Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Superheroes





We had an awesome playdate today with the Strauss boys! We were going to meet for ice cream, but with the temps around 95 degrees outside, we thought indoor treats would be a better idea. The kids got out the Costume Box and everyone got an outfit... even Jenna. She originally dressed up in the Spiderman costume but Aidan was deeply troubled that "she doesn't even know how to spin a web!!" (clearly hurting her credibility) so we figured that Jenna being The Flash would be a better fit. We snacked on Popsicles and ice cream sandwiches... a great, carefree (or as carefree as you can be with five kids under 5), fun summer afternoon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

First Grader!

Today was Michaela's last day of kindergarten... she is now a first grader! It seems impossible to me that this is true. She had such a fantastic year- she loved her teacher, Mrs. Gentile, made lots of friends, and in general enjoyed going to school every day. She learned to read and do simple math, which was terrifically exciting to see.
She was a bit sad today getting off the bus, saying that she will miss seeing her teacher and friends. Her teacher sent home a great packet of stuff, including a new book, pictures of her and some of her friends, a picture of a horse and carriage ride the whole class took last Wednesday, a CD of some of the songs they sang in school, and paper to write letters to Mrs. Gentile about their activities over the summer. We in turn gave Mrs. Gentile a nice card thanking her for her hard work, a picture of Michaela holding a sign saying "You are the best teacher!", and a gift card to go to out to dinner.
We are ready for summer... lots of swimming, a few day trips, going to some amusement parks, two week- long camp programs, and just generally hanging out together.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Crib notes

A miracle happened today at the Libutti house.
For two years now, I have held Jenna every afternoon at naptime while she sleeps for several hours. At first, it was kind of relaxing- holding a sleeping baby is one of my absolute favorite things- and I caught up on the news, reading, sleep, etc. I enjoyed watching "Mission Organization" on HGTV and the Baby Stories on TLC. For the last few weeks, however, I have felt my mind slowly turning to absolute mush. I have seen EVERY episode of the shows on the 2:00pm hour and was not interested anymore in tv. I have weaned Jenna down to nursing only three times a day (morning, nap and before bed) and am becoming unaccustomed to her hanging on me anymore. So today I made the big move... putting her in her crib for her nap.
(I am quite embarrassed to admit I've held her sleeping for so long... even my most soft-hearted and sucker mom friends look at me like I'm nuts - with their eyebrows up at about their hairline- when I tell them how Jenna naps.)
(Let me also interject here that I have tried this before, when she was an infant somewhere between 6-12 months old and she cried for FOUR HOURS. I was a mess, she was a mess, and Michaela was sick of hearing the crying. If listening to her cry for four hours isn't a deterrent to try it again, I don't know what is.)
(Let me further add that I think the Department of Defense has underestimated the sound of a crying baby as a torture device for captured terrorists. They could record a crying baby and just play it over and over and wait for the men to break apart. It is such an annoying, anxiety-producing sound... we are hard-wired to want it to stop. When Jenna was an infant and cried frequently I know I was willing to tell anyone anything in order for the crying to stop.)
Anyway, back to today. I nursed her sleep at about 3pm and put her in her crib at about 3:00pm. She immediately woke up, as she always does when she is put down while sleeping, and started crying. And screaming. And standing up, shaking the side of the crib. And shrieking.
Jenna had some fantastic coping techniques to being put in the crib. She used these at night as well when we started putting her in her crib at bedtime. She progresses from yelling "momma... momma" to "Mommy!" The she tries "Dadda... Daddy!!" Then she yells for Michaela, who she nicknamed MeeMee. When she gets more mad, she demands to be rescued: "Momma... me out!! Me out!!" When she's given up almost all hope, she pulls out her trump card: claiming that she pooped and needs to be changed. "Momma... me poo... me poo... me out!!!" At one point, Dan and I were giggling listening to her because she is so persistent and creative.
So speaking of persistence, she screamed and cried and carried on for two hours this afternoon (only half as long as the first time!!) but then fall asleep at about 5:20pm in her crib. I let her sleep for about an hour, all the while praying that she was actually asleep and not dead in the crib, and then woke her up so that she'll go to bed at a decent hour tonight. Of course I kissed and hugged her and told her what a big girl she was for sleeping in the crib. She was not happy with me but then seemed to loosen up and eventually forgive me for putting her in that torture chamber. (One of my mom's favorite stories about my craziness while taking care of Jenna as an infant is this one: the first time of many that we tried to get her to sleep in her crib, Jenna was about six months old and freely expressed her displeasure to me about being separated from me at night. The next morning, my mom asked me how the night went and I told her it was okay but that Jenna seemed standoff-ish towards me that morning. My mom assured me that Jenna barely knows she's alive, let alone could be sophisticated enough to withhold love from me on purpose. I stick by my original story... she was clearly giving me the cold shoulder.)
Think of me tomorrow at about one o'clock... we'll see how day two goes in the crib adventures.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Overwhelmed by the beauty around me



