Monday, May 27, 2013

A Birthday Letter to My Eight Year Old.

Jenna was Star of the Week in school a while back, and part of the festivities was the class hearing a letter written by the star's parent about the star.  I wrote this letter for that occasion and think that it captures Jenna this year:

Dear Mrs. Davies' 2nd Grade Class:

You have a very special girl in your class this year and her name is Jenna Alicia Libutti.  Let me tell you a little bit about her.

Jenna was born in the middle of the night in May on a very busy night at the hospital.  She was a perfect sized baby, not too big and not too small.  She had lots of black hair when she was born and right away she loved to stare at me and her dad when we held her.

Jenna's eyes are very, very blue and they turned that color when she was just a few weeks old.  Jenna's eyes are very special and lots of people have told me since she was a baby how beautiful her eyes are.  I think they are beautiful, too, but I think what is even MORE special about them is that they show how sweet Jenna is.  You cannot look into Jenna's eyes and not know that she is gentle and kind and loving.  Her eyes show that to everyone.

Now, Jenna may have been a pretty baby, but trust me: she was a very, very hard baby to take care of.  She wanted to be held ALL THE TIME.  Morning, afternoon, and evening, and especially at night.  And she only wanted me to hold her.  If I tried to put her down, she would cry like her heart was breaking, and it made me so sad that I just kept holding her. And holding her.  And holding her. I almost went crazy holding her so much!

But then, when she was three and four years old, she got more comfortable being on her own and didn't need me to hold her so much.  She was very quiet and didn't like to talk to people- she was very shy- but she started talking to some people.  She went to preschool and found some very special friends.  And then her brother Alec was born and all of a sudden, she had a great thing to talk to people about: how fun it was to be a big sister.  Jenna loved being a big sister and was really helpful.  And when I had a new baby to take care of, I realized that Jenna wasn't a baby anymore, and that she was becoming a big girl.

Jenna learned to talk and when she talked she had trouble saying the letters "c" and "k" and "g".  So she had her own way of speaking and it was so cute that her daddy and I started talking that way, sometimes, too!  One year in preschool she she made her daddy a coffee cup and she asked him, "Do you lite your toffee tup, Daddy?"  We had a cat for a long time named Kiki, and Jenna called her Teetee.

So now Jenna is in second grade.  And now she can say the letters c,k, and g.  You may notice that she is pretty tall (so is her daddy!) and that she has long hair (we have to braid it every night so it doesn't get tangled when she sleeps) and is missing a few teeth (she writes a letter to the Tooth Fairy every time she loses a tooth, and the Tooth Fairy writes back to her!).  But did you know that Jenna is a Girl Scout?  She is! And did you know that Jenna doesn't really like to play sports but she loves yoga and takes a yoga class every week? She does! And do you know that Jenna sings in the choir at our church, and my shy Jenna gets up in front of 300 people and dances and smiles the whole time? She does! And did you know how much Jenna loves her American Girl Dolls and plays school with them every day?  She is a great teacher to her little students.  And did you know that Jenna has a grandma whose name is also Mrs. Davies?  Isn't that funny?

Now I will tell you why I love my Jenna- I call her Nenna, because that is what she called herself when she was a little girl.  I love my Nenna because she is smart and does well in school.  I love my Nenna because she loves to think hard about things and wants to understand how the world works.  I love my Nenna because she is a very good girl and an easy daughter, and she never gets into trouble.  I love my Nenna because even though she is only 7, sometimes she seems like she is much older than that.  I love my Nenna because she is funny and fun to be with, she is incredibly kind and gentle, and she has the sweetest spirit of anyone I've ever met.  I love my Nenna because she is so loving, and I don't think that anyone has ever loved me as much as my Nenna loves me.

So Jenna is a very special person to me and her Daddy, and her brother and her sister, and to her Godparents and grandparents and her aunts and uncles and cousins.

Everybody loves Jenna.

Jenna's Mommy

Happy Birthday to my Jenna!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Jenna Turns Eight: It's All About the Benjamins.

Happy birthday to my sweet baby girl Jenna!  We celebrated our Jenna in style this year, starting with a small get together at my parent's house the night before her Big Day.

By far her favorite gift this year was the $100 bill ("My Benjamin Franklin!") that my parents put into her birthday card.  But she also loved the alarm clock/iPod charger, the American Girl doll items, and the heated blanket (they aren't called electric blankets anymore) that she got.  Love her face in this picture:

Jenna with her Gams and Popsicle... and her Benjamin

The Three Amigos

Michaela wanted desperately to light the candle herself.  Pops kept a verrry careful eye on her.

