Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baby fishing

Have you been wondering where we've been? Me, too. I'm pretty sure we've just been busy with Christmas celebrations and family, but this has been one busy month. The girls are off from school for 2 weeks, and we've been keeping them occupied with everything from a visit from family to trips downtown. Tim and I are exhausted, but the kids seem to be powering through it.

Today, Kate went baby fishing. Luke loved this new sport.





A day at the Adventuredome.

And now Luke is crying, so I'll have to write about Christmas in another post.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

All about Luke

We've had such a whirlwind of events over the past month, that I have failed to chronicle Luke's recent accomplishments. Just after we got back from Tucson, Luke started crawling. He is taking after big sister Kate in this regard; she crawled at 7 1/2 months, and he crawled at almost 8 months. About a week and a half later, he started holding onto things by himself, and then started pulling himself up on everything just after he turned 8 months old. I walked into his room to check on him during his morning nap, and found him whimpering, "stuck" standing up in his crib. We had an emergency lower-the-crib session that night.

Now he pulls up on everything he can get his hands on (your leg, the steps [his favorite], the cat, the Christmas tree [kidding; he is far too fascinated by the lights to try to pull up on it, yet]), and is even using some of the push-toys on his own. Kate walked at 9 months, so I am anticipating this with Luke. I still have not figured out what to do with our abnormally-railed stairs, and fear we will have to resort to using those super-yard baby gates to fence off the whole area. He uses his head as a third hand, leaning it against something to gain leverage to stand up. He takes his share of spills, but keeps trying until he achieves his goal. Luckily for me, he isn't fully aware of what he is capable of.

He has been saying 'DADADADADA' for weeks, but recently put together the sounds every mom wants to hear: 'MAMAMAMA'. Sadly, he generally only uses this latter sound when he's sad and crying about something.

He is eating semi-solid foods, and particularly loves yogurt melts and cheese puffs. Also on top of the list is regular vanilla yogurt and anything with sugar.

Enjoying dark chocolate gelato in Tucson.










Monday, December 14, 2009

A week of parties

First visit with Santa, at the 561st Christmas party.


The school Christmas concert. Kate is the tall blonde in black on the left, and Claire is in red and white on the bottom row, turned around to look at her big sister. She spent most of the concert in this position.

Erika, Megan and me at Blue Martini on patch night.

A pile of sugar on a red cookie. Gross. Even she must have thought it was icky, because she later licked the frosting off and left the cookie.

The 422 Christmas party.

Candy canes. They love them.

Books from Santa at the 422 party.

At Pure on graduation night.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Half Marathon: check

I have not a single photo of the event, due to my refusal to carry a camera for 13.1 miles, and to various children's tardiness, willful disobedience, dragging of feet, and lethargy, but I ran my first half marathon this morning!

Even though it's Las Vegas and it's warmer here than in many other parts of the country at this time of year, it was still freezing at the 6:15am start line. I stayed downtown last night (at Excalibur; you can imagine the girls' amazement. Claire: "Where are you sleeping, Mommy?" Me: "At the castle, Claire!" BIG. EYES.) to avoid what was sure to be pure chaos trying to drive to the strip where 28,000 runners were converging on the inaugural event. It was my first time staying without any of my children (besides births of children, which, frankly, do not count) in several years. I got an excellent night of sleep, after my anxiety receded and I actually fell asleep. I set all of my alarms for 5am, not having used any of them prior to this. At 5:00 I was greeted by my cell phone, PDA, running watch and the hotel's alarm clock. My neighbors might have hated me.

I found my way, by following the hordes, to the start "area" on the strip in front of Mandalay Bay. I watched the fireworks go off at the starting time, and inched my way up to the start for another 40 minutes. Next time, I will be sure to register for a closer corral, especially since I was passing walkers before mile 2.

