Thursday, January 31, 2013

Moon sand!

Yesterday I made "Cloud Dough" or "Moon Sand" for Katie, and it was a resounding success. She prefers to call it "Moon Sand," probably because she can pronounce both "moon" and "sand" and because she knows what those two words mean. She knows what "cloud" means but I'm not sure about "dough." Anyway - she loved it.

It wasn't nearly as messy as I'd feared it would be. One of the two ingredients is oil, so I thought it might stain our flagstone patio. But it didn't - I swept the spillage into the garden and that was that. I was surprised how little did spill, actually. Must have been my repeated requests to keep the sand inside the sand table!

The recipe called for 8 parts flour and 1 part baby oil, but I read online that baby oil is actually toxic. It can be fatal if aspirated, although I don't really think that's a possibility with Moon Sand. But it can also make you sick if ingested, and that totally is a possibility with, well, everything a 2 year old plays with. So I went with canola oil instead. It doesn't smell nice like baby oil, but otherwise it's quite similar. The finished product feels smooth like fine sand but sticks together if you squeeze it. Katie had a blast doing just that. I also had bought her some neat little sand molds from the awesome school supply store I just found. I almost went crazy in there but managed to limit myself to the sand molds and some wooden beads for stringing. :)

Anyway, here's Katie, enjoying her Moon Sand! I put it in an old plastic storage container for which we've lost the lid. Apparently we stole it from my mother-in-law, as it has a label with her name and address on it. Whoopsie! And don't you love the stylish duct-tape-and-cardboard-box pedestal on which it sits? Seriously, I must secretly be a redneck.


She'd lost interest after a while, until I tried to clean up the moon sand. Then suddenly it was fascinating again!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Oh, for an uninterrupted nap...

I am not ready for Katie to wake up from her nap yet. She fell asleep around 1:00 and instead of flopping on the couch, exhausted, I decided to spring into action.

First, I fixed one of Katie's favorite bath toys - a wind-up fish whose tail flips back and forth so he really swims. He recently stopped flipping, and Katie was pretty disappointed. I cracked that bad boy open, squirted in some WD-40 (my favorite fix-all!) and he's good as, well, used. He's not 100% better, but at least he flips a little now. I'm sure it'll be good enough for Katie.

Then, I quietly and stealthily hid both of Katie's Santa Claus dolls until next December. It's not that I don't want her to play with them, but I think they'll lose significance if they're just out all year long. I remember that I used to LOVE opening up our boxes of Christmas decorations every year, and seeing some favorite old holiday friends. The funny thing about these Santa dolls is that my mom gave Katie two identical ones - but we only officially "gave" her one. One lived upstairs in her room, and the other one downstairs in the den. She never saw them together, so I'm not sure if she realized that there are two! She might just think Santa is everywhere at once. LOL!

Then I decided to get a head start on dinner. I'm making a casserole for the first time in decades. I'm pretty sure I made one once before, but I really can't remember. What usually turns me off from casserole recipes is that they nearly always call for cans of condensed soup. I'm not a food snob (my love of Kraft Mac n Cheese is proof) but condensed soup just seems so salty and full of chemicals. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Then I found a recipe for homemade cream-of-anything soup! And it's not even hard to make. It just takes a little uninterrupted time, which is why I decided to do it during nap time.

Unfortunately, Katie woke up screaming while I was chopping the onion. Luckily I hadn't put it in the pan yet. I turned off all the burners and went upstairs to calm her down. She went back into her crib without a struggle. Next I was elbow-deep in onions and mushrooms, and about to start making a roux, when she woke up again. She's been up intermittently ever since, making little snuffling noises and whimpers, but not full-on crying, so I'm trying to let her settle herself back down.

But I didn't get to finish making the casserole and I probably won't be able to during this nap. Too much going on! I refrigerated the cream of mushroom soup and the chicken I'd cooked in the crockpot. Hopefully it won't be too hard to heat them up later and throw them together with some frozen veg and some cooked shell pasta. Sigh. I'm on tenterhooks, waiting to see how this dish will turn out!

