We're in NYC...walked around a bit today, rode the Staten Island ferry and went to Ellis Island and went to the Manhattan CofC for a Christmas Eve service. Tomorrow we go to the Rockettes and the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. Should be fun! Emily has done great...she's fallen asleep in the Baby Bjorn several times, which is great because we've been away from the hotel all day. It's about time to get Emily to bed so I'll sign off for now.
Oh, and pray for good night sleeping for Emily...last night was pretty bad.
I thought I'd share a picture of Emily in her new high chair. I love it because it makes her look so little again!
It's been a busy few days for us. Monday was just downright cold and Phillip had to work a couple basketball games. (Emily and I stayed home!) Tuesday was a doctor appointment for Emily and her first Christmas party. She tolerated the shots well, but was a little fussy the rest of the day. Seeing Grandpa and Pearlie last night cheered her right up though. She's now 25.5" (50th percentile) and 14 pounds, 3 ounces (25th percentile).
(I couldn't decide between these two pictures. They're both faces we see frequently!)
Back here, I talked about my hard work out in our store room. I was told by Cara that I should take pictures of my hard work. I didn't take pictures right before I started working (who thinks of that when there's work to be done?), but I found some from right after we moved in.
Every year, BooMama does a Christmas Tour of Homes...an internet-based open house of sorts. I figured that, since I started reading her blog this year, I would participate.
BooMama also suggested we provide a snack. So, I'm sharing the recipe for Almond Tea...a favorite that we only have at Christmas-time and that I always get compliments on.
4 regular tea bags
1 1/3 C water
2/3 C lemon juice
2 2/3 C sugar
1 1/3 T vanilla
2 2/3 T almond extract
~1 1/3 quart water
2 L ginger ale
Make tea using the tea bags and 1 1/3 C water. Add lemon juice, sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Boil and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Add water to make 2 quarts. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, add 2 L ginger ale. (makes about 1 gallon)
Now for the tour...
Because we are going to New York for Christmas (and we're not having a Christmas party here, as we have in the past), I just couldn't really get into the spirit of decorating a whole lot. Hopefully that will be different next year when Emily is old enough to really enjoy the decorations. (She does like the lights on the tree this year!). Anyway, all that to say...there are only a few decorations up.
This tree has been around a while (and the ornaments...some even longer than the tree!). My parents bought this tree in 1984 when we moved to Colorado. When Jenni moved to Dallas, she took it with her and they bought a new tree. I got it my second Christmas in Dallas, after Jenni bought herself a new tree. Now it's ours and I still love decorating it. As a kid, my parents would allow us to buy one Christmas ornament every year and my grandparents gave each of the grandkids an ornament every year. When I moved out, my tree was already full! Phillip and I have continued the tradition of buying ornaments every year and will do that for Emily as well.
Ah, the candy bell. My grandmother had one that always had peppermints on it. (My guess is they could have been the same peppermints every year since she never ate them!) Anyhow, the tradition is that you take one candy off each night of December and when you get to the bell (the debate goes on in our family whether it's the bell at the top or the small jingle bell at the bottom), Christmas is here. I remember doing that as a kid...Jenni and I took turns each night getting the candy. (Jenni and I each made a bell for ourselves when we left home.) Now, Phillip and I take turns. I'm not sure what we'll do next year when Emily's old enough to eat the candy too!
I love these stockings! My mom made them for us to be similar to the ones that my grandmother made for us when we were little. I can't wait for Emily to be able to open her own stocking! The best part right now, though, is that there are three!
Phillip and I bought this nativity in Germany two years ago.
Phillip bought this figurine for me our first Christmas...before we were married. I just love how Mrs. Santa is sitting on Santa's lap!
One thing I started doing a couple years ago was reading this book. It's a collection of excerpts about the birth of Christ from Max Lucado's other books. I just reminds me of what we're really celebrating this time of year. More than ever, this year, it's important for me to read this because I need the "mommy" time!
Thanks for touring my home. I hope you enjoyed it!
