Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Louisiana Texas Photos

Here are a couple shots of our trip: Tina & Sydney with Me and Holland, (Great) Grandma with Holland, and Holland making Sydney the Grand Poobah.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Traveling with the babe

Holland and I will be taking a trip on June 2nd to visit my grandma and aunt and cousins who live near Baton Rough, Louisiana. It's very exciting, but also a bit scary. Traveling with little ones isn't easy and you know I'm already near losing my mind with no sleep and all the tantrums and screaming. So...this will be an "adventure". After a week we'll be driving to Austin, Texas to stay with my cousin Tina Belle. She has a little baby too, named Sydney Belle. So cute! Sadly I will be gone for two weeks, away from my darling girl Kathryne and hubby Doug. Hopefully they will catch up on sleep and chores and get to do fun stuff without the tot around to make things crazy. Kathryne doesn't like that I will miss the last weeks of school, but I think she can handle it. Her second "mommy" Naomi will take care of her!!!!
I will post some pics of the trip at some point, and also a pic of Tina and I when we were little. We look the same as we did then. Glad to see some of us never change.
I also wanted to send congrats etc. to Doug and Nicole on their wedding day! Good luck and have fun on the honeymoon. Hope we get to see them soon.

Madness I say!

You all are not going to believe it! After all my years of scheming and dreaming about putting in a new kitchen at our home on El Sol, it's finally happening! My dad and I went to Ikea in Burbank on Sunday and I thought we were just pricing/looking. He said "Get what you need." I almost had a heart attack, because I wasn't prepared. So this week Doug and I are putting together all the cabinets and drawers. We so lucky it's a three day weekend coming up, so we can spend a lot of time getting it done! yeah!
So, now I need to find a countertop product and a backsplash (the walls are kind of icky). My dreams seem to be growing, because all I can think of now is knocking down part of the wall between the kitchen and dining room, and install a nice big island in the middle, and banquette seating (built-in) and French doors and....
Wake up! Focus on the kitchen girl! I know...I'm losing my mind. This house could be really sweet one day, and I can see it's potential, so that's why I'm freaking out.
Poor Dougy. He'll bare the brunt of it, but he's used to it. Right honey?
Please wish us luck as we rip out the old and install the new. I'll post some pics of before, during and after so you can see how amazing it is. Yay to my Dad for being a trooper too. Love you!!!!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ode to Mom on Mother's Day

Moms are wonderful. Moms are difficult. Moms worry. Moms make you worry. There's nothing like a mother's love. There's no love harder to extricate from. That favorite dinner mom made when I was ten cannot ever be beat. She made me eat my brussel sprouts, or mushrooms, or eggplant. Mom or mother is one of the sweetest words you can ever hear a child say. Except when it's included in a whine or I hate you kind of voice. Being a mom is a pretty thankless job, considering you don't get paid. Being a mom is priceless and beyond compare. Moms don't sleep much, even when their kids are grown. Thanks for taking care of us when we're sick Mom, and loving us when we are unloveable. Thank you for the tender kisses, and the helping hand that we didn't know was there propping us up. You are special in every way.
Moms make the world a better place everyday and we love you for it.
We love you Mom!

Having a bad hair day?



Hair! It's one of those pesky subjects that we all have our opinions about. Some men have it, some don't! Some of us gals have great hair, some don't! Dr. Laura said that if you don't like bald men don't focus on the bald part of the guy. That makes sense. I on the otherhand have had problems focusing on other parts of myself when I don't have good hair. I mean, come on, have you not seen What Not To Wear (TLC) and they do this amazing transformation with just hair. It does make a difference how you feel and how people perceive you.
I just had my hair cut the other night, and colored too, a neat color called Brandy. And it made me feel better, even thinner! So I am posting before and after pictures to see what the world says about it. The hair is unstyled in both photos, but look at the difference in my face. It's freaky.

Oh, as you know, Holland is now a toddler. She's graduated to the next level, and boy is she tearing up the world around her. Nothing is any good, toys are boring, she only wants to be out seeing and learning new things. Being at home is just wrong! And there's no one to play with at home. She throws toys out of her toy boxes, throws cereal on the floor, opens cupboards, eats things that I'd rather not think about, and much more. The horror! She squirms and wriggles and writhes, even when nursing herself to sleep. I feel so inadequate to handle her after the angelic Kathryne. I wasn't prepared for the fact that I might have to call Nanny 911. Ha!
Well, at least I'll have pretty good hair.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Holland is one year old today. I decided it would be a good time to repost her birth story, since it was on the old site and not on the blog.

