Thursday, February 24, 2011

Videos: February

In lieu of something witty, interesting, or insightful to read...rot your brains with some more videos.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I guess math could be a joy...

Dominic had a break through about numbers.  We've been gradually teaching him the concept of "adding", mainly using his fingers for counting.  Three on one hand, two on the other, together they equal five, etc.  

And today when he realized that 4+4 and 3+5 and 6+2 and 7+1 all equal 8,  he announced to me with great excitement and wonder, "Mommy, this is SILLY!  They are the same!"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ship out the Shape-Ups

Have you seen these Sketchers that have recently become the latest rage?

The Shape Ups.  

Really they're tennis shoes fused to those thick-bottomed, weird shoes that people over seventy wear. 

Don't they look a bit like those shoes for diabetics, the ones sold at medical supply stores?  I've got no beef with elderly wearing these shoes, they've earned their license.  Not to mention that the extra grip, support, and overall ease, are probably necessary for their well being.  But curved athletic shoes with a thick bottom that are sanctioned to wear with any outfit because of the marvels they do for your body as they simultaneously tone the legs, hips, and butt?   Who gave license for young people to wear old-people shoes under the guise of "toning" shoes?  Not okay.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Videos: Christmas Cuteness and Veggie Tales

I know, Christmas was almost 6 weeks ago... But I just went through my pictures and videos and found this precious one of Dominic and Cate dancing.  They're the best of friends.

And here's a promised video of the kids trying to sing the Veggie Tales theme song: 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Last year

Last year at this time, we were smack dab in the middle of our Italian sojourn.  Month 5/10.  Matt's parents had come bringing us needed replenishments of over-the-counter medicines, new toys, and larger clothes for the kids.  We were off for a week-long vacation in Florence with side trips to Siena and Pisa. It was a time of exploration and excitement.  Sometimes I miss the novelty of our surroundings and the unexpected nature of everyday.   I miss the delicious cappuccino and the chink of cups wafting in our window.  I miss the mild weather, which allowed us to get to the park and piazza every day.  I miss hearing the lilt of Italian everywhere.  And, during my recent illness, I missed the tiny apartment with its convenient proximity of the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and living room

But that missing is pretty short-lived.  The nostalgia for the tiny apartment only extends that far.  When I have at least half my normal energy, or when the kids have all of their energy, that apartment sounds as awful as it often was.  Dominic put it well as he was singing and spinning yesterday.  "I love Mommy...and our house is beautiful..."  Oh, I guess the first part wasn't totally relevant, but I thought it was quite charming.  So I made myself a cappuccino this morning in my Italian moka on the gas stove, while I enjoyed heating up the normal milk in the microwave.  Then I checked my e-mail on the fast and reliable internet.  And I put on Sesame Street in English for the kids while I took a warm shower in a shower with a door and water pressure.  Shortly, I'll load the kids up in our car and drive to story time.   Sure, those memories from last year have turned sweeter with time, but life in America is pretty great.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


We attempted to get a family Christmas photo.  It ended up like all our attempts...a little too candid.

And then I took 45 pictures trying to get a cute brother-sister picture.  This was at least amusing.

And then we tried once with Michael Gaetano, our godson.  This child is an angel.

Cate sporting her favorite present, her pink tricycle from MaMa and PaPa.

Dominic sharing his new Toy Story sleeping bag with Cate.

A great picture of the Gaetano siblings: Matt, Stephen, and Marialana.

A Day of Firsts

January 31, 2011 was host to a myriad of "firsts" for me.  None especially desirable, but interesting in that cold, analytical way.  First a miscarriage, not unexpected since we had found out two weeks ago at an ultrasound that our baby died, but a rather bleak first in the physical proceedings.  It was also my first time of blacking out repeatedly, my first ambulance ride, my first out-cold anesthesia, my first surgery, and my first multi-day recovery in bed.

 I think most people have their first ambulance ride as kids or when their elderly, not usually as a healthy twenty-five-year-old fully conscious.  The situation was such that my blood pressure was dangerously low and I needed to go to the hospital, but I couldn't sit up without blacking out, so I couldn't ride in a car.  Hence the need for an ambulance bed, which, by the way, was surprisingly comfortable.  The EMT's were very nice and made some funny cracks as they loaded me up and drove to the hospital.  I'm sure it was an easy call for them, not having to actually do much work or carry a heavy person.  They covered me in lots of sheets and a very heavy plasticky blanket and then strapped me in for the ride.  It felt very strange to be wheeled and carried around.  The nice thing is, when you go though ER on a stretcher, you don't have to do much waiting or asking.  They just put you where you need to go.  So ambulance rides aren't so bad.

