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December 2008

I think my favorite is the cheeseburger song

Jack is watching a VeggieTales singalong (the moo shoo one) and Molly is taking her morning nap (at 11:30) and I am setting the table for the murder mystery dinner we're having tonight. Several weeks ago my mother suggested I "do something" for New Year's because my brother and sister-in-law were going to be in town and she wanted them to have a good time. (Read: please help me get my grandchildren all to myself.)

And so, because I can't just say, "Come over and have a glass of champagne!" I decided to buy one of those murder mystery dinner games and GO ALL OUT. I've done this once before, on Halloween a few years ago, and it was super fun, but kind of stressful making sure the different courses were ready at the appropriate times. And it kind of went on forever. And then no one really understood why the killer was the killer.

BUT. This time will be different. Mostly because it's just my sisters and brother and sister's boyfriend coming over and who cares if the salmon isn't done in time for Chapter Two?

Here I was thinking this would be a fun little game and get my brother and sister-in-law into the city for a night, but I seriously misunderstood the power the words Dressing Up have on my sisters (and sister-in-law). I mean, I thought I was bad, but duuuuuude. The [Maiden Name] girls have spent the last several days shopping for wigs and jewelry and clothes and (God help my brother) a blond Sharpay wig with matching tiara because the one my mom had in HER costume box wasn't blingy enough. So now I'm just worried about meeting expectations. I may own five feather boas, but my costume is entirely borrowed. (From my aunt. I swear, the dressing up, it runs in my family.)

I just had to call my sister and ask her to bring wine because I am out. How did that happen?

Anyway. Happy last day of 2008. I thought about doing one of those retrospective things that everyone else is doing, but even *I* got bored. 2008 can be condensed into:

  • Surprise, I'm pregnant!
  • Pregnancy turns me into irritable, horribly anxious, uncomfortable psycho woman.
  • Until the 'uncomfortable' starts to cancel everything else out and I start praying to give birth at 7 months.
  • Jack finally gets the hang of one nap! Praise God!
  • Molly is born!
  • Marvel at whatever insanity in my body ensures that I have Pregnancy Krazy instead of Post-Partum Krazy, because WOW, THIS IS THE BEST FALL/WINTER EVER.


Next year? Hot by Thirty, no surprise babies and getting good at something. I'd say "being a mom" but you know it's going to be more like "arranging the couch pillows".

Happy new year everyone!


In which I pretend I have a knitting blog

I just went through my archives to see what Jack was doing sleep-wise at nearly four months. Jack was going down for the night between 9 and 10, waking up between midnight and 3 for one middle-of-the-night feeding, and waking up for the day at 6.

I just looked this up because I have spent the last hour (from 9 to 10) trying to get Molly to go down for the night. Not happening.

So now I'm sitting here (while Phillip is up there soothing her) trying to decide what's better: to have a baby with a reasonable bedtime and night wakings, or a baby who refuses to go down until midnight (or ONE, oh my goodness those are rough nights) and sleeps till 10:30 if I let her, sometimes waking at 7 or 8 to eat, sometimes not. Actually, she's slept as late as 11, and I had to wake her up that time. It's like she thinks she's a college student.

What do you think?

The rule-abider in me is sort of horrified that I can't get a bedtime out of this girl. The whatever-works-er in me is all, "Eh, whatever. It won't always be like this."

She'll stay asleep in my arms, but not if I put her down. I have seen her fall asleep on her own, but she rarely STAYS asleep. She won't take a pacifier. She doesn't need to nurse to sleep, though that works best. She takes one nice long morning nap, she'll take an afternoon nap on occasion, but prefers to catnap her way to midnight, when Phillip and I are so tired we don't care what it takes to get her to sleep. Nurse? Rock? Shush? Sleep next to me? FINE.

I tip-toed into CIO territory tonight, but I didn't go very far.

Phillip just came downstairs. He said he held her tightly, wouldn't let her squirm, and shushed into her ear, loud as an airplane engine. She fell asleep. She's in bed. We'll see how long it lasts.

