Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Family Cars

No, we are not getting a new car. Just a recent quirk of the Little Man. Everyday, he passes out these cars to each one of us: 

As soon as we wake up or when we walk in the door, he hands us a car. Colin gets the green one, I get the red/white one, and Dadda gets the yellow one. Everyday, the same cars. One morning he even brought me my truck while I was still in bed. Maybe a little too much sharing. Thanks, Bud. You know you are jealous!

P.S.S Before I forget AGAIN, I got the most adorable Valentine's Day card this year from Colin. I had class that night and happened to get out somewhat early. When I walked in the door, Chris told me to check on Colin in his bed. I opened his door and saw him sitting in bed with a huge smile on his face. He reached up to hand this to me:

"Happy Valentine's Day Mommy! I love you more than chips (chocolate chips) and knacks (fruit snacks)! Thanks for being such a great mommy and hope you and daddy have a great Valentine's Day! Love, your baby"

I betcha you couldn't find anything sweeter than that at Hallmark! More than chips and knacks? That's true love. Best. Valentine. Ever. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thank the Lord... FOR A THREE DAY WEEKEND!

Hooray! Both Chris and I were given President's Day off this year so we were able to enjoy a long needed three-day weekend ( I personally think we should have at least one three-day weekend a month, they make life so much better)! On Saturday we were able to get a lot of our chores out of the way so we relaxed on Sunday and Monday. It was a great time for our family to recharge!

On Sunday, the weather was a little yucky, very chilly and somewhat rainy, so we took a trip to the Children's Museum. We had been to the Museum before for other exhibits but had never ventured into the Children's Museum. We were pleasantly surprised at how cheap the tickets were- much more affordable than a trip to the aquarium or the zoo. Again, Colin did his signature, nervous move- putting his hand in is mouth- when we first arrived, but he quickly got acclimated and really enjoyed himself!

His favorite areas were the construction site and the ball zone. We also took him into Little Sprouts Farm since he was still too small to climb in the Woods, and this turned out to be a good spot for someone his age (and size). There were so many great activities for kids of all ages! It is a great place to spend some quality, family time and we were only disappointed that we hadn't visited sooner. We'll have to take advantage of the Museum more often, especially on rainy days!
Playing in the Ball Zone
Building a tower with Dadda
Dominating the Lego exhibit!
Getting ready to explore the construction zone!
Shoveling the 'rocks' like a pro. And bossing kids around like a future supervisor!

We really took advantage of our special weekend together. It was such a blessing to relax and recharge. Now, back to enjoying the rest of our day off!

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Allergy-Free Experience

At the beginning of each new year, our church has a three week fasting period. This year, I decided to give up each of Colin's allergies for the three weeks. I thought it would be a good opportunity to see what he faces (or will have to face) on a day-to-day basis. I also thought it would be a good excuse to find some new foods for him. I set up a menu for each week and spent extra money at the grocery store (allergy-free foods are more expensive!). I had it all mapped out. Little did I know how difficult it would be!

The most difficult time I had was during the day. Since I'm not home and I'm on the road, I had a very hard time finding lunch options. Very disappointing availability. If I had packed, this wouldn't have been such a problem. Note to self: continue to pack Colin's lunches until he out-grows his allergies!

The second week in, I began to notice that I had very little energy. I wasn't hungry but I could tell that I was definitely not giving my body enough fuel! Colin obviously cannot communicate this to us so we will just have to be more aware of this for him. I actually lost two pounds during the first two weeks- and I wasn't even trying! I didn't watch portions or calories so I was very surprised that I lost weight so quickly. This could also play a huge factor in Colin's smaller size- something else that will have to take into account more often.

It's over now- and I couldn't be happier! It's nice to be able to enjoy a pizza or other snacks every once in awhile and not have to worry about the ingredients. Things as simple as salad dressings have to be avoided because of all of the unknowns! It will definitely be much harder for Colin once he gets older- so let's pray that he out-grows them fast! I will say, the first weekend of being back to my 'regular' diet, I noticed that I was extremely bloated and uncomfortable- which is also not fun. I don't think I gave my body enough time to recover from my allergy 'detox'. It was an interesting experiment! And definitely opened my eyes to a whole new world that Colin will have to walk in daily. We realized that we need to make our own kitchen a little more allergy-sensitive for his sake. Our home should be his safe haven- not another allergy land-mine!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Enjoy It Now...

