One New Thing Every Day

From the day I turned 29, I tried to do one new thing a day... it took a few extra months, but I did it! Now I'll post new things randomly as I try them.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

#365 - Local Library

This afternoon, I took TLG to the local library branch near our house. As an avid reader, I spent tons of hours reading books from libraries in Sacramento, so I was really looking forward to today's new thing. It turns out that the daycare has taught TLG many of the rules of the library, including being quiet, and borrowing books and having to return them. The branch near our house has a great kids' section with tons of books and videos to choose from, though TLG's method of choosing books is totally haphazard (whatever he touches first, basically). Though I don't know the exact titles, TLG's first five library books ever are: 1) The Bernstain Bears' Road Race, 2) Garfield at the Circus, 3) Bob the Builder Learns Shapes, 4) Some Things Go Together, and 5) Amelia Bedelia. I can hardly wait to share these with him over the next three weeks, and I'm already looking forward to our return visit.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

#364 - Sneaky Snacker

Sometime last night/this morning while my hubby and I were sleeping, we believe TLG snuck downstairs and helped himself to four (4!) cheesy biscuits, leftover from dinner last night. This was his first time sneaking food during the night, and at first we thought it might have been one of our doggies. But, rationally, we figured the dogs would have eaten them all instead of leaving a few behind - and certainly they would have not been so neat with the crumbs. TLG woke me around 3:00AM and asked for a drink of water, and at the time I didn't know why... This morning, neither of us adults really knew what to say about this to TLG, once he woke up for good and admitted that he had eaten a snack. TLG did say that his tummy felt a little funny, and I thought that was probably enough deterrent to not eat so much next time. I don't really care if he finds himself a snack when he's hungry, I just wish he would show this independence with other tasks (like going to the bathroom by himself in the middle of the night).

Friday, December 26, 2008

#363 - Wii All Had a Good Time

My wonderful family gave us a handful of new Wii games for Christmas, so last night and this evening we taught some of my family members to play with the Wii remotes, and we tried a bunch of new games: Wii Music, Dancing with the Stars, Star Wars Force Unleashed, and a Namco Arcade game (which includes Pac Man and Dig Dug, two games I grew up with). A few thoughts on the games: 1) The Little Guy loved the Wii Music game. If you know any three-year-olds, I'd recommend this one to try, since a good portion of it doesn't require any ability to point the controller at the screen - just wave it around to "play" an instrument or conduct an orchestra. And, I hate to brag, but TLG was really getting good at matching pitches and answering questions about music in the Pitch Perfect game. 2) My husband is a better "Dancer" than I am... he insists that this means he is a better video gamer than me, but I think that's a silly excuse to get out of dancing with me in person more often. 3) I only observed the Star Wars game, which apparently lets the player become Darth Vader, swinging a light saber and searching out a Jedi knight. But my hubby thought it was great, and I do believe that I'll be hearing Darth's funny breathing more and more around our house. 4) As for the Pac Man game, I hate to say it, but some things are better left alone. We need to go buy some "traditional" controllers to make this one more palatable for me. I used to be really good at Dig Dug but the controllers really held me back. 5) I think my favorite part of this session was during the Wii Music game last night, when we all got the giggles because we were "conducting" so poorly. What a crack-up.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

#362 - Santa Replies

Today's mail brought a letter for The Little Guy with a return address from the North Pole. Inside was a typed poem by an elf named "Maria", who signed the letter, which promised that Santa was busy making toys. It also said that if TLG was good for his parents Santa would try to bring him some special treats at Christmas. I've never heard of getting a reply to a letter to Santa - I certainly don't remember getting a letter back when I wrote to Santa myself - so this was just the coolest thing to see in the mail! It just made me love Christmastime even more.

Friday, December 19, 2008

#361 - Becoming an Aunt!

