Bringing In The New Year

>> 12.31.2009 a party of three.

Liam Eliot is home.


[New Year's] Intentions

>> 12.30.2009

In this month's issue of Natural Awakening Magazine ,I read an article that changed the way I view New Year's Resolutions. The article is a tad bit over-the-top in its hippie-ish-ness... even more than my free love self can stomach, but it did make some interesting points.

It asserts that words are powerful. This is something I agree with whole-heartedly... yet I often let my mouth get the best of me: I can be quite the pessimist. As "intenders," the article says, " the key to manifesting anything is to picture the end result from the beginning—to see it as “a done deal,” and then hold that vision in mind until it actually appears in our three-dimensional world."

It also includes Ten Intentions for a Better World that I find fascinating. Like I mentioned, this is ridiculously hippie and you will probably find yourself chuckling at the lingo... but I do hope to employ these concepts.... in my own ways. Perhaps, you will find your own truth in these as well:

The First Intent - Support Life
I refrain from opposing or harming anyone. I allow others to have their own experiences. I see life in all things and honor it as if it were my own. I support life.

In my life, this intention will manifest itself as letting go of judgement this year- to stop criticizing and to love people unconditionally. This is something I never used to have any trouble with, but somewhere along the way I started to get jaded. I am choosing to let it go this year. It is not serving me in any way.

The Second Intent - Seek Truth
I follow my inner compass and discard any illusions that are no longer serving me. I go to the source. I seek truth.

I need to learn to accept truth that frightens me this year. Truth about myself mostly. I can be in denial... or I can face my flaws and work on them. Pretty simple really.

The Third Intent - Set Your Course
I begin the creative process. I give direction to my life. I set my course.

For me, these three aspects of setting your course represent different things:

Beginning my creative process: I have been saying for months [years, even] that I want to learn to sew and knit. Now, I have a sewing machine. I have knitting needles. I have how-to books. I Have. No. Excuses.

Give direction to my life: I am a Mama now. Liam gives me a sense of purpose and direction that I have never felt before.. but feeling is not enough. I have to do. There is so much I want to give to him and I can not do that without a specific direction.

I also need to set a healthier direction for my life: I need to have consistantly healthier eating habits. I need exercise to become part of my daily routine. I need to set a positive example for my family.

Set my course: Having a direction is not enough, you have to put one foot in front of the other and follow those directions. There are many aspects of my course. One aspect is going to be following the Couch-to-5k Running Plan. My friend McKenzie and her husband Matt told me about this plan last night and I looked it up this morning. I think it is great motivation.

The Fourth Intent - Simplify
I let go, so there is room for something better to come in. I learn to trust by lining up with the highest good and knowing that I am guided, guarded and protected at all times. I am open to receive from expected and unexpected sources. I simplify.

This means letting go of some of the commercialism that I have become so accustomed to. I do not need more stuff. I need to let go of some of the stuff I have and de-clutter.

It also means letting go of highly processed foods, refined sugar, and other junk that is cluttering my body with toxic waste. I want to simplify my home and my body- in turn, I want to simplify my spirit.

The Fifth Intent - Stay Positive
I see good, say good and do good. I accept the gifts from all of my experiences. I am living in grace and gratitude. I stay positive.

This is a very difficult one for me.. but probably the most important. Seeing the positive is something I struggle with daily. My mind naturally wanders to the dark side of things. I am often fearful of experiences because I see all that can go wrong. This is not healthy. It is not making me happy. Positive thinking will serve me so much better.

The Sixth Intent - Synchronize
I am in the flow, fulfilling my desires and doing what I came here to do. Allowing beauty to guide me, I step into the present, where great mystery and miracles abide. I synchronize.

From this, I take the "step into the present." I tend to focus so much on the future (often worrying about it more than anticipating it) that I miss the now that is so precious and fleeting. For instance, I have been so anxious to get my little one home that I have wished away the entire first 2 months of his life! I hurry when I should savor and that is something I want to change in myself this year.

The Seventh Intent - Serve Others
I practice love in action. I always have enough to spare and enough to share. I am available to help those who need it. I serve others.

Oooh. What a good one this is! I practice love in action. Serving others is something I am quite passionate about and yet my service is often short-lived because my own needs get into the way. This year, I want to find a place to plug in and be of service. I want to make a commitment to stick to it and not let things get in the way. I also want to teach Liam about serving others. I hope that one day it will be as natural as breathing to him. It brings such an unexpected peace and joy into your life- you are supposed to be helping someone else.. but it often turns out to be an even bigger blessing to you.

