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.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

We're in trouble...

Giovanni took his "official" first steps last night.  We knew it was only a matter of time with as much as he has been furniture surfing and practicing his free-standing.  I stood him in the living room last night and moved a couple feet back.  I then started coaxing him to "come to Mama" and he managed a couple stompy steps before falling down.  We repeated the experience with the same result...a few wobbly steps and a landing on the fluffy bum.  Let the baby-proofing continue!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Over the river and around the lake... Grandma & Grandpa's house we went.

Giovanni continues to improve his proficiency at crawling and furniture-surfing, extending his periods of free-standing to 20 seconds or more. He even picked up his foot and set it down in a slightly different spot this weekend. Does that count as a first step? The crawl is evolving from the zombie-crawl to a more traditional hands-and-knees crawl. (Zombie crawl was named by Luciano because Gio moves on his hands, right knee, and left foot...he looks off-balance and definitely like something out of a zombie movie!) Baby-proofing continues and we have to keep a closer eye on him around the house. Saturday morning, Giovanni was playing in the toy room, formerly known as the living room. Suddenly, we hear him babbling as he crawls down the hallway, back to the bedrooms where we are packing for the weekend. Guess he knows what he wants and how to get it!

Weekend activities included a trip to Chicago for Uncle Eric's Ghostbusters-themed 30th birthday party. Then we were off to Michigan to visit Great Grandma and Grandpa (Papa's parents) again. Predictably, they really enjoyed the older and more interactive version of their great-grandson.The visit with Grandma and Grandpa was a lot of fun. They are both still quick-witted and feisty as ever, even if their bodies are getting weaker. We tried to snap lots of photos and videos during the visit!  In this video, you can see the flash from Paparazzi Dad!

Sadly, Giovanni was not *quite* as charming as usual due to another ear infection setting in. Confirmed at the doctor this morning, complete with another antibiotic and orders to return in 10-14 days to confirm he's better. The best and worst part of his being sick is that sometimes, there is just nothing like Mama.

Nana and Papa spent Sunday night with us so Papa could set up yet another present for Gio...his very first swing set, made by Papa! He loves we can do it anytime we want!  Of course, after a long day of play and fighting an ear infection, he got a little tired. 

 We also had a breakthrough on baby sign language this week. We knew we wanted to use it to help with communication, we just didn't realize how hard it would be for us to be consistent about using it with him. For a few weeks now, I've been really disciplined about signing "all done" after we eat, then taking the tray away to signify that we're done.  The daycare has also been practicing "eat" "more" and "all done".  The other night, when Gio was done with his dinner, I asked if he was all done, making the sign. To my great pleasure, he put his hands in the air, opened and closed his fists, and said something resembling "all done". We both cheered for him. Sadly, we seem to be backsliding as his newest trick is that he can clap his hands, so he does this all the time! Ah, well...patience and perseverance. At least the clapping is FREAKING ADORABLE!!
Hard at play work!
His other surprise was that best friend Logan's Mommy Tara told us about a lady who was selling an activity table on Craig's List for $15.  Giovanni played with a couple while at Logan's house on Labor Day and he LOVED them.  So Mama drove up to West Bend on her way home from work to get it.  My extra driving and time away from Little Man was rewarded when he immediately lit up in a huge smile and started clapping when he saw it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cloth Diapering Update

Giovanni is now 9 1/2 months old and the cloth diapering is still going strong in our house!  As expected, we've had to make a few modifications to our routine, but it's working.

