Tuesday, December 30, 2008

History buff and highway robbery

Although the word "staycation" makes me throw up a little in my mouth, I'm enjoying the actual concept to the fullest at the moment. We have just begun DH's second week off for the holidays, and I haven't felt this relaxed in a long time. It's like a dream come true to have a second pair of hands to change, feed, and bathe the little one. The second pair of eyes is handy too, although since Bean's been crawling around like a maniac, we could really use a third or fourth set as well. It would have been nice to be with our families, but this staycation -- no matter how unpleasant *gag* the word itself may be -- is allowing me some much needed rest. Unfortunately, that rest does not include watching my alma mater win their bowl game for the first time in 60 years nor sleeping more than 2-3 hours in a row at night, but hey, we all need something to strive for.

It's amazing how much more active Bean has been lately, which I previously would not have believed was possible. Turn your head for a second and he crawls speedily towards the dog's bone or loose cords, putting them in his mouth before you can say, "Where's the baby?" He constantly crawls out of his pants, and no matter how many times I see it, I still can't get enough of those chunky little legs and diapered butt scooting around on the floor.

He also loves to stand, and although he's far from walking, he does generally grasp the concept of putting one foot in front of the other to move in the desired direction, if you provide the arm support. Bean especially loves to smack repeatedly on glass windows and doors, taunting the dog is optional. (Okay, so I haven't gotten a new rug to match the colors in our kitchen! You are supposed to be looking at the baby anyway.)

I was just about to give up hope that my son will ever eat anything but Gerber purees when he started picking up solid food and putting it in his mouth (instead of his previous preference of dropping it over the edge of the high chair for the dog). I'm not holding my breath waiting for him to eat an entire meal of solid food, but I figure this is at least a step in the right direction.
For a change of pace, today DH and I took Bean to the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma to see an exhibit on model trains. Much to our shock and disbelief, Bean loved it! He chattered away in the stroller, legs bouncing as we wandered around. DH and I, on the other hand, were not impressed. (I still compare every museum I visit to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, which may be unfair, but I can't help it.) Nearly half of the other visitors today were nerdy old men, and as I am more accustomed to hanging out with nerdy young men, I felt rather uncomfortable. My favorite part of the trip was the amazing bagel sandwich I had at the deli, my second favorite was the salted caramel hot chocolate I had at the Starbucks, and coming in third was the Lego train display. It had a little farmer's market! Here is Bean, proving that not all of our attempts at fun outings are torture:
On the way home, we decided to cross the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge. DH had been eager to see it, and as Bean was sleeping, it seemed like a good way to prolong his nap anyway. Luckily it did not collapse while we were on it. However, we did get a different unpleasant surprise. We crossed the bridge over the sound into Gig Harbor, took the first exit, turned around, and headed back towards Tacoma to go home. We were stopped by this:
What's the big deal? Did you notice this:

FOUR DOLLARS? Are you kidding me? I paid less than that for one outrageously priced hot chocolate earlier in the afternoon. And for this, I only got to spend 20 seconds on a bridge. I guess they have to have some way to make up for the lack of state income tax. Sheesh.
We don't have any big plans for New Year's. Tomorrow morning we are meeting some moms and tots from our preschool group at a nearby mall. We are supposed to be there exactly at Bean's usual naptime, but I'm sure it's not a bad idea to take him out in public instead. We were kindly offered invites to three New Year's Eve parties, but as Bean is very inflexible when it comes to bedtime, DH and I felt it best not to leave him screaming in someone's guest bedroom while we toast and smooch at midnight. We're just good parents like that. Instead, we will be toasting and smooching at home as 2009 begins, entertained by our friends at Netflix, who thoughtfully sent us "Burn After Reading" and "Step Brothers" for the occasion.
Here's to the good things to come in 2009!
Edited to add: Apparently I am not the only one to dislike that word...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas pictures (and more Christmas pictures)

Bean and Evey both got to open one gift on Christmas Eve. In the true spirit of the holidays, Evey didn't mind that Bean munched on the dog toy from Grandma M. As long as she got her turn, of course.

Bean was so excited for Santa to come that he crawled right out of his pants. (But then he went back for them. So responsible.)

