Monday, September 30, 2013

Because You Need Some Harry in Your Life

No time to write a real post, so I'll just share a few of my favorite Harry pictures!
Gotta love those baby hooded towels
Lil' photo shoot at home

I love all of his facial expressions and features

Baby in a basket of his clothes

The mini chair didn't really work out

The kids and "The Child Jesus" in our parish courtyard

Quiet morning with Jane at preschool

Harry loves the swing as much as his big siblings did

Snuggles with Daddy

Fascinated with Baby Harry

Beautiful night at the park

He looks so itty bitty on his lion

Storytime with Daddy 
Starting to get that chunky baby look that I love!
Oh, Harry, you're the cutest wootest wittle guy!  Love you, sweetie!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"You're a convert, right?"

A few weeks ago, I was at a parish event, catching up with another mom that I hadn't seen all summer.  Before asking for advice about an anti-Catholic acquaintance, she said, "You're a convert, right?"

My initial reaction was to think that this was a compliment.  My logic was this:
  • Catholic converts (and reverts) are notoriously knowledgeable about the Faith.  
  • Catholic converts put most of us "cradle Catholics" to shame.
  • This mom has known me for awhile.
  • She thinks I'm a convert.
  • Therefore, she thinks I'm as knowledgeable as a convert about the Faith.

"Nope," I said, "I'm a cradle Catholic."
"Oh.  Really?!"

I left that conversation feeling pretty proud of myself.  Somehow, I had convinced this woman from my parish mom's group that I knew enough about the Faith to make her think that I had converted.  

It made me think about the time two Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on my apartment door when I was 23, single, and student teaching.  They were two friendly women in their early twenties.  When they asked if they could come in, I said, "Sure!  I should warn you, though.  I'm Catholic and have no intention of converting, but I'd love to visit."  They were visibly caught off guard and looked at each other to see what their next move should be.  One of the women said, "Oh...well...sure, yes, we'd love to come in."  

The women and I visited on my couch for probably half an hour.  At the end of the conversation, they said they had never met a Catholic who could give a solid defense of their faith, cite Scripture, or give a response beyond, "Yeah, well, thanks, but no thanks."  I ended up inviting the young women to my parish women's group that evening.  Of course, they declined, but they left with a new outlook on Catholicism or at least Catholics in general.  All of the kudos goes to the Holy Spirit on that one!  I remember being a little terrified because I had only started to feel confident in my ability to articulate the Faith.  I remember praying, "Come, Holy Spirit.  Come, Holy Spirit.  Now!  NOW!  COME, NOW!"   

Stereotypes have to start somewhere, right?  If the assumption is that only a convert would know that much about Catholicism, what does that say about the rest of us cradle Catholics?  Well, it means those of us born and raised as Catholics probably weren't catechized well enough to articulate or defend the Faith.  It means most of us "in the flock," so to speak, haven't tried to investigate the faith or "own it" as we transition into adulthood.  

This is bad news for the future of the Church.  First, I need to say that I am leaps and bounds from being ready to be some kind of apologist or professional defender of the Faith.  I have PUH-LENTY to learn!  If the friend from my parish mom's group thought I was a convert, and the female Jehovah's Witnesses that knocked on my door were impressed with my breadth of knowledge (ha!), we've got a loooooooooooong way to go as a Church.  It's time to turn the stereotypes about Catholics being ignorant of the Faith on their head.

What if Catholics were known for their missionary zeal?  Well, we're supposed to be!  I've always admired the courage of Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses that I see walking door to door.

If you're an adult Catholic and feel like you don't have much head knowledge about the Faith, have no fear!  There are plenty of places to go to learn more.  I attended Catholic school for twelve years.  Nobody challenged my Faith until I was a freshman at a secular university, so I had few opportunities to be challenged.  Fortunately, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln had a vibrant Catholic community.  I got in touch with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), and I learned what it meant to be Catholic beyond attending Mass on Sundays.  My time at UNL introduced me to many other resources that helped me on my journey toward "owning" the Faith.  

