Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mia Turns Two!

Mia turned two on December 12th. We had a lovely surprise when a friend offered to make a cake for her birthday. It was simply breathtaking! When Mia woke up from her nap on her birthday and I ran her downstairs to see her cake, she exclaimed, "Pwetty!" Little sugar butterflies and gorgeous handmade flowers along with miniature cats (that have now moved to the tub) adorned it. Besides being beautiful it was also delicious! Thank you Jennifer and family for the wonderful treat! We had family over to open presents after dinner and we all enjoyed the evening together.

The amazing birthday cake!

Playing with her new toys from Granddad and Roselynn.

The day after birthday with her new harmonica from Oma. She pretends it is a camera most days! =)

Now that Mia is two she gets two vitamins every day instead of one and I think that's been the biggest change in her life. She loves her vitamins since they pretty much taste like candy. She is also talking up a storm and I'm getting to be an expert on interpreting. We talk about where everyone sleeps and if everyone she knows eats and other interesting things. It's amazing how you think you're having the most fun possible and then a new phase develops and it's even more fun! Right now she is very into drumming and we have either an empty oatmeal cannister or paint can in our living room for drumming every day. A small hand drum with mallets is on it's way to Alaska and I'm very excited to improve the asthetics of our living room as well as provide her with a real instrument to play on. When she was really little she used to drum her feet on the floor and would get mad if we tried to cushion her heels. What we figured out is that she wanted to hear the rythm! She kicked her little feet constantly and now she drums on everything. It's such a heart-warming thing for me because I think she might of inherited the gene from my brother Liam who now plays several instruments. So we're encouraging it.

I will post pics later from our holidays and all the fun we've been having outside in the snow. We've had some really decent days above zero lately so we've been able to play without getting too cold too fast.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Before & After

I recently decided it was time for some pampering and my dearest Dad overheard me and got me some pampering for Christmas. I was in bad need of a trim (surprise surprise). Since I recently discovered what my real hair color is again, I thought it might be nice to shake things up and get some highlights. And to put the frosting on, I felt my nails could use some special attention. So here are the before and after shots for your amusement, and mine. I crack myself up. =)

Wow I guess I lost track of time and let them get too long! Yikes!

Okay, that's much better.

Obviously in serious need of care...


The look on my face says it all.

The new hair. Thanks Dad! I loved my Christmas pampering!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Well to travel back in time a little... we went to Florida for about ten days last month and got to see and do some really fun stuff! The most special part of all was Mia getting the chance to meet her great-grandparents Grandpa John and Grandma Dorothy, my mother-in-law's parents. Grandpa John turned ninety in November, so it was really special for us to be able to see him that same month. We enjoyed some great times getting to visit, eat, and hang out with them. They really enjoyed Mia and spoiled her with lots of new clothes and toys. She loved it! She also got to meet her Aunt Jean and Uncle Gary and they spoiled her too. We really have an amazing family.

We also got the chance to go to Sea World which was really fun, surprisingly fun actually. We didn't get very many pictures there (I know - epic fail) but we were having too much fun to go back to the car and get the good camera. We went to one show that was so well done; there were swimmers riding on dolphins and whales, aerial artists hanging from wires doing acrobatics, people diving into the water from great heights, tropical birds flying overhead and actors with banners all set to inspiring music... it was a visual and sensory treat. We also had a lot of fun at the duck pond. I know it doesn't sound that cool, but when you go from the arctic to 75 degree weather and then you see 15 different varieties of ducks swimming around and your kid is really into it, it's awesome. Mia happens to love ducks so it was great. There was also an aquarium type thing where you could look at fish and little crabs in displays and Mia really liked that. She was sure the crabs were bugs and bugs are pretty much her favorite thing along with Curious George and Elmo.

Busch Gardens was fun too, but we liked Sea World better. We did get the chance to see all sorts of animals there though and got some treats. I think the monkeys were Mia's favorite part.

