Dear Baby ... Feed

Mother's Day, 2014

Good Sunday evening, my friends! I hope you all had a nice weekend, and I hope all you mamas out there had a lovely Mother's Day, too!

Here in New England, it was a spectacular day ... perhaps one of the best all year. Sunny and dry, highs in the 70s ... sparkling I'd call it. :) Felt a little bit like summer, but deliciously spring-like as well. A day that seemed like an impossible dream back in March, when it was still snowy and bitterly cold ...

But enough of all that weather talk! I'd like to share some Mother's Day photos with you all if I may ... :)

Mothers day 1

Pretty china, all stacked and ready ... these were my Gram's Irish dishes and I treasure them. I miss her so much but especially so on days like this when she was always such a big part of the planning, the preparations, and of course, the "party" itself.

A memory of Grama I shared with the boys this morning ... she and I drank a lot of tea through the years, and she always used her fine Irish china. Always. And do you know what that made me think? That made me think that I was as special - as important - as any company that might come calling ... and she was a popular lady; she had a wide circle of friends. But I always knew I was at the top of her list (along with my brother and cousins) ...

It might seem a small thing, but sharing her china cups with me was one way she showed me how important it is to live life while we have it to live ... to share life while we have it to share ...

Mothers day 3

 Champagne flutes for the bellinis ... one for Mum, one for me. :) I tied a violet sprig (freshly plucked from the yard) and a silky green ribbon to the stems ... a little special touch.

Mothers day 25

More tiny blossoms - jonquils and forget-me-nots, also from the yard ... I love the "lavender-blue" shade of the latter!

Mothers day 6

The sweets table, filling up fast! 

Mothers day 30

A bit of homemade, a bit of store-bought ... 

Mothers day 4

 My favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon? Visit with family. And share a nice meal with the family. I feel fortunate to have these days for such endeavors.

 Mothers day 5

 I decided to set up tables in the sunroom because it was such a nice day and with the windows open, there was quite a refreshing breeze. There was a long table to seat six (not shown) and this table for the two ladies of the day ... my Mum and myself!

 Mothers day 7 

Strawberry Bellinis ... pretty yummy! Made with fresh berry puree, orange juice and Prosecco. Sort of like a smoothie ... only just for adults. ;)

Mothers day 22 

I love that Earlybird (who was having a bit of a tough morning - as he tends to on big days like this) came over to pose with Little Bear and me. Baby O was having his own little shy moment, having just woken from a nap.

Mothers day 10 

Cruisin' .... on a Sunday afternoon. :)

Mothers day 11 

Me and my fellas ...

Mothers day 12 

We joke that my bright pink polo is ... A. clearly Mama's shirt and, B. Mama wears it all the time. (What can I say? It's comfortable ... and nursing-friendly.) So we decided to build around it for Mother's Day - everyone wore a polo, even the baby! In all kinds of springy hues. :)

Mothers day 14 

Little Bear's favorite mode of transportation these days ... up on his Daddy's shoulders! Note the solar panels in the background. I have Bill working on a "guest post" to describe how and why we went solar. :)

Mothers day 16

My wonderful brother ... the boys look up to him so much.

Mothers day 17

Goofing around with big brothers. Speaking of - Bookworm is home for the summer! He is officically done with his freshman year of college! I can't tell you how happy this makes me, to have all of my "birdies" back in the nest. :)

Mothers day 18

 With my Mum and Dad ... since I was a little girl, I have been deeply loved and completely supported. At this stage of life I know what a blessing this is and has been.

Mothers day 19

Me with my Little Bear ... I am so grateful to be a mum again ... to have another soul to nourish and love ... how I love all my boys! God has been so good to me, and I can never thank Him enough.


Well my friends, thanks so much for letting me share these photos here with you all ... I hope you enjoyed seeing how we spent our day! How was your Mother's Day ... how your weekend? I'd love to hear ...

And I hope your new week is a good one. Mid-May already? Wow, time flies fast ...

Thanks so much for stopping by ... see you here again very soon!

Tummy Time with Mama ...

Owen on tummy 1

Owen on tummy 2

Owen on tummy 3


Owen is actually laying on top of me in these pictures (I got the pics with my phone). Our pediatrician suggested he spend a few minutes each day on his tummy to help develop his head and neck muscles. He's surprisingly strong for two weeks!

