Friday, November 10, 2017

Welcome home little angel: Introducing Gabriella Faustina


Announcing our new little angel's grand entrance into the world:
Meet
Gabriella Faustina
Born 10/24/17 @ 12:37pm
6lbs 14.7oz, 19 inches

Perfectly pink, healthy, and very very hungry ALL the time :-)


Since momma is very tired and sleep deprived from this hungry baby who eats every 2 hours on the dot, around-the-clock, and there is so much that needs to be done in the house while both kids are napping at the same time, that I will have to cut this post short for now and just let the pictures speak for themselves. 




The Sunday before the Tuesday Gabriella arrived. Momma hanging out with baby girl #1 (Violette), who is 21 months old, and cannot wait for the arrival of her baby sister...as you could see, she is hugging momma's bump.



 Ah that newborn baby smell. Cannot get enough.


Violette meets her baby sister for the first time. We've talked about it for months Violette, and now mommy and daddy did go to the hospital for real and bring your baby sister home! (Unfortunately Violette couldn't come to the hospital as she was fighting a cold). 



 WHICH IS WHICH? I thought their faces looked so similar when they were born, almost like tiwns! LEFT is GABBY (10/2017) and RIGHT is VIOLETTE (1/2016). You could tell Gabby is a little bigger (Violette was only 5lb 10oz.



One of my favorite pictures (taken by myself). Gabby, just yesterday, at 17 days old. 



Only things I'm going to say quickly, which I'm sure all you moms out there know already: I thought I was prepared for this baby since I have just been through this with Baby Girl #1, but I was hit with some difficulties as this baby is so much different. Constantly hungry and pretty fussy. Violette was so calm and slept through the night until we stopped swaddling her (~4 months). This baby gets up every 2 hours on the dot to eat. I am pumping (had latch problems and nipple confusion) and this girl at 2 weeks old is already eating 3oz every 2 hours! Holy smokes. I was worried it was too much and that she is gaining weight too quickly but my pediatrician didn't seem concerned about it. It took her a week to regain her birth weight and now in another week she gained almost another pound. Now weighs 7lb 10oz. Any moms out there have experience with babies with big appetites like this? This little hungry one shows hunger signs (rooting, opening her mouth, putting hands in her mouth) all the time and is generally fussy so sometimes it's hard to tell if she's really hungry or crying for another reason. I understand mother's milk gets digested very fast so it's normal that they may be hungry every 2 hours, I'm just worried that this will continue as long as I keep giving her breastmilk and once I go back to work and have to get up at 5am, I cannot be getting up every 2 hours to feed her and also pump in between. Any advice / comments on this? I know every baby is so different so it is hard to say whether her sleep / feeding patterns will change eventually or if she'll continue to be 'always hungry.' I have so much anxiety about going back to work already and about the in-laws coming again and staying with us. Oh Lord, just thinking about it makes me shudder. Please pray for me.





Monday, October 9, 2017

Random rant about the depressing parts of life and world affairs




Among long hours of work, heaps of unfolded laundry, piles of dishes, and crumbs of food on the kitchen floor, and baby's naps that are way too short.... I find my deepest joy.

Among unneccessary words, advice, and judgements from friends and family members, I still do what I do as I know this is the path of God for my life. I push through....with joy.

I do not not need the falsehoods coming from their lips. I do not care for their opinions. Their jealousy bothers me not.

Before I get too fired up about the certain things that bug me deep in my bones, let me just preceed by saying:

I LOVE my husband, I LOVE being a wife, I LOVE my precious children, I LOVE our new "country life," I LOVE my job. I LOVE the patients I serve. Those are pure blessings in my life.

However.....

I DO NOT LOVE the high debts we have in every area of life, especially the ridiculously high student loans from pharmacy school. I DO NOT LOVE leaving my baby every morning and having  to go to work, where I spend approximately 50 hours/week if you count in the commute times. I DO NOT LOVE coming into work and hearing all the snarky comments, judgements, and just plain hate that I hear all the time regarding the Catholic church and all the craziness that goes on in politics. I work in a Catholic hospital yet I hear so much hate around me every day. I do not like coming in everyday to a mostly liberal, atheistic/agnostic pharmacy department that makes fun of the church....while they are also working for it? It makes me really sad... But God put those people there for a reason, and God put me there for a reason as well. This keeps me pushing through.

