Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Today's laugh

I was making dinner this evening and Jenna was watching me from her perch on the countertop (Jenna has always loved watching me cook and do work in the kitchen). Michaela was playing in the living room and carrying on her own conversation. Michaela had one of her dolls say, "You are driving your mother crazy!" which is clearly something she has heard me say multiple times. I called into Michaela, "Who is driving their mother crazy?" and Jenna yells out, proud as a peacock, "Me!!" and points to her chest. We all got a good laugh out of it and Jenna was very proud of herself for making such a funny joke.

I was happy to see Jenna make a joke as she had thrown a 40 minute tantrum earlier in the afternoon... we have started (for the third time) the weaning process and I am cutting her nursing times down week by week. She was sooo not happy with my refusal of her demand to nurse... I am trying to stay strong!!! First she sleeps in her crib, next she may not breastfeed anymore... it will be like living a different life!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The short adventures of Shermie

The order of events at the Libutti house on Saturday afternoon:
2:30pm- Michaela finds a tiny green caterpillar and wants to keep it as a pet. Mommy tells her that it's Mommy and Daddy will miss it if we take it inside. Daddy helpfully chimes in that he doesn't think caterpillars have mommies and daddies and Mommy shoots him a dirty look.
2:35pm- A new home is made for said caterpillar, now named Shermie, out of a plastic container. Michaela emphasizes the need for air holes on top. Grass, leaves , a stick and a little water is put into the container.
3pm- Michaela starts watching SpongeBob Squarepants and Mommy and Jenna lay down for a little nap. Shermie quietly hangs out in his new abode.
3:05-3:30pm- Michaela decides to take Shermie out to play.
3:45pm- "Look, Mommy, Shermie is on the remote."
4pm- "Mom... Shermie's crawling on you!"
4:13pm- Mommy starts to wonder how much more 'fun' Shermie can handle.
4:17pm- "Mommy, Shermie's not moving anymore."
4:30pm- "Mommy... I squished Shermie. I'm really sorry." (Probably not as sorry as Shermie is/was.)
4:31pm- Mommy asks Michaela to wipe Shermie's remains off with a napkin and wash her hands.
So much for watching Shermie transform into a beautiful butterfly.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Aches and Pains

Our adventure today was going to the pediatrician... Jenna woke up yesterday very restless and crying and couldn't seem to get comfortable. I gave her every kind of medicine I had to try to salvage the day- Tylenol, decongestants (she had developed a little head cold the day before)- and that seemed to make her better. At 4:40 pm yesterday... 10 minutes after the doctor's office closes... she woke up from her nap and pointed to her ear and said "ouchie." While I felt so bad for her that her ear hurt, I internally rejoiced that she is now of the age that she can tell me what is hurting her. Victory!!

I kept her on Tylenol throughout the day and night and she did well. This morning I called and got an 11am appointment. The girls got dressed in their red, white and blue outfits, celebrating Memorial Day a little early, and we all wore pigtails. I must say we were a pretty cute threesome. Jenna did indeed have a ear infection so we got a prescription and were off to the grocery store to fill it.

