Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from Florida!

Merry Christmas to all! I hope the end of Christmas day finds your hearts filled, your bellies full and your wishes granted. Here are a few scenes from our lovely day.

Frosty Who?

Leaving Cookies for Santa

CutiePie and Granddad

Santa's Helper

Wii Fun

81 degrees on Christmas Day!

And a Florida Night Before Christmas:

A tropical visit from St. Nicholas---
The Night Before Christmas in Florida
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the town,
no noses were frozen, no snow fluttered down.

No children in flannels were tucked into bed;
they all wore their shorty pajamas instead.

To make wreaths of holly, it wasn't too hard,
for holly trees grew in most every back yard.

In front of the houses were daddies and moms
adorning the fruit trees and coconut palms.

The slumbering kiddies were dreaming in glee,
in hopes they'd find water skis under the tree.

They all knew that Santa was well on his way,
in a shiny red sports car, instead of a sleigh.

He whizzed up the highways and zoomed up the road.
He drove with the top down, delivering his load.

He raced through the night in the balmy, salt air.
Like a tourist in Florida, he had not a care.

The tropical moon gave the cities a glow,
and lighted the way for old Santa below.

As he jumped from the auto he gave a wee chuckle.
He was dressed in Bermudas with a Disney World buckle.

He paused on the lawn to take in the night,
and marveled at the twinkling of thousands of lights.

Each house had been dressed to welcome him in;
it warmed his old heart to be treated like kin.

There weren't any chimneys, but that caused him no gloom;
Santa came in through the Florida room.

He stepped into the house, but stayed only a minute,
to empty his sack of stuff that was in it.

Before he departed, he treated himself
to a big glass of orange juice left on a shelf.

He turned with a smile and dashed to the car.
He'd made only half his deliveries so far!

He shifted the gears and stepped on the gas,
and up U.S. 19 he went like a flash.

And I heard him exclaim as he went on his way,
"Merry Christmas y'all, I wish I could stay!"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Florida Holiday Attire

80 degrees today!

and some other seasonal pix...

and a quick video of the girls

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yesterday, I was THAT mom

One of the first things you learn when you become a parent, is that you didn't know crap about being a parent before you had kids. It doesn't matter if you are the coolest aunt/uncle, have a ton of babysitting experience or you teach children. When you have your own child, all that wisdom you thought you had? Useless. You quickly learn it's all about survival in the early years.

Yesterday, I was THAT mom. The one I promised myself I'd never be.

I am still extremely sleep deprived. Which means my hair/makeup routine, which I maintained stringently while pregnant (after all, I wasn't going to be THAT pregnant lady either), has gone to the wayside most days. So, there I was, out and about looking exactly like one looks when: you haven't slept in five months, have not attempted to hide the symptoms with makeup, and have barely run a brush through your hair. Couple that with the fact that most of my regular clothes still do not fit, leaving my current fashion statement as a mismatch of loose maternity clothes and tight, ill-fitting regular clothes. You can imagine I was a vision to behold.

Against my better judgment, I take both girls grocery shopping at 3:30 in the afternoon. Breaking two of my rules. And getting a larger than life reminder of why said rules are in place.

First rule: never do regular weekly shopping with both girls. Why? Because if you have an infant that cannot yet sit up, they are in a car seat that must be placed either in the front of the cart and your preschooler in the back, or vice-versa. Either way, your cart is full of kids and there is very little room for food. But because we have little food in the house and I know that I have to go to the post office when Natalie is in preschool the next day, I try to get it done. So, I decide to put Katherine in the front and Natalie in the back. She's good w/ me piling food around her so I figure that's my best option. Riiiight. Which leads me to...

My second rule: if shopping with children, only shop in the morning. Why? Tired kids + grocery shopping = complete mayhem. Here is how our little adventure went.

We enter the store (and remember, I am a vision) and I head to the bakery to get Natalie the free cookie they offer kids. First bad decision. This works for about three minutes. Then she finishes and starts to get antsy. Meanwhile, Katherine is chilling, but starting to stir. Then Natalie informs me, in a quite loud voice "mommy, I have to go to the potty. I have to pee AND poop!" Leaving the people snickering around me, we head to the bathroom. While I'm tending to Natalie, Katherine is in the cart outside the stall. I can see her but she can't see me. Not good. In the past few days she's started making this new sound that literally sounds like the kid in the exorcist. I'm not kidding. I think she's discovering her voice and playing with it, which is good. But even to Dean and I the sound is horrible. And we are her parents. So you can imagine how much worse it sounds to strangers. Whilst in the bathroom the exorcist sounds begin.

We complete the bathroom break and then Natalie asks me if she can walk, not ride in the cart. Something I've never allowed her to do before. In my sleep deprived mind I think hey, this will work. Then I can fit all the groceries in the cart. So with some strict rules of staying by my side we set off. Katherine is still using the exorcist voice so I look for the binky. And after tearing apart my bag realize I don't have one. Shit.

So now I am distracted, trying to keep Katherine happy and Natalie is running free. I keep reminding her to stay by the cart as I am simultaneously making funny faces to Katherine and throwing random food items into the cart. Then Katherine takes it up a couple octaves so I race back to the baby aisle and grab some binkys. I break one out and shove it into her mouth. Without washing or even wiping. I'm desperate and let's be honest. Kid #2 doesn't get the same hygienic treatment as kid #1. So, thinking I'm brilliant we continue on until... she spits it out. I repeatedly reinsert, but she does not want it. She is only interested in her new sound. At this point, I'm highly distracted and twice almost run Natalie over with the cart. I give her one last warning to walk beside me and she runs around the cart so I swoop her up and set her in the back of the cart. Immediate melt down, crocodile tears and cries of "I don't waaaaant to sit in the cart" ensue. I try to reason with her and tell her to calm down to no avail. I even do the public threat of time out. All the while, Katherine is screaming her exorcist screams. And remember, I am a vision.

Yeah, good times.

So I head for the nearest checkout with 2 screaming children, a random mish-mash of groceries that will likely not even make one full dinner and of course land in the line where a price check is needed. That takes a full five minutes. With a fortyish man in front of me trying to ignore my kids. I stared him down and I think he took one look at me and was too frightened to even say a word. Lucky him as at that point I would have loved to go off on someone. But I thank him now as he prevented me from making an a** out of myself in front of my children.

So there I am, wondering how I got to be that mom who looks awful, is scolding her kids in public and will stare you down if you try and give me the look.

Oh, and best of all, I still have no real groceries in the house which means I have to go back to the grocery store. Sweeeeet.

