Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Snowsuit

When Olivia was teeny, we had at least three snowsuits. All were hand-me-downs, and I doubt that any of them had been used more than once or twice. The largest of these was a 6-month size, and I'll never understand why babies that age need a SNOWSUIT of all things. In most places, you have to get in a CAR to go anywhere, and a baby in a snowsuit will not fit in a carseat. So a snowsuit is really only good for going out to play in the snow in your own neighborhood. But what 6-month-old (or younger) plays in the snow?

Now we have a walking, running, climbing toddler who is very interested in the snow, and we have no snowsuit. So we improvise.

This was the process that led to our snow adventure this morning.

Olivia stands at the door whining to go "Side?" She's wearing the first layer of clothing...tights, onesie and socks.

Over her tights, we put on a heavy set of sweatpants. After each layer of clothing, she ran to the window to make sure the snow was still there.

Over the tights and pants go the overalls. Just something to keep her midsection safe from snow getting under her clothes.

Next comes the hoodie sweatshirt! Olivia tries to protect her feet by putting her gloves on them, but I patiently explain that her feet won't fit in her boots with gloves on.

The boots. They are the only ones I could find in her box of hand-me-down shoes, and I think they worked out quite well (even if they are a little, um, colorful?).

Next step...tape those gloves to her arms. They kept falling off yesterday.

The coat and hat complete the "look".

"Geez, Mom, I'm hot. Can we go play in the snow now?"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Everything here is weighted down under inches of ice and snow. See the tree behind Olivia? It doesn't usually touch the ground like that.
It has been freezing rain and/or snowing for the past 24 hours, and it finally stopped. We woke up to the sound of crashing several times last night. We thought it was sheets of ice falling off the roof, but now we think it may have been the neighbor's trees snapping off, one at a time.
Our county is under a state of emergency because of all the downed power lines and trees lying in the road, so my husband is home from work. Our residential neighborhood has buried electric which makes it less likely that we will lose power, and that is a HUGE blessing.

I wrapped Olivia in a blanket this morning and took her onto the porch for a few minutes to look at the snow. As soon as we came in she started whining and pounding on the door saying, "Side? Side?" So we decided to bundle her up to take her outside to play in the snow.

She has no fear, which is why the first thing she did was to trudge out into thigh-deep (for her) snow until she lost her balance...and came up with a face-full of snow.

After that, she was a little more content to stay on the already-shoveled areas and watch as Daddy continued to shovel the drive. A half-hour of this cold recreation was about all we could take, and now she's napping. And Daddy's still shoveling.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Our toddler-proof home

Well, the computer-in-the-dining room thing was working out OK until Olivia decided that it was her sole purpose in life to climb up and stand on the computer desk.

So, to remedy that situation and others (like the garage opening habit), we moved the couch to block the dining room entrance and bought a gate to block off the hall leading to the kitchen and garage entrances.

Works like a charm! Olivia can run and play as much as she likes in the living room and her bedroom without me constantly chasing her to pull her off of the computer or out of the garage. Why didn't we think of this before?

Oh, the changes you are willing to make for your children...

Monday, January 26, 2009

All I can say is that I'm working on it.

My blog background got all weird on me, and I had to change it. I've been fiddling with this thing for way too much of nap time already, so this is going to have to be its temporary look until I have more time to devote to it.

As a jaybird

Last night, we put Olivia to bed at the regular time, but she sort of crawled around and played in her crib for awhile. No big deal. She does that sometimes. As long as she's not crying or in distress, we just let her play and eventually she falls asleep.

We always check on her before we go to bed to make sure she has blankets or her leg is not sticking through the bars or anything. So we went in to check on her.

She was wearing nothing but her diaper.

I don't know what her fascination is with taking off her sleeper, but it's obvious that we are going to have to dress her in something other than zipper sleepers for awhile. We didn't want to wake her up, so we just put a few blankets over her and tucked her in and stiffled our laughter until we were back in our own bedroom.

Then, at 4:30 a.m. or so, I hear Olivia awake and playing in her crib. Again, this happens on occasion and we just let her fall back asleep. But around 5:00, she started to cry. I went in to check on her and found her completely na*ked and curled up in a little ball with her discarded diaper sitting in the opposite corner.

I picked her up, diapered her, dressed her and put her back in her crib, and she went back to sleep until 8:00. She probably slept pretty well for those last few hours too, being DRESSED and all.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bad Mommy

Ugh. It's been a rough morning.

I was trying to prepare a crockpot meal so that dinner would be ready when we were ready and I wouldn't need to scramble to get something together in the afternoon. Olivia tends to be a little more challenging in the late afternoon because she knows that Daddy is coming home soon, and she insists on trying to get into the garage to see if he's here every two minutes. My solution...get something going in the crockpot, then be able to pay exclusive attention to the child in the evening.

Well, Olivia decided to be challenging this morning, and after pulling her off of the computer desk for the 87th time, I decided she should go in time out. (This is the downside of having the computer in the dining room. Easy access, but challenging to keep the child from climbing up there and standing on the desk.)

Time out consists of five minutes in her crib. She HATES this. She loves her crib, but she knows when she's being punished and she just wails. But sometimes you just need to get the point across, and besides that I needed five minutes to finish my chopping and mixing for the crockpot.

After about two minutes, I heard her wail louder, and then all of a sudden she was in the kitchen, sobbing and wailing.

She climbed up and fell out of her bed.

Yes, she's done this once before, but this time she did it without the assistance of a pillow or other props. And she did it because she was mad, which makes it way worse.

She continued to cry for ten minutes and cling to me, and I felt like mud. What kind of mean mommy leaves her child to cry until she flings herself out of her bed?

*Big Heavy Sigh*

She's napping now, and I'm hoping for a better afternoon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We should buy stock in Air*borne

Once upon a time, we used to endure three, maybe four colds a year. Now we are lucky if a month passes that we DON'T all get a cold.

Olivia's cold has spread to me and her Daddy. *Sigh* I guess this is just the way life is now. I can't imagine how it would be if she were in daycare or regularly exposed to other kids.

Monday, January 19, 2009


of the previously-mentioned obsession.

This was taken moments ago. She was too quiet, so I went looking for her and found her in her new favorite hangout...nestled in among the bowling bags.

Daddy is so proud

Olivia loves to bowl. Or, at least, she loves the IDEA of bowling. It's really weird.

She knows that Daddy goes to his bowling league once a week. When he's absent from the house on that evening, she makes sure to ask me 100 times over..."Daddy, Bowl?" Yes, Daddy is bowling. Yes, he's still bowling. OK, nothing has changed since you asked me two minutes ago. Bowling, yes, that is where Daddy is.

On New Year's Eve, we took Olivia bowling for the first time, and she seemed to like it well enough. I don't think you can call what she did "bowling". She pushed a bowling ball down a ramp that was facing in the direction of pins. But she was happy doing it.

Lately, she's been talking about bowling a lot. It's like she's obsessed. She wanders around saying "Bowl, Bowl?" When we acknowledge that we know what she's saying, she runs to the front closet, drags out Daddy's bowling bag (which contains more than 30 lbs of bowling equipment) and then proceeds to try to open the zipper and empty the contents. If she is unsuccessful, she gets desperate and starts crying, "Bowl! Bowl!" with a whiny tone to her voice that usually means, "Somebody get these balls out of this bag immediately or I'm going to have a major tantrum."

We usually concede and let her play with the heavy balls, which means pushing them around the carpet.

Yesterday we decided to take her bowling after Church. She had a blast. I honestly don't know what the fascination is all about. She likes rolling the ball down the ramp, but I think she enjoys watching other people bowl even more. Or maybe she's just determined to do something that Daddy likes to do because, people, she adores her Daddy.

Last night, Olivia was wheezy and today she's snotty, and it looks like we are starting our next round of winter crud. She is tired and grumpy and pretty miserable. And all she has wanted to do this morning is drag bowling balls out of the closet. Her whiny plea for bowling is more desperate than usual.

So here's my line of thinking...she's sick, she wants comfort, Daddy provides comfort, Daddy's at work, she wants to be closer to Daddy, she thinks of bowling, she's obsessed with the bowling equipment. Irrational, yes, but it's sweet to think that she loves her Daddy so much that she wants to do stuff that reminds her of him.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My new office

OK, remember a couple of weeks ago when I was obsessing about our office and how to turn it back into a baby's room and resigning myself to the reality that our next child would have to share space with a good portion of our office furniture, including our computer? I got to that conclusion when I called our DSL provider (yes, we live in the dark ages, but at least it's not dial-up), and they told us how much they'd charge us to move the DSL line, and I refused to pay such a sum when we pay them for service every month.

Well, my genius husband, who was a communications major and has no real technical knowledge or experience, took apart the phone jacks and declared that he thought he could move the DSL jack on his own. And you know what? He did! And it works! So take THAT, DSL provider. Nya, nya!

We still have A LOT of stuff in the former office that needs a new home, but I think I have a good space to put the filing cabinet, and we may be able to find new places to put the bookcases as well. The computer was our one wild card, but now that it has been successfully moved, I'm feeling optimistic about our chances of turning that room into an ACTUAL nursery instead of just a place for baby to sleep. It's still going to take A LOT of work, but we should have some time.

Where did we put the computer? In the dining room, of course! But it didn't end up being as cramped as I expected. Once we changed the orientation of the dining room table, there was plenty of space slide the desk in next to the kitchen counter/bar.

And you know what? I kind of like it there. It makes it easier to send a quick email or print a quick document while Olivia's awake. I just have to work hard to keep it from becoming a pile of papers and mess like our former office had become.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I can't feel my toes

It is cold here. Yeah, I's cold everywhere, and certainly colder in some places than it is here. But I'm spoiled. I'm not used to subzero temperatures. I'm counting the days to Spring.

In the meantime, I'm making a list of things to pick up tomorrow...something to seal the patio door so it stops leaking frigid air into the house, maybe some caulking for the windows. I need to find out how much it would cost to get some more insulation blown into the attic because seriously...IT IS COLD!

I'll be dropping off the rest of the completed paperwork for our homestudy tomorrow. Now, if I could just do something about cleaning this office...

My niece called tonight to say that she will have another sister. They just found out the baby's sex today. That's exciting news! I told Olivia, but she didn't seem impressed.

Olivia's vocabulary is expanding. She can say "horse" and "neigh", and she has a word for milk. It's "Muh!" That's also how she moos. And she can say please. She still needs to be prompted for that one, but it's a start.

Enough randomness. I'm going to go warm up my feet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The cloudy day with silver linings attached.

Today was a long day. I had a meeting to attend, so I took the opportunity, while we were "in town", to cross a bunch of things off the homestudy checklist. Olivia and I went to the copy center to have our profile book copied, laminated and bound. We also stopped several places to get signatures for this and that. We are now finished with all paperwork that requires someone else's signature, and Olivia and I are both pretty exhausted. If we ever do this homestudy thing again, I'm definitely going to have to get a sitter while I go chasing down documents and signatures. My left arm is a bit sore from holding and restraining a squirmy 26 lb. toddler so that she wouldn't scatter colored paper all over the copy center floor.


Also in the "I need a babysitter" category, Olivia came to my meeting with me. It was a meeting of a subcommittee for an organization whose board I sit on. There was cake for someone's birthday, so that kept Olivia occupied for about half the meeting, and then she proceeded to run around throwing pens on the floor and shouting at people around the table and trying to take stuff out of everyone's purse. It was probably pretty comical for everyone in the room who isn't her mother. Next month...getting a babysitter or skipping the meeting. The shouting is only cute for about two minutes. After that, it's just annoying.

Olivia only napped for spurts in the car, so she was pretty grumpy by the time we finally got home. I managed to get her to stop whining, but then she just started pulling things off the counter and throwing toys around. Early dinner and early bath were accomplished, and I planned for an early bedtime...maybe around 6:30.

At 6:05, Olivia looked at me and started saying, "Night-night" and walking toward her room, looking back at me after every few steps. It took me a minute to figure out what she was saying, but how sweet is it that I have a child who knows she's tired and tells me when she's ready for bed?

In other news, Olivia has a couple more days of antibiotics, and I think she will be sad to be finished. She apparently loves the chalky, bubble gum-flavored concoction because every time we say "medicine", she comes running to suck the pink stuff right out of the medicine syringe. No complaints at all...well, unless you count the times she's complained because she thinks she wants more. But I'll take that over having her spit medicine all over the place any day.

Monday, January 12, 2009

One, Two, Three

Olivia's new skill is counting. She can count to three. We start out by saying "One", and then she follows it by shouting, "TWO! FREE!". We've tried to get her to five, but she can't quite remember the four. She knows five, though, thanks to the Subway commercials. She can shout Five! and hold up her hand like she's giving a high five. I'm trying to get it all on video, but she wouldn't cooperate today.

I spent most of yesterday creating our profile book which will be shown to birthparents who are choosing families for their babies. It includes a "Dear Birthparent" letter and photos of us, our house, Olivia and our family. Considering the thousands of pics I've taken over the past year, I'm pretty proud of how I was able to limit the photos of the book to about twenty and still, I think, create a pretty clear picture of who we are. We saw some samples of profile books at the agency last Wednesday, and some of them were so full of pictures that it was overwhelming. I didn't want ours to be like that.

We have a few more places to run and signatures to get, but we should be pretty close to finished with our homestudy paperwork by the end of the week. We'll have to wait a couple more weeks for references and fingerprints to come back before we can schedule the home visit, but we are definitely making progress.

Friday, January 9, 2009

(One of the) Problems with medical care

So, Olivia spiked a fever in excess of 102 degrees on Wednesday afternoon. I have NO IDEA why. It was getting late, so her doctor said we should visit a convenient care center immediately. We did, and it was the quickest medical-related trip ever, but it left me steaming. For one, the nurse couldn't get an accurate temp with her under-arm thermometer, so she was charted as having a 98.4 temp (WRONG). Then the doctor peeked in her ears and mouth, saying something about strep going around. She mentioned that there was "a little redness" in her ears, so let's put her on antibiotics.


For the record, yes, I think she likely had some sort of infection-y thing going on and probably did need antibiotics. But from an entirely objective point of view, if I were a bystander and watched a doctor prescribe antibiotics to a child who presented with no fever (supposedly) and slightly red ears, I'd be livid. DO A FREAKING TEST TO CONFIRM! Yeah, I know I'd have to pay for that, but it would be way cheaper than the consequences of antibiotic resistance that results from giving antibiotics where they aren't needed. Though Olivia may have needed them, there are many other kids with hypochondriac parents who probably don't. Please, don't give antibiotics just to placate parents. PLEASE.

We gave her the drugs anyway, mainly because she was still running a fever and didn't have any appetite. She was also doing this weird panting thing, which was scary. I just wanted her to feel better. By yesterday morning, her fever was gone and she was hungry again. So it must have been a teeny infection, but we still have to finish out the antibiotics for nine more days.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

And we're off!

This morning, we met with the social worker at the adoption agency we have chosen to lead us through our next adoption. Olivia came along and attempted to rearrange the woman's desk. We managed to limit her contact with the desk by putting her in the rolling desk chair and giving her a book. It worked for two minutes, and then she decided to use the infant bouncer in the corner as a chair instead.

Whatever makes you happy, kid.

In truth, Olivia completely charmed the social worker (as she does with everyone), so it didn't matter how many cabinets she opened or how many times she interrupted the conversation. Since we were familiar with most of the process and documents, the planned 2-hour meeting only took about an hour even with the constant toddler interruptions.

I feel pretty good about this agency. The social worker was straightforward about their fees and their process, and I left feeling like we were in good hands and wouldn't get slapped with a bunch of unexpected expenses at the end. We also saw that they provide a lot of services for pregnant women (whether they parent or place for adoption), so I think any birthmoms they work with will be in good hands too.

Now we start the process of collecting all the paperwork. I like to have something concrete to do, so this will be easy for me. We also have to put a profile together (picture book, dear birthmom letter), and this is entirely new for us, but I think it may be the most fun part of all. After all, I love to show of pics of our family and especially of Olivia.

Because she's just so darn cute.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Thoughts on the insanity of disturbing the comfortable state of things

After much obsessing and some discussion with my husband, we have decided that it's entirely OK if the next baby shares a room with the computer temporarily. It may mean that the baby has to nap in our room during the day and we sacrifice computer time at night, but it seems preferable to all the other options we have been exploring. We reserve the right to change our minds about this, but there it is.

Ultimately, we plan to have Olivia and the new baby share a room as soon as the new baby is reliably sleeping through the night. As long as we live in this house, that would absolutely be the best plan. We are also expecting the next baby to be a girl. It's just a feeling we have, and it could be entirely wrong, and we'd be happy either way, but that's the way our minds are bending when we think about two children.

I've been thinking a lot about adding kids after baby turns to toddler. We see a lot of this happening. We have several family members and friends who have kids Olivia's age and are either expecting the next baby or are planning for the next baby.

Every morning when I drag my drowsy self out of my oh-so-comfy bed, I think about how blessed I am to get 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. My child knows when it's bedtime and goes to bed without fussing. She sleeps 11-12 hours every night. She can be temperamental and challenging during the day, but I am always well-rested enough to be relatively patient and joyful about the daily task of parenting.

I'm not so far removed from the infant days, though, that I don't remember how tough they were. Part of the problem was that we were completely new at this whole newborn thing. I didn't sleep as much as I could have because I was wracked with anxiety about whether she was hungry/wet/missing her pacifier/stuck in the crib bars. Every time she cried, I wondered if it would mean that I'd be up for the next 90 minutes or if she would fall back asleep on her own. I would lay awake after putting her down from a feeding, waiting for her breathing on the monitor to slow to a sleeping pace before relaxing enough to sleep myself. You can see why it didn't work for me to have her sleeping in our room next to me. I would have gone mad.

Eventually, I did settle down and developed the ability to sleep through any extraneous crying. I had a well-honed sense of whether her cry meant she needed something or whether it was just a tired cry and she would fall back asleep on her own. As a result, Olivia developed the ability to soothe herself back to sleep, to have a reliable bedtime and wake time, and to wake up happy and playing instead of fussy and whiny.

So, the point of all this is that we've reached a comfort zone with regard to sleep. We have also reached a comfort zone with regard to our daily routine, schedule, naps, space and what we can and cannot do with a toddler.

So why are we, and so many others like us, so eager to upset that balance and introduce another baby to the house?

That is the baffling question, and I don't have an answer other than to say that we want kids. Plural. Our intent was never to have an only child. We believe that one of the greatest gifts you can give your child is a sibling. They learn so much about love and sharing and getting along with others by living with a sibling.

A child changes the way you see the world. We have so much love to give, and we just have a feeling that there's a child out there who is "meant" to be a part of our family. I don't know if that's the politically correct way to express that in the adoption world, but we felt strongly that God led us to Olivia. I feel that He's leading us to open ourselves again to adoption.

Months before we finally decided to actively pursue adoption, I started playing the "what if" game in my mind. We had already determined that I had some significant fertility issues, and we decided to start researching adoption options. I started thinking, "What if there's a child in utero right now who might become our child? What if there's a baby already growing whose birthmom is looking for a couple just like us?" This kind of question kept popping into my prayers. When Olivia was born, I tried to remember when I started having these thoughts...not just the IDEA of adoption but the concrete thoughts that there could be a real, live gestating child waiting to become a part of our family.

My best guess was that those thoughts started in late February of 2007, when we started actively researching adoption possibilities. I was home recovering from foot surgery and searching adoption websites. A couple of weeks later, we attended our first adoption seminar. We started talking to friends who had adopted. We requested information packets. By the end of Spring, we had gathered all of our information and decided to sit on it for awhile. We didn't decide to actively pursue adoption until August, a week before we got a call about Olivia's birthmom.

These little "What ifs" were just little nagging thoughts at first, and slowly they became more real scenarios to me...something I could actually imagine happening. As time went on, the adoption "promptings" in my mind became more frequent and insistent. They eventually led to us saying "yes", and before we could do anything to get the process started, God stepped in and settled the question once and for all.

Olivia was born on November 12, 2007. Which means that she was conceived've got it! February. Coincidence? I think it was God's prompting.

So, why do people give up all the comforts of life to add babies to their family? I think it has everything to do with God. What else could cause us to sign up for this insanity? This sleep-deprived, all-consuming, beautiful, amazing, crazy, wonderful insanity. Sign me up.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I've checked two things off of a list of 3475 things to do

This week starts our countdown to baby #2. We meet with the social worker on Wednesday to begin our homestudy, and while we don't have a match or a timeline for a match or anything, I've got this feeling that we HAVE to start doing something about the clutter in our house. It's my form of nesting, I guess. And with our Christmas decorations already taken down and packed away, I have no more excuses and must get started.

