43/52

43/52

The 52 Week Project – A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for one year.

43/52 — I had made a silent promise to myself not to post iPhone photos as a part of this project. But at this point, something is better than nothing, right? In this snap, Roman is working on a special project to deliver to his Papa who has been in the hospital for the past two weeks.

My husband builds bridges. On Tuesday, October 14th, there was an incident on his job site and a 5,000-pound steel beam fell on, and crushed, his foot. He has lost a significant amount of muscle and skin; several broken bones; some nerve damage and loss of feeling; and so on. So far he has had four surgeries, including three skin grafts (taken from his thigh) to close the pressure wounds that were too large to heal on their own.

As you can imagine, it’s been a difficult and trying time for our family. The physical and emotional pain of the accident have been a lot to take in, but the financial implications are quickly piling up. My best friend generously created a site to accept donations on our behalf. If you are interested, you can check it out and/or donate here: GoFundMe for the DelloBuono Family. Thank you so much for keeping us in your thoughts & prayers.

To see the other posts in our series, click here.

Roman James @ 17 Months

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A lot has happened since last time. I’ll never remember all of it, so I’m just going to pick up with where we are now.

Growth & Appearance: You’re huge. Lifting you and carrying you have become downright painful. You are 28 pounds of solid rock. I’m not sure how tall you are, but you’re tall. Sometimes it seems like you grow another inch taller each night. You wear a 2T in most clothes, but some of them are getting tight. You wear a size 7 in shoes. You have a lot of teeth, at least 16 so far. All of your front teeth are in (top & bottom) and you have several molars now, too.

You had your first haircut which definitely took you from the little baby into the big boy category. Until now, your hair has been completely white-blond. Recently, I’ve noticed a few dirty-blond patches coming in, in the back. My hair went from light blonde to dirty-blonde, and eventually to brown. Will you follow suit?

You still have the brightest, bluest eyes — they must be here to stay. We went to lunch with your Pop-pop (my father) yesterday and as I was talking to him, I realized that your eyes are nearly carbon copies of his.

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Sleeping: At night you typically sleep from 8:30 PM to 7 AM . Then you take a nap around 11 AM. The nap can last anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours. When you have a shorter nap you are way tired come late afternoon and it stinks because you just won’t take a second nap anymore. You sleep straight through the night most nights — HALLELUJAH! — except when you are teething or sick, in which case you can be up anywhere from once to a million times.

We’ve eliminated nursing except for nap/bedtime. It’s such a part of your routine that you just don’t want to go to sleep without it. We once went three days without nursing, but then you got sick and I felt so bad and it was the only thing that soothed you. So, here we are at seventeen months, still nursing twice a day. Each session is, however, super-short. I’m talking maybe a minute on each side? It’s most definitely a comfort thing for you at this point and sooner or later I am going to have to make the final call.

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Talking: This is the area where we’re seeing the most rapid change at the moment. Your vocabulary is literally growing daily now. The words that you say clearly are:

  • Papa
  • Mama
  • Bella
  • Hi
  • Bye-bye
  • Uh-oh
  • Whale
  • Ball
  • Balloon
  • Spoon
  • Deer
  • Bear
  • Bath
  • Hat
  • Baby
  • Ear

The animal sounds that you can do clearly and on demand are:

  • Dog
  • Monkey
  • Cow
  • Owl
  • Cat
  • Sheep
  • Wolf
  • Elephant
  • Bee
  • Lion

Your body parts that you can identify on demand are:

  • Hair
  • Head
  • Eyebrows
  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Nose
  • Mouth
  • Hand
  • Finger
  • Bellybutton
  • Feet
  • Toes

There are a bunch of other words that you say that I can’t quite understand yet. As for comprehension, you basically know what everything in the house is. I can pretty much ask you to go get any household item and you quickly retrieve it. Your capacity for learning and understanding truly amazes me.

You also sing the alphabet song now! You start with “A” and then just put in a bunch of random sounds where the letters should be. It’s the sweetest thing. Oh, and you count, too. Whenever I count objects, you count them after to me in my sing-song counting way. Except once again, you use random sounds where the numbers are supposed to be. So. flipping. adorable.

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Development: As far as physical development goes, you’re a whiz. You walk, and even run, as gracefully as I’ve seen any toddler. You climb stairs with ease. You are, however, very cautious. When climbing up or down, you get down on your bum to avoid falls. You recently tried to jump a couple of times, that was funny. You don’t have the momentum to get yourself off of the ground, but you’re close and it is really funny to watch you try.

