Friday, November 21, 2008

Fabulous Friday

The day started very early this morning, with a wake-up at 0630. For some families this is routine, or even sleeping in (yikes!) but neither Bella nor I tend to act human before 7am. This morning was no exception, we just happened to be awake. With her early request for milk I took her to my bed to "nuggle" and maybe even fall back asleep! No luck. In fact, Bella had just nestled down on my lap with her head resting on my belly when Little Hidden One decided he/she did not like the encroachment on his space and started kicking her in the head! Poor Bella, how was she supposed to fall back asleep when I could watch her head visibly move with each thump?

The plus side to being awake early is that there is no struggle at all to make it to Mass. Well, ok, at least there shouldn't be, but we had our daily installment of the Getting Dressed Olympics. This is a series of sporting events beginning with the Removal of Jammies, an event in which Bella lays there patiently smiling, happy to be getting naked, until she realizes that it is now cold. Mama then faces the task of completing the removal with Bella plastered against her, burrowing into Mama's chest for warmth. You might think that this makes our next event, the Placement of a Clean Shirt, an easy task, but you would be mistaken. No, after the initial shock Bella decides she likes being chilly, and so this event involves getting 24 arms into 2 arm holes. Then of course we have the You Must Have a Clean Diaper relay, in which you must complete all necessary steps of a successful diaper change while holding 36 legs still and maintaining the appropriate supine posture. By this time neither of you notices the cold, and in fact Mama is sweating and her hair clip is in Bella's hands in a desperate attempt to distract her. Begin singing silly songs before initiating the next event. Finding the Matching Pants You Just Had In Your Hand is the next in our Olympic series; in this task you must employ all creativity to get Bella to stay on the changing table while you step back to scan the room for said pants. Hint: crawl on your hands and knees under the changing table; the pants are most likely to be located tossed on top of the heater vent. If this fails, check the dresser drawer. Having made it this far we at least know we are on the homeward stretch. Bella like shoes and socks, so the only challenge here is making sure the shoes are lined up for immediate placement after the socks, lest the need to find her toes takes over. When all is said and done, the race is completed and points are tallied, do you win a gold medal? Nah, you just have a dressed child!

Isabella is definitely feeling better as also evidenced by her wiggles and squirms at Mass, but that is much easier to handle. I consider the normal activity and babble of a toddler to be completely acceptable, and luckily the people around me do, too.
After she fell asleep literally in our driveway, I was afforded a few minutes of peace and quiet to myself. Of course this actually means emptying the dishwasher and starting laundry, but I also inserted the luxury of making coffee and internet time! As I sit here sipping my hot coffee there is a beautiful snowfall swirling around the great outdoors. The flakes are abundant, creating a beautiful, gentle curtain of white against the colors of our suburban neighborhood. It accumulates in the grass, forming a heavy dusting and adding the Artist's touch to the gray day. I am thankful for my warm house and yummy flavored coffee while I watch a perfect display of the glories of the change of seasons. Strange, a week ago I wrote about the fall colors, and I'm already nestling into a winter's day.

Augh! The peaceful scene is interrupted by a %$&*! dog barking right outside the window, which has startled my little Bella awake. Back to reality - lunch and playtime, coming right up!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


ESFP - The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

Although this is not entirely my personality, it might describe my blog pretty well. What do you think? What personality is your blog? Leave a comment!

Shorts 4 - Bella Edition

Yes, these are all shorts centered around my favorite topic: Isabella!

Back to the doc today - aren't we lucky? Seems that after her little viral gastric upset last weekend she has also developed another ear infection. Although I am well acquainted with the idea that there are many causes of infections I am still left to ponder why in the world has she managed to get yet another one? I'll have you know she can say "medicine" with pretty impressive clarity.

Current obsessions: Babies, animals, and apples - in that order. She cannot get enough of babies, whether dolls (don't leave home without one!) or the real kind! She was mesmerized with the little 4 week old we saw in the office today. She loves to sing "rockababy" (as she says it) and make the baby participate in all games that she is playing; the poor baby dolls when "we all fall DOWN!" We read any and all animal books she can get her little hands on, multiple times a day; I LOVE hearing all her animal sounds and how excited she gets to see real ones. Bella does not understand why we cannot touch every one we see, though - I draw the line at stray cats.
The love of apples started when we went apple picking many weeks ago, but they have not lost their appeal. This suits me just fine, as she eats them skin and all! She has not been a big fan of applesauce for many months now, but after I made my own (! story coming soon!) she LOVES it! She asks for it by name very clearly and will eat more of that than any other one item. No complaints here - without any additives it's a healthy menu item :)

Bella saw snow for the first time in her memory a couple of days ago! It was the thick, warm snow that is pretty to look at but never lasts, which was perfect for a little one to see! Patrick bundled her up and took her out for their nightly constitutional and when they returned she very excitedly told me "snow!" Of course it melted by morning, and the following night she was content to see the stars which is what they usually talk about on their walk.

