The purpose of this blog is to capture some of the high lights and low lights of just normal day to day life. Our life is loud, busy, and fast, but we love it!


One, Two, Three, FOUR????

Leah has had this front bottom tooth coming in for a couple weeks now. All my girls seem to take a while to get teeth in. Not complaining, just dislike the painful teething process. I was putting some Orajel on the tooth area a couple days ago (only thing that seems to help when the pain is real bad) and rubbed my finger toward the back of her that a molar????!!!! What?! No wonder she has been a bit cranky. I started feeling all around and discovered ALL FOUR of her first molars have broken through the gum! We had no idea.

Yesterday Miss Leah said "no-no" when offered a raw carrot. What?! Her vocabulary is growing more and more each week. Where is my little baby????

And then last night...oh-me-oh-my! This girl just cracks me up! She was running around upstairs having a personal pantie party!!! I am all for early potty training, but I think I will have to wait until she knows where to put them on! Hilarious!!!! The Lord gives us these precious little girls knowing I could use a GREAT BIG LAUGH at the end of a busy day. Even as I am typing this she is putting on these silly glasses which make her eyes look weird! I just love it.


Puppets and Park Play

I took the girls up to Phoenix yesterday to see Hotel Saguaro at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater and to play at the park across the street. We also enjoyed a lovely picnic and the company of Nanny and cousins Cameron and Colby. The show itself was cute and educational.
Leah was not really into the whole sitting thing, but was well behaved. I am also so pleased when my kids act appropriately when we are out. They are far from "prefect", but when you look around at kids today it seems someone has forgotten to teach them how to behave in public settings. I think the key for me is giving them outlets to let loose and be 'wild' because kids need that. The girls knew they would get some park time after the show yesterday and exercising self control for 45 minutes was the way to get that park time.

My girls love a picnic. We rarely see ants in the desert so other than some overly-friendly pigeons the picnic was great! I think PB & J just tastes better on a blanket eaten outside! Leah likes her lunch with a side of grass! Geesh!


A Few House Keeping Items.....

I do not know what got into me today, but I started wiping down the inside of the door of our dishwasher and the next thing I know I am pulling 8 year old gunk was NASTY! I ran the sanitize wash and then scrubbed more and ran the rinse cycle. It was lovely. Part of me hopes that it will clean things better, but I know better than that. It's just something about really cleaning something that makes me feel the house is cleaner!
I must have been on a roll today because I started "cleaning out" the folders in my email. Ahhhh, a good cleanse. There is something lovely about hitting delete on things you are not sure why you ever saved it in the first place. Clean.
I also sprayed the girls tub today around 1pm and I did not wash it until about 6pm...soap scum and dirt ring just disappears! I use that scrubbing bubbles and leave it on as long as I work, no fuss! Love it!!!
Ok, clean house....tired Mama!


Taco Pizza Part II, Bed Time Experiment, and Birthday Fun! What a weekend!!!

Well, it has been a fairly full weekend! Friday night we had my parents and my 2 nephews over for dinner. Tacos! My girls requested the taco pizza again and I was GEEKED when my Dad ate 3 servings!!! He really liked gushed too, but like me only ate one piece....we are not going to lose any weight eating 3!!! This time I made personal pizzas for the girls. They liked that, however they were just so excited that Cameron and Colby were here they did not scarf down like normal.