I ditched my RHS gymnastics sweatshirt (circa 1989) around mile 5, and my hat around mile 7. I was super glad for my gloves, as I wore them the entire race. I ran and ran and ran, slowing down for an occasional drink, and grabbing some Gu at mile 9. I never stopped, fearing that I wouldn't be able to start again. I saw places on the strip that I didn't know existed. I saw casinos I want to go into, and some I would rather not. I witnessed the eruption of the volcano at the Mirage, which was fun and warm. I ran an entire mile north of the Stratosphere, the northernmost casino on the strip. From there, they directed us west into neighborhoods I had never been in, and likely will never see again (the area north of the Stratosphere is notoriously dangerous). Finally, just before mile 9, we rejoined the strip. Mentally, this was huge, and I was so happy to see the Stratosphere. Somehow, adrenaline kicked in at about mile 10, and I picked up the pace for the last 3.1 miles. I finished in 2:11:00, and am proud of my time!

Thank you, Tim, for helping me complete this milestone. I couldn't have done it without you. You're next!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thanksgiving in Tucson

I have barely unpacked, let alone found the camera and cord to download our photos from last week, so that will have to come later. Right now I'm in a tizzy trying to figure out how to pack approximately 2,548 things into the next 3-4 weeks. The holiday stress fun has begun!

We drove to Tucson the weekend before Thanksgiving, and spent the whole week with my sister and her family. The kids were in HEAVEN. The parents were mildly amused. All in all, it went well, minus the sleep thing. The title to this post could also be:


  • Does Not Sleep Well Away From Home (mostly Luke)

There are a lot of other good titles out there, actually. Maybe I'll just use titles to tell you about our trip.

  • Birthday Parties and Turkey, Oh My! (Happy First Birthday, Lucy!)
  • Our First Black Friday Shopping Trip, by Jessica and Jennifer
  • Mmmmm, Good Beer
  • Mmmmm, Excellent Mexican Food
  • Mmmmm, Turkey, Stuffing, Habanero Mashed Potatoes...you get the idea
  • Oops, I Messed Up My Running Schedule; I hope 9 Miles Instead of 10 Will Not Destroy Me Next Weekend
  • Yay, Bookmans!
  • WHY Do We Always Get Stuck at the Hoover Dam?
  • Seriously, We Have to Drive All the Way Back to Kingman to Go Around the Damn Dam?
  • Tucson to Las Vegas: the Longest Trip Yet (30 Hours)
  • Can Everyone Just Be Healthy For Like a Week? Please?

I finally ordered our Christmas cards. Hopefully you will receive them before Christmas.

Christmas shopping! Aggggggghhhhhhhh! Christmas tree? Not yet. Maybe next week? Why does everything happen at once?

Now we're off to the dentist for the girls' first teeth cleaning. I've been trying to talk it up. There are movies there! The dentist is so nice! He will tell you to say 'aaaaahhh'. Can you say 'aaaaahhhh'? Yay! I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christmas photo FAIL

Last night we went to a Christmas village with more lights than I can ever remember seeing at a Christmas display of this sort. It was military appreciation night, so not only did we get in for free, but we also got to experience the festivities without half of Las Vegas elbowing their way through the forest - the night was only for military cardholders. We froze (it was in the 50s), but were thankful for the dry weather, and for the fact that although we couldn't feel our fingers, we couldn't actually see our breath. The girls LOVED it.

One of my goals was to get a picture worthy of our 2009 Christmas card. Total failure.

Where's Luke?


Merry Christmas from the Red Eye family! No amount of photo editing can get Luke's eyes to turn an actual color. Glowing white is nice, no?

Lost Luke again.



Kate and her beloved hot chocolate. "It's also called cocoa, Mom."


Tim with "spirit hands". Yes, that's a princess coach adorned with lights. They had everything there.

Ornaments!


My favorite display.


The girls really "got into" the decorations.


I cannot remember the last time Luke fell asleep on someone. He was just adorable. And such a good sport.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Oh, Dear.

He's so close. He's up on his knees all the time, and is constantly pushing himself backwards. He gets himself stuck under furniture and then complains about it. His father is encouraging this behavior.



If you listen carefully, you can hear me in the background:


video

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Crabby

Hi, my name is Luke and I'm having a tough day. I skipped my morning nap, but slept in the car for 10 minutes, which is plenty. My mom thinks I should sleep a little longer, but I'm not gonna do it! I'd rather cry and wail. I didn't go to sleep for my afternoon nap until after 2:00, and then I decided to sleep for just about an hour and a half, which my mom says isn't nearly long enough.



