Happy Birthday, Katie!

Thursday, August 30, 2012
Happy Birthday, Katie!

Thanks for being a fun aunt, Kia!
Picture of Katie reading to Baby Hannah.
 Thanks for being a great sister!
This is like the only picture I could find of you, Katie.
Hope you have a fantastic birthday and get to go surfing and eat some mud pie to celebrate!

Cranio-Orbital Reconstruction

That's the name of Abby's surgery. We are anxiously awaiting to here the exact date for the surgery, but we expect that it will be within the next month.

Basically, the doctors will remove her forehead, reshape it and place it back on. They expect the procedure will take around 8 hours. After the surgery she will be in the hospital for about a week. It's going to be a long week for my baby (and for us). Will you please keep us in your prayers? I would really appreciate it.


I hate, hate, hate that she has to go through this. It makes my physically sick to think about her waking up after the surgery with her eyes swollen shut, scared and in pain. It's going to be a rough time. But we honestly believe it's for the best. And I feel like I'm always saying this, but we're fortunate to live in the Boston area and have access to the best pediatricians in the country. We're just ready to have this whole thing behind us. 

The good news is she won't need to wear a helmet again.

Project 333 Update

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
This Project 333  is starting to get a little challenging. With all the back to school sales and cute looks for fall, I'm having a hard time resisting the temptation to buy myself some new clothes. Just look at all these cute outfits from Madewell!

Despite the temptation to expand my wardrobe, I am committed to seeing this project through for another month and a half. In fact, I should probably keep my wardrobe limited to 33 items all of the time. I really do not need more than that. And with the help of Tiny Twig's No Brainer Wardrobe, it's easy to mix and match pieces to make countless cute outfits. 

But the truth is, this project is not about the clothes. It's about simplicity and perspective. 

My word for 2012 is "simplicity." Fewer clothing choices makes things simpler. Less clothes means less laundry and less fuss in the mornings. It means less time concerned with my outward appearance. And more time devoted to what really matters.  (I don't mean to imply that looking put together is not important. In fact, I think it is very important, especially for mothers, to look well-groomed. But that post is for another day.)

More important than the simplicity factor is why I am doing this. For her and for her and for all the forgotten little ones a world away. So when I am tempted to buy a cute top or some bright skinny jeans or a new pair boots, I just think of sweet Beatrice and my resolve is renewed. Plus, she is way cuter than any of the new fall looks.

Pigtails

She really loved wearing her hair in pigtails. 

I could just gobble her up.

Truth

Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Truth: Sometimes as a little stay-at-home Mama, I get a tad...bored.

Don't get me wrong, I love my children and I know I am blessed to have them. Many women aren't able to have children, so really I should just shut my trap. But on hot humid days, when we're all tired and have no where to go and I don't really feel like reading another nursery rhyme or having a tea party or playing ring-around-the-rosie for the umpteenth time. My life begins to feel a little mundane. 

I fantasize about life "on the other side of the fence," or what it would be like to work outside the home again. Earn a real paycheck. Receive recognition. Converse intelligently. Most days my conversations look something like the following:

"Wook at me, Mama! I a monkey!"
"You're a monkey!"
"I a monkey!"
"You're a monkey!"
"I a monkey!"

You get the idea.

During these slower paced seasons, my impulsive temperament inevitably starts to conjure up crazy hair-brained ideas on how to shake things up a bit. My mind races with the possibilities. 

"Let's start a pro-life charity!"
"Let's start a mother's Rosary group!"
"Let's adopt a special needs orphan from Eastern Europe!"

I can get carried away.

Perhaps, these lazy last days of summer are an opportunity for me. A chance to allow myself to be a bit more still, to soak up the peace and to allow myself to be led by the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit. 

Because you know what they say about the calm before the storm.

Poor Little Sister

Big sister got ahold of the permanent marker again.

Birdhouses

Monday, August 27, 2012
Hannah has developed a recent fascination with birdhouses. She points them out on our walks, she notices them in her books, for whatever reason, she's really into them.

So, in my attempts to be crafty and earn some good-Mommy points, I decided we would make our own little birdhouses. (By "make" I mean buy.) Thus, we headed to the Dollar Tree and picked up some quality $1 birdhouses and some paint. Good ol' Dollar Tree, how I love thee. 

This grand undertaking of painting birdhouses was huge for me because one, I really hate messy crafts. (Toddler+Paint=Mess.) And two, I had to let go of my need to control and let Hannah paint her birdhouse however she wanted. So what if she only wanted to paint just one of the sides of her roof pink?

