Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Home Improvement Rampage

Nothing makes you want to fix up your house like having 20-30 of your closest friends and relatives over. In light of the Birthday Party for Jesus and our upcoming hosting duties on Christmas Day, we decided to tackle some projects that we've been neglecting for a long time. Dan served as General Contractor, I was per diem labor and Final Inspector, and Jenna and Michaela served as Supervisors. Over all we are pleased with the results! Dan did a great job!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Three quick points:
1. I have decided I am going to make a "To Don't" List for next Christmas: I am going to write myself a letter now and tuck it into my calendar to read next December. It will hopefully put the brakes on some of my grand, optimistic ideas about what I can accomplish in one month. As I tell my mom, whenever I say, "We JUST have to do this, this and this..." those JUSTs are usually huge, time consuming steps. Scale back, be happy.
2. I have grown an official Christmas zit on my lip. Lovely.
3. I discovered tonight after giving the girls their baths that Jenna casually refers to her backside as "my booty". As in, "Put some lotion on my booty." (And suddenly the blog is red-flagged for questionable content...)
It's midnight. Time to pay a few bills and go to sleep.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Loooong Night

This was the sequence of events at our house on Sunday night.
9:45 pm: Mommy remembers that Michaela has homework due tomorrow- a description of a family tradition must be written and illustrated, using a photo or a drawing. M chooses to use a photo, so we print that and slave over a five sentence paragraph about coloring Easter eggs. Jenna, meanwhile, wants in on the action, so she gets out paper and a pen and asks me, "How you 'pell Jenna?" Her pen doesn't work well, though, so I make several trips back to M's room to find a functional marker. As I pass our room, I speak to Dan in a somewhat sarcastic (well...very sarcastic) tone that it must be nice to be able to lie down in bed covered in a blanket and watch whatever you want on tv and doze. He is not receptive.
10 pm: Michaela is tucked in and Jenna and I go in the living room to lay down and go night-night.
10:07 pm: Jenna decides it would be more fun to lay down with Daddy and go night-night. Mommy stays in the living room and watches tv.
11pm: Mommy has fallen fast asleep.
12:30 am: Mommy wakes up to find a hunting show on tv. Must have changed the channel while asleep. Mommy turns off the lights on the Christmas tree and shuffles down to her room to move Jenna into her crib for the night.
12:31am: As Mommy picks up Jenna, Jenna asks,"Why you pitting me up?" Mommy almost drops Jenna. "Why are you still awake?" Mommy replies. Mommy and Jenna shuffle back down to the living room to go back on the couch.
1:20 am: Thinking that Jenna has surely fallen asleep by now, Mommy stands up, ready to bring a sleeping Jenna to her crib. Jenna asks, "Why are you 'tanding up?" Mommy's brain says a lot of bad words and she lays down again.
3:30 am: After watching a rerun of Meet the Press (an hour long interview with Mitt Romney- Mommy knows how to PARTY!!) Mommy decides she's had enough and it's time for Jenna to be put in her crib. Jenna wakes up again as she's being transferred and screams bloody murder when she is put in her crib.
3:35 am: Mommy goes back in and tells Jenna to lay down and falls asleep.
3:45 am: Daddy goes in, tells Jenna to lay down and go to sleep and gets her the drink of water she requests. Jenna settles down.
4 am: Everyone is asleep.
7:04 am: Jenna wakes up for the day. Arghhh.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Birthday Party Delights

Our Birthday Party for Jesus was a success! We had a lot of fun munching on pizza and wings, decorating cookies, and eating a big frosted cake. The kids (two two-year-olds, two four-year-olds, two six-year-olds) were VERY excited to all be together and we pumped them full of sugar to keep 'em going. They did a great job making beautiful cookies that they brought home in little goody bags. They used different colored sprinkles, M&Ms (of course), red and white and green and white swirled white chocolate chips, sugar Santas, and green, red and white sugars to top them off. Here's some shots of the cookie decorating action:

Earlier that afternoon, as I was finishing up the cake, Jenna asked me, "Is it a birthday cake?" and I answered,"Yes" and she said,"Who's birthday is it?" I said,"It's Jesus' birthday!" Jenna thought for a second and asked, "Is He coming?" How do you explain THAT to a two year old?? So I muttered something about Him coming on Christmas long ago but right now He's always watching us and finished with the Sunday School standard: "... and He loves you very much." I figured that hits the high points. And Jenna seemed satisfied with that.

In other news, we got a terrific snowstorm today and I have delighted in watching it snow all day. We went out for a walk tonight after Dan snowblowed (snowblew?) the driveway and pulled the girls in their sleds. We had a blast slipsliding on the packed snow. Here are some pics:

We're supposed to get another storm this weekend. I may not love the cold of winter, but I sure do love the snow. You know, from inside my warm house.
This is my 100th blog entry- thanks for reading!! Feel free to comment anytime!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's Mayhem over here

I apologize for being delinquent in my posting... but it's been mayhem over here. I am in Full Christmas Mode, baking and decorating and shopping and ordering and planning. I had two victories yesterday: I delivered to my dad one of his Christmas presents, a homemade gingerbread house, and my family cookbook arrived in the mail.
The gingerbread house is a huge undertaking since it is entirely done from scratch and from a Martha Stewart cookbook. (I can hear you all inwardly groaning.) This is the fourth time I have made it and it is just as much a labor of love as I remember it. I estimate it took me about 9-10 hours total to make it. It is a square house with amber-colored melted sugar windows and white icing to decorate it. (No colored candy here... too lowbrow.) It is a multistep process and of course my 'helpers' were right along side me the whole time. When I was doing the final decorating, I was sitting on a kitchen chair and Jenna was standing on the chair behind me, leaning on me, bumping my arm and playing with my hair. I was getting frustrated that it wasn't looking perfect and then I realized that when Martha was making her gingerbread house, she probably didn't have her daughter Alexis standing on the chair behind her saying, "Now I put my hands in yo-wah hahhh!"
But it all came together in the end and I delivered it to my dad and he was very appreciative. We set it up with a strand of Christmas lights inside so the light shines through the windows and warms the house itself so a delicious smell of gingerbread comes out of it. It really is pretty and homey and holiday-ish. I'll post a picture soon.
In other news, my cookbook came yesterday in the mail and it's fabulous! They did a great job printing it and it is really nice to see a big project come together. I am really pleased with the overall final product. I feel like it's a really nice tribute to my grandma and that's the best part for me.
So today is our Birthday Party for Jesus Party, which started out as a baptismal birthday party for Michaela and has morphed over the years. Michaela was baptized on December 23rd and we used to have a little party with family and friends every year to celebrate and honor that day. It was also a really nice way to see friends around Christmas. Now since our circle of friends all have children in the 2-6 year old range, we turned it into a Jesus birthday party, complete with a cake and candles. This year we are going to have big sugar cookies for the kids to decorate with frosting and sprinkles and candies, too, so that should be a lot of fun to watch. And a huge mess, but a fun mess.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Jenna's vocabulary and sheer number of words spoken has exploded in the last week, to the point when one night last week, Dan said to me,"Is she ever going to stop?" She's talking to us or to Michaela or to the cat or is singing (News Flash: the Polar Express soundtrack is the new CD of the month... Jenna loves the main theme song "Po-yer Espesss" while Michaela is a bigger fan of "Hot Chocolate": Here we only have one rule/ never, ever let it cool/ get it stirring in the pot/ Now you've got/Hot cho-co-late!... but called the song "Coffee" for the first week we listened to it.).
With all this new talking comes lots of cute things, and while nothing really is as boring as listen to someone who thinks their child said something precious, JUST PRECIOUS, this is my blog and I assume you're reading it because you actually want to hear the cute things she said.

Quick typing break here while Jenna pretends to paint my fingernails.
And puts on eyeshadow. And yo-tion (lotion).

Anyway, on Tuesday we were at the Y for M's swimming lesson. On the way out, Jenna wanted to hide in one of the lockers. As she crawled in, she was pulling the door closed and told us, "I need pivaty!" (Privacy! I would have liked some privacy for my boobs the last two years, too, but it wasn't in the cards.)
Later that day, she came to me at 9:30pm and asked for some iced tea. "I berry, berry tirsty! I need a dink!" she proclaimed. The same night she told me she was "berry told" (cold) and wanted a blanket:"Brrr! I told!"and shivered her tiny shoulders. When handing me a stuffed bunny of Michaela's, she told me to be "berry, berry careful wi' it and don't dop her." I assured her that I have not dropped either of my children thus far and am a pretty safe caregiver.

