December 19, 2008

White Christmas???

It snowed this week in Albuquerque. And, I know some people think that Albuquerque is a barren desert, so this is to prove that it's actually a relatively undiscovered and lush oasis. See for yourself.

December 15, 2008

Birthday Lady

Happy birthday to Reba. She really doesn't like to be called Reba, but when I've tried to call her Rebecca she thinks I'm mad at her. Anyway, Happy birthday to Rebecca Grace Jewkes Bell.

She's getting up there in years (27) so I think it might be nice to help her pass this difficult birthday with a mutual tribute to her. For those who want to participate, please answer the following two questions:

  1. What's one of your favorite memories of or with Rebecca?
  2. What's one of your favorite things about Rebecca?

I'll share mine. Note, I don't expect your memory or favorite thing to be long, like mine. A couple sentences are fine.

1. One of my favorite memories with Rebecca is when she was pregnant with Oliver. She was having severe early contractions and was put on bed rest (or, at least, her version of it) which was very, very hard on her. We rented a wheelchair for her and almost every night we would drive a few miles to a beautiful neighborhood that had a big pond people would walk or rollerblade around. I would push her and we would wheel around the pond talking for a half hour or hour. It was sad to see such an active person cooped up in a little apartment with few friends and no family around, and these old person walks were about all she had to look forward to. It gave us a chance to talk and hang out alone with no distractions and before long these walks became the highly anticipated best part of my day too.

2. One of my favorite things about Rebecca is the way her face sparkles when she talks. I don't know how to describe it, but it is one of the sparkliest faces I've ever scene and you probably know what I'm talking about. It's very charming. In addition, but in the same family, is the expressiveness her face has when she speaks. That's the first thing I fell in love with; the many animated faces she makes when she talks. If I try to make the faces I look goofy, but they're all pretty on her.

Another thing I love about her is her transparent honesty. It's hard for Rebecca to hide how she truly feels about things, which makes for some cute, funny reactions to things.

Happy Birthday, Reebs.

December 14, 2008

There's no Wrong Way...

To eat a p.,b., and j..

December 12, 2008

It Again

My friend, Rachel, tagged me, so here goes:

4 Things I did yesterday

*Went on a little jog with Ollie in the double jogger I bought on craigslist- had to stop at the end because I got a really painful cramp (again!)

*Made grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch for Oliver and my friend, Rachel

*Made 2 batches of cookies (chocolate peanut butter chip and M&M cookies)

*Went to my first-ever gift card exchange Christmas party

4 things I'm looking forward to

*Opening this huge Christmas present that arrived yesterday- I have NO idea what it is and I'm no good at surprises. I want to know!

*You know those wheels that gerbils run around and around on in their cages? Well, sometimes I feel I have a little gerbil inside me running on one of those wheels and frankly, I'm excited to get it out (15 weeks left and counting)!

*Going out to a nice restaurant on my birthday (hint, hint).

*Seeing the excitement in Oliver's eyes when he sees the Cars paraphanelia we got him for Christmas.

4 Restaurants I like

*Cafe Rio


*Paradise Cafe

*Potbelly's (best turkey sandwiches in the world, only in Dallas)

4 Favorite TV shows

*30 Rock

*The Office

*Kath & Kim (can you tell waht I'm doing on Thursday nights???)

*The Bachelor

December 8, 2008

Oliver's latest

For the first 2 yrs of his life, Oliver was one of the easiest and happiest kids in New Mexico's history. He's still relatively easy and happy, but capriciousness and contrariness have finally emerged in the lad. When you give him a meal that isn't anything resembling hot he protests he can't eat it because it's too hot. But in the morning when he makes a panicked face after the first bite of his scalding daily oatmeal--which he won't grant me any time to cool off in the freezer--and I tell him it's hot, he insists, "no daddy, iss not hot, iss nummy." Sometimes he LOVES to sing songs, then the next minute he'll say (whether your singing for his pleasure or not) "No, don't seen dat, don't seen dat sawn." He won't eat his food when it's in front of him, but the second it's taken away it's "I waan bite!" Sometimes you'll refer to some thing by it's proper name "oh look, Oliver, there's a bus," to which he violently shakes his head and corrects "No, Daddy, das not a bus, das a haa-da-do (helicopter)" or vice versa, even though he knows perfectly well which is which. He just doesn't want you getting to uppity about things, or thinking he's your lackey.

Some other stuff he's doing and saying lately:

He's still obsessed with cars, trucks, motorcycles, helicopters, planes and buses. One can track some of his other interests back to his environment (like the big shark encyclopedia I introduced him to), but the car thing is 100% le natural Olivier. He can't get enough of them. He still is carrying one or two of his cars with him everywhere he goes, begs to watch the movie Cars everyday, and is never happier than when I show him pictures of exotic cars online. He could do this all day long.