Once at the hospital, there was the obligatory gown and plastic id jewelry.  The i.v. of lots of fluid.  And the questions, oh the questions.  I almost wished I'd arrived unconscious and somebody else had to answer all those questions!  Once was bad enough, but every new nurse, doctor, or aide asked me the same ones. Yes! I'm allergic to penicillin.  No! No medical history.  My name? Amy Gaetano!  My birthday! MAY 13 1985!!!  Don't you people write this stuff down??

But then came the determination from the gruff ob that examined me that I needed the D&C surgery and they could be ready for that in as soon as half an hour.  We had already scheduled one for the upcoming Friday (it was Monday), so I felt emotionally prepared for it, in that utterly exhausted, do what you will with me, sort of way.  At least we knew for sure the baby had died as the miscarriage was mostly completed on its own earlier that night.   We waited.  I don't really remember what I did.  Maybe I dozed?  I think I sent a few text messages.  Matt would probably remember.

Then they wheeled me off to yet another room, I guess it was the pre-op room where they asked me the same questions and gave me another iv filled with something clear that was supposed to put me to sleep. I didn't quite believe it.  I thought I'd have a warning or be getting sleepy or something.  But I felt pretty clear-headed as I took out my contacts and got another delightfully warm blanket from the nurse.  They have these microwave things that they take blankets out of for patients, it's like getting a blanket right out of the dryer.  Wonderful invention.  Bravo.

Then the nurses in blue wheeled me off to the O.R. and some pretty, young nurse asked me to get on another table.  I did and I remember the bright lights and the unimpressive room pretty clearly.  And then, all of a sudden, I remember nothing.  I woke up from a nice sleep in a recovery room that looked very similar to the pre-op room.  In fact, I wasn't quite sure I'd ever left.  I felt the same.  I wasn't in any pain, no parts were missing, and I could move my limbs just fine.  Was this before or after?  As I came to--and you might not know that without my contacts, I can barely see, although from practice I'm pretty good at distinguishing hazy forms--I determined that it must be over and I was in post-op.  No one was asking me questions and I was left to be half-asleep as I wished.  It was rather pleasant, actually.  My first surgery wasn't so bad.

Then we were on the go again, I'm not sure who gave the signal, but it was time to move me to another place.  Wheeling the litter, as they called it, down the maze of hallways and on a few elevators, I arrived in a recovery area where another nurse, who looked like my Aunt Kiki, took charge of me.  Matt showed up in a few minutes and we were left for an hour or so to recover and discharge.  I was a bit sleepy, but not loopy or funny, to my surprise.  After being disentangled from the various cords, I was able to get up a bit and move around, a definite improvement from earlier that morning.  About five hours after arriving at the hospital, we were allowed to go home.

While being pushed to the car in a wheel chair, we passed a couple brining home their first baby.  The father was proudly video-taping the mother in the wheel chair, baby in her lap.  It was a very sad moment to be leaving the hospital, feeling as if I'd done all the work of a labor, and having no joy to show for it.  But I was no less happy for them and their first joy.  I thought back on our first trip home from the hospital with Dominic and chuckled to myself that this new father would soon be making the slowest, most cautious drive of his life to bring his precious, fragile child home.  Our joys were waiting for us at home and in our future.  And we take comfort in knowing that God is holding us in His wings and that little Francis Jerome is watching us from Jesus' arms.

Oh, the things kids say

Dominic, almost four now, is extremely verbal but still manages to amuse us with lingering mistakes.  I record some of them for your here for your pleasure and our memories.

  • "Catie, would you do me a favorite?" 

  • Upon eating potato salad that had that quintessential vinegary taste:  "I can't eat it. It's destroying my mouth."

  • Shutting the door on Cate while she was in the bathroom: "She needs her pridacy."

  • "Here, take these cards and shuggle them."  And also, "Can I go outside and shuggle the snow?"

  • Dominic finished painting his first picture.  As usual I asked, "what is it?" fully expecting his usual answers of "stripes" or "polka dots" or "green".  To my surprise, he had actually painted something specific.  "It's Papa (Grandpa Gaetano) making a mess and being buried in toys!"

  • "Can we watch Bugs Rabbit?"

  • "Mommy, I can't find the 'clause' button on the 'mote."

  • "I know how to finger it out!"