Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gift Idea #10...For the Man in Your Life

I was a little alarmed after doing a Google search for men's gift ideas to find several life-size Twilight cut-outs, too much beer/drinking paraphernalia, and weird stuff you only find in the magazine on the airplane.
Man, you can be hard to shop for!  You know what you want, but oftentimes won't let on to the specifics.  Therefore, attempts at the perfect gift may end up in a return trip to the point of purchase.  So what's a girl to do?  Here are a few ideas I have come up with along with some ideas from Oh Happy Day.

1.  Garmin Forerunner 405.  The gift of all gifts.  The watch of all watches.  Any man (or woman) will be pleased to be the recipient of this gift.  This GPS-enabled watch tracks your time, distance, pace and heart rate, and it keeps track of this information on an on-going basis.  Sync the watch with your computer to keep track of how far you've come overtime.  Even for the simpler, less techy athlete, this watch is a great training companion.

2.  Headlamp.  This is a must for any man on your list.  Comes in handy for nighttime reading or runs, working on the car, camp outs, fix-it get the idea.  The Tikka is great, but I really like the e-Lite:  lots of options, red and blinking lights, compact, and a whistle.

3.  Magazine subscription.  A magazine subscription that suits his interests is the gift that keeps on giving all year long.  Try Bicycling Magazine, Wired, Runner's World, National Geographic or  Newsweek to name a few.  

4.  Kiehl's products.  Typically men aren't too finicky in the personal care arena, but if there is something he (or maybe just you) particularly care for, why not splurge?  Kiehl's products seems to be straightforward enough for a man, yet effective enough for all involved parties.   The Clean Hold Styling Gel is a favorite around here.  But you can't go wrong with any Kiehl's product.

5.  Mini screwdriver set.  Again, another essential household (toolkit) item.  Particularly for the gift-ridden times when you're changing batteries in and out of new toys and electronics, you'll appreciate the precision and ease of these little guys.  Klein Tools makes a great set you can find at Home Depot.

Best of luck ladies!

The Buried Life

This new show looks pretty cool.  Premiere on MTV in January.  Looking forward to it.

Hmm...what do you want to do before you die?
via Word to Your Mother

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Niner, Roger That

Winston turned nine months old.  It's funny to think he's been out in the world as long as he was cooped up in tummy (the word "belly" just makes me feel prego again).  This boy's personality gets bigger and more fun as the days go by.  He's all over the place, into everything, and I think he just might start doing pull ups on the bookshelves any day.  I love it.  He still prefers the army crawl to actually getting on hands and knees.  Of course, this means he's constantly dragging leaves, dog hair and any tiny spec of anything from the ground.  Combine that with the incessant drooling and he's like a wet mop.  Again, I love it.

What else do I love about this boy?

**His laugh.  Oh his laugh!  He used to just giggle and giggle, but now he's really laughing.  Almost a belly laugh, as my mom would call it.
**Squinty smile.  I can tell he's learning to feel confident and proud in his newfound skills.  He'll either clap his hands in excitement, or bare his mouthful of teeth with his squinty-eyed smile.  Too cute.
**Book reader.  He isn't pointing much, but he will actually sit still to have a book read to him.  He prefers to turn the pages a bit faster than I can read them...but he's getting it.
**Anticipation.  He can tell when it's time for his daddy to come home.  When he hears the garage door open, he all but takes off for the door.
**Playing tag.  This is pretty much the cutest thing ever.  If W is into something he shouldn't be (particularly the stairs or Lucy's bed), I'll say "I'm gonna get you!" and he will take off full steam ahead and just laugh and laugh until I snatch him up.  He gets giddy he's so excited.

W is still such a docile, happy, pleasant little boy.  Though I'm biased, I'll just say it; he's a REALLY good baby.  He loves to make noise.  He loves to chew on everything (clothing, shoes, that blasted timer for the floor lamp!), climb up the stairs and into toy boxes, chase Lucy around, and pull G-ma Maggie's pewter vases off the shelf over and over again.  But I really, really love this kid.

