Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye to 2013

It's December 31st already again, and what a year it has been! We celebrated the holidays in Little Rock, Memphis, and Kentucky, with some exhausting driving/toddler entertaining mixed in.  We really enjoyed the families.

Mom and Dad's cabin at dusk. The horses were fed well with carrots again (speaking of, Hunter does the sign for carrots also for parrots and ferrets).

As materialistic as I try to not be, we appreciate so much the gifts that we and Hunter received this year. He is interested in everything, with Mickey and Minnie topping his list that also includes books, art, and animals.

Check out these ornaments, Mickey!

 And you too, sheep.

We have added Minnie to our plush collection. She wasn't put down for HOURS

My husband knows exactly what I want -- to reuse old things to decorate and furnish. He built me a mirror frame, planter box, and bench for the mudroom out of old 2x4s from our Alamogordo porch, and he also built an outdoor porch couch out of pallets from my brother-in-law's company. What a resourceful, creative, perfect present. And all I got him was a pair of Nike pants (well not really, but not nearly as good as his presents to me).

We sure love that Dad

Can't you just see that perfect jump shot form?

All the excitement of the week left us a little exhausted, but we still had introductions between the goat and donkey of the new nativity to do.

The adults may get some enjoyment out of this one too.

We are back home now for New Year's Eve, with exciting things coming in the new year, including 2 year molars which should make their appearance any day now (come on, damn teeth, that's enough). One of us (me) may have a few new pounds gained after all the desserts and this jar of cookie butter from Trader Joe's that I'm currently spooning out. But the days are getting longer and my daffodil shoots are telling me spring is coming soon! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A little sun, a little warmth, a bit of training

I think this is why people live in the southeast: you get a few days of snow and ice, then a few days of sun and 65 degrees. In December. It is the shortest day of the year, which is exciting since days get longer from here. I may not be getting any tan lines this weekend like I did in Alamogordo on the shortest day, since it is pouring rain, but I can wear shorts running in it! (I swam, in the indoor pool, instead today.) And then we are returning to winter in a few days, but it's Christmas, so expected.

These short days are making it hard to fit in outdoor running. Jeremy goes in the mornings and I usually run on weekends and Wednesdays, with last week's runs totally 17 miles.  I went twice. I need either more lighted streets or fewer cars around or both to make my evening runs more frequent. I have been religiously hitting the trainer though. Every other day of the week I have tried to get on as soon as Hunter goes to sleep for his nap, and have successfully gotten in about 45 minutes each time. Except the other day, when just before I finished up a hard 10 minute interval, he woke up. He is sleeping in the usual spot, our bed on the floor. He can get in and out easily, and I keep the stairs baby gate locked, but only a few times has he woken up and just walked out of the room. Usually he calls for me. I have never let him cry, so as soon as I heard him I sprinted up the stairs. Of course at this point I was a sweaty mess, and he turned up his nose at me, like I smelled or something.

It might possibly be the extra hours on the trainer, but my SI joint is not getting better. I skipped the chiropractor again this week, since I really can't justify $40 for 10 minutes of stim and ART. The Sacro-Wedgy effectiveness is still up in the air. It is not comfortable to lie on, but I have been doing it every night. Swimming is rough on it, as is sitting on the floor with Hunter, which is where I spend a very large proportion of my waking hours. I have no solution to my pain so far, and I don't want to sound like a senior citizen the rest of my life complaining about my back.

It's hard to believe Christmas is almost here! We celebrated Ethan's 4th birthday this week at Jump Zone, which is SOOOO fun for a toddler, and a Mexican feast. I am trying to keep myself from eating my weight in Moose Munch (at least it is hard to do, since light fluffy popcorn is at its core) and the pies that I will make this week. The last minute shopping seems to be complete with today's trip to Target. And side note: is it just me, or is it hard to resist things with JOY written on them this time of year? There are canisters, shirts, towels, place mats, glasses, plates, candles, ornaments, everything! I want them all. Do people with other names have this problem? The Hopes know what I'm saying.

