Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A very tired girl

Wow! What a week. It seems like we've been running non-stop for days.

This weekend, we traveled six hours for an anniversary party for my husband's aunt and uncle. We took the van and brought Grammy and Grampy with us. Olivia's not very good at sitting still, but she did take an acceptable nap both days in the car, and she slept amazingly well in the hotel. This is the first time that a hotel stay with her wasn't a complete nightmare, so that was good.

Of course, all the traveling around is a little exhausting, and her 90 minute car naps are not equal to her regular naps in length or quality of sleep. And then, on Monday, we spent the day with my parents and family. Olivia played and played with all her little cousins, and she napped when they did. But again, it was only a 90 minute nap. And then we stayed late because of the gift opening and the chaos that ensued afterward, so she was late getting to bed that day.

Yesterday, for obvious reasons, I put her down early for her nap. Then I thought I'd get a head start on laundry and on putting away Christmas decorations (something I usually don't do until after epiphany, but kids change things, you know). I finished ALL of the Christmas clean-up and three loads of laundry while my husband sorted recycling and took it away with the trash, and then made lunch. It was an amazingly productive day.

Why, you ask? Because Olivia slept for FOUR SOLID HOURS. Oh yes.

I guess three straight days of being off schedule with shorter-than-normal naps and greater-than-normal activity is pretty exhausting for a little kid.

I'm looking forward to getting back on a regular schedule. I've enjoyed having my husband at home and visiting family and friends, but all of my regular everyday stuff has been neglected. Important things, like blogging, you know!

I hope everyone had a blessed and happy Christmas. The partying is not over yet! Happy New Year to you and yours, and stay safe as you continue to celebrate the season.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The meaning of it all

Christmas morning was a little hectic. We opened Santa's gifts (you can see those pictures here) and then rushed to get ready for Church. Olivia was decked out in her Christmas best.

She wasn't, however, on her best behavior. Since we were going to Church with Grammy and Grampy, in a church where there was actually a cry room, we took advantage of the opportunity to keep her from disturbing everyone else.

We thought we'd have the cry room to ourselves, but just before Mass, another family came in. They had a little boy about 3 or 4 years old, and he seemed to have some sort of cerebral palsy (forgive me if that's wrong...I am not good at identifying disabilities by sight). He kept wandering up to us in the front pew of the cry room, and he would stand there and watch us, or sit on the floor or look out the window. I didn't mind. I know how hard it is to keep Olivia in one place, so I can imagine what it must be like for this family.

Well, Olivia loves other little kids, so as soon as I let her get down, she started following him around. She would walk behind him and even *gasp* SIT STILL on the floor when he did. I dare say he would be a calming influence on her at Mass if we sat by him every week.

As usual, Olivia (being the affectionate child she is) tried to give this little boy a hug. When he didn't reciprocate, she patted him on the back. And every time he came up to our pew, she tried again to hug him.

Mental disability is uncomfortable for many people. But what I saw here was a little girl expressing love and acceptance for another human being just because he happened to be there. She had none of the prejudices and hesitations that most of us have in handling disability. She just saw another child and wanted to be loving and affectionate.

I'd like to believe that we can see the face of Christ expressed in every human being, but it's not always easy for us to do. For Olivia, it's not hard at all. I pray that she keeps that childlike innocence and lovingness for as long as possible.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our Christmas Eve day trip

Five years ago (almost), my husband and I got engaged on New Year's Eve, kneeling in front of the tabernacle after the vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary.

The next day, we took a day trip to visit this historic old hotel that was (barely) in the process of restoration. It was an enjoyable day, and we loved imagining what this old grand hotel would have looked like in its heyday. In the early 1900s, it was called the "playground of the rich and famous", boasting Presidents and mobsters and the very wealthy among its clientele. The draw then was the sulfur springs, thought to have healing properties. It was once the place to be. Then, for a variety of reasons, it ceased being a hotel, was used for various other purposes, and eventually abandoned. It had physically started to fall apart before someone finally came along and started basic restoration.

Somewhere around 2005 or so, some people with a lot of money and influence finally got the ball rolling for a MAJOR restoration/renovation project for this hotel, and now it is a sight to see! Even though it is a bit of a drive for us, we enjoy visiting just to sit in the grand atrium and marvel at the beauty of the structure and the lavish furnishings. Indeed, no expense was spared in returning this marvel to its former glory.

Today, we had nothing planned at all (as is typical for us on Christmas Eve), so we decided to take a day trip to introduce Olivia to the historic hotel. For the season, they had erected a tree that (with the 12-foot stand) must have been about 50 feet tall. It had plenty of room to stand inside the dome of the atrium.

Olivia had a great time. She just ran and ran all around the place. There is a lot of space there.

We may just have to make this trip an annual tradition.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The weather outside... frightful. Not, of course, anything like Seattle is getting, but icky, nonetheless.

It is icing now. Freezing rain. One of my LEAST FAVORITE kinds of weather. According to the weather man, it will warm up to regular rain and be in the 50s by tomorrow, but I'll believe it when I see it.

So, we are stuck inside today. We have some Christmas cards that should have been mailed yesterday and will now be late, but what can you do, really?

Tomorrow starts my vacation. For my entire life, the week between Christmas and New Year's Day has felt like vacation. Even when I was working, our office was closed during that week, so there was nothing to do but enjoy the holidays and family. My husband will be off this year for the whole week, and I'm really looking forward to it. We are blessed to have family very close, so we never have to travel far and rarely have to miss any holiday gatherings. I can't imagine what it would be like if we were geographically separated from family and had Christmas by ourselves. I'm sure my husband wouldn't mind as much, but I am energized by a week spent with my family. The kids, the noise, the chaos...that's what the holidays have always been for me. This year will be WAY less stressful than last year with a fussy and overstimulated baby. I'm ready. Bring it on!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Living with the chaos

It occurred to me today that nothing about my house appears organized, at least to the untrained eye. Yet my husband can ask me where he left the remote, and I can remember the exact location I last saw it. So yes, there is some sense of order here.

I can remember a time when I used to round up all the toys at the end of the day and put them in the toybox. Now, the toys that are in the general vicinity of the toybox get put away. The rest get gathered up into little toy piles all over the house and shoved against the wall or in a corner. The key now is that we keep the walking path clear so no one steps on anything in the dark and breaks an ankle.

I now have a very high tolerance for clothes randomly lying around the house. Olivia has access to her sock drawer, and she loves to drag socks and shoes all over the house. I have been known to leave a stray sock lying on the floor for days on end. This is not something that I would have tolerated pre-Olivia.

