Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Fun

The past few days have been all about Easter & Gia is loving it! She doesn't really understand much about Easter, except that it's a holiday and it involves bunnies and chicks, dyeing eggs, going to church and spending time with family. She calls it "Easter Day".
Last year we had a few friends over for an egg dyeing playdate and we had so much fun that I thought we'd do it again this year.
Gia and her friends Christopher & Adrianna had a blast. Gia couldn't wait to "color the eggs". She must have asked me a million times when her friends were coming over so we could get started.

It took a few reminders for Gia to be gentle with eggs.

But she got the hang of it.

Between 3 mommies, 3 kids, and 3 packs of egg dye we could NOT get an egg to turn pink (much to my dismay).  
Oh well, they look pretty anyway!

Today we took Gia to Abma's Farm in Wyckoff (my old stomping grounds). First we went to their regular petting zoo, which she loved.

 They were also having a special Easter petting zoo extravaganza. They had bales of hay set up to make a little square pen and the kids sat on the hay and waited their turn to hold a real live bunny or chick.
She sat patiently and it didn't take long until the lady handed her a medium sized white bunny. She kind of froze, so, from behind, I helped her scoop the bunny onto her tiny lap and hold tight.

(It was such a madhouse that we only got cell phone pictures of this part, so please excuse the less-than-stellar quality of these.)

She eventually got the hang of it and was more comfortable.  She sat there with him for a few minutes (or an eternity in toddler time) and then she started to look around. I could tell she'd had enough, so we put the bunny back in the center of the "ring" and let someone else have a turn.

The Easter Bunny is coming tonight (Daddy has to work on Easter morning, so he's making a special delivery tonight) and then Sunday is "Easter Day".  More fun to come!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WW: Goodbye Winter

In an effort to usher winter OUT of are some pictures of the last snowman Gia built this year.
She loves this bunny hat and loves posing in it.

Helping Daddy                                                         Waving to Mommy

Monday, March 25, 2013

This time of year

It kind of seems like I've been neglecting the blog lately. And the truth is that I have been. It's not that I don't want to blog. Actually it's quite the contrary. I compose meaningful and engaging posts while I'm in the shower, driving to my mom's house and wandering around the food store grabbing a bunch of random items.
Then I get home and real life starts and I forget about that awesome idea I had while I was in the car or the shower or the store. So I let a few more days pass hoping inspiration will smack me on the head. Or that my computer will open up and beckon me over. Or that a beautiful post will magically write itself.
Part of the problem (if you can even call it a problem) is everyday life. We've just been so busy over here. I feel like I'm all over the place and not doing anything well right now. My house is messy (it's clean, just not neat), the fridge is emptier than I'm comfortable with, and the laundry is piling up all over the place. I take something from the clean pile, wear it and then put it in the hamper. It never even sees the closets or drawers anymore. 
 Here's Gia, cheesing it up in my mirror. See that bag on the left? That's from vacation. Yup. Haven't unpacked it yet and we went away in February. It's pretty much April. Oh, the shame.
And, there's one other tiny little thing. It's called our money-pit, suck-the-bank-account dry, house. I have some other choice words for it, but I'll keep them to myself for now.
As you may remember we had a rough week in February when we had to replace the hot water heater and the washer. At the end of that, I was asking "what next?" Well, that seems like a breeze compared to what came next--aka what happened last week.
I went down to to basement to do laundry (see, I'm trying) and there was the infamous puddle on the floor. Turns out our old washer, which was old, was not really broken, nor was it leaking. Because, see, we replaced it and we still have a little water in the basement. So this time I knew that the water must be coming from somewhere else--I assumed it was from the snow melting outside. I threw down our old slop towels and didn't worry too much.
A few hours later I went down to check on it and found a small stream. It was threatening to reach the other side of the basement (which has carpet and is where we store our stuff). I threw down more towels and Jon walked in from work just as I was doing this. He went right down (this was around 5 pm) and found the problem. One of the huge pipes down there was actually dripping. We put a bucket under the leak and called the plumber (who happens to be an acquaintance of my husband and who came right over, thankfully.)
He diagnosed the problem right away: the sewage pipe was clogged. Yes, that's the poopy pipe--the one that carries sewage from our house to the sewer outside. No using water or flushing till we could get another guy out to unclog it. Enter 2nd plumber-type guy, who was very busy and could not come till 10 pm that night. He took one look and told us it was best to wait till morning.
We sent Gia to school a little stinky, as we weren't able to bathe her the night before--and the 2nd plumber guy came over bright and early and unclogged the pipe. In the light of day he was able to follow the pipe out of the basement and guesstimate where it was under our front lawn. Then he stepped in a soft, muddy divot on the front lawn and he knew exactly where the pipe was.
Of course there's more. There's no way that simply unclogging a pipe is the end of the road when it comes to this house.
 So back to plumber guy #2 (I'm calling him plumber guy because he's not a regular plumber, but I don't know what exactly he is). The soft spot on the front lawn, combined with all his pipe experience, told him that the pipe that comes out of our house and meets with another one to take the crap out to the sewer in the street was probably not flush against the other one and was leaking sweage into our front yard. This was causing the soft spot on the front lawn. A few more months of this, combined with warm weather, would have made a huge, smelly mess of our lawn and cause several other issues for us, none of which I can remember now.

