Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I am thankful for so many things. Let's start a list, shall we?

  1. Tim is home, and ought to be home for the entire holiday season!
  2. The new baby seems to be healthy, and is certainly kicking a lot.
  3. Kate and Claire play so well together, with occasional bouts of the "it's mine!"s and the "waaaaah!"s.
  4. It's raining right now! With a good chance of thunderstorms later!
  5. Naps.
  6. I'm mostly done with the carrot souffle, half-done with the sage stuffing with cornbread, the turkey is really easy to make, the cranberry sauce (to which I add orange peel and freshly squeezed orange juice) will simmer on the stove today and make the whole house smell like Thanksgiving heaven, and friends are bringing dessert and other tasty dishes.
  7. We get to ride the Polar Express again this year.
  8. My sister had her baby! Her name is Lucille (Lucy) Grace, and she looks just like my sister.
  9. Tim has a great job, and I'm able to stay home with the girls.
  10. Tim's parents will be here for a short visit right before Christmas.
  11. I am meeting more people here every week, and am starting to find a network of friends.
  12. I checked on Claire last night before going to bed. She had removed her footed jammies and her diaper, had thrown everything out of the crib, and was lying naked (naked!) on her tummy, with her arms under her for warmth. Her butt was cold. It was so cute. And I am so glad she didn't sleep like that all night. I hope. I haven't checked on her yet this morning.
  13. Coffee.
  14. Kate is young enough that she likely won't remember this Christmas, the one when she didn't get the 3 (her new number) jeeps she asked Santa for.
  15. It's 7:30am and the children are still in bed!

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The castle

Tim got home on Saturday afternoon. The girls ran to him at the airport, and they had a very happy reunion.

After a long night's sleep for all, we took the girls to Excalibur, which Kate had been begging to go to for weeks. I was slightly apprehensive about the adventure; I didn't want Kate to be disappointed, but I didn't know what she was expecting. She has been very interested in princess stories lately, and I was concerned that she would demand to see Sleeping Beauty and others, and would maybe want to try on the glass slipper just for good measure. Luckily, the castle was decked out for Christmas, and that (along with all the lights and sounds) distracted her enough that she had a good time, not begging once to dance with Prince Philip.

Daddy's return: does it get better than this? McDonald's for lunch, followed by blue cotton candy ice cream with M&Ms. Followed by a meltdown.

Later that night, we had yet more sweets: a birthday cake for me.

Claire was a big fan of licking baking.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Things I'm Having Trouble Dealing With Today

1. This. Imagine this scene in every room of the house. Hurricane Claire must be stopped, but I don't know how. It is making me CRAZY.

Although Kate was the one photographed with the evidence, I'm certain it was Claire who pulled all of Kate's clothes out of her armoire and put them in the princess castle.

2. The strong-willed toddler, also named Claire, who wants to pee on the potty every 5 minutes. The problem is that she goes often enough that I don't want to discourage her. My issue, of course, is that I don't want to sit in the bathroom All Day Long. She also doesn't want to wear pants today because they make taking her diaper off more complicated. Oh, and I found her sans diaper this morning: she had unsnapped her jammie bottoms and removed her nappy, undoubtedly so that she could race over to the potty chair after I got her up.

3. Massive amounts of laundry that need to be washed and/or put away. It seems like I can never keep up with this task these days.

4. A pre-schooler who is whining about her Daddy having to go to work. I'm sure she is just worried that he's going to leave again, but let's stop the crabbiness, shall we?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Kate looked at my hair this afternoon and told me, "Mom, your hair looks like a spider web." Gee... thanks? And I seriously thought my hair looked pretty cute today.

If you have called or emailed me in the past two weeks, and I have been slow to respond, it may or may not have been due to the fact that I read 2,469 pages in the course of approximately 16 days. Not that I was obsessed or anything.

The expression that most makes me smile at Claire right now is: "I want all done, Mommy." Then she waits (somewhat) patiently for you to wash her hands so she can get down from the table. Oh, and her use of the phrase, "no, thanks". As in, "Claire, if you want Halloween candy after dinner, you have to eat your corn." Her reply? A coy, "No, tanks, Mommy. I want Haween candy."

Kate told me the other day that she wants two (2!) of those cool ride-in Jeeps for Christmas. You know, so she can trade off. But probably not share.

From today's ultrasound, which was likely the longest look I've ever had at a baby in utero (15-20 minutes). All looks 'normal'. I know they can't say 'good', but 20 minutes of 'normal' makes you start to wonder if even they get tired of that term. According to the doctor, the baby weighs about 10 ounces and is measuring slightly big for the due date. But this is also 'normal'.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another day in Las Vegas

Yesterday we filled our time with another trip to the strip, this time heading to the Mirage to see the dolphins and the Secret Garden with all the big kitties. It was a perfect day outside, sunny and warm with cool air, and the girls did great. Of course, I was glad that I didn't have to pay the outrageous children's prices to get them into the retreat, as they got bored about 1/3 of the way through it....But by great, I mean that they didn't try to climb into the dolphin pools (more than twice), and they didn't come home with any lasting marks.

