Category: Uncategorized

But for now, winter.

The first snowflakes have hit the ground and mittens and hats have been pulled out of dusty boxes from the attic. Winter has greeted us and for the first time since moving to Minnesota four years ago, I welcome it.

Minnesota gladly embraces the rhythms of earth and time.

I anticipate the rest that winter brings with its long nights and inviting indoor activities from which spring all our guarded summer ambitions of creativity. We have stocked up on puzzles, paints, crayons, and construction paper.

I anticipate the exhilarating first steps into cold air that remind me of my breath, and therefore my existence.

I anticipate the sweetness of cold, red baby cheeks that shine with delight at falling snow as they wonder, where does it come from?

I anticipate long story times with a lap that is happy with children and donned with a warm blanket.

I anticipate floating marshmallows on a pond of hot chocolate.

And come February, I will sing a new song of anticipation.

But for now, winter.

Happy Thankful Month

I thought I would document our life the past few months since I haven’t blogged in almost a year–

We found out we had another little blessing on its way on New Years Day after mass for the Solemnity of Mary’s Motherhood. Seton’s behavior during that mass was the worst EVER. TO. THIS. DAY. She screamed THE WHOLE TIME. I actually cried afterward and had a heavy moment of thinking, “I have no idea how to be a mother.” Then, I peed on a stick.

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A terrible morning turned into one of the best days of my life.

My pregnancy was great with a couple of hiccups. I had heavy bleeding in the first trimester with that icky flu feeling that left me permanently on the couch.

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In my second trimester, I was in a car accident that totaled my car (hello, new minivan).

And in my third trimester, I had a bad sinus infection that spread to my jaw. I went five days without being able to chew food.

The little bumps in the road made me a little more nervous and a little more sleep deprived in pregnancy, but also so grateful just to BE pregnant and have to opportunity to be a mom.

And so Rosalie Clare Hiatt joined our family on September 12. I prepared for my birthing experience with hypnobirthing which I highly recommend. I LOVED it! Rosalie’s birth was so calm and peaceful, just like she is to this day. (maybe I will write about it one day on here?)

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My mom came to town to help out with Seton. I am so glad she was here–she kept my mind off things pre labor, took care of Seton when Davey and I were in the hospital, and cooked and cleaned for us when we got home. I was so happy she was able to spend some time with me in the hospital and help us welcome Rosalie back home.

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Other notable events of the year:

We celebrated Father’s Day with a date weekend downtown Minneapolis.

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Seton turned 2 and developed a love of cupcakes and the color purple.

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We were able to be in on the Dan’s proposal to my sister, Lyssa.

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And Rex and Natalie got engaged and married (read: I have an amazing new sister!)

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November is the month we are supposed to give thanks–but I have to say there is not a night that goes by that I don’t thank God for this life I have.

Second Anniversary

Davey and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary on September 27. People asked us what we did to celebrate, and I didn’t have just one specific answer. We really celebrated all weekend in the small ways. Sharing waffles together and going on a long walk and going to mass made the perfect anniversary for us.

I thought that I would always say that my wedding day was the happiest day of my life because on September 27, 2013, I couldn’t possibly imagine being happier.

Photo credit Honey and Salt
Photo credit Honey and Salt

I’ve been surprised that every subsequent day has brought more joy than the last.

We rewatched this video and looked through these photos to remember our wedding day.

But it’s really in the small things that we celebrate our marriage.

Seton Speaks

Hello!!! Seton is beginning to talk more, and I am having a little fun with it…

Davey saw this and said, “She doesn’t know many people…”

Whatever, Davey!!! She didn’t say “Dada!!”

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The pope is in the US, and I am just loving it. I am so proud to be Catholic, and I love seeing people of all faiths coming together to welcome the Pope to the US.

If you’re interested in knowing what Catholics believe, PLEASE click on this PDF I attached in this blog post. It’s a list of 10 Catholic Beliefs that is a good summary of what we believe.

