Monday, July 18, 2011

AaRRrrr...We're pirates!

We took Landon to go see Dr. Troia for a check up.  The last time we saw him Landon's vision was slowly improving.  If you need a refresher, click here.

Landon has had his new glasses for the past few months, so I was excited to see if there had been some change.  At our last visit, Dr. Troia also increased the perscription of the lens in his left eye, so I was hoping that his vision had improved.

When Dr. Troia tests Landon's eye sight, he brings out a toy for Landon to focus on and watches his eye movement as he covers one of his eyes.  Landon always does great with his right eye, but he always tries to pull away when his left is covered.  This time he didn't even flinch!!!  Dr. Troia was impressed and said it's the best he's seen him do in a long time.  He said that we still need to put drops in his right eye for a little longer (to make his vision fuzzy and strengthen his left eye), but if his vision improved the next time we come in we could talk about not having to do those any more!!  YEA!!  He also mentioned to us about Landon's eye patch.  We were told a long time ago to do a patch with Landon, if he would allow.  We tried for a little while, but whenever we put it on him, he would just pull his glasses off.  So, in an effort to get Landon to leave his glasses on but still get what we want, Dr. Troia gave us the eye drops to make his vision blurry. We've been doing that ever since.  We told Dr. Troia that we would give the patch another go and see what happened.

It came to me when we got home that we could try and have Landon wear it while he's doing something that he loves, so he's not even thinking about it.  ...Blue's Clues!  Landon has been obsessed with watching Blue's Clues lately.  So we made a rule.  Whenever Landon watches Blue's Clues he has to wear his eye patch.  Much to my surprise, it WORKED!!!!  Landon watches Blue with his patch on with no complaints.  The first day we tried it, he wore it for 6 hours straight!!!  I'd say half of that time he wasn't even watching the show, he was playing like normal.  It was so great!

I'm so proud of my little pirate.  I'm also glad we found a solution to our problem.  It will be exciting to see what Dr. Troia says at our next appointment!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

F is for fireworks

My mom and Paul were here for fourth of July this year.  They have a lot of fun sitting in our driveway enjoying fireworks instead of having to lug a cooler to a really crowded field and wait several hours for a 30 minute firework show.  That's fourth of July in Georgia where fireworks aren't legal.  Thankfully, in Nebraska they are, so you don't have to do all that.  You can have your own fireworks show. :)  

My mom and Paul have been here a couple of times for the fourth.  They were here on the fourth in 2007 right before I gave birth to Landon.  We lived on the base then and had a spectacular view from a hill in our neighborhood.  You could sit up there and see a 360 degree view of fireworks for miles.  I do miss that spot, but we make the best of it in our neighborhood.  The firework festivities began about a week before the fourth.  Our neighbors were setting them off right after it got dark.  The weekend of the fourth they closed off the end of our street so that people could set some off.  My next door neighbor likes to show off a little and invites his whole family over to light off fireworks in the street in front of his house.  For him, it's his one time of year to really show off...might as well take advantage of it. :)

Anyways, so we decided this year to have a couple of friends over and sit out front and light some fireworks. I thought that Landon would really get into throwing the poppers on the ground and swinging sparklers around in the air.  He really liked the poppers and thought they were pretty funny to step on.  Braydon ended up getting the crappy sparklers by accident, so we'll try those again next year.  Landon really liked the big ones that popped and hissed and made a lot of noise.  He thought it was pretty funny.  I took several pictures of our day with our friends and their kids as well as my parents.

Sydney liked playing in her exersaucer outside...she was giving that lobster a talkin' to! :)

My beautiful mom

Roslyn loved the slide.  She was all over it the second I brought it out.

My friend Megan...normally she's the one with the camera. :)  Brad, her husband, is in the background.

Nevin, Megan and Brad's little boy...he's a busy thing, but he's awfully cute!

Pyper and Roslyn watching my crazy neighbor's fireworks

Me and the Syd-ster

We had a lot of fun just hanging out.  We even brought out the fire pit and tried to roast marshmallows and make S'mores.  It didn't work very good cause we couldn't get the fire going, but I got a couple of marshmallows roasted anyways.  All was not lost.  Thank goodness!

We also got some news from Pyper the next day that she is expecting her #2 in January!!!  Congratulations Pyper and Chuck!!  Roslyn is going to be an awesome big sister!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sydney's got a boyfriend!

One of Braydon's friends at work, Shawn, would come to the house every now and again to hang out while Braydon fixed his computer and/or phone.  Him and I would chat.  His wife, Beth, was pregnant the same time I was with Sydney.  Our babies are only a few weeks apart.  We were always talking about hanging out and getting together, but our schedules never meshed.