Monday, November 24, 2008

4 months and counting

Katherine had her 4 month checkup last week. How quickly the time is passing! Here are her stats on the baby charts:

- Weight = 10pds 12oz, which means she's gone from 1% to 3% on the weight scale
- Height = 23 inches (10%)
- Head Circumference = 16 inches (40%)

So, the main thing is she's growing and gaining weight. While she is definitely on the small side, I'm just happy she's on the chart. Out of curiosity, I checked MY height online on a women's height chart. Suffice it to say that Katherine has a higher percentage than I. So it's looking like she will be petite and very smart. Just like her mom of course.

Here our little cutie hanging out in the Bumbo.

And on the pediatric urology front, the 2nd opinion was to keep her on the antibiotic for another six months or so and then test her again. She's healthy, the main goal now is to prevent another UTI.

So we have a lot to be thankful for this season...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Omnivore’s Hundred

I've seen The Omnivore's Hundred a few times on my blog rolls, so in light of the big feasting that will be taking place next week all over the US, I'm participating! Below is a list from Very Good Taste of the 100 foods one should try before they die. I don't necessarily agree with this list, but it's a fun experiment nonetheless. And it did bring back some fun memories. Border dogs out of Tiajuana... oh the days of yesteryear.

If it's in bold, I've tried it. I'm at 63. You?

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros - Come on, I'm a CA girl
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile - I did try kangaroo on my trip to Australia, but not crocodile
6. Black pudding - tasted in Scottland. NEVER again.
7. Cheese fondue - this is a NYE staple in my family
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart Ugh. Border dogs with colleen and gang in college.
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - double ugh.
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper - What can I say, I married a Jamaican!
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo

40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat Again, the Jamaican thing.
42. Whole insects - not unless I'm goin' for a mill on a game show.
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
Maybe w/ Pete?
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut

50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone On Catalina Island when I was a kid
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal

56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini - Oh, my fav! With an extra olive of course...
58. Beer above 8% ABV - can you say belgian?
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips - Nasty.
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho Not really a fan.
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe - Not sure if it was Louche, but I have tried absinthe with Harry in San Diego. Once was enough.
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee - On honeymoon!

100. Snake

You know you live in Florida when...

you wake up in the morning during a "cold spell" and can't believe how chilly it is. Slippers and bathrobes are required. Your 3yo asks for a sweater and slippers to wear over her winter pjs. As you contemplate having a fire (any excuse as we only get to have about 10 a year) you look a the thermostat and it says...


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Super Bunnies

There is a bunny infestation on the cul-de-sac.

We currently have nine superbunnies living in our house. If that's not bad enough, apparently there are 100 across the street. Before you think I've become the crazy bunny lady "super bunnies" are Natalie and Sara's (her best friend) imaginary friends. I'm not sure how this got started, but Christie (Sara's mom) asked me how many super bunnies we had one day.


How many are at your house?

Um, Christie, I think it's time to put down that glass of wine.

Then she told me that they were the new imaginary friends the girls dreamt up in school one day.

So I proceeded to ask Natalie that night if there were any superbunnies in our house. And without missing a beat, she says, "oh yeah mommy, I have nine and they all need a good night kiss."

Gotta love that imagination.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

We're Back!

For those of you who read this online, you may have noticed for the past week or so that there was nothing on the website. Well, I finally got a moment to check it out and emailed my webhost and someone had absconded my index page with "malicious code" and it had to be replaced. Hmpf! The nerve! Anyway, all has been repaired and we are back. We are getting ready for halloween, miss Natalie has chosen her own costume this year. I'll email pix on halloween. In the meantime, here are some halloween inspired photos...

I'm also continuing the "fashion week" photos. I really need to come up with a better name since I have a feeling the fashion will continue many years to come. You know how all the cute little infant outfits come with hats? While they look adorable, they are completely useless in FL. It's too hot to require a hat for warmth once an infant is past a few weeks old and is regulating her temperature better. And most are too cutsy to be helpful for sun protection, which is what we really need here. But... they are so cute! So I've decided to get photos of Katherine in all her hats before she outgrows them, for posterity and cuteness, if nothing else. Here are a couple:

This is what she was wearing on our first walk together, mentioned below in my Beetlejuice post.

And this one I took this morning as it's cooling off enough for her to finally start wearing long pjs under her swaddle. I just love this hat, makes her look like a little amish girl. She is adorable, if I do say so myself! By the way, Marla, I cannot thank you enough for introducing us to the miracle blanket back when Natalie was a baby. It's the best! I will forever be grateful for providing us something that has thus far made both my children great sleepers...

And finally, this last one is to show Katherine is getting some of that adorable baby chubbiness. She is gaining steadily and over 9 pds now, so I believe the weight gain issues are resolved. Next week we are off to the pediatric urologist for the 2nd opinion on the bladder reflux, so stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


There are many great things about living in Florida. Affordable housing which means you can own a pool on the cheap. Great weather year-round (well, summer is debatable). Access to some amazing beaches and if you're like me, I love the latin influence here. Mmm... can you say cuban bread?

However, there is a major drawback to living in Florida, which I've posted about before. BUGS. Of all variety. My newest foe? The beetle.

Growing up in central California, we had some really cool green iridescent beetles in our backyard. I can't think of what they are called, but am sure my father would know. He is a bug aficionado. The beetles I've come across in Florida are not cute. They are down right gross, of the roach variety. So you can imagine my horror at what happened to me yesterday in not one, but two separate beetle run-ins.

I finally got the car seat adapter connected to our jogging stroller and ventured out with Katherine on our first neighborhood walk yesterday morning. Natalie was in preschool and Katherine had only woken up once in the night so it was a good morning. Now that I am finished with pregnancies (my rule is the kids cannot outnumber the parents), I am trying to get fit again. It's been a good year since I've exercised regularly and my body shows it. The challenge is finding the time with two small children. So three mornings a week while Natalie is in preschool, the plan is to walk the neighborhood and work back up to running again when Katherine is big enough to be in the stroller w/out the carseat attached.

So, we are enjoying our first morning walk. Mornings here are getting very pleasant, in the 70s which is perfect. Katherine seems to be enjoying herself and the fresh air, as I am. As we round the corner and start heading up the one "hill" back to our house, I see out of the corner of my eye something blackish fly right down into the stroller. The stroller where my precious two month old daughter is relaxing. I thought it was a leaf and start looking around to make sure when I spy something moving on the baby blanket. Aack!! No, not a leaf, but a brown, roach-like beetle. Double-aack! So I wisk Katherine out of the stroller and while holding her and the blanket in one hand try to get the beetle out of the stroller. Oh, and I'm trying to do this without actually touching the beetle because... I just can't. Apparently I have a beetle phobia. The body of this one is about an inch in length (small by FL standards) and I just cannot flick him out with the car seat straps. As I keep trying the little bugger crawls in between the straps and under the padding of the car seat. There is no way for me to get at him now as I cannot pull the fabric up while holding Katerine in my other arm. So what do I do? I proceed to push down on the fabric where he went as hard as possible. Then cover the area with the blanket and put Katherine back on top. I then proceed the last quarter mile home as fast as possible with visions of the nasty beetle crawling all over my daughters pristine skin.

