Thursday, September 28, 2006

fall, glorious fall

Autumn is my favorite season. I can't say that it has always been my favorite season (summer was number 1 when I was little), but it was always first or second on the list. I think it became my favorite season once I started college. Something about football games, the beautiful quad at school, the entrance to UW off 45th St; it was always like a new beginning, a fresh start on a new year even though a new year technically didn't begin for a few more months. Fall in Seattle was truly glorious. I miss it. Crisp mornings and evenings, warm sunshine, bright leaves falling from the trees, the smell of wood burning in fireplaces. It was a great time to walk around Greenlake (or run, as I usually did), to go hiking in the Cascades, to get tickets to a Husky game, or watch away games on TV while eating nachos and drinking a good Seattle microbrew.

Fall here in Arizona is a little different. It means cooler temperatures (it hasn't gotten warmer than 98 this month, I don't think, with average temps in the lower 90s), the end of pool season, Oktoberfest on Mt Lemmon, Wildcat football games (which really only interest me if they are playing the Huskies, like they are this weekend), switching from A/C to swamp cooler in the house, being able to walk past 8am in the mornings without dying of heat exhaustion, Saturday or Sunday afternoons spent at Buffalo Wild Wings watching football, picking pomegranites from our tree, and so much more. If we had time, and perhaps we will this year, we could go to Greer where my sister and her husband got married amongst brilliant yellow aspen trees a few years ago.

Autumn also means mosquito season, complete with west-nile scares, and the return to desert life. Everything dries out, including your skin and any fruit left lying around the house. It also means the weeds dry up so I can burn them! Fire. Hehe.

Perhaps best of all, fall means Pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks. This is about the only time of year I go to Starbucks, besides at Christmas when they have peppermint mochas and eggnog lattes. I know I'm supposed to be a good Seattle girl, but there are coffees out there that are so much better than theirs. Torrefazione is our favorite. Mmmm. The best. 'Tis also the season for Pumpkin beer. It is so not a great time to be pregnant. Jessica and I also spend some time in the kitchen making squash soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies with orange'd think we're pumpkin freaks, but really, we're not. Of course fall also brings the coming of Halloween (one of my favorite holidays) and Thanksgiving. And my birthday. It's truly a glorious season.

This little cup of heaven only cost me $3.25. Gulp.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

kate's birthday celebrations: the grand finale

I still have to think twice before answering people when they ask me how old Kate is. She just turned one last week. One! Crazy.

Kate had what I think was her last first birthday celebration on Saturday. We invited about 7 of her closest friends and their parents. Our house was packed. Kate loved it. People everywhere! It was like being back in Oregon with all her aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins.

She also enjoyed being the center of attention. I think she likes this a lot. She gets this cute smile on her face everytime the room is focused on her, like when we bring in the birthday cake and sing to her. Maybe she just likes that we're all singing. Or she knows that she is going to get to dig into that cake coming at her.

Many thanks to Jessica, Mike, Dad and Simone for all their help over the weekend. Simone decorated like crazy, and made Kate's birthday extra special. And Kate loved spending more time with her grandparents and aunt and uncle.

She now has new favorite toys, most notably the Fisher-Price telephone and her birthday balloons. She loves to pick up the telephone receiver and put it to her ear, listening to the recorded voice saying 'hello'. She still loves that Little People bus, and now has more people from her Little People airplane and zoo train animals to put in the bus.

On Sunday night we spent even more time with Jess at the Greek festival. Kate had a great time eating Greek food and dancing to the obnoxiously loud music.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

happy first birthday, baby girl!

The birthday girl.

Kate is one year old today. I can't believe my baby's all grown up. I can't believe it was a year ago that I was in the hospital, seizing with every contraction, leaning on Tim for support. I can't believe all that has happened in this past year.

Kate somehow learned to roll over. She learned to crawl, to pull herself up on things, to sleep through the night. She learned to drink from a straw sippy-cup and chew people food. She has even started to run in place when she gets excited. She was so tiny last year; now she's huge in comparison. I can't imagine life without her.

We went to the Happy Rooster for lunch to celebrate. It was Eric's birthday last week, and Amber's birthday today, so there was lots to be festive about. We got the special room off to the side (I think this was a wise move by the staff, seeing the mess we left and the noise we must have made while there) and filled it with about 15 women and children. Kate had a blast. She had milk, cheese, fruit puffs, apricots, strawberries, blueberry pancakes, and almost had half of Jamie's sandwich before we grabbed it from her chubby little hands just in time. After that, they brought the rooster hat out and we sang happy birthday to Amber, Eric and Kate, and they gave each a slice of chocolate cake with fudge frosting. Kate really likes chocolate.

Wearing the rooster hat.

Uh, am I gonna have to have a bath when we get home?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

birthday parties mean cake!

Kate's friend Eric is just one week older than Kate and we went to his birthday party yesterday. Kate was excited to dress up and have pizza and cake. I think it was her first time having ice cream, and she liked it a lot until...

