Monday, March 29, 2010

Nuggets

Check out these little nuggets of cuteness that my friend captured yesterday! So sweet that I just couldn't wait until Friday Photos for them.

Evidently I can't shut my mouth for photos.

This one is my new wallpaper.


This one isn't - but oh, my Lord, is she my daughter or what?

Our first hike of the year! We went to Twin Falls and spent a gorgeous morning "climbing Lucy's mountain" as our smallest hiking team member liked to repeat. I was a little worried about what Lu would think about the back pack now that she's older and much more independent, but she was fine, looking around at all there was to point out: trees, water, trees, mountain. And constantly wondering "Where Mike go?!" when our friend was out of her line of vision.

I carried her up the hike on my back. And it was a great workout. I think I might like to try trail running. Except I guess I don't understand how trail runners enjoy the amazing setting - I would be constantly trying not to fall down the side of a precipice from tripping on a rock or root. Hm. Maybe I'll think about that for a little while longer before I try it. Also I need to let my calves recover a little more.

Anyway, I see many more of these hikes in the future, and with Lucy getting a little better at walking on her own and following directions, I think they'll just continue to get easier and more fun!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Photos: Busy Week!

This week flew by. Lu and I were running around busy every single day. Doing stuff like:

Helping our friends move.

When pressed, Lucy admitted that she only helped for the doughnuts involved.


Visiting family for my cousin's birthday. (Too cool for school in Daddy's shades.)

Going to another birthday party - this one for a first birthday.
Lu was too concerned about the placement of the cupcakes to be smiling for photos.

My sweet, polite girl stealing a bite of mac and cheese out of the serving
dish before everyone's even got a seat around the party table. Patience fail.

Playing with our new toy. So shiny!

So big with so many doors!
I wanted to get a picture of Lucy in it, but she wouldn't comply. Next time.

And this weekend we're slated to go for the first hike of the year (we're going to pack things in our huge trunk!), and host a dinner party. Busy busy! But Fun-Busy! We hope you have an awesome fun weekend too!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Wheels

Yesterday morning Lucy and I were all laced up and zipped in our jackets ready to go return some clothes that don't fit, and get some signed papers to the car dealership, etc. I went to the shiny car in the driveway, and Lucy would not go near it. I tried to put her in the carseat in the back, and she had a first-rate meltdown. "NO THIS CAR! NO THIS CAR! THAT CAR!" she screamed pointing to some random car down the street. Oh, wait. That car was a silver sedan that looked kind of like our old one. She was having none of the new car.

So we had to go sit on the steps for a little while and talk about the new car. I even made up a song. It went something like "Lucy loves her brand new car! It's a new blue car! A fancy new car!" And it had verses about how big it is and how Lucy can see all the school busses and dump trucks from her new seat. You get the picture. Well, then we opened the car doors and I showed her where Mama would sit and where Lucy's seat is. And she deigned to get inside.

After that little prelude, the rest of the day? Lucy couldn't stop talking about "Yoocy's new cah! Fancy!" Intermittently, she would stop playing with her toys, climb up on a chair in the kitchen in order to say "Hi new cah!" to the car in the driveway. Not necessarily the slightest adaptability quotient, but at least she got there. Whew.

The Bubba picked up the car on Tuesday late afternoon, did all the trade-in negotiations (which he totally rocked - I was totally impressed), and then went straight to a Engi-nerding meeting for all night. He got home at 9pm and I had planned to go pick up a friend and take it for a drive, but I was just too pooped. So he put the carseat in and the blanket that was in the back of the old car, and got it ready for me to drive with Lu on Wed.

Oh, that blanket? The muddy, dirty, leaf-covered blanket that used to be in the trunk of the old car? He put it into our brand-new, spotless SUV. I couldn't believe it. And then he admitted he didn't shake the cracker crumbs and goodness knows what else out of the car seat before installing that. Oh man. It reminds me of something my dad used to say about disappointments: "It's like a brand new car with chocolate cake smeared all over the back seat." Ah, well. I guess it's ours now! I don't mind if he makes fun of me for knocking off my shoes every time I get inside as long as it stays nice for me to enjoy having a shiny new toy.

