One Week Later

In my last post I shared my response to the Mormon Churches new policy of excluding children of LGBTQ couples from Gospel ordinances as a way to protect them and not cause division between families.I don’t think they knew the ramifications of this decision but they are definitely feeling it now. Estimations are that thousands have put in their name from removal of the records of the Church. Many of these are people who essentially left already but like me, didn’t want to play the name removal game. But visiting some forums that I’m a part of I have seen many many people stating that this decision tied it for them. They will never return to the Mormon Church and they will not have their name associated with a Church that would exclude innocent children like this. The aftershocks of this are going to be felt for months and years to come.

It’s been a week since the policy change was announced and I’m in a much different place. I feel like over the course of 4 days I went through all the stages of a grief. It was a quite a roller coaster ride! I never knew I could feel so much, so passionately, so deeply, so quickly. I cried off and on for days. It consumed every thought, waking and sleeping, when I could sleep at all. By Monday I was sick. I had a headache for 3 days straight. I couldn’t go on like this for much longer. I knew something had to give and I had to just let it all go. It was time for the Mormon Church to be a part of my past and no longer part of my present or future. I prayed Monday as I fell asleep for God to take the pain, the heartbreak, the sorrow, the fear. And He did. I woke up Tuesday feeling peace, something I hadn’t felt for days. I knew without a doubt that I was making the right decision to officially leave the Mormon Church and no longer allow it or it’s policy to control any part of my life. I feel ready to move on. I will always look back on my time as a Mormon with fondness. I learned so much there and the lessons I learned helped to shape the person that I am today. I will always love the people who were in my life then and I hope that I will have them in my life forever, although I know some of them may decide they can’t have me in their lives due to my positions on homosexuality and other doctrines and policies of the Church. That is their decision and I wish them well as they move on in their life.

Growing up I remember hearing this song sung at the end of General Conference sessions and it always brought tears to my eyes. I think it will remain one of my favorite songs for the rest of my life. I leave it here today as a prayer: a prayer for peace, for healing, for understanding, for love, for tolerance. Amen.

Suffer the Children

So yeah, this blogging thing has been going smashing the last few years huh?! I guess I needed to find motivation and I thought I had found it with Bri’s diagnosis of Eosinophilic Esophagitis in May. But apparently that wasn’t enough. I’ve started a million posts that I abandoned because they felt frivolous or self absorbed. And then Friday happened. Friday my mom called to ask me if I had seen the latest message that had been put out about a change in policy in the Momon Church. I was born and raised Mormon. Stayed in the Church for 13 years after my parents marriage dissolved because of my father’s sexual orientation. I stayed after my brother Michael came out I stayed after I married a Catholic. I stayed after my father was excommunicated. After several years of marriage and realizing that I was becoming more and more disillusioned with the Church and many of it’s positions and policies I made the decision to become a Catholic. I joined the Catholic Church in 2007 but I never bothered to remove my name from the records of the Church. I guess in a way it was just an act of defiance. I no longer recognize the Church’s so called authority on this Earth so why take the time, why bother to resign? It was just a formality and I didn’t see the point.

And then Friday came the phone call that rocked everything. That reminded me that while I had thought I had moved on from the Mormon Church, while I thought I had let it all go I was only fooling myself. Because their decision to no longer allow children of LGBT individuals to be given a name and a blessing after birth, or be baptized and Confirmed until the age of 18 absolutely rocked me to my core! The Church that I thought I no longer cared about, that I no longer felt held any tie on me had shattered my heart into a million pieces! My story with the Mormon Church is already written but let’s just play a little game of “If, Then” for a moment.

Let’s imagine this policy was in effect in 1990 when I was baptized. At that time my father was still an active, closeted man and he preformed my baptism. But by the time I got to the age of 12 and entered the young adult program my parents had seperated, my dad’s sexual identity questions were very public and divorce was imminent. With these policies in effect the Church would have grounds to deny me a Temple Recommend, which would have kept me from being able to join the other youth in my Ward on Temple trips. Our youth group did 2 a year and sometimes more like the trip that my MiaMaids class took to the St. Louis Temple one year. Now, people will say “Oh you still would be included. You could go on the trips you just can’t go in the Temple itself.” So I’d be allowed to go along on the road trip and once at the Temple I’d be sat in a room with a chaperone while everyone else was preforming ordinances in the rest of the Temple. That would take 2-3 hours, sometimes more. Then I’d get to sit on the bus or in the van on the way back home listening to them all gush about how wonderful the Temple was; How awesome the experience was. How the Holy Ghost was so strong and the Temple was the most beautiful, peaceful place in the world. And I’d get to smile as I held back tears and say that I’m so happy for them and the experiences they got to have and yes I had a great time too, sitting in a room, by myself, reading the Scriptures and copies of The New Era magazine and the Ensign.

