Monday, August 31, 2009

Hair and menus and the little pill

Can someone tell me where the heck all the hair floating around the bathroom floor is coming from? I used to mop our old bathroom several times a week and I don't remember seeing this much hair on the floor.

Maybe it's not really more hair (she says in denial). Maybe it's because the bathroom floor and counters are so light that I'm noticing the hair more.

Or maybe my hair is in shock from the Virginia humidity and it's dropping in exhaustion.

Maybe it's Karen's hair and it's falling out because of the wonderful cooking I've been doing. Her system is in shock.

In Portland, I had a large pantry and a big freezer in the garage and I kept them both stocked. And I pretty much went from meal to meal figuring out what we would eat next. I would either be preparing meals for all three of us all day long--breakfast, lunch, dinner. And the sheer volume of that kept me from planning anything. Or Karen would be on a trip and I would fix stuff for Kylie but only eat Lean Cuisines for myself.

But now we are settling into a nice family routine with Karen home for dinner at night. Take that with a smaller food storage space, and I now find myself planning menus for us and incorporating more variety into our meals. I found this free and helpful menu planner and have actually sat down and planned out a week's worth of dinners.
I've prepared two new dishes that I've seen from the Barefoot Contessa's show on the Food Network Channel. Anyway, perhaps Karen's system is going into shock from not eating the same five things all the time.

Or perhaps it is my hair falling out after all. Kylie has been quite the pill the past few days. She's entered a stage where she doesn't want me to initiate play with her. In the past, I would say something like, "Let's get out the ponies and feed them some hay" and reach into her toy bin and pull out a horse.

Now if I do that she screams--and I mean screams--"No, don't touch it! That's my horse! I don't want to play! Put it down!".


Asking her if she wants to color is paramount to a full Kylie shriek. Same goes for suggesting just about anything.

In addition to hearing, "No it's mine and don't touch it", I'm also hearing a lot of "I can't" which really means, "I don't want to". For example, I'll say, "Let's put on our shoes and go for a walk outside". Kylie replies, "I can't". And I'll say, "I'll help you" and she'll start the "No, don't touch it" stuff again.


Of course, she doesn't want me to do anything that takes my attention from her either. Laundry, housework, cooking are allowed according to Kylie's strange criteria. But sitting at my computer is strictly forbidden. The little tyrant freaks out.

So for now, we are in the strange phase where I don't initiate much play with her and she sort of wanders about.

Obviously she's going through a phase. But goodness, this chicka can be intense. Doesn't she look more intense?

Still cute as a button though.

I love this little nut. Now excuse me while I go find where I packed my hair conditioner.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Clip-Clop was a big hit today. Kylie asked me to read it to her four times.

Then she read it herself.

She colored a horse coloring page, read it again and then went for a ride on her own horse.

And finally jumped into haystacks with her trusty pig side-kick.

What fun!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New routines

Geesh! It's so hot and humid and sticky. I am ready for Fall.

I went out and bought a mini cooler and those little fake ice packs that go in it. Now, if I take any sort of trip in the car with Kylie, I have to grab the cooler for her water and juice and snacks. She gets tickled when she sees the cooler. Because she knows she'll get a Capri-Sun juice box. She calls it her "special juice". She only gets one a day and only when she's in the car. I raise my Diet Coke can at her and say, "Mommy's got her special juice too!" and Kylie will laugh and say, "Huh-huh Mommy. That's Diet Coke."

Keeping a cooler nearby and beverages for the cooler in the fridge is just one of many new routines for our new home.

Another is running the dishwasher. I need to run the dishwasher after breakfast and unload it during lunch. I'm used to running it at night and unloading it during breakfast but this one is so dang loud that that it would keep Kylie awake.

Same goes for the washer and dryer.

Between figuring out when I can do these regular chores and what day the garbage men come and the different aisle layouts of the nearby Safeway and Target and remembering to grab the cooler and bug spray, I end up feeling pretty harried by the end of the day.

But one constant remains...sweet Kylie.

