Monaghan Reunion: Ireland


This post goes out to my family members currently in Ireland for a Monaghan reunion. My aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and one of two brothers are exploring our heritage in and around County Monaghan, Ireland.

When we found out we were expecting Elijah, we told my parents we had good news and bad news. The good news was another grandchild. The bad news was that we would not be traveling to Ireland and leaving a two month old back home. My older brother and his wife are expecting baby number two next month, so they were out, too. 

Thankfully technology has helped me feel a part of their experience. Matt brings me along on his adventures through Snapchat, and Elijah and I Facetimed the family yesterday who were a few pints deep. They passed the phone around the pub for everyone to say “hello”, and it made my heart so happy to see this crazy idea of a family trip to Ireland become a reality.

This photo belongs in a frame as it shows my dad and all of his siblings in front of the Post Office in Donaghmoyne (County Monaghan). Attached to the Post Office is a house- the house where my great-grandmother grew up and my grandmother spent one of her teenage summers. This entire area includes so much history as the church (now remodeled into a community center) my great-grandparents were married in 1908 sits on the same road.

The group is off to Galway next, my favorite Irish city. Enjoy an Irish Coffee for me, Monaghans!

Elijah: Two Months

IMG_3545TWO months!

At 25 inches long already, multiple doctors have predicted Elijah will be taller than his dad. We might just have a basketball player on our hands.

The in-home nurse visits have helped us know his weight every week, and he continues to gain. Over 11 lbs reassure us that his body is working and soaking up the nutrition it needs.

Changing his diaper is my opportunity to kiss his tummy scar and give thanks to God multiple times a day for his health and happiness.

My Running Buddy

img_3535Saturday was the Marion Arts Festival 5k and Half Marathon. I had yet to run 3.1 miles with the jogging stroller, but I was up for the challenge. It just doesn’t get any better than a road race minutes from home.

It was cold when I woke up, so I bundled Elijah up and covered him in blankets. We were off!

He fell asleep at the starting line. He slept the entire race, even over the bumpy gravel on the trail. I couldn’t have asked for a better running buddy, and people were so encouraging. Runner’s are the nicest people. Am I right?!

The weather warmed as we finished the race, and it img_3529was the perfect morning to stick around and cheer Katie on to the finish of the half marathon. She rocked it!

Over 1000 people participated in the road races, and we even witnessed a marriage proposal at the finish line.

Elijah proved to be a great running companion, and I’m already looking up future races to enjoy with him.



img_3310img_3554This Notre Dame sweatshirt has been passed to the next generation of Irish fans. My siblings and I all wore it, Colin sported it in next, and now Elijah is loving its broken-in perfect softness.

The photo on the left is Elijah at seven weeks. The photo on the right is me on my first St. Patrick’s Day (Nine months). The sweatshirt has shrunk over the years of laundry. Please note my green pants. Some things never change.

Next School Year

Before Elijah was born, I joked with John that I should probably sign my teaching contract before I met our son or I would never return to my classroom. John said that was all part of his plan to get me to stay home. ha!

God has different plans.

When Elijah was going through some of his scariest moments, I received my teaching contract in the mail. I opened it and set it aside.

John and I had discussed that a daycare wouldn’t have been able to accommodate some of the medical attention the doctors were originally talking about for our son. Depending on Elijah’s medical needs, my “job” for next year was in limbo.

As with anything else, God was going to make this decision for me.

The week of surgeries was over and we were waiting to see if Elijah would eat and process food normally. We got to feed him on a Thursday, and every day that followed calmed my nerves more and more. On Saturday, I took a deep breath, signed my contract, and dropped it in the mail.

Last week, I was asked to give a witness talk to the seniors during their senior retreat. When I arrived, I slipped in the back and sat at a table looking at all of them while they were engaged with the activity taking place. I couldn’t help but smile. It felt so good to be back with those students. I love those kids!

I don’t know what the future holds or how long God will continue to ask me to teach, but I know it’s where I am supposed to be next year. I’m so thankful for a job that I miss while I’m happier than ever at home with my miracle. God continues to bless me, and I truly think it’s because I continue to listen to Him.

Dad’s Birthday

img_3297My parents made countless trips to IC and CR the last month and a half to visit Elijah. We were thankful to finally travel to them and celebrate my dad’s birthday.

I’m so thankful my son has the opportunity to know his grandparents. Elijah already has a sleepover planned at their house next month. Even though Elijah is too young for grandpa to sneak in an ice cream trip or feed him seconds on dessert, we know it’s only a matter of time.

Happy birthday, Dad! LOVE!

My Return to Running

Remember how I signed up for a road race next weekend? Bah!

I didn’t expect to pick up running the day after Elijah was born, but I also didn’t plan on my form of exercise being limited to walking the halls of a hospital for the first month. Granted, it was a long walk to the cafeteria multiple times a day.

Elijah and I have been out with the jogging stroller twice, and I absolutely love it! It’s extra heavy with his carseat inserted since he’s still too small for just the stroller, but I just consider it an extra workout. Coordinating the stroller and picking up the pace is a challenge in itself. My success next weekend will come from not running over any other participants!

While my schedule and the weather have not been in favor of running this race, I’m still going to do it! My friend Katie is coming to dominate in the half marathon that morning, so I look forward to making my running return with her!

Hospital Week

img_3233All morning I reminded Elijah that we were just visiting the hospital. There would be no nurses poking him and no staying overnight. We were guests!

The hospital John works for had an open house Monday afternoon/evening along with the ribbon cutting ceremony for an expansion. If you remember, the therapy department had an open house back in October. This reception was hospital-wide and included booths from every department, lots of snacks, a bike helmet giveaway for all kids, and lots of other health promotions.

John will be spoiled all week. Waffles one morning, ice cream one afternoon, pork sandwiches one day for lunch…the list goes on. The hospital knows how to treat their employees. I feel spoiled at work if I get a jeans day…😉

Elijah’s Baptism

IMG_2548 IMG_2554My first Mother’s Day was extra blessed as we welcomed Elijah into the church through the sacrament of Baptism. God has already worked through Elijah in ways we never could have imagined. I look forward to witnessing how God will continue to use our son.

*This was actually Elijah’s second sacrament. He received Anointing of the Sick while in the hospital.

Prayers for thanks this Mother’s Day. I feel honored to be this little boy’s mother. Thanks for letting me kiss your neck and smell your skin a ridiculous amount, Elijah. I can’t get enough of you!


“Normal” Maternity Leave

img_3146Last week was really great! Even though we had one unplanned visit to UIHC for a small infection along Elijah’s incision, it was a quick office procedure followed by a week of antibiotics. Aside from the pain during the procedure, he was a champ.

The rest of the week was spent doing “normal” maternity leave things. We’ve had lots of visitors, stroller rides, coffee dates, and our family of three even had a date out to dinner Saturday night.

After being robbed of the first three weeks of “normal” life with my son, I’m thankful we’re finally in a routine. Having him home couldn’t be better!