Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Red Plate Special

Growing up, I had a friend whose family had a red plate. Just one red plate. One special red plate. It was a red plate that had lovely white writing around the rim that said, "You are special today." This plate was used every kind of celebration imaginable....birthdays, anniversaries, great report cards, marking milestones, etc. and it was not just for the kids - parents too. Even company got to use that red plate if they were celebrating a special event while at their home. I was one of those lucky guests - and it really did make me feel special. (Actually, it was really the family that made me feel special - but the plate helped the celebration.) I always said that when I had my own family, I wanted to have a special red plate too.

Well, I've been searching in stores for years, with no luck - until Internet shopping came into my little existence several years back. I found the plate (it's actually imported from Germany.) But I had a tiny little issue nagging at me. The plate states: "You are special today." Lovely sentiment. Makes total sense.....but I wanted my children to know they were special everyday. I know, semantics. But it mattered to me.

So as I was as I was clicking on my googled links, trying to score the best deal, I stumbled upon another plate at an online Christian store. Same concept. Red plate (not from Germany, I'm sure.) Similar white writing around the edges (not in near as fancy a font - kinda looks like the Charlie Brown font from the comic strip.) But I could buy into the saying a little more. It says, "God thinks you are special today....and every day." Now that's what I'm talking about. The fact that the plate was different than everyone else's plate was was really mattered and was what made it so special.
I actually like the look of the first one better - but I bought the second one. That's what we'll be using - maybe until I can make my own at a ceramic shop one day. That would be a cool alternative. Actually, just getting a red plate from Target or Walmart would work too. It could be any color....just different from your usual dinnerware.
Looking forward to many uses of our special red plate.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Sweet Meet

Last week Gianna and I had a sweet little meeting with my friend Liz who came in town for her HS reunion. I've known Liz since my youth ministry days (and HER youth!) and it's such a joy to be journeying through motherhood together....even though it's a whole state away.

I finally got to meet her two precious boys, Jackson and Cooper who, until now, I've only known through Blogging Fame. It was kind of like meeting celebrities. (How cute are these two?)

Jackson & Cooper

Cooper and Gianna being towed by the boys' Grandma Cathy.

Three hungry little monkeys.

I could get lost in Cooper's baby blues.

Everyone playing with Cooper's early birthday present.

Jackson - what a precious face!

That's one cute toddler sandwhich.

They were throwing themselves on the back of the couch and getting so tickled.

This one cracks me up.

Thanks for the visit, Liz. Looking forward to next time. If you have a minute (or even if you don't), go check out Liz's Blog.
She is really good at this blogging thing and she does an amazing job at recounting memories, being real, telling all about the cool things they do through their Mom's group (that I would just love to be a part of), and sharing her creativity. (She is such an awesome baker -- which has me completely inspired and intimidated and bordering on envy.)
Oh....and just in case this boys didn't provide enough sweetness for you.....

Jealous yet? Hold on....here was Jackson's 2nd birthday cake. I know. Can you just imagine all the mom's at that party just wanting to spit on her. :)

Cooper's first birthday is next month. I'm on the edge of my seat to see what she comes up with for that.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Random Acts of Toddlerhood

One morning Little Miss Prissy pants thought it would be much for fun to have a party in her crib instead of taking a morning nap. We had company coming later that evening so we decided we'd try and keep her up as long as possible so she'd be good and rested by the time our guests arrived. She was so tired - but we kept her going.
My sweet husband offered to do my grocery shopping and take her with him (brave soul) to help keep her up. A little over an hour after they left, I called his cell to see where they were. He answered the phone and I heard the Veggie Tales CD blaring. He told me he had been talking to her at the top of his lungs, singing and trying to pinch her toes the last few miles trying to keep her awake (only a 7 minute drive to the store.) By the time they pulled into the garage, she all but oozed out of her carseat. She was so tired she looked like one of the Wonder Twins who morphed into a glob of slime. (If you don't remember that cartoon reference, then you're WAY younger than me and it would be really nice if you wouldn't remind me of that.)
I digress.
She was such a wet noodle that I had to change her diaper on my lap. Here's the tired little monkey absolutely passed out and draped over my lap like a blanket: I've been feeling a little guilty about not pushing the whole self-feeding thing with her, so yesterday I let her have at it. I'm pretty sure I would drop a good 15 pounds in a matter of days if I witnessed that kind of yuck several times a day. She had a ball and was sooo proud of herself. Guess who had an afternoon bath on that day? This was her expression when asked, "Gianna, would you like to take a bath?"
This is my all-clean little angel ---fresh as a daisy.
And this one - just makes me smile. She was cracking herself up in her big comfy chair. I'm pretty sure this is what pure joy must look like.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I'm sure every aspiring mother fantasizes of hearing their baby call them Momma. I certainly have had that dream my whole life. I've always been "ReRe" to the kids in my life. Hearing "momma" addressed to me - man, I couldn't wait.

