Friday, September 28, 2012

Luca Lashes at the Doctor's Office


This picture is from our upcoming book, "Luca Lashes Visits the Doctor"! Let us know what you think!

Happy Parenting!

Damir

posted by Luca Lashes @ 9:02 AM  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Poem on Family - Guest Blog Part IV


A family is a unit
with convictions set in stone.
They share the parts of same finger print
And marrow in the bone.

It begins when eyes pry open
And sticks around in the tough days
It’s love speaks and can’t get broken
When they’re all gone, the family stays.

And as the sunshine freshly glimmers
And illuminates what’s right
Bonded hearts sit down to dinner
 Because the family knows what’s right.

So remember tattered pictures
And all the resonating eyes
Appreciate brothers and sisters
Because a family never dies.

By Jackie Tortorello

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Visiting Family!

 We recently got back from a vacation/family trip to Croatia to see parents, and were awestruck by the emotions and connections that our son got to re-make with his grandparents, who he had not seen for a year and a half. The trip was a getaway and a relaxing event, but more than anything, it was a chance to shore up and strengthen existing family bonds.


1. Getting there
At the beginning, it was about the travel. Taking a three-year old on a trip to Croatia involves planning and patience. Two flights with a total travel time over 12 hours to get there! Surprisingly, Lucas was an absolute wonder on the plane rides there. We had planned an overnight flight for the long flight, and we got lucky that he actually fell asleep for more than 3 hours of the 7-hour flight. A one and a half hour layover and another 2-hour flight later, we finally touched down in Zagreb, Croatia.
2. Seeing the Grandparents
On the plane ride over, Lucas had said how excited he was to see his Nonni. When he got off the plane and we got our luggage, we saw my parents and immediately went to hug each other. Lucas gave them both a big kiss and hug, and was very excited by the car ride back to their house, which involved a 1-hour drive and going through over 10 tunnels!

3. Dealing with jet lag
Because of all the traveling and the time changes, we were dealing with a 7-hour time shift. This being Lucas’s first long trip to deal with real jet lag, we were interested to see how long it would take him to acclimate, and surprisingly, we think he might have acclimated faster than we did. Other than an astounding first day where the whole family went to bed at 9 PM and woke up at 2 PM the following day, Lucas went to a fairly regular sleeping pattern pretty quickly, and enjoyed the long afternoon naps that have always been a wonderfully charming aspect of European culture!

4. Lucas and his loving family
My parents are fairly even-tempered people. My mother is a realist who does not mince words (ever), and my father has a big heart and always feels the need to clean up. We were worried that the terrible three’s that my son is going through might upset my parents (who are much older than most grandparents of a 3-year old) and try their patience. We could not have been further from the truth! My parents displayed infinite patience and an attitude that forced Lucas to comply with their house rules as best he could. My mother took Lucas under her wing, cooking for him and playing with him as often as she could. My father enjoyed his moments with Lucas, playing outside him, taking him to the park, and buying him gelato at the numerous outdoor ice-cream parlors we walked by.
The whole trip was such a benefit to my family. We had some trying days, and Lucas is still going through some growing pains, but the way that his eyes light up thinking about his Nonna’s pizza, or remembering one of the great trips his Nonno drove him to, is a treasure we will hold dear in our hearts forever. We still think 3 is a little young for a such a long trip, but if you plan accordingly and have enough distractions in place, any parent should be able to cope. We have said this before, but we always recommend the iPad as a great tool for traveling. The movies, book apps, and drawing apps kept our son entertained whenever he was having a moment!

Happy Parenting!

Damir Fonovich

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Family - Guest Blog Part III


I recently traveled to Wisconsin with my best friend and her family to catch a glimpse of a meteor shower. We trekked through a forest, scaled a gravel hill and were eventually met with train tracks and a spot to rest our bones. The sky was clear and the air was cold, so we looked up and decided to settle down.

Her family placed their chairs in a line and I sat between the two brothers sensing security and comfort. I had been on trips with this family before and ate multiple meals within the walls of their three-bedroom home; clearly I was no stranger. I had engaged their mother in frequent conversations regarding nutrition and even asked their father for some fishing tips prior to our excursion.

