Friday, January 30, 2009

Stolen from Facebook

Just because it's fun:

25 Random Things About Me

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about yourself.

1. I say I want to live somewhere with all 4 seasons, but I think I might be miserable if it was less than 50* for any significant amount of time. (But I still harbor dreams of living in Boise.)

2. I love going out to eat; it's just so much EASIER. But it's usually more fun if the kids are elsewhere!

3. I am due with our last baby in mid-April, but hope the baby is slightly early, because I don't really like being pregnant.

4. I have never been more than a few thousand dollars in debt (besides a mortgage). The thought of owing money totally freaks me out.

5. I am supposed to run a half-marathon in December. I am anxious and excited about it.

6. I used to race sailboats when I lived in Seattle, and also in North Carolina. Thistle class. LOTS of fun.

7. We are getting a new car next week! This will be my first new car ever.

8. One of the sad things about this is that I will no longer have my 5-speed Subaru. I love my 5-speed.

9. I met my husband at an AFROTC conference when I was 19, but we didn't officially start dating (the first time) until I was about 25 and he was living in Idaho. I was living in Seattle at the time, and I felt that the distance wasn't so great that we couldn't date. Also, I found out how much fun dating him was, and I was hooked.

10. Until he went to pilot training in Texas and we stopped seeing each other, because I refused to move from Seattle to Texas, or date long-distance through pilot training. Once he moved to Arizona, we began dating again. Wow, was I an opportunistic dater or what?

11. We got engaged 6 months later, and moved to North Carolina. I was 27 when we got married.

12. I got stung by a bark scorpion when we lived in Arizona. It hurt like blazes, literally, for 36 hours.

13. I climbed Mt. Adams in Washington state in the late 1990s. It is 12,281', and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I carried my ski gear up the mountain and skied down.

14. I took tap, ballet and jazz dance lessons for years as a child/teenager. After college, I took years of swing dancing lessons, with some salsa lessons thrown in. I love to dance.

15. I miss being able to drink red wine with dinner.

16. I have lived in South Korea (with the military) and London (without), and I hope to live in Europe someday.

17. I am a closet (okay, I guess it's not that secret) sci-fi fan.

18. I love it when my daughters cuddle up with me. I especially love their hugs.

19. I used to love to ski and snowboard, but I don't know if I do anymore: it's so damn cold. I hope to try it again when the kids are a little older.

20. I got my private pilot's license when I was 6 months pregnant with Kate. I have not been able to fly much since, although I would like to. I love it, and the weather here is perfect for it. Much better than Korea, where I began flying. I had enough hours to test in Korea, but after my "practice test session" with Mr. Cho, the only FAA examiner on the peninsula, I was in tears and thought I would never get my license. After we moved to Arizona, I had a few refresher lessons (including a repeat long cross-country since my one in Korea didn't count) and passed the FAA exam with flying colors. Take that, Mr. Cho!

21. Two of my favorite places in the world are Queenstown, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.

22. I have no idea what I am going to do for work when the kids go to school. This sort of stresses me out, but I'm trying to enjoy my time home with the kids as much as possible.

23. I have worked in finance for most of my adult life, although my degree is in International Studies.

24. I am pretty sure the word "no" comes out of my mouth a bazillion times a day.

25. I love to cook, although I don't have much time for it these days. I would like to become a better chef, and would love to take cake decorating classes.

Now, show me some love, and tell me a little about your 25 random things.

Good news

The fFN test was negative! No bedrest! No impending childbirth! Oregon is back on!

Also, the water situation seems to be okay. We have about 8 fans/heaters running to dry everything out, and the water remediation team will be back out today to inspect.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Worst week

Isn't there a show called 'Worst Week'? My week has been going okay, it's just today that hasn't gone swimmingly.

It started out at the OB this morning. They did a fetal fibronectin test to make sure I'm not leaking fluid. I'll find out the results tomorrow morning. I've been having contractions...say 6 times an hour off and on for a few weeks, so I'm on the lookout for pre-term labor. I'm really hoping the test is negative, obv, as the RN told me if I am leaking fluid, there is a very good chance I'll deliver within the next 2 weeks. And I'm only 29 weeks right now. So, as much as I am ready to be done with pregnancy forever, I would ideally like to wait at least another 8 weeks until I have the baby. Also, if the test is positive, I would have to go on bedrest for the next couple of weeks, which is sort of impossible. Also also we are supposed to drive to Oregon on Saturday where we will buy our new car, a trip which would be difficult when one is on bedrest preparing for imminent childbirth. So, let's just hope that that little test is negative, shall we? Mmmmkay.