Lo and behold, we had a lot of fun. I hung up the birdhouses outside. However, I am hoping no birds actually find their way into the little houses because I fear they may not be able to find their way out of them. The little Dollar Tree birdhouses look more like bird deathtraps. You get what you pay for, right?
We take our birdhouse painting seriously around here.






It Only Took Me 15 Months To Figure It Out

In the past month or so I've realized Abby can be categorized as a "high-needs" baby. It only took me a year and half to figure it out. Geesh.  In fact, it took me reading a mother's description of her high-needs infant on her blog for me to realize, "hey, that's Abby!" I can be pretty dense sometimes.

Dr. Sears has defined a high needs baby as meeting most or all of the following descriptions:

1. Intense~ They cry loudly, feed voraciously, laugh with gusto, and protest more forcefully if their needs are not met to their satisfaction. Because they feel so deeply, they react more powerfully if their feelings are disturbed. Intense babies become "driven" toddlers.
2.  Hyperactive
3. Draining
4. Feeds Frequently (This one should have tipped me off when she was a newborn.)
5. Demanding
6. Awakens Frequently
7. Unsatisfied
8. Unpredictable
9. Super-sensitive
10. Can't put baby down
11. Not a Self-Soother
12. Separation Sensitive

Dr. Sears goes into more descriptive detail here

Many of these descriptions sound negative, they are not meant to be. These babies are just passionate from an early age.

At 15 months old, Abby has outgrown some of these characteristics, but not all. As we watch her personality develop, I keep thinking if we can just steer her towards the good, she will be a force to reckon with.

My suggestion for handling a high-needs baby would be toss the schedule aside and simply feed and hold the baby when he or she demands. To some this may sound like spoiling. To me, this just sounds like survival. Sometimes Abby just needs to connect for a minute and then she's on her way again. To put off this need would just prolong the demands. So I guess "give in" is my advice. Ha, that sounds bad. 

Also, I think plenty of fresh air and exercise is necessary for these busybodies. They are like puppies, they need to be walked (run) daily, more so I think than other children.

Realize that "this too shall pass." We are just starting to come out the other side of this high-needs tunnel and while it was and is draining at times, we are loving Abby's personality. She really is pretty awesome.

Anyone have any suggestions or advice for handling a high-needs baby or toddler?

A Favor for Beatrice

Sunday, August 26, 2012
If you wouldn't mind, would you please do me a big favor and go here and vote for my little Beatrice?

She currently has a chance to be featured on the Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree for the upcoming Christmas season. Her cute little face will be on stickers, ornaments, etc., which will increase her visibility and increase her likelihood of being adopted sooner. (Man oh man, how I wish we could adopt her!)

Right now she's in 2nd place by only 3 votes! 

Anyone and everyone is eligible to vote and it's free! So please won't you take 15 seconds and go vote? 

Thank you!

Our Day In Pictures

Friday, August 24, 2012
Subtitled: A Post For the Faraway Relatives.
Friday is Pancake Breakfast Day in our house.

Breakfast followed by a little Sid the Science Kid.

Transfixed.

Our view as we walk to the park.


Somebody loves the swing.

Run, run, run as fast as you can.

Despite all the amenities at the park, my children love the dirt the best.

Hannah loves the ABC's.

After the park. Playing with toys and praying the Rosary.

Pre-lunch grumpiness.

Smoothie and turkey and cheese for lunch. A favorite around here.

Naptime.

Tea Party.

Some light reading after a nap.

Followed by an afternoon matinee of Toy Story. And some popcorn. A rare treat.


Our afternoon walk.
Hide and Seek. She's kind of a cheater.
Cute.
They found me! Love this picture.

And that's where the pictures end for today. Hope you enjoyed this little peek into our world.:)

Gentleness


In my most recent Confession the priest encouraged me to pray for and practice gentleness. He said I would be surprised with the great harvest sewn by a tiny seed of gentleness. I love that imagery and I’ve been trying to meditate on that idea. 

Gentleness is not one of my strong suits, this much I know. I have to try really, really hard and even then my attempts at gentleness probably still resemble Mussolini more than Mother Teresa. But I’m trying. 

I can probably blame part of my Pharisaical nature on being an oldest child. I thrive on rules and order.  If I know something is right and true, then others should know it too. But recently I’ve had a bit of a revelation. My good deeds will be a better example than my good words. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes words are necessary. But I need to let my life speak for itself.

If I want to encourage others to Christ, I must be willing to lead by example. As St. Francis once said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words when necessary.”

This is to be my new mantra. Wish me luck!


A Few Memories

Sunday, August 19, 2012
A post to remember all our fun times during our most recent trip to California.

* Bumpa offering Hannah a lollipop at 6 in the morning. The grandparents love to spoil.

