Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fun with Snow

(click the picture collage to enlarge)

Happy 1st Real Snow Fall of the Season!


It was a good one. We had some wonderful family time. None of us ever got out of our jammies. Alexander and I baked up a storm. I made my first pie. It is a pumpkin pie rolled with a wine bottle as I don't have a rolling pin. We gave it a Moose top from Noggin.

Mark loves cranberry sauce from a can, though I have issues with the texture and shape. Then again, he hates my deviled eggs and green bean casserole. We could each eat a bucket of potatoes. We had plenty to stuff ourselves silly.

(note: we have 2 cats and zero dogs, hmm)
Sophie was really sick but is much better now. Although, she has developed an ATTITUDE. When she's mad or frustrated she growls at me, hits, kicks, throws stuff, or hits the floor. This is a new development as she had always been my sweet little angel. Sometimes she can't turn the pages of her books by herself and she gets mad, or I am telling her 'no' about something or other. Boy, I thought Alexander was going to be my kid with a 'tude.

Staying home (especially with sicky-poo) was the right choice. We have most of our Christmas decorations up, including lights outside and the tree, though the tree needs to be decorated. More on decorations later.
If I don't see another piece of fudge or pumpkin pie in a while, I'll be ok. (and I've got lots left over). We may just decide to stay home next year too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The House That Sick Built

Sophie and I came down with a stomach bug over the weekend. I'm now fine. Soph is not. I'll spare you the oh so fun details. What started out this morning as simply 'somewhat concerning' has me now watching her for dehydration. I'm thankful that we're not driving right now or away from home when she's so sick. Dang...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Baking Has Begun

Yumm. Raw cookie dough.

Yes, that is a Christmas Story movie shirt I'm wearing. You'll shoot your eye out!

Nothin beats licking a beater.

The finished product!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Home for the Holidays

I've explained before that we're not going home for the holidays, or at least Thanksgiving that is. I had to put my big girl pants on and realize what was best for my family. What is best is saving the $ & the trouble that travelling with a young family brings, and giving Mark some time to get his book revisions done. Yes, I am very proud of him.

Still, despite the annoyances of travel, idiosyncrasies of family members, and sometimes sheer nuttiness of large family gatherings, I do love them. This will be my first Thanksgiving away from the extended fam. I've decided that it's ok to acknowledge being sad, but I need to make it special for my family. We'll have plenty to gorge on and Christmas decorations to put up, naps to take and ball games to watch. It will be a good day.

We have lots of traditions throughout the holidays. One is writing down what we are thankful for in our Book of Thanks. This will be year 4 of this tradition, though I left it in IA for the large family gathering. We'll add ours at Christmas. It's been fun to read over previous year's entries and watch the family grow and change as we turn the pages.

Certain movies are 'required' this time of year too. For Thanksgiving, it's Home for the Holidays. Directed by Jodie Foster in 1995, the cast includes; Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Dylan McDermott, Geraldine Chaplin, Steve Guttenburg, Claire Danes, Cynthia Stevenson, & Charles Durning.

The film is full of kooky family members, arguments, flying turkey, profanity, general dysfunction and nuttiness. It shows the struggles that happen surrounding family gatherings while still celebrating loved ones and traditions. Hmm. I wonder why I enjoy it so much? Watch for it on tv this Thanksgiving season, though I suppose it's not for everyone. If this sounds like your kind of movie, here's a little taste from the Thanksgiving dinner blessing scene. clip rated PG13

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Festival of Trees

It's a family day all day. No errands, no chores. This morning we were treated with Duncan Donuts followed by a trip to the Festival of Trees.

Alexander was excited to visit Santa, but here's what happened when it was his turn.

Sophie didn't mind, though she did seem to wonder about the beard.

