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Life with a 2.5 Year Old

Can it really be true, we actually have a 2.5 year old!? Lately we hit a few milestones with Luke that really highlight how much of a big boy he is! In all honesty, I have gotten just a little bit sad to watch him become so independent but I know it's all part of raising kids. They are going to grow up and all we can do is be in each moment as best as we can.

Poo-Poo In the Potty*

Not fully potty trained, but getting good at staying dry almost all day at school and letting us know when he needs to go, even at houses other than our own. With this kid, candy as a bribery method doesn't really work so we have been using stickers and happy faces on his hands. He still has a little more to go before big boy underwear, but we've taken down the changing table and diaper set up in his room. I am so relieved to not change as many diapers, but I know I had better enjoy it while I can if we want more kiddos! ;0)

*We actually sing that on the way to the potty. It helps, I swear.

Big Boy Bed Time

Luckily, Luke has not once tried to climb out of his crib. He has been a great sleeper and really enjoyed his time alone in his crib. I know many parents who transition to a big bed far earlier than 2.5, but we really had no reason to. Nonni and Nonno got us a crib that could convert into a toddler/twin bed, but we failed to buy the converter kit along with it at the time (Kellie, I know you reminded me about that a long time again and I didn't listen!) and now it is discontinued. We figured the crib will still get other use, now going to our niece Emilie, so we got Luke a toddler bed from Ikea last weekend. At first, Luke picked out this "interesting" owl bedspread from Ikea and you should have seen my manipulation skills in action!


I just couldn't imagine that bedspread clashing in his blue primary colored room! Who's with me?! I had to do something and fast - so, I sneakily talked him into this cute white and bright colored car bedspread instead. Gino was laughing at my efforts to persuade him into the other bedspread and someday you may feel slighted Luke, but until then, I call the shots! =)

Say What!?

We've had a bit of a jabber mouth on our hands for some time now but things are really starting to get interesting and make us laugh. He's talking so well now and putting a lot of thoughts together, which is really fun. Here are a few of our favorites.

"No sun, go away. Mommy, the sun bit me." - Said in the car in the morning when the sun was bright and shining right in our eyes.
"I love Michael and Sully. Michael and Sully are my cousins." - Good to know he loves his cousins and Monsters Inc. of course.
"I a tiger. Mommy, you not a tiger." Me - "Oh, I am not? What am I?". Luke - "You a princess. You are Sofia." - Ok, I am officially wrapped around his finger. 
"There are monkeys at the zoo. The monkey has a boo-boo. He has a owie on his bottom. He needs a band aid." - Said when we were talking about what animals we would see at the Zoo.

Dear Jesus…

I almost always say a good night prayer in my mind when I lay down to go to bed. I don't really know when it started, but I can remember very far back saying prayers at night and feeling very comfortable with my own internal dialogue with Jesus and God. My household grew up Christian and we went to a handful of First Baptist Churches as kids. Luke will grow up with a Catholic foundation but no matter what formal religious affiliation we have, I want Luke to feel as comfortable with praying as I do so we have started to say our good night prayers together. He lies down, tries to close his eyes, and repeats a made up prayer after me but he always peeks through his squinted eyes and says the words with a big smile in a really soft voice…it melts my heart.


A Day in Napa

Well, I haven't blogged in a while, so how about some photos! We took a day trip to Ron and Roberta Sciandri's and I just love it there at their place in Napa. Their home is surrounded by natural beauty, grapes, a small lake for the dogs and kids, fantastic food, and of course great wine. Gino was there to chat about a retaining wall and I was there to chat about wedding invitations for an upcoming family wedding. =) Here are a few snapshots from Saturday. Enjoy.
Sciandri Family Vineyards
Table is set. 
Treasures all over the place.
Amazing views.
Handsome boy.
Luke the dog whisperer.
Ponzo's brother from another mother, Fudge! They had a blast in the lake.
Hi birdie!
Beef short ribs, mmmm... good.
Tired old buddies, Lola and Leroy.
End scene.


34 Forever: A Tribute to Christina

As I sit down to write this post I feel at a loss for words, but at the same time, I am filled with thoughts and words floating through my mind and heart. Today I simply went through the motions, fighting back the tears that kept trying to surface, and sometimes they just wouldn't go away. I picked up my sweet baby boy from daycare today and he gave me a long, comforting hug after running into my arms. It's like he knew just what I needed. I couldn't hold back my tears anymore, I was so thankful and blessed to have him in my arms. All I can think about is her family, her husband, and her sweet baby girl, otherwise known as "Madame". I have some guilt for feeling so sad and upset knowing that so many others so close to her are grieving so much more than I. I guess sometimes writing things out or doing something tangible is my way of working through my feelings, so forgive me if this post drags on. It's more for me than for anyone who might read it.

