Thursday, December 31, 2009

Daybook New Year's Eve Edition

Daybook – New Year’s Eve 2009 Edition

Outside My Window ...
The weather is falling into deep winter. The days are short, dark and very cold.
I am listening to...
Joseph trying to settle Anna down. She is crying because he just gave her some medicine. Along with the New Year will come a few more teeth for Miss Anna Clare – and she isn’t handling it very well.
To Live the Liturgy…
We’re still experiencing Advent in our hearts over here, and we’re ok with that. The journey to God’s will for our family has been revealing itself – slowly.

To be Fit and Happy….

We’re joining the YMCA! I’m really excited about it. The price is steep, but we are using the money we were spending on formula to now pay for the YMCA, so I think it’s a great move for us. I can’t wait to get into the pool, and to give Joseph the time to jump back in himself. A good swim does so much for my hubby.
I am thankful for ...
My wonderful family and friends, who have been so supportive this Christmas season as we mourn the loss of our third child to miscarriage. I am also thankful for the gift of Emanuel Elizabeth (our baby) and what the creation on this little soul has already done for our faith and our family. The gift of this baby has been great, and I know more will be revealed to us over time – but for now, we are thankful and heartbroken.
From the kitchen ...
Tonight we decided to stay in and just enjoy time at home with each other. I made a few lasagnas to take to my in-laws this weekend and we used the leftover sauce for a spaghetti dinner! Dinner was so nice, and so very messy (Anna is learning to use a fork on her own). We had to move right from the dinner table to the bathtub because the gals were such a mess. Joseph got the video camera out and documented Tessa singing all the Christmas songs she learned this year while Anna shoveled noodles into her mouth, and hair and the floor…..
After baths we decided to make some treats to take along to grandma’s and so the evening was spent making rice crispy treats and cupcakes. Tessa wants to be part of every step of the process of creating and cleaning in the kitchen while Anna will join in and then end up in the corner by herself with a book. I love how these gals are night and day from each other and am so honored to be given their little souls to tend to. I am so thankful that they are so different from each other because I find it helps be grow as a mother. I enjoy letting Anna go off by herself, if that is what she needs, and I enjoy watching Tessa take over the baking projects in the kitchen and wanting to do everything perfectly. I am sure grandma and auntie Karyi will love the treats, even if licked fingers were used in their preparation and they look a little……like a 2 year old was in charge!
I am wearing ...
Jeans and my Viterbo University T-shirt. My hair is in a pony tail and I am once again getting the itch to do something that says something other than, “I’m a 12 year old girl" with it. The problem – how do you have a stylish cut and color without having to pay all the money to maintain it?
I am creating ...
Writing projects. I experienced the ever feared, ever dreaded computer crash and now am typing away on a brand new laptop! The new purchase has me wanting to be writing, writing, writing. I know the real reason has more to do with me retreating from the world to deal with my miscarriage, but whatever the reason, I am enjoying this time.
On my iPod.....
Not a thing. I’m thinking of creating a new work out mix for my time on the elliptical – but we’ll see if I get to it.
Towards a real education ...
It is words, words, words over here! Tessa’s vocabulary has exploded and I can’t believe the complex sentences she puts together.

It’s hard to believe that a little more than a month ago, we were becoming very worried about Anna Clare’s speech development. She has grown by leaps and bounds in the past month and now has about 12 words. She is such a blessing to me, and reminds me daily that she is who God made her to be and will get where she’s going in her own good time.
Bringing beauty to my home ...
We’re learning to laugh more and yell a bit less around here. It’s been so, so very good!
I am reading ...
Over the holiday season I read Gone With the Wind and I loved every 1000 pages of it.
Last night we were blessed by a phone call from a new friend who is in town spending some time with a family we know (pray for a developing relationship!). She had no plans for the night and was wondering if she could come over and babysit our kids! Ummmm…YES! Come on over!

Joseph and I took the time alone together to spend some time at Barnes and Noble and I now have more writing magazines sitting on my desk, waiting for me

I am hoping and praying….

For so many things, the load is a bit heavy – but that is why we hope and pray! At the forefront, in the next couple of weeks we have some follow up appointments to ensure everything associated with Joseph’s surgery this past summer is working as it should. We are praying his body reacted well. Please hold our family in prayer.
Around the house ...
There are toys….everywhere! Joseph and I can’t take it anymore and have decided to purge! We just have too much stuff, and it is cluttering up our small living space and our hearts and minds. I want it gone. We are seriously talking about setting a goal of removing one third of the things in this home.
One of my favorite things ...
My family. I’ve just been enjoying being the four of us this week - and having our fifth member watching over us. I couldn’t ask for a better family, and pray we can always be as close are we are right at this moment.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
We are heading to Kenosha to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with Joseph’s family in the morning. We are looking forward to our time with them AND they are always so great about letting us get out by ourselves while we are in town. I am planning on taking full advantage of that and think we may try to get out and see the move The Blind Side.
Picture Thoughts
Here are some images of a New Year’s Eve family moment in the kitchen. Happy New Year!
We are so happy to be turning the page on this year, and pray we will continue to be blessed in 2010.

My loves in the kitchen

Tessa wants to do things all by herself - and I don't want to stop her, I so enjoy nurturing this part of her.........even if I have a hard time with tons of sprinkles on one side!

I thought I would share an out take from our family Christmas picture photo session. I LOVE this so, so much and hope you enjoy it as well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pregnancy Purgatory

Pregnancy Purgatory

I call myself a trained extrovert. I am, by nature, a sensitive and private person. Often when my face laughs and my voice is jubilant and boisterous, my heart cries. I know I’m overly sensitive and this year, I have come to learn that my two greatest gifts, motherhood and the written word, are helping me to deal with my temperament. I actually enjoy the temperament God gave me, although I struggle with people in my life who don’t believe or accept my temperament.

With every temperament comes shortcomings and I am very aware of mine. I greatly enjoy motherhood and want nothing more out of life then to kiss boo boos and share smiles with my girls. However, mommy life has forced me out of my comfort zone in many ways. My greatest struggle has been the hours of this vocation. Being a mommy is a 24 hours a day calling. This is hard for me, because I require alone time, wind down time, reflection time, private time……TIME. I am in need of a lot of time. Processors need time.

When you’re a mommy to young ones, that’s not an option. I’ve tried rationalizing mommy’s needs for space and a few moments without any touching to a two year old, it doesn’t work! So, for me, sacrificing time is my act of love. I must try to let go of the selfish need for self reflection and deep prayer, reading, and thought for the sake of my family. And, that’s ok - or so I’m learning.

I was reminded this week that although my time to reflect and pray has been sacrificed and sparse, this doesn’t mean my gift of intuition has gone absent.

With my previous pregnancies, I was sick as a dog. All day, all night, all nine months – SICK. The whole thing was very hard on me emotionally and to be honest, physically. This pregnancy - - nothing. I feel fine. I eat when I want to eat and aside from feeling tired, I hardly know I’m pregnant.

After explaining away the possibilities and friends and family members telling me I may be feeling ok because this one is a boy, I decided I still didn’t feel right about this and got myself to the doctor.

At seven weeks I had a scan and a four week old baby was found. For four weeks, the development looks good, but that puts my dates off by almost a month. I was given a due date and some simple math showed me that according to this scan, my date of conception was a week after I got a positive pregnancy test. The doctor told me he was 50/50 on if I was just that off on dates and the baby is fine or if the baby stopped growing at 4 and a half weeks and my body has yet to miscarry. The only answer is time. So, I wait two weeks. I wait until I bleed, or I wait for an ultrasound that will either show me a missed miscarriage and the need for some medical intervention, or it will show me a beautiful little heart beating away. So here I sit, in pregnancy purgatory.

In these two weeks of waiting, there are many, many things going on in my life. My husband Joseph and I have a non-refundable vacation booked to Las Vegas to celebrate getting through a very stressful year (yeah, I know- ironic..), I will turn 29, and of course, there is Christmas.

