Lessons In Parenting: Attending Mass with an Infant

Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

Our little one was born at the end of May. We didn't begin taking him to Mass until Father's Day. The primary reason for not taking him to church was because we didn't want to be yelled at or glared at by the priest or other parishoners. The local parish has several women who will make nasty comments to others during Mass therefore, increasing my anxiety.

We are fortunate that our little one likes to sleep in his carseat so, the drive to Mass will put him to sleep. However, we were initially afraid of him waking up and crying. During the first Mass, we discovered that he was fascinated by the music. He loves the sound of the organ and the singing. As he's gotten a bit older, he enjoys looking at the lights above him and the colors in the stained glass windows.

Just before we started taking Charlie to Mass, a family friend was ordained and assigned to a local parish. We were unable to go to his ordination because it would have been far too crowded to bring such a little baby. However, it became by goal to go to see him say Mass once the little one was old enough.

A few weeks ago we decided we would make the trek to our friend's church. Being in a new church, my anxiety about the little one crying was even higher but, we picked a pew that was right near an exit and made sure to sit on the end. This church is perfectly set up for little children. It doesn't have a crying room or anything like that but, it has a multitude of exits and class vestibules that you can escape to if need be. There are also several alcoves to stand in if you need to walk with the baby.

After Mass, I expressed my concern to our friend that our little one may have cried through the entire Mass. Our friend simply said, "Jesus cried." I was so relieved that he was understanding. In addition, he shared that he would rather families come in late and at least get there. His only rule is that you cannot leave early, if you come in late.

Having his conversation with our friend, has resulted in the hubby and I taking our little one to Mass at his church every Sunday since then. It is wonderful to be able to relax and not worry that we are going to be chastised for the baby crying.

We decided that our friend will be baptizing Charlie when the time comes.

Growing Home

Charlie's Pool!

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Last week, Charlie got his 2 month shots. While at the appointment, I was asking the pediatrician about taking Charlie swimming. HE LOVES BATH TIME therefore, I thought he would enjoy the pool/beach. Unfortunately, the beach has this crazy bacteria in the water right now and the pools have a foot and mouth epidemic so, no pool/beach for Charlie.

As I was explaining this to the hubby, he decided to run to target on his lunch hour and get Charlie a little pool for us to play in in the backyard. Of course as soon as we got the pool, it has rained almost everyday since then. Over the weekend, I desperately wanted to take Charlie in the pool while the hubby was home so, we set up the pool in the house in hopes it being sunny enough to go out. No such luck. He had to settle for a bath instead.

Here are some photos:


7 Quick Takes

Charlie had his two month appointment this week! 
He celebrated his birthday on Sunday! 
We made it through another batch of crazy storms! I wrote a post on emergency preparedness with an infant. Any other suggestions? Feel free to let me know! 
I've started making a page of posts on things we've learned as new parents. Feel free to check them out! 
We are starting to prepare for Charlie's Baptism! I can't wait! We are keeping the Baptism as a family event due to some of the unique situations we have going on right now. It is wonderful how many people would like to come and celebrate Charlie's entrance into the Catholic church but, unfortunately this is the way it has to be for now. He will be Baptized by a family friend who was ordained a few months ago during a private Mass. 
Do any of you have unique Baptismal traditions? 
I'm looking for part time, creative employment ideas. I hope to be able to work from home. But, if you all have any ideas, please let me know! I'm open to just about anything. My hope is to get away from the education field and get the creative juices flowing but, I also need to be realistic! 
We are waiting on our first cloth diapers for Charlie! I can't wait to see how it works out!
I've been thinking a lot about the phrase "Justice with Mercy". As you may or may not know, a dear friend of mine was killed by a hit and run driver. She would have asked for the driver to be punished but shown Mercy as well. I'm fine with the justice part but, I'm struggling with the "Mercy" part. 
What do you think the phrase "Justice with Mercy" means? 
Comment below! 

Lessons In Parenting: Weathering the storm while breastfeeding

Well, this seems to be the summer of storms on Long Island. In Charlie's short life, we've been without power three times and have had countless storms. Last night we received calls from the county legislator indicating that there would be strong thunderstorms with the possibility of a tornado. We made sure we had a bag for Charlie of everything he would need for at least a day and we waited...

