Thursday, March 29, 2012


I have to reflect on a few things I am thankful for today...


I am thankful that, as a Catholic, I have the chance (again, and again, and again) to seek and receive forgiveness for the times I have failed to live as I should. It is such an amazing gift to me. When we got home this evening, I asked dh if he wanted me to put the kids to bed so he didn't mess up the clean slate he just received (they can be trying at times). "No," he said, "I'm filled with the Grace of God." It's amazing how true that actually is.

Little People

Upon returning from the Penance Service tonight, this is what greeted us.
Now, I ask you. How do I bottle this and keep it for a rainy day?

My Husband

Have I mentioned that none of this works without him? If I make bread and buy wine and kiss and love this guy every moment for the rest of my life, it's not nearly enough. My life is so full because of this man. I am blessed. Truly.

OPI Fresh Frog of Bel Air

While I'm not posting a current photo of my piggy-toes (woefully swollen from a day at the Science Center), I will post the color. I love it. It's crazy and flashy and pretty. Just what I need at the moment.

This baby, at this moment, in this parish, with these people

Each of my babies has been precious to me. A gift from God. A miracle. Still, I've never had quite this many comments regarding our current little-one-in-the-making. Oddly similar comments, from completely unrelated people. Happenings that seem to truly be inspired from above. A blessing of godparents who came so suddenly and yet are so amazingly perfect to help us to raise our little one in the faith. I am really getting excited to meet this new person. I have a feeling it will be quite an adventure.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Passing the days

So, what do you do when you're officially full-term but still have a few weeks until your blessed bundle arrives? I do remember the bliss-filled days from #1 - taking naps, making elaborate dinners, watching the Food Network. Alas, the other members of this household are not willing to cooperate with any of that so, we do a lot of little things and we rest a lot as well. Seems to be passing the time :)

Tiny Tots

If you live in Pittsburgh and have kids between 3 and 6 years old, you must go to Tiny Tots sometime. They open up Heinz Hall to schools and families and the symphony puts on a kid-friendly show. Other than parking ($8) or taking the bus/trolley ($2.50) it's FREE!!! The boys and I went down today and had a wonderful time. It was good to see some friends and spend some time out with my little men.


40 Days Vigil

I haven't gotten to do this nearly as much as I would like, especially during these last days, but last week I was blessed to go, stand and pray, at the 40 Days for Life Vigil. It is a peaceful vigil outside of Planned Parenthood and I am always changed in some way when I make the effort. This last time I met a man, William, who is 60-years-old, black, and takes time as often as possible to come and pray because he is aware that, child-by-child, abortion is slowly killing off an entire generation of his race. He was wonderful and heartbreaking to talk to. It is sad that wisdom is so often wasted on the old. Thankfully, I have many young (younger than me and smarter than I was then!) friends who realize the importance of this cause.

Playing outside....with no the middle of MARCH!

OK, so the 80 degree temps were wearing me down but it's so hard to be grumpy when these little people were having so much fun! They took the opportunity to swing, slide, ride, dig and do all of those lovely things one does when the bigger cares of the world are not yet evident.

It seems like the weeks are full from now on...oldest son to get his 5-year-old picture taken, Science Center trip, pedicure, hair, OB, OB, OB (oh, and most importantly, everything involved in Holy Week and Easter!). I look at the calendar and sort of wish (sort of) that this baby would come a bit early and save me from my "to do list" for a while. Still, I'll be happy to have it all done and concentrate on this new little person. If you would, pray that I know when to "do" and when to "rest" and that we come out of this with an intact baby and mama! Thanks :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Little by little

Despite having a wedding, Little Flowers and other obligations this weekend, we did manage to make some forward progress in the baby department.

The bassinet is up. I love that. It reminds me how tiny little people are when they arrive. I always manage to forget that. I am so grateful when I see it sitting there. It means we've been blessed again with new life.

Tonight I also managed to get the hanging clothes of #s 2, 3 and 4 all into the same closet. This is no small feat considering we're "between seasons" and all (did you know there will be a low temp of 22 this week? Brrr). So, I guess it's "official" now that little girl is bunking with her two big brothers. It's turned out so much better than I had expected. They love her so much and she is truly amazed by their antics. I think it will work for the year or so that we need until the boys can move upstairs.

