Sunday, February 28, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

One Year Ago...

Tonight on the eve of Charlie's birthday I am feeling all sorts of nostalgic! A year ago I was checked into the hospital, found out I was contracting too regularly for them to do the gel so I was waiting until 4am for the pitocin drip. I remember Dr. D saying by lunchtime we'd have ourselves a baby. Until then I was all hooked up to monitors with nothing to do but wait! My mom was flying in and Brad was picking her up. We were all so excited to meet Charlie.

Before I went into the hospital I met Colleen for lunch at Cafe Caturra and ate my last meal for almost 48 hours. Grilled cheese and tomato soup. I wore flip flops, a tank top and cardigan to the hospital not realizing a snow storm was coming. Brad insisted on staying in the uncomfortable extra hospital bed in the L&D room with me that night. I think he was so excited and didn't want to miss anything. So much uncertainty and anticipation. Of course, nothing did end up happening that night and I had to listen to him complain about how uncomfortable he was all night!

I think the best part about scheduling my induction was that my Mom could book a flight and be there for all of it. It was such a relief having her there because Brad and I didn't know what to expect or say to each other or really do with ourselves. I love Brad but he is not the most verbal communicator and I need to TALK. A LOT. About every single thing I am feeling. And that's what I could do with my mom there.

She was so good about being there when we needed her and knowing when we needed to be alone, like when we had to decide on the C-section. She knew things I didn't, like how we needed to turn the lights down in the room after delivery so Charlie could open his eyes. And how badly I needed those saltines she snuck me after my surgery!

So many memories, just flooding back tonight. A year later and Charlie sleeps peacefully down the hall after inspecting and throwing around everything he could get his hands on in this house! He laughs and kisses and plays and is the thing I love most in the whole world. What a year.

More coming tomorrow but here's a final bump shot, the day I went into the hospital. I was BIG!!! 40 extra pounds of Charlie love right there folks...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More on Food

With the arrival of Charlie's first birthday, it's time to try some new foods. In fact, I was instructed yesterday at daycare that cereal and purees are out and table food is in - basically start bringing different things for him to eat. I asked for ideas but I didn't really like the suggestions - grilled cheese or mac n' cheese or whatever you have leftover from dinner.

With Brad out of town during most weeks, my dinners are pathetic and involve something on wheat thins/triscuits more then I care to admit. And while probably futile, I'm *hoping* to avoid having a child who will only eat mac n' cheese and chicken nuggets and not touch fruits or veggies. If that's going to happen, I'm going to at least go down fighting.

Charlie is strangely picky about some things that eliminate them from being sent for lunch. Gerber Graduate pick-up pasta for instance. Actually any of their pre-packaged food. Can't say that I blame him. I try everything he eats and those things are bland and nasty. Plasticky texture. Reheated mac n' cheese is also a no-no for him - he won't eat it. He won't drink from a sippy cup but loves to drink from a straw - but you have to hold it for him and I don't know that they have time to do that for him at daycare.

I traded emails with my friend Suzie, whose son is just a little younger then Charlie. She had some great ideas I hadn't considered. For instance, Dole fruit cups - No Sugar Added mandarin oranges went over beautifully last night. I also wandered the aisles of Ukrops organic frozen section and found Seapoint Farms organic shelled edamame and he loved those too. Lightly steamed some carrots to go with them.

After I told Suzie I was hunting for some toddler cookbooks, she also sent me a few web sites with baby and toddler recipes on them:


I know myself, though, and I am much more likely to pick up a book and thumb through it for ideas then surf through a site. I don't have a printer at home so it's also a tad annoying to have my laptop in the kitchen as I cook. Overall I just like options.

So, I started looking for a book with recipes I can make, especially during the week, that are fast, nutritious and toddler friendly. On Amazon I've been able to find books that meet one or two of those criteria but not all. I may just try to go by the library and check out a few first to see if they're any good. If you know of any you'd recommend, please share.

As a side note, yes, I am sticking to mainly organic food for Charlie. I am also attempting to avoid most synthetic food dyes, especially Red 40 and Yellow 5. Sure, I may be buying into a fad and I realize the term 'organic' is used rather loosely these days in order to mark up the price of foods.

However, I've done enough research to determine that for us, the effort and additional cost outweigh the risks. I do not buy the argument that 'we all ate these foods growing up and we turned out fine'. The food industry has changed immensely in the last, um, 27 years since I was born....

