Wednesday, December 31, 2008

adios oh-eight

Impossible. How can 2008 be over? A year ago tonight, J and I lazed on our couch, ushering in the new year with a total lack of fanfare. The memory is so clear it could have happened last week. My worn and cozy UND cheer team sweatpants. J's soft snoring hours before the ball dropped. Fireworks crackling outside, their startling revelry in stark contrast to my own sobriety. Pets scattered around the darkened room as I ate melting Ben & Jerry's and hoped, wished, worried about what the next year would bring. Surely, it had to, just had to be better than 2007. I wrote on my blog: I've counted on this new start for some time now, thought of it like a fresh new page in a cluttered and messy book, a large step forward toward what will be.....and now that it has nearly arrived I can only trust, and hope, and believe that through all this bad will come good.

How quickly and certainly that wish came true. It was only 10 days later, a bright and chilly Monday morning, that I stood in my bathroom staring down at a positive pregnancy test. Another one. One that, at last, would come to beautiful fruition on a hot September morning.

2008, you've been great. You brought celebration, joy, completion, closure, and so much laughter. Friendships new and friendships reconciled. Health and comfort. Love in new proportions, unimaginable proportions. Anderson.

Tonight, a low key dinner of Mexican and margs with the family and little A. We'll surely be back home and tucked in bed well before midnight out here in the Pacific time zone. But we'll wake up to 2009, a year I can only hope will be nearly as blessed as the one we say goodbye to this evening. Minus the whole "having a baby" thing. We're all set in that department for awhile. So says J.

One fun Christmas celebration down (Frazier/Texas Christmas), one to go (Aus-Frazier/California Christmas) as soon as J gets his fanny to the county of Orange (the 2nd!) I'll leave you with some holiday miscellaneous: Griffin's least favorite Christmas gift and a whole lotta Anderson- A's favorite Christmas gift, A enjoying Christmas Eve with his Mimi and Papaw, A ready for a morning walk, A wondering what the heck happened to his favorite finger last night at a beachside restaurant. Happy New Year, dear Internet! Much love. xoxo



Saturday, December 20, 2008


It's December 20! Eek! I'm utterly unprepared for the holidays. I've not baked a single cookie, there are still gifts unwrapped (oh fine, unBOUGHT), suitcases not packed, house in all-out disarray. It's always tough not to get caught up in the frenzy, not to feel that I need to do more, go faster, buy more: play my scheduled role the consumer madness. But having A around this year has brought a new peace to the season. We were sitting by the tree the other night and he was in awe. Thankfully, A's tastes are still pretty unrefined, because we've got a trashtastic tree going on this year. The cats pulled the branches from the pole, so the light strings are suspending the dangling tree branches in midair. There are no ornaments- last year, the cats removed them one by one and broke as many as they pleased. They favored Pottery Barn ornaments, naturally- our snobbish kitties left the cheaper contributions in place, unscathed. It's crooked, it's see through, it's seriously beastly. Back to the point- we were sitting by this tree and A's wide eyes were taking it in, little mouth open, noiseless. I looked at him and saw the colored lights reflected in those gorgeous little eyes. Honest, pure delight on his face. Now THIS is what it's about- joy, peace, love. A quiet moment shared with a loved one. Reflection. Celebration. Thanks. Blessings! And how filled with those blessings 2008 has been! How joyous this year after the tumult of the year before. How good. How blessed.

The cookies, the gifts, the suitcases...they'll get done. Or not. No matter. Cookies make my butt fat anyway.

Behold, the tree in perhaps the most wildly unavailing photo session in recent months. George didn't love A so close to his tree-home, A was pukey and unstable, Griff paced nervously behind me, camera battery dead just as A decided to smile. As Papa would say...."It's all part of the experience, Audrey."
the culprit
the hot mess

creeping cat, unsuspecting baby

listen up, santa....

I think we're done here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

3 months!

Here he is, the man of the hour.....
Anderson Lee, 3 months old today:
During our 20 minute photo shoot, A christened each of the following items with rancid baby barf: left couch cushion, outfit #1, my right hand, the camera strap, outfit #2, my left hand, right couch cushion, his bare chest and diaper front when I gave up on the outfits and went for a tasteful nudie shot, and lastly, my arm and pant leg as I surrendered and carried him upstairs to the bath. That reflux medicine is clearly doing its' job (insert big eye roll here). If you look closely, you can actually see a tiny pool of spit up at the side of his lips. And if you look really, really closely, you'll see he's landed himself on the naughty list (this year and very likely next year, too) for an extremely mischievous hand gesture, however unintentional it may be. Oy vey, A.


