Friday, April 27, 2012

You Know It's Been Too Long When You Can't Remember Your Username and Password!

Well, it seems I just can't seem to learn my lesson.  So here I am again, catching up on 2 months of photos and nearly forgotten memories.  But on the bright side, Blogger has really improved their system for uploading, and I may not need all evening to get this up to date!

So away we go...

For the longest time Vinny refused to wear his helmet, despite our best efforts and encouragement.  Until one afternoon that he out of the blue said he wanted to wear his "cool helmet."  And so he did...all afternoon, even to eat his breakfast the next morning.
And this is my latest cupcake bouquet.  I made it for the birthday teachers at work.  
Wine Time
Early in March we traveled to Sonoma Valley with the Prathers for barrel tasting. Here we all are with one of the winemakers we met.  
Here's the view from our house.  Not too shabby.
And around the property:

The wineries and caves were really crowded, but looked so pretty.  We quickly learned that barrel tasting is no more than a good deal on tastings and a ploy to get you pre-order wine that won't be ready for  another year.  

But before flying home, we took some time to sightsee around San Francisco.
Driving up and down those hills, and especially down Lombard Street was probably not the best idea after 2 days of drinking wine!
Visiting The Rock will have to wait for next time.
Anthony couldn't wait to eat ciopino at The Tadich.  A great meal at the oldest restaurant in San Fran.  It was old school.
Meanwhile back at the ranch...
Here's Vinny at our preschool, or as he calls it "Mommy 'n Ninny Cool."  Here he is with a couple of friends and his new teacher Miss Jacky.  I'm happy to report she is a great addition to the preschool, which is a weight lifted off my shoulders.  It's been a challenge to say the least to whip this school into shape!
Not the greatest resolution, but Vinny was so proud to wear his Hawaiian shirt for Beach Day at preschool.  He looks like such a big boy here.
We traveled back to Arizona for Joan's Memorial the week after Sonoma.  It was a wonderful evening, and I am so grateful to Louise for putting it all together.  We gathered to have Joan's ashes blessed and share our favorite memories of her.  Always a good distraction, Boppo spent some time with Vinny at the park.
Gabby came back to California with us for a week until Bill came for a visit.  Boomer is a little to rambunctious for her still, so Gabby sought refuge on top of the coffee table.  Can't blame her really.  Boomer is ALL puppy.
Big Boy Bed and Company!
Well, in it's final conversion stage.  It's been a crib, a toddler bed, and now....drumroll please...big boy bed.  He's taken a few tumbles out of it already, but despite Gramma's worry, he's ok and just loves it!.  Here he is on his maiden voyage in the big boy bed
James and Justin came along with Bill since they were on Spring Break.  Vinny had so much fun with his cousins!
The boys got more advice than they wanted, I'm sure.  But it was great to have them here to celebrate Vinny's 3rd Birthday.
And in the middle of it all, a little leprechaun brought Vinny a gift from the end of the rainbow for St. Patrick's Day!  Vinny is still talking about those chocolate coins.
Upon Bill's enthusiastic request, we took a drive around Hollywoodland, the original neighborhood underneath the famous Hollywood sign.  Did you know, after a heavy rain, a mudslide washed away the "land" part of the sign, but Hollywood stuck, and the name remains.  Anyway, we twisted our way up, down, and around narrow roads and tight corners through the hills.  We looked for incognito celebs walking their little designer dogs, but we didn't recognize any of them.  In any event, the homes were impressive, with their design and engineering.  All we could think about were earthquakes and those houses are still standing, we'll never understand.

And then on to Mulholland Drive.  Once again, no celebrity sightings, but the views were amazing!

Stopped for lunch in Universal Studios CityWalk.  Vinny had fun getting swings from James and Justin.
Silly cousins!

Birthday Time!!!!!
I hate to sound cliche but seriously, these 3 years have flown by!  Gramma and Papa come out every year for Vinny's birthday and this year was no different.  After changing his mind several times (he's been pushing for a Lightning McQueen cake since Gramma was here for her birthday back in October!), Vinny finally settled on a Rocket cake from his favorite show Little Einsteins.  I'm pretty sure I outdid myself this time.  I was so happy with the results, and Vinny loved it!

On his official birthday, Gramma, Papa, and I took Vinny out for a chocolate cupcake at our old town bakery.
And later we went to eat at the famous Derby down the street near the track.  I'm pretty sure no 3 year old has ever had a fancier birthday dinner...or bigger slice of chocolate birthday cake!

