Monday, December 31, 2007

A Happy Christmas!

We did have a great little Christmas! There will be more later, for now I'm just posting a couple little movies. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Toy rant and the fluffy stuff

Why is it SO difficult to find toys that aren't made in China?
I already know the answer(s), outsourcing, cheaper labor & materials, blah, blah, blah. It doesn't alleviate my frustration though, AND it has caused me, on more than one occasion, to question Chinese motives. They've capitalized on American Capitalism, have they "one-upped" us? A country that can "do" capitalism better than we can?? I think we're outnumbered.
Even the 'European' toys, designed in Switzerland, Germany, or Holland, are manufactured in China. One of my favorite toy-sites at least has the awareness to post a list of all the toy makers' design location versus manufacturer location. Of course, the toys that are designed & made in the same country are a bit more expensive than those made in China. Have you ever been to a Mills' Mall? Colorado Mills, Grapevine Mills, Katy Mills, etc. They're everywhere and if one were to look at the manufacturer labels attached to items in those malls, overwhelmingly it's all made in China. It freaks me out.

ANYWAY, It's snowing again, I think that's the 4th time since we moved that the fluffy white stuff has covered the ground here. And you can bet I'll keep talking about it well into January or later. It's such a NEW thing for us.
We've played in the snow some, took a walk in the park early Sunday morning. Washington Park is even better covered with snow. Unable to see the trails, curbs, driveways, it's just one gorgeous open space, covered in powdery snow. There were plenty of people out that morning with their dogs, Fiona would loved to have trotted across 2 acres to visit with the boisterous puppies, but Gary had safety in mind---and he's right, a bite to the face when The Toddleator is in the wrong place at the wrong time is worth avoiding.
Fiona's getting used to putting on all the gear before we go out, I'm getting better with keeping track of the hats, gloves, mittens, snowsuit, and coats. I'd still like to purchase a winter baby-sack that fits with the jogger so that we can go for walks. I haven't yet tried jogging in the snow, though I've seen plenty of people wearing all manner of gear, and some with just shorts & tee-shirt---wow. It looks like fun, but with out the right stuff I'm betting parts of me would freeze and break off. (Note: jogger snowshoes at right)

How many times can Fiona say Mamma in a day? I've no idea, but sometimes I start wishing she would say anything else. Mostly her dialogue consists of, "Mamma, mamma,mammamammamammamammamamma....puppieee, cTaht (cat), puppieee....no, mammamammamammamammamammamammamamma, cTaht, cTaht, puppieee, PAAPPAAA, Papa....meaow, meaow, mamamamamamamamamamama, mammiee...MAMA...
NO, noooooo, no...baahh-byyye." repeat, and then some. Those are her favorite words. I think maybe anxiously awaiting her to talk was, well, misplaced. BUT, it's fun to hear her babbling about everything, pointing and talking about what she sees out the window (mostly snow lately), when she sees something out the car window she has to get my attention to then sign what she's seen. Fiona has begun combining signing with talking, signing phrases, and then there are the times when she gets distracted from her original aim, and after she's got my attention her dialogue sort of wanders off to neverland. She likes to pooch out her lips when she wants a kiss, and will immediately start calling for her Papa when we arrive home after some errand. She's a tiny tenacious, vivacious, little person. She's got a moment to moment agenda, it's mesmerizing to watch her play. One of her favorite things to do lately is diaper, clothe, and feed her stuffed animals. I think it's about time for a proper baby doll!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bedtime Stories

Fiona signs, a LOT. I'm really glad she can communicate, I'm happy to see her using signs to 'talk' about things she sees. It happens a several times a week that she'll see an animal of some sort and begin excitedly signing, pointing, and saying "Mama" over and over. Sometimes Gary & I are stumped, we have to really look to find the animal in question. At a diner on our way back from Texas (Freedom Cafe, Texline---great roadside diner experience, great food) Fiona sat in my lap until the food came. She signed 'horse' over and over and over, Gary couldn't find the quadruped in question, I looked...and looked. Ah-Ha, I spotted it, a ranch sign across the road silhouetting a cowboy herding cattle, a la back-lit sunset scene. Wow, talk about "I Spy".

Our first morning back home, Fiona woke up too early---too early for us. She might still be on Texas time somewhat. After my ever-groggy first diaper change of the day, I figure she can snuggle with us in the "big" bed for a while, maybe I can doze a little more. Alas, Miss Fiona awakes like an ignited rocket and continues on her random course until nap-time. No snoozing, at least not for Mamma (Gary's just lucky like that). She looked at me, said "Mahmmie" and signed 'eat'. You're hungry? Ok lets go get breakfast started.

Later that evening, it's Fiona's bedtime. After about 45 minutes, she's still awake, complaining loudly. I visit her and she signs 'eat'. Alright little one, you can sit with Papa & have a snack, as soon as you leave Papa's cozy spot on the couch you're going back to bed. She agreed and we sought out milk & cookies. When Fiona did eventually venture away from the couch upon finishing her snack, I stuck to my word and deposited her back in her crib. She was upset. Clinging to me and crying. I explained the situation again, time for sleeping, etc. She then signs 'eat' again, I replied (stifling a giggle) that she'd already eaten and it was time for sleeping. After appealing to Papa, who was witnessing this exchange, Fiona then signs 'diaper change' over and over. Gary checked her, she's only a little wet. Ok, so, changed her diaper without taking her out of the crib. More complaining, more than a few actual tears after we gave more kisses and left the room. Just amazes me, she's that bright already to attempt stalling her bedtime...sheesh, I may have created a monster! At nap time today, after lunch, Fiona tried the 'eat' sign again. And just now when I heard her cry, Gary went in to check her, and Miss Fiona give a slightly desperate 'diaper change' sign. Gary didn't fall for it though, he's not completely wrapped around her finger---yet.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

TriathMom


My name is Ada, and I am officially a Triathlete!
Race day was overcast in the seventies. Had a dream just before the alarm went off that I was late, and having to rush Fiona & Gary to get going before the transition area closed.
My first race was a reverse sprint distance triathlon (5k run, 15.5mi bike, 350yd swim). Normally tri's are swim/bike/run, this was run/bike/swim...something I only discovered a week before the race, a fact that also sent me into a bit of tailspin regarding my preparation. But, with a lot of visualization and practice for transitions, I felt much more comfortable with the idea.
Prepped everything Saturday night, got my bag ready, my number in order, visualized an attack.

