Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oh My Heart.

Fluff, Jasmin and Baby Lucas were in our area and so came by for dinner tonight. I managed to perk up and not totally sulk after the Packer game (because I am a grown up) and we had a really wonderful time.

Last time Lucas was at our house was before their birthdays (Ellie is 51 weeks older than Luke) and she was a total brat to him - she'd pull toys out of his hands or yell at him for looking at her stuff. Tonight, she could not have been sweeter. She brought him toys to play with, she crawled around so he could follow her, she tried to convince him to go in her tunnel with her. It was so sweet to see the two of them together - he was impressed by her, and she was darling to him. Fluff and I joke that we want our kids to fist fight and wrassle like we used to back in the day (just kidding, we never flat out fist fought - just pretended to push each other into traffic on occasion) but it is so heart melting to see them love on one another. After eating he was sitting in the high chair, and she stood on the first rung so that she could stick her face right in his and yammer along. And when they were getting Lucas set up for his supplemental night time nutrition, she was so concerned about the owie on his tummy and how he was going to feel better. It just makes me so happy that they'll get to grow up being friends.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hot Date.

Tim and I had a very eventful 24 hours, doing grown up things sans child. While Ellie was hanging out with Mimi and Pa, we saw not one, but TWO movies. IN THE THEATER. And we ate meals out! We held hands! We talked to each other! We slept in until 9am! It was glorious, and we are so, so lucky to have such great parents.

Ellie didn't seem to miss us too much - she went with Mimi and Pa to a childrens museum where she played pretend and saw some good taxidermy. She was very excited to tell me all about it when we reunited tonight at Emily and Dana's wedding reception/party/dinner/thingie.

So, Tim and I saw This is 40 on Friday night with friends of ours. The company was great, the food at dinner was good, but the movie wasn't my favorite - I'd say save it for a rental. Today we went out for breakfast and then parked our butts back in the theater seats for three hours of Les Miserables, which I highly recommend. I cried, of course, but not as much as I wept when I saw the stage play in college. But then again, I wept a lot in college for no reason, so it's not that surprising.

Ellie was so cute when we met up with her. She spent the first hour or so of the meal with her face stuck in mine, and I got a lot of good hugs. Sometimes, it's nice to miss each other. It's funny - there is part of me that feels like I should be taking every opportunity to spend time with her while she's an only child, but there's a larger part that says "TAKE TIME AWAY WHILE YOU CAN GET IT!" I know soon enough we'll be back in new baby prison, between the nursing and the not sleeping through the night and the wanting mama. I have also heard that two kids is three times as hard as one, so I don't anticipate Mimi or Gigi volunteering to take BOTH little brats over night all the time (though I guess we could farm out one kid to each grandma and then go on Hot Dates.)

We have a couple more fun days ahead of us. It's been so nice having Tim home for a week, even if it means I have absolutely no concept of what day it is. Dad asked me if we were coming over to watch the game in the afternoon, and I thought he meant the Rose Bowl, and was confused (because they are going to the Rose Bowl whereas we are not.) He meant the Packer game, because FYI, tomorrow is Sunday!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Also New.

The best part of the kitchen being 99% done is all of the other little items that we've regained around the house. They got the old appliances out last week so Tim has been able to park his car in the garage again. And with both Fat and Stupid using the cat boxes in the garage, we've been able to remove all traces of animal from the hall bathroom.

Our house feels instantly tidier and nicer. Sure, the garage box isn't completely odorless or dustless, but it's MUCH cleaner and easier to keep clean. The best part is feeling like I can clean the bathroom and know that it won't be filthy minutes later (because trust me, nothing makes a cat want to go make a mess like a perfectly clean litter box on a freshly mopped floor.) AND tonight for the first time, Ellie got herself a bath in an actual bath tub in our house. We used to do her infant tub in our bathroom when she was a wee sprite, and since then she's just been getting bathed in our stand up shower, either with one of us, or in a quick, private spritz before bed. Tonight when she came in and saw me filling the tub she said "it's my NEW tubbie bubbie!" That's right kid, brand new, just for you. I even washed the old, dead bugs out before I plopped you in.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve/Day

A few of my favorite pictures from the past two days of celebrating:

Ellie's favorite new game is running up and down the drive way at top speed - here she is racing towards Tim

Before present opening, having a Badger dance party with Lisa

Deeeelighted with her many new bunnies from Auntie Bee (I hope all of those bunnies are fixed... otherwise I'm in deep trouble.)