And my Kylie ALWAYS loves her parks

and her mulch.

Ah... the simple life.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Yesterday you

Yesterday you....

Wore your new helmet and rode your trike

to the nearby playground (aka Tot Lot)

Were fixated on this page of your Leap Frog. You said you were Ursula and told me to, "Keep Singing!" in your imperious voice.

Spread a blue blanket down on the carpet and proclaimed it your "swimming cool".
Sat in your toy chest of stuffed animals and called it your bathtub.
Made up an impromptu juice song as I made your breakfast.
Were kind and polite all day.
Asked for your usual two stories before naptime at noon.
Made me laugh several times.
Told me you loved me.
Were funny with Momma on the couch.
Floated on your back in the bathtub to rinse the shampoo out of your hair.
Asked for the Barney "I love you" song as you curled up to sleep.

Over the past few days, I drove back to TN to pick up the cats and ended up taking my Mom to the emergency room (she's fine now; just some intestinal upset). I managed to catch Chloe, the hand-biting cat, by using a cat-sized spring trap. I baited it with cat treats and tuna. As Mom and I were having lunch, Chloe walked to the back of the trap to sample her treats and the door closed behind her. Both cats were quiet on the drive back to Virginia except for the last hour when they took turns wailing at me.

Karen and I have both gone to the DMV to get our driver's licenses. The licenses arrive by mail sometime this week and I dread seeing mine. DMV dude told me to "not smile" which made me frown and put on a "Excuse me, what did you say?" face just as he flashed the picture. Those poor DMV folks have to get their kicks where they can I guess.

Karen starts her new job tomorrow. Please send her your best wishes.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Today has been full of numbers--
new mobile phone numbers
the number of people in line at the DMV (we'll go back another day),
the appointment times and phone numbers for the 4 landscape companies who came to give estimates on leaf removal for us this Fall,
the new addresses in our GPs (I love you GPS!)
and so forth.

So I thought I would continue with the numbers theme and share that:
I've taken 200 photos for my photo-a-day project. I've only missed 28 days for the year. You can see the entire Kylie photo montage here.

Here was my pick of the day.

Although I thought these two were good too.

I also peeked on Shelfari to see how many books I've read this year. 48 so far. I've listed them for you below. The PC Cast ones are a bit embarrassing to list because they are juvenile mind candy. I've also listened to the first ten audiobooks by JD Robb--the Eve Dallas series read by Susan Erikson--and they are hands-down the best audio series I've ever heard. They keep me coming back for more. I don't know how I would survive all the playground trips without them.

So without further ado, my top twelve books so far this year are:
Sarah Addison Allen: The Sugar Queen
Jacqueline Carey: Naamah's Kiss & Kushiel's Mercy.
Katherine Center: Everyone Is Beautiful
Charlaine Harris: Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 9)
Toni Jordan: Addition
Stephen King: Just After Sunset: Stories
Stephenie Meyer: Breaking Dawn
Stephenie Meyer: The Host
Naomi Novik: Victory of Eagles (Temeraire, Book 5)
Garth Stein: The Art of Racing in the Rain
Kathryn Stockett The Help

