And off came the curls

On Saturday, Giuseppe went in for a haircut.  And then we decided it was time for Paolo to have his first haircut as well.  I didn’t love the idea, but his hair was long enough for a ponytail, so I succumbed to the inevitable First Haircut.

Paolo wasn’t too thrilled, either. I had to sit in the chair with him and he required a team of salon employees to distract and entertain him.  With each clip, he behaved as if he were in physical pain.  I may have been, though, as I watched the little tufts of curl fall to the ground.  Everyone loves his new “little boy” haircut, but the jury’s still out for me.  He looks so much more Grown Up now.

(And here is the little guy, expressing his sincere distaste of this First Haircut.)



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Best buds

I have to be honest. This winter weather has us a little cooped up lately.  This week has been pretty cold and icy; today, it’s snowing again.  On Tuesday I slipped and fell on the walkway while holding both Paolo and two bags of groceries.  That hurt, a lot. At least, besides Paolo, there were no witnesses. (And I somehow miraculously managed to have Paolo land on top of when I fell. Thank goodness.)  So, we stayed home on Wednesday while I babied my bruised hindquarters.  We got out yesterday for a little trip to the “mall.” (The term “mall” to describe the shopping center here is definitely a loose definition of the word.)  Regardless, we’re home. A lot.  Did I mention the cold, snowy, icy January we’re having?

At least Paolo has Sofia. He absolutely loves her.  Loves her.  He feeds her most of his meals and loves to play with her. Lately, he’s started to “cuddle” her. In fact, as I write this, he is sitting on the floor, under my desk, between Sof’s two front paws.  It’s really cute.  Here they are yesterday. Paolo was lounging with her while catching up on some reading.


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To infinity… and beyond

This morning, while running errands at Target, we passed through the toy aisle at Target.  Lucky for Paolo, the toys were on clearance. So for $8, I picked him up a fancy Buzz Lightyear laptop computer. (It even has a mouse!)  It is great. There is a full keyboard and screen. And this little nifty toy talks and lights up.  I’ve tricked Paolo into thinking it is a REAL, GROWN-UP computer.  So maybe he’ll stop attacking my laptop every time I try use it now that he’s got his own.  Or I can hope.

Either way, he looks pretty cute when he plays with it.  (Who cares if the recommended age is 5 years old…it’s keeping my 1-year-old entertained!)


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Holidays 2010/2011: A review

Today Paolo turned 15 months.  And he is sooo a 15-month-old.  As in, he is very, very busy and expects me to entertain him every minute that he is awake. So I try, but he lets me know when he’s not entertained to his satisfaction. Loudly.

So, most of my normal chores and activities have fallen to the wayside. Including this blog.  Since I did not send out a Christmas card this year either, I thought I’d post some fun pictures of what our holiday was like this year.

We planned to drive up to Rochester, Minnesota to visit my aunt’s family and my grandma for Christmas. So we had our little family Christmas here on December 23rd.  We had a Neopolitan Christmas dinner (meaning all seafood) and opened our presents.  Paolo mostly liked playing with the wrapping paper, ribbons, and discarded boxes. Except the miniature armchair that we bought for him. He love love loves having a mini big-boy chair; especially for reading books and watching videos.

Pre-Christmas eve dinner

Pre-Christmas eve presents

Paolo's fave present

Our plans were tarnished, though, when we woke up on Christmas eve.  A big snowstorm had clobbered the Midwest, and there was no way to drive safely from Iowa up to Minnesota. So we ended up having to stay home and celebrated Christmas Eve again, without our relatives.  It was still a fun, snowed-in day.  And that evening, we video chatted with my family while opening the presents we had all exchanged. Which was really awesome, almost like we were able to spend the holiday together.  (Since then we’ve started video chatting through our Xbox Kinect, which is way better, because you can basically talk through the TV.  I wish we had set it up over Christmas!)