Race morning, woke up before the alarm with the aforementioned semi-nightmare. Up and eating almost immediately so as to enusure plenty of time between eating & running. Yoga out front 'cause it was certainly warm enough, and I'm trying to keep calm. The hummidity was pretty high, a cold front came in later that day and so we had all the humidity & warmth that preceeds said cold front that morning. Dressed, woke Gary, piled in the car w/ bike on the back. Arrived on scene, athletes milling about setting up transitions, laughing, they're definitely less nervous than me. Saw some kids there, I joked to one that I bet I was more nervous than he was. Dry heaved a couple of times, but didn't vomit--a bonus 'cause I needed to keep the food down for energy purposes. Got the bike checked out, got my body marked 539. After a stuttered conversation with a staffer, figured it's better I just don't talk to too many people 'cause I just sound like an idiot. Wander about some, try to keep warmed up, said hi again to The Man & The Child, seemed like hanging around them the anxiety intensified, so, back to registration. Picked up timing chip, very important, don't forget to pick up timing chip. Then there was a meeting about rules & regs, the USAT guys said a few things, and then it was time to begin. They didn't have a gun or air-horn, so it was a "1...2...3...GO" start. I thought it was cute.

RUN; went fine, I've never thought running was really that much fun and I guess I find it still more a chore than anything, although my endurance has most definitely improved. Got bored toward the end, couldn't wait to get on the bike. 33m 13s
T1: 1m 46s dropped my sunglasses at one point
BIKE; started kick ass, then heart rate when too far up, backed off, tried to stay comfortable, passed a handful of people or more. Should have had more water, humidity was more than usual and felt a headache sneaking in the background too early on. The ride was nice, wet road in some areas, I saw one woman busted up in an intersection, pretty sure she finished though. 1h 9m 28s
T2: 52s easy, strip off everything, pop in earplugs, jog to pool
SWIM; felt fine until the staffer said, "GO". Strokes were relaxed & even, then my breathing went awry and I had to be on my back for 25 yds or so. Freestyle was definitely easier though and I made it all the way, only one person passed me, and I passed one person. At that point in the race there weren't too many people left in the pool. 9m 49s
THEN jog to the finish line, at this point my body started to revolt, sounded like "you want me to WHAT? No way, uh-uh, no more, you're DONE." So I'm searching for the finish line...funny I never saw it until just before I crossed it, I mean it IS A HUGE BLOWN UP GREEN ARCH, jeaz, Ada! (I've learned that part of the challenge for a reverse is using the lower muscles a whole bunch then suddenly switching to upper/full body for a while.)
TOTAL TIME 1h 55m 07s

Gary said the only time I looked as if I was rattled was after the pool on the way to finishing. Well, like I said, the mind had to completely ignore the lamentations of the lungs & legs for long enough to get out there. He said, he was yelling, "SMILE THEY'RE TAKIN' YOUR PICTURE", I vaguely remember hearing that, but I was too involved with getting FINISHED at that point.
And so I became a triathlete.

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Links for race results & photos:
http://www.doitsports.com/groups/results/timers-calendar.tcl?group_id=91
click on tri age group OR overall
http://www.partypics.com/ver2/EventImages.aspx?EventID=580301
I'm in there but it's kinda hard to sift through the picks, they don't have finish line pics yet.

Turkey with the Family


It was great! We had a fantastic time all day, prepping for dinner, I made a few pies, finally eating turkey with all the fixins, and then later we got to sit and visit with cousins, who came to visit. Fiona was insane-cute in her slightly too big Thanksgiving outfit. Wandering about Granparent's house...which, exacto-knives aside, proved to be a whole lot of fun for her. She warmed up to Gramma & Pop shortly after our arrival, evidenced by her leading them around by fingers to go look at anything & everything. Sometimes Fiona has a goal in mind when pulling Granpa up from his comfy spot on the couch with just one finger, otherwise Pop is just at the mercy of the aimlessly curiousity in the 19 month old mind.

We drove to Austin for the weekend to visit Richard & Sally expecting baby #1 this month. And got a late lunch visit with my dear friend Nicolette who has purchased her first home, congratulations! We fit in a trip to visit Great-grandma Miimi, and Chris & Lisa. Fiona was mostly interested in the Christmas tree set up in the foyer, but she did try to drag Miimi out of her she at least once to discuss the ornamentation. It's heartbreaking for me to see Miimi aged & slightly befuddled, she's such a neat lady. I love her so, I wish that I were able to visit more often...I think she remembered me for the brief moments after we found her dozing in a chair before tiring her with baby & conversation, but such is old age. *sigh*
Back at the Grandparents' Bowman house we had a rather uneventful week after thanksgiving, I was concentrating on my triathlon, and mainly caring for babygirl. (I'm putting the Tri in a separate posting) Fiona took us all out one at a time and at least once a day to visit the kitties, dog, horses, chickens, & turkeys in the back. She thoroughly enjoyed all the space and most definitely the animals.
All in all it was a fine trip, Gary & I really enjoyed watching Fiona expand her familial horizons. Yesterday, she pulled some family photos off the fridge, wandered about the apartment talking about the people she misses. It's really amazing to witnessed all this development, nothing will ever compare.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Firetrucks & Tri-run races


Last week we visited a fire house. Fiona was really into "driving" the truck when she got the chance, and was summarily disappointed when I had to pull her out for other kids to take a turn.
She's added a couple of words, sometimes indistinguishable from jibberish, but it's a comforting noise to hear in the background of the mundane daily things. It's like birdsong. When she's too quiet for too long I always go look in on her, if she's in her room, usually she's concentrating wholeheartedly on something or maybe just sitting look at books. One day last week, she was too quiet, I went to her room to discover she had fallen asleep on the floor! I guess I mistimed the nap that day.

