Thursday, November 30, 2006

Getting to Know You

Welcome to the 2006 Christmas Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends! You know the drill. Don't be a scrooge!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Egg Nog; I can drink hot chocolate any time of year. Unfortunately this year my egg nog will not be made with merry juice.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Um, hello. Isn't that part of the whole Christmas idea? Wrapping paper makes the season! Usually stocking stuffers are unwrapped, though.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I don't have a preference, but this year we have colored lights outside and will probably have colored lights on the tree. I don't know if we own any plain white lights right now.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? I haven't found any in years. But Amy gave me this great gift many years ago: the famed Mistletoad. He gets hung with care every year. Sometimes we hang the Mistletoad Rules of Conduct next to him, but I think they need to be updated since Niki and I enacted them freshman year of college.

5. When do you put up your decorations? It depends on where we are living. Here in Arizona, you can't put a live tree up too early (see the pumpkin story) or it will dry out and is sure to catch on fire. I'm hoping we'll put the tree up within the next 2 weeks. Tim hung the lights on the house over Thanksgiving weekend, and we have some Christmas decorations up in the house.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Turkey and stuffing. Even though we have it the month before for Thanksgiving, it still rocks. I also love hot cider and egg nog.

7. Favorite Christmas memory as a child? So many memories, none of them so spectacular that it stands out. We went to the Nutcracker often when I was little, and although I liked the idea of going (maybe the getting dressed up part?), the ballet always put me to sleep. I remember going to the Domino's Christmas light show in Ann Arbor one year - that was pretty cool. It seemed that every year we saw our grandparents, though, and that was great.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I think around 3rd or 4th grade, probably from friends.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes, one.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? First we hang the lights, Tim usually following behind me and attaching them to the branches properly. Then we hang the ornaments. We have all kinds - some from when I was little and made ornaments in grade school, some from Beijing, some from many of the places we've vacationed together. This year will be interesting; will we be able to hang ornaments below waist-level? I'm starting to wonder...

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it, probably because I've never lived anywhere where we've had a lot of it. Driving in it is no fun, but it sure is beautiful.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Thinking...thinking...last year Tim got me an MP3 player. That was cool. Oh yeah - he got me a pearl necklace a few years ago. Very cool.

14. What's the most important thing about Christmas for you? Spending time with family and friends.

15. What is your favorite Christmas dessert? Christmas sugar cookies and Tim's cranberry bread pudding.

16. What is your favorite Christmas tradition? I love decorating, and picking out the tree. And seeing Christmas lights around town. Making sugar cookies with my sister is also a hoot. Oh, and watching 'When Harry Met Sally' is a must. In my 20s I loved going to midnight mass. I don't think that is going to happen this year.

17. What tops your tree? Aaah, I'm not sure. I'll have to get out the ornament box to see if we have something.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I love giving gifts! And I love the surprise of receiving gifts.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Linus and Lucy (Guaraldi) and Sleigh Ride (performed by the Boston Pops).

20. Candy -Canes! Yuck or Yum? I don't generally eat them by themselves, but I bake with them!

Broccoli and More

A couple of weeks ago I made broccoli for dinner and Kate started to try to say it. She's getting better at the word, but it still sounds more like 'braw-wi' than 'broccoli'. Still, we know what she means, and it's just cute to hear her say it. She loves the stuff, too. I'm not sure if she's using it as a butter/salt delivery device, but I'll take it. Braw-wi has now become one of her encompass-all words, meaning that she uses it for things she likes. Cookies, for example, are braw-wi. So is cheese.

One of Kate's favorites: Mom's Christmas chocolate chip cookies.

I've also started bribing my daughter to use her signs. She knows several, but refuses to use them. Except when she wants something very badly. Then, then I can get her to sign 'more', 'milk' (don't even get me started on what she thinks this sign is - I totally blame her Dad for the hand-waving that passes for milk), or 'eat'. We've been working on 'more' by using cookies. She only gets more when she uses the sign, and it's working! Isn't it great? I'm becoming one of those moms I swore I'd never be: letting my child have sugar, turning on the DVD player while I'm trying to make dinner (this still doesn't work; the kid has no interest in TV except to touch the buttons and hear me say 'no touch' repeatedly), and letting her play with my cell phone more and more, just to keep her from whining about it. I'm sure all of these things will backfire, but sometimes it's worth it to have some (temporary) quiet. Yesterday I think I let her do all of the aforementioned things. When Tim got home, she wanted to cuddle with him; I guess she's not feeling quite right, or maybe she just missed her Dad. It's so hard to tell.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Old Man Winter

Rain on the driveway! Snow on Mt Lemmon! In November!

