Sunday, April 22, 2012


Always Singing

Oh my little songbird!  If she's not singing, she's humming.  She has an uncanny ability to quickly memorize lyrics to songs (even if she misinterprets the words).  She also has a gift for making up her own lyrics which is as funny as it is entertaining.
This morning she asked me if she could sing for me and if I would record it. I am SOOO glad I did.  Here's Gianna as Ariel ariel singing Part of Your World from the Little Mermaid. Enjoy.

Hope that made your day.  It made mine.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

These two...

....are of the same species.
They are SO similar.
They are SO smart.
They are SO funny.
I love them both SO much.
Is that just authentic joy, or what?
How 'bout that dirty trampoline face?

And those toes!
She said is was worth it.
I have no doubt.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oops, she did it again....

All children do it. They say things in public - innocent things - that might be embarrassing or offensive to others.

Once while shopping at Walmart, I was studying something in the frozen food section when another mom and child passed and Gianna loudly said, "What's wrong with her face?"  Panicked that I had not paid attention and prevented the situation, I lifted my head to see a precious toddler with about 1/2 of her face covered with a red mark.  Before I could respond, I heard the other mom say, "That's called a birthmark."   We passed them again a couple of aisles later and I thanked the mother for taking the time to explain to my daughter.

After a few experiences like this, I told Gianna that she is allowed to ask me any questions about other people, but if it has to do with what they look like, that she needed to whisper it in my ear.  I told her I promised to answer those questions, but if we ask them loudly we might embarrass somebody.  I have to say - I couldn't believe how well she followed this instruction.  She has been really quite amazing how she has controlled her impulses and been caring for the feelings of others.

And then came church on Sunday.  Oh my word.  The more I think of it, the more absolutely unavoidable it was, but it really made me want to dig a hold and hide for a few weeks.

It was time for the Sign of Peace. We shook hands and greeted the people in front of us and next to us and then we turn around to the pew behind us. As soon as we did - I knew we were in trouble.  There was no opportunity for appropriate, whispered questions. There was no time for me to prep her.  Something was bound to happen....and it did.

"Are you a man or a lady?" Gianna asked loudly.
There was a lovely lady behind us who had a significant amount of facial hair just above her upper lip. As I felt my blood leave my body rushing to my face I thought, "Dear God in heaven, please quiet this child."  The lady could not have been sweeter.  She said, "I'm a lady. That's okay, honey."  I'm sure that last comment was meant for me.

As I tried to physically move her to the next person and avoid any more embarrassment, I felt resistence and I knew this wasn't over.
"Then why do you have a mustache?" which she said even more loudly in the church that had become significantly quieter.  The blood that had filled my cheeks seconds early, had now drained from my face completely.  Everyone around us heard and there was absolutely no recovery.
Once again, the lady couldn't have been nicer. (I'm sure it wasn't the first time she addressed this.)
"Because God gave it to me, honey."
How wonderful is that.  I wisked her around before Gianna could say anything more. Ugh.

A few seconds later I whispered in Gianna's ear a reminder that we could hurt people's feelings when we talk about how they look.  I knew I should have let it go.  I was wrong to bring it up then.  Her eyes immediately filled with tears and she began to cry.  Really, Maria?  Was that necessary? Ugh.

I guess we both need to work on what we say in public.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Twirly Girl

 I used to get rid of blurry pictures. 

 I don't anymore. 

This is a good reminder of this stage in our lives.

Whispy, tornadic, veiled, unlcear.

I'll keep these.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

All around the mulberry bush...

...or tree, in this case.
We were invited by our fishing friends, CC and Toby, to come back to their home and pick mulberries.  Always happy to enjoy new adventures, we quickly accepted.
 I'm not sure if I ever have eaten mulberries before, but boy are they good.
"Nature's candy!" as CC says.
 Gianna quickly discovered that berry juice stains....
....A LOT!
Aren't they just beautiful?
It was so picturesque under the tree - almost as if it would be the perfect place for fairies to reside.
 CC and Gianna set out to find some.
 No fairies were discovered - but they did find 'fairy flowers.'
 And Gianna experienced her first honeysuckle.  Wanna know what she calls them?
 HINEY SUCKLES.  (Couldn't stop laughing.)

And of course she had a dry run on the boat.
Up to no good.
I believe she managed to get Toby wound fairly tightly around that little finger of hers.
Isn't this an awesome border for a garden? What a fun project.

