Thursday, December 31, 2009

(almost) Wordless Thursday

In an effort to get up some Christmas cheer before the calendar flips over to 2010, I’m just going to bombard you with some of my favorite pictures from our holiday(s).  I hope your Christmas was as merry and bright and wonder-full as ours.

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Florida 024

Christmas vacation 116

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Christmas vacation 128

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Beamer A couple tree

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The cat, her bag, and a long 5 months


Are most of you still wrapping your heads around the fact that not only am I pregnant again, but that I’m over half-way done with said pregnancy?

(Yeah, me too.)

I’m getting the impression from a couple different avenues that in keeping Baby Girl’s existence a secret for so long, I ruffled a few feathers and inadvertently hurt a few feelings.

Well, first and foremost, um, well, how can I say this delicately….. get over it?  Yeah, I guess that pretty much sums it up.  I mean, really, the conception of a child is a pretty personal thing, and I think it’s a generally accepted practice that parents-to-be reveal the news of their unborn child when and in the manner which THEY decide.

And in our case, we decided “last week.”

Yes, some of our family knew.  Some of our closest friends knew.  Our church family (and pretty much anyone who saw me in person since September) knew.  But the general masses (including most family members), blog-land, and Facebook did not.

And here, though I owe no one an explanation, is why.

One: I lost a son in May, and that pain was, and is, raw, and I didn’t want to open myself up to asinine comments like, “oh, now you can move on,” or “see, we knew you could have another baby,” or “well, aren’t you a glutton for punishment.”  (And, yes, people really are that ignorant.)

Two: I have never been able to share the news of a pregnancy with my mother in person.  We were able to tell my parents and my inlaws about Seth’s pregnancy face-t0-face.  We told my inlaws about Duncan’s pregnancy face-to-face.  But I have always had to tell my mom “I’m pregnant” via phone or Skype, and this time I, perhaps, selfishly, wanted to tell her in person – even if it meant keeping the pregnancy from her for five months.

And it was SO worth it!

When we arrived in Florida last weekend, one of the first things we did was have Seth present Nonna with a Christmas gift which would far exceed her expectations.

I cut her off in the middle of saying “shame on you!” and I didn’t get her tears of relief and joy on camera, but her reaction was priceless, and I’m SO glad that I was there to witness it in person.

So, there you have it.

I have been pregnant since mid-August.  It has been a tense and high-risk SUCCESSFUL pregnancy so far.  I am carrying a girl.  She does not have a name.  Yet.  I am already incredibly in love with her, and I choke up just thinking of the first time I see her in late April/early May.

And, if you care to backtrack and read about her progress from, essentially, Day One, you can click over --------------> there to the sidebar where it says “looking for” and click on “Baby Girl” and you will be taken to a collection of a few dozen back-dated posts that I have been writing since September. From here on out, I will be doing my weekly updates here at The Writer Chic (rather than at The Chicklet, the on-the-sly blog I’ve been keeping).

And one more disclaimer……if I offended you further with the “get over it” comment from earlier….I’m sorry.  I know you all are just happy for us, and wanting to share in our joy.  But I just really, really wanted to indulge myself in this one way…… I hope y’all can understand that.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

19w update

How far along? 19 weeks!!!

Total weight gain
: lost 1; down 3 for pregnancy (yea, me, for getting through the holidays with a weight LOSS!)

Maternity clothes?
pants, absolutely.  Tops, I’m improvising.

Decent.  I’m having some restless leg syndrome that Dr. M says I can try to alleviate with calcium and magnesium supplements, so, we’ll see.

Best moment this week: talking about a C-section date!!! Ahhhhh!  It’s making it seem so real and not-all-that-far-away.

Movement: Yep, all the time.  And she LOVES peanut butter!

Gender: GIRL!
Labor Signs: Nope.

Belly Button in or out
? In-ish.  It’s out, in the actual button, but in, overall. It’s hard to describe, but I won’t subject you to a photo.

What I miss : my sweaters.  They aren’t really long enough to get over the bump, and even with a maternity tee underneath, I look silly.

