Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What a year it's been. We heart 2008.

This is Piglet a few hours after he was born. 

This is Piglet a few hours ago. 

This will always be the year that our lives changed more dramatically than any other, topping even the year we met, got married, got pregnant.  This year, THE year that brought us Piglet is the absolute winner, no question.  

Life as we knew it ended and life as we know it began.  

We wouldn't trade our life now for anything but we do look forward to the day when we can go out for a nice dinner and not worry that Piglet is terrorizing my mother by wailing the entire time.  For now we embrace our daily interactions with our rapidly changing Piglet and know that each small moment leaves an indelible mark on us.  Even in the most frustrating of times- a spoon full of applesauce batted away and splayed all over the wall, bedtimes that last hours on end, bouts of crabbiness with no explanation; it has been a remarkable 12 months and we would not change a thing.  

Well, maybe we would change a few things - we're first time parents afterall.  :)

Thank you 2008 for the past 12 months.  We can't wait to see what 2009 has in store for our little family.  

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Past and Present.

Last year on Christmas Day we went to my sister's for a casual dinner having celebrated our big family Christmas a few days prior.  During dinner I was really preoccupied because Piglet had not kicked me very much all day.  I started drinking Coke and doing kick counts and still got only one nudge when he would normally kick me very forcefully, especially during the 6-9 p.m. hours.  On our way back home, dh and I were talking about it and he convinced me to call the Nurse Help Desk and see what they had to say.  Here's how the conversation went:

Her: Nurse help desk, may I have your name and other boring information? (Well, maybe that wasn't exactly what she said!) After that exchange this is really how it went:

Me: Yes, I'm a 38 weeks pregnant and the baby hasn't been kicking me or moving like usual.

Her: Has the baby kicked you fewer than five times in the last four hours? 

Me: Yes.

Her: Has the baby kicked you fewer than five times in the last hour?

Me: Yes.

Her: You need to go straight to labor and delivery.  I will let them know you are on your way.

Me: Gulp.

I had been doing everything I had heard, read or been told to try and get this child to come out but when I heard that, I was very shocked.  And of course my first thought was - but my legs aren't shaved and my personalized gown just came out of the wash and it isn't ironed! Priorities, right?

So I MADE dh stop by our house so I could quickly run a razor over my legs and grab a few essentials (despite the planner that I am, this is the one thing I was dragging my feet about.  I had many "piles" but just hadn't packed) just in case it was going to be our BIG MOMENT.  When we arrived at the hospital, the woman at the front desk took one look at me and said - "I'll call the 9th floor. Do you need a wheelchair?"  I declined and we made our way through the corridor to the elevator.  

When we arrived they put us in a labor and delivery suite and a very nice nurse came in to take my vitals and get me hooked up to a fetal heart monitor.  This is how I looked.

know you're shocked by the size of my whopping belly. Heck, looking back, even I'm shocked by it!  Would you believe I only gained 25lbs during my pregnancy and a month after I had Piglet I weighed less than I had before I got pregnant?  It's true, I swear! 

Anyway, of course the minute they hooked up the monitors the stubborn little thing starts going - BOING!  BA-BOING! BA-BOING BOING BOING!!!  It's just Murphy's Law.  The nurse was sweet and said it happens all the time.  

So that little journey was, yes, you guessed it - Christmas Past.  

Christmas Present went something like this because we were/are still snowed in and there was no one there to take our picture!

Me: Babe, babe, he's crawling away.  Stop petting the dog, grab him! (I was adjusting the tripod.)

Dh: I'm trying!!!  

Me: Honey, you have to move to the left, ok, now back a little, ok STOP.  Pull his sweater down!

Dh: Here?  You mean here?  Who's going to hold the baby?

Me: Is the light flashing?  Babe - is it flashing? (flash goes off)

Dh: What?  I was trying to grab the little Shrieker.  (flash goes off again).

Here's how those turned out...

