Thursday, December 25, 2008

"Mewy Kissmas!"

From the Vaughans and the Longs, best wishes for a very Merry Christmas/ Hannukah/ Kwanzaa/ Festivus! You know it's been a good Christmas when you've managed to stay in your pajamas all day long.

On Christmas Eve Jen and Micah joined us and we had another couple over for dinner. There were supposed to be 9 adults total, but at the last minute three had to drop out due to pink eye. You've got to have a wide social circle with kids because any time you try to plan something, folks inevitably have to bow out sick.

Anyway, it was a lovely evening. We had an Italian feast, with Jen's famous tomato bread (sounds healthy but is deliciously naughty!), penne pasta with spicy sausage tomato sauce, a lovely garden salad wtih homemade dressing, and my first ever tiramisu from scratch. We had white Russians, red wine, apple cider, gluwein (German spiced wine), and champagne. It was oh so festive. Roan wore one of her Christmas dresses and her Santa bow in her hair. Adam and Elisa, our dinner guests, are expecting a baby any day now (due Jan. 6th) and they already seem to have the magic touch when it comes to kids. Roan thoroughly enjoyed having them as an audience, er, I mean, reading them every book in her library, showing them how high she can jump, etc. We finished off the evening with a girls vs. boys game of Cranium.

Jen and Micah stayed over last night so we could open presents together first thing this morning. We had not played up the anticpation of Christmas morning to Roan beforehand, because honestly it's been tough enough lately getting her down to bed without her wanting to stay up for Santa. So this morning she was a little surprised to learn that Santa had been here and that we could finally open the enormous pile of presents that has been under our tree for weeks.

She started out opening presents with incredible enthusiasm, but before long became overwhelmed by the huge volume. And, slave drivers that we are, we felt compelled to encourage her to tear into present after present just to keep the festivities from dragging on all day. As it was it took us almost till noon to get everthing unwrapped!

We shot lots of video of the morning on our camcorder. We rarely break it out because our little digital camera is so covenient, but special occasions like today seem to warrant it. I just want to say a big thank you to all our loved ones out there who sent packages. Not a single gift went unappreciated, I can promise you. It had been quite a long while since we had updated her stash of toys. Most of them were from around her first birthday or earlier. Even her books were starting to get stale. So now she is sitting pretty. She got a new baby doll, a doctor kit, a t-ball set, some clothes and blankets for her babies, art supplies, some adorable clothes, lots and lots of terrific books - some even with audio CDs - just all kinds of terrific things.

She was literally worn out with excitement. Each single item so elated her, that the combination of them all was overwhelming. It was almost impossible to get her down for a nap. We heard her talking to herself and playing with toys over the baby monitor for quite a while. And then when we went in to get her up from her nap we laughed at how she had piled up virtually every new posession into her bed with her - even her new socks and training pants. It's a wonder she could sleep in there at all; there was no room for her.

She's been going through this "my" phase lately, feeling compelled to claim everything in her vicinity as her own. My mommy, my daddy, my Jen, my Sasha... you get the picture. With all of these new worldly posessions today it's a wonder she hasn't sprained anything claiming them all.

Santa wasn't just good to Roan. He also brought us grownups some fun things. Micah got a compressor, Arwen got a wii, Jen got a new coat, and I got everything on my list. We have spent most of the afternoon and evening playing games on the wii. It's really a blast. I'm not a video game person at all because I don't really like sitting in one spot for long. But with the wii, a lot of the games are physical. In boxing you actually punch. In tennis you swing the racket. In golf you swing your club. It's a hoot. I figured it would be something fun Arwen and I could do together this winter when it's too cold to go outside. And it's great for parties too. Oh and by the way, I kick @ss at boxing!!!

One other thing I thought I'd post photos of is the wardrobe I sewed over the past couple of weeks for Roan's doll Baby Marty. She loves this little cabbage patch kid, but the clothes it came with just do not stay on. I can't have folks scratching their heads any longer about why my kid is toting around a naked dolly! Since you can't really buy clothes for this doll line I thought I'd use some of the fabric scraps I had lying around. I had a lot of fun doing this. Probably too much fun. It was hard to make myself stop.

