Saturday, December 29, 2012

Prepping for 2013: Keeping Organized

This was Eamon's first full week of work at his new job.
It was important for me to take this week captive to start off with new, good habits so that he has confidence that the home is taken care of while he is back at work. So much of the past nine months has been "Oh, hey, Eamon, can you get that real quick?" while I deprioritize my family. I've been really nervous about the transition, and I have had a bit more anxiety, going to bed exhausted every night with a clean home has been so refreshing.

Here are some things that have helped:
  • This mama said she never goes to bed with dirty dishes in the sink so (other than last night, yesterday was particularly craptastic) this week I made sure that I didn't either. It made our mornings go much smoother.
  • Having an activity planned for the girls every day was also very helpful.
  • I allowed myself one PJ day, but made sure I was dressed and my hair was brushed (not did, just de-bed-headed) and I showered more often (and with a preggo belly and two toddlers who do not understand "personal space" that is a daunting task that results in a very crowded shower)
  • One of these mamas reminded me that the "Good mom's have messy floors and happy children" is kind of for the birds. Yes, your children's happiness is more important than a shiny floor, but a disorganized home, for me, is just added chaos in a sometimes very stressful environment. So taking control of my household to better serve my children is what makes me a "good mom." Not messy floors ;]
  • I made sure the girls were also dressed, dressed, every day. If they took their clothes off, that's their prerogative,  but at least I tried.
  • I stuck to my daily to-dos, and made sure I had them every day.

I feel like 2012 was a very unorganized year for us. In 2011 I started a "Home Planning Folder" and it did wonders for our family. I got the idea from here nearly exactly like this:

In 2012, with Eamon and I both working from home, things got very confusing. And out of control.
So this week I went back and tried to gather my resources, knowing now what has worked, and what hasn't, and started going putting together my binder for this coming year. It will grow and change as the year moves on, but for now, this is what I have planned:

Burke Home Planning Folder
Family Members

  • How to pray for my husband
  • Date Night Ideas
  • Work Schedule

  • Devotional
  • Pray (Missional Work & Prayer List)
  • Blog (Ideas for Mother, Mae I? and calendar)
  • Healthy (Food Diary & Exercise Log)
  • Make (Crafts & Around the house To-Dos)


  • Learning (Monthly goals [a calendar with objectives of things I'd like to cover that week, not a lesson plan], Book List, Chore Chart)
  • How to pray for Lily

  • Healthy (Food Diary [with reactions], Supplement Chart/Inventory, Doctor Visit Notes)
  • Learning (Chore Chart, Potty Chart, Book List)
  • How to pray for Norah

  • Planning (Baby Names, Baby Needs [by third baby, some things definitely need replacing] Finances for Midwife, Finances for Photography)
  • Healthy (Appointment Calendar, Supplement List, Midwife/Doula Notes)
  • How to pray for Baby

The Home

  • Monthly Budget
  • Calendar with Due Dates
  • Debt
  • Savings
  • Charity

Meal Plan:
  • Monthly Meal Plan Calendar
  • Grocery Lists

  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Daily To Dos

  • House Cleaning Schedule (Weekly & Monthly)
  • Projects to be done before Baby comes (Room by Room)

What about you? Do you have a way to help keep your home in running order? What about an organizer? What is something that's a must in your book?

Hoping your 2013 is starting to look organized and joyous,

Letter to Baby: 3.21

Today I am 22 weeks, here's how this past week went:

-spicy cravings are in overdrive. I fermented peppers and jalepenos. Note to self: STOP EATING THEM BEFORE BED (hashtag, pregnancy dreams are for suckers)
-this was the first week of daddy being at work full time, and I did it! I didn't go hide in my room but once ;]
-Norah held a newborn for the first time this week, and while she looked at it like it may actually eat her at any moment for a few minutes, she then snuggled it and gave it kisses and pet it's precious newborn hair. It's so hard to imagine that Lily was exactly this age when Norah was born.

Dear Baby,
Happy Christmas, Little one! Since your sisters both came at 41 weeks, I will go ahead and say that I'm officially over halfway to your due date, but who knows! I'm happy to let you pick your birthday, we'll celebrate whenever you are ready. We celebrate the birth of our Savior this week and it had me thinking of you so frequently. I hope we bring you close to Him, show you His love, raise you with His passion. You were made on a very magical night when there were thousands of stars whirling about the heavens, fighting for our attention, but they were no competition for Love. I felt the Lord tell me shortly after that I was going to be entering a season of Peace, and then we found out you were on your way. When we spend time together at night, I call you my Little Star. I am confident that you are sent from our Father, little one, and that you will lead people to worship Jesus. I can't wait to know you more.