Absolutely thrilled with her tent from Auntie Sara. This morning I had to convince her that she wanted to open her presents from Santa first, THEN go play in her tent. I think when all was said and done, she would have rather just gone straight to the tent

Santa put a sparkly baton in her stocking, and I told her "it's for twirling." Instead of twirling her baton, she twirled herself!

Taking a quiet moment to read some of her new books before everyone arrived

The Eggman fries eggs for croque madams

Then shows Ellie how to make her new cars into ice cream trucks

Mom gets a new iPhone and ignores the rest of us to play with it. FIGURES.

Pa does a stint in the tent with Ellie and Bitty Baby

John has a food coma

This party is getting crazy!

We take 25 different photos and this is the only one that's not blurry, and where everyone has their eyes open

Then after a nap, we went over to Mimi and Pa's for an evening of loud, family craziness. There were quiet moments though, like when Pa helped Ellie draft her will. Planning ahead never hurt anyone!

And then she took Tim to the cleaners on the PS2. A perfect day all around! Plus a Christmas miracle - I actually shared some frosting with her. It's true love.

Quick Hits.

Ellie is napping. All of my food for this evening is prepped and Tim is doing the last minute clean up. I need to go lay down (turns out, I'm 6.5 months pregnant and tire easily, who knew?) but here are my two favorite photos from Christmas thus far:

That elf is drunk! ELF! NO MORE EGGNOG FOR YOU! Get away from the fridge!

Rockette's have nothing on this family.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Post Part 1.

Warning, lots of photos ahead.

Yesterday our friend Nicole held a cookie decorating party, so the kids could get to work on their cookies for Santa. Ellie was dressed in her little elf hoodie (of course) and got to work smearing frosting around with a small spoon. I told her that she needed to "paint" with the frosting, so she went to town.

Then I told her to taste her paint. She first looked me like I was insane, and then went insane with joy over the delicious taste.

Tonight we were over at Mimi and Pa's for the annual Parmordsen party, which featured delicious food, the debut of Mimi and Pa's new kitchen, and a visit from Santa!

Surprise! Ellie wanted nothing to do with him when he arrived.
She did consent to take a candy cane.

But she was sure as heck not going to sit near him. No siree.

She did calm down enough to go claim her present, of course

And when all was said and done, she was willing to give him a high five. Just no sitting, thanks.

"Oh crap mom, he's right behind us, isn't he?"

I'm excited that Tim has the week off. This morning we got to go on a "flamly" walk, and we'll probably have many of those in the next few days. You know, in addition to wrapping presents, buying last minute presents, and getting all of the holiday groceries purchased. Good thing we have leftover cookies.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Final Daylight Kitchen Photos.

Our long odyssey is so close to complete that I feel confident in posting these last few "after" photos. I will, of course, add the trash cabinet and laundry sink photos when that's all done. Because I know you'd be sad not to see them. 

But here's our final results, in day light:

General overview

From the other corner. Not to ruin the suspense of the trash door photos, but that set of four drawers at the corner near the slider will become a top drawer and then a door. It'll look like the sink cabinets

The threshold piece. It's slightly raised, and Ellie loves jumping over it

My beautiful, wonderful, technologically advanced appliances

New counterspace! Basically, my entire goal in redoing the kitchen was to get some actual space for working and cooking and chopping. Now, I have many, many square feet. As you can see, we are also trying to keep less "stuff" on the counter tops, which I think helps make everything else look nicer.

Between the plumbing, the full granite back splash and the new laundry room work we went over budget, plus obviously this has taken more than two weeks. So in many ways, it's your traditional home construction project. But it's all been worth it. Possibly because I don't have to cut a final check until January, ha!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Before and After.

(Click to enlarge)

We are not 100% finished - still waiting on the trash cabinet and the laundry sink, but the pantry is done, the lazy susan has shelves, and that one random drawer now has a drawer face. Plus under cabinet lighting (which I love) and all black outlets and switches (thanks Construction Supervisor!) The threshold went in this afternoon, some knobs got fixed, and now it's really feeling finished.

This can only mean one thing.

I have to go through all of the boxes of "what the hell is this? Nevermind, I'll deal with it later" and deal with it. It's later.

Odd Ball.

This morning while I was flossing, Ellie asked if I could floss her teeth too, and then happily stood there while I ran floss between all of those little chompers (still no 2 year molars yet.) I guess maybe we'll schedule a trip to the dentist before Lambeau gets here - I look forward to seeing how horrible that will go. Last time we were at the doctors they practically had to pry her mouth open to look around, so I can only imagine that the dentist is not going to get a warm welcome into her pie hole.

