I Went on Vacation and All I Got Were These Crappy iPhone Pics

August 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Posted in Family, Life | Leave a comment
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So, we went on vacation–the first non-family-visiting vacation we have taken since W and I went to Mackinac in 2009.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love seeing my family and friends, but there is something especially wonderful about being on a vacation where you don’t have to cram in visits with every last person you know, and you can just do whatever you want.  My favorite thing to do on vacation is eat, so with that in mind, we went to Austin!

It still kind of blows my mind that we are so much closer to Austin (and Dallas and just about everywhere else in Texas , for that matter) now when we live in a different state than when we actually lived in Texas.  So six hours seemed like a pretty reasonable drive, and it really was. LC was great.

ready for vacay

Ready to hit the road!

Everyone knows that vacationing with a kid (a rambunctious toddler, no less!) is much less relaxing than vacationing pre-baby, but we tried to do some things that would help us, the parents, to have a better time.

  • First, we came prepared for the car ride.  We know from previous experience that LC is not the kid who conks out the minute you put the car in drive. So we needed to keep her entertained and happy.  What worked well for us (thanks to my sis for the advice!): new books (3), stickers, plenty of snacks and water, iPhone apps and/or iPad videos, kids’ music, a new toy (I picked up a Cabbage Patch Cutie at Target the day before and she loved it–but hers doesn’t have any hair and it’s much cuter that way!) We kept the screen time as a last resort, and really we didn’t have to use it much, so I was okay with it.
  • We accepted the fact that we’d need to stop.  Of course this is sort of a no-brainer, but we’re used to just pushing through on long trips, so we just had to mentally prepare for the trip taking longer.  It made LC happier to get out of the car every 2-3 hours, so it was totally worth it for everyone’s sanity.
  • We rented a 2-bedroom apartment through airbnb.com.  This was hands-down the best decision we made.  Not only was our apartment in the best location we could have imagined (10 minutes or less from almost everything we wanted to see and do), but it was about the same price as a regular hotel room, with many more amenities and most importantly, we didn’t have to share a room with the baby and go to sleep at 7 pm.
  • We built naptime into our day.  It’s tempting to cram in as much as possible when you’re in a new city for a limited amount of time, but making sure that LC was well-rested made all of our other activities much more enjoyable.  Plus, taking a midday nap almost made up for not being able to sleep in in the morning.
Amy's ice cream

First ice cream with sprinkles!

The one thing I did that I DON’T recommend? Leaving your nice camera at home.  Which is why all of our vacation photos are courtesy of my iPhone.

Up next, I hope to share some of the highlights of the things we saw and did in Austin (hint: most of them involve food).

ATX, I love you so! I can’t wait to go back!

Weekend Randoms (Spacebar Issues, Gone Girl)

July 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Posted in Deliciousness, Home, Life, Things I think | Leave a comment
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Just a few things that have been happening around here lately…

  • LC has pulled the spacebar off my keyboard twice now. I’ve been unable to get it properly reattached and as a result it frequently comes off and more frequently gets stuck, which really makes it a pain to type.  Spaces are unavoidable, you know!
  • It’s been so hot here this summer.  The forecast this week is 108 every single day. Wow. We’ve been going to playgroup, the library, and to the splash park to keep entertained, but playgroup has been so full lately that we were turned away one day last week, and barely made the cutoff the next. Clearly I need some backup ideas!
  • A friend recommended Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, so I gave it a try. I finished it in two days.  It was a great read and gave me a lot to think about afterward.  My friend and I had slightly differing opinions, though. I felt that the book was psychological thriller, while he thought it was a horror novel.  If you read the book, what did you think of it?  Do you think there is a “hero”? (I didn’t, but my friend did). This would definitely make an excellent book club pick.
  • Now I am reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block and the adbridged version of Douglas Southall Freeman’s Lee, the biography of Robert E. Lee. I’m not much for biographies usually, but my husband recommended it to me, so I’m giving it a shot. The jury is still out on the Toddler book.
  • On the TV front, we have been without cable for almost 3 months and I really don’t miss it. If we had an antenna, I think I would be set.  However, W can’t live without SEC football, so we’ll probably have it back by this time next month. Boo…I’ve enjoyed saving that money.
  • I made this Blueberry Crumble this week and it was soooo good.  I can’t wait to make it again!
Blueberry crumble

Photo credit Christopher Hirsheimer (http://thecanalhouse.com/)

  • I’ve had it with my spacebar, so I’m done typing for now!

LC is 15 months!

