Thursday, August 28, 2008

Road Trip

Today we head out for our road trip home to Rochester (again). This time there are a couple things that make it better than last time. First, D.R. will be with me. He can share the driving and more importantly, share in keeping the kids happy. The other thing that is sure to help is we are stopping tonight in Ohio. We will do the second half of the trip in the morning. I am sure the kids will be much happier with this arrangement. 11 hours in the car is no fun for little ones, or their mom.
Hopefully we will get lost of great pictures and have something fun to post on Monday.
To anyone who reads this...prayers for a safe trip are always welcome.
See you next week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Under the weather

Today I feel a bit 'under the weather'. Sore throat, headache, and all around yuck. I am slacking today in the housekeeping and wonder how I will keep up with the kids. We'll go to the park this morning and I hope they will play so hard that they take a 3 hour nap this afternoon (Please, please God!).
Days like today make me wonder how my mom did it. With 3 or 4 of us home, she had carpal tunnel surgery and was in the hospital for a week. That's how they did it back then. These days you're lucky if you get to stop at the hospitals' drive through window while they slice you open. At any rate, she was away from home for a week, and then incapacitated for a few more during recovery. How the heck did she take care of all of us?
Then there was the time she had a hysterectomy. Another week in the hospital, and many more weeks of recovery at home. No lifting, lots of rest. How exactly does a mother of 4 rest and not lift? I still don't know the answer to that one. I don't have any horrible memories of not being taken care of, going hungry, or worse yet (in my Mom's eyes), going to bed dirty! Somehow we got through it.
So, today, I will go on with life and not complain much. I know it can be done. I had a good role model. This too shall pass.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Conversations

My sister and two best friends flew in for a visit on Thursday. After spending a couple days totally spoiling the kids, us grown-up girls hopped a train to downtown Chicago for a girls night. Before we left I told my sister she should have a tea party with Tia because if she didn't, Tia would surely remind me of it later. Tia doesn't forget a thing these days! So, they had a great tea party, and then we headed out the door for our night on the town. Of course there were lots of tears (inducing Mommy guilt again) but we made it out and had a great time. This morning I got them off to the airport via train, and D.R. picked me up there.

Here's how the conversation with my almost 3 year old went:

Hi girls, I missed you so much!
"Hi Mommy, you came back! You're my baby angel. I miss you."
"Yes, Mommy came back. You're my Muffin.
"Where's Aunt Kimmie?"
"Aunt Kimmie had to go back to New York, she's on an airplane"
"Where's Sheila?"
"She's with Aunt Kimmie on the airplane to New York"
"Oh, I had a tea party with Aunt Kimmie"
"You did, was it nice?"
"Yeah, had fun." "I wanted to watch TV with Aunt Kimmie, on my couch."
"Oh, well we will be at Aunt Kimmie's house on Friday. She has a TV there"
"No, I no see TV at Aunt Kimmie's house. Where is it Mom?"
"It's in her living room, she has a big one."
"I no see it at her house Mom."
"I promise you she has a TV at her house."
"Mom, I watch TV with Aunt Kimmie in her living room"
"OK, I'll tell her you want to watch TV with her."

One of the best things about having a child that is Tia's age is that we can now have conversations! She can tell me exactly what she is thinking. I love every minute of it!
I better tell my sister of Tia's big plans for her this week.

Ice Cream Paradise

video

We went out to dinner and a "Gramma" at the next table sent over an ice cream for our kids. This is Giuliana insisting on feeding herself, but not doing a very good job of it. Priceless.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Girlie Girl




Tia takes after her Aunt Kimmie. They are both very girlie girls. They had fun doing nails and playing dress up. What could be better than that?


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What's cookin' in your kitchen?

Over here we are about to saute up a little Gia roast. About 26 pounds worth!
She was taking all the pots and pans out of the cupboard, and then decided it would be fun to sit in one. She cracks herself up.

Liar Liar, Pants on Fire!

I was thinking about how often I lie to my kids, and if it's the right thing to do. There was a segment about this on the Rachael Ray show not too long ago. Of course I didn't have the time to actually watch the show, so I don't know what the verdict was.
Randy Pausch said in his book that his advice to his kids is "Tell the truth, all the time".
Well, I lie to my kids, Tia in particular, all the time! Here are some examples.