And the others are:
Margot Berwin: Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire: A Novel
Libba Bray: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Libba Bray: Rebel Angels
Dan Brown: Angels & Demons
P.C. Cast: Marked: A House of Night Novel
P.C. Cast: Betrayed: A House of Night Novel
P.C. Cast: Chosen: A House of Night Novel
P.C. Cast: Untamed: A House of Night Novel
P.C. Cast: Hunted: A House of Night Novel
P.C. Cast: Divine By Mistake
P.C. Cast: Divine By Choice
P.C. Cast: Divine By Blood
Jacqueline Carey: Santa Olivia
Katherine Center: The Bright Side of Disaster: A Novel
Jeffery Deaver: The Broken Window: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel
Eileen Favorite: The Heroines
Charlaine Harris: The Julius House: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery
Nick Hornby: How to Be Good
Tobsha Learner: Soul
Debbie Macomber: The Shop On Blossom Street
Stephenie Meyer: New Moon
Stephenie Meyer: Twilight
Stephenie Meyer: Eclipse
Doreen Orion: Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles......
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee: Things I Learned From Knitting (Whether I Wanted To or Not)
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee: Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again
Jodi Picoult: Change of Heart: A Novel
Lisa Scottoline: Everywhere That Mary Went
Adriana Trigiani: Big Stone Gap
Adriana Trigiani: Very Valentine: A Novel
Maria V. Snyder: Fire Study
Brett Berk: The Gay Uncle's Guide to Parenting: Candid Counsel from the Depths of the Daycare Trenches
Amanda Blake Soule: The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections
Art Carey: Champions Body-for-LIFE
E.D. Hill: I'm Not Your Friend, I'm Your Parent
Ali Edwards: Sharing Your Story: Recording Life's Moments in Mini Albums

Hope this book list helps you curl up with a great read!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Burke Lake Park and more

Burke Lake Park is a short drive from home and has this lovely playground.

It has lots of stairs for Kylie to climb

and a countertop where she can give me take-out cheeseburgers and milk (in the form of sticks and mulch). Kylie was watching someone go down the slide above her.

It has a few things she's not seen before like this climbing rock

that has dinosaur fossils underneath. Kylie loved climbing this thing!

It has these very cool spinning planet wheels with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish and German descriptions. I was pleased to hear two of these languages from the parents and children playing around us. It made me feel right at home to be on a playground where more than one language was spoken.

Kylie was so excited when she saw this. She exclaimed, "The planets!" She pointed and said, "Saturn Mommy! Saturn's rings". One of her favorite Little Einstein tv shows is all about Saturn. Then she sighed and said, "I love astronomy."

After I picked my jaw up from the ground, we went on and played with these interesting nooks and crannies.

Before we left, we ventured beyond the playground into the woods. Kylie saw this and simply had a grab a large stick and add it to the pile.

I imagine you will see lots more Burke Lake Park pictures in the future. Kylie had such a great time.

As we continue to settle in, Kylie takes particular note of the differences between this house and her previous one. In this house, we put one of those swinging-flap cat doors into the laundry room door. This way, the cats have access to their litter box without me keeping the door to the very cluttered laundry room open all the time. One day this week, Kylie was very into closing and trying to open all our doors. I was in the laundry room, folding towels. She said, "Closing the door Mommy" and shut the door. A few seconds later, she was pulling on my shorts. I looked up and the laundry room door was closed.

"Kylie," I asked, "How did you get in here?" "Show ya!" she responded and proceeded to crawl through the cat door. I busted up laughing but quickly tried to rein it in to tell her that the cat door is for the kitties only, not Kylie. But dang! That was funny!

She likes to hang her artwork and "school" lessons on the fridge. Our previous refrigerator was stainless steel so this is a first for her.

This is the glider stool that went with the glider chair I kept in the nursery. I sold the chair but kept the stool. And in the new house, I set it in from of the couch (even though the fabrics don't quite match). Who knew kiddo would love it so much? She loves to come over and rock herself on it throughout the day.

And she likes to continue to explore her backyard.

I'll leave you with this simple scrapbook page that I managed to finish after a month's absence from Photoshop.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Popsicles and bug bites

One good way to cool off on a hot day is popsicles.

I'm learning to live with humidity again. Walking out the door is like walking into a sauna.

And bug bites! Yeesh! I went to work in the yard last night and got 30 mosquito bites in 30 minutes. Lovely.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

New trees, new rooms

One of the best things about our new home is the backyard. Just look at these fantastic trees.

And a birdbath that has Kylie quite intrigued.

And then there is this interesting beauty in our side yard.

For those of you who are interested, I posted just a few pictures of our home on Flickr. You can see them by clicking here. There are notes on the Flickr pictures. Just move your mouse over the opened picture to see them.

