Saturday, December 29, 2007


alternate title: Isabella's First trip to the ER

My poor, sweet, sick baby. No, it's not serious, thank God - just the Cold From Hell. So I thought I would take this as an opportunity to do a little more teaching, nurse-style. We're taught use any opportunity to educate, so here it goes.

RSV: Respiratory Syncytial Virus. "a cold on steroids", Dr. Mylander from the Pediatric Center, at Bella's follow-up appointment.

Symptoms: fever, runny nose, cough, wheezing or other difficulty with breathing (sound like almost every other infant illness?) Bella had sounded like she was catching a cold for a few days, but nothing earth-shattering so I wasn't concerned. However, by Thursday afternoon she sounded like a whistle with each breath. (In medical-speech, we call it expiratory wheezing/stridor.) *Important Note: Respiratory symptoms in kids can progress quickly and become serious, so pay attention to them. No doc will berate you for being concerned about ANY trouble breathing.* It was this principle that led us to the ER (after calling the doc) that evening.

Treatment: Some places are happy to report in typical eschatological fashion that RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization among children under 2. The CDC clarifies that only 0.5%-2% of RSV cases requite hospitalization. About 80% of kids would test positive for having had it at some point, but most are not serious. We spent 4 hours in the ED, but after a nasal-swab (for diagnosis), a chest x-ray (to rule out pneumonia) and a nebulizer treatment (for the wheezing) we were on our way home.

Like most virus, it's a waiting game. Symptoms can last anywhere from 3-15 days. You CANNOT USE ANTIBIOTICS - it is a virus, and therefore unaffected by antibiotics. Use a humidifier in baby's bedroom, suck their noses (my favorite part - yuck!), warm baths, and whatever other tricks for lessening congestion you have up your sleeve. Baby Tylenol isn't a bad thought, either. Because Isabella is still wheezing we are also using a nebulizer at home under a doctor's order.

I also read that like most virus, it can be transmitted on doorknobs, cups, toys, etc. However, it's life span outside the body is only a few hours, and the virus is washed away with simple soap and water. yay!

So, now the obligatory note on proper handwashing!!! PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS, AND the KIDS' HANDS OFTEN! Here's a video on proper handwashing technique. Proper technique is actually very important, and multiple studies have proven over and over again. *tip: you are supposed to scrub with soap for 10-15 seconds. A good way to time this is to either say a Hail Mary or sing "happy birthday." That's a good thing to get your kids into the habit of, also! (My nieces and nephews don't like my hand-washing supervision anymore :) )

Here's a good website for the details on RSV if you are interested in learning more.


Isabella is doing better, I think. Even that night in the ER she was acting fine, the little devil. She was babbling and blowing raspberries, pulling on the doc's stethoscope while he was trying to assess her breathing, and rolling over on the gurney. I wasn't really worried, but as I mentioned before an infant's breathing problems can become very serious very quickly, so I wanted the doc to check it out.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Buon Natale!

May the joy and peace of this blessed Christmas season be with you and those you love!

We had a very nice Christmas, of course! It was Isabella's first, obviously, and as the man behind us at midnight Mass said, our "Last free one. before you know it they want Gucci purses."

Yes, we made it to Midnight Mass. I LOVE midnight Mass SO MUCH! I love everything from arriving in the dark in the cold air, like all pictures of the Nativity always look. I love walking into a dimly lit church, with the choir singing soft, beautiful hymns. The candles burning, and trees and poinsettias, the hushed excitement of everyone waiting for the celebration of the Birth of our Savior to begin. Although theologically this is not the absolute high of the liturgical year, it is dear in the hearts of many Christians, as we celebrate the beginning of the Life that would save us. *interesting fact: I learned a few years ago that some South Americans who were converted away from Catholicism to LDS and Seventh-Day Adventists still attend Midnight Mass as part of their Christmas celebration. They just consider it part of Christmas.*

Bella did pretty well during Mass - she did, of course, wake up. But then she proceeded to smile and charm everyone around us. I do think she was the only baby there! Brave (read: crazy) parents!

Pictures taken last week:
Look what Santa left in our stockings! ->

Santa in the carseat courtesy of Sara

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Have you ever seen such a sweet little picture? OK, yes, your pictures of your own kids, I agree. But for me this was my favorite Christmas picture. It also sums up her impression of her first Christmas.

<- this was at the end of Christmas day - exhausting, wasn't it?
-> Bella hasn't fallen asleep like this for a while - it was wonderful! True, she was so overtired that she didn't know quite what else to do... I'll take what I can get!
Are you beginning to see how much I love pictures of babies sleeping? And when that babe is my own, with whom I was up 5 times last night, pictures of her sleeping are truly impossible to pass up. I need reminders of just how Sweet she looks while she's sleeping - I don't seem to be getting many glimpses lately :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Santa and Jesus?

I often wonder why there is such controversy in the Christian world over Santa. Why do some people hate a representation of childhood joy and the spirit of selflessness and giving? We have fantasy in other parts of life with our children – Disney Princesses come to mind, as well as trains or puppets that talk, or vegetables that dance and sing. I especially like the example of the VeggieTales (at least the Big Idea ones, before the buy-out). Is there a possibility of celebrating Christ’s Birth, a Holy and Beautiful day without having to exclude fantasy?

