Saturday, December 26, 2009

Charlie's First Christmas

Spooner fam on Christmas Eve

We've been having a good ol' time at the Spooner household celebrating Charlie's first Christmas. We are very lucky because Brad was able to take a couple of weeks off after several extremely busy months at work. We weren't sure how the holidays would end up looking for us but we are all together and even convinced some family to come visit us too! My parents and sisters are here for Christmas and Brad's dad, stepmom, grandmother and sister were able to come see us for Christmas Day.

Christmas Eve we had a lasagna dinner (which Charlie loved) and took care of whatever could be cooked ahead of time for Christmas dinner. We also wrapped gifts and had White Christmas on TV - my favorite Christmas movie. I was basically a stress bucket trying to get everything done that needed to be done so didn't relax a whole bunch. Dallas got hit with a surprise ice/snow/windstorm so my dad's flight was in jeopardy for a while. But he made it! After hearing about how many flights got cancelled we feel very fortunate he did.

We also opened our traditional Christmas Eve pajamas from my mom - she picks us out some every year. This year Charlie got in on it and she found him some adorable red fleece footie pajamas. After the jammies are on we do a picture.
Pajama time!

Christmas morning we woke up when Charlie did, made strong coffee and turned on some Christmas music. We opened gifts, which Charlie thoroughly enjoyed. He likes ripping paper and waving tissue and throwing things around. He was getting tired by breakfast but we kept
him up long enough to try some Monkey Bread - a Crain family Christmas morning tradition (along with mimosas and breakfast casserole).
Unwrapping a gift from Nana and Paw Paw

Charlie with his new Razorback sippy cup from his Grandmother in Arkansas!

In the afternoon my in-laws arrived from Williamsburg, including Brad's grandmother Nanny, who was visiting from Fayetteville, Arkansas. They came bearing ham biscuits so we cracked open some wine, enjoyed the appetizers and talked while dinner finished up.

Charlie with his great grandmother, Nanny

This is my second turn at hosting Christmas dinner (I did Thanksgiving once, too) and it's funny how everything gets insanely crazy about 15-20 minutes before it's time to sit down with all the last minute things to do. Overall, despite some hiccups, everything turned out well and we had some incredible wine too. I find it's no use getting worked up about the hiccups as nobody likes a bummed out hostess so it's best to just shrug and offer refills. :)

After dinner and dessert we opened more gifts and Charlie climbed inside a box. He was all over the place - too many fun things to play with! He got this very cute duck that quacks and sings songs. And lots of books, cute clothes, toys... he is one spoiled little baby.
Charlie after climbing into his box

After we got Charlie out of the box and laid it on its side

His Aunts who have come to visit have showered him with love, presents and lots of playtime.
I think we can all agree Charlie is one lucky guy!

Charlie has been showered in attention and will play until he is completely exhausted.... and then play for another hour. He'll rub his eyes and get fussy and then fight a nap like he finds the mere presumption he needs a nap to be quite insulting. It must be catching up to him because when he gets upset about being put down for a nap it's in this very defeated fashion - like there is just no energy to fight it anymore. He is a hapless victim of parents who insist he naps.

We spent the rest of Christmas calling family and relaxing. Nanny had warned me that as soon as I put my feet up that night I would be exhausted - and she was right. Once I laid down (in my new extremely comfy Pine Cone Hill flannel pajamas from my mom I might add) there was no getting up.

I think a lot of the next week is going to be dedicated to relaxing, enjoying having my family here and getting some time with Brad before he starts traveling again. It's been a very nice Christmas.

Couple more pics - our house on Christmas Eve under the blanket of snow that managed to stick around. Lights in the windows is a huge thing in Richmond (kind of like brightly colored front doors)- that's what the glow is from. And my little winter baby looking at the snow (or more realistically, the poodles running around in the snow).

Merry Christmas everyone!

Christmas Dinner

We had quite a tasty Christmas dinner so I thought I'd share the recipes from the ones I found online..

First Course

(I used oranges instead)

Second Course

Beef Tenderloin with

(make this immediately. it is so good, you might cry)


Twice Baked Potatoes
(our own made up recipe but be sure to reheat long enough after refrigerating!)

Rhodes Rolls
(also used for Monkey Bread)

Dessert

Blueberry Banana Cream Pie
(Crain family tradition: baked pie shell, sliced bananas, Dream Whip and blueberry pie filling. In that order)

Berry Pie
(My father in law made it - delicious!)

Chocolate Pecan Pie
(boxed from the Fresh Market)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Visit to see Santa


Brad, my mom and I took Charlie this morning to see Santa at the Children's Museum of Richmond. We tried to get there as early as possible but there was already a long line at 9:30. When we arrived and saw the line I looked at Brad and could tell we were both weighing how much we wanted to do this vs. how long it was going to take. We asked ourselves Are we insane? I think that's a given seeing as we were visiting Santa two days before Christmas. So we decided we'd stay until we had a meltdown on our hands and let that be the deciding factor.

Surprisingly Charlie did a great job waiting for over an hour and a half and was just starting to get tired and fussy when we got up to see Santa. He slowly worked on a bottle and stared at other kids, all of whom seem to like his name. Charlie.... like Charlie Brown?

When we got Charlie on Santa's lap just kind of stared at him and then back at us and then back at Santa, etc. Finally after the pictures were taken and Santa was wrapping up his sweet little talk to Charlie did the tears come. No smiles, but a tear-free photo. And Charlie was unwilling to give up his plastic container of puffs for the pictures so that's what's in his hands.

