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Happy Hosting: A Book-Themed Baby Shower!

Shower 38

Hello my friends and Happy Monday! :)

So you know how I've been a bit MIA lately? And my posting has been a bit slow? Well, we've been very (happily) busy here over the past couple of weeks, working towards a special family project! There has been LOTS of spring cleaning - as in, my house has never been cleaner! - and crafting and preparing for a very special baby shower - my cousin Kate is due with her first baby in May! 

I had such fun helping my aunt and cousin and mum get everything ready - and yesterday was THE day! And oh, what a beautiful day it was! Bright and mild, with that hint of spring around the corner ... I would love to share some TONS of pictures with you if I may. This is a very long post (even by my standards) but I get a little carried away when it comes to entertaining ... and babies ... and books!

So the menu was all tied into children's books, as were the decorations and even the invitations and favors (library cards!), and I had such fun setting up little book corners around the house. This was a great shower theme, but would also make a nice birthday party for a child who loves reading and/or trips to the library! (And honestly, I could see this done on an adult level as well ... so many books feature food in some way.) 

Shower (kara's) 2

 Here is the foyer table, set up with springy things and a basket of favors. I had fun arranging this little tableau! In addition to books "reading rubber duckies" figured into the decor ...

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(My cousin and her husband are both librarians!)

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And here are the lovely ladies of the day: hostesses Kara and Auntie Marcia, flanking mama-to-be, Kate!

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The living room mantel featured a farm theme. My aunt and mum made the garland - pages from an old children's book about farm animals pinned to a twine "clothesline." I arranged our wooden farm animals and several board books on the mantelpiece above.

Here's a closer look ...

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The front windowsill featured another fun book banner made by Mum and Marcia, as well as lots of favorite hardcovers ... beloved titles by Gyo Fujikawa, Elsa Beskow, Tasha Tudor, Will Moses, etc. 

Shower windowsill

I also nestled our wooden elements in amongst the books to lend a pop of color.

A side window held more wooden animals (barely seen in this picture, tucked behind the forsythia) as well as favorite books about owls and foxes.

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You can just see the corner of the notebook I used to write down Kate's gifts!

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Yet another window, filled with more favorite books! (Can you imagine how excited I was when Marcia and Kara told me the theme of the shower?!)

I'm jumping ahead a bit, but desserts and coffee were set out in the dining room ...

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Here are some of the goodies matched with their books ...

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Sweet (delicious) cupcakes = If You Give a Cat a Cupcake.

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Fresh, fruity salad = Each Peach, Pear, Plum (a book I read to Kate and Kara when they were little!).

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Madeleines for Madeline ... 

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Coffee and tea on the sideboard in the background ...

Now, out to the sunroom ... :)

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A table spread with delicious appetizers (my cousin, who works in catering is a fabulous cook!) and more books - a corn dip (Raccoons and Ripe Corn),  tea sandwiches - cucumber-lemon and chicken salad (Miss Spider's Tea Party), a crudite platter (The Carrot Seed, The Secret Garden, Eating the Alphabet) and a cheese board (The Stinky Cheese Man).

And here's the bar ...

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Plenty of wine, water, soda and a tasty punch ....

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Aka, Lemonade for Sale. :)

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It was such a bright day, I loved how everything sparkled in the sunlight!

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Rubber duckies in a bowl full of marbles and water ... cute!

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The rooms filled out nicely as guests arrived ...

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My mum (Aunt Mo to Kate and Kara) and my Aunt Pat, catching up ... 

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The adjoining family room was a great place for cocktails and conversation (and cartoons, if you were so inclined).

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Books here, too - more favorite hardcovers, standing up on desks and on the windowsill.

And what did Little Bear think about all this?

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Well, his house was filled with women who were not Mama and there were a lot of things he couldn't touch ... but luckily his big brother Crackerjack had him playing outside for most of the day!

Now into the kitchen ...

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Another buffet here ...

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Mini quiches for Green Eggs and Ham ...

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(Three Little) Pigs in Blankets ...

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Sweet Chili Meatballs (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) and a pretty bowl of mixed nuts (Woody, Hazel and Little Pip).

(Also not shown - Honey Almond Baked Brie for Winnie the Pooh. Soooo yummy!)

And then it was time for presents! We all gathered in the living room to watch Kate open her gifts ...

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A sweet stuffed elephant from the daddy-to-be's mom, with a photo of said daddy holding his own elephant many years ago! 

Speaking of ...

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The parents-to-be, Kate and Paul!

This was SUCH a fun day, and I was so thrilled to be part of it! And I thank you all for taking the time to read and let me share my pictures. I would love it if all of you would keep Kate and Paul and their little one in your prayers? 