July 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Posted in Family, Life | Leave a comment
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The three months between LC’s first birthday and the day she turned 15 months flew by in a blur.  I’m sure most of that had to do with our move and all the traveling that we did around that time, but part of it was also because she mastered so many new skills.  Almost every day since her birthday, it seems, she’s been wowing us with some new skill or “trick” (you know, if you count walking and talking as tricks).

One morning I was getting ready in the bathroom, and I looked over to find this scene. Typical and hilarious.

LC took her first hesitant steps the day before her first birthday, and then went promptly back to crawling.  But a week or two later, she just got up and went, first a few steps at a time, and within a week or so, she could go anywhere.  Let’s be clear: she is MY child, after all, so there have been many trips and falls, but she takes them all in stride and just pulls herself up and keeps going.  There have been few tears shed over bumps and falls.  And although she does sometimes go places she shouldn’t, for the most part, her mobility has made my life much easier.  I love being able to set her down outside and have her walk to the car (“Walk!” she commands).

Eating her first popsicle (homemade!) in the summer heat.

She’s also talking up a storm and for me, this has been the most delightful development EVER.  She had a few words at her first birthday, but around 14 months, her vocabulary soared.  She seems to add one or two new words a day, and at this point I have given up on trying to have a thorough and complete word list.  My best guess is somewhere just over 50 words.  At dinner, she’ll do the sign for “more” while shouting “More! More!”  It’s so cute to hear big words come out of a little mouth like that.  She loves identifying body parts (head, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, ears, feet), and animals (sheep, fox, kitty, puppy, croco for crocodile, froggy, duck, etc).

With her daddy on Father’s Day.

LC is a pretty good eater most days.  Favorites are yogurt, cheese, pancakes, Annie’s mac and cheese, mandarin oranges and mixed fruit (she goes to the fridge and chants “Fruit! Fruit!”), grapes, crackers/anything carby, and pizza (the ultimate cheesy/carby delight!).  She still refuses to drink milk, and veggies are also a battle with her.  Some days she’ll eat them, but most days she refuses to even try them.  If it’s green, she picks it out. Oh how I wish I could say her favorite foods were kale, broccoli, and edamame.  The hardest part of mealtime is getting her to just TRY IT.  But I’m happy that overall she eats pretty well and is gaining weight.

Using two utensils helps you shovel it in faster!

Other favorites this month: the neighborhood splash park, throwing her football with Daddy, books books books and more books, ALL THE BOOKS, going to the library, and watching the occasional episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.  She just loves the music and dancing.   OH. And playing music–some of her FisherPrice toys play music when you press a button and she loves to press the button over and over again and dance by waving her arms.  Funny girl!

She is changing so much every day, so I really ought to save something for next month’s post.  I love this girl so much my heart is bursting!

Happy 4th of July!

July 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Family, Life | Leave a comment
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Over the last two months we’ve been busy getting unpacked and settled into our new life here.  So far, so good.  There is a lot to adjust to here (like Target being an hour away! *sniff*), but overall we are happy with W’s new job, our location, and our home.  We’re meeting people more quickly than we did with our last move, which I find to be good for my sanity, and we’ve already even had dinner guests a couple of times.

Today, to celebrate Independence Day, we had a low-key day at home. We took LC to the neighborhood splash park and she had a ball.  We had to tear her away from the water features when it was time to leave.  For dinner we grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and LC tasted her first hotdog (thumbs up from her), and first baked beans (love at first bite), and first yellow squash (she mistakenly thought it was a piece of fruit, haha…and yes, squash is technically a fruit, but, you know…).  It was hot today (100 degrees), so we spent the afternoon in the air conditioning.  I am thankful every day that we do not have the darned swamp cooler that we had to live with for the last two years. So, so, so thankful!

Every holiday I feel the need to look back on photos from this time last year, when LC was just an itty bitty thing.  This time last year, she was 3 months old and just sitting up in the Bumbo for short periods of time.  It was really hot in El Paso, as well, so we just took her outside for a bit on the patio.  This year she’s running around, talking up a storm, and practically seeming like a grown-up compared to her bobblehead infant days.  Babies are sweet, but toddlers are fun!

Image

I’d like to get around to writing her 15 month update before she turns 16 months.  She has grown and changed SO much since her birthday, I can hardly believe it.  Love this girl!

On the Road

April 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Posted in Life | Leave a comment
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We did it!

Last Monday, the movers came and began to pack up our household goods for the Great PCS of 2012.  Duncan spent Monday-Thursday at daycare, so I’m pretty sure he was in doggy heaven.  Finally, on Thursday, after every last time was either packed and loaded or tossed, we picked Duncan up from daycare and drove off into the sunset (actually, we were driving east, so the sunset was behind us, but whatever).