Happy birthday little boy!!!

Height:  29 3/4 inches (95%)
Weight:  19 lb 2 oz (25%) *I was informed by the pediatrician that W needs to put on some poundage.  So what do we do all day?  Eat, eat, eat.  No bar holds, we just let the boy eat.

Gift Idea #9

For those lacking the gift of gab, here's an idea:  Table Topics, "...a collection of conversation starters meant to spark fun, interesting and meaningful discussions around the dinner table, at parties, on dates, on road trips -- wherever!"  

These simple little acrylic cubes are filled with some 400 squares of questions to ask in any given situation.  You know, the question(s) you wish you could think of when you're at another one those awkward work functions and you just have nothing to say.  Nothing.  To.  Say.  These little cards prompt questions which prompt conversation which prompts a more fun, less awkward time for everyone.
There are several different "situations" you can buy (i.e. Dinner Party, Book Club or College Edition), as well as topics categorized by decade -- '60s, '70s and '80s.
So..."Do you own any clothes inspired by Miami Vice?"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This Is What Happens...

...when you really need to take a shower but someone won't take a nap.  So you bring him in the bathroom, shut the door and quickly shower while he's entertained by the scale and bath mat...until he finally realizes that you're hiding behind a shower curtain.

Suddenly this is a game...a game of how many times he can sneak past the curtain and how many times you can return him to the tile floor without getting water everywhere.  (You see, I had already bathed, diapered and clothed this child wrestling a wild animal.)

In the end, this game leaves you rushed and him wet.  I think he won.

Gift Idea #8...sorta

Seriously people.  Forget the mall, catalog and online shopping routes.  Do not past Go.  Do not collect $200.  Go directly to your local Walgreen's pharmacy to pick up steals like this:

The Perfect Brownie Pan.  No more hassling with cutting gooey brownies.  Let the pan do all the work. Only $19.99!

If you thought the Snuggie was good, how 'bout the Snuggie for Dogs.  Guaranteed to make your dog hate you for life.

And if those weren't good enough, this will blow your socks off.  The Colossal Remote Control.  Aside from its universal power, I think the fact that it's 12 inches long with buttons you can see from the neighbor's couch will have you sold.  Plus it's on sale for $5.99.  Don't pass this up.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I like this

"Sewing immerses me in the pleasure of making something, and reminds me that not everything is made up of pixels."  
-- Meribah Knight, O Magazine

I am learning more about this pleasure of making something; something imagined, designed, constructed by me.  I find it very satisfying, sometimes frustrating, as I figure things out.  But very satisfying.

I started another sewing project a couple of nights ago.  Once I started, I could hardly put it down; I finished it the next morning.  It is lovely.  Perfect.  And so, so cute.

It's interesting how something so simple -- some thread, fabric, scissors, machine -- linked Ms. Knight to her grandmother, her roots.  Reminds me of how important it is to capture one's history.  I find it is in the simplest things I discover new things about myself.  I suppose I should get to writing this down.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gift Idea #7

Operation Stocking Stuffer

Restoration Hardware is a beautiful store full of beautiful things for beautiful homes and seemingly beautiful people.  Until I get a job there someday, my purchases at said store are few and far between.  However -- a big however -- when it comes to Christmastime, RH doesn't disappoint, particularly in the stocking stuffer category.
Here is just a sampling of what you can find.  To view all of their beautiful gift ideas, go here.

Superhero in a Box






Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gift Idea #6

I am less than crafty, so creative/cutesy gifts are not my thing.  Not at all.  So when it comes to Christmas gifts for the masses, i.e. neighbors, visiting and home teach-ees, co-workers, etc., I stick with simple stuff.  Like, REALLY simple stuff.

I found some great boxes at The Container Store.  For about a buck twenty-nine, a spread of sweets goes from good to pretty darn cute.  So, fold up your box...

