Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Obligatory Christmas Recap Post

Did you have a merry Christmas? It was a good one Chez Nous!

Christmas eve was spent with Maggie's magnificent family. It looked a little like this:

Lucy and Jack negotiating over who gets to open the present.

And this:

Christmas jammies!

This might have been around 9:30pm.
The bird might have been a little drunk with sleepies.

We watched White Christmas, and I would SO love to add a little video here of Maggie, her sister, and MY HUSBAND singing "Sisters," but not only to I have the sneaking suspicion that Maggie wouldn't be too thrilled, the Bubba would positively KILL me. Boo. Come over to my house. I show it to you then. Promise. (What? You live a bazillion miles away? IT'S WORTH THE TRIP.)

And Christmas. Lucy was adequately spoiled, the Bubba was surprised, and a good day was had by all.

This is the only pic I have of Lu standing in her
Christmas dress - hair a mess and no shoes. Sigh. Merry Christmas.

And this? This video is long, but I would like to point out what a LOVING, CARING, PATIENT mother I am at the crack of dawn (o-KAY, it was like 7am) after being up ALL THE NIGHT with a teething baby.

video
Me = Saint

I have a sneaking suspicion that Santa is going to turn out to be my dentist, because he brought me an electric toothbrush and and a night guard. SEXY. However, Santa DID also see fit to sneak a couple of running jackets under the tree. So there's that.

Playing ball with Zoey, my aunt's dog.
When Zoey would take the ball,
Lucy would indignantly say "PLEASE! ZOEY!"

Lucy got all manner of brightly colored plastic toys (which she fondly calls her Tooooooieeees.) from her godfather and cousin and great-aunt, and she's been in Heh-Ven ever since going from one to another ever since.

video
It's a little sad to know that my Sugar Plum Fairy won't be dancing to carols for another year!

Can you believe that not one pic of all of our Christmas merry-making includes yours truly? Or the Bubba and I together? We were so excited to capture all Lucy's fun we didn't even think about it, I guess.

The Bubba is on vacation/furlough this week, and we've stocked up on library books and recipes and plan to eat and read our way through the week. We've made resolutions to run every day that he's home, and so far so good.

We also have big plans to actually make it to midnight this year on New Year's Eve. I'll let you know.

Monday, December 28, 2009

It's Cheese.

Lucy sang this to me over breakfast the other day:

I like cream cheese and I cannot lie.

You butter eaters ain’t so fly

When Mama brings out the blueberry bagel

and the white stuff all on top

I get Schmear!

Don’t-cha hear?

Ain’t gonna eat that bun unless it’s got Neufchatel, hun!

Chomp! Double up! Chomp, chomp!


Don't even ask me how long she's been channeling Mix-A-Lot. She likes it old school.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

On Christmas Eve

We've had a bad couple of nights of sleep around here. I do think that one of the last two mother-loving incisors are trying to poke through some little gums. And for some reason, the poking-through process involves a lot of 1-3am rocking. Lucy's getting one of her two front teeth for Christmas. Perfect.


Even through my sleepy haze this morning, I know it's Christmas Eve. We drove the Bubba to work this morning. We had 99 to ourselves at 8:30AM. Where we're usually creeping along the bridge, I was zipping along to the tunes of the all-Christmas-carols-all-the-time radio station. Rainier was out with billows of cloud cover around its base. In short, the day was already looking magical.


And then we turned downtown and I caught a glimpse of the EIGHT MILE LONG LINE to see Santa at Nordstrom's. Seriously? That sounds a little bit like Christmas hell right there.

Aaaanyway, the Bubba has a half day of work, Lucy and I are going to make baked Brie and pigs in a blanket to snack on tonight, and I'm furiously throwing yarn into last-minute shapes.


Every morning of Advent this year we've lit the lights on the tree as we sing a Christmas carol - easily Lucy's favorite part of the day. And we procured an Advent wreath this year, so we light it and read devotions and sing Away in a Manger after dinner. It's so fun that Lucy is just old enough to sort of catch a hint of the magic of the Christmas season.


Lucy is beside herself with excitement about getting at the packages under the tree. In fact, quite a few of the books I picked up for her are still stored under my bed because I don't want to fight the "It's not Christmas yet!" fight. The nice thing about the small gifts we're exchanging this year is that they fit in and fill out some pretty nice-looking stockings (if I do say so myself - well, at least Lucy's and Bubba's).