These are some of the factors that made this seemingly simple trip to the doctor's and to get the script filled take us about an hour and a half:
1. At the doctor's, we were in and out, but it took Michaela at least five minutes to pick out an appropriate sticker at the check out desk.
2. Walking into the grocery store, both girls have to walk on any available curb/ landscaped area. Any time Jenna climbs up over 1/8 inch off the ground, she needs help coming down. I am nervous that one or both will get run down at any moment. Getting them into the store is akin to herding cats.
3. Once in the store, the heavy negotiations begin. Can I get a donut? (Yes.) How about gum? (Maybe.) Can I get both? (No.) If I am a good girl, can I get both? (We'll see.) Nyum-Nyums? (That's Jenna-speak for M&M's.) (Yes.) Can I get whatever kind of gum I want? (No.) Can we get a car cart? (We don't need a car cart- we're just getting Jenna's medicine.) Can I sit in the front basket of a regular cart? (Why don't we just walk around...)
4. After we dropped off the script, we did get a donut for each of the girls. This was an important decision and several options were explored by both girls before settling on glazed with a chocolate frosting and half covered in sprinkles.
5. We went to sit in the deli area and then the trips to the water fountain (three times) began. Shockingly, Michaela did not ask to use the restroom.
6. After waiting the twenty minutes for the script to get filled, bellies filled with donuts, Michaela wants to go wait by the pharmacy. Jenna spies a bench nearby and decides it's necessary to nurse.. you know, a little milk to wash down that donut. As I'm nursing her, they call our name and I fumble to get up and get going, all the while telling Jenna, "Let go of me... let go..." and the college aged boy behind the counter sees what I'm doing, gets flustered and say, "Take your time!" I pull myself together (in clothing and spirit) and pay. Jenna decides she is not really interested in wearing shoes any more. She starts taking them off, I put them back on, she screams bloody murder and I scoop her up and carry her.
7. Now it's off to pay for the donuts. We search for a line that's reasonably short, since I'm carrying Jenna, and Jenna squirms to get down so she can see the M&Ms properly. I let her get down because I am quickly running out of energy. She puts a bag of M&Ms on the checkout belt, and when they magically disappear out of sight, she grabs another and puts it on the belt. I notice that they're on sale (3 for 99 cents!) and grab another. It'll be a good snack for during Jenna's nap after lunch. The girls spy a mirror at their eye level, used by checkers to make sure there is nothing on the bottom of grocery carts, and they stop for a moment to admire themselves and make some silly faces. They need several verbal nudges to rip themselves away.
8. Repeat #2 in reverse to get back to the car. We get home and get Michaela's snack packed for school, make a quick sandwich, and herd her out the door in 15 minutes.
Whew! No wonder I'm tired at night.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Michaela stories

Here are two pretty funny Michaela stories from the last few days:

- Yesterday, right before dinner, Michaela inadvertantly stepped on KiKi the cat's (or meow-meow, as Jenna calls her) tail. KiKi meowed pretty loudly in protest and ran away. Michaela was startled by this and said as she was sitting down to dinner, "Geesh... KiKi scared the hell out of me!" I was able to hold it together enough to tell her that's not a nice word ("Say 'heck' instead, honey...") but then had to cough into a napkin to hide that I was laughing so hard. Dan almost choked on his food, too.

- Today we were in the car with our Aunt Joan aka JuJu and Michaela says, "Mommy?... uh, nevermind... JuJu? Can we go to the dollhouse store today?" I guess she has figured out who is the more likely person to take her! Then as they were leaving, I called to JuJu, "Don't let her sucker you into buying too much!" so Michaela turns around and says, "I won't!"
She did return with a t.v., a little dollhouse for her dollhouse, and a tiny dog. She wanted the 4 person family and JuJu tried to put her off, saying she didn't have enough money. Michaela told her not to worry, her Gammie has enough money and will get it for her. M's got the world all figured out.

We are off tonight to see the Learning Fair at Michaela's school... a display of the work they've done all year. It should be pretty cute.

Jenna turns 2

Jenna eating her cake- she got the piece with the big rose!
Family portrait- how cute that M &J are holding hands!
Watching the bouncer inflate... so exciting!
Standing in front of the new toy
So fun!
Well, now that I've gotten all of that philosophy out of the way, I can get back to more important events... like Jenna's big Dora the Explorer-themed birthday bash!! We had a great time on Saturday celebrating together. We had both friends and family over (about thirty in all) for subs, salads, cake and ice cream. The weather wasn't great but the 9 kids we had over all played really well together inside. My cousin Eric put together an awesome Jenna video to the Mamas and Papas' song "My Girl." Jenna was a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing and cried when we sang Happy Birthday. She did manage, however, to recover enough to choke down a good sized piece of pink and white cake.

A few days later, we took out the Little Tykes Double Jump n' Bouncer that we bought with the generous gifts from her family and friends. It was a huge hit with both girls and they want to take it out every night. Here are some pics of the party and the first time in the bouncer.

Thoughts on motherhood

I have thinking alot lately about motherhood and what it means to me to be a mom... I think it started with celebrating Mother's Day, surviving Jenna's puking all weekend, feeling like I both adore and want to strangle my own children (often at the same time) and the ongoing discussion in the Libutti house about having another child (...it's not looking good...).