  • We expanded our diaper supply during various promos.  We now have 31 diapers.  This allows me to wash every 2-3 days (usually Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday) and hang the diapers on the line while we're at work. 
  • We changed our diaper pail.  We're now coping with one PlanetWise diaper pail bag at home.  I was horrified to find one day that the FuzziBunz pails we had been using leaked through the zipper.  Nasty diaper-liquid dripping on the floor and discoloring our beautiful hardwood?  Ugh.  It makes me mad just thinking about it again.
  • We also exclusively use PlanetWise wet bags for daycare and on-the-go.  Again, the FuzziBunz tote just did not live up to expectations.  The zipper has repeatedly jumped its track and we're just fed up with putting it back on.
  • I bought a diaper sprayer.  I'm still averse to sticking my hands in the toilet and the $40 was more than worth it for me.  When we're travelling, Nana or Luciano usually rinse the diapers for me.  I recently heard a trick about using a squirt bottle as a portable diaper sprayer.  I'll have to give that a try.
  • As expected, we get by with fewer doublers.  Four is plenty.
  • We usually use fewer wipes now (less than 10 per load of diapers).  This is mostly because we now buy disposable wipes for daycare.  It just got to be too much of a hassle to chase the cloth wipes back and forth.
Overall, I'm still happy with our decision to cloth diaper our children and love sharing info and fluff with friends!

Of course, I have started thinking about potty training......

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New resolution: Regular updates

My friend Sarah (Mom to an adorable 12-week-old) started a blog. She has a goal of updating it once a week. This seems like a good idea to me, so I'm going to endeavor to do the same. Because most of the fun stuff seems to happen on the weekends, I'm going to try posting on Mondays to make them a tiny bit less evil. Except today is Tuesday because of the holiday weekend. I'm calling it Faux Monday.

Anyways, we had a great weekend. It started Thursday night with our anniversary dinner. Tuesday was our official 3-year-anniversary, but Chef Zach didn't work that night, so we went out for dinner and dancing on Thursday. Delicious dinner at Harbor House followed by swing dancing with lots of old friends at the Down & Over. The evening ended at 10:30 with promises to come out dancing again soon. We had to get home to the new babysitter, 11-year-old neighbor girl Olivia. I was thrilled that she did a great job, even getting Giovanni back to sleep when he woke up. Yay for having a babysitter in the neighborhood...we're going on dates again!

Farm Friday as usual after work. I made my Caprese Bruschetta again. I really don't care for raw tomatoes, but there's something about them fresh from the garden combined with garlic, basil, olive oil, salt & pepper served over fresh mozzarella on garlic-rubbed toasted baguette that I can't get enough of. Everyone devoured it! The neighbor kids all had a blast playing with Giovanni, too.

Saturday, we went to the first Badger Football game of the season. We thought taking Giovanni to an early game would be a good test run to see how he does. The non-conference games tend to be less crowded. He did okay, but there was a lot of crying anytime the crowd got loud. Which happens a lot at Badger games. So we'll probably leave him home next time, but it was fun to take him once. We got to tailgate with the aforementioned Sarah et al before the game and had a great time. Got a great picture of three of the dads holding their baby boys. We've tailgated with this crowd for years and I joked about how the average age of our group has decreased significantly in the past few years as we all add kids to our families!
Dads Tailgating
Intent on watching the game
Jump Around!!
 Sunday we worked our BUTTS off around the house, cleaning and cooking in preparation for guests. My co-worker Steve came over with his wife Melanie and their 2-year-old Vincent for dinner and Dominion, a new card game they introduced us to. The boys had fun and we enjoyed great company and a really fun game. Definitely need to do that again! Also, during a quick trip to the grocery store in the afternoon, Giovanni got his first cookie from the bakery. We sure enjoyed that!

I can haz cookie!
cookie aftermath

Monday plans shifted a bit. Pizzas with the neighbors got cancelled. We got more laundry done (cloth diapers + diarrhea = more laundry!) and Luciano bottled 11 gallons of hard cider. Half of it was a new yeast strain he read about online...let's call it D47. The preliminary results are very promising. Usually we have to let it bottle-condition for another couple months. This stuff I drank that day! Yum! We also went to visit Giovanni's best friend Logan that evening. The boys had fun playing together until Gio grabbed Logan's face and they both melted into tears. It's a rough life, being 9-months-old! We also introduced Jay, Tara & Scott to Dominion. Fun times with great friends!

In other news last week, Giovanni was sent home from daycare on Monday with goopy eyes again. A trip to the doctor that afternoon confirmed that he had his first ear infection. A double antibiotic twice a day it is.  Also, we had our 9-month check-up on Wednesday.  Dr. is happy with how he's growing and developing.  21 lb (65th %ile) and 2.5 feet tall (85 %ile).  Tall and skinny...where does he get those genes?!