When she really doesn't want to take a nap, and asks to watch TV instead, I tell her "Caillou is taking his nap right now too". I have even secretly turned the cable off, so I can turn on the TV and show here that nothings there, everyone's napping. She believes me.

If I go shopping with the kids, they usually will pick out a toy to play with while we are there. When I am done, I tell them "This toy doesn't belong to us so you have to go put it back now". I guess that one isn't exactly lying, but they don't know that I could actually buy the item. They just believe they are only allowed to borrow the toys in stores. Tia almost doesn't believe this one any more.

Occasionally Tia will wake up at 5am. thinking it's time to start her day. I tuck her back in and tell her it's still night time. I have also been known to add "It's still dark out, it's against the rules to get out of bed before the sun comes up". Once again, she believes me!

Is this so bad? Can we really tell the truth, ALL THE TIME? I am sure my mom did some fibbing to us when we were little. I'll have to ask her about this one.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Guilty Mom syndrome

I had to work over the weekend. I only work one or two shifts per month, so Tia isn't really used to the idea. When she noticed I was getting ready for work (probably because I was wearing real clothes!), she started to say...
"Mom, I'm hot, I don't feel well, I think I have a fever". Then, to top it off and make me feel even more guilty for leaving she said "Mommy, don't go, I need you, you're my Muffin!".
Ugh, talk about major MOM GUILT.
Needless to say, she and her sister both survived the day without me at home. They may have even had some fun with their Daddy. Imagine that.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tia's last dance lesson

video

Tia had her last of 6 lessons today. The parents were allowed in the room to take pictures and videotape. I am amazed at how well she follows the teachers instructions. We have signed her up again for the fall. She is really enjoying herself, and of course her Mom enjoys watching!

My Mother's Day gift, at last

Around Mother's Day D.R. searched for a lilac bush for me. He knew I was a bit home sick and that I love lilacs, which Rochester is pretty famous for. He had no luck. In our area we have Japanese Dwarf Lilacs, which just look like a regular round shrub most of the year, then all of a sudden they get beautiful blossoms for about a week. I have some in the front and didn't want that kind again. So, on Mother's Day, he told me of his good intentions and gave me an I.O.U. We have both been looking for them since then. I really don't know why we can't find one, I have seen them in yards of neighbors. Maybe this was just a bad year for Lilac growers.

Anyway, I went to Home Depot today to get some mums, and found this beautiful Butterfly Bush! She was calling to me, saying "take me home". So I did. I know the season is almost over but I look forward to seeing how big and beautiful she will be next summer. It's not exactly a Lilac but it's still beautiful. I was tired of looking at the big empty spot in my garden that was waiting for something pretty and blossoming.

Another thing we have here in the Midwest is the "Midwestern Ash Borer". It's a beetle that has a voracious appetite for trees and some shrubs. Literally 30 seconds after I planted my new Butterfly Bush, it was covered with 10 Borers, and one lonely butterfly. I sprayed the heck out of them, said a few unkind words, and am now hoping we have seen the last of the Ash Borers in our yard!



Thursday, August 14, 2008

Geared up for our fitness walk

This morning I just couldn't fathom another minute on the elliptical, let alone 30, so I did yoga on the Wii Fit instead. Would you believe that machine told me I have racked up 10 hours of exercise time? That seems crazy to me, but at least I have enjoyed it.
We have been having some fantastic weather here in the midwest, which means more time outside. The kids and I both love it. Today we walked to the library and back which equals 2 miles. I wonder how many extra calories I burn by pushing this double stroller with two kids in it? I'm sure that counts for something!
We will walk again this evening with a neighbor who is also trying to get fit and we'll put another 2 miles on these wheels. I told D.R. "at this rate I should be skinny by morning". We both got a laugh. Skinny, probably not. Healthy heart, I sure hope so.