Afterwards we grabbed lunch at TGI Fridays and picked up a few movies, including Walle, Kung Fu Panda, and a Thanksgiving must-watch, Home for the Holidays. More on holiday movies later. It's time for movies, popcorn, & chocolate. I'm thankful for family days.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Mixed Tape

Remember the mixed tape? Yesterday, in part to combat a blue mood, I made a new mixed tape. Well, it's electronic, not a tape and it's available to anyone who is interested in listening. It's a compilation of 30 of my favorite Christmas tunes both secular and religious, some quite old and some new. Some done by Elvis, Eric Cartmin, Josh Groban, the Muppets, Otis Redding, Sarah Mclachlan, John Lennon, the Boss and many more. Some will bring you back to childhood, such as Christmas Time is Here - Charlie Brown and friends. Some are certain to conjure up Christmas memories that you may have long forgotten. Some are silly, such as Bob and Doug Mckenzie - the 12 Days of Christmas. Others make me melancholy for those who won't be Home for Christmas, but only in their dreams. I can add to this compilation if you can think of a must-have song I missed or version that's your favorite. Hopefully will soon have the new Faith Hill CD - Joy to the World available as there are some good ones there too. I finish off with Auld Lang Syne, a New Year's Eve song that sadly is making it's way out of favor, even on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve. So take a listen, peruse the songs (you can scroll down on the right side of the player). I'm keeping this playlist on my sidebar throughout the holidays and plan to listen often. Happy Friday.

p.s. Because I futzed with the html coding to shrink the size of the player, it's hard to see the names of all of the songs and artists. Here's a complete track list:
Martina McBride - Oh Holy Night, We Wish You a Merry Christmas - John Denver & the Muppets, The First Noel - Josh Groban, Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt, I'll Be Home for Christmas - Michael Buble, Christmas Time is Here - Charlie Brown & friends, Angels We Have Heard on High - Josh Groban, Blue Christmas - Elvis, The 12 Days of Christmas - Bob & Doug Mckenzie, So This is Christmas (War is Over) - John Lennon, Little Drummer Boy - Josh Groban, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - Jessica Simpson, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Bing Crosby, White Christmas - Otis Redding, Swiss Colony Beef Log - Eric Cartmin (South Park), Here Comes Santa Claus - Elvis, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Josh Groban, River - Sarah Mclachlan, The Chipmunks Song - Chipmunks, Winter Wonderland - Jewel, Silver Bells - Elvis, Silent Night - Reba McEntire, Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Bruce Springsteen, It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem - Elvis, Mele Kalikimaka - Jimmy Buffet, What Child is This (Greensleeves) - Sarah Mclachlan, A Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives, Oh Come All Ye Faithful - Josh Groban, Auld Lang Syne - Barenaked Ladies

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Christmas Photo Shoot Fun

Today a we had a (free) photo shoot at church. When you're done, you get a disk and unedited shots to do with what you please. They needed a lot of help with cropping, removing a weird smudge that kept showing up, and adding special effects to look really good, but you can't beat free!

Since we're not really having a Thanksgiving this year, we're already in Christmas mode. It's too much to travel AGAIN this month (after IA last month and again in Dec). So, Country Buffet it is! (Hey, that means no cleaning, baking, more cleaning, or travel). We bought a new and much smaller Christmas tree last week that will go up next weekend. We MUST have a tree, but one that is small enough to be lifted off the ground on a stand/table and still see it behind Sophie-proof gates. We got a great deal on a prelit one and as a bonus picked up an electric Grinch train for the base.

Don't forget to click the Reese's Rainbow button on the sidebar to order your Christmas ornament and contribute to a great cause. Next week is the Festival of Trees, sponsored by the Junior League, that will help support Larkin's Place. Raffle tickets are on sale to win a new car! So ya, we're already in the Christmas spirit.

Thanks to Renee, I've been introduced to It's an online photo editing site. I chose the free registration and have been spending WAY too much time messing with photos today. As of this afternoon I already have my Christmas cards created (not yet ordered) and a few gift ideas. Enjoy the shots and a jump start into the season. Be careful if you try out Picnik as it is a wonder, but addicting.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

All About Sophie

On Sunday Sophie laid on my chest from noon-4, alternating crying and sleeping as she cut 3 new teeth. She's starting to try and stand for short amounts of time and does quite well with help. She's a champion at the yoga position downward dog (still trying to catch this one on film) and she can hold it for 10 seconds.