Emergency Kit for A Breastfeeding Infant
1) 1 package of diapers
2) 1 package of wipes
3) Hand sanitizer
4) Water (for mom)
5) Wrap/sling/nursing cover
6) Blankets
7) Burp cloth
8) Pacifier
9) First aid kit
10) Medicine dropper
11) Nasal aspirator
12) Changes of clothes

13) Nipple shield (if needed)

Have I forgotten something? Comment below! 

As a kid, we never received these ominous phone calls from the local government. While I understand, we need to be informed sometimes I feel like these phone calls make everyone just a little too crazy. There were always warnings on the TV but, those warnings seem much less personal than having a person or a recording call your house.

Charlie was absolutely hysterical as the first large storm was approaching. Can babies sense storms like animals? As the storm passed, he calmed down (THANKFULLY!). We were very lucky that most of the strong weather stayed to the west of us and our power remained on.

Breastfeeding and Emergency Preparedness
As a result of the many storms we have had since Charlie was born, I have become very grateful for the ability to breastfeed. It is wonderful not to have to worry about having enough formula and bottles. As long as, I am there... he will be fed. Woohoo! Go nature!

Breastfeeding and Mother's Stress
With all of the excitement yesterday, I noticed I was not as anxious as I usually am when the weather gets bad. I've been doing a lot of reading about breasfeeding and much of the reading indicates that it reduces the stress level of the mother. This is true for several reasons: Skin to skin contact with your little one automatically relaxes a mother and child. (I mean really... who doesn't like snuggling with a little baby?) Breastfeeding releases a hormone called Oxytocin which is shown to lower blood pressure in the mother. Prolactin is also released which is related to a positive mood and lower stress levels.

Another added bonus!
It has been proven that breastfeeding reduces a baby's pain level. If your child happens to become injured in the storm, it will help to ease the pain!

Links on Emergency Preparedness and Support for Breast Feeding In Disaster Situations

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Our 2 Month Old

How big is he? What does he like?At his two month appointment, our little one was 10 lbs 2 oz and 22 3/4 in. The little one is in size 1 diapers and primarily 0-3 month clothing. However, he does were 6 mos. in some clothes. He loves playing in his activity gym. He is grabbing toys and shaking them. One of his favorite evening and weekend activities is reading with his daddy. We received "I  love you through and through" from our friends Jenn and Tim. The hubby and I enjoy reading it to our little one together. The little one loves my mom's brightly patterned shirts. His eyes follow her around the room whenever she is home. 

What does a two month old do? Our little one usually naps twice a day around 9am and 2pm. He still hates bagpipes and recently hates the sound of the phone. We are trying to find a way to make the sound of the phone less irritating to him. We have been taking the little one to church where our family friend is assigned. He doesn't mind if the baby cries since, "Jesus cried too." It takes a lot of the pressure off and makes the experience far more enjoyable for all of us. The little one usually naps through the beginning of Mass until the homily. (Our friend speaks very loudly but, the little guy never cries.) He enjoys the music.

Can a two month old be teething? According to the pediatrician, the little one is officially teething. He is a drool machine. The pediatrician indicated the teething could go on for MONTHS! (Mommy is not ready for the little one to have teeth yet.) He is still exclusively breast fed. I never thought in a million years I'd make it this long. Hopefully, I can make it to six months. I've been doing a lot of reading about baby led weaning so, we'll see what happens. 

Are you going back to work? My maternity leave officially ended on the 17th. It is hard to believe 8 weeks have gone by already. I'm not sure what the next steps will be. It is extremely hard to imagine going back to work full time. I am looking into various "work at home" options and part time options. I know as a teacher I can always tutor but, I'd like to try to find something that encourages more creativity and/or craftiness. I am inspired by all of these moms that have businesses like making cloth diapers or  profitable etsy shops. I've sent resumes to several tutoring agencies and various part time job openings but haven't heard anything back yet. I'd ultimately love to go back to school for my PhD or EdD. I love being a student and teaching on a college campus would be the best possible scenario as the little one grow up. 

Lessons in Parenting: Surviving Your Baby's First Cold

Unfortunately, our little one came down with his first cold this week. He was stuffy and irritable so, we called our pediatrician to see what we could do for our little one. Here's what she said:

 #1 Little Noses (Unmedicated) - God's gift to stuffy babies. I didn't register for this however, my awesome cousin is a nurse and bought it for us as part of a shower gift. Little didn't I know that this stuff would clear out little one's nose so fast! He was able to breath almost perfectly after the first use. Some breastfeeding women swear by breast milk up the nose. I did not try it but, when you're desperate and you don't have Little Noses in the house I could see myself giving it a try.

