34 Weeks

Y’know that episode of Friends where Rachel can’t see her baby?

34 week sonogram picture
34 week sonogram picture

I can’t see my baby.
ProfileIt’s like one of those Magic Eye puzzles.

Is this picture even different from the one above?  I honestly couldn't tell you.
Is this picture even different from the one above? I honestly couldn’t tell you.

Steven keeps pointing out the cheeks and I can sort of squint and pretend (lie) that I see it, but nope.  Mama can’t see her baby.  Wail.  So sorry, precious Nino.  So much forgiveness needed already.

In other 34 week doctor’s appointment news, I was warned by three different people at my appointment this week that I was “heading into it.”  Whatever that means. I’ve had it super easy so far, so the idea that all of these knowing strangers keep telling me that I’m about to get super uncomfortable is.. well… making me a little uncomfortable.  For now it’s all mental.

Nino was pretty chill this weekend, what with all the shower excitement and late nights and cousins running around patting and pawing and hugging at his Mama’s tummy.  He roared back to life on Tuesday after the appointment and hasn’t stopped moving since.  I’m supposed to be feeling more subtle rolling movements yet – hah!  Maybe tomorrow.  I’m also happy/sad to report that the stretch marks have  finally arrived.  I was feeling so confident and gloat-y for avoiding them for the first 33 weeks.  Then late last week I thought I could start to see a couple of lines at the bottom of my stomach, but Steven thought maybe they were just lines from my pants.  But as of this morning they are definitely stretch marks and they are multiplying at an alarming rate.  Hello, badge of Mamahood!

Daycare Update: So we still haven’t picked out a daycare.  I was almost on board with one on Monday, given that a 3 month old doesn’t really need THAT much and we’ll (hopefully) only need someone in Manhattan for 3 months or so.  So I had myself talked into it.  Then we went to First Aid class.  It was just a 90 minute class, and not even a certification course.  Just a nice, simple, introduction to First Aid tips for kiddos.  There were 4 of us in the class and it was led by a long-time nurse/EMT/Red Cross volunteer with children and grandchildren of her own.  After every segment in the video (goodness the dialogue in those videos is still terrible), she would pause it and tell us of her firsthand experience on EMS calls for each of the incidents described in the video.

With each new segment and type of injury, Steven and I slunk lower and lower in our chairs and he started scribbling down notes as fast as he could.  Infant CPR, bee stings, splints, seizures, fevers, choking, CPR, drowning, etc, etc, etc.  It felt endless.  To get away from the onslaught of doom, I let other stresses creep into my brain.  Work, daycare, Garden City plans, sleep, money, budgets, car maintenance, taxes, thank you notes, household chores, forgotten phone calls, etc.  By the time we left the class I was completely overwhelmed and in full-on meltdown mode about everything.  It didn’t help that we had to miss our hour of Adoration this week to attend the heinous session of ways your child will die.  The real kicker is that we paid for this class.  We paid to feel this way!

Now, three days later, I’m back at square one with daycare, but at least I have the number for Poison Control in my phone and I was able to (mostly) sleep through the night last night.  I remember once, early on in the daycare search, a friend and mama recommended a daycare to me and said that it made her feel better that it was right down the street from the hospital.  I remember thinking it was odd, but all through the First Aid class I was thinking about how far away the daycare we had (almost) settled on was from the hospital.  You just never know which piece of Mama wisdom will stick in your brain, do you?  Our class next week is breastfeeding basics and they’ve already sent me 10 handouts. Gulp.

So lovely

This past weekend was Nino’s baby shower!  We had the most wonderful time.  My friends Colina and Sonya teamed up with Betsy and Abby to put on the world’s sweetest and easiest and loveliest baby shower of all time.  Colina and Sonya put together all the decorations as a surprise, and when I walked in I couldn’t believe it.  These women know me.  It was exactly what I would’ve picked out for myself, but I would never have had the patience or creativity or fortitude to put all the little pieces and touches and details together.  The baby book matched our bedding, which matched the invitation, which matched the print and all the cute little animal decorations and they were all done independently of each other.  Betsy picked out the invitation without my help and I picked out the bedding without seeing the invitation and Sonya and Colina picked out the decorations without looking at the registry.  All I told them was that I liked colors and that the nursery would be mostly orange and green and yellow.  The fact that it all came together organically just makes me feel that much better about our choices and the room coming together eventually.