I'm not sure if this is going to be the best we get this winter, but I'm going to enjoy it like it is. Just in case. It's crazy windy out today; our vintage 1971 windows are whistling, and the bathroom fan vent keeps opening and closing. It's in the mid-50s today, but with the windchill, it feels more like somewhere in the 30s, which - trust me - when you're used to at least 75* is cold. I love it! Oh, and Mt Lemmon got its first dusting of snow! It looks awesome out my kitchen window. Time to warm up some hot cider and curl up with a good book.

Except I forgot. I'm a mom. I have a toddler who doesn't know that cold and windy days mean snuggling up by the fire and being lazy. Kate wants to get into everything, just like it's any other day. Plus, it's nearly Christmas and I haven't done all my shopping! I haven't baked a single Christmas cookie! I have wrapped a couple of gifts, but somehow my type-A personality forces me to forget all my accomplishments and focus on all that I have yet to do. And don't even get me started on all the baby stuff I haven't done. Gah!

I tried to appease Kate's sense of adventure by taking her to Wiggle Bells, her latest class offered by parks and rec here. The first class was actually last week, but it was the day before Thanksgiving, right before the squadron's Thanksgiving turkey-gorging event, and I think Kate actually slept through the beginning of class. So this week was our first. I was hoping it was somehow related to the holidays - I mean 'Wiggle Bells' does sound vaguely holidayish, right? - but it's not. It's just at a different location than Little Movers and Shakers and it's a shortened class in that it only goes for 4 weeks. Oh well, she loves the adventure of it all. Mats to climb on, bubbles, songs, balls, toys, a parachute - what could be better? After coming home and having grilled turkey, cream cheese and cranberry sandwiches, we bundled up and went back outside. Tim hung her swing in the backyard over the weekend, and she loves it. I push her back and forth, we listen for airplanes, and then I tickle her with my hands making airplane diving signs. She giggles and snorts (God, she got that trait from me afterall, poor kid). Her eyes light up: More, Mama! More! Adorable. This wears her out suitably so that she's ready for a nap, and I'm ready to come inside and warm up. Time for me to go get some of that stuff done while it's quiet.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I ought to be in the kitchen finishing up my carrot souffle and making sure the gravy that I forgot to start hours ago is coming along okay. But I needed a break. Really. I've spent most of the morning in that room, rinsing a turkey, stuffing it with lemons and thyme, piling sage cornbread on top of white bread and herbs for the oh-so-yummy sage stuffing, trying to catch glimpses of the floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, feeding Kate breakfast and taking her outside to burn off some energy, and obsessing about how we're going to fit 8 adults at our table that seats 6. Tim's been a great help, playing with Kate, feeding her lunch and putting her down for her nap (she is now officially -?- taking 1 nap a day), playing poolboy, and cleaning up the yard. Now most things are done and I just have a few loose ends to tie up.

Kate slept in until 8:15 this morning. At least I think she did. That's when I woke up and heard her talking. She cried for 2 seconds at 6:30am, but seemed to go back to sleep, so I decided that was a good idea and did so as well. It was like the first real vacation we've had since she was born!

My sister wasn't so lucky. She and Mike live next to DV8 nightclub, a lovely Tucson establishment that frequently causes problems. I called her at 11am this morning to get a heads up on when they and Mike's parents might be headed over, and found that she was just waking up. "It's 11am! Sleeping in a little?" They had a rough night, as she put it. At about 2:15am when the club let out, they heard some noise outside, close by, and Mike got up to investigate. He looked out their front door and saw a big white SUV parked in their driveway. He grabbed his gun and walked outside, much to my sister's dismay. She thought it would just be a better idea to call the cops. Mike walked out to the vehicle and there was someone in it. And he was loading a shotgun. Mike asked if he could help him and the guy said, "No, my gun's jammed." Mike promptly walked back inside and called the police. They showed up minutes later, with a squad car and a helicopter. How Fun. So that was my sister's night last night. Oh, and they arrested the guy. Crazy, huh? Us, we just have barking-ass dogs behind our house. I'll try to stop complaining about them for a few days.