What were/are your babies doing at 4 months? Isn't 4 months when all the Experts say you should be figuring out the schedule? I feel like I have a finger-wagging church lady in my head, tsk tsking me because I haven't figured it out. And am not terribly inclined to do so. (Well, until it is 12:30 and the baby still won't go down and Phillip is beyond beannoyed and I'm delirious because we have a toddler and he doesn't sleep in like the baby does and then I am VERY MUCH INCLINED.)

Bah.

And now! A reward for those of you who actually read all of that. Remember when I was all, "Wah, have to find stocking for Molly"? And you were all, "Oh, we got our stockings here and here and here!" except for Liz who was all, "Do you want me to make you one?" I think maybe five seconds lapsed before I emailed her to say YESPLEASE.

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I have very conflicting feelings about this stocking. On one hand I think it is the cutest most darling most precious thing EVER, that I shall wrap gently in tissue paper, that I will hang way far away from any grimy toddlers. And on the other hand it gives me a big fat inferiority complex because DUDE, MY FRIEND CAN MAKE STUFF LIKE THAT.

Things I can make:

  • toast
  • cardboard box forts
  • the bed


Isn't it pretty? I love it I love it I love it. Thanks Liz!


An index of our smartitude

OH WHERE DO I BEGIN?

This past week? Wow, did it kick my butt up and down the snowy roads of Western Washington. I was all, "We can do it! We can do it!" And we did it. All five Christmases. And while each Christmas celebration was as awesome as advertised, the in between parts ran me ragged. As I have noted in this space before, I am the Planner, the Date-Keeper, the Obligation-Tracker, the Scheduler, the MEMORY of the Cheung Family and by Christmas #3 I was crying Uncle. The day after Christmas Phillip's mom had to go to work and his dad was at a funeral and we were trying to get out of the house. The plan was to get to my sister's apartment in time for lunch and nap, but we eventually realized it was Not Humanly Possible. Phillip gave Jack lunch while I stomped around the empty house with Molly, fuming at the entire world. I was mad at Molly for not staying asleep EVER. Mad at Jack for having the nerve to be hungry. Mad at Phillip for never remembering what the plan is. Mad at myself for being mad. MAD MAD MAD.

I felt like I'd spent the last week and a half doing nothing but Figuring Out How To Do Everything and NOTHING was working out the way it was supposed to and I WAS TIRED. Stupid snow. Stupid nap schedule. Stupid umpteen family celebrations.

I was cold shouldering everyone until my son, who had been confined to his crib for naptime for an HOUR, started talking.

"WOOOAAAAAAHHHHH!!! Woo woo blawwwww! Fwap fwap ooooh! Mamama ahhhhh WHEEEEEE!!!"

It was hilarious. I laughed out loud, even though I really didn't want to, because I was still mad and I didn't want Phillip to think that I wasn't still mad but you guys, Jack makes the FUNNIEST WORDS.

We eventually made it to my parents' house that night for Christmas #4 where I immediately poured myself a glass of wine and sat down to kvetch about children with my sister-in-law. My brother held Molly all night. We watched our kids open four frillion presents. We played a game my parents made up called Family History Trivia. My team would have TROUNCED my brother's team were it not for the fact that 1) the teams were not fair due to my sister-in-law having gone to high school with my brother and two sisters therefore giving them an Unfair Advantage in the Significant Others Who Did Not Grow Up With Us department 2) the TOTALLY SUBJECTIVE QUESTIONS ie: who had the worst high school sports experience and state your reasons why, and 3) my dad, who was the judge, kept trying to even out the score even though my team was CLEARLY WINNING EVERYTHING. (Aaaand here you see why I do not like to play board games with friends. Competition brings out my nasty.)

We opted to drive home after Christmas #4 even though we had to go back the next day for Christmas #5, but that was an excellent decision on Phillip's part. It was nice to sleep in our own beds and not worry about Putting The Kids To Sleep. My nephews went straight to bed even after FLYING and being in a whole different TIME ZONE, but Jack? Oh no. Jack prefers to wail piteously until we realize we should have just kept him up.

So... yeah. It IS possible to have too much of a good thing.

