Friday, December 31, 2010

Twenty-Ten. 365 days and DONE.

2010 was a good year.  It may sound prosaic but it was a year in which we have learned a LOT.  For many of my friends, the latter half of the year was extraordinarily challenging, and watching them go through the ups and downs of this unpredictable life was unsettling and disconcerting at times.  But it brought ME hope to see them still cling on to the ONLY thing worth clinging onto: their faith in God.  In some ways my heart has never been more stirred.  I know it only needs more stirring, though.  Which is why I'm really looking forward to 2011.

I'm sure there will be many more good times, learning times, sad times, contemplative times, exciting times, boring times, and growing times.  May you be blessed with a combination that leaves you feeling more thankful than before!

Happy New Year!  

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

May everyone have a peaceful (restful?) jolly good Christmas!

'Tis a Wonderful Life!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Happenings 2010, Installment I

For now, this is about as good as it gets.  Expect more posts and more pictures the rest of 2010.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Past, Revisited

I don't know about y'all but I know about us, and uh, this is the only way we know how to rock.  
 -Alicia Keys & Usher "My Boo"

Just recently Greg & I started recording and watching NBC's The Sing-Off, showcasing different groups singing a capella to win a huge prize.  So far almost every group we have seen has been outstanding and does an amazing job creating a huge sound with just a few people.  One of the judges is from Boys II Men (am I embarrassed for instantly recognizing him? absolutely not); another judge is from the Pussycat Dolls (am I embarrassed that I once had a song of theirs as my ringtone? um, perhaps); and the other judge is the infamous Ben Folds, who provided the background music for at least half of my college years.  Hey, I discovered him a little late, but better late than never, right? 

My musical tastes have ebbed and flowed over the years, from Portishead & Bjork to Sloan (nods to Kennon & Dave) to Guster, Travis, Death Cab for Cutie, and all the way back to the Black Eyed Peas & Fergie ("G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S").  Seeing some of these groups perform these "throwbacks" of only 5 years, mind you, brings back a lot of fun memories and frighteningly ages me a bit. 

But I don't even think I was alive when this song was recorded, but e'er since I heard it on my parents' stereo, I've loved it (you need to only watch the first minute or so, the rest is judge commentary):


And speaking of 5 years ago, today 5 years ago two of my very good friends were wed!  Happy anniversary to LPK & MK!

1209 Roomies "hit in the face with a bat"

Seeing LP off

Lil' LPK & Tall MK!

And this explains why Justin Timberlake is playing right now.  Blast from the past, mutual admiration among the 1209 roomies.  You know.

Friday, December 10, 2010

little bugaboo

I notice I have more to post if I'm actually taking more pictures!  (Fancy that?)

The other night we took advantage of free museum admission to the Glazer Children's Museum in downtown Tampa.  For the next few months, they offer free admission for everyone from 4-8pm on the 1st Tuesday of the month.  It was crowded, there was a line outside to get in, and it was cold, but it was worth it to get in. 

where do I start??

enjoying her .00341 seconds commanding the steering wheel



necessary family shot
The other week, when Mommo was in town, we spied some very inexpensive felt stockings at Joann Fabrics, and very inexpensive felt stickers with which one could decorate said stockings.  An idea was born and today it was realized.  We had some family & friends over for hot chocolate and a stocking decorating party!

From L to R: Amanda (housing baby Abby), Braden, Callie, Mia, Loren & Maddie

doesn't Amanda look great for 34/35 weeks pregnant?

being "craftastic"

Loren really figured it out quite quickly--she must have an eye for these things!

Mia pushing Callie around -- pretty sure they both enjoyed the jaunt

I oft hesitate to post pictures of group gatherings, such as a playdate, for fear someone feels left out.  Yet the pics of the kiddies are cute! My ideal philosophy is: invite who you can, take turns with the folks, and try to be mindful.  I would love to invite the whole world but sometimes smaller parties are more manageable, are they not?

Hope everyone's had a great week & is headed into a fun weekend.  Only 15 days till Christmas. Are you ready?  (Are you ready?)


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

a December photo montage

Enter pigtails!

Enter cheesy smiles!

And enter "cold" weather!  I'm a Minnesotan Mama with a Florida baby!  It was 41°F this morning and we were outside for a while.  Picture this: I'm bundled in a warm sweater & scarf & mittens and I can barely get the same on Mia.  I was lucky to get a 2nd layer on top.  This Florida baby is gonna push her fingers' & nose's limit when we go to Indiana soon!

PS: Fun Fact: Greg & I were engaged 4 years ago yesterday, on December 6, 2006!  Can't believe it's been that "long," but it's been fun!  Don't we look a bit younger?
Can you see my bling??

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's Been TOO long...

It's only been a week but it feels longer -- perhaps because a lot has been packed into these past few days. 

