May 24, 2008

Homegrown Passion Play

Recently, while Joe and I were busy working in the gardens and Therese was busy napping, the four big kids decided (unbeknownst to us) to put together their own mini Passion Play. Here are a few photos from the memorable show. Need I tell you the audience went wild?

May 22, 2008

Double Digits!

We have a ten-year old in the house once again! Our little Kathleen has moved into the double digits arena.

She said this was her best birthday ever, as she received the gift of Nellie, the cat; a bow for archery with Dad, a new big-girl purse; a homemade apron from her big sister; an art set and an heirloom flute from her grandparents; and more! What fun! Happy Birthday, Beanie!

May 14, 2008

Laid to Rest

We laid our little miscarried baby to rest this evening in a private ceremony in a country graveyard of a beautiful, old Catholic Church. Fr. Rick performed the burial ceremony in honor of our little Mary (or Mario). The evening was perfect, the setting was idyllic, and we came home feeling so very happy that our little one who was called by God weeks ago has now been laid to rest.

May 13, 2008

Anna Marie Has Been Writing Poetry

From the pen of our eleven-year-old:

A sea of green, yellow, and blue.
The pitter-patter of rain on the roof.
The wind, ruffling my hair, and playing in the branches of the trees.
Cold lemonade, trickling down my throat.
The faint, clean scent of lilacs.

Yellow and white daisies on the edge of the road.
The twitter of birds, as they chase through the air.
The rays of the sun, warming my face.
The clean, oniony taste of chives.
Hamburgers, letting off their savory scent, while cooking on the grill.


A sky full of yellow, red, orange and brown.
The crisp, dry crunch of leaves under my feet.
A gust of wind, bringing in a cold front.
Sweet, creamy pumpkin pie.
The smoky scent of bonfires.

A world of swirling whiteness.
The crackling fire.
Snowflakes melting lightly on my cheeks and lips.
The warm, spicy taste of a freshly baked gingersnap.
The clean, crisp scent of snow.

Turquoise looks happy and cheerful, like bluebirds.
Turquoise feels warm and breezy as a spring morning.
Turquoise smells like freshly cut grass.
Turquoise sounds like the twitter of birds.
Turquoise tastes sweet and tangy, like an orange.

Navy Blue
Navy blue looks big and cold as a winter evening sky.
Navy blue feels cold and hostile like a desert night.
Navy blue smells bitter as black coffee.
Navy blue sounds windy and loud as a tornado.
Navy blue tastes as strong as black licorice.

May 2, 2008

A Little Leone in Heaven

On Thursday, April 3rd, we learned we were expecting a new little bambino/a. Another little Leone!

Our surprise and health concerns (given my pregnancy-induced stroke history) quickly turned to great jubilation as we realized the gift we'd again been given. Rather than adding to our family by adoption, as we were considering, we were now going to be adding by birth once again. Six little Leones.

The kids were thrilled. Kathleen, our nine-year-old, cried tears of joy, a new experience for her. Talk quickly centered on names, room arrangements, and much more. The pregnancy hormones kicked in for real a week later with the usual nausea and the quick-popping abdomen. We spread the news earlier than usual this time, as we hoped friends and family would join us in praying for a healthy pregnancy.

Three weeks later, on April 24th, we received the overwhelmingly sad news that our baby had no heartbeat. It was estimated that our little Leone had died within just twenty-four hours of the OB appointment where the lack of heartbeat was revealed. She (or he) was 8 weeks gestation. This was our first miscarriage.

Anna Marie, our eleven-year-old, had joined me for the ultrasound. We had prepared her that ultrasounds don't alway reveal good news, but of course, we never expected the outcome we'd receive that day. Thus, Anna Marie and I together were the first to hear the news.

We saw, on the ultrasound, a perfect little baby at the very early stages of development. The spine was distinct. The head was prominent. And although I think I could detect arm and leg "buds," there was also still a bit of that early "tail" shape to the bottom end of our little one. But there was no movement. No heartbeat. No sign of life.

A follow-up ultrasound the next week would confirm things definitively for us.

We are full of emotions. The little one whom we already loved will never enter our lives in the same way that our other five children have. But this little one already has a special place in heaven and can intercede on our behalf to God. We have a treasure in heaven, and we know we are blessed. But we are human, and the tears still flow.

I have a beautiful bouquet of a dozen long-stemmed red roses from my dear husband and a magnificent spring bouquet of tulips and lilies from our great friend Claudia. The flowers helped put a smile on my face during a time that felt so strangely bleak. They came just as the lovely congratulations-on-your-pregnancy flowers from my mother-in-law had faded.

We hope to bury our baby next week. Our children have decided that our baby was a girl, and have named her Mary. Whether she's a Mary or a Mario, she's dearly loved by her parents and siblings and won't be forgotten. We hope she'll pray for her siblings and parents here on earth.