Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wedding Song Reflections

While tooling around tying to find a new song to link up to the Vinny blog, I happened upon our wedding song by Bryan Adams. Hope you have your volume turned up so you can hear it. It seemed so perfect at the time, and we still love it...even if we forget the song title. But as I listened to it tonight, the lyrics seem to have taken on a new meaning. It used to me just Anthony and me. Now, it's Vinny that has become the center of our world and reason for everything we do.

Forever, we will be
a family.
The more I get to know you,
nothing will compare.
With all of my heart
you know I'll always be right there.

For you Vinny. Always and Forever.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

December in Review

Well, it's been a while since I've posted anything about Vinny's latest adventures. Here, finally, is how we spent the month preparing for Christmas and our trip back home to spend the holiday with my parents.

While eating raspberries one day for lunch, I noticed that Vinny likes to eat anything off of his fingers...kind of like how I preferred to eat olives when I was little. :)

"Surprise Party 2010"
Of all the fun things to see at our city's annual Surprise Party (clever, right?), Vinny was most intrigued by the Bubble Tower. Yes, a tee pee frame with a bucket of suds, attached to a motor. This is what impresses our child. He had so much fun running around with the other kiddos trying to catch bubbles.

Vinny's Signature Pose
Yup, we love to snuggle!

This was Vinny's first time actually sitting on Santa's lap. It did not go well. Although, he did wave and happily said "bye bye" as we walked out the door.
Christmas in Connecticut
We left for CT a week before Christmas, so it was really nice to be able to help out with final preparations for our family's traditional Polish Feast on Christmas Eve. First stop, Babci's, of course! Here is Vinny discovering his equilibrium, or lack thereof really. All of the sudden we caught him spinning in the kitchen, and then he wobbled all over like a drunken sailor. This has become a new favorite trick.

Pinchin' Pierogies
We can't have Valia without homemade pierogies. So we gathered around Babci's kitchen table with my mom, Auntie Laurie, Lisa, Julie, and Blaise to knead, roll, fill, and pinch pillows of yumminess. Blaise had to be a part of all the action, and although his parents suffered the consequences of his not napping, it was all worth it. Blaise took turns sitting on each of our laps to help us with each stage.

Even Vinny participated once he awoke from his long winter's nap.

Yankee Candle Factory
We remembered from last year's trip home how Santa has a workshop right there inside the Yankee Candle Factory, so we just had to go visit him. Not to mention, we knew Vinny would love all of the choo choo trains that travel through the wintery rooms. He was pure sweetness looking up in awe, chugging his arm up and down quickly with a new found word, "tzoo tzoo."

He was a little shy, but the pressure of not having to sit on Santa's lap made this experience much better this time.
What's that Vinny? A smile?

Gramma helped Vinny write a letter to Santa. We had to make sure Santa knew to deliver his presents to Gramma and Papa's house this year. It's safe to say Santa got the memo. Notice Gramma molding another lefty...

More choo choos!
Christmas Wonderland at the Senior Center
Uncle Brian's mom, Ann Marie, puts together the most beautiful display of animated Christmas decor all throughout the senior center in town. It all started while her custodian was clearing out his mother's barn. He found boxes upon boxes of Christmas decorations, and put Ann Marie in charge of doing something with it all. The result could melt the heart of any Grinch, and it's something Clark Griswold would envy. But Vinny loved running around the big room most of all. His squeals and giggles added to the cheer...and we're still not sittin' on that guy's lap...although he looks really familiar...

Now I ask you, has Santa ever just taken a load off and sat with you on the floor? It's how we roll.
Here's Vinny sharing some popcorn with his buddy Emma, and Santa.
Blaise Plays Hooky from Daycare
Mom and I offered to watch Blaise rather than send him to daycare so that the boys could play together. And boy did they play! Vinny was monkey see monkey do for 48 hours straight, and Blaise did his best to teach Vinny about being loud and funny and crazy. It was fantastic. Vinny really came out of his shell, and Blaise took pride in the fact that "Vinny's learnin'." Here they are playing with Papa in the back yard. You can see Vinny chasing Blaise, and I love how curious he is about those funny things on his hands...and what's up with that white stuff?