...she got an ice cream headache.

The kids all had fun playing with Eric's new toys, and Kate's favorite was the Fisher Price fire engine from when we were little. She pushed it all around the house, making it make siren noises. So cool. I, of course, do not have any photos of that, but here is one of Kate and Eric trying to get a new toy out of its box.

Friday, September 15, 2006

first 1st birthday party

Let's see if this cranky website will let me post my photos today.

As I mentioned yesterday, Kate got to have her first taste of birthday cake and she loved it. At first she was delicate (we were very surprised) and just picked at the little dots on the butterflies.

Then she realized that the dots tasted good and went in for the kill.

I hope she didn't eat all that is missing.

Cake was everywhere. We'll see how next week's birthday party here goes. I might have to put her outside with her cake. I admire Sheila's ability to laugh when chocolate cake was flying across her kitchen; I do not think it will be as funny when it is in my own house. Call me Monica if you must.

Towards the end of our trip, we visited Tim's grandma where Kate got to play in the grass again. She loves that stuff! We might have to invest in a small patch just to keep her happy here. Rocks just aren't the same, I guess.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

firsts, revisited

Kate had a few firsts on our vacation. One of the greatest ones was her first word: Daddy. I think she learned this while we were in Seattle, but we got to hear her say it a few times when we returned, and I think she knows what it means. She's getting better at calling me Mama and Tim Dada or Daddy. Her second word was 'hiiiii', which she greeted me with one morning when I went into her room to get her out of her pack n play. I always say 'hiiii' when I go into her room after she wakes up, and she has taken notice. After we returned to Arizona, she also said 'baby' (just a couple of times) and has now learned 'bye-bye', which she reserves for very special occasions that only she can explain. She has a very cute voice.

A not-so-fun first was her first trip to the ER a week ago. That cold she had come down with on the way to Oregon finally settled and seemed to be causing an ear infection. Tricare of course recommended that we go to the Salem Hospital ER, where they triage and we got to wait in the waiting room for just a hair over 4 hours. This was during naptime, and again created crabby baby who didn't want to sleep in our arms. Once she had been asleep for about 30 minutes, they called us into our room to see the doc. He came in pretty quickly, looked in both of her ears, diagnosed ear infections in each (is it bad to say 'at least she was sick'?), and left telling us that he'd be back to give us a prescription. Just a hair over 45 minutes later, when I was certain he had forgotten us (he had), I stuck my head out the door and hailed a nurse to remind her that we were still there. Waiting. Finally, prescriptions in hand, and 5 hours after arriving, we left on a quest for our meds. I think we only had to go to 2 pharmacies to find what we needed, but I can't remember for sure... So, another mostly-napless day for Kate. But she started getting better right away, which was good since we were flying out 2 days later.

Kate at the ER. What is this thing on my toe?

The next night we had Kate's family birthday celebration. She got her own cake (chocolate) and was the star of the show. She loved that. She also loved the cake.

And of course, now that I am trying to upload more photos, blogger refuses to acknowledge my requests. So I will continue this later. Grrr.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

oregon, the first few days

Kate did really well on the airplane ride to Portland, considering she got very little sleep the night before and was coming down with a cold right as we left. She doesn't sleep in our arms, so that was challenging. We had 2 flights, so she would fall asleep just as we were getting ready to descend, and would wake up crying because her ears hurt. She didn't sleep more than 20 minutes that day, compared to her usual 3+ hours of naps. So, considering all of that, she did remarkably well.

We got to Grandma's house, had dinner, and put her right to bed. The next day we went to her great-grandparent's for dinner. She loved this because she got to play outside. We don't do that much here unless we're in the pool. She experienced grass again and loved it. She tried salmon and didn't love it. We're working on that one.

Mom, we should get grass at home.

Two days after arriving, we left our baby with Tim's parents for 4 days and 3 nights while we drove to Seattle for Christy's wedding. Luckily we were busy, because it was the first time we'd left her for that long, let alone overnight, and it was a big step. We all survived it, and we had a great time in Seattle visiting with friends and seeing sights. On Saturday we got to go to the Husky season opening football game with Shaun, which was awesome! The weather was perfect, and the view spectacular. Husky stadium has the best view from a football field ever.

The Huskies take the field.

The wedding was gorgeous, and the weather was perfect. We spent 4 lovely days in my hometown and had a great time. I even slept in until 9am twice!

After Labor Day weekend in Washington, we headed back to Oregon, and I'll post more on that later...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

if your name is:

  • Tara
  • Steph
  • Christy K.
  • Amber
  • Jill
  • Elizabeth
  • Carrie
  • Dana
  • Christy S.
  • Samantha
  • Kristen
  • Sheila
  • Rae

...then you were right in your predition about Kate's little sibling. Kate is going to be the proud big sister of a ... little girl. She is already so excited about her new sister, and can't wait for the end of January when she will get to meet her.

As for us, we are still trying to get settled after our vacation to Oregon and Seattle. We have many photos and stories, but I will have to save that for another time.