Kylie is settling in so well. She tells me several times a day that she likes our new home. She doesn't ask for our old home. She does tell me many times that she missed me while we were apart which is sweet to hear. I've noticed some new funny things such as:
1. She likes to say, "Oh dear. Where is mother dear?" "Oh dear. Where is mother dear?" Over and over. Not sure where she picked this one up.

2. She loves her many decks of flashcards. Some of them are also games like "Go Fish". I just love it when she says, "Wild Card" and "Oh just the instructions".

3. She really wants to make me laugh. The other day we were driving to the store and Kylie saw a man dressed up like a chicken advertising a restaurant. She said, "Oh Gosh! That's a chicken! I can NOT believe it!" Well I cracked up. We rocked the car we were laughing so hard. Now, she says, "That's a chicken" several times a day and starts laughing to see if she can get me to laugh too.

4. Her cousin Emily taught her parts of the Wiggle Worm song. (By the way, this isn't Emily on the video; this is just the only link I could find with the song.) Kylie now thinks that one of Karen's pillows is a wiggle worm. She asks us to sing the song while she sits on her worm all the time.

My darling Karen left for week-long job in Utah, her last engagement before she starts her new full-time job. I really worried about putting her on the plane for this trip. She is so tired from all the past few weeks activities. I just pray that this job isn't too taxing and that she can get a bit of rest. She works so hard for our family. I'm so grateful for all she does.

Friday, August 07, 2009

We're Here! Whew!

We're safely home in Burke, Virginia. Hurray!

The last week has been such a blur. The highpoints were all the hugs I captured during our visit with my family:
My Dad.

and my Mom.

and my Grandmother.

The Casualties of The Move were:
One U-Haul truck tire. Karen's brother, Ted, drove our U-Haul for us. Somewhere in Nebraska, he felt a tire blow and safely pulled the truck to the side of the road. Karen and Ted called U-Haul who promptly sent someone out with a replacement tire. The funny part of the story is that the guy they sent was over 80 years old. He could barely move the truck tire and had only a hand-cranked jack. So they sat in Nebraska for a while. A long while. But they did get back on the road. Karen and Ted made the 3000 mile trip in 4 1/2 days. Amazing.

My left hand. Our cats arrived in TN on Friday 7/24 after traveling air cargo all day. They finally poked their heads out of wherever they had been hiding in my Mom's house on Saturday night. It was a pretty traumatic trip for them. I knew that trying to get them back into their carriers on Wednesday was going to be hard. I just didn't know how hard. My grey tabby cat, Phoebe, went in easily. My white calico, Chloe, fought us tooth and nail. I got seriously bitten. One bite/tear by my left pinky was so deep and long that we thought I was going to need stitches. All in all, I had six cat tooth punctures and many scratches and bruises on my left arm. And guess what, Chloe still wasn't in the carrier. Both cats are staying with my Mom until I can go back and get them.

Our dining room table and our sleep number bed. Our dining room table had something fall on it breaking several of the tiles past repair. So we got a new dining room table. Our sleep number bed has two punctures- the punctures have been patched but are still slowly leaking. We have replacement parts on the way.

Right now, Karen and I are so tired we can't see straight. Karen made one heck of a trip across country. She and Ted really busted the trip, especially since the truck had a regulator that wouldn't let you go over 70 mph. It rained on moving day here in Virginia but we survived it. I did one heck of a job of painting two bedrooms and then unpacking us in three days.

But the BEST NEWS was that on Wednesday August 5th, we found out that we had SOLD OUR OREGON HOUSE!!! You can't imagine how incredibly happy and relieved this makes us. Thank you, thank you to all of you who have sent us your best wishes and prayers. Thank you!

Kylie and Karen flew to our new home last night. And it was so great to here Kylie say, "I love our new home Mommy!"

I'll be contacting those of you who read the blog and have mentioned that you live in Virginia--I can't wait to meet you! And there will be lots more pictures to come. For now, I'll leave you this one of Kylie thinking, "Hmmmmm....... I like my new backyard."