A Love Story

January 9th, 2014

I can tell you the exact moment that I fell in love with my son.

It was two days after his first Christmas, and I peeked in on him before crawling into bed. He was lying there, asleep on his belly, just like he had every night since the day we brought him home from the NICU at 5 weeks old, 7 months prior. I smiled and thought to myself “I love him so much”, as chills ran over my skin. It was completely involuntary and totally in spite of myself.

Before that moment, I had never felt joy in the presence of Gabriel… only sadness, anger, fear, and grief. I had held him so many times, my body wracked with sobs as I begged for God to take him home. To free Gabe from his body and us from a future burdened with caring for a profoundly disabled child. So many factors played in to my inability to bond with Gabe… to LOVE Gabe. The times we had said goodbye in anticipation of loosing him in the NICU, the weeks without being able to hold him, feeding him through a tube instead of putting him to my breast, months without a smile or any sign of him knowing us… the overwhelming sense of him being broken. And I was broken too. He had broken me, and I him.

It is a foreign place to be; A world where you wish death upon your own child. But I lived there… for eight long months. Now, back among the land of the living, I feel no guilt over that province I once inhabited. Grief is a strange and complicated thing, making us feel and wish and pray for things that seem unimaginable until you have lived it. My eyes have been opened, and I understand pain, raw and dark and deep, in a way I never have before. For months, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Only now, as I find myself in a place where my weary soul is finally finding rest, am I able to catch my breath.

Early in this journey, a special needs mom entered my life at the exact moment that I needed her. Having navigated the same turbulent waters, she offered me a platitude that has continued to resonate with me since the moment it reached my ears:

“For a long time, you will feel like you are drowning. It will be dark and the waves will crash around you as you struggle to keep your head above water. You will grow wearier and wearier, until you are certain you can no longer keep yourself afloat. Then, at that exact moment when you have surrendered, when you have taken that last gulp of air and sunken beneath the surface, succumbing to the ocean trying desperately to swallow you whole…. you will feel the land beneath your feet.”

I am so thankful to say that I have found the shore. The waves are still crashing…. but the sand is warm, and the sun is peaking over the horizon.

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thanksgiving 2010

December 5th, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

oops…

i guess i’m a little late ;)

I’ve got a thanksgiving recap, a holiday recipe, and some baby-lovin to share with you!!

We had such a wonderful thanksgiving this year. We had friends from both New York and Virginia drive 18 hours to spend the holiday with us, and we were so happy to have them here and grateful that they made the trip! We also had friends from Dallas and Arkansas, and two of Scott’s siblings and their families! It was so wonderful to spend time with people we love and to watch my baby girl experience her (almost) first taste of the holidays. It was a whirlwind of a weekend but so worth every moment!

We had big plans on Saturday for some serious Razorback tailgating, and it was a BLAST! But to start things out, on Wednesday we lit up the fire pit in the backyard and celebrated everyone’s arrival. The next day, the whirlwind of thanksgiving set in as cooking, cleaning, and impromptu trips to the grocery ensued. Dinner started at six, and my boys were such great helps getting everything ready.

We had 18 people total for dinner Thursday night, 10 adults and 8 kids…

We had to borrow a table from Scott’s work to fit everyone :)

Early the week of Thanksgiving, I posted a round-up of free printables you could use to make your holiday table a little more special.

Well, I have a confession to make….

I didn’t use any of them!

:/

As cute as paper printables can be, I wanted to go for an elegant, more organic look…..

and I LOVE how it turned out!!

Another confession? I was short on napkins, so half of them are actually rolled up placemats….

nobody knew the difference!

I used the candles that normally sit in my fireplace.

They used to have antique embelishments on them and were used on the tables at our wedding.

sorry for the bad iphone pic!

These pictures don’t quite do the table justice, but take it from me that it was beautiful and the candles kept us all nice and toasty as we ate :)

oh, and the table cloth is a painters drop cloth from home depot! It’s an awesome color and has great texture. Plus it’s super durable!

Unfortunately, I don’t have any other pictures from Thanksgiving. We were too busy enjoying one another’s company and wrangling kids to take any! But I do have a fabulous holiday recipe to share with you. It’s perfect for thanksgiving, because it literally tastes like fall in your mouth, but it should be just as big of a hit at your next Christmas bash!

Butternut Squash Casserole

I found this recipe over at the fabulous imanimama.com when she posted it in her feature Make or Buy: Toddler Meals, but can I just say, “toddler meals, my butt”?!?! I have made this recipe, with some adaptions, five times now and it has always been A HIT! Here is the recipe as  I make it.

  • 4 cups (2 1/2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb spicy breakfast sausage (we like it HOT!)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 teaspoons allspice
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 cups coarsely grated cheddar cheese
  • 1- 10 oz bag fresh spinach

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9-x-13-inch baking dish or  4-quart casserole.

