Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lucky? Me?


Please don't think I'm gloating; I really don't mean to. It's just that I feel the need to shout it from the rooftops because I hardly ever win anything, let alone anything this truly awesome. I am SO excited!!!!

Here's my problem, yall:

I have no idea what to pick!!!  Shabby Apple has so many darling, classy, delightful dresses that I simply don't know where to start! I sure could use some good advice, if anyone's up for it. Feel free to tell me your absolute favorite. I am truly hopeless in the fashion department. And when I say "hopeless" I mean I've seen my wardrobe on the before section of "what not to wear."

 Disclaimer, though: my shape could be described as "pear", but this "pear" has had 4 babies in 5 years, so maybe something more like a bunch of grapes. Anyone have advice?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Andrew Gabriel, 6 Months

Yikes!  I simply refuse to believe that my little teeny tiny newborn is... not such a newborn.  That whole "I blinked and he grew up" motherhood thing? Totally cliche, totally right.

So here's the synopsis, since I'm sure that's all the time I'll have while he's sleeping anyways.

The Stats: 14 lbs 4 ozs. That is pretty much the "Tramma Par" as my pediatrician calls it. He's tiny -so tiny we had an extra weight check just for fun.  The funny thing is that Bella was just a few ozs more at her 7 month weight check. I'd say that's genetics.

Sleep: say what? when?  Actually, although the past few nights have been rough, he does in fact sleep quite comfortably as long as he's within a 4 second access to the Milk Source. He's been sleeping in the cradle at the foot of the bed, but now that he pulls himself up that has to end. I'll crawl into bed and snuggle up with a good book or a good husband and the little head will pop over the top of the cradle and there's his sweet little elf face grinning at us. One day he woke up before we were in bed and we found him looking all around trying to figure out which way to face whilst he screamed.

Temperment: I actually am not quite sure. He is mostly happy, he's very playful, and very adventurous. That being said, he does get quite angry quite quickly when life is not as he thinks it should be. Volatile? geesh, just what we need around here. Raspberry blower often and thumb sucker sometimes.

Food: Sir Andrew, the Great Lover of Food!  That kid chews tiny bits of chicken like a champ, and he still doesn't have teeth. He's yet to meet a food/taste/texture he doesn't like. Particular excitement over cheerios and rice crispies.

Activity: My. Good. Heavens. The boy crawls like he's perpetually running a race. His arms and legs are moving before he touches the ground. All. The. Time.  He can get himself back to sitting, which is one of my favorite stages of babyhood. They are just so happy when the can make themselves comfy with a toy. But was he happy to stay at that stage? Nope. Darnit.

Life: We are all hopelessly head-over-heels in love with this little boy!  I say that and everyone smiles as "of course, duh" smile, but what I mean is that Andrew shines from the showers of attention. Bella makes him laugh, picks him up to bounce him, brings him age-appropriate toys (and then is shocked when he's more interested  in her pencil). Anastasia is always singing to him and making him laugh. She can make him grin in the middle of a screaming fit. Joey loves to fall down right in front of Andrew's face just to look at him and let Andrew grab at his nose. We are reveling in the joy and happiness that surrounds a baby who can't irritate them yet.

Andrew, it has been a fast 6 months with you around here. You are really good at being Baby #4 - always happiest when surrounded by activity and people! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Quick Takes

Sickness. Last week some nasty head cold invaded and conquered several members of the Casa di Tramma. Poor Joey, for having been a ROCKSTAR with normal sickness last year, is having the hardest time. This is the second time in just 2 months that he's been on nebulizers and steroids. The rest of those sicky munchkins are just whiny and sad, so MORE TV for EVERYONE! 

Speaking of TV, now here is your public service announcement:  MR. ROGERS IS ON AMAZON PRIME INSTANT VIDEO!!!!  Happiness can be bought, at least in the kindergarten and under crowd.