Before the cold, wet weather came to town we enjoyed one last day at the park.

In PT she continues to make strides in strength and balance. Her PT would like to see her crawl more, but she prefers her signature sidewinder move.
PT was full of bench sitting (on PT's leg) and standing with support, over and over.

After her first day with pig tails, her hair stood straight up once the rubber bands came out.

In DT (and every day as she really has fun), Sophie is learning how to feed her baby dolls from bottles and spoon/fork feeding them. Sometimes Bubba helps out.

At her weekly developmental playgroup, Sophie enjoys knocking down blocks faster than they can be built up.

The water mat is one of her favorite toys,
she loves banging the drum with the feather duster,

but nothing beats the ball pit. The staff have really been working me to get her one for Christmas.
In ST we have made a few photo albums of her favorite toys and people. Books have become favorites of Soph's.

Yet no therapy or playgroup beats time spent with her best guy, Daddy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It's a New Day

(embedding for this video no longer available. Click here to view it)

I went asleep last night, tired from the fight. I've been fightin for tomorrow, all my life. Ya, I woke up this mornin, feelin brand new, cuz the dreams that I've been dreamin have finally came true. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day.

It's been a long time comin. Up the mountain kept runnin. Songs of freedom kept hummin. Channeling Harriet Tubman. Kennedy, Lincoln, and King, we gotta manifest that dream. It feels like we're swimmin up stream. It feels like I'm stuck in between a rock and a hard place. We've been through the heart aches and looked through the darkest days. You and I made it this far, well hey hey, we can make it all the way. And they said no we can't and we said yes we can.

Remember it's you and me together.

I woke up this mornin feelin alright. I've been fightin for tommorow all my life. Ya I woke up this mornin feelin brand new cuz the dreams that I've been dreamin has finally came true. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day.

It's been a long time waitin. Waitin for this moment. It's been a long time prayin. Prayin for this moment. We hope for this moment and now that we own it, for my life I'm a hold it and I won't let it go.

This is for our fathers, our brothers, our friends who fought for freedom. Our sisters, our mothers who died for us to be in this moment. Stop and cherish this moment. Stop and cherish this time.

It's time for unity for and us and we. That's you and me together.

I woke up this mornin feelin brand new cuz dreams that I've been dreamin finally came true. Ya, I woke up this mornin feelin alright cuz we weren't fightin for nothin. And the soilders weren't fightin for nothin. No Martin wasn't dreamin for nothin. And Lincoln didn't change for nothin. And children weren't cryin for nothin.

It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day.

by will.i.iam from the Black Eyed Peas

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cool Awards

I've been a bad blogger. I received two very cool awards from 2 friends a million years ago, and I haven't mentioned them. The sweet Datri over at Opposite Kids awarded me the following award:

The name is right up my alley and cracks me up. I enjoy reading about your family. Thank you. I pass this award on to a new blogger that I'd love for you to visit. Samm, of Hailey's Comet Ride, began her journey as a special needs mom when the beautiful Hailey Bean came into her life not so long ago. Please check out her blog.

Cathy over at whatever to us gave me the following award:

Cathy and her beautiful family have become good friends of mine here in Shampoo-Banana (that's Champaign-Urbana to you non-locals). I love you guys!!! I pass this award onto another new blogger Sarah at Class of 2008. Sarah came on-line recently and has been a force. She has shared her experiences and favorite memories from her growing up years. I love, love, love reading about her adventures. If you haven't been to her blog, GO NOW!