Next: post-lunch, I helped Kate use the bathroom, and the toilet overflowed. Like all-over-the-large-bathroom-floor-perhaps-.5"-deep overflowed. Awesome. After I got the children to bed for naps and came downstairs to find all my cleaning stuff, I heard dripping. In the kitchen. Sure enough, water (TOILET water) was dripping from the AC vent in the ceiling. I had no idea what to do. Of course, the way things go, this sort of event only seems to happen when either 1) Tim is deployed, or 2) he is flying in a Red Flag and is completely unavailable. Today it was option #2. I called both his squadrons with no luck, but someone told me they would run down to the building he was in to tell him to call me. Maybe it was the stress in my voice. Pregnant woman sounds like she is close to tears: better help out. Luckily he called me, because besides calling a plumber, I was at a loss. He suggested calling our insurance company (brilliant!) and they sent a water remediation team over. [My response to the claims adjuster who asked what caused the plumbing problem: "Um...I have a 3-year-old?"] Currently, they are tearing out a large section of my ceiling, peeling back the carpet in Kate's room, and taking all the molding off the bathroom walls. Sweet. It seems the likelihood of us leaving on Saturday is decreasing.

This is not the kind of remodelling I like to do.

In the spirit of "you can't make this shit up" (no pun intended), I heard Kate whimpering from her room where she was playing. She came out and told me she had pooped in her underwear.

So that is the sort of day it's been here. How's your day going?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Claire Bear

Dear Claire,

You are such a joy to be with. You are happy, obstinate, precocious, sweet, and ever cheerful. You love to dance, sing (your favorite song is Once Upon a Dream, or perhaps Baa, Baa, Black Sheep), jump, have tea parties, and help me in the kitchen. You almost always talk in complete sentences, with occasional Claireisms like, "I want all done," and "I sorry, Mommy". You are learning to get what you want by either being exceptionally cute, or accusing your sister of taking 'your' toy. You love Elmo and princesses, playing in the dirt and wearing dress-up shoes. You want to sleep in a 'big-girl bed' all the time, and you sleep well unless you have a bad dream or your sister wakes you up. You get very cuddly at nap time, and suck your thumb and rub your cheek when you are tired. After nap you happily exclaim, "All done nap!" and then you like to watch The Backyardigans or Toot & Puddle.

You want to be a big girl like your sister, and you look up to Kate with great respect. But you also are your own person, and I have seen Kate follow you in your activities from time to time. Your imagination is abundant and I am often amazed by what you come up with. I think you are looking forward to being a big sister, and the songs you sing to the "baby in Mommy's belly" are cherished. You love to read now, and will often sit down by yourself and read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? aloud, skipping the colors of the animals. You delight in playing hide and seek with Kate, even though you rarely hide, preferring to count loudly to ten.

We love you very much, Claire, and look forward to seeing you grow up before our eyes.

McLaren at her birthday party, refusing to let the sugar-induced cough stop her from eating more frosting.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The party

The house is quiet, and the kids are asleep. I was pretty sure they were never going to calm down after the gobs of sugar they ingested over the course of 2 hours the festivities this afternoon, but apparently they exhausted themselves. And us.

The party went really well; the kids were fairly well-behaved, and they all played together nicely, allowing the adults to talk together for at least a minute at a time. Claire wanted panda bear cupcakes, and they were a huge hit with the kids.

I put 2 candles on her cupcake and lit them; she blew them out before we could start singing. I re-lit them, and she blew them out. Once they were lit again and we had finished singing, she refused to blow them out. After a good minute of cajoling Claire, Kate came to the rescue, along with several of her friends.

Some of the uncouth bears might be flipping off future eaters, but it's hard to say with pandas.

There was surprisingly little fighting over presents, although Claire did not get to open many of them by herself.

MIA frosting, after Claire realized some of her friends did not consume theirs.


