Sunday, December 19, 2010

it's okay santa, we still believe

The other day I was reading the posts of many moms on a popular facebook page that I subscribe to. The question was basically, to Santa, or not to Santa? The question of whether people bring Santa into the picture. The idea that if one believes in Santa, they are missing the point, not celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, which is the birth of Jesus Christ. I make no judgments either way, at least not now anyway.
I remember my sister and I whispering to each other in church years ago, saying, "What's wrong with these people? They don't even know when to sit or stand!" These people, those people, the people that don't go to church every Sunday. The people that we call Christmas and Easter Catholics, 
aka "C and E". 
I've gone to church my whole life. I know when to sit and stand, to recite the Our Father, and even when to jingle the bells (I was one of the first altar girls at my church way back when). I find gratitude in going to church, and yet, I find myself a C and E Catholic. I'd like to go more often. I miss going. It's difficult when Erik is not Catholic and most often praying that the little white ball lands on the green, rather than asking for forgiveness of his sins. I plan on changing this in our lives (the going to church part, not Erik becoming Catholic), but until then, I reside in the land of C and E. I don't love Jesus any less, and I am still strong in my faith. I teach my children the true meaning of Christmas and whether they truly understand is another story, but at least they are exposed at an early age. 
All this being said, I grew up in a household where Santa came down the chimney and we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus at midnight mass. And you know what? I think it's the best of both worlds. 
I believe in the magic of Christmas:
 the excitement of approaching the big man on his sleigh,
of eating a candy cane and telling me that she asked Santa for more Disney princesses. 
I believe in the joy and wonder that many have lost as they grow old:
of giving to others as it's far better than to receive:

It's okay Santa, we still believe:
and we'd like to think that Jesus is okay with that, too!

Friday, December 10, 2010

'tis the season


Friday, December 3, 2010

oh, rapunzel! let down your hair!

Last weekend, we took Anna to see Tangled, her very first movie. "Firsts" are something that are so spectacular, and when they happen, I never want to let them go. I store them away in my mind, in my heart, and in my writing. Yes, firsts are so awe inspiring. The wonder in a child's thought, the way that she sees things for the very first time. She will become excited at other times as well, but none like the first time. The first time is well, magical.
She gladly sits in the booster seat next to her big brother (who is only seeing his second feature film on the big screen). Popcorn in between the two, they are thrilled even at the previews. It's the opening scene and she claps voraciously. She turns to me and unknowing of movie theatre etiquette, yells at the top of her lungs, "Mommy, Rapunzel!" She is over the moon for what is before her eyes, and even more so, because of her love of all things Disney princesses. She sits quietly and when her popcorn is low, she sits in my lap and kindly asks for a sip of my soda (something she rarely gets, but this is a special occasion). Now seated with two children in my lap, the baby finds a snuggly spot in my mother's arms. All of us are enjoying the beautiful music and animation in this film.
When the movie is over, Anna claps again and tells me how much fun she had and how she loved the movie. She is thrilled that she has gone to the theatre, and even more so, that it was a movie about a princess.

A momentous occasion, for sure. Her nonna holds her hand as she begins to cross the street. I attempt to hold Kieran's hand and he proceeds to tell me that he would like to hold his sister's hand. They cross the street in unison and I can't help but attempt to capture this moment, camera in one hand, baby in carseat in the other.
Another stamp in the passport of my memory, one that I will never forget.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

someday, my kids will eat turkey...

While everyone else was eating Thanksgiving dinner (including my sister's kids), my kids ate this:
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they ate SOMETHING, and at least it was an apple! The kids ate on paper plates to save on mess. If you ever want to have a mess free table, just talk to Anna, 'cause she won't eat off of the plate, she'll just use it as a bed for all of her princesses:
Lately on the news they have been talking about the importance of family dinners. This is not really rocket science, nor anything new. The more quality time you spend at the dinner table as a family, the less likely kids will make unhealthy choices for themselves later. I do believe this to be true, so they did have to stay at the table to eat their apples and enjoy the company of family time. At just 4 1/2 and 2 1/2, Kieran and Anna do LOVE spending time with the family and they do sit at the table, but the difficult part is when the food comes to the table. Unless it's a chicken nugget, a grilled cheese sandwich, pasta, or a Gogurt (aka squeezie yogurts at our house), it's not food (ugh)!
So, I pick and choose my battles. They must spend SOME time at the table and then here is where the ended up:
watching a movie on the ipad.
I guess the upside is that while they were watching,
and Tatum was sleeping,
I got to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of the family.
We ended the night celebrating Erik's birthday (happy birthday to the most wonderful husband ever!).
Can you guess what my kids (happily) ate?

Oh yes, pumpkin pie. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from their mother, tree!
Here's to hope for next year.
Maybe someday, my kids will eat turkey!