I have also developed an incredible knack for cleaning up the house in mere minutes when I hear that someone is coming over. Most of the "clutter" ends up stored in a random drawer somewhere, but at least the house appears to be in order when the guest arrives!

Olivia has entered the snotty-and-miserable stage of her cold. There was a lot of whining and sniffing today. I'm exhausted. So is she. I think I'll go to bed now.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Busy season for all of us.

Well, it seems I've been neglecting my blog recently, but by the lack of comments, I can see that you've been neglecting my blog too. I understand...the week before Christmas is always very busy. You are forgiven. And to prove that there are no hard feelings, I'm going to give you some cute updates.

On Thursday night, Olivia went to the bowling alley for the very first time. Don't laugh...this is a big thing for us. For six or more years before Olivia came along, my husband and I were involved in league bowling together. We were pretty good. We have trophies and high scores to prove it. Once Olivia came along, though, I decided I was taking a break from regular bowling. My husband, however, REALLY loves to bowl (he has a 200 average) and found a men's league to join on Thursday nights. For one reason or another, we had never taken Olivia to a bowling alley, so we decided to go watch on Thursday night.

SHE LOVED IT! She stood on the counter behind the lanes for a solid half-hour watching and pointing and clapping for all of the bowlers on Daddy's lanes. I was amazed at how it held her attention for so long. She's definitely Daddy's girl.

We all came down with a cold by Friday, so there has been quite a bit of hacking and wheezing going on here. It seems that Olivia has learned that tissues are not the devil, and that it actually feels better to have your nose wiped than to let all that icky stuff run down your face. And...get this...she has learned to blow her nose. I know! The blowing is not really all that productive at this point, but the fact that she has made the observation that blowing through her nose helps the wiping process is progress indeed.

On Friday, we visited Grammy for awhile in the afternoon, and she and Olivia took a walk outside to see the neighbor's dogs, Ollie and Louie. Now, every time she hears a dog bark, she shouts "Ollie!"

Olivia has recently shown an affinity for popcorn. She likes to snuggle in next to Daddy on the couch and eat out of his bowl.

Enjoy your last minute shopping and office holiday parties this weekend!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Things I love about 13 months

Olivia is a wee bit over 13 months old now, and aside from the fact that she can now open any door in the house and enjoys climbing very high and giving her mother a heart attack, I am really enjoying 13 months.

First of all, Olivia is very good at sleeping. While it took us awhile to get to this point, I am truly enjoying my girl who enjoys her sleep.

It's not always easy to get Olivia to GO to sleep. She fusses. Sometimes she lays in bed and stares at the ceiling until she's sufficiently sleepy. Occasionally she'll pitch a fit.

But once she's She typically goes to bed between 7 and 8 pm, and then she wakes up around 12 hours later. On weekends, if we aren't up and moving around early, she often sleeps a little late. Once she's up, she usually lays in bed and talks to herself until she gets impatient and then she yells to let us know she's up. Naps are the same. She is usually content to lay in bed for awhile until she decides that she's not falling back asleep. She's a lot like me in that way.

I love the way she runs around the house in the morning. Runs. Everywhere. In her footie pajamas. SO CUTE!

I love that she's taken a sudden interest in books. And not just the destruction of them. Instead of carrying them around and standing on them, she likes to pick one out and then sit down next to me on the floor or couch and "read" it to me. Sometimes she'll even let me read it to her.

She sings a lot now and dances anytime she hears music...on the radio, on the TV or from one of her toys. We have this annoying Rudolf clock that plays "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" every hour. Every time she hears it, she runs to the kitchen to watch. It's like the cuckoo clocks at both Grandma's houses. She likes to watch them or just point to them and say "cuh-cuh."

Although TV = Not The Most Productive Thing a Toddler Could Be Doing, it is on a lot, especially in the evenings. Olivia doesn't pay much attention to it except when it is showing either kids or music. She stops whatever she's doing to watch those Target commercials with the kids doing a school Christmas pageant all about how awesome Target is (I hate advertising). And she loves the Subway $5 footlong commercials. She watches them shoving their hands forward, making a "5" with them, and she turns to look at us and does THE EXACT SAME THING. She saw a picture of gloves in a book this morning, and that prompted a $5 footlong motion too.

She's a riot! Now if we could just figure out a way to keep her from destroying anything that is not set up REALLY HIGH, we'd be perfect.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Santa, etc.

I'm lacking any inspiration for a blog post, so you get pictures. Our town had Christmas parades and celebrations this weekend, so we had an opportunity to introduce Olivia to Santa. She decided he was one scary dude.
She wouldn't get close enough to sit on his lap, so we had to hold her. She's got the candy cane that he gave her in her hand, and yet tears were streaming down her face until we backed away from him. Then she took time to inspect (and crush) the piece of candy she had.

See Mom...this is what that scary man gave me.

We decided not to attempt to see Santa again this year. That made Olivia very happy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Enough talk...time to jump in!

We've been researching adoption agencies for awhile now in preparation for adding baby #2 to our family. Since adoption and timelines are generally unpredictable, we wanted to start the process soon after Olivia's first birthday.

After much time spent calling, emailing and perusing various fee sheets and websites, we have decided on an agency. Actually, it's two agencies, both associated with Catholic Charities offices in the same Diocese, so one will do the homestudy, both will take our applications, and then we wait.

The decision is official today. We have an appointment in early January to meet with the caseworker and start our homestudy paperwork. Fasten your seatbelts!

This, of course, prompts me to look around this room currently acting as an office and wonder (again) how we are ever going to whip it into shape to become a bedroom. I have a few ideas, but I'm afraid they are going to require some new organizational furniture and a lot of throwing stuff out. And since Olivia took a one-hour nap (ONLY!) yesterday, which left me exactly 20 minutes to accomplish things after picking up the living room and taking a shower, I'm not exactly sure when I'm going to find time to get all organizational.

How do you eat an elephant again?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I surrender

If our tree looks bare at the bottom, it's because I'm tired of fighting Olivia over not touching the ornaments. So everything we want to keep nice for next year has been moved to the top of the tree. The ornaments at the bottom are plastic ornaments of characters from the Rudolf movie, and they are there to keep Olivia occupied so she doesn't pull off strings of lights. Sheesh.

We're not sure she understands the meaning of the word "No". She says it a lot...usually when she's doing something she's not supposed to do. I think she may just be repeating the word because she hears it a lot and associates it with the activity she's doing when she hears it. So she pulls ornaments off the tree while saying "No", as if that's just what you say when you are doing that activity. Like how you say "yum" when you are eating a cookie.

