Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This is the stuff...

Did I mention our house is finally on the market?
This morning the realtors from the agency we're using were coming to tour our home so they can be better prepared to sell it soon, God willing.  It looks great and I'm proud of all the work we've done to make it show-ready.  (Keeping it in show-ready condition with Hurricane Gianna wreaking havoc - is another story.)

On Wednesdays , we go to story time at the library, so I had to leave early in order to take Max (our dog) to our friends' house because the realtor tour and story time were at the same time.
I was so proud of getting the house in order and getting everyone loaded up in the car on time and wouldn't you know it - the dern battery was dead. All of our neighbors work and my family is 30 minutes away, so I had to call my husband at work - 20 minutes away....on one of his busiest days. (I would have felt more guilty if it weren't my husband who left a light on which drained the battery.)

We missed story time, the rest of my itenerary for the day got blown to bits, and my 2 year old was asking a billion questions as my dog whining to get out of his kennel.  I was so full of frustration, that I burst into tears over the steering wheel of my broken car.  About 15 minutes later a song came on the radio by Francesca Battistelli and I instantly knew God fingerprints were all over it and the timing.  It's called "This is the Stuff" and if you haven't heard it, it's worth a listen.  I dedicate this to all the harried moms out there who are bombarded with frustrations today.  (Beneath the video is a link to  Behind the Making of "This is the Stuff."   

Behind The Song: This Is The Stuff (

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mommy's "Projeck"

A couple of months ago, we moved G to a twin bed.  I ordered a safety railing for just one side (since the bed was against the wall.) I was pleased with my purchased and thought it would be perfect during our the transition into a big girl bed.

During nap-time one day (when she was going through one of her exhausting behavioral stages) she pushed the railing and fell over it.  She wasn't hurt at all, but I removed the rail immediately, not really because I didn't feel it was safe, but more because I really coudn't trust Gianna's actions.  Sometimes she'd wake up in the middle of the night and stand up, like she would in her crib with her arms outstretched and I think the rail offered her a false security.

Anyhow, I needed another fix and I'd already spent $35 on the bed rail, so I wasn't excited about paying more for something I wasn't sure would work.  I saw these bolsters online...
I got to thinking, "Hmmm....that doesn't look like it would be hard to make."
So I thought some more and remembered I had a pink fleece blanket that wasn't being used as well as those micropedic pillows that we were no longer using.
 So, I cut and sewed a tube out of the fleece and began to empty the contents of the pillow.  Holy Cannoli - those microbeads are tricky little buggers.  They weigh almost nothing and have a trememdous amount of static cling.
 After I managed to create an unwelcomed Winter Wonderland in my kitchen, I yelled to Iain for help.  I wish I would've had pics or video of that!  We really got tickled.
I was really pleased with my finished product.  I think that if I'd have stuffed the bolster with polyfill or the like, it would've beeen too maleable and not as effective.  The microbeads made it rather stiff - in a softish sort of way.
 I place the bolster under the mattress pad and it doesn't go anywhere while she's sleeping.  Gianna really likes it and she's never fallen out of bed since!
It was free and simple and the bed is SO much easier to make in the mornings!
It works for me!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Shangri La Gardens - Part II

Just in case you missed the first post, you can find it here.
I'm still so impressed just how much there was to see at Shangrila.  There was lots of little ponds and lakes showcasing the most amazing cypress trees dripping with moss and lots of visible wildlife.

 The nesting egrets took my breath away.  I was not prepared for the amount of birds we would see.  They have a little wooden observatory so you can watch them without interrupting their habitat.

+ + + + + + + + + +
As you would guess, spring is an exceptionally wonderful time to visit Shangri-la Gardens.
The flowers are in bloom and there are splashes of color everywhere.
(Allergies were a little nuts, but not as bad as I expected.)

(Gianna watching the egrets nest in the observatory)

+ + + + + + + + +
We didn't make our way through the entire gardens because, well -- we had a two year old and we were infringing upon her regular naptime.  I look forward to seeing the rest of it.

I did want to mention that you can bring your own food for a picnic lunch.  They have tables set up restaurant style under oak trees.  I had my act together enough to prepare food for Gianna for the day, but not for my mom and me.  There's an awesome cafe they that makes really great food (gourmet sandwhiches, etc.) SO remarkable good.  It's a nice way to treat yourself.
Admission for adults is $6.
Seniors $5
Children 3-18 $4
and under 3 is FREE

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shangri La Gardens - Part I

Gee whiz....who knew we had such a lovely botanical gardens just 30 minutes away? 

 I heard about Shangrila Botanical Gardens about a year ago and have yet to make the quick trip over to Orange, Texas to check it out....until today, that is.

We had a girls day with Gianna, my mom and me - and it couldn't have been a more lovely day.

