Sunday, January 31, 2010

Monday. We Meet Again

It is mass frozen chaos around here in Richmond after getting about a foot of snow over the weekend. Schools were closed and a lot of businesses had delayed openings. My employer asked everyone to telework since there was still a lot work to be done on the parking lots and sidewalks around campus.

Despite all the melting that went on today, things are refreezing and schools are cancelled again tomorrow. The kids are ecstatic, the parents are panicked - I can safely say the children's museum will be a zoo tomorrow afternoon. The scent wafting around town is desperation - to leave the house.

Charlie was warm again when he woke up today and so we took him to the doctor. Double ear infection and a fever but luckily his chest was clear. He was given new antibiotics, some white liquid he hates. He napped a ton today and went to bed relatively early so hopefully he's on the mend. We'll see what the morning brings as to whether he'll hit up daycare for some play time.

Yesterday I made the Pioneer Woman White Chicken Enchiladas which sat in the fridge until tonight for dinner. Verdict: Bland. I should have known better after looking through the recipe - no garlic called for, the seeds are removed from the jalapenos, and paprika is used as a spice.... The recipe as a whole is in dire need of salt. And some lime juice somewhere. At least I was able to use the leftover chicken bones for some homemade stock to use later.

Anyways, I think I will try some more of the PW's home cooking type recipes but avoid the tex-mex. And that's no knock on her recipes. I love the Barefoot Contessa too and I avoid her tex-mex like the plague. She doesn't even like cilantro and replaces it with parsley. Ick. Paula Dean doesn't trust a skinny chef and I don't trust one who hates cilantro.

In other news, Brad and I are still engaged in the great vacation debate of 2010. I think I've mentioned before that Charlie's Nana wants to spend her spring break with him in March and has offered to keep him so Brad and I can get away for a few days.

The requirements:
  • We want to use Starwood points since Brad has so many of them
  • Preferably fly American so we can upgrade
  • We don't want it to be horribly far away so 7 to 8 hour max flying time from Richmond or 3-4 max from DFW (since we'd have to fly there first with Charlie)
  • Kara is not feeling wild about going to Mexico
  • We would like to avoid spring breakers. They can be down the street but not next to my pool chair.
  • I haven't skied in years and this isn't the trip I'd like to invest in the bunny slope.
  • No Las Vegas or Cancun
Just amazing we haven't found anything right? The top contenders (all of which have downsides) have been
  1. St. John, USVI (Resort is not that nice but this is a front runner).
  2. Seattle, Wa. and Victoria, BC (Kara's favorite but Brad has decided he'll be too cold. WIMP.)
  3. Grand Cayman (this has potential and scuba diving. unsure of spring break crowd)
  4. Aruba (kind of a high rise situation that's not looking appealing)
  5. Los Cabos (nixed for spring breakers and being in Mexico)
Anything obvious we've missed? I wish it wasn't so cold in Montreal in March. Am debating San Fran and Napa but that doesn't have Brad too excited for some reason. Maybe I can work on that. He must be envisioning sand in his toes. Oh Hawaii, why do you have to be so far away???

Yeah so that's what's going on here in between snow storms and ear infections. Toodolooo!

11 Months of Charlie

We are getting dangerously close to no longer defining Charlie's age by months - he's going to be a year!! Why is that making me all misty-eyed and sentimental? I keep thinking about what we were doing a year ago to get ready for him and how excited we were. I'm maintaining a completely romanticized version of all that naturally, as I had debilitating back pain and constant heartburn and Brad was feverishly job hunting after being laid off. But it was a Perfect and Magical time!!

But anyways, on to the update. It doesn't feel like there's as much to write this time as things stay more status quo the older he gets. Or maybe things progress so slow I am not realizing it.

Our little munchkin (current nickname: The Munch) is eating a lot, moving all the time, growing really fast and has quite a bit to say. Most of it doesn't make sense but I think his words with meaning include DAH (Dog) and BAH (bath). Lots of Dadadadadaaaaahhh and Mamamamamamahhhh but I can't quite tell whether he associates that with us or not.

