Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter Finally Arrived

Seems like an odd thing to say living in Montana, but this winter has been relatively mild. Just a little over a week ago, I took this:

The holidays came and went like a blink of an eye and there was no other way but to dive head-first into the new year. On the 5th, my mom came to stay with us and help watch Zoey while my dad embarked on another motorcycle journey to South America. I hope he comes back with the good drugs this time.

My mom was here this time last year and it's such a stark contrast. For one thing, Zoey was pretty much immobile, she hadn't even rolled over yet. Now she walks, runs, wears shoes for their actual purpose, has a mouthful of teeth in order to gobble down non-pureed food, and can and will ask for anything she might want at any given moment. She's also able to don winter clothing and frolic in the snow.

 The most snow we've gotten this year was a couple of inches that didn't even stick to the ground. This time around, the temperature dropped to below-zero and dumped at least a foot in a 24-hour period. So we waited until the sun finally made an appearance, bundled up and got introduced to the fluffy stuff.

 We weren't outside for very long since it was a brisk 2-degrees, but she thoroughly enjoyed the snow and wanted to spend more time in it.

 Louis swinging by for a quick kiss in the middle of frolicking with Durbin.

 Louis was very interested in Zoey being outside and in play-mode, almost helpful in a way. And I swear he attack-plays with Durbin as a way to show off.

Coming back inside, covered in snow. And so continues the tradition of stripping off snow clothes and placing them by the heater to dry, filling the room with that lovely wet boot smell.

Just as things started to get going. Just as I had hoped, it was on a day I got to stay home. :-D I'll be working a full week this week in order to help prep the office for our move to the new building. It will be weird, and I wonder if it will feel longer since having a day off in the middle of the week really seems to make it fly by.

 After playing in the snow, the only real way to warm up is by clomping around in Grandma's slippers.

 Totally ready for the runway. (And presumably born knowing how to wear shoes)

 Zoey loves books and loved showing them all to Grandma and making her read them to her.

 Hangin' with Mommy and some Spongebob Squarepants, of whom she calls "Bob Bob."

 She saw the camera. I'm not sure she gets the concept of the camera, just that there are pictures of , "baby" on the other side of the thing you're pointing at her and she must see them.

 Impromptu family picture; it's a rare occasion we're all sitting still in the same place at the same time.

Life continues to be busy, more so as Zoey gets older. She's down to only one nap a day, and will start attending daycare regularly (3 days a week) in February. Her last visit there I received a report that she has a crush on the sitter's son (will be 2-years in February) and tried to kiss him. We're a very kiss-y family, we'll have to make sure to teach her when it's appropriate since you never know who has a stick up their ass (daycare did not, thankfully, just thought it was extremely cute. I don't get how children displaying signs of love is a bad thing but I'm sure there is someone out there who would tell me different). 

 Like I said, Grandma is visiting so Zoey is getting in lots of Grandma snuggles. By-the-by, the picked up "Grandma" very easily.

 Some things never change. Basking in the sea of Cheerios that, for some reason, taste much better off the floor.

 What can I say, she plays hard, she sleeps hard.

 Nap time after a particularly grueling morning of continuous breakfast eating, playing with toys, reading her books, playing in the snow with the doggies, peeing all over the bathmat, bath-time, and pooping in the tub.

 Grandma has her own room when she stays with us but we need to convert the futon to a bed. We've used this vintage sleeping bag thing as a sort-of cushion for years, thinking it was a sleeping bag for a very miniature person with random snaps in odd places. Turns out, it's the very first version of the Snuggie. Jacob's balled up like that because this was, in fact, made for a very small person.

 We're a pretty big football family, mainly because we don't have the attention span for things as non-lively as baseball and as monotonous as basketball. I sent this Packer's toaster to my dad for Christmas so he can make toast with the Packer's logo. I had hoped he could make Packer toast on Super Bowl Sunday, but sadly, that won't be happening since they bent over for the New York Giants.

 Even still, it was a good opportunity to play hostess and make all kinds of yummy food for the day. Homemade red potato salad, pigs in a blanket, brats, chips, dip,cottage cheese (gotta represent the WI!), and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Mom enjoying the spread.

 Durby catching some ZZZZ's in between begging to be let on the futon. Mom has been here for a couple of weeks and he still hasn't accepted that he isn't allowed to lay on her bed. Strangely, though, he decided hugging the coffee table was much better than the expanse of floor that lies before him.

I took this picture with her future American Idol Champion 2029 montage video in mind. "She was interested in music from the very beginning....."

