Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Preparing for Confession When It Has Been A While...

In my last Conversion Story Post I was unsuccessfully searching for an adoration chapel firsthand... and instead Catholic Radio (Sacred Heart Radio on 740 AM) fell into my lap!  As I continued to stumble through work in a job that I did not enjoy nor fit in at, I continued to spend many hours silently reading about the Catholic faith on-line. I was very curious about the "Traditional Latin Mass" (or TLM) that my co-worker had introduced to me. I impulsively looked and was excited to find a TLM community in Dayton, Ohio, on the "wrong side of the tracks" so to speak, not close to where I live, but somewhere I could find if I was determined to get to... AND ...  there was Mass tonight at 7:30 pm... ah ha, something I could actually make on time, with my long commute from Cincinnati! The Holy Spirit was drawing me to do this! I felt a very strong desire to go. I thank God that I had the sense to know that if I was expected to cover my head to receive the Eucharist, well, then I better go to confession first because this was something special. Confessions were being offered before Mass!  My heart started beating faster, and I knew that I had to do this. I thought back to the last time we had been to Mass.. and I remembered ... our wedding day in 2001... and when our 2 1/2 year old was baptized... and maybe once or twice on other random occasions? My mother's funeral, my grandmother's funeral, and maybe a wedding in the past 7 or 8 years?  I had checked out several Protestant Non-denominational services over the years, and that is an entirely different blog post! But at this point, I had not been a regular practicing Catholic and I knew that was sinful. I tried to remember the last time I had been to Confession. Was it when I was 7 ? 10 ? I couldn't even remember how old I was. I googled "How to go to Confession" and ended up looking at the Ten Commandments as an Examination of Conscience. I actually pulled out a legal pad and began to make a list in my cubicle at work as I slowly went through each Commandment and put some thought into it. I started remembering all the stupid things I've done throughout my entire adolescence, and college years and even now. How selfish I have been and the times I have held onto anger against people in my own family. The times I have hurt my own body and soul in multitudes of ways and hurt others. Some things I cannot even put in writing out of shame that someone that I know will see and in someway hold it against me someday. The list was very long, indeed! I felt a very deep sense of sorrow! About an hour or two later I had filled up the entire page with a list of dumb, regrettable and foolish things I have done, said, felt, failed to do, and in some way let myself, others and God way down. It was quite humbling. I didn't know an Act of Contrition, so I had to copy that in the margin of the paper in really small print. It was already getting close to 5:00 pm.

My husband was calling to ask me when I was coming home from work and where were we going to go out for dinner tonight? He probably wanted to go have beer and wings at Fricker's, which is what we usually did on Friday nights.

   I told him, "Honey, tonight I have to work late." (I lied.)

   "How late?"  he wanted to know. (Annoyed.)

   "Very late.  I have a big project that I need to wrap up and it is going to take several hours."

   "OK, well call me when you are coming home." (Disappointed.)

   "OK, I will. I gotta run! Talk to you soon... Love you."

I could not explain to him what I was really planning to do because I felt that there was NO WAY that he would have accepted that at this time. (I underestimated him.)  It was just so alien to how we were living our secular life and it would probably just have pissed him off because it would have ruined his Friday night beer drinking. I was afraid to tell him what I was doing. I didn't want to get in an argument and I didn't want to be talked out of this. I quickly shut down my PC and packed up ready to go... I folded up my long list of sins and held it in my hand and walked quickly to my car...

*** I know this is long! I will continue my Conversion Story in an upcoming blog post! ***

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Yes I am still Alive!

Wow, Yes, I am here! It really has been 7 months and I haven't even posted. Sometimes life is so crazy (or so mundane?) that you just can't bring yourself to post. I don't want to abandon my blog completely, so how about a few picture updates for you all?

My Baby Boy was born on Cinco de Mayo, May 5th, 2014! Wow... Introducing....