Our white Christmas (because I can't resist posting snow pictures).

So many presents to open! Bean's favorite (human) toy was the activity table from Grandma M. and Grandpa J.

After a long day of opening gifts and attending Christmas parties via webcam, Bean cuddled on my lap to read one of his favorite books.

Today we decided to go to the upscale mall to make an exchange and take advantage of sales on stuff we can't normally afford. (We weren't the only ones with that idea, I estimated about 2.6 million people at the mall with us.) Bean wanted to look nice, so he wore the hat that Grandma C. got for him.

Although it was just the four of us, we had a lovely Christmas... with the sweetest little face in the world grinning at us all day, it was impossible to be anything but blissfully happy. I hope you enjoyed your celebrations as well!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cabin fever, the bonus day, and stroller skating

I suppose I shouldn't have made fun of our Seattle snowstorm, because it apparently took offense and dumped a lot more on us. Good news: a white Christmas! Bad news: I have only left the house twice since last Wednesday. With DH working overtime, that meant most of my intelligent conversations during the day were with the dog. Don't get me wrong, Evey is quite sharp for a Schnoodle. It's just that she's so opinionated and obstinate, sometimes it feels like a one-sided conversation.

In my desperation for something to do with Bean that didn't involve driving on treacherous unplowed roads, I decided to give him his Christmas gift a few days early. (Oh, come on, it's not like it matters. The kid doesn't give a crap what day it is.) Much to my delight, he loves the rocking horse. When I plop him on the seat, he holds one arm in the air like he's riding a bull, and then he grabs the handle with the other hand and rapidly pushes back and forth like he's rocking it.

I could have used the extra time at home to decorate the house for Christmas, but I was overwhelmed by all the moving boxes in the garage and loft, so I stayed away from them completely. DH and I did manage to put up and decorate our tree. Our families were so generous and sent us packages to open on Christmas morning. Luckily gifts do a pretty decent job of filling the hole left by not going home for the holidays. Good thinking, guys, we appreciate it! (Especially you, mom and dad. You guys are the bestest. Ever.)

The only other decorations up are a couple of small items I couldn't resist at Fred Meyer (the Seattle equivalent of Meijer, for you Michiganders), and a huge snowman that DH's grandma mailed to Bean. He enjoyed checking it out as he practiced standing up, his little hips swaying in his best Elvis imitation.

With snow falling all of Sunday night, I was concerned about DH navigating the roads on Monday morning. I convinced him not to go into work, and he was able to do a four-hour online training class from our home computer. Because of how his hours are recorded at work, that meant that today he had to either go into work for a full 12 hours, or take a vacation day. Luckily he's not insane and decided to start the holidays early. A bonus day with DH, hooray! We took advantage of it and went to a local roller rink for some stroller skating with the MOMS Club. Bean sported his usual "I'm only tolerating this for you two" look the entire time. Sometimes I get the feeling that the harder I try to do something fun, the more I'm just annoying him. His biggest laughs today came when he was repeatedly throwing a pen on the floor and DH would pick it up and hand it back to him.

Despite being far from our family, I am looking forward to Christmas and can't wait to spend it with my three loves. We have some yummy items on the menu (DH is making roasted lamb), and Netflix is providing the entertainment. It's going to be a very Mummy holiday in our house this year. I hope you all have a safe and wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Now THIS is a snowstorm

Six-and-a-half inches and counting when I talked to my parents in Michigan this morning. They both had snow days from work, so they went out driving around town and looking for large drifts to crash through with their SUV. I know, it's amazing my brother and I were so well behaved as children.

Anyway, they sent these pictures of their front yard and the lake out back.

You're such a knob. Now I need some help, if you don't mind. I have a list of improvements for the house that I can't believe the previous owners lived without for six years, and now that DH installed a medicine cabinet in the master bathroom, the top priority is drawer pulls. Not one single cabinet in this entire house has a knob on it. You know those infomercials where Billy Mays screams about the current product sensation that is sweeping the nation? We are currently living like the black-and-white "before" segment, where we awkwardly try to open cabinets without the pulls and end up hurting ourselves and shaking our heads in frustration. I went to Target and got inexpensive, basic brushed silver pulls for the bathrooms, but I'd like something nicer for the kitchen. Where should I look for more stylish and cool knobs? Please, help us live in color again.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One week too early

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! We so rarely see the white stuff in Seattle, I thought I would document the occasion. As Bean and I don't have plans to go anywhere until tomorrow (lunch with his former babysitter), I personally don't mind that the city is at a standstill. We probably won't have a white Christmas, but I'm enjoying my hot chocolate and a warm fire in the meantime.