Charlie has gotten a lot easier to take care of if that makes sense. We can take him out to dinner and put him in a high chair. He loves to go to Target or the grocery and ride in the cart. He likes people watching from his stroller at the mall. Where I used to feel like I had to wait until Brad got home on the weekends to get my errands run now I feel like I can take him with me. He used to scream from gas pain or boredom or who knows what if I took him anywhere - it was awful. Now it's fun! I can also cook something for dinner if I give him tupperware or steel bowls and a wooden spoon to play with. Having dinner on a weeknight ... something I would have never dreamed about when he was 5 months old.

I never mentioned this before because I didn't realize not every baby did this, but Charlie likes to hit things. If he has any two objects he wants to see what happens when you bang them together. If there's nothing to hold then he wants to hear his palms slap on whatever is in reach - the floor, the sliding glass door, the table. I thought all babies did this, as I don't really have a basis for comparison. I've since been told (especially by mothers of girls) that this is not the case for every kid.

Charlie also loves to shake things. He's grown out of the phase where everything goes into his mouth but if you had him anything he will shake it to see if it makes a sound or what it feels like. Do you know how challenging it is to take a photo of a child who is always shaking things? Let me demonstrate:

In addition to shaking things, standing is a favorite activity.
Why do anything if you're not standing? It's pointless. I'm greeted in the morning by Charlie standing in his crib, typically having an in-depth conversation with... who knows? Fortunately he will stop standing at bed time in order to go to sleep. He's a great sleeper at night. Still won't nap much during the day especially at daycare. He goes all day at daycare, standing, shaking things, walking behind push toys and eating. Ahhh eating.

Favorite foods are mac n' cheese and pizza. Everything else he'll sample, some he'll eat more of, but he's very fickle. One week he'll love a certain food and the next he wants nothing to do with it.

In what has to be the ultimate in baby food snobbery, Charlie doesn't like reheated leftovers. Don't ask me how he knows, but if I warm something back up the next night, he's not having it. Nothing doing mom. The dogs get plenty of whatever Charlie's having (or not having I guess) since he's nice enough to drop it on the floor next to the high chair.

I'm already starting to shop for some birthday toys for Charlie and it is so much fun. I've found so many things - a Radio Flier Wagon, Little People sets, trucks, building blocks. I think we may have to have a mid-year birthday too because summer is coming and we need a sand box! And a trike!

There were so many out takes to choose from this time. The challenge in working with a constantly moving object. ;)

Talk to you next time when we'll be, sniff sniff, a year!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A January Snow Storm

I think the weather men in Richmond must be on revolt after being criticized for so long for making a big deal out of nothing in their snow forecasts. The last three snow storms they have way under predicted.

This week's predictions started at 3 inches then increased to maybe 6, to 6 to 10 as of last night, 8 to 12 this morning and now 11 to 13. And seriously guys, this storm is about to stop ANY SECOND. Yet it keeps snowing. It's been snowing since I got up at 6:30AM.

I don't mind really. We were able to delay our trip to Washington, DC to see the Mahons and celebrate their baby on the way until next weekend. We'll actually get to see more of them so I think that is better. And after a really hard week for both of us, Brad and I are enjoying resting at home and playing with Charlie.

Brad *barely* made it home last night. I was anxious about it all day. They had a deadline and he didn't have a flight even booked until 6:30PM. He got the last seat on the last flight from LGA to RIC. When they cancelled the flight before his I got really panicked. He did eventually make it, though after midnight. He had been at the office the night before until 4am. Needless to say, he's pretty tired

I was so stressed out last night but today I am uncharacteristically zen. Being trapped in the house during a snow storm is about as relaxed as you'll ever find me not on vacation. No errands to run, the gym is closed, everyone is at home too. I don't feel all that pressure that follows me around every other day of the week to get it all done. It's like a holiday with no commitments.

I love to cook something yummy, put on some nice music (I'm playing Vivaldi's Winter right now to be funny) and I get the closest I ever get to taking a nap. That means I give several minutes of hard consideration to napping and then don't. But that I'd even consider it is a testament to my relaxation level!

I also love our house when it snows. It is so peaceful outside with the trees covered in snow. Some birds swoop by now and then and it's just serene. I could stare outside all day. I actually keep the lights turned off all day so the first thing you see when walking in a room is the snow falling outside the window or the fire in the fireplace. Lovely.

Later today our neighbors are going to trudge over in the snow for some Pioneer Woman Beef Stew with Mushrooms, wine and some Australian Open rebroadcasts. That beef stew is turning out to be my snow storm dish - I made it last time it snowed.

