Monthly Archive for August, 2007

The View from the Top

What a week!   

This week has flown by in the blink of an eye, yet at the same time, I feel as though Friday was taking its sweet ol’ time getting here!  How does that happen?  I feel like I’ve been on a really long hike, and the summit is just up ahead.  This hasn’t been a leisurely stroll.  This has been one of those “come on, it’ll be easy!” hikes my hubby used to convince me to take.  The journey up the trail is arduous, but the view from the top is amazing.

I’m not sure why this week has been such a struggle.  Claire has been really good.  She’s made my job quite challenging, but that’s nothing new.  I didn’t get completely slammed with files like I have the last couple weeks.  It’s funny, but my job always reminds me of Boyle’s Law.  It’s that law we learned in high school about how a gas will expand to fill its container.  That is exactly what happened with my week!   I think I had fewer things to do, but they expanded to fill my time.

So, I’ve been hiking and hiking and hiking, and at around 3pm, everyday, I’d see what I thought to be the summit!  There it is!  We’ve almost made it!  I take another drink of water, tighten my backpack straps, and trudge on up the trail.  We get to the top, and see that this isn’t the top.  The top is over there!  It’s not much farther.  Honest.  Come on, be a good sport.  Stop looking at me like that.  I thought you liked hiking.  Stop being such a wussy. 

This scenario was repeated every day for a week.  That’s why I’m so tired.   😉    

But, it’s Friday!  We made it!  I really can see the top from here!  I have just a couple of files to wrap up, and then I should be able to enjoy the view. 

Daddy is leaving tonight to go on a real backpacking trip (not the fictitious one that’s been taunting me all week).  Claire and I will get to have a girls’ weekend!  We love it when Daddy’s at home, but having a weekend to ourselves is nice too. 

I’m not sure what we’ll do, yet…but I don’t think we’ll do much hiking.  I’ve done enough of that already.  😉  

21-months old today!

Claire turned 21-months old today! It is also the birthday of her Grandma (my mom) and one of her cousins! (Nephew Five is now Six!)

Ever since Merlin and Jasper’s birthday, Claire has been saying, “Happy Birday, Moh-Moh!! Happy Birday Jack-oh!!” repeatedly. She will even replace their names with everyone else’s names. She thinks it’s a random greeting, like “Nighty-Night!” or “Bye-Bye!” Of course, I could only get her to say it once on the phone with Grandma. Sure enough, as soon as we hung up, she’s said it non-stop. Toddlers are such wily and unruly beasts. 😉

I’m just amazed at how much she’s changed over the last 21-months. I remember laying on the floor with her, trying to get her to roll over. “Come on Claire. You can do it! You can do it!” She actually rolled over once when she was two months old, but she really started doing it when she was four months old. So, now it’s kinda funny that I spend most of my day saying, “Is it a good idea to stand on the chair like that? I don’t think so! Sit down!”

Of course, I remember how excited we were when she took her first step without holding on to anything. It seems like so long ago, now! She’d been ‘cruising’ the furniture for a long time, and those first real steps were great to see! Now, I spend most of my time saying, “Wow. Slow down!” I still say, “Walk! Walk! Walk!” but I mean “as opposed to running,” rather than “I know you can do it….if you’d just let go of the couch.”

It’s funny how things change. 😉

One day old! 21 months old!

Claire, barely a day old – Claire at 21-months

Shake, shake, shake. Shake your booty.

For some reason, I’ve always liked this song. When I’m getting things ready in the kitchen, I’ll sing it and shake my booty right along to the music. Claire loves it, and she’ll dance and sing, too. All I have to do is say, “Shake, shake, shake…Shake, shake, shake…” and she’ll sing, “Shake your boooooooo-tay.” 🙂

So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, Claire has really started picking up on the nuances of language and noticing that some words have the same sound but mean different things. Take the word “shake” for example. In the song, it means to move. But, it can also refer to a yummy drink that I sometimes have for breakfast or lunch.

Because of my altered work schedule and trying to get as much done as is humanly possible during the day, I’ve been drinking a shake for one of those meals. I’m not doing it for weight-loss purposes; the convenience factor is high with these, and they are healthier than grabbing something less nutritional to shove in my mouth while Claire is sleeping or eating or running around like a crazy person.