We went on a shopping marathon today and Jenna was in rare form. She started the morning by seeing a picture of Michaela as a two year old and insisting on wearing the same dress- a sleeveless sundress, a beautiful dress that I tried all summer to cajole her into wearing but she refused. Today, however, was the day for the dress even though it was only 20 degrees outside. I offered to put the dress over her clothes, but she wanted it to "touch my tummy." I offered to put on her pants and the dress, but that clearly wouldn't work because it wasn't "touching my tushie." Seeing that this was a losing battle and wanting to get the show on the road, I relented and she wore the sundress out to the mall. And she lived.
When it was approaching lunchtime, we offered to go to Pizzeria Uno's at the mall. She said,"Yeah! Pizza Uno's!!" But then changed her mind and said, "No, I want to go to McDonald's." So we went to McDonald's. As we were walking out of McDonald's, Jenna asked, "Where we goin' next?" Home, we told her. "No!", says Jenna."I wanna go to Pizza Uno's now!"
To appease her on the way home, I offered to let her listen on my iPod (My, my, aren't I brave! Have you read the post when she changed the settings so the iPod was all in Chinese characters??) and her little face lit up. She wanted to listen to Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" song (Gonna make me go to rehab/I said no, no, no... real appropriate for the two year old set) so I set it up for her. After she listened for awhile, she said with a huge grin, "I YOVE dat tong on your iPod!"
She cracks me up, my little 21st century sprite. And exhausts me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Flashback Friday... four days late

Friends of ours went on Thursday night to the Capitol Lights in the Park, where you drive around in Washington Park and look at all the light displays that are set up for the holiday season. Flashing lights, twinkling arches, Rudolph displays: it's all there and really fun. You can tune the radio to Christmas songs while you drive and it makes a real Holiday Memory For The Kids. This reminded me of the first time the Libutti Family went to this great event, back in 2003-ish.
Dan, Michaela and I loaded into my parents' minivan and the five of us started cruising through. The cars go single file through the display and during the busy times, you really just creep along, with lots of stop-and-go kind of movement. We were about 5 minutes into this Holiday Memory when we spied a car, with its flashers on, broken down on the side of the road in the park. In a VERY un-Christian type manner, I said, "Wow! It sucks to be them!!! They're going to have to stay there until the display is done for the night because no help can get to them. Hahaha!"
(Can you see the foreshadowing going on here??)
A few minutes later, Michaela, who is about 2 and a half at this time, says to me, "Mommy, I don't like those lights." and I peek out her side of the window to see a Frosty display that looks like he's waving. As I wrack my brain to figure out what a two year old's objection to this would be, I hear Michaela do this weird coughing noise. I look over at her and am horrified to see she has puked up something red all over herself. At first I panicked- the kind of panic you only feel a few times as a parent that makes your heart literally stop- because I thought she was coughing and puking up blood. This is not good.
Then the smell of her puke wafts over to me and I realize it's not blood. Dan and I had gone grocery shopping earlier in the day and she had broken into a container of cut up cantaloupe while we were distracted putting the groceries away and eaten ALOT of it. And she chased that down with a few Twizzlers. ALOT of Twizzlers. And that was what I was smelling.
Once I calmed down, I try to get her cleaned up, but the worst was not over. For the next 15 minutes or so, she puked three or four more times. At the end, she was puking into my cupped hands and my dad would open the sliding door of the van and I would try to fling the puke out. We had no diaper bag, just a few old towels in the car to clean things up with. Argh. It was just a nightmare. And guess what? It sucked to be us because there was no way to leave the line of cars and get out of the park. We had to keep crawling along, stopping and starting, catching and flinging.
We skipped the Capitol Lights in the Park the following year but made a triumphant return, puke-free, two years ago.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Signs I've Been a Stay-At-Home Mom Too Long

We brought the girls last night to Picture People at the mall to get their pictures taken... for the third time.
It sounds so gratuitous and non-rational, however you must understand that Jenna is REAL tricky about getting her picture taken. The first time we gussied the girls up into their Christmas Outfits, made an evening appointment so Dan could come with me, and hoped for the best. Jenna took one look at the photographer and absolutely refused to have anything to do with her. (She was kind of a train wreck, and the pics she took were not that great so I really don't blame her.) Michaela got some done which turned out okay. I asked the manager to recommend a gentle, quiet photographer and made an appointment to return a few days later.
And that's when Mindy entered our lives.
(Is that dramatic enough??)
Mindy took fabulous pictures... she made Jenna laugh and took wonderful candids of Jenna looking sweet and gentle and relaxed.
So, like any other mom who sometimes has too much time on her hands, I made another appointment for Michaela to be photographed by Mindy.
We went last night and Jenna felt so comfortable that she jumped into the pictures and we got great shots of both of them. Heaven. We bought lots for Christmas gifts and 3 black and white pictures to put in a triple- opening frame in our dining room.
In other news, I finished my cookbook project- all 128 pages of it. I think it turned out really cute and now many, many family recipes are in one spot to be passed down. I am in full Christmas mode- shopping, returning, ordering on line, decorating, planning, etc. I of course have wild fantasies about baking lots of cookies with the girls, making gingerbread houses, and having Magical Memories. We'll see what actually transpires... and I will, of course, blog about it all.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

What a wonderful Thanksgiving Day we had! My parents hosted us and Dan's Dad and his girlfriend Ann and we had a perfectly delicious day. The girls were great and even allowed us to take this picture for my parents' Christmas card. They spent the whole day eating, playing and watching the DVDs we bought them for "Thanksgiving presents"-ridiculous, I know, but it was only one gift each.

Michaela was most excited for the cinnamon rolls we had for breakfast... and they did not disappoint. We watched some of the parade as the girls started bouncing off the walls from their sugar rush. We even saw some of the dog show and I rebuffed Dan's attempts at convincing me we should get a puppy. In the afternoon, Jenna took her nap and then Paga and Ann came. We visited for a bit and then headed over to my parents'. The girls loved the pigs in a blanket we ate for an appetizer and could not shove them into their mouths quick enough. We sat down at about 5 for a wonderful dinner and then stuffed ourselves with pies, cookies, brownies, and candy. At one point Jenna, who was dividing her time between eating and playing, said, "What are we having next?"- just bring on the next course!

We got home at about 9:30, got into our pjs and watched a little Ratatouille, stuffed and happy. It was a chaos-free, warm, lovely day. I joked with Danny about hitting the stores at 4:30am but as you can tell by the time stamp here, chose to blog and work on my family cookbook project instead. But the morning is still young... I may get out there before 10am.

Hope you all had a peaceful, yummy holiday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving to my family and friends who read this little blog... I am thankful for all of my blessings, most especially my hubby and my precious girls. You three are the lights of my life and I am honored to be be able to share this life with you.
Have a wonderful day!!

Sooooo two

My mom, Jenna, and I did a little Christmas shopping on Monday of this week. We were pretty successful and Jenna was in good spirits most of the trip, which made it even more successful. Among other things, I had to pick up dressy shoes for the girls to wear with their Christmas outfits (which I have pathetically had since early October). As we checked out a pair of snazzy patent pleather shoes from Target, I took off Jenna's socks so we could try them on. One of the quirks of being 24 pounds and two and a half years old is that shoes are quite hard to fit... her feet are just little skinny wisps of bone. We put on the shoes and I rolled up her pant leg so I could see them.
Success! They fit decently and Jenna really, really liked them... so much so that she refused to take them off and unroll the pants. As my mom said in Target, "Sometimes she is soooo... two."

Here is the picture of her in Macy's in all of her patent shoe glory:

You may also notice that the tag is still on them, Minnie-Pearl style. And she's holding a fruit-flavored not-found-in-nature-blue Twizzler in her hand that made me gag every time I smelled it. And she's smiling because she knows we're going to McDonald's for lunch when the shopping is done. What a life.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Flashback Friday

Many of the blogs I read have a Flashback Friday- they post an old picture or story and usually it is rather embarrassing in nature. (What old prom picture isn't embarrassing??)
In the spirit of Flashback Friday, I am going to tell you a semi-famous family story from when I was in sixth grade.
First a little background: When I was in fifth grade, I went to a very good elementary school that had a rural segment of its population. One of the girls I became friends with was named Karen. (I will not disclose her last name to help her remain anonymous. Heehee.) She was a very nice girl but it was clear she was poor and had limited resources of every kind. But she was fun and sweet and a bit dramatic, as most fifth grade girls are. She invited me to her birthday party that year, and my mom tells me it was the most nervous she's ever been to leave me somewhere. Her home was a glorified shack with a broad, unfinished front porch- just a plywood platform-and she had various animals roaming around her property. I'm not sure if she had a dad and her mom looked pretty marginal. I distinctly remember that at the birthday party her mom wore a see-through shirt with no bra and I was both fascinated and horrified at that. Her mom also wore a '70s style floppy fedora hat, which to me now indicates that she thought she had it goin' on back then. I was also quite shocked by their fishtank, which was so filled with algae that you literally couldn't see the fish in it. The most memorable part of the story was that one point of the party, a goat was walking around their living room. In the house. Yeah.
Oh.. and noone was screaming, "Ahhh! Get the goat out of the house!! The goat got loose from it's pen and somehow came inside the house!" It was more like, "Move over, Goat, I can't see Karen opening her gifts." So you get the picture.
Let me share one more piece of info critical to this story: for those of you who read my blog but are not familiar with this area, there is a small city about 30 minutes west of Albany called Amsterdam. It is not a prosperous city and it has a large Hispanic population and a large poor area. I'm sure there are nice parts of it, but I don't think at any time it would be heralded as a jewel in the Capital District.
So fast forward to sixth grade. We students who attended our small little rural school have stuck together pretty well, and I am still good friends with Karen. Just before lunch that day, Karen calls home on the pay phone (how quaint!) near the cafeteria and her mother gives her terrible news... they are moving in a few weeks. She is very upset at this and of course we, her friends, comfort her and feel sad that we will be losing our buddy.
That afternoon, I am recounting the events of the day to my mom, who would listen to HOURS of me discussing and processing my days at school. I tell my mom, quite dramatically, that Karen has received this devastating news: "Karen is moving... to the Netherlands!!"
"Say that again?" my mom replies.
"Karen called her mom and her mom said she's moving to the Netherlands."
Clearly confused, my mom says to me, "Tell me exactly what Karen's mom said to her."
"She said they are moving to Amsterdam."
Ahhhh... this makes much more sense. Now as an adult I realize how absolutely hilarious it is to think a rural girl with a braless single mother who had a goat in her living room during her birthday party would have the resources- both economic and intellectual- to move to a liberal European nation. I am also impressed with my knowledge of European geography.
Anyway, Karen moved - to Amsterdam, NY- and I never saw her again. But I laugh everytime I think of this story.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Out and About on Veteran's Day

So Judy and I decided to get together on Veteran's Day since all the kids were off from school. We love to spend a day with the Strausses- the kids play sooo well together and I get lots of Judy-time. We talked Monday morning and decided on an ambitious agenda- going to Build A Bear with all five kids and then going for ice cream afterwards.
Here we are on the way. The kids looked so cute all strapped in.

