Monday, April 30, 2012

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus...

I thought the day would never come. Well, I knew it would, I just couldn't dare to even think of it, lest I jinx it and make it so far off in the future I could weep just to gaze upon it. But finally, it happened.

I got a full night of sleep.

The weekend was still a bit mixed, but overall, it was awesomeness. Friday night, Anne slept from her bedtime at 7:30 pm until about 5:15 am. And that in of itself was fabulous, and heartening. I really don't want to be up at 5:30 am, but I understand that I really can't press the baby to go longer.

Saturday night, though, was pure magic. She slept from 7:30 pm until *6:30 am*.

Choirs of angels sang. The very gates of heaven trembled. Archangels were dispatched to swirl about in glee.

People, I haven't slept that long uninterrupted since August 2010, and that is the honest to goodness truth. No exaggeration.

I didn't even know what to do with myself when I woke up. I actually felt like a normal, rested person.

Last night wasn't quite as good, but given that our standards have risen (meaning that we actually *have* standards for sleep that aren't "as long as I can stagger to work the next day...") it wasn't that bad. She woke around midnight and fussed for about 30 minutes, but went back to sleep. So that woke us up and then I had to get back to sleep after she went back. And that would have been fine, had she slept until 6 am. But she didn't. :) She was up for the day at 5 am. And so it goes.

Still, that's considerably better than what we've been dealing with for the past year, so I'll take it.

I will take it. And I actually feel hopeful that we'll get a decent amount of sleep regularly now. I could just weep in gratitude.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Somewhat soothed, albeit with a sore neck

I could just fall asleep right at my desk, if only my neck didn't hurt so much. I'll explain that in a bit. But despite the cumulative-effect exhaustion, we actually had a really good night last night. I think maybe the tide is turning. And if God decides to take this opportunity to teach me a lesson in humility I'll just cry. I'm already humbled by this sleep thing, I promise. I'm just looking for a ray of hope in a gloomy situation. The weekend will be a key indicator of things to come, and I'm cautiously optimistic.

But prior to our night, I had my prop balancing class. And it was FABULOUS.

It's just me and one other woman in the class, so we get lots of attention. :) Claire had me use her sword, and so away I went. She was working on balancing a tray with a hookah pipe on top for an upcoming performance, which was pretty entertaining. She wants to be able to smoke the tobacco from the pipe while it's atop her head, which means that she is a much, much braver woman than I.

Anyway, went really well! Apparently I'm a decent balancer. It certainly helps that dance swords are HEAVY. That's why my neck is sore, from supporting it for an hour. It also hurt my hair a bit, but no permanent damage. :) We drilled movements around the room, Claire joining us with her tray. We also worked on changing levels and doing floor work, which is a bit dicey with a sword on your head, as you might imagine. We all agreed that one has to be modest and discreet when doing floor work, since there is clearly a line when performing movements on the floor, and we've all seen people who have crossed that line. :) It's hard to define, but a violation is immediately noticeable. Anyway, by that point, all of our heads hurt, so we called it a night.

And this morning...I ordered a sword! Tremendously excited. for anybody else so in need of a weapon balanced for dancing. :) We're going to be working on a choreography for the upcoming hafla and I'm terribly excited.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Too depressed to blog...

Let's just say the Anne Sleep Battle isn't going well. I've been unmotivated to blog all day, which isn't like me. Hopefully, I'll be perkier tomorrow. :(

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What does it say about my skills in the kitchen if I *&%#ed up the homemade play dough?

I'm not a bad cook, I'm really not. My family likes what I make. Well, Mike does. Baking is a bit more challenging, but I do what I can. I think that I hold my own. And see? I'm not defensive about it at all.

So the other day, Henry brings home a recipe from school for homemade play dough and says that we have to make some. I eyed the recipe warily, because making play dough seemed kinda closer to "baking" than to "cooking" and that's always a bad line to cross for me. The recipe assured me that it was "easy" and "only took a few minutes." I scanned the ingredients, noting that we had everything except for Cream of Tartar, which I borrowed from my mother-in-law. Last night was the big night: we delved in, Henry excitedly by my side.

