Sunday, July 29, 2012


... ...in which I explain why my siblings and I have decided to have big families.

So, the other day, a sibling called to say they were expecting. With my little sister’s twins expected in December, this brings my parent’s grand total up to 21…can you even believe that. It was exciting, surprising and all around wonderful. And then it happened. Someone we were sitting with said, ‘What are you guys trying to do? Compete against each other to see who can have the most babies’. She didn’t say it kindly, she said it with a tone of judgment and anger. It got me thinking for several reasons. One, of course, is how rude people are to big families. It is AMAZING. Second, she clearly doesn’t get it. So, I decided to explain why my siblings and I are open to life (from my perspective)…. I am going to take this opportunity to explain to readers, my children, etc…why we keep havin’ babies. Because really, it is probably much simpler than you think. There are four reasons.

We have a KICK !@# mom 

A lot of people of my parent’s and grandparent’s generations were born into big families. They have bad memories of that reality. They saw a mom that was tired, but kept going, kept having babies because she felt she had to. We didn’t see that. My mom never did one. single.thing for herself (except maybe shopping the ‘sales’). Popular wisdom would say ‘how sad’. She woudn’t say that. She was a stay at home mom who was complete content to raise her children. She was joyful 90 % of the time (who can be that 100%), she planned awesome trips for us, she cooked dinner and packed our lunches every day. She never once complained about missing out on something. For her, us kids were everything. We brought her completion and pride. We knew that. We never felt, growing up, that our mom was sacrificing for us to the detriment of herself- she loved us, she loved her life, that was all we knew. Because of my kick bootie mom, we didn’t think parenting was hard (she tricked us, it is hard). Because of my kick bootie mom, most of us couldn’t wait to be moms/have children/etc…
Because of my kick bootie mom, we all WANT to have a big families.

We have a kick #$% dad 

Our dad worked hard every day at a job he didn’t really dig. It was a good job that gave him enough money to keep my mom at home and to provide for us. My dad never went out with friends after work, he always said he would rather be home with us. My dad NEVER brought work home, he might have pulled in crazy hours, but work was work and home was home. My dad called EVERY DAY at lunch time to check in with our family. When one of us would answer, we’d say ‘how’s work?’ and he’d always say, ‘miserable’. Work was NOT my father’s God. It was a means to an end to have his family. My dad passed on many, many promotions because he wouldn’t move his family, he wouldn’t work crazier hours, he had priorities squared away. My dad made it VERY clear that my mom and us were the most important things in the world. We didn’t have the biggest house, we didn’t have cars bought for us, we didn’t get college paid for, but we had our FATHER- PRESENT, EVERY.DAY.OF.OUR.LIVES. Because of a kick bootie father, we weren’t afraid to suggest to our spouses that we be open to life. Because of our kick bootie father, we value the time that we have with just our immediate family units.
Because of our kick bootie dad, we all WANT to have big families.

We have a kick @#$ family
Growing up, I always thought my older brother was the coolest. In retrospect, he was the captain of the tennis team, so how cool could he have been (sorry Regis)? I loved having an older sister who defended me against Shelly Compton with her friend Puja when I was in 10th grade. We fought, but I LOVED her. I loved having a younger brother and sister who I could form a ‘band’ with. Using our casio keyboard, we wrote the Mega hit, ‘Do You Remember When’- and ‘1 + 1 don’t equal 3’…songs still sung occasionally that CRACK my husband up. I LOVED having a little sister. The baby I used to take shopping as a toddler. I got to live out the ‘Teen Mom’ fantasy when people asked me if she was mine.  Our family kicked bootie. Not many of our peers question why we are all procreating with wild abandon. I think, with a bit of pride, a lot of them know how kick bootie our family was. Because of our kick bootie family, we are fans of the big family. Because of our kick bootie family, we want to give our kids the gift of multiple siblings.
Because of our kick bootie family, we all WANT to have big families.

We dig the Catholic Church’s Teaching on life
We were raised to think the Church is an avenue that brings fulfillment, life and joy. We never thought of the Church as an oppressive, women hating organization. We have pride in our faith and have sought to understand why the Church says what She says. We really truly dig the challenge of working with God to determine our family size. It is because we dig the Church’s teachings on life, that each of us, very early on in dating our partners, explained that openness to life will be a must in our marriages. Thankfully, they all decided to go on this crazy journey with us.