I guess we have some work to do.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Today I spent most of Olivia's nap time ordering photo gifts online, so I didn't have time for a substantial post here. I did, however, post a few videos at our photo blog, so please stop by there to see some short clips of Olivia's activity. I wanted to get a clip of her running (which is really the way she gets from point A to point B, 90 percent of the time). I also posted a clip of her playing with her Santa doll and one of her climbing on the coffee table. If you watch the coffee table one closely, you can hear her saying "get down" a couple of times. That's what I say when she's up there.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Olivia and the tree

The tree is up, and Olivia is doing pretty well. Our tree is huge (and wide) and there is really only one place to put it in our small living room, so we are forced to deal with the reality of teaching Olivia to stay away from the pretty tree.

We spent the first several hours with the tree saying, "No, Olivia...pretties...just look, no touching!" So now, she walks up to the tree and points and says "Nooooo!" She says that, too, when she's doing anything she thinks she's not supposed to do. (She knows, and she waits until we are paying attention to actually do such things. She stands there saying "No" to get our attention.")

I've been letting her touch or point to the tree today because I'm trying to get a good Christmas card photo. And then she started pulling off the ball ornaments, so I think we are going to have to go back to "No".

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Feast of St. Nicholas

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas in our Catholic calendar of Things To Celebrate. St. Nick day is something we have observed since I was a child. You can read about St. Nicholas here. In our family's tradition (and that of many other families around here), we have always put out our stockings on December 5th, and on December 6th we would wake to find them full of goodies.

Growing up, we always put out our actual socks (the biggest one we could find, of course). "St. Nick" would fill them with chocolate candies and usually one little gift or trinket that we could play with while we were "patiently" waiting for Christmas to come.

We've decided to carry on the tradition with Olivia. She is, of course, too little for chocolate candies, so her stocking was filled with little wrapped toys. Mommy and Daddy each got one thing in their stockings, but Olivia got four gifts. That's how St. Nick works, you know. Kids get all the loot!

One of the joys of parenting a toddler is that they NOTICE things and are so interactive. From the moment she entered the living room this morning, Olivia noticed the little stocking sitting in front of the TV. She was entranced. She walked ever-so-slowly toward the stocking until we assured her that yes, it was for her and she could play with it.

She took great joy in ripping off small pieces of wrapping paper.

Ooh...letters. Fun!

She got two little dolls, a colorful soccer ball, and the package of foam letters. She was in heaven. It's very easy to please a one-year-old.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The disaster area

My office should qualify me for federal aid. It is a complete disaster area. I don't know how I'm ever going to get it into shape to become a bedroom again. I'd post a picture, but I'm just so embarrassed. It is a MESS.

Aside from the fact that you can't move for all the piles of need-to-be-filed paper on the floor, I'm just not sure where to put all of this furniture. Desk, printer table, two bookcases, entertainment center/TV, DVD tower, filing cabinet, rocking chair, floor lamps. Plus, all of my long-neglected scrapbooking boxes.

I would like to request the assistance of those professional organizers from Clean Sweep on TLC. I am a little overwhelmed here. It's like eating an bite at a time, right? I should just get started already.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The futility of shopping with a one-year-old

My husband has a two-night business trip, starting today, so I thought Olivia and I would entertain ourselves with a totally unnecessary trip "to town" to run a few errands. We'll be back on Friday for playdate and more errands, but I figured there was enough to do to warrant another leisurely trip to shop.

Leisurely, HA! As I was plotting my errands last night, the list kept getting longer and longer. And it turned out that there was no way I would have accomplished this all on Friday.

We did the necessary (oil change, pick up 1-year pictures, drop off dry cleaning) and the not-so-necessary (knock things off your Christmas list by stopping at ten million stores for exactly one item each, making yourself and the active toddler crazy).

I discovered that Olivia has entered the land of impossible when it comes to shopping. She refuses to sit in the cart seat. She will stand in the cargo area of the cart happily, but only for twenty minutes at a time, then she attempts to climb out. And she has developed a tantrum cry that is mind-numbingly grating. It sounds like she's seriously TRYING to damage her vocal cords. It's a cross between a growl and a cry. Ugh. I HATE it. She used it a lot today, interspersed by many moments of flashing her award-winning smile at total strangers and being totally sweet. It's like she can turn emotions on and off like a light switch.

Miraculously, we accomplished everything on my list. I have St. Nick Day gifts for stockings (Saturday, in case you were wondering), and almost everyone on my gift list is accounted for. Thank heavens, because I don't really do crowds and shopping and grumpy babies very well.

For your daily dose of happy, go visit Jen and congratulate her on the arrival of her baby girl, born just this morning.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Yesterday evening, my husband and I dropped Olivia off with my parents while we ran "to town" for an errand. She was there less than three hours, but it was a little past her bedtime when we arrived to pick her up. Mom said she'd been playing happily all evening. She'd had dinner and a bath and was playing in the toy pile with Grandma when we arrived. And as soon as she saw us come through the door, she squealed, dropped her toy, and ran as fast as she could over to hug my legs. I have never seen her so ecstatically happy.

It occurred to me that although she loves and feels comfortable with all of her grandparents and most of her aunts and uncles, she doesn't feel the kind of truly-at-ease comfort that she feels with us. This is a reasonable thought. I imagine that most kids feel the same way. And with Olivia, this feeling seems to be heightened after her Daddy's recent two-week absence. She's just happier when she knows where we are.

It got me thinking about all those kids out there (her birth-siblings included) who don't experience that kind of stability. Even with the anxiety of wondering where Mommy and Daddy were all evening, Olivia must have anticipated our return because we always come back for her. She feel asleep almost as soon as she was strapped into the carseat, as if she knew she could relax now because she was with Mommy and Daddy and on the way home to her own bed. She felt secure.

Not all kids are that lucky. I can't imagine how hard it would be not to know where you are sleeping tonight, or who will be taking care of you tomorrow. And it's obvious that kids understand stability (or lack thereof) at a very young age.

I will say a prayer today for Olivia's birth-siblings and all other kids out there who need a stable home. May God give them the peace and stability they so desperately need.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holy Climbing, Batman!

The holiday weekend was fun, but Olivia is teaching her 7-months-older cousins some bad habits. Like how to climb on chairs. Not just the little baby folding chairs (which she mastered easily), but also the big-people folding chairs. She was unstoppable. It was all she wanted to do. For awhile, she kept dragging the baby folding chair around, then she would climb up and stand on it and clap until someone told her to get down. My sister kept telling her sternly "Olivia, sit down", jabbing her pointer finger down. So, after awhile, Olivia would climb and stand up in the chair, then look her aunt in the eye and jab her pointer finger down saying "Sit dun!" It was too funny. Yes, Olivia, sit down. She thought it was a game.