I did a practice race today in the gym, just to check my progress, to see where I stand. I feel SO much better knowing that when race day comes I'll be completely prepared.
Tomorrow Gary & I are going to Monday Night Football, Titans @ Broncos! We found a highly qualified sitter that we are both comfortable with, and Fiona took a liking to immediately. So it'll be grown-up time, yay!
Then Tuesday, super-early, we are leaving for North Texas, supposed to make it in one day. We'll be trading off driving to break up the monotony, and I'm trying to make a mental list of everything Fiona might want or need for the 2 weeks we're staying with Gammie & Pop.
SO, if you're in the area, give us a holler! And HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mean People, Peas, & 18 month check in


Miss Fiona says "No".
It's not really a big "no", kinda more like "nope" with a shake of the head...and it is the answer for everything. Even if I were to ask her about something that she is doing, the answer is still an endearing "no". It's entertaining, obviously more a practice than a real refusal. She also nods her head in big dips, practicing a "yep" or "yeah", her yes is more like a "djess" and it's rare. Other words, Mamma, Pah-pbah, bee-bee (baby), and many more attempts at much used words. Today we saw Dr. Katz for Fiona's 18 month check-up. She is 22 lbs 10 oz (35th percentile), 34 inches (95th percentile). We both got flu shots and the doc says that she's on target for growth although definitely tall and "thin" by baby standards.

Yesterday we visited the Children's Museum again, was a nice morning for it, until another little girl hit Fiona. Gary was with her, I was savoring some coffee nearby, apparently the offender didn't hit her too hard but several sharp smacks and Fiona's feeling were so hurt that she didn't want to play anymore at all. It dawns on me while I'm consoling her that I have to explain to her about mean people in the world. Some kids are just mean or haven't learned how to behave. It can hurt our feelings and is sometimes scary. She did a good job of not reacting, the slightly delayed response was intense though, fear filled sobs and fat baby tears. We went home shortly after that.

Lately Fiona's in love with green peas. It was peas for breakfast one morning after Gary offered her choice after choice of food. Amidst eating them she's a fan of smushing the peas one at a time with just one finger, it's the small things that can sometimes feel so powerful. Sometimes I smush one with my sock on the kitchen floor, that's less than pleasant.

Halloween was rather quiet. No parties to attend and no trick or treaters beating down the door. I considered Fiona dressing up, but she didn't really understand the costume thing yet, next year will be a bunch of fun! I did carve a pumpkin though, I do love my pumpkin carving!

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

SNOW

YAY our first snow, we didn't think it would stick that much. A few hours & 4 inches later it stopped, there are still patches of ice today in small areas that don't get much light (I guess). Fiona liked it so much she started loading her pocket with it, a couple of days after the snow she made a game of harvesting what was left of the snow in the yard & putting it in a bucket to keep.
Not too much to report, Mammee & Pahbah we're just pluggin' along. I've been training, Gary's been working, & Fiona's a little tenacious, precocious baby-girl!
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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gary Won't TRI...but Ada will!


I have begun training for a triathlon. Just a sprint distance (350 yd swim, 15.5 bike, 5k run) but it's a start. I'm pretty excited about it, and definitely scared outta my wits. The training is essentially bike & lift one day, swim & run the next--that's what it is right now anyway. I joined an online training group for support with training plans, nutrition, gear, answers all my questions, etc. If you're bored one day and want to see what I've been up to....
http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/training/index-weekly.asp?memberid=76735&year=&month=&day=
This is week three for me, the race is on December 2 (Mom's birthday) in Flower Mound. How cosmic is it that I suddenly decide to do this, and there's a race so conveniently located & timed for me?

Fiona has begun using crying as a means of "communication", i.e. she'll rant & rave if I won't give in for one more Baby Einstein video. Her new favorite to show displeasure is to flop to the ground on her belly & lay there in lamentation (Much like Byrnes last night when he was OUT & the ROCKIES WON the NLCS). She really tries to talk, but mostly it comes out MAMMEE, or some semblance thereof in so much gibberish. The other day when she signed a want for banana, I said, can you say "Yes, please"? She sounded out, "Yaaw peeezz". WOW, that was cool. I really wish I could understand her more, the baby signs help a lot, like I've said before though, I have to distinguish between the sign and the say.

Gary's GCCG website is up and running, check it out and let him know what you think!
Otherwise enjoy earsocks...
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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Life as a Game of Memory


Remember (hah) the game Memory? With all the little cards, different pictures on each one, only two of each picture though. Lay them all out face down, then flip them over one at a time and try to remember where the pairs are located, having successfully paired two butterflies, umbrellas, or birthday cakes, you remove those cards then try again.
Now, imagine this game permeates your life, and there's a Toddleator wandering about mixing up the cards, moving them, hiding them, eating or tearing them apart covertly--while you're playing. Thus is my life, at least it seems that way sometimes! I am always scanning my memory for last glimpse of sippy cup, snack-trap, random tiny-sock...now where did I see the horsey/blankie/doll-shoe last?
The Toddleator strikes again, I've wandered the place for 10 minutes looking for the sippy cup, cannot locate it, then in hindsight--ah, yes, she was playing in the cabinets first thing this morning--there it is, neatly placed in her cabinet next to a couple of stacking blocks and a rock. And once for a split second everything is in order, all is quiet, but not for long...she'll be back.