Holland in the hospital nursery, right after her first bath.

Holland was born Tuesday, May 10, and 11:09 am. She weighed 8lbs 10.5oz and was 21.5 inches long. Here she is in the hospital nursery, just after her first bath. She was less than two hours old.

Labor and Birth

Sarah went into labor around 2:30 Tuesday morning, May 10. She got up and had some tea and toast, waiting a bit to make sure she wasn’t experiencing false labor. At 3:30, she whispered, "Hey" to me. I mumbled, "What’s up?" Sarah said, "Contractions."

I attempted to spring into action, scurrying about like an expectant father on a sitcom. Sarah sat calmly on the couch and prompted me to please sit down. After putting on some coffee, I started timing the contractions. By 5:00, they were consistently 40 seconds long and 3:00 minutes apart. I called the doctor, who told us to go to the hospital. I woke Kathryne up and called Dave (Sarah’s dad). We were happy that something was finally happening; it had seemed like the baby was never going to come.

We got to the hospital at 6:00am and settled into our LDR (Labor and Delivery Room). Verdugo Hills Hospital has a comfortable maternity ward and really friendly people. They treated us well during our stay. Sarah was just under 3cm dilated. I put on a Sade CD and we started breathing through the contractions. I was feeding Sarah crushed ice at the end of each contraction and grabbing minute-long naps until the next one started.

The anesthesiologist came in to administer an epidural. Sarah was really looking forward to bypassing a lot of labor pain, and I was all for it as well. Why suffer if you don’t have to? The insertion of the catheter into her spine was, itself, a painful and uncomfortable procedure for Sarah. The worst part is that it didn’t work. Her right leg became numb, but that didn’t help ease the pain of the contractions. A different anesthesiologist came in around 10:00, pulled out the catheter, and poked a new hole in Sarah’s spine. This one also failed.

It isn’t easy to watch your loved one in so much pain. The contractions were now stronger, longer, and more frequent. Sarah was having a tough time. I used a technique from Lamaze class to get her through it. Sarah was doing the hee-hee-hee-hoo breathing method. I would hold up two, three, or four fingers to tell her how many "hees" to do. That gave her something to focus on other than the pain. When she started to cry or panic, I kept her focused on me. Somehow we made it through.

By 11:00, the contractions were coming right on top of each other. They were extremely intense, and Sarah felt a strong urge to push. She had only been at 4cm the last time the nurse checked, so I told her not to push and called the nurse. The nurse came in, checked her, and said, "Start pushing." Sarah had become fully dilated (10cm) in a surprisingly short time.

Now, if you’ve never had a front-row seat to a baby delivery, let me just say that it’s the most amazing and disgusting thing I’ve ever witnessed. I’ll spare you the detailed description of the things my wife’s body did. Even as Holland was emerging, I could not believe she was fitting through there. I was holding Sarah’s left foot, as the center of my universe was just inches away.

The top of the baby’s head became visible, and it was covered with dark brown hair. Sarah was pushing hard, but the baby didn’t seem to be moving forward quickly enough. To make matters worse, the baby’s heartrate dropped during each push, so we really needed to get her out. The doctor attempted to use a suction device, but it popped right off Holland’s head (probably because of all the hair). Another push and the doctor was able to pull her head out. Holland pushed her face out and turned it straight toward mine. I was ecstatic! "I see her face! There she is!" What I didn’t say out loud was that she looked like Edward G. Robinson.

Now the baby’s head and a shoulder were out. The doctor sucked all the goo out of her mouth and nose. She and the nurse untangled the cord, which was wrapped twice — loosely — around Holland’s neck and started pulling on her head. Babies can take a lot more physical stress than I realized. Dr. Parks was pulling hard on my daughter’s head and exclaiming, "She’s just too fat!" And then ... sphlorrt! She was out. They held her up, flopped her down on Sarah’s belly, cut the cord, then whisked her over to the little wrangling table so they could work her over. Holland was crying and kicking. Sarah and I were crying and kissing and laughing and praying. The doctor delivered the placenta, and Sarah sighed, "Ah, that feels better!" Doc stitched her up, congratulated everyone, and left.

Post Partum

Once things had calmed down, I got to hold my beautiful little baby girl. She no longer resembled any film stars from the forties. She was spectacular. I wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to love her. We called Kathryne and told her she had a little sister. She had been waiting at our friend Naomi’s house. Minutes later, Naomi, her daughter Soraya, and Kat showed up with Starbucks coffee and the greatest chicken club sandwich I ever met. After a day of recovery, Sarah and Holland came home.

