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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Who needs rain?

Daddy bought Lauren her very own umbrella.

She said it was "cool."

We think she's pretty cool too.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Daisy demonstrates proper car seat safety.

Daisy loves to go for car rides. So much, that if there is an open car door and Daisy is nearby, she will jump right in whether invited or not.

Cable roulette continued last evening, and we were treated to the following programming:

Bewitched the Movie
That movie with Will Ferrell where he coaches the kid's soccer team (Must be a lot of Will Ferrell fans in the neighborhood)
Open Season
Walk the Line
Dazed and Confused

And right in the middle of Sunday afternoon, Mr. Fast Forward was at it again - yikes!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spring clothes.

My goal for this weekend was to buy some new clothes for Lauren. We went to Target and shopped the clearance racks. $22 for four tops and a pair of jeans. Not bad.

One thing that I didn't consider before I became a mother was the burden of baby clothes management. Out of necessity, every six months or so Lauren gets practically a whole new wardrobe. The reasons are many: The seasons change. She's growing. The clothes that do fit her become too soiled to be presentable. Of course, it's a lot of fun to pick out cute outfits, but what's not fun is the organizing and storage that comes with it. First, I have to sort her current wardrobe into 4 piles:

Clothes that are too soiled and should be pitched.
Clothes that are in decent shape and will be donated to charity.
Clothes that are out of season, but so cute that I can't part with them (Plus, having another female child in the future is not completely outside the realm of possibility).
Clothes that are currently still wearable.

Clothes that are saved get rotated to the bottom drawer of her dresser. The clothes that were in the bottom drawer are then rotated to a Rubbermaid container kept in her closet. Then I have to get the clothes to be tossed into the garbage and the clothes to be donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

I go through the same process for my own clothes every year or so. In either case, it's not a chore I look forward.

Moving on to a non-Lauren story: Last night, after Lauren went to sleep, Mark and I were watching TV and saw a commercial for a special deal for new cable subscribers where one could sign up for basic at $7.99 a month for the first few months of service. Well, we already have basic cable (It never fails to shock people that we survive with only 25 or so channels.) and pay around $12 a month. But on the ad, the announcer mentioned something about children's programming. To my knowledge, we don't get Nickelodeon or Disney, just PBS. So, I started to flip through the channels to see if something had changed.

As expected, there was no signal after I reached channel 23. But then I got to channel 67-1 (I'm not sure of the technical details as to why the channels are set up this way, but I think it has something to do with the fact that we have an HD capable TV), and the Curious George movie was playing. So now I'm curious too. I kept going. Sex and the City was on the next channel. Then the Leonardo de Caprio tour de force, Black Diamond. And Cool Runnings. And then a couple of dated and unidentifiable movies, one in particular starred Ten Danson sporting a mullet.

Now here's the weird part: when I went back down through the channels, Sex and the City was gone and was replaced by what appeared to be a documentary about strippers. Curious George was replaced with dead air.

I kept flipping, only to stop at what could be described as a show with content of an extremely questionable nature. Here's the best part: every time there was a scene with dialog, the show would suddenly fast forward. The fast forwarding would stop when, uh, the action started up again. Too funny!

A quick search on the internet revealed that these programs are all available on On Demand. So I can only guess that we are some how tapping into other people's signals.

Who knew we had such horn dogs in this neighborhood? I can't wait to see what's on TV tonight.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Scrapbook: Mama

I've had the journaling written for this page for some time, but because I wanted to add just the right photo, I kept putting it off. Then I came up with the idea of doing a collage of Lauren and I together during her second year.

This took me the good part of a day to assemble. And that's taking into account the fact that this isn't an original design but someone else's 12x12 sketch that I converted to11x8.5 and changed the color scheme. I really wish I could work more quickly! But I am proud of myself for employing a triumvirate of embellishments - ribbon, paper flowers and a tag. That's a lot for me!

Oh, and one last thing. Over the last couple of weeks, I've lost the title of "mama." I am now officially referred to as "mommy." Things change so fast - this, my friends, is why I scrapbook!

Journaling reads: Finally. Sometime between your 18th and 19th month, you finally said the word that I’ve been waiting to hear. After over a year of countless “dadas,” the dog’s name, your doll’s name, the postman’s name (okay, that’s an exaggeration. Even I don’t know his name), you identified me as “mama.” Funny how two syllables could make your heart feel like it’s going to burst. And then there’s how you say it - soft and sweet, almost like a question. It’s the most wonderful sound that I’ve ever heard. I hope that I never forget it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Stop the presses.

My child, the child who eats two forkfulls of macaroni and cheese and then pushes her plate away as if to say "Oh no, really, I couldn't take another bite," the same child who subsists on cereal bars and yogurt, that child ate meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn for dinner.

Granted, she did so while sitting on daddy's lap and partaking of the food on his plate. Nonetheless, this is progress in the battle for Lauren's nutritional soul.

Speaking of corn, as I was preparing dinner I was reminded of one of my own culinary loves. Corn straight from the can. I can't resist taking a scoop before heating it up. My mom can attest that this habit goes way back to my childhood, where I remember she would always let me have a spoonful of cold corn. It was like having an appetizer before I even knew what an appetizer was.

