Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We're Back!

Home from Southern California after a wonderful week with family! Poor Isabella, I'm sure she wonders why life is so boring now, after a whole week of lots to see and do and people to hold her. We were all rather spoiled while out there - Gram took Bella in the mornings and let Mama sleep! That was vacation enough for me! We had a very full week and enjoyed thoroughly; it's always nice to get to spend time with family.

Isabella was quite the star, which of course she loved!
She loved the wind chimes! Of course, she loved everything outside! Anytime she was fussy all I had to do was step outside - my little Bella is really an outdoors-girl! The weather held out for us nicely, although cooler by their standards it was t-shirts for us! She loved walking around her Papa-Joe's garden and Gram held her up to feel the oranges in their tree. I think that should be the new ad for California Oranges, myself. :)
We did so much that I think I will post a few separate stories. However, I will say that I got my Christmas present from Patrick out there - we went to see "WICKED!" !!!!! It was AWESOME! It was also our first real night out without Bella. We left her with Gram and Auntie Michelle for the evening while we, with niece Morgan, headed into Hollywood. It was incredible! In fact, it was such a great play that I didn't think about Bella until the ride home. How's that for testimony to it's greatness? I love the theater. Isabella, of course, did fine. I'm not sure she would have been upset even if she knew I was gone with all that love and affection from Auntie and the girls! (ages 5 and 3, super cute.)
We partook in several of our favorite treats out there, including date shakes from Hadley's, have sworn off Mexican food for a little while, and tasted the original French Dip sandwich with the world's spiciest mustard. yum!
The day after a trip is always a little disppointing, as you look at the mound of laundry and listen to the sound of freezing rain hit your roof. It is good to be home, though, and Isabella keeps our days moving faster than ever, now!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snow Days

It's Isabella's second snow, and this time I got pictures! We bundled and went to shovel the walk and driveway. Bella really liked being outside and kicked and babbled happily... for about 5 minutes. Then it started to sleet and she decided to call an abrupt end to the outdoor merriment. Or at least give me an incentive to stop shoveling and go back into the warm house...

When we came inside I couldn't resist the picture of her in the little bonnet! Isn't it adorable! She's not really thrilled with it, but she was still mad about the cold.

I spent the rest of the day packing for CALIFORNIA! We're SO excited; we leave tomorrow, and I had this week all planned out to have everything organized and done. Hahaha. I was busy getting laundry done, but Isabella wanted my attention and was not content to sit and play by herself. (She's been really clingy today, actually. Wouldn't that figure.) So I just brought her along for the ride!

Nightly Contemplations

Isabella has not exactly been sleeping well the past.. 5 months. Really, the past few weeks have been especially difficult, although for the life of me I have not figured out why. If I knew, we'd be sleeping! I'm more than a little sleep-deprived, as most moms can identify! So last night, laying in bed waiting for the crying to begin:

"I'm just getting discouraged about ever sleeping again. No, really I'm fine, I'm just overtired and I get irrational when I'm tired. Don't answer that. You know, every night I go to bed praying for the grace to embrace each night and beg God to multiply my sleep. I really think He should do that for all new moms. After-all, He gave some of the convent-dwelling saints that gift, why shouldn't we get it? But I keep asking for His grace to make it through another night... He must give it to me, you know, as I do wake up having made it through another night. You know, this would be a great opportunity for spiritual growth in how much I need God's grace each and every day. But you know what? I'm too tired for spiritual growth. He needs to check back when I'm less sleep deprived." zzzzzzzz

You will note that this was a monologue - Patrick was snoring by the end.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Warm days

... are such a special treat in the middle of winter! Why, it's almost like California visited us for a few days this past week!

Isabella LOVED being outside - boy is she gonna love spring! We went for a long walk (I even *gasp* ran part of it!) and then sat outside and played. Yes, I do believe that my little girl takes after me already; she'll be "solar-powered", too!

It's interesting that this warm spell does happen most years to at least some degree; nevertheless, each year the meterologists talk as if the world is trying something new! I even hear someone try to bring up "global-warming" - my professional and mature response is "gag me!" Anyways, no matter what anyone says, I really enjoyed. Of course, I would enjoy 3 feet of snow in a couple of weeks, too! Wait 'til Isabella gets a load of that!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


I just put Isabella down for a nap. No crying. Not even a whimper as I left the room. I came back to see what she had found with which to play and she was... sleeping? Really?

I have checked on her 3 times already just to make sure.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Packing Crisis

It started this morning: the crisis surrounding packing for California. "What, already?", you may ask. True, I am not known for thinking this far ahead, as our trip is still over a week away. However, I suddenly realized something this morning that was the cause for great alarm. da-dum.... I have to have a bathing suit. AAUUUGGGHHHH!!! Ok, seriously, this is not the end of the world; however, look at this from the perspective of a 6-month post-partum woman. Unlike some people (*cough* Angela *cough*) I was not under my pre-pregnancy weight at my 6-week appointment. But that's ok. I can do this.

