Category Archives: Elena

Laney Bugs Turns ONE!

Elena’s first birthday brought more tears than laughter for this mother. Much like the day of her birth one year ago, there was no time for fanfare. There was simply a red and white checkered ladybug dress and cupcakes to match.  A small homage in honor of the only “bug” in the world I love; our “Laney Bug.”

Her daddy and I knew the moment she was born that regardless of if there will be any more children for our family or not, she will always be “the baby.”

When she entered the world, things were a little dark for our family. Daddy was on the computer writing his thesis right up until mama was ready to push. We didn’t know where we would live, when daddy would graduate or if there would be a job for him.

“Every baby is born with a loaf of bread under their arm” the old saying goes, and our Laney was no exception. Her birth was the first in a domino effect of things falling into place for our family.

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Baptism by Fire

**This post first apeared on last week. Elena’s baptism was the most beautiful sacrament I’ve even seen. I’ll share part II later this week.***

Part I

In making the preparations for our third daughter’s baptism my husband and I were challenged on our beliefs about the sacrament and necessity for infant baptism.

Our baby’s baptism brought with it the culmination of several manageable, but timely, stresses in our lives. Since Easter we’ve had a baby, moved to another city, joined a new parish and my husband wrote and defended his graduate thesis, received his master’s degree and started a new job. Also in that time we did some genetic testing on our newest family member and learned she shares the same genetic condition as her daddy.

Although thriving, it is necessary for our little “Laney Bug” to have some testing this week at the Children’s Hospital involving putting her under. For us, this meant she must be baptized before her testing and the clock began ticking on getting a baptism on the books.

We were met with some opposition and questions about why she had to receive the sacrament before her tests.

At first, I was extremely bothered. In fact we were outright angry someone dare question our wishes for our child. We are the parents of this beautiful child and thus all spiritual intentions for her are our responsibility, which we accept with joy.

Ironically, that’s a big part of baptizing an infant – renewing our own baptismal promises and committing to our community, and our Lord, that we will do our very best for our child to carry the light of Christ in her heart and be a faithful member of the body of Christ. It’s why I cry like a baby whenever I witness a baptism.

I expressed these views and was asked to just admit that this was an “emotional issue” for my husband and I, not a sacramental issue. In the end, it boiled down to me being asked this question:

“Do you, in your heart of hearts, really believe that your beautiful, innocent baby girl would not be welcomed into God’s kingdom if she were not yet baptized upon her death?”

I skirted past the question and we gave our reasoning for our intentions. We shared Church teachings and decided to disregard the opinions of others and set up the baptism. However, just because something is right doesn’t make it easy.

We struggled with the disappointment in how our third daughter would not have the same baptism experience as our first two. There was no party. In fact, there was no family. We were given an 8am mass baptism a week in advance and both of our families live over 3 hours away. We decided not to invite anyone or throw together a party. The whole thing had already been too stressful.

Amid this disappointment it was difficult to look forward to our daughter’s baptism this week. That question I had been asked was haunting me. It had struck a chord deep in my heart.

The truth is, I don’t really know what I believe would happen to my daughter were she to die before she were baptized. I know what my Church teaches me, but I also know I am a mother and my love for my daughters goes to ends of the earth. Doesn’t God’s fatherly love for us goes even further?

One may be baptized by blood, water or even intent is some cases. And, as long as someone is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, they’ve been claimed for Christ.

I however, feel as if I’ve just been baptized by fire. I’ve been baptized into a renewal of my own faith and baptismal vows. My mama bear instinct kicked in. In protecting my young I was forced to question my Father. Would He protect me as a mother and offer me comfort by welcoming my child?

Through much prayer and discussion with my husband I came to this:

I don’t know what would happen to my daughter should she die before she was baptized. Just as I don’t know what happens to anyone who does not live their earthly life as a member of the body of Christ.

But, I DO KNOW what WILL happen to her if she is baptized into the faith. Our daughter will be re-claimed for Christ and welcomed into Christ’s kingdom.

Because, even when she’s not with me, I need to know where she is. I am a mother.

Daybook – Memorial Day Weekend Edition

An update: Adjustment to 3 little ladies has been wonderful. Elena is a great baby and we have been so blessed by expanding our family and its only been a month since here birth.

It has been insane having a baby while Joseph starts a new job teaching and finishes his graduated thesis at the same time. It has been great, but really hard on me. I’ve been calling myself a “thesis widow.” Joseph works on his thesis every minute of the day when he isn’t teaching or commuting. We haven’t even really had a conversation in weeks. It’s hard, but I know it is needed to move our family forward, so the sacrifice will be worth it. He handed in his final draft on Friday and now we pray his committee says it is ready to defend. We’re really worried about that as he has had some issues with his committee and they have had issues among themselves about what they want from Joseph. It’s really stressful. Things are changing and we are moving into a time of transition. We have hope it will all be worth it.

I really missed blogging and can’t stay away anymore! No matter how crazy life has been. I have to share my new little Laney Bug!


Outside My Window …
There are people moving into the condo across the way from us. Everytime Tessa’s been perching herself in the window to watch. She yells, “look mama! People, I see people!”

It’s really embarrassing, I’m afraid they’ll think she is held hostage or something. We really need to get these kids out more.

I am listening to…
Little baby coos. Laney (as I’ve come to call our newest little gal, Elena) is a wonderful baby, but she hyperventilates, snores and makes odd breathing noises far too often. I’ve never been one of those hovering moms that has a panic attack with every baby breathing sound, but I have to say I’ve never had a baby like this and it’s on my list for her first visit to the pediatrician.