And you know what? We got our house super clean and now it all feels so nice. I have resolved to keep things as close to this level as possible ... at least through Easter, lol! Another curious thing - a couple of days before the shower, I packed up all my planning materials and placed them in a closet. All I kept out was a clipboard with the to-do list. I needed to be laser-focused on shower prep! So now I'm eager to get my things back to the command center - though I'm loathe to add clutter to these nice clear surfaces. I do need my stuff ... only ... I'm really wondering exactly WHAT needs to come back out. What did I miss? What planning tools are essential and which are extraneous? How can I organize things as I bring them out of "hiding?" Clearly, this all bears some thought!

So stay tuned, and as always, I thank you so much for stopping by. I will see here again very soon!

One Week Old! (And a Birth Story)

Owen 1 week 3

It's all about the sleep around here!

Owen 1 week 1


I've been so out of it lately - I basically abandoned my calendar and FCS several weeks ago - but I just realized Owen was born on Trinity Sunday! How lovely ~ I absolutely love this feast day! :)

I've also learned of a couple of friends' birthdays he shares ... which is neat, and he's the first May birthday we have in our immediate family and that's fun, too!

So looking at May ...

Its birthstone is the emerald ...

... and the birth flower is the lily of the valley, that sweet little woodland plant ...

Lily of the valley

In the Language of Flowers, the lily of the valley means: sweetness, a return to happiness, you've made my life complete ...

And in the Catholic Faith, the month of May is devoted to the Blessed Mother ...

I think May is a beautiful birth month, don't you?


 So, how about a birth story this morning?

*Note: This all might be TMI for some people, so read on only if you are comfortable with birth stories ...

So ... one week ago yesterday, I reported to the hospital for induction. Now, my due date was Monday (Memorial Day) but my midwife and I had discussed induction for several weeks beforehand ... for a couple of reasons. First of all, both Crackerjack and Earlybird came incredibly fast, and their births were somewhat frantic - CJ was born in eight pushes and barely three hours of labor (first pang to first breath) and EB was just about the same. EB also had a cord complication that made delivery tricky and a bit harrowing. So I was concerned about another fast labor and getting to the hospital on time ... on top of that, I tested positive for GBS so I needed two four-hour doses of an antibiotic before Owen could be safely delivered. Well, considering my history, there was a good chance I'd never make it through even one dose! A managed induction would give us time - for me to get to the hospital and to get the needed medication into my system. There was also the added challenge of my severe allergy to most antibotics. We decided to go with penicillin since according to my chart (and foggy memory) the one time I had penicillin in my early 20s it upset my stomach, but didn't cause any true allergic reactions.* 

Anyhoo! When Bill and I reported to the hosptial (Mum was home with the boys) they started my IV and got the penicillin going, and told me to just "relax." My midwife was on a 24 hour shift so I was basically assured she'd be the one to deliver our baby, something that made me very happy and comforted. So a few hours later, once the first penicillin dose had been administered, I was started on pitocin to get my contractions going (I was about 3 cm naturally at this point). Now, I've had pit before (with Bookworm) and I remembered how strong (and painful) it makes the contractions but I also knew that I could have an epidural once I got uncomfortable ... 

And indeed, roundabouts 11 p.m. the contractions were getting pretty intense, so the anesthesiologist was called in ... and 20 minutes later I had a line in. I've had epidurals with each of my babies - though I joke that epidural aside, Crackerjack was my "natural baby." He was coming so fast ... and the epidural had just been put into place when my water broke and he was born within the next 10 minutes! And with Bookworm, it took a really long time to get the line in - apparently because I have a very short torso, my spinal column is packed quite tightly. The doctor at that birth had a horrible time getting the epi started - as you might imagine, it was not much fun waiting for him to get that needle in just right!

Ok, so - epi in around 11, and things quieted down nicely ... so nicely I dozed on and off for a couple of hours ... as did Bill. But close to 3 a.m. another cervix check showed I was 6 cm - and with a very gentle push during the next contraction I increased to 7-8 cm. So we were getting close!!

Over the next 20 minutes, our Owen Paul was born. It was a wonderfully calm and gentle birth - I only pushed a handful of times, and actually we let the contractions do the pushing for me near the end ... the lights were dim, the room was quiet ... it was just Bill and myself, our midwife Beth, and Maura, the most wonderful L&D nurse I've ever had. And although the epidural made things quite comfortable, I could feel everything - I felt Owen moving down through the canal, his crowning (his little head presenting) ... and then the whole of him coming right out ... AMAZING. So amazing, such a miracle ... I can't find the words ... but I know many of you know exactly what I mean. :)

So at 3:17 a.m., our little night owl was born. And our world was changed forever.


