Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is That an Elephant on Your Back?

We are off to Chicago this afternoon for a 48 hour whirlwind adventure.

Being true to my nature, I am more tense about it than excited right now. It feels like an elephant is dancing a jig on my lower back. Though this time for slightly different reasons than the last trip.

My anxieties:
1) Missed naps.
2) Loss of baby infrastructure.
3) Containment of baby in the un-baby-proof house.
4) “Strange” people trying to put Grace to bed.
5) A cold and raining game.
6) Not getting to sleep until late, with an early morning baby wake-up.
7) Just trying to cram way too much into the time there.

The list could just keep going too. Even ignoring the obvious things I can’t change, like the weather, I feel like I can’t change anything on the list. We are not going to go buy $200 worth of baby crap for 1 day. We are not going to get back to my parent’s before midnight. We are not going to be able to cut essential activities out of the trip.

And so it is. I'll just have to suck it up. Our adventure begins at 1 pm this afternoon.

Damn Cubs better not disappoint. Or I’d better get drunk enough not to care.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Don’t Your Prefer Cheese?

Grace has had full control of the fine motor skill, index finger to thumb grasp, for quite awhile. She can pincer grasp things with the best of them, but still won’t say “Ma Ma.” Go figure.

With this skill she self feeds herself completely on the weekends. I still send mashed food with the finger snacks to daycare because I figure if they don’t mind having the food spit back on them, why should I? Grace is a champion with beans, shredded chicken, peas, pasta, fruit, Cheerios and cheese shreds.

You know what her FAVORITE snack is though?

Yeah, I know, all the major kiddy food groups are in the list. It’s because its not food.

It is ….. hair! Gross huh?

She sees our Corgi, Lil’ Rick, as a buffet. A smorgasbord. Between the snacks of hair that she finds on the floor and the drive by plucking, she eats hair all day. I keep thinking, “Don’t you prefer cheese? What are you doing kid?!?”

So I am constantly trying to feed her at home. Most of the time I will put her into the high chair, give her a snack and – Freak Out – OK, go back onto the ground and eat dog hair then. And she does.

It is not just dog hair though. Of course not. My daughter is apparently not that picky of an eater. Human hair seems to be just as good. She likes to rip fists full of hair right out of my head. I think they must taste better if it has the root too. I am fairly certain I will be bald by the time she is 2.

This past weekend, Grace and I met my friend Jen at Panera for lunch. Apparently, while I was refilling my drink, Grace lured Jen in with whispers of baby love and … BANG! … ripped out a chunk of her hair. Which went straight into the mouth.

To be on the positive side about this tendency that I can’t figure out how to stop aside from giving away our beloved pet:
1) She appears to be taking only what she is willing to eat.
2) It’s just another form of protein, right?
3) Given all options, eating hair is better then boogers. Although she has been trying to stick her finger up her nose lately. Hmmm ...

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Wave

My mom calls Gracie “Princess Grace.” It drives me nuts, but what am I going to say?

I can dictate what Gracie will call her though, thereby over ruling all the crazy names she is trying to title herself with. All because “Grandma” makes her sound old.

Guess what lady? You are old and your dragging me down with you too! So get over it!

Over the last few months she has been clinging to the title of “Grams.” OK, I’m fine with that one, but I still insist that GRACE will get to decide what she calls her, not the other way around.

Anywho – I digress –

Grace has been clapping for a few weeks now. Yesterday though, when I went to pick her up from daycare, she pulled out the wave. The kid crawled right up to me, sat down and waved. Just like she had been doing this for weeks too.

The wave was then followed by a round of applause, by me, Grace herself and most of her playmates (because babies don’t really need to know WHY they are clapping to clap. It is just fun.)

Due to the distraction of having to dodge raindrops on our dash from daycare to car, I completely forgot all about the new skill. I know – horrible parent.

When we got home though, Matt came out to meet us in the garage. What does Gracie do? She waves at him of course. Full out princess wave. I guess my mom isn’t so far off on her titles after all.