Let’s imagine that this policy was in effect when my brother Christopher turned 12. Under these new guidelines the Church would be allowed to deny him the Priesthood because of his father. A relationship that was already tense and beyond strained would have become even more damaged. Our home would be denied what are seen as the blessings of the Priesthood because of the actions of a man who was no longer a member of the Church, nor a member of our household. My brother served a 2 year mission at the age of 19 in Walla Walla, Washington Spanish speaking. I cannot imagine that would happen if this policy had been in effect then.

Let’s imagine this policy was in effect when my youngest brother Michael turned 8. My father had fallen off the face of the earth by this point (quite literally). He wasn’t involved in our lives at all, in fact we didn’t know if he was alive or dead. But Michael would be withheld the baptism that had already been participated in by his brother and sister, the baptism that for years the Mormon Church has claimed is the ordinance that fully initiates one as a member of the Church, once again because of his father. A father that wasn’t even active in his life, but whose lifestyle was still holding his family back from eternal, salvation giving ordinances of their Church.

There are proponents of this plan who argue it’s for the protection of the child and their relationship with the parent who is living at odds with the teachings of the Church. I can tell you this new policy does nothing except pit children against parents and parents against the Church. My brothers and I had a very hard time reconciling our relationship with our father in the confines of the Mormon Church. For years our relationships were nearly nonexistent because we bought hook line and sinker into the party line when it came to homosexuality. That was damaging. And knowing that his lifestyle was preventing us from receiving ordinances that we wanted would have destroyed us. We would have been more than happy to disavow him and his lifestyle practices in order for the Church to accept us fully, to welcome us with open arms. They would have gotten exactly what they wanted. But that in the end is not about our protection: It’s about them! It is about them getting the last say in a war that they have lost!

I’ve heard proponents say that baptism at 8 isn’t big a deal and maybe they’ve made baptism more of a thing over the years than they should have. OK, then you agree to not get your child baptized at 8 too. In solidarity, since it’s not that big of a deal, just decide that you won’t make a big deal out of it with your child. You’re just going to tell them “We’re not going to have you get baptized at 8. We’re going to let you wait til you’re 18 and decide for yourself.” But you won’t, because in your heart of hearts you know that the Church believes that baptism is a necessary step in the ladder of Salvation. If a child dies without being baptized we have faith that God is merciful, that he would never condemn a child who hadn’t gotten to be baptized yet, but you wouldn’t take that chance would you? And the thought of it makes you sick to the stomach. And it should! Because as much as they want to backpedal and say “Well, maybe we’ve made baptism into a bigger deal than it is,” you know that that is not true!

I’ve heard proponents say that those of us who are sick and horrified by this policy change are blowing it all out of proportion. Especially the part about disavowing the practice of homosexuality because all they have to do is say they know homosexuality is wrong and that’s that. Clearly, they’ve missed the line about having to move out of their home in order to prove that they truly disavow the practice of homosexuality. Let’s ignore the fact that these kids are still kids, 18 years old. Many of them will still be in high school. They can’t live on their own. They can’t make a living for themselves. Where are they going to go? I hope the Bishops and other ward members are going to be ready to take them in and support them emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually. And I hope Ward Mission Funds start getting more donations every month cause you’re gonna have a bunch of kids who have no one to pay for their missions, because you know, you’ve now made them turn their backs on the people who raised them, who loved them, who brought them to you to begin with. But I guess the ends justify the means if the kid goes on a successful mission and comes home with a couple baptisms under their belt!

I’ve heard proponents say that people shouldn’t be so easily offended. That either the Church is true or it isn’t and if it is than you do whatever you have to do to get by in this life and live faithfully to the Church and it’s teachings and policies. Well, I say how sad! This is not about being offended. This was my life people! This was my family! We didn’t make these choices for ourselves! And during our time we endured our own persecution and ousting in the Mormon Church. But this takes it to such a higher level! The Church is literally hanging a scarlet letter around the necks of these children and saying it’s for their protection so that they can sleep at night. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since this policy change was announced. I am horrified and devastated and so utterly broken by this and by the rank and file members who are defending and supporting these policies There are no words that have been able to comfort me or bring me peace. There is nothing Christ-like about this. Nothing loving, nothing compassionate.

And my resignation letter will be officially submitted to Church headquarters this week. It’s time to let this part of my life go. Time to move on from my past and stop letting it haunt me.I still have friends whom I deeply love and admire who are Mormon but I cannot sit by and watch what I believe to be the ultimate discrimination be put on the backs of innocent children under the guise of protection. I have known for a long time that homophobia was alive and well in the Mormon Church, I just never thought they’d use the children as the scapegoats in their fight. I am done! And I will no longer be polite. I will be labeled an Apostate anyway so I will be vocal and outspoken against the Mormon Church. I know I will loose friends in the process but I guess that’s what I have to be ready to accept in order to find peace and comfort in my life once and for all! I am proud of my family. I am proud of my father and love him and my soon to be step-father very much (who, bytheway have been together for 20 years now!). I am proud of my brother Michael and his wonderful husband Scott and the incredible fighters for justice that they are. I am proud of my brother Chris and his partner Josh and the life they have created together. I will not today, nor ever disavow them or their love just to please a Church body. We get one family, one shot at this! We have to do it right!  The bear has been unleashed…and she will not apologize!

