Friday, December 28, 2007

Our Secret Santa Revealed...(dun...Dun...DUN!!!)

My brain is like a bowl of cold mush...

My eyelids are heavy...

In vain, I've been trying to post a clever entry to honor our two friends who added a great amount of excitement and joy to our holiday season. However, it seems that no matter how hard I try ... I just can't force "clever."

So if you're in the mood for bland - keep reading:

Chris and Heidi stopped by last Sunday with a "gift" for our family. They entered our cozy quarters with a wrapped gift, a tin full of cookies (eleven to be precise) and twelve bottles of juice. I am embarrassed that it took us 5 minutes (at least) to make the connection that these gifts represented the final two days in our "12 days of Christmas."

They were delighted to learn that we hadn't suspected them at all. We expressed our sincere appreciation and gave them "play by plays" of our reactions to what we had received. Chris and Heidi, thanks again. You made our holiday season truly memorable and we plan to take on the role of "elves" in the years to come.

Christmas day 2007 was easily one of the best I've experienced.
If Andrew and I hadn't spent a small portion of our evening at the Instacare, it would have earned the top spot! Unfortunately, we weren't there Christmas caroling to those poor souls who had to work on Christmas day. And as much as I like to "overshare" I think I will leave out the details for the reason of my visit... I will simply say that all is well with our baby. It wasn't pregnancy related. And "no" I am not a hypochondriac.

Last year, Eliza really enjoyed wrapping paper. To say that it was exciting to watch her face light up as she discovered her gifts - would be an understatement.Post Christmas morning, I would say that her new kitchen attracts the majority of her attention. Unfortunately, I think it is somewhat possessed. When "boiling" water on it's stove or "frying" something in the pan, it makes charming sound effects. Would I classify these noises as "annoying"... not yet. Perhaps in a week I will feel differently.

Without a person to activate it's sensors, it randomly produces the above mentioned noises on it's own. And unless the batteries are removed, I hear them during the night... they beckon me from the insane dreams that are a by-product of pregnancy into a state of momentary confusion. It's as if I need "another" alarm clock when I already have three. First up, Eliza's always a willing candidate for a midnight chat and/or demand, and then I have Andrew's incessant, yet entertaining, sleep talking (note to self - blog about Andrew's sleep talking) and last but certainly not least my BLADDER...Need.I.Say.More?

Speaking of which... that reminds me, nature is calling. Lucky for the two people who are still reading this entry, I now have a reason to turn off the laptop.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!

Wishing all of you happiness and health in the New Year! I hope you're holiday season has been wonderful. Thank you for your friendship and for taking an interest in our current happenings. Each of your supportive and sarcastic comments are so appreciated and enjoyed. :)

Also, by way of announcement... several of our friends have inquired about Andrew's F.E. (fundamentals of engineering) test results. A while back, I blogged about the eight hour comprehensive (4 years worth of material - not much), beast of an exam that Andrew took last October.

A letter came a few days before Christmas informing us that Andrew PASSED THE TEST!!! For various reasons, it's a basic "pass/fail" system - we don't know the actual score. But who cares? I am thrilled for him and proud of his amazing work ethic. Andrew, you're the best. Eliza and I are so blessed that you are ours. Before my moving tribute moves you to tears (or to the toilet to vomit) I will say, "goodnight!"

Saturday, December 22, 2007

"You'll Shoot Your Eye-Out"

Thanks to our good friend Michael, Andrew's eight year old personality has been unleashed.

Last Saturday, Michael showed up on our doorstep with a Christmas gift for Andrew. With excitement in his eyes, Andrew awkwardly asked,

"Do I have to wait until Christmas to open it?"

"No, you can go ahead and open it now" he replied. I was observing their exchange from around the corner. At this point, I couldn't tell who was more excited about the gift - the giver or the recipient.

My eight year old husband enthusiastically pulled out an air soft pistol!! After making plans to get together for a game of "Cowboys and Indians," Michael went home - were he too, has his own air soft pellet gun.