If you're looking for a way to delve deeper and learn more about the Faith, here are a few of my favorite go-to resources:

Listening to Catholic radio, especially Catholic Answers Live, opened my eyes to the beauty of the Faith and strengthened my resolve to learn more so that I could give a coherent response the next time I had one of those, "Oh, you're Catholic?" conversations.  

Of course, the best defense of the Faith is a happy disciple that makes someone say, "Whatever it is that makes them so happy, I want that."  However, there will be times when someone asks, "Why do you worship Mary?" or, "What's the big deal about contraception?" or, "Why go to confession when you can just pray to God?"  You want to be prepared for those moments!  If you're Catholic, you might as well have a reason for believing what you believe, right?  Besides, St. Paul told us, "Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence" (1 Peter 3:15). 

Uncle Scar told us to "be prepared," too!  

Show the world that you don't have to be a Catholic convert  to know the Faith.  Head to, download a podcast from Catholic Answers, look up a passage from The Catechism of the Catholic Church to find out what the Church teaches about a specific topic, sign up for a Great Adventure Bible study--do something.  Start somewhere.  You won't regret it! 

I'm facilitating (and I use that term loosely!) the Jeff Cavins Bible Timeline study.  Never in a million years did I think I'd be leading a Bible study.  You know how they say "God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called"?  Well, I DEFINITELY was not the most qualified person to lead a Bible study, but I felt God calling me to start a study for young moms.  We read 3 Kimberly Hahn books and decided to take on a formal Bible study afterward.  We're halfway through the Bible Timeline study, and it's bringing all of us countless graces.  It's amazing what God can do when you're willing to listen to the call.  

You say you want to be a disciple?  Did you know the word "disciple" comes from the Latin words for "learn" or "learner"?  There's a lot to be learned.  We could spend the rest of our lives learning and studying the Faith and never plumb the depths of all that there is to know, but you know what?  That's great news!  That means there's no limit to how much more intimate your relationship with God can become through learning more about Him and His Church.  Allow whatever you learn to change your heart, and be open to the graces that come from the One who created you.    

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Baptism Day, Harold!

Sweet little Harold was baptized on Sunday.  What a fun, special day!  Baptisms are just the best, aren't they?!  

Philip, me, Harold, and Harold's godparents--my brother, Andy, and my sister-in-law, Katie.  We are so blessed that Harold has such wonderful godparents to help him along his way.
So excited!
Quick pic with Harold before the baptism
Harold didn't mind the water at all.  In fact, he actually seemed to enjoy it!

We'll keep working on getting the kids to smile on command for the camera.  Post-baptism pic with our pastor, Fr. Dan Kampschneider.
A woman in the parish embroiders each of the babies being baptized a baptismal garment.
SEPTEMBER 15, 2013

Get a load of these cookies!  Aren't they adorable?!
My friend, Beth O'Brien, made the cookies for the luncheon reception.  She runs this fabulous operation out of her home.  She is so talented, and she seems to be able to make something equally adorable for just about any occasion!  If you're interested, you can e-mail Beth at   She can make custom orders.  Please give her 5 days notice.  
The spread
Mmmmmm.  Sandwiches.  I just LOVE that picture of Harold that we took in the background.  We had a bunch of prints made for family to take home. 
Walt, totally dominating a "God Bless Harold" cookie
It's only right that a baby named Harold should have a blue plaid bow tie

Baptisms always make me cry.  Parenthood is such a gift anyway.  To know that God is entrusting an eternal soul to me and Philip is a HUGE deal!  The blessings at the end for the mother and father are always the clincher tearjerker moment for me.  

Celebrant: God the Father, through his Son, the Virgin Mary's child, has brought joy to all Christian mothers, as they see the hope of eternal life shine on their children. May he bless the mother of this child. She now thanks God for the gift of her child. May she be one with him in thanking him for ever in heaven, in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
All: Amen. 
Celebrant: God is the giver of all life, human and divine. May he bless the father of this child. He and his wife will be the first teachers of their child in the ways of faith. May they be also the best of teachers, bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do, in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
All: Amen.