The Eighth Intent - Shine Your Light
I am a magnificent being, awakening to my highest potential. I express myself with joy, smiling easily and laughing often. I shine my light.

I think, in one way, this is an extension of positive thinking. I want to be a blessing to people this year. To find joy in life and share it with other. I also tend to be ridiculously shy (though you could never tell from how I blab on this blog)... and I think this can come across as snobby. It is terribly sad because I am not snobby at all. I really do love people. I want to overcome my shy nature. To smile when others frown and maybe, just maybe... turn their frowns upside down! [Oh, yeah... I went there.]

The Ninth Intent - Share Your Vision
I create my ideal world by envisioning it and telling others about it. I share my vision.

For this, I want to invite you to join me. First, in creating your own intentions. You could use this list.. or start from scratch. It can only do good things for you. Because it is an intention and not a resolution... you cannot fail! Small steps toward a greater purpose are still steps in the right direction.

Second, I would absolutely love it if any of you would like to do the Couch-to-5k program with me! I have already solicited my father.. and (although he doesn't know it yet) I am hoping Ryan will join me as well. It would be great if this is something that would help you meet your own fitness goals this year!

The Tenth Intent - Synergize
I see humanity as one. I enjoy gathering with lighthearted people regularly. When we come together, we set the stage for Great Oneness to reveal itself. We synergize.

I am not entirely sure how I feel about the "Great Oneness"... but I do want to remember that people are just people. A person with an opinion I do not agree with is not the devil. He (or she) is not out to get me- to anger me- to make my life miserable. She (or he) is just a person who looked at something in life and came to a different conclusion than I did... and.. That. Is. Okay.

I also wish to spend more time with friends and family this year. Carving out time in my life to have a cup of coffee and catch up with people I care for, to go visit loved ones who live far away, to stay in touch with other human beings. With a new baby at home, I know this is going to be a challenge... but life is too short and relationships are absolutely the most important thing we have. People are too precious to be wasted.

And that, my friends, is that.

Would you like to share your New Year's Intentions with me?


Quiet Time

>> 12.29.2009

All is quiet on the Liam front. We are simply awaiting his Thursday morning test results which will let us know if his CRP levels are low enough for him to come home. If they are, he will be joining us that afternoon!

I am heading down to Georgia to spend some time with my dear McKenzie and stay the night with my parents. It will [hopefully] be the last time I can just up and go to Georgia. Soon... life will revolve around one very little man with one very big personality....

and an appetite to match!


To Ryan, With Love

>> 12.28.2009

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Pablo Neruda


Interesting. Very Interesting.

>> 12.27.2009

Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.
Eliza Tabor

Oh, life... why do you mess with me so?

Ryan and I thought we would be getting a little Christmas miracle. I was so excited to tell you about it! Liam was all set to be discharged on Christmas Eve. We roomed in Wednesday night and everything went swimmingly... until 5 a.m.

Liam's temperature dropped to about 95 degrees and would not come back up until he was under the warmers. I personally believe it has something to do with the room being too cold and the nurse stripping him to his diaper for 10 minutes while she weighed him.. but what do I know? They did some tests and his CRP (otherwise known as c-reactive protein) was way elevated, which indicated that he may have an infection. (It could also be caused by his vaccinations but, coupled with the temperature drop, it freaked everyone out.) They started him on antibiotics, stopped his feedings, and gave him a blood transfusion (his red blood cell count was a bit low; not crazy low.. just a bit). They also did a lumbar puncture to see how his spinal fluid was looking.

And I... cried.

48 hours later his tests were all still negative and his CRP levels had dropped from 4.0 to 1.8; however, they like the levels to be under 1 so he will be on 7 days of antibiotics "just to be safe".... although they have no idea what they are saving him from. They will re-evaluate the situation on the 31st and we will find out if Liam will be coming home for New Year's.

Liam, on his part, has not acted sick in any way. He is as feisty as ever... and still loves to eat. He is gaining weight (4 lbs, 3 oz!) and being cute.

Perhaps Liam just couldn't stand to leave his ladies for the holidays.