So often during the week I have a bouncing braincell inspire me to write, thinking what a great Quick Take, or blog post, or just memory for our own sake I have. Just bouncing around waiting to be immortalized. And then it disappears into thin air just as quickly. I spend a lot of my prayer time throughout the day just hoping and praying that my kinds end up remembering some of these fun things we do without the help of baby books for reference.


I just recently rediscovered our bread machine, and what a lost gem!!! As I type this the delicious smells are filling the house with their promises of the perfect dance partner for tonight's soup. The bread machine is my idea of a perfect kitchen appliance. It increases my feelings of domesticity exponentially, while feeding my overall laziness by equal proportions.


Apples, Apples everywhere and not a moment to process. We will... WILL! be making applesauce and apple butter. What century, though, I'm not sure.


Best links I've read lately:

Why You Can't Read Twilight: a Letter to My Daughter
Books You Must Read to Your Daughter, (or How To Keep Your Daughter From Ending Up Like That Horrid Girl in Twilight


Remember  my bragging about having the world's most perfect baby? Friends may remember how I joked that "it took me four tries to get one, though" and maybe have even been jealous of my washed and combed hair all in the same day? I recant. That darling Boy is screaming his face red while I hide upstairs leaving my husband to try to convince said Baby that said Baby DOES like to sleep for Daddy. Andrew has decided that what he really likes is to only fall asleep nursing and that he should try it again and again every hour and a half or so.

And on that note, I should go rescue him. The Daddy, of course!

Thanks for hosting even us late comers, Jen!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Well it seems I got all enthusiastic about the blogging bandwagon a little prematurely. My computer decided it was opposed to reading my SD camera card = no pictures. No pictures = no visual references for the goings-on around here. No visual reference = significant decrease in writing motivation. Because we all know that I'm just not that funny without a pictures of a naked toddler in cowboy boots.

 "Oh I could tell they were yours; they totally look related to you."

Wellll.... damn. I guess I have to stop pretending I don't know them when they're climbing backwards across the top of the playground equipment.  Last week we were at the park  (same routine, but different park!) and a lady was there with 5 LITTLES. Turns out they didn't look anything alike because she was a home-day-care lady, whose own are in school. We had a delightful friendly chat and not once did she glare at me for letting my children run and climb like feral cats. What a great day.

 Right up until we had to leave, except I was the one throwing the temper tantrum this time.  Andrew had a check-up  and shots at the pediatrician, and Daddy volunteered to take him so I could eat lunch. The real reason, though, was because the next appointment of the day was for ME at the DENTIST. It was okay, though. I used the nitrous and then self-medicated with Mudslides at home.

Meanwhile, back to today...

Within ten minutes of sitting down at the computer the older 3 had woken up from naps asking for and receiving a snack, the Baby nursed back to sleep, and fresh milk was poured and cleaned up. I really had intended to actually write a coherent, fluid post today. I wanted to write about the beautiful challenging life with Bella the  Attentive Kindergartener, Anastasia the Spritely Preschooler, Joey the Impish Toddler, and Andrew the Smiley Babe. But not today. Today I'm busy being mom, and haven't figured out a way to BE that and WRITE about it at the same time.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Hello? Hello? Anyone home? 

I think I'm coming back. I miss writing in my little corner of the blogosphere. I also miss watching for comments, and connecting with other people across the net. I think of a hundred things about which to write every week, but the actual sitting down time is just not happening around here lately.

See, I have FOUR KIDS now, and while that's not many for some families, the number 4 seems to have caught us quite off guard.  Oh don't get me wrong, he's PERFECT in every way.  I think just the adjustment to 4 has been different then we expected, and so it took a little longer to pick my head up this time.

Before Andrew was born we used to joke that after Joey this baby would be easy!  "We'll take colic if all major organs are intact!" With this perspective, having Andrew has been easy. We are all together, and he's almost 5 months and his heart hasn't stopped once! YAY! :)  It's just the normal transition of having another baby is taking longer.  So we'll be patient  - with ourselves and those around us. We're learning about the new family dynamic right within our own home, which has been wonderful and challenging, and the new dynamic with those around us as well.

