Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011, a Dani guest post.

Hey everybody, it's been a while since mommy's let me post. It's hard work being a big sister to two babies, so I just don't have the time I used to have, you understand.
I'm going to tell you a little about Christmas this year. It was lots of fun.
Since I figured Tori was already on the naughty list, I decided she could get into all the trouble she wanted to because it didn't matter anyway. Hey Tori, I know we're not supposed to touch the ornaments, but mommy's not paying attention, and, we look so cute all dressed up for Christmas Eve church service. I dare you to grab one. Quick! Double dare you...
That kid's an easy mark.
The good news is that Mommy wasn't mad after all. It was close to bedtime and we were headed to church, so that meant we were going to stay up WAY past bedtime!
I sat still almost the whole time and sang songs. Tommy was pretty good too. Tori didn't really want to sit still. She kept getting up and running around. Mommy's face kept turning read and they kept whispering to Tori to be still. She doesn't like to listen. I was really good and I only cried once--they wouldn't let me hold a candle like everyone else. It was totally not fair.
We made it through church, and came home to bed. Santa was coming! When I woke up in the morning and we went downstairs, presents were everywhere! I must have been the best kid on the planet!!! Good work Santa!
Tori got a couple of presents, despite being the naughtiest kid ever.
Even Tommy got some presents. That Santa sure is nice. And it was mostly toys, not clothes like last year. Mommy made breakfast and we played with our new toys all morning. It was awesome. I wish it could be Christmas every weekend.
Then we all got dressed up again and went to mommy's cousin's house for Christmas Dinner. Tommy wore a Santa hat--he's so cute!
We ate lots of yummy food, got even more presents. I don't know how Santa knew I was going to be at two houses, but he knew. He's so smart!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Off the charts.

In all the Christmas craziness, I forgot to mention that Tommy's 4 month well baby visit was great. He's off the charts for height, and is the biggest baby yet. He's 26.5" long and weighed 17 pounds 2 ounces. (Compare that to Tori at 26" and 15lbs 7oz, and Dani at 25" and 13lbs 8 oz). He's about to pop his bottom teeth, and is just doing everything early. Dr. Forlano told Big Man that he's "got his O tackle".
Little dude remains the happiest, most chilled out baby around.
Dani also came to the doctor with Tommy, for her 3 year visit. She's 38" tall and weighs 34 back breaking pounds. She's also never had a sick visit, my tough little cookie!
Everyone's healthy and doing well. Time to start to organize the Christmas pictures!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Another first...the high chair!

Tommy has his 4 month doctor's visit tomorrow! First day in a high chair! Where does the time go???
Dani, Tori and I enjoyed ice cream pops the other night...perfect pre-tubby time snack!
Dani has her 3 year well baby (can we even call it that, more like well child) visit too tomorrow so stay tuned for stats!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Tommy went in the exersaucer for the first time tonight. He was captivated. I managed to eat dinner with Dani and Tori for 30 minutes or so before he wanted out. Why didn't I think of this sooner??
We bought Dani a "color me clubhouse" for her birthday, and set it up on Sunday in the hopes of actually being able to watch the Bears game. It was a big hit. They drew all over it and ran and screeched, opening windows and doors.
It is, seriously, the size of a garden shed. Hopefully this pic of Dani gives some perspective to the massive size of this thing--takes up our flippin' foyer! I SWEAR it looked smaller on the box!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Dani was put in "time out" for the first time a few days ago. I told her she needed to sit in daddy's spot on the couch, and to sit still because she was in "time out".
About 15 seconds later, Dani exclaims, "Mommy, I want it to be time IN."
Sometimes it's hard to keep a straight face.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


On Dani's actual birthday we had crowns! Crowns!Daddy bought her a tiara for her party, which was fun! Lots of friends, family, food and presents!
The girls wore their party dresses!
And flashed their blue frosting smiles!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I blinked.