I am actually surprised at myself for feeling so adamant about these things considering how hard I try to just be laid back and go with the flow where Charlie is concerned. Kind of funny - I can see myself in a few months, watching him play and saying oh dear, he just ate mud. Better go stop him. But then - OH MY GOSH, he just ate Red dye #40??? Stop him immediately! See if he'll spit it out! I don't want to be that extreme, but I wouldn't let him eat mud 6 times daily either - and those dyes are in EVERYTHING. Check your labels - you'll be shocked.

We also watched a very disturbing documentary, Food Inc., which is nominated for an Oscar this year. I highly recommend. That movie has me hunting for more local food sources as well. I actually cried during it when they were interviewing a mom whose 2 1/2 year old son died 12 days after eating a hamburger infested with e coli. I felt like crying when I saw how the animals are treated by the larger meat producers.

They interviewed a farmer who lives about an hour from here and he said someone holding a $2 soda will tell him his $5/dozen eggs are too expensive. The $2 soda is gone in 30 minutes, the eggs feed you all week. He has a point there. Maybe it's more about prioritization then spending more.

Enough about food - all this talk is making me hungry! Now what to make Charlie for his birthday lunch.....

Charlie Breaks it Down

When we were visiting Lakshmy and Mike over Valentine's weekend Charlie demonstrated his keen dancing abilities.

Bonus points for anyone who can pick up on Brad's uber classy suggestion to Charlie towards the end of the video.


video

Fun with Poodles

Ringo and Zoe will often wrestle and play around with each other. Brad and I refer to these as 'poodle games'. Charlie thinks the poodle games are hilarious and wants to play too. He will often shout instructions or just get in the middle. They are becoming better sports about it all. Resignation will do that to you.

Anyways, here's Charlie and the poodles on my bed. Please excuse the mess, I'm presently between decorators.


video

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Observations

Things have been changing pretty rapidly around here. I mean, we are about to be 1 year old. Being an infant is sooooo last year. Here are a few and then some others I can't quite fit in other posts:
  • Charlie insists on feeding himself now. If you try to feed him with a spoon, he will barely eat anything. If you dump some food on the tray and hand him the spoon, he will still not eat much because he is not yet coordinated to get it in his mouth. However, if you guide his hand to pick up the food with the spoon and put it in his mouth, you will have success. That's the only way to have success.
  • While we loved the ABC's and 123's, They Might Be Giants' NO! CD has been a huge disappointment. Moving on to Barenaked Ladies' Snack Time.
  • Hell has set up a special staging area for anyone who dares take something from Charlie that he is even remotely interested in. It hath no fury but is working on upgrades.
  • Bought a box of bendy straws at Target today and miraculously all these little fruit and veggie drinks I've bought for Charlie (here and here) fall in the 'I love to drink them with a straw!' category instead of 'these stink, get them away from me Mom' category.
  • Even though the poodles' dog food is sitting out all day they now wait until after Charlie has had dinner and they've cleaned out his high chair to eat any of it. I guess they're saving room.
  • If you know a miniature someone about to celebrate a birthday, Sandra Boynton's Birthday Monsters book is adorable. I love a lot of her books. Charlie especially loves Pajama Time!
  • I have loved Carter's clothes for the past year because they are perfect for daycare - soft, easy to nap and play in and stains typically don't set in them. Checked out the 18 month selection today at Kohl's and I am singing a different tune. Not soft, not as cute. Hoping Macy's has a better selection and I'm wrong.
  • Charlie's feet have grown so you know what that means - new Pedipeds! The site has added a 'Celebrity' photo gallery with pictures of celebrities' kids are wearing Pedipeds. Their definition of 'celebrity' is loose and there are no signs of the Imelda Marcos of toddlers, Suri Cruise.
Charlie was up at 6:15 this morning which left me no room to shower before heading off to work. I guess I'm back to showering at night just to make sure it happens. I felt just extra special delicious yummy walking around today with no shower. Especially after all the impatient feedback I received while taking too long to get dressed.

Anyways, Sooooo glad tomorrow signifies we are halfway through the work week! Who's with me??