In news about Mama, I finished knitting my green knee socks this weekend. I took up knitting about two years ago and really enjoy it. I've made a bunch of things for myself, Giovanni, and countless friends' babies. I'll try to get a picture of the socks...I started them about a year ago and am happy to be done in time for fall. Now I just need the weather to turn more fall-like...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Little Moments of Bliss

The other night after work, I took Giovanni and Lucy out into the yard to play with them while Daddy made dinner. We had so much fun, rolling around in the grass and enjoying the beautiful late summer evening! I so treasure moments like this. We don't get much time home with him in the evenings before he's ready for bed, but I enjoy the moments we can steal away!

Oh, who's Lucy?  Why, she's our puppy, of course!  Around the Fourth of July, our long-time desire to get a dog finally won out over practicality.  A few weeks of frantic searching turned up the perfect solution: a breeder near Nana and Papa with a litter of short-hair miniature dachshunds!  At first, we thought we'd miss out, but she came back to me a couple days later and said that someone had backed out and she now had two girls available.  Would I be interested?  I (literally) jumped for joy!  Several e-mails and phone calls later, it was settled that not only would we get Lucy Lou, but Nana got her sister, Sadie Mae.  Both dogs are so good with Giovanni.  Lucy just sits patiently while he pulls on her feet and puts her in his mouth.  And Giovanni is, predictably, thrilled with the new animals in his life!


Monday, July 30, 2012

More Cloth Diapering Awesomeness

So FuzziBunz?  The awesome cloth diapers all three of us love?  They started a new affiliate program that rewards me for everyone I convince to try their amazing diapers.  So you should follow this link and take a look around.  Even if you come back later, I'll get credit.  So go check them out and put some fluff on that bum!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Catching up...

Whoops...where did the time go?!  Can't believe it's been over three months since I posted.  Everyone who says "if you think you were busy before, just wait until you have a baby!" is sooooo right.

So, let's see...what are the big milestones lately?

April 8 - First solid food
The combination of new food (thin oatmeal), new feeding location (the Bumbo chair) and new delivery method (a spoon) proved to be a little too much for my Little Man.  I wound up cradling him on my lap and using a syringe to squirt food in his mouth.  But by the end of the week, he was taking cereal off the spoon like a champ!  We slowly worked in home-cooked pureed veggies and fruits over the following month and a half.  At the six-month appointment, his doctor gave us the green light to feed almost all foods (with a few obvious exceptions like honey and choking hazards like nuts and whole grapes).  We started working on puffs a couple weeks ago and he's now really getting the hang of self-feeding.  Cheerios, whole raspberries, banana's all delicious and some of them even make it into his mouth rather than the floor!

April 22 - First Brewers game
A co-worker had four tickets to a Sunday game, so we packed up with Jay, Tara & Logan for a day at Miller Park.  We had a great time, the boys behaved pretty well, and we got "first game" certificates for each of them!  Despite our professional-looking sign, we didn't get on TV.  :-(

May 20 - First time swimming in the little pool
We bought a cute inflatable pool for Gio to splash in this summer.  It was already hot enough before Memorial Day to fill it.  He had SO much fun splashing around.  (And yes, we had sunscreen on him and kept him shaded nearly the entire time.  No need for snarky comments about baby's first sunburn.)  He's been swimming several times since then and LOVES to splash around in the water.  He was a little surprised the first time he fell forward into the water, but quickly figured out it just meant that he could move around more.  Now he's a champ at pulling himself to the side and squeaking the toys!

May 25 - First tooth!
On May 25th, Giovanni finally had his first tooth break through.  We could tell when we put a finger in his mouth and felt the sharp edge of it.  It was quickly followed by his second tooth four days later.  Which got us singing "All I want for Memorial Day is my two front teeth..."
Yes, I know they're hard to see in these pictures.  I assure you there is one tooth in the first picture and two teeth in the second.