Should I be concerned that she says "football" and "remote?" What next, "nachos and beer?"

I just read about the Toy Hall of Fame and was very intrigued. It's a simple list of the best classic toys of all time. Although I don't think it's comprehensive, the ones listed there are certainly tried-and-true, sure to build imagination and creativity. "The Simple Dollar: financial talk for the rest of us" writes a very good post about Christmas inspiration for great toys that are sure to inspire creativity AND are inexpensive. Yay for that! Why do I mention this? Has anyone else realized that Christmas is only 5 weeks away, or am I the only dolt-in-the-dark? I love the idea of classic toys that will stand the test of time and multiple children, and I really love the idea of being able to do so on a tight budget.

As hard as it may be to imagine, my daughter is a Drama Queen. I'm not sure where she gets that exactly. Today we were playing, singing songs, reading books, and she was simply adorable. She starts pulling facial tissue out of the box, holding it up to my nose and saying "honk." The next moment she takes a swing at my face then runs to the middle of the floor and throws herself down with flair, crying like her heart was broken. Somewhere in there I'm certain I heard "please put me down for a nap." This is not the first time something like that has happened, and I could dare to suggest we may be in for many years of such demonstrations. It would be actually rather hysterical, if she wasn't feeling so out of sorts.

We are really looking forward to Gram's visit (Patrick's mom). Bella does not know it yet, but she is in for a real treat. I know I'm in for one, as her visits are always delightful. We have had mixed feelings, I have to admit, this time around - her visit is scheduled to correspond with the New Baby's Arrival! There is a strange emotion that occurs when you are counting down to an event that significant. In any case, we've been letting Bella talk on the phone with Connie as much as possible to re-acquaint her with Gram's voice. Today Gram mentioned Mama reading a book to Bella, at which point Bella pulls away from the phone and repeatedly insists "bye!" She felt she had a better offer.

Friday, November 14, 2008

One Handed Laundry

After 5 nights of very little sleep, 2 days of a fever and a runny nose, I felt sure Bella was teething. After the vomiting ensued last night into this morning, I am no longer as confident of my diagnosis - this may, in fact, just be yet another nasty virus. Oh goody. *sigh*

As much as I love to cuddle and snuggle my baby as much as she'll let me, changing the sheets (twice) and doing (three) loads of laundry (already) one handed has proven VERY difficult. For that matter, changing my shirt (twice) has also been more challenging today... While I obviously put her down as needed, the broken-hearted screaming that results is sure to upset her stomach and produce more phlegm, guaranteed to make the whole situation worse. A vicious cycle, I tell ya.

Speaking of one-handed, typing as such is not so easy, either. I guess today will be more reading and watching TV while my Little Sick One "nuggles" (as she says it). If it weren't for the being sick detail, it would be a perfect way to spend an overcast day such as today.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Today we honor our thousands of men and women and thank them for their patriotism and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good of our country. Without the loyal, selfless service of those who have fought we would not have the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. Please, today, say a prayer for all veterans and their families. Even knowing that our country has her flaws should not stop us from expressing the heartfelt appreciation for those who have believed enough in her to put their lives on the line in the name of freedom.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 saw the cessation of fighting in the "War to End all wars."
Soldiers near a church at Stenay-Meuse in France, at 10:58 am Nov 11th 1918 just two minutes before the official armistice took effect.

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" President Woodrow Wilson

Armistice Day was renamed "Veteran's Day" in 1954.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shorts 3

I have less than one month until my due date. Let me restate: I have about 4 weeks until this little guy/gal makes his/her great debut. I'll say it in yet another way: I'm almost done being pregnant! As much as I enjoy pregnancy, I am positive that God originally intended gestation to last 8 months. This 9th month is something I intend to take up with Eve someday - damn that loss of paradise! Now we have this extra month that serves to ensure that Mama is ready for ANYTHING, as long as we won't be pregnant anymore! Labor pains? Bring 'em on. Difficult infant? No prob. Fear of unknown? I'm ready. Besides, by now I'm very eager to meet the little one who has been using my insides for boxing practice. I want to see his/her beautiful little face and strong little kicking legs.

Why is a toddler's eyesight SO MUCH better than ours? They can see microscopic items at a distance that puts the strongest microscopes to shame. They can identify the one thing you put out of their reach and eyesight and beg for it, even using words like "pease?" in such a way that makes your heart melt, although you did not intend for them to play with it. *sigh* Parental resolve must win again.

