Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Half Birthday, RJ!

Dear RJ,

Today is your half birthday. Though I don't know quite how it happened, you are 7 1/2 years old today. I feel like it was just yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital - just yesterday that you danced around the kitchen table with a cupcake liner on your head. Just yesterday when you said your very first word - Mama.

I not only love you more with every passing day - but I like you more as well. I wish I could capture every moment of you and your sweetness, but since your school would frown upon a camera crew, a little letter will have to do!

You are my "guy." I love that you still need and want snuggles. I need and want your snuggles too and if I allow my mind to wander to a time when you might reject them, I feel my chest tighten and tears well. I love how caring you are - not just about me. You always ask me how I'm doing, how I'm feeling - and since learning of the baby in my belly, you sweetly will say "and how is the baby doing in there, Mom? Is the baby healthy? Is the baby moving around in there today?" When Nonna had her knee surgery, you asked about her health and well-being every day and often asked to call her to see how she was doing.

I love watching you play hockey and baseball. This weekend is opening weekend for baseball and I am so excited to see you in your uniform...on the field...your little grin is even more irresistible from under your ball cap.

When I ask you to take out the recycling, you often say "why am I the only one to take out the recycling?" You aren't - but I know you feel that way.

Your mind is a sponge - particularly when it comes to animals and nature. You are so in tune to the world around you, it is beautiful to watch. It is no surprise to me that we celebrate your half birthday today, on Earth Day, because you are already so concerned with protecting nature and the world around you.

One of my most favorite things about you is your sensitivity. You are a very sensitive kid and I hope that never changes. This world needs more sensitivity and caring. And you care deeply about so much.

You still have your stubborn moments - you are not a fan of mornings and while you "like" school and going to school - you would be much happier if you didn't have to get up in the morning to go. Your most recent quirk is that you don't like to eat breakfast in the morning, so we have to beg you to eat half a bowl of cereal.

You still love your animals and like to take Miri, the stuffed Meerkat, everywhere you go. You love to play your Jurassic Park game on your DS and Kindle - and are proficient in all things Pokemon.

There are so many little quirks and characteristics that make up your personality, my sweet boy, this post could go on forever! Just know that all of these quirks blend together to make up the one you - and you are absolutely the best and more perfect son for me. I thank God every day for the gift of you and all that you are. I am blessed to be your mom and so grateful that I get to spend my days watching you grow.

I love you.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring Fling!

It's SPRING FLING time at Bridges Montessori, Bel Air campus. Though this is only our second year in this community, it is rapidly becoming one of my favorite days of the year.

As parents, we join our kiddos early in their day - Rich and I only had time for a quick run to Starbucks before we needed to be back on campus to watch this super fun day unfold.

The elementary aged kiddos were the first ones outside. Our kids were fortunately grouped together (Thank God for small favors), so we were able to split our time between Angelina in her group and Rosie & RJ in their group. Rosie and RJ first tackled the Recyclable scavenger hunt.

While they were searching for specific recyclable items on their playground, Angelina and her group were digging in the dirt (her favorite!) to plant some seeds. She was so meticulous with the placement of every seed! I am not sure what seeds were planted - but I am looking forward to seeing her efforts grow.

The second event for the little kids was their recycle sort race. Miss Jenn spread out a bunch of different "trash" items for the kids to gather and sort. By the end of the "race," they had sorted the recyclable items into appropriate bins. While they were doing that - the bigger kids were doing a challenging relay race. The relay started with a potato sack race to a cornhole-style board. After three attempts to sink a beanbag, kids had to spin around a baseball bat 10 times before putting a plastic eggs on a spoon and walking around a cone. Once the egg was safely back in its place, it was time to hulahoop and be tied to a partner for a three-legged race. Finally, all of the kids had to work together and hold hands to work a hula hoop all of the way around the circle.

I think a big favorite for everyone was the petting zoo and pony rides. Angelina now wants a goat, baby piglets and chicks. She LOVED them. I think the goat was a huge hit for everyone. RJ and Rosie were pulled out of another activity for the pony rides and were able to take their rides at the same time as their sister.

RJ and Rosie also had the opportunity to plant sunflower seeds around the outdoor classroom behind their trailer. I was pretty impressed with these Bridges people - they got a lot of their gardening done today! Rosie and RJ also collaborated with their classmates to create a frame out of rolled magazine pages. (Rich and I were both amused that our two oldest children were rolling papers on 4/20...)

It was a wonderful day and I am so grateful that our children have the opportunity to share such beautiful times with their classmates in a wonderful setting!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Here we go again...

That's we go again.

The Galasso clan is expecting kiddo #4!

This wasn't something that I expected or planned for at this point in my life. In fact, I really thought the idea of another baby was a ship that had long since sailed. Rosie is 9 - she will be almost 10 by the time this new baby arrives. For a woman who felt the need to cluster my kiddos together, that is a huge stretch!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Beating of my Heart

 Dearest little one - 

I heard you today. You made yourself known loud & clear. I heard the strength of your little heart beating away. I am 7 weeks pregnant now - 7 weeks and 5 days, though it has been just two weeks since I learned of your existence. 

My heart swelled at the sight of you on the screen. You are beautiful.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Welcome to my world, Baby...

This morning I woke up with a persistent thought in my head...

I could be pregnant.