The car is so nice to drive. One single morning of running errands and I have no clue how I lasted in a two-door car for so long. No. Idea. Right now it still feels like I'm playing dress-up in the fancy part of someone else's closet, but I'm pretty sure I can get used to this.

Monday, March 22, 2010

You Know You've Grown Up When...

...you're going to the dealer tomorrow to buy a brand new car. Brand spanking new. 20 miles on it. Sparkly and clean.

AND IT HAS FOUR DOORS.

Oh, the doors! There are four of them! How delightfully DELICIOUS. We have been driving the last forever-ty billion years in a two door Honda Civic. Which we own. (Isn't that a very nice kind of nice, too? Not to have car payments?) But did I mention FOUR DOORS? I am in love with the idea even if it means going back into debt.

We're going with the R@v4. So roomy! It can fit two car seats in the back with a little room to spare! (No, we don't have any news for you.) It's not TOO big. It's fun to drive! The Bubba's head doesn't graze the ceiling! It's easy to get a kid in and out! (As easy as that can possibly be.) The financing options are too good to ignore!

Here are some things I won't have to do after tomorrow:
  • Struggle to flip forward the front seat with a kid in one arm and a purse/diaper bag in the other
  • Try to get a sleeping baby out of the back seat while fighting with the maneuverability of my own self in the tiny confines of a tiny car.
  • Deal with deafening road noise in my tiny sporty car (the new one is so nice and QUIET!)
  • Climb into the back of the coupe to collect a certain little person who thinks it's hilarious to get out of her seat and stand up in the far corner of the back seat where she knows it's the hardest for me to reach her
  • Worry about going to the car wash because my super-glue job on the side mirror might not make it through.
  • Strain my back by lifting Lucy into the back of the (did I mention two-door?) car.

To add some frosting to this adulthood cake? I (finally) put on my big-girl pants and consolidated my student loans. What? O-KAY. FINE. The Bubba did most of it. But whatever. I was in the same room and barked information in his general direction.

Aaaah! So grown up of me! I think I'll have ice cream for dinner to celebrate.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Photos: Rules? What Rules?

Usually we have a "No Toys At The Table" rule. Apparently not this evening:

"Hat" and book with dinner. What could be more fun?

This is semi related: Lucy has started talking in a "pretend" voice, this high, squeaky voice that talks to toys. At this particular dinner her pretend voice had the following conversation "Hi book! Are you a book? No. Hi noodles." It kills me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nutrition 101

This morning for breakfast, Lucy politely (albeit forcefully) requested goat cheese and airplanes. Unable to acquiesce, we offered cereal and bread and jam. She seemed all right with that.

Just now I asked her if she's hungry for lunch. She nodded and replied: "Wunch. Cookies. Okay." And then added "Wo-wurt. Ice-ream." on her way to her chair.

My little gourmet.

I wonder if she'll notice if I actually give her veggie stew leftovers.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bubba's Take on Doha, Qatar

Map of the Overall Region

Map of Qatar


This is a picture of the building In Doha, Qatar on which I am working, and which took me away from Liz and Lu for two weeks at the end of January.


It may not look like much, but I could go on and on about the details of the structure and highlight lots of cool features, but this would only be slightly more interesting to the typical blog reading layman then a discussion on the tax code or tort reform. My goodness, we structural ninjaneers can be dull. So in an effort to minimize dullness, I am going to try to shoehorn all of the geeky-ness into the following bulleted list. Note bulleted lists are a screaming red flag that you are reading something created by an engineer. I can hardly get through an email to Liz without including a bulleted list. Anyway…

Exhibition Hall Summary:

  • The equivalent of 5 football fields lined up end to end (with columns only at the perimeter)
  • Typical floor to ceiling height is ~40 feet
  • The building skeleton consists of ~10,000 tons of steel
  • The building is actually broken up into 4 completely separate structures in order to counteract temperature effects (extreme temperature changes could cause the building to tear itself apart and Doha experiences EXTREME temperatures)

I have attached a few “close-up” pictures of the building to get a better idea of the scale of the building. It is big...