Last night Tim went to see the Hobbit (or as I like to call it, the Tricksey Hobbitses movie) and so Ellie and I mooched dinner and bath water from Gigi and Grizz. I know I have my own fabulous kitchen... but they have excellent company! Plus Ellie was able to convince everyone that they wanted to read her Go Dog Go (which personally, I hate only second to the Pokey Little Puppy. Blech.) AND she got to dance to her favorite song several times. Observe:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Latest Ellie-isms

First of all, we get lots of questions, some directed at us, some just directed out into the world. She likes to ask people/objects "what are you doing?" or "how ARE you?" She's also interested in what strangers names are lately. But we don't get a lot of "what's that," which surprises me, as I feel like that's a pretty common toddler question. Still, it's pretty funny to see a toddler enthusiastically ask some water on the driveway "what are you DOING, water?"

She continues to be big on saying thank you randomly. Though, she's saying "thanks mom" lately, and I keep telling her to say mommy. She's too young to be calling me mom, I think. For a few weeks now, she's known that her dada's name is Tim, but couldn't tell you mine. In the past week or so, she's figured out what mine is, but she calls me Mega.

As you can see, there is a lot of dancing in our house. A lot of singing too. She especially likes to sing in her stroller when we walk, and will randomly start in on one of her songs from music class (which she calls Miss Elena songs. Mostly when she's whining for them in the car.) She also likes "Single Ladies" by Beyonce and "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Ray Jepson. In fact, the other day she was in the car, whining her face off, and I said "what do you want, Single Ladies, or Call Me Maybe" and from the back seat came a tearful "Single Ladies!" We sing a lullaby to her every night, and the other day she was having a rough time going down for nap, so I picked her up and made up a new little ditty to sing to her, and now at nap time she will ask me "you sing my new song?" The lullaby is more important than reading Good Night Moon, it appears.

She continues to be so in love with Thor, and is finally figuring out how to truly be gentle with him. She pets his head, has mastered scratching him under the chin and she will curl up next to him on the floor to pet him. He genuinely seems to like her now. Lulu would still prefer if Ellie went and lived outside, but she doesn't truly like anyone other than Tim and I, and continues to get crabbier in her old age.

I just adore how funny and sweet she is. Yesterday morning she crawled up in bed with us, as she is wont to do, and asked if she could give us kisses. Then she started repeating "I love you too dada. I love you too mama." My favorite is when she runs over and asks "hold me!" Second in cuteness is when she really wants something and clutches her hand and goes "oh please!" The oh is what does it in for me.

Also funny, this morning I was changing her diaper and she pointed out the scrape on her knee by saying "I have a little boo boo. But it's okay. I'll live." Apparently she listens to me when I tell her to shake things off! I also like when she tells me "it's okay mama," or "no problem!" (particularly because problem sounds like plolblem. Sort of like how we are all a flamily.) Also random and weird, the other day in the car she kept telling Tim she was sorry, and when he asked her what she was sorry for, she blurted out "I don't like the forest!" Well, good thing you're in the car on a freeway then, kiddo.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Cheer.

Last night was Tim's company holiday party. They started later than in previous years, and there was no sit down dinner. I thought it was pretty hysterical listening to the nerds complain about no free dinner, because there were enough appetizers and desserts for you to come hungry and leave so full that your stomach hurt. I mean, sliders, a pasta bar, salads, desserts... what more do you need? However, when we got the news, we got together a big group of nerds to go out to fancy dinner at L'Hirondelle beforehand, which I think was the better choice.  A quieter start to our night with MUCH better food. It may not have been free, but it was sure worth it. Plus we arrived fashionably late, and just as the party was really picking up speed.

I still think the best part is that Gigi and Grizz (mostly Gigi) kept Ellie over night. Tim and I got home at midnight, and then slept until TEN AM. It was like I had gone into a coma, died, seen the light and then been revived.

Then I made Tim clean the house with me, because I am romantic.

But hey, everything's clean! Swept, mopped and everything! And while Ellie was taking her nap, Tim went and got us a lovely Christmas tree.

And we had a great time decorating!

Then I made chicken for dinner, and had Ellie help me bake a batch of cookies

We are living the good life around here! Now if I could only muster the energy to wrap presents.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Finishing Touches.

