Sunday, December 30, 2007

End of the year wrap-up

I did this last year, and thought I'd keep the tradition alive.

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before? Got a graduate degree.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I think my vague resolution was to lose my baby weight, which I'm working on. My resolution for next year is to stay in shape, keep running, and work on building up my academic resume.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes! Several Athens friends and a Pella friend had babies.
4. Did anyone close to you die? My grandpa Deur died in April.
5. What places did you visit? Iowa and Michigan, mostly, same as last year.
6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? An idea of where I'll be doing my Ph.D. A potty-trained daughter.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? April 21, the day my grandpa died. June 23, Charlotte's first birthday. November 8, my 30th.
8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year? Getting my master's degree. Starting and sticking with a running regimen.
9. What was your biggest failure? I can't think of any, which is pretty good.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I stubbed my toe really hard today, and think it might be broken. Other than that, no.
11. What was the best thing you bought? Our "new" (2001) Subaru Forester.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Again, Jeff's. He's a rad dad.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Charlotte, when she wouldn't sleep. Thankfully, this is mostly resolved.

14. Where did most of your money go? Ph.D. applications. Also, see #11.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Real Food by Nina Planck. Everything Charlotte does. Losing weight and fitting into my old clothes again.
16. What song will always remind you of 2007? Most of the songs I run to. Kids' songs I sing to Charlotte (ABC, Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle, etc.)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? Definitely happier, since I'm getting more sleep.

b) thinner or fatter? Thinner. Hurrah!
c) richer or poorer? A little poorer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Spent more time outside when the weather was nice. Worked more on my Ph.D. applications.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Grading papers, but I'm afraid that's a necessity in my line of work.
20. How did you spend Christmas last year? On the road between Iowa and Michigan.
21. Did you fall in love in 2007? With butter, perhaps. Oh, and a little someone named Charlotte.

22. What was your favorite TV program? We got rid of our TV in 2007, but Arrested Development episodes in the internet continue to entertain.
23. What did you do for your birthday in 2007? Taught my class in the morning. Had dinner with Jeff, followed by dessert with my friends. Then drove to Columbus to pick my parents up from the airport.
24. What was the best book you read? Real Food by Nina Planck. Re-read The Brothers K by David James Duncan.

25. Who was the best new person you met? Hmmm. I had met Kristen before, but we didn't really become friends until this year, so I'll go with her.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Elizabeth Mitchell's kid's music was a good one. The Decemberists and Beirut, too.
27. What did you want and get? An iPod. A new car.

28. What did you want and not get? New camera equipment (flash, lens). We'll save that for after the Ph.D. apps are in.
29. What was your favorite film of this year? I loved Waitress, Across the Universe, and The Darjeeling Limited.

30. Did you make some new friends this year? Yes.
31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not having had to take Spanish this summer.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? Revisiting The Pre-Pregnancy Wardrobe.
33. What kept you sane? Running, surprisingly. Playing with Charlotte. Hanging out with my friends.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Fancy? That seems like an inappropriate question for a married woman to answer.
35. What political issue stirred you the most? The war.
36. Who did you miss? My family. My grad school pals who left.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. Take care of your body.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Just a quick update to say we're having a nice time in Iowa. Charlotte can't believe her luck: a week with Papa and Nana Tig, with Uncles Steve and Mark and their respective Katy/ies followed by a week with Papa and Nana Deur, with Uncle Awesome!? How lucky can one girl be?

I'm writing this in Smokey Row Coffee Shop in Pella. When I came into town this morning to do some work I complete forgot that Fred Thompson was going to be at Smokey Row this morning too. It was pretty crazy in here. I guess Huckabee was at Pizza Ranch this morning. Clinton (Hillary) was here earlier this week. Romney is here Saturday. I had forgotten what things were like in Iowa during a nomination year. Political ads by the dozens on TV. Phone calls from candidates left and right. Blegh. Give me Ohio.

