Sunday, December 30, 2007

Holiday, holy-day, ho-ho-ho-day

What? Christmas is over? No way!

But that does bring us to a rather overdue Christmas update. It was Catherine's first Christmas! Oh boy did she enjoy herself. Lots of family visits, lots of fun, lots of toys. Do I mean toys that Santa brought? Not necessarily. I was very thankful for our family going easy on gifts for her. But she did like what she got. But her favorite toys? The ribbons. Silly girl.
I'm going to miss out on fun stories unless I start at the beginning.

We got to visit with most of her godfamily the Friday before Christmas. Her godmother, Camille, was in town and we managed to squeeze our busy schedules together and met at the mall for lunch and shopping with Nancy and Greg (two of Catherine's gRodparents) and Katie, Camille's little sis, who we have now determined is her god-aunt. We had lunch at the Rainforest-Cafe . If you haven't been there, it's an uber-elaborate, over the top stimulation, part zoo, part theme park, part restaurant. It's the only place that I know of where the directions to the bathroom include "around the elephant and under the rainbow". Catherine had so much fun watching the gorillas dance and the fish in the aquariums... oh, and her gRodfather Greg, too. They had so much fun together. Time with her godmother Camille is never long enough, but I am so glad that I got to see such a dear friend.

Christmas Eve morning we took a short road trip to visit Stephen's dad and his girlfriend Lynn for brunch and presents. I had fun dressing Catherine up in a pretty Christmas dress that Camilly and Nancy got for her. It was a little big on her, but it was so cute and pretty that I couldn't pass it up. Catherine and Toby had a lot of fun running around at brunch, but were hard to contain once we got to his dad's house. They can be such troublemakers, but it doesn't help being in a house that is so clean and has breakable stuff EVERYwhere. Regardless, we had a lot of fun.

I meant to go to the midnight mass that night, which normally I love going to. But I was SO tired. Man, am I bad Catholic! But I was sure that God would forgive me choosing rest and sanity as my primary priority.

Christmas day! Yeah! In the morning we went to Jen and Phil's. After the traditional picture on the stairs (when they were kids, they weren't allowed to come downstairs to open presents until everyone was awake and gathered on the stairs for a picture), we dove into the pile of presents. Stephen had a test of patience when he opened a present that was a Wii box - but no Wii! We told him that Phil managed to get the box from a friend at work. Wow, was he mad. Luckily for us he took it in stride. And this part of the story has a happy ending anyways.

Christmas dinner at our place went very well. We had to get super creative in rearranging the furniture in our main room so that everyone would fit. Check out my creative paper plate settings!
After the food was cleared we pushed aside the table and made room for more presents! Stephen and I were so greatful for all of our gifts, and also thankful that the gifts we gave were well received. But the star of the evening: Stephen's Wii. We finally got a chance to grant his wish (he's been bugging me about it for over a year now), and it has been worth it. It really is worth all of the hype. I've even had a chance to play a little on it, and it's awesome!

The day after Christmas Stephen got to spend time with one of his best friends, Matt, who is also Catherine's godfather. They got a chance to be just boys in the afternoon, but then Matt got to spend some quality time with Catherine in the evening. The most entertaining thing was Catherine's reaction to the Vancils' tiny energetic dog. She was terrified of him and would run away, but then curiousity would get the better of her and she would chase after him, who would take that as an invitation to play so he would chase her and then she would run away.... again and again. It was hilarious! I am kicking myself for not having our camera with us that night.

More visits with family rounded out the week. We visited Stephen's extended family in Salem, Oregon, and then stopped by to see my family in Vancouver on the way home. Fun was had by all.

But needless to say, after all of this, I could use a break. Well, no rest for the weary!

We hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday filled with fun and love. Cheers to 2008!

Friday, December 21, 2007

take 2

Does it work now?

