Thursday, September 30, 2010

That *bump* in the night is my feet hitting the floor. Again.

I dragged myself out of bed at six this morning.  Not to go on a run, which was my initial plan, but to pull a bleating toddler out of his crib and bring him into bed with us.  Without changing his diaper, because one word he has learned in the past week and uses frequently is “no.”  So, he didn’t want a clean diaper, he just wanted to sleep with Mommy and Daddy.


Then, at 6:20, I pulled myself out of bed again to go on that run.  Because I’m not getting any faster, more in shape, or skinnier lying in bed.  Even though that is truly where I want to be because Charles has relapsed into bouts of shrieking at all hours of the night. 


We’re consistent with our “sleep training,”  but he doesn’t let up.  Tony and I take turns entering his room, reassuring him that we’re there and it’s okay, and then leaving to the sound of his terrified cries.  We flop into bed, but putting the pillows over my ears doesn’t keep out the sound of him retching as he works himself up so hard he barfs.  Usually only the air he has sucked into his stomach from crying so hard, but still.


I know I was a crier, but I seem to recall that it was at a much older stage in my life… around age four, when I was pissed off that Leland got to stay up late and I didn’t.  I was articulate, I know that much, as I screamed at my parents things like, “You can make me go to bed, but you can’t make me sleep!”  Little did I know that my mom probably wished with all her heart that she could change Leland’s infant schedule and get him to bed earlier, too.  Would I have been satisfied if he had to go to bed at the same time as me?  I don’t know.


And I don’t know what’s eating Charles.  It seems as though this is just another in a long line of nighttime sleep problems we will have to endure.  He can’t tell us what he needs, so he just cries, shattering my visions of tucking my son into bed after reading a story and having him sleep soundly until the sun rises.  Oh, he goes to sleep okay the first time, but after he wakes up in the middle of the night, it can be a good hour before he calms enough to hiccough his way back to dreamland.


Tony and I have been subsisting on a very few hours of sleep for a long time.  And truly, the five hours I get now are so much more than the two or three I would get when Charles was younger, sick, or actively teething.  It sure throws me into a tailspin, though, as my emotions are much closer to the surface and every daily task seems like slogging through thick, ankle-deep mud.  These are not rose-colored glasses I wear, but rather foggy lenses peering out only a world that is moving too quickly for me to keep up.


The bright side?  Charles wakes up happy, babbling, and excited to eat his toast and waffles come 7 am.  The little stinker.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The man is a beast.

Our lawn underwent a huge transformation in the space of about 5 hours yesterday.  Here it is at about 5 pm:

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And here it is this morning, when it was light enough to take a photo:

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Amazing, isn’t it?  Tony worked his ass off last night, with Leland’s help for a couple of hours.  When he was finally finished, he took off his pants, cracked a beer, and told me he was ready to sleep.*  I leaned in for a kiss, wrinkled my nose, and told him I thought he was ready for a shower.  He worked so hard and I am so proud of the end result.  Thank you, Tony!!!



We celebrated our 5th anniversary in Bellevue at The Melting Pot and it was delicious.  If the pricetag wasn’t so extraordinary, I would want to go every night.  I’ll settle for requesting a fondue pot for Christmas so I can make my own.


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Tony ordered some dessert first.


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Self Portrait!!!  (I promise I wore clothes to dinner, even if it doesn’t look like it right now)


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Oh, yes, he’s as good as he looks.  Wait!  I mean, the dinner is as good as it looks!

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Oh, fondue, how I love you…


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Dessert~ chocolate s’mores fondue and complimentary Champagne



This guy:


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I’m pretty sure there’s a photo of me at his age eating cereal out of a box on the floor, too.


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Clearly, the main reason we had a child was so that he could help with household chores.


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*Isn’t that always the first thing guys do when they want to get comfortable: take off their pants?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Expository Writing. Subject: My Current State of Mind

Tonight, Leland and I are going for a four-mile run.  My brother does this every damned day (he has stopped biking and taken up running, don’t ask me why), but I don’t.  I did go on one other four-mile run this summer, a grueling trek up a long hill with my friend Megan, and I’m pretty sure my heart almost exploded.  And poor Buster.  I didn’t think I would be able to get him into the car!