So, here I am, motherhood has once again thrown me into a situation where being an introvert is not an option. In these two weeks I will see many friends and relatives, most of whom have already heard the news of my pregnancy. My first instinct is of course to crawl in a hole and hole and hide out, not speaking to anyone for the next two weeks until I have something to tell people. I’m actually semi-famous for my ability to do this and have often fielded phone calls from friends pleading with me to stop “falling off the face of the earth.” But, this time of year does not allow this type of reaction to life. Once again, motherhood throws me out of my comfort zone and smacks me in the face with all things scary and humbling.

Although it may seem too personal to put on a blog, I’m trying to grow as a person, so bear (and pray) with me. Also, as any introvert can tell you, we have tactics to avoid uncomfortable situations. I’m not so secretly hoping folks will read this and learn of what we are going through, so I can avoid questions about the pregnancy over the holidays.

Joseph and I whole heartedly believe every conceived child has a precious little soul, and that doesn’t change if the child is born into heaven or into our arms. Either way, this baby has been born into our family. For that reason, I welcome talk of the baby from anyone. I’m just hoping to not have to explain my place of unknowing over and over and over again!

I’ve been through my angry stage of yelling and asking God why in the world He would give this family yet another struggle when we have been through so, so very much. I’ve told a few people that I feel like I am constantly playing dodge ball! But, I’ve now moved on and feel quite peaceful. I have no choice. What will be will be, and I have no control over what that is. Once you realize you have no control, it is actually a really freeing and liberating thing, and I feel blessed to experience it. Plus, I follow in the footsteps of great women who have waited on the fate of their baby. It truly is advent in our hearts!

Merry Christmas, and please pray we are able to enjoy our much needed time together of this “vacation”!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Visiting Santa

Today was the annual Rutchik gals baking and shopping day. It is a wonderful holiday tradition where my in-laws come over and we bake my husband's favorite Christmas treats from when he was young - toffee squares and peanut blossoms. It is such a blessing to share with my children the treats their daddy loved when he was young, and I know it's a special day for my mother-in-law, to make her son's childhood favorites for his children.

After our baking, we head out to the mall where my MIL treats us to lunch in the food court. We shop, and end the day with a visit to Santa. Here is the story of our visit with Santa, in pictures. I know you will enjoy it.

Anna is placed on Santa's lap and has to do what Anna does best, study the situation.

She decides she is ok, maybe, and gives a leery smile.

Momma tries to add Tessa to Santa's lap. Tessa is NOT having this and screaming, "No, Mama! Oh, no mama! Please NOOOOO!" (the poor gal so upset she's shaking)

Mama decides she cannot force her child to sit on the lap on an unknown man, and tries to bride the child by sitting next to Santa while holding the petrified little gal.

Tessa screams bloody murder while Anna studies the situation.

Anna tries to comfort her sister while Tessa screams, "NO SANTA! Santa, NO! Knock it off, Santa!"
Mama decides she needs to remove her shaking and terrified child form the situation.
On the way out, Tessa stops to pick up her free coloring book, turn to Santa, wave and say, "Bye, bye, Santa."
After all, her mother raised her to have manners!
I think we got the PERFECT Santa pictures, it will show me every Christmas who my beautiful girls were the year they were 2 and 1!
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Worth the Wait

News Worth the Wait

It’s be forever and a half since I’ve blogged. What can I say, life as a work at home mommy with a hubby in school is nuts! On a positive note, when I am absent from my blog, it usually means I am spending my little free time working on a writing project. This is good, as I have shared I really am feeling the call. I’ve been thinking, praying and writing. I’ve been feeling like something big is just around the corner and although I still believe that to be true, my focus has shifted in another direction recently.

It seems I’m getting another call:

I can’t believe it! Well, I can, but still. We were going to wait to announce until twelve weeks, but there was an incident with a vaccination line nurse yelling out my pregnant status while my mother in law stood behind me in line. Yeah, that’s a story for the record books friends, and one I may keep to myself for now as I’m sure it will end up in a book or essay someday.

Because we have moved, I have yet to hear that perfect little heartbeat every newly pregnant mommy prays for. I have just found a new doctor, but have been informed my first appointment (next week) will just be with a nurse. I so despise that initial pregnancy appointment. Yes, I know not to smoke or drink (which I don’t do anyways) and to take my vitamin. This is my third time in as many years, can’t I just see the doctor and get myself a scan so I can see that little heartbeat?

As for how I’m feeling - - great! This is good, but slightly concerning to me. With both my little gals I was sick as a dog from the time I saw 2 lines until the day I delivered! It was miserable, but the ill feeling helped me from gaining much weight, so I consider it a blessing! This go around, I don’t even feel pregnant. So, this is strange territory for me, and I want that scan!

Regardless, there is another soul in our little family and we couldn’t be more blessed. Please pray my fears and anxieties about everything are eased, and that this baby continues to grow.

PS-if you are my Facebook friend, please don’t comment on the pregnancy on Facebook, not many people read my blog and I would like to wait until I hear that heartbeat before the news shows up on my page. Thanks!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Krissy!!

I’ve been MIA from the world of Blog. Humph. Usually, when I drop of the face of the earth, it’s a bad, bad thing. It means I'm holed up in an introverted ball avoiding the outside world. This time, it just means I’m a busy mommy who’s taken on lots of different tasks to financially contribute to our home.

But, when I do go MIA and really am in a ball on my couch – I know who will be the first one to notice (and call and bug me over and over, and over again until I come out to play) and reach out. She’s the bestest friend I’ve ever had, and today is her birthday!

She has been through all of life’s ups and downs with me since I was about 14, she introduced me to my husband and has been a great friend in faith. This past year, she sure pulled her weight in our friendship! To name the BIG ones:

She babysat for miss Tessa countless times exactly one year ago while I was on bed rest awaiting the arrival of Anna. I wasn’t mobile and had to go to the doctor 2 or 3 times a week. She took Tessa every time and went as far as writing my doctor appointments into her calendar, so I didn’t even have to ask her to babysit!

She listened through ENDLESS conversations over a potential Rutchik move and supported our decision to move away from her and her family. That’s a real friend!

While we were living practically next door to each other, I borrowed many more things from her fridge than she ever did from mine.

She watched our children while Joseph and I sat in her living room and driveway and cried after receiving the news of his health – and then sent her husband for pizzas.

She brought me 5 Cokes the day Joseph had his heart surgery (I’m not sure if she knew she had given me that many Cokes, or if she really thought I drank that much:)

She bundled up an infant and came rushing to the hospital late one night because I was alone and scared - and needed her.

She’s an extrovert who pulls people to her with her wonderful energy and kind heart. She also doesn’t mind when I make all my friends from the pool of people she’s introduced me too!

She’s the sister I never had and calls me family, even though she’s been blessed with 2 sisters of her own.

She’s the Godmother of my first born – with whom she shares her birthday week.

She understands when life and kids are too much and I can’t call on her actual birth day - and will accept this blog post in place of a call (ok, I haven’t talked to her about that one, but I’m sure she will! )

It was one of those years when I did most of the leaning. But, I know I don’t have to feel badly about that, she knows my shoulders are ready for her, should she ever need them.

I pray you are blessed with a best friend as good as mine, though I highly doubt anyone could top her! If you want to be touched by this AMAZING, beautiful and faithful women, head on over to and tell her I sent you! It would feel nice to be the one introducing her to someone!

Happy Birthday Krissy! I LOVE you!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Steppin' Out With My Lady

Steppin’ Out With My Lady

I’ve got a bad case of the Mondays, friends. You know the days when the world feels hopeless and you can’t imagine anyone in the world could have a longer “to do” list then yourself? Yup, that is the scary place I am in today.

No need to worry, I have a fairly healthy emotional intelligence and although I am a moody melancholic – at least I know it and know how to deal with myself! Today, the world is swallowing me up. But tomorrow, well tomorrow will be grand. I’m convinced.