Yesterday, on her 34th birthday, the world lost a bright light. Christina Rosales (Pirruccello) was my friend, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a family member, and an all around passionate and kind person. We were co-workers at the Network for many years, but really we were friends. Everyone has a lot of co-workers throughout their careers, some friends, some acquaintances, some just co-workers. I can say with confidence that she was a friend to all of us, she wasn't just a co-worker.

At this moment, I would just like to say @*$# CANCER!!!

Christina was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago in 2010. She fought courageously through it for one year, was back to work and her bubbly self the next year, and then it came back again most recently a few months ago. I don't know details of her feelings, joys, pains, and life through the last few months but I can only imagine. I wish nothing but love, security in knowing she is no longer in pain, and faith to her family.

As I am working through my emotions and feelings, it's so strange to have things like her Facebook page and pictures, her blog, her Pinterest boards, and our old email messages to look back on and browse through. It brings a smile to my face to read through the times where she was not in the throws of cancer and was back to her lively and energetic self. You can see it in her posts and pictures. The thing that makes me smile the most is her oozing love for Ella Mae. Christina was so proud to be the mother of that spunky, beautiful little girl and everyone knew it. When I was having our baby, Christina was always so kind and supportive of every stage of pregnancy and parenthood I went through. She once told me "Motherhood has changed my life in the best way". I agree Christina, it has for me also and thank you for sharing your experiences with me.

I left the Network about 7 months ago and I think the last time I saw Christina was on my last day of work. I spent some time walking around saying goodbye to everyone and I have a vivid memory of my conversation with her that day. Christina had spent many months getting back to who she felt like she was meant to be. She had energy, she was working out on lunch breaks, she was on top of her game with her job, she was living life and was so thankful! I went down to the 4th floor of the CDPH building to say my goodbyes and stopped by her cube. She was all dressed up, looking as lovely as ever. She had her short styled hair, a dress on with a cardigan, and a beautiful flower pinned to her chest. I think the flower was something a friend might have made. Christina was scheduled for an interview that day for a new position within the Network. As we were talking, she asked me if I thought the flower was too much? She said some people thought it might be too informal for an interview, maybe not professional enough. I gave her my opinion. I said, "No" I don't think it's too much, I think it's you. I think it shows your bubbly personality and spunk. She was so cute, she said something to the effect of, "I know, that's what I was thinking. I am proud of who I am and I think it shows all of me, not just a professional part of me". I ensured her that I thought it was fine to wear that flower with pride. I am not sure if I will ever know if she wore that flower or not, but I like to imagine she did.

There are so many parts to this story that are tragic. Anyone who is dealing with cancer themselves, or through a loved one, is dealing with their own set of tragedies. I hope, pray, and have faith that God has our plan and has his reasons for these tragedies. The fact remains that I am angry that some people choose to kill others or leave this world by their on hand. It's hard to accept because sweet deserving people like Christina, who are so thankful for every breath that they take, don't choose. They are given these tragedies. Ella Mae, in her all of almost three years of life, was given this tragedy. She has an amazing and loving family to help her through the years, but my heart will always ache for her and the memory of her mother.

With that said, Christina's family started a fund to help support Ella Mae and her future. I can't make any promises, but here goes. I want to help. I want to do something in memory of my friend and in support of her daughter's future. Tonight, in memory of our last conversation, that flower, her smile, her laughter, and her life, I pulled out my craft supplies and made something. I made a flower. I am going to wear that flower with pride. I am also going to sell these flowers and all the proceeds will go to Ella Mae. If you or anyone you know wants to buy a flower, email me and I will make you a flower and give the proceeds to Christina and Ryan's daughter Ella's education fund.
Since the birth of my son 17 months ago, a level of fear and worry has crept up inside of me. I am sometimes afraid of the future, afraid of tragedies, and flat out afraid of death. I have definitely been challenged lately to keep that fear away and have trust and faith. Maybe Christina was afraid of death, maybe she wasn't. I know deep down that she is in a place where she is pain free and can watch over her daughter and family with a smile.
May your soul rest in peace my friend, may you experience the joys of heaven, and may you be there in spirit for your daughter all the days of her life. You have touched the lives of so many, so many more than you will ever know.

