Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Aunt Jen

We had a good time this weekend. It was Jen's birthday on Sunday so we did a lot of hanging out together. Although nothing quite seemed to go as planned. Friday night was supposed to be game night, but by the time Roan went down to bed we were all too pooped to play anything, so we watched a couple episodes of The Office instead. Then Saturday day kind of got hijacked by our friends Jay and Clover, who just had a little baby boy. (Although we did manage to squeeze in some shopping, chocolate, and margaritas in Jen's honor!) We all jumped at the chance to meet Asher. He is so precious!

Saturday night we arranged to have our babysitter Tina come over and keep an eye on Roan. We went to our neighborhood bowling alley and then out to hear live music afterwards. We had a good time, even though several folks were unable to make it. The band dedicated a couple of songs to Jen in honor of her birthday, she got in some dances with her handsome hubby, and we enjoyed gourmet cupcakes from a fabulous local bakery. It was a far cry from the raging party at Jen's last year, however, which left several folks (myself included) in pretty rough shape the next day. (Side note: When we got home our sitter mentioned in passing that she had just recovered from THE FLU the day before and how her cousins were joking with her that it was probably the Mexican swine flu. Ha ha ha. Hilarious. Needless to say since then we've been hanging on Roan's every sniffle and cough for signs of something dire...)

Sunday was Jen's actual birthday. Arwen celebrated by running the Cherry Creek Sneak, a 5 mile race. That was his longest run ever, go Arwen! And he finished up in time to meet up with the rest of our gang at Snooze, a breakfast favorite. We had already toasted with a couple of mmmimosas. Roan got all dressed up for the occasion. She was wearing an adorable dress she got last year for her first birthday (thanks Aunt Maxie & Aunt Susie!). She insisted on wearing the matching hat, her sunglasses (which have little skulls and crossbones on them - very chic), her silver heart necklace from Aunt Jen, and pink socks with her white patent leather dress shoes. When it comes to fashion, she is certainly her own girl. I'm pretty sure she gets it from her Aunt Jen. Here they are reading Roan's birthday card to Jen.

Roan has kept us all smiling lately. Nothing new there I guess. She speaks so well now, I've particularly been enjoying the few words she still says in toddler speak. For example, she will tell you all about how she saw a "scoober man" at the Aquarium with Lolli & G-Pop. On the way home from daycare last night she let out this huge belch. Arwen and I tried valiantly to supress our laughter while reminding her of her manners. She declared, "I gurped Daddy! 'Scuse me."

Last night when we got home she had a complete meltdown on the kitchen floor, out of nowhere. It's pretty typical for the first half hour after we get home in the evenings. It doesn't phase us anymore. I just step around her, cooking dinner, periodically making (rebuffed) offers of hugs or milk or snacks. And then as suddenly as it hit, it's gone and she's back to her delightful self. We had fun making sushi rolls and horsing around with Daddy and in the bath. She was such a gem I let the bedtime routine stretch out longer than I probably should. I figure you gotta soak up those precious moments when you can.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Enter Spring

We've been having a lot of fun lately. Denver has been enjoying some beautiful spring weather. Day after day blue skies, lots of sunshine, the smell of cut grass and flowers in the air. All of a sudden I want to be outside ALL OF THE TIME. The lure of the outdoors is relentless. Weather so beautiful it almost hurts. After the cold temperatures and intermittent snows of winter, which really haven't been all that bad truth be told, I had forgotten how incredible spring is. Living in the woods for six months on the Appalachian trail taught me what an impact the weather can have on your mood. I feel like I'm mainlining happiness right now.

This weekend is Jen's birthday, and our plans are still a bit up in the air. Hopefully it'll all come together. Last weekend we were supposed to have date night on Friday, but the daycare had to cancel on account of the foot of snow we got! So at the last minute we invited all our date night buddies to come over to our house for beer, pizza and wii. It was a good time. Arwen cranked up the Van Halen at one point and even the littlest ones were rocking out.