I am SO TIRED of all that is going on on the "outside."  I wish I didn't have to live on the "outside." The "inside" of my own household, the "inside" of my own heart and soul - these are what bring me peace, love, comfort. These are the places I hope are full of God and empty of the "emptiness" and despair that is otherwise everpresent in the world. I wish there was a way for me to protect my husband and my children from all that is "outside." All the sadness. All the madness. All the hate. All the craziness. The materialism. The culture of death. Inside the four walls of our household is our safe haven. It's our circle of love. It's our little family that I hope is trying to reflect the Holy Family.

I DO NOT want to hear about shootings, walls, destroyed statues, acts of terrorism, child abuse, desecrating traditional marriage, etc etc. I wish I didn't have to hear about it day after day after day. There is NOTHING good on the news. The only good news is literally "the Good News." It's in the gospel that we find comfort among the despair. It's in Christ that we find Our Hope. There IS something somewhere we can look forward to. We will get there eventually. Our heavenly spouse awaits us with open arms. Once we marry in heaven during the feast of the Lamb, we will be forever His. And not a thing to worry about. All the madness of this world GONE once and for all. We just have to be strong and patient. One day we will get there and all will pass away before our eyes. Meanwhile we have to keep fighting, keep struggling, keep going to work day after day, feeding our babies, putting them down for naps, cooking for our husbands, trying to love our neigbors that often spew us with hate either directly or indirectly or behind our backs. You know? We Catholics have it rough around here. Basically everyone who is not Catholic seems to just hate us, judge us, or persecute us in one way or another. And we're not even the religion that preaches or tolerates terrorism and murder of the innocent. Quite the opposite. We will FIGHT for EVERY life, from the smallest just-conceived fetus to the oldest, sickest and most frail person. Everyone who is human has dignity, and the Catholic Church is the only one left out here that continues to preach that and fight for it. On one hand, it is surprising that with the availability and accessibility of factual information, historic books and documents, evidence of thousands of miracles, accounts of thousands of Catholic Saints...that not everyone is Catholic nowadays, but on the other hand, it is not surprising. Being Catholic is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart. Living by the Truth and with the Truth requires us to carry the cross with Jesus...a cross that often crushes us, breaks our back, sends us falling to the ground and crawling on all fours. It requires us to make the decision day after day to keeping being a practicing Catholic who will swim against the current of the mainstream and take all of the judgements and persecution of the world. Our Christ preaches love and tolerance and that is what we do day after day, but the world labels us as sexist anti-woman anti-abortion bigots and homophobes... when all we want is to protect those innocent lives of the voiceless unborn babies and for people to respect traditional sacramental marriage, which was created by God with purposes that other "forms of marriage" simply cannot understand or accomplish.

