Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Toddler Christmas

Here is our first toddler proof Christmas tree. It's outside on our deck so Kendra can't (easily) get to it. I miss having a tree in the house, but I don't think I'll miss yelling at Kendra every 45 seconds to stay away from the tree. She already managed to pull several ornaments off this one when our backs were turned.

Baby Girl is Slowly Becoming Not A Baby

I realized it's been a while since I posted a picture of our little one. As you can see, she is not nearly as little. She keeps growing and learning at an amazing pace.

The past few weeks she has suddenly discovered books. She loves to sit on our lap and have a book read to her. She has her favorites, one of which is "Are You My Mother?". She enjoys any book that has cats and dogs in it, actually. When she sees a picture of a cat, we hear "AT!" and she points to whichever of our cats is nearby. When we get to the the dog, it's "OOF OOF." (beginning consonate sounds are still proving to be a challenge :)

The kid absolutely adores dogs. She has a stuffed dog that she carries all over the place, and yesterday we got a floppy stuffed dog that I think is the new favorite. She carried it all over our friends house - even going into the bedroom to get it off the bed after I had put it up.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Christmas Ship

Tonight we went to watch the first sailing of the season of the Argosy Christmas Ship. It's a 60 year tradition here in Seattle. There are two large ships that offer a dinner cruise around the Seattle area waterways. Every night they sail to a different location, with an entire parade of privately owned boats that are decked out in Christmas lights.

There is a published schedule of where the ship will stop, and people gather on the shore to watch them go by. The lead ship stops, and there is a featured group of carolers on board. Their singing is broadcast through loudspeakers to the shore. Tonight it was the Seattle Girl's Choir. They were very good and we enjoyed it tremendously.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Prep

We are hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year. We're making turkey (one traditional, one smoked), stuffing, homemade rolls, pumpkin pie and fresh cranberries. Our guests (we're expecting 10-12) are each bringing the dish that makes Thanksgiving special to them.

We spent the weekend starting to prep the house - cleaning, decorating, finishing projects. There's nothing like the threat (promise?) of a house full of people to make you get off your duff and put away that pile of stuff you've been meaning to for months. Or finally get around to cleaning the ceiling fans and sprucing up the house with holiday decorations. Dan has been amazing - when I got home from church yesterday he and Kendra had made a huge dent in the cleaning portion, and between us we got almost everything done.

I've finished grocery shopping, except for the turkey. I'll take care of that tonight or tomorrow. We had a trial run last night - Dan made pizza and we had 4 people for dinner. It was very enjoyable.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Winery Open!

Four months ago we took 10 pounds of plums, crushed them up and dumped them in a bucket. After several rackings, we ended up with wine! It's a beautiful red color, and surprisingly dry. The flavor is strong, and Dan swears the alcohol content is a little higher than normal.

We bottled 8 bottles, plus a pitcher for drinking. Not too bad for a first attempt!

Our infused liquors were also ready for bottling. The vodkas were a total success! We have lime vodka, that will be amazing in lemonade, and cherry vodka - that we have no idea what to do with. Anyone have any ideas?

Unfortunately our experiment in making brandy ended up so bad it went down the drain. We'll try again using the technique we used for the vodka, and maybe adding some spices as well for extra flavor.

Good or bad, we've had fun experimenting! We have 20 pounds of apples currently turning themselves into wine right now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things They Don't Tell You

Everyone talks about how exhausting the first few months of an infant's life are for the parents. There is no doubt that everyone is right - it is exhausting. However, they forget to mention that after an all to brief respite, the Toddler Years set in, bringing a whole new level of tiredness with them.

I adore my child, but she is absolutely exhausting. She is constant motion, constant questions, and non-stop interaction all day long. By the end of the day my house looks remarkably like a tornado ripped through a toy store, I'm covered in food from being used as a napkin (or worse - a Kleenex), and I have to wonder how one tiny person has managed to make me say "no" or "don't touch that" or "don't put that in your mouth" 749 times. I feel my sunny personality slipping away :)

It's hard to stay positive when you spend your entire day correcting someone, and I work really hard to "catch" her being good - just so I have something to praise her for.

She's a smart little bug, and is capable of understanding a remarkable amount of what is going on around her. A few days ago I asked her to go find her bowl (which she had run off with - again) so we could have dinner. She toddled off and reappeared a few minutes later holding her bowl out to me.

If I had any doubts it was just a fluke, yesterday I put a cute barrette in her hair. By the time we were ready to leave, it was gone. I asked her where her barrette was, mostly in exasperation, and not really expecting an answer. She walked over to the bench, picked it up and handed it to me, babbling the whole time.

Her obvious understanding of what I'm saying leads to more frustration on my part with the constant "no's" I find myself saying. She obviously knows she's not supposed to play in the dog food, so why does she make a beeline for it every day? I guess we have reached the testing phase of our relationship - she tests everything again and again and again. Some say it's a sign of healthy attachment. I'll have to trust them, because I'm too mentally drained to come up with my own answers.