Paralyzed by Choice

We are so happy to share that we have a new son! Gabriel was born last month and is doing wonderfully. We enjoyed our family time while Ben was home and everyone seems to be acclimating well to our newest source of joy and astonishment.

It’s always amazing how much a new baby changes the family dynamic. We are moving at a slower pace again, keeping some new hours and discovering new problems and solutions. There are some baby routines that I’m right back in step with, like diapers, oh the diapers! At the same time, I’m racking my brain to remember how often a 1 month old should be nursing at night. Don’t get me started on how on earth we will ever homeschool in the fall. I know we will do it, I’m just still at a loss for how. More on that later this summer I’m sure.

One of the overwhelming parts of having a new baby, at least for me, is the amount of choices presented to new parents. Breast or bottle? Cloth or disposable diapers? Circumcision or not? Sleep training? Elimination Communication? Baby TV shows or strict no screens? Pacifier? When to start solids? Catch my drift? It’s no wonder so many new parents have the deer in the headlights look when asked anything about anything! Choices are good, but they can often be paralyzing if there are too many or you don’t have an informed opinion.

Even now, with Gabe being our 5th, there has been an element of this paralysis. Should we try cloth diapers again? We have SO many, is it a waste to let them sit unused? I have always nursed the kids, that’s not a question. However for whatever reason this time I felt compelled to have Gabe be familiar with bottles on the off chance we needed to use them. So now we are working through the whole bottle/breastfeeding combo deal even though I will still be home 24/7. I’m sure we will come to others.

Fortunately, God is always looking out for me. I’ve recently started receiving The Morning Offering email from The Catholic Company. It was quite by accident. I had ordered a crucifix for John for his First Communion through them and ended up on a mailing list. And I’m so thankful! This email has provided much food for thought and encouragement for me the past two months. A few weeks ago, this passage came my way and cause me to pause:

“If we do not die to ourselves, and if our holiest devotions do not incline us to this necessary and useful death, we shall bring forth no fruit worth anything, and our devotions will become useless. All our good works will be stained by self-love and our own will . . . We must choose therefore, among all the devotions to the Blessed Virgin, the one which draws us most toward this death to ourselves, inasmuch as it will be the best and the most sanctifying. For we must not think that all that shines is gold, that all that tastes sweet is honey, or that all that is easy to do and is done by the greatest number is the most sanctifying.”

— St. Louis De Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, pg 40

This resonated with me on so many levels. It’s easy, both religiously and as parents, to get caught up in all the “stuff.” “If I just add cloth diapers, then I’m really doing well.” Or “I’m saying this rosary because I know that it’s a big deal, and I’ll probably get some grace out of it, but I’m not exactly paying attention.”

As parents, we cannot give our kids everything. Simply impossible. There will always be another family who chose a different sport, discipline method or clothing brand. Sometimes the choice that is right isn’t easy, but we know will bring about a greater good for our family.

As Christians and Catholics living in the world today, it is unlikely we are able to engage in every spiritual practice of the Church every single day. Just as we make choices for and about our kids, we do concerning our religious practices. I am humbled by St. Louis de Montfort’s advice to dig deeper into the religious practices I’m engaging in. What is easy may not be the most sanctifying practice. This will look different for each person and will change over time.

We are called to be holy. Part of growing in holiness is making the choices that keep us on the path toward that end.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Motherhood in Pregnancy

As we continue to wait for Baby #5 to make their debut, Pregnancy has obviously been at the forefront of my mind. Here is an article I recently wrote for the Sisterhood of Catholic Women about motherhood and pregnancy. If you are interested in learning more about Natural Family Planning and fertility awareness, they have some excellent resources available.


I think it’s time for a term change. Pregnancy, for many people, is some kind of precursor to motherhood. We see sayings such as “Mother-to-be” or “Expecting Mother” on cards, in advertisements and even doctor’s offices. 

As a wife and mother who is currently pregnant with our fifth child, I have some experience in the “mommy-to-be” world. Having gone through it now a few times, I have some opinions on the phrase.

Continue reading at the Sisterhood of Catholic Women

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Saint Me! Saint Me!

As with any pregnancy, I am frequently being asked the usual questions:

“How far along are you?”

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

“What are you going to name them?”

I love how excited people are for new babies (even if I usually also receive somewhat concerned or confused looks when I explain that this is my 4th baby, not my 1st. It’s ok people, I know how this all works, *winks).

To update everyone, here are the current answers to those questions. As of today we are 25 weeks and 4 days along (thank you pregnancy app for keeping track for me). We decided to be surprised with this baby. We found out the gender for both John and Rosie. When it came time to decide about Clare, we chose to be surprised. It’s easier when you already have things from siblings. It was so much fun! We decided (and the Air Force decided, since we had to move before we were far enough along to find out anyway) to do it again with “Peanut” as we affectionately are calling this baby.

As for the name, even though we don’t know the gender we could still decide on two names. Every family does it differently. We decided back when we were pregnant with John 4 things.

  1. We wouldn’t officially decide on a name until the baby was born. We have gone into labor with our top 2 or 3 options, but we wait until we get to see our new gift before we name them.
  2. Family names are important to us, but we also didn’t want the confusion that inherently comes with family names. Personally, I have a brother Michael, an Uncle Mike, a Great-Uncle Mike and my grandfather’s name was Michael. The name Michael clearly runs strong in my family. In order to honor that, we chose to give John the middle name of Michael. We keep the name alive while preserving a little sanity at family gatherings. We have done this with all our children’s middle names.
  3. Our last name is difficult. It is pronounced nothing like it is spelled and unless you happen to be from a small corner of Georgia where it is also a county name you are probably going to pronounce it incorrectly, then question my schooling when I correct you. It’s ok. We all deal and the kids will too. But, Ben and I felt strongly that because their last name will be problematic, their first name should be simple and easily identifiable. We only deviated from this a little bit when we named Clare because we wanted her to have the same spelling as St. Clare who doesn’t use the “i” usually found in the spelling. Sorry Clare!
  4. We keep the name options secret. Sorry guys!

Clare is actually what prompted this blog post. Every night we say prayers together as a family. We share what we are thankful for from the day and then we saw a few form prayers. We conclude with a litany of the saints that all have a special meaning for our family. Well, a few nights ago during the litany, Clare started shouting “Saint Me! Saint Me!” She was so sweet. At 2 years old she is already treasuring in her own way her namesake while at the same time challenging all of us to think about our calling to sainthood.

It got me thinking about this new baby. Ben and I have talked back and forth about whether we should give all of our children first names after saints. So far, they all have middle names after saints that also happened to be family names and the middle names we have in mind for this little one are also saint names. John and Clare have direct saint names. Rosie is technically Rosemary and though there is no St. Rosemary, there is St. Rose which seems close enough.

There are two ways to go. Naming your child after a saint guarantees that they will have a patron. Of course if your name isn’t a specific saint’s name you can always adopt one as your patron, there are plenty after all. But, from my perspective at least, there is something special about carrying the same name as one of these great spiritual persons.

On the flip side, by giving your child a name that is not already a saint’s name you are opening up the opportunity for a new name to be added to these spiritual guides. I’m not saying that all of our children will become named Saints in the Church, but wouldn’t it be great if among our generation there is a St. Jessica, a St. Riley or a St. Jackson?

So we are torn. Our child will definitely carry a saint’s name with them through life in their middle name. But will they also in their first name?

What’s your opinion on the matter? I’d love to hear thoughts on both sides.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com