And I have SO much to write about!  Homeschooling! Cooking! Finding my living room floor! Becoming a Lay Carmelite! Chasing that toddler BOY! What I do with all my spare time! How delusional I am! 

So if there's anyone still visiting this humble little corner, stop in and say hello. I'm here. Really.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Celebrating to the Max!

Today is my birthday, and to celebrate I'm going to clean my bathroom and change my sheets. 

I could say something insightful about how I was born to fulfill my vocation of serving others in the mundane...

But really, my mom gave me some new luxurious bath stuff and I plan on indulging this evening. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Everyone wants a piece of this baby.  He's just that cute.

"Mama, can I hold Andrew Gabriel?" ... "Again?"

"Mama, I'll sing to him and give him his pacer!"

 "MY BABY!"  (have to watch that older brother. We play a lot of defense to Joey's attempts to play ball with his new little brother.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Well look who finally showed up!  The Latest Model seems to have inherited Mama's sense of timing, since he arrived a week LATE!  But arrive he did, which ultimately is the important part. 

And our lives are better now. More complete. A hole that we didn't even know existed has been filled with joy and wonderment. He is perfect.

         He is Andrew Gabriel.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

38 Weeks

38 Weeks means that in a very short time we will meet the Latest Model. In just approximately 2 weeks we will hold, snuggle, sniff, and cuddle a precious newborn.

38 weeks ALSO means:

~ Anything that falls below waist-level ceases to exist. It is off my radar. Please watch your toes walking across my floor; I have no idea what's there until I step on it. Unfortunately for them, my kids are short and also fall into this category. *oops I knocked them over again!*

~ I have reached an unprecedented level of insanity. I broke down and cried when Patrick announced he needed to mow the lawn. I may or may not have flipped out trying to defend my sanity about wanting the house to be at least slightly ordered. *ironic*

~ I. Want. Wine. ...and a rum and coke. ...and a big-a$$ margarita. Not all at once.

~ My girls are running around in ballerina dresses and winter boots, and it doesn't even phase me, even in public.

~ I am starting to get nervous about the fact we haven't picked out names. We have our list of preferences, but have not settled on a good first/middle combination. It is starting to keep me up at night, even though this dilemma NEVER has before.

~I have trouble completing sentences or thoughts. Hence the no-blogging.

~ This lent has been rather quite fruitful, despite myself. I chose the "since I'm not giving up any sort of food while pregnant then I guess I'll just commit to more prayer time and let God hand me sacrifices throughout the day." Warning: it can be very dangerous to give God permission to work so openly. My will has experienced a good overhaul, my prayer-life is refocused, and I have had LOTS of redemptive suffering opportunities. I should write more about this, because it has been really a beautiful time of detachment. (I probably won't, though - see above.)

~ Gram arrives NEXT WEEK!!! The girls are over-the-moon excited! This Mama is over-the-moon excited, too. We LOVE her visits. In fact, every time they talk about Baby it is tied closely to Gram's arrival. I'm not sure about which they're more excited.

~ I have been confirmed in my previous statement that my personal super-power is gestating for 40 weeks. Went to the doc yesterday and everything looks great, but there is no early labor in my sight. I am blessed that my body has the right baking-time for growing kids, but it is this point where I wonder wwhhhhyyyyyyy??????? can't I be done????

~ On the other hand, I have a to-do list for BEFORE baby. This never works out in my favor, but I make them and cry over them anyways. Pray for my husband!

~ Finally, 38 weeks also means that I sure could use some prayers. We are SO happy and excited, and every mom knows there are nerves and emotions that are WAY out of control at this point. I pray for peace of mind and heart, to make a little extra room for a newborn, and to get maybe just a little bit extra sleep.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


We have been ready for months. Waiting, watching, and wanting - but to no avail. It seems that the seasonal facts to the toddler and preschooler were getting complicated. Yes, it was still winter even though we didn't need jackets. Really, I promise.