Yesterday Gary, Fiona, & I went to the Pumpkin Harvest at Four Mile Park. What a neato-kewl place! I wish we had arrived sooner, Fiona was tiring already by the time we got there. People in period costume, hay-rides, potato sack races & tug'o'war, scare-crow assembly, crafts, frontier seminars, bake sales, not to mention the field of pumpkins ready to be adopted and mutilated into something spooky. I learned 2 things: 1. Don't let Gary navigate--he always argues with the GPS, 2. If I let Gary buy the pumpkin bread, I won't get any :)
We had lotsa fun, Fiona ran around, got real excited whenever the horses went by and seemed to enjoy stumbling around the pumpkin patch trying to lift or sit on all the gourds.
http://www.fourmilepark.org/

Have you a pumpkin roller? We do, oh yes, we do!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Beware the SQUIRRELS


After I swam today, I ran the footpath around the park with Fiona in the jogger. As is our habit, we visited to playground so Fiona can get her wiggles out & have a snack. I like the park here, there are always other little ones about & moms to talk to.
At one point I glanced back at my super-kewl baby jogger and there were squirrels hanging onto it...climbing on it, trying to get into the netted pockets on the sides! A chubby little girl ran screaming at the jogger, the squirrels bolt, but then come right back. Chubby-girl repeats screaming attack with same effect, but squirrels only move away some then stand their ground, beady eyes gleaming for the next bit of fodder. Now, I'm not afraid of small rodent-like animals--I once had a rat, yes, a RAT as a pet--but there is something creepy about a squirrel bold enough to attack a plastic bag for a cookie, then stand it's ground and look at you like you're the one acting nuts. As we were leaving the area, I saw the remainder of Fiona's cookies, still in ziploc, in the tiny grip of a tricksy squirrel.

Miss Fiona likes to put socks on her hands, it very important that a sock is on her hand at least once a day for a little while...I'm guessing she's practicing putting them on, it's just the wrong appendage.

And if anyone is wondering, that's a brand new sponge...it's amazing what will keep a toddler occupied for half an hour.
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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Is it a home or an office? :)

Gary had a phone meeting today. Fiona was awake and toddling about, 'talking', squealing, tantrum-ing. At one point she wanted Papa to read her a story, he was still "in a meeting" I had to go distract her, "Don't work in my office, I won't play in yours, right?" Smiled.

Gary has started a contractor consulting group, in fact it is called General Contractor's Consulting Group, LLC (GCCG). The website will be available end of this week at the latest, I think it's a great idea and we both hope it does well.

Fiona can feed herself properly, well, properly enough for me! When she's in the mood I can pretty much set her food out on her chair-tray and then make something for myself.
I'm hungry a LOT, especially since I've been training more lately, and if you know me at all you don't want me to be hungry around you. You're makin' me hungry, you won't like me when I'm hungry. Sometimes I do, in fact, turn green--unfortunately it's with nausea.
We went to music class today, I think a teacher that plays guitar makes a positive difference, OR it could be the teacher, this one was different.
Aside: is there anything in the world that smells better than your child? I think not.

It's chilly outside, darn right cold in the morning, we'll have to get snow boots & winter gear pretty soon! OH, goody-goody-gum-drops! video

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Chili in & Chilly out


Have you ever tried to dress a peek-a-boo toddler? It's challenging to put a sweater on someone who insists on playing peek-a-boo with almost everything. Running into the living room naked with her hoodie towel, pulling it over her eyes going a little farther, then pulling it up and saying, "WHOOO!" As if she's surprising herself where she ends up next.
Little turdlets, yes turdlets, in a trail on the floor 'cause I let her run about a little too long after bathtime. Easy cleanup though, at least it's not diarrhea!

This past weekend Gary tried to sleep in, I didn't close the bedroom door completely...Fiona went and got the noisiest toy she has, the popcorn popper, and dragged it into the bedroom then proceeded to pop-pop-poppity-pop-POP-POP-pop! I laughed and laughed as Gary remarked that it's possible she did it with purpose. *smart baby!*
She likes to play with her shoes, putting them on then making a point of taking me to the door, or the closet where the stroller is, to say "hey, lets go outside, mom!" It's hard to explain that she can't go out in just her pj's and shoes, no matter how cute she is!

She says Mammy or Mamma. Yesterday, I heard her in her room calling me and when I didn't go in there fast enough (I'm still getting used to responding to Mamma), she made an exasperated sound and came to get me, grabbed my hand to lead me to her frustrations. Just now she's beginning to say Papa, although it's more like Bah-bha, she'll sign something instead of trying to say it. So I've begun making distinction between them, "Yes, that's the sign for Papa, now can you say 'Papa'?"

Fall officially, uh, fell on Sunday! I'm trying to expand my weather-mind, I've gotten so used to it being warm ALL the time where the chillys only come temporarily. I have to remind myself that this isn't a passing thing, it will only get cooler from here on out--until May or so. I'm faced with a whole new set of logistical problems in dressing Fiona. It's an almost constant worry that she's too hot or too cold. Layers, layers, and more layers I suppose is the key. At least I know she'll try to take something off if she's hot.

We spent equinox at the Denver Broncos game against the Jaguars. We lost, it was great fun though, I had a brat & beer, we cheered and boo-ed with the best of them. A family of 4 sitting in front of us, parents with grown kids, were really into it. They'd jump up & give high-fives all around when The Broncos made something happen out there. Fiona was concerned when we first got to our seats, then relaxed, and only started signing 'all done' at half time. I knew she would prefer to leave when she fussed some returning to our seats after the diaper change, when I sang, "Lets go, Bron-cos!" to the amusement of other ladies in the loo. Next time we'll take the light rail, or do park & ride bus, this time it was a taxi--and taxis are difficult to come by immediately after a football game!

After an entire day last week of concentrated organizing, sifting, & storing, all of my things are sorted. I lack only to put away my clothes properly, I'm tempted to just toss everything that's summery, which is most of it, then I can have some fun for winter & next spring. I've even started working on Fiona's 1st year scrapbook--finally! I wanted it to be her first birthday gift, I guess she'll never really know how belated a gift it is, unless I remind her!

