Monday, September 27, 2010

Helmet Head

In anticipation of cooler whether, we're preparing to spend much more time outside (with plenty of bug repellent, of course.)

We've had the tricycle, but haven't spent enough time to really get the hang of it.
We got her a hemet.  This was her first attempt at wearing it....
That's what you call rockin' a look.
Iain took her out in the driveway to ride that day (she had just gotten bit by that nasty mosquito!)
Gianna was putting along with her tricycle and our neighbor's (ages 5 and 2) come whizzing by on a big ol' four wheeler.....without helmets.  They honked as they passed.  Cool bad*ss kids honking at our cautious little helmet head.
Iain laughed at the irony.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

God is so Good

I love that she loves to sing.
I love that she loves to sing songs about God and Jesus.
I love that every time she does something worthy of recording she looks like a raggamuffin. :)
Murphy's law, I guess.
This video clip is of her singing her latest top hit, God is so Good.
  I did not teach it to her.
  She heard it on a little Catholic program my dad told us to watch.

Her best (and loudest) singing is typically done when she's playing alone, in her crib before she falls asleep, or being pushed in the cart at Wal-mart.
This one is "Oh how I love Jesus" as she's waiting to eat.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lewis Land Rain Dance

We haven't had much rain lately.
Lots of people have been hoping for rain.
Apparently the secret is to go have a picnic for supper.
We sat down at the picnic table for about three minutes...
and then it poured.
Interestingly, it poured with the sun shining.
...for a good 15 minutes.
So the picnic was moved to the van.
 The novelty didn't quite impress Gianna who really wanted to be outside.
This is what the sky looked like except for one little tiny spot
 --- right above us.
On our way out of the park, we caught sight of some ducks...
and some geese...
and a deer...
with a friend...
or two.
They come right up to the car.
We were excited to get home to our watered lawn.
It didn't rain at home.
That figures.
Oh well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Isn't it supposed to be autumn?

Well then how come it's still 90 degrees at 9:30 in the morning when we go to the park?
We had an impromptu park day last week.
My poor little over-heated toddler.
I always consider Gianna's hair blond, until I see Benjamin!

Ambushed by surprise visitors...

Looks like someone else might be ambushed...
...swinging in the cool swings that we would all totally own - if they didn't cost $700!!!!
Ben sharing snacks
How cute is THIS little chick pea?
Kate's Army Man trying out his parachute...

I think she's looking for autumn....
...I hope she finds it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Did you ever have to write Haiku in school?
I remember doing it in 2nd grade and then again in high school.
This post inspired me.
Autumn Haiku
By Maria
Craving crisp, cool air.
Crunching leaves ~ blowing breezes
Where art thou, Autumn?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Should we stay or should we go?

Going to the doctor.

I never quite know when to take Gianna in to see the doctor.  I know when it's OBVIOUS, but really she hasn't been 'obviously sick' very often.  I don't want to waist my time and their time if it's nothing. I think of all the sick kids in the waiting room and wonder if it's worth exposing her.  (Am I the only one who thinks about these things?)  I don't want to be an alarmist, but I also don't want to overlook something that could be serious.

To clarify yesterday's 'blech' post, she only got sick once after her morning milk. I might have made it sound like she had a horrible stomach virus.  She doesn't.

So I ended up bringing her to the doctor this morning. Symptoms: low grade temp for a little while yesterday, one ick sick episode, not eating much for about four days. "Ooooh, really?" the doctor says, "Could be strep."  Doggone it. That never crossed my mind.  Didn't know those were possible symptoms.  Sure enough ---- red throat.  Tested for strep ---- negative.  Did blood work and doctor said numbers were pretty good, but there was definitely something going on - slight as it might be.  The test showed a little bit of viral and a little bit of bacterial going on....but not enough to treat. Her body's definitely trying to fight off something.

She wrote a script for the end of the week if she worsens or gets fever.  I love our doctor.  I love that she's conservative and proactive.  I love that she doesn't make me feel like a moron. 

Oh -- and I told her about the mosquito bites incident and she said Gianna's not allergic - just highly sensitive.  An allergy would produce a much more severe reaction no matter where the bite was.  Good to know.

So this post isn't really necessary except I wanted to have it for as a note to self future reference when I'm trying to decide whether or not to bring her in to the doctor. 

Here ya go, Maria:  BRING HER IN!

So, here's a little prize for you for reading this boring post.  I laughed so hard at the subtitles that I am now wheezing.