I like Santa. NOT more than Christ, Not as a replacement for the Real Reason. But rather I like him as a way of allowing children to have fun and joy while growing in a spirit of giving. I think a lot of this has to do with the way I was raised. We grew up with a LOT of joy around Christmas. My parents worked very hard to create a magic of childhood that I can only describe as amazing. I learned a lot from their attitude. While I do plan to make a few changes, especially in the Advent department, I hope to continue some of the magical tradition of santa. (Anyone looking for ideas should ask; my mother was truly amazing! I’m not sure I will admit how long I believed in santa…)

Maybe the secret lies in Advent itself. Are the kids spending their time looking through magazines for what they want, or are they cleaning out their toys to give to children in need? Are they reading only books about jolly elves, or are you reading Scripture that gives light to the anticipation of the Messiah?! Do they write multiple letters about what they want, or did you pick a tag from the giving tree and involve them in shopping for the other family??? I, for one, believe that these examples help keep even children focused on the real reason, and acting as Christ wants us to. He came into the world out of Unconditional Love; are we showing and helping our kids learn how to show self-less love?

One thing I did a couple of years ago with 2 nieces was set up the Nativity scene with them. My mom has a large “Italian garden-style” Fontanini Nativity. As we unwrapped each piece I made up stories about the other characters, telling tales about the pottery man, the woman at the well, the children. I recounted scripture about the centurion reading the decree that all should be taxed and the kings following a star, and asked them what they thought the shepherds were thinking when they went into the fields that night. It took a long time to unwrap the 50ish pieces and set them up, and the girls LOVED every minute! I plan to do something similar with our kids; it’s fun to deck the halls, but taking time to focus on the Nativity set-up could help remind everyone involved why you’re doing it.

I have no problem with people choosing not to celebrate with santa! If keeping him out of Christmas is what it takes for you to keep Christ in Christmas then by all means PLEASE do so! I respect that decision! I abhor the way the anti-Christian minority has replaced all meaning of Christmas with secular emptiness. All I’m saying is that including santa and allowing kids to be excited about the mystery and magic of the jolly old man does not automatically exclude the Joy of Christ’s Birth.

I posted before that growing up with the excitement of Santa may have helped prepare my heart for the anticipation and joy of a grown-up spiritual Advent. Knowing that this time of year was different than any other sets the stage for Christ to come in – at least for me. Yes, most people think I’m crazy. But before condemning santa as a pagan element that is only a representation of the commercialism of our society and the secularization of our Religious Christmas, consider that it might be possible to teach kids about Christmas using Santa.

morning tears

I had the best of plans to make it to Mass every day this week. Well, most weeks I think I am going to Mass every day, since there is a 9am just a few minutes from here; this week, however, I was thinking that for the last week of Advent I really wanted to go everyday.

Isabella slept all night in her crib (waking up once) until 0620! And then I laid her in the bed next to me because I'm lazy at that hour; then at 0750 she woke up screaming! Sad, Sad, Sad!!! So after an hour and a half of tired/hurt crying, I put her down and she fell asleep in her crib laying on her stuffed hippo.

No Mass today...

Being a mommy: Loving them and hurting for them SO much you are certain your heart is going to fall out of your chest.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

once a nurse...

Nursing (the profession, as in Registered Nurse - Kate Tramma, RN, BSN) is a permanent change to one's brain. Although I am a stay-at-home-and-loving-it Mommy, my brain still works like a nurse's, with the constant desire to assess and teach. So today I was having my glass of Light Cranberry Juice (1/3 calories!) and thinking what a great preventative. How many other people, especially women, know of the simple and wonderful benefits? How many other little tidbits are there from which other women could benefit? SO every once in a while I will throw out a little advice that could help. Not everyone will care, and a lot of people probably already know this stuff. But on days like today, when I have down-time and not a lot of motivation I will fill up my blog entry with random advice from a nurse. :)

Cranberry Juice: Cranberries have gotten a lot of attention in the health-food world in the past few years. Just buy a package and it says "Little berry, Big benefits!" Why? Well, antioxidants, like most berries. But cranberries are unique, and the benefits can be gotten from one glass of juice a day, or every couple of days. note: please don't be tempted to overdo it - too much juice gives unnecessary calories, increases dental caries. Really, just a little goes a long way. Which is another reason I like the "light" variety, of course.
UTIs: every woman knows what that stands for, and those with kids or pregnant cringed just now reading it. lol, at least I do when I hear it. So there is a special chemical compound in cranberries that inhibits bacteria adhering to the urinary tract. This, with plenty of water helps the body flush out bacteria, preventing an infection.
Fat: Nope, not a miracle weight-loss solution! However, it does help emulsify fats, so it can, to a certain degree, attack fat cells stored in the body. If you are drinking enough to add 300 Cal/day, it doesn't help...
Infections: In 2002 there was a study that suggests that cranberry may inhibit a certain strain of bacteria (Haemophilus influenzae) that commonly causes respiratory and ear infections especially in kids. I'm not sure how much weight to put on this one, so take it with a grain of salt. It's just a theory out there, so don't swear by it.