Christmas eve snowstorm

Christmas eve nap

Christmas eve

Then, on Christmas Day, Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) stopped by.  A little later, when the roads were drivable, we went down to Des Moines to have Christmas dinner with my Aunt Jackie and her family.  She already has such a big family of her own; it was so nice of her to have us down, especially at the last minute.  Even though our plans to go to Minnesota for the holiday didn’t work out, we still had a fun and festive Christmas.

Babbo Natale stopped by

Babbo Natale stopped by (2)

Babbo Natale stopped by (3)


I don't know about all this snow

Christmas Day 2010

The day after Christmas, I picked up my dad and brother Zack from the Des Moines airport. As excited as we were to have them come for a visit, it was for a sad reason. My Grandma Main passed away three days before Christmas this year.  At 90 years old, she had lived a good life, with nine children, dozens of grandchildren, and even more great-grandchildren.  It was especially hard watching my 94-year-old grandfather, aunties, and of course, my father, mourn her passing.  The funeral was held the Tuesday after Christmas, in my father’s hometown of Storm Lake. The mass was said at his childhood church and the reception was held at the local Knights of Colombus hall.  I didn’t snap as many photos as I would have liked, but I did take this quick picture of my dad and grandpa at lunch, just after the burial. (What you can’t see in this photo is that Paolo is sitting across from my Grandpa here, doing his best to make him laugh.  Paolo just loves his great-grandpa; when we go to visit, Paolo just follows him around and laughs.)

Granpa & Dad

Dad and Zack stayed with us through the New Year. We had a good time. On New Years Eve, we picked up a few groceries and had lunch at the local co-op.  Then, they took Paolo with them down to Des Moines to visit Grandpa, leaving Giuseppe and I on our own for the afternoon.

Which was glorious. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves!  In a small town, in the middle of winter, there is not too much to do on a whim. But we managed to have a great time. We first stopped for coffee in a little diner downtown. (Just the two of us! No baby food fights or mess to clean up!) Then we went to see the third movie of the “Focker” triology, “Little Fockers.” It was hilarious.  After, we went to a quick cafe` for mid-afternoon treat.  We had a such a lovely afternoon, it was so nice to know that Paolo was off with his Gramps and Uncle Zack, having fun, while Giuseppe and I were able to have a little quality time alone.

Then, for New Year’s Eve, Giuseppe was on call, so we planned a night in.  After putting Paolo to bed, we started a championship, winner-take-all, five-hour-long game of Monopoly.  (I know, the exciting life we live! So glamourous.)  But it was really fun! Twice, though, during the game, the electricity went out due to, yes, yet another holiday snow storm.  It became so cold in 40 minutes without electricity, that we were getting ready to go find a hotel. Luckily, we didn’t have to.  Long story short, a couple hours after our midnight toast to the New Year, I WON the championship.  I was very pleased with myself.

New year's eve 2010

New year's eve 2010

On New Year’s Day, Dad and Zack were supposed to leave, but due to – surprise surprise – weather conditions/mechanical plane problems, they were delayed for another few days. So we had a few more days of holiday fun before they flew out that Monday.

New years day 2011

Then, on the Feast of the Epiphany, there is the Italian tradition of La Befana, a scary old witch that leaves chocolate in the stockings of good children.  (See my article on La Befana at Our Mommyhood.)  Paolo had fun digging through the Befana stocking, even if Giuseppe is really the one who was excited about the chocolate.

La calza della Befana

La Befana came!

The next day, January 7th, marked the official end of our holiday season. I took down all of our Christmas decorations and tree. Our house looks so empty (and orderly!) now.

Paolo just woke up, so it’s lunch time.  Maybe during his nap tomorrow I will be able to tackle thank-you notes and answer email…

Happy 2011 everyone!


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Already over it

Today I introduced Paolo to “Dora the Explorer.”  Normally, he watches a Baby Einstein video or some of the educational cartoons on PBS.  But today I have ruined it all. My little brother, Justin, gave us a subscription to Netflix for Christmas.  (Totally awesome.)  And my other brother, Zack, showed us how we can watch Netflix instantly on our TV using our Xbox. (Even more awesome.)  So, in my excitement, I thought Paolo would like to watch a new show.

