Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Winter storm warning

Seattle has been in the midst of a bad winter storm for the last 48 hours -- one of those things where the local TV news runs dramatic WINTER STORM 2006!!! banners and talks of nothing else. It's almost justified in this case, though. Seattle is usually quite temperate in the winters, maybe one snowfall a year that's gone quickly, never much below freezing. When it does snow or ice up, we're woefully unprepared to handle it - the city just doesn't have the plows and salt to deal with anything except portions of the biggest roads.

So this storm has thrown everyone for a loop. Last night we hit an eight year low of 19 degrees, after a full 24 hours of snow and sleet and yuck. Yesterday not only did all the schools close, Microsoft did too! That's a first for the nine years I've been there. You know it's bad when a company tells 10,000 people to just stay home. Taking over the world can wait.

Brett was home yesterday, and today it's still too much of an icy slick to go out onto the roads, so he's home with us again today. And with 10,000 MS employees trying to connect to the corporate networks from home, it's a little tough to really work remotely, so he's been a little at loose ends, unable to get much done.

This afternoon? Storm #2 is due to blow in. It might be Friday before the roads are clear enough to get to work. Definitely too cold to take the baby out, even for a short walk. It'd be fun if we could go out for lunch, but even two days after the main snowfall the sidewalks are still just an ice-slick, so we can't even walk up to Pete's, our local diner. I managed to make a short run to the store yesterday after our driveway thawed out, but driving was still pretty treacherous. Trash pickup was canceled yesterday, another first. Every store has sold out of salt.

So, effectively, we're trapped at home. But we have plenty of food, the heat is on, we have a lovely Christmas tree to look at, and all is well.

Look here for stories on the people who got stuck on the road for 8 hours the first day of the storm.

And, here's our tree - I put away all the red balls this year and used my new purple and pink ones from Target, just for a change of pace:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful

A brief photo essay of just a few of the many things I'm thankful for this year...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Why little girls are so much fun

Sofie has entered the exciting new world of hair accessories. She figured she has all this hair, so why not decorate it?



And if one clip is good, why not four?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

New pics

And now for the things you really come here for - enough talking, show more pictures of the baby.

"Um, does anyone realize this rabbit is bigger than me? Is this safe?" Ms. Bunny maintains her silence and cannot be cracked so easily.


Watching the mobile in her new swing, with delight:


A peaceful moment watched over by a bluebird:


This expression is hard to put a label on:

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Rain rain go away

Hallelujah, after three or so weeks of almost solid rain (and a new record for most rainfall in November, only halfway through the month), the sun came out for a day or two this week. Now that I'm home all the time I find I'm much more susceptible to the whims of the weather gods. It's different when you're at the office - aside from making it slightly inconvenient to walk between buildings and snarling up traffic a little, it doesn't really affect your day to day life that much things turn nasty outside.

When you're a stay at home mom, it's a BIG deal. In Sofia's first two months, we developed a nice routine that involved a quiet morning of eating and playing, followed by strapping her into her stroller and getting out for a long walk in the early afternoons. It broke up the day nicely, and had the added benefit of putting her to sleep for what usually turned out to be another long afternoon nap. Plus it was exercise for me, and sunlight, and was a really big help in getting over the initial hurdles of motherhood, sorting out the very brief baby blues, and recovering from surgery.

In the last three weeks, though, getting out has been pretty impossible, due to the torrential downpour and windstorms we've been plagued with. We've gone a few places in the car, and yes I bought a rainshield for the stroller, but I just haven't been inclined to take her out into the maelstrom with only a thin piece of plastic between her and the rain/sleet/hail/whathaveyou. The resultant feeling of being trapped in the house has left both of us a little nuts.

Earlier this week, I was struck with what may have been the world's worst case of food poisoning, a 24 hour trip through hell that left me completely unable to take care of Sofia for all of Tuesday. Brett stayed home that day to do the childcare honors, and I could tell that being stuck in the house was hard on him too. "What do you do all day?" he asked me. "I'll have to get a better routine when I'm home with her in December, instead of just watching television all day." Indeed. There are innumerable posts on some of the forums I frequent from mothers of newborns wondering what to do with their semi-responsive newborns all day. I don't actually find that it's too hard to keep her amused all day, but it's certainly more challenging when the options are so limited.

Thursday, though - Thursday we were free! At nine a.m., afraid the good weather would disintegrate, I rushed us out of playtime and strapped her into her stroller for a quick walk up to the neighborhood Tullys for coffee and fresh air. And later, because it was still sunny and nice out, we walked to our Thursday afternoon mommygroup using the Bjorn! Oh happiness! Oh joy! Two walks in a single day.

Today, though, it's raining again. Having set the November record, we're now going for the record for most rain in a single month ever. Yay!

Holiday angst

Life is feeling... blurry. Too fast to catch up with right now. Thanksgiving is next week, and Christmas is right around the corner. Sofia is almost three months old. In a mere four weeks, I'm expected back at the office. Two weeks after that it's 2007. I don't think there's ever been a year that's gone by in more of a blur or been more packed full of change than 2006 is/has been/was.

This is, as any longtime readers know, my favorite-est time of the year - Halloween kicks off a series of holidays which have not diminished in fun, for me, since childhood. I love Halloween, Thanksgiving is the best meal of the year and one which I love to cook for, and Christmas? I'm famous for the forty boxes of decorations in the basement and the way the house transforms into Santa's workshop each year. I am an elf.

