Monday, May 30, 2011

Be still my heart

It's amazing how one little thing your child does can restore your faith in yourself as a mother.

Tonight I was at Babies R Us with my girls looking for a booster seat for Madeleine. I took them up and down the isles trying to get some ideas for Madeleine's second birthday as well. As I pushed the cart up the toy isle Madeleine saw a toy that caught her eye. It was a hippo in a tutu. She immediately began pointing at it frantically going, "BABY BABY BABY!" I thought that she may have been calling the toy a baby since that is what she refers to her dolls as, as well as her sister, so I picked it up to hand to her so she could examine it.

When I handed it to her she turned around without a second's hesitation and put it in Juliette's arms with a tender smile and a soft baby. Juliette clutched it to her chest. Madeleine looked at Juliette with such love and joy and pride that it melted my heart. She had seen that toy, known her baby would like it, and made sure she got it. She was filled with joy to see her sister playing with it. She didn't want any toy for herself, she was content giving something to Juliette.

There was no doubt that I would purchase that hippo in the tutu and on the car ride home I listened to the crinkle of her skirt as my six month old examined her new friend. Someday that hippo will be in Juliette's forever box as the first toy Madeleine ever got her. There will surely be gifts exchanged between them in the future but I will always remember the pure love with which this one was given.

To all the people who said I was having my kids too close together, that they wouldn't receive enough love, I wish they had been there to see this. For all the times I am delayed giving Madeleine a juice cup because I am nursing her sister and vice versa, nothing will ever come close to the blessing they are to each other as sisters. Life long best friends. This is why I want to have a large family. Because God doesn't allow my love to be divided between my children. With each child he will multiply my love for all of them and multiply their love for each other. The more children I have, the more love there will be. Tonight I witnessed this Truth in the selflessness of a 23 month old.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Little Way and a long way to go

I've spent a lot of time dwelling on St. Therese lately because I have realized how much she has to teach me. Since becoming a mother my desire for holiness had multiplied time and time again and yet my prayer life has been almost completely shot. I am unable to take both kids to daily mass because of Kyle's schedule and the fact that, I humbly admit, I am completely unable to go to mass with both of them on my own. Most days I barely find time to eat or shower. This is why I turn to Saint Therese.

Saint Therese offered up each moment of her life as an offering to God. She looked at every second of every day as an opportunity to grow in holiness and when those moments slipped by, she was heartbroken. Even the simplest of acts was turned into a prayer. While we live very different lives, her as a cloistered Carmelite and myself as a stay-at-home mother, I feel as though this is the exact type of prayer life that would suit my vocation and allow me the chance to grow in holiness.

First of all, I tend to avoid small tasks that are displeasing to me. For instance, today I was at my sister's tennis game and had just sat down with Juliette on my lap to watch the match when my other sister came up to me asking me to go with her to the bathroom. I wanted to say no so badly. I was tired and my legs were sore from the walk I had taken earlier but I remembered Saint Therese saying, "But why be foolish enough to refuse treasures offered so generously?" Those treasures she spoke of were the small opportunities for holiness that people usually pass by or don't even notice. With that in mind I decided to go to the bathroom with her.

Another thing I can learn from Saint Therese is her desire to be small and hidden in Christ. So often I want people to notice me, especially the good things about me. It's even better if they praise me for those things. First of all, I shouldn't desire the praise of anyone besides the Lord and also my husband and kids who are Christ to me on this earth. Any good thing in me, if I look beautiful or tell a good joke or make an intelligent remark, it is all because of the Lord. Instead of wanting people to see me when those things happen I should want them to see through me to Christ in me who is making them happen. The whole of my existence is to love and serve the Lord and in serving the Lord I should be pointing people to Him and not to myself. If someone can look at me and see Christ than I am doing my job. If they see Sarah than I am failing.

The last thing I have been really meditating on about Saint Therese's Little Way is her joy in suffering. While I have no great crosses I have a lot of little ones. It can be tempting to use them to get attention or to just look at them as a burden rather than a blessing. Saint Therese knew that without a cross there was no resurrection and so she embraced and loved her cross until should could "no longer suffer because all suffering is sweet." I have been blessed with so many things, so much more than most people, and it blows my mind every time I think about just how much I have. This just means I really need to embrace my small crosses even more so I can be assured of a resurrection one day for myself.

