Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reflections on 2007

Just a few photos here - I had typed a poignant post but accidentally lost it, and now I'm pissed. So just enjoy the pics!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2007

"Jesus, Make the Wheeel!"

I am notorious for getting words wrong in popular songs. For a long time, I though that Eagles song was "You can't hide those lion (lyin') eyes." I could name twenty more instances.

Our daughter Stella may prove to be just as bad. Her favorite song is "Jesus, Take the Wheel." Make the wheel, that is. Not only was Jesus a carpenter, he may have had a degree in mechanical engineering. Roll over, Archimedes!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Help Me Prove I'm Not an Idiot - Buy My ----!

So my buddy at the charity auction says, "You really need to bid on some of these collectibles. I mean, they are going for a fraction of what they are selling for on eBay!" So I talked to Marian and she said, "Go for it." We went a little over our budget: I ended up buying 9 of the things.


Here's one:

This is the Starbucks Cafe. It's pretty neat. But I don't drink coffee anymore. This is a stinging reminder of that fact. Do I really want it lighting up my holidays?

So I put them all on eBay - all 9. No one has bid on them (though a few are watching the bidding and might just jump in at the last minute...?)

Please prove I was not an idiot. Go on eBay and buy these things. They are in great shape, with original slip covers. They will light up the lives of all your collecting friends and family this holiday season. I promise!

Giving Up "Koobe"

Koobe (sounds like "co-pay") is the Gilbertese word for "coffee." When we found our dog on our island, we named him Koobe (spelling it Kope) because of his coffee-colored coat. Kope is a terrific dog and most people who like dogs and meet him agree. He has his moments, but all-in-all he's very obedient and loving - and clean. He's had, oh, one accident in his 6-year life.

When my uncle died in the States unexpectedly, he was there for me to hug on. He's a great running companion and stellar watchdog. He's tolerant of our girls, though he does snap at Stella when she pulls his tail (I don't blame him!)

Perfect dog. And as recently as three weeks ago, we were looking to give him away.

I've always been allergic to dogs - Kope included. So I naturally looked to him as part of the cause for me coughing and choking through much of 2007. Dusty buildings, yes. Mold in the basement. Certainly. An area of the country known for the largest diversity of flora in North America. Of course. But the only thing I could change easily was to find a new home for the dog.

And I did feel terrible. Choking on your own phlegm a few dozen times a day is a terrible way to exist. It wears you out - and it sounds really gross. I was reminded of my grandfather, a chain smoker most of his life. I've never smoked, ever.

It was strange that this should happen NOW. I mean, we've lived here over 4 years. Why now? I chalked it up to cumulative allergies. My body just couldn't take it anymore. My doctor prescribed a nasal spray - expensive, and not very effective. My worst coughing happened in the morning, right after using the spray.

So we identified several potential homes for Kope within our circle of family and friends. None panned out. We were having to consider strangers. Terrible.

And then something happened. I did one thing, and everything immediately got better.

I stopped drinking coffee. Not just regular, but decaf, too. I did it on a whim after a road trip in which I drank a lot of coffee and felt really terrible.

The coughing and choking stopped. After a couple of weeks, I thought I'd try to drink decaf -- big mistake. And on my birthday I tried half a cup of the real stuff - to almost immediate disasterous reaction.

It's too bad, because I really love coffee. I only started drinking it with any regularily about two years ago - which might account for that delayed reaction.

But I'd rather give up coffee than the dog named for coffee. I'll live without it. But Kope is here to stay.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

20 (boring) tidbits about me

So I secretly read all of my friends' friends' blogs, and one that I checked recently had this post. Even though I don't know this person, it was still fun to read, so I thought I'd do one too - and I've been having major blog writer's block lately. Or maybe just major sleep deprivation.

So here goes:

1. I always thought I would get married when I was 29 and not have kids until mid-thirties or so. I've been married 7 years now, have 2 kids, and just turned 30 this year.

2. When we were Peace Corps volunteers in the Gilbert Islands, we listened to various animals (chickens and pigs, primarily) being killed daily. It quickly became just part of our lives there.

3. I have had salmonella and dengue fever, and when I came home from overseas, I had five parasites living in my gut.

4. My dad died of cancer just four years ago. I found out I was pregnant with Stella 2 weeks after he died.

5. I love cloudy, rainy days in the mountains.

6. I don't think either of my daughters look like me.

7. I hate birds.

8. I also hate animals like guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, ferrets especially - anything vermin-y like that.

