As we didn’t have any pictures on our camera for our niece Genevieve’s baptism a few weeks ago, this post is a little late in coming. (All photography courtesy of Rob, John’s dad; thank you!)
Genevieve was welcomed into the Catholic Church through the sacrament of baptism on July 3, which was exactly 9 months after Anna’s baptism, as Hallie pointed out. The day was gloriously sunny and Mike and Hallie’s parish church was gorgeous, making the ceremony that much more beautiful. Genna stayed awake for all of the rite, and even opened her eyes up wide in amazement when her dad held her up for all to see as the newest new member of the Church. After the Mass we were treated to a small celebration at her home, where we all enjoyed a really delicious lunch… and cake! (I never forget the cake. And this one was exceptionally yummy.)
We were honored to be asked to be her Godparents and loving praying for Goddaughter #3 every day! She’s a sweetheart, that’s for sure.
Anna has a new favorite toy.
Her Legos, you ask?
No, but she sure loves to knock the whole tub over and dig to the bottom.
No, but that’s pretty fun too.
Still not it, but it does come in a close second.
Her new favorite “toy” is… ta da!
Her toothbrush! (I’m sure you guessed it from the start. Our blog has very smart readers.) Yes, friends, this little bristly blue brush makes our daughter smile. It also makes her cry, but only when you take it away. This should make her Great Aunt Kel-lee, DDS, very proud. With only three teeth, Anna already enjoys the scrubbing she gets each night. Although part of that may be from the yummy fruity toothpaste, she does still love the brush itself, which she proved as we took some pictures of her with it.
And no, we do not let her brush her teeth herself. But we do let her swallow the toothpaste. Spitting is not a forte of the Princess Anna Kateri Sweet Pea I… at least not on command.
Now if only we could get her to love washing her face…
My wonderful father had two tickets to a MN Twins’ game last Thursday and couldn’t go. Poor Dad… lucky us! He offered the tickets to me, and since I had the afternoon free and Anna had yet to be to Target Field, we jumped at the chance. John had to work, so I asked my friend Karen to go with us because she’s one of the biggest Twins’ fans I know.
After Karen found us a great parking spot, we walked to the stadium (signal chorus of angels to start singing) and got to our padded Legends’ Club seats just in time to see my favorite player, Michael Cuddyer, up at bat. Anna sure is a good luck charm for her parents’ favorite team, because the first pitch she saw just happened to be a home run!
The day was gorgeous, the seats were amazing, and the game was perfect (not literally, but it was an entertaining and short 2 hours and 8 minutes). Anna did really well and happily waved at anyone around us who would pay attention and cheered the team on to a 1-0 win against the White Sox. Apparently going to a Twins’ game suits her fancy, which is just fine with me. She even had her first taste of Cherry Coke, which was probably a bad idea on my part; she only wanted more!
The great afternoon was made complete by picking up a “first game” certificate for Anna’s baby book, taking a walk around the beautiful stadium, and of course enjoying some tasty stadium food.
Thank you, Dad/Grandpa Jim, for the tickets – we had a blast and I have no doubts Anna will grow up a Twins’ fan.
Karen: Thank you for going with us to the game and helping me with a 9 month old. We are SO glad you were able to join us!!!
Dear Grandpa Jim,
You are my favorite grandpa with a mustache. And with a puppy! You are so sweet to me because you come and visit a lot, and you know that I got my habit of rubbing my feet together from you. Thank you again for the tickets to the Twins’ game last week (Mommy will be posting about that soon), because I had a lot of fun and I can’t wait for you to take me to more as I get older! Thank you for being a funny, loving grandpa and I will hopefully see you via Skype very soon. I love you!