That being said, being open to life and having big families is HARD work. Because of a kick @#$ mother, a kick @#$ father, a kick @#$ family and a really cool Church, I don’t think any of us realized how hard it would be. Yesterday, we took the boys to Walmart, it took a LONG time to get ready to go, it was stressful to be in the store, both boys cried at different times. After having to nurse and change the baby in the car (while being afraid I was going to be clubbed from behind so that someone could steal my baby…I watch too much tv), I turned to the husband and said, ‘man, this two babies thing is HARD.WORK. huh?’. He agreed and we laughed.
It has been hard for some of my siblings when their openness to life has brought them a bundle o’ joy they weren’t quite ready or prepared for. It is hard now that we have 2 under 2 and a bit nervous about the risk that a 3rd would bring us if he/she comes too soon and we have another back-to-back c-section. It is hard, but I think I can speak for all my siblings when I say, it is worth it.

We can’t wait to watch our babies grow up. We have so much pride in the fact that family pictures cannot keep up with the amount of babies that keep coming  So, my friends, we aren’t in a ‘competition’ with one another. We aren’t crazy. We aren’t brainwashed by a nasty, mean, institutional church. Rather, we just had a really great mom, dad and family…and we want to duplicate that reality in our adult lives.

Whew, I am glad I got that off my chest! Happy Sunday

Friday, July 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---

Our newest addition, Joseph, has his days and nights mixed up. With a husband back to work, and still a bit of recovery on the ol' c-section wound left...it has made life a lil' rough for mama. This morning, I was tired. I asked the husband at 6:30 to get up with the boys, so I could sleep 1 extra half an hour. He didn't come back in the room till 8:00 am. The big kid was fed, he had already packed his lunch, and the lil' kid was sleeping. Times like this, I am very confident that team Wilkerson will thrive in our new reality!

--- 2 ---

Speaking of the c-section wound- it is healed enough for me to drive! I am so excited to go 'out' today. Sure, it is to a doctor's appointment, but still I can taste sweet freedom :)

--- 3 ---

Speaking of sweet freedom. The husband promised me a bottle of Skinny Girl Sangria after I was off the c-section wound narcotics. That occurred on Monday. The Sangria was AWESOME! But now, I want a glass every night. That is not a realistic option. What's a girl to do?

--- 4 ---

We got our family pictures done by our very favorite SJN Alumni Photographer, Russ Wasylyshyn. He is so freaking talented. He charges a very small flat rate ($65), meets you at a location, shoots your pictures and then gives you full access to all of them. We did the studio thing with lil' A for his very first pictures. We spent a crud ton of money for 5 shots...none of them were good :( We have used Russ since. I am such a picture fan. It drives the husband crazy, but he indulges me!

--- 5 ---

Our air conditioning is broke. Which is, you know, not full of awesome. Should be fixed sometime next week. I am a big complainer about it. Aaron reminds me that it is very much a first world problem. He is right, but man, is it hot. I have both childrens in only diapers, which never happens, so that is fun.

--- 6 ---

We had some awesome visitors this week and several people who have been kind enough to bring us meals. I have decided the 'bringing of meals' is the kindest thing you can do for a csection mama. Well, probably for any mama who just delivered a child. Can't tell you how awesome it is to not have to cook. One family, the Schrimschers, brought us these chicken enchiladas. They were so freaking delicious, but they did cause the husband to say, 'Why don't you ever cook like this for me?'. Silly man.

--- 7 ---

My sister shared yesterday via fb, that when she is working she finds that she is a better mother. She is more effective with the use of her time and more available to her children. It is funny she shared that. I have found that with 2 children, I am, at least currently, being a 'more active and conscience parent' to little Aaron. I am very aware how much he needs love and affection that might be a little lost in the new transition and family member. So, that is cool :)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Top Ten Things I Learned...

...While Having Baby Joseph.

…Real birth story to come in a few weeks

Labor is not a joke! 
I didn’t have the opportunity to labor with lil Aaron, so, with lil’ Joseph…um, I thought I was dying.  Literally.  I kept saying, ‘this pain can’t be normal’.  And I only dilated to a three J

Epidurals ROCK. 
I mean, REALLY REALLY Rock.  Jesus you have given us a gift, through doctors/scientists who have given us the gift of pain management.  I cannot say enough about this.  And my feelings on it.  But, I won’t say anything more, so as to not ignite a debate.  But, lemme just say again, epidurals ROCK!

Everyone was right. 
The unbearable back pain of the last two weeks was the baby in the ‘sunnyside up’ position.  He was most def. facing the wrong way when they pulled him out.  Hence my back being on FIRE!

