Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer. Day One.

Holy hell, I'm tired.  It's only been summer for one stinking DAY, but the Fasciotto girls did this day RIGHT!  I can already see some key differences between this summer and the last one.  Last summer I was tired in that I was up all night with a baby and worried about where I would nurse her if the zombie apocalypse hit the zoo or the pool or the library when we happened to be there.  This summer I'm sleeping at night, so it's a different kind of tired, probably nothing more than these STUPID seasonal allergies, but still.  This summer will be spent yelling "Stay close!" to Sylvia as she runs ahead of me through crowds of strangers, and "What's in your MOUTH?" to Margot, who may or may not have eaten bird poop today.  I came to a grand and important conclusion today, and it's this:

I'll always be tired for the rest of my life, so it's high time to just shut up and get on with things. 

Everyone I know is tired.  It has nothing to do with the number of hours of sleep we get and everything to do with the amount of worrying we do all day long, so tired is tired and we all have it and now let's move on.

I woke up today determined to tackle The Tired.  Because I woke up tired after a good seven hours of sleep and I was all, "NO way, Tired!  NOT today!  We're going to the ZOO!  It's SUMMER and you can SHOVE IT, Tired!  Get out of the way!"  So I took both girls to the zoo by myself.  I know, it's not that big of a deal.  I saw two moms there today with EIGHT children between them, and I followed them long enough to determine that they were NOT from a day care.  People do this all the time.  I just haven't attempted two kids by myself at the zoo yet, so I was nervous.  Between 7 am, when the girls woke up, and 8:45 am, when we actually walked out the door, I almost gave up ten times.  I threatened Sylvia within an inch of her life when she threw her royal fit because she couldn't wear dirty clothes from the laundry hamper OR her pajamas.  I'm pretty sure I said this: "If you don't pick one of the ten shirts in your drawer, we are never going to zoo EVER - for the rest of your LIFE!  GET DRESSED!  I'm not doing this with you anymore!"  And then I flung myself on her floor on my back and covered my face and tried not to cry.  I don't know where she gets it.

I was sure I'd forget something from my mental checklist (sunscreen, stroller, lunches, DON'T FORGET THE DIET COKE!) and after I strapped the girls in the car I had to go back into the house no less than three times to get things I forgot (once for sunglasses, once for my phone, and once for....I can't even remember, but Sylvia was cracking up laughing at me and I did NOT appreciate it, but it was better than whining and crying so I didn't really mind).  As we were heading up the street, blue skies and sunshine all around, singing The Zoo Song, I started to feel confident that this day was going to turn out okay...and it totally DID!  People, we ROCKED that zoo trip!  It was amazing and we're totally going back there four hundred times this year. 

The best part about the zoo is that Sylvia gets to call all the shots so she feels important (lunch at 9:30 after seeing our first animal?  You GOT IT, GIRL!  Eat that sandwich.  At least you're eating!) and I don't have to stress out about anything because we have a pass, so what do I care if we see ANY animals at all?  I don't.  The only thing I had to be really careful about was the potty.  I made sure we hit EVERY family restroom we could find because the time between, "I have to go potty!" and me getting covered in pee is remarkably small. 

I brought plenty of snacks.  I took a few pictures.  All in all I'd say it was a roaring success! 

The third item I went back into the house for was Sylvia's sweater!  Thank goodness, too.  It was COLD this morning!
I wrapped Margot in a blanket since I did not dress her appropriately and she promptly fell asleep! Morning nap? Check!

Margot slept while Sylvia ran around like a madwoman on the playground.  And I sat on a bench.  Score.

I told her to make a turtle face and this is what she did!  Hilarious!

Snack time.

Petting zoos have brushes now!  Those goats have it MADE.

Neither child wanted to look at the camera, but there I am, all proud of myself!
I'm sure the next time we go it will be a total disaster, but today was a really good day.  As tired as I am, I am SO excited to be home for the summer with these awesome girls who just so happen to live at my house!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Girls

Maybe the hint of summer around the corner has me in a good mood, but lately I've been praying for time to stop and my girls to FREEZE in the moment!  Margot is starting to interact more and more with Sylvia every day - the other night she swiped a toy from Sylvia's hand for the first time ever - on purpose - and we all did a double take.  She also started putting her toy basketballs into a hoop and then clapping because she's soooo proud of herself.  She likes to "sing" when anyone else is singing, which means she babbles and yells and tries to be louder than us, which is hilarious.  But my favorite part of this age is watching them snuggle.  Sometimes, when I'm nursing Margot before bed, Sylvia will tiptoe into her room, sneak up to the side of the rocking chair and coo, "Awww.....she's so cute!" Then she'll give Margot a little kiss on the head and say, "Nigh-night Margot.  I love you."

