The Gill Family Webpage

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Little One!!

Happy Second Birthday Zoe!!

We celebrated Zoe's second birthday with a big ol' par-tay on Saturday! There were mostly grown-ups there, but there were enough kids to make it feel like a crazy (and good) kid fest! Zoe loved playing with her "new friends" and some of her pals from her day care class. Mom and Dad enjoyed visiting with the adults and watching the havoc!

Birthday preparation started on Thursday. I made some cookies (gingerbread flavor - Zoe liked them at Christmas) that I was going to use the Bert and Ernie cookie cutters on, but the cookie cutters and the dough just didn't play nice (I probably should have floured the cutters beforehand). Instead we had some frog cookies. It worked out fine! I brought them into day care on Friday for the "special Zoe Birthday snack" along with some cheddar flavored rice cakes and strawberries. The kids gobbled up everything! Zoe got a kick out of helping Miss Brittany pass out her "birthday cookies" to all her classmates. She also was treated with her first of many renditions of "Happy Birthday Dear Zoe!" which she just loved!

I had bought a Bert and Ernie cake mold on Ebay (are you sensing a theme here?) and made the cake Thursday morning. Everett and I decorated it Friday night. The 2.5 hours needed to decorate it were totally worth it when Zoe saw it the next day! You can see in the video below how her face just lit right up when I brought out the cake with everyone singing to Zoe. She just stared at it and stared at it. She got a little testy when it was time for me to take it and cut it up, but she eventually let me take it away if I promised her that she could have a piece! She didn't really eat the cake - just the frosting, which is more than she ate of her first birthday cake!

The party started just after naptime. As Zoe slept, we transformed our backyard into a playland for Zoe and friends. We decorated the tables with a Sesame Street tablecloth and sprinkled balloons about the area. We got out the chalk and our sand/water playstation. Finally, we set up a little barn house for the kids to play in and a hippo blow up thingie (kind of like a kiddie pool) and filled it with balls. We grilled out some chicken and hotdogs and had mac-n-cheese and strawberries and blueberries among other snacks. All in all, we had a great time celebrating Zoe's birthday, and I think Zoe did too!

Enjoy some of the birthday scenes:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

!Lo hicimos!

Well we did it! Or rather, Zoe did it! Our 1-week-before-she-turns-2-year-old said goodbye to her crib and hello to her new Dora big girl bed!

Even though her crib converts into a toddler bed and then into a regular double bed, we need the crib to be a crib for just a tad longer for obvious reasons! So this Sunday we broke her crib down as Zoe said "Bye bye crib!" She watched as Daddy took it apart all excited for this "Dora bed" she heard us talking so much about! And then when Daddy brought in the new bed, I thought she was going to explode with excitement! "Thank you too much MommyDaddy!" she kept saying over and over again as she climbed right in!

The first night was a little iffy for her. I think she was confused. We had to go in a few times to reassure her that all was right. We first went in and put her old blanket on her and gave her a doll to sleep with. Then we had to rearrange things so she could listen to her music (a fantastic Sponge Bob CD that she listens to all day long!) and reach her books (yes the lights are off and there's no night light, but she likes the security of knowing that they're there for her in the AM). Finally, after much sitting in her room in the chair and on the end of the bed, we had to put our collective foot down and tell her it was time for nite-nite. She eventually fell asleep.

Tonight, night #2, was great! She went right to sleep and only called for MommyDaddy only once. Our little girl is getting so big!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The many faces of Zoe

I kid you not, Zoe said the following while making this face, "I see two Mommies!" She absolutely kills me!!

I also kid you not, this girl can go from sad to glad in t minus two minutes!! I repeat, she absolutely kills me!!

We took these pictures because of her sticker-laden leg. She asked for her sticker container and we gave it to her in the kitchen and then sat down in the living room. She usually takes a few and then joins us on the couch. Well she was quiet for a while so we went in to check on her. She had fished out all the "good" stickers - the puffy space alien and doggie stickers and plastered them all over her right leg. She just looked up at us with those big blue eyes and even bigger smile and said, "Hi MommyDaddy!"

Did I mention that she kills me?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Culture Club

Zoe enjoyed her second Nashville Symphony performance on the Vanderbilt campus!

