Thursday, March 19, 2015

Life with Liza Love

And just like that, our lives are forever changed. We had a baby!! Elizabeth Love Catalino came on her due date (I love that she's already a punctual chickadee) on March 6, 2015, and we are so enraptured by this little life. The whole labor and delivery process was miraculously SO QUICK and relatively easy - I keep thinking back on it with such surprise and gratitude that it went that way. Liza Love is a complete delight, quite a sleeper (in fact, she has earned the nicknames Lazy Liza and Flopsy --name that movie reference-- because she loves to sleep so much,) has gorgeous baby blues (we'll see if they stay that way,) is a wiggle worm when changing her diaper, is a thumb-sucker, loves to be sung to, and loves it when Michael acts obnoxiously to wake her up.

I have probably never been this tired in all my life, but I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. There's a verse in Esther thay says "Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" And that is exactly how I feel about this early stage of motherhood: like this is what I was made to do. (Although I wouldn't mind a supernatural dose of energy every now and then...)

Michael has been a champ of a dad, and seeing him with LL makes me fall in love with him all over again. He is so funny with her and has a playful side with her that is so amazing to see. Thus far, my goal has been keeping LL fed and clean, and Michael's goal has been to entertain her with funny voices and to make her do tummy time, much to her protest.

I have so much more to say about Liza Love and the first 12 days of her life so far, but my mom is here for only a few more hours so I have to scoot. Thank you for sharing in our joy over this little butter bean! More to come, but here are some pictures for now:

My first time holding her. It was a perfect delivery up until the very end when her heart rate dropped dramatically because the cord was around her neck. Once she was out, I couldn't hold her immediately because they had to make sure she was ok. This is pure bliss getting my arms around this chica for the first time. 

First family photo

We basically just stared at her for two days straight in the hospital (among other important things like learning how to breastfeed.... details, details.) I can't believe she is ours! 

First sunlight on her face! When I went into labor on Thursday night, DC was covered in snow. My dad drove us to the hospital at 5am on Friday after I labored at home for several hours, and Michael had to push dad's rental car out of the spot because it was so icy and snowy. Two days later on Sunday morning, we walked home in glorious spring weather! I am convinced that Liza loves the sunshine as much as I do :) 

Walking home from the Georgetown Hospital. 

With some of the Catalinos who came down for the day from New York :) 

With my padres. One hour after my dad arrived on Thursday night, my labor started. Amazing timing that both my mom and dad were here on time! 

Even my brother Chris came in from NYC! Shown here looking good after a run.

In case it's not already clear, we had a mega photo shoot upon arriving home.

Meeting Eleanor, our next door neighbor, after Liza Love aced her first doctor visit. 

Cuteness at the doctor

Speaking of Georgetown Medicine, Match Day is this Friday... two days away!! We can't wait to find out where Liza will spend her first 7 years of life (or more.)

Did I tell you I'm in love?? 

Little squish bug

Seeing the sights. First things first: T Sweets! 

Cruisin' at the Georgetown Waterfront

Michael saying bye to LL on his first day back at work when she was one-week old. 

Mom and Liza Love. My two favorite women! 

Story time with Pop Pop

Being serenaded by dad

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Lists, lists, lists!

I need to stop making lists. But oh! What satisfaction in crossing things off my lists. It's like a little drop of sugar in my bloodstream. A tiny little buzz of happiness when things get crossed off.


One of my lists I've kept lately has been things to share on this here blog. I keep track in my head, but then I usually forget, and so then I write them down in my planner.... which of course means: I get to cross it off if I share them! Here we go.

Favorite thing of late: The homeless man who stands outside of CVS on Wisconsin and O and asks me "How Y'ALL doing??" every time I walk past. The "y'all" is in reference to me and my baby. (Inside me.) Because I am large and in charge these days, let me tell you what.

Second favorite thing of late: Thomas Sweets. At 38 and 5 days preggo, I can't seem to get enough of the best ice cream in DC. The snow, sub-zero wind chills, and sighs of mild amusement from my husband have done absolutely nothing to stop me.

I'm also very much crushing on this T. Swift mashup of Style and Blank Space. I'M IN LOVE. (Thank you, Jenn.)

In other news, did you know that Meryl Streep was such a babe? I, along with basically everyone, think she is the best actress ever.  I'd like to meet her. Here she is at the Oscars in 1979. (See all of her Oscar appearances here.)

