Friday, May 30, 2008

Notes from the trenches...

Well, it was an eventful day today... I successfully made both girls cry before 10am (Michaela refused to brush her hair and was incredibly pokey getting ready for school; Jenna wanted to eat a frozen piece of french toast "with syry-up" and unload the dirty plates out of the dishwasher onto the counter) and I had Just Had It with both of them so I yelled and they cried.

And now God is letting me know how He feels about this by having both girls get sick. Michaela puked at about 7:30pm after refusing any kind of dinner and Jenna puked at about 9pm. Miraculously, neither puked ON me. (I'll let the beauty of that sentence sink in for a moment.) Jenna was particularly interesting: she was playing with Michaela's DS, coughed, puked, asked for her mouth to be wiped off and then went right back to the DS without skipping a beat. That kid may freak out at the sight of bugs, but she's downright stoic when she's tossing her cookies.

One bright spot of the day: Jenna sings the "Who Built the Ark?" song in the car and no matter how many times you tell her the lyrics are:

Who built the ark?
Noah, Noah
Who built the ark?
Brother Noah built the ark

... she insists on singing:
Who built the Ark?
No one, no one!

Just as cheerful as can be.
I'll let you know when the puking ends here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Can you smell the summer in the air???

Memorial Day weekend is a blast here in town... the Libutti Family attended (with various family members and friends) the best slice o' Americana you can find: the town's Memorial Day Parade, complete with a million kids marching with their various Little League/ softball/ soccer teams, Boy and Girl scouts, fire departments with their shined-up trucks, veterans' groups, Shriners wearing funny hats riding go-carts, bagpipers, and church groups.
Heck, even the local assisted living facility drives their passenger van filled with the over-80 set in the parade.
We sit in the same spot every year and (prepare to be wowed by our corny-ness) wear matching flag t-shirts from Old Navy.

(Side Note: In a stunning development for 2008, Old Navy has decided it is TOO COOL to make the $5 flag shirts anymore. We settled for coordinating outfits from Target instead. Take that, Old Navy.)

This year and last year's parades have been enhanced by the fact that Michaela has marched with her Brownie Troop so we are able to scream, yell and generally mortify her as she passes by. This year was made even MORE exciting by the fact that Aunt Bethie, Uncle Brian and Baby Kate were also there from Michigan to watch. Uncle Brian to Michaela: "If you think your mom embarrasses you, wait til you hear ME scream and cheer for you!"

The whole thing was wonderful and my parents hosted a really nice BBQ at their house in the afternoon. We did lots of swimming, sunbathing, picture taking, Kate oogling, M &M eating, and general summer fun activities.

So without further ado, here are some of the highlights:

Here are the girls before the parade begins...

Jenna waits patiently for Michaela to come marching down the street

Here she is!!! Here she is!!!

Michaela raises her clasped hands in victory as she passes by. (Not sure where she learned that.) That's her troop walking behind her.

The bagpipers were beautiful. If you like that sort of thing... which I do.

Jenna shows off her new Noodle-assisted swimming abilities.

Uncle Brian kissing Kate... she's incredibly kissable.

This picture of Michaela takes my breath away each time I see it.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Summer is HERE!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Help me...

... my bathroom is being invaded by small, semi-domesticated animals with absurdly large heads and eyes... the better to see me with, I guess. Look how they're slyly amassing behind the toothpaste!!!

Actually, Michaela set this up in the bathroom a few weeks ago with her Littlest Pet Shop animals that she loves playing with and I was startled to see the scene unfold.

Do you think the Orkin man could put a stop to this cuteness?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Jenna's Third Birthday!

We had a blast celebrating Jenna Alicia's third birthday. Because her actual birthday is May 11th, and because that was Mother's Day this year and because I am a bit selfish about sharing my Mother's Day with anyone, we celebrated the following Sunday so in effect she had a week-long event.
Here is some of the build up...

Her invitation made by Mommy

Here's a short video of Jenna sitting on the floor of our kitchen the day before her actual birthday and cutting apart a six pack of Diet Pepsi with her kiddie scissors. She is a Diet Pepsi freak which is of course severely curtailed by the fact that we give her about two sips of it every other week. What I love about this video is her intense concentration while she's working on this and how she looks up and smiles as if I'm going to take her picture about 6 seconds in, then realizes that no flash is going off so she returns to the task at hand.

Sorry that it's sideways. And so dark. I'm not very good at the whole video thing.

Despite our prayers for sunny and pleasant weather, we had a repeat of last year's rain and damp and cold-ness. We were packed into our house- a house filled with love!- but we are all family so it worked out just fine. As my Aunt Kathy jokingly said at the end, "We all know each other pretty well by now and get along...we know how to talk to each other." Which I thought was funny because she and my mom and dad have known each other for almost 45 YEARS.