A few years before I had Claire, I joined Weight Watchers, lost 40 lbs, and became a Lifetime Member. I have the perfect personality for counting points, and I loved the fact that I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I recorded it in my journal and stayed within my point values for the day. I’d successfully kept the weight off, and after I had Claire, I knew that I could get back into the swing of things. Luckily, I was able to, and although I don’t record the points faithfully anymore, the good eating habits I learned in WW have stuck, so the baby weight is pretty much under control. Old habits die hard, and I still remember the point values of most things anyway.

So, when I was in WW, I found that if I saved my points during the day, I could eat more at night with my hubby. The shakes are only 3 points a piece, and when coupled with a low-point lunch (or breakfast, depending on which meal it has replaced), they leave my dinner options wide open.

Another thing I drink is Diet Coke. At one time, it was my favorite drink and really helped with the weight loss. Diet Cokes are zero points, and can serve as a little pick-me-up during the day.

Years after I’d reached and stayed at my goal, my hubby and I decided to “stop preventing” and see what happened. At that time, I swore off all caffeinated beverages. My doctor was rather conservative and suggested I not partake of the caffeine while pregnant, and I decided to follow her advice. Also, some people believe that caffeine withdrawal is a myth, but I didn’t want to deal with the potential agony of that process and the pitfalls of being pregnant. Luckily, I didn’t seem to have any withdrawal symptoms from my caffeine habit, and I got pregnant a few months later.

I was horribly sick with “morning sickness” for months (I put that in quotes, because it was more like morning-noon-night sickness for me!), and as much as a Diet Coke had soothed me in the past, I refrained. I didn’t even return to its loving arms after I had Claire and was dealing with the exhaustion of being a new parent, because I was breastfeeding, and I really didn’t want to see the effects of a caffeinated baby firsthand. Plus, I’d not had it for so long now, what was another year?

Claire has always been a good sleeper, and part of me wonders if there’s a connection. Either way, after I had breastfed Claire for a year and she was weaned, I went back to the loving arms of my illicit lover, Diet Coke. It was though nothing had changed, and we’ve rekindled our affair.

So, the other morning, we’re all in the kitchen, and I’m making breakfast for Claire.

“Coke! Momma’s Coke!” Claire said excitedly as she saw the can at my place at the table.

“No, Claire, that’s not Momma’s Coke. I know it’s surprising that it isn’t her Diet Coke, because I know that’s what she normally has for breakfast,” Daddy said as he grinned at me. “It’s really a chocolate shake in a can. You’ll need to learn the word chocolate, because it’s what makes Momma’s life easier.”

“Actually, chocolate for Momma makes everyone’s lives easier,” I said with a wink and a smile. “And, Daddy’s right! That’s not a Diet Coke; that’s a shake!”

“Shake your boo-tay!” Claire yelled as she bounced up and down in her highchair.

And that’s why I have a Band-Aid on my hand

This Sunday, as my hubby was working on more bathroom projects, I was attacked by a band of roaming pygmies!  (Not unlike the pygmies that often attacked Ally McBeal. They’ve attacked before, but only during the week!  I wasn’t even working on files!)  They jumped out from under the deck and started chasing me, their flaming arrows whizzing by my ears. I ran as fast as I could, but they were gaining on me. 

Just as I thought I was a goner, I got to a ravine and noticed an old rickety rope bridge!  Using my best Indiana Jones impression, I ran onto the bridge, and it snapped!  I grabbed a hold of the ropes and hung on for dear life.  I crashed into the side of the rocky ravine, but amazingly didn’t fall! 

I pulled myself up to the top, and there it was!  A wild boar!  It was frothing at the mouth and was quite angry.  As I scrambled away from the edge of the cliff, it started chasing me through the thick underbrush. 

That’s when I stumbled onto a highway!  A truck was coming around the corner, and it slowed as the driver spotted me.  He pulled me into the cab, just as the wild boar burst out of the thicket after me! 

As we were driving down the highway, the man pulled a knife on me!  I couldn’t believe my luck!  I quickly tightened my seatbelt and then pulled the emergency brake!  He went right through the windshield as the truck came to a screeching halt. 