* A note on the penicillin - it did cause a reaction after all. I had to have 4 doses in all (due to the length of the labor) and by delivery time I was starting to itch. By the next day I was having a full blown allergic reaction - a red, puffed, itchy face, a swollen tongue and hoarse voice. Kind of scary to be honest. They started me on Benadryl and I stopped all other medication (including pain meds). Sometimes when I have a reaction like that my system goes hairy and I react to anything at all, even my normal vitamin. Suffice it to say, this is something I need to look into, but for now all is well. The reaction had mostly cleared up by the time we were home.

Our hospital stay lasted till Tuesday morning, and Bill jokingly referred to this as our "spa" weekend. We've delivered all our babies at this hospital and they've always been wonderful. We felt so taken care of, and it was good to brush up on the basics of newborn care, nursing, etc. ... it has been eleven years after all since our last babymoon!

And here we are a week later! Time has flown by already. It has been so nice to settle into our nest and our little routine - or Owen's routine I should say, which is basically, sleep-eat-poop-charm-the-pants-off-everyone-around-him.


Thank you again for all your kindness and prayers ... they mean the world to us. I'm having such fun posting our baby notes and sharing our joy with you all. I'm not sure how often I'll be posting once Bill returns to work, but for now, I'm relishing these cozy days and these quiet hours when baby's napping and I'm at rest nearby. We are blessed to have lots of hands close by to help out - as you can imagine, my mother has been an enormous help - practically speaking and otherwise. This is a very special time for us all ...


 Before I go, a little peek outside my window ... our irises in full bloom:

Irises 2

I hope you all enjoy this glorious Sunday ... thanks so much for joining me here today!

Enjoying our Babymoon ...

Owen day 4 w:mama 2

Owen Paul, just 4 days old. ❤

Owen day 4 w:mama 3

Owen and his mama, soaking up a little morning sun ...

Honestly, I'm a bit embarrassed to post this second picture, because I look really tired and disheveled, but you know what? I am tired and disheveled, lol! But also - and even moreso -just blissed out on baby love. This is the life, I tell you ... and I promise I'm not really as tired as I look.


Owen day 4 in car

Owen on his way to his first pediatric appointment ... not quite sure what to make of it!

So a little baby news ... Owen had a 2-day check in with the nurse practitioner ... and he did just great! He's back to his original birth weight (well, nearly - only off by 2 oz.) and everything checked out just fine. He only fussed a little during the exam ... and just a little more at the end because he was absolutely desperate to nurse. ;)


It's super hot where we are today (the start of a 3-day heatwave they tell me). How is the season getting along where you are? I hope you are all doing well ... I am so grateful for all your kind words and messages of love and encouragement ... what a treasure to look back on with Owen someday!

Enjoy the rest of your Thursday, my friends ... I will see you here again very soon!


He's Here ... We're Home!


My friends,

We are filled with joy to announce the birth of our new little one ...

Owen Paul

was born on Sunday, May 26th, 2013

3:17 a.m.

He weighed 8 lbs. 8 oz. and measured 21.5 inches long

Both mother and son are doing just fine!


More details (and photos) to come ... but I wanted to pop in and announce our happy news just as soon as I could. Thank you so much for all your prayers and love!


Nearly there now ...

Lilacs 1

Good Friday afternoon, my friends! 

Another quick check in (my last till after the big day) to let you all know that all is well, things are still status quo ... I have about one more week to go.


Had my 38 week check-in with the midwife today, followed by an ultrasound to check on the wee babe - WHO, I'm so pleased to report, is doing quite nicely. He's active and strong, his head is down, and he weighs about 7 1/2 lbs!

Thank you so much to all who are praying for us and thinking good thoughts for us ... we appreciate it more than you know.

By the way, while I'm here, I had to share a picture of our beautiful lilacs which are in full bloom right now ... and they smell absolutely amazing!

Well I do hope you are enjoying these glorious spring weeks ... take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and I'll be back here again just as soon as I can!


Happy (Early) Mother's Day!

Bc mom 1
Well, hello, my friends!

I'm popping in very quickly to say hello and wish you all a Happy Mother's Day! I hope you're enjoying your May, and that you all have a wonderful weekend, however you celebrate it. :)

Now, last we chatted, Bookworm was in the midst of his college decision ...

Well, the sticker above (now on the back of my van) reveals his final choice. ;) Yes, he is now officially a "BC Eagle"! I can hardly believe it ... some of you may remember back when I first started blogging, just how little he was. (For instance, see this post!) He was just turning 11 then, which at the time seemed so big, especially compared to his two younger brothers ... but here we are now, a month shy of his 18th birthday, helping him prepare for his first year in college ... and expecting his third little brother ... it's all quite surreal ...

But so blessed!