I love advice of this nature, so that's why I decided to share with anyone who reads my blog. I know this may be old news to some, but if people are at all interested, I will keep adding health update posts. It's one way to keep me fresh in the medical world, too.

Monday, December 17, 2007

as that Bella, goes rolling, along...

A whole new world has opened up - a world in which the scenery changes suddenly, bringing into view new things to reach for and chew on! Isabella is a rollin' roly-poly! Although she has rolled before on a few random occasions, just last week she started rolling with a purpose, and is more aware that is it she who moves herself. And boy oh boy is it fun! Today I put her in Rachael's crib to watch the mobile in hopes of her falling asleep. Ha! No sleep was to be had, but after 10 minutes of quiet I went to check on her, and she had flipped herself over and was playing with a toy. "Enough of that mobile stuff; I need something to put in my mouth!"

Which brings me to my next bulletin: I finally believe her to be teething. *sigh* At least I believe that there has to be a logical explanation for the emotional trauma and sleepless nights that have been going on. And Bella has been having a rough time, too. :) Isabella has been chewing on everything lately, and if it's possible she's drooling more than before, too. I don't yet feel anything different on her gums, but she finally got some Tylenol the other night and teething drops courtesy of Aunt Michelle. We slept for a whole 3 hours! So far I think I recommend them for teething babies; they're 100% natural and (if nothing else) give her something comforting to think about for a little while. Who knows when the ugly beasts will show themselves.

We have been to 2 breakfasts with Santa, and she really could not care less. She's 5 months old -it's a fuzzy soft place to sit! Who knows, should I actually decide to send out post-Christmas wasn't-she-beautiful picture cards (highly unlikely as it looks now, but ya never know...) she is awfully cute!

I would love her to start sucking her thumb so we could ditch the pacifier. However, I don't think it's really the thumb I'm interested in, but rather a sign that she is moving toward self-soothing. I have to admit I'm really weary of the swaddling-pacifier-shushing-aerobic routine. Now, the aerobic workout that accompanies her screaming fits have great cardio benefits and I'm sure burn at least the calories from my glass of skim milk but sadly probably not the cookie... *sigh* I just think that we're at a turning point in her bedtimes, and it would make me feel better if she would find her precious little built-in soother when she's laying in her crib screaming her head off. On day we will all sleep again... I hope :) (This is where I put my plug in asking for forgiveness for my terrible grammar, typos galore, and scant and random blogging.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Courtesy of Bishop Fulton Sheen

In reading the daily devotionals of Advent and Christmas by Fulton Sheen I was really struck by this particular day's:

"For old age is not honored
for length of time
or measured by number of years;
but understanding is grey hair for anyone,
and a blameless life is ripe old age...
Being perfected in a short time
they fulfilled long years;
for their souls were pleasing to the Lord
therefore He took them quickly..."
Wisdom 4:8-9, 13-14
"There is no escape from the tremendous fact of Christmas Day, that when God revealed Himself to this poor world of ours, men cried in astonishment "Why, it is a child?" And so it is that the closer we get to God the more we become children, and the closer God gets to us the more He becomes a Child. No one in the world ever suspected that the Ancient of Days who presided at creation would take His throne in that creation as a babe in a crib, just as no one ever thought He would tell the old men of forty, like Nicodemus, that they must be born again.
"According to all worldly standards, it is the aged who are learned. And yet when Wisdom came to earth He was a child, and when Wise Men came to Wisdom they were told to be like children. Christmas, then, is the coronation of childhood,the glorification of the young whose hearts are simple, the proclamation to aging hearts that the world need not despair and die, because the Fountain of Youth has come into it... turn time backwards, make old things young again."
~Fulton Sheen
emphasis added... not that it needed it.....

Monday, December 10, 2007

daily antics

Giving Mama grey hair, TODAY. Not when I start walking, not when I get my driver's license. Today. When I heard the swing make it's "working extra hard like the weight shifted or there's a blanket dragging" sound I went to check it out, only to find my little one sitting up happy as can be eating her blanket.

Daddy gave me my first bottle ever. I was NOT at all impressed.

Check out this thing! After a cold and yucky search, we found it, and then brought the great outdoors inside. How cool is this? ... I can't wait to see what she thinks when there are lights and ornaments!

I really, really love my toes. God sure knew
what He was doing when He gave me such great toys, right there at the bottom of my legs! Darn those socks that hide them - they come off and I eat my toes any chance I get.

what a day...

Yesterday was...

First, Mass: Angela and the girls and the 3 of us. What is the unspoken rule in the diaper world that says "thou shalt poop the minute you get settled in the pew after Mass starts?" We have 2 baby carriers, 2 diaper bags, and a toddler who wants her milk that very second. The poor ladies behind us! I try to discreetly leave to change my stinky girl in a pretty dress, which is very hard when I'm squeezing by Angela et. al. While I'm in the bathroom changing my little stinker, in comes Angela with Sara, another stinky girl in a pretty dress. Sara, not Angela. :) The rest of Mass was Sara's quest for the stuff in my diaper bag and Bella being the Queen of the Wiggles. whew!

