Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I wanted to share my mother-in-law's obituary.  She was a very smart woman and well ahead of her time.  She loved her family and her Catholic faith.  She was fiercely loyal and had a bit of an Irish temper.  She was a wonderful role model for me as a wife, a mom and  a Catholic.

COTELL, Irene Mary (Browne) Was born in Boston, MA on 9 June 1927 to Jeremiah and Brigid Browne, who had come to America the previous year from Ennis, County Clare, Ireland. 

She attended St. Francis de Sales Catholic Grade School in Roxbury followed by Notre Dame Academy in Roxbury. She was a 1948 graduate of Emmanuel College with a B.A. in Mathematics. She later earned a M.S. in Mathematics from Boston University in 1951. 

After her graduate degree, she returned to Emmanuel where she taught math. In 1953, she went to work for the U.S. Air Force at Cambridge Research Labs (CRL) as a geophysicist. She conducted extensive analytical work on accumulated data that were used to track the movements of Fletcher's Ice Island, which was a U.S. Air Force glacial ice station in the Arctic Circle. 

Her duties involved radio communications with researchers on the island to acquire and process data from the ice station. In 1960, she was invited to travel to the ice island for on-site duty in the Arctic. This trip above the Arctic Circle by Irene and her female colleague represented one of the earliest forays above that latitude ever undertaken by women. 

While working for CRL, Irene met her husband, Robert Cotell, who had been on the earliest mission to the ice island. They were married in 1959 and had four children. In 1964, the couple moved to Wellesley, MA where they raised their four children. 

Irene became an active member of St. Paul Parish, and a substitute teacher at St. Paul School. She was also a prominent leader in the Scouting movement where she served as a Cub Scout Den Mother, Boy Scout Troop Committee member, and served various roles in the Norumbega Council. 

She also enjoyed spending summers on Cape Cod, where her family owned a home in West Yarmouth. As a lifelong, devoted Catholic, she attended daily mass at both St. Paul church in Wellesley and St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis. 

Irene is survived by her four children: Catherine of Alexandria VA, Robert of Fort Detrick, MD, Richard and his wife, Jennifer of Needham, MA and Daniel and his wife Elizabeth of Lexington, NC; her three grandchildren: Jillian of Needham and Peter and Sarah of Lexington, NC; and her two brothers: Gerald Browne and Rev. Robert Browne, both of Marlborough, MA. Irene was pre-deceased by her sister, Catherine Brigid. 

Funeral from the George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 477 Washington Street (Rt 16), WELLESLEY, Thursday at 9AM. Funeral Mass in St. Paul Church, Wellesley at 10AM. Relatives and friends kindly invited. Visiting hours Wednesday 4-8PM. Interment will be held on Friday, January 31, at 1PM in the St. Francis Xavier Cemetery, Centerville. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made to Boy Scouts of America, Knox Trail Council or the Alzheimer's Association

For directions and guestbook, gfdoherty.com George F. Doherty & Sons Wellesley 781-235-4100 - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?n=irene-cotell

We will miss you, Nana.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Updates and Belly Shot

Dan's mom passed away early on Saturday morning.  We will all miss her but thankfully she is no longer suffering.  And I know she is celebrating in heaven with Dan's father right now!  In that, we all take great comfort.

The kids and I will be heading to Massachusetts on Tuesday. We are looking forward to seeing Dan.  Even though he travels for work frequently, I believe the longest he has ever been gone for work is 9 days.   We will have been a part 11 days by the time we see him.  (I have a couple of friends with husbands in the military who are currently deployed, and even though I pray for them frequently, I always seem to ramp up my prayers for them when Dan is traveling.)

We kept busy this weekend.  We had basketball games on Saturday afternoon and Mass on Sunday morning.  On Sunday afternoon, Peter went to a friend's house to play while Sarah and I worked our shift at the Girl Scout cookie booth.  Luckily it warmed up to the 40s so we didn't freeze!