The fox planter that started it all.  It's now at my office and makes me happier every single second.
The fox planter that started it all. It’s now at my office and makes me happier every single second.
Adorable hedgehog, identical to the adorable hedgehog on our bedding set.
Adorable hedgehog, identical to the adorable hedgehog on our bedding set.
All the tables covered in the fabric from our wedding reception tablecloths!  Loved it.
All the tables covered in the fabric from our wedding reception tablecloths! Loved it.
Sneaky belly pic ala Katie.
Sneaky belly pic a la Katie.

It was so lovely to see so many of my friends and former coworkers and cousins and aunts and to have my sisters and nieces and nephew there too.  Katie helped me open all the presents and Anna arranged them nicely on the table for me after opening.  Abby greeted and had people sign the guest book and fill out thank you note envelopes and wrote down all the gifts, and, and, and.  She basically had all the jobs and did them beautifully.  Betsy found wooden blocks for everyone to decorate and we talked good and bad Mama advice.  Everyone brought books instead of cards too and our bookshelf is so much happier now.

It was truly a perfect afternoon, and the fact that we were able to have it at my beloved Douglass Center made it that much better.  I know we missed several people due to the holiday weekend, but I was so thankful and appreciative of all those who were able to make it to Manhattan for the rainy afternoon.  I fell asleep feeling guilty (always so guilty!) about not getting to talk to everyone for hours, but also completely humbled and spoiled and oh so very loved.  I can’t wait for Nino to be here to enjoy all those thoughtful gifts!  Steven, Nino, and I are seriously the luckiest people in the world.

One of the biggest benefits to having a baby in my family is that  Aunt Nadine will make you the most beautiful quilt you've ever seen in your entire life.
One of the biggest benefits to having a baby in my family is that Aunt Nadine will make you the most beautiful quilt you’ve ever seen in your entire life.
I also discovered that it's a benefit to marrying into Steven's family too!  Nana Esther made Nino the softest and most beautiful K-State blanket.  Why am I making one again?
I also discovered that it’s a benefit to marrying into Steven’s family too! Nana Esther made Nino the softest and most beautiful K-State blanket. Why am I making one again?

Then on Thursday, Steven’s coworkers took us out to lunch for another baby shower.  It was a wonderful time and so nice to finally meet some of them for the first time!  Isn’t it strange how much of our lives we spend at work with our coworkers and how separate our lives still are?  Amazing.  They were all really genuine, warm, lovely, people and it made me feel so much better about how Steven spends his days.  I have a feeling they’ll take good care of both of us during the next 6 months.

Swing buds.
Swing buds.
Teddy, breaking in Nino's brand new stroller, like the sweet and thoughtful cousin he is.
Teddy, breaking in Nino’s brand new stroller, like the sweet and thoughtful cousin he is.
Oh the cute.
Oh the cute.
He's also got a pretty terrific unimpressed face.
He’s also got a pretty terrific unimpressed face.

Thanks to the shower and holiday weekend, we got to spend lots of quality time with family. For the first time in 15 years, it’s actually raining in Garden City, so Matthew got to come up with Betsy and the kiddos and hang out with all of us.  He took Abby for her first stick shift lesson on Sunday and she decided after a couple of hours that while Iggy was indeed wonderful, she was probably not ready to back it out onto Anderson every morning.  So Matthew took Iggy back home to retire on the farm since we haven’t been driving it and it made both Betsy and I feel all heart squeezy to see it drive off down the street, back window open, cruising along happily.  Iggy is seriously the best pickup in the entire world, and I will never find a car that is more fun to drive.  Never ever.