Reading the writings of Saint Therese reminds me of just how far I have to go but I feel comforted because she gives me little ways to grow closer to Christ that can fit in with my own vocation as a mother. I can offer up my life as a prayer, I can let Christ shine through me instead of desiring to shine on my own, and I can embrace my small crosses. It is a lot more difficult than it sounds but luckily I have and amazing husband to call me on.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Feeling like a person

The Behrs are in Houston, Texas right now visiting my in-laws. After two long plane flight during which my babies were absolutely brilliant and I met a woman who is just prime for becoming Catholic (new prayer intention!) we arrived and batted through humidity until we found food and coffee. Because we had been up since four.

As a belated Mother's Day treat Kyle dropped me off at my favorite place in the world to have my nails done (read: cheapest place ever) for a mani/pedi lovefest. And today I am getting my hair cut. Pictures will obviously follow. If it looks good. W get to spend four full days here and are driving (Lord have MERCY) to New Orleans on Friday for our good friend Garrett's ordination to the transitional diaconate. Praise Him. On the way out there we are going to stop to see a giant tiger in a little cage at a gas station to try to uplift his spirits. The amount of ids we leave that stop with will depend on how the are behaving. KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

While we are here we are planning on taking the girls to the Zoo, the Herman park train, our favorite adoration chapel from our first year of marriage, and Veritas which is an AMAZING Catholic store. And tonight there is a party during which I will introduce Juliette to Kyle's side of the family by holding her up Lion King style while everyone bows and sings.

Should be a great trip.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday... Sunday... MAKE THIS SONG STOP

So this is what I was walking around singing in the back of the church tonight to make Juliette stop fussing. I have to admit, it's brilliant.

Sitting in the front pew
Sittin' in the back pew
Gotta make my mind up
Why is there no cry room?

It's Sunday, Sunday
Gotta get to church on Sunday
Gotta get holy for the work week, work week
Sunday, Sunday
Gotta get to church on Sunday
Gotta get holy for the work week

Prayin' prayin' (Yeah)
Prayin' prayin' (Yeah)
Nuns, nuns, nuns, nuns
Lookin forward to heaven

You know it's awesome.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's almost funny... almost

With the exception of once right after Madeleine was born my "pain attacks" began in the last month of my pregnancy with Juliette. I would wake up late at night with stabbing pains right between my belly and ribs that would spread throughout my back and chest. I went to the hospital a few times but they always told me it was gas and sent me home. Now I'm not sure why gas would give me that much pain but I took their word for it and cut all spicy foods out of my diet.

In the past month the attacks began to pick up in intensity and frequency but I refused to go back to the hospital because I was sure it was "gas" and I was usually alone with the kids when they would happen. Finally on Tuesday night I called my mom because it was happening again. She asked me what I had eaten for dinner, I told her chicken with gravy, and a light went off in her head. She said I needed to have them check my gallbladder.

Now, I may be an idiot but because I have had kidney stones in the past I just brushed the suggestion off because I figured it would be almost the same thing. But an hour later I could barely breathe and was sobbing on the couch when Kyle forced me to call the doctors and the four of us took off to the doctors.

It was two hours of, "What number are you on the pain scale?" (I never know... I mean I'm crying and the only face crying is ten but I've been in worse pain so... an eight or nine?) and blood pressures and heart monitors and finally vicodin bliss when they decided to do an ultrasound on my gallbladder. Because I told them my mom said to.

"Where does it hurt?"
I point.
"That's where your gallbladder is!"
I think, "Why couldn't they have told me that BACK IN OCTOBER."

The doctor puts the ultrasound thingy on my belly and literally starts going, "Oh WOW! Look at all those gallstones. There's a huge one! And there's a whole CLUSTER OF THEM! This is just GREAT! No wonder you've been in so much pain. You really need to get your gallbladder taken out. Did you know this happens a lot with women who have been pregnant recently?"

