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)


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


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


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!!