June 17 - Baptism
Lots of family came in to celebrate Giovanni's baptism weekend.  Saturday afternoon, Giovanni got his first chance to drink iced tea from a real glass.  He liked it so was hilarious!  We enjoyed dinner at Buca di Beppo Saturday night with my side of the family: Nana & Papa, Jon & Amanda, Kym & Eric, Barb & Dave, Adam & Robyn and Darren.  We had a great time and Gio got to taste his first pasta.  He likes it...go figure!  We even remembered to get a picture of his marinara-smeared face before I had it completely cleaned up. 

Sunday morning, we were joined by Jay, Tara and Scott and filled three pews in the front of church for the service.  Our neighbor twins, Logan and Ethan, even got to pour the water into the baptismal font.  Godparents Jon and Amanda were happy to hold Gio throughout the service and Little Man didn't even fuss when they poured the water over his head!  Brunch back at our house was a success (though a heck of a lot of work).  Next time?  I think we're doing take-out for lunch!

That weekend, he also got his first car.  Neighbor Andi called to tell me about a rummage sale that had affordable kid toys, so I stopped down after I finished running errands, in time to pick up this Cozy Coupe.  I always wanted one when I was a kid and thought the $10 price tag was just perfect!  Of course, motorhead Papa had to help him try it out right away.  He tended to slide off the seat and onto the ground underneath the car, but we still managed to snap a couple cute pics.  Already focused on the car controls and where he's going...he's an excellent driver!

Hmmm...what else?  Giovanni LOVES being outdoors.  There is so much to see!  Like leaves...they move!  And the neighbor kids...can I go play with them, Mom?  He has been content sitting outside for hours at a time, which we love because it allows us time to work on our gardens. 

He also loves helping with the laundry.  It started one fussy morning when I had to get diapers out of the dryer.  He screamed if I set him down, so I took him to the laundry room with me. to get diapers out of the dryer while holding an infant?  Here, you sit in the basket.  He was happy to be so close to Mama with all these toys surrounding him!  Now, it has evolved to sitting in the basket with wet diapers and inserts while I hang everything on the line.  I get my work done and Gio is happy as a clam...#winning!

Also?  More swimming!  We went to visit family in La Crosse for five days over the Fourth of July.  Wednesday, Gio got his first experience with a big (3' deep) swimming pool.  We had a ladybug float from our neighbors that we put him in.  It worked great!  It has inflatable rings for bouyancy and a mesh lining to hold him (mostly) out of the water.  The best part was that it gave him freedom to move and flop forward, so he got practice with putting his face in the water.  You should have seen his little feet a-kickin'...priceless!  He also got his first chance at boating and swimming in the Mississippi.  This? we were less impressed with, mostly because of the giant life vest he had to wear. 

Oh, there was also a 6-month photo shoot with our amazing friend Danah.  But that's another post...

Friday, April 6, 2012


Sometimes I just watch him sleep.  He's so sweet.

Now if only he would stop waking up during the night to eat...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Playing in the Grass!

It has been unseasonably warm here in Wisconsin, so we have been doing our best to take advantage of the nice weather.  Drying the diapers and clothes on the line, spending time with neighbors, and, yes, our first chance to play in the grass at Nana and Papa's house this weekend. 

Giovanni seemed to love it as long as he was on his back.  However, putting him on his tummy prompted quick tears, as usual.  Luckily, we snapped a few pictures before he had a complete meltdown.
We also got to spend some quality time with Uncle Jon and Aunt Amanda.  They both love playing with him!

In other news, we had our 4-month appointment on Friday and immunizations yesterday afternoon.  He's growing well, measuring in at 14lb 4oz (50th percentile) and 25.25" (70th percentile).  Tall and skinny?!  Where did he get those genes?  Oh well...glad he's growing at a healthy weight.  And the Dr confirmed...we are teething.  Let the drooling and screaming commence.  Or continue...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Early Days-Thanksgiving

We had plans for Thanksgiving 2011. We knew we didn't want to drive far enough to spend the holiday with our family, so we had planned on joining our neighbors Brian and Andi for "Pie Night" at their church Wednesday night and dinner at their house on Thursday. (Seriously? A church with "Pie Night"? Sounds like winning to me!) My parents were hosting Thanksgiving on Saturday and Cousin Tricia and her daughter Olivia were riding in with Kym and Eric.

