Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Liar Liar...

I recently read a newspaper article about parents who lie to their children. The article quoted a statistic that said something like "17% of parents lie to their children". I would like to add that those people who participated in the survey and said they don't lie to their children are, most likely, big liars!
Come on, am I crazy or don't we all tell fibs to our kids? Santa and the Easter Bunny are both big fat lies. I wonder if those were included in the survey.

Here's how it goes in our house:

Gia-"watch Caillou?"
Mom-"No, Caillou is having dinner, just like we are."
Gia-"OK, Caillou later"

There you have it. I'm a liar. I do it every day without even thinking. I also tell Tia that everyone in the world takes a nap every day, even Nonna, Papa, MeMa and Ms. Carla (teacher). She buys it for now, but I must admit it's a lie.
So, do those other 83% of people really never lie to their kids, or are they just not including those little fibs as lies?
Think about it. How many times a day do you lie to your kids without giving it much thought?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Happy Birthday to Daddy!

Today is my husband's birthday. He chose to spend his special day at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago since the girls would love it. He's right, they enjoyed it. Most guys would want to go out for some beers, dinner, night on the town, etc. Not D.R., he would much rather spend the quality time with his family.

Here they are before heading out for the day.

O.K., one with Mommy too!

Here are the girls watching the sea horses at the Aquarium. They were mesmerized!

When we got back, everyone napped, then we gave D.R. his presents.
He liked all the things we picked out for him, but later said that this is the best present ever.
I had to take a picture of that.

This was a great way to round out the day.

Happy Birthday Honey!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A day at the museum

We were invited to go to the Discovery Museum in Rockford with a friend of ours who was turning 4. We were really excited to go. So excited that the girls both woke up at 5:30 this morning! I'll talk more about that later

Remember these peg boards from Kindergarten? I do, and I don't know exactly why they're so much fun, but the girls could have played with them for hours. I wonder if I got some for home if they would be as fascinating. Probably not, and I would be stepping on pegs all day.

Then it was on to making pizza at "Papa John's". This was lots of fun too.

Please deliver that pizza to Huntley!

And then came the break down. Tia got so over stimulated, and was already tired before we got started, that she just started flipping out over everything. The play house has a little chair, which became our "Naughty Chair". Yup, they even have those at the museum!

I decided it was best to just go to the cafeteria to settle down, have some food, re-hydrate, and hopefully get into a better mood. Our little birthday boy Kyle joined us there for snacks, and Gia gave him his present.

Overall we had a good time. But, once again we have learned the hard way not to tell the girls about exciting plans. They just get too excited that don't sleep.
We are going to the Aquarium tomorrow to celebrate D.R.'s birthday, and although we have told them about it, we aren't going to say another word. I can't handle another day like today. I'm too old for this!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

They still make me laugh every day

The other day Gia saw Elmo on TV and started yelling "Elmo, Elmo!". I asked her "Do you love Elmo?". She said "yeah". I asked "Is Elmo your favorite?" since 'favorite' seems to be her latest word. Her response was "NO, Daddy my favorite!". I love it, and it made his day when I relayed the story to him.

When I read books to the kids, I really try to get into the story and make it fun. My Mom says I always did read with a lot of expression, I guess I still do. So, last night when I went grocery shopping, D.R. was reading stories to Tia. She stopped him abruptly and said "NO, read it like Mommy does!". He explained that he didn't know how Mommy reads the story to her and she said "You know, tell me about the pies and say 'this one is apple, this one is raspberry', like Mommy". He was thinking, "oh boy, what have I gotten myself into, I can't compete". He tried his best but she still told him he was doing it wrong. I guess I'll have to teach him the 'right' way to read a book!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A couple funny things I forgot...

After I wrote my last post about our road trip to MO., I realized there were a couple pretty funny things I left out.

This was the first time we drove south, so I was getting a kick out of the signs we saw along the way. For instance, there's a town named Paw Paw. Can you imagine saying "Hi, I'm Joe and I'm from Paw Paw". I got a kick out of that.

Then we saw a HUGE sign that was an advertisement for a motel. It read as follows:

Jim's Roadside Motel

I couldn't help but say to D.R. "look honey, that motel has a phone, we should stay there!". I wonder how old that sign is. Probably as old as the motel. Still in business all these years. Must be the cable and phone that keeps people coming back!

Each morning, I took the hotel shuttle to a nearby hotel that was hosting my conference. I was talking to the driver and he told me that he was shuttling people back and forth to the "rastling competition". People really talk like that?! I'm not picking on southern people. I love all people, and really enjoy southern charm and hospitality. But really, rastling?! It took a lot not to laugh, being the New Yorker that I am.

Another funny thing that happened while we were on our little trip involved Giuliana. She is painfully shy around strangers. Doesn't matter how friendly or kind the person is, she just screams and buries her head if someone tries to talk to her. I just explain that she's really shy, and move on. No problem except that in St. Louis, there are a lot of people of color. I kept thinking "These people probably think we're racist or our kids have never seen a black person before". I started to feel horrible because all the wonderfully nice employees of the hotel would come up and try to say hello, then Gia would scream and run away. I felt like saying "We have a multi-cultural family, and we're really not racist, I swear!". It was a bit uncomfortable.