All my love,

(See more of this series here)

White Christmas

We had a quiet Christmas around here. Woke up, opened a few presents, made a giant(ish) breakfast, laid around in our PJs, and all of a started to snow. I don't think I've ever dressed the girls that quickly. Not in their whole life. Lily loved it, Norah...wanted to, husband wanted nothing to do with it ;] The girls had "snow icecream" for snack that day and the two days that followed (or back porch doesn't get any sun on it, so the snow didn't meal until the temperature raised) I made my first Christmas dinner all by myself (E usually does it) and actually went to bed early. It was a good day. There were few "Mama, are you happy? Or stressed?" inquiries from Lily, both girls enjoyed their sweet toys that our very generous friends from DC sent them, and I didn't clean a thing except dinner dishes. It was nice :]

Hope your Christmas was peaceful and you are gearing up for a fabulous New Year!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Letter to Baby: 3.19 & 3.20

I'm slackin, huh? I'm in my 21st week now, here's how 19 & 20 went :]

Dear Baby,

Your daddy got a new job this week, we are absolutely thrilled that he will be able to provide a little bit more so mama can spend more time with your sisters and you. We got to meet your sweet friend, Ivy Grace this week as mama photographed her birth. I got braxton hicks every time her mommy had a good contraction. I am excited for your birth, I got to see most of our birth team at her birth and know they will help welcome you peacefully and joyously.

All my love,

Dear Baby,

This is when most parents find out if their little baby is a boy or a girl, but we are waiting until your birthday. Lily thinks your are a boy, Norah thinks that you are a belly button, and Daddy thinks you are a boy as well. Carrying you has been so different from your sisters' pregnancies, that I'm inclined to say boy. I know what you are, as far as what God's promised me, but I don't know if you are a boy or girl. I was a little overcome with grief again this week worried about your formation and whether or not you'd be sick like Norah. I don't want that for you, and I don't know that I can handle it. I (and all the people who love you) are praying that your organs are all fully developed, and that your skin never sees an itchy day. I'm trying my hardest to give you all the best foods so you get nice and chubby but stay healthy.

All my love,

Friday, December 21, 2012


This week has been slow.
Hard work around the house, putting the rest of life on hold while I reset my focus and energy. Putting off my bussiness (mostly) to bring all of my attention to housework, scheduling, planning, etc., has been really hard for me, but my home and family are reaping the benefits.

I'm hoping that after a little bit of shifting, I can have a short time of rest. A dear sweet friend sent this blog over to me earlier this week and it was refreshing and affirming. I'm not sure where it's from, if you do, let me know!


" Am I Allowed To Be Tired?

This is a distinctly awkward and challenging time of my life. "Challenging" is the word believers use for an "this completely sucks but I gotta show I have faith" response. My extended family is in what is now, a chronic state of duress. Some things are being torn from me that I desperately do not wish to tear and I feel gutted about it. My husband is working so hard to start a new business that will provide for 6 people and 2 dogs. We don't know if it will work. If anything requiring an "emergency fund" were to occur, we would be stuck and it's been that way now for over a year. It feels ike tight-rope walking over snapping alligators. The world feels to me threatening and precarious. Lovely and viscious on a dime. I seem to arc between ok-ness and hyperventilation. (I'm not kidding, it has happened 3 x's now and it is highly inconvenient). I know the truth. I have been divinely set up, in my life, to have reasons to believe that I am seen, known and loved by God. I have been disconnected from misery and tied into hope repeatedly in my life. I know how, ultimately, this story ends. I know enough to never truly abandon my fiath. I know there are millions of folks who have more gruelling financial isues that I do. There are folks sick with disease who suffer like I have never known.

But, what of weariness? I have been thinking about weariness a lot lately. Usually, when I start to crater and doubt and when I take on a slightly cynical edge, I feel immediately guilty. "What about that stuff God showed you? Have you forgotten it? Did you let go of that truth? It probably didn't change you, if you are digressing now. You will most likely have to learn that again."

Here's my dilemna. Lately I sense this about my own troubled heart: I have not decided to unbelieve the truth God has taken the time to put into me. I'm just tired of holding on. I'm tired of quoting the truth to myself aloud several times a day. I'm weary of the battle against doubt. I haven't given up, I'm just tired. Is there a place for weariness in my life, without self-flagellation? I run some and I know the value of pushing through all of the way to fatigue. I know well the relief of a slowed pace after an extended push. The gasping for air. Just because I am tired and panting doesn't mean I am, in that moment, a terrible runner with lousy form who never knew anything about running. It simply means...I ran.

Remember Frodo at Mount Doom? He was bone weary by the time he arrived at his destiny, the destruction of the one ring. He was pale, injured, weak. Just because he was so, after his excruciating journey (stabbed by a wraith, bitten by a giant spider, endless miles of terrifying pursuit, the loss of some dear to him) doesn't mean he had been doing a poor job up until that point. Hard things are hard. Fighting is fighting. The result of hard physical labor is exhaustion. The result of hard spiritual and emotional exertion is no different. I think, in my own mind, where a few religious blinds still hang on the windows, there is no room for me to wear out. For me, there's shame in it. I tell myself, "You know Michelle, if you really were stronger, you could make it through this hard time without doubtful, weak thoughts". So little mercy for myself. So little acknowledgement of the cost of fighting on a heart.

So there is Frodo, he has fallen over the mouth of the wicked volcano rumbling inside Mount Doom. He is hanging by one hand. He has just completed the task Gandalf gave him, but he is too weary now to pull himself to safety. His hanging on the precipice is not due to any failure on his part, it is due to his exhaustion from fighting. Michelle, your hanging from a cliff edge, hyperventilating, worrying and crying is not due to you failing in your walk with God, it is due to your exhaustion from fighting.