For the record, Andrew classifies this gun as a "toy"... I completely disagree with him. The only guns that are "toys" in my book - are the kind that shoot water. An air soft pellet gun has the capability to shoot someones eye out. Therefore, it is a weapon: AND.IS.DANGEROUS. Remember what happened to Ralphie?

I'll be honest, guns scare me. I'm not prejudiced against one gun in particular - I equally dislike them all: cap guns, the kind that are destined to take out Bambi's posterity, a gun in a video game, "air soft pistol" gun, etc. They all make me uncomfortable. I feel as if I am watching Eliza teeter around the edge of the Grand Canyon when I am around them... they make me anxious.

Andrew loves guns. Although he knows how I feel about them (this includes his new "toy" gun), he still has the nerve to load it up with pellets, flaunt it, stroke it and cock it in my very presence. He turns "cowboy" in a matter of seconds as soon as he has it hooked to his belt.

So you can imagine how my anxiety level sky rocketed this afternoon when he PURPOSEFULLY shot the gun, while standing inside of our BEDROOM this afternoon.

"What are you thinking?!" I furiously demanded.

"Oh, get over it. It's a toy" He insisted. Being "equal" partners in our marital relationship, he has vetoed every gun rule that I have ever imposed.

"I have no problem throwing that gun away if you do that again. Please, put it away!"
(*authors note: pretty sure, I just added in the word "please" for this version of the story)

He, of course, ignored me. So... I did the next best thing. Tonight, at our family Christmas party - I tattled to Grandma. She quickly took my side. There will be no shooting WEAPONS inside of her house!

Testing...one, two, three!

Where's Eliza?
"Peek-A-Boo!"
Oh good, I can finally upload pictures again!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not.A.Hint... we hope

Last night, our mystery Elf left a six pack of Altoids (peppermint, wintergreen & cinnamon)! Andrew and I are SET for Church in the New Year!! Our initial reaction was,

"Does either of us suffer from an unknown case of halitosis?"

But as I read the attached note, I was relieved to read that the mints were not meant to serve as a "hint." Day Six and Day Seven were delivered together, so in addition to our year supply of fresh breath, we found seven jello mixes! Eliza will LOVE that.

Speaking of Eliza, I have adopted a nickname that was originally given to her by her Pediatrician: "Hurricane Eliza." She is wicked fast getting into something naughty. Initially I baby proofed the house to keep HER safe. Now, it seems that I have to baby proof the house all over again, with the perspective of keeping the house safe from her creative hands and brain.

I'm too depressed to display her latest work of art on the blog, but let's just say that she personally autographed with crayon a few of our Holiday Christmas books that I began collecting when we were first married. It could have been prevented, I know.

I have some photos, but blogger isn't allowing me to upload them... houston, that is a problem. I'll try for those later.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We're on the naughty list!

Two nights ago, Andrew confessed that as a little boy (and/or adolescent), he had no problem snooping through Christmas presents. If they were already wrapped, he would delicately unwrap them for a sneak preview...

One year, he discovered a remote control car. Not only did he "look" at it, but he removed it from the packaging, found batteries and drove it in his driveway and in the street when his parent's weren't home. He took his remote control car on more than one joy ride. And after it was finally "given" to him, he was sure that the mud on the wheels may have confirmed his parent's suspicions of his premature play.

Naughty, naughty, naughty - Andrew!

However, before I fully deliver a public chastisement, I admit that I snooped one year (1995 to be precise) and found the camera that I had asked for. Unlike Andrew, the guilt of the discovery tore me up. I had smothered the Christmas magic that had been growing inside my young heart. To ease my sorry conscience, I told my little brother where the hiding place was so that I wasn't the only family miscreant.

After that year, I paid careful attention to be "good." ....well, until last night.

Andrew and I deserve to be kicked over to the "naughty" list. We've been having too much fun with our twelve days of Christmas deliveries; which have included:

1. One pound brownie mix (a.k.a. Magic Goo Bars as the rainwater family lovingly refers to them)
2. Two cuddly blankets
3. Three boxes of crackers: wheat thins, fiddle faddle, ritz
4. Four darling mugs with CANDYCANE COCOA - yum, yum, yum
5. Five coloring books for Eliza!!

