What a great 2nd year in Pittsburgh it has been! Frank's "work year" for his critical care training goes from July to July so our 1st year here, July 2011- July 2012, was not a "bad year" but it was just very challenging. It was by far Frank's busiest year yet, many nights he would have to work late and the kids were in bed by 7/ 7:15 pm so he wouldn't get to see them. He also worked a 24hr shift every 4th day and only had 4 days off per month. With his schedule, it was really just me by myself with the kids most of the time and we were in a new state with no friends or family nearby.
But, instead of feeling sad that I was usually "husband-less" because Frank worked so much, I started to really appreciate and respect what he was doing in his pediatric and adult intensive care fellowship and I also started to focus on how when he is finished with his training his schedule will be so much better. In fact most of the next two years here he will be in research months where he does not have to go to the hospital at all and can be home most days during the week and off on weekends which would be like a dream come true for me. But in the mist of these busy years/ months, instead of staying home because it was just "easier" since I didn't know where to go or what to do by myself with the kids in a new state, I just took the GPS and left the house everyday. But it did take some preparation...
As suggested by my hubby, I made a schedule for myself...and now I realize that as a stay at home mom, I *really* needed to have a schedule. Without a schedule I just feel plain "blah". One event that makes the schedule each week is the gym which I LOVE because they watch the kids in the nursery for up to two hours and I can work out and then *shower* which is like *LUXURY* to me because I do not have to worry about the kids and I can actually really shower : ) As a matter of fact, I I have actually gone to the gym with the kids some days JUST to shower (yup...not even to workout...just to shower and get ready in peace, Lol). I would just kind of hope that the people that work there wouldn't really notice...ha!
As I was getting out of the house more, I did begin to realize though how much easier it was for me to make friends when we lived in Greenville, NC verses here in Pittsburgh. I think in Greenville, NC most people our age were either there going to East Carolina University (where I got my Child Life Specialist degree) getting their master's or they were there for medical school, or medical residency like Frank was. And so with.most people originally not from the area (and far from family) they were always looking to met people and make new friends. But for example, when I go to story time here in Pittsburgh, everyone is "from here" so the other mom's are there with their sisters, sister-in-laws or their mom's, etc so they are not really looking to meet anyone~ they're just there with their families having fun. But- with that said, I did manage to meet a few other mom's my age that go to my church and live in my town so it's been great to get together with them and chat while our kids play together.
Overall, our 2nd year here has been much more enjoyable. Frank has had more time off, I've found some friends, we have gotten more involved in our church and just little things like simply knowing our way around town and the city has really helped. We also found a wonderful babysitter that Natalia & Josiah just adore. She is a teacher and is getting her master's degree...so now we have date night at least twice a month if not more. I "discovered" her before she got her teaching job while she was working at a kids jumping gym...she was so good with Natalia and Josiah every time we went there that one day I asked her if she was every interested in babysitting and she said yes and has been our babysitter ever since. One time when Frank was working a 24hr shift I had her come over to babysit just so I could go food shopping because I had a long list and would not have been able to do it with both the kids in the shopping cart. Oh-but since then, I did find one food store in the town next to us that has a nursery where they will watch children in the nursery while you food shop which is *brilliant* and I am soooo thankful to have found it!! Now I just need a salon to do the same, Lol.
Also, Natalia has started preschool which has been wonderful for her and myself. I did get teary-eyed after I dropped her off at preschool the first day but once Josiah and I drove away, I felt this sense of "freedom" because I could go to the store a lot easier with one child then with two and I could take Josiah places and spend quality time with just him which he cherishes as do I because until now he never had mommy all to himself.
Well, we are looking forward to a new year filled with new blessings and memories shared!! We are so thankful that this year has been better than the last and are excited for the days ahead as Frank's schedule gets easier and easier as he finishes his training.
Wow, I think this is the most I ever wrote in a post...normally I just let the pictures tell the story. Well, I can still post a lot of pictures as always...enjoy!!
****P.S. I do want to point out that although we have a lot of pictures during the holidays, unfortunately Frank's mom was sick with a bad case of bronchitis so I was not able to get pictures with Grandma & Grandpa Lodeserto : ( We felt terrible that she was sick and we wished SO badly we could all be together but we knew she just had to rest and get well. Natalia & Josiah did of course have a *blast* with their cousins as they always do!!!! : ) So now Grandma & Grandpa Lodeserto will just have to come visit as soon as possible so we can all spend time together and we'll be sure to get some great memories posted forever and ever : ) It's going to be nice to come back to my blog in years to come and be able to "go back in time" with the click of a button. Such warm blessings to have had recorded in our "Lodeserto Love Letter"...