So off I go to bake stuff and knit stuff and look forward to cruising some lights and stuffing my face with friends tonight. And then there's Christmas mass with the choir tomorrow. And opening pretty packages. And sipping coffee and watching Lucy play with the wrapping paper garbage her new things. And Christmas dinner. And letting the feeling of sharing Christmas with my little family settle in.

And THEN? A whole week of (furlough) vacation with my Bubba. This is gonna be good.

Merry Christmas to you. I hope you feel the blessings of the season.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sixteen

Somewhere in the recent past, my baby turned 16 months and we are in the full throes of toddlerhood. Here are some of the new things:

Things I Love:

- New vocab. Girls got like 40 or 50 meaningful words now. I’m always surprised by what comes out of her mouth.

- Sentences! Like for example, “Mama! All done! Bye bye!” When she’s done with lunch. Or “Oh no! Where’d it go? I don’t know!” Granted you need a Parent Certified Translator to understand these sentences – like “Pretty flower” actually sounds like “Reepie WOWwee!” but STILL. Sentences with two and three words. Harvard, baby.

- The little bits of politesse we’ve taught her coming out. She says “Thank you!” sometimes without prompting, and almost always when she’s handing you something. The “pees” is becoming more of a language staple too. It’s really hard to deny something to a little person whose voice is saying “Up, pees, Mama!”

- Singing. I made up little hand motions to The Wheels on the Bus and Lucy knows what each of the things do on the bus and will sing them - “round and round, round and round, round and round” with her little pointer fingers tracing circles in the air – when appropriate. She also makes up songs about people or toys as she’s playing. Oh, the odes to Mama. Those get my right in the cockles. She’s singing one right now, actually as she peruses the church bulletin. It goes a little something like “Mamamama Mama! Mamamama Mama! Read! Read! Mamamama Mama!” Swoon! My favorite generally involve the words Mama, Happy, or Love you!

- The opinions. Me: “Want to wear your brown shoes?” Lucy: “Noooooo? Red Crocs?” You got it. [Oh, and we call her red crocs Red Crocs. It’s not like she’s picking out the RED ones. Just in case you thought she was a super genius or something (which she is – I dare you to contradict me).] Me: “Want to sing a song?” Lucy: “Baa baa!” or “E-i-O” or whatever tickles her fancy at the moment.

- Repeating. I love, love, love hearing Lucy figure out words in her little voice. Especially big words like “emergency vehicle” and “baby baboon” and “delicious.” There’s not a whole lot cuter than a tiny mouth full of multisyllabic words.

- Using words correctly. When we pull onto our street or into our driveway, Lucy announces “HOME!” And (this kills me) last week I was doing dishes as Lu ate her lunch. At some point in the finishing process, Lucy decided to put the tines of her fork into the spout of her sippy cup. The result was a very tall stacked cup-fork tower. Lucy said “Hey!” to get my attention and when I looked at her she said, very seriously, “Taa DA!” I had no idea she even knew that word.

- Making up games. She’s made up this game where we both try to say something at the same time. Mostly is just “Bah” but sometimes she says “Mama!” and I say “Lucy,” but we try to say it at exactly the same time. It cracks both of us up.

- Figuring things out. Subtitled: The Completely Random Things That Toddlers Do. I love watching Lucy work out whatever it is she’s working out. She steps on her toy. Tries to balance it on one finger. She sees what it’s like to wear it as a hat or use it as a pillow. She spends entire minutes trying to hang her purse from her toe and walk away. LOVE.

- Random affirmations of understanding. I leaned our folded drying rack against a table today. Lucy put her car under it and announced “House.”

- She started saying "Uh-huh!" As in Me: "Isn't that NICE?" Lucy: "Uh-huh!" So human of her!



Things I May Not Love Quite So Much As the Things in the Previous List:

- The flip side of opinions. Me: You MUST wear pants. Lucy: Noooooo? Nooooo! – screams of torturous rage – Noooooo!”

- Using my words against me. Yesterday I heard, “Stop, please.” Or there’s also “MAMA!” with outrage.

- The flip side of repeating. A couple days ago I said “Aw MAN!” In response to some mess I walked in on in the kitchen. For ten minutes Lucy echoed “Maw MAN” with tones of pure frustration in her voice. Way to pick up on it, Lu. We won’t even talk about the S-word she busted out the other day, we’ll just say that SOMEONE around here needs to be watching the POTTY mouth. (Sigh. It’s me.)

- The fact that since she’s verbal she thinks that the answer will now always be yes. Frustrations abound in both corners of the ring.

