Friday, December 30, 2011

Scarlett Notes for the End of 2011

I had Scarlett in the bathroom with me the other day.  I have a box of toys in there for her, and she was happily emptying each item out of the box. Suddenly she brought all her toys over to me, one by one, and placed them in my hands.  And with such seriousness, she started pulling her pants off.  I asked her what she was doing and she firmly said "Bath."  She was all ready to take a bath, all by herself, mid-day.  LOL

In the morning, the first thing she does when she comes downstairs is put on her necklaces.  We got her some play jewelry for Christmas, and she wears those necklaces all day, every day.

Today we took a (brief) trip to Barnes and Noble.  Scarlett's at the age where she wants to run around by herself, and she's not shy enough to stick by me or reserved enough that I can trust her to not pick up the books if I am looking away from her for a split second.  So we didn't last long in the bookstore.  But when we were leaving, I was strapping her in to her carseat and she started wiggling her shoulders and saying "Dathee, dathee," (dancing, dancing).

Scarlett is also going through a phase right now where every time she hears a loud noise she comes running at me with her arms in the air, frantically saying "Hold you?  Hold you?"  I don't know why loud noises freak her out so bad all of a sudden.  I hope she's not developing my high anxiety.  She even gets upset when I speak sharply to Tyr now.

And finally, lately some of the most fun we have is when she's so tired she's delirious.  She gets so giggly and playful and cuddly, it's almost painful to have to take her to bed.

Other words of note lately: "caack" (sock), "kai Tyr" (quiet Tyr), "pyoo" (pee-yew, as in she's got a stinky diaper), and "bahbah" (potty), and "nahkee" (necklace).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Day and Beyond

Scarlett was up early Christmas morning.  Even at 17 months old she picked up on that Santa Claus energy.  LOL

She loved all the toys in her stocking so much, I hated to pull her away to get her ready to go.  We left at 8:30am to start the "relative relay".

With a quick pit stop to drop Tyr off with my parents, we made it to Jeremy's parents' house by 10am.  The twins showed Scarlett their Santa toys, and then we all opened gifts.  I can't believe Jeremy's parents got us anything after giving us a JEEP earlier this year.

Scarlett is obsessed with babies right now -- so Mariah is one of her favorite little people in the world.

Mmmm cupcake for breakfast!

The twins and Selena showing Scarlett one of their new toys.

We stayed for an early Christmas dinner, but headed to my parents' house right after.  We opened gifts there right away and once again were amazed by our family's generosity.  My parents got me a drafting table and got Scarlett an easel.  It's been art central around our house all week!


That dog opens out into a sleeping bag.  So cool!

Exhausted, but pushing through.

Family picture time

Other than grocery shopping on Monday, Jeremy, Scarlett and I just spent the day recovering from the holidays.  Jeremy started coming down with a head cold and I got a migraine, so we didn't have much choice other than to take it easy.  In fact, Jeremy was feeling so run down he stayed home Tuesday as well.

Tuesday I met Michelle for coffee in the afternoon and then headed to the Springs for Cheryl's birthday party at Splash.  I didn't even know that place existed -- and it's so cool!  You get to paint and drink wine.  I couldn't ask for much more.  The hostess walked us all through painting Van Gogh's Starry Night.  I loved to see how everyone's results were so different, but so beautiful.

Scarlett and I stayed the night at Jeremy's parents' house that night.  Jeremy went to work Weds morning, and Scarlett and I stayed and played with the twins until around 10am.  Then we headed back up to Northglenn.

I spent my entire Michael's gift card Weds afternoon, but got a ton of stuff for Scarlett and me to do.  While she napped I practiced my watercolor techniques on my new drafting table.  Then when she woke up, I showed her how to use chalk and dry erase markers on her new easel.  Then we went to the living room where I got out her new big pad of paper and crayons.  She loooooves crayons, and was especially excited because I also got her a bright pink plastic case to put all of her crayons in.  She spent 45 minutes taking her crayons out one by one, then putting them back in the case one by one.  Jeremy is concerned that she may have my obsession with organization.  I can only hope to be so lucky.  :)

Jeremy is still in the Springs tonight, so only Scarlett and I went to the Curry family's going away party in Lafayette.  There were a ton of kids there (though none as young as Scarlett), and Tutti has a kids' play area, so I just set Scarlett down and she was off like a shot.  I kept a close eye on her through the plexiglass and stepped in when needed, but overall she did really great in there on her own.  Especially since she's an only child and doesn't go to daycare, I am impressed at her ability to play well with other kids.

