Friday, January 30, 2009

Flashback Friday

When my grandparents died and we cleaned out their house my aunt took all of the family photos and stored them. She recently had a party so that the family could go through everything and take what they wanted. I found an album with these pictures.

Today we're flashing all the way back to the mid-1980's.
It was the summer of 1986 and my mom (mom) and grandmother (Gramme) decided to drive to Arkansas with me, my 2 brothers (Nathan and Nick) and our cousin (Drew) to visit Gramme's father (Great Granddad Jones). My grandparents had a Lincoln Towncar and my mom and Gramme took turns driving while the 4 kids rotated seats- 3 kids across the back seat and 1 kid in the middle of the front seat. Nobody can remember why my dad and grandfather didn't come too. The air conditioning broke on the way. In Texas. In June. It wasn't fixed until we reached Arkansas. Good times.

(Here's an interesting tid-bit about me. I have been to 49 of the 50 states. What state do I not have the pleasure of stepping in? North Dakota of course. It's on the way to so many other places I might drive to from Arizona. I can't imagine how I've missed it.)

We left Arizona and, probably around the time the kids needed to rotate seats, we stopped at the border of New Mexico. My favorite part of this picture is that the 4 children standing on rocks, next to cactus, by the freeway are sans shoes.

Magically, shoes were available at the border of Texas. You have to click on this photo so you can see it bigger. Could we have blonder hair?
No shoes on the way into Oklahoma
Finally, we made it to Arkansas Here we are with Great Granddad Jones and two of our 3rd cousins. That purple outfit was my favorite that summer. Interesting fashion choices a 6 year old makes.Great Granddad Jones was 86 the summer we were there. He would load all us kids into the truck and drive way too fast while yelling "whoopie". We'd go to his farm and he would let us feed the cows. We dared each other to taste the salt licks. We concluded that salt licks are salty. He took us to lunch at Barnett's Dairyette and told us we could order anything we wanted. Nick and I ate ice cream cones. When you're 6 years old and an adult lets you eat ice cream for lunch it is a BIG deal. He had a big garden in his backyard and he let us pick anything we wanted. He sprinkled salt on his watermelon which we thought was weird.

It's odd for me to think about how Great Granddad Jones is Spencer's Great Great Grandfather. They share the same genetic code yet they will never meet and Spencer will have no memories of him. I can only hope that in 28 years, when Spencer is my age, I will have done my job as a mother and provided him with wonderful childhood memories of family and fun and summer adventures.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009


This is what happens to the favorite book of a one-year old. Can you see how I have artfully displayed the fact that this book is now in 2 pieces?

I give you Spencer.....

Destroyer of books

and eater of crackers

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New jammies and a chair

Michael and I like to buy one thing that we can both enjoy for our anniversary. We've done the jewelry and cologne thing in the past but we've also bought a blanket chest and headboard/ footboard for other years. The traditional gift for the 7th year is wool/copper and the modern is a desk set. In keeping with these guidelines, we bought a new microfiber recliner.

Switching gears to a totally unrelated subject (don't worry, I will soon use a picture to link the two topics together) it has been really warm the past week or so. Spencer has been waking up sweaty because he only has warm winter jammies. We bought some new, lighter pj's yesterday and he slept much more comfortably last night.

Here is Spencer wearing the jammies while sitting in the new chair. And voila, the content of two seemingly unrelated paragraphs suddenly become linked.

I just sent Spencer and Michael to the park to play. It is so warm out that Spencer is wearing a one-piece short sleeves and shorts outfit. It's JANUARY. I'm glad that the Bush Administration took those global warming warnings seriously so that my fair skinned son doesn't have to develop melanoma when he's 12. But I digress....

Spencer about 10 minutes ago

Friday, January 23, 2009

Flashback Friday

Amanda was my roommate during our Sophomore year at the U of A. We lived in Navajo/Pinal dorm, which is underneath the football stadium. We moved in together as total strangers and moved out as the best of friends. She was my maid of honor when I got married 3 years later.

This is us the day we moved out of the dorm in May, 1999. We both had huge finals that day and we had stayed up talking and laughing until 4 am. We studied from 4 am- 6 am and then slept from 6 am - 8 am. If I remember correctly, neither of us did very well on our respective finals.