But anyhow, I’m now training for a 10k.  Tony and his mom, aunt, and cousins do the bridge run every year, and this year I’m joining them.  Sure, I could walk the 6.4 miles, but what fun is that?  Besides, I guarantee I would have to pee before the end, so if I run, I’ll get there faster.  Also, I like a challenge.


But on the other hand…


The last time I ran a race this distance was the last time I ever ran a race.  Come to think of it, it was also the first time I ever ran a race.  And I distinctly remember saying that I would never, ever do it again.  So much for that.  Running long distances screws with my digestive system (I’ll let you imagine the gruesome details there).  Also, it takes a lot of time.  Tonight, Leland and I will devote an hour to running.  Next week, we’ll go farther, and the week after, farther still.  Time away from my family, time away from dinner, time away from other fun stuff.


It’s probably worth it.  I’ll feel a sense of accomplishment if I meet my goal of no walking.  Maybe I’ll lose those 5 lbs that have been plaguing me for months.  Or, if I don’t lose weight, at least I won’t gain it as I stuff my face with goodies; seriously, I have had the biggest sweet tooth lately.  Perhaps it’s my body hunkering down for winter or something.




It’s our anniversary on Friday.  Five years.  Five Years!  We’re planning a trip down to the greater Seattle-Metropolitan area for a romantic meal at a national chain restaurant.  Well, it’s not so unglamorous as Applebee’s… no, we are going to The Melting Pot because I love fondue.  And I’ve never been there.  And have you seen their menu?  Divine.  Tony, I love you like food.  But better, and more.  But I still want food.


This little break will shepherd in a weekend of hard work on the backyard and a very busy week next week.  The backyard is thisclose to being done, but then, I’ve been saying that for awhile.  You see, we are busier than most folks, I think.  Tony has started his master’s program (in taxation, clearly the world’s most fascinating subject) and he still sits on the Habitat for Humanity board and executive committee, whilst I try to keep house (not so easy when your backyard is comprised of dirt and more dirt), keep up the shopping and the laundry and the meals and the rest of the household chores, sit on the Rotary Board, co-chair the Rotary Live Auction, and run my own business (thankfully, Leland does the brunt of that).  We don’t have time to finish the backyard.  We need to get six more yards of topsoil before we can roll sod, and then we have to figure out how to roll sod over the whole backyard in one day!  I am amazed at our neighbor, who had time to completely rebuild the fence between our two properties over the course of one week (we paid for the materials, he did all the work.  All of it).  That kind of project would take us two months.


Thankfully, as an anniversary gift, we decided to buy ourselves a full day of Merry Maids service.  As soon as there is grass in that backyard, someone else is going to come in and clean up all the dirt in my house.  Thank God.




That kid.  That beautiful, energetic, crazy kid.  Charles is all over the place, wildly enjoying his 22nd month, which makes me think, holy shit, he’s almost TWO.  Time flies when you’re having fun.  Or are sleep-deprived, a state with which Tony and I are intimately familiar.


Charles has begun a rather annoying bedtime routine wherein he must be tucked in just so in order to sleep.  As with most people, his sleeping is pretty light for the first little while after the lights go off as his little brain winds down.  So if the blanket gets messed up?  Bam!  We’re back to the beginning of the routine, with Charles standing in his crib calmly but insistently asking on of us to “Da?” (Charles speak for “come tuck me in again, please).  This routine can take a full 30 minutes, but he’s not crying, so we just deal with it.  It makes me think that we are headed towards a toddler bed pretty quick because then we’d have the ability to really tuck his blankets in.  Although, after typing that, I realize that there isn’t much stopping me from getting some larger blankets and tucking them under his crib mattress, too.


He’s waking up early again, too.  We bring him to our bed, where he flails or settles, apparently depending on the position of Venus and the tide level.  The dog gets up around 4 to go outside.


Is it too much to ask for a full, straight seven or eight hours?  Vacation spoiled me. 