The little outfit was a gift from Great Aunt Judy and has a reindeer on the front. It came with a cute striped beanie but we didn't want to press our luck after skipping the morning nap entirely. Santa complimented Charlie on his outfit and said he looked very nice! Thank you Aunt Judy!

Now that we've skipped the morning nap Charlie seems to want to skip napping entirely today! Fortunately he has his Aunt Mimi here to play with. As further evidence that we are insane, Brad and I are heading out to finish Christmas shopping. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Today

Saturdays around here are usually pretty hectic - we are running around trying to get errands run, things done around the house, hit the gym and possibly get out to dinner on our own or with friends. If we hadn't been snowed in today I know it would have been even more crazy with it being the weekend before Christmas.

Getting all this snow is like being forced to relax and I must say I have enjoyed every minute of it. I've just slowly done some things around the house, spent time with Charlie and Brad and rested. If it had not snowed so much this weekend I would not have:
  • Taken a nap
  • Eaten warm cookies by the fire
  • Curled up on the couch and listened to Christmas music
  • Organized my kitchen cabinets
  • Read the newspaper
  • Wrapped presents
  • Cooked
  • Watched so many episodes of Deadliest Catch
  • Planned Christmas dinner
  • Updated my blog
  • Relaxed!
Of course the list of things I would have done (and still need to do) is probably longer but it's been too nice to think of it that way. I wonder if I could self impose some relaxation days on us every once in a while. I guess those are called vacations aren't they?? lol

Snow Day

We've gotten a record amount of snow for December in the past 36 hours. Snow in Richmond is funny - either everyone makes a huge deal about it and nothing sticks or everyone thinks it's all hype and we get a foot. This storm falls in latter category. So did the big snow storm that happened when I was in the hospital right after giving birth to Charlie.

I was home sick from work yesterday, doing a little work here and there on my computer but managed to make it to the store on the way to pick up Charlie from daycare. The check out kid was being pretty critical about how crowded the store was, all over a few inches of snow. Now that half the town is shut down that seems kinda funny! Anyways, it was packed and they were sadly out of fresh french bread but I got out of there with a few things. It started to snow on the drive home. Luckily Brad had flown in from Dallas the night before.

I decided to make this yummy beef stew by the Pioneer woman, who I had never heard of before I read Lindsay's blog. Instead of noodles I served it over white cheddar polenta and it was so, so very delicious. Right as it was about done I peeked outside and there was already a couple of inches of snow on the ground - in the course of 2 hours! It was exciting! Made me a little nervous we'd lose power but we still have it.

When we woke up this morning we had 8 inches easy. Here's what we saw from our front door:


Our back door:

From the deck:And Brad's car and Elvis (Alice is in the garage)
We've had a pretty low key day. I reorganized the whole kitchen, planned some for Christmas dinner and made Charlie his first grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. He absolutely loved it. Our neighbor Jason very thoughtfully came and shoveled off our side porch so we can get out of the house now. We may head over there to avoid cabin fever later.

Despite all the cold temperatures Brad has been hanging out in his 'uniform' of gym shorts. It can be July or January, a blizzard or a heat wave - Brad will have on those Nike gym shorts. I wish I could hide them during the winter. He keeps talking about 'when' we leave the house later today, which is kind of funny after seeing several cars fishtail their way down our street. He was also talking about going to the gym - but they are closed due to the weather. We are supposed to get another 4 to 6 inches this afternoon and evening.


Other then a possible trek to the neighbors to get out I think we will mostly be sitting in front of the fire - maybe a movie, surfing the web, playing with Charlie or taking a nap. OK there might be some cookies involved too....
Isn't our fireplace retro? I've been trying to find words other then 'ugly' to describe it. Well, it's Spooner nap time! Have a good one!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Still Sick

I found out yesterday that all but 4 of the babies in Charlie's infant room at daycare are out with the same symptoms. Some siblings and parents sick too. They cancelled the little holiday get together for Friday afternoon because they didn't think many could attend.

I went to the doctor today and got some medicine. I hope I feel better in the morning because I have some stuff I can't miss tomorrow at work. I'm still not sure about whether Charlie will go to daycare tomorrow or not. He's been home all week and has slept more then I've ever seen him sleep. But his appetite and energy levels are returning and he's several days past being contagious so it might be good for him to get out and play for a few hours.

I have this thing when I'm sick where I wear the same thing every day. Then it's like an official sign I'm better when I start wearing something else. I also have this very old ratty cashmere sweater that I plod around in when things get particularly pathetic. That got pulled out today after I got home from the doctor.

In addition to work year-end deadline stress, holiday stress, having a sick child and feeling sick myself, our dryer broke this week. I got someone out to work on it today and the heating element is broken. He told me at first it would be next week before it could be fixed. I took a deep breath and thought that's ok, I can pull it together until then. Then he got on the phone with Fisher & Paykel and they can't even send the part for at least 3 weeks. That's when I lost it. The Fisher & Paykel rep got an earful all the way over in New Zealand and the repair man was very happy to leave.

Because it was such a rotten day I decided pizza and a movie was in order. For some reason food hasn't tasted that good since I got sick and I've been wandering around kind of hungry for most of the last 3 days. Gorged myself on Domino's Hawaiian pizza a few hours ago - problem solved.

I also watched Julie & Julia - have you seen it? Or read it? I read about half of the book when I was on maternity leave until I decided Julie was too much of a neurotic famewhore to tolerate for another 200 pages. The premise is a girl in New York (Julie) cooks all of the recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days. And blogs about it. The movie flips back and forth between Julie's life and Julia's life to show the parallels.