- “Walk, Mama! Walk! Walk!” Anytime she’s being carried, really. Combined with the Limp Body Defense and Operation Wiggle Worm, this is actually highly effective strategy which often ends in me (or the Bubba) chasing or preventing near-catastrophes and mostly being way more uncomfortable than lugging around the 25-pound worm.

Welp, looks like the Pros outweigh the Cons this month.


I know I always say this – but it’s always TRUE! – this is my favorite stage yet.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Photo Friday: Prisoner Edition


Lucy locked herself in her room yesterday. I didn't even know that door locked. Our house was built in the 1910s? 20s? It's old. Most of the doors have old skeleton key doorknobs that only lock from the inside AND outside with keys. Well, Lucy's door had a turn-the-thingie-on-the-knob type lock. And it locked the knob on the inside as well as the outside so Lucy couldn't turn the handle either.

Abject sadness

Now. This wouldn't be a big deal if there was some sort of unlocking mechanism on the outside. Or if the hinges were on the outside. Or if the knob had screws to take it off. Or if the wood trim on the door wasn't glued on with a century of paint. Too bad none of this was working to my advantage.

Tending toward despair

This I learned: kicking down a door is way harder than it looks in movies. I tried twice and gave up. Not to mention that I didn't want Lucy to be maimed by the flying-open broken door. And I had to call my Bubba to ask if it was ok if I broke a door off.


Also learned: I don't have what it takes to be a burglar and break into windows. I only got as far as getting the screens off.

Not amused. Stop trying, Mama.

I used a big screwdriver and hammer and tried to trip the latch. I tried to pry the knob off. I tried to use a hammer as a lever and pry the dang door off.

Almost okay

And then I called the Bubba to come home. It had been 20 minutes, and Lucy was clearly done with this business. And even if she wasn't. *I* was.

Pacified and waiting for Daddy

And then Daddy came, banged real hard, tripped the latch with the screwdriver-hammer trick while I kept Lu away from the door in case it broke open.

She was totally fine. She had pooped her pants, was happy to see Daddy, wanted some lunch. Fine.

Mama, however, needed a stiff drink and a massage.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Road Trip

I love the idea of a little theme town that is a two and a half hour drive from Seattle on I-90 across Snoqualmie pass etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. A little Bavarian town settled in the foothills of the Cascades. So QUAINT.

Grandma and Grandpa T flew in on Thursday afternoon and they rented a vehicle for the weekend. The car rental worker snagged them into ending up with a Sequoia quoting threats of snow for the weekend. And then they figured since they have a Hugormous SUV, why not take a road trip? Leavenworth? Yes, please!

I’ve wanted to visit since we moved to Seattle. I first heard of it when I was researching places to go spend a romantic weekend for a honeymoon. And I’ve especially wanted to see it at Christmas time when it’s all lit up like a cozy little gingerbread village against the snowy hills.

Our experience was sort of like that. Except for the lights and the snow and the gingerbread and the cozy.

We left around 11 so Lucy could nap in the car on the way there. Which she did for approximately 30 minutes. We stopped for lunch and we got to our destination at about 2:30 and stopped first thing at the visitors’ center. And do you know what we learned? That Fridays, Leavenworth takes the night off of lights.

Black. Friday. The ONLY night of the week. That they don’t put the Christmas lights on. Mondays? Lights. Tuesdays? Saturdays? Wednesdays? Sundays? Thursdays? Lights, lights, lights, lights, aaaaaaand lights. Fridays? NO LIGHTS.

Oh, and it was 17 degrees. We ended up popping in and out of a couple little tourist shops, looking at the horse and buggy, and then getting back into the car to head for home.

I had been counting on dinner of schnitzel and spaetzel and all order of yummy German things, but when we passed what looked like the only drop-in-and-eat-no-frills restaurant, it seemed to be a brat stand with a beer garden. And in Grandma Marge’s words, “Cold beer and a brat? Might as well be at the Packer game!”

I seem to be becoming an expert at all things not really fun for the under 2 crowd. Explaining to Lucy why she had to be strapped into her carseat for 5 hours and strapped into her stroller for the rest of our visit wasn’t necessarily the best time I’ve ever had. Also not fun was trying to find a public restroom with a changing table, giving up and changing a poopy diaper on the floor of a two-stall bathroom with a line of women waiting. That’s the first time I ever worked up a sweat from a diaper change. Good thing I’ve been working on those squat muscles.

We might should have done a little more research before making the trip, maybe. We should have called ahead to see what the deal was. And then again, maybe it’s ME. Maybe I need to be better at managing my expectations.

It IS, after all, a beautiful little village in a beautiful little spot.

Proof of the beautifulness.

