Monday, April 28, 2008

Goin' Down to the Y-M-C-A

Our family joined the Y about a year ago and we LOVE it. We've tried to take advantage of all the things they have available: the gym, the fitness center, the elevated track, the childcare (THAT was a one-time event) and the swimming pool. Michaela has taken a few sessions of swim lessons there to gear up for summer and we've loved her instructors. Michaela, Jenna and I have gone swimming there a bunch of times this winter and we always have a blast.

So Mommy has a bright idea to sign Jenna up as well for a session of lessons this spring: she loves water, and I'm always lookin' for ways to pass the time. We signed up for a Mommy and Me -type class which unfortunately means I have to go in, with a swimsuit on, showing off my ample tooshie to the whole pool area. But I'm a Big Girl (both literally and figuratively, haha) so I signed us up and talked it up big to Jenna. She was thrilled.

Today was our first class and it was extremely sweet and comfortable and Jenna had a great time. There were two very earnest instructors there who could not have been nicer and more gentle and we sang songs and incorporated some swimming basic skills into playing.

I am all about little kids and programs and love and gushiness, but I have to confess... I felt a little gay singing the hokey pokey with a bunch of strangers while wearing my bathing suit and putting Jenna's "left foot in" and shaking it all about. Maybe I'm getting jaded in my old age. The moms were all very sweet and a little nervous and all the babies-all girls- wore little suits with pink and flowers and bows. One of the participants was taking the class with her grandfather and I thought to myself: that's LOVE for your grandchild.

The other unfortunate event that occured during the lesson was that I spotted two men over 65 years old who go to my church. And one of them was wearing a Speedo. Yeah... it was awkward. My brain kept chanting over and over: Too Much Information! Too Much Information! TMI! TMI! but I somewhat held it together and offered a little wave to them. See? I am a Big Girl.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Poor MiMi

Michaela is sick. Pukey, poopy, pale, feverishly sick. Poor thing is not used to feeling crappy since she so rarely ever gets anything so she's trying to keep a stiff upper lip.

She was complaining yesterday about her tummy feeling "grouchy" (I love that description) and then took a nap, had a fever, took some Motrin and didn't want to go out to dinner.

I knew something was definitely up if she's passing on exploring a restaurant's bathroom, one of her favorite activities when dining out.

She and Jenna and I snuggled in to watch Bee Movie and about halfway through she threw up all over me. I had my arm around her and she covered me from about mid-shoulder to mid-thigh in loveliness. Those of you who know us well may remember that both girls have puked on me before, ironically both on separate Mother's Days. I say you're not a real warrior mom until ALL of your kids have puked on you.

After we got Michaela in the tub and calmed down- she said very seriously to me after it was over,"I REALLY didn't like that!"- Dan asked me why the girls always seem to hit me directly with the puke and suggested that the next time he feels queasy he'll snuggle up into the crook of my arm and try puking there as well.

Perfect- a puking trifecta.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Laugh for the day

I was nursing Jenna this morning (we can't seem to shake the two feedings a day routine... I told my family that Jenna's breastfeeding is like the war in Iraq: no exit strategy exists) and Michaela was getting ready for school. I was leaning over Jenna to help Michaela button her cute pink polo shirt and talking to Michaela about how small the buttonholes are, how did they get unbuttoned anyway, etc. Jenna detaches, looks up at me and says:

"Please stop talking. I'm trying to nurse."

I laughed and laughed and laughed some more: at the absurdity of the whole situation, at the fact that she's almost three years old and still doing this, at how hopeful I was at her three MONTH birthday that I was 25% done with my breastfeed-for-a-year plan, at my seeming inability to accurately explain to anyone how completely vile she is when her nursey-nursey is not delivered when she wakes up and at naptime, how slightly irritated her tone was to me when she said this and how she nestled right back in to finish up.

No exit strategy.

And I HAVE tried giving her sippy cups, thanks for the suggestion. I'm not a complete moron.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Flashback Friday: How We Met

Do you know that I married Dan because my mom was an English teacher?

Yes, it's true. I have my wonderful, loving, ever-present cheerleader of a mom to thank for helping me find my true love, Dan.

Let me tell you the story... (pause here to grab a drink and a blanket and snuggle in...)

I was a freshman at good ol' Plattsburgh State University taking an English 101 class that everyone is required to take. I had fun in the class because English was always my best subject, and because (you guessed it) my mom was an English teacher and not only passed on to me a genetic predisposition to enjoy reading and writing... she also made DAMN sure that I had excellent grammar and a rich vocabulary. (When taking my SATs and GREs, if I came across a word I was unfamiliar with I would try to hear my mom say the word in my head and figure out what the context was.) So I'm flying through the class - I mean, let's face it- Plattsburgh is no Ivy League college... some students there were barely literate- and I get a letter in the mail asking if I'd be interested in becoming a writing tutor at the campus Learning Center.

