Friday, October 30, 2009

Yard work for dental work?

I know, it's a pretty random title. So, please allow me to explain. My brother is a dentist. I had three cavities. Since my insurance company wanted to charge me 50 bucks a pop in co-pays, I decided to turn to the dentist in my inner circle for some help. However, as you know, nothing comes for free in this world. My brother had an ivy bed in his yard that he hated. He wanted to make it into a berry patch. So, he recruited the slave labor help from his childhood friend, Dan, (who needed a crown fixed) and me with this massive project. I drove over an hour this morning to spend many a back breaking hours ripping out ivy, putting down cardboard, and spreading several yards of dirt that my brother had delivered. In return, Dan and I both got top-notch dental service provided for free. The only catch was that we were each other's assistants while Dr. Chris worked on our teeth. Since neither of us have any professional training, it made for a comic afternoon in the dental chair. Take a lookie at the evidence below...

Dr. Tip and Dan ripping out ivy.

Me and my filthy pants (if you don't believe me, please zoom in) starting to spread the dirt.

Down at the dental office. Dan even dawned his own black, dental coat, latex gloves, and face mask. How official. I really should not have been looking that happy.

The friendly face that looked down on me during the drilling and filling.

Chris getting ready to shoot Dan up with some Novocaine. It took several of these to numb his iron mouth. Geez. I then proceeded to assist Chris with the drilling of a previous filling, the "building up" of the left-over hole, the taking of an impression, and the creating and placing of a temporary crown. Suction? You got it. Air? Coming right up. Water. Yup, right here. I think I missed my calling in life...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The rantings and ravings of a toddler...

Behold, the broken mobile on the left...
So, those of you who know Lia fairly well know that she has been a pleasant and patient girl with a very happy temperament ever since she was a little baby. However, the tantrum has slowly been making its way into her personality the past few months, but they are nothing ever major. She will either throw what I call a "mini tantrum" that lasts a few seconds and then suddenly disappears or she gets very upset over something she is not pleased with, but will completely stop whenever the problem is solved. However, today, Lia took it to a whole new level. The level that I have seen in other peoples' kids over the years, but never my own. Oh, did I ever eat my words today?!
So, if you read my previous post, you will see that I just returned from a 4-day weekend on the East coast. As with most vacations, I seem to always return home to a list of things to do. Since I am working the next two days, I decided to aggressively tackle the list this morning and embarked on making a bunch of necessary phone calls. While I was doing this, I ignored Lia. But, in my defense, I put in her ol' favorite, Finding Nemo, and thought that we would be good to go. Wrong. For some reason, Lia decided that she wanted my attention over Bruce's! (I know, I know....miracles do happen from time to time!) After quickly learning that I was not available, she started to scream and cry. Since I was on the phone, I just shut the office door and let her continue with the tantrum on her own. As a result, the tantrum increased exponentially and went on for many, many minutes. Wow. After I finally finished with my last phone call, I quickly hung up and went to join her. But, the damage had already been done. The 15 or so minutes had fueled her tantrum into an unstoppable one. She simply continued screaming and crying no matter what book or toy I offered her. There was no reasoning with her. In fact, at this point, all she wanted was her "sucker." But, we have a rule in this house. Sucker equals bedtime. End of story. So, after asking her if she wanted to play with me or go "night night" (which was very early for her daily nap), all I got was more screams and tears. Well, that did it. I promptly marched her upstairs, put her in the crib, and tried to give her the sucker. This made Lia even more furious as she did NOT want to go to bed. She was so upset that she wouldn't even take her sucker. I decided that she needed a few minutes to cool off and shut her door.
Fast forward five minutes, Lia is still screaming in her crib. However, I begin to hear all of these banging and crashing noises from her room above. After listening to this for a minute and wondering what on earth could be causing all of this ruckus, I quickly run upstairs to make sure that Lia and her bedroom are still intact and okay. And, to my surprise, I find the remains of what once was Lia's sweet, little mobile that has faithfully lulled her to sleep every night for over the past year of her life to "Brahm's Lullaby" all over her bedroom floor. How is this possible? Well, apparently, Lia has a bit of Hulkitis. When she gets extremely mad, she develops a super-human strength! While throwing a fit in her bed, she reached up and completely snapped her mobile in two! I know, it's crazy, isn't it?! She then proceeded to throw the various pieces out of her bed and onto her floor, breaking yet another little piece that attaches the music box to the mobile. So, thanks to Lia and her tantrum, her beloved mobile is completely useless. Good grief!
After picking her up and letting her suck on her pacifier for a few minutes, Lia came back down to earth and to reality realizing that her beloved bedtime serenader is "broken." We discussed this fact for quite sometime and for the rest of the day Lia has said her new word, "broken," over and over again. It is quite apparent that she feels some remorse for her actions earlier today. But, there is nothing that can be done.
So, Lia went to bed in complete silence tonight for the first time in forever....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Weekend in Washington

