Sunday, December 19, 2010

I LOVE you!

I'll work backwards since today was pretty exciting for us. It's been a rough week (more about that in a few). After Scarlett got up this morning, I took her into the bathroom to brush her teeth and (as usual) she started pointing to her bathtime Winnie the Pooh. When I gave him to her, she said what sounded exactly like "I love you" and gave him a kiss. I thought it was adorable but figured I was hearing very creatively. Afterwards, I changed her diaper and took her into our bedroom to say good morning to daddy. As we were laying there, I told Paul that it sounded like she told Winnie the Pooh that she loved him. So I said, "Scarlett, I LOVE you!", she then repeated it back to me and gave me a kiss! Then Paul did it and she did the same thing (giving me a kiss afterwards). It was pretty cool! I tell her I love her all the time, usually giving her a kiss afterwards, so it makes sense, but I figured it would be quite a while before we got it in return. It was a pretty great moment.

Anyway, we went to brunch this morning with Claire, Kyle, and Crystal at a new restaurant/bar in Arlington. It was nice and empty when we got there which was perfect for Scarlett to do laps without really bothering anyone. By the end of brunch she was TIRED. I had to sit in the back seat with her on the 10 minute drive home to keep her awake so that we could get her down for her nap. After all of that, she only slept for about an hour and a half, but it was needed.

On that note, I am not sure if she has yet another cold, or it is just the teething. Her bottom right jaw is horribly swollen. She is cutting at least one more tooth -- another molar. As a result, she has a stuffy/very runny nose, her mouth is bothering her a lot, and she has a periodic fever. As expected, all of that adds up to a baby not sleeping through the night. She tries her best, but she can't breathe well and her mouth hurts. So once she does get up, we have a really hard time getting her back down again and it often ends up with her in the basement or in our bed for a while.

Also following our typical pattern, all of that has aligned with a busy week. Paul and I had our Christmas parties, we had dinner with a friend of mine from Florida, a hectic work week and my last week of teaching. Abigail stayed with Scarlett on Thursday and Friday so we could go to our office Xmas parties. Luckily, it sounds like she was pretty good for Abigail, but didn't stay asleep after we got home. Oh well. It sucks to be sleep deprived, but as adults I feel like we can handle it okay. I feel really bad for her because she is also sleep deprived, but feels crappy to boot. She tends to be in pretty good spirits despite it all, but she acts a little manic -- she will start crying all of the sudden (probably her mouth hurting) and has been unusually attached to her milk sippy cup. This week has brought a few more temper tantrums than usual. I hope that it is her mouth rather than a new stage, but between bratty spurts, she has been very sweet and VERY funny. She is a total goof ball. Her favorite thing to do is play chase, but once you start chasing her she moves her arms in and out like she is pulling on a lawn mower cord to get it going. Too funny. She also has a habit of opening her mouth as wide as she possibly can or scrunching up her nose to try to get a reaction. Yesterday she started stuffing her toys down her shirt. And of course, we don't encourage any of this. Today we also saw her trying to feed her toy moose an animal cracker.
She does look like she is starting a lawnmower. Sometimes she runs while doing "the butter churn", other times she raises one or both hands in the air, then slams them down, but whatever she does, she normally ends up speed-walking out of control and crashes to the ground. Scarlett really has come into her own with her sense of humor. She's always had a great one, but the more she develops physically and cognitively, the more creative she gets. I'll try to list a few:
1. Intentionally grabbing an object and not letting it go until we chase her around the house
2. Feeding us her food
3. Hitting herself in the head with her hard plastic maraca (it makes a different noise with each shake).
4. Shoving her fish bowl
5. Dancing goofy while looking at us to make sure we are laughing
6. Shoving a stuffed penguin down her shirt (she thought it was funny when we did it to her, so she repeated it about 15 times)
7. Dancing in the shower while standing and smacking her hands against the back of the shower
8. I was holding her hand at a restaurant and she looked at me and decided to see if she could lean back and touch her head to the ground
9. Imitating an American Indian chant by smacking her open hand to her mouth (not all that gently)
10. Running around the living room, grabbing anything she can find and handing them to us one at a time.

