Friday, January 29, 2010

It doesn't happen often...

...but every once in a while, her battery runs low enough for her to fall asleep in her chair.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And THIS little piggy....... some little pig tails yesterday which just pushed her right over the edge into toddlerhood.

And Mommy & Daddy laughed, "Tee Hee Hee!" all the way home.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


We're always going through phases.

With Gianna, I've discovered that at any given time, she's either going through a phase that is sleep-related, food-related, behavior-related or people-related. Sometimes they overlap...and we really can't count on anything being whatever "normal" is for that week.

Gianna's never been an ill-tempered child, or overly defiant, but since she turned about 13 months old she seemed to have formulated her own little daily agenda and my days started feeling long. REALLY long. 

Lately, most of what was coming out of her mouth was, "No, No, No." followed by "Daw-ree." (Sorry.)  She was testing boundaries as well as my sanity.  It seemed like every minute of the day was full of correction and redirection.  It was wearing on me.  Even our pediatrician commented on how "independent" she is.  She also told me that she has two girls just like that and said, "Good luck!"
I'm not sure how exactly it happened, but not long after Gianna turned 18 months, things just seemed like they got easier with her.  Every single day, Gianna has brought joy to my life...but lately it's been like that most of the day every day (with minor exceptions.)  It was almost as if someone flipped a switch. I can even tell you the day......two weeks ago, Monday.  At first I thought it was a fluke - or just a lovely respite sent by my merciful God who was having pity on me.  But it's turned into a phase - the loveliest phase - for which I am so appreciative.

And as an added bonus to this phase has come a massive vocabulary explosion. I just discovered last week that she can count to ten (but won't do it on command.)  She actually did it when I was trying to put her back down after a middle of the night wake-up call. (She can be so much fun during those times.)
Anyway, this lovely phase may only last another ten minutes, but you can bet I'm riding this wave all the way to the shore.

*** I don't know why I ever post these things.  It seems like the second I do, she tries to make a liar out of  me.  She just ate part of a crayon....right in front of me and I didn't even notice until she opened her green little mouth.
And I'm not taking pictures for your viewing pleasure ~ because that might be a sign that this phase is ending. And it can't end. Not yet. Here's my new phase: denial.
And I'm embracing my denial, doggonit!
(I told you I was going to ride this wave til the end!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday in the Park...

Okay, so it was Friday, but I happen to really enjoy that song by Chicago. Iain was off from work and we wanted to spend some family time together.  She gets so excited about every little thing that it's just so much fun to do things with her.
I love this one of Gianna holding her Daddy's hand.

I've been playing around on Picnik with some pretty fun photo-editing tools. I have and use Photoshop Elements, but it's not nearly as user-friendly for novices.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Choosing Life

Iain, Gianna and I particpated in our local March for Life on Friday January 22nd (the anniversary of Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion in the US).   We gathered on the courthouse steps with hundreds of others, listening to live Christian music, prayers, addresses that all illuminated the fact that it's up to us to make a difference.  When it was dark, we were all handed candles and processed to the cathedral for a beautiful prayer service with more speakers.  It was an inspiring and hope-filled evening.

I recently became elected to the Board of Directors of New Life Counseling, a non-profit crisis pregnacy agency that is all about saving babies from abortion.  They've saved hundreds of lives over the last few years.  I pray that the little bit of time and energy I am able to offer can make the slightest difference.  Gianna's godmother is making a huge difference this week.  She is in Washington D.C. for the National March for Life.  She had the opportunity to speak before congress on behalf of unborn babies and pro-life pregnancy centers.  What an awesome opportunity.  What an awesome witness for her godchild.

I remember being a little girl and learning what abortion was.  I remember being confused and horrified at the same time. I remember going to bed that night and praying to God and pleading, "If you just help these women to choose life and have these babies, then I would adopt them all."
Well, I didn't adopt them all - but there is one little baby that made her way to us - not only as an answer to a grown woman's prayer, but as an answer to a little girl's prayer as well.  I honor God for his faithfulness to that innocent prayer years ago.  I honor Gianna's birthmother for choosing life for her unborn baby. I honor them both for choosing me to be the mother of this precious child.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Invisible Woman

Overscheduled days.
Mundane tasks.
Unappreciated acts.
Invisible women.
Our busy lives are full of these. 
I hope you can take a quick five minutes out of your busy life to listen
to some inspiring words from someone who's experienced the insibility as well as enlightenment.