Eclipse. I finished the third "Twilight" book. It was my least favorite of the three so far. The most action and suspense, but also the most cheese. And I mean the Velveeta variety, not the yummy expensive stuff with sundried tomato in it that you spread on crackers using tiny knives at holiday parties. Maybe I should stick to books my own age, I feel a bit like a bully fifth grader shoving a kindergartner on the playground. But all my eye rolling aside, there is something I find irresistible and addicting about the series, as I stay up late reading just one more chapter. Here's hoping for a good ending in book four.
So that explains it. I try to maintain a general understanding of what DH does for a living, but when it comes to specifics, things start to get fuzzy. I remember his first job out of college, he pushed a button repeatedly and noted what happened when he did. Totally got that. But since then, his technical explanations have gotten more complex, causing my eyes to glaze over while my head nods automatically and I try to remember when was the last time I changed the oil in my car. Lucky for me, since he started on the new project, it's back to basics.
His coworker (from a previous project): "So are you still working overtime?"
DH: "Yep."
Coworker: "What is it that you are doing for the project?"
DH: "I sit at my desk and think. Hard. And sometimes I write stuff down."
Now why can't I ever get that explanation?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A chill in the air

The city of Seattle has come to a stand-still... the temperature has dropped below freezing (*gasp*) and with the precipitation we enjoy all winter, it's icy. On the down side, it's frustrating living in a place where the precious few salt trucks and plows are apparently all busy at Bill Gates's house, because I haven't seen any. On the plus side, I've been missing my family as Christmas approaches, and this weather is very typical of Midwestern winters. There's no place like home for the holidays.

Fortunately, the weather has not kept us home. Here's what we've been up to recently...

Last weekend was a busy one. On Saturday, we went to the mall so I could get my hair cut and DH could exchange a raincoat at Macy's. No one got shot while we were there, so I'm counting it as a success. Then we went to the annual Christmas party that one of DH's coworkers throws. Last year I was six months pregnant, and it was fun for us to reminisce about the general anticipation we felt twelve months ago versus the specific reality of now. Bean behaved himself beautifully despite being up past his bedtime, and there were no dogs allowed this year, so I didn't have to restrain myself from body-slamming the terrier that always tries to hump Evey. Again, a success.

On Sunday we had some pictures taken as part of a fundraiser for our co-op preschool. Each family needs to raise $90 for the school year, so I figured I would get something out of it instead of ending up writing the $90 check myself in the spring. (Another challenge of living far from family. It's much harder to guilt them into spending $25 on a box of chocolates when Bean isn't cooing in front of their faces.) The photography session was okay, I came away with a CD of 83 pictures, mostly of a silly Bean making full use of his expressive eyebrows. There was at least one good shot of the three of us, though, and I appreciate that because those are hard to come by.

On Monday we met Jen and her friend at the mall for Santa pictures. Their little ones are both about seven months younger than Bean. It hasn't been that long, but it's hard for me to remember him being that small! (I guess this means the therapy is working.) It was a fun outing, and I finished my Christmas shopping with the last person on my list: Bean. I ended up spending too much money on the gift, but I just thought it was super cute! I feel I'm doing my part to stimulate the economy... I can even come up with an argument about how this is ultimately an investment because it will help stabilize home values in our area. If you'd like to hear that entire explanation, let me know and I am happy to break it down for you.

This morning we had our first one-on-one baby playdate with a family from preschool. Okay, technically one-on-two, because the other mom has twins. She made grilled cheese (my favorite!) for the two of us while our little ones played on the floor, and since we've been home, Bean has been sleeping all afternoon. I think we are going to have to do this frequently.