Monday, September 20, 2010


So, Gianna has been a little more 'subdued' that normal these last few days.  Clingy, quiet, loss of appetite. sleep interruptions, a THREE hour nap due to said sleep interruption. 
Yesterday she said, "I sick."
This morning she proved it - all over the kitchen floor.
It freaked her out a little bit - because she's really never gotten sick like that before.
(God must really love me if He's guarded me from the 'ick sick' for over two years!)
I must admit, I don't do 'ick sick' well.
I have never handled it well, whether I was the victim, or someone else was.
My mom said she was the same way.
When she was teaching, SHE used to go and get the janitor when someone got sick - leaving the poor kids by themselves.
I'd have done the same thing.
The janitor asked her, "Ms. Zullo, what are you going to do when you have kids?"
She told him she'd worry about that when the time came.
And then she told me, "And when I got married and had kids, I could all-of-a-sudden handle it."
Poof. Just like that.
She told me it would be like that for me.
"When it's your kids, it won't bother you."
I believed her.

Hey Mom, guess what?



I should've known I wouldn't have been exempt from this curse.
You could just ask my husband.
I've hidden in the house before when my husband was sick.
I mean hidden, crouched down, with my ears covered.
Pathetic excuse for a wife, I know.
And then when his pale, pitiful self hobbled to come find me and tell me the coast was clear....
I'd yell at him for being sick too loudly.
Yeah. I should've known then.

I didn't yell this morning.
I was a good mommy.
A good gagging mommy, who washed the cleanup towels three times.
Frankly, I'm surpised I didn't throw them out.
I fear my frugality will be compromised in the future as I'm tempted to throw soiled bedsheets, towels and clothing out - so as not to 'deal' with them.  We'll see how it all plays out.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
On the cuter side of ick, Gianna woke up from her 2nd three hour nap in two days by saying,
"Gianna choke on floor. Mommy get towels."
Choke is her best description. 
Sounds better than the alternative terms I've managed to avoid throughout this post.

You should see my living room.
I've got blankets covering every surface and a great big pink Snuggie laid out on the floor...just in case. (Couldn't think of a better use for that Snuggie!)
And every time I give her something to eat I say,
"Hey, let's go play outside!"
She thinks I'm the coolest mom.
But this is serious business.
I'm on the defensive now....wuss that I am.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

She fell asleep in her high chair at noon as she was nibbling on the cracker.
So pitiful....and sweet.

(We're going to the doctor in the morning - just to check her out.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Potty Time

Several months ago, I was talking to a mom who had potty-trained her daughter at 16 months old.  Holy cannoli!!! SIXTEEN MONTHS.  She told me she did the 3 day method.  I guess it's like a Potty Boot Camp.  Gianna was probably 20 months then, so I got excited of the possibility and thought Gianna would be a perfect candidate to train before she was two.  And I thought of the money I'd be saving by not buying diapers. I was pumped.
And then I got home. And reality (and a tad bit of selfishness) set in.  Potty training is a big commitment of time, energy, patience and perseverance.  Plus, I'd have to kiss goodbye care-free errands, car-trips, shopping, and be on the constant look-out for clean, or at least decent, restrooms at a moments notice. Frankly, for me, the expense of the diapers is totally worth the convenience.  Changing diapers doesn't bother me....maybe because I only have one child.

Well, one day we were enjoying a sweet little play date with Gianna's friend Annie, and her mom asked me if  Gianna was potty-trained.  With a lowered head and apologetic tone, I shook my head no. "Not yet.  I know I should, but...."
And then, my wonderful friend looked at me and said, "Girl, I didn't potty train Annie til she was 3 1/2 and that's ONLY because she was starting school.  I just loved the convenience of diapers and wasn't ready to give it up."

I breathed a sigh of relief - completely relating to her philosophy.  Well, that was it for me.  I decided I wasn't going to push the issue at all.  I decided Gianna would train when she was good and ready.

And wouldn't you know? The flippin' next week she started asking if she could sit on the potty. So much for postponing for mom's convenience.  So a couple of times every day, she sat on the potty with her books.  TONS of books.  And she'd stay on the potty for a long time....with absolutely no action.
She's occasionally interrupt her sitting time, to scurry to her room to find even more books...
We even read books about numbers....
...focusing primarily on Number 1 and Number 2 (ha!).
Sitting. Reading. Singing. Talking. Sitting.
Still no action.

After about the fifth day, I said a little prayer,
"Lord, if we're going to spend this much time on the potty, could you please intervene and bless us with a tiny bit of success in order to motivate her."
Maybe it was the Lord's prompting that inspired me to 'fill her up' with lots of "special water" (spike with some juice) and vanilla-flavored milk.  I also had a little bit of Show and Tell including the presentation of cool panties that she will wear and the big Potty Prize of the special pony (a unicorn stick horse that I found for a buck at Dollar Tree.)  And then, of course, their was the promise of candy.
Well, not 15 minutes later....
Divine Intervention or just the perfect combination of motivation and luck.....
we hit the jackpot!
There was dancing, singing, jubilant yells, ponies, candy!
Good times!