Here are some shots around our house at about 2pm:

Here's what's piling up for Brad to shovel later. And yes, he has been wearing shorts all day.

Since the snow is dry and light the poodles like running around it. With wet snow they turn around at the back door and look at you like Really?? You expect me to go in this??

They were being very agreeable today so here are some Bad Poodle Snow Frolic photos:

Hope everyone out there is enjoying as nice a Saturday as we are having. We'll eat some beef stew for ya! xoxo

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


As Charlie has been eating more and more table food I have been looking for a) creative things to feed him that he will actually like and b) things that won't kill him. You know, eventually. There is quite a food debate going on out there. Have you heard?

Trying to decipher between what is a marketing ploy and what is a justifiable reason to buy or avoid certain foods for Charlie is a daunting task - and really not one I have the time or patience for. Keeping in line with my overall approach to parenthood, I'm trying not to freak out about it. Instead, I'll try and freak you out about it.

Food offerings for the toddler set are confusing and I spend a lot of time in the baby food aisle arguing with myself about overreacting vs. Just Buy It and go home. I typically just throw up my hands and spend the extra money 'just in case'. This is sometimes a forced reaction when grocery shopping with Brad, who rushes me. I think he finds it boring to watch me weigh my 47 options for oatmeal, graham crackers, pasta, bananas, etc. Yeah, I don't know why either.

Here's an example of my inner debate: "organic" is a (successful) marketing ploy (in my opinion, which is the gist of this blog) but I still buy organic food for Charlie to eat because the thought of any sophisticated, engineered chemicals going into my 22 pounds of lovin' makes me a bit ill. Such inner conflict!

On any given shopping trip, after spending too much time looking at all the food, I give up the fight, buy the 'organic' Gerber and Good Earth food and sleep incrementally better that night. Granted, I am probably just another sucker that helps keeps numerous creative marketing professionals employed. But I can live with that.

There is another ploy (I think, haven't researched) with this whole "DHA for brain and eye development" foods. Ironically you can not get the DHA stuff in organic foods so either your kid eats pesticides or is stupid and has bad vision. DECIDE Mommy Shopper! And Hurry! Brad already has the cart halfway to the checkout!

The main thing that has me paranoid at this point, whether it's right or wrong (like I have enough free time to find out for sure) is food coloring. Back when we were kids, natural things were used to color foods - like turmeric made foods more yellow. However, now food coloring is mainly synthetic because it's cheaper to make.

My 10 minutes of rushed internet research taught me that Red #40 and Yellow #5 are particularly bad. They are attributed to hyperactivity, learning problems and other Bad Things in children. I thought, just to be safe, I'll keep an eye out for these and try to avoid giving them to Charlie.

Except they are in everything. Yogurt, ice cream, Nutri-grain bars, canned rolls, cake mix, BBQ sauce, mac & cheese, salad dressing. It's insane. No telling how much of this stuff the average human eats. I'm not sure how long I can keep the Red and Yellow out of Charlie but he's already such a spaz, I may not even be able to tell if they make him hyperactive. Like my other food decisions for him, the best I can do is try here.

Last weekend my sister Meredith brought up a very valid point that if you are going to put your energy into anything food-related, it should be in eating locally. Now that I can get on board with. However, Charlie eats a lot of baby food and that is not local. I could buy local produce and turn it into baby food if I had extra time on my hands. Such a big IF. Such a big, non-happening IF. So instead we occasionally eat canned Virginia Brunswick stew and that's about the best this tired working Mommy can do.

I'd continue trying to freak you out out but I do believe it's time to go pack Charlie an organic, non-local, dye-free, DHA-filled lunch for daycare tomorrow! Bon Appetit kiddo!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Weekend Roundup

This post started as a Friday break down, progressed to a Saturday update and now is kind of a Sunday recap. This week really took it out of me, mostly because the trip to El Paso was pretty exhausting. Follow that with a hectic few days at work prepping for a mid-February deadline and I was a zombie by Friday.

The trip to El Paso for my grandmother's funeral was good. I saw some family I hadn't seen in many years and it was great to spend time with my immediate family. I'm not going to lie, I had a lot of anxiety leaving Charlie, not because I thought he would have anything less then a very fun time with his daddy and my in-laws, but just being away from him is hard. What can I say, I'm addicted to Charlie.