Home to nap? Never! Off to my parents' house for brunch, where my Uncle Chris announces his engagement to long-time girlfriend Leslie. Apparently we're busy April 26th, heading down to Annapolis. :) My folks' house is always filled with fun and chaos, and of course yesterday was no exception. We finally left so we could go get our Christmas Tree; we like to go the "cut your own" farms, which are only open on weekends. We were on a mission - a Cold, Overcast, Mucky Mission. Of course. We lose the 2nd baby sock in 2 days. different pair, of course. If you ever see my child in mis-matched socks, keep your mouth shut. ;-p

But Wait! There's More! After dinner Patrick and I took Bella (obviously) and Sara to our church's "Lessons and Carols" which we enjoyed last year. It's a series of readings leading through the prophesies and laying the framework for the Birth of Jesus in scripture, interspersed with Advent songs/carols. It was done well - at least what I heard of it. "Beyya seep" "Yes, Bella is asleep, sshhh!!! do you want to read the book?" "*whisper* Sara, sit right next to me, honey. Good girl" *thump* LOUD crying. scoop Sara up and RUN to the back. On my way back I hear Bella wake up. Oh Goody. Back to the front where I exchange girls with Patrick - "Sara, sit on Uncle Pat's lap." Back to the ladies' room to feed Bella, and over the speaker I hear Sara break down again, and a phone ring that sounds suspiciously like mine. *sigh* We left right after that, and for that I'm sure we had many thankful participants.

We, including Bella, slept pretty well last night!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Joyful Anticipation

Happy Advent! I know I am a few days late jumping in on the "Advent posts" ; I seem the past week to be off my game, having trouble stringing together a complete thought. Some might suggest that this is no change from normal for me... Whether it is the cold I've been fighting off, or the circumstances of Isabella waking up every 2 hours at night, I decided it was best to stay away from blogging. But, I'm back this morning!

Advent is my favorite time of the year, hands down. As a child there was great anticipation leading up the Day of Days, the grandest, greatest, most wonderful Day of the year. While Santa was very big (no pun intended) in our house, there was always more to Christmas gift-giving than the gluttonous consumerism that plagues much of society. But more on that later. Right now I am thinking about the most joyful anticipation that I encounter during the year. The intense joy cultivated in me as a child has continued to grow over the years, and I would say mature right along with me.
May I dare to submit, in fact, that the happiness surrounding a child's anticipation of Santa grew and matured and has carried into a grown-up spiritual anticipation of the Birth of our Lord. It's like the mystery and magic of Santa tilled the soil in my heart for much more important planting. OK, I could go on about this all day, and at the end of it many of you will still think I am silly. oh well :)

This Advent, I (along with several girl friends) am reading Fulton Sheen's Advent and Christmas as a spiritual meditation. The first week has already been really good for me, calling me to some good scripture reflection and daily prayer. I recommend it for people who are looking for a little help throughout the day to stay focused! The very first day set the stage:

" God walks into your soul with a silent step."
See, right there - I love the hustle-and-bustle! But I am reminded each day to take some time for me to listen to God's voice.
I may have mentioned in this post how much I love Advent and the Christmas season - this could mean excessive blogging (you don't have to read it!) as I always seem to have lots to share. On the other hand, if last week was any indication of how my days are going to go, I might forget how to use a computer!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

5 Month-Old Adventures

Just 5 months - we've hit a few more growing points with a vengeance! She is doing much better sitting up - with help :) And we've discovered that the "boppy" pillow, which was useless for nursing, is the best "baby sofa" ever! Thanks Angela! Bella will happily sit there for a while playing with whatever toys she can reach for. It provides enough support that I can walk away for a few minutes, at least. And then the quest for the unreachable toy... usually one she has managed to push out of her own reach - darn those hands! So she leans wwaaayyyyy forward to reach for it. You know how the weebles wobble but they won't fall down? Although my baby may be shaped like a little weeble, she does, in fact, do a fantastic face plant. There is one of 2 responses at this time - either she's within reach of the desired toy, or she's just ticked that she's on her face. Ah, the adventures!

We went to the doctor's last week, so the stats are in: 13 lbs, 9 ozs. 25 1/4 inches long. Small side of normal range, but growing on the same curve she has been since birth! Everything that she "should" (those books crack me up) be doing she's handling just fine.