 Uh oh, there's a bulb out! We checked every light, didn't we Dad? You taught me everything I know about exterior illumination.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Winter is here

Nothing says winter like a few beautiful 75 degree days. Knowing Wednesday was the last one like that for a while, I put my running shorts on and did a little 8 miler with some tempo miles thrown in to try to beat the husband's pace for the day. However the sickness that I'd had starting a few days before kept me from the victory this time. I got my first winter cold before the winter cold weather even got here. It's turned out to be the worst cough I've had since Hunter was born. I notice this fact because not only is it frustrating to wake yourself up coughing repeatedly each night, but having to stuff a pillow into your mouth to avoid waking the baby is the icing on the cake. Or maybe the icing is when you have him almost asleep and that horrible jarring cough comes out of nowhere and startles him. Being sick is fun enough before kids. It is so much more so while trying to take care of a toddler. Luckily his nursing provides him lots of good antibodies and he has only gotten a runny nose, so at least I'm not trying to entertain a very sick toddler.

After running Wednesday I didn't stick to my word and rescheduled my chiropractor appointment so that I could go to the massage therapist. She was good, and said I have "a lot going on in there" when she worked on my hips. I decided that while it costs more than my $40 copay at the chiropractor, it lasts so much longer and feels so much better. I might become a (more) regular. She recommended an apparatus called the sacro-wedgie for helping my deep hip muscles relax, so I put it right on my Christmas list.

We knew the cold would be coming along Thursday and the temperature steadily dropped all day. Friday the ice came, which brought Jeremy slowly home from work very early. Unfortunately Hunter and I just watched as Dad and the cousins sledded down our street. He's not much for being cold, and jackets, mittens, and hats aren't his thing. It's like he's not even listening when I explain the theory behind "winter clothing." Toddlers.

I'm fine right here, thank you 

See? I'm so much happier shirtless.

Indoor activities are going to have to be stepped up for a while during this long cold that is forecasted. We have already made a dent in the 400 page Mickey coloring book. I can see a difference in his coloring skills already. I'm totally impressed at his ability to stay inside the lines already. I'm hoping he doesn't get his Daddy's inability to color things the proper color though. Yellow jaundiced eyes on a duck? Come on people. Apparently I've always been the coloring Nazi, according to my poor little sister, who I stood over while she used my set of 64 crayolas (with the built-in sharpener-- that, honestly, who would ever want to use?). She told me this memory and i actually felt sorry for my young self. I'm sure I was made to share my precious pack of crayons with her, and was trying not to get mad when she put the oranges back in the wrong order. And obviously, there is a correct order. It's called the rainbow.
  ...my blue suede shoes

 "Doof" looking sharp with his pants matching his shoes

I did happen to color the red pants, but his black shoe and green glove and face are looking just as good.

And speaking of Mickey, he's one busy guy at our house, with all the excavation by truck...

...and by bucket. Mickey signs to us a lot now, and lends a helping hand even more.

 I'm about to start him working as my sous chef since his play dough cutting skills are rivaling my onion dicing skills. I'm not sure the plastic knife will work as well on an onion as it does on the raspberry scented homemade red dough, however. And he may be too young for the Henckels. 

We have worked on decorating for Christmas, and Hunter has sorted and boxed and dumped and bounced all the plastic ornaments we could find-- over and over. He has helped make some new ornaments as well, including his handprinted one complimenting last year's, and a few clear glass ones with Christmas confetti and shredded tissue paper inside.

 Such a fascinating tradition we have here of hanging strange objects on a tree inside

So inside snuggling our precious ones we will stay for the next week until the weather warms up, getting our exercise (well some of us) on the trainer, doing laps running around the house, racing at the starting sound of "GOGOGO!" and practicing our somersaults and pikes on the bed. Stay warm, friends!