The vacation house in Punta Gorda where we stayed for most of our trip was absolutely gorgeous. It had a fully loaded kitchen so all we had to do was buy groceries. There was a master suite with bathroom for Lyle and Ilene. Then there was a separate suite with two bedrooms and bathroom for us and the baby. The living room opened to a lanai with a heated pool that overlooked a gorgeous canal. Mia went swimming a lot - mostly with Jason and it was great to watch them exploring the water together. She did really well with the floaty thing Jas picked up for her and was working on staying upright without help. I got in a couple of times myself and it was fabulous.

We had great weather the whole time we were there except for a heavy rain on our way to Punta Gorda from Orlando (and we were in the car for the entire thing) so it was pretty awesome. Every once in a while, out of nowhere, Mia says "Bucks? Pool?" She's remembering getting to throw her bug toys in the pool and I'm glad we had the chance to give her fun memory like that. Most of all I'm glad we got the chance to visit with her great-grandparents. Hooray for family!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Home Again

Well usually I don't write about things I don't like, but a lot of them happened in November so I will inform and then move on to the happy ending, which I am loving. I love happy endings so much I have a really bad habit of reading the ends of books, then deciding if it was a happy enough ending for me to spend my precious time reading the rest of the book. It is a rare book that can get me to read it from front to back. But I digress.

So we left for our trip to Florida and I had gotten a little sick with some wierdish stuff and some flu-like symptoms. I didn't think it was swine flu because I had already gotten that earlier... Anyway I figured I'd be fine or get better there and instead when we got back to Fairbanks my Dad picked me up and brought me right to the emergency room. Apparently I got a little virus called hand-foot-and mouth which normally kids only get but I have been on some meds that suppress my immune system and I got it and then it wreaked havoc with my body. So after a second trip to the ER I was getting worse and checked into the hospital for a solid week. Meanwhile... when we had gotten home we realized our tenant's furnace had a fuel line break and - whoops- it had spilled approximately 10 gallons of diesel fuel into our floor boards, making both sides of our duplex and every material item in it simply reek. We then moved into my in-laws house to escape the fumes (a couple of days after that is when I moved into the hospital, leaving Mia in the capable hands of Nana, Papa, and Daddy). Shout-out to the in-laws who were amazingly generous in housing us!!!

This next part is where my husband gets nominated for sainthood. So he gets the fuel line fixed, step one. Then he thinks he's going to have to rip up the whole floor to get rid of the smell, but he tries an odor-eating spray and an odor-sealing paint x 3 applications first to see if we can avoid a major unplanned remodel. The paint is applied at close quarters in a literal crawl space under our house. Meanwhile he's working his job and pulling extra Daddy hours due to me being AWOL. The paint stuff works, the smell starts to diminish.... he cleans both sides carpets... he does exactly one-million loads of laundry to get the smell out of all our clothes, linens, everything.... and I really think Saint Jason has a nice ring to it. No he's not perfect but neither was Mother Theresa. And he's not the only one on the list. Our parents, Granddad, Nana, Papa, Oma, numerous friends.... we have had tons of support and people loving on us in this month of chaos and we are so grateful. I almost wrote soooooo grateful, but it looked insincere.

And now for the happy ending. We are home again and I love it here and every little thing and quirk about this place including the red pipe upstairs that has always made me vaguely uncomfortable - I LOVE. I never ever want to move from this home at this moment in time. I love the older carpet. I love the fact there are month-old cheerios in the couch. I love that for some odd reason the bathroom is the hottest room in the house. And I forgot what it looked like, and I forgot I had pretty things and pictures of my family and little candles and funky pottery and art on the walls that friends have painted for me. It is wonderful to be home again.

My glorious mothers (Mom and Mom-In-Law) helped us move in last night and folded laundry and cooked us food and shopped for us! Mia was really shocked at first and then really excited to see all her toys and her house again, too. And she went right back into all her little routines, it was so awesome. God is good to us and I have seriously 10 billion things to be thankful this holiday season. And I love this time of year. A savior has come. Christ the Lord! (Heart bursting into song even though all I'm doing externally is grinning.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Baby Don't Mess Around...

