30 December 2007

Sunday afternoon

We went to see our jeweler today. Ha! That sounds funny, right? Like we are so hoity-toity as to have our own personal jeweler? Actually, she kind of feels like our own personal jeweler. She works out of her home and is a retired buyer for some big company (not Tiffany's or Cartier big, but more like Neiman Marcus big). She runs her business on word of mouth and trust, and judging by the number of appointments she had this afternoon, she's doing just as good as when we last saw her, which was to pick up my wedding ring (nothing exciting, but she had made my engagement ring so it only made sense to order a plain wedding band from her). Her house is modest and looks exactly like a grandmother lives there. But then you see the security system she has and how the basement is like a fortress and you remember that she's probably got a few million in loose gems floating around down there. Oh, and then there's the jaguar in the driveway. Next to the beat up kids toys because someone told her people are less likely to break into a house if it's obvious children are in it.

What makes her super fun is that she's an orthodox Jew. God bless her, I respect her faith and the sacrifices she makes for it - many people in her neighborhood are also Jewish, there's a Yeshiva down the street, a Hebrew day school, the kosher cafe and deli, and of course the neighborhood synagogue all within walking distance since you can't drive on the Sabbath. She wears a wig and reminded Jim today that she couldn't hug him (I got one, though). However, she is still the consummate Jewish Grandmother. She's sweet the one second and then chastising Jim the next for not coming to see her more often to buy me things, and he got quite a guilt trip when she found out he never bought me a present when I gave birth. She'll talk your ear off and wanted to hear all about Natalie, what we've been up to since getting married, yadda yadda yadda - she was so glad to hear I could work from home so I could look after the baby. A friend who used her for an engagement ring was once sent home with chicken soup from her freezer when he came to pick the ring up with a serious head cold.

Anyway, after two years of not fitting, I am FINALLY getting my engagement and wedding rings resized. My little finger went from a 5.5 to a 7! Yikes! No wonder I couldn't even come close to shoving them on any more. And I won't get into why it's taken 2+ years to get them resized - let's just say it has to do with Jim being a shit and wanting me to lose weight first. So...they will be done in about a week and we'll have to bring Natalie with us to pick them up so our jeweler can squeeze her cheeks and maybe cut Jim a deal on a belated push present.

27 December 2007

Travel overview

Here's what I've been up to the past week:

  • wondering how many calories I burned wrangling a toddler through an airport and a three hour flight where she didn't sleep a wink
  • being surprised that I only felt slightly queasy upon landing instead of my usual plane-sick self
  • having a car to use at our leisure for the course of the week and not having to rent one as originally planned
  • having a car seat to use all week, too
  • watching Natalie be one of the kids with her big cousins (ages 6, 9, and 10)
  • getting to dish with my awesome sister-in-law about how our mother-in-law drives us nuts
  • laughing at the central Texas dog psychiatry clinic
  • praying I never have to move to Texas
  • deciding that if we end up moving there, I could handle living in Austin proper, but that's it
  • getting a free massage from my sister-in-law's neighbor who is in training
  • feeling like a limp noodle after said massage
  • enjoying sunshine and warm air in the middle of december
  • hating having to go to Sear's to have family pictures taken
  • actually liking how good some of them came out
  • getting to go on a date with my husband
  • having awesome food on said date
  • watching carolers decked out in Victorian-esque outfits run down the street as they were late for their entrance at the production of "A Christmas Carol" at the wee little community theatre next door to the restaurant where we were eating.
  • wondering how on earth a tire RENTAL shop works
  • watching Natalie try out a trampoline for the first time
  • loving on those three wonderful cousins
  • laughing during a family kareoke dance party
  • cooking with my sisters-in-law for the big Christmas Eve family dinner
  • wondering how we ended up doing all the cooking when mother-in-law was so insistant on being the hostess for this meal
  • fuming at how controling my mother-in-law is
  • going to the bathroom sans toddler for FIVE DAYS STRAIGHT
  • cleaning up puke on Christmas Eve
  • waking up to homemade sticky buns in the oven on Christmas morning
  • watching the cousins get more joy out of giving than getting
  • having a baby who is so loved by her family and spoiled by them
  • packing a box of toddler loot to ship home as it didn't fit in our luggage
  • flying home with a sick toddler
  • praying the puke didn't make another apperance on the plane
  • thanking God the puke waited till we got in the car at the airport
  • coming home to a house watched over by a good friend and neighbor who not only collected our mail but left us a plate of fresh, home-made Christmas cookies (and she's Jewish!) for our arrival