The other thing I want to try to do is make some "Cloud Dough" for Katie to play with. I've been waiting for a reasonably mild, non-rainy day to try this, so Katie can play with it outdoors. That stuff is NOT coming inside! It's 8 parts flour and 1 part mineral oil, and it's supposed to have similar properties to Moon Sand. It feels soft to the touch but you can mold it into shapes like damp sand. They had some in the sensory bin at school last week and Katie was totally engrossed in playing with it. Sounds super fun and super messy. Let's hope she won't protest too loudly when it's time to put it away.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I had a super scary moment today, and that reminds me - I need to make a trip to Home Depot when Katie wakes up. Maybe Cloud Dough will have to wait until tomorrow. Katie was playing in the backyard before lunch, and I was unloading the dishwasher. I can see her out of the kitchen window, but there's also more space on the side of the house where I can't see her. I got that "Spidey sense" that I hadn't heard her voice for a minute or two, so I went outside to see what trouble she'd gotten into. THE GATE WAS OPEN! She was gone! I don't think I've ever run so fast in my entire life. She was right out front, trotting along the sidewalk with the most triumphant smile I'd ever seen. Thank God! True to my parenting books, I didn't scream at her (aside from the "KATHERINE ELIZABETH!" I let out when I saw the gate open.) I simply knelt down beside her, took her hand and said, "Katie, I'm so glad you're OK, but it isn't safe for you to be outside by yourself. Let's go inside and have lunch." She screamed when I picked her up, of course, but only for a few seconds. I wonder if maybe she understood what had just happened?

Anyway, off to Home Depot for a new lock for our gate! SHEEEEEEEEESH!

Monday, January 28, 2013

School days

Hi Folks! Not much to report, but here's some random stuff that happened at school today:

I got a tiny one-up on a semi-Perfect Mom. She was supervising the sensory table, which today was filled with red-dyed rice and some sand sifters. Katie was enjoying herself and wanted to take one of the sifters (full of rice) and balance it on the edge of the sensory bin, spilling lots of rice on the ground. The mom in charge said, "Katie, please keep this toy inside the table," just like we're supposed to say. But Katie doesn't always respond to this "positive discipline" approach - it's as if she's saying, "But what I'm doing is so much more interesting!" She kept at it, so I intervened. I echoed the "keep the the toy inside the table" but I followed up by handing her one of the plastic spoons that was lying around, and saying "Look, you can scoop some rice into the sifter like this!" (This is known as redirection.) Problem solved. So hah, other mom, I'm not totally useless after all!  I guess it wasn't so much a one-up but a demonstration that I am, after all, a competent parent. :D

I also got into some weird conversations with Weird Dad. I've been puzzling about this guy for a while now. He is the only dad in our class, except for some dads who come once in a while when the mom is sick or something. (Which, by the way, is cool - it's great having dads at our school.) He's really nice and super friendly - he always has a smile on his face and he just adores his son Cadence. But he is utterly useless as a supervising parent, because he'd rather talk to people than watch the kids. You can tell that he loves the kids, but he's just so much more interested in chatting than supervising. Usually he can be found floating around, talking to people or following his son, even when he's supposed to be supervising something. Several times I've heard Teacher Donna have to remind him to watch his station. Supervising is kind of a big deal with two-year-olds. You can't just wander off!

He always looks at me and smiles at me like he's dying to be friends with me because he's friends with everyone and why on earth haven't I talked to him? What I mean is, it's not because he thinks we have anything in common or wants to talk to me about anything in particular, but because he's a huge extravert who needs to be talking to someone at every second of every day. The first conversation today went something like this: 

Me: (trying to start up a friendly conversation) Isn't it cute how the kids are becoming more friendly with each other? Katie knows Cadence by name because we've seen him a few times at the park.
Weird Dad: Oh yeah, you know, it's funny, we have a lot of people chasing him around the park because he just won't share that toy, it's so weird, I ask him to share but he says no until he's done playing with it, and then half an hour later he's ready to just let it go and let the other kids play.
Me: (puzzled, because we've never had any such interaction with Cadence - there was no toy around and he was just playing like any other kid) Oh, uh…yeah.
W.D.: I don't know why, he just won't share until he's bored with something, and then he will.
Me: Well, that sounds perfectly normal to me!
W.D.: Yeah, i don't know.
<thank goodness something interrupted us at this point>

It's conversations like these that make me wonder if I missed a huge chunk of the conversation, or if I'm visiting another planet? I'm definitely missing something!

The second conversation went like this. It was during clean-up and I was in charge of spraying and wiping down the tables, and W.D. was in charge of mopping the floor.

