Monday, April 13, 2015

Easter 2015

The kids celebrated their first American Easter this year.

We were fortunate enough to have a wonderful easter brunch and egg hunt at the Hilton hotel while living in Wuxi, so Sal was no stranger to hunting for eggs, but this was Carla's first go round. Last year she was just a few weeks old so she slept through the festivities. This year she was all about the candy. 

My sister has been coming down on Thursdays and spending the day with us, so the Thursday before Easter, she helped the kids dye eggs in our backyard with me. 

A huge shoutout to pinterest for the egg in a whisk idea. Minimal spillage and hand staining. 


Early Sunday morning, the Easter bunny came and hid real eggs, plastic eggs and straw nests with candy all over the living room. 

This Easter bunny melded NZ's childhood experience with mine so that our kids got a taste of both worlds. Suffice to say, our kids got a triple dose of candy to fill their baskets with. 

Finding the basket with their name cookie was the holy grail of their Egg hunt experience. Their auntie made them egg shaped cookies with their names on them.

We finished off the day by baking a ham that I got super cheap at VONS the week before. The kids ' Nonno came to join us for Easter supper but for the most part we kept it low key this year since we had a one week old baby to keep away from the masses. 

My favorite part of Easter 2015?


Five. There are FIVE of us. 

This was us at Easter in China just two short years ago. 

Blows my mind. 

Carla is 15 months

It's been a while since I did a monthly update, so here goes Carla's 15 month recap. 

Carla has quickly become our little fashionista. She love accessories and shoes. Sometimes I find her in her closet, just trying on shoes and reading books. It's the sweetest thing to walk in on. 

Her favorite accessory however, are her Sunnies.

She wears them everywhere...
..picking flowers... the beach...

..and even while dyeing Easter eggs...

Aside from her infatuation with wearing Sunnies, she has a bunch of adorable little words she chatters although they all sound like she is saying applesauce or belly button. 

She has learned the art of giving a high five, clapping when happy and saying "uh oh" when she's throwing food off her high chair tray. Maybe she thinks by saying "uh oh" that I'll believe her that the food she lobs overboard is accidental?

Good try, kiddo. I'm on to you. 

Carla welcomed her little brother into her life this month. She likes to give him slobbery mouth to mouth kisses, as well as karate kicks to his body while I change his diaper on the floor. She's a bit heavy handed, but I see the love through the anvil hands. 

She's quite the daredevil, choosing to scale our kitchen table and the ladder on Sal's bunk beds when nobody is watching. She has also learnt how to ride Sal's battery operated quad and skateboard down the driveway--so I suppose it's time to buy the girl her first helmet. There's no stopping her now. never cease to put a smile on my face or brighten my day with your smile and loving snuggles. Happy 15th month, baby girl. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

One week in...

I keep getting texts and emails from friends and family "checking in" on how we're doing.

Figured I would just write a post to say we're still here. We're still alive!

One week later, things are settling back into our normal routine. The two older kids have been quite welcoming to Gino, although Carla is really heavy handed and all about poking him just as he falls asleep. Sal loves to give kisses and tell him "don't be sad, Gino. I'm right here" which is a complete 180 from the two year old version of Sal that was not-so-welcoming to his new little sister. What a difference a year makes. This isn't to say we haven't experienced some acting out and extra naughtiness (especially late afternoon) which I believe is a result of his need for some extra attention, love and affection. We're doing our best to show them some extra love....and I have to say, my heart feels quite full these days. 

NZ has been a huge help, and it has been nice having him home for a few days and pawning some of my responsibilities off on him while I recoup. Despite this being my most difficult delivery ( Gino's cord was coming out ahead of his head and was also around his neck, forcing me to just keep pushing--resulting in a bruised face baby with a broken collarbone), my recovery has been pretty much pain free. I feel pretty darn good the majority of the day. 

We've been eating meals that I prepared ahead of time--it's nice to know that there is a dinner plan rather than surviving on take out. As good as take out mexican food is, there's only so much I can handle in a week span. 

 All in all, I think we're doing just fine adjusting to the new little guy. Sleep is sparse, but I know from experience it's just a matter of time til he gets a schedule and sleep and I will become aquainted again. 

Now, if only Gino would stop pooping right after a fresh diaper change and nice tight swaddle, we'd be set. 

Moon sand

Having a toddler and a preschooler and a newborn, I knew that when the baby came home we would be home bound for a few weeks. I searched for easy projects and activities to do with the older two that wouldn't require me helicoptering over them. 

Thankfully our weather here in Paradise is as beautiful as you can imagine. High 70's, gentle breeze...perfect for late mornings and afternoons outside. 

Mama doesn't need any more housework these days. If the mess can stay outside, I'm all for it. 

While searching for some activities, I came across this stuff called moon sand on Pinterest. 

The kids love it. 

It's essentially just flour and vegetable oil.  I used 8 cups flour and 1 cup oil. Mixed til crumbly and then set out in a sensory bin with some plastic Easter eggs and small pie tins. Sal has been busy making pies in his outdoor kitchen and Carla has been taste testing and filling her eggs. 

Best part is, I can spray down the kitchen and lawn if any spills!

Kids have fun AND easy cleanup?

Win win!

Friday, March 27, 2015


Our newest member of the family joined us on Wednesday, March 25th.

We arrived at the hospital at 6:00 am, with induction starting just before 7:30.

Gino Was born at 12:27 pm after a very quick, intense labor. 