Your Anna Banana
Dear Grandpa Rob,
You are my favorite grandpa with an apple. An iPad, I mean. Or a Mac. I’m sure I’ll learn these things as I grow up, and you’ll be there to teach me. I love to come visit you and spend time playing on the floor with you; you are so good at keeping me happy! Thank you for taking me to watch the horses yesterday. I really liked them (Mommy will be posting about that too)! Thank you for being a wonderful, loving grandpa and I can’t wait to spend all night with you next weekend. I love you!
Your Anna Kateri
You are the BEST daddy in the entire world! And I know, because I’ve seen a lot of daddies. You are the best at making me smile and giggle. You encourage me to be daring by flipping me upside down and throwing me in the air, and those are two of my very favorite things! You also help me see the world differently by putting me up on your shoulders, and I know that you’re very thoughtful because you’re always very careful that I don’t hit my head when I’m up there. You are so good at being a daddy and I am so blessed and lucky that I get to grow up with you around, teaching me how to love God and love everyone around me. Thank you for being there to play when I’m happy and snuggle when I’m sleepy. I love you very, very much!
Your Sweetest Pea
Anna has been very helpful by lifting her legs when I vacuum. This video doesn’t quite catch the fullness of her reaction (we had been doing this for a few minutes already and she was getting used to it), but it’s still entertaining!
She has a similar reaction to anything loud (blenders, lawnmowers, etc). You would think she’s scared of these things, but she’s not. In fact, she usually ends up giggling at them.
…I gave birth to our tiny baby girl! It’s hard to believe she was once that small, and that she’ll be getting bigger yet. She’s definitely caught up to her peers in size, according to the experts (our doctor). At her check-up last week she weighed in at 17.2 pounds, staying near the 25th percentile for her age. Her height was around the 50th percentile while her head – yes, her large, round, beautiful head – remains closer to the 75th.
She is now able to eat table food, although some attempts are better than others; about half the time it ends up on the floor or her lap. But she keeps us entertained because she starts moving her mouth in a chewing-type motion before the food gets there, and she’ll keep doing it even if the food didn’t quite make it out of her hand. She has also very quickly learned the “stuff your whole hand in your mouth to get the tiny particle of yummy food” method of eating.
As for movement, she continues to be a little behind. From her tummy she will get up on her hands and knees and rock back and forth, but she isn’t trying to pull herself up on anything or get herself into a sitting position from the ground yet, and doesn’t seem all that interested in attempting that anytime soon. At this point I’m okay with having a mostly non-mobile child, as who knows what she’ll be getting into in the months to come!
Anna Kateri continues to be a smiley and talkative little girl and we love her to pieces. Aren’t kids just so much fun?!?
Here are a few photos of her with Max, the stuffed dog we use to compare her size changes at different ages. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) most of these are now action shots; there isn’t a lot that will keep this little girl still, and she LOVES her stuffed animals!
Anna was a little spoiled this year while we celebrated Christ’s resurrection. FOUR Easter bunnies (yes, “bunnies” spelled correctly, not “bunnys” like her helmet says…) brought her baskets! Thank you, all you bunnies!
She also got her first taste of… drumroll, please… CHOCOLATE! Grandma Sherry and the aunties unwrapped a chocolate bunny for Anna to try. She is well on her way to becoming a chocoholic like her mother.
And finally, John decided that we should try giving Anna some Pop Rocks. We thought we’d stick a few “rocks” in her mouth and see her reaction to the popping. However, she’s no circus monkey: no performances for us! We videotaped it and it’s not even worth posting. She had no reaction whatsoever to the party going on in her mouth.
If a chocolate bunny and Pop Rocks are just the beginning, think of all the sugar she’ll have by the time she’s 2!
On Monday a bunch of friends, their kids, and Anna and I went to the Minnesota Zoo. It. Was. AWESOME.
I love the zoo, so I was 100% okay with using my child as an excuse to go see a bunch of fun animals and exhibits, not to mention spend a Monday morning with some of my closest friends. And yes, Anna was an excuse; 7 month olds are not exactly jumping up and down to see birdies and monkeys, although she did seem to enjoy herself, which of course made it all the more enjoyable for me. And… surprise! She stayed awake for the vast majority of our time there! So of course I needed to capture that fact on camera.