Me: Ah, just like at home, huh? (Meaning, the constant mopping and wiping)
W.D.: Oh sure, it's so great to be here, the kids love it.
Me: (changing gears) Oh, well, yes, we love it here too!
W.D.: It's so nice that the kids are so close in age and they're going through the same things, which means the parents are going through the same things too.
Me: Yes, it's really wonderful. We love Little Hands.

So you see, he really is nice…I just don't know who he's talking to in his mind. He's definitely not talking to me, at least not in the way I define talking to someone. He's more talking "at" me, if you know what I mean. Weeeird.

Let's see, what else happened? Katie had a marvelous time with paints, her clothes will attest to that. She was covered in pink, red and white paint (Valentine's day colors) from bellybutton to thigh - precisely the height of the crafts table. But hey, at least there wasn't much in her hair this time. Her hands are bright red from the dyed red rice. Interestingly, Teacher Donna had us each make some more dyed rice during Parent Discussion, with the dual purpose of teaching us how to make it, and making more for the next class. One of the moms wondered if it is colorfast once it dries, and I said I doubted it. Judging from Katie's hands, it looks like I was right! 

Oh, and the class admin called me out for not turning in a form. I'm both annoyed and ashamed about this. The form in question is a doctor's note excusing me from taking a TB test because I'm pregnant. I told her I'd give her the form after my first prenatal visit a couple of months ago, but my doctor refused to write me a note! However, it's totally obvious that I'm pregnant, so I figured that my growing belly would be enough proof for the school. Evidently it's not, and the admin is really ticked off at me. But I don't know what else to tell her...I'm pregnant, so I'm not going to do the test, but I can't get a doctor's note. I volunteered to give her a copy of my ultrasound pictures, or of the email that Kaiser sent me saying my pregnancy test was positive...ugh. Super annoyed.

But mostly it was a good day at school. It is so cute how much Katie loves it! She totally knows her classmates by name now, and we have a great time during the drive there, talking about who we're going to see. Then on the way home we talk about which kids we saw. And of course she has to tell Dada all about school at dinner. Love, love, love this age! (Well, most of the time, hahaha!)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I've grown!

No, I don't mean my belly - although my GOODNESS, that has grown too! Yay!

I mean I've grown as a parent. Is there any better feeling in the world than conquering some difficult situation that seemed insurmountable just weeks ago?

Some of you may remember the Trader Joe's Meltdown of the Century that we had a while back. It was a mega-tantrum that culminated in me yelling at Katie and frantically driving her home while she screamed and tried to wiggle out of her car seat, then me bursting into tears and apologizing to her when we got home.

Well, today we went to Target, and of course, made our usual detour to Babies R Us to ride the "Elmo Zoe Vroom Vroom Car." On the way back to the car, Katie refused to ride in the cart. She wanted to stand on the side of the cart and hold onto the edge, and since it was only about 4 inches off the ground, I let her. Good practice for the cable cars, I figured. Eventually she fell off and nearly rolled under the cart wheels, but she got up with hardly a whimper and not so much as a scratch. Whew.

The Powell-Hyde line, via Target

But I could see the writing on the wall - refusal to ride in the cart usually means something's brewing. And by "something," I mean a tantrum. Okay, stay calm. We made our way to the car with Katie "helping" me push the cart. When we reached the car, Katie decided the trunk would be a nice place to "Katie climb!" At this point I was low on sleep and hungry, and I just wanted to get home. So I said no and picked her up and tried to put her into her car seat. You can just imagine how well that went. Much like Trader Joe's. But this time, I didn't panic. I got into the back seat with her, and shut the door. I didn't try to force her into the car seat, and in fact, I stopped talking about leaving altogether. I started picking up trash from the back seat, and let Katie crawl around the car as she pleased. The instant I stopped trying to force her, she calmed down. I found some stickers and one of Katie's favorite books underneath the passenger seat. And wouldn't you know it? She got really interested in them and let me put her in the car seat. No struggles, no screams, no tears, no yelling (from me).

Hooray! I'm not saying it will always work out this nicely, but I'm so relieved to know that I have other options besides yelling. I really feel I owe it all to Katie's preschool, which introduced me to "Positive Discipline."

Elmo Car Vroom Vroom! I have about 100 pics of this same pose, as we seem to go there about once a week. It never gets old.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

More football funnies

Before I begin, I am pleased to announce that THE NINERS ARE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL! Woohoo! This is the first time they've been in it since I became a fan in the late 90's. The only downside is, now Anthony wants to go to his annual Super Bowl guys-only bash in Las Vegas, whereas before he said he wasn't going. Grr.

