March 30, 2010

The Licker and the Kisser

I was chatting with Therese about her swimming lessons. Just to prompt some conversation, I asked Therese how many kids are in her swimming class. (There are four. A couple three-year-olds, a two-year-old, and Therese who just turned four.)

Her response is a classic:

"Well, let's see [she says, while counting on her fingers]...  There's one... that's the boy who licks us.  There's two... that's the little girl who kisses me.  There's three... that's me.  And there's four... That's the good little boy who is a not a licker or a kisser."

There you go. Swimming lessons are apparently cozy with the preschool set.  Too funny.

March 27, 2010

Watch What You Eat on Fridays

Upon rising yesterday morning, Joe mentioned that it's a Friday in Lent. "No meat today," he said.

"Awwwww, I wanted cereal for breakfast," said Andrew, still in his pajamas.

"Cereal?" we asked. "You can have cereal, Buddy."

"No," Andrew said. "We can't eat it on Friday."

Then and there, we had a little discussion about the fact that cereal is definitely not meat, even if perhaps Grape Nuts (a staple around here) does resemble ground beef ever so slightly.

Too funny.

An hour later, we're sitting around the breakfast table, and I pull out the cereal.

Andrew, quite sure that's he's catching me shirking my Catholic duty, scolds me.  "Mom, you're forgetting something. It's Friday. We can't eat wheat."


Light-bulb moment at the Leone household:  All these years, Andrew apparently thought we were abstaining from wheat on Fridays.

March 23, 2010

A Quarter of a Year

Marguerite is three-and-a-half months already, and she gets cuter with each passing day. Her smiles, her laughter, and her eyebrow-raises keep us all wrapped around her little finger.

I'm working on some cute hair-dos which are not quite cute enough (operator-error) for photographs yet. Stay tuned!

March 21, 2010

Therese Turns Four in Kansas

On Valentine's Day, our sweetheart, Therese, turned four. Her Godfather, Uncle Andrew, was good enough to purchase a much-coveted ice cream cake and had it ready for Therese when we arrived in Kansas for a visit which coincided with her birthday. Therese enjoyed sharing her birthday with Grandma Kate, Poppy, Uncle Andrew, Aunt Alison, and cousins Evan and Daniel.

Father-Daughter Dance Retrospective

After the last post, I decided to go back and look at our Father-Daughter Dance photos from the last five years... just to see how the girls (and Joe) have changed and to remember each year.

When I couldn't find a posed photo from 2007, I realized that was the year when Anna Marie and I were sick. I wasn't present to take the posed father-daughter photos, and Joe escorted just Kathleen that year. Even with that little gap in posed photos, these provide a fun look back at the last five years.


Kathleen, Joe, Anna Marie.

Therese was in-utero (and due any day).


Anna Marie and Elizabeth were home with the flu this year.

No formal photos this year, but Kathleen enjoyed the dance with Dad (and won a door prize to boot).


Anna Marie, Joe, and Kathleen.

Two-year-old Therese's last year at home.


Kathleen, Joe, Therese, and Anna Marie.

Therese gets her first taste of the Father-Daughter Dance and stays awake for the whole evening.


Anna Marie, Therese, Joe, & Kathleen.

Two-month old Marguerite is at home, awaiting her dance debut with Daddy.

5th Annual Father-Daughter Dance

It's hard to believe it was five years ago that I decided our homeschool group needed a Father-Daughter Dance. A couple moms and I got together and held the first annual Father-Daughter Dance in 2006. And here we are, five years later, repeating this now-popular event a fifth time. It's a fun event, and my hope is that our girls will cherish these memories with their dad for a lifetime.

Joe escorted his three lovely ladies to the dance again this year. (Joe, of course, has four lovely little ladies now, but two-month old Marguerite is just a little young for dancing. Next year! ;)  Joe surprised Anna Marie, Kathleen, and Therese with corsages, to their great delight. And, of course, he danced their socks off. It was an evening of merriment with Dad and girl friends. 