Cup of flour, check. Cup of water with food coloring of choice, check (after Henry made a mess picking out his color). Some cooking oil, check. The Cream of Tartar, check. Cup of salt. Wait, WHAT? A *cup* of salt? Holy cannolis. I mean, I know that play dough is salty. NOBODY JUDGE ME. Who hasn't eaten play dough? Anybody?


I know you're lying.

Anyway, moving on. I was a bit shocked at the sheer volume of salt that was called for. But I was in a pinch (no pun intended) now because I had already waited a few days to secure the Cream of Tartar, and I didn't look at the salt content before. Now, I had to send it in the next day and I certainly didn't feel like running to the store for salt. With the optimism of somebody multiplying loaves and fishes, I emptied our salt container into my measuring cup.

Not even close.

In desperation, I re-opened the spice cupboard. Ah ha! A can of sea salt. Will sea salt hurt the play dough? I really don't care. I dumped it in, and got a full cup. In it went.

The ingredients were together, so we stirred it over a low flame, just like the directions said. A dough-like substance started to form, and I released a breath of relief.

Until I took it out of the pot and put it on the counter.

It just felt...weird. Henry wrinkled his nose at it.

"I think you put too much salt in it, Mommy."

"NO I DIDN'T!!! I mean, I just followed the directions, Sweetheart. What are you doing with the play dough anyway? Making a model or village of some kind?"

Henry gives me a look like I must be completely daft.

"No, Mommy. We're *playing* with it."

Oh. Of course.

I left the dough on the counter hoping that the cooling process would make it more play worthy. And yes, I did taste it.

It tasted like play dough. So there.

30 minutes later, I wander back over. It still seems too squishy and soft to me. Kinda wet. Mike comes over to investigate.

"Honey, does this feel like play dough to you?" *anxious*

"Yeah, it kinda does."

So reassuring.

"It has a lot of salt in it. But play doh is really salty."

"I wouldn't know. I've never eaten play dough."

Well, la de da.

"I'm sure it's going to be fine, Sweetie. Don't obsess over it."

Easy for him to say. The teacher won't be shaking her head over *his* inept play-dough-making abilities tomorrow morning. Clearly, I'm a failure as a mother.

The anxiety overtook me. I popped the play dough back into the pot to apply more heat, hoping this would help the texture. It worked, at least a little bit. The dough became less wet and firmer. So I plopped it onto the counter again.

30 minutes later, the outer layer was a bit crusty, and upon prying some of it off, the middle still broke apart easily and didn't seem clay-like enough. Sigh. I put it into a giant Ziploc bag and hoped for the best.

This morning, Henry went to school with his mint green play dough tucked into his backpack. I hope it's ok, and that he's not ridiculed for his freakish play dough. I'm just so bad at this stuff. I mean, I knit and crochet. I'm supposed to be CRAFTY. But I'm not. My skill set is very specific. Which is a nice way of saying that I suck at most crafts and all baking that doesn't involve Betty Crocker or the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

And it's brownies, even Betty can't help me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Adventures in night weaning and belly dancing by moonlight

So, I made the decision over the weekend to night wean Anne. I knew the following:

(a) She is ready; she has slept (a few times) 8-9 hours without nursing.

(b) She barely nurses in the night without being distracted and/or falling back to sleep.

(c) She is miserably cranky in the evenings even when she takes good naps, and she needs more sleep at night.

(d) She is transitioning to more solids during the day and is showing less and less interest in her bottles when I'm at work; my milk supply has changed accordingly.


(e) If I do not nurse her in the night, she will MAKE.US.PAY.

Hence, the reason I've been putting it off. However, we had yet another atrocious night on Friday, and I knew it had to be done. She's nearly a year old, she has 6 teeth, and it's not good for her to be drinking milk in the middle of the night when clearly I'm not going to brush her teeth afterward. She's old enough to go through the entire night without nursing. So in we plunged.

It goes without saying that the first night was ugly.

She has a lovie in her crib, and I went in to soothe her many times without nursing her. Each time I went in and left without nursing her, she got MADDER. She threw her lovie on the floor. She STOOD UP and voiced her displeasure for an absolute eternity.