On days like these, I need to throw up the white flag and surrender the day to the thoughts of stress, “what ifs” and “you’re not good enoughs”. Good thing I have a lovely distraction!

Miss Anna Clare had a huge weekend of milestones. She learned to clap and say “YEAH” over, and over, and over again. She saw her sister climb a staircase and decided to follow, figuring out how to climb as she went. And, the most impressive event of the weekend: first steps were taken on an early Saturday morning. My poor husband. He usually gets up with the children in the early morning. On this day he had been sent back to bed by yours truly. I thought I would give him a day off. In doing so, I got to witness her goofy grin as she took her first steps toward me. I’m sad Joseph missed it. He missed Tessa’s first steps as well. So, while he slept, I sat with my grandma and watched Anna Clare take her first steps.

So, the world can have its problems and my “to do” list can grow by a mile for all I care. I’m putting it aside, and getting down on the floor to help Anna practice her new found talent!

And now I must thank you and take my leave. Anna just pulled the garbage can on top of herself and it sounds like a mess is screaming my name. Is it bed time yet?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Work in Progress Wednesday

Work in Progress Wednesday

Whew! What a week it has been over here! As some of my readers know, my husband, Joseph, is finishing up his MA in English. He is also working for the University as a graduate assistant. The past few weeks he has been working on assisting a professor who is the editor of Film and History – An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies. This means on top of his studies and his time creating and editing videos for The Apostleship of Prayer, he has been swimming in a sea of papers. I call him the master editor. He spends his days editing visual images AND written words.
Factor in my job working with words and my commitment to personal writing and we are up to our eyeballs in proofing, editing and writing over here! It’s been really difficult to get any of this done during the waking hours of our children, so we have taken to living a double life. By day we are responsible parents and adults. Once bedtime rolls around for our girls – Joseph and I are holed up in our bedroom, working, working, working! He sits at a 5-foot table we have set up in our bedroom as his working space. It holds 2 computers, a camera, stacks of books and several wires I haven’t the slightest idea what they are for. He sits in front of the computer with his headphones on and I lie on the bed with my laptop. In the background we have Nick at Night playing on the TV (Roseanne is my favorite show of all time)! Because we have been working so hard into the wee hours of night/morning, the room is a mess with laundry and unpacked bins from our move over a month ago.
At about 2am one of us usually interrupts the other to express our hunger. We break for a snack, then sit on the bed, and eat something bad for us as we watch middle of the night TV.
Last night I realized I felt like I was back in college. Our bedroom has turned into a dorm room! I kind of love it! My husband and I didn’t meet until we were in graduate school. I was already living in my own apartment and he with a priest friend of ours. Therefore, I feel like I’ve been blessed with the ability to share a piece of my husband’s life I missed – the college years. The whole thing is wonderfully romantic and creatively fulfilling. Had we each chosen different paths, the bohemian lifestyle of up all night creating and sleeping until the middle of the afternoon would have suited us well. Thankfully, we are called to family life over here. We are currently enjoying both lifestyles - out of necessity. We are oh so tired though, so I don’t know how much longer we will be able to sustain our “door room nights.”

I share this all because it’s Work in Progress Wednesday. My works in progress are coming along well. I’ve got to have something to show for being up until 4am the last 5 nights! Not only have I moved forward on two half written essays, I’ve started 2 more! I am also reading the book Writing Life Stories – How to Make memories into Memoirs, ideas into Essays, and life into Literature by Bill Roorbach. I’m so excited I’m having a difficult time remembering to pay the bills or add broccoli to that meal I just made for Tessa!

I know this double life can’t last forever. I’m always a wife and mother first and will have to stop giving so much of myself to my creative endeavors the moment the other aspects in my life start to suffer. The girls always wake up by 8am and this mommy can’t function on 4 hours of sleep a night for too long. But, until then, I am going to enjoy my late night time with my projects and my husband. I know it’s not the conventional way of life, but we aren’t conventional people over here. And as for our children, I pray they too have artistic outlets.

Joseph's workspace

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Time to Celebrate!

I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I do have a knack for turning the everyday into a holiday! In fact, I’m going to guess I make more cut out cookies over the course of one year than anyone I know. I make them for every season – and I don’t even like them all that much. I just love to celebrate! I love to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary! - Side note: that might be the title of my next personal essay –

Come the real holiday season and I field phone calls and visits from family and friends who suggest I pull it back, not work too hard or put too much pressure on myself to do all of these things. The fact of the matter is, as a stay and home / work at home mom, planning special days, meals and gatherings gets me through the day and gives me something to look forward to. Crazy as it sounds – this introvert needs to party!

As a lifetime Wisconsinite, I couldn’t let this week’s Packer/Viking game pass without cut outs, homemade meatballs and donning my whole family in Packer gear. I even did three loads of laundry before I found my husband’s Packer shirt. I hate laundry, but we must be matchy – matchy as a family. The whole thing wouldn’t have been nearly as obnoxious or fun if we weren’t!

We love Wisconsin sports in the Rutchik home. Truth be known, we are more baseball and swimming fans than football. But, if there is one thing I hate, it’s a traitor. You may have heard of a man who goes by the name of Brent, or Bert, or something along those lines. He wears the number 4, has a difficult time making decisions, and then expects multimillion-dollar organizations to wait around on him. The hype of his first game against the Packers as a Viking was all over the Wisconsin, and national, news this week. To me, it was a big glittering invitation to get out the cookies cutters and homemade meatball recipe!

We had a great time! I was forced to clean the house for guests and my husband was off to fill the role as graduate school student/assistant for the day. He had a wonderful meeting on campus and although the Packers lost, we got the opportunity to celebrate a big accomplishment for my husband. We added a much needed dose of good friends and food to the mix and had a wonderful evening celebrating life!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Work in Progress Wednesday

Work in Progress Wednesday

I’m thrilled to be adding Work in Progress Wednesday to my blog! Not only is this blogging tool a springboard to share, network, and offer support to the online writing community – but it will also be a great way for me to stay accountable to my writing goals! So, without further ado, my first Work in Progress Wednesday:

I’m taking a writing class! I am so excited to be taking this course, but also questioning my sanity. With both my husband and I working from home, his masters program and oh yeah, our 2 kids under age 2, I must have been a lunatic to sign my name to another time commitment. The fact of the matter; I NEED it. I desperately need something of my very own right now. We are working so hard over here and have just been through a time of crisis. My soul is craving something of my very own – something that does not fall into the categories of wife, mother or employee.

Starting Oct. 7, I will be taking the course Personal Essays That Get Published with Abigail Green! I know this class will be a perfect fit for me personally, and for my writing goals. Special thanks go out to Abigail Green and my father for making this possible. Abby was very willing to answer my questions while I was making this decision and my dad helped me make the decision by telling I must take the course and then writing the check for me to do so!

When it comes to marking progress in my writing, my methods are a bit untraditional. Because I write non-fiction, word count and story plotting are not goals on my to do list. Instead, I keep ongoing lists of essay ideas and prompts. When I’m feeling inspired, I write the rough draft of an essay, take the initial line or thought that sparked the idea off the list of potential essays and then place the first draft of the essay in a “to edit” folder. My current goal is to finish edits and re-writes on the essays in that folder BEFORE starting another essay. I have too many unfinished pieces of work floating around on my desktop. This week’s goal: 2 essays.

Another writing goal I am working on is choosing a writer’s conference. I’ve been reading on agent and author blogs about how beneficial this experience has been to the writing process. I am stating to research and save my pennies. I hope to make my appearance at a writer’s conference next fall. Any suggestions for a conference offering information on non-fiction would be greatly appreciated!

Until next week, if you need to find me, I’ll be glued to my computer!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sleeping Beauty and Other tidbits

We’re settled! Ok, that was a lie. We are not settled. It has been almost 2 weeks since we moved and we are not settled. In our defense, we had no clue how difficult it was going to be with kids. I feel like the only time I can unpack boxes is when both girls are sleeping. And, if you know anything about our family, these gals don’t sleep at the same time.