The Beginning of a New Journey (long post!!)

Wow! I can’t believe that it’s been over a year since my last blog entry. I’m not going to make up any excuses, although I could! Life with 4 kids gives you plenty of excuses, but really I just lost the joy in it for a while. I felt like sometimes this blog had no real purpose, that it was just one more in the thousands of mommy blogs that fill up the internet. Recently I’ve had several people ask me if I was ever going to resurrect it, that they missed reading up on what we were doing. Missed seeing my menu plans and recipes! lol Then, we became an ADHD family with Jonah’s diagnosis in October of this past year. We also think we may be dealing with Autism but we are still waiting to rule that out. Then in May we became part of an even more exclusive club and I realized I’m going to need an outlet for my thoughts. Seeings as it is 5:33 in the morning, I’ve been up for an hour with racing thoughts and sleep seems ever elusive, I thought I’d try to get them out on paper so to speak. This entry is mainly about Brianna, but to understand how we got here you need some of my story as well.

When I was in my late teens food and I started to have real issues. I didn’t have an eating disorder, although to the kids at my high school or someone who passed me on the streets you might have thought I did. The truth was that I loved food! I’ve always been a bit of a foodie. I could watch Food Network for hours. I read cookbooks for fun! Especially if they have really good food photography! I love world cuisines and trying foods I’ve never had before. My problem wasn’t so much that I didn’t like food, but food didn’t like me. I couldn’t eat. Food would get stuck. I wasn’t actually choking, although that was the only way I could describe to someone else what was happening. I could talk to you, I could breath, although that was painful. Food just kind of sat there in my throat and wouldn’t go anywhere, until I would throw up, either voluntarily or involuntarily. My mom started taking me to doctors. They would look at me and order an Esophogram. No matter how many of those I took, no matter how much barium I drank, no matter how thick, I always passed. They would write me off as another teenager with an eating disorder and send me off. But I knew I had a problem, and so did my mom.

We were lucky to have a friend who worked for a local gastroenterologist. By this time I was “choking” on everything that I tried to eat. I was drinking 3-4 high calorie Ensures a day in order to keep my calorie intake high enough to not be passing out. She asked the doctor she worked with to meet with me. I could tell he wasn’t convinced at the end of our first appointment but he decided to go ahead and do an endoscopy, more to humor me I think than because he actually believed me. So at 18 years old and weighing in at a whopping 88 pounds, I underwent my first endoscopy. The results were like nothing any of us expected! My esophagus, the lower 3rd just above my stomach, was narrowed to the size of a pencil eraser! Just to give you some idea, it’s supposed to be the size of a half dollar! Why this never showed up on any esophogram, and I had had many, we’ll never know! But my doctor said I was lucky I hadn’t choked to death on water! He had never seen a stricture this bad on a teenager. Only the elderly have strictures like that. It took 3 endoscopies with dilation to get me opened back up, but even then the largest they could ever get me was the size of a quarter. So, I began my journey through the world of esophageal disorders and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Flash forward 15 years, we now have Brianna who is a healthy, happy 10 year old. She inherited her moms love of food and all things eating! Then, one day we noticed that was sneaking off to the bathroom a lot during meal times. I started watching her like a hawk and had Steven and my mom do the same. One day I got up and followed her when she left the table. I opened the bathroom door and found her standing by the toilet. I asked her what was wrong and she said she needed to puke. I asked if her stomach hurt and she said no, that she felt like something was stuck in her throat and she couldn’t get it to go anywhere. My heart dropped! All I could think was “Not again! Not my little girl!” That whole ordeal had been so hard! Knowing that people thought you were crazy when you knew you had a problem was maddening. But I had been a teenager. Would I find someone to listen to me about a 10 year old?? We continued to watch her a little while until we had enough incidents to see a pattern and I called her pediatrician asking for a referral to a pediatric GI at Children’s.

First meeting with her GI he walked in the door and upon getting her history of asthma, eczema and horrific seasonal allergies (the big 3!) asked if we had ever heard of EoE or Eosinophilic Esophagitis. In fact, I had, only because I’m a nerd that reads too much and I ran across it while I was researching possibilities of what could be going on with her. EoE is a very rare disease (there’s some debate but it’s believed to affect between 1 out of every 3,000-4,000 children) that is caused primarily by a delayed food allergy reaction. In individuals with EoE the body reacts to foods, but unlike children who have an anaphylactic reaction which you can immediately see and can be fatal, EoE reactions happen often days after eating an offensive food. And the reaction is often only seen internally, in the lining of the esophagus. (Some children with EoE can have anaphylactic reactions to foods as well, but not all do.) The esophagus lining becomes very thick, very inflammed. It isn’t a stricture like mine that requires dilation. It just makes it really hard for food to move through without feeling like it gets stuck or takes longer than it should. Sometimes though food will get stuck and they will have to go in and physically remove it.