Except in real life there were actually very few parallels. Julie wrote her blog in an attempt to find some kitschy way to get herself published and better compete with her more successful friends. In fact she starts the blog because a friend who is not a writer starts one and how dare she do that when writing is Julie's thing! Just about all the Julie parts of the movie were kind of irritating.

I wish the movie had just been about Julie Child, who is fascinating to me - and Meryl Streep was incredible playing her. She led such an interesting life and always had such wonderful perspective about everything. It came out in the movie that she wasn't fond of the Julie/Julia project - she thought it was a stunt (which it was) and the blog never focused on the results or what the writer learned about cooking from the recipes. Which means Julie completely missed the point of the cookbook.

Even so, the blog became a book that became a movie and the writer is working on another book (eye roll). I also read in People that as her fame took off she began cheating on her husband who turned around and cheated on her. Not quite the love story the movie paints but that's Hollywood. Anyways, it's a cute show and the Julia Child parts are wonderful.

Sorry if that got long - I'm on the loopy cough syrup right now. Must go figure out Christmas Dinner menu before I get too fuzzy headed. Good night!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Couple more things

I guess in all the gory details of Charlie's illness (riveting, I know) I forgot to mention that I am now sick. So over here we have Charlie, on asthma meds that have him bouncing off the walls and Mommy, with lots of work to do, exhausted and feeling more sick by the hour. Sore throat, cough, etc.

Also I noticed Charlie pointing for the first time tonight. I was holding him and he wanted to go closer to something and pointed at it. Yay milestone!

Well I'd better get back to Charlie who is going all crazy baby in his exersaucer 2 hours past his bedtime.

Weekend: Party and Sick Charlie


I would have written sooner but Charlie's minor cough from last week turned into a moderate cough over the weekend and a severe cough by Monday. He's been on asthma and steroid inhaler medicine almost the whole time - the asthma inhaler makes it hard for him to sleep. At least some of the time. He slept 18 hours Sunday night, minus a half hour at 4am. 7pm to 1pm. Then another nap that afternoon. That's an insane amount of sleep for the kid whose reputation at daycare is the baby who doesn't nap. However he's been up at odd hours since last Thursday. I've been up with him. Yawn.

We went to the doctor on Monday after he woke up and he had a 101.3 fever. Diagnosis: respiratory infection. He's on the baby version of a z pack and I think he must feel pretty cruddy because if I don't give him baby Tylenol every 4 hours he gets very upset, like it hurts. He also has no appetite. Seriously - Charlie. With NO appetite. Never seen that one before. That would be like, I don't know, ME with no appetite.

I've worked from home the past two days. Monday he slept so much I was able to get a lot done. Today I hired the doula (remember the doula??) to take care of him while I worked. Good thing too - he went from tired and sick to ornery and sick. Grouch-ola.

His sleep is also very broken, probably from all the drainage and coughing so she was here to get him up and take care of him while I was on conference calls. He fights going down to sleep a lot and then cries while he is sleeping, which breaks my heart. It's the most pathetic sound, like an injured baby bird. Once he's out though, he's really out. His body is working overtime.

Tomorrow MIL Sue is coming to take care of him while I work. It's a huge, busy, stressful work week for me with all the year end deadlines that must be completed before I take off for Christmas next Tuesday. So of course Charlie gets sick this week. I'm pretty sure the concept of Murphy's Law was developed by a working mother whose husband travels.

In more fun news, Brad and I had an awesome time at his Christmas party. We stayed at the W Victory Park, which was a couple of blocks from where the party was. I met so many nice people that Brad works with (even a Bad Poodle reader wink wink) and we both had so much fun. We went to the Ghost Bar after the party which was delightfully Dallas cheesy. The view is incredible, the drinks were....strong, and the conversation excellent. So many characters to run into at the Ghost Bar. I highly recommend.

The next morning we were awakened by the announcer of the White Rock Marathon, which was kicking off at the American Airlines center next door. That was fun. My one morning away from baby and I'm still up at 7am! So we just ordered room service for breakfast and were lazy until it was time to head back up to my parent's house. It was so nice to have a whole night to just focus on each other. We're so focused on Charlie I don't think we always realize how much we neglect 'us'.

So I ended up going with the purple dress. The other one looked rather cheap up close so it's been sent back to Lord & Taylor with my receipt and best wishes. My sister recommended someone at her salon to blow out my hair and she was late so did my makeup for free! Definitely the best picture of me for 2009. I may never change my profile pic on Facebook after all the nice compliments! By the way, you should try this pose for pictures - I see celebrities do it all the time and it really is quite slimming. Object is actually larger then it appears.
My parents and sister had a great time with Charlie even though he was more tired then usual and napped a lot. When he was awake he was in a great mood and had fun playing with all the stuff my mom got to keep him entertained. I love this pic of him with my Dad - football watching buddies with the A&M football my Aunt Judy sent:

Charlie with his Aunt Megan (for some reason I don't have any of my mom with Charlie - must be on her camera)

The flights were atrocious. On the way there Brad upgraded us but it wasn't as fun as first class can be because Charlie was just into everything and wanted to go back and forth between me and Brad. He also grabbed the flight attendant's rear end, which gave her quite a surprise! I thought he would just go to sleep but I was sorely mistaken. We just said keep the wine comin' and were both pretty worn out by the time we arrived.