That was a week ago....and we've yet to fill the potty again.
But we still have the memory....and the motivation.  Who could ask for more.  At least Mommy's a more willing participant in the process now.

* * * * * * * * * * *
I'm not quite sure how I got suckered into the next adventure, but the day following the potty party Gianna convinced me to haul her potty outside so she could be further motivated. What was I thinking?  Didd I really want to start that tradition?  Maybe because it was the day she was recovering from her little "eye incident" and I was bending over backward to appease her.
It didn't do a thing for the potty training effort....which is probably a good thing.
I'm happy to report that she's yet to request another outdoor "visit."

So it is that we are embarking on another adventure.  (But I'm not saying good-bye to diapers any time soon.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

2-2-2-2 (added videos)

Today Gianna is two years, two months, two weeks and two days old.
(Gotta love those little birthday tickers!) 

I remember reading one particular blogger's thoughts about her growing children.  She keeps closing her eyes and remembering exactly how each of her children were at two years old.  That was her magical age in her heart's memory.  I think of that often - especially during those LONG days of parenting a two year old - that this is the good stuff.  Many of these moments is what I'll sit in my rocker and remember when I'm old and gray older and grayer.

So here's my effort to record some of what Gianna is doing at TWO. This post is really for me, but read along if you'd like.  I'm just going to jot things as the come to me.....
"Good Mawning, Mommy!" is the first thing I hear when I enter her room each day.  "How you?"
Not such a shabby way to begin a day!
She still sleeps in her crib....and frankly, I'm in no rush to move her into a toddler or regular bed.  She seems to love being in there.  She's not yet tried to climb out (that I'm aware of.)  I'm sure somewhere between 2 1/2 and 3 -- we'll be transitioning to a bigger bed. We still put her down at 7pm, but there is usually a 30-60 minute variety show that happens in the confines of her crib.  And it doesn't matter what time we put her down, there's still a show.  There are nights when we have special things going on when bedtime ends up being 8:30 or 9ish.  Still a show.   Some nights are hysterically funny.  She often recounts conversations and events of the day, but mostly it's song and dance (and a little jumping thrown in for good measure.)

No matter what time she actually goes to sleep she almost always wakes up within minutes of 7am. Every now and then she sleeps later....and that's usually on weekends when Iain's home to get up with her. Go figure.  We think it's because there's far less traffic that she hears on weekends.

Naps have gotten shorter --- and I'm not thrilled about that little change.  For a while is was down to 45 minutes which was wearing me out, but now we're between 60 and 90 minutes with an occasional two hour jackpot.  She typically wakes up singing, so I usually let her have karaoke time in her crib for a good 20 minutes after she wakes. I usually know just when to get her once I hear, "Oh, MOOOOOMMMMMMY, WHERE AAAAAAAAAAAAAARE YOOOOOOUUUUU?"

She sings ALL the time.  Loves music. Loves instruments. Loves dancing. But there's rarely an hour that goes by that she's not singing.  She is one of those people that hears a song once or twice - and knows it - or most of it.  She, like her mommy, makes up the words that she doesn't remember.  And she just recently started making up songs on her own. So funny.  When we're at church and the choir stops singing, she shouts out requests, "Trading my Sorrows!"  "We are Dinosaurs!"  "I'm gonna Catch you!"  The people in the pews nearby get frequent chuckles from watching our  munchkin.

I wish I could say I look forward to church each week....but apparently this is just one of those seasons in parenting where is just a lot of work.  Honestly, anyone who goes to church with us would say that Gianna is an angel during Mass.  And she really is good for the most's just that it takes effort every minute of the hour (plus) we're there in order to keep her quiet and pleasant.  We managed to give up the 'cry room' about a year ago.  We still get up occasionally with her, but is to stand up in the back of the church with her.  On a couple of occasions, we've had to remove her from the church completely.  One time, Iain took her to the car and they waited for me.  That was a bad day....but she remembers it and it hasn't happened again since. (Knock on wood.)
She says grace by herself and has gotten into the habit of dragging it out very slowly....and it interrupting herself by saying, "Hi Mommy!"  "See Gianna's painting."  "Where'd Max go?"  Little turkey! 
As a baby, she had the best appetite and ate anything.  These days, she loves a food one day and is not at all interested the next. I'm just rolling with the punches.  I promised myself I wouldn't get into battles over food...and for the most part, I haven't.  I just get creative with food choices and meal times.  Some days her appetite is small and other days she's ravenous. Overall she has a really healthy diet.  She loves fruit and most vegetables...although every now and then she has 'texture issues.'
I'm kinda surprised we've made it this far avoiding fast food and drinking only water and milk (with the exception of occasionally spiking her water with a little bit of juice.)   It hasn't been easy, but I'm really glad we've made the effort.
What's is really interesting and surprising is that Gianna is not proficient at feeding herself.  It boggles me.  She still asks, "Mommy do it?"  I guess part of the reason might be that she recently decided she doesn't like being messy or dirty.  I'm not making a big deal about it.  She's gotten better over the last few weeks, and I'm fairly certainly that she'll have self-feeding master by the time she starts school. :)

