Friday, January 31, 2014

Whitley in January

Whitley has definitely hit her "toddler" stage.  She is a fast little walker, but she definitely wobbles - so cute to see her!   She picks up several new words a day - but definitely has her own vocabulary terms from her own language for things too.  Steph has helped to translate a lot of them (or I've figured it out), but there's still some mysteries.  Last night, we were all puzzled by "Soma" - the best we can come up with is "Baby Einstein Videos" (vs. "Dona" meaning "Dora", or "Choo Choo" as "Choo Choo Soul").  And, then, there's lots of talking where we know she has something to say, but there's no translation.  She gets her point across, though - more and more every day.  

One thing that's no mystery is her love for the play areas at the malls - particularly this one with the slide.  Love these expressions.

Unfortunately, adjacent to, but outside the "protected" play area, are little pay-to-ride-on gizmos.  She's constantly trying to escape and get in these now.

Not sure if you noticed the barrettes in the picture, but it's become my new fixation.  Just can't get over the cute-quotient of these little animal barrettes.  So, it's my fault that Whitley now thinks barrettes or hair bows are called "Owl" and making the "hooooo" sound.  (Which leads to the age-old question when we put the fox barrettes in...."What does the fox say?"  ;)   )

We also got a visit in to see Mikayla's girl friends, when I had to pick Mikayla up early the other day from school.  She's a hit. 

Unfortunately, not every part of every day brings smiles.  Whitley has recently discovered the joys of "bouncy-bouncy" (trampoline) and "ouside" (being outside).  It BREAKS HER HEART when she can't go out there.   She'll go to the door and just cry and wail.  On days like the one in this picture when it is raining and in the 40's, there's just not an option.  Sorry, about a bath instead?  (The video that accompanied this pic, not shown due to missing clothing - was so sad and pathetic....she just couldn't understand why she was being denied).

So, when it is NOT raining (even between cloudbursts - and even when it's chilly) - I try to indulge her.  Even when 45 minutes goes on and we're still out there, it's really not a bad gig.  She's self-contained, happy, moving, getting fresh air - and I'm either exercising along with her, or relaxing along side of her.  If she's going to be obsessed with doing something - there's a whole lot worse she could choose!

Also, last week, we got a visit in to see Heather.  She works at the same place as Nancy, so we peeked in to see her too.  It was a hoot (pun intended....note her outfit) - I think Whit could have run down the hallways playing peek-a-boo with Heather's office mates all day.

This last Thursday, Kaela came in to town - and yes, we chose to have our catch-up conversation on the trampoline.

Later, Whit got to visit Mikayla's volleyball practice.  Again, hard to get her to leave.  "Baaaaalllll!"

Finally, on Friday, Christi came over to help Kaela (and I) decorate for Elaina's surprise bridal shower that evening.  Whit had a rough go of it all that afternoon, but after some Advil to help with her obvious teething (a constant stream of drool from that girl this last week) - she came around by the end of the day.  (Huge kudos to my teenage boy who whisked her off for fun times as soon as he walked through the door from school....times like that I chant again and again to him, "You're my hero, Brayden, you're my hero, Brayden!")  At one point, Christi's little Elsie woke up and Whitley was very interested in tending to the little baby.  She put her binkie in, "stimulated her" by playing with the carseat toys, and worked on buckling.  We used the word "Gentle" a lot, but largely, she showed signs of capabilities of being a very good big sister... Something to think about, Travis and Steph!  =)

To My Faithful Blog Readers...

I utter a sincere apology for my obvious absence.  There have been a few blog-worthy events that have transpired (my hubby's birthday!!!) - and trust me, they will be documented.

However, on any given weekday, my typing on the computer is like a catnip to a kitty for Whitley.  The other day, when I needed to get something done for a deadline, I literally had my phone on one "Dora" show and my Kindle on a "Baby Einstein" show - with her on my lap - to keep her from needing to be on the computer. 

So, catch up time needs to happen on weeknights or weekends - and sometimes, by the time that time arrives, I'd really rather just chill and be lazy. 

I will get caught up, I promise.  In the meantime, I just wanted to assure you all that we're still alive and kickin' - and already to the final day of January!  Woo hoo...and good riddance!  