I don't think I did anything to deserve this, but I am very blessed. =) Let me tell you how. When I got pregnant I did nothing to influence the baby to turn out in a specific way. To be straight with you, there was a lot of chocolate ice cream, mac'n'cheese, gummy-vites, and indie rock. It was not a formula for anything except to maximize my comfort. What came out was more than a miracle. I had a baby masseuse.

She loves to play with lotion, which is how I discovered this little talent. And if I keep putting dabs on my feet, she will rub them forever. =) She's having fun, so don't worry. She's very good at it, too, which doesn't hurt a thing! She may have inherited this from her father, who is better than awesome at giving massages. (Hooray!)

The other thing is that she must have been born knowing how to give amazing compliments. We were thumbing through a Fitness magazine together (no I have not been working out lately) and flipped past a picture of what looked like a Swedish supermodel on a ski slope wearing sunglasses and a white jacket, and she stops and says, "Mama?" and points to the picture. I didn't want to correct the poor dear... so I said, "Yes, that looks like Mama doesn't it, you angel!" What a nice kid. Tempts me again to go platinum for her so I'm closer to the picture. All for her of course, has nothing at all to do with my ego. =)

Stay tuned for more when we get back to Fairbanks... we are getting lots of amazing pics in Florida thanks to our new camera, I guess the old one breaking was a blessing in disguise.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Camera Broken, Delilah AWOL

Well the camera I thought was indestructible found its limit. So I'll have to just use words for a while. And in other news of the day, the promise I made (unbidden) to my cousin to not cut my hair for thirty days... I have stuck to so far. Makes it easier when you're starting out with a good cut.

We're getting ready for another trip, this time to Florida. I think I would like to eat an orange, sitting by a pool, soaking in the sun. When we come back it will be just in time to begin the holiday season, seems like this last month has gone by really fast.

And my final thought for the night: Bananas are good. So that tells you I'm too tired to blog any more and won't make you all die of boredom, at least from this post. =)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

John C. Reilly, Bane Of My Existence

My husband Jason and I have a little game we play that's been going on for pretty much our whole marriage. It's a friendly betting game, friendly because I usually win... The deal is, we see some actor or actress in a movie or show on TV and say, "Hey that's the dude from that one movie!" Then the other person says, "No way, no how. They may resemble that person, but this is a completely different guy/gal." Then the first person says, you wanna bet... you get the picture. The stakes are usually a 10-minute back-rub.

Well the other night we were watching "Never Been Kissed" with Drew Barrymore and her rough-around-the-edges boss... and Jason says, "Hey that's the same guy that's in Talladega Nights with Will Ferrell." Here's a picture of the actor in question:

So then I say: "No way, that is not the same dude, no, they just look a lot alike.... " What should have tipped me off to the extremely unfortunate outcome of this particular game was my slight feeling of confusion. I was having a hard time picturing the guy from Talladega Nights as I made the bet, which doesn't usually happen to me... I have been blessed with a great memory and a penchant for details, essentially making this the perfect game for me. Jason, sensing my impending doom, raised the stakes. I went for the 10-minute back-rub, while he chose a homemade rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes dinner. Quite a decent prize.

I ran off to the computer to check images of Talladega Nights... and it's the same guy. Crud. Worse than having to pay up is my broken winning streak and I feel a sinister lack of recognition confidence.

Here's a picture of John C. Reilly from Talladega Nights:

I'm blaming it on the mustache.

Friday, October 9, 2009

All Is Well...

Turns out my hair was not ruined by me, myself, and I. Almost but not quite. It really pays to know a good hairdresser (professionally trained) who knows what she is doing and can fix my experiments. Thank you very much Miriam, I love my cut and think it will help me grow it out much more comfortably. I have not put down the scissors though, so never fear, Sheila's Illegal Salon will be back at it soon... maybe we'll just focus on the hairs of others for a while and leave mine to their happy little follicle lives.

I did pick up a real hair-cutting cape today and a new pair of sharp, glorious scissors... sorry to disappoint all of you who had grown accustomed to wearing a black garbage bag and roasting inside said garbage bag for the duration of your hair procedures. Because I like to think of the Illegal Salon as a spa, too. We'll have to figure out something else if you still want the sauna experience, but I think overall the cape will be an improvement. Also dull scissors did have that special signature effect, but all I can say is we're changing with the times.

