Saturday, September 29, 2007

Be At Peace, Dear Jude

We laid Jude to eternal rest last evening... in the *most perfect* spot a mother could imagine for her littlest one, I must say! If you're ever out here visiting, we'll show you. It was just perfect.

The bishop(!) (thanks to our dear law school father) sent us a beautiful "Order for the Blessing of Parents After Miscarriage", which provided wonderful responses, scripture, and prayers for GG and I to follow. It was, as I said, just perfect. Here is an excerpt from the Bible that was particularly lifegiving to me:

"But I will call this to mind, as my reason to have hope: The favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent; They are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness. My portion is the Lord, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Good is the Lord to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him; It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the Lord." Lamentations 3:20-26

And with that, here are glimpses of GG and I and the beautiful box housing our Jude. We buried him in the cloth inside and kept the box as a sweet reminder of our wee one... Also, there are shots of the gorgeous garden we've received from dear friends and family.

What a week this has been! Thank you so much for your dear prayers. God bless!


Friday, September 28, 2007

A Good Day

Maybe it's the sun in the cloudless sky.

Maybe it's the wonderful lunchtime picnic and playground frolic we spent with friends.

Maybe it's the sweet silence in the house, meaning my boys are sleeping.

Maybe it's feeling more physically like myself than I have in months.

Maybe it's God's grace permeating our hearts and beings.

Whatever it is (most likely the latter), today is a good day.
Praise God for that.

[Yet I still have reason to cry and ache for sweet babies... God bless you, Conor and Boothe. Please know of our prayers.]

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sometimes

Laughter is the best medicine. :)
Hope you are well today... God bless.

(This is JB, my parents' pug. Poor thing. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"O Jesus, I promise to submit myself to all that You permit to befall me, make me only know Your Will. My most sweet Jesus, infinitely merciful God, most tender Father of souls, and in a particular way of the most weak, most miserable, most infirm which You carry with special tenderness between Your divine arms, I come to You to ask You, through the love and merits of Your Sacred Heart, the grace to comprehend and to do always Your holy Will, the grace to confide in You, the grace to rest securely through time and eternity in Your loving divine arms."

-St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Name

Jude.

Sweet baby Jude.

GG and I decided on this name last night for our little soul. Because we really don't know the gender of the babe, I feel especially good that Jude (though a male saint) would appropriately fit either a boy or girl.

Jude Gasperini.

And can I take a moment to tell you about our Jude?
[Those of you who know me are aware that I'm somewhat of an open book. Therefore, I feel drawn to telling you about our child. This is my way of healing. Please refrain from reading if it makes you uncomfortable...]

Jude was about an inch big with perfect little human parts. I estimate his gestational age was around 9.5-10 weeks judging from his development. He had sweet little eyes and a large mouth (typical Gasperini! ;) His beautiful arms extended into tiny little hands with small finger buds. He was absolutely at peace while GG and I marveled at our Lord's creation in him. He was beautiful and I am so glad to have had the chance to know him in physical form.

We laid him to rest in a gorgeous crystal box with an etched cross on the lid given to us by our dear friends. We plan to bury him on campus near the breathtaking Grotto, where many go to offer petitions. What a holy place for our little one to eternally rest...

Pray for us, sweet baby Jude.

There's a little piece of my heart on this Tuesday morning.
God bless you and thanks for listening.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Risk of Love

If having babies can be this painful, is it worth the risk?
I found such hope in the following story.

Yes, I feel the risk of love is always worth it.
To love my boys is to know that every baby is worth the risk.
Every baby, even miscarried ones, is an opportunity to know more love.

Yes, to reap love is to be quite blessed.
Even in the midst of everything, we are still feeling such blessings.
Praise God.

God bless you today.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A sweet gift from my parents--a beautiful suncatcher to honor a beautiful baby.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Precious Life

I sadly write to say that our sweet baby is no longer with us.
But I rejoice in saying he is now a beautiful soul in heaven.

I miscarried this morning, but GG and I were gratefully able to meet our little one and together praise God for his precious life.

From here we plan to grieve, bury, and pray... a lot. We are so fortunate to be surrounded by such a warm, Catholic community here, who value each life to the fullest. Also, my parents are now here to love, hug, pray, and grandparent our wonderful boys.

And while so much of me just wants to cry, the rest of me feels so blessed to have known this child; to have joyfully carried him; to have provided him a place to begin and end his time here on earth.

Thank you for joining us in praising God for him!

Thank you for your continued prayers...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Nothing Like Prayers

So I'm back, once again asking for your petitions...

Not for the Army this time, but for a small, growing baby.
I am 11 weeks today and am experiencing some uterine achiness and light spotting.

Thankfully, my midwife has allayed alot of my fears and wants me to have a nice, relaxing weekend before seeing her on Monday, where I'll have my first exam and an ultrasound to boot! She wants to assure us that all is well with the little one. Praise God for her today. Her words were like salve to my worries.