To Live the Liturgy…
Tessa’s in love with Mary and talks often about how she is her best friend. It’s really cute. I need to capitalize on the interest and get some good scripture stories/activities going this week.

To be Fit and Happy….
I’m so happy to not be pregnant anymore! I put my real pants on last week and it felt great. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much milk again this go around (why don’t you work, body?!). I was able to pump and supplement up until this week when even the attempts to pump are bordering on the verge of not being worth it anymore. Still trying, but I think things are drying up. I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight and losing about 2lbs a week, but I worry once I stop pumping I’ll start to gain. We’ll see.

I am thankful for:
Excellent medical care for Joseph and Elena

Family and friends who have been wonderful these past few weeks

My husband who is killing himself over his thesis in the hopes that it will bring good things for our family

The change of seasons (if it even happens her in WI)

A new stage in life on the horizon

Little girls

From the kitchen …
Anything anyone’s heart desires! I embarked on a massive shopping excursion today and the results were more than fruitful! The local circulars were amazing for the holiday weekend and I went to work putting those sales to good use.

I put a few hours of prep work in, matching items on sale to my stack of coupons from the last few Sunday papers and hit the store on double coupon day. The results were amazing. At Pick N Save my total bill came to $267. After my store card and manufacturer’s coupons I paid $145 and left the store with coupons for a free gallon of milk and 18 count carton of eggs on my next visit. I saved so much the computer didn’t like it and a manager had to be called to over ride my transaction. I have to admit, I was slightly embarrassed at first, but then I got really excited and super proud of myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a coupon expert and am far from extreme couponing. The ads and sales were just really great this week due to the holiday weekend. I’m just happy to have gotten myself together enough to get out of the house and take advantage.

Hopefully the rest of the weekend will bring a cookout and some cooking/baking with the girls.

I am creating …
Lists and lists of things I want to do, many of them writing projects. I’m also hoping to get the sewing machine out if we’re home tomorrow. We’re in need of some new placemats and I have tons of fabric waiting to be used.

I am working on……….
Creating more structure in our lives now that we are settled into a new “normal” with the addition of baby Elena and Joseph’s completion of school (almost, maybe).

I am reading….
Mother’s Manual – a beautiful book of prayer a friend of mine sent at the start of my pregnancy.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – I actually finished this book last week, but I took notes in the hopes of writing a review/reflection on the book. I really enjoyed it.

Towards a real education …
Both of our older girls are enjoying working on sounding out words and announcing what letter they start with. Tessa walks around the house and chatters away about everything she sees and what letter it starts with. As always with our genius Anna, you never know she is interested or has mastered an educational milestone until she starts muttering the correct answers under her breath from the corner of the room. They’re both doing well with identifying the correct starting letter. The biggest stumbling blocks are K’s and C’s and Q’s. I’m hoping to do a few more focused exercises in phonics in the very near future. I’m not exactly sure how to teach phonics, so any ideas for some over eager 2 and 3 year-olds would be appreciated!

Bringing beauty to my home …
Bleck. I’m trying to stop complaining about our home. I want our girls to always love “home” no matter how I feel about the physical place itself. We were hoping to move very soon. However, in the past we have made rash and poor decisions about moving, so we are trying to really discern and be overly prudent about what we do. Since nothing is locked up for long term employment for Joseph and we’ve had some new developments in our life, we think it best to hold off and pray on things more. So, I need to make a very conscience effort to keep this place as clean as possible. When a space is too small clutter and messiness only makes things worse.

I am hoping and praying….
For Elena. Her genetic tests came back and she did test positive for Loey-Dietz. I took is worse than I thought I would. Joseph’s doctor and PA were amazing and got her in right away for an echo and for us to talk with them. I’ll write a post about this all later this week, but many of you noticed my absence on the blogs and have e-mailed asking, so I thought I’d give an update!

On my mind……………
So many things on my mind these days. The winds of change are blowing. I know things are good, and the changes coming are good ones for our family. Change is hard for me though, so I’m trying to keep myself in a good place.

A big purchase is also on our minds. We’ve had a dead van for almost a year now. Last week we had it towed away to a shop to be looked at and fixed. The mechanic called this week to say it would cost more than he had originally thought. Since we were already on the fence about putting so much money into that van, we are now looking at selling it to a salvage yard and buying something else. We have our eye on one and should know more before the weekend if over. It’s far from new, but it would be new to us. Having a 2nd vehicle again would be so awesome! I’m excited. We have some research to do to make sure we get the best deal on disposing of our old van and on buying a “new one. We’ve vowed to never finance a vehicle again and to only buy something outright. So, lots of work to put into the process, but I’m really excited and hope the week brings new wheels!

One of my favorite things …
Time with my husband! Since his thesis is either done or getting revisions right now, he’s done/on a break. Just to sit in front of the TV and have a conversation this weekend has been amazing. We’ve really missed him around here.

Baby coos. Elena coos. None of my babies have ever cooed or made as many cute little baby noises as she does. It is so precious. I’m sucking up every last minute of snuggles and newborn smell. She’s already growing and changing so fast. She is now 9.5 lbs and 22.5 inches. In 4 weeks she gained 2lbs and grew 2”.

Watching the older 2 becomes big sisters has been an even greater joy than I dreamed. They are both so loving and protective of her. A sibling really is the very best gift you can give your child.

Welcome, Baby!

Elena Jane Monica Rutchik
7lbs 7oz

She’s got a full head of black curly hair. She is doing great – having a small issue with getting her temp up, but other than that mama and baby and well.

My “best” labor yet! Thanks for all the prayers!