Monday, December 29, 2008


"Mommy, I wat hot tlocklit." (Claire requesting hot chocolate)

"Mommy, look what Claire's doing!" (Kate learns to tattle)

"Honeybee hop! Honeybee hop!" (Kate yelling as she jumps over her new game)

Kate, yelling all commands.

"Tim, are you okay?" (Kate wondering if her daddy feels ill)

"You wanna bean? No? Otay." Sets row of beans on plate, after daddy declines them. (Claire, offering food she doesn't like to others)

"Daddy, you're a meatball." (Kate's reply to her father telling her she's a goofball)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Book and slinky.

Tearing paper.

Favorite toy.

Claire's favorite toy.

The girls woke up around 7am on Christmas morning, letting us sleep in slightly more than usual. They came wandering into our room, and played with their stuffed animals for several minutes before Kate realized what day it was. Then, excitement! Do you think Santa came last night? Did he eat his cookies? Let's go see! C'mon, guys, LET'S GO SEE!!!

There were big eyes and sing-songy voices as the girls saw the gifts under the tree, and the stockings full of goodies. It took hours to get through the presents, as we had to take many breaks to play the various games they got, and read some of the books they had to read Right Now. At one point, Claire started climbing the stairs, thumb in mouth. We asked her if she wanted to open more presents. Her answer: "No! I wat to seep!"

Kate joyfully sang Christmas songs all day; the most memorable: Rudolph the Nose-Red Reindeer. By far the favorite toys of the season: the $1 slinky for Kate, the Baby Chou-Chou doll for Claire, and the Sleeping Beauty Barbie for Kate. You probably could have given Kate a piece of cardboard with princesses stuck to it and made her day. Princesses rule, don't you know. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Not really.

O.M.G. Covered in Eucerin. You know that super thick creamy lotion made with petroleum jelly? That's the stuff.

It was everywhere. It will take days of washing Claire's hair to remove all traces. I later found out that the fun began when Kate helped Claire change her poopy diaper. By herself. Where was I? Vacuuming. Awesome.

Later that night, the first gift of Christmas. It's a good thing they're cute, or there might have been coal in some stockings.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pretty sure

I'm pretty sure that:

1. The cat is trying to keep up with my weight gain. He is now officially on a diet. Since he's not having kitties or anything, I feel this is justified.

2. The Christmas tree is dead. There is a large pile of evidence below it every day to support my claim.
3. I need to purchase a gingerbread house kit next year for architectural and aesthetic purposes. This year's houses at least have better 'glue': royal icing. I'm also fairly certain I did most of the decorating again this year. The girls held up their end of the bargain by eating as much candy as humanly possible in the amount of time given.

Claire, who's house is pictured on the left, tried to replicate our Tucson house, a la the 1960s mostly-flat roof style. Kate went for the more traditional peaked-roof version of gingerbread houses.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Polar Express, 2008

The drive. We were an hour closer than last year, but God played a cruel trick on us: Arizona does not participate in Daylight Savings Time, so we lost an hour. And there was traffic on our way out of Vegas. And snow in AZ. So it might have taken us longer to get there this year than it did last year.

At the Grand Canyon.
Note the completely inappropriate glove-wear on Claire. They are likely acrylic, and my size.

Rare snow down to the floor of the Canyon.

Claire, cold, but being a good sport.

Three napless, wet and very cold children aboard the Polar Express in Williams, AZ.

Reagan and Kate enjoying hot chocolate with their daddies. At the hotel bar. We should have had the bartender add some schnapps to their mugs, for the lack of sleeping that occurred later that night.

Kate gleefully making snow angels. She is also oddly inappropriately dressed in all cotton.

Reagan and Kate hunching their shoulders in a failed effort to stay warm. The winds were gale-force, and the windchill must have been in the single digits.

We survived. We even had a good bit of fun, in between the refusal of the children to nap in the car and very few bed times before 9pm. We left on the day Las Vegas was supposed to get several inches of snow, so it was slow-going. The roads were clear, but wet, until about an hour before we got to Williams. Then, it was craziness. Trucks spun-out and in the ditch, semis driving (without chains) like there was no snow. We made it in one piece, though, and quickly settled into our room. Shayne and her family were right next door, so the kids had loads of fun running back and forth through the shared door. The boys dressed Kate and Reagan up in their snow gear (or what constituted 'snow gear' for us) and took them outside. They were gone longer than expected, but that was because of their detour to the bar for hot cocoa after about 10 minutes of snow.