This morning at 1:01AM, I witnessed the birth of my niece. What an amazing thing to be a part of: the miracle of birth. My sister is my new hero... she made it through 25 hours of labor with no epidural (!) to introduce the world to her daughter. My brother-in-law, my mom, and I were all helping, especially for the four or five hours leading up to the birth. Our precious new family member weighs 7 lbs., 10 oz. and is so beautiful we could hardly stand it. I was the first photographer on the scene (and will need to get permission from my sister before I post anything here). There were tons of family members in the waiting room, but being able to be a part of this was an honor I wouldn't trade for anything.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

#360 - An Exciting Drive

I've lived in Reno for over twelve years, and I have driven over Donner Summit to northern California by myself many times... but never has it been as exciting drive as it was this morning. Shortly after midnight, I received the phone call from my sister that her water had broken and she was on her way to the hospital. (YAY!) So I quickly packed my suitcase, left my house at 1:30AM and drove over the mountains by myself in the middle of the night. I was pretty wired about the prospect of becoming an aunt today, so I wasn't sleepy, and I had my ipod on shuffle and sang most of the way (as I often do). The traffic was light, and there was no ice on the road (thank goodness). I wouldn't recommend stopping at the Donner rest area at 2:30AM by yourself... a little spooky for a woman travelling by herself, but I was pleased to see the CHP officers driving by as I was walking back to my car.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

#359 - A Little Cake with My Alcohol

Someone at work gave me a loaf of homemade Jamaican fruitcake, so that made an easy new thing to try today... when she handed it to me, she explained that her friend who makes it soaks the fruit "all year" in rum and port wine, so it really would be "a little cake with your booze" (her words, not mine). So I brought it home at lunchtime and cut myself a tiny slice to taste. I should mention that before I even unwrapped the package I could smell the alcohol - and I was surprised that the cake looked like a loaf of chocolate brownies needing to be sliced. Upon tasting it, I was blown away by the strong alcohol taste - she wasn't kidding! - I couldn't even tell you what type of cake was surrounding the fruit. I admit I only took three bites before I became overwhelmed, and since we don't keep alcohol in our house, I re-wrapped it to take outside. Wow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

#358 - Letter to Santa

For the past three Christmases, TLG has been too little to really ask questions about Santa Claus, and he certainly hasn't been able to ask for anything specific for Christmas. But today, TLG dictated a letter to Santa, which I wrote down and helped him mail. We used a regular envelope and put a stamp on it in the hopes that the USPS knows how to send it all the way to the North Pole. The two things TLG really wants for Christmas are a flashlight and a big letter "J". I do hope he will stop throwing nightly tantrums and saying "I don't want to!" all the time... I've explained many times that Santa only brings gifts to good boys and girls, but I have a feeling Santa was watching how good TLG has been all year. I suspect he will probably receive the gifts he's asked for, and then some. I love Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

#357 - No (Beauty) Sleep for the Weary

During the past year, I have tried a few new products to attempt to look less like a sleep-deprived mommy and more like a put-together young lady. Today, I tried Clean & Clear's Morning Burst Shine Control Facial Cleanser. This clear liquid soap has blue and yellow specks ("bursting beads") in it which are supposed to "burst with energy and vitamins" while the smell wakes me up. I didn't get this product to lather very well while I was using it, but after rinsing it off I did notice a tingling sensation on my face that lasted for a few minutes. I did like the fragrance, which had a hint of lemongrass in it. While I didn't notice any diminished shine during the day, at least it wasn't worse than normal (I do have very oily skin). I'll probably try it for the next week or so and see if I notice any other changes before making a final decision on this soap, but so far I like it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

#356 - Third Birthday

The little guy turned 3 today, and we took the day off from work to have a leisurely day with family. Early this morning, we drove to Sacramento to have lunch with my mom and sister. After a nice nap and a little afternoon shopping, my sister had an amazing "Handy Manny" party ready for TLG, complete with streamers, balloons, plates, napkins, and toys emblazoned with the cartoon handyman. My terrific family all gathered for a dinner from The Old Spaghetti Factory and chocolate cake, decorated by my dad ("Poppy"), just like he used to do for me when I was younger. And, oh, the toys! Did I mention the toys?!? The highlight must be his very first two-wheel bike (though for now it has training wheels) with a Lightning McQueen bike helmet. He took to it right away, and even rode down the driveway before getting a little afraid of not being able to stop. (I'm sure he'll get the hang of those pedal brakes before long.) Thank you, family, for a wonderful party and some great memories.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

