Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lights Lights Lights

How is it that Christmas is in four days and then 2012 is here??
We've had quite the Christmas tree saga at our house this year. There was one person who wanted one, one person who was moderate to highly opposed to one, and one person who just wanted more sweet potatoes. I bet you can guess who was who without too much effort.

We eventually decided that a tabletop tree was the best for our needs...mostly because we could have a tree but have it out of reach for Russell. Of course, the tree that I had imagined was either out of stock everywhere or was more than I wanted to spend. I eventually found an adequate tree (that I had to exchange once because I accidentally bought one without a base) and set it up. Almost instantly I knew it wouldn't do.

See, Russell is obsessed with lights right now. He started noticing them a few months ago and I so I thought I would indulge his interest and teach him the sign for light. Now that he knows it, he pretty much does it every time he walks under or near one. And since we are in the age of electricity and in the middle of winter, there is a light nearby at all times. When we are out doing errands, he is constantly doing the sign as we pass by various lit objects--store clerks think he is saying hi and I usually don't have the heart to tell them that he is just telling us that he sees a light.  It is kind of hilarious and a little odd. Maybe I need to teach my kid more signs or expose him to more stuff because surely there more to this great world of ours than lights.

Anyways, once Russell saw that the little table top tree had lights...he was fascinated.  I put some lights up in our windows which are in the same room as the little table top tree and each time they were all on, Russell would pace back and forth in excitement, frantically doing the light sign. And each time I saw him making his way over to the teeny tiny tree, a little part of me got really sad inside and said, "You are failing him, Alison. It is your duty to give him a great Christmas and this tree is really sub par. Just think how happy he'll be with a bigger, better lit tree." And so I stewed about it, whined a little, and tried to make Brandon feel bad about our pathetic tree.
It didn't work. BUT-I did realize that Brandon wasn't opposed to a tree, he just didn't want to be responsible for it. And so I went out a bought a super cheap, medium sized artificial tree. It is no freshly cut evergreen like Leslie and Clay and Kersten and Tai have (now you guys have to post pictures of your awesome trees so that my four readers can see it), but I was able to set it up on my own during Russell's nap.

And my Child-Spoiler instincts were right--the boy LOVES the tree. The first time he saw it, he started making sounds that I'd never heard...all sorts of syllable combinations and squealing. Then there was pointing, flashing of the light sign, and some heavy breathing. He even backwards walked into my lap so that he could sit and admire it with me. Those five minutes of Russell in baby-overdrive made it all worth it.
All our Christmas Glory

Now that the tree is decorated, Russell has an even funner time because he now gets to flash the light sign and pull of ornaments and those can happen practically in one motion. To top it all off, he has learned his first word (kind of).  See if you can pick it up in this video:
Merry Christmas One and All!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

12 Mos (Belatedly)

People keep saying, "Oh, once Russell starts walking, he'll thin right out."  I keep quiet and say to myself, "Well, he is walking..."
 I love this bird's eye picture of him really see that tummy protruding. Between that big head and that Buddha belly, it is amazing he is as balanced as he is! I keep meaning to do a photo shoot of him in a diaper or something to really document that tummy, but I know it will just end up looking like this:
Adorable, yes (incredibly so) but still? No way Jose. It is next to impossible to keep that baby in one place.  Photos these days just end up with him either running the other way or with him running to grab the camera.

He turned a year almost a month ago. Time flies so quickly it freaks me out.
Some 12 mos stats:

  • 21.9 lbs--56%
  • 29.5 inches long--19% (although we are wondering if that is accurate as we recently measured him shorter)
  • Fave Foods: Grapes, Sweet Potatoes, Bread. He can practically stuff an entire banana in his mouth at once, too. It is amazing. We have learned to give him only 3-4 bites at a time because he'll put it all in there. He's not into self-regulating yet. But then again, neither am I.
  • Fave Book: Peek-a-Who? (We had to take this one away because he has almost eaten the entire cover). As Brandon said this morning, "That book is literally a part of him" 
  • Fave Pastime: Walking, Getting into the dishwasher, trying to sneak into the laundry room, playing with a cell phone (preferably a working one), pulling dishtowels off the oven handle, seeing other kids, pointing at stuff, searching underneath his high chair for crumbs.
  • Fave Words: None. He jabbers baby gibberish all day...but nothing close to a word yet.   
  • Dislikes: Getting his diaper changed before bed (torture for everyone involved!), watching Dad leave for work, the hairdryer, and the vacuum...Russell actually made up his own sign for hairdryer and uses it when he sees me getting ready in the morning as if to say, "Are you going to do that scary thing, Mom?" and when I nod and then assure him that it is OK, he starts to pace back and forth, his eyes welling with tears.  It is really sad, actually. I get tempted to not do it, but don't because I think it will reinforce that the hairdryer is a scary and bad thing. He'll grow out of it, right?  
  • Teeth: Top 4, Bottom 4, and a molar is currently pushing through on the top left side...yikes!
Happy Belated Birthday Son. We are so glad you are ours. Thank you for coming to join us.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Who Knew?

Yesterday, when Brandon came home from work, he saw a purchase I had made and said, "You bought those? I didn't think that was something you'd do." It was these (except the Halloween variety): 
I was kind of surprised he said that because he knows of my affection...there has been quite a few times where Brandon has smuggled one of these cookies from work for me because he knew I'd be jealous if he had one and I didn't, or when he's encourage me to snitch one from the dessert table at a potluck before the dessert portion of the evening officially began. I may or may not have gone to Target yesterday morning because of a hunch that they were going to be on post-Halloween clearance. They are so soft and sugary! Who cares that they are store boughten and not made from love (and with a giant mess) in my humble kitchen! And FYI, the Target brand kind are just as good. A guilty pleasure for sure.

