Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Little Break

If you read through our blog, it seems that we are always taking a vacation. The truth is that we try to get away every now and again for a weekend just to keep ourselves sane. This has been a very trying season, especially with all of our illnesses. As I wrote before, Anthony has been sick seven times since September. We were really feeling the weight of it and so we asked our close friends, Davide and Anna, if we could use their mountain home for a couple of days. They are always so kind to always offer us their homes at the beach and in the mountains. We don't know what we would do without them! Anthony went up on a Tuesday for three days of solitude in order to pray and plan for this next year of ministry. Then, Nikki and the kids joined him on Thursday evening for a couple of days of fun in the snow.
We had a wonderful time together!!! Siena loved building snow men (of which we have not even one picture because a kid kept coming and destroying them). We did some hiking with our snowshoes and we put the kids in their backpacks. On Saturday, Davide, Anna and Caterina came up and we did a little hiking with them and enjoyed a wonderful homemade pizza dinner made in the convection oven (it actually worked and tasted really good!). It was glorious! Here are some pictures of our time and a fun little video of Sammy walking. Enjoy!

Sammy pours it on.......

Sammy and Siena in the family room of Davide and Anna's Mountain apartment

Anthony's faces never cease to amaze us!

Hiking with the kids on a beautiful, sunny day!

The kids love the snow!

Hiking with Davide, Anna and Caterina from Clavier (Italy) to the ski slopes of Monginevro (in France)

Sammy discovered the kitchen drawers. We finally got incentive to put on our childproof locks on the doors and drawers. What a ham!

Here's Sammy walking for those of you who asked.

Monday, January 14, 2008

January 2008- Sammy's Walking

Ok, so we are not so great at keeping up with our updates lately...sorry! It has been a VERY trying season for us. Anthony has been sick six times since September, and he recently had a strange case of the shingles. That's right, the shingles! Isn't that what old people get? Apparently not! We learned that if you have had the chicken pox it remains attached to your spinal cord and then shingles can appear during high times of stress and when your immune system is down, both of which were the case for Anthony. Poor guy! Not to mention, the kids and Nik have been sick off and on as well. We are SOOOOO over it.
On a more positive note, we have also had the joy of watching our little guy go from crawling (7 mo) to pulling himself up (9 mo), to taking his first steps while we were back in the States for Thanksgiving (10 mo), to walking (10 1/2 months). Now that he is 11 months he is running everywhere, making it a constant challenge for mom to keep up. He loves playing chase with Siena back and forth through the house, waving his hands wildly in the air, and often smacking himself in the face with some hard object. It is no rare occassion to see Sammy or Siena go flying across the room onto the hard granite floors and to see their little faces go from red to purple with their mouth wide open, as I clench my stomach and wait for the blood curdling scream that says, "the world is coming to an end!" With a few hugs and cuddles, mom sends them off with a new distraction such as a fun toy or a cookie, and the world can once again start its course.
We had an epiphony recently in our "on the job training" as parents. After the birth of Sammy, we didn't know what hit us, Siena included. The poor little thing was used to getting all of the attention and now she had to share the attention with someone else. She never objected in word...but in deed, she was objecting all over the place. Of course, we didn't know what to do with these outbursts of stubborn anger and frustration. It seemed that we were correcting Siena around every turn. Things were getting quite difficult and so I sought the Lord and He responded. A friend of mind lent me a book on "Raising Respectful Kids". It was a nice shift from the typical rigid-minded Christian parenting books, but not as wishy-washy as the modern, psychological nonsense advice of other secular parenting books. Rather it kindly shifted the responsibility onto the parents for "setting the example" and to seeking the gold in their children rather than the dirt. Unknowingly, we had shifted our attention from Siena's positive behavior to almost strictly disciplining her negative behavior. The poor little thing! Once again we refocused and began to encourage Siena every single time she did or said something possitive, and IMMEDIATELY we saw a HUGE change in her behavior, her attitude and her overall joy factor. It was incredible! It makes me just want to tell every parent out there! But, I don't praise this book for teaching us anything new. I praise God! It was God who openned my eyes to understand the truth and who gave me the desire and the strength the change. Amen!
Here are some recent pictures of the kids:

Anthony with the kids on his 33rd Birthday

Such a cuty!

At the petting zoo with Nanna Nancy and Papa Sam

Celebrating Christmas with Aunt Sue and Uncle Jim in Chicago

Nanna Nancy and Sammy

Siena and her cousin Annalea in the bathtub

Aunt Jamie and Sherman celebrating Christmas with Siena at Grammy's house

Grammy and Siena playing with the dollhouse...a huge hit!

Grammy goes crazy over Christmas. Here she is with her 12 foot Christmas tree!