I'm one of those obnoxious parents who's always peeking in the window on him in nursery. Not to stalk the nursery leaders, but because watching Otto in foreign environments without his folks around is fascinating to me. I want a picture of how the individual Oliver Bell interacts with the world. Anyway, a couple times I noticed him cruising around while most the other kids were sitting still during lesson or singing time, so one day I asked on the of the nursery leaders for honest feedback on his behavior and attention span. She said he's really sweet and usually well-behaved but does sometimes have a tough time sitting still and when she tries to hold him on her lap, he starts yelling "Owe, Owe, you're hurting me!" Then tonight, Reba was telling him (from a distance, with no physical coercion involved) to go from the couch to the kitchen to eat, which for some reason didn't suit his schedule. So I hear him yell "Be Sofff! Your hitting me!"

He also cheers "YAAYYYY" and claps at the end of each nursery song, which sets off all the others to do the same. Not standard practice.

You'll tell him something lately and he'll say "I know, that's awesome."

He'll spontaneously tell you "I'm happy."

My favorite part of the day is when I get back from Seminary at 7 and he's awake playing in his crib. He usually wakes up somewhere between 6 and 6:30 but he contents himself until the caretakers are ready. He'll pull a book from a shelf by his crib and peruse it, or he'll play with his cars or Sammy Shark. Before I get him up for breakfast and our morning snuggle, i'll listen for interesting monologue. The other morning I heard and saw this:

He pulls his Sammy Shark close to his face and says. "wass a mattow Thammy? Are you dye-een (crying)? Don't Dye Thammy. You dopped yo dada (car)?" Then he stands up and looks over the edge for the car. "I doen know, Thammy, I doen see it."

My favorite quirk is his failure to reverse the way adults use "you," "me," "my" when he's speaking about himself. So long ago, when he needed something we couldn't understand, we would say "show me." So now he'll run up to us and say "show me, show me." instead of "show you." Or he'll pull at my hand and say "I help you, I help you," or "I hold you, I hold you daddy." The best one is when he wants to sit in your lap, it comes out "I waan (pronounced 'jaun') sii my lap."

The other thing he does that kills me is he adds the longest fffff you've ever heard to every word ending with a p. Cupffff, upffff. So the lap-sitting request is actually "I waan sii my lapffff" It's so cute. He's actually starting to grow out of the ffff ending and it makes me sad.

He's very serious about completing some tasks, like cleaning up. Reebs and I are now nursery leaders in his nursery so we get to watch him clean up. Most kids lose interest after a few toys in the bucket, but not this guy. He's scouring the four corners of the place for any unseen toy with the single-mindedness matched only by his mom's business-mode cleaning.

When something is really special he'll put a "dobby" (rhymes with Robby) in front of it. Have no idea what it means, but I think it means awesome. It usually shows up when he wants one of us to draw a "dobby shwutch" (truck) or a "dobby dada."

He's still super cuddly, which keeps Reba and I happy.


December 7, 2008

Amber Alert

Christian bought this van about a week ago for his business and parked it outside our driveway for a couple days until we could get a roof rack, signage, and get it registered. The first morning after we bought it, my retired armed forces neighbor, whom I have spoken to all of twice shows up at my door at 9:30 (and of course I had exercised, gotten dressed and presentable at that late hour...or I might have just been in my p.j.'s) and with a somewhat concerned look on his face asked me, "Are you okay? (Pause.) It's just that there's an unmarked, parked van outside your driveway and it's been there all night." When it dawned on me what he was saying, I quickly explained that, yes, I was okay, it is our van that we just bought, etc., etc.
It's official, folks: We own a kidnapping/rapist/whatever other creepy thing van. The kind that your Mom always told you to steer clear of.

December 4, 2008

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"

A few days after Thanksgiving, we made it out to the "Christmas Corral" (think pumpkin patch- pumpkins+ Christmas trees) to get a tree. Oliver was really excited to see the inflatable snowman when we got there, but wouldn't even get within 10 feet of it, even when the "snow" was turned on. He was too scared. Then, we dumped him off at the gingerbread house and let him play in the cornbox with all the trucks while we picked a tree. Which, since it was a little chilly and very windy, took about 1 minute. I'm not one to brave the cold and I won't even fake it, not even for a festive Christmas tree farm. Since our tree last year was a meager 4 feet to this year's 6-7 feet, we had to double up on decor. So, Oliver got to run around with the garland for a few days while I got the rest of the decorations. If you're wondering what to get him for Christmas, here's an idea: garland. I've never seen him so enamored in his life.

Clearly, he's mesmerized.

Look familiar?? Like I said, think pumpkin patch of one month ago.

He looked like this for at least a few days.

For those of you who are wondering, yes, he still asks to wear his "handsome outfit," (a.k.a., tie).

Doing a little yard work. Ignore the cinderblock fence/wall. Depressing, I know. That's Albuquerque- even at the fancy houses.