Ten is enough (although the pickle pictures speak for themselves- and we are saving one picture for a rainy day when Scarlett is a bit older... I'll leave it at that.) We need to start writing these things down so we can remember them. I blame old age for my memory loss, Shonna blames the Scarlett pregnancy.

Sorry for the babyblogapolooza this weekend. The unfinished blogs were piling up and we finally got to them.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Taking it one parent at a time...

This week Paul and I were essentially having a parenting relay race. He left on Sunday to go to Tampa for work and got back Tuesday evening. I left on Wednesday in the early afternoon for Philadelphia for work and got back Friday night. Despite some additional teething and what appears to be YET ANOTHER cold, Scarlett has been really good lately and lots of fun, so it hasn't been a bad time for us to be operating with a handicap. Things were pretty uneventful while Paul was away. She and I did a lot of playing, with chase being one of her favorite games. I also just like watching her play on her own. She has gotten really good at sorting shapes and manipulating objects (e.g., stacking her rings on the wooden stick). She is mimicking adults a lot now (brushing her hair with a brush, tipping the teapot over the cup, putting Vicks vapor rub under her nose), even when she doesn't know we are watching. It's kind of crazy how fast stuff like that changes. It hasn't been very long at all since she was determined to get the triangle in the square hole, but now she gets them all, often on the first try. The one thing is that she isn't falling asleep on us as much these days. For the most part, we're back to having to just put her in her crib and let her cry until she falls asleep. Luckily, that doesn't seem to take as long as it used to.

On Friday when I got back we really just ran errands. We went to Costco to get stuff for making Christmas cookies. Scarlett has been talking a lot more these days. She has added "baby" to her list of favorites. She has been saying baby for a long time, but now she says it all of the time. in fact, she has stopped calling Bacchus a dog, and has started calling him a baby. It's pretty cute actually because she often shouts "Oh, Baby!" Poor cat isn't going to know what his name (or species) is.

Saturday Dave came over and we tried out Paul's birthday present from my mom - a waffle maker. As it turns out, Scarlett LOVES waffles. She ate almost a half of a waffle after her breakfast. Then we went to Clemyjontri park in McLean, VA ( It was AWESOME!! First, it is probably the biggest playground I've ever seen. It's also cool because it's designed so that children with disabilities can also use the equipment. It has sign language all over the place and ramps for wheel chairs and special swings. It was fun for all four of us! Scarlett was not excited to leave the playground as usual and started crying when we took her out of the swings. She then promptly fell asleep in the car.


Talk about a kiddie park. Its like an amusement park for kids, AND FREE :) They even have a merry-go-round (although its only available during the summer season.) There is so much to do, even adults can sneak in some fun of their own. We may have "tested" some equipment while we were there... like the zip line. Yes they have a zip line! They also have a racetrack, a workout area, and cool underground pipe "phones" that allow you to talk to someone on the other side of the park. Park pictures can be found here The only scary part if that its located right next to the CIA. I accidentally turned onto that road once. You can't get out until you reach the gate... and the guards don't have much of a sense of humor. We can't wait until the spring to try the park, although I have a feeling it gets pretty popular when the weather is nice. We may have stumbled upon the best day to visit. A sunny 50 degree day during the off season.

Sunday was baking day. And when I say day, I mean every waking hour of the day. Just look at the pictures. We did have a pretty good system though. Mommy made the dough, daddy balled up the cookies and put them in the oven (while watching football;). Scarlett bounced off the walls. I think she walked through a cloud of confectioners sugar at one point. After all, we did use over 24 cups of the stuff. Along with pounds of butter, sugar, flour... All-in-all we made 12 dozen oatmeal chocolate chip, 140+ buckeyes, dozens of raspberry filled butter cookies, gooey chocolate butter cookies, ginger bread cookies, and ricotta-lemon cookies. Oh yea I almost forgot the pumpkin cake. By the end of the day, we had no desire to eat another cookie. That anti-cookie stance lasted for at least 24 hours... but I will say that under normal conditions, we would have eaten twice as much as we have to this point. Scarlett is another story all together. As with most kids, she would gladly forego any of her favorite dishes for a dinner consisting entirely of cookies and cake, washed down with whipped cream, although we try to keep it under control. Every time we pass by the table with the bags of cookies on them though, she points as hard as she possibly can.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy birthday, Liam!

