Sunday, November 28, 2010

'Tis the Season

Now that we have slowly awakened ourselves from the turkey-coma, it is time for the joy-filled, highly-anticipated, excitement-building activity of...


Last year we opted for photo cards, and it was so nice we're doing it again this year! Now I understand that nothing takes the place of a nice hand-written note; like many people, I have a great nostalgia for the beauty of old-fashioned correspondence. Here in the world of Little Ones, however, there is beauty and love in the convenience of a internet-ordered picture card!

At SHUTTERFLY.COM you will find over 800 choices. Lucky for me, though, you can search through them by descriptors, making the selection at least a little easier. Easier, that is, if you can decide between fanciful and childish or classy and pretty. I will always go for one that says "Merry Christmas" myself.

Throwing a party sometime this winter? I know nothing about sending out invitations, but I hear that some people do. Of course, I would probably pick these because the snowmen are drinking.

One of my favorite gift ideas is thanks to my friend Maria, who makes custom calendars for extended family! There are a lot of selections, and while I've never price-shopped these things, Shutterfly does have several styles marked down 50%!

For now I know I'll be ordering our Christmas cards soon. First challenge? Getting 3 kids to pose for a decent picture! Do you think anyone would notice if I just picked the models' pictures?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Today is 6 weeks to the day since Joey's open-heart surgery! That means he is officially now done with the recovery period and is HEALED from it!

We have learned a lot of lessons on true gratitude, all-encompassing thankfulness in these past 5 months. Today is truly a

Our 3 most beautiful, perfect blessings

Now thank we all our God
With heart and hand and voices
Who wondrous things has done
in Whom this world rejoices
Who from our mothers' arms
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of Love
And still is ours today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankfulness List

~ For girls who love to sing silly songs and dance in the kitchen

~ kids' artwork on a dirty backdoor

~ my husband's new job

~ my husband's new commute

~ my husband's new smile

~ family that are also friends

~ the Eucharist : the perfect, most intimate gift God offers us.

~ friends that have become family

~ conversation that brings joy to my heart

~ baby Joey home

~ being able to tell Bella that Joey is not going back to the hospital anytime soon

~ having only 1 child in diapers

~ Mama Mary teaching me how to love Jesus more each day

~ a short walk to people I love

~ VeggieTales and snuggle time

~ girly giggles between sisters

~ peace and quiet during naptime

~ other women who inspire me

~ people who challenge me

~ the doctors, nurses, therapists, and staff at Children's hospital

~ red wine

~ hot coffee

~ not always in that order

~ and...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Word of Thanks

Certainly this week awakens even the most dormant soul to a profound gratefulness, and I am no exception. Each day I try to be openly thankful for the abundant blessings that surround me, but often I forget the "open" part. Too often people forget to say out loud the gratitude of their hearts, and I too often fall into that category. So this week, some words of Thanksgiving.

I am so grateful for my husband. He is a strong and holy man who is working on attaining heaven and is set on bringing us with him. I could never ask for more in my spouse!

Two specific points for today:
~Patrick is always trying to help make my life easier. Sometimes it's folding laundry during football, because he knows I mean to get to it during the week. Really, I do. But then the weekend rolls around (or midweek evening games) he rounds up whatever kid is interested and they head down to watch and fold. Sometimes he buys a present that he is certain will make my life easier. Sometimes it's just a suggestion or hint for an idea that will help in my daily routine. No matter what it is or even if it ends up helping, the point is that he is acutely aware of how hard I work around the house with our 3 little ones, and he wants to lessen the stress as much as possible.
~When Joey was in and out of the hospital, and as we faced one life-threatening event after another, Patrick was my rock. He truly acted as Christ to me - strong, gentle, loving, supportive, constant. Every breath we took we took together. When my heart would shake there was my loving husband. Holding hands saying the Rosary on our way down there the night after Joey's first surgery. (We got a call things weren't going well.) Singing to Joey while he was sedated. Singing to him while he was awake. Holding me watching Joey's body fight for life. The biggest testimony to my husband's faith is perhaps the day that Joey went into cardiac arrest. While we were shaking in the shock of being told they were performing CPR, Patrick reminded me that Joey was fin - he is Baptized and Confirmed. He is fine, it was us we were worried about. A man of faith, filled with love.

I could never of imagined what we would be asked to go through already, but I am eternally thankful for my husband Patrick. Each day is a reminder of what a gift he is to me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Quick Takes

Here I go, trying to be cool enough to hook up with the Linky List with Jen @ Conversion Diary.


I went through the majority of today thinking it was Thursday. I'm not sure if it's related to the fact I just realized yesterday that Thanksgiving is next week (!) or the fact that my husband will be gone all day tomorrow so the usual advantages to a relaxing Friday night are null and void, or if it is simply a testimony to my overall state of incompetence right now. Perhaps it's most likely a symptom of my life being one long run-on day, much like that last sentence.