Click here:

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Friday Favorites | Toddler snacks

Sometimes I feel like all I am doing is preparing the next meal or snack for Seton. And the girl eats slloooooowwwwllllyy. It is not uncommon for her to be in her high chair for a full hour leisurely making her way through her meal. I try so hard not to rush her because she needs to bulk up a bit, so I let her do her thing. But mealtime/snacktime is probably the most frustrating for me. She becomes hungry ALL THE SUDDEN and she must have food RIGHT NOW or she pitches a fit. By the time the veggies have streamed or the meat is cooked she is upset and makes sure I know it throughout the whole meal.

I feel like I’m a server at a restaurant with a really crabby customer.

I’m learning to feed her a lot more often than I would think she needs to be fed in order to avoid these breakdowns. (I have to defend my mom card a LITTLE here and say that she DOES eat well and is great about liking all the healthy foods! She is just fussy on the timing of it all) I had to go on a hunt for quick, healthy toddler snacks and found some gems. Although I let Seton get messy in her high chair because I think a little mess is good for her, I’m a fan of mess-free snacks so she can eat them at other people’s houses, at restaurants, or just at home when I don’t want to clean her high chair tray for the umpteen time.

Here are my favorites:

1. | We get these from Aldi, and I love them because Seton pretty much sucks it like a straw and it is essentially NO MESS (except for that one time she squeezed it on her shirt). She loves that she has complete control over how quickly she can eat it!

2. | Bananas are the easiest fruit to travel with and also don’t create a big mess. Just don’t forget about the one you left in your diaper bag…

3. | Aint no shame in the string cheese game. String cheese used to weird me out a bit because it doesn’t seem like you should be able to pull your food apart like a strings BUT! NO MESS. No clean up. Yes, please.

4. | I craved orange juice when I was pregnant (real bad), so it’s a little whoa to see how much Seton devours oranges. Cuties are easy to pack for a snack on the go.

5. | For a little sweet treat, we let her munch on these graham crackers (Aldi, you have our hearts).

Those are our top 5 on-the-go quick and dirty-free snacks!! Now PLEASE leave a comment with your suggestions for more! Seton is still in the potential-choking phase so we are waiting on the raw hard fruits and veggies!

Friday Favorites | Podcasts

With an interesting turn of events, the past few weeks my life have been largely spent in a car. Out of sheer boredom, desperate text messages were sent to friends and family for recommendations for SOMETHING TO DO. I can only take my thoughts for so long and as it turns out, “so long” ends up being about 30 minutes.

The first podcast series recommended was Serial and O to the M to the G. I was immediately pulled into the storyline of Adnan Syed, a man convicted of murder when he was 18 years old–a murder which he says he didn’t commit. BUT WHY DID THIS PODCAST HAVE TO END!?!

I went through the entire 12 episodes pretty quickly (LOTS of car time, folks) and started looking for more recommendations.

That’s when I came across Fountains of Carrots. Now I just feel like a creepy person because in my perception of my life, I had coffee with Haley and Christy 28 times over and they are my imaginary best friends that are actually not imaginary and have no idea who I am.

Those are my Friday Faves for ya! Let me know of any other podcasts you like because it looks like I have more car time in my future.

The worst city to live in if you love Craigslist is….

Davey searches far and wide for the best deal when it comes to making a new purchase. It’s one of those things that drives me completely insane…but also something I completely love.

Much to his dismay, we moved to a city that is TERRIBLE at Craigslisting. Everyone in Minneapolis thinks their used goods are worth way more than…well…used goods.

We are in the market for some inexpensive porch furniture, and this is what we have to work with…

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I mean, come on! Your outdated, used patio furniture that your pet peed on is not a gift sent from God. Stop putting it on Craigslist to make a fortune just to end up giving it away to your neighbor’s college aged son because no one bought it.

Don’t even get me started on your couches and rocking chairs, Minneapolis.

Monday Musings | On Motherhood

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As we approach Seton’s first birthday, I find myself reflecting on how motherhood has changed me.