We got to the mall, parked the car and started unloading. We brought the double stroller with us, presumably for Jack and Jenna to ride in, but for 95 percent of the whole trip, no kids- just purses and coats- were in it. (You know that if we HADN'T brought it, the kids would have been clamouring for a ride. That's the way it always goes.)

We got to Build A Bear and they were doing a brisk business since everyone was off from school. The kids all had a blast looking around and picking out their bears to stuff. Well, Jack was really more interested in examining everything in the store. Then he got a bit hungry so Judy took him to get a lollipop (and lollipops for all the kids) to hold him over 'til lunch.
Finally it was our turn and each got their bear stuffed, put the heart inside, and air-bathed the animals. Here's a pic of the stuffing action. It is only by the grace of God that a wet, sticky lollipop didn't land squarely on one of the animals.
Then to the really fun part: dressing the bears. Michael and Aidan were all about the costumes: they picked out Superman and Spiderman outfits for their bears. Jenna initially picked out some Christmas gear for her Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer animal, but opted to go for the Build A Bear stroller (or "doellerrr" as she calls it) instead. Michaela picked out a somewhat ugly black pants and tunic outfit for hers and tried to angle for sneakers and ROLLER SKATES (really? ROLLER SKATES for a stuffed animal???) but again, opted for the stroller instead. She also had leftover birthday money to pay for the stroller, lest anyone think I am uneven in my purchases.
Jack, who picked out a dinosaur, first wanted to put on it a hot pink dress with black lace overlay. Honestly. Then Judy swayed him away from that and he got a stroller, too.
After Judy and I got our second mortgages approved to pay for all this paraphernalia, (both of us said at the checkout line, "You got my coupon, right? That's the total WITH the coupon??") we headed out for some lunch. Here's our group shot.
So you notice how there are now three additional strollers with stuffed bears in them and our double stroller. We were quite a spectacle, especially since the two-year olds' stroller steering ability is a bit limited at times. I saw a lot of people walking towards us with more than a glimmer of fear in their eyes.
Anyway, we had a blast... we went downstairs to Friendly's, it was too busy, we went back upstairs to the food court, ate lunch, went back down to Friendly's for ice cream (and parked all the strollers at the door), and then finished off the trip by checking out the animals at the pet store. Whew!! Soon after we got back to the car (by now it was about 4pm), loaded everyone in, and got some Polar Express Soundtrack music on, here were the two little ones:
Thank you, Strauss house, for an awesome day off!!!

No calls from Hallmark???

Dan's 35th birthday was this weekend! Happy Birthday to my true love and best friend!

We had a fun couple of days celebrating. My parents took us out to dinner at Old Chicago on Wednesday because they were going out to see Brian and Beth for the weekend. This picture was taken that night.

Then over the weekend, JuJu threw a little surprise party for Dan at her and Uncle Dick's. Michael and Jaime came up also so we had a fun night hanging out and laughing. JuJu had lots of appetizers and great food so we left stuffed. I baked a cake for Dan and the girls helped him blow out the candles.
This is verbatim the card that Michaela lovingly wrote out to Dan:
Dear Daddy,
Will you have a happy birthday? I thought you were turning 46, but you are turning 35.
Love, Michaela
I think the left-handed compliment ("Hey, Dad- turns out you're 11 years younger than I thought!!") was softened by the obvious care she took in writing and presenting it to him. I'm just shocked that Hallmark hasn't come knocking on our door looking for her to put out a whole line of cards. (Something like, "I thought you were getting fat, but it turns out you're pregnant. Congratulations!")

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Music lessons

Excerpt from an actual conversation from last Friday:
Michaela and I are in her room, picking out her outfit for the day. (Generally we pick it out the night before like all the "helpful hints for a smooth morning routine" tell you to, but sometimes we just don't get around to it.)
I lay out a nice pair of new sweatpants and a matching shirt, both from the Gap.
I say, "How about this?"
She says, "Well... today is Friday and I have music with Miss Hannah. That outfit is kind of ........sporty."
I snort as to not laugh directly at her. She's really sensitive about that.
We end up agreeing on a new skirt and top with tights and her mary janes.

This conversation revealed two things:
1. Michaela's fashion sense is a bit more advanced than I thought.
2. I underdressed for music class for years.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I went to the redistricting meeting last night and Michaela will not have to change schools next year! We are very happy and it was fun to see our neighborhood mobilize against any change. The meeting was packed- I'd bet there was about two hundred people there- and thankfully everyone generally left very happy.
In other news, Jenna is feeling much better and the color in her cheeks is back. Michaela had her second swimming lesson yesterday and loved it. We had a fun day being with her- she was off for a teacher's conference day- and we went to our little playgroup (M was the big shot)in the morning and then stopped at McDonald's for lunch, along with every other stay at home mom and their kids in Delmar. Michaela was pretty punchy by the afternoon so the swim lesson helped her blow off some energy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Playing Catchup

Every once in a while, I feel like I need the whole world to stop for three days so I can catch up on doing the laundry, going through the mail, cleaning, processing stuff, going through papers, and planning out our schedule. This is one of those times. We have had a busy weekend and week, mostly dominated by Jenna getting another one of her famous viruses for which the doctor can give us nothing. (The first time she got it, on Christmas Eve two years ago, I went in to the pediatrician's thinking, "SOMEONE is leaving here with drugs... either Jenna or Mommy.") These viruses usually involve fevers, a bad cold, cough, and interrupted sleep for Jenna and I and they seem to last forever (or a better part of the week, whichever comes first). Jenna's latest virus started on Halloween and she is about 90% better now.
We had a nice weekend. Saturday I woke up early to go to the Hallmark Open House because I'm both a freak about their pre-made scrapbooks and a model American consumer. They did give me a nice VIP gift bag full of beautiful ornaments so it was clearly worth it. Then my mom and the girls and I went to a local craft fair to support our friends at Doullina Designs - custom scrapbooking- and of course bought a little Thanksgiving Day chipboard scrapbook that is so adorable I couldn't stand it. I am such a dork that this thought actually crossed my mind: "The papers they used will match the Thanksgiving Day outfits I bought for Michaela and Jenna!" Sad, I know. But it will look cute when it's done.
Saturday afternoon we went to our niece Olivia's first birthday party, which was a lot of fun. We saw all of Dan's family and Olivia looked adorable as always. I love first birthday parties- the noise, the celebration, the gifts, the overstimulated one year old. It's awesome. Someone at the party asked me if I thought Olivia knew what was going on and I answered, "I can ASSURE you she has no idea, but is having a good time anyway!"
Sunday Jenna and I stayed home from Sunday School and church and rested. Dan went to a car show after church- we are on the lookout for a new car next year- and then we went to my aunt's house for the Annual November birthday dinner for Dan and my cousin and his wife. My aunt is an awesome cook so it's always a delicious and fun evening.
Monday morning I got up a little early in case the girls were really off from the Daylight Savings Time change (they adjusted remarkably well) and Dan asked me, "What are you up to today?" and I answered not much... Jenna and I will hang around the house. When Michaela got up, she asked me if today was November 5th and I answered yes. She exclaimed, "Oh goody! Today's the day you come to school with me!!!" Yikes! I had totally forgotten that this is National Education Week or something like that and the parents are invited into the classroom and I had told Michaela somewhat vaguely a few weeks ago that probably I could go. So at 7:45am I had to start scrambling to get ready, find childcare for Jenna (no preschoolers allowed), and replan my day. It all worked out great and I did go to school and saw the class do "station work"- all literacy/language arts activities broken up throughout the classroom, went to her art class (right up my alley!!!!), played on the playground at recess, and ate almost inedible cheese raviolis with her at lunch. Her teacher is awesome and she has a really nice class of kids. Jenna stayed with Judy and had a blast with the Strauss boys... they are all so in love with each other.
Today I am off to playgroup with both girls (Michaela is off for Election Day) then we're hitting McDonald's, voting, and coming home for naptime. Tonight is the unveiling of the school's redistricting plans so maybe I will get some insight on where M will be going to school next year. It should be a fun meeting... filled with over educated and anxious moms and dads- what a blast!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Letdown Monday

So did you read about how jam packed our weekend last week was? The parties, the fun, the hayride, the baptism, the friends?
Monday was a bit of a letdown.
I did five loads of laundry and gave Jenna an enema (soooo fun!) and she pooped four times. Those events were literally the highlight of my day. That is the rhythm of the stay at home mom... some days are really, really fun and some are just filled with poop.

