Friday, June 28, 2013


Gia has been out of preschool for almost two weeks and already I find myself trying to think of things to keep her busy. She's kind of on her way to Boredom-ville. We had her signed up for camp but, due to low enrollment, camp was cancelled.

At first it was no big deal. I'll have her all to myself, all summer, I thought. After all, this is the last time it'll be just me and her. Next summer we'll have a little brother around here, tearing up the place.

Last week, with my mom's birthday quickly approaching, and one little girl who was itching to get out and do something other than go to Shop Rite, I took Gia to Bazaar Star Beadery in Ridgewood. I'd been there in 2008 to make "something blue" for my wedding (a pretty blue crystal ankle bracelet that I still have).  Because it was featured on the Real Housewives of NJ a few weeks ago, it was back on my radar. Before we went I called & asked if Gia, at nearly 3, would be old enough to bead. I thought it would be fun for her to make a bracelet for Yadi for her birthday.

I told Gia where we were going and she was SO excited. When we got there she was dazzled by all the beads all over the place. She quickly decided she wanted to make a bracelet for herself and for Yadi. She was so jazzed up--how could I say no?

The girl who worked there gave her a little cup and told her to pick 3-5 special beads. The selections were endless and it took a bit of negotiating to get Gia to agree to choose beads that she liked and that were practical for a 3 year old. We ended up with 2 teal stars and 1 pink bunny. (The special beads she chose were so huge we only needed 3.)

Then we picked the filler beads. They have an entire row of EASY beads -- they're bigger and therefore easier to string up. They're meant for younger beaders. This time I was smart and I picked 3 colors that would look ok with Gia's bunny and stars and let her choose from them. She chose silver beads.

They set us up at big table in the back. Gia had to count out 5 silver beads & put them on the stretchy string and then put a special bead. Then 5 more silvers and another special bead. And so on.

Not only was it so much fun, but it was a really good learning experience for Gia. She loves to count and she happily lined up the silver beads in groups of 5 and then strung them on the string. Work those fine motor skills, baby!

  It took her just under 30 minutes of intense concentration to complete her project. She was so proud of herself when she was finished.

The shop girl whisked the beaded string away to "finish it" (tie it together properly) and Gia helped me make a bracelet for my mom in the meantime.  
When the girl came back with Gia's finished bracelet, Gia held out her arm and put it on right away. She hasn't taken it off. Every night before bed she takes it off and puts it on her nightstand. And every morning she puts it back on. 
ps. If you're interested in price information on how much it costs to bead, send me a message on The Quinntessential Mommy's FB page & we'll talk! (Be sure to 'Like' it too!)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pregnancy Update

How Far Along: 22 Weeks! More than halfway done!

Didn't use my good camera--not the greatest picture!

Weight Gain:  13 lbs

Maternity Clothes: Absolutely. When it's super hot (like it's been) I love sundresses.

Sleep: Tough. I'm only comfortable on my sides and I'm already big enough that I wake up every time I roll over. (It doesn't help that Gia has been on a 6 am kick for a few weeks and Jon has been working crazy overtime...)

Gender: It's a BOY!!

Feelings/Mood: Feeling incredibly happy and blessed. I'm so excited to be having another baby and the fact that it's a boy is the icing on the cake.

Symptoms/Health: Overall, I'm doing great. Blood pressure is low, weight gain is normal, and baby boy moves like crazy.  But that's not to say there aren't a few minor aches and pains.  I'm starting to swell a little tiny bit (only I can really tell), it's tough to sit for long periods of time and I'm definitely getting Braxton Hicks contractions kinda often.

Food Cravings/Aversions: I'm still way more into real food than sweets. I won't turn down a cupcake, but I tend to crave savory, hearty foods.  And I still want whatever I see. If someone mentions a certain food, all of a sudden I want it. If people on tv are eating something, I want it.
What I Miss: Sleeping on my stomach, sushi, and an ice cold adult beverage (margarita...mojito...I'm not picky) on these hot summer days.
Movement: TONS! This little guy is so active, which I love. Jon can feel it through my belly and so can Gia, although she is totally freaked out by it. She felt it one time and now refuses to put her hand anywhere near my belly again. Last night he kicked so hard Jon yanked his hand away in surprise. You can see the movement from the outside now, too.

Belly: Low and totally out front! Similar to how I carried with Gia, but even more out front (if it's possible!)

Best Moment this week (pregnancy-related): Ordered & received the crib sheet & crib skirt. We're starting to pick nursery colors and decor, which is SO much fun.
What I look forward to: We have a family photo shoot in a few weeks that I'm really looking forward to. I'm happy that we'll have great pictures with this little one still in my belly.

This is a horrible picture, but it's me at 21 weeks pregnant with Gia. You can really see the difference between the shape of my belly as compared to this little boy!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Last Day!

