Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Birthday Letter

Happy Birthday to you, Little Man, on this most special birthday. You are my sweet daily reminder of just how precious life is. Maybe I would not have known before, just how precious the gift of life is. But I know now. Each day. Each moment. Each breath.

We loved you before you were even here. We loved the very thought of you. One year ago today, you came into this world fighting. You had no choice. The moments following your birth were a whirlwind. We did not get to hold you as much as we anticipated. My heart ached for you. You were with your Daddy, fighting to breathe. My heart ached for him. I was surrounded by people that loved me. But all I really wanted was to be with you.

In fact, it was only the next day, that I got a really good look at you. And it was only the day after that, that I got to hold you as long as I wanted. Even though we had lived together for nine months, it was like meeting you for the first time. You were exceptionally handsome and I was completely in love. We still love holding you, but those moments go by quickly now. You have the whole world waiting for you to explore.

You are our second child, but our first boy. You love showing us the ropes, but wonder why we can't keep up! You already have a mind of your own and appear to be unyielding. Lucky for you, your sister already paved this path and your Daddy and I are bigger and stronger. You are not the boss of us, little one! You love your sister and playing silly with her. Except of course, when you are looking to get the heck away from her. You collect smiles and love everywhere you go and you always spread your own, in turn.

You are our birthday boy today and our reminder to celebrate all birthdays like we celebrate yours. With hearts full of gratitude and eyes lifted toward Heaven.

So, go walk in the footsteps of your great patron, and "Prepare the Way of the Lord".

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sudden Growth Spurt?

It was a very strange thing that happened today. When we left for Saturday morning errands, John fit into the carseat. Barely. But everything clicked. Later in the afternoon, when were loading the kiddies into the car, Dave said something was wrong with the seat because the buckles didn't reach each other. He disassembled the darn thing, thinking that something was stuck. It wasn't. The strap lengths were maxed out and we could not make the ends meet to buckle. Is that even possible? For a babe to have a sudden growth spurt of that proprotion?

We moved onto plan B which was to install the toddler seat in the minivan and ditch the infant seat. John seemed happy with the change and fell asleep peacefully with his sister. Now we did not load up the car for sleeping, rather we were heading out for a fun afternoon out of doors. Apparently we miss a lot of memos around here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

With Gratitude

holy experience

14. the last bit of warm weather

15. nature walks

16. little girl angels

17. turtles that captivate moms and children alike

18. Papa's that are happy to babysit

19. Music Man and Ballerina Girl rolling out pita dough

20. clean warm pajamas on a sleepy babe

21. a mother who asks about my day, everyday

22. a Mexican fiesta on a Sunday afternoon

23. talking across the ocean to my only sister

24. siblings sharing a wagon ride

25. my mother's helper

26. October weekends

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

With Gratitude

holy experience

Here is the start of my gifts as I work my way to 1,000 as part of Ann Voskamp's Gratitude Community. Follow the above link to visit one of my favorite blogs entitled, "A Holy Experience"

1. snuggling with a sleeping babe

2. favorite cookie recipe from my mom

3. faces smeared with warm chocolate

4. crisp Autumn air

5. the 91st birthday of a dear friend

6. a day with Barbara Harper

7. a swept and mopped kitchen floor

8. quiet house at the end of the day

9. sister comforting distraught brother in car with reassuring words and hand holding

10. library books

11. a true day of rest on Sunday

12. baking bread as a family

13. sharing my heart with the Music Man

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bread Baking

Dave and I took a breadmaking class (at our home) this weekend and it was incredible and completely indulgent. Dave had the entire weekend off for the first time in a few months, so we wanted to do something fun. And I wanted to learn how to bake bread. And my husband is incredibly accomodating. So breadmaking it was. He did have a great time, though, we all did!

We were taught by an artisan breadmaker from NJ. I found him on the Internet and his rate was very reasonable. Isabella was a great helper and was on her best behavior for the full 5 hours. I know, I couldn't believe it. But it did make for a wonderful family day. We made English muffins, French baguettes, a French boule, and pitas. We learned about dough hydrations, how to knead by hand and with a mixer, and how to shape the aforementioned breads. He even brought over some sourdough starter for me that I hope to maintain. I just happened to whip up a batch of hummus for some veggies earlier that morning, so at the end of all the baking, the hummus and veggies made perfect pita fillings. Not to mention that we smothered the cinnamon raisin English muffins with butter and they were soooo good. I feel guilty for the ones that disappeared in the late hours of the evening when everyone else was sleeping. We stashed the rest of it away in the freezer so c'mon down and sample what we've made!

The Little Way

This past Friday marked the Feast of St. Therese, Flower of the Child Jesus, known for her "Little Way". In her autobiography, St. Therese wrote that simply picking up a pin with great love could save a soul. She even went as far as seeking out little hardships for herself to endure, so that she would have something to offer up for the sake of souls. St. Therese wrote that she was certain that this was the surest path to heaven. Accordingly, she was cannonized only 28 years after her death, and is now known as the Saint of Modern Times.

St. Therese used the metaphor of a "pin". In the state of motherhood, this can easily equate to scattered socks, crumbs on the floor, or yet another night waking. When I think about all of the "pins" about my day, I realize the ample oppotunity that I have to save souls. What are your "pins"?

Lord, help us to embrace the small trials that come our way, with great love and generous hearts, following the path of St. Therese.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Praying from the Heart

Driving home from some errands this afternoon, I caught the tail end of Isabella's prayer from her carseat as I hung up my cell phone.

