Sunday, 31 May 2015


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Afon:  . . .  No words necessary.

Roan:  Drooling profusely, I think a tooth is due any week now.

Friday, 29 May 2015

7 Quick Takes

-- one --

Transitioning from one blog domain to another can take up to 48 hours, says  Sorry for the inconvenience, say I.  Hope to have it settled soon.  I really wish I had just been able to buy the everything to someone dot com domain name (someone else snatched it up about a week before I could about two years ago).  C'est la vie.

-- two --

Spent all of Wednesday--really, like about twelve hours--preparing, decorating, shooting, and editing for these {photography mini sessions}.

Thanks to my mom and husband for pitching in with the kids and set up!

I'm really excited to work with this set and theme; and continuing to develop and discover my personal style!  Praying some lovely people will take me up on my offer.

-- three --

You know what I've been really into lately?  Southern Charm.  It's much more engaging than the Real Housewives.  I find the characters--well, real people--interesting and sympathetic.  Also, maybe it's just because I'm half Southern belle, but I enjoy observing that society and can identify with it somewhat.

-- four --

I am really grateful for this blog hop on {maternal anxiety and depression}.

I've lived with depression since I was at least nine years old; it's not something I volunteer to talk about just because, well, I feel like people aren't interested or I don't want to burden them--and then, there's always the stigma that goes with it, from people who don't understand.  People who think you can just snap out of it, like a bad hair day.
Being a mom to an autistic child and having depression normally, as well as my difficult family situation (my husband and I live in separate countries) has sewn anxiety in my life like a field of wretched weeds.

And then, well, there's ante-pardum depression.  Maybe a caused by my {hyperemesis gravidarum}, maybe not.  But whatever it is, it's bad enough for me to stop blogging.  Which is pretty bad.

So it's really good to read the open-air honesty from these women and know I'm not the terrible mother I sometimes believe myself to be.

-- five --

This past week, on Everything to Someone:

-- six --

Something fun I made you:
-- seven --

Are you curious about this half medieval, half literary version of Christianity of mine?  It's all perfectly acceptable within the Church, I assure you.

If you were raised a Catholic but aren't sure what all the fuss is about, or don't know much about the Catholic Church and are kinda  curious about what the horse's mouth has to say about it, we Catholic bloggers are getting into the spirit (or, Spirit--ha!) with {the Credo Project}.

Join us!  Or check us out!

I'll say the Catholic Church, whether Eastern Rite or Western, is the only place I know of that can seamlessly synthesize {headcovering and public breastfeeding}.  It's just that awesome.

Joining Kelly for {Seven Quick Takes Friday}.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

What Roan Wore | Old Navy and Arrows

Top // {Lemons & Lace}
Shorts // Old Navy
Sunglasses // Picmonkey

Currently nicknamed "little crooked head" because his head leans to the right.  His doctor said just to keep straightening it out, not to worry.  I say it's just a current manifestation of his laid back personality.

Looking good, dollbaby!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Blogging and Transparency

I've been blogging on and off since 2004--way back in the dark ages of the internet, I know!  I suffered my fair share of growing pains regarding privacy, other people's personal affairs, and the dread disease TMI.

But if you're a blogger, you blog because you want to connect with people.  Otherwise, you'd be jotting everything down in a paper journal rather than, well, publishing it!  It's a given that you'd want a certain amount of honesty about yourself (if you've a lifestyle blog that deals with your life, that is).

I didn't really intend for this to be a Catholic mommy blog.  It just sort of happened.  Because I'm a mother.  And I'm Catholic.  And those are integral to who I am.  So naturally, I share a lot about my children, including photos.  (I often worry about isolating childless and single people.  I never really worry about isolating non-Catholics.  (Because {Catholicism is awesome}.  And I make no apologies.))

It's hard to navigate the treacherous ocean that is the net.  I'm silent about a lot of things that may leave readers puzzled, to respect my family's privacy.  I want to be honest and open, but I also want to maintain a certain degree of that privacy.  It's not an easy balance to strike, and I'm still waffling my way about it.

What do you think?  If you're a blogger (or even just on Facebook or Instagram), how do you choose how much to share and what to keep private?  If you're a reader, at what point do you feel that a blogger or journalist loses authenticity?  And how do we honor and protect our children throughout?

