Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mary - Christmas

Charlie received this "push-duck" for his first birthday. Sam opened it again on his first Christmas. Now Mary unwrapped it for the third time this morning~
She likes it!
She really likes it!
I think she's going to spare the duckling~

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Kissing Cousins (and Aunties and Grandpas...)

Mary stole the show tonight at Grandma's house. She's been giving kisses a lot lately, and with barely any prompting, she made the rounds, kissing everyone she could get her lips on! Starting with Grandma~
Moving on to Grandpa~

And Auntie Darlene~
Jack got more than one kiss~

Later she acted silly while the paparazzi tried to send photos to Uncle Dan at the firehouse~

Wishing Uncle Dan a merry Christmas (Mary loves the telephone!)~

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sniff, and Pop, and Touchdown!

While taking a dinner break from our Christmas card photo shoot, Mary was acting very silly~

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

(Local) Celebrity Photo-Op

During our trip to the state capital, we ran into a Chicago reporter. Here's Mary with Carol Marin, in front of the governor's office~
Technically, Mary's first celebrity photo was with another hometown hero, Da Coach~
We saw him about two weeks before Mary was born, at his restaurant in Oakbrook.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Our friends Jennifer and Tom, from Colorado, were in town this weekend. They stopped by for a visit, and brought some souvenirs from their recent trip to Maryland. Mary warmed right up (even though she hadn't seen them since this time last year!) and even let Tom give her a little ride~

The boys spent all day at an indoor waterpark, while I finished making several pounds of candy cane fudge in preparation for tonight's cookie exchange.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Feed Me, Seymour - Feed Me All Night Long

Grandpa came over for Chicken Paprika tonight. Mary ate her dinner, then headed over to Grandpa's lap for a second helping~
Then she ended up there again, for dessert after her bath~

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Mary at the Lego exhibit today.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hat Rack

Mary loves putting things on her head! She likes to put as many articles of clothing over her head as will fit, too. I don't remember either of the boys playing so much with clothes.


One of the benefits of having large spaces between children is that the older ones are so much more capable in many ways. One of my favorite things is seeing the boys read to Mary. There is always a lap available for her :).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Heart

One year ago, I started this blog as a way to keep people updated on Mary. We knew she was facing more surgery at that point, and I thought it would simplify communicating with all of the concerned family and friends. It has also served as a digital baby book. I've heard there are places to have a blog made into a book - I plan to someday do that as a keepsake for her.

About a week before Mary was born, Emily came and made a cast of my belly. I didn't know it was Mary, yet, or all about the world of online journals.

For Mary's birthday, Emily brought the belly cast - beautifully hand painted. I love it! I hope Mary will cherish it as much as I do.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Double Dipping

Mary loves the bath so much, she hopped in for a second splash tonight - after she had her jammies on~

Mary had a blood draw at Loyola yesterday (for her thyroid) and it was miserable. They tried twice in her arm, and couldn't get a vein. I gave her her first sucker during this time and she's probably going to have some sort of weird food issue when she grows up because of it. The sucker didn't help at all. It just created a sticky mess. She was crying and coughing and gagging the entire time. They finally resorted to the double finger stick, which stinks, because the blood comes out one. drop. at. a. time. :( And they need to fill four containers. All that crying tired her out, and she fell asleep almost immediately in the car. She's such a good and happy little baby, I feel bad when she has to be subjected to any pain.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Little Chick

Mary did the chicken dance with Tracy today at the roller rink. Watch for Elliot to make a quick cameo at the end (this video is actually funnier with the sound off)...

Monday, November 10, 2008


Mary came home one year ago, today. Less than 72 hours after major surgery, and 9 days old, we were buckling her in for her first car ride. We were told to try not to let her cry, as crying caused her oxygen saturation levels to drop. Those are pretty stressful instructions to receive. She also wasn't nursing very well, and so, for the first week I was pumping, and spending a long time encouraging her at the breast. Those were some overwhelming days, but we were all so happy to finally bring her home, where we could be together as a family.

Friday, November 7, 2008


1. To restore to health or soundness; cure.
2. To set right; repair: healed the rift between us.
3. To restore (a person) to spiritual wholeness.

One year ago today, Mary underwent her first heart surgery. It was a palliative measure, to place a shunt, to help her blood flow as normally as possible until she was big enough to handle the complete repair. She was just 6 days old at the time (it also happened to be her due date). Those days are still such a blur to me. I was recovering from my own major surgery, and was scared and worried, about Mary, and also Charlie and Sam. They both missed me, and were filled with their own fears about the baby.

Now, a year later, Mary is thriving. We've learned just how each of us can rise to various challenges. Our faith has been strengthened. Our love for each other, and the Lord, has grown. We are whole again.