Here is Anna on her first trip to the zoo, much more interested in the camera than the animals everyone else is looking at.
And here she is again, much more interested in her toys…
…and here she is much more interested in her bottle (yes, she can hold it pretty well on her own now)…
…and finally, here are Addy and Luci, much more interested in the baby in the stroller!
Here is my favorite picture. Anna loved sitting in front of the glass (6 inches thick!) and watching the fishies and sharkies swim by.
Both Torin and Anna were trying to touch the glass to see if they could reach the colorful animals swimming around in front of them. Apparently I need to take her to an aquarium next!
I said I went with a few friends; 4, to be exact. So 5 adults and 10 children. I was the only one without a double stroller! Here we all are, lined up, while the kids play on the steps. After that, we had lunch, which we somehow managed to do crammed around two small tables.
And finally… I wasn’t even going to try to get Anna in one of these for a picture, but I did catch Lucia and Addy, who are cute as can be.
Even though I didn’t see any lions or tigers (although I did see a few bears), we had a great day at the zoo. Anna was most impressed by the fish, and she also watched some otters chase each other for a bit, but most animals move too slowly to keep her attention. I got some fresh air and a free trip to the zoo (thanks, Emily!) with my friends, and I am ready to do it again. Feel free to give me a call whenever you want to go!
The final installment of our time in sunny southern Florida begins with the Twins’ slugger, Jim Thome. We love you, Jimmers! Such a nice guy. Even though he wouldn’t sign our stuff, he did sign for a bunch of kids.
On Thursday we got to the beach on Sanibel Island nice and early, with good parking spots and plenty of sandy square footage for our large group of 13 adults and two babies. Most of us went swimming in the gulf and enjoyed the cool water and waves.
Anna was actually awake most of the day, but unfortunately her cold was getting a little worse and she wasn’t too happy. Here are a few pictures of her “playing” in the sand. She was happy for a few minutes, but of course we didn’t have the camera on her at that point. After she got sand in her mouth she had had it with beach time.
We just had to post this happy picture of Tim, who scraped his nose up on the bottom of our pool earlier in the week. He and Laurie were the snorkeling and shelling king and queen of the week.
We ate lunch that day at the Island Cow, which was delicious. We had a pitcher or two of green beer for St. Patty’s Day, and as you can see, also enjoyed fried pickles and (my family’s favorite) hushpuppies. Yuuuuummmy. (John had a very large pot of steamed clams, oysters, mussels, and shrimp swimming in broth. I will pretend to forget about that!)
Anna in the Island Cow.
The next morning a few people went back to the stadium for a few more shots at autographs and to try to get in another game. Unfortunately the scalpers bumped prices up quite a bit: one guy was asking $80 a ticket! The group said no thanks and went back to the house for some more swimming and eating and drinking, but not before getting a few more items signed. Anna now has a onesie with Scott Baker and Jason Kubel’s autographs on it!
A rare picture: all Minnesota players, major and minor leaguers.
My sister is marrying a kleptomaniac. Yep, that banner is going up in his house. Awesome!
Mauer and (sigh) Nishioka. It may be awhile before we see him again, unfortunately. His translator is on the far right of the picture.
The last morning, my family decided to play some mini golf before heading to the airport. We had a good time, and Anna slept through the whole thing. Why break the habit?
There are many things that happened that are not documented here, whether on purpose or not. One thing I’d like to mention to give you an idea of how much these two families can drink: we went through 89 beers, 2 liters of vodka, 1 liter of Kahlua, 1.75 liters of margaritas, 750ml of whiskey and… 6.5 liters of rum! Not to mention that this is just what was purchased for drinking at home… who knows how much we really had if you add in the Twins game and eating out. We had a good time!