Why would the Scriptures say things like, "He will RENEW your strength" if our strength never needed renewing. Things that need renewing are things that have expired. Come to the end of their term. Worn out. Used up. And what about "all you who are weary, come to Me and I will give you rest"? The writer doesn't imply there "all who are faith sissies who can't hold firm through anything, come to me for a a berating". He makes a way for fighting and He allows for weariness. It's a cycle, even in our human bodies, the machines that they are. So, if God does, who don't I? Who do I think I am? What prideful cape do I wear that puts me above tiredness in my own mind?

So, here is the conversation I will have with my own heart today. Michelle, you have been fighting for a long while. you have done well! You have fought with passion and fire. You have contended with your enemies and fought to hold onto truth. You have trusted the Trustworthy and used your weapons well. You have run, you have hidden, you have chased, you have cried out, stepped between and snatched some important things back from their destruction Now you are tired. Tired muscles weaken and lose their grip. That's ok. It only means it's time to rest. To renew expired strength. To give way to weariness. To succumb to it's place in the cycle of restoration. Let go of the shame you place on yourself in the slipping. It's not a sin to be tired. Deep down, accept that weariness is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. A muscle that has been worked to exhaustion is a stronger muscle, once it has been given time to recover. Feel a satisfaction of sorts for having used your muscles and give them a minute to collect themselves. Good job, now take a break.

Even as I speak these words to myself, I see the critical moment where Samwise becomes the obvious hero to me. Frodo is dangling over molten fire by a few weak fingers and Sam's stout hand stretches down to save him. Frodo clasps Sam's forearm with his mangled free hand and it is enough of a hold to drag him off of the edge. What follows is a feathered extraction to safety and a coma-like sleep that lasts for days and days. Frodo awakens form his deep sleep and not a single friend says anything like this: "Wow, you sure slept a long time. Do you really think that was necessary? We needed you. Could you please get busy around here?" Nope. Just more love for him. Joy at his health, restoration and laughter.

I have a fellowship, a cloud of witnesses who would pull me of off the cliff's edge and who would wait by by my bedside. I am a witness to many I would do the same for. If I would treat someone else who is exhausted with respect and tenderness, then I must turn this same approach onto myself. I must respect the Divine Provision for hard work, exhaustion, rest and renewal. I must never despise myself for wearing out on any level, ever again."


Having someone "allow" me to be tired and just tell me they can understand I would be took a huge weight off of my shoulders. These past few days I've woken up earlier than usual, with the day already planned, snuggled with this sweet little girl (instead of letting the greif of her wrecking my nights consume me) while she's still "the baby" and put all of my energy into turning our house around. I'm completely spent by naptime, but it's been fine. Dinner's already been prepped and I've had activities for the girls that they've loved (instead.of being babysat by tv til dinner). I have even.taken lots of YOUR advice and tips on how you keep your home tidy to help keep things in order.

Thank you for all of your prayers, keep em comin <3


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to Pray

I laid in bed crying with Norah last night as her ritual of wake up, scratch til it hurts, cry, come to mamas bed and scream, cry and scratch for a few hours was nearly over.

It was about 330 and I was trying to remember all of the good things about her to put me in a happy place and try not to dwell on "What if Baby #3 is just like this?" (though, I did, lots) I tried thinking back on blog posts that told of the great weekend I had with her and then realized that she's been such hard work that I've rarely talked about her here. What she's like when she's not scratching and screaming. Because if she is having a great day, there's no way I'm going to waste it by siting on the computer to type it all out. Having a child with an auto immune disease that isn't life threatening is really hard. There are no support groups for "my kid just effing itches all of the time." There's no way to fully explain that the reason I'm not sleeping is because I weaned my daughter at 18 months because nursing her was making me physically ill, and she doesn't know how to comfort herself, and I don't know how to teach her. That it's not a discipline issue, she has a psychological problem, and I have no idea what else I can do to give her some relief. There are no financial aid funds for babies with itchy skin who have to see a specialized doctor to be repeatedly tested. And there is not enough patience in the world for me to deal with every person who looks at her and says "Oh, that poor thing, she must be miserable" and then ask if I've changed her detergent.

So after a few hours of ^this^ and more, and writing what must look like a words from a lunatic in an email to some friends, I finally prayed. (I hate that I so often turn to everyone else before I turn to God. Such an awful part of my heart) Not long into my prayer did I realize that I had already gotten off track, thinking about what I've got to change about my meal plan, how I'm going to survive with Eamon working long hours out of the house again  the(but THANK YOU JESUS for new job!), what I've got to tell everyone on facebook...It's pathetic, really. So I started my prayer again, only to get in a few sentences to start the same cycle again. And again. And again. My discipline in prayer is dismal.

So, I recognize this, and I'll be working on it (which means that I'll be in my word more too) but in the meantime, I could use some help to keep these prayers going. If you're the praying type, and you'd like to pray for us, here's what we need:

Lily: patience while her home education has been delayed and an ever growing desire to learn and grow close to Jesus. She is a huge helper with Norah, and loves her deeply. But her emotions get the best of her often resulting in three crying Burke ladies. That ain't pretty, y'all.