What I am looking forward to: having Jim reconvert the crib.  Seth has successfully moved into his “big boy room,” so I’m ready to see my bumper in action.

Weekly Wisdom:
I can rearrange furniture in three rooms with no apparent harm to the baby, but I just may break a toe, so I probably should leave the rest of the renovations to Jim.

Milestones: Consistently GOOD blood pressure reading -- 127/80 today!!!!  And BG’s heartbeat was below 150 today for the first time: 142.  Which means nothing, but made me smile anyway.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Anniversary, House

As I leaned against the kitchen counter buttering my bagel this morning, it dawned on me.

We have lived in our house for exactly one year.

I know I posted back in October about how our house here in Tennessee had come to feel like home a lot sooner than I’d anticipated, but as I reflect today on just what the last 365 days have brought, and how the events of 2009 have impacted our family, I couldn’t help but make note once more.

I posted on Facebook this morning that I was thoroughly enjoying being a “Proverbs 31” woman today – rising early to meet the needs of my family, working with my hands to prepare their food, and “feathering” our nest for maximum comfort.  I felt the need to channel that inner satisfaction into something tangible, so I decided there was no time like the present to begin transforming the guest room into Seth’s “big boy” room.

I repositioned the bed, brought in the dresser and mirror, pushed the toy box across the hall, tossed down his new rug, and voila… came together fairly quickly.  The closet still needs some emptying, and the walls need some perking up, but it already looks and feels like the room where Seth lives.

Now the nursery, on the other hand, needs some serious attention.  We aren’t repainting; Seth’s Picnic green will work splendidly with Baby Girl’s bedding and his original orange chair.  A dear friend is hooking me up with some additional pieces of PBK bedding for the crib, and good ol’ Hobby Lobby already has their spring decor on sale, so I picked up some great metal wall art for a song.   But since the only pieces of furniture staying in the nursery are the crib, changing table, and rocker, it seems a little empty.  I’m sure we’ll be able to fill it up, though.  Of course, as soon as Baby Girl has a name, one of Kim’s canvases is for sure going to the tip-top of my wish list.  I think I want this one, with, of course, my chosen name and color scheme.  But I love this style and font.  But then again, I pretty much love all of Kim’s stuff, so I just might let her have free reign.

Anyway, I digress.

Baby Girl’s room may also end up graced with my grandmother’s sideboard and hutch, at the same time my dining room might inherit the same grandmother’s cherry buffet.  I’m so excited about the addition of these family heirlooms to our home.  It just makes me feel so grown up. (hah!)

I guess all I’m trying to spit out here is that I feel so blessed.  Blessed to live in a beautiful home; blessed with a hard-working hubby whose job allows me the freedom to stay home and the funds to feather it; blessed with children to care for; blessed with neighbors to invite over for dinner.

I often say, with some cynicism, how much of a roller coaster our move to Tennessee was, with all that the year to follow held.

But I wouldn’t change a thing.  I am blessed beyond measure.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

stocking reveal

Anyone notice anything?

Number of stockings?

One that says “Baby Girl”?

“For unto us a child {will be} born….”

This year, we celebrate the birth of our Savior as a family of five: Jim, Monica, Seth, Duncan, and a sweet baby girl, due to arrive in May.

I trust that your holiday will be as special and as wonderful as ours.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I spy with my little eye…


You guys are good!

The list indeed is a standard box of 24-count Crayola classic crayons.

And I know this was one of my most pointless posts ever.

But the other day, I was putting things away in Seth’s room, and I realized he’d dumped out an entire box of crayons.  As I put them back in the box, I stopped to take note of the colors.

I found it slightly humorous that mixed in with the all-too-common red, orange, black, and green were indigo, cerulean, dandelion, and scarlet.

And how like life is that?

You know how one of the questions on a personality evaluation test will ask you “if you were a crayon, what color would you be?”

I never know how to answer that, and I think that’s okay.  Because I don’t think it matters.  Because every day that I’m just plain old yellow, somebody else is the more flamboyant dandelion.  And when I’m scarlet, somebody else is having a plain ol’ red day.