A fairly typical weekend, that's what this has been. We didn't have to go to the basketball game Friday night, so that was kind of nice. Yesterday, we met my parents in Winters so Phillip could get some speakers from my dad. He's going to be showing movies to the kids who are exempt from finals and needed some way that they could actually hear the movies. What a nice principal!
When we got home, I decided it was time for me to clean up the store room. We have an outdoor storeroom the size of a two-car carport. And, wonderful as it is, it had never been worked in since we moved in. So, yesterday (while there was daylight), I set out to organize it. After two and a half hours (with Emily crying for Phillip most of that time--she doesn't seem to like daddy-daughter time), I finally finished. All our empty, these-are-good-to-keep-for-a-future-move boxes have been nested and restacked to take up about a third of the space they previously were. All our item-specific boxes (it's always nice to have the box and original packing materials for that nice pitcher so you don't have to wonder if it will get broken in the move) are now nested as much as possible...though it's harder to nest those because of those pesky original packing materials! But, they are in a small section by themselves. We have paper boxes. We have a small section of boxes containing packing paper (5 dish pack boxes + a medium-sized suitcase!). We have a section dedicated to Christmas (this stuff will go into plastic bins after New Year's when that stuff goes on sale). We have a section for smaller, gift-type boxes...I never could find those before I organized, hence the reason for organizing! And, a shelf of boxes containing stuff we didn't unpack because there just wasn't room in the house. And, we've got the typical yard stuff, like a lawn mower, edger, blower, etc., also taking up residence out there.
And, in case you were wondering (I'm sure you weren't, but I want to share anyway), dirt daubers like to make nests in corrugated cardboard boxes. They also EAT cardboard, like termites eat wood. I can't tell you how many (empty, of course) nests I took out of these boxes. Just let that be a lesson to you...if you must store boxes outside in a storage building, be aware of dirt daubers!
Today, Phillip and Emily made cookies. He wanted to do something for the teachers at school and decided to make cookies. I had a recipe that makes 6-7 dozen and I already had everything for it, so he did it (with very little help from me). I'm so glad he's generous to his teachers!
We also have a new resident in our dining room...a high chair! I put it together tonight so that when we get back from New York (9 days til we leave!), it will be all ready for us to start feeding Emily cereal. I put her in it tonight and she loved it! I'm so glad!
Okay, that's it for my random ramblings. I just felt the need to post more than just weekly Emily pictures, even though that's what most of you come here for!
I have felt the need to write something a bit more random, so here it is.
In the past few months, I've gotten on a kick of "complaining" to companies who offer a guarantee on their products (and had quite a bit of success with it). Now, I guess I shouldn't really call it complaining because they are asking for feedback. I've encouraged my mom and sister to do the same and they, too, have had good results with it. Here are some examples.
Oxo #1: A while back, my 2 cup angled measuring cup cracked. Yes, I had put it in the dishwasher; yes, I'd put it in the microwave. But, the package said all that was safe for it. So, I sent them a nice email asking what they could do for me. They replied and asked what the part number was (go look it up on our web site) and they would replace it. I sent the part number of the 2 cup measure and they replaced it with a 4 cup measure. A slightly more expensive product, but to me, it's just another measuring cup that I didn't have to buy!
Oxo #2: Recently, my multi grater (like a box grater, but not quite as good) broke. Again, I'd put it in the dishwasher (who doesn't like to put a grater in the dishwasher?), but the packaging said it was dishwasher safe. So, I sent them another nice email and asked what they could do for me. They sent me a form this time and asked that I fill it out and return it with the broken product and I could get a new one (or something of equal or lesser value). So, for $4, I mailed my broken multi grater back to Oxo and asked if they could replace it with the box grater, even though I knew that was a few dollars more). I thought the box grater might be slightly easier to use. Much to my surprise, I received my box grater!
Great Value cooking spray: I buy generic food products and I'm not ashamed of it! Rarely can I tell the difference between the generic and the name brand product. I bought the Wal-Mart brand of canola oil cooking spray a while back and used it for a while with no problems. Then, one day, I got it out to use it and, in taking off the lid, oil went everywhere! I figured I had hit the spray nozzle when I put the lid back on so I didn't think much about it. When it happened again, I was a little more wary of the product. I left it sitting out so I could clean it up and noticed that the sprayer was bubbling. It apparently had a leak and that was causing the oil to leak out. So, I complained to Wal-Mart online and told them what had happened. I didn't hear back from them immediately, but later got a letter from Con Agra, the maker of the spray. They sent me $5 to reimburse me for the cooking spray, a great deal for me considering the cooking spray only costs $1.46!!