The mid-March get-away was money very well spent. Thank you to our whole family, including those we’re not related to by blood; we had such a fantastic time spending the week with you! Thank you to everyone who helped out with Anna and made the trip much more relaxing than it could have been. Most especially, a BIG thank you to my parents, because we wouldn’t have been able to go if it weren’t for them. We love you all and wish we could go to Fort Myers every year!
Yes, I am finally getting around to blogging about the rest of our wonderful trip!
We went to Anna’s first outside-the-womb Twins’ game that Monday. Thanks to Dan, who works with sports teams, we were able to get a tour of the stadium, so we arrived pretty early. Anna was sleepy and not liking the sun, which had become the norm for her.
Beautiful Hammond Stadium, home of the Minnesota Twins’ Spring Training and their AAA team, the Miracle. Yes, we have outdoor baseball in Minnesota now, but there’s nothing like seeing the grass and the palm trees in the middle of March!
Here’s our group enjoying adult beverages. We had a few rounds of beer first. After that, people bought “rum buckets” for $10, each supposedly with 6 shots of rum in it (very cheap for a ball park, considering a beer isn’t much less than that). It was more like 12 shots – very little of anything else. The nice part was they had all the recipes for the different drink options printed on the side of them for future use. That became useful later.
Auntie Beth trying to help Anna wake up once our seats were finally in the shade.
The Rogers family picture. We were pretty happy; the Twins won 9 – 0.
Anna and her BFF Hailey playing together in the pool.
Grandma Sherry bought some bubbles to see if the babies took any interest, and they did! They loved watching the bubbles fly around.
The next day we went on a 3 hour tour (thankfully, no shipwrecks) off the end of Fort Myers Beach. We saw many dolphins and baby and mommy osprey on the way out to an island. When I say “we,” I mean everyone but Anna, as she was – you guessed it – sleeping. She slept through the entire loud boat ride over.
At the island we had about an hour to swim, snorkel, and shell.
Our ubiquitous Lewis & Clark picture; I don’t think we’ve taken one in years!
Anna, actually AWAKE in Grandpa’s arms on the boat ride back to shore.
Anna is already well on her way to being an overachiever. Getting in one tooth at a time is not quite enough fun, so she’s decided to go for two. That’s right, her two bottom teeth are cutting their way in at the same time; we’ve been able to feel their razor sharpness for a few days now.
Unfortunately there are no pictures of the teeth for you, dear reader, since 1) the teeth are barely in, and 2) they are difficult enough to get to when using both hands to open her mouth and clear her gums. There’s no way I’m able to use a camera at the same time!
We are (finally) in sunny Florida, and it is WONDERFUL!
Anna’s first flights were uneventful. In fact, she slept through the entire first flight, from gate to gate.
After arriving in Fort Myers and peeling off a few layers of clothing, we had lunch, dropped our things off at the house we’re renting, went to Mass, and shopped for food and beverages – yes, the adult kind, and plenty of it. Then we headed to the other house (close friends of Sara’s family who are down here with us: Tim and Laurie, Dan and Claire, and Brian, Briana, and our goddaughter, Hailey) for pizza and, of course, beverages. Anna and Hailey were intrigued by a Indian mobile that Claire had bought for Hailey.
Yesterday was a POOL day! The entire morning and early afternoon were spent lounging and swimming. Here’s a picture of Jeff trying to jump in the pool while catching a ball Dan is throwing him; can you spot the ball?
Anna, in true Minnesota Girl fashion, could barely open her eyes with all the sunshine. But she was still so cute in her hat and swimsuit!
She “swam” for the first time and seemed to… well, not so much enjoy it as be fairly ambiguous toward it. We’re just happy she didn’t cry! Unfortunately, even with the sunglasses, hat, and shade, she still didn’t want to open her eyes.