Isaiah Anthony Miller, weighing in at 8 pounds and 13.8 ounces. He is one mellow little boy, compared to my girls. He cries less, sleeps more, and breastfeeding has gone better than all previous babies. Go Isaiah! I need an easy one. (My two year old is keeping my wayyyy too busy.) 

I survived my 4th C-Section! (Praise God.) Recovery is going slow, but I think, OK. On the operating table we asked if "We could do this again", and the doctor said "Yes." (Not that I particularly want to think about that right at this moment, but we wanted to know for the future, "What if???") After being asked 150+ times if I was going to tie my tubes, and is this "It?" and "I am done now, Right?", by everyone from bank tellers, random strangers, the supermarket cashiers to the nurses, to friends and family members, ugh. I know I am on the cusp of 40... I know I have finally gotten my opposite gender child on the 4th attempt. I am supposed to get fixed now, according to cultural norms. But we aren't giving anyone the satisfaction... and it just seems to infuriate and bewilder so many when you respond with "Well, we'll see... " :-)  I wish I was 10 years younger, though... 

I weighed 3 pounds more coming out of the hospital than going in... due to edema and all the fluids they pump you up with... 

Here's a beautiful shot of my fluid filled feet: (Gross, I know!) 

Thankfully, I did end up losing 20 pounds in 3 days, as all the fluid finally decided to start leaving. Now I only have 30 more to go!

My oldest daughter, Lauren, received her First Holy Communion!  I am so proud of her.


Don't let our sweet looks fool you, we are still a handful to take to Mass!

Here are a few more baby shots, Just Because...

Thank you for visiting my blog! May God Bless You All today!

Monday, October 7, 2013

9 Weeks Pregnant

Well, I made it to 9 weeks today of my pregnancy. I am thrilled to be here. I have been so sick and nauseated, (it's gotten way worse since my last post) it is so hard to feel this bad all day long with no break. I've been sleeping as much as possible and doing as little as possible. Thank God I have a very supportive husband. If anyone has ever experienced hyperemesis, it is a horrible thing. I've lost almost 10 pounds and on a bad day will throw up 10+ times. It just goes on and on... Maybe sometime in the future I will be able to write about some of the support I have received from some local people of our new parish - which is amazing because these women have been awesome and they don't even really know me. What a Holy group of amazing mothers. I don't even feel worthy. As has happened in all of my previous pregnancies, my spiritual life is in the tank right now. I haven't been to mass in a few weeks and my prayer life is dismal. The sickness just drains the life out of me. I know I do not "suffer well" and will be dragging my butt to confession again soon. Hopefully in a few weeks I will be able to return to a little bit of normalcy. I'm picking up some Zofran refills tomorrow. The people in my new church are going to hold me much more accountable than the old one, where it was so easy to slip into anonymity. I already have the church secretary asking me if she needs to bring me Communion because I was not at mass on Sunday and she knows I am feeling sick. She offered to clean my house and watch my kids! Honestly, my house is so messy right now, I am embarrassed to take her up on her offer! I just need to fight through this.

My doctor called today with my lab work and told me that I have the "Anti-m" antibody. No idea what that means, but I need to now be "co-managed" by a high risk perinatal doctor throughout the pregnancy. I think it will mean a lot of blood tests, bi-weekly ultrasounds, and hopefully that is ALL. It is a little un-nerving to get a call like that, but from what I am reading on-line, I think they like to be over-cautious to make sure the anti-bodies don't impact the baby, but the likelihood of  a healthy baby is high. I've never been to a specialist before for anything.

And, I will mention that the visit with my old best friend from high school went really well. Just like old times. We don't exactly share the same views on religion, but I did get a chance to express how important faith is in our life now, not that I am going to sway her, but you never know. I am thrilled because she has been trying for her 2nd child and was one step away from IVF, but just let me know, after much effort, she is expecting. So I get to go through this journey with her. I am SO GLAD that she did not resort to IVF, for obvious reasons...