Keep pouring out the graces, God!  Thank You for the gift of this precious baby boy.  

Welcome to God's family, Harold Fulton Boucher!  We love you!  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"You are love that's come to live at our house today"

For the second time, I was able to catch a milk-induced sleepy smile from Harold.  








When I was watching Harold smile and dream this evening, I instantly thought of this scene from The Lady and the Tramp.  Click on the video to watch on YouTube.  You won't regret it!  

Darling is singing the song "La La Lu" to her new baby boy in the nursery, and her dog, Lady, enters to see what the fuss is all about.  

I always liked The Lady and The Tramp, and I always liked this sweet song, but I didn't pay attention to the lyrics until I looked them up tonight.

"La La Lu" is officially my new favorite lullaby!  I bolded my favorite words.  

"La La Lu"

I am your mother
And I'm so glad you're here
You have a father
Who loves you, oh so dear
We call you baby
'Cause we don't know how to say

That you are love
That's come to live
At our house today
La, la, loo
La, la, loo
Oh my little star sweeper
I'll sweep the stardust for you
La, la, loo
La, la, loo
Little soft, fluffy sleeper
Here comes a pink cloud for you
La, la, loo
La, la, loo
Little wandering angel
Fold up your wings
Close your eyes
La, la, loo
La, la, loo
And may love be your keeper
La, la, loo
La, la, loo
La, la, loo
The song is not only beautiful and soothing, it has some deep theological meaning in there!  Hear me out...  We're getting Harold baptized on Sunday, so I have our parish's baptism class for parents on the brain.  The deacon leading the class talked about how our families (aka, our "domestic church") reflect the Holy Trinity.  
Our children are the love between us made flesh.  Scott Hahn says it better.  He wrote in his wife Kimberly's book, Life-Giving Love, "The one flesh union of persons in the act of marriage is so powerful that nine months later you might have to give it a name."
So, Harold (and Jane and Walt and Therese and any future babies that we may have), thank you for being the "love that's come to live at our house today."  Your dad and I pray that "Love (with a capital "L") be your keeper."

The kids with "The Child Jesus" statue in our parish courtyard

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Jane Takes on Preschool

I'm officially the parent of a preschooler.  When did that happen?!  Wasn't I just bringing little Miss Jane home from the hospital the other day?  (Oh, no, wait!  That was Harold!)

We started talking about preschool with Jane over the summer.  She was chomping at the bit to start going once we bought her little uniform and backpack.  I absolutely LOVED having a uniform as a student, and, let me tell you, I love them even more as a parent!!! 

We had to do a few obligatory first day of school pics with this cute sign that Philip's mom sent us. 

I call this Jane's smoldering "I'm still waking up" look

She'll either avoid looking at the camera or make a crazy face like this these days.  

Philip was able to ride along with us to drop Janie off on her first day of school.  Look how excited she is!  Walt was pretty excited, too!

Fishy face in front of school

Jane, me, and Harold
All of the preschoolers filed in with their parents.  Jane and I had gone to open house the previous week to meet Jane's teacher and explore her classroom, so Jane knew right where to go.  While I was busy holding Harold and wrangling Walt, Philip started saying goodbye to Janie, not Jane.  This is an important detail.  

While trying to calm a sobbing boy who was clinging to his daddy, Jane's teacher overheard Philip saying goodbye to Janie.  "Oh!  I think she's in the other room!"  

I said, "Really?  We were in this room for open house.  I know you have your hands full right now, so we'll go and check next door."

Completely oblivious to what was going on, Jane picked up her backpack and followed us out the door of what we thought was her classroom to go next door.  We entered, introduced ourselves to the other teacher, and she said, "I'm sorry, your daughter is in the room next door."

I laughed and said, "Well, that's what we thought, too, but we were sent over here."

The teacher was also wrangling sobbing children.  She laughed, looked at Jane, and said, "I'd love to have such a calm child in my class, but I know that Jane is on the other class list."