The other day we walked to a restaurant for dinner. My mom gave me miso soup, which was way better than the green stuff she was trying to get me to eat. My big sister, Claire, loves "going to Japanese"; she fancies the soup with the white jell-o, too, but says she doesn't like the weeds in it. My mom also let me try something called "green tea ice cream", which was awesome! Dad looked at her kind of weird after, but I thought she was pretty cool for letting me try it. Then she let me taste the pumpkin cheesecake she made yesterday. Wow, that stuff is so good. Plain pumpkin can stay in the dish, but I'll take the sweet stuff anytime.

I didn't wake up until everyone else did this morning, which is such a bummer. I did start crying right after mom was asleep last night, which frustrates her. I think she can't figure out how I know she has just fallen asleep, but it seems like such a good time to wake up and have her come in and play with me for a bit. I also like waking up when it's super dark out and mom is zombie-like. Those are great times - it's just me and her, and she'll do just about anything to get me to go back to sleep. My cold is finally starting to go away, though, so I'm not waking up many times during the night coughing and choking. I think my mom is glad about that part; she seems kind of nervous when I make horrible sounds.

My biggest sister, Kate, is super fun. She loves to hold me, and I'm so big that we usually topple over. She makes me laugh all the time, though, and gets me toys when I cry. She makes funny faces at me and then I smile at her. She's the only one who can make me smile like that.

My dad has been trying to get me to crawl. For some reason, my mom seems reluctant to help me acquire this new skill. Dad is also cool because he helps me walk with my walker toy. Mom glares at him when he does this. She says it's something about stairs and tile floors, but I'm not sure what the problem is. There are so many things in this house to see! And put in my mouth! You should see all the cabinets that don't have "child locks" on them. It's going to be so fun around here soon!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Yeah, that's what I thought.

You know all those cold medicines that used to be labeled for toddler use and are now only recommended for those 41 and older, because "they don't work for children"? [Um, if they work for me, why wouldn't they work for someone smaller than me?] Someone today suggested I talk to a pharmacist to see what dosage I should give my children. . . and what do you know! LUKE is able to have 1/2 teaspoon of the cold medicine I've been eyeing every morning at 3am when he wakes up unable to breathe or sleep because he's so congested. I just woke him up from a 3 hour nap, and although he's still sick, at least he's not sick and exhausted.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A pickle

I didn't have any dill slices on hand, so Luke got to taste a sweet pickle instead. Sadly, he didn't make many good faces, but he did look at it with great suspicion.





After it disintegrated, he nearly choked on some of the seeds. He was a good sport, though, and is now regularly begging for what we affectionately refer to as "real" food. As much as he wants to eat whatever you have in your hand (especially if it is paper-based), he is only authorized stage 1 and 2 baby foods at this time. He now has 4 teeth, though, so chunky solids can't be far away. Four teeth. How did this happen?

He is also "rocking". All you mothers of more than one child know what I am talking about here. It's one of the last steps before you lose all sanity and your baby starts CRAWLING. Tim has been encouraging this behavior. Tim is also going TDY next week, so it is likely that Luke will choose the first day Tim is gone to begin scooting around the house.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Unauthorized Yams

It might finally be fall here, as of today. When I ran this morning, I wished I had been wearing long sleeves and gloves. And that the wind would stop blowing. It's cloudy, and the temperature is only in the 60s. And the wind! We're having gusts to 70mph today, according to the weatherman.

We knew the weather was turning colder soon, so we took the kids to the park to feed the ducks on Sunday afternoon.

I love the golden hour. And the children loved throwing stale bread at feeding the water fowl. No one fell in the water, which is always my biggest fear. Tim was completely grossed out by the disgustingness that surrounds ducks and geese. But I was relaxed, knowing that it could be worse, like the week prior when Claire let a goose eat out of her hand. Ew.

Seriously? Stale garlic bread? Ohhh, yeahhhh. They aren't picky, those fowl water fowl.