Yeah, it was a great first outing.

When we got home, I took Katherine out, took the car seat outside, lifted up the fabric and there he is, alive and well. So I let him go and spared his life. That should have brought me some good Karma, no? No. Apparently, all it did was piss him off and get him to round up his big beetle brothers to hunt me down. Because later that night...

After being woken up after only 1.5 hours sleep by aforementioned daughter, I go into the bathroom to find a huge (2 inch?) roach/beetle on the floor. ICK! I'm too tired to go into the kitchen to get paper towels so gather up some tissues, which are totally inadequate and approach the beetle. I'm silently freaking out at this point as I desperately do not want to touch it, and in my hesitation, miss and he runs! I then see him on the cabinet, about 1/2 way up. Perfect, he can scale heights. I hesitate again and he runs again. This time, into the cavern of our pocket bathroom door where I can no longer reach him. The door that is only a few feet from Katherine's bassinet. So at this point, he's still alive, somewhere in the general area where we all sleep.

That should provide some sweet dreams tonight.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Results...

Thursday was a tough morning. Had to take Katherine in for her sonogram and VCUG . The sonogram was to view her anatomy to ensure her kidney related anatomy was normal. The VCUG was to see if she had the bladder reflux. Thankfully, my SIL Debbie was in town from Canada and went with me to the appt. All I can say is Debbie, you rock. I was so shaky after that I'm not sure I would have been able to safely drive home.

First we had the sonogram. I had to hold Katherine in front of me, similar to a burping position while the tech spread the goop on her and scanned her back. This wasn't painful, but Katherine cried during the whole procedure. I'm sure it was a bit frightening for her and that she could sense my stress. The good news is she has two perfectly normal kidneys. Debbie was able to join us and was really great trying to comfort Katherine (and me.)

Next up was the VCUG. Here I went in alone with Katherine. I had to put on a lead vest and stand behind Katherine at her head and hold her arms down. She was laid down on a large table where they proceeded to insert a catheter. Now, this was the third time we've done this. At the pediatrician's office it was no problem. Here, the frickin' woman could not get the catheter in. Katherine was crying and screaming the whole time. It was awful. Finally, she brought in another woman, who after a few attmepts was successful. Now, I know my daughter is tiny, only 8 pds, but come on. This is your specialty. I was really upset at this point as they had caused my daughter what I considered undue pain and stress. Fortunately, at the point the doctor came in and he was great. Explained everything and said he'd had to do the same thing with his daughter when she was 2 months old. Basically verbally comforted me, which was exactly what I needed at that point.

Then, they proceed to insert the dye via the catheter. They fill up her bladder with the dye and then watch while she urinates to see if the dye refluxes back out of the bladder. Poor Katherine is crying this whole time, I think uncomfortable w/ the fullness of her bladder but still holds it for a few minutes until she finally relaxes. While this is happening, there is a huge xray machine over her whole little body that the doctor is turning on and off. I must have given him a strange look because he then tells me he's turning it on and off to expose her to as little of the radiation as possible. OK. This whole time, even while they were putting the huge lead vest on my I hadn't considered her exposure to the radiation. So there I am, feeling very surreal like I'm watching the procedure, not participating in it, and realizing for the first time that she is getting exposed to radiation. And she's so tiny and only 2 months old. All I can think of is all this radiation going into her little body and that I cannot protect her. Knowing myself, and that a flood of tears is imminent, I focus all my attention on comforting Katherine as best I can and manage to get through it.

The initial result the doctor gives is that they watched her urinate three times and did not see any reflux. Good news. But, they did find a diverticulum next to her bladder, which is a sign of reflux. So he wanted to go back and do another sonogram to see it for himself. When we did this, they couldn't really find it (sort of saw a small black area) which confirmed that he was correct as the diverticulum will only show up when the bladder is fully distended. So this was the bad news, as these usually only show up alongside reflux. While he didn't see reflux on the VCUG, he said it was still possible she has it, but it didn't show up during that particular urination. So he said I should wait and talk to my pediatrician about our course of action.

So I essentially thought we were out of the water until my pediatrician called yesterday. They want us to take her to a pediatric urologist for a second opinion, which won't be until Oct 28th. In the meantime, my pediatrician spoke with the doctor who performed the VCUG and they both agreed we should start her on a low grade antibiotic for the next six months to prevent future urninary tract infections. She does have reflux, a level 2 out of 5. I'm still not sure how that diagnosis came about since they didn't tell me that at the appt. So basically, I expect the urologist will agree to the prescribed antibiotic and in six months we will have to go through the whole procedure again. Joy.

I'm not thrilled about putting Katherine on antibiotic for such a long period of time, but because her UTI didn't show any typical signs of fever, it's quite possible she could get another one and we would not know. And if one were to go untreated, it could result in kidney damage. So, we will proceed with the antibiotic and hope for the best. Fortunately, I have a friend who's 9 month old is going through the same thing, so I have someone I can talk to.

I really want to thank all our friends and family for all your support through this. You've been invaluable and it would have been a much tougher road without you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Little Babushka

Such a hat girl! Today Natalie is at Disney World with her dad, cousin Alex and Auntie Debbie and Uncle Andrew. Such fun. Which means mommy gets a quiet day home alone with the baby. I'm off to go enjoy that right now.

p.s. In other news, we have Katherine's appt. tomorrow to find out if she just had a UTI or if there is something more serious going on. Stay tuned and please keep us in your thoughts!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Little Cuties

My new favorite photo of the girls...

da girls

In other news, our air conditioning broke last night. We called the repair people and they can't come out until 4:00. And it's going to be 91 degrees today. Joy!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Got Curls?

For any gal out there who has curly hair, have I got a brush for you. Yes, you read that right... brush. After a 15+ year hiatus from the brush, I am now a convert. My MIL (thanks Janet!) turned me on to the Ouchless Brush. I saw one last night while shopping and decided to try it. I'm usually dubious about new products for curls. I've donated many George Washingtons over the years to products that have not lived up to the hype. Thus my beauty product skepticism. But, figuring it had been 15 years since I've tried a brush, and now that I have little ringlets to tend to, I thought perhaps it was time to try again.

My curly-haired friends, it was.