Then I went into labor Wednesday morning.

A call to my Mom when we headed to the hospital got her quickly tying up loose ends at work. (Her boss already knew that her daughter was pregnant and she intended to be there for the delivery. She was really understanding.) By the time we got admitted 2 hours later, Nana was already on the road. She arrived just a couple hours before Giovanni was born at 6:20pm. (Yup, I got by with just 11 hours of labor. You are allowed to be angry.)

All three of us fell in "love at first sight" with Gio. Papa joined us on Thursday. Giovanni watched his first Packers game in the hospital. (Yay for beating the Lions on Thanksgiving!) We were discharged around noon on Friday after a brief scare with Gio's bilirubin levels. Fortunately, they decided that he wasn't too jaundiced to go home. 
(Note to self: don't tell your daughter that "the hardest thing I ever had to do was leave the hospital without your brother because he was too jaundiced" before her chid has been cleared to go home!)

There was no way Nana was leaving her precious grandson to serve dinner at her house on Saturday, so we relocated Thanksgiving Dinner to my house. It was a shorter trip for Kym, Eric, Tricia and Olivia coming up from Chicago. Nana and Papa paid for a hotel room for them so the house wouldn't get too crowded but they could still be close. The only downside was that Jon and Amanda couldn't come because Amanda had to work that weekend. But they got a one-on-one visit with Gio two weeks later.  So it all worked out, just not completely according to our plan!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Last night Nana and Papa drove to our house.  We didn't have much time to visit as they didn't get in until nearly 11pm.  And just for fun, Giovanni was up at 4am to eat.  Where did this come from?!  First time in two months that he hasn't slept through the night.  Hope we're not starting a new trend.
Today we woke up at 6 so all 5 of us could road-trip to Michigan to see Papa's parents, Giovanni's great-grandparents.  We had a great visit with them.  From the minute we walked in the door, they had eyes for no one but Giovanni.  He was enamored with them, too...making noises in mimic of Grampa's.

Cousin Tricia and Olivia as well as Papa Bill came over to visit too. Olivia was so cute with her cousin, giving him lots of kisses. 

We also discovered that Giovanni is a variation on the name John.  Don't tell Uncle Jon...we'll never hear the end of it!  He already brags about being Gio's namesake since they share the same middle name (Papa's first name, no coincidence).

Gramma is 88 and Grampa is 83.  They still live at home, but Gramma's back problems prevent them from travelling much anymore.  So we were excited when, upon our departure, both said "We'll see you in May."  Meaning they plan to come out for Jon and Amanda's wedding.  Yay!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

3 months? Already?!

Three months ago today I gave birth to our son.  Hard to believe how fast the time has gone and how much our lives have changed.  Papa laughs at how our priorities have changed since Giovanni entered our lives.  Suddenly, a night spent cuddling Gio is my idea of heaven.
Unfortunately, we're all sick tonight.  I fear that we have our first case of pink eye.  (Though advice from friends on Facebook indicate that it might be something else.  *fingers crossed*)  His right eye has been yellow-goopy all night.   If this is still going on in the morning, we're going to call the doctor and have to keep him home from daycare.  Guess this is the price we pay for both continuing to work.  

The bright side of tonight is that Gio seems to be in good spirits.  He had a great time in his bath tonight.  He loves when I sing to him.  I have started making up my own songs for him.  The current one is sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques":
Giovanni, Giovanni,
You're so cute, you're so cute!
Mama loves you so much, Mama loves you so much.
Yes I do, yes I do!

The Early Days - New Year's Eve

This is the first of what I hope will be several posts recalling our adventures before I started the blog.

For New Year's Eve, we continued my family's tradition of ringing in the new year with our "other family": Barb & Dave, Kevin & Debra, Adam & Robyn, and Darren. Nana & Papa and Jon & Amanda were there as well. Robyn had her tonsils removed a couple days beforehand, so she was not feeling so great. At one point, she fell asleep on the couch. We rested a sleeping Giovanni on her chest and they were too sweet for words.