Dresser successfully transformed to changing table!
Dresser successfully transformed to changing table!
“Clean” side of the room at 34 weeks.
It's been pretty great riding around with Chester this week.
It’s been pretty great riding around with Chester this week.

I also recruited Betsy to help me organize Nino’s room and she transformed the dresser into a totally cozy changing table.  Steven tractor-beamed the children with Daniel Tiger and Angelina Ballerina while Anna put together the Diaper Genie and I held a sweet and wonderfully wiggly Teddy.

After the drivers got back, Matthew helped Steven install the car seat in Harvey and we broke in our brand new umbrella stroller and walked down to the park.  They ended up leaving Sunday night around 8 (so late!) and all the kids cried as they put on their jammies and wailed about “Not wanting to go home.”  It was sweet and sad and funny and I still miss them.

Graduated from wash cloth to... hand towel?
Graduated from wash cloth to… hand towel?

Blanket update: Betsy checked out the blanket in person and showed me all her kiddos’ blankets and I’m feeling more confident that it will all come together.  She recommended that I try to add an extra stitch at the end of each row for awhile to try and catch up with the extra wide starting rows, so now it looks, um, even stranger than last week.  Also, that was approximately 6 hours of work on Monday, so you can get an idea of just how slowly I crochet.  We have a long road trip this weekend, so I’m hopeful that I can get in a solid 6 more hours this weekend so that it might look more like a blanket by next week’s post.

Sweetest sisters.
Sweetest sisters.

Fatherhood 101

“I don’t have to go. If you’re not feeling well, I mean,” the father-to-be said.

“No, you should definitely go,” the mother-to-be replied. And then sucking in air and grabbing her side: “You have to learn what to do if the baby’s choking.”

“Oh, I know all about that,” he dismissed her.

“Oh yeah? What do you do first?” she asked.

“That’s easy. First I put out my cigar.”

She glared. He smiled. She smiled.

“But really, I’m sure there’s something useful. Baby CPR, how to check allergies, something…”

When the father-to-be arrived, two minutes late, the instructor had already started talking. “Imagine this: It’s been a long day at work, you’re exhausted, your wife hands you the baby and then vanishes out the front door, car keys in hand. The baby is crying and nothing will work. Should you or should you not…shake your baby?”

A twenty-something in the front row raised his hand tentatively. “No? You shouldn’t shake your baby?”

“That’s correct,” the instructor said enthusiastically. “You should never shake your baby. No matter how much it screams.”

What sort of class am I in? the father-to-be thought then. I knew I was a little smarter than the average bear but…

“Okay, now here’s a trickier one. Heisman pose. Should you or should you not hold your baby like a football for comedic effect?”

“No?” the class asked in unison.

“That’s correct, and do you know why?” Again the teacher’s pet up front raised his hand.

“Because you might drop the baby?”

“Exactly.” Now he moved over to the whiteboard and wrote in big block letters “FOOTBALL” and then crossed it out. “You should just never treat your newborn like a football. That means no passing it or punting it. You can hand it off, but only in a gentle, head-supporting manner, and only if you have a good eye on your running back.” They then proceeded to name off items you shouldn’t treat your baby like, which included but was not limited to a Frisbee, a hula hoop, a Christmas-themed nutcracker, and a driver’s license.

“Having a baby does not prove that you’re 21, so let’s stop taking out kids to the bars with us, shall we?”

Who is doing these things? the father-to-be wondered. But then a car seat came up on the PowerPoint and so he readied his pen to start taking notes.

“Your car seat,” the instructor started and then gave a too-long pause. Some of the men looked at each other in confusion. Others, thinking they’d reached a break, got up and walked into the hall. Finally, those remaining in the room checked their iPhones and waited for the instructor to resume. “…is not a third parent. You should use it for traveling, not for sitting all day in the living room. You should not put it outside on the porch at night so you don’t hear the crying. You should not put it on the kitchen table and then take a three-day business trip. I learned that one the hard way.”