I'm glad winter has finally showed up, it really sucks just being cold. Jacob and I hope to find time to go skiing so I'm hoping for a good amount of Spring snow. And it helps to keep people from freaking out about precipitation come summer.

Basically, life hasn't skipped a beat, but it would be nice if it slowed down just a bit so we can catch our breath.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On My Soapbox

Like every other fall Sunday in America, this last weekend was a football weekend. And this year it seemed you couldn't have a football weekend without talking about Tim Tebow. No matter which side of the debate you're on, Tim Tebow has proved to be just as fascinating - if not more so - than people we encounter in the 3-dimensional world. I am getting on my soapbox to ask: why?

I actually did encounter 3-dimensional Tim Tebow once. Ok, I was in the same building at the same time and our paths never actually crossed but it still totally counts. I lived in Florida while he was playing football attending school at the University of Florida in Gainsville, and got front-row seats to the circus this college student created wherever he went; it was some of my fellow staff-members that were in charge of his security detail from his limo to the Capitol building. As a relatively newly-minted college graduate, this display (which happened twice while I was there) burned my butt as I had flashbacks of once buying only one package of Ramen Noodles for $.13. He was a COLLEGE STUDENT. Unless there were 75 other kids in there with $1.50 each, such treatment was completely unnecessary and blatantly over-the-top. What does this teach the younger set?

And aside from taking up time throwing passes down the House Chamber aisle to the Speaker when they could be marking the next Planned Parenthood to de-fund, or wasting tax-payer dollars for everyone to fall all over themselves during the 20 minutes he spends in the building, what is the point?

In all the media coverage about him, nowhere have I read about what he studied, or what his concentration was. He's praised for his outward Christianity and the ability to throw a football, not necessarily to where he originally intended, and not much else. Oh, right, except for the hand he played in his mother's decision not to have an abortion (sorry, had to go there). And - gosh dangit - I keep forgetting about the fight he withstood against claims it was unfair he could chose the high school he played football for merely because he was homeschooled. Poor, poor thing, suffered such hardships.

He is a good role model (so far). And he doesn't flaunt his lifestyle, just lives how he wants. And the media coverage of him isn't all bad since I was able to learn about his charity and mission work. No wait, that was from his Wikipedia page.

It's not Tebow I have any sort of problem with, just the god everyone has turned him out to be simply because he lives his life arguably as we all should: family and friends to love, and a god to worship. Why is is that we even spend time talking about this individual beyond, "yeah, he seems cool, maybe I'll start wearing Jesus eyeliner too and brave a mission to Africa to help starving orphans"? It can actually get to the point where a beer-fueled semi-heated debate starts to happen. And then there are the non-beer-fueled debates that take place in the form of "news" articles dissecting the latest Tebow gesture.

Those who find the love affair with Tebow nauseating (like myself) are labeled God-hating Liberals (as if the two are synonymous) when, really, we're just sick of hearing about it and him. Add in the fact that he's the "second coming of John Elway" and I really want to toss my cookies. I love football as much as the next slightly-aware female but the celebrity is getting a little annoying. We forget about the hundreds of other people doing the exact same thing, that there are other people with the same - if not better - abilities as Tim Tebow.

I concede, it's hard not to talk in-depth about people who grace our television and movie screens. And I admit that hearing about Tebow praying is a breath of fresh air compared to the litany of rape, weapons, drug, and dog fighting charges we get to hear about all too frequently. It's just too bad throwing a touchdown pass in the final seconds of over-time doesn't actually save the world; and the millions of dollars they receive every year in the name of income doesn't really do anyone any good beyond the confines of their bubble-world. And hours after the game is over, we forget all about it. So I just don't see why he's God, in my playbook.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Rockin' New Years Eve

New Year's Eve is a night for us young-folk to unload our children on to our parents so we can go out and act like it's our 21st birthday. That first part is exactly what we did; that second part, not so much.

Jacob and I always have a bucket-load of things we want to do whenever we're baby-free, him working on his car, me reading, painting my nails, and bringing the laptop out of the no-baby zone, and - of course - falling asleep at a moment's notice without feeling like a completely unfit parent. What we plan never actually happens, of course, and aside from the fact that the world would be turning another year older, our baby-free weekend was pretty much exactly like all the rest.