Monday, November 22, 2010

happy birthday, dear tatum

Birth. It's an amazing process. How it is that we come to be, how it is that we enter into this world, this life.
I waited and waited, patiently praying, soul searching, at times (I must confess) pleading with Erik, to bring a new life into the world; a life that I knew that God had planned. It was only a matter of time.
9 months of a beautiful pregnancy, and a labor that had me guessing all the way.  When would this gift arrive? My water had broken with Kieran and Anna. Each time, 2:30 in the morning, on the due dates. I knew what to do-call the doctor, go straight to the hospital. I attempted to eat my traditional preggo pizza and drink my root beer, as it worked with the other two. November 8th came and went and it was then that I knew this birth would be different.  Contractions aplenty, I kept thinking, "this could be the day!". November 9th? November 10th? Surely it would be the 10th as my contractions were strong and steady (that is, until I got up out of bed), and then nothing. 

November 11th, now that sounds like a great birthday! 11/11/10, Veterans Day! I woke up to contractions more powerful, more steady, than any of the others. 4 minutes, 10 minutes, 4 minutes, 10 minutes, nothing regular. I breathed through the pain while my mother kept track of the time. A movie, a Mexican food run from Erik, and watching Kieran's last soccer class of the season, we called the doctor at 3:30 in the afternoon to let him know that I was fairly certain that this was the day. A check at the office revealed that I was 4 cm dilated and fully effaced. Further than I had made it before and much more relaxed than the other two times, Erik, my mom, and I drove straight to the hospital. Yes, this was different. Unlike racing up the elevator with a towel and being hooked up immediately, this was more like checking into a hotel. I had time to take some pictures, and get everything in order. Checked again and now 5cm, the anesthesiologist (aka my best friend for the evening) came in to administer the epidural. At last, relief. My water is broken at 6:30 and my friend Melissa arrives to document the miracle that is about to occur.
Conversations in between contractions, a few games on the ipad, jokes and laughter even, all amidst the Lakers (no, Erik doesn't miss a game if he can help it!) vs. Nuggets. I ask Erik if we can turn off the TV. Dr. A asks me if it's distracting. "No, it's not the Lakers, it's the commercials". In particular, this one:
I debated as to whether to include the commercial pictures in this post, but there's only one way to understand what I mean and that's to see it. Seriously though, how can anyone concentrate on having a baby when this is staring you in the face? Disturbing! Shortly thereafter, I thought that Erik was being so kind and considerate when he turned off the TV. Though my husband is absolutely wonderful, seconds later I found out it was because the Lakers were going to lose...and they did (bummer).
I find Erik turned with his back away from everything in the corner by my bedside. "What are you doing, Erik? Are you in the time out corner?"
Again, wonderful husband, it's only after the baby's birth that I learned he was feeling as though he was going to pass out. Erik can barely handle the sight of a needle, let alone child birth. Somehow, he makes it through, the adrenaline kicks in and he is in full father mode. It's the miracle of life. It changes you in an instant. You do what you need to do, and nothing else matters.
10:00 pm and it's time to push. Melissa has the whole room take a poll. What time would she arrive? How much would she weigh?
Like Anna's birth, I ask the anesthesiologist to dial down the medication, as I can't feel anything. Some would say this is a good thing, but the work I needed to do was not possible unless this happened. And Lord, was the medication dialed down! The hour passed by quickly and 11:00 pm was here. Had my doctor been in the room, the baby would have been born right then. I was ready, she was ready. The moment was here. The nine months of patience? Gone.
At 11:05 pm, she took her first breath...
and she took mine away.
She was beautiful, perfect, and healthy...
and she was finally ours.
We waited to name her until we saw her. Once thought a family name, Ashley was a contender. Just weeks before the birth, we learned that while it was Erik's dad's middle name as well as his sister's, it was a "family name" pulled straight from Gone With the Wind. I told Erik that he could make the final decision on her first name, but her middle name would be Frances. Frances, after my grandmother, who meant the world to me. Francis, is also Erik's (living) grandfather's given name. We recited the different combinations just before sending the mass email. 
"Our beautiful baby girl, Tatum Frances, safely arrived into this great big world on Thursday, November 11 @ 11:05 pm. A healthy 7 lb 4 oz, 19 3/4 inches long, she is perfect. Her name, "joyful" or "full of spirit"-exactly how I feel when holding this tiny little miracle. Blessed beyond anything I could ever fathom, our family of five is now complete."
And so, I say to you, Happy Birthday, Dear Tatum. Your daddy and I are so thrilled to finally meet you. You are a dream baby, eating and sleeping like a champ-Daddy really appreciates the sleeping! You are as sweet as can be. You are everything I hoped you would be, and then some. Your big brother and sister absolutely adore you, and I feel as though you have always been with us. 
God Bless you, my love.
I am honored to be a part of your journey.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Even though Halloween is not my favorite holiday...

Even though Halloween is not my favorite holiday, the kids love it, and I love when they have fun. So, I'm blogging the memory with few words and more pictures, as they are only 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 once and I love them dearly!
They carved pumpkins with my mom and mother-in-law:

 We attempted to take pictures in front of the house:

 And we trick or treated:

 Now, only one more week to go and we really will have 3 pumpkins, 1 boy and 2 girls!
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