But finally, she went to sleep. And after that, she slept until the morning. That next day, I was utterly exhausted for being up for so long, but I knew it was worth it.

Night 2 was less bad. She was exhausted too, and slept until 4 am. She stayed awake for an hour, with a soothe session in the middle. She didn't cry the whole time, she talked a lot, and generally made a little noise. She went back to sleep on her own.

Last night was night 3. She got up around 1 am, and stayed awake for about an hour and 15 minutes. We had a nice cuddle session in there. Her mood when she discovered that I was only going to rock and cuddle her and not nurse her = PISSED, but she got over it. Shortly after I put her back in her crib, she went to sleep.

Each morning, she has woken up happy and nursed heartily without distraction or hurting me because she's not really that into it. So, we'll see how tonight goes. Night 4 of Anne Sleep Battle...

But it's time. I don't push eliminating night wakings for a really long time. But her birthday is in less than a month. That time is now. I'll continue to nurse her during the day whenever she wants.

So, after Anne (and Henry) go to sleep, I've been dancing. We have a hafla coming up, as well as some other potential performances, and my motivation level is high to improve my dancing and my confidence level. Therefore, my hafla solo is going to explore previously uncharted territory: improvisation.

I may have mentioned in the past that I'm terrified of improvisation. This means that one does not have a structured and completely planned choreography. You select music, perhaps choreograph an entrance and exit and some musical highlight points, but otherwise, you just dance whatever you feel fits the music right in the moment. My stomach feels funny just thinking about it.

But improvisation is key to professional belly dancing. You can't plan and remember multiple choreographies, and it will make your dancing stale after a bit. I've been forcing myself to practice improv a bit by putting on random music and just dancing around the kitchen in the evenings (lucky Mike) and I have to admit, there's something very relaxing about it. You don't have to worry about forgetting your meticulously choreographed routine (my preciousssss....). When you're doing a solo, no one will know if you "mess up" and go off your choreography, but somehow, your face will show it. At least mine will. But with improvisation, that worry goes away. If you're good at staying on the music, you can just do whatever you want and it will *look* like a planned choreography, all without the pressure. Win-win.

But it's still scary. In the moment, all I can seem to remember are about 4 movements, and then I start worrying that I'm repeating myself and the audience is bored. I have a real fear of boredom. I *have* gotten a bit better, and have been working on some combinations that I can stick in, and I've actually been remembering more than just 4 movements, but still. I'll feel all successful and sassy and turn to face my audience (the microwave)!:

"Oh no. They're bored, aren't they?"

I can't help it, this is a huge fear of mine. But I'm working on it. We'll get there. And with more sleep, my brain power can only improve...

Monday, April 23, 2012

St. Anthony comes through...


It was tucked under a couch cushion. And I *swear* we looked there.

No questions. I'm just grateful.

My interview on pumping...

A blogger friend of mine asked me to do an interview for her recently about working outside the home and pumping for my babies. Part 1 is posted today. :) I feel all important...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Here's hoping that I don't sever a toe or set something on fire

Last night was my first session in the 6 week balance class I signed up for at my belly dance studio. I was hesitant to add another course to my repertoire, since it means I'll be away from Mike and the kids an additional hour one evening, but this is only a short term specialty class and Mike encouraged me to go for it. So I did. I arrived with my hardcover coffee table book all eager and ready to practice balancing.

Belly dancers balance any number of props. The most common that you'll see in America is a sword. Dancers can also balance a cane, a basket, or a tray. The traditional Egyptian wedding dance (called a Zeffa) includes a dancer balancing a shamadan, which is a candelabra that she balances on her head. Do a Google image search. It's very...interesting looking. :)

Claire had a shamadan, and we all took turns trying it, and I have to say, I didn't like it. One would think that because it comes complete with headgear it would stay much more securely on your head than a thin sword, but one would be wrong. :) It's so tall that it pitches backward at the slightest inclination. And with a candelabra, it falling means setting yourself or the venue on fire. Not a good way to get asked back. It was neat to see, but my focus is the sword.