Norah: for Norah, we need a miracle. I need her body to be healed. I need her mind and little fingers to find peace to not scratch her skin so that when this new mystery rash does go away, it can heal. I need a way to be made for her to go see her doctor. I need divine wisdom to know how to discipline her in particular in a way that doesn't leave her to harm herself. I need her to know what peace feels like. I can't give that to her, only Jesus can. Please pray He can heal her and bring her peace because part of me is really doubting not that He can, but that He will.

Baby: I want to enjoy this baby more than you know, but the fear that I will have as much work cut out for me with him/her (or more!) than I do with Norah is almost crippling. Pray protection over this little baby as s/he grows. That her intestines would form properly, that all of his/her immune and histamyn receptors are in perfect working order and that s/he will have beautiful perfectly smooth skin.

Eamon: Eamon needs encouragement and strength to succeed at his new job. He needs to know that I believe in him, and he needs me to be able to hold down the fort while he provides for our family. I know I can't give him that confidence yet, because I haven't shown him that I can, but I want to.

Mae: I need to be lifted out of the fog of depression, I need to have a clear head, and a willing heart that will help me be the mom I want to be for the girls. I need to enjoy this pregnancy, enjoy my babies, enjoy Norah. I need to accept what I can and should do for my family and be encouraged that I am capable of it.

I woke up this morning, to get on facebook to clean out some friends and saw this verse posted on my church's page, how fitting.

""In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for

 we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself

intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings."

- Romans 8:26 (NET Bible)"

Much love to you and yours and thank you for taking the time to read this, or even pray. Hoping you are having a very Happy Christmas (I'll be back soon with pregnancy pictures :])

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Letter to Baby: 3.18

Welp, I lied.
No mid-week post from the Burkes.

We had a tremendously busy week, something every night which is very different for us. With giving more intentionality to living communally and missionally, and having the Christmas season to celebrate all sorts of fun, we have been worn out with socializing, but it's a good worn out.

This pregnancy's been so emotionally tough, that I've had to accept that this may be my last pregnancy and cherish it as if it is! I doubt we won't have new additions to our family in the future, but knowing how hard this one has been makes me a little wary.

I'm headed into week 19 (whoa.) and still feeling great, but definitely starting to feel "pregnant". No hiding the bump any more. (Well, I would think, it's still so funny to me when people are like "Ohmygosh! I didn't even know you were pregnant!" I think..."uuuuhhh...then how exactly do you explain >this
Since this is the point most people find out if they are having a boy or girl, we've been talking about baby names. We like Phoebe for a girl and we've talked about Sterling for a boy's name (first or middle). But of course, you can come out and surprise us and let us know what your name is :]

You are growing fantastically, sweetie. I can feel you stretched out from my belly button to my hips, pushing every which way, swimming around in your little home. I think all that sparkling water and pepper flakes got to you as you keep getting the hiccups. Learning to breath is tough work ;]. You played a joke on daddy this week when he said "I don't wanna feel, the kicks are always too little for me to notice" and BAM, you gave him a nice big kick that moved his finger. Cannot wait to hold those sweet little toes in a few months. We have decided on a girl name and are still working on a boy name, but have a meaning as we pray and learn about who you are.

All my love,

(See the full series here)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Letter to Baby: 3.16 & 3.17

I am 18 weeks and a day, and almost forgot to update the past few weeks!
It is Dec 2 and yesterday was EIGHTY-FIVE degrees. Ridiculous, I tell you.
I'll be back later on this week with other Burke family happenings that are less "Bump-centric". Promise.

This week felt like coming out of a fog. Lots of deep breaths, lots of thankful prayers, and lots of planning for your future. You came along with me to photograph a birth this week and how lovely it was. As I was editing I couldn't help but think about what the moment is going to be like bringing you up to my body to feel your warm, slippery, tiny self safe in my arms against my chest. Waiting to meet you has become exciting in a whole new way.

All my love,


We were two busy bees this week! Mama had lots of shoots to run off to. You met lots of new babies with me and spent many hours in front of the computer working too. You are pretty much over me wearing pants as evident by your tiny squirms every time I fold forward when wearing them. I can feel your tiny form in the mornings when I wake up after you've curled into a ball and settled at the front of my belly. Your daddy and I have noticed so many changes in my body this week, mostly everything getting wider or fuller. My lines are starting to soften up a bit to prepare for cuddling my squishy little bundle in the spring. I have craved bubbly refreshing drinks and fermented goodies all week, hope all of the bubbles aren't giving you hiccups.

All my love,

(See the full series here)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Letter to Baby | 3.14 & 3.15

We're officially into the second trimester and rounding out week 15.
My trip to Austin didn't work out and the past few weeks have {honestly} been a blur of  tears and yelling and sleepless nights and looking for help. You are growing so fabulously, hearing your heartbeat at our midwife appointments just brings so much joy to my heart. Physically we are doing great. We need to go see Dr. Hickey to go get us tested for allergies so you don't end up Itchy Baby #2, but we really are doing well. Emotionally, I'm ready for all of these ups and downs to even out so this pregnancy isn't the one I remember as "the one I was too hormonal to function" but we will get there. Daddy is in Oklahoma for the end of week 15 and I hope he comes back refreshed and ready to start changing course for your arrival!