Charlie was really starting to be sick on the way back so it was even worse. He cried for about 30 minutes, therefore making us 'those people' on the flight, and finally Brad took him to the empty back row so he could lay back and let Charlie sleep on his tummy. Sleeping on his tummy is a necessity. Don't question the tummy.

Overall we are so glad we went even with the flights and sickness following. I mean, Charlie could have gotten sick if we stayed in town too so no use speculating. I think we are both hesitant though to fly with Charlie again any time soon. I was thinking about it on the flight home and realized he's gotten sick almost every time we've flown somewhere with him. Time to give the kid a break. He's already seen 10 states after all! So for now, we recover....

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Schedule

Ahhh a day in the life. I wrote up our daily schedule on the blog when Charlie was first born and looking back on it is downright scary. Then I went back to work and it got so scary I didn't even want to write it down and commit it to memory. I'm still not quite sure how I did that.

But now it's a lot easier, though I wouldn't call it easy. Since our schedule has been kind of the same for a while I thought I'd write up - ya know, before it changes again. Brad is gone every week M-F for work and Charlie and I have settled into a bit of a routine. It goes a little something like this:

6:30-7am: Charlie wakes up and starts babbling in the crib. This wakes me up. After 10 minutes of that it turns to crying and standing up in his crib, demanding to be heard. I usually run downstairs and put the bottle in the warmer and let the poodles out. Then contend with Mr. Fussypants who does not want his diaper changed.

7-7:30am: Charlie eats and we play. I scarf down some cereal.

7:30-8: Get Charlie dressed and give him his breathing treatment. More playing.

8-8:30am: Charlie goes in the exersaucer and I get ready for work. If I take longer then 15 minutes I hear about it. That is why I look the way I do at work. Once I'm ready I put the poodles out back, load everything up in the car and get Charlie in his carseat. All while trying to convince him we're actually having fun.

8:30-9am: Drive to daycare, drop off, chit chat with the teachers, play with Charlie for a minute and then I drive to work. Luckily it's 5 minutes from daycare.

9am-5pm (approx): a bunch of boring stuff you'd rather not read about. Meetings. Voicemails. Emails. Jargon. Your typical corporate broo-haha.

5:15/30ish: pick up Charlie from daycare and drive home

5:45-6:15 pm: We play. If the weather is nice we walk around outside and get the mail.

6:15-6:45 pm: Charlie eats dinner and I try to eat something too. Put a bottle in the warmer.

6:45-7ish: Bath time and put on PJ's. Attempt to keep wet/dirty diapers away from Zoe and no left over baby food on the counter that might get counter-surfed away.

7-7:15 pm: Charlie eats his night time bottle. He's starting to hold it himself. sniff, sniff.

7:15-7:30 pm: Read books and Charlie goes to bed. He likes Good Night Moon and Pajama Time. He's got a jungle song playing thing in his crib and likes a binky at night. A binky and footie pajamas - nothing cuter.

7:30-11:30 pm; Mommy time. And by that I mean cramming in some sitting down for a minute, making the next day's bottles/lunch, returning phone calls/emails, cleaning up, taking care of things and showering for the next day. I also try and log on and check work emails one more time or finish up some work things. But usually only when we have a lot going on because at the end of all this I am pooped!

Oh yeah, Brad and I talk for about 5 to 6 minutes around 10:30 pm. Because that is literally all the time we have the energy for talking by that point in the day. He's been working extremely long hours. Can you see why this weekend required a new dress???

So someone please tell me - where do I squeeze in a workout?? Errands? Sanity? Perhaps the fall of 2027 when Charlie leaves for college. :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dress Update

So I did find a couple of dresses that weren't hideously expensive and looked pretty cute and sexy (online at least) without turning into Brad's Skanky Wife at the Christmas Party. I ordered both of them and I'm hoping one will look good. If neither works I'm in big trouble - we leave a week from Friday!

Couldn't find the full skirt I was hoping for without going strapless, which I wasn't quite comfortable with. So I'm busting out the Spanx and hoping these dresses don't scream Here Come Kara's Hips! when I put them on.
It's hard to tell but the top of this one has some metallic action going on.

If I get this one I can use one of my favorite fashion terms... OMBRE! Try saying it a few times!
Crossed fingers!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

9 Months of Charlie

Our little munchkin is 9 months old! As of the day after Thanksgiving, which coincidentally was also my dad's birthday. Each month I feel like a broken record because I say how much I love this age and how much fun it is. I remember when we went to the pediatrician when Charlie was a month old and he wasn't sleeping at all and was so colicky. The doctor said to hang in there because he knew it was tough but it was about to start getting fun. He was so right.

Have I told that story before? It wouldn't surprise me because I am usually that kind of tired where I repeat things over and over.

Anyways, back to Charlie. The biggest change this month was that he stands up all the time now! There was one fluke incident in early November where he was standing in his crib and then nothing for several weeks. Then one night we were just playing in the living room and all the sudden he crawled over to our ottoman pulled up and was standing. After that it became a stand up free-for-fall and now every morning he's standing in his crib waiting for us. No cruising yet but I'm sure it's around the corner. He's still doing the military crawl and I have my doubts he'll ever do a traditional 'real' crawl - I think he'll just go ahead and walk.

He's wearing mostly 12 month clothes though he's grown out of the jumpers already. I think he's long in the trunk so I'm going to stick to buying pants/tops. His size 2 and 6-12 month Robeez are getting small (sniff, sniff) so it's time to move up. Probably our last shoes until we get him something he can walk in. I'll have to stop buying purely for cuteness factor and find something with arch support and all that.