Jenna picked out a kitty theme for her party, which featured pictures of kittens and a pink and green background which was both Spring-y and representational of Jenna's favorite colors. This was the centerpiece on the table.

We had just a regular old-fashioned backyard BBQ with hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, fruit salad, veggies, chips and dip.

We had beautiful birthday cake from a real bakery provided by my parents (no supermarket cake for THEIR grandbaby!) and it was absolutely delicious. Jenna picked out vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and pink flowers on it. I could tell as soon as I cut into it that it was amazing... the cake was triple-layered and so dense and moist but not too heavy... heaven with butter cream frosting on top. Many thanks to my parents for getting this for us!

Then it was time for presents! Jenna made out like a bandit with everyone's generosity... beautiful clothes, fun toys, college money to put away, a promised trip to Toys R Us with her Grandpa (aka Paga), a few baby dolls (of course), some videos and the big gift from her godparents:

Jenna snuggles up with Bryan and Judy, her godparents

Jenna plays with her Rose Petal Cottage after a long day partying

Jenna scores another baby doll!

As you can see, Michaela "HELPED" with the gift opening. She had a tough time sharing the spotlight with her sister this year and wished she was getting some gifts, too. I told her to just wait 'til October and then it'll be all about her again for her 7th birthday.

We sent off our guests with little cupcakes made by Jenna and Mommy in bakery-type boxes : yellow cake with vanilla frosting and topped with pink sprinkles.

Here are some other pics from the afternoon:

Jenna and her cousin Olivia

Jenna and her Aunt Jaime and Aunt Michele

Jenna and her friend and godbrother Aidan

Many, many thanks to all who came to help us celebrate our little girl!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's better than I realize and really not so bad.

So I'm watching Bringing Home Baby, a show on TLC that follows new parents in the first 36 hours after bringing a baby home from the hospital. It makes me sick to my stomach each time I watch it (it brings me instantly back to when Michaela came home and I looked at her and thought, well, now what? and she kindly answered by screaming any time I put her down for the next two years) yet a small, perverse part of me loves watching new moms get their butts kicked by a 7 to 8 pound little baby. Especially ones who in the pre-birth interview part say ridiculous things like, We're really ready and Things will calm down after the baby is born.

This show had a very nice, non annoying mom on and they of course were up about three times during the night (and it's so cute how the dads get up, too, the first few nights) and the baby got up at like 6am the next morning and the mom is feeding her and she says I'm really just exhausted and you can just see on her face the crushing realization that she will never sleep in again. And I just felt so bad for her. And for me. Because isn't sleeping in at late as you want such a luxury?

And then I realized: Hey! I haven't slept in for the last six and a half years! I've got all that time under my belt! I am a mere 8 years away from having to pry my two angels out of bed on the weekends. Heck, I'm almost halfway there!

And you know what?? It's not so bad.
You just kinda get used to it.

Life is good. Kids are great.

Monday, May 12, 2008

If you ask a two year old a silly question...

Jenna comes downstairs to the office, where I am on the computer.

Jenna: I just watched Nemo with MiMi.
Mommy: How was it?
Jenna: Good. The daddy finds Nemo at the end.
Mommy: Ohhh... that's a nice movie. Hey, Jenna... if you were missing would I go looking for you like Nemo's dad looked for him?
Jenna, quite morose and shaking her head: No... because I am not a fish.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ode to Motherhood: Why Giving Birth Makes You Completely Irrational

This is a story that moms will really understand... because having kids makes you kind of crazy.

Last night Jenna woke up at about 2am, which she does occasionally. We just ignore her (so cruel!) but then she settles back down after about 15-20 minutes and sleeps the rest of the night. She is famous for yelling things out like, "Get me OUT!" and "I wanna watch TV!" and even occasionally clapping to get our attention. "Get me out! (clap clap) Get me OUT! (clap clap) Mommy! Get me out of here!"

So we were doing our regular ignoring thing and I hear Jenna say, "I can't see!" She says it several times and I'm not sure what's going on. I start to get up to check on her and Dan says, "I think she's saying 'I can't sleep.' " I settle back down into bed and my totally irrational mind starts running.

Is she really having trouble seeing? Has she somehow gone blind? Are her eyes swollen shut from some kind of reaction to the circus we saw last night? The animals? The fireworks? Has she been vision impaired all this time and I haven't noticed? No, she 's never bumped into things or walked into walls. This one I can rule out. So what's my game plan? I can take her to the ER in 15 minutes and get testing done. But is she going blind? Can she be treated? Oh, the cruel irony that God gave her these gorgeous blue eyes and now they don't even WORK!!
Will she be able to lead a normal life?
Will she remember what I look like?
How much of the visual world will she remember?

