Friday, November 30, 2007

Funny Catherine stories

She found her shadow for the first time (that I've seen) on Tuesday. So cute. She was by this spot in the living room that gets extremely bright at the same time each day, assuming it's sunny, and all of a sudden she stopped, raised her hand and wiggled her fingers. She had such a perplexed look on her face, and I noticed that she was watching her shadow. I came over with her and we played shadow puppets for a couple of minutes. =)

Did I mention that she took her first steps last week? Well now she's doing it all the time, and gaining more confidence with it. Still only 3-4 steps at a time, but she loves her new skill. Yesterday she crawled over to me and pulled herself to standing by one of my feet. I held my hand out to her so she could walk to me, but she ignored my offer for help and stepped right to me. I could almost hear her thinking "no thanks, I've got this, mom". She cracks me up. =)

And last but certainly not least of the crazy/funny things that Catherine has done this week: she gave me a bloody nose. No, not with a head butt - that would be too easy. She was being really fussy in my lap and was "playing" with my face. It went something like this: "yes dear, that's mommy's mouth... yes dear, that's mommy's nose... ow!!!" I don't know if she slipped or just pushed it to the side, but let's just say that it doesn't really have a happy ending. However, I must say that I'm really proud of how I handled it. I had to put her down and she started crying, but I didn't freak out or overreact, and I even managed to give her the bottle and put her down for her nap with tissue stuck up my nose.

That's my week in the life of a mom. ;)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Turning disappointment into positive goals

If I haven't mentioned it before, it's worth noting that I have been doing Weight Watchers. I've had no luck doing anything on my own, and I need to do something about my weight. I don't stress about not looking good - I want to be healthy. I want to teach Catherine healthy habits, and how can I expect to do that without living them myself? And the weight... seriously. It needs to go. I'm still not to the point of admitting how much I really weigh. It's a little embarassing. And it's not just "baby weight"; I wasn't doing that great before I had her, either.

I hate "diets". But I decided that if it was going to take something drastic to get to a healthy point with my weight, then it was worth the try. So I found Weight Watchers. And, lo and behold... I like it. It's a flexible plan. They stress that it's not a "diet", it's a lifestyle. They stress eating in moderation, portion size, activity, and getting all the healthy things that you need. I love the online system - great tools, information, and support.

But now I've been doing it for 10 weeks and I'm frustrated. I've lost weight - wahoo! But really hardly at all. And I don't feel like I've made any super changes to my lifestyle. I'm feeling down on myself. Frustrated. I don't want to give up, but I don't feel like it's working.

Honestly, my problem is that I'm not putting my all into it. I realized a while back that if I'm loosing a little weight now, imagine the weight that I will lose once I actually put effort into it! Has that changed my thinking? No. I like that the plan is flexible, but I think it's TOO flexible for me.

Rather than getting disgusted with myself, I'm trying to think positively. So I'm making a pack with myself: I will be good for one week . I mean - it's one week - that's nothing, right? I can do that!

Being good means several things:
- stay within my daily points every day and only use extra weekly points for special occasions (for which there aren't any this week)
- do something active every day, including two lengthly workouts, one of which will be trying out the free gym at work
- drink a freakin' ton of water every day
- eat recommended fruits and veggies every day
- no super unhealthy choices, which means not choosing a doughnut for breakfast just because I "can", or having a candy bar as a snack at night because I have the leftover points so "why not?"

With any luck I'll be feeling better by next Monday, have a great weigh in, and will have the motivation to keep it up.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

From the concert to Black Friday

The concert went really well. I felt such a sense of accomplishment and peace being able to sing with a group again. Rehearsals are different, but rewarding as well. When you perform it's the end result of a lot of blood, sweat and tears. And this music was very challenging for us. Up until that morning I still didn't feel confident about wrapping my lips around some of the fast-paced French. But I think it sounded pretty good. I haven't written about this yet because a lot of our family couldn't make it, which made me pretty bummed. I felt like I worked so hard - and to sing it for who? Well, it won't be the last concert.

I've spent much of the week either getting ready for Thanksgiving, studying for an exam I have on Tuesday, or doing Christmas crafty things for a bazaar at my work (for which I am one part excited, one part "what the hell was I thinking?").