Last but not least, I hope Sam doesn't mind me borrowing this from her blog, but she posted it today and it gave me quite a laugh during breakfast. So perhaps I don't have the most refined sense of humor, but maybe it will make you smile, too. (If you have trouble getting sound, the volume slider is in the corner of the black video box.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Favorite Things Friday

Some bloggers, like Michelle, participate in what's called "Favorite Things Friday." It looks like fun, so I thought I would give it a try! Here are some products that I have been grateful for this week.

Method holiday hand soap

One of the ways I like to reward myself for working hard (or sometimes just surviving) is by upgrading the products I use every day from the basic store brand to something more fun. This works well because I'm easily amused so things like fancy shower gel do boost my mood without costing much extra. I saw the Method holiday hand soap at the grocery store about a month ago, and I grabbed cinnamon bark, peppermint vanilla, and hollyberry for the three sinks I use the most. When I realized they probably wouldn't last all the way to Christmas, I bought winter berry, spiced pear, and toasted hazelnut for reserve. They make me smile, and along with the continuous Christmas favorites of the light rock station drifting through the house, help put me in the holiday spirit.

Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers

Just when I thought my quest for the holy grail of quick, tasty, and relatively healthy lunches was a resounding failure, I discover these fabulous creations. My favorite is Sesame Teriyaki Chicken, and even though I can't identify any teriyaki, chicken, or sesame in the meal, it tastes great so I'm sold. The other flavors I've tried are good as well. My only complaint is that they aren't the most filling of lunches, so be prepared with a snack for later in the afternoon. Preferably not chile cheese Fritos.

Bertolli Oven Bake Meals: Meat Lasagna Rustica

Speaking of easy and tasty... my Mom introduced me to this on our recent visit to Michigan, and DH and I just love it. I don't even like lasagna, but mmmm, these are good. And the best part of all, making it is so simple, it doesn't really qualify as cooking. (Not that many of my dinners do, but I appreciate the help when I can get it.)

Woolite Pet Stain & Odor Remover

I don't have a picture of this, because I recently finished the bottle and threw it out. But you can see it on Woolite's web site if you are really curious. When Evey barfed on the carpet the other day, I quickly sprayed it with this stuff. I let it set in for a couple of minutes, and when I went back to clean it, it was gone! (Yes, I'm sure I looked in the right place. I always set something next to it so I can find it quickly.) A cleaning product that does all the work for me: that's what I'm talking about.

DuWop's Lip Venom

My Mom sent me some free samples from Sephora, and this was among them. The label calls it "spicy gloss." It makes my lips tingle like fire. I usually wear it alone, but it also looks good over lipstick, giving it a glassy appearance. I haven't really been physically "spicy" since The Great Slim Fast Diet of 2004, so this is a quick and easy way to get that feeling. It's also useful when I play "Twilight" at home and want to feel venomous. I pretend to see the future like Alice, Danny pretends to perform surgeries like Dr. Carlisle, and Evey pretends to fix broken cars like Jacob.

Mercury Milan

It seems like everyone is bashing the Big Three auto companies these days, and while they largely deserve it, I thought I would focus on the positive today and share my love of our Mercury Milan. It's a wonderfully reliable car, Consumer Reports will back me up on that one. I love it because it is spacious inside but still has a quick pick-up, and for some reason I find DH extra sexy when he drives it. Maybe we'll have to play Bella and Edward when he gets home tonight. Now where did I put that lip venom...


This is a packed post today, I still have more!

New Moon. DH was on another business trip this week, so I finished the second installment of the four "Twilight" books. I think I liked this one a little better, and it wasn't as scary as the end of the first book. Speaking of being scared, I realized why these books make me shiver more than they do other people. It's not because I'm a "big baby," contrary to popular belief. Actually, this is why:

I took this picture from my front porch this morning. Notice the clouds, the rain, the forest of towering evergreens. JUST LIKE the forest in Forks, which is not incredibly far from where I live. I've heard howling coming from the woods, and now that I think about it, it definitely could have been werewolves. If I lived in someplace else that was totally unlike the setting of the books -- oh, off the top of my head, Utah or South Carolina -- I certainly wouldn't be frightened. But here, it's too real, too close. When DH is out of town, it's just me protecting an infant and a walking cotton ball against the horrors that lurk in the dark forests of northwestern Washington. Yeah, that's definitely it.