So, after putting Eliza down for bed, Andrew and I made the hot cocoa and decided to sit in our dark bedroom with the blinds open in case someone happened to walk past with that evening's delivery...

Bottom Line: we tried (and failed) to catch the cute little elf who has been leaving us nightly treats and I feel terrible... simply terrible for nearly spoiling someone's fun.

Our elf left their delivery after we went to bed (past midnight). It probably seems that we're ungrateful but believe me - we're not! We were just hoping for an adventure. Andrew took the stake out very seriously. When reading the Ensign togther, I was not allowed to hold the flashlight because he was sure I would misuse it and that "our position" would be a dead give away!

And since i am in the finger pointing mood - it was totally Andrew's idea. His influence of catching a sneak peek wore me down, but never again! We'll be on our best behavior. I promise.

I wonder where Eliza gets "tattling on herself" from?

What about you? Do you like a good surprise? As a child did you snoop? Can you resist the temptation of sneaking a peek if the opportunity presents (ha, ha, "presents" get it? - pun intended) itself?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What weighs one pound and makes pregnant women cry?

The answer: One pound of magical cookie bar mix!!Three nights ago, I was trying to relax after having somewhat of "a day" - (anyone else that is currently battling hormones and/or has a toddler with a magnetic connection to the local toilet, knows exactly what I mean when I say that I was having... "a day").

Because of the ongoing expansion of my mid-section, or my body's latest "remodel" - as I lovingly refer to it, I was awkwardly curled up in bed, pouting over the fact that I didn't have a book waiting to be read.

When SUDDENLY,

"there arose such a clatter" - someone was knocking on our door (it's 10:30 pm).

Due to my current state of mock distress, I certainly did NOT

"sprang from the bed to see what was the matter..."

A moment later, Andrew appeared with a surprised look on his face,

"Somebody is doing the twelve days of Christmas to us!" he announced. In an instant my eyes filled with tears as I soaked in this kind gesture.
(Proof of tear strewn eyes - proof of having had the type of day I previously described)

Somebody had taken the time to figure out when exactly the 12 days of Christmas is to start. This individual(s) then proceeded to risk their very life running down our ICY steps to our porch. Were they welcomed by a holly wreath and glowing Christmas lights? No ma'm. They were greeted by our daily garbage bag mingled with Eliza's diapers that had not yet reached it's final destination: our main trash can out front.

I had recently told my Mom that I have experienced a shift regarding Christmas gifts. As I imagine Christmas morning, all of my excitement is reserved for watching my family (more specifically Eliza) opening their gifts... I can already hear Eliza's enthusiastic "ooohs" and "ahhhs." I see her clapping her tiny hands with enthusiasm as she shouts, "YAY!" when she discovers the treasures waiting for her.
(Eliza and her daddy, cuddling up in one of the blankets our secret friend left us!)
However... as we await each night's thoughtful delivery, I must confess that it sure does feel good to be on the receiving end.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Edward has been cast!!! - And the geekdom continues

I totally have to give credit to my cousin Jessi for discovering and sharing this long awaited piece of information. The announcement has been made that Robert Pattinson (Cedric Diggory of the Harry Potter films) has been cast as Edward!I acknowledge that I am pathetic for being as hyped up about this as I am! This year for Christmas, I am asking Santa to send me a "life."

While we're on the topic of Edward Cullen (for those of you who don't know who I am talking about again; I am referring to a fictional vampire who has captured the hearts of teenage girls to 40+ year old women everywhere.) I was addressing Christmas envelopes yesterday and thought I'd make my Aunt smile by writing on the return address "Alison Cullen"... overcome, with the thought of temporarily substituting my last name with Edward's - I misspelled my OWN first name so it read: "Allison"

small annoyance #28 of my life is the continued misspelling of my first name. And now, I am guilty of doing it myself. Good grief. Who can't spell their own name? Well, I blame it on Edward. He can be so distracting.

