Sunday, August 26, 2012


The kids just watched Pocahontas I last night and were so upset when John Smith sailed away in the boat that I let them watch Pocahontas II tonight to have some closure.  The movie ends and Cate comes upstairs bawling, suspecting the usual sadness that comes when a fun thing is over, I patronizingly comfort her.  "It's okay, sweetheart.  All done.  Wasn't that fun?" "But, (sniff), I didn't (sniff) like it (sniff, sniff).  She didn't get married (big sniffs that resolve in more tears)."

Oh Cate, how I love you.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Video Time!

Peter is now four months old and quite a ham.  This is a little video of Peter's first time in the high chair.  He's not eating yet, but he sure loves to be up by the action and "talking".

Dominic and Cate dancing with their best friends, Margaret and Edith.

The first minute captures Peter rolling and cooing.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bathroom Reveal

We have had our contractor, Ed Zoll and his assistant, Joe, here for the last week and half renovating our main bathroom.  It was one of the areas of our house that we knew desperately needed to be redone at some point.  Well, that point came sooner than we anticipated when the tub began leaking through to the bathroom below, tiles threatening to fall off the wall (causing us to live with window plastic taped up over it for a while), and old brown toilet squealing unprovoked at two am.  So here is a slideshow of the Before, the After, and everything in between.  We are extremely pleased with how everything turned out.  We have a plan to eventually get rid of all the brown tile (and probably add bead board and chair rail) and update the vanity a bit (new faucets, paint, and hardware) but for now, we are very, very happy with the update.



Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Begins

Here's a new slideshow from May. There are pictures Peter's baptism (May 20, 2012 -- same date as Dominic's!) with Fr. Jeffrey Njus at St. Anthony's in Hillsdale.  Then we had a lovely visit from our dear friends Patrick and Erica Ford and their two children, Sebastian (4) and Evelyn (10 months). And I also included some pictures of my garden shortly after I planted it and all the flowers I planted in the front of our house.

There is also a short video capturing a milestone for Peter.  At 7 weeks, he's 10 lbs and seems long, although I haven't measured him recently so I have no idea.  He remains a fairly calm baby who enjoys long sessions of cuddling.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Considerate Child

New photo slideshow if you click the link Sibling Love: Peter is a Week!

Warning: there are explicit details of labor and delivery beyond the first paragraph.  For men or those of weak stomach (or who just think it's TMI), the first paragraph is the short version, sans gory detail.

Holy Saturday I began contractions at 4:20 pm and Peter was born at 7:02 pm at Hillsdale Hospital, delivered by Dr. Bediako and attending nurses Amy and Aimee.  It was a short labor, but fairly difficult.  Mother and baby are healthy and well. :)

Long version:

I was due on Easter, so I decided that we should invite everyone to come have Easter dinner with us in Hillsdale.  With the chances of actually having your baby on your due date, I figured most all of the scenarios would be fine.  1) The baby would come early, and we'd be home to celebrate with family (and they'd feel bad for us and bring most of the meal).  2) The baby would come right on time and everyone would enjoy each others company and then come see us in the hospital.  3) The baby would be overdue, and I would be at Easter with my family, very pregnant (they would take pity on me and bring most of the meal).  So you see, in all three of these scenarios (scenarii?) I would get to see my family and have a delicious Easter feast.  I really was thinking.

My parents were planning on coming the Thursday before Easter if the baby was born before then or the Thursday after Easter if he wasn't.  It sounds complicated because my dad had just started a new job, and he only had off Friday-Monday.   After finding out at my doctor's appointment on Tuesday that I was already 4cm dilated, however, they decided to take the risk and come out the Thursday before Easter regardless.  I had high hopes that the baby would be born before Sunday night so that my dad would be able to meet him or her before he had to leave (and not see him or her until summer).  Ideally, they would arrive and be here to watch the kids while we left and had the baby.  Perfect world.  And then, of course, my mom would be here to direct the masterful Easter feast that would be prepared with or without me in my own kitchen. :)

They arrived Thursday night.  We chatted away, made some plans and went to bed.

Good Friday, no action.  We went to mass together, and I really thought that all of the up-down during prayers might make me go into labor, but alas, it didn't.  By the way, Cate and Dominic were perfect during this.  Angels were watching over us.  Then we came home and dad went to work on setting up my garden--tilling up the soil and fencing it in--while mom and I shopped for Easter.  Then we took the kids to the park.

