Friday, October 10, 2008

It's all about ME!

At Morgan's preschool, they have an interesting alternative to traditional Show and Tell days. It's called the "Me Bag" and Morgan just got to experience it.

The way the Me Bag works is that, each Friday, one student in the class is allowed to bring the Me Bag home. That weekend, the child is to fill the bag with items that represent them. It could include photographs, books, pictures drawn by the child and favorite toys. The student brings the bag to school the following Monday and gives a presentation showing their items and telling the class about them.

When Morgan discovered that it was her turn for the Me Bag, she was so excited! She carried the bag around all weekend, taking turns filling it with things, giving a practice presentation and then dumping everything out and filling the bag with completely different items. Every once in a while, she would exclaim "It's my FIRST Me Bag!!!!" as if it were an occasion as momentous as her first birthday, first haircut, her first lost tooth, etc.

As Sunday approached, we knew that we had to nail down the final selections to bring to school the next day. They were:
• Bear Necessities, Morgan's cuddle-buddy and constant companion
• A picture of Mommy, Da, Morgan and Sophie in Arizona visiting Mamah and PopPop
• "Morgan's Book", a photo album created by Nana of her first day as a big sister
• A picture that Morgan drew of Elphaba, the main character in her favorite musical, Wicked
• A picture that Morgan drew of Spiderman which was sure to impress the boys in the class

The day of her presentation, Morgan confessed to having a few butterflies in her stomach. But she had nothing to worry about, her teacher said that her presentation was terrific. I only wish I had been a fly on the wall to watch!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Celebration of Summer

We had a wonderful time last Sunday at the Celebration of Summer at Ravinia. For those of you not from the Chicagoland area, Ravinia is a concert venue specializing in classical music. They are famed for their outdoor pavilion and their inexpensive lawn seats. Many a wonderful picnic has been shared under the stars while listening to fantastic music.

The Celebration of Summer is a free (donation of non-perishable food suggested) afternoon full of children's activities and performances. (In fact, Vito directed a show for Child's Play Touring Theatre that performed at the event.) The lawn is dotted with bouncy houses, balloon artist and craft activites.

There are rides and games for the children as well as an instrument "petting zoo" where kids can get hands-on experience. Performances are happening on various stages throughout the park the entire afternoon.

As you can tell, Sophie REALLY loved the train. I think she rode it about five times.

She also had a great time in the Sesame Street bouncy house. (Morgan, the old pro as inflatables, surprised us all by scaling a huge inflatable climbing wall and sliding down the opposite side without even blinking. We were all so impressed that we completely forgot to take a picture!)

We'll definitely take take next year to attend the Celebration of Summer. And, I think we're going to try to picnic more often as well!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jacks...

The girls attended their first Cubs game over Labor Day weekend. It is a rite of passage for anyone growing up on the North Side and, with my cousin and his boys coming into town for a visit, there was no time like the present..

To get the full experience, we took the Red Line from my parents' to Wrigley. Morgan is an old pro at riding the CTA since we regularly took the El to her ballet lessons at Ballet Chicago. She stood in the crowd, holding on to the pole, as if it were no big deal. Sophie, on the other hand, was not a fan of public transportation! When we got off the train, I think that she would have knelt down and kissed the pavement if I would have let her!

Attending a baseball game with two young children certainly is an experience. Between the trips to get cotton candy/hot dogs/peanuts/water/you-name-it, requisite visit to the souvenir shop, trying to keep the kids from bopping the nice lady in front of us with the little bat that we purchased at the aforementioned souvenir shop, and potty trips, I think I watched about 15 minutes total of the game. Sadly, the Cubs lost but we all had a good time nonetheless.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

End of an Era

We are marking the end of an era here. We are now a crib-less household. This morning, Vito converted Sophie's crib into a daybed and we have taken the first of many steps away from having a baby in the house.

With Morgan in preschool, we had been taking the opportunity to introduce the freedom of a "big-girl bed" to Sophie during naptime. The first couple of days, she would be out of the bed like a shot and we'd immediately pick her up and put her in the crib. The next couple of days, she became a little more stealthy but ended up back in her crib. Finally, she slept two naps in Morgan's bed and we decided that, with the long weekend upon us, it was time to make the transition.

As you can see... so far, so good. Sophie climbed into the bed and practically put herself to sleep. Of course, we've yet to try and put them down at the same time. That will be a whole new adventure tonight.