After 3 years of avoiding it, we have a TV in our bedroom. I am still not too sure how exactly it happened, but Patrick's rationale of "a small one for while you're awake nursing" somehow took root this time. I thought the question was still hypothetical, when he came up with a sale add that made it very tempting indeed. Suddenly the leap was made to having a large one in the basement (hooray for Craigslist!) and our old one on the dresser. Not the decor I had in mind, but I must admit we have really been reaping the benefits of snuggling up for our favorite show all cozy in bed. Yes, I am admitting it was a good idea, especially with the infrequence with which we use it. I still don't like the appearance, though.

Has is dawned on anyone else that Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away? My parents host dinner and we each bring a side dish. I am already pondering what to make, as it may take all my brain power until then to decide and carry it out. How about your families? Who hosts and who cooks? What are some of your family classic dishes that come out for this Annual Feast?

I am really excited to see how Bella takes to a little brother or sister. This past weekend we were with friends and 8-week-old Baby Thomas absolutely fascinated her! She climbed onto my lap and quietly and gently pointed out all his uncovered body parts! Oh, and his toes - Bella seems to be offended by socks without shoes, and kept pointing out that his toes had no shoes. When I took off his itty-bitty little sock to reveal his precious tiny toes she was much happier. She kept hugging him and giving him kisses! Although I do not take her gentleness for being par for the course, it was very sweet to watch her fall in love with a real baby. She was not at all bothered by the fact I was holding him, either!


Fall amazes me every year. I think it was my grandmother who used to call the changing seasons "God's tricks" because He seems to sneak you into another season before you have a chance to protest. This fall has been warm, which has made the transition even sneakier. (Is that really a word?) We have flipped from a winter coat back to shorts and back into corduroy again and again. Each year I think "Wow, the leaves are changing already?" only to realize that it's the middle of October. This year, thanks to the warmth, I did not have to mentally adjust to arrival of fall, but rather just enjoyed the view. Suddenly I find myself shocked that the colors are past their prime, the leaves have already formed their collage of color on the ground, and the mountainside is just a little more bare and brown. Oh, yeah, that's right - it's NOVEMBER. This is what's supposed to happen now! Darn, next thing you know it will be winter!

The truth is that I actually enjoy fall a lot once I accept its presence. This year, thanks to the warmth, I have been able to be outside walking Isabella around crunching the leaves without bundling up and holding her for fear of a Mary Poppins moment with the wind. It's almost disappointing not to have the crisp air beginning to bite at your nose and bring that flush to your cheeks, but I'll take it anyway. Isn't is amazing how much more beauty we see in each piece of nature when viewed through the eyes of a child for the first time? Showing Bella the colors in the leaves opens my eyes to the diversity and splendor of God's palette. Bringing her attention to the crunch and crinkle as we walk has brought a stillness to my soul, a pause that encourages me to simply listen to God's symphony that surrounds us.

Today is colder again - the thermometer reads 47, and outside my (closed) windows the leaves are swirling around causing the dog across the street to bark like a moron. What was that about peaceful stillness? Bella was angry at her long sleeves getting dressed this morning, but is now tucked snugly in bed for her nap. Oh, that peaceful stillness. I am pining after some good orchard-fresh apple cider, but will enjoy a cup of hot tea while I prop my feet up to delve into a good book that does not involve dancing hippopotamuses. (Can you guess what I spend a lot of time reading?) Life is Beautiful, and the changing of the seasons, in whatever form it happens, is a constant reminder of that.

Friday, November 7, 2008

NC Trip

Last weekend found us in North Carolina for a fun-filled, busy-yet-relaxing weekend! On Thursday my mom and I drove down to Chapel Hill, NC for my cousin's wedding. He and his bride unwittingly chose Halloween as their date, and we headed down early. Although it was a long drive (Bella couldn't be expected to sleep the entire 5 hours) it lent itself to a very relaxing day Friday; it also meant Isabella was well-rested and adjusted before the actual wedding and reception, which was the true blessing.

We have quite a Dancing Queen on our hands! Bella followed big cousin Sara on to the dance floor, and once she caught on she was unstoppable! She stayed out there for every dance, happily bopping and twisting and laughing.

Mama had an important realization, too. Chubby Checker did not have pregnant women in mind for his "Twist!" Nevertheless, there I was - my very pregnant self holding Bella in heels doing the Twist. Actually, it was a lot of fun!

When Patrick scooped her up to dance a slow one with her, she pushed her head off his shoulder and frantically started twisting and swinging her arms; apparently slow-dancing is a little too much like bedtime! At the end of the evening she was so tired but still determined to party; she collapsed on the floor with her head down, but the little arm and leg were still moving to the music! What a party animal!