Updates on la bambina:

She's been sleeping so much better, and even a bit longer too!  I usually rely on her to wake me up before 7:30, but these last few mornings, we've slept in till 8:30 at least.  I will enjoy it while I can, because this is not "the norm."  She's allowed us to put her down in the crib for naps and bedtimes without too much of a fuss.  Sometimes she'll whine for up to 15 minutes, but she usually crashes by that point in time and snoozes right on through the night.  Naps are lasting about 2 hrs, give or take. 

Mia's going through another "willful" stage though too.  Everybody's version of "willful" is different, however, so I know what we consider mountains of work others consider molehills.  So I guess we trade good sleep for some behavior modification, but I'll take it.  At least we're well-rested, right??

Her brain's growing too.  She's now saying "Yes" or "Yeah," while nodding her head the correct way.  It's quite cute. 
"Do you want applesauce?"  "Yeah." *one solid head nod* 
"Do you want to lay in your crib?"  "Yeah." *leans toward crib*

She'll also sort of ask you a question in a Foreigner-speaking-American-English sort of way.  Like, "[Banana], no?" as in, "I can have this banana, right? Or not?"  It's her way of asking for our approval.  "No?  No?"  We appreciate that. 

We're trying to teach her to say, "Merry Christmas," and over the last few days it's taken its own adaptation from sounding like "Mry Kss-ss" to "Mry Ta Ta" to "Sss".  I'm not sure why we've dropped so many syllables, but she'll also nod her head as she says this like she's a very dynamic speaker.  I don't know who she learned that from, because I'm not dramatic, ever.  Srsly.


I left Mia in the capable hands of Jenn H & her 2 charming daughters this morning while I got my hair did by my fav stylist Liz.

Jenn sent me these pictures while I was out:

She's holding hands with Loren and fiercely maintaining her grip on the travel tube of toothpaste she grabbed before we left the house this morning. I guess she wants to be prepared in case she & Loren head out on a long journey.  Through the backyard.
Mia (R) and her buddy Maddie (L).  Maddie calls Mia "Mimi"! They love playing together!
It's always nice to know your child is behaving and playing just fine while you're out.  Things always take longer than you think they will (I'm a chronic under-estimator) so at least you know your child is in good company. 

The holidays are in full-swing and last weekend after an amazing Thanksgiving we decided to move on right ahead into Christmas.  We put our tree up, hung the stockings, furnished the TV stand with some garland, and have some other holiday-type things set up to remind us 'tis the season.  I already have ideas about some holiday menus and can't wait to try holiday round II at our house this year.  It's also only taken me 3 years of having Bright House Cable to realize that channel 433 plays nonstop holiday music.  So I no longer have to play holiday music DJ in the house...I just let the TV do it for me.  And as grainy as some of the wintery images on that channel may be, they at least make me think we're some up north, where it would actually SNOW right now.
Speaking of the north, we'll be traveling northward before the actual holiday but will be in town for the 25th, ready to start some Ciampian traditions!  We are feeling really blessed and cannot believe 2010 is just about done. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

Yesterday was a smashing success, if I daresay so.

Command Station

Middle of the Madness

The Table Settings

More on that later!

Enjoy the weekend!


Can't believe we made ALL this food! Yum! (Me & my 2 SILs on either side!)

The Bro & Sis-in-Law & Nephew/Cousin

Thursday, November 25, 2010


[O God of Our Salvation]

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.
(Psalm 65 ESV)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Mixed Bag

Take the good with the bad, right?

Mia's made some major progress in the sleep department the last week or so, since the appointment with the pediatrician.  Not sure exactly what happened, but it seems after enough trials of the Ferber method Mia started to realize beds were made for sleeping in, and not for standing up and crying in.  For naps and bedtimes, she's been falling asleep within 15 minutes of being put down, with perhaps a few exceptions.  She always gives Greg a bit of a harder time at bedtime since their routine was pretty solid, but for naps with me, she'll roll around or talk to herself for a few minutes before totally knocking out. 
This is major progress and exactly what I've been looking for.

Sunday afternoon though was a bit amusing.  She was so tired and whiny after having an awful morning at church, but she just wouldn't lay down.  She was sitting on her knees crying, then falling asleep sitting up, and then jerking herself awake when she'd start to lean forward, thus starting the crying - sleeping - leaning - awake cycle over and over again!  Finally, I went back in and let her pass out while in my lap and laid her back down.  Silly silly girl!

The other pro with this is that she's been sleeping through the night again - yay!  I haven't had to get up with her in the middle of the night for a whole week, I guess.  It is so nice to have a solid stretch of sleep again!  Not to say I don't expect it to be thrown off ever again -- because I know it will -- so I will just enjoy it while it lasts.

