Thursday, December 31, 2009


On a Sunday night a few months ago, we decided to go out to dinner. I suggested we go to Buffalo Wild Wings, to which Timothy responded with a baffled look and a concerned "Are you feeling okay?" It's not that me having a jones for buffalo wings is that unusual, but rather, the fact that my craving for wings was strong enough that I would be willing to suffer through a meal at Buffalo Wild Wings to get them. To put it mildly, I hate Buffalo Wild Wings, with a loathing that only rivals my disdain for Crocs and drivers who don't enter the intersection while waiting to turn left on green. Wretched service, overpriced and underflavored food, and an ambiance that lacks the slightest bit of character don't exactly light my fire. Nonetheless, it was the quickest and easiest fix for my wing craving, so that's where went.

And yes, it was as bad as I expected it to be. However, the experience did second a notion I had been having over the previous couple of weeks - I needed to take a pregnancy test.

Which I did. And it was positive. So there you have it! We are pregnant with Evans baby #2! And pregnancy cravings are the only reason I would willingly eat at Buffalo Wild Wings!

While this announcement might come as a surprise to some of you, our families have actually known about our news since I was 6 weeks along, which was...almost 11 weeks ago. I am 17 weeks today, due on June 12, 2010, and the main reason we haven't "officially" let the cat out of the bag is because I miscarried last March at 11 weeks, so we just wanted to ride things out for a while until we felt comfortable letting the world know what was going on. (And just for the record, I neglected to mention the miscarriage on the blog only because the subject seems to make other people uncomfortable, not because I am uncomfortable talking about it. We are totally at peace with it, and I don't have a problem discussing my experience at all.)

That said, everything has gone smoothly so far, and we have our "big" sonogram on Friday, January 8, when we will hopefully be learning the sex of baby #2. I considered waiting until the following week to announce the pregnancy and the sex in the same post, but I was afraid that would blow some minds, and I'd rather not be liable for that.

As you may have noticed, I have been a total slacker about blogging, and that's because A) raising a "spirited" two-year old while pregnant is exhausting, and if the choice is to sleep or to blog, sleep will always come out on top, and B) I am in week 17 and the nausea has yet to yield, so I rarely feel like doing anything productive these days (unless you consider sleeping to be "productive"). However, now that the cat is out of the bag, I am really going to make an effort to keep my people in the know, especially because this poor baby has gotten less fetus-time on the blog in four months than Alex got in the first week. On that note, I'll share a couple of sonogram pics from two previous appointments, just to try to redeem myself a little.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

All the other Santa Clauses are just imitating...

This year we decided to bite the bullet and take Alex to see the "real" Santa Claus, or as close as one gets without boarding the Polar Express to the North Pole. Northpark Center here in Dallas is known for having one of the best Santas in the country, which is awesome if it weren't for the thousands of other people with kids who want to have a chat with one of the best Santas in the country.

The process for seeing our Santa can be somewhat grueling, so we tried to go into the situation prepared. We knew that they started giving out numbered tickets at 9am and that Santa would start seeing people at 11:30, so we planned on getting there at 9, getting our ticket, and killing time until 11:30. We were running a little late, and when we got there at 9:20, we were handed Lucky Number 119. YES, 119. As in ONE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN. What didn't occur to us was that, although tickets were handed out at 9, insane people were lined up as early as 6:30am to get their tickets at nine so they could get back in line at 11:30 to see Santa. So there ya have it.

Turns out, being Number 119 was not as terrible as we first thought. The ticket man told us to come back around 4pm, but he explained that if you come back after your number has been called, he immediately places you at the end of the "short line", a line that is never more than fifteen to twenty minutes from Santa. Heh heh, early birds, guess nobody ever told ya that rule, eh?

So we figured we'd come back after naptime, get in line, and wait our twenty minutes to see Santa. But before we left, there was one other place we wanted to take Alex that day, and that was to the incredible model train exhibit that Northpark features around Christmas time. That was another thing we considered doing last year, but we decided the line was too long and figured Alex wouldn't enjoy it enough to justify the wait. This year, however, we knew it would be well worth the wait considering that our child is more than a little train-obsessed. And it was awesome. Even Tim and I were awed by how much went into each little scene - tooting trains and mechanical people and complicated roadways and train tracks. Needless to say, Alex loved it.

After lunch and a nap, we headed back to the mall to see Santa. We really didn't know how Alex would react to him this year. This is the first year that Alex has started to "get" the concept of Christmas - we've been getting into the spirit by watching Christmas movies like The Polar Express and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, reading Christmas stories like 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (which Alex can quote at some parts) and Olive the Other Reindeer, listening to Christmas music, and talking about how Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birthday (which took a lot of discussion because Alex was convinced that Christmas was his birthday) and that Santa was part of that celebration. So Alex had heard a lot about Santa and had seen him in books and movies, but it was a totally different thing to be meeting him face-to-face.