The other 'Who Knew' thing is about our child...of course. And it is: Who knew how amazing it would be to watch Russell begin walking? I've been seriously reveling in this stage. He started walking a little over a month ago, just before General Conference (a biannual conference when Mormons listen to talks from their leaders), and it was one of the funnest and most joyful things I have experienced. He had experienced with a few independent steps here and there, and as I had mentioned before, he had been obsessed with cruising along furniture and walls for months. And then finally, he just took off. Within the span of about forty-five minutes, he went from walking a few steps to climbing up stairs and doing laps around the kitchen. All that cruising finally paid off!

We happened to be in Mexico, and my parents, grandparents, and my Aunt Jeanne got to witness the spectacle. It was wonderful to share that with them. Each evening, we took Russell down to the beach, where the firm but forgiving sand from low tide provided the perfect environment for him to explore and practice using those legs. That first day, I didn't even take any pictures, I just wanted enjoy the sight. Who knew such a milestone would be so special. 
And now a month later, it is still so fun to follow him around--mostly because it is still so clear that he is loving this new freedom. He babbles and laughs to himself as he walks from room to room; he is often more content to explore than to play with toys. He's got this waddle that makes his bum shake and a perfectly round Buddha belly that just leads the way. Just last week, I witnessed my child running off with a group of kids to play and I said to myself, "This is happening already?!"  I didn't have to encourage him, he just baby. Imagine what I'll be saying on his first day of kindergarten. He still prefers to eat stuff off the ground and suck on the toys rather than interact too much with the other kids (and he is still so short that the other kids tend to yank on his hair and ears), but he wants to be with them, has the capability to do it, and now all I can do is watch it happen.      

The first video is of Russell doing all his tricks, walking, waving, and doing baby sign language.  He knows about five signs and mostly uses them in the right context with his own interpretations of how to do them, but it is fun to see him learn and then use the signs. 

The second video is of Russell walking in his 'big boy shoes'. The shoes are much clunkier than his other shoes but are important for walking around on our Arizona rocks. He has a heavier step than normal because he isn't used to wearing such a heavy item on his feet and it was really funny at the time, but I'm posting this (although it is rather shaky) because he is so happy and is making his typical "life is so fun" sounds.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

If You Like it Then You Should Put a Can on It...

I cannot get Beyonce songs out of my head, peoples. I think that is what happens when you and your husband are really tired and the baby is in bed but you're not ready for just kind of end up watching the most recent VH1 countdown show. Those things are addicting. That particular evening, I even said, "I'm just going to DVR this so we don't have to watch all the commercials." So I did, but we kept watching anyways, commercials and all. Because we couldn't turn away.  BTW, VH1 brought back Pop-Up Video. I'm kinda excited in the most lamest of ways.

Back to Beyonce. I kind of love Beyonce because she is so pretty and she can actually sing real real good--did you see her on Oprah's last show? She was rocked it. And on the American Idol finale? She put all the contestants to shame. And I kind of hate Beyonce because every time she comes on the tube, Brandon says, "She's basically a stripper" and then I look at her outfit and ask myself, "Am I ready for all that jelly?" because there's no denying that she has almost no clothes on and is dancing kinda crazy-like.  

Anyways, that was my opening tangent.

I wanted to tell you about canning! I did it! Mostly with my mother's help, but I now have a special shelf with mason jars filled with Utah peaches, ready to enjoy all year long. And right next to those peaches are jars and jars of jam. I decided that good jam is one of my most very favorite things. Right up there with Russell, the beach, my new Havaiana flip flops, and the pretty bougainvillea bush out by our pool.

Several weeks ago, I ordered two crates of peaches from Utah and then my mommy and I went to town. She pulled out the canning supplies that she inherited from my Great Grandma Kesterson (my father's maternal grandparents) and told me how to sterilize jars, efficiently peel gazillions of peaches, how to ensure that the peaches don't brown once they are preserved, and all sorts of other special know-hows. It was so to learn a new skill, fun to have my mom teach it to me, and fun to have so much to show afterwards. I also think I can do it again and without so much guidance, which made it an even better experience. I haven't yet decided if canning is worth it the expense etc, but it was important to me to learn the skill. The jam, however, was so easy and tastes so much better than the store boughten stuff, that I'd do that again for sure. I mean I'd of course do it again with my mom right next to me because her company was delightful, but, well you know what I mean.  
Russell makes a lot of things funner, but he was actually the worst part of the whole canning episode. He pretty much looked like this the entire time.
The expression 'baby underfoot' has quite the literal meaning as he either tugged at my ankles or stood between my legs and the counter the entire time, begging for attention. "Me Mom, not peaches! Me!"

And just so you know, two crates of peaches was A LOT. Two batches of canned peaches, four batches of jam (two for me, two for my mom), 2 1/2 gallon bags of frozen peaches, a peach crisp for book club, and plenty for eating along the way.     

Thanks mom!

The pic is a little fuzzy...but recently the wash near our house flooded. We woke Russell so we could go take a look. Usually that area behind us is bone dry.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baby Musings II

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I think about is paper. I love it! I love to rip it, I love to wave it in the air and up and down, and I especially love to bite it. My mom hates it when I play with paper because I get so excited that I start sucking and chewing on it. Which, why wouldn't I? It is so fun when you suck on it so much that the paper gets all soggy and start to stick to one another. I love the way disintegrating paper feels and tastes in my mouth! Yum yum YUM!! She's always rushing over and pulling paper out of my hands and then digging spitwads out of my mouth. The thing she doesn't realize is that she can't stop me. There's paper everywhere! Those lower level bookshelves are my fave. All those's like paradise! And then sometimes, a piece of mail drops to the floor and I'm all over it. I have ears that know exactly what falling paper sounds like. The best is when my mom leaves her purse on the floor and she hasn't zipped it up.  There are reciepts oozing out if it and begging to be played with. She always gets so flustered that I keep finding paper, it is a war she'll never win!