He moved up to size 3 diapers and I felt like crying in the check out line when we bought them. They are a different color then the infant ones and are called 'cruisers' instead of 'swaddlers'. I guess my point is that he is becoming more a little boy and less a baby. The clothes for his size aren't as babyish either. I got choked up at Kohls buying pajamas when I passed the newborn sized stuff - it was so tiny and sweet. I asked Brad if that was weird. He said yes. If you read this blog regularly I would expect moping on this topic at least monthly if I were you.

He's still eating about the same stuff as a month ago, though now that he's 9 months we can start introducing dairy and meat. He's gotten more comfortable with chewing so we can try new textures. I think it will be fun! He loves to eat. He's so happy right after he eats and he's full. So much cute baby chub on him, too. So much fun to squeeze and hug. He still loves his bottles though - I think they are soothing to him. He's also taking a binky at bed time which seems to be comforting too.

He's been having a little stranger anxiety but really only when I'm not around - mostly at daycare when teachers from other rooms come in. He seems ok with new people when I'm there. Another change I've been noticing has been how upset he gets when we take something away or things don't go his way. Oh. My. Gosh. Dramatic meltdown city. We used to be able to distract him with another toy but thanks to good ol' object permanence he is quite aware for several minutes that he is upset and will not be placated.

He's taking 2 naps a day on the weekends - mostly. Some days he'll just refuse to go down and we'll get one afternoon nap out of him. At daycare he barely sleeps at all. Night time we are still at a good 11 hours. Sometimes I hear him early in the morning - like 5 am - but he generally falls back asleep. If I go get him he's up for the day.

We're getting ready to celebrate baby's first Christmas around here! I'm on the hunt for ornaments and a cute stocking with his name on it. I know he won't really appreciate much in the gift department - a plastic takeout container filled with pennies is his current favorite toy. I think he'll just love boxes and wrapping paper and attention. Maybe I'll let him try a little monkey bread on Christmas morning too :).

And lastly..... the out takes, which are getting increasingly dangerous to catch as Charlie can now propel himself off furniture and get into trouble more quickly as I hold the camera. So in the interest of baby safety, there are only 4.


Into Everything

I went to pick up Charlie today at daycare and found him right by the door to the room. The teacher said when the door opens Charlie makes a beeline to see who has come in the room and what's outside the door. She said 'he's into everything!'

Charlie and I discussed this on the way home and he insisted that he is not really into everything. That the teacher is exaggerating and he's considering a lawsuit for that kind of slander.

I do have quite a bit of photographic evidence that he is, in fact, into everything these days. This evidence was compiled in just one night - while I was trying to get his 9 month pictures. Observe:

Going through the bin of washcloths

What??? They're washcloths Mom! Relax!

Trying to pull the nebulizer machine down off its bench.

Going through the tupperware cabinet.

Turning mixing bowls into a drum set.

Visiting the sun room to see the ceiling fans.

About to attack the duck decoy on the hearth

I thought I would interview some witnesses to see what they had seen. Unfortunately they were not much help.

Zoe do you know anything?
No? Well, what about you Ringo? ..... No comment, huh.
Well you'll just have to decide for yourselves. Is Charlie into everything? The evidence suggests yes!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

We just got back from a very fun Thanksgiving dinner in Williamsburg with Art, Sue, Clare and a bunch of other family. Lots of delicious food and Charlie had a great time playing with everyone and trying his first meat ever! He had some turkey cranberry apple baby food. He also had a couple of homemade biscuits, which he loved. The rest of us had Virginia ham on ours but Charlie took his straight up!

We're keeping things pretty low key for Thanksgiving weekend this year since Brad has been working and traveling so much lately. He was working until late into the night (3 am?) up until Tuesday night. We went to Williamsburg for the day today and probably back tomorrow for some shopping or just hanging out. But Brad seems pretty excited to get a good night's sleep in his own bed and I think we'll be getting as much rest as possible the next few days. Brad has to head out to Dodge City, KS on Monday.

Charlie seemed to have a very fun day today even though he's not feeling too great - he has an ear infection and I think another tooth coming in (his 7th!). He hadn't really been acting like himself this week - just getting upset easily and crying more often then usual. On a whim I took him in to the pediatrician yesterday afternoon and now he's on antibiotics. Luckily his chest is clear and there's no fever.

Today I was totally that annoying person at an event that's bugging everyone to pose for and take pictures. I can't help it - I need some Christmas card shots and you know, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you get a good baby picture. Anyways, we did get a few cute ones - Charlie playing with a toy and with Richard. Charlie watched Richard's every move today trying to figure out how to be a big kid!
I guess I'm a tad out of the loop because I didn't realize that A&M was playing Texas tonight instead of tomorrow. I don't feel too bad since my husband, devoted Arkansas Razorback fan, didn't know their game against LSU wasn't until Saturday (usually on Friday). So anyways we have the A&M game on now and I can't believe how tired I am. Big dinner + long day + wine = sleepy Kara. I'm hanging in here for the game unless Texas takes a big lead at which point I'm going to take my grumpy butt up to bed.

Tomorrow I'm a little torn about shopping. I would love to hit the outlets in Williamsburg - in fact, I'm dying to go to Hanna Andersson. But I have this whole thing where I'm NOT CRAZY so I doubt I'm going to fight the crowds for a few sets of baby pajamas. The Williamsburg TJ Maxx, however, is always worth a trip so perhaps we'll do some damage there instead.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving like we did! Enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I need a dress

And it's getting a little desperate. Brad's company is flying us to Dallas for their Christmas party at the W. My parents are taking Charlie that night so OH MY GOSH it's like a real overnight date! With that guy I'm married to but hardly ever see! Except I have nothing to wear.