2. Place squash in large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook al dente (6- 10 minutes) or until they become somewhat softer and turn deeper in color. Drain it and set aside.

3. In the meantime, brown the sausage in a seperate skillet until well done and slightly browned. Drain.

3. Melt the butter in the stockpot and add oil. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until translucent and limp, about 8 minutes. Add the warm squash and the buttermilk, eggs, allspice, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and 1 1/3 cups cheese. Blend  until well combined. Add the sausage and spinach. Blend again.

4. Spread the mixture evenly in baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Turn up the oven to 415 and bake 15 minutes more. Serve.

picture via

Ladies, PLEASE make this recipe…

I promise it won’t dissapoint!

:)

And I know I promsied you some baby-lovin….

Who can resist?!?!

I’m on a break from school and I’ve got lots of great posts coming for you!

Until then….

have a blessed day and enjoy this holiday season with people you love!

Click here to see the blog parties I am linking up with
Original recipe from here


homemaker must-have: free thanksgiving printables

November 23rd, 2010

Hey ladies!

Raise your hand if you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year

….

Brutal.

Haha… just kidding, I am too!

And while Thanksgiving is about much more than cute decorations and a great table setting, sometimes the party planner within us all just can’t help but put forth a little extra effort to make it a special day.

But, as always, we’re on a budget. And around here, the Thanksgiving decorations budget is…

a big…

whopping…

ZERO.

But that doesn’t mean that the party can’t be fabulous!

So I went on a mission to find some cute, FREE,  printables that I could use on my table this year without spending a dime.

Here’s the round-up:

Neutral and Elegant from Catch My Party

Cute and Festive from Catch My Party

Modern and Bold from Hostess with the Mostess

Kid Friendly from Paper and Glitter

Gobble Gobble themed from Dimple Prints

These printables are SO EASY. Just print, cut, and decorate.

It’s a little touch that will make it look like you want all out this year.

Even if your pumpkin pies are store bought.

:)

I hope all of you have a safe, wonderful, blessed holiday with people you love!

must-have recipe: whole wheat pumkin pancakes

November 21st, 2010

Just like so many others out there, in our home we are constantly searching to find a balance between healthy, affordable, easy and delicious!

It wasn’t until after I was a mom that I realized how much of my adult life would be spent feeding my family. Planning, shopping for, cooking, eating, and cleaning up after three meals a day means that I spend an awful lot of time in the kitchen…So I’m always on the look out for fast, healthy and delicious ways to feed my family day after day!

We love having a hearty and delicious breakfast that starts our day out right nutritionally, and whole wheat pancakes made with fruit such as pumpkin or blueberry are definitely heart-healthy fan favorites around here.

But…. let’s be honest.

Who has time to make pancakes every morning???

Um, that’s right.

No one.

:)

But the best part is that you don’t have to get out the mixing bowls and hot griddle every day to enjoy them! Make an extra large batch one Saturday morning and have enough for breakfasts for the next month! They are great frozen and reheated… just pop them in the toaster, hit the frozen button, and in minutes you have a hot and hearty breakfast with NO MESS. Pair them with organic yogurt or a scrambled egg for a well-balanced breakfast that will fill you up on a cold winter morning!

Oh, and while I was making these…

I also made a few batches of whole wheat blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes as well.

Because that’s how I roll.

:)

Whip some of these up this weekend or serve them as breakfast on Thanksgiving morning.


It’ll tide them over until the feast!


Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

1 C. whole wheat flower

1/2 C. white flour
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t. allspice
1 C. buttermilk
1 C. canned pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 T. oil
1 t. vanilla
2 T. dark brown sugar


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and in a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.


2. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Batter will be thicker than most pancake batter because of the pumpkin. If you think it is TOO thick, thin it out with a little extra buttermilk.


3. Ladle pancakes onto a medium-hot griddle. If needed, use the back of a large spoon to quickly spread out the batter to desired thickness. Pancakes are ready to turn when the edges start to look a dry and begin to bubble on the surface.

And of course, you can always use 100% whole wheat flour instead of adding a little cake flour to the mix, but the pancakes with turn out more dense because of it.

And like I said before…. These are GREAT frozen and reheated (as are any pancakes). However, whatever you do, DO NOT just throw hot pancakes into a plastic bag and place in your freezer…. They will freeze together and be almost impossible to separate.

Not that I know from experience or anything.

….

:/

To Freeze

Option 1: Lay out pancakes in single layer on a baking sheet small enough to fit in your freezer. Once the pancakes harden, toss into plastic bag. Repeat until all of your pancakes are frozen.