Love this picture of my three wacky kiddos!
 See that Diet Pepsi can in front of Jenna's plate?  She has not one bad habit or crutch but that girl LOVES her soda.  We have a rule that she can only drink it on "holidays" and "special days".  Birthdays are definitely a "special day"... Groundhog's Day... not so much.  But she always tries just in case.

The next morning was her actual birthday- FINALLY!  It was a Saturday and she asked to have her friend party on the actual day.  She wanted a few of her friends over for a home party to celebrate.  We started the day with cinnamon rolls and some presents from Mommy and Daddy... and of course Jenna is wearing a brand new dress.
 She knows by now what this size/ shape box means... a new American Girl Doll!
 It's a Just like You doll that she named Elizabeth, or Liza, for short.  Very pretty.

 The party's theme was Pink Cupcakes... so above are the frostings and sprinkles the girls would use to decorate the cupcakes in the picture below:

Here's the favors we gave out... a clementine, juice box, a rice krispy treat, pink frosting-scented hand sanitizer and a pink nail file all in a reuseable container.  We tied a pink helium balloon around each one.
 We started with some pizza...
 ... played with some balloons...
 ... and then it was onto decorating the cupcakes.  It was during this point that some of the girls started just indiscriminately screaming with excitement.

Jenna and her cupcakes!
 Singing Happy Birthday!

We played a few games- one was a version of hot potato and the winner won a pink stuffed pig...
 ... and the other was a homemade version of pin the cherry on top of the cupcake.

 Happy, happy Birthday to Jenna Alicia!!

(We didn't have a family party for her this year... 90% of our family had something going on the day we planned to have the party, so we struck a deal with Jenna: if she forfeited the party we would get her a special present- a memory foam mattress pad for her bed, which she has been wanting all year.  She agreed to the deal and we were thrilled to have this birthday celebration wrapped up all in one day!  Happy Jenna, happy Momma and Daddy!)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dan's Duathalon!

Recently Dan participated in his first-ever duathalon- 2 miles running, 10 miles biking, then another 2 miles running.  He's been running 5-6 times per week for the last year and a half and started seriously biking last fall. (His rides kept getting longer... and longer... and longer...)  He got a new road bike, all the gear Serious Bikers use and wear, and he was ready to start competing.  
The race started at our Town Park, so we parked at another playground area that was on the bike route so we could cheer our Daddy on.  Here we are:

And here's Daddy!

Off he goes...
After a while we went back to the town park where the race was wrapping up.  This town park has Alec's favorite playground- "The Brown Playground"- and he was treating us to a full-out-level-five meltdown because he wanted to go to the playground, not watch people he didn't know crossing the finish line.  Hence my pic of Dan approaching the finish is not my best shot...

Dan checking his time...
 He did great overall- his time was very respectable for his first duathalon and his biking time put him close to the top 50  (biking time was 55th overall).  He knew the running-especially the second two miles- would be tough and he was right.

The Gear

The Cutest Onlooker Ever (recovered from the meltdown)

 Mimi hamming it up, of course

 Playing on the rocks

Overall it was a great experience for him.  We had so much fun cheering him on.  The day it was held was a glorious spring day and later Dan kept thinking, "I should really get out there and get some exercise today" and then would realize that he already ran, biked, and ran again in a race.  He had done his time.

He is already looking forward to next year's event and plotting how to improve his running times.  So proud of my hubby!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Scout and Sweetie Night!

Ah, the long awaited annual return of the Scout and Sweetie Dance! 
Every year I think it will get easier to get the girls ready and instead we seem to just ramp it up another notch each spring. 
Tonight we were thrown off by the fact that Mommy couldn't find the flyer, she thought it started at 6, because doesn't it ALWAYS start at 6?, looked online, tried to call a few people, even called the venue with no luck and by the time we found out that indeed starts at 5pm, not 6, it was already 4pm. 
Who can get red-carpet ready in ONE HOUR???
So we threw ourselves into action, mostly with me running back and forth up and down the upstairs hallway (my bathroom on one end/ Michaela's room and the girls' bathroom on the other end) coordinating hair, showers, curlers, makeup, clothing, hairspray... you've read my blog long enough.  You know the drill.
Oh, and throw into the mix a full five-alarm-freak-out by Alec, who was laying on the floor in the upstairs hallway, with us girls just running and stepping over him.  Two minutes after they left with Daddy, Alec was passed out asleep on our bed.
But the girls looked lovely, as they always do, and we took pictures, like we always do, and I said, "Oh my goodness! OH MY GOODNESS!!" a hundred times as I always do when I see how these girls are growing up so fast. 
And also when I look at the pictures afterwards and realize how Latina Michaela looks when she's all gussied up.
Here they are...
Daddy and his girls

I think if someone asked me,  "So.... what have you been working on the last few years of your life?" I would show them this picture.  There it is.

(I did NOT tell her to do this... she came up with this pose by herself)