Then I was sitting in church yesterday morning and reading the letter from the priest in the bulletin talking about Advent and how the snow forced everyone to slow down and reconsider and appreciate and (gasp!) WALK PLACES and all I could think was: once again I have totally missed the Advent boat. This year I may have been headed in the total opposite direction. I mean, Advent is not about spending your every waking moment strategizing how to get your kids out of the house for your Christmas party when there has been a Rather Momentous Snowfall, or how to manage five Christmas celebrations in a row with two children under two. I start baking Christmas cookies the day after Thanksgiving and things do not let up until well after New Year's. So much for Advent, huh? Next year, next year.

I have so many awesome pictures to post, but I haven't had time to do that annoying uploading thing so you're stuck with this load of whine until I get around to that. Kisses!

Oh, and I weighed in today. I lost weight over Christmas. HUH?


Hark the herald angels sing / Snow will ruin everything

So you know how I am all Wah, The Snow? (And you are all GAWD, SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP?)

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ENTIRELY JUSTIFIED.

That would be a layer of ice/snow/ice/snow slowly sliding down the overhang (or whatever you call that thing) over the front porch. See how nice and uniform it looks? As if it is part of the house? Perhaps part of our wintry holiday decor? EXCEPT NOT.

This is what it looks like if you are standing at the front door.

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Come to my house and get killed by a SNOW GUILLOTINE.

This is what it looks like if your husband is about to take a shovel to the hanging sheet of snow and you are slightly worried about the risk of impalement and/or limbs being lopped off.

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And hello all Potential Stalkers! This is what my house looks like. I normally try to refrain from posting pictures of my house or my corner or my front walkway. I try not to say too much about where I live, exactly, although if you are local it's probably fairly obvious. I mean, I already use my REAL NAME and my REAL FACE and my REAL CHILDREN. So now? Shouldn't be too hard to find me, I don't think. We'll see how long I can keep this post up before my husband calls and asks me what in the world I am thinking.

I am thinking: SEE?! I AM NOT JOKING ABOUT THE SNOWBOUNDEDNESS.

We opened our gifts to each other last night. Jack promptly tipped over backwards in his new chair, bonked his head on the floor and refused to go anywhere near it for the rest of the night. Yay Christmas.

We opened gifts because today we are driving to my parents' house where we were planning to have the My Side Of Extended Family Christmas Eve Shindig, except that's now been postponed till the weekend when, hopefully, the extended family can drive their cars out of their garages. We'll hang out there, have a little mini Christmas Eve (read: Jack opens half his mountain of presents from Grandma), then head to the Cheung Side Of The Family for Christmas Day and prime rib. The day AFTER Christmas Day we head back to my parents' house because my brother and sister-in-law and nephews will be arriving for My Immediate Family Christmas AND THEN we are sticking around for the rescheduled Extended Family Christmas on Saturday. Did you catch all that? Phillip didn't either. And you people who do not have visual calendars in your brains drive me CRAZY.

Oh, and that? Is FIVE CHRISTMASES. And our families aren't even divorced, people.

Anyway, I am exhausted just typing that. It'd be easier if we didn't want to do any of these things, because we sure have a great excuse being an hour away IN THE SNOW. Unfortunately for us, we really like our families and would be super sad to miss any of it. So... we're not missing any of it. We'll be taking an index of our smartitude next week when we are passed out on the couch deliriously arguing over whose turn it is to wipe the spit up off the baby.

Merry Christmas Eve!


It doesn't show signs of stopping

I know you're probably all sick of the blogger types in the Pacific Northwest going all Snowpocalypse on you, but DOOOOOOODS. This is nuts. And it's supposed to snow more tonight, which: YAY. CHRISTMAS IS CANCELED.

Phillip and I can't remember the last time it snowed like this. We both have pictures of ourselves as very small people playing in heaps of snow, but it's not like we remember that. Every year we have one or two snowfalls and breathless local news reporters film their segments on some hill downtown while cars slide into each other. People "work from home" and there's excitement in the air and everyone talks wistfully about a white Christmas. But it almost always melts by morning and we're back to our same old same old dreary gray rain. The end. So this - this inches and inches and INCHES of snow for DAYS ON END - is totally something else. It'd be nice if, you know, a rather important holiday wasn't coming up, the kind where people like to visit family. My family has now put off Christmas till Saturday. YIPPEE.

