28 April 2011

Motherly intuition

A creative parenting moment, putting BB in her
bumbo in the kitchen sink while my husband
makes pancakes.
It's a mother's intuition
To make a little space
It's her quiet mission to tidy up her place
A mother's intuition is like a kangaroo's
She hops around, she mops the ground
She fusses over you

A mother
With her intuition
Will know just what to do

-- Carly Simon

When I found out I was expecting our first baby I was so excited and nervous. I wanted to be such a great mom yet I was afraid that I'd fall short many times. I have one sister 2 years younger than myself so I didn't grow up with babies in my home. We had many little cousins and I babysat a lot so I wasn't worried about the taking care of a baby part. What I was worried about was how I was going to love and nuture. There are so many ways to do everything when it comes to raising a baby. And it starts with pregnancy... You know you've either been asked most of these questions or asked them of yourself. 

*Will you find out the baby's gender? Sometimes
*Will you use an OB, go with a midwife, a homebirth, unassisted? Tried/trying it all. LOVED my OB, hated my midwife but will now be birthing at home.
Will you go natural? Will you do a water birth, hypnobirth or use a birthing stool? Always natural.
What positions do you think you'll use in labor? (You won't know until you're in it!)
*Will you refuse certain newborn tests and medicines? I tried in the hospital. From now on I can and will refuse all.
*What the h#^& is with this tongue-tied thing? I thought that wasn't really an issue. Now I have to think of snipping the frenulum and risk breastfeeding problems or leave things as is, hoping it will naturally stretch, and risk breastfeeding problems... We left it as is and faced major BF problems. It was a struggle but we made it for 11 1/2 months!
*Will you vaccinate, delay, pick and choose or skip them altogether? We do not vaccinate
*Who's the best pediatrician around? Still trying to figure that out. Momma knows best- that's all I know
*Will you use a pacifier or not? Yes. And no, it has not been the cause of any BF problems!
When is it going over-board asking family to wash hands before touching the baby? ??? If they have a cold and baby's new I appreciate the gesture
*Am I a bad mom for sucking the binki to clean it in public? Well I do it anyway. Better than not doing it.
*If the baby's a boy, will you circumcise?  Please ask privately....
*Once the baby comes, will you co-sleep, put the baby in a bassinet, crib or a little of everything? A little of everything. What baby wants, baby gets. No, this doesn't mean they're "spolied". You can't spoil a baby...
*Will you use disposables or cloth diapers? Both. Mostly cloth.
Will you breastfeed, formula feed or both? Breastfeed!!!
How will breastfeeding in public go? Just fine. I cover up if my top doesn't allow for modesty but mostly don't use my cover. If I'm in someone's home that's uncomfortable I will excuse myself, but if they're in my home sorry!
Will I babywear? Yes!
Will you let the baby "cry it out" or are you completely against that? Tricky. I don't believe in the "cry it out" method, but if you click here it may seem otherwise. It's truly what was the most loving at the time.
When will you start solid foods? Start after 6 months but if they push the food away we wait.
*When is a good time to leave your baby for the 1st time so you can go out with your spouse? I don't know!
*How often is too often to go out? Not really a problem. We date with our kids most of the time so I think we're good when we do get out.
*Should I feel guilty for going out occasionally? NO!
*Am I a bad wife if my husband wants to take me out and I'm "kicking and screaming" because I don't want to leave the baby? Yes LOL It's something I've had to work on
*When and how will you wean, if breastfeeding? A "soon-to-be" post
*What the heck about potty-training? Click here for what worked the 1st time around
*Oh my gosh, discipline?! Click here for a little insight into what continues to work for us. Sometimes "tough love" is necessary
*How will I handle temper tantrums, especially in public? I usually leave crying. I have no idea. I try to be firm but where the heck can I safely sit them in a "time-out"?!
*How will I defend my dignity as a mother to someone who's putting down my decisions? I get very worked up about this
Is too soon to want another baby when mine is only 6 months old? I did with Ruby Red and Baby Blue. RR was 10.5 months when we conceived BB
*Am I a bad Catholic if I don't feel ready for another? I don't think so. We're thrilled with little Sophie on the way although it was a shock
*What if my mom or mother-in-law disagrees with me? Will they think I'm a terrible mother? Will they be offended if I think differently? :::awkward silence::: please, no remarks either way!
The list goes on and on.
(The ones with the asterisk* were the most worrisome for me)

Your head is spinning, isn't it? Most of these were questions I had and I answered as succinctly as I could. Some were no-brainers but some were more difficult. I'm a perfectionist and naturally wanted every tiny thing to be perfect. I wanted not only my husband and I to be confident in who we were as parents, but I wanted our family, friends and even strangers to recognize that we loved our children and had their best interests in mind. I wanted people to realize that for every question above I searched for answers, knew boths sides to every argument and was sifting through them for our family. It wasn't easy. I never followed either my mom or mother-in-law's way of parenting exactly. We had to figure it out on our own, although we did take all advice into careful consideration. Most family members didn't come right out and say anything but I knew they didn't always like what we did or had to say about a situation. Still, through prayer, patience and trust in each other, I truly believe that my husband and I made the right decisions for our girls. Honestly, there are only a few things I would change but even then, they were stepping stones or learning tools. No parent is perfect even if they think they are. All parent's make mistakes but I would venture to say most do what they think is best.

I have several friends who disagree with me on almost every parenting topic and yet we remain friends because we respect each other. All of our kids are turning out perfectly happy and loved so I truly do believe that as long as the end is the same, the way of getting there can be different. I will admit I think I have it down to a "perfect smoothie" of parenting but that's my opinion and it's what we've seen work for us. I know I'll still learn along the way- I'll do things amazing and I'll make mistakes.

My mother was instrumental in getting me to realize there really is something to that thing called "motherly intuition". She really never told me how she mothered my sister and I, although from little snippets I think it was mostly attachment-parenting. She was always careful to simply support me and offer advice only if I was completely frazzled or asked for it. In fact, in the 3 years of being a mother she has only intervened without my asking once and it was exactly was my husband and I needed to hear. And, it was even something she struggled with as a mother herself: putting a baby to sleep in a crib when you want to co-sleep. Seriously, I received a lot of negativity for doing this but Ruby Red hated being touched and snuggled. She would scream her little head off every night as I insisted on nursing her to sleep and then continued to tuck her in with us. My mom, visiting us while we lived in a hotel for 5 months, saw this firsthand and suggested putting her to sleep on her own. I was so sad but I gave it a try. Well....within 2 nights (no exaggeration!) she became the perfect sleeper and all-of-a-sudden loved snuggling. If only I had try that 4 months before! The poor little girl felt suffocated and wanted her space. She's a lot like her mother I'll tell ya!