The first step to diagnosis was to put Bri on an acid blocker to rule out GERD. We did that for 6 weeks and saw no improvement in symptoms. During this time she also had an esophagram. She passed it with flying colors, but I told her GI not to put too much trust in the results, I always passed mine too! The radiologist who conducted the esophagram asked if I knew what they were looking for and I told her they suspected it was EoE. She said “Oh! Well, then I would expect her to pass an esophagram with no problems! EE kids don’t have trouble with liquids, only solids. I’ll put in her chart if the suspicion is EoE to go ahead with an endoscopy for diagnosis and not to put too much faith in the results of this test.” And I knew then we wouldn’t just be brushed off and passed around. At that moment I was so grateful to live where we live because Cincinnati Children’s has been at the forefront of researching and developing treatment for this disease for years. They knew what to look for. They knew that this is real. And I knew we were going to get answers!

After the time frame was up for the PPI (acid blocker medicine) we went back to the GI. He was not surprised at all that we hadn’t seen a change in symptoms and we scheduled an endoscopy to get an internal look. Unfortunately, at this time the endoscopy is the only way to diagnosis EoE. It’s invasive and requires anesthesia but it’s relatively quick and having had many myself by this point I knew what to expect and felt very comfortable with the procedure. The day of her appointment Steven had to be in meeting with the vice president and couldn’t get out of it, so it was just me and the girl! She did amazing! I never saw tears, except when her time kept getting pushed back and she was so hungry she couldn’t stand it! But she was a real trooper and I promised her ice cream on the way home for being so strong! I know she was nervous! She had never had anasthesia before but the way Children’s does it is great! I got to walk back to the procedure room with her, they gave her gas to put her under (she got to choose the “flavor”, she went with grape!) and then they inserted the IV after she was under! No tears, no fighting! It was great! And I got to stay with her til she was asleep and give her a kiss before I left her. The staff is just amazing and I knew she was in great hands as I walked back out to the waiting room.

I wasn’t in the waiting room 20 minutes when they called for me and said she was finished and her GI was ready to speak to me. He said she had done really well and everything had been great. He said that he was 98% sure now that we were dealing with EoE. Then he showed me the pictures! If body organs and such make you queasy you may want to brush over this part, but showing people what her esophagus looks like has been the best way I know of to get people to understand what she is dealing with!

This is what a normal esophagus looks like!


These are called furrows. These are not normal in a healthy esophagus.


This is what her esophagus looks like just above the furrows.


You can see how very thick and inflamed the lining is in this section of her esophagus. This is why she is having problems swallowing. Food has no problems going through the top part of her esophagus. Everything there is normal and in working order. But once it hits this area it starts to hit trouble. And the body realizes that it’s having to work harder than normal to get the food down. That’s when the “choking” feelings start. And it all clicked in my head. The times she has said things like “Mom, I can’t eat that it doesn’t go down well!” and I think “What is she talking about it doesn’t go down well? That doesn’t make sense to me. She’s not having any obvious distress eating that food!” but there you go! It’s clear why certain foods “don’t go down well”!

So, where do we go from here? Well, that’s a great question with more questions on top of it unfortunately! This is a chronic autoimmune (although the autoimmune part is being debated now too!) disease. There is no cure at this time. There aren’t even any drugs that are approved for the treatment of this disease. There are several methods that are used regularly. The first is diet elimination and allergy testing. Figure out what foods are triggers, avoid those foods, heal the lining of the esophagus therefore achieving a “remission” of sorts. You can try to add back in foods over time but if symptoms reoccur those foods are still an issue and must be removed again. It’s a vicious cycle but it works in about 78% of patients. The percentage it doesn’t work with usually are the kids that are allergic to EVERYTHING!! There are kids with this disease that are allergic to upwards of 20 different foods! And the allergies are so far ranging that they end up on feeding tubes because they can’t get enough nutrition from eating the things that are allowed. We are praying, of course, that that will not be our outcome. But it looks to be more of an issue with EoE kids than I ever dreamed before we started along this path. We are scheduled for allergy testing on July 8th with a doctor who is familiar with the reactions in EoE kids. Since they don’t tend to have normal reactions to skin tests you really need a doctor who knows this going in. The Clinic for Eosinophilic Disorders at Cincinnati Children’s tells me the doctor we are seeing is great so that makes me more comfortable. They will test for 60 different foods as well as 18 common environmental and seasonal allergens. I’m really curious to know what her environmental triggers are. This spring was horrific for her and I would love to know what was so different about this spring and why it affected her so badly!