As for that third little brother - well, we're still hanging tight here - with only 2 1/2 weeks to go! I'm feeling well - slow and awkward of course, but that's to be expected! I will be back here again once we've had the baby ... so please stay tuned!

And thank you for all your prayers and kind words of encouragement. I may be quiet here these days, but please know I carry you all in my heart ... and when I return we'll have LOTS to talk about!!


A Baby Shower for our Baby O!

Baby shower 5

Hello, my friends! I'm a bit behind on posting because it's been a busy (and somber) few days, but I wanted to tell you all about the lovely weekend I had. Because thanks to these two amazing ladies ...

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*Mum on the left and Aunt Marcia on the right*

... Baby-O and I were treated to an absolutely beautiful baby shower! It was a spring afternoon shower, and there was a delicious array of fruit, finger foods and assorted savories ...

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As well as a wonderfully refreshing BLUE punch:

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 (Non-alcoholic of course, even if Crackerjack does look a little droopy-eyed in this pic!)

All this was followed (after presents) by coffee and tea ...

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Blue was the theme of the day, natch. ;)

And for dessert - fruit & cream pastries, pecan turtle cookies, fruit salad (with a vanilla-orange zest syrup) and THE most adorable cupcakes!

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My aunt ordered these beauties - chocolate, vanilla, red velvet and carrot - from a local bakery. All of them topped with soft, whipped frosting made up like little booties!

The day was just perfect for April ~ a mixture of clouds and sun, a bit cool in the high 50s. And inside everything looked so cozy and cute!

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 How adorable are these window stickers?!

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Balloons, banners, etc.

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Shower favors: blue Hershey kisses and "It's a Boy!" pencils. :)

And there were, of course, presents!

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I love wrapping paper and pretty bags, don't you? Every gift was so beautifully wrapped and so thoughtfully chosen ... Bill and I felt so treated! We joked that waiting 12 years to have another baby really paid off, lol!

And look at this gorgeous package ...

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This was hand-painted by our dear friend Vicki ... and I only wish I had snapped the other sides of the box - they were just as pretty!

Here I am with Vicki's two daughters, Kristel and Tiffany ...

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Dear childhood friends ... it honestly doesn't seem that long ago we were running around in bathing suits, making crafts and riding bikes ... with our moms close by, keeping watch. And here we are now, all mothers ourselves, doing the same thing with our own kids!

And though I was certainly surrounded by presents, more importantly I was surrounded by many loved ones ... what a happy day.

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The main event was held in my parents' family room.

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Mum, me, Marcia and my Aunt Pat in pink.

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While Marcia kept a record of gifts, Mum kept the cards organized.

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Bill's mom (aka Grandma Barbara) and Aunt Anne, as well as his sister Ami.

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My godmother, Kathy, with her daughter Barbara and granddaughter Allison.

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Ami and Eric - such a cute couple!

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My cousin Kate (who will be Baby O's godmother) and her boyfriend, Paul, alongside my cousin Kara (Earlybird's godmother) and my Uncle Karl. In front is my cousin Mark's daughter, Anna.

My older boys were there, too ...

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As well as our Earlybird ...

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And let's not forget the little "man" of the hour ... Baby O himself!

Baby bump 34 weeks

34 Weeks ~ just a few more to go!

(By the way, I would like to say thank you to my Bill and Bill's Dad (aka Grandpa Bill) for the pictures they took - very few of these photos were taken by me.)

And oh my, we received so many cute things for Baby O!

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Baby shower 16

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And many necessities, too! Such as wipes (seen above), diapers, onesies, washcloths and receiving blankets ... as well as a baby tub, changing pad, bouncer seat, car seat/stroller system and a play-pen equipped with a bassinette and changing top ...

This is one lucky laddie, I tell you!

(We're the lucky ones, though - lucky, blessed, and so very, very grateful.)


Well, my friends, I thank you ~ for indulging me in this very long post and sharing in our joy. While I'm here today, I would also like to express my very best wishes to my friend Nissa, who delivered a beautiful baby boy of her own this very morning! So happy for Nissa and her whole family ... Welcome, little George Christophe!

So I'll wrap up for now, but I also wanted to mention that though I have not had a chance to watch the most recent episode of Call the Midwife, I'm hoping to do so tonight. So my Masterpiece Monday is looking more like a Masterpiece Thursday this week. ;)

I hope to have the post up early tomorrow morning ...

Have yourselves a good evening, everyone ... see you here again sometime soon!


Baby Days Ahead ...


Well, it may be hard to believe (I know it is for me!) but, as of this posting, I am 32 weeks pregnant ...

Time sure is a-tickin' away!