Claire and Roan

Audrey & Ethan

Here is a priceless video of Jen and Molly playing wii boxing. Little did we know, Molly is a ringer! She kicked much butt. I had fancied myself as a pretty decent wii boxer, but she immediately put me in my place. 3 games in a rown, I couldn't make it out of the first round before she knocked me out!

After the snow on Friday it rained pretty much all day Saturday. This gave Jen and me a chance to get caught up on some sewing projects. We did a couple sets of curtains, and I also added some embellishments to a little poncho I had picked up for Roan for $1 at the thrift store. It had a stain on it I was unable to wash out, so instead I covered it up with some flare. Girlfriend needed a pink guitar!

Roan in her poncho (decorated with stickers), walking Sasha

All the snow melted off by Sunday, which was nice because Molly and I were able to go for a long (6 mile) run. We've been running a lot this week. With running club on Tuesday night, then again on Wednesday around Wash Park. Saturday if it's not too rainy I think we'll do another long run with the club, and Sunday Arwen says he plans to run a 10K race with Scott and Doug. Next weekend we're supposed to do a sprint triathlon (2 mile run, 20 K bike and .6 mile swim). That should be interesting, given that I don't currently own a bike and haven't been in a pool in about a year!

We've been having some fun outside and around the house as you can see in this assortment of videos.

Before I sign off I wanted to shout out a quick note of thanks to several great grandmas (you know who you are!) who sent Easter/birthday packages. Roan LOVES the pencils and notebook, barettes and bunnies, clothes and puppets. Thank you! We have been meaning to call you to tell you so - hopefully that will happen soon.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fun at playgroup

I'm back on my 4 day/week schedule, with Wednesdays off. Working full time just wasn't sitting well with Roan. There's a big difference between 2 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on versus 5 days in a row on. She was making it knows that she wanted more time with Mommy. And I was really missing her too. Things are a little calmer at work, so I felt like I should take the opportunity.

So this past Wednesday we went to a playgroup with some of our friends. I thought I'd post some pictures. It was a gorgeous day. Hard to believe it's snowing outside now!

Are those legwarmers to die for or what?!

As you can tell she had a blast. So did I. I had missed hanging out with all my mommy friends.

Roan has been doing great this week. Did I mention how well potty training is going? She's able to wear big girl panties much of the time, and sometimes even wakes up dry from her nap. Sometimes she has back to back accidents, but sometimes she stays dry all day. She still won't poop in the potty. But she is making progress! And she's so proud of herself.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter, and Happy Birthday (again)

Wow, we have been having far too much fun lately. We had an awesome time this past weekend with Lolli & G-Pop in town. We started the visit off right, with a yummy breakfast, a trip to the park, and spa manicures and pedicures for Mom and me. What a treat! I thought I was never going to get my hands any softer than sandpaper, thanks to the dry Denver climate. But they melted under the parafin treatment.

Their first full day in town, they kept Roan out of daycare for some fun at the Aquarium.

Then on Friday Jen took the day off and I took a half day for some girls' spa time. We got massages, facials, and a hot foot bath. It was incredible! I felt like a million bucks! And it was nice to take time to relax like that right before getting ready for Roan's big party.

On Saturday we threw Roan an Easter-themed birthday party, complete with an egg hunt and bunny cupcakes. It was a blast. The kids were excited just to find the eggs; when they realized there were prizes inside they were beside themselves! And we were lucky enough to have good weather. The forecast had been threatening rain all week, but luckily the crummy weather held off until Sunday. Thanks to everyone who made it out to celebrate with us! You really made it a great day.

Sunday we didn't do a whole lot of anything. We were pretty tuckered out from all the excitement, and with the cruddy weather it made for good staying home weather. Except we did manage to venture out to the Cherry Cricket for their nationally recognized hamburgers. It was our first time eating there, but my prediction is that it won't be our last!

In other news, you may've noticed the blog has changed its look a little bit. I'm trying out some new things. One new feature is the "fans" section on the left (scroll down). You can click and add yourself if you like. I thought it'd be fun to see some familiar faces. Another feature is the photo slideshow which hopefully will take you to see our photos on Flickr. You may also notice the old black & white photos of Roan are gone. That was actually an accident. In their place I have a more recent one. I also managed to lose my "what I'm knitting" section. Hopefully I'll get a chance to add that back, since I have a few new things to show off. If you have any suggestions for other things you'd like to see, post your ideas by adding a comment!