Enter the excavator and the backhoe. Plumber guy #2 sent over his buddy, a 73 year-old retired DPW guy who excavates. He agreed that we needed to dig up the pipe and replace it so it wasn't leaking. He drove his backhoe over, dug a huge ditch in our front lawn and fixed the pipe. All of this happened before dinner time. Kind of amazing how in less than 24 hours this all transpired.
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So, all of that was my very long-winded way of saying, I am so ready for spring. Spring is rebirth, new beginnings, new life...and I can't wait.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WW: our week

Top Row: Putting sprinkles on our green St. Patty's Day cupcakes, lunching with her bestie, homemade Irish Bread (aka Soda Bread)

Middle Row: wearing her crown, making St. Patty's cards, asleep on sly

Bottom Row: She lined all her cars up, trying on my tiny Gucci shoe keychain, being silly with my girl

Friday, March 15, 2013

Calling all the LADIES!

It's no big secret that I love to read. It's truly one of my favorite things to do and is the main reason I decided to become an English teacher.  I wanted to (and still want to) inspire others to read.
 You also know how much I love blogging. Even though I'm still a newbie, this has been an awesome journey so far, and I have so much more to say, to write, to share.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post called I Poop Glitter. (The title is an homage to the title of one of my favorite posts on Kelle's blog.) In it I spoke of one of my favorite bloggers: Kelle Hampton. Kelle and I share the same philosophies about life and motherhood. Reading her blog makes my heart happy. 

So where am I going with all this?
Well, about a year ago Kelle became a bona fide author when her first book, Bloom was published. I wasn't a reader of Kelle's blog at that point so I missed out on pre-ordering her book and having the opportunity to Skype with her about the book. 
In April Bloom comes out in paperback & Kelle's doing it again. For anyone who pre-orders 8 copies of the paperback, Kelle will set up a time to Skype with you and your fellow readers. 
 To say I'm really excited about this would be an understatement. I was ready to order 8 books all for myself and just spend a half hour Skyping with Kelle alone. But then I thought about it. Why not tell all my friends about this? I'm sure so many of you will love her blog as much as I do--especially if you are a mom, or a mom-to-be. And maybe you'll also want to read the book with me, and then come over to my house for a girl's night and Skype session with Kelle.
And if not, I'll just go back to my original plan and just order 8 copies for myself!
So, take a look at Kelle's website and check our her book and let me know if you're interested in coming to the book club. (I have no idea when this will happen--but I'm guessing sometime in April or May.) You can email me or leave me a note on the Facebook page (make sure to "like" it while you're there!). Or, if you aren't close but still want a copy of the book, that works too! I'll be placing the order for 8 books (hopefully more!) on March 31st. 
UPDATE-- I clearly didn't read Kelle's website closely enough. The Skype session is only open to the first 40 people who order 8 or more copies. So I just placed an order for 8 copies of the book (on March 15). It looks like we are among the first 40, and Kelle will be Skyping with us!  If you'd like to join us and would like one of the books, please let me know. They were $13.59 each. No shipping charges.
(Yes I just spent $117 on 8 of the same book. I'm really hoping some of y'all come through here and want to join me!)

Monday, March 11, 2013

I'm a friggin animal

I have a very thoughtful post that I'm working on but it's not quite ready. We've been really busy lately and I haven't been posting as much as I'd like, so I thought I'd post this little ditty for you.
Over the past week or so Gia has been on a kick to use the potty all by herself. We can't help her do any of it. She's not so great at getting her pants up or down, nor is she great at wiping...but I guess she's gotta learn sometime. 
So last week we were eating dinner and she said she had to go potty. "Mommy. All by myself."
So off she went. About 5 minutes later she still wasn't back, despite repeated attempts by both me and her dad to get her to finish up and come back. 
We could hear her singing songs to herself and just being silly in there. Then we heard raspberries. You know when you make funny noises with your mouth? Those kind of raspberries. Well that quickly turned into full-on spitting sounds. 
I gave Jon the eye and he went to go fetch our girl from the potty. On the way there he mumbled, "She's acting like a friggin animal". 
Now, before you get upset that my husband was calling my daughter an animal, let me explain. This is our thing. We tease her often that she's not acting like a good girl--that she's being a little animal. She knows it's a joke and she understands that acting like an animal is not the correct way to act. He doesn't usually insert the word friggin in there, but hey, it was in the middle of dinner and he was probbaly a little frustrated.
So off he goes to get Gia off the potty. As he's helping her finish up she goes, "I'm a friggin animal!" in this chipper, cheerful, adorable happy voice.
I seriously lost it. I was laughing so hard I was crying and Jon was speechless. Gia loved that we thought it was funny, so of course she kept repeating it. (This is the first time she's ever repeated anything bad we've said. In general we don't swear often at all, but there are times when we slip and she's yet to repeat any of it, which just made this even funnier for us.) 
A few minutes later, we were all back at the dinner table and Gia was still stuck on being a "friggin animal".  All we had to do was ask what she was and she'd say it. you go.  See for yourself. I hope you find it as funny (and priceless) as we all do!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Last week I went to a playdate with 3 of my very best girlfriends. We all got married around the same time and had our first babies just months apart. (Alli recently had baby number 2, Little Louie.) The 4 of us don't get to see each other as often as we'd like, but when we do, it's like no time at all has passed. I'm so lucky to have these ladies in my life.