For the time being though, since I'm a baby balancer, I stuck with my book. And I didn't do too bad. The key is not moving your head, even if you change the orientation of your body. To look to the side, you should just move your eyes, which is kind of creepy. And any difference in the level of one foot over the other will make your prop bobble, which as you can imagine, is a bad thing. You have to stay totally level all the time. That doesn't mean you can't change your overall level - doing a quick dip or floorwork is common and lovely to look at when balancing a sword - but both of your feet have to stay consistent with each other at all times.

We practiced some basic movements and then moved on to the scary part: traveling. Everything was fine while I was standing still. Actually moving poses the real challenge. I did fine with flat footed movements. But going up on the balls of my feet presented some difficulties. I really enjoyed it though. We also explored balancing your prop on your shoulder and your hip. We all agreed that balancing your prop across your chest = a no-no. For so many reasons.

I tried Claire's sword toward the end. Belly dance swords are balanced to have a center of gravity over the blade and they aren't sharpened. Some of them have a sharp tip, which scares me a bit. I really would like to keep all 10 of my toes even if I do drop my sword while dancing. And the swords are *heavy*. I suppose that's good, but it's not what I expected. I discovered pretty quickly that everyone has a "sweet spot" where you're most easily able to balance something on your head. It's closer to the front of my head than I would have expected. Lots of work to do here, but I enjoyed it a heck of a lot.

I did some preliminary research on buying myself a starter sword. As is usually the case, I overdid it and have now seen about 20 different kinds of swords from a dozen different vendors. I found out that swords with a curvier blade stay balanced easier but they usually have a sharp tip, and warnings about potentially drawing blood caused me to click away quickly in fear. I'm leaning toward a thicker, blunter sword, without as much bend to the blade. We'll see.

I'll be practicing with my book over the weekend. I'll have to wait until Anne goes to bed since she's so short I knock into her when I can't look down. Only moving my eyes doesn't help me in that case. But I'm terribly excited. Maybe I'll be balancing weapons in no time. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Henry has had some good ones this week

Despite repeated requests, Anne still has not produced her missing shoe. I've appealed to St. Anthony, and I'm still holding out hope for him, but in the meantime, we continue to look. Henry offered to poke around the kitchen the other night.

"Mommy, it's kind of messy over here."

"What do you mean, Honey? It wasn't messy before."

"It's messy now. Maybe Mr. Messy was here."

"Um, I don't think so, Hank. The only Mr. Messy in this house is you."

"Why? Have you, um, been in my room? The Green Lantern was there earlier."

Oh, I see.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Does the Gyrobowl gyro well when put to the test?

For quite awhile now, Henry has wanted to get Anne a Gyrobowl. Last time we were at the mall, he pulled me to the "As Seen on TV!" store and insisted that we should get Anne one for her Cheerios. According to the infomercial, this is the bowl from which no item will ever spill. Kids with snacks, dips at parties, little clips at work or nails for your home improvement project, all stay tight in the bowl even if you flip it upside down or throw it down the stairs due to its start of the art design.


We procured aforementioned Gyrobowl as an early birthday gift for Anne. We got it home. We filled it with Cheerios. I handed it to Anne.

She held it by the handle, and it spun just like in the commercial and the Cheerios stayed intact. I was impressed. She carried it for a few steps and then plopped down to attack the Cheerios. Holding the spheres in place with her pudgy little hand, she dumped the Cheerios out onto the floor.

Now, I couldn't blame that one on the Gyrobowl. That's called "user error." But clearly it's a loophole that is easy for any baby to figure out and still make a mess.

Next came the true test. As Anne ate Cheerios off the kitchen floor, Henry popped fresh ones into the Gyrobowl and and took it to the top of the stairs.

"Ok Mommy, here it comes, just like in the commercial!"

I heard an initial bump, followed by the unmistakable sound of Cheerios scattering down the stairs and onto the wood floor.

"Mommy. It doesn't work like in the commercial. This is very disappointing."

So there you have it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Little Catholic morsels that Henry is learning at school...

"Mommy do you know who can bless holy water? Lots of people."

"Really? I don't think lots of people, Honey. Priests can bless holy water."

"Yeah! Priests. Deacons can too..."

Can they? They can baptize, so I suppose it makes sense, but I wasn't sure on this one. :)

"...and Bishops. And Robins."

