Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in spirit, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:3-12

Oh Lord,

Teach me to seek You and reveal yourself to me when I seek You.

For I cannot seek You unless You first teach me, nor find You unless You first reveal yourself to me.

Let me seek You in longing, and long for You in seeking.

Let me find You in love, and love You in finding.

~Saint Ambrose of Milan

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>

Name: Erin Yonke

Location: Aurora, IL

Info: I'm happily married to my husband and champion pro-life activist, Matt. I stay home with my three small boys; Ambrose (11/06), Peter (3/08), and Joseph (9/10).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

So, I saw the midwife again last Friday. Heartbeat is still in the "girl" range--about 160. Actually, so far, all signs and symptoms point to having a girl (yeah, I have total faith in old wives's tales.). And to tell you the truth, I'm not sure how I feel about that. Honestly, I'm not sure what all the fuss is over having girls, or why people seem to think that you must want to have a girl, or why women squeel at the idea of buying pink booties instead of blue. Maybe that's just a result of growing up in a house with 6 girls, or maybe it's because there's something incredibly charming about the affection of a little boy. I don't know. Of course, I don't doubt that I'll be thrilled with the new person no matter what, I'm just struggling to get excited about the prospect of having a daughter. For this reason, more than any other, I probably won't find out the gender before the baby's born.

In other news, there's not much other news. I love the change in weather. It's a little overwhelming to remember that last fall I was also pregnant, anxiously waiting to have a baby and thinking, "Next year my baby will be almost 1!" And he is. How fast time flies. He's changing alot lately, too. He's finally got the hang of waving "hi!" and "bye-bye!" He think this is extremely impressive, so he tries it out on everyone he sees. He also thinks that if he waves hello and smiles when he's doing something he shouldn't do that maybe I'll be so caught up in his cuteness that I won't notice he's trying to shred the mail or stick his hands in the toilet.

Oh, and he FINALLY figured out how to drink water out of a bottle last week. That's a relief for me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

and many more, maybe.

Today I turn twenty-one.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I think...

...that I might be over the hump! I hit the 12 week mark last week, and I'm feeling awesome. And I don't mean that I just feel better, I mean that I really feel fantastic. Possibly better than I did before I was pregnant, something I remember saying last time, too. Maybe it's just this beautiful fall weather we're having. Maybe it's the fact that my blood pressure is slightly higher than my usual 90/65, making me feel just a little more "alive". Maybe it's because of the prenatal vitamins that I occasionally remember to take. I don't know, but I just have energy coming out my ears-- which is good, because I've been catching up on all the housework that I've slacked off on over the last eight weeks or so.

So, feeling better means I'm cracking down and kicking my protein intake up to 100 grams a day again (as opposed to the first trimester "eat anything that won't come back up" diet). I did this religiously last time I was pregnant, and was really glad I did. Now I just have to get motivated.... I need someone to constantly chant "eggs! milk! chicken! peanuts!" at me. Any takers?

On Sunday, we went to our first Tridentine Mass at St. John Cantius in Chicago. It was absolutely gorgeous, both the Mass and the church. It was a great day to be downtown, too.


Oh, and on a totally unrelated note, I've finally gotten the hang of wearing the Mei Tai carrier on my back, and can get it on by myself. I can't even begin to say how awesome it is. Here's why you should wear your baby, too.

Monday, September 10, 2007

On becoming "Real".

One afternoon a few weeks back, I sat down with Ambrose to read a story before he went down for a nap. Bored of the usual books we read, I'd pulled "The Velveteen Rabbit" off the shelf--a book I haven't read since, well, childhood. I didn't get further than a few pages before I found myself so touched by how relevant the book's message was to me now. And for that reason, I'd like to share a couple excerpts from the book here.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came in to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?" "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. when a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real." "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. that's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, of have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of you hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.

And as I sat on the floor that afternoon, wearing a pair of tattered sweatpants and a stained t-shirt, reading this as my son pulled fistfuls of hair from my already half-hearted ponytail with one hand and tried to poke my eyeballs out with the other, all while I tried my darnedest to keep down my lunch of wheat-thins and sprite...I realized something.

I realized that when St. Timothy told us that women shall be saved through childbearing, he wasn't kidding. Not even a little. And I realized that these days--and the many days to come--that I spend changing diapers and fishing newspaper out of tiny mouths and wiping snotty noses, the days that I spend miserably nauseous because of the brand-new life residing in my womb, and the nights that I spend sleepless are not for nothing. They're God's gracious gift to me--they're opportunities to become "Real"...the means through which God is saving me, and is making me Holy. They're my opportunity to work out my salvation--bit by bit, with fear, with trembling, with pain and with joy, and with the sacrifice of so many personal luxuries.

And you know, I am so, so thankful for that.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

thrush, thrush, thrush....

Yep. We have it. I sure hope there's an "I SURVIVED BREASTFEEDING" t-shirt waiting for me at the end of all this.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

On nursing while pregnant, and the intercession of Saint Giles.

I've been a little hesitant to write this post for the last few days, simply because I'm not sure how well it will be received, and up until now I've not been able to decide if I wanted to subject my experience to as much scrutiny as I most certainly will by posting it on my blog. I decided it was a story worth telling, regardless of how people--non-Catholics, in particular--respond to it. So here goes! I should warn you, though, that the following post is pretty long and very personal. I always love comments, but if you want to debate the intercession of the Saints, do it on Matt's blog.

