Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had a wonderful Christmas at home again this year. It sure has felt like a busy holiday season with my parents and grandparents in town for Thanksgiving, and lots of fun gatherings and activities to celebrate Christmas. We had a Christmas party for members of our community group on Dec. 18, and have enjoyed Snowflake Lane in Downtown Bellevue (think lights, huge drummer boys, and live drummers and costumed high schoolers on stilts passing out candy with “bubble snow” and a super loud Christmas soundtrack in the most concentrated 2 blocks of downtown shopping). We did the Christmas Eve service at church, have been enjoying our tree nightly, and Tim even put up lights on the exterior of the house. I love going out to get the mail and coming back to our front door with the huuuuge wreath from, where else? Costco. :)

We missed being with family but were able to celebrate with 3 families from community group and a family I know through the downtown library who were able to join us—the husband is from Hungary and works at MSFT, and the wife is Japanese. Their daughter and Linnea are regular playmates with a couple other moms and toddlers from the same library storytime where we met last February. We all had a group dinner at our house with the requisite prime rib and attending goodies. It was delicious and super fun!

Christmas morning was special as Tim got up an hour before Linnea and me to build the fire, cut up pineapple, light up the tree and make French toast. We have been enjoying the espresso maker I got him for his birthday and lately are adding hazelnut syrup from Starbucks in latte form. His gift of choice this year was another “fake book” of a slew of pop songs from the last 50 yrs he can play on the piano – oh, and sing! Handy to have for Rebekah’s, aka Aunt Bergie’s, imminent arrival (She’s a great singer!). My two gifts are fitness related—a super awesome York adjustable bench for weight lifting and the new EA Active2 personal trainer fitness game for XBOX Kinect. It’s a 9-wk workout program that comes with a heart rate monitor and resistance band, and you have a virtual personal trainer guiding you through the workouts and providing feedback on your form and progress in real time. So far I have done 2 workouts and they are intense and really fun! I chose the hard setting since I have little time for getting in shape, and it has been a lot of jumping, squatting, and running in place. I feel a little funny doing it in front of my living room window, in plain view of the street, but it’s been great so far, and I’m already sore. With this game, the erg, my workout bench, and my bike, I have no real need of rejoining the gym! Love it!

Okay, enough about our gifts…what you really care about is Linnea’s first walking talking hand-clapping Christmas! Right? Right.

Some highlights were a table and chairs from my parents, a zebra scooter from Aunt Mandy and Uncle Dave, and lots of books and birdies from Grandma and Grandpa. Uncle Mike and Aunt Karen had the same idea with the birds and got some that tweet when you press their backs….unfortunately that little upgrade has stricken fear into the heart of my little baba-loving girl, and I have had to put them away for a later time when she doesn’t try to climb into my lap at the sight of a little stuffed bird. There are really too many wonderful gifts to mention, but here are some photos of our Christmas. Linnea really is the best gift of all---my happy, healthy, increasingly-better-sleeping (more on that soon!) little girl! Love her bunches!

DSC_0100 Precious table and chairs!

She loves sitting there for her snacks or playing with Play-Doh!


DSC_0102 Sock monkey jams from my parents.

She is very intrigued by the buttons instead of zippers.

DSC_0093 The zebra cart. Hours of fun! (and noise! ) :)



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First time sitting at the table on Christmas morning.


I will always treasure these stockings knitted by Great Grandma Jean! Mine from 1984, Tim’s from 2007, and Linnea’s from 2009!


Contents of Linnea’s stocking: two bouncy balls (racquet balls really) and a bite-size Milky Way. Guess which one she liked the most.


Best present of all, next to baby Jesus, of course.


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First set of play-doh. It has only gone in the mouth a couple of times. She is learning!


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I got her this water bottle, which is a Camelbak for kids. I love the pretty Zinnia design and bright pink color. Linnea loves having her own water bottle after playing with my Nalgenes for months and drinks a ton of water out of it! Double score.

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With her dolly on Christmas Eve. Sweetie pie. Mary made Linnea and her dolly matching plaid dresses which are to die for. The dolly is currently wearing hers but I don’t have a picture yet.

  DSC_0053 Tree on Christmas Eve after we put out all the gifts. We have such a generous family! Thanks everyone for your love, we missed seeing on on Christmas day, but hope we get to soon!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How to leave the house with a toddler

Start the day off right by sleeping through your alarm, since getting up at 615 to spend time with the Lord, work out, start a few chores and shower was what you did YESTERDAY , and are therefore too tired to do again TODAY. Instead, skip all of the above and submit to the 45th time your child wants to nurse before finally snapping her eyes open wide and exclaiming, "dada!"

Change child's diaper that is on the verge of leaking, dress her, and then leave said child with daddy for 5 minutes' alone time in the bathroom. It's all right you're not showering due to that post-dinner bath you had last night, WITH child, since you didn't actually make it to that part of your to do list yesterday, either. Congratulate yourself for being 0 for 2 this week on personal hygeine, throw your hair into a ponytail, and set out to fix breakfast.

After washing pan from yesterday's breakfast, head to door to wave bye bye to daddy, who has forgotten to turn off the alarm system before he opens the door. Run with toddler in arms back trouugh the baby gate to silence aalarm. Attempt bye-bye wave again. Set sister-in-law's school textbook that has arrived on doorstep on buffet table and try to ignore everything else that is out of place. Return to stove, eyeing the dwindling pre-departure time on the clock, and allow yourself another 10 or 15 minutes to prepare and eat and cleanup from breakfast, Prepare snack and sippy cup, dress self and put on shoes, put on child's shoes, fortify diaper bag with extra diapers, memorize shopping list, and get out the door. Laugh to self because you stopped trying to be on time a long time ago, and somehow you must have forgotten.

