Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Catching up...

Really?  I haven't posted since October?  Sigh...where does the time go?!

Let's try to hit the highlights.

November was a rough month for us.  Luciano found out that he was getting laid off after  9 years with the company.  That was a pretty rough spot for us to get through.  Fortunately, Luciano found a new job with a local company.  He is WAAY happier and making more money.  He also had a few weeks off between jobs to finish some lingering projects around the house.  So grateful that we have each other and amazing family to get through the hard times!

The holidays were pretty good.  We bounced around the state for a week and a half, catching up with family and friends.  Giovanni now has so many toys that we have given up our living room to be his toy room.  His current favorite is the play kitchen that Papa made for him.  Complete with a dishwasher, kitchen faucet, and stove knobs that turn!

Little Man is still growing like a weed.  He walks runs everywhere and gets into everything.  Most of the time he is adorable, but sometimes he makes me want to pull my hair out.  Or he tries to pull it out for me.  :(  He's also really getting the hang of signing.  More, please, all done, milk, and banana have been mastered (in his own way).  It sure helps when he wakes up screaming at midnight that he can tell me he wants milk rather than my playing 20 questions!  His spoken vocabulary continues to grow, too.  He learned to say "Uh oh" when something falls on the floor.  Or when he throws something on the floor.  Or anytime he feels like it.  This week's favorite word is "outside", helped in no small part by the fact that spring has finally shown up and playing outside no longer involves many layers of clothes.

He's also finally discovered a love of books.  I was afraid we were failing as parents because he was more interested in grabbing and pulling (tearing) book pages than reading them.  But in the past few months, he really loves it.  He doesn't go to bed without a story now and will often drag a book over and sit in our laps for reading time.  The record is 10 stories before sleeping.  Reading time with him is one of my favorite parts of the day!

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems!
We also took Giovanni on our first major vacation since his birth.  The first week of January, we boarded the Carnival Liberty for a week of fun in the Caribbean.  We had plenty of help wrangling him from Nana & Papa.  It was so much fun to see him discover new things.  It got a little rough toward the end when he got sick and couldn't keep any food down, but Nana and Papa were such awesome support for us.  In preparation for the trip, Nana made him his first Hawaiian-style shirt.  Here's a picture of him taking it off the other night in preparation for bath time.

On to the cute pictures...tonight we enjoyed the beautiful weather out in our yard.  Giovanni ADORES the neighbor boys and was thrilled to bits when they decided to play with him.  I was able to snap a few cute pics.

More posts to come, I promise.  I want to be able to share these stories with him when he is older and my mind won't remember them all if I don't start writing them down!  :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tubes at last

Well, we met with the ENT specialist.  He's a really friendly guy who calls himself "Dr. Bob".  As soon as he heard our story of 4 ear infections in 6 weeks with every possible form of antibiotics (including injections), he asked "What are you doing next week Wednesday?"  As in, he was ready to put tubes in Little Man's ears as soon as possible.  It turned out he was booked on Wednesday.  But he had a meeting cancelled on Monday, so we were up at 5am last Monday to get him to Children's Hospital for tubes.  Many of our friends have spoken highly about their experiences there and we've now joined the ranks of their raving fans.  Everyone was friendly and helpful.  They did a great job of explaining what to expect.  And the procedure was over before we knew it.  He was only away from us for a half-hour.  He was hungry when he woke up, but they were afraid to let him eat too much for fear that it would react with the anesthesia.  Eventually we were able to give him apple juice, graham crackers, and a couple ounces of formula to calm his frantic hungry cries.  We had him home by 10am, at which point he took another bottle and went fast to sleep FOR 3.5 HOURS!!  When he woke up, he was his normal, happy self.  We just have to give him ear drops twice a day for two weeks and go back for a follow-up appointment to make sure everything looks good.  Overall, no big all my friends told me it would be!

I couldn't bear to leave him with a babysitter all day Saturday, so we took him to the Badger Football game vs. Minnesota this week.  He was much happier there without an ear infection and just had to fight extreme exhaustion.  In a complete turn of events, he slept in until 8am on Saturday.  Normally, we would have LOVED this.  Except it was an 11am kick-off and I wanted to be on the road by 8.  Ooops!  He fell asleep in the car just as we got into Madison, so he was running on pretty much no nap all day.  He snuggled with me for most the first half and finally fell asleep during the fourth quarter.  After the game, we stopped by to visit my friends Kelly and Pete and their 3-day-old daughter, Riley.  She is cute as can be and SO TINY!  She's over 7 lb...I've just gotten so used to Giovanni's size that I forget how small they come.

