Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pure Mayhem

I came back from the movies today and my house was covered in (thankfully washable) Crayola marker. I walked in the door and there was marker on the floor and Charlie's table. No big deal, a wet paper towel will take care of that. I also heard bath water running.

When I got upstairs I noticed the marker was all over the hallway wall, the sisal runner and the grass cloth wallpaper. Eeek. Apparently Brad had gone in search of allergy medicine when he had a sneezing attack and over the course of a couple of minutes, our upstairs hallway was redecorated with abstract art!

Unfortunately, just like when Charlie covered his face in Sharpie, I was a little too panicked to stop and take pictures. I just had to make sure it would all come out. Something tells me this will not be the last of these little "incidents" so I will hopefully calm down a bit and get some pictures to laugh at later.

There are still faint lines on the wallpaper and rug, but the markers came off the wall very easily. Charlie's bath water was kind of grey-brownish after it all rinsed off of him. Brad can't wait until I want to go see another afternoon movie!

Up until today, Charlie couldn't take the caps off the markers himself. Lesson learned and the markers are going to be disappearing for a few months. We'll stick to crayons, which I can report come off of hardwoods floors with the help of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

The movie was fun, though. It was Black Swan, which was really enjoyable. So suspenseful! I had to go to the bathroom so bad by the last half hour but couldn't bring myself to leave. That's rare for me. I just really had to see how it turned out.

Charlie's in bed and the house is destroyed. We are recovering. I made that baked ziti and it looks delicious, but I had too much popcorn at the movie and now my stomach is upset. Bleck. Tonight's Netflix choices are Lost, Dexter and Salt. What to choose? As long as the markers are safely hidden from Charlie, I don't think I care.

Teacher of the Year

I have to brag on my mom for a minute. She was selected as Teacher of the Year for her school! She teaches special ed at an elementary school in McKinney ISD.

I feel really fortunate because the events they are throwing to honor her happen to be the same weekends we will be in town for Megan's bachelorette party and her wedding. It will be great to get to attend. There's a reception in February and a banquet in late March.

I have to add - this award came on the heels of her winning Teacher of the Month in December from 97.5 KLAK in Dallas. She was interviewed on the radio during the morning show and everything. She's a local celebrity now.

We are so proud of her! Love you Mom!

Saturday Morning

I'm sitting here enjoying the one hour of peace and quiet I get during the week. At least, the hour where I don't feel guilty if I'm not getting work done or cleaning up or cooking something for later. Brad and Charlie are at Romp n' Roll. Ahhhhhh.

Charlie and I had a pretty fun week while Brad was out of town working ridiculous hours again. Like "until 4 am" type hours. We went to Williamsburg for one night to visit my in-laws and had a really good time. It was pretty low key, just played around, worked some on Charlie's birthday party invitations, which Sue is making, and read my book.

I hit up the Hanna Andersson outlet there and to my delight, everything was an extra 20% off! On top of the sale price, that made for some pretty good deals, so I went a tad crazy. Also managed to forget that I had a box coming from Crazy 8 with the stuff I bought with my Crazy Cash. Oops. Charlie will be well dressed this spring.

I've also been planning and getting ready for my sister Megan's bachelorette party in Dallas in a couple of weeks. I think it's going to be really fun if I do say so myself. We're hitting up a piano bar on Cedar Springs and going dancing. Since we're staying at Hotel Zaza, we may visit the Urban Oasis too, which has to be the most hysterical name for a bar I've ever heard. Oh Dallas, you and your big city inferiority complex just kill me.

I think bachelorette parties are a good time to hit up places you wouldn't normally go. And get all dressed up. I ordered this very cute black dress from Victoria's Secret and it arrived yesterday. I'm going to have to size up because it is literally the most unforgiving dress I have ever put on. Hopefully sizing up will work, otherwise I need to figure something else out pronto. Brad tried to convince me it looked fine and is just 'form fitting'. Nice try Brad, but no.

That's about all that's going on here. Brad is exhausted from his week, so we're taking it easy this weekend. I have to admit, my back pain is kind of running my life right now, which stinks. I'm tired a lot during the day because it wakes me up at night. I'm really anxious to get started with physical therapy on Monday and get my MRI on Tuesday. Hopefully relief is right around the corner. Dare I say it, I'm really starting to miss working out.

Later today I'm going to see Black Swan with a friend and probably need to go to the grocery store. Making a Cooking Light baked ziti tonight for dinner and getting the goods to make some other Cooking Light recipes this week.