Devil's Whip

Devil’s Whip in our old neighborhood

We had this idea that if we drove at night, then LC would sleep and it would be easier to just get through the drive.  Honestly, I have debated whether I even wanted to document our trip, because I’m not sure I want to remember it.

Let’s start by saying that we only did a so-so job of prepacking.  We’re off to the East Coast on Tuesday, so when we packed, it was really at the front of my mind not to overpack our suitcases (because almost every time, we seem to be over the weight limit).  In my minimalist think-mode, we neglected to set aside some important things, like pillows.  So Monday-Thursday we had no pillows. Wednesday night we slept on a slowly-deflating air mattress with no pillows.  All this to say that by 6 pm on Thursday when we left I was already tired.

Ripe Eatery

Last meal at our favorite brunch spot.

The plan was to drive to Abilene, a little over 7 hours away.  I made sure to call the hotel to let them know we’d be arriving late. The drive started out well enough. We drove about 2 hours to Van Horn, and LC was still awake when we got there. I had an arsenal of toys up front to hand her when she got restless or bored and I sang to her and recited some of her  favorite books. When we were ready to leave Van Horn, it was nearly 8:30, so we expected LC to fall asleep. It was already over an hour past her bedtime.  Instead, she began to scream.  By now, it was dark (so I couldn’t see her in the mirror) and we were literally in the middle of nowhere in West Texas. After about 30 minutes she was still screaming hysterically and I thought I heard her throw up.  I called W, frantic, and we just picked an exit to pull over.  This particular exit had a sign for an observatory, and I thought maybe there would be a gas station. Instead,  once we took the exit, there was another sign for the observatory indicating it was another 39 miles down the road. Hah!

Anson,  TX

Town Hall in Anson, TX

So we pulled over to the side of the road, and she had indeed gotten sick (and pulled some of her hair out, as we noticed the next day).  As we got her cleaned up and calmed down, a swarm of bugs flew in my car, attracted to the lights.  Fabulous, just fabulous, to have a car full of WINGED NIGHTMARES just as we are trying to get back on the road.  W was great and managed to get them out, but the rest of the drive I kept worrying that we missed one and it was in the back seat feasting on my baby.

Anyway, we got back on the road and she started to cry again, but this time W had a great idea: to play the vacuum cleaner soundtrack that we used as white noise in her room for about 10 months (we recently got a new sound machine that we like better).   And it was a miracle: she stopped crying immediately.  The only problem was, I couldn’t turn it off or she would wake up. So yes, for about  four hours straight I was forced to listen to the sound of a vacuum cleaner. And, it’s not like I wasn’t already tired.  My vision was scarily blurry for at least the last hour of the drive and the last 20 miles or so I had to keep pinching and smacking myself to help me stay focused.  I didn’t come close to falling asleep or driving off the road, but the blurryness of things in general was just not good.

Finally at about 3 am (time change!) we rolled into Abilene and as I parked, W called to tell me that the hotel had considered us no-shows and had cancelled our reservation (someone didn’t see the note about our late check-in).  Fortunately, they did have a room for us.  We  had Duncan with us, so we couldn’t stay just anywhere.

W set up LC’s GoCrib (we love this thing!) and she went right to sleep, and we all slept in till 9 am. Woohoo!  We still had about 3 hours to go, and this time LC slept the whole way and I was able to listen to my audiobook instead of just white noise.

What’s this thing? Can I play in here?

So, we are here, in the land of green trees and four seasons (and humidity and bugs, apparently).  Tomorrow we head to OKC and on Tuesday morning we fly back East for 2 weeks.  We are looking forward to seeing our family and friends, but we are also ready just to be settled.  We cannot get housing until W officially signs onto post on the 15th, so in the meantime we are in limbo. It’s weird not having an address.

Last night we visited some friends who live on post and we got to see their house and we’re really pleased with how nice it is (though we’d love an extra bedroom). I plan to paint this time!  Lots to look forward to and we can’t wait to get settled!

Now, please share with me your travel nightmares so that we can commiserate!

LC at 13 months

April 24, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Posted in Family, Life | Leave a comment
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Just needed to jot down a few things while they’re fresh.

LC is so funny at 13 months. She is mostly walking everywhere and she does better walking in bare feet than in shoes. Walking everywhere means she is into EVERYTHING far more than I imagined possible. Lord help us all. She says “shoes” and then carries them all over the house. But don’t you dare try to put them on her feet.