...add your treats.  {I went with Ina's coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate, Pioneer Woman's molasses cookies (plus chocolate chips -- thanks Kristin), and white chocolate chip cookies (which normally have dried cranberries in them, which look cute, but D refuses to eat.)}
...then tape your box shut and tie a little bow.  Perfect!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gift Idea #5

As you may have noticed, some of the "gift ideas" I have mentioned have been little tips, nudges and friendly suggestions for the hubs.  No, not all of them are personally motivated.  But this one in particular is a shout at the top of my lungs; I want this!
The item?  Any one of the variety of necklaces or charms from The Vintage Pearl.  You may have seen these simply beautiful pieces on others' blogs (several times on Nie Nie).  But I've had my eye on one of these for a long time coming.
Personal favorites?  How 'bout the classic Initial on a Chain

or the Mama Bird 

Love, love, love these as a sweet gift for a mom, sister or friend.
And yes, I know they won't make it in time for Christmas.  But this is something I'd be willing to wait for.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gift Idea #4

It's kind of awkward to give a a new sports bra, ankle socks or running shorts with the built-in underwear for a Christmas gift.  Even if that's what the athletic recipient may need.  So here's a great alternative for that active gift-ee.

 The Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle is the perfect companion for hikes, bike rides, runs or any other activity you might enjoy.   The insulated bottle keeps your beverage of choice  nice and cold for hours on end, so your ice water stays icy while you're driving around town or running on the trails.  Unlike the trendy stainless water bottles out there, the valve is comfortable and prevents spills, even when it's open.  (I'm always afraid those stainless bottles are going to cut my lip open.)  It's lightweight.  It isn't bulky.  Dishwasher safe.  And when you take a drink, the contents don't taste like metal.
So if you're uncomfortable buying padded shorts or anti-chafing balm, this is a safe gift.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gift Idea #3

Last Christmas, several buns were in the oven.  One baby had just hatched and three more were on the way, or soon-to-be on the way.  Aside from loads of clothing, blankets and newborn essentials, babies mean books.
A thoughtful gift for any new mom- or grandma-to-be is presenting a copy of your favorite childhood story book.  Perhaps you loved The Giving Tree or Where the Wild Things Are or anything Dr. Seuss.  A favorite of mine is The Elephant's Child.  I loved listening to my grandma read it to us in her big black chair about the "great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River" and that elephant's "satiable curiosity."  My grandma's voices were magically entertaining.  I was lucky enough to inherit (a.k.a. pick out for my Christmas gift) the original book which my grandma read to us.  The book itself is of heirloom value to me.  But the story itself that has the most sentimental value.  So last year, after doing some searching, I was able to order a copy of the condensed story, which I gave to my mother-in-law.  Now this story that is so special to me will be on her bookshelf for years to come.  I hope my W will love to hear his grandma's stories as much as I did.  Perhaps your family will too.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Gift Idea #2

This is one of my all-time favorite stocking stuffers.  Everyone needs a good chap stick (or, in my family, "lip stuff").  Burt's is one of the best ones out there, perfect for soothing chapped or wind burned lips.  Or perhaps you just need a little lip softening.  Either way,  Burt's is a winner.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gift Idea #1

No more hassling with corny labels or writing your return address by hand.  How 'bout a stamp instead?  Personalized gifts are always a favorite of mine, and this is something everyone can use.  Enter promo code "Holiday" at check out and save 40%.  Score!

Copyright © 2009, Expressionery

What's Under Your Tree?

The Waterfall sibling gift exchange went homemade this year.  Better than previous year's procrastinated gifts, I have been anxiously preparing my gifts since October.  The suspense is killing me!  I just sent the gifts in the mail and I can hardly wait for the gift-ees to see what I brewed up.  I don't think I've ever been so excited to give a gift.  Here's a sneak peek:  

I'm not quite finished yet; still plenty more Christmas shopping, wrapping, gifting, baking, cooking, sharing, etc. to do.  In fact, I think I'll share some of my Christmas gift brainstorming ideas in the coming days.  There certainly are plenty of luxe things out there to buy.  But I would suggest nothing is quite as good as homemade.