The play kitchen from hell: OMG there must be 1,000,000 pieces.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oughtta be

I should probably be making dinner right now, but these were too good to pass up.

Kate has been making me crazy at nap time recently. She plays in her room for the entire time, even when she clearly needs a nap. She'll be nodding off at lunch but will get a second wind at nap time, playing for hours with her Sleeping Beauty Barbie and all her accoutrements, refusing to close her eyes. Then at dinner she is a MESS, throwing fits and tantrums that make me want to pull my hair out. Today I had a grand idea: nap time in Claire's crib. Turns out 'sleep' was not what she had in mind until nearly the end of nap time: at one point she had the purple box in the lower left corner IN the crib with her (it had been within arm's distance), and I'm fairly certain the blanket she is lying next to was on the rocker which is NOT within arm's reach...

Claire came out of the pantry with this jar of fluff after nap, demanding, "Moshmallows fo' beckfast!" Note the look of glee on her face. She is a little confused about which meal time is when, but not what constitutes a good snack.


Probably not the best idea right before her 2-year-old pictures: new bangs. In her defense, this picture is post-nap, and they can look cuter than they do here. Right? Right?! Argh.

Helping wash the windows.

Also, I checked my Chinese pregnancy calendar and Kate was supposed to be a boy. The prediction tool is said to have a 93% accuracy rate, but so far we're 50/50. The current baby is also supposed to be a boy. Ninety-some days until we find out for sure!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Getting creative with dinner

It always happens: I go to the grocery store (alone!) for milk while Tim watches the girls, and 45 minutes later I return with ... a few more items than were on my list. Yesterday, that meant trout.

I was wandering slowly through the deli/cheese area, where I picked up some shaved turkey breast, ham and salami, and found myself facing the seafood department. Flash of genius: we don't have anything for dinner! Let's have fish! Instead of having the nice fish people fillet my trout for me, I bought them whole (or semi-whole: innards removed). I figured I would show Kate what a whole fish looked like, quickly and cleanly fillet all the fish, and fry them up for a tasty dinner. Kate was intrigued by the whole fish. I told her I bought Nemo for dinner and she was downright enthusiastic. [Later, after returning from Home Depot, Kate mumbled something about Nemo, and Tim asked her if she wanted to watch Finding Nemo. "No, I want to eat Nemo." Classic.]

As I prepared the pecan-flour mixture and egg wash, I had Tim look up how to fillet a fish. Before he found a site explaining it, I went at it with my knife. The fillets weren't pretty, but I thought I did a decent job with it, until I cut two of my fingers. Tim then got to try his hand at filleting. The fish turned out great, and the girls LOVED it. Looks like fish is back on the menu, boys.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

According to Mary

I got my hair cut last week. Mary, my stylist, was taken aback by the fact that I do not know whether I am having a boy or a girl. She promptly demanded my ring, found some string, and performed the "baby gender" trick in which she swung the ring over my very large belly. According to Mary, I am having a boy. She also asked me if I had consulted my Chinese pregnancy calendar, which I had completely forgotten about, and which I have not consulted (if I wanted to know what I was having, I would have had several opportunities prior to this to actually find out).

I suppose I could take this opportunity to poll you all, however. Place your bets! Is it a boy or a girl?

Woooo boy

I just signed up for my first half-marathon, scheduled to take place in December in downtown Las Vegas. I munched on coconut chocolate chip cookies as I tried to figure out how long it would take me to complete the race. I settled on 2 hours 30 minutes. I have no idea, really, as the farthest I have ever run is a 12K, and the last one of those I ran was at least a decade and 2.5 children ago. I am pretty much completely freaked out right now, and hope that my attitude changes once I can see my toes again. If not, I will be talking smack about Elizabeth for ages. She swears she will mentally train with me (?) and will fly out from San Antonio to run the race by my side. Or maybe really far in front of me, but at least she'll be in the general vicinity, thinking good thoughts.

We test-drove more cars yesterday. UGH. Someone tell me we are done already! We started with the Honda Pilot, which we both crossed off the list almost immediately. I love Honda, but I don't love that vehicle. There are too many things about it that I don't love, so I'll just leave it at that.