She is very affectionate and loves a snuggle but she won’t give regular kisses. For now she just blows kisses and it’s sooo cute.

We are at 13 months still going strong with nursing. Hope to keep it up till she self-weans. Girlfriend does not want cow’s milk.

This baby GROWLS. A lot. She growls and chases you. It is hilarious and scary at the same time. W calls her a Baby Genghis Khan.

Speaking of scary, she can be a bit rough and I’ve been the one on the receiving end of it lately. During a peekaboo game with W, she head butted me in the teeth and split my lip. Today she hit me in the mouth with a can of tomato paste and chipped my tooth!!! (granted it’s a small chip from where I chipped it as a kid and it was repaired, but still!)

She was holding a can of tomato paste because we had a bag of pantry items to donate and she was amusing herself by packing and unpacking the bag. Then she started to stack the cans. She was able to stack 3 and even tried to get a fourth one on top, but alas, they toppled over.

We are going to be without Internet for a few days, but I’d like to come back and update this with more!

Catch-up

April 17, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Posted in Life, Things I think | Leave a comment
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We’re moving (to another state! soon!), so lately life has involved working on a seemingly endless checklist of Things That Must Get Done, and sadly blogging has not been on that list.  I’ve wanted to share some things, though, so I will have to make this quick.

  • I am obsessed with this song and it’s on repeat all the time.  I like that the lyrics are thought-provoking and meaningful and not about something violent (see: Pumped Up Kicks, We Are Young).  Also loving the Sting-esque vocals.
  • It was the 11th anniversary of W’s 21st birthday on Sunday.   We celebrated on Friday by having some friends over for dinner.  At W’s request,  I made fried chicken, baked beans, and buttermilk biscuits.  Our friends brought a delicious Caesar salad.  For dessert, I made a Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart from Baking with Dorie.  I followed the recipes for the  fried chicken and baked beans from Hugh Acheson’s A New Turn in the South.  The fried chicken was AMAZING.  W told me that the next time we go to Mississippi to visit his grandmother, I can show her how to make fried chicken.  I think that’s the biggest compliment he’s ever given me :)
  • LC is walking walking walking.  She looks like a little zombie walking with her arms out for balance.  Even though it’s a lot more work chasing her, I’m really looking forward to playing outside with her this summer (perk of moving: we’re going to have a real yard with grass!).
  • LC’s eczema is out of control.  On Saturday I took her out to lunch with me and on the way home she scratched up her leg so much that she was covered in blood.  She did the same thing to her arm yesterday when she was supposed to be napping.  She’s been dealing with this since she was at least 2-3 months old, and it just seems like we’ve never been able to get a good handle on it.  I have tried just about every cream on the market.  It’s really frustrating not knowing the cause or whether it will just go away on its own.  Today the pediatrician finally suggested we have her tested for some common allergies.  I’m really hoping that they’re environmental and will clear up when we move.  If you have any useful advice, I’d love to hear it.  No one in either of our immediate families has any kind of allergies (other than pollen) so this is totally new territory for us.

I’d like to write more, but that’s  all I have time for. I just wasted spent a lot of time on YouTube watching all of Gotye’s videos. *Sigh* I’m in love. Sorry, hubs!

Happy Easter!

April 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Posted in Family, Home, Life | Leave a comment
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Happy Easter!  We had a great day.  I made a “cinnamon bun”  coffee cake this morning, and we made it to church (only 10 minutes late!).  We had a restful afternoon and enjoyed a delicious dinner of lamb chops and mascarpone mashed potatoes. W did the dishes, which was sweet. I think in total I probably consumed about 6,000 calories; most of them were worth it. The Easter Bunny even visited all three of us!  Thanks to him, I have some Starbucks treats in my future.

I just about died from the cuteness of LC’s Easter dress, and I just couldn’t get over how much she has changed since last year.  My little girl is growing fast.

easter

I’m off to eat some pound cake slathered in lemon curd.  If you’re going to go over the top, might as well go all the way!

LC is one!

March 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Posted in Family, Home, Life, Thankful things | 1 Comment
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baby 2 weeks

Our funny baby girl celebrated her first birthday on Tuesday.  We decided to forego a party this year, since our families are 2000 miles away, and our friends here either don’t have children or have children that are much older.  Still, LC was pretty spoiled by gifts from friends and family.  W took the day off from work.  I made pancakes for breakfast while she pushed her new shopping cart around (thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!) and after her morning nap, she opened the rest of her gifts.  The water table was a HUGE hit (thanks, other Grandma and Grandpa—hmm, both sets of grandparents are Grandma and Grandpa B).  The weather was yucky, though, so it had to be an indoor toy.  Good thing it’s warmed up again today so we can move it onto the patio.