Friday night we had to mean what we said and put Mayah in the "baby" room. Suck. We have been dealing with night time issues since she was 21 months old and jumped out of her crib. She seems to be able to live on little sleep. Anyway, my brilliant idea was telling her that if she kept getting out of her bed that we were going to move her into the baby room (Leah's room-Mayah's old room that she seems to have no memory of sleeping in) and Leah into the big girl room with Chiara. Chiara thought this would be fun until she learned that the turtle night light would be going with Mayah. We have learned, especially with parenting Mayah, if we say it we better mean it. Well, she did well one out of 4 nights last week. So, Friday she went in to the baby room. She was not too thrilled. She did however go right to bed and stayed there all night. On the other side of the wall though all I could hear was Leah saying "hi, hi, hi" to Chiara. Eventually, so all would sleep well, I pulled Chiara out of her room and into ours on the floor with the other toddler mattress and her sleeping bag. Everyone slept....UNTIL 8AM!! That is unheard of in my house!!!! WOW! Bonus, Mayah seemed to learn her lesson (in fact we let her go back in the big girl room tonight and she was telling us she was going to stay in her bed).
David and I had plans to drop all 3 girls off with my mom in the morning so we could go shooting (David's birthday), but I had a monster headache and I knew I would be no fun at the shooting range or anywhere else for that matter. So, he took the big girls for their sleepover at my parents (with their cousins), went shooting and sweetly went to Lifetime Fitness to book Chiara's birthday party. Leah and I cleaned, did laundry, and things like that.
The babysitter came around 5pm and David and I were out about 35 minutes later. This was the first time Leah was put down by a sitter-other than my mom. Leah is so easy and we are blessed with some great babysitters. David and I went to see Avatar for his birthday date. Great movie!
Sunday.....I think we could have slept in LATE, but off to church the 3 of us went. We picked up the girls at my parents and then all of us-including the Great Grandparents-went to the Aquarium to eat lunch. Nothing like chowing down on some yummy food while watching sharks swim around. Unique and fun. My mom's idea!!! We all headed back to my parents for cake, ice cream, and presents. David and Colby both celebrated birthdays this weekend. I hope we made it special for both of them.
I was happy to be home and even happier for bedtime to arrive for my 3 princesses. We have a busy week ahead of us.....


All Together

My brother flew his boys out here for the week while he and Kate go on a cruise to celebrate their anniversary. What a great idea! My girls were so excited to see their cousins and even though I thought they would be shy with Andy....they were NOT! They were so wiped out from yesterday they ALL crashed in the car on the way home. The boys are coming for dinner tonight (with my parents) and then we have plans this week. What fun!!!!


Be Careful of your "I never" statements

Yesterday I was putting some things away in the linen closet and came across the purse "harness" I bought for Mayah....gosh, it must have been a year ago. It made me start thinking about all the times I said "I never" regarding parenting decisions. Talk about laughing at yourself.
First off, I can honestly say I hate those harnesses. I hated buying it. I rarely used it. However, after almost losing Mayah at the mall (she walked right by me) I knew I had to do something drastic. Mayah is my daredevil and strong willed child...the combo to a pregnant woman or a mother with three children (one being an infant) was too much. She liked her little purse and I liked setting boundaries with her. It did not last long, but it worked.
It's interesting how "pre-parents" we say all these things, make all these judgments and then in most cases are standing face to face with those decisions and doing exactly what we said we would not. I said I would never let a child sleep in our bed. Well, due to a cyst after having Mayah I could not sit so I was laying down nursing. She was in our bed all the time. And Miss Leah was in our bed from the beginning. It was the only way we all slept. She is not there now; it did not ruin my marriage.
Never going to drive a minivan.....if we have 4 kids it is reality. I am ok with it. Never going to give my kids pacifiers. I almost think Chiara liked making me eat my words on this one! Never going to spank....I struggled with this one. We have found a way that works and still shows love to our girls. Never going to count "1, 2,3" for a child to respond...yeah, then we had Mayah and the technique worked for her. I am sure there are others, but only half a cup of coffee is in...oh yeah, never going to drink coffee while pregnant or nursing.....HAHAHA! Then I had more than one!
None of these changes were bending on family rules and they are far from salvation issues. They are ideals and expectations I set for myself. I am much better at how I use the word "never". You will rarely hear me say it when it comes to parenting styles and such. I hope this gives my own girls some freedom when they become mothers.


Valentine Beauties and Taco Pizza Dinner

My sweet girls all covered in pink, red, and hearts today. Cute, cute, cute! The two big girls and I headed to church this morning-leaving a sick Daddy and still a bit sick Leah at home. The girls got lots of compliments on how cute they looked....makes a Mama feel good! It can be a hard holiday for a family that does not eat candy or anything with food coloring, but we enjoyed some more LARGE chocolate covered strawberries today and each big girl received a new Barbie DVD and heart socks (see previous post to learn about how socks are magical!).