That’s when I called my husband on my cell phone, and he came to get me.  Luckily, I still had on my GPS ankle bracelet he makes me wear, so he was able to locate me on his digital map.  He was irritated about having to stop his project, but glad I was safe at home.   

Claire was still taking her nap and was none the wiser. 

After getting settled down and cleaned up, my hubby asked me to go turn the breaker back on, so that we could check to see if he had the fan/light wired up correctly in the Master Bathroom.  As I was walking through the kitchen, I just happened to randomly hit the back of my hand on the pointy part of the kitchen counter!  The pain was excruciating, and the wound very gross-looking.  It still hurts today, and I’ve iced it as much as I can stand. 

Okay, maybe I embellished a bit of my tale…I’ll let you figure out which part is true.  Here’s a hint…it’s the boring part and doesn’t involve the “never run onto structures that can’t support your weight,” “never underestimate the power and agility of wildlife,” “never get into a car with a stranger,” and “always wear your seatbelt” morals-of-the-story.  😉

Decisions, decisions…

So, what color should we paint the Master Bathroom? That is the question of the day…er, week…er, month. The Master Bathroom is a two room “suite” that includes a room for the shower and toilet and a separate room that houses the double-sink and vanity area. Both rooms of this Master Bathroom “area” are currently white.

 

We’ve always had good luck picking colors together. When we painted the kitchen, we knew we wanted a green for the walls. We decided to pick our top three colors, secretly, so that the other person wouldn’t be swayed by peer pressure. Of the 235 paint chips, I picked A, B, C. My hubby then picked C, B, A. So, we went with B, Montpelier Olive. Wow. Out of all of those choices, we both picked the same top three colors, just in different order…and our second choice was exactly the same. That was easy!

 

Picking the colors for Claire’s room (Icelandic) and the Main Bathroom (Spicy Cayenne) were just as simple.

 

A year or so ago, when we painted the Master Bedroom, our process was lagging along. We’d ordered new furniture, and we wanted the color to show that off and match the carpet and be soothing, etc. etc. etc. We just could not decide on a color. It wasn’t that we were disagreeing with each other; it was just that we honestly could not decide between the minute variances in the different shades of “light-taupish-beigish-creamish” that we wanted. All 42 of them. All of a sudden, the phone rang, and it was the furniture place. Our new furniture was in! Two weeks early! They would be able to deliver it tomorrow! In the blink of an eye, our time-frame for deciding was cut to 20-minutes, and we both decided on a color, and that decision was made. We went with “Natural,” naturally, 😉 and we’ve been very pleased with the color.

 

So, what’s taking so long with the Master Bathroom Color Decision? I really don’t know. When we started this process, we both said out loud we wanted a “yellowish” for the walls, or maybe a “creamish” or maybe a “greenish” or maybe a…and there it started. We picked out a ton of paint-chips and have been deliberating ever since. Thankfully, we’ve narrowed the playing field to four different choices.

 

We don’t want to paint the entire area the same color. We like the white of the area by the double-sinks. We don’t want to leave the room with the wall-tiles white, but we don’t want to detract from them either. We want to find a nice color that also doesn’t compete with the “Natural” of the bedroom. Maybe we could just paint the room with the shower and toilet one color and use that same color on an accent wall in the other area.

 

Yesterday morning, my hubby had a great idea. Why not just use the same color as the bedroom? That’s a great idea! It won’t contradict anything; it won’t detract from the color of the tiles, and it’s not white. Of course, when asked if that should be the final decision, we’re just not sure…so, now we have five colors that need to duke it out.

 

Time is ticking, and I’m sure we’ll make a decision soon. Where’s a furniture delivery place on a deadline when you need it?? 😉 In the meantime, here are the contenders, conveniently resting on the floor-tiles, wall-tiles, and carpet for reference:

 

Color Choices for Master Bathroom

 

 

(Click photo to enlarge. If you click on the photo a second time, you’ll see even more detail.)

The paint color choices are: Natural, Churchill Hotel Wheat, Filoli Gold Ecru, Filoli Antique Lace, and Warm Buff. (Not that it matters…it’s so hard to tell what a color is by the name; that’s for sure!)

 

Stay tuned for the answer!