RR in the moby wrap on a family trip  (BB is also in tow)
 I learned a lot from this. For instance, when Baby Blue screamed in my arms at night while my husband was out of town, I needed a different approach to putting her to sleep and was much more open, thankfully!
Each of our children is so unique that it only makes sense to "individualize" our care of them. There is no cookie cutter that fits all kids the same, or parents for that matter! You must always follow your heart. Discussing things with my husband when I wasn't so sure of the route to take was the best help I received. Respecting his advice when I would sometimes disagree and giving it a try also proved fruitful for our family.
I'm so thankful for the support, respect, and now confidence that exists in our home. I am equally thankful for our 2 precious little girls who are so sweet and happy and who make it easy to be a gentle and loving parent...most of the time!

27 April 2011

Humbled yet proud

Last week I spoke quite a bit about how I wanted to make our Holy Week holy. I had projects lined up. Not overwhelming and complicated projects but simple, Passion-centered little things every day. I wanted to pray the Stations of the Cross daily and on Good Friday start (and for once actually complete) the Divine Mercy novena. Oh yeah, and I wanted the tv to be kept off. I thought maybe I was expecting too much and wasn't sure how it was all going to go. I talked to Ruby Red about the week and my plans and the little stinker has held me accountable on every single one! We actually did all that I set out to do and my husband told me it was the holiest week he's ever had. I was glowing when he told me this, as if he had just told me I looked thin or my hair was perfect.

I was brought to tears several times that week as Ruby Red would tell us it was her turn to pray at one of the Stations, repeating my husband line by line and becoming so engrossed in the way of the Cross. When we started the chaplet for the novena on friday she quickly caught on to the prayers. With both, when either my husband or I was tired and hoping to kind of glaze right over our prayer commitments, she would remind us that we hadn't prayed yet. And how could I tell her we weren't going to? Her innocence and eagerness was humbling for me and I was beaming seeing her openly display her love for Our Lord.

I share this because our little ones want to learn. They want to be close to Jesus. If we teach our faith to them and bring it into our home, instead of just leaving it for the next Sunday, they will, even at a young age, learn that He comes first and they will hold you to the standards you want in your home. I hope you all had a truly holy Easter and continue to do so as we continue to celebrate His Resurrection!

26 April 2011

"Spring Cleaning"

I would like to let you know that my blog will be getting a bit of a "spring cleaning" as I am refocusing it back to my family and my girls. When I began blogging it was simply to journal and keep track of adorable memories. Since finding out that I had an opportunity to make money with my blog I changed it to make it more informational. I have been disappointed in it as it isn't at all why I started blogging and the tone of it has, indeed, changed. I haven't pursued making money with my blog because I don't want to be told what to write about even if it is harmless. This may make my blog less interesting to some and I'm ok with that.

After a long and honest talk with my husband about how I felt, he and I have decided to start a private blog that we will both write in, mostly life-lessons, information and research articles we will write about vaccines, birth, pregnancy, parenting and life in general that we would like to share with our girls when they're older and hopefully learn from. They can take from it what they want. Our hope is that they know we will support them if their decisions differ from ours, as long as they stay centered on their faith, which we pray for daily. We want to be very candid and open with them about struggles we have had, ranging from long-distance dating, wedding planning, many aspects of parenting and staying focused on Christ in a world that often shuns Him. We are are doing this privately so as to be very open and not offend anyone. However, if anyone would like to know our take on something, we are willing to copy and paste a post for others. I will be creating a page on here of articles we have written on our private blog that we are open to sharing upon request, but they will be emailed to you only! I will also post links to others' blogs if it is a topic we fully believe for our family but neither of us has written about. I will back these articles 100% or I will not post a link to them. I am doing this because I have a few friends who have asked for our advice and am willing to give it if someone asks, but after praying about it, I don't feel I am supposed to be putting advice out there unless it's asked for.

I hope you continue to enjoy reading about our lovely girls. They truly are a joy and a blessing!

For activities, mostly holiday-related, feel free to visit Picasso Was Once A Toddler Too, my other blog. I will most likely be updating it around holidays or sacraments. I want to focus on being with my girls and not getting all caught up in showing off everything we do, what an "amazing mom" I am (j/k, I try!), and feeling the need to prove to people that I am educated, independent and smart even if "just" a SAHM. I have confidence in myself and my mothering and only what my girls think and remember about their childhood matters to me.
Please don't take this the wrong way. I love reading blogs and I give moms a lot of credit who can be so educational while remaining centered on their children. Again, I hope you continue to enjoy our simple stories!

20 April 2011

It's A______!!!!!

As soon as people hear that you're having a baby the next question is usually, "Are you finding out?" No matter what the answer, you either get the nod of approval or the reason they did it differently, as if they have to defend their decision. Many even seek to put your decision down. I know because I've been there.

I never thought I would be one to find out the sex of my babies until I became pregnant. With Ruby Red I just had to know. I like to be very "hands-off" with pregnancy and birth, but I do believe that one or two sonograms is ok. I loved knowing that Ruby Red was a girl, buying pretty pink and purple things, referring to her as a "she" instead of "he/she" (careful not to call baby an "it"), and calling her by name. It was so wonderful to bond with her in this special way for 5 whole months before I saw her precious little face. And, it WAS a surprise!

~Debunking the "surprise" agrument: When people say,"We like to be surprised" it's such a weak argument because whether it's at 16 weeks or 40 weeks, you're going to be surprised! I don't think one way is the right way; it's up to you and your spouse and whatever you decide is perfectly fine! And when your aunt or whoever says they didn't do sonograms when they were having babies, well Auntie, it doesn't mean we're nervous about something being wrong with our baby or that we're too impatiant. We're excited, this bonding and calling baby by name is special to some and technology evolves so it's ok if we're doing it different from you. It doesn't mean "your way" was wrong!~

We decided to wait until the birth to find out with Baby Blue. We couldn't wait to know what it felt like to wait until the end and have that moment after laboring to have a wonderful surprise. Almost everyone in the family, myself included, was sure that she was a boy since the pregnancy was so completely different from Ruby Red's. I didn't want to think about the baby as either a boy or girl, but it just sort of happened and I was so sure. We had an eventful birth with Baby Blue in the car and as she was laid on my chest, I still didn't know if she was a boy or girl. I finally asked and my mom peeked to let all of us know. I was shocked, yet it wasn't the initial surprising feeling and anticipation of waiting that I expected.  (When you unexpectedly have a baby in the car, that shock kind of takes over any other.) I loved my little girl and was so excited that Ruby Red had a little sister to play with. I loved having a sister close in age to me and was really happy they'd have the same opportunity growing up. But, I do wish we had found out earlier so that I could have treasured that moment of finding out, instead of trying to keep her warm, wishing I could nurse her and hoping that the unlatched door wouldn't fly open on the highway. I know this is an extraordinary experience and most don't have to worry about this; but since I seem to have my babies quickly, we have decided to have that "moment" again around 17 weeks. I know many love waiting until the end and it is so special for them, and maybe with the next baby we will wait; who really knows!