Never the less, we are coming along slowly but surly. It feels good. Joseph had his first class this evening and came home looking smarter already. Or at least that is what the smile on his face told me.

I am feeling really good about this change in our lives. I am not, however, feeling good about paying 2 rents. So, please, pray for us to find a lease take over in Milwaukee. It would lift so much worry and uncertainty from our shoulders.

I’m working on many big projects in life. One of these will be a picture recap of our summer for my blog. One of my main motives for beginning this blog was to document our day to day life as a family. The summer handed us some crazy and challenging times, so the day to day aspect of life went out the window – with the blog. I am hoping to recap and get back to more regular postings. I will also be adding posts about my “writing life” to blog. I’m doing so in an effort to share a big part of myself I’ve never shared before. I know, I’m growing as a person!

While these things are in the works, I thought I would share a little piece of lovely from my day. While Joseph was at school the girls were getting a bit crazy. Tessa was sent to her room for a little alone time to reflect after a bout of sassy sassy talk. I was organizing my desk while Anna Clare sat on the floor playing with a sippy cup. I found myself caught up in my project. Panic washed over me as I realized there was silence in my home. Any mother with little ones can tell you silence is a bad, bad sign when you’ve got kids. I looked into the living room to find this:

Now, to the average person – this is a cute picture of a little gal falling asleep. How cute—and so on and so on. However, Anna Clare is the anti-sleeper. She has never - in all her 9 months of life - fallen asleep without an hour of screaming and rocking. Falling asleep in the middle of sitting up and drinking is a big accomplishment for her – and me! I love her so very much, but feel as if she has been overlooked when it comes to who she is as a person – because she has screamed day and night since the day she was born. Thus, that is the aspect of her at the forefront of our minds and conversations with family and friends. Could this be the dawn of a new day for her…for us…..for my sleep?!!

Here is hoping the changes around here as a beautiful as the summer to fall transition happening outdoors.

Do you feel like your life changes with the seasons? What changes does this fall bring for you?

Monday, August 31, 2009

For All The Writers Out There....

For All The Writers Out There….

We moved. It was long, hot, difficult, and a turning point for our family. I’ll be sharing the good and bad of it all in an upcoming post. But I am so baffled by the irony of life right now I had to share.

Along with moving comes many more things on the to do list. I’m aware of this and for the most part, ok with it. I’ve spent the last few days making phone calls, changing our address, getting recommendations for doctors and stocking up on groceries and all the new things one needs in a new place. I also have a job, a hubby in transition and recovery and oh yeah, 2 kids under 2.

So, why oh why has the inspiration bug hit me now? Here, at midnight when I should be sleeping, or unpacking, or working or paying the bills – when I have to get up in the morning and try to catch up on life?

So I’m up writing. I’m pleased with what is coming to me, but sometimes wish I could choose the day and the time.

I ask my fellow writers out there if this happens to you as well? If so, please share (and explain!)

Photo credit: photoscom

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Love and Marriage

For the sake of protecting the innocent, names have been changed in the following actual conversation:

Molly: “Hey babe, why are we going this way, I thought we were going to Target?”

BOseph: “Yeah, I thought you meant this Target, up here.”

Molly: “Ok, but the other Target is new, way closer and I told you I like the ice in the Coke better there.”

BOseph: “Oh, yeah, ok, sorry, it must have been a miscommunication.”

Molly: “Yeah, I know, that seems to be our M.O. lately.”

BOseph: “No, not really.”

Molly: “Haha! See.”

BOseph: “Wait, what?”

Molly: “Nothing.”

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thanks for Calling!

Thanks for Calling

My daughter is 21 months old now and is developing a particular attachment to all the “tools” I use in my day-to-day life. It’s interesting to see how her little eyes perceive what things define a person. My keys, shoes, purse and sunglasses spend more time donning her little mop-top self than my own.

I’m somewhat ashamed to confess this next little slice of our life. She thinks my phone is actually called a “Holly” and not a “Phone.” I gather this comes from the fact that I work from home and during business hours am answering the phone, “Hello, this is Holly.” Either way, she picks it up and carries it around, calling it her “Holly.” When the phone rings, her eyes light up, her mouth falls open and she starts running in circles with excitement screaming, “Holly, Holly, Holly!!!” I’ve tried replacing my phone with her Elmo phone, but after one or two conversations with Elmo, she’s back to wanting the real deal.

In some ways, it’s flattering to see her put on my sunglasses, my shoes and pick up the keys while she’s tossing the diaper bag across her body and saying, “Ok, bye bye, see you.” She always does so with a smile and then puckers up for a goodbye kiss. I’m not sure if I should be proud of the fact I must always leave the house with a kiss and hug, or if I should feel shame over appearing so very happy while I am LEAVING my home!

Like so many things do, witnessing this everyday bring me to a spiritual reflection. Is this how I appear in the eyes of God? Trying so very hard to impress him with my faith and knowledge as I stumble around, trying my very best to imitate the example He gave me as the perfect mother: Mary?

The thought that the amusement I get from the sight of my daughter doing these things could be similar to how God views my attempts at faith, piety and prayer makes me blush. It also humbles me, and warms my heart. Child-like joy in beautiful. I guess it isn’t so bad to entertain the possibility I could still possess it.

However I look in the eyes of God, I will continue to “put on” Christ, because that is what I believe He calls me to do. The way in which I so seriously do it may be a bit off the mark, but just like my daughter, I will do it with the best of intentions – and a smile.

I must always answer the call. Oftentimes, it’s Elmo, but sometimes, it’s God.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Help Please!

So when I log onto my blog to read blogs it says, "you are not currently following any blogs."

Ummmm...yes I am! Where did they all go and how do I get them back? When I go to someone's blog I know I follow, I can still find myself in their list of followers - so what gives?

However, my pictures does not show up on other people's "followers" list--what gives with that?

Oh, technology...:)

I would love some help please.

Sorry to waste a post on this, but if you are reading this, your blog list is working, so I don't feel too badly for you!!:)


Monday, August 10, 2009

The Winds of Change

The Winds of Change

The summer has been long and trying. We were heartbroken (no pun intended) when we found out about Joseph’s health and put all our big life plans for graduate degrees and moving vans on hold.

And here we are, once again planning our move. Joseph has been given the clearance from his doctors to move and resume his graduate studies. In all actuality, God’ timing has been wonderful. Joseph will be able to continue working toward his dream while also preparing to become an even better provider for our family. He’ll be able to do all of this while he is healing. Perfect timing, as working full time during these recovery months would be very taxing on him. Things have come full circle for us, as they often do.

The foundation of our relationship was build while Joseph was first attending graduate school. For this reason, I feel as young as I did then, before health crisis and financial woes of having a family were even on my radar. Instead, I’m so hopeful. We are now living in a constant state of possibility! Overall – it’s so very refreshing!

We’ve found the place we will call home in the very near future. It’s a cute little condo/townhome featuring the same amount of square footage we currently have, but with some modest and exciting upgrades from our current family dwelling. Some if these include; a private front door and stoop, an open kitchen facing out into the living area, a garage, a shower in the second bathroom, and my personal favorite - a washer and dryer!! Praise the Lord! We’ll sign the papers this coming Friday and move in on the 28th!

Excitement fills my days and visions of new decorating schemes dance, dance, dance in my head. However, I have a few reality checks to consider before I pack my first box. We have three weekends until we move and they are all booked up. Two of these weekends are out of town weddings for which Joseph has been hired as the videographer, great for our very little family business, bad timing for me. I also have my ten-year high school reunion (yikes!) I would really like to attend. This may have to go, sad as it makes me. It’s just too far away. I also have two deadlines for work and let’s not forget there is a family of four to pack up and I am currently the only able bodied person among us. It all feels a bit overwhelming, but in such a great way. I know I can make it through this and am happy to be doing so. If the month of July, with all the ups and downs it brought with the health of my family taught me anything, it is that I truly am stronger than I knew! I am so thankful for this gift.