Finally, I got to meet Beth this past week.  I started to think she didn't really exist or something. :)  She was the sweetest and Mason, her little boy, is just as cute as can be.  We met at a nearby park, but ended up bringing the kids back home because it was really hot and buggy that day.  Here are some pictures of them playing together...

Party on a blanket

This is Mason...cutie huh?

He really liked looking at Sydney when he wasn't playing with a toy.

Sydney was reaching out and holding his hand...she liked him.  Either that, or she was trying to steal his toy...we'll go with the first one. :)

Mason already knows how to roll over, so I told Sydney to take notes. :)  She is rolling from her belly to her back, but hasn't gotten the hang of back to belly yet.  She just likes to play with her toes too much. :)

Ok, this may be cruel, but this is a really cute crying picture...I love my little drama queen. :)

Little Sydney snacking on her fingers.

Landon glued to the TV.  He loves to watch "Moose and Zee" no matter how much he doesn't want to admit it.

Is that a "rat tail" I see growing Landon??  Like father, like son I guess. ;)  We'll need to cut that off pronto!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Practicing saying "ma-ma"!

Tonight I was eating my dinner with the boys while Sydney played in her jumper.  She made it very clear who's attention she was trying to get.

Landon's room is FINALLY finished!

I finally had time to put the finishing touches on Landon's room!!  Landon was so helpful with putting some of the decorations up.  Braydon and I spent all this time trying to figure out how everything was going to fit into his room, but now that we have it in this set-up, I'm not sure why we didn't have it this way before!  Landon loves it and he helped place some of the stickers on the walls.  He was very enthusiastic about it, and loves his decorating!  Enjoy the pics I took....

When you first walk into Landon's room

This is the part of the room that Landon did.  This is his new "smile" face...we're working on it.:)

His name above his bed.  He told me that he now wants "Walsh" up there too.

Hanging stickers

Some of Landon's Picasso's

The picture of his preschool class on his nightstand

Saturday, July 9, 2011


While in Florida, my aunt, who has three kids of her own, told me about a game she used to let her kids play on her computer.  It's a downloadable game called "BabySmash".  It's basically a game where a baby can bang on the keyboard and it doesn't mess up your computer.  When they bang on the keys, letters and numbers, shapes and colors appear.  We downloaded it for Sydney, but quickly realized that Landon liked it too.  I'll give you three guesses which button he liked the best (and the first two won't count). ;)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Down to Florida and back again.

The day after my last June post I learned that my Grandpop had passed away from complications after having a couple of strokes.  It was pretty sudden, but he passed with no pain and my aunt at his side.  It all happened so fast that my mom didn't have a chance to get down to Florida to say goodbye.  She had a pretty hard time with it and I comforted her as much as I could from so far away.  I decided that I needed to go down to Florida to be with my family.  Sydney came along with me and I left the boys at home.  I hated that that was Sydney's first airplane ride, but I'm glad she came along.  She helped to lighten the mood a little bit and meet a lot of my mom's family.  I was also glad that I got to see my family and spend a couple of days with them.  I hadn't seen some of them in 10+ years.  I took a couple of pictures, but definitely not as many as I wished I could've taken.

It was the first time that Papa (my stepdad) got to meet Sydney.  They had fun together.

My cousin, Isabella, playing with Sydney.  Sydney LOVED Isabella!

Papa fell asleep on the couch

Nonna and Sydney

My Aunt Theresa, Isabella, and Sydney

Sydney making silly faces

Me and my Aunt Annette

My Great Uncle Carlo with his great-great niece, Sydney
The oldest and youngest of the Mancuso family right now
(Uncle Carlo is one of my Grandpop's six brothers)

My Grandpop will be greatly missed.  I loved him very much and our family won't be the same without him.  He was a great family man that would drop everything if you needed help.  I never felt unloved by him.  He would make me laugh with his cute little belly laugh where his belly would make his shoulders bounce up and down.  It was the cutest little laugh.  He had such a great sense of humor.  When I was a kid, I would get on the phone with him and he would say things like, "Oh no, not you again." or "Who are you again?  I'm looking for my granddaughter."  I always knew he was joking and as I got older I started doing it back to him.  I think he was a little taken aback the first time I said it to him, but he would just laugh.  

As a little girl, I remember Grandpop being the tallest man I knew.  (My family wasn't very tall...sorry guys)  I always wanted Grandpop to hold me so I could be as tall as he was.  He obliged, and I remember thinking that no one could be taller than my Grandpop (and I don't think he was even over 6').  As I got older, he got shorter as I grew, but I always remembered the times when he would carry me around and spend time with me.