Did I mention that Catherine took her first steps on Thursday? WOW!!!!

Friday morning... oh, Friday morning. You know those insane people that are out in the dark, bundled up because it's below freezing, fighting for a parking spot at the mall... and all for some silly little discounts? Yeah, I'm one of those crazy people. The tradition has been going on for years with my mom and sister. Though it varies from year to year. Now it's a treat when we can all do it together. This year found us in separate cities. Instead of rushing into a store together, each with our lists and our coffee and splitting up to cover the most ground in the least time, this year we called each other checking in.

Mom: "Good morning, early bird shopper! Where are you at?"
Brie: "I'm fighting for a parking spot between Michael's and Target. Where are you?"
Mom: "I just finished at JCPenny's and I'm dragging my huge bag down the mall to Sears."
Brie: "Oh! I saw in the ads that they had an adorable outfit for Catherine there for 60%off!!! I hope I can find it in her size by the time that I get there."
Mom: "Well let me know if you can't, and I'll get it for her."
Brie: "Great! Thanks! I'm going to go clean Michael's out of everything they have and I'll call you back!"
Mom: "Talk with you soon! Love you, bye!"
Brie: "Love you, bye!"

Etc, etc, etc. (Suddenly Yul-Brynner's voice echoes through my head). It was fun. I shopped until I dropped... or rather shopped until I had to go home to finish studying. Before I had to go to work. Ugh... long day! Ugh... long week!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Full of Thanksgiving

Such a true title - with many meanings.

Full of food from yesterday's feast. We went down to my mom's for the holiday. It was a smaller gathering than previous years, but good company all the same. And the food - yummy! The turkey was moist and flavorful - not surprising since my mom made it. I tried my first ever attempt at soup - I made roasted squash soup. Quite an experience, and it turned out great - I was so proud of myself! My veggie casserole wasn't as great - I really felt like it was missing something, but I have no idea what. I'll have to try it out again sometime.

Also full of plenty of things to be thankful for. A great family, lots of support, jobs and a roof over our head. Even with all the changes that we've experienced over this last year, we still have many great things gong on.

And the best thing of all to be thankful for - the thing that topped off everything yesterday: We went over to Jason's and my sister's house for dessert and I was playing with Catherine. I sat her down on the step that leads to their living room, and she stood up and walked to me. That's right - SHE TOOK HER FIRST STEPS. With great balance and full of intention, she took 3 or 4 steps to me. Yeah!!!

Too cool...

More about the concert and everything else later. I need to study a bit more before having to run off to work.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Crazy weekend

Lots of little things going on: Catherine has completely recovered from being sick all week. Yeah! Well child check up is on Tuesday, so more updates then.

We found Elly! Wahoo! And miraculously Catherine already seems to be sleeping better. Go figure.

The big thing this weekend is that our first Seattle Bach Choir concert of the season is tomorrow. I am so excited as this is my first time performing with the choir. SO EXCITED. Being able to sing again at this level is such a joy to me. Our music has really come together and we sounded really great at our rehearsal today.

Here's what we're singing:

Mass for Four Voices; Byrd
Komm, Jesu Komm; Bach
Trois Chansons; Ravel
Shakespeare Songs Book III and Book IV; Harris

Danny Boy
Here There and Everywhere; originally by the Beattles

Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Back to the doctor

Catherine's fever and icky poos subsided on Tuesday. Though she was incredibly cranky that afternoon/evening, she seemed to be getting better. Then yesterday morning we noticed a rash. Eek! Luckily, it doesn't seem to be bothering her, but it's still not a good sign. Doing a little online research pointed to roseola, a common virus in infants and toddlers. A call to the doctor's office confirmed it. High fever for 2-5 days during which showing mild signs of being sick (diarrhea, listlessness, fatigue etc.), followed by the telltale pinkish rash on the torso and face. And the biggie - it's contagious. Oh, brother.