And in the meantime, we'd love your prayers.
They are so very effective.
God bless you this Friday...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Signs of Testosterone

You know you're living in a house full of boys when...

...the back of one's head suffices as a napkin.
...spoons are unnecessary; only large, heaping hands will do.
...clean-up is our least favorite time of day.
...stain removers are no match for our shirts.
...bedtime involves a ball of some sort.
...shoes contain half of the sandbox (the rest is in their shorts, shirts, etc.)
...burying oneself in a sandbox is the best of ideas.

Lord have mercy if this next one isn't a girl! God bless!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Little Things

Today is a great day to focus on the little joys in life because otherwise... Well, let's just say it's been one of those days. :)

* warm oatmeal with brown sugar
* the morning snooze that saved me after an early morning wake-up.
* the campus gate guards who let us through to visit the duck pond (rather than making us park more than a mile away! God bless them...)
* the relaxing lunch and duck feeding we enjoyed with friends.
* the caffeine-free diet Dr. Pepper my dearest friend pulled from her bag... for me! Oh, the indulgence! (I try to stear clear of Aspartame in pregnancy, though I love it so!) What a treat.
* the message left on our machine by a friend, who's recently moved away. It was a blessing to hear her voice.
* the celebration of my mother's 61 years on earth. (A rather large blessing!)
Happy Birthday, Mom/Gramz!!!

* the revelation of the *wonderful* Catholic women's Bible study we had last night. So rich and so blessed!
* the sweetness of a baby, who doesn't want to nap, but wants desperately to snuggle in my arms.

God, you are so good to me.
Thank you for the little joys today that make it worth living.
And, as always, may God bless you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

JungleGG

What do you get when you mix two wild boys, a frantic pup, and a zealous daddy?
CHAOS! God bless...



Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Day with Friends

How nice is it just to sit back and enjoy the company of great friends?

Thanks to the T Fam for making the trip yesterday... They checked up on their godson, little T, making sure he has been prayerful and obedient (for the most part!) We checked up on our godson, the big boy Christopher, who is so special to us and is growing into such a sweet and independent young man. What a blissful day!

News to report: M conquered the large slide at the playground (much to his mother's chagrin!) Enjoy the shots of our relaxing afternoon...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Conversation in the car

M: Mommy, Dosh?

B-mama: Dash?

M: Daaash.

B-mama: I'm sorry, M, but I don't know what you're saying.

M: Jaash Groben CD.

B-mama: Oh, Josh Grobin! You want to listen to Josh Groban?

I have indoctrinated my son. He loves Josh Groban. And so do I. Can you blame him? The poor thing has been surrounded by his music since in the womb. So has Baby T. They both stop mid-play to listen to his glorious music. We are all in love with it; bordering on obsessed, I guess.

Josh Groban and 80's music. My children will start pre-school knowing the tune to "Video Killed The Radio Star." We jammed the other morning at breakfast to Pure 80's.

Does this count as brainwashing one's children? If so, I'm completely guilty.

Immaculee Inspiration

I began Left to Tell with no awareness of how immersed and entrenched I would become in it's tale. By the end of the day, I was finished; unable to extract myself from its pages...

Immaculee writes a firsthand account of being raised in a loving, Catholic Christian home amidst her upstanding, educated parents and three strong, faithful brothers. Her world was a Christ-centered dream of innocence... only to be shattered by a genocide killing of over one million Rwandans in 100 days. She survived by hiding in a bathroom with 7 other women, praying fervently and relying on her Lord to see her through to victory, which He did.

While the book portrays every atrocity and brutality at the hands of the killers, I was never fearful. More was I completely overcome by the evident spirituality springing forth from Immaculee while she suffered. She prayed and prayed and prayed. She believed. She battled the enemy. She fought loneliness and resentment. She forgave her hunters. She found Godly closeness. She lived to tell.

As you know, I've been dealing with my own prayer journey, grappling with the meaning of prayer and how I fit into the Divine prayer picture. What a blessing this book was to me in the midst of my re-discovery!!! I was so struck by Immaculee's belief in the effectiveness of her own prayer. She prayed with her whole heart and acted with her whole being to meet God in His provision. And He always met her. She always had reason to rejoice in answered prayer. It was pretty overwhelming and very humbling to this saved-by-His-grace mama!

Overall, I totally recommend this read. I'll venture to say you'll come away with a lot more than just a provoking story. God might just use it to teach you something as well.

Happy immersing and entrenching (you really won't be able to put it down!)

