Husband sends me a photo of our daughter picking grapes off the vines that are finally ripe. Her plump little hands grasping for the plump little fruit. This.

Baby riding in a peach basket.

It’s time to feed the animals, so I take my daughter out to the barn with me. She knows what to do. First she drops pellets of chicken feed one. at. a. time. (The chickens don’t get impatient like Mama does.) Then she runs for the bag of goat feed that she can reach all by herself, grabs a fistful and takes it to Jane. She’s not afraid of that goat anymore. She’s a big girl now. This. Read more

Unexpected revelations of sponsoring a Compassion child

Unexpected revelations of sponsoring a Compassion child

Esther and her mamaCompassion International was a name that I knew well as a child. Our youth group sponsored a “Compassion child”, my brother and his girlfriend “adopted” a Compassion child. When I was a teenager and traveled to Ecuador, I too selected a Compassion child — a girl named Katherine.

I wrote her letters, sent her photos and postcards. I wanted to connect with her. I even got to meet Katherine once, and her brother and mother and aunt. Katherine graduated several years ago. I hope and pray her education is serving her well.

By that time, I had come across the idea of selecting a child the same age and gender, perhaps with the same birthday, as your own child so they can be pen pals. Though I didn’t have any children of my own yet, I thought this was a brilliant idea as it could also help teach privileged children that they are really more like impoverished children than different. It can teach children in a self-centered culture about other parts of the world. It can expand horizons and develop character.

After Fiona was born, we found a little girl born on the same day in Uganda and immediately signed up to sponsor her. Her name is Esther. Read more

I’m not the only mom

I’m not the only mom

Fiona holding honeysuckle

Being a working mom is … hard. Some days are harder than others. Like this week.

We’re going through some transitions as a family right now, and every single one of them affects Fiona. At 15 months, she’s hanging in there so well. But it’s hard. On top of it all, she’s been sick, there was a family wedding that had us traveling and kept us up late too many nights in a row, she had another round of vaccinations at her most recent well checkup, she’s teething, etc. etc. etc. You get it. I’m not the only mom going through these things right now.

I feel awful that I can’t be with her every step of the way through these transitions. She cries for me, her mama, and I’m not there.

I’m missing out on so many of the good things too. So many firsts. Her first trip to the zoo. Her first time strawberry picking. It devastates me that I can’t be there. But I would never deprive her of those wonderful memories that she can make with other friends and family who love her dearly.

And so I find myself trying to work, while my heart breaks a little and my mind wanders to my precious daughter. Read more

A Select Few

Fiona's first Easter egg hunt.

“Did you dye eggs with Fiona?” I was asked today. My heart lurched.

We’re approaching Fiona’s second Easter, and I’m once again facing the question of what traditions to partake in. I love traditions. Really love them. So it’s hard for me to step back and acknowledge that I can’t do everything with Fiona.

But I can’t. I’m a working mom. I commute for over 2 hours every day. I just can’t do it all. I need to be okay with that.

“No,” I replied hesitantly. Was I letting my daughter down by not giving her this special activity? “I have limited time. I had to choose what to do.” Read more

Belly Laughs

Belly Laughs

Fiona belly laughing

The beauty of a one-year-old is that they don’t care if they are wearing mismatched clothes. They don’t care if they are covered in dog hair (after gleefully stealing the best spot in the house in the center of the dog bed). They don’t care if they have snot dried under their nose, or pizza sauce on their cheeks. It doesn’t matter. They aren’t self-conscious.

I had a choice yesterday to embrace the joy and freedom of that attitude, or shut down under the embarrassment and shame of our culture. While nursing, Fiona realized she could lift my camisole and see my belly. Oh, she thought this was the best thing ever. She could lift and lower my shirt, exposing and concealing the one part of me that still bears the signs of pregnancy. Squishier than it used to be, stretch marks marring my once-smooth skin. Delighted with her new game, she started poking my belly.

I had a choice — tell her no, pull my shirt back down, teach her to be ashamed of such things. Or, play back. Read more



It is, perhaps, the sweetest word I have heard in my entire life. Not the “Mama” spoken by Husband, or Nana or Grandma or even myself. That has been uttered for months now. Nine of them. Longer, if you include my pregnancy. No, the sweet little two-syllables now uttered by my baby girl.

I knew it would come and didn’t really worry about it. I wasn’t jealous that she said Dada first. After all, she ALWAYS wants me. I was glad for Husband to have something special. But now that she says it, now that she utters that beautiful word, I am enraptured.

She crawls toward me, “Mama, Mama, Mama.” She cries from her crib when she doesn’t want to nap, “Mama?” She (apparently) invokes my name when angry at the nanny, “Mama! Mama!” She sleepily murmurs my name when I pull her from her crib for middle-of-the-night nursing sessions, “Mama…Mama…”

I can’t get enough of it. Oh, perhaps some day it will start to get old, the incessant, never-ceasing iterations from little voices. But right now? Today? I am relishing each and every instance.

Mama and Fiona

Nine Months

Nine Months

Nine months old and loving life! Fiona is developing her own opinions about things, continues to eat anything placed before her, and is clearly starting to form words, most notably Dada. She is starting to take regular naps for the first time in her life! Still army crawling, she goes anywhere, gets into anything, and pulls herself up to standing now. She is curious and in any new situation studiously observes everything in fascination. She blows raspberries with Daddy and clicks her tongue at Mama =). Her laugh lights up our life.

Fiona Rose Marie, nine months Read more



It’s been a while since I’ve written about loss…but it is rarely far from my mind. I guess that’s really what I want to say. Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, simmering just below the surface. Remember that when you speak with someone experiencing loss.

We lost Michael more than three years ago, almost four. But that loss is still so very present.

There’s the green ribbon from last fall’s Out of Darkness walk, green representing a sibling.

I was glad when Husband and I ventured out to attend the walk. I thought it would be good for him, for us. I had no idea how comforting it would be to walk among so many people and identify their loss through the color of their ribbon. All those wearing green knew the pain of losing a sibling. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. There truly are others who understand. I hope Husband felt that too. Read more

Half Way Through My Breastfeeding Journey

Half Way Through My Breastfeeding Journey

BreastfeedingIt occurred to me recently, while I was reveling in the thought that in 6 months I won’t have to pump breast milk while I work anymore (the bane of my existence some days), that that also means my exclusive breastfeeding journey will be over in 6 months. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been at this long enough for that to be true!

Before Fiona was born, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, for all the reasons everyone wants to: healthy for baby, healthy for mama, inexpensive! I had read that it’s good to have a “goal” in mind. But when I thought about it, a year (so I wouldn’t have to purchase formula) seemed daunting but 12 weeks seemed so minuscule. So I went in with an overarching desire to exclusively breastfeed, which would mean doing this for a year, without any real date in mind.

Breastfeeding overall has gone very well for me. Fiona latched immediately after birth. I was sore for a bit, but that eventually eased. I started out with some oversupply issues (engorgement, “choking” baby, spraying/leaking, etc.), but that eventually settled down, starting around 6 weeks and finally evening off around 12. Read more