Tuesday, August 26, 2008


It's pretty clear already that Catherine isn't a morning person. For being so little, she sleeps in until 8-8:30 when it's up to her. Big surprise. Her dad can sleep through anything and does. I was infamous growing up for being impossible to get up in the morning. So much so that my little sis would leave threatening notes on my bedroom door if we needed to get up early for something exciting (I believe it was getting soaked by a water gun that I was threatened with if I didn't get up when expected).

Little clues to our non-morning-liking little girl:

One morning Catherine was just starting to wake up. I happened to be up, so I went in when I heard her fussing. She was still laying down, but when she peeked open a single eye to see me she pulled herself to sitting. And then with a tired look of exasperation, she threw herself back down on the mattress.

Then yesterday morning, Stephen and I were up as he was getting ready for work. "Do you hear that?" Stephen asked. We quietly listened. It was the music from her GloWorm. (it plays a short little tune when its belly is pushed.) The song finished, and Catherine pushed the belly again and another song played. She did it several times, and then was quiet - she went back to sleep.

"Do you realize what she was doing?" Stephen asked.
"No. What?"
"She was hitting the snooze button!"

If there was any doubt before, it's proven now. She truly is our daughter.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sharing wisdom with all

Thank you to my cuz Brigette, who posted this on her site. I'm posting it here to not only share the wisdom, but to put it on file for myself. I need to post this in big bold letters on my front door so I will see it every day. Maybe tattoo it on my arm?

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked," how heavy is this glass of water?

Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.

In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes. He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management.

If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the Burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and Rest before holding it again.

When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden. So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home.

You can pick it up tomorrow. What ever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment If you can. Relax; then pick them up later after you've rested.

Life is short. Enjoy it! And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:
* Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.

* Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
* Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
* Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
* Never buy a car you can't push.
* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
* Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
* Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
* The second mouse gets the cheese. Don't always rush it!
* When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
* Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
* You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once
* We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
*A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

*Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Water baby?

>>>> I know I haven't posted in a quite a few days. No excuses. Just plain laziness. I'll be catching up on some funny stories and what we've been up to.

Yesterday our little family joined Jen, Phil and Toby to visit Grampy Hank out at his new beach house. It was so much fun, and much too short. But we got to introduce Catherine to the ocean and the beach.

She didn't want to walk on the sand at first - way too different for her little feet. But that was nothing to trying to get her to play in the water. Our little water baby did NOT want to play in the waves. At least with her feet down. She was laughing and begging for more when we were holding her playing in the waves. And she loved being held down low enough to splash her hands in the water. But the second we put her feet down, her lips puckered in a whimper and she desperately wanted to be picked back up.

We went back to the dry sand and she quickly learned it was no big deal - it was way too much fun playing and digging in the sand to make a big deal about walking around. She "helped" daddy dig a BIG deep hole (OK, so it was about a foot wide and 2 feet deep). She had no problems following me when I walked back down to the water. But the second she reached the water line, she stopped as if she were standing over a cliff. I tried to lead her out closer to the water, but no go. Silly girl.
But it really was all fun. It was her first time at the ocean - next time she'll know better and probably won't be as scared. That will be even more fun!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Getting some pictures up

Lots of things have been happening in the last few weeks - lots of birthdays and visits and events... so that means it's picture time!

Birthday gathering for Papa Steve (and Grandma Trudy, too!). That's a happy birthday sign around her neck and a huge grin on her face. Yup, she had fun.