Dixon Ticonderoga, Archrival

“Do you have any pencils?” my hubby asks me in a hurried voice. We were working on more bathroom projects this weekend, and he always loses his pencil. If I’ve told him once, I’ve told him a thousand times…

“Ugh. WHAT have I always said?” I say, trying to contain my eye-roll.

“Aaaargh! That’s so annoying,” he mutters, as he stomps out of my office.

“What have I always told you?” I call after him. “I…WILL…NEVER…HAVE…ANY…PENCILS…IN…HERE, no matter how many times you ask me.”

“I know, but I keep hoping.”

Maybe I should hide them all in here, just to mess with him? 😉

Up and at ‘em

This morning, we were all awakened by the Learning Puppy.  I’d forgotten to turn him off last night, and I could hear his precious high-pitched voice coming in loud and clear over the baby monitor.  Claire had accidentally kicked him in her sleep, which brought him to life.  He started singing the ABC’s and playing Patty-Cake and begging to be hugged.  This morning serenade was quite annoying, to say the least.

Normally, Claire sleeps in, and for that we are very grateful.  Today, this wasn’t to be, and she got up around 7:00.  I know, I know…that’s late to some people, but here?  Here, that’s practically the crack of dawn…especially on a Monday.  😉  

Because she was all energized by her psychotic puppy friend, she was up and raring to go.  What better way to get the blood flowing than by an early morning horsy ride?  I love riding horses in the crisp morning air, and if we actually had horses, this would have been a great plan.

Details, details.  Since when did reality stand in the way of having a good time?

“I wanna ride a horsy RIGHT NOW.  Please, Momma?” she begged.

“Okay, you can ride a horsy.”  I’m such a pushover.  So, she hopped up and we were off. For some reason, when I’d showed Claire this game this weekend, I had altered it from the version I learned as a child to include Claire straddling my midsection as I bounce up and down.  This weekend, we’d ridden horses in the living room and in the bedroom, and it’s much easier on Momma’s back to ride a horsy on the bed.  😉  Claire loved it, and Momma would get a good abs workout out of the deal.  Two birds.  One stone.

So, this morning Claire rode her horsy all over, and we made it back in time for breakfast.

So, even though I got a good night’s sleep last night, why am I so tired this morning?  Oh, that’s right.  I was woken up by the singing and laughing of a magical puppy, and then I was forced to turn into a horse and give my daughter rides all over the countryside.

For real.  What’s so hard to believe about that?  😉

Express yourself

Claire has reached the point where she can express her emotions and feelings using words, rather than resort to guttural screams and wild gestures.  🙂  I’m not sure what the “typical” age is for reaching this milestone, but it’s pretty cool to see this in action. 

It was on our trip to the Midwest in July that I noticed Claire was starting to do this.  She was sitting in the highchair eating, and all of a sudden, she sighed a really big sigh and said, “Claire sleepy.”  I was shocked!

“Claire, are you sleepy?  Are you tired?”  She nodded her head.  “Claire sleepy,” she said again as she sighed again and cocked her head to one side, resting it on her shoulder.  Wow, this is a pretty cool development!

Since then, she’s done this numerous times with the word “happy.”  We’ll be playing, and she’ll stop what she’s doing and say, “Claire happy!  Claire happy!” and then continue playing.  Or, she’ll look at me when I’m laughing about something and say, “Momma happy!”  Yes, I am…very much so, in fact!

She’s even been able to tell me when something is hurting, like her tummy or her teeth.  I realize those aren’t technically emotions, but the ability to verbally express what she’s feeling is amazing to me.  Sometimes I’ll test her just to be sure I understand her correctly.  She’ll say, “Tummy hurt,” and I’ll ask if her tummy hurts, and she’ll say it does.  Then, I’ll ask her if her tummy feels good, and she’ll tell me it doesn’t.  Of course, since the source of contention has been properly identified, I’m able to rub her tummy, and we’re well on our way to a happier Claire.