The instant Seton was born, I didn’t feel the overwhelming sense of love that I had expected. I felt physical relief that labor was over. The doctor handed her to me and as she lay on my chest, I thought, “I can’t hold her.” I was shaking, slightly terrified at the experience of labor and numb to any emotion that may be deemed maternal.

Davey recognized I {didn’t want} to hold her –I feel so weird writing that — and he willingly scooped her up and walked around the hospital room with her.

I remember watching him thinking, “how is he already this good? How does he already love her?” I had never seen him hold a baby before. It looked as if he had been holding her his whole life. She fit perfectly into his arms. I was jealous of my husband who seemed to be feeling everything I wanted to feel.

The one emotion I remember strongly was the new sense of responsibility. I knew I had to keep her alive. A nurse told me that Seton had some fluid in her lungs because she was coughing it up. It was really not a big deal, but I became paranoid about watching to make sure she was breathing. So I didn’t take my eyes off of her that first day. Looking back, I guess I was thinking that the least I could do (if I couldn’t love her) was make sure she kept breathing.

Exhaustion has a weird power over a human, and the more I watched Seton’s small chest rise and fall as she lay in her bassinet, the more I felt pulled toward sleep. She was born at 3:21am and as the next night approached I felt I couldn’t even watch her to make sure she stay alive.

I asked them to keep her in the nursery that night.

I felt so ashamed.

I am a rational and loving person, I kept telling myself. I will grow to love her.

And I did.

After the first week at home, I told Davey, “I can’t believe it, but I love her.”

He thought it sounded funny because he giggled and said, “of course you do.”

And now, almost a year later, I am completely shocked by how much I love her. I’m even more shocked that the love does not stop growing.

My life used to be my life. Every decision I made was based on what would make me the happiest.

What job makes me happy? Which friends make me happy? Which TV show make me happy? What book should I read to make me happy?

Now, each and every decision I make, I make for Seton. If I seek happiness for myself, it’s because I want to radiate joy to her.

In many ways, I have matured. I imagine other people reach this maturity sooner in life than I did. I used to care so much about what other people think.

I used to get upset that old ladies in the grocery store would criticize me for not having socks on Seton.

But, now? I don’t care what they think. I know she pulls her socks off.

I used to care about upsetting people in church because Seton is a distraction.

But, now? I don’t care what they think. I know it’s more important for me to bring Seton to church than it is to worry about other people being distracted.

I used to feel so guilty about leaving work in time to pick Seton up from daycare.

But, now? I don’t care what anyone thinks. I know it’s more important that I spend one more waking hour with my daughter than finish discharge summaries or return a phone call from a patient I’ve already spoken to twice about confirming his appointment.

It took becoming a mother for me to fully dissociate myself from others’ concerns and criticisms.

It’s only been one year, and I feel like the person I am and the direction my life is going has completely changed.

And I love it.

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On the standards of fatherhood

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Our daycare thinks Davey is the bees’ knees. He is. I know that I really lucked out with him (see here for more on that). But what has become alarming to me is how much he is praised for being a great father (he is a great father) for doing basic things any parent should do.

Take for example the little adventure he had with Seton a few weeks ago. The daycare called to let us know Seton had a low grade fever and may be showing some signs of an ear infection. They happened to reach Davey first. Davey decided he might as well pick Seton up and bring her in to the doctor. (Davey later admitted he did this so he didn’t have to hear me worrying about her that evening and wondering if we should schedule an appointment. Well played, kind sir.) Davey brought her to doctor, the presumed ear infection was ruled out, and Seton returned to daycare to happily shriek her way through the day as she so often does. When I picked her up from daycare, the staff commented on what a great father Davey is. He came right away. He took her to the doctor! He loves her! Ill be the first to tell you Davey is an amazing father. But I have to wonder if it were me–the mother–who picked her up to bring her to the doctor, would the reaction have been the same? Would they have told Davey what a great mother I was? We will never know, but for the purpose of this post and all logic and rationality—no. No, they would not have said that. Because for some reason (we all know what that reason is, let’s be honest), it’s surprising to the world when a father steps up and parents.