This morning we spent 10 minutes on her favorite activity - laying naked (plus diaper, I'm not stupid!) on the changing table blowing raspberries, cooing, tickling, and eating her toes. She LOVES this! She laughs so much when tickled, especially on her sides and feet. Mama's daughter! Also, she got a good grip on those elusive toes with both hands, allowing her several minutes of the purest toe-chewing pleasure. Then I decided that it was too darn cold for her to be laying naked up there anymore, and broke up the party by dressing her. What a party-pooper.
Two nights ago we began the process of moving her out of our room. *sigh* So, so, SO far away to her own bedroom, her own crib. Now, allow me to lay some framework, lest you think I am nothing but dramatic. (of course anyone who knows me knows that I am not in the least dramatic. right?) So Isabella is my little mover - she has slept in a swing since she stopped sleeping on my chest, at a few weeks old. For many months, when the swing stops, her eyes open. It's like magic! I have been putting her in the crib to nap almost every day, at least once a day to start the transition. I find transitioning during the day helpful, as we all sleep at night. :) And heaven knows that's important! Anyways, I started telling Patrick to put her in the crib if she's fast asleep at night. Little did I know how much I was NOT ready for this!
I get all ready for bed. Check on her. Lay down, jump up to get my water... as long as I'm up I might as well check on her! Snuggle in, and proceed to talk to Pat about my concern about not hearing her until she's wide awake and screaming. Go check on her. Ha, she had started to fuss, so pacifier and I'm back in bed. I start to talk to my poor hubby again; out of nerves I can't seem to shut up! My dear, beloved Hubby says "Please let at least one of us sleep tonight?!" She slept for 2 1/2 hrs there and then ate and back in the swing. For the record, I had managed to fall asleep. We all did fine:) One night at a time, she will move out of our room, and one night at a time, I will sleep.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Saga of the Baptismal Garment

I don't sew. Ever. Ask my husband, who is still waiting for a button to be sewn onto a dress shirt from almost 2 years ago. My aversion to the domestic world of sewing is almost humorous at times, as my last encounter with a sewing machine is still the cause of great amusement among my husband and sister-in-law Angela. Angela has determined I was not in Girl Scouts long enough; I remember sewing bean-bags for a fundraiser once, and it was terrible. I was way more interested in the outdoors and being more like my brothers at the time, and had no time for silly activities... like sewing. So how did I come to the decision to make our God Daughter Rachael's Baptismal garment? (NOT the gown, just the little simple cloth to drape over her!)

I blame Alexis. She, as Godmother to Isabella made a beautiful garment, with cross-stitching. (sorry, Alexis, I am not going to put a picture on here and shame my humble attempts ;-p) I had never considered that people actually made these little garments; they just appeared on the table in the church for the Baptism, right? So in the back of my mind since then has been the thought of how awesome it is for these things to be handmade. ggrrr.....

This admiration of Alexis was not enough to push me over the edge, though. Oh no. I was thinking, given my aforementioned history of sewing projects, that I would simply find a nice little all-white bib and at least buy Rachael something special. Do you have any idea how hard this turned out to be? Ridiculous! I tried calling every Christian store around, but to no avail. Nobody had sweet, plain little white bibs. I could get gowns. I could get candles. I could not get a simple all-white cloth anything. So...

Next I blame the very nice, helpful lady at the Catholic bookstore in Frederick, who after we chatted for a few minutes casually, enthusiastically, mentioned I could make one. WHAT? Who does she think she's talking to??? HAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahahaha......

So I'm standing in Wal-Mart material/sewing/area-I-never-go section. Why are there 50 choices for white cotton? Why is the sales-lady laughing at me as I pathetically tell her I need material but I don't know how much and I have NO idea what I'm doing? Why am I here? I then have to ask Angela to borrow her sewing machine, which evokes a suspicious and amused "Why?" and I tell her I have jumped into a realm of insanity and need white thread and a beer. I was happy to accept some guidance from her, which means that the end result was not nearly as bad as it could have been. No, no, it was good. Not great, and to all the seamstresses out there, stop laughing! This was a big deal to me! After engaging in a staring contest with the machine, and a comment from Patrick about it not doing all the work itself no matter how hard I tried to intimidate it, I was on my way. You know, despite my confidence with the speed connected to a gas pedal, I cannot say the same about the darn sewing pedal. That is just out of control! Scary!

And there it is. Dare to be impressed - not with my mad sewing skills, but rather with the insane determination that consumed me :) The embroidery was done by another sister-in-law Jennifer, with a fancy machine :) Father John was so impressed with the fact that it was hand-made he pointed it out to the whole congregation, suggesting the same thing for future Godparents.

Now, for the shirt button....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

New Christian

Today we welcomed our niece and Goddaughter Rachael Ann into the Church through Baptism! What a beautiful day!

Isn't Baptism amazing??? The first time I attended an Easter Vigil, my sophomore year in college, I was struck by the excitement exhibited by the congregation in welcoming the new Catholics. Wow, it's really awesome that these people are now part of the Body of Christ, free from the stain of original sin! Praise God! This past Easter my sister-in-law was baptized and welcomed into the Catholic Church; it was awesome! Perhaps this was the first time that I really took time to meditate on what it means to choose to become Catholic - not just choosing to remain Catholic, a daily choice to follow Christ, but rather to study the Faith and choose to become Catholic.
Several friends have told me that their own awe-inspiring moments regarding Baptism was with their own child. I couldn't agree more! When Isabella was baptized I experienced indescribable joy. To hold this precious infant you are SO in love with, and to witness her becoming a saint. Behold you are beautiful, my pure and spotless lamb. No flaw, no stain of sin. God's graces just overflowing! WOW!

"The slightest degree of sanctifying grace contained in the soul of an infant after baptism is more precious than the natural good of the entire universe, all angelic natures taken together included therein; for the least degree of sanctifying grace belongs to an enormously superior order, to the order of the inner life of God, which is superior to all miracles and to all outward signs of divine revelation." St. Thomas

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Eats

You Are The Stuffing

You're complicated and complex, yet all your pieces fit together.
People miss you if you're gone - but they're not sure why.

