Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I just scratched out '07 on a check for the first time, how about you?

Sorry for the Christmas vacation absence, but over the last two weeks, there were many no nap days, lots of good "Daddy is home!" time, as well as adjustments to life with and then without grandparents and cousins. Santa was very good to all of us, and we celebrated many days of good cheer. I am happy to report that I left the one hour circumference zone around Cincinnati for the first time since JULY in order to go to Cleveland, and it was good. N. is a good traveler (ie: she slept almost the whole way), and Little Bear went on the road with us via DVD, so O. was happy too.
Some of the highlights of our holidays included the following:
  • A visit to the Festival of Lights, wherein we did NOT avoid crowds as is J.'s preference, but waited in line for the train anyway. N. was sleeping (AGAIN), but woke up in time for us to line jump over to where J. and O. were waiting and go on her first train ride ever. Everyone agreed the reindeer were the highlight of the visit -- everything else was a little disappointing. O. was awake past his bedtime, so he thought ALL the "a-mi-mals" should be too. He was most sad the polar bear was sleeping, but still pronounced "going to the zoo was fun, Mommy" on the way home.
  • Leaving food outside for the reindeer on Christmas Eve (crushed saltines and glitter in case you're interested for next year). Come morning, we were much more involved in checking to see if Rudolph got his snack than what was in the pile of presents, at least at first.
  • Later, some of O's commentary while opening presents: (opening a plush talking Little Bear):"This is just what I wanted!" (Opening a sweater): "This is just what I wanted!"; (Opening a Diego rescue vehicle and making a pumping motion with his arm) "YES!"; (about the day in general, multiple times): "This is the best Christmas ever."
  • In the car on the way to Cleveland, a running commentary for at least an hour on which cousins will be awaiting us (all seven) and where they live normally (St. Louis, Cleveland). Shortly before O. finally crashed for a nap, he said, "I want to show my cousins my big giant huge rocket airplane."
  • All four of us sleeping in full sized bed three nights in a row, after attempts to get both children to sleep in their designated places failed. O. got a kick to the face while N. was eating at 5AM one night and sat straight up screaming "I AM awake! I DO want to go in my own bed with my amimals! I DO want to play with my cousins! I want to go home!" (later that morning, though, he reported that "I love staying at Grandma Choo-Choo's")
  • While in Cleveland, since all nine grandchildren were in one place for the first time since N.'s birth, we took the opportunity to get a portrait taken for Grandma Choo-Choo. O. nearly spoiled it by refusing, but after bribery with candy and a ride in the Donald Duck airplane in the lobby as well as a threat of a "flick" from J., he stayed in place. There is a giant tear welled up in his eye in the final photo, but his is not the worst expression of the bunch. N. was the star of the production, gumming a big grin every time the camera snapped.
  • N., actually, was the star of the week overall. I don't know if she got extra attention since Daddy was around to help, or if she's suddenly come into her own personality, but since I've posted last, N. has: taken at least three bottles, laughed out loud, rolled over from both her tummy AND her back, started "talking" quite loudly with exclamatory coos and gurgles, learned how to grab toys with her fists and shove them in her mouth, and sat on the laps of at least ten different people, smiling and batting her eyelashes the whole time.
In the spirit of the "back to school" after-vacation feeling I am having today as I attack the laundry pile again, make various doctor/dentist appointments, and fill in my 2008 calendar, I'd like to share some of my "what I got for Christmas" favorites.
We had some friends over on New Year's Eve and let all of our small children run wild in our basement. I used the opportunity to try out my new brownie pan -- the "All Edge" pan that looks sort of like a mouse maze, but promises to produce crusty goodness on every piece. I was excited but a little nervous that it would not deliver in some disappointing way, but lo, the brownies came out a delicious mix of crunchy/gooey, and came right out of the pan. I just remembered that I shoved it into my bottom oven rather than washing it right away, so I'll have to report back on its washability. I think it's hand wash only, but Williams Sonoma said the same thing for my muffin pan, and it goes in the dishwasher every time just fine.

I also got a new 12 1/2 inch non-stick skillet. My husband laughed at the fact that this seemed to be my favorite gift under the tree. I don't think he has any idea how hard it is to find one this big, or how many times I had put my old one out for the trash, only to haul it back in when I needed to make just about any meal requiring sauteeing. The sauteed apples I made last night to go with my New Year's crock pot pork and sauerkraut were so easy and uncrowded, and got just the right amount of carmelized. I didn't have to worry a bit about the flaking Teflon or whatever it was on my old one slowing poisoning my family. (the radon test kit lying on the floor in my laundry room unused will do for that worry) I've only cooked three meals since Christmas, and so far, I've used this pan every time.

I'll be reporting in on the books I received as I get to them, and what with the writer's strike, it will probably be sooner than normal. But I've already buzzed through the Daring Book for Girls, which will take its place next to the Dangerous Book for Boys on my bookshelf, now that I'm a mother to both. The tone of this newest one is a little too self-conscious, but I'm looking forward to having it to remind me of all the things I want to share with N. about girlhood. I was surprised to see that there was no mention of making those potholders out of loops, especially since they covered crafting a God's Eye.

There were many other awesome gifts, I'll let you know how they work out as I break them in, but you probably don't need the play by play on my peppermint foot lotion or the file that came with it.

But, since I've mentioned the reading, let it be noted that my number one resolution this year is to read more, and watch TV less. I realize that given the sad state of my DVR right now, I'm not exactly asking a lot of myself, but it's a way to keep myself from say, watching five plus hours of Project Runway and Say Yes to the Dress marathons as I did this weekend. I'm doing pretty well already, having finally finished Eat Pray Love, and making it halfway through re-reading another book you'll be hearing about later. I'm also still working on Mark Doty's Dog Years, and really liking it, even though it is taking ME a dog year to read it.

Secondly, I'm resolved to getting more sleep, and while this might not sound like a resolution, it is, since it involves getting N. on more of a schedule, putting her in an actual bed before 11:00PM, and forcing myself to actually get OUT of bed to feed her at night so we don't both fall asleep while I'm sitting straight up.

I won't even discuss the resolution that involves the treadmill that hasn't been unfolded since BEFORE the contractor promised to finish our basement in under six months, but you know it's there unspoken.

Finally, I'm hoping the next time someone comes into my house there WON'T be a laundry basket full of clothes in the middle of my living room, but I'm not making any promises there.

Thank you for reading my thoughts in '07. I think 2008 is going to be quite simply, great. I look forward to sharing it with you, dear readers, and hearing how it's going for you. Please, share your comments here, or email them to me. And if you think there is anyone who'd like to read about what's up in the Small World, direct them this way and ask them to do the same.


Actchy said...

I am astounded that the all-edge brownie pan is a treasure. I never gave it a second thought because I felt it had "gimmick" written all over it. I'm going to seriously consider this because I only discovered the delight of the homemade (versus boxed) brownie recently. (While I love to cook, baking isn't usually my bag.)

mep said...

My mom has the edge brownie pan and loves it, even though she pretended it was totally unnecessary when my dad surprised her with it.

I am so looking forward to hearing about your living and reading in 2008. Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday and like Nora is an absolute angel!

I'm with you on the "read more" resolution. The state of my DVR is downright pathetic, and I found myself flipping channels last night. Eeks.