If she is allergic to a lot of different things we may choose to go strictly with steroid treatments instead of putting her on a very restrictive diet. The steroids used are often used for the treatment of asthma but instead of being inhaled into the lungs they are held in the mouth and then swallowed to coat the lining of the esophagus. Of course, steroids come with their own issues like yeast infections and ulcers developing in the throat (which does not sound like fun!). And there really isn’t enough long term data to tell us what effect using these steroids for long periods of time have on the body. Especially since they aren’t FDA approved ways of being used. And, like with food elimination, once you come off the steroids the body will again start to react to foods and you will see a return in symptoms. Again, a vicious cycle. Some kids have to do both diet elimination and steroids to achieve “remission”. Others need just one or the other. Others, like I mentioned before have to stop taking any food by mouth period for a certain time, go on a feeding tube and try to reintroduce foods back in to the diet a few at a time. It’s a nasty, nasty disease. Of course, my prayer is that we’ll have it easy! She’ll only be allergic to 1 or 2 things (most likely in the top 6: wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, treenuts/peanuts, fish/shellfish) and we can control it with diet, avoid the steroids and learn to live with this disease. But I know that’s probably every parents dream when they start to learn the reality of what this disease does. I’ve already found some areas of support online, one being the Kids with Food Allergies website and their wonderful online communities there! I’ve also heard from someone that I grew up with who has a child with this disease and deals with the daily struggles of having a child on a feeding tube. She has been a great source of knowledge and comfort already.

So to end a really long post (sorry about that, there’s just no short way to tell this story!) our blog is officially back up and running! I’ll let you in on what’s going on with the rest of the family soon. This morning I just needed to get all of the thoughts out of my head regarding our little diva princess!

bri1 bri2 bri3

Menu Plan Monday Week of March 9-15


Yea! 2nd menu plan in a row! First a recap of last week:

Sunday: Loaded Baked Potato Soup (delicious like always! Recipe post coming this week!)

Monday:Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Rice, Steamed Broccoli (My brother got a hold of me right before I started cooking to see if he and a friend could bring over pizza…um…of course! lol)

Tuesday: Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Bacon (Yumm!!)

Wednesday: (Ash Wednesday) Corn Chowder, Biscuits (This was a new to us recipe. We really liked it. I made it without bacon since Ash Wednesday is a day of abstaining from meat. I think bacon would make it even better!)

Thursday: Chicken Alfredo with Veggies, Garlic Bread (This was super easy using a frozen blend of pasta and veggies from GFS and a jarred alfredo sauce.)

Friday: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (fish fillets for the kids), French Fries (The tilapia was frozen from Walmart. It was sooo good! I will definitely buy that again!)

Saturday: We didn’t have the kids so we went to Applebee’s.

OK…on to this week!!

Sunday: Scout’s Blue and Gold Banquet (NO COOKING!! YEA!!)

Monday: Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Rice, Broccoli (take 2!)

Tuesday: Golden Mushroom Porkchops (crockpot), Baked Potatoes, Green Beans

Wednesday: Chicken Queso Bake (I’m inventing this recipe myself..I’ll share it if we like it!)

Thursday: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Salad, Garlic Bread

Friday: Kenya (I had this down for last week but realize that Operation Rice Bowl starts the first FULL week of Lent which is this week! Take 2! lol)

Saturday: Steven is in charge while I am at a 12 hour crop at church running my Mary Kay booth! Yippy!!

So that’s what we are eating (or planning anyway!) this week. What’s on your menu? Check out lots more menus over at OrgJunkie! Happy eating!


I remember when I converted to Catholicism Lent was a foreign concept to me. Don’t get me wrong I knew about it, even thought I knew what it was all about. I grew up in a predominantly Catholic area so I grew up to expectt that a few weeks leading up to Easter we’d have fish for lunch. My friends talked about “giving up” snacks or dessert or soda. We didn’t practice Lent though. It’s just not something that is done in the Mormon church so my first Lent was a very interesting experience. I was in RCIA and serious preparation for entrance in to the church was beginning. I don’t remember what I gave up but with a young baby and a toddler I’m pretty sure it was just a chaotic time and I probably didn’t do much. Since then Lent has been a hit or miss for me as far as prayer, fasting and almsgiving. I do really good some years and others I’m just in survival mode. A few years ago someone pointed out to me that Lent isn’t just about giving things up. They described how they chose to add something in that they don’t usually do in order to grow spiritually. I LOVED that idea. That year I started adding in a Rosary on Friday afternoons. It was probably my favorite Lent ever. One Lent I decided to give up listening to secular music and listened to nothing but Christian or Classical music. Again, a total winner. This year I’ve decided to add something and give up something.

I’ll be using this devotional that I found for free on Amazon to do a devotional through the names of Christ. I think this will be very interesting and will help me get back into a routine of spending some daily time with the Lord. I’m really hit or miss in this area of my life right now and I’d like to become more consistent. As part of my devotional time I plan on praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, one of my absolute favorite meditations.

