Wednesday, December 31, 2008

See you next year, hon

I can't remember the last time I stayed awake until midnight on New Year's Eve.




Last year I was up around midnight to feed a newborn, but I had been asleep before that. Usually around 10 PM on New Year's Eve I fall asleep on the couch, wake up to mumble "g'night" and stumble off to bed. I give the following reasons for this party-pooping attitude:


5) Early rising children
4) Sometimes I work on New Year's Day (the news never stops)
3) For years I have woken up verrryyy early for work and my body is trained
2) I don't feel any different at midnight
1) The beginning of the year 2000, Y2K, was a big disappointment. Just kidding, I'm glad nothing blew up.


I grew up having a big family party on New Year's Eve. We played games, watched movies and ate all the stuff we couldn't eat during the year in the hours up until midnight. My dad would make his famous grape juice-soda-ice cream punch, and we used our fancy plates and glasses. Then we would bang pots and pans at midnight. My mom would often be asleep by then, so we'd make noise on the opposite side of the house from her bedroom. But she'd always come down and kiss my dad at midnight.
Sometimes I wondered why she would fall asleep so early. Now I know why -- see #5 and probably #2 above!

Friday, December 26, 2008

A holiday baby

To cap a wonderful week full of family, JB's brother and his wife had a baby the day after Christmas! Baby Jane weighs 8 pounds, 9 ounces and she's so darling.She's Emily's new little sister. Max wanted to "pet her" and hold her at the hospital. Look at him smiling at her in the picture! He's so cute with babies now.
She makes my one-year-old baby look so big.

Merry Christmas!

Max has never smiled so big in his whole life for pictures. He's so excited about his big boy bike! He told Santa this week with no fear and all cheer that he wanted a big boy bike for Christmas (we may have subtly swayed him that way over the past month). Too bad it snowed and snowed after he got it, and he hasn't been able to ride it much. But he's really getting the hang of his training wheels.

Ben got a wooden train that spells out his name. He also got toys involving balls, his favorite thing ever. One with stacking cups, one that makes music when you push the ball down. Later, his cousin Emily gave him and Max a swirly toy for balls. Here are three muskateers checking it out as JB puts it together.

It was a really fun day! JB gave me great shoes, I gave him a gift card to the U bookstore...we are truly in love.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Really?

My co-workers gave me a present this week.


For moi? Usually we exchange treats if we remember. But look at this, with a bow. Look who is peeking out from the wrapping paper...

It's a special magazine dedicated just to David Archuleta. In His Own Words.
Was I really that much into American Idol that this gift was warranted? Well, probably yeah.
I'm speechless.
I was engrossed.

I may re-gift it.

Would you like a mortgage with your milk?


JB is on a magnet. I love it. He sent it out to hundreds of his clients for Christmas, and I sent one to a few people because I think it's pretty cool. It's a calender so it's nice to have on your fridge -- plus I think he's handsome.
The hope is, people will go to the fridge thinking, "Hmmm, what do I need. Milk, a sandwich, a refinance?"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Who knew

I care...about what other people think of me.

I always...fix the newspaper after it's been read, and re-make the bed.

I worry...that my little boys will get hurt.

I remember...lines from TV shows and movies. It's scary sometimes.

I dance...like Ginger Rogers in my dreams.

I sing...too loudly. People turn and stare at church.

I don't always...floss.

I argue...with other people in my head.

I write...in my journal and Ben's and Max's journals every week or so.

I lose...all free give-aways, prize drawings, contests at work, etc.

I wish...I had more patience (why can't I win -- why? WHY?)

I listen...to CDs still. What? They still sell those?

I don’t understand...Spanish much anymore. Necesito practicar y hablar con personas latinas.

I can usually be found...in my living room on the floor building blocks with the boys to get them so interested in the project that I can slip away and get something done.

I am scared...of something under the bed after I watch a scary movie. Good grief, how old am I now.

I need...to print out pictures and put them in an album.

I am happy...after a nap, with my three cute boys all around eating fried chicken for dinner.