And now it’s time to move onto other winds, those of my call. It goes without saying my first call is to motherhood. It is my vocation, and I accept it with thanksgiving and gratitude. However, it has been a very big year for me and my writing. Looking back, I think it was through my true vocation of motherhood I found my call to writing to be stronger than I’d anticipated. After I had Tessa Joseph took a second job to pay off some debt and start this family off on the right foot. We were gifted with a second car from some wonderful and charitable friends and off he went two nights a week to work. While Tessa slept and my husband worked, I wrote. I wrote because I finally wasn’t afraid to. Becoming a mother did that for me.

Shortly after I became pregnant again and once Anna arrived we went into survival mode for a long while. Having a fussy, screaming and ant-sleeping baby will do that to a gal. Even in all of this, I wrote. I wrote because I couldn’t NOT write. I also really started to pray about writing.

I’ve been still and listened, and I’ve received the message loud and clear. I’m to actively pursue this. I AM actively pursuing this writing thing. It’s scary and exciting and wonderful and stressful and….I love it. And now that I’ve said it, it’s real and I am accountable for my dreams and my gifts.

The winds of change are alive and well over here in the Rutchik home, and something tells me these winds of change are those of the Spirit.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Make Over!

Well, I feel the need for a makeover!

Ok, so I'm not talking about a shopping spree or a new hair cut. Although, I do feel as it I "deserve" a nice pedicure(something I LOVE but gave up when I stopped working full time and had kids.)

But, then I recall how we don't really deserve anything in life, and how I should count my blessings and not the calluses on my feet.

Nope, I'm talking about a BIG LIFE makeover. I've been praying and writing about many, many things and think I have come to some big conclusions.

I'm not yet ready to reveal, but I thought when I do - a blog makeover will be in order as well. I love my little blog, modest as it is, but it reflects what I feel is a bit of my darker, more reflective side.

The picture at the top is one I took on Chamber's Island in Door County, WI. It is a shot of a staircase outside of Holy Name Retreat House. I love Door County and truly believe the Spirit is alive and well at Holy Name Retreat House. However, lately, the picture has been bothering me. I have many, many friends who have been as blessed as I to have spent time on the Island and none of their pictures reflect the same moods as mine. With such a beautiful place comes vibrant colors and life, something I choose not to depict in my photo. I believe this is somewhat reflective of my state of mind at times.

I enjoy my reflective and often somewhat dark side. I believe God has made me this way for a reason, and I view my melancholic temperament as a gift. However, we have been through so very much over here in the Rutchik home this summer. There has been nothing but worry, reflection and all around seriousness and I think it's high time I brought out the happy, bubbly Holly I try to portray to the world.

Big changes are also coming for our family and as soon as my lovely hubby pulls the figurative trigger and makes a decision and tells me it is 100 percent, I'm in! Growing wearing of me saying this?--me too! I invite you to have a little chat with the love of my life.

So, I anticipate the lifting of the reflective clouds over here and am excited to spend some time in child-like joy. I'm also looking forward to having my blog reflect this and to learning a bit more about how to use all the features.

Some things I don't know how to do--in case you feel like helping:

Linking to another blog. I know how to incert a website, but not how to change it so it says the name of that blog, book or person.

Subscribing to a feed. I can only follow blogs if they have the little "follow" button, otherwise, I don't understand how to do it. I hear talk of people's "readers" and wonder what in the world you all are talking about.

Until then, I hold you all close in my heart and my prayers.

Monday, July 27, 2009

One of THOSE Moms

One of THOSE Moms

So here I am! I’m back. This month has been the longest, and hardest, of my life. I will never again complain about being stressed out and busy in life, unless I really am in one of these situations again. God willing, I won't be. In reality….it’s something to prepare for.

I heard once that people who struggle with stress, anxiety and worry should ask themselves this question:

Is this going to matter in five years?

If the answer is “yes” then one can feel justified in allowing these emotions to consume them. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but it has crossed my mind in the last month.

I have so many things to work through with what we have been through, and don’t think the blog is the best place to do so, at least not right now. I will give this update though:

Joseph is doing well and seems to have recovered well from his surgery and set back. The process is taking much longer than it did three years ago when he had heart surgery, but the doctors say that is to be expected with having to go into the chest a second time. His spirits are high, and his doctors have said if he feels able, he should be able to resume his graduate program in September! Thank you all for your prayers and messages, they really meant so much to me and I will get around to addressing them. This brings me to a question for my fellow writers out there:

I’ve been writing a lot lately, big life events tend to do that to a writer. I’m using some of these things for some pieces I will be submitting, so I don’t know how much to share on the blog—thoughts—rules of the writing/blogging game? I would love to hear about how the rest of you wordsmiths deal with this.

Now, onto more important things – my children, and the reason for the title of this entry.
I always told myself I won’t be “one of THOSE moms.” I said this in reference to many things. One of these things has to do with art projects and general creative F-U-N. It is so very important to Joseph and I to nurture and affirm the creative development of our children. In doing so, I don’t mean that I want to “do” their projects for them, like SOME moms. I really want to provide them with the opportunity to be creative and to teach them, form a very young age, to create. I know some of my friends and family think I'm nuts for giving art projects to 6 month old babies, but I don’t want then to ever remember a time when they didn’t create! So, we WILL do projects in this home, and I WON’T be one of THOSE moms who directs/does the work for the child. They don’t need me, they are brilliant just being themselves.

Anna seems to take to the painting much more than Tessa. I remember doing projects with Tessa when she was Anna’s age and she tended to like taking apart and putting together the materials more than she liked actually using them. She also would rather play in the water bowl that I always have on hand for a project. We are realizing how very much she LOVES anything that has anything to do with water. She even talks to water, when she sees it and when she is laying in her bed at night talking to herself—it is all about water. She loves to swim and even goes under the water already. Joseph (a swimmer himself) is so very proud!

Anna LOVED the painting. She seemed to like how it felt on her hands and enjoyed moving it around on the paper. Like all things Anna does, she was very focused and pleased with having a task at hand—while Tessa screamed and danced and splashed in the “WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHYAAAAAARRRRRR”

Aunt Karyi and Daddy were here for the memory making day. It was very close to a perfect weekend! It was the first time, in a long time, we have felt semi-normal – like a family – not a “sick” family.
It was so needed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Time for a Break

Sorry I have been MIA from the world of blog.

Joseph is doing well now, but had a set back last week, so I have been busy, busy.

With trying to keep our life going, work, taking care of the kids and looking into moving-- something had to give, and it was the blog.

I hope to be back up very soon!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How Soon We Return

Look who sat in a chair today! He even got a heart pillow as his prize for making it through!

The past few weeks I have been able to think of nothing else. Conversations in my head went something like this:

“Anna has been up all night screaming every night this week. She is 7 months old, we really need to nip this thing in the bud….”

“Who cares, Joseph has to have heart surgery.”

Ok, so that is a an understandable response for the wife of a man facing a really scary heart procedure. But……

then it spiraled into:

“We have to go to the store because we are out of diapers.”

“Who cares, can’t think about that right now, Joseph has to be have heart surgery! Who knows if he will even be here to change diapers ever again! I can’t do this by myself, Oh my God, I will die, I will die……….I’ll go broke…..and crazy…….and I’ll have to move home with my parents……and my kids will hate me because I will cry through their whole lives……and I can’t lead their souls without Joseph………… they will end up getting paid to do things a lady doesn’t do…………”

Ok, so things got a wee bit out of control. In my defense, I have an amazing husband! He is truly, truly my best friend. We were even best friends before we stated dating. He changes diapers, gets up in the night to feed babies, cleans the bathrooms, and is a silently holy husband and father. So, yes, I was upset about the prospect of losing him, of the girls losing him.