We are still calling you Grandma though!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thank You Blarney Stone

It always amazes me when I’m the center of attention.

The witty one. The clever one. The leader of table conversation.

Because I am none of those things.

OK, I can lead, but I usually lead through a veil of forced self confidence, not true ability or gift of gab. I guess when I get desperate and have the desire to fill awkward gapping voids of silence, the talent comes out. Thank you Blarney Stone.

I went to lunch with a coworker today to celebrate his new job on Monday. Last week, I realized that nothing was being organized for him. Probably because our secretary (who is usually the one to plan events) is observant Muslim and celebrating Ramadan (where you fast until sundown every day during the month of September).

I wouldn’t want to be in charge of a food event when I couldn’t partake, so why should I expect her to organize anything? I knew it was gong to be dreadful but felt obligated to do something for the guy.

After much discussion, we decided to take him out for lunch. Just the team and a few others that he specifically wanted to include.


Folks started whispering about an ‘A-list’ event that they apparently weren’t good enough to attend….

The original invite email started getting passed onto folks that did not fall into the ‘friend’ category….

I started being questioned by coworkers as to why they didn’t receive an invite (and luckily was able to appease them enough so they agreed not to attend)….

The ‘normal’ people that I actually looked forward to having lunch with bailed….

And my Crazy Cube Neighbor crashed the lunch, showing up a half hour late, without an invitation or a declaration of intent to come.

So there I am, sitting in a mix of social misfits, trying to come up with conversation. We talked about golf, football, education, work and travel. OK, I am pretty chatty about travel, but I seemed to have the most to say about ALL of the various topics. Not a good sign.

During the 1.5 hours at the restaurant, I watched the Rat Eater devour a plate of chicken wings like they were going out of style. I watched my Team Lead eat 8 – see that number EIGHT – pieces of cake. I watched our Guest of Honor slam a giant beer and talk about how he could drink 6 more and still be fine to drive. I watched my Crazy Cube Neighbor try to burrow his way into every conversation just to be completely ignored and shut out.

Hmmm… maybe the lunch was pretty entertaining after all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hey, Chicago, What Do You Say?

Matt won the lotto yesterday.

Well, a lotto that gave you the chance to spend money. In our case, it turned out to be a lotto that tempted us into spending an entire paycheck in the course of 2 days.

The Cubs made it to the playoffs. Matt, as always with Chicago sports related events, was on the ball and entered into the drawings for the chance to buy playoff tickets. The three possibilities were New York (Mets), Philly and Chicago.

Well, the two that were within driving distance failed, but his name was picked for Chicago. He was notified at 9 am yesterday that he could buy tickets at 12 pm. Didn’t give us much time to think about it. Of course we were going to get tickets. What an amazing opportunity! We'd be silly NOT to do it!

And they are AMAZING tickets. Outfield, right next to the ivy, in Ronnie WooWoo territory.

So after shuffling through the list of options: Matt goes with friend; Matt goes and sells other ticket to cover the cost of the trip; or we just flat out ebay the two tickets (as of yesterday they were going for $600 a pair with a full day left!)

Then we came up with a final option. We BOTH go.

Huh. That really hadn’t occurred to me.

So now, we are busy making phone calls looking for a sitter (thank you Grandma!), explaining to family and friends (that now feel slighted that they can’t go) our decision, discussing how I am going to finagle the trip give when I have zero leave (and the lie I will need to tell at work to go with it) and making exorbitantly expensive flight reservations (hence the spending a paycheck in 2 days).

So, one week from right now we will be in Chicago. For a total of 48 hours. All I have to say is that they better win.

They're singing ...
Go, Cubs, go
Go, Cubs, go
Hey, Chicago, what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today!

Go, Cubs, go
Go, Cubs, go
Hey, Chicago, what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Thank God It's Monday

This past weekend was horrible.


It was the kind of weekend that makes you think, “How can people possibly deal with more than one child?”