We pushed for the train at 8pm, and had to wait. The train had some electrical problems, so it was running behind, and we made the mistake of standing in line for it outside. By the time we made it inside the train, we were all frozen, wet, and slightly miserable. The kids were tired and cold, and we all vowed to never do this again. I think we might have made that vow last year. But the kids loved looking at the lights, drinking hot cocoa, eating stale cookies, and seeing Santa. We made it back to the station right at bedtime: 10pm. It was a rough night.

The next day we took a day-trip on the train to the Grand Canyon. It was gorgeous. The kids loved it. Kate saw the Canyon, immediately made a snowball, and threw it over the edge. It was a proud moment for Tim. There were a few meltdowns on the way back (see also: no naps), but we survived.

The next day we drove to Tucson to see my sister and her family. Lucy is adorable, and my sister is glad to be home from the hospital.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Going to see Santa!

Well, we're off tomorrow morning to ride the Polar Express. Last year was a lot of fun, and I anticipate even greater exuberance this year due to the girls being a year older. This year, we are going with Kate's best friend, Reagan, and her family, who are also some of our best friends. We are extremely excited, and Kate can't stop talking about how we're going to see Santa! And Reagan! And snow! And Reagan! And have hot chocolate! And see Reagan!

After that, and our trip to the Grand Canyon on Tuesday, we drive to Tucson to see my sister (who just got out of the hospital yesterday) and her new baby, Lucy. See you at the end of the week.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Full moon fiasco

I'm not sure what it is: are we unmemorable? Do we not pay enough? Or, like I like to look at it, are our kids so good that we don't stick out in babysitters' minds? Clearly, this third observation no longer applies after last night. I jokingly told Tim yesterday when he got home that I hoped the babysitter showed up...and by 5:45 I was on the phone to our sitter, eating my words. It happened again: she had forgotten. In her defense (do I give her any? hmmm), this was her first offense; the other sitters who had forgotten were all in Tucson. But this was the third or fourth time in three years that a sitter has not shown up to our house, and it has always been for a semi-big engagement (two prior anniversary dinners, last night's squadron Christmas party).

After profuse apologizing on her part, she mentioned that she had a bit of a conflict: she is moving this weekend and her landlord was supposed to do a walk-through with her at 8:30pm. As I waited for her to tell me that she would call the landlord and reschedule (obviously we were on the books before the landlord, and also, the party was starting in 15 minutes), she hemmed and hawwed and asked if it would be all right if she took the girls with her back to her house for the inspection. *This should have tipped me off to future issues.* I said that wouldn't work, due to a plethora of reasons, and she said she would "work something out" and would be over "in a few minutes". I immediately called our neighbor, Jen, who's son, Douglas, has watched the girls before. Thankfully, Douglas was going to be around, so I called our sitter back and told her that he would watch the girls for an hour while she went back to her house to meet the landlord.

I present rule #1: if you have to work this hard to make the babysitter issue work out, you probably should just cancel your event.

Our sitter showed up at 6:15, with plentiful apologies, and I gave her the lowdown on how to deal with bedtime for the girls (they get to have the Christmas lights on in their room until they disobey enough times to warrant turning them off; they need to stay in their room; they need to be quiet; if they are not quiet by 8:30, put Claire back in her room in the crib). I asked her if she had heard from the landlord: no. I called Jen and told her that our sitter would likely call Douglas around 8:00. We left.
The oblivious couple enjoys a night out at the squadron Christmas party.

We had a good time. Before dinner started at 7:00, I called the sitter to see how things were going. "Fine!" Had she heard from her landlord? No.

At 10:15, as we were driving up to our house, I noticed the first sign of things not-quite-right. "Where is her car?" I asked Tim. Once inside, I noticed Jen's slippers by the front door. Jen came tip-toeing around the corner: "Shhhhhh. Don't wake them." She had a serious look in her eye. And she looked sort of frightened at the possibility of the children waking up.

"Why are you here?" I hissed. She said that the sitter called her at 8:15, Douglas was in the shower because he had just finished a workout, so she came over to watch the girls. She never heard from the sitter again. She just up and left, and did not return. Let me say this again, as I'm not sure it's clear: the sitter left and Never Came Back. And when said babysitter left, she did not give bedtime instructions to Jen.