Fighting over who got to have the next chunk of concrete-like bread.

And then they flew a kite.


And then it got dark and they called me repeatedly on my cell phone to inquire if I had finished grocery shopping and picked up the pizza yet.

I knew Luke and I would grow restless after the feeding of the birds, so I agreed to take him to the store and then to pick up dinner on the way back to the park. When shopping at our local grocery store, I generally go through the self-checkout lane. It's faster, and I don't have to talk to anybody. Every once in awhile, though, I mistakenly pick out produce with no code sticker on it, or I accidentally hit the button for 'celery hearts' instead of plain 'celery' and then I have to wait for the checker to come over and fix my mistake. My favorite incident so far, though, was the one on Sunday. I put my produce on the scale and typed in the code on the sticker. My machine beeped and a picture of a pharmacist came up on the screen. It read, "unauthorized purchase", in bright, shameful red letters. I finally got the attention of the supervisor, and she scoffed. "We really need to fix that code." Yes. Unauthorized yams, indeed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

In the midst of sickness: a pumpkin!

Last week I called one of my sickly babysitters to come infect my children with swine flu watch the girls for a few hours while I took Luke for his 6mo photo shoot. He wasn't as cooperative as he can sometimes be, and was pretty stingy with his smiles, but I think we got a few cute ones.



Coy boy in a gourd costume.

A smile! Pay no attention to the legs hovering over his head.

My favorite pictures always include drool. It's just so Luke.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Trying not to freak out

Last night, my babysitters' mom called me. Her two daughters, who babysat my children twice last week, have the swine flu. Kate was feverish and zombie-like all day on Thursday, but then made a miraculous comeback on Friday. All Luke wants to do is sleep. Claire is also acting out of sorts. There's no way for us to know without getting tested, but I'm guessing we're all infected. Luckily my rock, and the most mentally-stable member of the family, returned home on Thursday afternoon, so I have reinforcements. If you are trying to reach me and are unable to do so, it's probably because I'm at Target buying out their stash of Purell and Tylenol.

Oh, I almost forgot. Luke's 6mo stats: 19lbs 15oz (the size of an 11mo old), and 26 3/4". Hopefully his chub can carry him through this.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Will I ever learn?


After this and this and this (and this and THIS) you would think that I would double-think letting her play with stamps and an ink pad by herself. Nope. Not much learning going on here.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Third Child

Poor Luke. He's either in his car seat, eating, napping, or playing on the crumb-strewn floor by himself, probably in a corner. I've always heard people talk about the middle child; how the unlucky kid is always neglected, and is constantly drug around from older and younger siblings' events, never getting a chance to participate in anything on his own. For us, it's the youngest child who is overlooked.

This morning, for instance, it was a rush to get the misbehaving girls ready for school. Luke got fed, but not dressed. Same for me, actually. . . but I digress. After we dropped them off, we returned home and I changed clothes to go for a run. Luke sat cheerlessly in the stroller as I enthusiastically told him how we were going to See The World! He looked at me and sighed. Half-way through the short run, I noticed he had fallen asleep. Yet another nap out of his crib. When we reached the front door, I gently lifted him out of his stroller and carried him to the proper napping locale, and he fussed just a little before nodding off to sleep. About an hour later, when I was finishing my shower, he woke up. Yay! Time to watch mom do her hair. I sat him just outside the bathroom with a few toys, and he looked at me like, seriously, Mom? These toys again? Okay, mental note to switch out the doing-my-hair toys.

After that, it was a diaper and outfit change, and back out the door to run some errands. He might have cried when I put him in his car seat. Then, to pick up the girls. He flirted pretty heavily with Kate's teacher, basking in the attention he surely feels he's missing out on. Back into the car seat yet again to go home for lunch. . .aaaand straight into the high chair so I could yell at kindly ask the girls to take their shoes off already while I made lunch. Then the girls went down for their naps and he and I played for a bit before he got fussy and needed a nap of his own.