Monday, February 22, 2010

In Search of Excitement

First, a post-surgery Charlie update: He is doing much better, finally. After a few rough days (and very long nights) I think he has turned the corner. While his surgery spot is still very sensitive, he is no longer in the horrible pain he was in over the weekend. He is back to his playful, cheerful self. He even squealed when we pulled into the daycare parking lot and lunged towards his good friend Freddy when I carried him in his room. His schedule is still a bit off but I think a few days of 'normal' life will help things fall back in line.

Ok, on to the post:

I just read my friend Cookie's blog describing her life in Switzerland as they celebrate Fasnacht (likes Swiss Mardi Gras). Then I came over to my blog to write a new post and OH MY GOSH does this blog feel lame! Did I really just blog about pizza vs. hummus?

We do have a vacation coming up, so that will be exciting. We are going to St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I can feel my shoulders de-stress just thinking about it. St. John was really our best option with the Starwood points and the flights. There is a Westin resort there right on Cruz bay that we will be at for 5 nights of bliss. Tropical drink-infused bliss.

Brad just took our dive computers in to get serviced and so we're hoping to do a little diving. There's a spa at the resort that I'm going to visit. Our neighbors mentioned you can take a boat ride to a private island - that sounds romantic, no? I think there will also be quite a bit of sitting too. Sitting on the beach, by the pool, reading a book, etc. And eating. And fruity drinks Bring it.

Brad and I have been to St. John once before, just for a few hours during a trip with took with his family to St. Thomas. It was right after we got engaged (2001). We were so excited to be getting married and both loved it there; I have such fond memories of that trip. Even though some pretty crazy stuff went down - I should write about that some time. Very funny stories. Anyways, we always said we'd go back and stay on St. John after we were married. That's just how task oriented I am - we are going now.

My mom is flying in from Dallas to stay with Charlie for most of the week and then he'll head down to Williamsburg for the last night with Brad's dad and stepmom. I've struggled with going on this trip since it means leaving him behind but have finally decided we need this. Badly.

Brad has been traveling 80-100% since Charlie was 5 weeks old and we have certainly had our fair share of struggles this year. It has not been easy to be apart while learning how to take care of a baby and working full time - much more then full time in Brad's case. I think periodically he and I are going to need some time alone to remember what US is. Away from stress, laptops, phones, errands and projects. And Charlie has some pretty amazing grandparents who understand what we have been through and are giving us this opportunity.

I still can't believe we're going. In 3 weeks! Somebody pinch me! I probably won't believe it until we land in St. Thomas. I am anxious about leaving Charlie though. I HATE leaving him. But what is time to a baby? He will be spoiled by his Nana while we are gone so I just have to remember this is good for all of us.

Other then that, the most exciting thing to happen to me lately was finding these adorable items on Etsy for the birthday party centerpiece:
I just happened to find a wooden boat named Charlie on Etsy - can you believe?? It was $21! The whales were $13! I was so happy because I totally struck out at Homegoods, where a gaudy, tacky, cheap herd of Easter Bunnies recently threw up.

I think after the party they will go up in the playroom we are re-doing in the finished attic space as decoration. The whales are actually meant to be played with. More to come on the attic-redo later. I mean, it's no Mardi Gras but there may be chalkboard paint involved! Exciting!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Attempting to Throw a Party

Charlie turns one next Saturday! I can't believe it. The shortest, yet longest, year of my life. Since Brad has to stay in Dallas through Friday night for a team building event, we put off having the party until the following weekend.

Next weekend after Brad gets home on Charlie's actual birthday, it is just going to be the three of us, celebrating becoming the three of us. Or five if you count the poodles. However, they aren't feeling all that celebratory and would like to know what the refund policy is on this kid.

For the party, I thought it would be nice to have an open house where people could drop in, say hi, eat some food and then get on with the rest of their presumably busy Saturdays. We've also done quite a bit of work on our house since moving in and I always thought we'd eventually have a housewarming-type-thing when the house was 'finished' and 'decorated'. Three years later, here we are! Still not 'finished' or 'decorated' but planning a party nonetheless.

Even though I had a plan, I completely dropped the ball on the invitations. I was going to order some from Tiny Prints, but by the time I got my act together, they would have arrived too late. Why on earth does it take them so long to produce their cards? I remember feeling frustrated with that at Christmas too.