You can see the rest of what I made here here.

Marty got a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, two pairs of panties, two dresses, a bonnet, a hairband for her bald head, a bib, a backpack with a dolly sized book and teddy bear, and a blanket to match one I made for Roan. Normally I despise sewing and view it only as an unfortunate means to a necessary end, but this time it was a blast. Partly it was the mental exercise of figuring out the construction without patterns, and partly it was imagining Roan's excitement. It was a lot of work and there was no telling whether she'd like any of it at all. But I got the biggest thrill when I asked her if she liked it and she said, "I love it!" Aww, that's my girl!

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all our dear ones, near and far.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Lolli & G-Pop came to town for a nice little visit. We managed to cram pack all kinds of Christmas fun into the weekend. Lots of dinners in, a few strolls down the cute little commercial districts in the neighborhood, a holiday party at Roan's school, multiple Santa sightings, two tree trimmings, and cocoa and cider aplenty. We even had an early Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebration.

Such a big change from last year, when Roan was an oblivious lump. This year she's taking it all in. She loves all things snowman. She says things such as "Christmas tree, I like it!" and "Mommy have present. Roan help!" When asked what does Santa say she most often replies "Ha ha ha!" with a devilish laugh.

She has been such a joy. Now I can understand why parents go to so much trouble to make Christmas magical for their kids: the wonder and joy in their tiny hearts are multiplied for us. Seeing her response to Christmas lights, "Woah! so pretty!" makes me want to take her to see every light display in down. Her excitement at opening presents - even on behalf of other people - makes me want to shower her in gifts. Of course when she wants me to sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reigndeer for the 10th time, that's an entirely different story.

Clearly Lolli & Pop understood this phenomenon, because they came prepared. On Christmas Eve Roan got to open her first present: some special new pajamas. This was always a tradition when Jen and I were kids. And I was hoping it might turn the tables on Roan's recent entrenched resistance to changing into jammies at bedtime. She either wants to go naked, close to naked, or wear her playclothes which are inevitably filthy from the day's fun.

If she disliked pajamas, that was all forgotten as soon as she opened her new pink and blue striped ones with matching snowman slippers. She adores them. Even when she's not wearing them, she likes to carry them around with her. She especially loves the slippers. When it turned out that I too got a pair of slippers on Christmas morning, she was over the top with excitement.

Of course now we have the inverse problem. She wants to wear her slippers all the time, even outside the house. We have had a couple screaming temper tantrums over this. And she often orders me to put my slippers on too. I try not to let her order me around, but she's so dang adorable!

We also had a Saturday Morning Breakfast while Lolli & Pop were here. We shot this quick video of Roan and Audrey playing in Roan's bed.

I think I forgot to mention that we have moved Roan over to a toddler bed. She took a flying leap over her crib rails, and would have landed right on her head were it not for an acrobatic diving leap by her daddy. Going to the big girl bed has brought on a new bevy of nighttime challenges related to settling down to bed, staying in bed, and sleeping through the night. She also has taken a step backward with regard to interest in the potty. My gut tells me these new freedoms and priveleges, while exciting, also bring with them a need for reassurance and comfort.

Sorry the pictures are rather blurry. The flash on my camera broke. I should be getting some pictures from Lolli soon - she took lots of good ones.

Also, soon to come - photos of my latest obsession. I am sewing doll clothes for Roan's Baby Marty (it's a cabbage patch kid that "pees"). She gave it a boys name but refers to it as a girl, so it's getting a whole new wardrobe complete with dresses, hats, underwear, and... if I can get over a couple last engineering hurdles... a backpack. Once I got going on this, I just can't make myself stop. It combines two things I love: creating something cute for my adorable little girl, and doing something useful with fabric scraps that would otherwise go in the landfill. Arwen is ready to have me sent off to the looney bin, however. "Can't we just buy this stuff?" Well, yeah, but what would be the fun in that?!?