Grace has fallen into some kind of precursor to the terrible twos, along the lines of ….

I’m one and you can’t tell me what to do.
And you can’t make me do what you want me to do.
And you can’t make me eat what you want me to eat.
And you can’t make me take a nap right now even though I’m exhausted and have only had two 20 minutes naps since I woke up at 5:30am and it now 3:15pm.

Examples of this deplorable behavior are …

She would sit in the middle of the kitchen floor and just start screaming. Nobody touched her, no dog licked her and there was no injury of any kind. Just sudden screaming like she’d been stung by a bee….

….Unless we were out of the house shopping. And then you HAD to keep moving. Any stopping to browse or compare labels and it was all over. Luckily, at 7:30 am there aren’t too many folks in the grocery store. So when necessary I would stop. Otherwise I turned it into a game of trying to remember what was down every isle, so I could just grab items off the shelf while still moving. Sometimes we did several swoops up and down before I had completed the purchases. Sometimes I would just push the cart to keep it moving and then run to catch up. Grace thought it was great fun. Frankly, it would have been if I wasn’t so tense….

….Until 6pm last night, she refused to eat. Anything. She would drink milk, but only at 2 ounces at a time. This made for lots of dirty bottles and wasted formula. It also made me constantly try and feed her, because she MUST be hungry. Nope. She would take two bites of the 20 I’d just given here and then start flinging it over the edge or just flat out scream and buck….

….Finally, ½ an hour before she normally goes to sleep, she decided she was hungry. We went outside to gather ripe tomatoes, and before I could stop her (because it looked slightly funky and had a fresh worm hole in it) she chomped into the tomato. I tried switching it out with one that an insect hadn’t been feasting on, but she freaked. OK, you want a wormy tomato, fine, go for it. And she did. 10 minutes later, and completely covered with tomato snot and juice, she had devoured the entire thing.

Then she spotted the dish of mashed carrots I had tried to feed her earlier. She grabbed it and started scooping food into her mouth with her hands. Between that technique, and a first try at self feeding with a spoon, she ate 2 containers of carrots.

This was topped off with a baby who happily splashed in the tub for her longest bath ever, drank an 8 oz bottle and then slept through the night for the first time in what feels like forever.

This parenting thing isn’t so hard, right?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Helen's in Red

If you are looking for them, things that normally would go unnoticed actually occur quite often.

I always smile when I hear stories about people who look for random pennies and playing cards on the ground. In a movie I watched not long ago, a main character carried a camera and documented single shoes.

For me it is cardinals.

It is hard not to allow your eye to be drawn to a bright red flash of a bird. There is one that lives at work and one in our backyard, so I see them quite often.

My Grandma LOVED cardinals. LOVED them. I couldn’t even begin to tell you why them over any other bird. There was a family that lived in her back yard too. I think she named them. That sort of thing suited her.

Now, whenever I see one, I say “Hi Grandma,” out loud. Most people think I’m nuts, but I do truly believe that if there is such a thing as reincarnation, Gram chose to come back as a cardinal. A male one with the bright feathers, since what is the point of having the title of cardinal if you’ve got the boring brown female feathers? (Given this, cardinals are all transgender birds with the body of a male, but the soul of a female).

In the last two weeks we have had the passing of Grandparents Day (which I totally ignored since Gracie’s grandparents are 600 miles away and am fairly sure that they are not even away of the Hallmark holiday) and the anniversary of my Grandma’s death. She has been gone for 13 years and I still think of her all the time.

Today, the work cardinal bounced around the patio squawking loudly. In the course of her travels through the trees, over chairs, under umbrellas, she came to visit. This fiery little bird came right up to me, stood on my table and look at me. So I gave her a piece of rosemary ciabatta bread. She smiled at me (yes, I swear the bird smiled) and flew away with the treat.

Bye Gram. Thanks for the visit.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lunching With Lizards

Today is perfect early fall weather. 60 degrees in the morning, 72, sunny and a light breeze this afternoon. Perfect.

