Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

This year Vinny was certainly more aware of the spirit of Christmas, with all it's preparation and anticipation. He learned about Baby Jesus and the manger in preschool, he decorated the tree so that Santa would know to deliver presents to our house (or Boppo's house in this case), he baked cookies, and tried to cut down on his crying so Santa would keep him on the nice list.

James took charge of the traditional reading of Santa Mouse after Christmas Eve dinner at Tom and Weez's house. With just a few pages left to go, we were all startled by the jingle of bells and Ho Ho Ho from a rushed Santa.
We never did catch a glimpse of him, but he did leave a pile of presents for the kiddos!
Vinny only wanted two things for Christmas: Thomas and Cars. Well, upon opening his new Thomas Pillow Pet, he complained, "But I want Cars, too." Little did Vinny know that Santa wasn't done yet. Here he is wrestling with James. These two have a special bond.
Santa went a little overboard this year. Doesn't he know we have to get all this stuff back to California? Good thing we don't have to ship it this year. Hopefully it all fits in the back of the Edge!
Wow! I knew Anthony was a fan, but had no idea he had this kind of status! (a pair of male Uggs in case you were wondering)
Vinny opened presents all morning long, and took lots of breaks in between. He wanted to play with each one as soon as he opened it. He loves the Cars 2 Geotrax set Santa left for him.
And more Thomas trains!
Whoa! Just some of the aftermath...
This must have been the year of puzzles. "I want to beeld a tuzzle mom." "Let's beeld."
Loving the Patriots gear from his cousin Blaise!
Who brought you these presents Vinny? "Santaaaaaa!"
Christmas will never be the same without Mommo, but we all made it through the day. Even Bill. It was hard, but he did Joan proud with all the gifts he bought for everyone. I felt her presence, and I know she was smiling, knowing how happy Vinny is playing with all his new toys.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reagan Library with Boppo

President Mandrola?
Overlooking Simi Valley at sunset.
Some of the shots that eventually became our Christmas Card this year.

There's Ronald Reagan's gravesite surrounded by red poinsettias.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas in California

This year we picked out a live tree at a local lot. Vinny got into the spirit and helped decorate, too.
When Joan first visited our new house, she fell in love with the magnolia trees that line the neighborhood and said they'd make a great wreath. So Mommo, this is for you! I used the trimmings from the Christmas tree, along with some silk flowers and berries. The sleigh, too, is in remembrance of her, since she used to decorate her front door on Center Street with it.
The wind storm and power outage postponed Monrovia's annual Christmas parade, and since the wind uprooted our town's Christmas tree, the festivities were a bit low key compared to years past. But we didn't know any differently! We met up with our neighbors and enjoyed a long, chilly, but colorful parade.
Chillin' with Ella.
Anthony would love to have clients that preferred to go to sporting events, instead he has Broadway musical fans. I certainly didn't mind tagging along on this night...a fancy dinner at Lawry's Steakhouse and onto a show at the beautiful and historic Pantages Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Wicked was wonderful! I loved every minute of it!

Here and There

Just a week after Thanksgiving, a terrible windstorm swept through Monrovia and surrounding towns. We lost power for a few days, and we had to find ways to suffer through the boredom. Unlike our friends and family back home, we did have it easy...since we are powered by gas, we had access to our stove and hot water for the shower...still we found a way to pity ourselves. We are such wimps. Here we are one afternoon killing some time at the mall riding the choo choo train a couple dozen times. Vinny loves the caboose most of all.
This is a picture of the cozy quilt I sewed one weekend for Vinny's bed. I had been planning to make this for some time, and just never got around to it. My inspiration was one of those overpriced sets from the Pottery Barn catalog, though I did splurge on the embroidered pillow sham. Vinny loves to snuggle up with his "queelt."
Here we are out at the park.
He loves to swing from the monkey bars in between sprinting around the playground.
This Mickey cart has revolutionized my grocery shopping excursions. There is a TV down there with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes programmed. This little distraction helps me get up and down the aisles within a half hour!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Broken Hearts, Beautiful Memories

Dear Vinny,
She was your grandmother. You called her Mommo. Your time with her was brief, but so so special. Mommo loved you very much. She loved all of us, and we loved her. Everyone called Daddy "the baby" because of the way she came to his defense, except for the time he criticized her knowledge of a TV show, Felicity.
Mommo became very sick, and we rushed back to Arizona to be by her side. Not minutes after coming home from the hospital, you jumped up on her lap and tickled her. You made her smile big. She loved having you climb all over her. She slept much of the day Wednesday and Thursday so you weren't able to play with her like you wanted. But I know she wished to be able to play with you. You had been kind of grumpy that morning of November 24th, but not long after you perked up and came racing into her room, Mommo went to heaven. We were all with her, and I am so glad you were, too. I think she heard you laugh, and I'd like to believe it's what she needed to let go. I tell you this so that you understand just how happy you made Mommo.
Vinny, if God has angels here on Earth, your grandmother was surely one of them. She used to watch you every Thursday when Mommy went back to work. Now, she'll take care of you from Heaven. Call upon her when you are feeling down or lonely. I know she will place her tender hands on your shoulders and lift your spirits. She'll bring you strength when you are feeling weak. She'll remind you to be a good person and treat others with kindness.
We spent the day after Thanksgiving at Uncle Tom's and Aunt Weez's house. We wrote messages on balloons so our words would reach Mommo in heaven. You drew her beautiful triangles and said, "Balloons go up and Mommo catch it." Well, Mommo is no longer sick, no longer in pain, no longer tired, and I am pretty sure she caught your balloon. Once again, you made her smile big. So while our broken hearts learn to mend themselves, thank you for making us all smile a little bigger these days.
Mommy and Daddy
Later that night you went skinny dipping in the hot tub!
There you are playing on the iPad with Justin.

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