Anyways, I am VERY fortunate that my mother-in-law, Sue, is both quite gifted in the Stationary Arts (meaning invitations and cards, not sitting still) and had some free time this week to help me out. After telling me she would just throw something together that was simple, she put together these - I gasped when I opened them - I mean, HOW CUTE ARE THESE???
They are white cards with a turquoise whale - my bedside table lamp cast a funny light on them. If you are local and haven't received one yet, not to worry - they just went out in the mail. If you do not receive one, please let me know because this is the very opposite of a well planned, organized event but I would like it very much if you would drop by!

In an effort to keep things simple, I am outsourcing all of the food. I'm trying to piece together a simple menu that will also appeal to the kids that will be attending. Here are the ideas I'm picking from so far:
  • Superstars Pizza, cut in thin slices
  • Hummus, olives, pita from the Fresh Market
  • Spinach dip, salsa and chips from the Fresh Market
  • Chicken biscuit or chicken tender platter from Chick fil A (or The Chicken Store, as my neighbors' 2 year old likes to call it)
  • Ham biscuits (Pepperidge farm biscuits with butter and thin sliced Va. ham in them)
  • Fruit platter with poppy seed dressing
  • Cheese & cracker platter (boring, but who can argue with cheese?)
So that's kind of a hodgepodge, right? What should I pick? I think we should do the pizza since it's Charlie's favorite food. Any other ideas I'm not thinking of? Email me. The party is 1 to 3 if that helps at all.

Cupcakes will either be from Urkops (light and fluffy perfection, I could eat 8) or Frosting's (denser, fancier, more expensive). Brad suggested we peruse our options before ordering. That's when it became like 'Mars and Venus Plan a Party.' Peruse our options?? What does he think I'm made of - time?? Just PICK A CUPCAKE. We haven't picked, though, so I'm sure it will be whichever place can take a rush last minute order.

And of course there will be alcohol - there are parents of small children coming by after all! I'm thinking some different beers, some kind of sangria or champagne punch with a kick. And a special drink for the kids that is not red or so sugary that their parents hate me the rest of the day.

It feels like a lot to do. As Sue pointed out, so many decisions for a party the guest of honor will not remember or appreciate! But it is more for us, I get that. We're trying to work our way into the Richmond child's birthday party circuit after all.

We will have some extra help that weekend though, which gives me great hope I won't lose it. Brad's Mom, Hope bought a plane ticket and is coming for the party! Right after Charlie, she is our guest of honor, flying all the way from Arkansas to be here for the weekend. It's going to be great to see her, catch up, and have some extra eyes on Charlie while I get ready for his bash.

So there you go - my project for the next 2 weeks. I need paper goods, food, drinks, table decor, random decorative things for the house and someone to come fix the big hole in my kitchen ceiling that the electrician left. And don't even get me started on whether I feel ready to go on a vacation in 3 weeks that will require clothes that have been packed away for almost 2 years. And for which we have yet to book plane tickets. Because that would just stress me out.

Poor Baby

Charlie had some minor surgery yesterday. I haven't written about it on the blog at all, I guess because it has to do with his boy parts and that doesn't seem like tasteful blog conversation! I also envisioned him reading this blog years from now and being furious I wrote about that. Mom! How embarrassing!

I guess I was also worried some would think the whole thing was weird or judge us or something. Then, rather belatedly, I realized that anyone who would do that doesn't really care about us at all to begin with so they can go jump off a cliff.

So here's the deal: When Charlie was born we decided we wanted to get him circumcised. In Virginia the OB, not the pediatrician, does the circumcision. When the pediatrician visited after the swelling from birth went down, he noticed some extra skin and twisting so told our OB not to circumcise. A pediatric urologist visited and told us to wait and come see them at 6 months.

We did and found out that they could correct it all, remove the skin, untwist, circumcise and all that with a surgery, which they recommended occur before 18 months of age. Not having the surgery wasn't a very attractive option because it would have caused a lot of problems for Charlie down the road.

Yesterday was that surgery. It required anesthesia, which scared me because Charlie has asthma and what if he had trouble breathing when he was under, etc. etc. Turns out that is nothing to be scared of because the anesthesia gas actually dilates the little branches in the lungs - sorry I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night so I don't know all the right terms.

Everyone at the surgical center was so nice and Brad and I had a private room to wait in during the surgery. I was upset so told Brad to keep talking about mundane things to distract me. There was a TV but Charlie took the remote with him into surgery. If you've met Charlie you probably know of his deep love of remote controls. As he was carried into surgery he wasn't giving it up so Brad and I just turned the TV off and talked while he was gone. Felt like a very long time.

