Saturday, December 31, 2005
Happy New Year!
I'm sitting on the couch with the laptop in my lap, buzzed on a giant cup of mudslide. M. is sawing them off on the couch next to me. I told him I was drinking all the champagne myself if he fell asleep. Right this moment I'm not sure if I'll make it. After our whirlwind Christmas holiday, I'm just grateful to be home tonight. In my jammies, comfy and understimulated. Best Wishes!
Curse these shaped holes!
M. was in the living room playing with Emma and I couldn't hear everything that was going on, but I could hear that she kept screaming. We've been trying to nip the screaming stuff in the bud so when I heard it keep happening and happening I finally went in to check on them. She was screaming in frustration when her shaped block wouldn't fit through the hole she picked. M. was trying to guide her, but he said she exhausted all of her patience early and the longer she was at it the shorter her fuse was getting. Later this evening she was playing with it again and I caught some of her reaction on video.

iPod update
So I spent the day loading stuff on iTunes to put on the iPod. I've got about 1400 songs loaded which is taking up 4.5 GB so far. The iRiver definitely wouldn't have been big enough at 5 GB. I'm up to the J, K, L, M range so still less than halfway done. I guess I'm wedded to iPod now because I really wouldn't want to go through this uploading process again.
Helping Mommy with supper
The tube on the floor next to her was the packaging for her Christmas Little People. Today she kept filling it with the shape blocks from her Busy Box.

While I was working on filling my iPod, Emma was merrily raiding a forbidden drawer for pens and markers. For the most part she was just making piles and moving them around from place to place. But then she decided that this family picture from Bro's wedding needed to be decorated. Fortunately she couldn't find a marker that would do the job.

Cool gifts
Aren't these cups cool? They were given to M. by Noni and Popi. They bought them when we were at Paramount's Kings Dominion in July. I had to throw in the matching necklance from my grandmother. Match perfectly, don't they?

Friday, December 30, 2005
I drank the Kool-aid
I'm a cultist now. I've joined the cult of iPod. I ordered it yesterday around 10:30 a.m. It was delivered to my desk at noon today. So far so good. Cults are always very appealing at first. I've spent some time uploading songs onto it this evening. First iTunes sucked up all the disorganized grabastic songs that were already on my hard drive. What a mess. That will take forever to sort out. Then I added some pictures to it. I put on all the photos I used for Emma's first year slide show. A very nice sampler to share. It will take a considerable amount of work organizing this thing. It can do a lot more than I realized. If I start buying cute little outfits for this thing you'll know it's time to stage an intervention and have me deprogrammed. I got the 30 GB one on this page. Yay for unexpected Christmas bonuses!

OK, screw Apple Store if they don't want a link. Here's a picture for you:

One of her new toys
This one came from Great Aunt Patty. All six sides have something going on. Emma is slowly figuring it all out.

Today's outfit
This is the red shirt I was going to combine with black pants for her to wear Christmas day. Since the pants got ruined I settled for the little dress with the plaid skirt. I think that was a happy accident, the dress was quite cute. I found these pants at Target and I really love them.

Seven things…the blog meme
I was tagged by Allie, Angie, Jeanne, Jen and Leslie. All of whom will now receive some linky love.

Seven things to do before I die:
1. Go on a cruise
2. Hold my grandchildren in my arms
3. Go back to Las Vegas
4. Own a house
5. Visit New York City
6. Travel to Europe (coming this spring!)
7. Convey to my parents just how much I love and appreciate them.

Seven things I cannot do:
1. Light a match properly (I have to squeeze it between the cover)
2. Tear into the plastic on a new CD
3. Math, in my head
4. Find the time to read a book
5. Abide liars and game players
6. Stand spiders
7. A split ;)

Seven things that attract me to my spouse:
1. His sense of humor
2. He loves me just the way I am
3. The way he takes good care of me/us.
4. His hot buns.
5. His left brain (together the two of us make one good whole brain!)
6. His overwhelming love for me.
7. His cuddly-ness.