I did this mainly for J (such pressure!) but if anyone else wants to do it, you should. It makes you ponder.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Reindeer conversations

A story this week from Texas A&M pondered if Santa's flying crew really is all female. The secret is in the antlers -- females keep theirs by Christmas, males shed them (they grow back every year). Males who have been, ahem, well, now they are called steers, anyway, those male reindeer also keep their antlers through the winter too. The animal experts went into some other reasons as to why Santa may use more females then males on his crew -- they never get lost, etc.

So, saying all of that, for my story assignment Friday I went to a Christmas village that has real reindeer every year. And I interviewed them. Here you all are you lucky folks -- my first attempt as a radio reporter to take video on a story.


video


I hope to take Max and the rest of my family to see the reindeer and other attractions early next week. I can't wait to see his reaction, knowing his obsession with all things deer. Oh, and Santa will be there too. Max may be shy and refuse to talk to him. Or he'll hug Santa's leg and pour out all the desires of his heart. I imagine there will be no in-between.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wall of cheer




See if you can find your Christmas card!



We have also received but have not taped to the wall a few Christmas letters with pictures sprinkled throughout, in full color. To you I say, "How do you do that?"




The slim white door in the middle is a built-in ironing board on our kitchen wall. Love these '50s houses.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A word to the wise

If your child is sick and you don't have any Sprite, 7-Up or other clear liquid to settle his stomach, don't give him a red beverage. It's not pretty when it comes up. Oh, and it stains.


No wonder the doctors say "clear liquids!" We only had some Ruby Red Squirt, so I had it get flat and thought it would help Max's tummy. Let's just say most of it ended in the toilet but some didn't. Red everywhere.
JB is on the way to the grocery store even as I type this.


I think Max caught a bug that's going around. His cousin Emily and her parents Bart and Collette were throwing up last weekend, and a few kids in our neighborhood have been sick too.


I would say stay home and keep your kids home, because I work in the news and that's what the health department tells us this time of year. But I know it's a hard thing to do, especially in December with so many obligations. Plus calling in sick to work is easier said than done.


Let's just hope the sickness skips me, Benny and JB. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Red-nosed

How many tissues can one go through in one morning? As I type this I pause to add yet two more tissues to the pile.

It's so bad at home that I am using baby burp cloths to wipe my boys' noses. Why go through tons of harsh tissues when a softer fabric will work? Plus it's washable. I almost long for the days of handkerchiefs again, but a full one is pretty gross to haul around in your pocket.

We are also putting "medicine" on our noses (vasoline). It's helping with the raw redness.

I just drank some orange juice. I've heard Vicks Vapor Rub on the feet helps. Any other remedies to help get rid of two weeks of dripping sinuses?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Me in Action

I covered a big big court hearing earlier this week, with a mob of media (national and local) and we had to rush to keep up with the defendants as they came up the federal courthouse steps. A channel 4 photographer had just slammed into a light pole and fell down. Reporters, cameramen, photographers and attorneys were jostling and elbowing each other, etc. We were all asking questions of the accused and trying to keep our microphones in place to catch their answers.

I say all this to defend my obvious deer in headlights look here:



Thanks to the photog at my sister TV station for capturing this moment and putting it on the evening news!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sleeping Beauties


The other night I snuck into the boys' room to get my clothes (tiny closets) and saw this cute sleeping bum in the air. I wanted a picture. JB tiptoed in, and bam -- both boys were wide awake and crying. Whoops. The next night we got our picture. I think it's funny how Max sleeps on his back now, but used to be just like Ben.
Their colds are still raging, which means sometimes they have coughing fits at night. But it also means great nap times. We all slept this afternoon until 5 PM. I haven't done that since Sunday afternoon naps in college.

Ah, sleep. People ask me about sleeping in on the weekends with my early wakeup call during the week. Our boys go to bed at 7:30 and never sleep past 7 AM. But sometimes if JB is up with them on a Saturday or Sunday, they never know I'm home and I can roll over until 8 AM. After that I feel weird. I always wake up early because my body is used to it, and I fade between 9 and 10 PM.

Exciting post I know but I wanted to have a new post for you to look at!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas colds

Colds in our house almost always seem to lead in ear infections. Ben has one in his right ear and he's been quite sad about it. Max also has a cold and is wiping his nose on his clothing, my clothing, and our couch cushions. You know you're not getting an affectionate snuggle when you feel a nose rubbing on your pant leg.