During that school year Amanda was a guidance counselor for Japanese exchange students attending the U of A. One of the many activities planned for the students was a trip to Magic Mountain. I was invited to go along. We boarded a bus at 10 pm and drove all night to L.A. I think we got there at 5 am and ate breakfast at Denny's or IHOP. It was there that someone, I don't remember who, had a brilliant idea. The kind of idea that one only has after riding on a bus all night from Tucson to L.A and then eating breakfast at Denny's or IHOP. The idea?

We should have our picture taken with the bus driver.
Later in the day pictures were taken with live cartoon characters.
And we rode the Superman roller coaster.
A few weeks after the Magic Mountain trip I invited some of the students to my parents house for a BBQ. All they wanted to eat was meat and ice cream. Not a lot of cows roaming around in Japan.

I like this picture because my hair is like playing a game of "one of these things is not like the others"
Fast forward 8 years and, when I was pregnant, we got together with our doggies. For once in her life Ginger was the big dog.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Language Development

Spencer and I had an actual conversation last week. This is what was said:

Spencer: Mama?

Me: Yes, honey?

Spencer: All done?

Me: No, you're not all done.

If I was a writer and I put that dialogue into my novel, I would never get published, I'd never sell any books and my family would starve. As a mother, though, oh my god did it tug at my heartstrings.

I was really worried about Spencer's language development for a while because he didn't babble until he was 11 months old. But once he started he cycled through all the consonant-vowel combinations really quickly and 2 months later started using actual words. He's up to 9 words now.

Here they are (with their adult translations): buh-bye, hi, mama, dada, num-num (yummy), all done, nana (banana), ni-ni (night-night), and do (shoe). Do (shoe) is his newest word. It was confirmed as a word today when he picked up his shoe, tried to stick his foot into it and said "do" about 20 times. Then he picked up my shoes, said "do" and tried to put my feet in them. My right pinky toe is still broken, so this was quite painful while also being tremendously cute.
Then, with shoes on, we walked over to the park at the end of our street. We played for a while before Spencer announced "all done", and then all by himself (with me following closely behind) he walked out of the park, walked along the sidewalk, up our driveway and to the front door. I'm telling you, the boy is nuclear physicist/brain surgeon material.

This picture has nothing to do with this narrative, but I was adding stuff to Spencer's baby book today and saw it and wanted to share it.

Spencer's first official smile

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

A weekend in Tucson

We spent this past weekend in Tucson. Michael and I both had today off from work and spending 3 nights down there instead of 1 or 2 nights makes the drive more worthwhile.

When Spencer was born we got a great swing from Michael's parents and a very fun jumper from my friend Sandy. When Spencer outgrew them we let my friend Heidi use them for her daughter Rylie. Rylie has now outgrown them so they came back to us. My holiday decorations take up a good chunk of the garage and there is just no space to store these monstrous baby items, so we asked Laura if she wanted to borrow them for her soon to be here baby girl. I was feeling nostalgic so we took pictures of Spencer in them before Laura and Josh came to retrieve them. Here's a comparison.

Spencer in the swing for the very first time, 9/29/07. He looks like a newborn rhesus monkey.

Spencer in the swing on Saturday. He's such a big boy.

Spencer in the jumper for the first time, 1/14/08.

He doesn't even fit now!

Michael and I woke up on Sunday morning and both had sore backs. We complained to my parents, who decided that maybe it was time to replace the guest bed. We went mattress shopping....
This bed cost $8,000 for a king. This is not what my parents bought.
Check out Spencer's new loafers. They cost $12.99.

He goes for the cactus every time.

Ginger's beauty shot

Sunday, January 18, 2009

nursing and TV

I think I mentioned before that my friends are in the middle of a baby boom. Michelle had Lucas in October, Sarah had Bridget in December, Chelsea had Zac in December, Laura is due in April and Megan is due in August. Babies!

I was talking to Chelsea about nursing and how, when Spencer was born, I was surprised at how long it can take. Spencer was a notoriously slow nurser. From the time he was 2 weeks old until he was eating a lot of solids at about 9 months he would nurse for an hour every time. That means that as a newborn I nursed for up to 12 hours a day. By the time he was 4 months it was about 8 hours a day. From the time we started until we stopped Michael was able to load the dishwasher, start laundry, take the garbage out, mow the law, take a shower and get dressed.