So Della and Mike, two of my best friends from college, are now moving to Arizona.  It was sad to say goodbye to them and their kids tonight.  At least they're moving to a location that's easy for me to visit.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Playing in the Snow

Catching Up

I was too distracted to write in my blog this week.  But I want to catch up a little here.

Jeremy was in the Springs for most of the week, so I was working at home alone with Scarlett.  The only reason I was able to handle that is because it was a slow work week.  I had projects to do and issues to take care of, as usual, but they were spaced out enough that I didn't completely lose my mind having my attention divided between work and Scarlett.

Another challenge, too, is that I'm trying to build up my freelance business right now.  And keeping an eye on a toddler doesn't lend to focus or concentration -- so I had to work on that mostly after she went to bed at night.

Thankfully my mom came to help Tuesday afternoon and stayed until Wednesday afternoon.  I love having her here.  Not only because she helps so much with Scarlett, but it's also great to have an adult to talk to, and a woman at that.  We went to dinner at Olive Garden Tuesday night and then watched The Help and blabbed for hours after Scarlett went to bed.

Erin came to visit Wednesday night.  She brought me Christmas cookies!  Scarlett loves Erin, and gets a little upset when Erin isn't paying attention to her.  So we ate some dinner and then after Scarlett went to bed we finally got a chance to really talk and catch up.

Jeremy surprised us by coming home early on Thursday.  I was quickly starting to lose my mind at home with the baby (not to mention my back was killing me after shoveling a ton of snow), so it was the best surprise ever.

Friday I had the day off work, so Jeremy let me sleep in and then we splurged on lunch at Denny's (yes, eating out anywhere these days is a splurge!).  I spent the afternoon wrapping gifts.  Jeremy insisted on giving me one of my gifts that night -- the entire Hunger Games series in hardback!  I'm well into Catching Fire now.

Christmas Eve Day

We decided to open our Christmas gifts today because we're going to be so busy tomorrow. And especially for Scarlett (but also for Jeremy and I), we wanted time to enjoy playing with our gifts.

While Jeremy is playing with his new bluetooth headphones, Scarlett is enjoying her ZooTalkers set while I read Catching Fire.

Jeremy got me some jewelry from foreign artists this year. The necklace is from an artist in Thailand and the amethyst/white pearl earrings are from a Balinese artist.
Ginger Cascade necklace from Thailand

Guardian Moon earrings from Bali

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Inspiration, Santa and Ho Ju

Last week I met my friend and former piano teacher Heather for coffee at Mojo's in Lafayette.  I got there early so I could get some focused work done before she arrived, but I had trouble connecting to the wireless there.

It's amazing what you can accomplish when you can't get online.  Even though I needed product information I couldn't pull without an Internet connection, I was still able to put together all the rest of the content for five promotions in under an hour.

I'm typically not an eavesdropper.  In fact I blogged about that recently, how I need to start listening more when I'm out in public.  But this time I couldn't help it.  There were two women sitting at the table next to me, one interviewing the other about something called AMWA and I knew it had something to do with writing.  When I got home later that day, I looked it up and it's a professional association for medical writers.  Well then I had to figure out what a medical writer was.  Did you know that there is an entire industry in and around writing medical brochures, journal articles, government regulatory docs, grant proposals and even sales training and marketing materials?  Yeah, I didn't either!  I learn new things every day.

So anyway, back to my coffee date.  Heather and I are mutual inspirations, we've found.  When we talk, ideas tend to sort themselves out into solutions.  And this time what came out of that hour-long coffee date was a holiday CD featuring Heather's phenomenal musical talent.  Yup, she went right home and produced a CD of Christmas songs (she's a professional and highly educated piano and voice teacher).  Now how's that for some inspiration?