"I think you mean Cardinals, Sweetie."

"Yeah, Cardinals. Do we have a Cardinal here, Mommy?"

"No, Honey. The closest one is in New York City."

"Oh." *furrowed brow* "How come?"

"Well, it's a special position, Sweetie, and there aren't that many. I think only a couple hundred in the whole world."

"Exactly how many?"

He's in a very inquisitive stage right now.

"I don't know, Sweetheart."

"Maybe we can look it up on Google."

What? How does he know about Google? I'm not sure if this is disturbing or not.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The case of the missing shoe....

The weather is getting warmer around here, and to my mind, this means one thing: the battle between us, Anne, and her socks will return.

When the weather is cooler, we just keep her in a footed sleeper all the time. It's warmer, plus the sock thing Because if we put her in pants and a onesie, or shorts, etc., we always put socks on her so that her feet aren't bare. And socks are the bane of my existence with her.

Last fall, we put socks on her a lot so that she could wear the cute outfits people had bought for her. And we know how well that turned out. She's been wearing sleepers ever since.

Us (0), Anne and her socks (1).

Yesterday, it was particularly mild, and since it had rained, even a tad humid. We cracked a window, and worried that Anne might be too warm in her adorable fleeced sleeper with polar bear face feet. Mike changed her into a pink short sleeved onesie with cupcake print pants. Even though it was mild, I still worry about her feet getting cold. So I put a pair of socks on her. I don't care how far and how tight you pull those puppies up, they WILL be off her feet in minutes. This is where the shoes came into the picture.

A few weeks ago, in a trip to Carter's, we bought her a pair of pink sandals. But when we got them home, I realized they were way too big. She'll be able to wear them eventually, just not right away. Finally, we were at Payless yesterday since both Henry and I needed new shoes. And I picked up a pair of infant shoes for Anne in a smaller size, when I could actually measure her foot.

They're adorable. They're brown slipper-like shoes that hug her feet. And with them on, she won't be able to get her socks off. Huzzah!

I put them on her. She immediately sat down and tried to wrench them off her feet. No success. She then put her foot in her mouth and sucked on one for a few minutes, but eventually got up and walked. The little pitter patter sound as she made her way across the hardwood floor was absolutely precious. And her socks stayed on.

Us (1), Anne and her socks (1).

She played before dinner for a bit, and on stayed both the socks and shoes. Henry and Mike went out to get us a pizza for dinner, and I popped Anne into her high chair for some green beans and Cheerios while I waited.

By the time the men came back with the pizza, Anne was full and throwing Cheerios on the floor. I got her down and opened the cupboard full of Tupperware containers for her to play in while we ate. She plopped down there happily.

A few times while we ate, she toddled over to hand us something. And I had to fetch her from wandering into the bathroom a few times. After we finished, I scooped her up and took her into the living room to nurse.

She only had 1 shoe on. And 1 sock was halfway pulled off. Trimphantly.

Us (1), Anne and her socks (2).

I quickly backtracked our route from the kitchen. No shoe. I scanned the kitchen floor. No shoe. I even pulled everything out of the Tupperware cupboard. NO SHOE.

I nursed her, figuring that when I could dedicate some time to it, I'd find the shoe.

That, my friends, was a classic case of overconfidence.

Next thing you know, I'm crawling around on the kitchen floor, poking under the stove and into corners. I emptied the Tupperware cupboard again. NO FREAKING SHOE. This was now getting personal. Mike and Henry joined in the search. Heard from our kitchen as we searched:

"Did you look in the dishwasher?"

"How could it have gotten in the dishwasher?"

"I don't know, but she loves it in there."

"Anne, what are you...OW! Don't bite, Honey!"

"Could it have gotten under the refrigerator...OH GOD!! When was the last time we cleaned under here?!"

*crickets chirp*

"I don't remember either. Good God, it's REPULSIVE under here! We *have* to clean this."

"Could she have put it in the garbage?"

"God, I hope not, I just threw the garbage."

*short silence*

"You want me to go outside and check the garbage don't you?"

*10 minutes later*

"It's not in the garbage."