Anyway, we've been glued to the TV for most of the playoff games, even the AFC ones, because we wanted to know what the Niners might be up against if they made it this far. We were watching the Bengals vs. Texans game, and the camera had zoomed in on a player sitting on the Texans' sideline. Katie looked up at the TV, waved and said, "Hi, black man!" Anthony and I looked at each other, dumbstruck. WHAT? What can she possibly mean by that? Where did she hear people being referred to by their skin color? OMG, WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?

Then the camera panned on someone on the Bengals' sideline, and she said, "Hi, orange man!"

Apparently Katie had thought the Texans player's dark blue jersey was black. The Bengals have orange on their jerseys.

WHEW!!!!!!!!!! Dodged a bullet there. But really, you should have seen the look of shock on Anthony's face! Priceless!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A small culinary success...

In keeping with my New Year's Resolution to find three more recipes for the rotation, I made Red Beans & Rice for the first time yesterday. I made it in the crock pot, and it came out pretty decent! Unfortunately, one of the ingredients I added (not sure exactly which) made it pretty spicy. So Anthony and I were able to eat it, but I couldn't share any with Katie. So that really defeats the purpose. I'll have to tweak the spices next time. (Pretty sure it was the chipotle powder.)

I was amazed at how much effort it was to make this dish, considering it's designed to be a no-fuss, simmer-all-day kind of thing. I read on the interwebs that everyone in New Orleans eats red beans & rice on Monday, because Monday was traditionally wash day and housewives wanted something that they could throw in a pot and let cook while they were busy with the washing. Sounds good to me (except the part about having to do the laundry!) I suppose I should have already known this factoid, as my mom grew up in New Orleans, but I guess I forgot. My main recollection of red beans and rice is that my Granny would bring us a couple of cans of Blue Runner red beans in her suitcase when she came to visit. Even though they were from a can, MAN were they good!!

The recipe I found online really was simple. But that's not accounting for the Toddler Factor. When I see a simple direction like "chop an onion and a bell pepper and sauté until translucent," I know I'm in trouble. I might be able to chop the bell pepper without Katie offering assistance. Maybe I'll even manage half of the onion. But then the demands of "See up! Katie see! Hold me!" start, with ever-increasing volume. I'm reading a parenting book right now and there's a chapter near the end on "Cooking with Children," so maybe that will help me. Another solution might be to find recipes that will still be ready by dinnertime if I start them when Katie goes down for her nap.

Anyway, the red beans came out pretty good, spiciness aside. I don't think I could stand to have it once a week, though. Maybe once a month? (That's about how often I do laundry anyway, lol!)

What's cookin' in your kitchen?

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I've got something I want to get off my chest. Yesterday we were giving Anthony's brother a ride to pick up his car, and before we could get Katie buckled into her carseat, she threw a tantrum. Not the worst one I've seen, by any means, but a bit of a screamfest. You know the ones - "Do you want your water?" "NO!" "Do you want your lambie rattle?" "NO!!!" "How about Sophie?" "NO!!!!" "Would you like to play with stickers?" "NO! NO! NO!" and so forth.

The tantrum lasted about 10 minutes, and at one point I had to get out of the parked car and walk her up and down the street. When we finally got her settled down and buckled in, Anthony's brother said, "Once you have a second kid, the tantrums are a lot less frequent." I thought this was an odd thing to say, since his first child was six years old when he had his second. I would hope by age 6 the tantrums would be less frequent, and I said so. He said, "No, I've heard it from friends with kids who are close in age. It's because the first kid knows they have less of your time and attention once the new baby comes."

This bothered me even more. It implies that the reason Katie is throwing tantrums now is because she knows she can get away with it. And that's because I've *let* her get away with it. That thought makes smoke come out of my ears! Is the implication that I'm somehow giving Katie too much time and attention and that's leading to tantrums? (More smoke is coming out.) And if we take it a step further, is having 15 kids the solution to tantrums, because none of them will get much attention at all? I'm not a fan of that family that keeps on having kids, but I bet you their kids have all had tantrums at age 2. 