From a distance, he looked on in awed reverence, and that was pretty much how he reacted when we were at the front of the line and ushered him towards Santa's lap. He didn't run away screaming, but he didn't exactly launch himself at Santa either. This Santa had been around the block a time or two (hence the "Best Santa in the Country" title) and calmly coaxed Alex to sit down and chat about what he wants for Christmas. Alex told Santa that he wanted choo-choo trains, puzzles, and books, and Santa took note of his requests. They chatted for a few more minutes as the photographer attempted to get a good picture of Alex looking at the camera and not at Santa's face. Those attempts were unsuccessful; however, I really love the picture that we ended up picking, with Alex listening intently to Santa during their little chat.

Santa sent Alex away with a parting gift - a sort of preview of things to come, I suppose - and Alex came home with crayons and a picture frame that he could color himself. He was very excited about his Santa experience, and now he is even more excited for Santa to come visit Grammy's house on Christmas eve. Christmas with a two year old is so much fun!

Christmas Cards & Poor Planning

I decided it would be a good idea to design my own Christmas card this year, which was great in theory...until I looked over our list to see how many cards we'd need to send out. I quickly realized that designing my own card was neither cost nor time-efficient, seeing as how I'd have to take them to Kinko's to be printed for $.50 a card, I'd have to pay for the cardstock to print them on, the envelopes to send them in, and the postage to mail them with, not to mention the fact that I'd have to trim each card by hand, which comes to five cuts per page times...a whole heck of a lot of pages....Long story short, I scrapped the idea and went with an old standby from Walgreen's, which many of you have received or will receive in your mailbox, hopefully before Christmas day.

That said, just for my own peace of mind, I decided to share what would have been our card this year, had I an unlimited supply of time, money, and Exacto blades.

We had snow - yes, snow - in Dallas a few weeks ago, and I bundled A up so he could go out and enjoy what might be his only chance to play in snow this year. Of course I went with camera in tow, thinking maybe I could get a Christmas card worthy photo out of the deal. Aside from his goofy outfit (from the waist down, in particular, which fortunately got cropped out of the Walgreen's card), those three were my favorites.

Below are the ones that didn't make the cut, but I think they're all priceless in their own special way.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Neiman's Christmas Parade '09

One of our new pre-Christmas traditions is to attend the Neiman Marcus Christmas Parade downtown. Like last year, we reserved bleacher seats right on the parade route and bundled up for what would be a freezing cold morning. We came armed with a giant thermos full of hot chocolate (a new Stanley thermos which, by the way, kept our cocoa scalding hot for about five hours, hot for about three hours more, and finally cooled to room temperature about three hours after that) and some of the other families brought Krispy Kremes. His Highness Alexander required to be handfed his doughnuts so as not to muss his new mittens.

We saw a lot of the same floats as last year along with some new ones, but it was like seeing it from a whole new perspective now that Alex is a year older and can appreciate what's going on. He really enjoyed getting to see the characters he recognized from TV, and he liked to "drum" along when the marching bands came by.

There were a lot of moments when he sat in stunned silence as he watched the floats pass in front of us, and we were sort of surprised that he wasn't more vocal when he got excited about things. However, when we were heading back to the van when the parade was over, out of the blue he exclaimed, "I'm so happy!" and grinned from ear to ear. The parade was officially a success. We can't wait to see how he reacts next year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

determined to be the stinky kid in class

This morning, when I was trying to get Alex bathed and ready for school, he announced, "I won't take a bath ever, ever, EVER again." Yes, we are in that phase.

Thanksgiving '09

So...Thanksgiving. We decided to drive to Peoria for Thanksgiving because, long story short, we didn't want to fork over the $1600 it would have cost us to fly there and back. So we made the 14 hour road trip instead, left Tuesday afternoon around 3pm, and stopped in Springfield, MO, around 11pm to rest for the the night. After a deluxe continental breakfast, we hit the road again. Alex is really an excellent traveler, aside from the few minutes of near meltdown that occur when he gets really tired (the point at which he realizes that he will be forced to take his nap in the relative discomfort of his carseat) and we made good time, getting to Peoria around 3pm.

We were all very happy to arrive at my folks' house. Dad made a homemade chicken pot pie for dinner - quite possibly one of my favorite meals of all time - and we were so grateful to eat something that didn't start with "Mc". Alex made himself right at home in the kitchen while dinner was cooking - one of his favorite things to do at home is check on dinner through the window in the oven and let me know that "it's cookin'!".

Here he is showing us how he can "pick B up". He started this at home with me a few weeks ago and thinks it's hilarious.