But this year? Well, I have to admit, I'm feeling a level of holiday laziness that I blame entirely on the baby. I suspect that perhaps Brett agreed to have children in the secret hope that I'd be too tired to deck the halls this year -- and if so, his evil plan is working. Halloween came and went with almost no fanfare from me -- I did buy candy, and put the baby in a costume, but I didn't even dig out the Halloween crate (yes, I have a Halloween crate) until about a half an hour before trick or treat began and then only to halfheartedly throw the giant rat and glowing skull out on the front porch. (They're still there. I haven't gotten around to bringing them in.) The pumpkins remained uncarved, the wig-and-hat collection was un-brought out, and no blinking eyes or dangling ghosts were hung from the bushes. No one played scary music or wore long, black fake fingernails. No one drank red wine from a gothic goblet labeled "Blood." When we got almost no tricker treaters, I secretly blamed myself for my lack of participation in the holiday.

Thanksgiving will be a little better, but still different - we've ordered a pre-cooked meal this year from Whole Foods, making this the first time in maybe a decade that I haven't actually cooked my own bird. But I'm actually okay with this plan -- we still have Thanksgiving at home, with family and candles and our own dishes; I'm sure it will feel festive! But ... it's different. Again, am I risking losing my holiday mojo? Will my thanksgiving karma be blown forever, dooming me to present overcooked turkeys and lumpy gravy in years to come?

And Christmas? Well, today I'm looking at my calendar and thinking -- wow. Normally we buy a tree the day after Thanksgiving, because I simply can't wait another day to do so. But boy, does that sound like a lot of work right now. Winding all those lights? Putting up all those ornaments? Could I... could I... could I actually live without a tree this year?

Banish the thought. Perhaps Brett can become the Christmas cheerleader this year, even though it's not really his thing, and help cajole me into the season by bundling Sofie into her holiday sleeper outfit (bought on sale in September, and so adorable) and dragging us out to the little tree farm somewhere in the week or two after Thanksgiving. Because some traditions have to be maintained, tired or not.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Baby reunion

This weekend we went to the three month reunion of the childbirth preparation class we took at Swedish over the summer. Five of the original eight couples showed up, and we all enjoyed sitting around comparing notes, playing with each other's children, and relating the stories of how our littles ones came into the world.

Sofie, for her part, got a chance to hang out with some other babies. That's her, right in the center:

Charlie, Orlando, Sofia, Michael, and Kirsten just chillin' on the floor


Sofia was the youngest by anywhere from a week to a month, and also the smallest by a pound or two, but you'd never know it if you were judging by virtue of who had hair. She had everyone beat in that department.



And, just to complete the picture gallery, here's two other shots from last week -- first, Sofia worries about the performance of the Patriots while watching football with Dad:



And finally her week ten portrait, in which she favors us with a smile:

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Urban wildlife studies

The count is now five possums and two raccoons.

Anyone interested in studying urban wildlife, please contact me. I'm going to set up internships in my postage stamp-sized backyard and see if we can make some money off this.

Is this a message?

I spent large portions of the day a few days ago trying to settle the baby down long enough to even crack open the cover on a magazine called Self, and finding it very... um... symbolic that I never was able to read even a line of it.

Ok, universe, I get the message.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sofia update

Well, I'm much overdue with updating the blog. Life continues to be busy, and to go by at light speed. Sofia is doing fine and is now halfway through her tenth week. We're getting used to this, and starting to take for granted that perhaps we're going to successfully keep her alive and loved and well fed.

Sofie's prodigious accomplishments now include:

  • She can pick her head up off the floor during tummy time and hold it upright for a minute or two, at least the first time she tries. After that she gets a little tired and prefers to lick the floor. Which obviously I have to stop. Because licking the floor? Yuck.

  • She can bat at her toys in her activity gym. This was continuing to look somewhat accidental until yesterday, when she really got into it after I showed her how she could hit her dangling purple toy, and then she was like a little Muhammad Ali, punching away.

  • She has discovered -- oh wonder of wonders! -- her feet. These waggly things at the end of her legs are now a source of endless fascination and amusement to her. She'll stare at them for long periods of time, and loves it when I play with them, kicking them up over and over and announcing in an excited voice "You have FEET!" Oh my, mommy is funny. She laughs and laughs...

  • Starting to play with toys - she spent quite a bit of time playing with a big, colorful cloth ball that I hooked onto one of her feet, and has begun to examine and even smile at the occasional stuffed animal I put in front of her. She is not yet grabbing anything. (As I write that sentence, I realize how fondly I will probably look back on this no-grabbing stage a few months from now, before my husband starts to have his chest hair grabbed out by the handful and my earring are regularly yanked out of my ears.)

  • Flirting - she doesn't just smile. She flirts. She gives me big huge delighted grins, all tongue-between-her-teeth-and-nose-wrinkled-up, then goes all coy and turns her head down towards her shoulder and smiles to herself, then peeks at me out of the corner of her eye to see if I'm watching, then smiles bigger when she discovers I am, then goes coy again. It's truly adorable.

  • Developing favorites - she's got a clear favorite song, The Eeensy Weensy Spider. She listens carefully each time we sing it (with an approximation of the arm movements that go with it provided by mom) and then GRINS her heart out when we get to the line about "Down came the rain and WASHED the spider out!" I don't know why that line delights her so. Perhaps she shares my fear of spiders. More likely, I think she really likes the sweeping arm motion that goes with that part of the song.

And a question for anyone who's reading - what are other fun childhood songs with hand movements? They're coming back to me veeeery slowly. Yesterday I remembered "If You're Happy And You Know It" (clap your hands!) which was a big hit. But I know there must be others I've long since forgotten.



In other news, we've now taken away four possoms and two raccoons from the live traps in our backyard. Good lord - how many critters live out there??

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sofie didn't seem to enjoy halloween very much

She spent Halloween evening in her swing, watching trick or treaters come and go. Overall, she seemed to find the experience more horrifying than fun:



And in the end, she was one tired little pea.

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