And my heart becomes a puddle of goo.

Here are some "keeping it real" pictures:

Ignore the fact that it's 4:00 in the afternoon and she's wearing her pajama top with black leggings.  Instead, pay attention to that ponytail and those rocking bangs!  My girl is getting so big...

Saturday, after I put Margot down for a morning nap, I couldn't find Sylvia and the house was quiet - never a good sign.  I discovered her in her room, putting her stuffed animals down for a nap, tucking them in with her and reading to them from her gigantic princess story book.  Usually I feel like I'm putting her on hold while I tend to Margot, so I asked her if she wanted to play and she said, "No thank you.  I'm reading to my friends."  So I grabbed my camera instead and took some pictures!

Sylvia picked out a Mother's Day cake from Kroger, one of those bigger-than-a-cupcake-but-not-as-big-as-a-real-cake deals.  She was VERY excited to eat it after dinner on Saturday, and Sylvain was working, so I broke out the fancy French dessert plates and we had a lovely girls-only Mother's Day celebration!  She painted her hands with icing.  Margot and I actually ate the cake.

Two things about Margot: 1) She's losing her mohawk and it kind of makes me a little bit sad. 2) She's still wearing these adorable jammies (sized 9 months!) that used to belong to Sylvia.  I was sad when Sylvia grew out of them so I'm kind of glad Margot is teeny tiny enough to still wear them.  They are SO COZY!

Sleepy Baby!

I did my best to capture a profile so I could make a one-year silhouette of Miss Margot.  Look at those sweet cheeks! 

And finally, here's the funniest picture I've ever seen.  Sylvia and I were snuggling on the couch watching Poppy Cat (which has now become a part of her bedtime routine...sigh).  Sylvia was snuggled on top of me, which never happens anymore, so I asked Sylvain to grab the camera and take a picture.  The camera was within reach, so in the ten seconds it took him to get the camera, Sylvia decided snuggle time was over and this happened....
I got smacked in the head and she fell off the couch!  Not our greatest moment.  But worth capturing, I think.

Finally, since I'm keeping it real tonight and hoping to remember what life was like in May of 2013, I guess it's worth noting that Sylvain's job at CCHS was not renewed for next school year.  We have mixed feelings about this turn of events.  On the one hand, losing a job stinks.  On the other hand, he's been contemplating a change for some time, so this is a good way to get out of a job he didn't love and move on to bigger and better things.  What those bigger and better things are, we have no idea.  But I have faith in him and in God's plan for him, so I know that whatever happens will be the BEST for us and our family.  I just hope that something happens soon because not knowing what's coming is a tiny bit stressful for a Type A Control Freak like me.  Any day now, God.  We'd love to know your plan.  We'll wait patiently but....pick up the pace, will ya?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I was inspired by the folks at Rants From Mommyland to rethink Mother's Day this year.  I tried to rethink it last year, but I didn't rethink far enough and I ended up disappointed.  No, not disappointed.  How could I have been disappointed with a wonderful husband, a beautiful baby girl and another one on the way?  I think I just felt a little....empty.  I'm fairly new to the receiving end of Mother's Day and I've had to make sense of all the jewelry commercials, radio ads, and the evil, evil, Pinterest ideas that all shouted: YOU'RE A MOM!  YOU DESERVE BREAKFAST IN BED AND A DAY THE SPA! YOU'RE WORTH IT BECAUSE MOMS ARE AMAZING AND YOU'RE SO TIRED!!!  I worked really hard last year to drown out that noise and focus on what I already have...and to be grateful.  But honestly, that was hard.  I wanted.  I wanted something.  A card.  A gift.  Okay, a day at the spa.  I didn't want to want it, but there it was, on the morning of Mother's Day - a "where's mine" feeling and I hated it.  So when I saw that Rants From Mommyland was doing the same project this year, I knew it was the only way to counteract those noisy, consumer-driven marketing ninjas.

I slapped up a post on Facebook to see if anyone would be interested in joining me for a stuffing party to make swag bags for mothers in need in our area.  Turns out...LOTS of people were interested.  I got excited.  My brain was rethinking and my heart knew we were headed in the right direction. I contacted the Women's Crisis Center, a place where women and families can go to escape domestic violence and sexual abuse, to see if they could use goodie bags full of fun mama things: lotion, chapstick, nail polish, make up, jewelry; and fun kid things: coloring books, stuffed animals, bubbles.  The lady on the line sounded very happy to hear of our project and mentioned that the women also love to get flowers.  Something they can put in their rooms and take with them when they leave. 