And then of course, there was homework and studying for tests and now it's Monday and we just keep rolling along.

Here is the belly this week.  Week 28, Day 6

Friday, January 24, 2014

Seven Quick Takes

Well, it's Friday so I'm going to do what I do best.  Seven Quick Takes!

--1.--  Today is the school Spelling Bee.  Both Peter and Sarah qualified to be in it.  And two weeks ago when they both found out they were going to be in it they were all excited to study and learn the words so they could win. 

And then homework, play dates, basketball games, and normal regularly scheduled life took over. I mentioned studying for the Spelling Bee several times to them and they both blew it off.  I didn't force them, figuring they would learn a good life lesson in being prepared.

On Wednesday they both freaked out a little bit when they realized that the Spelling Bee was two days away, they were going to be standing up in front of the entire school and they were totally unprepared.  That led to some frantic "studying" and I guess we will find out this afternoon how it goes.

--2.--  I know they won't win.  An 8th grader will win.  An 8th grader always wins and I'm fine with that.  I'm just hoping that they learn that in the future they need to actually study and be prepared.  And I think just getting up in front of the school and participating in the bee will be good experience for them.

But secretly I'm hoping that they both at least make it past the first or second round. 

--3.--  Dan's mom is still hanging in there.  I think it's the Irish in her!  However, the end is nearing as her temperature was up yesterday and her breathing was becoming labored throughout the day.  Please pray for comfort and peace for all of them.

--4.--  My Aunt Barbara and Uncle Chuck and cousin Meredith and her husband J.D. sent us the nicest Tower of Treats from Harry and David yesterday.  I was a bad blogger and didn't take any picture before the kids and I dug into it but it was such a nice surprise.

Here's a stock photo from the Harry and David website:

It was loaded with pears, truffles, nuts, cookies, candies and baklava.  And trust me when I say we dug right in!

--5.--  For Christmas, Sarah got a microphone stand with a mic.  The mic plugs into Peter's guitar amp and I can hear her singing all through out the house.  But lately, I have found the stand and mic (with plug removed) parked in front of my full length mirror.   I usually find Sarah in front of it performing for herself and checking out how she looks in the mirror.  But I have also found Peter with his guitar (also unplugged) standing in front of the mic and the mirror checking himself out as well.  I guess a future star has to know how they are going to look on stage?!

--6.--  This morning as the kids were brushing their teeth, I overheard Peter say to Sarah, "You better never expose your boobies in public!"

Good advice, son.  Sarah, I hope you were paying attention to wise older brother.

--7.--  And since I'm all out of takes, how about if I use my last one to beg for votes? If you so desire, please head over to Bonnie's and vote for me.  CLICK HERE!  Find Best Blog Written By A Mom and scroll all the way to the bottom of that category until you see A Mom's Life and vote.

And I also just realized I am also in the category of Best Under Appreciated Blog as well.  So if you've got it in you, vote for me in both categories! If not, no worries.  I'm still just happy to have been nominated and all that jazz.

I hope you all have a great weekend and stay warm! Oh, and don't forget to head over to Jen's to see what everyone else has been up to this week.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Guess what?

Guess what?

Someone nominated me for a Sheenazing Award!

For all of you non-Catholic bloggers out there who aren't aware, the Sheenazing Awards are hosted by Bonnie at A Knotted Life.  And in her words:

"The Sheenazing Blogger Awards get their name from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, who was amazing at using the newest forms of media to communicate the beauty of the Catholic Church and his love of Christ to the world. They are a fun way to celebrate the excellence of the Catholic blogosphere."

I was nominated in the category of Best Blog Written By A Mom.  And while there are tons of wonderfully funny and extremely well-written blogs in that category, if you feel the desire I would appreciate a vote.

Head over here to vote.  And then scroll down to Best Blog Written By A Mom Category and then keep scrolling waaaaaaaaaaay down until you see A Mom's Life.  I'm the very last one so you can't miss me!

