Sunday, November 30, 2008


We had four Thanksgiving feasts this year - I am not kidding. First, we went to Chris's office potluck the week before Thanksgiving. Then we had a Thanksgiving potluck at our moms' group. The Monday before Thanksgiving was the feast at caroline's Mothers' Morning Out program. then we had the real deal on Thursday.

Caroline is wearing her Indian vest while waiting to be served at the feast in her classroom. She wanted to wear her vest agaion on the real day too, so we packed it and brought it with us to her grandparents' house. Then neither of us remembered it and currently it's in a bag of Christmas gifts in a closet that we left in Tennessee. Whoops.

One of Caroline's teachers took this picture of us together at the feast... while she was holding Cecilia. Very talented. At this particular feast, some of the foods we had were turkey sandwiches, grapes, carrot sticks, cookies, and this really yummy cream cheese chocoltae chip ball that we could spread on crackers.

Thanksgiving Day was in Tennessee at Gran and Grandad's house. They wore turkey clothes - a turkey shirt for Caroline and a turkey bib for Cecilia. Caroline and Cecilia enjoyed turkey - Cecilia had a tiny bit as her first taste of meat ever. Caroline preferred the ham, I think, and she loved Gran's chocolate pecan pie, of course!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Win an Ergo baby carrier!

Follow this link to enter for a chance to win an Ergo baby carrier!! Caroline and Cecilia have loved our old one!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Caroline talks to Father

Our church has coffee and doughnuts downstairs after Mass each week. That is where these photos were taken, with my husband's phone (hence the poor quality). After Mass today, Father Paul said hello to us and wished us a happy Thanksgiving. Chris shook his hand. Caroline said she wanted to shake his hand too, but by that time we were already on the stairs and Father had moved across the vestibule. Now, this is Caroline we're talking about... shy Caroline who doesn't even like to say some of the names of members of her extended family (she accidentally said "Andrew" the other day while we were buying him a Christmas present!), and who is terrified of Speedy and Keenan who work with Chris... she hides whenever she sees them, she holds Cecilia's hand in an effort to protect her when they get too close for her comfort.

But apparently there's something about Father Paul that she likes. Maybe kids can sense holiness or something. When he came downstairs, she said she wanted to go talk to him, so I said, "Okay," and scooted her chair out so she could get up. And, to our surprise, she got up and immediately went over to him and they had a conversation for several minutes. Apparently he asked her if she was having turkey for Thanksgiving, because she came over to Chris and asked, "Daddy, is your mom making turkey for Thanksgiving?" Father Paul isn't even our parish priest... but he says Mass often at our church, probably once a month or more. Our regular pastor has joked that Father Paul is our associate pastor.

And a funny note: Chris was talking to her after this and mentioned that Father Paul squatted down to talk to kids since he's so much taller than them, and Caroline said, "Yes, I got down on my knees too to talk to him because I am very tall." She *is* quite tall for her age, actually!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What a good mommy she'll be...

Caroline's bear became baby Jesus yesterday. She wrapped it close to her in a blue playsilk and said she was Mary with her baby Jesus. She was quite serene as she carried the 'baby' around the house - swaying with him and nursing him. She asked me to make a pouch with the playsilk so the baby wouldn't fall out.

And here she tucks in Ensa with Piglet. This was two days ago. I think Piglet was Ensa's stuffed animal at this particular moment. Piglet used to be Caroline's favorite that she slept with every night... she called him "Me" back then. Now Ensa is the favorite that gets tucked in next to Caroline each night.

I love to watch how nurturing she is... stay sweet, my Caroline!!

Fall Definitions with Caroline

Caroline, while throwing leaves in the air and watching them flutter to the ground: "Look at those leaves swiveling and swoveling and swooing!"

She also found a dandelion fluff and picked it and blew on it, calling it a "dandy-smell."

Today, Caroline played in the leaves while Daddy used the leaf blower. She made beds of leaves for the squirrels. :) A few more pictures from our fall afternoon out in our yard a couple days ago... it was almost sunset, and the view of the mountain behind our house was clear...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Baby Love

I am totally in love with my nine month old baby. She is such a precious gift, my little angel baby. Lately, I have been lamenting the fact that she is growing up. She's not a tiny baby anymore. She is an almost 20 pound, mobile baby who will soon be a toddler.

I have really enjoyed this baby. I enjoyed my first a lot too, but I was also a high-strung first-time mom, and that prevented me from completely losing myself in love to the point that I could relax and just enjoy parenthood most of the time. I love that the second time around, I feel so less hung up over details and everything being "just-so." I don't watch the minutes tick by on the clock as I put her to sleep, thinking, "Why is this taking soooo long?" as often as I did with my first.