Hope your Friday is a happy one....and February starts off full of joy!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

We Pulled It Off for the Second Year in a Row!

Happy 45th Birthday to the MAN OF MY DREAMS - and I mean that in every sense. From the moment I meant him, I was drawn to him and his positive spirit - and overwhelming love for the Lord that made me want to be a better person and draw closer to God as well. At the very least, I longed to be his friend, but in my heart, I dreamed of so much more - it took a while.... - but, eventually, my fairy tale ending occurred when we tied the know and made a lifetime of love and commitment official. John Riley, I am so proud of you and the husband, father, and friend you are - Happy 45th my love!
— with John Riley.

That's the tribute I paid John on Facebook.  I figured I'd start the post with that - as that's what the whole point of it is.  And, after our surprise last year, I was struggling with how to appropriately honor him this year.  The timing of his birthday is so hard for me.  I'm just depleted with "planning and doing" after the holidays, and usually weighing so much more than I want to be - so the idea of putting on one more social event that would involve a lot of people and eating delicious foods goes against my ambitions in the midst of January.  Enter Heather.  As she had a big roll in last year's gathering (and year's prior too) - she volunteered to see what she could put together for him.  Boy, did she pull it off.  She managed to find a day where her, Cully, Michael Chase, and the Whites could all get together which happened to land on the one day of his birthday week we were available.  (The day before his birthday).  I threw him off as best as I could.  We already had a dinner date scheduled at Red Robin with his mom on his Birthday - so when I suggested we celebrate his day with my parents (as well as Mikayla's birthday) on that Tuesday, he didn't blink an eye.  The only potential give-away was that the house was really clean when he came home.  Ooops....couldn't be avoided.  It was more important for me to have a clean house than to cover up a potential surprise by leaving it trashed when company would be coming later.  

The whole gang was already waiting for us when we got there - so perfect.  John was indeed surprised! 

Kenjon was the biggest surprise.  We knew he was done with his season and back on the west coast, but he'd been planning to go from Washington down to California that week.  Heather talked him into switching course... It had been since September since we'd seen him last.

The evening was full of stories and fun expressions and antics.

Because of Whitley's bedtime, the Whites parted ways after dinner.  The rest of us headed back to our house for some delicious carrot cake cupcakes that Heather made - and a little Wii Fit U for entertainment.

In order to calibrate the movement games, each person needs their own "Mii" to be created.  You can make it look like you by taking a picture with the hand-held console - some of the interpretations are eerily close and others are like "Is that really how people see me?"   Of course, the worst is the weigh in.  You can hide the actual weight from being shown on the screen, but it does publicly declare your BMI and show what range you are in (underweight, normal, overweight, obese).  Let's just say, I was so glad I'd already established my Mii ahead of time.  

One thing the Wii Fit does NOT do, though, is determine your muscle mass percentage (or body fat percentage).   So, with both Cully - who is short, but all muscle - and then, especially Kenjon - the BMI was not even remotely accurate to determine how fit they were.  If you can read when it says for Kenjon, it's hilarious.  He's listed as "Overweight" - and the game had the audacity to suggest that perhaps he should spend less time in his day "sitting" and try to be more active.  It recommended he lose like 20 pounds (or more) and wanted him to set a goal on how many weeks it would take to accomplish that.  Can you imagine him returning pre-season to the Carolina Panthers saying, "Hey Coach, I stopped lifting in order to lose the weight that Wii Fit told me I should lose...hope that's okay!"

So, the end result, both Cully and Kenjon's Mii characters inflated a bit after the BMI was established to look "portly".  With Kenjon's skin coloring as dark, and him in a stocking cap - his character reminded me of "Fat Albert" - we all got a big kick out of it!!!

Of course, the competition was HEATED - particularly between Michael, Heather, and Kenjon - somehow, Kenjon finds a way to beat Heather by just a point, percentage, or margin so tiny - I know it infuriates her!  (And, if he doesn't, he plays again until he does).

But, Mikayla kicked everyone's butt when it comes to ski jumping - proving just how wise it was for the Olympics to bring Womens' Ski Jumping into the events this year.

What a great way to celebrate John... thank you SO MUCH Heather for making it all happen!