And by this point I am wondering what the doctors I saw up until this point were on.

So I had a surgical consult today at UMASS General in Boston and am scheduled for surgery on the 29th of June because I have NO TIME before then. Which means my trip to Houston and New Orleans will be filled with bland food. I mean, what is even the point of Texas and Louisiana without GREAT FOOD?

To be honest I'm just glad they finally figured out what was wrong. It's wonderful that after a simple surgery I'll be able to go back to life as normal. A lot of people don't have such easy fixes. And until then it is something to offer up for those people with illness that don't have a cure. I am one of the lucky ones.

Please pray that I can ward off the attacks until the surgery and for a quick recovery following. My priority is to be better for my babies as soon as possible. It scares Madeleine to see me sick so I want to be as cheerful as possible for her.

Monday, May 9, 2011

This afternoon

This afternoon I put Madeleine, Juliette, and Kyle down for naps and became immediately excited because it meant I had the whole house to myself and I could get cleaning done in peace!!

It's amazing how having kids makes you a real grown up...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Day for the Mommaz

I can't even begin to explain how much it annoys me when people ask the question, "So do you just stay home with the kids or do you work." As if staying home with the kids isn't work? There is no more demanding a job out there, except for probably that of the parish priest. Motherhood is an exhausting 24 hour VOCATION. We have no days off, we are constantly on call, and we always have to be on top of our game. It is also more rewarding than I could ever put into words but kids. are. work.

So the day I value more than my own birthday or even my anniversary is Mother's Day. I'm not a mother because I want people to tell me how awesome I am but I love that there is one day a year completely devoted to honoring us for all we do all year round. Being a mother is the thing I am most proud of and it is what Kyle is most proud of me for. I love when he calls me beautiful, I love when he tells me I am a great wife or I'm a great cook, but the compliment I cherish the most is when he tells me I am a great mother. Raising our children well is the biggest way I can honor him so I love that he recognizes it.

Since being a mom I've learned to step up my game for my own mom. I've begin to see just how much of herself she sacrifices for all of us, even those who have left the nest, and so I want to show her just how much I love her and how much I appreciate all she has given me. My mom is an amazing woman and without her example, I wouldn't be half the mom I am to my own kids. Her influence has been invaluable and so I want to be the same for my daughters.

The day was simple, time with my parents, sisters, daughters, and husband, but it was perfect. When Kyle met us after work he brought my mom and I each a single red rose but then when I got home, there was a whole bouquet of tulips waiting for me. We don't have money for expensive gifts but even if we had I couldn't have wanted anything else more. It was perfect because Kyle knows how much I love receiving flowers and he, on his own accord, sought out the prettiest ones he could find to surprise me with. And he honored my mother too. What a blessing he is! He says he is sending me for a mani/pedi next week too which, once again, is a treat he knows I never give myself but always crave.

I'm not a mom for a pat on the back or a "job well done" but the week the stress of being sick, and both babies being super needy had really gotten me down. I feel like this gave me new life tonight and really restored my faith in myself. It's so amazing to take a step back and look at how much my husband and children adore me. I never imagined I could be loved so much. I live for giving myself to them but today it was nice to receive.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Two Stories

Story One-

As the newly hired youth minister in a small parish in Massachusetts I was invited to give a talk during a special parish night of prayer and holy hour about what Christ in the Eucharist meant to me. I was sitting on my couch preparing and drinking a coffee. As the time I was supposed to leave drew nearing a headache I had been fighting off all day got worse and worse. I needed to take something but before I did I decided to take a pregnancy test, just in case. It was October 7th, two days before my birthday, and I was still broken hearted over the loss of our fist baby and scared that because of the ectopic pregnancy that I would never be able to have a child. I thought that there was be no way I could be pregnant but something inside me told me to check, just in case. I got out my cheap CVS pregnancy test and soon one line appeared, and then another line, making a faint plus sign. It was so faint I didn't want to get excited. I called my mom. She said to take a picture of it with my phone and send it to her. She called back in tears. "Sarah that is positive. You are pregnant." I called Kyle who was driving home from work. He almost crashed his car. That night I felt a glow exuding from the inside. I had life inside me once again and a peaceful feeling that this time, it would work out. When Kyle got home we went and bought some prenatals.