"Well, it's not in the sofa cushions either, but I did find that missing cake from her tea set."

"Anne, come here Honey. She's walking toward the bathroom! Maybe she'll lead us to it!"

We looked for that *insert your choice of naughty words here* shoe for 30 full minutes. Do you think we found it?


Us (1), Anne and her socks, (3)

Say a St. Anthony prayer for us, if you would.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Hanging in there... a thread, but I'll take it. Last night was less bad. That's one of my most commonly used phrases these days, "less bad." :) And a tooth appears to be *just* below the gum line. Please God, that it arrives this weekend.

She's so cute though, toddling around the house. Does this mean that she's a toddler now? *sniffle* I want her to still be a baby. She's MY baby, no matter what.

I have dance tonight, so hopefully I'll still be awake. Anne too loves to dance, and I cannot WAIT for her to be old enough for ballet. She bops around whenever I'm practicing in the kitchen after dinner. She's so totally precious.

Next week, I'm also going to start taking a 6 week prop balancing class at my dance studio. I'm SO excited. Me trying to balance a sword on my head while dancing is a bit of a scary proposition, but I think it'll be highly entertaining. Props make me nervous because I want to be in control of everything when I'm dancing, and sometimes they have a mind of their own. I'll be sure and report in.

But seriously, I love belly dance. LOVE it. I love the dance, but I also love the women that I dance with. They're such a blessing. And the studio is close to my house, so I'm never gone that long when I go. We have a hafla coming up in June, and I'm plotting out my solo. Terribly excited.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Why are a few teeth such a problem?!?!


Oh man. Anne has 6 teeth, and has once again been drooling like crazy for A FREAKING ETERNITY, and yet, she still has just 6 teeth. And last night, she did this thing that she does when she's teething: she wouldn't go back to sleep. So our night looks like this:

7:30 pm - Anne goes to bed

7:45 pm - Anne falls asleep

8 pm - Catholic Librarian, hubby, and Henry play Clue

8:15 pm - Henry goes to bed

8:30 pm - Catholic Librarian and hubby happily watch part of Pride & Prejudice

10 pm - Happy couple goes to bed

10:10 pm - Anne awakes

10:15 pm - Nurse Anne in bed

10:30 pm - Put Anne back in crib

10:31 pm - Anne sobs

10:40 pm - Re-nurse Anne in bed

11 pm - Put Anne back in crib

11:05 pm - Anne sobs

11:15 pm - Rock Anne in rocker

11:30 pm - Anne falls asleep. Place Anne in crib.

11:35 pm - Anne sobs

11:45 pm - Bring Anne into our bed. It's evident that she has no interest in nursing

12 am - Anne attempts to crawl around our bed, wide awake

12:05 am - Re-attempt a nurse and rock session.

12:30 am - Anne falls asleep. Place Anne in crib.

12:35 am - Anne sobs.

You get the picture. By time she finally fell asleep, it was 1 am, and I was beside myself. I think I cried as much as she did. She's nearly 11 months old; I just want to sleep normally again.

Granted, most nights aren't that bad. That was a Top 5 Worst Nights Ever performance. This morning, I was so tired, that when I was getting ready in the bathroom for work, I didn't notice what Anne was doing until she actually took a bite out of a bar of soap.

Mother of the Year award, coming my way...


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I suddenly have 2 big kids...

Anne is walking. As in, full time. You put her down, and her short self toddles off to an as yet undetermined destination that is certain to involve her opening something I don't want her to open. She doesn't crawl at all anymore.


And Henry is a full fledged kid all of a sudden. I thought it was just yesterday that *he* was toddling off to wreck havoc in the accidentally-left-open bathroom.

Heard last night in our house after Anne was mercifully in bed:

"It's my turn. Oh! I know who did it, I'm going to make an accus-a-zation. It was Mr. Green in the billiard room with the lead pipe!"

"Hank honey, *you* have the billiard room card, you just showed it to me on my turn."