Later in the day we decided to go to Fort Myers Beach. At what time, you ask? Well, apparently we didn’t know. We were trying to make it by 3 p.m., so we left at what we thought was 2:40. On the way, I went to change my watch ahead one hour for daylight savings’ time, but after I changed it, I realized it still only said 1:45. I asked if we were sure it was 2:45. This was followed by about 5 minutes of intense and confused discussion, including texts and calls to the other car of family and friends. My dad finally asked the woman in the car next to us, and sure enough, it was only 1:45. Somehow everyone else had changed their watches twice, based on the time that the oven clock said; unfortunately the oven clock had also been changed twice by two different people. The whole discussion was quite entertaining for all of us!
We went to the beach to see a “blessing of the fleet,” where there were 4 different religious men present, including a (Anglican) bishop. We then checked out a crafts market, and John ate some blue crab, which he had never tried before.
Back at the house, I spent some time playing around with camera settings. Here are a few pictures I liked.
Anna had a much more enjoyable time in the pool now that the sun had gone down a bit. She enjoyed kicking and splashing!
Grandma Sherry even painted her nails so they match Mommy’s. Aren’t they pretty?!?
Last night we went to Pincher’s Crab Shack for some great food and then came “home” to celebrated Laurie’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Laurie! We are so happy to be in Florida with you and your fabulous family!
For those of you reading this before we return, don’t expect an update every two days. We had some cute pictures we wanted to share and some downtime, so that’s why this is appearing so soon. We hope you’re all enjoying the weather wherever you are!
Anna is officially rolling over, tummy to back. She had done it a few times in the past month or two, but it was never even remotely consistent. Last Thursday night she rolled over at a friend’s house and I didn’t think much of it – she hadn’t done it in over two weeks, so I thought it was another fluke. But she rolled over 5 times with Gramma Kay on Friday, and hasn’t stopped since. The only downside? It’s pretty much impossible to keep her on her tummy.
In other news, her bibs (and some clothes) have started sprouting large orange stains, thanks to the sweet potatoes and carrots she’s been eating. According to our friend Liss, carrots used to be purple. It sure would match her outfits and helmet a lot better!
Our adorable baby girl has a helmet now. She gets to wear this cute contraption 23 hours out of the day, so pretty much all the time. Why is she so lucky?
Over the past two months we’ve been concerned about the back of her head, which has been slowly getting more and more flat. We have tried everything we can think of to get her off her head, including plenty of tummy time, which she is finally starting to enjoy. (Well, maybe “enjoy” isn’t the right word, but at least she doesn’t shriek after only a minute or two.) I would even hold her on my chest every time she napped throughout the day because I felt so guilty putting her down on her back.
We hoped that all of this would mean her head would start to round out on its own, but instead it has actually continued to get worse. She still sleeps through the night; I actually wonder sometimes if she would sleep forever if I didn’t get her up in the morning. She also takes frequent naps during the day, including anytime she goes anywhere in the car seat. In other words, it’s impossible to keep Anna off of her back for most of the day. So we decided to get her checked out.
The doctors/physical therapists/orthotists said that they would recommend a helmet to help shape her pretty little head into a more agreeable shape. Here was their reasoning:
- Our heads are supposed to be 80% width to 100% length; Anna’s head is completely round, meaning 100% both ways.
- Although not terribly uneven, her flat spot is a little to one side, meaning it’s making her face start to become disproportionate as well.
- Flat heads can be just that – flat heads – as children grow older, but they also have the potential to cause other problems in the future, such as jaw misalignment, eyesight issues, and a lag in the development of motor skills.
Because the helmet was still technically an option for Anna (it’s considered cosmetic, although thankfully our insurance covers it), John and I did a lot of research before coming to a decision. Here’s what we found and what swayed us to go ahead with this treatment now:
- A helmet is considered similar to braces, in that it’s not necessary, but encouraged for both cosmetic and future health purposes. The difference is that a helmet won’t help once you’re past a certain age (about two), and you’re then out of luck if you need to fix a flat head.