So I need a good combination of sophisticated (work party) and sexy (rare date with Brad) while still flattering on my not-quite back to pre-pregnancy size. I would love to find something in a dark purple (not tacky prom purple, which eliminates most of them) but I'd take good ol' basic black in my hour of need. Lots of cocktail dresses with black tights this year - that's new right? Where did that come from?

I'm so scared of ordering online (esp. since I'm not really sure what size I am right now) but I haven't had much of an opportunity to shop, I don't like what I've had time to look at so far and I'm quickly running out of time. So I may bite the bullet and spend a lot of time after returning the ones I don't wear. I remember my friend Paige's sister did that for her wedding shower - showed up off the plane from L.A. with like six dresses and we all voted. You know out of six dresses you're going to have a winner.

I like all of these but my inner-cheapness set in. My friend Karen inspired the fringe on the first one - she pointed out all the cute fringed dresses when we were shopping last weekend and she's so right - makes for a very cute hemline. The last one is actually on sale but they don't have my size. Bummer! I'm not sure I could have pulled off the one shoulder thing at an office party anyways. The skirt is fun, though.

(see? tights! and so cute!)
It was kind of easier being pregnant because you only have a dress or two to pick from anyways - borrowed from the small collection of maternity cocktail dresses circulated by pregnant friends. But then you have to skip the open bar so I guess it all evens out.

Well, I'd better get back to shopping online for a dress I will be too chicken to order. :) I have a feeling I'll have to see those black Friday shopping crowds after all....

***Found this online... so pretty! And purple!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thankful

The other day when I was picking up some lunch a TV in the food court had CNN on. The reporter was interviewing a man who was unemployed about his situation and he broke down into tears mid-sentence while responding to the reporter's question. The most heartbreaking part of it was how embarrassed and apologetic he was about crying; like his own reaction was surprising to him. He kept apologizing and finally said it was just so hard to not be able to take care of his family.

As much as I hate to admit this because the mainstream news media frequently rides my nerves, I've been thinking about that clip quite a bit since I saw it. This may sound odd but it has put me in the holiday spirit. The real one - not the one sold at the mall. Thinking about that man and his family makes me grateful for all the blessings I have in life because life for a lot of people is very hard.

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I present the Bad Poodles edition of things I am thankful for in my life:
  • This beautiful, healthy baby boy that I love being with. I'm still pinching myself that God picked me to be his mother.
  • My husband who works extremely hard to take care of our family. We have really weathered some storms together in the past year and lived to tell the tale.
  • My family, who are all so supportive and adore Charlie. They're quite fond of Brad and me too! Kidding, kidding. They love all of us very much.
  • My friends, who always make me laugh and go out of their way for me. They the kind of friends that fly in from Texas to visit, that send emails to check in on me, that offer to help with Charlie and brought dinner when we came home from the hospital. Top Notch friends I tell you.
  • A year of good health for Brad, Charlie and me.
  • I have a good job where I work with nice people who have become my friends.
  • Brad has a good job in this horrible economy where a lot of people in his skill set are unemployed.
  • The blog's namesakes who continue to offer unconditional love even though they haven't gotten as much attention since Charlie arrived. They are sweet puppies.
  • Soon there will be another big screen opportunity to gawk at Robert Pattinson with no shirt on. Come on, you knew that was coming.
There are a lot of other things I could write up that I am grateful for but I can probably lump them all in a category of having all of my life needs met and then some. I want for nothing in this life and that is a very fortunate thing.

I've also been thinking of something Brad and I could do this holiday season to help out someone who needs it. I'm brainstorming some ideas and still looking into that. More to come.

Ok, scurry off now and go think of what you're thankful for too! Happy early Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekend(s)

I've had two awesome weekends in a row and I'm writing a little thing about them before this week gets away from me like last week did and then I'm blogging about a weekend that happened a month ago.

I got to meet Baby Lily last weekend! One of my BFF's Holly and her husband Tyler and their 6 month old daughter Lily came all the way from San Antonio to Richmond to visit! Lily is precious - and she is SUCH a Lily - she is delicate and sweet and beautiful. Charlie was something of a show off and flirt in front of her. Holly took a bunch of neat pictures since she has a "good camera" so I'll post some after she gets a chance to go through them. I know there will be many good ones.

We weren't super active that weekend; Brad actually had to work quite a bit. We spent a lot of time just talking, catching up, playing with the kids. We did hit up the Brunswick Stew festival downtown on Saturday where there was all sorts of delicious, overpriced food, beer (thank you Ukrops for not sponsoring this year so we could have beer) and live music. There was some debate before we went about what exactly goes into Brunswick stew so if you aren't familiar, check it here. It's a Virginia thing. Unless you're from Georgia. It's a lesser argued Turducken.

All in all it was a really fun weekend. I felt bad Brad had to work so much though. He's been putting in 80 to 90 hour weeks lately and is just worn out. I hope he can take a brief reprieve at Thanksgiving and maybe a week at Christmas to catch his breath. Not being 23 anymore surfaces in more areas then just hangovers - it's a lot more tiring then it used to be to put in those kind of hours.

This weekend was beautifully uneventful. We were determined to catch up on rest, spend some time together and just enjoy ourselves. Friday nights around here are pretty pathetic - we're in bed by about 9. Saturday I met Karen up at the mall with the kids to shop for a while and catch up. I'm on the hunt for a dress to wear for Brad's Christmas party in Dallas, but no luck yet. Then Brad and I had a babysitter that night - so we could *gasp* go out and have an actual conversation!