Somethings over there felt very familiar, more familiar than they do in Europe. These specifically were the cars and the mall. Everyone drove an American style SUV. Except for the crazy round-abouts (thank god they had a driver for me), I could have been on any US highway (except the cars were newer/nicer). As for the mall, the golden arches, the Starbuck’s mermaid, and American fast food culture were prevalent. I ate more fast food in my two weeks there then I have in the entire 5 previous years (not including Chipotle and Qdoba that I occasionally eat for lunch of course…such delicious burritos could never be classified as “fast food”). Why the assault on the old GI track, you ask? I was open to trying local cuisine, but it just didn’t exist around the hotel/apartment/office where I spent 98% of my time. The mall unfortunately was near the office, and a couple of the architects and I would walk over there for lunch.

This is a picture from one of the offices in which I worked. 80% of the buildings shown are under construction, and the ones that are built are probably only 25% occupied. The mall is the long, low building in the middle-left.

One thing that was not familiar was the people. Yeah, I know. That's a shocker. People dress differently over there. The women wear veils, and the men wear dresses. But the culture was also lenient. None of the non-local women wore the veil, and jeans and t-shirts were common. Strangely enough, I never actually met a Qatari. Everyone working on the building were foreigners.

There is a reason that “middle” is included in the name of this area. I figure about 2.5 billion people live within a 4-6 hour plane ride of Doha. Compare that to the roughly 500 million whom live within a 4-6 hour plane ride of Chicago. I spent my time in the Middle East interacting with people from literally all over the world. I solved conflicts and had laughs/arguments with people from India, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, Australia, England, Belgium and numerous other countries throughout Europe and Asia. It was fascinating and humbling to be somewhere very far from my comfort zone (the U.S.) and to see that the world is a vibrant, thriving place that does not need us (Americans). The experience makes me feel put in my place even as I feel happy about my sightly expanded world view.

One Step At A Time


I’ve been wanting to write about this for ages. But then life happens, and internet fasting gets in the way, and here I am with a thousand things I want to write about swimming around in my grey matter and they’re all fighting so hard to get out that I feel like I’m not going to write any one of them coherently.


I’m going to bore you my fitness chronicles, because … well, because it’s what I feel like talking about right now, k?


The running? It is awesome. My body is awesome. Who knew that a body can run if you let it?! Not me! My feet can run one step and then another and then thousands more and all of a sudden I’m all the way across town. Now that is amazing. I know I’ve said it before, but I never thought I could run. Actually, I had myself convinced that the best I would ever be able to do would MAYBE be a 5k.


Now I laugh in your face, self-imposed limitations!


On Valentine’s day, I ran a 5k race. In under 30 minutes. That might not seem fast to you? But I was pretty impressed with my zoominess. That also means that I shaved 4 minutes off my 5k time in a little less than a year. Being able to document my improvement like that is such an incredible feeling.


And now my runs take me to places I used to balk about BIKING to 9 or 10 miles away. It continues to blow my mind. My legs are looking mighty defined these days. And my old clothes are starting to fit again.


Oh, and did I tell you? That I’ve lost the baby weight? My first weigh-in at the OB was in the arena of 10 pounds ago. Now, I have to qualify this a little bit before you pat my back too emphatically. I got pregnant in November. Fat season. I don’t really do all that well with self-control around mounds of delicious food. So, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years? 5-10-15 lbs.... I was one of those lucky ladies that wasn’t nauseated at all in the first trimester – or really ever. Just the opposite – anything not tied down was in my face. My jaws were always working the cookies and stuffing and sweets and gravy and, and, and! This is to say, I don’t consider my first weigh-in at 11 weeks as my “starting weight.”


I am now at a comfortable Couple Pounds Above My Previous Normal weight. Which is really quite nice.


Mostly, though, I’m so excited about running that pants fitting is a pleasant side effect. Nights before my long runs I can’t sleep because I’m excited to get out there on my own. Just me and my shoes and the street and my iPod. And we kick butt.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday Photos: So What if it's Saturday?