I'm certain that I won't win but as they say at all the major award ceremonies, "It's such a privilege and an honor just to be nominated."  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Just another Wednesday around here.

My mother-in-law continues to defy the hospice odds and is still hanging on.  My husband said that yesterday that he and his sister had a very hard time getting her to wake up.  She was in a very deep sleep for most of the day.  And they were basically unsuccessful at getting her to eat any food.

The hospice nurses are still declaring that it will be any day now so they continue to wait. 

The kids and I are doing fine here.  I miss him but I know he's exactly where he needs to be.

We are up to our eyeballs in homework and music lessons and sports practices so things are fairly normal here.

I took my glucose test on Monday and am keeping my fingers crossed that I don't hear back from the doctor's office.  No call means all clear.  A call means I get to have the fun of a three hour glucose test.

The weather forecasters were predicting snow yesterday evening so Peter's basketball practice got called off in anticipation of a "weather event" that never happened. (That's how we do things in the south.  We call off things just in case it snows because no one here can drive in it and the snow plows are few and far between.) But, ultimately, it ended up being okay because Peter had a ton of homework and he got to play online with one of his friends from school.

Today I am taking Sarah to get her hair trimmed.  We typically only do this once or twice a year and it really needs a good whacking.  Previously she has been very hesitant to get even the slightest bit trimmed off but today she wants several inches cut off.  And I think it needs it because there's a lot of split ends happening.

Baby Rebecca continues to kick and punch the living daylights out of me.  Occasionally her kicks will be so hard they make me jump.  But I'm enjoying every single one of them.  Thank you for your continued prayers for her.

And that's about all that's going on around here.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Both kids are playing basketball again this year.  This is Sarah's fifth year and I am excited to report that: SHE FINALLY GETS IT!!!

I'm not sure what is going on this year but she actually finally understands the difference between offense and defense and she knows what to do on both!

Not only is she shooting AND scoring, but she is also stealing the ball and and attempting to block shots!

This is only Peter's second year playing and he's still a little timid.  He's not aggressive on defense yet but he wants the ball and will shoot when he gets the chance.

I love watching these two play.  And the absolute best part about basketball?  It is played indoors!  (And that's a big plus for me!)

Here's some shots of this past weekends actions.

Sarah shoots!


She scores!!!!

Jumping up to block a shot.

And he shoots and scores too!!!!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

WIWS, Belly Shot, Update

I'm rolling a lot into one post:

WIWS (Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple)
 Belly Shot

Please excuse the overexposed shots.  I still had my camera set for taking pictures in the gym at the kid's basketball games.  And my little camera girl was in no mood to take extra pictures this morning.


Sweater: Kohl's (1/2 off!)
Pants: Kohl's
Boots: Target

Belly: Week 27 Day 6

Dan called me from work on Friday.  It seems his mom had taken a turn for the worse and Hospice was expecting her to live only a few more days.

He had a business trip to Ireland planned for Monday and had to do some quick scrambling at work to get someone to fill in for him.  While he was doing this, I got online and booked him a flight to Massachusetts and a rental car and started packing his bag.

When he got home from work that evening, the kids and I drove him to the airport.

And now we wait.

The kid's had basketball games yesterday so we went to those.  And Peter had a sleepover scheduled for last night so we picked up his friends.  We attended Mass this morning.  And now Sarah has a friend over.

I am waiting for the phone call from Dan saying it is time to book tickets to join him in Massachusetts.  At the same time, I am also expecting a call from him saying he is coming home because she continues to hang on.

When we first found out that his mom had Leukemia and had 6 months or less to live, one of the first things that popped into my head was the timing of it all.

What if she died at the same time I delivered Rebecca?  What if there were two funerals scheduled at the same time and we were only able to make one? What if Dan was in Massachusetts and I went into labor and he wasn't here to be with me?  What if I delivered Rebecca and she was hanging on and his mom passed away?  Would he go up there and miss precious time with Rebecca or would he stay here and miss precious time with his Mom?