I have had a few late nights this week- class on Monday, class on Wednesday, and dinner with the girls last night- so I haven't had a lot of Colin-Time this week. We have cuddled most mornings, which is very special, but when we are rushing out the door, all of that special-ness gets lost in the hustle and bustle of things! This morning I tried to recreate our Panera breakfast date. However, it didn't go quite as nicely as the first time:

First, I tried to stay on a conference call (on mute) while standing in line and at the same time, managing a two-year-old boy. Not going to happen. While I'm standing in line, Colin is going back-and-forth between me and our table, which was in the room with the closed doors. I did this intentionally so that I could be on my call without disturbing the other guests. Well, turns out, the doors also make a great toy for kids. Colin kept opening and closing- and not gently- oh, no, no, no. These doors were flying open! Sorry to the old men sitting at the nearby table. Of course, the cashier very nicely informed me (while this chaos was going on in the background) that they were out of the fruit cup - the only thing that Colin can really eat there- after I had already paid! Instead, they gave me a fruit and yogurt parfait, which, of course, Colin wanted nothing to do with. And they forgot my bagel. So after I finally got him settled I had to go back up to remind them of nicely, when I passed a sweet old man that smiled at me and said simply 'enjoy it now.' 

Here I am, bracing for a reprimand for ruining this man's breakfast because I couldn't control my two-year-old. Instead, he stopped me dead-in-my-tracks with a whole other kind of scolding- 'enjoy it now'. Am I enjoying? I like to think so. But is it enough? Am I taking the time to turn off the computer, stop the emails and conference calls, and, now, take a break from the homework to enjoy where my son is right now? Alarmingly, no. And that saddened me. I'm trying to do too much at one time, trying to keep all of these plates balanced in the air, and putting aside what is most important right now. My sweet little boy! Who is two and is growing and changing everyday! And today, with him, is a gift. 

So, just because I'm feeling all emotional, I thought I'd share some of my favorite little things about him now:

1) He has started to call me 'Mommia' again. No idea where the Spanish-flair comes from, but I kinda like it!
2) He will now tell me when he's scared! Very cute that he even knows what it is- and even cuter that he wants me to know!
3) Each morning, he comes to me to cuddle in bed for a few minutes before I have to start getting ready. And there is no better way to start the day!
4) And speaking of mornings, he's going through this I-love-my-pj's-phase. He has gone to school a few days with a pajama shirt hidden underneath of a regular shirt. You gotta pick and choose your battles, right?

Our next Panera date will be without the conference call - and with the fruit cup!

'Every good and perfect gift is from above.' - James 1:17

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

To the City of Black & Yellow

As I sit writing this in bed, I can see Colin busily working on a puzzle in the next room. I hope this puzzle-fascination lasts awhile!

On to bigger things, we had tickets to the UC men's basketball game in Pittsburgh this weekend which just so happened to overlap with the Steelers' trip to the Super Bowl! What a fun weekend. We stayed at my Grandma's house (Colin calls her Jam/Dam/or something of the sort) and we had a blast! She loved it. Of course, on Friday we arrived to a table full of food - at midnight, just for Chris and I. Love being Italian! 

Saturday morning we had breakfast with my Gram and Pap at Panera in good-ole Monaca, PA. They claimed that they had never eaten at Panera- just had coffee and a pastry. Who goes to Panera and doesn't eat there?!? While we enjoyed our meals, Colin (who sadly couldn't eat because they were out of fruit cups- another surprising factor) played with a little friend he had made. We let him out of his highchair to play with a little boy sitting at a table diagonal to us. The boy was a little older than Colin but that didn't stop him! He started GIVING the little boy his favorite toys- his Toy Story figurines. It was funny to watch them pass them back and forth, and Colin watched from the window as his friend left with his mom and walked to their car.

We made a quick stop at Dick's to pick-up a highly coveted Steelers AFC Champions T-shirt for my little bro and headed out to my Aunt and Uncle's. My Aunt Lynn and Uncle Ray were going to watch him for us while we went to the game and had gone over and above preparing for the big night! He got a brand new Build-A-Bear and a giant coloring book with crayons. His favorite toy, and the one that I loved watching him play with most, was a very old Noah's Ark. The ark opened up to show a huge collection of tiny pairs of animals. Colin began taking them out and one-by-one sorted them by pairs, and then by types. I was amazed that he knew as many animals as he did (alligators, elephants, zebra, horse, lion, etc.) but even more amazed that he was able to count them (two lions!) and place them in a sort of scientifically-ordered fashion (all of the rhinos, hippos, and elephants were in a line; all of the zebras, horses, and deer were lined up too!). Everyone else was very amazed by all of this too- as well as his speedy puzzle-building skills too. And I remembered the verse: "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart", Luke 2:19. My heart literally swelled with pride. Not in the proud, 'I have the smartest son in the world' kind of way, but the 'I have been blessed with an amazing little boy- and what have we been teaching him/NOT been teaching him!' kind of way. Needless to say, I was so grateful to hear all of the sweet things that my family had to say about him! 

Even though the Bearcats lost (and the Steelers too) we managed to have a very good time. It was a good family trip. We hope to visit Pittsburgh again soon- and for more than a day!