Friday, December 12, 2008

San Francisco

Here are some belated highlights from our trip to San Francisco the week before Thanksgiving.

This is in the airport just before we got on a purple airplane. She was very excited. She's into purple. (Not as much as pink though...)

Reading books with Feefa in the car.

Playing in the discovery room at the Academy of Sciences

Dinosaurs go "Roar!"

Dim Sum: Yum Yum!

Feefa and Roan in their hats

At the beach

Roan's first time to see the ocean

Writing her name in the sand

Fun at the farmer's market

A quiet spot in the garden at the Hunter's Point studios

At the playground

Playing at the Louise Bourgeois Crouching Spider sculpture on Pier 14

Napping on Daddy

At the Palace of Fine Arts

At the beach

First time for Dim Sum


We had a really nice visit. Thanks to Feefa and Charles for spending some quality time with us, and thanks to Jim and Mike for the wonderful accommodations. We all had so much fun!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Uh-oh Mama"

This was how Roan summed up the situation on Monday night as we made our way back home from our long weekend in San Francisco. It was 9:30 at night and we had been on all manner of trains, planes and automobiles since 2:30 west coast time. She had exhibited patience and grace throughout. Though she remained awake through the entire 3 hour plane ride home, she had played quietly in her chair without complaint.

We finally made it back home to Denver and we were just a short 30 minute ride from the house. I was looking forward to getting us all into bed and having a full night of sleep. All of a sudden, out of nowhere she goes Exorcist on us. Full on pea green vertical shot of vomit all over herself. Luckily the bucket shape of the car seat contained most of the damage. Naturally she started to whimper, and then to cry. And then she exploded again. Then once more. And again. Four times right in a row, full force and with astonishing volume. Unfortunately the child is an overachiever even at vomiting.

Arwen asked me if he should pull over to clean her up in a gas station bathroom. For a half a second I tried to imagine 1. Getting her out of the car seat without spreading the goods all over the car and 2. Trying to tackle all that puke armed with nothing more than an entire package of handi wipes. "No honey," I told him. "I'm gonna need a garden hose for this. Just drive!"

I gotta say, Roan stayed pretty calm throughout the whole ordeal. We managed to distract her with a little singing in the car. She just kept saying "Uh-oh Mama" over and over again. And a couple of times she said things along the lines of "shirt sticky." Uh yeah I guess so! I was thinking. You're covered in chunks!

It was a late night at the Vaughan household. We had to get her out of the car, seat and all, strip all her clothes off in the cold (oh we are so mean!) and give her a bath before we could put her to bed. And then there was the car seat to contend with. Which to be perfectly honest I put off until the next day. Disgusting. She totaled the thing. Hosing off the padded cover was only the beginning. As I was stripping the damn thing down to foam, rubber and plastic my mind kept wandering to Dante's Inferno and his eight circles of hell. I am sure there is a ninth circle for terrible parents that invloves cleaning car seats. Let me tell you that thing has more nooks and crannies that the world's fattest man. And I found a raisin in every one. No lie my friends. I may have to form a support group to deal with the resulting post traumatic stress.

I don't know what prompted the vomiting, but I'm glad to say she woke up the next day appearing healthy. Until this little incident occurred, the title for this blog post was supposed to be: "I need three." This simple little sentence sums up so elegantly our little dumpling's personality, and I'll tell you why. On the plane ride home we happened to sit ourselves down on the airplane across from the overhead luggage compartment where they stow all the pillows and blankets. She looked up, pointed and declared, "I need pillows!" Arwen volunteered to grab her one. "I'm gonna get her two," he said. Daddy loves to spoil his little girl. "Honey she only needs one," I replied. What a stick in the mud Mom is. He hands her the pillows and says "Daddy got you two pillows, Roan." She doesn't miss a beat. She grabs them both and exclaims "I need three!" I guess she knows what she wants and isn't afraid to ask for it.

