I decided this milestone was both blog- and video-worthy :P Enjoy!
Monday, July 28, 2008
I decided this milestone was both blog- and video-worthy :P Enjoy!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Despite my hubby's protests, I've given Natalie access to one cabinet in the kitchen. She loves to play with the few pieces of plasticware and water bottles and what-not. When she's had enough of her bazillion toys and books, this is a guaranteed baby-pleaser.
This morning I looked up from my laptop to see this MESS all over the kitchen floor.
And then I realized that Natalie was no where to be found. A head scratch and a few squeaks later, and it became obvious that my sweet girl had reached a whole new level of kitchen cabinet FUN. So I did what any good blogging momma would do. I grabbed my camera, and snapped this photo. Oh, it just makes me smile!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
But I love awards almost as much as I love presents and surprises, so for that reason, I will proudly accept this pretty, shiny award on behalf of my current lack of brain cells :) Oh, and should probably take a second to thank the little people ... like Debby, who got me here in the first place. Girl, I've told you many times, and now I will post it for all to read ... you rock the funny!
Oh, and apparently there are rules ... which kind of takes the fun out of this ... it's like getting a present and them being told you have to read the entire user's manual before you can play with it. However, it does somewhat resemble a To Do List, and I simply cannot resist crossing things off my list!
1. Sun Seekers - a wonderful mommy friend who takes great photos and
A. Attached or single? attached
B. Best friends? Missy, Heather, Laurie
C. Cake or pie? Both! this is a choice I simply cannot make.
D. Day of Choice? Monday (for now)
E. Essential Items? my laptop and digital camera
F. Favorite color? yellow to look at, blue to wear
G. Gummy bears or worms? bears
H. Hometown? Alton, IL (near St. Louis, MO)
I. Favorite indulgence? a good book, a glass of wine ... but not together
J. January or July? January; it's birthday month :)
K. Kids? Sure why not :) 1 newly one year old, beautiful little girl
L. Life isn't complete without? friends and family
M. Marriage Date? July 4, 1998
N. Number of brothers and sisters? 1 sister, 2 brothers - I'm the oldest
O. Oranges or apples? apples - especially with peanut butter
P. Phobias? monster under my bed, stranger taking Natalie
Q. Quotes? "Life is a journey, not a destination."
R. Reasons to smile? Natalie's two-hour long nap, Louie (my kitty) curled up by my feet, and pieces of flair on Facebook :)
S. Season of choice? summer, definitely summer!
T. Tag 3 people: Debby, Deann, and Missy
U. Unknown fact about me? I want to write a children's book but I am too afraid to try
W. Worst habit? procrastinating (like right now I should be writing thank you notes!)
X. X-ray or ultrasound? ultrasound
Y. Your favorite food? blueberry muffins from Starbucks
Z. Zodiac sign? Capricorn
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
While you ponder that, let me tell you about one of many new books Natalie has received in the past month. It's a book that Chad bought for her ... all by himself. He came home from work the other day carrying a bag with two children's books inside, and my first reaction was, "Did you find those somewhere?" Or "Who gave you those?" He had just for no reason at all bought two new books for our NHV ... not that she needs more books ... it was such a sweet, simple gesture!
Both books are fantastic, but I want to tell you about "Shiver Me Letters" by June Sobel. Who can resist a good pirate story? It is especially cute when Chad reads it in his pirate accent. And I am a complete sucker of a clever ABC book, so pretty much this book "had me at hello" if you know what I'm saying!
The story is about a captain and his crew searching for booty, in this case the letters of the alphabet other than R ... you see, the captain already has "R" 'cause that's what a pirate says, "aaaargh" ... get it? Here's an excerpt from the first pages: "R," roared the captain. "R's not enough. We need other letters to help make us tough." Each letter is found in some pirate-themed way, and the illustrations are humorous and colorful.
There isn't any deep message in this book - if that's what you're looking for, I am guessing that you don't do much of your reading to a one year old. And, hey, if I am going to read a book like a bazillion times, which mommies often do, I might as well read a book that is this much fun and so very clever!
Just to prove that we were there (jealous?) ... a close-up of my NHV!