Just then the father-to-be realized that he was going to make a great father. He knew how to not treat his baby like sports equipment, and he knew the importance of not leaving children strapped in a chair for days on end. Perhaps that’s why these classes existed, to reassure you that you knew more than you thought.

“Okay, now for the real meat of the class: Infant First Aid.” The instructor then detailed 40,000 ways the world was going to conspire to kill their babies–from brain bleeds and fatal allergic reactions to infants drowning in half an inch of water and electricity exit wounds in tiny feet–and with each section, he told them a handful of stories from the ER and his EMS days. When it was all over an hour and a half later, the instructor asked for any questions. The father-to-be raised his hand tentatively over his head. He didn’t even know what he needed to ask. He just knew that he didn’t know anything.


“You mentioned the poison control number, but you didn’t give us the, um, other one. For the electrocution people.”

“For an ambulance?” the instructor asked.

The father-to-be nodded.

Then without any sign of a smirk, the instructor replied, “Just dial 9-1-1.”

“Dang it, I knew that one,” the father-to-be muttered to himself.

The room nodded.

“At the end of the day, you have to know in your heart that you’re being a good dad. Your little son or daughter isn’t going to high five you when you get it right. They’re not physically capable.”

The father-to-be wrote hurriedly in his notebook: Babies cannot high five. It was not the last stupidly obvious fact he would struggle to commit to memory.

The Best Wedding Present

When my mom told me that the date Susan and I picked for our wedding was also my grandma’s birthday, I knew we finally had the right day. We like things to not be totally about ourselves, which is why we also love having birthdays a day apart. Instead of one day of ME ME ME, we get a far superior two day (or sometimes three day) celebration of US!

By almost-90 my grandma had become lactose-intolerant, so my lactose-free cake would serve dual purposes. At half time (our wedding reception was a K-State football watch party), I stepped onto the stage of the theater we’d rented and we all sang “Happy Birthday,” welcoming Mary Ellen Moses into her 90s with a piece of cake and a candle.

When I came down from the stage to congratulate her, she pulled me in for a hug and told me this story:

“Carl and I spent our first married years in the mission fields. We went all over Central America, from town to town, village to village. It was always hard going to a new place, being the outsider. So whenever we were ready for a new church, the Lord would bless us with a new baby.”

My grandma had white wavy hair, cut short, and thick glasses, but what was most distinctive about her was her voice. She sounded like Meryl Streep impersonating Julia Child, or rather Meryl Streep sounded like she was impersonating my grandma. At least that’s what I told Susan when we saw Julie & Julia in the theater.

“The townspeople would see us coming and then they’d see the baby and just light up. They’d want to hold it and play with it and it would be like we were old friends in no time.”

This was back before Susan and I decided to come back to the Church—the Catholic Church for her and Christianity in general for me—before the long study of the Catechism, priest podcasts, RCIA, and NFP blog after NFP blog. It was also several years before we decided to start trying for our own little ice-breaker, our own little blessing.

When I did learn about the Church’s teachings on the family, this story came to mind. And now as we say good-bye to Grandma Moses and Susan and I gear up to make our own move, I only hope our baby can help make the transition a positive one—just like my mom and her six siblings did for my grandparents.

I have no doubt that Mary Ellen, the matriarch of over a dozen families, is on her way to Heaven right now. Please pray for her as she makes this one final journey.

33 Weeks

Phew! Yesterday’s post was an extreme exercise in vulnerability (another thing I’ve been working on lately). Let’s get back to something easier today, shall we?

Getting bigger...
Getting bigger…

Nino is now officially 33 weeks and according to my very favorite weekly pregnancy update, should be over 4 lbs and approximately 17 inches long. That makes me feel better because I am feeling large and in charge. My bestie Hailey is 3 weeks ahead of me and pregnant with twins, so we exchanged bump pics via text this week. If you’re going to be pregnant, I strongly recommend getting pregnant at the same time as your best friend and then making her have twins. It really helps keep things in perspective.