Hmm, I just realized that I write quite a bit here about food. Moving along...

Tonight, we had a rare sighting of the elusive Beavis. You wouldn't know it, but in addition to two dogs, we also have two cats. This is because they pretty much live down the basement and rarely emerge from their den. When then do, they are usually greeted by a very small person hellbent on giving them a squeeze. She even tries to entice them with her patented kitty call, which sounds like "psss psss psss." They usually fall for it at first, but then they flee for their lives when she gets close.

Mark and I have tried to escape in the same way, but we just can't seem to shake her.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Children = cheap labor.

If you don't have a child, you really should get yourself one. For a mere cracker or cookie, you can train them to do all sorts of menial tasks for you.

Sometimes, you can even fool them into thinking that cleaning is fun. Lauren got one look at Mommy using the Swiffer and just had to try it herself. And the Swiffer mop wasn't enough, oh no, she needed the Swiffer Duster too. Who can blame her - no one can resist the allure of the Swiffer.

And because of her ability to multi-task, Daddy declared that Lauren was better at cleaning the bathroom than mommy. Which is fine by Mommy, who instead prefers to spend her time blogging.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Best intentions.

This is the view tonight from our guest bedroom window. We went from 70 degrees on Monday to this on Friday. Between the random weather and the time change, I felt so out of sorts this week that I didn't do much of anything besides work, play with Lauren, and watch television.

Probably the most interesting development of the week was that I'm probably traveling to Boston for business the week after Easter. I haven't had to travel for work for several years, so I'm not sure what to expect. I plan to bring a camera with me in case I see something exciting.

Mark and I also accomplished a long time goal: We dined on St. Bonaventure Church fish fry. We've lived here for almost 6 years now, but every year we miss what we have been told is the best fish fry in town.

I ran in to get take-out while Mark and Lauren stayed in the car. The cafeteria was a sea of people (Ha, ha - get it?). It was like a who's who of the area. Old neighbors. New neighbors. The guy standing next to me said he was just driving through town and decided to stop.

Did it live up to the hype and the twenty minute wait? I would say so. The fish was beer battered, which is very different from the flat breaded fillets that I've had at other fish frys, and also reminiscent of the fish my mom used to make on Christmas Eve. The coleslaw was homemade and some of the best that I've tasted. Lauren ate a baked potato with butter, ketchup and parmesan cheese (don't ask) and a finger sized piece of fish. Now that is a seal of approval.

And in addition to her work as a connoisseur of fine food, Lauren has taken up the challenge of learning to dress herself. Precious, indeed.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Scrapbook: Merry morning

With Lauren's birthday approaching, I was looking through her scrapbooks to evaluate how her second year compared with the first. Here is the tally:

First Year

32 one page layouts
1 Christmas theme album
1 mini albums

Second Year

6 one page layouts
1 mini album

That's pathetic. Granted, the second year isn't as full of milestones as the first, but she's practically reached the zenith of cuteness, and that must be documented.

My goal is to have at least 15 total second year pages completed by her birthday. I already have 6 pages worth of material conceived, so I just have to come up with 3 more to meet my quota.

So I guess I had better get scrapping. But in the meantime, here is Year Two Page #6:

All the materials came from a kit that my mom-in-law gave me for Christmas.

Journaling reads: Is there a better morning than Christmas morning? Since this was only your second Christmas, mommy and daddy were probably more excited than you were. However, for the second year in a row, you went straight for the presents under the tree. Yes, you show great promise in the ways of Christmas, little one!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Does anybody know what time it is?

Does anybody really care? And I'd like to point out that it didn't seem all that much lighter this evening. I feel gypped out of that hour of sleep.

So you're probably wondering what the heck that is. That, is a penguin (the red thing at the end of his hand is a fish). Uncle Mike gave it to Lauren. Well, I guess it would be more accurate to say that Lauren urged Uncle Mike to give it to her. She can be very persuasive. But more on the penguin later.

Yesterday was a very busy day. In the afternoon, I went to a Creative Memories party (Think Tupperware, but only with scrapbook stuff instead of plastic bowls) with my friend Melissa. Had an awesome good time and bought some cool new stuff. Ironically, I spent less at the Creative Memories get together (which involves products that I'm actually interested in and will use) than I did at the Partylite get together that I attended last month where I made more of a pity purchase (since I rarely burn candles).

Immediately afterwards, we went to Mike and Beth's house to meet Beth's sister Lisa and my mom-in-law so that we could plan Beth's baby shower. We all, including the men folk and the penguin, ended up going to Pizzeria Uno for dinner. Lauren's dinner consisted of two packages of oyster crackers and juice (Which, I'll have everyone know, contained a 100% of her daily allowance of Vitamin A and C - Hey, who says I'm not a good mother?). Mark had his usual Spinoccoli pizza and I had a really good salad with gorganzola cheese, walnuts, and blueberry vinaigarette dressing. I'm not quite sure what the penguin ate.

