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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Santa Sightings

Maybe it's because it's warm here or maybe it's because Leo and Gus have been so darn good, but Santa has been spending a lot of the Christmas season in the DFW area. The boys have had lots of opportunities to sit on his lap and remind him what gifts they want. Leo is a big fan; Gus, not so much. In fact, Leo is so familiar with the jolly guy that when we were in Starbucks, Leo asked a portly, bearded customer if HE was Santa. I think I saved it by saying, "Leo, he is not old enough to be Santa!" Leo sat on his lap anyway.

Here they are at church for "Breakfast with Santa." Leo felt a little jipped that we didn't actually eat WITH Santa. Gus felt a little jipped that he was expected to be happy about sitting in the lap of some strange looking man in a red suit with a long white beard.

The next weekend Santa came to our neighborhood's clubhouse.

 This time he even brought Leo and Gus gifts! Leo got some cool Jake and the Neverland Pirates stuff while Gus got a book that he already owned. (Jipped again!)

No wonder this is the closest Gus would get to Santa!

The next day we rode the North Pole Express in Grapevine. Since the train goes to the North Pole, we picked up Santa and he came on board! (Gus, who may just start an anti-Santa Facebook page, is not pictured.) 

The following weekend we went to cousin Jasper's house in Colleyville and whaddya know? Santa AND Mrs. Clause made an appearance. Gus agreed to be in the picture under two conditions: that he sit on mommy's lap (not Santa's) and got to hold his blanket.

Leo approached Santa at the end of the party just to reiterate that he had moved from Georgia to Texas and that he wanted "decorations" for Christmas.

Then Leo gave his new best friend one more hug. I think that was finally our last Santa encounter for the season...unless we run into him at Starbucks again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Whatever happened to waterbeds?

I remember that, at any given sleepover between the years of 1987 and 1994, I would find myself slumbering on a waterbed. Usually I would share it--a twin!--with my bee-fry of the moment. When you sleep with another person on a waterbed, two things happen: 1. You roll towards the person and you both end up in the middle of the bed 2. You wake up sweaty due to the plastic mattress cover.

Although I never owned a waterbed (I was a daybed gal), I know that there are other downsides: You can't just plop down on your bed; if you plop you drop. And if you plop too hard, you might make it pop. You can't really set anything on your bed for fear it will tip over in a tidal wave. And then there's the big one: the threat of motion sickness!

But for some reason back in the era I mentioned, WBs were all the rage. I actually can think of more than one reason:

1. If you aren't prone to motion sickness, it can feel really cool to sleep on a waterbed. I bet it's even therapeutic.
2. Shelves. Instead of a boring old headboard, a lot of waterbeds had shelves. You could display all your night reading, tissues and knick knacks up there. Some even had a mirror.
3. The storage! Most waterbeds have drawers underneath them. That makes a ton of sense. Why have an extra dresser or chest-a-drawers when you could just pack it all into one unit? And while I'm asking questions, I'd like to know why regular (land?) beds DON'T have drawers underneath them? Why are they exclusively for WBs?

Like me, you have probably been wondering what happened to waterbeds.  I'm going to do a little research (perhaps Wikipedia) and find out.

I'm back. And I learned A LOT about waterbeds. They really were originally designed to be therapeutic. Apparently they're good for your back. Oh, and I was just guessing on the years 1987 thru 1994; I was sort of right. Their popularity peaked in 1987 with 22% of the market! Can you imagine if 22% of your friends had waterbeds right now? Like, let's say you have 16 friends. (Facebook friends don't count.) Well, that would be like...doing math...don't have a calculator so bear with between three and four. Weird, right? Or are you not that stunned?

But the take away from my research was that WB's were a pain in the ass. They're heavy to move and you had to drain them first. They could spring leaks. You have to heat them and that gets expensive.

I'm sure their demise had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they're just plain Tacky. (Yes, that capital "T" is intentional.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gus has been here 18 months

Happy one-and-a-half birthday to August Frank!

I think 18 months is my favorite age. So today we will celebrate and then it's all down hill from here! It really is halfway between a baby and a kid. And that's how Gus looks too--kind of like a baby, kind of like a kid. He and Leo can really play together; they especially like to play in the backyard. Leo says they're playing pirates but I'm not sure Gus knows that. Gus just wants to play anything that has to do with balls. He looks out the window and says, "bawl" all day long. If he wants to distinguish between a regular ball and a basketball, he says, "bat ball."