I’m restless.  I need new book recommendations (again).  I need to start working on Christmas gifts.  I need to get winter clothes out of their storage bins.  I need to go to the gym.


I want to do more cooking.  More gourmet cooking, instead of the kind that involves looking in the refrigerator, hastily cobbling together ingredients to make a passable meal, and getting it on the table before Charles breaks out in bleeding pustules and then dies of starvation (kid is dramatic, yo).  I have hundreds of recipes I want to try, but I need more time, MORE TIIIIIMMMEEE!!!!  Perhaps I should get up at four am with Buster?


Also, O.M.G., Halloween is right around the corner.  What are you going to be?  What should I be?  What should Charles be?  I am now considering all ideas.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cruise-tastic Caribbean!

I went on a cruise with some of my best girlfriends from college last week.  We reminisced, made new memories, got tan, and overall had a wonderful time.  I honestly didn’t know if I would like cruising, but now I can honestly say that I hope I take many more cruises in my lifetime.  I hope my parents start taking cruises.  I hope that next time, I can convince more of our friends to go.  And I hope that I can drag Tony with me next time, of course.  After all, he’d be more likely to stay out late dancing with me than anyone I know.  I haven’t lost it after all these years!


Here are some of the highlights:

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Dessert, night one


What, did you think I would post a photo of some devastatingly gorgeous scenery first?  Well, you don’t know me very well then, because food was the first order of business when we got on the boat and it remained of high importance.


A friend of Liz had told her that we should each order two or three things off of each menu (starter, main dish, dessert).  After all, the portions weren’t huge and we could all share and there was a disgusting abundance of food on board.  It took us a few days of cruising to be comfortable with this… I mean, it is a lot of waste.  But we also found that many of the dishes were just plain bland and not worth eating (mango cream soup, anyone?).  By the end of the trip, we mostly ordered the chocolate melting cake for dessert unless something else really looked good.


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Stephanie and Amelia, first night


Later photos will have us looking much more tanned.


Our first stop was Half Mood Cay, a private island leased from the Bahamas by Carnival Cruise Lines.  It was, in a word, beautiful.


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That’s a big boat.


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Liz and I took a guided bike ride with creaky bicycles and ill-fitting helmets, and a hike up the highest peak on Half Mood Cay, all of 60 feet elevation.


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The elevation was dizzying to the Floridians also on the hike.


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Nearly 3,000 miles from home…

We enjoyed a formal night:

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Do you see the strange white sculptures in the background?  That’s the “club” called “Hot and Cool.”  It had giant hands and feet all over the place.  We called it “Foot and Mouth Disease” and I danced there a lot.  This particular evening was a disco dance night, and I went a little crazy.


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Oh, yes, there were towel animals.


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St Thomas, USVI


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It was quite windy on St Thomas, and my dress got poofy.


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Arrr!  It’s Blackbeard!  At his castle!  Where they make rum!  Arr!

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St. Thomas was the only island on the trip that was rainy.  I managed to slip and fall a couple of times, and I ended up with a splitting headache that night.  But still!  The pirate stop was a ton of fun.


Our next island was San Juan.  I forgot my camera and I borrowed Liz’s to tour the fortress with Stephanie while Liz and Heidi chilled in the murderous heat.  I’ll post those photos when I get them.


Finally, the last stop was Grand Turk, of Turks and Caicos.  The whole trip seemed sort of like summer camp for adults, with disco, hip-hop, and Thriller dance lessons, floor rivalries, 24-hour soft serve, Vegas-style shows, comedy shows, and so much more, but Grand Turk was like MTV Spring Break, only everyone is of legal drinking age.  I have never in my life seen so much pool bar booty shaking.


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That’s me in the blue-and-white, mid dance step in the hip-hop class.


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Grand Turk


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Me and Liz, getting crazy…

We also participated in a three-round game of super trivia, and of course, being the smart girls that we are, our team won.  Our prize?  Nasty-ass champagne that wasn’t even helped by a heaping dose of orange juice.  Here we are right before disembarking the boat.  Now that’s how you start the day, am I right?