Age 2 is the tantrum age. 2 year olds and tantrums are like bread and butter. Peanut butter and jelly. Peas and carrots! And I don't think Katie has them because she thinks she can get away with it. I think she has tantrums because it's darned hard being a toddler and she has no other way to express her frustration and anger. I'm working myself up into a tantrum myself! :) 

Well, moms of the blogiverse, what do you think? Am I off my rocker?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Ok, it's January 9, admittedly a little late to start making resolutions. (And ironically, "start doing things on time" isn't actually one of mine!)

Anthony doesn't make resolutions as a rule. He thinks they're dumb, because nobody follows through on them. I disagree completely, because I think it's really important to periodically reevaluate where you are (and who you are) and where you want to go. But, in the interest of marital harmony, I don't bug him about it. (Much.) Every year I limit myself to asking, "Any resolutions this year?" He replies, "Nope!" and we leave it at that.

So I'm chock full of New Year's fervor that I haven't really discussed in depth with anyone yet. Sorry, readers! I hope this one won't be too lengthy.

2013 Resolutions, in No Particular Order, Bearing in Mind That Everything Will Fly Out the Window When the New Baby Comes:

1) Quit playing Tiny Tower. Actually, I've already checked this one off my list! World's most addictive and annoyingly useless game. I had a lot of fun playing it, but I really need to spend my time more wisely.

2) Improve evening time with Anthony. Back when Katie wasn't sleeping, the only thing I wanted more than 8 continuous hours of sleep was some kid-free alone time with my husband. Now that Katie is sleeping really well, I get about an hour and a half in the evening with him. What a luxury! And what do we do with our precious alone time? Watch TV on the couch because we're too knackered to do anything else. Well, something has to change. I'm not sure what or how, but we've got to start doing something that connects us. I am very open to suggestions! The only thing I can think of is playing board games, but I bet that would earn me some eye-rolling if I suggested it to him. (Ok, it's not the ONLY thing I can think of, but this blog is rated PG!)

3) Date night once a month. This goes along with Resolution #2. We went to a friend's wedding last July and I had such a good time reconnecting with Anthony that I vowed we'd make it a regular thing. Well, we didn't. But now that Crazier Grandma is moving here, I think we're out of excuses. Once a month isn't a lot, but it sure is better than "never!"

4) Get a massage once a week until my credits are used up. Ugh, this is a huge thorn in my side! A few years ago I was getting acupuncture for migraine headaches. I went religiously for nearly a year, but finally had to admit that it wasn't working. However, I loved the little massages the acupuncturist would give my neck & shoulders at the end. But $65 a session seemed pretty steep for 45 minutes of useless needles and 5 minutes of massage. I found a place called Massage Envy that has 50 minute massages for $49, as long as you join their membership club. Bargain, right? The membership requires you to buy one massage per month. I thought I'd go every week to replace acupuncture, but...since Katie was born I've gone maybe twice? So I've accumulated a boat load of massage credits, and I can't quit the membership or I'll lose them all. (Starting to hyperventilate just thinking about it). So - I will have to start going on weekends during Katie's nap, while Anthony watches her, or weekdays if Crazier Grandma will watch her. I am determined to get this done and quit the stupid club for good!

5) Eat more vegetables. I won't bore you with this one. I don't like 'em. I'm pregnant. Gotta take one for the teeny-tiny team in my belly.

6) Cultivate new friendships. I've identified a couple of moms at Katie's preschool who might make good friends. Now I have to follow through and get over my shyness by asking them over for playdates.

7) Find new recipes for the rotation. Good lord, I loathe this one! I checked out a couple of cookbooks from the library yesterday, plus found a bunch of "Fit Pregnancy" websites. I hate cooking! Waaaaaah. Maybe to make this a real goal, I should quantify it: Find 3 new recipes for the rotation. There, that doesn't seem as insurmountable.

8) Wean Katie from the bottle. I've talked about this before, and I feel like I've made a good start this week. Yesterday during our car ride, I told her that I wanted to stop giving her bottles in the car. I told her that she can still have bottles when she goes to sleep and when she wakes up, but not in the car anymore. She was OK with it on the ride home, but I chalked it up to luck. Today, before we left the house, I told her "Remember, Katie? We're not going to bring any bottles in the car anymore." I showed her the insulated bag we usually bring, sitting in the cupboard. I said "Bye bye, pink bag!" and shut the cupboard. She started to scream for milk, so I calmly made her a bottle and read her a couple of books while she drank it. Then we got into the car, sans bottles. We ran our errands, and on our way back to the car afterward, she said "Pink bag!!" But I reminded her that we left the pink bag at home. I gave her a straw cup of water and a snack catcher full of cheerios, and she proceeded to feed them to her doll for most of the ride. She did say "Milk!" again near the end, but I distracted her by talking about preschool. We made it home without milk!! I'm not expecting that every day will go this smoothly, but I think we're off to a great start.

