Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rainy Everglades

While we had not one but two visitors in town, we took them out to the Everglades National Park. It was a rainy afternoon (but not the flooding kind, like our last trip out there), so the park was pretty empty. The rain let up not long after we arrived, so it was cool and deserted. Sometimes it seemed like it was only us, the gators and the rotting fish. (A bunch of tropical fish died in last month's cold snap, and are belly up in the water, stinking things up big time.)
We had a great time. It was almost a flawless trip; the only sad part was dropping Tabatha off at the airport on the way home. That was a tragedy for all of us, but Stellan seemed to take it the hardest, completely breaking down in tears as we pulled away from the airport curbside.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tia Steph Comes To Town

We were so lucky that we got two visitors in the same weekend. Our second arrival was my sister Steph, who we call "Tia" in our family. That's the Portuguese Tia, which is pronounced "CHEE-ah." Yes, like the pet. I have not seen her in way too long, so it was wonderful to spend time with her. In fact, it was only minutes before our "sisterlepathy" kicked in. (For the uninitiated, sisterlepathy is the strong telepathic link between sisters that are so similar that they would finish a sentence the same way even from across the country.) Stellan loved having yet another adoring fan, and we all loved seeing Stephie, even though her visit was way too short. Miss you, sis!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chocolate Festival

That's right, you read it correctly. There is an annual Chocolate Festival here at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. So how could I resist taking Tabatha to sample a local venue while also sampling deliciousness? I couldn't. We had a great time. In fact, I will carry one specific memory with me for the rest of my life. Bear with me while I try to paint a picture of smells with words. (It's tougher than it sounds.)
As anyone who has been pregnant knows, your sense of smell can become quite elevated, which is usually unpleasant. But as we found ourselves in the middle of a big area with vendors, I had quite the opposite experience. The food vendors all had food that either was made with chocolate (like the mole I ate for lunch - that's mole, Mexican style, not mole the rodent) or went well with chocolate. In addition, they had vendors with beauty products made from chocolate, a booth with spices and teas that went with chocolate, or just straight up chocolate.
So there I was with Stellan and Tabatha sharing a warm lava cake on the lawn with literally dozens, maybe hundreds, of spicy, sweet, bitter, wonderful aromas wafting my way. And I suddenly realized that, as a pregnant woman, I was enjoying a heightened sense of the awesomeness! That's the first time I've ever been grateful for this particular "super power." I can still remember the intoxicating scent now.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tabatha Comes To Town

Our dear friend Tabatha, a former colleague from SBMNH, came to visit us. Her time here was far too short, but we did our best to cram in as much as possible while she was here. My sister Stephie also came to see us, and the two guests coincided for a couple of days, so you'll see them both in each other's blog posts.
Thanks for coming, Tab! It was so much more fun than I could ever blog. But I'll try to let the pictures do some justice.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Verdict Is In

I tried to think of some cutesy way to prolong getting to the big news, but apparently my creativity is running low. So, with no further ado, we're pleased to announce that the ultrasound indicates that our baby is a little girl. Or, as Stellan put it, a "baby sisber."

While I've Got Your Attention

We have enjoyed the pleasure of hosting family and friends here recently, but I, like the slacker I am, did not get around to blogging it before the holidays. And since the next batch comes in starting this afternoon, I figured I'd better tell you about the last set.
First, my awesome sister Caroline came to visit us. She literally emailed me and said, "Hey, are you free Saturday night? Because I'd love to have dinner with you!" Um, what? You're going to be in town? This Saturday? And this is the first we've heard? Yep. She came, she helped coax Stellan into meeting Santa at the church Primary Christmas party (although it took the encouragement of 2 parents, an aunt, a teddy bear in Santa's bag and also a mint candy to actually get him to come close enough to Santa to accept his gift), and she went out for sushi-Thai* with us.

Not long after, my good friend Janae came to visit. You've already heard about the highlight of her visit, a certain deluge that flooded our neighborhood. But we also went to Jaxson's for ice cream, saw the beach and went to the Everglades. We had so much fun catching up, it's so tragic that she lives far far far away and doesn't get out here very often (once by my count).

Thanks for coming, you two! We love you and miss you tons!

*Interesting side note: in South Florida, it's almost impossible to find a Thai restaurant that doesn't also sell sushi, or a sushi joint that doesn't serve Thai food as well. These restaurants are all called sushi-Thai, Thai-sushi or some derivative thereof. Oh, and although I had sushi, I made sure all the meat was cooked.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Place Your Bets!

The Big Ultrasound is tomorrow. Kevin and I have no particular "feeling" about the gender of our smallest offspring, so we won't be of any help to you at all. But if you would like to interject your hunch about the plumbing (indoor or outdoor plumbing, as one of my Sunday school teachers once delicately put it) of the baby we've been calling Kaiser - explanatory blog post to follow - go ahead and leave it in the comment section.
All entries must be received by 12:15 PM EST to be counted. Oh, and this is not a democratic process, so please refrain from using the word "vote." And no fair stalking us to the office or placing a James Bond-esque video device in my glasses. That means you, grandparents!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two-Year-Old Negotiations

In recent weeks, I have learned that there is a difference between what I hear Stellan saying and what he really means. Here is an actual conversation from this evening:

Stellan: I want a cheese sandwich.
Mommy: OK. Will it have bread?
Stellan: Yes. Cheese sandwich with bread.
Mommy: Will it have cheese?
Stellan [greatly agitated]: No cheese, Mama!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

One Of Those Moments

Tonight I had one of those moments, the kind you should have seen coming, but somehow just couldn't bring yourself to fully imagine.
I found myself in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, whipping up some gravy from scratch to go with the pot roast I had simmering in the crockpot for our family Sunday night dinner. Wow. When I did become this person?