And then I stopped the questions and the worry and and laid it all at His feet. And I felt relief.

What better place to leave my worries about timing and my crazy pregnant lady what-ifs?  Because, after all, He is the one in control of the beginnings and the endings.  No amount of worry or planning on my part is going to change anything.

So I am trusting God's timing and not worrying because...

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, January 17, 2014

Just get through it. Maybe there's more.

All the good bloggers dutifully post their New Year's Resolutions at the beginning of the year.  And the really good bloggers will actually work on them throughout the year and post periodic updates on their progress.

Well, being a semi-good blogger I have posted resolutions in years past.  But being a normal person (read: lazy, busy with life, unmotivated) I never completed my list.  And honestly, rarely even got half way on many of them.

So this year, with everything going on, I knew there was no way I was even going to pretend to come up with a list of resolutions.  My main goal for this year is simple:  just get through it.

A lot of good bloggers, in addition to posting their resolutions, will also come up with a word for the year.  They pray to God asking him to give them a word for the year and then they use the word to guide them through the year.

Again, I wasn't planning on doing even this because, well, my plan for the year is to just get through it.

And honestly, just getting through it seems like a big goal for me this year.  Not sure if I've mentioned this or not, but in addition to all that we are facing with Rebecca this year, Dan's mom has been diagnosed with leukemia. It will not be treated because of her age and her Alzheimer's. She has been given between 2 - 6 months to live.  Dan's work is crazy busy right now and he's always stressed out about that.  Peter and Sarah are both tired of school and homework and are ready for summer vacation.  And, not sure if you've checked the calendar or not, but it is still 5 months away.

So at this point,  just get through it seems like a pretty tall order.

But after reading post after post with other peoples words, I thought, perhaps I should just ask God for a word and see what happens.  So, for several days, I prayed that God would give me a word to lead me through this year.

Nothing happened.  No word dropped down from the sky in flashing lights.  No one sent me an email that contained only one ward in bold print.  No word just mysteriously popped into my mind with angelic singing in the back ground.

So I went on my way.  Trudging through yet another day, just trying to get through it.

But then, a couple of days ago, as I was praying for my kids and my husband from my Stormie Omartian books (The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Parent), I realized it had been a very long time since I prayer for myself from her The Power of a Praying Woman book.  So I picked up mycopy and began praying some of the prayers for myself.  And several of the prayers that I prayed and Bible verses referenced contained the word joy.  (I scoffed a little knowing that I had no joy. None!) 

I was reading my daily devotion from Jesus Calling right after praying and the word peace was prevalent. (I scoffed again knowing that I had no peace. None!)

And then throughout the next couple of days the words Peace and Joy continued to float through my mind.

And I realized.  God had given me not one word but two!

So, I am marching bravely into the new year knowing that with God by my side, I can make it through all of these trials.  And not only just get through them, I can have Peace and Joy in the process.

And here is how I plan to have both peace and joy in the midst of what promises to most likely be one of the most painful years we have experienced as a family.

1.  I will thank him for my problems.  I will thank him for my trials.  I will thank him for everything and I will let him take control. I will let his plan unfold.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.- Philippians 4:6-7

2.  I will not continue to obsess over my problems and my worries and my fears.  I will give them to God and trust that he will take care of them.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:6-7

3. I will continue to write my 1000 Gifts List even on days I don't feel like trying to find something to be thankful for. Some days it can feel like a chore  to find something to be thankful for but once you start looking for all the small things God sends you each day, you will realize that even in stress and strife, there is beauty, love, and yes, joy and peace.  Some days for me it's a sunflower, a cheeseburger, and a hug from my kid.  Other days it's a job offer, a refund check and a great report card.  The little gifts combined with the big gifts, make a truly beautiful life even in the midst of sorrow and pain.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I guess in a nutshell, my plan for joy and peace in a year where I will be struggling just to get through is to lay my worries before God, thank God, and trust in God.  And really, isn't that what he wants from each one of us everyday? 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. - Romans 15:13

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Echocardiogram results.