Sears Portrait Studios: In October, we took Emily to Sears to get her pictures taken. It was a pretty bad experience. Now, I'll admit, it was partly my fault because we went on a Saturday. (DO NOT EVER go on a Saturday!!!) We arrived about 20 minutes before our appointment time and stood waiting for about 20 minutes for someone to acknowledge that we were there. Once we got checked in, they told us they were running behind (big surprise) and that it would be 30-45 minutes before they got to us. (Remember, Emily was only 4 months old and babies don't really like it when you mess with their schedules!) So, an hour after our original appointment time, we were finally taken back. I was chatting with the (very young-looking) photographer as we got started and asked how long she'd been taking pictures. She said about three months. That made me nervous. So, an inexperienced photographer and a semi-uncooperative baby put together. Well, we got ONE good shot. The others weren't terrible, but they certainly weren't anything I couldn't have taken myself! We ordered our pictures and bought the Super Saver card and went on our way. I found out later that they were supposed to give us a proof sheet that had all the pictures on it and a link that we could use to see them online. After calling customer service and asking them to manually upload them, we were able to do that. Fortunately, that day's receipt had a survey on it so I gleefully filled it out and told them just how disappointed I was with my experience. They sent me a coupon for 10% off and 2 free portrait sheets, good with any other offer. So far, they've won me back. We'll see how our session today goes.
26 weeks...that means half a year! I guess that's about right because tomorrow is Emily's half-birthday! I can't believe it. Since today's a special day, I thought I'd do something different. I'll give you this week's picture then let you watch Emily morph from a newborn to a six-month old. (Mom, get your Kleenex ready!)
(Before you hit play, you'll want to pause the background music--in the right hand column.)
I'm falling down on my blogging. Actually, I feel like I'm falling down on a lot of things these days. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, being a wife. The list goes on and on. There are just too many things I "need" to do and just as many I want to do. I'm struggling again with how to balance everything. I keep thinking, "Once X is done, then it will be better." But it never is. There's always that X that just keeps coming back. In some ways, I feel like I've lost me. I know I'm not the first new mom to experience this. I guess I keep trying to get over it instead of through it. I guess there's always something in my life I'll be working on or through and this is just one of them.
Okay, I know you didn't come to hear me complain. I'm sure you'd much rather hear about our Thanksgiving!
This year, for the first time in, I think, six years, all of my mom's family was together for Thanksgiving. It was a little more interesting this year because we had 4 munchkins age 4 and under. There was lots of activity the whole time we were all together, but we did manage to continue one Thanksgiving tradition...taking a family photo. (I love how Emily & Andrew are looking at each other!)
Emily got to try out the "new" old high chair. This high chair has been in my dad's family for, well, I'm not sure how long. My parents had it repainted for Emily so she will have a place to eat at their house.
Friday, my dad started a new tradition (I think). When Jenni and I were growing up, he would occasionally make bread--a 10 loaf recipe--using his grandmother's recipe. I've pared down the recipe to a 2 loaf recipe and have made it several times. He decided that he and Emily would make bread on Friday. She missed out on the first part of the mixing, but she got into the kneading!
On Saturday, we went to Phillip's parents' house to enjoy our traditional Thanksgiving meal...steaks & baked potatoes! Emily enjoyed playing with her cousins Kaily & Baily. (Grandma's in the background.)
Sunday morning, we were blessed to have a baby blessing at Highland. Emily brought her aunt, all her grandparents and three of her four great-grandparents with her to share the blessed event. Afterward, we got a great picture with Phillip's family, although I think Emily was more interested in Grandma Palma's hair!
As I close today's long post (happy to see that you're still reading!), here is today's weekly picture. Emily seems to be dealing well with her runny nose.