We haven't been very good at keep up with the blog of late. The week of Thanksgiving, Scarlett was really sick. She wasn't herself all week -- a little fussier than usual, not sleeping well, and seemed to have a really bad cold. She was clearly teething and uncomfortable, but on Thanksgiving day, we knew it was bad. She'd been so stuffy that she couldn't breathe at night, and thus couldn't sleep. Her normal position of sleeping on her knees made it impossible for any of it to drain down, so she really could only sleep when she was sleeping on one of us (Paul in particular) or down on the recliner in the basement. It made for a long week with little sleep, but luckily, Paul and I had both planned to be home the day after thanksgiving (his birthday -- Happy 42nd!) and that weekend. On the way up to Baltimore on thanksgiving, I noticed that she was messing with her ear. She didn't touch it again though, so I thought it was a fluke. She was still really sick so by Saturday morning we decided to take her in to the doctor. As it turned out, in addition to cutting three molars and having a bad cold, she had gotten an ear infection! We felt horrible for not taking her in earlier, but the stories we had heard of babies with ear infections involved constant screaming. I guess she is just too mellow for her own good because we knew she wasn't feeling well, but she was generally pretty normal (jumping on the trampoline, playing with her toys). She was napping a lot more, not eating much, and much needier, but otherwise nothing all that unusual. Anyway, they gave her some antibiotics for the ear infection and within a day or two, she was feeling much better and in an amazing mood because of it. We love how much she loves life. When she is feeling good, she wake up giggling and ready for the day. If only we all had that attitude!

We hadn't realized until we were on our way up north on Thanksgiving day that Scarlett was so sick, so the day before we went to Paul's friend Mike's house for a thanksgiving day prequel party with her. There were a bunch of people and older children. Despite being under the weather, she did really well. She wandered around through the crowd and tried to play with the other children. There was an interesting moment when the other children were running up the stairs and Scarlett was following after them (I was trailing behind watching to see what she would do) but Scarlett stopped at the bottom of the stairs, shook her head no, and turned around and walked away. I was so proud! I was expecting to have to scold her or run and grab her, especially since other kids were going upstairs, but she corrected herself! Not bad for a one year old!

As I said, on Thanksgiving we went up to Baltimore to Paul's cousin's restaurant to spend thanksgiving with his family. We had a nice dinner and although she definitely wasn't herself, Scarlett was doing pretty well. After we got home, Jacy came over and we met Tracy at Tyson's Corner Mall for midnight madness (Black Friday started at midnight!). We got back from a pretty successful trip around 4:45 AM.

Paul's birthday didn't turn out quite as planned because I was feeling sick, Scarlett was too sick to leave the house, and it turned out that the dinner I wanted to make required sitting overnight in the fridge. Paul can say more about his birthday and dinners, but the short version is that he ended up making his own birthday dinner -- a full thanksgiving dinner.

Saturday morning, Bonnie, her mom, and Caroline came over to visit. That night I finally made Paul's birthday dinner.

The past week has been pretty hectic with work and I started coming down with something. I knew I was coming down with what Scarlett had. In part because she and I always share, but also because I had a few hours here and there where I felt pretty crappy. Paul and I were pretty focused on her though, so I was able to hold it off for a while. I thought I was through the woods until last night after Liam's party when I started feeling flu-ish. To back up, we went to Silver Spring for Jacy's 29th birthday dinner on Friday. Since she shares her birthday with Liam, we decided to break it up and give her a baby-free evening to have the focus on her. Saturday though it was all about Liam. They had a big jungle-themed birthday party for him in Oxon Hill (I'm sure she'll say more about it in her blog ( It was awesome! The decorations were adorable and they had really cool favors; "photobooth" pictures on personalized backings with a picture of Liam. Too cute!