It took about an hour from the time I handed him over, clutching the remote, to the time they brought him back. He was upset from coming out of anesthesia but they gave him a local pain thing (again, great medical term) so the pain from the surgery itself wasn't bothering him too badly. We had an OK evening, gave him his pain meds and put him to bed.

We decided not to wake him up for more medicine last night and that ended up being a huge mistake. Charlie woke up at 1 very upset and it took almost an hour to get him calmed down, the meds working and a bottle in him. I set my alarm and woke him up at 4am for more meds. And again this morning. I have that zombie feeling like I have a newborn again!

It's really hard to see Charlie in so much pain. I'm hopeful the next couple of days goes by quickly and he's feeling better. He wants to move around and play all the time and right now it hurts. Don't even get me started on diaper changes, they are miserable. I just want him to feel better. I swear his screams poke holes directly into my heart.

So that's what's going on with us.

In happier news, BIG CONGRATS to our friends, the Franks, on the birth of their new baby Will! Haven't heard the story yet but he made an early and very quick arrival! I got an email from Karen yesterday late afternoon about Charlie's surgery and no mention of labor - and the baby was born at 10:46pm! Crazy! But so exciting!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Olympic Spirit

I've been watching quite a bit of the Olympics. What I miss at night because I get too sleepy, I watch in the morning on the Today show. Matt Lauer and I are tight; we're spending lots of quality time together. I hope his wife isn't the jealous type.

I love watching any sport I don't have to listen to Brad talk about being BS (i.e. short track speed skating). I love the figure skating, the luge, the half pipe and downhill skiing. We had a riveting conversation last weekend about those little pigtails worn by the female ski teams - hot or not? For some of us (ahem, Ed) definitely HOT!

But I mostly watch all the competitors and wish I was in that kind of shape. Or even a mere fraction of how incredibly fit they are. They show Lindsay Vonn working out with her trainer and I think to myself I bet she feels great afterwards. I used to take for granted a nice, long workout and how good that felt.

For me, in a post baby world, with my schedule and how often I am tied to the house with Brad out of town working, my work out options are limited. I am clearly in the worst shape of my life. The weight is off but things have moved around and there's a wiggle in my .... everything.

I've been whining about this to Brad and my friends for quite some time so I'm eventually going to have to stop whining and start doing or they may start throwing glasses of chardonnay in my face.

The thing is, during the average work day, I get just a few precious hours with Charlie. I am not willing to give up a second of that for anything. I work during the day and lately that's been heavy duty, no breaks - definitely no sneaking off to the campus gym. Early in the morning and after Charlie's bed time I am the only one home with him, so no leaving then either.

I'm working on finding a sitter who could come on Tuesday nights after bed time. I have one for Thursdays for the writing class that got cancelled. The discipline comes in letting all the errands I need to run stay undone and going to the gym instead. That's my problem on weekends too. So much to do! But it is about to get warmer and I can definitely tell Target and the grocery store to stick it if there's a tennis match to be had.

Other options: getting work out equipment for home, finding a personal trainer so I can make the most out of the two workouts I have time for during the week, getting Charlie used to the gym daycare for a weekend workout or getting a jogging stroller and becoming, sigh, a runner. That last option is just bleck. I really try to only run when chased. By a tennis ball.

So that's my current struggle and the story of how I can turn my love for the Olympics into whining about myself. It isn't easy being this shallow. But give it a try if you're feeling ambitious today!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Weekend in DC

We made it through the DC snow and back again! For the most part, it wasn't bad. The main roads - 395, 16th street, Georgia Ave - were all clear and dry. In fact, crews have been hard at work loading up dump trucks of snow to take out of the city so it was not until we were in the Mahon's residential neighborhood that we could tell how much snow it really was. A LOT.

The DC population is going have to some strong arms by spring - from shoveling, snow ball fights and stealing other people's shovels. Yeah, that last one actually happened while we were there - from right by their front door no less! I also think the post man must be sick of trudging through the snow to deliver packages so has started dumping them in the street in front of the recipients' house. A nice neighbor brought the boxes up to the door. Good thing too, it was his and hers diaper bags! Gonna need those soon!