You are very coordinated and can throw a ball (or any other object) like its nobody’s business. You try to use a spoon on occasion, but that usually ends in a mess, so we stick to mostly finger foods for now.

You can also be extremely clumsy. Even though you are really good at walking, climbing, and running — sometimes you throw caution to the wind, especially in the house where you’re in your comfort zone. You fall down a lot, trip over things, and constantly bump your poor little head. You usually have at least one bruise and one scrape on you at all times. It breaks my heart every damned time!

You love to help. You retrieve things, put things in the trash, and “help” me with sweeping. I can’t wait until you’re ready for chores.

Favorites: Pasta is your favorite food. You’d eat it for every meal. You also love your sippy cup and ask to have it refilled all day long. You love to drink from a straw. When we go out to eat you always fill up on your drink and it’s no use fighting it because you refuse your food and reach for your drink until you get it. Since you’re generally a good eater, and since you’re such a good boy in restaurants, I usually just oblige your straw/drink obsession.

Curious George is your favorite show. You love that little monkey so much. You also love cats. One day we were out walking and a friendly neighborhood cat came over to your stroller and allowed me to pet him. I think that was the first time that you’ve seen a cat in person. Since then you’ve been cat-crazy and you start meowing with excitement anytime we see a cat in books, on TV, in the store, etc. You’re little “meow” is the sweetest thing and sounds exactly like a real kitten.

Your favorite place is to be is outdoors. You love to explore every little detail of nature. You love to bring me gifts like flowers, stones, and fallen leaves.

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Dislikes & Behavior: You are still an incredibly well-behaved boy. I can take you anywhere and I love that. You have, however, had your first few tantrums. Luckily they’ve been at home. The common denominators seem to be that you are overtired and that I take something dangerous away from you that you wanted to play with. That said, you’ve also had two complete meltdowns for no apparent reason. Those really threw me and your Papa for a loop. In hindsight, I think you were just way overtired.

You’ve become a lot more clingy with me. Throughout the day, I find you hanging on me, crawling on me, etc. Sometimes it’s nice to have the cuddles — I cherish those — but a lot of the time you just want my attention. You’ll climb on me and as soon as I scoop you up, you’re off again. It’s a bit maddening, really. You like to be the center of attention. You’ll play independently a few times a day, but you’re going through a needy stage. I’m working on practicing patience.

We’ve had some issues with bath-time lately. Since you’ve been old enough to get in the big bath, I’ve always given you your baths at night as a part of your bedtime routine. Then recently, you realized that you could dip your head underwater and the problems began. You would dip your head under and drink the bath water — bubbles and all. Not just once, you would keep doing it over and over. Because you are fairly tired by that time of day, it was hard to redirect your attention and get you to listen well. For a few nights, it was just a wasteful disaster ending in two-minute baths. On top of everything, your Papa and I are just too tired by the end of the day to deal with that. So, I decided to start bathing you every other day and in the morning rather than at night. So far, the new plan is working and we haven’t had any issues adjusting to the new bedtime routine.

You’re temper is developing and you have a real rebellious streak in you. Sometimes it is alarming to see how quickly you go from fine to furious. I’m quite certain that you’re anger is just frustration. You’re on the cusp of being able to communicate with us and I know that must be frustrating. I try very hard to translate your cues and figure out what you want to alleviate your frustrations, but we are a work in progress.


Overall, you are just the best. I couldn’t ask for a sweeter or smarter boy. When I dreamed of becoming a mother — you are everything that I dreamed of. Well, that’s all for this update, my little love. Thank you for bearing with me these past few months as I’ve been sick, cranky, and not the funnest Mama to be around. I love you to the moon & back, always.

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40/52

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The 52 Week Project – A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for one year.

40/52 — Collecting treasures in the yard — acorns, stones, colourful leaves — and placing them in Papa’s wheelbarrow for safekeeping. The glory of the autumn blaze behind him.

To see the other posts in our series, click here.

baby wears // jack + lily

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Autumn is really upon us here in northern New Jersey. The air is cooler, the leaves are turning beautiful colours, and Halloween decorations are going up everywhere. Lately, Roman has been living in his Jack + Lily moccasins. They are perfect for the summer/autumn transition weather.

Jack + Lily makes a whole line of baby footwear. Roman has a pair of baby “Mocs.” They are soft, but also durable — he’s been wearing them since spring & they’re holding up great. We just love the sweet little owl on the toes, too.