So, today was the day! My husband and I were so excited for this day to come. We took the girls, my sister and my mom with us to the sonogram, although we didn't find out right there in the room with the ultrasound technician- I wanted it more personal than that. After the appointment we split ways with my mom and sister and the four of us (my husband, Ruby Red, Baby Blue and I) headed out to lunch. We had previously asked the ultrasound tech to write "winner" on a piece of paper, and place the name in either a blue Easter egg for a boy or pink egg for a girl, then drop them in my purse. When we got to the restaurant we had Ruby Red take the eggs out of the purse and open them to reveal baby....and

It's a girl!!!!! My sweet little Sophie!!!

Praise God for all of His blessings in our life!

May you always find peace with your decisions as parents, especially when you are criticized for such silly and harmless things!

19 April 2011

50 Days of Easter prayers

To go along with the 50 days of Easter where we will hang 50 Easter eggs in our front window, our family has chosen to put prayers that coincide with the Mass readings of the day to be said before bedtime with the girls. Please feel free to use!
1. The Lord has risen from the dead, as he foretold. Let there be hapiness and rejoicing for he is our King forever, alleluia. Chist now raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has power over Him, alleluia.  Mt 28:14-25
2. If men desire wisdom, she will give them the water of knowledge to drink. They will never waver from the truth; they will stand firm forever, alleluia. If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, alleluia. Jn 20: 11-18
3. Come you whom my Father has blessed; inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world, alleluia. The disciples recognized the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread, alleluia. Lk 24: 13-35
4. Your people praised your great victory, O Lord. Wisdom opened the mouth that was dumb, and made the tongues of babies speak, alleluia. You are a people God claims as his own, to praise Him who called you out of darkness into marvelous light, alleluia. Lk 24: 35-48
5. The Lord led His people out of slavery. He drowned their enemies in the sea, alleluia. Jesus said to His disciples: Come and eat. And He took the bread, and gave it to them, alleluia. Jn 21: 1-14
6. The Lord led his people to freedom and they shouted with joy and gladness, alleluia. All you who have been baptized have been clothed in Christ, alleluia. Mk 16: 9-15
7. Jesus spoke to Thomas: Put your hand here, and see the place of the nails. Doubt no longer, but believe, alleluia. Jn 20: 19-31
 Almighty God, may the Easter sacraments we have received live forever in our minds and our hearts. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen. 
8. I will look after my sheep, says the Lord, and I will raise up one shepherd who will pasture them. I, the Lord, will be their God, alleluia. You have not chosen me; I have chosen you. Go and bear fruit that will last, alleluia. Jn 3: 1-8
9. The Lord chose these holy men for their unfeigned love, and gave them eternal glory, alleluia. Lord, let us see the Father, and we shall be content. And Jesus said: Philip, he who sees me, sees the Father, alleluia. Jn 14: 6-14
10. I will be a witness to you in the world, O Lord. I will spread the knowledge of your name among my brothers, alleluia. The Lord says, I have chosen you from the world to go and bear fruit that will last, alleluia. Jn 3:16-21
11. When you walked at the head of your people, O God, and lived with them on their journey, the earth shook at your presence, and the skies poured forth their rain, alleluia. I, the Lord, am with you always, until the end of the world, alleluia. Jn 3: 31-36
12. By your blood, O Lord, you have redeemed us from every tribe and tongue, from every nation and people: you have made us into the kingdom of God, alleluia. Christ our Lord was put to death for our sins; and He rose again to make us worthy of life, alleluia. Jn 6: 1-15
13. You are a people God claims as His own, to praise Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, alleluia. Father, I want the men you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they may see the glory you have given me, alleluia. Jn 6: 16-21
14. The disciples recognized the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread, alleluia. Lk 24: 13-35 Lord, look on your people with kindness and by these Easter mysteries bring us to the glory of the resurrection. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.
15. The Good Shepherd is risen! He who laid down His life for His sheep, who died for His flock, He is risen, alleluia. The Lord says, peace I leave with you, my own peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give, alleluia. Jn 6: 22- 29
16. All you who fear God, both the great and the small, give praise to Him! For His salvation and strength have come, the power of Christ, alleluia. Because we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also come to life with Him, alleluia. Jn 6: 30-35
17. Fill me with your praise and I will sing your glory; songs of joy will be on my lips, alleluia. Christ has risen and shines upon us, whom He has redeemed by His blood, alleluia. Jn 6: 35-40
18. Let us sing to the Lord, He has covered Himself in glory! The Lord is my strength, and I praise Him: He is the Savior of my life, alleluia. Christ died for all, so that living men should not live for themselves, but for Christ who died and was raised to life for them, alleluia. Jn 6: 44-51
19. The Lamb who was slain is worthy to receive strenth and divinity, wisdom and power and honor, alleluia. The man who died on the Cross has risen from the dead, and has won back our lives from death, alleluia. Jn 6: 52-59
20. You have not chosen me; I have chosen you. Go and bear fruit that will last, alleluia. This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you, alleluia. Jn 15: 9-17
21. The Good Shepherd is risen! He who laid down His life for his sheep, who died for His flock, He is risen, alleluia. Jn 10: 1-10 Father, eternal Shepherd, watch over the flock redeemed by the blood of Christ and lead us to the promised land. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
22. Christ now raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has power over him, alleluia. Jesus came and stood among his disciples and said to them: Peace be with you, alleluia. Jn 10: 11-18
23. Let us shout out our joy and hapiness, and give glory to God, the Lord of all, because He is our King, alleluia. Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, and so enter into His glory, alleluia. Jn 10: 22-30
24. I will be a witness to You in the world, O Lord. I will spread the knowledge of your name among my brothers, alleluia. The Lord says, I have chosen you from the world to go and bear fruit that will last, alleluia. Jn 12: 44-50
25. When you walked at the head of your people, O God, and lived with them on their journey, the earth shook at your presence and the skies poured forth their rain, alleluia. I, the Lord, am with you always, until the end of the world, alleulia. Jn 13: 16-20
26. By your blood, O Lord, you have redeemed us from every tribe and tongue, from every nation and people: you have made us into the kingdom of God, alleluia. Christ our Lord was put to death for our sins; and He rose again to make us worthy of life, alleluia. Jn 14: 1-6
27. You are a people God claims as His own, to praise Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, alleluia. Father, I want the men you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they may see the glory you have given me, alleluia. Jn 14: 7-14
28. I am the vine and you are the branches, says the Lord; he who lives in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit, alleluia. Jn 14: 1-12 Merciful Father, may these mysteries give us new purpose and bring us to a new life in you. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
29. The Good Shepherd is risen! He who laid down His life for His sheep, who died for His flock, He is risen, alleluia. The Lord says, peace I leave with you, my own peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give, alleluia. Jn 14: 21-26
30. All you who fear God, both the great and the small, give praise to Him! For His salvation and strength have come, the power of Christ, alleluia. Because we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also come to life with Him, alleluia. Jn 14: 27-31a
31. Fill me with your praise and I will sing your glory; songs of joy will be on my lips, alleluia. Christ has risen and shines upon us, whom He has redeemed by His blood, alleluia. Jn 15: 1-8
32. The Spirit of God is upon me; He has anointed me. He sent me to bring good news to the poor, and to heal the broken-hearted, alleluia. I, the Lord, am with you always, until the end of the world, alleluia. Jn 15: 9-11
33. The Lamb who was slain is worthy to receive strength and divinity, wisdom and power and honor, alleluia. The man who died on the cross has risen from the dead, and has won back our lives from death, alleluia. Jn 15: 12-17
34. In baptism we have died with Christ, and we have risen to new life in Him, because we believed in the power of God who raised him from the dead, alleluia. Father, I pray for them: may they be one in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me, alleluia. Jn 15: 18-21
35. If you love me, keep my commandments, says the Lord. The Father will send you the Holy Spirit, to be with you forever, alleluia. Jn 14: 15-21 Almighty and ever-living Lord, you restored us to life by raising Christ from death. Strengthen us by this Easter sacrament; may we feel its saving power in our daily life. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
36. Christ now raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has power over him, alleluia. Jesus came and stood among his disciples and said to them: Peace be with you, alleluia. Jn 15: 26- 16:4a
37. Come, all you who fear God, and hear the great things the Lord has done for me, alleluia. All generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is His name, alleluia. Lk 1: 39-56
38. The wicked tempted me with their fables against your law, but I proclaimed your decrees before kings without fear or shame, alleluia. I resolved that while I was with you I would think of nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, alleluia. Jn 16: 12-15
39. When you walked at the head of your people, O God, and lived with them on their journey, the earth shook at your presence, and the skies poured forth their rain, alleluia. I, the Lord, am with you always, until the end of the world, alleluia. Jn 16: 16-20
40. Come, you whom my Father has blessed; inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world, alleluia. Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life, which grows in the paradise of my God, alleluia. Jn 16: 20-23
41. You are a people God claims as His own, to praise Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, alleluia. Father, I want the men you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they may see the glory you have given me, alleluia. Jn 16: 23b-28
42. I, the Lord, am with you always, until the end of the world, alleluia. Mt 28: 16-20 Father, in this Eucharist, we touch the divine life you give to the world. Help us to follow Christ with love to eternal life where He is Lord forever and ever. Amen.
43. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. You will be my witnesses to all the world, alleluia. The Lord said: I will not leave you orphans. I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice, alleluia. Jn 16: 29-33
44. I am the beginning and the end of all things. I have met death, but I am alive, and I shall live for eternity, alleluia. The Lord says, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things, and remind you of all I have said to you, alleluia. Jn 17: 1-11a
45. All nations, clap your hands. Shout with a voice of joy to God, alleluia. The Lord says: When the Holy Spirit comes to you, the Spirit whom I shall send, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me, and you also will be my witnesses, alleluia. Jn 17: 11b-19
46. Let us come to God's presence with confidence, because we will find mercy, and strength when we need it, alleluia. This is the word of Jesus: It is best for me to leave you; because if I do not go, the Spirit will not come to you, alleluia. Jn 17: 20-26
48. Christ loved us and has washed away our sins with his blood, and has made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father, alleluia. When the Spirit of truth comes, says the Lord, he will lead you to the whole truth, alleluia. Jn 21:15-19
49. This is the prayer of Jesus: that he who believes may become as one as He is one with the Father, alleluia. Jn 17: 1-11a God our Savior, hear us, and through this holy mystery give us hope that the glory you have given Christ will be given to the Church, his body, for He is Lord forever and ever. Amen.
50. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke of the great things God had done, alleluia. Jn 20: 19-23 Father, may the food we receive in the Eucharist help our eternal redemption. Keep within us the vigor of your Spirit and protect the gifts you have given to your Church. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