Monday, July 21, 2008
It can't just be me. She really is adorable, right?
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Well, now I am drawing the line. Now, that greedy little girl wants my most favorite and coveted treat from Starbucks ... the blueberry muffin. You know the one with the sinful crumble yumminess on top? Yeah, well, Natalie insisted on helping me to eat mine this morning. I've discovered I am not all that fond of sharing my darn-near-$2 muffin with my newly-one-year-old. It totally threw off my chai tea latte to muffin ratio! But I could hardly let the mmmmms and hand clapping that is her sign for "more" go unnoticed ... at least not while sitting in the middle of my neighborhood Starbucks. Everyone there seemed to think it was just adorable, and I wanted to say, "If you think it's so cute, why don't you share your muffin?" But no, instead I gave in and handed over tiny bites ... after peeling back the paper to uncover the muffin bottom ... no way she was getting her pincher grasp and one tooth on my muffin top!
On the walk home - sipping what was left of my chai sans muffin - it occurred to me that perhaps I am partly to blame for Natalie's blueberry muffin fixation. I practically lived on those things for the entire second trimester of my pregnancy, so perhaps she's predisposed.
Regardless next time I am craving a Starbucks blueberry muffin, Natalie is staying home with daddy! Somethings I am just not willing to share :)
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The short version: My water broke about 8:00 pm. Got to the hosptial at 9:30ish. Natalie was born at 12:36 am. Yes, that's just 4 and a half short hours!
The looong version:
In the car on the way to Overlake Hospital, I called my mom to tell her the exciting news, and that's when it really hit me ... "I'm having a baby!" I started to cry - tears of both happiness and nervousness. I was about to become a mom and talking to my own mom gave me a dose of reality but also a sense of calm. My mom was very surprised and a little sad; she was disappointed that it was two weeks before my due date and she wasn't here to go to the hospital with us.
I had 5 hard contractions on the way to the hospital; to be honest, they didn't hurt as much as I expected. But I definitely had to stop what I was doing until each one subsided. Also, keep in mind that I had been on bedrest since the end of May and had contractions, controlled with medication, for most of that time.
We didn't really hurry to the hospital because we assumed that many hours would pass before the actual birth, which explains why Chad packed so much stuff! But it ended up that he barely set our suitcase down before "things got interesting" and a very short time later our baby girl was born.
At 12:36am on July 15, 2007, we got a wonderful surprise, our beautiful baby GIRL was born! Both Chad and I had strong "boy" feelings - we didn't find out the baby's gender via ultrasound, so it really was a surprise! We had lists of names for either scenario, but the other girl names were quickly forgotten when I saw her. Without hesitation, I called her Natalie Helen, a name that suits her perfectly. The next minutes, hours, and days, after Natalie was born are kind of a blur for me. I look back at the pictures, and I am so glad to have them.
When I think back over this past year, I can't help but feel like that one evening was such a teeny tiny slice of a much bigger story. I mean, it was an amazing experience, one I thought about and worried about for a very long time. But it was just a single event that set in motion an amazing new chapter in our lives. It has been a good year. A year of challenges, sleep deprivation, uncertainty, ... and a year of celebration, happiness, and much love.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Most everything I do requires a theme, and Natalie's birthday party was no exception. But I didn't do anything too over-the-top creative; instead I just went with a classic ... a luau! And boy, did we have fun. Fun that Natalie won't even remember, as Chad likes to remind me, but fun nonetheless, and there's plenty of photographic evidence, so it's all good!
Here's the text from the Evite:
A birthday Hawaiian style, doesn't that sound great?
NATALIE is turning ONE so we've got to celebrate!
Wear a crazy Hawaiian shirt or grass skirt if you dare,
it's sure to be a blast and we hope to see you there!
That's right, our baby girl is turning one!
Let's get together and have some fun!
Join us for a yummy lunch followed by cake and ice cream.
Expect colorful leis, a kiddy pool, and a hula contest.