Christmas Giving

My parents did me right.  Every year, for as long as I can remember, my parents were sure to help us become involved in Christmas outside of what was under our Christmas tree.  We "adopted" families, gave the 12 Days of Christmas, volunteered at shelters, provided gifts to less fortunate people in our neighborhood, city and even around the world.  I don't share this to toot my own horn.  It is my parents who deserve the praise.  They taught/teach us how to give and not expect something in return -- how to be selfless.  They taught/teach sincerity.  They taught/teach how to love people for who they are and how to love others' uniqueness.  They are superior role models to me and so many others.
Since we've been married, D and I have participated in some sort of Christmas giving, as well.  It's a little different every year depending on where we are and what needs we are aware of.  But I'm struggling a bit this year. I just can't put my finger on what we can do that will really fulfill a need and bring the spirit of Christmas (Christ) to someone or some family.
I've been noodling on this subject for quite some time now.  No lightning rod yet.
What are you doing for Christmas giving this year?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Top 10

Just some of the highlights of this year's Thanksgiving festivities.

10.  Taking Christmas pictures with the grandkids.  Lots of stripes. Lots of squirming.  Hopefully one photo that will actually work.

9.  Staying at the (un)Comfort Suites.  I didn't think it was bad at all. D and S thought differently.

8.  Boys' trip to the car show.  Jamesy got to sit in a baby blue fancy/fast car -- one of two such cars made.

7.  Running/jumping/dodging 3.2 miles in downtown Dallas with 35,000 other people, some dressed like this:

6.  Sir W and Miss O meeting for the first time.  Really cute.  He liked to pull her hair.  She just smiled.  Match made in heaven, I'd say.

5.  Baby Will's blessing, making Thanksgiving Day even more special.

4.  A delicious spread, as always.  A moist turkey, amazing rolls, fluffy stuffing, and coconut cream pie which I secretly wanted a second helping of.

3.  The babysitter(s):  James and the door stop.  W could be entertained all day.

2.  Sharing what we're thankful for.

1.  We are blessed.


I'm not one for (overt) public displays of affection or even publicly gushing my affection.  But I am thankful for the one I am most affectionate for.  I'm thankful for him because..
--he makes me laugh. really hard.
--he turns the seat warmer on in the car before I get in so my seat is nice and toasty.
--when he discovers a new hobby, he gets really into it, becoming all but professional.
--he is sensitive to others' needs.
--he enjoys yard work.
--he can fix anything.  anything.
--he works hard.
--but he knows how to relax.
--he takes care of W on Sunday mornings so I can sleep a little longer.
--he keeps things in perspective.
--he says it like it is.
--he keeps things simple.
--he likes to cook.
--he enjoys soda and Mexican food together as much as I do.
--he loves his boy.
--he loves me.
--a lot.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Forever Thankful