I realized that I haven't posted any photos of Kate lately, so here are a couple of her in San Diego. I'd post some of the 2 of us, but I think my face is starting to get that 'huge, I'm pregnant and retaining all fluids I ingest' look, and I don't want to ruin your Thanksgiving.

Standing at Mission Bay park.

I think I'll have a beer.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I've been saying I've been feeling, um, big, for the past several weeks. I now have supporting evidence to explain this suspicion. Kate's little sister is what they call in OB lingo 'transverse'. She is lying sideways, and is not using her space, shall we say, wisely. Tight quarters in there, especially when you lie sideways in the sleeping bag, kiddo. My doc says she'll probably move on her own in the next few weeks, and if she doesn't he can try to move her by pushing on my belly. Wow, that sounds comfortable, sign me up for that appointment! If she refuses to move, or moves but then moves back or goes breech, I'll have a c-section.

Kate got to see her baby sister on the ultrasound machine today. I think she called her 'dada'. She did a great job while we waited for the doctor and while he did the ultrasound. She's going to be such a good big sister.

The poor kid is teething again. One of her bottom teeth is coming in; I felt it on Monday after she woke up in the middle of the night talking and wouldn't go back to sleep. We were all in the same room sleeping because we were in San Diego at my Dad's, and she woke up at like 2am and just started babbling. We kept telling her to be quiet and go back to sleep, but she wouldn't and finally started crying. I have no idea how long she talked before getting crabby, but she woke everyone up with her crying (read: screaming) at 4am. The problem? A soaked diaper and wet jammies. Aren't we good parents? "Kate, just go back to sleep." 'Course the tooth probably had something to do with the tears as well. She's doing a lot better now.

San Diego was fun for us (me and Kate). Tim had to do his CFII continuing education all weekend, so it wasn't so fun for him. But we did get to go see a movie on Sunday night to celebrate my birthday, which was fun. I'd wanted to see 'Happy Feet' but we were late, so we saw 'Stranger Than Fiction' with Will Ferrell. This is the movie where he doesn't appear in his underwear, and relies on 'acting' (his word) to supply humor to the movie. We liked it for the most part, but thought the end was a little choppy.

Monday's drive back took just over 8 hours. Normally it's about a 6.5-7 hour drive, but Kate likes to stop and stretch. I can only imagine how uncomfortable sitting in a car seat must be for 8 hours. She was a trooper throughout the whole trip.

Tomorrow we're having 8 adults over for Thanksgiving dinner. Kate will be the only kid this year, but will probably relish all the attention 3 grandparents, a set of aunts and uncles and other adults will lavish on her. So it's off to the kitchen for me; gotta make a bourbon pecan pie tonight and start brining the turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

If You Give a Mom a Muffin

If you give a mom a muffin, she'll want a cup of coffee to go with it. She'll pour herself some. Her three year old will spill the coffee. She'll wipe it up. Wiping the floor, she will find dirty socks. She'll remember she has to do the laundry. When she puts the laundry in the washer, she'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer. Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper. She will get out a pound of hamburger. She'll look for her cookbook (101 Things to Make with a Pound of Hamburger). The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail. She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow. She will look for her checkbook. The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two year old. She'll smell something funny. She'll change the two year old. While she is changing the two year old, the phone will ring. Her five year old will answer and hang up. She'll remember that she wants to phone a friend to come for coffee. Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup. She will pour herself some. And chances are, if she has a cup of coffee, her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

~author unknown
~sentiment not

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Love and Hate

I know some women who love being pregnant. I am not one of them. I don't hate it (for the most part), but I certainly don't love it. I don't really get into the whole "I'm pregnant so I can eat whatever I want for 9 months" thing, so that takes some of the fun out of it. It also takes some of the pounds off my hips that would otherwise be larger than they should be. I gain enough weight as it is; if I ate the way some pregnant women eat, I would be gigantic.