Monday, October 29, 2007

So many parties, so little time

We at the Libutti house had a jam packed weekend, full of fun and exciting events! Our weekend kicked off with the arrival of the Winterhoffs- our former Pastor and his wife Linda- to my parents' house on Friday night. We were sooo happy to see them and the girls had a ball talking and playing with them. We ate yummy snacks made by my mom and the girls polished off all the red Lindt balls (red= milk chocolate) and left all the blue ones (blue= dark chocolate... not as pleasing to the unsophisticated two and six year old palate) from the bowl my mom had put out. We visited and laughed and generally had a great time.
The next morning was supposed to be Michaela's last soccer game but since it was pouring out, the game was cancelled and we just had our end of the season pizza party instead. The players were thrilled to get their trophies- a soccer player kicking a ball and the joints really move! The kids had fun running around afterwards (helped by the Popsicles, cupcakes, cookies and lollipops we gave them) while the parents talked and then we all wished each other well until next season. By April, when the Spring session starts, two of the moms will have new babies so we are all anticipating that.
After the party we went back to my parents' house to spend time with the Winterhoffs. Michaela read a Curious George book to Linda and Pastor showed the girls magic tricks to their great delight. "How do you DO that???" For dinner we all met with about 15 other people from church at Mercato's and had a nice dinner. One of the couples at the dinner offered to have dessert at their house so the plan was we three would go home and M would stay with my parents, having weaseled her way into a sleepover. As we were walking across the parking lot, Jenna started wailing, "Gammie... wait for me!! Wait for me!!" and sounded so pathetic that we decided to go to the dessert party as well. We had lots of fun... the girls loved checking out a new house, Danny watched football and baseball games, and I talked with friends. Perfect.
Sunday brought Sunday School and church and Sara and Moe's baby boy Ryan was baptized during the service. I love watching baptisms- such a special event. Ryan was perfectly behaved and didn't say a peep. During the service, I was able to look over and see Pastor and Linda there and it felt so comfy and nice!! After the service, we went to a beautiful luncheon at Normanside, where we had my dad's surprise b'day party and Beth's baby shower. It was so fun and yummy, too... as soon as we walked in, there was a huge tray of chocolate chip cookie bars. That's my kind of party! We had a great time and the kids were all having a blast together. The only sad part was saying goodbye to Pastor and Linda. :(
We brought Michael Strauss home with us for a playdate and made brownies and did some Halloween drawings in the afternoon while Dan raked leaves outside. At one point, all the kids were jumping in the piles... you know, 'helping' Dan. Then the rest of the Strauss clan came over for a quick and child-friendly dinner of hot dogs and tater tots (I didn't say it was healthy) and then we all went to the Annual Kleinke Barn Party!!
Michael was Superman, Aidan was a knight, and Michaela was a black cat... Jack and Jenna chose to go costume-free. The Barn Party is something we look forward to every year... we have pictures of Michaela and Michael as toddlers all dressed up. They have goodies and face painting and games and cider doughnuts and a hayride around their cornfields (complete with scary grandchildren who hide in the corn and say "Boo!") and lots of fun Halloween-themed decorations and toys. It's just so much fun.
By eight o'clock, we were totally pooped so we headed home to warm baths and our jammies. The kids were dead asleep by 9:30pm. I took tons of pictures, of course, and I will post some highlights soon!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pumpkin picking!

These are pictures from a few weeks ago, when Dan and I took the girls to a local farm that sells beautiful pumpkins. The farm is a mile or two up the road from our house and when we go there it is hard to believe we live so close to such a pretty place. It is run by an older man, seen in the pictures, who hand-washes each pumpkins he sells to you. The girls had a great time running around and preferred smaller pumpkins to larger ones. We have gone for a few years now and get excited when we see him put his signs up around town in the fall saying the pumpkins are ready!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Halloween Costume- First Attempt

This is Jenna as Elmo... a costume she picked out and has obviously changed her mind about. I think we're going the Princess route instead. I think it's the hood that freaked her out.

Language Development

After listening to Geoff and Giselle's wedding CD for about 9 months straight, the girls have finally branched out in their car- riding music. We did listen to The Roches' Moonswept CD for a few months and now are in the interesting mix of songs from the Disney Princess CD and Dan's Jock Rock CD. (Sometimes the transition between the Aladdin and Jasmine's "A Whole New World" and James Brown's "I Feel Good" can be a bit jarring.) Jenna likes to request songs as well and sometimes it is a challenge to figure out what she's saying. She uses y for l, can't say s, k, and uses the d sound alot. She really likes the Jasmine songs and will say "Dammin!" when she wants to hear one. For the longest time, Dan and I thought she was saying "Dammit! Dammit!" in the back seat and couldn't understand what she was so upset about.

In a similar vein, Michaela overheard Dan say a bad word that starts with s and ends with t while watching a Yankees playoff game (who can blame him?) a few weeks ago. She promptly went downstairs where he was ironing and said, "Daddy, shickt is not a nice word."

Walking to Soccer Practice: Part II

On Friday the weather here was not great... threatening skies and cold, damp wind. I checked a few times to see if the soccer practice would be cancelled, but since it's run by men, it was still on ( shot! But I did discuss this with a friend of mine and she agreed AND had proof: their son's t-ball league was run by a woman and they would not play if the weather looked bad).
We trudged out there, Michaela and Jenna and I, with jackets and chairs and water bottles and blankets. After forty five minutes, it was raining pretty hard... hard enough for 6 year olds to put their hands up in front of their faces to shield themselves from the cold rain. We packed up our stuff and headed back.
This is the scene: I am carrying my chair on one shoulder, holding Jenna so we can make it home before sunrise, holding the umbrella which twice blew inside out like you see in cartoons (I didn't know umbrellas really did that!) in between my chest and Jenna's chest, carrying two full water bottles in my front pockets of my sweatshirt, carrying a fleece blanket, and every 15 steps or so picking up one of Jenna's shoes that had fallen off. Yes, Jenna had chosen to wear her Dora the Explorer play clogs which are too big for her, so every time we took a big, hard step or swerved to avoid a puddle, I and the umbrella, blanket, chair, waterbottles and 25 pound child had to bend down to retrieve it. After this happened twice, I shoved the shoes in my pockets as well.

Needless to say, I brought the BIG stroller to the game on Saturday morning. Lesson learned.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tall tales

As many of you know, Jenna was very delayed in her speech and language development... at 18 months she only spoke three words: Mama, No, and yum (for food). Now, 10 months later, this is what she told us at dinner tonight:
"Hear my story... Once upon a time, a little tiny baby fell down and her bumped her head like this (thumps own head) and says "Waaa!""

I asked her, "Did her mommy help make her feel better?"

"Yes... her mommy said, "Oh, baby, it's okay" and gave her kisses. That's all done! Your turn, Mom!"

Interestingly enough, Michaela still says to us, "Hear this!" (with the emphasis on the 'this') when she wants us to listen to her. She has said it to us for years and even though she probably knows to say, "Listen to this!" it is a phrase that has stuck with her. When Jenna started tonight with "Hear my story" it reminded me of this phrasing of Michaela's.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Author's note

Hello, faithful readers of the Libutti Family Blog! I posted a bunch of things in the last few days so make sure you scroll down to see them all. I also re-posted the pics of Michaela's party so you can actually see the whole picture and not just the left side.
Thanks for reading!!

Michaela's 6th Birthday Spectacular- Take 2

Awesome, awesome, awesome story

Please check out a story I found on a blog I came across by accident - I think God sent it to me- about the job of being a mom and what we are working hard at every day. It is really powerful and uplifting and perspective-building at the same time. Go to : and look at the October 3rd post "Why we are Mothers."
Ain't the Internet great...I can read stories from a woman in Oregon that I've never met!

Cupcake Fun

I was feeling a little antsy yesterday afternoon and so I suggested to the girls that we make some Halloween cupcakes and decorate them. This was met with lots of enthusiasm by Jenna and a "Tell me when you're ready to decorate" from Michaela. Jenna, my little helper, wanted to do it all- crack eggs, mix, pour, and especially stick her fingers into the batter as often as possible. My overwhelming thought as we were making these cupcakes was not "Ooooh, how yummy they are going to taste!" or "Awww, I hope the girls remember doing fun things like this together!" but more like "Eeeek! I hope we don't both get massive salmonella poisoning!" (It is now 14 hours later and we appear to be salmonella-free.)
I had bought tons of Halloween-themed food decorations (sprinkles, candies, stencils, etc) but we just broke out the sprinkles. Michaela was a highly efficient decorator and did a great job. Jenna sat, watched and licked frosting. Here are some pics of the evening.
After we cleaned up, we kept the creative juices flowing and did some scrap booking together. I worked on two pages from Michaela's first day of school, Michaela drew a few nice pictures: one of a jack o'lantern and one of herself getting off the bus, and Jenna scribbled on some paper and tried her hardest to use my personal picture trimmer (it's child safe- I'm not going to give my kid salmonella AND cut her finger off on the same night!).
Eat you heart out , Martha Stewart!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Two peas in a pod...

Jenna wanted to be just like MiMi... wearing a hat and backpack as we all walked to the bus stop in the morning. Too cute.