All my love,

Little Talks

When I first heard this very catchy song earlier this year, the girls were napping on the way home from the grocery store.

After the first chorus I began praying "please, please, please don't let it be back"
While I saw the {nonsense} video for the first time today, I heard the words immediately and it stirred something up I've been ignoring for a long time.

Then when we found out I was pregnant, I felt God tell me I was entering a season of peace.
I clung to that promise. Ignored what was going on, latched on to the hope of change that presented itself with growing a new baby. Squelched my instincts. Until I lost them.

I am not the same person I was four months ago, and the longer I ignore it, the longer I fight it, the more dangerous it's become for my marriage, my motherhood, and my sanity.

As much as it irritates and angers me to write this, I am suffering from depression. Again.
It's...different than any other time I've experienced it and earlier this week we began tackling it.
While it's annoying to put out for the whole world to see, "HEY! There's something wrong with me! : D" and to walk into a room full of people who give you that "OH honey :( Come here, gimme a hug, lets talk about everything in the whole wide world so I can feel like a better person for hearing all of your junk" look nearly everywhere I go. I've got to get over it. You need to know I'm not okay, I don't want to talk about it, but I need to, because I can't do this by myself.

Someone {I really didn't like in the first place} told me I was distrusting and shut off from the world. LET ME TELL YOU, I've never unfriended someone faster than I did just then. ME?! Who can talk about all the icky stuff in my past?! Me who can admit to being a liar for most of my life, admit to carving up my arm, admit to being a virgin before getting married but still REALLY pushed the boundaries?! Open and honest me?!

Yep. Me.

And when I secretly tried to open myself up and deepen my relationships, I got hurt.
It's much easier to push people away than let them in to all of *this*. Or realize that not everyone is *okay* with all of this. Rejection hurts, and I avoid it like the plague.

"Though the truth may vary, this ship will carry our bodies safe to shore"

I don't know what Of Monster's and Men's "truth" is, and I don't know where they are finding their refuge to stay afloat. But I do know that at this point in my life where my truth is shaky and my life seems like a raging sea at times, I am still clinging to God's promise to me that I will be entering a season of peace, that He will calm the seas, that He will keep me safe and dry and that I will be on dry land soon.

I am getting professional help, and we're just beginning. I need the body, I need renewed trust, I need strength, and I need safety. If you want to help, pray for or be one of those things for me :] I know my testimony is important for the kingdom (though I often doubt it) and that's why I am sharing this here. I will try and keep you updated, but know that this will not become my place to vent, but hopefully a place of progress, Truth, and occasional cute outfits with an ever growing bump.

All my love,

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Letter to Baby | 3.13

We just finished our 13th week and are safely in the second tri!! WOO HOO!

Here's a little bit of what went on this week:
Mama got no sleep. Norah Jean has decided to snuggle with us every night and I'm letting her-for now. Soon you're the only babe I'll be able to hold in my arms and we'll cuddle uninterrupted. But for now, we share ;]
You started fluttering up a storm this week. There was one day where I hardly felt you at all. I ate a super spicy chili for dinner and when I laid down to (try to) go to sleep I felt you do little flips every time my stomach made noises. It was adorable.
I let myself (again) eat "normal" foods and find myself much more morning sickness prone than a few weeks ago. So (for real!) back to my boring, restrictive diet. We'll find out in a few weeks at our next midwife appointment how happy all this sugar and cheese and eggs makes our midwife too ;]

We went to a baby shower this week for your friend Ivy Burke (no relation, but you will be total bffs) and it reminded me of the long chains of celebrations we'll be having before we meet you. As your sister has kept me up at night with her never ending scratching, I'm still fervently praying for no allergies and no skin issues for you-for both of our sakes. I've picked out a few names for you if you are a girl, and Daddy is totally in charge if you are a boy...which is scary ;] I love you and can't wait to go on our little trip together, just me and you this coming week <3 br="br">
All my love,

Friday, October 26, 2012

Letter to Baby | 3.12

I'm just finishing up week 12 of pregnancy #3.
Feelin cute, feelin loved, feelin stressed, but when am I not? (the stressed part...not the cute part ;])

Trying something new with this series, haven't perfected it, but we'll see how it goes :]
I guess it's time I add a new page for this little one's pregnancy! This is where you can follow this pregnancy's series :]

So, this week:
I craved sushi, mainly just the fish. I wanted raw salmon pretty much every day, and husband finally went and bought some for me and made sushi/sashimi for us last night, YUM!
I weaned Norah...which meant I ate...ahem...a ton of crap that I haven't been able to eat in over a year, and I'll just go ahead and say I'm pretty much over that! I felt my mood change, my skin just felt awful to be in, my stomach...oh stomach... It was not pretty people. I would totally be up for a stomach pump and colon cleanse after that...never again. Will hopefully get to the doctor soon to see what really is and isn't off limits this pregnancy to make sure #3 doesn't have a ton of allergies like another little Burke Baby I know.
I hadn't gained any weight until I trashed my diet, so there's strike two for eating Papa John's and butter chicken (BUT EHRMUHGAH, butter chicken...WHO KNEW!?)
I started having pain in my soaz for the first time! Didn't have it with either pregnancy, but this time it's super noticable. I'm working with my uhmazing yoga instructor on pain managment and that's helped a lot. *May* even be going twice a week.