All men are created equal

Many years ago on a trip to Seattle, I saw a sign in my hotel that said "This is a Racism Free Zone!". It made me smile. I wish more places were like that, and put it right out there for all to see.
This morning I was reminded of that simple message. Tia and I were coloring pictures. She was coloring a picture of 3 bears which she called Mommy, Daddy, and Tia. She was being very careful and precise.
She told me "Mom, I'm making Tia purple, Mommy orange, and Daddy black". I have to smile for two reasons.
1. Her creativity has not yet been restricted by the norms of the real world.
2. She doesn't see race in humans.

We are all just the people she loves, and we could be any color in the world!
Isn't that a fantastic way to live? More people should see the world through the eyes of a two year old.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fun with Food

Mashed potato surprise. Yet another bath!

Having the bowl of grapes on the table in front of her was not enough, she had to have the whole bowl on her tray so she could pick them out herself. Mom is not allowed to help in the feeding process at all.
Isn't she a little young for all this independence?

All creatures great and small

The other day while out gardening/pulling weeds, I heard the buzzing of a bee and jumped back. Tia asked "what's wrong Mom?". I told her I heard a bumble bee and she said "That's just Barry mom". Bee Movie is her favorite movie and the Jerry Seinfeld character is named Barry. She walked over to where the bee was and said "No stingin' Barry, no stingin'". She had no fear.

Yesterday when we went out to water the garden, I saw a baby frog in the kids pool. I told Tia about it and she came over and said "Ni Hau" to the frog. I am not sure why she thinks the frog speaks Chinese, but it was the cutest thing. The pool was empty and I now think the frog got in there and couldn't get out. Sadly, after I pointed out the baby frog to Tia, that's when I noticed it was dead! OK, how do I get myself out of this one? Trying to think fast I said "I think this frog wants to live in our garden where he can run and play". So we moved him over to the garden and I can only hope he will be gone before we go out there again!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's the 12th!

That means my babies are 34 months and 16 months, respectively. Where has the time gone?
It seems like yesterday that I brought each of them home from the hospital. They grow up too fast.

At 34 months Tia is potty trained. She also knows all her letters, colors, shapes, and can count to 13 by herself. How is this even possible? I can remember like it was yesterday being in the hospital intensive care unit, crying because no one knew what was wrong with our baby. She was having what appeared to be seizures, and her head was pretty big. Turns out it's all brain in there because she is just perfect. She grew out of whatever was happening with the seizures, or whatever they were. I guess that was just a test to make sure we were cut out to be parents.
She has a memory that won't quit. She can tell us the birth month of everyone in our family. She talks about the day we brought Giuliana home from the hospital in such detail, like it happened last week.
What an amazing child.

At 16 months Giuliana has given up her bottle. She now feeds herself, much to her mothers chagrin. She loves playing with her sister and looking at books. She keeps us all busy chasing after her because she is a ball of energy. She loves her naps and goes to bed without any fuss. She has to get her rest so she can run circles around us again when she gets up! She is very independent and knows exactly what she wants. She has figured out how to open the child safety locks on the cupboards, as well as open the dishwasher. Maybe she will be an engineer, or a magician.

It's amazing to watch these two angels grow up and develop their own little personalities. They bring us so much joy every day. We are truly blessed.

Monday, August 11, 2008

She let me take her picture!



She still isn't a fan of the new camera, but at least I was able to get a picture!

I love girls in hats. Tia always had a hat on as a baby and still likes to wear them on occasion. Giuliana isn't so crazy about hats but I was able to get her to wear this one by playing peek a boo.
Look at that face, I just want to squeeze her!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More funny stuff

Tia tells me that when she turns 4, she will take violin lessons. She would also like Daddy to learn to play the drums, and mommy to play the saxophone. I've always liked the saxophone, but I think that ship has sailed. Sadly, she will be a one woman band. She says Ju Ju is a baby and can't play music. I guess she will just have to listen.
Tia also reminds me often that she will teach her baby sister how to dance when she gets older. That, I can't wait to see.

When I go to the gym, Tia asks "Mom, I go to playschool today?". I tell her yes, for a little while. Then she asks "You go get all sweaty?". Yes, Mommy's going to get sweaty. I am grateful she knows about exercise (and sweat).