Dan asked me, "Why do you want another child?"- not in a nasty way, just looking for my reasons- and I tried to quantify what I was feeling. I would love to have another sibling for the girls, I would love to have three girls, I would love to have a boy, I would love to experience pregnancy and birth and baptism and all the other fantastic life events that go with having children. Beyond that, I was stuck. How do you explain in words why you have children? How do you put into words the love you have for your child? My girls are my entire life- even more so now that I am home with them every day and have no other "job" than being their mom. I feel like they are part of me- an extension of who I am, so close to me that not only can I not imagine life without them, I can't even describe life WITH them. I thought maybe it would be like saying , "How much do you love your eyes?" I love having eyes to see both the good and bad life has to offer, beauty and wonder and love, but I could live without my eyes. The analogy doesn't go deep enough. I read somewhere that having children is like growing another heart, but this one is on the outside, exposed and unprotected and I think I like that description the best.

I was watching A Baby Story on TV the other day and a new mom said she was so amazed that now she and her husband have this little person that they will both love together for the rest of their lives. I thought that captured the essence of bringing a child into one's family... in a way, you are married to this child for ever and give them love, support, and friendship as you would give to your spouse. Having children does bring you closer together as a couple... the family you make together is your beautiful creation. (Of course, nothing stresses a marriage more than having children, too... but I think getting through the tough times usually deepens the overall experience).

Being a mom is a tough job. It is a marathon that tests one's endurance, patience, selflessness, and tolerance. It's about being puked on and not getting mad. It's about giving up sleep and free time. It's about watching the Diego Saves Christmas DVD 856,472,581 times and still singing along ("Santa, don't forget us/Santa please remember/ we're celebrating Christmas at the animal rescue center..."). It's about making meals that get eaten, doing laundry that just gets worn again, and picking up toys that get taken out again- every day. It's about making decisions about what clothes to wear, activities to do, rules to enforce, food to eat, friends to play with, and books to read- every day.

When I first had Jenna, we bought Michaela a book called Big Sister Dora that talks about how exciting it is to have a new person in your family. The book describes a baby as someone who "drinks from a bottle, sleeps in a cradle, wears diapers and likes to be rocked to sleep." I was so traumatized from the constant needs of Jenna to be held, nursed, and be with only me that I would read the book and be FURIOUS and want to scream to the author: "They do NOT all drink from bottles!! They do NOT sleep in cradles!!! They do NOT smile when they are first born, like Dora's twin brother and sister do!!! This is not true!! They cry and poop and refuse bottles and nurse for hours and don't want anyone else to hold them and then they cry some more!!!" Heck, Jenna's two years old and it still kind of bugs me when I read it.

But oh, the joys... watching them grow and smile and laugh and learn and listen and love. Exposing them to to the world and seeing them rejoice in it. Guiding them to be decent, loving, kind, faithful people. The hugs and kisses and unconditional love they give you. The pride you feel when they've done something great. Holding a sleeping baby. Delicious! That is so much bigger than a load of laundry or a sleepless night. The bad stuff is so little and the good stuff is so impossibly big.

I told a friend of mine, who was expecting her first baby, "Kids are alot of work... but when I think of how many millions of times I've smiled and laughed because of them, it is so worth it."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I am listing these things that I am sooo thankful for:
1. Our air conditioner is now fixed- and it was at no cost to us.
2. We now have a prettier, smaller thermostat on our wall for the heat and a/c.
3. I am almost caught up from the laundry from all the mess this weekend. (See previous post.)
4. We have hot water and now know how to relight our pilot light.
5. Jenna has not been sick in over 24 hours.
6. We had our first-of-the-season cookout last night and had a great time.
7. Jenna's belated birthday cake was delicious.
8. My mom was kind enought to take the girls for an hour this morning so I could get stuff done uninterrupted. (See #3 above.)
9. I have a wonderful husband who loves to clean out refridgerators (see previous post).
10. I have two beautiful girls who are the loves of my life.

The bad news: Michaela told me this morning she feels like she's going to throw up. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 14, 2007

"Years from now, we'll look back on this and laugh..."