I tried the ouchless on Natalie this morning, who I can attest has the curliest spirals of any three year old I know. And it worked. Really well. I did my usual routine: saturate her hair with half the bottle of spray detangler and then I started using the brush. Amazing. She actually enjoyed the scalp massage. She did not scream "go slower mommy!" This is nothing short of miraculous in our household. It takes me a full 5-10 minutes to comb out Natalie's hair with a wide tooth comb. You can imagine the battles. I even told her that preschool wouldn't let her in if her hair wasn't combed. Yeah, I went there.

Afterwards, I tried it myself. And it made my already combed, dry hair look better too. Incredible. It smoothed my hair without combing out all the curls. I will be buying another one ASAP because I simply cannot share it. I must have my own.

So if you have wavy or thick or curly hair, run to your nearest drugstore and buy this brush now. It will be the best $5 you've spent on a beauty product in years.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stayin' Alive

No, I'm not getting my grove on, although I am a huge Bee Gees fan and not afraid to admit it. I know you know what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the build up of 8 weeks of severe sleep deprivation. It is settling in and I. AM. EXHAUSTED. I'm averaging about 4-5 hours of sleep per night, broken up into several intervals and it has caught up with me. I'm managing okay with additional cups of coffee chased by an evening glass of wine (the only positive of not being able to breastfeed Katherine anymore.) But boy do I miss the days of "sleep when the baby sleeps". Yeah. That doesn't fly when you have more than one child.

So, here is a belated update while I've got the baby sleeping and Natalie in quiet time for about 30 minutes...

Katherine is gaining weight like a champ! She's up to 7 and 1/2 pounds and doing quite well. To get her to gain weight we had to pretty much go completely to formula. This broke my heart and I'm still very sad about it. I just miss the bonding of nursing an infant. But I know she is healthy and will be fine, so am slowly finding my peace with it.

The bad news is she has a urinary tract infection, so she's been on antibiotics for a week. This can be the sign of something more serious in an infant, so we have to go do more tests in a few weeks when the infection is clear to make sure she doesn't have either bladder reflux or some sort of anatomy issues. Sigh. So we are still not out of the water yet, so to speak. She is however, smiling all the time and starting to coo, which I just love.

Natalie is having fun in the big sister role although she does often ask when it will be time to put Katerine in the swing. I think she misses some of her playtime. But she's already starting to play with her sister. The other day I had gone to the bathroom, and came back into the family room to find that Natalie had joined her sister lying on her back on her activity mat and was telling her all about the birds and such that she was looking at. Melted my heart. I'm looking forward to watching their relationship develop as they grow and become playmates.

But for the time being, what I'm really looking forward to is an uninterrupted five hours of sleep.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weighty Issues

At the five week mark, things are worrisome. Katherine is still having growth issues.

We've been at her pediatricians weekly since she came home from the hospital. Because she was an IUGR baby (Intrauterine Growth Restriction) the doctors look for quick weight gain once the baby is born. Katherine is now five weeks old and only weighs 6pds 5oz. Up only 4oz from the previous week. And not yet up a whole pound since birth. Not good.

So the pediatrician is concerned and basically I need to give her less boob and more bottle to see if that will help. She still screams often during nursing sessions and we have not been able to pinpoint exactly why. I even went to a lactation consultant to get some advice. At said session, Katherine nursed like a champ and never screamed. Such a performer. So this week we are focusing big time on eating and we'll see what happens. She needs to be gaining about an oz a day or else we'll need to do some pretty invasive tests to see if something else is wrong. Needless to say this is stressing me out.

The plan is to give alot more formula this week and see what happens. The idea being more formula will equal greater weight gain. My pediatrician even said that while he hates to recommend against breast milk, that she's just not gaining enough. He actually recommended breastfeeding then offering the bottle at each feeding. But I've decided to alternate giving the bottle first at every other feeding for a couple days to see what happens. She often won't take a bottle after nursing, so I don't feel like that will work for us. I think Dean feels I should just quit breastfeeding and go straight to formula, but I'm not quite ready to do that yet. I really want her to have the benefits of breast milk, even if it's in limited quantities. That said, I'm just really hoping it's nothing more serious and that more formula will do the trick. I'd much rather give up breastfeeding for her health than her have a more serious health issue. Obviously. Sigh. Stay tuned...

So to not be all doom and gloom, here are a few of the latest cute photos of the girls. We've received some really cute outfits for Katherine from friends and family (thank you!) so I will be posting regular fashion week updates as she grows (hopefully soon) into more of the outfits.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Remembering Grandpa

My grandfather passed away last week at the ripe old age of 95. I'm thankful that he lived so long in mostly good health. He lost my grandmother in December last year after over 70 years of marriage. 70 years! Can you imagine? I can't imagine losing my life partner of 70+ years, so while I am very saddened of his passing, it was not a huge surprise.

Today was a rough day. Grandpa's service was held today in the town where I grew up, but now that I live on the other coast and have a 4 week old baby I just wasn't able to attend. He was my last living grandparent and I really wish I could have been there to pay my respects and listen to my family share their memories of him. My dad called me today and shared a bit of the ceremony with me. He put the phone on speaker and I got to talk to everyone for a bit. It was simultaneously comforting to hear all their voices and yet heartbreaking to not be there with them. And now I sit here kicking myself because it just dawned on me that I could have asked my brother to videotape it for me. So I'll never get to hear the shared memories, which makes me tremendously sad. I wasn't able to attend my grandmothers funeral, but did go out in February for a family memorial and it was really wonderful to hear everyone share their memories of my her. Because that is so fresh in my mind, I know I missed something truly special today.

So I'm sitting here thinking about my grandfather. I want to remember so many things about him so I can keep him alive for my girls, something my friend Joan pointed out when I was lamenting the fact that they would never know him. So as a starting point, here are a few memories:

- Man, could that guy tell a story. He loved nothing more than sitting at the head of the table at Thanksgiving and telling us stories from his life. Yes, the same stories we heard year after year. And I loved it. There was the one about visiting San Francisco, all the stories about his brothers, his travels, how he almost moved to CA without my grandmother, but at the last minute, decided he had to marry her and bring her with him.

- He loved to drink pink chablis. "cheer time"

- He was cheap, even though he loved to let you know he was a paper millionaire.

- He liked the dark meat on the turkey

- He had a bar in his library with some aged bottles of expensive wine or champagne. He always spoke of how he was saving them to open when the grandkids graduated from college and got married. Let's see, there are four grandkids. All college graduates? Check. All been married? Check. How many bottles of the good stuff opened? Zip. Yeah, he was a big talker, but not all about the action apparently.

- I had no idea until I came out for my grandmothers memorial, and saw a picture of my grandparents in their 20s, that my grandfather was so hot in his younger years. You go grandma!