So, today I moved our DVD tower from the office into our bedroom. This was step one of the declutter-the-office procedure. I've decided that I must declutter and organize before I can start moving furniture out and finding new homes for everything that lives in the office.

I also cleaned off the coffee table in our bedroom. It has been in our room collecting junk because we moved it there to keep Olivia from climbing on it, and I had decided that it was time to return it to the living room. It lasted for ten minutes. Olivia climbed up and sat on it, which was fine. Then she swung her legs back and forth, which caused her little rear to slide right off. She scraped her back and neck as she was falling to the floor and I decided that Olivia and the coffee table cannot occupy the same room anymore.

So I guess I've completed 1.5 things on my list. The cleaning of the coffee table led to cleaning/dusting of the entire bedroom, so that's something. This whole project is making me exhausted, and we haven't even really started yet.

In other news, my husband has house fever. He's been looking at houses online that are for sale in our Former City where we would like to move back someday. I've managed to fight off this house fever for almost two years using the argument that he needs to have a JOB in Former City and we need to sell our current house before we start looking, but now the market is pushing prices down, and there are these really big homes that are selling for about what our house is worth, and I can see why it's hard for him not to dream. Especially when we are talking about how to squeeze a baby into our office between the bookcases and the filing cabinet (KIDDING, although we may have to put the filing cabinet and half the office furniture in the garage to make this room back into a bedroom.)

Olivia has eleven teeth now. In the midst of the holidays, I managed to forget to report that two of Olivia's bottom molars came in around mid December, and now she has one popping through on top. She hasn't complained one bit either.

Now I must get back to my project while I still have the tiniest bit of momentum and motivation and Olivia is still snoozing.

Friday, January 2, 2009

2008: A year to remember

I hear that a lot of stuff happened in the world in 2008. There was something about Olympics and other athletic accomplishments, and then there was an historic election. Somewhere in the midst of that there came a domino effect of sorts with collapsing banks and businesses and markets. I hear that some really famous people died. And other stuff happened in other parts of the world.

And while I was there to witness all of this world news going on around me, it sort of takes me by surprise that any of that happened in 2008. I was rather preoccupied.

2008 will be remembered in our family as the year we settled into family life. Olivia was seven weeks old when we entered the new year, and we were still living in the fog of new-baby-no-sleep. I went back to work, which was a shock to my system, and became temporarily addicted to coffee. I left work in March and spent the next two months trying to figure out how to keep my brain from turning to mush while spending endless hours entertaining a pre-mobile baby. These were the days before Olivia could sit up on her own, but she loved to scoot around or lay on the floor and play. And she would scream endlessly if you dared to leave her sight for any reason. Not that she wanted us to play with her...she just wanted to be able to see us while she played. Mind-numbing.

By the beginning of the summer, we had settled into a routine, and I was finally truly enjoying my full-time-mommyhood. There's a learning curve and an adjustment just takes a little time to learn to slow yourself down to the pace of what can be accomplished with a baby in tow. I was ecstatic when Olivia learned to crawl and then entertain herself without needing me to be within eyesight every second. But then she learned how to pull herself up and was constantly taking a tumble as a result. I had to watch her like a hawk.

By mid-September, Olivia had learned to walk. Then she began to run. And climb. Each stage of her development brought a new stage of learning for me, too. I had to learn which pieces of furniture were threatening her well being and how to rearrange the house so she would no longer encounter that furniture. I had to figure out creative ways to keep her from opening the curio cabinet and sticking her fingers into the VCR. I had to remember to close and lock all the doors to rooms that she can't play in because she got tall enough to open the doors on her own.

2008 was a challenging year for all of us as we learned how to live together and keep each other happy most of the time. Everything for us was a new experience...our first time taking Olivia to the park, or swimming, or her first trip to visit Great-Grampa.

And, somehow, it's hard to remember what life was like before we had a child. How did we ever keep ourselves entertained?

2008 was our first full year as a family of three. We are busier now, with a tighter budget and a greater need to discuss our family time and money priorities. But we are happy, and we wouldn't change it for the world.
Olivia's first bowling outing, New Year's Eve, 2008