Project Time!
More Spinning
Good Buddies

Valia (Polish Christmas Eve)
The oldest generation of our family sits at a head table. From left to right, Uncle Walter, Uncle Tony, Cioci Mary, Dzaidui, Babci, and Cioci Vicki. The rest of the family, all 45 of us, crowd around 4 more tables in my parents' garage. Oh, and somewhere in there we manage to squeeze in an extra place setting for the unexpected guest! Dad clears it out and bring in a heater to keep everyone warm. My cousins help calm my mom's nerves as they set the tables and dec the walls. We break a special wafer called opwatek, wishing each other well for the new year, and offer thanks for all of our blessings. We eat traditional polish dishes, with some new twists, and sing christmas carols, all before Santa makes a pit stop.
Hmmm, the kids have no food in front of them...must be beet soup time.

Here's my brother, Brian, singing Christmas carols after dinner. It's funny how Santa always seems to hear us and shows up delivering presents to all the kiddos. This year was no different. Blaise was so excited, and immediately told Santa that he had been a good boy. It was precious. Vinny was still a bit insecure though.

Every year I feel more blessed and honored to carry on this special and beautiful family tradition. Once everyone cleared out, and the dishes were put away, the real work began-getting ready for Christmas Morning! Mom's tree looks more and more beautiful every year, with presents sprawling wide under its boughs.

This year, Anthony and I came to a significant compromise in our marriage. To wrap or not to wrap. That is the question. Santa always wrapped everything in Anthony's house, while Santa only brought a couple big things, unwrapped, while all the wrapped boxes came from mom and dad. So we came to an agreement. Things that needed lots of assembly would be assembled and left unwrapped (because the elves are under enough pressure, they hardly have time to wrap, too), while the rest would be wrapped in special sparkly paper.

We were lucky enough to be in town for Connecticut's first real blizzard in 15 years! It was so windy, and the snow was ridiculous! Lucky for us, we came back to sunny Arizona, and I'm pretty sure it hasn't stopped snowing since! Watching Vinny in his snow pants was priceless. Some of the snowbanks were taller than him!

Brian taught Blaise how to make snow angles. Vinny wanted nothing to do with that.

He'd much rather knock down the snow into Papa's freshly shoveled sidewalks.
Time to come in and get warm.
Post snow play time with all the new toys. Vinny and Blaise play so well together. It became apparent this trip around, that no matter how many states separate these boys, they will be great pals forever and always.

Christmas Part II
Well, Santa had a few bigger items that just couldn't fit in the sleigh the first time around, so he made a second delivery. Gramma and Papa sent an easel that we have since attached the legs.
What little boy doesn't need a trike? Vinny absolutely loves to go for rides around the block on his new wheels. Thank goodness we have such beautiful weather that we can get out to enjoy the outdoors this time of year.
Justin has finally cracked the code! It only took 20 months. And to think, other than grandparents, Justin was Vinny's first visitor in the hospital. He was one of the first to hold him. But with a little patience and a lot of laughs, Justin is once again able to hold Vinny and get a smile!
The Kentucky Mandrola's made a visit over the New Year's weekend. Now can you guess the middle schooler from the undergrad? Here are cousins Catherine and Justin.
Fiesta Bowl January 1, 2011
UCONN vs. Oklahoma
Despite the final outcome of the game, our Fiesta Bowl experience was fantastic. We were treated well in the Cigna loft, that's for sure!

This is the American Eagle, Challenger, that flew in after the National Anthem. The handler brought him up to visit all the fans in the lofts. Another perk. Pretty sweet.
Meanwhile, Vinny had a sleepover at Aunt Weez's. He ate like a horse and slept peacefully with James and Justin. Vinny is so blessed to have such nurturing cousins. They take such good care of him.
Whew! This officially marks my longest post ever! I really need to stay on top of this thing!

He's Got the Cutest Little Baby Face: First 2 Months

Vincent's First Few Days at Home

Vincent Joseph is Born

Murphy and Lucy