Thursday, January 31, 2013
...she was quite proud of herself.

A Timely Reminder

As I may have mentioned before, I recently (well, a few months ago) started a mothers' Rosary group at my parish. We are a small group, only four moms so far (and 10 kids between us). We meet every Thursday morning in the lower church basement.

Prior to initiating our little group, I wasn't entirely sure how to organize a prayer meeting. Which prayers exactly should we pray? What should the format be? What the heck am I doing? Truth be told, I figured the Rosary would be the quickest and easiest way to eke out some prayers with kids running around. 

Our meetings usually follow a set routine now. We usually chat for a bit, drink some coffee, get the kids situated.  Then we sit and read the Gospel reading for the day, followed by a quick discussion about the reading. Usually, I share the saint for the day (today is the feast of St. John Bosco) and a few of his or her quotes. We've also recently started reading the entry from the Magnificat for the day. Last but not least, we pray the Rosary. We pray for all sorts of intentions, mostly our children--their health and holiness, for expectant mothers, for our marriages, for an increase in vocations, for women struggling with infertility, for deceased members of our families, you get the idea.

We are often interrupted by a crying child, or someone who needs to go potty (usually this is my daughter), or a baby who wants to nurse. Yet despite these so called interruptions, we continue our prayers. It's understood that if you need to attend to your child, you should do so. Mary would want you to. 

As lovely as our prayer group has been, it has been a bit stressful for me as we've grown from two moms, to three, to four (I sound so dramatic, four moms! From the sound of it you'd think I was leading a Billy Graham revival). But organizing the prayers and making sure I have all the printouts, readings and rosaries, not to mention toys and a craft for the kids can make me feel a bit harried on Thursday mornings. These last few weeks especially, I've been feeling an increasing pressure to "pull it off" and make sure everyone has a nice time and comes back next week. Foolishly, I had placed all the responsibility for the success of the group on myself.

Thankfully today I received a much needed reminder and assurance of who is actually in charge of our fledgling group. After we had prayed today some of the moms were mentioning how much they enjoyed praying the Rosary. For one in particular it had been a while since she had prayed the Rosary, or gone to Confession or even attended Mass. She felt drawn back to the Sacraments. Another mentioned how she readily saw the benefits of praying the Rosary, she felt more patient, more at peace, more focused on God. 

And complete honesty here, when they mentioned this, I was kind of blown away. I had a "duh, Jennie" moment. All this time I thought it was going to be me and my influence of freshly baked goods that would bring these women back to pray each week. I had given myself way too much credit and Our Lady too little. Of course, praying the Rosary, these women would be drawn closer to Mary and therefore closer to Christ and His Church. Of course!  Dumb ox that I am would have relatively little to do with it all. All my job had to be was an "instrument of love in the hands of God." All I have to do is obey, He will do the rest. It was nice to be reminded. 

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us! St. John Bosco, pray for us!

For more on how to pray the Rosary, click here

First Dentist Appointment

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Hannah had her first ever dentist appointment yesterday. She did great! I have to say, I was really nervous with how the appointment would go. Hannah is usually a bit shy when she meets someone new, so for a strange adult to ask to poke around in her mouth with weird instruments, I figured it wouldn't go over terribly well. Thankfully, I was wrong.

I had tried to really build up the anticipation for the trip to the dentist beforehand. We watched an episode of Barney where he goes to the dentist and has a super-de-duper time. I told her of all the fun prizes she would get at the dentist, some stickers, a new toothbrush and who knows what else, the possibilities were endless!
Not looking terribly certain about this whole thing.
Like I said, she did beautifully. My brave little girl. And her teeth look good too, which I guess is the whole point of the thing. Although, the dentist did mention she will probably need braces eventually. I don't know how they can possibly know that already, she just turned three for goodness sakes.

I felt like such a responsible mother, taking my child to the dentist. There are certain parenting duties that really drive home the fact that I'm a Mom and dentist appointments are one of those things.

New Year's Resolutions

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Considering it's nearly February and I'm just starting to think about what I want to do for my New Year's Resolutions this year that should tell you a little bit about the likely success of such resolutions. Meaning, not good.

Truth be told, I love making resolutions. Maybe it's my Type A personality that likes creating and crossing things off lists, but I like having goals and achieving them.