9. I am a complete OCD neat freak - everything must have its place, which doesn't happen much with two little kids in the house. I've really had to dig deep to embrace the chaos.

10. Some of my best friends are from elementary school.

11. I dream of building a green-built home with environmentally friendly features - solar panels, radiant floor heating, bamboo floors, etc. etc.

12. If I could go anywhere in the world, it would be New Zealand.

13. I love country music. I also love hip-hop. Stella and I have our own rendition of SexyBack by Justin Timberlake - I've GOT to get that on videotape.

14. I love to cook.

15. I look forward to working for our company when these kids start school.

16. I want another baby. Yes, Meg's not even 4 months old.

17. My favorite clothing store is Old Navy.

18. I HATE hot weather. I wouldn't want to live anywhere warmer than here. Summer temps around here hover around 80 degrees.

19. Swimming laps is my favorite exercise. Not that I've done it in a while, but I love to do it.

20. I don't really like holiday decorating.

So there. Send me yours too!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Best of Stells Bells

I felt guilty that I put my favorite recent photo of Meg up but hadn't done the same for Stella. So here it is:

Is she so grown up or what? I have to give a shout out to Stella's godmother, our dear friend Kristen, for taking this and many other great fall shots of the girls a few weeks ago.

I think my friend Erin's latest blog post (see Princess Pigbear link on the right side) has made me emotional today. She is having her 2nd baby tonight, and the post was a letter to her daughter that made me weep! Literally weep. You should go read it, it is really a beautiful piece of writing.

Not much else - time is flying around here. I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving. Just to get through a day, have the kids in bed - I breathe a sigh of relief. But then I feel a twinge of sadness, because the day flew by, like most days, and these little girls aren't going to be little I'm trying to not take it for granted.

So what am I thankful for?

Stella and her Daddy

Meg and her Daddy

Just Daddy

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Out of touch

I think about blogging all the time - does that count?

It's the sick bay around here. Stella's fighting another, or more likely, the same ear infection from a month ago, and now I've got it too - so we're both on antibiotics. Eric is swamped with work, along with caring for us, and Meg, well, thank God she's a peaceful and pretty easy baby. We're on the mend, so hopefully more frequent blog posts will resume. But no promises.

Last week Meg and I did take an overnight trip to Charlotte to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew who were in town for a night. We had a blast. I hadn't seen Jay since April, and he's such a little man now. I love him so much! Check him out:

And here are the cousins, taking a bath together:

My big brother with Jay and Meggles:

We're gearing up for Eric's 37th (DAMN! He really robbed the cradle when he got me!) on the 24th. I can't believe that when I met him, he was 27. November is a big month for his family. His mom, dad, and brother were also born in November, and his parents anniversary is on Thanksgiving this year. Then his sister had to go screw things up by arriving in June. I know she reads this blog, so it's not like I'm talking about her behind her back or anything.

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

meg's best

I can't stop looking at this picture. This is our smiley baby girl at her best!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Over the hump

Hope I'm not speaking too soon, but I think we are finally over the hellatious newborn hump with Meg. It seems like overnight she has turned into a bubbly, kicking, smiling, squealing little baby. She's sleeping much better, 4 or 5 hour stretches at night, and we are all feeling SO much better. More back to normal every day.

As many of you well know, when you're in the thick of that new baby chaos, you feel like it's never going to end. You're never going to sleep again. You'll never have another moment to yourself. You'll never have energy to exercise, or cook a decent meal again, much less pay bills or do any semblance of work.

And then, it all begins to come together, and you can't believe your tiny baby is already figuring out this world.

Business is good too. We're getting more custom video jobs all the time with Stellar Media, and Wedding Bell Videos is set to film 70 plus weddings in 2007. We've moved out of our Waynesville office and now only have office space in Candler, at the local community college small business center. We've got about 18 more months there, and then we're hoping to relocate our headquarters to Asheville, finances permitting.

It's really hard to put into words, but we're just so happy right now. I don't think I'm putting words in Eric's mouth when I say that this feels like the best our lives could get. I try so hard to remember that when things are nuts around here. We did a video life story of an elderly couple in our neighborhood, and the 80 something year old husband said that the happiest time in their lives was when their kids were little. I think he was probably right.

So if you wondered if Meg and Stella look much alike, check these out. My friend Kristen emailed this to me, with the subject line "all your kids look exactly the same!" See for yourself. Meg is the first photo.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Great Minds Think Alike

So neither Eric nor I blog for three weeks, and we both decide to post something today!