Winston had his first ear infection this week.  His condition was hardly a crisis.  I mean, really.  It won't be something I mention on next month's milestone list.  It's been a small bump in the road, but to be expected.  Not a big deal.  Nonetheless, it certainly didn't make for the most enjoyable week.  Five nights in a row he got up two and three times each screaming at the top of his lungs.  Screaming like I've never seen before.  Holding him didn't work.  Neither did rocking him, rubbing his back or trying to wake him up from the night terrors (which I erroneously diagnosed).  I was trying everything, none of which worked.  It was dark.  Middle of the night.  And Tylenol was a failing companion.  I felt helpless.  I finally just held him out in front of me one night and said, "Winston, I don't know what's wrong.  I don't know what you want or need."
Following my mother's advice (because I'd been ignoring my own intuition for several days), we finally went to see Dr. Joe.  A quick exam determined an ear infection to be the culprit.  An RX for amoxicillin and we were out the door.  Twenty-four hours later, W is a new kid.  Actually, he's back to being the W we know.  But it was simple.  Fixable.  He is whole.  He is healthy.  He is happy. I'd say, his condition is what every mother hopes for.
This experience has made me more thankful for not just available medical help, but, on the grander scale of things, thankful for a child who is free from disability and disease.   This has been on my mind all week long.  We are so, so, SO lucky to have a healthy boy.
Just a few days ago, my friend/former co-worker gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.  In the first few hours of life, this little guy has already undergone surgery to fix a birth defect involving his stomach and esophagus.  He uses a feeding tube and will have to be in the hospital for a couple of weeks at best.
I also just learned that a classmate of mine has two children who are needing to undergo multiple organ transplants.  The youngest, a daughter, needs the transplants as soon as possible, as her condition is most severe.  Six days a week this mom takes her two kids to the hospital for dialysis for her daughter.  Her life has been turned upside down.  I would guess she wakes up each day wondering if this will be the day her daughter gets the transplants and a new chance at life.
And finally, shortly after W was born, my friend delivered a beautiful little boy.  This little boy's body was weak, but his spirit strong.  I have seen (via blog) my friend go through the heartbreaking challenge of receiving and returning her little B to Heavenly Father in the same day.  The thought of this is devastating and physically makes my heart ache.  But my friend has not been broken by this; I think quite the contrary.  She has become the epitome of strength and courage.  She is an example of what hope really is.  I admire her very much and I'm sure her little B is so proud of his mom, too.
Last week I learned a little bit more how sensitive and effected a mother is to her child.  It's weird how motherhood works.  Like some sort of voodoo, whatever he experiences, I do ten-fold.  I am thankful for the simple fix that healed and soothed W, because it healed and soothed me, too.  I am thankful for the examples of so many women who bear tremendous burdens in the name of their children and, without hesitation, manage to smile all the way through it.
I'm sure there are times when I feel like life is hard or I deserve a break, or I wonder why some things have to be so difficult.  But I am quickly corrected.  I am blessed; too blessed.  And I am forever thankful for my healthy, happy little boy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

(Not) Thankful

Two words:  Night.  Terrors.
That's the only thing I can chalk these middle-of-the-night frantic screaming episodes up to be.  This sweet little boy turns into something I don't recognize.  I don't like it.  Not.  At.  All.
But here's a good thing to cancel out the bad.  I was feeding W some applesauce this morning.  When he finished, I clapped my hands and told him good job.  He got a big grin on his face and clapped right back.  It was only 9:00 a.m. and my day had been made.
Now it's almost 10:00 and I put him down for a morning nap.  Hasn't quite gone to sleep yet; I can hear him singing/talking to himself upstairs.
But it's a time to be thankful.  So hey, I'll take it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Churro Please

The past two days I have been trapped at home, fleeing the cold, wet conditions outside while trying to manage an under-the-weather little boy who coughs like a smoker and breathes like a purring cat.  I haven't accomplished much, to say the least.  But today was a big day.

(Please excuse sub-par photography.  It's embarrassing how delighted I am to spend an evening in a warehouse.) 
Today the new Costco opened just miles from my house.  I am very thankful that I don't have to drive 25 min. to get my bulk cereal, paper towel and other stuff I probably don't really need.  Nonetheless, Dave took us to the new store tonight and it was glorious.  Just glorious.  We hadn't eaten dinner yet, so I skipped the obligatory Diet and/or churro.  But I'm sure I'll be back soon.  Maybe even tomorrow.  And this time I'll leave with my churro.

Monday, November 16, 2009

High Centered

At 7:25 this morning (after already having gotten up three times with the little man), I was lying in my bed listening to W crawl around on the floor.  He suddenly started to cry, then scream, then really scream.  I shot up out of my bed envisioning in my half-awake, half-comatose mind the dresser on top of him or his fingers smashed in a door, only to discover he had managed to high center himself on a basket.  Now, I am trying to raise a confident, problem-solving, independent child here.  But a basket?!  The poor kid couldn't push himself through the handle and over the basket any further, but the handle was blocking the reverse motion as well.   Stuck.