* The big cardboard box my Mom saved to turn into a fort. Hannah, Abby and Zsa could all fit in there.

* Swimming with Kia (Katie) and Bee-yah (Libby) and Sam. Hannah put her face underwater for Sam 6 times! She still remembers the high-fives Sam gave her afterwards.

* The girls playing hide-and-go seek in Bumpa and Zsa's room. Abby peering out from the drapes and the pillows as she watched people try to "find" her.

* Hannah repeating "Bumpa, Zsa's house, California."

* Meeting up with a dear old friend who told me over lunch she's expecting her first child. So exciting! Having lunch with a dear college friend who always so fun to see. Hey Chris! I'm so lucky to have such wonderful friends.

* Having coffee with my sister and convincing her to move out here next summer. I can't wait!

* Staying in a house surrounded by redwoods up in the lovely little town of Occidental. Helping with all the preparations for my sister's wedding.

* Rehearsal dinner where all the siblings got up and said a little something. Everyone had something so nice to say. I talked about how when I was little and my Mom was expecting Jacqui, I prayed every night that "the baby would be a girl." Obviously my prayers were answered in my four little sisters and my own two daughters. My brother was like, "thanks for that. Geez how many prayers did you say?" Hahaha. 

*Spending lots of quality time with my parents, sisters and grandparents. Love.

* Watching my sister simply so happy to be marrying her best friend. And enjoying the incredibly beautiful setting of their reception (a vineyard). Seriously, it was awesome.  

* My little flower girl Hannah. She was so cute. Although she started crying in the middle of the ceremony and my Dad had to take her out of the church. The priest was giving a great homily about how marriage is not just about the two people, but about family and children and community. As my Dad walked out of the church with a crying Hannah he said to Jacqui, "these are the children." Everybody laughed. 

* Staying up late with my NanE and chatting about marriage and its inevitable difficulties. She told me about a few of the fights she and Papa had in the early years of their marriage. She used to say that she didn't think her marriage would last five years. They've now been married almost 60 years. Whenever things get tough in my own marriage, I think of them. They give me hope.

* Going out to breakfast with my parents and grandparents at a local spot. It was delicious. (Sidenote: Hannah has learned to say "delicious." Love it.)

* Watching the Olympics with my fam and watching as my cousins won gold. Amazing! 

* Driving down to Santa Barbara and getting to visit my little sister in her amazing beach house. She is so darn lucky!

* Our trip to Tilden with Zsa. The girls got to see some cows, pigs, "dopes" (goats), sheep and a few other animals. Hannah was terrified of the cows, but she loved the "dopes."

* Our trip to the zoo with Katie and Libby. The girls loved the otters and Hannah is still talking about the monkeys and how they swing and eat bananas and climb. For a few days she was saying, "I a monkey" and climbing up and hanging from the banister. It was really cute.

* Our trip to Fentons. What trip to California wouldn't be complete without a trip to Fentons? Abby ate a whole scoop of coffee ice cream. Yes, I gave my 1 year old coffee ice cream. I know, what was I thinking?

*Matthew and I squeezing in a few dates, what luxury!

*Mass and breakfast with Bumpa and Zsa.

* Swimming in NanE and Papa's pool. Such fun.

* Dinner with all my grandparents and my parents and Katie, Libby and Peter before Katie was to leave for school...in Hawaii! Lucky duck! 

Mom, Katie, Libby: am I forgetting anything? 

We had such a lovely trip. Like I've said before, I really, really wished we lived closer. I wish Massachusetts and California were
next to each other. But I do believe we are in Massachusetts for a reason. Time will tell.

Looky Looky

Friday, August 17, 2012
Stella
Look how much this little girl has in her adoption fund! She's up to $573! Wonderful! Now will someone please go and adopt her?

And...We're Back

Thursday, August 16, 2012
We've returned safe and sound from our trip to California. Whew, and what a trip it was. From my sister's wedding to our trip to Santa Barbara to visiting with family and friends, there was never a dull moment. We had such a wonderful time and it was very, very hard to leave. Oh I wish California and Massachusetts were geographically closer. 

Okay, Libby, here are some pictures for you.:) 


Making Cookies with Zsa.

Watching Toy Story with Bee-yah.


Checking out the "dopes."


These pictures are kinda lame, they're the only ones I had from my phone. More pictures to come.

Quote of the Day

I'm sure this happens to every mother, but sometimes during the course of the day I find myself saying something that make me think, "what the heck did I just say?"

Today's utterance which gave me pause was, "Hannah, we do not use our rosaries to strangle our sisters." 

Life with toddlers, it's never dull.
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