So first, I should say that since a few weeks after finding out I was pregnant again, I've been having a really hard time nursing the baby. Alot of women have trouble nursing during pregnancy, so I did expect to encounter some bumps along the road. What I didn't expect, however, was to feel the way I did. That is, to suddenly begin to HATE nursing. It was almost like a switch went off in my brain one day; one minute I loved nursing, as usual...the next, I wanted to throw myself on the floor and have a tantrum every time the baby so much as looked at me in a hungry way. I mean, really. We're talking about a serious case of sensory overload, and every time I sat down to nurse, it began to feel like a serious violation of personal space. I honestly just wanted to throw the baby off of me and run screaming from the house. It was awful. I was tense and Ambrose knew it. I'd let out a frustrated sigh, he'd start bawling.

My milk supply took a dip last week sometime and I began to notice fewer and fewer wet diapers coming from him, not to mention a more intense need to nurse (both for comfort and for food), which just added to my frustration. I've also had a hard time drinking water lately, which didn't help that situation at all.
So I felt kind of trapped. I feel pretty strongly that 9 months is too young to wean a baby, and I so desperately did not want to resort to formula (It's from the devil! Not to mention that Ambrose is CLUELESS as to how to drink out of a bottle. I'm sure he'd get hungry enough eventually, but still.). It was heartbreaking for me, too, because up until this point I really, truly loved nursing and it was awfully sad for me to come to the realization that this relationship that I've so cherished might really be ending. Don't get me wrong, I was really hating it. I just missed loving it.
Last Saturday I spent nearly an hour trying to feed and put the baby down for a morning nap. I'd get frustrated, he'd get stressed out...we'd take a break, try again, repeat. It made me so sad, and I felt like I was doing such a terrible job (and I was!). I've been telling myself for weeks to just grit my teeth and get through it each and every time, but it just didn't work that way. It seemed to be a battle between pregnancy hormones and breastfeeding hormones, and the pregnancy hormones were winning. This was something I've been in prayer for constantly, something I've asked others to pray for me about as well. But still, I had no tangible solution, there was nothing I could do to talk myself out of the way I was feeling, and I was pretty much at a loss as to what to do next.
After the baby was finally sleeping that morning, just a few days ago on September 1st, I returned to the living room, feeling defeated, and began flipping through the book of Saints that I keep on our coffee table. I came across the section of patron Saints for Women. There were patron saints for childbirth and mothers and wives and...yep, breastfeeding mothers. I read the few paragraphs written about St. Giles, the patron saint of nursing mothers and how he'd given up his wealthy heritage in Athens, Greece and lived as a hermit in France, living off the milk of a doe (thus, his patronage) and giving his riches to the poor. His feast day? That very day, September 1st.
Yeah, it seemed a little eerie. (In a good way!) After a few google searches on more of St. Giles' life, I offered up a quick prayer for his intercession: "Saint Giles, pray for me." And I did each time I nursed for the rest of the day.

I don't want to cast the intercession of the Saints in a light that makes it seem like some "magic" that "works instantly!!!" like one of those internet ads that claim to help you lose 20 pounds in 3 minutes. Obviously, it's not like that at all. All I was asking and hoping for was for someone holier than I to present my needs before the Heavenly Father. And he did. That very afternoon, I sat down to nurse, bracing myself for battle.


Really, nothing. I didn't want to throttle him! I felt as nauseous as ever, and there was absolutely no physical or logical explanation for the sudden change in attitude. Saturday passed peacefully into Sunday. I began each nursing session with a "Saint Giles, pray for us!" And repeated it each time I felt myself growing tense or frustrated. And the thing is, I really wasn't tense. In fact, I was downright relaxed. For the last few days, I've honestly enjoyed our nursing relationship--something I haven't been able to do for over a month, and I'm so thankful for that. In many ways, I feel like we both still need it.
There still seemed to be a problem with how much Ambrose was actually eating, though...since we were down to approximately 2 *very slightly* wet diapers a day, and a moderately wet diaper at night, and this had lasted for close to a week. Monday night I prayed specifically for this, and asked St. Giles for his intercession, in particular, for my supply issues.
Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), I changed two heavy, very wet diapers. Things are going well today, too.

So interpret this post however you like. As for me, I'm praising God for being faithful to hear and answer my prayers, praying that He will continue to do so, and eternally thankful to Saint Giles for his powerful intercession on my behalf.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We had such a nice Labor Day weekend! We ended up not going to Michigan as planned, since work for Matt was mile-high...but he did get home early on Friday and only worked the morning on Saturday, which left us with alot of time together. There was a fair going on downtown Naperville, which we got to enjoy on Friday and Monday...and bought some greasy food that cost nearly as much as our mortgage. Had dinner with my family on Saturday, and we also won some free passes to the pool/water park in town--enough that we were able to go on both Sunday and Monday. So, a good time was had by all.

We also had our first trip to the ER with Ambrose this weekend, which was considerably less fun than the other highlights of the holiday. He was out on the patio while Matt was cooking dinner on the grill, and when Matt set the hot lid on the ground, Ambrose's fast little self was there in a split second and his right had went straight to that lid. It blistered, and we took him in. Poor guy, he was in so much pain! They loaded him up with some hefty painkillers and some ointment, and he's doing much better...though still pretty doped up.