Plus, growing up my parents were big on resolutions. We had to make goals for our mental, physical and spiritual growth. (When the time comes, I fully intend to make the girls do the same.) So when I think about setting goals for the upcoming year, I tend to think in those terms: physically, mentally and spiritually--what do I want to accomplish this year.

For the first time in a long time, I have no real physical goal for this year. Although it would be nice to lose a few pounds, I don't feel like I absolutely have to lose weight (unlike last year). And here's a little secret, I'd really like to have another baby soon (like yesterday), so losing weight is kind of a moot point. One thing I would like to do is to try to make sure that I look somewhat presentable when I leave the house. In that vein I've actually been wearing make-up lately. (This is huge for me!) I bought some mineral make-up with a Christmas gift card and I really like it. It looks natural and it's supposedly good for my skin. Anyways, that sound pretty vain-- "I want to wear make-up for my New Year's resolution," but there you have it.

With regards to my mental growth I am at a lack here too. Last year I wanted to finish my master's thesis and was able to do so. This year, I'm not sure what to do. Although, my new wonderful pro-life doctor that I saw for the first time yesterday suggested that I write an article for a parenting magazine on my experience with craniosynostosis and having kids with genetic issues. She said it could be a really positive thing for some people to read-- to let parents know that it's not as scary as it sounds. I just don't know if would actually be that interesting for people to read. I mean, our experience isn't really that dramatic. But I do like the idea.

On the spiritual front, I've started my mothers' Rosary group and would like to continue that ministry and encourage its growth. One of my friends in the group and I also have big plans for other ministries, but we'll see. Now that I can leave Abby for a time, I plan on attending an evening of recollection each month. And, drum-roll please...I am going to start receiving spiritual direction. I'm really excited about this and am hoping it will prove fruitful.

So those are my non-resolution resolutions. Fairly pathetic. Any suggestions to spruce them up?

Ikea Trip

The girls and I took a trip to Ikea last week. For the record, Ikea is a great place to take kids on weekday mornings. All those toys and playrooms. Good times.

We were there to pick up this playmat for the babies in our Moms Rosary group. Not bad for $14.
On our way out I glimpsed this cute little tree. Initially, I thought the tag said "honey tree." I figured "how nice, it must smell like honey." So I bought it. But when we got home I noticed that it was in fact a money tree, not a honey tree.  Jackpot!
Grow money tree, grow!
I tend not to give too much credence to things like Feng Shui, but on the other hand, I figure it can't hurt to try to get those money juices flowing. So I placed my little money tree in the "financial prosperity" section of our living room. The very next day I received a check in the mail for a whopping $2.45. My little money tree was working! 

Then a few days later I received a rather large bill from my dermatologist. So it's currently a little difficult to tell if my money tree is actually encouraging or discouraging my current financial prosperity. Time will tell. As of now, the tree is a nice little addition to our living room decor.
Looks good, right? Notice the cute sleeping baby?

Hannah Soccer Videos

Monday, January 28, 2013
Hannah had her first "soccer practice" on Friday. Hilarious. She loved it and has been talking about her coach and giving him high-fives ever since.

Abby's Medical Updates

For those who are interested, here are a few updates on Abby's medical status. 
We saw both her plastic surgeon and her ophthalmologist a few weeks ago and received good reports from both of them. Her plastic surgeon (the one who performed her cranial reconstruction) said everything is looking good and noted that she was still a little swollen from the surgery. We hadn't realized this, but it is obviously good to know. We see him again in another month or so for a follow-up check-up. But as far as we know, everything is now fine with Abby's skull.

We tentatively scheduled Abby's eye surgery for May. The ophthalmologist asked if we wanted to schedule the surgery soon or postpone it because she just had a major surgery. We opted for sooner rather than later. We said it would be nice to be completely finished with all of Abby's procedures and surgeries rather than have them looming at some unknown point in the future.
The eye surgery is supposedly a very simple procedure. It is like fixing a lazy eye. The surgeon has to tighten one muscle in one eye and loosen a muscle in the other eye. She (the doctor) said it's a simpler than cataract surgery and we'll be "in before breakfast and out by lunch." So that's reassuring. She also mentioned that it's looking like Abby will not need glasses after all. This is great news! Although, I'll admit, at first I was a tad disappointed because I had become so attached to the idea of a baby with glasses. But obviously this is a better option for Abby. Now we don't have to worry about her playing sports or any other activities while wearing glasses. But babies in glasses are pretty dang cute. 