One day we told the girls we were going to Wendy's for lunch. We don't often go to fast food restaurants so I wasn't surprised when Tia asked where Wendy was. We had to tell her that Wendy must be at school that day and we would try to see her another time! The funny thing is I have a very vivid memory from my childhood where the same thing happened. Someone suggested to my parents that we go to Wendy's, and I can remember thinking "Who is Wendy?". Funny how concrete kids are at that age.

I think that's all the funny stories for now. Until next time.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

On the Road Again!

We just got back from a long weekend in St. Louis, MO. I had to go for an interpreting conference, and D.R. thought it would be fun if we all went and turned it into a mini vacation. Let's just say even the best laid plans can go awry.
The girls were great in the car all the way there. I can't complain, they are pretty well versed on the road trip idea and can hang in there for the long haul.
However, young children+strange surroundings=NO SLEEP!
The first night was horrendous. No sleep, lots of screaming, then 10 hours of workshops the next day. The next night was a little better because we figured out separating the girls helped to get them to sleep. Still, a rough night, up early, long day.
Also, each morning the tear fest began all over again once the girls realized I was going some place without them. I went to my conference, they went to the zoo or pool. I'm sure they had more fun than I did, but still they wanted to go with me. Each day D.R. ran them around for a couple hours, fed them lunch, and then...ahhh, they slept. He did a great job of making things fun with them and making the best of it.
They eventually got used to the hotel but honestly never got quite as much sleep as they would have at home. In fact Tia is passed out on the couch as I type this. I think she's as happy to be home as I am.
On this mini vacation, we took a total of 3 pictures. Anyone who knows me, knows that's crazy! I take tons of pictures even when we're just at home, let alone on a trip. That's just how chaotic our weekend was. So, with that said, here are the 3 pictures.

Both girls found this accent pillow fascinating. They would set it up and knock it down. Gia didn't want to be in the picture.

Here's Gia enjoying grapes at the table in our suite. No, she wasn't drinking that can of pop, it just happened to be sitting there when I snapped the shot!

On our last full day at the hotel, D.R. spent the morning with the girls at the pool. He managed to get a shot of both of them in their new bathing suits. I wish I could have been there to see this in person! They had a blast in the pool with their buckets and watering cans.

Overall, I'm glad we went. I made contact with others in my profession, and learned a lot. I don't work often so I had almost forgotten how much fun it can be. It was also nice to be around other adults for a few days.

I'm glad to be home, happy that we're all safe and healthy, and not planning on doing this for quite a while!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

70 degrees, sunny, and a slight Chicago breeze

That's my kind of weather. Not too hot, no humidity, and warm enough to be outside! The kids really enjoyed exploring the back yard again.

Here's Gia trying desperately to figure out how to dump the bird seed out of the feeder.
The ground squirrels will just love her!

Of course after a very short play period, the girls both claimed to need a snack.

After one cookie, it was back to playing and enjoying the sunshine.

Tia keeps running around saying "It's Spring, I love Spring!". I agree. I can't wait to get out there and start planting, digging, weeding, mulching, etc.! This is a great time of year.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Style all her Own

When we went to the mall today, Tia wore a purple print dress, pink tights, and pink high-top converse sneakers. I was telling D.R. that she sure does have a style all her own and is pretty funky.
Well, that was her pre-nap outfit. Here's what she put on after her nap!
I was sure she couldn't get one more pattern or print involved, until she found the purse. Every young girl needs a designer bag!

Gotta' love those leopard print "heel-high" shoes, as she calls them. I'm so happy she didn't want to wear those to the mall.
She's definitely a girl and she definitely has her own style. I say good for her!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Big News at our House!

There she is, our very own little Potty Animal! Yup, she went on the potty today for the first time. Well, I should say she has sat on the potty before, but this is the first time there was any action!
Yesterday while at someone's house for play group, she told me she wanted to sit on the potty. I let her, but as usual nothing happened. So, today when she told me again that she wanted to sit on the potty, I expected the same result. She was sitting there playing, looking like a big girl, and then to the surprise of both of us, pee pee! I made a big deal out of it. I clapped, cheered, called Tia in to clap and cheer, then we called Daddy. It's funny how they grow up all at once. She held the phone to her ear and had an entire conversation with him. That's something she hasn't done before.

I am fully aware that this is just the beginning of a long process. However, at least the process has officially begun, and I think that's pretty awesome.

Ahhh, the dream of no more diapers...a little closer to becoming reality.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oh, the weather outside is...

Beautiful one day, frightful the next!

Yesterday it was 60 degrees here in Huntley. Not exactly sunny, but nice and warm.
When we moved to the area, we were told by several people that Spring comes early, and it stays. People told us that once it starts to get warm here, it doesn't go back. I'm here to tell you that's a big fat lie! Also, nobody told us that the weather is bizarre and unpredictable.
Here's an example. 60 degrees yesterday during the day. Last night, falling temperatures and 50 mph. winds. Today, wind chills in the single digits!