It is hard to put into words all the things that have happened at the Libutti house since Thursday of last week... here is a quick recap:

On Thursday, it finally got pretty warm here and at about 2pm I decided to put on the A/C so the house would be cool and comfortable when Dan got home. It didn't turn on- no clicks, no fan, no nothing. Our upstairs got to be a toasty 83 degrees in the evening. Not fun.

On Friday, a thunderstorm jolted Dan and I awake at about 4:30am. Then our power went off. It came back on about an hour later, but when Dan went to take a shower for work, we had no hot water. Turns out the pilot light had gone out on the hot water heater so we had a learning adventure re-lighting it (the two of us were sitting on the floor in our laundry room, arguing about our interpretations of the directions.). Jenna woke up, nursed, fell back asleep, woke up and promptly puked all over me. And that's when our fun weekend really began.

(Let me interject here some thoughts about puking children. Ironically, Michaela puked on me for the first time on my first Mother's Day. We were having a warm, loving moment that morning, basking in the joy of finally being a mom, and Michaela, who was laying between us in our bed, turned to me and puked. I joked that I spent Mother's Day really mothering a sick kid. I have a new theory that you are not really getting the full experience of being a mom until all of your children have puked on you. The interesting thing is that you are so grossed out but yet you feel so bad for them... nothing is so pathetic than a listless, worn out, puking child who just wants you to hold them.)

So on Friday morning, we pulled it together enough to go get my bridesmaid dress fitted for the wedding. At this point, I was thinking this was just an isolated incident as Jenna was up, dressed, and playing as usual. In the afternoon I brought Jenna to the doctor's for her two year checkup which went very well. She moved up the chart in weight from 3rd percentile to 10th! Victory! She is about 65-75th percentile for height and is doing fine overall. We were going to have a small celebration with some cake and candles that night to celebrate her birthday that day, but she ended up throwing up again at about 4:30pm so any partying was out of the question.

Michaela went to my parents' house for a sleepover and we were down to one kid. I had thought it would be a good opportunity to get a grown up movie through the digital cable, eat some cake (might as well... ) and have a quiet, pleasant night with Dan while still taking care of Jenna. We had negotiated down from The Devil Wears Prada vs. The Holiday and decided on watching The Good Shepard (enough intrigue and good reviews for me, enough guy-stuff for him) when Dan started cleaning out the fridge. Not like, "Let's throw out this lunch meat- there's only one piece left" but the clean where you empty it all out, take out the shelves, wash them in hot water and put them back in and then rearrange the whole placement of the remaining food. I said to Dan, "If you had told me eleven and a half years ago that we would be cleaning out a fridge together at 8:30 on a Friday night, I don't think I would have believed you." We Libuttis know how to live it up!!!!

Saturday brought a bit of respite for me as I went to an event called Crafting for a Cure and I was able to scrapbook for about five hours in the afternoon. Friends of mine organized the event and all the proceeds went to the March of Dimes. We got goody bags, free meals and snacks, and great raffle items. It was awesome. Checkout the website: www.craftingforacure.wordpress.com .

Jenna woke up inconsolable at 1am on Sunday morning so I got up with her and held her as she nursed, puked, nursed, slept, nursed, puked, etc. until we fell asleep at about 5am. Dan took over at 5:30 so I could rest and then Michaela came into our room at 8am and was so demanding and annoying that I kicked her out of the room. Jenna was miserable all day, just laying on me and not keeping anything down. We skipped church, where we were supposed to be greeters and we had dedicated the flowers for Jenna's birthday. I got beautiful cards and homemade pictures from Michaela and Dan and a gift certificate for a facial at my favorite spa. I tried to stay upbeat and count my many, many blessings as a mom as I changed my clothes several times due to being puked on.

The day ended with Jenna pooping as I was changing her and me watching the poop SHOOT out of her, over the edge of the changing table, and land about four feet away on the floor. It was an incredible sight and the only time I yelled in surprise the whole weekend. You just haven't lived until you've witnessed projectile pooping.

Well, I guess this wasn't a quick recap, but the weekend did feel like it was never ending. The good news is that Jenna is much better today, more active, keeping liquids down, and actually ate at dinner. Hooray!

I said to Dan yesterday, "Years from now, we will look back on this weekend and laugh... but it's not really very funny today."