So like he said below, we are slowly coming out of our fog and adjusting to the two kids thing. We just got back from a week in Alabama so Meg could meet her namesake, Eric's grandmother Margie (who was born Marjorie, like our Meg). Here they are, assuming the finger-as-a-pacifier position that Meg loves so much:

She also had good time with other family members. Here she is with Eric's sister Katy and his dad Keith:

Poor Stella, on the other hand, spent the week at her grandparents house sick as a dog. She had a cold, which turned into a nasty cough, fever, and eventual ear infection. But she's on the mend now, back to her JAR (acronym for Just Ain't Right, thanks to my sister in law Katy) self.

Fall is FINALLY here in the mountains, and it's beautiful. Weather still isn't that cold yet, but the leaves are beginning to change. Here are a few shots from our neighborhood:

We also had our 7th anniversary on Sunday. We decided to pretend like it wasn't that day, though, as we were driving two kids back from Alabama to NC that day, which quite possibly is the least romantic event on earth. Hopefully we'll be able to do something together this weekend.

Here are a few final shots of our girls and their tummy time. As you can tell, Meg despises it.

That's it for tonight - gotta grab sleep when I can. Love!

A Country Long Heard From

We've had some decent sleep of late, but not so decent that we're finding the time to blog that we'd like.

Stella is saying some funny things - "you had to be there" kinds of things, so they are hard to write about. I'm just glad I'm "there."

Meg is about as cute a baby as one will ever find. And she has a smile that is exaggerated on the right side of her face, a lot like her late grandpa Carl. If she's anything like him, she is going to be a fun-loving person, to be sure!

Marian is such a trooper when it comes to breast-feeding. I admire her more every day.

Me? Who cares! I'm working hard but having fun, too. That's all one can ask, right?

Monday, October 01, 2007

WNBA, here we come

Stella had her 3 year old well-kid doc visit today, and he predicts that this child will be 5'11'' when she's grown! She is in the 96th percentile in height, taller than most 4 year olds.

Now I know what Eric and I will live off of in our old age. Her professional basketball salary.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Stella!

Could it have been three whole years since I held her for the first time? I'm already crying, and I've only typed that one line. Sheesh.

Her birthday spirit is dampened this year, a little, by a cold that started about three hours before her party yesterday. Needless to say, the pool portion of her party was cancelled, but we still had a little picnic with four of her friends, complete with Happy Meals and cupcakes. The kids were happy to be outside in this beautiful fall weather, and Stella seemed to enjoy herself too, despite the raucous amounts of snot pouring from her nose at all times, like this:

Here are a few other photos from her party too. Look at this little cutie:

And the whole gang eating cupcakes:

Today we opened a few presents just as a family. You can tell by her watery eyes and overall expression she doesn't feel so good, but we had to record this birthday like the others!

And one of her favorite presents, play makeup:

There are so many things I love about Stella. She is curious, interested, entertaining, and entertained by most anything. She is adventurous without being too reckless, compassionate and empathetic, and really, she's just fun. I couldn't have asked for a better child to break me in to this parenting thing. I can't wait to see what she becomes in this next year and more years to come.

I love you, Stella.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Big 3-0

Yes, that's right. I'm no longer in my is my 30th birthday!

And what a great one I had. It began with a little bit of sleeping in, followed by a hot breakfast cooked by my husband and daughters. A big sign hung in the living room that says "happy birthday mommy! we love you!" And tonight, our first night out since Meg was born, dinner at a great little restaurant in downtown Waynesville.

I never imagined that by the time I turned 30 I would have so much to love. I can't believe my life is this full! I feel like the luckiest person on earth.

Three more days, and my baby turns three. That one is killing me way more than me turning 30!

Pics from her b-day party Saturday to follow. Good night!

Monday, September 17, 2007

too tired to think of a title

here are a few photos from the last few weeks - we are great, surviving life as a family of four. more news later, but for now, a few pics:

stella at botanical gardens - unc-asheville campus

meg not too impressed with those gardens

picnic at waterrock knob - highest point on blue ridge parkway

pretty stairs at waterrock knob

meg with crazy wet hair

will write more later!

She Said What?

Stella has really been making us laugh lately with the things that come out of her mouth. And I'm not talking about the food she chews for 10 minutes before deciding, "Don't like it!" and spits it out. (That actually isn't very funny.)