When I'm not thinking about paper, I'm thinking about walking. I'm only thinking about it, not really doing it. I don't really get the point of it, actually. I'm a pretty quick crawler and I walk along the walls like nobody's business. I pretty much do laps around the kitchen and family room all day. It is way funner than those silly toys Mom always tries to get me to play with. And, cruising is how I troll for paper. See, sometimes paper slips under the sofa or under the counter and sometimes a book isn't quite pushed in all the way on a shelf and the only way you'd ever know is if you cruise by places fifty times a day. It is quite the rush seeing paper so available. But anyways, my mom and dad are pretty much obsessed with walking. They do this thing where they hold onto my hand to help me walk around. It is usually pretty fun, except sometimes, they let go of my hand. At first I thought it was because they were distracted, but then I realized it was because they were trying to trick me into walking all by myself. How rude! Well, I'm onto them. As soon as they do that, I drop to the ground and refuse to stand up again. Sometimes I whine, even. That's actually the best thing to do because then I get picked up. I only like to walk when I can hold on to stuff. 

I also have this thing called "Welcome to my Learning Farm" My mom says it is a 'walker' but really, it is this way awesome thing that I get to push around and it sings to me! "Welcome to my Learning Farm, we have lots to show you....Shapes and colors, music too....There's so much to do-oo!" Oh I love that song. Anyways, I'll walk when I can hold on to "Welcome to my Learning Farm," the furniture or wall, or my mom or dad's hand. Any other way is totally unnecessary.    

See that copy of the Ensign? I totally ripped that one up! Yessss. And Mom's book? You can totally see a perfect bite mark in it. I'm so awesome at eating paper. And yes, those are bruises on my head. Sometimes I fall OK? And sometimes my mom doesn't watch me close enough.

PS: The video from last time should work now. My mom didn't realize it was on a private setting.

Friday, September 9, 2011


My favorite Russell moments lately have been after his naps. I'll go into his room after I know he's been awake for a while (I usually give him some 'alone' time when he wakes up becaues he's so relaxed and seems content to just coo and be).  I sit on this chair next to his crib, tell him hello, and ask him about his nap. He looks at me, sits up, then picks up one of his stuffed animals and hands it to me. I take it, give it some kisses, and then he gives me the other stuffed animal. I take it, play with it for a few seconds, and then he gives me his blanket. I give the items back to him and we do the whole routine again. It is very sweet. I don't know how long it will last, but for now, it is something I want to remember.

Other things in our lives:
  • Brandon is looking forward to the season finale of the Bachelor Pad, or what I like to call The Show That Brings Out the Worst in Human Behavior. He's captivated though and there is nothing I can do about it.
  • I'm reading Bossypants. It is quite funny although it has swears and is sometimes inappropriate.
  • We are starting a budgeting system and getting it established is kind of a nightmare but it does help me feel more in control so I know it is a good thing. Do ya'll have any tips, resources, or suggestions of things that worked for you?
  • The other day a tarantula attacked me in the garage.  I almost screamed like the time I saw that snake but then I chilled out because tarantulas are actually great little critters. And it really didn't attack just was near me.
  • The below video is from almost a month ago...I haven't uploaded our most recent pictures and media. Anyways, he was just starting to eat grapes and I was bitting off small chunks of them and spitting them onto his tray. That sounds really gross but in case you didn't know, we are birds. I'm the mommy bird and he's the chickie*.  That laugh, though! There's nothing quite like it.

*That is not true at all. We are humans.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Most of Russell's clothes are dirty.  As I result, I was forced to clothe him in this onesie that reads, "DADDY'S BEST FRIEND" because it is pretty much the only clean one left. Ridiculous. (The onesie not my inability to stay on top of the laundry.) The notion that a baby is a grown man's best friend is so absurd. If that was the case, then I should be down right terrified that my baby's daddy was agoraphobic or a pedophile.  And if one of those two issues were our reality, I would not be broadcasting that to the world. Then again, most text on baby clothing is ridiculous. The Carter's brand is especially guilty*.  There's also those onesies that say, "I love boobs."  Um yes I get the joke and yes I'm all about breastfeeding but come on peeps, lame-o.

That's the onesie in question. This picture is from a few months ago and isn't quite in focus...but boy o boy is  Russell chunky there (maybe it is from the ice cream?)! He has actually slimmed out some...that onesie actually fits him better today than it did back in May.

That's all I wanted to say for now. 

What do you think is ridiculous? Let's get a good list rolling. I'm in the mood.

*I do fall prey to dumb baby slogans, though.  A few months ago, I bought him this Carter onesie that says, "They call me muscles."  I thought it was pretty silly, because get it, 'Russell's muscles?' Totally justifiable.  I also really wanted this baby onesie from H&M that said, "I (heart) Mum" because get it, Mum means Mom in British?     

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Diaper Story

So one of the grocery stores near our house has this discount table that I always have to check out.  I even kind of get excited about it.  The possibility of a suprise awesome deal never gets old, I suppose. A few weeks ago, I found this bag of Huggies Diapers on that table for $4.99. I did the math and found that each diaper would come to about $.10, which is a great deal on that brand. Logically, I snatched them up and felt proud.
Non Story Related Pic. This is from when we took him camping and he was mostly miserable except for when in the trunk of our car. 
A few hours later, as I opened the package to unload them into the diaper basket, I noticed they had been sealed shut with scotch tape. No biggie, I thought, someone else probably returned them because they were the wrong size or something. Well, as I reached in the bag to unload the bottom layer of diapers, I quickly saw that there were several diapers that did not match the others. As I analyzed the situation further, I realized that there were about five diapers that were a size smaller, had tacky green and yellow animals all over them, and had no brand name slapped across the diaper. AND, there were five diapers fewer than the package indicated.