HEY, WOW, THE LEAVES ARE A CHANGIN'!! We went to Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park, we plan to go again end of this week and will remember the camera card this time. Did you know if you wash n' dry a SanDisk it will most like be OK afterward? I was more than pleasantly surprised! Got a membership to the NPS and look forward to going to all the parks within driving distance as mush as possible to get to know the seasons. I might even volunteer some time with them.
I miss my brother & sister, Mom & Pop, and everyone who is familial-like to me, but then I always get this way during the fall. I would love to hear from you all, or see you if you should happen by on the way somewhere, or even if you want to see some neato flame colored trees or do some fly-fishing or hunting. Much love, eat some chili when it's chilly!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mayhem

The place is a wreck, and understandably so! The entire weekend is devoted to unpacking and assessing damages. The movers that pulled everything out of the house in Roseville were, um, less than careful it seems. I wonder what our new (as of May) furniture will look like after yet another move--'cause we know when we buy a house it'll be a three-peat.
Unpacking with a Toddlator scampering about is a challenge, more so when she's suddenly tired or hungry and mommy-needy. There is a LOT of work to be done. It's Sunday though so it calls for pancakes and football, maybe I can get some packing done between them.
Baby girl seems to appreciate her toys out of the boxes now, her favorite right now is a tapping game I shipped from Moolka Toysite. This morning she dragged the bear & lion around that I'd had in storage for over a year now. She really likes music, and appears she is beginning to 'pretend' with items. I am so excited for Christmas-time! I've already got a bunch of gift ideas for Fiona. The fall weather has almost arrived, a few leaves on one or two trees we've seen have turned, maybe a little prematurely, but it's exciting just the same. Well, back to UN-packing, just wanted to blurb a bit!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Just had to add...

These things I thought I just had to share!
Our first piece of furniture is in the "condo", just counting the hours until the rest appears. We've a place for the mega-TV now, Gary is pleased. I look forward to watching other people do the lifting, twisting, figuring how to get furniture into this place...that's why they're professionals!
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Things to do in Denver...with a TODDLER


The Denver Children's Museum is awesome! We thoroughly enjoyed watching Fiona play, and interact with some other kiddos. The play-scape is amazing, there's practically a whole kid village in there, and a real live fire truck--modified of course so little ones can climb, "drive", & flash the lights w/ siren. There are parks everywhere. We live nearest Washington Park, a very large landscape with jogging trails, 2 large ponds, flower garden, bike path...etc. Yesterday Fiona got t o chase a couple of the Canada geese, then slide & swing. There's a super modern park downtown I look forward to visiting. Invesco Field at Mile High is that direction, Gary purchased football tickets for 2 games coming up, so we will finally get to see a live Broncos game AND it'll be "football weather" as Gary calls it. So often while in Hawaii we'd watch the games and think about fall, how we missed seasons changing---well, changing more drastically than the ever-so-subtle changes on the islands. So we're excited to be back.

We also had a family visit to the dentist yesterday, it's been 5 years since I last had my teeth cleaned (I was supposed to go back to the dentist that filled my teeth for a cleaning but we moved), maybe longer for Gary. There are neat cleaning instruments now that make things go quicker, and the doc says that my fillings are probably ok since the sensitivity has improved in the last couple of months.

OUR STUFF is supposedly due here Thursday night or Friday morning. How wonderful it will be to sleep on a real bed, go for a run with the jogger, put Fiona in her highchair, have some more choices in clothing, make coffee, cook with my pans & eat off actual plates with actual silverware. Today, however, we expect arrival of a fantastic piece of furniture from the Crate&Barrel, specifically for Gary's big TV. I'm apprehensive about arranging furniture in here and making decisions about what will stay versus what will go into storage. We're still not sure that Julia (landlady) is willing to sell the place or not, I do not look forward to moving everything yet again if she decides not to sell. Cannot worry about what might happen though, that's what makes people crazy I think!

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Newest Residents of CO...finally!


Well we are installed in the new place & we're camping indoors for now. On the day that the movers were to come, the truck broke down--before they picked up our stuff. So, the furniture, the highchair, the TV (Gary), a vast majority of our clothes, and many other smaller oddities I wish we had here & there, will not arrive until middle of next week. A great friend, & earthbound-angel , Jackie, was generous enough to babysit the movers when they did arrive to load everything up, and even then there are things that were left behind that we've decisions to make for shipping. Moving is a punishment of sorts, if you ever really want to punish someone, make them move--then make 'em move AGAIN. :)

Maybe I should start a moving resale service, "Go ahead and pack only what you need and we'll sell the rest!" But, we take responsibility for the tortures we inflict on ourselves, it is in fact entirely our choice after all!

We have Colorado plates and drivers' licenses, have utility bills, and finally today we have the staple means of communication. Sitting on the floor in the house, reading, baby practices running & torturing Porter-kitty, until we've nothing left to read (and the rest of the books won't be here for another week). Eee-gads, how we've come to depend on our electronic devices! We did watch the entire first season of ROME, it was the only series in Target that both Gary & I could agree we were interested in at all. I can safely say we recommend it.

On our way here the first day was hard driving, the second was shorter but Fiona & I were definitely ready to be OUT OF THE CAR. Fiona adjusted to Denver without complaint, Gary & I had to take some time to get used to the elevation, sleepy fuzzy-headedness has passed & we're peachy keen now. It's cute when I go to grab Fiona from the pack n' play in the morning it seems as if she thinks we're leaving again, she hands me Bunny, Blankie, Raffe, & The Quilt. When we look through her Bright Baby 100 words book, she points out the crib and looks at me questioningly & with longing, I think. She's begun to talk a little, and baby signs are prominent right now. Little one is precocious, stubborn, really wants to do her own thing all the time--I know, it's weird, right? Who'd have thought this of our babe?
Thanks to Grammy for Fiona's care package, her new favorite sparkly-farm animals book & Scottish Nippers booties as modeled in current pic above. Would love to hear from anyone/everyone!
video video

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Finally On Our Way!