Dani, in just a few hours you'll be three years old! Three!!! How can that be?
I blinked, and you're three.
You started out as such a little bitty bit. A little rumble in my tummy, growing into an angry ninja who liked to try out her moves in my tummy and keep me awake all night.
And then, you were here. December 9, 2008. Our first baby. This is where I'm supposed to say you were perfect and beautiful. To be honest, you were red and screamy, but perfect nonetheless.
From early on, you were a dynamic, dramatic little girl. I took you everywhere. You were smiley, and sweet, and you were never, ever the crying baby in the store. Not once. That's one of the reasons I took you everywhere.
You slept well, you ate well, you never even had a cold. You would light up at your daddy's voice and he loved to snuggle with you. Your first nickname, from daddy was "little rat". It sounds silly, but it was absolutely a term of endearment. Every night at bedtime, I sang "My Favorite Things" to you, hoping you would associate that song with peacefulness. You do. It nearly always calms you down when I sing it, and you've often asked me to sing "eyedrops on roses song".
Time flew by. We took you out for the first time on Christmas Eve 2008; you were just a few weeks old, here:
You surprised daddy by rolling over at 8 weeks. He called me at work to tell me he was so surprised. You did nearly everything early as your first year flew by.
And I guess I blinked again, because then it was your first birthday and had your very first cake, made by daddy, of course:
And you were one. Walking. Babbling. Laughing and smiling. My little punkin', you were always such a joy. Curious about everything, but never getting into trouble; we never had to baby proof, because you always listened to daddy's constant reminder "no kitchen; no bathroom; no stairs". You didn't mind, as there was always something else to play with.
Our family got bigger, and Tori joined us. The minute you saw her you said, "Baby!" and gave her a kiss. The minute I put her on my lap to feed her, you started to cry and climbed on my other knee, jealous and wanting your own bottle too. Of course, we gave you one, but once you knew that Tori wasn't taking your place, you were your happy old self again.
You started talking. It was amazing how much you could understand, even before you could really say anything. Every day there was something new you showed us.
And then, I blinked, I guess, because you were two. You've always been comfortable in front of the camera, probably because it's always taking your picture. Dani, you're quite the little ham.
Two, you were two! And you were running and talking and trying to play with Tori. You wanted to do it yourself--from brushing your teeth to feeding yourself. And you were so darn smart. Like a little sponge. From singing the alphabet song to identifying letters and numbers by sight, we were constantly amazed. And you were still the happiest, silliest little girl.
You started to insist you were a big girl! Sometimes you were shy, other times, the boldest kid in the room. Tori got old enough to be fun, and you spent most of the day chasing each other around and laughing.
Our family grew again. Tommy joined us. This time, Tori was the jealous one, and you were the big sister. The helper. You helped with bottles, and fetching bibs, giving Tommy his paci and anything we asked. When you're not bossing Tori around, she's your best friend. You're our sensitive little girl, quick to cry, and quick to love. You notice every detail, as small as when daddy wears his wedding ring or mommy gets her hair cut. You like to Skype, and can talk on the phone with grandma and grandpa, for at least a few minutes before you announce "okay bye!". You have the most amazing imagination--and will tell stories with such detail I am awed.
And, I guess I blinked again. Just a minute ago you were such a little bitty thing. And now, in just a few hours, you'll be three. And I can't wait to see what you do next, my sweet little Dani.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


So many things to be thankful for.
Three little munchkins.
Big Man.
Relative health, wealth and peace.
Friends and Family.
Hearing words said by little mouths for the first time.
Hearing songs sung by little voices.
Silly breakfasts.
Family, party of five.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Baby Plague.

It was bound to happen eventually. It's actually pretty amazing that at nearly 3, Dani's never had a sick visit to the doctor, and neither has Tori. Dani still hasn't. Last Wednesday, Tori was a mess; she's had a low grade fever and bad cold for a few days and it seemed to have settled in her lungs. Tommy was starting to sound sneezy and Big Man was a mess too. We piled in the family truckster and headed to the doc. Tori had an ear infection and bronchitis; Big Man had bronchitis and Tommy was deemed to only have the sniffles. Antibiotics were prescribed for Tori and Big Man, and (as Dani would call it) the "snot snucker" with saline drops for Tommy's nose.
It's kinda hard to keep germs to one's self in this house. Dani and Tori share everything from sippy cups to toys; they are also always helping themselves to whatever Big Man and I have.
They are constantly picking up Tommy's pacifier and toys and playing with them or even trying to help give them to him.
He's even been known to sport a play 'stache or two. So it should have come as no surprise that Tommy woke up from his afternoon nap on Thursday and sounded like he couldn't breathe. He was hoarse and congested and had spiked a fever. I called the doctor's office, who heard him breathing and instructed me to go right to the Emergency Room. I did. It's croup. The whole way there in the car, I was convinced he was going to stop breathing. After a few hours at the ER, he received a shot to open his airways and a prescription for steroids.
After a rough couple of days, Little Dude got his smile back. Now mommy can breathe again.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Where do they learn this?