Playing with Auntie Val - it was so cute! I have a tiny bit of video of the fun, I'll have to see if I can post it sometime before Catherine starts driving. (ha)
Birthday party for Jake, the eldest son of Jena, a good friend from high school. Outdoors at a park - so much fun! Giving kids sugar and then running out the energy all around a playground? Excellent!
It's a bit blurry, but hopefully you can see - Catherine was on my lap at her gRodparents' house (ie: Greg and Nancy) while visiting with her godparents (Matt and Camille) and decided that she wanted a bite of my corn and wasn't going to wait for her turn. And she did it time after time! Cute little stubborn girl of mine.
Such a great picture! The only picture I got of Catherine with her godparents during our visit. Dangit. Wait - the only picture I have with just them and her ever. I'm printing this one and putting in a fire safe vault at an undisclosed location for safe keeping.
The next day, visiting with Sarah and Shea. It was so great to see them playing nice. For the most part. At least until the turtle incident.
The aforementioned turtle incident. The psuedo-pool was big enough to share. But there was only one turtle. Catherine wanted it. Shea didn't want to share. Oh the tears, screams and time outs that resulted. And it ended with the moms taking away the trouble-making turtle.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Last Supper

The last post of our Europe tour... I promise! It only took a month to get these pictures, jeez!

Our last night in Europe came with a ton of mixed emotions. We were so sad to go after falling in love with this beautiful area and making some great new friends. But we (especially Jen and myself) were so ready and anxious to get home to our kids. And to top it off I was so, so tired and exhausted.

A gray sky met us in the morning. We were on the bus in our performance wear, music in hand, and on the way to an early rehearsal with Janos Czifra, Domkappellmeister of Salzburg (director of the choir and orchestra at the Dom Cathedral), and his choir and orchestra. The rehearsal went by faster than expected, and before I knew it I was following the resident choir up the stairs to the choir loft in this amazing cathedral. Just walking in was an amazing, humbling experience.

Getting ready to sing at the mass at Dom Salzburg Cathedral.

The performance went very well. Despite the struggle that we'd been having with the performance piece, Mozart's Credo Mass, it came together and I am now in love with this music. And then just like that, our singing experience in Europe was over.

From the choir loft looking out over the cathedral.

During the afternoon I took the opportunity to stay at the hotel to rest. I was able to get a little head start packing, since we were leaving that evening, and I got to NAP! Finally! I missed the chance to go to Hellbrunn Palace, but because of the stormy weather that day I didn't miss too much.

So Stephen was out on his own with Phil, Greg, and our guide and friend, Pascal. Jen was the lone supervisor. I word it this way because they went to St. Augustine Brewery, or Augustinabrau. And they had beer. And a lot of it. Greg was able to hold his beer much better than the other 3, or at least not show much sign of inhebriation. The other 3 guys however were referred to the rest of the evening either as the 3 drunk boys, or the 3 drunkateers. It was simultaneously annoying and amusing. Especially since we were on the bus heading through winding mountain roads heading up to Zisteralm, a lovely traditional Austrian hotel for music, food and dancing. Oy vey.

Greg and the 3 drunkateers at Augustinabrau.

The evening was a lovely punctuation mark for our trip. Up in the hills above the city, at this great hotel/restaurant that emminating all that is Austria. Complete with a 6 piece polka-style Austrian band and a bunch of traditional Austrian dancers. And then it's announced that they want us to dance with them. Some groaned, some cheered.

The dancers showing off some of their moves.

Throughout the rest of the evening, the dancers would come into the audience seated at tables around the rather small dancing area and bravely ask an American to dance with them. I was so excited to get up there, and I had so much fun! Almost everyone from our group danced, including all of the drunk boys. Except for Greg, who managed to hide as soon as they were picking folks to dance and didn't reappear until he thought it was over.

That's me on the left! Yea! And yes, he's wearing lederhosen. Too cool!

Do not adjust your screen. Pinch yourself if you want, but it's true. That is Phil dancing. =)

Taking a moment to go outside, looking out over the foggy hills and barely seeing the lights of the city below, I took a moment to take it all in. The next day I would see Catherine again. I couldn't wait. But I didn't want to leave. It's difficult to have such an amazing experience come to a close. Auf Wiedersehen, Österreich. We will come and see you again.The hills truly are alive in Salzburg.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

the "official" 18 month update

Catherine had her 18 month well child check up today. Oh what fun. All in all, it was fine and we both survived. She does really well for the most part, but she hates being forced to sit still for anything, so it inevitably ends with fussing, a few tears and having to hold her down for a few seconds. But the shot? Single shot, first of all - whew! She screamed when the needle first went in, but it was over in 30 seconds and she hasn't fussed about it since. Yea!