I anticipated leaving really early (they open at 9am) but didn't make it there until 11:30.  The weather was perfect - warm and breezy, the azaleas were in full bloom, and the egrets were nesting.  What a perfect time to visit.

I thought it would be a great time to get some shots of my munchkin, but someone didn't have the same agenda as me.

Silly girl.

* * * * *
Oh, and they have an adorable hands-on children's section.  REALLY cute.

 Lots of super cute topiaries.
 Precious mural.
 One would imagine this would be an ideal photo opportunity....if they didn't have a two year old.

They even had these clever trees....
and if they had wine already in the bottles, I'd totally invest in a vineyard of them.

They even had Mr. McGregor's garden (you know, from Peter Rabbit.)
 They kids could even water the flowers.
 I'm not going to tell you how many shots I had to take of my water-dumping child before I could get these two.  (It was getting close to nap time.)

I'll have to do this post in segments.  Suffice it to say, it was a wonderful little field trip and well worth your time.  Maybe we can get a little field trip for Munchkins and Mommies one morning.
It makes for an AWESOME afternoon nap for the little ones.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Hey Mommy, let's do a projeck!"

Anyone else finding it increasingly difficult to keep their munchkins entertained and busy without turning on the TV?  Sheesh.  If I don't have something planned - and the phone rings or something or someone else needs my attention - all sorts mayhem could errupt.

Now I will say that within the last month or two, Thanks to my mom, who drops everything to play with her for HOURS when she comes here are we go there...Gianna has learned to pretend with all of her little dolls and figures. Gianna immagination has SKYROCKETED and she can entertain herself for very long stretches of time. 

Lately I've been trying new activities with her and she has come to anticipate the "projecks" we do.  I blogged about one here, and plan to document our little experiments here on our blog.
This is a not-so-new project, but one she is finally mature enough to try without getting herself in trouble.

Hooray for Play Dough.

If any of you guys have any good ideas at this age, I sure wish you'd share 'em with us.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jelly Book - volume 6

I keep a "JELLY BOOK" of some of the entertaining things that Gianna says and does.
Here's the next selection:

* * * * *
Me:  Gianna, do you know how much I love you?
Her typical answer is 'BIG MUCH!"
This time:
Gianna:  "Finally!"

* * * * *
After a rough little patch after some poor toddler behavior, she obviously sensed I was outdone.
Gianna:  Mommy, maybe you can stop being angry.

* * * * *
Gianna:  Mommy, get me some milk!
Me:  Gianna, that is VERY bossy.  Ask nicely. Please don't be bossy.
Gianna:  That's right.  Only Mommy be bossy.

* * * * *

Gianna:  Aaaaah!  A mosquito. A mosquito. Get it Mommy.
Me:  Calm down, Where is it Gianna?
Gianna:  (panicked)  Right there. Right there. Get it Mommy!
Me: Gianna, I don't see it where is it.
Gianna: (exasperated) Right there on Tomahawk Drive. (name of our street)

* * * * *

Snuggling in bed on a Sunday morning, Gianna told Iain,
"Hey Daddy, I like your nipples."

* * * * *

* * * * *
I was cooking in the kitchen and she was sitting in a chair watching me.
G:  "Whatchya doin', Tartamella?"
(my maiden name -- don't ask me how she managed to orchestrate that sentence!)
Me:  What did you say, Gianna? (not believing what I heard)
Gianna:  Watchya doin', Mommy?
Me:  What did you call me the first time?
Gianna:  (laughing) Tartamella

 * * * * *
Iain took Gianna to Lowe's and Gianna told him, "That lady has a baby in her tummy."
Iain panicked because he saw a lady down the isle who was clearly not pregnant - just stout.  Iain was trying to change the subject with her to spare an awkward situation from happening.  Once they came upon the 'non-pregnant' lady - a visibly pregnant lady passed them up.
"See, daddy?"

* * * * *
Gianna to Iain:  Therese broke her leg, daddy.
Iain:  Who?
Gianna:  Therese did.
Iain (rolling his eyes):  Gianna, Therese didn't break her leg.
Gianna:  She really did, daddy.
Iain looked at me as if I would talk some sense into her.
Me:  She really did, daddy.

* * * * *
We were at a birthday party of a story-time friend and Gianna was swinging next to another little two year old.
Gianna:  Mommy, what's her name?
Me (not remembering):  Ask her.
Gianna to the little girl:  Hi Oscar, I'm Gianna.

(I almost peed in my pants laughing at that one.)

* * * * *
Anytime I tell Gianna no for something her repsonse is always,
"Maybe see, mommy."
(As in maybe we'll see.)

Along the same lines, if I tell Gianna, "Not right now."  Her response is
"Maybe Fursday, Mommy." (Thursday)
I hear this at least 10 times a day and think it's just so cute.