He's also using his hands now to reach for, and grip things - like the binky in his mouth or Bill's finger. He's quite alert and loves to look your face all over ... loves to be talked with and sung to ... and LOVES to play around with "the baby in the mirror." (We have a large mirror directly behind his changing pad and he's made quite the friend of his reflection.) And I'll have to get a picture of his feet - he's got the longest, somewhat startlingly flexible little "monkey" toes!


Well, I hope you all have a great week! I know I've been posting a lot of pictures of Owen lately, but that's where I'm at right now - just enjoying this baby so much, and our first happy, slow weeks together.

I will, of course, eventually get back to posting about other things, too ... ;)

Have a nice Monday, my friends!


Knitted with Love

Good afternoon, my friends ... I hope you are enjoying your Friday.

I had to share with you some pictures of the absolutely beautiful sweater set my dear friend Cherice hand-knitted for Owen ...

Baby knit set 1

How darling is this?

Baby knit set 2

Made from buttery-soft, organic cotton ...

Baby knit set 3

And the colors ...  so yummy.

Baby knit set 4

A soft cadet blue and a warm harvest gold ... just perfect for our little boy! Not to wish away summer (or any of these precious early weeks) but I can hardly wait for autumn to begin!

With many thanks again to Cherice - and her family, who all had a hand in making this very special gift. So much love in those stitches, we will treasure these knits well beyond the years our little boy can wear them.


Have a lovely weekend, my friends ... I will see you here again sometime soon!

The Swing of Things

Owen in swing

Owen had his first time in his new "Snugabunny" swing yesterday!

(I think it helped that he went in sleepy to start with.)


He had a short nap here - maybe 30 minutes or so before something - ahem, someone - woke him. But that's ok, he's getting used to the sounds of the household around him and sleeping pretty well just the same ...

Hope you all have a Happy Friday ... I'll be back later today with another post!

Baby Books & Recent Visitors

Baby book 1

Isn't this the sweetest thing? This is the front cover of an absolutely beautiful baby book ~  a gift from our dear friends, Vicki and Paul. It's a brand new book, but originally published in 1969 (my own birth year!) and it looks JUST like the books my mom kept for my brother and me (mine in yellow, his in blue). I adored those books ... I read them over and over as a child, poring over the pages and practically memorizing the details. The illustrations were (and are) so dreamy and charming ... I can't wait to jot down our notes.

One page that I can begin filling in is the Visitors page:

Baby book 2

Over the past week, family members have been stopping by to say hello and warmly welcome Owen to our world ... I thought I'd share a few pictures here.

At the hospital ...

Op 5

Big brother Crackerjack ...

Op 6

Big brother (and godfather-to-be) Bookworm ...

Op 4

Nana ...

Op 8

Papa ...

Op 9

And Uncle Matt ...

At home ...

Owen day 6 visit with aunt ami

Aunt Ami ...

Owen day 6 with grama b

Grandma Barbara (with Mama and Crackerjack) ...

Owen and marcia

Great Auntie Marcia ...

Owen with kate

... and godmother-to-be, cousin Kate.

How blessed we are to be surrounded by such love!


Now, many of you have asked how Earlybird has adjusted to his new baby brother, and to be honest ... he had a tough time at first. In fact, the day we got home from the hospital he spent mostly in tears. He had been SO excited for us to come home, and he was all talk of "Owen, our baby" coming home ... and when Bill pulled into the drive Tuesday morning, he came flying out the front door ... only to stop abruptly as he watched me climb out of the back of the van. Suddenly he was overwhelmed with the reality of the situation (and probably a lot of emotion and concern) and for the next several hours he really didn't want to have anything to do with his baby brother. My mum was here and comforted him as best she could, and sure enough, he started coming into the bedroom where I was with Owen, and taking a peek ... making a comment or asking a question ... and by the end of the day he was more at peace. I think it's still an adjustment for him - as it is for us all - and EB is very much a creature of habit and comfort. He likes - relies even - on things staying "just so."