The flights were long so I bought The Time Traveler's Wife to read on the plane. It's been on my list for a while. I'm enjoying it but I'm not dying to find out what happens next. I do think I'll finish it, which is more then I can say for The Lovely Bones, which I threw down in disgust 3/4 of the way through. And I don't think I'll bother with either movie - at least until they're played 3 times a week on TBS like The Notebook or Steel Magnolias.

Lots of work ahead this week, which I realize is boring as heck to blog about, but next weekend we go up to DC for one of my BFF's baby shower! Lakshmy is getting close to her due date with a darling baby boy so it's time to go celebrate! We also get to see the cute colonial they just bought in the district and see the nursery and all that. I can't wait!

Lakshmy is towards the end of her pregnancy so naturally can't wait for all the discomfort to be over so I'm taking her the entire Twilight series to keep her occupied for the next month. I hope she likes them because I know I'd rather be in Forks then home feeling extremely 8-9 months pregnant aaaaanny day of the week. Nice escapism.

I've had MTV on while typing this so I'll wrap with a few observations:
  • Jersey Shore is over - very sad! I am pleased to see that by the end of the season they did learn not to put charcoal in their gas grill. Well done kids!
  • Season Finale of Teen Mom is coming up and my favorite underage couple is getting engaged! Catelynn and Tyler! Who act more maturely then all of their adult role models combined.
  • New season of 16 and Pregnant coming in February - woohoo 10 more train wrecks a'comin!
Still getting caught up on the all the award show broo-ha-ha, which I normally love to follow for all the dresses. I have to say though dresses, schmesses, I'm now in love with Pacey Witter all over again:
How cute is he??? Diane. HONEY. Put a ring on it already!

Ok, I'm really going now. Good night!

I Likes to Eat

Especially spaghetti! And pizza. Actually anything involving carbs and cheese (he gets that from me). And as of this morning, blueberry muffins.

Oh and Papa Hartz would be proud - this kid LOVES rice! Plain, mixed with pureed veggies, white rice, brown rice - yum yum as far as Charlie is concerned!

Charlie's really fun to take to restaurants now. He sits in the high chair and tries just about anything. He likes to drink out of a straw but the only thing he likes to drink is water. No juice, thank you very much. Of course he also makes a huge mess so we have now become excellent tippers!

Well, I'd write more but my child with the marathon metabolism needs to be fed again.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Plotting Their Escape

Finally, Charlie and the poodles have a common causes. To get out of the house!

It's a cold, rainy day here so we are probably going to stick around the house today. I need to pack for my trip to El Paso and go to bed early. My flight leaves at 6:30am. I need to get a good book to read for the flight because Catching Fire hasn't arrived yet. Thoughts? Also a book of sudoku puzzles keeps me pretty well entertained. I use to do puzzle after puzzle on the metro in DC during my commute.

Last night we picked up sushi from one of our favorite places, Sticky Rice. Unfortunately it was awful. The fish was ... ok (usually it's still flapping around it's so fresh) but the rice tasted a day or two old. Some of the avocado was brown too. Blah. Brad called to complain and without the slightest protest they refunded our money. Wonder what is up with Sticky Rice?? A Richmond institution!

Also weird - if you click on the Sticky Rice home page you'll see a drawing of a man. I read the story and apparently the drawing is by a woman who told her psychologist that the man visits her in her dreams and gives her advice. The psychologist circulated the drawing amongst his colleagues and some of their patients recognized the man from their dreams. People all over the globe have recognized him. Can I just say that this Freaked. Me. Out. Last night I was certain he was going to show up in my dreams like some kind of advice-giving boogey man. But he did not. Interesting, yet creepy read if you're in the mood for something like that.

Anyways, back to normal stuff -

I think I'm going to make Tagliatelle Bolognese for dinner tonight. I was watching Martha Stewart earlier and she had Biba Caggiano on her show making this recipe and it looks mouth watering. I love making things on the weekend that need to simmer for an hour or two. I cut everything up during Charlie's afternoon nap, get it started while he's playing and by the time he's bathed, fed and down for the night dinner is ready for me and Brad!