I actually re-took the quiz, as there were 2 questions I had a second answer for...

You Are Pumpkin Pie

Even when people are full - they make room for you.
Good or bad, your smell is most likely to arouse a man.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Living in the moment

I know, it's a concept we all know the "right" answer to. "Live in the moment, enjoy each day..." In general I do pretty well with this concept; God gifts me with a Joi de Vie, and I enjoy the little things in every day life. However, I am learning more and more about the importance of each little moment from 2 ends of the spectrum of life.
My Nana has Alzheimer's. She has nothing else except this moment. Each time I see her, which is several times a week, she comments on how much the baby (whose name she will never remember, or whose face she will never recognize) has grown since the last time, and how it's been a while sine we visited. Sometimes it really breaks my heart to think she doesn't know just how often the family visits, or how the little great-grandkids hug her with affectionate bewilderment. What she does know is the now. She knows that her family is sitting with her. She knows that we are around and that she loves us. She must ask me a thousand times each visit if she can hold the baby for me (usually to help when Bella is crying). She doesn't know that she's held her twice already; thankfully she doesn't know how often Isabella screams, either :) . When I carefully place Bella in Nana's arms, her whole face lights up. Nana, for that moment, is the happiest person alive. All she has is that moment. She won't have a memory of it, and she didn't even know to anticipate it. The only thing she knows is at that very moment she is in love with the precious child she is holding.

Isabella, being an infant, teaches me the same thing. I don't wish my days away; I prefer to try to focus on the little 'happinesses' of each day. However, despite my efforts, I catch myself thinking "when she sits up..." or "when she's sleeping better..." Hope for the future is fine. I look forward to the fun things I will do with her as she gets older. The Lord knows I look forward to her sleeping through the night! But all Bella knows is the now, and it is unfair for me to wish that away. What she knows is that now I am playing with her, holding her, nursing her. Sure, the downside is when she knows that now she's hungry, sleepy, generally unhappy; nevertheless, the NOW is the only thing that's important.
Really, I am learning more and more how good the NOW is, and growing in my "joi de vie" exponentially thanks to those who know nothing else. What a blessing.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Why these things have seatbelts

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2 Babies!

I'm smiling because one of them goes home with someone else!!!

Babies are amazing. They are so unique, even at this age. I know, every mother knows how different her children are from any others. Let's face it, they're just perfect, aren't they?
Today Isabella has played in Rachael's crib, slept in her own crib, laughed out loud!, tolerated Sara's affection, chewed on everything, wiggled on her tummy, kicked and blew raspberries, been held snuggled and carried. Today I brushed my teeth and drank coffee with Angela. How come the busier Bella is the less I get done??? lol. I love motherhood. I love my husband for keeping his expectations low :)

Friday, November 9, 2007

No Surprise

Your Inner European is Italian!
Passionate and colorful.You show the world what culture really is.

Can't say I was surprised...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What do you do all day?

This question was posed to me this evening, and made me stop and think once again about my *new* state of life as a stay-at-home mom. After reflecting upon this question caused me to both smile and cringe, I decided to share. Of course no 2 days are completely alike...

0715, roll over to the sweet sounds of coos and raspberries. God truly blessed me in having a daughter who is such a morning person. Otherwise I may never get out of bed! We get up, change and feed the baby. pppprrrbbbbbb. Change the baby again. Shower for Mama while Bella plays in the fish seat. Peek around the shower curtain multiple times, talking my way through the shower in a silly voice to keep her happy. Hurry off to Mass, in a tiny little country chapel where I bounce Bella and listen to the lady behind me whisper to her way too often, and then get up and stand in the back when she starts to scream - usually right in the middle of the Consecration. At the kiss of peace, I notice the aroma of my latest perfume, Eau du Baby Vomit. Isabella falls alseep on the way home, and sneaking a peek in the mirror gives me an opportunity to say a prayer of thanksgiving for her life. Make mental note to change vomit-washed shirt.
Manage to get baby inside fast asleep, feeling proud of my mad skills. Trip over baby toy on the floor, Bella wakes up. Shocker. ppprrrbbbbbb...wwwaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!! Scoop up Baby, change, snuggle, time to eat again. Gaze lovingly at my peaceful angel OUCH! she's experimenting with her jaw. Toss Bella on the floor to play, who is happy and smiling! So of course I lay right next to her, watching her stretch those muscles and make fun baby noises. Life is good. After a while I think this would be a good time to be productive, so off to the kitchen. One dish later - ggggrrrrraaahhhhhhh! A mad girl has turned herself away from the toy and is very very angry with the world. We walk up and down the steps until she is calm. Swaddle and nap. I get to check my email! A cup of hot tea, boot up the laptop, and notice that I still smell like baby vomit. Up and change the shirt. I get to laughing at my favorite blogs, of course!
When Bella wakes up we change and play and talk and of course nurse again. We bounce and laugh and bblllleeehhh... change both of our outfits again! More floor time, more smiles! Phone ringing coincides with Bella's temper tantrum, easily solved with a new toy, What have I eaten today?
Wow! It's only NOON!!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

4 month time warp

Where did they go? What happened? I turned around this morning and I had a 4 month old! Everyone talks about how "time flies when you're having fun", and how fast kids grow, and all that good stuff. Truly, though, that concept never really meant much until I had a baby of my own. Now I find myself thinking "Damn, time really does fly!, and yes, they grow so fast!" There is no way to describe it until you are living it.