God bless and TGIF.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Anticipatory Set

I hope today's post will whet your palate for some thoughts and ponderings I have following the completion of a wonderful, faith-filled book, Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza. It is a personal account of her struggle through the Rwandan genocide in 1994; a powerful tale of calamity, sacrifice, endurance, hope, and forgiveness. It was an incredible book and I can't wait to share with you all about it... but not until tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm about to head back to an afternoon filled with cousins (boys all around), grandparents, my boys, and my sister. I so cherish my family and this opportunity to spend the day together. God bless you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering

Two weeks into my first job out of college, disaster struck. I was working at a private school an hour outside of NYC...

*I remember watching the first, then the second tower fall as we gathered around a TV in our school's workout gym.

*I remember seeing students frantically on the phones, crying and trying to reach their parents, many of whom worked in the city.

*I remember watching a science colleague anguish over not hearing from his wife, who worked in the World Trade Center Financial building (within the plaza).

*I remember hearing of dear Isabel, who had received her husband's last words from the top of Tower 2 via phone messages from the secretary.

*I remember attending her husband's memorial service a week later and being struck by the strength of his parents. His body was recovered the following week.

*I remember sitting in my apartment weeping.

I remember.
We all will never forget.
God bless you on this solemn day of remembrance.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Finding Our Smile

Out of nowhere, our little M has begun to shine. While I don't want to jinx the pattern, I do want to rejoice in it while it's here (praying there is more to come!!) Today marked an incredible day of him helping, listening, caring, sharing... and of course, smiling, as he does so well. (I definitely needed to archive these thoughts seeing as behavior is day-to-day with our wonderful 2-year-old! Lord help us!)

We've also been having trouble catching his wide, toothy grin on film until today. The "Jay Jay Smile" emerged on the swings Sunday as M had us in belly laughs at the park, beaming proudly and cheesily from his lofty seat. What a little ham. For some reason, he associated the smiling with one of his favorite DVD characters, Jay Jay, The Jet Plane. Don't ask me, but we're going with it... especially as long as it gives us toothy camera smiles! :)

Here are some snapshots from today of our beaming wonder... God bless.


Sunday, September 9, 2007

A random brownie comment

Ever encounter the "stir 30 strokes" instructions on a box of brownies?
Maddening!

Was that 29... or 31? Did I miscount? Are they too stirred or not stirred enough? Should there be chunks of powder remaining? Will they turn out or be the worst brownies ever?!?
This is torture for anyone remotely analytical!! There's too much grey!

Betty Crocker, take me away!!!

So I made her brownies this weekend.
All she asked of me was to "mix well".
Thank you, Betty.
God bless you, Betty.
Sweet dreams...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Conversation during the game

B-mama: Do you think the Blessed Mother has sympathy for a losing Notre Dame team?

GG: I've always pictured Mary as the mom on the sidelines, not worrying about the score, but whether or not the players are okay.

*Isn't my hubby the sweetest? I just thought this was such a beautiful vision of Christ's mother! God bless.

Friday, September 7, 2007

A Full Morning





Nothing like beating the gloomy midwestern skies with ample activities and "adventures" as we like to call them in Gasperini-Ville. M will refuse to go in the car for a simple errand, but as soon as we say we're "going on an adventure" (as it usually is for this mama!), he's all for it, hopping in the car willingly! This morning was no exception...

We ventured out to campus to go running (me), feed the ducks by the pond (a fave activity of M's), and head to Panera for a "date" over bagels. There was something charming about calling it a date with my boys. My heart warmed at the thought--I need to think like that more often. Upon pulling into the driveway after our date, M requested swings, so out we went again to a park down the street. The boys had a ball and I was able to snap a few shots for your enjoyment... One beautiful outcome of a busy morning is tired, ready-to-nap children. Subsequently, I am stealing a moment to write. God Bless the Nap! :)

Hope your Friday is blessed and full of adventure.

*Also, blessings to our dear friends' sweet Aberly, who will be entering the Church today through the Sacrament of Baptism. Hallelujah! Gasperini-Ville will be there in full attendance with ample cheers, noise, hurrahs, etc.! Trust me, you won't miss us. God bless!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The rest of the truth

"Dear Lord, thank you for making me a mother. I love these little souls you have entrusted to my care. I love their unconditional love, their ready forgiveness, their sweetness, their innocence. Help me to remember the unique and infinite value of each of my children, even when they overwhelm me. Even when they frustrate me. Even when they try my patience in a thousand different ways. In moments of anxiety and weakness, remind me always to turn to you. Give me peace and strength that can only come from you... Amen."
-Mom to Mom, Day to Day: Advice and Support for Catholic Living by Danielle Bean

While Gasperini-Ville appears to be all smiles and cheer lately, I have to admit to some pretty rough days as a mother of two small children and another in utero (causing me ample "suffering" throughout the day). The bottom line: we are in a really tough stage where both boys are continuing to grow and NEED and are able to offer little help to their first trimester mama! I'd have to say, Monday was one of our worst days on record--child and mama behavior, alike. By the time GG came home, I was a wreck and needed a break!