That actually doesn't bother me too much (I'm all for prolonging the present getting as long as possible) but I AM starting to get a little stir crazy. It's been me and the boy and the baby in this house for way too many dull-as-dirt hours. Yes, we've had our bit of fun outside (he FINALLY agreed to try on the mittens and the boots last night, and then screamed when I made him come inside for dinner) but it's freaking COLD out there (sorry Midwest, I know you've got your subzero temps, and I would surely die if subjected to that) and also, there's just only so much you can DO. We can't even make a proper snowman because the snow is too powdery. We delivered cookies to the neighbors and cajoled my sister into visiting more times that she really wanted to, but I am going through Target withdrawal here, people. THINGS ARE GETTING DESPERATE.

I am running out of ways to entertain us. We have found all the Santas on the tree. We have identified all the babies in the Christmas cards. (Hi Eli! Hi Camilla! Hi Asher!) We have read the Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer book 837 times. Today I think we might make some fudge, but I'm out of ideas. Even if Jack cooperated on getting out of the house, the snow is too deep for him to walk anywhere and the stroller gets stuck.

AND I've been forced to snack on Christmas cookies since I'm too much of a wuss to drive to the grocery store and stock up. If I am not Hot By Thirty I am blaming the snow.

Anyway. That's what's going on in my neighborhood. We're going to try and drive down to my mom's tomorrow anyway, even though our rollicking Christmas Eve has been postponed. I have to get out of here. Anyone own a helicopter?


Global warming my ass

We actually had a Christmas party here Saturday night, despite an amount of snow I haven't seen... ever? I used to go on ski trips with my family (they skiied, I drank hot chocolate and scoped out cute Austrian ski instructors in the lodge) and that was a lot of snow. I guess I HAVE seen a lot of snow. But you kind of EXPECT that much snow in, you know, THE ALPS. You do not expect this much snow in Seattle Proper. 

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Oh the weather outside is frightful!

I'd have more to say about the snow, but Linda already said it and I am sort of anti-nature anyway. I don't want to give it more attention than it deserves. (Although I saw a guy snowboarding down Queen Anne hill on the news and had to admit that was wicked awesome. Almost made me want to snowboard. Or at least wear a cute snowboarding outfit.)

I spent most of Saturday in various states of dejection. I don't get to have people over much anymore in this Two Kid Life I lead and now the stupid SNOW was going to steal my boozy holiday fun. There was much WOE IS ME and a lot of "Well, we don't want people to KILL THEMSELVES driving to our party," from Phillip and finally I decided I needed a Shift of Paradigm. I'd already done this once the day before, when we decided that no way were we shipping our kids an hour south for the night when we wouldn't be able to pick them up the next day. It took a lot of imagination to convince myself that a COCKTAIL PARTY was going to be fun with a TODDLER, but I managed. So now I just needed to put myself in the frame of mind where I could answer a slew of phoned in cancellations with a bubbly, "Oh well! More cookies for me!"

(Dude. Desperate much?)

ANYWAY. Only a few people called to cancel and I assumed everyone else was too busy watching the foaming-at-the-mouth weather forecasters and worrying about our impending frozen doom to remember I was supplying free food. I decided I'd haul out all my martini glasses anyway and then! People started showing up! It was a Christmas Miracle! And lots of them occasionally glance at this here website so shout outs to the friends who motored down from the LFP, the friends who asked their tenant to man the baby monitor when the real babysitter canceled (YES THEY DID), the friends who caravanned, the friends who brought white elephants people actually wanted and the crazy man who rode his BIKE, I kid you not. 

We had fun. And today I do not feel like the lame-o dork who threw a party and no one came. Yay people I know!

We tried to take Jack out to play today thinking he was going to have a blast and a half. I have no idea why we thought this. It should have been painfully apparent the moment he started 1) wailing 2) refusing to put on his coat and 3) ripping off his mittens every time we slipped them over his hands, which is HARD, YO. What is so difficult about putting your thumb in the thumb pocket? GAH.

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I don't need no mittens.