Saturday, 23 May 2015


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Roan:  four months old on the 15th!  But I only managed to snap this photo within the last week.  He is gaining more and more strength and learning, with much concentration, to move his hands toward desired objects and back again in the vague direction of his mouth.

Afon: he is whittling me down to my sour old core, revealing every ugly sin, every deeply-engrained and selfish luxury.  God delights in breaking us down, little by the little, and I would all but despair if I didn't know that His promise is to put us back together again, better than before.

I took no portraits last week: a combination of visitors, excursions, and having my hands full with Afon.

On Wednesday, we had Afon's IEP meeting, and he will be starting school in a special needs class on the 24th of August.  I am so relieved.  It's like seeing the end of the desert after creeping from oasis to oasis.  The end is in sight!  We'll get help; he'll improve; the worst is over (I hope!).

And I mean the worst.  He has been biting; rage biting.  I'm scared for Roan and scared of what happens when he bites the dog in the face, and the dog decides to bite him right back.  I'm bewildered, wondering what has happened to my sweet little boy.

Friday, 22 May 2015

7 Quick Takes

-- one --

Blogging has been sparse lately because everything has descended and squeezed into the past couple'a twenty-four hours!  My husband flew in from Wales last Thursday evening; my childhood best friend arrived on Saturday; and I fit in a visit with a distant friend from New Hampshire.  And lots of other things in between, including naps.  :3

(I was treated to a pedicure as an early birthday present!)

We want to try to spend time together as a family while my husband is still here, so I don't know how frequently I'll be able to post.

-- two --

The URL for this blog is changing from to!  Because it just makes more sense!

-- three --

So . . . the Mad Men finale exceeded above and beyond all expectations, amIright?  I am.  Can't wait to read {Christy's} and {Kathryn's} thoughts on it.  Or feel free to chit chat about it with me in the comments!

-- four --

The past two weeks, on Everything to Someone:

Check them out if you missed them!

-- five --

Before Mother's Day (gosh, where does the time go?) I went ahead and cannon bombed into the rebrand of my modest photography business.  When I spontaneously decided to open a {Facebook page} for it, I just asked the nearest person what I should call it.  Who happened to be my father.  But I didn't really get a chance to contemplate on what I wanted to do with my photography, what style I was aiming for, and my philosophy of art.

Around the time of opening my {Etsy shop}, one of the discarded names really captured my imagination, and so I worked it out so that I would incorporate it as a different brand:

Crown & Bough Photography!

I'm sssssuper happy with it; and a new business name calls for {a new website}.  Check it out for all the pretties!

-- six --


  • Winnie-the-Pooh with my four-year-old.  It gets better every time you read it!
  • Got a few more pages read in The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris.

-- seven --

We had Afon's IEP (individualized education program) meeting at the school he will be attending in the fall.  It's so exciting!  They even have a special needs bus that will pick him up and drop him off.  August 24th can't come soon enough!

Joining Kelly at {This Ain't the Lyceum} for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Potential Dangers of an NFP Mentality

This post originally appeared {here} on June 8, 2013.

I've not had the privilege of growing up in an active, loyal, practicing Catholic community.  Only recently has it been called to my attention that eager Catholics who practice NFP too often take sides and nitpick over which family planning method is the best, most accurate, easiest lifestyle, etc.  Conversation to improve and propagate NFP methods is good and desirable.  But I'm worried sometimes about the direction our thought patterns are headed when I glean bits of these conversations.

Herbert James Draper, A Water Baby
First and foremost, before even picking up an NFP pamphlet, we Catholics should be made to understand and internalize that fertility is a precious privilege and inherently good.  Learning about how it works is wonderful, but only so much as being aware of what and how you eat nourishes your body is wonderful.  It's a tool, not to be mistaken for the goodness of the thing itself.  I feel too often we're bringing the conversation into secular territory, with emphasis on 99% accuracy, arguments about which are less likely to "fail" during fertile periods, and exclamations of better sex lives and closer couples.  Like we're trying to compete with the artificial birth control out there, like we have to prove ourselves.