We are really getting down to brass tacks, which is probably why the renovation is starting to feel like it'll never end. Still have one last visit from the electrician to do, one last visit from the plumber, and a couple of cabinets to fix up. Then yesterday evening I came home to find a chipped tile, and two drawers improperly drilled for knobs. They were able to fix the tile this morning, but those two drawer fronts won't arrive until after the New Year. The good news is that our contractor is rolling with the punches, and said "you're the one who has to live with it forever, so we'll fix it, no worries." Then he had to suddenly get off the phone because his incredibly pregnant wife called, and he didn't call me back, so I can only assume that he's got him a new baby! (The good news is Arnie was still here this morning working on fixing things.)

I just want it all to be done now!

Dining room is done! The carpet being tacked back really makes a big difference. We're still trying to figure out how we'll orient the table, and how many leaves will put back in.

The new appliances are a dream come true. My microwave has a freaking touch screen! And I know it's not new technology, but having water and ice is the best ever. The oven cooks amazingly well.

And the dishwasher is damn near silent. It's so nice. So, so nice.

The cat door is another welcome addition. Thanks for the great idea, Construction Supervisor! Instead of having cat boxes in the hall bathroom (and therefore, cat litter EVERYWHERE) the box is now in a cabinet in the garage. The door is tucked away pretty discretely, the cats can get in and out easily, and there's no chance of them getting outside into the yard or even into the garage. Hopefully it'll make clean up a lot easier for everyone, and we can actually start bathing Ellie in the bath tub, instead of our shower. I put a box in the cabinet and have showed it to both cats, but we'll keep the other cat box out until the renovations are done, thus giving them time to warm up (Thor no likes it thus far. The good news is that Lulu's the revenge peer, so I'm less worried about my stooge cat son. He'll figure it out.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Step Whatever: Home Stretch

WE HAVE A FULLY FUNCTIONAL KITCHEN! Gary was here yesterday morning hooking up the dishwasher and sink (with a little help from my Construction Supervisor, yet again. Perhaps he can join Gary's crew!) I have missed the sink more than I ever thought I would - having to bring everything to our tiny bathroom sink stinks. We were spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to use the same plate more than once, and I'd started taking sippy cups and water bottles over to mom's to wash them, because I felt like they were getting a better scrub.

It is so nice to just rinse a dish and throw it in the dishwasher. Or use a serving utensil, wash it, and throw it back in a drawer. In celebration, in the past 24 hours I have made two pecan pies (because my Grandma's pie crust recipe makes two pie crusts easier than one, and two pecan pies is a whole bottle of Karo syrup) and a lasagna for dinner tonight, because it is my boyfriend's birthday. He's turning 33 on 12/12/12, which is delightful and a little creepy.

Ellie is VERY excited about her daddy's birthday. She climbed up in with us today and gave him lots of hugs and kisses and told him happy birthday, and then we listened to the Beatles "Birthday," which is a family tradition. Then I made everyone pancakes, and because it's Tim's birthday, not mine, I even made him pancakes that weren't raw in the middle.

Ellie helped.
Then she insisted on wearing her apron through the rest of the day. Over her velvet Christmas dress, and to music class and the park. It was good though, because it allowed her to do some light house keeping at Gigi's house when we stopped by to celebrate with the Gardening Angels.

I'm so excited that things are coming together! We unpacked most of the dishes last night and the majority of the pantry. Things feel so clean and organized. The painters have been through to touch everything up, and now we're waiting on the under cabinet lights (hence the random wires still hanging out) and then some last minute wood work - mounts around the lights, some baseboard pieces, the thresh hold. Hopefully most of that, and a few cabinet fixes, will go in tomorrow and we can get fully settled. Then it's just final touches, final payment, and starting to think about whether or not we do the bathrooms before or after Lambeau. While I'd like to have them done before (and Glen thinks he can get them done) I am mentally exhausted at the idea of picking things out and putting them in again. We'll see how I feel after I get a chance to mop the house and have it be clean for more than 14 hours.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stone Cold Awesome.

The granite is in! I am in love! What more is there to know?

Welcome home, beautiful!

Night time beauty

In the morning light

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Train!

This week looks to be our busiest in December, and we kicked it off in festive style tonight with our second annual trip to the Christmas Train at the Irvine Park Railroad. We got the tickets through a mom friend, and figured it would just be the three of us (because it's sort of out in the middle of nowhere, and it's not the best place to try to coordinate a meet up... lots of waiting in line, and so if your friend calls and says "oh, we're 20 minutes out" I'd be inclined to just get on the train and ditch them, HA!) But as we were waiting in the incredibly short line to board the train, behind us came our pals Lexi and Whitney. BEST CHRISTMAS SURPRISE EVER!