We had a follow-up echocardiogram yesterday at Brenners.  It went as well as can be expected.

The doctor saw a couple of tiny holes between the chambers of the heart.  Typically in a Trisomy 18 baby they expect to see a very large hole.  He did not seem to concerned with these tiny holes and said that holes that size typically don't pose a problem for babies until they are a little older.

If Rebecca did not have Trisomy 18, the typical path to repairing these holes would be to do surgery when she was a couple of months old.  However, because she has Trisomy 18 these holes will most likely not be addressed.

He said that  last week's ultrasound findings of the small stomach and problems with the esophagus, would be the more pressing issues immediately after the delivery.

Dan and I really need to start thinking about what level of care we want for her after delivery.

Are we going to press for surgery to repair the esophagus? Are we going to have feeding tubes put directly into her stomach? Are we going to press for another echo of the heart to see if there are any other problems?  Are we going to just request that she be kept comfortable and enjoy any amount of time we get with her?

These are all things that have been weighing on my mind.  I think we will be in a little better position to make some of these decision after another ultrasound on the 30th. And at that point, we can begin the process of consulting with surgeons to get their opinions and to further figure out our options.  The more information we can get from these ultrasounds, the better prepared we will all be at her delivery.

However, all of this seems a little futile to me.  Because her diagnosis is "lethal" (such a lovely term to be used when discussing your unborn child) the doctors are less willing to do any type of surgery because it would not extend her life. So even though they are presenting us with some possible options, I am not sure they would actually do any type of surgery (except inserting the feeding tube).

So where does this leave me?

Still loving my sweet little Rebecca.  Still treasuring every single kick and punch (and man, does she like to kick and punch!).  Still enjoying her sweet movements every time I get to see them on an ultrasound machine.

And still praying to God for healing for her.

I know healing on this earth might not be in His plan for her, but I continue to pray for a miracle.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Life with a tween. Learning a few do's and don'ts.

I've gotten into the habit of using all those hip and cool abbreviations.  (And does it make me even less hip and cool that I am calling them hip and cool?  Probs.)

You know.  I say "totes" instead of "totally".  I say 'whatevs" instead of "whatever".  I say "cray" instead of "crazy".

I started saying these as a joke around my kids since apparently many teens use these in their every day convos.  (See what I did there?)

Anywho, the other day I used the word "totes" in conversation and Peter said, "Mom?  Did you just say totes?"

"Um, yeah.  I guess I did. Why?"

And then he lit into me.  "Don't ever say totes again!  It's sounds stupid when 14-year-old girls say it and it sounds really bad when YOU say it!"


And then I accidentally said it again yesterday and I got the lecture again.


And on a related yet completely different note.  Peter has an Instagram account.  He's had one for a while now but he just got an iPod for Christmas and has recently starting posting things to his Instagram account.  Being the good mom that I am, I follow him so I can keep up with what he's posting.

But apparently I made a huge faux pas. 

I left a comment!

He came home from school one day last week and checked his account to see if his friends had liked his picture or left a comment.  When he saw my comment he freaked out.

His eyes got wide. His face turned red and he shouted, "Don't leave any comments on my stuff Mom!" 

I laughed and told him no problem.  I promised not to leave any more comments and asked if it would be okay if I could at least like his posts.  He calmed down, apologized and told me that if I wanted to leave comments I could.  I assured him that I didn't want to leave a comment if it was going to embarrass him and that I actually thought twice before I left that other comment.

And on another related yet compeltey different note.  At the basketball games on Saturday, when Sarah scored a basket I screamed and cheered and applauded like any normal slightly deranged mom would do.  Peter was sitting behind me waiting on his game to start after Sarah's finished.

"Hey, Mom.  Do NOT cheer for me like that at my game.  Okay?"