At work, the campus is stellar. There are grand trees surrounding the building, seasonal flowers constantly being replaced and the most beautiful 20x20 patch of grass right next to the building that they groom like a mini baseball field.

As I sat outdoors eating my lunch and trying to massage away the giant lump of stress being stored in my lower back, I watched little lizards scurry around the patio. I envied them. These little guys get to crawl on that grass. They get to roll around on it. They get to play on it.

THEY get to play on it!

I wanna play on the grass too! No, there is no sign forbidding such actions, just the stares and whispers I am sure I would receive from the hundreds of people walking in and out the front door. I have been at this building for 7 years now and I have never once seen anyone actually on the grass.

Why is this? I’m sure I am not the only one that gazes longingly at the grass. Hmmm. To be a lizard, just during lunch.

Or maybe find a group of friends that will revolt with me and have a picnic one day.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All About Poop

Nobody can ever really be prepared for baby poop. People can tell you about the metamorphosis of poop, but you never really know about it until it happens.

Just like parenting in general. EVERYBODY likes to give you their two cents about what the first few days, weeks, months and years are like as a new parent, but it is something not fully understood until experienced.

Well, we have been experiencing a new facet of babyhood/toddlerdom in poop lately. Over the last two weeks, Grace has been self feeding 80% of the time. This means real food. Solid food. Adult food. Hence the transition into adult poops.

It is soooo gross.

The manifestation of cheese, cheerios, chicken, peas and beans into a diaper makes my stomach turn.

This morning Grace woke up screaming at about 2 am. I ignored it, saying she would fall back to sleep soon. Matt could not. It turned out to be a good thing he got up, because she was indeed upset about something.

Apparently another downside of big girl poops is that it is much harder to sleep though the event and wait until the morning – which has always been the case thus far.

At 11 months old, is it too early to start thinking about potty training introductions?

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Power of Stoplights

I have a job interview this morning. I am incredibly nervous. I’m not so sure why, other than I think the job would be perfect for me. If I don’t get it, life will go on. It is no more money, just more experience, and I am desperate for experience right now.

As I neared the end of my drive into work today, my stomach started doing flip flops. The self defeating thoughts started burrowing into my head. I wanted to pull over on the side of the road and breathe before I started to cry.

Then two things happened.

My ‘beep beep’ went off on my radio to inform me that Bob Marley was here to save me with “Three Little Birds.” This is always an inherently happy thing in my world.

As I got to the refrain, I turned around (we were at a stoplight) to sing to Gracie. She turned her head, reached her hand up to touch me and gave me the most beautiful smile ever. Like she knew I needed it. And I did.

So to steal from my tweet, every little thing IS going to be OK. Thanks Bob!

Thank you Grace, for giving Mama just what I needed. Your smile can fix anything.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Closing Days of Babyhood

One more month.

We have exactly 30 days until my baby is no longer a baby. I know I have blogged about this before, but I am sad. Is it possible to be excited and sad at the same time?

I can only imagine the developments that will take place in her last month of babyhood though. Gracie has grown so much. She is crawling so quickly and pulling up on everything. She is reading books with us and knows what comes next. She will eat a quarter of a chicken breast and a full adult serving of veggies at dinner!

Oh, and she is feisty too. Apparently, she screamed when she wasn’t the first to get her diaper changed at daycare yesterday. Her teacher, who is an immigrant, always says it is good that Gracie is a fighter. That in America you have to fight for everything.

Is that really true?