Give me a call and let me take a whack at it! (I'm testing out slogans... I really like this one...)

Below is the fully functioning new hair and you literally can't style it wrong. It's versatile and awesome!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Baby Blue Lips

Monday we were in a creative mood and decided to break out the watercolors. I turned my back for one second and Mia had paint all over her face. Thankfully it is all non-toxic because then she started dipping her fingers in it and eating it, saying, "Num, num" very convincingly. If you've ever wondered how certain colors taste... she seems to have survived and you could try them all in the privacy of your own home. No one would ever have to know. =)

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Shrine

Okay this is seriously one of the most fun things I have ever done... a few years ago as I was dipping my toes in the water of hair dyeing and cutting, my coworker Missy Gordon graciously agreed to let me practice on her - I think we did some trimming and gave her a blond panel. Anyway... inspired by my friend Rebecca who dreamed of inviting friends over to an apartment darkened and completely filled with lit candles and dressed in a black cape (with hood), opening the door and saying, "Oh, come on in, I'm almost done here..." then finishing her made-up religious ritual arm-waving while they stood by in awkwardness, I came up with this idea to prank Missy.

I invited her over to my apartment to do her hair (it was her first time to come to my house ever). Then I shamelessly misused the building photo directory to get a picture of her. I took it home and made a bunch of copies. I still wish to this day that I had made even more. I then stuck this picture in several of my picture frames, replacing pictures of my relatives and family friends with several different sizes of her work picture. Jason helped me set up a small shrine on our kitchen table complete with candles which we lit right before she arrived. As it was her first time visiting I was hoping to give the impression that I was a total creepazoid but not scare her so much that she called the cops thinking some horrible stalking movie was playing out. And also to be like, "I've been waiting so long for you to come over!!!" Creepy, right? Well she came to the door and I let her in with great anticipation. I hope I said something to the effect of, "Welcome to our home" (with crazy eyes and strange smile) or "It's so great to finally have you over." She walked in and I busied myself in the kitchen while she looked around. She saw the shrine immediately. She said something like, "What the?" And I couldn't take the awkwardness and started laughing hysterically. More than being freaked out or weirded out, which was the actual goal, she realized I was just the first person to recognize her greatness and why the heck did it take so long for someone to make a shrine for her... lucky for me I picked the right person to do this to... someone with a weaker constitution would have been so afraid! Anyway it always makes me smile to remember this awesome prank. =) I think it's even better than the time I made up a fake charity and tried to extort donations from relatives I hadn't seen in a while...

The best shrine ever.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sheila's Illegal Salon Part 4 & Mia In Pink Sweater

You may find that, as the weather gets colder, Illegal Salon activity increases. Today is deceptively gorgeous-looking but the actual temperature is hovering slightly above freezing. So I trimmed my bangs today. I like the bangs but it got me looking at the rest of the hair. I am going for length ultimately, but I realized that one side looks shorter than the other. The problem is, I like the longer side better... I could go and get it professionally fixed, but knowing me I probably will attempt to solve the problem myself and if I botch it then I'll call someone. Or I could just put stuff in it to hide it until it grows out to the length of the good side and then trim up the good side. The cutting is the quick part. The recovering from the cutting takes so much longer.

I dressed Mia in her pink sweater this morning. It was a gift last year from Bill and Vladia, friends of my Grandma Anne. At one point she had the hood up and her sunglasses on and resembled a baby Jackie O. You can also see from the picture above that Mia's been playing with my makeup brush lately and enjoying it tremendously. The only downside is sometimes I find it in weird places like the floor of the laundry room, or I catch it being used as a general dusting tool on the sink and toilet. Yuck.