I'm trying to keep a positive attitude through this 3rd trimester, so I'm compiling lists. Love and Hate.

  • my thick, shiny hair
  • feeling the baby kick
  • the nest I feel justified in building in bed every night
  • the thought of another amazing life that I'll be bringing into the world soon
  • ultrasounds
  • the 2nd trimester
  • my new long-sleeved maternity shirts and my brown cords
  • changing the kitty litter: Tim's job
  • people who lend a hand opening doors, carrying things, etc.
  • the nesting phase that has lasted probably a whole trimester this pregnancy (man am I getting a lot done!)


  • pants that fall down
  • not fitting in spaces that I think I can fit in
  • low back pain when waking up in the morning
  • not being able to put socks or shoes on without huffing and puffing
  • the nighttime stuffy nose that won't go away
  • the 1st and 3rd trimesters
  • having trouble rough-housing with Kate, picking her up, putting her in her crib, giving her a bath, cleaning up after her
  • not being able to exercise like a normal person
  • not being able to drink wine (last year was perfect: Kate was born before the holidays)
  • heartburn
  • support hose
  • my limited wardrobe, and especially the stupid black pants I bought at Motherhood that fall down ALL THE TIME. Hate.
  • people who ignore the fact that you are hugely pregnant and have a toddler and won't lend a helping hand opening doors, carrying things, etc.
  • getting cranky for no reason, knowing you are being totally unreasonable and not being able to control your outbursts (unless it is at the dumb credit card company that calls me every other night to offer a "new service". Then I love it.)
  • water retention in my face near the end of pregnancy
  • not being able to work in the yard or go hiking during this fabulous time of year

It's the Simple Things

Forget about fancy children's chairs, board books with fuzzy kittens, or loud toys. Buy yourself some diapers, keep the box, and put it next to your magazine rack. Endless hours of fun.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Kate goes swimming

It was an eventful weekend. Not all good events, mind you, but eventful nonetheless.

Saturday was baby shower day. I left Kate home with Tim while I went to Deborah's and Darci's baby showers for several hours. At one point after I had been gone for awhile, I heard Tim calling on my cell and excused myself to answer the phone. He casually asked if I was done and when I might be coming home. I told him that I would be home within the hour, and he mumbled something about there being an 'incident' and that I should be sure to ask him about it when I got back. This piqued my interest, and I wondered what might have happened in my short time away from. Since I was missing the gift-opening and Kate sounded like she was having lunch, we hung up and left it at that.

Upon arriving home, I found both Tim and Kate in different clothing than they had been in when I had left. This is not unusual, but it caused me to ask about this 'incident' that had happened. Apparently, they had gone outside to play. Kate was on the patio with her toys, and Tim decided to do some pool maintenance. He was brushing out the pool when he heard a kerplunk and saw that Kate had snuck in behind him before the gate to the pool had closed. And she had fallen in. To the pool. Fallen in to the deep end of the pool, head first, fully clothed, into that freezing (70*) water. GAH! Now me, I would have freaked out. Maybe Tim did too; I wasn't here to witness it. But I guess he was close enough to her when she fell that he was able to drop the brush and grab a foot. She came out holding her breath, face scrunched up. I bet! That's one cold pool! The temperature probably helped her not breathe in while she was under. He cradled her, trying to warm her up and stop the shrieking that began soon after she was out of the water, and brought her inside to get her into some warm (dry) clothes. After her lips returned to their normal color, she started rubbing her belly telling him that she wanted a bath. Apparently she didn't like the one she had and wanted a real one.

Update: the pool is 60*, not the steamy 70* I had thought. Brrr.

Dropped to save Kate.

Which leads me to the next story....bath time on Friday night. Tim does bath time whenever he's home because it's hard for me to lean over with this big belly and give Kate a bath that she feels is fun enough and long enough. We do things a little differently, Tim and me. Me, I like to remove all of Kate's clothes while we're in her room so they can go right into the hamper. I leave her diaper on until right before she goes into the tub, just in case. Tim, sometimes he varies from this routine. For instance, on Friday night, he thought it would be okay to take Kate's diaper off before the bath was ready. Kate loves this. I think she likes being free from all restraints; no itchy diaper, no clothes, no shoes. Freedom! She went tearing around the corner down the hall (she does move fast, see above) to come show me that she had broken free of all bonds and was naked as a cherub, when wham! splat! wahhhhh! Tim and I both came racing down the hall from opposite ends to find out what had happened. See, we have tile floors, and when they get wet, they get slippery. Baby peeing on floor makes floor slippery. Baby falls. Baby screams. Daddy learns why we don't remove diapers until just before we put baby into tub.

