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.