- Anna is still very young, but she’s growing very quickly. If we chose not to go forward with the treatment, the specialists recommended, at the very least, to come in and get Anna’s head measured in another month. We came to the conclusion that we’d rather do it now, and have a helmet for 2 to 3 months, than wait until she’s a few months older, just to get the helmet anyway but have to have her wear it for 4 to 6 months. That would also put us closer to summer, and we’d personally rather do it in the winter when it’s cooler for her!
- One parent whose child wore a helmet said that their deciding factor was wondering whether or not their child would ever notice their flat spot. If for some reason Anna’s head got worse and caused problems down the road, and she came to us and asked if there was something we could have done to prevent it, it would break our hearts to have to say, “Yes, sweetheart, we could have done something, but we were afraid.”
Afraid? Yes, afraid, of a silly little thing like this. As John put it, it’s like a “badge for being bad parents.” We both had the misconception that the only kids who had severely flat heads were the ones being left in their car seats or bouncers for hours on end. We’ve learned from many other blogs, websites, and discussion groups that this is definitely not the case. Some kids’ heads come out flatter than others, and some are just more easily molded. And some kids sleep more than others, and I definitely can’t complain about that!
Believe me, as far as health problems go, we are thrilled that this is the worst we have to deal with, at least at this point in Anna’s life. God only gives you what you can handle, and I’m thankful this is what He can trust us with right now.
As of yesterday, Anna has been out in the world for five months. In celebration, tonight she is enjoying her first fire, in our fireplace; no, we do not let our five month old play with matches… yet. She is completely mesmerized by the flames. She hasn’t made a peep or looked anywhere else for over five minutes.
And now for the updated photo:
Anna missed her daddy while he was in Guatemala on a service trip for ten days. (I missed him, too.) He’s very happy to be back home, and I’m happy I have someone to share the dirty diaper changing with! Since John has been back, Anna has been talking almost non-stop, which makes us laugh quite a bit. She’s definitely a daddy’s girl!
John and I were in Harry Potter mode for a few weeks, reading all the books and watching all the movies in order. It concluded with a night out to see The Deathly Hallows: Part I. We didn’t really have a wand for Anna to play with, so a pen took it’s place. We had no end of fun making Anna say spells, such as “Expelliarmus” and “Wingardium Leviosa.”
I am determined to see the midnight showing of Part II when it comes out. Anyone willing to join me?
I LOVE Christmastime. The lights, the smells, the sounds, all of it! The whopping 33.4 inches of snow we had received by December 24 this year (well… last year… this post is a bit delayed in making its appearance) definitely didn’t hurt either, although I don’t think everyone would agree with me on that.
I’ve also decided that adding a baby to the mix only makes things more enjoyable. Anna isn’t old enough to thoroughly appreciate the beauty of the season, but she had a good time nonetheless.
The three days leading up to Christmas day were spent with my family in Eyota, which meant lots of dog barking, beer drinking, and soda cracker cookie eating. We enjoyed a delicious dinner with some friends from high school (thanks, Bankers!) and games and drinks with my “second family,” the Kramers (always so fun!). Anna looked beautiful in her Christmas dress borrowed from the Shurts family, and the Christmas Eve Children’s Mass was movie-worthy: how often do you get to see a donkey dragging another donkey by the tail down the church aisle? Hysterical!
Anna slept through her daddy reading The First Christmas to her, but we are sure she loved it. Christmas morning she also slept through most of the gift opening, including the new pair of glasses she received from Auntie Traci.
She had received the Jumperoo from Grandpa Jim and Grandma Sherry on Wednesday night and LOVED it!
She also got The Night Before Christmas in Hawaiian from Auntie Beth and (soon-to-be) Uncle Jeff, which we are sure will inspire her to someday move to Hawaii and bring her wonderful parents along.