Joe poses with the girls.

Therese dances with her pals.

Kathleen spends time with her friend, Jordan.

Anna Marie (front-left) enjoys time with her homeschooled girlfriends.

Therese, ready to fall asleep in Dad's arms, snoozes away the end of the dance.

March 8, 2010

Defending the Smallest Among Us

In February, Joe and the kids and I bundled up for a Saturday afternoon to show our respect for life and to be a presence in a city where one of our primary hospitals is considering providing abortions. The Rally for Life was a beautiful, peaceful, loving event where we were able to put some action where our mouths are.

For our family, our pro-life position has become all the more personal, since our adoption of sweet Marguerite. Marguerite's birthmother experienced great difficulty and took great risks which I won't detail here. Yet she made the decision to carry Marguerite to term with one purpose: To give Marguerite life.

Was it easy?


Was it challenging?


Was she frightened?


Was she heroic?


In my arms, as I type, is a beautiful baby girl who, according to the statistical data surrounding her race and her mother's socio-economic status, should have been aborted. Perhaps that would have been the "easy" choice for her birth mother. But Temple was bigger than all that. She stood strong and made the decision to give Marguerite the greatest gift of all. Whatever Joe and I give Marguerite in her lifetime, it will not be surpassed by the gift of life, given to her by her birth mother.

By showing up and being seen and heard at events like our local Rally for Life, we hope to educate mothers (and fathers) about the alternatives to the barbaric practice known as abortion.

Next time, my sign, attached to Marguerite's stroller, will read simply, "Adoption is a loving choice." Never before have I had a more personal platform from which to make that statement.

In the words of our children, "A person's a person, no matter how small."--Dr. Seuss

Andrew & William at the rally.

From left to right, Anna Marie, Therese (Red snow suit), Joe with baby Marguerite in stroller, and Andrew (in yellow snowsuit).

Anna Marie

Marguerite, all bundled up for the rally...

March 5, 2010

Two Months Old

Oh, those smiles! Oh, those belly laughs! 

Marguerite,we love you!


Grandma Carolyn Meets Marguerite

In February, we traveled to Illinois to introduce Grandma Carolyn to her newest granddaughter, Marguerite Jane.

Notably soft-spoken Grandma was overheard saying, "It's so nice to have a baby in the family again." And she proceeded to snuggle with Marguerite, giving her all kinds of Grandma-love.

Pictured here are Grandma Carolyn, and two of Joe's siblings, Margaret and Bill, getting to know Marguerite.  I think they are smitten. Who wouldn't be?


Learning All the Time

In this homeschooling family, there is always something new to learn.

Often it's traditional academics.

For example, the boys recently practiced math while playing "Store," buying and selling little treasures on the family room floor.

But sometimes it's something even more exciting.

This semester, we are learning something very to style beautiful tightly coiled hair. Here, Anna Marie helps with a detangling session. After detangling, we'll put styling "custard" in Marguerite's hair to moisturize it, give it shine, and bring out the beauty of her curls. We can't wait for braids and puffs.

March 4, 2010

The Wearin' O' The Sling

How times have changed. When Anna Marie was a baby, I had a baby sling that never quite worked for me. It was a hassle, and it was uncomfortable and fairly un-adjustable. For years (and four more babies), I believed that slings were just not for me.

Enter Miss Marguerite and my great desire to forge the strong attachment that might not be automatic via adoption. I decided it was time to take another look at slings.

How times have changed! In just thirteen years, slings have (at least in my eyes) gone from uncomfortable to comfortable and barely adjustable to infinitely-adjustable.

Just call me a sling convert. I'm not sure who loves the sling more... Marguerite or her happy mama.



We Have a Winner!

William, our Cub Scout, came home with a trophy—and a huge smile—after his first Pinewood Derby. Our happy young man won second fastest car in his category and second best in show. Talk about thrilled!

That's William's car, in the middle of the fourth photo.