The truth of matter began to become apparant. I had been had!! Can you believe the nerve?! Some desperate, cheating bozo totally snuck the remainder of their no name, too-small diapers that they no longer needed into mostly full Huggies package and then returned them to the store for money. Who does that? The tattle-tell in me wanted to take them back pronto, but I eventually realized that it wasn't woth another trip to the store to complain and make up the few cents I lost on the scam.

And there's a more pathetic part to this story. I totally used those too-small diapers. I just made sure Russell never slept or pooped in them and they worked just fine. Each time I strapped them on his little bum, however, I felt like an uber-cheapskate for being unable to just toss them and crossed my fingers that no major mess would ensue.  

So buyer beware--the clearance table isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
The fam at a Rockies game in Colorado
In Russell news, he is almost 10 months. He...
  • Is a shorty.  He is only in the 27% for height, which means his weight is only in the 30%.  He still has all those rolls on his thighs...but he technically isn't a fatty!
  • Continues to cruise along walls and furniture like nobody's business but isn't close to walking solo at all.
  • Sleeps like a champ.
  • Thinks I'm funnier than Brandon. If Russell laughs at something I do, Brandon will try to get a similar reaction by doing the exact same thing with minimal to no success. I've never upstaged Brandon before. I'm pretty certain it won't last long.
  • Loves when I sing, "The Wheels on the Bus" allows me to change his diaper without him wiggling his way off the changing table and for me to wipe his face after eating without him screaming in agony.  He particularly loves the line, "The driver on the bus says, 'Move on back'"--especially when sung with a gruff, deep voice.  
  • Loves to look at books with photographs of babies--he totally giggles and makes excited sounds for his favorite baby pics.
  • Is entering a disgusting food phase where he likes to take food out of his mouth, mash it up in his hand, put it back in his mouth (he sometimes does that sequence repeatedly), and then touch his hair. That whole routine is kind of ironic because we had to put chunkies (stuff like frozen peas and carrots) in his food because he was spitting out the strictly pureed stuff.  So we get spit-up food if we don't put in the chunks or a giant mess if we do...this is getting interesting folks.
  • Has one of his top teeth about half way in and another one peeking through...
  • Is often called, "Rustito," by his father. Brandon decided that was the Spanish version of his name.
Feeling very proud of himself for crusing along the wall to this window

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

True Stories

This is a true story.  The other day I got a postcard in the mail from my old dentist in Colorado.  It said, "It has been 760 days since your last visit, time for another appointment!"  Not only have we found another dentist, but we have lived in a completely different state for over two years. I know they probably just used some mass mail computer program and didn't screen anything...but come on.  As much as we loved Colorado, our dentist wasn't one of the reasons that keeps us going back.

Another true story: I was out walking with Russell a few mornings ago and I saw the backside of this big hairy animal in our neighbor's yard. I slowly tip toed into their driveway to see if I could see it better. As I moved closer, I thought, "I probably shouldn't be pushing my baby towards a wild animal." I then noticed my neighbor's teenage son sitting on the front steps. "Oh, he sees that thing, too! I wonder how long he's been watching it..."  I looked at the beast again. A javelina? A bobcat? Then the neighbor called out, "Hello?" The animal moved. I quickly realized that the wild animal was the neighbor's dog. "Sorry!" I shouted, "I thought your dog was a wild animal!"   "Oh" he yelled back, "Its not."  "I know!  Sorry!" I felt like an idiot and promptly left.

Also, I made two types of freezer jam last week. I felt accomplished. Among my other cooking endeavors were a slightly overcooked pan of brownies. I tend to do that. I don't know why but it is sure annoying. Seems like that is an easy fix, like, just under cook them next time, duh! But for some reason I always chicken out. "If I take them out now, they'll be all goo!" I always tell myself.  

In terms of Russell updates, he is becoming more and more like a little boy...sometimes I can't stand it.  He's almost 9 months. Where did my baby go? He weaned himself from the pacifier which is so bizarre because anyone who knew him in his infancy to 2 weeks ago knew how obsessed he was with that thing. Countless people said Russell reminded them of Maggie Simpson with his vigorous and continual sucking of the binky. I was actually pretty worried he would be taking it to kindergarten. But, he suddenly became disinterested in it. Whenever we'd give it to him (usually when he was hungry or upset), he take it out of his mouth and throw it on to the ground, insulted.  Like, "You want to shut me up? You think this thing will placate me? Well I'm onto you guys and let me tell you NOT COOL. So not cool. You are not going to win this one. I will not be shut up!"

He is also army commando crawling everywhere and is quite speedy. His big toes are getting blisters, which is not surprising as he moving constantly and is into EVERYTHING. His newest tricks are sitting up by himself, pulling himself to standing on furniture and the occasional wall. He continues to cruise along furniture and loves to hold on to our hands as we walk him around. You'll also notice from the picture above and in one of the videos below that his tongue is always out. I find it pretty silly and of course, quite cute. One of the videos is of him sort of waving...another new trick. The second is when he got another case of the giggles. For some reason he thought it was hilarious when we made a certain sound. Like usual, pardon my annoying voice. I tend to say "Buh bye!" in the most obnoxious way in every video with Russell. I keep hoping that if I get his attention in the final seconds of recording, he'll do this amazing trick, but as you can tell, it never works. Probably because saying "Buh bye" is not an attention getter. It is more like an attention zapper.  And on that note...before I zap even more of your attention, here's the videos.  Adios!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Russell is on the right, Owen on the left.

Russell:  Um, Owen, I have a question.

Owen: Shoot.  I'm all ears.

Russell: Have you seen that big girl that keeps running around here?