Ryan and I are doing our best to find the bright side: a little more time under the close watch of the neonatologists and nurses won't hurt Liam. It will give him a chance to gain a little more weight and be a little less fragile before coming home. Also, if his body is fighting something off, he is in the best place he can be. And we have a little more time to prepare, a few more quiet days to be together and a few more full nights of sleep before life is invaded by our little gremlin.


In Case of Emergency

>> 12.23.2009

It's queer how ready people always are with advice in any real or imaginary emergency, and no matter how many times experience has shown them to be wrong, they continue to set forth their opinions, as if they had received them from the Almighty!
Ann Sullivan

Ryan's lovely great-aunt Judy brought back a fabulous gypsy-ish bag from India and I happened to become the recipient. I love it a lot.

In my travels back and forth from the NICU, it has become my costant companion. Inside you will find:

1. My laptop (an acer netbook that we affectionately refer to as "Ruby")
2. A camera (to catch all of Liam's adorableness)
3. The cable to the camera (to immediately download said adorableness onto said laptop and share)
4. Notebooks (for notes... and grocery lists... and the like)
5. Books (currently Homemade by Reader's Digest as well as Anne of Ingleside- the sixth book in the Anne of Green Gables series, which you can actually read in its entirety here. Oh, how I love Anne Shirley.)
6. Chapstick (currently Badger Organic Cocoa Butter Lip Balm in Lime Rocket)
Granola Bars, water mix-ins, and my way awesome water bottle (saving the planet- one sip at a time!)
8. A flash drive+ mp3 player (in one!)
9. My phone (self-explanitory, I believe)

Soo.. I am pretty much set to go. I am sure many other preemie moms had their own version of a survival tote....

However..... I may not be needing my tote much longer.

Tune in soon for some VERY EXCITING NEWS!!


I Do Believe in Binkies! I Do! I Do!

>> 12.21.2009

Babies are such nice ways to start people.
Don Herold

If you had asked me while I was pregnant whether or not I would allow Liam to have a pacifier the answer would be a resounding, "no!" In fact... it was a resounding no each and every time my mother brought it up. However, in this as in many things, our reality has re-shaped our philosophy. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Liam will, in fact, be a binkie baby:

The child has a great, overwhelming need to suck AT. ALL. TIMES. If for whatever reason his very fancy vanilla scented pacifier is not at his lips, his fingers are a fine replacement. And while it is very, very cute... it is also an extremely difficult habit to break; whereas pacifiers can conveniently disappear.. fingers cannot (well, it is technically possible.. if you are keen on having DEFAX called on your ass). And so, while I cannot say that I am entirely happy about it... Liam will continue to have pacifiers at his disposal. For a little while at least. Spoiled.

[You'd spoil him too. Look at that face!]

So, ladies, what is your paci-opinion?


[Christmas] Wish

>> 12.20.2009

to "be the good I wish to see in the world."


Another First

>> 12.18.2009

It's when ordinary people rise above the expectations and seize the opportunity that milestones truly are reached.

Liam Eliot tends to be a rather messy eater... so today, after he dribbled a fourth of his bottle down the front of his shirt, I decided to change his clothes by myself.. for the very first time.


A brief pause for nude shots, of course.


I did my very best and Liam was quite patient with me. He watched me solomnly without so much as a peep.

The look on his face tells me Liam is realizing what a klutz he has for a Mama.

But I think he loves me anyway.

I wish I could share every single picture I take of him with you- they all (all 178 of them.. each visit) turn out so precious. I would if it would not totally crash your browser.. and if I didn't know I am the only one who can truly appreciate the 57th shot of him playing with his hands.

Each new experience is a small reminder that our little one will be coming home soon. Sooner than I ever expected really. Today Liam is 3 lbs, 12 oz. and his doctor is letting him bottle-feed at every other feeding. He nurses during his gavage feedings and he is great at both. (The tape on his nose is to keep his feeding tube in place- he managed to pull it out a few times a day, so they got a bit more aggressive with the adhesive). The biggest news is that they are stopping his caffeine therapy because he has not had any serious spells since the 14th! If he does well without the caffeine we could have him home... *drumroll please* by NEW YEAR'S! And that is without monitors or medication.

What a beautiful way to start 2010.



>> 12.17.2009

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.
Franklin P. Jones

I am getting to spend this cold winter day with three of my favorite kids. It is such a blessing. Because there is no way to predict what tomorrow may bring, I have not yet been able t
o return to work... and I miss them all terribly. Filling in for the fill-in every once in awhile keeps me from going through withdraw.