So, back we went to the first classroom!  All of the other parents had left at this point, so things were calm, and Jane's teacher wasn't distracted by crying children.  I said, "Mrs. so-and-so said that Jane is in this classroom afterall."  

Immediately, she gasped, put her hand to her mouth, and said, "OH!  JANE?!  Janie?!  I thought your husband said Chaney!  There's a Chaney next door.  I didn't realize you called her Janie, too.  Oh, Jane, I'm so sorry, honey!"  She bent over and gave Jane a big, big hug.  "Yes, you are in my classroom!"  

She said that she was so confused because she thought she remembered meeting us at open house, heard Philip say "Janie," misheard it for "Chaney," and knew Chaney was in the other room.  While she explained the reason for her confusion and apologized for sending us next door, Jane had taken a seat at one of the tables with the other kids, and was already chatting up a storm.  

Jane's teacher showed her to her special ladybug hook for her backpack, and she proudly hung it up.     


She was so excited about meeting her new friends that Philip and I could barely get her to stay still long enough for hugs goodbye!  

When Philip and I were walking back to our car with Walt and Harold, I said, "Maybe it was because I was so distracted with playing musical classrooms, but I thought I'd cry on our first baby's first day of school."  Then I poked him and said, "I'm a cold, cold mama, aren't I?"  

He laughed.  "No!  You're a great mama!  Did you see how excited she was?!  She's going to love it!"

Philip was right about Jane loving preschool, but some days she needs a little time to decompress.  The 3-hour structure wears her little brain and body out!  When I arrived in the school pick-up line on the first day, I thought about all of the possible stories she'd tell and envisioned her going on and on about everything she saw and did.  (I'll tell you another time about how absolutely fantastic the school's drop-off and pick-up system is for the preschoolers.  Brilliant, I tell ya!)  When Jane got in the car, I played the stereotypical over-excited mom on the first day of school.  "Sooooooo, how was your first day, honey?  Did you have fun?"

She had been all perky and bubbly in line with her little buddies.  By the time I got her buckled in her carseat, she was a little zombie.  She sighed and said, "Oh, Mommy.  I'm so hot and tired.  Maybe I can talk about it tomorrow."  

This is how pick-up went the first few times.  I'd watch her giggling and talking with whoever was in front of her in line.  Then, she'd turn into a zombie in the car.  

Last Thursday, I said my usual, "Hi, honey!  How was your day at school?"  

To my pleasant surprise, she said, "Great!  Hi, Walt!  Hiiiiiiiiiii, Baby Harry!  How was your morning?"  

For now, pick-up is a box of chocolates--we never know which Jane we're going to get!  Depending on how tired she is, we'll either have a bubbly life of the party or a zombie that won't come back to life until after she's had lunch.  Either way, when she's ready to talk, she can't stop!  She sings songs, proudly takes her crafts out of her backpack, and talks about all of her misadventures with her new friends.  One particular little guy seems to be her favorite new friend because she mentions him at least once everyday.

I can only imagine the fun stories I'll have to share as the year continues.  So far, Jane is sold on preschool!    

Monday, September 9, 2013

If At First You Don't Succeed...

When I was 18 weeks pregnant with Harold, I wrote about my new outlook on breastfeeding.  For a lot of reasons (which I wrote about in that post), my outlook on breastfeeding completely changed as I anticipated the birth of our baby.  A lot of it had to do with my world being rocked when I miscarried Thérèse and my whole perspective on parenting changed--for the better.

After writing that post about my new outlook, I received an overwhelming response from my friends.  They called, texted, e-mailed, Facebook messaged, or contacted me some other way to let me know that they were in my corner, that it was awesome that I was going to try breastfeeding again, and to let them know if there was anything they could do to help.  Several offered great resources for breastfeeding moms, put me in touch with support groups, and gave the inside scoop on things veteran breastfeeding mamas know.  I am so very grateful for the outpouring of support I received during pregnancy to build me up and make me believe that I could breastfeed successfully despite feeling like a failure with Jane and Walt.  So, I want to offer a big heartfelt thank you to all of you awesome ladies who continue to be in my corner, rooting (no pun intended) me on!