Owen: I think so...the one who keeps singing Ba Ba Black Sheep?

Russell: Yea. Traci? I think that's her name.

Owen: My mom says she is my cousin.  She says you're my cousin, too.  I don't really get that word but I think it means that we have to be friends or something.

Russell: My mom keeps saying that cousin word, too!  Wierd.

Owen: What do you think of her?  She's not little like us but she's not big like our moms.  But she can walk around and eat all by herself.  I have seen her cry, though.  A lot of times.  So I know she's not all the way grown up.

Russell:  I think she's cool.  Sometimes, she takes off her diaper...without any help!  It is amazing.  All the moms and dads around her sure think she's hilarious.  They are always asking her questions and laughing at what she says.... (Pause)  I'm a little jealous of that.

Owen:  I know what you mean.  All the moms and dads just say, "Owen, you look so cute!  Those glasses are just so adorable!"  Cute this, cute that.  I'm more than just my looks.

Russell: Seriously!  I have sand all over my body.  It is totally itchy and it tastes so salty...but instead of doing something about it, my mom just laughs and says, "Aw, Russell looks so cute with sand in his mouth!"  Don't get me wrong, I like the attention and I am kind of obsessed with this sand, but sometimes it is kind of insulting.

Owen: You know what, Russell? I think we are going to get big like Traci.

Russell: I was wondering about that. I wouldn't be surprised.  There's that other baby here, Carmen.  My mom keeps saying, "Oh...I can't believe Russell used to be so tiny like baby Carmen."  I don't really remember, but my mom does know everything so she must be right.

Owen: I think it'll be cool to be big.  You get to sing songs a lot and everyone gets so happy when you say thinks like "Icky Bug" or when you tell people you have to go poop.

Russell: Yeah.  Mostly, I just can't wait to walk.

Owen:  Word.

Russell: Actually, I've been wondering something.  When you get big, do you have to walk all the time?

Owen: Probably.  I've seen that Traci girl walk up stairs and everything.

Russell:  Well, sometimes I like it when my mom carries me.  Sometimes I cry just so she'll pick me up.  Does that make me a baby?  I don't want that to go away.

Owen: Hmm....I don't know.  I do the same thing.  I especially do that around bed time.  I just like my mom to hold me so sometimes I pretend like I'm really sad about something.  If I don't, she'll just put me in that thing she calls the 'Pack-N-Play' which, FYI, is not really for playing at all.

Russell: Well, let's see if we can ask Traci about that.

Owen: How?  Traci verbalizes stuff.  We just send telepathic messages.

Russell: Um....we are going to have to revisit this conversation because here my mom comes, with the camera and my hat.  I think it is time for another photo session.

Owen: Ugh.  Why are they so obsessed with that stuff?

Russell: I don't know but Owen...

Owen: Yeah?

Russell: You'll always be more than 'cute' to me.  I think you are so rad.  I'm glad we are cousins, whatever that means.

Owen: Thanks Russell.  You can suck on my yellow shovel whenever you want.
Enter Moms with hats and cameras.  Moms scoop up babies and smoother them with terms of endearment and sunscreen.

This is one of my favorites from the can see Russell's snaggle tooth and Owen happily chomping away on that shovel....
Traci!  Russell and Owen really did just stare whenever she was around. 

Baby chaos

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stuff and Whatever

A confession (that is always a juicy way to start a post, eh?):

I gave up on my garden. So sad! It just kept getting browner and browner despite anything I did...and aside from a teenie-tiny mini zucchini and watermelon that started to grow and then quickly withered away, no fruit or vegetable ever developed...and I should have been able to harvest everything by now. Everything started out so green and flowery and then just tanked. Plus critters just kept eating all the blooms. So did it get too hot (The garden is west facing)? Not enough fertilizer? And of course, the critters are partially to blame.  I dunno. When we get back from our trip, I'm gonna rip everything out and try to transplant some peppers and chiles and forgo planting from seed in the middle of summer. I'm also going to contact the local community garden experts to see what they recommend. 

Also, there have not been additional sightings of that snake. Phew! I do have flashbacks every time I go into the garage, though, and have visions of snakes coming out of unexpected places to terrorize me--something a la Snakes on a Plane (yes we saw that movie and it was awesome. FYI Tim Riggins is in it and is just as Tim Riggins-y as ever although he has a somewhat naughty role).

Which makes me want to digress to Friday Night Lights. We have Season Four episodes accumulating on our DVR and cannot wait to watch them. Plus, every time I see a Super 8 commercial I just want to freeze it on Coach Taylor and hear him say, "Clear Eyes Full Hearts Can't Loose" and then see him have the perfect marriage with Mrs. Coach. If I could live in a TV show, I would live in Friday Night Lights and wear the coolest aviator sunglasses and look effortlessly beautiful and not care that life revolved around football. 

Back to my post--which, if you haven't gathered, is about nothing. So maybe I should continue talking about FNL? Eh, maybe next time.

Yesterday, when the baby was sleeping and Brandon was away at work, I snuck a few bites of ice cream.  In the middle of the day! With a fork!  Don't tell.  My waistline will, if that keeps up. But it was a Sunday and I was all alone, a little bored, and hungry.  That makes it OK, right?

I fed Russell green beans again and he ate them up. I guess he is broadening his horizons which is more than I can say because I still pick at my veggies. 