It was a gorgeous day. The birds were singing, and Stella was playing in her sandbox in the backyard when she paused and screamed: "Stop tweeting, Birds! Or you're going on the Naughty Towel!" The Naughty Towel is our version of the time-out corner. She laughed; she was just kidding. But darned if those birds didn't stop. (Buoyed by this, she may one day attempt to steal Christmas.)

It was bath-time, not exactly my favorite time of day anyway. And it's become even more loathed as Stella screams and hollers worried she's going to get water and soap in her eyes. Never mind she's received a hair rinsing every day of her 1000-plus-day life. All of a sudden these days she can't deal with it, and it's wailing and gnashing of teeth every night at 6:30. So after about 10 minutes of tears and sobbing I say: "Fine, we won't wash your hair again. Ever. It will get dirty and greasy and smelly and stinky and sticky and yucky."

Stella actually listens to me as I tell her this. Then her scowl reappears: "THAT DOESN'T SOUND GOOD!" And continues to sob.

Finally, the other day Marian asked Stella, "You want to go downstairs with me and help me with the laundry?"

Stella responds: "No, you can do it, Mommy." Even more encouraging, she adds: "I know you can do it, Mommy! You can do it all by yourself!"

And it's true. Marian really CAN do it all by herself.

Using cuteness to get out of chores. That's our daughter!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Am I Dead, or Just Out of Touch?

This happens to me all too often. I'm watching TV and think, "I thought he was dead!"

Mike Wallace. I thought he was dead!

Andy Rooney. I REALLY thought HE was dead.

So ... either I'm just out of touch, or ... I'm dead, and the afterlife is a parallel universe where the same old people hold the same jobs.

Can you imagine Mauri Povitch NEVER going off the air? If that's the way that heaven is, then I don't want to die!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Word To The Guys

Everyone talks about the biological clocks of women. I don't think that such a thing exists for men in general (though I could be wrong.)

I always thought I would have children - but it has never been a deep-seated longing. More of an intellectually held belief, in the way one thinks: "One day I'll have gray hair, smoke a pipe, and routinely look over my stock portfolio." One might even call my prediction of children indifference. If I had fallen in love with a woman who didn't want children and I loved her, I probably would have married her anyway.

But for someone who has never longed to have children, I sure am glad I have them now. No matter what else I do in my life (and I still do plan to find the cure to at least a couple of fatal illnesses, maybe rescue a few cats from burning trees, and write a novel that will outsell all the Harry Potter books put together - to name just a few of my goals) these girls (and any tykes who might follow them) are hands-down the biggest accomplishments that I'll ever, er, accomplish.

Guys who are afraid of parenthood have a reason to be afraid. It's a huge adjustment to your life, and if you're still in love with a certain partying lifestyle, you're going to have problems. But if you're open to change and realize that life has many seasons, consider experiencing this one. It might be the best thing you ever did, too.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Surrounded by Loveliness

So many beautiful ladies in my house! What a lucky guy I am! (gulp)

Here are some photos of my sister, Katy, and her husband, Chris. The photos of Stella at the playground were taken last Christmas. She's gotten so big.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More of Meg

More photos of our new baby girl here - we're all doing great! We came home Sunday and are getting adjusted to life as a family of four. Stella LOVES her little sis and wants to hold her constantly. Today she was singing "this old man" to her while she lounged in the bouncy seat. So far so good, but I'm not expecting this big sisterly love to last too long!

Meg has some jaundice so she's on this special light that we call her glowworm blanket. She's had to have her foot pricked a bunch which stinks, but we're hoping to have it under control within the week. We'll keep you posted!

take care!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting to "Meg"

Marjorie "Meg" Loren Larson

Born: Today, August 10, 2007, 8:35 a.m., at Haywood Regional Medical Center in Clyde, N.C.
Weight: 7 lbs. - 2 oz.
Height: 19 3/4 inches

Delivering Physician: Dr. Robyn Matthews, UAB Medical School classmate of an old friend of mine, the late (and great) Jim Akers of Florence, Ala.

Namesakes: Margie Otto Engel, Eric's maternal grandmother, who was born Marjorie but who had her name changed to Margie; and Keith Loren Larson, Eric's dad. Loren is not short for Lorenzo in this case, but an old Swedish moniker.

Probable Nickname: "M-Lo"

Mom and Baby are doing great!

Except for the head of dark brown hair, she looks remarkably like her big sister Stella did on Day One.

Marian gives everyone her best! She'll be back home Sunday or Monday. Her mom is in town to help out for a few days and Eric's sister arrives on Tuesday.

Thank you for all your prayers and good wishes!