I've been avoiding writing this post. I've been thinking about it a lot, and I've started writing it a bunch of times. But I haven't be able to finish. Hormonal pregnant me can't believe how fast time has flown by (yet again). I'm not ready to say goodbye to the toddler class at Gia's preschool. I not ready for my baby to turn three! 
But alas, such is life. Time goes on and sometimes it's bittersweet. 
  Gia typically goes to school Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Tuesday, Gia brought in cupcakes to celebrate her summer birthday, which she was so excited about. She truly thought it was her birthday all day.  She was given a crown to wear and she kept it on the entire 2.5 hours of school and the rest of the day. And the next 2 days too. She told me they sang to her but there were no candles. No fire in school, she said. 
Wednesday is not her normal day to go to school but since it was the last day, all the children were invited. They played outside and then had an ice cream social, which Gia absolutely loved. She couldn't stop talking about the "colorful sprinkles and white ice cream".
One of the mothers took up a collection for Gia's teachers, which we contributed to, but we also wanted to give them something else--something special from us. So, together Gia and I made them chalkboard mugs. (Thank you Pinterest!)
I bought 2 huge mugs from Bed, Bath & Beyond, and ordered special chalkboard paint made for porcelain. (Contrary to popular belief you can't just use the spray stuff you get at Michael's. I got the special kind from Amazon.)
Then I created a stencil using construction paper. Gia helped me paint inside the stencil and then we let them dry for 24 hours. 

 Then we baked them for 30 min in the oven (350 degrees). Once they were dry I wrote #1 teacher on them in chalk, and put a Starbucks gift card and a piece of chalk inside each one.

Gia proudly handed out the gifts on her last day. It really was the perfect end to a wonderful six months. 
But here's the part that gets me: Gia has grown up in so many ways in the past six months and so much of it was because of school.  Sure, she's a little taller, no longer takes a nap or has a monitor in her room. Yes, she knows all the ABCs and can even recognize the letters in print, but there's so much more. 
When I wrote about her first day of preschool I mentioned that we decided to send her to school at 2.5 to avoid her being bored at home. Now that we're done with these six months, I can honestly say it was the best decision for Gia. She's a very active and very bright child and without school I know that boredom would have undoubtedly led to acting out at home. 
Instead, we got to watch this beautiful little girl blossom. From school she learned to wait her turn and to have patience. She isn't demanding; she asks for things nicely 99% of the time. She follows directions really well and she can be trusted to do so many things on her own. I can tell her to go get a pair of socks from her room, put them and her shoes on, and she happily will--with no help from me.  She shares, and she is kind. She sings songs and plays by herself, yet she also enjoys the company of other kids and plays well with them. She's learned the days of the week and she knows what days she goes to school. She is sad on days when there is no school. She is creative and thriving. And that makes me one happy mama.
Side by Side: first day and the last day

Monday, June 17, 2013

It's a...

On my birthday (in May) I was getting a pedicure and woman who was doing it told me she was a 'little bit psychic'. I smiled politely. What can you really say to that?  She smiled back and said "You have one baby already. It's a girl. Yes?" I told her yes, she was right. Then she pointed to my belly, which was still pretty tiny at that point and said, "That one is a boy." Again I smiled politely and said something along the lines of "we'll see!" 
I came home and told my mom and husband about my psychic pedicurist and we all had a good laugh about it. If she was right, cool! And if she wasn't, well, it was still a great story.
The belly at 20 weeks 6 days
As soon as I found out I was pregnant I calculated when I'd be 20 weeks and when we'd find out the gender of baby #2. I realized it was right around Father's Day and immediately started planning the gender reveal party/Father's Day Bar-B-Que.
I found a baker who understood the whole gender reveal thing and agreed to make us a cake without ruining the surprised. I gave her carte blanche on the design of the cake. 
On June 11th, Jon & I went for the anatomy scan and it was wonderful. We got to see our beautiful baby for over an hour. He/She was wiggling all around and the tech was able to get all of the pictures she needed. She talked us through the whole thing, pointing out arms and legs, and being careful to only say "baby".  He/she is healthy and we were so thrilled. Then, at the end, she was quiet for a few minutes and I could tell she was looking for the "goods".  I was looking too, but was totally unsure of what I was seeing. She saw what she needed, wrote down the gender and sealed it in an envelope for us.
I had that envelope in my possession for over 24 hours and I didn't peek! The next day I dropped it off to the baker, and patiently waited for June 16th. 
Gia giving Daddy the gift she made him at preschool
And then the day was here! We had a wonderful family bar-be-que celebrating all the dads.  Throughout the day we asked everyone to vote: boy or girl.
The results were overwhelmingly boy 15 to 6!

And at dessert time, we cut into a gorgeous cake, waiting to see if the filling inside was blue or pink! (The outside is blue like the sky (get it--Twinkle Twinkle Little Star...) but it's the inside that matters...)
We both had knives and we each made a cut, with Gia watching very closely...