Ring. After six and a half years, I am apparently allergic to my marriage. My skin gets red and itchy under my ring and only clears up when I'm without it for several days. DH hypothesized that perhaps God is trying to remind me that I am married with a physical mark of the ring. Come on, just because I said I have a crush on Joel McHale from The Soup doesn't mean I forgot I have a husband! There's little chance he's going to respond to my letter anyway. (Trivia: Joel is from Seattle.) The jeweler suggested giving it a good cleaning, and if that doesn't work, dipping it in a thin coat of platinum. I'm trying to figure out how this means I should get a bigger diamond, but so far I'm coming up blank.

The pooch and her pillow. This is the first time I have ever owned a dog. Do they all use pillows the same way we do? I'm just curious.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Nine months (and four days)

Bean has now existed outside of the womb longer than in. I must honestly say that the pregnancy went by faster than his life so far. Make of that what you will. However, he is much cuter now.


We saw the pediatrician for his well baby visit this afternoon. He is 28" tall (45th percentile) and 17 lbs 15 oz (10th percentile) with a head circumference of 45 cm (50th percentile). Because he's slipping in the weight category, we talked about ways to get him more fat in his diet. Unfortunately, that doesn't involve me eating more ice cream and chocolate. He is also borderline on his iron levels, so we'll be starting a multi-vitamin. The doc is not concerned and said that overall he is looking fabulous, meeting his milestones and all that good stuff.
Other Bean updates:
  • Crawling - Not really... but kinda. He launches himself forward from a sitting position, and he will either inch backwards until he ends up in a corner, or he'll do a few quick army-crawl maneuvers forward to reach a toy. Also, sometimes I will find him sitting about three feet away from where I left him, and I have no clue how he moved himself. Baby gates and drawer locks are standing by.

  • Throwing - Isn't it hilarious to throw things on the ground? It sure is. Binkies especially. Luckily I keep my house impeccably clean so I don't have to wash them after each round of this frequent game. (Are you buying this?)

  • "Talking" - This boy has a lot to say, although I'm not sure to whom. Most of the time it must be serious, judging by his furrowed brow and rapid arm flapping, although sometimes it is quite humorous and deserves an appreciative chuckle. I've told him it's impolite to laugh at his own jokes, but hey, funny is funny.

  • Sleeping - For the past week, we have been blessed with a better sleeper. He wakes up only 1-2 times for a snack during his 12-hour night. This may not sound impressive to anyone else, but DH and I are beside ourselves with excitement. I'm still adjusting to the schedule, and I wake up frequently to check if the monitor is on. And if it is, I promptly turn it off. (Kidding, kidding...)

  • Eating - We have discovered a few more Gerber varieties that appeal to the Bean Man, so I am no longer concerned that he's going to turn orange from all those sweet potatoes. He much prefers fruit to veggies, though, so the sweet potatoes still figure heavy in the rotation. We've also continued to introduce finger foods to him, and in turn Bean has continued to introduce them right on to Evey. They both get a kick out of that, though, so who am I to interrupt the antics of a boy and his dog.

Next stop: one year!
In other news, we've been busy preparing for the holidays. Seeing as though we'll be spending it by ourselves and we are pretty low-key people these days, that isn't incredibly difficult. In a mandatory show of Christmas spirit, we have started putting up lights on the house. So far all we have are some icicle lights, it's a work in progress. I bought some additional decorations, but when I reached for the credit card at the store, I couldn't help but think that taking the "scrooge" fine from the homeowners association would have been cheaper, easier, and from the looks of our house so far, less embarrassing.
We also went to see the Zoolights at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on Saturday. DH and I had a wonderful time, the display was awesome and it was a great night to be outside before the rainy season sets in (which it seems to have happened this morning). I'm not really sure Bean enjoyed it as much as we did, but as he can't walk or talk yet, it was easy to ignore our selfishness at dragging him around the zoo on a cold evening. He had the same blank expression on for most of the outing, as you can see from the picture below. I wish I could say he was staring in amazement at the lights, but this is how he looked in the parking lot.

Well, time to go... I hear hiccuping through the baby monitor so I'm guessing nap time is over.