After 2 weeks of eating off paper plates with plastic ware, random objects being spread about the house in a mele of moving, and at least one of us running about like chicken little, we are finally on our way today! Fiona helped decorate boxes, and today has handled things pretty well considering her movements through the house are severely limited & all her toys seem to have disapparated overnight. I imagine that if I hadn't explained things to her over & over in advance there would be much more drama. Right now, she's taking things out of the diaper bag arranging them carefully around the cat, babbling all the while.
We hope to make the drive to Denver in 2 days, putting us at the new place Saturday evening. Off we go into the wild blue yonder once again!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Of Boxes and Doctors and such


I used to hate injections, I remember shooting across a clinic floor as a child--the nurse had me sitting on a rolling chair--much much later I've realized that if I examine the needle beforehand I'm much less nervous about the prospects of it piercing my flesh. My asking to examine(read: hold) a syringe catches a lot of doctors & nurses off guard, but I figure I should do the exact opposite of what I really want to do, i.e. cry & beg, then wriggle away.

SO, today was Fiona's 15 month checkup, she had three injections. I tell her about all of this ahead of time. I talk about the doctor's office and how she might get shots, that it will most likely hurt but the hurt will pass, I will be with her. She was nervous as soon as we entered the exam room, I barely managed to keep her distracted at first. There were 3 people to see, the nurse to assess her, the doc himself, and then the injection nurse. Each time someone left the room, Fiona signed her bye-bye (blowing kisses), I knew absolutely she wanted to leave by the time the injection nurse entered. Which is worse, watching baby dry heave in the parking lot with a virus you can do nothing about? Or being asked to hold her still, for a necessary evil, while someone pokes needles in her? I think both are about equal at this point. Fiona was just beside herself and very nearly panicked to begin with. I asked the nurse to wait a moment, calmed baby girl down somewhat, explained again what was to happen, and she was definitely more compliant although still complained loudly. Dr. Baum on Maui was so fantastic with injections, he was smooth and moved quickly as to get it over with. I actually think that this Doc is a little afraid of the tiny kids, maybe someone bit him in the past. Anyway, after the injections I repetitively console Fiona, how brave, how well she did, and ready the sippy-cup of milk. In a few minutes she's signing about the fish all around the office again, but still clinging to mama, perfectly fine with me. We took a break outside for a snack & patting river rocks in landscaping, then off to music class, brave baby.

Fiona's 32.25 inches, 22 lbs 10 oz. So, 94th percentile for height & 49th percentile for weight. She likes to finger paint with her food lately, accomplishing very little actual eating unless I'm spooning food into her mouth. She did enjoy authentic finger painting recently, it's a whole buncha fun getting dirty and clean once again. "Don't stress about mess" is a key mantra there. She gestures and talks about everything. If I point to an animal and ask her what it is she'll baby-sign if she knows the sign. Every time we drive past the horses on the way to the park she will sign "horse", I think she likes horses almost as much as dogs. Porter-kitty takes a lot of love, to some it may look like abuse, but it really is purest of loves. Reminding her of "gentle hands" all the time, and telling her how well she's done with her gentle hands has done wonders. The other night Fiona signed "Papa" during the bedtime routine, it was great fun to tell Gary that his daughter was asking for him to say goodnight.

Goal this week is to get the garage sorted out and packed. Translates to sorting through what I've put out there for good-will, what never made it into the house from the last unpacking, and random boxes for the garbarge that've been over-looked. The movers are coming on the 30th, so everything has to be completely buttoned up by then. We'll not be taking a trailer or some such, so if it's not in the car it's gotta go into the moving truck. All the joys of moving out, the carboard & peanuts, and pa-acking tape...almost a Take-Me-Out-To-The-Ballgame there but I'm kinda tired, maybe I'll work on that. :)

Friday, August 3, 2007

The End, and Begin again

The return trips are always hardest I think. Got home yesterday afternoon. Fiona took a backslide in her improvement from illness, probably 'cause we jumped the gun a little and gave her some milk yesterday. I found out yesterday that VERY little dairy should be give to the stomach virus. She has improved immensely already on cereal w/ water & clear liquids. Durango was pretty nice, I was disappointed that we couldn't explore properly as the baby was SO ill. Gary & I did take FULL advantage of the hotel, as we were almost shut-ins. Salina, UT is not that great, serves only as a stopover, don't stay at the Best Western there. Eureka, NV was tiny and cute not completely commercialized and therefore not dirty(as I described NV before). While driving we decided that Hwy 50 is so much better a drive than I80, more scenic, more chances to see neat little towns and get crazy good coffee and iddy-biddy local shops. Most of the video I took on the way back was in the car, 'cause now we're on a mission, not so much lallygagging. We'll be here for a couple of weeks and then begin the trek back to the new condo in Denver. Lots of packing to do, and if we have some time, a little exploring of surrounding area before we bail out. To be continued...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Is it SprinGS, or sprINgs? Are there any other pronounciations? Can you use it in a sentence please?


Ah the smell of fresh rain & pines...with just a trace of vomit. Fiona vomited 3 times today. The first time, this morning, she made an odd-er noise and when we both turned to check on her she vomited copiously; it was a fragmentary fountain of watery-milk + curdles and stomach acid as she hadn't eaten much to begin with. SO, Gary pulled over immediately, by then she had almost finished dousing the rear of the armrest, the dvd player, not to mention her carseat, then once more outside the car and then she was done for a while. When we stopped for lunch, happened again, and then a little more when we finally got to Durango. Between expelling stomach contents poor baby managed to get down a little water & gatorade, then some saltine crackers. Good gawd, there is nothing so tortuous as watching a child, especially your own, go through something that you can do nothing about except stand by and make them as comfortable as possible. I almost cried watching her dry heave in the parking lot of the Strater Hotel, and once in the room we had to ask for a plastic bag to contain the noxious fumes pervading the room after her second sick-poop of the day. Just now, tonight, she started coming back to life after some dilute gatorade, feverish nap, bread, and she asked(signed) for milk. Gary & I both hope that the bug isn't catching, 'cause, well, you can guess.