Christmas Part II was celebrated with John’s family in Golden Valley. We had a great time and I am happy to say that I am now down to only 2 books remaining until I own the entire Harry Potter series (John and I were on a HP kick for awhile… more on that in another post). Anna got lots of cute clothes and toys, including an awesome “play Bible” from her Godparents , and John got (surprise!) another board game. We also enjoyed lots of yummy food, such as Kay’s scotch eggs, zelnicky, and chicken wild rice soup.
We had a beautiful time celebrating Christ’s birth, and we hope you all did, too. May we always be thankful for the gifts God has given!
I know I’ll probably start saying this a lot now, but wow, the time goes by so fast! This is the first time I’ve really felt like Anna’s lifetime has gone quickly.
Anna was four months old as of yesterday and we of course took the updated picture next to Max, but first, the one month photo. I love seeing it over and over again, it’s just so cute!
The dress makes Anna look a little small, but it’s still a good comparison. And we caught her smiling! Don’t let her find out.
Today was her four-month check-up at the doctor. She is getting so big! She was a whopping 12 lbs, which means she’s in the 25th percentile – yay! She’s also in the 25th percentile for height (23 inches) and maintaining the 50th percentile for head size (16″ circumference). I think we can officially say we have a proportionate baby girl!
Anna’s head is still flat (she sleeps so much that it’s hard to get her off of it), so we are going to be taking her to a specialist to see what they say. Our doctor said it doesn’t look bad, but at least we can see if they would recommend any treatment.
All else looked great according to our doctor. She encouraged us to start her on some different cereals, so we’ll be doing that much sooner than I had expected. My mother-in-law gave me some great advice before Anna came: choose just one person to take recommendations and advice from, whether your own mom, grandma, friend, or doctor. We chose to stick with what our doctor says. We completely trust her, and she always gives us the full story. Not that I don’t take others’ advice; I just go with what she says whenever there are a lot of differing ideas on a subject. Anyway, as with everything related to baby care, apparently there are about 50 different schools of thought on when to start solid foods. Go figure. So we’ll be going with Dr. Mary’s recommendation: now!
I can’t believe our little girl is 12 pounds, almost ready to wear 3 to 6 month clothes, and starting rice cereal. Time flies when you’re having fun!
This was a big baby-making year for our women’s book club. This group includes most of my closest friends, and we gather every other week to discuss a book. Yes, we do read the books, and yes, we discuss them; however it must be admitted that our conversations do stray quite a bit. Some husbands of the group members jokingly call it the “Wine and Chocolate Club.” And it may not be THAT far from the truth…
Of the 10 to 12 book club “regulars,” 7 had babies born in 2010. Lucian Paul was born in January, Augustine John Paul was born in April, and Peter James was the most recent addition in November. The other four were born this summer, including Anna – and yes, she was the only girl. We took a picture of the four summer baby mamas in early May, and were finally able to take an updated picture in early November of the four of us again, this time with our babies in our arms.
I so thankful for this beautiful group of women who have become like family to me over the past four years since the group began. I am lucky to be able to share the bond of motherhood with some of them. And I am blessed to have such a sweet and supportive group of women around me to help me grow in my faith, all while enjoying good books, good wine, and good chocolate!
So… this is a little late. Anna turned three months old on November 29th. For some reason the holiday season and a new job have made it nearly impossible to find time to blog recently. We’re going to try to be better, I promise!
Below are her 1 month and 3 month photos with Max (yes, our stuffed dog has a name, thank you very much) for comparison.
Also, for those who are interested in sifting though numerous and repetitive photos of our baby girl (we sure are!), we have updated her Shutterfly site as well (the link is in the sidebar).
Happy Advent, everyone!
I want to take a moment to express how thankful we are at this point in our lives, and also to explain our journey over the past few years. Thanksgiving has never had a more profound meaning for us than it does this year, although every year there are more reasons to thank our Creator.
