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.