I'm checking out now and going to bed before I start to get sick again. Good night everyone!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Just Another Update Post

Well, sometimes it's nice to just write without too much of a purpose... So get ready, because that is what I am doing right now. :-)
So, last post I was complaining about my friend who was not exciting about helping me watch my kids for my doctor's appointment. I'm over it. But I'm excited that I was able to work something out instead... scheduling later afternoon appointments on selected days, so that I will be able to drop the little kids off at my husband's work (after school) and he will be able to get home just in time for my oldest one to get dropped off by the school bus. (Oh yeah, my oldest is riding the school bus again... it is just working out better that way, and the high school boy is NOT riding the bus anymore after my conversation with the superintendent.) So, for now, 2 problems are solved. I'll go in for my first appointment on October 14th. I asked for early blood work because my Progesterone levels are always so low (~9.5) they are always in amazement that I have been able to carry 3 pregnancies to term. In the past, I've been on early Prometrium supplements. This time, I'm not. I'm also NOT feeling as sick. (I am always really sick with all day vomiting.) But this time, I have only thrown up a few times... Still nauseous as all get out, but I'm much much much "better" than all 3 of the previous times. So, hoping, maybe? It's because it is BOY and not because I'm going to lose this pregnancy. I can't really sit around and worry about it, but it keeps crossing my mind. I'll definitely feel some relief once I get lab work and an ultrasound.

I didn't report that we received an offer on the home we are trying to sell, which was an answer to many prayers, as we plunged forward into this risky home-buying venture right before I quit my job. We are really over extended and ended up having to drop our sales price almost $20k to get a contingent offer. The buyers backed out this evening because the seller on their home couldn't get financing. Now I am one step away from panic mode. We do really need to sell our house. I'm trying to be patient, but the situation is getting more urgent for us. Hopefully we will have no delays in getting the buyers to sign the proper release forms so that we can get the home back on the market again, pronto! I don't mind walking away from all this with credit card debt, which we can deal with later and over time, but we are currently in a situation where we cannot make monthly ends meet and the reserves are (almost) gone, so we have to stop the bleeding. I thought we would have sold our home by now, but I think the market is a little weaker than I had anticipated.

My girlfriend from Seattle, an old best friend from high school is coming to visit me on Wednesday! I can't wait, and I haven't seen her in years! She is coming out of the blue, for one day to catch up with me and to meet my kids. I'm so excited. She was explaining to me on the phone how now that medical marijuana is completely legal in her state, that it is "everywhere" and smoke shops are popping up all over the place with medical marijuana cookies and muffins and treats. Not sure what to make of that, but I declined her offer to bring me some treats. (She was joking, I am pretty sure, but not 100% sure, because she was not into that at all in high school/college and if you got caught with that stuff here in Ohio, well, you would probably be serving jail time...) I was trying to "warn" her that the closest Starbucks is over 1 hour away from where I live and that I now live out in the middle of nowhere. She also hasn't seen me since my "Catholic renewal" so we haven't explicitly talked about it. I hope it doesn't make her feel uncomfortable. I hope this visit goes well, she is such a cool person, and very liberal. Back in high school, I was the wild one, and she was quite conservative. Now, I think the roles have reversed somewhat? Either way, it is only for one day and night, and we should have a great time catching up.      

Well, I'm signing off, to the 3.5 people who read my blog, HA HA, thanks for reading! :-) :-) :-)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Disappointed by a friend

