Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cara Figlia - Our Newest Game

Cara mia figlia,

I just love our newest game! The one where you stand behind me and I pretend I can't find you. "Where is the Pumpkin? I can't find her anywhere. Where did she go?" I say as I look around for you, turning my head side to side. And you stand behind me giggling, holding on to my back or pulling my hair, as if those things don't totally give you away!

Finally, I will turn my head far enough to see you and exclaim, "There she is!" At this point, I squeeze you, tickle you or grab you and lift you up by holding you against my back and leaning forward (the last one only works if I'm quick enough). You desolve into giggles, sometimes bent over laughing and sometimes with your head thrown back in cackles. You've also started thumping down on your bottom right when I find you, as if your being lower will keep me from finding you or from tickling you.

You love this game, and we play it again and again, until Mama is very sick of it. But if I try to stop before you are done? Woah nelly, you get very upset and let me know just how upset until I sit back down and let you get behind me again.

It's a very cute game, mostly because I love to make you laugh. Your laugh is the sweetest music I've ever heard, and I will do many silly, boring and/or undignified things to hear it.

Ti amo con tutti cuore,
Mama

Friday, February 15, 2008

Coming Out of a Fog

I feel like I'm coming out of a fog lately. It seems to be very linked to my sleep, which really means the Pumpkin's ability to sleep until morning (or Londo's ability to get her in the night). The past few nights have been really good, and we are hoping it continues overall to be better.

I've noticed that her sleep is very "two steps forward, one step back" (or maybe one and a half steps back), so I am expecting another set back. But each set back isn't as bad or as long as the one before, and nothing is as bad as the sleep regression/fussy period from 3.5 months to 7.5 months. Whew, that was rough!

I was doing pretty bad a couple weeks ago, but lately I'm feeling so much better. And because the fog is lifting, I'm realizing how much crap I've not finished up at work. All the minutia, the busy work, that is a pain in the butt, but still has to get done. So I am keeping this post short (even though I have things I want to write that are much longer), and now I've gotta get back to work.

I hope you all are feeling sunny!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day and All Done

Here is the news of the day just for Burgh Baby's Mom: It's Valentine's Day! If you don't get something sweet from your sweet, you get to give him an earful!

I hope you all have lovely Valentine's Days. We don't really celebrate it ourselves. Londo has this thing were he calls it a made-up holiday by Hallmark in which they try to guilt bad significant others into doing something nice for their partners. He does nice things for me all the time, and therefore is annoyed that Hallmark tries to tell him he has to do something on THIS day. I have no problem with that, because he really does do nice things for me all the time. Like two nights ago when we went out on a date? He first bought me flowers and candy. And this isn't unusual. He will randomly bring me home flowers or candy or other little thoughtful gifts. So how can I argue with him?

But I also understand that if someone's partner does not normally think of these things, they really should be reminded and if it takes a made-up holiday to remind them, than Valentine's Day serves a useful purpose.

Okay, moving on... I wanted to relate a cute little story, but it requires a little set up.

We have a beagle. She is super cute, and very sweet. But she, like all beagles, is crazy for food. We thought that she would really love the Pumpkin once she was in a highchair and dropping food on the floor. And she does. But she tries to love her a little TOO much, and really is loving the food. After a couple times of the beagle trying to jump up and get something out of the baby's hand, we had to take a new tact with the dog.

We now make the beagle sit at the edge of the kitchen and wait there until the baby is done eating before she can come in and clean the floors for us. We have to use a squirt bottle in order to keep her there, and she will eventually start whining if there is something good on the floor or it's taking too long. Also, she tries to come in the kitchen anytime anyone walks into it, out of it or across it--as if that signifies that it's okay for her to now enter, which it isn't. It can be very frustrating, and she is so stubborn!

Well, as I've mentioned before, we are trying to teach the Pumpkin some sign language, including "all done" when she finishes something. So at the end of the meal, we ask the Pumpkin, "All done?" And she sometimes shakes her jazz hands as the sign for all done, and sometimes she keeps eating, and sometimes she just laughs at us. She's still not stellar with the sign language yet (although she is still a supergenius). When she is done, we push back the highchair, wipe her face off and let the dog in the kitchen for clean up duty.

The other day, Londo and I noticed that the Pumpkin seemed to be pretty much done eating. We asked her, "All done?" At that point, the beagle jumped up and hurried into the kitchen! Apparently, she now understand that "all done" means we are about to let her in. She did jump the gun a bit, and we had to send her back out. But Londo looked at me and said, "At least someone is learning the sign language!"

The beagle may be stubborn, but she is also very smart and a quick learner. I guess she is a supergenius dog.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

News, Brought to You by caramama

So, there are some news items that I feel like sharing with you beautiful people.

First, the weather report: Last night, the roads iced over pretty completely. They were not de-iced by this morning, and now there is supposed to be more snow/sleet/ice this afternoon. I decided to I'm working from home today (I don't do it often, but I do have the benefit of telecommuting when weather is bad). However, I forgot I had a meeting at 11! I had to call a coworker to peek into the meeting room and ask if we could reschedule. Luckily, they said that would be no problem, but it was a big "D'oh" for me.

Now, sporting/entertainment news: Did you hear about who won the Westminster Dog Show? The beagle won Best in Show! About time a beagle won the show! And Uno is super cute, although not as cute as my beagle.