Olivia has proven that she is freakishly tall. Here she is with her second cousin, who celebrated her birthday on Saturday. They are 17 days apart. And they were both born within two weeks of their due dates. So, developmentally, they are at the same stage. But obviously, their genetics destine them to be very different heights.

It's even more striking when Olivia hugs her. We are going to have one tall girl on our hands.

We all had a good weekend and ate way more than our fair share. Best of all, Olivia's cold is gone and my almost-cold disappeared before it developed into anything. I had a nasty sore throat for two days, but that is as bad as it got. And now we are having a leisurely day at home. Finally.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I made it!

Today is the end of NaBloPoMo, and I'm proud of myself for keeping up with the posting. It has been a very long weekend, and very exhausting, so I'll have to post on the details later, but for now, there's this.

The cake face

More photos here.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A lot of eating...

We are on day three of the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend, and we've already eaten more than our fair share. Today will be more of the same. Happy Thanksgiving weekend! (Photos of birthday and Thanksgiving to come when we aren't so busy with family.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Birthday party!

Tonight, we're having Olivia's much-delayed birthday party with the family. Spending the whole day preparing soups and appetizers and cake. Much to do! Will post pictures soon.

In the meantime, here's Olivia playing with "her" hat.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Daddy's days off

Olivia's been catching up on her playtime with Daddy this week.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

To trim or not to trim: Keeping baby out of the Christmas decorations

We've been in major organizational mode here. Nothing like an upcoming birthday party and people coming to our house to motivate us to clean. So far, the main living space is looking pretty good. We'll have to shove all of Olivia's toys into her room for the actual party, but other than that, we're doing pretty well (except for the office, which will off limits during the party...there's only so much I can do in a few days).

All this rearranging and organizing has me thinking about what to do about our Christmas tree. We usually put it up right after Thanksgiving, while my husband is still off work and can haul all of the boxes down from the attic. Now, I'm seriously thinking of putting it off a week. I'm just not sure how to keep Olivia from trying to climb it or pulling it down on herself.

Our tree is a 7-foot behemoth that is about half the width of our living room (which is only a slight exaggeration). I love the way it looks. It is very full and looks so nice with it's twinkly lights and shiny ornaments. But it takes a full two hours to assemble and another hour to trim. Not to mention the time it takes to drag all of those boxes down. The tree and ornaments are contained in no less than four gigantic plastic bins that live in our attic. Getting this tree up is seriously an all-day deal. Which is one of the reasons we always put it up after Thanksgiving. With all that work, we'd like to enjoy it for awhile before taking it back down.

For all of the above-stated reasons, Olivia should probably be at Grandma's house while we put up the tree. I would love to let her participate, but let's be honest...she's probably just going to end up grabbing a handful of branches and dragging them all over the house, making the two-hour assembly even longer. And the ornaments...well, let's just say that a good number of them are going to have to live at the top of the tree in order to survive the season.

My biggest concern, though, is how to keep Olivia from messing with the tree CONSTANTLY. I'm just not sure I have the patience to do this daily for four weeks. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Still sick and acquiring new skills

Ugh. Olivia is STILL dealing with this nasty cold. Since Friday, November 14th, she has awakened at least once each night to fits of coughing or just miserable cold-related crying. I think she's getting closer to beating this thing, but we are all getting a little weary of it.

This past Friday night, Olivia woke after only a couple of hours of sleep in a fit of violent coughing, and after listening to it awhile, I decided to bring her some water and rock her for awhile. To help with the drainage, I thought I'd put a regular bed pillow in her crib so her head would be elevated. She went right back to sleep and the coughing subsided.

Saturday morning, I heard her wake up. I listened to her babble while my husband was getting up to get her bottle, and I heard a *THUMP*, then a cry, then more babbling. I figured she had just stumbled and fallen down in her crib.

My husband found her pulling paper out of the recycle bin in the office. Oh yes. The little stinker used that pillow to hoist herself up and over the rail. She fell out of the crib, but the shock of the fall apparently wasn't equal to the exhilaration of freedom because she barely cried at all. She just commenced exploring the rooms that are typically closed off to her during the day.

SOOO...we spent all of Saturday rearranging her room (and yes, the pillow has been removed from the crib). The full-sized bed frame and box springs were removed for storage, and the full-sized mattress now sits on the floor right next to her bed. Just in case. It will also help us (we hope) to transition her to sleeping on the mattress instead of the crib, but we haven't yet figured out just how to get her to do that and still be awake when we put her down.

Olivia loves the mattress on the floor. She likes to climb up there and read books and look out the window. And removing the bed has opened the room up a bit, so most of her toys now live in her room. That's a real bonus.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Coming up this week...

I'm having a hard time believing that Thanksgiving is this week. November just sort of disappeared. Must have had something to do with the fact that I spent half of it counting down the days until my husband came home from his trip.

This should be a pretty busy week for us. We'll be visiting with one family on Thursday, the other on Saturday, and we're having everyone over to our little house on Friday for Olivia's birthday party. I'm not sure what plans we have for Sunday outside of going to Church, but I'm sure we'll fill it with SOMETHING.

Thankfully, my husband has been able to take the entire week off of work. He had all these vacation days left, so we are taking advantage of that. I think we are going to *gasp* go see a movie this week! This is almost unheard of. We only see one or two theater movies a year, and usually at Christmas time. We just have a hard time justifying the expense of the big screen when we have a perfectly good DVD player at home and free movies from the library. But this is a special occasion. This is VACATION, people. Even if it is the kind where you stay home and cook all of your own meals.

In other news, we FINALLY finished Olivia's photo montage and figured out how to burn it onto a disc so we could watch it on the TV. We will use it at her birthday party. I'm toying with the idea of putting it on the internet and password protecting it (we have family pictures in it), but it's 23 minutes long! I'm not sure any of you are interested enough to watch 23 minutes of my baby growing up. Maybe I'll get motivated to create a 5 minute short version. Or maybe not. We'll see!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The silver lining

Yes, the market is a mess and the economy looks bleak and everyone is commenting on these hard times. It's truly hard on everyone. But since I don't have the power to change the direction of the market, I'm going to take comfort in the little things.