Thanks again, you guys.  We had a great time and made some great memories.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


We survived another holiday.  That's a big mileston around here.
We are still trying to keep things as normal as possible.  (Maybe the fuzziness in the below picture is appropriate to how we feel.)
 When she woke up she went to play in the living room.  After a while I called her into the kitchen and she was saying, "Well, I guess the Easter Bunny didn't....(GASP!)"
For those who having been following this blog for a while, you'll notice we've downsized on the bunnies.  Woo Hoo.
 I made the lamb cake that my grandmother made every Easter when I was growing up.
(I couldn't find my icing tips and I'm actually glad.  I just cut the tip off a bag.)

Some seasons in our lives seam to coincide with the theme of the holiday that we celebrate.
This year, I resonated much more with Good Friday than Easter Sunday.
Don't get me wrong ~ I believe in and trust the promise of resurrection, hope and joy.  I have experienced the Paschal Mystery over and over again in my life.  I truly comprehend the process and have embraced the mystery.  I just happened to be at a very distinct point in the cycle (not stuck - just planted.)

For some reason, Gianna was particularly trying on Easter Sunday.  She has been exponentially better behaved at church over the last months, but tried a few old tricks this Sunday.
Then, she whooped it up during the whole of nap time - which really left me highly irritable and both of us in a bit of a mood.  I'm sure holidays are even more difficult for her as they are a stark reminder than Daddy is no longer here. (It's easier to push it to the back burner on 'normal' days.)

Well, I wasn't responding well to her shenanigans and attitude, so in an effort not to lose my cool, I told her she would have no Easter candy as her consequence.  Oh, I can hear your gasps from here.  I was even shocked.  There was no way I was going to let her get away with her poor behavior and disrespecting me just because it was Easter.  I knew I had to stick to my guns if I wanted to her to understand (and to realize that my threats weren't empty.).  I did - stick to my guns, that is. ALL day long, my poor little precious three year old had no candy. She had probably six baskets of candy in total from precious friends and family. Mean Momma!  I did tell her she could have a piece of my lamb cake after dinner and I stuck to that promise as well. (She wasn't completely deprived.)

I was already sad. I was already missing Iain more than usual.  I was already exhausted from all the current demands of my life as well as trying to make Easter special for Gianna.  The whole day was full of tumult and frustration. It would have been a challenging day had it NOT been a holiday. But we both survived.

I have not come close to balancing the the mother/father roles that a single parent must assume.  I'm sure that will be a life-long struggle - but the learning curve has been quite difficult to experience.

Don't worry, after breakfast on Monday, I let my deprived daughter gnaw on a chocolate Easter bunny which seemed to erase all negative memories from the previous day.  Thankfully she is much more resilient following these rough patches than I am.

I eagerly anticpate the healing and joy that the Resurection promises.
(And we do experience those things now.  We've come a long way...and we have a long way to go.)
Thank you for those of you who continue to remember us in prayer.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Hunting Season...

...Egg Hunting, that is. 

First we did a mini-hunt for two mini-munchkins.
 Went to our friends' house to dye eggs on Friday and let Nate and Gianna have a little hunting experience.
 They were so cute.
My favorite comment came after we finished:  "Now, why did we do that?"  Ha. 
Good question, kidlets!

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

We were invited to four (count 'em, FOUR) egg hunts on Saturday.  We accepted the first one received which was through my brother.  His friends host a yearly Egg Hunt which apparently has grown into a pretty big deal.

The hosts live on the river which couldn't have been a more beautiful backdrop for the event....
...or more beautiful weather.
It honestly reminded me of the final scene in Steel Magnolias...
  It was pretty impressive.
 They were given rules. "This year there are NO RULES."
And they were OFF!

After this egg she informed us she'd had enough.  "The grass is too wet and stinky." was her reason.
After the hunt the children gathered to choose their prizes out of a HUGE basket.  The ones with the most eggs got to choose first.  Gianna did not understand that concept and had eyed a Sleeping Beauty pez dispenser that she thought was gone forever.
As all the other kids lunged to get their prizes, Gianna was squeezed out of the way.
She was disappointed but didn't feel comfortable enough to push through. 
Thankfully Uncle Vinnie managed to uncovered the coveted Pez Prize and swiped it for G.
And after the kids, the adults had a hunt - for one egg.  Packed with a lucrative treat.  They sneaky rabbit actually hid a camoflauged egg in the landscaping.  It took a while, but a lucky managed managed to find the prize.

Oh, and did I happen to mention that the affair was CATERED?
 I can never get enough pictures of her little munchkin body from behind.
 White tablecloths lined with drawing paper - crayons included.  Brilliant.
We bumped into the sweet lady that we met at Holy Thursday Service who found us a seat and was so sweet to Gianna during the Mass.
 "Conducting" with big stick.
Taking advantage of the scenery.

Thank you Dr. Charlie and Ms. Karen for the wonderful hospitality, food and memories.

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

Oh my silly girl!

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

If you missed it, the Easter Bunny post is HERE
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