I also have book club this week, which is at a fun wine bar I've been wanting to go to. I'm hoping my wine drinking skills make up for the fact I did not read the book. In fact, I can't even remember the title of the book - it's the same author that wrote Fried Green Tomatoes. I wasn't there when they picked it and just remember thinking it didn't sound nearly as interesting as the other books I have in my stack, which are:
I never did finish Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, despite trying 3 times to get into it. Maybe another time. For some reason it didn't pull me in like the first two in the series did. Oh well, best not to force it. Moving on.

I've also been planning Charlie's 2nd birthday party, which is going to be at the Children's Museum of Richmond. They do some games targeted to the age group and all the kids get free admission for the day. We're doing a train theme and the invitations Sue is making are so cute! My next project is finding an appropriately cute cake and figuring out what else to serve at 10am. Coffee for the parents is feeling like a no-brainer.

Speaking of coffee, I've been pondering getting the Keurig single cup coffee maker. Since it's just me during the week and I usually only want one cup, it's been overkill to make even half a pot. We had some at Brad's aunt and uncle's house in Little Rock over Christmas and it was delicious. I've heard the coffee quality depends on what pods you buy, though. Must investigate.

I guess that's about it. My solitary Mommy time is about up. Oh Saturday mornings, I love you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Guess Whose Back

My back!

That's a bad joke, isn't it? My mom used to say that periodically when she would come up and pat your back. She's so punny.

So anyways, don't get too excited, but this is me in a paper robe. These are pictures of my scoliosis, which has been bothering be off and on since I was 8 months pregnant and Baby Cullen started kicking my ribs and pressing against my spine.

Lately though, I've had some bad back pain, so I'm starting physical therapy and getting a 'just in case' MRI next week. Fortunately, I don't have to go into the tube for the MRI. They now have MRI machines (even in Richmond!) where you can sit and have your lumbar scanned while you watch TV. Ahhh modern medicine. I hope I can watch the Food Network!
Those are my lower back, which is where the curve is. I didn't find out as a kid, like most people do. I found out when I was 22 and just out of college. I traveled for my job a lot and one night decided to get a massage in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The masseuse was very bothered by my back and kept saying something wasn't right and at the end told me to see a chiropractor. I found one in Dallas and he did x-rays and that's how I found out. It never really bothered me until I had a baby. Hopefully after the physical therapy it won't bother me again for a while. I just thought the pictures were kind of crazy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

20 Something Months of Charlie

I intended to do a 21 month update and never got to it. In fact, I realized I haven't really written much about what's going on with Charlie at all, which is kind of the point of the blog. He's at such a fascinating age, too. Bad blog slacker mommy.

It's getting to the point where I'm worried I'm going to miss writing something down and forget it. As a friend of mine said about her daughter, I wish I could bottle these moments. It's so true.

For instance: This morning I took Charlie to Romp n' Roll to play and then to Chick fil A for lunch. We were sitting there eating and all the sudden Charlie leaned towards me from his high chair and said "kiss" for the first time. I gave him a kiss and he smiled, said "kiss" again and ate a fry.

I mean, could you DIE??? It was so precious. He has such a loving heart in him. He also loves to hug. Sometimes this just means leaning his head towards his intended hugee, such as the poodles. Other times, Brad or I will find Charlie's little arms wrapped around both our legs as he says "Mommy" or "Dada."

There are other, more mundane, things I don't want to forget either. Like how he refuses to eat without a grown up fork (even for pizza - weird), how he'll stare intently for 20 minutes at his little hands when he gets stickers at the end of music class and that he loves to pretend he's drinking out of our Starbucks cups after they're empty.

We also have a favorite stuffed animal besides Odie the beanie baby deer. This is a dog with bean bag feet that's about as big as Charlie. It's pretty funny watching him haul this huge dog around. He's named the dog "Puppy", which I love because that was the name of Charlie's Aunt Clare's favorite stuffed animal as a child. That Puppy was a lot smaller.

In less charming developments, Charlie thinks it's hilarious when he toots. Laughs his head off and tries for a repeat performance. During these moments I realize Zoe and I are outnumbered around here.

Charlie's finally branched out to some new TV shows - in addition to the standby fave Zoboomafoo, he likes watching Thomas & Friends and Caillou. Sometimes we put the Goodnight Show on. I can't stand the Sunny Side Up show, though. I have this theory that the hosts are all wannabe MTV VJs that didn't make the audition cut.

Not a whole bunch has changed in the eating/drinking/sleeping arenas. No signs he's ready to potty train yet. No illnesses since the pneumonia scare in September. He got his 2 year molars already - over Christmas. He's getting tall - almost in 2T clothes already. Almost in size 7 (!) shoes. Shopping for him continues to be one of my favorite hobbies.
The last few months have been mostly about Charlie's vocabulary expanding and his little personality shining through. He picks up new words almost every day. And he's a mischievous little turkey. There can be one dangerous thing from 6 months ago you completely forgot about in an entire huge room and Charlie can zone in on it in no time.