Monday, May 08, 2006

You are so beautiful...

Just wanted to let you know we haven't forgotten Kathryne! She is still alive! This picture is of her and her dear friend Darlene on our way to Easter services. Pretty!

Doppelganger or Clone?

As a mom you love to hear that your kids look like you. It makes you feel good! But when I look at Holland and Kathryne I think they are so uber beautiful, that I can't imagine that they look like me. They are an improved version of me maybe. But when I saw this picture of me when I was about a year old, I was convinced that Holland looks like me quite a bit. Kathryne looks like me sometimes, a much thinner version of me! Yeah! Let me know what you think??

Holland's Day

Well, Holland's first year has almost passed us. We had a party for her yesterday, and she really enjoyed herself. After the first few tentative looks around at the "crowd", she decided to grin from ear to ear most of the afternoon. She snarfed her cake (pumpkin muffins), ripped open presents and played in her new sandbox. Thank you to everyone who shared the day with us.

It hasn't been an easy year by any means. And yes, I would change a few things if I could. But overall it's been positive. Holland is healthy, intelligent, spunky, vocal, happy, and lots of fun. We won't talk about all the sleepless nights, breastfeeding pains, all the messy diapers and sticky hands. She is so much fun, a great companion to take around town and share the day with. I love taking her to Trader Joe's or Ralph's; she gets so many comments about her pretty eyes or lovely hair. I think she's going to be a tomboy though, she just doesn't seem very frilly yet. I wouldn't mind her being more delicate, she loves to slap things and hit drums and tables, she's very scratchy. Almost like a little lion cub. She doesn't know her own strength.

Predictions for the year: she's already walking, so I see running and jumping coming soon. She can follow directions already, so I look forward to having her help me pick up toys soon. Hopefully we will expand her menu, get her to eat more new foods, possibly nurse a little less (give me a break...), learn to hold her own sippy cup without spilling all the liquid and playing in it, and finish teething.

I'm going to post a photo of me when I was about her age and you guys can compare us. It's almost eerie how we look alike.

I love you my baby Holland, keep growing strong and healthy. I can't wait to hear what you have to say about us all!

Love, MOM

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Doug McCauley is Getting Married

Email From Doug M.:

Dear Friends, I'm happy to annouce that Dr. Nicole Hubbell and I are engaged to be married! The date is May 27th 2006. It will be a small (family only) wedding, and then we'll be having a large reception Aug. 12th in Springfield after we return from our honeymoon. I'll have more details soon. Doug M.

Congratulations, Doug! We wish him and Nicole the best. I haven't gotten to talk to Doug for a while, so I didn't quite see this coming. Of course, that's what everyone said about Sarah and me, too! I also have not met the bride, but Sarah has and approves.


Ted Kilgore's Manhattan Perfecto

If you're a regular reader of Malt Advocate (and who isn't!), you will see our friend Ted's Manhattan Perfecto recipe featured on page 22 of the 1st Quarter, 2006, issue. This cocktail (which I have not had the chance to try yet, but I'm gonna) is Ted's variation on the Perfect Manhattan. “What's that?” I hear you saying. I'll let the article's author, Gary Regan, explain:

See, the word perfect takes on a different meaning when you're talking cocktails. It refers directly to the vermouth in the recipe, and has no bearing whatsoever on how wonderful the drink happens to be.

This phenomenon rears its head most notably in the Rob Roy and the Manhattan. Order the drinks with no descriptors, and a good bartender will make them with sweet vermouth. Order a Dry Rob Roy, or a Dry Manhattan, and the bartender should reach for the bottle of dry vermouth, instead. And if you call for a Perfect Rob Roy or Perfect Manhattan, equal amounts of both vermouths should be employed in the drink.

The whisky in a Rob Roy is Scotch, by the way. A Manhattan contains rye whiskey, although the rye often gets substituted with Bourbon or even Canadian whisky (hmph). Note the different spellings: American and Irish — whiskey; Scotch and Canadian — whisky.

Ted's variation on the Perfect Manhattan adds Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur. I've never had this, but Regan calls it “dry, nutty, and peppery.” Sounds good! The recipe calls for rinsing the glass with the liqueur:

Take the glass in which you're going to serve the Manhattan Perfecto (hopefully it's chilled) add the half-ounce of maraschino, then tilt the glass so the liqueur coats it from lip to stem, and rotate it slowly until the entire interior is coated with the maraschino. Now discard the excess liqueur, give the contents of the mixing glass a quick extra stir, and strain the drink into the glass.