That was my first real mother's day.

Story Two-

Everyone seemed to think I was crazy to want my kids so close together but I loved being a mom so much and I wanted to make sure that Madeleine had a sibling. So when I went to California I knew there was a chance that I could be expecting again. I took a pregnancy test the day after I got there and it was negative. I was sad but decided it was only the first month and it would happen when it was supposed to. Theresa and I had a lot of good food... and some good drinks over the next few days. And a lot of coffee. It was the day of our trip to Disney and my period still hadn't come. I decided, once again, to take a pregnancy test. We bought one at a Rite Aid and I went to the Jack in the Box to take it. I stood in the stall watching both lines form. I was pregnant again. I remember stumbling out to the car, almost falling over. I was crying and calling Kyle and then my parents and sisters one by one. All day I touched my belly and thanked God for this new life I was carrying and that no matter what, Madeleine would have a sibling.

My next real Mother's Day.

Sometimes motherhood can be challenging and exhausting but those little girls mean the world to me and I cannot thank God enough for giving them to me. I have loved them since the day I found out about them, even before. Each time I found out I was pregnant my life changed and my heart changed to make room for all the extra love they would bring. I don't feel ready for another baby quite yet but I know that when and if the Lord decides to bless me with a third child that I will once again be astounded by the amount I can love.

Someday, if you read this my babies, know that I love you more and more each day.

More than my own life.

Friday, May 6, 2011

This bed is too... not mommy and daddy's

It's 11:00 at night and my guess is that most of your kids have been asleep for hours. The computer is right by the door to Madeleine's room and as I sit here I can hear her talking to herself.

Now, I'll admit that our bedtime and wake time schedules are a bit unorthodox. I've always been a night person so when Kyle got on his current schedule (4:30 am- 1:00pm) I thought about what baby bedtime would work best with how I operate. Since I'm terrible in the mornings and I love time to myself at night to watch TV and unwind, I opted for the twelve hour block of ten to ten as "baby bed time". It allowed me to stay up til twelve or one by myself and still be able to sleep in. I so no reason why, as I mom, I would want to put them to bed at seven or eight, force myself to bed earlier than I want to, and wake up early as well. With that schedule I'd have seven hours alone with the kids in the morning when I am at my worst. With this one, it's more like four.

With all that figured out I started moving towards this new bedtime/wake up routine slowly but surely. And it worked great at first. Sure, I'd get some looks and comments when we were at Target shopping at eight at night. And my cleaning lady is constantly confused if the kids are still sleeping when she shows up at ten, but it works for us.

However, lately something has gone terribly wrong. During the move to our new apartment I let Madeleine sleep in our bed more and more to get her "adjusted". Really, I just wanted someone to spoon with when Kyle left for work at three. Now Madeleine refuses to go to bed in her crib. Every night is an all out fight.

It's been almost two months since we moved in and it isn't getting better. It is now 11:16 and my stubborn 22 month old is exhausted but not asleep. She believes that she belongs next to daddy and mommy at night and by golly she will fight to get her way. Unfortunately for her, her mommy is stubborn too.

I used to love the schedule I got the kids on but it seems like it gets pushed later and later. It was easy getting them to go to bed later but the hard part is getting them in bed earlier. Somehow I'll make it happen but until then, God bless the people who live above us. Because by this time of night both Madeleine and momma both want to scream.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I've never been the type of person that has had a niche, a place where I really felt like I fit in. Growing up I was always on the outside of many different groups. I always had one or two best friends and lots of people I hung out with but I was never really on the inside. Whatever that means.

It starts with the little cliques as early as preschool and they just develop all through high school and even into college. In all that time I kept looking for a place where I could really be myself and feel like I was accepted. Looking back on my post from yesterday, I realize that this is where a lot of my insecurities stem from. Honestly, I'm not sure I ever tried that hard either. I wasn't the type of person, even from as young as three or four, that wanted to be part of a group badly enough that I would ever give up who I was or what I wanted. If I was going to play with people it would be by my rules. If they didn't want to play what I wanted to play, then I'd go it on my own.