In a short while, we'll all head to the park, where Luke will sit in his stroller (or maybe I'll be able to hold him? It's always up to the girls, somehow, and whether they can obey or not) while the older siblings play. Someday he'll get his revenge by eating all their Barbies' shoes, I'm sure, but for now, I'm glad he's patient.

Enjoying a little breathing treatment before nap. Apparently decongestant is dangerous for little ones, but albuterol is okay?


First pears. The girls kept fighting over who got to feed him.


6mo old. Over 20lb. One happy, well-fed baby boy.

I am teh cyut.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The wiggles go to church

Here I sit at 8:45pm, with 6 seconds left on the clock in the Husky-Irish game, which, on my DVR, is tied 30-30. Funny, this is the same place I was at 4:30 this afternoon, except I was yelling at the TV and at the girls to get their socks on already, and muttering under my breath about the-things-we-do-for-our-children. I ended up turning the television off a few minutes into overtime, and rushing out the door to get to church. On the way there, I promised the girls we would go to Japanese food afterward.

A few times a year, the kids in pre-school sing at the Saturday evening service, and in an attempt to keep as busy as possible, I decided we would go. Also, it's so cute to see the children standing up front, trying to remember the words to their songs, and making muted arm motions.

Damn. Lost in overtime.

So we arrived with a few minutes to spare, and I wisely chose seats towards the back. At some point early on, I wondered about my sanity. I mean, who takes their three children, four years old and under, to Saturday evening church service, when none of the children are able to sit still for longer than 1.2 minutes, one of them is teething, and two of them find great humor in kicking the wooden pews to produce a fun hollow thud? Luckily, I was not the only one with unruly children, but even one of my friends mentioned later that she could hear us from her seat. Go on, ask me if I got anything out of the service.

Luke decided that tonight would be a good time to start practicing his banzai voice. Just imagine a lot of loud growling. I'm pretty certain we were turning heads, but I was too busy trying to entertain my bouncing boy to notice. After about 20 minutes of bellowing, song and prayer, the kids finally wandered up front to sing. The first thing Kate did when she got situated was to find me in the audience and wave with both hands above her head: "Hi, Mom!" They performed about 5 songs, and I was sad I didn't bring my camera. Claire was especially cute, singing with wide eyes and looking at all the kids next to her to see if she was doing it right.

After they had finished, we went back to our pew and I tried to calm the masses. The girls were pretty good, with only Claire tugging at me every few minutes, asking, "Are we going to Japanese now?" over and over again. It was Luke who ended up causing us to make an early break for it. He would not hold still, insisting on jumping on my bladder, and growling like a Tasmanian devil.

Sushi went surprisingly well. Claire even insisted on tasting my salmon and tuna nigiri, and both girls ate enough tempura to warrant a lollipop at the end. When I was getting the kids into the car, Kate was standing on the sidewalk, hands clasped, staring at the starry sky. I asked her what she was doing and she told me she was wishing on a star. She implored me and Claire to join her in singing the song one sings when making wishes. I asked her what she wished for and she smiled and said, "I wished that my Daddy would come home some day." Drama much? He'll be home in 2 weeks.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Within 10 miles of home

Windy Spice met up with Doesn't Want To Get Dirty Spice and went in search of the Great Pumpkin this morning. It's a smaller farm than the one we visited several times in Arizona, but it's waaaaay closer.

Someone is afraid to get her shoes dirty. Sadly, this attitude did not carry all the way to the car, and Clean Spice peed in her newly washed car seat on the way home. Never fails.


Sittin' on a pumpkin chair. We learned about rotting pumpkins today, and why we don't want to take them home with us. Also complained about the wind, and how she was cold. In her defense, it was only in the 60s. And her mother might have forgotten to bring coats for the children.

The boy one sat quietly and played with his toys.


Might be okra? They were huge. Kate tried to smell them and was disappointed by their lack of fragrance.

Corn.

At the end, Kate and I went in search of eggplant, and she asked, "Mommy, where are the eggs?" I think she thought it was Halloween and Easter. I showed her a small purple plant, and she looked adorably confused. Also, someone might have gotten a little over-zealous with the produce and purchased a rather large eggplant. What would you recommend I do with it?