Option 2: Cut squares of wax paper or parchment paper. Stack your pancakes on top of one another with a square of paper in-between each pancake. Place in plastic bag or wrap with cellophane. Freeze.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! Stay tuned this week for a post that will help you make your thanksgiving fabulous!





Madelyn Joelle: 10 months

November 12th, 2010

I know I haven’t posted in a very.

long.

time.

:/

I’m so sorry!

But sometimes, when life is so busy and hectic, you want to make sure your busy LIVING life….

Not just writing about it.

But I have soooo many things that I want to share with you guys…. things I think you will really enjoy.

I hope you’ll stick around and give me a chance to show you :)

But before all of that fun craziness begins, I wanted to show you a big part of what’s been keeping me so busy these last few months…..

Her name is Madelyn Joelle Rockers.

Or…. Maddy Jo

Or…. MJ

And she and her daddy are pretty much the most awesome things to have ever happened to me.

I have loved everything about this last year so much. Everyday Madelyn is changing and growing and becoming less like the little baby she was and more like the little girl she is going to be.

And let me tell you…. I LOVE the little person that she is and that she is becoming.

Madelyn has such a sweet temperament and personality. I love that she is so charming and friendly. NOT ONCE have I handed her to a stranger, only to have her to cry and want to be back in the arms of someone more familiar. She loves everyone and is willing to give everyone a chance. What a wonderful quality. There is so much I can learn from her.


She’s learning new tricks every day. From doing WHOOOO… PIG SOOIE! with us to clapping her hands, from waving buh-bye to giving high-fives and kisses. She’s also recently learned how to shake her head ‘no’ at me. It is SO CUTE, but I know in a few months I’ll need to come back and read this post in order to remember the days when I thought her defiance was adorable.

;)

I love that when I am sitting on the floor, she’ll come up behind me, pull up on my back, and lie her head on my shoulder.

i. could. die.


These days are passing by too quickly. I find myself desperately trying to grab hold, but somehow time keeps getting away from me and soon my little baby will be a year old.

I know that it’s a gift…. my ability to see and constantly be aware of how precious and fleeting these days are. But it’s also painful.

I know that my days with her are limited.


Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Lord…. for entrusting this little soul to my care.

I’ll do everything I can not to let you down.

***PS: I’m back. As in, back to regularly scheduled posting! Stay tuned for some amazing makeovers, some awesome DIY’s, some TO DIE FOR recipes, and some great tips and tricks about how to make your house a home… from one homemaker to another :)

praying for madelyn

June 8th, 2010


Prayer has a very special place in the hearts of both my husband and I. As two people whose lives have been drenched with examples of the power of prayer, we are so passionate about the need for us to come, both together and individually, to the feet of our Lord in prayer for our family.

It is one of my hearts greatest desires to spend time with the Lord in prayer, both in my personal prayer life and in the one that I share with my husband. I have seen the power of prayer do amazing things in my life, and as a mother it is so important for me to share that gift with my children.

Praying for Madelyn is something that I do constantly. I know that I fall so short as a mother in so many ways and that it is only through prayer and grace that I will raise the kind, virtuous, Holy children that I desire all of my kids (present and future) to be. Every night since we first began dating, Scott and I have brought our hopes, fears, dreams & intentions and laid them at the feet of Christ in search of His grace and mercy. Once the the idea of marriage became more real for us, we prayed intently for our vocations… both that we would know God’s will and for the strength, courage, and grace to live it fully. When we became engaged and knew that God was calling us to the vocations of marriage and parenthood (in whatever form that may take) we began praying for all of our future children and for their vocations as well.

We continued to do this throughout the two years of our engagement and the year and a half of our marriage before Madelyn’s conception, and still do for all of the children that we pray God blesses us with. Once we had become aware of Madelyn’s impeding arrival, we joyfully and gratefully began to pray for her specifically.

Every day I pray for sweet little Madelyn. For her life and vocation…. for her future husband if that’s what God has in store for her. I pray that God gives her a heart that burns with a desire to love and serve Him. That she would always have the wisdom to know and the courage to do God’s will…. in every aspect of her life. I pray that Madelyn will turn to Our Lady and the amazing example of womanhood, motherhood, and true feminism that she is to us. I pray that she will be kind and virtuous… that she will always stand up for the weak and serve others before she serves herself. I pray that she will have a heart that is filled with joy and and that she will have a genuine love for  life, but always remember that it and this world that we live in is fleeting.

I pray that she will be a Saint.

But praying for Madelyn doesn’t just mean praying for her, it also means praying for myself and for my role as a mother and wife. It means praying for her daddy in his vocation to fatherhood and for our marriage as a whole. I want to be the kind of mother that teaches her children by example and I know that Madelyn is going to imitate everything that I do. Her imitation of Christ and of Our Lady will come through her imitation of me.

For and with my family… I just constantly pray.