"This morning we got our first bit of cozy cold and I wanted to snuggle up with you so badly. Lily is in love with you and tells everyone about her "Baby Brudder" so I apologize in advance if you are another little lady. I really got myself worked up this week thinking about the possibility of having another baby with severe food allergies, which gave me extra incentive to take care of us these next 30 weeks. I also realized that if you follow the same 41 week pattern that your sisters have, you may make your entrance on Mother's Day! That would be a sweet surprise indeed.
All my love,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Falling in Love

These past few months have been a time for change here in the Burke house.

Little by little, God has re-prioritized our hearts and has filled our home with love.

He's been squishing our two sweet sisters close together.

(Lily asked the other day "Mama, who is your favorite sister?" thinking she was talking about my sisters I said "Oh Lily, I love all my sisters the same" to which she said "'s not me or Nor?" tricky, Lily, very tricky)

He's grown Eamon and I so's like we're falling in love all over again.

And He gave us a baby.

We are pleased to introduce the newest love of our life. This tiny little seahorse will make his or her arrival sometime next May. We know you'll fall in love with him/her just as much as we already have.

I hope you are welcoming the new season of weather changes (however subtle they may be-AHEM-Texas...) with open arms, we certainly are.

"Not one of all the Lord's good promises to the house of

Israel failed; every one was fulfilled."

Joshua 21:45

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Raising a Queen - Not a Princess

It all started a few months ago when the landlord came over to fix our ceiling in our kitchen (the hilarity in the fact that my post about princesses starts off with my landlord is too much for me to bare). He brought his handyman with him the first day, the the second day they both brought their kiddos. The handyman told me on the first day, "Oh, I have a little girl who's outgrown so many of her toys, I'll bring em over for your girls to play with tomorrow" It was very sweet of him, and I could tell he very much missed when his girl was tiny, so I didn't object. What happened the next morning was a hurricane of pink and sparkles that I couldn't even imagine all on my own. Barbie herself would have probably been a little overwhelmed. Lily had just gone to a  birthday party a few days before-her first princess party- and had been running around with this tiara on night and day since then.

So here was this sweet girl unloading Barbies, Polly Pockets, those spinning flying fairie things (oh yeah, they still make em!!) and a million tiny shoes, bracelets, necklaces, LIPSTICKS (wtf does a three year old need lipstick for?!) and whatever other tiny plastic slave made products targeted at little girls you can imagine.

Lily was in heaven.

And while the handyman's eyes glittered watching his little girl share her much loved toys, and Lily dressed Norah in 3 crowns (she kept saying "NOR!!! You such a pretty KING!!" ), an apron, high heels, and some Mardi Gras beads (...I know.)  I sat by, politely(ish) staring in horror. My ceiling couldn't have been finished quickly enough. As soon as they were gone, I let the girls pick a handful of things, from a few things I picked out that were okay (things that could be used for dress up/pretend play, and could have all branding/characters taken off) and packed the rest in a box for Goodwill. Practically speaking, no child needs that many toys. Of any kind. Ever. In the history of the world.

A few more days go by and we have some friends over for dinner. They have a girl Lily's age and a boy Norah's age and everyone seems to be getting along splendidly. Until the witching hour (ahem, past their bedtimes) approaches. And then it happens. One little girl starts crying, and then they are both crying (Lily and her friend are both overly sensitive and have a flair for the dramatic) and it's time for parents to sort through the hugs, spit, tears, and tangles to find out what happened.

It all came down to Greedy McLily Pants. Apparently the bajilion crowns that I decided to keep (for the express purpose of having plenty to share with her friends when they came over) were simply not enough for Princess Possessive to share. Eamon got down on her level and said

"Lily, we can share your crowns so you and your friend can both be happy, or you can keep your crowns, be in trouble, and have your friend be sad."

Lily, without a second thought answered the question over and over

"I want her to be sad."

Well. That's that. She cared more about this piece of plastic than her friends' happiness.
So, daddy took away all the crowns, and in the trash they went. (This is where we look like the psycho parents...whatevs) Lily cried and cried and cried, but she understood.

The whole ordeal got me really thinking about "Princesses"

What did I "know" about princesses as a child?
They were entitled to all that was good from birth. Their defiance and feelings for a boy that resulted in disobedience (specifically against their father) was always justified. Their mother (if even around, let's face it, Disney loves dead mothers for some reason) never understood her heart, nor did she want any good to come to her. Her heart attitude was not an issue, because even if all of her beautiful clothes were taken away, as long as she believed she was beautiful (because that's what makes a princess) that she would get all of her beautiful things back.

So when Lily a few days later found a stow away tiara and paraded around the house saying "LOOK, I A PRINCESS!" Eamon and I quickly stopped her and told her "No, you are not a princess because you are wearing a crown."