He's serious about shoes. When he sees them, he says, "Shoe!" (Very clearly, I might add). And then you HAVE to put them on him. He doesn't understand why his shoes would be in sight but you wouldn't put them on him. Same with his jacket. If he sees it, it's gotta go on. Can't put on Leo's first.

He's also serious about his Dada. When Frank comes home, or if he just hears the door, he says, "Dada! Dada!" Gus looks like he's going to explode with happiness! He runs to Frank and insists that Frank hold him for the next 15 minutes. If he sees pictures of Frank or anything belonging to him (like a shirt) he says, "Dada! Dada!"

We took Gus to his 18 month appointment today. In preparation for it, I typed out the words he can say and other ways he communicates:

Gus’ Words:
Woof Woof
Bye Bye
Choo Choo
Belly Button (sounds like "Beh Bu'in) 
(Does not say Mama but will point to Mama when someone asks, “Where is mama?”)

All Done
Wipe Hands
Thank you

Other communication notes:
·      Can point to people/things when asked: “Where is Grandmother?” or “Where is your blanket?”
·      Can follow directions: “Put the ball in the basket” or “Put the blocks in the bag” or “Go to your high chair.”
·      If we say, “I’m going to take your picture” he says, “Cheese!”
Can point to parts of his face when asked: “Where is your nose?” or “Where are your ears?" 
Does all the motions to "Itsy Bitsy Spider." 

Then, just for fun, I checked Leo's 18 month blog. He could say 75 words and speak in three word phrases! He could say Texas and we didn't even live here. The kid could say "umbrella!" Needless to say, I got a little concerned about Gus. So at his appointment today I shared that with the pediatrician--how much Leo said versus Gus.  As it turns out, Leo is the abnormal one! Gus is just fine. She said there are plenty of kids his age who say more and plenty who say less. He's right in the middle. Says she's not worried about him at all. "What about how he doesn't say Mama?" I asked. "Not unusual," she said. 

After the appointment we went to a friend's house and as I was picking Gus up out of the car, he pointed at me and said, "Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama." Leo said we should call the doctor and tell her! 

And here are Gus' stats from his appointment: 
Weight: 25 pounds, 2 oz. 64% 
Height: 33.3 inches 80% 
Head: 19 inches, 75% 

They even give grades and Gus got an A+ for physical exam and an A+ for development :) 

She also commented that he's very fast, when she saw him being chased by Leo all over the exam room. 

So to sum it up, our Gus doesn't say much but he's super cute, super sweet and super fast! We love him to pieces. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gus = Linus x 3

When it comes to his blanket, Gus doesn't mess around. He started getting attached to it shortly before we moved, so around 9 months old. Grandmother gave him the blanket so when she learned that it became his "lovey," she got him a back-up.  And somewhere along the way, she bought him a third one.

That might sound excessive but we need all of them--one for upstairs, one for downstairs and one for the car.

He pretty much has one of them all the time. If he's not holding it, it's somewhere nearby. If he sees it or touches it (even if it's just with his foot), he immediately puts his thumb in his mouth. He rarely sucks his thumb without it.

He takes it places which means he drags it around sidewalks, stores and even public restrooms! That's the beauty of having three of them; I can wash one or even two while he's "using" the third one. I'm never sure which one I've washed, though, so it's possible one of them is never getting washed.

For some crazy reason I only brought one to Houston for Thanksgiving. When the time came to wash it, poor Gus was a mess for about two hours. I'll never make that mistake again!

Our system works pretty well except Gus just doesn't trust that there will always be another blanket. So when he gets out of his crib in his morning and we start to go downstairs for breakfast, he insists on taking the upstairs one down. Later, when we get out of the car to come inside, he wants to bring the car blanket back into the house.

So that means we end up with three blankets in one place!

And Gus is in heaven.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Are you a stripper or a maker?

When I stay in someone's home and it's time to leave, I always ask: "Are you a stripper or a maker?" I'm referring to how they want me to handle the sheets: should I strip the sheets and put them in the laundry room? Or should I make the bed?