I am overjoyed to share that Harold will turn one month on Saturday, and breastfeeding couldn't be going better!  At his two-week check-up, he had surpassed his birth weight, and my pediatrician said that he was the "perfect specimen of a term breastfed baby."  When she said that, it was one of those mom moments when the clouds part and you hear the choir of angels singing!  "Perfect specimen"?  And it's because breastfeeding is actually working out this time?  Music to this mama's ears!!!  

Harold's happy about it, too!  I was able to snap this picture of his first smile in a milk-induced  3 a.m. dream.
Aside from a fantastic support network (especially Philip, aka Hubby of the Year), I know there are three main reasons I've been successful this time around:

1.  I'm a better advocate for myself and for Harold

  • I asked the nurse at the hospital to act as a bouncer and to put a sign on the door whenever we wanted a few hours of uninterrupted rest.  Oh, it was glorious!  
  • I safeguarded our time those first few weeks so that I wasn't over exhausted and Harold and I could figure it out together.  We turned off our phones.  When visitors asked to come over, I chose the times that were most convenient for us or asked if we could reschedule for a time that wouldn't interrupt naps, lunch, etc.
  • When we have visitors and Harold is hungry, I'm confident getting out the cover and nursing right there.  I could still use A LOT more practice juggling everything--especially when I leave the comfort of home where I have pillows, a couch, etc., but each day it gets easier. 
2.  FOOD, friends, and

  • Since having Harold, we have had at least 13 different families bring us meals (and a few even brought extra casseroles/dishes for us to eat another day!)!  How amazing is that?!  
  • I had friends from different groups I'm a part of offer to bring meals.  Rather than having to coordinate all of it with a bunch of phone calls/e-mails, I created a "registry" on  This site has been a lifesaver!  After you create a user name and password, you pick the dates you want people to bring meals, enter your info (phone number, e-mail, address, hours you want people to drop things off, how many people the meal will feed, food allergies/aversions, etc.).  Then, you send the link to family and friends.  They "sign up" on the digital calendar on the free days, and you get an e-mail every time someone signs up.  This way, you know who is coming, when they're coming, and the person bringing the meal can see what meals you've already received so that you don't get 5 nights in a row of chicken alfredo.  Awesome, huh?!
  • Without having to worry about grocery shopping or making meals, I had more time to focus on figuring out breastfeeding.
For whatever reason, I never brought it to prayer when I was struggling to breastfeed Jane and Walt.  I somehow thought I should compartmentalize that part of life from the "big stuff."  Silly, huh?  When I was pregnant with Harold, I started praying that God would give me wisdom and an open heart to breastfeeding.  

Well, let me tell you, the Big Guy really came through!  I never thought I'd say this, but I LOVE breastfeeding, and it's going so well!  By taking it to prayer, God was able to free me of the stress and anxiety I had attached to breastfeeding and replace it with a new heart.  God is showing me through the gift of our precious babies--Thérèse and Harold--that parenthood is pure gift and motherhood is an opportunity to give your life in sacrifice for your family.  I find myself looking forward to the next feeding, and I get lost in Harold's gaze.  I'm enjoying each feeding as a timeout to our day to just be with each other.  I'm not trying to be productive while nursing.  I sit on the couch and "just" feed Harold.  This change to my usual go, go, go routine is something that Jane and Walt are loving, too.  These forced timeouts are great pick-me-ups.  Most of the time, I end up on the couch with Harold, Jane, Walt, and our dog, Monty, all snuggled up around me.  