Here are two videos I wanted to share.  The first needs no explaining, although I did kind of feel like a mean mom for filming this.  Does that make me meaner for showing ya'll?
This next one demonstrates Russell's superior crawling skills.  He crawled over from the other side of the couches...the whole way with that little ball.  I've noticed him crawling with a toy cradled in his arms several times now and I find it pretty cute.
Oh, here's another confession that is Internet appropriate--that ball is a freebie from the VA hospital. It says, "It takes the courage and strength of a warrior to ask for help" and it shows the silhouette of a soldier with their head in their hands against the back drop of an American flag. Yes, our son's current favorite toy is suicide prevention schwag. But he loves it and Brandon interprets it to mean that Russell will one day become a skilled athlete.  I smile and nod...wait, who am I kidding...I always (and quickly) remind him that all babies love playing with balls, especially ones that are so shiny, smooth, and squishy (ie perfect for licking and trying to suck). That's me, the dream-dasher. At least I use a nice tone of voice...            

Monday, June 6, 2011

Food Wars

This picture is hilarious to me.  Russell doesn't really look that cute but it is illustrative of what it is often like to feed that boy. He usually battles me for the spoon the entire time.  By the end, he is so desperate for the spoon that he is practically climbing out of his chair to get it from me and whining in his baby moans and grunts, "I want it Mom. I want it so so so bad! Why do you get to hold it and not me? Why won't you give it to me? That is going to be so gratifying to suck on and you won't let me do it. You are so mean!  Grrr!!!"  

At first, we used to give him a spoon to hold on to while we fed him with a different spoon. It only worked so so. As you can see from the photo, he usually ended up with both spoons, which defeated the whole reason I gave him a spoon to hold in the first place.  Now I just use one arm as defence against his aggressive grabbing and the other arm to strategically feed him.  He does a great job of simultaneously reaching for the spoon and opening his mouth to recieve his next bite. 

So the question/caption for the above photo is "Victory or defeat"?  He looks exhausted from our great battle, but a little smug too, like "I got the spoons, Mom, not you." 

This picture is an obvious victory.  If there was any doubt, I always let him play with the spoon at the end of his meal, mostly because it keeps him occupied for a good five minutes as I play Clean Up After Baby.  He gets another victory if he can figure out how to take off his bib and suck on it while holding his spoon.   

This victory is similar to the battle he wages while nursing as he usually likes to simultaneously and frantically search for the tag of my boppy (nursing pillow). "Where is it?" he seems to be saying. "I know there is a silky long tag somewhere around here. I want to hold it and put it in my mouth soooo bad. The way it feels in my mouth is amazing...A-MA-ZING!  It is so smooth and coated in my old saliva. I could just suck on that all day. And my mom won't let me look for it while I nurse. She is so rude! Grr. Why can't I wiggle around for it?  Why why why??!!" 

At the end of each nursing session, he knows the drill. I sit him up, flip the pillow around, and he immediately grabs the tag and inserts it into his mouth. Tags are the perfect desert for him. Not for me though. I prefer cookies and brownies.  I wish I could go for fruit but I have little willpower in that department.   

Monday, May 30, 2011

Desert Life and Video Bonaza

OK, so there are 4 videos in this post.  Total overkill, I know.  The cutest one is the last one.  But I mentioned one last week and never delivered and some new ones have happened in this past week.  There are two snake videos, mostly for Brandon's dad to see but others might find them Animal Planety (?).  And the other one of Russell is interesting only if you like to track the growth and development of babies. So without further ado....

Yesterday, as I was heading out for some errands, this is what I found in the garage:
Except it was on the driver's side of my car and made me scream repeatedly.  As you can see, it was not a rattlesnake.  Brandon was a big hero, captured it, and put it in our backyard in the hopes that it will eat rodents, specifically the ones that are terrorizing the garden.

Ignore the part where I scream and talk like a complete wuss.  Please.

I'm not sure if Tucson has officially reached 100, but it certainly feels like summer is officially here.  This morning I took off our heavy down comforter and we've started sleeping with the windows closed, which is one of the saddest things I have to do all year.  The AC has been running and we are bound to see the aftermath in our electric bill.  We've been grilling, swimming, eating Frostys, Eegees and Orange Leaf (frozen yogurt mix-in place), and I'm trying to remember to wear a hat if I'm going to be outside for more than five minutes.

Russell is now over seven months....this month has been a big one for him!  His first tooth popped up last week and he is officially quite mobile, having learned a slither motion that gets him from A to B quite well--although he is often whining out of frustration as he does it.  His current obsession seems to be this game called Putting Dangerous or Dirty Things in My Mouth and he is very good at it.  His favorites seem to be saran wrap, flip-flops, computer cords, tissue paper, and the salt shaker and I know he is only going to get more and more skilled (i.e. knives, pills, raw meat) at it in the near future.  Just as I know that my life is rapidly becoming a really great game called Cleaning Up After Baby.  I'm not as good at that game as Russell is at his.  But you know, whatev.

Below is a video of Russell walking along our ottoman, something he gets better and better at each day.  The video is fairly long but since our computers are from the Stone Age and are super slow, editing it is out of the question because I would go crazy and poke out my eyes, making me unable to attend to my child as he plays his new game, Putting Dangerous or Dirty Things in My Mouth.  

This is another video, taken about a month ago, but it is pretty silly because Russell had the giggles.  Again, ignore my voice and the stupid things I say.  I need to learn to stay quiet while filming, but quiet is one of those games that I'm not too good at either.
Happy Memorial Day! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shameless Baby Show-Off Time

Here are just a few commentary is kept at a minimum for better or worse.  I'm mostly trying to just get a post in before church and trying to make pictures of our growing boy more available to grandparents. 