Friday, December 21, 2007

How did the visit with Santa go? I'm glad you asked!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

One of the advantages of being in a relatively large metropolitan area is the sheer number of indoor places to go with Charlotte. In Athens we're pretty much limited to our steady rotation of the library, uptown (to get coffee for mama and a muffin ["mussin"] for Charlotte), or mama's office. Maybe the grocery store. Or the bakery. That's about it.

In our five days in Grand Rapids, we've managed to hit up two major museums: Frederik Meijer Gardens and the Children's Museum. Both were big hits.

At the Gardens, Charlotte was most impressed by the tiny little partridges running around the tropical room. A close second was the Holiday Express Train, which I found even more fascinating. It was awesome! A gorgeous, elevated cedar-clad track ran through several rooms in the Gardens. The display also featured miniature replicas of downtown Grand Rapids buildings.

Ostensibly we went to check out the international Christmas tree show. Charlotte liked the little shoes filled with nuts under the Brazil tree.

We posed for the obligatory blonde-haired, blue-eyed Dutch girl photos next to the Netherlands tree.

And we revisited (well, revisit for Jeff and I, first visit for Charlotte) the gorgeous Chihuly in the ballroom, laying down on the floor so as to best view it. I have no idea what's going on in Charlotte's diaper region. I swear it didn't look this bulgy when we were there.

But the Children's Museum was the big hit. Charlotte was so overwhelmed with the awesomeness that most of the time she just stood motionless, staring and taking it all in. Tuesday at the museum they offer toddler time crafts. This week's craft was building a play-doh snowman. Since Charlotte has a minor obsession with snowmen (thanks, in part, to the classic P.D. Eastman book Snow), we had a lot of fun decking out her own triple-tier doughman with buttons and a fabric scarf.

The bubbles were another big attraction, although she prefered to watch Dada make the big bubbles.
On tomorrow's agenda: get Charlotte out to the festive Santa-wonderland at the mall for a meet-and-greet with the big man himself. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

One Year
Above: Charlotte, December 2006. Below: Charlotte, December 2007

One year ago I typed up my first official entry for this blog. Now, a year later, I've written/posted nearly 120 entries, including photos and videos, and of course many, many gripes about sleeping issues. Which, incidentally, seem to be resolved. I hesitate to say anything, but for almost two weeks now Charlotte has slept through the night. That's more nights in a row of sleeping through than we previously had in total. And that is all the Christmas I require!

For Tig Web's one-year anniversary, I'd like to do a roll-call. Who's reading? How often do you check in? What would you like to see more of on this blog? Leave a comment and let me know. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

This post is really just an excuse to:

1. Post the above picture of Charlotte, taken today at Emeriti Park on the OU campus. It was nearly 70 degrees today! Sorry all you more northern midwesterners who are experiencing snow and ice and misery. Charlotte and I were enjoying mud and warmth.

2. Wish Jeff's dad a happy birthday! Or, as Charlotte would say, "Happy papa!"

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Okay, I think we've convinced Jeff to write about his trip, in some way, shape, or form. The form is to be decided, though. Perhaps his own blog?

A few things in brief:

We have a fisher-price nativity set that she's been really into playing with lately. Her favorite figurine is baby Jesus. She says that so preciously you can't even believe it. I'll have to get it on tape. She also has a tendency to transport the figurines from place to place. A couple days ago, baby Jesus went missing. This was a bit distressing for Charlotte, who would ask to play with baby Jesus, and then say: "Baby Jesus...where go?"

Don't worry, the story has a happy ending. I came downstairs yesterday and told Jeff: "I found Jesus. He was in the dirty laundry." Didn't realize what I said until he laughed.

Continuing our religious theme, Charlotte is learning to pray. She knows to fold her hands and say "Amen" at the end. Usually her prayer is "Sank oo, God. More God. Amen." Pretty theologically deep, if you think about it. The other day, she sang a little song that went like this: "Turtle, bi-ig turtle. Amen!" I guess we do try to be thankful for everything.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Almost There...