Anyways, on to our weekend. After a wee bit of traffic, we got there around lunch time. We took a quick tour of the house, which is darling! Built in the 30's with so much charm. The Mahons are busy customizing it and it is just so cozy and inviting. However, I always found their condo to be cozy and inviting so it must just be the things Lakshmy does to make you feel at home. At any rate, I adore older houses and this one was no exception.

The nursery is to die for. It's a beautiful shade of green, has all this natural light and the decor is coordinating but not matchy-matchy, which I love. Mostly blue, white and green with some other little accents here or there. An adorable elephant pattern on the crib bedding, some cute blue and white rugs, jungle art work, bins of toys and a book case full of stories waiting to be read. He's a very lucky baby indeed to come home to such a beautiful nursery.

They live a stone's throw away from our old neighborhood so the location is excellent - close to lots of great stuff; shopping, restaurants, parks. I'm biased I suppose. We knew exactly where we wanted to eat lunch when we got there - the Quarry House..... which was sadly closed for lunch that day. And parking by it was a nightmare since snow is taking up so many spots.

We headed over to Austin Grill in downtown Silver Spring instead, which was yummy. Charlie had a great time and even thought the orange crayon the hostess gave him looked tasty - he bit off the tip while Brad and I were looking at the menus. Once again, we have upped the ante for the Parents of the Year award!

After that we went back so Lakshmy could open up all the baby gifts we brought and one heck of an overdue birthday gift for her. Charlie also got some adorable outfits for his birthday from Aunt Lakshmy and Uncle Mike. We had cupcakes from Cake Love (yum!) and just relaxed the rest of the day. It was so nice to catch up.

Charlie took a nice long nap and then got up to attack the house, disassemble the kitchen, find dangerous things and even squeeze in a nice long conversations with Bogey, their dog. Charlie was telling Bogey all sorts of things and Bogey just looked perplexed! Who IS this tiny person and WHY does he talk so much?

That night the Mahons had friends over for a Fiesta! and we had awesome Mexican food and watched the Olympics. Mucho thanks to Steph and Ed for trekking through snow and crappy metro one-tracking to get to the party!! It was so much fun catching up.... even if we are all now painfully aware of how Brad thinks short course speed skating is a BS sport. A topic of much discussion. There was also a mutual consensus of hatred for Apolo Ohno's soul patch. Nasty. And wonderment as to how the knees of mogul skiers and whether they wobble around when they walk after age 35 or something. I love the Olympics.

Unfortunately Charlie woke up later that night in a fit and it took quite a while to get him back own again. I think he just didn't want to miss all the excitement but was too tired to really get up and enjoy the party. There was a lot of screaming. It felt like for a very long time. Despite that hiccup, it was a great party.

We slept in the next morning (well, sleeping in for parents of an 11 month old - 8am) and then Lakshmy made an incredible breakfast. I love visiting her, the food is always awesome! I probably gain 5 pounds each visit but it's worth every bite! Charlie ate a ton and played some more. He was fascinated by Mike - watched his every move Sunday morning. He took a morning nap and we visited some more and got packed up. I didn't want to go. I had checked into the Hotel Mahon and wasn't ready for check out time!

Driving back wasn't too bad, we took the beltway and saw more snow, more dump trucks and tons of split trees (sad). Driving on 95 on the weekend is always sticky but it was no worse then usual.

DC got some more snow today and they were saying they were hoping it will stick so they don't have to go back to work just yet! I was hoping that would be the case, especially for Lakshmy. A year ago when I was in that stage of pregnancy (37 weeks), I was definitely not in the mood to be at work. I just saw online they have delayed opening tomorrow but no free pass. Bummer.

I was googling some natural ways to induce labor while I was there and so I hope as Lakshmy reads this she is eating a giant bowl of pineapple and washing it down with some red raspberry tea. We're all ready to meet this little kiddo whose foot has such an affinity for her rib cage!

Most of the weekend pictures were on the Mahon's good camera, but we snapped a few as well. Per usual they were mostly of Charlie. And soon they will all be of the newest arrival - I can't wait! Love that kid already... xoxox



I Covet

I have vacation on the mind and am dreaming of warm weather. Found some beautiful spring dresses in Nordstrom's catalog and the turquoise one is probably going to have to be mine:

These dresses fall in the 'I covet but would never spend this much on a dress' category. I don't know who this Milly person is but if you would please cut your prices by half I will take one of everything. Thank you.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why yes, we ARE crazy

Word is the main highways and streets in DC are now clear so we're packing up the car this morning to go visit the Mahons! Not entirely sure what it will be like but Alice has 4 wheel drive and we're stopping by Starbucks on the way out so stamina will not be an issue. I have to admit I'm curious to see what that much snow looks like in the district. Being from Texas, I've never seen anything like that before.