I like having three in one room. Not only is it easier to put people to bed, but I feel more true to the house in some way. There were 9 children in the original family that lived here and there were rooms that were yet to be finished. I'm pretty sure that means no one had their own room and at least a few rooms had three or more occupants. I feel like they're getting a head-start on residence hall living ;0)

So, I'm making progress and that makes me happy. I still have diapers to wash (someone email me and remind me how to do that!) and baby clothes to wash and put away (oh, I have to pack a bag for me too, huh?). You would think I would have this down by now. After that, we should be ready even if the time comes earlier than planned (it seems that sometimes babies with DS arrive ahead of schedule). God has his plan. I'm sure He'll let us know.

Have a blessed Monday :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hot enough for ya??

Yes, I'm going to complain now. Not about the weather (it's truly beautiful and a blessing) but about my tired old body. I had three little people who wanted desperately to go enjoy the park this afternoon - picnic and all. Instead, we ended up in our backyard (for picnic and play) as a compromise since I simply cannot continue to walk around in public at the moment. The heat is making this littlest one more than feisty and wow, I am just spent. Not sure if it's because I never would have dreamed of seeing 80 degree temps in mid/late March or the fact that I'm three weeks from delivery but it's definitely taking a toll. I am pleased to see that it will be heading down to more manageable temps next week. So, what else can I do? I put on my "Love in Full Bloom" tshirt, flowered shorts, and turned on all the fans. God willing we'll all have a bit of a nap and head back outside for dinner. It really is too pretty a day to pass up!

Before changing into my "resort wear" ;) I went to 10 AM Mass, like I have been lately, while the kids are in Mom's Day Out and school. It is a favorite time for funerals and today was just that. It sounds a bit morose, I know, but I'm starting to really enjoy the time I spend at other people's funerals. I love to hear the stories (today a woman was buried who lived to be 100! and there were four priests presiding). I used to wonder why regular members of the congregation would bother attending a funeral of a person they didn't know but now I see it's all about community. We are the community of the Catholic Church. We are all one body. The death of one person affects us all. I am happy to go and witness the passing of some member of our community. It makes me feel good that I can be there to help send them on from this world. I am intrigued by the differences in services as well. I called DH after I got home and said, "you know, if I die in the next 10 years, I'd like to have at least 3 priests say the Mass." One can dream, can't one? We also enjoy discussing our preferred musical selections. I told you before, we're weird like that.

I would go on but I've decided to bake dinner today so the kitchen is something like 90 degrees and this baby is trying to kick his way out so I'll leave you for now. Enjoy the day!

PS - In the middle of writing this I did get snotty with someone who, having no children, wanted to know "how I was doing". You know, 36+ weeks pregnant in the middle of a heat wave. I usually look negatively on those who snap at people who ask stupid questions but I'll stop that now. I see that there are definitely times when it's all you can do to laugh out loud and try your best to limit the sarcasm.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cardinal Dolan, right again!

More from my very favorite Cardinal. A response to the recent attacks claiming the Catholic Church oppresses women and wants to restrict their healthcare.

Religious Freedom and Protecting Healthcare for Women and Children

Please pass it along, post it to FB, whatever. I'm sure there are many people who have no idea how much good the Catholic Church does for so many people.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, by the way :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

9 years of change and some things that don't.

I had a delightful lunch with my beloved today. The occasion being the 9th anniversary of our engagement. We figured it's this or have a three-month-old tag along with us to the 9th wedding anniversary so we took the opportunity to spend a few final minutes alone :) We went to Arlecchino, the restaurant which took the place of The Classroom, which was the site of our wedding reception. We got engaged in an old railroad tunnel along a walking trail nearby. Being 36 weeks pregnant, I opted for the restaurant vs. a picnic in the tunnel. Everyone following along? It even sounds a bit circuitous to me. Sorry.

Anyway, we thought it would be nice to see how much the restaurant itself has changed (a LOT) and how different the experience was (MUCH). I know I will always have a soft spot in my heart for The Classroom and I tried to like it but there were just too many inconsistencies for the price. Since it's been in business for a while, I think they should have been addressed by now. Also, the fact that the owners also run Alla Famiglia, probably gave me higher expectations than were warranted. Regardless, it was nice to have some time alone with my dh and reminisce about those days 9 years ago.