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I’m so excited to be doing a little giveaway with Lily + Jack today. To enter, just use the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering and good luck! xo

Roman’s outfit details:
moccasins are c/o Jack + Lily //
hat and pants are c/o Sweet Lucy Jack //
shirt is thrifted.

Roman’s First Haircut

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When Roman was born, he came out with a full head of blond, wet, curly ringlets. For me, that is what cemented our name choice for him. He reminded me of a handsome little Roman gladiator with those curls.

From the time that I knew he was going to be a little blondie, I had visions of growing his hair out to his shoulders. I’ve always loved that shaggy surfer look on little boys. In the beginning, however, his hair did anything but grow. As is the case with most babies, much of his baby hair fell out. On top of that, because he nursed so frequently in the beginning, he developed lots of bald spots where his head rubbed against my arms while nursing. At one point he had a bald ring right around his head that made him look like a monk. It drove me crazy.

Eventually his hair grew back and by the time he’d reached sixteen months, it had gotten quite long. (You can see it at its longest here.) I still wanted to grow it out, but it reached a point where it was irritating his eyes. No matter how I tried to brush it out of his face (or even use product to keep it back) it still made its way to his eyes. When I saw an increase in redness and rubbing of his eyes, I knew I had to cut it. I can’t stand to see my baby in any type of avoidable discomfort.

I thought about just cutting the bangs/fringe, but then I had these visions of a baby mullet and I just wasn’t about that either. So I decided that for his first cut, we’d go all the way — just pull off the band aid so to speak. (You can see the finished product here.)

I took him to a local children’s salon and it was a great experience. They had fun seating to choose from — like a Lightning McQueen car and a safari Jeep. We chose the Jeep. The stylists work exclusively with kids so they know just what to do. There are television sets right in front of each station so that kiddos can focus on the screen. I chose Mickey Mouse as Roman’s distraction.

Most of these things probably weren’t necessary for Roman, though. He’s such a well-behaved toddler, especially when we’re out of the house. He is always so curious about things that he just sits there patiently taking it all in. He recently had blood drawn for the first time. The nurses sat him on my lap, made me pin his legs between mine, and hold his arms down. But, it was all unnecessary. He didn’t even flinch. The nurses looked at one another in shock. The haircut was pretty much the same. He was a little champ.

The salon gave us a cute certificate to celebrate, “Baby’s First Haircut,” with with a little bag stapled to it containing a few locks of his hair. So that was really sweet and made the whole thing a bit less painful for me. Roman also got a green balloon — oh how this child loves “boons” — and he happily carried that around for the rest of the day.

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Another check off of the “Baby’s First” list — bittersweet, indeed.

38/52

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The 52 Week Project – A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for one year.

38/52 — We’ve missed quite a few weeks of the project while I’ve been sick. Still I’d like to continue on with it whenever I am able. I really enjoy scrolling through our portraits from each week and watching how Roman grows & changes. It’s pretty amazing.

He looks very different in this portrait because he’s just had his first haircut. I’ll make another post about the haircut soon. This portrait was taken over the weekend at my hometown picnic, a few hours after his haircut. He had a great time and his favourite part was the petting zoo.

To see the other posts in our series, click here.

New York Renaissance Faire // 2014

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Last weekend, I ventured out of the house for the first time in months. Lately it seems I only get out for doctor appointments, but I’ve been feeling a bit better and decided to take my annual trip to the Renaissance Faire. It’s a tradition that my best friend & I have had for nearly twenty years. It’s such a special, magical place to me. I am glad that I made it out this year despite everything that’s been going on.

Typically I take many more photos then what you’ll see here, but this time around I was focused on enjoying the fresh air and taking it easy.

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Thank you to everyone who has been asking in on me & sending well wishes. I hope to do a full health/status update sometime soon. It’s just a matter of me feeling ready and also gaining some more certainty around what is actually happening. I am so very grateful for your thoughts & prayers. ♥

A look back at past Renaissance Faires: 2013 // 2012 // 2011.

Sweet + Simple Halloween DIYs

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Halloween is just around the corner and anyone who knows me, knows that I’m super excited. (Halloween is my favourite holiday!) I really can’t get enough of all things pumpkin, candy corn, and adorable babes in sweet, little costumes. Halloween decorating & preparation always start early in this house. This year I’ve been having a lot of fun with our new RTGS LED string lights and finding ways to include them in my Halloween plans. A couple of projects that I’ve been working on so far are these pretty “glowing” mason jars and Roman’s “Trick or Treat” candy basket.