Lately, Cecilia has been quite the squirmer as I have tried to nurse her to sleep, our typical nightly routine. It is anything but relaxing and sleep-inducing! I love that nurse-to-sleep tool that I have, and I know that if she's dead-tired, it can help knock her out. I know it will come back to serve me well in her toddlerhood on days where she has missed a nap. So, after nursing her on the bed, I have been standing up and swaying back and forth with her, letting her gradually relax into me, her soft little perfectly round head against my chest. She rubs her tired eyes against my shoulder, then relaxes again, until finally, her eyes begin to droop. This process might take a half hour of swaying, but that time passes quickly as I breathe her in - the clean smell of her hair - if it's been washed that evening - or her irresistible baby smell, slightly sweaty but very sweet. She's going to outgrow the desire to be held this way... and she's going to get heavier too! So I am trying to cherish this while it lasts... I have the privilege this time around of looking back over Caroline's babyhood up until now. It really does go fast - they really do "grow up so fast," as the cliche goes. What a privilege I have been given to be able to hold this sweet baby close to my heart. It is bittersweet to me that she doesn't nurse to sleep at bedtime any more... but I am still enjoying mothering her to sleep each evening. And I am so blessed that she will still nurse to sleep for some naps and in the middle of the night... I am getting a reminder now to enjoy these things as well, because they aren't going to last long in the grand scheme of things.

I love you, my precious baby Cecilia!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Holy Box

This is Caroline's holy box. It used to contain car washing supplies, oddly enough. It's a nice, solid box, so we kept it, and it found its purpose as the holy box. I take it out for Caroline during our afternoon prayer time (which I am trying to get better at doing daily). After rest time each day, we say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Sometimes Caroline says it too, or just listens as she follows along on her rosary as best a three year old can... but most of the time, she chooses to look through her holy box.

Here is where we always sit to say the Chaplet. It's the window seat in our den, which is a cozy, quiet spot. It is also high out of the reach of Cecilia, so Caroline's stuff is safe from grabbing hands. Cecilia either plays around on the floor or sits in my lap (trying to grab my rosary) while we pray.

So, here's a look inside the box:

First is Catholic Baby's First Bible. Caroline got it for her first Christmas. The only thing that's really Catholic about it is that it has the Our Father (as in, it doesn't say "The Lord's Prayer" for the title) and Hail Mary in it... and the guardian angel prayer - is that said by Protestants as well? I'm not sure. It has some basic Bible stories in it, from Adam and Eve to the Resurrection.

Next, we have a box of Mary paper dolls. Mary can be dressed up to become Our Lady of Lourdes, Mt. Carmel, Guadalupe, and a few others. We got these at Illuminated Ink, which has some great craft stuff that I have my eye on for when my girls are olde! I decided to go ahead and get these and color them myself for Caroline, because she enjoyed the paper dolls thoroughly when she played with some at Heritage Holidays, a local festival in which they had some "old-fashioned children's games" set up.

Here is one of Caroline's rosaries. We also keep a big wooden one in the box too, which has been great for Cecilia lately. This one was given to Caroline by her Uncle Tim - I can't remember where he said he got it. It's pretty, huh?

Here is a Mass book that goes through all the parts of the Mass and explains them to kids. It is still a little mature for Caroline, but sometimes she asks me to read it to her after we pray, and she looks through it some while I say the Chaplet.

We have these two pins, the Precious Hands and Precious Feet, which show exactly how a baby's real hands and feet look at 10 weeks gestation.

Then we have a pouch full of holy cards. Many of these are mine from childhood - attending Catholic schools, teachers were always handing them out to us for various reasons. These are probably the most interesting part of the holy box for Caroline... she can look through them for several minutes straight. She especially likes the one with an unborn baby on it, the ones of Mary and baby Jesus, and the one of St. Michael the Archangel (she is fascinated with the illustration of him stepping on the devil).

These are some particularly neat holy cards, again from Uncle Tim. They are laminated and have medals inside them. I'm pretty sure he got them at Mount Saint Mary's in Baltimore (he can comment and correct me if I'm wrong). Caroline likes these a lot. There are Divine mercy Jesus, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and St. Jude.

And there are a few random things in there as well... a pamphlet that has this year's intentions of the Holy Father, and an illustration of Our Lady of Guadalupe from the front of our church bulletin.

I think these would make a wonderful addition to the box. I would love to get Caroline the ones of Jesus and St. Anne in particular. I wish I knew how tall they were, though.

And this crucifix hangs above the window seat. It was given to me by my godmother. Caroline sometimes takes it down and examines it while we pray. Chris told me that yesterday she got it randomly and broke the hook off the back - oops. He fixed it, though, and it's back between the windows now.

I like to use the holy box because it involves Caroline in prayer time while not forcing her to sit perfectly still and say the prayers, which is hard for a preschool-aged child to do. Once she is older, I will expect actual participation, but for now, her participation by looking through the holy objects is a prayer in itself, in her own special way.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Should we get her a halo?"

This is what Chris asked me about Caroline last night.

We have been trying to pray a decade of the rosary as a family in the evenings after dinner and before bedtime. Last night, we were running short on time, so when Caroline asked if we were going to have out family prayer time, Chris told her that she could choose to have either a bedtime story as usual, or they could pray the decade of the rosary together while I put Cecilia to sleep.

Guess which one she chose??

Tonight though, she chose a bedtime story!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just curious...