I hadn't been to the Mirage in years. I love it! It is a great place to stay if you are bringing your kids, or if you just want a different sort of atmosphere besides slot machines and tables. The entrance is a sort of tropical oasis, with birds of paradise, running streams, waterfalls, and more humidity than you can find in most areas of Las Vegas at this time of year.

Then, back behind the pools (at which the crazy people were sunning themselves - I mean it was only 75! and windy! brrrr) there is this wildlife refuge that stands in striking contrast to the city in which it exists. There were three dolphin pools, and the secret garden had lions, white tigers, baby tigers, leopards, alpacas (meals for the kitties? I wasn't sure why they had alpacas in the midst of the large cat habitat), and regular orange tigers which I'm sure have a more technical name. The garden had all kinds of trees and shrubs, and it felt like we were in a completely different city than we actually were in.

Around lunch time, we decided to go to In 'N Out burger on Tropicana. Luckily, I had brought my babysitter, Kate, along with me, so that I could leave Claire with her without any concern for their well-being, while I raced to the front through the max-capacity 131 people to get our food. Oh, I know: mom of the year award for me again.

By the pool.

Looking for dolphins.

There's one!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A busy morning

Kate diligently studies the toy catalog, carefully examining every page.

Aliante Station was not as exciting as I had hoped. The girls were not thrilled with it, either.

I find that if I pack the morning full of things to do outside the house, showing up back at home just in time for lunch, the day goes by faster and generally there is less whining. With that in mind, we met up with friends who are in town and had breakfast with them at the Hash House. Mmmm...pancakes bigger than my head. I'm still full. From there, we went to find the last book in the Twilight series, to no avail. [I finally found the book at Costco this afternoon, after frantically searching for it at three other stores, with no luck.]

To take my mind off the failed shopping trip, we went to the Aliante Station casino, which is blocks from our house, and which had its grand opening this week. I had hopes of a mall-type structure inside, since it has several restaurants and a movie theatre, and the outside appears big enough to house at least several shops. Again, disappointment. The casino is all nice and new, but it already reeks of smoke, and there are no shops. We will not be hanging out there having playgroups anytime soon.

After naptime, we made paper chains to give the girls (Kate) a visual time frame for when Tim will be home. Bad idea. I told her that every night after dinner we would tear a link off the chain and when all the links were gone, Daddy would come home. She obviously wanted to tear all the links off right away and make her Daddy appear immediately. She was very dismayed when I told her it didn't work that way and that he wasn't coming home tonight. Lessons learned, eh? We'll see how tomorrow night's link goes and maybe that chain will just get recycled after bedtime.

Kate has also taken to wailing/screaming/crying at the top of her lungs at bedtime, and I don't know what to do about it. I think maybe she is scared? She says she wants to keep the light on in her room. I had to stay in there last night with her until 10pm when she finally fell asleep. Thankfully, tonight, it is quiet at 9pm. Which is good for her, because she was about to lose Sleeping Beauty movie rights soon, as I guess it has to be the dragon that is freaking her out? Ugh.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I survived!


She didn't believe we were inside the pyramid (Luxor), but liked the statues just fine.

I have been hesitant to take my two young and willfully disobedient children down to the Strip by myself. Traffic, tons of people, unfamiliarity with where to park and where everything is located, etc., had me anxious that someone would get lost or stolen. I wasn't sure that the girls could handle the walking involved, or that they would obey me enough that I wouldn't lose them. So we took the stroller (used OFTEN for the wandering toddler who thought it was fun to run away from me) and a map and started out on our adventure.

After driving around Mandalay Bay approximately 4.5 times, I finally found the valet entrance that I wanted (my God, how many parking lots exist in this town?), and we were off. We passed the beheaded statue of Lenin at the Russian restaurant, threw too many coins into each fountain we saw, and finally arrived at our destination for the morning: the Shark Reef.

First on the agenda was the golden crocodile, the likes of which the girls had never seen. Its tail didn't tick, so I'm not sure if it had the desired scary effect. Next was the Kimodo dragon. I cannot imagine running into one of those in the wild. I hear they are vicious and would certainly eat me for a snack in no time. Claire tried to climb into the pirhana tank (thankfully, there was a guard standing by to bat her fingers away before she tried to pet them), and Kate learned that some fish bite (after I told her to stop trying to clamber into the tanks). We saw lion fish, jelly fish, a giant pacific octopus (which wasn't that giant), starfish, and lots of sharks. We even saw scuba divers cleaning the shark/fish tank. This was one of the highlights for the girls, until one of the divers began using an air gun (?) to power wash the rocks. And they're worried about the noise caused by kids tapping on the tanks? I could barely hear myself think over the racket. When asked later which exhibit she liked best, Kate replied, "The fishies." Of course.