We sat her down and told her what a princess is.
A princess is a King & a Queen's daughter. That is all that she is.
What does she do?
She trains to be a queen. She is under her mother's watch to learn how to be a Queen, if not over the kingdom she is in, the one she will rule over one day. She learns her manners, learns how to treat the people in her community, learns to oversee the affairs of her home, is shown how to properly serve her King, and also how to rule in the King's absence.

As I am explaining all of these Kingly duties to my wide eyed little girl, I realize I am my daughter's Queen. That these responsibilities lay on my shoulders. That she is a princess, and that while she is in no way entitled to any earthly inheritance, she is promised a Kingdom of everlasting life with the most glorious King who has ever reigned! Our Heavenly Father! Oh how my heart sang thinking of preparing my child to rule the godly kingdom of her one day home, all to serve the greater Kingdom of Heaven.

While the weight of the materialism that is the "American/Disney Princess" is a little less intense, my desire to teach my girls the value of this verse:

"Your adornment must not be merely external -braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God"
1 Peter 3:4-5

is only amplified. My desire to see Proverbs 31 women (a most Godly queen under the Lord) come up out of my home makes my giddy with excitement.

Hope you're having a fantastic week,

***I absolutely do not want this to make any of my mom friends who disagree with this, or just haven't thought about this issue like this to think I think less of you, or don't want our girls playing together, or that you have to hide the Cinderella dresses when we come over, just don't expect to find them while you're here ;]***

Monday, August 20, 2012

"You the teacher, I the stupid"

^This gem was brought to you by my oh so intelligent, accidentally hilarious three year old.

Two weeks ago as I was pulling supplies in for our "class" I said
"Lily, we're starting school next week"
"Yes baby, I'll be your teacher and you'll be my student."
"OooOOOooh, you the teacher, I the stupid!"

I should have just returned everything I bought from Teacher's Tools and Mardell's right then and there, but, I soldiered on ;]

This year we are kind of just seeing how Lily learns. We're using a little bit of Charolette Mason, Montessori (go read this blog!), and a little bit of traditional education (as that's what I went to school for). Have I gone a little bit overboard since she's only three? ....maybe. BUT, I am only giving her what she is ready for!

Every morning she helps me prepare breakfast (including some knife skills, setting the table, serving her & her sister's breakfast). Then she cleans up breakfast and we get ready for the day's lesson.
Eamon and I came up with an easy curriculum plan and have activities planned out for each day. Lesson's are about 20 mins long, then we continue to use the rest of the day to intentionally teach her as we cook and clean.

We recently got a cool front in and it was actually 75 degrees this morning. A whole 30 degrees cooler than some afternoons have been here recently. YIKES.
Here's a peek at what school looks like around here :]

 (just a little proof that I actually put SOMETHING up in my room...)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Glass Can Only Spill What it Contains

Right after I was saved, this was my favorite song. I'd listen to it over and over and over again, pretending to understand every word.

A cat came drifting onto my porch from the outside cold
And with eyes closed, drinking warm milk from my bowl
"Nobody hears me! Nobody hears me!
As I crept in so soft
And nobody sees me! Nobody sees me!"
As I watched six steps off

Like peacocks wandering the walkways of the zoo
Who have twice the autonomy the giraffes and the tigers do
"No one can stop me! No one can stop me!
No one clips my claws.
Now everyone watch me! Everyone watch me
scale these outside walls!"

Oh you, pious and profane
Put away your praise and blame
Said, "A glass can only spill what it contains"
To the perpetually plain, the incurably inane
A glass can only spill what it contains

What new mystery is this?
What blessed backwardness?
The Immeasurable One is held and does not resist!
Struck by wicked words and foolish fists of senseless men
The Almighty One does not defend

I was halfway listening to what she thinks she knows
We're like children dressing in our parents' clothes
"Nobody knows me. Nobody knows me.
No one knows my name.
Nobody knows me. Nobody knows me.
No, nobody knows me."

I half-heartedly explained
But gave up peacefully ashamed
A glass can only spill what it contains
We went to Portugal and Spain
And in her mind the entire time it rained
A glass can only spill what it contains

What new mystery is this?
In overflowing emptiness
The Invisible is seen among the shadows and the mist
Before my doubting eyes the Infinite appears in time
The Unquestionable is questioned but makes no reply

What new mystery is this?
What new mystery is this?
What new mystery is this?
What new mystery is this?
What new mystery is this?
"My Rabbi!"
My lips betray with a kiss
What new mystery is this?

A few years later, as revalation has struck, my heart is hurt, I put it on repeat, for old time's sake.