And it's been nearly 12 years since we last had a baby in this house, so needless to say we're a bit out of practice! So I'm trying to formulate a "plan" for those first weeks home with our little one ... what he'll need as a newborn, what I'll need as a "new" mom, and what we'll need as a family (re)adjusting to life with a baby in the house.

So far I've written out a layette list and I'm working on streamlining our household since I'll probably be out of commission for a little while. But I'd love your suggestions ...

What helped you most in those first postpartum weeks?

What did you do to prepare your nest (feathers and family) for a new baby?

Here are my notes so far ...

The Layette List:

diapers • onesies (ls/ss) • newborn caps • sun hat • wee socks • receiving blankets/swaddling blankets • light sleepers • bunting/sleepsack • undershirts • light cotton pants • burp cloths • bassinet & bedding • nursing pillow • washable nursing pads •  nursing bras/pajamas • breast pump & accessories • nursing shawl • changing pad & cover • diaper wipes • small washcloths • baby bathtub • natural baby wash & lotion • hooded towel • natural diaper cream • baby nail clippers • pacifiers • thermometer • infant acetaminophen & anti-gas medicine • rocking chair • play mat/floor blankets • board books • soothing music • baby announcements & stamps • baby sling/wrap • infant car seat • stroller

(Some things we have already, some things we're borrowing, and some things we still need to pick up.)

Other "Babymoon" Ideas:

household "how to" binder for helpers • posted family schedule with rides arranged • lesson plans through June • list of easy meal ideas • meals prepared ahead • a well-stocked pantry • favorite plants in before end of May • spring/summer clothes sorted • comfy/easy spring bedding

I'd love to hear your thoughts, advice - brand name suggestons? - on this subject. If you have a moment, please drop me a note below.

And have a great Thursday, my friends!


Good Friday & Baby News

Some hot cross buns for afternoon tea ...

Hot cross buns

Actually, these are easy-peasy blueberry scones, with some homemade frosting piped on top in the traditional cross shape. Note the odd one in the back - the one with the O, rather than the ? That was Bill being frisky, an attempt to play tic-tac-toe while I prepared the buns.


Well, I hope your Easter weekend is off to a nice start! Bill's home today and we're having a quiet afternoon, preparing for our family gathering on Sunday. This morning I had a midwife appointment and there we talked about lots of things - including my weekly appointment schedule from here on out (every Friday till the end of May) and a possible induction date (considering my super-fast deliveries of both Crackerjack and Earlybird). I have a feeling I will go sometime before my due date anyway, but we'll know more as the weeks go by. What was really neat at today's visit ~ my mum came with me so she not only got to meet my midwife, but she also got to hear our little Baby-O's* heartbeat. He's always so scrappy when they use that doppler wand ... flipping around and giving a little show!

So all is going well ... I'm going to start on a magnesium supplement and daily protein shakes ... we'll wait on the thyroid testing to see how things go and/or if any other symptoms arise. And I had the echocardiogram last night and it went well ... that is, the test was smooth and the technician was lovely (an old high school classmate as it turned out!) but I'm waiting to hear what the cardiologist made of things. My midwife assured me that palps and an obvious heartbeat are very common in pregnancy and that all this testing is just to be extra cautious. That made me feel better!

*Now, for the time being, here at the blog we'll be calling the little guy "Baby-O," and yes, the "O" refers to his real name, which we chose some time ago. I don't mean to be so secretive, but we've always kept our boys "real names" private. Well, as you know, there aren't many "O" boy names out there, and I can tell you we're especially fond of Gaelic (Irish) names ... so maybe that will give you a little clue? If you'd like to guess, leave a comment below and I'll let you know if you're right. ;)

Enjoy the rest of your Friday, my friends ... and a happy holiday weekend to all!


Saturday Sweetness

Good morning, my friends! Just popping in quickly before I get my day going ...

I wanted to say hello, and wish you a great weekend!

Also, I meant to mention these yesterday (or really, well before yesterday) because they're a very cute craft/snack for the first of March ...

Lion & Lamb Cupcakes

Lion lamb cupcakes

Though I suppose they'd be just as clever on the last day of the month!

Now, if you're familiar with Martha Stewart publications, then you know these have been around for many years ... and yet, I've never made them. So I've printed the directions out and slipped them into my March-April (Early Spring) folder. I think it will be such fun to make these next year with EB's help and baby "O" watching on. :) You know, part of my great joy in having another child is that we get to revisit so many lovely things - activities, outings, books, crafts, etc. - that we did with our older boys when they were little. So many fond memories and traditions to revisit. How truly blessed I feel to be given the chance to nurture another sweet soul ...