Despite his sickness, Ben showed off for the doctor at his 12-month checkup yesterday. The Dr asked if Ben babbles, so JB pulled a ball out of the diaper bag. Ben burst into "baw, BAW, baw!!" and reached for it.

Also, when it was time to weigh him, he tried to crawl, flip, stand and wiggle his way off the baby scales. So JB had to be weighed with him. Ben is 24 pounds, 6 ounces. He's 70-something percentile for weight, 99th for height. Big Ben.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Baby Ben no more

My Baby Ben is now one year old. He couldn't believe we were all singing at him. He also didn't know what to do with his cupcake.

One of Max's favorite parts of the party was when he got a present from Aunt Sarah. Matching Christmas pajamas for the boys -- aren't they so much fun? I wish there was a bigger pair for JB.

Ben can now take up to seven steps in a row before plunking down to crawl the rest of the way.

He loves balls of all shapes and sizes. His first word in the past month was "ball," and now he says it all the time. "ball, BALL Ball!" He also says "Night-night," "dis," and "dat."

Just a year ago I was watching the snow fall from the hospital window. For the next month I watched the neighbors' Christmas lights shine on the snow outside the window at night. Even though I'm sad Ben is growing so quickly, I'm quite glad those days of waking up every few hours are over.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Cheer

We took our family pictures today for the annual Christmas letter. It took more persuasion to get Max to smile than it did Ben. I think that little guy was thinking, "It's my birthday. I have this new sweater on, I just had some milk, I can see my blankie over there -- I'm happy!"


We decided on the above picture to send out, but this one below came in a close second.

Below you can see the grumpy Max.


JB's brother Bart took our pictures, and then we took their family picture. We bribed Max and Emily with a trip to the nearby playground.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wait just a little bit more


I'm itching to put up my Christmas decorations, but we want to wait until Ben's birthday is over on December 6th. We think it will be nice to separate the two events.


Sure, he's only turning one this year, but maybe in the future he'll want to have his birthday made special and not just another day on the way to Christmas.


Or maybe he won't care, and I can go back to putting up the Christmas tree in the days after Thanksgiving!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oh deer again


For a few months Max stopped talking about deer, and I thought he was over his fear/fascination but in the past month he's been talking about deer again, nonstop.

I thought that watching "Bambi" would help Max get over his deer fear. I don't think it worked. He doesn't seem to think of Bambi as a deer.

At night as I tuck him in he says, "Deer won't eat me. Deer don't come inside." Once he said, "Deer won't get my toes because I have feet pajamas on." No wonder he keeps asking to wear the feeties. He also wants me to make sure deer won't eat Benny in his crib. I told him, "Mommy and Daddy will protect you. The deer never come inside." Yet I heard him tell his little friend Lincoln the other day, "A deer came up the stairs and bit my fingers." Either he has a vivid imagination or he dreamed that and thinks it's fact.

He asks if deer poop. Yes, son, they do. Everyone poops, as we learned from a book from the library that we read over and over a few months ago during the great pooping crisis of 2008 (thankfully that's all in the past now).

This is all because he saw deer in his grandparents' backyard last March and now he wonders if they'll be coming back, or coming to our house this time. I told him the deer like to eat plants and bushes but really don't like people, so now he'll reassure me: "Deer don't like people. They are afraid of us!" Yet I still think deep down he is afraid of them. Weird!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanks be

Even though Thanksgiving is now over, I still feel the spirit of the holiday because of our smoked turkey leftovers and our decorations.

We had my little brothers James and Joe over, as well as JB's little brother Scott. They are all still single, ladies! Max only wanted to eat the skin from the turkey (that's my boy) and Ben wanted to eat rolls. But overall, it was a great feast.