There Is Nothing Cuter

There is nothing cuter in the world than little kids in snow suits. I am now 100% convinced this is true, and although I wouldn't want to live somewhere snowy all the time, it's good we get to visit.
Stellan really liked the snow, although he had a bit of a crazy time learning how to navigate in the semi-solid powder. We got to take him sledding a few times with his cousins, and that was one of the best parts of our trip. Well, the downhill part, anyway. Please enjoy this slideshow documenting our sledding adventures. Beware, cuteness ahead!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Open Letter To My Cousins

Dear Cousins,
I just want to thank you so much for all the fun we had together when I came to visit. All that snow stuff was fun, even though I hate mittens. I'm sorry for all the times I hit you when we had a hard time sharing, and I forgive you for all the times you hit me too. Thanks for teaching me so many new ways to get into trouble, it's come in really handy around here. Mom says it's good to share, but I'm glad I didn't share my croup with you, and my mom and dad are glad you didn't share your lice.
Please come visit anytime, we would have so much fun at the beach and at the park and in our small home; I'm pretty sure if we combined our forces, we could bring the place down.

(Transcribed faithfully via telepathy by my mommy)

Click image to biggify.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Holiday Highlights

We spent the holidays in Utah with Kevin's family. It was really great to see them, and also fun to enjoy the snow. Here are the highlights in no particular order:

Christmasiest Christmas Moment: seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform a Christmas program in the Conference Center. Wow.

Most Overdue Reunion: catching up with Niki Nichols, one of my oldest and dearest amigas.

Most Unexpected Produce Moment: Kev's sister grew carrots that must have weighed 5 pounds each. I think they used uranium fertilizer.

Best Christmas Present: Milles Bornes, the card game. Kevin and I were both such geniuses that we each got it for each other.

Other Best Christmas Present: Grandma and Grandpa kept Stellan overnight so Kevin and I could sneak away for a night on the town and a couple's massage in the morning. Thanks so much, Mom and Dad!

Best White Elephant Hook Up: We brought 3 gifts and left with none. 'Nuff said.

Most Exciting British Playwright Event: Kevin's parents hired a sitter and then got tickets for all their kids (the grown-ups) to see "The Importance of Being Earnest," by Oscar Wilde. One of my favorites, and also one that got me mocked by middle schoolers who caught me reading it on the bus. When I was 20.

Stellan's Favorite Part: his cousins.

Stellan's Other Favorite Part: Sebastian the dog.

Stellan's Other Other Favorite Part: snow.

Most Violent Card Game Ever Played: Spoons, as played by Kevin and his cousins. Apparently Spoons is a full-contact sport. Who knew?

Most Compelling Reason Not To Invite Us To Stay At Your Home: Ask Kevin's dad about his beautiful brand new 37" flat screen LCD HDTV. And about how Stellan threw a remote into it, damaging it beyond repair.

Please enjoy the following slideshow with some of our favorite moments, carnage of the TV, and a special bonus for all you Spanish-speakers out there.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Do I Seem Neurotic To You?

Stellan and I went shopping on Friday. As all parents of toddlers know, the grocery store is rife with risks and challenges. Stellan was a trooper, walking two blocks to the store with the wagon, making it through the whole list and filling said wagon, for the first hour. (That two-block stroll to the store can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 45, depending on his mood.)
But once we hit the checkout, Stellan lost it. He wanted to singlehandedly unload all the groceries, which was an impossibility for several reasons. When he realized he wasn't getting his wish, he threw a limb-flailing ground-kicking head-banging high-decibel shriekfest that was surely audible all the way to the dairy section at the back of the store. It was so bad the store manager rushed to help bag our groceries just to get us out of there faster.
As I watched my son completely freak out, at first I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Then I thought, "This is just a rite of passage for all parents of two-year-olds. We're all going to have one of these, at least one of these, in a very public place. They don't call it the 'terrible twos' for nothing." And I just calmly continued to unload groceries onto the conveyor belt. Then I realized that all the other shoppers needed me to act very distressed, as Stellan's behavior is considered inappropriate for most human beings. I instantly turned into a very apologetic, anxious mother and did my best to hustle us out as quickly as possible, trying to look a little ashamed as I did so.
It was a sham. But I think it made people feel better. Which is worse - to freak out alongside your two-year-old, or just to pretend to in order to appease normal society?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It's So Cold Here...

We're back in Florida, and it's a little chillier than when we left. About 40°F cooler, actually. And I can't resist finishing my title entry sentence this way:

It's so cold here that iguanas are falling from the trees. Video here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Meet My New Nephew!

Welcome to the world, Benjamin! And congratulations to Joe, Krista and Riley. We love you all, can't wait to meet the newest member of your family.