So smarty pants here even surprised me tonight.
We're looking for creative options for milk delivery that minimize spilling when Dani's not supervised. I'd like to move away from soft nipple sippies to have Dani drink the milk quickly, but she makes a mess with a big cup.
So, in a flash of brilliance, I decided to open the cupboard for a new, Dani-sized drinking vessel:
(Yes, it's a Stoli double shotglass, but it's the perfect size for toddler hands.) So I fill it with milk and hand it to Dani, who remarks, "This is a real glass." Okay, okay, so that doesn't make her the smartest toddler on earth, I understand.
Then she inspects the glass, and the decorative garland on it, and says, "It's a Christmas glass, mommy." And I tell her that it's mistletoe or holly leaves or something that sounded holiday-related because I wasn't really paying that much attention (to be totally honest). And, I'm pretty sure I told her it was mistletoe and berries, but upon further inspection I was dead wrong...
And then she says, "But mommy, that is saturn."
Little kid, you are not even 3 years old, and we don't even have a book about the planets, last time I checked. Yet, you have managed to identify a Christmas-themed saturn on a milk-filled shotglass correctly?
The UC grad in me is totally high-fiving you, Dani, my little smartypants!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not-so Little Dude.

Hey, smiley little dude, or should I say not-so-little dude?
You aren't even 3 months old yet, so why do you fit in 6-9 month clothes? Don't get me wrong, I love that you're pretty much sleeping all night, but do you have to rush everything else?
You're still kind of a snuggle bug.
And you know your big sisters adore you, but you're getting SO BIG, SO FAST!
You are literally pushing yourself up so high on your arms that I told your daddy tonight that you'd be crawling by 5 months.
You can even sit up a little bit, if you have something to lean on. Come on, little snuggle bug, you're my last little one. Don't rush me!

Monday, October 31, 2011


WOWIE! This was pretty much the first Halloween for us. Dani, Tori and I went to three neighbors' houses, with Dani carrying Tori's bucket and saying "trick or treat". Then we went home to hand candy out. I took the glass out of the screen/storm door, so that Dani and Tori could just hand candy through, to the hundreds upon hundreds of kids who came.
We had 1,000 pixie sticks, 144 vampire teeth, and 300 tootsie rolls, and we were out in 90 minutes. Dani enjoyed giving everything out--she kept telling kids "trick or treat" or asking "what's your name". She had a blast. Tori handed out a couple of vampire teeth, but otherwise stood guard at the front door with Dani.
Most people were patient with the toddler candy hand out. Dani is not the most efficient kid. But she was so friendly and bubbly and trying so hard to hand candy out to the massess--it was not one at a time, but many kids, sometimes a dozen in front of the door, and Dani just kept her pace~yelling "Mommy, more candy!" when she ran out!
But this Halloween thing. It has always seemed to me like a total candy glom. Like the goal for the majority of kids who come to my door is to get as much candy as humanly possible. I'd guess about 25% of kids at my door were Dani's age (under 3) or younger, yet they were in strollers, or being carried! If your kid's under 3, there's no way your kid's eating the candy! Seriously, Dani and Tori had a peppermint pattie and some other little thing and that's it.
As for trick or treaters........It's crazy. And it's a vicious cycle. There aren't too many houses on each street that have their lights on, so people drive their kids all around the city, so each year fewer people give out candy and there are more kids per door because there are way more kids being driven around just to find candy. When I was walking with Dani and Tori, I figured I would stay on the block. I did. Besides my house, there were only 2 with lights on (fortunately my next door and across the street neighbors). That's all. So I understand the driving to find a few houses, but the full bags and buckets many kids had made it clear that people really travel for candy. When my kids are bigger, I'll walk them around a bit more. But, unless it's inclement weather, they will be walking.
I tried awfully hard to get a pic of everyone in costume. Tommy was fussing and the girls were restless! This was early on--Dani and Tori were getting dressed while Tommy wanted to rest!
Big Man managed to snap a quick pic of us at the door. Happy Halloween!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The bags got in the way.