Consumed by these thoughts, I get up out of bed, prepared to face anything.

I open the door to her room...

... and her nightlight is out.

Her room is pitch black and she can't see. Of course. Never thought of that scenario.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who have had runaway irrational thoughts about their babies in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A week? It's been a week??

It's been a week since I last posted (well, almost... I've been missing since last Thursday) and things have been pretty crazy around here. Swimming, soccer, school, softball, and scrapbooking have all been in the mix. I had a glorious time at the 12 hour Tres de Mayo Crop on Saturday hosted by the ever- wonderful, ever- brilliant Gina and Doulla of Doullina Designs (shameless plug: ) and got some nice pages done as well as continued my project of organizing six years' worth of pictures, papers, keepsakes, and memorabilia. Thankfully I am almost done. We had Mexican food for dinner and the whole day was delicious in every way.

Some other highlights:

The girls have enjoyed their swimming lessons (and I felt a little less gay at this lesson with Jenna) and I have enjoyed being able to spend time with my friend Dana each week during Michaela's lesson. The mom of the other swimmer is the Treasurer of the PTA at Michaela's school and Dana is involved in everything at the same school, including putting together the yearbook and running the school banking for kids program. As I was sitting between them during the first lesson, I thought to myself, "Ooohh... I'm sitting amongst the Power Clique for Slingerlands stay at home moms!!" and then I giggled to myself at how silly that was. Then I giggled at how silly they would think that statement was.

Michaela brings home spelling words each week and her teacher had the cleverest ways to help them learn the words. Last week the list featured the "bossy R's": star, yard, bird, girl. This week is even better; it's the "oi/ oy" sounds... noise, joy, boy, etc... and she calls them the Headache Words: she puts her hand up to her forehead , palm side facing out, and says a moaning, "Oy!" Thank Goodness for creative, fun teachers.

I worked the concession stand at the Soccerplex field Monday night for my volunteer activity for soccer (volunteer or pay $30) and sold a whopping $4.50 worth of hot dogs, grape soda, candy and lollipops in two hours. Good thing I didn't work on commission.

Michaela had a little tiff with a friend of hers and we were talking about it in the car. I was explaining to her that this was "just a bump in the road" in their friendship and that things will all work out. She asked me, with a touch of annoyance in her voice, "Why are you talking about the road??"

Jenna has developed three imaginary friends. The first one is named Boy and he "goes to school with me." (Which, by the way, is also imaginary... she's really running with the imaginary thing...) The second one is a girl named Bionna. She is a good friend to Jenna and "rides on the bus with me" (yup, also imaginary). She appears to be the sidekick and supporter to all of Jenna's adventures. The third one, who just showed up last week, is named Tionna. I had a hard time figuring out if she was saying Tionna or Dionna but we managed to clarify this on Tuesday. Tionna only comes out for real exciting outings... clearly she is not the close, everyday friend that Bionna is. Both girls are very good and don't misbehave but that Boy- he's about half good and half bad. Jenna was telling me a story about Boy the other day and finished it with this morose statement: "I was berry, berry mad at he."

She cracks me up.
They both crack me up. And I love 'em to pieces.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

The Spring Rush has begun... Michaela had her first soccer practice Tuesday night and her first swim lesson yesterday. Both were big hits. She was a little nervous before soccer because she's on a new team with different coaches than she's had the last four seasons and then kind of fell apart at the field because we forgot her soccer ball (I KNEW I forgot something when I was going out the door!). But the coaches were very, very nice and even let her pick out her jersey number first- number 6 for her age, of course- and before I knew it she was back running around, showing off her highly touted Super Soccer Kick. One interesting note was that one of the coaches showed up for practice in full Army fatigues, boots and beret included. I was waiting for him to start barking orders out at the kids ("You missed the goal... now drop and give me twenty!!") but he was sweet and enthusiastic and kind. Go Army.

Swimming lessons was the adventure for yesterday, which involves herding my severely pokey daughters from the house to the Y poolside within 20 minutes of Michaela getting off the bus. Those of you who don't have children are right now asking, What's the big deal? and those of you who do have kids are groaning inside. I can hear it.

But we made it on time with lots of direction from Mommy. Turns out two of Michaela's best friends from her class and from Brownies are taking the same lesson. I'm just happy because my friend Dana is the mom of one of the girls and I get to chat with her for 40 minutes every week.

Tonight is softball for Dan and we Libutti girls generally go to the games and cheer him on. You can see that we have lots going on so I apologize in advance if my frequency of posting declines... I'm spending a lot of time just trying to keep where we're supposed to be everyday straight.