Happy 3 months, Mister Anderson! You're the sweetest thing in our world, barf and all! It seems impossible that a quarter of a year has already passed since your arrival. I remind myself every single day to enjoy each distinct moment- the funny ones, the messy ones, the tiring ones, the sweet giggly evening ones with J. Even the smelly ones, the ones where I'm not sure whether the poop on my hand or the pee on his belly is a more urgent matter. And especially the sleepy, snuggly ones. They're all beautiful because this boy, so spirited, so happy, is the ultimate blessing. They're passing all too quickly and I'm so thankful for our sunshiny little man!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

my boys

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.
-Desmond Tutu

Monday, December 15, 2008

no giggle for you

The A-man and I just got in from a quick jaunt to the mailbox. I've never seen the neighborhood so freakishly still. Not a neighbor, a car, or even a stray cat in sight on this gray winter's day. I guess a wind chill of 22 in central Texas may be the explanation. But I find that if we don't at least get out for a walk around the block at some point during the day, I start to feel a wee bit clausterphobic. Plus, I had a hunch that our mailbox would be crammed full of cheery holiday cards. Anyway, it was chilly. Pink-cheek chilly. Wish I had some mittens chilly. And totally worth it- even if the neighbors were probably calling CPS on the irresponsible mommy dragging her poor defenseless baby out in the "arctic cold" to get her mail fix.....NINE cards awaited. Very cute cards- cute babies, cute doggies, cute newlyweds....a plethora of cuteness. A cuteness explosion. The crem de la cuteness. (Someone's had too much Diet Dew today to stave off the gray day sleepies, and may be writing this through a caffienated haze. Guess who.) I SWEAR- tomorrow is the day. The day I forge into the crowded PO, purchase the stamps, and get our own 5x7 slice of holiday happiness sent off to far flung cities across the US.

A's fantastic as ever. He did spit up all over my chin, neck and chest this morning, that wasn't so fantastic. But that's what I get for feeding him then immediately attempting "the airplane" in a lame attempt to entertain the baby while doing a few sit ups. My bad. He's got a full on giggle now, a sound SO instinctively happy that I tear up in adoration nearly ever time he does it. But A's a coy boy. We'll be playing and giggling and having a ball....then we attempt to get the giggle on film, and he takes one look at the camera and turns stoic. That's what happened last night when J and I tried to capture some of the fun to share. Not even a visit from his weird buddy Tickle Monster nor another round of Jingle Bells could shake loose one of those precious giggles. Watch and behold A's stage fright. (Apologies in advance for my singing "skills". "Skills" meaning...."sounds like a deranged, dying, irritating chipmunk".)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

sitting, splashing, snowing

Anderson would like to show off his new sitting skills. Last month we tried this chair out and it was a bust, not enough neck control to keep that big head upright. After many hours of neck-strengthening tummy time this past month, he's now sitting up, looking cool, checking out the room from the sitting position.

He's also discovered that those chubby little arms and legs are good for something fun- splashing! He loves to kick furiously and grins when he soaks his face with water. We start with a full tub, and ten minutes later, he's got half the water out and covering the bath mat, the floor, his parents, and once, the cat. Ralph learned his lesson about getting too close to Michael Phelps Jr. and now stays a safe distance away monitoring the activity, as you'll see in the video.


In news unrelated to Anderson, it SNOWED last night! It was 81 degrees and muggy at 1pm. When we went out again around 4pm, there was a chill in the air and we needed light jackets. By 9pm we could hear sleet hitting the windows and turned the heat on. And as we headed to bed at midnight- SNOW! The rooftops were actually white this morning. No snow day for J, though. Boo!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

fourth photo, fourth folder

My sweet friend Monica tagged me to find the fourth photo in my fourth photo file and post it. I went digging way back to my fourth Shutterfly album, and this is what I found.....