Easy, I thought.  I can totally make that happen.  I think.  I'll try at least.  We'll see how it goes.

 I made the stuffing party Facebook Official and the donations came pouring in!  I was in awe.  My mom called around and got a great deal on flowers.  People from out of town sent checks in the mail.  Friends I haven't seen in years were knocking on my door with donations, stopping by for just a quick second on their way to other places, but stopping by because they knew.  They knew the secret mama code.  They knew that all moms are important.

I want to make this clear, to myself and my girls who will one day read this:  I wanted to do this project because in my heart I know the right way - the only way - to celebrate Mother's Day is to lift up other mothers.  Because I know how hard it is to be a Mom with all of the blessings and resources I have, so I owe it to my fellow mothers to share the love.  And oh my word, how much love we shared!  Check this out:

Sylvia and Cici making Mother's Day cards

Ann, Michelle, and Justin sorting Mama gifts.

Swag bags!

Sylvia adding bubbles to the kid buckets.

Margot was useless, but at least she's cute! Can you see her mohawk?!

Shelby - quality control for all volunteer snacks.

Justin and Ann sorting jewelry while Sylvain supervises.  To be fair, Sylvain was on baby duty. 

Shelby and Margot keeping each other busy!

I knew this would be a fun project, but my heart was split open in so many unexpected ways.  When I'm going through the day to day motions of motherhood, the exhausting and consuming tasks that never seem to end, I forget that I know wonderful people.  I forget that I'm surrounded by people who love me, who love each other, who love making the world a better place...people who love to love!  It was truly inspiring.

And one more thing before I climb into bed - Sylvia.  I wanted her to be a part of this project because I wanted to show her that she's blessed.  She's old enough to understand the concept of giving, so I wanted this to be meaningful, but not a burden, to her.  Obviously, I couldn't explain "domestic violence" or "sexual abuse" to such a tiny girl, so instead I chose to talk about an easy word and one she knew...


I explained to her that we were making gifts for people who had to leave their homes because they were not safe.  I told her that all of the bubbles and the teddy bears were going to kids who had to sleep in a different bed than they usually do and these things might help them feel a little more cozy.  I asked her if she wanted to help and she said yes.  On Sunday, she didn't throw any fits when I told her to put all of those shiny new things in the kids' buckets.  Every time we gave her a new item she asked, "Are these for ME?!" And I always said, "No, they go in the buckets." And she never complained, not even once.

Then, yesterday, as we drove down to the Crisis Center to deliver our gifts and the flowers, Sylvia and I had this amazing conversation:

Sylvia: Mommy, are we taking those buckets to the shelter?
Me: Yes, remember when we made them?  You were very helpful.
Sylvia: Are those kids safe now?
Me: Yes, honey, they are safe.
Sylvia: They had to leave their house?
Me: Yes, they had to leave so they could be safe.
Sylvia: My house is safe.
Me: Yes, your house is safe...(holding back tears)...and your house will always be safe.
Sylvia:  Yes, I am aaaalllllways safe at my house!  With you and me and Daddy and Margot!
Me: Yes....(at a loss for words)...yes, honey.

And I held back tears all the way there.  We got out of the car and I started unloading our goodies onto the sidewalk.  Sylvia grabbed a bag that was way too heavy for her.  I watched her tiny blonde head lean to the side as she hauled that bag toward the door and I said a silent prayer of gratitude. 

I didn't want a gift because I wanted this year to be different.  I was planning to distract myself from the noise.  I was not prepared to find myself drowning in the real meaning of Mother's Day, feeling blessed beyond words.  I forgot that sometimes, that's what giving to others can do. 

So, to all my friends and fellow mothers, to everyone who makes a mama's load lighter, to the mamas I'll never meet who are doing the best they can with what they've been given, to my own mothers and grandmothers...Happy Mother's Day.  I love you.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

10 Months (okay, 10.5...whatever)

Dear Margot L'Escargot,

I'm sorry, but Daddy and Sylvia have officially given you your nickname.  It was brought up only a few days after you were born, when a book titled Margot L'Escargot arrived in the mail from Papi.  It's a darling little book about a sweet snail named Margot, but I had some major concerns.  Okay, one major concern: I didn't want anyone calling you a snail.  I know!  It doesn't make sense!  I don't know why I'm okay with calling Sylvia a nugget, but I refuse to call you a snail.  Nicknames are funny that way.  Maybe I was just upset because I didn't come up with it myself.  Either way, I put my foot down and scolded Daddy and Sylvia whenever they called you Margot L'Escargot.  I did the same thing when Daddy tried to call you Margot Blargot.  That one will NOT FLY!  But here's the thing about the snail name...