14 April 2011

Links for Holy Week

These are from the blog Catholic Icing, or at least linked somewhere in there. I'm posting them here for easy-to-get-to links.

We will probably be doing most of these during Holy week.
Pascal candle
Holy Week crafts

50 days has Easter

Holy Week and Easter Traditions


Our family has a few traditions that my husband and I have continued for our girls. Does your family have any traditions? If so, I would love to hear about them!

We keep Holy Week prayerful in our home. No TV unless it's religious. This might prove difficult for my two year old, who likes to earn movies or a half hour tv show after dinner, but we'll replace it with reading and preparing for Easter, doing some art and other activities.

This Lent we went to a Rosary play on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. I really wanted to take Ruby Red, thinking that she might actually "get" what Lent and Easter is all about. I have talked to her about Jesus' death and Resurrection, but it is so hard for a little 2 year old mind to comprehend it all (even a 26 year old mind!), so I thought it would be a nice idea to have her see it played out. I was afraid she would be frightened but she wasn't; just very interested.
I've been wanting to do the Stations of the Cross every Friday but so far something has always come up (horrible excuse!). We are really going to focus on them during Holy Week. Maybe the reminder and step-by-step of Jesus' Passion and Death so close will really help Ruby Red understand what we are focusing on and celebrating that week. This weekend we are going to color them together, praying them as we do. Here are our favorite kid-friendly Stations of the Cross (once you click on the link, scroll down to get to them). I posted others below, along with the prayers that I thought appropriate for Ruby Red. The others are so beautiful, but I a little too difficult for a 2 year old to color.
Stations of the Cross1
Stations 2
Stations 3
Stations of the Cross prayers

We also go to the Broadway Market downtown during Holy Week, a tradition carried on by my maternal grandparents, who we used to go with when we were young. Now I take the girls, along with my family to get some pussy willows, Pisanki (Polish Easter eggs), cross bread and of course, have a little treat for ourselves! In the past, we made our own Pisanki, but to be honest, until Ruby Red and Baby Blue are a little older, I really don't think it's worth the time and effort to do this with them. Instead we will color our Easter eggs on Good Friday, by dipping hard-boiled eggs in dye. I would love to try dye made from beet juice and other veggies. I have the instruction in a cookbook (I can post them if someone is interested), but somehow the Paas kit just seems easier. Maybe in a few years....

Holy Thursday:
I would like to go to as much of the Triduum leading up to Easter Sunday as we can make it to with the girls. Of course, if it seems to be too overwhelming or fruststrating I say better to have quality lessons and activities centered on the Passion and Resurrection here at home than be frustrated, so we'll see what happens!