Sunday we went down to Castle Pines.  We dropped Scarlett off with my parents and did our final holiday shopping.  Afterward we all went to my parents' neighborhood holiday party.  Scarlett freaked out when we approached Santa, so the pictures we got of her fiercely clinging to me were blurry.  I'm hoping my mom's video camera produced a few usable still-shots.  If so, I'll post them here.

Along with Santa Claus there were horse-drawn carriage rides and free food and wine.  Sadly there was no one managing the Santa Claus visits or the carriage rides, so it was a free-for-all.  And let's just say there were a lot of parents spending their time at the wine bar rather than keeping their kids company.  We did manage to get a carriage ride, though, and Scarlett loved every second of it.  She was especially excited about the horses and oohed and aahed over the "peety" lights as we were carried through the neighborhood in a New York-style carriage.

And finally a Scarlett development update that I should have made weeks ago.  At just over 16 months, Scarlett started mimicking sounds regularly.  You can ask her to say a word or a phrase, and chances are she will attempt it.  Some of our recent favorites are "ho ju" (hold you -- as in she wants you to hold her), "pa pah" (grandpa), ahpoo (open or apple, depending on the context) and "keedjee" (kitty).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Career Coach, Date Night and Fireworks

I met with a career coach this evening.  I'm feeling very scattered with all of the various projects I work on -- both in my day job and my freelance work.  I was hoping the coach could get me pointed in the right direction.  It was just the initial consultation, so I didn't get a ton out of it.  But I think if I continue to work with her she'll be able to get me focused.

When I got home from that appointment, my brother and Lisa were at the house to babysit and Jeremy was dressed up for our date night (shaved face, cologne and all!).  Scarlett was putting on a show for everyone, per usual.  She was so excited to have an audience.  I knew she was going to have a fun night (the short amount of time before bed, at least).  So Jeremy and I went to the local dine-in theater and had dinner while we watched the new Muppets movie.  I now have that "mana mana" song stuck in my head. It was a great date night.

I forgot to mention that this weekend was the Thornton Winterfest, which took place at the rec center behind our house.  Saturday night they had fireworks (which were setting off car alarms in our neighborhood, but Scarlett still slept through), and the view from our house was amazing.  It still stresses me out when they allow overflow parking in our open space, though.  I believe open space should be left to nature.  Cars destroy animal habitats.

I see signs that they may be building a trail through the open space.  That could mean they'll maintain it more as a natural habitat so the trail could be considered a "nature trail". Or it could just mean more traffic through that beautiful field behind our house.  I wish I knew how it would turn out, but I guess all I can do is wait and see.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Home Sweet Home

To blog, or not to blog?  That is the question when I'm away from home.

I don't like to advertise when I'm gone because I think it's an invitation to robbers.  Even though most of the time there is someone either staying at our house or checking on it.  I'm still paranoid.

But then I also worry when I don't blog that people figure out I'm traveling.  LOL

Jeremy and I were in the Springs for the last week.  Janet and David were on vacation in Mexico, so we were watching their house and taking care of the twins.

That means we had THREE toddlers all week.  Two of whom were in the midst of potty training.  And after that particular experience, I feel like potty training Scarlett in a few months will be a piece of cake.

The boys were fantastic, as always.  And Scarlett got along with them well, as always.  I helped as much as I could given that I still had to work during the week, but it was really Jeremy that did most of the child care-taking.  Even though the twins are pretty self-sufficient, and Jeremy is used to taking care of Scarlett's needs, it was still three toddlers to one (sometimes two) adults -- which is stressful for anyone.  I am constantly impressed with Jeremy's patience.

The hardest part for us was that the twins don't go to bed until about 10pm.  Which means that Jeremy and I got no adult time at all.  I don't know how David and Janet handle that!  We need our adult time!

But we're home now, and realizing how good we have it.

It was nice to be down there long enough to meet up with some people I haven't seen in too long.  I got to have lunch with my colleague Deb and another lunch with Josey.  And during yet another lunch hour, I finally got to meet the Peterson/Nelson family's newest addition, baby Janey, and spend some time catching up with Katie.