Pacify whining toddler by sitting on the floor to read books in the midst of retrieving eggs from refrigerator , cracking eggs into pan, putting bread in toaster and remarking on the funny smell, removing bread from toaster, washing the one remaining sippy cup you can find and filling it with water, spreading jam on toast, putting eggs on plate and convincing toddler to sit in high chair to eat. Get up for grapes. slice grapes and watch toddler ignore them. Roll up toddler's sleeves that are dragging in the eggs and then roll them doown again to keep her from crying. Eat up your eggs and wash your toddler's eggs down the drain to China.

Sniff. Check. Take toddler by the hand into bedroom for diaper change. Marvel at the quantity of tears unleashed as you explain the rason for the diaper change, try to distract with a book and then eventually hold toddler down with your leg to get a look at that diaper. It has one measly dab of poop in it, but change diaper anyway since you got this far.

Take toddler into your room to dress. Brush teeth. Comb hair. Take makeup bag and toddler into family room and let toddler roam free while you start on the concealer. Sniff again. Check again. Look at clock, abandon makeup bag with only half of your dark circles concealed, and exact 2nd diaper change from toddler in bedroom. Abandon plan to restock diaper bag because that was the last diaper and you are already late. Grab dolly, book, toddler, diaper bag, keys, sippy cup, snack and cell phone. Glance at shopping list. Put on shoes downstairs . Empty dehumidifier and replace cordless phone toddler has hijacked meanwhile. Go out the door.

Remember it is trash day. Move one of the 3 cans out of the way of the car and slide over the other 2 that have not been emptied yet. Put child in car with dolly, book and week-old photo album from friends that is already being ripped to shreds. Mentally check you have locked the house door. Check face in rearview mirror and realize that yes, it IS noticeable that only half is covered with concealer. Pop in a piece of gum, start the car, and ignore the clock that says you should have been at your destination 15 minutes ago

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tree time

Got our tree on Saturday at the Carnation farm we’ve been going to for 4 years running. I’d like to have a place that had a little more going on in terms of indoor stuff (growing up we went to a farm with a fabulous giant barn that had snacks and decorations galore to peruse as we defrosted from tree cutting). Basically there is just the local high school bake sale and a Santa (not for us) and some porta-potties. But the people are nice and the scenery is beatiful!

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This tree was just Linnea’s size…unfortunately we were only allowed to cut down the tagged trees that were twice as big!

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No pics of actually cutting the tree down, but I’m pretty sure that’s it behind us.

Decorating took place the next day…


…and we actually had our first fire in the fireplace, without burning the house down! The chimney needs work but it was drawing just fine.


We put unbreakable ornaments at Linnea’s level, including her first Christmas ornament we bought her last year, the sock money (below).


She really likes these mini nutcrackers (on the tv stand in the pic above, background). Unfortunately I thought the mini snow globe would be fun for her as well, but she managed to break it on the carpet and spill out some of the water. There was a little broken glass but it all went right into the trash. Can’t be too sentimental about things when there’s a toddler around!

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Linnea’s contribution to the tree included some of her little birdies and her orange and blue shovel. We go for the unconventional around here.

It’s not totally finished since we still want to add the red and silver balls to the tree, and we have to figure out how to hang our stockings on the mantle, as they lay in a nice stack on top of the mantel in our apartment all last December. Kind of lame.

Also we plan to get some outdoor lights. (Getting right on that. Right). And a wreath. In preparation, today I finally decided to recycle the pumpkins from Halloween. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A whole new level of sweetness

Lately Linnea has had lots of firsts and has been developing such sweet little personality traits, too.

Along with giving us kisses and tickles, during which she says “ticka ticka ticka”, she also kisses and tickles most inanimate objects, like the freezer door, her books, her dolly, the toilet seat (closed), the curtains, and pictures of other people. Okay, let’s be clear: she doesn’t actually kiss the toilet seat. But she does tickle it. I offer a courtesy laugh.

Here she is with her first dolly, which we originally saw her attached to at a local children’s museum we’ve joined—being a father who loves to give good gifts to his baby girl, Tim ordered one on the spot from Amazon.com via his new Windows phone. Linnea likes to lean against the couch for stories and is getting dolly into the habit of it, too.

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With dolly at snacktime and feeding her a cracker…

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Here she is this afternoon coloring with markers for the first time while I worked on Christmas cards…good thing they are nontoxic!

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The kitchen offers endless possibilities for entertainment. Here, the paddle from the stand mixer. Those one-year molars are still being stubborn and taking a long time to come all the way through, so she continues to chew on everything!

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She has turned into a regular climber—a little scary when I see her leg up on the side of the crib!


We had a great Thanksgiving, with Tim home 4 days (plus one extra when his office moved last Monday) and the only sad part is that Linnea really seems to miss him now that he’s back at work. She goes into the bedroom or other rooms calling for him and I always have to say that he’s at work. She even looks for him behind the curtains, where he hides to play hide and seek with her. I guess the benefit is that it’s really cute to see her hide behind them herself, imitating Daddy, and so sweet to see how much she loves him!