We also drove the GMC Acadia, which is flippin' expensive. I think they quoted us $44K for the one we drove? It was crazy talk. It was the nice model, but still. It was no Acura MDX, I can assure you. So, unless they can come up with a significantly better price and ditch the whole "we're getting a bailout so we don't need to lower our prices" attitude, we will not be buying one of those.

We then re-tested the Mazda CX-9, because it's my fave. I still love it. And it's waaaaay cheaper and better equipped than the GMC, so it's sort of a no-brainer. The only thing I realized, as I rode in the 3rd row, was that there are no ceiling vents. So if you are unfortunate enough to have to ride back there in the nose-bleed section (I'm looking at you, Claire), you have to rely on your older sister to not cut off your AC supply (located in the center console in front of the 2nd row) in the heat of summer. Also, there is no option for captain's chairs in the second row, which is so frustrating! That car would kick ass if it could have captain's chairs. And vents. Those two options are really why the Saturn Outlook and the GMC Acadia are still on the list.

After naps, we also drove the Toyota Highlander. I was in love and ready to walk down the aisle with it until we got back to the dealership and found out that the 3rd row doesn't split. So you either have the whole back seat up or the whole back seat down. I would have to choose between leaving a child home alone (a surprisingly appealing alternative, actually) and piling groceries in the front seat, because where am I going to put all my stuff? Unfortunate design, Toyota. You almost had me at "super comfy leather seats and a flip-up hatch window".

I think we are done test-driving, though, as I can't think of any other vehicles that appeal to me that we haven't already driven. I refuse to drive a mini-van because I will end up buying one of the damn things (see also: captain's chairs, good gas mileage, space space space, and sweet entertainment packages).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Going all Martha

In preparation for Claire's birthday in 2 weeks, I tested out my cupcake decorating skillz. Are those not the cutest lion cupcakes ever? Claire picked off all the "mane" and refused to eat it. Then she ate mostly just the frosting (and the M&Ms, of course), leaving the strawberry cupcake behind. Kate nibbled at hers so much that half of it ended up on the floor. Instead of a vacuum, I should have bought a dog.

Claire decided to dress herself over the weekend. Tim brought her downstairs in this ensemble, and I was sure it was his doing until he corrected me. You never can tell.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

More consumer stuff

I bought a hard-surface vacuum! I ended up getting the Dirt Devil Accucharge, and so far it is great. My favorite part about it is that IT HAS NO CORD, so you can take it anywhere, like in the pantry and close the door. When's the last time you vacuumed behind doors? For me, that was never, because the cord always got stuck or wasn't long enough and it was a royal pain. Now, I can vacuum my whole first floor with ease. And this particular vacuum held the charge for the whole cleaning, although it was dying a slow wheezy death at the end. I'm hopeful that the next charge will last longer (since I might have cheated a little on the first charge just so I could turn the thing on and make sure the noise wasn't going to kill me, which it did not). Next researching job: carpet vacuum. Anyone have one they love? Hate?

We also went car-shopping again yesterday. Joy. We drove the Hyundai Veracruz and the Chevy Traverse. Tim also drove the Acura MDX. I avoided driving it because it is way out of our price range and I didn't want to see the model house and have to buy the starter one, you know? Plus, I am pretty sure I drove one a little over a year ago, and fell in lurve with it.

Hyundai: not that memorable. The warranties are crazy good (one of them is 10 years, one is 5 and one is 3, I think, and you get all of them on your new vehicle), but the car itself doesn't stick out in my mind. It drove fine, had a good turning radius, was comfy, and the back row was fairly easy to access. It drove sort of like a truck, and I felt that the road noise was significant (possibly because I started out in the 3rd row, where it was very apparent).

Chevy: meh. I didn't like it that much. Tim liked it a lot, but he just rode as a passenger in the back and didn't drive it. For me, it was very squirrelly. I felt like we were driving in high winds, when the weather was pretty calm outside. Also, the heater/radio/accessory controls killed me. They were totally not intuitive at all; why would a car manufacturer do that? Why make things more complicated? Tim has told me about how they changed a couple of things from the old A-10 to the A-10C, and now you have to press 9 buttons to get the airplane to do something it used to take one button push to do...and that is what I thought of when I looked at the dash. When Claire and I were in the second row together, she pushed a button on the center console and turned the heat on full-blast. It took me nearly an entire minute to figure out how to turn it off. In the meantime, I accidentally turned on the radio (from the backseat! I hope the driver can disable that feature!). So, I'm pretty sure we will not be purchasing a Traverse.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Finally, FINALLY, after being on the waiting list for months, Kate is scheduled to start pre-school at the beginning of February. It is ridiculously expensive, and is not as long nor as flexible as I would like, but I WILL TAKE IT.