A pretty good lookin' family.

At least I got a delicious salty bretzel out of it and Grandma and Grandpa got to drive through the mountains on a clear, bright day. It wasn’t a complete loss.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry Weeks Before Christmas!

Hey guys! It’s been a while! I’ve been quiet lately. A combination of using all my free time to get Christmas presents done and lack of writing ideas.


Well, that and also Grandma and Grandpa T came to visit this past weekend for “Christmas” two weeks early. And nothing says blog fodder like a visit from the in-laws! They haven’t seen Lucy and vice versa since January. We could say that Lu’s changed a little bit in the last eleven and a half months.


We had Christmas right away on Thursday night because the Bubba couldn’t wait. And really, what’s cuter than a grown man excited to open presents with his parents?



A baby that gets more excited about packing peanuts that what’s in the box.



That’s what.

And this? This little gem?

This is the Bubba belly laughing.


Maybe your husbands do this all the time. Maybe you live with people that laugh and joke with each breath. My husband, however? He saves laughing for things that are just Very Truly Funny to him. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean to say this man is a Dud. He’s funny and he’ll laugh. But the Belly Laugh - the Really and Truly Funny laugh - is oh so different. And when it happens? When he laughs right from the bottom of his being? The stars twinkle a little brighter and everyone’s mood lightens and things are just generally better. Thanks to Grandpa, I have PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE of the Bubba belly laughing and it makes me crack up and makes me happy just looking at it.


I’d like to add that this belly laugh is due to a misunderstanding. You see the plate he’s holding? It was a White Elephant gift from his parents. It’s a plate he painted for them. I thought it was awfully cute, and asked when he did it FULLY expecting them to say “5th grade!” Oh no. It’s from when he was in COLLEGE. Hilarity ensued.


Lucy gets sweet treats for breakfast when Grandma's here!


I have so much more to tell you. Like about a trip to Leavenworth among other things, but it will have to wait. Today is all about laundry. Well, laundry and cookies. Somehow I got suckered into making cookies for the Bubba’s office Cookie Exchange. And that involves a trip to the grocery store, methinks.


So! More to follow! You: On tenterhooks!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday Photos: GWL pics

So, it's Saturday. I know this. But these are FRIDAY photos, dangit. Grandma and Grandpa are here for an early Christmas, and I'm too busy having fun to post anything of substance. Maybe next week, Fans - I mean Mom.

AND (fail number TWO), I didn't post any pics from last weekend yet. So here you go:

The worried look is no indication of the fun that was had in the water.

So much to see!

Standing on Santa's chair.


Twins!


So tired she fell asleep with her sandwich and milk in her hands.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why Did Full Body Bathing Costumes Ever Go Out Of Style?

Lucy spent almost this entire weekend in the pool. We drove down to the Great Wolf Lodge in what we're now calling the Washington Dells (WI has a GWL too in the Dells. Hello, and welcome to Cheap Chucklesville population: us).

That place? Twelve-year-old nirvana. You will never get closer to heaven than that place if you're a tween whose parents will empty their pockets for you.

We didn't quite know what to expect, and as we were walking to the main entrance of the lodge, there were families with COOLERS and CROCK POTS walking in. We were all, wha..?? They were only a tiny little step away from family-team-shirt wearing and adjoining-room yelling and balcony-catch playing. Except there weren't any balconies.

We walked in and were greeted by a ginormous two-story Christmas tree and an even bigger check in line. We waited in line to check in for AN HOUR. There were three separate times when one of us wanted to give up and drive back home and the other one said "Well? But... we've invested this much time...."

And the official verdict? Meh.

The hotel room was nothing special. Just a hotel room. The arcade would be awesome if we were younger (NOT if our kids were older, mind you, because then we'd go broke). The story time in the lobby was Celebration Station-esque with automation animals and people, and the snow in the lobby was kind of fun. The water park would be great if we were younger and could find that special sort of joy spending 12 hours a day climbing and going down the slide time after time.

But we are not tweens.

And the absolute worst part ever? The "cruise" mentality. I've only been on a cruise once ever (which may be too few times to actually JUDGE. But that won't stop me.) I found it to be populated by people wishing that they were on the boat entirely by themselves. They would therefore would get up at the break of dawn to "claim" their deck chairs by the ship's pool. People at the buffet would take as much of something delicious as their plates would hold instead of just taking SOME and letting others have some. And the rest of us? Who didn't care so much? We sat on the concrete by the pool. And ate whatever was left at the buffet (or, more reasonably, WAITED until the good stuff was refilled. We weren't exactly MARTYRS, for crying out loud).