I am not sure what it means to have a "complex." I hear people talking about having them and when evaluating my feelings for my own name, I have decided that I have a "complex" of my own. Congratulations to me!

For those of you who don't know this, my name is really Alison... a name, I happen to love.

I was primarily known as Alison up until the 12th grade. When Andrew I began dating, he asked me if a previous boyfriend had called me Ali or Alison. I replied, "He called me Alison." For whatever reason, that conversation turned me into, "Ali." Andrew could have called me Bernice for all I cared. I was so smitten.

My vocal teacher made the decision to call me "Ali" as well, so when I left for college with three of my high school singing friends, they introduced me as Ali. As you can see, "things" worked out well with Andrew and me, we ended up married (obviously) and so I am still his "Ali"... Except in the 104+ letters he sent me on his mission, I was addressed as "Alison Ann"

I'll be honest, I have days when I really miss being "Alison" but I am coming to terms that for the remainder of my adult life I will always be "Ali"... What are they going to put on my tombstone? Alison? And if they do, whose going to be able to find me?

My mom once called my place of employment and asked to speak with "Alison." They told her she had the wrong number and hung up on her. UGH!

Well - again, I had NO intention of writing about my first ever "complex" but there you have it. I hope it provided some measure of entertainment.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dear fellow Harry Potter Geeks,

Guess what movie was released today onto DVD? I hope you're not offended that I thought a fan, such as yourself, needed the reminder. I just thought you'd like to share in my excitement!

Christmas has magically made our income disappear, so I will be stalking my local redbox... patiently waiting for it to be in stock.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Eliza on my mind - 18 months

It's time for this month's edition of Eliza-isms18 month milestones:
- You are a regular at Nursery!! I nearly wept when they presented me with your first Church art project. It was monumental. It hung our wall for three weeks.
- Learning to count (you are really good at saying the word "two")
- Coloring on the wall and then finding Mom to tell me, "Uh-oh!" while pointing to your wall scribbles! You tattle on yourself ALL day long.
- You play well with other children... however, you has no problem "defending" your territory if a toy is taken away by a play-mate. We're learning to keep our arms and legs to ourselves
- At each meal, you are the first to fold your arms to remind us it's time to pray
- Bed time routine consists of reading stories in daddy's lap, singing with Mom, saying prayers, kisses goodnight, followed by "high-fives" from the crib
- You LOVE to brush your teeth. On average, we brush your teeth three times a day.
- You've mastered climbing furniture.
- I wish you'd stop drinking your bath tub water.
- You enjoy dipping your finger in the snow, placing it in your mouth, smacking your lips in satisfaction and saying, "Ah!"
-Mom is seriously contemplating potty training. You think the bathroom process is fascinating and clap your hands when I let you throw your own piece of toilet paper into the toilet and then let you flush it away.
And our personal favorite:

- You place your face right in front of mine and yell as loud as you can, "MAMAS????" and then proceed to calmly babble about whatever it is that's on your mind.

Eliza, your mama loves you. Walking into the grocery store yesterday, I felt overwhelming gratitude that you are ours. I think you sparkle. Even when you have a cold. I apologize in advance if posts such as these embarrass you when you're older.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Blackout

Let me clarify that the title of today's entry is NOT an endorsement for Britney Spears' new album. Rather, it's the former status of our family's shelter a.k.a. our basement apartment.

Yesterday our power/electricity decided to go on vacation at 11:00 am. The first challenge that this presented was the entrapment of my vehicle in our garage. It was my turn to pick up Grandma from therapy at 11:15 am and I couldn't open the garage.

"Poor Grandma! She is going to think I've abandoned her" I thought as I imagined her wandering through an icy parking lot, looking for my imprisoned vehicle!

Thankfully, this part of the story has a happy ending. My mother in law, saved the day and went and picked her up. Upon their arrival, I began an internal investigation of the garage. I knew it could be opened manually, so with their eyes on Eliza, I went outside.