But now that Owen has been here nearly a week, he's handling it all very well. He pretty much does his own thing and pops in to see his brother now and again. If Owen cries, EB puts his hands over his ears but it's with a bemused smile on his face - as if to say, "Wow, he's loud!" He's gotten used to me having a baby in my arms or over my shoulder most of the time (the first day he would tell me to take Owen back to the bedroom, lol). And he is SUPER helpful with diaper changes - as soon as that little bundle is wrapped up he picks it up and disposes of it for us. And he just assumed that job on his own. :)

The older boys have been terrific - both are thrilled to have Owen here and are extremely helpful to me in many ways. Crackerjack, especially, is just smitten ... he is always checking in on Owen - or "Opie" as he likes to call him - and asking to hold him. In fact, he spent a lot of time with me in the hospital - he just didn't want to stay home! I'm so pleased with his reaction in particular because he will be quite helpful to me ... especially once Bookworm heads off to school in the fall.


A baby brings such life and love into a family - and it's an extra special joy to share our little one with our loved ones. We're blessed to have so many hearts and hands to help with our little guy!

Well, my friends, I hope you are enjoying your week ... take care of yourselves and your loved ones and I will see you here again sometime 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!

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!


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 ...

Baby shower 1

*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 ...

Baby shower 12

As well as a wonderfully refreshing BLUE punch:

Baby shower 10
 (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 ...

Baby shower 11

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!

Shower 11

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!

Shower 15

 How adorable are these window stickers?!

Baby shower 13

Balloons, banners, etc.

Shower 12

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

And there were, of course, presents!

Baby shower 14

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 ...

Shower 13

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 ...

Showe 19

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.

Shower 19

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

Baby shower 9

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

Shower 22

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

Shower 21

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

Shower 17

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

Shower 18

Ami and Eric - such a cute couple!

Baby shower 17

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 ...

Baby shower 15

As well as our Earlybird ...

Baby shower 2

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!

Shower 23

Baby shower 16

Baby shower 18

 Shower 20

Shower 24

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!


4 things that made me smile today ...


1. Re-doing my chore cards ...

New chore cards

The old ones had gotten rather dog-eared, and some of the tasks were outdated, so I made up a brand new set. Love those soft rainbow colors!

2. A new package of file folders ...

New file folders

It always catches me by surprise when my file folder crate reaches "full circle." I'm nearing my annual "refresh time" so I picked up some crisp new folders at Staples the other day. This time around I chose some soft brown recycled folders ... still working (ever working) on the planning sheet to "go with."

3. A batch of homemade hot fudge sauce ...

Fudge sauce

It's National Chocolate Mint Day, dontcha know! And I happen to be a BIG fan of chocolate + mint ... have you ever grown chocolate-mint (the herb)? It's lovely! Well, I had grand plans to make these today but extra time and energy were hard to come by. (And not that I don't adore Girl Scout cookies, but EB can't have them.) So instead, I bought some mint-chocolate ice cream and cooked up some of this sauce to make it all kinds of special. (Fyi, I'm craving chocolate something fierce these days - even though it gives me terrible heartburn!)

4. Something funny & sweet my middle man said ...

Since I was feeling super-tired today, I told the boys I was going to lie down for a rest ... So Crackerjack asked, "Are you really tired today, mom?" And as I crashed on the couch I said yes (or maybe I just nodded, I forget) and then CJ said:

"Well, that's a good thing isn't it? It means the baby's working really hard at growing something!"


What made you smile today?

Bump Shot!

(26 weeks on Monday!)

Bump shot 26 weeks


Well, I had a lovely time today, joining several dear housemates from college to celebrate our friend Nancy's birthday. We met at The Cheesecake Factory for lunch - and delicious cheesecake, of course! When I got home, I had Bookworm take this picture for me since I was somewhat "gussied up," lol.

I feel like my "bump" is much bigger than it actually is! But I'm feeling well and baby's doing great - he continues to be very active at all hours of the day - and particularly the night. He and I have just about three months to go ...

(I should mention, those fancy-shmancy bracelets are actually "seabands" which I've been wearing for morning sickness. The nausea has thankfully passed, but I still wear them - I'm not taking any chances!)

Hope you're all enjoying your weekend! Are we all quite excited (perhaps nervous?) for Downton tomorrow night?


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 ...


Weekly Bits of Domestic Bliss

VH nest 1
Of Note

Winter Solstice (21st), Fourth Sunday in Advent (23rd)


Alas, it's looking more and more like a green Christmas. After a chilly, rainy start the week, we may see some flurries over week's end.