I guess all of these little things mean that my boy is growing up on me!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week 26 Day 5

Week 26 Day 5 Belly Shot

She's getting bigger each week.  (Me AND the baby.)

Friday, January 10, 2014

No good news.

We got zero good news from Rebecca's ultrasound yesterday.  However, I did enjoy seeing her beautiful little face and watching her kick and punch.  Yesterday, I realized, that unless God does decide to heal her miraculously, I probably will not get to see those typical baby movements in real life.

1.  She is tiny.  Currently she's measuring in the 20th percentile for her age.  As of yesterday she weighed 1 pound, 7 ounces.  (I can't remember how long she was.)  All Trisomy 18 babies are small and usually this smallness is due in part to problems with the esophagus.

2.  The doctor confirmed that he sees a problem with her espophagus.  Either she has a blocked esophagus or she has a tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) which represents an abnormal opening between the trachea and esophagus.

3.Either way, all the amniotic fluid (food) she is trying to ingest isn't making it's way to her stomach which means she isn't getting what she needs to grow properly.  This is also confirmed with the fact that her "stomach bubble" as the doctor called it is measuring too small.  

4. Because she isn't ingesting and then expelling the amniotic fluid as waste like she should be, extra amniotic fluid is building up in my uterus.  If this continues to happen, my body will think that the baby is big enough and ready to be delivered when in fact it's just excess amniotic fluid.  This means I could go into premature labor.

5.  At the echocardiogram we had last month, the cardiologist could see no problems with her heart.  We were so excited to get that news because most T18 babies have heart problems and we were hopeful that we would get a little extra time with her.  However, the doctor yesterday said the heart appeared to show signs of thickening.  Which means her heart muscle is working extra head to do it's job so there might be an issue.  We have another echo on Tuesday so we will see if the cardiologist sees the same issue.

6. I could clearly see in the 4D images that her head is strawberry shaped as they call it (it comes to a bit of a point in the back) and her ears are tiny and low set.  Both of these are traits of Trisomy 18 babies.

7.  Her hands continued to remained clenched and at one point in the ultrasound, I could see the index finger and the pinkie finger laying over the two middle fingers. Yet another trait of Trisomy 18.

The doctor, who was absolutely the sweetest doctor we have met yet, confirmed that everything he saw was further proof that the Harmony test,which gave us the diagnosis of Trisomy 18, was accurate.  

At dinner last night, Dan stressed to the kids that Rebecca was very sick and most likely wouldn't live very long.  Peter understands the gravity of the situation and yesterday was telling me that he's mad at God that Rebecca is sick.  I've been trying to make sure that  Sarah understands the situation for several weeks now but she continues to make plans and asks questions that make me realize she's not truly getting it.

I want her to be prepared for what is probably the eventual reality. But every time I try to explain things to her, she gets mad at me and tells me that I should be praying for a miracle. Which trust me, I am, but I need her to be ready in case a miracle is not in God's plan.  She is very adamant that God is going to heal her.  Oh, how I hope she's right.

Even though all signs point to Trisomy 18 and a very, very short life for Rebecca, we are continuing to pray for a miracle.  We appreciate any and all prayers for her and our family.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

This morning Dan and I are going to another ultrasound to check on baby girl.  This ultrasound will give doctors more information about all of her  health issues before her delivery.

And as always, we thank everyone for their continued prayers!

Before Peter and Sarah were born, we kept their names a secret.   We knew the sex of the baby and shared that information but we wanted to keep the name between the two of us until the big day. Plus, that kept people from telling us they hated the name because they knew someone in 3rd grade with the same name who was a big jerk.  (For some reason, people don't mind giving their opinions on a name before the baby is born.  Something they would never do after the baby is born, though.)

And that was always my plan with this little one.  But it just seems more important to start calling her by her name now so that we could start praying for her by her name, so last night, we told the kids her name:

Rebecca Irene Cotell

(I think Sarah was a little disappointed that we didn't use the name she chose - Stella.  Nothing against any Stella's out there but...