But mostly I am just SO EXCITED to finally get to see Lakshmy! I've been kinda down thinking I wouldn't see her before the baby was born and that I was going to have to just pack up her gifts in a box to ship. It's also been quite a while since they've seen Charlie and there's no way we're exposing our little germ factory to their new baby for a few months after he's born so this is kind of a last chance sort of thing.

The Mahons bought a really cute house a few months ago in the district that I can't wait to see. I adore older homes and all their charm. They recently finished the nursery so we get to see the whole kit and kaboodle. Mike's sister, who has two little girls, passed on all these toys for the new baby that Charlie is going to get to play with so he will be in heaven. Sounds like in getting ready for us Lakshmy learned what I had to learn a few months ago - all these toys take TONS of batteries!

Their house is close to our old house in Silver Spring so it will be fun seeing the old hood. We may even have to stop by one of our old favorites, Kefa Cafe. The owners are two of the sweetest ladies you could ever meet. I'm excited to introduce Charlie to them! And pick up a cup of excellent Ethiopian coffee. Brad and I used to go there every Saturday morning for breakfast. If you ever get a chance to go by, I highly recommend. It's also near the famed Quarry House Tavern where the cheeseburgers and tator tots will make you weep with happiness. Two places keepin' it real in the Spring.

Well it's about time to get up and get ready to go. If you don't mind, please don't tell my mother we are doing this as she is bound to worry about us driving up there. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Snowy Hump Day

Charlie and I are home this morning because the 'dusting' of snow we were expecting here in Richmond turned into a good 5 inches of snow and whiteout conditions. This was after a layer of ice coated everything during the night.

As it became apparent the weather was quite different from the forecast, the schools (and work) made last minute decisions to close. Unfortunately, some kids were already AT school so they had to stay put until it was safe for them to be bussed back home or parents to come and get them. School started at 7:55 AM, the decision to close came at 7:30 AM. There are school administrators getting an earful today from angry parents I bet.

I just got done shoveling and clearing off our heat pumps. I've decided I could probably handle living in a colder climate but I don't think that would be Brad's cup of tea. He doesn't seem to care for things that go along with cold weather - wearing a coat/gloves/waterproof shoes, shoveling, cold weather house maintenance, staying off the roads, etc.

I'm not knocking him at all, I think it's just personal preference. Brad is the guy who goes out in the storm wearing street shoes and no coat (possibly workout shorts and Nikes) to get a venti Starbucks because he's sick of drinking the coffee at home. And walks back in the house sopping wet, happily enjoying his drink and forgetting about the 3 times he slid on black ice.

So anyways, I end up taking care of most snow-related things like making sure we have food before a storm hits. Though he does occasionally shovel. I don't mind shoveling, though; it's a pretty decent workout actually. The key is to get rid of the snow before it has a chance to melt a little and refreeze into a compacted sheet of ice. That is sooo much harder to get up then snow right after it falls.

Having grown up in Austin though, one thing I have absolutely no perspective on is protecting outside pipes during cold temperatures so they don't burst. I've heard in passing that spigots should be covered in towels and dripping. It's top on my list to google here in a sec.

Anyways, that's our Wednesday. I'm going to head into work for some afternoon meetings after Charlie is up from his nap. Have no idea if our third attempt to visit Lakshmy and Mike in DC will happen this weekend. I suppose it depends on what happens there today. It's not looking good though. I feel rather jinxed.

P.S. Made the Pioneer Woman short ribs and I must say they were rather greasy. Not her fault entirely because it's a fatty cut of meat but cooking the meat in a bath of fat is probably not the best way to do it. I think I will look for other short rib recipes though because I love the idea.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Yeah....

Right after I hit the 'Publish Post' button on the last entry - the one where I said the winter storm had pretty much fizzled here - it started snowing heavily and hasn't stopped.

My father in law just brought Charlie home and had to turn right around and head back before the roads started closing.

