Monday, May 31, 2010

Sick and Tired

We're all sick....technically.
Last Tuesday. Kansas City. Urgent Care Clinic. 
We discover after two mornings of 102* fever, Gianna has an ear infection ~ preceeded by a week of nasal congetion.  An antibiotic script gets her on the way to recovery.

That night as we were packing our way too many belongings to leave for Branson, I looked at Iain and said, "I sure wish we were going home tomorrow."  I'd been sleeping on the floor (not such a big deal) and my allergies were acting up. Gianna had been an amazing little traveler, but she was more clingy and overscheduled than usual. I was spent.  My precious husband looked at me and said...."Let's go home - I'm done."

So, as my inlaws caught their flight to Florida, we got on the road.  About an hour into our trip, sneezing consisting, I realized I wasn't dealing with allergies.  I was getting sick.  Iain wasn 't feeling well either.   We drove into bad weather. Terrible rain, then hail. Fantastic.

We both hoped to drive all the way through so we could wake up in our own beds - but there was no way.  I was miserable.  Gianna was stir crazy. Iain was exhausted.  We stopped in Arkadelphia.  I tried to explain to Gianna what a hotel was. Last time she stayed in one she was 8 months old.

We got to our room and she was so cute. She ran and ran and explored and almost ordered room service. Iain and I were so miserable than we didn't even eat supper. They didn't have a room with a king sized bed, so we got two doubles.  Guess who got to sleep with the munchkin? (How did my husband manage an entire week of having a bed to himself?) She has NEVER slept in bed with me/us.  Not because we didn't want it - she just always did much better on her own.  So she played and tossed and turned until she fell asleep - horizontally. Great.  I guess it was safer. (We are definitely having Pack-n-Play boot camp in the near future to re-acclimate her to that wonderful invention. Big mistake on my part.)

We were beyond happy to be home.  Gianna played and played and played when we arrived - so glad to be in her familiar surrounding. She still looks at me and says, "Home." 

So we've been home since Thursday and sick as dogs. I'm not sure if we look, sound or feel worse. We're pathetic.  And it's a cold....nothing serious.  In our eight years together, we have never been sick at the same time. Pretty amazing odds.....pretty unfortunate reality right now.  Part of the problem is that Gianna feels great and is running circles around us.

Thank heavens Iain's still off of work.

I certainly don't mean to sound so whiny.  Just posting as a reminder to ourselves next time we get so ambitious in travel planning. :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Abra Cadabra

If you're the one who's always taking pictures of your family, you may likely be absent from a lot of photos.  That's the case for me, anyway.  Sometimes I wish I'd have more pictures of me with my family, but then when someone else grabs the camera - I rarely feel "camera ready."
I'm not very photogenic, but I've realized that my daughter doesn't care about that. 
One day she's look back at her gazillion photobooks and will wonder why Mommy's not in many of the pictures.  That makes me sad to think about, so I've decided to get over myself and become friendly with Photo Editing tools. Like the Touch-Up pre-sets in Picnik.  (I think you have to be a premium member for those tools - but they are lifesavers...and it only costs $2 per month.)
Here's an example:
The picture on the left was taken at the end of the day, when I had no make up left on my face and was looking pretty darn ragged.
The picture on the right I gave myself a mini-makeover:
added mascara, airbrushed my face, touched up my highlights, got a spray tan, added lip color and smoothed out some wrinkles.  Just a few clicks and voila....a picture that was a little easier to stomach than the original.

I did the same for my mom.  My dad took a picture of her without any notice.
I played around a bit and got this....
(These are my first attempts and they're a little sloppy.  I'm getting better with practice.)

And I will say that I don't (and won't) "fix" all my pictures like that.  I think it's important to look real in our photos.  Just every now and then, a little enhancement can make an unusable photo - usable.

* I almost never re-touch Gianna. There were a couple of times when she had a scratch on her face that I airburshed it on a few photos.  Early on a amped up the blue in her eyes - which was a beautiful blue - but it wasn't Gianna Blue. I don't want her to ever think that her mom doesn't think she's not good enough just the way she is.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Trying Travels

Let's see, so far Iain's said, "We're not traveling with her again til she's six." at least a half dozen times.

But, let's not start there.  Let's begin with the positive points..