If it weren't 11 o'clock at night, and if I hadn't gotten up at 5:30 this morning, then maybe I'd have a chance at faithfully recounting the adorable things Roan said tonight. When she's in the mood to communicate, it is truly like having a conversation. She surprises us all the time with words and concepts we didn't even know she knew. One thing I can remember is the sight of her devouring a carton of blackberries this evening, and sharing them with her (always ravenous) Daddy. "Want a big one?" she'd ask and then shove it in his mouth. She even gave him her very last berry. Arwen remarked to me sheepishly, "Okay, let's have another one..."

And I think she's having another growth spurt. She's been a bottomless pit lately - eating so much as to make us late for school and bed. I noticed tonight in the bath that her little tummy is especially round, and she is suddenly heavier when I go to pick her up.

Ok, it's past my bedtime, goodnight!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Birthday recap

Roan had a great 2nd birthday yesterday! I wish I could post the photos I captured of her daycare's web cam, but for the privacy of the other families I'm not going to. Picture 10 toddlers sitting together around a big table, with Roan at the head, wearing a paper crown decorated with her handprints and stickers each of the kids picked out. They sang her happy birthday, gave her balloons and a new book and cards signed by her teachers and all the kids. And then, of course, they all got to eat a purple cupcake with rainbow sprinkles on top.

The teachers said she was in the greatest mood all day, as if she just knew it was her day. She was reported at one point yesterday to be sitting in the sandbox singing "Happy birthday to Roan, happy birthday to Roan..."

After school we raced home, where we met Uncle Micah and Aunt Jen for a birthday dinner and a few more presents. I didn't get many still photos because I was mostly taking videos. But here are a couple.

I completely forgot that I knit her a cute little red dress. This is a photo of it before it was finished, just so you can see the details. It ties at the shoulders.

Here she is wearing it. She definitely seemed to like it.

She got some new barettes, some elmo panties, some stickers, lots more new books, a little stuffed octopus (named Inky) and a pink flamingo (named Pinky), the garage toy pictured below, and a few other odds and ends. She was very appreciative. Already Green Eggs and Ham seems to be a new favorite (we listened to Gramps' recording of it on the way to school) and she has been toting Pinky and Inky around with her everywhere. Thanks to everyone who sent cards, gifts, calls and good thoughts. They were all appreciated! I will post some videos as soon as I can.

This morning turned out to be a little more eventful than I bargained for. Arwen woke up feeling badly, so I did the mad scramble to get Roan ready for school solo. When I got back from dropping her off he said, "I've got a present for you, honey." It was a bucket of puke. A very full bucket. At least it made it into the bucket, which is an improvement over the last time he had a tummy bug. Once I finished taking care of that unpleasant mess, I made it downstairs to my desk just in time for an Outlook reminder to pop up. Ding! Roan's 2 year checkup. So I had to run back to the car, take Roan out of school, race over to the Doctor's office and have her appointment. I was in such a hurry I didn't have her diaper bag, so when she begged for snacks and wet her diaper was helpless. Oh well. One shot, a little screaming and one mango lollipop later we were back in the car on our way back to daycare. By the time I managed to sit down at my desk half the day was gone!

But at least I'm feeling better than Arwen is today. He hasn't managed to get off the couch. The bummer is we had a date night planned, with a sitter lined up and everything. Oh well. Roan and I are still going to go for it. He can have a quiet night at home without us, which is probably the nicest thing I can do for him.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Hello Cupcake

You are standing over a mixing bowl at 10 o'clock at night with one firm vision in your mind: purple cupcakes with sprinkles on top. You are steely-eyed and nothing could divert your focus. You have arrived at this point through careful planning and preparation. The potato salad you need for tomorrow's potluck at work is already made and cooling in the fridge. Why you insisted on making it from scratch rather than buying storebought as any rational human being would have done defies all logic.