The "con" right now is that Mia is just not herself.  She's been super fussy, whiny and hard to handle.  Not the "friendly little spirit" I've proclaimed her to be in months past.  Methinks she's just cutting more than one tooth right now and it just hurts!  There've been times when she's felt mildly feverish, which is reminiscent of some of her first teething experiences.  Now I feel as if I'm really starting to understand what teething can mean.  So far, for Mia, teething can mean:
  • raised body temperature, feet, hands, head warm to the touch
  • clinginess (especially wanting me -- this is new!)
  • tempter tantrums 
  • diaper rashes
  • actually getting sick (congestion, runny nose)
  • awful diapers
Basically, just being an unhappy camper.  Sometimes, these symptoms confuse me, especially if a newer food has been introduced.  Is she having a reaction?  Is the rash because she's allergic?  But, when it goes on for days, I feel it usually tells me that this is a teething thing, not a food allergy/sensitivity.  I guess I will always be hyper aware of that, though.

And changing the subject, we had an awesome cloth diaper demo this past Saturday.  I can't believe I haven't posted more about it, as I thought I'd be detailing everything!, but there really hasn't been that much time.  We were able to video it for all those long-distance peeps wanting to get the 411 on cloth diapers, but since we borrowed our friends' camera and don't know the ins & outs of uploading the vid to the computer, it might be a while before it's up, edited, and ready for viewing.  I learned a ton though, and I've already been doing this for a year!  The biggest thing it reinforced is that I feel I'm making a great decision for our family - financially, healthfully and environmentally.  And it encouraged me to try some other brands the next time around, whene'er that is.  Do I sometimes feel silly that I am "so into" this?  Yes ... but I think it's just evidence that sometimes you just gotta work with the state you're in.  Young childhood is where I'm at, so I'm gonna make it work for us!  Find your groove and let the other stuff be.  That's what I'm telling myself!

The End!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Something's gotta give

I'm not talking about the movie, although I hear it's pretty good.  I just love that line sometimes, because it's just the truth.  Sometimes, not everything can be perfect, and something's gotta give.  I have to remind myself that as a parent, because nothing will ever be perfect!  And there's not a whole lot I can do about that.  While it may sound cynical or pessimistic, I actually find it to be a relief.  God's not expecting me to outdo Him, because everything He creates is good and does good.  And it's not all about me.  (I.Am.Brilliant!!!)
~Thoughts spurred from a recent Beth Moore study

In other news, we met with a new pediatrician on Monday.  I haven't ruled out Mia's former pediatrician just yet, but if I could combine a few things about both pediatricians, I'd be quite happy.  Anyway, probably the biggest takeaway from the appointment is just a confirmation that Mia is growing happily & healthily, right on schedule!  She's around the 50th percentile for height and weight.  She's 22.5 lbs and just over 31 inches in height.  She's really grown in the last 6 months, which is reassuring for me.  I think I owe a lot of that to butter & avocado (not joking)!  Now that I found Mia will eat a lot of foods smothered in butter, I try to incorporate it whenever I can (when it makes sense).  That, or other healthier fats & oils.  Think I'm gross?  Right now, a diet high in fat is probably the most important thing for a little one, since she needs all that fat for her brains.

The doctor also reassured me that Mia's middle-of-the-night waking spells are totally normal, albeit not always welcome, for this age range.  I've been a bit disheartened lately because our good-sleeping-girl has become our hard-to-get-back-in-the-crib girl over the last couple months.  Teething seems to be the culprit of all things evil sometimes, and I'll just have to blame it on that.  But the last two nights, while she has woken up and I had to do a little bit of soothing, she put herself back to sleep after 15 minutes of being placed back in the crib.  It may be baby steps, but that's a BIG improvement.  I think the key actually has to do with me.  Even though I don't want to be the main person attending to her in the middle of the night all the time, if she doesn't even know or realize that daddy's an option, she persists less.  (Daddy is the comforting-rocker guy, and I'm not just talking about his drum-playing abilities.)  So it seems that if we can continue to reinforce that, maybe Mia will get back on the right track.  And then continually reminding myself, this doesn't last forever!

this photo is not related
at all to this post
And then relatedly, since Mia does seem to do pretty well with butter, I've been incorporating some whole-milk yogurt into her diet through smoothies and such.  Occasionally she'll have cheese if it's nicely blended into a meal (or in a quesadilla), but I've yet to offer her whole cow's milk again.  She hasn't had a reaction *knock on wood* to the yogurt, but as I just gave her a little bit of her own smoothie, I can hear some congestion brewing in her nose.  That does concern me a bit, BUT, we'll take it little-by-little.
Here are the smoothies I make, based on various recipes I've seen on the WWW:

-1 cup whole milk yogurt
-1 cup milk (cow's, almond or coconut)
-a few heaping tablespoons of a nut butter (sunbutter, almond or peanut)
-1-2 bananas based on taste
-a few drops of stevia (optional)

Mia really likes them, and I do too!  They're a good morning boost.