This morning, we bundled up for a winter walk.. but little red noses and chattering chins had us turning around rather quickly. We shed our hats and mittens and I made some (kid-friendly) Mexican-style hot cocoa, which was slurped down with enthusiasm.

[Though it must be mentioned that this has nothing on actual Mexican hot chocolate- which I will have to share with you sometime very soon.]

We spent the rest of the morning reading and dancing and laughing... and I soaked it all in. Kids change so quickly. In the few weeks I have been gone these kids are hardly recognizable: lisps are fading, teeth have been lost, inches were gained... and new skills are mastered!

When I was little I was always so puzzled by adults who told me to stop growing. Oh, you know the ones: "You are getting so tall! We are just going to have to put a brink on your head!" Say what?!

....and now... I get it. I totally get it.


Rhythm of the Home

>> 12.16.2009

Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
Hans Christian Anderson

The things is... Ryan and I seem to fall very easily into survival mode. It can be a problem. The last few weeks, life with Liam has been entirely about survival. We were just happy to see the sun rise on another day and know that we are all still here and still in one piece. And that was enough.

Yesterday morning as I felt the excitement of the other graduates swirl around me while we waiting for the ceremony to begin... I was reminded of something: survival is pointless if you are not enjoying life. A few weeks ago, I was not sure I would even be there to enjoy that day.. and now it has happened. Life goes on and on and on. If you are just muddling through... there is really nothing to survive for is there?

Liam is doing so very well- he is gaining weight, feeding well on both bottle and breast, and his spells are minor. This morning whispers of "maybe he will be home by Christmas" were heard for the very first time. I have been sitting next to him for the last two hours, watching him sleep peacefully and realizing that I want so much more for him than just making it. I have been so focused on those monitors that I have forgotten the very reason I want his heart to beat. This entire experience has derailed my dreams for him and for our family and it is time to get things back on track- now... before Liam leaves the hospital so that he can enter a peaceful home and become part of a healthy, happy family.

I decided to give my blog a bit of a face-life- I hope you like it. I wanted to do this because I want to start this blog in a new direction. A direction that focuses on life rather than the act of surviving it. An updated look to go with a new direction seemed in order.

So, as my first step in my new and improved direction I want to tell you about a beautiful family website called Rhythm of the Home.

It is a free, online magazine published quarterly. [There is also a blog that is having a giveaway- enter for a chance to win some advertising space or lovely crafting tid-bits.] I learned about Rhythm of the Home from another blog I have been enjoying called Shivaya Naturals, which is written by one of the contributors to the publication, and I have been enjoying this first edition quite a lot.

There is so much in the magazine that I love and so many projects my hands are just itching to try out. Also, the articles are substantial- no fluffy blurbs to be found! It is really fantastic.

One article I enjoyed was Jumping into Books by Valarie Budayr. The author talks about her family reading time and how books came alive in her home. She includes a reading suggestion and art projects to go along with the book. I believe I love this article because books are so important to me and I hope to pass the love I have for them onto Liam. I feel that reading spurs a child's imagination in ways that nothing else can and there are so many books that I cannot wait to share with my little one.

It was extraordinarily difficult to pick just one article to share with you. I forced myself to pick only one because otherwise I would be here all day and you would have nothing left to read! I hope that you will take a moment to check out Rhythm of the Home because I know you will find something to enjoy as well.

I know that I will be a frequent visitor as our family finds and settles into our own rhythm.


Under Construction

>> 12.15.2009

... obviously.

[Have patience with me while I re-work my site and be on the lookout for the new and improved ME! :) ]


Nana and Pop

>> 12.14.2009

Never have children, only grandchildren.
Gore Vidal

Nana and Pop have been just itching to get their hands on Liam. They made it up here in lightning speed when I told them the day had come!

Mama, Nana and Liam.
(in case you are curious about the gown- My Mother, The Nurse insisted on wearing it.)

She made Pop wear one too!
I hope Liam will feel the same warm, comforting familiarity from my father's hands as I do.
They also took an updated Haddock family photo.
I am not entirely sure what is up with me... but my boys are both looking so handsome!

And just for fun..

An example of what flash does on a skin tone commonly referred to as DEATH. [And just so you know... I even toned this down quite a bit just so it wouldn't blind you or short out your screen. Your welcome.]