In high school I was involved in drama and in youth group. I found people that I loved and that loved me through each of those, and I was a really happy teenager. I don't look back on high school thinking about how awful it was, I really enjoyed it, but still I am only really in close contact with two people from those days.

In college I joined a million ministries and didn't stick with anything longer than a year. I said that I wanted to try new things but in truth, wherever I was I was restless. I picked my household (kind of a Catholic sorority if you will) quickly and soon realized that I didn't fit in well there either. I loved the covenant that we lived by, it was all about suffering with Christ on the Cross in union with Our Lady, and that really struck a chord with me and how I wanted to live my life. But the girls all just seemed so different from me and I didn't feel like they understood me. And I was still restless, still looking for a place to call home.

A lot of people can't be themselves around their family but I can. It's the one place I will belt out bad karaoke and dance like an idiot. It's where I know I can argue with someone and they will love me all the same when it is over.

When Kyle and I were developing our relationship he thought it was important to meet my family before we started officially dating. I wanted him to ask my dad's permission to pursue me and he wanted to gain their approval right off the bat. He drove me home for Christmas and it was over that trip that things really progressed. I'm not even sure we were officially an item when I knew we were going to get married some day. I wasn't even in love with him yet but having him around felt like home. I didn't want to keep moving on and looking for something new. I knew that I could be me around him and I knew without a doubt that he would love me for it. I could see our relationship playing out. I knew that we would date, fall in love, get engaged, get married, have children, and grow old together.

They say once you find "the one" you know. I'd been in love before but it had never been right. My insecurities, the little parts of me that I disliked, were always being hidden. I thought that if I revealed those parts of me that it would all go away. And it always did because it was never right. That wasn't the case with Kyle. It was those very parts of me that he loved the most. The quirks and nuances that made me me were what he cherished the most. He found me captivating and I felt secure in a way I never had before.

It was because of that sureness that I was able to get married at the very young age of twenty-one without a doubt in my head. I believe that when you discover the Lord's will for your life you will be filled with peace. That is what I found when I found Kyle.

I am created for God and Kyle represents Christ to me, so it makes sense that I am home with him. He loves me, sinner that I am, and he sees all of the beautiful things about me even when I can't. It's why I trusted him enough to promise to honor and obey, because I know that he will never take advantage of that promise. He will lay down his life for me. It's that beautiful balance that Christ has with his Church that we can be blessed enough to emulate for the world.

I spent so long wondering why I felt like I never fit it. It's like this pair of shoes I bought and kept exchanging them for different sizes. I couldn't understand why none of the sizes were working. Then I bought another pair of heels, a different design, and right away I could tell that the problem with the other pair wasn't the sizes I bought. It was that those shoes just weren't designed for my feet. This new pair was perfect. Being with Kyle was like slipping on that perfect pair of heels. It just fit right away and I was able to know that because of all the stuff that hadn't.

God blessed the broken road indeed...

You may be headed for bad teenage years when-

Your 22 month old talks about shoes in her sleep

Your 22 month old puts on her shoes at ten at night, heads to the door with her purse, and says to you, "I go out. Bye bye."

Your 22 month old loves any music by Justin Bieber, Ke-dollar sign-ha, or Taylor Swift.

Your 22 month old dresses more stylishly than you do.

Your 22 month old knows that being a good girl gets her chocolate and uses that to her advantage.

Your 22 month old smiles and waves coyly at the little boys in Target.

Your 22 month old already tries to take your wallet.

Your 22 month old likes the taste of coffee.

Your 22 month old knows that daddy becomes a big pile of mush whenever she hugs him and can already play him like a fiddle.

... We are in so much trouble....

Monday, May 2, 2011


This post is a shout out to my mini-me, my little sister, the awesome and amazing Carly.