Csections don’t matter.
Desperately desiring a vbac goes immediately away when you know there is a chance your child is in danger.  It really is true that the only important outcome is that sweet baby! 

Prayer is the best thing ever.
In a crowded room full of people, who are trying to decide what to do about your baby, who’s heart beat won’t stabilize…having a nurse lean over and look you right in your eye and say, ‘I’m praying for you right now’ is awesome.  Being able to call out to your mother and husband, ‘pray, just be sure you are praying’ and know that they are…is priceless.  My mom walked in just as all hell broke lose, she brought with her a scapular and placed it right in my hands as they were flipping me and trying different positions to get Joey’s heartbeat regular.   It brought SO much comfort.  Mama Mary and all the angels and saints interceding for us is incredible!  Thank you God for the prayer, ‘Jesus I Trust in You’

baby's first eye roll
Things are overwhelming
Going from active labor that is quite peaceful, to staring at operating lights in less than a half an hour time is overwhelming.  It might take one sleepless night to process.

Sons with husbands rock
Watching my husband, Aaron,  hold his two sons was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.  I cried a lot at how blessed I felt.  My parents thought it was the drugs, they were wrong.  My cup runneth over.

Loved his time at Grammy and Papa's House!
Local Grand parents ROCK
Knowing lil’ A was being taken care of by his grandparents who love him so much, made everything about a three day hospital stay better.  He came home the happiest baby ever! 

Beaumont Hospital’s Salmon is delicious
I ate it for pretty much every meal. Over and over again.  With broccoli and rice.  It was fantastic.

Sibling Kisses
Watching lil’ Aaron give his brother Joey kisses is the coolest thing ever. I could watch it over and over and over again.  And, lil’ Aaron loves giving kisses…so I get to be happy.  ALWAYS

Sunday, July 15, 2012


We did it!  Baby Boy Joseph Michael Wilkerson came into the world, Thursday, July 12th at 10:42 pm.  He weighed a slight 7 pounds fourteen ounces (we keep saying how small he is and people keep reminding us that almost 8 pounds is not small!) and 20 inches.  He is a lovely with a super squeeky cry.  His Big Brother adores him already!  Story and more pictures to follow!

Friday, July 6, 2012

--- 1 ---
Labor has stopped progressing. That is not awesome news...however, I am in a better mood today with that knowledge. Last night, I fell asleep at 9:30 pm and though I woke up six or seven times- it was way more sleep than previous nights. That might be helping my attitude.
--- 2 ---
Speaking of attitude. It is days like today that I get mad at my 'summer lovin' friends'. I blame them for this excruciating heat. I am SO a Fall/Winter girl. AND, I cannot wait to do Fall with two boys.
--- 3 ---
I am a fan of sleep training. I know a lot of people aren't. But I have a 1 year old who goes to bed, with a smile on his face 99.9% of the time (teething not included) in his crib, with his light off and talks himself or sings himself to sleep. Thank God for the husband forcing the 'cry it out' when I was in Spain :) It will be interesting with kid number 2, because I am not positive I have the heart of stone needed to ignore the child's cry.
--- 4 ---
I am drinking a cup of coffee a day again. For the first 8 months of my pregnancy, it would make me sick. Lemme tell you, I have missed this ol' friend
--- 5 ---
It is hard to keep a house clean with a 1 year old and an almost done pregnancy, with a baby in the womb that loves to lay on your nerves. He is really getting on my nerves. I AM VERY funny. So, the house is kind of turning into a tornado- oh well! Somethings gotta give, if it is the house, so be it.
--- 6 ---
I am really excited for Michigan Football. I am so sad it is still two months away. Is it weird that I am already planning a gathering for the Michigan/Alabama game? Big Aaron has not given the 'okay' yet, but I really think it would be lots of fun. One of the issues (and sorry dad if you are reading this) is we kind of swore we wouldn't watch 'big games' with my father anymore :) He gets emotional, and screams and gets in a bad mood. It isn't pleasant. That man is a FAN in every sense of the word. I just think we have to emotionally prepare for him swearing that 'Michigan deserves to lose, even if they win, they deserve to lose', or the classic 'that's it, I am giving up my season tickets, I mean it this time, I am DONE with this team'. Etc...Maybe we will have him sign a behavior contract before coming over? That might work. (this one is mostly sarcastic- of course my father is always fun to watch Michigan games with)
--- 7 ---
I am tired. That is all. Happy Friday!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

One thing you should NEVER do...