How about political news: Well, yesterday was the Potomac Primaries. I'm happy to say that Londo and I got out and voted, even though the ground was starting to ice over. Obama swept MD, VA and DE (as did McCain), which gives him the lead over Clinton. I haven't been talking politics on my blog, because others have been doing it better than I ever could. But in case you all were wondering, I voted for Clinton but would be happy with either Clinton or Obama. I'm not anti-McCain either, but I'm definitely a democrat. But I have friends who are republicans and so are most of my family. So no need to run away screaming from my blog. :-)

And finally, personal news: My in-laws have been visiting, so last night they watched the Pumpkin and put her to bed. And Londo and I went out for dinner AND a movie!!! Wooohooo! We've been out oh maybe three or four other evenings since the baby was born, but each was with other friends. This was our first date night just the two of us since the baby was born. It was so nice! We had Thai food and then saw the second National Treasure movie. And last night, the baby slept through the night.

And that's the news according to caramama! I hope you all are doing well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

From Mansfield Park to Milan

Last night, I finished Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen. As much as I love Austen and usually am very pleased with her endings, I thought the ending of this book kind of fizzled. I know I said yesterday that I didn't know how I wanted it to end, but that was apparently not true. The character who I wanted to like, and was just starting to like, I did not end up liking. Oh, well.

It was very well-written and a great commentary of the time on many issues, including society, education, wealth (or lack of), charity, love and principles. Another really good book by Austen. I personally did not relate to any of the characters. There was no Elizabeth or Jane Bennett for me to love, no Mr. Darcy to make my heart well up. But I can appreciate the book itself and Austen's excellent writing.

This morning*, I started my TBR Challenge book for February: Desiring Italy, edited by Susan Cahill. I've gotten through the Introduction, which explains that this is a collection of writing from some pretty famous women (and only women) about Italy. The point is that the historical women write about Italy in a different way than men historically have. I can't remember exactly how she describes it, but she's sold me on it--something about women's passion for it and their finding sensuality in Italy. I read the Overtures, which is some snippets of writing from authors like Erica Jong and Virgina Woolf who talk about Italy. Finally, I started on the first story, which is about Milan.

Would you like to hear the story behind this book and why it's on my TBR Challenge list? I bought this book a few years ago because I saw it in an airport bookstore while waiting for a plane (this might be a recurring theme for the books in this list, because I used to travel for work a bit and would always pass time in bookstores if there were any in the airport). It's been sitting on my shelf to be read for really no reason, but there are reasons I was drawn to it and bought it.

First, you all must know how much I love Italy. Being of Italian decent, I have always felt a bond for the country and its people. In college, I took italian for 2.5 years, including a semester abroad in Florence. I haven't been back since that semester, over ten years ago, and that makes me want to cry. Londo and I have kicked around the idea of going there on a vacation, and we are currently saving up to attempt this hopefully before we have any more kiddies. When you haven't seen Florence in a while, you get what they call "Duomo-sickness"** like home-sickness except for Florence's Duomo (the dome of the cathedral). I've had it bad for a while.

Second, for a while, I thought I would become a travel writer. I studied Journalism and Mass Communication in grad school, and I truly thought I wanted to work for a travel magazine. That plan didn't work out, and I'm glad it didn't. I couldn't imagine a job that took me away from my husband, baby and home on a regular basis. Travel for work used to sound (and be) so much fun, but now I'm so happy being home that I'm glad my current project doesn't require much traveling. But I still have always loved to read travel articles and books and stories.

Third, I have a high appreciation for women writers. I studied English as an undergrad, and took a few gender studies/literature courses. I like reading things from a woman's perspective. I guess it's cause I can relate. But I especially like to read historical literature by women, because it really gives me an insight into a time period from a woman's perspective, which is too often overlooked by historical books and literature as they are usually written by men from a man's perspective. Oh yeah, and I'm bit of a feminist.

So this book combines all those things that I enjoy. I think I haven't read it yet because I ache to go back, and reading about Italy makes the ache much greater. But since Londo and I have really been talking about going (he's never been), I decided to read this book and another book I have on Italy this year to help inspire me to plan the trip. Hopefully this fall.

As a side note about the book, I actually bought a copy and gave it to my italian Grandma for Christmas this year. She is now 93 and unable to travel all the way over there. She did go just a few years ago with my mom and uncle, but it was hard on her. I hope she is enjoying the book.

Wow, this post ended up being much longer than I had planned. I hope I didn't bore you all to pieces!

*That's right, morning. When the baby nurses for 45 minutes or longer at 6 AM, I actually have time to read in the mornings. It's kind of nice--a relaxing way to start the day and wake up slowly. I used to nurse her lying down and drift back off to sleep, but neither of us can back to sleep these days when she wakes up as late as 6, especially with her fidgeting. So I get to read while she nurses and plays with my hair.

**There is an italian phrase for this, which I can never remember. Perhaps my friend in Italy who reads this knows it and could let me know? She doesn't live in Florence and is not a native speaker, so I'm not sure if she'll know the phrase...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Question of the Week - Blog Etiquette

I'm relatively new the blogging world, especially new to having my own blog although I have been reading blogs for a while. But Girl's Gone Child's recent post about other bloggers using a similar name got me thinking about blog etiquette. I do so love discussions of etiquette!

Which brings us to our question for this week:

Do you have any blog etiquette you would like to share?

My answer is based on GGC's post: Be sure to google your screen name/blog name before using it!

Now, please educate me on manners in the blogging world.

As an aside, I'm 20 pages from the end of Mansfield Park and I'm totally caught up in it! I have NO IDEA how it is going to end, nor am I sure how I want it to end! I'm sure I'll finish it tonight and write something up about it this week.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cara Mama - Swimming and Climbing

Cara Mama,

You say today is our last day of Water Babies? I've had so much fun! I hope we do something just as fun next time.

You say for the next class we are going to Little Gym where I'll get to climb on stuff? Oh, now that does sound fun! I love to climb!

Oh, and I love our new game where I stand behind you and you pretend you can't see me and ask where I am. And then I peek my head around, and you find me! Oh, it's so fun!

Ti amo,
Pumpkin