- To be true to our relationship, I have to be honest that my grandfather and I completely disagreed on the role of women in the world. He was completely old school: the woman stays home, raises the kids and is very happy that way. No bringing home the bacon for her. The man makes all the money and decisions. I have a great memory of one Thanksgiving while I was newly graduated from college and living in San Francisco (and... GASP, working!) of him going off about how women were very unhappy having to work and should just go back to the way of his generation. He went on for awhile, and I was seething as he was essentially dissing my whole way of life. Apparently my dad noticed this as he finally said, "Dad you're full of shit and don't know what you're talking about". I'll never forget that moment for 2 reasons. One, I'd never seen my grandfather shut up so fast, and two, I was so touched that my dad stood up for me to his dad. Ironically, now that I am currently a SAHM, my grandfather would be so proud. What he never understood is that I am a firm believer in choice and options. I loved working and my career. And I love that I am in a situation now where I can stay home with my daughters while they are young. But sorry grandpa, I fully intend to go back to work when my youngest is in school.

That's all for the moment. I am exhausted from newborn sleep deprivation, so am leaving out much, but at least it's a start for the record books.

For another good take on my grandfather, read this post from my cousin Tanya's blog.

Oh, and can I just say, if you're planning on videotaping any older members of your family telling their life stories or whatever, do it now. We talked about this a lot and now it's too late.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Week Two!

The craziness continues...

The Good:
- Katherine is up to 5pds 12oz, growing well. Still tiny but above her birth weight, hooray!
- The pediatrician said I no longer needed to wake her up at night, which I'd been doing every three hours. This was challenging because it would take me about 10 minutes to get her awake enough to eat, then she'd only eat for a few minutes and fall back asleep. Once I put her in the bassinet, she would wake and start crying. Repeat this pattern several times throughout the night and you have one tired mom.
- Natalie always wants to play with Katherine, which is too cute.
- Katherine is super alert when she's awake like Natalie was. Always looking around, which is rare in an infant. Even the nurses commented on this right after she was born, which was pretty cool.

The Bad:
- Katherine is going through a phase of latching on and off while nursing. Which would be okay if she didn't SCREAM (not cry, SCREAM) as soon as she loses her latch. So attempting to nurse in public is out for the time being. Which means mom is sort of stuck at home. Which I hate.
- Natalie gets jealous and impatient while I'm nursing. See reason above to note that I have to have both hands to feed Katherine to prevent/stop the screaming. Which means Natalie has to be patient. She's three. Yeah, that's going well. We've had a few timeouts this week. Sigh.
- This week was the week between summer preschool and regular preschool, so was particularly challenging. Natalie was home all week and I can't really take the baby out yet. Trying to entertain a three year old all day at home when you're sleep deprived and she mostly doesn't nap is fun. Really, it is. My friend Sarah took Natalie to her house today for a playdate with her son Nolan, which was a godsend.

But overall, things are going well. Here is Katherine taking her very first bath. We let the girls use the big tub in our bathroom and Natalie thought it was great! See for yourself...

First Bath

And here is Natalie showing Katherine her toys
Toy Show

And here she is sleeping, just like Natalie used to with both arms up. I love that.

The other funny thing that Dean and I have both noticed, is that suddenly, Natalie seems so big and so heavy when we carry her. It was like overnight she became this child giant. Really shows how much everything in life is all about your personal perspective.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

One Week In...

And things are going well. Yes, we are exhausted and yes Katherine was awake from 1:30 to 4:00am last night, but we are doing great. It's amazing how much easier things are the second time around. Don't get me wrong, life is chaotic and I miss getting a four hour stretch of sleep, but the difference is I'm much more confident in my mothering skills. Breastfeeding is going well, Katherine loves the Miracle Blanket (and trust me, it is) and she's thus far a good sleeper and good natured baby. Fingers are crossed this all continues...

Natalie really adores her new sister and isn't too jealous yet. I'm enlisting her as my little helper and she loves to pick out the diapers and the baby outfits for Katherine to wear. For me it's more about time management... trying to get them both to nap at the same time today was a bit of a fiasco.

Besides, when they are this cute, what else really matters?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Welcome Katherine!

Our newest bundle of joy has arrived!

Katherine Janet Ann Dixon was born on Thursday, July 17th at 10:45 pm. She is tiny... 5 pds 9oz and 17 inches long. I ended up getting induced as she wasn't growing well enough in utero and my doctors decided she'd do better outside. So, had to run home and scramble to get ready for the hospital that afternoon!

The induction went well, gave me cervadil at 3:00 and that was enough to start the contractions so no pitocin was necessary. She came out tiny, but perfectly healthy and we are happy to be home.

Everyone is doing great and Natalie thinks she's "so cute!"

More photos are here as well:

We'll update the blog with new photos so check on back.

Dean and the Dixon Chicks

Monday, June 30, 2008

Home Spun Delights

A few months ago, we bought Natalie her first "big girl" bed. After much hunting for sheets, we found a cute set, but the matching quilt was not in stock. I'd been looking for a quilt for awhile, a comforter is way too hot for Florida. My favorite ones are at Pottery Barn Kids and thus way too expensive to justify. So in the meantime, I put a quilt-like blanket my mom crocheted for me years ago on Natalie's bed. And not only do I love it, so does she! She refuses to even use a sheet now, only wants the blanket, even though its 90+ degrees here and super humid. No more hunting for quilts necessary, the blanket goes with her room and I think a huge riot would ensue if I attempted to remove it.

Here is a photo of the blanket. Isn't it adorable? We like to set in bed before naptimes and look at the various squares, finding all the green ones, or ones with flowers or polka dots. So I'm sure my retired teacher mom will appreciate that not only does she love it for comfort, it's educational too! I absolutely love this blanket, and am so glad Natalie does too. It is now hers and I hope that one day she gets to pass it on to her daughter.

Quilt Blanket

It's funny, I'm not sure how old I was when my mom was making it, but I do remember the various squares lying all around our family room for awhile. I wonder if that drove my dad crazy? My mom was always very crafty. She made us a set of matching mother/daughter outfits, which I loved. She did a lot of sewing, outfits for me when I was young, halloween costumes, dancing recital tailoring, and our house also had much of her needlepoint up on the walls. I definitely get my crafty/design aesthetic from my mother.

I just love homemade gifts. My mom has made another blanket for the new baby when she arrives, and I can't wait to see it. We also have a beautiful blanket that my Aunt knitted for her, that I'm looking forward to using with the new baby. In addition, I also have the most amazing quilt that my friend Sherry made for Natalie when she was born. I've just found a curtain rod to hang it up on her wall so will post pictures of that soon. That one has a special place in my heart as Sherry put in a few Irish touches, and that is where Dean and I got engaged, when we went out for Sherry's wedding. So Ireland will always be near and dear to my heart.