In January we participated in the K-Love 30 Day challenge and listened to nothing but Christian music for 30 days. I love how different my days feel when I do that. After the 30 days was over though the radio station got switched. Don’t get me wrong…I love pop music, country music, even a little rap now and then but I don’t feel the same when I listen to that music as I do when I listen to music that focuses on praising and uplifting. So for Lent I’m going back to only Christian music, with a little Classical and maybe some Jazz thrown in for good measure 🙂

I am also giving up wearing pants on Ash Wednesday, the Fridays of Lent and the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday). I already am skirts and dresses only for Sundays so that would include Easter Sunday. Why am I doing this? I’m not really sure! I’ve always been fascinated with women who are dresses/skirts only. I felt convicted last year to go back to wearing only skirts and dresses to church again after years of wearing pants. When I was thinking about what I was going to give up this year this idea popped in to my head right away. I don’t know what might come out of it but I feel it was the Holy Spirit working in me so I’m just gonna go with it and see where it goes!  And just for some accountability I’ll be sharing my outfits here with you! So here’s todays’ outfit.

Glittery pink top: Walmart ($7!!)

Glittery pink top: Walmart ($7!!)

Black jersey knit skirt- Motherhood Maternity Black Footless tights: George at Walmart Fuschia flats: American Eagle for Payless ($10 on a BOGO!!!)

Black jersey knit skirt- Motherhood Maternity
Black Footless tights: George at Walmart
Fuschia flats: American Eagle for Payless ($10 on a BOGO!!!)

Close up of the flats. I love these shoes!!

Close up of the flats. I love these shoes!!

As a family we will be participating in Operation Rice Bowl by Catholic Relief Services as part of PSR service project. But I’ll post more about that on Friday. I hope you have a wonderful Ash Wednesday and a very blessed Lenten season.

Menu Plan Monday- The First Week of Lent 2014


In my last post I mentioned that one of the things I wanted to get back to was Menu Plan Monday posts. I did menu planning consistently for quite a while and loved how much easier it made my life. I completely fell off the menu planning bandwagon and I have to say I’ve missed it. Having a plan means we eat better, I am less stressed and we eat earlier, before the kids have a chance to start their “I’m-starving-feed-me-Seymore” fits! One of my favorite resources for menu planning is I’m An Organizing Junkie. Laura has a great resource over there for all things organizing (an area I regularly struggle at in my life.) She has been the host of Menu Plan Monday for years and it regularly gets 100s of link ups each week. Not sure what to make for dinner? Surely you can get some inspiration there.

Saturday mom and I decided to do a big shop. We try to do this every couple of months and really get the freezer and pantry stocked up. Having a stocked freezer and pantry definitely makes menu planning easier for me. Some prefer to sit down with the weekly sales fliers and plan their menu based on what’s on sale. I think either way is fine. I’ve done it both ways. I prefer planning out of my stocked personal “store” but that’s just me! On our big shopping trip this month we hit up GFS, one of my favorite places. We stocked up on 20 pounds of fresh chicken breasts, 20 pounds of ground beef, a pork loin that mom cut into 3 pork roasts, 6 pounds of bacon (3 for the freezer, 3 pre-cooked), lots of frozen veggies and lots of cooking and baking ingredients (oil, sugars, soup bases, etc.) We also hit up Walmart to stock up on items that we don’t need in bulk (smaller can of veggies that don’t feed 30 people!!), fresh fruits and veggies and milk, etc. I sat down this morning and came up with a plan for the week taking into account that this week begins Lent so we have 2 days of abstaining from meat.

So, without further ado, here is our meal plan for this week.

Sunday: Baked Potato Soup (Stevens’ aunts’ recipe and our favorite! I’ll try to do a post on this soup because it is awesome!), Biscuits

Monday: Sweet & Sour Meatballs, Rice, Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday: Fat/Pancake Tuesday!! Chocolate chip pancakes, Bacon, Fresh Fruit

Wednesday: Ash Wednesday Corn Chowder (NO bacon-a new to us recipes. I’ll let you know how we like it.), Rolls

Thursday: Chicken Alfredo with Veggies

Friday: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia, Baked Potatoes, Steamed Mixed Veggies

Saturday: KENYA!! (The first country in Our Around The World Table Travel series-more information to come!)

So that’s what we are eating this week. How about you? Anything on our menu that looks good to you? What are you making this week?

What I Didn’t Wear Sunday

I was fully planning on a What I Wore Sunday post today. I was gonna look all cute in my favorite grey sweater dress, herringbone tights and black boots from Kohl’s. I bought this outfit for my great-grandmother’s funeral after Thanksgiving and it’s become one of my favorites this winter. There’s just something so cozy about a sweater dress!

grey sweater dress

Instead we woke up this morning to wet roads and a forecast of icy conditions moving in to the area. After speaking to a couple of people who live closer to our church Steven decided to cancel PSR and quickly went to fetch our boys who had spent the night with the grandparents. Within a few hours this was the view outside our window:

icy tree

icy tree 2

I LOVE how pretty trees look when they are iced over, but that’s about where my love affair ends! This mama don’t play with ice. So instead of putting on my cute sweater dress it’s now 11:56 and I’m rocking this:

pj selfie

Oh well! What are you gonna do? If we had thought better we would have gone to Mass last night but we didn’t so….here’s to next week! Since this isn’t actually a church post I won’t be linking up to FLAP but here’s to getting back in to the swing of things!

