Friday, March 7, 2014

A Future Lawyer?


You like to set the microwave timer with us and will go upstairs without incident when the buzzer beeps. A few nights ago, it was nearing bedtime. Daddy called from the living room, "Mommy, has the buzzer gone off yet?" I answered that no, it hadn't but that the time was approaching soon. I glanced over at the microwave while saying this and saw it was not set at all. 

Hmm.. what to do? You were listening, so I couldn't set it since it chirps with every touch. Instead, I finished the few dishes I had left, walked over to the microwave and hit cancel three times. I cringed a little in doing this since the sounds weren't quite what the buzzer would sound like. "He won't notice," I thought.

Without hesitation, you jumped off the couch and I heard quick feet entering the kitchen. I wheeled around and there you were, hands on hips, demanding to know, "Mommy, why are you pushing the buttons?? That wasn't the buzzer!" 

I ran into the dining room to conceal my open mouth and my laughter. Seriously, what three year old can accurately call out his mother on such a detail? You, that's who. I quickly composed myself and returned stating simply, "Alright, it's bedtime! Who's going to beat me upstairs?" Daddy shot me a smile and off we went. 

If this is any indication of the debating skills you are going to develop, boy are we in for it. :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Lenten Project

It's been a while..

The Lenten season started today. Lent is a beautiful time of remembering where you came from - from dust we were created and to dust we shall return. Being blessed with ashes is a stark reminder that life on earth is short indeed. How do you want to live it?

Technology consumes a lot of my day. For work, *most* of it is vital - but at home, it's a time killer and a way to zone. I'm sure I'd be sick to see how many hours of my life I've wasted away on facebook in the past year alone. As I write this, everyone else is upstairs sleeping. How did I spend my time with them today?

Was I being present? Or was I simply there?

Many times as I reflect on the day before going to bed, I think of all the things that *need* to be done, that *should* be done, that could have been done... I used to thank God for the blessings in my life daily. I think it's time to get back to that.

Today I'm thankful for:
*watching my children stomp on bubble wrap together and squeal with delight at the sound,
*sitting next to my husband at church, receiving ashes as a family of four, at the place where we met, and
*my neck ache and headache going away so I don't end up with a migraine.

Every year at the start of Lent, Kim shares a word with corresponding acronyms to get everyone in the Lenten spirit. This practice has been right up my alley since I started hearing them in 2002. Today's went with the word heart. E - evaluate. A - almsgiving. T - take time to pray. I already forget h and r. Oops. :)

"Evaluate" stuck with me. What are you using your time for? Is it purposeful? How are you serving God?

Yikes - I need to work on this - in all aspects. A dear work friend has pointed out that I get stuck in the details sometimes and that this deters me from accomplishing something, anything at times. It's true. That's the fault of this blog too. An intention to keep a record for my children and maybe a place to help other mothers along their journey gets thrown aside when I don't know how to write what on my mind. I think I need to have a greater trust in God that not everything I jump into will fail and that sometimes, moving full steam ahead is the only way to get things done. Let go and Let God - as we from the Oratory would say. <3

So to kick off Lent, I posted this to Facebook tonight:
"Today was a special day in our house: Ash Wednesday, Grace's halfway birthday to TWO, and Liam's 3rd anniversary of joining the church. We may not have it all together but together we have it all - faith and love build and keep our home. 

I struggle with being a good wife, a good mom, a good daughter, a good friend, and a good teacher. I struggle with feeling like I need to please everyone and like I'm not doing a good job with any of it. Reading peoples' perfect facebook lives and pinning things I'll never complete do not help my complex either. 

So for Lent, I'm giving up Facebook and adding real experiences to my life. I need to enjoy moments like Liam & Grace reading together in real time and not hiding behind a camera. I'm going to get their blog (for mom ) going again once they are in bed so they have even more memories to cherish when they get older - a record of our life together and my love for them. 

No matter your faith (or lack thereof), I encourage you to live productively for the next 40 days and see how much more life you experience when you live for you. I'm hoping that, for me, I'll see a change."

