Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More from the year in pictures

Catherine is turning one in 3 days! This time last year I felt as big as a house and I was getting really impatient because it was past my due date. Now it's almost been a year.

Continuing with the sentimental mood I've been in lately, here are more pictures from the last year. This time, these are some of my favorite memories.

This is one great picture to represent an entire wonderful day - Catherine's baptism. The mass was beautiful, and it was so special to have so many people with us to celebrate. Of note, it was most important and special that her godfamily was there to participate. Matt and Camille, her godparents, are in the picture with us here. Greg, Nancy, Richard, and even Katie were also there, but I can't seem to find a great picture of everyone all together. But this picture shines. The greatest touch: Catherine's beautiful white gown. You can see it in this picture, but not the detail - it was made by my mom and the material was from my wedding dress. How incredible!

Any time that us girls get together is special to me. We are very lucky that it has happened a few times already. This was in June, when my mom and grandma came up for Stephen's concert. We couldn't miss an opportunity to get a picture of all 4 generations together!

Being a student and a mom has been a challenge. It amuses me to no end when Catherine is desperate to know what I am doing when I am studying. This was one of those days - and I turned my head for just a moment... the next thing I knew Catherine had my copy of the periodic table of elements! I had to take a picture before I took it away, but she still managed to eat a couple of the noble gases - xenon and neon if I remember correctly!

In July when the new Harry Potter book came out, a bunch of our friends got together and spent the WHOLE weekend reading it aloud with each other. Naturally, Catherine wanted to get in on the action. We're starting her out as a Harry Potter fan early!

This was such a great night. We spontaneously decided to go to the park one evening after Stephen got home from work. We only had an hour or two before sunset, but luckily it was August so it was nice and warm. We had so much fun! Catherine got to go on the slides and the bouncy horse, but her favorite - and ours - was the swings. To hear her giggle and watch her face light up as she swung back and forth - it was a priceless moment.

This was at a friend's wedding reception in August. Catherine was up for so long, but she was so good. But the poor thing was really tuckered out at the end of the night. She fell asleep on her daddy's shoulder! This is super significant because she's not really a cuddly kid - she prefers to sleep on her own. So when she leaned her head on his shoulder and fluttered her eyes shut, both of us had tears in our eyes - it was so special!

OH! So many memories!

Monday, January 28, 2008

All stressed out with no place to go

I vaguely heard something early this morning while Stephen was getting up about it being snowy outside. My thought process that early didn't get much further than "ugh... turn out the light..." Naturally, nothing registered. An hour later, I'm out of bed starting to make coffee and I look outside. My semi-awake thought process went something like this:

Wow... look how pretty it is out there.
Gosh, there must be an inch or two.
Ugh... driving isn't going to be very fun.
Haha... this is the type of snow that shuts down all of the schools... haha... silly schools.
Wait... school... I'm in school.
Aw, CRAP!!!!!

Sure enough, AM classes are cancelled. Normally this might be cause for celebration. But I have been stressing out all weekend (and I mean really, really stressing out) to prepare for the exam this morning. I finally went to sleep last night feeling as prepared as possible, ready to wake up in the morning and kick the exam's butt. And normally an extra 2 days of studying might be cause for celebration. But I have a party to plan for this Saturday. I needed to get this exam out of the way so I could have time for that. Dangit.

So... now I'm stressed out with no place to go. But in attempt to curb the negative thinking, I am going to settle down with my cup of warm coffee and look out the window and enjoy the pretty snow and the morning off.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Wrong number

This is the last time im sendin you ass talkin about me not being real and shit if ur so real u would told me that same night that chu went fu**in wit me i guess we kno who the fake ni**a is im not even wit my babys mom she came ova ta get her shit while i was asleep and went threw my shit but fuc it u wanna play games and shit i can dig it

So my husband showed me this text that he received on his phone tonight... should I be concerned of his whereabouts when I'm not around? Or should I be more concerned about the state of the English language in our society? I think it's safe to say that it's a wrong number.

(This is letter for letter, character for character, exactly what was on the text. Except for the 2 words I decided to bleep. No joke.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I get the feeling that it is time for a general update. So, here are answers to your most pressing questions!