Like this.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Not a good session

I had planned to post Olivia's one-year studio photos today, but we didn't buy the CD. The session was not good. There were only a couple of photos that were, in my opinion, worth ordering, so we ordered just those photos and left it at that. And here's what I learned:

*When your baby has a cold and you think it might be best to reschedule the appointment, just do it. Cranky babies make for difficult photo sessions.

*When you request a certain photographer and she's not available, WAIT UNTIL SHE IS. We have had two different photographers at this studio before this session, and both were very good at catching her smiles. She is good at smiling, but she doesn't just hold a smile for minutes at a time. You have to be quick with the trigger finger. Our previous photographers would get in her face and make silly noises until she smiled, and they they'd duck or roll out of the photo while clicking their camera remote to take the shot. This photographer was not quick or funny and was glued to the camera (this is why they MADE the remote...HELLO!). I can't tell you how many good opportunities she missed for cute shots. Toddlers do not sit in one place for long, people. You have to seize the opportunity and take that picture already!

*Read the coupon before you go. Apparently "Friday" does not count as a weekday, and therefore you are not eligible for a weekday special.

Whatever. We ordered a photo for the wall and some family shots for grandparents and wallets for everyone else. On the bright side, having a crappy photo session saved us more than half on what we had planned to spend on pictures because we didn't get our usual package.

So this year we'll be taking our own family photo with our own camera to make into Christmas cards. Oh well. There are worse things in the world than that!

Friday, November 21, 2008

My birthday

I turn 32 today. Is that possible? What happened to the last two years?

Of course, now that I have a child, my birthday kind of disappears into the background. It's just another event that happens between Olivia's birthday and Thanksgiving. It also happens to be the anniversary of the day we FINALLY brought Olivia home after the ICPC wait, and last year it was the day before Thanksgiving. So that's probably what I'll be thinking about a lot today.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why I love and hate November...

November is the month I was born, the month I was married, and the month my daughter was born. It is also adoption awareness month. Lots of stuff to celebrate in November.

On the other hand, in our area of the country November tends to be cold, wet and overall pretty dreary. The beginning of the month is often pretty nice, but by the time we hit my birthday (tomorrow) even the sunny days are too cold and usually too windy to be outside. I sit and type with frozen fingers and long for the days when I could open a window and enjoy warm breezes.

November also seems to be the beginning of cold and flu season around here, and Olivia has a doozy of a cold now. Luckily, my husband and I seem to have dodged the bullet so far. Unluckily, Olivia's cold came on right before the family arrived for Grandpa's funeral, so she hasn't had much time to catch up on her rest.

Her cold and lack of sleep has made her grumpy. Oh, so very grumpy! And I'm stuck in the house with her grumpiness, wiping up snot and consoling her when she trips over her own feet for the umpteenth time today. Tripping and falling barely warrants a notice on regular days...she typically pops right back up and keeps going. But did I mention the grumpy? You'd think someone had been stomping on her hand the way she throws out her pouty lip and cries the cry of breathless sobs. Oh, the drama!

I really, really want someone to blame for this nasty cold. She hasn't had a cold since August, and she was SO HEALTHY last week. Maybe the one-year immunizations contributed. She did start the congestion and sniffles just one day after her appointment. Which makes me DREAD returning for her second flu shot (yes, itty bitties need it broken down so they have to get stuck twice!). We are supposed to do that next week.

Grrr! We are going to try to get out of the house today, but I reserve the right to cancel my plans if I deem it necessary. Olivia needs her rest more than I need to get things done.

Her one-year pictures are scheduled for tomorrow. Ha! I also reserve the right to reschedule those if we can't clear up the dry, red skin on her cheeks and get her feeling a little better. This time of the year is just hard.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If this isn't the most precious thing...

Olivia receiving a condolence hug from her playdate pal at her Great-Grandpa's funeral.

There were a dozen little kids running around being all cute at the post-funeral meal, and this is the ONLY decent photo I got. I hate my camera.

Adoption Awareness Month

November is Adoption Awareness Month. Someone forwarded me a link to a song/tribute from an adoptee to his birthmom. It made me cry. So I'm passing it on to you. I would post the actual YouTube video, but I'm not that technologically savvy.

And if the link doesn't work, you can find it here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Death and family

It's funny how things like birth and death bring a family together. Of course, with my family, all it takes to have a large get-together is someone announcing that he/she is coming to town, and with a day's notice we can get at least 15 people to show up for dinner.

But yesterday's visitation for my Grandpa was a little different because the WHOLE family (nearly) was there, including a few cousins that I haven't seen in at least five years (rare for my family). My Grandparents had 12 children, 29 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. All but a handful of the grandchildren have shown up so far.

A funeral visitation always brings out friends and neighbors you haven't seen in awhile too. We had the visitation in the Church instead of a funeral home, so everyone was able to spread out. By the end of the day, we were definitely thankful for that. The place was packed.

We will bury Grandpa today.

Saints of God, come to his aid. Come to meet him, angels of the Lord.
Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Where Tolkien got his inspiration for Elvish language.

This post brought to you by the busy woman whose family is in town and who is far too busy to post anything substantial today. Plus, I wrote this last week, so it's an easy post.


My daughter speaks fluent elvish. I'm convinced that Tolkien spent a lot of time with babies to create this language for his books. Here is a conversation Olivia and I had the other day...

Mommy: Who's that pretty baby in the mirror?

Olivia: Ehr bahna nilthea. Ek-sia etha. (With emphasis, pointing to the mirror, then looking me in the eye and making a sweeping motion with her hand).

M: I have no idea what that means, but obviously you do.

O: Meeraba! O neksah badsa!

M: Uh, huh. OK then.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

He's home!

My husband and his coworkers drove straight through the night to get home. He arrived around 10:00 a.m. and is still awake! He's running on about 43 hours of nothing but short snoozes, so he'll crash hard tonight, but we are just so glad to have him home!!

Illness and busyness

Olivia had sniffles on Friday which developed into a full-blown cold by the end of the day. She's not sleeping well...she wakes every couple of hours moaning because she can't breathe. Poor thing.

My husband gets home tonight. I hope it's a better night for Olivia's sleep since he's definitely going to need his rest and I don't want her to wake him up much.

The family is arriving for Grandpa's funeral. It will be a busy couple of days. Expect a filler post tomorrow. Fair warning.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Life changing events

My Grandpa died yesterday. It had been approaching for awhile, but it is always a little bit of a shock anyway. The funeral is Tuesday, and the whole family is coming in on Monday. I have some deeper thoughts about all of this, but it will have to wait until I have more time to write.