Highlights of Natalie's Luau Birthday Party:
10. Having Natalie's Mimi here to help us celebrate
8. Plenty of beverages, Chad's main luau responsibility
7. Chad decorated with leis ... all over and in random places
Black Bean & Corn Salsa
1 can organic black beans, well drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (I used one lime)
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
Put it all in a bowl and mix it. Chill for a bit before serving with Tostito Scoops.
North Carolina Pulled Pork sandwiches
~3 lbs. boneless Pork Shoulder
1 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup ketchup
½ teaspoon Worshire sauce
1 ounce honey
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice
Put it all in the crock pot on high for 6 hours.
Shred pork, save sauce/juice and return to crock pot for serving.
Napa Slaw Salad
1 pound coleslaw
1 package Ramen noodles - Oriental flavor
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
½ cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons butter
Melt butter in saucepan. Add crushed ramen noodles, the season packet, sesame seeds, and almonds. Sautee until light brown. Set aside.
½ cup oil
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Combine and chill until ready to serve.
Put cabbage in large bowl. Just before serving, add ramen mix and toss with chilled dressing.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
You want to see the photo, right? Of course you do! Well, the truth of the matter is, I am not 100% sure which shot I submitted. You see, I took more than 30 pictures of Natalie eating cottage cheese ... over the course of like two days ... yes, I know that's ridiculous, but I just couldn't help myself! But I am fairly certain it was one of these; regardless you get the point ...
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
At this snapshot in time, Natalie ...
- is officially weaned and drinking from a both a bottle and a sippy cup
- double-fists her binkies, when given the chance; sucking on one, clutching the other in her hand, and then switching
- greets me with a big smile whenever she sees me and hurries to be in my arms; she does the same for her daddy :)
- turns the pages of her books with tremendous concentration and delight
- puts her hands up over her head in reply to my question, "How big is Natalie?"
- is obsessed with eebee; when she's feeling "out-of-sorts" just the sight of the DVD case makes everything right in her world, and she must hold the case while she watches
- eats pieces of turkey meatballs, string cheese, strawberries, and Veggie Booty ... all with true enthusiasm and mmmmmms
- is very attached to her "lovey" - an orange, striped kitty cat
- still lets me rock her and sing to her; she snuggles right up against my neck and tickles me!
- cruises around furniture and lets go - a little more bravely than I would like - and insists on climbing the stairs with mommy right behind her, of course
Oh, she is so amazing and wonderful. My heart is so full it aches ... in a very good way!
Friday, July 4, 2008
1998: Although we were living in FL at the time, we were married in my hometown in IL. Our reception was at this darling lodge called Pere Marquette, and we could see fireworks over the Mississippi River. Chad remembers pulling 189 bobby pins from my hair ... what can I say, an updo was all the rage then.
1999: We had just moved to Northern Virginia. To commemorate our first anniversary, we bought a large, rustic armoire now in our dining room. And we rode the Metro to downtown Washington, DC to watch the fireworks ... I will long remember the sight of the Washington Monument in silhouette against the exploding sky
2000: We traveled - with flight privileges - to Europe and spent 12 days touring various countries. Our friends Missy and Joe hosted us at their home in Austria.
2001: After just moving into our first home, we watch the DC fireworks again, this time from the Pentagon ... only a few months before 9/11.
2002: Our fourth on the 4th included a trip to Austin, TX to hang out with high school friends and a surprise gift of diamond earrings!
2003: We celebrated with friends and watched fireworks - roadside - in Virginia.
2004: I made the trip back to my hometown and watched fireworks over the Mississippi River with my family. From there, Chad and I traveled to Hawaii and then Montana.
2005: Chad took my brother Tyler on a "man journey" while I relaxed on the beach in Hawaii with my friend Heather.
2006: We had just moved to the NW and drove to nearby Bellevue to watch several different displays from a dock on Lake Washington.
2007: This time last year, I was big and pregnant and mildly uncomfortable. My brother, Tyler, was living with us. And the three of us celebrated with neighbors at the annual cul-de-sac party.
2008: This year we'll hang with some of my mommy friends and then be back at the cul-de-sac party, juggling Natalie while we visit and eat. And hopefully she'll sleep through what promises to be a very loud fireworks show - just a few houses down from ours. The true celebration will take place in February at a tropical location.