Not only do we face constant opposition from outside the walls of the church, but the devil also tries to destroy us from within. Sadly, even amongst our Catholic families and friends, there is often hatred and judging. "They have too many children. They have too little children. Why aren't they spacing their children out further? Why does she work full time? Why does she make her husband do such and such?" blah blah blah blah. Just leave me alone. I'm tired of you people constantly yapping. God probably doesn't exactly love me for this kind of attitude. Oh is it hard to love people when you are an introvert...people that are not in your very close introvert circle. Sometimes when I hear unncessary words that other people say about me or my little precious family, I just want to tell them to "f*** off" - when I know that is NOT what God is calling me to do. It is so hard for me to "love my neighbor." I mean, yes, I am a super-kind-always-bubbly person and I get along with literally anybody and everybody (as long as you do not get too close into my personal bubble and interfere with my business, haha ;-) ). Basically, if I don't have to interact with you more than necessary, we are good. I know this is God's challenge for me - to love those that are difficult for me to love. He put me to work with a faithless, mostly anti- Catholic pahrmacy department. I have to interact with those people everyday and be kind to them, as they are managers, co-pharmacists, physicians, nurses that take care of the same patients I do. God knows all the darkest, ugliest places in my heart. He knows them and He needs to transform them into areas of light and love. That's why he made my MIL live with me for >3 months this past winter and for me to undergo some of the greatest trials of my life. And why He gave me the most annoying, talkative, nosy SIL to 'put up with.' And He doesn't want me to just "put up with" or "tolerate" these difficult people, He expects me to love them. Oh God, How are you going to transform this ugly cold hard heart into a beautiful warm one? If it was me, I would've given up on me a long time ago. I failed mutliple of your tests of love and faith. I keep failing them. I'm being a rebel. But you still keep me alive and You keep blessing me day after day after day. I'm kind of scared to imagine how many years of purgatory I will have to go through in order to make reparation for all the damage I have done and the time I have wasted and the uneccessary or hurtful words  I have said about my neighbor. Sometimes,  I just want to grab me by the shoulders and shake me and say "what the hell is wrong with you Agnes?????" You know what to do. It's clear as day. He puts situations and people on your path with a clear purpose, yet you fail to use them for that purpose. You just want to kind of remain afloat, go with the flow, do just enough to get through those situations, to survive them....but not enough to make them transform you and the people involved.

Right now I'm kind of having "a little break from difficulties" I'm used to my regular routine of working and my now toddler is finally sleeping through the night. Just another couple weeks of having things somewhat figured out. Baby #2 will be here any day (due in 2 weeks) and things will probably get crazy again with the new baby on top of this little energetic 21 month old. And I will probably not have time as I do now to at least meditate and pray a little bit. And I may will be tired again, and irritated, and God may put some new challeneges in my life. Will I manage to see God's Hand in them and transform them into opportunities of learning and grace? Or Will I just try to "survive" the deep waters until the current passively brings me ashore??? Which will it be? It's easy to see now, it's easy to say now... But when you are actually in the deep waters, things get ugly. I still have PTSD from doing it the first time around (residency --> baby --> living with my MIL --> studying for board exams while baby was not sleeping at night). Thank God for my supportive husband and wonderful father to our child. By the way, I also need to start praying for him. I know that He wants to help our family budget (and we need it for all the loans, debts, payments we have) by at least working a couple times a week (while I work full time), while also balancing not havng to put the baby in daycare and taking care of our little farm. And after very basic calculations in my head, the business my husband is doing now a couple times a week is really not worth it. His costs probably just about equal out his income. And he is away from home sometimes 48-72 hours in a row. It would be better for him to just stay at home so we don't have to worry about other people watching our 2 babies (my mom comes from MI, 2 hours or my husband has to drive 1h to drop off at his sister's) and if his business isn't really bringing anything in...then what is the point? However, he is a man and a man gets part of his dignity by providing for his family. I definitely would not want him to feel inferior by having to be a stay at home dad. He would be an excellent one and I know he would enjoy it. But I already know which friends / family members would make fun of him for "not wearing the pants in our relationship." People have already made fun of him for not working and just staying home with baby before when he took a couple months off. He is wonderful but I know it hurts him when his friends keep poking fun at him for not being manly enough because he stays home to take care of his child and cook for his wife. Plus we cannot afford just me working until at least the student loans are paid off.  So I pray that God finds him a job that will fit our family's needs (either a part time evening job or something he could do from home). I really hope I can ramp up my prayer life, particularly hoping to start praying the rosary. I know it will be crazy with 2 little ones under 2, but hope I can use my breastfeeding time to say some decades, as I know the rosary works miracles.

I know this post consisted of a bunch of random complaints about our life and the current state of world affairs...but I needed to vent a little bit, hoping this will help me feel somewhat better about these things. Hope you can at least somewhat understand how I feel. And let me know if you have any advice...and of course, please PRAY FOR US as we keep fighting the good fight as a Catholic family in this crazy world that does not understand us and does not have mercy on us.... unlike our LORD. We obviously don't belong here... like Jesus said: We are in the world but not of the world. And this is WHY we feel the way we feel. But Jesus also asked us to not grow weary in doing good works, and to keep fighting despite the world persecuting us, since it persecuted and hated him also!