My youngest brother and his wife announced their pregnancy last night. Another brother and wife announced their pregnancy last week. Babies due in May and July. It is easier now to be excited about other people's pregnancies since we are planning to adopt again soon. We may have three new babies in the family in 2009.

Friday, November 14, 2008

TGIF...we're almost there...

Two more days until my husband gets home. He will be back on Sunday. Praise God for that. God help me get through the next two days...

These past two weeks have been more difficult than I had planned. Perhaps it's because the last time he had a trip this long, I was working. I had stuff to accomplish and places to be during the day. Yeah, the nights were lonely, but I had the option of planning meetings and working late and keeping myself busy away from home. Not so much this time.

Aside from the obvious need to be around to watch Olivia discover new and inventive ways to terrorize the order of the house, our budget is much tighter than it once was. So even if I had places to go (in cold November, with a baby who needs her nap), they would likely cost money.

So for the better part of two weeks, Olivia and I stayed home and stared at each other. We sang songs and danced to music and broke out ALL OF HER BIRTHDAY TOYS just so I could keep her interested in something other than her newfound ability to open the doors to the curio cabinet.

We tried movies, and except for the musical parts, she had no interest at all. She learned to climb onto Daddy's elliptical machine and stand up on one of the footpads. She is dangerously close to being able to climb onto the couch. The only thing she hasn't tried to climb is her crib (to get out) and thank God for that.

Needless to say, I have abandoned all of my lofty "to-do" goals. Paint the laundry room? Ha! As if! Organize the office? In the 2-3 hours that she naps, there simply wasn't time for that. And I have been WAY too tired after putting her to bed at night to do anything resembling WORK! I did make a little progress on her video montage, and I did some other unexpected things like clean out the refrigerator, but that is about it. Mostly, I just managed to maintain my sanity. Sort of.

I only hope my husband isn't too disappointed to come home and find it in exactly the same condition it was in when he left. Sorry, my love...I really did have good intentions.

Also, I confess, the majority of my posts these last two weeks have been typed in one sitting and scheduled to post throughout the week. Including this one (drafted Tuesday night, but I can already tell how I'll feel by Friday because I've been feeling it for days now). The benefit of this, though, is that I write when I feel like I have something to write instead of trying to think of a topic when I'm brain-dead and in need of a shower. So yay for me.

I think I need a mommy-vacation. Maybe Grandma can entertain Olivia for awhile tomorrow while I have some alone time. Oh, please, let it be so!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stats for one-year-old Olivia

Olivia measured in at 31.5 inches tall today at her doctor appointment. That's still 98th percentile for height. She's also 23 lbs 8 oz (83rd percentile, I think, which means she's eating quite well now!).

That's all. She's tall and growing.

Things I have observed about my one-year-old

Thanks to everyone for your birthday wishes for Olivia. She had a really nice day, despite the rain and Daddy not being home. We had dinner with Grandparents, Godparents and her cousin, Trey, and the best part about the day was OTHER! PEOPLE! IN! THE! HOUSE! We're getting a little tired of just seeing each other. Luckily, we are busy with out-of-the-house things for a couple of days, so the time will pass quicker.

Olivia has been entertaining me these past couple of weeks by showing me just how fast she can pick up new things.

For instance, we've been singing some children's songs lately, and one of her favorites is "Six Little Ducklings". This was one of my favorites as a child, and it goes with hand motions. If you don't know it, here's the first verse, with hand motions:

Six little ducklings I once knew (hold up six fingers, then point to yourself)
Fat ones, skinny ones, fair ones too (hold hands wide, then close together, then in between...think "$5 footlong" style)
But the one little duck (hold up one finger) with the feather on his back (put wrist on tailbone and wiggle hand like a feather on your back)
He led the others with his quack, quack, quack (clap hands in duck-beak fashion)

Now, aside from the obvious clapping, which she caught onto quickly, she has also started doing the feather-on-the-back motion. Except that she got it a little bit wrong. Instead of wiggling her hand, she slaps her little hiney with her hand. It's so hilarious. Also, when she wants to request that we sing the song, she walks over to me and starts slapping her hand on her hiney.

She also loves "Itsy bitsy spider", but instead of putting her hands together to make the spider, she just waves both hands back and forth. She's getting there.

She loves to have her teeth brushed. I say "Want to go brush your teeth?" and she yells "Tee!" and runs to the bathroom in her little footie-pajama-ed feet. Sometimes it's the little things that are so precious.

This week, just to make life a little more challenging, Olivia has learned how to open the pantry doors, and she has also discovered that she's tall enough to reach door handles throughout the house. This pretty much makes the whole house available for her destruction. Luckily, she's content to stay in the room with me most of the time, but I have to watch her more closely.

We're off to the doctor today for her *gasp* one-year boosters and check-up. I'm REALLY dreading the shots, but I can't wait to get her new measurements. She's already taller than most of her one-year-old friends.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Olivia!

Olivia's first year in pictures

Moments after precious!

12/13/07 - One Month Old

1/12/08 - Two Months Old

2/12/08 - Three Months Old

3/12/08 - Four Months Old

4/12/08 - Five Months Old

5/12/08 - Six Months Old

6/12/08 - Seven Months Old

7/12/08 - Eight Months Old

8/12/08 - Nine Months Old

9/12/08 - Ten Months Old

10/12/08 - Eleven Months Old

11/12/08 - Happy 1st Birthday!

This last photo appears thanks to Olivia's Godparents, who allowed me to borrow their camera to get the pictures. I had to take at least two dozen shots to get one where she was sitting still, looking up and not making a weird face.

Here are two bonus photos, just because I was a little camera-happy today...

Hi Mommy! I'm so happy it's my birthday today!

Blowing a birthday kiss to you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Birthday Countdown continued...

You have grown so fast. It's almost as if I can see you growing before my eyes. One day, you were lying on your back with a bald spot on the back of your head, and the next day, you were standing up in your crib.
"Pulling up" was soon followed by "cruising along furniture", and I could tell that you couldn't WAIT to start walking. You tried and tried for weeks to take more than a couple of steps at a time. And then, at ten months, something just clicked and you took off. You've been running circles around me ever since.

While I rejoiced with every new milestone, a little bit of me also missed the baby that was left behind. I am so blessed to have been able to watch you grow and learn and change. I love you, my sweet little girl. I am proud to be your Mommy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Birthday Countdown

Dear Olivia,

Your first birthday is just two days away. I cannot believe the time has passed so quickly. It seems like just yesterday, we were holding you for the first time. You were so sweet, so tiny and so sleepy!
We were in love with you from the first moment we saw you. Five days later, we went to the courthouse, and a lawyer asked us some questions before the judge. The judge signed some papers and congratulated us. Daddy looked at me and said, "Let's go pick up our baby." I cried happy tears as we left to pick you up from the hospital. That was one of the happiest days of my life.