He weighed in at 7lb 10oz and was not only my biggest, but also my longest baby--at 21.5" long. 

We're back home (hello, 24 hour discharge! Wham bam, get out of here, ma'am!) and everyone is adjusting. Sal has been a fantastic big brother thus far- sneaking kisses on Gino's forehead and telling him not to be sad when he cries. 

Carla--well, at fourteen months--feels dethroned. Baby brother is ok so long as I'm not holding him or feeding him. So yeah--it's gonna take some time for everyone to find their groove, but it will happen sooner or later.

Right now we are just enjoying visitors and snuggling the newest little one. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Positive feedback

As a mom, I feel fairly confident in my choice of how I (or We, as NZ is in this with me)  parent my (our) children. I have years of education as a Human Development major in college, followed by a career teaching, and ultimately, figuring out with NZ how we wanted to raise these little people of ours based on our own experiences growing up. 

This being said, I despise the judgement that seems so prevalent among mothers towards other mothers these days. I'm a part of a facebook group for mothers in our community, and while I understand that there are many different walks of life, ages and philosophies within this group that will inevitably disagree, I am continually amazed at what assholes some of us can be towards others. I feel like most mothers want what's best for their kids, even if we go about it differently. But often times, a mom will post a question and use a disclaimer " no judgements please!" before stating her issue that she needs suggestions for. 

It shouldn't be that way. 

And it's not just online.

I've felt the stares at the playground when I let my kids take their shoes off and run free..or when I ignore the tantrum my fourteen month old is throwing because I strapped her in the stroller and she wants out. My sister and I took the kids to target a couple of weeks ago and Sal didn't want to be buckled into the double kids cart, so I allowed him to stand on the platform part with the understanding that if he wanted off, he needed to say "stop the cart". My sister pushed the kids through the aisles to help me out. At one point, Sal decided he wanted off and didn't tell her, which resulted in the cart rolling over him. Of course he started to cry, and my first response was to reprimand him for not telling his auntie he wanted off rather than console him. An older woman who saw the incident, stops to tell us "You should really strap him in", and after an exchange with her in which we told her "he's three. He doesn't like to be strapped in", she says something about "poor boy, he's hurt." with a look of disapproval in her eye. 

It irks me. Just keep your opinion to yourself. He's my child. He shouldn't have stepped off the cart without asking to stop. He knows this. Am I sorry he got hurt? Of course. But he knew better. 

Consequences sometimes hurt. He needs to know that. 

Anyways, fast forward to today. 

I took my kids to the park for one of our last play dates as a trio. We had loaded sand toys and drinks into the stroller and hit the playground. I'm trying really hard not to be a helicopter parent, but instead stand back and let them learn (and take falls) on their own. This, I admit, is difficult for me, even though I feel it's best for their development into capable and confident individuals. I knew that letting my kids go in their own direction might earn me a judgement or two, but I took a seat anyways. I checked in with each child every minute or so, but didn't follow either one around. Carla wanted to ride the see saw with other kids, so I went over and helped her make her way up. I then went and sat down again.

At this point another mom came up to me, " ....I just wanted to say......"  and I started thinking, " oh shit, here it comes..she's gonna give me her two cents on my lazy parenting"...." You make having two little ones and being pregnant look so easy!" She added that she and her friends have seen us at the park before and they're always amazed at how well behaved my kids are and how well they listen. 


Did I get some mad mom props today? 

Wish more moms would compliment each other instead of judge. 

....and then we came home to a 30 minute tantrum by the three year old because the French fries we got at chik-FIL-a were not long ones, and the 14 month old is still crying from her crib an hour after I put her down for nap.....

I'm far from perfect. My children are far from perfect. But man oh man, did that other mom make my day today. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

37 weeks....full term!


Weight gain: 24 lbs

Maternity clothes? I'm down to two shirts and a pair of shorts that fit comfortably. 

Stretch marks? Dunno. If I do, they'll be tanned since I've been sitting out in the sun letting it all hang out the last few days while the kids play in the water table.

Sleep: Sporadic at best. Peeing a zillion times a night, plus both kids have been waking up coughing and in need of love ever so conveniently at 4:00 am

Best moment this week: Spending afternoons in our backyard, watching the kids play (and eat dirt) while enjoying some sunshine. 

Miss anything?: Being mobile. 

Movement: Yes....but it's changed from kicks to feeling him shift and contort his body every few hours. It looks and feels like an alien is inside me. 

Food cravings:  Ice. Ice water.  (For those wondering---Yes, I'm anemic. I'm on supplements.)

Anything making you queasy or sick: apparently chocolate milk (my former craving). It still sounds good until about a half hour after I guzzle it, and then I end up throwing it up. Gross.  No more chocolate milk for me!

Gender: Boy..and...I think we have a name...maybe. 

Happy or Moody? Happy but tired. I'm having contractions that last for HOURS. Today I had them from 11:00- 6:30ish non stop, every ten minutes....even during my check up with my OB. Same thing happened Monday night. OB says to come if the intensity or frequency increase. I'm trying to be a good sport about it, but taking care of kids and weathering them out isn't so fun.

Looking forward to: Hopefully he will decide to arrive within this week. If he doesn't, we will discuss possible induction for 39 weeks at my next visit. I'm tired of the contractions leading to nothing and hoping they subside so I can enjoy my last few weeks, or intensify and get this boy out into my arms!