Things that I am thankful for:
1) The rash doesn't seem to be bothering her
2) The fever and icky poos are gone and she otherwise seems fine (case in point - she's currently entertaining herself with an empty giant diaper box)
3) A wonderful doctor's office that I can contact anytime
4) A flexible and understanding husband who steps in like a hero to take time off of work to help take care of her
5) This chapter in baby illness should be over soon and our lives can go back to "normal"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

offering reward

Offering reward for cute purple elephant. Goes by the name of Elly. Near and dear to little Catherine; needed for soothing when feeling icky and making bedtime more acceptable. Lost Monday, November 12th. Last seen by the couch in the living room. Has disappeared since.
If you have any information, please contact Catherine's mommy and daddy ASAP.

Monday, November 12, 2007

sick baby

My poor little girl is sick. Thankfully, we've been blessed with a baby that doesn't get sick very often. She had an ear infection a couple of months ago, but she wasn't even showing any symptoms of it.

Then Saturday night she was whining and felt hot... sure enough, her temperature was 102.5. Not too high, but definately a fever and definately out of the norm for her. A quick call to our doctor said that it wasn't high enough to be concerned - give her Tylenol and keep an eye out for other symptoms that would suggest something's going on.

Sunday morning came the icky poos... and more fever. At most her fever was 104.1, but it's been fluctuating. She was acting... OK... but a little more cranky and tired than usual. And she was eating, but not nearly what she was.

So into the doctor's office we went this morning - and it's official that she has the stomach flu. Bummer. Doc says that it's a little unusual to have that high of a fever with the stomach bug, but otherwise it's completely normal. As she said, it seems that everyone in the county got it over the weekend.

And we had to reschedule her well-child check up for tomorrow. So a more general update will have to wait.

I'm thankful that she doesn't get sick very often, but when she does it sucks.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Personal introspective

Thanks to Cindy for this insightful exercise.

life would be simpler if... we had no debt
i feel most beautiful... when I am holding Catherine
the quality i like most about myself... my compassion for everyone around me
the quality i like least about myself is... my lack of willpower - it gets in the way of everything from losing weight to saving money
something that no one knows about me is... that I struggle daily with the effects of depression (well, a lot of people know this about me, but not everyone)
something I'm proud of... having such a beautiful and strong daughter, and getting A's in all my classes since I've been back in school
guiltiest pleasure? sweets
high road or low road? High, whenever I can
my favorite possession is... my pictures.
when i was little, i wanted to be... an archaeologist. I thought dinosaurs were SO cool.
what surprises me most about my adult life is... that friendships aren't always what they seem; and that we really knew nothing as a teenagers, and most likely still don't know anything now; and that parenthood is simutaneously more difficult and more joyful than I ever thought... there are a lot of surprises about adulthood.
the big decision i'm currently wrestling with is... 1) how much longer I can keep working while going to school; 2) if we'll really be able to afford going to Europe; and 3) how we'll be able to finance to buy a house.
my motto is... Do not worry for tomorrow, tomorrow will care for itself. - Matthew 5:36

Friday, November 9, 2007

The piano man is THE man!!

Awesome. Amazing. Freakin' unbelievable.

Does anyone actually expect me to put into words how much I loved Billy Joel's concert? There are no words. Awesome doesn't cut it. Amazing, true - but still, more than that.

Freakin' unbelievable -- the only way to put it I think.

It was unbelievable just being under the same roof as this incredible music genius. He goes from rock to classical and back again - how does he do that?

The concert began with the grand piano rising from below the stage - and there he was. And then he played. And sang. And cracked jokes. He's a funny guy. He's such an old man - and he loves making jokes about that. The first thing he said was "hi - I'm Billy's dad. Billy couldn't make it today". The last time he was in Washington he sung at the Tacoma Dome - and he completely ripped on that. Awesome. He loves Seattle much better!

He sang a lot of favorites, but a few that I've never heard. And he played an instrumental piece - you know that he has written a lot of classical music in the last decade? Well, this wasn't entirely traditional classical music - it was like piano on crack. He even said he was afriad of messing it up because it was so diffcult. The camera zoomed on his hands a lot - I loved watching his hands move across the piano, especially with this piece.

And then he stood up, the piano disappeared, and someone handed him... an electric guitar. Instant rock concert. And the first song he played with the guitar - Jimi's 'Kiss the sky'. He said it was an appropriate tribute, being in Seattle. Everyone went nuts! The guitar stayed out for quite a few songs, but of course the piano HAD to come back.