Like the restaurant, our lives still have a fleeting glimpse of what used to be but, in sum, it's so very different now. We are different people (dh has lost about 50 pounds and I've found every single one! Oh, and there is the matter of the 5 extra people in our different house!), our marriage is different (while our sacrifice was all directed towards one another back then, we now spread it around. I think we would both agree, that's a nicer way to live). Our life together has become so much richer in the last 9 years. I am so thankful that he is the one with whom God chose me to travel this road.  I cannot imagine anyone I'd rather be with on this crazy ride. I cannot begin to imagine what the next 9 years will hold!

As for the things that don't change. Have you read the first reading for today from Jeremiah?

But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day,
I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed;
they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them,
they will not listen to you either;
when you call to them, they will not answer you.
Say to them:
This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.

Or, the Gospel, from Luke?

When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

In a way, I am heartened that struggle has always been a part of life. I suppose that means I can bear the struggle, like others have, knowing the promises that have been made. It's been a good reflection in the midst of all the crazy that's been happening in the world. God is, was, and will always be in control :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

St. Matilda

Happy Feast of St. Matilda, Patron of the parents of large families. Must be why it's such a sunny, happy day around here :)

As far as the rest of the world, read and discuss: New York Times ad to "Liberal Catholics". I'm still trying to subdue the agitation and form a reasoned opinion on this. What I do know is that the discrimination is here and it's large and if we all just sit back and keep our mouths shut, it will get even worse - for everyone.

An excerpt from today's Gospel:

"Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven."


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Random thoughts

You must know by now that I'm just doing my stream-of-consciousness thing so that you can revisit these posts later, while I'm busy with the baby, and not miss me quite so much ;0)

1. I'm really missing my apartment in Philadelphia today. I hated so much about it but, on a day like today, there was nothing as relaxing as sitting on the balcony, putting up my feet, sipping some zin, and staring at the horizon (which included the view of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary - beautiful).

2. My youngest child is not only fair like her next-oldest brother, but also has the amazing ability to fall asleep while doing other things. Not unlike he did several years ago (different piece of furniture), today she passed out while climbing onto the couch. I wish I could be that easily lulled!
3. I found the Bible verse for the baby's birth announcement today. I sort of knew it before but, when I reread it, I knew it was perfect. If only the names were this simple.

4. One month from tomorrow I will be, God willing, holding my newborn. That is a fact that still blows my mind. God is so good.

5. This week's pregnancy craving - Sobe Lifewater with coconut water. Pour it over crushed ice and it may as well be a pina colada :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

St. Apollonia returns

I am dragging in a serious way these days so, thankfully, the kids always seem to find new things to keep them entertained.

Over the weekend eldest daughter, while biting into an apple, started shrieking and waving her second front tooth around. We knew it was coming (some of us too much) because of the way she would wiggle it mercilessly to anyone who wanted to see. Truthfully, I didn't want to see. At all. Made me gag each time she did it. Still, I'm trying to be the "good mom" and encourage such rites of passage.

So, here you go. I'm thinking it will take at least three years of speech therapy to regain her ability to say "th" without her tongue sticking the whole way out of her mouth. She is kind of cute, though.

Lost teeth, around here, mean a visit from St. Apollonia. She is our version of the Tooth Fairy. It works for me because, while I frown on strange people/spirits visiting my home while I am asleep, Saints are always welcome to drop by. So, tonight ( I know, terrible...I forgot the first night and dh forgot last night) said daughter will put her tooth out (bagged and on the night stand since St. A "couldn't find the first one under her pillow") and in exchange receive a holy card, a note, and a small monetary sum. I say it that way because I can't for the life of me remember what the going rate is and now I'm stuck. Thankfully, she is still at that age where I can say "so, how many quarters did St. Apollonia bring last time?" and she'll answer without any suspicion at all. I love that.

Yet another sleepless night around here. I sort of wish St. A would just do this all herself sometimes and then I could get some shuteye ;)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sound familiar??

"We've had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that the world is rotten because of silence." St. Catherine of Siena

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Glorious Day!

Can you believe this day? It's really the most beautiful we've had so far this winter, I think. This is the kind of day that makes me want to go out and dig in the dirt. What a great day.