Sara, Megan, Sarah, Mandie, Katie, Jenny

Buca di Beppo, Minneapolis, October 2004

This is a "before" shot of me with my very best friends. The after shots are much less flattering, so I'm glad this was #4, because this blog wouldn't be the appropriate place for a photo of us after the 6 or 7 bottles of wine downed at our table that night (I'm gagging at the memory). So many big life changes since this night- marriages, two sweet baby boys, Megan's baby due in less than 4 weeks, Jenny's baby girl due in April, moves all over the country and back again, new houses, new jobs, new business ventures. But at heart, we're still "Rivs, Forks, and Falls", North Dakota girls, Alpha Phis, Sioux, and most importantly- dear lifelong friends. I'm so blessed to know and love these women!

All right......CRYSTAL, you're it!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

monkey's new friend

Another Sunday, another miserable Packer loss. Otherwise, it's been a nice end to the weekend. We slept in (thank you, thank you, thank you Anderson for sleeping a full 9 hours every night this past week.....whatever your daddy bribed you with, it's yours), had a thought-provoking morning at church, a home cooked meal afterward (the first in weeks), then the boys napped the afternoon away while I addressed Christmas cards. I thought I had plenty of time for this, but since we received six in the mail this week already, I felt the need to get moving. Or make some new friends who aren't such overachievers. (Kidding!) However, since our cards last year didn't hit the mail until early January, we're already WAY ahead of schedule.

Last night, Anderson met his new friend, the very adorable Will. Will was in town with his parents, our friends Cari & Jason. The little guys hit it off immediately, just like their mamas did while working the stockroom in our Pottery Barning days. Will had a chance to practice his baby-tending skills....good thing, since he's going to have a baby sister this spring! While I really wish they were still living here in Austin, we can't wait to spend more time with this fun family during our many California visits.


A's saying...."dude, let me out of here and we can have some FUN!"

A's not wearing shorts. His bibs are just all hiked up, and pretty close to outgrown. On to 6 month outfits for Mister Ginormous.

Friday, December 5, 2008

project winter coat = fail

Turns out, the stores don't stock tiny infant winter coats like I was picturing (a mini version of my favorite sporty North Face). They only offer chilly babies those full body snowsuit thingies that A is absolutely going to hate me for in about 15 years when a picture of him in his first "coat" resurfaces and his buddies get ahold of it, make copies, and stick them up on his locker or something. It's the same shade of powder blue as my dad's 1980 wedding tuxedo, and it has little teddy bear ears on the hood. It's babyishly cutesy and just not the look I was going for, but it suits the function just fine. And after picking my way through 3 stores with baby puke on my front AND backside while A practiced his brand-new shrieking skills in the stroller, I took what I could get and headed home. Of course, photos will follow soon, because I'm a mean, mean mommy.

I couldn't find Ralph this afternoon.....until I grabbed A's hamper full of clean clothes waiting to be folded. Ahh, the joy of life with cats. He was smugly unapologetic, as usual.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

chilly day

Warning: My midwestern kimosabes are not to read any further. Log off and go get me some Taco Johns. You've been warned. You'll find the following post pathetic.

Okay, now that they're gone: It's COLD! And I LOVE the (Texas) cold! It makes me crave chili and warrants Ugg-wearing! A and I attempted our morning walk, and trotted about 4 houses down the sidewalk before I turned on my heels and jogged us right back home. We headed back out this afternoon around 4:00 (because someone thought having two peanut butter cookies for lunch was a good idea, then someone obsessed over how her muffin top is NEVER EVER going to go away if she doesn't quit eating peanut butter cookies for lunch and get her big mombutt out on a walk, prompting someone to bundle her baby in every fleecy warm item of clothing he owns to go for a very long walk). Monkey and I will be headed out tomorrow in search of baby mittens, a baby hat, and a ridiculously puffy baby jacket. The flimsy Carters jacket he's wearing above, the one I thought would be sufficient winter gear for a Texan baby, just isn't going to cut it.

In other news: the dreaded inflatables are upon us. Ugh. We've got snowmen and snow globes and reindeer and Santas littering the 'hood. Most assaulting to my eyes.....the six foot Pooh. What does POOH have to do with Christmas? Or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or ANY holiday for that matter?? I wish a big gusty wind would come through and blow Pooh and his giant inflatable candy cane right on out of here.