I just returned late last night after a wonderful 4-day weekend with my dear friend, Sarah, in Washington D.C. Sarah was one of my mission comps over ten years ago who then became a college roommate, fellow backpacking companion through Europe, and bridesmaid at my wedding. So, I have quite a history with this hilarious, intelligent, sassy gal! I just love her to death! Anywho, Sarah was the absolute hostess with the mostess and treated me to a fabulous weekend including many of the famous and local sites! I haven't been to this part of the county since 2nd grade which means I basically remember nothing. So it was truly a treat for me to go back and revisit some of these places during this incredible part of the year on the east coast. The autumn colors were everywhere and were stunning and we were blessed with an unusually warm weekend of weather in the 60s. So, I never even broke out the scarf, hat, gloves combo that I bought especially for this trip.
Here is a quick rundown of my weekend in Washington with Sarah...

After arriving in the afternoon of October 23rd, Sarah and I kidnapped her fabulous sister, Michelle, from work and headed into the city via Georgetown (which was stunning!). We ate dinner at an incredible Spanish restaurant in the heart of the city.

Michelle, me, and Sarah after gorging on one-too-many tapas at Jaleo. On second thought, can you ever gorge on one-too-many tapas?!

Sarah and Michelle then drove me into the "National Mall" area of DC so that we could visit the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial up close. It was amazing to visit these monuments at night as they become these glowing, white orbs against the night sky after the sun sets each day. I loved it and was truly impressed with the sacred, respectful atmosphere that I felt at each monument.

The next day, October 24th, Sarah, Michelle, Michelle's friend, Kesa, and I set off on a 12-hour adventure through two of the quaintest and historic towns around. We first drove to Alexandria, VA for lunch and a stroll around the "Old Town" section for the early afternoon. This town was established in the 1700s and seriously has not changed since. Why can't we have towns that look like this on the West Coast? Geez.

Here are Sarah and I down at the marina on the Potomac River.

The four of us ate a delicious lunch at the neatest restaurant in Alexandria called Gadsby's Tavern. It was built in the late 1700s as an actual restaurant and tavern and is still used for that same purpose today. But, what makes it the coolest is that it is where George Washington used to frequent as Alexandria is only about ten minutes away from Mount Vernon. So, I now can officially say that I ate where George ate. I can reach no higher in life.

After our visit to Alexandria, we hopped back in the car and cruised through some of the most beautiful fall countryside in Maryland (complete with rolling hills, red barns, and grazing cows) before arriving in Gettysburg which is just on the other side of the Pennsylvania border. We joined up with another one of Sarah's sisters, Ann Marie, and a few other friends. We were treated to our own personal tour through the various battle fields of the Battle of Gettysburg by Ann Marie (free of charge, might I add) before the sun set. Pictured above is was one of the roads we travelled through on our driving tour through Gettysburg. Amazing!!

Sarah, some cannons, and the location of the first battle in the background.