Her 4 month appointment isn't until later this month, so I don't have stats yet. I can, however, fill in the exciting little things she's been doing. Besides, that's more entertaining than just how much my big-cheeked-baby weighs.

Laughing! She LOVES to smile, and coo, and when something catches her just right she laughs! I think she'll have a deep belly laugh, from the way it sounds now. Her Daddy is the best at making her laugh. Of course, I can understand that - we all laugh at him, too :)
COOing! Oh Lord, if her vocal tendencies are a foreshadowing of what is to come... Pat will have 20,000 more words a day to deal with! lol. She makes all kinds of sounds and squeals.

The Wiggles! No, not a weird TV show, here! The past week or so I've seen a huge difference in her tummy movement. Yikes! She pushes herself WAY up to look around, and just a few nights ago started moving herself around 90degrees circular. When she starts to get antsy her legs come up underneath her, although they don't do her any good yet. Thank God! I keep telling her "none of that nonsense for a LONG time!"
Play Time! She loves interaction, whether with toys or people. Darn those hands that keep pushing the toy away from her mouth, her ultimate goal in life at the moment. We play "Sit Up, Lay Back" with a pillow, which she gets a kick out of since she loves to "sit" up. Cousin Sara also likes Bella to play this game, and we caught her the other day helping Baby play. Uh-Oh! She pulled on her saying "up" and then when I had averted that crisis by helping, Sara pushes on Bella's head saying "lay back!" But Bella is very relaxed with Sara around, and enjoys whatever Sara wants to show her.

Sleeping! Any parent knows that this is the single most important part of infancy - how they are sleeping! She does pretty well at night, getting slowly better at nap time. The landmark this week is that she has moved out of the swing! The swing has worked really really well; however, seeing as though they don't make papasan swings for 1st graders, we knew we would have to transfer her out of it. My little "mover-shaker" is doing great.

Yes, the balloon is stuck to her head with static. Ah, the things we subject our children to... like 6th grade girls. And I have no idea why this picture uploaded so much bigger than the others.

She loves her Daddy time, loud crowds, people, music, dancing, the outdoors (is this my daughter or what?!). She has quite a temper, but cries less and less, with more and more smiles. There are no words that can describe the kind of joy that one experiences watching their baby.

It's been an amazing and blessed 4 months!

Sunday, November 4, 2007


I really enjoy Halloween; I get the biggest kick out of seeing the kiddies all dressed up as a parade of superheroes, animals, characters, bugs, and objects. Extra points for homemade creativity! Our neighborhood gets a lot of kid-traffic, and we spend a lot of time just sitting outside enjoying the show and contributing to the year's biggest sugar-high. This year, having a daughter, made me think of which costumes get extra points and which ones Isabella will never wear. Ever. If it's not a baby mermaid then no middrift should be showing. Period.

I did not actually bring Isabella around for candy, but I did dress her up in a costume like a little doll and carry her around for people to admire with Sara and Rachael. The plus was that it was a cool evening, which means she did not end up a *hot* chili pepper... although she is never a *mild* one, either!! The costume did not last very long - better luck next year!

The costume came from cousin Drew (I wish I had a pic to post, that would be cute!), and Gram thought it would be perfect for the child of the Mama who made it through the first trimester on hot peppers. lol.

Later in the evening, after an unsucessful attempt at a nap (for Bella!) while trick-or-treaters were coming around, Pat and Connie made cream puffs. mmmm.... the good news is that the bowl of candy held no appeal to me. The bad news is that cream puffs are not on any weight loss program. "Eat, drink, and be merry, and tomorrow I will still be on a diet." But that night (and breakfast the next morning) there were yummy creams puffs to be had! Yum! As Pat was making his mom do all the actual work while he just dictated, his hands were free to scoop Bella up onto his shoulders for her first shoulder ride! She was pretty content up there, espcially once she discovered just how close Daddy's fingers were to chomp on! It was pretty silly to see such a small girl so high up there!

On November 1st we went to Mass at my nieces and nephews' school. A different show of costumes, as the 4th grade class were all dressed as saints and processed in to the sung litany of the saints. It was so precious :) My nephew Danny was St. Peter, with the largest key (made by his daddy) I've ever seen. So that morning he was the first pope, a martyr, the night before he was a Star Wars fighter. I love boys.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

the price of coffee

Since fall has definitely arrived here in MD, I have been enjoying the crisp weather, and taking advantage of perfect outdoor time. This past week Pat's mom Connie has been on town, so my motivation to do things has gone way up. Imagine how much easier it is to make it to daily Mass with my little screamer if I know I have help! YAY! And cleaning, organizing - I know that next week will bring the reality of being at home with Bella and getting nothing done for a while.