Jeff's plane is about to take off from Honduras, so it seems a suitable time to say "whew. We made it." He won't really arrive back here until sometime after midnight, but the last leg of the journey is underway at least.

I learned some surprising things this week. First, the house stays much, much cleaner when Jeff's not around. This surprised me because I expected that two people around to clean things up would be better than one. But, no. I have come to the conclusion that Jeff messes faster than I can tidy. Interesting.

Secondly, I have discovered that I really relied on my morning sleep-ins Jeff would give me almost every day. Being up in the middle of the night with an insomniac baby is a little easier when you know you'll be able to catch another couple uninterrupted hours of sleep in the morning. Jeff's getting up with Charlotte in the mornings totally absolves his messiness.

Finally, I learned how much fun it can be to hang out with Charlotte. I mean, I knew it before, but I figured that eight straight days of all Charlotte, all the time would become a bit boring or monotonous. But actually she's quite entertaining. Despite the toddler-style tantrums she's starting to throw. I heard the "terrible twos" actually start at 18 months. If so, here we come!

I'm thinking I'd like to get Jeff to write a post on here about his experience in Honduras. Whaddya think? Would you like to read that here? Post a comment to let me know.

Monday, December 03, 2007

You know, sometimes I'm really amazed at how much Charlotte is absorbing. We were just over in the apartment complex office visiting with Ruth. When we walked in, Ruth called out "Good morning, sunshine!" to Charlotte. Charlotte gave her this look, like "what are you talking about?" No response, really.

Ten minutes later we're back in our apartment. Charlotte's coloring and I'm checking my email. Suddenly she's there by my side. It takes me a second to figure out what she's saying, but it's this: "More 'morning sunshine?' More Ruth?" I said "good morning, sunshine" to her and she laughed at me.

Now she's singing and spinning in circles, chanting "morning sunshine morning sunshine" over and over.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

You might not know it be reading my complain-y posts lately about Charlotte's wretched sleep habits, but I am having a really good time with her these days. Yes, it's hard to do this alone, and I miss Jeff (whom Charlotte thinks is still "dada...airplane," apparently on a perpetual round-the-world flight), but spending almost every hour of the day (and many of the night, too) with Charlotte is really a privilege and a joy.

She's learning so much. I've said it before, but it bears repeating: the girl talks up a storm. She's incredibly verbal. She's stringing together sentences, asking questions, making up songs. She picks up on things so quickly, it amazes me. I wish my mind were as receptive to new knowledge as her's.

Some recent gems:

Charlotte got a fisher-price nativity set from my parents last Christmas. I got it out for her yesterday, and she's really into it. Especially "baby Jesus," whom she'll talk about and ask for constantly. She also requests "Angel macon," which means she wants to hear the music the set plays when you press down on the rooftop angel. "Macon" is her word for music.

She can sing familiar songs well enough that I can recognize them. One favorite follows; see if you can guess the song based on Charlotte's rendition: "Raining, poh-ing. Old man. Bumbahead. Abed. Morning."

Her favorite song these days is "Baby Mine," from Dumbo. She requests "cuddle? Baby Mine?" which means she wants to sit cuddled on my lap while I sing her the song. These moments are by far the highlight of my day.

Tonight in the bath she took all her duckies out of her bath toy crate and lined them up on the edge. Pointing to them randomly, she said "one...two...three...six...nine...six...five! Yay!" Then she said "mama count," obviously wanting me to double-check her math. I counted to seven and she laughed at me. I guess she was confident in her solution. Perhaps she knows I scored below the 50th percentile on the math portion of the GRE. She's right to question my math skills.

I'll try to be better about posting more of these little anecdotes, because I know they paint a better picture of Charlotte than just the complaints. But I also want to thank each of you for your great advice and words of comfort about the sleeping issues. It really means a lot to me.