A few more pics from last night and this morning just hanging out at the house eating, practicing our cruising and playing the game where Charlie crawls away and I chase him. He loves that game.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

You Gotta Beat Up the Beat! And New Moon (mostly)

Anyone else watching Jersey Shore? Yeah, we're pretty much addicted over here at the Spooner house. It is truly the train wreck you can't turn away from. I'm embarrassed to like it. But it's SO FUNNY! The kids are just so matter of fact about their jackass-ness. And I can call them kids even though some of them are 28 because I'm not on a reality TV show making a jackass of myself.

The cast is embarrassingly frank about their perpetuation of stereotypes (both gender and cultural), their uber-casual approach to sex and drinking and their unadulterated love for themselves. The things they manage to say with straight faces in their on-camera interviews is astounding.... Brad and I are laughing our heads off the entire time. You can't write stuff this good!

We watched it On Demand, which showed the footage of Snookie getting punched. WOW. Unbelievable. I think I read the guy that hit her has since gone to rehab and is now on some national speaking tour about violence against women or something. He's a doctor, which is the very scary part. An extremely drunk, violent doctor. Please tell me he was not on call that night. Anyways.

OK, so switching topics. NEW MOON. Loved it. Still Team Edward, but loved it. I walked out of Twilight thinking Really?? That was the best they could do? But I walked out of New Moon thinking yeah, that probably WAS the best they could do. I mean, none of us are expecting these to win Oscars or anything - just lots of MTV Moonmen and People's Choice Awards.

But fans of the book just want to go relive the romanticism of the books on the big screen. Twilight didn't really capture the sexual tension of that book very well but New Moon did. What was so enjoyable about the books was the drawn-out sexual tension (clarification to non-readers - not sex, but the tension in their budding relationship) and getting to be 17 again and remembering falling in love for the first time. In my opinion, that is why so many women my age love them.

Back to the movie - they can't go back and fix the bad casting already in place (ahem, Rosalie and Jasper) but the special effects were pretty decent. The film has the same screenwriter, yet the script felt more true to the book - in all fairness this may the result of having a larger budget to interpret the book with. And a much more capable director made the whole thing less cringe-worthy.

Methinks Catherine Hardwicke just got lucky with Thirteen because Twilight was bad in a way you can only blame the director for. Parts of it I can't watch it's so bad. I guess Catherine must feel a debt of gratitude to Nikki Reed for the Thirteen success because that's the only way I can explain her casting as Rosalie - a tall, pale, Nordic-like blond played by someone of medium height who is Jewish-Italian-Cherokee. She's a good actress but wigs can only do so much.

Sidebar - anyone else unnerved by Jasper miraculously obtaining a "Texas" accent in his last line of the film? He must have read the Eclipse script between that and his earlier scenes. I can see the thought process - Oh crap, I'm from Texas! I better find a way to segue!

But whether you liked it or hated it, can you honestly tell me, fellow 30-somethings, that you can find anything wrong with THIS??
I didn't think so. As my sister Meredith tweeted after she saw the movie: New Moon, you had me at gratuitous shirtlessness.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bye Nana, love you

Early this morning my Nana passed away. She was 87. She had been living for several months in a nursing home in El Paso, Texas. Nana had a lot of life and spunk in her right until the end. She was one funny lady, very dry with her humor. Recently she started responding to the question 'How are you doing?' with the answer 'I'm 87.' Like, that should cover it!

Charlie is named after Nana's late husband, my Daddy Chuck, and she really enjoyed looking at pictures and videos of him in his first year. In July we flew out to El Paso to see her and so Charlie could meet her. She fed him a bottle and he was so good sitting in her lap. He brought her a lot of joy the past few months.
We used to go visit Nana and Daddy Chuck every summer in El Paso for a week. Occasionally we'd go for Christmas but the summer trip happened every year. I have a lot of fond memories of those trips and the time we spent with them, mostly out back by their swimming pool. Or at Leo's for Mexican food. I think we all have very fond memories of that place.

But mostly I remember silly little things. Like how Nana would mix orange juice and sprite into special drinks for us and have plenty of popsicles on hand to eat by the pool. How she'd put in the Wizard of Oz for us to watch when we got tired of swimming and sneak back to her room to watch her soap operas, which she recorded on BETA. I remember looking at her Hummels and winding up all her music boxes that were on shelves near the dining room. And riding in her car to go to church. It's funny what you remember.