I tried to read books and magazines while nursing, but nursing releases the hormone prolactin, which makes you sleepy (I should work for La Leche League) and I would often doze off. #1 it's hard to follow a plot when you fall asleep every other paragraph and #2 I was afraid I'd drop the book on Spencer's head. I once dropped the remote on his head while nursing and I was expecting a social worker from CPS to pop out of the closet and take him into custody while also chastizing me for holding onto a pair of jeans that haven't fit since high school.

So, as a lot of first time moms do when nursing a baby, I watched TV. A lot of TV. An excessive amount of TV. This is what I have learned from the last 16 months of TV watching.

* I am really tired of Billy Mays yelling at me. You've got some fine products, Billy. That mighty putty looks mighty useful, but could you use a normal speaking tone while trying to sell it to me? Maybe you should lay off the amphetamines.

* If a TV show is in syndication and shown twice a day, 5 days a week you can watch an entire season in two and 1/2 weeks.

* It is time to turn off the TV when your husband casually mentions that he has never seen the movie The Shining to which you reply that it will be on Bravo at 2 am on Saturday. TRUE story.

* Unbeatable Banzuke is an awesome show and I would travel to Japan for no other reason than to attend a taping.

* I can watch the same episode of Project Runway 14 times and will still tune in the next time it's on.

* I can watch 5 minutes of Denise Richards in "It's Complicated" before having to call a suicide prevention hotline. Denise, honey, you were in 3 movies in the mid-90's. Get over yourself. The rest of the world already has.

* Those Geico commercials with the cavemen are genuinely funny.

* Scary movies become comedic when the volume is turned off and closed captioning is turned on.

* When celebrities that have just had babies give an interview and talk about how their baby is so wonderful and motherhood is a blessing and they lost 45 pounds in 7 hours and their 4 day old sleeps through the night and they can't wait to have another baby they are 1) lying or 2) employing a full time nanny, nutritionist and pharmacist. Hey J-Lo, I was not using the words wonderful and blessing when I was breastfeeding Spencer for the 5th time between the hours of midnight and 4 am for the 20th night in a row.

* The Independent Film Channel shows full frontal nudity. If you don't know this you're in for a shock the first time you watch.

Me and Spencer on the brink of a lot of TV watching

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flashback Friday

My brother Nick is a Merchant Mariner and goes to sea for months at a time. I miss him terribly when he is gone. Then he comes home and he does something boneheaded and I want him to go to sea again. I can't think of anyone else that I love as much while also simultaneously being annoyed by as my little bro.

Here we are in Albuquerque in 1995 giving our secret Jack hand signal.

I can't explain the hand signal because then it wouldn't be secret.

Spencer's middle name is Nicholas, obviously as a tribute to my brother. This is the first time they met, in October 2007. Check out the size of Nick's hand in relation to Spencer's head.
Look at that baby wail!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The most annoying part of my day

.......was when I started to unload the dishwasher and I realized I never turned it on last night.
Son of a 5 letter word that starts with "b"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Spencer's 1st popsicle

I don't know what possessed me to buy popsicles in January....

What is this interesting thing? Feels cold.

Unique texture, great flavor. I think I like it.

Brain Freeze!

Finger lickin' good

All done

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I usually make pancakes on Sunday morning for my guys. I woke up today and felt like Michael and Spencer deserve a wife and mother that makes waffles as well. Waffle is also a funny word. If I knew how to I'd include a sound clip of donkey, from Shrek, saying "in the morning, I'm making waffles".
I used this recipe:

Gingerbread Waffles

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, separated
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat brown sugar and egg yolk until fluffy. Add buttermilk, molasses and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until combined. In a small bowl, beat egg white and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gently fold into batter. Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions until golden brown.

Look at those waffles steaming away

I should totally have my own show on the food network

Spencer loved them!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Exciting news

Since driving home after Christmas with this chair

on my lap, we decided that a "family car" was in order. The original plan was to buy something used with low miles. We even, gasp, looked at some mini-vans. I was actually really looking forward to the 3 rows of seats. It seems practical and spacious. (My god, I'm a suburban mom.)

We went car shopping yesterday and were pleasantly surprised to discover that Hyundai was selling off the rest of their 08's at a great price. We already have a Hyundai Sonata so we also qualified for their owner loyalty promotion in addition to getting a factory rebate.