Clockwise, starting with biggest picture: The 4 of us (me, Vanessa, Steph & Alli), Gia fell asleep at the play date, the girls (Gia and Gianna loved baby Louie, me gettting some Louie snuggle time, Gia eating a bagel and watching tv, Adrianna loving Louie

Monday, March 4, 2013

I poop glitter

I recently found a blog and I fell in love with it. Well, actually, I re-found it. Last week I was reading one of the blogs I check out regularly and I was looking at the list of that blogger's favorite blogs. Lo and behold I was taken to this woman's blog. It said "If you're new, Start Here". So clicked the 'Start Here' link and I was taken to The Post. The Post -- aka the most popular post on the blog -- is the beautifully written birth story of the blogger's second daughter. I quickly realized that I'd read it before and, for some reason, I didn't bookmark it at the time even though I distinctly remember being moved by it the first time I read it. It seemed so fitting to me that I found this post again now -- when I'm just starting my journey as a blogger and trying to figure out the direction I want to take this ship, 
So back to my new found internet love. This woman's birth story is gut wrenching and beautiful and sad and joyous and truthful and honest. It's perfection to me. I wish I could write like this woman. I wish I could express my emotions in words the way she does. 
I spent the next few days reading every post from the birth of her daughter (who just turned three) up to the present. In addition to being a gifted writer, she's also a really talented photographer, a crafting genius, and the photos of her children are just gorgeous. (If I didn't love her blog so much I might hate her.)
When something is really important to me, or when it's hitting a nerve, I need a few days to process things before I can put my finger on why exactly it's hitting a nerve. It doesn't matter if we're talking about something positive or negative -- I need time to think through things. So naturally it took me a little bit to figure out why, exactly, this blog hit home right now.
By the time I was finished reading nearly the whole blog, I had a much clearer sense of why I love this woman's blog so much. On the surface we don't have much in common, other than that we're both moms. She lives in Florida. She has 2 young daughters (one with special needs), 2 teenaged stepsons and a brand new baby boy. She doesn't work. Her style is eclectic and funky. Me? I live in suburban New York, have just Gia, I teach part time and while I love that funky eclectic style, I cannot pull it off. I'm much more matchy-matchy--Ann Taylor meets Banana Republic.  But, here's the big thing: our philosophies on life are really similar. She chooses joy every day. She finds happiness in the small things. She knows that the small things are actually big things. She believes in making everyday life special. And ya know what? That's exactly what I think too.
That's not to say that things are always peachy around here. I have a two year old so I think it's safe to say that's impossible. But, I recognize how very blessed I am, and choose to be happy about this beautiful life I have. When Gia eats an entire bowl of Halloween candy before 9 am, I could rant and rave and worry about her not eating lunch. But I choose to laugh at it instead. (Bad example. Any way you slice it, that's just hilarious.) When Gia won't go down for a nap even though I know she's exhausted, of course I get frustrated. But most of the time I take a deep breath and try a different tactic. After all, she's a little person just trying to navigate through world and she needs my help. I try really hard not to focus on the negative. It doesn't always happen, but I really try.
The other amazing thing about this blog is that it's so beautifully written. It's pushing me to do even better things here, on my blog. I've always loved writing and, as I've mentioned before, this blog has been such an awesome creative outlet for me. Through Kelle's blog I've realized that while I definitely want to continue to write about my life and all the fun/silly/crazy things we do, I also want to dig a little deeper. There's more to the story, to my story and I want to explore it and share it.
So before I end this, it's time for a little confession. As I was in the midst of reading the blog and trying to figure out why Kelle's ideas resonated so much, I saw this meme somewhere (Facebook, I think). And that's what really sped up the thinking process for me. This is how I feel about life. I'll leave you with this little tidbit and challenge you to think about your philosophies. What are your beliefs about life and about motherhood? 
And one more thing...what blogs do you regularly follow? I'm always looking for a new one to read!