How is Catherine?

Naturally, the first question on everyone's mind - no worries, no offense to me.
She is doing super. She is walking around like she's always been doing it, actually practically running at times. She is getting really good at stacking blocks and fitting things inside other things and putting things away in bigger containers, things like that. She can follow simple instructions (come over here, put that in there, etc.). She's feeding herself with a spoon... well, that's still a work in progress, but she loves doing it for herself. She now has 5 total teeth - 2 on the top, 3 on the bottom. And she LOVES food - we can't seem to find anything that she DOESN'T like! The one thing that I'm waiting for is that she hasn't really said her official first word yet. It sounds like she is about 2 minutes away from holding full conversations, and she talks all of the time, but it's just not correct words. At least in English -- maybe she's smarter than we all think and is speaking Russian or something. We'll see. I'm waiting for it.

How is school?

I'm liking the class, but I'm not sure how I'm doing. We have our first exam on Monday, so that will be the best indication of how well I am retaining the enormous amount of information. I have learned, however, that I can rule out a career in microbiology. As fascinating as it is, I am not patient enough to tolerate the tedious procedures.

How goes the house hunting?

If you haven't heard yet, we are officially planning on buying a house this summer. We are still in preliminary stages. In other words, we haven't talked to a lender to find out what we can really afford and we haven't chosen a realtor or anything like that. But that is our biggest goal right now. I've been checking out what's available for our price range... so we'll see.

Are you ACTUALLY going to Europe?

Well... probably not. As much as Stephen and I would love to join the choir in Austria and the Czech Republic in July, we have been struggling about this for months now. We're just on the verge of being able to afford it, but it's cutting it close enough that it would most likely add to our debt. And between going to Europe and buying a house, right now the priority is buying a house. That all being said, we still can't seem to make a final decision. And we only have 7 days left to do so. ARGH!!!!!

What are you doing for Catherine's birthday?

We are having a small party on her birthday, mostly for close family. It's going to be a princess party! Then later in the month we are having a bigger par-tay for all 3 of our birthdays. The party planner in me is leaping with joy!

Is there anything else going on?

Let's see... choir, house, baby, school... nothing else is really new. But if you have any other questions that I couldn't think of, let me know!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ode to the choral arts

(Now back to what I wanted to write about last night, though I am still in mourning.)

Every Tuesday night Stephen and I travel 40 miles north to let our voices ring... it's choir rehearsal. It's nothing new for me as I've been singing in choirs since I was 12. Which means that I've been in love with the choral arts for more than 16 years. There is something about looking at the paper full of strange looking black marks, being able to interpret the language, and transforming those notes into a beautiful sound. If I take a reflective moment when I'm singing, it amazes me that my voice is melding together with 30 other voices and that together we create a seemless harmony. On a piano it's as simple as your fingers pressing down onto 2 or more keys at the same time. When a choir sings, each of those keys (notes) are represented by a number of different people each making the same note come out of their vocals. When you step back and think about it, it's a musical miracle.

If a choir-created harmony is a musical miracle, the conductor is the mastermind. He is the puppet master. I have this recurring visual that the sound coming out of each of our mouths is a rainbow of air current. As it flows to the conductor, he shapes the current with his waving arms and molds it into the art and music that the audience hears.

To be a part of this is a wonder to me. By no means do I consider myself a superb vocalist or musical expert. But being a part of a choir that does such wonderful work is a joy to me. Even with so much on my plate, I wouldn't trade this for the world.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sad news

I'm still recovering from the news. We were getting back into our car to take Catherine home after our rehearsal. They were talking about it on the radio. " Heath-Ledger found dead in his NY apartment at the age of 28."

He was not just a "Hollywood hunk". At the start of his career he was known as the new pretty boy. But he was selective about his roles. Maybe he felt that he had something to prove, maybe he was looking for something more challenging to make him happy. As a result, his career has sparkled with various amazing roles, most of which were drastically different from one another.