Speaking of (mothering and pregnancy) - 28 weeks on Monday! And I'm off to run a few errands with mum this morning - a stop at the maternity store for a few essentials, and a pop into the container store to spend my birthday gift card. And finally, a visit to the baby "superstore" to look at bassinets ... yes, it's that time, my friends. Three months to go and my nesting urges have really kicked in!

Have yourselves a wonderful weekend ... I'll see you here again very soon!


Crafting Confessions

Remember when I showed you all this?

Well, six weeks later, this is as far as I've gotten ...

Knitting progress 1

Knitting progress 2

As you can see, progress has been slow - but I think I've finally found my groove!

(In my defense, I had a good bit done last month when somebody got his hands and/or paws on it and the whole kit and kaboodle came undone. I felt so defeated I put the project aside for the time being.)

But I'm back at it now, and I finally got the first square knitted (or is it knit?) and today my mum showed me how to tie on a new color. Hooray for a new skill! I'm knitting strips of these colored squares to eventually sew together into one good-size baby blanket. These are the little one's nursery colors - spring green (shown in the link above), buttercream and soft aqua blue. :)


What crafts are you working on these days?

Wednesday Q & A: Due Dates, Desserts & Diet

Pink-blue butterfly

Good morning, my friends! I thought I'd do a little Q&A catch-up today ...

Now and again I am asked when I'm due, and I can tell you my "official" due date is May 27th (Memorial Day) - and that's (wow) three months from today! I tend to deliver close to my dd - Bookworm was born one day late (the day after the summer solstice), Crackerjack came two days early (two days before the Assumption) and Earlybird arrived a whole week early (just in time for his Papa's birthday!). But we'll have to wait and see what this baby has planned ... ;)

Yesterday, Michelle asked:

Can you share the recipe for the potato and leek soup? I think you have mentioned it before but I couldn't find the recipe. I bought leeks at the store today in hopes of making it Friday.

I'm trying this one, Michelle: Martha Stewart Potato Leek Soup. It sounds earthy and delicious - a perfect supper for the first of March. :)

Why leeks you might wonder, dear readers? Well March 1st is The Feast of St. David, who is the patron of Wales, and leeks are a national symbol (alongside the daffodil). Traditionally they are worn on a lapel, but I prefer the idea of serving them in a meal ...

Are we Welsh? No. But we're Catholic, and I enjoy working simple faith traditions into our everyday family life. Over the years they bring us a familiar, fun comfort - and happy memories, as well. :)

Now, Jen asked:

I wondered if you make a dessert almost every night? I think I would weigh 300 pounds if I ate all the yummy desserts you serve! :-) Which brings me to another question, I have noticed that there are always (or usually!) seem to be delicious sweets in your home? How do you keep your girlish figure, Dawn? Do you squeeze exercise into your already-busy schedule? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Ok, lots of points to touch on, Jen!

I do serve dessert at every dinner, but I don't always make it myself - and it's not always something big or special. I usually have simple cookies (vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, oatmeal raisin) or plain ice cream/frozen yogurt on hand. My family really enjoys a little something sweet after a meal and I feel as long as we keep it proportionate and nobody has issues tied to sweets, we're ok. I also try to keep our desserts as natural (homemade) and fruit-based (seasonal) as possible.

Honestly, I'm a big believer of "all things in moderation," so we don't forbid sweets, but we do monitor them. Earlybird is the only one of us who has a weight issue, and that is tied tightly into his autism: eating is an addiction for him - he literally wants to eat all the time. But it's not so much sweets he wants, but rather, carbs and dairy. And actually he rarely eats the family dessert - he's usually pretty happy with a couple of low fat "Fig Newmans" or a few graham crackers after a meal. Currently we're working with him on portion control and making healthier choices ... and this would be a great topic for a future post! I'll start a draft now. :)

But I do enjoy desserts, I'll admit! And I also love to bake. In fact, Bill, looking over my shoulder at this draft just said, "You love to bake stuff but you never eat it!" Which is not entirely true - I do allow myself to have a small sweet a day - but I don't eat it at night after supper, because that gives me heartburn. So I usually save my "sweet" for midday. I don't know if that makes a big difference, but I've heard it said it's wise to limit calories late in the day. And if I'm having a cupcake with lunch I'll only eat half a sandwich instead of a whole. I have to keep my meals small because I tend to have slow digestion - if I eat too much in one sitting my stomach can't deal.

Now, do I exercise?

Well, um ... no. 


I know I should - I really should - and I am always meaning to start! But the truth of it is, I just can't find the time ... or energy ... or motivation. Generally speaking, my weight stays about the same even without "formal" exercise ... but I know exercise is about way more than staying trim - it's about heart health and flexibility, etc. I have this conversation with my doctor at each annual physical!

