Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Santa arrived in Big Bend National Park on Engine number One.. Sam learned to say Santa, but he was a bit more fascinated with the truck he rode in on than the jolly red guy himself. Posted by Picasa

Awyn wanted to see the man behind the beard, I think. She kept looking up at him. Isn't she adorable in her new pink fur coat? She didn't cry. Neither did Sam, but he was more interested in the fire truck. Posted by Picasa

Sam wasn't too sure about sitting on Santa's lap. He kept reaching out for daddy. Posted by Picasa

All these kids were lining up to see Santa! They were keeping our Santa's identity a secret. Eric says we might also be able to call him Romaldo, but I don't think we'll tell Sam that... Posted by Picasa

Sam got a chance to drive Santa's fire truck. Posted by Picasa

Sam gets to turn on the hoses Sam was very fixated on the fire truck that brought Santa. Posted by Picasa

A boy and his dog. Tasha was providing incentive for Sam to take a nap in his bed. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Sam pops out of the dryer. I posted a still picture of this earlier, and I wanted to add the video. For those of you who seem to have trouble with zippyvideos, I'm sorry, but my e-mail won't let me send this around. I can try again, but it's a 5+ megabyte file.

Sam discover's daddy's cape. It's too long for him and he keeps tripping over it. He was asking for a cape, so I pulled Eric's out of the closet. I guess I need to make him a new cape for Christmas. I have lots of shiny red satin. Eric says I have to put an S on the back. Posted by Picasa

After a morning of lots of play Sam finally takes a nap. We've been having some sleep issues. We're trying to get a routine going again, but Sam just doesn't want to miss anything. He was actually curled up with a pair of Awyn's socks here. Posted by Picasa

A Late Thanksgiving...

While Thanksgiving is past, for some reason today I am feeling a little more thankful than I was on Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for lots of things, ordinary and not so ordinary. Obviously, I'm thankful for my kids, husband, parents, siblings, etc. Not to short-change them or anything, but they aren't what put me in the mood, I just want you to understand that I do appreciate them, especially everything they do for me. Eric is a fantastic husband. This post just isn't about him.

I was thinking about friends. I have a lot of friends. That's something that I actually have to stop and think about from time to time when I feel lonely, or neglected. I really do have lots of friends who care a lot about me, and take care of me when I need it, sometimes listening for hours when I'm going on about something, ranting or raving. Friends have made having children much easier than it could be. Friends have thrown me baby showers and provided a lot of needed clothing and equipment for my babies. One friend, Alisha, even re-painted her daughter's crib, delivered it, and set it up for me and Sam. Did I mention we had been living in Arkansas and she drove from Louisiana with her three children? She also painted and decorated Sam's bedroom. I still miss that room, she did such a great job! She gave me a baby carrier, a swing, and the list can go on. Friends combed garage sales for baby clothes. They sewed things for my babies. Friends have cared for Tasha on numerous occasions when we've been out of town. Our friend Sherrie has even taken care of her when we were just visiting Kansas. I lived in her basement for a semester rent-free, and while I was supposed to be helping her out around the house, I doubt I was much help. From Sherrie I learned about doing thoughtful things for those I love, no strings attached. Something as simple as getting up off the couch and getting a coke for my son/brother/sister/husband/friend just because they asked, even if they know where the coke is, and are in no way handicapped. It's just because we love them.

I don't have everyone's address, but I'm trying to get Christmas cards to all of you. Christmas cards to me are more than just a newsletter or pretty card or family portrait. They are a way of saying, "Thanks for being my friend!" I love getting Christmas cards. I love sending Christmas cards. Every year I write a newsletter, and I even put it in the first person instead of the third person, as if I wasn't the one writing the letter. Yep, it's me, the Liz in Eric, Liz, Sam, and Awyn. Obviously Sam, Awyn, and Tasha have a little trouble, as they are illiterate so far. Eric does the editing and corrections. He does enought newsletter and newspaper stuff with work that he gets a little burnt out in the publications department. But he's an excellent proof-reader and keeps me from going off too far on a tangent. (Gee, can you tell he doesn't do my editing for my blog?) The easiest way to get Christmas cards is to send Christmas cards. Eric and I have yet to get to the point where we are sending out so many cards that we have to start culling our list back, pruning away the names and addresses of those who don't send cards back. As we've slipped in past years, we are fairly understanding of those who simply are bad about cards. We also use our cards as a way to confirm our address and contact information so that everyone has the latest updates. Some years that can change a lot, as you might have noticed. Two years ago, as we were sending out cards, our address was to change the following month. We'd already sent out half our cards before we knew about Eric's transfer, and in our little newsletter we talked all about the house we'd just bought and our plans for staying put for a few years. Then we moved. Sigh. So keeping up with us can be a real challenge.