I have a girl friend who I met a long time ago when we were both getting our Ohio Real Estate licenses. That was ages ago, when I only had one child and was not religious at all. You could say at that stage, my #1 passion was achieving sales super stardom. Well, we clicked at that point in our lives, and became close and this friend has seen me go through massive transitions, many of which probably do not make any sense to her, from becoming very devout in my Catholic faith, developing a love for the Bible, becoming open to having more children even though I am not really the "mom type", quitting multiple successful careers on a whim, my eco-breastfeeding and co-sleeping while she is more of the structured "Ferber-Method" mother, and moving out to the middle of nowhere like a crazy person, and she has continued to be a good friend to me! She is still in Real Estate and is currently helping me sell my old house. She has 2 older kids and graciously gives me oodles of awesome hand me downs and kids toys!!! It's always like Christmas for our family when she cleans her house.  (That's not why I'm friends with her, but I'm just saying this is a blessing for our family, of which I am thankful.) Anyway, I am struggling now with starting to feel horrible in my early pregnancy and not really wanting to find a new doctor. I was thinking about driving an hour away to stay with the same doctor who delivered all my other babies via C-Section, because I have familiarity with him. I'm worried about logistics, trying to figure out how I am going to handle 3 kids + a new born, with no friends, no close family, and no support network close by. I had a flashback to 2 years ago - the last time I had two young kids in a pre-natal appointment, while I was lying on the table trying not to throw up and the baby was crawling around the room literally tearing everything up, and the toddler crying, and the nurses running about trying to bribe my kids with suckers, well, I just don't want to repeat that experience, it wasn't good. I had the "light bulb" idea that I would ask my long term girlfriend, to do me a favor. My kids are always good while strapped in their seats in the mini-van. There is a DVD in the mini-van. I could let her sit in the car for 15 minutes or so, pop in an Elmo CD, and she could make phone calls while I go in for my first pre-natal appointment which is already way over due. I even offered to by her lunch. I can get the anti-nausea medication which I desperately need and blood work and/or ultrasound to make sure this is a viable pregnancy. No big deal, right? I hate asking for favors, but there really is no one else I know to ask this of. So I asked her. Dang, you would you have thought her reaction was to donate a kidney or something... she was obviously taken off guard, "Well.. ummmm, I can't do it Mondays, or Fridays. Tuesdays are bad, and Wednesdays are out. Well, definitely not in the Spring, and I can't do it on Thursday Oct 10 or 31st... but other than that...." was basically her response. I was getting the vibe that this was a really big deal and that it was a huge mistake to ask her and regretted it immediately. Then I thought, maybe she was worried I would take advantage of her for *every* prenatal appointment or that I would somehow overtake her life with doctor's appointments and dentist appointments and massages and haircuts. (I really was just thinking about this first appointment, or perhaps not even thinking at all.) Anyway, 2 days elapsed and I still couldn't bring myself to make the appointment. She asked me today if I made the appointment and I said, "Oh, as soon as I asked, I regretted it... I could tell that you really aren't up to it." And she kind of made some excuse about having something else on her mind that day, and then said she could help me just this once but then had to add in a, "Well, what if the baby cries..." (Oh man, call me hormonal, but I was just getting extra mad at that point... and pretty much ended the phone call.) The thing that hurts the most is that I thought I could rely on her for something silly like this. (And I know she would do it, but does she have to make it into such a big deal? Come on!) Forget it, I'm actually thinking about putting my younger kids into part time day care so I can go solo to my pre-natal appointments. I'm trying to ask the neighbor if their 12 year old daughter can babysit for 3 hours after school so I can do this. I'm disappointed that my long term girlfriend is not as close of a friend as I had given her credit for. I think our friendship must be pretty shallow. I also think perhaps amidst all the crazy changes I've made in my life, I'm about to cross the "great divide" into having 4 kids. (You know with 3, you are still "normal"... especially since we have all girls and obviously must have been "trying for a boy", right?). I'm actually feeling cautious to tell certain people now, even more so because I am almost 40 and well, there are those out there who will think this is irresponsible and risky. I dunno. My girlfriend has her two perfectly behaved kids and a really nice structured life. They have lots of money and take big fancy trips to Europe every year. Perhaps my messy, poopy, poor, chaotic, diaper-filled, unglamorous life is not very appealing to her at all. I just thought for sure she would have said, "No Problem!". I'm still her friend, and I'll try to get over this quickly, but I am not going to ask her for help with my kids again, it just made me feel too bad.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why High School Students Shouldn't Ride The Bus With Elementary School Kids