Saturday evening we walked to Main Street to the quaint little coffee house; nothing like a hot cup o' joe on a crisp fall evening! Now when Pat and I first moved into our house right after we got married, my sister-in-law Angela, Sara (who was 4 months old at the time), Patrick and I would make this trek several times a week! Distance: 1 mile each way. Hills: 4. Difficulty: you try being out of shape 4 months post-partum and pushing a stroller with a fast-growing little girl in it! Well, 2 years ago it didn't seem so hard. Saturday it was VERy hard! (maybe it has to do with ME being the one out-of-shape and 4 months post-partum now...)
Now, the weather - It was a cool evening, after dark, and I had on a t-shirt and light jacket which I knew I would be ditching soon. My mother-in-law from California had on a wool coat. Patrick didn't have any jacket, the tough guy. Isabella was snuggled in her stroller as cute as can be: a knitted blanket under and over her, the sling in case she decided she hated the stroller halfway through, a lighter blanket in case she ended up in the sling, the diaper bag (read: a mom's fashionable purse), and on her head a little knit cap. She looked SO funny Patrick and I each burst out laughing. An evening walk took more wardrobe planning than a Broadway musical!
On the way back she started to fall asleep just before the last big hill, about 5 minutes from home. I did not want her to fall asleep 5 minutes from home, I wanted her to eat and sleep when we got there! So I jiggled the stroller; I talked to her; I poked her; I stole her pacifier. Then, I did the unthinkable: I jogged. *gasp!* Unfortunately, all this backfired - the little girl who loves all kinds of motion, whose eyes were half-mast for a few minutes, immediately fell asleep with the increase in movement. *sigh* At least it made for really cute pictures! And of course I was happy to provide such entertainment to the adults.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Orchard Fun

What is more perfect on a beautiful crisp fall day than a trip to the orchard for fresh-pressed, unpasturized apple cider? Yes, unpasturized. The pasturization process does not make for good fermentation! check back in 6 months for outcome of project.

We drove a good ways for this oh-so-special cider, and it was well worth the trip. Pat's mom Connie is out for a visit (yay for Gram!) and we had a great time. Of course Bella just loved it, running around and getting the full appreciation of such an opportunity, right? ha! She hung out in the sling while we picked out some fresh produce and a fresh-baked raspberry pie (YUM) and taste-tested their apple cider. This last part was very important, as we will not be partaking the in purchased product for quite some time, and we had to have quality assurance!

Remember when we were kids and everything was interesting and fun? We could run around and be silly and play pretend and sing silly songs making up your own lyrics... life was just fun. I remember when I became suddenly more self-conscious and awkward. Well, having kids is great; it's an immediate ticket back to the world where everything is fun and it's ok to be silly! Hence the faces in the cut-out above!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Seeing Double

It is my great privilege to introduce (or at least post about) the Roberts Twins! We went to Pittsburgh this weekend for another wedding (God Bless the newlyweds Michelle and Andy) and a weekend of fun! First, allow me to point out that a *simple* roadtrip is anything but simple with my darling infant, who seems to think the best way to stay occupied in the car is scream. Oh Joy. However, I did notice great progress from the last time we made this journey a month ago! She really did quite well all weekend, with me sitting in the backseat with her for a good part of the trip. hhmm, and my chiropractor asks me why my back is out of line... I think maybe the key is not to let her nap in a quiet place and to surround her with lots of people and loud events. She was full of smiles all weekend and was happy to be passed around and meet her "cousins" and new admirers! ;-) Michael was rather smitten with her! kinda... we'll work on it.
Nicholas and Michael are absolutely adorable, toddling around together looking for trouble, and Robin calmly follows after them, scooping up the one who just got knocked over or feeding cheerios to the other. Once when John opened the door to their hotel room there were both Michael and Nicholas looking up at me covered head-to-toe in toilet paper and looking happy as could be! I mean really, who can find interesting activities in a boring old hotel room better than toddler boys!
I have been thinking about Robin as a WonderWomanMom with her hands full. I, with my daily routine with one little infant, think I have no time for anything and that the days just fly by and nothing gets accomplished. *note: we are fed, dressed, and alive by the end of the day=success, less than 3 hours of screaming+a few smiles=great day!" Then I see Robin whose little ones are constantly on the move. I believe that mothers who God gifts with twins He should also gift with the ability to bi locate, so that when they take off down the hotel hallway in 2 directions you do not have to guess which one will make it to the stairs first. I will say she does so with true expertise, though!
Now, John as Dad - hehehe... the camera could not capture the true essence of this picture - John in on the phone with Nicholas on his shoulders, mussing John's hair, while Michael is on the ground pulling at the socks on John's feet. He does this so naturally without a second thought, it made me laugh. I guess as long as they're trying to get your attention you at least know where they are and what they're doing!
Apologies for the lack of pictures: This is what happens when you only remember to take pics once in a whole weekend. Carpe Momentum!
It was so great to spend time with such great friends and to finally get to meet these beautiful boys! Robin says "everyone should have twins" and that she was praying that we would, too. Lord, DON'T trust me that much!