We have friends who move without providing forwarding addresses too. I've even sent out a Sam-Spam to everyone on our address book to try to confirm addresses, and I've really had a lack of response. A few have replied, but many of the people it was aimed at didn't reply. Some I know are bad about checking e-mail and won't read it for a few months. Others haven't kept us current on e-mail addresses, so they didn't get the original message anyway. In fact, one of the big reasons we quit sending regular Sam-Spams is because our list of addresses was so big that we had a hard time pulling the bad addresses. On average we get back around 20 wrong addresses or full in-boxes or the like. I have friends in Japan who wrote their forwarding address so badly that every year I try writing in different numbers in hopes that one of these years I'll get it right. Half her postcard was written in Japanese, and I'm way too rusty to read it. It's been long enough that we aren't getting forwarded mail from Arkansas anymore, so I doubt they'll get another card to us.

So, if you are reading this blog, you probably have already provided us with an address. If not, Thank you. You are still my friend. I doubt there is anything in the newsletter that you can't get from reading my blog. I'm not pregnant, Awyn and Sam are it for two legged children, and we aren't planning on moving in the near future.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic

Today I made a roast chicken with lots and lots of garlic. It's pretty simple, really. A whole chicken, put into a dutch oven, along with three bulbs of garlic broken up, some fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and something else that I can't remember), and just over a cup of dry white wine. Oh, and rub the poor bird down with some salt and pepper. I over-baked it a little, but it was still fairly tender and tasty. We were smooshing the garlic cloves onto the slices of chicken. Yum.

Eric is putting laundry away, Awyn is snoozing in my arms because she won't sleep otherwise. Sam went to bed around 9. Last night our low temp. was 14 degrees. Brrrrr. It didn't break 60 today, outside or inside the house. We are debating on turning on the furnace tonight. The only problem with that is that we'll have to find all the vents, make sure they aren't blocked, and change the filter on the furnace. We also need to start addressing our Christmas cards and finish our Christmas shopping so we can get it all shipped.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Finally, I post a picture of the new TV. it's huge, bigger than I expected. It fit into the cabinet by about a 1/4 inch. We're still learning about the different settings. Regular format movies can either be stretched, left alone, or modified. And we've discovered that widescreen isn't a universal ratio, some movies have a wider aspect ratio than others. So depending on what we're watching, it can take up the whole screen, have black bands top/bottom, or grey bands on the sides. Posted by Picasa

Another Awyn picture. Awyn is perfecting her parade wave. I think she's getting ready for pageants. She sits and rocks, and then out pops the right arm, elbow elbow wrist wrist wrist. Posted by Picasa

Awyn loves the Christmas Tree too. She was trying to eat the branches. I'd let her chew on them, but the needles sometimes come off, and I think they are a bit of a choking hazard. Posted by Picasa

Benefit Auction & Trader Joes

last night we went to an auction. Eric donated a book, and I donated a customized baby carrier. Eric's book went for about what we expected, but the Mei Tai didn't get much. The crowd I'd anticipated wasn't there, as I know there are several people here in the park that have been after me to make them carriers too. So one of the fantastic volunteers in the park got a great deal. Eric and I bid on a few things, winning the Day of Babysitting for a steal. I almost bid on the 10 loads of laundry, as I don't like washing diapers. What I really missed out on was the Trader Joe's basket. It went for over $75. As the nearest Trader Joe's is rumored to be in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the bidding went high. I dropped out somewhere around $50, as we have lots of family in the Pacific Northwest with access not only to Trader Joe's, but the USPS, UPS, and Fed Ex with which to mail us goodies. Last year my sister Keri drew my name in the family present lottery, and she got me this enormous box of stuff from Trader Joe's. We ate a little bit from day to day, to try to make it stretch out as much as possible. It sure was delicious! (this is a HUGE Christmas present hint...) We also could use queen size sheets with a high thread count. I keep thinking of things we'd like, but as I don't write them down, well, I don't remember them. I have to get going, as I promised to go help out with craft day at a friends house. I'll put up pictures of the new TV when I get home.

Monday, December 05, 2005

It's Here!

Our new television has arrived. It was sitting on our front porch, but I moved it inside so it could warm up to inside temperatures, not that it was all that cold outside, but still. I opened the box, and the manual contained a pink flyer stating that this is a refurbished set. Hmm. I can't actually hook it up until Eric and Sam get home. It's too big for me to get out of the box, and it will take two of us and an engineering degree to get it into our entertainment center. I think we'll have to put it in through the back because there is a 2 inch frame around one side of the cabinet, and the TV will just fit, with less than a 1/4 inch to spare. I'm not joking, I just measured it. Wow. I didn't think it would be that big. I'll post a picture once we install it. For those who are curious, it's a Toshiba 30 inch TheaterWide (widescreen) TV. While it is a flat screen, it's not one of those thin ones, it's very big, bulky, and weighs more than 100 lbs.