You have laid out the boxed yellow cake mix and ready-made frosting on the counter in front of you. Both of these items represent a serious compromise of your ideals that still gives you pause. Boxed cake mix? What a travesty. It's not even organic. Would the other children's mothers be appalled if they knew? They work too, you assure yourself. Surely they would understand. And the frosting. If you were looking for convenience, you could have bought purple straight out of the can, but you opted for the reduced sugar version, which only came in white. You will have to add red and blue food coloring to create the purple color yourself. Surely this earns you some sort of credit in Mommy Heaven.

With the oven preheating you move on to your next task, and already the first disaster strikes: a shortage of cupcake liners. Quick, you think, is there any homemade substitute for cupcake liners? Don't be ridiculous! What are you going to do, use coffee filters? Ok, don't panic. We'll just use spray olive oil in the cupcake pan. That should work. Please God let it work.

With the batter thoroughly mixed, you study the back of the box for cooking details. High altitude adjustments: None. Yeah right. If these go flat, so help me Betty Crocker! you idly threaten. Now where does it tell you how full to fill the cupcake liners? Is it 3/4? 1/2? An overfull liner leads to a messy disaster, you know well from experience. You scour the box. Nothing. Going to have to make a best guess and go for it. You fill each cupcake liner in the tray 3/4 full. As you're pouring batter into the last one, you look back at the box. Dammit! The one spot you didn't check. 2/3 full. Crap. You start spooning batter out of each liner and back into the bowl. What a mess.

The first batch goes into the oven. Time to get going on the icing. You grab the two sets of food coloring from out of the pantry. The red is missing from the first pack, but that's why you have two packs, you smirk to yourself. Then disaster! The red in the second pack is completely dried up. Damn this dry climate! Ok, think. Think. Inspiration! You remember the frozen cubes of beets in the freezer and how they turned your hands red when you were pureeing them. You get one out and defrost it. You mix a small dab into the white frosting and smile to yourself as it turns petal pink. You can't even taste the beets. There is no disputing it: you are officially a genius. Now for the blue. Again blue is missing from pack 1. You grab the blue from the second pack, and gasp at how little is left.

Will there be enough? Please don't leave me with pink cupcakes. Anything but pink! You squeeze out a few drops and mix it in. Not enough. Still pink. You squeeze in every last drop of blue and pray as you fire up the electric mixer. Your anxiety gradually melts into a feeling of calm tranquility as the icing in the bowl before you transforms to a pale lavender color.

You take a moment while you're waiting to quietly reflect. How can it be that the sum total of your worth as a human being has gotten wrapped up in these silly cupcakes? She's only two. It's not like she'll ever know the difference. All you can do is shrug your shoulders.

At exactly 17 minutes when the timer beeps you take out the first batch. Golden perfection. They are 12 yellow happy faces smiling up at you saying "Ice me! Ice me!" Not until you cool off, little darlings. You quietly wonder whether you are losing your mind.

When the last bit of frosting goes on and the sprinkles are all sprinkled, you take a photo for posterity. Yes. You have definitely lost your mind. But hey, you have two dozen purple cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles on top to show for it.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tomorrow's a big day

Just a quick note to say I'm so excited about Roan's 2nd birthday tomorrow. She is too! We're not having her birthday party until a week from Saturday, but we'll have a little family dinner and a few gifts for her. And I'm making her daycare class cupcakes with purple frosting and rainbow sprinkles. Gotta have rainbow sprinkles!

Roan tells me she's excited about her birthday too. I've been asking her "What's going to happen on Thursday Roan?" and she replies "Gonna have my happy birthday. Like Audrey. Be two. Baloon for me. Eat cake," and so on. Suffice it to say, she's stoked.

Arwen & I (well mostly me) agonized over what to get her for her big day. We looked at a bunch of cute things. A wagon and an elmo balance bike made it to the short list. But ultimately we went with a toy she can play with indoors. It's a classic, one I can remember playing with for hours and hours. I hope she likes it as much as I did!

I have a bunch of photos to upload... hopefully will do that soon!