We also visit 7 Churches after Holy Thursday Mass. This tradition probably began in Rome where early Christians visited the 7 major basilicas as penance (St John Lateran, St Peter, St Mary Major, St Paul outside-the-walls, St Lawrence outside-the-walls, St Sebastian outside-the-walls and the Holy Cross in Jerusalem). In our family, we start the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary at the 1st Church, do a decade at each of the next 5 Churches and finish the rosary at the 7th. This way we are keeping with the penitential tone and not getting distracted.

Good Friday:
We fast and abstain from meat! (I know that if you're pregnant you do not have to fast, but honestly there are days I almost do fast as a result of being too busy to eat. If I get nauseous, then I will have a little something, but not much. Scroll to the bottom of this post for exclusions for fasting.) We turn off all electronics, unplug the phone and maybe put on some solemn religious music. We try to keep noon-3pm very prayerful and quiet, even if the girls play quietly while we pray, read or journal. We will probably say the Divine Mercy Chaplet and/or the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. We end our time of prayer by going to Church for Good Friday services and kissing the Crucifix. Ruby Red is always excited for this, as she often looks up at the Crucifixes in our home to kiss Jesus' "boo boos" and make them better. She even has Baby Blue pointing at the Crucifixes and saying "please" in her own little sign language (actually the sign for "milk" haha. I'm so glad that she equates the Crucifix with milk, her comfort food).
After Church we get together with my side of the family to make our own fish fries, color Easter eggs, and make our butter lambs.
History of the Easter egg

Instructions for making a butter lamb:
1 lb of butter (but not a brick of butter, you want the 4 sticks of butter)
Red ribbon
2 cloves
a little red embroidery floss
mesh strainer
tooth picks

Take 1 stick of butter and lay it on your plate.
  1. Cut a quater of another and put it near the end of the stick on your plate for the head.
  2. Cut the remaining sticks of butter into quarters.
  3. Work a quarter of butter at a time through the mesh strainer. Take off with a toothpick and place on your bare lamb that is on your plate.
  4. Continue until you have a fluffy lamb. (Be sure to leave some empty space for the face.)
  5. Put 2 cloves in for the eyes.
  6. Cut a small piece of embroidery floss for the mouth.
  7. Put a toothpick in the lamb's body.
  8. Make a flag with red ribbon. Fold in half lengthwise and cut diagonally at one end. Fold in half the other way and make 2 slits on top of one another. Secure to toothpick.
  9. Viola!
~Pictures to follow~

Holy Saturday:
We go to Confession and get our baskets blessed. In our Easter baskets, we have:
Butter Lamb (Baranek)- reminds us of the good will of Christ we should have towards all things.
Easter Bread- symbolizes Jesus, the Bread of Life.
Horseradish- symbolizes the bitter Passion of Jesus.
Eggs- symbolizes new life and Christ's resurrection from the tomb.
Polish sausage (Kielbasa)- symbolic of God's generosity.
Ham- symbolic of joy and abundance.
Salt (and Pepper)- a necessary element in our life. Symbolic of prosperity and justice.
Fruit (usually an apple and orange for us)
Placek (coffee cake)
Some people also put in a candle and greenery
Cover with a while linen cloth

Later that day we prepare for Easter Sunday. For us, this consists of decorating our house with all the activities we did that week. I don't like to decorate before this as I like to focus on sacrifice and Jesus' Passion during Holy Week. Beginning Easter Sunday up to Ascension Thursday, we take the next 40 days to celebrate the Resurrection.

Easter Sunday:
We go to Mass and celebrate our Lord's Resurrection, His triumph over death and our salvation!
Afterwards, we search for Easter baskets.
For our meal, Swieconka, the head of the household cuts an egg and shares it with the rest of the family, wishing them a blessed year. Then we all partake in the food which has been blessed the day before.

May you and your family have a holy and blessed Easter!

Exclusions from fasting and abstinence:
Besides those outside the age limits, those of unsound mind, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment, manual laborers according to need, guests at a meal who cannot excuse themselves without giving great offense or causing enmity and other situations of moral or physical impossibility to observe the penitential discipline.  (Taken from http://www.catholic.org/clife/lent/abfast.php)

08 April 2011

Potty Training

It's a question that loomed like a big gray raincloud over my head for months before I decided on how I was going to handle potty-training Ruby Red. She showed much interest at 15 months and I thought, "Hey, let's get this done before the new baby!" Well, 15 months was too young for her...and me. I wasn't ready to commit and she would only sit on the toilet to hear the squeals of delight from mommy and daddy. At 18 months I decided it was time. ...And then Baby Blue was born when my oldest was 20 months. Ruby Red saw her little sister in diapers and I was too tired and always nursing, so I became very lax with the whole thing. I will never again try potty-training a child while I'm pregnant, unless I'm very early in the pregnancy and the child is older than 18 months, maybe even 2 yrs.

This past Thanksgiving, as Ruby Red was almost 2 1/2, I was finally ready to commit. I wanted it over and done with already so I told her I was putting her in "big girl panties". I bought the economy size bag of m&m's, a bunch of stickers and off we went. I cleared our schedules for the entire week, made sure we didn't have a busy weekend coming up and only put her in pull-ups for nap and bedtime. We had quite a few mishaps the 1st few days, but I have to say that it was quite a long-lasting success in the end! Of course with the holidays, traveling and sickness, we had a few regressions but I think we can officially say we've done it! I still put her in pull-ups for nap and bedtime, but I really could probably stop naptime since she's always dry and uses the same pull-up until it gets a funny odor, but I'm too afraid to try. Maybe I'll give that a "go" next week!

As a reference I flipped to the potty-training section of Gary Ezzo's book On Becoming ToddlerWise. To be honest, this is the only thing I got out of the entire book. I read both this book of his and the BabyWise one, both books extremely criticized by most attachment-parenting mothers. But a friend suggested them to me and so I read them. As a side note, they're not all bad. He uses some parenting techniques that are a little more rigid than I would ever choose, but they're not the horrible, harsh books that typefy the mom who doesn't love or care about her children, like I've heard them described. All in all, really the only thing I got out of these books was the potty-training part but different parenting practices are better suited for all sorts of parents, babies and families.

What did you do to potty-train your child/children? How long did it take? Did you do it over the course of a year or a week?