Holy Saturday we tinkered around, chatting and eating and preparing.  All the while, we made plans for long Easter Vigil and things for Easter.  We went for another long walk, hoping to induce labor.  I think my dad was sad that he wouldn't get to see the baby, and I was sad that there wasn't a thing I could do about it.  Sigh.  At least we could enjoy Easter Vigil all together and then have a lovely Easter meal, complete with lots of desserts (because I gave up desserts for Lent this was an especially exciting prospect).

Dad and I went to Gelzer's Hardware store to pick up a few supplies to fix the rusted-out  railing and the garage door that sounds like a hot tub is turning on in the living room whenever you open or shut it.    While there, I began having fairly strong contractions, but I kept the news to myself, thinking that they would probably peter out (no pun intended), and I'd better not get anyone's hopes up.  Home we went.  Contractions continued so I began to time them - four minutes apart, 45-60 seconds each, fairly strong.  I told Matt.  Then after 4 more contractions, I called the hospital.  After discovering at my routine ob. appointment on Tuesday that I was already 4cm, and knowing that my last labor and delivery with Cate were under 1 1/2 hours, the ob. had warned me specifically not to dilly dally in getting the the hospital. So they told us to come in and we arrived at 4:50, just 30 minutes after contractions started.  I was only 5 cm dilated, but definitely in labor.  After all paperwork was done and my ob arrived, they broke my water.  It was probably about 6pm.  Contractions picked up significantly in intensity and by 6:40 I was 10 cm and ready to push.  After the worst, most intense pain of my life, Matt told me "It's a BOY!" and I wanted to collapse when they handed me my beautiful Peter Ambrose at 7:02pm.  I couldn't believe that such a perfectly formed, even if a little slimy, baby had been in my womb just minutes before.  No wonder I felt like I had a giant ball in front of me, he must have been really curled up!  7 lbs 8 oz.  21 1/4" long.

Unlike Cate, Peter did not come out "like a bar of wet soap" (doctor's words).  He had a firm, round head and was more stubborn about coming out.  It ended up in some tearing and stitching and a most agonizing afterbirth.  They said something about waiting for the placenta to naturally separate so there was less bleeding?  But the contractions during the afterbirth were as intense as during transition and I was simply not ready for them to be that strong.  They weren't with the other labors.  But, if I've learned anything, just as no two children are the same, no two pregnancies or labors are the same.

I would describe the labor as "fast and furious".  Those 2 hours and 40 minutes fit a lot of pain into them.  I can't really compare it to a long labor, maybe that's the same intensity of pain, just longer.   But I am not eager to repeat it anytime soon.  Though obviously it was worth it, and I would do it again to have Peter.  And he was considerate to have come while my dad was still here.

Peter was as fit as a fiddle, albeit rather sleepy, and I was doing well, despite the fast "trauma".  After a bit of coaxing, the ob and pediatrician signed off on letting us come home early so that we could be home for Easter dinner with the family.  Matt went home early to take Dominic and Cate to Easter mass and then came back to bring us home.  After just 17 hours, we were home with our tiny new bundle just in time to enjoy the feast that had been prepared.  Ham, scalloped potatoes, salad, asparagus, rolls, deviled eggs (none for me) and for dessert, chocolate cream pie, strawberry cheesecake, Easter cookies, and chocolate covered oreos, all washed down with chilled white wine in the company of my mom and dad, oldest brother and his family and Matt's brother and his family.  It was a fine, fine Easter.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Peter Ambrose: the First 72 Hours

At the hospital April 7th, 2012

At home: April 8th-10th

Thursday, March 29, 2012

This is a Wonderful Age

Most days, having a three-year-old is just delightful.  Cate is proudly sporting her new tutu, the black bolero that she had previously refused to wear with the fancy dress it came with, and Matt's old bizarre wig.  Picture her dancing like this to Beauty and the Beast.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Store Up Treasures in Heaven

Many of you know that we had our front bumper completely replaced and marks removed from the rear bumper 1 1/2 weeks ago after an encounter with a ditch.  Our front bumper had actually already been damaged, so on the whole, paying the insurance deductible to get the whole thing replaced and finally looking good again wasn't so bad.  I picked it up from the autobody shop and thought, "Ooh la la, it looks better than when we bought it!" 