We are recovering this week from a VERY busy week last week leading up to Beth's baby shower on Saturday and Michaela's sixth birthday party on Sunday. Both events went off without a hitch and were lots of fun. Beth posted pictures from her shower on her blog so check it out :
It has been so much fun to watch Beth go through this process and give little bits of advice. Doesn't every woman love to tell anyone anything about her pregnancy and birth experience? (Though I have refrained from giving any gory or scary details about labor and delivery...) Beth and Brian have a wonderful road ahead of them and we can't wait to meet our new niece.
So Beth gots tons of clothes and blankets and supplies... all pink, of course, and we had a ball organizing it all later at my parents' house. Her next baby shower is in a few weeks and I know she's looking forward to celebrating all over again!
Michaela's party was the next day and I have tons of pics that I will post soon. It was a Litttle Mermaid theme and quite adorable. Michaela was a great little hostess and even read aloud all of her cards. We were really proud of her. All the other kids watched very patiently as she opened her gifts- us parents commented how that would not have happened a few years ago. All the kids there were older than 24 months and I think the parents were able to relax and have fun along with the kids. One of the benefits of surviving infancy!!
Side note: Jenna's new favorite song is Queen's "We Will Rock You"- she wants to hear it over and over again in the car and says with increasing urgency:"We will rock you! WE WILL ROCK YOU!" You can't make this stuff up.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Walk to Soccer Practice: A One-Act Play

Cast of characters:
Mom, a stunningly attractive early-thirties woman
Michaela, an adorable five year old and soccer player
Jenna, sweet-natured two year old sibling of Michaela dragged to soccer practice

Setting: A suburban Town Park complex of soccer fields, baseball fields, swimming pool,etc. The distance between the parking lot of the Park and the actual practice field is about one quarter of a mile, past three softball fields, a pavilion, and two small soccer fields. It is a cool and breezy day, but sunny. Late September, late afternoon.

(Mom, Michaela and Jenna exit their car in the parking lot. Michaela is holding her soccer ball. Mom gets out Michaela's water bottle, the stroller to push Jenna, a fold up chair to sit in during practice, a sweatshirt for Michaela, a sweatshirt for Jenna, a fleece for Mom, Jenna's Princess backpack filled with toys to keep her occupied during practice, Jenna's Boy Baby, and Boy Baby's bottle. Mom attempts to balance all items while keeping an eye on Michaela and Jenna in the parking lot.)
Mom: Jenna, get in the stroller so you can ride.
Jenna: No.
Mom: You want to walk?
Jenna: Yes.
(Mom, Michaela and Jenna begin walking.)
Jenna: Ohhh... it's windy.
Mom: Do you want to put on your sweatshirt?
Jenna: Yeah. And zip it.
(Mom and Jenna stop the procession to zip sweatshirt. Continue walking.)
Jenna: I don't want it zipped.
(Mom and Jenna stop walking to unzip sweatshirt. Continue walking. Michaela, who has asked Mom to carry her soccer ball and has been refused, reluctantly carries the ball but is not walking next to Mom nor really towards the practice field, instead starting to go out onto one of the softball fields.)
Mom: Why don't you try kicking the ball in front of you?
Michaela: No, I don't want to do that. Watch. I'm going to dribble it like a basketball.
(Michaela stops at edge of parking lot to attempt to dribble ball. Loses control of ball, chases after it, and returns to edge of parking lot. Dribbles ball again.)
Michaela: Mom, watch me. Watch. Mom.
Mom: I see you. Michaela, please pick up the ball and start walking. We're going to be late.
Michaela: No we won't.
(Jenna stops walking to touch a handicapped parking sign and stays for closer inspection of said sign. Continues walking. Jenna and Mom reach gravel pathway to practice fields and Michaela continues to wander out onto the grassy fields.)
Jenna: Ohhh... a puddle.
Mom: Please don't go in the puddle. Your shoes will get dirty.
(Jenna stops just short of puddle, bends down and inspects puddle. Continues walking.)
(Jenna and Michaela starting walking together on the field and discover dandelion stems with seeds on them. Both girls stop to pick. Mom continues walking.)
(Just as Mom thinks she's going to start yelling about getting to practice, Michaela presents Mom with a small handmade bouquet of dandelion stems.)
Michaela: Look, Mom, I picked these for you.
Mom: Thanks!
Michaela: Blow on them.
Mom: I don't think there's much on them to blow, honey. Let's keep walking.
(Jenna stops in field to blow dandelions, then continues walking.)
(Mom realizes this is good fodder for a blog entry, calms herself, and continues walking. Mom notices that Jenna is behind her and stops to turn around to see her. Jenna has bent down to pick up gravel and see how far she can throw it.)
Mom: Don't throw the rocks, honey. Let's get to practice.
(Mom, Michaela and Jenna continue walking in the general direction of the fields. After a few minutes, they approach a port-a-potty. Mom desperately hopes that Michaela has gone to the bathroom before leaving for practice.)
Michaela: Mom... I have to go to the bathroom.
Mom: Uhhh... okay. Go ahead in.
Jenna: I want to go with her.
Mom: No, stay out here with me.
Michaela (climbing into port-a-potty): Don't close the door!!
Jenna: I want to go in!!
(Jenna slips through open door and watches her sister pee. Michaela and Jenna exit potty. Continue walking towards field.)
Jenna: Mommy, carry me.
(Mom puts on her own sweatshirt, picks up Jenna, pushes stroller, chair, sweatshirts, backpack, baby, and baby's bottle.)
Jenna: Ohhh... you're heavy!
Mom: No, you're heavy... I'm the one carrying you. Why don't you ride in the stroller so I can push you?
Jenna: Nooo...
Mom: I will carry you for a little bit and then you have to walk.
Jenna: Otay.
(After a few minutes, the field is in sight. Mom, Jenna, Michaela and their stuff makes it to the sidelines. Michaela runs onto field to start practice. Jenna gets out Boy Baby and starts to nurture it. Mom sets up chair so she can rest and get ready for the return walk back.)
The End.

More garage sale highlights

Day two was another rousing success! I am proud to say that of the three SUV-loads of boxes I brought to my parents' house for the sale, only one item came back into my house... a really beautiful baby book that I may have overpriced. I was also very proud of my mom who donated lots of stuff to the Rescue Mission instead of keeping it as her "starter stuff" for her next garage sale. We had several funny moments on day 2...
- Two neighborhood boys, middle school aged, visited our sale about five times on Saturday. They were charming and adorable and bought several random items, like three mismatched stemware glasses, an old leather wallet of mine, a free football-shaped mug and 10 cent jewelry for their moms. The really ironic thing was that their families were also having garage sales that day, so as their poor moms were trying to get rid of stuff, these boys were buying more stuff to bring back in (I accused them at one point of buying our stuff and trying to sell it for more at their garage sale... you know, garage sale 'flippers'.) The boys loved talking to my mom and were giving her the rundown of their families and hobbies and the like and engaged in a bit of one-upmanship with each other- I went to this place on vacation, I have this many bikes, etc. until the younger one blurted out with great enthusiasm, "My dad works for the FBI!" and we all cracked up laughing.
- One shopper, a larger-sized lady who appeared to not be in the best of physical or mental health, asked to use our bathroom and said "it's an emergency!". Not wanting to be completely inhuman but a bit concerned about inviting her into my parents' house, I showed her in. She used the facilities and told my mom how beautiful the house was and how this was the second time she had to go to the bathroom this morning. My mom helpfully offered, "Maybe you're coming down with something..." to which she replied, "No... I stunk up your bathroom." You just can't make this stuff up.
- Watching people going through our stuff at the end of the day as we are literally putting the leftovers into boxes to give away was a trip. We told them to just take it for free and it was like Christmas morning. On the first day, people were on their hands and knees going through boxes of old household items like there was money in the bottom of the box. We think that it capitalized on the trademark of the serious garage-sale shopper: the work of the hunt for treasure.

Friday, September 28, 2007

In search of bargains

Today was Day One of the two day sale extravaganza that is the Davies/Libutti Garage Sale... and what a success it was!! We think we netted about $200 profit, mostly on items sold for a nickel. That's a LOT of stuff. I have been setting lots of things aside in boxes and cluttering up our garage, much to Danny's dismay, to "save" for the garage sale for the last two years or so. Dan said to me this morning before he left for work: "Well, today's the day that all that saving is finally over- today's the day it all comes to fruition!" We had a good time meeting very friendly and sweet people, some of whom told us in great detail why they needed that particular item or tried to whittle us down from 50 cents ("Will you take 25?" they ask with one eyebrow raised). We had many people who came early in the morning and then came back, which was funny. We are setting up tomorrow for Day Two and will celebrate by going out to dinner (to Michaela's favorite place, "Pizzarina Uno's") with our proceeds and hitting Build A Bear on the way out to reward M for making it through the week at school. She did really well this week... a few tears this morning at the bus stop because "I just don't like getting up and going to school in the morning... I liked kindergarten better!!" but made a quick recovery and had a good day at school. It's Friday, so that means she buys lunch for Pizza Day at school. Mommy loves Friday Pizza Days because then she doesn't have to pack a lunch the night before. Sometimes it's the little things that thrill us most.
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Two funny things have popped out of Michaela's mouth in the last few days...
Today we were in the nursery at church and she jumped off of a slide and came off of it a bit quicker than she anticipated. Landing safely, she stood up and stated, "That scared the hell out of me!" I wasn't sure who I was more worried about hearing her comment: the elderly woman helping me in the nursery or the three other 2 year olds I was caring for who are prone to repeat what they've heard. Thankfully, no one seemed to notice and we were off the hook.
The other incident happened last week. Michaela likes to practice rhyming words in the car- I think they do lots of rhyming in class as reading-readiness exercises- so she'll tell me an ending sound and we have to rhyme it: Cat, mat, fat, hat, etc. She suggested the "it" sound and we went through the ones you'd expect: mit, hit, kit, fit, bit - and she proudly and totally without any idea what she was saying said "shit!" I coughed so she couldn't hear me laugh and told her that it's not a nice word.