Gianna has an amazing vocabulary. There are a plethora of signs that she's mastered. And at fourteen and a half months old - the monkey still isn't saying, "Momma." Apparently it's not uncommon, because during one of my low moments I googled "Fourteen Month old won't say Mommy" and a ton of stuff came up. Ha. Well, not a lot of advice, but at least I knew I was in good company.

I love being a mom. I am with her 24 hours a day. I feed her, change her, teach her, play with her, wake up in the middle of the night with her, taxi her, nurture her (loving it all, I might add) - and when asked. "Gianna, can you say Mommy?" She diverts her eyes and says in the sweetest sing-songy voice, "Da Da." -- making the sign for "daddy" as she says it. I'll quiz her on a ton of words which she'll parrot right back to me -- UNTIL we get to "mommy." The funny thing is, she breaks her gaze every time I ask her to say it. Then she'll say ball or book or baby to try to throw me off track. Turkey. Ahhh......the quest for control sure does start early!

People try to console me all the time, telling me, "Oh, the m's are much harder to say than d's." HA! Baloney. This isn't a matter of ability - it's a blatant refusal. Pure stubbornness.

Well, two days ago I was in the kitchen and she was playing in the living room. I heard her saying, "Dadda, Momma, Dadda, Momma, Dadda, Momma." I could not believe my ears. I grabbed the video camera which was thankfully in my reach - and couldn't wait to get the first beautiful "momma" on tape. Then she heard the beep of the camcorder. I said, "Gianna, I heard you say 'momma'." She looked at me and took off down the hall. Oooooh - I had her number, now.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Yesterday took matters into my own hands....with the help of little Ebony & Raven, her treasured baby dolls. (And yes, I do realize that both of my child's baby dolls are black. You can CLICK HERE for that little story.)

Lately, she's been very much into "mothering" her dolls. We've been feeding them in the high chair, rocking them, etc. and she's gotten quite a kick out of it. So, I thought I'd take advantage of the pretend-play and get a little manipulative. (No judging.)

I spent about 30 minutes picking up one or the other doll, carrying them with me, rocking them, kissing them saying constantly, "Mommy loves you, baby." and "Baby, can you say mommy?" Then I'd change the sound of my voice answering for the doll, "Momma, Momma, Momma."

She following me around the house with wide, curious eyes watching me in amazement. She pulled at my pant leg and reached her arms up? "Oh," I said, "Do you want hold my baby too?" She giggled, took the baby, rocked it and started saying, "Momma, Momma Momma!"


It's been her mantra ever since. Her voice is so sweet when she says it. Music to my ears.....and even sweeter that my sneaky little plan worked. She hasn't used "momma" to summon me yet, but I'm thinking that's a good thing right now.

Whew, for a while there I was worried that I was going to have to change my name to Elmo.

I know. Cute, huh?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sittin' in Style

Isn't so great when babies are small and there are all sorts of contraptions that can contain them while you get a few things done? Then they grow a bit and finally have an attention span long enough to watch and enjoy a 25 minute video, and you never thought you'd be so happy to do laundry, or empty the dishwasher or scrub a toilet without a little "helper" under your feet.
We've been fairly creative in corralling this busy bee for her quick little video breaks.
Well, there's always the trusty high chair....

And then there was that stool that Mommy actually wove with her very own sore fingers....
That lasted about 10 minutes, until the mover came to take it away.We even tried boxes......but it sorta blocked her view.
And this box seemed perfect........for a good 2 minutes or so.

And that cute little chair Mommy bought in Mexico for a whopping $10 was great........but she had a hard time getting comfy.

And there's always just plain ol' sittin' on the floor...

....which is great ---- until she gets distracted, and then starts digging, rearranging furniture or getting in the middle of whatever I'm trying to do.

What to do? What to do?

I've always wanted to get her one of those cushy chairs from Pottery Barn Kids, but they' re so darn expensive. I've been looking on Ebay, checking second hand stores - thinking I could make a slipcover, even looking at alternative chairs at the big department stores. Nada.