Here are a few things Max and Ben are thankful for:

-Milk and sippy cups
-night-nights (blankies)
-fun relatives with more energy than their parents
-band-aids (even if they don't have a "real" owie)
-ducks and geese at the pond
-other kids' toys at church
-goldfish crackers

JB and I are thankful for family, health, safety, our home, religion, and country; Jazz wins, salsa, a meat smoker, flannel sheets, naptime and chocolate.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Home Again

In the week that we've been home from vacation I've just been amazed at all the stuff my little guys can do. They seem to be growing so fast. Except Max was clingy the night we got home. He wanted to be held while I packed his suitcase at his Nona and Papa's house. Looks like I'm balancing a 5 year old instead of a 3 year old, doesn't it?
Ben just gets cuter and cuter. He now stands by himself all the time, and took a tiny step by himself Sunday, but then dropped back down again.


I can't believe he will soon be one year old. But I don't know what to get him for his birthday, or for Christmas. Clothes? Toys? We have so many already!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Grand Cayman (last cruise post, I promise!)

Our last port of call was Grand Cayman, which was also a stop on our honeymoon cruise five years ago. The day before we arrived JB and I celebrated our fifth anniversary.

Ah, could a week already have passed since this?

The stingrays are larger than we thought they would be. Probably because lots of people arrive every day on boats and feed them squid in the hopes of getting a picture (I'm to the left of the squid bucket below).

Not just any picture though. The tour guides said you have to kiss the stingray for seven years of good luck. So, we did it.


I'll never be the same.




After Grand Cayman we had another day of sailing back to Miami, which was actually rougher than the whole trip. I got seasick but JB was fine. Then last Monday we flew home.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Costa Rica-Part Two

I really loved Costa Rica. While others on the cruise ship all shuffled onto big tour buses, JB found us Juan. Juan took us all around that day and told us about the country. We went to the canals, a series of natural and man-made waterways that run north through the country. Notice: I'm the only one wearing a life jacket. I like to be safe, people!

We saw many animals lurking in the jungle beside the canal, like this iguana.A little kid who lived by the canal caught a baby alligator for a pet.

After the canal trip we were on the way to the zipline tour when Juan discovered a flat tire on his van. JB offered to help change it, but I don't think they had a spare. Instead Juan found a repair shop along Limon's dusty, rocky, bumpy, pot-holed roads. A guy there patched the tire and we were on our way. Watching him work made us laugh. They would never let you get away with a patch like that in the States! But with those roads, patching tires over and over is completley acceptable.

After the zipline, Juan drove us past the Dole and Del Monte pineapple and banana plantations and took us back to the ship. We made it back in plenty of time to eat, nap, call the boys, and eat some more. What a day!

Costa Rica-Part One

I'm dedicating a post just to the zipline portion of our time in Costa Rica. Let's just say it was awe-inspiring. We pulled into Puerto Limon early in the morning and had all day there. JB found a great deal on a zipline canopy tour that many people on the ship paid big money for. And I'm talking all kinds of people were zipping through those trees when we arrived. Big, small, old, very old, very big...etc. "You see?" said my lover and protector, "They love it. If they can do it, you can do it."
Notice the picture above. JB excited, me with the nervous "heh heh" kind of smile. You can't see it, but I'm gripping the tree. They harness you up, and attach you to the cable with lots of double protection. Then they tell you to hold on and you go flying.
JB went first and took a picture of me coming along. Then we switched:

That's him in the orange. We zipped along, stopping at 13 platforms high in the trees, and the cables varied in length from platform to platform. Sometimes you'd get going really fast, but if you twisted a bit you would slow down and not quite make it to the next platform. I had to pull myself hand-over-hand a few times to get within reach of the next platform's guide.
One time I was too far away, so the guide came out in his own harness, wrapped his legs around me, and pulled us both to the platform. "Bueno, cual es tu nombre?" I asked him and people laughed.
By the sixth platform I was done joking through my fear and was about to cry. I could see all around me that people were having a blast, no one was falling to their deaths, everyone was safe, the guides were quite strong and able, but I just couldn't shake off the jitters. I bravely kept sailing through the trees because that was the only way back to terra firma.
JB took a self portrait, because I never really liked letting go of cables/trees/the guides in order to hold the camera.
JB loved it. He had a blast. I felt bad at the end that I was teary-eyed ("I left my baby behind for this?!") because it really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Looking back at it, it really was a rush. The jungle was beautiful and you could see the sea from high up in the tree platforms. But next time I may just cheer JB on from the ground.