She loved being outside and listening to ... no, not the music per se, but rather Mommy reading to her and her friend! For once, I did not bring with me a stash of books, but her friend's Mom had a library in her bag that Zoe kept borrowing from. I didn't mind though. I often get accosted by the children in Zoe's class asking me to read to them. And I can't help but say yes. So we read some new books about Dora, the farm, and some other series featuring a Little Critter.

Zoe did get up and do her thang - dancing that is. Once I told her that she could get up and dance, she took off! You can see her in the video in the thick of it - a gaggle of children running around and dancing and Zoe takes a wee moment to take it all in before she joins in the merriment oncde again. I thought she was also going to take that little girl's tutu (so did the little girl), but Zoe just wanted to say HI. Such a friendly gal!

Monday, May 18, 2009

In one ear...

Evidently it's not all "in one ear and out the other" when it comes to Zoe...well at least some of the times. You see, we're working on our listening skills. Zoe has a tendency not to listen to her Momma sometimes. This brings much frustration to me and "time outs" for Zoe. Even though Zoe doesn't really understand the passage of time, I've discovered that she does understand what a "time out" means.

Whenever she doesn't listen to Mommy or Daddy, or if she bites or hits, she gets a time out. What this entails is Mommy or Daddy telling her that (1) "You have to listen to Mommy/Daddy!", or (2) "We do not hit/bite Mommy/Daddy!" then we bring her into her room and tell her she has a time out. We leave (with the door open) and soon thereafter follows Zoe, close on our heels, crying. We say (1) "Are you going to listen to Mommy/Daddy?" or (2) "No more hitting/biting right?" and she says yes she'll be good and even occasionally says she's sorry (we don't force her to say this and when she does, it warms my heart to pieces because I think she truly is sorry - that is, assuming she understands what that emotion even means). We give her kisses and hugs and the incident is forgotten.

Well the given incident may be instantly forgotten, but last night we got some proof that the lesson remains. Great Grandma Guadagnino (my Grandma) gave Zoe an early birthday gift of some Dora the Explorer characters - Boots the monkey and Isa the dinosaur. Last night Zoe was busy playing with her new toys on the living room floor when all of sudden we heard her say, "No, Isa, no! Time out!" and she ran to her bedroom. I asked her what was going on and she explained to me that, "Isa hit Boots. No Isa. Time out." Sure enough, Isa was sitting in Zoe's bedroom by herself in front of Zoe's crib - right where Zoe gets deposited for her time outs! Isa was eventually allowed to re-join Boots in the living room, but it didn't last long because evidently, "Isa bite Boots." Oh dear. This continued for a while until Isa learned her lesson! Then everyone played nicely until bedtime. Boots and Isa joined Zoe in the crib, and as far as I know, there were no more time outs that night!

Glad to see that Zoe is starting to learn right from wrong. It will take some time - and probably more time outs - but we'll get there!

(Zoe wanted to take a picture of "DoraBootsIsa" - all one word. Notice the shadow in the picture - Zoe needs to learn to move her hand away from the flash! ha!)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thrill Seeker

Zoe is a bit of a dare devil. She likes to go fast, high, and strong whether she's in a wagon, on a swing, or in a bathtub. Here's a video of her in the bathtub getting hammered by a cup of water:

Yes, she was still in her toddler tub! It's just so much easier to contain her in it! Although her dare devil tendencies means that she likes to straighten out her legs, scootch up the side, and then then let go and slide down into the toddler tub with a thud! I don't mind the splashing water, but I did start to fear for her safety! But we just moved her into the "big girl" tubby so more of that fun little activity! Don't worry - she'll find more!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Half-way there

Assuming Mango comes relatively on time, we're half-way through this adventure! Yippee!

Actually, I'm in the middle of not only my pregnancy, but of my pregnancy bliss. Second trimester is awesome! I feel pretty good, if not a bit tired, and am sooooo looking forward to meeting and holding my new baby.

I keep looking back at all the pictures of Zoe just after she arrived and it's hard to believe she was ever so small. These pictures were taken in the first days home. Those were crazy days followed by some crazy months and are now followed by crazy years! She's almost 2 years old. My baby is almost 2 years old and she's about to be a big sister to a little munchkin who will always look up to her. And she won't know it for years, but she'll look up to Mango as well. You can't help it; it's part of being a big sister. I should know. I have two "baby" sisters who I look up to every day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Smushy Face McGee

The Nashville Zoo has a few new residents that we visited on Mother's Day. Zoe's favorite - after we told her about them - were the anteaters. Have you ever seen those things? Craziest animal I've ever seen, besides Little Miss Smushy Face McGee:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The hardest job I'll ever love

This Mother's Day I've decided to reflect on what it means to be a mother.