Let's backtrack a little to last weekend when we explored Queen Anne a little bit:

Family Portrait Attempt 1

Attempt 2


Aaah. Attempt 3. Everyone's looking, most of us are smiling. I'll take it.


And this little beauty was taken by Carrie at the Pull Ups Potty Dance Party (which, hopefully, I'll get around to telling you about soon, because OMG, Lucy found her little slice of nirvana):

Dancing queen!

Lu's favorite part of the party by far was the tutu. She's pretty much been wearing it non-stop since Thursday morning. She is so very sincere in her joy when she puts the tutu on to dance, it can't help but make me smile.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Nineteen

The nineteenth month seems sort of anti-climactic. It's older than one-and-a-half, but not quite almost-two.


Lucy's language is incredible. Her vocabulary is so big, I don't think I could list all her meaningful words anymore. I'd say she's fluent in English. Some new words are: elephant, sandbox (bo-baax), jacket, breakfast, yogurt (yo-yoout), fruit, chien, chat, dodo, veux pas, cartes (flashcards), oh, and a bazillion others I just can't name. Oh, and every morning before she's even out of the crib she starts lobbying to go down by the canal and "Daddy home. Walk. Water. Boat. Ducks. OKAY!" while nodding her agreement with her brilliant idea.

Every once in a while she'll bust out a word or phrase I didn't even know she was aware of. Like the "Excuse me!" she called out the other day as she was trying to get by the Bubba to play in our closet. She can recite most of her books too! She knows most of the words to most of the songs we sing - the English ones AND the French ones - and she sings them to herself. My current favorites are "Winkle, winkle, itt-ah saaah" and "Fee-uh shock-ah, fee-uh shock-ah, Doo-may voooo?"

But the best part of everything right now is the language that gives me glimpses into her 19 month old psyche. The things she thinks about! Hilarious! One day soon after the absorbtion of the word "need" in her vocabulary, she said "Mama! Need milk. No in ears. In mouth." as she pointed to her tongue. I kept thinking, "Now, I totally agree with the conclusion you reached. Let's talk a minute about HOW you reached it. Did someone tell you not to put milk in your ears? Did you TRY to put milk in your ears?...?"

Another example is when she called "Help!" pointing to a ball stuck under the chair, and I said "What happened? You need help getting the ball?" and she paused for a little while with a blank expression on her face. So long, in fact I thought she might be dropping a deuce in her diaper. But then she said "No. BALL need help." Right. Duh, Mom.

We're still fighting the good fight teeth-wise. She finally cut the last incisor on the top, and has been working hard on the bottom canines, one of which is in. The other should be popping through any minute if the drool, snot, and swollen gums are any indication. So she has six teeth up top and almost eight on the bottom. She took her sweet time getting here, but she sure does like to cut five million teeth all at once for the maximum of discomfort of everyone involved.


Nineteen looks a lot like eighteen. Just a little more vocally stimulating!



Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Photos: New Videos!


First of all, this is a photo of Lucy being her father's daughter through and through. We're at friends' house for dinner. There's a little girl about a year older than Lu. They ran around in circles and played for a little bit. And then? When Lucy was done socializing? Where do we find her, but in a corner of the sofa reading a book. We're going to call her Mini-Bubba for more than just her looks, now!


video

Videos! Ah, the lazy woman's blog fodder! You will be happy to know, though, that my Lenten resolution to fool around on the computer less has become a very healthy habit. And when Lent is over, I think I can budget some time to blogging without letting the internets be a complete time suck. Relatedly, I talked with my nephew last night who said that some of his friends gave up texting and were considering trying drugs in order to combat the withdrawl symptoms. (That's a joke, nephew's mom.)


video

A new way to play the piano. Lucy had been doing this for a while, and of course I had to laugh loud and distract her. She's started playing the piano like it's more than just a noise-maker. And singing along too!

Someday I'll sit down here and write a Lu update... Next time perhaps. Until then, Lucy will play us out:

video