Any time one of us gets the tiniest ailment of any kind, Tia says "Get medicine and a Band Aid". Now she has us all saying it. If D.R. has a problem at work, I say "Just go get medicine and a Band Aid", everything will be just fine. I wish life was as simple as it is through her eyes!

Yesterday on our way into a restaurant, Tia tried to open the door herself. It was too heavy for her so I 'helped' her pull it open. Unfortunately her toe was right there in front of the door and I jammed the door right into it. Her nail lifted, there was a slight cut, a little blood, and a lot of tears. I felt so bad that I inflicted this pain on my poor baby, that I almost cried. Once things calmed down, Tia said to me "I sorry mom, it's OK, get medicine and a Band Aid". Ah, life is good. She forgives me.

When D.R. brought home roses for me on our anniversary, Tia said "Wow Daddy, you brought Mommy flowers?". He said "Yes, you like them?" and she said "You're a genius Dad". Boy, she is certainly learning young.

Yesterday I was giving Tia a firm 'talking to' about not waiting so long to go on the potty, and not having accidents. Her response was "Mommy, I'm tryin' not to listen to you'. And so it begins.

Friday, August 8, 2008

For this I have no words...





...except thank God she still fits in the kitchen sink!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More things Tia says that crack me up

After getting Giuliana dressed this morning, I noticed that her shirt was a wee bit small on her. Tia looked at her and said "Um, Ju Ju, your tummy stickin' out".

Tia saw the box in our closet which contains my wedding gown. She asked me if she could see it. I then asked her if she would wear my wedding gown when she grows up and gets married. She said "No, I buy my own dress!".

Today in the store a woman walked past and said "Oh my, she is adorable!". Tia put her hand up and said "No talk about it!". Talk to the hand lady, talk to the hand.

Also in the store today we walked by the electronics department. Tia spotted the televisions and said "Look Mom! TV's, let's go check 'em out...check it out!". Another customer asked "did she just say check it out?". Yup, and I have no idea where she learned to say that!

While exercising this afternoon, I told Tia that she should cheer me on to make me want to keep going. I was expecting something along the lines of "Go Mom, Go" when she began shouting "C'mon, shake it up!". I have no idea where she learned that one either.

I have a bag in the laundry room where I collect things we don't use/need any more. I wait until the bag is full then donate it to whatever charity is asking for donations that month. Tia found a baby rattle and said "Hmm, I been lookin' for this all over".

Yesterday we met our friend Noah in the park. Noah and his mommy got there early and had painted a flower with the "art lady". Tia was intrigued by the little wooden flower they made. Noah's mom said Tia could have it and take it home. For the rest of the day Tia kept saying in a very excited voice "Mom, Noah painted a flower just for me!". I think she has her first crush.

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother



I put a bib on her so she wouldn't make too much of a mess on her pretty shirt. Why did I bother? Look at her face!
Yes, I do believe she did it on purpose, even though she said "Sorry Mom, accident".

How could I get angry at a face like that?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Four years

August 6, 2004. That's the day we promised to love each other forever. We can't believe how much we have done in just 4 short years! I dare say we have endured more changes than most couples do in a lifetime. Phew.

Every year we do something big for our anniversary:
The first year we took a trip to Savannah, Ga. and Amelia Island, Fl. I was pregnant for Tia.
For our second we went to Hawaii, and I was pregnant with Giuliana but didn't really know it for sure yet!
The third year we went to Seattle, WA. with both kids. It's a great time of year to go to Seattle, we had wonderful weather. Even better than that, I WASN'T pregnant that year!
This year, we went out to dinner. We had our big family vacation earlier this year to Mexico so we really couldn't justify another trip.
We had plans to go out for Japanese. When we arrived, the restaurant was not open yet, and we were all really hungry. We decided to go to Sweet Tomatoes. I have to laugh. Our 'romantic' dinner out was a buffet, with both kids! I wouldn't want it any other way. D.R. put it best when he said "It doesn't matter where we go, as long as we're all together".