We took you home and watched your personality emerge. It didn't take long for you to let us know who was in charge of the house now.

You were a good and happy baby. You started smiling very early, and then you didn't stop.
Your smile would light up a room, so our house was always bright. We took joy in watching every little discovery and delighted in each milestone.

How were we so lucky to be blessed with you?

To be continued tomorrow...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One week

We've survived one week with Daddy gone. Just one more week to go. God help us.

I promise to be a little less gloomy tomorrow.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Always learning

Little kids amaze me. They are constantly going and constantly learning. It's just so interesting to watch.

I've been watching Olivia these past few days, and she doesn't stop moving. We were in the back yard the other day raking leaves (I was raking, she was kicking her way through my piles), and it occurred to me that she was making new discoveries every second. Watching the way the leaves move when you kick them, seeing if this stem tastes different than that one, trying to climb over the landscaping rocks to see what is on the other side before Mommy catches me...there's just so much to discover!

She challenges me to open my eyes to the wonders of every new day.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Poor, unhappy baby

First of all, thanks for the song suggestions! They were great, and I'll be using a few of them. Very, very helpful!!!

Olivia knows that Daddy is not here. And she's not happy about it. For the most part, she plays and runs around like always, but she DOES NOT WANT TO GO TO BED. Not for naps, and not at night. I think she remembers that she went to bed the other night, and when she got up Daddy was gone and he hasn't come back. So now she's VERY clingy at bedtime and screams herself to sleep.

This is so hard, people. My baby is usually one to lay down and go right to bed. She talks to herself sometimes, or watches her jungle wonders thingie, but naps and bedtime have been a breeze for many months. Until now. She's still her happy self as long as she's awake and in my presence, but she does not want to be left alone or go to bed.

Come home quickly, Daddy. We are both a little weary in your absence.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy Anniversary, My Love

My dear husband,

Four years ago this morning, you picked me up at the hairdresser and took me out to breakfast. Everyone at the restaurant looked at us like we were a little crazy. I guess most people don't show up for breakfast in a tiara. "Are you two going to a wedding or something?"


It was such a perfectly beautiful November day...almost as if we'd paid for a reservation on the sunshine (like we paid for everything else!). I remember every detail of that day like it was yesterday. The whole day seemed to go by in a minute. I've never experienced anything so completely exhilarating and overwhelming all at once.

On that day, I never would have imagined that we would go through some of the things we have in four years. But every challenge has just drawn us closer to each other. You were my rock through our battles with infertility. You were so supportive when I brought up the topic of adoption. You were the one who made me believe it was OK for us to pursue both adoption and fertility.

When we heard about Olivia's birthmother, you didn't hesitate for a moment in saying "yes". I was a basket case through most of the ups and downs we went through with the birthmother before Olivia was born, but you were calm and committed throughout.

I will never forget the look on your face when you first laid eyes on Olivia. There was no doubt in your mind that she was your little girl and you were hooked. That day, my love for you grew in ways I never knew possible.

You continue to overwhelm me with the love and commitment you have for me and Olivia. I am so blessed to be married to my best friend. I love you!

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I need your help!!

People, seriously. I'm working on this video montage, and I need theme-appropriate songs to add as background music. I already have a few songs, like "What a wonderful world" and "Let them be little". But I need MORE MUSIC SUGGESTIONS. I have 30 minutes worth of photos and not enough music.

So I am appealing to you for help. Do you know of any songs that sound like they would go with a baby's video montage? I'd like to stick with songs (as opposed to just music) because I think words are powerful, and we are going for emotion here. Plus, we are trying to keep people interested for a half-hour, so whatever we can do to help that would be good.

Twelve days until Daddy gets home.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My many projects

Olivia is very serious about voting!

I voted this morning. (And I realized that my cell phone takes pictures, which I can email to myself. Duh!) Now it is your turn. I believe that you should not complain about your leadership if you do not vote. Since I voted, I reserve the right to complain all I want. (Although I probably won't do much of that. I would rather spend most of my time talking about Olivia.)

For those of you following along, today is day 2 of Daddy's trip, A.K.A. 13 days until Daddy gets home. We are missing him lots already.

To pass the time and keep myself from going insane, I've planned a few projects while my husband is gone. They include:

1. Organize the office. (This may seem like a rather straightforward task, but it's really pretty involved. The office will have to function as a bedroom when baby #2 comes along, so we must begin the process of weeding out what we can live without, what we can store, and what we can reposition so that most of the furniture in the office eventually gets placed somewhere else in the house. Not an easy task.)

2. Paint the laundry room. This is actually just an idea I had the other day and will probably only happen if I can find enough leftover paint from the dining room to do it. It's a very small room (more like a closet), so it shouldn't take much. But I know it would be a nice surprise for my husband if I get it done (and if he doesn't manage to read my blog at all while he's gone...otherwise it won't be any kind of surprise at all).

3. Plan Olivia's birthday party (which we'll have over Thanksgiving). Get favors for the kids and send evites.

4. Finish Olivia's video montage for her birthday. This is the one for her party, not for posting on the site. It's 25 minutes long, people. And every minute touches my heart.

I also have to find some money in our budget to buy a replacement range top for our stove. We have one of those ceramic-top ranges, and yesterday I cracked it. Oh yes. I dropped a bowl full of soup on top of it. And the bowl didn't even chip. I could have handled a shattered bowl. But a cracked stove top is MUCH more expensive. Grrrr...

It's been a long week already, and it's only Tuesday.

Monday, November 3, 2008

And so it starts

My husband left this morning for his long, long trip. I am sad, and a little nervous. Not for me...for him. He left in a compact rental car (he had reserved a full size...YEAH) with three other people from his office AND their luggage, and they are driving all the way to New York in this car, presumably sitting on their luggage because there is really nowhere else to put it. He is NOT happy with the rental company. AT ALL. Not a good start to their trip.

**Updated to add: I just got a call from my husband. One of his coworkers called the rental company and complained loudly about the situation, and he managed to negotiate a change in vehicle. They stopped at the next airport/rental place on the way (about an hour away) and switched over to an SUV. So they'll pay more for gasoline, but better that than continue for eleven hours on the road packed into a compact car like sardines. They are all in better spirits now.**

Also, he is taking my camera. OUR camera, but I consider it mine since he's taken a total of about a dozen pictures with it since we got it a year ago. He thought he was going to be able to use a co-worker's camera, but it is ancient and has enough memory for about a dozen photos (total). And really, if he is going to be touring Athens and other exotic Greek places, he probably has more reason to need the camera than I do. I'll need to take Olivia's 12-month photo, but I can probably borrow my brother's camera for that.