W was more than a little distressed at the situation, and, as the cruel mother that I am, I had to laugh and take a picture before rescuing him.

Near Death

I'm thankful I didn't die on my run on Saturday.  It was one of those runs where I felt that at any moment I just might kill over dead.  Eight miles felt more like 80.  Short hills felt like mountains.  My running partner was likely embarrassed as I sweat and breathed like a fat kid.  It was horrible!  
I blame this near death experience on two things:  A) my lack of sleep, and B) because my current shoes were completely shot .  Shot, as in, part of the right heel was missing (worn off) kind of shot.  [Or maybe it's just C) and I had a bad run].
So, coupon in tow, I picked these up at the local store.  I'm excited to try them out.  And I hope my next run is better.  My life is counting on them.    

Friday, November 13, 2009

Orange You Glad...

I just bought my first box of clementines of the season.  You know what that means?  Christmas is coming!
I love Christmas.  I love Thanksgiving.  I love these final months of the year and all of the sentiments that go with them.  With the arrival of the clementines at the local grocery store, we get to...
 buy plane tickets to see family (instead of heading somewhere for work)
make and love elaborate meals to share with the people we care about most
start and keep family traditions (which may or may not include watching Ralphie in his bunny suit and waxed snow saucers)
take family pictures and laugh at the changes from the year before
sing goofy songs
sing meaningful songs
sip extra hot hazelnut hot chocolate in holiday-themed mugs
brave the crowds
listen to "We're sim-ply ha-a-ving a wonderful Christmastime" over and over and over again (don't act like you don't know what song this is)
color luminaries
address Christmas cards and remember all the cool people in our lives all the world over
wear ugly sweaters
bake lots and lots of treats
wrap presents
tie ribbons
make ornaments
see what the house looks like by the light of candles and white christmas lights
plan surprises
be sneaky
remember childhood
remember Jesus
 Thank you clementines.   I can hardly wait.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Today/night, I'm thankful to be going to
The end.

Eight Months

Happy eight months little W!  I never thought it was possible for someone to get cuter ever single day.  But alas, it is.  W is changing all the time, too.  Milestones:
**Crawling, climbing, standing.  This boy gets around!  He's pulling himself up on the fireplace step, shelves, boxes and baskets.  At least a dozen times I day I have to pull him out of Lucy's bed or away from Dave's bike.
**Four teeth on top.  They make him look so old!  
**First tastes of juice...for medicinal purposes.  After a good week, the juice finally started to really work.  
**First trip to Nauvoo.
**First Halloween.  Dressed up like a little German yodeler.  Classic!

And of course, there are plenty of reasons why I love this boy:
**He has this funny hand movement that he always does.  It looks like he's rolling his wrists and tapping his fingers at the same time.  
**He's tough.  We are becoming more and more familiar with the thud of his body (usually his head) meeting the floor.  I promise we're good parents!  :)  We try to keep an eye on him, while at the same time give him the opp. to try things out.  Though he tips over or rolls off, he usually just lies there for a minute, then rolls over and is on to something else.  Not even a hint of crying.  Tough, I tell you.  Tough.  
**He pulls hair.  No, I don't particularly love this, but it is a bit funny.  When a woman picks him up, he'll immediately inspect her face, then move right to the hair.  He intently focuses, then goes in for the kill.  If it's a man, he hones in on the target, then goes right for the arm hair.  It hurts.  A lot.  But he's so intense about it, it's funny.    
**He's ticklish.  Several people asked me when he was younger if he was ticklish.  Well, he wasn't.  Really, not ticklish at all.  But now, this boy will laugh and laugh and laugh when you get him right under his chin or his little ribs.  I love to hear that sound.
**He's enamored with his dad.  I don't know if Dave notices it, but every night when he comes home, W drops me and goes right for his dad.  W just looks and looks at Dave anytime he's around.  He loves to watch his dad work on his bike and even work in the yard.  I love watching this bond sort of blossom.  It helps me understand and appreciate more the importance of having both a mom and a dad fully involved.  

Love you, baby boy.