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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Guessing Games

Frank and I have two guessing games that we play very regularly. One is called the "Guess who's pregant game" which we seem to play about every other day. Sometimes when I hear that someone is expecting I email him at work and the subject says "Get ready to play guess who's pregnant tonight."

He'll call me on the way home and say, "Ooh, can we play now? Or do I have to wait until I get home?"

The game works like 20 questions and the questions usually go like this (I'm quoting Frank here):

Friend or family?
Your friend or mine?
Do you know her from college?
From work?
From high school?
Well, if it's not one of those who else could it be? How else do we know people?
Is it her first kid?
Oh, it is? That's always more fun!
Then he usually starts guessing.
I'll sometimes give clues like, "You're getting warmer" or "We expected to hear this news for awhile..."

It's always very exciting when he guesses it right after a long game of guess who's pregnant. Like the other week when he guessed Livy Knox. Congratulations, by the way!! (To Livy, not Frank).

Variations on the guess who's pregnant game include "guess who's engaged" or "guess who eloped" or "guess who's getting a divorce" or "guess who's moving."

The second genre of guessing games revolves around US Weekly. When the magazine arrives each week Frank will bring it in from the mail box and say, "Your fries arrived" ("Fries" as you'll recall is short for "friends" and I like to think of the celebs in US Weekly as my fries. Fries, by the way is pronounced "frees.")

Okay, so back to the game: "Guess who's on the cover" Frank will say. Since the magazine is usually at least a week behind the internet I can usually come pretty close. I should be getting one this weekend and I'm gonna guess it's either more info. on J. Lo and Marc Anthony or another minor celebrity weight loss success story.

Then we also like to guess how old the celebs are in the birthday section. When I call them out to Frank it's hilarious because he doesn't know who half the people are. But me, I can usually guess within two years.

But sometimes I'm way off. And then I have to think, "Are these people really my fries?"

Your guess is as good as mine.

Naked Baby Dance

I meant to include a picture of the naked baby dance in the blog below. But since I forgot, I thought I'd give it its own blog.

This is what Leo likes to do before bath time. He loves to be naked and he loves to dance. There are more pictures but I don't want to post them and risk being under investigation (or the object of hatred from my child when he's a teenager).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Leo's been here eight months

Leo's into:
Saying "Mama" and "Dada" but not necessarily to the right people
Banging on things
Playing with all the toys he got for Christmas (including a drum which helps with the banging)
Playing with things that aren't toys (like beer cans, the trash can, shoes and the rug)
Eating books, having books read to him
Climbing on things, including people
Doing the naked dance
Listening to his CD of songs with his name in them ("Let's pretend, Leo!" and "Leo, I think you're special")
Um, did I mention crawling? Gotta go!

Monday, December 22, 2008

On the move

If Leo could talk I'm pretty sure he'd quote Dr. Martin Luther King today:

"Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last!"

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Holiday Tip from Cookinggal

Around this time of year you probably have way too much food in your house. Maybe it's because you hosted a cookie exchange. Maybe you had an ornament-making party full of babies and their mommies. Maybe all your neighbors brought you goodies. Maybe your mother sent a giant coffee cake. Maybe your husband comes home with random gift baskets from work. Maybe that same husband works for a food company and brings home packages of products with no labels so you don't even know what they are.

At least those are my reasons.

While I love goodies as much as the next girl, I'm here all day, surrounded by them. And that other guy who's here with me doesn't have teeth. So it's up to me to eat them...or give them away. I'm pretty good at pushing food on people so I thought I'd share with you my tips on how to get friends, family and workers who come to your house to take food from you:

1. Package the food in a cute goodie bag: That's how I got the carpet cleaning man to take goodies yesterday. In a red holiday baggy I put candy canes, mini muffins (left over from the ornament party) and mystery Frito Lay snacks. I did this even though he was late and tracked in mud.

2. Say, "I made it especially for you!" (This works for friends or family, not so much the carpet cleaning man).

3. Tell them, "I'm just going to throw it out." This almost never fails. People cannot stand to see food get thrown away. The only time someone considers refusing is if they think you're bluffing. If this happens, go to #4.

4. Actually hold it over the trash.

5. Say, "I'm pushing it" which has about a 50/50 shot. See, they feel the obligation but then your food just lost of some of its value. But I guess the same could be said for threatening to throw it in the trash.

6. Sneak it into their...purse, pockets, fanny pack (whatever the case may be).

And here is a list of things to say that will NOT get people to take your food:

1. Can I get you something?
2. Would you like some of this?
3. Could I offer you a piece of pie?
4. Are you hungry?

Basically, don't phrase it in the form of a question. Food pushers are action-oriented. My grandma, for instance, just shoves a plate in front you. Frank's Nana will put chips and dip right under your nose (and sometimes a strong drink to go with it).