I was happy to drive a couple of hours so Gary could get some consult work done. I drove across the great divide (although we've crossed it 4 times already I think), and through a pretty intense rainstorm. Funny thing, the property we were supposed to check out for Pop, it's not in CO Springs. What's the difference between Colorado Springs & Pagosa Springs? About 318 Miles. Yup, we got the town wrong. And because we didn't care to stay in Colorado Springs, we just switched up the plan and moseyed on down to Durango, through Pagosa Springs. The hotel is turn of the century, top notch, we're lucky we got the room. There were no rooms in Pagosa Springs, I think we got the only room left in Durango. It's stormy outside, and there train has stopped for the night, no more CHOOO-CHOOOO, WHOOOOOT WOOOOO, chugga chugga chugga spisssshhhhhhh---every few minutes. http://www.strater.com/
The Durango to Silverton train is a narrow gauge steam train, maybe we'll get a chance to take a ride but not unless baby girl is feeling better. Although her complaints are minimal, it would just be mean to drag her around town while she's feeling crappy. I know I wouldn't like it if it were me!

The Jeep commander we rented is a good road trip vehicle (even has lane change blinker feature, tap the blinker handle and it goes 3 clicks and stops). We've crumbed it up, Fiona vomited in it, I think I've spilled a little milk somewhere, Gary's probably dripped coffee, and then yesterday at Garden of the Gods, Gary backed into a Navigator from New Jersey...we got out & looked, it made a clicking noise and burst into flames, I grabbed Fiona from the Jeep and we ran up the hill. HA, just kidding, that's Gary's version. He didn't look behind well enough, backed out of the parking space, knocked out our tail-lamp with their bumper. The owner wasn't around, Gary wrote a note, and later he and the gentleman had a congenial conversation and traded information. Thomas Family adventure continues!

p.s. If ever in CO Springs, go to Solo's Restaurant, it's SUPERNEATO. http://www.solosrestaurant.com/

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Denver and Beyond


After Denver we visited Breckenridge for 3 days, and have just arrived in Colorado Springs. On the way to Breckenridge we stopped off in Central City & Idaho Springs---Gary was searching for coffee. Central city was, umm, odd. It's at the end of a branch off I70, road to nowhere. Over a mountain pass, some nice scenery, and then this cute little town. Well, seemingly cute at first glance. The architecture was all authentic turn of the century, steep narrow streets, colorful buildings. A tour bus had stopped off, it's travellers sitting in the sun, nursing their motion-sickness. 'For Rent' and 'For Sale' signs in between deceptively inviting facades of, can you guess? Casinos. There is limited gambling in areas of Colorado, and it was painfully apparent that this little town was desperately trying to survive, selling out (or into) the casino racket. I'm not a gambler. I don't have the switch in my head that says, "Oh, shoot I just lost $50, better try to win it back!" The house always wins. Central City had a seedy undergrowth, a secret sneaking cancer it seemed. It was a beautiful sunny day, yet the short time we were there Gary & I both felt as if a shadow loomed, something so dark it sticks through daylight; we were uneasy, eager to leave. When we did get back to the highway we talked about the weirdness, shivered and moved along to Idaho Springs. Ah, the gods smile on Gary, there was a Starbucks! He's always searching for good coffee.

When we arrived in Breckenridge, a nice snow-oriented tourist town at 9,650' elevation, we suffered effects of altitude sickness. Fiona slept a lot. The following day I took her out for a bicycle ride on a rented hybrid & Burley trailer. If you rent there, go with Mountain Wave, they're much nicer than the place we rented from. We road about 8 miles total I think, and afterward I had a terrible headache, reminded me of heat stress. Gary had troubles breathing and bought O2 canisters, which I think helped a bit. I read that it takes fully 1 week to acclimate properly to that elevation, pro-sports teams try to arrive as late as possible before matches to avoid effects of altitude in Denver (5,280' elev.). Yesterday we went horseback riding on the mountain above Breckenridge, Fiona rode double with me on a horse named Cash. Larry carried Gary (tee-hee). My horse was gaseous especially up hill, Gary's horse was slow. It was a long ride for the baby girl, she loved the first 2/3 or so. At one point a few minutes before we got back to the corral, Fiona just flopped over the saddle horn, in tragic lamentation of her plight. A nice ride, unfortunately we forgot the camera, BUT there were the pro-photographers on the trail side snapping shots as we rode by, how convenient! ;) There is a website to view the shots of Fiona's first horse-ride, and mine & Gary's first ride together...but I'll have to nail down the specific address before posting it here. On the way from Breckenridge to CO Springs, there is Fairplay, Colorado, a sweet tiny town, ~10,000' elevation, with a restored 1880's museum of the entire original town (outside). The candy shoppe/soda fountain is super-neato with great coffee and huge cakey brownies. Plus the Brown Burro Cafe is a great little local place to stop for lunch.

SO, now we've arrived in Colorado Springs, rocky & red. Last time I was here, about 15 years by Pop's(Gran'pa Alton) estimation, the development was probably just beginning. We camped out on his acreage here, which we plan to recon for him as he hasn't been out here since then either. All I remember from that trip is being car-sick at one point. And the trailer/cabin we slept in, haunted by a giant mouse or small rat--maybe it was a raccoon? Alton-brother was about Fiona's age or a little older, we slept on the floor in sleeping bags. I had to pee in the middle of the night, that's when I think I saw the beady eyes of the rodent lording over his trailer-kingdom. Then there was the potato-shaped polished piece of knotted hardwood I took a great liking to, and Alton adopted a turtle-shell he found, called it Mr. Puh-Tell (at least I think it was that trip). But I digress. :)

So we are here in CO Springs for a week, and then back to California to commence The Move (again). We've secured a classic brownstone condo in Cherry Creek area of Denver, we plan to be there by early September at the latest. It feels like we should just go back to Denver, as if it's home already, Gary and I both think a good sign. Fiona has cut 2 new teeth, and has figured out the rhythm of unpack & stay, pack & move. She's handling herself really well. Sugar Chunks, Sweet Pee, Sugar Pot Pie, she's so sweet makes your eyes water & your teeth ache!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Oh, the world outside is bi-ig & wide/We're goin' for a ri-ide in the car