Pregnancy cravings: So far, I haven’t experienced the desperate crazy cravings that you always see on TV. If anything, Nino prefers a very simple diet of pb&j sandwiches, carrots and salad dressing (Creamy Italian always), string cheese, bananas, salads, bagels with lotsa cream cheese and my oldest and dearest friend, Nacho Cheese Doritos. He doesn’t really like soda, which has done wonders for my weight gain, and really can’t handle pretzels or lemonade. Weird, right? Pretzels make my gums ache for days and lemonade gives me the worst sore throat imaginable. He also decided about halfway through the second trimester that I had had enough ice cream Drumsticks to last a lifetime and made me violently ill after every one. I still ate another box just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, but now they’re officially on the list of unacceptable foods. Chinese food was also on the no-no list until Monday when I mysteriously got a hankering for shrimp fried rice from the greasy Chinese drive-thru place and it tasted amazing and magically didn’t make me sick. That could be trouble. I also used to drink at least a gallon of milk a week but Nino shut that down early, making me worry that he carries Steven’s lactose allergy. Though considering I’m at least 60% cheese at this point, I think that’s probably silly. After the first trimester, coffee started tasting good again (thank goodness!) and I haven’t really cut anything else out of my diet entirely. Except, of course, runny eggs. You know how people talk about crazy pregnancy dreams? I just dream of egg yolk. I want to eat nothing but egg yolk and toast for Nino’s first week of life. Mmmm, yolky deliciousness.


Pregnancy Symptoms: Nary a one. Seriously, it’s been a dream. I know this because Hailey has had every weird symptom in the book. Me? I got to keep going to my exercise classes at my beloved Douglass Center right up to week 25, never puked, and only felt nauseous occasionally in the first 12 weeks. On the very first day of the third trimester I got my first cold and it did hang around and morph into a cough, and then sinus pressure, and then insomnia, and then into a different kind of cough until finally I told my doctor about it and he gave me a Z pack and a super duper cough syrup to finally knock it out. So after a month of suffering and a week of antibiotics I’m finally back to breathing through my nose again. Still, I panicked about taking the medicine, even after the sweet and wonderful doctor prescribed it and assured me three times that it was safe. I left the office thinking, well.. maybe I’ll just feel better this afternoon and not pick up the prescription.  And then I emailed Steven about it, thinking he wouldn’t let me take the medicine. And then I emailed Betsy about it, just to double check with her if she thought it would be safe. Luckily by the time evening rolled around I was feeling worse and Betsy and Steven assured me that I was a crazy person and I took my meds.  Hopefully this little exercise has taught me to TRUST THE DOCTOR. As far as other symptoms go, the heartburn finally started this weekend. However, I feel like I only get it when I forget to eat, rather than after a big meal. Could that make any sense? Probably not.

Steven came up with this infographic last week when I decided that Nino had a “sweet spot” in my uterus, based on how hydrated I was. So, y’know, maybe don’t listen to the crazy lady.

After months of accusing me of “hogging” Nino’s kicks for myself, Steven can finally feel them and falls asleep most nights getting kicked in some way. Yesterday Steven convinced me to take a nap after work and fell asleep with his head on my tummy. Nino decided to kick him in the head until he found a new place to rest. I thought it was sweet and kind of ornery, but Steven was less amused. Whenever Nino does wriggle himself into an uncomfortable position and starts painfully poking or jabbing at me, Steven rubs my belly and Nino calms right back down. Such a Daddy’s girl (or boy).


House Training: Last weekend, Abby came over to help us clean everything out of Nino’s room so that we could deep clean. We dusted and cleaned the window and washed the walls and vacuumed and generally overdid it. (Can you tell Nino is a first child? Poor thing. Somebody’s gotta be first. Hopefully, someday he and Anna can bond over it.) On Saturday morning the crib arrived, so Steven set to work assembling the dresser and the crib. Everyone has told us about a zillion times that we won’t need the crib for the first few months, but I’m so glad we have it set up. I see it during all those middle of the night bathroom breaks and it makes me smile every time. Somehow Nino’s kicks and this giant belly weren’t enough to convince me that this is really happening, so the crib is constantly surprising me. Me = denial extraordinaire.