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All in all, one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bye Bye Baby

I leave tomorrow for a fun-filled week dodging hurricanes in the Caribbean.  I actually had someone say to me the other day “Well, as my mom the former travel agent says, there are times you don’t go on a Caribbean cruise.”  How rude, right?!  I mean, it’s clear that I have already purchased the tickets and this is my vacation… why rub it in that I had the ill luck to have my cruise fall during the single two-week period all year that hurricanes have presented?  Kick me when I’m down, why don’t you?


Well, that bitch can suck it because I plan to have an amazing time.  I’m going to stock up on Dramamine, soak up any sun we see, and have fun with girlfriends, some of whom I haven’t seen for years.


But, oh, I am going to miss this guy:


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snot-nose and everything.


Charles, though he is well and truly entrenched in the terrible-twos syndrome of knowing exactly what he wants but not being able to communicate it effectively, is a delight to be around.  His tantrums don’t phase me as he is the cutest crying, kicking, screaming child I have ever seen.  Everyday he’s learning more, growing more, doing more, and I am a huge part of that.  It feels so cool.


Last weekend was an amazing success (you know, besides the fact that two wonderful people got married), I just have to tell you about it.  We picked up Charles at noon from daycare and he slept in the car on the way to Enumclaw – as parents, we have learned to time our drives around the sleep schedule.  We met the Landons as the hotel, and Charles rediscovered his favorite cousin (sorry Claire, you’re just not male enough), Jack.  His adoration of Jack was a problem during the wedding, but I’ll touch on that later.


We met up with Loris and the rest of the family at Bill & Meghann’s place, then went to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal.  Why do kids love these so much?  I don’t think there’s another meal Charles loves more or will eat with more reliability than a McNugget Happy Meal with apples and milk.  I can’t complain, though, because the benefits of having such a handy “he’ll always eat this” meal are multiple.  Also, I like fries and Diet Dr Pepper, so bonus for me. 


We arrived at the rehearsal at Genesis Farm & Gardens just in time to hand Charles off to the care of the other ring bearer, Lucas, and watch as everyone ran through the ceremony twice.  Apparently, Lucas loved having the job of taking care of Charles.  You see, Lucas is 5, and didn’t want to be there (little boys aren’t nearly as enamored with the idea of being in a wedding as little girls).  But all of a sudden, he had a job!  And he was going to do it and do it well!  I think I had to tell him later that it was okay to let go of Charles hand, now, please.


The great thing about the farm is that there was lots to see.  Charles got to see geese and a swan and deer and horses and moos (cows).  He, and all the other children, loved it!


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Look at that, Daddy!


Later, we went to the rehearsal dinner, a barbeque on Lake Tapps.  Other than an explosive diaper (caused by a toddler who doesn’t care if he’s dirty, he’ll just sit down right here and squish, thankyouverymuch), we had a wonderful, exhausting time keeping Charles from jumping into the water, helping him feed the birds, and playing with the other kids.


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The day of the wedding was busy and fun, and we arrived for photos at 3:30pm with a tired boy who had to have his nap cut short.  Then, he refused a snack.  And he fought against wearing a tux.  And he threw a tantrum every time I tried to pry him from my arms to take photos with the bridal party.  You can see where this is going, right?  I was afraid.  Very afraid.  And then Grandma Loris (our personal savior this trip) brought a McDonald’s McNugget Happy Meal.  And all was well with the world.


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Charles walked down that aisle with his had firmly in Lucas’s and I choked up.  I don’t think I was this nervous for my wedding!  He then sat on the wall and proceeded to shout “Jack!  Jack!  Jack!” during the ceremony, so Tony took him to see the deer.


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Even here, Lucas held tight.


After the ceremony, Charles ran and ran and ran, ate some spaghetti, blew bubbles, and ran some more.  He and Lucas got a special swing moment with the groom as Bill tried to escape having more alcohol forced on him.


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The funniest part was the bubble-blowing.  Charles has quite a windup.


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We had such a great time, and it was so wonderful to be a part of Bill & Meghann’s nuptials.  I’m going to miss this little guy so much next week, I can hardly stand it.