Vinny promised that when he turned 3 he would try the potty.  And so, on his birthday, he did just that.  Of course, now that Gramma is gone and his birthday is over, he insists "I already sit on the potty, 'memer?"  We encourage it, but have given up on pushing him...apparently he's a late bloomer.
I grabbed this picture off my mom's phone and had to include it here...Hi Babci!  I love this picture of her!
Back to Hollywood, Mulholland Drive, and Pink's Hotdog Stand with my mom and dad.  Pink's, by the way, is the real deal, and probably the best hot dog I've ever had.  My dad considers himself a fine connoisseur of encased meat, so this was a treat for him, and he can now cross it off his bucket list.
And then for a shopping spree on Rodeo Drive.  Let's just say we did a lot of window shopping.
It had been a cold and windy couple of weeks, and while the clouds had cleared up, the wind made for a not so great day at the beach.  Vinny didn't care, but Gramma and Papa would like for once to experience one of those Southern California Beach Boys kind of day!
Because I'm pretty sure this is not the kind of day the Beach Boys sing about!

Happy Easter!
Vinny and I worked so hard making this bunny cake...only to have Boomer get his slobbery chops into it.  Oh Boomer!
Since it was just the three of us for Easter, I thought I would make the best of it and include some of our favorite traditional Easter treats.  Vinny and I made a big babca (my great grandmother' recipe...and it was delicious!).  We also got some real deal kielbasa from an Eastern European market a couple town over.  We colored eggs and decorated the table about as close to Babci and Dzaidui as I could get it.  I even found a butter lamb at the market to include on the table!  Now somehow my pictures of the table have somehow gone missing, but when I recover them, I will have to update this post.  For now, it's just a couple of our prep work.
As we colored eggs, Vinny would remark "oh look at dis egg Mommy, isn't it so bootiful?"  So naturally I tried recording him on my phone.  And what does he say while red light is on an I ask how they look?  "Good."  
On Saturday, we took Vinny to a big Easter Egg Hunt in town.  His very first real Egg Hunt.  He loved it, even through the sea of humanity that practically swallowed him up in the middle of it all.  As you can see in the video clip, he grabbed on to Anthony's leg, and recovered better than we could have anticipated.

Didn't get any pictures before Mass, with his shirt tucked in so handsomely, but we did manage to get a few right after church.

Well that lasted all of 30 seconds, and then he was happy to change into some comfy clothes.
Not sure where we were headed, but one again just had to capture a cute moment in time.  Similar to his helmet, Vinny has been opposed to wearing sunglasses.  But for whatever reason, when he got a new pair from Gramma, he complied happily, like it was the best thing ever.  And now he wears his "cool sun-gwasses" all the time, even in the house!
Playing with the Potato Heads one afternoon.  He laughed, "Look Mommy, I look like a "Tay-toe Head!"  These days, tomatoes and potatoes are both "tay-toes" and he likes neither.
I posted a jumpier video clip on facebook, but here is a more steady version.  Our preschool is not exactly state of the art but it has been good for Vinny's independence and social skills.  He is not a huge fan of singing, but he's coming around.  He's got two favorites right now, Baby Bumble Bee and the ABC's.  Notice his version at the end..."Now I know my ABC's, Next time I won't sing with me."
And here, a special treat one afternoon after preschool.  We went out to our favorite frozen yogurt shop, Cherry on Top for a dish of chocolate "ice cream."  Notice that the apple does not fall far from the tree.  Just like Daddy, Vinny is not a fan of foods touching.  So the fresh berries must go in a separate bowl.  Not to mention, this place has a toppings bar a mile long, fully loaded with every candy, cookie, nut, and sauce known to mankind...and he wants berries???  Wish I had that kind of control!

So just a few stats from his 3 year check up (which did not go well by the way...complete meltdown...uncooperative puts it mildly):  Vinny weighs in at 38 pounds and about 39 inches, so he's in the 90-95th percentile.  His doctor says he's about the size of an average 4 or 5 year old.  He suspects we will no longer get away with the "baby" price at the movies.

Other developmental milestones:  He is talking, playing, solving, building, climbing, jumping, riding like a maniac.  Still not interested in using the potty, and we're ok with that...for now.  But our proudest moment came this week when we discovered that Vinny CAN READ!  Of course, it's by rote memorization, but that is STILL READING!!!  He has a favorite set of books about all kinds of vehicles and we read them so much, he reads along with us.  Then last night while in the tub, he grabbed his fishy bath book and read the whole thing all by himself without any prompting!!!! And even punctuated it with a "The End." 

He is amazing.

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