I love you. You inspire me. You have taught me what it means to give from your want. You don't always have anything to give but you still give your whole self when anyone needs you. You are beautiful on the inside and the outside. You are an amazing aunt to my babies. You make me laugh and your driving doesn't scare me as much as it used to. You are a faithful and loyal friend and sister. You are talented and smart. You are passionate and hard headed. You are 9 1/2 years younger than me and yet I still call you for fashion advice.

You have no idea how amazing you are.

I love you.

(Remember this Carly, 2 weeks before I was due with Madeleine and I was still an awesome Confirmation sponsor?)

Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us!

Bedtime Songs for Babies

Kyle says that Enter Sandman by Metallica is an inappropriate song to sing to our daughters at bed time. I say that no Yankees fan should be afraid of the Sandman, Mariano Rivera, because he works for good and not evil.

But we decided to skip that song choice anyway...

Sunday, May 1, 2011



I'll never forget 9/11. I was in gym class when I heard the news. I was tying my shoes. I didn't understand. It didn't make sense. It was like I had left my body and I was watching from the outside. All I could think about was my Aunt. I knew she worked there sometimes. Was she okay? I could barely remember my own name. Someone had to tie my shoe for me. I had to lie down.

English class watching the towers fall. It still wasn't real. I couldn't cry I just sat there. Staring. Hoping I would wake up. How could this happen. Why? I just don't understand. Stanizzi came over and gave me a hug. I finally let it all go. I needed to call my mom. Had she heard from Aunt Gayle?

Outside with Ally. Sitting on the curb. Waiting for my mom. Aunt Gayle is okay. I can see smoke. How did it get to my town? A plane went down in DC and PA and I can't take anymore. Ally and I sobbed into each other's arms and just talked about how scared we felt.

I remember all the prayer in the weeks after. We became a nation of prayer once again. And though it all, we were proud to be American. Nothing else mattered. Not race or religion. We were united in our grief and there was an outpouring of love for the victims.

And now justice has been served. The families of those lost that day... I can't imagine. I can't imagine how I would feel if I had lost someone that day.

Tonight, I'm having a drink to the TROOPS, to the victims of 9/11, to George W Bush, to those who lost their lives trying to find him, and for the conversion of Osama's soul. God's outside of time, our prayers can still work for him!

Also, prayers that this doesn't get Obama another 4 years. If you rewatch his speech and drink every time he says "I" you'd be totally sloshed. I want to know what, exactly, he thinks he did.

Thank you to all our service men and women, especially Juliette's godfather Edward Houser. We love you! Come back safely!

Madeleine learned "hug"

We have lots of snuggle time before bed.

Nice hair sister!

Juliette is so silly!

They love each other...

... so much!

They make my heart melt.

The REAL Incredibles

Not sure if anyone besides me can follow my logic but here it goes.

Theoretically, receiving the Eucharist just once should be enough to take us to sainthood. Yet somehow, after countless Sundays of receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity to Christ I am no where near there.

I was watching The Incredibles the other week and the daughter Violet had this latent power of being able to make a force field around herself. It was in her, lying almost dormant, but that power was there. When they were in a plane about to be hit by a missile she tried to use that power but since she hadn't exercised it and tested it enough in the past, she was unable to make a force field strong enough to stop the missile so they had to jump out of the plane. Eventually, after trying, she was able to shield her entire family from harm's way when it really counted.

I feel like that is symbolic of God's grace inside of us. When we receive the Eucharist, or even Baptism or Confirmation, inside of us is the power to do anything spiritually because of that grace. But why aren't we all saints? I feel like it is our lack of practice that keeps us from being able to achieve holiness along with a severe mental block. We doubt that God's grace is sufficient and assume we will fall. We doubt our worthiness and therefore, turn our backs on God's Mercy, ashamed.

If we practiced working with that spiritual power a little more, pushed ourselves spiritually, then when it really mattered, when we were really tempted, we would be able to protect ourselves from sin by that grace of God inside us, just like Violet protected her family in the Incredibles by the power inside of her. The greatest power in the world is inside of us, the power of God, and with great power comes great responsibility. We need to tap into the power God has given us and use it to become Super Saints.