The night ended with FOUR standing ovations and THREE encore songs, ending with nothing less than THE PIANO MAN. Like he would finish a concert without singing that! ;)

I just can't believe it's over. We would have stayed all night if he would have kept playing.
I LOVE BILLY JOEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

countdown to piano man

only 33 hours and 15 minutes!!!!!!!!

I can't put into words about how excited I am that Stephen and I get to see Billy Joel tomorrow night.

I feel like shrieking and jumping up and down just thinking about it.



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

fun weekend

For ONCE I didn't have to work or have any real plans over the weekend, so I took the chance to go down to Vancouver to visit my mom and dad. I brought Catherine with me, but left Stephen at home for some really deserved time off.

Catherine and I met with grandma Trudy and auntie Val, and started off the day with some baby shopping. We got a pak n play so that Catherine can have a place to sleep when she's at grandma's. Later we got to see Val and Jason's new house (Jason bought a house - too cool!), which is pretty cool. It's about 2 blocks away from my old high school, a split level 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with a huge shop that is literally the size of the house. It really is an awesome place, and I am so happy for them. OK, 10% jealous and 90% happy, but still...

That night I took my mom with me to a friend's surprise birthday party. Rian is an old friend from high school, who I was foolish enough to lose touch with over the years. So I was so excited when I got in touch with Brandon, her husband and another friend from high school, and got the OK to come to the party. When I got there, surprise for me - there was a handful of other old friends that I haven't seen since high school! OMG!!! It was so much fun to catch up and share time with them. And what a surprise for Rian that I was there! =) Will it be another 10 years until I can see them again? I hope not. And Dawn was there too, one of my closest friends in the world whom I was smart enough to keep in touch with.

Sunday mom, Catherine, Val, Jason and me got together for breakfast at IHOP, which was a lot of fun. And I am so proud to say that I chose really smart off the menu - I had the garden scramble with a side cup of fruit - and including coffee it only cost me 7 points! Wahoo!

Before going home, Catherine and I went over to spend time with my dad. The time is never long enough, and was cut a little short because of my pint-sized cranky-pants who needed a nap. But it was fun to spend time with him. We introduced Catherine to football, had lunch and I got to see more of his incredible pictures from Hawaii.

All in all, a really great weekend. Then back to work and school on Monday - ugh!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

party pics

As promised, pictures of Toby's birthday party:

Tackled by my baby

Jen and Toby, after he was done with his painting

silly daddy

our little artist

Toby's painting (the one on the left)

The finished painting that Catherine, my mom, me, and Stephen worked on together

The messy birthday boy

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween boycot

My planned boycot of Halloween almost went off as intended. At the last minute I wound up dressing up Catherine in a cute little costume that had been handed down from a friend and happened to fit her. And I decided that since they were doing a costume contest at work I'd show a little team spirit and show up wearing something fun. Plus it was a chance for me to wear PJs to work - why not? So I dressed head to toe in pink and wore a feather boa - tickled pink! Get it? Ha ha! OK, well I thought it was funny.

Why boycot Halloween? I'm so sick of that holiday. It is the second most commercialized holiday after Christmas. Although I know there is a history behind the actual origin of the holiday, the only point is to fake as if you are someone/thing else, get children high on sugar, and be scared. When really what we should be scared about is all of the problems that the H-word brings. Costume wearing in schools have become more contraversy than fun, and trick or treating has been on the wane due to parents not trusting the safety of their children, let alone all of the other frights that parents have thanks to the stories of poisoned candy and razors in apples.

I don't get into the decorations of spider webs and skulls, I don't like being scared, I could care less about horror movies, I loathe the pressure of having a good costume, and I'm trying to lay off the sweets. What's left when you take away all that? Nothing for me, I say.

Stephen and I have one, maybe two, years until Catherine starts wanting to go Trick or Treating. So I wanted the year off. And except for my last minute, half-hearted effort, I think I managed it.

But rather than deny everyone a cute "baby's first Halloween" picture, here it is. And I have to admit, she's stinkin' adorable.