And then what a glorious surprise! Bundling up quickly, so so desperate to just get to that wonderland finally outside our front door.

Bella was first to burst through the front door and immediately set to work. She is so focused, barely taking her eyes off enough to giggle. And when her brother broke onto the scene and saw a tower to knock down? Giggle she did!

Anastasia is quite the little imp; one minute she is dancing around and taking tastes of the cold wet fluffiness, and the next moment she is trying her best to launch a snowball at her Daddy.

This was Joey's snow-debut, and it did not disappoint! Adorable snowsuit that kept his hands warm even without gloves? Perfect and useful. Him rolling around on his back unable to stand, saying "UP!" repeatedly? Priceless.

After running and rolling and building a bigger snowman,

the girls were not even ready for hot chocolate, instead opting to go sledding with Daddy and some neighbors, which left Joey and I to snuggle and warm up by ourselves.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Oh blessed slumber, oh heavenly rest. How long you did elude him! How long you escaped our grasps! But not anymore. No friends, the little prince is finally sleeping WELL in his OWN BED! All Night! (*Of course, he is a toddler who's sleep is subject to change with every sneeze or cough, at any moment without warning for an indeterminate amount of time.*)

Joey loved our bed a lot, but he did not like to be crowded. Actually, I'm not sure how much he liked having us in our bed. It was time for him to learn how great his crib truly is! Not only did it go rather quickly, but it has been a while and he doesn't even fuss at bedtime. Oh glorious mornings! With my little boy greeting me happily and well-rested around 7am, everyone in the house is thrilled to see the sun.

The best part of course is how he established his OWN routine. After months of trying to introduce a "lovey" for comfort and him not showing any interest, he has chosen a stuffed dolphin he received at Christmas. After months of rocking and singing he has decided he no longer really needs the songs. What he does love to have is his Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer pillowcase, and anything with Frosty on it. He lays down on his side pointing and snuggling his 2 buddies. In the morning he tries to hand me everything in his crib, and I am unable to oblige and carry him at the same time! One morning Daddy carried everything down with Joey to discover that Joey expected Daddy to snuggle him with all of it!

I just adore how much he loves to snuggle during the day. It's always in brief, fleeting moments, and he rarely tolerates me interrupting his games, but it's soft and cozy and very, very lovely. And now that I get my own space at night I can soak it up joyfully during the day!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Art Day

We call it Multi-medium Art Experience.

This is the first time The Boy has shown any interest at all in coloring/paint. He really got into it, asking for specific different colors (with points and "yes/no") and thoroughly enjoying the dot paints!

While most of our art days are pretty free-form and self-directed, I do sometimes offer pre-prepared projects or directed activities. This time I prepared shapes for scissor practice. Both girls loves scissors, but Bella is ready for a little challenge to build her precision. She loved it! Each of the 3 papers introduced a slightly bigger challenge - the shapes got smaller, and then a few more complicated.

Note that Bella, in the background, is using left-handed scissors. An absolute must for my little lefty, and a big thanks to her Gram for sending them!We love art around here. All mediums, all formats, as often as possible!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Someone's Little Curl

For the rest of the story and more pictures, check out Joey's Blog. I am much more emotional and overly-dramatic about this hair cut over there.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quick Takes

For the first time in a long time I actually remembered it was Friday!


I have been watching WAY too much HGTV lately. I walk through my house narrating the design styles in each room. "Clutter, with a sense of lived-in comfort." "Attempted to take on influence of global travel with positive results in the mis-matched aspects." "A distinct 'hand-me-down and thrift store' aura, with bright splashes of random colors."
I love color, and I love design, and so many of those shows leave me wanting to pick a theme for certain rooms in my home. How to get there from here? I have no idea!