The older two kids went to school and spent the rest of the day with Grammy. The younger two went to Mom's Day Out during which time I went to Mass and had a cup of tea with an amazing woman who's company was as refreshing as the beautiful day. After my "mommy break" I picked up the little two and had the best time looking at all of the amazingly BIG things at Sam's.

While I was unpacking the car, this greeted me in the back yard.
Awww. Is that not the best? I love days like this. Every slight, every concern, all things wash by me. I feel so strong and it's a rare and wonderful thing.

I do believe I had this specific day because of the email I received this morning. A woman with whom I have been friends for a very long time took a minute to catch me up with her life. She has two young kids (under 5) and her husband went into the hospital a few weeks ago with what they thought was the flu. I'm not going into all the details but it's turned into a nightmare. Life support, highly risky surgery, loss of some function in extremities, etc. and I'm not sure where it even stands now but from the information she gave me, it's not great.

So, if you would, please pray for my friend and her husband. I can't even imagine what the family must going through. What a terrible time for them. Please lift up this family. I know that it will help give them some peace of mind at this difficult time. Thank you.

On a beautiful day like today, take even more time to count your blessings. Also remember those who need our prayers. With all the craziness in the world, it is so important that we support one another.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rocco Girls...yuck

Today I was reminded of why, at least subconsciously, I am rooting for this baby to be a boy. Don't get me wrong, I do love my girls, but there is one thing that makes them ever so slightly less desirable than the boys...


On the way home from running errands, little girl tossed her lunch (and part of her breakfast I believe) all over herself and her seat. If you've not had the pleasure, trying to unlatch/unassemble/undo a carseat to properly clean said mess out is a monumental task. There are lots of crevices for this stuff to hide.

To say nothing of my poor little boo. Ug. Total and complete flashback of her sister, start-to-finish. Kind of makes me sad that we (and she) have to go through this again.

Oh well, I suppose there are lots of things that could be and are worse to deal with. The males of the group have their own issues: ear infections, sleeping issues, etc. I am liking the girl name more this time around as well. So, we shall see. We will gratefully accept whomever we meet on April 13th with open hearts and arms. Even if I have to go buy a new bottle of Febreeze ;)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Casimir and Countdown

I don't spend a huge amount of time checking out the right side of my blog. That's mainly for the rest of you to provide helpful information when you're bored with my ramblings. I couldn't help but notice, however, that two things I've been waiting for have suddenly popped up.

St. Casimir
Today's Saint is St. Casimir. I have always loved this guy. He was as rich as he could be, son of a king, yet fought against the trappings of the rich his entire life. From childhood, he was dedicated to God. What a great story. For each child, I have tried to sneak in the name, just to "represent" for the Eastern Europeans in the crowd (besides, who wouldn't want a son called "Caz"). Alas, it's not to be in the Italian dynasty that currently rules the kids' names (although, to be totally honest, Antonin is Czech, not Italian, despite what Justice Scalia has to say). 

Less than 40 Days
I happened to notice that my pregnancy ticker says "40 days to go" today. It means, of course, that tomorrow will begin the 30's. I don't know why this is such a big deal but it sort of freaks me out. I can feel from the size of my belly that it's really close to the month mark now, and yet, I am nowhere near ready for a new baby. But, what can I do? Time marches on. So, I think I'll make a "to do" list today (even though that will probably unnerve me even more) and try to take one day at a time.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Good to remember...

Who among all these does not know that the hand of the
Lord has done this, in His hand is the life of every
creature and the breath of all mankind.
-- Job 12:9-10

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Better day

In case you were concerned, I'm feeling better today. As I said before, thank you for listening.

I have learned, if at all possible, it's important to surround myself with "my society" on the day following such a crummy day.

So, today I went to the 40 Days for Life Vigil at 8 AM, saw my daughter read during school Mass at 10 AM and went back for Adoration at 1 PM. It is not a blessing I have every day - to go this many places alone and be quiet and prayerful - so I do take advantage when possible. I am so thankful that my "free day" came today. I needed it. Badly.

It was so nice to go and pray for myself but, more so, for others - including all of you :)

My batteries are recharged and I'm back to counting my blessings. I'm even thankful for yesterday. Without "those" kinds of days, today would not seem quite so wonderful.