The last time I wore a bathing suit was at the beach - 6 WEEKS post birth, and it was still a maternity bathing suit. Now, let me put into words the beautiful way a woman's mind works after giving birth. Whether it be "baby euphoria" or "delusions of grandeur", right after giving birth, you think you're skinny. No no, I did not actually think I looked like Cindy Crawford, but after several months of waddling around with an extra 30 lbs and a face like a puffin, a woman feels good. This is, perhaps, a real blessing. When you are carrying a precious newborn and your whole life is wrapped around her there is no need for silly preoccupation with weight. Please, we gals deal with that all the rest of the time. It is only in retrospect that I looked at the pictures and wondered who let the beached whale in the family photo. ;-p

Now my little Isabella is 6 months (wow!) old. And I am thinking that a maternity bathing suit just will not cut it, and I don't have a mu-mu. damn. I refuse to be self-centered enough to forbid myself near the water; I will also not spend my time worrying about the retinal scars in the people who see me in said bathing suit. No, I will pack that bathing suit. I will wear it and I will get in the hot springs. (well, wouldn't you?!)

Please realize that this is not meant to be a little self-pity-party. No, I am simply in the middle of a mother's journey. The destination: a balance between hating Eve and the Fall for my imperfect body and an acceptance for the way God designed my body. I continue to battle the bulge, but in the meantime, shield your eyes.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Early Introductions

I love riding my motorcycle. It's kinda like a healthy way to "run away" for a little while. Today, being so warm and sunny, was a perfect day. Patrick came home and offered, and it didn't take much convincing! Sure, it was a little cooler than summer riding, but it was incredible! There is such a free feeling, and I usually find myself talking to God. It's easy to remember to thank Him for His creation when you have an unobstructed view! Of course, when I stopped for gas and the bike wouldn't start again, it was also an opportunity for another kind of prayer...

Seriously, I think riding a motorcycle is one of my favorite releases. I cannot: listen to the radio, talk on a cell phone, hear the cell phone, turn on the TV. All I can do is pray, sing, or enjoy the sound of the wind outside my helmet. When I came back I was calm, refreshed, and ready to spend time with my favorite husband and daughter!

Dear Daughter,

My Dearest Isabella,

Thank you so much for all that you give me. You give me indescribable joy with each of your smiles. You teach me what true heartbreak is every time you cry. You have changed the way I look at each moment of each day. I love you more than you will ever know.

Thank you also for helping me with my prayer life. You have helped strengthen my relationship with our Blessed Mother, seeking her assistance and guidance for motherhood, and asking her prayers during the hard moments. I have learned to call on her intercession in ways I am sad I never did before.

But my dear daughter, must you do it all night long???

Friday, January 4, 2008

tagged: the Book meme

Ok, I’ve been tagged so I’ll do it - Like Christine, I am a voracious reader. I do NOT promise to keep it to the “one” book per category, though!

1.Book that changed your life:
The Happiest Baby on the Block”, by Dr. Karp. I’m not sure what we would have done without it for the first several months of a colicky, screaming baby. This is a great book that helps give tools to use for the fussy/high maintenance infant. Also, the Bioethics and Medical Ethics books that I’ve read, as they have helped me explain sexual and medical morality a lot better, something that I find important, and was very applicable in my professional days as a nurse.

Spiritually: “Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer”, by Fr. Thomas Dubay. AMAZING book, really challenged my commitment to growing spiritually and falling in love with the Lord. Also, the writing by and about Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I read a lot on her in preparing for a medical mission trip I went on my senior year of college, and the way she totally emptied herself and showed unconditional love is enough to change anyone!

2. Book I’ve read more than once: ha! A LOT of them, actually. “Les Miserables”, by Victor Hugo tops the list at 6.5 times – I never get tired of it! “Story of a Soul”, Saint Therese of Liseux. “Chronicles of Narnia”, C.S. Lewis. “Love and Responsibility”, Pope JPII “A Return to Modesty”, Wendy Shalit – Modesty is way more than dressing appropriately. A must-read! “Cheaper by the Dozen” true story about the Gilbreth family. Funny! Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

3. Book I’d want on a desert island: “How to make a large boat with a palm tree and some sand” Seriously, something LONG, either by volume (a thick anthology of literature comes to mind) or long by depth, like writing of the Mystics – Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Liseux. Writings by Pope John Paul II would be good, too – all these would take me a while as they tend to cause great reflection and meditation.

4.Book that made me laugh: “Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy”, Vicki Iovine. I laughed so hard every time I picked it up! A must for pregnant women – it takes all the usual info and breaks it down in a real blunt way that only a “girlfriend” can do! “Cheaper by the Dozen” fits in this category, too. Dave Barry’s “Guide to Guys” and other by Dave Barry – this guy is hilarious! Erma Bombeck is always good for a laugh, too.