As the stars above us glittered and elicited wishful thinking from the most rational souls, I still wondered. I wondered what it would be like if I was sitting with my own family. I wondered what my siblings were doing at that particular moment in time. I wondered why my friend’s father didn’t laugh as loud as mine. 
It was safe to say that I missed them in the absence of a beautiful moment. It was also safe to say I wished that some of my own siblings were sitting next to me so I could lovingly punch them in the arm and tell them to be quiet. I’m sure I could have done that to my friend’s brother, but he would never pick a fight like my own.

Lines of starlight softly flickered above and I reminisced on reasons why my own family meant so much to me. I thought about the time, on Christmas morning, when Santa Claus brought us a dog. I thought about that particular October afternoon where we spent the majority of it raking. I thought about the jokes my siblings told and the way we had our own little language based on raised eyebrows and the flick of a wrist.

Although I held my friends’ family close to my heart, it was obvious they were not my own. But still, the meteors continued to rain and I continued to think about the way my Dad looks when the dishes are left dirty or the porch light stays on all night. His strict features can evoke fear, but he’s my father, and at this moment, I missed him immensely.

By Jackie Tortorello

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Puppy Love!


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Friday, September 14, 2012

What does family mean to me?

 We love the blog posts from Jackie Tortorello on Wednesday’s and love that she chose to write about family, what it means at an emotional level and a personal level. It got me thinking about what family actually means to me, and what I want for it to mean, as Lucas grows older.

1. Families should eat together
This is not always possible in today’s fast-paced world. Children are whisked from class to class, even before they start school, and there seems to be a constant need for everyone to keep their mind occupied. Taking the time to eat together as a family is a great way to bring closure to a day and have everyone re-connect. Whenever possible, the day should start and end with a shared meal.

2. Special occasions need to be honored
Family holidays should be always spent with loved ones. Your children should see some kind of tradition, however silly it might seem, on a regular basis. This is important to teach the family values that you want them to learn, not what society tells them to learn. By showing your children your traditions, you are connecting them to their family’s past, and guiding them towards their creation of their own family’s future.

3. Laughing together
One thing we try as a family is to always laugh together. Laughing is a great way to share a joyful moment and to establish a sense of familiarity and closeness. Life can be hard for anyone, child or adult, and knowing that your family brings you happiness, joy and laughter is such a great feeling to convey to your children.

4. Plan events together
This does not mean you have to plan events that involve going out and spending money. A family event can be as simple as board game night, movie night, or puzzle night. Any event that can be done together as a family is a chance to make a memory, and memories last a lifetime. This is true for both you and your children, so make these moments count!

My family is the most important thing in my life and it encompasses everything that I stand for and care about. From my wife (my guide and partner) to my son (my hope and joy), every minute I live is for them and about them. They say family is the bedrock of a great society, and I know that mine has always made me stronger.

Happy Parenting!

Damir

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sibling Birth Order- Guest Blog Part II


Alfred Adler presented the idea that ordinal position among siblings is related to potential for achievement. This does not mean that birth order is the defining factor in a persons capability for success, it just means specific relations and characteristics are promoted based on who came first.

1. The Leader

I am the oldest of four children. From my personal experience my father has held my behavior to the highest standard. In order to keep the status quo at home, I must exemplify what is proper even if my siblings have their backs turned. As we grow together and advance, I feel it is my God-given duty to protect and enable them. This means I have to show them the ropes of applying for college and how to feel when a relationship ends.  I have to pick them up when it’s past 12:00 midnight and cover when they crash the car.

2. The Next in Line

Donny is the second child. He’s a pacemaker and fully aware that there’s someone ahead. Adler says his position is generally more competitive and may try to outdo or rebel against the oldest. Although there’s psychological evidence that his position plays the part, our relationship is based on communication rather than rivalry.  It was probably different when we were younger though, I’ve seen a few pictures of him with nasty bumps and a big black eye.  

3. The Surveyor

Colleen is the middle child and excels at her role. As a 16-year-old she’s able to flex her muscle in front of Matthew, the youngest and still remain intimidated by her elders.  According to Adler, she is given adequate attention from our father but still feels the need to compete. So, with her false sense of marginalization, she adapts quickly and establishes her own identity.  