We are meeting with a different plastic surgeon this Friday regarding Abby's nevus sebaceous (basically a bald patch of skin on her scalp). While most nevi are harmless, they are more susceptible to becoming cancerous and with a history of skin cancer in my family, the doctors think it's best to simply remove it. However, since the nevus is a little too big to simply cut out, they will have to grow some extra skin around the area first. In order to grow the extra skin they will have to implant a little balloon type device under her skin and slowly expand the balloon to create the extra skin. I'm not sure when the device will be implanted, but hopefully within the next month or so. It will be quite interesting to see how this goes with a little balloon on the side of my baby's head. I just hope she doesn't scratch at it or play with it. We joke that she's going to have to wear one of those little cones on her head like those poor dogs have to wear to keep them from scratching themselves. 

We are hoping to combine the eye surgery and the removal of the nevus sebaceous at the same time. That way she only has to go under anesthesia once. Her ophthalmologist is more than willing to do this, so we'll see.
I believe that's about it. We're so fortunate that despite all her surgeries, she's actually a very  healthy little kid.

On a slightly funny note, we received Abby's bill from her cranial reconstruction surgery and 5 day stay in the hospital. Now I'm blanking on how much it was, but I figure by the time she's finished with all her surgeries and doctors visits and such, she will have had around a half a million dollars of medical care. Crazy, right? Thank goodness for health insurance.

Thank you again for keeping Abby in your prayers. They are working!

Happy Birthday, Hannah Claire!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Happy Birthday, sweet girl. How we love you so.
 We really lucked out in having Hannah as our first child. She was an easy baby and is an easy kid. We truly couldn't ask for a better child. She's loving and affectionate and smart and kind and beautiful. (Although right now she is smashing a balloon on her sister's head, so...)
It's fun being three!
She had a wonderful birthday and received plenty of love and attention and sugar. Matthew took her to breakfast in the morning (a tradition) to a little diner up the street that gives you a free breakfast on your birthday. They enjoyed chocolate chip pancakes and hot chocolate. Matthew said a few older ladies sang "happy birthday" to her and the cook came out to wish her a happy day as well.
Is she looking old, or is it just me?
After breakfast, they came home and she got to watch her new favorite Netflix show--Charlie Brown. Then the girls and I bundled up (it's like 20 degrees outside) and headed to Babies R Us. Hannah received a little gift card from Toys R Us for being part of their "birthday club," so we headed there to play with some toys and pick out a new book. She picked out a cute little Cinderella book. 

After picking out her new book, we headed to the grocery store to pick up some frosting and pink sprinkles to make cupcakes. The manager gave her two pink balloons for her birthday. So nice! He also gave Abby a yellow balloon. The girls were thrilled with the balloons, thrilled, I tell you. 

We came home and Hannah took a nap. Miracle! She never takes naps anymore. We rested for a while and then after naps opened one of her gifts from Mama and Daddy. We gave her The Sound of Music. She loves the singing kids and acts out all the musical scenes. The girls watched the movie for a bit and had some popcorn too. 

Hannah helped me make her birthday cupcakes and of course enjoyed licking the bowl. She also added the sprinkles all by herself. She was quite proud of her cupcakes and when Matthew came home was so excited to show them to him. Very cute. 

After dinner we sang "happy birthday" and enjoyed the cupcakes. She received lots of calls from her grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles. We opened presents and cards and she was beside herself with all the loot. Bumpa and Zsa gave her this leotard tutu and she wanted to sleep in it. I was thinking maybe she'd forget about it this morning, but sure enough she wanted to put it on first thing. So thank you Bumpa and Zsa, I don't know how I'm going to convince her to take it off and it's 6 degrees outside. Oh well, she does look pretty cute in it. 

She keeps saying she's a "pretty, pretty princess." (We have no self-esteem issues in this house.)
A happy birthday indeed.
For good measure, just because she's so cute.

New Look?

Sunday, January 13, 2013
Okay, be honest, what do you think of my new faux glasses? 

I looove them!

When he saw me in them for the first time Matthew said, "there she is, Mary Hatch just closing up the library."

Mary Hatch, spinster librarian.
Fake glasses: yay or nay?

An Oldie but Goodie

This video was from when my Mom came to visit after Abby was born. She and Hannah had so much fun together. So cute.

Oh and just a reminder, for those of you who may be interested, our You Tube channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/mricherbos/videos?view=0. We have a bunch of random videos of the girls on there.