 #2 Nasal Aspirator (Snot Sucker)- Best little doodad we got from the hospital! Our mild mannered little one doesn't mind this so much. I know other moms have indicated that this makes their little one crazy.

 #3 Wedge in the bassinet - Our pediatrician recommended elevating little ones head with a towel, blanket or pillow placed under the bassinet mattress. As a Christmas gift, I received Boppy's pregnancy wedge. I never really used it however, now we are finding lots of wonderful ways to use it with little one.

 #4 Humidifier - Never thought we would need one, definitely should have registered for one. The hubby ran to Target and got a Safety 1st Ultrasonic Humidifier. (The first one we bought wouldn't turn on.) However, the second one was really easy to put together and worked like a charm.

 #5 BREASTFEED! - La Leche League has a forum dedicated to Tips for breastfeeding when baby has a cold. Kellymom.com has a fantastic list of pointers also.

7 Quick Takes

I had a guest post up at imperfectkate on Modesty and Motherhood.

I had another guest post up at Catholic Cookie Jar on Catholic Marriage.
These two posts made my week! I can't wait to find more guest post opportunities.

Little one LOVES fans and overhead lighting of any variety. 

The hubby and I celebrated our two year wedding anniversary on Tuesday.  
How did we celebrate? 
We went to the Baptism class for our little one. Unfortunately, he came down with a bit of a cold on Monday so, we've been hanging out around the house for most of the week. Hopefully, the hubby and I will go out to dinner tomorrow night. 

The little one got to meet his relatives on my grandfather's side of the family yesterday. They are wonderful people and are so in love with our little man. The generation that is the same as my parents are in their 80's. The generation that is the same as the hubby and I are in their late 50's. Unfortunately, neither one of my cousins are married so there aren't any others after that. 

We always have a blast together and they are the best hostesses. It is amazing how an impromptu visit quickly turns into an elaborate luncheon complete with several severals and many hours of conversation. 

The little one will be wearing his great grandfather's Christening gown for the Christening. It is over 100 years old. All of us have been Christened in it. We did purchase a simple white romper for him to wear afterwards so, the heirloom will stay clean and safe for whomever comes next. My cousin presently has a son who will be Christened in some point in the near future. 

Wishing mommy and daddy a Happy Annniversary!

Hanging out on the couch like his uncles

Guest Post at Catholic Cookie Jar: On Catholic Marriage

I have a  guest post as part of  Catholic Cookie Jar's Catholic Marriage Series. Tomorrow we will be celebrating our two year wedding anniversary. (Mandi will be too! Wish them a happy anniversary!) The hubby and I had a lot of fun writing this post together. We enjoyed reflecting on our special day as well as all that went into it. Interestingly this year, we will be spending our anniversary at the Baptism class for our son. It is amazing how in such a short time life can change so much. 

When the hubby and I decided to get married there was no doubt in our minds it would be a Catholic Nuptial Mass. We met while on retreat with the Catholic university we were attending. We had been raised in the Catholic Church attending Catholic schools.   Being Catholic was always a part of our lives growing up, and continues to be so into adulthood...continue reading at Catholic Cookie Jar.

Guest Post At imperfectkate: On Modesty and Motherhood

I have a  guest post at imperfectkate as part of Kate's Modesty Monday posts. After becoming a mom just a few weeks ago, I had some time to reflect on how pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood has affected my perception of modesty in my day to day interactions with friends, family, strangers, and medical professionals.

One of the first things I thought about when I found out I was pregnant was the delivery process and how many people would be seeing “everything”. I’ve never been one for revealing clothing. I was educated in Catholic schools from Kindergarten through college, including an all-girls Catholic high school. Therefore, I grew up wearing knee length skirts, shirts buttoned up to the top, and knee socks...continue reading at imperfectkate.

7 ways to keep a 7 week old comfortable, happy, and entertained

Like most first time moms I've been searching for ways to keep our little one comfortable, happy, and entertained. I feel like it is easy to keep him comfortable since he loves his rock n play, gowns, and sleep sacks. He generally is a happy little guy and doesn't require much too keep him that way. Entertainment is something I've been struggling with because until recently he didn't really appear to enjoy much. We started with board books, an activity mat, and a Manhattan Winkle. I really don't want him to be bored during the day.