Sorry about the video

I can view it fine, so I don't know what the problem is. After the little miss and I take a nap I'll try to fix it later.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

A child's laughter - truly the best medicine

I've been trying to catch a good video of Catherine walking around to show off how good she is getting at it. So far I haven't been able to get one quite like I want. But this morning I got something just as good.
For some reason, she thought me wiggling my foot around was hilarious. Then I started tickling her with my slippered foot and she went nuts giggling.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Compromising traditions

Compromising for the holidays is a huge challenge, especially between me and Stephen. We have different ideas, traditions, and backgrounds, but are equally stubborn about our own ideas being the way that it is supposed to be. Thankfully, we are getting quite skilled at compromise and communication.

Last night we had one of these conversations. We were talking about plans for Christmas dinner at our place. The disagreement started with him not understanding why I was having problems with him wanting to eat dinner sitting on the couch instead of at the table. The more we talked about it, the more each of us realized how we really felt about it. It wasn't about whether or not anyone would be "allowed" to eat from the couch. His concern was that I am going to go all Martha Stewart and make the dinner too fancy. He wants low key; family just hanging out and having fun. I want that too, but I want to make it special. But the things that I do to make holiday occasions special (decoration touches, nice place settings, etc) are what he means by "too fancy".

So... the most important thing is that we realized we do want the same overall thing: spending time with family, socializing and having fun. We just differ on the level of acceptable fanciness.

I asked if I could still have my nice centerpiece on the table and candle decorations on the porch. He said no.

I said that I refused to budge on the quality of food. He said that he wouldn't ask me to do that.

So I asked him what we could do to help him feel better about the whole thing.

The compromise: paper plates. I agreed that we can have paper plates and napkins for Christmas dinner to take down the fanciness. He agreed that I can pick whichever plates I want... and that everyone will be sitting at the table.

Now, I love my husband. Tons and tons. I love him enough to put up with his snoring and his video games. I loved him enough to have his child. But paper plates for Christmas dinner? Wow... that's love.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oh boy...

I just realized that I am munching on espresso beans...

... and drinking coffee.

This can't be good.

One week to go

I don't mean to brag, but I have to exclaim my excitement: We are done with Christmas shopping!!! WooHoo!!!

Things to look forward to in the next week:
- decorating the tree (no... it's still not done yet. DOH!)
- tons of gift wrapping
- making stocking markers for Jen's (read: more crafty stuff)
- more Christmas planning with Jen
- planning dinner for Christmas Day
- several family gatherings
- getting together with a few friends that I haven't seen in a LONG time
- watching Catherine as she experiences her first Christmas

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I DID IT!!!!!

I got a 95% on the final, resulting in an overall A for the class.

Hell's yeah, bi-atch!!!

It is done

Alleluia, it is done. I did... OK... I think. I never know quite what to think before I get my grade. And I should have that news later this afternoon.

Either way, I am DONE with chemistry. Three quarters in a row is enough for me. Next is microbiology, which will be just as much fun but at least it's not chemistry. ;)

Now I can focus on other things. Getting Christmas cards out. Actually putting up our tree and other holiday deco. Finishing shopping. I need to call my mom back and check with my sister to make sure that she is coming up for Christmas dinner. I need to call State Farm and check on the status of our renter's insurance. And FIRST on my list is cleaning up after the craziness of the holiday crafts I did earlier this month.

Oh boy... maybe studying wasn't so bad after all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Super quick update

We *finally* had Catherine's well child check up.
Quick stats:
Weight: 24.4 lbs (95th percentile)
Height: 29 1/4" (80th percentile)

Doc says she is perfectly healthy. Good heart sounds, no murmur, clear lungs, good physical development. He was impressed by her ability to stand and walk, as well as her social skills. Overall - she's doing great. She even did well with her shots - unbelievable! And even better - he kept saying how beautiful of a baby she is - now when a pediatrician says that, that's awesome. Oh... and apparently her eyes are losing a little blue and becoming more blue-green. Interesting. Maybe it was just the light - who knows.