I haven't been to that house in several years but I will be there next week. I'm sure it will bring back a lot of those happy memories. I am leaving early Monday morning to fly to El Paso for the funeral, which is Monday afternoon. The burial is Tuesday morning and I fly home shortly after that. Since Charlie is recovering from a ruptured ear drum he will not be flying so Brad is staying home with him.

In my memories Nana was of course always a grandmother, but I love photos of her before that. I've posted this one before because I love it so much - this is Nana and Daddy Chuck on their wedding day in Peebles, Ohio. Nothing says love to me like this photo.
And below is a photo from many years later (yet many years ago) at their house in El Paso. Santa brought me a Polaroid camera that year (went great with my Coco-Cola jersey - remember those?) and I made everyone pose for pictures. Nana was busy cooking Christmas dinner but Daddy Chuck persuaded her to stop what she was doing and pose for a picture! This was in the kitchen.
After Daddy Chuck died Nana was never the same. She missed him so much. It was like life didn't quite work right without him. When I've gotten really emotional about her passing today it is when I think about them together again, finally. And how happy she must be.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I have been a blog slacker lately! Periodically over the last week I've thought of different things to post but none of them were that interesting or went together enough to piece something entertaining together. Lucky you, I'll just update you on what we've been doing:
  • Had a pretty good weekend. Brad and Charlie checked out the Little Gym, I got my hair cut and Brad and I went to dinner with Karen and Mike at Mezzanine, which was delish. They have baby #2 set to arrive in just a few weeks (on Charlie's birthday actually) so it was a last supper of sorts for a while.
  • Conclusion on the Little Gym was that even though the class is for 10-18 months, Charlie really needs to be walking first. Might try Romp n' Roll next. With Brad gone most weeks I think it would be nice for them to have something to do just the two of them each weekend.
  • Sunday I started to not feel too great and even had to leave Kristen's birthday party next door because I was feeling so bad. Glad I left when I did because I got sick when I got home. Some stomach bug everyone is blaming on food poisoning. I was so achy though.
  • I stayed home sick from work on Monday and when I wasn't sleeping I was reading The Hunger Games. OMG, Awesome book. Run, don't walk. I'm about to order the next book in the series, Catching Fire. I hope I get sick again so I can read it in one sitting! Er...maybe not.
  • While I was recovering from being sick Charlie burst an eardrum some time on Monday night we think. When I got him out of the car at daycare Tuesday I saw all this wax and stuff outside his ear. Brad took him to the doctor a few hours later and that was the diagnosis. So he is back on antibiotics. The amoxicillin market has seen a boost since Charlie's birth I tell you what. We are at the pediatrician every other week and Brad and I are getting sick a lot more this winter too.
  • Yes, you read that right - Brad took Charlie to the doctor Tuesday! He got sick Sunday night too so stayed home Monday to recoup and is just going to stay in town this week. It's so fun having him around. So much fun that I'm trying not to think about it because next week he'll be gone again. Sigh.
  • Brad has taught Charlie how to high five and Charlie thinks it's hilarious. Brad obviously does a majority of the work but Charlie does raise his hand up and get it all positioned. I have to get it on video to post.
  • Charlie's 7th tooth came in on the bottom. His hair is also growing like crazy. It has kind of a mullet look to it right now so I'm contemplating when to get his first hair cut.
  • Do you remember that band in the 90's They Might Be Giants? Yeah the ones that sang Istanbul was Constantinople, Now it's Istanbul not Constantinople, so if you've a date in Constantinople she'll be waiting in Istanbuuuullllll. Well they made a couple of kids CD's and Charlie got one from his Aunt Megan and Uncle Carlos and we just ordered the other. Pretty decent for kids' music! Brad and I can't quit singing the songs - or get them out of our heads. I highly recommend.
  • Did I tell you I finally saw New Moon? I didn't? Well I'm not sure I have enough thoughts for an entire blog entry but I'll try. Ya know, since opinions are not something I'm generally running short on.
  • If you are reading this, chances are I owe you a thank you note. I have no excuse, I am just way behind. It's probably too late to point out I did get Christmas cards out mostly on time huh??
That's all I got. Happy Hump Day!