I took these pictures today of the blooming flowers around our house and of the loves of my life, Michaela and Jenna.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Recovering...

The Libuttis spent the week recovering from social event of the year: Jaime and Michael's wedding. It was lots of fun but very busy with two young girls. I hope everyone has enjoyed looking at the pictures! Here are some of the details from Behind the scenes.
Our trip down was great- we plugged in the DVD player in the car and the girls are quiet for at least an hour. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains, which was beautiful, and they offer a program to help you, the patron, get a good night's sleep. They send you a bag with earplugs, a sleepmask, and a spray bottle of lavender linen spray. Michaela LOVED this and I finally had to tell her to stop spraying everything or else our sheets will be soaked when we go to sleep.
We got ready for the rehearsal and went down to the hotel bar to wait for everyone. Jenna started getting restless and by the time we did the rehearsal, she was not happy- tired, hungry, restless, strange people looking at her, trying to nurse and Mommy is saying no.
After the rehearsal, we had a great dinner at a restaurant down the street and we all got the prettiest gifts... Swarovski crystal necklaces and earrings for me, a tiara for Jenna, Swarovski crystals for Michaela to wear in her hair, personalized music boxes for the girls, monogrammed cuff links for Dan, and a caricature drawing that I think Michael did of all the groomsmen with "Michael and Jaime's wedding: June 2, 2007" on it. Very clever!!
Wedding day started at 7:30 am for Michaela and I as we were whisked off to the salon for hair and makeup. Jaime was the driver and she was calm, cool and collected! We had a great time getting done up and I think Michaela really felt special. Jaime just got more and more beautiful as the day went on. We went back to Jaime's house for lunch and to get dressed. The photographer and videographer arrived and the show began. Our limo picked us up at about 4pm and brought us a hour south to New Rochelle, where the reception was at a waterfront beachclub on the Long Island Sound.
Dan, who had entertained Jenna all day, was there and dressed and I saw him and Jenna all dolled up for the first time. Jenna was in great spirits and I was praying, PRAYING that she would hold it together just a little bit longer for the ceremony. We did lots of pictures and last minute primping and then it was time for the ceremony.
And it was fabulous!! Both girls did so good... Jenna walked with me down the aisle and even wore the tiara. Michaela walked behind the matron of honor, holding hands with the ring bearer and throwing down the rose petals. They were both so beautiful. I was fantastically proud of them.
At the reception, the girls danced, danced and danced some more. Michaela finally pooped out at about 11pm and Jenna lasted about a half hour later. I don't even remember what time we got back to our hotel room but I was very happy to be going to bed.
We have been recovering all week (poor Dan had to leave Monday for a work conference in Hartford, CT and was there until Thursday night), laying low and enjoying looking at pictures the family took. We are eagerly awaiting the professional shots to be available online. Michael and Jaime are in Aruba, enjoying the sun, sand and each other. I hope they are having a relaxing honeymoon. There were so many thoughtful details that Jaime worked so hard on- gift bags for the guests at the Crowne Plaza, the program at the ceremony, an advice bowl were reception guests could write down marriage advice or stories, wedding coloring books and crayons at our table for the girls that Jaime made, etc., etc. Everything was so pretty and I know a lot of work went into it. It was amazing.

We are off to Michaela's school for a school carnival. It is a sweet way to cap off the week. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Jaime and Michael's wedding