My brother and his wife Rachel
My sister with my niece Julianna & nephew Anthony and their dad, Brian
Julianna singing to us
ok, so this was funny...as soon as the kids got up I got them dressed and ready for "Christmas" before they even went downstairs and saw the gifts. Everyone else was of course still in their pj's but Josiah was in a tie and Natalia was in a dress, Lol. But to my defense, since we were leaving right after breakfast to visit Franks family, it was just easier this way so that they could play with their new toys for a little bit before leaving without having to stop to get dressed and all. But once we got to Frank's family's house they had a whole new batch of toys to play with of course!! ((Smile)) It was so nice to be home for the holidays and enjoy time with our families!!
Aunt Danielle : )
Starting with the head of the table going clockwise...my sister-in-law Rachel, my Aunt Anne Marie, my cousin Steven's soon-to-be bride Samantha, my cousin Jackie and my Aunt Carol.
"Teacher" Aunt Rachel reading to Natalia
Making pizzas! Mommy, daddy, Natalia & Josiah
Sister-in-law Rachel, nephew Anthony, brother Michael and my mom and dad (and Natalia)
Singing Happy Birthday to Jesus
Playdoh with Grandma Lou
In Pittsburgh before Christmas...
Bone Fire at our friends house down the street from us...
It's great to have friends with kids the same age!
Playing football with Grandpa Lodeserto :)
Grandpa Lodeserto : )
Grandma Lodeserto cheering them on : ))
This one's for you Grandma L!!!!!!
Watching "Beauty and the Beast" at the Children's Theater in Pittsburgh
Our new dog Brady!!! (As in Michigan's 'Tom Brady')
So we went to the mall to see Santa, and somehow came how with a dog. To to my defense, when we went to the pet store in the mall to just "look at" the dogs, this dog looked exactly like our old dog "Scrubs" and so I just couldn't leave without him. Brady was potty-trained when we got him which was great and he is so amazing with the kids. I have a picture on my phone of Josiah sitting on his back and he is just laying there chilling out. When I let him outside he goes back into the woods to go to the bathroom (so I don't ever have to pick any poop up) and then he comes right back...without even having to put a leash on him. It's nice. We got lucky. We just found the right dog at the right time.
Natalia's Christmas Concert at her Preschool...
You can see Natalia standing there with her little green bows in her hair : )
One of her favorite songs that they sang (which she still sings now) was, "We're looking for the New Born King". They had hand motions and everything, she looked adorable and we were so proud of her.
Only problem was Josiah wanted to go on stage as well!!
At the Children's Museum...
Celebrating Christ's victory over evil
Celebrating Christ's victory over evil
Mickey Mouse & Minnie trick or treating at the mall the week of Halloween...
We just so happened to stop in front of the Steelers store to take the picture! Ha!
Trick or treating at the mall with our friends
Josiah did not want to leave costume on but I still got some cute pictures
Trick or Treating!
The pictures below were taken while Josiah was taking a nap so I didn't get any of him but I got some cute shots of Natalia...
Fall arts & crafts
Mommy and Natalia
Story time & pumpkin painting at the Library
Natalia in the front in the purple
Josiah listening in the back
They had a PET THERAPY DOG there! So much fun! (We did pet therapy when I worked in the hospital as a Child Life Specialist so it brought back memories : )
Josiah painting a pumpkin with Aunt Danielle
Baking Grandma's birthday cake with Aunt Danielle
Happy Birthday Grandma Lou!
On the slide at the mall
Ice pops : ) Just because I want to remember it later in life...how many times she has asked for an ice pop.
At the playground in the mall here in Pittsburgh...
Nap time for Josiah soon after he was done playing...
Another day at the mall with daddy this time...
Singing & dancing on the "stage"
Playing at the Library down the street from us
Natalia's 1st day of Preschool
At the park...my 1st time "alone" with Josiah while Natalia was in Preschool...
Natalia's very 1st homework assignment
(Fill the picture with things that tell the class all about you & what you like. Natalia, you were so proud to do your homework)
Natalia's 1st day of Soccer
You can see Frank with his hat on helping as an assistant even though he knew nothing about soccer. It was cute to watch though.
Josiah missed the whole thing since he was sleeping...
Frank's best friend Sal and his wife were here visiting us and came to see Natalia's practice : ) Although the pictures of Natalia playing soccer seem as if she really enjoyed it...and she did...as long as everyone had their very own ball to practice with. At the end of the practice when they started to play a real "game" she just didn't understand why she had to "fight" for the ball and just wanted everyone to have their own ball like they did in the beginning. It was sweet. But overall I still think she had fun during practice time at least ; )
Well, I hope you enjoyed all the updates! Until next time!