On the flip-side, how does Claire express that she isn’t happy?  Well, the full-blown tantrum seems to get that point across rather effectively, but it’s pretty comical when she stops flailing for a moment and says, “NOT HAPPY!” with dramatic inflection.  Really?  Claire isn’t happy?  Thanks for letting me know.  Now, if we could just forego the tantrum for the corresponding verbal expression of displeasure, that would be awesome.  😉

The End of an Era

On Wednesday, Claire and I were able to sneak off to the salon during a break in the files so that I could have my eyebrows waxed.  I try to go once a month, give or take a couple weeks, because they get rather unruly rather quickly, and I’m just not skilled.  It’s for things like these that I’d gladly pay a professional.  🙂 

I’ve gone to the same aesthetician for six years.  She is, in fact, the only one I’ve ever had do my eyebrows!  Her name is Linda, which is very confusing to Claire, because we have a good friend named Linda. 

Other than a couple appointments when she was a newborn, I’ve always taken Claire with me.  She was a very good baby in her little pumpkin-carrier of a car seat, and as she’s gotten older, she’s been really good about these visits.  In fact, Linda insists that I bring Claire with me, which has made scheduling these little visits pretty simple.  Claire always quietly sits on me as Linda works her magic.   

She’s mesmerized by the soothing music, dim lighting, odd magnifying glass, and the hot wax.  I’m sure we’ll reach a time when I need to make these appointments correspond with Daddy’s off-work schedule, but for now, it works. This visit was no different. 

Linda was very excited to see us, and she’s always amazed at how much Claire has grown since the last visit.  Claire was a little confused to not find “Ninna,” our friend Linda, at the salon, but she soon realized that I’d been talking about a different Linda.  Oh, you meant this Linda! 

During our visit, we always catch up and visit as Linda works.  I told her about our trip to Santa Fe, and we chatted about the new things Claire is doing.  She finishes up, and as I’m gathering my purse, she gets an odd look in her eye and says, “This is very hard for me…but I’m moving.  I’m quitting and moving to Albuquerque, because Richard proposed!”  Her face bursts into a joyful expression as she throws her left hand forward. 

I hadn’t even noticed the ring!  I’d been too busy trying to keep Claire from pulling products off the shelves and ushering her to the back “spa” section to notice anything different. 

It was hard to be devastated with Linda standing there beaming.  What am I going to do?  She’s been a part of my life for six years!  “Congratulations!  That’s great!” I said out loud, silently gasping for breath in my head. 

She went right into her prepared speech about “Lauren” who will be taking over her clients, and blah blah blah.  Honestly, I only heard the “Lauren” part and something about how she charges the same and has a different schedule.  Linda has been a part of my life for six years!  And, she’s leaving me?  Just like that? 

“Uh, Richard didn’t clear this with any of us,” I jokingly said.  “This is all coming as quite a shock!”  She and I have always joked, and she thought I was joking this time, too.  😉  She went on to tell me about how he proposed and how excited she was to start this new life.  I know in talking to her over the years that both of her parents had passed away years ago, and that she doesn’t have any other family.  Linda is not a young woman, and I was happy that she’d found someone to share her life.  But, still, I was stunned.

I know it seems silly to be so emotional over “just an aesthetician,” but Linda was much more that that.  Just as people spill their guts to bartenders and barbers, Linda was like my therapist.  She’d seen all the changes in my life, the highs and lows, the sadness and joy.  You can’t hide the emotions on your face when someone is studying your eyebrows.  She’d been a part of my life, every month, for the last six years.  I’d left every visit with a calmer outlook and beautifully sculpted brows.  Talk about getting a bargain!

“I’ll really miss you,” I said, and the tears welled up in my eyes.  Of course, my eyes always water when I get my eyebrows done, so I was hoping she didn’t notice.  Claire and I gave her a big hug and wished her the best.

So, I wonder what this “Lauren” person is like.  At least Claire won’t be so confused when we go to visit.

And, it’s served in the finest of restaurants…

It was getting to be time for dinner, and we were trying to decide what to have to eat.  My hubby asks me, “So, what would you like to have for dinner tonight?” 

“I don’t know…” I said.  “Claire, what would you like to eat?” 

“No,” she replied matter-of-factly. 

I decided to have a little fun with her answer.  As my friends from college can attest, they would often accuse me of taking things too literally, to which I would respond, “How is that possible?  I don’t even know where Literally is…let alone be able to take something there.” 😉 

“You want to have No for dinner?  I don’t know what kind of food No is!  Claire, what does No taste like?”  I asked her. 

“No tastes yucky, Momma,” she replied, just as plain as day. 

I don’t know about you, but I think I’d rather have Yes for dinner.