Well, I still have 30 more days to baby my baby. And on the 31st day, I will still baby her. I don’t care if the title changes to Toddler. She won’t HAVE to fight on my watch.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Crazy Cube Neighbor

My Crazy Cube Neighbor REALLY IS crazy. His CCN acronym didn’t come out to thin air. For those of you who haven’t been following my tweets, here are some of my CCN entries:

Crazy Cube Neighbor just left a loud & aggressive voice message with shrink about wanting to "stomp someone's face to make a point." 02:04 PM July 03, 2008 from web

Crazy Cube Neighbor trying to find home phone number of old UM guidance counselor again- forget the obvious crazy- WHO DIALS 411 ANYMORE??
12:51 PM July 07, 2008 from web

Crazy Cube Neighbor very chipper this morning. Went to the Indian Pow Wow Festival on Sat. & is now talking about the circus nonstop.
08:34 AM July 14, 2008 from web

Think Crazy Cube Neighbor must have Tourettes Syndrome. Just growled, "Diaper Baby! Diaper Baby!" It was really freaky.
03:01 PM July 23, 2008 from web

Crazy Cube Neighbor just growled, " I smoke crack!" with another smattering of obscenities.
11:30 AM August 07, 2008 from web

Crazy Cube Neighbor is on a roll this week. Now he is growling "Stinking Irish Cod, Stinking Irish Cod!" with obscenities. So glad it's Fri.
02:07 PM August 08, 2008 from web

Crazy Cube Neighbor left crazy/threatening messages on voice mail of potential employer. Today got a call saying services not needed.
02:15 PM August 12, 2008 from web

Crazy Cube Neighbor is listening to creepy spa-like Native American flute music. Really Loud. It is anti-calming to me. I want to scream.
01:41 PM August 14, 2008 from web

Just heard Crazy Cube Neighbor brought in candy yesterday with a note saying something along the lines of "Bite this / suck on these"
01:37 PM September 04, 2008 from web

Crazy Cube Neighbor calling antique shops to try and sell an old pocket knife and tire gauge. Pawn shop told him not worth anything.
01:58 PM September 05, 2008 from web

Crazy Cube Neighbor made more statements about wanting a weapon yesterday. Reported it to management. We will see what happens. I'm nervous.
about 7 hours ago from web

Notice that last one? Yeah, it made me nervous too. This was the second time. The first incident was about a month ago, when he said, “I’m going to kill you. I’m going to effing shoot you.” I’m fairly certain he was talking to his computer; but still, you can’t say things like that at work.

Some of it is funny though.

He calls his shrink from work all the time. Is 32 years old and gets into fights with his mom about what kind of salad dressing tastes best. Frequently calls pawns shops to sell items with no value and then is offended when they tell him that.

Did you notice the "Bite this / suck on these" tweet? Well, my friend NES actually SAW the note and took a photo of it. It was too good to pass up and she blogged about it. Well, apparently another coworker saw it and publicly shamed her. NES took the blog down.

While I know it is not my place, to that coworker I say a big fat screw you. I sit by this guy everyday. He is nuts. I see nothing wrong with mocking him for it. It is funny. People talk about him all day. What is the difference if it is in writing? Blogging is a quasi anonymous way to vent these things. There is a whole lot less chance that he would be hurt by this than hearing people whisper 20 feet away.

So again, screw you. People gossip all day long, how is this ANY different? You deal with him 8 hours a day and then we can talk.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Da Bears

The football season has started with a win.

A redemption of sorts, with an Indy butt kicking. 29-13 Bears.

Grace has been initiated into her first full season of Bears football too. The game started long after she went to sleep, but she still wore the team colors during the day.

Note the skirt. This was my attempt to not hear, "What a cute little boy!" all day long.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

What Happened to #7?

We went from 6 to 8. What the hell happened to #7?

We're talking about teeth.

Gracie's grin this evening has exposed two new arrivals in her mouth. They are barely though the gums, one on each side of her bottom two teeth. Her display of synchronized teething.

I thought we were pacing ourselves??

On the up side, this round of teething has been much more congenial as she has been sleeping through the night for the last week. Go figure.

Anyway, we welcome the new members of the family as they only will help in my quest to have Grace love all members of the green veggie and bean family. We have already made friends with peas and kidney beans.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

How Much Padding Does a Baby Butt Have?