In the world of food (yes, food!!) I wanted to share a fabulous slow-cooker recipe that is perfect for days like what the entire northeast and east coast and Texas and mid-west, and basically everywhere, is currently suffering through. (Snow, freezing temps, gross winter blues.) It's the easiest thing ever to just throw the ingredients in the crock pot and not touch it for hours. It's like magic, ye old crock pot! I have totally neglected mine for years, but it's now experiencing a revival. The recipe is for Chicken Tikka Masala. You can make it spicy or mild, and if I were you, I'd forget the cucumber part... it didn't add anything good. And serve the chicken with a dollop of plain greek yogurt on top. (Btw, the recipes calls for Garam Masala, which I couldn't find at the store. Here's how you can easily make your own with spices you probably already have.)

Ok lastly, another musical interlude for your listening pleasure. This time from Lennon and Maisy of the show Nashville. Listen to their Boom Clap cover.

Thank me later.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Strawberry Cupcake

I've been chuckling at the people standing in line at Georgetown Cupcake for four years. See here. And if you could see into my head, you would see my "Y'all are all crazy" thoughts harboring just below the surface every time I drive past the long line of people who stand there everyday, rain or shine, waiting for their cupcake fix.

Last week, I suddenly had a change of heart and my general avoidance of Georgetown Cupcake turned into a curious desire to actually set foot (gasp!) into the shop and see for myself what the hysteria levels were like.

So we went. We saw. We tasted. We conquered. We left.

All in all, I don't know what the hype is all about. But my date was looking mighty cute so that was good. The cupcakes were ok. I do think the strawberry cupcake I had was pretty good. Not other worldly -- you have to save that rave review for anything you put into your mouth from Baked and Wired. But the strawberry was pretty good.

Side note: At one point, I suggested "Strawberry" as a possibly middle name for our child. Don't tell anyone that.

Back in October, we found out we were having a baby girl by giving the envelope from the sonogram tech to the barista at Baked and Wired with the instructions of packing a chocolate cupcake if it's a boy, and a strawberry cupcake if it's a girl.

It was a strawberry cupcake. So I guess I've had a thing for them ever since. But we probably shouldn't name our child Strawberry. Maybe a horse? Like Strawberry the horse in Narnia!

One day.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday Distractions

Because it's Thursday...

And I know you wish it was Friday...

And because these things make me laugh...

And because I really should be doing important things like cleaning my house...

And preparing for the presence of the little human being that is going to be rocking my world soon...

I made you a delicious pizza.

And I am cracking up while watching Marshawn Lynch in this little stint. #skittles

And I am doing some serious LOLing while reading this birth plan. (Disclaimer: this is a tad risqué...)

And I am loving this Instagram account of late. Something about all the little lambs just gets me.

And I can't get enough of this song even though Bruno Mars looks like a beautiful woman in the video. Don't believe me, just watch.

And remember:

"You don't feel in Beast Mode. It feels you."

That's all!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Wedding Weekend and Diaper Woes

Last weekend marked the final weekend of travel for Michael and me before the baby arrives. To say we are over the moon about no more traveling would be an understatement. We are over the UNIVERSE... or over something infinitely higher than the moon. Despite this excitement, this past weekend was a super fun way to end this busy season: A wedding! In Charlottesville! Fa la la!

My Nora Bora got married and she made the most gorgeous bride ever. Not to mention it was one of the most beautiful receptions ever, too. Here are a few pictures from the weekend:

Nora's in her tango dress after changing out of her wedding dress. SO HOT. 

The bride and groom post-rehearsal dinner.

Sara will kill me for this pic, but how often are you together and pregnant with a best friend you've known since you were 6!

Las damas


It was such a special time of seeing dear friends and celebrating Nora and Nathan.

While in Charlottesville, we also had a little celebration for Baby Girl Cat with some of my UVA besties and some of the people who have meant the world to my mom and me for over 30 years. (I am only 29 so these people have known me from the womb. Craaazy.) I received some special little trinkets for the babe, like a beautiful quilt that my friend Tilly made me and a gorgeous handmade sweater and smock dress, and some essentials like diapers and wipes and prosecco.

Prosecco, you question?? Yes! To celebrate once the babe arrives. Of course.

While driving back to DC after the wedding, I kept telling Michael that I smelled alcohol in the car. It was actually quite nice... a little bit of a fruity smell, kind of like apples, only kind of sour. (So maybe not 'quite nice.') I checked the gift bag that we had received from the wedding knowing that tiny bottles of vodka and whiskey where included inside, but they were sealed tight. I then convinced myself that I was probably just smell-hallucinating since the idea of a fruity adult beverage sounds very amazing to me these days. (I've looked into finding out if margaritas can be delivered to one's hospital room at Georgetown.... TBD.)