And there you have it, our trip in a nutshell. Natalie is still under the weather, we think something she ate really did a number on her and since it was the end of the trip, she was just so worn out by all the fun of being with her cousins she couldn't get over it. I think the combination of being so behind on sleep (the cousins kept her energy levels at 11 all week) with being sick has inhibited her ability to get over this bug. She did eat some bland oatmeal for dinner last night which stayed down. We'll see how today goes. Our big plans include a showing of sesame street between naps. Crazy, eh?

26 December 2007

Home

How good does it feel to sleep in your own bed? So good I can't even describe it.

19 December 2007

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuudge

Today was supposed to be my packing, laundry, and cleaning day. With all that accomplished, I could get up tomorrow morning, not feel rushed, maybe take a run out for coffee or something, sit on the couch while Natalie runs crazy as usual, and at 11:15 we throw our bags in the car and head out to the airport. EHHHH!!! WRONG ANSWER!! Somehow today ended up being that day where I left the house at 9:30 and didn't get home till 4pm. Oh, and that was with a toddler who didn't nap at all, not even in the car ride home (which was longer than it should have been thanks to DC's psychotic rush hour that starts at 3:30 and lasts for 4 hours). So the laundry is only just now getting done, my plans to throw something together out of whatever I could find in the fridge are out the window because I can't even think straight (Jim is off getting gyro's from the take out kabob place around the corner). I'm so frantic about the whole airport with a toddler thing. What if the security lines are horrid? What if the plane is delayed? What if I run out of goodies for Natalie? What if she doesn't nap? Somehow the only thing I'm not worried about is the whole giant tin can up in the sky thing, because if we crash, at least I won't be the one left to deal with the consequences; I'll be dead. Which is why I need to remember one last errand: Good chocolate for the flight. Because if we do crash, it would be a shame to die without enjoying some damn fine sweets. This is also the reason I give for wanting to wear sweats on the plane, but Jim won't let me. I say the NTSB folks checking our bodies won't care what we're wearing, but apparently he wants me to make a good impression on his mother.

And on that note, Merry Christmas!! We'll be back in about a week!

16 December 2007

Christmas!!!

Am finally feeling like I am in the holiday spirit. Whew! About time considering we leave in 4 days for a whirlwind of holiday festivities in ye olde Texas with Jim's family. We put the "tree" up yesterday if that's what you can call a 3' tall fake tree that is just big enough to put in our front bay window - a true accomplishment in that much rearranging of the furniture was required to keep a certain toddler from climbing into the window to join it. So far she likes to look at the pretty lights and point and say "kissmisteee" which is too darn cute. Ok, not much that she does isn't cute, save maybe the times when she decides it's fun to throw her lunch on the floor.

We had the children's christmas service at church tonight. I'm kind of disappointed, as those of us with kids in the younger than 5 demographic got a letter telling us about the music and the participation etc and how wonderful it would be. Well, it was more reverant that joyous I felt. Not that the true meaning and story behind the holiday isn't sacred and worthy of being revered, but when you call it a children's service and encourage those with toddlers to bring them, I expected more bells! tamborines! carols! hand clapping! noise! funk! The music was beautiful, but other than Natalie imitating the conductors, she was more into flirting with the elderly couple behind us who no doubt were egging her on. Oh well. The natvity play that the elementary aged kids did was priceless and Natalie did have fun at the little punch and cookies reception afterwards, where she found some of her other toddler friends and they ran around together like the wild toddlers they are.