To add to her bag of tricks, Grace is not only making it up over the step from the living room to the kitchen in seconds flat, she stands before doing it.

For the most part she just makes a table top (straight legs & hands on the kitchen floor) to get up the stair.

Last night she was getting fancy with it though.

Our gutsy child was standing straight up with no support for a three count before baby bumping on her butt back down to the ground.

Hey! Stop that!!

Thankfully she only did it a few times before realizing that it is much faster to just table top onto the next level.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Red Foot, Blue Foot

One foot, two foot,
Red foot, blue foot.

This crazy Dr. Seuss rhyme is stuck in my head.

Tonight, Gracie was starting to figure out the one foot, two foot process of walking. With support of course and only for a dozen steps or so, but still...

One foot, two foot,
Red foot, blue foot.

As a parent, you want you kid to figure things out. To grow up. I am realizing though that no matter what milestone we are working on, I'll never really be ready for it.

Sure, I keep saying that I want her to walk by the beginning of November. Sure I keep saying that she needs to work on saying more words than just dada.

But what happens when her favorite word is the dreaded "No?" What happens when she turns and bolts away from me in a crowed place with her new found legs?

I know the answer is you suck it up and deal with it, while trying to cherish the memory of getting to those moments.

One foot, two foot,
Red foot, blue foot.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stretchy Fabrics Are My Friend

It is amazing how self perception can affect your mood.

My clothes are still in the ruins of vacation. While the majority of them did get cleaned, nothing was hung up. Everything is wrinkly again so it is easier to just rewash than iron. My work clothes had been piled up in the dirty laundry basket for a week sharing their smells with each other too.

Given this, I was down to the dregs of my wardrobe yesterday. This translates to only being left with items in my closet that I have a problem with. Too small, too big, too short, too stretched out, too casual, too ugly (why did I buy this in the first place?).

So I went with the best of the worst. Which was a combo of too big (shirt that makes me look even heavier than I am) and too short (pants that look like I am expecting a flood, especially when worn with socks, which I did, and were frankly borline too small.)

I was miserable all day. I have no idea why other than I felt schlumpey.

The fact that I really did gain 5 pounds while back in Chicago doesn’t help either.

I pulled out one of my favorite, most comfy outfits for today though. Straight out of the wrinkled clean bin, but I don’t care. It fits well and I feel good in it. Plus most of the wrinkles have already fallen out.

The point of all this?

An explanation of the irrational before my apology to Matt.

Sorry I’ve been moody honey. Things are much better today. As we both know, a new wardrobe does wonders for my world.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Trip

Matt and I both repeatedly say, "We are from Chicago, but Maryland is our home." We mean it. Our family is often incredulous when we say it, like it is some kind of blasphemy. It is the truth though.


The flight out:
It was actually fine. We arrived at the airport 1 hour 45 minutes early for the flight. We were past security exactly 15 minutes after arrival.

Hmm… now what? McDonald's of course. A Sausage McMuffin for me and a Fruit & Yogurt Parfait (sans strawberries) for Grace. On the flight she never really cried, and fell asleep 1 hour into it and woke just before landing. My ride was actually waiting for me at the airport. All was well in my world.

The triathlon:
The precursor to the tri was a trip to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder. Not traditional Chicago fare by any means, but still our favorite.

Matt's mom, whom we haven't heard from since May, attended the event. (The lack of communication was due to her announcement that she would not be attending Grace's Baptism because she sprained her wrist 4 months earlier and it still hurt, therefore she could not endure the air travel.)

The highlight of the lunch was Matt's mom church voice singing and pantomiming the lyrics to the Chicago Bears fight song in the middle of the crowed restaurant, after her announcement that she would like Matt to take her to a game someday. Matt is a stoic individual who was able to maintain a straight face, but I did see at least one case of wine-being-shot-out-the-nose-because-of-stifled-laughter.