So, I know I haven't posted in a while, and have been suffering from a bit of "writer's block".  I started a post a few weeks ago about how my 2nd grade daughter sat next to a 17 year old, (yes, a 17 year old) on the school bus ride home, and he asked her to play "Kiss or Dare".  I just deleted that post because I don't think it quite came out right... but can you BELIEVE that? She declined the game, but they did have a 45 minute conversation, and from what my daughter told me I could tell that he was trying to manipulate her na├»ve innocent little mind to make some kind of "move" on my 7 year old. (Needless to say, I freaked out and called the principle and superintendent and that boy is not on the bus anymore.) Some crazy Ohio law about all kids needing transportation and since we live in a rural area, there is 1 high school student that needs to be bused home with the elementary school children on our bus in the afternoon. Of course, he would sit next to MY child. Thank God she mentioned her "new friend" to me that evening while I was giving her a bath. (If I wouldn't have asked...and intervened....this could have easily become a really bad situation.) I just couldn't believe this happened. I've been picking her up from school everyday since then. I was also concerned for the other young little girls riding the bus, as some of them are even younger than my daughter. Anyway, I get angry just writing this, so I won't go on.

On a happier note, I somehow got it in my head that I wanted to do a week-long organic juice fast. (I really want to drop about 15 pounds or more from my last pregnancy, but haven't been able to do it... Actually, I haven't honestly tried hard enough yet, but felt that now is the time.) I decided for peace of mind to just confirm that I wasn't pregnant first, so I bought some 99 cent pregnancy tests from Dollar General. Well... 2 of the tests WEREN'T NEGATIVE!!! Wow. I'm a little surprised, and it's very early to be spilling the beans... I haven't even been to the doctor yet. I think I'm only 4 weeks pregnant. I pray that this is a viable pregnancy and that since I've been eating healthier since we moved out here, that maybe (I doubt it, but I can dream, right?) that my debilitating morning sickness that accompanies my pregnancies will be a little more manageable than the last 3 times. It's just too early to tell, but right now, I feel good. Please keep us in your prayers!

God Bless!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Miller Country Adventures

It's time for a blog post! I finally broke down and purchased a prepaid Verizon JetPack so I could get online. It's been driving me crazy. The phone company has to run a new line to our house and that was supposed to happen 2 weeks ago, and I haven't heard a peep from them. I wonder if we will ever have a home phone and Internet access?

Did I mention that I painted a chalkboard wall in one of my bedrooms? I turned it into the kids "playroom", it's where I put all of their toys and books and stuff and I let them mess it up during the day and we clean it up together before we go to bed at night. I just think this wall is so cool, and I kind of wish I had done this in the kitchen, or in my own bedroom...

Take a look "Before"...

And now "After"...

I will also admit that I have been kind of struggling without my dryer, and here is my pitiful attempt to hang a clothesline:

Even with repeated attempts to tighten my lines, they just keep a sagging. Some day I will do some real research and learn how to do this correctly with pulleys and all that, but for now, this will just have to do.

I'm still trying to grasp the concept that we are living in the country, I just can't believe it. I love it!
The children have been outside more in the past 2 weeks than they have been in the past 7 years in our old home.

The only 2 really negative things so far is that it is horsefly season, and these bugs are everywhere and they are nasty. They chase you and they are BIG. This one wouldn't leave my car door this morning and it was as big as my THUMB. Gross.

The other negative is that many of the people (and moms in particular) that I see out and about, have tattoos and smoke. Not that I'm trying to make sweeping judgments, but I'm slightly worried about exposing my kids to the "redneck" element and having them think that underage smoking and tattoos are in anyway "cool". I'm also worried that I will have nothing in common with anyone that I meet (as in too-goody-two-shoes for the neighbors and not-Catholic-enough for the Catholic homeschoolers that I haven't met yet, but hopefully can find them around.) Hopefully I will get this figured out. I'm pretty much a loner and one local Christian friend (who has small kids and is not 20 years younger than me) who can put up with me and my rosaries and my hyperactive kids and Ohio State loving, sports-fanatic, beer drinking husband, would be a Very Good Thing!

Have a wonderful day everyone!

(And I can't resist a few more shots, I just love this...)