Not only was he amazingly talented, but part of that talent was his ability to draw out the emotion of his character and plaster it all over the screen. He had so much potential; part of my sadness is for the roles that we will never see him play. This is such a tragedy.

And did I mention he was gorgeous?


I was going to write something else tonight. This seems more important. And now I don't even feel like talking about this any more right now. I'm just so sad.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Year in pictures

In anticipation of Catherine's birthday, I've been reflecting on the past year and how much she has grown. I wanted to share my FAVORITE pictures. Not the pictures of the favorite memories (not necessarily), but truly my favorite pictures. Maybe I'll make another post of pictures of my favorite moments.

My favorite picture of Stephen and Catherine - and she was only an hour old when it was taken.
Taken at the party after her baptism in April (2 months old).

Typical day of playing with tummy time - but look at that face! (June - 4 months old).

A day of family fun at a park in Tacoma (July - 5 months old)

At the wedding reception of a good friend. It was a gorgeous August day and she looked so precious in her fancy dress and bare feet. (almost 7 months old)

I know I've posted this one before, but I don't care. It's a gorgeous picture - the colors are outstanding and it makes the blue in her eyes really pop out. (October - almost 10 months old)

Ups and downs of husbands

For the record, I have one of the best husbands out there. Catherine and I are 2 very lucky girls. But there are moments when I want to scream - and there are moments when I feel like it couldn't get any better.

Up: two nights ago as we were getting ready for bed, Stephen sat next to me, took my hands and said that he wanted to pray with me. He talked to God and thanked him for all of the blessings in our lives. Moments don't get much better then that.

Down: this morning we were all running late because SOMEone didn't set the alarm correctly. I got Catherine up and laid out her sweater and shoes. I asked Stephen to take out the garbage because I was going to be late for lab and he said "no problem". I picked up Catherine after lab: no shoes, no sweater. I come home with a cranky baby needing a nap to find that the garbage was NOT taken out and now it was too late. Grrrr!

For better or worse, that's the name of the game, right?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tough super-mom exterior, soft squishy center

So far I've managed to keep my emotions down about Catherine's upcoming birthday. Yes, it's amazing that she's turning one. Wow, I can't believe it's been a year. Yes, many memories to cherish and many more to come. But I'm tough - I'm a mom, I can take it.

Not so fast. What finally broke me was seeing a date printed on plain paper. The date - 2/2/08 - was printed on my work schedule. I've seen the date several times - on tax documents, her medical information, prescriptions. But I've seen it as 2/2/07 - the day my baby was born. Seeing the date as 2/2/08, it hit me that it really has been a whole year. A year - a WHOLE year!

Mind you, all of this came flooding to me at work, and the 4 foot cubicle walls surrounding my desk don't provide privacy for a breakdown. So I managed to hold it. Then on the way home I heard a sentimental mother-daughter song on the radio. Curses! And the tears came.

Suddenly, I want the last year back. I want my tiny baby back who would sleep for such a long time cuddled up to me. I want the time back when I could lay her down in one spot to play and I knew she wouldn't move because she couldn't. I want the time back when I could carry her around in that cute little carrier. I want the time back when I was watching her closely to catch the moment of her first smile. Come to think of it, I want all of the firsts back because I want to see them all over again.

But I can't. The last year is gone. I know we have so many years to look forward to. But suddenly I see the day when I will have to let her go, and I can't bear the thought. I hope that she takes all 17 years to let her mom get used to the fact that she will leave someday. I hope that she doesn't grow up too fast. She already has.

The song that made me cry: (moms get out your tissues; if you're not a parent, understand that this is how your parents feel about you and how you will also feel about your own kids someday - I promise)

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I want to be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me
Gives me strength when I'm weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about
It's hangin' on when your heart has had enough
It's givin' more when you feel like givin' up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes
I can see the future
A reflection of who I am
And what we'll be
And though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you'll see
How happy she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes

Thursday, January 10, 2008

And the winner of the cutest baby grin EVER:

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hey baby, what's your sign?

From the current issue of "Parents" magazine: baby's horoscpopes.