I'm sorry, but I just have to vent

It seems to me that some people have way too much time on their hands. I mean, if you're worrying about someone else and picking on them, then really you need to get a life.
I was recently criticized for copying another blog's ideas and phrases such as "Happy Reading". First of all, I never knew anyone had a copyright on that phrase and second of all, do you really think I remember what people say and think, "Oh my goodness, I'm in 2nd grade again so let's copy everything they do". Get real people. I have two kids, am pregnant, watch 2 other girls during the week and have a husband who travels. I truly do not have time for such ridiculousness.
Another point I would like to make is that the blog to which this person thinks I have been copying does have some similar things. But, I was working on some projects with Ruby Red for weeks beforehand so how was I supposed to know we'd post similar things within days of each other? Yeah, I'm not a mind-reader and obviously not a copy-cat if my very involved project was complete when I posted it!
I really wish that if someone had a problem they would confront me face to face, instead of anonymous, cowardly and completely immature putting insults out there for everyone to see, instead of talking to me privately. Grow up people!
I do have another blog, mainly because I didn't want this one so random and mumble-jumbled with different interests. I will keep it that way. There is nothing wrong with that and I never intentionally meant to upset anyone.
But really, the anonymously rude and cowardly comments could be done away with. If the blogger had a problem, she could have come to me privately and asked me my intentions. I obviously have nothing to hide since I went right to her to tell her of the situation (she may have already known, who knows!) because I wasn't guilty of anything.

For the future, if anyone has a problem with anyone, confrontation is uncomfortable but it's a lot better handling it in an adult fashion. Let's be respectful of each other. If you're going to criticize someone, make sure you're not being an idiotic fool in the process.

07 April 2011

Why Grass-Fed is Better


Growing up, my parents raised their own beef cow for our family every couple of years. Now having a family of my own, my husband and I are eager to buy grass-fed beef, as well as eggs and chicken that free-range, if we can afford them. My parents have again been raising a cow for this purpose, but since it's now just my parents at home, they asked my husband and I if we wanted to buy a side of beef. We had to budget the money and save up for this as it's one big sum of money at once, but it will last quite awhile in our family of almost 5 and I know we won't regret it.

I had an awesome discussion with an older woman at the grocery store, recently, as she complimented my cart of wholesome foods and we talked about diet and what we try to do for our families. She encouraged me with this saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". I had never heard that quote before, although that's been the mindset of mine and my husband's family for years. Simply put, what we put into our body reaps either good or bad benefits in the long-run. The money we put forth now for naturally, nutritionally-packed foods, the less we'll be spending in the end on artificial supplements, medical bills and expensive treatments. We have made wholesome, organic foods a staple in our family and are willing to make sacrifices in other areas so that we are able to do so.

I had a friend recently tell me what she thought about this organic "kick" that people are on these days, as she put it. (She was not very supportive; I suppose, in part, due to ignorance.) She very confidently stated that there was no difference between organic foods and other meat, poultry, veggies and the like. She stated that it was just an expensive and hip way the government can get your money. I assume she doesn't realize that co-ops and farms associated with CSA guidelines aren't regulated by the FDA, so this is a completely absurd statement.

And so, you've heard the "hype" that grass-fed is better, even more so than organic, and I just stated that I believe this to be true, but do you know why?

Well, I'll tell you what I know:
  • Grass-fed meat (as well as poultry, eggs and dairy) has 3-5 times more fatty acids (called conjugated linoleic acid). These are full of antioxidants and anti-cancer properties.
  • It is 4 times higher in vitamin E, which is important in regulating the metabolism and blood pressure and maintaining the immune system.
  • It is very unlikely that these cows have contracted Mad Cow Disease since they are not crammed together in filthy, unheathly living conditions eating a poor diet.
  • These cows usually aren't on any antibiotics. Antibiotics are commonly used among cows that are fed corn and grains since their bodies aren't made to digest these.
  • The meat contains more natural omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for brain development and the normal function of growth and development in general. They are also good for you blood pressure, heart and for lowering your risk of cancer (You can also find them in a variety of fish, algae, krill and nut oils.)
  • The meat is very lean, meaning less calories!
Eating animals (and things that come from them like milk, cheese and eggs) that have consumed food in the "raw" is the way God intended it to be. He made these animals and gave man dominion over them (Genesis 1:26). He also made the grass and fields for cows and chickens to graze on. In the past, animals didn't rely on humans to feed them corn or other grains so why would we do this now? It simply does not make sense. Animals digestive systems are meant to consume certain foods, so if we give them anything other than that, hoping they can digest it just as easily, there ensues a whole realm of problems, often resulting in antibiotics and hormones for a "quick fix". Isn't it disgusting to think that the meat we buy from the grocery store may be from a cow near death, standing in his own manure up to his knees, sickly or on antibiotics that we would never dare give ourselves or our children? The thought makes me shudder.

Of course we cannot always buy grass-fed and free-range due to the exorbitant price, but we do our best. Every little bit helps. We hope to increase our consumption of these foods from local farms and markets and not rely on the grocery stores with questionable dairy, eggs and meat.
My husband and I have also talked about the idea of someday raising our own cows and chickens for our family, not as a business, but just for us. Maybe in our forever home, when we're not raising such little ones that demand most of our attention...

For now, we do what we can. If you think of meat as a side-dish, rather than the main part of a meal, this can also help to stretch the "good" meat. You can do this a number of ways: stir-frys, salads with meat in them or meatballs made from grass-fed ground beef or chicken are just a few ways we make it work.

As a sidenote, I mentioned above that grass-fed is even better than organic and you may be wondering why. Well, organic is without a doubt better than not being so, but this doesn't mean that the cows or chickens  are guaranteed a diet where they are let out to pasture. It may mean that they are fed organic corn and grains instead. Still, it is a better alternative if you cannot get or afford grass-fed.

Some resources you may like:
Article 1
Article 2 
Another great article here.
For a list of places to find grass-fed and raw dairy around you, visit this site.
A list of local CSA's in your area!
Food Inc. documentary

05 April 2011

Vinegar: My only household cleaner

How to Use Vinegar to Clean Your HomethumbnailThere is much talk of toxins in cleaning products these days. Before I was a mom, and as long as I stayed away from aerosol cans, I figured it wasn't a big deal since the plastics could usually be recycled and I wasn't going to be drinking these chemicals or really breathing them in. Being a mom, though, has changed my thoughts. Why? Well, my kids will drink them if, while tampering with a screw-on cap, are able to get it off. No, I don't just leave cleaning supplies all over, but you know it's happened when you're trying to clean up puke, poop on the floor from dog or child, or the phone rings or for whatever other reason you get called away, then you become side-tracked and forget all about cleaning. This happens enough in our home but it's safe to say that my kids aren't in any danger. You see, I searched for safe, cheap and effective alternatives and came up with white, distilled vinegar. Not only does it make your house smell clean but it also disinfects and kills bacteria, can scrub away soap scum and help get out tea and coffee stains! I've also discovered that with a little more "elbow grease", it can even take crayon off of walls and linoleum floors! And, it's very inexpensive!
I fill up a spray bottle with 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water and spray away. I even use it on countertops where I've just been handling raw chicken and other meats. It's also great as a cleaner for your kitchen floors.
No wonder it's also good to drink this stuff by itself as it gives your body a little detox. If you can handle the burn as it's going down, it's definitely has health benefits.
I just love this stuff, can you tell?!
And...you know how those darn onions just make your eyes tear up? Spray some of your vinegar/water mixture onto your cutting board before cutting your onion and VIOLA! No more tears!