Oh, Sigh. Between Ryan and I... our poor child is practically going to be a vampire. You know... hopefully without all the fangs, coffins, blood-sucking... or lifeless dialogue and co-dependant relationships. [That was a not so subtle Twilight dig.. just in case you didn't pick up on it.]

Next post coming to you from the proud owner of a B.A. in English! Wish me luck! [For a klutz like me, walking across the stage to receive a diploma in front of thousands of people... in HEELS.... is pretty much the stuff my nightmares are made of. Eek.]


I Shall Return

I know. I know. I am a bad, bad blogger- my posts have been terribly inconsistent lately. But it is all for an AWFULLY good cause:

or... I will be graduating- tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.
I made it!

This year I have gleaned the titles of:


Seriously, it's time for a break.
No. Seriously.

I will back with your regularly scheduled blog posts in the next couple of days. Liam is doing well- He has been breast-feeding quite enthusiastically the last couple of days. He is about 3 lbs, 8 oz.... and his PICC line has been removed which makes holding him much less intimidating. Nana and Pops held him for the first time last night (pictures soon) and Grams and Gramps will get their turn tonight. He is getting to be such a big boy! I cannot believe I will not be seeing him today or most of tomorrow. It is hurting my heart, but Ryan believes that I will regret it if I do not participate in the ceremony tomorrow... and he is probably right. I had to come down to Georgia to tie up some last loose ends and I miss him so much.

But, maybe one day Liam will be proud of his college-educated Mama.


I'm a Big Kid Now

>> 12.09.2009

Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments.
Rose Kennedy

Well, my professor made a big mistake: he gave us another day to work on our papers... therefore enabling my natural procrastinating nature. However, I am still only one day away from graduation- of course... my own graduation has been completely and totally trumped but a wee little man we all know and love:

Liam's thinking outside the box!

I mean... really.. how do you expect me to do school work when I have this to stare at?:

And it is so much easier now that I do not have to peer at him through thick plastic.
And it is so much more enjoyable than staring at a screen wringing my brain for a few more sad drops of knowledge on Robert Lowell. [Who I do not know nor love.]

True story.

Liam's world: Now weighing a whopping 3 lbs 6 oz, Liam is sleeping in a big boy bed [as you can see]. He gets to wear teeny, tiny clothes and use his very own blankets! Tomorrow his run of antibiotics for that nasty yeast infection will be through... but he has now started some oral meds for elevated... something or other... caused by prolonged use of who knows what. [Does not asking 562 questions about medical procedures I have no hope of understanding make me a bad mother?] He had to have his 4th blood transfusion this afternoon but has been off his cannula for a couple of days and so far handling it well. And.. *drumroll please* has been cleared by the doctor to try breastfeeding!

Oh..... and he does precious, squishy things like this:
And makes his Mama and Papa so very happy.


A Brief Note Concerning My Absence

>> 12.08.2009

Achilles absent, was Achilles still.

I have not been posting as frequently as usual because my brain is otherwise occupied. In two days, after five and a half years of struggles and heartache and the painful, yet satisfying, stretching of the mind.... I will be done with school.

For. Ev. Er.

Now, I am not entirely sure that I will graduate. I wish that I was.. but, I'm just not. I have tried my best under the circumstances... but it has been a strange few weeks and I know that my work has not been brilliant. All I can hope for is mercy and a good dose of luck. However, whatever happens... I will be done after tomorrow. Done. I was not sure if I would ever be done.

If I do not graduate.. I am sure I will return to finish later- some day when our family is complete and I am feeling restless. [So, in that case you can disregard my massive "For.Ev.Er" above. ] But FOR. NOW. .... it is time for this phase in my life to be over.

At the moment, I have three assignments to be turned in. Three assignments away from the end: two are almost completed and one.... well.... one is going to take a good deal of determination and brain power to finish in time. I have to have everything finished before I close my eyes to sleep tomorrow night. Wish me luck!

And, here is a good dose of cuteness for you until I return on Thursday:

What is this THING doing taped to my face again! I do not like it one little bit.

Hmmm... I need a cunning plan to facilitate its removal.

Step 1: Lay still... and look very, very, very, cute.

Step 2: Wait until they least expect it and then.....grab repeatedly at my face until I get a finger hooked underneath and YANK!
[Okay- so it isn't quite brilliant; I'm a baby... give me a break!]

Gah! Thwarted by Papa. He is making eyebrows at me... I will make them back.

Well.. that is just fine. I will continue with step one... can't hold me forever, you know. Soon, I will be back in my box... and then......