Seven things I say or write most often:
1. Emma
2. Ha!
3. Move! (to my dogs)
4. I love you
5. Thank you
6. Yep
7. lol

Seven books or series I love:
1. Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella (stupid but fun)
2. Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich (starting to wear thin)
3. Undead series by Mary Janice Davidson
4. Britt Montero series by Edna Buchanan
5. Carl Hiaasen novels
6. Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell (also just about played out)
7. Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman

Seven movies I would watch over and over again:
1. Raising Arizona
2. Bridget Jones’ Diary
3. Die Hard
4. Grosse Point Blank
5. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
6. Thomas Crown Affair (Pierce Brosnan version)
7. Velvet Goldmine

I'm not tagging anyone because everyone I know has already been tagged. If you haven't, don't be insulted, just consider yourself tagged now with the "Alex All-purpose Tag."
Thursday, December 29, 2005
K. did I mention...?
How much I Love. Your. Hat! It looks extraordinarily wonderful on your Texas-born head. I'll bet it was soooo warm and comfy. Clearly a superior hat.

Doing us all a favor...
and playing with the dogs outside. My nieces played with them a looooong time. We were grateful.

Here are my sweet little dog-occupying angels...Sweet J.

And Princess M.

Large and in charge
When Uncle B. has the reins, you can bet it will be hard to maintain any dignity on your part...

German (cutthroat) Uno
Anyone ever heard of this?

My family is a big game-playing family when we get together. It's a great way to spend time together and actually interact; enjoy each others company. Every other trip or so the German contingent introduce us to a new game. Several years ago it was 10,000, a game played with six dice. Then it was Mexican train dominos. Everyone got their own set. This time it was German Uno, otherwise known as cutthroat Uno. If you've ever thought Uno was a dirty game and have known people who take it personally and get all pissed...imagine the dirtiness ramped up by a ten factor. If you hate getting the Wild Draw Four, you'll love it when three people throw them down one after the other and you're stuck drawing twelve. Or when you get double Draw twos. The good part about this version of the game is that it's faster paced and you have to pay attention.

It was kind of confusing. Frankly, we were accusing my brother of pulling rules out of his ass. We even had to decide a rule or two by consensus. But all in all it was fun. I'd play it again anytime.

Oh, we also tried Apples to Apples, which was pretty fun.
Fun at my house
The day after Christmas everyone came over to my house. Noni and Popi, B. and SIL, and their three kids. We planned to have a meal of nothing but appetizers. SIL requested it after seeing pics of our spread from Emma's birthday party. So we served up the food shortly after they arrived. We had crab balls, ham with tiny biscuits, petite quiches, tostitos and salsa and cheese dip, veggie tray and dip, taquitos, tacos and quesedillas. It was quite yummy.

After we had eaten our meal and digested for a while we went sledding. Mind you, I haven't been sledding since I was a teenager at best. But I was totally enthused. I had a great time. We drove everyone up to the top of the hill and sledded for a good while. When anyone got cold they could get in the truck with Noni and warm up and watch everyone else. Emma sat in the truck with Noni most of the time to keep warm, but she did make several innertube runs. So, on with the pics...

K. I love, love, love your hat! Bwaaa Haaa Haaa!

I think my nephew C. is pretty excited.

Uncle B. finally gets to try out the sled he bought two years ago.

Moms are always the workhorses, aren't they? I'm pulling them down the hill to help pack a track in the snow.

Emma really enjoyed the trip down the hill with Daddy.

Packing them in...

Emma really did enjoy watching us.

C., broken and twisted at the bottom of the hill. OK, I jest...he's at the top of the hill.

Quote of the night
From Daddy;

"Emma, get your face out of the dog bowl. Thank you"
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Christmas evening
Emma went to bed at 5:53 p.m. So you'll probably find the rest of this boring. M. unloaded the car while I bathed her and put her down. Then we exchanged our gifts. I got an HP vivera photo printer, a Land's End winter coat, a jug of mudslide and a few other goodies. He got an Odjob mixer, two seasons of South Park and a Cartman shirt, a pile of tools, and more stuff I've forgotten.

What'd ya'll get for Christmas? Here...Behold the Artful Arrangement!

Plus about 12 more ornaments
A dancing Santa
Round trip plane tickets from Germany to Ireland (Thanks Bro and SIL!)
A candle warmer
German wine
German chocolates
A warm and fuzzy blanket
An Outer Banks beach towel
2 sleds

P. S. After doing all this, I was in bed by 9:00 p.m.
Christmas afternoon
Around 1:00 p.m. we left Noni and Popi's and drove home to Grandma G's house. There waiting for us were Grandma G. and Emma's Uncle K. We exchanged presents first. Later on we had Christmas dinner (ahem, I say dinner because it was around 4:00). It was a small gathering, as advertised. Emma spent a lot of time practicing her new talent, screaming. This started somewhere mid-week. Now when she doesn't get what she wants or is impatient, she screams. Lovely. I guess the extremely high activity level of the entire week may have contributed to the need to scream for attention, or maybe it's just that time. At any rate, we're trying to nip this one in the bud.