5. Book that made me cry: “Nicholas and Alexandra”, Robert K. Massie. I knew the ending and I still cried! “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks, a true romance novel. Note: I am not counting anything that affected my emotions while pregnant. That wouldn’t be fair. Anything where the hero dies in a beautiful and self-sacrificing manner.

6. Book I wish had been written: “The sure-fire easy way to get your child to sleep through the night with nobody crying.” “How to organize your life without doing any of the work”

7. Book that should never have been written: I can think of lots of books I don’t like, but none that I would go so far to say that they are evil and should never have been written… I’ll update if I can think of any. ...maybe trashy romance novels.

8. Book(s) I’m currently reading: “Outsmarting the Female Fat Cell After Pregnancy”, (not that it’s doing me too much good, yet). “Stolen Lives: 20 Years in a Desert Jail” by Malika Oufkir (true story). “Advent and Christmas with Fulton Sheen” daily meditations. “What to Expect the First Year”, “I’m Just Here for the Food”, Alton Brown, “Anna Karenina” by Tolstoy

9. Book I’ve been meaning to read: “The Letters of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.” – with a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart, and St. Margaret Mary being the patron of my household in college you would think I would have read it by now… Also, more of Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Sienna. One day, one day…

So I’m not going to tag anyone, as the only ones that I know who read my blog have already been thus. So, if anyone wants to do it, please leave me a comment so I can read your responses!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Holy Family opposed to ours... :)

Last Sunday, being the Feast of the Holy Family, Father spoke about the image of perfection that the Holy Family exudes. This has left me pondering all week. His point was that perfection may not be so easy, as they traveled under stress a lot. (I'm paraphrasing here, of course.) My mind wandered to a different focus, namely "why do they always look so perfect and calm?" Simple: Jesus was at the center. duh!

When you look at the pictures, EVERY picture, they are calm and content. As they journeyed to Bethlehem: Let me tell you, as a recently pregnant woman, if we had been traveling on a donkey the night before I was giving birth my face would not have been so calm, and I doubt Mary said any of the things I would have been telling my husband. The fleeing to Egypt: I have travelled with an infant, they were more likely traveling with a toddler, which is no doubt harder. Of course, the woman who had seen an angel and conceived of the Holy Spirit couldn't doubt her husband's dream, no matter how outlandish it seemed. So forth they went - with a toddler, in the middle of the night. So did Jesus fall back asleep, or did He remember to go to the bathroom before they started? Does it matter when you're traveling by donkey on a dirt road? It doesn't matter, when the Son of God is the center.

The image that has come to my mind a lot this week is the serene acceptance in Mary's face through all of this. Do you think that Jesus, the Incarnate Word, slept through the night right away? Seriously, this is foremost in my mind these days! The bags under my eyes could swaddle my baby. But of course, "No crying He makes." Would it have mattered? If we trusted without any doubt or concern that God's plan was going to come to perfection in our children, would it matter to us how often we had to re-calm them or tolerate the temper tantrums?

While some of us have a tendency to focus on their perfection, I have thought more about their hardship, and what they endured. Through it all, there's a reason they are referred to as "The Holy Family" - not because their life was perfect and trial-free. Rather, because of the way they endured their trials with peaceful acceptance and contentment. If we keep Jesus at the center of our own families, it doesn't mean we get a free ticket out of trials. Being a Christian sure as heck doesn't make life easier. Keeping Jesus in the center instead simply gives us the tools and the grace to use them. And come to think of it, Father John was right - none of us have been forced to pack up in the middle of the night to save our children's life from murder. Instead, we have "minor" trials that challenge us to keep The Incarnate Word at the center of our families, too. We "can do all things through Christ who strengthens" us.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2008! This was the first time in 3 years that I have celebrated New Years with my family, instead of the gals at work! A strange and wonderful feeling! We were all up at my brother Tom's house for an evening of fun, games, drinks, and laughs. We had a ball - a "giant sleepover" in the kids' minds. Isabella did not fall asleep until midnight - she outlasted all but one other in the 10-and-under crowd!
She loved the keyboard! It made her so happy to bang away at the keys and get the immediate satisfaction of noise.

a good day for sleeping...

Yes, that's what Isabella must have decided this morning. After sleeping in I was sure our napping "schedule" would be off. Instead, she cried herself to sleep in 20 minutes or less for all 3 naps today! YAY! This is a huge milestone for us. I cherish the time of rocking her to sleep, snuggling and cuddling. I relish the moments of gazing at her face all mushed up against me as she rests peacefully. I have loved it. For everything there is a season, however, and since I find it important that she be able to put herself to sleep eventually, we have started the process. UGH. As every parent before me and every one after agrees, I hate this. But, today was encouraging. One day she will fall asleep with less drama. One day she might even sleep through the night, but that's another feat for another week.

What to do with a Mullet

Natural Fashion at its best...