And if all else fails, you can always do the pinch their nose so their mouth opens trick.

Happy Pushing!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Leo, meet Santa. Santa, meet Leo.

Leo experienced a range of emotions while meeting Santa for the first time today:

Confusion: Who is this old man and why are we dressed alike?

Fear: Wait. I don't think I know this guy. And I don't think I like him!

Determination: Well if he gets to hold me and take a picture with me, I'm gonna take some of this white stuff off his face.

Satisfaction: Score! I got some of the white stuff! I'm so gonna eat it. Take that, Santa.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sometimes friends fight

It started out fun...

...still playing nice...
...later, Leo would say that John started it but as you can see, Leo provoked John...
...and John fought back:

Cookinggal's Favorite Thing

Cookinggal likes everything in her kitchen to be just right--all the cabinets organized, the countertops clear of debris and no drawers that she'd be embarrassed for guests to open (except that one catch-all drawer with batteries, clothes pins, coupons, church offertory envelopes and birthday candles). But there was one thing that always bothered Cookinggal. The fact that she’s writing in the third person? Yes, that’s part of it. But there was something else:

I (back to first person) hated how my dish soap just sat there by the sink. I looked for solutions to this unsightly problem at other people’s houses and I found two:

1. Put the dish soap under the sink
2. Get a cute William Sonoma dish and hand soap caddy

I had issues with both of these. As far as putting it under the sink, maybe I wash dishes more than other people or maybe I’m just lazy but I hated having to bend down to get out the soap every time I needed it. So that didn’t work.

I thought the WS caddy was adorable but, as Frank pointed out, did I want to pump out my dish soap? Absolutely not, I agreed. I’m not gonna stick a big pot under a pump bottle. It’s awkward, annoying and just not practical.

So every time I’d find myself at a store with kitchen stuff—Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Linens and Things, etc—I would search for the perfect dish soap holder, one with a spout on top so I could turn it over to release the soap. Basically, I wanted the functionality of the bottle it came in but in a permanent, aesthetically pleasing container.

I couldn’t find one. Seriously, they just don’t make them.

But then I was at Frank’s Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Jovita’s house over Thanksgiving. I was doing dishes and I couldn’t find the dish soap. I did, however, see the olive oil holder next to the sink and it was filled with a yellow substance. “This is a dumb question,” I said, “but is this the dish soap?”

It WAS the dish soap. I said to sister-in-law Julie (two blogs in a row with a Julie mention!), “Look at this! What a clever idea for the dish soap!”

Julie agreed and said, “Yes, that’s the liquor holder!”

“Ummm…I’m pretty sure it’s the olive oil holder but that’s okay because this is a brilliant idea!”

When we got back home I jumped off the plane, headed straight to Target (okay, it was like two days later) and bought myself an olive oil holder to use as a dish soap bottle:

I’m so pleased with it. Thanks, Aunt Jovita! It looks cute; it works great and only once have I almost used it for cooking.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

You go, first girls!

The first marathon I watched was the Dallas’ White Rock in 2000 or 2001. A friend was running and she was trying to do it in around 3 hours, 15 minutes (ridiculously fast if you know anything about marathon times). We thought we were clever with our sign that said “Cathy 3:16.”

Since she was going to be towards the beginning of the finishers we got there early and saw the elite runners coming in. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Spectators were lined up on either side of the home stretch, cheering and waving and shouting things like, “You’re almost there!” and “You can do it!” and “Don’t puke! Please don’t puke!”

I was so inspired by these athletes. But the best part was after a few of the Kenyans came across the line and then a couple of American guys, a woman came running up to the finish. It wasn’t my friend Cathy because this was still under the three hour mark; it was just some girl. Some really fast girl.

An official time-keeper person who was standing in the road held up his hand to her and screamed, “First Girl! First Girl!” She slapped his hand, gave the crowd a smile and kept on running. What a rock star.

I thought, “Wow, what an amazing accomplishment,” and it actually made me cry. And even though I knew I would never be the “first girl” in any race, or even the second or third or seventeenth, I decided I wanted to run a marathon. And I did…four years later.

I didn’t get to thank that first girl for her inspiration but yesterday I got to thank another first girl, my sister-in-law Julie who ran and won the Tucson marathon on Sunday.

This is Julie after she crossed the finish line and realized she was the “first girl:”

And here is what they wrote about her in the Arizona Star:

Women's winner Julia Simcik finished first in just her fifth competitive marathon with a time of 2:50:12.

Simcik, 26, said running gives her an escape and she was trying to keep it simple in Sunday's race.
"My goal is to look for the girl in front of me and go get her," she said. "But (today) there was no one in front of me. "I didn't like the Biosphere run and I couldn't wait to get back on Oracle (Road). Once you're back on Oracle you feel like you're home free."
Simcik, who lives in Chandler, finished 11th overall.
She said she doesn't maintain a specific training regimen to prepare for races. Instead, she just likes to go on long runs. "I don't do speed workouts. I just try to run every day," she said. "About two months before this marathon I started going on three-hour runs depending on how the weather was."