Then He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace." Luke 8:48

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Mary is wearing a little bracelet my friend Kelly just made for her. Kelly is one of my closest (definitely my oldest) friends. She is one of the people I leaned on hardest last year. And she supported me in ways I didn't expect, or deserve. Kelly has a generous spirit, with an amazing capacity for forgiveness. She has a beautiful voice that is truly a gift from God. She's funny and smart, and always suggests the best books! She's a devoted wife and a loving, gentle, and patient mother.

About a month before Mary's big day I received this email from Kelly -

From: Kelly
Subject: A story
To: Gabi
Date: Thursday, March 13, 2008, 10:10 PM

I am going to buy this for you. You can read it, and run your fingers over the stamping while we wait for Mary to get perfect (again) (even though she always was). You can look at it, and remember that I'd never known that particular quote until I saw it on the blog about Mary.

Someday, when we are in our 50's or older- jetting off to book readings, and other interesting cultural happenings, it will sit in Mary's room, on her dresser or a shelf. It will hold her jewelry or just her dust. She will be a perfect, normal teenager- she'll be giving you hell. She'll never get rid of it, and she won't be sure why.

When she is our age or older, she will rediscover it, and begin to love it in the way that you and I always have loved it. Because it will represent love, certainty, goodness and faith.

All the things she will have learned because of the way you loved her, mothered her and cared for her.

We will want to steal it from her, possibly. We will envy her youth and opportunity. Then you'll smack me and I'll smack you because youth and opportunity take time away from all the interesting cultural happenings that we finally have earned.

She'll give it to her daughter.

I promise you. Okay? I promise.

Kelly brought over the little dish right before Mary's surgery. It's lovely~
Oh, Kel, thank you for being a friend. Love you.

I hope, Mary someday, has as many wonderful friends as I.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Yesterday Mary had her 12 month check up with Dr. Dungan. She's growing perfectly at 19 lbs. 8 oz. and 29" long. Today we took advantage of the beautiful weather and visited the Morton Arboretum.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Golden Girl

Today we celebrated Mary's 1st birthday. Last week, Emily's daughter brought up the fact that it is Mary's Golden Birthday. With no other ideas, a "theme" was born!
Lot's of the people who love Mary came to help us celebrate - Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie Darlene, and Uncle Dan. Jack, Madeline and Luke. Aunt Jessi and Jaiden and Julian. And Aunt Christina. Aunt Donna and Great Aunt Charlene. Our friends Emily and Desmond, the Humphrey's and the Merrick's were all here, too!

As party favors, I put together a compilation CD. The cover art was this photo and it was titled "Songs in the Key of Mary". It included the following songs:
Pretty Mary Sunlite ~ Jerry Reed
Along Comes Mary ~ The Association
Take a Message to Mary ~ The Everly Brothers
Mary Mary ~ The Monkees
The Wind Cries Mary ~ Jimi Hendrix
Proud Mary ~ Creedence Clearwater Revival
Mary Don't You Weep ~ Stonewall Jackson
Sweet Mary ~ Wadsworth Mansion
Miss Mary Mack ~ Ella Jenkins
Blind Mary ~ Gnarls Barkley
Mary's Little Lamb ~ Otis Redding
Pretty Mary ~ Peter, Paul and Mary
Tough Mary ~ Etta James
Little Mary ~ Fats Domino
There's Something About Mary ~ Jonathon Richman
Sweet Mary Blues ~ Leadbelly
Jolly Holiday ~ Mary Poppins
Mary's Prayer ~ Danny Wilson
Mary ~ Patty Griffin
Let It Be ~ The Beatles

Remember this photo of Desmond and Molly Jones? Here they are again, 10 months later~
We've been so blessed with a really long Indian Summer. Mary was able to go for a little swing after dinner (on the 2nd of November, in Chicago!)~

We had a visit from the vice presidential nominee (apparently Mary's a democrat)~
I decided to get a cake stand and plan to use it every year for Mary's birthday cake. Then when she leaves home, it will be hers to keep (thanks, Tracy!). I made a carrot cake, with whole wheat flour and cream cheese icing~
Mary's not sure what to think about the singing~
But she definitely likes the candle~

Waiting for her slice~

And now for presents! Her first purse - from Great Aunt Charlene~

A tiny snowglobe ornament with her name on it, from Aunt Darlene and Uncle Dan~

She's getting really good at cruising around the furniture~

Everybody in the background is laughing at a breastfeeding calendar Emily made for me a few years ago~
Because I love the crown of her head~
She likes the big girl purse, too~
Happy Birthday, Mary-girl! There are so many people who love you~