9) Finish potty training before the baby comes. I realized I better get on this one, quick. I don't have any opinions on what age a child should be for potty training - whenever it happens, it happens. BUT, I do think it's probably going to take some extra time and attention during the training process, so I better get it done before the baby takes up most of my time and attention! But since Katie is already partially potty trained, I have no idea where to begin. So far, none of the conventional methods really make sense for a toddler who knows when she needs to poop and runs to the potty but requires me to take off her clothes and sit with her while she goes. I also can't understand why she's so comfortable peeing in her diaper but not pooping in it. Oh well, I checked out a bunch of potty training books too so we'll see what I can find out!

Ok, that's all for now! Better run so I can start making some progress on these!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Microwave Fiasco Revisited!

Hi Folks,

If you recall, for Katie's birthday in November, we gave Crazy Grandma a list of great toys to choose from. I'm with Katie all the time and I'd been paying very close attention to the kinds of toys she plays with at preschool, so I had a nice list all made up. Anthony laughed when I showed him my list, because according to him, nobody was going to follow it. However, I still believe that if he had simply given C.G. the list and let her choose, we might have gotten something from it.

C.G. is very generous and likes to give BIG presents that will make an impact. She's also an artist and loves to encourage her other grandkids to pursue art. With this in mind, I would have asked her to buy Katie an easel (BIG) with assorted paints, brushes and paper. Perfect, right? No, instead Anthony told her to get Katie a tiny toy microwave. There was no way C.G. was going to be satisfied with getting Katie something that could fit in a breadbox. And that's the backstory of how we ended up with a giant hunk of plastic (aka Cupcake Kitchen) in our hallway.

For Christmas, my mom asked me what Katie would like. And since Katie is STILL talking about the Minnie Mouse microwave she saw in a toy catalog, I told her to go for the microwave. My mom has no qualms about giving something small, as long as it's something Katie would like. So she ordered the microwave and had it gift-wrapped and shipped directly to us (so she wouldn't have to bring it on the plane.) The package arrived well before Christmas and we prudently hid it in our closet so Katie wouldn't be tempted to open it early. I also opened the shipping box to see whether it had indeed been gift-wrapped. (It had.)

Fast-forward to Christmas Eve. We're all hungry and grumpy at C.G.'s hostage party, and we're letting the kids open gifts. Katie has already received the MOST OBNOXIOUS miniature synthesizer, complete with a microphone and a turntable that screams "YEAH! YEAH!" when you press it. This was from Anthony's brother, who is on a mission to pay us back for several obnoxious toys we've given his kids over the years. The difference is, we didn't have kids at the time and didn't know how awful these toys were. He, on the other hand, knows full well what he's doing! LOL. Katie also got the absolute cutest and cleverest toy camping lantern. It has a tiny little light bulb and a dimmer switch. It even has an auto shutoff so the batteries don't go dead. It is darling and she's going to get so much use out of it in the future. I'm thinking: reading under the covers, blanket forts, backyard campouts, etc! For now she likes to put her arm through the handle like it's a purse. Hey, whatever.

Anyway, around this point, C.G. handed me a present to give to Katie. In the split second between taking it from her and handing it to Katie, I recognized the shape of the object inside. IT WAS THE *&#%@ MICROWAVE! So I intervened. I explained that I knew what it was and that Katie has one waiting under the Christmas tree at home. C.G. was pretty disgruntled about this. She says that she told Anthony she was going to save the microwave for Christmas when she gave Katie the Cupcake Kitchen. Anthony swears that no such conversation ever took place. I'm inclined to believe him.

So although Crazy Grandma was very unhappy to be upstaged by Crazier Grandma, we held firm. Crazy G reluctantly agreed to return her microwave and get something else. On Christmas morning, Katie opened up Crazier G's microwave and it was love at first beep. Katie has a pretty long attention span but I've never seen anything like this. She was utterly enthralled. And she has played with it every day since, for wonderfully long periods of time! She loves the plastic play food that came with it, and takes particular delight in microwaving the cans - orange juice, grape soda and beans. (Why would they include cans with a toy microwave? I can't think of any reason you should microwave a can, under any circumstances!)