And with that I disappear into the depths of my organic chemistry book. My final is in less than 48 hours, so needless to say I need to focus on amino acids, proteins, and enzymes. I'll return back to life on Thursday once I've recovered. Until then, I wouldn't expect me to return calls or emails.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A bizarre bazaar

Today was the holiday bazaar at work. I've been busting my ass and sacrificing a lot of stuff to manage to participate. The term "blood, sweat and tears" comes to mind.

Now that it is done, I have mixed feelings. I'm glad that I got to meet some more co-workers and get to know them better. It was great to get into the holiday spirit. And I'm proud of what I managed to accomplish.

Was it worth it?

No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no.

The returns on it sucked. For the amount of money, time and effort I put into it, I barely sold a thing. I should be grateful for those that did buy my offerings. After all, it is a huge compliment that someone is willing to put forth money to purchase one of my little crafty things. But that doesn't cut it.

On a scale of 1 to 10, my disappointment is a 25.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Lesson in humility

I once thought it was *impossible* to ruin Rice Krispy Treats.

I now know this is not true.


Flooding and icky sicky

Washington is wet and rainy. Nothing new there. But anyone who has lived here knows that the rain is spread out over several months. It rains lightly for days on end. Monday was different. In most places they are saying that it was the most rain ever. EVER. 5" in 24 hours in some places. Raining cats and dogs doesn't cut it - more like raining horses and cows. News of the resulting floods have been spread nationwide. Luckily, we are not in one of the hard hit spots. Our basement has a little water, but there is a gutter that goes around the perimeter, and the water is contained there. Except for the area where it is carpeted, the carpet there is mildly damp. The worst hit area is about 30 miles south of us. The floods there are so bad that it has actually shut down I-5. Completely shut down. Anyone wanting to go from Seattle to Portland has to go 400-500 miles out of the way. I've included a scary picture to illustrate. That's I-5 under 10 feet of water. Just nuts.

Last week I got sick - bad cold it seemed. And I lost my voice. Yuck. But I got better - better enough to go up into the snow and still host our girls' party. Now I'm worse. Was a cold - now it feels like the flu. Stephen came down with it yesterday, though it doesn't seem like nearly as bad as me. Catherine seems to have it too, poor thing. But I feel like being whiny and selfish - I'm the one that's sick. Boo for me. I need sympathy. I need sleep. I need to finally feel better. I'm tired of feeling so icky.


Filling in on Catherine's first snow: she really didn't like it. Cold wet stuff and being bundled up seemed not to be her cup of tea. Plus because she's learning to take steps, the stiff boots and slippery ground didn't go well with her either. Hopefully she'll like it better next year. Or even in the next few months if it actually decides to snow here.

And also - the picture of pretty snow and trees - if you look carefully, there's a spot of red color in the middle (easy to pick out from the white and green) - that would be Jen.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tis the season

What a wonderful weekend to welcome December and open the holiday season! Two big traditions took place: the Payne family annual trek to cut down our Christmas trees, and the 8th annual girls holiday gathering.

Saturday was our trek up to the mountain. We packed the car and truck with everything we needed: snow gear, snowshoes, axe and saw, food and warm drinks. It's a long drive down to the Gifford-Pinchot-National-Forest and then up until we hit snow. Cute pictures of our little snow bunny all bundled up were a must!

My girlfriends and I have been getting together every Christmas since my junior year at PLU. At the time we were all living in the same apartment complex: me, Heather and Lori in one apartment, and directly across from us were Hilary, Christine, and Keleigh. This was 8 years ago. Since then, all of us but one have gotten married, 2 have had kids, some of us have gone on to further our eduction, and all of us have busy lives. Often times the holiday party is the only time that all 6 of us can get together.

The gathering has changed from year to year. One year Jenny Chase joined us (she was living with Lori at the time), a couple of years ago Heather's mom was there, and this year my mom joined the party. But some things never change: food, present exchange, stockings, and great girlfriend company. We rotate who hosts, and this year I got to host! I love playing hostess! We had brunch food - quite yummy if I do say so myself. And after presents and stockings we sat and chatted and caught up from lost time. Refueling our girl time until next year.