This debate is as intense, but not as split down the middle, as soggers v. crunchers.

I'd say eight times out of ten, they're strippers. Most people prefer that you take all the sheets and pillow cases off the bed so that they can wash them that day and then put them back on the bed for the next guests.

I happily strip if that's what my host requests but I myself am a maker. Here is my case for the makers:

1. If someone strips the bed, it's like, "Okay, so I guess I'm doing laundry today."
2. Or worse, if I don't get around to doing the sheets that day, I've got piles of them sitting in my laundry room.
3. I'm not sure I want guests seeing what my pillows and mattress actually look like sans covers.
4. A few days before guests arrive I wash the sheets and put them back on the bed. Then the sheets smell very fresh!

Since it was Thanksgiving last week I took a poll and as I suspected, the strippers were the majority. Here was their case:

1. They like guests to strip the bed so they can get the sheets-washing over with. Then they don't have to wonder whether the sheets are dirty or clean on the guest bed when the next guests arrive.
2. They don't really like the idea of making up a bed with dirty sheets on it.
3. When it comes time to prep for guests, they want to focus on other things like meal planning, rather than changing sheets.

Those are all valid points but as you can see, we makers have four reasons while the strippers have only three.  And the fresh smell of clean sheets should really count twice.

Now, whether you're a stripper or a maker we all have the potential to encounter another obstacle in this sheet situation: the destroyer. My sister-in-law dubbed her husband this when I was quizzing her about strippers v. makers. She said he sometimes goes to sleep in the guest bed on the clean sheets and then she has to wash them all over again!

My husband and I can both be destroyers. However, since I'm a maker it really isn't as detrimental. I mean, then we're the ones sleeping on the dirty sheets and that doesn't really bother me (unless the last person who slept in our guest bed was a drifter who we took pity on or something). If I were a stripper and my husband said he wanted to sleep in the guest room because I was coughing too much, I would say, "NOOOO! I have clean sheets on that bed! Just go sleep on the couch!"

And while I completely am in favor of changing sheets in between guests, is it really fair to call the sheets "dirty?" Even if someone sleeps in them one night, hosts go crazy fumigating them as if their guests have leprosy or bed bugs or swine flu. (Is that thing still around, btw?) Think about it: guests and other randoms sit on your couch all the time and when's the last time you cleaned that?

Having said that, I do want to assure you (in case you plan to stay with me), that I do participate in the tradition of changing sheets prior to guests sleeping in them. I just maintain my status as a proud maker. This holiday season my wish is that strippers and makers can put aside their differences and understand that BOTH ways have merit and both yield the same end result--clean sheets for loved ones. (It's just that one of the ways makes SO much more sense.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Leo's Austin Adventure with Dottie the Dove

Leo had the honor of taking home the class mascot, Dottie the Dove, last weekend. Luckily, we had some big plans--Leo would be attending his first University of Texas (or "Texas Fight" as he calls it) football game. Gus stayed with Granny Jo and Popsy who were in town for Aunt Kathleen's 60th birthday. Here is the journal "Leo" wrote for his class: 

"Dottie, you are going to come with us to Austin for the Texas Fight football game!” I told her. She wanted to leave right away but I said that first we needed to rest up for the long drive! So the two of us relaxed on Thursday afternoon, watching Jungle Junction. The next morning we took a little snooze while daddy packed the car for our trip.  

Dottie sat next to me the whole way. We played on the iPad while my little brother Gus watched. Dottie loved the drive!

Here we are at the hotel. Dottie wanted to order room service. Silly Dottie! 

On Saturday I dressed Dottie in a University of Texas t-shirt and brought her to the stadium! She looked great in orange and she loved cheering on the Texas Longhorns to a win against Iowa State. 

We walked around campus where I showed Dottie the UT Tower (seen in this picture) and we ate at one of the dorms. Dottie had so much fun that she wants to go to college now. I told her that we both need to finish preschool first!

Bonus pics: I didn't want to be a show-off so I decided to stop after six pics. But here are some that didn't make the book. Sorry, Paloma! 

Gus got a chance to hold Dottie:

Dottie enjoying the tribute to legendary UT coach Darrel K. Royal 

Leo with the statue of Bevo: 

Dottie with Paloma, whose name means Dove