Getting educated: We started childbirth classes a couple of weeks ago and can I say we’ve been underwhelmed? Our first night we took a tour of the Labor & Delivery floor, which was exciting. Amanda warned me that it might freak us out, but Steven and I just left feeling giddy. Then last week we watched a bunch of birth videos which I thought would freak me out, but instead just gave me the happy weeps every time the baby was born and they gave the little one to the tired Mama to hold. Tonight Steven has his Daddy Basics class (no girls allowed!) so I’m curious to hear what tips he picks up there. We have quite a few classes to go – Breastfeeding, First Aid, and something called Infant Basics, so maybe we’ll learn more as we go along. For now I’m just feeling guilty about not reading Dr. Turtle and spending too much time reading birth stories and Catholic mom blogs when I should be sleeping or exercising or paying attention to Steven. Guilt is a Mama thing, right? Because I definitely feel guilty about every little thing these days.

Nino's blanket at 33 weeks. It will be a rectangle eventually?
Nino’s blanket at 33 weeks. It will be a rectangle eventually?

Blanket update: It’s… getting better?  I had to start over three times after Katie very helpfully asked me if I was making a circle and Betsy was flummoxed by my inability to not make a ruffle. Learning new things is hard.  Learning new things with pregnancy brain is even harder. I love how wavy the edges are and how crazy the beginning looks. Betsy assures me that a border will hide all imperfections, so I’m just plowing ahead. Precious Nino, I hope you’re a forgiving and easy-to-please child.

Life in the Garden

“God’s plans are always more exciting than our own” – Jen Fulwiler

You may have noticed that the title of this blog is “Life in the Garden.” Now that our bosses officially know our plans, we can tell you, dear internet: We started this blog to chart our journey back home to Garden City.

Mom's letter to me when I left for college
Mom’s letter to me when I left for college

I moved to Manhattan in August 2004 and spent several years completely enamored with this place. I loved the freedom and the university and the food and the football and the everything.  It’s a wonderful place to live and I have been tremendously blessed. This is where I met Steven.  This is where I got my first real job and then my first big kid job, and learned how to take care of myself. This is where I got to know Hailey, AKA my sister from another mister, AKA the best friend a girl could ask for. This is where I came to heal after Mom died. This is where I got engaged and married and will welcome my first child. This is where Bill Snyder lives. This is the home of So Long and Varsity Donuts and the Little Grill and Frangelica coffee. This town has taken such good care of us. Steven and I have wonderful jobs and a great apartment and we live happily and simply and comfortably here, in the land of enchantment and growth and change and incredible prosperity. So naturally, we’ve chosen to leave.

It seems impossible now, but we first made this decision three years ago. It was July 2012 and I was finally working in a library after having finished my master’s degree. Steven and I were married, we were in my favorite little apartment, and life was quiet and simple and uncomplicated. Oh, and I was miserable.

After having worked so many years to get to where I was, I was baffled by my misery. Somehow, being career-focused had led me straight into the weeds. My priorities were upside down and I found myself yearning for a different path. For the first time since I left Garden City in 2004, I was homesick. One sunny Saturday afternoon in July, as I sat sobbing on my couch, it came to me, as suddenly and simply as anything: You need to move back to Garden City. It all made sense. Move home. Help with the family. Find a job in a community that needs dedicated, loyal, passionate people. Raise a family. Be part of something bigger than yourself. Give up anonymity and let life get messy again. Instantly, I felt relief. I felt purpose. I laughed out loud because it was just so obvious. When Steven came home later that afternoon I shared my epiphany with him, and he was immediately on board. (Seriously, that man is the best.) Still, even though we were both convinced it was the right thing to do, in the back of my mind I worried that it was just me, trying again to run away from a bad job.