Pee Wee Herman has twice the amount of arm muscle than me (I have never been able to do a real push up - maybe in my next life), so I was feeling proud and defeated at the same time when I managed to lift the garage door above my head. This garage is ancient, so once I got the door above my head, I realized I was seriously stuck.

So I just stood there... holding a garage door above my head- wishing Andrew could see how capable his wife was being.

Grandma handed me a step ladder, so with the assistance of Teresa, I climbed up - STILL holding the garage door - (my ego is growing faster than my belly) and pushed it up further. But then... it wouldn't stay! I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to let the door crash to the ground, but I didn't think I had the strength to let it down slowly - what a waste of blog space to describe this to you.

My life is pretty mellow, so lifting a garage door makes for an adventure in my book!

Long story short... (as always - too late!), Teresa held the garage door open as I ran inside, found my car keys and drove out my car.

"Freeeeeeeeeeee-dom!"

So after taking naps in our igloo, Eliza and I bailed for the afternoon. Andrew and Eliza rejoined Grandma in the evening so I could go to cub scouts.

While at Scouts (a.k.a. my weekly girls night out) I began explaining my day to another leader. My drama filled face soon caught the attention of one of our cub scouts. Being in a basement, our light intake is limited, so I used the term "cave" to describe our apartment since both our heat and light were absent.

This cub scout's eyes grew wide with fear as he innocently and honestly asked, "You... live... in a cave?" Good grief, I am going to give these sweet boys nightmares. I explained that wasn't the case and set his worried mind at ease!

I came home to a HOT dinner and warm house. Grandma lit her wood burning stove and heated up Teresa's taco soup on it. We had dinner in the candle light and then watched Eliza as she ran around the darkened rooms. She was our only form of entertainment so she relished in the spotlight... uh, in the dark?!

Considering the temperature, we decided to have her sleep with us for the third time in her life! She was beyond excited and thought we were playing a game. Settling her down was tricky, but finally, she gave into her exhaustion. Andrew was the next to fall asleep. Being the paranoid mother that I am, I stayed up and adjusted Eliza every three minutes to ensure she was properly covered with 75+ blankets.

As I enviously watched their peaceful faces sleep, my baby boy began to kick as if to say, "Hi Mom! I will stay awake with you!"- what a thoughtful fetus, I have!

Because I am pregnant, sleeping is already challenging. Add in a fuzzy little girl's head snuggling into your neck, along with her snoring - and that was how well I slept... until finally, at midnight - all of the lights in the house turned on!

WELCOME BACK DEAR ELECTRICITY... we gave the heater the opportunity to warm up our place before Andrew returned Eliza to her crib, where she once again, had full reign to twist, turn and somersault herself into any and every position her sleeping heart desired.

The only "damage" done from yesterday is that I woke up with Eliza's head cold and with her overwhelming need for Hershey's chocolate mint bars (now that right there is a free endorsement! - they are SO GOOD)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Breakfast with Santa & A Baby Shower

Contrary to popular belief, I do in fact style Eliza's hair EVERYDAY!Her hair simply has a personality of it's own.

This morning, we were greeted by this picturesque scene. After bundling up, we went to our ward house to have breakfast with Santa Claus. Being the social magnet that she is, Eliza wasn't phased for a moment when we sat her on Santa's lap.
Eliza enjoyed coloring with her friend, Evan.Andrew and Mike Jensen couldn't resist four wheeling on the snowbanks for a few minutes. I had to laugh when our Bishop suddenly joined in for a round in his truck!

This afternoon, I headed out (well... to the relief of those who know me, Andrew drove me) to Sandy for a baby shower for Laura King. Eliza spent the afternoon with Andrew while I relished in conversation with friends. As we talked, I only managed one HUGE over share. I really need to attend these functions with a roll of duct tape for my mouth.



All of those cute baby clothes made me think about my sweet boy. He and I went to a doctor's appointment yesterday. I gained FIVE pounds in four weeks (I had been averaging one or two pounds up until now. Can we say, "Thanksgiving" happened?). To be fair, my tummy has "popped" so I can attribute two pounds there and the other three to my face.

Here we are at 23 weeks!