And that is all for today's reflection.

Yours in Christ,

Agnes


And a couple of pictures of the cute pie Violette :-)





I have another couple of posts cooking. One about the power of the rosary and another about our new country life and first summer on our farm. Hope I can (somehow miraculously) crunch those out before the new baby comes. I have less than or equal to two weeks. Again, pray for me as my life is about to change big time soon! But God put me to it, so He'll bring me through it :-)

Goodbye for real now!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Pregnancy / Maternity / Big Sister Photo Session and our New Baby's Name

As promised, here is some of the best photos from our recent pregnancy announcement / big sister photo session. Thank you to Anya W. Photography of Lockport, IL.  I will just let the pictures speak for themselves. They are beautiful and I know I will get a few canvases ordered to go up on our walls, as well as a photobook.
 
Thank you LORD GOD for our beautiful little growing family. We have faith, health, love, and happiness....most importantly: we have each other. What more do we need ???
 
So many exciting things ahead: We celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary in August, my 27th birthday in September, and our baby girl will be here in October! Also, I wanted to share her name that Violette had picked out waaaay before we even knew her sex. Our baby girl's name is Gabriella. Our clever little 18 month old Violette talks about her baby sister Gabby in mommy's tummy on a daily basis. Such a blessing. Also, for her middle name, considering Faustina - since she is probably my favorite Saint that is closest to my heart.
 
Also, I just wanted to mention and give a shout out to my husband. He has been out of work for the last 2 months and has been at home with our little Violette. As much as I hate living check to check on one salary (while paying off mortgage, big student loans, 2 cars, etc etc), I absolutely LOOOVED him being home with our baby and not having to worry about where she will go on what day (it's between my mom's and sister in laws on the days where husband works). My husband has been doing an amazing job at home! He is a role model father and he just loves his little girl to death. He has been cooking, taking care of the garden and the farm animals, and keeping the house clean. Between work, doing some laundry, and organizing the house a bit...I have been able to spend so much time this summer with my little girl outside. She going out there with us to feed the animals and enjoy their company. She loves to chase the chickens, too :-) After a difficult / stormy spring, summer came literally and figuratively in our lives and things have just been so much easier and so much more bearable. God is good. Just have to remember to trust him ALWAYS.
 

 




 



 





































Thursday, July 20, 2017

Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist, It's a Girl, and a sneak peak into our "new life")


 

HELLO !!! :-)




First, a most up to date picture for attention.
In this picture: Violette is 18 months and Mama is 25 weeks pregnant with baby girl #2!

Yes, we are having another girl!

But we already knew that way before our 20 week ultrasound as Violette named the new baby Gabby (Gabriella) 2 months before we even found out the gender.















Next,

I added new suffix to my name.

Agnes N, PharmD, BCPS (Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist)

Studied like 900-1000 pages of materials all while going through hell at home with a non-sleeping, sick, teething baby and living with my MIL for 3 months, which was very stressful for me.

Will snap a picture when that diploma comes in the mail :-)

Thank You God! I can move mountains with you!


Next,


We moved to NW Indiana last fall to begin to live out our dream of livin' the country life...and have now officially started a little farm. We started with some chickens, then got 4 mountain sheep, then got a baby kitten, and now most recently over 4th of July weekend, we unexpectedly brought a 5 month old Great Pyrenees from Kentucky. She is a livestock guardian / shepherd dog and does great herding the chickens / sheep back to the barn in the evening time. We LOVE LOVE LOVE our "new life." It really does feel like we are living a whole new life. It is so much fun coming home from work every day - we are never bored! All these animals are so much fun to watch, interact with, feed, and take care of. Also have a veggie garden, as I always have, but this one is much bigger :-)

 



 
A finally,
 
Here is a sneak peak of our pregnancy announcement / maternity / big sister photo session.
 





More to come soon!


Agnes