Praise the Lord, his surgery went well and as of now, he is looking really good. We have a long road ahead of us in many, many ways. Your prayers are still humbly requested as this is only the first step for him and his health.

But, to me, for a while, this was the only step I could see, and it ended with a call from a surgeon in an operating room. That much I knew. I feel so very blessed by the outcome of that phone call. And then, about an hour after I was able to see him, as rough of shape as he was in, I started to think about everything else that needed to be done for life that I had let fall to the weigh side.

I’m now trying to play catch up; be by Joseph’s side, help with the girls, work, and budget for all these wonderful medical expenses. Don’t get me wrong, I am far from complaining here. I’m just realizing what I have done to myself.

So, before I go to sleep tonight (after I pay the bills and get some work done) I thought I would reflect again on Joy. The importance of finding Joy in the everyday aspects of life and taking that Joy and turning it into prayer has been really important to me over the last few months. I now see God was preparing me for the road ahead. He has taught my heart about Joy. He has taught me how to recognize Him, and all of His gifts, through Joy. In these everyday things I see grace, mercy and unconditional love. So, although yes, there is a lot on our plate here in the Rutchik home, I really just want to share our Joy, to be a witness through this gift.

In efforts to keep the Spirit of Joy alive and strong in my heart, I will share some of the Joys I have had through what have been a few of the most difficult days of my life:

My mom came to take care of my children. She pretty much canceled her life and came to pick up the pieces of mine.

My friends and family have been lining up to show me the face of Christ. The offers for assistance in any form have been pouring in and we really, truly appreciate every one of them.

My friend Krissy came to sit with me at the hospital while I waited. She did so with 2 kids at home and one in her arms. I know it was a sacrifice and she never once mentioned all the juggling she had to do to make it happen.

The medical professionals. I so appreciate their gifts, as they are so different then my own and so amaze me.

Prayer. We’ve been told by many people that our situation gave them something to pray for in a time when they felt they had fallen away from prayer. We have even been able to spend some good time in prayer with our friends. We have spent great time in prayer together.

My husband, who’s last words as they put the mask on him in the OR were, “Tell my wife I love her.” Seriously, with this man! He is romantic even in the scariest moment!

My marriage. I am so thankful for our marriage. When we face things like this I’m reminded how very strong and Christ centered our marriage is and I thank God for giving us the life situations that call us to this type of marriage.

The world. We have met and been blessed with such good people. In my mail box today we received two anonymous gifts of large sums of money. The sacrifice and dedication to the call of charitable giving in the hearts of these friends gives me hope for humanity. Who has money to spare in these times? No matter who these people are, they sacrificed because they anticipated the needs of others. How beautiful. It really touched my heart. We are all called to charitable giving in some way. It may or may not be in a financial way, but we have all been given gifts to share with one another. I thank these people for sharing with us their blessings, we will in turn pray for them. In the spirit of respecting their call to charitable giving, I won’t go asking around as to who would do such a thing and wouldn’t even know where to start.

My lovely, lovely ladies. Their faces so bright! They are my little pieces of Joy!!

And, now, my youngest little Joy is crying in the night, so off I go to enjoy some late night time with her!!

…how soon we return…..but we thank God for it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Thank you all for your wonderful prayers and messages for my husband Joseph and our family.

I feel so thankful and blessed to report everything went well and according to plan! I was able to be with him as he woke up.

I apologize for the this quick and choppy post, but I wanted to give an update and send out thanksgiving for you all! I also have only slept about 2 hours in the last 48 hour period, so I hope I am making sense!

Please continue to pray for us through the night.

I'm feeling good, but think I will feel a lot better after he makes it through the night.....and the next night....and the next.........

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Lion's Den

The Lion’s Den

My alarm will go off at 4:30am tomorrow, July 1st. We will rise before the sun and head out the door, ready to take on the day we are given.

At 5:00am we will check Joseph into the hospital and then I will begin my long day of waiting and praying in the Family Center and the Chapel.

At 8:00am Joseph’s heart surgery is scheduled to begin.

These are the only plans I have in life right now—and they begin in just a few hours.

It is a strange feeling, to really not know what is going to happen in you life a day from now. But, really, maybe we should all be living like this, everyday.

Regardless, I pray when my alarm goes off in just mere hours-I will be waking up to a day filled with hope.

Please pray for us tonight and throughout the day tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Although, logically, we all know the world does not revolve around us, sometimes, it’s hard to grasp the concept that the world does not stop when personal crisis hits. Outside of the news about Joseph’s health, we actually had a bad week last week. To ask why, in my opinion, would be too much. However, I did find the question, “Seriously?” Come out of my mouth, in varying inflections, often throughout the week.

In efforts to take life for what it is, a gift, while trying to not take things so……Seriously……I would like to share the others events of this past week.

1. On our way to what we thought was just going to be a yearly check in, we dropped our kids off at Pete and Krissy’s (check her out at A Fruitful Vine) An hour or two turned into an almost 12 hour day for my best friend and 5 kids under age 4. This includes 2 babies 6 months and younger! The woman is great with kids and a wonderful mother, SERIOUSLY! As best friends do, they let us sit in their home, in shock, as they begged to take as much of our burden as possible- and fed our family. We are so blessed by them.

2. Understandably so, I was very upset about the news of my husband's health and upcoming surgery. I did not think I would be able to face the days leading up to his operation. The though of taking care of the girls, working, going to appointments with Joseph, and preparing our life for his heart surgery seemed too much to take. Enter my mom! She came down to take care of the girls and clean my house (which REALLY needed it) so I could focus on other things! Good mom, SERIOUSLY!

3. It’s hot. It is really, really, hot. Being practically allergic to the sun and the outside world in general, I am a BIG fan of air conditioning and set mine to “cranked up” the moment the thermometer hits 75.

As my life would have it, the air conditioner in our van is broken. Seeing as we have put about $500 unexpected dollars into the van in the past 2 months, we opted for the “suck it up and deal” approach.

Despite the hot weather, my mom and I packed the kids into the van and set out to run a few errands. Upon parking at our first destination, we realized the power windows were not working. Our windows were both stuck down. I moaned, hit the steering wheel, cursed our van and said, “SER---IOUS---LY?!!”

4. We don’t have a garage, so my husband and I spent some nice quality time trying to tape our windows up with garbage bags and electrical tape. Within a few hours, we were under a tornado warning. SERIOUSLY, this is the way things go for the Rutchiks!

5. I went out to get my hair cut off. As I got in the van, I thought I would try, one last time, to get the darn windows to go up. I pressed the button and…….up they went! I have no idea how or why windows that were broken for a few days are now not broken, but I don’t have time to care! I was, however, too scared to roll them down out of fear they would become stuck again. As I drove, I vowed to withstand the heat and not touch the windows. As I grew tired and weary from the heat, I got lost. While sitting in traffic baking in the sun in my van with no air via any source, I called my husband to help me find my way home. While I was trying to explain to him where I was, we were interrupted by police and fire trucks. Before I could explain this to him, my mother beeped in on the other line to inform me the fire alarms were going off and the police and fire departments were showing up outside our building. Again, I ask, SERIOUSLY?

6. Windows still working and no fires in sight, we decided to take a dip in the pool. It was one of those perfect summer late afternoons. My friend Lora called to inform us that A&W was giving away FREE root beer floats! SERIOUSLY AWESOME! We decided to have “backwards dinner” and eat dessert first, while the chicken was cooking.

Daddy giving Tessa a taste of her first Root Beer Float. I think it DOES taste better when it's free!

7. While the chicken was cooking, the sky opened up and just dumped rain, rain, rain. We noticed our patio was collecting inches by the minute and upon investigation, found the gutter system on top of our building had snapped, RIGHT. ABOVE. OUR. DOOR. Of course. We spent so much time gathering buckets and positioning our friend’s wagon to catch the water, and then emptying the water into the storm drain, we forgot about the chicken. A smoke filled home and potential home flood. Perfect, exactly what the Rutchik’s needed!