  • We drove through the night and arrived in Kansas "Titties" 15 hours after we left home.  She didn't sleep near as much as we though/hoped she would, but she really traveled beautifully. It was a fairly easy trip.
  • Gianna warmed up to her grandparents instantly to all of our delight/relief.  Instead of Abuelito and Abuelito (the Spanish version of Grandpa and Grandma), she calls them Tito and Tita.  It's adorable and they're eating it up.
  • She met her only cousin, Steven (aka: Steeben) for the first time and is quite smitten with him.
We have experienced a few challenges so far:
  • The inlaws' house is multi-level.  It's been quite a feat trying to keep Gianna away from the stairs.
  • She saw me on the stairs and ran to me breaking  through the safety gate.  Good thing I caught her.
  • She swung her foot through the banister and sent a huge glass clock and picture frame crashing to their demise.
  • She hasn't traveled much s's been a toddler.  Apparently the Pack n' Play is foreign to her now and she refused to sleep in it -screaming incessantly when we tried putting her down in it.
  • The room we're staying in is a little bigger than our closet at home with a full sized bed that barely fits Gianna's not-so-slight parents.
  • New sleeping arrangement?  Palette on the floor WITH her mother sleeping on the floor next to her. Whaddayagonna do?  At least she's sleeping.
  • Super clingy to mom.
  • Three of her four canine teeth are coming in this week.
  • She ran 102* fever for two mornings in a row and hasn't been herself.  Took her to an Urgent Care Center today - and she has an ear infection (thankfully it's only her 2nd one)  Let the antibiotics begin.
To be honest, the trip has been far better than I was expecting. In spite of the few challenged we've encountered, she's been quite a delight, punctuated by periods of typical toddler behavior.

Tomorrow we leave here and head for Branson.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Back it up, Sistah!

A few months back I discovered that you can make a hard copy of your blog and back it up. I backed up mine and posted the how to's HERE.  I haven't backed it up since then until just now.  I figure if I keep forgetting, so must other bloggers.  Here's your reminder.  Go back up your blogs.  I never even thought to back up my adoption blog. I'm going to do that right now.  It takes less than 30 seconds. 
I have a recipe blog too that I haven't done. (I've been keeping all my recipes there.  It's been a fun way to organize them. Maybe one day I'll make it public.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fired Up

This morning we took a little trip to a local fire station. Man, those firemen are wonderful and to put up with a bunch of busy one and two years olds and their moms - they should get a prize.  It was actually fascinating and I really enjoyed hearing about what goes on. 

The kids were pretty engaged for being so young, and I'm sure getting to drive the fire truck didn't hurt either.
Here are some quick pics:

* * * * * * * * * * *
Another reason we're "fired up" is because we're heading out on a trip later today. We're going to Kansas City, KS to be with my husband's parents. They haven't seen Gianna in over a year. And she's never even met her only cousin, Stephen, until tomorrow. I've been trying to prepare her for our "Big Trip" this last week. Here's a glimpse of her understanding...

Yep, going to "Tannas Titties!"  Cracks us up.

I'm wondering (during my final stage of packing) just it is that we thought driving a 13 hour trip was going to be a great idea?  I'm keeping optimistic but am plagued with occasional bouts of doubt and dread.  Well, either way - I oughtta have some good bloggin' material. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bieber Fever?

Every now and then when my husband and I are flipping channels and land on an entertainment news show, we both look at each and one of us will ask, "Who the heck is that?"
The other one usually shrugs with a "No clue." sort of look.  So much for being "with it" parents.

When I was a youth minister I was pretty good at keeping up with all the trends, music, actors, etc.
I felt it was part of my job to really be familiar with pop culture (or so I told myself.)
Pop culture in my world these days is limited to Blues Clues, Jack's Big Music Show, Laurie Berkner and Sesame Street.  Not complainin' ~ just sayin'.

The other day while waiting for Iain to come home, I flipped on Oprah who was featuring Most Talented Kids. Justin Bieber was a guest.
I've heard of him but really didn't know much else other than his name. He's adorable, seems down to earth and fairly wholesome. I loved the fact that he was raised by his single mom who started posting videos on YouTube of  him singing.  Apparently they became viral and he's now a Phenom.
Oprah's audience was filled with pre-teen fanatics who were squealing and crying and making quite the fuss for this 16 year old superstar.  I laughed to myself and rolled my eyes.
I was never one of those girls.  I was hoping my daughter wouldn't be, either.
Then, Bieber sang.
My daughter stopped playing with her toys, stood up and fixed her sweet blue eyes on the adorable singing teenager on the tv screen.  She usually dances and twirls.  Not this time. She was totally sucked in.  She had a toy microphone in her hand, and she occasionally sang along.
"Baby, Baby, Baby...yeah, yeah"
(That accounts for about 70% of the lyrics.)

Geez, she's not even two.
Isn't she a little young for Bieber Fever?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Parks and Playgrounds: Places where Parents need to Parent!

Parks and playgrounds can be a parent's salvation.  Of course, it's fun for the kids - but it also gives mom or dad a break from being the sole entertainer.  Kids don't just learn how to swing, slide and climb there, but they learn how to put into practice all sorts of lessons that we, as parents, have been trying to instill in them: Follow rules. Be friendly.  Be kind to others. Take turns.   Don't take what doesn't belong to you. Keep your hands to yourself. Don't throw things. Mind the adults....and the list goes on.