We are already planning where we are going next year though. D.R. says it's up to me. I'll have to give this one lots of thought.
I suppose the location isn't that important as long as we remain as in love as we are now.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Beware of the 'G' rated movie

I have often wondered why children's shows have villains, bad guys, or evil doers of one kind or another. Why do we think it's acceptable to expose small children to evil? I am pretty aware of which shows on television have villains, and steer away from them. The best recent example of this is a PBS show called "Word Girl" which could be a wonderful show because it teaches kids how to put words together, and to eventually read. The only thing that keeps it off our viewing list is a character who carries a machine gun that shoots sausages. Does its lack of real ammunition make it any less of a weapon? Do 3 year olds know the difference? I really don't think my kids need exposure to weapons of any kind, even the type that shoots sausages. Tia saw this show once and said "Mommy, that guy's bein' naughty". She is absolutely right, and she doesn't need to watch it. I don't care if it is sponsored by a "No Child Left Behind, Ready to Learn Grant" from our government.

I met a woman at the gym once who told me she refused to let her kids watch "Caillou" because he was too wimpy and whiny. She told me she didn't want her boys exposed to that for fear they would turn out to be wimps themselves. I personally like Caillou because it is a nice wholesome show where there are no bad guys, and a lesson is learned in every episode.

Today I took the girls to the movies. It was Wallace and Gromit, rated G, for general audiences. I sat there wondering how the movies get their ratings. There was not only a bad guy in this movie, but he carried a gun. A real shot gun, which he was eager to use at any opportunity. Aside from the gun, there was quite a bit of yelling throughout the entire movie. I was sitting there wondering to myself "How does a gun make it into a G rated movie?". My task for today is to do an internet search to find out the criteria for rating a movie.

I am well aware that our kids are going to be exposed to real life bullies soon enough. I won't be surprised if the children of that woman from the gym are classified as bullies some day. It happens in schools every where and it is something we will have to deal with eventually. I just don't think it's my job as a responsible parent to teach a 3 year old how to be tough. They are only young and innocent once, I want to savor these moments. Maybe I am a bit overprotective, but I think babies should be allowed to be babies for a little while.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The real Cinderella




Last year for her birthday and Christmas Tia got Princess boots, clothes, an umbrella, you name it, Princess everything. Way to go Disney for great marketing! Still, she had no clue who the Princesses were, or what Disney was, she just thought these things were pretty.

A few months ago we read Tia the Cinderella book and from then on she was hooked. Shortly after that she got the DVD of the movie as her prize from Daddy for potty training. Now, everything in her life is about being a princess and/or being Cinderella.
Once again, great marketing Disney.

I had to buy some new pajamas for Giuliana the other day and I seriously could not find any that were not Disney Princess. I really just wanted a plain pair of pajamas. They don't exist any more. I was concerned about giving her the new pajamas for fear of disturbing Tia and her belief that all things Princess belong to her. Later I was in the basement going through boxes of clothes that were given to us by our very generous friend Michele. These were clothes that her daughter Alia wore nearly 10 years ago. Lo and behold I found this beautiful Cinderella night gown! Woo hoo, what a find, and a life saver. I didn't have to endure tears that the baby got Princess jammies and she didn't.

All is right with the world.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Mom


Here is my Mom. She is not someone who easily embraces modern technology.
However, she reads my blog every day! So, this one is for her.
Hi Mema! You are being thought of today.
Be strong.

Say Cheese!


Here is our new camera. We researched this thing to no end. Because we take so many pictures of the kids we decided that we really need a good one that will last. We were tired of replacing our little "cheapo" Canon digitals every 2 years. This camera takes great pictures and has tons of features that will come in handy when the kids are into sports and other events that require a fast shutter speed, and zero delay.

We have only one problem with this new camera. Giuliana is terrified of it! We are talking screaming bloody murder and running in the opposite direction. It's hilarious and of course a bit upsetting. What good is having a great new camera to take pictures of your kids with, if one of your kids can't stand the sight of it?

Here is a minor example of her response when she sees the new camera coming.




Yup, that's her hiding behind the chair, in the corner, on the verge of tears.
That's Tia back there with her trying to comfort her, and wondering what the big deal is!
This too shall pass.

A lovely summer day














It's hard for me to believe that Summer is almost over. It really seems like it just started.
We got outside to enjoy the warm and sunny day.

The girls were interested in the flowers in the front yard, and helped pull a few weeds.