Next, I imagine will be to rid ourselves of the pacifier (or "fuss" as Sophie appropriately calls it). Then, potty-training (which Sophie is more than ready for but Mommy is not). All of these little steps, while exciting, are a little sad. It seems like Sophie's babyhood has passed so much more quickly than Morgan's. It brings to mind the lyrics of one of my favorite songs as sung on by Liz Callaway on her album, "The Story Goes On"(It's originally from the musical "Big")

Two months old, he looks up at you
How his smile melts your heart
You want to say, "Stop, time"
Don't move on
Even as you watch that look is gone
Then he's two, such a little man
So alive and so smart
Again you say, "Stop, time"
Stay just this way
But the future comes and he can't stay
Nobody warns you of this parent's paradox
You want your kid to change and grow
But when he does, another child you've just begun to know
Leaves forever
Birthdays fly - 7, 8, 9, 10
Every kid he becomes you clutch and say "Stop, time"
Hold this one fast
But it's not supposed to last
And that time has come and passed
For he's growing
And he has to go

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Webkinz Mania!

I like to consider myself a trend setter rather than a trend follower but one thing that has passed my family by until recently is Webkinz. Morgan and Sophie were just a little too young when they first came out and, as time went on, I didn't feel the need to introduce them. (Frankly, I get little enough time to work on the computer as it is without someone else waiting in the wings!)

Well, the other day, Vito brought home two Lil'Kinz... a cat and a dog. Someone had left them at the park and, after a few months in the lost and found, they needed a good home. Morgan chose the cat and gave the dog to Sophie.

When asked what she wanted to name the cat, Morgan replied "Nothin'" which turned into Nuffin. Sophie's favorite turn of phrase at the moment is "Wha' Happen'?" and thus the dog had a name.

After a day or so, we logged into the Webkinz site and an obsession was born. Some of it is too complicated for Morgan to do by herself but she loves to play some of the games, make her pets move around their rooms and interact with their stuff, and take her pets to see the vet, Dr Quack.

I've begun logging on while Morgan is at school and adding a few surprises for her to find when she logs in provided that she is quiet during nap time!

So, if any of you out there are part of the Webkinz world, send a note to SoMoGio's pets Nuffin and Happen!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Morgan's First Day of Preschool

Yes, it is official. Morgan is now a preschooler.

While I wasn't always a good student, the first day of school was something I looked forward to a great deal. I think it was the idea of starting over: New crisp folders without any pen marks on them or creased corners. The clean pencil bag with newly sharpened #2s. Seeing friends. Meeting new teachers who had no idea that you weren't so keen on turning in your homework.

So, it was with great excitement that I anticipated Morgan's first day.

We awoke first thing in the morning and had a healthy breakfast of granola.

Then, she dressed in her uniform and grabbed her backpack. Morgan was all business, refusing to actually pose for pictures so I had to snap on the fly.

We lined up outside the school and all walked into the classroom. After overcoming a momentary bout of shyness, Morgan sat right down and started playing. I slowly eased myself to a far corner to watch her take her first steps of independence. And, as if she knew what was going through my mind, she turned and called "Mommy?"

I reassured her that I wouldn't leave without saying goodbye. Then, I asked her if she was ready for me to go. She nodded yes, gave me a kiss and said "Bye Mommy."
My independent, self-assured little girl beginning her own adventure. (I just hope she learns more quickly than I did that it is just as easy to do your homework and turn it in as it is to do your homework and leave it in your backpack!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wait for me!!!

In the ultimate example of second-child syndrome, I realize that I've written quite a bit about Morgan and very little about Sophie. Sorry sweetie! This one is for you...

Sophie thinks she is a big kid. Never was this more evident than at a playdate with some friends last week. They have a son, Rowan, who is a few months older than Morgan and another son, Gavin, who is a few months younger than Sophie. You'd think that it would work out that the big kids (joined by the five year old neighbor boy) would play together and the little kids would play together giving the Mommies a much deserved break. Not so fast. Sophie, tossing less than a glance Gavin's way, chased after the big kids the whole time calling "Wait! Wait!" Her little legs padding through the grass as fast as they could and her right arm pumping back and forth, faster and faster, as if it were willing her body along.

The main distraction on that hot day was a plastic slide set up to end in the inflatable pool. The older children were big enough that they could land and keep their heads above water but Sophie could not. Did this deter her? Nope. As soon as she stopped sputtering and choking on a mouthful of water, she would smile a proud smile, climb out of the pool and take her place in line with the big kids to do it all over again.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Winds of Time

The calendar may read mid-July and the temperature may be upwards of 85 degrees but, in my household, fall is in the air.