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For the mason jars, I simply decorated a glass jar with some Halloween-themed washi tape. Then I stuffed an LED light string inside to give it that pretty/eery glow. What I love about these light strings is that they are indoor/outdoor safe. So you can use them as centerpieces for your Halloween party whether it’s inside or out. They would also look so dreamy lining the walkway up to our house in the evening, wouldn’t they? I might make a bunch more for just that purpose.

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For Roman’s candy basket, I picked up a couple of sweet, little baskets at the dollar store — one for Roman and one for his cousin, Aden. Then I wrapped each one with an LED light strand. The lights are so easy to use and they wrap around anything effortlessly. I just love how the lights make their little faces glow. Plus, it’s a great safety feature. As it gets dark on Halloween evening, little ones will be much easier to see holding their glowing baskets. Once again, the lights are weather-proof so they’ll glow strong no matter what mother nature & Halloween have in store for us. You could even incorporate the lights into your kiddo’s costume. How sweet would a little glowing robot or alien be!?

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The possibilities are endless with these lights. They come in lots of beautiful colors & sizes. Halloween is just the beginning. I’ve got plans to use them for Christmas decorations and can’t wait to use them for camping next spring, too. This post is in partnership with RTGS products — be sure to check them out on Facebook at Facebook.com/RTGSproducts. Thanks for supporting the partners that help me keep this blog going.

harvest //

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Early in summer, my mother-in-law gifted us with a used wagon from the thrift shop where she works. Little did we know then that the wagon would become such an important part of our summer harvesting ritual.

A few times each week, when M. got home from work in the evening, he would load little Roman into the wagon for a pull around the yard and to our gardens. M. would pluck whatever was ripe from the vine and hand the treasure to little Roman who waited patiently on his seat in the wagon. Roman took his job very seriously. Once the vegetables were in his hands or in his bowl, he would not let go of them. He would keep everything tucked carefully inside while M. continued to pull him around the yard and water the gardens and the lawn.

Later the boys would return inside, where Roman would come running to me (always at top speed!) to show off the fruits of his labor with pride. After much applause and excitement over the picks of the day, he would finally turn over the veggies for cleaning, slicing, and devouring.

Our summer gardening didn’t go quite as planned — but then again what did this summer. We got things in the ground too late and the plot that we chose for the larger garden didn’t get enough sun. Our large salad tomatoes took forever to ripen. Finally one night we knew that they were ready and planned to pick them the next morning for a big salad. That night, however, one of our friendly local deer paid the garden a visit (for the first time all summer) and ate every last tomato. We still had a nice crop — especially considering that I started more than half of it from seed. Our green beans, cherry tomatoes (red & gold), and eggplants were the star performers. We also learned that Roman is truly tomato-obsessed. I’ve never seen a child devour a tomato like he does. (Sometimes the cherries never made it into the house.)

I attempted several varieties of flower from seed, but the zinnias were the only to make it to bloom. I was tempted to cut a few for a bouquet but there weren’t quite enough and, more importantly, they’ve been drawing hummingbirds to the yard almost every day! That has been a real treat.

In any case, autumn is upon us now. The air has turned cold and soon our garden will fade as we move into the long, bitter cold months. For now, though, we’re enjoying the change of season — pumpkins, sweaters, & boots.

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“Harvest” is the September writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Courteney of The Titled Blog. A few words from Courteney — Hello! I’m Courteney from “The Titled Blog” I live up in Canada (in Abbotsford, British Columbia – just East of Vancouver) with my husband, one year old daughter Lucy, a pug named Minnie and an angry flame point siamese cat named Bigsby. My blog has evolved over the last 7 years from random rants and social commentary to lifestyle and now most recently to being a mom. My daughter was born with a lot of health problems and I often write about the challenges that have come with having a baby that has spent a good chunk of her first year in and out of the hospital and how to deal with those challenges head on. When I’m not blogging, I work as a photographer with my own business (Courteney Rodda Photography) sing in my jazz band “Courteney Rodda and the Other Guys” and most recently I am sewing for an awesome local company making baby moccasins called “Minimoc
You can also find me on Instagram, where I post too many pictures of my daughter, dog and cat.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

getting by //

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Hello, friends. Just stopping by for a moment to say that we have not, in fact, fallen off the face of the earth. I am still dealing with some health issues, so it will likely be a little while until things are back to normal around here. I hope that you’re alright and that these last days of summer (or winter depending on your hemisphere) are full of love & light.

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