You will always have a place in my heart friend.
Love, Sarah


New Inspiration

Well hello there old friend. My little blog, oh how I have missed you. So much that you don't even show up on my top sites screen anymore. It was so interesting to see the most recent traffic stats though, somehow people are still stumbling onto my blog and the numbers are still up (I used to check regularly and probably haven't looked in over 5 months!).

What can I say, life, the job, and family have kept me very pre-occupied lately. I have drifted away from a lot of my side work, special projects, and design that I desperately want to continue, there's just not enough time in the day it seems!

I have been searching for balance, new inspiration, and a more leveled out schedule. I am happy to say that I am getting there. I took for granted the level of comfort and experience I had in my previous job at the Network, one which I felt pretty good about my ability to do. I quickly learned that not knowing what you are doing in a new job equals being uncomfortable and challenged, but now after almost 5 months, things are starting to shake out and I am feeling a bit more confident in what I am doing =)

Over the past few months, a lot of my "fun" time went away. My family time is always fun but this is a different kind of fun time, more like creative me time. It was blogging, house projects, photography, learning to sew, designing, and trying to get an Etsy shop going (it's gonna happen someday, mark my words). I am slowly figuring out how to get my "fun" time back =). On top of that, working out has quietly slipped back into my schedule thanks to an awesome birthday gift from the hubby, yoga classes for 3 months at my favorite yoga studio, Padme Yoga Center.

Anyway, along the idea of looking for new inspiration, I decided that the chalkboard we have hanging in our kitchen needed a little pick me up.


It is a really cute board we got at the Grass Valley Italian Festival last year, thank you Nancy! I love the traditional images but wanted to freshen it up with some images that would inspire us and make us smile as we walked by on our way out the door for work each morning. Thanks to Pinterest, it was easy to find a few photos I like and this quote, "Welcome to today. Another day, another chance. Feel free to change.". I just printed the images out the same size as the existing image and voila!


Gino has been really supportive through all of our life changes, is always optimistic, and reminds me to stay positive and look at all the wonderful things we are blessed with. I want to be reminded every day to count our blessings and be glad! =)



That's all for now, thanks for stopping by and listening.


Feel Better Soon

Tonight is going on four nights of quarantine for the Sciandri household! I am going a little stir crazy, thus a long overdue blog post.
Luke has been sick with a really nasty bug since Wednesday night. Here's the rundown of our past 4 days. Since Luke turned one, we thought it was time to switch from formula to regular milk. Our daycare told us that it is good to switch to 1/2 formula, 1/2 milk. We started the new combination on Wednesday with his bottle in the morning and throughout the day. When Gino went to pick Luke up, he had a bottle and threw it up. We thought ok, well it was probably from the milk being introduced into his system. We spent the rest of the night with a sick baby that threw up about 6 times. At about 5:30 in the morning, we were so worried and the advice nurse on the phone was no help at all, we decided to take him into the ER with fear that he might be dehydrated on top of his fever. After some Motrin in the behind, anti-nausea medicine, and some paperwork, we left that ER visit armed with some good tips.
  • The previous night, we gave Luke a full bottle and a full bottle of water to drink because he had thrown up so much and we were worried he was getting dehydrated. MISTAKE because he chugged it. Apparently we were only supposed to give very small amounts at a time, like tablespoons full at a time, not a few ounces. That was probably the reason for some much throw up. 
  • It's ok to alternate between baby tylenol and ibuprofen and stagger to keep his fever down. We were always afraid of him having too much medicine in his system and didn't like giving him too much, but it really helps when they have a fever.  
  • As long as they are getting water or pedialyte, it's ok if they don't eat. We were so worried that the poor little guy was hungry but in order to get rid of the bug, he just needed liquids to survive. 
  • The Dr. we saw had never heard of the 1/2 formula, 1/2 milk approach and advised we just make the switch a little at a time to straight milk instead of mixing it with formula. We are waiting a bit to try the switch again.
  • We use the thermometer to take his temperature under his armpit. We have the kind that you roll over the forehead but can never seem to get an accurate reading from that. With the armpit method, it is actually 1-2 degrees higher than the reading. 
So, Gino and I took our sweet, sick, little guy home and he slept. We alternated the day so we both could take care of him and work and he seriously slept for about 90% of the day, only waking to drink some water/pedialyte and poop. Later that evening he threw up 2 more times and was extremely lethargic. He could barely sit up and was so sleepy with a high fever. Our neighbor Jane, a nurse, came over to check him out and didn't dispute our thought to take him back into the ER for a second time. We felt a bit like over worried parents, but at the same time, it's so hard to know what their little bodies can't handle on their own. 
Thursday night we checked into the ER at 9:15 pm and were out of there by 1:30 am. That made for some really tired parents, a sleepy and sick baby, and some serious questions about the type of visits some people make to the ER.... that's an entirely different subject. Anyway, we opted not to do the IV because the Dr. said she wasn't extremely worried about his status, though he was definitely sick with a fever and moderately dehydrated. As long as he would still take liquids and we could keep the fever down, she thought he would soon get over this nasty virus. 