LC pb chair

As for the carrot cake I made (I was trying to be good and make her something not too sugar-laden), she wasn’t interested, so I guess I could have served double chocolate and it wouldn’t have mattered.  I did finally get her to take a bite.  She also refused the dinner I slaved over (but slaved with love!) of homemade chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries.  She threw them on the floor without so much as a nibble. Oh well.  She gobbled down yogurt and applesauce instead.  It’s her birthday and she’ll be picky if she wants to.  All in all, she had a great day, I think.

LC birthday hat

Wednesday we went to the pediatrician for her well-check.  She’s in the 10th percentile for height and weight, which of course has me concerned, but the ped didn’t seem to be worried at all.  I’m honestly surprised she doesn’t weigh more, given how much she can eat.  When my sister was here she marveled at how LC downed a huge bowl of pumpkin risotto, and on Tuesday she ate two whole pancakes for breakfast!

cake is destroyed

So, here are her 1 year stats:

Height: 28 inches (21 inches March 2011)

Weight: 18 lb 2 oz (7 lb 12.4 oz March 2011)

Size 3 diaper

Shoes: ?? I think a size 3 or 4. Right now she has one pair of Pediped which are 6-12 mos and she still has some room to grow.

Words: about 6-8.  Mama, Dada, baby, puppy, hi, Duncan (Duck-in), duck, bunny (bunny and puppy sound a lot alike, so not sure about that one)

Walking: Not quite. Last Saturday she stood up unassisted for the first time, and she took her first wobbly steps on Monday. So far she seems a little unsure of the whole thing. Crawling is way faster, mom!

Favorite foods: Pancakes, waffles, flatbread (notice a trend?), grilled cheese, applesauce, yogurt, grapes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, banana

Not a fan of: Meat, kiwi, cheerios

Other favorites: Dr. Seuss’s ABC, T’choupi books, water table, shopping cart, Jellycats Nugget Monkey, Fisher Price Beginning Blocks

The most notable thing about LC is her personality. When my sister visited, she remarked that she had never met another baby with such a bubbly personality, and that’s saying something because they have tons of young families in their neighborhood.  She’s just really laid back, finds humor in almost anything, laughs and laughs and laughs.

It may be sappy, but every night we talk about our favorite moment of the day with her.  It’s usually hard to choose.  We truly lucked out with this one.

#29

February 10, 2012 at 8:29 am | Posted in Family, Home, Life, Thankful things | 1 Comment
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My birthday was Monday, and although I usually look forward to it, this year I found myself mentally skipping ahead to March, to a certain baby’s big 0-1.  2012 did not begin well.  January was full of bad, bad news, and it was terribly depressing, and I don’t think even exaggerating to say soul-crushing, to see all these things keep happening, and not to be able to do anything about them.  As January dragged on, I just kept thinking, ‘We just have to get through this month, and then nothing bad will happen in February.’ As if the universes’s quota for misfortune would have already been met.  As if the universe has a quota for misfortune.

Anyway, all that to say, I wasn’t feeling my chipper-est when February finally rolled around.  I didn’t find myself counting the days till the day.  My gift this year was tickets to see Wicked, and in the end, we did make it, and I didn’t even check my phone obsessively throughout the show, waiting on edge for a text from the babysitter that omg! the sky is falling!.  I only did that on the drive to the theater.

And then Monday, the big day, we woke up and W suggested we go out for breakfast (because, if you’ve read this blog, you know I love pancakes!).  When he gave the waitress the debit card, she brought it back, and apologized because it wouldn’t go through.  At home, W checked the bank statement, and sure enough, someone had a spree at a Colorado Wal-Mart with his account number.  See?  There is no quota!  LC’s nap was spent faxing the bank so that we could get our money back.

29th birthday

I asked for a picture of me and my bébé on my birthday. At least it's a cute one of her!

And then I broke 9 eggs baking my cake, and the cakes stuck to the pan and broke, and I didn’t have enough frosting to completely frost the sides, and wah, wah, wah.

It wasn’t my best birthday for sure, but honestly, I know that it could’ve been worse.  And that I have so much to be thankful for.  And maybe it’s just that once you have kids you care more about their birthday than your own (I don’t know, I wouldn’t have expected that to be true of me).

Either way, I hope that my 29th year starts improving dramatically, or I’m going to be wishing for 30 to hurry up and get here, and who does that?

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