Brad left 15 minutes ago for a Starbucks and beer to take to a Superbowl party tomorrow. We can't let bad weather stand in the way of our priorities after all.

Snowy Weekend Ramblings

Brad and I are finally crawling out of our cave of sickness back to civilization. After a lot of rest and fluids and meds I think we're both feeling a lot better. Charlie is in Williamsburg with my in-laws, who were so kind to take care of him the past couple of days while Brad and I have been sick.

The thing about Charlie is he never. stops. moving. Trying to keep up with that when you feel awful is pretty tough. Him being away gave me a chance to wash everything and attack all solid surfaces with Clorox wipes. The maid service comes Monday to finish the job. It also gave me a chance to catch up on work yesterday when I wasn't resting so I don't have to dread heading back on Monday way behind on everything.

We're getting the remnants of the storm that is hitting DC and it snowed all day yesterday and sleeted all last night. It's been warmer here, though, so it didn't really stick and overall it's been a huge non-event. They did close my office yesterday around lunch but I was already teleworking since I was still contagious so just kept on working as much as I could.

Now that I'm feeling a bit better I think I'll make dinner tonight! Going to try the Pioneer Woman's braised short ribs over polenta, which looks delicious. I'm now wary of her tex-mex recipes after the chicken enchiladas turned out to be so bland, but I do think the woman knows her stewed meat. So we're going to kiss and make up over some short ribs. I optimistically saved the leftover enchiladas but I just need to dump them. Nobody goes to the trouble to re-heat bland food.

As for our vacation, we're trying again this weekend to book something. Thank you everyone who sent suggestions! Unfortunately Starwood has not graced a single suggested location with a hotel so they won't work to use all these points Brad has accumulated. It's a battle between Grand Cayman and St. John now. I know, I know, my life is full of trials and tribulations, isn't it? Poor me.

Remember when I had the stomach flu last month and read the Hunger Games and said I hope I get sick again so I can read Catching Fire in one sitting? Yeah, I was kidding. But in a strange coincidence, Catching Fire arrived in the mail on Thursday. I will always associate these books with being sick.

Anyways (SPOILER ALERT), I just about threw down the book in disgust last night when I got to the part where they have to go back to the arena. Really? Didn't we do this already? Can we not do something different in this book? I'm not sure why but it annoyed me. Like the author is having a hard time drumming up enough drama without her main characters in the arena. These are probably premature criticisms. I'm sure the story line will take a turn. I hope.

I think that's all I've got. Have a great weekend and to my DC friends - I hope playing in the snow is fun and your power stays on!! It's all fun and games until the power goes out, isn't it? Stay warm! xoxo

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Grumpy

Disclaimer: If you've had your fill of whining and complaining elsewhere today, I'd move along.

We are all sick in the Spooner household. On top of the double ear infection, Charlie has some sort of lower intestinal bug that is resulting in a lot of laundry. We'll leave it that. Also a mean case of diaper rash. It hurts so bad he doesn't want to sit on his bum and last night he refused to take a bath. Breaks my heart.

Brad and I have strep throat. And all the fun that comes with that. Two sick, sleep deprived adults trying to take care of a sick baby. In an increasingly messy house. Not exactly how I pictured a work week we actually got to spend together.

We delayed our trip to DC to this weekend because of the major snow storm last weekend. Now DC is getting a major snow storm this weekend. Richmond is on that annoying snow/ice/rain line that we usually depend on North Carolina for taking. I think we're getting 4 to 8 inches.

This means no fun baby shower re-do for Lakshmy. I have all these fun gifts to give her and I miss her terribly and want to see her cute baby bump and the nursery (which I have the curtains for) and their cute little house they bought. Now I'm just hoping I can see her briefly before her due date. I am most upset about this.

I found out yesterday my writing class at the University of Richmond has been cancelled due to low enrollment. This is a major bummer. Haven't decided yet what to do about that. I'm going to have the very sweet babysitter I found at the University of Richmond come once a week anyways and get myself out of the house. To do...??? Anyone want to grab dinner or a glass of wine?

Illness and bad weather are not stopping or delaying my big Feb. 16 deadline at work. It is really hard to write policies and procedures when you don't feel well. Or to be pleasant on conference calls.

Ok, that's all the whining I have for now. Oh I do have one piece of shallow good news. They weighed me at the doctor and I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Only took 11 months people! It's a small thing, but today, I'll take what I can get.