And worthy of a frame.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cupcakes continued...

Remember how I said I was going to make three kinds of cupcakes today?  HA! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!  HA!  I forgot that I have an almost one year-old who is a busy, toddling, complete momma's boy plus I have Christmas gifts to wrap and a house to clean since my housekeeper couldn't get up here because of the weather.  What in the world was I thinking?!  
I did manage to get one batch made - Magnolia Bakery's vanilla cupcake and chocolate buttercream icing.  And boy, they turned out GREAT. I am in love with this recipe. I have never made this particular recipe before and usually find homemade cupcakes to be dense but still good. These however, are divine.  Fluffy and light but soooo buttery and vanilla-y.  They are just scrumptious.  I think it's the addition of self-rising flour that gives the cupcake its airy yet still satisfying quality.  The chocolate buttercream also tasted delicious but I was impatient (and had a crabby baby in tow) so I didn't let the chocolate cool enough before adding it to the butter mixture and so it didn't turn out as fluffy as it was supposed to.  Instead it was creamy and shiny.  But oh so tasty.  Not too sweet but rich and melts in your mouth. Overall I'd chalk it up to a success and I think I'll be able to perfect it for Piglet's bash in a few weeks (or is it just days)?

Tomorrow or maybe the next day, I'll endeavor to do a batch with vanilla buttercream icing which I'll dye many pretty colors which will hopefully make them resemble the cupcakes in the picture a little more.  If the weather lets up and I am finally able to escape my house, I'll go buy that fancy spatula too and then the games can really begin.  For now though, I am licking the bowl - Magnolia has won my home cook heart right over.  If you don't already have it, go get the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. It's a keeper for anyone who loves old-fashioned desserts.

Merry Christmas Eve and Happy Hanukkah everyone!!!  

Cupcake games

Today I will attempt to replicate these in anticipation of Piglet's first birthday party.  Except I don't have that fancy offset frosting spatula and with the snow I can't get out to buy one.  Annoying.  Anyway, I will post a picture of my first attempt.  I'll be making Vanilla, Vietnamese Coffee and Banana flavors.  I feel like I'm heading into the Olympic Cupcake Trials.  Hereafter referred to as the OCT.  Stay tuned.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baby, it's (still) cold outside.

I have realized three things:

1) It is too cold to go out for longer than a few minutes.
2) The Cat in the Hat is NOT coming to play because even he cannot get up our hill. And Piglet's mother is not away. :)
3) It could be worse - our home is warm, stocked with food (thanks to my excellent hoarding skills) and we have running water again (thanks to no small feat and an encounter with a racoon by my dh)!
Oops - I actually have four things. Sorry.
4) Melting snow on the stovetop to fill your toilet tank is not an ideal way to spend a cold, winter's day. I know, revelation, right?


The other day Piglet was so very bored of every single toy we own and seeing as the temperature was 19 degrees and we have not gone ANYWHERE for so long, I decided to dig into our Christmas present stash. It started with the tin drum...and then the little radio and then I found I couldn't help myself and went for a BIG gift. The car. Vroom vroom. Piglet cannot get enough of it and is content to be wheeled around being fed Cheerios at his leisure for looooong periods of time. Thank goodness I had the sense to buy the version with the long handle which means no bending over for us. What a smarty (frozen) pants I am! ;)

The only downfall of this car is that it creates a ton of static. So much so that when I went to give Piglet a bite of my ice cream while he was sitting in the car a small blue spark came out! I felt so bad! (Btw, FRENCH GIRL, we Americans love to eat ice cream even with two feet of snow outside. In fact, that is the best time to eat it because there is nothing else to do!)

Anyway, it looks like we won't be able to get over the river and through the woods this year and will have to stay put. Just another day of the three of us staring at each other. With that in mind, who cares when Piglet gets his presents, right? For one and only one year, I can get away with this. Next year it will be "Santa is coming blah blah blah" and he'll actually have some sense of what it is to open a present. For now, the best present is a mommy who is not losing her mind. I'm sure you will not beg to differ.