Ideally, I'd be walking/using the eliptical a few times a week and doing some yoga or stretching every day. It's in the back of my mind that once I've recovered from this baby's birth I will get serious about doing something "formally" physical, a few times a week. I'm sure it won't be as easy to shed baby weight in my 40s as it was in my 20's and 30s!

As for watching my figure, well I try to stay aware of how my clothes are fitting - and if things feel snug I know I need to be a little more careful with my food choices for a week or two. All that said, I could definitely stand to eat healthier - I don't eat nearly as much produce as I should and I tend to shy away from whole grains. Our family food goals this year include eating less processed food, and eating a more varied (seasonal/local) diet - more food for a future post!

But Jen, I too would love to hear opinions on this subject ...

How do we moms fit exercise into an already busy schedule? Better yet - how do we find the energy to do said exercise if and when we have the time?


Well friends, I'll wrap things up here since this post is getting long and my time is getting short. Time to rattle my older boys' cages and get on with my day. I do hope your Wednesday's a good one, and if you have questions or comments, please leave me a note below!

See you here again sometime soon ...



Baby whale romper
First I wanted to let you all know "Masterpiece Monday" (my Downton Abbey post) will be up tomorrow because - as expected -I did not stay awake last night to watch! I slightly spoiled myself online earlier this morning - rats! - but it seems like it was quite a show. I look forward to chatting with you all tomorrow about it!

Second, I just had to show you the baby romper pictured above - Bill and I spied this when we were out on our "date night" and we just could not resist the CUTENESS! What a sweet summer romper - great colors, and just a little bit preppy, to boot. ;) 

I hope you all have a very nice Monday ... I will see you here bright and early tomorrow!


Thursday's This & That

Well my friends, I've got a nasty cold this week, so posting will be light for a bit, but very quickly I thought I'd mention a few things this morning ...

I'm posting from my perch on the family room couch, aka my "nest" these past few days. Been watching lots of cooking shows with Earlybird ... and as much as we love Jamie and Ina, our new favorite is The Pioneer Woman. So fun! And she homeschools! Why haven't we watched this before?


Speaking of cooking, here are a couple of neat recipes I'm hoping to try when I feel up to it:

Sweet Potato Souffle

(I made my first souffle last May - ready to try again!)

Maple Apple Tartlets

Maple apple tartlets

(I've actually made these before, but the boys have requested I make them again - they are much easier than they look!)

Lemon Custard Cakes

(I have several Meyer lemons to use up - I just love citrus in the winter!)


While resting, I've been enjoying a book I received in the mail the other day, The Life and Times of Call the Midwife: The Official Companion to Seasons One and Two.

Call the midwife book

It's a fantastic and gorgeous look into the world of CtM - fashion & beauty, homes & food, nurses & nuns, faith & health - as well as a peek behind the scenes. I'm just loving it! And if you're a fan of this show, you will love this book, too. (Remember to mark your calendars for 3/31 ~ Easter Sunday night I believe~ that's when season 2 premieres in the US!)


Very exited about the weekend ... lots of fun planned, so I'm really hoping I've kicked this bug by then. For one thing, Mum and I are planning a trip to a local yarn shop on Saturday. I've been itching to knit for some time, but wanted to wait until we knew if this baby was a boy or a girl. Now that we know, I am hoping to pick up some lovely yarn with which to begin a simple project of some kind. Perhaps a blanket to start?


Now, a new "bump" shot has been requested ... so I'll see what I can do about that. ;) I feel like I'm HUGE for 20 weeks, but I think most pregnant women feel like that, lol. The baby's very active and according to my pregnancy book he's about the length of a banana, crown to toes. At 20 weeks - I'm halfway there! (As you can see from my little baby ticker parked at the top of my blog.)

And yes, we do have a name picked out out ... but we're keeping it under wraps till his birth. ❤ As for cravings? Pineapple salsa, barbecue, cheeseburgers and steak sauce! Yep, it's definitely a boy. :)


Also, I know I promised a look at the learning room and that post IS coming soon ... I'm just a bit behind on my new year "spruce up!" Also, I have been asked where we got my corner desk (the one shown in this post) and I can tell you Bill ordered it online from HomeElement. It arrived in a few big pieces and he and the boys put it together for me. :)

Desk 1


Ok, time to wrap up and return to my roost! I hope your week's going well ... the flu is on a rampage this winter, so please take care of yourselves and your loved ones ... stay healthy and safe!

I'll see you here again very soon ...


A New Year, A New Love ...

Ultrasound 1

 A new little BOY in our family! 