Frosty the Snowman


Friday, January 11, 2013
Funny Abby:

When Hannah has to go potty, I guess we usually say "go,go,go" as we usher her to the bathroom. 

Abby has apparently picked up on this because now when we say the word "potty" Abby says "go,go,go."

Funny Hannah

Hannah has been coming up with some funny phrases lately. A few of our favorites include:

"Okay, okay, one more and that's it!" (Usually referring to a treat or a movie or something fun.)

"Good grief." (We've been watching a lot of Charlie Brown lately.

Last night we were watching some sort of documentary and she threw her head back and said, "I can't stand this!" Haha, I really do not know where she heard that phrase because I don't think we say that.

Happy New Year!

Happy 2013 and belated Merry Christmas to you! I apologize that it's been so long since I've posted. Between Christmas and the kiddos and I getting hit with a bad cold, we've been busy.

Plus, I've been going back and forth between what I want this blogging space to be. I'm thinking of keeping this blog simply as a scrapbook for my children and perhaps starting another blog about what I'm really thinking most of the time. Am I crazy to have two blogs? Probably. 

Since we had such a mostly wonderful Christmas and there is so much I want to remember I'm going to just post bullet points, hopefully I can remember everything from the past few weeks.

* Hannah, Frannie and I went to see the Nutcracker performed at our local high school. It wasn't exactly a broadway performance, but Hannah loved it and was dancing in the aisles, which was pretty cute. 

* Frannie (Matthew's Mom) threw a Christmas bash on the 23rd for all her grandkids. She went all out and Santa even showed up at the party. Know who had the best time at the party? Miss Abigail. She was dancing and rolling on the floor and playing with all her older boy cousins. Turns out we have a real party animal on our hands. That kid is hilarious.

* Christmas Eve we went to Matthew's cousin's house for a party. Our colds were just beginning at this point, but Hannah was already sounding like she was hacking up a lung. Abby and I weren't feeling so hot either. But we decided to go the party and lo and behold, it ended up being really fun. 

*The girls were able to open one present on Christmas Eve and what do you know, it was pajamas. We gave them matching Lanz nightgowns. So cute. We left some cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer and put the girls to bed. 

*Matthew and I stayed up late to put all the presents under the tree and watch It's a Wonderful Life and drink some Baileys. That was so fun. I cannot believe how much I love having kids, especially at Christmastime. Putting out all the presents and knowing how thrilled they were going to be the next morning was so fun. 

* Christmas morning Hannah woke up at 5:30am, which was pretty early even for her. When she walked out into the dimly lit living room and her eyes grew large. I think she was a little overwhelmed with all the presents under the tree. We let her open just one present (she had to wait until Abby woke up to open the rest- torturous). She screamed with delight when she opened her gift. I don't even think she knew what the present was, but she was just thrilled to be opening something just for her. Eventually, two long hours later, Abby woke up. The girls were able to open their presents one at a time. My parents always made us do that, open presents one at a time. It makes Christmas morning last so much longer. 

*We received so many wonderful gifts. I think the girls favorite gifts were their backpacks and the baby doll stroller. Big hits all around.

* Later that morning Frannie and our neighbor came over for coffee and a light breakfast (croissants and fruit). Honestly, by this point in the morning we were all (except Matthew) feeling pretty poorly. I ended up going to  Mass that morning by myself, but was practically dying in the pew. So sad because the Christmas Mass at our parish is always so beautiful. 

* All of Matthew's siblings were headed over to Fran's house later in the afternoon for a lunch/dinner. We thought about not going because we weren't feeling so well, but I had promised to bring some food, so we went for all of an hour I think. Then we came home, crawled onto the couch and watched movies. 

* The cold that the girls and I had really knocked us out for about a week. It was brutal. But we're all doing much better now, thank goodness. After being so sick I'm paranoid about getting the flu or getting sick again, so we're doing a lot of hand washing around here, along with vitamins and healthy eating. I pray that keeps us healthy this winter. 

* The girls favorite movie this Christmas was hands down, Frosty the Snowman. They go crazy when it came on. Abby spins in circles when the music plays and Hannah knows most of the words to the song now. 

Okay, enough talking, here are some pictures for your enjoyment. 


Apparently the kings drove their soccer-style VW bug to visit the Baby Jesus.

This girl is always all about the food.

** I am so mad/annoyed at myself that I didn't take any pictures of myself with the girls. It completely slipped my mind. Ugh!

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