One thing our pastor said as he gave the meditation on Psalm 8 - I should say one thing I remember as I found my mind wandering to my mile long to-do list of everything we need to get or get done before we hit the skies on thursday - was how small we are in the grand scheme of things. He described it as that feeling you get laying out in the middle of a field, far from the city, at night and watching stars. I used to work at a summer camp and my other coworkers and I would do this all the time. It brought chills to me, as those were some of the best times. We would go out late at night (oh, this camp was in the middle of NOWHERE with farms on all sides of the property) and lay on this hillside. Sometimes deer would come sauntering right by us without a second glance. The stars were so bright and the sky so dark you could see the milky way like it was close enough to reach out and touch. I don't know what this means that this memory really got to me, but I think I'd like to find a field while we're in Texas (shouldn't be hard...) and go sit in it. Maybe not at night, but just To Be. Alone. Doesn't that sound peaceful? I think I need a bit of that in all the current craziness.

14 December 2007

Why?

How come my husband can hound me every single fucking night about how "we" need to go to bed early and catch up on sleep yadda yadda yadda, yet somehow I'm always in bed before him and he rarely joins me before 11:30? Then the next day? Same story all over again. I just love how he uses the royal "we" for something that is his problem - this usage isn't just for bedtimes, but on the state of the kitchen that "we" need to clean (this time "we" means Katie), or that trash that "we" need to take out (this is his sole chore), or things "we" need to do with Natalie that just happen to need to take place during working hours Mon-Fri. But tonight? Guess who has been in bed for an hour, the one night he could stay up late because I'm the one who gets up early with Natalie anyway every Saturday (and Sunday...) while he sleeps in. He doesn't know how good he has it. My therapist even told me I should consider going away for a weekend ALONE just so he can see what it's really like. I still probably have to be the one to clean up his messes when I returend, so I'm not sure yet if it would be worth it.

So many thoughts, so many half started posts, but this is all I've got for now...We leave for holiday travel in 6 and a half days. I'm excited and terrified. Oy.

10 December 2007

22 Months

Natalie, sweet Natalie, yesterday you turned 22 months old. Every day is a new adventure with you. I used to look at your closet and feel ashamed at my excellent bargain shopping habits that have resulted in a huge wardrobe for you. But lately, we've been having more and more days where you go through at least 2-3 outfits thanks to food, poopsplosions, and your never ending curiosity. We still haven't put up our teeny little 3' tall christmas tree yet because we don't know where to put it that you won't reach it and tear it down. Maybe we'll do some furniture rearranging tonight after you've gone to bed and see if we can come up with anything potentialy workable.

Your vocabulary continues to grow in leaps and bounds, some of your new words are idea, good, nice, and arabesque (your auntie Anne taught you that one). You've started to use thank you (or 'tee-too') with regularity, so combined with 'pees', you've got a lovely politeness going on. You've also started to combine words, so it's 'petzels pees' or 'papa nice' or 'nanee night-night.' We're just waiting for you to wake up one morning speaking in paragraphs.

This past weekend we traveled to PA/NJ for your great-grandpa's 90th birthday. It was so wonderful to see how much joy you brought to their faces as they watched you dance and flirt and play and sing and eat. Somehow the fates aligned so that uncle Bruce made spaghetti with meat sauce for dinner and I forgot to pack a bib. Therefore we just stripped you down and there is no dinner entertainment better than a naked toddler eating spaghetti. You also got to meet my brother for the first time ever. He's been a bit of a jerk the past year and a half or so, ever since he told mom and dad to stop being a part of his life. But he's coming around and was welcomed home for the first time in almost 2 years with open arms. You had him wrapped around your little finger in seconds. He was your companion for the weekend, reading you stories and doing puzzles with you for longer than I ever thought he was capable of. I hope from now on he's more a part of your life than he has been, because you are so special and a little girl that is so worth knowing.

Happy 90th, grandpa!

Grandpa's one request for his birthday was that his wife join him in the shower. Grandma - his wife of almost 62 years - said, "I told him we wouldn't fit. I'm so glad I have an excuse!" We all imagined the two of them, both large bodied and using walkers trying to fit into their shower together, and then when stuck, having to use the pull cord in the bathroom to summon help from the retirement community staffers and then becoming the talk of the breakroom for months to come.