I laughed out loud when I read Catherine's. Now, I will never base my life on anything that a horoscope says. If it's wrong, I shrug my shoulders and move on. But more often than not, I notice that it's right. Catherine's happens to be spot on.

"the water bearer"
Aquarian babies are natural rebels who like to do things their way. Get lots of toys to keep your child from becoming restless during tummy time, and lock those cabinets early. Give her the chance to crawl freely on grassy lawns and toddle around the playground. Embrace her discoveries by letting her collect the rocks and other little treasures she finds. Support her individuality by allowing her to decide which outfit she wants to wear or which stuffed animal she wants to sleep with. And introduce new toys, books and games regularly: Kids born under this sign are bright and often develop ahead of schedule.

Monday, January 7, 2008

373 days and counting

Is anyone else counting down the days to a change in president?
Is anyone else wanting to have solid knowledge about candidates for the 2008 election?
Is anyone else confused as hell about all of the information out there about the candidates and their positions?

I have found a couple of invaluable resources to help me get started.


This is such a cool link. And it's updated, so as issues change or candidates drop out, it's easy to keep track of it all.

Also, a quiz to sort things out. I'm taking this with a grain of salt, but I found it helpful to confirm with myself that I'm heading in the right direction. These are my results.

85% Chris Dodd
83% Hillary Clinton
80% John Edwards
80% Barack Obama
77% Bill Richardson
72% Joe Biden
68% Mike Gravel
66% Dennis Kucinich
54% Rudy Giuliani
44% John McCain
36% Tom Tancredo
34% Mike Huckabee
33% Mitt Romney
22% Fred Thompson
18% Ron Paul

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

For the record, I haven't made an official decision on who I should support. Have you?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

My non-resolution

Experience from past years has taught me that the word "resolution" is an easy way to set myself up for failure. Perhaps the term is cursed. Or perhaps it just doesn't carry enough meaning and weight to deliver the motivation needed to truly make a change.

So I refuse to call my promise a resolution. I'm getting back on track with my direction to have a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy, everything in moderation, and be active enough to make a difference. I had given myself a bit of a break over the holidays. Starting with my final, I was under enough stress that it was actually causing me more stress to worry about what I was eating and keeping track of everything. So my promise was to relax over the holidays and start back on January 2nd.

So... here I go.
Back to the grind.
Back on track.
Back to work.
Back in the saddle again.

And how am I doing so far? Well, it's been about 12 hours, and I'm not doing too well. I had an issue with saying no to cookie dough this afternoon. So in the garbage that goes. It's hard to say yes to something that isn't there. And I move on.

I want to be down on myself and say that I'm really going to need some luck in doing this. But I know this is part of my problem. So, away with the negative thinking and in with the motivational thinking and mantras and trying to build myself up in a positive way.

Not that I need it, but wish me luck. (See, that's better, right?)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Looking back, looking forward

Looking back at the last year brings a smile to my face. 2007 has been such an incredible year for us. It was the year that I became a mom. It was the year that I started school again. And although starting school has been a huge accomplishment for me, nothing can compare to all of the memories made by the addition to our family.

Stephen and I have learned so much. Becoming a parent makes you learn more about yourself, and we've grown so much in our relationship as well. *Nothing* changes a relationship more than having a child together. It's been tough adjusting to the changes in our lives, but ultimately we have found how grateful we are to have each other and how well we work together. I've been learning more every day how wonderful it is to truly share my life with my best friend.

And Catherine... she is the perfect melting of Stephen and myself. But yet she is herself - her own person. She is stubborn, strong willed, independent, intelligent, thoughtful and quiet. And oh so incredibly beautiful. We are so lucky to have her. I thank God every day for such a gift.

2008 brings many possibilities; many things to look forward to. Catherine's first birthday is in one month! Wow! Soon she'll be talking and learning her ABC's. Stephen and I will continue singing with the Bach Choir, and we get to sing at Benaroya-Hall in April. We may or may not be able to tour with them in Europe this summer. I will continue taking my prerequisites, and hopefully I'll be able to apply for the nursing program mid-year.

Many more updates, pictures, and information to come. May everyone be as blessed as we are, and may the coming year bring joy to all those that we love.