Not potty trained yet....but they're have been big developments in that department.  Post coming soon!  She's in a size 5 diaper still and my goal is to end diaper-wearing with that size...without duct tape!  We'll see.  That's another area that I'm not pushing in. 

Gianna weight almost 30 pounds and is almost 34 inches tall.  People think she's so big, but she's really more on the average size.  Her clothes are 2T, but can also wear some 24months and some 3T's.  Her waist is tiny and even her 24m jeans are too big.  She's come a long way from Princess Puff-a-lump!
Since hitting two - she's definitely amped up the DRAMA.  Forced crying is her latest skill - and if I manage to ignore it (it drives me nuts) she'll stop mid-cry and say in the most matter-of-fact tone, "Mommy! I crying!"   AND, she works on her crying and her drama faces in the mirror! Heaven help us! Gotta love those girls.

Memory. Holy cow, this child's memory is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!  (I actually have a really good memory too.  I have very vivid memories at her age and before.)  She remembers who gave her things, she great with names, and never forgets a place.  She can even remember conversations that she had six months ago.  If floors us.

Within a couple of weeks of turning two, her verbal skills hit warp speed.  She's been really good at communicating from the early sign language days, but all of a sudden words, turned into sentences with turned into full on conversations. As wonderful as her ability to speak is, there are moments that we pray for silence.  Can't seem to find the "off" switch on this child.  I remember my mother telling me that she used to hide in her closet, because I wouldn't stop talking.  I guess this is what you call payback. 
Oh, and we deep in the throws of repeat a word, phrase or request ENDLESSLY!  The other day we were all in the car and she repeated a phrase 37 times.  THIRTY SEVEN times! I repeated, "Deliver me, O Lord." about 37 times after that.

As many times as I'm challenged, frustrated, and feeling completely overwhelmed in my parenting efforts - I am so grateful for this remarkable child who is really one of the most delightful, loving and precious kids I've ever known.  Really.  It's no secret I love this child "big, big like the moon" ---- but I have to say, I like her, too.  I really, really, really like her.
Happy 2-2-2-2 day, Gianna!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Five Minutes

Not even five minutes from my front door a terrible tragedy occurred this morning.  It happened at the little Catholic School of the Church I attend.  A young seventh grade boy took his life in front of his teacher and classmates. I know few details and I'm pretty sure I didn't know the boy.....but it has affected me profoundly and I cannot seem to get it out of my mind.

I can't stop thinking of his parents who dropped him off at school this morning for just another Thursday.  I look at my daughter and think how those parents loved their son at two years old with nothing but hope and promise ahead of them.

I think of that teacher. Oh my goodness.  How horrible to try to save your student - and to have to deal with your own terror and the terrorized faces of your other students.

And those poor students...who will have that haunting image in their minds and dreams for days, weeks, months and years to come.

I can't imagine having to explain what happened to the younger students in the school.  Some of those kids are only four. Heartbreaking.

I'm sure this isn't the only tragedy that took place today.  But this is the one for which I am called to pray. I hope you feel called to say a special prayer for them tonight.

It was only five minutes away.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Lord, blanket this grieving family, school and faith community with your love, mercy and peace and grace as they mourn the loss of this precious young man and try to make sense of this sad, sad occurrence.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Need to laugh?

If the area below is just blank, just click somewhere in the white...

You're welcome!

Okay ~ so I just found the most awesome interview with the couple in the above video. Here it is below... (click in the white area if it's not showing up.)

Wasn't that great. 

And here's your bonus....

Family Trip....

Not our family.
The Dollhouse Family
It seems Gianna thought they should get out and go on a little field trip.
The Aquarium is where they ended up "to see the fishies."
Apparently they brought along some of their belongings.
Well, all of their belongings.
Maybe they have plans to re-decorate.
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