We'd planned to go out after the party, but I was feeling pretty horrible by the time we made it back to the house. Instead, Paul ended up taking care of Scarlett while I took some medicine and turned in for a 12-hour night of sleep. Luckily, Scarlett seems to be back to normal and is full of energy. Paul left today for Tampa for a few days of business. Scarlett and I have been having a lot of fun in his absence, but are looking forward to his return! He gets back on Tuesday afternoon, just in time for me to head to Philadelphia for a few days. Next weekend we're planning to spend a few days baking Christmas treats, so if you have any good recipes, let us know!

As Shonna mentioned, Scarlett was basically sick the entire week. However, as you can see by the pictures, she perked up during the day and crashed hard at night. One of the modification we had to make was to elevate her head so she could breath while sleeping. The bed photo was taken early morning after Scarlett woke up in her crib. She was much more comfortable with her head raised on mommy's pillow :) The 2nd sleep photo was taken after I pulled her out of her crib and slept on the recliner in the basement. Believe it or not, I was able to slide out of the chair and take the photo (and I may have slipped in a nap on the nearby bed... shhhhhh). Well, this late-night, early morning wake up was getting tiring (literally) so I did some research. After educating myself, I grabbed a bunch of books, raised the right side of her crib roughly 4 inches, and wouldn't you know it the solution worked???? She slept through the night.

So this week apparently was the week of extremely large meals. Normal people instinctively have lighter caloric days throughout the week with Thanksgiving looming. We bucked the trend and decided to make it a 3-day eating frenzy. Thursday, as Shonna mentioned, we ate Thanksgiving dinner at my cousin's restaurant. It was an excellent but non-traditional meal. Smoked turkey breast instead of a whole turkey, a sweet sauerkraut dish instead of our usual version simmering in turkey meat (its a German/Baltimore thing), mac and cheese... and LOTS of desserts.

Friday was my birthday and it was fantastic. It started with Shonna running off to Black Friday @ Tysons, and ended with a turkey coma. Scarlett and I spent the morning together while The Black Friday Widow rested. During the afternoon, I thought it would make sense to cook our (big local farm fresh) turkey so we could eat post thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. I knew Shonna was going to make a birthday dinner so I wanted to get it done early. Unfortunately I put the turkey in later than I wanted to. It was going to be an issue because Shonna came home with birthday dinner which included dry-aged prime rib. Mmmmmm. Unfortunately the recipe called for 24 hrs of marination, and 3 hrs of cooking. Marinading in a salt rub was something we could work around, but 3 hrs of cooking was an issue, especially at 7pm. On to plan B it was! Turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing... the works. Too bad I tried to make a semi-healthy version of mashed potatoes (partially due to ingredients on hand), but besides that, the dinner was excellent.

Saturday was THE dinner day :) Scarlett had a great meal as well. Too bad she couldn't taste it! Up to this point in her life, Scarlett's palate had to be one of the most sophisticated of any baby I've ever heard of. Unfortunately her recent congestion put a halt to that immediately. She seemed so frustrated with her taste buds, that she refused to eat. She lost a pound and a half just to give you an idea of how her eating habits changed this week. It reminded me of a science experiment we conducted in Jr. High School. Try plugging you nose and eating an apple and raw potato blind folded. You can't tell the difference. That's the state Scarlett was in. Can you imagine going to an expensive restaurant and spending $100 on a tasteless meal? You might as well drink manischewitz and eat rice cakes... Okay, back to the meal. The prime rib was marinated in season salt, rock salt, and all other kinds of goodies. Have you ever had a Morton's prime rib? They only serve them on weekends, and I believe they limit it to 2 full racks (14 bones) but they serve double boned or roughly 3 lbs of juicy salty love. Morton's usually sell out in a couple of hours max. We also had seared scallops and multiple desserts. Again Mmmmmmm. It would have been absolutely perfect if it weren't for our faulty thermometer. The calibration was off, and we overcooked the beef. Live and learn. The flavor was still simply amazing however!