Kevin and Debra brought a new game, Castle Panic. I think they found it at GenCon and it was a lot of fun. The premise is that you are defending the castle from attacking orcs, trolls, and goblins. All the players work together to defend the castle, with the individual winner being less important than the team's success. We also played a couple rounds of Hand & Foot as teams, boys against girls. It was going well until we convinced the guys (who were losing badly) to play a third round. Big mistake! They skunked us and went out before we were even down. Ooops! This was also one of the first years that I can remember where we didn't split up into "parents" and "kids" groups.

Of course, we stood outside in a freezing drizzle to watch the fireworks at midnight. Nana stayed inside and took advantage of some extra snuggle time with Gio. The festivities broke up not long after midnight as we wanted to get home before the freezing rain got any worse.

As long as we were travelling, we made it into a long (5-day) weekend, driving out on Thursday and returning home on Tuesday morning. We exchanged Christmas presents during the trip and Gio got SPOILED! Among the books, clothes, and toys, he also got his first wagon. Looking forward to the warmer months when we can use it to tote him off to concerts in the park and other fun events. Nana and Papa were lifesavers when Gio woke up at 5 or 6am. They relieved me after the feeding so Mama could go back to sleep. It was a great visit and Nana was definitely an hour late to work on Tuesday morning...she just didn't want the time with Gio to end!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

This is where it gets real

Yes, I'm still awake at 12:30 in the morning.  And stone sober.  The diapers are still rinsing.

We had our regular theater tickets with Danny and Susan tonight, so we didn't get home until nearly 11:00.  Great dinner at EE Sane Thai and an amazing production of "To Kill A Mockingbird" at the Rep.  This was our second show since Giovanni was born, the first since I returned to work.  It was harder than I expected this time because Luciano took him straight from daycare to the baby-sitter's.  Boy was I happy to hold my Little Man at 10:30 tonight!

Of course, after one week in daycare, all three of us are sick.  Luciano has it the worst so far, but I can tell that Gio's and my symptoms are getting worse.  Ugh.  Who takes care of Mom when she gets sick?!

"Oh what fresh hell is this?"  My milk supply is dwindling.  I used to get 7-8 ounces total per pumping session.  Now I'm lucky to get 3.  We're having to rely heavily on our meager frozen stores.  Some web research today informed me that I need to pump more often to get my supply back up and pumping never works as well as feeding directly from the breast.  Oh, joy.  Guess I'm going to be visiting the safety office every two hours and working weekends to get caught up on work.

And yet, when Gio looks up at me with those big blue eyes and smiles, my heart melts and I have no doubts that this is all worth it.

Time to put the diapers in the dryer.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Back to work

Today was my first official day back to work.  Giovanni spent his second day at daycare and is doing great.  When I picked him up yesterday, all the babies were content and he was happily playing in a bouncy seat.

I can't help but wonder if there is something wrong with me as a Mom.  I fell back into my routine at work, plowing through the 600+ e-mails that had accumulated during my 12-week leave, catching up with my team and co-workers, and almost forgetting that I needed to pump.  Yes, at the end of the day I was excited to go home and see my Little Man.  But I did not spend the whole day pining over him, counting the minutes until I could leave.  I went about my day and the time flew by.  (Ever notice how that happens when you're busy?)

I'm hoping it's just a reflection of my attempts to be a laid-back, low-drama person.  As my Mom reminded me tonight, I know I can be a better Mom to him by working.  It will keep me sane and allow us to provide some of the opportunities we want him to have in life.  I guess it's just the inevitable pressure of only having one chance to raise him right.

On a lighter note, I got a full evening of snuggles when I got home.  Dinner for Giovanni, a lot of screaming while Mom & Dad ate dinner (why does that always happen when we're ready to eat?!), then a little more snuggling while he napped on my chest.  Hungry cries around 8:30 spelled dry drawers, pajamas, and a nightcap before he fell asleep in my arms.  He was so adorable lying there, that I just held him for another 45 minutes, kissing his sweet little head and thinking of what a blessing he is!  Maybe I'll be an okay Mom after all...
This is how I spent my night