I was very interested and through that class met one of my favorite professors, Mary Dossin, who was sweet and brilliant and encouraging and just a stellar human being. She taught me how to teach writing and I got a job meeting with nervous freshmen and bewildered upperclassmen and helping them understand the process of writing. It was a real trip, considering most of them, after I read a paper or page or paragraph and gave them some general direction, would follow up by continually asking me, "Well, what should I put??" They had a really hard time understanding that it wasn't a matter of "what to put", it was about cohesiveness and clarity and getting your point across and supporting it with examples... but I digress.

I tutored a freshman named Adam who was from Long Island, who looked like he was about twelve and acted like he was about 10. His coping mechanism for college was to secure a tutor for every class and a writing tutor to look it all over for backup. But God bless him, he started this whole chain reaction: he said to me one day, "You should meet my sociology tutor, Sara... you'd really like her." So I did and I did like her. And she said to me,"You should meet my best friend, Michele... you'd really like her." So I did and I REALLY liked her and we all became good friends.

The fall semester of my senior year came and we were excited because Michele and I were both graduating in December and making plans for our futures. I had gathered information from graduate schools in Florida, California and Massachusetts and started the application process for their Gerontology programs. We were thinking about getting an apartment together for the spring and summer, working a meaningless job and saving up a few bucks for whatever life was about to hand us. I was doing an independent study at the time that I really enjoyed (looking at my grandfather's old diaries from the 1950's) and all my classes were in my major, Sociology, so I was interested and engaged in my schoolwork. Life was good.

Then one fateful Wednesday in September, Michele says to me, "My friend Chris is having a party this weekend... we should go. He's really nice." and I reply, "Michele, I am graduating in three months... I won't know anyone there and I am not interested in meeting any new people." "Come on," she said, "it'll be fun." I reluctantly agreed.

So Friday came along and she says she's too tired to go out and suggests we stay in and get a bite to eat or watch a movie. No, I tell her, I've gotten myself all psyched up to go to this party and we're going to go. We get ready and go down to Brinkerhoff Street where Chris lives and I realize as we're climbing the steps to the apartment that I have been here before: my freshman year, I went to a party here with a totally different group of friends and it was the first and maybe only time (I am a REAL school dork) that I put off doing a paper that was due the next day and went out instead. I giggle to myself as I'm climbing the stairs thinking about how long ago that seems.

We go in and it turns out Chris lives with four other guys and one of them is Dan. I met Dan for the first time in the hallway of this apartment and literally felt the earth move when I met him. He was just so tall and dark and handsome and I instantly started plotting how I could sink my hooks into this guy. (Months later, when we were very much together and were discussing this moment, I asked him what he thought of me when he first met me. His response: "I don't know. I thought you were cute." He later added that I was "warm" and "friendly" and "I felt comfortable talking to you." Doesn't THAT knock your socks off?? I feel the EARTH MOVE and you think I'm FRIENDLY???)

How did I finally nab this guy, you may ask? Well, let me share with you my killer opening line after we had been introduced and then dispersed. We met again in the living room, where the five guys living there had constructed a bar for entertaining their guests. Dan was behind the bar. I went up to him and said...

"So, this is the bar, huh?"
"Can I come back there?" (So forward!!)
"If you want." (Such a conversationalist!)

But it turned out OK. We hung out that night, he called me the next day, and went on our first date on the following Thursday night. We were inseparable from that point on and got engaged in February and married in October.

And now we've been married for eleven years, have two kids, a cat and a house.

The really, really ironic thing is that I had dated the same guy on and off all through college- "on" when we loved each other and "off" when we had screaming fights and didn't speak to each other for months- and it turns out that Dan was friends with him. They golfed together and had classes together. How funny is that?

So thank you, Mom, for helping me land my hubby.
And for continually reminding me the last 25 years how to say the word "nuclear" correctly. :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The possibilities are endless

So we're driving in the car and Jenna says to me, "Mom, do you know what I like about you?"

Immediately my mind starts to race about what my baby is about to say... the hours I've held her? the hugs and kisses? the fun things we do together? the endless nursing? the devotion? the patience?

What will she say?

I am literally tingling and say, "No, Jenna, what do you like about me?"

After an extremely awkward pause and deciphering a few sentences, I realize she's asked me, "Mom, do you know What I Like About You?"

...ah yes, the song What I Like About You...

... track 17 on the Jock Rock CD we've listened to continuously for a few weeks now.

I am humbled, disappointed... and no longer tingling.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Signing off...