Charlie's favorite things at the moment are:

#1 Boppy Pillow 
Charlie loves using the Boppy pillow to "sit up" and have tummy time. It makes it much easier for him to lift his head. He is willing to spend a lot more time on his belly when he has the Boppy. I also use it for breast feeding. Charlie loves falling asleep on it. I have to admit that it was a little too firm and high for him at first but, now that it's broken in, IT IS PERFECT! 

#2 Rock n Play
The "baby taco" is a fantastic way to keep Charlie with us as we move around he house. It is lightweight, easily collapsible, and small enough that you can maneuver around it without much difficulty. Charlie loves to nap in his "taco".

#3 Carter's Gowns
Makes bedtime diaper changes easier on both the little one and I. They are the perfect amount of clothing for the temperature in the house. Unfortunately, he is getting too long for them. 
#4 Halo Sleep Sack
The next best thing to the gown is the sleep sack! We are gradually moving from Carter's gowns to the sleep sack. Charlie enjoys kicking his feet around in it. The micro-fleece one is wonderfully snuggly. 

#5 Baby Einstein on YouTube 
These are great! Charlie loves music and the basic high contrast video playing on the screen makes tummy time bearable for him. I generally flatten out my laptop so he can see the screen when laying on his belly. These are fabulous and FREE! 
Baby Einstein-Baby Mozart Part 1
Baby Einstein-Baby Mozart Part 2 

#6 Mobiles
His various mobiles are lifesavers. He particularly loves this Nautica one on his crib. It keeps him entertained long enough for me to shower!

#7 Manhattan Winkle 
We received this as a gift from a friend and I honestly wasn't sure how the little guy would like it. However, our little one is able to grab this and drag/toss it around a bit. It is primarily accidental at this point (like he puts his hand in a ring and gets it stuck there.) But, it is nice to see him actually try to "play" with something. 
Moms, what do you do with your infant? How do you keep them entertained? 

7 Quick Takes

The world lost an incredible woman this week to a hit and run driver. I cannot believe such a warm, wonderful person is gone.
"Because I knew you, I have been changed for good." 
Rest in peace Sr. Jackie
Charlie is 7 weeks old. He loves his baths and playing in his activity gym. He is smiling more frequently and has officially outgrown his newborn clothes. Charlie is completely confused by whistling. He enjoys reading books with us in the evenings. We have started a page for the books we read with Charlie. Maybe other new parents would benefit from a list of books that our infant enjoyed. Charlie is the light of our lives. We can't believe how quickly life changes. We wouldn't give this experience up for anything. Yes, we are sleep deprived. Yes, we would like to be able to just go away for a weekend. But, we love our little one more than anything in the world. 
I have been working on blogging more often with more substance. I would love to find opportunities to do more guest posting. I am also looking to increase the exposure of the blog. Any ideas? Let me know!

My brother, the seminarian, made it to Taiwan safely. He is teaching English there for the summer. He is absolutely thrilled to be there and is really enjoying himself. 

His birthday is today (Taiwan time) or Saturday (EST) at 12:02 AM! Happy Birthday! 
James (l) Charlie (r)
Charlie and his friend James went to the Italian festival in town. It was a nice family outing. We even got to see a Rod Stewart impersonator. It was highly entertaining for all. James and his parents will be moving to Austin, TX soon. It is wonderful having friends who understand what it is like to have a little one. We will miss them terribly. Hopefully, they will be back in the tri-state area soon! James' dad got a postdoc position that lasts two years. It will be interesting to see where life takes them. 
We are looking forward to finding more free, family activities in the coming weeks. The summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. There are lots of free concerts and festivals to attend. 

Lessons in parenting: Poop!

I never in a million years thought that when I started this blog shortly after we got engaged I would be writing a post dedicated to poop. However, the hubby and I decided we wanted to chronicle our lives together the good, the bad, and the smelly (as the case may be).

Poop is a fact of life. In college, my freshmen RA (a nursing student) gave us a lecture titled “Everyone Poops” our first night in the dorm to make us feel more comfortable. As a new parent, you are constantly watching, waiting, and listening for poop. At every doctor appointment poop is discussed in detail.  Every parent knows that sound (that inevitably comes when you have them all dressed and you are finally ready to walk out the door.)