Lauren fell asleep in the car on the way home. She was so passed out, that I thought for sure that I would be able to get her changed and into bed without waking her.

So I laid her down on the living room floor on top of the changing pad. Good, still asleep. Then I started the diaper changing process. Okay, grabbing a clean diaper and...

It all happened so fast. All I remember was seeing this spray headed for our wool Pottery Barn rug. I valiantly jumped in front of it using the still folded diaper as a shield. Of course, my desperate cries woke Lauren, so when it was all said and done, all that was left in the aftermath was a soggy rug, a wet pair of jeans (mine) and a very sleepy, cranky child.

Today we spent an exciting today searching for end tables. We even went to Ethan Allen where we tried our best to look like we would actually buy something there. In the end, our super picky nature won out and we left empty handed (Well, not really - I did score us a very impressive Ethan Allen catalog). On the drive home, I gave Mark and ultimatum that we will have end tables by Easter.

Or else.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Signs of spring.

I forgot to mention yesterday that one of the bulbs that Mark planted finally bloomed last week. It's a hyacinth (Mark had to tell me what it was and how to spell it). Whatever the name, it makes our kitchen smell good. The other bulb hasn't bloomed just yet,

Yesterday we ended up taking a trip to Ikea. I really wanted to buy Lauren a little table and chairs set, but I was underwhelmed with the selection. I did end up buying some odds and ends for the house (frames, jars, candles) and Mark found a mattress for the bed that he bought a couple of months ago. Lauren just enjoyed running around the store, and we actually got out of there without one meltdown (Besides the one daddy almost had trying to fit the mattress in the car). So the trip was successful.

Probably the highlight of the day was when Mark and I actually got to watch a movie together! We've had The Illusionist from Netflix for almost a month, but usually once Lauren goes to bed, we either try to catch up on some housework or project or are otherwise too tired to pay attention for 2+ hours. But last night the planets aligned just right. I thought the movie was really well done. I highly recommend it, especially if you like period movies with lots of atmosphere and great cinematography.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Ross Family Day Off

Since Pitt is closed today, I took a vacation day from work. The weather is predicted to be sunny and in the 50's, so hopefully the three of us will do something worthwhile after Lauren wakes from her nap.

On Tuesday, our furnace was surprisingly fixed without hassle. Something to do with the circuit board caused it to malfunction.

On Wednesday, we received a surprise care package from our friends, the Cervones! It contained delicious biscotti and the most beautiful scarf. From the way Lauren's face lit up as I pulled it out of the box, one would think that it was spun from gold instead of silk! She immediately starting pointing and yelling "BUFF-FI! BUFF-FI!" (butterfly).

Daddy has been using it to play peek-a-boo, but I'm already planning to use it as a wrap the next time I go out for a fancy night on the town. Blue is my absolute favorite color, and you can't get more blue than that gorgeous scarf!

And you were right Dolores - I love the card too! I'm already scheming to do something creative with it.

Lastly when I came home from work on Thursday, Mark pointed this out:

Apparently, Lauren felt that her phone needed charged too. That kid may drive us crazy at times, but cute stuff like this makes it all worth while.

That about brings us up-to-date on the events of the week. Normally, I dread having to set the clocks ahead because I lose an hour of precious sleep, but I'm actually looking forward to it this year. Since I'll have enough light in the evening to take photos, I'll be able to report our life's happenings in real time rather than having to wait for the weekend!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Quest for fire.

We've reverted to living like cavemen. This is the first fire that we've made since we moved here. Since the house didn't go up in smoke, I would call it a success.

We also had "dinner in bed". Lauren really likes the new arrangement because it gives her ample opportunity to flop around on the bed like a drunken acrobat. After Lauren went to sleep, Mark and I huddled under a blanket on the couch and drank hot cocoa while watching Heroes (Now officially my favorite show - sorry Lost.).

Someone is coming out sometime tomorrow morning (Yes, that is the time that they gave us) to look at the furnace. We are making the repair arrangements through our home warranty company. Mark and I are both convinced that this is going to be a fiasco. We shall see.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

They live!

I'm here reporting to you live from our frigid first floor. We woke up this morning to find our furnace broken. Luckily, we have two furnaces - one in the attic and one in the basement - so we have somewhere to go that's warm. On the other hand, is it unlucky that both our air conditioner and furnace has broken since we moved in at the end of last July? I'd say so.

Last night, we went out to dinner with the extended Ross family to celebrate Grandma Gert's 88th birthday. As you can see from the pictures, she is as animated as ever.

Speaking of longevity, our fish are ALIVE! We had a brief thaw at the end of the last week which must have arose them from their not-really eternal slumber. Unfortunately, we couldn't see clear enough through the thin layer of ice remaining to get a head count, but I'm awed by the wonders of nature nonetheless.

One last administrative note: You can now leave comments without having to register for a Google account. I didn't realize that I configured the blog in that way until I looked at the settings yesterday. This means that you can just click "Leave Comment" and type away. You don't even have to leave a name - you can make fun of us anonymously! So have at it!