There was a layer of ice on top of the snow so it WAS kind of freaky crunchy scary, but there was no need for howling, believe me. I even made Phillip whip up a cardboard wagon of sorts and oh, how the prince hated THAT. We forced him to tramp over to my sister's apartment one block away where he fooled around for a bit, and then we had a different little boy on the walk home. He was all, "DUDES! Did you see the SNOW! This is AWESOME!" and we were all, "Uh, yeah, we were trying to point that out to you earlier."

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Maybe I'd have more fun if my mother bought me appropriate snow attire. THESE ARE THE ONLY SHOES I OWN, PEOPLE.

Poor Molly was just waiting it out until hot chocolate time.

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I take after my mama.

Hot By Thirty weigh in tomorrow morning! Woot! Let's all guess how much weight you gain when your dinner consists entirely of Christmas cookies and gin and tonics!


The Snow Is Going To Kill Me Edition

If you want more details on the Evening of Everything Went Wrong All At Once, head to Parenting where I have written it out in MINUTE DETAIL. Also! I am almost always over whatever I wrote about as soon as I hit 'Publish' but I will continue to vent online because you guys are SO NICE TO ME. Oh, and I spent money, but not on little stuff- I bought clothes in the RIGHT SIZE. Take THAT, Universe!

Anyway. I'm back to grumpy again today. Know why?

The storm situation out here in the Pacific Northwest has turned our local newscasters into Blithering Idiots, as is always the case when there is weather other than Showers and Cloudy Skies. I'm not sure what it is about snow that brings out the hysteria in the eleven o'clock news programs, but suddenly the Apocalypse is Upon Us.

But you know what? For the first time it has snowed in Seattle (including the time I walked home after my bus got stuck in the University District, and I don't LIVE in the University District) IT FEELS LIKE THE APOCALYPSE. I am having a party this weekend. If I can't go to the grocery store, if my guests can't make it to my house and WORST OF ALL if my babysitter can't pick up my children I don't know what I'll do. I may be forced to drink the rest of the gin, by myself, in front of my kids. DON'T MAKE ME HAVE TO DO THIS, UNIVERSE.

Oh, and it's all supposed to melt by Christmas.

And Phillip still has to go to work.

As you were!


Extremely NOT full of grace

I was attempting to get Molly to sleep a little bit ago, and as I was rocking and shushing I felt The Anger start to slither up into my cheeks. It hasn't been a great night. It was a fairly decent day, but then Phillip called to tell me he was late right when I was ready to put dinner on the table and Jack started whining and Molly didn't want to be left in the bouncy seat and GIVE ME A BREAK ALREADY. (Although, that's some handy Parenting.com fodder right there.)

So, back to The Anger. I started saying Hail Marys in my head because, well, I don't know why. It's kind of my go to mantra for when I need to calm down. I say them a lot when I'm rocking babies to sleep and if I was only a good Catholic and had my mysteries memorized, think of how many rosaries I could say!

I was saying them over and over, "Hail Mary, full of grace-" and then I stopped. Because if there is one thing I am most definitely not, it is full of grace.

I don't even really know what it means in the context of the prayer. (See: not a good Catholic.) I guess I'm not really thinking about it when I'm saying it, or if I AM thinking (doubtful!) it's grace as in "gee, she's a good dancer!" Which is probably not the kind the Inventor Of The Prayer had in mind.

But right now, at this moment in parenting, I'm thinking The Anger is sort of the absence of The Grace. You think?

I'm holding my kid, I'm trying desperately to get her to sleep, every way I know how. She's exhibiting absolutely every I Need To Go To Sleep symptom I know of, and yet SHE WON'T FREAKING FALL ASLEEP. It's frustrating. It's aggravating. My back hurts. I'm tired. I want five minutes with my husband. I don't want a repeat of last night. It's maddening. And The Anger creeps up and takes over and I want to slam doors and yell and tell whoever is in charge that I quit. You can find me downstairs watching TV and eating Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chips out of the bag.

(Oh my goodness, you guys, those things are TO DIE FOR.)

I'm feeling very grace-less. Very un-grace-ful. Phillip makes fun of my attention span a lot. My level of patience with anything. There are a million and a half things I won't even start because I know I won't be able to stand what it takes to finish. Like painting or baking anything really fancy. It's like the C I got in Home Ec (HOME EC) because the embroidery on my stuffed ice cream pillow wasn't done correctly. Know why? Because embroidery is the slowest most boring thing you can do IN THE WORLD.