Saturday we drove a little farther to see cousins in Fayetteville. You could not ask for a more welcoming Bed and Breakfast than Mary Joan's own home. Bella was a perfect little charmer, stealing their hearts and winning their undying affection - as toddlers have a way of doing! Outside of their church is a large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who Bella immediately recognized. She pointed excitedly, exclaiming "Maawy!" She reached out and was thrilled to give "Maawy" kisses.

The funiest moment was Sunday morning during brunch. The adults were sitting around a delicious array of edibles, while Bella walked around "reading" her books and talking to her baby. She had already surprised me by eating quite a serving of egg casserole and applesauce and cereal and grapes (very uncharacteristic of my pipsqueak). She climbs her way into Daddy's lap, rests her head on his shoulder, and falls asleep. Now for some of you parents out there this is no big deal, but this was earth-shattering for Bella! We laid her down on the carpet behind us and she did not stir until I woke her up! (I wanted her to play and run before getting in the car for the long ride home.) ????? Seriously, I'm not sure what came over her, but we took a picture knowing that no one would believe us otherwise.

We were so lucky to have such a wonderful opportunity for a weekend of fun and family. Arriving home late Sunday evening found us exhausted but rejuvenated; now if only we could explain to Bella why Monday mornings seem so quiet!

Sweetheart "meme"

I was tagged, so here I am happily obliging for a chance to brag about my sweetheart. Rules are to (obviously) answer the questions and then tag other people to do it. We'll see about that.

Husband's Name: Patrick Joseph

How long we've been married: 3 years (only? or already? )

How long we dated: 6 years, including the 7 months we were engaged. We met within the first couple of weeks of my freshman year in college, and he was my first boyfriend.

How old is he?: just turned 29, that old man

Taller: HAHAhahaha... um, Patrick. By at least a little bit.... or by over a foot... He couldn't figure out for the longest time why I was so picky about his choice of neckties. I explained to him that when we dance that's the only thing I get to see.

Who can sing best?: Definitely Pat. People don't tend to cringe when he opens his mouth. On the other hand, I am the one who remembers the right words.

Smarter?: Again, I'll say Patrick. Although I'm no idiot (I did, after all, survive nursing school and graduate with my BSN) you will not find me in graduate school, or with anywheres near the test scores he has received. His academic strength lies in math/logic, while mine is definitely verbal.

Laundry: ouch. With a big blow to my pride, I have to admit that we share this household task, and he has been pulling a lot of weight here. With my ever-growing belly I simply cannot carry the baskets up and down the stairs, and since he carries it he often just goes ahead and starts a load while there. Before my belly started interfering I did more, but he also uses his sports-watching time to fold.

Paying bills: Pat again. He's lucky to have a wife who doesn't spend a lot of money, and I am lucky to have a husband who doesn't mind managing it.

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?: This is a silly question - who's right? Anatomical Right (looking down from headboard) is me. Isn't it funny how this seems to be decided right away when you get married, and it never really switches? The first night we slept in our marital bed Patrick claimed his side, based on the fact that it was farther from the door which meant I was the first line of defense for invading kids.

Mows the lawn?: I am proud to say that we share this one. Up until a few weeks ago I was still mowing the front and one side. Now there's a spectacle - a 7 month pregnant lady out there behind the push-mower. That's one chore I don't mind sharing, especially past the dead-heat of the summer. It's great exercise with immediate gratification from the results. We also share snow-shoveling, in case you're interested, and I prefer that.

Cooks dinner: Mostly me. Patrick enjoys cooking so most weekends he'll make one big meal. I love a man who can cook!

Who's the first to admit when they're wrong?: Him, since I'm never wrong. lol. Really, that's hard to say since we're both pretty darn stubborn. I think we mostly just apologize for being pig-headed and the instance of bad communication. We're both open to explanation and apology, but I'm not sure how often "I was wrong" comes out of either of our mouths - it just isn't always necessary for us.

Who kissed first?: Pat. It was my first kiss :)

Who wears the pants?: I make the day-to-day decisions around the house, I'm home all day raising Bella, and I mostly decide our schedule. HOWEVER, I would still say Pat wears the pants with his welcome input and veto-power. I find that allowing him to be the head of our household is important to the way our family thrives. He is our Protector and Provider and I am happy to honor him in that role.

I'll tag:

Angela @ Hook, Line, and Sinker
Jen @ This Family of Ours
Patty @ Holy Banana Hands
Alexis @ Love Life

Although I will leave comments at their blogs to let them know, I am not offended if no one decides to follow. I just thought it was fun talking about my Hubby.