I'm lucky to be surrounded by such talent. I'm reasonably crafty myself, but have yet to embark on knitting or quilting. I think I could one day get into sewing, as I've always enjoyed it, just don't seem to find the time. I expect it won't happen anytime soon with a newborn arrival pending, but perhaps 2009 will be the year this Dixon Chick gets crafty. Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt?

Another blogger turned me on to Matt last year. He has a new video out and I just love it. It's so simple, yet brings tears of joy to my eyes just watching it. Not sure if it's the pregnancy hormones or what, but I find this very inspiring. I love to travel and since having Natalie, aside from family trips have not had time/money/opportunity to do as much of it as I'd like. I strongly believe traveling is the best education and gift one can provide. It inspires and challenges in a way that you simply cannot replicate in a book, movie or tv show. I fully intend to instill a love of travel into my kids. Sure, it's going to be a lot more expensive traveling with four people than two, but the alternative, not introducing my kids to the world, and letting them discover firsthand that there are many ways to live life, simply isn't acceptable.

So enjoy the video, hopefully it will bring you a smile and remind you why you love to travel as well. With a newborn coming in a matter of weeks, our next travel plans are back to CA to introduce her to my family. But hopefully, in the not too distant future, we'll be on the road again. Where is your next trip going to be?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

First Day of Preschool

I cannot believe it's already here. Dean and I dropped Natalie off at Montessori preschool this morning. She was so excited. With her brand new Hello Kitty lunch box in hand, wearing an outfit she picked out her own, and walking right past us out to the back towards the slides, I was struck by the fact that our baby is really no longer a baby. She's a little girl. Officially a pre-schooler. No tears for her, just excitement! My own eyes were filling as we left and I couldn't believe we've started the journey of school-dom. Yes, I know it's just preschool, but wow, where did the time go?

Of course I had to call to check on her and she was doing great. Since she's recently potty trained, I was worried she might have an accident. But the report was she'd already been to the potty once and told the teacher "Mommy says I have to wipe front to back. And I do whatever Mommy says." Who knew I had such authority! I'm just bursting with pride at how cute she is and that things we are attempting to teach her are actually sinking in.

Here she is with her new lunch box and checking out the slides as we were walking in.


viewing the slides

We celebrated when we got home by having her favorite treat, ice cream. She loved it all and did not want to leave when I picked her up. I'm so happy. Now, the question is, what am I going to do with myself for the next eight weeks while I actually have 2 mornings a week free. I'd better get busy really. Because soon we'll be back in the throws of newborn chaos and I know these quiet moments will seem a lifetime ago.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Three Times the Charm

To Natalie on your 3rd Birthday.

Happy 3rd Birthday Natalie! For the third year straight, I'm late on your birthday entry. But I figure since we had your birthday party early, that evens things out, right? In any case, you should get used to my lateness and crazy logic now as I don't see it changing much as you get older. It will probably just become increasingly more annoying. Until you realize that your dad is even worse than I.

You are three years old now. Three! And I think I fall a little more in love with you everyday. Watching you grow and develop is the most amazing experience for your father and I. On a daily basis you completely crack me up with your silliness, humor and expressions. As our neighbor Christie has pointed out many times, you are quite the thespian child. And I love it! Your affinity for acting out your emotions is wonderful. I hope that stays with you. You'll attract many people with your comical expressions should they continue to develop.

You are also one of the sweetest little girls I know. I love how you'll often, out of the blue say things like "I love you mommy" or "You're a good friend mommy". It just melts my heart. You get very concerned when you see someone upset and want to make them feel better. When I tell you daddy is having a bad day at work, you go give him a hug and say "it's okay daddy".

Dean and I are watching you become a little girl right before our eyes. Your becoming more independent everyday. Next week you start preschool. How did that happen? And I know you'll love it. Though you're on the quieter side, you do love to join in and play so I've no doubt you'll make friends and enjoy being around all the kids. I'm also very curious to see what sort of expressions, ideas and games you come home with. It will be the first time you've been away from me on a regular basis and I look forward to watching you grow through the new experiences of other adults and kids.

You also love to sing. You've started to make up new words to the melodies of your favorite songs like Twinkle Twinkle, ABC and Baa Baa Black Sheep. I love how you'll just suddenly break out into song in the middle of running errands. It's usually how we know you're awake in the mornings. You begin to sing. Honestly, while I'm usually thinking, can't you give mommy one more hour to sleep, even while exhausted, I'll be smiling at your morning concerts.

Oh, and did I mention that you are potty trained! After a couple slow starts, and a few meltdowns (on my part, not yours) with Dean encouraging me to stick to it, it suddenly just happened. That weekend at grandmama's solidified it. (by the way grandmama, you're hired for #2) And right in time for preschool. Phew! Okay, the gummy bears might have helped too.

And so I don't forget, here are a few interesting facts about you at this age:

- you still hate talking on the phone. You run away from it screaming "no!" most times. I'm sure I'll look back on these days fondly in the future.

- you love blueberries, milk, quesadillas,

- your best friend right now is probably Sara, who lives across the street. But you adore spending time with Nolan, Kiley, Jessie and Gabrielle too.

- When you want us to do something right away, you say "come on" in the most adorable, dragged out fashion. I really need to get that on tape.

- you have to sleep with cow, binky (I know, I know) and blue bear. Although cow is definitely preferred over blue bear.

- you always pretend play and include your cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents in the mix. I find this adorable as most of them are far away and I know they'd all love to know they are central characters in your plays.

- you have the. best. hair. ever. We still cannot go out without at least one person commenting on it. I love that. I hope you love your hair one day too. It will be one of your signature features.

- you love to play mommy monster and daddy monster.

- you are a complete water baby like your dad. Florida was a good spot to land in.

- and finally, you are just too cute for words! Here is a picture as proof.

Happy Birthday dear Natalie. Your father and I love you more than words can express, and I hope you grow up feeling this with you always. And that it allows you to explore the world, challenge yourself and be happy with yourself exactly as you are.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Birthday Fun!

Natalie is turning three on Thursday. So to honor the year, we are essentially having three birthday bashes, one for each year! Note to self: this could become very expensive down the line should this pattern continue.

The birthday fun started last weekend with a trip to DisneyWorld. When my brother came out last November, we went with him and upgraded our one day passes to three day passes. It was too good a deal to pass up. We figured we might as well milk it before she turned three and we actually have to buy her a ticket. Yeah, Disneyworld is only an hour away, but it is 'spensive! We had a great time and it was amazing to see how much more she got out of it only six months later. That's one thing I love about the young years, your kids change so quickly, something can be experienced in a whole new way in just a short time.

Here we are meeting Mickey and Minnie.
Meeting Mickey

And here are Dean and Natalie on her favorite ride, the teacups! She just loves watching the mouse pop out of the tea kettle. Thinks it's incredibly funny.