This week, Kate has decided that she no longer needs afternoon naps. This, of course, coincides with my need to start taking them, so we've been a bit at odds. And the evenings. Well, those have not been so very pleasant. She is a wreck by dinner. Luckily, Tim has not been on nights, so he has been around to head off the tantrums, or at least deal with them civilly.

I keep forgetting to talk about my ultrasound last week. Isn't that just like a pregnant woman? The poor third child. The perinatologist said things are looking pretty good, except that there is extra fluid in the placenta. I'm not at the danger level, but they will keep an eye on it, as I guess one of the possible complications can be pre-term labor. Me, I just think that my body likes the extra fluid, because I am fairly certain I was fluid-heavy with Claire, as well, and also, have you SEEN my belly? Trust me, it's huge. Let's just say that when the doctor broke my water with Claire, he got soaked, mentioned something like, "WOW, that was a lot of fluid," and then went to change his scrubs. I also saw my belly visibly shrink, and I commented to Tim that I felt like I had just lost 5 pounds. TMI? Oh, sorry. But my point is that I don't think there is anything wrong with the baby, just that extra fluid is one of my pregnancy quirks.

Also, I got a couple of 4D pictures at the ultrasound! One of them is totally creepy: it looks like it's just a shin and foot floating there, not attached to anything, which I'm pretty sure they would have put in the "not normal" category if the leg really wasn't attached, so I'm not going to get too worked up over it. The face ones are kinda cute. Eh, on second-look, those ones could be considered kind of creepy, too, especially when I digitize them. How about if I just wait until the baby is born and then post pictures. I'm sure those photos will be a lot more generous.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I found out about this dollhouse from Katie, and am in love with it. The question is, will my children fall in love with it like I have? It's marked down to $63!! With free shipping! That seems ridiculously cheap to me for such a product, but I hate spending big money on one toy and then having said toy sit in a corner collecting dust and cat fur. Also, it's sort of big, so it's something one has to really want in their toy room.

Also, does anyone have this Dirt Devil Accucharge stick vacuum? I am in desperate need of a (preferably cordless) vacuum that I can use for the daily under-the-kitchen-table cleaning that must be done. This one has good reviews on amazon, but I am concerned about the noise level. Do you have any insight or recommendations for me?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Oh, you WANT to hear about car stuff

Okay then! If you've clicked on this entry by accident, move right along, but know that I'll likely be back to posting about silly kid tricks in no time.

Due to the pending due date of our third child, we need a new car. Me, I'm not really the mini-van type. I remember back in the 80s when my parents were shopping for a new car. It came down to the Mercury Sable station wagon or a mini-van, and I vehemently voted against the mini-van. Don't get me wrong; the Honda Odyssey is a wonderful machine (as are others, I'm sure), and there are many positive aspects to having a mini-van. But I just don't really want one at this point. So, crossover or large SUV it is. And I'm also not that into the large SUV, so we I have come up with a list of about 10 acceptable crossovers. Would you like to see the list?

  1. Acura MDX (originally my favorite. Love love love.)

  2. Hyundai Veracruz

  3. Ford Taurus X

  4. Mazda CX-9

  5. Mitsubishi Outlander

  6. Toyota Highlander

  7. GMC Acadia

  8. Saturn Outlook (the Acadia, Outlook, Buick Enclave and Chevy Traverse are all pretty much the same vehicle, supposedly, although I think some of them look quite different than one another)

  9. Honda Pilot

  10. Honda Odyssey

  11. Toyota Sienna

Warning: geek-out mode now activated. I printed out the Consumer Reports sheets on all of them, and we went shopping. All of the cars, except the Saturn Outlook and look-alikes, are CR-recommended. Which totally bummed me out (and also confused me to no end), because I LOVE the Saturn Outlook. CR offers some wonderful opinions, but I don't always understand how they arrive at their conclusions. For instance, they give the Outlook a 75 and don't recommend it, but the CX-9 gets a 76 and a 'CR Recommended' rating. Wha?