The next day I was working at home and it was a relatively easy day to get a lot of work done because he was still sleeping almost 90% of the time but his diaper numbers were on the serious rise. No throw up though, that was great! 

It's memorial day weekend and we had a lot of plans but ended up canceling them all to take care of Luke. I feel like we are nurturing a little baby bird back to health. He tries to get up and walk around and is so weak and wobbly that he just collapses. He needed all the time to recover and is still recovering. Yesterday we kept track of at least 20 diapers. Poor guy has a sore behind =(.  He is eating a little now and slowly getting more lively with fewer diapers. 

We are relieved by the few smiles we got today but this experience really gives us a true perspective for parents who have chronically sick children or children with serious illnesses. It's so hard to see a young helpless little thing go through something that is hurting them and we feel for those children and parents out there dealing with things like this on a daily basis. They are definitely in our prayers. 

So, despite all this we are able to see some positives and have learned a good deal about how to deal with a sick little one. 
  • It's pretty easy to get frustrated with each other when you are both asking each other what the other thinks you should do. In our case, we both didn't know what to do so we had no answers. As first time parents, it's ok that neither of you have the answers. Be open to each other's ideas and go with your gut feelings. 
  • It's ok to call your Moms at any time. We ended up calling both our Moms in the early morning for the first ER visit and they wouldn't have it any other way. The re-assurance is nice and someday if Luke needs some advice from me with his child, I would want him to call at any time. Our Moms have both obviously been in our shoes before and they had way better advice than the advice nurse we called who wasn't allowed to technically give us medical "advice".  
  • Trust your gut. Our guts told us to make 2 ER visits. Chalk this up to being first time parents, or stress cases, but either way, we felt better with an expert opinion then and there and felt better to play it safe than wait too long to be sorry. If your gut says to go get pedialyte at 3:00 am, do it. If your gut says to bring them into bed with you even if they throw up all over the sheets, do it.. =)  
  • WASH YOUR HANDS ALOT! We are both ok so far and have all our fingers and toes crossed that we haven't caught what captured our little one. 
  • Keep track of everything while they are sick (throw up, wet diapers, poop diapers, food, water, etc.) it comes in handy when the nurse or Dr. asks you questions. 
  • Baths are a good distraction. We had to give Luke a few because he threw up all over the place, but while he was in the bath, he seemed relaxed and at ease. 
  • These are some foods we have had success with over the past 2 days: 
    • Saltine crackers
    • bananas mashed with applesauce
    • risotto
    • mashed potatoes 
    • mozzarella cheese pieces 
    • yogurt
    • yogurt with rice krispy cereal 
  • Walks are good! We went on a really long walk today and it seemed to help get him out of the house in fresh air. He was content just looking around and watching Ponzo. 
  • Let them sleep. You might worry they are sleeping too much or that they won't sleep at night but despite how long Luke slept during the day, he still needed just as much sleep during the night. 
  • Change their diaper as soon as they go. We were to the point of a diaper every 15 to 30 minutes but in order to keep his little behind feeling at least just ok, we needed to change him time and time again. Diaper cream is our best friend at this point. 
The benefits of this weekend despite the fun times we missed out on:
  • clean house
  • laundry done
  • cars washed
  • QT time with each other (Mom & Dad) once we got over the initial "what do you think? I don't know, what do you think? I don't know, I have never done this before. Well, neither have I!" discussion
  • A very snugly baby 
  • Did I mention a clean house
  • Time to write a blog post! 
This is all part of the parenting game and we willingly signed up for it. I am glad we are almost out of our first really rough battle so we can better deal with the next. Overall, it's been a pretty decent weekend =) 
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