Then today, we threw her birthday party. After we narrowly averted a cake castrophe (will not be using that bakery again), much fun was had by all. Natalie is a total beach girl, just loves playing in the sand so we threw her a beach themed party and got her a sand/water table for her birthday. She was in heaven, as you can see from the photos below. Three of her little friends came over and they played in the sand, decorated visors and devoured cake. She had a really nice time. We'd invited more kids, but they couldn't make it for various reasons. And now, I'm kind of glad. I think too many more kids would have been overwhelming at this age.

And here is a cute video of her blowing out the candles. Apologies for having to endure my singing while watching.

Then on Thursday, her actual birthday, we'll have a final, small family celebration where she can open family presents and go out for ice cream or something. Hmm... and actually, now that I think about it, she may get another celebration next weekend if we head down to her grandparents house. Boy, I hope she doesn't expect a 2 week long birthday extravaganza every year! I may have just made a large parenting error... :) Time will tell. But hey, what the heck, birthdays only come once a year and if you can't overdo it when you're a kid, when else can you?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mom, you rock

Happy Mother's Day Mom!!!

I hope you're enjoying a wonderful day and I'm sorry to be so far away on a day that is meant for me to appreciate you. So many things you've done and do for me mom, have helped make me a better mom myself today. And for that, I'm eternally grateful. As a kid, it's amazing how your appreciation and love for your own mother evolves...

- when you're little, you take her for granted, mom's always there to kiss the boo-boos, make your favorite dessert and play games with you. She's there to soothe you when you're scared and help you learn how to make and be a friend.

- when you're a teenager, everything changes. Your mom can be an annoyance and suddenly much less smart than she used to be. I mean, everyone knows that driving around aimlessly all night with your 16 year old, newly licensed friends is a great idea. Come on.

- Then, you go off to college and have to start doing most things for yourself. Kaboom! All the things your mom did for you become clearly evident. Yeah, doing laundry kind of sucks, but she did it. Sometimes you really don't feel like cooking, but she did it. Sometimes you want to sleep in, but she couldn't becuase you were three and liked to get up at 6:00. Once all these realities strike, you suddenly want to go home for a weekend to have a home cooked meal, in a clean house and relax! And even HANG OUT with your parents. Whoa. Oh, and suddenly, your mom has gotten smart again like she used to be when you were little.

- Then your on your own, working at your first "real" job and realize that water, electricity and trash pick up all cost money, hard earned money that is not in abundance, a whole new appreciation arises.

- then, one day you become a mother yourself. And you REALLY start to get it. And I'm only three years in... :)

So mom, as I've gone through all my evolutions in appreciation for what you've done for me (and Pete) I hope you can enjoy this mother's day knowing that I am so grateful for all your sacrifices, for all your advice and for all the times you kept your thoughts to yourself knowing when I had to make mistakes on my own to learn something. I'm sure that was the hardest part of all.

You taught me that I could do or be whatever I wanted if I tried hard enough. Knowing that you and dad were always there to support me made this possible. Sure, I made some mistakes along the way, but you and dad taught me to learn from them, not repeat them (mostly). It's nice to know that when I'm going through a really tough mothering day myself, that you had them too, and not only survived, but flourished. That helps keep me sane on crazy days.

And becuase mom's always loves photos of their kids, here's a recent one of Pete and I.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Third Trimester Vertigo

In exciting pregnancy news, I am officially in my third trimester. Whoohoo! I am slowly gaining girth and losing speed, but very much enjoying the vigorous kicks of Dixon Chick #2. Or I guess it should be Dixon Chick #3 if I am Dixon Chick #1? Hmm... I'll have to think about that.

So, the first week of trimester three brought some fun times. I woke up early Tuesday morning, turned over in bed and experienced the most intense vertigo I've ever had. It was awful. When I flipped over, the room literally started spinning. I closed my eyes and really thought I was going to lose my cookies. This lasted about 20 secs and finally subsided. Then I was afraid to move. After awhile, I decided I should flip back over to my left side, which is optimal during pregnancy, in case I was having any blood flow issues. Bad idea. Complete vertigo once again. At this point I'm mildly freaking out, it's about 6:30am and I'm wondering if I need to wake up Dean. I'm feeling weak and nauseous and hear Natalie starting to make her waking up sounds. Uh-oh.

I lay there for awhile and then wake up Dean and tell him I need some help. I explain what I'm feeling and that I am afraid to move. He goes to get Natalie and I try to get up after awhile as I really have to pee (what woke me up in the first place). I try to sit up and again have this horrible dizziness and lie back down. After a couple times I finally am able to make my way the 10 feet to the toilet while holding on to something every step of the way.

So I'm basically completely debilitated at this point, lying in bed and Dean has to work. So Natalie gets some tv. I hear her constantly calling Dean for a show, for food, etc, and poor Dean is having a really tough morning at work, with constant conference calls and trying to manage. I finally get through to my OB and get a 1:30 appt. Dean calls our neighbor and thankfully she takes Natalie for the afternoon. The OB basically tells me I probably have water behind my ears, it's not pregnancy related and gives me a prescription for a motion sickness pill. This helps, but I'm still down for the count for the rest of the day and the next day. Things begin to subside but it is only, Friday, that I am feeling able enough to drive a car. What a nightmare. I'm still waking up early in the morning with some dizziness, but it seems to abate once I get up and start moving. Scary times. But I'm back in the land of the living (moving?) and very happy about that.

Also, I've had many requests for belly shots, so here is one from last week at 27 weeks. The thing about subsequent pregnancies, is no matter how big and uncomfortable I feel now, I know I haven't seen anything yet. I know what's coming.

Notice the gummy bears on the counter in the foreground. This is the bribery we resorted to for potty training Natalie who starts summer preschool in one month. After a slow start, it's going well. More on that later.

27 weeks

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More Florida Fun

Okay, I think this beats my frog in the toilet story. Nice to know this occurred just a bit north of us.,2933,352098,00.html

In other news, our neighbors lawn, which they just re sodded a couple months ago, is slowly being destroyed by a two foot long nutria (which is essentially a giant rat). It is burrowing under their lawn and apparently, according to google, can be quite ferocious. Joy! Upon discovering this, our neighbors called animal control. But oops, there is no animal control in Hillsborough County. Double Joy! Especially since we live right near a conservation lot, which is brimming with critters of all kinds.

Okay, who's comin' to visit? Come on...

Friday, April 18, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about friendships lately. Several things have recently transpired in my life that have provided much food for thought. I'm fortunate to have a strong group of friends that I value dearly. Now that we have moved to FL, all of them are far away, which makes keeping in touch challenging. I'm at a phase in my life where I am constantly busy with the care of a toddler (soon to be preschooler, gasp!) and preparing for a newborn on the way. I know come July, craziness will set in and keeping in touch with anyone will be that much more difficult for those first months of newborn haze. But the experiences I've had the last several weeks have made me more determined to do just that.