Anyway, back to my point (yes, I HAVE one). The "cruise" mentality at the GWL referred to parents. It seemed like as soon as they walked through the doors, they were on vacation. From their kids. There were a bazillion 9 - 13 year olds running wild both in the water park and through the hotel doing their special Quest Treasure-Hunt thing. And again: the Quest Treasure-Hunt thing? AWESOME if I'm 12 and have a friend with me and my parents would leave us to it.

The toddler pool was fun for Lucy. There were a couple times I had to tell some older kids to get out because they were running through and splashing the other little kids (where were their parents?). Lucy spent some quality time with Daddy floating on an inner tube in the wave pool singing "Rock, rock! Rock, rock!" with each wave.

So. The gist? The GWL was fun enough, but it's not my thing and never will be. I don't do well paying to enter in order to stand in lines or pay extra to get what I want all the while fighting with crowds of people. I would rather pay three times as much to rent a cabin and get eaten by mosquitos in a row boat or jumping off a dock. Looking back, there are a bunch of things I'd rather we'dve spent that money on. Like Babysitter + tickets to the Nutcracker. Or Babysitter + tickets to White Christmas playing at the 5ht Ave Theatre. Or a play kitchen for Lucy. But, oh well, and now we know, and we never have to do it again.

Until maybe Lucy's 12 and begs and begs...

ETA: This is not a review of the Great Wolf Lodge. We were invited to stay overnight for a discounted media rate and this is a story about our experience there.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Photos

I did my own hair!

Admiring the daddy. Ain't he handsome?

One of the increasingly rare pics of Mama and baby.

Showing off the bee-yu-tiful hat that she borrowed from her friend.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

On Learning My Husband

I like being married. To the Bubba, I mean. I don't think I would like being married to anyone else. My favorite part is that I get to know him better every day. Even after almost 5 years of being married.

My Bubba is the most sensitive person I know. And by sensitive, I mean mostly sensitive to criticism. We were in line at the grocery store the other day for milk and bread, and we were doing the self-checkout thang when the Bubba pushed a wrong button or some such thing and the computer announced that the attendant would be coming over shortly to help. He started pushing buttons and dropping the f-bomb. I could not for the life of me figure out why he was so upset. And here, I got all sad and fix-it-y because I thought it was something I did/said/didn't do/etc. Finally in the parking lot, he admitted that he didn't like that the computer announced to everyone that he did something wrong.

Which brings me to number two: the Bubba HATES BEING WRONG. So much so that this morning when Lucy got up at 5:30 and the Bubba rocked her for a while and brought her to bed with us where she thrashed around and talked about the poster on the wall and the numbers on the clock, I told him to put her back to bed. He said "It won't work." I said "Yes it will! Put her down and she'll cry for two seconds and then sleep all morning." After a few moments of silence so pure that I could almost hear the deep breathing from the next room, the Bubba came back in the bedroom to get dressed for work.
I asked "Did it work?"
He said "I don't know, Liz (Liz = his name for me when he's frustrated/exasperated/angry - otherwise it's Lizzie)." (I should probably add in fairness that a big part of this frustration that he's showing was from Lucy just being awake and needing attention at 5:30 AM and then deciding he might as well go in to work, ugh.)
"Well, did she go to sleep?"
"I DON'T KNOW, LIZ."

Which brings me to number three: the Bubba HATES BEING TOLD WHAT TO DO. Last week I came home from the grocery store right around bedtime. I put the groceries in the middle of the kitchen floor and then Lucy asked for me to rock/sing songs with her. I mentioned to the Bubba that he didn't have to put anything away, that he could leave it for me, except that there's ice cream in that bag there and did he mind putting it in the freezer. After singing songs and rocking, and finally putting the Birdie to bed, I went back out in the kitchen. The Bubba had put everything away! EXCEPT! the bag containing ONLY ice cream still lying in the middle of the floor! And the Bubba was rinsing out a glass or some such thing in the sink obviously on to something else. He swears he didn't do it on purpose, and we had a good laugh ...

Which brings me to number four: Bubba is really good at leaving me clues NOT ON PURPOSE. Either that or I'm REALLY GOOD at reading into things. This morning I got up and the first thing I do before making coffee or going to the bathroom or anything is check my email and my iCal to see what's going on today. Well, this morning I got to my computer here, and lo! This is what greeted me: A NY Times article on how to improve your marriage! Coincidence? Maybe....

I love that each day I never know what I'm going to learn about/from the Bubba. This is what makes marriage so much fun.