... just 'til Monday. Gotta go clean up the house before hubby gets home and a busy weekend looms ahead... including a 12 hour crafting day that I can't wait to enjoy on Saturday.
Lots of stories and hopefully Easter pictures will appear finally get posted next week.
Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


On Monday night I went to the library and checked out Stephen King's newest novel, Duma Key. All 607 pages of it.
I got it on a 7-day express loan and you can't renew it, so the pressure's on.

I am happy to report that at 1:30pm today I finished the book.

My children haven't eaten in three days and I'm not sure if Michaela went to school this week, but the book is done.

(Just kidding... the kids are fed, bathed, dressed properly and in the right places at the right times.)

I don't know that I've ever read a book that long or in such a short period of time so I feel stuffed to the gills with words and images from the book that I will be digesting over the next few days.

The book, by the way, was absolutely wonderful... a great story with interesting characters, a little supernatural stuff thrown in (in a non-cheesy fashion) and a couple of thrilling scenes at the end... well worth buying or getting from the library.

But give yourself more than seven days to read it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A few random Monday thoughts...

1. It is impossible for a grown person to seriously say the word "Dude" in conversation and not sound kind of silly.
2. Here is possibly the lamest, corniest joke ever said to me: in response to a comment made, someone says, "I resemble that remark!"
3. I actually had a conversation with my mom the other day about why a sandwich shop in our town has a sign up the says: wraps, paninis, "home-made" soups, coffee. To me, the quotes around it indicate it ISN'T homemade, so why call it that? Why not just say hot soup or fresh soup or something along those lines?

The shop is attached to a Mobil gas station so my assumption anyway was that the soups were actually not "home-made."

I don't know why I'm so cranky this evening. We are fine, the girls are fine, life is good.

I went to the fabric store today and bought sparkly blue material to make a dress for Jenna like Sharpay's in High School Musical 2 (our latest movie obsession... and let me honestly say that we watch it every day and I never get sick of it. Ever.). Tonight at bedtime she announced she also would like an outfit like Gabriela wears in the opening number.

How do I explain to a two year old that I am not a costume designer able to recreate every outfit in the movie?

So I placated her by telling her we'd go shopping soon and look for the pink (or pinkt) shoes Gabriela is wearing. Jenna only sort of bit on that one.

Speaking of Jenna, she handed me a toy cell phone the other day and said, "Who should we call?" I suggested Baby Kate and she looked at me and very matter of factly, kindly, and without the slightest bit of condescension, told me, "Baby Tate doesn't talkt." So we called Uncle Brian and Aunt Beh-hie instead. It was a good talkt.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Super Flashback Friday

Today finds me nostalgic for several reasons... the main one being we are selling our car today to Dan's boss' 16 year old daughter. We bought this car on October 28th of 1996, fifteen days after we were married. It has seen us through many, many events in our lives: different jobs, grad school, moving to a few apartments and then our first house, and bringing home our first baby. It is going to a good home and I'm sure the new owner, who we know and like very much, will take good care of it and would even let us visit the car if needed.
I am feeling so sentimental about it but will probably get over any sense of loss when we deposit the check from the sale into our savings account.

Say goodbye to the ol' gas guzzler, Russ.

In other flashback-style news, I bought the song "Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel)" by Billy Joel for my iPod and listened to it while walking on the treadmill this morning at the Y and almost started crying. Not a good place to break down over a song.
It is so beautiful and sweet. I always loved the song and my emotional connection to it really solidified when I went to a friend's wedding about 10 years ago. For the father/daughter dance, she had a friend of hers play an acoustic guitar and sing this song and I just sobbed. She sang it without a microphone and her voice was sweet and pretty and all you could hear was the music and the bride's dress swooshing on the dance floor... and every woman in the room crying.

It was the most poignant father/daughter dance I have ever seen, filled with the general feeling of I haved loved you the best I could and hope I made the world a safe and happy place for you but this time for us is over and you are moving on to such bigger and better things. Incredibly touching and moving and I of course think of my own two girls every time I hear it.

Enough gushiness.
I leave you with the correspondence Michaela gave to her family this past weekend.

It is a little hard to see, so here is the transcription:

To Dad (picture of car and tire). Dear Dad, Come downstairs and watch High School Musical 2 with me and mom. Love, Michaela

To Mom (picture of flower and heart). Dear Mom, Come downstairs and watch High School Musical 2 with me and dad. Love, Michaela

And for her loving sister: (Heart with a line through it, a la a "no smoking" sign) Hi Poop. I am sticking my tung out at you. Ha Ha Ha. (Picture of Michaela with her "tung" sticking out and squinting angry eyes and Jenna crying.)

Lovely. And sooo first grade.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Reeled in again...

I promised myself it would never happen again.
I would never go that far.
I would never go down that road.
I would use any means necessary: distraction, avoidance, outright rejection.

I am talking, of course, about Rock of Love 2 on VH1.