On New Year's eve, via level 2 ultrasound, Bill and I were able to "meet" our fourth child, growing so beautifully inside me. And the doctor declared him a healthy and handsome little fella

We are absolutely thrilled and feel so very blessed. And this great news comes as such relief after a screening test done last month had come back with concerns. I got the call the day after Christmas, that there was a flag on my test, and though I tried hard not to be anxious - how could I not? Nothing is more important than our children and all we want is for them to be healthy and safe.

I took comfort in the fact that my level 2 ultrasound was scheduled for the next morning - we'd find out what was what and could go on from there. So you can imagine our great dismay when we showed up at the hospital bright and early the next morning, only to be told the test had mysteriously been rescheduled for a whole week later!!

Needless to say I was upset - but Bill marched us right over to the OB office so we could find out what the delay was about. Thankfully my OB office was able to finagle us an appt. at a specialist's office in town - on New Year's Eve of all times! This meant we only had a few more days to wait.

{All this, by the way, coincided with my need for a blog break!}

So off to Boston Bill and I went late Monday afternoon. I had really been trying so hard to not worry ... and between some wonderful advice from a very dear friend (not to mention some fervent praying) I did feel a peace in the days leading up to the ultrasound. I was still nervous about that screeening, but I also felt that "what would be would be" and that God would grant us the strength and grace to accept it. He has always done this and I had to believe this time would not be any different.

So anyhoo ... come 5 p.m. New Year's Eve, it was finally time to "meet" our little one and see how "he or she" was doing!

Well, the technician who performed the initial ultrasound was SO wonderful - very soothing and upbeat. She talked things over with us, and assured us she would narrate the whole procedure, which is just what she did. What followed was an amazing tour of our baby's environment and the baby himself - we got to see him moving around, sucking his thumb, his little beating heart ... and of course once she saw his little you-know-what the tech told us we were having a son!

Now, we'd heard that once, twice or THREE times before, lol! But it was music to our ears. Especially the news, at the end of the exam, that everything looked great - the tech saw no abnormalities at all. She told us she would confer with the doctor who would do his own exam and then we could go forward from there.

And this doctor was - plainly put - possibly the nicest doctor I've ever met. Just so kind and warm and supportive. He knew our concerns and he addressed them immediately, telling us we had a very healthy and handsome little boy! 

So Bill and I drove home - honestly, it seemed more like floating - and delivered the BLESSED news to our family. The boys were so cute, I wish we had videotaped it! Earlybird especially, who, up till now, had not been directly told I was expecting a baby. (Though at times he would comment on the size of my belly, lol.) Well, EB walked right up to me and put his hands on my belly and said:

"Wow, there's a baby boy in there?!"

Since then he's been exclaiming, "A baby's in mama's belly and he's coming out soon!"* And he loves the ultrasound pictures - so much so, Bill made him photocopies - and he holds them and says, "He looks just like me!"

So cute. :)

*Of course, "soon" is a rather abstract concept for an autistic child, so the five month wait will be a long one for EB. We've tried to explain that the baby will come "after the green leaves are back on the trees." Which in New England is usually mid-May. Hopefully this will give EB some perspective ... and patience!

I think the time will fly by for us ...

Well my friends, there's our little (big!) "New Year" news ... and I am now officially back from my holiday break. I have a few posts percolating ... a learning room update, planners & planning, baby lists and some winter television posts. Did you all watch the Call the Midwife Holiday Special? We waited till last night to watch it - it was wonderful! And I simply CANNOT WAIT for Downton to begin this Sunday night! I will certainly have a chat post up next Monday morning. :)

So Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2013 will be a great one for you!

See you all again sometime soon ...


And Speaking of Giveaways ...

My friend Charlotte alerted me to this absolutely adorable giveaway just now and I wanted to share it with you all here. And not just because it will enter my name in the giveaway (wink!), but because these things are so darn cute you really all must take a peek ...

Hosted by Jessica Thornton @ HousewifespiceA Diaper Cake $25 Gift Card Giveaway!

These cute little confections are created by ediapercakes, a home-based business, and how brillant! I've never seen these before, but of course, I've been out of the baby loop for some time. ;)

Which cake is your favorite?

Sunshine cake

I'm quite partial to the "You are My Sunshine Cake" myself. :)

The winner of the giveaway will be announced at Jessica's site next Friday, December 14th. Which happens to be my Earlybird's birthday, so I consider that a very lucky day.

* Whoever wins the $25 gift certificate will be lucky indeed! *

And you know, this makes me wonder ... I've been chatting up my pregnancy here for a few months now, but I'd love to know how many of my readers are pregnant as well, and if so, when are you due? It seems from the buzz I hear, here and there around the internet, there are plenty of us pregnant this year!


Well, my friends, I must be off. Apparently there are hungry mouths to feed and that means I'd best get off this couch! But I hope you all have a nice weekend, and thanks so much for stopping by ...

I'll see you here again very soon!