Anyway, upon arriving at home and unloading the car, Michael found the smell culprit. The prosecco had somehow opened and was slowly leaking.... all over the diapers! To be honest, there really was no better place for it to leak. If something's gonna leak, why not leak all over something that is manufactured for absorbency. Makes sense to me.

And here, in the midst of this little debacle, we learned our first lesson of parenthood: diapers change color when wet. Who knew!?? They have a little built in strip that is clean and light yellow when the diaper is dry. And when wet, the strip turns blue.

And smells like prosecco.

I'm chuckling as I write this. Our life lessons of parenthood started with a bang... followed by some fizz and some fruity smelling diapers. Man oh man, are we in it for the long haul or what. Pray for us....

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ugandan New Years Greetings

Below is a New Years greeting from my parents' surrogate "son" Julius in Uganda. It really can't be said any better. Why don't we all write like this???

Dear Beloved ones,

With 2014 already languishing in the dustbins of history, I have the pleasure to express my HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS to you all on starting a new year, 2015! Just like any other year, I know 2014 had its own highs and lows, twists and turns...but for me, generally speaking, it's been an incredibly remarkable year! Yeah, 2014, I shall forever and always remember it as the incredible year that I lived one of my fondest dreams - enrolling for the much coveted postgraduate programme, MA (Lit) at University in Kampala, Uganda.

As already indicated, 2014 also had the "not-so-good part," but I wouldn't like to conjure bad memories by mentioning some of its lows. My suggestion, therefore, is that we put to rest its sadness, regrets and painful moments and instead, have a new start, full of vigor, optimism and joy. Remember, 2015 can be a golden opportunity to make up for what we missed (or messed up with) in 2014!

I therefore wish you all, my darlings, a year that is filled with joy, happiness, peace and tranquility: may 2015 be the year that all your dreams, hopes and aspirations come to fulfillment and realization! In short, I heartily wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year, 2015!!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: A Year in Review

Another year has gone,
I hope it was good to you --
Here's what we did this year,
It's time for the year in review!

2014 started with a bang,
Michael started surgery, you see;
He was really very busy,
but still found time to chat with Grammy Lee.

(Seen here showing Michael how it's done. Grammy Lee used to be a surgical scrub nurse.)

We survived another epic snowstorm,
It seemed to swallow the whole east coast,
Boy, I was ready for some sunshine
On my skin, I love to roast.

But cozy days were nice,
lots of resting and time to snuggle,
Well.... that was the case for me, at least --
Poor Michael, he was a tired puddle!

Spring brought some fun travels -
I went to California for a quick stop.
Paris was also on the list,
but this is about as far as I got:

Mom came to DC for a visit,
The cherry blossoms she hoped to see,
Alas, it rained the WHOLE time,
So instead, she got a lot of.... me!

I love my Bible study girls,
They make my heart so light,
This constant and faithful community,
Makes me sleep so well at night.

This past year brought lots of changes,
Namely a lot of new babies we met,
Our friends sure did produce some cuties,
Just you wait.... there will be more, I bet!

There were also quite a few weddings,
Such sweet celebrations they are,
A fun time to catch up and dance
With friends from both near and far.

It was about this time
That Michael and I celebrated three years,
And lo and behold,
we still love each other to tears!

I do love that man so much,
He is my hunk of burnin' lovin'
Much to our happy surprise,
We learned there's a new bun in the oven!

We had some friend reunions,
Us girls getting together is no fluke,
And Michael went out to Colorado
To hang with his besties from Duke.

And then, the beautiful fall came,
And with that, some rotations away:
A month in Durham and then in Nashville,
They were both lovely places to stay.

With November came a life milestone,
And my age makes me slightly blue,
It was my 10-year high school reunion (Oh my!)
HPHS, to you I'll always be true.

Alas, we've got a baby girl coming,
We're now just waiting on that stork,
Baby Cat was celebrated
Both in Dallas and upstate New York!

In the midst of all this fun,
We've been on the road a LOT
Living out of suitcases gets old,
but residency interviews don't stop!

We spent Thanksgiving with the Cats,
and Christmas in Dallas raiding the fridge,
We also bid farewell to my dear Grandma,
She is now in Heaven playing bridge.

Grandma and me in 1999

Only one more week of travel,
And then we are resting our weary feet,
We can't wait to meet our little peanut,
I'm thinking she's gonna be an athlete :)

March will be here quite soon,
And that means the new baby girl;
Also the news of residency comes,
Gosh - it's going to be a whirl!

So Reader, I bid you farewell,
Do know how much I love you,
2015 is now here --
So 2014, I bid you adieu!