We went to a new place here, Balliceaux. It was good. It does some of the things that trendy restaurants do that get on my nerves. I should do a post on that - the list gets longer every year. The remodel was fantastic, the menu was confusing, the food was good (not great) and the wine list was weird.... in a bad way. But we had a great time talking. And talking and talking and talking. That was my favorite part. Afterwards we went to Home Team Grill in the Fan to watch football and have another drink and Surprise! both the A&M and Arkansas football games were on! I'll say the Arkansas one was quite a bit more fun to watch!

Today it was beautiful out so we walked around at the outdoor mall near our house with Charlie and took advantage of the 30% off Gap/Banana Republic Give and Get weekend. If you don't get those coupons in your email let me know and I'll send you an invite. The entire Spooner family benefited. Tonight we just grilled out some steaks and watched a McDocumentary on McDonalds. I love those. MSNBC has them on McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, etc.

Brad's headed into another crazy work week and I'm hoping Charlie gets back on his schedule this week. He was taking really long naps last week, which pushed his bedtime back. Today he wouldn't nap at all, save an hour, until he finally had a meltdown at 5:30 and Brad put him down. Got him back up to eat at 7, another melt down and I hope we're done for tonight. I think it was a growth spurt. Glad I sized up at Baby Gap.

Other random stuff:
  • I made some crack on Twitter Friday about celebrating another pair of pre-pregnancy jeans fitting by eating a lemon bar. Some random chick sends me this link that of course 'changed her life' so I was sure it was diet-related... except it wasn't... it was for herbal fertility drugs. Ummmm, yeah. I haven't gotten used to all the randomness that is Twitter. I'm just more used to Facebook.
  • I made another crack on Twitter about the perfect appetizer and now Philadelphia Cream Cheese is following me. Score. Me and Paula Deen.
  • Apparently I need to do Skype. Or Charlie needs to do Skype. With his love of laptop computers he'd probably have it figured out before me. I mean, I can't even get used to Twitter!
  • Ok fess up, how many of you are going to see New Moon opening week? I went shopping with Karen this weekend and completely forgot to pin her down for our New Moon date (to follow our Twilight date) so it will probably be after. However after all the 'sneak previews', 'trailers', and 'spoilers' I'm pretty sure I've already seen 75% of it.
  • There is a depressing dead season for TV approaching. Mad Men is done, Top Chef and Project Runway near the season finale... True Blood and The Tudors a ways off... I may have to break down and read a book instead.
OK, that's all I got - bedtime! Have a good week!

I Refuse to Nap

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Can't Keep Up

As soon as I hit the Publish Post button on Charlie's 8 month Update post he changed in several ways. So we're gonna do a little mid-month update.

Baths: we now looooooove them. I even managed to move the duck tub from the bathroom counter to the tub with no screaming! That kind of made me sad though. No more baby baths. sniff sniff.**

Crawling: has now been one-upped by pulling up in the crib. And hanging arms perilously over the side. We went ahead and lowered the mattress over the weekend. Again, no more infant crib... sniff sniff.**

We have moved from Pampers Swaddlers to Pampers Cruisers. Size 3. Just rip out my heart why don't you.**

Charlie's sitting up unassisted. Or at least has interest in sitting up for more then a few seconds. He seems to enjoy the improved view of the poodles while sitting up.

Solids are now chewed and swallowed with ease. Followed by a look of 'where's the rest?' and maybe a few bangs on high chair tray. I gave him some Cheerios last weekend and he downed them in no time.

Charlie is showing a clear preference for me lately. I know this is going to go back and forth several times in the next year but right now let's just take a minute and relish in being the favorite. Me me me.

Books are now interesting and no longer just a chew toy. I got him some more board books today at Target with lots of rhyming and he giggles when I read them to him.

In the car, the music-playing mirror is out and CD's of children's music are in. Right now we are listening to the ABC's by They Might Be Giants. Charlie shrieks and kicks his legs to the upbeat songs and stares out the window in a contemplative fashion during the slower songs. I have to admit, they're pretty catchy songs. I've been humming a few today.

Nebulizer: well, we still hate that with a passion. His treatment is just once a day now and is a breathable steroid. The albuterol was messing with his sleep cycle something awful so I'm glad we're done with that for now.

As for my accomplishments, I can now recite Good Night Moon in its entirety from memory and have taste tested the entire line of Earth's Best pureed foods.

**I have been kind of sad about moving past all the little baby things. I overheard Brad telling Charlie a few weeks ago that the reason there are still some too-small baby clothes in the nursery dresser is because Mommy can't let go. And then I got a look from Brad that said basically the same thing when I tried to convince him in the middle of Babies R Us that we could make it another box or two of the Pampers Swaddlers size 2-3. I mean sure, they might be a little small but what's your point? Anyways, I'm not really sure what Brad is trying to get at here but I don't believe I will dignify any of it with a response! Hmf!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Meet Alice. And Goodbye Elvis.

It's a girl! I'm so excited about my stealth mom-mobile. She was worth the wait. Drives like a dream and has lots of bells and whistles that I am really not used to. But I will somehow muddle through and adapt. :)

Update ** ugh yeah, I guess I could have explained what kind of car, duh. Volvo XC90.

We still have Elvis and are trying to decide what to do with him. Donate, sell, where to sell, etc. He is 10 years old and has about 108,000 miles. But time has been a bit rough on his body (sadly I can relate).