During my regularly scheduled annual visit yesterday, the nurse at Dr. Quartner's office joked that I should go home and take a pregnancy test. I can't tell you why I didn't ask for one on the spot. I guess I just felt such shock. It couldn't be possible...could it?

We went to Disney World last month. From the time we got home, I never felt quite "right." I was excessively tired and felt the need to sleep my days away. After a straight week of persistent lethargy, I started to suspect that I had mono or some other "sleeping" disease that was keeping me from living my life. I even looked up symptoms of depression. It never occurred to me that my exhaustion could be standard, first-trimester sleepiness!

I am one of those Type A, "Need to Know" kind of people. So I needed to know. I went out this morning and bought a pregnancy test at Target. Just a test. (Might have been my cheapest trip to Target ever...) I paid for my test and went straight into the bathroom. The test registered positive pretty much as soon as I peed on the stick. I left the store in a haze.

From there, I went to the dollar store and bought a generic two-pack. Home I went! The first test of the two pack didn't register at "pregnant" control line. Nothing. So I drank more water and tried again an hour later. Test #3: positive.

By this point, Rosie, RJ and Angelina were all home, so life got a little hectic. RJ was off to hockey and Rosie needed to be dropped off at dance. While she tapped, Angelina and I headed to another dollar store - this time to pick up a name brand two-pack. The test had to wait, however, as there were children to shower and feed and get ready for bed.

Once the girls were tucked in, I took test #4. Well...I tried to take test #4. I dropped it in the toilet. Bring on test #5...


No denying it - that is a positive pregnancy test!

Buckle up, baby...we are going on quite the ride!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Benefits of Being the "Baby"

So this just happened:

Angelina is sitting on the ottoman next to me...sucking on her binkie and playing on her brother's Kindle...

Me: Hey Ang? When are you going to give up that binkie?

Angelina: Um...when I'm older?

Me: What is "older?"

Angelina: Um...when I'm 7!

All three of my kids were breast fed...and all three of my kids wanted to suck to self-soothe.  I started out as a pacifier nazi. I didn't want that little piece of rubber anywhere near their precious little mouths, lest they suffer from nipple confusion and suddenly lose the ability to latch on. I held that position throughout my entire first pregnancy. From the instant I saw the plus sign on that pregnancy test, I knew that I was going to breastfeed and I knew I wanted nothing to do with pacifiers. That stance lasted until Rosie was about a day old. The child wouldn't stop screaming...except for when she was sucking. This new, first-time mom was exasperated.

Finally, after watching me cry for three straight hours, the nursery nurse suggested trying a binkie -just for an hour or two. Just so I could sleep. So I did. And it was liberating.

Binkies saved my breast feeding efforts. Because of those beautiful little things, I was able to nurse my babies without being a human pacifier. After a while, though, I needed to wean them off. Rosie abandoned hers when she was just shy of 3. I had planned on letting her keep it until she was 18 months - but by that point, I was pregnant with RJ and generally unwilling to remove anything that was a comfort to her. Our first vacation after RJ's birth, however, we "left" her bink at home. She never looked back.

RJ was the same deal - he ditched his binkie long before starting school on a weekend-long trip to Nonna & Papou's house. Of course, Nonna had a binkie - but the purpose of him being there was to get rid of it.

Angelina? She is a completely different story. As a baby, she was eager to be a big kid. She wanted to ditch the crib and be in a bed. Anything her sister does, she wants to do too. Anything RJ wants to attempt - she tackles it with gumption. All of our childproofing efforts went out the window with Angelina...she proved us unprepared at every step. So why does this little one who has been so anxious to be "big"insist on keeping this tie to her babyhood?

Because she can. Because she knows I will let her. Because she knows that while she is big enough to sleep in her bed and go to school, shower and dress herself...I, her mother, am not ready to not have a baby anymore. She is a smart cookie, that Angelina - she knows full well that I am clinging desperately to her babyhood and she is going to milk it for all it is worth!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Family Dinners

Tonight, we had an amazing family dinner.

The plan for this dinner started on Friday, when Emma told her father she was craving fried chicken. Dave sent me a text and asked me if I would make her chicken cutlets - which I would, of course - but it was on a FRIDAY during LENT, so I would much rather make them on a day when we could all enjoy. Chicken cutlets are my favorite meal!

Our little lives are crazy, fun and chaotic. Most nights, a family meal is darn near impossible. Kids come home from school STARVING and ready for dinner by 4:30. I rarely eat before 8. Rich eats whenever he walks in the get my point. Well. Today, everything aligned perfectly for us to sit down and share a wonderful meal.

I had planned on making dinner for everyone and serving it early so that Rich had time to digest before his hockey game - but Mother Nature FROZE US OUT and his game ended up getting postponed. I didn't have to rush!

Chicken cutlets, breaded and fried. White rice, roasted broccoli and Velveeta cheese sauce...all just like my Mommy used to make when I was a kid. (She actually made it a few days ago for my Dad...but who is keeping track?!)

We sat down and enjoyed a peaceful, calm evening - Dave and Emma too! It did my heart good to have everyone sitting down together, saying grace and sharing laughter. Before the end of dinner, I learned something new - my children know sign language! Rosie was able to sign a whole song! RJ was able to show me how he signs "Please stop, friend." I was so, so impressed.

I treasure these family dinners. I treasure these moments with these people that I adore.