And isn’t that what makes the world such a beautiful place?


green, blue violet, scarlet, dandelion, yellow orange, red violet,
yellow, red orange, gray, yellow green, orange, blue, blue green, violet, red, violet red, green yellow, indigo, black, white,
brown, cerulean, carnation pink, and apricot


Anybody want to guess what that list is?

I’ll update this post with the answer tomorrow.

C’mon, humor me with your guesses, and be as specific as possible!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Seven months

Happy birthday, sweet boy.

Today, I miss you, but in a sweet way.  We are having a birthday party for Seth, and I wish we were offering you your first taste of cake, too.  I can just see a chubby-faced cherub with icing on your chin.

Your stocking is hung on Nonna’s banister.  Your ornament is…..well, it’s here.  I’m not sure where it got off too.  (ahem.  Big brothers and all that.)  And of course, you are in our hearts always.

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xoxoxox forever,


Thursday, December 17, 2009

“You’re welcome!”

Oh, Sara, how I wanted to be able to record Seth opening his birthday present, and be able to upload the video, so you’d be able to hear him thank you “in person.”

Alas, his manners seem to have gone off on a tangent, and now, in his mind, “thank you” is SO old school, and you should just jump to “you’re welcome!”

(But really, he meant “thank you, I love my new train!’)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Official graduation from BABY to BOY

Dearest firstborn son of mine,

Let me tell you something about your mommy.  I have a trait that I hope you don’t inherit.   I’m a tad insecure, about a lot of things.  I hate to be left of out secrets, or events, or anything, really.

Which is why I’ll admit that I’m posting your annual birthday letter an entire day late.

See, on Monday, which was your actual birthday, I decided to post my contribution to the Christmas Tour of Homes (ala The Nester), because, well, that’s what all the cool kids were doing, and, well, Mommy wanted to play, too.

Hangs head in shame.  I know, I know.  I have issues.

The worst part of this whole cockamamie plan of mine is that I didn’t even get my ‘09 CTOH post up and running.  (And not for lack of trying….it’s just been that kind of day).

But I do love you enough to want you to have your fair share in the spotlight, so your birthday post will be up all day Tuesday and all day Wednesday.  (Who loves ya, baby?)

So, without further introspection into my insecurities, let’s talk about you.

You are surefooted.


On the day of your first birthday, you took your first official steps.  You began to walk, and you have never looked back.

We have felt so blessed that you have never really taken a dangerous stumble or spill.  A skinned knee here and there, but no broken bones, no chipped teeth, no forehead gashes.  You are quick and steady on your feet, and I hope that remains true as you continue to grow.

I pray that you will allow the Lord to guide your steps so that you always walk in a manner than is pleasing to Him.

You are MY Softie


When we moved to Nashville, we began traveling back and forth, almost monthly, between Tennessee and Ohio.  To ease the long hours of travel, and to help you transition among all the different cribs, we introduced you to a specific blue crocheted blanket – and somehow, I began calling it “Softie.”  You never became overly attached to it, but it did bring you comfort.

You, dear boy, are Mommy’s “softie.”  You are my go-to “lovey” when I need a little extra TLC; when I need something sweet and soft and familiar to hold on to; when I need to have a tangible reminder of the comforts of being your mommy.

So, here’s to you, Seth.  As humbled as I am by the first-trimester-of-pregnancy weariness that is written all over my face in this photo, it is one of my favorites of you. How thankful I am, that as you cruised your way into toddlerhood, you still always make allowances to cuddle with me.

You are observant.

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As spring came, you, too, turned a new leaf.  Daddy and I began to notice that you could recognize things that we didn’t realize you’d even paid attention to.  You knew we had to pass fields of cows to get to our house; you knew that the garbage truck took away the trash.  You began to bow your head for dinner prayer, before we even made a point to “teach” you to do so.