Curious, restless, with a few minutes to spare/procrastinate? Try for some fun! We live in MD, along with all of my brothers, their families, and our parents. What ideal place does this quiz have for me? Upper Rocky Mountains. Plenty of snow, lots of outdoor activities, lakes, and open sky! LOVE it! Not that we're moving, of course, but the open air definitely calls my name. Other top spots for me included Southern Blue Ridge mountains. I want more snow than that, but the Southern mountain air always does a body good, too and that's probably more my kind of outdoors - as in, warmer than freezing for the greater part of the year.


I have a cold, Joey has a cold, Anastasia has croup, Daddy has a cold.Multiple children coughing and wheezing all night. Can I start feeling sorry for myself or do I have to wait until someone throws up?


As I type I am staring at our Christmas tree, willing it to clean itself up. There is a great sense of cleanliness, refreshment, and openness that comes immediately after putting away all of the Christmas decor. The actual act of putting it away is a painstaking task, which is why our tree ornaments hang there mocking my tired, lazy self.


Speaking of a tired, lazy self - 26 weeks down, 14 more to go! Wednesday was my *second* ultrasound, since the images from the first disappeared before the doc wrote his report. While another hour scan was not tops of my excitement list, it was pretty neat to see the drastic changes in Baby since my last scan. SO so active, with big cheeks already! We're pretty excited!


Best music my husband bought me this year: Colin Raye's His Love Remains. I have always loved his voice and this collection of songs is mostly old school and heartfelt hymns.
The weirdest music my husband bought me this year: Bella Fleck and the Flecktones Christmas album. Odd, but he does have to work around my already expansive and eclectic Christmas music selection. It did kind of grow on me, in a thank-goodness-I-can-shuffle-this-whole-playlist sort of way. Musically, it's pretty cool.


I think we finally have a great laundry "schedule" figured out. 3 times/week, and EVERY single load I do contains underwear. Jeans? yup. Towels? yup. I just can't risk it. If the day turns crazy and I only get one load all the way through the dryer and put away, at least I can be guaranteed that there are a few pairs of little girls' panties to carry through the next few days. I know you're laughing at the simplicity and mind-numbingly elementary truth in this, but in my world, this is a major accomplishment. In other news, I will have a New Baby in just 3 short months and this schedule will not matter one bit.

Your weekend will be that much better if you stop on over at Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Christmas Baking

Each year I look forward to Christmas baking. I have picturesque images of plates full of homemade sweetness in perfect contrasting color towers. I have lists of the recipes I absolutely must try. In my perfect plan I show up to each event with a beautifully wrapped package of love-in-sugar-form. And then Advent rolls around, takes me by utter surprise as if it has never happened that soon after Thanksgiving before, and I am resigned to decide which few recipes I can muster my way through. This year, however, I had very enthusiastic little Helpers whose joy and excitement was thoroughly contagious! We had SO much fun!

Pretzel Dots are a favorite! With very little help from me the girls were able to complete the process. They were excited to be able to do each very simple step, and everyone LOVES the finished product. And what's not to love about the festive colors, which thanks to M&M marketing can be adjusted to suit whatever holiday you want.

Sugar cookies are time-consuming, messy, and require full-time involvement. And I LOVE making them! Nothing is more exciting to kids than rolling out that dough and pushing cutters to make what is, to their eyes, the most perfect shapes. And oh! The sprinkles! The colors! The hands that are now dyed the colors of the sprinkles from all the taste-testing! The only real problem is that of course I did not take any pictures with my own flour-covered hands, so the finished product will suffice.

Sometimes a pre-made kit is the perfect project for a short time frame. Step 1: open packages. Step 2: let the kids decorate however they want for 15 minutes. Step 3: give them a glass of milk and call it lunch. Everyone wins!

We also made chocolate chip (of course). The taste-challenge winner, though, was a new recipe for me this year. I made These cranberry-orange cookies and I recommend starting out with a double batch. That way when you nibble your way through these tasty, beautiful treats you will still have a few to set out and share with others. Or to eat later. They are visually appealing and very, very delicious!

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Theme Song