#355 - A Jury of TLG's Peers

This afternoon, my wonderful hubby and I played Christmas carols at the daycare center's annual family Christmas get-together. I will admit, I don't usually get nervous before I play trombone, but today I felt some little butterflies before we began playing. One of the office managers there plays baritone, and she joined us to make a trio for the first three songs (which was nice). And later in the party, we played a handful of duets. The funniest thing was the little guy's reaction - he stood between us while we were playing, hardly moving at all, even though he could have been doing art projects, playing with friends, or eating a snack. I love that he is respectful of live music already, thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for bringing him to our regular band rehearsals and gigs and teaching him about this. Of course, we played fine, and there was certainly no reason to be nervous... all the other kids and their families seemed to enjoy the music as they partied hearty. We were overshadowed by the cute kindergartners singing carols during our break, but who wouldn't be?!?

Monday, December 8, 2008

#354 - Almost Like Peanut Butter Soup

My family has a joke about the time, long ago, that my mom tried a new recipe and made peanut butter soup for dinner. It was so bad we all remember it as a special event. Well, tonight we tried a new recipe at our house from a Cooking Light cookbook: black bean chili over white rice. It was so spicy we threw it all out and ordered a pizza. I wish I could describe just the spicy smell in our kitchen - almost enough to bowl you over without ever tasting the food! The recipe had black beans, diced tomatoes, sauteed onions and garlic, a bunch of spices including chili powder and cumin, and 1/4 cup of chipotle sauce. Yes, there was water and a tiny bit of sugar, and we were instructed to put fresh cilantro and light sour cream on top, which we did --- but it still melted the make-up right off of my face. The Little Guy liked helping to make this dinner, since it involved pouring out cans, measuring ingredients, all sorts of jobs he enjoys. In fact, he was eating black beans straight from the can and seemed to enjoy them. But once dinner was ready, TLG and my wonderful hubby took about two bites each and declared they didn't like it. (I took a few more bites, until I thought my stomach was on fire.) I hope we'll try this recipe again someday, since I liked the idea of it, but it will need to be doctored a lot to fit our family's likes!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

#353 - Memory

One of the great birthday gifts TLG received from a friend yesterday was the game Memory. I haven't played it in eons, so I was very excited to try it. It turns out my hubby had never played it before, so today our little family played our first real "board" game with TLG. (OK, technically Memory doesn't have a board, since you just spread out the cards and find the matching pairs, but since it comes in a box and is sold in the game section, I'm calling it a board game.) The little guy didn't completely understand the rules about taking turns, but he was trying. He just got so excited when he knew there was a match to be found, well, it was hard to enforce the rules! I can't wait to share more games with him, I just hope he likes them as much as his parents do.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

#352 - Birthday Party!

Today we held TLG's first-ever birthday party with his friends. We went to a local bounce-house place, Jump N Play, and had about 20 kids total for a two-hour party. In the photo, you can see the backs of all our heads as we watch TLG try to scale a giant bouncy ladder to go down a big slide (which he could do with no help from anybody). It was actually a joint party with his best friend, who also had a birthday just a couple weeks ago. He had an amazing party, jumping and sliding and climbing and racing around. After about 90 minutes in the bounce areas, it was time for pizza, ice cream cake, and singing happy birthday! Having the party jointly was great, since our two kids have mostly the same friends, and each family only had to pay for half a party... and at this time of year, it was nice for the other friends' families to only have one party to put on the calendar. We loved this birthday and we all left feeling like it was a total success, and lots of fun.