Happy Anniversary, Chad Patrick.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
There are only two "baby" swings at our neighborhood "big" park. This presents quite a problem when there are more than two little ones at the park, which is pretty much always the case. Now the likelihood of our HOA installing more baby swings is slim to none, and so I must rely on my fellow mommies (and daddies) to approach this problem with a bit of etiquette. We have to share those darn swings. You cannot plop your baby/toddler in the swing for a 30-minute ride. Let your kid have his/her jollies for an appropriate 5 minutes, and then step aside so those of us waiting patiently can have a turn. Otherwise, you can expect an occasional evil eye pointed in your direction. If you are looking for serious disdain from your fellow park-goers, hog the swing and CHAT ON YOUR CELL PHONE while completely ignoring your child ... yeah, that's always a crowd-pleaser!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Today has been a very trying day. A day when I really don't feel like being a mom* - as if that's an option. And well, that seems like a good enough reason to run away.
I can remember threatening to run away when I was all of about 6 years old. Putting a pair of dainties, a deck of cards, and a handful of crackers in a bandanna, and heading out the front door ... this kind of running away was really a cry for attention. (And why is the bandanna and stick "the luggage of choice" in this situation?) I didn't get far - never really intended to - and wasn't gone long - it was a summer month, hot and humid, and I hadn't packed anything to drink ... besides, I figured I had made my point just by walking out the door. So back I went. Forgotten was the injustice that spurred me into runaway action in the first place.
This scenario replays in my childhood memories about a handful of times, and I always found it empowering to pack that little bag and walk out the door ... only to return again. I also remember that my own mom would sometimes runaway from home. With four kids, I am fairly certain she had good reason. But, here's the kicker, her running away usually went unnoticed, which infuriated her even more. After a few hours to defuse, she'd come back expecting fanfare - at the very least a hug or two - and questions like, "Where were you?" Instead she found that life continued without her as the center of our universe. A notion that should've inspired relief but was a hard pill to swallow. That is not to say that we could've survived long without her. A few hours is one thing, but much longer than that, and our world pretty much did fall apart.
Back to the monstrosity that was today. *First I should say that I am racked with guilt for admitting that I don't feel like being a mommy today. What an awful thing to think/say/blog. But it's the honest truth, so there it is. Clearly, Natalie was not herself; she is typically - with very few exceptions - a delightful, sweet baby girl. I am guessing she woke up on the wrong side of the crib (Is that even possible considering her crib is against the wall?) - about an hour and a half earlier than usual , and the day just plummeted downhill from there. My day was a constant onslaught of fussiness, mini-tantrums, and her terribly annoying cough-cry. She refused to take a bottle or eat anything besides strawberries and Veggie Booty. Any tiny glimmers of contentment lasted all of about three seconds ... except when I played the eebee DVD, a 10-minute slice of heaven in an otherwise hellish day, and Natalie got two doses. I tried, people, I really did. My mommy bag o' tricks was apparently out of commission because absolutely nothing worked. (And what's up with the freakin' kitchen sink? I swear someone keeps dumping dirty dishes in there, and I've had it!)
And so at the end of this very long day, I don't particularly care for a bubble bath, so Calgon won't be taking me away; I'll be taking myself away ... to Agrestic, where Nancy's life is so much more complicated and interesting and awful than my own! Weeds, Season 3, here I come ... thanks to Tammy for loaning me the discs and to Scott for bringing them to me - now that's service!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
I will try to get a little video clip of Natalie "reading" this book ...
- loaded, ran, and unloaded the dishwasher
- folded and put away two loads of laundry
- cleaned my bathroom - it was waaaay over due!
- made my bed - tucked sheet and all
- emptied garbage on the top floor
All while entertaining NHV with ...
- songs and dancing - including Sexy Can I ... going out to Sarah K in honor of her PCCC
- three books, read with much enthusiasm, of course
- about 10 minutes of Sesame Street
- and hubby's old cell phone - she still prefers MY cell phone ... aaargh!
- an hour and half long nap ... saweet!
Natalie is calling from her crib, and we have errands to run ... busy, busy!
Peace out :)