Most of my trips to the Springs involve family obligations and appointments, so I rarely get to spend the kind of time with my friends down there that I would like to.  And our out-of-town friends visit us up here in Northglenn when they can -- but most people have young children and I know how hard it is to arrange that kind of time.  All I can hope is that we can maintain our friendships well enough through these early family years, so when our kids are older and we have more freedom we are able to spend more time together again.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Highlights from After the Storm

We got a break in the weather today, so Scarlett and I went out and played in the snow. She would have been happy if I had just let her run up and down the driveway all afternoon.

Afterward we made some tea and ate pancake bites next to the fire.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Northglenn Noel and DARN SNOW

Last night my mom, Scarlett and I went to Northglenn Noel, a little fair at the Northglenn rec center. It was so cute.  They had lots of kids' activities, tables where you could spin the wheel for prizes, a bake sale, a lighting ceremony, pizza, and of course, Santa!  I didn't get Scarlett's picture taken with Santa, though, because Jeremy wasn't with us.  It's only fair that her daddy be there too.  But I did win a gift card to Best Buy at one of the prize wheels, so that was pretty cool.

My mom headed back home last night, and we were so sad to see her go.  Scarlett cried a little when she realized her playmate was leaving.

We were supposed to head down to Colorado Springs this morning to meet up with Jeremy, but instead we're snowed in.  Another storm system passed through and dumped another 4 inches on us.  The roads through Denver are a mess and the storm is headed toward the Springs.  And yet another system is supposed to come through on Monday morning.  I have no idea when we'll be able to get down there at this point.  But I'm trying to make the best of it.  I've got the fireplace going, Scarlett is taking a nap in her fleece PJs, and I'm catching up on some blogging and emails.

I haven't seen Jeremy for more than 5 minutes since Tuesday morning.  Usually I enjoy the snow, but right now I'm cursing it.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Zoo Lights, Tori & Dean, and Quick Daddy Visit

We are members of the Denver Zoo, now, and with our new membership came free tickets to the member preview weekend of Zoo Lights.  So off to the zoo we went on Sunday evening.

They did a wonderful job with the lights, and Scarlett enjoyed the whole experience.  She got to see giraffes, elephants and sea lions up close, too.  The sea lions put on quite a show, playing and jumping in and out of the water, so that was definitely Scarlett's favorite exhibit of the evening.  She started mimicking their sounds, so we got her a little sea lion stuffed animal in the gift shop on our way out.  I will try to post some of Jeremy's pictures from the night soon.

Poor Jeremy was only home Sunday and Monday before he had to run off again.  He went to Kansas City with his dad to check on one of the businesses out there, and to eat barbecue.  Yeah, it was mainly for the barbecue. So Scarlett and I were all by our lonesome Tuesday and most of Wednesday.

I don't normally watch TV or even listen to music while I'm working -- but there was a Tori & Dean marathon on the Oxygen channel on Tuesday, and I missed most of last season.  So I had it on in the background and quickly discovered that Scarlett LOVES the show.  She was actually stopping and paying attention to it.  She's obviously got my good taste in TV programming.  LOL.  Seriously, though, she fell asleep during the live Beetlejuice show at Universal Studios.  I notice when she pays attention to something!

My mom arrived on Wednesday afternoon to stay with us a few days.  That night after work, we went to Flatirons Mall to do some shopping before Jeremy returned.  Jeremy was supposed to come home that evening to re-pack and spend some time with us before heading down to the Springs to work Thurs-Fri, but when the guys went to their cars at the airport, David's car wouldn't start.  So Jeremy had to rush his packing, only got to spend a few minutes with Scarlett and I, and then he was off to take the guys home to the Springs.  I felt so bad for him.  I know he was looking forward to spending a few hours with us girls.

It snowed Wednesday night, so my mom, Scarlett and I woke up to a winter wonderland this morning.  It's beautiful, drifting over the hills in the open space behind our house.  We've got a fire going in the fireplace, and we're just enjoying the peaceful winter day inside.