Since her parent's names are Daniel and Elizabeth and her siblings are Peter and Sarah, we knew her first name was going to be a name from the Bible.

And since her brother's middle name is Robert (named after Dan's father) and her sister's middle name is Donna (named after my mother) we knew this baby's middle name would either be George (my dad) or Irene (Dan's mom).  And since she's a girl, Irene it is!  (But just so my Dad doesn't feel totally left out of the name game, his mom's middle name is also Irene.)  Our little lady is named after two extremely strong and God-fearing women.

Irene was a given once we found out we were having a little girl but we went back and forth on the first name.  I had a favorite. Dan had a favorite.  And of course, they weren't the same.

I love Jennifer Aniston.  (And please do not even get me started on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie!  Yes, I realize it was a long time ago but  Team Jenn!)

So when I told Dan I wanted to name her Rachel, he immediately started giving me a hard time saying it was because of my crush on Jennifer Aniston and the fact that her name was Rachel Green on Friends.  In fact, if I remember correctly, I originally wanted to name Sarah Rachel but Dan put up the same argument and I liked the name Sarah better with Donna anyway so all is well that ends well.

And the funny thing about the name Rachel Green is that we know a Rachel Green.  She is sweet, smart, funny, kind and pretty....so really, wouldn't Rachel be the perfect name?

But, alas, Dan couldn't seem to get over the fact that he felt like I was naming our daughter after a character on an old TV show.  However, he told me that if I really loved that name, (and I would like to reiterate that while I do love that name, it has nothing to do with Rachel Green from Friends) we could call her Rachel.

But I was torn because I wanted him to like the name too.  So I decided to think about his pick - Rebecca - long and hard.

So I thought and I prayed and I thought and I prayed and I thought some more and I was still stuck.

And then I began to pray for her using the name Rebecca and well, now that's her name!  

Please continue to pray for miraculous healing for little Rebecca Irene Cotell.

(And Sarah is already very excited to start calling her Becky even though I think I prefer Becca.) 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back to normal!

After 17 days out of school and away from any regular schedule, the kids headed back to Our Lady of Mercy today!  And I'm not the only one that was happy.

They both jumped right out of bed with minimal prodding on my part and were ready in record time.  They are excited to see their friends.  I'm sure tomorrow will be a different story when the reality of school, school and nothing but school on the horizon hits them like a ton of bricks.

And back to school, means back to regular life.  We've got scouts, basketball practices, piano practice and guitar practice.  Not to mention homework, homework and then more homework.

Peter is excited to meet him new guitar teacher today.  He's had a two month break and I think he's ready to get his rock on!  (Although, I will admit it has been nice having one less thing we have to do.)

I'm hoping this new teacher will take Peter to the next level  in his guitar playing.  Peter just hopes he will teach him lots of heavy metal songs. 

Dan's got lots of issues to deal with at work and I've got lots of laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying and grade parent planning to do.  So around here, it's back to real life. Or as I prefer to call it -  back to normal!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

WIWS: New Year, New Boots!

It's cold here today.  And raining.  But I guess it could be worse...it could be snowing. 

Here's what I wore to Mass today:

Sweater:  Target
Pants: Kohl's
Boots: Target
Necklace: Target
Belly:  Week 25, Day 6
Photo bomb:  My sweet and silly husband.

My mom got me these boots for Christmas.  Aren't they the cutest?  They have the same wedge heels as my little black booties (which I love and have basically worn out) but they are taller and help make my ever-expanding everything look a little less large.  

The old booties accentuate my legs but these new ones detract a little from their size because they are taller.  (Check out the link  - same pants just with the old booties. Don't these new boots make my legs look a wee bit thinner?  Although, nothing on this body could be described as thin at this point!)

And the curls?  They are compliments of the new Conair Curl Secret that Santa brought Sarah.  