So it's creeping up on 1 AM and tomorrow I'm planning on doing all the things I normally do on my days off with Roan in addition to cleaning my house and cooking a turkey and about 13 other side dishes. And I don't really know how to cook a turkey. So maybe I should get to sleep rather than post the pictures I just downloaded from my camera. Those will come soon, as well as a recap of our visit to SF!

One more thing - a quick shout out to my Mom and my Grandma Carolyn, who both had birthdays this week. I love you both!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Well darn

It looks like a bunch of the photos in that last post are broken links. I'll have to fix that when I get a chance, sorry.

To compensate you, dear reader, for the pain and suffering the aforementioned broken links no doubt caused, I am uploading a couple of videos. Here is Roan this weekend discovering the fun of leaves piled up. She didn't quite understand jumping in with full gusto, but she's getting there.

Here she is having a grand old time showing off while The Moms were here. Doesn't she look just like Little Susie Who in The Grinch Stole Christmas with her striped pajamas and hair pulled up on top?

Now this next one is not all that exciting to watch for you or me, but I have to post it because Roan herself finds it to be a brilliant display of comedic genius. She begs to watch this video over and over again ("Baby hungry! 'Gen, 'gen"). In the clip she baits me to ask, "Is the baby hungry?" providing her an opportunity to reply emphatically, "No!" When we get to this part in the video Roan cracks up hysterically every time as if to say, "Damn I'm funny!"

Just a couple more pictures for this post. Last weekend Arwen spent a few hours at the welding shop creating some new house numbers for us. They turned out really cool. Here is a close up.

We of course discussed a design before he left for the welding shop, and I have to say he veered considerably from what we talked about. He was pretty sure there was no chance in hell I'd go for it. But what can I say, I am a really cool wife. And even though it's not quite what I had in mind I have to admit it's pretty freakin awesome! Now I'm trying to talk him into welding something funky for a handrail up the porch.

Here is our front porch.

Just for reference, here's what our house looked like when we bought it. What you can't see under that lovely vintage screen door [gag me] is that the front door behind it was a crappy hollow core interior door with the finish peeling off of it. I'm so happy it's gone! Now all we need is some landscaping up front and a couple of chairs to sit in...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Twice as Nice

We had lots of fun this weekend with Grandma and Lolli when they came to visit. We didn't really "do" a whole lot in terms of grand trips to scenic places, but we still had lots of fun just hanging out together. There were many delicious (and naughty) meals, some walks to the park and around the neighborhood, and some marathon shopping trips. And lots and lots of laughing.

They arrived Friday morning and helped Jen and Micah get ready for their Halloween party. Jen and Micah had great costumes - she a "hoochie" witch and he a devil. Roan got to hang out for the first hour or so and snack herself silly on chips and queso. "Chip. With cheese. I want it!"

Jen looked awesome!

Arwen and I had rather understated costumes. He wore a t-shirt with an "E" on it. He was an "E" male. Get it? And I wore clips all over my shirt as the attachments that went with his "e male." [Groan] My costume quickly became The Lamest Costume in the History of Halloween because Arwen refused to wear his shirt. The ink we used was, apparrently, "too stinky." All night people were asking me "What are you supposed to be" and I had to launch in to "Well, my husband is supposed to be wearing a t-shirt..." Lame. Very lame.

Roan revelled in all the attention. She raked in a few goodies too, including the adorable striped leggings in this picture:

She had a blast at our grand shopping extravaganza at REI. She also managed to swipe a super cute Patagonia fleece jacket which she loves to wear all day and even sleep in.

This is at Confluence Park near REI.

The weather was beautiful this weekend. Much warmer than you'd expect for the end of October. Lovely sunny days and cool crisp evenings. We took a little stroll around Berkeley Park and checked out the geese.

Oh get a room you two!

We shared a lot of yummy meals together. And ice cream out. And a stop to the chocolate shop. Naughty, naughty. This is Roan drinking her "kid coffee" at breakfast.