Well, after much deliberation and prodding from my sweet husband, I finally gave in.

I bought one.

(Except ours doesn't say "Julia" on it. Actually, I didn't have it monogrammed - so I could pass it on later.)

I bit the bullet and paid WAY more money than I usually would for something that I really don't have room for -- and I have to say..........

.....I could not be happier with my purchase. (As you can tell, she's pretty happy with the purchase too!)

I bought the Oversized Anywhere Chair from PB which will fit her for several years. (SO glad I got the oversized version). It's adorable, so well made, and just a smart little piece of furniture.

I'm always thinking how I can make things cheaper - but there's no way I would have come close to this. Best money for toddler paraphernalia I ever spent.

Now, back to my chores while she watches her morning video!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Signed, Sealed, Delivered....I'm YOURS!

Well, we completed the year-long wait that our State requires once a child is officially placed in your home. And on Monday, September 14th at 9:16 am, our sweet little munchkin was officially named Gianna Elyse Lewis and her adoption was finalized. So now the State has declared what we have know from the very beginning....Gianna Elyse is our daughter - forever and ever. AMEN!
Iain & I were a surprised by how little we were affected by the approach of the big day. I guess, for us, it just really doesn't change anything. I'm sure our past court memories of failed adoptions and unjust outcome may have clouded it a tiny bit - and appearing before the very judge that presided over the other case was certainly not our ideal situation. But we weren't nervous....we just stood before him with our heads held high.
There was actually one point when the judge asked me if there was anything else I wanted the court to know. Oh how I fantasized of what I would say if given the opportunity!! It would have been an awesome, dramatic scene out Law & Order PMU (Pissy Mothers Unit). You can imagine I had a script ready for that answer...and Lord knows I was tempted to give him an earful. But instead, I kept my mouth shut and smiled. (Miracle, I know.) I figured being held in contempt of court would not be a good adoption present for my daughter. :)
We're glad to have everything finalized. We're glad to finally have paperwork to coincide with our reality. We're anxiously anticipating the new birth certificate that will be issued by the State with OUR names as mother and father. But overall -- it just was a day. A really good day. A reminder of our miracle and blessings day. I guess that IS pretty special.
One of my good long-time friends (who is also be a priest) was with us at the courthouse and shared with us that very day was the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. What a perfect day to celebrate this momentous occasion. We've had embraced many crosses over the last five years of our marriage - including our adoption journey. What a beautiful reminder from our Savior that even though it doesn't feel like it in the midst of it all - there is always triumph in the Cross.

We were so pleased to have beautiful weather, family and some special friends, a super short waiting period before we were called....and a positive court experience. Here are more pictures of our Adoption Day:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The best part of waking up...

I mean, really.....could there be anything better to wake up to in the morning?I think not.
Okay, so maybe a great big dimple flashed your way is a little bit better.
(Oh - and would you believe that THIS was her worst hair day ever! A little cowlick in the back. That's as bad as it's gotten. Turkey.)
I remember all those days when I wondered if/when a little being would occupy that crib. That little face makes that long wait SO worth it.

And on a sidenote: In the above photos, you'll notice she's sporting a sleepsack over her pajamas.
For the last 2 months, we've been putting Gianna in a Sleepsack (wearable blanket) before she goes to bed. A friend of mine with a 15 month old swore by hers and gave one to us for G's birthday. (Thank you Laurie!!!) I thought Gianna was too old for one and really thought they were for winter or cold climates. Wrong. I figured I'd get a bit of a fight trying to start a new practice this late in the game. Wrong again.
I've avoided putting a blanket in her crib at night b/c she was at a higher risk of SIDS than many babies. A couple of month ago, I figured she was old enough to not worry so much about a blanket. I covered her (with a blanket probably a little too big) and 30 minutes into her sleep she let out a blood curdling scream. I could tell it was a panic scream so I ran in to find her with her feet through the crib bars and the blanket wrapped tightly around her upper body - head included. Freaked me out. Freaked her out too.
Anyway, I was thrilled to try the sleepsack since we keep it pretty cool in the house at night. Two major changes - she's been sleeping longer by about 45 minutes a night, and she hasn't had a diaper leak which we just started dealing with. I've gotta say, I'm a big fan.
The brand we have is HALO. I'm ordereing another one so I can alternate them when they need to be washed.
They make them from preemie to XL (30 plus pounds)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

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