And Mom's second letter when she discovered that my choice of adventure was getting my nose pierced...
And Mom’s second letter when she discovered that my choice of adventure was getting my nose pierced…

In the last days with Mom, I remember sitting with her, trying desperately to soak up as much of her wisdom as possible. I had just accepted my first big-kid job in Manhattan and I was worried about leaving, about abandoning Dad and Abby and Betsy and running away to where I thought my support system was. She was always so worried about me getting a job, especially one with benefits, and I think she was happy to know that I had succeeded in finding something. Still, her answer was simple. “If it turns out to be the wrong choice, just turn around and try something else.” Simple. Smart. Obvious.

That conversation with Mom took place in June 2008. It took me 4 years to decide that it was time to turn around, but I was still wary. Luckily, timing, as always, was the issue. Steven had just been accepted to a master’s program at K-State and he was planning on taking one class a semester so that he could finish a master’s for free through my employee benefits from working at K-State. So I had to keep working at the university and we were committed to Manhattan for at least 3 years.

Since that conversation in 2012, I’ve been agonizing over this decision. Every trip home to Garden is better than the last and harder to leave. My heart is pulled there in so many different directions. I realized at some point that we also had to make the most of our time here. I didn’t want to waste time in a job that I hated, so I took a new job on campus, one that I love, one that will be hard to leave. We also decided not to wait to start a family. But more important than any of that, once our hearts were open to a future based around family, a funny thing started to happen. Slowly but surely, our hearts were also more open to the Church.

My new daily mantra.

In Easter of 2013, Steven attended his first Vigil mass in Garden City with Betsy and Anna and Matthew and Linda, and I stayed home with Dad and watched Jimmy and Katie. Steven’s heart was transformed that night – something he didn’t tell me about until many months later. Then later that summer, almost a year after the original epiphany, I got an invitation from Father Wesley inviting me to a retreat in Dodge City about Natural Family Planning. For some reason, I asked Steven if he wanted to go. For some reason, he said yes. For all the reasons, we left that retreat, signed Steven up for RCIA and have become increasingly committed to our faith ever since.

Since that retreat, we’ve attended mass regularly and Steven officially joined the church at Easter of 2014. We’ve formed a community at St. Thomas More, led a marriage retreat, and started attending an hour of adoration each week. I figured it would be a good time in this busy season of life to spend an hour in gratitude for all that we’ve been given, and to ask for guidance with all the unknowns still to come. It’s been three long years of discernment and I can look back and say that I am so much happier than I was that day in July. We have better jobs and better relationships. We’re less anxious and slightly healthier, happier, and more honest and less afraid. Life here has improved in every way, and yet my heart still yearns for a future in Garden City with Steven, raising a family and letting things get all messy at Gillespie. It’s taken a lot for me to admit that my heart wants us to be in Garden City, while still fearfully asking that He close those doors to us if they are not his plan for our family. I’m still afraid that I’m running away. But more than any of that, I’m still afraid that it’s another wrong turn.

Our first Gillespie picture
Our first Gillespie picture

Steven will finally graduate in December. To make room for Nino, we’ve started moving stuff into storage in Garden City. In the past month, we’ve even started applying for jobs in Garden City. Ideally, we’d be able to ring in 2016 as a family of three in our first Garden City home. That image is so idyllic it hurts. So could you pray for us, too? Could you pray for us to find jobs and a house and a daycare for Nino, if Garden City is where God wants us to be? Could you pray that if that is not his intention for us, that those doors will be closed and that we will be able to see and trust and faithfully walk his path for us? My wants are so often selfish. My actions too often rushed. Throughout it all, I keep thinking that Mom would know what to do. She’d give me the honest answer that I needed to hear, but more than that, whatever she said, I would trust. I don’t know why she was the only one that my stubborn heart always, ALWAYS believed, but it seems like she was. Maybe that’s just the gift of hindsight, or because she’s no longer here to ask, but I feel a bit lost without her grounded wisdom about all things me. So could you pray for me to be rational and courageous? Faithful and smart? Loving and open? Also, if you need someone to work for you, and/or know of someone, please let us know. We’d love to apply.


After three years I’m still asking – could coming home ever really be the wrong choice?