Praise God for a *wonderful* and escaping coffee date with my dear friend, Catherine. GG set it up, calling her hubby and asking if his wife could go out with me. How sweet! And I needed it so... :) We had a grand time and C lent me a book I quoted above. What solace and insight! I have been consuming it since... and feeling much better.

And not that we haven't had our hang-ups, but sometimes its nice to know one is not alone in the mothering world; that things are frustrating, challenging, overwhelming and often! Sometimes I wish society was as it was eons ago when people lived in hunter/gatherer societies. Even women then needed each other to commiserate with and support one another! It's no wonder they didn't want to head out and hunt meat. They had too much to talk about! :)

Glad to fill you in on the latest. No facades here in Gasperini-Ville.
God bless your Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

School Days

Today marked a HUGE milestone in Gasperini-Ville: M's first day of preschool. Though he's still only 2, GG and I felt he would really benefit from more organized play and socialization. He'll be attending the Tues./Thurs. morning program. And can I say, I just love the school!! They take a unit-based approach to learning and incorporate main themes into every means of play, art, reading, science, etc. Their philosophy rings very true to this former teacher's heart!

And guess who couldn't wait to get started...

M was "all systems go" from the beginning, offering mom a quick hug and "love you" before tearing off to his first exciting day of school. May this be the start of his love affair with school and learning (a chip off his parents' blocks).
Needless to say, the words "awesome school" and "great job school" were heard in the car on the way home. M was in heaven... When I asked him if he liked it, he replied with an emphatic "YES!!!" His teachers said it was as if he'd been around for a year. He had a wonderful first day.

And quite surprisingly, this mama was bereft of tears. I know, shocker! Why? I think because I know this is the *best* thing for our independent and confident little man. Will it always be best? We'll see. GG and I remain open to all schooling possibilities--homeschooling, parochial, public. It just depends on what's best for our kids. Praise God for the freedom to choose.

Cheers to new crayons, scissors, and glue! God bless.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Cravings

I am so excited for tonight.

Going out to dinner? Nope.
LOST is premiering? Nope.
My children will be in bed by 5:30? Nope. (I'm horrible. :)

We are having cheesy potato soup!!!! I have been craving it so... Last night I whipped up a batch early so it's ready to go tonight. SO EXCITED! Of course I had to sample a little (a lot) bit before going to bed just to make sure it was "good enough". YUM.

Here's the recipe in case you have cheesy potato cravings of your own. It's a snap and has wonderful, subtle cheesy goodness... Just don't inquire about the fat content (it's way too overwhelming, though you could healthy it up with some lower fat cheese varieties. I also make mine with skim milk to help the cause.) Enjoy and God bless your tummies!

Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 C. potatoes, diced.
1/2 C. celery, chopped.
1/2 C. carrots, chopped.
1/2 C. onion, chopped.
1/2 C. gr. pepper, chopped.
4 T. butter
1 (10.75 oz.) can chicken broth plus water to equal 3 cups
Dash white pepper (I use black.)
2 C. milk
1/2 C. flour
3 C. Cheddar cheese, grated.
1 T. parsley (I omit.)

Saute veggies in butter. Add broth, water, and pepper. Cover and simmer 30min. Blend milk and flour. Stir into broth. Add cheese, then cook and stir over low heat until thick. Add parsley. Serves 4.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Why This Prego Should Avoid the Grocery Store

After a recent trip to the grocery store, I came up with this list as to why I should never return... All the pregos out there, do you hear me?

1. Pregnancy = endless hunger = buying more food because everything looks so good.
2. Buying more = spending more $$$.
3. Spending more $$$ = having less to buy on "fun" items. Sad.
4. "Baby Brain", or the forgetfulness that comes with pregnancy (brain cells "consumed" by the baby rather than day-to-day tasks), will lead to forgetting essential grocery items and causing a poor prego to have to return to the store later, exhausted.
5. Number 4 will also cause one to forget where she parked her car after she's all done. Poor, pathetic soul.
6. When she's really all done, home, and groceries are put away, she will then proceed to eat an entire bag of kettle cooked potato chips (the ones she bought for her husband, but really wanted for herself. Yeah, those ones. All of them. Darn grocery store!)
7. She will subsequently sack out on the couch in exhaustion, hoping never to return to that God forsaken place. Now who wouldn't take pity on such a soul?

(This post is dedicated to my loving hubby in the hopes he will assume grocery duty from now on, especially if he knows what's good for him. :) God bless your Sunday!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Superfans

Despite the pathetic outcome, the Gasperinis were in true superfan form today, cheering for the Irish! Nothing like a tailgate with friends, 70 degree sunshine, and two cherubs dressed as footballers to bring smiles to our faces. We had a great time...

...and then collapsed later from all the action! I was bushed!
Hope you enjoyed a blessed day. Hugs.