And so it starts yet again. Another new beginning. I love starting fresh. What's great, in my opinion, about being a Christian and a Catholic, is that no matter how many times I screw up, God welcomes me back. I'm forgiven and I can start again and continue on my journey. 

To my babies - I pray that you always find God's healing Love in your life. No matter what happens He is there to love you and take care of you. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sibling Day!

To Goose and My Sweet Sunshine,

Happy Sibling Day! I know it's so early but the two of you love each other and it's so fun to watch. Growing up without siblings was sad at times. I knew that one day, if God would grant it, I would want more than one child so they could share - joys, experiences, happiness, sadness, and... toys. :) 

Grace, Liam has loved you from day one - the day we told him he was getting a sister.

It's a girl!
He read and talked to you, patted you in my belly, and tried to feed you goldfish through my belly button. The first time he saw you in the hospital, he smiled and reached out to touch you with a smile on his face.

He loves you in the ways a brother should love his sister. Every morning when we wake up, he finds you sitting up in the boppy on our bed. He'll climb up and say, "Good morning, Grace! You sleep all night?" Yesterday he said, "Grace, you're so cute!" He tells me if you are upset and reassures you, "Don't cry Grace - I'm right here!" He brings you your toys. He talks to you - when you squeal he answers right back in your talk. The two of you could (and can!) go on for quite some time. And in case you think it's too good to be true, he tattles on you too.. "Grace is eatin' her straps" (car seat buckles) or "Gracie won't hold my hand!" You're getting much better arm control, but when you were just beginning to figure that out, Liam would get right in your face and you would wave around your arms and hit him. Taken aback, he'd say, "Gracie push me!" Now he says, "Good job, Grace! You're learning!"

Liam, You are already living up to the namesake of your great-grandfather. William literally means "protector" and in your baby book, Daddy and I wrote that we hoped that one day you would be the protector of your siblings by being the first born. You are already the sweetest boy to your sister and love her so very much. 

I know that one day soon Grace will be in your things and tattling back at you. I can only hope that the two of you keep some of this sweet relationship and grow up to be friends. I'll never forget the day we got you the pink iced cupcake telling you Chee-pea (Chickpea) would be a girl - and your sister. I whispered to you, "Daddy and I have the greatest gift for you - something we never had: a friend to grow up and grow older with. Please don't ever be upset that we are sharing our love not just with you but with someone else, because part of her heart will love you too. She will help make our family whole."
Always holding hands. <3

I hope you are both always proud to call each other brother and sister. Happy Sibling Day!

Love, Mama

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Happy 27 months, Goose!


It's been a while! You and Gracie have been keeping us busy but tonight, as you both sleep in your own rooms(!), I write my letter to you. <3

Wow have you changed in the past few months!
Our silly Goose

Speaking: Your language continues to astound us. If you spend a night at Mom-Mom and Papé's, we always notice a difference when you return home. You speak mostly in sentences instead of phrases. Your question of "Where are you?" in a singsong voice is no longer "Are you?" but the real thing. People other than us can pick out when you say "excavator" and "amplifier." We hear a lot of "I no like it!" even if you are choosing to not choose something at the moment. It sounds like your stereotypical Italian-American when you say it too. When you want something, you say you need it. This is especially funny for items like cookies and cell phones.
"Want some?" Trying a homemade veggie sushi roll

You are able to talk about what you want. One day (a while back in January), you handed me your Magna-Doodle and said, "Draw Coe-e (Chloe), Mama?" And it turned into this picture. You asked for Liam by Chloe, Mommy holding Grace, Gracie's swing, your train table, and Thomas and Gordon. I'll let you decide which doodles are what. :)

Love <3

Comforting: If Grace cries, you immediately go over to her, take her hand, and give her kisses. It melts our hearts to hear you say, "Don't cry, Grace! I'm right here." If you disobey, you apologize (after a while... usually) and say you're sorry.