We stopped at Sam's Club on the way home from church and they were 'manager special' selling ground beef today-needed to be sold. It was only $1.58/lb so I bought around 7 pounds. I knew I would freeze it, except for our dinner tonight. But, what to make???? I looked on Food Network for sometime. I did not want to invest in a bunch of ingredients, but I did not want to have meatloaf either. I came across Rachel ray's Deep Dish Mexican Pizza and then read another mexican pizza recipe (not sure which chef) the wheels turning. I made some modifications ( in our house we call it a la Jennifer) and called it Taco Pizza!

The girls gobbled it up!!!!!!!!!!! YUM!! Basically, took my super easy taco mix, added a few other ingredients, made sure it was thick, whipped up some home made pizza dough and made sure to call it something familiar....that really is the key right there!

I had to include these pictures of Miss Leah eating. NO, she is not sleeping, but she thinks it is hilarious to close her eyes when I take her picture. She cracks up at me.

Ha ha, very funny Leah....

All in all a great day.


I'm in the mood for love.....

We consider ourselves a pretty "lovey-dovey" family. Lots of hugs and kisses and all that...all the time. So, when Valentines Day comes around I do not feel like we need to go above and beyond.....yet, when you are all mushy love stuff all the time it just seems to overflow in February.
David sent these surprise cards to me and the girls-they were PERSONALIZED!! He amazes me. Leah's sings "You are My Sunshine"

David also sent me lavender roses. When we were dating we both fell in love with this Christian Slater movie called Bed of Roses and were introduced to sterling roses....David sent them to me at college. I just knew I loved him from the beginning!

Movie Night With Mommy

Last night David was getting some guy-time in so the girls and I had a movie night. We watched Veggietales Lord of the Beans....good one! They love the sporks in it and the song at the end. A little play on Lord of the Rings and the message is about using the gifts God gives you.
Well, it would not be a movie night without popcorn in our new movie popcorn holders-the girls love these!

As you can see Miss Leah kept wanting all of big sister Chiara's! (Side note-Leah has no shirt on b/c they had pizza for dinner....oh-m-oh-my)

Mayah and I snuggled on the couch together.

We finally had to get Leah her own container because poor Chiara was running out of popcorn fast!

Her faces are just hilarious to capture!

Leah was playing with Chiara's "baby" and then gave it to her-for a brief moment anyway. I just love her walking around saying "baby"!!!

It was a good time and the big girls even got to see Daddy before heading off to dream land.....


Haircuts today!!!

The long anticipated trip to the hair salon finally arrived today! The girls were so excited. All three in there matching lobster shirts from Great Grampy Morin we piled into the car....but not before taking "before" shots of the hair. The girls thought this was so fun.....just like a real makeover!
This was Mayah's first haircut ever....I have not wanted to touch those cute curls, but she has needed a trim for a while and asked to go see Mandy. Mandy cuts all the D'Amato's hairs.....well, except for Leah. She was gesturing to Mandy today and we told her that she needs to grow some hair first!

I am proud to say they were well behaved and Leah only got LOUD when Mommy sat down to get a much needed trim on her eye brows.

I am always told how beautiful my girls are-which is true, they are gorgeous- but I think it makes a difference when they are behaving themselves like sweet little girls should.


Valentines Celebration/Craft Time

Every Thursday we have Madeline over and over the past few months I would say I feel like she is just one of mine. I adore her.

She is loud, but you really don't notice it in this house. She gets humor....and the looks she makes just have me in stitches. My girls knew we were going to be making valentines crafts and having our Valentines "treat" during school and it was THEM who insisted Madeline be here for it!!!! Awesome.

Chiara wanted the treat we had last year, which was cut strawberry's in the shape of a heart with whip cream all around it. I wanted to try something different.....needless to say it went over VERY well!!!
There was even enough for me to share with my Sweetie and a glass of wine! YUM!!! There are blessings in the fact that we cannot buy 'normal' valentines treats because they all contain red dye....these ones taste so much better anyway!!!


Looking for something fun to do??

Who would have thought that playing scavenger hunt would be SOOOO much fun??!!! I loved it and the girls did too! I hid six items while they stayed away. I am not sure they ahve ever really played this before. It was funny to watch Mayah-she mostly followed Chiara around. Mayah found the first item in the laundry room and thought everything might be in there! We played two times-each time with different items. Then we played two rounds of "hot" and "cold"....this was harder for Mayah, but Chiara seemed to catch on. So, if you are looking to play a game that gets them up and moving....try this out!!!
Mayah getting some hints and looking....
She found the key!
Chiara found something too!!!