We've seen a couple of 'terrible two' temper tantrums in the past month. The kind where refocusing his attention on something else to distract him is just not going to cut it. They're LOUD. But I'm sure they're typical. He's just trying to become his own little person. He's starting grabbing my hand and leading me to what he wants - usually in the kitchen. I think "cookie" might have been his first two syllable word.

The past few months have been so wonderful getting to stay home with him. While he can be a lot to keep up with (and keep alive), he's also a lot of fun to be around. Sometimes we just look at each other and giggle. Like we're fairly certain we're getting away with something sneaky just by getting to spend the week together.

I'm sure there's lots I'm forgetting. But I can hear "mommy mommy mommy" coming from the crib down the hall. Time to go get into more trouble!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Back to Reality

Well, we extended the holidays as long as we could - almost mid-January. After we got back from New Orleans, we went to Williamsburg last weekend to celebrate Christmas with family there. And now, here it is, January 16 and I still have a fully decorated Christmas tree standing and a bunch of dead greenery on my mantel. I did manage to take the stockings down.

This is our first weekend in a while to not really have anything to do.... and Brad has to spend a bunch of it working. I kind of liked it last night - I had complete control of the remote and a very enjoyable chardonnay. I flipped between that movie Rock Star and some show on HGTV about ridiculously expensive RV's. It's an exciting life, what can I say.

Tonight there was football on, so no remote for me. I started my new book I just checked out - Under the Dome by Stephen King. 100 pages in and I'm hooked. Hope there's stamina to keep me going for 971 more pages. He's a very gifted writer, so I'll just assume there was no way to tell this story more succinctly.

Today felt kind of long because Charlie didn't really nap. He's been doing that periodically - laying down and talking to himself for an hour or so and then wanting to get back up. It's got me in a white-hot panic to be honest. I am not ready for this child to give up his nap.

After I got home from my errands, I wore him out. Ran him around the park, walked him home, ran him around the back yard. And then fed him a ton of pasta for dinner. Hopefully that will do the trick until a decent hour in the morning.

The crowds at the gym are making it entirely too easy to skip workouts. I feel so whiny - I just don't want to go and deal with all these people! Spin class is all booked up way ahead of time, which is annoying too. I think I'll start my New Year's resolutions in February to give the crowds time to die down.

So apart from not napping, not working out and cooking more, I'm just trying to get caught up and back on track with everything after a month of crazy. So many annoying administrative duties. An entire bedroom full of crap that needs to go up to the attic, which desperately needs to be organized. And a bunch of baby clothes I want to consign but can't find anywhere to consign. Apparently every other Mom has the same idea. At this point I'll consider it an accomplishment to just get the dang Christmas tree down.

But there's some fun stuff going on too! Meredith and I are busy planning Megan's bachelorette party and I'm about to start planning Charlie's 2nd birthday party! I can't believe my baby is about to be 2. Every mother says that, doesn't she? I'll continue to be unique and go ahead and declare trains to be the theme of this year's birthday party. Quel original, I know. I'll spare you the description of the theme of the bachelorette party. :)

Well, time for this girl to go to sleep. Brad's still working, so Starbucks will be in order in the morning! Good night!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sugar Bowl 2011

We had an awesome time in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. So awesome that I came home and took several days to recover and even ended up with bronchitis. But that is the price of mid-20's fun in your mid-30's.

New Orleans was absolutely packed for the game. I haven't seen that many people there since I went for Mardi Gras in 1998. AT&T proved how crappy they are once again and nobody's iPhone worked all weekend. It is quite tricky to find people on a crowded Bourbon street when you can't make a phone call and texts take 10 minutes to get through.

Our hotel was nice - the W French Quarter. Brad had a bunch of points. That hotel is mainly great for its location in the quarter. It's rather small and the gym, spa, restaurant, etc. are all located over at the W Convention Center, which is much larger. For what we wanted it for - location near the action - it was great, though.

We had some awesome food while we were down there - beignets, gumbo, poboys, bread pudding, cassoulet - even some shrimp corn dogs. We had dinner one night at Cafe Adelaide, which was delicious. There's a neat bar next to it - the Swizzle Stick. Another night we ate at Muriel's on Jackson Square, which was also good, but not quite.
yay beignets!

The drinks weren't bad either. I forgot how good the hurricanes were at Pat O'Briens. They even have a to-go window! The other popular drink down there is the Hand Grenade, but to me they were too sweet. It was like drinking a Jolly Rancher.