I recently received an email from a friend forwarding ultrasound photos of another mutual friend. I was delighted to her that my friend was pregnant and decided to email her. We had been friends back when we were both living in San Francisco. It was so great to hear back from her and catch up on the last few years of her life. I've thought of her often over the past several years, but we had dropped out of touch. I'm now very excited to watch from afar as she becomes a new mom and experiences all the joy (and challenges) that brings.

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with another friend whom I talk with several times a week. She was feeling really down and frustrated as her daughter was having some health issues and she felt like she wasn't providing healthy enough meals for her family. This is something almost every mother I know struggles with. Now that I'm a full time SAHM, I have much more time to pursue my passion of cooking. And one thing I'm trying to do is incorporate more veggies and healthy recipes into our weekly meals. So I sent my friend two books that I thought would help her jump start the healthy habits. I knew she wouldn't have time to get them right away and so I made a quick order on Amazon and off they went. When I got the call that she'd received them, it made my day that she was so happy about it. I didn't expect anything in return, it just felt great to do something nice for someone I care about.

And in true karmic form, last week, I received an unexpected care package from another girlfriend. She totally made my day! We all know how great it is to get an actual letter in the mail these days, since it's so rare. To receive a package on top of that was spectacular! It was some soothing Burts Bees belly butters for expecting moms and one for the new baby. I was so surprised and touched by this thoughtful gift, I had just this huge smile on my face while reading the note. I'd been meaning to call my friend for a few weeks to let her know we'd found out we were having a girl, but for one reason another, hadn't gotten around to it. I called her that day and we had a great chat. She's one of those people that everytime I talk with, I'm thinking, why don't I call more often?

Then, a few days ago I read this piece on my friend Sherry's blog. She too has been thinking about friendship and like me, is far from many of her girlfriends. I keep up with Sherry mainly through her blogs and love hearing about her life in Ireland. Again, she's a friend I don't regularly chat with, but if you're reading this Sherry, do know I think about you often!

Good friendships are very rare and I think more difficult to keep strong when distance and time become a factor. Once one has a family, trying to keep up with the day to day pace of work, kids and home leaves most of us little time or energy to call or email old friends. But if you stop to think about it, not much is more important in our lives than our relationships. So if you're reading this, I encourage you to email or call a friend you've been thinking about this week. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

Monday, April 07, 2008

You've Got Mail

Well, Dean actually. He was greeted by this big daddy a couple days ago.

Meanwhile, this afternoon I discovered that only in Florida can you be walking out to your mailbox to post a letter, startle at the lizard in the mailbox enough to jump and have a total stranger who happens to be walking by right at that moment say "lizard?" and smile. Gotta love the lifestyle here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Found Today on Our Lanai

wasp of death

Okay, we have a screened lanai. With a wasp killer hanging by the pool as backup. And yet the above is what was hanging out on our lanai ceiling this afternoon. Might not look like much to you, but to me, that is the wasp of death that can kill me in a matter of hours. Inside what is supposed to be my sanctuary from the Florida bugs. Joy.

Did I mention how happy I am to be heading to California for ten days?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Easter Bunny!

One thing I've discovered as a parent is the holiday "season". While every holiday literally is just one day, once you have a child, every holiday morphs into it's own little holiday season, full of events and activities. Though Easter Sunday is still almost a week out, we've already had two Easter celebrations. Oh yeah, and my daughter is two. And not in school yet. Crazy! Honestly though, I get into it. Why, photo ops of course!

Our neighbors daughter is four, and one of Natalie's best friends, so we dressed up the girls and took them to the local chocolate shop where the Easter Bunny was waiting. The girls are too cute, if I do say so myself. Oh and Pete, if you're reading this, I did pick up a little something to bring out west this weekend...

After a treat for the girls, we stopped at the wine shop next door so we could get some treats for the adults. I am slowing stocking our wine bar with good wine so I will be all set once baby #2 arrives in July. I have no problems giving up wine in the short term, but lemme tell ya, I sure do miss it on days like today when darling daughter does not nap.

One question though, why is it that every holiday seems to involve candy? While I admit, this was great when I was a kid, as an adult, it has it's drawbacks. We try to limit Natalie's sugar intake to avoid melt downs. That means after each event, there is much leftover candy that is brought home. Now that I am not working full time, and Dean is working full time, but from home, we have no outlets for said candy. You know how it is, right after every holiday, your office is suddenly filled with baskets of candy around the water cooler. This usually lasts for about a week or so and by the end of it you're either craving a salad due to overindulgence or learning to keep your fat butt away from the water cooler for a few days to avoid temptation. Now, imagine this scenario: the water cooler is your kitchen, you are home throughout the day, you are 5 months pregnant and your daughter has recently given up naps. Yeah, it ain't pretty. Okay, off to get some chocolate, er, a glass of water...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

No Name Changes Here

I've been wondering for awhile if I would need to change the name of this blog. Recent life events could have suggested this would be a good idea. However, as it turns out, this won't be necessary. Why? Well... a little secret I've been holding out on for those I don't chat with regularly is that, I am pregnant! Due July 28th. With another girl!

We are very excited about having another girl, Dean in particular. When I asked him several weeks ago if he had a preference for this one, he actually said he thought he'd kind of prefer to have another girl. I think because he thought they would be likely to have a close bond. I find this very endearing, and so sweet. Nothing like daddy's little girl(s). I'll have to make sure I remind him of this when they are teenagers. And want to go on a first date. At 13. With that cute 17yr old they met on MySpace.

But that aside, now that we know we are having a girl, I can start planning! I'm really excited to decorate another nursery. My quandary is that the room is now our guest room/my office and I love the decor of it. If we were having a boy, I likely would have kept to make it work. But with a girl, I'm not so sure. Take a look...

Guest Room

The bed and curtains were the previous owners, but the wallpaper and border are what I love. They have little suns and moons, which I find adorable for a nursery. I'm trying to decide if I can keep the wallpaper, find a border with more feminine colors and repaint the walls more of a golden yellow. I really like the border too, but it just seems too masculine for a baby girl. But if you've got any good ideas on how to make it work, please share!

Now about that due date. July 28th. That means the middle of summer. In Florida. In 97 degree heat with about 90% humidity. Ugh. It's not going to be pretty. I'm petite, so when I'm fully pregnant, I look ridiculous anyway. I can only imagine how I will look this summer, likely swollen and miserable. Don't hold your breath for the photos... Just remind me when I get cranky to keep my eye on the prize.

In the meantime, put in your votes for girl names now, all suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, February 21, 2008