inform her that I knew who she was but I wanted Shawna. The midwife was not too happy with this request. "What can I help you with," she persisted. I told her, "I'm no longer sure if I’m ready to push or just experiencing pressure.” She offered to check and I hesitantly agreed. She informed me that in fact I was completely dilated and ready to go. She then urged me to get out of the shower. At which point I told her that I would stay in the shower until Shawna got back on watch. The midwife left and within seconds, guess who showed up… Shawna. She was beckoned from her break.

    I began to push just as she came in to assess me. I could hear the midwife urging me to make it to the bed. I informed her that baby Enzo’s head was already out and that I would not be making it anywhere. She managed to have Shawna and Gary help me walk to the bed while I postponed pushing.

    1:11 pm

    Baby Enzo was born shortly after another series of exchanges of the midwife’s desires vs. my own desires.

    He gave a brief scare. The cord was wrapped tightly around his neck, his face was blue, and he was not breathing. He was immediately taken to the infmay 16-18 birth 030ant bed for treatment. Gary kept watch on him while I lay there praying for for the intercession of the Blessed Mother to accept God’s will.

    “We have a heart beat……..he’s breathing……” Praise be to God!  Enzo was just fine. He made his way to me and began to nurse.

    Monday, May 24

    dad skin to skinBaby Enzo is a big boy with a sweet disposition. He reminds me of his daddy in many ways. His sisters can’t get enough of him and his brother constantly keeps guard of him. Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. DEO GATIAS

    “Enzo” to mom & “Gio” to dad






    Giorgio Lorenzo

    May 17, 2010 ~ 1:11pm

    9.14 lbs ~ 20.5 in


    In His Joy,


    This is day 6 of my pregnancy reflections. You can find the other posts of my 31 Days here.

    Birth Story Link-up

    Days 5: Placenta Brain ~ 31 Days of reflections from a pregnant mama

    …something that affects many women, both during and after pregnancy. It manifests itself as simple forgetfulness, loss of memory, and other minor problems.  ~

    ~~~placenta brain v2

    I was pregnant with my fourth child when I heard the term, Placenta Brain.  There I sat in my midwife’s home/office attempting to share a complete thought but had to apologize over and over for my forgetfulness.  She excused my memory loss as placenta brain.  I owned it!

    My placenta brain hasn’t quite kicked in this time around.  There are lapses but overall my brain has not been taken over.  I’m giving thanks for His grace at this moment and for His grace to have led me to a healthier way of eating.  There is no doubt in my mind that I have avoided many “pregnancy related” symptoms due to my diet going into this pregnancy.  No sugars and grains seems to be key for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been perfect.  In fact, I’m just getting over my normal pregnancy meat aversion.  The difference this time around is that it only lasted a few months instead of the whole pregnancy. 

    Another purge, is in order.  I‘ll get right to it, after my late night ice-cream tonight.  Winking smile

    My wackiest moment was post pregnancy.  I frantically called for my little one.  I beckoned the help of everyone within reach to search for my baby.  Rose stared at me with disbelief.  I ordered her to go find her sis.  She hesitantly replied, “Uhh, Mom…. Sparkles is with you!”  I looked down to confirm her observation, I was in fact nursing Sparkles.  Placenta brain is the real thing!

    Have you ever experienced placenta brain? If so, what’s the wackiest thing that you have done during your altered state?

    In His Joy,


    This is day 5 of my pregnancy reflections. You can find the other posts of my 31 Days here.

    31 Days of reflections from a pregnant mama ~ complete series

    31 Days of reflections from a pregnant mama - JOYfilledfamily
    Join me in a 31 days series as we reflect on the thoughts and issues that are raised in the mind of a pregnant mama.

    In His Joy,

    P.S.  The pic of the pregnant mama was created at, a place to create personalized stationary.  The pregnant mama is my ideal version of me during pregnancy.  I gave thanks that the site didn’t offer a preg option for their plus size gals.  I’ve decided to enjoy this version of me – ALL FOR!

    Day 4: Gender Reveal ~ 31 Days of reflections from a pregnant mama

    This is day 4 of my pregnancy reflections. You can find the other posts of my 31 Days here.


    Do you like to find out the gender of your baby before your bPA040435aby is born?  I have mixed feelings on the issue.  My preference seems to change with each baby.  Ultimately, I would opt to wait until birth.  Dad and the kids feel the opposite, they rather find out sooner than later. 

    I have made a precedent that we won’t find out if a sonogram is not needed.  You see, I don’t follow the mainstream model of care - I only opt for what is necessary.  I will get a sonogram if it is ordered by my midwife or doctor (with good reason).  In which case, we find out the sex of the baby.  No sonogram needed, we wait until birth.

    I must say that I have enjoyed the times that I’ve found out the sex of the baby early on in pregnancy.  I enjoy refereeing to the baby by name.  Referring to the baby by name is especially helpful to me during my passion long, non-medicated labors.  I feel a closer connection.

    There is always an elation when I hear Dad announce what the baby is at the moment of birth, regardless if it is a complete surprise or I know ahead of time.  It is always as though it were the first time hearing the news.

    This time around I was scheduled for a routine ultrasound without much need expressed by the doctor.  I went along with the appointment because I felt some concern about the location of placenta, lack of fetal movement, and difficulty finding the heartbeat.  The appointment was scheduled for me at 20 weeks and 3 days.  I was almost certain that the sex of the baby would be revealed.

    All my kids waited five long months in great anticipation.  Each one had their vote of gender.  I was surprised by Papi’s persistent preference – a girl.  Papi insisted that it should be a girl, no matter how many times we emphasized our thankfulness for whatever God gives us.

    The appointment was scheduled in the early morning.  Dad was not able to return home with me.  I pulled up in the driveway and the van was mobbed by the littles before I could even put it into park.  They all shouted, “What is it, what is it?”  I shrugged, “I can’t tell until Dad gets home.”  That’s right, they had to wait an agonizing four hours.

    I had hopes for a cute reveal but couldn’t pull it off since all the stores I stopped out were out of helium.  I took the lazy  easy road and purchased cookies that would give away the gender.

    The kids waited with even more anticipation than before.

    Here’s the reveal.




    In His JOY,

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