Since I can use this blog to air out my tangents, I also want to stop this trend of people asking me if my husband is “baby-sitting” or is going to “baby-sit.” If I go to get my hair cut, the stylist asks, “who is with the baby? Is your husband babysitting?”

No. My husband does not baby-sit. He fathers. He parents. I don’t pay him by the hour. He loves our child and cares for her because of his love. Because he chose this responsibility. Just like me.

Let’s stop holding men to such low standards, and maybe they will live up to higher ones.

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{Finance} 5 steps to take control of your financial life

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Growing up, my family rarely went out to dinner. When we did, we were not allowed to order sodas because they were too expensive. Water for everyone, it was. While this was frustrating as a ten year old eyeing the root beer on the table next to us, I learned the importance of saving money by resisting the temptation to spend it on things that don’t matter.

Luckily, my husband was taught the same thing.

My husband is in the business of saving money to make money. His theories on saving money have debunked the old saying, “money doesn’t grow on trees.” The truth is, if you have a little money, you can make a little money. If you have a lot of money, you can make a lot of money. The trick is to save enough money and plant it in the right soil.

Since Davey’s job is showing people how to save money, invest money, and watch money grow, I asked him to name the most important steps for someone to take control of his financial life.

1. Figure out where you spend your money
Start by making two lists. The first list should include all your monthly essentials such as bills, groceries, and rent/mortgage. Make a second list of things you spend money on each month but you don’t need to live. Include entertainment, cable, Internet, and haircuts.

Add up all these expenses and subtract them from your monthly take-home pay. If it looks like you are coming up even, it’s safe to say you going into debt. Consider making lifestyle changes by coming up with ways to live below your means. By getting rid of internet at home, learning to cut you own hair, bringing lunch to work, and going to a pre-paid cell phone service you can easily keep another $100-$200 in your pocket.

2. Start using cash
Credit cards can be a good thing for building credit and getting rewards. However, it is easy to fall into the trap of spending money you do not actually have. By using cash, you will have better control over your finances. If you are in debt, using cash should be a priority. Quite simply, if you don’t have the cash for it, you cannot afford it and you should NOT be buying it.

3. Pay down debt
There is good debt and bad debt. Good debt is necessary debt like student loans or home mortgage. Bad debt is generally considered voluntary and related to credit cards and unsecured loans. Pay off all bad debt first. If you have credit card debt, pay off one card at a time. Start to pay off chunks of the high interest card first while paying the minimums on the others. Also explore using debt consolidation such as a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This should get all your debt in one place and usually at a lower interest rate. If you do this, be sure to not go back to the credit cards.

Here are some resources:
National Foundation for credit counseling (www.nfcc.org)
Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (www.aiccca.org)

4. Save and live below your means
Start your retirement savings… NOW. This is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Talk to your human resources at work to discover how you can have a portion of your paycheck immediately deducted and placed in a retirement account. Additionally, consider starting an IRA through an investment firm.

Also, don’t forget to have an emergency fund. Everyone’s emergency fund size is different and should be at least 3-months of your essential living expenses. This money should only be used for emergencies.

5. Make money automatic and automatically
Start by trying to make everything automatic. Use the budget lists you created in step 1 to figure out what bills you have and when they are due. If you get paid on the 1st and the 15th of the month, be sure to set up automatic bill payments equally to each paycheck.

To make saving for retirement automatic, talk to human resources at work (see above) or call your bank and ask them to move $100 on the 1st and 15th of each month from your checking account where your paycheck goes to a separate savings account.

The trick is to get money out of your account before you have a chance to spend it. Pay yourself first. If you decide to go the whole month without saving but pledge to save whatever is left at the end, chances are you will have nothing left to save.

With these 5 steps, you will seeing your savings grow and have more control over your financial life.