Back in the Saddle Again

Thanks to an upgrade to a great new laptop we are back in action around here folks! Our desktop computer and our other laptop are so slow that it literally was taking me hours to get a blog post written, especially if there were pictures involved. I also have started a Mary Kay business which will require lots of online ordering, training, etc and I needed something fast. Spending an hour waiting for one document to download is ridiculous! And after the kids were out of school more than they were in school in January due to this crazy winter weather I grew frustrated that I couldn’t get them on any computer programs to work on math, reading, etc on any of the electronic devices in our house except the slow computers that they couldn’t do anything on. So thanks to a President’s Day sale at the Microsoft Store we obtained an HP Envy and I am loving it!! It is so nice to have a fast, reliable computer again. And this one has a touch screen which, let’s face it, just makes it cooler! lol

That means I am looking forward to getting the blog back up and running again. I’m missing sharing the ins and outs of our daily life with you. I’m missing the fun features I was participating in like What I Wore Sunday. I’m looking forward to getting back to Menu Plan Monday (cause I need the motivation soooo bad!!) And I’m excited to bring a new feature in March as we begin a family culinary adventure around the world, one country, one meal at a time (more to come on that later!). So I just wanted to let you know we are still alive and well here in the frozen Ohio Valley (which thankfully is thawing out, just to freeze again next week! Grrrr!!) Hoping you all are doing good as well. See you soon!!

Disappearing Act

Yeah, I’m good at disappearing! I always come back but when life gets crazy the blog is the first thing I let go. So what have we been up to? Well Brianna turned 9. I can’t believe it but it’s true! She had a great day on her birthday with her family, as well as a really fun karaoke party the weekend after with her friends.

brianna birthday 1

Her hair is a mess but she looked super cute in the new outfit from her grandma. I wish I had gotten a better picture of it!

brianna birthday party

Daddy working hard to help get ready for the party.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving my brother Michael, his boyfriend Scott, mom, Brianna, our friend Manda Lynn and I went to volunteer at the Freestore Foodbank downtown. It was an amazing experience. It was cold, oh my it was cold! But we were working so hard and it felt so good to be providing service to those in need in our community. I think our warm hearts helped keep our bodies warm too!

Those bright green vest are sexy! lol

Those bright green vest are sexy! lol

I was so proud of Brianna! She was a hard worker and didn’t complain all day! We worked for about 4 1/2 hours and she was a trooper! After we were finished she asked when we’d be going back. Success!! They were very impressed with her in the food room where she helped to pack bags with canned and boxed food.  I was very proud of our girl!

brianna foodbankOur Thanksgiving was great! We had a very full house. My brother Christopher and his partner Josh came in from DC. Michael’s boyfriend Scott came in from NYC. Manda Lynn joined us and my dad came over also. We cooked all morning while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love Thanksgiving! I love having a day to purposefully stop and give thanks for the things that we have been blessed with all year long. Sure, we should give thanks all year and I feel like I do. To me it’s also so much about being around those that you love and eating some YUMMY food!!

Our Thanksgiving table. It stretched into the dining room this year!

Our Thanksgiving table. It stretched into the living room this year!

This little guy loves pumpkin pie!!

This little guy loves pumpkin pie!! Also, anyone else think he looks drunk!?!? Drunk on pumpkin pie…hmmm!!

The day after Thanksgiving we got word that my great grandmother, whom we called Beebles, passed away. She was 89 years old. She had been in hospice for several weeks by that point. I kept saying “Watch, she’ll die on Thanksgiving.” Well, close enough! We had her funeral on Sunday which I had the privilege of singing at, accompanied by my dad (this was his grandmother). She was a truly remarkable woman. And she will be truly missed by her family.

Beautiful lady!

Beautiful lady!

Our last visit was a few years ago, the day after Christmas. She developed some pretty bad dementia. It's hard on people with dementia to be surrounded by people they can't recognize. And it's hard on young children to understand why grandma or grandpa can't remember who they are. Plus, it's just hard to go on visits with 4 young kids who have lots of energy!!

Our last visit was a few years ago, the day after Christmas. She developed some pretty bad dementia. It’s hard on people with dementia to be surrounded by people they can’t recognize. And it’s hard on young children to understand why grandma or grandpa can’t remember who they are. Plus, it’s just hard to go on visits with 4 young kids who have lots of energy!!

I will always cherish this visit. I wish I had gone more often but life too often got in the way.

I will always cherish this visit. I wish I had gone more often but life too often got in the way.