I've read this before, but seeing it is even more powerful.

She has a book too.
Here's the written excerpt shared in the video.

Perspective on Motherhood: The Invisible Woman. By Nicole Johnson

It started to happen gradually …

One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, "Who is that with you, young fella?"
"Nobody," he shrugged.
Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, "Oh my goodness, nobody?"
I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family - like "Turn the TV down, please" - and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, "Would someone turn the TV down?" Nothing.
Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for about three hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, "I'm ready to go when you are." He just kept right on talking.
That's when I started to put all the pieces together. I don't think he can see me. I don't think anyone can see me.
I'm invisible.
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I'm invisible.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.
She's going … she's going … she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
•No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
•These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
•They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
•The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."
And the workman replied, "Because God sees."
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Years with Old Friends

Just came across some pictures from New Years Day spend with our favorite friends, the Richards.  Maria and I met in 6th grade when my family moved from Louisiana from New York. My earliest memory of her was in P.E. class when she confronted me and communicated her irritation that she was the only Maria in our grade - until I moved here and messed it all up. Now that's a good Southern welcome, huh?  Apparently she got over her little "issue" and we discovered we had a lot in common.  We were both very Italian, very active in our faith community, were later involved in retreat ministry, were considered "good girls" and were known to most as "The Maria's." 

Maria and her husband, Mickey, started dating in high school, so we have decades of memories we share.  Iain, of course, came into the mix seven years ago, but was so welcomed and celebrated by them, that it just feels like family.

The Richard kids (there are 3 boys and a firecracker of a girl) have been head-over-heal-nuts for Gianna since we first brought her home.  The two youngest kids, William and Sarah, have an intense fondness for her.  For three hours that afternoon...I didn't have to chase Gianna. Those two were amazing with her.  I was so grateful for the gift of being able to eat and visit without constantly getting up.  (Not that I mind taking care of my child, but the break is refreshing.)

I didn't pull out my camera til we were getting ready to leave, but I managed to get a few shots...

Sarah got tickled by Gianna's "bear" bottom.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As we were pulling out of their driveway and heading down their little country road, we saw all sorts of amazing wildlife in the ravine alongside the road.

We love you, Richards.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Face

Gianna tries out new faces on a regular basis.  Every now and then, one of them intrigues her and she makes it constantly for a period of time.  Last week, she began sporting this new look:

For the first couple of days, my husband and I started following her around coaxing her to, "Spit it out!" knowing she has a habit of hoarding acorns, bottle tops and other various and assundry objects in that cute little cheeky mouth of hers. Nope.  It's just the new face.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Chip off the ol’ Tooth

During the week in between Christmas and New Years, my maniac munchkin ran, fell and broke her tooth.

And, of course, the pediatric dentist’s office was closed that week, but after chatting with the Doctor, we decided it wasn’t an emergency and she could be seen the next Monday.

We called Monday morning and they squeezed us in a couple of hours later. I’ve know this dentist and his family for years, but I have to say, he (and his staff) was absolutely wonderful.

“I’m going to have to check her teeth. You’ll have to help restrain her. She’s not going to like this and she will cry.” he said.

She sort of panics when she lays flat on her back, so I was not really optimistic about the potential reaction.
I was mistaken.

She laid back (a little nervously) and opened her mouth (saying “ah”) and let him count her teeth, check them, wiggle them – he even used that little hook tool. No tears. What an amazing little trooper.

He then decided to file it down just a bit where it had a sharp edge at the point. Ugh.