Monday, January 4, 2010

10 Months of Charlie

Mom I have been posing for pictures for you for the last 2 weeks. I'm done!

This post and the pictures in it are about a week late because we've been fa-la-la-la-busy. Charlie turned 10 months old last Sunday on the 27th while my family was here visiting. To celebrate, we bought him more toys and showered him in attention. Then Mommy had a big glass of wine and appreciated all the extra help around here!

**Insert this month's accurate but cliche-sounding statement here about how this is the most fun age and how much I love it** I feel like I write something like that every month and it's true, but there are only so many different ways I can word it!

Charlie is getting such a defined personality, communicating more and just generally becoming an actual little person with an actual little point of view - it is so fun to watch. Even when that means he's protesting something or mad. In fact, during the two weeks I took off from work for Christmas I spent quite a bit of time just staring at him. He is perfect and everything he does is art.

He is also getting more hair - in fact, I think we're going to have to get him a hair cut by his first birthday! It's getting long in the back and the hair is so fine it dries in all these funky shapes. I like to give him a mohawk when he takes a bath. Still that beautiful blond with intense blue eyes.

What has been really fun lately is giving him new foods to try. We got the green light for meats and dairy (besides milk) and so I've been trying out different table foods. I can't tell you how much fun it is to take him to a restaurant, put him in the high chair and give him things off of our plates to try. Breads and veggies are the easiest - he's still figuring out most meat and don't even bother with cheese if it's not melted onto something.... like more bread.

At home I've been giving him macaroni and cheese (LOVE), yogurt (meh), grilled cheese sandwiches (big thumbs up), dry cereal (another meh), rice (loved it), pasta (depends on the shape), etc. Also some ice cream - which he couldn't get enough of and the resulting sugar rush was pretty funny! Definitely not something we need around here every day though.

He's handling his sippy cup pretty well, though loves how much fun it is to spew out the water after he drinks. Ohhh what fun to have no concept of manners. I tried some white grape juice in the cup - that was not too popular. I think I will stick with water and here in a couple of months try some milk. Most juices are mainly sugar anyways so I don't really see the point.

It is easy to tell when Charlie is done eating because he starts dropping everything on the floor for the poodles or just hands it over to them. He will also reach for his spoon - full of food - and fling it around if he gets a hold of it. Also much squirming like the high chair is just too confining.

As for mobility, he can stand with just one hand for support and is so close to cruising! He has some very effective methods from getting down from standing without getting hurt. I have to admit, I'm kind of impressed. I think his tripod pose, where he spreads his legs and then puts one arm down, is my favorite.

Now that he's sitting up and very balanced he sits quite nicely in the shopping cart seat and has the best time watching people and reaching for things to pull down off the shelves. Running to Target used to be something I'd try to do alone, but now he's so fun to take! You have to keep moving though - very little tolerance for sitting still when there's this whole huge store to check out. And other little kids to watch.

Charlie is wearing mostly 12 month clothes and pajamas, but some of the 18 month stuff is starting to fit too. Amazing. At my friend Amy's suggestion, I got him a couple of pairs of Pedipeds, which I looooove. They fit so snug at the ankles that he can even wear the pair I bought in a size up. My mom also got Charlie some baby Uggs for Christmas - sooo cute! I'll have to post some pics of those.

Daycare continues to go very well for Charlie. Whenever I leave or come to pick him up he is playing with another kid. Sometimes two. I think he likes all the activity. Now that the teachers are more insistent about getting him to go to sleep he will generally get one good nap in a day. And by good I mean an hour. It is just too stimulating there for him to nap I think. I noticed the same thing when my family was here at Christmas - he knew the house was full of people and he fought me tooth and nail over napping. What can I say? I like him rested. I am cruel like that.

Charlie is getting in to a little bit of separation anxiety with me, but so far it's not too bad. Generally he just gets upset when he sees me leaving and he's trying to crawl over to me. That happened on New Year's Eve when I was running to the store and Brad said Charlie was so upset he made a big dirty diaper! At daycare he is playing with something or watching another kid so I just kiss him, say good-bye and leave. Very important for him to be occupied first. And he's always so happy to see me later in the day. Best feeling in the world.