When I went to Miami to visit him and my aunts, he would take me for the afternoon and make me a meal.  I remember going to his little apartment where he showed me how to make pizza (like any Italian man would), and he asked me what I liked on my pizza.  I made the mistake of telling him one time that I liked hamburger meat on my pizza.  (Just a word to the wise, DON'T tell an Italian man that you like hamburger meat on your pizza.)  Grandpop gave me an earful on how that was crazy and Italians don't put hamburger on their pizza!!  He ended up convincing me (as maybe and 7 or 8 year old) that Italian sausage was the next best thing and I haven't put hamburger meat on my pizza since.  That wasn't what Italians did.  :)   

As I got older, my visits with him were filled with time spent on his screened in back porch.  He would sit me down and give me a logic puzzle to solve.  Some of them I could get right away, but others I would spend some time trying to figure out.  He would ask me if I wanted to know the answer and I would stubbornly say, "NO!  I want to figure it out!".  I would eventually give in and he would chuckle and show me the answer.  We watched a lot of David Copperfield together because he had a love for magic.  We also watched game shows...even the older ones they show on the Game Show Network.  He loved things like that.  Crosswords...he was pretty good.  I'm still not very good at those.

We also shared a love for Frank Sinatra's music.  "Old Blue Eyes" reminded me of my Grandpop every time I heard him.  I made him a CD with some of my favorite Sinatra songs.  I found it in his condo after he passed and it made me smile that he had kept it.  My Grandpop wasn't one to keep things unless he loved or needed them.  His life didn't consist of much "fluff".  So it made me happy that he enjoyed my Sinatra CD enough to keep it.

I will miss him so much and not hearing his deep, comforting voice over the phone.  When I would talk to him, he never made a fuss about himself and always wanted to hear about me no matter how hard I tried to ask him about himself.  He would've much rather heard about me, no matter how boring.  He used to tell me that he loved reading my blog and keeping up with the kids.  He would tell me how great of a writer I am (which I think he was just being polite).  So in honor of my Grandpop, I'm dedicating this post to him.  I will always and forever treasure him in my heart.  I LOVE YOU GRANDPOP!!!!

Alfred C. Mancuso
March 23, 1931 - June 18, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Crazy few weeks...first Landon's birthday

So sorry I'm so behind on posts.  I've had a pretty crazy couple of weeks.  I'm going to try and break everything up so I can have time to post pictures and such.

We have a four year old in our house now...crazy!  I remember that fourth of July, four years ago when I was a pregnant lady watching fireworks thinking about how my life was going to change the next day.  I never knew how much it would change and how much growing I would do.  Landon has helped me be a better mom and a better person.  He is such a blessing to me and I'm so thankful for him everyday.  Two years ago we almost lost him, and I've learned that even though he isn't perfect he's the most amazing, beautiful, smart and sweet boy I know.  I wouldn't trade him for the world!!!  I'm so thankful that I was chosen to be his mom.

My mom and stepdad came into town for Landon's birthday and the Fourth of July.  I was so happy they could be there.  Landon was very excited to see his Nonna. :)  We planned his birthday party at a park that I had heard of from one of Landon's classmate's mom.  Her daughter also has special needs and she told me about this park that is only a few miles from our house.  It is made for children with any kind of disability.  The playground is made with no stairs and all ramps so Landon could get around really easy.  He LOVED it!!  They have a splash pad with water guns and sprayers that the kids loved.  Landon wasn't too into that, but he watched and laughed while the other kids got water dumped on their heads.  :)  Here are some pictures from our festivities....

The birthday boy

Landon's friend, Roslyn

Nonna and Sydney

Roslyn playing in the splash pad

Landon found the only sign at the whole park with numbers and letters.

Giving Nonna a hug

My friend Lisa and her family

Little Makai

The delicious cupcake birthday cake with yummy whipped frosting! :)

Landon with his cake (the candle was on purpose...he's in love with the #9 right now)

Singing Happy Birthday

Landon's new favorite hat

Doing the string pinata


Even Landon got a couple of pieces

Sydney was worn out...She fell asleep on Miss Theresa.

Little Nevin

Me and Mom

Marcus playing

Landon laughing at the other kids getting splashed

We are so thankful for our friends here.  They are like our family since all of our real families live so far away.  Thank you to everyone that made it to the party!!! :)

On Landon's real birthday we took him shopping at Toys R Us and he picked out pretty much anything with numbers on it.  He walked around the store saying "numbers" over and over....silly kid.  We got him a number puzzle and a puzzle clock to satisfy his number obsession. :)  I made him his favorite breakfast that morning...pancakes.  I asked him if I could make him a #4 pancake since he was four and he said "No...nine!"  At least the boy is consistent!  :)  

Landon with his #9 pancake. :)