Apparently, after Jen arrived, the girls decided to rejoice in the light of the full moon. Kate could be heard from her room: "Miss Jen's here!" They had to go to the bathroom. They had to read another book. At one point, not long after she had gotten them in bed, Jen could hear Claire wailing from their room, "Miss Jen!" When she went upstairs, she found Claire with her pants and diaper half-off. Kate had tried to remove them after she had taken her own pants off. The children argued about whether the Christmas lights should be on or off. They discussed the merits of having the fan on or off. Jen mentioned bringing bungee cords to the house next time to keep them in their beds. In other words, it was a disaster. When Douglas called, she told him to stay home for fear that his showing up would set them off again.

I am pretty sure Jen is never going to speak to us again.

After she left, I looked at Tim and mused, "I wonder what would have happened if we hadn't had Jen come over....Do you think...?"

Tim's response: "Number one, there is no way of knowing what would have happened, so don't ask, and number two, you probably don't want to know the answer."

Friday, December 12, 2008


Merry Christmas from the cat. Apparently one of his favorite sleeping places was the wrapping paper box.

Claire decorated the Christmas tree. That's a Little People toilet you see.

Monday, December 08, 2008

An update of sorts

How yummy do these look? Brownies covered in chocolate. Mmm.

It's a cold morning here. I went outside to plug the house Christmas lights in, as it's very overcast and dark, and I could see my breath. I'm loving it! I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the children this morning, as I had been planning to take them to the park to get out some pent-up energy, but I'm sure we'll figure something out.

The girls successfully slept in the same room for two nights. The first night Claire fell out of bed once and woke up crying another time, likely scared about where she was. The second night was virtually stress-free for us. Last night was not one of those nights, however, so we are still hit-and-miss.

Tim played Twister with the girls last night for the first time. It was hilarious. And it lasted about 3 minutes. I tried to find the camera in the midst of the game, but by the time I found it they were done.

And now for some photos.

What is it with my children and Kleenex?

Shopping for very specific Christmas decorations.

Enjoying her ice cream at Macaroni Grill.

REALLY enjoying her ice cream.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


The girls slept in the same room for nap time today. For approximately 3 hours. Granted, I was in there with them for the first hour, keeping them quiet, and we had just spent an hour at the kid's gym where they ran and jumped and bounced and so they might have been a teensy bit tired.

Now, it is almost 8:30pm and their room is suspiciously quiet. I left them in there together about 10 minutes ago, and I haven't yet heard the typical giggling and raucousness that is usually present at this hour. Hmmm.

I think it best not to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I'll just sit downstairs quietly and sip my tea in peace. Mmmmm.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The sound of silence

Aaaaaaahh. Can you hear it? The sound of the dryer running? The faint buzz of the ceiling fans? The clicking of my computer keys? It's mostly silent here, and it's only 9:09pm. This is a big change from the past few nights, when, at 10pm you could hear Tim stomping up the stairs to tell the girls to go to sleep already.

We are trying to get the girls to sleep in the same room again. It is a nightmare. We did this in Tucson eons ago, and quickly abandoned the effort as our sanity wore thin. Now, however, Claire is desperate to sleep in a toddler bed, and since we will need her room for the baby next year anyway, we are beginning the process now. Which is probably a good idea on our parts, as it will likely take until mid-April for the two of them to actually fall asleep at a reasonable hour, stay in their room all night, and also not pile all of their toys into the princess castle and have a sleepover in there.

The first couple of nights weren't too bad. They never made it past about 10pm, when we would remove a wailing Claire from Kate's room and put her in her crib. But the past two days have been complete misery. The girls have been uber crabby from lack of sleep, and the tantrums. The tantrums! So, much to the dismay of Claire, who seems to always get the punishment (because really, what is the difference to Kate whether Claire sleeps in the toddler bed or the crib?), we didn't even attempt the co-sleeping arrangement. If they are in better moods tomorrow, and I don't feel like I need to search the want-ads at 9am for ANY JOB IN THE UNIVERSE that will get me out of the house, well then we can try the sleep over again.

Do you have any advice on this matter? Thoughts? Anything? If so, puleeeez tell me.