I told her that only a handful of people in the world will ever know the feeling of being first in a marathon and she should feel special, even though running long races like that is seemingly easy for her. She assured me that it’s not easy and even she felt sore the next day.

And here I thought first girls ran races like that and then ran all the way home, no problem. It’s kind of nice to know that they’re human too.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Cuddly Bear

Leo likes the cold weather so much, he is going to be bummed when he learns it's only like this a few days a year:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How do ya like them apples?

Apparently, not at all. This was Leo when I tried to give him apples. After one bite he refused to open his mouth:

I mean, the kid likes peas, carrots, squash and sweet potatoes. I was actually saving apples because I thought he'd like them so much that he'd never go back to veggies.

After he wouldn't eat the apples, I gave him peas and he gobbled them up as if I let him skip dinner and go to dessert.

Who doesn't like apples? And it's actually apple sauce which is even better! I should know; I ate the rest of 'em. His reaction to that? "Fine, mommy. You eat my apples. I'll eat my socks."

"A Waste is a Terrible Thing to Mind"

My eighth grade science teacher said that on the first day of school. At first we thought she was just dyslexic but then realized she was trying to make a point. I have a feeling most of us disappointed her by the end of the year.

I’m using her clever twist on a cliché for my title but it doesn’t have much to do with my topic which is about wasting food and other consumable goods.

It seems to me that everybody is extreme when it comes to wasting:

On one side we have people who have no problem throwing things away, even things that are still usable or edible like milk that’s one day away from the due date or pennies.

On the other side we have people who can’t bear to see anything go in the trash. “What? Is that a piece of a pretzel on the ground? Whatever you do, don’t throw it away!”

The former are usually younger folks while the latter are usually those who grew up in the Depression (my grandma).

Both sides have valid points but the Depression-era group has one thing all wrong: They believe that if you put it in your mouth, it’s not wasting. But eating something just because you don’t want to waste it is silly.

A quick hypothetical: your electricity is out so your fridge is off. All the food is going to go bad. What do you do?

If you answered, “eat all the food as fast as you can,” then in my opinion, you’re a little bonkers.

You see, it only makes sense to eat food that’s going to go bad IF it’s going to replace a meal. If you’re just eating because you can’t stand to see it go to waste then it’s the same as putting it in the garbage can. Only it’s worse because it makes you unnecessarily fat.

“But what about the starving kids in Africa?” you say. That argument doesn't make any sense either. A friend told me that when she was younger she used to put her food very neatly on a plate before putting it in the trash, you know, so the kids in Africa wouldn’t have to dig around for it.

So how does you eating extra food help kids in Africa? If you really want to help, signing up for Save the Children make a lot more sense.

Sometimes when I think about eating something just because I don’t want to throw it away, I consider this: “When someone asks me why I've gained a bunch of weight what will I say? My explanation sounds ridiculous: ‘I exercise regularly and eat pretty well but there was this giant cake that someone left at my house and I HAD to eat it all or else it would go to waste.’”

Okay, so most likely nobody’s going to ask you that but still, you want to have an answer ready and that one’s just not gonna cut it.

So to sum it up, unless the food is replacing a meal then it’s better off in the trash.

Wait. I can think of a catchier mantra. Ooh, I got it:

“Better as waste than on your waist.”

Take that, eighth grade science teacher.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Leo's been here seven months

(and one day).
Besides sprouting a few hairs on his head, here are the other mature things Leo does:
  • He sits all by himself
  • Gets up on all fours and rocks
  • Eats carrots, peas, squash and sweet potatoes and is eager to try fruit or just about anything on our plates
  • He talks about things like "blah blah blah" and "dah dah dah" and "mah mah mah"
  • He laughs when we tickle him under his chin (or really, just when we put Aquaphor on his neck and he thinks we're tickling him)
  • He's interested in everything, wants to grab stuff and put it in his mouth
  • He drools a lot but we haven't seen any signs of teeth
  • Just this past week he seemed to notice a difference between mommy and daddy and everyone else
  • He still spits up and now it's colored.

Here's what Leo likes:

  • Books about hippos
  • Eating books (about hippos or otherwise)
  • Eating mommy's hair
  • Eating mommy's glasses
  • Eating his own socks
  • Eating food
  • Playing with Edison, the alphabet catepillar (Thanks, Charlie and Colman!)
  • Listening to mommy talk on the phone
  • Using daddy as a jungle gym
  • Riding in one of his four strollers
  • Being held while walking around (don't even think about sitting)!
  • Songs that involve someone touching his feet like Over the River and Through the Woods, the part that goes "It stings the toes and bites the nose.."
  • Playing peekaboo