Christmas present givers, please note: We prefer widescreen movies. We could also now use a new DVD player meant for nice digital viewing, as this is indeed an HDTV, something that is rather wasted on us, as we don't even have a satelite (darn spelling anyway) dish or any kind of TV reception. We just watch videos. Hey, I think we'll need new cables to hook things up with too, but I guess we'll get them at Radio Shack tomorrow when we run up to Alpine. Sigh. Universal remote anyone? We now have a Toshiba TV, RCA DVD, Sylvania VCR and Pioneer mini-surround sound. Oh, and another remote for the satelite radio. That's just too many remote controls! We bought the DVD player to match the TV on purpose so they could at least share a remote. I think the DVD player will be our next thing to replace, but it has to seriously die before we'll replace it. We bought it when they'd gotten cheaper, but not nearly so cheap as they are today. We also refuse to buy the combo things, like a DVD/VCR or even worse, a DVD/VCR/TV combo. The VCR always breaks first, and then you have to buy a separate one and hook it in. Why bother when they are so cheap by themselves? Now I've sidetracked the original point of the post. Let's hope I'm still this excited about the new TV once we get it going. Even though I did lots of research, I didn't find the bad reviews until today. It's about 50/50 love/hate.

Today I'm trying to be a sewing fool, but Awyn is refusing to be independent. She must nap in my arms and play in my arms. My arms are needed for ripping fabric into strips for baby carriers and cutting out little pieces for fabric balls. I plan to give a few of my favorite people baby carriers, and I wannt to give one up to be auctioned off tomorrow for the Casa Grande benefit auction. If they want me to custom sew it, they'll have to buy the fabric. I'm starting to run low, finally!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Yet More Christmas Wishes...

I was talking to various family members today, and as we were being asked what we want for Christmas, I realized I don't have a very good list so far. The kids love toys and clothes, Sam will love anything with trucks, dogs, bugs, etc on it. Oh, and I almost forgot. He's taken to playing with the metal horses in his room, and would probably LOVE more of the toy kind. He's got one toy horse as part of a really cool animal set his Grandma Joyce got him last year, and he plays with the cows, goats, pig and horse all the time, making the noises and everything. My brother Gus asked about movies. Wow. We do have a lot of movies, but not a lot of kid friendly movies, and there are a few movies coming out that I really want to own as well. So this post is aimed at my siblings who have us. Kassandra has offered to overnight a kitten, if we'd like one. I'm not sure UPS would be that happy about shipping a cat, but hey, if you get it out here, I guess we'd have to keep it!

Movies on our wish list:
Serenity (based on the Firefly series, sci-fi for us, not Sam)
Shrek 2

I'm sure there are others. Of the recent releases, we already have Star Wars Episode III, as we just had to have it the last time we were in town. We've been getting Battlestar Galactica from Netflix.

Here's a short list of what we already have of the kid friendly variety, and I seriously think you should just call and ask because I'm typing this from memory. I'll repeat the need for a good scratch repair kit. Sam is getting better about handling the discs, but he's done some bad damage to a few of them. He also goes through VHS tapes faster than we can rewind them. DVDs seem to hold up a little better.
101 Dalmations
Beauty and the Beast
Elmo in Grouchland
Finding Nemo
Lion King
Muppet Show season 1
Muppet Movie
Monsters Inc
Sleeping Beauty
Snow White
Toy Story (We had both, but Sam has seriously damaged TS2)
and the complete collection of the Signing Time videos

While I'd say we aren't really into Disney, as you can see from the list, we do like Disney after all. There are just a few that aren't really very kid friendly. Sam gets scared when things move too fast, get suddenly loud, and is prone to nightmares. He prefers movies with lots of music, singing music, dancing music, and LOVES the Muppet Show right now. If that new Pixar movie about the racecars was out, I bet he'd love it, but I don't think it is. I think Eric and I'd hate it, but Sam would watch it daily. Right now he asks for 'uppits, piggies & kermits' and is convinced that Snoopy is a cow. So he's 2. What did your kids like at 2?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Kids and Christmas Decorations

Kids are rough on decorations. Sam has already broken a few things, torn a few things apart, and redecorated the tree many times. Awyn would just like to chew on it all. So far the items I can't repair or replace or redistribute include a mini snowglobe and a couple of our trek ornaments. The Star Trek ornaments I'm talking about started life out as micro-machines, toys that Eric and I were given or bought around Christmastime for our first Christmas together in Kansas. We turned them into ornaments because we didn't have any. I thought the ones I gave Sam were fairly indestructible, but I was wrong. The NC1701 has lost it's saucer section, and another has lost it's base in such a way as I can't put it back together. He was traumatized by the self-decapitating reindeer, so I had to put that up on a shelf to be pretty. He's tried to break a couple of my cardinals, so the one in danger of losing it's wings is higher up on the tree. It's too bad some of these sturdy ornaments aren't so sturdy. I want Sam to be able to touch the tree and other things. He loves the lights and the tree, and has to tell it goodnight when he goes to bed, and when he wakes up, he runs to the tree and claps, shouting, "Hooray! Tree!" On another side note, Sam still thinks Snoopy is a cow. We have a Snoopy Christmas flag we're hanging on the outside of our house, and he likes to run onto the front porch and moo at it. He points to Snoopy and calls him a cow.