* * * * *
Leaving story time at the library, Gianna ran up to Ms. Elizabeth (lead story-teller) and told her,
"Thank you so much for coming."

* * * * *
I was matching socks in Gianna's room while she played with her kitchen.  She walked up to me and said, "Mommy, thank you so much for working so hard."
Dear heavens....that was better than gold.

* * * * *
I love these little gems.  They seem to balance out the frustrating part of the challenging two's.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

the gig is up

 No, not jig - gig -- as in gigabyte.
Did you no that the photos you upload to Blogger are stored on Picasa?  They are (and I'll tell you how I figured that out in a minute) and apparently you only get a gigabyte's worth of free storage and Blogger. (Both Blogger and Picasa are owned by Google -- so is Picnik!) 
Anyway, that's pretty generous in terms of storage, but now my gig is up.  I've used an entire gig's worth of photostorage in two and a half years.  Holy Cannoli!   The good thing is that you can buy more storage for super-cheap. I bought 20 gigs for $5 a year. Not too shabby.
(Here's my first picture on my new 20 gig memory.)
So here's my Picasa story.
One day I decided to store my photos online as well as on my hard drive.  I did some research and it was between Picasa and Flickr for me.  I figured I'd go with Picasa since it was user friendly and there were a lot of photo-editing tools.  When I went to the site I saw a ton of my pictures already there.  I realized they were from my blog. I wanted to store them in a more organized fashion so I started deleted pics. Guess what folks?  If you delete your blog pics from Picasa, you delete them from your blog. Brilliant!  Thankfully, after a few files, it wouldn't let me delete more and then I did some scouring.  Ugh.  I had to go back and upload those deleted pics back onto my blog.
Brilliant, Maria.
It certainly could've been much worse.

Moral of the story:  Don't do what I did.
Leave Picasa alone.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Picasso in the Tub

You know how it is:  you're reading blogs or magazine articles and you come across creative ideas that would have never crossed your mind, otherwise.  Well, I was reading about great ideas to use with toddlers and was thrilled to shake up our routine a little bit.  One idea was to strip the kids down to their diaper/undies, put them in the bath, squirt some finger paint on the ledge, and let them have at it. 

The idea was particularly appealing since we've been trying to ready our home to put on the market and I was in need of some uninterrupted time to clean out my bathroom and closet.  

She didn't stop giggling the entire time she painted.
Once she was done painting (actually it was me who was done) then I filled the tub with water and and let her play in the disgusting colored paint soup.  I then drained the tub and let her take a real bath - to actually get clean.  It gave me an hour and a half to do what I needed to do.  That was entirely worth the little bit of mess it made.  I was smart enough to flip the shower curtain over the rod to keep it safe, but didn't account for the fact that my daughter would find such joy in clapping her paint filled hands and watching paint splatter to kingdom come. I still had to wash my shower curtain and Iain evfound paint splatters across the bathroom yesterday.  It still was totally worth it.

The way she mixed the colors, made it look like she was covered in blood.  These photos would be completely disturbing - if she wasn't smiling in them. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ashes, Ashes....

.....we all start Lent.
I don't always look forward to Lent.  Some years I resist it.  Some years I resent it. This year I welcome it.  I'mr ready for it. It's time to focus, simplify, reflect and re-direct. I desire it. I crave it. So, instead of just looking toward Easter - I'm choosing to look inward and upward and work on my stumbling blocks.

Here are a few online resources for Lenten Reflections that I came across.  Maybe one of them will be helpful.  Please leave a comment if you know another good one.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Little Monkey at the Zoo

While Iain's parents were in town from Kansas City, we took a day trip over to Houston to visit some of their friends from their hometown in Nicaragua.  Since we were right there, we thought we'd piggy-back a trip to the zoo with that visit.  It was a great idea. 

Aren't meerkats so much fun to watch?
Gianna got quite a kick out of the reptiles.
She saw this one and said,
"Mommy!  A baby dinosaur!"
The albino alligator was amazing.

My little snake charmer....
This gila monster was ENORMOUS.
Gianna got the biggest kick out of the elephant dusting himself with sand. 
We all were a little stunned by the elephant's next little performance. Yikes!!!!
(let's just say it didn't help the poo poo mutterings)
I'm definitely not a cat person ---- however,
...these cats are beautiful.

And then there were the monkeys...

 This guy was amazing to look at. Kinda looked like a Zulu tribe leader.
And then there's the most entertaining monkey of all....
I can't remember the name of this animal, but it looks part donkey and part zebra. So cool.
And the animal that was Gianna's FAVORITE?
Yup....the zebra on the merry-go-round.
* * * * *
And although these two may not be in their natural habitat....
...they certainly are my favorite.
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