We dropped Zoey off in Columbus shortly after 10:30am. Like always, we took the long way home, then decided on some IHOP breakfast. No joke, we were paying the bill and walking to the car just after 12:30pm. We got home and around 2pm parked ourselves in front of the big screen television, armed with more Netflix and hulu options than you could possibly imagine. It wasn't our end-game, but that was where we stayed for the next 24 hours, minus the 7-for-me and 10-for-him hours we were sleeping. We were so full from breakfast, with a serious lack of gumption to figure out another meal for ourselves, so we didn't even bother to get up and do that. Do you want to know what we did? Hold on to your hats.

We spent the bulk of our time imprinting the couch with our ass marks watching documentaries. We learned all sorts of things, like about dogs (2 documentaries worth, thankyouverymuch), summers and autumns in Yellowstone National Park (1 documentary each), nature's deadliest animals in Australia, one man's drug-fueled, mostly naked road trip across the country in the late 60's with his equally drug-fueled and naked friends, how life on other planets is being discovered, and the hidden city of pre-biblical Petra. We also learned that we have zero tolerance for American-made documentaries, the Nature's Deadliest being the only one we suffered through, trying to learn something from the over-dramatized reenactments and the narrator's dramatic voice inflection. So annoying to listen to the movie-preview voice for over an hour.

We did that most of Saturday afternoon, then broke from the routine Saturday evening to watch Horrible Bosses. My mom was right - that movie is pretty foul. But funny. At least that's what Jacob told me since I fell asleep shortly after it started; and I'm sure hijinx ensue when these Office-Space-ers set out to kill their respective bosses. At least I think that's what happens.

Since I was still asleep when the movie ended, Jacob used the opportunity to play a video game. I woke up from my couch nap long enough to walk myself to bed. I woke up at 11:45pm to find a passed-out-with-game-controller-in-hand Jacob still in the same place I last left him on the couch. And without the television, radio, or cell phones all a-glitter with New Year's festivities, we wished each other a happy new year. Before hitting the hay shortly after 12:30am, we checked in with an overly-orange Dick Clark, and Dick Clark-in-20-years, Ryan Seacrest.

I woke up on Sunday a little after 6am; cruel and unusual punishment for someone who had a baby-free night and is allowed to sleep in on this rarest of occasions. But I've come to accept my body's supreme desire to not sleep and relish the early morning hours when I am the only one in the house that is awake. At this point, the dogs don't even bother me to let them outside. So when I woke up on Sunday, I made what I consider to be morning coffee, took the computer, and planted my ass back in the groove it had created the day before. And did nothing but read the New York Times, Washington Post and (I hate to admit this) Fox News politics sections. For four hours. I'm hard-core like that. I was actually a little bummed that by 11am there wasn't anything new or updated, and by then Jacob was awake anyway so we had breakfast while continuing our docu-thon.

We sat on those cushions until it equaled a full 24 hours (not consciously, mind you, it just happened to work out like that) then headed off to collect our Snuggle Muffin. Zoey had a wonderful time as usual, and took the opportunity to show her Grandparents how friggin' smart she is. If you ask her to show you her eyes, nose, mouth, butt, belly, feet, and toes, she will. She still needs a little help with the difference between nose and toes, though. If you prompt her, she'll say please and thank you, and she pretty much mimics everything you say and do. She loves to play a game I'll call "Giant Baby," where I hold her above me like she's a giant, shout, "OH NO! Giant baby!!" and make walking motions while going, "DUN DUN DUN DUN," she'll climb on top of me on the couch, bounce and say, "DUN DUN!" She's interested in practically everything and has a brain like a sponge and says the craziest words like ostrich, elephant, garbage, Cheerios, and last night as I was changing her diaper, feces (ok, I said it first, but she immediately repeated it. Create the rest of the conversation at your fancy).

We had a yummy dinner of salmon, rice, steamed veggies, and a tasty cranberry jello thing, Zoey even having - and liking - a sampling. She does love her food, and she's willing to try most anything. For some reason, I've noticed, she doesn't like a lot of an over-abundance of cheese....

We got home a little after 8pm and Zoey was immediately off to dream-land. It was a rude-awakening, having to get up and go back to the normal schedule on Monday. But the weather has been very nice - in the high 50's! - so that helps keep the January blues away. I am glad to be home today, the house is beginning to look like a very cluttered mausoleum. Then tomorrow my mom is coming to stay with us for the month. I can't wait for her to see and really "experience" Zoey. She really gives you quite the work-out.

We hope everyone had a safe and wonderful start to the new year! However you chose to ring it in...... Personally, I'm a bit bummed the holidays are over, for no other reason than the snack tray is gone from my kitchen table.