Sarah and I and the glorious sunset that appeared while we were visiting the location of the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

After our tour, we hit a local Pennsylvania diner for dinner on Ann Marie's recommendation. It really doesn't get any more authentic than this place in the way of true, Pennsylvania cuisine. I mean, one could find pickled beats and eggs on the menu! We scarfed down our dinner and then headed to our 8:15 ghost tour that we had reserved. Gettysburg is supposedly one of the most haunted towns in the United States due to all of the deaths that took place there during the Civil War. As a result, ghosts tours abound and are quite the thing to do during the Halloween season! We enjoyed following our guide for over an hour all over Seminary Ridge which is a Lutheran campus that was turned into several hospitals during the Battle of Gettysburg. Hence, a lot of men died there which equates to a lot of ghosts being there. I have done ghost tours before in the French Quarter in New Orleans and on the Queen Mary ship in Long Beach, CA and find this a highly entertaining way to learn some local history. Pictured above is our group during the tour.

Sunday, October 25th, was a much needed mellow day. After church, I was fortunate enough to receive a visit from my wonderful friend, Kerry, and her daughter, Lacey, who drove down from Baltimore to see me at Sarah's place. Kerry was one of my roommates for several years during my stint in Huntington Beach and we truly were kindred spirits from the get-go! I just love this girl, too. We traveled the world together and went on many local adventures in Cali before we both tied the knot exactly four weeks apart! I haven't seen her for over three years and have never met her daughter. So, it was so great to spend the afternoon and evening with her. Here we are outside Sarah's place with the autumn leaves in all their glory. And, NO, the coordinated, red clothing was not planned! Please do not think that this is a lesbian Christmas card picture or something!

On October 25th, my final day in D.C., Sarah and I took the metro into the city to see a few more of our national capitol's highlights before I caught my evening flight back home. First stop was of course 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!

After peaking at the White House, we caught the metro back down to the National Mall area to get up close and personal with a few other of DC's gems. First stop was the Washington Monument. I realize that the above picture is totally dorky, but it had to be done. When does one get the chance to carry this building in the palm of their hands?

The Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial from two different points out on "the mall."

Sarah and I frolicking amongst the flags below the Washington Monument.

The glorious capitol building flanked by glorious autumn colors.

After tootling around the mall for a bit, Sarah and I hit up a few of the fabulous and free Smithsonian museums right there in the area! We first visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History to ogle at things like Julia Child's actual kitchen, a pair of Dorothy's ruby red slippers, one of Jackie O's dresses, and the American flag that inspired "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." All good stuff. We then went on to the Museum of Natural History to poke around for awhile. Here Sarah and I are on the steps out front the Museum of Natural History that you might recognize from those stupid, Ben Stiller movies that I can't stand! :-)

I normally don't take pictures of things behind glass in museums because, really, what's the point? However, I did have to snap one of the infamous Hope Diamond located in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History because it is the one thing I remember seeing in all of the museums my family and I visited way back in 1984. Apparently, I've always had a thing for diamonds.

We then made a stop at the National Archives to take a gander a the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. After accidentally having my flash go off (Dang it!), I managed to get the pic above. It's pretty self-explanatory and, yes, it's the real thing.

We finished off the day with a stop at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian for an unbelievable lunch in their new cafe that features Native American cuisine from all over the country. Can anyone say pulled Buffalo burgers? Yes, they can. We then burned off some happily-consumed calories by strolling to our nation's capitol building to bask for a final few minutes in some glorious, fall weather before hopping on the metro. Here I am at the base of the capitol steps with the Washington Monument in the distance. What a great way to end the day!

Thank you, Sarah, for a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

20 Month Check-In

So, my little Lia turned 20-months old today. I know that I comment on this almost every month, but I still can't believe how fast this is all going. I can't even remember what it was like to have a baby Lia that I could hold in my arms for hours on end. She is so not that little baby anymore. She is now this talking, walking, runny machine. However, she is really a pleasant, enjoyable, fun, and easy 1-year old to be around. Ron and I have been so fortunate to have her as our first child to break us into this whole parenting thing. We definitely love our Lia! So, in keeping with tradition, here is a quick run-down of some of her changes and developments of the past month.