They're Just Socks

Today I let the girls open the Valentines package Nanny and Grampy sent (my parents). There were cute cards, a tin with a chocolate chip cookie (I even let then eat it), a Hershey kiss with kisses in it, some loose tootsie rolls, and heart socks. ALL THREE insisted on putting them on right away! They are just socks, but when sent from Nanny and Grampy it is like they are "magic" socks! LOL!!!! The girls had them on and they were twirling around and giggling all the while. Even Miss Leah who is the crank of all cranks wanted hers on and seemed happy to have them she sat on my lap with snot running down her nose-part of the reason I could not get a good picture of her.
Good job Nanny and Grampy.....


Cough! Cough! Now...blow......

Raising three young girls can have it's challenges, but for the most part I enjoy being Mommy and find joy in the craziness. However, raising three sick young girls can make any sane person go nuts! I was doing fine when Chiara was sick, then Mayah came down with the same cold and that was ok except for her getting up from 9:30pm to 11pm for a few nights in a row. Two days ago Miss Leah caught whatever it is the older two have (inevitable in a house where we are kissy and huggy all the time)....breaking point of sanity.
We are blessed with very healthy kids. Chiara did not get sick until she was 15 months old....oh yeah, and she was not breast fed so people can throw away all theories about that! Sorry.....rant-obviously, I was greatly affected by people's words after having Chiara and not being able to breastfeed her. Mayah, who was solely breastfed, was a stuffy nose kid from out of the womb. Strange. Leah, has been very healthy. This is her first real 'cold'. Yuck. Strangely enough it started on the day she turned 15 months old. On a side note-I told David last night about this little fact Chiara and Leah had in common and he asked if I looked it, just remembered it. As a "perfect" mom I am supposed to know all facts! HA! Anyway, she is miserable. Cranky. Tired. Snot. Clingy. Now, I love to hold my babies....even Chiara curled up on my lap is just wonderful, but this is different. Leah is not happy-even being held. She just feels like c.r.a.p.
I am not the kind of person who goes to the doctor for every sniffle or minor symptom. I know a lot of people do, which is not wrong, it's just not me. I think it is one of things about me that may drive David's not that I do not like doctors, but I see no need to go unless there is blood, brains, or bones showing. I love that I have a pediatrician who gets me.....he is a blessing, but he knows I am not going to spend time and money when I do not have to.
So, I will try chicken soup, honey, extra sleep/rest, over the counter medicine, home remedies first. And of course I pray over my children, but a cold is a cold. In this case I have tried all and just know it is time to make sure-at least Chiara-is not fighting off some type of infection. She has it the worst. Mayah woke this morning and seems even better-praise God! Not sure about the other two as they are they should be, considering I am typing this at 6:30AM. Mayah has never needed much sleep. I wonder if as a teenager she will be the same way?
So, off to see the doctor this morning. A 40 minute drive, but we will make a trip of it and stop at Sprouts and Dunkin Donuts. I was going to have Chiara get her school work done in the car, but I think I will pass and just get it done later today. Maybe a Boz video or VeggieTales in the car is in order today.


Proud Mama Moment

A few weeks ago Chiara was asked to participate in Pastor's School at our church. I was told she would be singing a song and answering a few questions for the visiting pastors. Chiara is so outgoing that I knew she would go for it. She was so excited, but like with anything else she was nervous when it actually got here today. We practiced talking clearly and slowly. She is so much like her mother in wanting to present her best....I better watch out for that.
Anyway, I brought all three girls up to Phoenix First today and watched Chiara sing the beginning praise song. It's not so much that she knew all the words and motions (which makes for one proud Mama), but even more than that is that she BELIEVES what she is singing. She knows that God made her from her head to her toes. He made her fingers and nose. She knows that. She does not have to question it, doubt it, or debate it. Now, that makes for a proud Mama.
It is not that I did not know the Lord as a kid-though I would have never used those words!-but I do not remember believing like I see Chiara believe. It moves me.
On top of all that, they said she answered all the questions wonderfully. And I can guess that she did it all with a smile on her face because that is my Chiara. She loves the Lord and it just shines right through her. It reminds me of this girl I went to high school with, Jill. She knew the Lord and loved Him that it shone through her. I had an opportunity to tell her this a while back and I am so glad I did. People are always saying things like, "just wait until they are teenagers." TRUST ME when I say I know ALL about what things a teenage girl can do, but I can tell you for certain that not ALL teenage girls believe the lie. Jill did not. Melinda did not. Sherry did not. So, you can say "just wait..." all you falls on deaf ears, on a body with knees down and head up.