Monday, May 7, 2007

Bridging to Brownies

Troop 77 and their fearless leader, Dana
Getting her pin from Melissa, the other leader
Our special Brownie!
Michaela had a special event yesterday: moving up from Girl Scout Daisies to Brownies. She had a really fun year doing activities, playing, and enjoying snacks with a bunch of other kindergarden girls. We attended a sweet, short ceremony at a local church during which the girls actually walked across a little wooden bridge and got a nice certificate and a Brownie pin. The girls also recited the Girl Scout pledge and did a short skit. All the parents took video and a million pictures. We finished by enjoying cake and other treats. The whole thing was just adorable.

Michaela's friend Erin told me,"My dad said he's going to eat me for dessert because now I'm a Brownie!" and laughed like that was the funniest joke she'd ever heard.

Here are some pictures from the event!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Joyful and triumphant!

The adults in the Libutti house are truly joyful and triumphant as Jenna transitioned out of our bed and into her crib this weekend! She has been sleeping with us for about a year and Mommy just couldn't take it anymore as Jenna likes to nurse all night long. We have been preparing ourselves for a few months and prepping Jenna for a week, telling her that she is now a big girl and it is time to sleep in her room like Michaela sleeps in her own room. Every time we told Jenna, she would gives us her simple, honest response: "No." But Friday it was time and Jenna did great. She cried for about half an hour but Dan did a wonderful job of calming her down and she ended up sleeping until 10am the next morning. I, of course, was convinced she was dead in the crib. The next night was about the same- she cried for about half an hour but then settled down and slept until 7:30am. She has been pretty cranky during the day so I don't think she is particularly pleased with the situation, but she will get used to it. It was easier for me that she is almost two because I feel like she understands that we are just in the next room and haven't abandoned her. Our next project is to start moving up the bedtimes of both girls so Dan and I can have a little bit of alone time before we fall asleep at the end of the day.
Funny Michaela story of the week: Michaela came into the bathroom while I was taking a shower because she was desperate to tell me that her finger hurt (even though I was home all day with her, she had to tell/show me this in the 10 minutes I have to myself). She sticks her hand into the shower and says,"Mommy, my hand really hurts!!" and I, being a semi-neurotic mom, immediately think she has some type of bone cancer. (Actually, anytime Michaela complains of pain that is not immediately visible like a cut or scrape or bruise, I always assume it's bone cancer. I think it's because I went to high school with a boy who developed bone cancer in early adulthood and had to have his hand and half his forearm taken off and I was particularly horrified to hear about it.) Anyway, I went on to ask Michaela, "Did you bang it? or twist it? Do you remember hurting it?" and as she's walking away, feeling better that she had transferred the anxiety of a hurting hand to Mommy, she replied with wonderment in her voice, "No, it just hurts when I bite on it..." Well, here's a clever idea: Stop biting your hand and it will stop hurting! I was able to control my sarcasm enough not to say that to her, but I did end up laughing pretty hard for the rest of my shower.
Kids... you love them sooo much AND you want to wring their little necks.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Y do I bother???

So I have been going to the Y 4-6 days a week for about six weeks, trying to get in shape and lose the stress weight I've gained since having Jenna. (It's not really baby weight... I lose that with no problem after I have my babies... it's the stress of having infants that makes me eat any chocolate I can get my hands on.) I met with a trainer there twice and have enjoyed getting out of the house, feeling the endorphins and doing something for myself. I have seen an improvement in both my fitness level and in how my clothes fit. I finally hit a milestone on Monday... 10 pounds lost! I was s o excited as I had held on to that last half pound for about a week and felt like I had finally broken through. Triumph!
And what did I do to celebrate? Bought two bags of Shrek M&Ms, of course! (I mean, c'mon... they're Ogre-sized... and delicious!) I have made my way with some help from Danny through one and half bags. They were really good but I did feel a bit self-defeating. I stepped back on bandwagon last night and went to the gym and walked two miles.
This really is a process. My next goal is another 11 pounds, which brings me to the weight I was when I got pregnant with Jenna. Wish me luck!

In other news, check out Brian and Beth's website for a fantastic slideshow of my dad's party. Go to www.bandbdavies.blogspot.com to see all the fun!