Climbing on the toilet is a new fun thing that she is doing lately. Mostly it is done when I am in the shower and from the toilet she can flick the lights off and on and turn on the water in the sink. Occasionally she falls from her standing position on the toilet and then I leap out of the shower sopping wet to comfort her and encourage her to go do something else. Last time she fell on top of the trash can, which of course was full, and wedged herself in between the wall and the toilet... I'll have my quiet, peaceful showers back when she goes to college. Now that I think of it, I don't really mind the drama that much. =)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sheila's Illegal Salon Part 3

It seems the Illegal Salon is expanding. Last night I was fortunate enough to host Clare, Raoul, Gabriel and Raoul's mother at our home which is the forum for Illegal Salon's activities. Clare was the new accomplice and Raoul's mom our "victim"... her words not mine! =) I started off the cut and Clare finished the last ninety percent of it; I think it turned out great! The babies played ball and practiced taking pictures with my camera which is practically indestructible. The men drank beer and observed the proceedings with amusement; we played telemundo in the background to distract Raoul's mom from her "execution". I had a lot of fun and can't wait to see what happens next at Sheila's Illegal Salon!

Mia actually took this shot of Gabriel, pretty good for her first day taking pictures!

Testing out my new translator for my Spanish-speaking readers...

Parece que el Salón ilegal se está expandiendo. Anoche tuve la suerte de ser anfitrión de Clare, Raoul, Gabriel y madre de Raoul, en nuestra casa que es el foro para las actividades ilegales de Salon. Clara fue el cómplice nuevo y la mamá de Raoul nuestra "víctima" ... sus palabras no el mío! =) Yo comencé el corte y Clara terminó los últimos noventa por ciento de ella, creo que resultó genial! Los bebés que jugaba a la pelota y practicar la toma de fotografías con mi cámara que es prácticamente indestructible. Los hombres bebían cerveza y observar el proceso con atracciones, jugamos Telemundo en el fondo para distraer a la mamá de Raúl de la ejecución de su. Tuve un montón de diversión y no puedo esperar a ver qué sucede después ilícito de Sheila Salón!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cheesecake Birthday

My Dad's birthday was today. He and his friend Roselynn got to come over and eat dessert with us. I made a lemon cheesecake. To be technical it's actually called a Creamy Lemon Cheesecake Pie. It is very light and satisfying. The recipe is from the back of the Honey Graham Cracker pie crust label and you can find it in it's entirety at http://savvygirlcompany.blogspot.com.

The two important things to remember are to make it 5 hours ahead of when you want to eat it so it has time to firm up in the fridge, and also to use a fresh lemon if you can get it and not bottled lemon juice. I think it really improves the texture and taste to have the peel in it.

I had the choice to go with either light sour cream or regular - I went with the regular just in case using light would have impacted the creaminess... not something to be tampered with.

Another thing I have noted is that a certain baby, even when teething and rejecting all her regular foods, will eat this lemon cheesecake without hesitation. A girl after my own heart.

For those of you counting candles... yes the three stands for 33 years old, and my Dad was 4 when he had me. =)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Twenty Hugs

Mia is not what you would call a cuddler; as a young baby sleeping in our bed she would be stretched out completely - all the blankets kicked off - with her parents clinging to their respective edges in tortured positions. We've talked to other parents that have similar personality types, the kid that is on the go and is too busy for long hugging sessions. But every once in a while, Mia will catch me sitting on the floor and decide to wrap her soft baby arms around my neck in the best hug ever (second only to Jason's hugs). The thing is, she doesn't just give one... she comes back and back until, as the recipient, you are about as happy as you ever thought possible. Twenty hugs later, and twenty thank-you's, she finds something else to do, but there in that moment, you have found part of your reward for sleepless nights and diapers and cleaning up puke... I got twenty hugs this morning and I can tell today is going to be awesome.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Glorious Fall Day

Today was an amazingly wonderful day. Jason is on day two of a four-day weekend and we are gratefully taking advantage of it! This morning he had some work around the house to do, so Mia and I played outside and then took a nap. After we woke up all three of us went for a walk in Creamer's Field. It was perfect. It was around eighty degrees and a bright blue sky as far as the eye could see. The geese honking added to the ambiance, as well as that autumn smell that is specific to Alaska. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.