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!

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),, 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


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.

Links for race results & photos:
click on tri age group OR overall
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.