We thought we'd also knock some pennies off the price by trading in our other car, but we gave thumbs down to the price offered by the dealership. OK, so it is a 1990 Plymouth Acclaim that my grandparents owned for 16 years before giving it to us, but $200 is a slap in the face. Even without the trade-in the cost of a used car was only about $400 cheaper than a new car so..... for the first time ever, we are the proud owners of a brand new car. A 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. It sounds fancy even when I type it.
Isn't it beautiful?

The original mileage was "32", but we didn't think to take a picture until 59 miles.

Since we now own two Hyundai's I think we need to name them so we know which one we're talking about. Saying "I'm taking the Santa Fe" or "how much gas does the Sonata have" is too laborious and wordy and obviously we can't say "the Hyundai" anymore. I'm voting for "Kip" for the Santa Fe. Michael is not on board, despite the fact that this is a very funny line from Seinfeld.

So, help us name the Santa Fe and Sonata. If you're the winner I'll give you some sort of home-baked goodie the next time I see you.

Anyone in the market for a 1990 Plymouth with a missing tail light and a broken air conditioner? It's got a good engine and a lot of giddy-up-and-go. We'll give you a good price with very little haggling.

6 things

You probably don't know about me
1. I enjoy watching old episodes of The Twilight Zone. If I had an extra $200, I'd buy the 28 disc collection. The classic William Shatner/gremlin episode is simultaneously horrifying and hilarious.
2. I have to have really hot water in the shower. If it wouldn't burn and/or kill me I'd probably shower with boiling water.

3. If Matt Damon showed up at the door, I'd drop Michael like a hot potato.
4. My favorite winter drink is hot Lady Grey tea with 1 splenda and a splash of cream. My favorite summer drink is really really cold ice water.

5.  5. I LOVE dinnerware and stemware. I would rather buy a set of beautiful dishes than a pair of beautiful shoes.

6. I have two titanium plates and 17 screws in my maxilla. This is an x-ray of my face 3 months after my jaw surgery and right before my dental implant surgery. This explains why I won't participate in any activity that involves my face smashing into something (skiing, roller-skating) or something smashing into my face (volleyball, football).

5 things you most likely don't know about Michael

1. He uses his left hand and only his left hand to eat doritos and potato chips. He says his right hand doesn't feel comfortable for chip eating.

2. We were married and on our honeymoon when he drank his very first hot drink. He had really never had hot cocoa, hot cider, hot tea or hot coffee until he was 24 years old. And he grew up in Vermont!

3. He can fold linens like nobody's business.

4. If Sarah Chalke showed up at our front door, he would drop me like a hot potato.
5. When he was a freshman in college he ate the same thing everyday for an entire year. Coco Roos for breakfast, a bologna sandwich for lunch and ramen soup for dinner. He also ate a twix everyday and drank a mountain dew everyday. Healthy.

4 things that may (or may not) surprise you about Spencer

1. When he was 6 weeks old he stayed awake for 20 hours straight- from 5 am until 1am THE NEXT DAY. That means that I too stayed awake for 20 hours trying to stop his crying and pleading with God to make him go to sleep.

Spencer at 6 weeks- one of very few pictures we have of him sleeping
2. His favorite book is Moo Baa La La La. Sometimes we read it upwards of 40 times a day.

3. If a big graham cracker showed up at the door he would drop us, his beloved parents, like hot potatoes.

4. He's an absolute genius. Seriously, his IQ is in, like, the 99th Percentile. Here are some recent examples of his aptitude: 1) I peeled a bunch of carrots for dinner and then took all the peels to the garbage and threw them away. Then I peeled one more strip and handed it to Spencer. He took it, walked to the garbage and threw it away. He's a prodigy! 2) He started walking backwards about 6 weeks ago and he can do it well. Whiz kid! 3) His vocabulary is immense. As a speech therapist I can tell you with total certainty that there is a correlation between vocabulary skills and IQ. New words this week are nana (banana) and nini (night-night). Harvard here we come!

Spencer in 75 years?

3 things I'd be shocked if you knew about Ginger

1. When we go to Tucson she drops us like hot potatoes and sleeps curled up next to my dad.

2. She has three beds in our house, yet spends most of her time on our furniture.

Bed #1- her favorite

Bed #2
Bed #3

3. Her full name is Ginger Marie Jones.

I don't have a picture for that.

Tag! Megan, Chelsea and Maryellen- It's your turn to share, on your blogs, something other people probably don't know about you.