In other Michaela news, she was fabulously successful in her soccer game today- she scored two goals!! She was so proud and so were we. I was so happy for her to enjoy some good times after a tough week at school. She is having trouble in the mornings, crying and saying she doesn't want to be at school all day. When she returns home, she is energetic and full of stories and in good spirits so I think she is fine while she is there. It's a HUGE adjustment... so many new changes and routines both at school and at home (all of us have had to get used to getting up and ready by 9am). Friday was the first day of the week she only cried at home and not at school and she was very proud of that. She is excited about going back to school and loves the art class she has on Monday at school. Keep your fingers crossed that tomorrow morning goes smoothly!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Almost, but not quite right

Here is the scene: Michaela has done something to Jenna to really tick her off. Both girls are standing in our kitchen, facing each other, toe to toe. My sweet, gentle, quiet, sensitive little Jenna stomps her foot, thrusts an outstretched pointer finger in Michaela's face, and screams, "You are sooo mad at me!!" Oh, Jenna... almost, but not quite right.
Thankfully, Michaela sees the humor in the whole situation and giggles.
P.S. In almost six years, I can count on one hand how many times Michaela has stomped her foot in frustration. Jenna has done it countless times in two years. Wonder what my house will be like in 13 years...


Persistence is a virtue: it is a wonderful attribute for an adult facing a tough challenge. Stick-to-it-iveness is a sign of leadership, strength, and courage. On Wednesday night, we saw in the Libutti household Jenna's level of persistence and were awed... and wanted to kill her.
Jenna woke up at 3:10am Thursday morning, most likely because I had left her window open a crack and it got a little too chilly. When she woke up, I went in to her room, closed the window, gave her an extra blanket and tried to settle her down. After a few minutes, I left. She was not happy. Then Dan went in to see her. A little while later I went back in. Then Dan went in one more time to tell her to knock it off.
Want to guess what time our persistent one finally gave up and went back to sleep?
At times it was comical; I even giggled in our bed because she got so ridiculous. She was crying, then screaming, then screeching, then would settle down and was just calling out, "Dad. (3 second pause) Dad. Daddy. (another pause) Dad..." and of course tried yelling ,"Mom-my! Mom-my!" a hundred times. At one point she was saying, "Get me out!!! Get me out!!!" and got extra points for creativity when she yelled, "Me wanna take a nap!" which is Jenna-ese for "get me out of the crib, let's sit on the couch together all comfy-cozy and you nurse me until I fall back asleep again."
She obviously woke me, Dan, and Michaela up. She even ticked off the cat and SHE started caterwauling. It was quite a scene. But we were tough and didn't rescue her and the next night she was back to sleeping through the night with no problem.
So when Jenna is all grown up, and is facing some type of obstacle in her life, I can tell her with confidence, "You know, Jen, you can stick to it and succeed... if you can scream for two and a half hours just to get out of your crib, you can push any agenda, no matter how small, forward to completion."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tie-dyed Tigers in action

Here's an action shot of Michaela from Saturday's game. Go Tigers!

Sick of it already, Part II

So it turns out Michaela DOES have strep throat. She is home today and on antibiotics. She woke up yesterday complaining of a sore throat and "my tummy feels sorta very grumpy" which I thought was a pretty good way of describing it. She stayed home from school and we all went to the doctor in the morning and got our confirming diagnosis. Michaela is in good spirits, though, and you'd really barely know she was sick. I think she is thrilled to be able to stay home for a few days with Mommy and Jenna and we are happy to have her with us (Jenna cried after Michaela got on the bus on Monday). Jenna is also thrilled that the trip to the doctor was not for her... she usually carries on pretty well at her well baby visits and this time was much more interested in the world around her. She even started asking as we were leaving, "Where the docturrrr?" and when we showed her his office in the next room, she said,"OOhhhhh!" like you had explained the mysteries of the universe to her.
In Mommy news, I attended my very first PTA meeting yesterday and felt like I had graduated to the next level of motherhood: elementary school mom. It actually was quite interesting (found out lots of details about the bomb threat the district received on the first day of school... how fun!) and met some nice, non-annoying women. Our district is moving from a half-day to full day kindergarten program and is also re-districting all the kids among the five elementary schools so lots of changes are afoot. I did feel like I was able to use my brain for an hour and do some critical thinking- a treat for the stay at home mom.
The pictures above are completely unneccesary but adorable shots of Jenna being June Cleaver- vacuuming in heels- and Jenna playing in the hamper in our room... at 10:15pm.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sick of it already?

Early Monday morning I heard Michaela get out of bed and lay down on our couch, which she does a few times per month when she has a bad dream or has woken up for whatever reason. I went out to check on her and she said she was fine. An hour later, she came into our room and told me she had strep throat. I got up with her and she did feel warm so I gave her Tylenol and sat up with her for awhile. In the morning, she was cool; I asked her how she felt and she answered, "fine", which was a bit surprising. I asked her, "Do you want to go to school?" and the moment I said that I knew that I had phrased that wrong... rookie mistake of a mom of an elementary-aged child. Of course she answered, "No!" I told her, "Let me rephrase that...are you sick?" and she said no and went off to school yesterday. By the time Jenna hits first grade, I'll be a pro.
In Jenna news, here is a sampling of some cute things she has come out with in the last few days.
-She walked into the kitchen and announced, "Here me are!" (for "Here I am!")
-I told her I loved her yesterday and she told me, "I yove you, too." (ALMOST makes up for all the holding, nursing, and crying... almost , but not quite.)
-Jenna told me a rather long sentence yesterday and I couldn't quite catch what she was saying. I asked her to sat it again and she told me, rather exasperated, "Nevermind." Apparently it wasn't worth the effort to repeat it.
-Dan and I learned yesterday that she knows the names of all the Disney Princesses...and knows which Princess is her favorite, Michaela's favorite, and my mom's favorite. Even though she just started talking, we do think she has been taking it all in for the last year and know is coming out with it.

Michaela scored a goal in her first soccer game... Go Michaela!!! She is on the Tie-dyed Tigers and their shirts are tie-dyed red, white and blue. She had her first art class in school yesterday and that was a big hit; they started a project on a self-portrait...she told me she was "really busy" in school yesterday. I bought her supplies for her family party yesterday... we're having an Ariel from the Little Mermaid theme and Party City had some adorable stuff. Today we are off to Lee, MA to do some outlet shopping. Gotta start shopping for more pink clothes for my new niece!!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Day Two

Ahhh, the first official weekend of school! Day two was also a success... she even figured out how to buy lunch and had pizza today. I forgot to include this cute quote from the orientation day- after we left the classroom, Michaela said to me, "Ummm, I didn't see a whole lot of TOYS in the classroom..."
Last night at dinner, Jenna (who watched Michaela get on the bushhh yesterday) asked for more shhaushh (sauce)on her meatloaf. Too funny!
Tonight is our first soccer practice and tomorrow morning is game 1. Jenna got her hair cut today and looks adorable. I and my mom worked on invitations for Beth's baby shower- look at their blog for the exciting news.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Michaela's first day of first grade

Michaela's first day of school was a success! We had a feeling all would go well after attending the orientation yesterday and toatlly falling in love with her teacher. Mrs. Ferrentino is very experienced and sweet, kind, and gentle, and instantly engaged with her students. Michaela and I went in to get her desk (a real desk!) set up, bring in her 18 supplies, and generally get aquainted with the room. She has a few familiar faces in her class, including her friend John from down the street. The ironic story of the day was when we were walking down to school, Michaela said, "I hope Connor isn't in my class!" because she had not liked him in kindergarden. And whose smiling face do we see as soon as we walk into the classroom? Connor's!
After the successful orientation, her jitters were a bit calmed and we got ready in a timely fashion this morning (a miracle in itself). Dan went in late to work so he could see her get on the bus (or as Jenna calls it, "the busssh"). She climbed up the steps with confidence and we were happy to see our baby girl officially become an elementary school student!
The bus brought her back at about 3:45pm and she was not as tired as I thought she'd be and in good spirits. Though she doesn't like to share too much info, this is the basic run down: school was fine; recess was fun; gym was fine; we played outside and learned rules of how to play nicely in gym; my lunch was okay; I saw some of my friends from last year at recess; a boy spoke meanly at me when we were lined up and I told him to stop but he didn't so I told the teacher and he had to go to the back of the line.
Hooray for successful first days! In related news, Jenna starts preschool in roughly 365 days from today. Not that I'm counting.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Plymouth Vacation pics