Naked baby makes puddle.

Friday, November 10, 2006

back to tired, and rotting gourds

I hit the 28-week milestone on Tuesday and just like that, I'm back to being tired. It's like my body instantly realized that we'd come into the 3rd trimester and began crying out for mid-afternoon naps. 'Course it could be that I've been going to bed after 11pm and getting up at 6:30.

Last year we didn't get to carve our pumpkin.

At around midnight one night, as Tim was getting ready for bed (I was already sound asleep as Kate was just about a month old and I was always tired) he smelled a terrible stench coming from the front of the house. Our front door was open, the screen door allowing the cool night breeze to circulate through the house. He thought perhaps someone had put food in the recycle bin just outside the door and that it had begun to rot. Upon investigation, he found that it wasn't icky food, but a pack of about 8 javelinas snorting their way through our front yard. Apparently, they stink to high heaven, although they are generally gentle animals. This group thought it would be a good snack to eat my yet-uncarved gourd, and proceeded to gnaw away at it until Tim chased them away. He failed to a) wake me up to see these animals that I have (still) never seen, and b) take a photo of the incident. There was a tired post-partum reprimand from me the next morning, although at the time I probably would rather have been sleeping anyway.

This year, I did carve the pumpkin that we got at Apple Annie's, and following my sister's instruction I waited until Halloween day to actually cut into the thing. She told me last year to wait until nearly the day was upon us, or our pumpkin would rot. No way, I thought. She was right, of course. Living somewhere for a decade does usually give you some knowledge of the area. Yesterday I had to run for a plastic garbage bag after Kate and I went outside to play and she thought it would be fun to try to roll the pumpkin around. I had noticed the pumpkin had started to look a little ... dark ... but thought perhaps it was just shadows. Not shadows. Mold. Gross.

The black stuff is not tricky lighting, unfortunately.

Monday, November 06, 2006

bringing the circus home

Kate got this toy from her Grampa for her birthday and we just finally assembled it over the weekend. When I say 'we', I mean Tim stood with the foot pump, stomping away, for most of the Husky game. I sat on the sofa and sipped margaritas. Okay, water. Whatever. Let me live out my little fantasy, okay?

Kate loves her new toy. LOVES. 'Ball!' It actually sounds more like 'baa', but we know what she means. It's her own little haven, away from all but Starbuck, who follows her in all her toy-playing.

That morning, we tried Christmas photos in front of the A-10. We will be finding another venue for the Christmas card photo. See below.

Although cute, the football stance wasn't what we were looking for.

All shadow, no faces.

Most of the photos turned out like the one above. Dark, with not much A-10. Granted, I haven't even tried to lighten them, but there was so much sunlight that everything was backlit. Thank God for the golden hour; we'll be trying that out next.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

trick or treat!

Earlier in the day...

Kate helps carve the pumpkin

The Autumn Fairy Princess shrieked and madly waved her wand as we walked down the driveway last night to go trick-or-treating. What fun! I'm out after dark! Couldn't get any of those photos, seeing that it was dark outside and I was the only adult.

Whose idea was it to put glitter all over a toddler's costume? And why did I think that it was a good idea to purchase an outfit that had so much of it? Dumb. There is now red glitter all over our house, and I'm sure Kate will have glitter stuck to her body for the next week.

We only made it to one house for treats. We were going to go to 3, but one family went to another neighborhood for the night to spend time with friends. I told them that this reduced my trick-or-treating route by 33% but they left anyway. But then our other neighbors across the street, they didn't have their lights on! So we only went to our neighbor's to the west. They had us inside for a bit, but then when I put Kate down she started crying, so we didn't stay long. She did like looking at their dog Maggie through the screen, though. And Mama even let her try some Nerds, so it was a good night.