I have also found it useful in washing those amonia-smelling cloth diapers that tend to sit in the pail until I just have to wash them. Click here for my "cloth diaper washing regime".

Washing those cloth diapers

When I first began to cloth diaper I had no clue on how you washed these things. I searched the internet and came up with many similar ways but some seemed so expensive with the detergents they used. Isn't the point of cloth diapering to save money? Many moms used online Seventh Generation products. I've used them as well and really like them, but found that they weren't economical enough for me. I also tried Fels Naptha but I had to grate it and it was a pain. Besides I didn't think it got my diapers as clean as they could be. I experimented and finally came up with what we do now:

For stubborn stains, you can pre-treat with lemon juice. (I have a spray bottle of it, full strength, just for this purpose. It will not ruin or discolor fabrics and I've found that using it full-strength is most effective. You only need a few sprays per stain.)

Run diapers through a cold rinse using a splash of white distilled vinegar. This gets the smell out and makes them nice and white.

Then run them through a HOT cycle using 3-4 squirts of Dr Bronner's Baby Mild Castile Soap.

That's it! You can find the Dr Bronner's on VitaCost or in your local grocery store. It is actually cheaper in our grocery store, but I'm not sure if that's the case everywhere, so I attached the link for you to check it out.

Now doesn't that seem easy?! I really enjoy the results and ease of doing it this way.

Happy Diapering!

03 April 2011

The Man of the Hour

Warning: This post is very long!

I was 10 years old when I met my husband. My sister, mom and I went to our first homeschooling function. I remember being in a room in the upstairs of the building, looking around shy and nervous, wondering if any of these kids would ever be my friends. Turns out, I gained three of the greatest girlfriends I could have ever imagined and a husband years later!
That day I honestly don't remember seeing any boys. My husband does remember seeing me though. He tells me that he thought I was so pretty and that I must be cool (poor guy, fooled him!) because I had one of those backpack purses that all the girls had, but mine was such a pretty fabric. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what backpack purse he's talking about.

After becoming comfortable with this new way of schooling and making friends, I eventually became interested in boys, just like most girls. My eyes were set on this awkward little boy with dark hair, the deepest eyes, biggest eyelashes and cutest smile I had ever seen. I told a girlfriend that lived across the street from me, "I'm going to marry that boy some day". She laughed and I remember telling her, "You laugh now; I'll be laughing on our wedding day." When that wedding day with that boy rolled around, I looked at the same friend and said, "Told ya!" She and I laughed in amazement. Why were we both so shocked?! Well, when I was 10 and I made such a nonsenscicle statement, he and I were NOT friends.

Classy & Beautiful
with our 2nd, Baby Blue

My sister and I grew up with his two younger sisters as our best friends (let's call them "Classy & Beautiful" and "The Exceptional Parent"). We danced together, had many sleepovers, pranked their brothers, played dress-up and Anne of Green Gables, loved watching the animated movie "Anastasia", drank iced tea (weird to mention, I know; but they'll know....) We had a blast! ....And I always had my heart set on their second brother....we should name him something. Hmmm....how about "the one watching the hockey game, all the while I'm hoping it's over soon!". No, that won't do. Guess I'll come back to giving him a name.
My sister, Ruby Red, and
"The Exceptional Parent"

 All throughout our teen years he continued to think of me as the annoying friend of his little sisters. He didn't need girls, he thought. He even told his one close friend, "If I ever show interest in [me], please just throw me down a flight of stairs". How rude! Haha!

As is typical of teenage girls, if a boy isn't paying you any attention you tend to have crushes on the boys that do, and so that's what my teens were like. I liked different guys here and there, but I always wanted it to be him. I started praying to the Blessed Mother night after night, begging her and her Dearest Son to just turn his stubborn little head my way. It was way more pathetic and dramatic than that in my prayers; kind of like my world was ending. Oy!

He left for US Marine Corps Basic Training the summer I was 16. Before then we had been "IMing" and mostly bickering about who was smarter and better online..and I have every one of those IM's. That summer I was determined to get him to notice me. I made some pretty stupid decisions to do so.  :::sigh:::  I also wrote him letters that were absurd since I really had no idea what to say to him, but he still has those letters; and I have begged him to never bring them out!

D, Me and MM

I saw him at an ice skating function that January. My other best friend (let's call her Missionary Mom-MM) skated over to give him a welcome home hug. Was she crazy?! You didn't just go up so such a hottie and hug him, I thought. And then he asked me for a hug!  Da Da Da!!!  I. WAS. IN. LOVE.

That spring we talked cordially for the first time ever and he began paying me notice. At my mom's prompting (can I just tell you how cool she is?!), I called him on his birthday. We started speaking often and that summer he asked me to a dance. I was so freakin' nervous I think I almost puked in the front seat on the way there....with all the sisters in the back seat....  I was shaking as we danced. I couldn't believe I was right there with him.

My parents, Us, My sister and
our exchange student who
came for our wedding!

The next day, and you'll really get a kick out of this, I saw him at another homeschool function and handed him a thank you note for the previous night. What a dork, right?!  LOLOL (I am laughing so hard right now I'm teary-eyed. What an idiot!) Our exchange student went up to him and asked him if he liked me. He told her that we were just friends. I could have died, but he called me later to explain, as I was crying, that he did in fact like me, but wanted to tell me himself. We decided to take things slow and see where they led. The next night he came over to hang out. (I am so grateful for my mom being such a talker or it would've been weird.) My parents eventually hurded the two of us outside so we could be alone. We sat on my back porch, awkward and mostly talking about our annoying barn cats that were climbing all over us. That same summer we went to the fair together where he told me that we was going to spoil me and treat me like a princess. Ok by me! And he still does!

October 6, 2005
We had a few rough patches as I left to go away for college. We broke up twice and I really wish we hadn't let friends influence us and put drama into an already difficult-to-maintain long-distance relationship. But through prayer and working together we always worked things out. He was deployed to Iraq for 10 months- the 10 longest and hardest months ever! I got in a car accident 3 days after he left, then I left to study abroad, I was depressed, miserable and gained weight. That summer was so hard but MM was there almost every day and encouraged me to keep pushing through. As the fall rolled around, I went back to school and started working out like crazy. He was due to come home October 6th. (And yes, I lost all 10 miserable pounds that I had gained.) When Oct 6th came, I drove home from school, was up way too early, changed my outfit 3 times (after trying outfits on for weeks before), drove my sister crazy, made my parents get to the drill center 3 hours too early (we were the very 1st ones there- I'm surprised they didn't all kill me!), and then I waited...and waited... His family arrived and my one sister-in-law brought me fudge to help me handle the anticipation. I still remember the feeling of relief, joy, and love that was out-pouring as I jumped into his arms and he swung me around. It was magical!