We conquered Plymouth! We took a few days off last week to get a nice change of scenery and ended up doing almost everything there is to do in Plymouth, MA. We had great weather- cool and overcast the first two days and then sunny and warm the last day- perfect for the beach. The first day we checked out the Plymouth Harbor, which had beautiful views of the water and tons of boats protected by a long breakwater and also Water Street, which was filled with ice cream shops (we enjoyed Ziggy's homemade ice cream- twice!), a hotel, the required t-shirt stores, restaurants, and the like. Towards the end of the street on the Harbor is a replica of the Mayflower, which we went on. It was really interesting; there was an interactive exihibit on shore about the Pilgrims' diet at sea (lots of sodium; no vitamins), their navigational tools, and some of the mechanics of the boat. I eat that stuff up, so I was in heaven. We ate dinner overlooking the harbor and then took a sunset cruise on a paddle boat called the Pilgrim Belle to finish up the day. While on the boat, we called my parents and told them they weren't the only people in the family going on cruises and Michaela thought that was pretty funny. The next day we visited Plimoth Plantation and saw a recreated 1627 Wamponaug homesite and a Pilgrim village. The Wamponaug homesite had actual Wamponaug people in native dress cooking, gardening, etc. and you could ask them questions about their culture and history. On a sign approaching the village, it cautioned visitors to be culturally sensitive: "Do not say 'How!' to them nor do any war whooping at them." It makes you wonder how many hormone driven teenagers have visited there on field trips and driven those poor people crazy. (On a side note, as we were leaving, we passed an employee parking lot and I said to Dan, "I wonder what kind of cars the local Wamponaugs drive to work?" and he answered, "Probably Jeep Cherokees.")
We went into Hyannis on the Cape- a 45 minute drive- in the afternoon and evening and went on the Hyannis Harbor cruise (a Libutti vacation tradition... I think we have paid for about half of that boat), ate outside on the Harbor at Baxter's Fish and Chips, and went miniature golfing, which was a blast with the girls. Michaela played a hole ahead of us because we are obviously too slow and then would yell back her score to us as she whizzed to the next hole. ("I got a four!") Jenna had an interesting technique of dragging the club rather than swinging and eventually just carried the ball in her pocket (her "pock") and would walk over to the hole and drop it in. She's very practical that way.
On the last day we squeezed in a quick visit to the beach in Plymouth and ate lunch at the Cabby Shack, where there were multiple outdoor decks overlooking the Harbor. It was beautiful and delicious. Then we embarked on the highlight of the trip- the Pirate Excursion aboard the Lobster Tales boat. For $16 apiece (even Jenna!) we joined other families with kids, mostly boys Michaela's age quivering with excitement, and pretended we were a pirate ship looking for treasure. We sailed out to the Harbor, following our Treasure Map aboard the ship, where we found a very cute, highly decorated boat (see picture above)that had stolen our treasure and we had to shoot the pirate aboard that ship with our water cannons until we could haul the treasure ashore. We celebrated with Buccaneer brew (or root beer as we land lubbers call it), and then played the Hokey Pokey and the Limbo on the way back to the dock. The captain also pulled up a lobster trap which was filled with different crabs and lobsters that the kids were able to touch and pass around. All the kids wore paper pirate hats or skull caps (available for $5) and got their faces painted. The whole thing was such a blast... a brilliant idea and a memorable part of our trip.
As we were pulling into the dock, the captain on our boat announced that fishermen had caught a huge tuna and were hauling into a truck on the other side of the dock and encouraged us to check it out, which we did. It was a 586 pound tuna and completely unbelievable in size and girth. It was about 7 feet long and twice as big around as a large-boned man. I took pictures of it in the truck, where it can be sold to Japanese merchants on the Harbor, trucked on ice to Logan Airport and flown out on the next flight to Tokyo. We learned about this in town from one of the merchants... the fishermen used to get about $25 grand for tuna that size but now they can earn about $5000-$6000. No wonder the fisherman's wife was so excited on the dock!
We were exhausted from our trip but it was so good to get away and have some really nice family time together. The girls were very well-behaved and seemed to enjoy most of the things we did, especially being on the boats, and we had a glimpse of how fun and easy family vacations can be in the future.
So for now it is back to reality... we are preparing for school, buying supplies, shoes, boots, clothing, and getting back into routines and starting ealier bed times. Michaela's first day back is Sept. 6th and we are all emotionally ready for her to return. Soccer starts next Friday, choir will start again for her in a few weeks, and we are looking forward to that stuff as well. I am going to sign Jenna and I up for a few little classes- storytime at the library and a music class in town- so we can do some fun things together while Sissy is in school. We are ready for fall!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Off to the Fair

Last night was a beautiful night... clear and cool and so we decided to visit the Altamont Fair, which is all this week. I have always loved the Altamont Fair, which is like a three-county agricultural fair with animals, attractions, music, a midway and lots of food.
There is a funny family story about the Altamont Fair... as a child, at the end of the school year we would practice addressing envelopes by writing our own name and address and the school would send us tickets to the Fair during the summer. Every summer I would be sooo excited to get a piece of mail and would beg my mom to let us go check out the fair. But, having the Dickins-esque childhood that I did (ha ha), the Fair was declared off limits for being too hot and "FILTHY!!" by my grandmother. I finally did make it to the Fair (insert swelling background music and a gentle tear rolling down the cheek here) with my parents when I was college age and loved it, but it was kind of filthy.
I have dragged Dan several times during our marriage and he is totally out of his element there. I, on the other hand, have always had a secret dream of being a farmer and absolutely revel in it- the animals, the people, the farm machinery, the smells, and the "this is the highlight of my summer" atmosphere. I really can't explain it except that I have great respect for people who can care for animals and work hard and enjoy simple pleasures in life... I think I enjoy the unpretentiousness of it all.
But Dan is a good sport and comes along. We went after Dan came home from work and first enjoyed some fair food and then started walking around. We saw lots of animals and vendors and even listened for awhile to a great live rock band. Both girls were dancing and clapping and having a great time. Jenna is particularly fun to watch as she dances by stomping one foot and waving her elbows around like a chicken. Michaela has a lot more style and claps well to the beat.
We came upon a small circus tent and a show was starting in ten minutes. People were pouring into it and we decided to check it out, thinking it would last about fifteen minutes or so and be kind of hokey. Well, it was AWESOME!! It was called the Zoppe Family Circus and they are a real old-fashioned Italian circus family that travels around the Eastern US. It was a fantastic show, with a great clown and dogs and horses and different family members doing circus-y stunts. It was also really funny and Michaela was roaring with laughter. They have a website where you can check them out. After the show they mingled with the crowd and you could hug them and get your picture taken with them. I knew how much Michaela liked it because she wanted to hug Nino, the clown who was the main character, and that would generally terrify her. Heck, I even hugged Nino and told him how much we enjoyed the show.
After the circus, we enjoyed some fried dough (a fair isn't a fair without it) and went on a quest that only parents of small children could understand. Earlier in the evening Michaela had spotted kids wearing a hat of loop of paper with a feather stapled to the back, sticking up, like an old Indian headdress. It was an ad for a water purifying system vendor that was there giving them out. Let me say this: it was brilliant marketing because we spent about 45 minutes searching for this booth, with Michaela asking approximately every five seconds where we could get a hat, can we find it, can she get one, etc. We asked three different families if they remembered where it was and finally the last mother and her tween daughter took pity on us and offered to give Michaela the hat they had. I thanked them profusely and saw the understanding in the mom's face of parents desperate to appease their children.
After spending the 20 bucks to get in, watching this circus show for an hour, seeing all the sights, and enjoying yummy food, it was the three-cent hat that made the night a hit. That is the joy of children.

This is an excerpt from an actual conversation I had with Michaela this afternoon. In the spirit of Dave Barry, I am not making this up.
We were driving in the car home from my parents' house. Jenna was low-level whining because I had given her a few broken pieces of an Oreo cookie there and she wanted more and I said no. She continued the whining throughout the conversation, which contributed to my lack of patience.
Mommy: Jenna, stop whining. That's enough.
Michaela: Why is Jen whining?
Because I gave her Oreo cookies at Gam's and she wants more.
Where did she eat them?
In the kitchen.
But where were they?
In the pantry.
In the package near the other treats.
Can I have some?
No, we're going home. And there are only crumbs left.
Why can't I have any?
Michaela, there are none left. There are other treats besides the Oreo cookies you can have there.
What's an Oreo cookie?
It's a chocolate cookie with white cream in the middle. (At this point I begin to really wonder if my brain will explode and how people can have the patience to deal with this and not scream.)
Oh... I don't like those cookies.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Quick hits...

Lots has been happening here at the Libutti house... here are some highlights:
1. I am just recovering from my second, and hopefully last, bout of mastitis. For those of you who may not be familiar with this, it is an infection of the boob that becomes systemic and makes for one very sick, very miserable mommy. Somehow one or more of the milk ducts gets clogged and infected and make the boob hard as a rock (like a bad implant job) and also brings along fever, puking, and unbearable fatigue. I have been on the couch for three days and am finally back up to speed. I am on a nice antibiotic which is helping. The lone funny moment to come out of this was Jenna inspecting the infected boob and saying, "No, Mommy... other side." She wanted nothing to do with that red, swollen boob.
2. We booked a vacation for next week in Plymouth, MA for a few nights at the beach. We are very much looking forward to a change of scenery.
3. I am planning a little baby celebration for my friend Sara next week. She is having her second baby, a boy, so I have enjoyed buying blue stuff. A few of our girlfriends are coming over to have some cake and shower her with gifts and good luck. How fun!
4. Michaela went to Vacation Bible School last week and had a great time. It is a fantastically well-run program and a joy to send her. In a related note, a two page letter to the town about the other camp experience is on our counter about to be mailed out.
5. Jenna has learned some new words, including "wight here"... as in "where to you want your cup?" "Wight here!" Very cute.