My mom said this was the most excitement she has had in one day since we were little. She was so pooped out after a few days here!

8. Our girls know something is wrong, and are acting accordingly. Being a highly intuitive person myself, I can see them developing their intuitiveness and it makes me proud. I feel blessed by the gift and was hoping to find it in the souls of our children. Unfortunately, in this situation, it means having our little Tessa, the anti-cuddler, wanting to be help all....the...time. This is not possible when Anna is, bu nature, the most needy baby I have ever met. She herself is showing signs of distress and has decided not to sleep, ever. She has backtracked on any progress she had made in this department and is back to screaming around the clock. It is exhausting and as I anticipate our need to have others taking care of our children for us soon, I struggle this most with this one and with anger in my heart, ask God, SERIOUSLY?!!

So, that was our week! It was full of highs and lows. It was a good reminded that you can’t stop life. Things happen and you can either roll with them or not. Our prayer is that our struggles feed our souls and lead us closer to God’s Kingdom. We are praying on these lessons. We think we may be on to what we think we can take out of this roadblock. As we haven’t had the best luck with sharing our hearts recently, we’ve decided to hold this in prayer through our ordeal. No matter God’s intentions, we are holding our heads high, hand in hand, chins high and ready to take on this surgery.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A "Fare Thee Well" to Hair.

This week continues to be one for the books. I told a friend I've been experiencing great peaks and valleys, and I truly have. Joseph has been sharing with me how he is struggling to find balance in all of this. How do we continue on with our lives knowing there is a huge hurdle to jump before we can do so? On the other hand, we can’t sit and cry and throw a pit party for days on end until he is rolled into the OR. We’ve got kids to raise over here. If anything will force one into the here and now, it is a blow out diaper or a screaming baby!

We have felt the warm comfort of resting in the embrace of the Lord turn into the pounding of the “why me’s” within the same breath. The last few days we've had have not helped us in kicking this emotional yo-yo tricks showcase. But, that is for another post I am currently working on……stay tuned for more on that!

I wanted to hop on in these wee hours when everyone else is sleeping to share with you this: I got my hair chopped off! Some may think I am flying off the deep end and turning to drastic messages and to them, I say, “umm, duh!”

The reality of the situation is that I have been through this once before. God willing, I will be spending many, many a days in a hospital room. These long days of doing nothing but sitting and praying are not too conducive to the luxury of showering. Thus, maintaining my most prized physical feature, my long, thick, hair is no longer an option for this mama!

So, I decided to just chop it off and move on with more important things in life. The idea came to me when I started receiving the outpouring of love and support that has lifted me up this week. It made me uncomfortable and so very vulnerable to know so many people are talking about and praying for us. I started thinking about what I could do to offer that support to someone else. Besides prayers (which are the best form of support) I don’t have anything to give right now. My cup is empty. The one think I do have is hair! I’ve got a lot, and lot, of hair. The idea to donate it brought such joy to my bleeding heart, I knew it was brilliant.

Unfortunately, I was informed I did not have enough hair to donate as I had a short layer. But, I still needed to shed the do in order to create more time to focus on taking care of the other members of my family. So here it is! The girl who has been described like this:

“you know, that girl with the really long, really black hair”

since she was in kindergarten, gets her hair cut off.

Enjoy, and please, keep praying for my family and know I am never too busy or upset to pray for yours! Please, please let me know if I can log some prayer hours with YOU on MY heart!!

A "Fare Thee Well" to Hair!

1. Be forced to look into a mirror and be reminded of how long this hair really is while the hair is combed out.

2. Give my hubby the scared, "I think I'm really doing this" look. As if he can save me from myself!

3. Hold breath while the first cut is taken.

4. Look at part of myself on the ground.
5. Enjoy how fitting this sight is to the emotional state of the person from which this mess derived.

6. Smile at my husband, remind myself it is just hair, and move on to more important things in life....a few pounds lighter!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

....And God Hit Pause........

……And God Hit Pause……

Uggg. That is about all I can say. For a few days, I have thought about how I was going to write this blog, IF I was going to write this blog.

Last week, I announced right here on Falling Upward that Joseph is going back to school and we will be moving come the fall. And then, he had his yearly Marfan’s appointment. The best laid plans…..

The best laid plans seem to bite the Rutchik family right in the ***, if you really want to know how I feel.

The long and the short of it is that his heart is leaking, a lot. This leak has caused it to enlarge by quite a bit. If that wasn’t bad enough, we aren’t just feeling like our world is falling in on us, we are feeling like it’s our fault. Three years ago, followed by an emergency wedding, he had an aortic root replacement. Upon the recommendations of well, everyone, we went with the valve saving option. And, here we are, three years later, having what was done before undone, to get to the valve, replacing the valve, and re-doing what was done three years ago. We don’t blame anyone, only 5% of people end of having to have the valve replaced in the first 5 years. We should have known. If ever there were going to be people in that 5%, if would be us.

So, here we are, going to consults and completing tests so we can set this nightmare up. It should happen very soon, at the recommendation of our doctor.

There it is. This is now the only priority in my life. My husband is very worried about money (we don’t have disability as an option at his job) and having to parent while not being able to hold the girls. As the wife, I’m more worried about, well, I won’t even write it, but you must know what I’m worried about. I could care less about all of those other things. We’ll figure that all out after we get through the operation. I’ll live in a cardboard box if I can do it at the side of my husband. I love him more than anything else I could ever want in life.

I didn’t know if I wanted to blog about this, or if I wanted to go MIA from the blogging world as I have done with Facebook. However, God willing, I will sitting in hospitals for many, many weeks to come, and will need something to keep me sane. Plus, this family needs prayers, prayers, prayers, and I know the Catholic mommy community here in the blogging world can offer me that. I thought about making one of those cool buttons like I have seem other families do when they are in need of prayer for health reasons, but I don’t know how to do that and I don’t really have many followers. I’m not a blogging expert, by any means. I surly don't have the energy to take a crash course in the art of the blog. I don't have the energy to eat, or smile right now.

So, I will blog on, I guess! I’m experiencing very dramatic peaks and valleys right now, so I can’t promise a well balanced person, but it will be me. This is my life now.

I’ve had some extraordinary experiences just since this happened on Wednesday. I am in the process of putting words to those experiences and sharing them here. They involve the great support of family and friends, faith struggles and feeling as if we are known as the “Poor Rutchiks” instead of just “The Rutchiks.” We seriously seem to have that cartoon cloud overhead. We discussed how humbling and difficult it is to know there are so many people praying and thinking of us. Although it makes us very uncomfortable, we unfortunately are in great need of it, again..........and thus, I end with a prayer request.

We are:

Joseph and Holly
Teresa ( 18 months) Anna (6 months)

Please join me on what I hope will be a journey full of faith and miracles. Pray for Joseph’s health, pray for our baby gals who love their daddy so much, pray for our faith..............

..............pray that God has only hit “pause.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Back to School...We're Moving!!!

Back to School

Well, after weeks of praying, phone calls, mountains of paper work, and several money discussions, we have decided that Joseph will be finishing his graduate degree in English at UW-O!

We are so excited for the opportunity for Joseph to finish this program (he is about half way there) and get him onto a career path he feels good about spiritually, financially and creatively. After years of living paycheck to paycheck, we are willing to make that extra commitment to rough it for one more year with the promise of a more financially sound future for our family. As an extra special bonus, this move will allow Joseph to pursue some of his creative dreams, as he has discerned are not just dreams, but a calling.

I personally am very excited about all of this for many reasons:

1. God willing (we REALLY need to unload our lease) we will be moving back to Oshkosh. Joseph and I feel in love and got married in Oshkosh, so I feel the Sprit is truly alive there! It would be my dream to set up camp and stay put. Visions of home ownership and sending our kids to Catholic schools in Oshkosh dance in my head as I drift off every night---but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself!