I have two of the easiest kids I know and I still manage to live most of our days entirely devoid of grace. I am not exactly the first mother to be frustrated with her kids. What's up with me? Do I need to pray more? Drink more wine?

Phillip is tickling Molly next to me. She's laughing. It's delightfully adorable. But I'm still in a rotten mood.

 I have informed Phillip that I need some Emergency Alone Time this evening and will now be dashing off to the mall to glare at holiday shoppers and stare at shoes I can't afford.


HALP

We didn't get Molly to sleep last night until one in the morning. GAAAAAHHHHH.

She still sleeps all night (no matter what time we finally get her down, though it's usually late, and she sleeps late) but it's getting harder and harder to get her to sleep. It used to be that once we got her asleep she was out for good, but in the last week she won't STAY asleep.

I remember dealing (obsessively) with all this sleep stuff and I DON'T LIKE DOING IT AGAIN.

Last night Molly ate around 6:30. At 7:30 when she was acting like she wanted to nurse again, I was super annoyed because COME ON YOU JUST ATE. But then she nursed herself to sleep and I leaped at the chance to try putting her down at a more appropriate bedtime. She slept from about 8 to 8:30, swaddled and in her own bed. And that was it for sleeping until one. in. the. morning.

We got her back to sleep several times in that period. She conked out in her bouncy seat for a few minutes, but then woke herself up. I usually do her last feeding around 10 or 10:30 and she was asleep after that, but when we put her down she woke up. I nursed her to sleep an hour later (when Phillip had run out of ideas) and we put her in her bed, but she woke up after a few minutes. Around midnight Phillip brought her downstairs to give her a bottle, she fell asleep, he put her in her bed, she woke up 15 minutes later. FINALLY I stuck her in bed next to me, let her nurse herself to sleep, and left her there because that seemed to be the only way to end the drama.

I suppose I could just let her do THAT (and I have, for a long time) but I am not such a fan anymore. I want her in her own bed (which is inches from mine). I wish she didn't have to nurse herself to sleep either, although if she STAYED ASLEEP afterwards I'd be okay with it for a while longer. What she really wants is just something to suck on, but I can't find a pacifier she'll accept. I DO NOT WANT TO BE THE PACIFIER.

I'm most successful with Molly's morning nap. I can rock her to sleep while she's swaddled and she'll sleep in her own bed anywhere from thirty to ninety minutes. I try very hard to replicate my success in the afternoons (oh, the both-babies-sleeping-at-once holy grail!) but it doesn't always work. And if it does, she only sleeps long enough for me to cram a sandwich down my throat or do 20 minutes on the treadmill.

I'm not, like, tearing my hair out or anything. One in the morning is unusual. Last night was particularly irritating. But I'm planning to have my mom put Molly to bed this weekend and I'd rather not have my mother in this situation. It does sort of feel like I have a deadline coming up- figure out this waking up all the time thing OR ELSE.

I thought if I could just find a pacifier she would take, it'd be easier. I could pop it in her mouth before she gets too riled up. I woke up this morning thinking, "We'll buy a SWING! Lots of babies sleep in swings!" Except that seems like I'm trading one not so desirable situation for another. And we don't have room for a swing. And neither of those things would help with what I suspect is the real problem: she wants to be next to a warm body. She'll sleep FOREVER if someone is holding her.

Anyway. That is all. I shall now stumble about my kitchen looking for the coffee I only make when my mom is here. While telling myself that it is not okay to eat toffee bars for breakfast. NOT OKAY.


Before I hop in the car and zoom away...

It's Monday, but I already feel like my brain has been through the work week and would like to take the day off. All that's going on in my head right now is a run through of the four thousand things I need to accomplish this week, playing on a perpetual loop.

I have to run to a doctor appointment so I'm outta here. If you want anything remotely resembling content, I did weigh in this morning and the results are up at Hot By Thirty. I was feeling rather jubilant until I remembered the mountain of Christmas cookies I will be staring down in the next week.