It was a constant reminded that your little eyes are always watching, and your little ears are always listening.  You have taught me to speak sweetly, to be patient, and to talk to you as if you understand everything I’m telling you.  I love that you are just soaking up all the information and discoveries that are flooding your way.  Keep watching, baby.  Big things are in store for you.

You are laidback (like your daddy!)

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You proved to us this year that you can roll with the punches with the best of them.  You adjusted (fairly) well to our new home in Tennessee; you hardly seemed to notice the monthly back-and-forth we kept up between Nashville and Toledo.  You welcomed without question when we entertained house guests.  During the course of our break-in in April, you were a delight to the friends and neighbors that unexpectedly had you in their homes for play dates and sleepovers.  We would explain to you, even at only 16 months old, what was going on around you, and more often than not, you’d just smile and say, “Okay, Mama.”

Seth, trust me.  Mommy is Type-A and high strung enough for ALL of us.  Keep your sweet, affable manners.  I hope you always find the best in every situation, and look for the best in every person.  I pray that you grow up to be like your daddy in this regard – that you are secure in who you are and where you are going, and that you choose to embrace the curve balls that life will throw at you.

You are obedient.

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When we went to Florida in May to visit Nonna and Papa, I wasn’t sure how you would do in a brand new environment – one with pets, and lakes, and lever door handles that you could easily open.  I didn’t know how I’d keep up with you in the busiest of airports.  I didn’t know if you KNEW to listen and obey.

But you did, and you still do.  I love that you seem to know that we only want the best for you, and the things that we say “no” to are only for your benefit and protection.

Thank you for being such an obedient little boy.  I love that I know I can trust you to listen (almost always!) and that your heart is tender to the teaching and instruction of your parents.  We really do only want what is God’s BEST for you!

You are learning your heritage.

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Whether is it riding tractors with Grandpa, learning to say “thank you” in Russian from Gramp-e, or devouring plates of pasta at your great-grandparents’ house (using the very utensils that your mommy used to!), you are slowly becoming a hard-working, culturally diverse, “Italian stallion” (as Miss Sara used to call you).

As I explained in last year’s birthday letter, your name was chosen specifically for you to know your place in this family, in this world, in this specific period of time.  You are already doing us proud, Seth James.  We love you.

You are teaching mommy, all the time.

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This one is simple.  You find JOY abundant in the simplest of things.  You are happy with a piece of paper and a pen, an empty box, a kitchen cabinet.  You don’t need bells and whistles, or sterling silver, or a Hummer.  You just need shelter, food, and love.  And isn’t that all any of us need?

Thank you for keepin’ it real for us, Seth.  You are wise beyond your two years.

You are coming into your own.

thomas I love you


The year of the TRAIN.

Who knew, Seth?  Who knew the depth of your love affair with all things “mommass”? (read:Thomas)  You know what you love, and you love it with all your might.  Stay this passionate, son.  That determination and vigor will serve you well.

You are so helpful.

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Who knew?  You like nothing more than to help Mommy.  You carry laundry to the hamper, unload the dryer, help load the dishwasher, pick up your toys, vacuum, dust, and sweep.  And we’ve started to see your budding talent as sous chef in the kitchen.  You are a master pasta sauce stirrer, and you make a mean salad.  You can mix cookie dough and cake batter with the best of them, and you’re even getting pretty good at properly cracking an egg!

You are open to new things.

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You amaze us with your willing attitude and flexible spirit.  Rarely do we present you with a new toy, food, or opportunity that you do not tackle full speed ahead.  Who knew that showing you a crib of dried corn would become so monumental?  Playing in all that maize, you’d just grin and say “corn!” (in the cutest-ever little Irish brogue that makes us breathless with laughter).  Watching you learn what you love has been a huge blessing to us – even if it has surprised us at times.  (Really, Seth?  You like mustard on your hotdogs?)

I pray that you will stay as open-minded to new things as you grow. May we teach you in such a way that you feel equipped to make wise choices and form wise opinions about all that you are presented with.

You need me less and less each day.

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And yes, as bittersweet as that is to say, it is a good thing.  I love watching your independence grow.  I love to see you try new things; to figure out how things work; to strive to master new-to-you tasks like buttoning shirts, going potty in the bathroom, and unlocking doors.