Suddenly I have pride in my vehicle again.  I like it to shine.  It'll be clean.  We'll ride about in style.  While we're at it, maybe we should get the carpets in the house cleaned and upgrade some of the furniture and...and....

And after about a week of that subtle materialism creeping in on account of our slick Honda Odyssey, I re-dented and scratched the front bumper this morning. That photo is from after the accident not this morning, so the van is still significantly improved.  It doesn't looked like a cracked eggshell, just a dent and some unattractive scratches.

 Backing out of the library parking lot, I turned to sharply and hit a boulder that was "protecting" the grass but that I couldn't see (I assumed I was clear there and turned right into it).  Bang.  Dented again.  I would have thought bumpers were more resilient since I was only going 3 miles an hour!  But anyway, it struck me as a sort of cosmic chastisement against the subtle wiles of the world.  Count me chastened.  I will store up my treasures in heaven.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another problem, solved.

Here was the problem.  Children eating at wicker dining table with a glass inset = crumbs in the crack, constantly.  Placemats just weren't cutting it.  Tablecloths were constantly needing to be washed.  And vinyl tablecloths just looked lame.  Not to mention the kids kept pulling the tablecloths so that they were catawampus.
So I ordered a pretty vinyl tablecloth online (oblong).  One I genuinely liked.  Then I found this tutorial on how to make a fitted tablecloth.  Shifting problem, solved.

I sewed the corners straight so that it fitted snugly over the top.  Then I measured carefully and trimmed the excess fabric drop to a nice length and finished it off by sewing some double-wide white bias tape around the cut edge to create a nice, finished look.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I hope that it performs up to my expectations!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Baby Room Makeover

The almost finished product (lacking baby)
Here's one of the only "before" shots that I have
And this is an "after".  I painted the walls soft yellow.  The furniture was all repainted white and the handles spray-painted black.  The curtains are probably temporary.  They seem a little busy to me.  Eventually the window trim and doors will be painted white, but that's for some other time.
Cate's dresser and mirror refurbished.

 Baby's dresser refurbished.

Overheard at the Gaetano House

I think I'll start a new series of posts "Overheard at the Gaetano's".  I'll tag them all with that label so they're easy to find (mostly for me).

Here is today's gem, compliments of Cate at 3 yrs, 4 months.

"Oh No, Dominic!  A hippo ate our baby Jesus."  

Do you feel like you missed the context on that one?  I was listening and still have no idea where that one came from.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Piano Purchase

Phew!  What an exhausting purchase to make.  Well, not really to make, to get.  I saw it on Craigslist.  The price and location were right.  Even the picture looked right!  I called and drove out that day to look at it.  Bang.  Deposit.  Bang.  Then the hard part of figuring out how to get it.  Part of putting a deposit on it was so that there was no backing out--we had to figure out how to move it the 5 miles to our house.

First we were going to use 4 men and a pick-up, relying mainly on brute strength and then some ratcheting rope things that I picked up for the job.  On further thought and after several people expressed hesitation about this idea (not that the men aren't strong...just well, they're professors not engineers), the morning of the move I called both a moving company and Uhaul to see what options they had for us.  The moving company charged $300 and required 48 hours notice.  That was definitely out.  Uhaul had a truck available with a ramp and we could rent a dolly.  I pondered for a couple of hours and then decided that it was worth $60 to not be the cause of a professor or two putting his back out or my piano sliding out of the truck or fingers being sheared off (no joke, this happened to one of my grandpa's friends).  In the end, it was worth all the hassle.  I share with you the result.

Desk Remake

Here are some before and after pics of my latest projects.  This is the first of 4 pieces that make up Cate and the new baby's furniture.  This desk has definitely seen better days.  It's a French provincial style with a dirty cream paint and "gold" edging.  (It does have all the drawers...I just forgot to take one before this point).


After removing all the hardware, sanding and washing it down, I did two layers of Kilz latez primer (no oil-based for preggie me!) and then two layers of Frozen Vanilla Glidden semi-gloss.  I spray-painted the handles oil-rubbed bronze (they were gold and white).

More projects to come!