Call me sentimental, but I'm a bit sad about saying goodbye to him. We've been through a lot. I bought him when I was just out of college working my first real job. I went to see my family in Indianapolis over Thanksgiving that year and bought a car while I was there! A guy I was dating at the time told me he couldn't believe I would do something so impulsive. Needless to say, we were not a good match.

I met my mom in Memphis - halfway between Indy and Dallas - a few weeks later to swap Elvis for my Honda Civic (a.k.a. Mr. Car) that my sister Megan was going to drive. Cookie was going up to visit her parents in Indy so came along for the ride. We had lunch at Cracker Barrel. I ordered my usual - Eggs in a Basket. Funny the things you remember sometimes.

Since then Elvis has been with me for a lot of life's big events. I drove him to my wedding. A couple of years later Brad and I loaded him up, put Zoe in the backseat and moved halfway across the country to DC - where a year later he got rear ended by a Metro bus. He's hauled lots of Home Depot purchases to fix up the 3 houses we've owned. He took me to all of my OB appointments and brought Charlie home from the hospital.

He's been a good car - a lot better then I was expecting out of an Isuzu! Hopefully Alice will stick around for just as long.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Charlie's First Halloween

I've figured out something about Halloween with kids. Halloween is not a single day where you may have some trick or treaters or a party to attend. It's several days, all with different events, activities, groups of people, etc. If the costume actually survives until Halloween night then you've done a good job. Since my kid is still pretty young to be doing all the Halloween activities it was fairly tame - but crazy enough to instill a respectable amount of fear in me for future years.

Charlie's Halloween started Thursday at the candy walk my department does every year. The kids trick or treat with their parents from room to room, following this little path of pumpkins on the floor. Then they have some crafts to do but I didn't even look at those because if I gave Charlie a glue stick he'd just eat it. So we walked around and stopped to see different people - most of whom hadn't seen Charlie since he was 3 months old and I brought him in to visit while I was out on maternity leave.

When I was pregnant a couple of my coworkers gave me a baby outfit. It was a sweater vest over a polo shirt - just like one of the coworkers likes to wear every day to work. We had a good laugh when I opened it. It was 12 month size and conveniently fit just in time for Halloween! So Charlie was dressed as my coworker Mark on Thursday for the candy walk. Just add a blackberry and a coke zero to the outfit and you have instant Mark.

I have so much work to do.

I'm being good.... for now...

Friday was the daycare Halloween parade and party. Sue drove up from Williamsburg for the day to play with Charlie and watch him in the parade. And by 'parade' I mean walking around the parking lot once as the other parents watched. Since none of the kids in the infant room walk most of the parents carried them. Brad carried Charlie who really just wanted out of his duck hat.

What are you looking at??

Why are my parents doing this to me???

You call one lap in the parking lot a parade??

Charlie's little friend Bella had a duck costume on too so I wanted to get a picture of the two of them together. We took several pictures but this was the only one close to turning out as neither child was happy about being in costume and both were squirmy. Wendy and I look pretty happy though! Charlie's lunging for Bella's duck bill and Bella's about to let him know that is not acceptable.

Charlie: I like your costume. I think I will grab it and pull.
Bella: Back off junior and nobody gets hurt.

Even though by Saturday I was fairly certain we'd celebrated quite enough for an 8 month old's first Halloween we still had actual Halloween ahead of us. Our neighbors invited us, along with a couple of other families, over to their house to have pizza and then walk the neighborhood trick or treating.

You should have heard us all contemplating the *correct* time to leave the house and go trick or treat. It was an active debate - it's not dark yet. But there are other kids out. How old are those kids? Are they the same age as our kids? Ok let's go - but everyone grab a cocktail in a plastic cup first. 30 minutes later we were off.

Our little ducky rode in the stroller and Brad pushed. A couple of the other kiddos rode in a wagon, which was a brilliant idea. Note to self for next year. Brad would walk Charlie up to the doors with the other little kids to trick or treat. I don't think Charlie really cared much but Brad loves both candy and showing off Charlie so it fit the bill on both counts.

Back at our house we'd left out a bowl of candy on the front steps for kids to take from. Admittedly it was very lame. We didn't even have any pumpkins out. The candy was completely gone when we got back - no surprise. There were quite a few teenagers trick or treating so most of the bowl probably ended up in one of their pillowcases. I hope the little kids that came by got some before that happened.

In a few sections of the neighborhood a bunch of people had put together a dinner out on tables in the street. There was candy and food and music and plenty of people to talk to. One of the little girls in our group was calling the setup 'the party' - as in, let's go to the party over there NOOOOWWWW. And she was totally right!

Charlie with Dr. Olivia. She came up with the idea for her costume all by herself!

We stayed out until Charlie got hungry and by then he needed to go to bed. I was trying to keep him up to adjust for daylight savings but for once he just really wanted to go to bed. We had one more batch of trick or treaters after we got home - I held the bowl out for them to take from instead of handing them candy and they pretty much wiped us out! After that we shut the lights off out front and considered ourselves to be done.

Let me tell you, if you find walking the neighborhood on Halloween night to be a little mundane, I found a good cure - a margarita! Preferably mixed by our neighbor Ben! I highly recommend. Just don't drink it too fast.... or you could end up watching 2 hours of Storm Chasers on the couch after you get home. Not that I know anyone who would do that.

Today... we recover. It's rainy and icky out and so we're just taking care of things around the house and watching some TV. I think we're also tired because we bought a new car yesterday but I'll save that for another post!

Hope everyone reading had a great Halloween too! 'Til next year....