When John and I got married three years ago, we had no idea what God had in store for us. We were believing Catholics, had a fun group of friends we saw consistently, and enjoyed spending time with both of our wonderful families. For some reason, we were also fairly naive in thinking that because we were generally “good” people, good things would happen to us. In fact, a lot of circumstances came together perfectly around our wedding, including both of us finding and starting new jobs, and finding a cheap apartment almost exactly halfway between those jobs. We felt so blessed and grateful. We never really thought there might be any trouble when we’d want to start growing our family.
About a year after we were married, John and I began to grow our family. Using the natural method of family planning (which I teach) we managed to get pregnant right away and did not have to deal with the heartache of infertility. My heart truly goes out to those people who have that cross to bear. I teach many couples who have struggled with infertility, and it is a long and hard road to travel.
Although we conceived right away, the happiness was short-lived; after visiting the doctor I began to miscarry almost immediately, only a few days after confirming we were pregnant. Our hearts were broken. For those of you who have gone through this horrible ordeal, you know the emptiness that it can cause; it can consume you. John was my stronghold; he kept me talking so that I didn’t close off myself. I still believed that God was there, that He had a plan, but I was so angry at Him!
A few months later we conceived again. Although there were many scary moments (once you have miscarried, you are absolutely terrified that it will happen during any consecutive pregnancies), we began telling people and believing that this would be the first of our children to make it out to the world. But that was also not to be. I will never forget the bleeding, and the ER trip that landed us in front of an ultrasound monitor showing no heartbeat. The funny thing is, although I remember everything that happened that night, my clearest memory is of the ultrasound technician giving me a hug when we realized what everything meant; it was so incredibly sweet of her, and I thank God that she was there and willing to be so kind.
Of course, this was still not the end of our second child’s story. Three weeks later, my doctor called (you know something is wrong when the doctor calls you out of the blue!). We had had a partial molar pregnancy. Because of this, we were told we needed to wait one year before trying to conceive again.
This was a hard blow. I was almost in shock. I trusted that God had a plan, but this was my darkest hour; I just could not understand why this should happen. I had felt called to be a mother, and yet my babies were being taken from me!
Again, God worked through my husband to reach me. He made me talk, made me go to Mass, to Adoration, and to reconciliation. We both began to see how something so sad could also be beautiful; God had given us these two lives, and although we wanted them, they were truly gifts that were not “ours” to keep. The most beautiful thing about it all is that our two children are WITH GOD! They are engulfed in so much more joy than they ever would have experienced here.
As Christians, we believe that these children deserved recognition as complete human beings, and after hearing of the idea from a friend, we decided to name them both. We also had a memorial mass said for them at our home, which really helped bring some closure for us, and we plan to continue going to a mass (or having a mass said) for them every year.
Anyway, one year later, we were able to conceive our third child. Only a few weeks later we were told we would lose this one as well. We were devastated, but a bit more prepared emotionally this time around. However, God had a HUGE surprise in store for us; five weeks later, on March 3rd, we had an ultrasound which showed our little Anna Kateri to be healthy and right on her dates! We were ECSTATIC, to say the least, and cried for joy multiple times. (In fact, I still do!) On August 29th, we welcomed her into the world, and she is filling our lives with smiles.
We are thankful for so many things; for our health, our friends, our family, and so much more. For our parents who raised us, and especially my mom today, who gave birth to me 27 years ago. And although we have had to deal with a lot of heartache, we are SO thankful that God has blessed us with three children: Anthony John, Julia Dolores, and Anna Kateri. They have each taught us so much about our faith and have helped us grow closer to each other and closer to God. I am so incredibly thankful for my husband, the sweetest, most caring, and selfless person I have ever met – John, I love you! And finally, I am thankful for the faith and the LIFE God has given us. May we be humble and faithful enough to finally enter His Kingdom one day.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Here’s a quick video. Anna’s smiles are much cuter in person, but this vaguely captures them. The last little clip is her getting upset, but I think the sounds she makes are so cute!