Why, you may ask...

Because Morgan is registered for Pre-K and we just received her supply list and school calendar. Alongside such usual things as 3-ring binders and boxes of Kleenex are a few reminders that, while she may be 3 going on 13, Morgan is still quite young...

A complete change of clothes (shirt, pants, underwear, socks, shoes) – Accidents happen

A pillow, blanket and stuffed animal for naptime – Morgan and I are planning a trip to JoAnn Fabrics to pick out some fleece to make a no-sew fleece blanket. (Instructions can be found here.)

A picture of her family – I'm assuming that the main reason is to help stem some of the homesickness that might come along with the first week of school but I'll bet it is also so that the teachers can remember which parent goes with which child!

A picture of her as a baby – When I read that, my immediate thought was that she still IS a baby! But, as I pulled photo after photo from the Spring of 2005 up on my screen, I realized that she's come quite a long way from the bald little butterball that squeaked like a mouse while sleeping in her bassinette. The change in just three and a half short years is astounding. She's learned to crawl, then walk, then run and climb; to speak using a vocabulary that is a constant source of surprise to me; to pretend and create with her seemingly limitless imagination; to button buttons and zip zippers; to sing lyrics from Sondheim or of her own making. She's become an independent person with a personality and opinions all her own.

So, perhaps, the picture of her as a baby is less for her sake and more for the parents getting ready to send their little ones out into the world. Because, as I kiss her goodbye on her first day of school, I'll know that she'll always be my baby but she's also become quite a big girl and is ready to continue her learning in with a brand new exciting experience.

Image by Weeks Photography

Monday, July 14, 2008


This past weekend, we took Morgan to her very first movie in the theatre.

Morgan had a great time. Aside from chowing down on popcorn and peanut MnMs, she really enjoyed the movie and her parents did too. Wall-E was another excellent film from the Disney-Pixar collaborative team.

I had read a lot about how "dark" the story was, how "disturbing" the imagery was of what humanity had become and how there was little to no dialogue in the first half hour. Well, I found that Wall-E was anything BUT dark and disturbing and, if I hadn't read about the lack of dialogue, I don't think I'd even have noticed it.

I believe the message inherent in Wall-E is that you should never give up whether it be on love or on our Earth. THAT is quite uplifting.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Holding Hands

What is it about little girls and holding hands?

It has become a minor obsession with Morgan and Sophie. Often, I look back at them in their carseats and they are reaching across the divide and clasping fingers. Or, in the den, Sophie is desperately trying to catch Morgan's hands to entice her into a playful round of "Rosies". I can also spy Morgan leading Sophie by the hand out of the room or, in the case of the above picture, towards the sprinkler (which, of course, means trouble)!
Thankfully, Sophie actually ENJOYED being shoved into the path of the water and it lead to the two of them frolicking the in the sprinkler all afternoon... hand in hand, of course!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Thought I'd post some recent cuteness...

And my favorite....

Morgan is hugging Sophie and calling her "my best friend". So sweet! I hope they remember that when they are teenagers!

The Five Greatest Inventions for Moms

Here are a couple of things that I've found that were (or would have been) invaluable to me as a Mom...

5. Itzbeen

I didn't have one of these things but I REALLY wish I had! Every new Mom I know carries around a pad and paper to keep track of feedings and full diapers and sleeping patterns, etc. This handy-dandy invention means that you simply press a button whenever you feed the baby or change the baby and it starts to count the amount of time that passes until you press the button again. It even has a reminder as to which side you last nursed on.

4. Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Fleece Pouch

I tried a whole heck of a lot of slings from the Snugli-type carriers (which my husband preferred) to the kind you wrap around yourself again and again and in some sort of origami way create a pocket to carry the baby. Then, I discovered the Kangaroo Korner Pouch and I was in love. It was comfortable for me to wear, easy to put on (which, when you have a crying baby on your hands, is a necessity) and the baby felt secure. It was such a relief to be able to wear Sophie while doing dishes, making dinner (not near the stove, of course) and, most of all, chasing Morgan around!

3. Bib clips
This is a recent discovery of mine and I love it! Just pop one into the diaper bag and you can make any napkin or paper towel into a bib. It also converts a receiving blanket into a no-slip nursing cover-up.
I got mine at Diaper Bag Wrangler. She's also got some cute burp cloths, diapee and wipee covers and more handmade products!

2. Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Bouncy Seat
I have no idea how parents got anything done before the invention of the bouncy seat. Seriously. I know some kids are not fans of the seat and prefer the swing but both Morgan and Sophie LOVED theirs. It was light and easy to move from room to room. The girls would sit in it while I showered, made dinner, folded laundry.

1. Boppy Pillow

I did a non-scientific poll of the Moms on my messageboards and the Moms I know IRL. Hands down, the Boppy Pillow was the single most mentioned must-have for new Moms. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottlefeeding, the Boppy provides a comfortable place for the baby to feed. It also can be used to prop the baby up when s/he begins sitting.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On turning another year older...

I am now officially closer to forty than I am to thirty. It shouldn't be so hard to deal with since, as my dear husband told me when I lamented this fact this morning, I was technically closer to forty than thirty the day after my birthday last year. (Thanks honey.)

Now, a date on the calendar really doesn't bother me. I'm really very lucky. I've got two beautiful daughters, a wonderful husband, a rewarding job, a roof over my head... What does bug me?

I can't lose weight like I used to. In fact, I can't lose it at all and now I have a videogame that reminds me of that whenever I turn it on!

Vito and I decided to give each other a Wii Fit as a combination Father's Day/my Birthday present. I went at it religiously for it is pretty fun. You can do yoga, balance exercises, aerobic exercises, and strength building exercises. And, the whole time, you are watching your Mii (a cartoon version of yourself) and Miis of your friends do these exercises on the television. It makes running in place a lot more fun when you see a cartoon of your grandmother breeze past you!

Now, the downside... the daily weigh-in. The first thing the program instructs you to do is to stand on the balance board and be "scanned". Then, you are shown your weight and centeredness. Over the weeks, I became much more centered but, even with all the exercise, I GAINED weight. How in the heck did that happen? People tried to tell me it was because I was building muscle which weighs more but I'm not buying it.

Anyways, I took a couple of weeks off and I'm ready to start fresh and this time alter my eating habits as well. I may not have reached my goal of losing 10 pounds by my 36th birthday but maybe I'll do it by the end of summer. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"One of the Moms from my Message Boards..."

You have no idea how often I use that phrase in a day.

Back when I was actively TTCing (Trying to Conceive), I found a group of women online that were in the same stages of their lives. It was this discovery that introduced me to the world of message boards. As I struggled with infertility, considered adoption and, eventually, celebrated my pregnancies, the women on my message boards were a lifeline. They offered support and advice, distraction and laughs, a shoulder to cry on and a virtual glass to clink in celebration.

Now, years later, we share funny stories about our kids, give advise when needed and tear our hair out over something our husbands did.

I've only met one of these women in real life but I feel as if I know all of them as well as the people I see everyday maybe even better.

There are a lot of thoughts about technology and what it has done to our society. I can tell you that one of the biggest benefits has been the ability to reach out and find someone on the other end.

Most of the messageboards I belong to have gone private (so that we can exchange personal information more freely without the fear of "trolls" or "lurkers") but, if you are interested, I suggest you check out ivillage or network54. If you find a board you are interested in joining, read a few posts to get the feel of the place. Then, jump in! Introduce yourself. Respond to some posts. Ask some questions. Have fun getting to know people that you probably never would have "met" if not for the internet.

Father's Day Ferris Wheel
(or I'm Flying Like Peter Pan!)

Morgan has been on a ferris wheel kick lately. I'm not sure how or why it started but she's been talking about wanting to ride one non-stop. (Occasionally, she calls it a "Steering Wheel" but we know what she means.)

Anyways, Navy Pier has a rather large ferris wheel and we've been trying to think of an appropriate occasion to go. Father's Day seemed like just the ticket. So, after a light lunch at my parents' condo, we all walked to Navy Pier. As we grew closer to the pier, the Ferris Wheel was finally in sight. We pointed it out to Morgan and she said "A Ferris Wheel! *sigh* I wish I could ride on one someday..." It wasn't until we got to the foot of the ride and I went off to buy the tickets that she realized that someday was actually here!

I think the photo says it all...

And So It Begins

"I really should be writing this down"

That is what I think every time Morgan or Sophie do something funny or cute. And, being that they are particularly funny AND cute children, I think that quite often during the day. Unfortunately, I seldom find myself in a position to take pen to paper and record said hilarity. I do, however, spend time at my computer everyday and, since I haven't lost my memory completely yet, I am planning to hop on and blog about them whenever possible.

Of course, I can't think of anything at the moment....