...about whether or not my family reads this blog. By "family," I mean any relative in the extended family. I have noticed that nearly all the comments on posts are from people I have never met (mostly my online Catholic mom friends - nothing against that; I love you guys!!), and a few friends that I do know "in real life." Part of the reason I set this blog up and began posting regularly again was to have a way for relatives to see the girls as they grow and find out what we're up to. So, because I am curious to see who is checking in, please leave me a comment on this post. I promise I won't hold it against any of my brothers who don't comment ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Weekend Getaway

We took a trip to a state park with Chris's family this weekend. We have been here three times now, so it is becoming an annual fall tradition. There is a lake where we can fish, trails to hike, playgrounds, a lodge, and more... I see it as a weekend to just relax around the cabin! It's nice to have a place where Caroline can get out and enjoy the fresh air with her extended family. And the cool fall weather made sitting around in the cabin - talking and eating and sipping hot chocolate - just perfect! Cecilia and her cousin, who is just a few months older than her, enjoyed playing around on the floor.

There was no shortage of people to read to Caroline! She had plenty of people with whom to interact and talk (her favorite activity!!).

This next photo is really funny:Yes, those are donkeys in the wastewater treatment area. There were also some goats and three emus behind the fence. I am going to send this photo to Neal Boortz for his Redneck Scrapbook with the title "Redneck Zoo." I did ask the lady behind the front desk in the lodge about it... she said the animals are to "keep the grass down." So, they are actually redneck lawnmowers... The woman said that it was hard to maneuver the mowers around the pond. Chris's guess is that somebody fell in while mowing, so they remedied the problem by replacing the mowers with random animals.

Caroline really enjoyed the playgrounds. There was one near our cabin, and this better one outside the lodge. It had this merry go round thing, swings, a broken seesaw, and a climbing structure - old-fashioned jungle gym style.

There was also a good old metal slide - wheeeee!!

Here's Cecilia with her buddy - a dead stuffed wildcat in the lodge. She squealed and kicked her legs at it every time she saw it. There was also a fox and another bobcat-type animal that she enjoyed seeing. I think she thought they were alive - she usually only reserves that squeal for my parents' cats and a baby doll of Caroline's that has pretty realistic eyes!

And here's a view out of the bac of the lodge, taken from the top deck. Such a gorgeous view!! The lodge had been recently renovated, and it was quite nice inside and out. I kept thinking how nice it would be to come back when Chris and I are old and our kids are grown up, and just spend a few days hanging out here in the fall beauty, sitting by the fire in the lodge fireplace...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Definitions by Caroline

"Mommy, that tree just keeps getting faller and faller!"

Thursday, November 06, 2008

We have to fight this!

The "Freedom of Choice Act" that Obama promised Planned Parenthood that he would sign as his first act as president has the potential to change our country. It is an attempt to make abortion completely unrestricted and unregulated - basically elevating a "woman's right to choose" to the level of the right to free speech. Any state regulations and laws will be superceded by FOCA. The ramifications, if this act is passed, could include:
*no parental notification when minor girls go for an abortion
*no limits on partial-birth or other late term abortions other than a vague line about "the health of the mother" (that is, as long as a doctor sees the woman's health as being at risk, which includes emotional health, a late term abortion could be done)
*loss of legal protection for doctors who refuse to participate in abortions

It looks really bad. This site can explain much more and better than I can:

Please visit and sign the petition, and consider writing to your representatives as well.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Happy All Hallow's Eve!

Caroline wanted to wear a dog costume this year. We found my brother's old dog ears from when he was about four years old (he's 23 now and just got married!), but we couldn't find the rest of the dog costume. So I bought brown pants and a brown shirt, and I made a tail out of felt (she is "wagging" it with her hand in the shot below, and you can see it sticking out). True to her particularity, Caroline would not let me paint a nose on her, even though she let me do it last year, along with whiskers. But I do love that she's young enough to not care what her costume looks like... she didn't mind that the ears, clothes, and tail were all slightly different shades of brown.

Her preschool had a costume parade, and even though it wasn't on her usual day to go to school, we went for the parade part of the day. Here is Caroline with her friend the paleontologist (his brother is the dinosaur a few pictures down!) after they trick-or-treated in the other classrooms as they displayed their costumes to everyone.

Thank goodness their teachers don't believe in overdoing the craziness of a Halloween party... it was just a cupcake each, and all the treats were sent home with them (where I discreetly weeded out the choking hazards and artificially colored stuff, leaving the chocolate and peanut butter treats and the pretzels).

Cecilia and Ryan watched the fun in their own costumes. After the parade and "party," we took the kids to the park where the babies napped on us and the 3 year olds played.

That evening, Chris took Caroline to a few houses on our street while I stayed home and made some cornbread to go with our chili for dinner. Cecilia rode along to see the jack-o-lanterns and watch Caroline ring doorbells. Only one neighbor offered Chris some candy for Cecilia ;)

Here is our jack-o-lantern (Dad, I swear I didn't carve it!). Caroline told Chris what shapes she wanted, and he carved it for her. This is the first year I did not carve the pumpkin... I am usually very possessive about it, trying to make detailed carvings the way my dad did for us when we were kids (his even had eyebrows and ears, usually). I'm not sure why I gave it up this year...

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween!