Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sleep? Sleep?!?! SLEEEEEEEPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anja has been sleeping well for the past two nights!! Not only that, but she's also been taking three hour naps!! This is wonderful on so many levels. For one thing, it guarantees a happy baby in the morning AND in the afternoons. Aside from that, it means that Martin and I are getting more sleep. Everyone wins! Funnily, she is coming up on her 14-month birthday and the manager at University Books has told Martin that his son (now grown up) woke up every two hours every night until he was fourteen months old, and then he magically started sleeping through the night. I don't expect Anja to sleep through the night, but only waking up three or four times is a huge improvement!

Happy New Year to all. I really hate New Years. I know I go off on a rant about this on this day every year, but I'll just recap my life again: I've only ever had ONE great New Years Eve. And, it was really fun... but still. Over twenty-five years, you'd think I'd have more than one. Tonight we will be partying it up in true Schap style. We are tossing around the idea of inviting our parents over to play games, but more likely we'll end up playing games by ourselves. We won't toast in 2009 because we haven't bought alcohol in more than six months, and we won't go out for all the obvious reasons. Maybe we'll pop popcorn and share a ginger ale. And I highly doubt we'll be staying up until midnight.

But that's okay, I'm really not complaining. Someday when our kids are older New Years will be fun again because at least THEY will get excited for it, and we'll always let them stay up till midnight. Maybe we'll even start a fun New Years tradition with them. Who knows!

Martin has a half day today! If Anja is not napping when he gets off work, we're going to meet up someplace. I'd like to buy a wireless card today for our computer so that we can set up the wireless internet. I'm really looking forward to early-morning blog and email checking in my pajamas. We've been meaning to get the wireless card since Boxing Day, but we just keep not doing it.

Anja is awake!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Camera Thoughts, Baby Thoughts

So, I thought I had lost my camera the other day, but lucky for me I only left it up at my parents' house on Christmas. So even if I had made the move to take any pictures over the last few days, I would've been out of luck anyway! Whenever I get it back I'll start taking pictures of Anja again in all her cute new clothes.

I've been thinking lately about this next baby and how weird it is that we're having another one and the differences that would come with having a boy vs. having a girl. Having another girl would definitely be more convenient... and having a boy kind of terrifies me since Anja is such a sweet little girl and Martin was such a demon of a little boy. Not that I'm hoping for one or the other... Mostly I THINK it's a boy. I'm MUCH more sure of this than I was in thinking Anja was a boy. I'm mostly more sure because of how ginormous I am at only 6 months. Yikes! Seriously, if I don't have this baby considerably early, I'll have to give birth at the Large Animal Hospital with all the delivering elephants. Plus, I seem to be carrying this baby differently, and in a much less attractive way than I carried Anja. None of my clothes fit well. I'm still wearing regular jeans (a few hundred sizes bigger than normal) but my maternity shirts just don't seem to fit right. And I can't really figure out what to do about it. Martin is begging me to go out and get myself some new maternity clothes. He says he doesn't understand how I can drop $5 on a bagel and coffee but then I hem and haw over a $5 maternity shirt that I'll wear for years to come. I didn't really have an answer for him, so I guess Anja and I will go out to Once Upon a Child this afternoon and look at their selection. Also, I'd like to have some brown pants. I'm getting kind of tired of blue jeans.
Anyway, the weird thing about having a second baby is that everything baby-related in our house belongs to Anja. Even her more boyish things are hers. I'm glad we're having these first two so close together so that our possessions more quickly become "baby things" instead of "Anja things." Still, it's difficult to think of a different little person using all of her little recieving blankets, wearing her green froggie jammies, and sleeping in her bassinet.

I think Anja and I are going out to Ivy Tech this afternoon for lunch with Martino! He is "working late" tonight. Ha! They consider 6:30 late at this new job. They tell them to come in late on the days they are asked to stay late but Martin has such a set routine in the morning that he just couldn't bring himself to do it, so he went in at his usual time. Because of this, he won't feel too bad taking a full hour lunch break with me and Anja Pie. Also, I'm taking him all the Christmas presents that he got to decorate his office.

My sweet tooth is talking to me. Actually, my whole mouth of sweet teeth are talking to me, and they're telling me to make some chocolate chip cookies. *Sigh* They are so demanding sometimes.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Buckets of Fun!

I know I said Christmas Day was kind of crazy, but since that chaos has died down we've been having nothing but fun! On Boxing Day (yesterday), Martin's family has a tradition of going out and hitting the after-Christmas sales at the mall. Now, Martin and I are neither one big mall-goers, nor are we big shoppers, but this is a fun tradition anyway, especially since we get to eat lunch at Luca Pizza! Yesterday we ended up being a group of 10, which was kind of big for shopping (mostly we spent the day keeping track of each other, and then Martin and I had to break off because Anja got a little crazy and none of us had eaten, so we went to find food) but it was still fun! AND Martin got three new pairs of pants for work, which is something he desperately needed. We are going back sometime this weekend to look for work shoes for him... his brown shoes have sprung leaks and he comes home on the wet and snowy days with soaked socks!

We came home from shopping and all three of us were worn out. Anja took a good nap and didn't wake up until 6:00. By that time Auntie Perkalator had come over and we were making plans for people to come over and play Boggle and eat Chinese Food. It ended up just being Joel, Perkins, and TusaRebecca, with Emily showing up for a few rounds of Boggle. Fun! We stuffed ourselves full of Chinese Food (leftovers will be eaten tonight) and had a good time. It's fun when Anja takes late naps and stays up later than usual because we can be social and loud without waking her up. Plus, she enjoys having all those people over.

This morning we all slept in until 8:00 and didn't get out of bed until 8:30. We lounged around downstairs for awhile, Anja opened the last of her Christmas presents from us, and eventually she went down for a morning nap (surprisingly) and I was able to jump in the shower before the Marmalejo's came for their visit. Luckily, Clare forgot about the time change and it didn't matter that I was just getting in the shower at 10:00, which had been her estimated time of arrival. They got here at 11:00 (which makes them very prompt, considering the time zone thing) and we had a very fun time! We visited for awhile and Anastasia played with all of Anja's toys while Anja finished out her very long nap. I was so happy that they said they liked our house and that it was cute and cottage-y! I find that the biggest compliment anyone can give us. I feel that way about my house, but I know it's a little dirty too, and I always hope that people aren't just grossed out by it. Aaaanyway.... it can be a challenge to get Martin REALLY laughing, but Nick succeeded in doing this, which is great. Once Anja woke up we all walked down to Scagnoli's for lunch. Yum! On the walk back we bumped into the Schafer girls. From there we drove over to Vienna where we had more of a good time, and eventually their little family went on back to Munster and we stuck around Vienna to hang out with Uncle Joel who was there reading applications. Anja was in the most fantastic mood of the century THE WHOLE TIME, and only when I saw the time did I suggest we leave to get her a second nap. She fell asleep almost instantly when we got home and she had her bottle.

So, it's been a very fun day!! I loved meeting Clare--my mom asked me if she was just as cute and sweet as she seems on her blog, and I assured her that she is!--and it's always fun to see Nick. Their girls are gorgeous! And it's fun to hang out with people who aren't your best friends, and yet you never seem to run out of things to say.

Anja got LOTS of books for Christmas, which is wonderful, but her book basket is now overflowing! We've decided that when we take down our Christmas decorations after Epiphany, we will replace the mantel with the bookshelf from Martin's weight room. I'd like to paint it a sage green and maybe distress it a bit, but no matter what, I think it'll be a nice addition. It will be enough to hold her wooden toys and all her books. I love our front room. I think it's so cozy.

I'm regretting my lack of picture-taking from this weekend... Tomorrow I think Uncle Joel is coming over with pizza for dinner!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!!

Our holiday was not quite as stress-free and easy as I'd been thinking it would be, but oh well. Now it is Boxing Day and Anja is taking a good nap as we speak. Next year we are NOT NOT NOT going to even attempt to attend both family festivities on the same day. BIG MISTAKE!!! Anja was a trooper, but it was still too much to ask of her. Also, there just isn't enough time in the day for two family meals, two rounds of presents, two sessions of just visiting with the families. But, we survived!!

The biggest Christmas news: ANJA IS WALKING!!!! Or at least taking steps. We agreed that it must be from being around her cousins all day, because she very suddenly last night decided to just go ahead and take the steps. Aunt Sarah witnessed her first steps!! She is soooooo cute when she does it, and so proud at the end. Such a big girl!!!!

We got loads of good presents, loads of good food, and since my sister and brother-in-law got a Wii and brought it over to my parents house, we also got a good workout with the boxing game!

We have such fun families. Anja had a wonderful Christmas, I think. By the end of the day (we didn't get to open our gifts to each other until late last night) she was understanding the whole rip-the-paper concept, which was fun. She got a lot of very cute stuff.

I am VERY COLD right now, but I won't be for long... BECAUSE MY SISTER IN LAW GOT US A WIRELESS ROUTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She actually got it for free from someone, and is giving it to us. All we need is to get a wireless card, and NO MORE ARCTIC BLOG POSTS!!!!!! I gave the router a big hug when I opened it. It was an amazing, wonderful thing. Turns out Martin was going to do it, but TusaRebecca called him and told him not to, since she had this extra one. YAY!!!

Okay, but we don't have all that goodness hooked up yet, so right now I'm still posting from Antarctica. I just heard Martin putting the tea kettle on, so here I go to join him. Hope you all had a wonderful christmas!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Good Life

Celebrating 2 years with "Mister Cool"
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MARTINO!!!!! Thanks for asking!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Changes, Changes

One thing that's changed about me since becoming a parent is that I now find myself regularly laughing at wet-my-pants levels at THE STUPIDEST THINGS. I mean, I don't really think they are stupid--obviously, I think they're wonderful--but to normal people who are not a parent to Anja, these things that I find so hilarious are just ridiculous. And another thing that makes me a parent is that even though I know sharing these stories is much like sharing your dreams with people--NOBODY CARES--I find myself telling everyone these really dumb things that are sooooo much you-had-to-be-there situations. For instance, I'm going to share with you now the funniest thing that happened tonight, even though nobody reading this will think it is the slightest bit funny.

Anja has this little toddler-sized wooden rocker in her room. She's never paid much attention to it before, but tonight while I was putting away some clean clothes in there, I turned around and found that she'd gotten into it and was just sitting there with a very pleasant smile on her face. She was so pleased with herself for having gotten into that chair by herself! That alone was enough to make me chuckle. But then she started being really funny... she kept turning around in the chair, sitting in different positions, holding it for a second, then moving--all with this funny little smile on her face. Finally, she decided (for some weird reason) that she really wanted to have the diaper bag in the chair with her. So she struggled and struggled to get the diaper bag from the floor to her chair with her, and then she wanted to take everything OUT of the diaper bag and hold it while it was empty, but this little chair just isn't big enough for a baby AND a diaper bag, so she kept almost falling out of the chair. Then she'd get out, put the diaper bag on the chair and try to get back in. It never worked! And that was the part where I really lost it because the whole time she was trying to get into the chair with the bag already there, she had this ripped out magazine page stuck to the bottom of her foot! So every few seconds she'd kind of do this leg kick and try to shake the page off, but it wouldn't fall off, and she'd try again to get in the chair, then try to shake the page off, try to get in, shake, try, etc. IT WAS HYSTERICAL. I seriously thought I was going to hyperventilate from laughing so hard.

And that's when I realized that this would not be funny to anyone else. Ever.

Martin and I are really bad at Christmas shopping. We always end up doing it all on Christmas Eve. This year we've got a few things done, but not all that much. Some people we don't even have ideas for yet! Today Martino worked at the Bookstore. We all got up and had a nice morning together, then he walked over to work and Anja and I continued in our morning. While she was napping, TusaRebecca came over and we just hung out and worked on Christmas presents together. My sister stopped by as well with ANOTHER BAG FULL of ADORABLE clothes for Anja... the really horrible thing about receiving all these cute clothes is the choices I'm faced with every morning when I get her dressed!!!!!!! AAAAHHH!!!! TOO MUCH CUTENESS!!!! (I've decided that from now until Christmas she will wear a fancy Christmas dress every day. This is the only way I will feel satisfied, having all these wonderful Christmas dresses and only one Christmas Day.) Anyway, we traded goods and then I gave Anja lunch and she and I headed over to campus to meet up with Martino for his lunch break. The funny thing about him working Saturdays is that my day at home seems so hectic, and then I meet him out for lunch at some ridiculously late time (today it was 3:00-4:00) and by that time it's almost time for him to come home! I packed sandwiches and we ate them at the Union. Then we walked down to Vienna (where I'd parked) and got drinks and talked and laughed about how cute Anja is. Our friend Turgay was there and he likes Anja.

From there, Anja and I went out to Once Upon a Child. I was really looking for some cute tights for her to wear for Christmas (her white tights have turned to a permanent grey) and I did get some (moderately cute, nothing special) but I also was able to do some Christmas shopping. How is it that I've never realized they sell NEW Melissa & Doug toys at a discount price?!?!? Jackpot!! I was able to get the same gift for our nephew Aurelio that we were set to order at about half the price! I also got Anja a ring stacking toy and a chunky animal puzzle, as well as a very cute sweater and hat set and a very cute jumper. All at fabulous prices. I was going to also get her a pair of shoes, but I decided against them at the last minute. For some reason I have a hard time paying the same price for a pair of shoes that I pay for a dress. I don't know why... she wears her shoes every day. Is it because the shoes seem so tiny? I just don't know.

Anyway, tomorrow is a Christmas get-together with my extended Qualio side of the family. I hope I'm not supposed to take anything, because I'm planning to go empty handed.

But! I'm going to attempt making Challah Bread for the first time ever to take to our Christmasses! That could be a disaster!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good Thing, Bad Thing

Good Thing: Martin working at the Bookstore during the between-semester rush.
Bad Thing: Martin getting let off early every night, making me wonder if it's really worth it. Of course I like having him home for that extra time, but still.... hmmm.....

Good Thing: Laura Smith brought us a tin of Christmas goodies this afternoon!
Bad Thing: They're almost gone already! Whoops!

Good Thing: Anja went down easily at 7:00 tonight! Miracle!
Bad Thing: If she'd stayed up a little later (as she usually does) I could've finally met the guy my sister-in-law is dating! Grr!

Okay, that's about all the Good Thing-Bad Things I have for tonight. Someday soon I'll get a picture of Anja playing in the laundry basket, and then post it in comparison to one of her this time last year when she was tiny and we would put her in the laundry basket because we thought it was cute.

I'm finding this whole parenting thing to be a lot more fulfilling these days. I finally feel like I'm actually DOING something. For so many months it seems they are programmed to learn by taking in everything around them, no matter what you do or don't do. Sure, I've always read her stories. Sure, I've always talked to her. But I always felt the teensiest bit silly doing all those things when she was just a blob of newborn, or asleep, or basically non-responsive. But now! Now we tell her things and she seems to listen, or at least I can see that she is learning specific things. I feel so much more like a parent when I'm able to say "Dangerous" and take her away from the outlet before she sticks her fingers in the holes than I did when I was just snuggling her and changing her diaper and nursing her. I mean, of course I felt like a mother, but it was different. That was just me doing things. Now we interact! It's great! We eat our lunch together like real people now. She has her plate, I have my plate; sometimes we share, sometimes we don't. She knows how to ask for what she wants. I think I'm going to like this toddler thing--tantrums and all!

And she throws the funniest tantrums... If I upset her, she'll put her hands over her face and lean over and wail into her hands. It's hilarious! She's so dramatic! And slightly silly...

Also something she does that is sort of cute, but actually much more annoying, is that she INSISTS we sing "Jingle Bells" ALL THE TIME in the car. Meaning, we can't stop for conversation between renditions. We have to be singing it CONSTANTLY. And we cannot change songs. Oh, no! Anja only wants "Jingle Bells" and she wants it all the time. Luckily, as soon as we leave the car she doesn't care what music she hears. It's just a car thing.

A Quick Afternoon Post

Yikes! I'm in the middle of a project that reeeaallly needs to get finished, but the dog won't stop barking and Anja is asleep, so I'm in here with the dog to calm her down for a few minutes.

Monday was a really long, rough day. Anja hadn't slept well at night, and then decided to not nap well either. I was in the middle of this crazy project I'm doing (gift for Martin, so I can't say anything specific) and everything was going wrong and nothing was getting done and Anja was a huge crab. Finally I went home in the afternoon to finally get her to sleep (I've been working on this project up at my mom's house with her sewing machine) and I called Martin and told him what a rotten day it had been. I hadn't wanted him to know I was making him anything, but I had to tell him so I could tell him about my bad day. I picked him up from Ivy Tech at 5:00 and drove him over to the bookstore, but Anja really wanted to see him, so he got her out of the car and snuggled her for about a minute. When he put her back in her seat, she screamed like she's never screamed before, and didn't cheer up much for the rest of the evening. I tried putting her to bed at 7:00 but she didn't take it, and at 8:00 we picked Martin up from UBS. He opened the drivers side door and said, "Park the car! I'm taking you for a chai." And I was glad I'd put Anja in her cutest pajamas because we walked down to Vienna and each got a chai and snagged a couch to hang out on for a little bit before going home to bed. It was a perfect good ending to a rotten day!

Yesterday was a better day, all-around more productive, Anja was *slightly* less grumpy, and it was snowing so I couldn't be too upset. The roads were terrible! Martin didn't want me to drive out to pick him up, so he rode the bus home and called into UBS to say he wouldn't be there. I made pasta for dinner, Anja went down easily at 8:00, then we made real hot cocoa on the stove and sat in our cozy living room with just the Christmas lights and a few candles lit. It was so cozy and warm!

Today is an even better day, as far as productivity and Anja's mood. Anja woke up super happy, we had a lovely morning, and I've gotten a lot done on my project. Hooray! The only bad thing so far today is that Martin forgot his lunch and now that Anja's asleep I can't take it to him.

One of Anja's favorite things to do lately is to try to put things up her nose. Luckily, nothing so far has fit. We are hoping that she grows out of the habit before her nostrils grow big enough to be a danger to her.

Back to work! Hope everyone is enjoying this last week of Advent!

Monday, December 15, 2008

If You Don't Hear From Me...

I am running around these days like a chicken without a head trying to get all the "crafty" Christmas presents I'd planned to give this year finished. So far I have two started, zero finished, and a number that still have supplies to be bought. Yikes! And Christmas is just a little more than a week away!!!!

Hopefully I will get a chance to make a normal post soon about the stupendous party that was held at my sister's house last night and all the fun that our little Pie had there...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Sat on Me

For the Christmas/Book Rush season until some time unknown, Martin is back working at University Book Store some nights and Saturdays. This sounds like it would be tough, and might turn out to be, but really it's a pretty sweet deal. He's worked there off and on for 7 years so it's not like he's a stranger to the place--he can just jump in randomly and bring home a stress-free paycheck. Also, it's no inconvenience to either of us regarding transportation because it's just a quick walk up to campus from our house. It has a chance of getting tricky on some weekdays if Anja is taking a late nap and he needs to be picked up from Ivy Tech to get to UBS on time... but whatever, I'm sure nothing majorly inconvenient will happen. Anyway, today was his first Saturday back on the job and while I had a slightly difficult morning (only because I tried to do too much in a short amount of time) my afternoon was delightful! Not that I relish weekend time (or any time) spent away from my hubby-wubby, but I have to say I had a really nice afternoon. Anja and I went over to campus and met up with Martin for lunch at 1:00 (which included a visit to the other bookstore employees who like to coo over Anja) which was a nice break to the day. From there Anja and I went out to Target (an absolute madhouse) to buy a humidifier. We all seem to be feeling slightly under the weather these days and just can't kick it. Martin and I both have been waking up with sore throats almost every morning and Anja has been sleeping HORRIBLY at night... this is our attempt at a solution to both those problems. We'll see how it works! Anyway, as soon as we got home at 3:00, Anja went right down for a 2-hour nap. During that time I made myself a cup of tea, snuggled up on the couch with my cat and read my book. About an hour later my neighbor Tara called asking if she could pop some rolls in my oven, so she and a friend of hers came by and though they only stayed for about twenty minutes, it was really nice to visit with them! They left, I went back to my book, and Anja woke up right before 5:00. I offered to come get Martin so we could do a little Christmas shopping at Von's, then we came home and ate grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner.

I've been spending an unfortunate amount of time at the Mall lately. I keep thinking of things, going to look for them, not finding them, and trying again for something else the next day. Blech. Yesterday I realized I still had enough money in my Martin budget to buy him a hat I had seen someplace a few days before. I was SURE I'd seen it at Macy's, so I parked right outside the men's department to run in and get it. Well. Not only did I not park outside the men's department, but outside of Housewares, but the hat hadn't been at Macy's at all! And now I have no idea where I saw it, because I went to every store I'd visited on my previous trip(s) and never found it!!! Talk about annoying! AND I hadn't bothered to bring the umbroller with me because I thought I was just going to dash in and out again. Ha! So I was lugging Anja back and forth through the Mall... Anja, who is getting rather uncomfortable to lug as of late, since this other baby is slowly taking over all my lap space... by the time I finally gave up and went back to the car (this time I went out the Men's Dept. door, looked for the car for awhile and finally remembered I hadn't parked there in the first place) it was 5:00. I'd texted Martin offering to stick around and drive him home, but he hadn't gotten back to me. I called him then and he didn't answer, so I just drove over to Ivy Tech. I looked for him at the bus stop and he wasn't there, so I drove around the parking lot for a bit and finally parked and decided at about ten after that either he was still with someone in his office, or he had his phone in his coat pocket and wasn't feeling it ring. I thought it'd be pretty annoying if I waited for him in the parking lot to call me back, only to find that he'd been on the bus the whole time and was at home without me, but if I left and he was really still in his office, he'd have to wait awhile for another bus and he'd be home that much later. So I just went up to his office--where he was still working with someone in his office--and waited for him. When he was finally done, Anja was REALLY hungry and grumpy so we all went over to Barnes & Noble for a little Friday Evening Family Date. It was nice! It was cozy! And we got Anja some books for Christmas!

Tomororw is Sunday and my sister is having a 3rd-Sunday-of-Advent party. We will be there, and the only problem is deciding which cute Christmas dress to have Anja wear.

Speaking of cute clothes.... The other day my sister gave me about THREE BOXES of baby girl clothes, all sized 12-18 months. This is Anja's current size. Included in the clothes were the most adorable pair of red shoes I've ever seen, size four--Anja's current shoe size. This morning I tried putting her in MULTIPLE OUTFITS from this collection, including the shoes, and I couldn't get anything on her!!!!!!!! The Most Adorable Sweater in the World wouldn't go over her ginormous head, and The Cutest Jumper in the Universe wouldn't fit her fat torso. I couldn't even get both arms through the arm holes. And the shoes!! The shoes wouldn't go on, let alone buckle! Her FEET are too fat!!!!!!!

I was so bummed. REALLY bummed. With some work, she pulled off a pretty cute outfit, but it was definitely not my first choice. *sigh* Tomorrow is Sunday so she'll wear one of the pretty dresses.... and those are sure to fit.

Martin's turn to blog!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Can You Say "CRAZY"???

Unfortunately, it's been kind of hard for me to get normal looking pictures of Anja lately. Every time I hold the camera up to take her picture, this is the face she makes. (Notice that The Face has made some progress through the past week or so... going from "kind of weird looking" to "Ohmygosh, my baby's satanic")










Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away... Bring Me Back the Snowy Day!

Booooooo for December rain. It makes me feel blah, blah, and more BLAH.

This morning while I was shaving my legs in the shower, Anja fell in! Yikes! This is not the first time she's fallen into the bathtub. She likes to toss all her toys into the tub and if I don't retrieve them fast enough, she tries to to get them back herself. Today, I was just a bit too slow to keep her from tumbling in. The worst part was that I had my razor in my hand and thought I had cut her head when I went to pick her up. Luckily, I hadn't, and she didn't really care that she'd fallen in--she thought it was pretty funny that she was in the shower with me and really wanted to get under the water stream. I put her down outside the tub and she immediately went back to tossing all of her toys in with me. So she came out perfectly fine--but very wet!

Last night I made scones for a breakfast meeting Martin had at work this morning. This is a big step for us. He ALWAYS forgets to tell me when he's supposed to take something to work. I didn't get them made yesterday afternoon like I'd planned, so after Anja went to bed I worked on those while Martin walked over to Great Clips for a haircut. When he came home he brought with him two coffees and a "Muffie" from Panera! Now, I had never experienced a "Muffie" before. It's the top of a muffin served like a cookie!!! It was delicious!!! And so fun to eat because of its funny name.

Yesterday afternoon I fell asleep on Anja's bedroom floor while she was playing. Whoops. My cousin once told me that she can't sit down on the couch during the day because she knows she'll just fall asleep. She has four kids. I've only got one!! Most days I think having two babies will be pretty fun, but sometimes I sort of wonder how I'll function. Anyway, when I woke up (to Martin sending me a text message asking if I was picking him up from work) Anja and I went out to Ivy Tech to pick him up. I debated getting a cup of coffee on the way or just showing up early--I decided to show up early. He introduced us to everyone at his new office! Most people upon greeting said, "You're Sarah's sister, right?" Hahahaha! Better than people thinking I AM Sarah! (I'm pretty sure Fr. Tim made that little slip-up the other day... he said something to me that made very little sense--unless I had been Sarah.) Everyone seems very nice and one of the girls he works with is having a baby the same time we are. Martin's office is very stark and emotionally cold, but Christmas is coming and he'd like some pictures and a nice desk lamp and floor lamp. I also intend to get him some of those inspirational garden rocks, and maybe a hermit crab as well.

I am really thankful these days for a number of things. One of those things is that Martin is working in Lafayette (I don't know when the gratefulness of this will wear off... probably never.) Another thing is that Anja is actually sleeping. She isn't so much sleeping for extended periods of time so much as she is sleeping for PREDICTABLE periods of time. For example, today she went down for her nap at her usual 11:00 and I don't expect her up until 1:00. That means I can count on having another half hour of nap time when I finish this post in a second. It's nice to be able to plan a little bit!

I think the dog needs to go out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Unbelievable!

I can't believe it's 12:30 AND I'M NOT ASLEEP. We went to bed tonight before 9:00, Anja had a restless beginning to the night, (we reeeaaallly need a humidifier in our room, she gets so dry and stuffed up--we all do) I finally around 11:30 got her to sleep in her carseat where she's still sleeping, and here I am, WIDE AWAKE. Grr! Martin had some NyQuil before bed, so he's out cold. I'm so jealous.

We've had a pretty nice and relaxing weekend. Saturday was Dickens of a Christmas, but we didn't go. Sunday was the Christmas Parade, but we didn't go to that either! On Saturday morning we woke up early to a gorgeous snow, bundled ourselves up (well, Martin didn't bundle, he more stripped down) and drove over to the YMCA for him to run in the Jingle Bell 5k. DUMB IDEA. I mean, the race was fine, Anja had a good time being there (we hung out in the gym for the whole thing) but Martin had been fighting off a nasty cold for the last few days and running 3 miles in the snow tipped him over the edge. We came home and while I was baking the Snickerdoodles and Anja was napping, he fell asleep on the couch. I was able to wake him awhile later for warm cookies and milk though--a PERFECT treat for such a cold and snowy day!! When Anja woke up and had lunch we met up with our friend Matt at Vienna for just a little bit, then headed home again. We didn't really want to go out at all that day, but we'd promised Matt days before that we'd hang out on Saturday, so we were kind of locked in. When we got home Martin was feeling worse so he went to bed and didn't wake up until 7:00 when Anja went down for the night!! Crazy! He was feeling a lot better by then though; we had some tea together and hung around then we both hit the hay.

On Sunday we went to the 9:30 mass again where we slipped in next to our good friend and Anja's godfather, Matt Spencer! It was good to finally see him again. Anja was a total crabcake and Martin spent much of the mass in the back with her. They sang "Comfort Comfort"!!!!!!!!!! That song still gives me goosebumps, even after all these Advents. *sigh* Letsee... after mass Anja went right down for a nap that didn't last very long, then we decided to get a head start on our Christmas shopping. We went out to Once Upon a Child looking for specific things for Anja, and hardly found anything at all, I was SO disappointed. And since it was the Christmas Parade (we hadn't realized that until we were driving away from downtown and saw the crowds) we didn't want to drive back downtown until it was over--so we called our friend Matt and were going to meet him at Barnes & Noble but ended up meeting him at the mall instead, where we didn't need to do any shopping, so we just kind of wandered around for awhile. In the end we got coffee at Panera and went home. Our plan was to go to Von's to continue our Christmas shopping but by this time it was late afternoon and Anja had had about enough and we were cold and tired too, so we gave up and went home. I was starving so we ate dinner right at 5:00, Anja went down for bed at 7:00 and Martin and I had hot chocolate and then followed soon after.

And now here I am!

I realized this afternoon that all of my instruments (except my best guitar) are stored back here in the Big Back Room. The thirty-degree Big Back Room. Yikes. This could end up being a big problem. An equally big problem is that I have no place else to store them. Hmm... I imagine that any cold weather damage is already done and at least the temperature isn't fluctuating, but still... how careless could I be?

In other news, Anja wore a most adorable dress today and she's getting pretty good at the "c" sound of "cat" but now she's started calling everything "cat." Today she played happily on top of a box for a really long time. It's so weird to see what she finds fun or clever.

Okay, maybe going from this cold room up to my warm cave upstairs will make me sleepy enough to fall asleep. Here's hoping!

P.S. Has there ever been a more perfectly snowy start to winter? Not enough to come over the tops of your shoes, but just enough to feel Christmassy!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Inside a Big Coat

Today I'm wearing Martin's big green coat while I sip hot chocolate and type this. Aaaah, life is good! Also, when putting some other winter accessories away a little bit ago, I stumbled upon my stripey Latitude Zero hat!! My favorite!!! It somehow had wriggled it's way to the bottom of the glove basket. I'm glad to have found it again (not that I had ever realized it was lost,) especially since my hair has been so unmanageable these days.

I think instead of vaccuming today I will make Snickerdoodles.

Anja slept well last night and woke up fairly happy. Her cold seems to be so much better and not bothering her nearly as much, even though she still looks gross with her snotty nose. She is SO CUTE... any time I come near her with the snot snorker thingy, she scrunches her eyes closed and covers her face with her hands. It's adorable! It makes it hard to snork her nose, but really, who cares if she looks snotty. We just hang out at home all day anyway. And on the off-chance that we do leave the house, I try to wash her face before we go.

This morning when she woke up she headed straight for the living room and after playing with her toys for about two seconds, she went over to the corner and started pointing at her folded up umbroller. The day before we had gotten it out of the car and used it for a quick trip to the library (where I got my favorite Ina May Gaskin book and two Jan Brett books for Anja) and I think it's so strange, but she really loves that stroller. It's great though, because we had put the big one away to make room for the Christmas decorations. She was so insistent that I got it out from the corner and unfolded it, and she climbed right in! She was so proud of herself! She just sat in it, and would kind of squirm around and smile. I took a lot of pictures of her. I know she wanted to go for a walk, but it wasn't even 8:00 in the morning yet and it was still dark outside. Silly baby! When I finally managed to pull her away from it, I quickly got us both ready (okay, it wasn't quick at all) and we went to the mall. She screamed the whole way there (because I'd folded up her stroller and put it in the trunk--she didn't know she'd see it again!) but once we got there she was soooo happy! She loves to just ride in it. I wasn't planning to buy anything but she's grown out of her blue jeans, so I was kind of on the lookout for a cheap pair. Lucky for me, we went to JC Penny's and all their toddler clothes were half off! I found a cute pair of jeans with ruffly bottoms for only $4.99! Other than that we just walked around and didn't go into many stores. She had a great time and fell asleep as soon as we got back in the car.

Yesterday I worked more on Anja's quilt top and am happy to say that it's already almost finished. I have one more strip to sew and then I have to figure out what to do about a border. I'm pretty sure I have some workable fabric, but the stuff I'd originally intended to use is now being used as a tablecloth underneath our Christmas tree. I'm really excited to be making it for her. Other than her rag doll, it's the first thing I'm making entirely for her, knowing who she is. Everything else it seems I started while I was still pregnant with her. After this one I'm excited to start on the homespun quilt.

I've gone most of my pregnancy being fairly convinced that this new baby is a boy, but then today I started having my doubts. Now I can't make up my mind. I think Martin has thought it's a girl the entire time. I guess we'll find out in March. I like the surprise at the end so I don't think I'd ever give in and find out ahead of time, and I also like wondering about it... but it does make me crazy sometimes! All this back and forth.

I really only got on here because I was waiting for my butter to soften for my cookies.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

After Thanksgiving and Still Giving Thanks

I can't even put into words how grateful I am that Martin doesn't work in Crawfordsville anymore. I just read Mike Prangley's blog and I was actually excited for the snow! I was always kind of excited for it last year, but my excitement was always somewhat tainted by my worry of him driving up and down 231 in bad weather. Any day we got snowstorms last winter I was always a nervous wreck until Martin got home. And then overnight wasn't much fun either since he'd just have to go back down the next morning. But this year?? ALL HAIL THE GLORY OF CITYBUS!!!!! The worst that could happen is he slips on his walk across the library parking lot and breaks a hip. And since he's still under the age of 55, that's unlikely. This morning he forgot to brush his teeth before he left the house, so I threw a blanket over Anja and ran his toothbrush and toothpaste across the street and he met me in the lot to retrieve it so he could brush his teeth at work. Perfect! What a setup.

And this made us the other night talk about how lucky we are to live downtown. Talk about convenience! I was over at Vienna last night when he got home, and he didn't know where I was, otherwise he would've just gotten off the bus at the depot and walked up the hill to meet me up at the coffee shop. Because he can do that! Because we live in fabulous downtown Lafayette!

Tonight I made my annual Russian Tea mix. Yum, sugar. Usually I've kept it in an ugly tupperware. This year I'm keeping it in my adorable lidded fish crock that turned out to be THE PERFECT SIZE for the mixture amount. It's a funny little crock because it's a little bit small, so it's not good for much other than sauces or gravy. I'm happy to have my mix in it now for the winter. Useful and cute!

Okay, Anja is asleep and Martin and I are nursing our colds with hot drinks. Oh my gosh, Anja ate SO MUCH CHILI tonight for dinner. It was great because she'd been rejecting everything I tried to feed her all day, and even wasn't taking much of a bottle. So I was really glad when she started chowing down on all the chili goodness. Seriously, I think she ate her weight in kidney beans. Maybe that will get things moving for her--if you know what I mean!

Anyway, I'm not going to waste any more time on here when I could be sitting in my cozy living room with my cozy husband and cozy dog and stinky, but cozy cat... just wanted to say how grateful I am for Martin to be working in town at last!

Hair... And other thoughts of the morning

I am ever grateful for my trip to Great Clips a few months ago. For the most part my hair has stayed pretty normal looking as it's growing through it's awkward phase. For about a week I could've passed for one of the Beatles but now the ends are curling and the front is much longer so I look more like a woman... and even if that woman is from the late 60's, it's better than looking like a boy. And besides, now if anyone ever asks I can just say, "Hey! I'm not ugly! I'm vintage!"

Meanwhile I feel like I've skipped the last four months of pregnancy and am as huge as I was at the end of Anja's nine months--which is to say the size of approximately three barges. It happened overnight. And it doesn't help my bad-ish hair to also have a bad sense of maternity style. For instance, today I'm wearing blue jeans, the Worlds Largest Maternity Shirt, a somewhat ugly sweater of Martin's that has snowflakes across the front, and Martin's heavy snow boots. (I should be fair and say that the boots are just for warmth while I type this post, as is the scarf around my neck... also Martin's. For most of the day I've been wearing my slippers.) I'm hoping that the growth will slow and that I really won't be as wide as Alaska by the time this baby is born. Although I'd more be as wide as Tennessee... and just as short!

Anja's cold seems to be getting a teensy bit better--just as she's passed it on to us! Martin and I both woke up with sore throats this morning and I've been slightly sniffly. Unrelated to the cold (but completely related to my hugeness) is the return of pregnancy back pain! Luckily it's not yet as bad as it got with Anja. Hopefully it will stay not so bad.

Yesterday Anja literally slept all afternoon. She took a three and a half hour nap and woke up at 3:30 in a great mood. Martin and I were planning on getting Chipotle for dinner (our Free Burrito coupons expire at the end of this month!) anyway, so I took advantage of the unusual situation and called up my friend Alison to meet for coffee! Anja got to have a scone, I got to have a chai, and it's always good to visit with Alison.

Martin is officially a CityBus commuter now. He LOVES it. It picks him up in the front of the library (across the street from our house) and the ride out to Ivy Tech is very short. The route is a loop though, so the ride home is a lot longer, getting him home around 6:00 instead of his past 5:15. I actually find this really nice. For some reason it seems much easier to me to get dinner going at 5:00 than at 3:30 or 4:00 and not be quite sure when he'll really be home. Also, it's SUCH a relief having him work in town. I told him last night, I always felt so stranded. If something were to have happened to one of us, no matter which one had the car, the other would be stuck! And his end of Crawfordsville Commute came at the perfect time with the icy roads on Monday night. That was a wonderful surprise. I think we will find the winter weather much more enjoyable this year, knowing that every day doesn't include Martin risking his life on 231!

Tonight I'm making chili, but I have yet to get it going, so I think I'd better go start that now.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Lights

Just a quick post to say I'm ridiculously in love with my newly Christmascized (that's the word, right?) house. I've never been this in love with my house before. I walk in and am bombarded with it's coziness. LOVE IT!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Comfort, Comfort!

Happy Advent to all! Father Dick would totally hate me.... we put up our Christmas decorations on Saturday. I couldn't help it. I am SO excited for the holidays this year... I was super excited for Thanksgiving, and now I am so glad that Advent has begun and then the real Christmas season just beyond that. This holiday season is going to be SO much better than last year.


Our extended weekend has been delightful! Thanksgiving this year was with my side of the family, at my mom's house, with all of us and my brother-in-law's parents. I made the cranberries, a green bean casserole, and a peach pie with frozen peaches I had from this summer's Farmers Markets. The pie turned out pretty cute--I used some mini cookie cutters that I got from Anne for our wedding to make the top crust, and even though when Martin and I laid it on we got it a little off-center, it still looked pretty cute! The day was very fun and included a few rousing rounds of BOGGLE, my new favorite game. It's sooooo much fun. I'm really bad at it (I think I've every time come in second-to-last place... with the last place going to my six year old nephew, Christopher) but it's so addicting and fun! The day after Thanksgiving we went back up to my parents for a leftovers dinner, which was maybe even more fun because we just kind of all hung around.... and played more Boggle. The only downside of the weekend is that it's gotten Anja totally freaked out and not wanting to sleep--EVER. If we thought we had a rotten sleeper before, HA! If we'd only known it could get worse! Hopefully this next week she'll get back on track. Until then, we're just trying to roll with it.


On Saturday we got an early start on our day, which included getting our plethora of Christmas decorations out of the closet. Luckily I was somewhat organized in putting them away last year--one box of stuff we didn't use, one box of stuff we did use. We invited TusaRebecca over for some hot chocolate and decorating fun, and our house now looks SO COZY. Another little detail that is already WAY better than last year. Last year I threw up the Christmas decorations in a hurry and we didn't even get a tree. We didn't even bother decorating one of our fifteen hundred fake trees. This year we drove out past Linden to that tree farm and got a tree from them! It wasn't a cut-it-yourself place like we thought it was--you went out into the tree fields and picked out your tree, then the boys came with their chain saw and cut it down for you--but we did get to pick our own tree, watch it be cut, and then ride back with them on their big tractor wagon! Our tree is four feet tall and it sits on our table right at our window. We had our friend Joel come over and we made more hot chocolate and sat around in our glowing living room drinking hot chocolate and chatting. It was a nice time.

And then what better way to bring in Advent but with the year's first snowfall??? And it was the perfect morning too--not too cold, and windless. We walked to 9:30 mass and it was just perfect. On the way we gave Anja a taste of snow from some bushes. We didn't get a lot of snow, only maybe an inch or so, but it was enough to coat the branches and all of Main Street, and Main Street looks so wonderful in a fresh snow, on the first Sunday of Advent!!

Unfortunately, it now looks like on top of the craziness of the holiday weekend throwing her off, Anja is getting a cold. What a bummer. Luckily she hardly ever gets colds, and when she does they are pretty nothing. She's only had one reeaaalllyyy bad cold, and that was when she was tiny and we were freaked out by her anyway, so it seemed extra bad.

And a quick shout-out to our friend Father Alex who married us, baptized Anja and evidently now reads my blog! Hello!!

That's it. Tomorrow starts a new week and Martin's new job. I am hoping for a calm, quiet week in the house for us. It would be welcomed after all this holiday fun. It's kind of sad though--up until just recently all our friends still came back to Lafayette for Thanksgiving. Now they just will come back for Christmas because hardly anyone is in school anymore--we're all living real lives with real jobs and real families of our own and it's harder to justify getting away for a four-day weekend. Not like in college when they hand you a few free days and tell you to go home. *sigh* I'm finding it hard to grasp the reality that Perkins is a citizen of New Jersey and that Joannie is a citizen of Tennessee. That's where they vote now. That's where all their mail goes. That's the address on their drivers license. So weird!!!

Alright, I'd better go do a little bit of quick tidying up before bed so I can start the week off with a clean house. That always seems to make Mondays easier!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm Thankful For...

Books!

The other day Mrs. Schap brought over a few new books she got from the Goodwill for Anja. One of them was "A Baby Sister for Frances." Now, I remember the Frances books, but I don't REMEMBER them. I don't remember how sweet and calm and charming they are! (Or at least this one...) It seems like so many kids books these days are filled with children who are constantly getting in trouble and parents who are never happy with whatever it is the child is doing. SO FRUSTRATING!! However, this book was filled entirely with sweetness. I read it to Anja today and then a little bit ago Martin read it to her, and he stopped halfway through and said, "I like Mother and Father." And so do I!!!!!! I know they are just badgers, but I hope that Martin and I can be as sweet of parents to our little babies as Mother and Father are to Frances. And it's so refreshing to read a story where no one argues, where parents are encouraging, where the little storybook children (or badgers) have good manners and even though they do silly things, they are understood as just being baby badgers, not as being stupid and "bad kids."

I'm thankful for a lot of other stuff too. For example, the fact that I got my pie crust dough ready and in the fridge to chill AND the green bean casserole put together this afternoon while Anja played happily on the floor. I'm thankful that our friend Joel is in town and is coming over in a few minutes. I'm thankful that I drove Martin home from his Wabash job for the last time ever, that he'll never have to travel again, never will arrive home at 2:00 in the morning from Evansville like he did last night, never have to be treated so badly by his coworkers for being a Republican. And I'm thankful that ANJA CAN CLAP NOW, only a few months later than normal, that she's also started folding her hands for prayers, that she can "sing and play guitar" just like her Mama, and that today I asked her where the kitty cat magnet was, and she said kitty cat and found the cat magnet right away. It's the only one she knows, but I think it's a great accomplishment, especially considering it came a day after the very delayed clapping accomplishment! I'm also thankful for cranberries (which I'll make tomorrow) and turkey. I'm not thankful for ham, because I don't like ham, but I guess in a way I am thankful for it because other people like ham, and that will leave more turkey for me!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!! I hope you all eat yourselves into a coma while remembering all the things that make your lives good.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Playdate!

I'm really not the type of person who calls up other moms and schedules playdates for my baby. I think the idea is nice, and I do like to see my friends and if they happen to have babies of their own, great, but I'm not going to go out of my way to set up outings so that Anja can play with someone her own age for a few hours. That's what cousins are for, anyway!

However, this morning I was delighted to get a surprise magazine-style playdate handed to me! Today is the last Annie Car Day ever (well, today and tomorrow, since he'll bring a college car home tonight after being in Evansville) and once we got to Crawfordsville Anja was tired of being in the car so she and I went down to Campbell's for a treat. We got some kind of scone and she ate most of it. I was kind of killing time, just hanging around with her waiting for it to be a little closer to 11:00 (it was only 9:30 when we got there) so she'd be able to fall asleep on the way home and not cry the whole way instead. I noticed when a young-ish mom came in carrying a baby in a sling who was wearing cute stripey tights and Robeez shoes, and that mom noticed Anja on the floor and came right over to talk! Lucky for me she was a more outgoing person than I am, because we had a really nice time! She was a cloth-diapering, homemade-gift-giving person who is looking into the Catholic schools in Lafayette because "We like God!!" and her older daughter is now in Kindergarten. Her name was April and her baby's name was Ella and we talked about cloth diapers, homemade flannel wipes, BABY LEGS! (Anja's recent birthday present from my sister) our big dogs, traveling husbands, and lots of other stuff. It was a good time! And at 11:00 on the dot, Anja started rubbing her eyes, so we headed home and she fell asleep right away in the car. A good morning!

Monday, November 24, 2008

And Now.... The Weekend

We had a pretty great weekend. On Friday night we went over to campus for awhile, with Anja dressed in her cute fuzzy bunny jammies. We were going to Von's to pick up a birthday present for Martin's sister and while we were there decided we'd have a Vienna date and spend some fully punched cards for free drinks. However, when we got there, Moron Annie ordered the wrong drinks (I ordered small instead of larges) and we didn't want to waste full cards on smalls, so we just paid regular money. It was still fun though! Nothing like a Vanilla Chai from Vienna on a cold, cold November night. And a FRIDAY night, too! Talk about big time.

On Saturday we had a wonderfully lazy morning before going to a birthday party that was for Martin's sister and her son. It was so nice! It was a nice small group of people and we had really yummy soup and animal crackers and chocolate cake. Anja had a WONDERFUL time, and was soooo happy right up until 4:00 when it was very clearly naptime, so we left. Now that she's getting bigger it's fun to see her interact with her older cousins. Aurelio is two and they find each other pretty interesting. It was a really nice time.

We got home from the party and kind of wished we had some friends. I didn't make dinner since we'd been eating all day, but we didn't just want to stay in. In the end we went to Vienna again... by ourselves... and DID spend our fully punched cards for free drinks! It was another nice little time out.

Sunday we went to 7:30 mass, Anja took an early nap and at 11:00 we went to brunch with my family to celebrate my parents' wedding anniversary. YUM! That was lots of fun, and Anja fed herself from her own plate the whole time. In the afternoon I made [gross] brownies and at 5:00 when Anja had just fallen asleep in the car, Martin drove me over to St. Boniface so I could help set up for the Christ the King celebration that night. I think all the foods looked delicious and we were lucky that Anja had her nap schedule thrown off for the day because she woke up right at 7:00. Martin got her dressed (she looked so cute!) and brought her over, I gave her a little fruit I'd saved back for her, and we headed over to church. We really ended up missing most of Vespers between being over in the kitchen for the first part, and then leaving after the procession to go back to the kitchen and get the food put out. But at least Anja got to participate in her first Christ the King procession, and she got to see her cousins again. And eat strawberries.

Not surprisingly, she didn't sleep well last night (such an exciting weekend for a little girl!) so Martin and I were both up most of the night. I really don't understand her sleep habits. She is an incredible napper--goes down most days at 11:00 on the dot without a fuss, sleeps between two and three hours, wakes up happy and SOMETIMES does the same at 4:00, sleeping only an hour or two. But then bedtime comes and she freaks out and we have to drive her to sleep! It's so weird!!

I've started on a quilt for Anja. It was supposed to be a quilt for the new baby, but it's going to end up being kind if big AND kind of girlie... and since I have more of a feeling than I had with Anja that this baby is a boy, I think I'm just going to continue on and make this quilt for Anja's bed and make the new baby's out of some homespuns that I have. I might even try to do that applique star thing. I think that'd be really cute for a boy or for a girl. Either way, I'm happy to be quilting again. I feel so productive and I'm better at quilting than I am at knitting, plus doing it all by hand gives me a real sense of satisfaction. It makes me feel like I'm doing a little bit to keep alive a lost art. So many quilts are pieced and quilted on machines--I'm happy to be able to make them entirely by hand! I think after this one and the one for the new baby (so, a couple years down the road) I'll get Martin's high school quilt out and finish it. Then we'll have matching twin-sized quilts for our kids that have been made by both their parents. That's something special!

Okay, the fact that I just almost spelled "special" as "speshal" makes me think I should be joining Anja for her nap...

Twas Three Days Before Thanksgiving...

Yikes! All this enthusiasm for the hoildays, and already I've let Thanksgiving sneak up on me. It's this week!!! Aaah!! This wouldn't be a terribly big deal (three days is a long time to prepare for an upcoming holiday) except that the stores only sell whole cranberries around Thanksgiving, but I like to eat them all year long. I only have three bags in my freezer right now!!!!!! MUST STOCK UP QUICKLY!!!!

I'm always a little sad when Anja goes down for her afternoon nap. Our mornings are so delightful it's kind of too bad when they end. The afternoons are never as great as the mornings--they get hectic toward the end and the second nap is harder for her to catch. But our mornings are SO NICE. She is so much fun these days, and so good. She just plays on the floor or eats her cheerios while I either do a little housework, or just have a cup of coffee and watch her play. This morning she was loving on her baby doll, who has a removable hat. She had the hat and was trying to put it on the doll, but would just rest it in the general vicinity of it's head. If it didn't fall off, she was SO PLEASED with herself!! She'd done it!! She'd put the hat on!!! Hahahaha, she is so silly, but so ridiculously fun.

However, she is also ridiculously constipated these days. Does anyone have any suggestions? It's becoming kind of an extreme thing. I know she eats a lot of breads and a lot of milk, and that's pretty much the problem. Yesterday she basically ate strawberries all day long and I was hoping all that fruit would help move things along, but this morning I had to put her in a warm bath in order for her to *go*. And she cries while she does it. It's REALLY SAD. And just as sad is the fact that we got a can of pumpkin yesterday, but I left all the groceries in the car! (Toilet paper too!!!) So until Martin gets home from work, we're just eating our same old starchy foods.

Okay, well I kind of do want a lot of suggestions on the his poop problem we're having, so I'm going to end this post and make another one about our weekend to keep people from being distracted who might otherwise have good ideas.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why Yes, I AM Wearing My Coat and Scarf!

I think I'm going to ask dear old Santy Claus for wireless internet. Brrr.... Here I am in my Big Back Room wearing my coat and scarf and drinking a cup of coffee trying to keep the frostbite away while I check the blogs. Well, okay, it's not THAT cold yet (although all those things I'm wearing and doing are true) but IT WILL BE!! We've hung a nice blue and white quilt top at the end of the hallway and it does a marvelous job of keeping the warm air and the cold air where they are supposed to be. I don't care about not having heat in the back room--we're thinking it's going to save us a heap of money to not run the furnace back here--but I'm afraid when it really does get so cold that it won't be good for the computer. Or for the dog, whose cage is back here. Or for me, who gets cold easily.

We woke up to something pretty sad this morning. Anja's birthday fish had died. We saw it coming... we were watching them last night and saying that one in particular really wasn't looking good. This morning one of them was floating at the top of the bowl and the other was kind of swimming retardedly along on the bottom. Martin flushed them both without Anja seeing, and I think she's forgotten about them already, which is good. Still though, it makes me REALLY sad. Those were her first pets! And she really did love to see them swim around.

Speaking of Anja, we have such good times together. One time last winter when Anja was just a couple months old, my brother stopped by during one of his outings to the library. He came into the kitchen where Anja was sleeping in her swing and I was washing dishes and he said, "do you guys just kind of hang out all day?" Well, yeah, we kind of do! At the time I remember thinking I'd better live it up because when she gets bigger life will be a lot more work. And I guess in a way it is, but with just one, and with one who is so happy, life isn't really much more than hanging out together all day. It's pretty great. And I've decided that I don't really care that my house is a little on the dirty side because it isn't filthy, it's just cottagey, and cottages are supposed to be cozy places that don't mind a little dust.

Last night we went to Barnes & Noble because Anja looked so cute in her coat and hat that we wanted to take her out and show her off. We ran into my friends Scott and Greg there, and I hadn't seen them in FOREVER, so it was nice to catch up. One of them now raises llamas. Odd! I got to look through the new Mothering magazine and it gave me another idea of what to ask Good Old Santy Claus for.....

I've got pieces cut for a quilt for the new baby, but I have yet to sew a seam together, so I think I'll go start on that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

During Naptime

I never thought I'd say this, but...... I'M TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH LYLE LOVETT!!!!!!!!! Last night's World Cafe was AWESOME, and one of the songs late in the program was "If I Had a Boat," which I've heard before for some reason... I think either Kim or Ryan play it. Somebody plays it, and if it's neither one of those guys, they both should start playing it RIGHT NOW. I just bought the song from iTunes and can't get enough of it. I'd start playing it myself, but it's definitely a man song. Oh well!

Yesterday was a great last day of our vacation. We took both of Anja's naps with her, had baked chicken for dinner, and walked over to the library where I got a OneSkein book. I really wanted to go because of a recent post of Clare's about Jan Brett books. I was really excited to see if they had a good selection and get some to read to Anja, but when we got over there we found the whole Youth Room CLOSED!!! It won't be open again until December! What a bummer. Oh well, it gives me something little to look forward to, I guess.


Anja's having a bit of a constipation problem these days... sorry if that's TMI, heh heh... it's actually really sad. She cries when she poos, and her diaper might as well be full of rocks when she's finished. Tonight after dinner I think she and I will go to the store and buy a can of pumpkin for her. That sure did the trick last time.


I'm excited that winter is here and I'm excited for Martin's new job and I'm excited for the Holidays. I've got to get started on the few Christmas presents that I'm making because soon I'll be out of time. I'm just feeling so cozy these days and really looking forward to the craziness of the holidays! Our last two Christmasses were a little less than enjoyable... the first year we we'd only been married a few days and spent the whole season annoyed with our families, then last year Anja was in the throes of her milk allergy (though we didn't know it) so the whole thing was really difficult. This year Anja is the perfect age and we are finally feeling like grownups and I'm just REALLY looking forward to all of it! Although, we probably won't be doing Midnight Mass, which is kind of sad.


Anja gets so much more fun every day. I keep expecting her to just take off walking one of these days. She's starting to "talk" more, though only we can understand what she's saying and half the time I think we're making that up. Although yesterday we were talking and Martin said he was going to put his shoes on, and she pointed to his shoes and socks on the floor and said what sounded just like "Shoe." So cute! I'm afraid when I tell people things she's started doing that
they think I'm playing the "my baby is such a genius" game, but really that's not true at all. I just like sharing all these funny things she does! I know she's not anything special when it comes to brains... she's probably perfectly average. And I don't even pretend to think she's advanced since the only baby I can remember at this age is Christopher, who by the time Grace was born when he was 14 months old seemed like a little adult. He was talking so well by that time, he practically had full blown conversations with us. So I hope nobody thinks I'm bragging on her smarts, because I promise I'm not.... I just think she's hilarious!

Yesterday at Target we ran into an old friend of ours who is becoming a daddy in April! He is soooo excited, and I'm excited for him, although it made me think, EVERYONE is having babies! It's very crazy. Another good old friend of ours who just got married in July is having a baby in June. Seems like all our friends are getting married and having babies right away!! I didn't know we were old enough for all this... I barely feel old enough to go to the bars. Not that I go to the bars anymore...

Speaking of that, I was driving over on the West Side last night and it was snowing kind of a lot, and it was the first substantial snow I've seen this year and it made me think that if we'd been only dating or without kidders, Martin would've invited me out for a beer to celebrate the first snow.

Last night I woke up and Anja wasn't in her bed. She'd slid down between the beds and was sleeping in the space between them. I tried to put her back on the mattress, but she cried and slid back down into the space again. She slept there until morning! What a weirdo!

Mmmm.... time for lunch.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back Home Again in Indiana

Our trip to Tennessee was absolutely delightful. It was pretty much the best vacation ever. I think I'm always going to take trips with a regularly napping baby or toddler because it really forces you to take time each day to just relax, which is awesome. As if our days were anything BUT relaxation.... here's a glimpse of a daily schedule from this weekend:

Wake up early
Eat summer sausage and cheese for breakfast
Visit Mimi
Come home and sleep
Wake up and visit Mimi
Come home and eat dinner
Go visit Mimi again
Come home and sleep

It was a pretty great weekend. We stayed in Martin's grandmother's house which is about four blocks from her nursing home, so it was a quick trip over. We kept wanting to walk over, but as soon as it stopped pouring rain, it got really cold, so that plan never quite worked out. Anja loved visiting her great-grandmother because she had this furry duck that made mechanical quacking noises, AND she had the best thing ever--a mug full of rubber bands! These kept Anja very happy for a ridiculously long time, and after she was finished playing with those she found a safety pin, which was even better. Mimi was amazed at how easy to please Anja is, and she's right--it doesn't take much to entertain our little Pie. Still though, as much fun as she had in Tennesee, I think she was glad to get home to her animal book, her animal magnets, and her best friend, Theodore.


I understand that Mimi has been up and down for about the past year. She's been from the hospital to the nursing home a couple of times, I think, she's fallen once and broken some toes, and evidently there was a time when she really wasn't doing well. However, this weekend when we visited, I just couldn't understand why she was in a nursing home at all! She gets around marvelously, even if she does use a walker, her mind is all there and she tells the funniest stories and even remembers things from our visit two years ago that I had forgotten! On Sunday we said we'd like to bring her lunch, and she said she had been planning to take us out. So we drove to Martin, a town about 20 minutes away for lunch and evidently that was the first time she's gone out in six months!! Anja's youth and cuteness must've done her some good.

On Saturday we decided on a whim to go up to Reelfoot Lake to show Anja the animals, see the lake, and eat at Boyette's, which has the best catfish ever. It was a lot of fun, even though it was cold and rainy. Last time we went there it was hot and rainy, so I'm beginning to think I'm never going to see Tennesee in the sunshine. Anyway, we were lucky enough to be squawked at by one of the bald eagles and Anja thought that was pretty cool. We went out on the boardwalk but we didn't see any critters; I think it was too cold for them. That was after lunch at Boyettes, and on the way home we were frozen so we stopped at a little gas station for hot chocolate. A good day!

So we kept pretty busy between napping, eating, and visiting with Mimi. And when we got bored, we found pleasure in reciting super lame inspirational quotes from a Thomas Kincade book in our best Garrison Keillor voices.


The only thing that was less than enjoyable was the nighttime when we all three were sleeping on the pull-out couch. I realize the benefits of a family bed, but I also realize that it is NOT for us. I enjoy snuggling up with Anja for a daytime nap, but at night, I like it that she is in her own bed next to ours. She is soooooooo wiggly and usually ends up upside down in the bed. One night I wound up sleeping curled up at the foot of the bed like a dog while Martin and Anja were both sprawled out, taking up the entire mattress. It was nice last night to have her back on her own little bed.

The trips there and back were pretty good--Martin is a trooper. He drove the whole time both ways while Anja slept restlessly on the way down, waking up every hour or two, and slept through the entire six and a half hours without a peep on the way home! I, shamefully, also slept most of the time on both trips. I was so determined to stay awake and keep Martin company, but about two hours into the trip I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.
I think we succeeded in making it a pretty cheap vacation too. We packed a cooler full of bread, cheese, and a huge stick of summer sausage, a package of balogna and a jar of mayo from home. We ate up almost all of that food and only bought our Boyette's meal, and a can of spaghetti-o's for Anja. We saved all our reciepts to see just how cheaply we got by. I'm excited to find out how much money we saved by only eating out once. The only thing we bought daily was our coffee from McDonald's, but that was less than two dollars a day.
So that's it! It was a really great trip. Pretty sad to leave though; we really felt like we were deserting Mimi. She is so much better off than the rest of the people there--a lot of them have a hard time getting around, or have a hard time functioning in general. Mimi still has her own teeth and stays till the end of the meals to help get the other old ladies (who have about half their minds, or less) back to their rooms alright. It's really cute.

Now we're back home and Martin took the day off. This morning we went to Vienna with our friend Matt and now Martin and Anja are asleep upstairs and I am hanging out on the computer for a bit before I go up and join them. I found a frozen chicken in our freezer so tonight we're having baked chicken and mashed potatoes!!!!!!!! I can't wait!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And... We're... OFF!

We'll be leaving in a few hours for Tennessee! I'm so excited for this trip. A little vacation. A little fun. A little get-away. Just what we all need! Martin is cleaning out the car right now (so we can mess it up again with different stuff) and Anja is asleep. There are only a few more things to be done before we leave, and everything is perfectly do-able. I'm excited! We've got summer sausage, bread and cheese for on the road, which is what we used to eat when we'd go on picnics when we were dating. Also I got a big batch of cookies made yesterday so we've got sweet treats as well. Milk, apple juice... we're all set!

I'll post pictures upon my return! Hope you all have a lovely weekend. I heard it's going to snow--and STICK!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Preparations

Wow. Let's just say I haven't taken a trip to anyplace in a loooooooong time. I realized yesterday that I'd better get some clothes washed for us. I realized this morning that we're almost out of milk and that we'd better pack a cooler to take with us for Anja's milk and medicine. Then I thought we should take sandwich makings so we wouldn't be eating out all weekend. And then I thought... "what do people pack clothes in for trips?" All I could think of was Martin's small black suitcase which has been packed and unpacked every weekend for the past eight weeks. But I don't have a small black suitcase, and I really couldn't remember what I used to pack my clothes in when going on trips. Gee, do you think I'm ready for a vacation? That means I've been in this house for a year. I haven't stayed overnight anyplace for AN ENTIRE YEAR. That's craziness!

I'm really looking forward to this trip. It'll be good to get away for a long weekend, good to see Mimi, and fun to have a roadtrip with Martin again since we haven't had one in forever. We're planning to leave around 8:00 or 9:00 tomorrow night and arrive in South Fulton around 4-ish in the morning. It shouldn't be bad at all!

Sometimes living within a four-foot radius (both social and geographical) of all your family members can be a challenge, but sometimes it brings good things. For example: My mother-in-law picked up a coat from Goodwill sometime over the summer, only to get home and see that it didn't fit her, it was too small. So she gave it to my mom, but I guess it didn't really fit her either, so she gave it to me! And let's just say this coat has pretty much become my best friend. I LOVE IT. It's a red Land's End barn coat with corduroy collar and nice pockets. It's made of that kind of canvassy material, but the best part is that it's lined with plaid wool, but only over the torso, like a vest. So the sleeves are just the canvas material but your core is kept warm by the wool. It's AWESOME because its not at all bulky, but still warm!! And I think it's cute. I mean, okay, it might be a liiiiitttlle bit frumpy, but generally speaking, for an every day coat, it's pretty cute. Besides, I found out this past weekend that I can still fit into my gorgeous brown coat from last winter, which is completely awesome. Obviously I can't button it, but STILL... I was sure the thing wouldn't come close to fitting me.

Martin went to Evansville last night and didn't get home until after 2:00 in the morning. Booooo. Only one more trip to Evansville for this job and then it's busrides and better work environment forever after! I can't wait for him to be done with all this silly travel. But at least last night's thing was an alumni dinner so he was fed well. I went up to my parents' house and made dinner for them. I made Lemon Garlic Chicken, which is super easy and quick, and they said they liked it. They might've been lying, but I guess you can't very well turn up your nose at a free meal.

Anja had a well baby visit this morning and it went fine, except that she was tired, so she reeeallllyyy wasn't digging the whole strangers-touching-her thing. She cried and cried. On the way home she fell right asleep... it's only a few minutes from the doctors office to home, so that was pretty impressive. The poor little tired thing!

Anyway, except for preparing to leave for Tennessee, nothing much else is new. I did want to make cookies while Anja sleeps though, so I'd better get moving on that.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Big One!!!

What a weekend!! I am so incredibly glad I worked so hard last week getting the house in order--it made for a very stress-free weekend, and as a result we had loads of fun. Well, except for the part where Anja kept getting injured... if this is toddlerhood, I'm not sure I'm digging it. On Friday (a last-minute Annie Car Day) on the way home from picking Martin up from work, Anja was reeeaaallllyyyyy cranky. In fact, she'd been pretty much a giant crab all day. Finally, while we were eating dinner I grew suspicious of an ear infection because she kept rubbing at her face--so much that it looked kind of bruised! Now, earlier in the day she'd had a little fall and had hit her mouth on a chair. I was right there, I saw it happen--and I KNOW that she didn't hit her whole face when she fell. But I started wondering if maybe I just hadn't seen it well enough and that maybe she'd really banged her face. But I thought it was more likely an ear infection, especially when she just kept crying for no reason. So I took her to the Urgent Care, and sure enough, my intuition was right. So back on the Pink Stuff we go! So that was Friday.

On Saturday, while she still probably wasn't feeling the greatest, I put her in the bathroom with Martin while he was showering so I could do something else (I don't remember what.) I heard a big thud come from the bathroom and ran in--she had fallen into the tub! She had a big bump on her forehead, but was fine. Poor thing though! And she was all wet, too. Then about ten minutes later, the dog came running through the kitchen, jumped over her, and caught the top of her head with a toenail--and gave her a little scratch on her head, which was minor, but she was very upset. Again--poor baby! THEN, on Sunday while we were having lunch, I was stupidly scooping food from a pan onto our plates at the table while she sat on Martin's lap, and she reached out and touched the hot pan!!! We are such bad parents!!!!!!! Poor little Anja Pie, just one traumatic event after another.

But other than that, the weekend was great. We worked on the house all day on Saturday (except for the small amount of time we spent out shopping, where I got a super cute brown dress and a super cute red sweater from Motherhood, both for very cheap Sale prices!!!!) and then in the evening went to John and Elisabeth's wedding!! It was beautiful! And I'm so happy for them--they are a really perfect couple. Anja only had one meltdown when she wanted a bottle and I'd left them out in the car. Other than that, she was pretty content. After the wedding we had to go home to get the gift and by the time we'd driven back from our house to the reception (about four blocks) she was already almost asleep. So we dropped our gift off, got ourselves Vanilla Chais at Vienna, and came on home. I was sad to miss out on the reception, but bedtime is bedtime.

And thennnnn.... SUNDAY! HER FIRST BIRTHDAY! We went to 7:30 mass where Anja was the best she's EVER been at mass. She was AWESOME. Sooooo happy the whole time. Afterward we were going to go for doughnuts at Krispy Kreme, but we decided instead to go to Target and get a little box of them and eat them at the Starbucks there. We figured it'd be cheaper and we also needed a couple things from there. It was a nice little breakfast for us! People came over at 4:00 to celebrate, and wouldn't you know it--she was asleep! We finally woke her up at 4:30 and I thought she might be a crab, but she was sooooooo happy. And going against the warning that all babies have meltdowns on their first birthdays, she had SO MUCH FUN. She loved it when everyone sang to her, she loved all her presents, and the only disappointing thing is that she didn't make a mess of her cake. Oh well. Maybe next year! I am SO GLAD we had such a party for her. I know we'll never make such a big deal out of any other birthday for any of our kids--it'll always be little family get-togethers, which is great, but I wanted to go all-out just once. I think everyone had a good time! I hope they did, anyway. I hope nobody felt awkward not knowing everyone in the room, and I hope that Martin and I were good party hosts. It was sure a fun crowd anyway!

Anja got some GREAT gifts from all our very generous friends and relatives. Funnily, her very favorite was the possum puppet that Martin got for her!! You can kind of see it in this picture. It is a really cute puppet. Seriously though, people are so sweet and generous! Maybe it's because Anja is so cute. My dad mentioned that the parties we throw always include such an eclectic crowd, and I think he's right! I like it too. I never had my camera, but I wish someone had taken more pictures of our guests because I would've liked to have had them.

Another cool thing that Anja got was a bowl full of her first pets:

I think their names are Bacon and Cha-Cha, but I'm not sure which is which and how the names came about can be blamed on Martin and Kim. The one whose face is kind of covered has these huge cheeks. They are really fun, and Anja adores them. Martin got up with her first this morning and evidently she LOVED to see them first thing. I love it that she loves animals so much!


After the party we went to Arni's with AnnLaura and Aurelio. It was really nice to just be able to chill out and have a relaxing dinner with our babies. Here again you can see Anja loving her possum. Arni's turns out to be the perfect place for us to go to eat--we can get a cup of soup for her (last night was Chicken & Dumpling) and she can have the ham and cheese from my salad and it works out nicely. Last night she started drinking from a straw! We'd never thought to try it before, but we offered her a cup of water with a straw and she knew exactly what to do. I guess it's one of those weird human instincts... though I don't know that they had straws back in caveman times.
In other news, this weekend we're taking a trip down to Tennessee! This was decided just last week when Martin was tying up the ends of one job and figuring out the beginning of the other. He's got a lot of unused vacation, so he's taking off Friday and Monday and we're going to drive down to see his grandmother. I have only been down to see her once, just after we got engaged. That was also the last time Martin's been down, which means she's never met Anja! I'm really looking forward to going down. We wanted to go this summer but it just wasn't in the cards. We tried a couple of different times to work it out and it just couldn't happen. So I'm very glad to be going down this weekend. We're going to leave on Thursday night at Anja's bedtime and drive "through the night" which is only about half the night because it's not a very long trip. But that way Anja is guaranteed to be asleep, which will make it an easier trip for all of us. We'll do the same thing coming back on Sunday and then have Monday to recooperate. Hopefully we'll be able to pop down to Nashville to see Joannie while we're there too!
So a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our one-year-old!!! I'm glad she had such a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Crazysaurus / BIG NEWS

Sometimes in the afternoons Anja and I go upstairs to hang out in the bedroom, which is now the perfect child-friendly place for her to play. Yesterday she was a bundle of energy! When we got there, the cat was sleeping on the bed, and Anja LOVES to attack the cat. Strangely enough, the cat doesn't mind much. Theodore purrs and purrs while Anja mauls him. It's really weird! And absolutely hilarious! Yesterday she was trying to catch his tail that was flipping around, pulling on it every time she caught it. Then she got some other weird idea in her head, and started going after it with her mouth. She was just tossing her head back and forth after the flipping tail with her mouth open, trying to eat it! Finally she gave up her exact technique, caught the tail with her hands and took a big bite. Purrr.... purrrr..... purrr...

I had an Annie Car Day yesterday and when I picked Martin up from work all I could think about was how I didn't want to eat the vegetable soup we had at home for dinner. I made it a few days ago and didn't cook it long enough the first time we tried to eat it. It was gross. So the next day I added potatoes and cooked it all day long... but it still tasted kind of gross. The idea of having to eat it a third day in a row made me nauseous... so we went to Arni's for dinner!! I was totally craving an Arni's Junior salad, and it ended up being PERFECT. I never can finish them, but last night was the closest I've ever come. Anja loved eating the ham (we'll be a good pair--I don't like ham, but evidently she does!) and cheese bits and we also got her a cup of cheese soup, which she didn't eat much of so we brought it home for today. It was a nice little family dinner out.

Martin got me up when he got up this morning. We went to bed at 9:00 last night and Anja slept relatively well, so it wasn't hard to get up. My days go so much more smoothly if I can get up and completely ready before Anja wakes up. Now we are both here in the back room eating Cheerios together! What a life.

So, we've had this big news to tell for about a week but wasn't given the go-ahead for public announcement until yesterday... when I forgot to post it! Haha! Anyway, the big news around here is that MARTIN GOT A NEW JOB!!!!! He'll now be working at Ivy Tech as a student advisor, which is a job he can be pretty sure about since it is my brother-in-law's old job! This new job will mean only good things for us; normal work hours, no commute, an easy bus ride from the library to the school, NO TRAVEL, among others. We're super excited! He starts on December 1st, and he's got some days of travel between now and then, be we are counting the days to his start date. And just in time! I don't think I could do another snowy winter with him driving up and down 231 every day.

So that is our big news. I've been very eager to post it!

I'm off to check Mike Prangley's forecast. I was planning to walk up to my mom's today to visit the invalid, but Martin called the Time & Temperature and they said thunderstorms. Now I'm remembering that Mike Prangley had mentioned that too.... so I'd better make sure before I set off on any long walks.