This post started when the other night our little one needed a bath. He LOVES bath time. The hubby and I were actively bathing the little guy and well…he POOPED, right in the bathtub. I’m not sure who was more surprised the little one or us. So, we took him out, put a diaper around him, and brought him downstairs to the sink where he enjoyed the rest of his bath, splashing and kicking.

One would have thought we would have learned our lesson from the first bath of the evening… Well, not quite.

When little one was done in the sink, we put him in his starfish robe and booties. He just looked so cute so we were taking various pictures to send to his uncles. (Note: Silly me, I did not put a diaper around him.) THEN, I started to smell that familiar smell. Sure enough, the entire robe was covered. New parents: This is when all those towels you got for your wedding come into play because we definitely didn’t have anymore “baby” towels.

This wasn’t the first time we had a bathroom accident as new parents but, this was our first two-floor, multiple outfit, multiple tub experience. We certainly got a lot of laughs and the little one is no worse for the wear. We will be very vigilant the next time we give him a bath…

Rest In Peace Sr. Jackie

"Do all you can for God's people because time is short." 
The Venerable Mother Catherine Elizabeth McAuley 

On Monday night, my teacher and friend was killed in a hit and run accident while on retreat in Watermill, NY. Sr. Jackie (SJ as we called her) was the campus minister at Our Lady of Mercy Academy while I was a student there. She was amazing woman who a heart so full of love for everyone she met. Her laugh was infectious and her hugs could melt the North Pole. Despite the fact that it has been 11 years since I graduated, we were still in touch. So much so we have a words with friends game going at the moment...we were trying to find  time for her to meet Charlie. The last time I saw her she was so excited that the hubby and I were expecting a little one...

Last night at her prayer service at St. Edward's there were so many people that they couldn't all fit in the church. It was a true testament to the work she did in the community and how much she meant to all those she met.

SJ LOVED music and LOVED to sing. She freely admitted that she may not have the best voice but, she was going to sing loud and proud anyway.

These were the songs they picked for her service.
Be Not Afraid 
All I Ask 
You Are Mine
The Summons 
News articles: http://syosset.patch.com/articles/syosset-mourns-beloved-sister-jackie

“God of our ancestors,
we gather to our hearts all those who have influenced our lives with their love and goodness.
Although they have passed on to the other side of this life,
their lives continue to affect who we are and what we do.
Like the sound of a bell resounding in welcoming air, so has the goodness of these holy ones resonated in our lives. Thank you for these women and men and the bond we have with them. Amen  ”

Adapted from: Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems, and Reflections for Every Season. ©2000 Joyce Rupp, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Indiana

Eternal rest, grant unto her, O Lord, 
and let perpetual light shine upon her. 
May the souls of the faithful departed 
through the mercy of God rest in peace. 

6 Weeks is so much fun!

 On Tuesday, Charlie turned 6 weeks old! He has already changed so much since he was born. I can't believe how big he is getting. We had to put away a few "newborn" outfits since he is far too long for them and I can no longer justify cramming his long legs into the little pants anymore. Charlie is also so much more alert. He is awake for most of the day. He might take two naps but, usually just takes one in the midafternoon. He is still great at traveling and enjoy his stroller and car seat.
Charlie's big accomplishment this week has been that he is lifting his head up like a champ during tummy time! I was so excited today when he just popped right up when I put him on his belly. He is also starting to really enjoy his mobiles in his bassinet and crib. He can spent so much time watching the little boats or sheep go round and round. 

We discovered that he really loves music. Pandora internet radio has become a lifesaver because there are only so many times you can listen to the mobile music before you lose your mind. It is amazing to me how much he loves music (especially Katy Perry!) While we were watching the Macy's fireworks, Charlie was bopping and dancing along to Katy Perry's song "Firework". We also discovered that Charlie HATES bagpipe music. It is the only thing that he absolutely can't stand at this point.

Charlie loves to express himself with various coos, grunts, and squeals. He is quite the "talker". (I have no idea where he might have gotten that from. <wink,wink>) It is so much fun to see how he is growing by leaps and bounds in such a short time! 

What activities did your six week old enjoy? 

Happy 4th of July!

Today was our little one's first Fourth of July.  We took him to a holiday parade and he had the opportunity to meet Theodore Roosevelt (actually one of the reenactors who often plays him).   The weather was beautiful, and our little one was so well behaved!   Lots of different people came up to us and congratulated us on the baby.   We were so proud!   Happy 236th Birthday, America!