[Christmas] Wish

>> 12.07.2009 experience the world "God intended to speak before we decided to finish his sentence."


Well, How Neat!

>> 12.02.2009

Lindsey at Memoirs of a Housewife gave me this award... and that makes me feel quite special:

I must admit... I am not entirely sure I understand the rules of this game, but I'm going to try! Thank you so very much, Lindsey!

Okay. Let me do my best to follow along.

The Rules:

Share 7 things that you don't already know about me.
Name 7 other blogs to receive this award.
Leave a comment on each of the blogs I nominated.
Thank the person who gave you the award.

So. My 7 things (which you may or may not know about me; I am pretty much an open book so you may have heard it all before):

1. I conceived my child approximately 3 months after getting married- after two days off the pill... while (more than likely) using protection- can you say potent much?! Liam's due date was the day before our first wedding anniversary and I did not know I was pregnant until I was 9 weeks along. Liam is the absolute definition of SURPRISE!!

2. This weekend, my husband:

Met.. my ex-boyfriend:

Need I say more? Okay, one word more: AWKWARD! But... only for me. They had the nerve to LIKE EACH OTHER! [P.s.- they met when Scott came to our house and did some electrical work for us because he is wow... with a side of awesome. Truly.]

3. I attended private, Christian school from pre-k to 12th grade- plaid skirts, knee highs, school-girl stereotypes and all. Furthermore, I attended approximately 12 different private schools during my education for various reasons. [It should be mentioned that I am, in fact, NOT planning on ever sending any of my children to private school unless they specifically ask for it... however, I am most likely going to homeschool... and some would argue that might be worse. Ha, ha.]

4. My mother is Italian... and I HATE tomatoes. She thinks I was switched at birth.

5. My hair has been [1] Maroon [2] Blue [3] Purple [4] Green [5] Fire Red and [6] Black. I cycle through according to my mood. Maybe some new choices are in order?

6. I will be graduating with my B.A. in English in a couple of weeks. *FINGERS CROSSED* I started out as an Early Childhood Education major and switched it the semester I would have started student teaching- yeah, really. I hope to one day get my Master's in Library Sciences because books... are my refuge.

7. Ryan and I have matching tattoos:Agape is a Greek word for love: divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love. There is a story behind the tatoo... it's meaning... and why we have them etched forever on our wrists, but I will save that for another day.

Next- 7 other blogs:

1. That's My Baby. The title of Julia's blog is pretty catchy, don't ya think? We became fast friends at (an amazing resource by the way). Her precious little girl is going to be coming soon and I am excited!

2. A Bitty Blog. [Another catchy title- I am sort of jealous of this title creativity that I apparently didn't get!] Gretchen is the mom of another adorable preemie boy. She just posted some great "Then and Now" shots. I can't get over how much her son has changed! I am so looking forward to Liam's own comparison shots. One day....

3. The Peanut Blog. Becky is another great mom of another sweet preemie boy. And her blog also gives me something to look forward to! [Plus another great title!]

4. Kingz- (Apparently I am a preemie blog whore.) Elisa is a gorgeous little girl right about Liam's age (both actual and adjusted). While I would never wish this experience on anyone.. it is certainly comforting to be able to find other's going through something similiar.

5. Green and Crafty- someone else with a skill I envy. Tristan's crafting skills are pretty much amazing.

6. Mommy Lawyer -another lovely babyfit friend, and a home-school mama! I hope I will be able to get some good tips.

7. The Woodwards- another new blogging friend, Meghan, with an adorable little girl and a baby on the way!

And then.... another big, fat thank you to Lindsey- who chose me. :)
How fun! Who's next?



...every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it.
Charles Dickens

While I was pregnant I spent a lot of time, as most pregnant women do, wondering how the future would look: How would we interact and relate with our children? How will we respond to their hopes and dreams? How will we respond to their fears and their transgressions? What will it feel like to sit around our family dinner table? How will we spend our time together? What will fill those quiet in-between moments only a family shares in together? What memories will we create? What will our holidays look like? What will our traditions be?

I am looking so forward to carrying on old holiday traditions in our family.. as well as creating new ones of our very own. An article I read recently in Blush magazine (you can read it in their virtual magazine on page 22- pretty neat) planted at least one idea for a new tradition in my mind.