You love playing the piano and singing, especially to Grace. "Gray-see!" or "Gray-see-poo!" followed by "I love you!" is a typical song while pounding away on the keys. Here you are mid-lyric and Grace is loving every second, already enthralled with her big brother.

Loving: You cuddle with us, squish close to us in any chair with a sigh ("Ah!"), and hug and kiss like there is no tomorrow. When I pick you up from daycare, you meet me at the window: I put a hand up to the glass and you return with yours and a huge smile. I walk in the door, you greet me with the biggest hug, then act super silly.
You grab our faces saying, "Cheekies!" and plant huge kisses on us. On Valentine's Day, you said "I love you, Mommy!" while we walked together down the stairs. It was the first time you said it without me saying it first.

You're also in love with YouDee (aka Big Bird).
You received your YouDee sweatshirt on Super Bowl Sunday in honor of Joe Flacco, a UD grad, on the Ravens. You wouldn't have taken it off for days if we allowed it. You recognize the interlocking UD on paper, advertisements, and on campus. When we travel to Main Street, you ask where YouDee is and call campus his home. Just another testament to the fact that you absorb everything you hear.

The best view after a long day at work. 
Independent: Knowing nothing about small children (until you get to the stage, of course), I thought we had a few more years before you started acting like a teenager. Time outs are becoming a little more frequent and you are already testing your limits. Most of the time, misbehavior is just a game to you - we catch you saying no, but then hiding your smiling face so we can't see it. Other times you are definitely serious, but so are we. :) I hope we get to reap the benefits of following through with your consequences sooner rather than later. We also have become quite good at knowing what to pick battles on. Fruit bars for every meal throughout the day is a no; milk in the (third) cup of your choice is okay. Refusing to take off your monkey jammies when the thermometer says 22 degrees outside - it's not happening but taking Monkey (your backpack) with you everywhere, stuffed with boots, books, trains, and legos is acceptable. Speaking of Monkey, you strap that thing on your back in the most awkward way and then announce, "I going to school. Bye Mommy! See you later!"

Making pizza

A preview of your teenage years - truck, cell phone, and all.

Child proofing our cabinets - and putting away groceries
Note the barilla pasta box going under the sink. :)

Lego lover

Keeping Chloe away from your cheese stick and milk.

I know the day you become a big boy is quickly approaching. Preschool starts in the fall ("The bells - on Main Street!) and when I look at Grace, I sometimes can't believe you were that small. You have quite the personality and I'm already so proud of you. I can't wait to see what the next months have in store, but in the meantime, I can enjoy all you've already become.

Love you, Mama <3

Best Buddies <3

A sideways (sorry!) "Cranky the Crane"

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bean-isms About Trains


There are a ton of things you say about trains that crack me up. I need to start writing them down, but this one from tonight will stay forever in my heart.

You says things exceptionally well for your age so when you create words that aren't real, I don't correct them. :) With your Thomas the Train obsession, Gordon is a favorite - only you call him "Goed". Thomas, Percy, Edward, Emily, Toby, Cranky, and the rest you can pronounce as clear as day, but Gordon's moniker sounds like you just turned into a Brit.

Tonight we had the following conversation while playing with your new train table.

Liam: See Gordon, Mommy? (pointing to the train)
Me: (disappointed) Oh, I liked when you call him Goed. It reminds me of how you are still little. Can you call him that? It makes me happy.
Liam: (annoyed that I haven't given him the train yet, holding out his hand) Gordon, please!

Over an hour later:
Liam: That's Goed, Mama. (pointing to train who's watching him eat while I'm eating dinner next to him)
Me: (smiling) Yes, that's Gordon.
Liam: (leans his head on me) Make happy?
Me: (heart melts)

What a sweet boy! You've recently been talking about emotions: being happy, excited, sad, and scared. But to remember what I said and to know (or connect) that I said it would make me happy is awesome. The way you learn language is incredible but the way you continue to take root in my heart surprises me day after day. <3



You are beginning to have "real" conversations and they are hysterical and cute all at the same time. My teacher self knows that you understand more than you let on, but sometimes what comes out of your mouth still surprises me! Here are a few of your first interactions:

Nov. 11th weekend (not quite two):
1. We were away with your grandparents and you wanted to hold Grace on the couch. You sat up real tall and after we set her up in your arms, you looked at me, Daddy, MomMom, and Papé and announced quite frankly, "Take a picture!" We pulled out the cameras quick and snapped this one. <3
2. You were looking for a puzzle that you had completed earlier. "Where puzzle go?" you asked. "It's in the other room, by your toy box," I replied. A few minutes you came running back in with it screaming, "I found the puzzle! I found it!" This was cool to Daddy and me because it was the first time you initiated a complete sentence with correct articles and pronouns and everything!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


To our babies when you're ready to have families of your own,

Thanksgiving was the 26th of November three years ago. We had just gone for a second ultrasound that confirmed our baby girl was no longer growing and that our due date in July would be no more. Heartbreaking doesn't begin to describe it. About three weeks prior, on the 10th anniversary of your Nana's death, Daddy and I surprisingly learned we were pregnant! It wasn't planned but we were excited. I always had thoughts that I would have trouble conceiving a child and this event did not help my heart feel that things would be easy. Daddy and I spent Thanksgiving with our family. Many of your aunts and uncles were about to bring new babies into the world and I was angry I needed to be around them. Why was He compounded my grief by those who were so joyful?

As I'm sure you'll learn, I believe that everything happens for a reason - the good, the bad, and the downright awful. My favorite verse is that everything has a time and a season. This was a time in my life where I questioned God and why He could do these things. I can only hope that you never, ever have to experience this loss in your lives - but if you do, as much as it may hurt, keep God close. In the days, weeks, and months that followed, I prayed to Him and cursed Him at the same time. My doctor was not helpful either. And when I say not helpful, I mean hurtful. The radiologist wouldn't tell us what the ultrasound showed. We demanded to speak with the doctor. I'll never forget being brought in the main office area, sitting at their phone next to their fax machine, talking with the doctor. Daddy kept his hand on my shoulder. That was the day I learned that once babies die, it's common to say, "The fetus is not viable," as if that makes it easier... I didn't know what to expect and when I asked it felt like I was being sneered at, like, "How could you not know what to do?" I was told if I were to miscarry, I could save "the tissue" in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Yeah - this doctor was not schooled in bedside manner. Daddy took me immediately over to another doctor's office. I cried at the reception window until they accepted me as a patient and agreed to do the surgery to take out your sister.

The few weeks between this and the surgery date were rough. My body was holding on to something we had created but with no life within it. I felt empty. The surgery was the first real one I had ever had and my memory of it was a blur, seeming like a hospital tv show version. After this, EVERYONE seemed to be getting pregnant and while I wanted to be happy for my family and friends, I felt betrayed, even though no one knew.

It took me a long time to open up about this experience and it's still hard to talk about without tears forming. Helpful information for you if you ever come across a family experiencing this loss:
*Remember that you do NOT understand unless it has happened to you.
*Never say, "You're young! You'll get pregnant again!", "At least you were able to get pregnant," or anything similar. Sometimes saying nothing at all is better.

So why am I writing this to you? Again while I pray you never experience anything like this, it does have the power to change your life as it did mine. Women understandably don't talk about these things openly, but when they do, you find out it's unfortunately common. When I began opening up to others, I was amazed that I was not alone. I now know of over 20 family members and friends who have miscarried and sadly, the number continues to grow.

I write this to you to ask you to treasure your family and God's plan. Three months after my surgery, we got pregnant again. One day short of a year to the day we learned about your sister, Liam was born. What a difference a year makes. :) And less than 2 years after that, Grace joined our family. If your sister was not called by God, you wouldn't be here today. I believe she is your guardian angel in heaven watching over you both. I believe this was God's reason. As time continues, I feel closer to God because of it too. I don't pray for things anymore. I always pray first in Thanksgiving and let God know that while I may not understand it, I accept His plan for me always.