"Oh. Never mind. I'm going to take the secret passage over to the kitchen."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A very happy Easter

Did you miss me? :)

I'm back at work, and catching up on emails from frantic students with overdue papers. I had to put up a vacation message on my email account since I noticed that I was getting so many while I was off that I didn't want them all to think that that I was snubbing them for waiting so long to write their papers. :)

We're getting there. But I had a very nice time being off. It was our first Easter with Anne and I wanted to enjoy every minute. 8 am found us at morning Mass (on not a whole night of sleep, sigh). Me in a new Easter dress with bright green shrug, Mike in khakis and a button down, Henry reluctantly in nice pants and a non-superhero print shirt, and Anne in a dress so big that anytime she fell while walking you could hear a little:


sound, followed by a collapse of taffeta and crinoline completely encircling her legs. She isn't too wild about wearing dresses. How can this be my daughter?!

The kids were both very good during Mass. Well, Anne had to be extracted at one point, but she was pretty tired. So were we, but we refrained from crying during the liturgy of the Eucharist. After Mass, we had breakfast at my in-laws, followed by a long nap by Anne and consequent peaceful time for Mike and I, baking of Easter ham and sweet potatoes, and watching of The Masters.

It was lovely. When everyone went home, we reveled in surviving another holiday celebration at our house. I don't get nearly so annoying about tornadoing around the house when it's just our parents coming over. When you add in siblings and aunts and uncles, that's when I really lose it and start dusting the crevices of the dining room chairs. I held it together pretty well here.

So now it's Easter season, and everything feels fresh and new. How was everyone's Easter Sunday?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Interrupting my brief blogging hiatus for a Catholic public service announcement...

Today is Good Friday (I know that you knew that :)) but also the first day to begin the Divine Mercy Novena for anybody that is interested. My friend Irena and I are praying it this year, and it extends from today until Easter Saturday. A description, plus the prayers, may be found here:

You also offer the Chaplet of Divine Mercy each day for the intentions of the novena. It's a lovely novena, I just finished the first day. I prayed my chaplet in the car, since I drove a bit farther than usual to get gas cheaper since the prices nearly knocked me off my seat this morning. Sigh.

I hope that you all have a very blessed Good Friday.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter plans, and a brief Holy Week blogging hiatus

Somehow, it's already Wednesday of Holy Week, and I just can't believe how fast this Lent flew by. It's been a good Lent, as always. I've done a lot more reading this Lent, which I've really enjoyed. I should've been better about my daily prayers *glares at little devil on shoulder* but all in all I'm pleased with how it went. I also said a few novenas this Lent for some special intentions.

Now, we're solidifying our Easter plans. I adore Easter Sunday. Such a fresh, happy feeling to it. We're having dinner with family and attending the 8 am Mass with the kids. I didn't go to Mass on Easter morning last year because I went to the vigil to see my friend receive the sacraments (so special! that Easter can never be topped). We'll also be watching The Masters golf tournament, at Mike's request. :) It'll be a nice day.

Hank apparently thinks that the Easter bunny has quite a large budget because he's hoping for a Lego set in his Easter basket. I have an in with the bunny, and that's not happening. But it's Anne's first Easter, and she has a few new baby toys that will appear in her basket. Hank will receive plenty of chocolate, plus a few videos.

As for me, I'm happily reading the third book in the John Paul II High series on my beloved Kindle (her one week anniversary with me was this past Monday!) and I LOVE her so much I can barely comprehend how I used to get by without her. I'm taking some days off Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Monday, and I'm also going to take a brief blogging break. Mike isn't teaching on those days either, so we're going to have some nice family time.

I will report in next Tuesday, and I'm certain I'll have lots of Easter tornadoing details (since we're hosting; it goes with the territory) and new Kindle books to review.

Happy Easter everybody!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A chocolate paradise, and a milestone for Anne...

Monday evenings are the night Mike teaches, and so I made plans with my mom to take the kids out to dinner and to travel to the local haven for Easter chocolate in this area. Since we had Anne with us, we weren't exactly bound for a 4 star restaurant. Hence, we wound up at McDonald's.

I eat at McDonald's probably one or two times per 5 year interval. It's very rare. Thus, I felt little guilt adding some tiny crispy Chicken McBites to my southwest salad *halo* and scavenging some of Hank's french fries. And thus, Anne reached a milestone that all children aspire to:

Her first McDonald's french fry.