Mostly it was fun just going out at night with all the other fans, having drinks, enjoying the live music and getting into all sorts of trouble. Below are our friends we went with. Photos have been limited to those that protect the innocent. Or I guess those of us who like to think we're innocent. :)
During the days, we just walked around and checked out the French Quarter. Also went to the aquarium, which is impressive. I wasn't expecting it to be as awesome as it was. They have a huge tank full of sharks, turtles and stingrays that I could have watched all day long.
I also thought about having my fortune read in Jackson Square, but inflation has obviously hit the palm readers. $20 for a basic reading, $40 if you add the tarot cards. I think I'll just take my chances, thank you very much.

We got to go to an awesome pre-game party on a balcony and watch all the fans walk by. An Arkansas celebrity, Jermain Taylor, was there. People were yelling up from the street the whole time he was up on the balcony. I guess he used to play football and now he's a boxer? At any rate, the giant diamond studs in his ears suggested he was someone important. He's a super nice guy. I enjoyed talking to his wife - she was very funny.
The game was a heart breaker, though we had a great time and screamed our heads off for the Hogs. They shut down the roads between Bourbon Street and the Superdome and we walked with all the other fans - that was definitely a highlight. So much fun. It was anyone's game up until the end and unfortunately Ohio State ended up taking it. We walked back to the hotel in almost-silence and stayed off Bourbon Street after that.
The next day it was time to go home. I think I slept the entire flight for both flights. I had a long layover at DFW so got some Mexican food and a chair massage. Very nice!

As expected, it was great to get back home and see Charlie. He has been so sweet and snuggly lately. I got lots of hugs that night and the next day. It was a fun trip, but fun to get home too.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Veterinary Trauma

Tonight I went where no Spooner has gone before. I attempted to Charlie-wrangle and poodle-wrangle at the vet. Brad and I have managed to divide and conquer each vet visit since Charlie was born, but Brad's out of town and Ringo's had a goopy eye for almost a week, so it was getting urgent.

Getting Charlie and Ringo in and out of the car when neither wanted to was my first headache. Once we were inside the vet's office it was mayhem trying to keep them both out of of trouble. So many things to knock over and check out! At least Ringo was on a leash. I kind of wished Charlie was too. In fact...

Parents I have judged in the past for putting your toddlers on those leash things: I've been meaning to apologize ever since our Christmas flights and almost losing Charlie in Nordstrom. I get it now. Sorry I was so silently snotty towards you.

Anyways. When we walked in, there was a woman checking out who had a grayish black standard poodle. Charlie got all excited, walked over to pet the dog and say hi. The dog and her owner were very pleasant and then said good-bye and walked towards the door.... and Charlie burst into tears.

A huge sobbing fit. I'm not sure if he just really got attached quickly or got confused and thought the dog was Zoe. Either way, there were real tears and he was inconsolable for a good 5 minutes.

Once we were in the examination room, the vet tech came in to get Ringo to take vitals and weigh him..... and the sobbing started all over again. Charlie seemed certain Ringo was being taken away for good.

I tried to distract him by looking at the bulletin board of dog pictures, which seemed to work only because there was a picture of a Shih Tzu that Charlie was just sure was my mom's dog, Odie. The one he named his favorite stuffed animal (a deer) after.

After a very long-feeling appointment of the vet talking to Charlie, talking to Ringo, talking to me, Charlie talking to anyone and trying to steal the vet's instruments/eat Ringo's dog treat and Ringo trying to crawl into a hole in the floor, we were able to go.... just in time to see two more poodles in the waiting room.

Oh Mercy. They were white. At least Charlie realized they weren't Ringo. He got a little upset when they left, just a few tears, and kept asking where the puppies went. This continued until he started screaming that he didn't want to be put in his car seat. And Ringo didn't want to get in the car either.

Collectively, that's almost 80 pounds of not wanting to get in the car. However, I outweighed them in my desire to get home to the chardonnay I had chilling in the fridge.

So this is what it took to get a conjunctivitis diagnosis and some eye drops. The vet, who loved Charlie, said to bring him next time because they all had so much fun with him. Only if I can leave them and come back later.

And incidentally, the chardonnay wine cube they sell at Target = delish. You should try it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Back in a Few....

We're headed to New Orleans for a few days for the Sugar Bowl. And the shopping, restaurants, bars and all things touristy. I'm going to New Orleans and I don't even have to work while I'm there. That hasn't happened in years!

I've spent several airline flights in the past few weeks trying to keep Charlie entertained and happy, so it's going to feel like a treat just to sit on the plane, minding my own business and reading a book. Don't even get me started on sleeping in two mornings in a row. Exciting!

I am having a little separation anxiety, though. I miss Charlie so much when we're apart. Getting out of town will be nice, but so will coming home.