Matt finished the triathlon with a time of 3 hours 11 minutes and Jeanine did 3 hours 44 minutes. Matt was upset with his time, Jeanine was happy. I on the other hand, walked about 6 miles with a baby who refused to nap and a woman with a bad knee and glass in her heal. Matt says he is unhappy with how the event was run and will not participate again. I am glad.

We drove 8 hours- 4 up and 4 back- listening to Chipmunks CD's. Matt was playing the songs off You Tube tonight. We can't get them out of our heads & Grace baby dances to the most annoying one now.

To all the folks who say global warming is a government conspiracy, I might begin to believe you now. It was 40 degrees every morning up there and never got up past 82. Sure, it's north of Green Bay, but still, it's August!

We drank a lot and never really slept.

Matt is a very light sleeper, so he automatically went to the couch every night. While that means he didn't wake up with every squawk from Grace, even with Ambien he woke several times a night. I am a heavy sleeper and I don't think I ever slept more than 3 hours at a time. I often could only get Grace to sleep by draping her on my chest, with her feet kicking me in crotch and her head against my windpipe. It was lovely.

Despite those complaints, it was great to watch Gracie play with her cousins, Jack & Abby. It is always in those quite childhood moments that I am sad they don't get to spend more time together.

My parent's house is always the same. There is no plan. It drives me nuts.

Friday my mom watched Grace so we could go see The Dark Knight. I was thrilled.

On the way home I called to ask if she needed anything from the store for dinner that night before relatives arrived. She said no.

Five minutes after arriving at the house she announced that her plan was to go up the grocery store to buy bread AFTER company arrived so it would be fresh. I freaked and sent my brother to go
buy the buns and more beer.

Seeing my cousins was great though. My cousin Meg has kids
that are 1 & 2 years old. My cousins Gina & Kat are 17 & 15 years
old. It is always so surreal to see the changes in people when you are apart for extended periods of time.

Flight home:

I realized the night before flying home that I had no ID. Gracie's passport had been sent back with Matt in the car and my driver's license was (and still is) MIA. I had a mini meltdown and called the airline. They said it was OK, that I would just have to go through extra screening, so I should arrive early.

We got to the airport at 6:45 for a 9:25 am flight. (Making my brother 1/2 hour late for work.) Despite the extra screening, we were through security in the same 15 minutes as coming out.


2 1/2 hours with a kid at the airport. At least Midway is entertaining. We ate, we shopped, we listed to the guy with the thick Chicago accent (a la Blues Brothers) make announcements.

"The Cath-o-lick mass will we held in the Mezz-a-teen la-vel a-tree-um at 9 a.m. The mass la-asts one half of an hour. Thank You."

Then we got an the plane, where Gracie immediately fell asleep and woke to the sound of her daddy's voice greeting us at the baggage claim.

Ahh. We are home.


I will write about the trip in the next day or so, but here are some updates I missed blogging about over the last week...

We have a 6th tooth. The sucker popped out to give us a much more cordial daughter while we were away from home. Now in the true nature of these things though, she is busy working on the 7th to help even out the bottom chompers.

Ok - Maybe this isn't the best photo, but she gets mad when you look in her mouth. She now has the two center bottom teeth (which don't look centered in the photo,) the two top center teeth and a tooth on each side up top. I think the next arrival will be bottom left.

Today gives us 2 full weeks of crawling. It is amazing how quickly she can move now. And how dirty I am discovering that my kitchen floor is. I hate cleaning, which is why we pay someone to come do it for us once a month, but I guess I am now deticated to sweeping / mopping weekly if not daily. Ugg.

Grace has also figured out how to go up the step between our family room and kitchen. Then insists on going back down it. Over and over. At least the wood floor on the 'down' portion of the activity has more give than the kitchen tile.

I guess I should have put her shorts back on before taking photos, huh?

Oh, and lets not forget, in true family fashion she is going straight for the wine rack. This morning she was pulling herself to standing position and then pulling bottles of wine off.

Guess we will just have to start drinking them faster.