I am boggled by these parents who take children to the playground as an excuse to take a break from parenting. I am always surprised by children who come up to me to talk or want me to play with them - with their parents not far off texting, talking, phoning or reading.  How did I get nominated as community parent?  I love kids and I know I am good with them, but I try not to interact with kids unless their parents are right there.  And even though I'm a nice person, I am, after all, technically a stranger. Granted, most parents there are involved and responsible, but you can never be too careful when it comes to children. 

"Where is all this coming from?" you ask?  Well, last week Iain met me at the mall after work so we could grab some sushi in the food court (don't laugh - our mall's sushi place is really good!)  Gianna was a good sport during supper so we opted to swing by the play area on our way out.
She had a ball performing on the little stage.  And she's really so cute to watch when she sees other children and she played so nicely. 
There was another little girl there (maybe three) who was friendly and had an excess of energy.  She kept wanting me to talk to her and play with her when I was trying to keep an eye on Gianna.  I'd try to get a couple of pics of Gianna and this little girl kept getting in the way.
She wanted me to take pictures of her and then show her them to her on my phone.
I know that all sounds minor, but that actually wasn't the issue that blew us away.  A little 3 year old boy and his dad entered the play area and the busy little girl leached on to him.  She was actually fairly pesky toward him and at one point swatted at him and hit him.  He started crying and ran to his dad telling him what happened.  The dad was great and said, "Shake it off, and tell her to please leave you alone."

And let me say at this point that the girl's mother and father were both in the play area at opposite ends -- each on their phones.

The boy kept telling the girl to leave him alone and she kept trying to hit him. Finally the boy's dad told the little girl to leave his son alone. That little turkey rared back and HIT THE LITTLE BOY'S FATHER!  Can you believe that? A three year old girl hitting a grown man she didn't know!  And to top it off - the girl's mother saw everything and didn't do squat! Unbelievable. 

Iain and I looked at each other, collected Gianna and got the heck out of dodge.  As we were leaving I noticed a text on my phone.  It was from my clever and subtly sarcastic husband....
I've heard many stories of parents who bring their kids to the play area in the mall and then leave them there unsupervised in order to go shopping. That is so alarming to me.  But the parents we saw were really no better ~ they may have well been shopping.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Not long ago I wrote a post about how Gianna started playing around with my name.  Here's a little sample of her latest means of summoning me.  Usuallly it's a little more pronounced, but she was just waking up and a little groggy..

Funny kid.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Only Reason I Look Forward to Swimsuit Season

Enjoy, sweet girl.
The time is short when meaty thighs look adorable in a swimsuit.

For other Wordless Wednesday entries at 5 minutes for mom, click here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Play Dates

Play Dates are so good for children. It helps socialize them and they learn how to share and problem solve.
Yeah right. Who are we kidding?  Playdates are for Mommies who are desperately looking for an escape in the company of other adults who may be able to relate to this particularly challenging and exciting chapter in their lives.  And it's good for the kids too.  I know my child is thrilled to have another face or two to look at during the day.

One day we had a little sing-a-long with the wonderful Jessie (our awesome babysitter and friend).  She had her guitar and the kids showed interest for a good three and a half minutes.   The adults had fun singing, anyway.
"The driver on the bus says....."
These two were using the guitar case as percussion.
John Paul being adorable and Kate being....
...well, Kate! :)
Benamin (as Gianna calls him)
Sarah and Therese (who belongs to Kate)
Therese is 100% Yummy!!!!
Foregoing the sing-a-long for animal apps on the iPhone.
Gianna ditching Mommy since Mommy seemed a little partial to the boys.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
My dear friend Deborah, from the ol' CYO days in high school, came in from Houston with her 3 year old daughter Katelin.  We met at the new and fantastic Ward 3 park.
It was the first time Gianna got to play in a water fountain. 
She had a ball.
Katelin was sweet enough to share her smaller pink cover-up with Gianna.
I got tickled watching them walk hand in hand.
I don't mean this in poor taste, but it looks to me like Barbie and Skipper are off to a Klan meeting.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
And some of our out of town friends came in and we were able to all gather for quick playdate.
I hate that I forgot my good camera....had to use the phone for these.
Gianna was fascinated by their cat.
The cat, however, was not as fascinated with Gianna.
Gianna is typically one of the only girls in all the different circles of friends we have.
This gathering had John Paul as the minority in a sea of sweet little girls.
These munchkins range from 14 months to 22 months.

Thank heavens for Play Dates - and precious friends to enjoy them with.

I'm lovingly dedicating this post to all those people who are "concerned" that Gianna's not getting socialized since she's not in day care or Mother's Day Out. :)
Don't worry...they won't be scathed by that snarky remark, as I'm fairly certain those folks don't read my blog.
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