It means being tired, and cranky, and sometimes flaky. It means cleaning, and cooking, and cleaning again. It means frustrations, and anxiety, and sometimes hopelessness.

But it also means love, and cherished memories, and lucky moments. It means family, and trust, and togetherness. It means giving your all, even when you think you've got nothing left. It means that your world is completely changed forever, for the better.

At the end of the day, when I see my darling daughter sleeping peacefully and healthy in her crib and when I feel my unborn child stir about in my abdomen, I know that even though it's hard, being a Mom is the best job I could ever have.

Thanks Everett for making me a Mom. Zoe and Mango are the best Mother's Day gifts anyone could ever want. I love you.

Monday, May 04, 2009

I am pregnant!

Not only do I look and feel the part, but now I have internal pictures to prove it! Here's baby Mango! Doesn't s/he look cute?! Okay, as the ultrasound tech said, baby ultrasound pictures all look the same, but that doesn't mean that the pics aren't amazing!

Mango was dancing all over the place!! Her/his legs were going crazy - first straightening out, then bunching up next to the body. We saw fingers, we saw toes, we saw the eyes and brains and spinal cord, and we saw and heard the heart beat - 163 bpm!! One of the most precious sounds I have ever heard!!

Just like his/her big sister at her 20 week u/s, Mango was not entirely cooperative during this visit. The tech really tried hard, but no matter what, she could not get a clear profile picture of our little munchkin. Honestly though, that's fine with us because that means we get to see Mango again at our next appointment in June! Yeah!

Regarding the baby's gender, the tech said - and I quote - "It's either a boy or a girl." So there you have it! We're having a boy or a girl!

Regarding my stats, I gained another 3 pounds making total weight gain equal to 6 smackeroos. I mention this only because I can see belly expanding and I can feel it getting bigger as it pushes up against my clothing (I've finally busted out maternity clothes), but I don't think 6 measly pounds justifies all my seeing and feeling. Man, pregnancy is weird.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

I look pregnant

Zoe wanted in on the pregnant picture action! Here I am at 18 weeks, 6 days pregnant!

I can now feel Mango playing in my belly. They're not strong feelings, but they're unmistakable. I have to say that these feelings are one of the best side effects of pregnancy - second only to the little munchkin him/herself growing inside.

Friday, May 01, 2009

I feel pregnant

I feel pregnant. I know I'm 18 weeks, 3 days into this journey (almost half-way!!) and that I have already felt the pains of pregnancy in the form of morning sickness, fatigue, and loss of appetite, but I just feel pregnant now.

My belly is protruding more and more each day. My feet are slowly disappearing. I can actually feel the weight of my belly as it pulls downward. I can feel my muscles, ligaments, skin, and whatever other dermatological agent that lives on the south side of my belly stretching and compensating for the burgeoning mass of baby growing in my uterus.

I am also way low on energy. I have to sit down a lot more than I ever did. I remember being low-energy when Zuzu was in residence, but this pregnancy is just kicking my butt! However, it may be that I expend whatever energy I do have on Zoe - and it's totally worth it, but it means I have none left for Mommy at the end of the day. I hate telling her that it's time to go inside or that Mommy can't push her on the swing anymore. I know it's just going to get worse as this pregnancy progresses. I have to start to prepare myself mentally for this certainty now.

Finally, sleeping is becoming a tad uncomfortable. Pregnant women are supposed to sleep on their left side. It has to do with the placement of your internal organs and various veins. You can sleep on your right side if you must, but if you sleep on your back your gargantuan uterus will crush the veins in your back leading to blood flow problems and sudden death. Okay, that last part is an exaggeration, but honestly, that's how I feel if I am on my back for any extended period of time. My thought process goes a little something like this, "If I lie on my back, even for a second or two, I am going to lose all blood flow to and from my lower extremities which will lead to dizziness and possibly fainting. If I faint, I could fall and hurt myself and Mango. I could hurt us so bad that we might never recover. We could be permanently damaged or could die. That would be very bad. STAY OFF YOUR BACK LEANNE! WHATEVER YOU DO, STAY OFF YOUR BACK!!"

Yes, pregnant women are crazy, irrational beings sometimes.