Today, I took Dani to see an elderly man who is like a great-grandfather to me. His tailor shop was next door to my office years ago, and I got to know him well. He calls Dani his "principessa" and Tori his "estrella".
He lives on a busy street, and it's very hard to get in and out of his driveway. As I was trying to back in today, cars were whizzing past me, making it very difficult for me to maneuver the car. I *may* have uttered something like "D*****bags are in my way, under my breath.
Well, I thought it was under my breath. When we were sitting at Dario's dining room table, Dani announced that, "Mommy had trouble parking because the bags got in the way!" I knew what she meant, but he just looked at us, confused. Looks like I've got to clean up my language a bit.
You're looking at Team Naughty here! It was a day of insanity. Kids bouncing on furniture, banging on computers, and a constant "no" "no" from Big Man and I. Even naughty, they are just so flippin' cute!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Two Months!

Little Tommy is 2 months old!
He is towering over baby Dani and baby Tori at that age. He's 12 pounds, 14 ounces and 24.5 inches long. This is over a pound more than Tori was, and 1.5 inches longer (and Tori weighed more than Dani!)
He smiles, he coos, he sleeps. He totally rocks, that little dude of mine.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

So big-a-big-a-big!

I swear, I blinked and Dani turned into a KID. Where'd my baby go?
Conversation that I had with her tonight:
Dani: Mommeeeeeee, you're home!
Me: Hi Punkin'.
Dani: Is Daddy going to work now?
Me: No, why? Do you want him to go to work now?
Dani: Yes. He needs to go to work now.
Me: Why.
Dani: All the bad guys aren't in jail yet.
She's such a big girl. Such a sensitive little softie who wants to be Batman one minute, and a princess the next. Tonight, she was wearing a Batman costume, and wrapping herself in a blanket, declaring herself Princess Batman. Adorable.
And my little Dude-ly Dude is headed to the doctor for his 8 week visit tomorrow. He's alert, smiley and chirpy. And, amazingly, despite a zillion toddler kisses, and pokes from grimy toddler hands, he hasn't had a cold yet. Truly, I'm amazed. When I'm not looking Tori likes to try to stick her finger in his mouth so he will try to suck on it and she laughs hysterically. This is the same kid who eats food off the floor. Tommy has some serious, super baby immunity.
And, this little mischief maker is our wild and crazy one. She literally dances around the house all day long. It's like she's stuck onstage doing Tori Riverdance. She is an endless ball of energy that is smiley and bubbly about 75 percent of the time. The other 25 percent she is an angry wildabeast that I am convinced may be possessed by demons. The wildabeast comes out whenever she is told no or does not immediately get her way--shrieking, flailing and flinging herself onto the floor is the typical response.
She's starting to talk and it's awesome. She's the happiest, zaniest kid I've ever seen. And cute as hell.
As crazy as life is these days, I wouldn't change a thing.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Seven years.

Whenever Big Man and I celebrate a wedding anniversary, the number always seems too low. I know, I know, everyone says that. But I really mean it.

He and I met my first year of college. I was just a kid, from a small town, dropped off in the big city of Chicago. I went out early because I was on the soccer team--and he was on the football team. When pre-season ended, we were in the same house of the same dorm. And we were both work study, and had jobs at the gym--he was my boss.

Now, the year was 1991. Our campus seemed pretty safe, but it was like a little college oasis in the midst of a much harder 'hood. (**Big Man if you are reading this, I'm not trying to embellish, really, perhaps the years have romanticized this story in my mind...just in case you think my story is a bit off.) Big Man and I were friendly. We had a lot in common with sports and dorms and all. I used to work at the gym until 11pm or midnight, and walk home alone after work, without ever thinking that it was risky. For Pete's sake, there were sidewalks and streetlights, so it had to be safe, thought the little girl from upstate New York.

The early 90s were somewhat of a rough time for racial relations--and we were just in somewhat of a rough 'hood. The Rodney King incident happened, and there were isolated incidents of violence on or near campus that referenced a response to that. And one night there was a police report that a college-age woman was kidnapped walking alone at night, at around 11pm, on the general route I traveled home from the gym after work. And as soon as it happened, the next time I worked, a handsome young man showed up at the end of my shift at the gym to walk me back to our dorm, to make sure I was safe. There may have been a thank you kiss or two. And then we were together, an item, and so in love.