Well, Jenna has just fallen off the bed and Michaela is sculking around acting very guilty. I better get to the bottom of what happened.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Scenes of summer

Monday, July 30, 2007

Reflections on a good day

It was a good day today at the Libutti House:
1. I got lots of laundry done that was piling up.
2. Michaela found a pair of pajamas, which she had only worn once, that had been missing. They were under her dresser, probably placed there by daughter #2.
3. I cleaned up our bedroom and put away a few things that had been bugging me every time I stepped over them.
4. We Libutti girls got invited out to lunch by Daddy and enjoyed a very fun lunch at Fudrucker's, which was yummy AND very fun to say out loud.
5. After lunch, Jenna and I took a really nice lie-down on the couch... I dozed and listened for Michaela every few minutes. She played quietly and totally amused herself for about an hour. It was delicious. It was afternoons like this that I will greatly miss when the time comes for me to go back to work.
6. I used a gift certificate I got for Mother's Day and got an hour massage this evening. The masseuse used the most beautiful words in the English language: "I lost track of time and massaged you for an extra twenty minutes... Hope that's okay." Honestly. She said that. And it was fantastically okay.

Funny Michaela story of the week: Michaela LOVES to negotiate with her father and me, especially about food. Her greatest negotiation is after meals... had she had enough of the good food to get a treat. Yesterday she was debating with me after lunch. This was roughly the play by play:
Michaela: "If I finish my carrots can I have a treat?"
Mommy: "Yes."
"Can I have a treat and a stick of gum?"
"If I finish my carrots AND pasta, can I have both?"
"Why not?"
"If you finish both, you can have a treat."
"Why can't I have both if I finish both?"
"Michaela, just eat your lunch and have your Popsicle and stop talking to me about it. That's enough."
"I love it when we play this game!"
To which I tickled her mercilessly.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hoffman's Playland

In my effort to catch up with the events of the last few weeks, here is my third post of the day (I hope you enjoy all these posts, Carrie!). We had a great time at Hoffman's, a small preschool/elementary age-geared amusement park about 20 minutes from here. The girls rode every ride and Uncle Brian and Daddy rode the scarier ones with our fearless rider Michaela. We got lots of nice pictures and I actually remember this day because the weather was sunny and not 93 degrees. (See previous post about Great Escape.) We finished off the day with some ice cream, which made it perfect.
In other news, I called the town today about the camp (see previous post) and had a pleasant conversation with the Assistant Administrator of the Parks/Rec dept. I felt like I vented a bit and felt better. Michaela has chosen not to go tomorrow but does want to go to the Town Park field trip on Thursday. I am hoping she will pal around with someone then and want to go for the last day on Friday.
We went to the library tonight for a nice storytime... the girls had fun. Afterwards we explored some puzzles and books at the library children's area and Michaela and Mommy met some new friends who were also at storytime. We are planning on getting together next week for a playdate.
Tomorrow night I am getting out with some girlfriends to talk about Blue Like Jazz, a great book that Brian recommended to me and we all are reading and discussing. I may stay out all night... it was a long day today.

Camp Underwhelming

We signed Michaela up for a summer camp through our town, who generally has good programming. It's called Camp Whatablast and said the week would involve games, arts and crafts, and field trips. It sounded really fun so I sent in my $150 check for five full days of camp.
We went yesterday for the first day and it was a disaster. I felt so bad for her because she was so excited and a little nervous since we didn't know anyone there. I mentioned to two of the counselors that she was looking to meet some new people, hoping that they would introduce her to some kids or at least kind of stick with her and help integrate her in but they both said hello and then moved on. They started the day by coloring on blank paper with markers and crayons. When I went back at 12 :15pm to check on her (I had a bad feeling), they were coloring on blank paper with crayons and markers. When I came 15 minutes early to pick her up, they were... coloring on blank paper with crayons and markers. It was like the worst daycare I'd ever seen. To make matters worse, each time I went, the three or four counselors were all bunched together talking and not interacting with the kids.
Today they are going to a waterslide park in Mass. - 45 minutes away. I told them yesterday that Michaela wouldn't be going. There is no way I'm sending my five year old on a bus across state lines to go to a waterslide park with disengaged camp counselors and all older kids (there are only 26 kids in this session, 1st through 5th grade and they are all lumped together with more kids on the older side. All the kids looked miserable to me- like they had been dumped there.) I told Michaela that she can decide if she wants to go back. They are taking a trip to our town Park an Thursday and she wants to go, which is fine with me as there is plenty of supervision there. We'll see about the other days.
Needless to say, we will make some phone calls to whoever is in charge and write some letters to get our money back. We were hoping this would be a great enrichment for her summer, but it turned out to be glorified day care, and really not very glorified at all- just boring.

No vay!

Jenna's new words: instead of saying no, she says "No vay!" for "No way!" When she really gets into it, she sweeps her arm in front of her.
Mom and Dad's reaction: Oh, it's cute the first few times you hear it... but when you're trying to go into the bank and Jenna is refusing to wear one of her shoes, screaming, "No vay! NO VAY!" in your face, it's really not so cute. Somehow I feel like I'm listening to a petulant 15 year old.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Two funny Jenna stories

Here are two of my favorites for the past two weeks:
1. My mom, Michaela, Jenna and I went to the mall earlier this week and Michaela roped us into bringing two strollers so she could ride in one and Jenna ride in the other. (Yes, she is a bit spoiled.) As we were coming into the mall elevator, my mom commented, "I wish someone would push me around the mall in a stroller" to which I replied, "Me too!" and then Jenna added in her little voice, while sitting in the stroller my mom was pushing: "Me, too!"
2. We had our church directory photos taken last Friday. They turned out horrific of me but Dan and the girls look okay. There was one nice pic of Jenna and Michaela which we bought. One of the sacrifices I have made as a parent is to put the picture in the directory that is awful of me but good of the girls. No, no need to applaud my selflessness... it comes with being a loving mother.
Anyway, as we were getting dressed at home in our somewhat gay color-coordinated outfits, Jenna walked in on me as I was changing my bra and top. She saw me naked from the waist up and her eyes got REAL big and she said (and I am not making this up), "Oh my dad!"
I need to explain that we say 'Oh my dad' instead of 'Oh my God' because of a Will Farrell skit we once saw in which he is dressed like Jesus and says, "Oh My Dad!" It struck us as really funny when we saw it and now we say it all the time.
After she exclaimed her joy at seeing my boobs- both at once and out in the open- she reached up with both hands outstretched to try to touch them. I immediately started to get dressed and thought that more privacy for Mommy is probably a good thing.
I tried to get her to say it again, to which she told me "No, no say oh my dad." which was just as cute.

Our Great Escape

On Tuesday of last week, we headed an hour north to the Great Escape amusement park. We went last summer and Michaela really had a ball; this year both girls were able to ride many of the attractions. Some of the shows (the famous diving show!) and rides I remember from when I was a teenager. This year was nice as I didn't have to nurse Jenna on any of the rides, like I did last year. (It's another funny place to put on the "Places Jenna Has Nursed List.") Little things like that make me feel like we're making good progress.
So the day was a hit except for the fact that it was 93 degrees and humid, and the Great Escape has jacked up its food and drink prices so a bottled water would have cost us $3.50. Honestly, all I remember from the day is my brain screaming,"It's HOT! It's HOT!!" and searching for water fountains. Towards the end of the day we found this fantastic misting station, like on NFL games, and we stood in front of that as long as we could to try to cool off. Thank goodness I took pictures of the girls or I would have no memory of the roughly $130 we spent, I mean, good times we had.
Michaela loves the rides no matter what the thrill level and is excited to grow a few more inches so she can go on everything. Nothing scares her- neither heights nor speed nor peril. She did, however, get a little freaked out by the superheroes in costumes but did ten times better than last year when she screamed and clutched us in fear as they walked past.

For a few pictures from the day in which you can see the girls progressively getting hotter, click this link:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Our Fabulous Fourth

One of our favorite parties of the year is Aidan's birthday party on July 4th. We always have such a great time with all the kids in their red, white, and blue (the pictures look so coordinated!!) and everyone is relaxed and enjoying the summer. Aidan turned four this year and was super excited for his party. He got lots of presents related to his favorite things: dinosaurs, superheroes, crocodiles, and pirates. We were joined this year by Judy's brother from Oregon and his two beautiful daughters, who are almost identical in age to our girls. They were a great addition to the group. The picture above is the best shot we got of 10 wriggling kids, amped up on presents, games, and cake.

Amidst all the chaos of the day, Judy, Dan and I remembered that at Michael's first birthday party, there were 2 kids: him and Michaela. Now, there are 10+, depending on the families who come. That's a lot of babies in five years!

Happy, happy birthday to our precious Godson Aidan. We love you to pieces!

Finders Keepers

Look what I picked up at Price Chopper the other day! (Too bad it wasn't a buy one-get two free deal... it would may the 2 vs.3 children debate a lot easier!!)

So much to blog, so little time

Wow!!! What a few weeks it has been. I again have been delinquent in my updates but will attempt to catch up... though it may take several posts. We had a blowout party at the Strauss House for Aidan's birthday on the Fourth of July and Danny was off last week so we did lots of fun stuff. My brother and Beth were in town and we spent lots of time together, as well as caught up with our friends Mark and Carrie, who were also in town with B and B for a friends' wedding... check out their blog for pics and details of that fun night. Besides all that, we have had our normal day to day shenanigans and goings on.
Let me sum it up this way: I have taken over 200 pictures in the last two weeks. I will not bore you with all of them but have selected a few that I will post for your viewing pleasure.