The weather was so nice on Sunday, we had to seize the opportunity to take him to the pumpkin patch.  While waiting in line to buy our tickets, we ran into best friend Logan and his Mommy and Daddy.  It was funny getting to share the experience with them!

And now, on to the cuteness...
Aw, you
HAVE to go to work?
Playing in the grass
at the pumpkin patch
Riding on the haywagon
with my new friend Harper.

I can haz punkin?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fest with the Best!

The Vulcans got me with
their grease marker!
This past weekend was La Crosse Oktoberfest.  For several years now, we've gone with the same group and it's always a blast.  We finally persuaded Nana and Papa to join us for the festivities this year.  We got to the parade route around 7am to start tailgating.  Yes, you read that right.  We tailgate for a parade.  Jenny Rae et al had already been there for at least two hours, ensuring that we got our usual prime spot...middle of the bridge just north of the Fest Grounds.  The parade reached us around 11am and ran until 2pm.  It was a great time, as usual.  Turns out that adorable toddlers are a magnet for the candy throwers...Giovanni got quite a haul!

Unfortunately, his grumpy side started coming out Saturday evening and Sunday.  I stayed home with him Monday and took him to the doctor to confirm that his ear infection is back with a vengeance.  Another round of Augmentin (higher dose this time) and a referral to an ENT specialist in 10-12 days.  Poor little guy.

I also got a taste of JUST HOW HARD it is to be a stay-at-home Mom.  Grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning the kitchen, and still resolving issues remotely for my team.  I was sooo ready to go back to work on Tuesday!

Thanks for the awesome drum set, Mom! 

Of course, we had some very sweet moments this week.  Like when someone sneezed last weekend and Giovanni did a perfect imitation, complete with dropping his head toward his chest.  "Ah-choo!"  So cute.  Of course, he stopped doing it when I had my video camera ready.  :o)  Also, we like to let him explore as much of his world as is safe.  As such, we don't have locks on the kitchen cabinets other than the one with cleaning supplies.  One morning, he pulled all the metal bowls out and arranged them around him like a drum set and started beating.
You're pretty good at this
feeding thing, Aunt Amanda!

Crowns are for eating, right?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Gotta be a growth spurt

Giovanni is eating us out of house and home!  The other night at dinner, he just kept eating everything I put in front of him.  Veggies, rice, asparagus, bamboo shoots, red curry shrimp.  Devoured it all.  This morning at breakfast, he ate half a banana.  Then a handful of raspberries from our garden.  Then half a peach.  And he was still hungry, so I gave him canned peaches and pineapple.  I think we have a Very Hungry Caterpillar on our hands!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Saying Good-bye

This week was an exhausting one. (Yes, moreso than usual.)

After battling the past couple years with dementia and a recent stroke, Luciano's Grandma Edna passed away on September 12th. We spent two days with Grammy Jo, helping her around the house and driving her down to the funeral. Giovanni was a champ through the disruptions to his schedule and provided a ray of sunshine and joy to a somber celebration of her 95 years of life. Hope you're having fun playing cards with Grandpa Jake, Grandma!
We also finished our second course of oral antibiotics for Giovanni's ear infection. Daddy took him to the doctor on Friday to check and make sure that all was better. It wasn't, so he started a course of antibiotic injections. He had another one on Saturday morning and the final one this morning. Seeing as how he is still fussy and pulling on his ear, I am not optimistic. Looks like we could be heading for tubes. This is not surprising for a number of reasons. According to the doctor, it's becoming pretty common as the bugs become more resistant to antibiotics. Gio is also likely taking after his Godfather, who had tubes multiple times as a toddler. Everyone I've talked to about it says that it's really a day of discomfort for months of ear-infection-free happiness. Guess we'll see what happens.
Understandably, his ear infection has made my Little Man a bit grumpy this week.  He ranges from happy baby to mild discontent to completely inconsolable. Tylenol a few times a day has helped, but he's still not his normal, happy self. I convinced Luciano that we should just pick up meatballs, red sauce, and pasta for dinner last night. It really hit the spot. It even calmed my fussy baby boy.  Notice how quiet he is in the video.  Also, the massive amount of marinara all over his face, hands, tray, etc.  He LOVES pasta.

As the tracker on here reminds me, yesterday was Giovanni's 10-month birthday. This month was no exception to my rule about being horrible about getting monthly pictures. I tried to snap one this morning, but he was in his usual "got to go" mood. Here's the best I could do along with a few outtakes.