Some of my more observant readers would remember my description of Rock of Love from a few months ago... it is a "dating" show for Bret Michaels, the frontman of the 80's band Poison, who is looking for love and assembles large groups of the women and eliminates one each episode. I totally got hooked in the first season (Who will the final choice be: brooding Jessica who needed to let her guard down or crazy Heather, who got "Bret" tattooed on her neck as a sign of her devotion?) and when I heard another season was starting (I KNEW Heather would have been the better choice!!) I tried to stay away. Really, I tried.

But then the reruns started being played at 2-3pm when I am sitting on the couch with Jenna and nothing good is on. Then I started to learn some of the girls' names. Then I started deliberating who would be the best fit for Bret. I was sucked in.

So, I just finished watching the latest episode. The show is down to three contestants, and they couldn't have better names: Daisy, Ambre (pronounced Amber but with a makes-no-sense spelling change) and, of course, Destiney. With that extra E. They are fascinating to watch with their fake boobs, fake lips, fake hair, fake nails, and fake personalities. Destiney is the wild child, hot headed one whom Bret is worried will be a liability with his fans backstage. (Honestly. He said that.) Ambre appears to be the most rational but turns out she's 37 and looks a little long in the tooth for Bret.

And then there's Daisy.

Daisy is my favorite, with her Barbie-doll figure and penchant for drama and crying and love for Bret. She actually sobbed when she found out she was safe this elimination. She has great clothes (and when I say great I mean the most ridiculous porn-type outfits you can imagine) and I am rooting for her to win it all. As Bret said, however, "I am crazy attracted to you physically but not emotionally... and that connection has to be there." Go, Daisy! Connect, connect, connect!

So I am back to watching, rooting and feeling slightly dirty afterwards. Thankfully there are only three episodes left.

Hey, at least I'm not watching Flavor of Love 3.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tooth Fairies, Easter Bunnies and Other Mystical Creatures

Exciting News from the Libutti Household: Michaela has started losing teeth! I say it that way because she has lost two in one week, changing her appearance first to this:

... and now to this:

Both were very exciting, necessitating trips to the nurses' office at school, attention from classmates, some bleeding and fairly high drama levels. Last Tuesday the first one came out at home in the evening after bleeding in school and receiving a Treasure Chest from the nurse to put her tooth into when it did fall out. We had offered for weeks to pull that sucker out but she would get very panic-stricken and refuse. She finally popped it out herself and I think was quite relieved that the first one was out. We put the tooth in the Treasure Chest and the Tooth Fairy came that night and brought her $5 since it was her first one.

The second tooth came out today. While brushing her teeth this morning three minutes before the bus came, I heard shrieking coming from the bathroom. I rushed down the hall, expecting to see a limb missing and instead found a bleeding floppy bottom tooth. I have no idea how it was staying in her mouth it was so loose; it literally was on it's side, laying down in her mouth. I reassured her it was okay, grabbed some tissues, and offered to pull it out. I was yelling for her to calm down, Michaela was shrieking, and Jenna, ever the careful observer, was yelling, "Wus a matter?!? Wus a matter?!? Is it beeding??" It was quite the scene.

Of course at that moment the bus roared by and I had to add dropping Michaela off at school to my list of things to do before Jenna's dentist appointment at 10am. As we were driving to school, Michaela was strategizing about her upcoming meals (anyone who knows Dan knows that she is HIS daughter): "It's a good thing we're having spaghetti for lunch tomorrow because that is soft... I can eat my granola bar at snack time on the side of my mouth... my sandwich is soft, so that'll be okay..." Honestly.

It turns out she lost the tooth before snack time (thank goodness... she was very concerned about swallowing the tooth until I told her she'll just poop it out and that made her giggle) and brought it home in a little plastic tooth holder she got from the school nurse. I think she feels really grown up and special now that her big girl teeth are growing in. She also is thrilled about getting cash money from the Tooth Fairy.

Jenna, meanwhile, is not so thrilled about ANOTHER creature she's not familiar with coming into the house while she sleeps. First was Santa, who was somewhat redeemed by the fact he brought lots of new baby dolls; then came the Easter Bunny, who she was very suspicious of, and now the Tooth Fairy? Too much for one cautious and smart two year old to deal with. On Easter Eve Jenna actually wouldn't go to bed because she was afraid of the Easter Bunny coming in the house. Finally, at 10:45 pm, we put the carrots and note to the Easter Bunny outside on the front steps and told her he would "magically send the baskets inside". Problem solved. I can only hope none of the neighbors saw us.

Lastly, let me introduce the three newest members of the Jenna Baby Doll Collection: Boy Baby, Girl Baby, and "Baby Tate" (Baby Kate to those who can't say K's)/Girl Baby.

We're quite proud. They came to the dentist's office, playgroup and to Gammie and PopPop's house today.
Who needs to have more kids????