The girls have gotten completely spoiled this week by... their father! The have decided that popcorn pajama time with a movie should be a nightly event. Last night we got home late after our monthly grocery store date night and they were shocked and appalled to discover that meant a normal bedtime routine. How terrible.


It started as a typo, but I like the commas instead of periods after the numbers. It makes me feel so Italian. Or maybe everyone is laughing at me.


Confession: I have an almost sadistic love of tickling babies. I just love the way their whole bodies just crumple up and they gasp for breath. My poor Joey has spent the past 10 minutes a victim for my amusement, but gauging from his smile I suspect he doesn't mind too much.


It took until just this week, but I am finally embracing the arrival of autumn. Each year I live in a state of denial for a while, and thus often almost miss some of the beauty! I do love the cooling weather, the rosy cheeks that display after a good play outside, and the colorful palate of leaves. However, it wasn't until yesterday when I stepped outside and went "[Yikes], it's COLD and crisp! And our neighbor has started up his wood stove!" that I finally conceded the fact it is, in fact, fall.


A parenting first for us last night - we had to call poison control! On our way home from the grocery Anastasia ate an entire small tube of toothpaste. We were reassured that the small tubes do not have enough flouride to be a threat.


I have a proposition for the next Food Network reality series. To Heck with all those "next big star" and "who's really the best cook in the world" shows. What they really need is a Real Life Kitchen in a Real Life House With Toddlers show. I could teach people a thing or two about squeaking out the occasional nutritious meal with hands in the mixing bowl and feet dancing on top of mine and the baby laughing in the background. On the other hand, those top chefs couldn't handle that kind of heat, so stay outta my kitchen. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quotable Quotes

When Joey was born, so so long ago before we knew just how special his little heart was, Bella took the liberty of explaining things to Anastasia. The morning that Patrick and I were in the hospital, over breakfast with Gram:
"Anastasia. Mama and Daddy have a new Baby. You are not the baby anymore, so we can't be carrying you everywhere. You will have to walk."

Anastasia, new words, new pronunciations: "Gram" is very clearly, very loudly, very emphatically said "DAM!"

I guess there's no greater insult:
Bella: "Anastasia, I will not pray for you because you are being mean. I will not pray for bad guys."
a few minutes later: "Holy Mary and Jesus, bless Anastasia, Joey, and me. Even when she's mean."

to Gra'm -
Bella: "Gram, we are very lucky to have you here!"

Bella: "Mama, you are the cutetest Mama in the whole world!"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Incredible 5 Months

It just isn't possible. FIVE MONTHS??? I am certain I've known him my whole life.

Most certain, t00, is that I have aged much much more. Perhaps a year or two. Or ten. My Boy, my precious, perfect, darling little boy is 5 months old!!!

Each child is a miraculous gift from God, no doubt. Every child brings mystery and excitement to life. Some children seem to just come overflowing with lessons. A whole new meaning to "My cup runneth over."

I have not written a lot of my reflections about Joey because writing makes one face what they may not be able to face at that moment. Each challenge we encountered was handled with prayer and trust, but not a lot of thinking. Thinking just isn't possible when your baby is on life-support. Thinking is not possible when you're waiting to hear the outcome of the CPR they're performing. Thinking is not possible when you scoop your healthy-looking baby out of bed for open-heart surgery. No, we tried to avoid too much thinking.

But now we REJOICE! Our house feels like Easter every time we look at our Joey! When he smiles, truly, the whole world smiles. (10 points if you're singing that song in your head now, like I am!) Each milestone is cheered as if no other baby has ever done it before him. There was a long time of not knowing what neurological setbacks he would face. Joey has decided to pleasantly surprise us this time :) Each milestone reached is a major celebration in our world!

Joey is a happy baby. He smiles SO much! I'm pretty sure it started because he was flirting with the nurses. He is a charmer, for sure! He loves to giggle in a light, quiet little way. Yesterday Big Sister Bella was being silly, and Joey BURST into a huge belly-laugh! TOO funny!
Eating is a favorite past-time for this not-so-little Little Guy! At 15 lbs he is my biggest baby yet! (And to think, he's the "sick" one?) Eating began as a major challenge, too, with the vocal chord paresis and thickened feeds and his refusal to resume breastfeeding. *sigh* But, Praise God for the availability of formula, because he continues to impress everyone with his healthy size!

It has been very exciting to see him reaching all around him for toys. He has a favorite wrestle buddy (thankfully not Anastasia) - he loves his stuffed Geico Gecko. SO funny to watch him roll and reach for it, then bring it to his mouth and babble at it! And speaking of babble, my goodness that boy is a talker! He loves to babble and coo at everything around him, and his volume is shocking at times! He has a lot to say, and wants to make sure his sisters quiet down every once in a while and listen.
He loves to make raspberries and play smacking sounds with his lips.
Dearest Joseph Thomas, you have been more than we could have ever expected, and a beautiful and perfect Gift.