Unfortunately, I chose poorly.  Well, Paolo didn’t think so.  He love love loved Dora The Explorer.  When the episode ended, he frantically signed “MORE”  and “PLEASE MORE” while following me around until I complied.  I don’t like Dora. The cartoon is weird and the voices are obnoxious.  If only Paolo felt the same way. He wanted to keep watching after the second episode, but I decided to put an end to the madness there.   I haven’t yet decided if I will ever allow Dora back into our living room. We’ll see.

In other, more exciting news, Paolo is SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT.  ‘Nuff said.


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Today on Our Mommyhood

Today on Our Mommyhood, I talk a little about the Italian tradition of the Feast of the Epiphany and La Befana….Which we will celebrate in two days.

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Buon giorno

Cornetto alla nutella + baby = good morning.

This morning I made fresh croissants, which we slathered in nutella.  Giuseppe and Paolo were giddy; I think they were both on a chocolate sugar high.  And I don’t know if Paolo’s high chair will ever be nutella-free again.

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On raising a bilingual baby: Our Mommyhood


Yesterday Our Mommyhood published my post on our little Italian-American family culture; hear my take on raising a bilingual baby.


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I’ve started to transition Paolo to one nap per day, and it is fabulous.  It gives our day such a nice rhythm.

We usually get up around 6am and have breakfast with Giuseppe before he heads out. Then we play and do chores around the house before heading out for a morning excursion.  (Music lesson, play group, trip to the market, library, etc.)  Then, we when come home, Paolo takes a REAL nap; which is one that lasts anywhere from one to two and half hours.  Which means I can actually get something done around the house, which is nice.

Here he is today, snoozing on the sofa.  He had started out in his crib, but Sofia woke him up barking. (Which was odd; Sofia never barks.) Anyway, he woke up and then fell right back asleep. He was sleeping so soundly that I couldn’t bear to move him.  Music class really took it out of him this morning!

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Chocolate cookies for breakfast

So how many 13-month-old babies do you know that get to eat chocolate cookies for breakfast?  It sounds absurd, right? Well, in Italy, it’s not.  (See my post earlier this year on the Battle of Breakfast.) In fact, my mother-in-law regularly sends us packages with yummy Italian food; usually cheeses, cured meats, chocolates, breakfast cookies, espresso, pasta, and just general Italian deliciousness. We love them and are very lucky, indeed.

So, in these delicious packages usually come Giuseppe’s favorite breakfast item, Pan di Stelle, the disputed, infamous breakfast cookies.   They are consumed in the way that we would eat biscotti at a coffee shop.  Giuseppe dips them into his cup of hot caffe` latte.  Whenever he has this for breakfast, Paolo wants it, too. And the chocolate cookies alone are not enough.  Paolo insists on dipping the cookie in one of our cups of coffee before taking each bite, just like his papa`.  So I’ve started making Paolo his own mug of “coffee,” which is really just a cup of milk for dipping.  He makes a huge mess, but it’s pretty funny and pretty cute.

Did I mention that he takes his breakfast pretty seriously? Look at that face.

Also, notice our Christmas tree in the background.  I had to clear off my desk and put the tree on top of it.  I just didn’t trust that Paolo wouldn’t try to knock it over and pull off all of the ornaments all day, every day.  So I didn’t take any chances. Also, we don’t have a fireplace, so I had to hang our stockings on the credenza…


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On visiting Santa Claus

Paolo wasn’t into it.  He screamed and cried and did his best to escape when we went anywhere near Santa Claus.  But I was determined to have a photo with Santa this year. So Giuseppe and I were forced into the photo. It didn’t help that much, though, as Paolo continued to scream and tried to escape from the Scary Santa.  (Who was actually quite nice, especially considering the fuss that Paolo made!)

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Our Mommyhood

Hi everyone! Please check out my article “on not sleeping through the night,” today on Our Mommyhood.

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