Can you guess what I will be doing on Christmas day? Here's a hint.

Warning: you might get a little dizzy watching this! And there is an annoying squeak from the wheels which we have since fixed. Sorry.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The pipes are frozen.

I am officially really, really, ridiculously over this weather.  I'll post again when I'm in a better mood.  Grr.  

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let it snow...but then let it MELT.

It's been snowing here for seven consecutive days.  SEVEN.  Schools were closed all week.  We haven't walked farther than a block since last Saturday.  That's a long time here in PDX for it to be snowing.  We Northwest folks are not accustomed to these type of inclement conditions lasting more than 48 hours TOPS and when it does we get a little stir crazy.  And in my case, we hoard.  You might remember one of my older posts about my hoarding tendencies.  Well this weather has put my little obsession into high gear.  (Sidenote: if you revisit the above post about Boon products, you should know they are coming out with a whole new slew of fantastic products.  You should become a fan of theirs on Facebook.  I certainly am.  Boon and brussel sprouts.  In the words of Peter Brady, now isn't that niiiiiiice.)

It all started a week ago Thursday when I went to buy some food for the pooch.  The nice and burly man asked if I was ready for "the big storm" as he carried out my bags of food.  "Storm?" I replied.  (I don't get the paper and hardly ever watch the news since the election ended, what can I say - I'd rather spend my precious few TV moments soaking in McDreamy.) "Yes'm there's a big storm heading our way, lowest temps in 20 years...but I don't believe it."  Well I did.  Like a babe believes in Santa, I did.  So I set about making lists and checking them twice.  Last Saturday was spent running all around town getting errands done - dry cleaner, tailor, grocery store, book store.  Sunday morning we awoke to a blanket of snow and it was lovely. So lovely.  Monday morning it was still lovely.  So lovely.  By Tuesday it was still pretty but gosh I hope it melts soon.  And today I say - MELT MELT MELT AWAY.  I have shopping to do and Santa to visit and family to hang around with (read: eat carbs with).  I need to be a woman about town.

If you know me, I don't need to tell you about the hoarding. If I use it daily or like it a lot, I tend to have two or three "reserves" in my pantry or extra fridge.  You heard me.  I said EXTRA FRIDGE.  And just like my main fridge, it is packed.  Being snowbound makes the desire  to hoard more acute than ever. Despite our very excellent shopping trip last Saturday, by Tuesday I found myself wanting, er NEEDING more things.  Here's what topped my list: Odwalla orange juice, Columbia River Gorge apple cider, Haagen Daz Fleur de Sel ice cream, bagels, brownie mix and napa cabbage.  Clearly these are not the items that Laura in her Little House would've listed as critical to sustain her family during a blizzard but hey, she didn't have indoor plumbing either and I do. (Or DID she after she and Almanzo moved into their fancier house?) Anyway, the nice folks at New Seasons Market were good (and brave) enough to deliver my tidy list of necessities right to my door.  Now that's service!  It was so good that I just placed another order today.  What can I say?  We already drank one jug of orange juice which only leaves two (!!!) more and who knows how long this snow will keep us trapped.  Clearly, the situation is dire. 

Below are some pictures of our winter wonderland neighborhood and a bundled up Piglet.  He seems to really enjoy the cold weather.  The dog cannot get enough of it either. As of this posting we have over ONE FOOT of snow.  This is really madness, I tell you.  Madness.

P.S. If you ever need traction devices for your feet, cut up an old pair of nylons and slip them over your shoes.  Works like a charm.

P.P.S. - Sorry for this very long and verbose post. Cabin fever makes you freaking CHATTY.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Piglet is 11 months old!

Piglet is just one short month (we all know how fast December goes) away from his first birthday. I can't stand it. No really.  I can't. least I get to plan a party for the little Shrieker.  Oh and let's not forget his first Christmas will come between now and then too.  Okay, maybe I CAN stand it.  A little.  But just a little.  