1. We are officially down to one nap a day as of this past month. I held onto the two-nap drill as long as I could (and probably longer than Lia needed). She now sleeps once a day whether it's after an early lunch or before a late one. However, I do have one complaint. Lia always takes 1.5 hour naps. So, I was told by many sources that when she went down to one nap a day, she would essentially just combine her two naps into one by taking a 2.5-3 hour nap. Nope. It's still 1.5 hours long...just one time a day. So, that is all the break I get. In Lia's defense, I must add that she does go to bed much earlier now (we're talking 7 to 7:30 pm) each night due to how tired she is be the end of the day. So, I guess that I am still getting that second break; it just comes after she goes down for the night.

2. Lia has discovered and fallen in love with forks. I guess that she just wants to be like the rest of us in the big people world. She insists on dining with one of her baby-sized forks at every meal...even when it isn't necessary. Who knew that you could eat oatmeal with a fork?!

3. In keeping up with her fascination with all things pooh-pooh (I know, lovely, isn't it?), Lia is now concerned with checking for it everywhere. Several times a day, we have to stop whatever we are doing to make sure that her dolly or her bunny or whatever stuffed animal is around doesn't have a pooh-pooh. It is top priority for Lia.

4. One of the new words that Lia has picked up this past month is "pretty." As a result, she has become interested in all things pretty and has discovered bracelets, necklaces, hair clips, and bows. She loves playing with them and taking them on and off and on and off. We've got a little girl on our hands...

5. Lia's obsession with sharks, most especially Bruce from Finding Nemo, is still going strong! She has learned to say, "Bruce," and it is the cutest sounding thing. She requests to watch him all day long! I'm not kidding you. And, she will even run up to the T.V. screen and kiss Bruce or have her bunny kiss him when allowed to watch him. I learned quickly that I had to put a daily cap on our Bruce-viewing or we would spend our hours wasting away in front of the T.V. So, Lia is now allowed to watch the shark clip two times each morning and one time each afternoon or evening and then Bruce is "sleeping in the T.V." the rest of the day. She seems to be buying this excuse for the time being. We'll see how long that lasts...

6. The is one of my personal favorites...Lia has started saying goodbye to everything. Everything. Whether it is the checker at the grocery store or the food on her plate or the pacifier in her crib or her pooh pooh in the toilet (remember we do cloth diapers around here). No one and nothing are left out. She always says it in this sweet, high-pitched voice. Love it!

7. Lia's growing continues. Sh has always been in the 90th something percentile in height at every doctor's visit, but they haven't been tracking her feet size. Our growing girl went from a size 4 just this spring to a size 7 this month. She cruised over three shoe sizes in about four months! It's a good thing that I have enough hand-me-down shoes to feed an army or this girl would cost us a fortune. I guess that I can't really be surprised at the whole thing as both Ron and I border on the fee-fie-foe-fum end of the shoe size spectrum. Sorry, Lia.

8. Lia discovered running this past summer and has been in love with it ever since. However, she has added the cutest, new addition to this passion by yelling, "Running!" as she takes off running. For some reason, it is just the funniest thing to Ron and me. You can now find me yelling, "Running," in the backyard from time to time as I cruise around with my daughter. Oh dear.

9. To add to the every-growing list of Lia's obsessions, here is another one: Grandma and grandma's house. She just loves the two and talks about them constantly. Every time we get in the car, she states that we are going to grandma's house. She points out grandma whenever she sees her in a picture and mentions grandma's house at random times throughout the day. I think that this whole obsession is well deserved as my mother has put in endless hours watching Lia during her 20 months of life while I have been away at work. We both love Grandma!