Who is this kid in my house?

Even though I have already had 2 children I am still taken aback as to how old Leah is. This Sunday she is 15 months old.....approaching 1.5 years old...yikes! I just sit and watch her sometimes. Today she clearly communicated the word drink and is getting better at distinguishing between yes and no. On top of that she and Mayah went outside to play together and when Mayah came in (she did not want to watch Leah for me while I taught Chiara-she is not as motherly as Chiara) Leah stayed outside playing in the sandbox, wandering around the yard, and sitting on her 'car'. She was as happy as she could be. Of course I kept checking on her while making lunch and finishing up math with Chiara, but she was fine. I am very thankful she does not seem to have an appetite for sand like Mayah did and she knows how to go down stairs on her belly already.....amazing!
This is the age of the face changing. She starts stretching up instead of out and fat starts to fade away. From one to two years old is so hard for me because I know she will not look the same. I just want to soak in every single moment.
She is also entering the stage of vocalizing her dislike of my parenting decisions! HA! I took playdough away from her yesterday and by her reaction you would have thought I insulted her and spanked her....seriously....LOTS of tears and yelling/crying combo. I could not help but laugh (in my head). I knew this was coming, but you really do forget how silly it all is. My girlfriend could hear her doing this when I was on the phone and it is just so out of character for Miss Leah that she was even taken aback by it. It's not Leah to be upset, but it is the age. Maybe after we finish reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a family we should read Managing Your Emotions by Joyce Meyer!!! HAHAHA!!!!! I know all three of my girls could benefit from that.....and their mother too.
Well, here she is...just about 15 months old and changing all the time.....slow down Miss Leah...slow down....


Before I gain I want to lose

It really is no secret that David and I are going to try for one more precious blessing to be added to our family-well, and if it were a secret than writing it on my blog certainly makes it not! I never thought I would want to have four children....I always thought I would be quite content with just two children. Even when we had Chiara I didn't really think that we would have more than 2 and I can tell you I do not really enjoy being pregnant (especially since the last 2 pregnancies have gone through the AZ summers). It's just so hard to verbalize the desire that burns in my heart for each of the children we have had. I cannot say "God spoke to me and said to have 4 children"-I am not saying that He does not speak that to some women in that regard just not me. I am still surprised some days that I would even want to try to have another one.
With all that being said I have made a goal to get back to...or as close as what I weighed before having Chiara. I would like to say that is the same weight I was when I was in high school or even college (I never really gained the freshman 15!), but it is not. Having babies seems to redistribute my places that are hard to conceal. I don't really need people telling me I already look great and that I do not look like I need to lose weight....thanks, but that does not help. I know what I weigh and I know what I should weigh.
I will not beat myself up if I do not get back to that post baby weight (and for all of you who have after each kid...thank your mother for good genes!). I am going to try though. I would love to say that I enjoy working out, but I do not. Never really have-well, except freshman year of college. Loved it. the most exercise I get these days is cleaning, carrying around a kid, or playing Wii Sports. I enjoy the elliptical we have, but time is something that I am having a tough time giving up to get on it. I already get up at 5:30AM and will not get up earlier to work out. Nope. However, I know that I can 'give up' my quiet time/Mommy time a few days a week to get on there. I love that time though which is why I have yet to sacrifice it to work out. I have changed all my eating habits since the beginning of January and I have lost almost ten pounds-without working out! I feel better and I can even fit in some pants that I have missed terribly!
I am giving myself 4 more months to lose 15 more pounds. I am chuckling to myself as I type that out, but like I said before, I am not going to beat myself up if I do not.