He warned me that I’d need to restrain her arms AND legs. Crud. They blew air on it and used the nasty little file drill thingy. Of course, my head it right over hers so I could see everything even though I didn’t want to. There were tears that time, but not near as bad as I imagined. I think she was just freaked out but the sound and feeling. (Can’t blame her.) It took maybe 7 seconds. As soon as I picked her up, she pointed to the light, “Yight!” Tears dried up. We did have to fetch her shoes which she managed to slide off during the ordeal. We have a follow up exam next month.

The doctor said that he could repair the tooth, but she would be MISERABLE and it would be traumatic for her. He shrugged and said, “She is a pretty little girl….we could do it if you want to.” I just couldn’t imagine putting her through that. (Thanks for sharing your experience, Liz!) If she were older and it was a permanent tooth – that would be different. I asked the doctor my standard question, “If this was your child/grandchild would you do it?” His response, “Absolutely not.” Decision made. She’ll just have a smile with “character.”

I don’t even notice it much anymore. Every now and then I’m aware of it, but she’s so darn cute, it doesn’t even matter. Thank heavens it wasn’t worse.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lewis Land: The Book

Remember that blog book I talked about a couple of weeks ago?
Well, I ordered it about ten days ago, and it arrived yesterday.

The thought to print my blog came soon after the discovery of missing blog posts on more than one occasion. Plus, I just liked the idea of having a hard copy in hand. 

All the companies that I checked out seemed to have fairly positive reviews. I was leaning toward a company Blog2Print since it seemed to entail the least amount of work. I didn't want to have to go through and edit and add or delete posts. I just don't have time for another time-consuming project.

As I read reviews, I found that the biggest complaint about this company seemed to be that you didn't seems to have much creative control. That's usually a big deal for me, but all I wanted was to print out what I posted in book form.  I really didn't mind if the photos were small or there was a heading on one page and the post on the next. (I know, I was surprised by my lack of concern too.).

Basically, I didn't have to do anything but plug in my blog address.  They "slurped" the posts right from my blog.  You actually give them the range of dates you want printed.  For instance I specified I wanted to begin October '08 (when I began the blog) through December '09.  Next year I'll just do 2010.
You get to pick the cover (hard or soft) design out of some pretty decent options.  I chose one with 2009 on the cover even though there were a few months of 2008 included.

The book itself looks like a really nice high school yearbook. I have to say that I'm really impressed.  For some reason I thought it would be smaller, but it measures about 9 x 11. Seeing the book in it's finished form is inspiring me to tweak my blogging habbits a little bit in the future.  For instance, when I post a video or slideshow (which obviously don't translate into book form) I'll try to post at least one individual photo and a little bit of text relating to the topic. That way won't just have a title listed.  (You can acutally delete and add any posts you want, but as I said, I didn't want to mess with all that.)

The book included 188 posts and took up about 240 pages.  It cost right around $100. (It was my Christmas present from dog.)  It sounds like a lot of money, but the way I see it, it's a piece of our family history and the time I took in building this blog is AT LEAST worth $100 bucks. And if you're anything like me, you don't go back and read your old blog posts.  This is such a fun way to look back.

I let Gianna hold the book just so I could take a few pictures of her with it - and to my surprise...

She was mesmerized!  She pointed and named people and objects.

I thought that she'd really enjoy it a few years from now, but who knew she'd be so taken at this young age?

Two enthusiastic thumbs up from this Mommy Frogger Blogger.

* This morning Gianna somehow reached the book off the counter and brought it to me.  We spent 20 minutes looking through pictures and naming people and things. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Porta Potty

Gianna got a potty for Christmas.  I figured it was time to introduce the concept.  I haven't done much in terms of training at this point, but I have put the potty in the bathroom.  She names it, sits on it, puts toys in  it, and yes, carries it around.

We also got the Elmo Potty Time video for Christmas.  I had used it before when potty-training Hunter
SO cute.

At the close of every Sesame Street show, they always say, "Sesame Street was brought to today by the Letter ___ and the Number ___"
At the end of this video, it's the Letter P and the Number 2. 
(Tell me that's not funny!)

She actually sits through most of the video without losing interest.
I think she's beginning to get the jist of it:

Do you think she might be taking the concept a little too literally?
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