10. And, last but definitely not least, is the update on Lia's vocab development. It is out of control! This girl is talking so much that I can barely keep up with tracking her new words anymore. This might be the last month that I do this as it's wearing me out! ;-) So, here we go in no particular order: song, "see you," "ready, go," clock, couch, Bruce, Nemo, Sarah (one of my friends), Kaylee (Lia's friend), Tucker (her friend's dog), dance, bracelet, grandma's house, socks, pants, shirt, dress, shorts, train, button, cereal, pretty, light, band (for hair band), soap, bow, pears, pen, paper, crayon, color, hand, fingers, feet, lips, TV, sleeping, amen, wolf, window, door, stairs, cold, Jecca (for her babysitter, Jessica), eat, wet, hot, cold, heart, triangle, oval, circle, diaper, church, cheek, "papas home," trash, dirty, rug, summer (not the season, but one of my Young Womens), towel, plane, bonk (when she bonks Ron or I on the forehead), off, prayer, nice, cart, wipe, brush, clip, teeth, seagull, zip, yo-yo, belt, swing, glasses, bag, careful, tent, mail, slide, and scissors. She can also count to 10 really well (when she feels like it), sings, "Now I know my..." really well after we sing the ABCs, and says "hi" into the phone. And, there you go.

As always, here are a few quick pics I snapped in the past week or so...

This picture actually has a funny story behind it in a pathetic way. Thanks to a tip I got many months ago from my sis-in-law, Susie, Lia has been limited to her sucker time since she turned one. With the rare occasion of fussy moment in church or a long car ride, she is only allowed to have her pacifier in the crib for nap time and bedtime. However, she tries many times a day to get it outside of these designated times. Our usual response is that "it is not night night time" and so she can't have it. For the most part, Lia respects this rule and deals with it. However, two months ago, she got a baby doll with its own pacifier as a gift while Lola was visiting. Lia soon discovered that she could simply remove the dolly's sucker to use herself. But, what I don't get is that this pacifier is all plastic and must totally feel different and unsatisfying. Nevertheless, Lia can be found sucking on it from time to time. I told her that it was as pathetic as a smoker picking up another person's smoldering cigarette butt off of the sidewalk to smoke. She didn't seemed to be bothered by my analogy...

Daddy and daughter snuggling under Lia's new "gimmie" (her word for blanket) on a sleepy evening. Bet you can't guess what they are watching?

Lia enjoying some pretty autumn colors in our front yard!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Munny's M.I.A.

So, you know how Lia is attached at the hip with her stuffed bunny rabbit that she calls "munny?" In the past week or two, this attachment has gotten ridiculous. She can't go anywhere without that little thing! As a result, munny is no longer the soft, fuzzy, glowy-white bunny that she used to be. She has started to acquire a dull-grey, dingy color and is picking up all sorts of fun little stains around the house and yard. In order to curb this premature aging, I decided to throw munny in the wash tonight. Lia was very leery of me smothering munny with Spray 'N Wash and hesitantly let me throw her in the washing machine after I explained numerous times that she was just "getting a bath." However, Lia's patience ran out when she spotted me secretly transferring munny from the washer into the dryer (I swear, that girl has eyes in the back of her head). Munny only lasted in the dryer for a few minutes due the to sequence of events that you find below...

A full-blown crying, tearing, screaming, hyperventilating tantrum broke out as the dryer door was closed.

The tantrum then traveled to the floor.

After five minutes, we couldn't take the heartache any longer and munny was prematurely removed from the dryer in a semi-wet state. The happy couple was reunited at last.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Couch Potatoes

The three couch amigos: Mama, baby, and munny.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pie a la Mom

So, I have a few goals that I would like to accomplish in my lifetime and one of them is become just like my mom. In order to reach this goal, I must become proficient in all things domestic from baking to quilting to gardening to canning. As a full-time teacher, this goal was nothing but a dream floating around in the sky. As a part-time substitute teacher and mommy, it has become a bit more attainable. So, here is one of my attempts at emulating the domestic whiz in my life: baking a homemade rhubarb-strawberry pie (made from berries and rhubarb that I hand picked myself from my mom's and neighbor's garden) for YW in Excellence at church tomorrow night. Even though it doesn't look as good as my mother's finished product, here's to hoping that it will taste just as good...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Who needs a TV tray...

when you have papa's drums?!

P.S. Can you guess what she's watching? Yep, that's right. The shark scene in Finding Nemo for the umpteen millionth time. We just can't get enough of Bruce around here.