Fast forward a bit, and silly B, a tender young lass, decided the wanted her freedom--she was young, and cute (and as the old poem goes, gather ye rosebuds while ye may) and in love all the same, but mercurial as most college girls are. After days of crying on my best friend Gina's shoulder, telling her, "Big Man is the kind of guy I want to marry, but I'm only 18 and I'm not ready yet!" I know, it sounds crazy, but it's true. Gina remembers the conversation.

So when we stopped dating, he moved into the role of one of my closest friends. Through college and beyond, we were always in touch--and saw each other when we could. There's a really funny memory I have about a trip to Cleveland after college--and a barely-safe motel, because that's all we could find. Someone (not me) stayed awake all night, or close to it, to be sure nothing crazy happened.

Lots of years in between; he did his thing in Michigan, I did my thing in NY. But we always stayed in touch, and he would always visit NY on his way to CT to visit his brothers and family.

And then there was the visit.
THE visit.
It wasn't planned as a romantic visit. In fact, he was supposed to visit for President's weekend with two other college friends (Jessie and Chang). At the last minute, Jessie and Chang didn't come. Big Man did.
It was just him and me.
And I was 18 again.
And he kissed me.
He started driving from Michigan to New York regularly.
He proposed. Of course, I said yes. I also told him that I didn't want kids, and told him he should be sure he wanted to marry me as he was meant to be a dad.
He gave up his career and moved here.
He started over, job-wise. The US doesn't have uniform police training standards, so when he decided to go back into law enforcement here, he had to go to the academy again, in his mid-30s.
And he's excelled. He's done very well in his career.

His hard work has permitted me to follow my own career dreams. (ie earn no money)

And, somewhere along the way, all the pieces of my life fit together so well, and I knew it was time. Time to have kids. The girl who never wanted to be a mom, loved so much she wanted to see the man she loves be a dad.

Fast forward seven years-- we have three wonderful babies after a heckuva hard time as we lost the first.
But that which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, they say.
Minimally it makes you appreciate what you have.

And I have a life partner. A best friend. A husband who has exceeded my every expectation.

Who can still put butterflies in my tummy, and who still can me me feel like the prettiest girl in the room....despite my age, and my weight, and everything.

Who I fall in love with all over again every time I look at her:
or her:
or him:
Happy Anniversary, Big Man.

More Dani-isms.

Dani, trying open a bottle of seltzer I was drinking, upon finding the cap too tight to twist off, "Mommy, it's locked!"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Being a big sister, a Dani guest post.

Hi everybody, Dani here. Mommy said I could give you an update on my little brother Tommy. Its fun being his big sister. He's little and snuggly, and he sleeps a lot. Everybody says he looks like me. Personally, I think I'm cuter, but don't tell him that.
Since he sleeps so much, I still have lots of time to play with mommy and daddy and Tori. Tori's getting big. She's starting to talk, and can play with me. She's not such a baby anymore, so I don't mind sharing my toys with her. Tonight, I let her spin with me on the Sit N Spin, and mommy made us a new clubhouse. We decided not to let Tommy in, because it was for girls only! Mommy tried come in, but she was too big, so we just talked to her through the windows.
I take my job as big sister very seriously. Tonight, I fed Tommy his dinner, all by myself! And he didn't even make a mess!
I'm going to teach him all kinds of stuff when he gets a little bit older. That's what big sisters do! Well, that's what they are supposed to do. Tori will probably teach him how to be naughty. She's really good at it. Tonight she climbed up on the table and dumped out the salt and pepper onto the floor. She's always doing naughty stuff right in front of mommy. It's kinda funny to watch. Mommy's always saying, "NO Tori" and then as soon as mommy looks away, she takes off and does something naughty again. Her favorite thing to do is to run into the kitchen and try to grab stuff. She likes to squeeze the bread, and she also swipes the maple syrup, even when there aren't any pancakes. I'm going to teach Tommy to do the naughty stuff when no one is paying attention, so you don't get caught. Like when Tori's getting her diaper changed or mommy is in the bathroom--so no one sees us. That's what I do--it works every time, well most times. Don't tell mommy, okay?