The Solstice brings the shortest day of the year. We'll make time to watch (and record) the sunrise and sunset. We'll also make some homemade nutty-fruity treats for the birds & squirrels.


Finalize Christmas Eve/Day menus.

Order ham.

Major fridge clean-out.

Party food/libations shopping over weekend. 

Last batch of Christmas cards mailed out.

Write out checklist for pre-Christmas cleaning.

Organize Christmas outfits.

Christmas Baking later this week!

Last minute online orders.

Dinner Menus:

M - baked ziti, leftover meatballs (from EB's party), salad, toasted rolls

T - squash soup & grilled cheese/turkey panini (leftover deli from EB's party)

W - grilled chicken tenders, rice, roasted vegetables (leftovers make great wraps for lunch the next day)

T - homemade pizzas, tossed salads

F - Solstice Supper: beef cottage pie, solstice bread, spiced cider, lemon "sun" cake

S - *leftovers a la Daddy*

S - turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn muffins, cranberry sauce

Dear Baby ...

(17 Weeks)

You are a very active baby, my little one! I'm feeling lots of movement every day - little pops and twirls. Daddy and I were watching a documentary on The Beatles and you seemed particularly rambunctious! So much so that Daddy could feel you from the outside!

Mama has some labwork this week and we're praying everything is OK.

Learning Themes:

The Winter Solstice

"Animals of Christmas" continued - donkeys!

Excited About ~ Working On:

Watching Christmas specials with the kids, when it gets dark in the mid-afternoons. I love it when the house is lit only by Christmas lights.

Beginning my Winter Journal ... brainstorming homey, cozy thoughts for January and February. :)

Choosing/organizing a new 2013 calendar.

Making time for a Christmas "Tuesday Tea" this week, whether it's Tuesday or not.


My heart is so heavy this morning, so full of sorrow over the tragedy in Sandy Hook. Praying for those dear little souls, such beautiful children ... I can think no further on it, nothing makes sense and it's all too terrible to process. Just feeling very protective of my own children and praying for all those involved, especially the families of those lost.

Angel ornament

Well my friends, I hope your week's going well ... thanks so much for stopping by today. I know we're all busy, especially as we enter this last week before Christmas, so posting will be slow for me ... but please know I am always thinking of you all and keeping you in my prayers.

And have yourselves a merry little Monday ...


Weekly Bits of Domestic Bliss

VH nest 1
Of Note

Jury Duty (3rd), National Cookie Day (4th), St. Barbara (4th), St. Nicholas (6th), The Feast of The Immaculate Conception (8th), Second Sunday in Advent (9th), National Pastry Day (9th)


Mild for December! In the 50s most of the week, but rain coming this weekend.

At tree farm, notice different kinds of evergreens. (Bring a field guide?)

Sketch branch of our tree for nature journal.


Clean out medicine chest. Replace outdated items.

Clean out china cupboard. Dust and polish woodwork, wash Christmas china and set up display.

Work on Christmas Eve/Day menus.

Decorate tree!

Repair tree skirt.

Prepare Christmas cards for mailing.

Dinner Menus:

M - Chinese takeout :)

T - grilled beef & cheese panini with carmelized onions, steak fries

W - baked ziti, sauteed Italian veggies, garlic breadsticks

T - breaded/baked chicken tenders, homemade cranberry relish, roasted potatoes

F - homemade pizza night, salad

S - *leftovers a la Daddy*

S - sweet potato-sausage-kale soup, parsnip-onion tarte tatin, Mexican cocoa

Desserts: vanilla cookies, gingerbread snack cake, sorbet

Dear Baby ...

(15 Weeks)

We've started to think about names, but if/when we find out your gender later this month we will get more serious about that. ;)

Mama has some tests this week - praying all is well!

Learning Themes:

"Animals of Christmas" continued (birds).

Where is Winter? Crazy climate!

Read: The Lady of Guadalupe. Discuss example of Juan Diego.

Excited About ~ Working On:

My "Advent Peace" basket - I keep it tucked beside my couch corner. In it I have: my seasonal prayer journal, my Magnificat Companion, my comfort reading, and a few special dvd's.

I am loving Thomas's Cranberry Swirl toasting bread! I buy this every year ... and it's so delicious with a little butter. Tastes just like Christmas breakfast to me!

Can't wait to meet my brother's new cat, Martini  - he adopted her over the weekend.