It is unbelievably gratifying to see a child take such delight in a toy, particularly such a simple one. I think I'll let pictures tell the rest. Enjoy!

What is it?

Your very own microwave!

I'm pretty sure she's saying, "Cute!"

Put the food in, and...

Round and round!!! (A light comes on while the turntable turns!)

Ding! It's ready!

Best gift ever! I love Christmas!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas recap

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! What a Christmas we had. I feel like I've eaten nothing but junk food since sometime in November. Our good friend dropped off a portion of the most spectacular batch of fudge she's ever made. Crazier Grandma came to visit and spent a fortune on all the goodies I've been ogling at Trader Joe's. Anthony's gone through gallons of eggnog. I found my absolute favorite, wouldn't-be-Christmas-without-them Marshmallow Santas in the 25 cents bin at the grocery store! I made cinnamon rolls, crescent rolls, and blueberry muffins multiple times. (All from either a box or a pop-open canister, and I'm too replete to even feel ashamed about it.) Good eats!

Christmas itself, of course, was just as it always is. I'm looking for a kinder word than "fiasco" or "nightmare"… how about "trial"? Yes, it was a trial, as always. We tried to cram in two Christmases on Christmas Eve, and we got a late start because of Katie's nap. We were expected at Anthony's mom's at 3:30, but Katie was still asleep at that time. We made it there by 4:30, only to find that Anthony's brother and his family were livid because they'd been there since 2:30. So there was quite a bit of passive-aggressive behavior and some snide comments. I let it roll right off - they've made us wait for untold hours in the past, and besides, they have 2 kids and should understand the concept of naps. I wonder if Anthony's mom told them the wrong time because they're always at least an hour late? LOL.

Seriously, though, every family get-together is the same. Anthony's brother competes with us to see who can get to my mother-in-law's the latest, because she always holds us hostage for much longer than we want to stay. She does it by not having the food ready until hours and hours have dragged by and we're all grumpy. Genius. I'm hoping it's a good long time before the next gathering. What's the next holiday, Easter? (Thank goodness we don't go there for Valentine's Day. Sidebar: did I mention that I went to Michaels the day after Christmas and they were all decked out in pink and red? OMG!)

But anyway, back to the fiasco - er, trial. There were barbs flying here and there because my sister-in-law wanted to move things along and my mother-in-law refused to be hurried. Nobody had eaten a thing except some pigs-in-a-blanket and a few olives. We decided to open presents because my poor niece and nephew had been waiting forever. They opened our gifts and decided that we are the best aunt and uncle who ever lived. Yay! Then we gave Katie a special present to open, one that we've been waiting months and months to give her in front of everyone. It was a cute little pink T-shirt, that says:


Anthony's brother cottoned on right away, and said "Is this an announcement?" And we said, "YES!!" And Crazy Grandma and Crazier Grandma still had no clue. "It's a shirt!" they exclaimed. "How cute!" "No," I said patiently, "what does it say?" Finally we had to spell it out for them: "Katie's going to be a big sister! We're having another baby!"

Once it sank in, everyone was very excited. I'm so happy I got it off my chest! I can stop hiding my belly - which, by the way, is showing WAY earlier than last time! Like, two months earlier!! Ack! I'm now 16 weeks and 4 days, and I can feel adorable little flutters in my belly. I've been feeling something for almost 2 weeks but I wasn't sure they were kicks until a couple of days ago. I had a prenatal checkup today and everything seems right on track. Woohoo! We're due in June, which is cool because the new baby can wear all the infant summer clothes that Katie couldn't wear because she was born in November. Oh yeah, did I mention? We're having another girl! :) (Judge away, we wanted our surprise early! If we have a third, maybe we'll wait. Or not.)

Anyway, "trial" aside, we had a nice Christmas. One of the best parts was going across the street to the Gonzalezes and telling them our good news - Olga screamed and hugged me and jumped up and down for about 10 minutes! Priceless. Plus, TAMALES! 

I've used up just about all of Katie's nap time, and I have to wash bottles so that Katie won't volunteer to wash them "Katie-self", so I must dash. I'll be back soon to tell the tale of: The Microwave Fiasco Revisited! Oh, just you wait!!  :)

Happy New Year, everyone!

Yummy stocking stuffers!

Aw, come on, this would have been so cute without the goofball face!

Why yes! Christmas IS my favorite holiday!