After the fishies, we walked to the Luxor, where Kate was unimpressed. I'm not sure what she was expecting (I'll have to watch The Backyardigans Egypt episode again for insight), but I don't think she believed me when I told her we were inside the pyramid. Before leaving, we stopped for gelato, where Kate picked out mint chip for us to share. I'm pretty sure she chose that flavor over lime and strawberry cream because it was the last one she tried. And since the girls were so cute, the clerk gave us an extra cup of gelato for free. So, approximately 1 cup of gelato for $5! Kate thought having her own cup was the best; Claire was not pleased when she had to share my scoop.

Claire fell asleep on the way home, and I'm pretty sure that is the only sleep either child has had since waking this morning. Tonight should be interesting.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The great pants feud

Claire and I have been having a major disagreement lately: she vehemently declares her unwillingness to wear pants, and I disagree. Of course, I win, but it's a struggle every morning and every night (she is also opposed to pajama bottoms, as these could be construed as pantaloons). I remember when Kate was about this age and she became extremely, and possibly inappropriately, attached to her pajamas. This is somehow different, but has similar undercurrents. I just hope it's not some sort of obsessive-compulsive behavior showing itself in the toddler years.

I'm not sure if she realized I meant EVER when I told her no more pens after this incident.

On an entirely different subject, I have promised myself no Twilight series books today. I am getting NOTHING done. A glimpse into how serious my addiction is: I read New Moon in two days. It is 563 pages. I know. I have a serious problem. In my defense, I had already read the first chapter, which must have been at least 85 65 55? okay, maybe 30 pages, the night before, since it was printed at the end of the first book. After staying up until midnight the night before, I took the kids to the gym and read while I exercised on the elliptical machine for....a little while. Then I sat on one of the comfy chairs (after checking to see that the kids were happy playing in their pre-school room, of course!) for....a little while and read....a little more of my book. Hence the finishing in two days bit. I am hoping to make it until Monday before opening the precious third book. But I'm also trying to plan this whole thing out. I mean, I don't want to still be reading this series when Tim gets home, so really, I ought to be reading as much as possible over the next couple of weeks so I can finish before then, right?

Oh! And I have felt the baby move! Just sort of little stirrings, sort of like flutters, but it's very fun! I can't believe that when Tim returns, I will be almost halfway through the pregnancy.

For my husband, who will find this as funny as I did

I can't get this to upload to my email to send it the proper way, so here you go, Tim.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Conflicting interests

What they want to do today.

What I want to do.

It's finally fall here. It's 42* outside, the air is crisp, and the sky is blue. I want to curl up on the sofa with my pumpkin spice coffee, finish reading Twilight (which has me SO addicted to it), then read some Christmas catalogs, and smell the sugar cookies baking in the oven.

The girls want to color everything with their new pens. And then wash themselves silly in the sink. I hear the water running now. Gotta go.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

When a toddler isn't sleeping, but a mother is

The water level was almost overflowing before I got the camera. What is it with my children and water?
Even better, apparently Kate also decided that the kitty's food and water would be better mixed together, with some slop spilled onto the laundry room floor. Wheeee! My laundry room smells like the humane society right now.

Monday, November 03, 2008

No decent Halloween pictures

The penguin misplaced her Halloween treat bag, and had to substitute her medical bag to collect the goodies.

Trick-or-treating at the mailbox. She didn't get much from this stop.

The kitty cat and the penguin would not hold still. Not during their professional photo shoot last week, and not on Halloween night. As a result, these are the best pictures we have of the girls in their costumes.

They did have fun, however. We went to far more houses this year than last - all the way down to the end of the street this time, instead of just to three houses. There were a ton of kids out in the neighborhood, which took me by total surprise (we had to close up shop by 8pm because we were out of candy), but the girls did really well not being too frightened by them. Kate had the "trick-or-treat" thing down very well, and even Claire was able to get her point across. At one house, I told her to, "say trick-or-treat", and she said, "teat, peas!". No tricks for her.

Tim is gone now, deployed for a good portion of the month. Oddly, they call all trips to the mid-East "deployments". It's sort of confusing; I tell people that he is deployed, and they get this pity-party look, and then sort of scoff when I tell them he'll be back for Thanksgiving. It is the longest that he has been gone since the girls have been born, but I'm pretty sure we will survive. The house is an entirely different matter. He has been gone for two whole days and already I have lost all power to the girls' rooms. I tried flipping the breaker, and unplugging several items, but to no avail. Even my neighbor is perplexed. Awesome. Whatevah, they don't need power in their rooms, do they?