"…is have children right away after you are married".  This was the advice recently given at a wedding shower I was at.  It was funny hearing that advice. My sisters and I exchanged glances because, of course, all of us had children right away.  Before I get too deep into this post, I want to make sure to clarify two things…

1) I do not think there is ANYTHING wrong with waiting a year/two/three to begin having children if you and your spouse have discerned that is the best course of action for your family. 

2)  I understand there are many people, some who read this blog, who would like nothing more than to have children right away or wanted nothing more than to have children right away and that has not been their reality. I understand there is a LOT of pain involved in that reality and I think it is important to name that before I continue…

Now, I would like to continue…

The person that commented 'whatever you do you SHOULD NOT have children right away' said it with such passion and such conviction that it took me back a bit.  However, I must admit, in the past two years, I have sometimes wondered what my life would have been like if my husband Aaron and I had waited a year or two.  If we had time to just be desperately in love with no HUGE responsibilities.  I wonder how much fun it would have been to have the freedom to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.  I wonder what our marriage would look if it didn’t constantly feel like I have the flu because of two pregnancies.  I wonder sometimes, when we fight (and remember, we FIGHT), when we don’t sleep, when we hand off a sick child back and forth, and when we try to figure out exactly how we are going to afford to have two babies under 2…I wonder if maybe we should have waited.  Those thoughts are few and far between, rarely had, but, to be honest sometimes, I wonder- 

Then, today, I had a significant revelation.

I have been pretty sick/tired/cranky this past week.  I don’t do well at the end of pregnancy and I am not doing well right now J  So, because of that, any plans that we ‘could’ have made on this fourth of July were canceled, in favor of just have the day off, hanging out around the house.  I actually fell asleep at around 2:00 am this morning, so I was able to get a good solid 4.5 hours of sleep in before Baby Aaron woke up.  When he started talking from his crib, I went and got him and brought him into the ‘Big Bed’.  Our little family just hung out in bed for about an hour or so. Lil’ Aaron is at this adorable age, where he giggle, wrestles, and adores both his mom and dad.  He just learned to give kisses and it is so funny when he leans in, his mouth WIDE open for a kiss (gross).  After snuggle time, we went out into the family room and hung out there.  At around 9:00 am it was nap time for lil’ A and the husband suggested after we put him down that we take a nap as well.  Lil’ Aaron fell asleep right away and Big Aaron and I went back into the ‘Big Bed’.  There, we watched an episode of Downton Abby together, we joked around, we talked, we snuggled.  It was SO NICE to have my husband, with nothing to do, for a couple hours, just us.  And this is where the realization comes in. 

Because we had children, ‘right away’ we have HAD to learn to love each other selflessly.  We have HAD to learn to be patient with each other.  We have been FORCED to learn to be forgiving, as we have to forgive each other multiple times a day.  Because we had children right away, when we have moments that are ‘just the two of us’, when the baby is sleeping or with grandparents (thank God for grandparents) and pregnancy sickness is leaving me alone…we truly APPRECIATE the time we have together.  Every moment that we have together is precious, even ten minutes before bed, being a ‘couple’ I notice and cherish.  Having children right away has made me so aware of how special my husband is and how much I love our time together.

When lil’ Aaron woke up we went shopping together and then set up a pool in the backyard.  Lil’ Aaron and I swam in the kiddie pool (Big Aaron would have, but he said it would have sent us too far over on the ‘white trash’ scale if all three of us were swimming in a kiddie poolJ)  We set up speakers outside and enjoyed cooling off in the water as the heat scorched the lawn.  It was pretty much perfect.  Grammy and Papa came over to take lil’ Aaron to a party while the husband I got to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing together.

My point is, we are better people for having children right away.  We are a stronger couple.  We will have a stronger marriage.  For us, having children right away is a sacrifice at times, but pretty much just a huge blessing.  I couldn’t imagine our life without the fusing of our love through our child with God’s blessing. 

So, I'm saying, if you are able to, understanding many people are not,  having children right away is totally the way to go.  TONS of people will think you are strange.  Lots of people will try to convince you not to.  The world will tell you it is a foolish choice for your marriage and for your children.  BUT, simply put, all those people are wrong.  Being thrown into the selflessness and commitment and teamwork that having children brings will do nothing but make your marriage stronger (with prayer, patience and a lot of love of course).  And I HIGHLY recommend it! ;)

And like, for real, you get to have one of these!!!