Friday and Saturday we started decorating the house for Christmas. This year we made the decision to put the Polar Express train on the dining room table and surround it with Steven’s village that he’s been collecting over the years. It looks sooo cool! And Micah, of course, was so glad to see the Polar Express come back. He LOVES this train! Eli loves it too! The morning after we had put it up I brought him downstairs. As we were coming down he caught sight of the train and started saying “Woo! Woo!” It was too cute! Especially since he’s only recently started saying very much at all!

christmas village

Today is the Feast of Saint Nicholas. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve learned to love this feast day since marrying Steven and becoming Catholic. I always loved opening my stocking on Christmas, it was my favorite thing! I love doing their stockings on December 6th. I feel like it gives them some excitement and fun during Advent. Plus, you get to break up the cost a little, which is always nice! lol- I just need to start planning better! Once again Steven was at Walmart last night picking up stuff (and so was my mom! Their stockings are always overflowing! lol)

st. nick 2013

Yes, I know the 4 year old has no clothes on! He rarely does! But he got some Monster University footie jammies from Saint Nick. They went on pretty quickly…for a while! Then he was naked again! lol

Today we are bracing for a nasty winter storm. The first part came through overnight in the form of sleet and freezing rain. This afternoon we are expecting anywhere from 3-6 inches of snow to fall on top of the ice. Fun! So of course the kids are off school and I’m fighting to keep my sanity! Teachers may love snow days…parents…not so much! lol I hope wherever you are that you are warm and safe today. I’ll check in again soon!

WIWS-I’m Back!!

Yeah so the last 2 weeks I forgot to have Steven take pictures for What I Wore Sunday. But today, today I remembered! So without further ado here’s my WIWS I’m Back edition!


From somewhere exotic I hear Tyra Banks screaming “NO!! That is NOT how we take a photo! Honey child you better WORK (snap! snap!) Now once again with some attitude please!”

Sorry Ms. Tyra! Honey, take another one please!


Jean Jacket- Bitten by Sarah Jessica Parker for Steve And Barry’s
Blouse- Mossimo for Target
Tank (under the shirt cause it’s a little see-through!)- Old Navy
Slacks- Worthington for JC Penny
Tights- Simply Vera by Vera Wang for Kohl’s
Pumps- Predictions for PayLess
Jewelry- Premier Designs

“Much better!”

Thanks Ms. Tyra! (Yes someone watches a little too much America’s Next Top Model! Shhhh…don’t tell!!) 🙂

Here’s a closer up look at the pumps because you can’t really see them in the pictures and  I LOVE these shoes! I’ve had them for ages but they are still in the best condition. That’s what I love about a good shoe.


brown suede with brown leather trim and brown leather bow

And a closer look at the blouse. I love this top. It’s one of my favorite’s for fall. I love the print and the little feminine touches like the puffy sleeves and just the overall flowy feel.


Today was just one of those Sundays. We didn’t have Jonah or Micah with us because they spent the night with Steven’s dad. We thought we’d get up early and go to 8:00 Mass before PSR…hahahahahaha!!! Every time we say that we should just throw our heads back and laugh because it NEVER happens! But we had a slow(ish) morning which was nice because I got to enjoy my coffee and even made orange sweet rolls for breakfast. Yum!

My PSR class talked about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit today. We spent a lot of time in the Bible looking up scriptures and just diving in to the Word which was great! The kids made collages by writing the name of each gift on a dove and gluing it on to newsprint paper. They turned out really cute but of course I didn’t take my camera so I don’t have any pictures to share. But next week we are talking about the Fruits of the Spirit and will be doing something similar with fruit die cuts so I’ll try to remember to take a picture of that one!

We attended 11:30 Mass and once again I spent the majority of the time in the vestibule with Eli. He is in the process of cutting 2 teeth and he has just been a nightmare lately! I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. I guess I can’t rate him too harshly since he wasn’t feeling well so I guess a solid C for Mass behavior is still OK. Steven said Brianna did really good during Mass so an A for her today! Yea!!

After Mass we went over to Steven’s dad’s to pick up the boys and have lunch. His stepsisters were in town so we got to spend some time with them which was nice! They are a crazy group of girls and we love ’em! We always have so much fun together! Of course I spent a lot of time down in the man cave with my father in law watching the Bengals game. What an incredible game!! They still lost but wow! That last quarter was awesome! (Note to Andy Dalton- you’re killin’ me man!!!)

After we left Steven’s dad’s we came home and Steven went to studying more for his series 7 qualification exam and the kids pretty much scattered. A little light cleaning for me (you know, a mom’s work doesn’t even get the Sabbath off!!) but it was an overall quiet afternoon/evening. We had a simple dinner of vegetable beef soup and sweet potato muffins. And then it was clean up toy time, brush teeth, jammies and off to bed. I’m sitting here listening to a perfectly quiet house and I have to say it is lovely!

Well, that was our Sunday! I hope yours was wonderful and that you have a very blessed week!

Check out more WIWS fashion posts over at Fine Linen and PurpleWh.