Also, I think having friends there helped keep me from throwing Ellie from the train, because there was some SERIOUS whining when we boarded and it did not immediately jet out of the station. Even worse on the other end of the track, ugh.

But in between, she was remarkably good. Did NOT like Santa, but was pretty good waiting in line, sharing her treats, and playing with her friends. She whined right beforehand, but then seriously hammed it up when we stuck her face through the display holes for photo time. Which ended up being the best photo of all three of us all night (and as you can see, Tim is acting like a loon.)

Afterwards we had a cookie and a decaf coffee and the girls had a little dance party. Whitney is only 11 months but already walking, and we joke that she's doing it to keep up with Ellie and Lexi. There are worse examples in the world, I guess.

On the way home, I sat in the back seat with Ellie, which I don't normally do (I wanted her to eat a banana to make sure she was topped off before bed.) Once the banana was done, we pretended to hold our hop hops and our binny pigs and pet them. Then we threw balls of all colors back and forth to each other and high in the air. And then she spent a few minutes just letting me stroke her cheek and hold her hand, and it was the best night ever. Because even if she is a whiny little horrible turd sometimes, when we put her in her car seat and loaded up, she said "thank you for riding the train wid me, mama and dada."

Going so fast on the train!

Waiting patiently in line, with the help of some Goldfish (aka: the crackers of instant silence)


Husband, this is why we can't have nice things

Thanks for a magical evening, Christmas Train! See you next

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Party Time!

We had a pretty great afternoon yesterday - first off, we got to clean the kitchen and actually move our make shift fridge and pantry back into the actual kitchen. LOVE the fancy new fridge and all the amenities! (I think Tim is excited that this round of nursing a newborn, he won't have to have so much work keeping me hydrated, with the ice maker and the water in the door.) I also tried the oven out, with a round of lemon cupcakes. It was a dream come true! Our tiny LA apartment may not have had many nice features, but it did have a gas oven that I've often missed. Cooking with gas again was a beautiful thing, and the cupcakes came out great (even if I did spend a lot of time digging around in the office to find a cook book, and all of my spices and supplies.)

We took our cupcakes, our semi-cranky daughter (she takes wretched naps on the weekend, no matter what we do) and ourselves out to Redlands for Pari and James' holiday party. We were able to go two years ago when Ellie was barely seven weeks old, and it was such a surreal night - so good to see her family, but we had this teeny tiny baby and I just remember spending most of the party nursing her upstairs, and then sitting in the back seat holding her hand on the drive home, praying she wouldn't wake up and be upset (because it's a loooooong drive.) This time we made the journey in good time, and Ellie remained in good spirits for most of it.

And then she was an absolute CHAMP at the party. Spent most of the time asking to eat carrots or cookies (more carrots than cookies though, unbelievably) and playing with Pari's dog Jango and her brother's dog Kobe. Both dogs were remarkably good with her, and when they got a little wild they went outside for a bit (and I explained to Ellie that they were in Time Out, which she was okay with.) Everyone kept saying "oh, I can't believe how good she is an entertaining herself," and frankly, I was pretty amazed too, because that is not like her. But hey, I got to have an evening of adult conversation, Tim got to drink some beers, and we all had a great time.

Pari and I are due within two weeks of each other - she is having a girl, I am still having a boy. So yesterday I dumped off five giant garbage bags of girl clothes, which I wept going through the other day. I can only hope her baby enjoys them as much as Ellie did. To think that 14 years ago Pari and I were borrowing clothes out of each other's dorm room closets (often without asking) and here we are now, sharing clothes between our babies.

Ellie loving on Kobe

Looking longingly at Jango who, for being a puppy still, was really well behaved with her. Except for when he clearly wanted to eat one of her stuffed bunnies

Miss and her stuffed bunny prior to the car ride

Some amusing things has started saying recently:
"no problem mama!"
"are you okay?" (following one of us sneezing or coughing)

Yesterday Tim was warning her not to pet too close to Kobe's butt, and she looked at Tim, then pointed to Kobe's rear section and goes "the butt is over here, dada."

Also, the other night she was whining in the car about music, and I said "do you want to listen to Single Ladies or Call me Maybe?" and from the back seat she sniffled and said "Single Ladies."