We drove two, like I mentioned before, and liked both of them. The Mazda CX-9 is more luxury-vehicle than the Saturn Outlook. This surprised me, in that I didn't expect Mazda to be equated with luxury. When I think of Mazda, I think of the Miata and the RX-7, 80s throw-backs. But the CX-9 was really, really nice. Of course, it helps to drive the very highest of the high-end models, you know? But the leather seats: SO comfortable (and the heated leather seats: a wonderful experience for my tush on that chilly day). Lots of adjustments and extras and comfort features that I was not expecting (bluetooth enabled so you can hook up your phone to the car, voice-command navigation, tilt-adjustable headlights!), and the best part: the ease of moving the second row of seats to get to the 3rd row. You could do it with one hand. I would prefer captains chairs in the 2nd row, but you have to get to the bigger SUVs for that.

The Outlook had captains chairs in the 2nd row, which I loved. The captains chairs also rolled forward for even easier access to the 3rd row. All rows were surprisingly comfortable (as they were in the CX-9), with enough leg-room even for Tim. The Outlook drove more like a truck, and had less of a luxury feel as a result. But it handled well, and I liked it quite a bit.

Next weekend: Acura and hopefully the Honda Pilot, as these are the last two in my top-tier. I have a feeling that I will love everything about the Acura except the 3rd row (the vehicle is almost a full foot shorter than the CX-9 and the Outlook, so how can it possibly have as much leg room?).

Now, on a totally unrelated note, I am irrationally discouraged by the fact that my fat jeans are saran-wrap tight and that I am left with the choice between maternity pants and stretch pants. I am glad that it is winter and that I can get away with wearing my comfy velour track suit pants for the next couple of months, but am sad for the loss of my low-rise Old Navy jeans. I know I'm almost 26 weeks, and that maternity pants were unavoidable, but I still grieve.

Sunday, January 04, 2009



Freakishly large snowmen made out of flowers.

Princess Kate at the Bellagio Conservatory.

We began the New Year the way every parent hopes to: with a late arrival home, and an obscene bedtime for the children. You know you're in for pain the next day when you can hear the kids still whimpering at 10:30pm. The next morning, they awoke bright and early, and seemed to be in decent moods, so we took them to the Bellagio. They loved it. So did I: the Bellagio Conservatory is one of my absolute favorite places in Las Vegas.

Since then, it's been non-stop college football and car shopping. Sounds fun, right? Meh. The games have been somewhat lame, in my opinion, and the car shopping. OMG, what a pain in the ass! The research! The endless opinions of those who supposedly own the vehicles and are rating them online! The dragging of small children to car dealerships! I think the salesmen eyed us with dread every time we walked into a showroom. Have you seen the damage two young ones can do to a vehicle in mere minutes? They have. But, it was great fun seeing my little girls behind the wheel of a red Saturn Sky (convertible with doors that open up).

It seems like we've been at it forever days, but we only test-drove yesterday. And we only drove 2 cars, at that. We looked at the Hyundai Vera Cruz, but the batteries were dead on the two that were on the lot (?), so we left and went to Mazda where we drove a CX-9. Nice, nice, nice. Loved it. From there it was meltdown city, so we took the children home for a nap. Then, because we like to torture them, we went back out to drive the Saturn Outlook. Nice, as well, but in different ways. And because you don't really care about our car-shopping experience, I'll just end there. But, do you have a vehicle with a 3rd row? If so, what is it, and do you love it? Hate it? Why? Please share.

Also, did you make a list of New Year's resolutions? I only have a couple so far:
1. Have a baby. (cheater)
2. Lose weight. (cheater!)
3. Go downtown at least once a month, preferably with the
children, but also sometimes without them, because it's nice to have a chance to
look around at your surroundings without yelling at someone to "come back here
right now or I'll put you in the stroller!".
4. Begin running again after the baby is born.
5. Find more creative ways to play with the children.
What are your resolutions?