Overall, the doc was impressed. No problems or worries - that's always good. And the doc says that it appears that she's ahead of the curve for many things in development. Wahoo!

The lowdown on stats:
Weight: 29 lbs 4 oz
Height: 33 1/4 "
95th/98th percentile, respectively. Same as she has always been - just fine proportionately, but just big for her age.

We were sent home with a clean bill of health and a "see you in 6 months". I gave Catherine a big hug and told her that she did so well and told her all the reasons why. And then I treated her to ice cream (which I never do) and playing at the mall playground, with plenty of hugs and kisses.

Till the next time...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

18 months

Amid all of the excitement we've had in the past week with a ton of visitng, traveling, and birthdays, I nearly forgot that my baby turned 18 months! A letter from mommy to daughter...

My dear Catherine,

My, how time flies. I am sure you will hear me say that a lot during your life. Some day you may get tired of me saying it. I can hear it now: "maw-awm!" (That's "mom" with 2 syllables.)

But I will never tire from saying it. It's true. You're growing up so fast. It wasn't long ago that you were being carried in mommy's tummy, or being held as a tiny baby with those tiny toes, or being helped with those first steps.

Not like you've needed help for anything. You're such an independent little girl, and you always have been. You make it clear when you are doing perfectly fine on your own. I personally love that you are now good at making it clear when you would like help. I ask if you need help when you are struggling with something before just jumping in; sometimes you'll say a firm but cute "no!", but other times you give me a grateful look and say "help".

To be needed and loved are wonderful feelings as parents. You grant us with the feeling of pride, watching you do things on your own, but we also get the feeling of love when you come running for us. You now know that mommy's kiss makes anything better, and that running for daddy when he gets home gives him a big smile. He sure loves his baby girl, just like you love him.

And I love how affectionate you are now! You give the best hugs and kisses, and there's no shortage of them being returned!

Out of all of the words in your ever-expanding vocabulary, "mommy", "daddy", and "puppy" are your favorite words now. Every day you are saying new things, and you're even starting to learn some letters! But you understand so much more than you can say, that I know for sure. You are so keen on listening to me and to others - unless you're busy with other important things of course.

There are many things that daddy and I still need to learn, but we do our best to give you everything you need: love, support, understanding, teaching, and discipline when needed.

As we continue to learn together, I promise:

- to love you unconditionally, no matter how frustrating those tough moments can be,
- to be better at taking you to church and teaching you of God's love,
- to continue working at that discipline thing - you don't like it and neither do I, but I know you need it,
- to keep an open mind and let you blossom into the wonderful person that you make yourself to be, and that God has already made you to be.

More than anything, my dear little girl, I hope you know how much I love you, and I won't ever stop making sure that you don't forget it.

Love and hugs, Mommy

A couple favorite moments with my 18 month old:

Her quiet, thoughtful look.

When she puts on sunglasses I say "cool baby!" I must have done that enough, because she started putting them on and saying "cool baby!" herself!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Arrogant Bastard

No, really - I'm not calling you names. That's the name of a beer. Well, not any beer. It's called Arrogant Bastard for a reason, and it happens to be one of our favorites.

And the other night was a perfect occassion requiring an Arrogant Bastard. We felt that when dealing with arrogant bastards, one must have an Arrogant Bastard. And yes, I did say a single beer - at 7.2 % alcohol, one 22 oz bottle was enough to split between us.

How do I describe this strong, kick-in-the-nuts beer? I think it's own label describes it perfectly well. Yes, this is a quote from it's actual label.

Arrogant Bastard Ale: This is an aggressive beer. You probably won't like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory -- maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it's made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi-million dollar ad campaigns make a beer taste better. Perhaps you're mouthing your words as you read this.

And my favorite, the "questions or comments?" section on the label:

Questions or comments? If you don't like this beer, keep it to yourself --- we don't want to hear from any sniveling yellow-beer-drinkin' wimps, 'cause this beer wasn't made for you.