I love this picture...

It's a BOY!!!!!!

Can you tell that I'm excited?!
There were lots of cheers and excitement and kisses and hugs. It was an amazing moment and a priceless memory to have. Less than 24 hours later and it really hasn't sunk in for Jon and I though--we're going to have a son in a few short months! We're so used to dresses and hair bows and princesses and tea parties, and now we get to switch gears to trucks and trains and footballs.  It's going to be an awesome ride!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Strawberry Picking!

Remember that book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"? Well I want to write a book called "Gia and the Wonderful, Amazing, Almost Perfect, Super Fun Day". 
The day of Gia's show and graduation was the most gorgeous day ever weather wise and it was also one of the best days in general. It was full of fun and life and love. Unfortunately Jon had mandatory training and couldn't make it to her show. But we wanted to do something fun and special with her as a family to celebrate that day. So, when Daddy got home, we hopped in the car headed to Ochs Orchard in Warwick, NY to go strawberry picking.

Gia was so excited to pick! I'm not sure if she remembered what it was like from last year or if it was just her love for strawberries that fueled the excitement. Either way, my girl was so happy to be outside in a field of fruit.

Jon showed her how to grab them from the stem so that she didn't totally squish the berry as she pulled it off. After a few tries she had the hang of it.

And she went to town, picking every berry she could find.

She probably ate as many as she picked...

 Gia and Jon did most of the picking, as it's hard for me to bend down gracefully and comfortably. The belly is already getting in the way!

I was happy just to watch her having so much fun.

After we picked 4.5 pounds of strawberries we went to a local restaurant for dinner and then stopped at Bellvale Creamery for some homemade ice cream. The view was just incredible and we had the whole place to ourselves. I was so excited to use the remote for my camera, so we snapped a few family shots. I can't decide which one I like better, so you get 2 for the price of 1!

Once our bellies were full, we headed home. Gia fell asleep in record time that night, and I'm pretty sure she dreamed of singing songs, strawberries, and ice cream.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Gia's Show and Graduation

Today was one of those days where, at every turn, something wonderful was happening. It was one of those days when I thought to myself a million times, is this really my life? Am I really this blessed?

Today was Gia's end of the year celebration and graduation/moving up day at pre-school. I'll save most of my sentimental musings for next week when it's actually her last day in the toddler class. For now it's all about the show.

We woke up early to the sun shining and the most perfect sunny & warm late spring day. Gia excitedly got ready in her outfit, purchased especially for the show. (The kids all had to wear denim on the bottom and white t-shirts.) Then Yadi arrived and we all rode to school together. I walked Gia in and we took our seats and waited for the show to start.

At 10 am the sounds of "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang filled the air, and out came the toddlers.

The teachers lined them up and Gia looked a little nervous. There was quite a large audience and I could see her scanning the crowd, looking for me. She spotted me pretty quickly and her face lit up. I waved and blew her a kiss and she blew one back. Then she looked around some more and spotted Yadi.  I could see her say "Yadi! Hi Yadi!" Then she looked back at me and said "Yadi's here!" She was so excited to have us both there. I guess she forgot we all drove there together an hour earlier!

Gia and her class sang two songs: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Catch a Falling Star (originally by Perry Como).


Gia knew every single hand motion and gesture and did them in perfect time. She gets so into it that she forgets to sing. Every few seconds she'd remember to sing though. It was adorable and hilarious all at once.

After Gia the other classes each performed a few songs. It was incredible to see how much more they are capaable of each year, and it made me so excited (and a little sad) about how much my baby has grown and how much more she still has to go. 

The theme of the show was "Shining Stars"...

and one of the coolest parts about the older kids (the 3s and 4s) was that they did popular songs. We heard "Pocket Full of Sunshine" by Natasha Bedingfield and "Get Loud" by Jennifer Lopez, amongst others. It was so lively and upbeat and such a celebration of these adorable little people.

After all the classes had their moment, everyone came back out for a finale together.

Once the show was over we went back to Gia's classroom and she got to show Yadi around. Yadi brought her a rose, which she LOVED!

The teachers had presents for each of the kids (sand pails filled with goodies) and each child also got a personalized "Yearbook".  Then we all went back outside for refreshments.

My mom and I took Gia out for lunch afterwards and we flipped through her Yearbook. I immediately welled up. (Being pregnant and hormonal doesn't help!) It's filled with pictures of Gia on her pre-school journey these past 6 months. It is such a wonderful keepsake to have, and I'm so touched that, once again, Gia's teachers have gone above and beyond for her and the other kids. 
It was just an awesome morning. Gia was so proud of herself and her school. She has grown so much these past few months and it's really beautiful to see. She's such a sweet child and nothing makes my heart swell with love like seeing her in her element, so confident and happy.