a girl, a guy, a tomato, a bean, and a bear

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Eve

Another finished project! I spotted this idea from caprimaize on flickr and wanted to do something similar. Unfortunately the letters she used in hers were from Anthropologie--I love the store but can only shop there when their clearance is on clearance. Their letters were going for $18 a pop. Ouch. So that kind of ruled that out for me at this point and I managed to find some decent substitutes at Hobby Lobby for about a buck each. The typography isn't as stylish, but it's modern and simple enough, and for the savings it was the way to go!

I've been working hard trying to get the house straightened up. I'm still unpacking and rearranging from the move, and then throw in Christmas decorations to the mix. Between Evie, Choky, and Justin, (okay, and me too) it's as if entropy exists here at a rate unparalleled anywhere else in the universe.

I finally gave up tonight, moved as much clutter as possible out of the living room and took pictures as if this is how the place actually looks.

It should be fun navigating the way down the hall in the dark tonight without waking Evie.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Glasses, glass, girl, giggles (and spoon)

What to do on the Monday before Christmas?

Get your groove on

This kid can move.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Almost guaranteed to be the prettiest thing you hear today.

This is the a singing of "A Christmas Blessing" written by Phillip Stopford in Belfast Cathedral, Northern Ireland, conducted by the composer, October 2008. Our choir at Centenary is singing this and it just makes me swoon.


Monday, December 14, 2009

This weekend



my girl

What day is it today?? The fourteenth? As in, Christmas-is-in-a-week-from-Friday the fourteenth of December? Where has this month gone? Where has the year gone for that matter??

This weekend was really low key for us as Justin got a bad stomach bug that landed him horizontal and unable to eat for pretty much 48 hours. He said he didn't feel all that bad other than for the fact that he couldn't control his bodily functions and for the persistent pain in his abdomen. (I tucked Evie's bear under his arm for that photo. This prompted him to mutter, "Can't a man be sick in peace?" Then he smiled.)

His not eating this weekend has caused me to come face to face with an unfortunate reality. I'm having a hard time justifying holiday baking this year. It simply doesn't feel quite like Christmas without lots of baked goods around, but when your household comprises of two adults (both hoping to watch their weight), a 17 month old and a puli, there's not a lot of room for sweets. I have a couple of recipes waiting to be made, but I know how this story will end: I will make the cookies, and then I will eat them. Probably mostly by myself, because I'm quick like that. This would be delicious, but not good for me, so I'm needing to come up with an alternate plan. Either 1) I do not make the cookies or 2) I make the cookies and then find someone else to whom I can give/mail them. Hmmmm....

After a major cold snap last week, it's been a bit warmer (40s-50s) the past couple of days. I have to admit that I miss the super cold weather. There's something really nice to me about having the tiniest bit of a chill in the house so that you need a cozy blanket for snuggling. I like walking past the windows and feeling the cold outside in contrast to the warmth indoors.

The Christmas tree has presented an interesting challenge for Evie. She can go for hours without paying much attention to it, but when she does turn her attention to it, there's no distracting her. We've explained that the ornaments and lights are for looking, not touching, but unfortunately this is a concept that Evie feels is open for debate. "No" brings tears often nowadays, and I can't help but be amused by them, because they are the biggest crocodile tears you ever saw. If you look closely in that third picture you'll see a big wet one above her grin. My father always teased me about my ability to laugh and cry at the same time, and as far as I can tell, this one has inherited the trait.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The alphabet, a la Evelyn.

She's been doing this for a little while now, and of course, never does it as well for the camera as on the fly, but you can get the picture. As well as letters, she is now repeating the beginnings of many words; "ba" for bottle, "ma" for makeup, "ch" is Chokydar (although my family swears she can say Chokydar, I've still never heard it...), etc.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Watch out Fred and Ginger

She's testing out her new red Christmas shoes and has discovered that the hollow ornament box makes for a lovely tapping surface. Think Top Hat with her as Fred, and the ornament boxes "downstairs" as Ginger, trying to get some sleep. Lord help me if she finds some sand for soft shoe...

And yes, that is an empty prescription bottle she's playing with.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Deck the Halls

i lost count

I have about six craft projects in the works at any given time. It's so easy to keep gathering materials for them, and you can come across so many neat ideas for things; it's much more difficult finding the time to actually do them.

Lately I've been looking around and taking inventory of all the unfinished projects...my granny square blanket (I've lost most of my motivation on that one as it came through the move a little musty), another crocheted afghan I'd nearly finished only to have to unravel and rework due to shoddy joining technique, a Christmas quilt, stockings (indefinitely on hold), oh, and there are so many more. I decided it was a good time to stop collecting and start working with what I have. First up was this ornament wreath I've been wanting to make ever since I came across this photo on flickr by pixiegenne. I still like hers more, but I think I made a fair approximation, especially for a first attempt.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Look Loretta!

It's not much, but I put pen to paper. (Or digital stylus to tablet, as the case may be...)

Thanks for encouraging me. :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009



~ Yes they are lovely she thought, but are there enough? ~

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Isn't she lovely?

We went home for Thanksgiving and had our first big family gathering in many years. Now that we've been stateside for a few months, I've stopped thinking of everything we do in terms of stateside vs abroad, but events like this stand out in such contrast because we weren't able to take part in the family gatherings for so long.

It struck me how special it was to be in the home where I grew up. Justin and I held Evelyn's hand as she walked around the cul-de-sac where I used to play with my brother and sister. The times we had back then...riding our bikes incessantly around that little concrete circle, imagining ourselves to be cops and robbers, wild animals, you name it. We used the curb as a balance beam to see if we could walk the perimeter of the street without touching the grass or road. So many happy childhood memories flooded back for me, and how special it was to be there again with my husband and daughter (and dog) and the rest of my family.

Even the air at night had that magical "Christmas smell," as I like to call it. Parking in that driveway, letting the dog out at night in that back yard, those trees, that back patio with its particular cracks and crooked benches my parents made so long ago--I soaked it all in and appreciated it in a way I don't think I ever have before.

My mother still has a good deal of my grandmother's things from after her death in 2006, and we took time to go through some of them together. There were pictures, photos, letters, figurines, a curious lockbox no one could open (I'm still dying to know what's in there...part of me hopes we can never get it open...) and it was cathartic for me to see my grandmother's things again. I came back from Germany in May of 2006, when her death seemed imminent, to have a final visit, but was unable to be there for her funeral that June. I was able to say my goodbyes, but I never have felt complete closure. I suppose it is just that way with loved ones who leave us.

Mixed in with these things we came across a set of class pictures of my mother from her school days. I asked her if I could scan them and share them and she said I could. Isn't she completely lovely? I must say my favorite pictures are the first (she tells of having just given herself a haircut secretly in the closet days before), and the last, when she looks so grown up and transformed at age 15. You really must click on the picture and then view it in it's original size on flickr by clicking the "all sizes" button.

isn't she lovely?

Now I need to find my old class pictures as well. I swear I never looked as put together as she did!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Do you have tickets?

Last weekend we took a trip up to Tulsa with friends to go to the Tulsa Arms Show. The photo above, sadly, was not from the show. Cameras were not allowed at the show, which was a real pity, as the place was PACKED with priceless photo opportunities. I can only recount for you tales of the Cape Buffalo hoof ashtray (I'm not kidding; it was going for $50), the Tactical Girls selling calendars (of themselves--scantily clad, but with firearms of course), and innumerable old-timey mustaches that would make Yosemite Sam green with envy.

I have to say that when we first arrived on the scene, I felt maybe more than a bit uncomfortable by the line of people waiting to enter with their rifles slung over their shoulders. Once on the inside the fairgounds, however, I think the sheer number of weapons saturated and short circuited my senses, and I have to say that I had a really enjoyable time at the show. There were, as mentioned, many funny and amusing sites to see, but also lots of very interesting historical displays and collector items that I found really fascinating. I also was tickled by the handful of jewelry displays strategically placed near the exits, as if to remind a gun-laden fellow that he might want to bring something special home for the little lady as well. Either a diamond ring or perhaps a semi-automatic pistol with pink mother of pearl grips.

Have I mentioned lately how much I'm enjoying Oklahoma? God bless America.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sixteen months, three days ago.

Dear Evelyn,

I'm going to be better. I did not write you a fourteen or fifteen month letter, and when I realized that Sunday was your 16 month marker I made up my mind to write you a letter this month. I figured I'd better catch up on where I left off, so I went back to read the last letter (13 months) and Evie, do you know what happened? I'm crying. I'm crying now, because you're growing up so fast. Right before my eyes, honey, and I'm amazed and proud and terrified. When last I wrote, you were not yet walking.

And now?
You are running.
You are dancing to theme songs.
You love to try on hats.
You help me to dress you.
You have a limited amount a patience (as opposed to none at all).
You "read" books by yourself.
You "talk" all the time.
You mimic things that we do.
You do movements along to the songs we sing.
You want to help me with everything I'm doing. Sometimes this is helpful and sometimes just "helpful."
You can open and operate a variety of cell phones. And flip car keys.
You give Chokydar kisses.
You have a favorite stuffed animal (the pound puppy that was mine as a child).
You LOVE drinking from "normal people" glasses.
You kiss yourself in mirrors.
You love carrying around pillows so as to have a convenient place to fall over laughing.
You have a love bordering on obsession with my grandmother's Huphrey Hug-a-bear that I know would bring her no end of joy.
You understand most instructions and we've started to discipline you in earnest.
You give koala bear hugs where you stick on our necks tighter than velcro.
You are a major problem solver.
You love opening and closing cabinets.
You also love hiding things in cabinets. This has led me to ask you where missing items might be, and you are 1) not only able to recognize the question but also 2) sometimes able to find the item. Evelyn, this is amazing.
You have empathy for Chokydar when she's worried or barking. You say "Uh oooooh!" when you drop something.

You light up our lives and bring us indescribable joy.



Friday, November 6, 2009

When you say medium, do you mean small or large?

We have the amazing fortune to have a drive thru Starbucks here in town. We also have another little cafe style restaurant (similar to, although not quite as good as Panera) called Atlanta Bread Comapny. Well, when we were first settling in and without our cooking supplies, we frequented both of these establishments a bit more than...well, we'll just say 'normal' and leave it at that.

I've heard comedians do routines about Starbucks and their tall, grande, and venti versions of the standard small, medium, and large sizes. Personally I've never had a hard time keeping them straight, but low and behold, at Atlanta Bread their small is called short, their medium is called tall and their large is called grande. Okay, now this actually probably makes more sense than the system at Starbucks, but in reality what it does is get you a larger size than you intended. You go in wanting a small, order a tall out of habit and suddenly you have a medium. Confused yet? Wait for this...

So one day at the Chick-fil-a drive thru window a few weeks back while I was sick, I wanted a chocolate shake. The voice from the box asked what size I wanted. "Small, please," I replied, but then added, "well, what size is your small?" You know how different places have different size cups sometimes, right? This was her response:

"Oh, it's a small size cup."

Brilliant. Very informative and helpful. Being sick and guessing that was as good an answer as I was going to get, I just went with the mystery sized small and moved on.

Now today I was back at Chick-fil-a again (please, no judging...), this time to get the seasonally offered peppermint chocolate chip shake (oh. yes.) When I asked for a medium (I'm judging myself) the girl came back over the box and said that they only come in large or small. Really? Okay. She proceeds to follow that statement up with, "But the large comes in the medium size cup, so do you want that?" I was so confused that I just said "yes" and got a milkshake the size of a small cat.

So to sum up, small is either short or tall, medium is non-existent, tall or grande, and large is one of three: venti, grande, or a small cat.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

mostly pictures...wait nevermind, I ramble too.

Snuggle Time

Snuggle Time

Snuggle Time

Horsing Around


Horsing Around

Horsing Around

Horsing Around


I've got my (magical) desk assembled and was able to get my shiny new iMac put up. It. Is. Amazing. Things are slowly starting to find their way into drawers, shelves, and cabinets, clearing the floor for purposes like, you know, walking. It feels so good to have things begin to settle. There's still a long way to go, and I had the thought the other day about how I'm likely to get the last few things into place the week before the movers come again in the spring. Still, it makes for an exciting life.

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I struggled a bit (sometimes a little more than a bit) with living in Germany. It's something that is difficult for me to admit, because in my mind there is this notion that it should have been an entirely magical experience, one that we would look back on longingly and cherish for all our days, eternally pining for schnitzel and driving our children crazy with stories of black forest cake and the Rhine. It just wasn't the case for me. It was a good experience--I don't regret living there, but it was limiting in many ways and isolating. I made a few treasured friends in Baumholder, ones I hope to keep always, but on the whole it was a very lonely time. I've always considered myself an introverted person, but in my own way I've always made connections with people of shared interests. Growing up I was involved in choir, in junior high there was band, high school had choir and theater, and LTC dominated my college years. Connections like those were practically non-existent in Germany.

When I found myself unhappy, I felt the fault must lie with me. If I couldn't manage to find excitement and happiness in magical Germany, it must me my problem, my failure. As we prepared for our move back to America and I looked forward to coming home after four long years abroad, I began to worry that my restless dissatisfaction with some aspects of my life there would follow me home.

I am so relieved to find that this has not been the case. Being back home has been everything I longed for. Closer to family, closer to friends, able to communicate, sure of what to expect and able to seek out options and opportunities--we've found Lawton (often not considered a glamour spot in the Army) to be fantastic. That deserves extra emphasis: fantastic. The sun shines, the sky is so huge and blue--it seems to stretch eternally. We're in our own (rented) little home instead of a cramped apartment. We've found a church and I've joined the choir there and already met some wonderful new people. I'm excited about opportunities to take classes again.

I really didn't anticipate sitting down to write a post today. I had these pictures we'd taken the other day of Justin and Evie and looking at the ones of them playing outside just filled me with such joy. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: It is good to be home.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

For a few months now Evie's nickname of the moment has been "B," so when I came across this fantastic costume I knew what she had to be this year. We went to three houses trick or treating this year--four including our own. Evie can say a version of "boo," although she would only say it to me as we walked between houses, and not to the neighbors. That's probably for the best, as that much cuteness might have been overwhelming for someone caught unprepared.

We drove three and a half hours down to Frisco, near Lake Dallas today, specifically to go to IKEA. I've been craving a desk they have, and it had begun to be kind of unhealthy how much I longed for it. After a failed attempt earlier this week to get down there, we finally made it and got the desk, although we came close to leaving without it.

If you've been to IKEA, you know how they have the warehouse section where you pick up furniture. Well, for whatever reason, this desk has to be picked up from a seperate area, after check out, in the "furniture pick up" area. NO clue why. I had to request a slip for it from the information guy in the regular warehouse section. I very clearly said that I wanted the Besta Burs desk in high gloss white. He confirmed the color and printed out my paper. I glanced at it fleetingly--the price matched, yada yada yada, okay off to the check out. We made our way over to the special furniture pick up area, turned in the paper and waited about 10 minutes for them to wheel out the boxes. We signed for them and rolled all our goodies out to the car.

Now this sounds like a fairly easy process, but let me tell you, after a 3.5 hr drive with a one year old, your stress level simply stays at an elevated level. We got out to the car to pack the boxes in--I'd measured from the dimensions given online to see if they'd fit in the Tiguan with the car seat there--supposedly they would. It was at this time that I looked more closely at the boxes that held my beloved desk. Oddly, the boxes had pictures of a tv stand on them--not a desk at all. Huh...that's weird I thought I wonder why they would put pictures of a tv stand on the box of a desk. When I pointed this out to Justin he looked at me blankly and suggested, "It's probably not the desk. It's probably a tv stand."

I guess I was in denial about this possibility because in my mind "DESK" and "TV STAND" do not sound very similar at all, and I wondered how the clerk in the warehouse could have misunderstood--we are afterall back in America, where I can speak English and get things I want. Sure enough, however, after carting the heavy thing back inside with my receipt, it was confirmed that the boxes marked "tv stand" were in fact, a tv stand and not a desk. I am sooooooooooo glad that we caught this in the parking lot and not back at home, after a 7 hour roundtrip journey, nay, quest to get this desk.

The house is still a mess--slightly more put together than an explosion, but I'm making small progress daily. I hope to have pictures to share soon.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Settling In and A Parental Rite of Passage

I'm sure as the years go by I'll get a little better at this moving thing. Right now the process is not very streamlined.

We have received both of our shipments now--the first being the unaccompanied baggage shipment, the stuff we'd hung onto the longest in Germany. It included things like a few pots and pans, Evie's crib and swing, toys, sheets, curtains, tools, and clothes. It also, unfortunately was pretty severely damaged in transit. Many of the boxes had gotten really wet and/or were crushed. Evie's crib was molded, as were a bunch of Justin's army gear, papers, and more than a few other things. Thankfully, some of the things survived, and in the end it's just stuff anyway. We'll have to file a claim for damages...joy.

The other shipment arrived a day earlier than we'd expected, on Columbus Day rather than the 13th. The moving crew was eager to be GONE, and didn't do the best job unpacking. As I better learn the way this sort of thing works I'm sure I'll be more assertive in making sure they do things the way they're supposed to. This time was definitely another learning experience.

As we've unpacked, we've noticed a few things appear to be missing. Firstly, our silverware. I chose Gorham's Golden Ribbon Edge for our pattern and we've loved it. I don't know if we have a missing box, if it's hidden somewhere among Christmas decorations or books in a mislabeled box, or if it was, as they say, ganked. I'm bummed about that though. There's a handful of other things that we haven't found yet, including the power cord for the TV. The TV arrived no problem, but it's sort of hard to use if you can't turn it on...I contacted Panasonic, but they don't seem to have replacement parts for our model. Ha. Ha.

This Wednesday we were excited to welcome a house guest into the midst of our cardboard jungle, Justin's friend Eric. They've been alternating shifts in Iraq for the last four/five years. Erc's on leave during his third tour and Justin's done two. We haven't gotten to see him since 2004, so it was a long overdue and anticipated visit. He arrived Wednesday night right before we put Evie to bed and we settled down to visit after she was snuggly asleep.

About an hour and a half after she went down, everyone froze as we thought we heard her stir. Justin went in to lull her back to sleep, as is the routine, but after a moment he called to me, and I knew something was up. As I went down the hall I heard her cough, and it didn't sound good. She'd been completely normal during the day; not so much as a runny nose, so this was completely out of the blue. She was raspy and had a terrible gutteral cough that sounded kind of like a goose. She both wanted to be held, but struggled against me as if in pain. She didn't feel feverish, but it was clear something was wrong.

I called my mother to see if she knew what was up, but she couldn't be sure over the phone what was up and advised us to go with our gut about whether or not she needed to be seen. On other nights (when she's fallen, for instance), we've opted against taking her in, but that night we thought we'd better go on into the ER, just in case. As we readied her to go, she threw up and which was a first for her too.

We arrived about 12:30 am and got checked in and immediately were seen to have her vitals taken and figure out what the symptoms were. After that we were told to have a seat in the waitinig area, where there were at least a half dozen people ahead of us waiting to be seen. Around the room there were signs posted stating that for non-urgent cases, you could expect to wait perhaps 3-4 hours to be seen, and in some cases up to 8 hours. I overheard someone across the room grumble about having been there since 10:30 pm and I began to get nervous. The night air and car ride had soothed Evie, and she was feeling curious about her new surroundings. Still, she was exhausted and not feeling her best, and I knew it was a matter of time before we hit serious Disintegration Mode.

As the time passed and little progress was made to see those in line before us, I began to feel a little desperate. She needed to be seen, even though it didn't appear that she was critically ill, but I worried we were doing more harm that good to have her out of bed for hours on end in the middle of the night. With no end in sight, it was a very horrible and helpless feeling to rock the little ball of hurt and know there just wasn't anything to be done but wait.

It felt like forwever, but we were seen after waiting for an hour and a half. The doctor examined her--by this time, whether due to a second wind or the excitement of a new place, she was all smiles and joy. We totally felt like idiots, like when you bring your car into the mechanic because it's been sounding like it's about to explode only suddenly, upon examination, it purrs like a kitten. He checked her over thoroughly though and pronounced that she has a case of croup. (I'd like to advise whoever is in charge of naming things to come up with a different name for this infection, because "CROUP" sounds AWFUL.) From what we've observed, her case is fairly mild, thank goodness, although the doc said it can last up to 2 weeks. Thankfully, Justin's class hasn't yet begun, so if we're in for a lot of sleepless nights, at least we can cover eachother for naps during the day.

It was a relief to have a diagnosis and course of action that night for sure. It's also a blessing to have good friends like Eric, who don't so much as blink when you rush to the emergency room three hours after welcoming them into the house, leaving them alone with a crazy Hugarian as company.

Last night Evie slept just fine, although she has been definitely feeling under the weather.

Chokydar is still getting used to Eric.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Hahahaha I have to share this video...I was searching for a childrens' song my sister had introduced us to while in Houston--it had a rooster and a character named Stingyman and his son Tightwad, but alas I could not find it. I did however find this clip. I was amused. I hope you are as well.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Let me e'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

I haven't had a chance to sit down at a computer for more than 10 minutes now for nearly a month, so please forgive me for the long absence! There is too much that has happened to capture, but I will try to give you a highlight reel:

The flight back home had some memorable moments--including 1) the moment when we thought we'd forgotten the bolts to secure Chokydar's kennel for the flight after having to split it in half to fit in the rental car; they were in Justin's pocket after all. WHEW. 2)A Chuck Norris look alike who played peek a boo with Evie on the flight for at least 10 minutes 3)the realization that Evie's "sleepy noises," a guttural grunt "uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuungh" which we know and love is, in fact, annoying to some fellow passengers 4)getting 9 hours in to the flight and resorting to choreographing "Surrey With the Fringe on the Top" from Oklahoma for Evelyn's entertainment.

All in all, it was as good of a trip as we could have expected. Upon landing, we creeped everyone out by how happy we were by completely mundane things. "Oh look! ENGLISH!...traffic signs...etc, etc."

We flew into Dallas, rented a car and drove to Houston the next day to visit family. We went to church at St. Paul's on Sunday and bought our new car, a 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan on Monday. I'd done TONS of research and we had such a pleasant car buying experience, it kind of unnerved me. Ours is silver with black cloth and the panoramic sunroof. I couldn't be happier with it so far!

We did lots of visiting and a good deal of window shopping in Houston. We made it to the zoo and the terracotta figure exhibit at the Museum of Natural Science. And we ate a LOT of good food...Starbucks, Panera, Le Peep, Ruggles, Coldstone, Chick-fil-a, Saltgrass Steakhouse, BJ's Brewery, Outback, Blue Bell ice cream, and Brown Sugar's BBQ just to name a few. Now we are fat and making our recovery.

We got to visit with some good friends, including the beautiful Jennifer Gilbert, and The Boy and family. SOOO good to spend time together!!

We drove up to Oklahoma on Wednesday--the 8+ hour drive was maybe even more exhausting than our transatlantic flight. We left around 6:30 am from Houston and didn't arrive in Lawton until nearly 4 pm.

We're in guest housing now (aka a rather crummy hotel), but it does have a (barely) passable kitchenette, so at least we've been able to start weaning ourselves from fast food. We're hunting for a home to rent now, and have a likely prospect that we hope to secure in the coming days.

I can't get over how excited I am to be back in America, how overjoyed I am by little pleasures, seeing family and friends, and by having a drive-thru Starbucks that's new in Lawton since the last time we were here.

Life is so good.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I have this little problem. Did I mention I have this problem?

It's crazy to me that it's been two weeks since I've posted anything. It's been one of those time paradox things lately where time seems to both drag on forever and fly by. We've been both crazy busy and bored out of our minds. With just the government furniture and what we're carrying with us, it's been a task to try and occupy Evelyn and maintain her usual routine. We've been taking a lot of walks.


The other day I was walking down to the dental clinic to put in a request for my records and one of the orange housing repair trucks drove up to the curb and stopped. The driver got out to go about his business, but not before drawing up short and looking at me, "You are always walking! I see you walking everywhere all the time!"

Our car has shipped now, so it's in part out of necessity. Walking is also often necessary to get Evie to take a nap. She'll fall asleep in the stroller when she simply refuses to in the travel crib. She never has a problem (KNOCK ON WOOD) going to sleep in the crib at night, but during the day, she fights it tooth and nail and will not submit. It makes for a pretty miserable situation for all involved, so when things get too cranky, we just go for a walk. Chokydar is loving it.

I keep thinking of all of these "I can't wait until..."s. I can't wait until we clear housing (Tuesday). I can't wait until we're on the plane (Friday). I can't wait until we're in Houston (Saturday). I can't wait until we get our cell phones, buy our car, get to Oklahoma, find a place to live...the list is kind of endless. Lately, I've begun to get a little sick of myself.

I've been looking forward to this move for MONTHS now. Maybe even years, really. In the past, it's been a low level buzz in my consciousness, always in the far background of my mind. Since about July though, it's been more like rock music (or Broadway showtunes in my case) playing loud and clear, pretty much dominating my every waking thought, and I'm officially tired of it.

There have been so many things to do, so many details to take care of, it's been a kind of dream and nightmare for someone who's pretty detail and planning obsessed as I am. It's fun to see everything coming together, but it's also incredibly nerve racking to ensure that things go off without a hitch. I imagine all the worst case scenarios and worry about them to no end. What if our appointment/reservation at "x" wasn't written down properly on their books and we show up and they have no room for us?? What if I accidentally packed something essential? What if Evie gets sick or hurt? What if we get to the airport and they refuse to let Chokydar fly? It isn't helpful and it isn't productive. And it's downright annoying.

I caught myself the other day repeating the same thing to Justin for the third time in a row. Okay, maybe not in a row...I probably threw in a random sentence every other line to make it seem like I wasn't harping on the same worry over and over again. I could tell by his exasperated but loving expression that I was starting to grate on his nerves, and suddenly I realized I was grating on my own nerves. I told him, "I'm going to try and stop repeating myself. I'm doing it all the time and it's beginning to get really old. I know it's just because I'm stressed and worried but I just keep saying the same things over and over and so" [pause] "So I going to try and stop...repeating...myself...OH CRAP I'M DOING IT AGAIN!"

It's been an exciting few months, but I'm ready to be settled. I'm ready to pick up my "real" life again, to get back into my drawing and crafts, to cook real food, to run errands, to visit with friends and family, to grow and begin a new chapter.

And apropos of nothing, here are some great videos of Evie--one of her playing with Chokydar and one where she tries to mail herself to Abu Dhabi. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Almost there...

baby and granny

baby and granny

baby and granny

baby and granny

baby and granny

baby and granny

baby and granny

We're making progress on a lot of fronts here lately. We're less than 20 days out from our flight back to the states now, I'm up to 13x13 rows on my blanket and, most exciting of all, Evie has taken one or two steps on her own!

Check out the video with Evie almost walking!! She is so close now! We flipped out the other day when she took two tiny steps hands free to get from the coffee table to the travel crib. She doesn't make an attempt all the time, but I just know it's coming soon...

I've decided to add two more columns and maybe 4-6 more rows on the blanket, although I think that will make it larger than most throws. I am a sucker for oversized blankets, though, and I figure I can make another--perhaps in fancier yarn--that is more "normal" sized.

The second move date is this coming Thursday, and I'd love to finish the blanket by then, althoguh there's no practical reason why it would ship better finished rather than incomplete. I'll still have remaining yarn either way; I already have ideas on what to do next.

I've been treading water, so to speak, in so many ways the last few weeks, having to wait on many of the things that are left to do before leaving. I've been cleaning around the apartment, but all the major cleaning needs to wait until closer to our clear date, otherwise I'll just need to do it all again. I'm anxious to get more information about buying our car--I contacted Houston VW dealerships back in July to get preliminary info, but now I'm waiting for the end of August to see what deals and incentives will be available in September for us. All exciting things. All teaching me patience. Or at least making me wait.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thirteen months old (yesterday)

don't move


Yesterday you became thirteen months old. I know you can’t count quite yet, but when you get older and look back over these posts you’ll realize we’ve encountered a problem. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, thirteen. That’s right. I’ve dutifully been writing these love letters to you monthly--every thirty some-odd days since you arrived on the scene--only last month for the big ONE, I didn’t do it. I could blame it on the move, on crazy schedules and busy times; saying goodbye to friends, on packing and preparations, but if I’m being honest with myself and you, it’s because I’m having a bit of a hard time coming to grips with you growing up.

You’re not yet walking (although you’re sooooo close), but to me, I think you’re already a toddler rather than a baby. Every time I say this your father responds with, “No! She’s still a baby!” I think you always will be to him, just fyi. You’re still making leaps and bounds with your motor skills—gross and fine, you’re babbling to anyone who will listen or sometimes to no one at all, you are quite the problem solver and have a great sense of humor. Your father or I will call out excitedly, “Did you see that??” when you do something amazing, like stand on your own and balance unassisted for half a minute or so. But there’s some X factor that’s taking place, Lamby, and you’re metamorphosing in front of my very eyes.

You’re down to two nursings a day now, and I think you’re about to go down to one, as we’ll probably eliminate the morning session any time now. You’re trying new foods and sampling off of our plates as well. I can’t wait to get back to the states to see what new things we can experiment with. You’ve been resisting your morning nap in favor of a single afternoon nap as well. You love to play on the floor with your daddy or “run away” down the hall and have us chase after you. You’re very graceful, but when you fall, you fall spectacularly. In all honesty, it scares the bejeebies out of me every time it happens. You face plant after a false step and go from all smiles to wails of pain and fear. Before I can even assess the state of your busted lip you’re squirming out of my lap, eager to go knock yourself silly again.

It’s really clear now that you can understand a good deal of what I’m saying—if not word for word, than certainly the intent or tone comes through. You respond to simple commands or questions with an inquisitive look, smile, or pout. You have a “new face” that is something akin to a wide eyed, teeth bared (you have four now, btw—teeth, that is) grimace that is used when you are surprised, taken aback by something, or are unsure. Chokydar brings about this look a lot. I’ve got to get a picture of it, because it is totally priceless. You can sometimes handle “no” without much ado, but other times it can send you into a complete fit, stomping feet and all.

You’re liberal with your kisses, and are, on occasion, a biter. You like playing with my yarn. You love “reading.” You prefer the letters “O,” “Q,” and “B,” and “D.” You rock out to hip hop, oldies, and Motown. You point your toes like a ballet dancer and like to brush your teeth with Baby Orajel.

This time next month, we’ll be in America. There are so many things I want to show you, I don’t even know where to start. I know that you won’t remember your time here in Germany, but it has been a happy time, for the most part, and you have been such a source of joy for us in this past year.

I love you. I can’t say it enough.



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