Thursday, December 30, 2010

from Caring Bridge...

Well we are moving out of the NICU!!!!!

Marianne has overcome the hurdle of her two month shots and her a's and b's have subsided. She is now BACK in the Special Care Nursery, (a transitional nursery for the "feeders" and "growers")

Her weight is right at 6.5 lbs. She is plumping up!! Her thighs have a little roll in them. I was marveling at her amazing and miraculous growth. Her legs used to be no thicker than my finger. God is so good!! What a blessing to be a witness to this fearsome part of her life... where God puts on the finishing touches of our bodies before we are born. Oh it has been such a privelidge!!! She's a beautiful baby, and if you don't believe me, ask her Daddy. (Or her Nani) (or her Nonna!)

So now on to the business of feeding and growing. As you know, she has reflux (not reflex- silly me-although all her reflexes are stellar as a newborn's should be!). Reflux is proving to be an obstacle for her to appreciate and love feeding. So sometimes she will take her bottle fantastically and lots of times she struggles with getting just 10 mls down. A full bottle at this point is about 50 mls. It is breast milk that is fortified with iron, extra calories and some vitamins for good measure. We are going to work more on breastfeeding and she is given 4 times a day to try either one. So every other feeding is an opportunity for Marianne to bottle or breastfeed. Her Occupational Therapist has been keeping a close eye on her and is going to experiment with a slower-flow nipple for her bottle and/or a thickener.

All of this will just take practice and time and PATIENCE and TRUST. I'm clinging to the end result: a baby that will bottle or breastfeed for each feeding.

As always, thank you for your prayers for us. We keep you in our prayers, too.

Oh- and the house... well, no news to report. A showing on Friday... I'm just going to put that one back in God's hands.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A home for Christmas...

That is one of my requests for Christmas this year...the other being for Marianne to come home from the hospital.  Well, I guess it's the THOUGHT that counts, right?  Silly Santa.

don't say I didn't warn you...

Another distracted driver has hit the road.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Looking Ahead...with TRUST

“If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” – St. Catherine of Siena

It is the beginning of the year and often we look to writing New Year’s resolutions. But last year I sort of bucked the system of “resolutions.” I invite you to join me this year: instead, take on a one-word challenge, one virtue or attitude to help us “be who we should be,” as St. Catherine might frame it. The challenge I set for myself last year was to embody gratitude. At the time, I was in a place where I felt very deserving of many things, and these things just were not happening for me or my family. I wrote “gratitude” on the chalkboard in our kitchen and placed around my home bible verses relating to being grateful. My circumstances may not have changed much, but my perception of them sure did. The Lord allowed me to see how Gino’s long hours were such a blessing to us because that meant a job, a home, food, clothes, etc. Lots of playing and loudness and dancing in the kitchen could have made me grouchy (and sometimes did!), but it reminded me of how blessed we have been with healthy children. An April pregnancy followed by a premature October delivery made me grateful for each one of our five children, all of whom arrived in God’s time and with their own unique personalities full of love and zest for life. Having a baby in the NICU for the past two months (and counting) helps me appreciate the awesome gift of life that each newborn represents. Being exhausted from going up to the hospital each day to visit our newborn and still running our home and running after four more kiddos make me so thankful for the help I have received from family and friends and STAMA moms: help with our children, meals, grocery shopping, decorating for Christmas, doing laundry… the list goes on, and the number of people who have lent a hand over the past ten weeks has been overwhelming. Yes, over the past year gratitude has become ingrained in how I frame the events of my life.

This New Year, I feel called to take on another one-word challenge. We are waiting for our baby to come home from the hospital. We are waiting for our house to sell, and waiting to find our new home. It would be very easy for me to feel anxious, frustrated, and impatient about each one of these situations. And believe me, I have! So, perhaps our Father needs me to work on trust.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not;

In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:4-5

Marianne is still in the NICU and many prayers for her growth and health are appreciated. Thank you STAMA for your continued prayers and love and help for our family. You can keep up with her progress at:

Prayer for the New Year
O God of new beginnings and wonderful surprises, thank you for the gift of a new year. May it be a time of grace for me, a time to grow in faith and love, a time to renew my commitment to following Your Son, Jesus. May it be a year of blessing for me, a time to cherish my family and friends, a time to renew my efforts at work, a time to embrace my faith more fully. Walk with me, please, in every day and every hour of this new year, that the light of Christ might shine through me, in spite of my weaknesses and failings. Above all, may I remember this year that I am a pilgrim on the sacred path to You.