These awards come with rules and are one of the reasons it has taken me forever to publish them. They require that you post the rules, link back to the creator, and pass them on to usually between 5-7 other blogs that you feel are deserving. I think that's a lot to ask. On one hand, I prefer a more discriminating taste, on the other hand, I don't bother to follow blogs that I don't enjoy. So, I'm breaking the rules and sending it to 1 cool blogger for each award.

I thank my dear friends for the awards. If you want them back, I'm available for lunch today so come on over and get em. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Forty Four

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."

Elation. Pride. Hope. Jubilation.

Last night we watched history being made. We kept Alexander up through President Elect Obama's speech and although he was a crank pot this morning, I do not regret it.

I am saddened when I read my McCain supporter friend's posts about their sorrow and fear and I understand it. I understand it as I felt the exact same way 8, but most intensely 4 years ago on election night. I couldn't understand then, when I could so clearly see the writing on the wall, why so many of my fellow Americans voted for our current administration. When I read reactions from friends who warn that we'll get what we've asked for and God help us, I understand. I know how that feels because I could have written similar things in 2004. So I do feel for those who are unhappy today.

This blog is very much an electronic family album and record of our lives. After thinking about it for a long time, I've decided that I would write about last night, despite the reaction of some of my friends and family who voted differently than I did and I trust they will understand.

So, I unapologetically, unabashedly, with great joy and laughter through tears, celebrate this day. I celebrate the great hope and inspiration that this brings to our country. This is nothing short of the restoration of the American Dream. I cannot even begin to imagine the pride that must belong to African Americans this day. I join with those in London, France, South Africa and other places around the world who, regardless of the fact that it was in the middle of the night or very early morning, screamed and smiled and cheered the result of this exercise in American democracy.
The world reacts to Obama’s win
The world reacts to Obama’s win

I was very impressed with John McCain last night. His speech was so gracious and it reminded me of the politician I remember before the election process. He did a wonderful job and I was proud of him.

When President Elect Barack Obama spoke, I was moved to tears. Now, I do not agree with 100% of his positions and plan to hold his feet to the fire as much as any Momologist can. I will join others' voices who demand that he do better for our country than the state of IL has done for our loved ones with special needs. Certainly, there will be issues that we will differ on, but for now I am sold, hook, line, and sinker. I wish so badly that I could have been in Grant Park last night.

Johannesburg - Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela congratulated US president elect Barack Obama on his victory on Wednesday, saying he was an inspiration to people all over the world.

"Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place," Mandela said in a letter to Obama. "We note and applaud your commitment to supporting the cause of peace and security around the world. We trust that you will also make it the mission of your presidency to combat the scourge of poverty and disease everywhere. "We wish you strength and fortitude in the challenging days and years that lie ahead. We are sure you will ultimately achieve your dream making the United States of America a full partner in a community of nations committed to peace and prosperity for all," said Mandela.

As much for my own record as anything else, here are a few video clips that I've greatly enjoyed.
The Daily Show


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Family Vote

I expected long lines, especially as we were voting at noon. We had lunch and lots of toys packed. When we arrived at our poling place, just 2 people were leaving, 1 person was voting ahead of us, and 4 more came while we were there. The staff were really sweet and said they already had 50% turn out for the location. They allowed us to show Alexander the voting booth and let him help us feed our ballots into the machine. He even got an I Voted sticker, though they wouldn't give him his own ballot.

Since we had lunch and the time, plus it was 74 degrees and gorgeous, we went to a park for a picnic. Mark and I both agreed that we were in the partying mood so we decided to make a really good meal for dinner. I cannot partake in his Sam Adams, but I am making twice baked potatoes and we're grilling steak and bison burgers tonight. I also picked up a yummy harvest (mixed berry) pie. mmmm

I've been particularly weepy lately and I think only some of it is due to pregnancy hormones. Today is a holiday in my house. Both kids are doing great. Sophie even has the tiniest and cutest pig tails in today. I hope Alexander can remember this day and if not, I've got pictures that they can both see when they get older. It's gorgeous out and the huge numbers that are flocking to the polls today and who voted early to participate in this democracy make me so proud of this country.