4. The Small Jester

Matthew is the youngest and makes everyone laugh. He breaks the rules prescribed by our father, but we love him even more for that. He’s the type of kid that begs for hugs and let’s you pet him like a dog. A dog with a very shaggy haircut. At such a young age he already charms girls, but of course he never brings them home. With a taste of opportunistic persuasion, a state of positivity resonates from his crooked, brace locked teeth.

By Jackie Tortorello

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Who Loves Trains? Lucas does!


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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Language Stars!


We have been taking our son to a “Language Stars” Academy to help reinforce his Italian since he was a toddler. This great foreign language academy has done a remarkable job with our son, and we wanted to share some great ways that they teach and reinforce foreign languages. Check out there website here.

1. Using Music
From the Parent/Tot class on up, music is used to teach and reinforce the daily lesson goal. The teachers are well trained and follow a set curriculum that is age-appropriate and fun to listen to. Children have fun and sing along with the teacher, and we have witnessed how much Lucas brings home and sings.

2. Interactivity
Children are involved in every aspect of class. If the students are learning about the beach, there is a picnic blanket laid out with all manner of beach items, including swim trunks and toys! The teachers really do a remarkable job making the students fully part of the lesson, instead of talking at them with simple repetition.

3. Full immersion
Class is only taught in the language you are having your child learn, and the teachers are native speakers of the language. Our Italian teachers have been great at keeping any English-speaking to parents either before class or afterwards. During class, the children don’t get a chance to hear any English, and the full immersion works as the children all get excited to answer the teacher with the right words!

4. High energy!
The teachers we have had at Language Stars have been amazing and high energy! There is a tremendous level of excitement, and the positive reinforcement when a child says things correctly is just wonderful! Our son has the best time in his class and is always trying to talk fast and excitedly just like his teachers!

With all the research that shows multilingualism to have a positive effect on the brain during development, it is imperative that parents give foreign language learning a try. If there is not a second language spoken in the home already, Language Stars Academy is a great place to have your child be exposed to an awesome foreign language immersion experience!

Auguri, and Happy Parenting!

Nicole and Damir

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Evolution of Family - Guest Blog Part I


1. The Cave of Bones

The structure of a mother-father relationship dates back to 49,000 years ago when researchers in Spain excavated a cave and found matching mitochondrial DNA. Matching mitochondrial strands means that the mother has donated pieces of its own existence to the offspring. Although the reminisce of fossils prove no emotional ties, it’s one of first scientific examples of a family.

2. Emotional Immigration

Fast forward to the 18th Century, as immigrants flood the liberated shores of America. Each Italian, Irishman or Romanian had hopes of escaping deplorable economic conditions and dead ends. Upon arriving, immigrants were greeted with hostile attitudes from those who originated in the States. Families often endured the effects of overcrowding like poor sanitation and high crime. In an attempt to preserve their heritage, the mother and father pursued religious and educational institutions that held up cultural standards. Although this promoted a significant heritage it also isolated families on a social, emotional and linguistic level.

3. An Origin of Baby Boomers

With the advent of the immigration center on Ellis Island after WWII, the 1950’s became an era of consumption and pride. Within the world of sock hops and hot rods, a gallon of gas cost 16 cents and milk was 87 cents. Families of the 1950’s gathered around the radio to immerse themselves in the plotlines of imaginative broadcasters as a home cooked meal rested upon the stove. Within the realm of new kitchen appliances and snazzy televisions, chores were delegated to determine integrity.  There were no cell phones or Facebook alerts and all apples were just for eating.

4. Deep Roots and Strong Branches

Each type of family supports the strength it takes to adapt and change in a world that is constantly slinging boulders, whether it be the alleged comet that took out the Neanderthals or a two-week steamboat trip all immigrants endured. Inside the challenges, the struggles and the strife, a group of people bonded as an effort to stay alive and spread their love.  Within these motives, individuals transcend the grind while families look on, knowing that their parts were equally served.

By Jackie Tortorello

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Hot in the Summer? It's Outdoor Fountain Time!


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