Here's the full recipe in all its glory:

The Manhattan Perfecto
  • 2 ounces straight rye whiskey (Ted recommends Michter's, Van Winkle 13 year old, or Old Overholt. Gary Regan suggests Sazerac Rye.)
  • 3/4 ounce Dry Vermouth
  • 3/4 ounce Sweet Vermouth
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1/2 ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, to rinse the glass
  • 1 lemon twist, as garnish
  • 1 maraschino cherry, as garnish
Fill a mixing glass two-thirds full of ice and add the whiskey, both vermouths, and the bitters. Stir for approximately 20 seconds, pause to rinse a chilled cocktail glass with the maraschino (see above), then strain the drink into the rinsed glass. Add the garnishes.

Mmm, I'm parched.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Four Point Oh!

Kathryne’s third quarter grades came — straight A’s! GPA: 4.0. You rock, girl! It also looks like she might have a change of venue for school next year. More later.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Walking Talking Sleeping

Holland 04-03-06
It is an exhilarating experience to see Holland developing and advancing. She began taking her first tentative steps a few days ago, at around 10 months, and now she is teetering her way around the house. I was a bundle of nerves at first, gasping and trying to catch the baby every time she fell. I still get pretty tense at times, but I am getting better. Although she still falls down, she is much better at catching herself, instead of falling head first toward the edge of the coffee table. The more steady Holland becomes, the less nervous I am.

We're having fun watching Holland get smarter, more playful, and more interactive. She imitates me when I clap or pat my knees. She puts toys together in ways that I show her. And she knows what certain things are, like "book". She says a few words, like "dog" and "hello". She has several teeth. She gives kisses and hugs. Amazing.

None of this sounds particularly impressive to anyone else, of course; it's all just normal baby development. When it's your child, though, it makes your heart soar when they learn something new. Sarah and I marvel at how God miraculously created us to learn and grow and love.

And now, for the big news: Holland is sleeping at night! She hasn't quite gone eight hours yet, but she has had several six to seven hour nights. Even when she does wake up, she doesn't demand to nurse. She normally goes right back to sleep in a couple of minutes with minimal rocking. That alone makes life much easier for Sarah. Whew.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Angel of Mommy’s Heart

As some of you might have noticed, I haven’t written much. I just haven’t had a moment to spare, and if I do it is spent trying to catch a few zzzzz’s, or cleaning the house etc. It’s very sad. Right now Holland is watching tv (don’t tell anyone), and I am nursing my cup of coffee. Holland was doing a bit better before she got sick, as far as sleeping, but now she’s having extremely restless nights, waking up every hour, calling out while she’s sleeping, kicking and moving her head all around. It’s terrible! But I'm trying to be nice, and it’s hard to do!

It’s Kathryne’s birthday today, and I’m in shock to say the least. I remember when she was little and so angelic. She had wispy pale blond hair that curled around her little face. Ohhhh, what a sweety! I don't know how it happened but she had grown into a beautiful young woman, gracious and kind, quick with a smile and a hug, and industrious too. She’s been getting her homework done early! Yay!

I believe Kathryne to be my angel, I believe she saved my life when she was born, changed it for the better, so I wasn’t drifting around in this life, but anchored to her and her needs and her love. I’m so proud of her now, as I’ve always been. But now I’m doubly so. What a wonderful person to have in all of our lives! Thank you my darling girl, I hope we will always be this close, and that you continue on the glorious path you’ve chosen. I love you!

O Kathryne! My Kathryne!

It’s Kathryne’s 15th birthday today! From the birthday girl’s perspective, 15 isn’t one of the milestone teen ages, like 13, 16, and 18. Kathryne shrugs and says, “I don’t feel any different.” To Sarah and me, it seems more significant, probably because it is a decade-and-a-half.

When you’re 40 (me, not Sarah), fifteen years is not long, yet the year Kathryne was born was another lifetime. I didn’t come into Kathryne’s life until about four years ago, but she has changed my life dramatically. If you know Kathryne, you know that she is kind, warm-hearted, hilarious, loyal, beautiful, and faithful. She inspires me, and I am a better person because of her presence in my life. My prayer is that someday she will be able to say the same thing about me.

Happy birthday, Sweetheart!