Yup, Spring came early here in the mid west. It also left pretty darn fast. I guess I can't complain, the snow was pretty minimal this year compared to NY. Oh, I shouldn't say that! It's probably going to snow now!

These pictures of the kids were taken a couple of days ago when it was in the 40's.

Scooping the leaves out of the kiddie pool

Attempting to roll down our little hill in the back.

I'll just sit here and hold out hope, knowing that tomorrow will at the very least be totally different from today!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Running for a Reason

Last year I did the local breast cancer 5K walk/run for charity. I walked most of it, jogging a little bit here and there. My finishing time was a miserable 55.33. The biggest problem with my time was having to start with the walking group. There was such a bottle neck of people who were in no hurry to get anywhere, it was hard to break away from the crowd.
Normally I can walk a mile in 20 minutes or less while pushing both kids in a double stroller. You would think walking the 5K without pushing the kids in the stroller would mean a much better time. So, after being unhappy with my finishing time, I decided that next year I would run the race. I figured I had a year to get ready.
That was nearly 6 months ago. I hadn't thought about it much until recently. The other day I noticed that there's a 5K race in Chicago to benefit lung cancer research. My Mom has lung cancer. I've known 3 people who have died of lung cancer. That's it! I'm going to do it, and I will run it. I've called some people and told them of my plans, and now I'm posting it on my blog. That means I can't back out, I've committed myself.
I never thought of myself as a runner. In fact I find it difficult to jog for just 2 minutes at a time. That's OK, I'm up for the challenge. I started training on the treadmill 2 days ago and I can definitely feel the muscles in my legs like never before! My nephew tells me that it usually takes just 8 weeks to train for a 5K. Well then, 6 months should do me just fine!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The things I've learned along the way

On my recent trip home to visit my Mom, I had the opportunity to talk to my cousin Nancy. Actually, she's my Mom's cousin but that doesn't really matter in our family. She mentioned something that really made me think. She said that even though I wasn't always around the Aceto's growing up, she was glad my mom raised me to BE an Aceto anyway.
I have thought about that statement all week, and she's right. Now that I think of it, almost all the things my Mom taught me are actually Aceto traits, not just Mom traits.

My Mom taught us (by example) that it's always better to make home made meals. She never fed us store-bought, processed foods. Everything was made from scratch, even the cookies. That's definitely something she learned from her Grandma Aceto who would never have fed her family anything but her own cooking. From what I have heard, Grandma's cooking was pretty darn good and her skills were not unappreciated.

She also taught us not to be wasteful. To this day I can't stand to see food go to waste. Even though I am not nearly as good a cook as my Mom, I can make more than one meal out of something just so I don't have to throw out the left-overs. The older generation of Aceto's grew up poor so being wasteful was not an option. My Great Aunt Ann would probably smack a grown man in the head for wasting good food! Now, that virtue is instilled deep within me.

My Mom taught us to pay our bills on time, even if that means doing without some of the things we enjoy in life. She's all about common sense..."You don't go out to dinner if you can't pay your phone bill!". That makes so much sense but so many people who can't seem to pay those monthly bills, somehow have the ability to go out to eat or get their nails done. Practicality is definitely an Aceto trait.

Some other things I've learned from my Mom along the way are "save for a rainy day, put away for retirement, if you get a raise in pay just put it away like you never got it, treat people fairly, always do the right thing, stand up for what you believe in, always tuck your kids into bed at night, don't ever let a child go to bed hungry..." I could go on and on.

For a woman who grew up in the worst of circumstances, suffering from poverty, abandonment and abuse, she sure shared a lot of knowledge! I'm glad I was paying attention, most of the time.
I hope I can pass along some of those same Aceto values to my kids.

Thanks Mom!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A visit with my Mom

Last week I got that phone call we all dread. My Mom was sick, going back to the hospital and having trouble breathing.

All day and night went something like this...no new information...blood work...chest X-rays...waiting for the doctor...breathing treatments...doing a little better...admitting to hospital for a few days... more cancer...cancer has spread...things don't look good...who do I call?...get her family there with her.

My sister was in Jamaica and I was here in Illinois, what a horrible feeling to know Mom was there without her children. I felt I had to go home. More importantly, she asked to see her granddaughters.
The girls and I went first, then D.R. met us a few days later. It wasn't easy traveling with them by myself, but they were really good so I can't complain.

Here's Tia telling secrets at the hospital.
She really knows how to perk people up.

Just one more kiss for Gia. She loves kissing her MeMa.

We had a really nice visit. It was nice to see her get a little stronger each day with the radiation treatments. It was hard to leave her and come back home. She assured me it was OK, and I should get the kids back on their regular schedule. Just like her to be thinking of every one else, above herself.

We're home now and still absolutely exhausted. That's OK because it was so worth it. The kids have been talking about their visit with MeMa, especially Gia. Each time I ask "Who do you want to go see today?", her answer is "MeMa!". I'm so glad they bonded like that.

So, the news back home isn't great. Mom's cancer has grown and spread. We've known for almost a year that she has cancer but she was doing so well with treatment. This new news was a serious blow to us all.
All we can do is pray and hope for the best.