Weight 22.8lbs - his weight gain is tapering off because he's gotten so active with all the crawling and cruising!  I hope my chubby baby sticks around awhile longer though.  Who doesn't love a fat baby?!

Height: 30.5 inches. 

Clothing sizes: 12-18 and 18-24, shoe size 4

Party tricks: blowing kisses - complete with "mwah!" sound effects, responding to the word "surprise!" by putting his hands on either side of his face (this is hiiiiiilaaaaariiiious), the oldies but goodies - lotion, no-no, waving hi and bye, clapping, something newer - throwing his head back and getting his lower lip to tremble when he gets "in trouble" but then recovering in a matter of seconds, saying da-da with perfect clarity, signing dog, fan, all done and more, shuddering when very excited (!), pointing at things and in directions with his pointer finger.

Nicknames: Piglet, Shrieker, Reidy, Reidy Roo, Panda, Special, Terrible Little Child (this is usually used during meal times when he bats the spoon away!), Baba Roo, Munchkin, Monkey, Monks.

Piglet LOVES
  • his activity table complete with annoying caterpillar voice
  • the humidifier
  • taking paintings (but only original art, no kidding!) off the walls
  • "blowing" the lights off and on - it's a Music Together thing
  • Music Together 
  • Gymbo the clown at Gymboree
  • the parachute at Gymboree
  • playdates at our house
  • dancing around the house with mom to Pink Martini, he's also partial to waltzes
  • Eva, Kate, Avery and Gracen
  • Christmas music
  • empty boxes
  • Blues Clues (tv! gasp!)
  • pounding the ivories
  • watching daddy juggle
  • biting you or your clothes
  • chasing the dog 
  • Ritz crackers
  • climbing stairs
  • pop-up books
  • falling asleep in the car
  • an audience and applause - the louder the better

Piglet is OVER
  • eating anything green
  • the jumperoo
  • getting his face washed
  • laying down for diaper changes
  • the Nuby sippy...on to a big boy sippy
  • Dr. Seuss - for now
  • Gerber wagon wheels
  • Baby Einstein 
  • car rides after 6:00 p.m.
  • sitting quietly at restaurants
  • crowded spaces - I think he's a bit claustrophobic
  • crawling through tunnels

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Today. Tomorrow.

Today I played with her.  

And these.  

Tomorrow I will play with him.  

And this

Not the same, but both feed my soul and remind me that life is good.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

All in a day's work.

I've decided that being a mommy is hazardous to your health (not to mention your beauty). Here's why.  As I hopped into the shower this morning, I realized that something on my finger really smarted.  Upon further investigation, I realized that I had a nasty (and I mean deeper than your average paper cut) cut on my right middle finger.  No idea when or how I acquired this injury and it seemed quite fresh!  Later I was bending down to put on my Uggs (God bless the inventor of these sheepskin miracles) and I said "ouch."  Ouch because I have a sizeable bruise on my shin.  And on my head.  And an especially curious one on the top of my left pointer toe.  No kidding.  And these are the wounds that I somehow got myself!  These don't even count the Piglet-inflicted "love" wounds that I have from Piglet's sharp little teeth. You do not want to know the location of some of these.  Trust me.  

What I've decided is that because Piglet is now so very mobile and FAST, I have thrown myself in harm's way to shield him from these bumps, bruises and cuts.  Basically, I'm like Piglet's personal Secret Service agent and should start wearing all black more.  Either that or a cape like Wonder Woman.  Bahahahaha!  Ah the thoughts that run through your head when you're an exhausted (wounded) mother. :)  

Because they are infinitely cuter than my wounds, I'll end with a series of recent pictures of Piglet whose new thing is to squint at the flashbulb.  Does this mean he's starting to anticipate things that "hurt" him too?! Regardless, it is a hilarious new skill.