I went to a worship service for women last night, trying to shut my brain up long enough to actually listen to what God had to say.
We took a "heart inventory" as one of our exercises of things that drained our hearts (things that put us in spiritual traps) and things that fill us up.
Things that fill me up are:
A happy husband, newborn baby lips, good food, sex, golden light, that color purple that streaks down green stems on flowers, girly giggles, creative movies, the list goes on.
That one wasn't very hard (and praise Jesus for that, there have been times where it has been!) but then the next list, the list describing what drains us, where are sin lies, where we are apart from God, it was easy to write, but hard to come to terms with:
I'm harsh to overcompensate so I won't be walked all over.
I have to have control over situations- if I don't, who will?!
When I'm not in control, I have anxiety spirals. "If I'm not doing this then this will happen, and then this won't work, and then we'll be late for this, and it will throw off her bedtime, and then I won't get any work done, andthenandthenandthen...."
I'm vain. To a fault. I used to care so, so, so much about how I looked because it wasn't good enough. I wasn't thin enough so I wasn't beautiful. But now, NOW, I'm thin. Now I can fit into those skinny jeans. Now I have people DAILY telling me how jealous they are of the way *I* look, and I'll be damned if I don't. If you see a mirror within 20 ft of you, you bet you'll see me in it. And don't worry, if you don't see that mirror, I'll go find it. Shit, look how much I just elaborated the fact that I consume myself with *me*. Attractive...

and after milling over and over in my head how all of these things are connected- I came to this:
I have to prove my worth.

To who? To you, to your mother, to my neighbor, to my husband, to my mother, to my friends, to my children. TO THE WORLD. and least importantly, to my God.
To prove to you that I know what the hell I'm talking about, I will dish out the bitchiest, most graceless comeback you've ever heard, and cry when you call me out on it.
I will take control over the situation, whatever it is, to prove you can count on me, and that I can do it better than you.
I will make sure I look as attractive as possible when I'm out in public to prove to everyone my youth wasn't wasted on my young motherhood, that I can still satisfy my husband, that I am as cool as my friends, and that I'm most certainly not concerned with appearances...
I have to prove that my "mistake" of a back ally pregnancy that is my physical conception is worth my every breath. That I'm not failing my physical mother, nor that I am exceeding her expectations. I have to prove to the asshole that knocked her up that little half-breed me made something of myself, and dammit, I'm one of the best at what I do.

All of this falls like a rotting 50 pound bag of garbage right in my lap, it's stench absolutely nauseating.

At this point I'm spinning while my brain is rattling off the tiny details, hurts and wrongs of my heart when I hear the woman speaking say

"No one can steal your joy, unless you give it away."

Romans 8:38-39

And I think, "AHA! YES! It is her fault for being too trusting with me, I can't help it if she got hurt."
And then I think "... I guess it's my fault, for giving her my joy"

So then back to praying I go when the speaker then says

"Death and Life are in the power of the tongue"
Proverbs 18:21

And it hits me. How much have I killed with my words? All those times I did not encourage, I did not breath life into my friendships with words... All the times my over compensating harshness has overshadowed the Grace that Jesus has given me.

What do you do? Where do you find balance?
And that brought me right back to this song. "A glass can only spill what it contains"

*I* can't do it. Controlling, bitchy, vain, broken me CAN. NOT. do this. When *I* do this, what pours out from me is sour vinegar, not precious sweet wine. What flows from me leaves stains that can be scrubbed away, but penetrate deep. Only the One that can wash those sins away can cover all of these areas of my life.

So tonight, this is my prayer
Oh you, pious and profane
Put away your praise and blame
Said, "A glass can only spill what it contains"
To the perpetually plain, the incurably inane
A glass can only spill what it contains


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

That One Weekend I Felt A Little Bit Famous: Weekend In Pictures: DC Edition

So a few weeks ago, it happened. All the planning all year long, and it actually freakin happened.

I was flown out to DC to photograph "The Great Nurse-In" in Washington, DC, and local nursing mamas.
It was actually a very quick trip since I was so "go go go" the whole time I was there, and I'm still working on the pictures for all of the mamas I got to meet, but I figured I'd take a break and edit a few personal photos.
(Nursing @ 30,000 ft, Puppy enjoying some juice, "bubbles" (or clouds as they are known to the rest of us)

(norah bein a skinny lil' toddler and patiently hanging out while I shot as soon as we got in)

(rad headboard at the hotel, sorbet from room service, N & Puppy crashed)

(ridin on the metro, vegan muffins at an adorable little bakery, sneak of a shot from a mini session)

(gorgeous spread at the Eastern Market where I had my second mini session, I can't wait to share these images-they are some that I have wanted to take my entire career, and it just...happened!)

(made it to the Capitol just in time for the event)

(sweating our booties off after the event, came back to the hotel for some r&r, went to the National Portrait Museum before dinner with our amazing hosts)

"I'm going in, Mama!"


(Me "Norah!!! SAY CHEESE!!" Norah, "NOOOOOO!!"

(desert after dinner)

(Best cupcakes of your life. Vegan, some gluten free, DELICIOUS. We ate all three. Then and there. I am not ashamed. Much.)

(that night we went back to the room, recovered from my diabetic coma, snuggled, watched Phelps dominate the Olympics, and got ready for another day of metro hoppin and picture takin)

(breakfast with Puppy back at Eastern Market. apparently this was "Have a gorgeous, entertaining, international accent day" at the Bakery, I felt super classy, y'all)

(photo bombin' all my mini sessions. no but really. lots of photoshop happening people. lots.)

(more metro, bfast, and airportin.)

All in all, it was a fantastic trip, and I feel *so blessed* to have been able to go.
I'll be back with a link up to all of the pictures from the weekend.

In other news, God definitely is moving and shaking things up in this house. And it's been awesome. We started homechool this week too. WOO. It's never ending in the Burke house, I tell ya ;]