So happy to learn Princess Kate is pregnant! Many blessings to the royal couple and prayers all goes smoothly. (And prayers for Kate's sickness relief!)


Doing some serious thinking about how (dis)organized I am. SO many things have fallen through the cracks lately - been forgotten or messed up - I can't even tell you. It's shameful. And when we have a few busy days in a row - as I had this past weekend (all-day mime performances on Saturday, a family party on Sunday, jury duty on Monday) I feel, and fall, so behind. I don't have any answers yet, just know I have to step up, get focused and get a better handle on things.

Thinking about my jury duty experience yesterday ... I was assigned a low number, so, after a brief "once over" by the judge, I was the third juror placed in the box. However, one of the attorneys (my guess is the defense) sent me back to the pool. It was an ugly case, too - the defendant was accused of domestic assault & battery. I felt lucky that, along with the other excused jurors, I was free to go at lunchtime, but I truly felt lucky on a few different levels. The things some families have to go through ... the lives some people are leading ... makes me all the more grateful for the stability and blessings I have in my life.

Sunday is National Pastry Day and I have such fond memories of my dad buying pastries on Sunday mornings after church. My favorites were the lemon danish (and as I recently revelaled these have been a consistent craving through all my pregnancies). I would love to learn how to make pastries someday, but for this Sunday I'll pick up some yummies at our favorite local bakery. :)

Very sad to learn Everyday Food magazine will be going out of print next year. :( This has been my favorite food magazine for years - in fact, I have every issue!


Well my friends, I hope your week's going well ... thanks so much for stopping by today. Have yourselves a Happy Tuesday, and be sure to tune in tomorrow ... I have a little giveaway planned! :)


Weekly Bits of Domestic Bliss

VH nest 1
Of Note

Mum's birthday (26th), Cyber Monday (26th), A Charlie Brown Christmas on ABC (28th), Full Beaver Moon (28th), Feast of St. Andrew, Patron of Scotland (30th), B&N Educator Discount Day (1st), First Sunday in Advent (2nd)


Quite chilly, in the 40s - mostly sunny. Flurries on Tuesday.

Beautiful bittersweet vines growing alongside the river out back.

Make plans (themes/practical considertations) for winter nature walks.

Watch for the full moon Wednesday night.


Put up Christmas decorations.

Do outdoor lights/decorations.

Begin online Christmas orders.

Organize boys' holiday outfits, haircuts.

Dinner Menus:

M - pesto pasta, crescent rolls (boys' fave), leftover meatballs

T - meatball/tortellini soup, garlic rolls

W - pulled chicken salad wraps, leftover soup

T - taco potatoes (ground turkey), fiesta salads

F - homemade pizza night, raw veggies/dip

S - *takeout*

S - pork roast, potatoes & squash, apple-cheddar muffins

Desserts: Scottish shortbread, oatmeal-fruit cookies, peppermint-brownie sundaes (Sunday Sundaes)

Dear Baby ...

(14 Weeks)

I felt you move for the first time on Thanksgiving morning! Oh my, what a wonderful feeling!

Feeling much less nausea these days! Just a little when I take my prenatal vitamin and sometimes around suppertime.

Keeping to home as much as possible - a quiet schedule helps my energy level!

Earlybird has noticed Mama's belly, but when he asked "What's wrong with your belly?" and I answered, "Well, it's getting kind of big, isn't it?" he simply shrugged and said, "Yeah, wow!" Nothing else, lol.

Learning Themes:

Waiting for Winter

"Animals of Christmas"

Work on using nice language - how we speak matters.

Christmas "food shopping" lists with EB.

Excited About ~ Working On:

A simple, peaceful Advent ~ reducing noise and clutter, both visual and auditory.

Bill set up "Classical Christmas" music for me on my phone - I park it on the kitchen counter with little speakers ... soothing background music for this time of year.


Bring home the tree this weekend!

Address/stamp Christmas cards.

Watch Take Peace: A Corgi Cottage Christmas (on loan from library).

Brainstorm "teacher gifts" with the boys.


Happy Tuesday, my friends! I hope your week is off to a great start! I apologize I am so behind on comment replies ... I will be catching up over the next few days. (I always seem to think I have much more time (and energy) than I actually do!) I truly appreciate the time and thought you put into your messages. :)

Well, have yourselves a good day ... I will see you here again very soon!