The author of the article is discussing her family's tradition of writing "unwrappable" wish lists. Things like favorite holiday foods you wish to make or places you wish to go, a movie you would like to watch, or an activity you are hoping to do together as a family could be included... or perhaps you are a global thinker (Amy Grant would be proud) and would like to wish for world peace or a cure for AIDS.

I really liked this idea. I absolutely love the holiday season... but, oddly, I can only remember a handful of the presents I received under our Christmas tree. What I remember is... falling asleep in a sleeping bag by the fireplace while watching It's a Wonderful Life, giggling with my brother while we tried to decide who was going to wake my parents up, baking big, soft ginger cookies with my mom, playing in the snow, and going to look at Christmas lights in our new pajamas on Christmas eve.

I have so many of these sorts of memories.. I could not even begin to share them with you all and yet so very few of them have anything at all to do with things.

Everyone is always complaining that the holiday season has become overly commercialized and lost its meaning, but I am not entirely sure I agree. Businesses do their very best to convince us that the holidays are about giving and receiving presents- the bigger (and more expensive) the better. Americans are supposed to love each other in dollar signs because that helps a free market economy stay on its feet, I suppose. But.. it has nothing to do with me or you.. or anything at all, really. I believe that if you take a moment to think about your favorite holiday moments... they will still have very little to do with any particular present.. and even if it does, it was probably more about the moment- the thought that was put into it and the love the surrounded it- than the actually object itself. We just... forget that sometimes.

Our family holidays will end up looking like so much else in our lives- an eclectic mix of various ideas that we have stitched together to create something of our very own. A little Advent here- a little Solstice there- old traditions and new- some gifts made with love, some time spent together... and a few shiny new toys for good girls and boys. No need to get stressed out. No need to go into debt. Simple and Special.

This "unwrappable" wish list is a lovely way to remind ourselves what is important at the end of that proverbial day. So.. I will share my list with you little by little throughout this Advent season, and I hope you will share yours with me in return.

Happy Holidays from our little peppermint twist!



>> 12.01.2009

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
Thornton Wilder

Well, today I have thought of three things that I am feeling very grateful for and I could not narrow it down... so...just... DEAL WITH IT. kthanks.

First of all, I am so very grateful for all the wonderful advice and support I have gotten from ladies through this blog and on various message boards and such. I have never been an active participant in any message boards, chat rooms, or support groups. I have never made connections with people over the internet (due to a very scary incident when I was 14. i.e. a STALKER who showed up AT MY HOUSE after I gave him my phone number and was not the 16 year old boy he claimed to be on the christian message board my parents let me subscribe to... but a 20-something year old psycho who decided he was in love with me. Oh, stupidity). However, when this particular life event rolled around.. it became clear pretty quickly that I would need some outside input from others who had been through a similar situation and it has really been a lifesaver. I found support through babyfit during my pregnancy and have found a wonderful group of preemie parents who are all so willing to answer any question, no matter how silly, through babycenter. It has been truly overwhelming and I find it rather amazing how people all over the country (and even the world) can come together and support each other. It is a very real blessing.

The responses to my pumping question were all so fantastic and I have taken and applied as much of the advice I received as I possibly could. I am already noticing a slight increase in my supply. I was barely getting the bottles wet and today I have gotten about an ounce at every pumping so far. The lactation consultant called me this morning. (The NICU nurses let her know that I was having some trouble) and suggested Reglan so I called my OB/GYN and will be picking up the prescription this afternoon. I think the risk of being stuck bottle-feeding my own child outweighs, in my mind, any side effects of the medicine. I know that there is really nothing wrong with relying on formula.. but it is really very important to me to be able to breastfeed Liam if at all possible.

So.. that is what is happening with that.. and again THANK YOU to all the wonderful ladies who took the time to give me so much wonderful advice. It is really making a difference.

Next.... I am exceedingly grateful for the NEGATIVE pregnancy test I received this morning.... (yeah, I know you are all DYING to know the story behind that one.. but 'nough said.)

Fiinally... and most importantly... I am feeling very grateful that Liam is the only baby in our NICU right now. I know that sounds a little bit strange.. and, of course, I would much rather this all be behind us, but his last two little buddies were discharged this morning and I am just thinking about how wonderful those families must be feeling to have their babies home for the holiday season. When Liam was born there were 14 other babies in the NICU... and as the weeks have gone by every single one of them has gone home.. and not a single new baby has been admitted. To me this is a wonderful thing.

And.. what are you feeling grateful for today?


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