The fact of the matter is that there is no competition.  If you are a loyal practicing Catholic, you know that to approach NFP with the attitude that it is "an acceptable form of Catholic birth control" defeats the whole purpose of Natural Family Planning.  I hope I'm mistaken, but I'm getting this impression more and more.

How do we remedy this attitude in the Church?  I think it has everything to do with our attitude toward children and child-rearing.  If in secular culture, fertility is undermined as something to control and submit to our will, there is no inherent difference between the single, sexually active woman who has successfully avoided pregnancy and the married woman who has 2.5 perfectly spaced babies.  She may even have six!  And it is all well and good, in secular society, as long as she has the means to provide for them (no need for a father for that), and chose when to conceive each consecutive child--God forbid she do otherwise!  Then she is careless, irresponsible, a burden to society, and an enemy of planet Earth.  As if a child's worth in existence depended on an active decision by its parent(s) and not by the will of God.

A prayerful Catholic couple may have none to twenty children in their lifetime together, but that is not the point.  I feel strongly that the term "planned" and "unplanned" applied to children--human beings, with immortal souls and infinite worth--should be stricken from our Catholic vocabulary.  It puts too much emphasis on control, on what we want, on the identity and worth of a child being in the decision to allow conception, like some kind of defeat.

"I despise Birth-Control first because it is a weak and wobbly and cowardly word.  It is also an entirely meaningless word; and is used so as to curry favour even with those who would at first recoil from its real meaning.  The proceeding these quack doctors recommend does not control any birth.  It only makes sure that there shall never be any birth to control."--G.K. Chesterton

I think this tension can be eased even more by loosening the strict expectations we have of motherhood.  I'm not advocating for careless parenting here, but we should embrace the variety of parenting styles and parenting types out there--there are as many as there are personalities in the Church, and there as many personalities in the Church, Saint Therese pointed out, as there are colors and types of flowers.  It is the variety that makes the world beautiful.  We may disagree on structure, proper nutrition, appropriate bedtime, how much stimulation is allowable, being ecologically responsible, but please, please--there is no better way to discourage a couple to openness to conceive than to make them feel like they would not be "good enough" parents.  We're all working our way to sainthood, which is very telling.  It means we're not yet saints.  And we shouldn't be made to feel guilty or like failures because of that.  A child needs his mother and father.  No one else's.  If we are prayerful and love truly--the way God loves, meaning putting the good of the beloved before all else--the child will be happy, and safe, and emotionally healthy, regardless of whether or not he gets a bath regularly.

In this way, we should also show patience and sympathy for couples, especially Catholic ones, who don't yet have the courage to give up their fertility to the hands of God.  It will help to remember all the shortcomings and vices we continue to nurse.  Everyone has their personal weaknesses.  Let's pray for each other.

Last, let us remember that NFP is a fairly recent development.  But the Church has always forbidden contraception.  I'm no expert, but interest in and research into medieval lifestyle led me to discover that sex in marriage was under strict prohibitions by the Church in the middle ages.  A couple was not to have sex during holy days, menstruation, Lent, etc.  Far from being shocked and angered at these "prudish" guidelines, I felt smug and warmly proud.  This is the clever Church, doing what she does best: making feasts and fasts a mystical rhythm of life, and seeing to it in her own way that her women had proper rests between pregnancies.

So don't apologize for your fertility.  Don't blush shame-facedly when you find yourself pregnant after having announced to the world that you practice NFP and that it is a perfectly valid and effective method of spacing pregnancies.  Don't.  Because that "pregnancy" is a person, with a face and a life ripe with potential stretched out before her.  When someone asks me, "Was your son planned?" I will say, with surety, "What do you mean? This child blossomed like a wildflower in the mind of God before all of time began."


For further reading, see:

Friday, 15 May 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

"Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life."


We visited the local grotto for May 1st.  See all the photos from {May Day}.


Happy to be a mama to these children.  When I am my best self, rested, not stressed, and at peace with God, I am all happy.  (See below.)

And Roan is always happy.  Who is this child?


This is very dangerous.  But Roan is such a good sport.  He's the smiliest baby and takes everything in stride.


Afon has been really pushing the limits.  There is no rest when one is with him, except in rare moments, and it's really draining.  I want to hide from him and shirk my responsibilities.  Need more graces than ever lately.

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter for {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}.
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