You're kind of, a little bit, totally like a snail.

You can do some amazing things, Miss Margot.  You can clap, you can sing, you can wave bye-bye, you can feed yourself, you can shake a maraca like it's your job...but it took you ten and a half months to learn how to crawl!  I know that's not a big deal, plenty of kids don't crawl at ten months, but you were showing no signs of wanting to move anywhere - at all - ever.  That's when Daddy pulled out the nickname and it stuck.  Because it fit.  And for some reason, at that particular point in time, I thought it was cute.  So there you go.

You must have an IQ of four million, because it seemed like as soon as you heard that nickname you were all, "Excuse me?!  Are you calling me a SNAIL?  THAT'S IT!  I've had enough!  I'm outta here!"  And you crawled away.  Just UP AND CRAWLED like you've been doing it your whole life!  The "rocking back and forth" phase lasted, like, one day, and then you were OFF!  I couldn't believe it.  So now you're stuck with this adorable nickname and it's even funnier because you are FAST!  You're welcome.

I'm very proud of you for giving us the baby equivalent of the finger.  Don't let anyone tell you who are or what you can do.  And when someone says you can't do something, you just go right ahead and SHOW them that you can.  I think that'll be your gig.  Judging by your tenacity and your gigantic, powerful set of lungs, I don't think anyone will ever assume you can't do anything.  You're a go-getter, Miss Margot.  And I love it!

Just remember, no matter how far that go-getter, up-yours, I-can-do-this attitude takes you, there will always be a warm pair of arms here to hold you when you need it. 

You can be as tough as nails out in the real world, but your Daddy knows the truth.  You're his Margot L'Escargot and you can slow down with us whenever you want.

Love you Forever and Ever,

P.S.  So sorry I haven't kept up with monthly letters.  This two-kid gig is tougher than I thought. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Our Flying Piglet!

It's no secret to anyone who has met her that Sylvia likes to RUN.  She never walks anywhere and sometimes we let her run ahead of us a bit farther than we should because we always get concerned looks from other adults in public when they realize that the speeding munchkin who passed them 50 yards ago wasn't alone but must belong to us.  She runs circles around the dinner table, she runs up and down the street, she runs through the halls at school, she runs everywhere she goes!  At least once a week her running involves an epic face plant, and now that the weather is warm and she's wearing shorts and skirts, that means she has a permanent set of scraped knees.  She gets that from me.

Back in February I found out that The Flying Pig Marathon (which is a HUGE deal here in Cincinnati) was holding a Flying Piglet Fun Run for tiny tots like mine who love to run!  I signed that girl up the minute I found out and marked our calendar!  My only reservation was the 1:15 start time, which is dangerously close to the sacred double-child afternoon nap, also known as The Only Way Mama Can Hang On To Her Sanity.  I figured we'd just make it a late nap and cross our fingers that it worked.  It worked just fine (although, as I type this at 9:20 pm Sylvia's upstairs doing gymnastics in her bed, so I can't proclaim the late nap a success quite yet).

The Reynolds' family joined us for an afternoon of bridge walking, riverside picnicking, and of course - kid racing!  It was really, super fun.  The Dads had it worse than The Moms, though, because they had to stand in the corral of whiny children, shoulder to shoulder with other strung out parents wondering why they chose to force their child to skip a nap.  When our girls finally got to the starting line, they were all smiles!  And Sylvia was very impressed with her medal and her goodie bag of treats she received after finishing! 

Buddies getting ready to cross the Purple People Bridge

Best seats in the house.

At the starting line!  Cici is skeptical.

The lady in the pink has the microphone and she's asking Sylvia if she's going to run fast!

And they're off!

Go, Nugget, Go!

Approaching the finish line!

One Happy Piglet

Way to go, girls!
I totally would have signed Margot up for the Diaper Dash, but in February she wasn't crawling yet and as of today she's only been crawling proficiently for about a week!  That girl is not in a hurry to go anywhere (and I'm GLAD)!  She had a dandy time sitting in the grass and watching her big sister run like the wind!  It was a beautiful day with good friends.  Now it's off to bed so we can wake up early and watch the REAL Flying Pig tomorrow morning....if the Flying Piglet upstairs ever falls asleep.