We have ventured into feeding baby solids.  For the first few weeks, we was only tolerating it and he downright hated green beans.  I don't know what I was thinking, giving Russell green beans as one of his first flavors.  I mean, seriously.  Of all the wonderful flavors in the whole wide world...and I gave him green beans.   I probably would have made that same face!  So far, zucchini seems to be his favorite.  
One of Russell's favorite things is standing.  He has loved to stand on our laps since he was about three months or so...but lately he seems to be the happiest and most proud of himself when he is standing alongside a piece of furniture or holding onto our legs.  He can't pull himself up yet, but there are some days when the only thing that will satisfy him is when I prop him up on something and then put a desired object (like the remote or my phone) just out of his reach.  He will spend the next long while just reaching reaching reaching for that object, anticipating the awesomeness of being able to put it in his mouth when he finally grabs it.  
(Aren't those letters adorable?!  Caitlin made them for me!) 
Of course, he is just as fat as ever.  Friends complain when I bring him somewhere and have pants on him because they can't see his fat thighs.  And really, they are remarkably fat. At his last pediatrician appointment, about a month ago, he weighed 17 lbs 7 oz.  According to their stats, he is in the 50th percentile for weight...but that doesn't make sense.  Russell seems to have more rolls and dimples on his body that any other baby we know!  We love it, though, and will not be buying him baby spanx.
And finally, this is mostly for Leslie. This is my pretty and green!
Something is starting to eat my precious harvest.  Jerks.  We put some chicken wire along our fence in hopes of preventing the bunnies from coming in but leaves are still  going missing.  Grrr.  I'm starting to to think it might be birds.  I don't know what to do about that...are we going to have to build a cage?
These are our first fruits!  I don't love radishes but it was quite rewarding to pull these from the ground and eat them in a salad that evening.

Happy Spring dear friends!  This has been an especially enjoyable one.  We hope yours has been too.

Also, Katniss Everdeen forever!!  I think I'm going to read Anna Karenina next but I'm worried I'll just quit in the middle and don't want that to happen.  Has anyone read it?  Will I love it?

PS I tried to upload a video but it didn't work.  Anyone know why?  I tried to do it from Picassa.  I'll try to fiddle with it when I have more time.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Inspiration, Por Favor

Give it to me folks. I wanna write a blog people, I really do. I just can't think of what to write about. I'm not good at travelogues and the whatnot. What do you want to hear about? Inspire me. Give me ideas and I'll see what I can do.

These are the tidbits on my mind:

I have lots of adorable baby photos that I just took off my camera. That little boy of ours is pretty awesome.

We had a fantastic weekend in the mountains. It was windy but we saw deer and caterpillar cocoons had a fire and I'm now over the fact that I was a bad mom and got Russell a little sunburned (even though I almost cried about it last night).

I've been watching American Idol and have opinions about everyone. Sometimes I feel kind of embarrassed about it, but really, it is a great excuse to eat ice cream mid-week, debate about something extremely trivial with Brandon, and then text my sister and dad about it the next day. One of the latest issues of People has the most hilarious picture of Scotty McCreary; it looks like he is wearing pink lipstick, which was likely not intentional because he is the most conservative, innocent contestant.

Osama bin Laden is dead and it is weird. It feels bizarre to celebrate the death of someone, as evil a person as he likely was.

My garden is growing--my basil just sprouted which was a 'phew' because for some reason it popped up later than everything else. I'm thinking I should thin the radishes because there are like a million of them, but I don't really know how. And plus, I feel successful when I see all the green in my garden.

I saw four coyotes crossing the street near my house the other day.  I was sad Brandon wasn't with me because he would have gotten excited and asked if I had the camera.

Russell has been acting crazy lately.  He wakes up at night now, and he never used to.

I wanna go on a date with my husband but I don't want to leave him with someone because he'll probably scream nonstop and I'd feel both guilty for subjecting that person to misery and sick to my stomach that my baby was so distressed. But we've only had one date since the baby was born and it is time.

We started giving him solids last week and now when I eat in front of him, he leans forward and opens his mouth all funny, expecting me to feed my apple or cereal to him.  Sorry bud, not for a while still.

The other day, we went to Baskin Robbins 31 cent scoop night and it was bomb. We each got three scoops of ice cream in a waffle cone and the total was like $2.39 or something. I ate most of mine, but had to give the rest to Brandon. The best flavor was Gold Medal Ribbon. So gooey and rich.

Soon we will have to start using the air conditioner and take the down comforter off our bed but that's OK because we do live in Arizona and that's what happens here.  But at least it is a dry heat.

We'll soon start swimming in our pool a lot. If you come and visit, we'll have a major pool party, but we probably won't play Marco Polo because I kinda hate that game. We can do cannonballs and drink sugary pop and listen to pop music (just not Katy Perry because she wants to go all the way tonight and that is not a good message for the youth of today).

I'm reading the Lisbeth Salander books and wish they weren't so salacious and gruesome but I'm going to finish them anyway because I'm like that.

I kinda want to dye my hair platinum blond.

I need a new pair of black flip flops because I threw out the pair I wore last summer because by the end of my pregnancy, that was the only shoe that fit and once the baby was born, looking at them brought back unpleasant memories of my swollen feet and limbs.  They looked hideous, I'm not gonna lie.

 See? I have a little to say about a lot...but I can say a lot about a little if ya'll inspire me with the right topic
 6 months!
 I get to be the only girl.
Those roses are on the bush right outside our bedroom window. Pretty great, eh? 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Post Script

The Mrs. forget to include one crucial part of the car story.

Once, way back when the Mr. was intermittently trying to sell the Olds (and still pricing it too high for the guy who wanted it so badly), the Mr. received this text:

"RU willing 2 trade for tattoos?"

The Mr. assumed the text referred to the car although he was never quite certain.  Nonetheless, the answer was no.

Also, here are pictures of  the baby sitter:
This is one of the first pictures of him sitting...he started about 3 weeks ago.  The Mrs. likes it because the baby is in his gorilla position as it used help him balance.  Now he doesn't need to use his arms, erasing all fears the family had that the baby was part primate.  