Have a great week and try to stay warm!  And for more What I Wore Sunday, head on over to Fine Linen and Purple.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Week 25, Day 3

I have a picture album for Peter and Sarah. Each album contains pictures of me while I was pregnant with them and continues on through their first year of life.

They love to look through those albums.  Sarah, especially, will pour over them.  She loves the pictures of my big belly and was always amused at the the thought that she was in there.

When we told the kids we were pregnant, one of the things she wanted to know was if we were going to take belly shots like we had done previously.

"Of course we are!" was my exuberant reply.

And that was my plan.  We would start taking the shots at 18 weeks, the same time I started taking the pictures of my expanding stomach with Peter and Sarah.

But 18 weeks was the exact time we found out this little one has Trisomy 18.  So coming home from the ultrasound to exitedly take pictures of my stomach was not high on the list of priorities.

As my stomach has grown, I would glance in the mirror and think that I really needed to take pictures but at the same time I would think, what's the point.  Sad to say, but that's what I keep thinking.

Sarah, however, in her innocence and excitement, has continued to harass me about taking a belly shot.  So, yesterday, I decided to oblige her.

We are praying for a miracle.  And believing for a miracle. So why not actually act like a miracle is coming and that I'm going to have a little one who will excitedly look back over the belly shots when she's older.

And in attempt to make it up to her, instead of doing the typical every two week shots I did with Peter and Sarah, I will take one every week from here until delivery. And, lucky you, internet.  I will be posting them here for you to see!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I'm back.

Yes, I'm still here! 

My last post was on December 18th.  On December 19th we packed up the car and started the long drive to Massachusetts and didn't arrive back home until December 31st.

I'm not one of those well-prepared bloggers who plans and writes posts ahead of time but I am one of those bloggers who needs complete silence, sleeping children (or children away at school), a large mug of coffee and a little time to compose a semi-coherent blog post.

And I just haven't had all of those things until this very minute.  So, here I am!

We had a nice trip to Massachusetts.  It's always nice to spend time with Dan's side of the family and my kids just love it up there.  For them, it really wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't go. 

I always worry that the gifts I ordered aren't going to be there when we arrive, or that something is going to happen and the gifts will be there and we will be here or stuck somewhere in between and then what would happen?! 

This year, I had the added worry that  I would go into labor before we got there and then we would be here and the gifts would be in their Amazon boxes in Massachusetts and how in the world would Santa magically get them back down here in time for Christmas morning?  Just a few of the things that Mama-Santa has to worry about when preparing for Christmas in a different state than her own.

But never fear, the presents were all there and I managed to get them wrapped and ready for Christmas morning in plenty of time and the kids seemed genuinely happy with everything they received.  That's also another fear for Mama-Santa, especially for a Mama-Santa whose babies refuse to make a wish list!

When we arrived there was a lot of snow of the ground from a large storm a few days earlier but it was about to melt so we took the kids sledding immediately and it was a good thing because it had all disappeared by that evening.  They had a blast and they got their Christmas vacation snow and all was well.  It even snowed a little bit a few days later so they were doubly happy.

The only negative on the whole entire trip was some unexpected bad news we received while we were there.

We had gone to visit the Massachusetts State House and to see some sights around Boston when we received the call that Dan's mom (who has Alzheimer's and lives in an assisted living facility) had a nosebleed they couldn't stop and was sent to the hospital.

We left Boston to visit her in the hospital where the doctor's informed us that Nana most likely has leukemia.  This was a complete shock to us all.

More tests are being run, and thanks to the holidays they are taking their own sweet time to come back, but all signs are pointing to leukemia.  If in fact it is leukemia, the doctor's have given her between 2-6 more months.

As Dan sarcastically said, "2014 is shaping up to be a real winner of a year."

I am trying to remain optimistic about 2014 because I do believe that God works great things in the midst of  trials.  I am continuing to pray for our baby and for Nana and doing the only I can do...just taking it one day at a time. Just like it says at the top of my blog and in Matthew 6:34:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.