For a few months he's been getting some stranger anxiety if adults he's not familiar with drop by his daycare room (like other teachers). He doesn't do this when he's with Brad or me, though that Santa guy was iffy at best. I know it's a phase but the irrational voice in me wants to make sure he's not around any strangers without me so he's not upset! Sigh.

We had Charlie's 9 month doctor appointment a few weeks ago - also late. He was about 9 1/2 months by the time we went. I neglected to write up a blog post because I was so busy dousing everything I could find in Christmas cheer.

It was a good appointment; really nothing notable. He was almost 21 pounds (50-75 percentile) and 29 1/4 inches long (75th percentile). Couple of shots and we were out. We go back for another check up at one year (one year!!!) though Charlie is getting his 2nd H1N1 vaccination next week.

I'm sure a lot of baby's parents say this, but it feels like I am ALWAYS at the pediatrician's office. I'm surprised I haven't started blogging on the growth of the baby turtles in the lobby's tank. That is pretty much what we stare at while we wait. Charlie likes to pat the glass, covered in sick kid's germy hand prints. Silly 10 month olds don't listen to reason though so he squirms a bunch when we do the hand sanitizer afterwards.

I'm already starting to think about Charlie's first birthday party! Just around the corner! Does that mean he'll be a toddler and I won't have a baby anymore? I'm not so sure about that part. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Congratulations Megan & Bruce!

My sister is having an extra-special 26th birthday - she got engaged last night! The timing is kind of funny because I was just telling one of my friends yesterday that I would not be the least bit surprised if they got engaged on Valentine's Day. But duh, her birthday is today - not sure why that didn't occur to me.

I haven't gotten all the details yet but it sounds like Bruce really surprised her - nicely done Bruce! And welcome to the family! We can't wait to celebrate with you guys!

And yay it's time to plan a wedding!

Holidays 2009

My family was able to stay a few more days after Christmas and we had a great time shopping, taking Charlie places, eating yummy food and hanging out at the house. We went to the mall and had lunch at California Pizza kitchen. We sat Charlie in his first restaurant high chair, which he loved. I think he liked being at the table and part of everything. He loved the pita bread and pizza. He also tried a lemon and squished up his face after. Meredith and Megan did some damage at H&M and my mom and I found cute table linens on sale at Pottery Barn so we all went home happy.
During the visit, we were all in collective agreement (except maybe for Brad) that Charlie needed more toys so we hit up Toys R Us and picked him out some new things. Loud, music-playing, bilingual, multi-sensory things. His excitement was evident.
After my family headed back to Dallas and NYC, Brad and I had a pretty lame New Year's eve. We were both not feeling that great and Brad was still getting over strep throat. So we made a nice dinner, opened a really nice bottle of Brunello di Montalcino and watched the latest Harry Potter movie. I think we were in bed by 10:30 or so. Yes, we are just that exciting.

On New Year's Day we headed to Williamsburg for a night - my in-laws had offered to babysit Charlie overnight so Brad and I could get out for a date night. Third time in 10 months we've been able to do that so it was a very big deal! We felt really lucky to squeeze it in before travel and real life kicks back in on Monday.

We had lunch at the house with the fam - traditional New Year's Day foods of black eyed peas, collards, etc. and then checked in at Kingsmill Resort for the night. I went to the spa for a facial and then we both got to the gym - we don't get to go very often so it was kind of a treat. I never thought I would say that about the gym. Huh.

We went to dinner at the Blue Talon Bistro in Colonial Williamsburg, which is French comfort food. Love love love. Kingsmill and Colonial Williamsburg were both still decorated for the holidays, which was nice - still felt holiday-ish. It was also brutally cold outside so we didn't do a lot of lingering outside.

We got to sleep in the next morning, go to breakfast and then headed back over to pick up Charlie. He had a great time staying with them and slept like a champ. This was the view from our room, which was on the James River and the River course.
We came back home and had our neighbors over for wings and the Arkansas bowl game. They won - barely - because the other team's kicker missed a field goal. FOUR times. Yeah. Brad had lots of commentary during the game... while wearing SHORTS to grill the wings even though it was 20 something degrees outside. I'm telling you, I want to hide the shorts from November-February.

All in all, it's been a great couple of weeks of holiday and vacation. It's felt long, we've gotten to relax a lot and even spend some time alone together. Now it's time to get back to work and get on those New Year's resolutions! But that's another post.