Short new pics for you for two weeks! Except for these:

I climbed into this chair all by myself!

Another warm spell...better get out my sleeveless dress for church!
And sandals!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Feast of All Souls!

Today is the Feast of All Souls (Dia de los Muertos). I recall that it is also our goddaughter's baptism day (November 2, 2003). I can't believe that was five years ago. How time flies. Happy Baptism Day, Molly!

We are going to be busy helping Daddy pack today, so all you get is a short post. I'll have all kinds of time to post tomorrow, though, since we will be home all alone! *Sniff!*

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy November!

November is a busy month for us. We have our anniversary, my birthday and Olivia's birthday. Throw in the Thanksgiving holiday and the start of Christmas shopping, and we keep pretty busy.

This November is going to start off weird, though. Did I mention that my husband is leaving the country for two weeks? To go to Greece? No? I didn't? Hmmm...

You see, my husband works as a development officer for an educational institution. Part of his job includes efforts to stay connected with alumni and keep them feeling all warm and fuzzy about their school because, you know, that's how you get them to open their wallets.

So, every couple of years they plan this big alumni tour to some foreign country. He has to go as chaperone and basically make sure everyone gets on the bus and no one has a coronary.

It's not as glamorous as it sounds. Especially when you factor in the fact that some of the alumni and donors who can afford to take such a trip are, well, elderly. And then you drive them to all sorts of historic sites that weren't built for the mobility-impaired. Steps and cobblestones and buildings that are accessible only to those who can negotiate both. And hills...don't forget the hills. That are lined with cobblestones, mind you. Not ideal for people with recent knee replacements.

Such was the case a few years ago, when my husband had to spend much of a day in an Italian hospital with one of his travelers. He was the chaperone, after all. I think he also had a couple on the same trip whose wallets were stolen on a bus in Rome. A lot of headache.

Still, this trip was one we HAD been hoping to attend together (he as chaperone, and me as a tag-along to enjoy the ride). That was the plan, anyway, when he scheduled it more than a year and a half ago. He even asked my input on trip dates. We had hoped to celebrate our fourth anniversary on this trip.

Of course, the unexpected happened. A few months after the trip was scheduled, we met a birthmother, and a couple months after that we were parents. Life has changed. Never mind the fact that my portion of the trip (his is free) no longer fits into our budget. More important is the fact that we have a wee one at home who expects to see her Mommy on a regular basis. And she DOESN'T travel well.

We had considered leaving Olivia with family for two weeks and pulling money from savings to make the trip happen as we had planned. But it just wasn't realistic, financially or logistically. I'm sure Olivia would have been fine with my parents for two weeks. I'm just not sure that I am ready for that.

And so, my husband leaves on Monday for New York. On Tuesday his group flies out of New York for Greece. They will be gone for two weeks. November 4-14. (Yes, he already voted.) The trip includes a three-day Aegean Sea cruise (and yes, I am most jealous of that. I LOVE cruises). He won't actually be HOME until the 16th because of travel. Two full weeks.

But here's the kicker. He's going to be gone for our anniversary (6th) AND Olivia's birthday (12th). Luckily, she's too young to realize it's her actual birthday and we can celebrate later.

The benefit of him being away for these important events, though, is that we can both expect nice Greece gifts upon Daddy's return. And my birthday (21st) follows shortly after he gets back, so we can celebrate EVERYTHING then. Gotta look at the bright side, right?

Happy November!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!

I spent the day hauling Olivia all over the place in her hot, hot costume (it was over 70 degrees today). First, we stopped at Daddy's office, where several of his coworkers were prepared with toys and baby-approved snacks. Then we hit an assortment of places associated with people Mommy used to work with. Olivia had a lot of fun, but we are both exhausted now.

NaBloPoMo, here I come!

Happy Halloween! Our little monkey and I are going to be trick-or-treating at Daddy's office, a nursing home, Mommy's old office and Grammy & Grampy's house today. Talk about busy! And the weather has warmed up, so I'm sure I'll have a sweaty, unhappy child on my hands by the end of the day. *Sigh*

Tomorrow is the first day of November, which is apparently National Blog Posting Month. I heard about this last year and thought I'd give it a try this year. The idea is to post at least once a day, all month long. A challenge, yes, but I'm going to try. And I did sign up, which makes me eligible for prizes if I meet the daily blog challenge, or so I hear.

So I hear there's a monthly theme, although it hasn't yet been posted. I'm not very good at themes...I pretty much write whatever comes to mind that day. So stay tuned and we'll all see where this goes.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

If you really want to know

*Warning: Political talk. If you don't care, you can visit my photo blog and see a couple videos of Olivia. I can see how that would be more fun.*

I am sick of political ads. I am under no illusion that either party's candidate (in any political race) is going to achieve or attempt to achieve half of what he is promising. Many of these promises are made in an effort to buy our votes.

What I care about are the candidates' ideologies. What are their world views? How do they compare to mine? Will they help us become the country we were founded to be?

For the most part, I try to stay away from politics. However, as a lifelong pro-life advocate, I've had to get involved now and then. I'm a firm believer that you can't eradicate abortion by simply legislating. The more effective approach is to change hearts and minds of those directly affected by the decision. That is done by taking people by the hand and helping them find the resources they need to choose life. And, occasionally, legislation does help (by requiring ultrasounds, counseling, etc. to help women recognize that there is another individual involved). But it is the people in the pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies who are making the real difference.

I realize, though, that there are other forces at work...forces that have a financial interest in destroying embryos and promoting abortion. That is why, no matter how much I dislike the political process, I must stay involved. Too many lives are at stake.

That said, my overall view of government is that it has become too big. There are too many taxes, too many failed programs, and too many hands in the cookie jar. I'm a firm believer that a free market provides the best opportunity for improved products and services because of the forces of competition.

What about the lower class? Christ said that the poor will always be with us. And I don't think government handouts have improved that situation. I believe it is up to us to help those in need. We've become a country of people looking for government to save them. It's time we start saving ourselves and helping our neighbors. Government can't solve all of our problems.

If you really care about what I think, this article sums it up nicely.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The outfit in question

This is the outfit mentioned in the previous post. I think she looks like a girl, don't you?