2. I have never made it a secret that I really don’t like Milwaukee and do not want to raise our children here. Now, I really don’t have anything against Milwaukee, and I have made some wonderful friends here, I just don’t feel like it is our “home.” I have always lived my life on feeling and intuition, so this nagging feeling that Milwaukee is not where we are going to be has been eating and eating at me. I did enjoy my time here and the company we kept here. I have every intension of not only keeping these relationships, but nourishing them. I’m even hoping to continue coming down to our mom’s/play group once a month.

3. The man I feel in love with 4 years ago while in gradate school at Oshkosh was full of ideas and dreams. He thrived on brainstorming sessions and possibility. As life has handed us some challenging times, I saw this part of him slowly whither away. I’m so happy God has helped him see that this part of him does not have to change just because he is a husband and father. Seeing the glimmer back in his eye has been heaven to witness!

As for work, I will continue on with my jobs (working from home is amazing in this type of situation) and Joseph will be staying on as a consultant with the AOP, something he can do at home. He will also have an assistantship at the University.

Please pray for our family during this stressful and exciting time! We are trying to orchestrate the perfect storm here, as many things need to fall into place for this to happen. Because we do budget out almost everything that comes in, there is little room for “moving extras.” However, enough things have come together that I thought it was time to share this prayer with our friends and the blogging world.

Before we can make the big move:
Joseph has to “pass” his heart appointments next week.
We must find someone to take over our lease.
We have to find somewhere to live and secure the money to do so.

Please keep us in your prayers!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hunkering Down in the Discernment Zone

Hunkering Down in the Discernment Zone

Although things have been quite here at Falling Upward, things in our home have been anything but. In times like these, I tend to allow stress and uncertainty into the drivers seat of my mind. However, I am learning to “let go and let God” as the saying of the faithful goes.

We are discerning some big changes for our lives and I am hoping to announce them soon, very soon. We tend to get overzealous at times, so we have come to the conclusion that we need to hold some things in prayer for a short while, until we are confident we have examined God’s will for our family. It’s an exciting time filled with hope, dreaming and the promise of a bit clearer of a path for the Rutchik family. The prospect of this is a big one as in our two, almost three, years of marriage, “settling down” has not been something we have learned to master!

In all the commotion and preparations for a life change, a few of my favorite things have fallen, temporarily, to the weigh side. Taking the time to blog my thoughts and prayers has been truly missed and I am sad it has been forced to take a back seat, just for a while. I’m hoping life will be on track and ready to go in about a week. Until then, here are some pictures of this past week.

My MIL and SIL took us to Chuck E Cheese this weekend. It was a great break, and fun for Tessa too!

These are some shots we took to celebrate the fact that we have made it 6 months as parents of "Irsih Twins." Tessa 18 months, Anna 6 months.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Address of Sanity

So, I had a panic attack this week. I never really knew what panic attack was until I was weeks away from delivering my first child.

Due to some wacky blood pressure readings, I had to go into my doctor’s office twice a week and have the baby monitored. It always put me into a foul mood. I hated being hooked up to those sensors and, in my opinion, they don’t even work. The baby’s heartbeat was constantly being lost and then some crabby nurse would come in and force me to lay in an extremely uncomfortable and impossible position, instructing my 9 month pregnant self, “not to move.” Seriously, it was torture. Of course, in the end, it was worth every agonizing minute, but still.

One day, while eating my ice and watching the monitor spit out the papers of my baby’s heartbeat, I was thinking about starting a baby scrapbook. I would start with my first ultrasound, maybe some pictures of myself growing over the summer months, and BAMMM! I started feeling like someone had shut me into a box. I couldn’t breathe, my head felt full of pressure and I thought I was going to pass out. I thought, for sure, that something had happened and I was going to die. It was then my mommy instinct kicked in. If I was going to die, the last thing I better do is get some help so they can save the baby. Joseph can handle being a single dad….

Because I was in a back room, I decided I better yell for help. I tried to shout, and could not find the breath, or the voice to do so. I yelled and yelled, like one does under water or in a bad dream, and was amazed there was no sounds escaping me. Finally, I got out a meek, “help, I think I need help” and was able to pound on the door to get the attention of a medical tech who was passing. Just as she entered the room, I collapsed into her. She called for doctors and suddenly there were people all around me.

The remainder of that day is a blur of embarrassment. At the time, we only had one car. I had to call my husband at work and have him ask his boss to drive him to the hospital as I was not allowed to drive until it was determined what had happened to me. My OBGYN was called in, the baby was checked, and I was sent to a neurologist for a consultation and a CAT scan. In the end, the neurologist diagnosed me as having had a severe panic attack. I tried to telling the doctors this could not be it – I was thinking about scrap booking for crying out loud! Who has a panic attack over that? They told me it really sounded like a severe panic attack and that maybe some part of me was really getting nervous for the birth and becoming a parent and the whole lot. I still question, but haven’t really needed to think about it too much (well, except when I write the check every month for the treatment I’m still paying off) until I was reminded of this incident this past weekend.

Sunday after Mass, I received a work e-mail informing me some pictures I was counting on could not be found. It really was no big deal to me, I half expected it and had already created a plan B for going out and taking the pictures myself. I charged up my camera, put the gals down for a nap and headed out to a semi-local suburb to take some pictures of the community.
The drive was rather enjoyable. The location is about 40 minutes (that is how you measure distance in Wisconsin, in minutes or hours) away and I was enjoying the alone time and singing along with a CD I had brought. I do remember I was sitting in an odd position as I was trying to hide my rather pale and pasty self from the hot sun.

After the first hour of scouting out the town, I decided I better get going and actually take these photos and get on with it. I parked my mini-van between two BMWs and set out on foot through the town square shopping center. I got most of the shoots I needed of the building and general “American-ness” of the people milling about on the weekend. However, I started to feel strange. I was clearly an observer in this summer-scene snow globe. People were shopping, kids were running, parents were loading their expensive trucks with groceries and so on. I was there with a camera to capture it, not experience it. It is amazing how different things look through the lens of a camera.

I started to feel some of those same feelings I had on the day of, “the- day –I- will- refer to- as- the- incident- even- though- the- doctors- insist- it- was- a- panic- attack- I- am- not- buying- it.” It was, by no means, anywhere near the same experience I had in that doctor’s office a year and a half ago – but I could recognize some similarities. I didn’t know what was happening then, but this time I knew exactly what I was thinking. I was thinking, this is NOT me. This is not what I want for my life and for the lives of my children. We are not fancy pants suburb type people. We are those annoying people who really do sit around talking about books and foreign films while wearing black and looking into alternative education for our children. The quant little town center I had thought was cute a minute ago suddenly became a prison cell and I wanted out as fast as I could! The sky seemed clearer and bluer here, all the cars looked the same, all the people looked the same!

Now, I have nothing against suburbs. I like most of the benefits they offer to families. Good schools and Churches, safety and a sense of community are all wonderful things I want for our family. However, I think I may need to find these things in a smaller or more artistic town, rather than a super fancy pants suburban community. Just a personal preference, but one I feel strongly about - apparently, more strongly than I knew!

Since we moved to Milwaukee two years ago, I have been complaining to my husband, “I hate it here and I will not raise our kids here.” My thinking was that it is the most expensive city in Wisconsin to have a family and the only way to stay in a safe, family friendly area and send our kids to good schools, would be to move to the suburbs and we could never afford that, so what in God’s name are we living here for? His answer always has something to do with the fact that, “this horrible place” is where his job is. He is also from this part of the state and although it would not be his first choice in a location, he doesn’t mind it nearly as much as I do.

Now, I do technically live in a suburb, but we don’t own our place of residents, so in my mind it doesn’t count. I feel like I went out to the land of Stepford and it literally spit me back out! That’s ok, I didn’t want to be swallowed up by it anyway.