And don’t even get me started on your love affair with The Bike. =)  Patience, little one.  You’ll be cruising away from me down the drive soon enough.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Seth James.  You  are my life’s joy, and I am blessed among women to be your mother.

All my love, Roni-man,


Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa’s little helpers

seth maddie christmas

Sometimes, when the stars align, you get the perfect memory of a routine pre-Christmas play date.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmastime is Here WINNER

Congratulations, Blair!

She said:

My absolute favorite is "Here With Us" by Joy Williams. Makes me remember what we're really celebrating.  And classic-wise, I adore "I'll be Home for Christmas." With my brothers so far away, I sob every time I hear it, thinking that one day, they'll both come home.

Not that Blair needs another gift to celebrate this season.  I mean, Santa already brought her this:

HarrisonBe still, my heart!  Couldn’t you just eat him up?  Harrison, you are already a heartbreaker!

Again, congrats, Blair, and thanks to all of you for sharing your favorite holiday song with us.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

16w update

How far along? 16 weeks!!!

Total weight gain
: lost 1; down 6 for pregnancy

Maternity clothes?
officially, yes.  I tried to wear a pair of non-maternity pants that got me well past 22w last time, and I could only keep them buttoned for about 30 seconds.

Getting a little better.  I've still been having strange dreams.  I've dreamt about two ex boyfriends in the last week.  It's bizarre.

Best moment this week:
having so many people comment on how cue my bump is getting.

: Yep.  Nothing super consistent, but it is definitely there, and definitely the baby.  I think in the future, I'll feel comfortable saying that I felt the baby move between 15-16w.

: I'm still leaning towards thinking that it is a girl, just because of the lack of boy seen at last weeks ultrasound, not to mention the consistent heartrate in the 150s (151 today) and the fact that this baby is measuring so big -- in the 80th pecentile, as opposed to the boys' single digits.

Labor Signs
: Nope.

Belly Button in or out
? In.

What I miss
: More energy.

What I am looking forward to:
Another ultrasound in one week, and then the big reveal to our family the next!!!

Weekly Wisdom:
Try not to put more than 12 hours between my BP med dosages.

: Consistently GOOD blood pressure reading -- 125/82 today!!!!

My Christmas gift to you

Tis the season for all things Christmas-y.  Peppermints, snowmen, holiday music, eggnog (though, really, who drinks that stuff?), stockings, the Nativity…..and, of course, gifts.

I’ll admit, I’ve been playing Christmas music in our home since before Thanksgiving, and I thought I’d share one of my favorite CDs with you.

No, really, not just share, as in, “here, go buy this,” but share as in, "leave me a comment, telling me your favorite holiday song, and you’ll be entered to win this CD in my very first blog giveaway.”

EO christmas cd

(if you click on the CD cover, it’ll take you to an site where you can preview the songs)

I love this artist.  I’d venture to guess that most of you haven’t even heard of her, but trust me, she’s worth a listen.  I love her voice; she is a very talented songwriter; and this album is a great compilation of classic and new holiday songs.

So, Merry Christmas!

Leave me a comment, telling my your favorite holiday song, by midnight CST Wednesday 12/9/09, and you’ll be entered.  I’ll randomly select a winner on Thursday morning. =)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How quickly fly the days

Does anyone else feel like the month of December seems to rush past each year at a blinding pace?

I can’t believe it’s already the second week of the month!

I’m not necessarily complaining; we have so many wonderful and exciting things and events to look forward to this month.  I actually prefer when our calendar is overflowing with social meet ups and plans to celebrate the season with those we love.

But it seems as if I only blink, and I’m already looking at Jim, saying, “I can’t believe it’s been a week since…”

And that’s how I feel right now.  I can’t believe it’s already been a week since our wonderful Thanksgiving with my in-laws.  We made so many great memories, I know I won’t need to list them in minute detail to remember them clearly, so allow me just to share with you some of the Kodak moments I was able to capture.

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Thanksgiving Table