"...Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for Johnny to go to sleep and stop being so fussy."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Autumn 2010

Fall is such a beautiful time of the year. I can't say it is the best time of year, because each season brings its own beauty and rightly so! But, for now, we are really enjoying the Fall. The crisper weather and turning leaves beckon for us to be outdoors as much as possible. Let's not forget about the crunchy apples that are not lasting long in our fridge!

Isabella is now 3 and an eager recipient of any kind of instruction. We are using the Little Saints program in the home this year, mostly during John's morning nap, and her and I are enjoying the time together. It is a Catholic preschool program incorporating Scripture, music, art, reading, and learning activities. It does take some time to prepare the lessons (I can't just wing it - believe me, I've tried), but it is definitely worth the time it takes because the lesson flows all the more smoothly.

There are so many ideas out there for how to structure the day with littles. After getting entirely overwhelmed with what "everyone else" was doing, I finally worked out a routine that seems to flow for us. I have incorporated the ideas that I really liked and that are feasible for us right now. It seems that ideas come to fruition over time, not all at once. At least this is what I tell myself on the days when I have not accomplished all that I intended. And lately, these kinds of days have been many. It is hard for me to not get overrun by tasks. So, I have to remind myself on a daily, ok more like hourly, basis, that I need to be cheerful and encouraging with my children. Even when the 9 month old is writing on the kitchen floor with the crayon I swear I took away yesterday. And even when the 3 year old is asking me repeatedly, "What are we going to do today?" when we've already done ballet, park, bike rides, nature walks, lunch, snacks, and too many leaf crafts to count!

John is in that cruiser phase and is literally everywhere. He looks like a little bug, moving all over the house. We are in that phase where I have to watch both of them like a hawk. It is exhausting, but I know that this is just a phase and in another month we will be on to the next one. My favorite blog: OurMothersDaughters, suggests having boys move wood from one pile to another to keep them moving and using their energy. So, we are planning in this regard - to get the little rascal using his masculine energy in a productive way. He is a strong little man too and just as stubborn, oops, I mean determined as his sister. My mother has already warned me that if I have two kids with my stubborn personality, I am really up a creek. So, in conclusion, I am up a creek.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Room for Two?

Isabella has quite the interest in the crib. Most likely that is because she never saw one until John came along. Poor girl. Anyway, now they like to rev up, I mean wind down for the evening visiting through the bars. Much to their mother's dismay, Bella usaully ends up in the crib. With John. No one of course is sleeping. It just becomes what La Leche League calls a Romp and Roar area for toddlers, cruisers, whatever. Maybe I should get stricter with my parenting. What do you think? It's hard to stand in the way of two loving siblings. And by 8pm, the house is usually overrun by kiddies anyway and I am in survival mode, collecting laundry, hanging towels, and chasing an unwilling toddler around with a toothbrush. Oh, I am sorry. Are you still stuck on the part about my kids being awake at 8pm? I KNOW. If you ever really want to lend me a hand, come over for a visit during the evening hours when hubby is at work. That's when the real craziness begins. And if you have any tips for coordinating sleep with two littles under the age of 3, leave a comment. Think of how famous you could become. According to Google, this blog gets a lot of hits!

Bethany Beach 2010

We had a beautiful vacation this year, thanks to Papa and Grandma. Truth be told, it was comparable to having in home child care. Papa and Grandma took meticulous care of the kiddos (a much better job than I) which freed Dave and I up for some kid free dinners, walks, and shopping. We missed Aunt Linds who could not coordinate her vacation time with the week we booked. We still can't get a good family of four picture. I remain hopeful and am posting the shot anyway!

All About John

Bella was the spotlight of this blog for two years. It's Johnny C's turn to shine. And shine he does. People ask us, is he always this happy. Yes. Yes he is.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We are off to the Beach...

Heading out to Papa's beach house (as Bella likes to call it) for the next week. We are down an Aunt Lindsay this year, but look at the cutie that is coming for the first time. He is ready to take on the beach! Of course, he starts crawling the day before we leave. Good thing Grandma's friend, Shelley, passed along a pack n play that we can use to keep Johnny C out of trouble. Oh, and did I mention that the Little Man is eating too? He has no teeth, but you would never know it by what he puts away. See you when we get back! Happy Summer:)

Peaches and Laughs

Friday, June 11, 2010

Everything Good Happens in Summer

for children anyway. They get to do all the things that they love. Play with water, wear dreses that twirl, investigate the creepy crawlers, eat ice pops, walk in the rain, and sleep in the buff (well, John, that is. Poor John is on night duty while daddy sleeps. Is he really half the size of Dave?)

A Century Apart

There is almost an entire century that has passed between the birth of his great grandmother and his own. She has truly *lived* a lifetime and his is just beginning. Her love of him makes his eyes bright and full of life. His love of her makes her eyes bright and full of life. They bring each other so much light, so much love, and so much hope. Here's to more moments like this one.

Weak Moments

Have you ever been talked into doing something totally irrational by your kid?

Like making strawberry cake for breakfast?

No, not eating leftover cake for breakfast. Rather, baking a cake from scratch to serve as the first meal of the day. With frosting. And candles.

Before I had kids, I would have found this to be completely unacceptable. That was back when I knew precisely how to parent.

Now that I have kids, I know nothing about parenting and am making strawberry cake for breakfast. Does it matter that it was whole wheat? OK, I am not going to try to justify what I've done.

In the words of my husband, "Did you really agree to this."

In the words of yours truly, "Absolutely not. I mean not really. Well. Maybe. Maybe I said maybe. I can't remember. I really don't recall. Aren't you going to have some?"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Here Comes the Bride

Lest you thought I was kidding in yesterday's post. Today, Bella played "weddding" all day long, designing quite the gown and veil for herself. The finishing touch was Nana's mardi gras beads. She makes a beautiful bride, don't you think?

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