05 December 2007

First snow

Last year, Natalie was too little to do much in the scant snow we had. Today, she thought it was the greatest thing ever and I had to practically drag her back in the house because I was getting frozen. She would have stayed out for hours, I think. We got enough to cover all the grass and it stuck plenty to the driveway and sidewalks. Not that I shoveled. I have Jim and Uncle Chris (our friend who rents our basement) for that. And not to beat a dead horse by bringing up the old car again, but that one semester at college I had my own transportation was also the only semester in FOUR YEARS that we had substantial snow. And by substantial, I don't mean something more than the 1-2 inches we got a few times in the previous 7 semesters, but God went medieval and dumped 10-12 inches plus ice three times that winter.

Our apartment only had street parking, and our street was the main route to a hospital. The good is that it always got plowed right away. The bad is that when a plow pushes one big stripe down the middle of a semi-major road in 12 inches of snow, your car is then burried in at least 3-4 feet of the stuff and requires a few hours to dig out. So hard was this work that people (myself included) got protective of their parking spaces that they had spent so much sweat creating. When you left to go to the groccery, you'd pull up into the street, get out, take a lawn chair out of your trunk and place it in the nook you had dug your car out of along the curb. Then the whole time you were out getting milk and toilet paper in preparation for the next snow fall, you prayed the cops hadn't come by and tossed all the lawn chairs on your street to the sidewalk.

It was a small college, and living off campus wasn't like being a part of a big party or something like friends of mine experienced at larger universities. Our apartment was the 2nd floor of a row house on a residential street with only a couple other similar apartments of college students on it. Everyone else was families or older people. This made snow shoveling nights almost magical (pardon the cheesiness). Everyone would be out there, from our French Carribbean neighbors to the Menonite couple with their 6 adopted kids across the street. Everything was quiet in that way that only exists after a snow storm. People stopped to chat, even help others out after they had finished their own walkways and cars. It was the type of night that made you want to whip up a big pot of hot chocolate and invite everyone in for an impromptu party.

Sadly, I'm tired, have been in my jammies since 4pm, and it's so wicked cold out I can't muster the same excitement for going out and shoveling. Again, I can always use the girl card and make one of the boys do it in the morning.

04 December 2007

Weirdness

So I have a new (used) car. It's awesome in so many ways my old car wasn't - I have crazy things like power locks and power windows now and one of those little remote clicker things to lock and unlock the doors. I also have intermittent wipers, a split back seat for trips to Ikea or my parent's house, bigger cupholders, a working overhead light, you know, those little things that make a car a pleasant place to be for a 3 hour road trip over the holidays. Most of all, I no longer have an engine that sounds like it resides inside a giant tin can. Plus, the new car has a pretty silver paint job - no scarred bumpers from my time living in the city with only street parking, or the big scrape and dent I got by some jerk in the groccery parking lot who didn't even leave a note to say sorry.

Somehow, I've gotten sentimental about saying goodbye to my old car. I got it over winter break my last year of college. It took me to my best friend's wedding and was where I bawled my eyes out afterwards because I knew our friendship would never be the same (he was a guy...even weirder I had a dream about this wedding the other night). It gave me a bit of freedom I never had before - I could go 100% off the dining hall since I no longer had to worry about bumming rides to the groccery or having to pay at the expensive place that was walking distance. I also no longer had an excuse not to workout on cold, rainy, snowy days - I could drive to the gym all the way across campus instead of having to brave the elements for the 20 min walk.

This is the car that moved me from my parents house to my own place down in DC, that I did wedding planning errands in, that brought Natalie home from the hospital. It had visited friends and gone on vacation to Vermont, New York, Jersey, Virginia Beach, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I smooched boys other than Jim in this car. Even though the tape deck hadn't worked for a few years, I still had a collection of mix tapes in there, many of them from ex-boyfriends. So many memories, so many changes. I just didn't think I'd be so sentimental about such a clunker of a car.