Here she is signing that she wants some of what's in the bag, in this case dog treats. ;)

Christmas morning
It began at 6:20 a.m. That's when my nephew came in to wake us up. M. commented that it was good that nephew came to my side of the bed, because if M. had been there he would have strangled poor nephew and gone back to sleep.

So we got up. Everyone did the required hair brushing and teeth brushing. During that time I was able to get Emma up and feed her the morning bottle. Then the camera-women positioned ourselves downstairs. Finally the procession of expectant children began. Emma was first down the steps in her Daddy's arms, then the three cousins.

We took her straight to her pile. The first thing she grabbed was the bottle for her baby doll. Then the doll. Then she was interested in the big ball, then the books. We gave the kids plenty of time to explore their new toys.

We then moved to the other side of the room and began opening presents. I think it's no exaggeration to say that by opening one at a time it lasted two hours. And I did get to see everyone receive what I gave.

Sadly, my most overwhelming feeling all Christmas day was exhaustion. I was burnt out by five straight nights of crappy sleep and overstimulation. I certainly enjoyed my Christmas, but I wish I would have had the energy to show it more.

The stockings were passed out and everyone got to see what Santa brought them. About two pounds of candy for the HG family I'd say...
Santa must be in cahoots with the dentists.

After all the presents were opened and everyone was filled with the warm glow of pure consumer satisfaction, we started the organizing and clean up. M. and I had to start packing up stuff for transit right away. After a fine breakfast together we got dressed and loaded up the car, in the rain ;( Then we hit the road for MIL's.

Here we are making Noni cry. She is looking through the Memory Book of Emma's first year that we gave her. Noni is so sentimental, it's easy to make her cry. lol (We love ya Noni!)

OK, here's the thing...
I have a ton of stuff to show you. But in two weeks I'll have diddly squat. I'll be posting about random shit I made up just to please you. (OK, remember, by made up I mean forced out of my brain, not fabricated). So I will give you a summary of my holidays, but then you can expect to be seeing related photos for a while, because I have a ton of them. And it's easier than know...writing and shit.
My friend Andrea commented off-blog that my SIL is quite pretty. I thought I'd post pictures that did her more justice than the grainy one way below. She's an Army nurse, so not only is she cute, she can kick your ass and then fix it right back up again.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Since Leslie is in the hospital and won't notice, I'm taking the night off. Welcome to the world Carly Rachelle! 8 lbs. 5 oz., 19.25"
Monday, December 26, 2005
Christmas Eve Recap
This blog is time delayed. I don't want you to miss anything, you'll just be a few days behind. I have one more crazy day and then it's back to work for me. I'm going to Noni & Popi's to see a cousin and his family. I haven't seen them in a least two years, probably three. They have three kids too, but they are all teens and pre-teens. It should be fun. So this gathering will have approximately 14 people. Big. Deep. Breath.

Here is a picture depicting the fact that Emma does actually know what to do with a present. She has a short attention span, but she'll focus on opening a few of them.

Christmas Eve outfit
I couldn't manage to get THE picture. You'll have to settle for these.

Just give me two minutes Mom...
Here she is pausing for a brief rest. And this is BEFORE we even opened presents.

Her first Fake-O smile
Don't you think so?

Here's the thing...while we've been going about our daily lives obliviously, my daughter has already teethed four new canines. Hello? Do you see all the teeth in this picture? Strangely, all her molars are in except the bottom right one. We're waiting...

Christmas Eve in my home(town)
Here is a mini-tour of our Christmas Eve celebration right before the carnage.

The morning after...
...and there's still a damned plenty going on. The crew is coming to my house today. There isn't a tremendous amount of stuff to be done before their arrival, but there are a few things. I may have some time to blog tonight and report on the past couple of days. I was thinking I didn't have many pictures to share either. But then I plugged in my camera to download them and it said 98 pictures. So there might be something worth showing you out of that. We'll see ;)