Burping Harold with my helpers after nursing
Camping out with Mom and Harold in the nursery
Those moments remind me why I'm home in the first place, and they bring me so much peace.  Harold is eating every 2-3 hours during the day, so we're getting a lot of quality time in these days!  Before Thérèse and Harold, I would have looked at that time as being unproductive.  Now, I know it's the most important time of my day.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity to try again, and I'm so grateful for my changed heart.  Breastfeeding is bringing our family so many blessings, and I hope God will continue to open my heart to the other blessings He's pouring upon our family during this special time.  

St. Thérèse, continue to pray for us!  


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Introducing Harold "Harry" Fulton Boucher!

It's a boy!  Our sweet baby, Harold "Harry" Fulton Boucher came into the world on Wednesday, August 14, at 2:13 p.m.  He tipped the scales at 8 lbs. 7 oz. (our "smallest" baby yet!) and measured 21 inches long.

Here's my amazing OBGYN, Dr. Steinauer.  He's a great, Catholic, NFP-only OBGYN trained in the Creighton Model.  He's been with us through it all.  Before Philip snapped this shot, Dr. Steinauer traced the cross on Harold's forehead and said, "God bless you, Harold."  I teared up then, and I'm tearing up now just thinking about it! 
All snuggled up.  The poor guy got a little bruised making his way into the world!
So happy Harold is here!  So, where did we get the name Harold Fulton?  We wanted to stick with our old school naming trend.  We liked Harold because we thought it was a good, strong, masculine name, and it's also a saint's name. We chose the middle name Fulton after one my personal heroes, Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  I'm calling him Harold more than Harry lately, but I seem to go back and forth.  I guess we have a tendency to do that with all of the kids--Jane/Janie, Walter/Walt, and Harold/Harry.
Jane and Walt wanted to know where my big tummy went.
Dr. Jane, giving Harold a little exam 
Sweet sibling love 
Learning how to hold a baby.  She was only 15-months-old when Walt was born, so she doesn't have much practice! 
The Three Musketeers!  Walt had very limited interest in Harold during the hospital visit.
Both kids picked out presents for "Baby" weeks before our due date.  Walt picked out a Percy Pillow Pet.  Percy is an engine from Thomas and Friends, which just so happens to be Walt's favorite show.  Nevermind that the Percy Pillow Pet is on Walt's bed as I type this...  
Jane thought that "Baby" was a girl, so she selected this pink Fisher Price seahorse that plays music and has a glowing belly.  We have since exchanged it for the blue one! 
Singing "Happy Birthday" to Harold and celebrating with some cake
Giving Harold yet another exam 
She really couldn't get enough of him!
Our first attempt at a picture as a family of 5.  We'll keep working on it...
Isn't he just so sweet and snuggly and perfect?!   
The hospital provided a "celebratory dinner," so we decided to declare that evening our little date night in the hospital. 
Cheers to Harold!  He wanted to join us table side. 
Sweet squeezable cheeks 
Aw!  The little puppy on the baby toosh!
Heading home with Harold
We put Harold in the same going home outfit that Walt wore, and I put their pictures side by side.  They're definitely brothers!  Can you tell who is who?  (Walt's on the left, and Harold's on the right.)

Harold will be a month old on Saturday.  How is that possible?!  We have been pretty busy.  I'll give more detailed updates in upcoming posts.  I keep telling everyone who asks that this has been our easiest, most peaceful transition yet.  Breastfeeding is off to a great start (more on that later), and Harold is a great eater & sleeper.  Jane and Walt love the little guy, and they've adjusted really well.  Miss Jane started preschool a week after Harold was born, so it's been nice to have a little time with just me and the boys two mornings a week.  Jane loves preschool, and she wishes she could go everyday.  Monty loves Harold because I usually nurse on the couch, so he takes advantage of those opportunities to snuggle.  Philip went back to work after a week at home.  The days at home with three kiddos under four have been long and tiring, but oh so very joyful!  I have much, much more to write, but I need to go spend some time with my amazing husband who has been such a big support and cheerleader this past year.  I can honestly say that we've never been happier!  A big thank you for all of your prayers for our family throughout this past year.  Our miracle baby is here, and we love him to pieces!  Thanks for looking out for us, St. Thérèse!