Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tis the Season for….

Well, colds, for starters. Our first trip to Santa. (Thank you, OE for having an indoor, line-free, photo-op with Santa. We just "had" to buy cookies, and it was totally worth it.) Wrapping presents. Finishing (ok, starting) making presents. Working on the budget for next year. Starting to think about next year's garden. Planning trips for next year.

Ellie just had her third birthday. We got off without a "peer" party. We just had family. That will probably not pass muster next year. Ellie, Cali and I also had the opportunity to experience another kid's party the day after her birthday. I very nearly sent our regrets based on the time (12-2, i.e. nap time). However, Ellie caught wind of it and then it was a foregone conclusion :( I found out afterward that the mom hired her friend (an event planner) to do pretty much all the detail work and party prep. I hope that is not standard. I do not plan to do that. It was a beautiful setup, but it seemed a bit much for 3 year-olds.

Cali has her first cold. She's handling it pretty well. This evening, she had acute gas though and I nearly lost my sanity. I could do nothing but carry her and even that didn't help sometimes. She is about to outgrow her 9 month clothes. If I were doing cloth diapers, she would already be out of them. The problem is that she is still a bit babyish. She's not crawling, although she worms around pretty well. I still like her in onesies, but they are hard to find for sizes larger than 9 months. So far, I've found Hanna Andersson carries really nice quality long sleeve onesies (size 70 for those of you still looking for something for Cali) that even have a crotch extension so she has room to grow. But, I'll probably just suck it up and start putting her in shirts and pants. She's got lots of hand-me-downs from big sis.

The little one is a good eater. She has pretty good manual dexterity and loves to feed herself. However, we are supplementing heavily with pouches because she has such a voracious appetite. I'll mix up a version of what we're eating if it is Cali-friendly, but if it has a lot of cheese, eggs, chilies, or tough textures, I tend to go for the safety of pre-blended food. And, if we're eating out. So far, I haven't run across much she doesn't like. She did have a funky reaction to kiwi last week, but it gave me a weird reaction too, so I think they might have been unripe or something. She's taking the weaning part of baby-led weaning pretty seriously. She eats three solid meals and eschews most attempts to nurse her unless we are in a pre-bed routine.

Ellie is a real trip these days. She is becoming more cognitive and interactive. It's mostly a good development, although sometimes it can be frustrating. We've been listening to Kipling's "Just So Stories" in the car and we're about to move on to "The Wind in the Willows". I've been able to read passages from Pooh and we made it halfway through James Herriot's stories for children in one reading. I'm hoping Cali will also love stories and that both girls will develop into great readers. It's one of my favorite pastimes and I'd love to share that with them.

E also had her 3-year check-up. She is 37 inches tall and 31 pounds. I had a bit of a parental jarring when the doctor explained to her that he was only looking down her pants because he was a doctor and because Mommy was right here. Guess it's time to start talking about good and bad touches, private parts, and strangers. Joy. She's still in a diaper mindset where pretty much any adult has license to take her potty and put her diaper on at bedtime. Luckily, she is interested in anatomy and we just got a book that starts to talk about those very topics.

In other news, P is pretty caught up in the new local Crossfit box. He goes 3-4 times a week. He's working on the Brazilian Cherry butcher-block bar top for Main+Lincoln. Once that's done, he'll start on Ellie's dollhouse. Aunt C has a new job as a receptionist. She's settling in with the daunting task of learning nearly 300 names and the complexities of how to manage their phone accessibility. She's still working 3 Saturdays a month and Monday evenings for her old job, so she is putting in about 50 hours a week. That gives her exactly one Saturday a month to look for a new car.

I am overbooked. Too much on my plate and not enough time to read. As usual. I have gotten pretty comfortable with cooking dinners from scratch. It doesn't take as long as it used to. I've been using meal plans from and to select 3-4 meals to cook each week. Sometimes, I'll go to Pinterest, cookbooks, or favorite tried-and-true recipes, but the Fresh20 meals are the most efficiently planned from a grocery and budget standpoint. She has a great concept. Not all her recipes are winners, but the idea of building a weekly dinner menu off of a well-stocked pantry and 20 fresh ingredients each week is fantastic. I've cut the grocery bill in half.

"Professionally", I'm stumbling about as a committee chair for Tri Kappa publicity. We've had 2 meetings and are scheduled to have our third Tuesday to discuss the new website. I'm learning why chairing committees is not easy, although I've met a few ladies who make it look effortless (yes you, Maureen). As someone reminded me, they are basically a group project without the incentive of a grade at the end. So, some people just don't chip in as much as others or as much as you would like. They are after all, volunteers. I'm learning to be thankful for whatever people have to give. The Main+Lincoln decor committee is basically dropped. Chef started making his own calls, and I just didn't have the time or inclination to fight it. Ultimately it is his enterprise. That said, I'm still working on FB, the website, menus and other collateral. (Gift certificates are now on sale!!!) And, then I've got to start planning RV trips, family trips, landscaping, schedule the piano tuner, etc. So, my short-lived attempt at running has been put on indefinite hold pending the time when my youngest has a more solid sleep schedule and I make it to bed regularly before 11. I would like to go back to it though. Slogging through the run was not fun, but the feeling after was fabulous and it was a nice way to start the day with a giant check in the exercise column.

My favorite shot from our family portrait session.

The family.

Ellie and David holding hands.

The sign is up. Restaurant scheduled to open early 2014.

Tea with Lambchop. She finally figured out that her "friends" make better tea party companions because they don't talk back and don't take unauthorized sips of tea.

My favorite art piece this year.

Cali eating neatly.

Ellie at the party gravitated directly to the Doc McStuffins doctor kit and tried to do checkups on EVERYONE. She monopolized the kit the entire time we were there. (Good pick, Aunt Sherry!)

Here's the set-up.

Here are 5 of the approximately 25 partiers (not counting moms). They are making "twirling wands".

Chilling after Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma & Grandpa's.

I meant to fall backwards.

Ellie as a pilgrim. Note the up-cycled coffee sleeve. They didn't put out a call for those at school, so maybe the teachers drink as much as the parents.

I also love this indian corn piece.

Cali will even eat felt food.

Playing with some birthday gifts.

Count 'em. FOUR teeth!

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