For some reason I think that everything in Nevada is dirty. That's not a personal affront to Nevada or the people there. Gary suggested it's the smoke in all the buildings. We stayed in Elko, NV last night...what can I say; it was barely three stars, the 'best' hotel in Elko. Maybe I'm a hotel snob now, but I'm not a drunken college girl anymore, and I have a baby that gets into everything. After we got to the room I un-shoed Fiona and she proceeded to test Bunny in all the dresser drawers. She did this for about an hour while Gary went out to hunt & gather. By the time he arrived with the food, I was nervous and had to go out for my luggage wherein the germ-kill handy-wipes were located. Once back in the room I wiped all the handles down, and asked Gary if he thought the bedspreads were clean---he replied, "Well for our purposes, tonight only, we'll assume that they have been washed." Ri-ight. After over an hour of walking around the room barefoot, I happened a gander at Fiona's iddy-biddy-piddys---BLACK I tell you! As if the baby had been wandering a coal mine...OMIGAWD yuk. I wiped her down, put her in her pj's and re-shoed her until bedtime. Then I tried to clean my feet as best I could before I went to bed. Gary & I agreed that the bed may be on par or worse than a bed we slept on in Tampico, Mexico. I think the Tampico bed had critters though, possibly the only thing that made it worse than Elko. So, if you find yourself middle Nevada needing lodging, we think the Hampton Village Inn looked much nicer, although it was rated only 2 stars.

Now we are in Park City, Utah, home of 2002 Winter Olympics. Stylish, cute, art galleries, clean, close enough to Salt Lake but far enough away...did I say cute? On the way here we had to stop middle of the salt flats for an accident. A helicopter had landed on the highway, an overturned sedan nearby, we got out and made foot prints in briny earth. There are big neon yellow signs every so often "Drowsy Drivers Cause Crashes". We saw an odd art tree thing, could have been antennae, and a lots of flat, white, salt crusted earth, mountains bordering distant mirages that must have tricked many 19th & early 20th century travelers into wandering far out of their way...I forgot how big the world is.
Anyway, Westgate Park Resort & Spa, a great deal on Hotels.com, and it's off season. Beautiful late summer weather up here, lots of activities to do year round, maybe we'll just stop here? Just for a couple of days to break from the drive and then keep on keepin' on. Fiona is on her way to sleep in her play pen, rough night last night, though she doesn't seem to want to sleep at all. We've considered just keeping her awake until she collapses but I'm betting that would backfire on us completely. An aside, those who know me, know that I am rather old fashioned in the ideas of children watching tv/movies/gaming constantly. I must recant statements I've made in the past, because possibly the best purchase we've made for this trip has been the portable DVD player, and we've only used it once so far. A last resort today to keep the last couple hours of or our drive calm, Baby Einstein soothed the antsy, cabin-fevered baby until she slept and then we arrived. Just won't use it all the time, little girl like to move. At least now she's more interested in what's going by outside the truck, makes things more fun describing passing trucks, trains, etc. Little person! Half my DNA and half Gary's DNA combined and made a PERSON, we marveled once again during our late lunch today. We're smitten. :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Summer Sabbatical Starts


Tomorrow we start our road trip to CO to search for a new place to live! It's a little scary and definitely exciting. Costa Rica was Gary's idea, Hawaii was my idea, and now CO is our idea. :) I'm going to try to blog during the trip so as to document, and entertain.

Fiona sleeps late today, she wakes up slow...at this very moment she is jet propelled, attempting take off. She actually plays now, making trips between wagon and Papa & I with objects, 'reading' books, 'talking' on her phone. I think her favorite real person to talk to is Pop, as he mimicks her babble it sounds like an actual conversation of sorts. Watching her problem solve is amazing, one can almost hear her brain growing. AND the sweetest development of late, is affection. Fiona will lean on us, reach out for hugs, give kisses, and cuddle. Most wonderful feeling in the world to have little baby arms around my neck. We just played the run-and-hug game, Fiona runs to Gary and gets a hug, then runs back to me for a hug, back and forth until she gets distracted by Papa's shoes near the door--she into shoes of all kinds, like to try them on herself, try her shoes on us, try the Lili-doll's shoes on herself and us, etc. It's prime opportunity for learning too-big & too-small. Oh, the jogging stroller? It ROCKS.

I'm not solid on strategy for the long car trip ahead, but we have music CDs, a portable DVD player for the indispensable Baby Einstein videos (although it's been recommended not to use them until the very last moment). I figure I'll bring a few favorite toys that will emerge slowly one at time during the trip (plus what oddities we pick up along the way). We plan to drive as much as possible early, so we can enjoy the stop overs the latter part of the day. Gary agreed to the Rule of Flexibility, with regards to a 14-month-old's stamina for sitting in a seat as long as adults.
Luckily it's not necessary to have much of a schedule, as we don't have to return by a specific date. We might drop into Texas, it's dependent on many factors of course, but I mentioned it last night, and since we're both TX -homesick, it's a possibility. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thust cawl me Toofee

How many injections did it take for my mouth to be numb enough to fill 9 cavities? I don't know, I lost count. Can't focus my left eye properly, my bite feels funny, my speech is impaired to the effect of retardation...at least I'm not drooling. *shexxy*
SO I had fillings today. And what the doc thought would only take 1 hour took almost 3. I was frightened going in there, it's the unknown. Yup, this is the first time I've ever had fillings. Apparently I have very hard tooth enamel and deep grooves. (read:I'm naturally groovy)
After the engergetic story my sweet husband related to me last night, while I'm staring at him wide-eyed and beginning to panic, I was freaked. You must understand first, that Gary is of a very rare breed of human who ENJOYS the dentist, and anything they do to him there, masochist. So, as he's excitedly telling me his story of fillings and gum-cleaning, I'm trying to keep from screaming and running away somewhere to hide. I couldn't sleep later. BUT now it's all over with, and supposedly I won't have to do anything like this for many years, thanks to the hard enamel and great filling work that Doc did.
Must drink smoothie so as to avoid becoming angry-numbface bent on destruction.
Fiona sleeps right now, cutie-patootie.