The best I could do
Got to GO!
Flash is not my friend.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What's for dinner?

This used to be the perpetual query in our house.  We both love to cook, but sometimes it's hard to motivate yourself after a long day at work.  It usually works out well because when one of us is not in the mood to cook, the other picks up the slack.  When I was pregnant, our routine got a little "off".  I was always tired in the first trimester.  (Sometimes, I would take a nap between work and dinner!)  It got to be a contest to see who could call the other one closest to 5pm to ask about dinner ideas.  More often than not, it ended in take-out.  It wasn't very economical or healthy.

Before Giovanni was born, we spent several weekends preparing and freezing meals for after he was born.  They have come in handy and some have been shared with other families with new little ones.  But they still require planning to thaw a day or two before baking.

While I was on maternity leave, I started following a few bargain websites for Moms.  One of them ran a promo for half-off a six-month subscription to a meal-planning service.  $15 for six months of meal plans and associated grocery lists?  If it prevented us from bringing home pizza even once, it had paid for itself!

Every Friday, I get an e-mail with five menus for the week and a bonus recipe.  It's a reminder to me to pick meals and make the grocery list.  I shop once a week and get everything I need.  Very few weeknight stops at the grocery store.  The recipes are delicious and usually not too time-consuming.  (We learned in Week 1 that we couldn't do all five menus in a week. Too many leftovers! I take them for lunch every day, but we still had more food than we needed right now.  Now we usually do 3-4 meals a week.)  Did I mention the meals taste AWESOME?!

I save the recipes every week.  Ones we really like get typed into my recipe card template and printed for the box.  I also keep a list now of dinner ideas (sorted by entrees, starch, and veggies).  When I eventually stop subscribing, I'll be able to keep putting together amazing meal plans.

Seven months in, I'm still a raving fan.  The business model is brilliant...I'm still jealous I didn't think of it!  It's called No More To Go.  The woman who runs it is named Stacey.  She is sweet and helpful.  At least three of my friends have also joined.  Maybe it's not perfect for everyone, but it has been a lifesaver to help make sure that we eat healthy meals that don't cost an arm and a leg!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Get a haircut... look like a girl!


This is what Gio and I heard the last couple times we've seen Nana (my Mom). I was a little hesitant because a friend had told me that she rushed into her son's first haircut and it was anti-climatic. She wished she had waited. Giovanni has always had a lot of hair. Like in this picture from when he was 8 days old.
Born with lots of hair!
This week, I decided it probably was time to do something about his unruly mane.  Following recommendations, I made an appointment at Just Kidding for Sunday. He did okay. He wasn't real wild about the cape and for about half of it, I had to stand near and comfort him. I was amazed at how quick the stylist was to get in and make the cuts between his moving. When we were done, I texted Nana a picture with the caption "Better?" She replied "NO, now he looks like a little boy instead of a baby." There's no pleasing some people!

So handsome!
After nearly 10 months, I feel like I mostly have the hang of this Mom thing. I can read his "poopin' face." I can usually tell when he needs to eat or nap. But sometimes I blow it. Like yesterday. After we got home from the haircut, I wanted to go run errands and Luciano wanted to mow the grass. I thought that Giovanni probably needed to go down for a nap, but it didn't fit well with our plans. So I took him shopping with me so Daddy could mow the yard. What a mistake! He fell asleep in the car and I had to wake him up when we got to the grocery store. I hoped that if I carried him in the Ergo, he would go back to sleep. No dice. When we finally got home, I whisked him back to the bedroom with a bottle in hopes of getting him to sleep. He was having none of it. He screamed. And screamed. I felt terrible. We fought with him for over an hour, trying to coax him to sleep. Finally, we gave up and let him suck on some frozen mango, thinking that his teeth were hurting him. I think he was really just hungry and over-tired. While dinner was in the oven, we went and played in the yard. He crawled over to the swing and started playing with it, so I put him in and started pushing him. While I ran in to check on dinner, he fell fast asleep in the swing. Silly Little Man!

Baby-proofing continued this week. I couldn't resist snapping this adorable picture before getting him out of Daddy's way. Of course, it took 5 tries to get one that showed his face and wasn't blurry. Anyone who's taken photos of children knows that quantity is required to get quality!

Off we go for another week.  It was REALLY hard to leave my sleeping sweeties this morning.  I just wanted to crawl back into bed and snuggle them all day.  I know it wouldn't work and as soon as I would have snuggled in with them, Giovanni would have been awake and ready to play.  I know in my heart that I could never be a stay-at-home-Mom.  But some days?  I'd like to take a mental health sick day.