Kids love those things. I certainly don't want my kids eating fast food on any kind of regular basis, but for the few times that the opportunity presents itself, I have no problem with it. She was thrilled with the little bits of fry I put on her high chair tray. She's definitely very into solids all of a sudden. She still loves to nurse, but Mike reports that it's a struggle to get her to drink much milk out of her bottles during the day. She's clearly transitioning, making for lots of mixed emotions in Mommy. I've moved down to pumping at work only once per day in an effort to lessen my milk supply, since we're getting an overabundance all the time now. And she's nearly a year, at which time she will switch to cow's milk for when she's not with me. I'll then nurse her only when she wants to. At a year, she'll still want to nurse regularly when she's with me, which is fine. But it's definitely a turning point in the nursing relationship. *sniffle*

Anyway, McDonald's was a nice choice because Henry could play on their playground and there were lots of other kids there for Anne to watch in fascination while we ate.

After we finished up, we headed to the chocolate factory. I love this place. It's been around forever, and obviously, Easter is when they go all out. The bunny makes frequent appearances, and chocolate is everywhere. All kinds of chocolate. Milk, dark. white, and (in what is apparently a western New York specialty) orange chocolate. They've also introduced a few new choices in recent years such as cheery cheesecake and raspberry flavored chocolate. And the chocolate is molded into every possible configuration one could ever imagine. My favorite is the little animal miniatures, which I picked up in both white and orange (my favorites), but also present is chocolate in the shape of any living thing or object you could ever think of. Want a giant bunny, oh, I don't know, playing racquetball while carrying a basket of eggs? They have it. Tiny crosses? Check. Barn animals, tool sets? Check, check. Cell phones, iPods and ballerinas? Check, check, check.

We had a good time. I got the miniatures, plus a few things Hank picked out (a milk chocolate radio and a hockey player) and two bunny suckers in different flavors. I tried some free samples of the new dark orange chocolate they were advertising, and away we went, all sugared up.

It was a fun night. Easter is a wonderful time to be a parent. :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Holy week begins...

It's been a busy few weeks at work, and yesterday I was looking forward to a restful Palm Sunday. And it was. Except for the going to Mass part.

Anne stayed home with Mike this week, but I had Children's Liturgy of the Word. I'm not certain how I got talked into doing it on Palm Sunday, but at any rate, those were the breaks. Given how much longer the Liturgy of the Word is on Palm Sunday, I was not looking forward to wrangling the children, but I said a prayer and hoped for the best.

Well. It was *rough*. I did my best, but there were a lot more children there than usual, and they were squirmy. Add in the additional time element, and you have a recipe for a not-so-pleasant Palm Sunday Mass. But we lived through it. I sweated, though. A lot.

When I got home, I found Mike rearranging our living room. He wasn't doing this out of any sense of decor; it was because our daughter is intent upon destroying our possessions and getting into every possible crevice she can with her newfound ability to walk, and in the absence of that, crawl really extra fast.

We got a baby gate erected in an extremely inconvenient spot in the main living room entranceway because she can now climb the stairs. Yet, the next thing I know, out of the corner of my eye I spy Anne vvveeeerrrrrryyyyy casually crawling past ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GATE. She had found the dining room exit that ultimately also leads to that hallway. I just thought it would take her a lot longer to figure that out. Sigh.

She is sleeping better though. Notice that I didn't say "good," I just said "better." But hey, we'll take it. The only real issue is that Anne still possesses the innate ability to awaken *just* as I close my eyes, when I am at my most exhausted state. She's in a different room, so I just don't see how she manages this insidious task, but somehow, she manages it. And me being in a weakened and exhausted state, I'm ashamed to admit that the first thought that runs through my mind isn't"

"Well, at least she's sleeping better, I should be grateful!"

Oh no. Rather, it is:


But you know. I'm only human.

I've been thinking a lot about Lent 2011, and it's making me very emotional and nostalgic. This day last year I was belly dancing with Anne in utereo. In public. :) And it was just such a special time, with my good friend coming into the Church at the Easter Vigil and us nesting and preparing for Anne's birth. I can't believe it's been a whole year!