This is another of the Mrs. favorites because it illustrates the things the baby likes to do most--suck on stuff.  He has a burp cloth in his mouth (look at that aggressive expression!  he's serious about sucking!), a pacifier between his legs and a toy in his other hand. He pretty much alternated between sucking on all three for about twenty minutes, which is a long time in baby world. Also, minutes after this picture, the baby got his fingers stuck in the little holes and became very sad. Quiver quiver went his lower lip. The Mrs. helped him right away by scooping him up (after freeing his little fingers), holding him close, and kissing him on the forehead.  It worked right away.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Car Story Part II

Has it really been more than an entire week since I posted part one of my Car Story? Shoot! Well, at least there was a good intermission.  All good stories need an ending, so lets hope this is it. I'm not caffeinated so it may be more coherent or more boring.

Car Story Part Two

Our four car family
The greasiest, tannest, skinniest, pot-smokiest, talkiest, Vietnam vet who ever did work out of his double wide trailer turned out to be a good mechanic for the Mr. and Mrs. He took longer than the agreed upon duration of the repair but since the Mr. and Mrs. were a four car family, they weren't too concerned. He was able to fix what needed to be fixed and tell the Mr. how to repair the radio on his own, which was important for the Mrs. as she had become convinced that no one in their right mind would ever buy a car with a busted radio.

The time had finally come where the Neon was drivable. The Mrs. did some cleaning. In the glove compartment, she found the package of Jolt gum that the Mr. had given her when she was always tired and doing a lot of driving in grad school as well as some outdated electronics manuals (weird). The rest of the car yielded an old Lemonheads CD, gas receipts from 2005, M&Ms that didn't quite make it into her mouth, a bag of books that were denied passage into the local used book store, and a lot of other kipple. A car wash removed bird poop that had been caked on to the hood for longer than she cared to admit (a sigh of relief was breathed as she was worried the poop had eaten away the paint) and some vacuuming removed the embarrassing amount of dirt that had accumulated on the floors. A quick photo shoot, a short write up praising the virtues of a car 10 years old, and viola! The car was Craig's Listed.   

Within ten minutes, calls inundated the Mrs. It was as if she was selling The Most Desirable Thing on the Planet. And let's face it, it probably was. Teenagers, non-English speakers, people calling from work on the sly, people offering an additional $50 if the Mrs would hold it for them, those who would only communicate via text (RU still selling the Neon?) name it, they called. One guy called and wanted to see it but didn't have a ride. Sorry buddy, that's your responsibility. Appointments were made for people to see the car that night; subsequent callers were told to call back the next day to see if it had sold.

A few hours later, when the Mr. was home (the Mrs. did not want to be kidnapped and then beheaded by the Craig's List Killer), they showed the vehicle to their first inquirer, a college sophomore named Oscar who was accompanied by his mechanic grandfather and his chatty mother and stepfather. The Mrs. thought it was a good omen because she wanted to name their first born Oscar (the Mr. was not into that one). Like all good shoppers, they looked under the hood, gave it a test drive, and talked in a huddle. The Mr. and Mrs. put on the pressure, explaining that two other people were coming over to look at the car within the next hour and that the people had been calling non-stop since the ad was posted. It didn't take much convincing though, because Oscar knew he had found the car of his dreams. Sold!

The next evening, an inspired Mr. adjusted his ad for the Buick. The price was lowered about one hundo and some extra adjectives were used. It must have been buy Old Cars Week in the Old Pueblo because now the Mr.'s phone was ringing ringing ringing. Sure enough, that same guy who religiously called all those other times called right away...

"Hey, is the 1995 Cutlass Sierra Oldsmobile still available?"

"Yeah man, you are welcome to come see it" said the Mr.

"I'm already on my way."

"Uh, hey man, we aren't home right now."

"When are you going to be home?"

"Probably like a half an hour."

"That's OK. I'll wait in your driveway."

That's how bad he wanted it. The Mrs. was a little irritated as she was not yet finished with her piece of pizza (it was Costco dinner night) but this situation was not in her control.

When the family got home, that man was waiting in the driveway, as promised. The Mr. gave him the 411, reminding him of the broken door handle, the faulty windows, and the lack of AC. The guy assured the Mr. that he wanted the Oldsmobile and proceeded to give the Mr. a $200 deposit, since some logistics had to be worked out the next morning, during business hours. The Mr. tried to assure him that wasn't necessary, but the man was adamant.

The next morning, the man showed up a half hour early. The Mrs. explained the Mr. was at the bank, getting title and bill of sale notarized.

"Oh, I just thought I'd come early, just in case he was ready."

"I'm sorry...he'll be here in a 1/2 hr, just like you guys arranged..." She was not about to let him in. He wasn't suspicious, per se, but she still did not want to take a risk because you just never know who the next Craig's List Killer could be.

"Oh, that's all right...I'll just drive around for a while, I guess." He later told the Mr. that he came early because he wanted to get a jump start on repairing the windows and door... The man had found his soul car.

This is the end of the story. It is probably incredibly anti-climatic but it was kind of a big deal for the Mr. and Mrs, seeing as they were a four car family for a long time and then, in the space of two days, they were a two car family again. They learned that it is kind of fun to sell something on the internet, especially when you don't get killed by the Craig's List Killer. They also learned that once in a super moon, someone can be obsessed with the type of car you are selling, which is a match made in heaven, but only if you price it right. The Mrs., having met someone named Oscar who was perfectly acceptable, learned that Oscar should definitely be the name of their second son, if one should ever come into the picture.

A month or so has passed and the Mr. and Mrs. haven't heard from the Oscar or the Oldsmobile lover, which is good news because that would have sucked big time if they had sold their cars and then had them blow-up or something on their new owners. The Mr. and Mrs. lived happily ever after, with the Mrs. being the fairest of them all and the Mr. eating four dozen eggs every morning to help him get large. Pretty soon he'll start eating five dozen, making him roughly the size of a barge. 

 The End.