Before I went back to school, we visited our "special place" right on Lake Erie where we had carved our names on a tree before he left. We spent the whole day together and spoke seriously about the future. That spring semester he joined me at school and it was so strange to see each other every day, for the 1st time ever in our relationship. To my surprise, it was easy to go right back to being "us", although we were told by many that we would go through a rough patch.

Engagement Photo,
courtesy TimWill Photography

On April 15th, 2006, Holy Saturday, we were home for Easter and he asked me to go for a walk. I thought he was crazy. In our family we bless baskets that day and go to confession, as well as prepare for Swieconka (our Polish Easter traditions). I figured my mom would never go for it and besides, I didn't really want to- I was kind of cranky. I remember my mom marching up to my room urging me to just go, and so I did. We walked along in a beautiful park until we came to a bridge lined with lilies, my favorite flowers, and a dozen roses. My response to seeing the beautiful bridge, "Oh how nice, they decorated for Easter!" Wow was I slow! When he got down on one knee I was shocked, and of course said yes after tears and a beautiful speech he gave, of which I have no recall. (As a sidenote, I always wanted to be proposed to on a bridge. We had out 1st kiss after watching the "bridge scene" in the 2nd Anne of Green Gables movie.) We set a wedding day for September 8th of the following year, Our Lady's birthday.
Wedding day

Now, almost 4 years later, with our third baby on the way, I never knew that I could be more in love, that someone could be even more amazing, funny, sincere, caring, fiery, calm and selfless. He truly is incredible. I have many friends who tell me how lucky I am, that their husbands' don't even come close to mine. I feel so sad for girls who have settled. We are best friends and when the girls go to sleep at night, it's fun to see how young and flirty we still are. Life is full of ups and downs, that's for sure. I'm not saying that it's always easy or perfect, but we work together and respect each other. That makes a big difference.

I am so lucky to have a man who looks to St Joseph as an example and that we both try to live as the best Catholics we can. We strive to bring the faith into many moments in our family. I am just blessed. That's really all I can say!
The Four of Us and the little one on the way!

Thanks for reading! Sorry it was so detailed, but I've always wanted to write our story down somewhere.

01 April 2011

Baby Blue

Baby Blue is 1!

I've been wanting to write my birth stories for the girls for while and figured this was a good time since my Baby Blue just turned 1!

I can't even believe it! This year has gone by faster than any I remember. It was full of ups and downs, stress adjusting to 2 and lots of snuggles!

And so, here is the unpredictable story of Baby Blue's entrance:

My 1st labor being less than 1 1/2 hrs from start to finish I knew I was probably going to have another quick labor. After having false (but VERY real!) contractions for 10 days before Baby Blue was born, and going past the due date, I was frustrated and miserable. Why wouldn't I just go into full blown labor already?! St Patricks Day 2010 was spent with a very feverish and listless 20 month old Ruby Red. It was so sad. My little spitfire was down and out and I just knew that because she was so sick I would go into labor. I just knew it!
That night I stayed on the couch in the living room with Ruby Red until 1:30am, trying to bring her fever down. Finally we went to bed exhausted and she snuggled in between my husband and I.

I woke at 3:26am to some pretty bad cramping. At 3:30 the 1st real contraction hit and I thought: "Eh, this probably isn't it since I've felt like this for 10 days...but I better wake up my husband anyway."  And then they started coming. I could barely breathe and could in no way stand or walk, as my husband was begging me to get in the car so we were ready when my parents showed up.  My mom was going to stay with Ruby Red but my husband told her she should come to help me through the car ride, as he would be driving furiously to get to the hospital. I am so glad she came along! Right before my husband was about to get on the thruway I begged him to pull over- the baby was coming.  I lay on the back seat with a sheet under me (my husband prepared for this as this was our joke the whole pregnancy. Who knew it'd actually happen!) I remember looking pitifully at him saying, "I really don't want to have the baby in the car"  His reply: "Too late, the head is out!" I didn't even push once! He and my mom worked together to get the baby fully out, they laid baby on my chest and off we went again. Oh yeah....it was 4:07 am....a 37 minute labor! The door by my head wasn't fully shut, it was cold and I had no idea if it was a boy or a girl yet. (Needless to say, we WILL be finding out this time! I don't need any other surprises at the end....a surprise in the middle is a wonderful way to bond with baby until the end!) My mom finally checked and exclaimed, "It's a girl!" I couldn't believe it. This entire time I had been prepared for a boy as the pregnancy was sooo differenent from Ruby Red's!
When we got to the hospital I first insisted on nursing my new little bundle of love. She continued to "room in" with my husband and I, sleeping on my chest the entire time and nursing often, both much to the dismay of the hospital nurses. As a funny story I must tell of the ridiculous nurse of which I mention...  She was obnoxious. She was in her mid-20's, opinionated and wore the most horrid animal print scrub top- I will never forget it, unfortunately. She woke me EVERY 2 HRS in the middle of the night to see when Baby Blue had nursed last and scolded me for her sleeping on my chest. "You know, we can give her a pacifier and take her to the nursery so you can get some rest" and "She really shouldn't be eating so often", she said. I looked at her, and in my dazed and motherly stupor replied, "There's nothing wrong with her sleeping on me. I would be getting plenty of rest if you would stop coming in here. She nurses and goes back to sleep and hasn't made a peep. I don't think she's to blame for the lack of sleep!" I really cannot believe I said it, and that my husband slept through the whole thing, but I can say she rolled her eyes and never came back. HA!
(I do have to say the rest of the staff was awesome so please, I am not trying to insult nurses....just one in particular!)

I am so grateful for my amazing husband who talked me through the very stressful and painful "beginning" of labor. He is just incredible! He and my mom were awesome working together and I am so blessed! Many women have to worry about a fight for hierarchy between mom and husband, but they knew to communicate. It wasn't about them. It was about this sweet little baby. Many have suggested how horrible it must have been to give birth in a car. I always thought it would be! Now mind you, I will be having a homebirth this time as I really don't want to repeat a car birth, but they somehow made it peaceful and my birth experience: loving, silly to look back at and full of very warm memories.

 Our little Baby Blue is the calmest, sweetest and most mellow little girl and just melts all our hearts. So hear's to you Baby Blue....may you have many more joyous and blessed years surrounded by those who love you.  ....And please, no more frantic surprises!

Mommy and Baby Blue....minutes old 

Daddy and Baby Blue.... 2 days old

Proud Big Sister!

The Little Princess!