Roan kept us pretty entertained all weekend. It is amazing what comes out of her mouth. It's also pretty remarkable what all those ears manage to pick up. One night at dinner we were talking about thoughts on a future Baby Long, and Jen said something to the effect of "I hope our kid gets Micah's SWEET ASS!" We all laughed and then gasped when we realized Roan had been in earshot. Sure enough she began saying "ass ass ass" over and over again. Jen was petrified. "Please don't tell Arwen it was me!" "Don't worry," I told her. In a day or two Roan will forget all about that word.

Well the next day at breakfast with The Moms Roan was busily coloring away on her kiddie menu. I think she might have been working on saying her ABC's. Or maybe she was busy misspelling her name out loud. I don't quite recall what prompted Mommy 2.0 to say jokingly and half under her breath, "Roan, can you tell us what A - S - S spells?" We didn't even think she was listening. Sure enough she started up again with "ass ass ass." We all looked at each other in disbelief, trying to hold back the laughter. What Roan said wasn't half as funny as
the look of horror on Mom's face!

More videos coming soon...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nice weekend

We had a great time this weekend. Saturday morning breakfast was a success. We had a good turnout, lots of cute kiddos in costume, some good food, and mimosas and bloody marys to top it off.

Let's see... We had Roan the giraffe, Audrey the puppy dog, Camilla the lady bug, Isis the fairy princess, Morgan the hula girl, Brady as Yoda, and Morgan's friend who came as Buzz Lightyear (he refused to go by his real name all morning!) That morning when I was getting Roan dressed she refused to get into her costume. She just wanted to carry it all over the house and hug the stuffed giraffe head. But once Audrey showed up in her puppy dog suit, Roan suddenly wanted to get her costume on. Ah, the power of peer pressure!

Once we had our fill we headed down to Tennyson. Of course all the toddlers wanted to walk, which put us at an absolutely glacial pace. It took us a while, but we had fun. We stopped in and got a piece of candy at every shop. Roan got her one piece for the day - a lollipop - and was content for the most part just to get to hold the rest of the candy. Truth be told, I hear that Aunt Jen slipped her a second piece when we weren't looking, but that's not too bad. And she hasn't asked for any more candy since Saturday. More for Mom and Dad!

Here are just a handful of pictures, but you can see the rest (plus a couple videos) here:

On Sunday we headed downtown with Scott, Molly, Audrey, Jen and Micah to hear Obama speak. I say "hear" rather than "see" because the crowd was so huge we never got a look at him. It was really amazing to see so many people gathered together all excited about the same thing. And really neat to see how diverse the crowd was. They say there's a good chance Colorado may go blue this time around - that would be neat. So far in all of my voting life my vote has never contributed to my candidate's electoral count.

Arwen and I voted early this year by mail in ballot. What a great idea! I highly recommend it. It was so nice to be able to peruse all of the ballot issues when we had time, rather than scrambling to the polls on their schedule. No lines, no crowds, no waiting. Then when we were done we just carried them over to the polling place and turned them in. Easy peasie.

Roan is of course far too young to appreciate the finer points of political discourse this election year. But she can say "Obama!" with plenty of gusto. And she looked so cute in "piggy tails" as she calls them for the first time that day.

She and Audrey had a lot of fun that day. It was an adventure just getting there - with a walk over the Millenium Bridge and a short but very crowded bus ride. Then they spent all morning running around on the capitol grounds staying warm in the sunny but chilly weather. After it was over, on our walk back to the car Roan took a little cat nap in her backpack to recharge.

The good times keep rolling with our little angel. She has been so much fun lately. Sunday I took her shopping for some winter clothes. I wasn't sure how she would feel about being dragged around from one store to the next all afternoon, but she kept saying "We shop Roan clooooothes," and "go shopping!" so I think she enjoyed it. And she took it pretty well when I didn't buy her a toy at every store we went into (she of course found something she had to have at every stop).

She continues to amaze us with all she does. Her latest trick is singing. She can sing most of the words to Twinkle, Twinkle, a few of the words to The Wheels on the Bus, and she can make it most of the way through the alphabet song. There is just nothing like hearing that little cherub voice try to sing. Here's a video. You kind of have to strain your ears to make out what letter she's trying to say but it's not bad for an 18 month old. ;)