He made a beeline for B's keyboard when he spied it from the kitchen.


Sometime after dinner, my dad ran out to get a Christmas tree so A could help string the lights. We are and have always been a "real tree" family - is there any other way, really? - and Dad has always been a stellar tree-picker. This year was no exception. While B and Grampa cut the netting off of the tree, A did his part by holding the flashlight. In fact, he had a kung fu grip on that flashlight about 90% of the time we were there. The kid loves a stinkin' flashlight, but we have hidden ours at home because he will play with it, roll it under a bed or stick it in a drawer, and we can never find it when we need it. If we do happen to find it, the batteries are dead because, obviously, he didn't bother to turn it off before he rolled it under the bed or stuck it in a drawer. Lucky for Alex, Grampa was willing to sacrifice a couple of D batteries in exchange for his happiness. Grandparents are such suckers...

Once A and B had strung the lights, we all hit the sack. We were hosting Thanksgiving the following afternoon, which meant that we'd spend the morning preparing to feed around 30 family members. But first, B had a few early Christmas gifts for Alex to open, starting with (sigh) a Thomas & Friends Christmas movie. Needless to say, Alex was ecstatic and wanted to watch it immediately.

He also got some puzzles featuring "things that go", which are two of Alex's favorite things right now.

And finally, onto his third favorite thing right now - making noise. Particularly, making any kind of loud and annoying sound that causes Murphy to make even louder and more annoying sounds. And what better instrument to achieve this end than his very own set of drums!!??

Have I mentioned that my brother and sister were in town, too? Well, they were, and the first thing Alex did when he sat down to play was to look at Nick and say, "Uncle Nick play the guitar, Alex play the drums!" And Nick did, and the two of them had a fun little family jam session right there in the foyer.

Folks weren't coming over until 2-ish, so the timing was perfect as far as Alex's schedule went - he went down for his nap a little early, around 12:45, and woke up around 3, right after most of the family had arrived, and he could make his grand entrance. He's the youngest in the extended family by eight years, the closest being my 10 year old cousin Ben. Nonetheless, the two of them were like peas in a pod. I think Ben, being a younger brother, was excited to play the big brother role, and he was instrumental in keeping A entertained and out of trouble.

Meanwhile, a feast was being prepared in the kitchen. My dad has recently become the designated Family Chef - aside from the fabulous meals he cooks for my mom on a regular basis, he cooks a big meal every Wednesday night for whoever feels like eating - usually my grandparents, aunts and uncles, family friends, etc. And I have a bone to pick (no pun intended) about this whole thing, considering he waited until us kids moved away to discover his inner chef. How annoying is that?

Oh well, I suppose he made up for lost time at Thanksgiving dinner. He roasted one turkey and deep-fried a second one, made corn casserole, mashed potatoes, dressing, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, and surely about a dozen other things I've forgotten. And that's not including the dozens of other things the rest of my family brought, including the Errion family staples like Death Logs (sausage links wrapped in bacon and marinated in butter and brown sugar), Monkey Bread, and Taffy Apple Salad, plus veggie trays, cheese balls & crackers, liverwurst dip (the dark horse hit of the party - what can I say, my kin are mad about braunschweiger), and about half a dozen cheesecakes and pies provided by my Grandma Sally.

Alex didn't eat much of his dinner, but it turns out that he can eat his weight in pumpkin pie and whipped cream. He ate two whole pieces of pie and was spooning whipped cream directly out of the container into his mouth (thanks to his Great Aunt Suza, who decided it would be fun to give him the Cool Whip and see how much he would eat). He continued to talk about the pie all night, and we finally told him that it was all gone. At one point, I was calling for Murphy, and Alex explained to me that "Murphy go to store to get pumpkin pie". Yeah, if only that dog would earn his keep by doing the grocery shopping...

After dinner, we chatted and played games. Alex got caught up in a wild game of spoons - with my family, a normally innocent game of spoons ends up being a contact sport. But A held his own, thanks to a little protection from cousin Seth.

Next, they were onto some game where you flip a plastic cup around and hit your hand with it, then slam it on the table right-side-up, then upside-down...I wish there was a better way to describe it or that I had any idea what it was called...but basically everyone playing has to stay on rhythm and do the same movements or they lose. It makes a lot of noise and A had a really good time trying to play along.

It was getting late by this point, so I got Alex in his jammies and let him come back down to play for a bit. The cousins were playing Wii Sports, and A immediately confiscated a controller. Turns out A is an awesome Wii bowler. He refused to let Timothy or I help him, yet he nearly beat a couple older cousins and ended up beating poor cousin Ben by quite a few points. He had a handful of strikes and a spare or two under his belt by the end of the game.

Finally, it was time to tell everyone goodnight, including his awesome Great Grandpa Poppo.

We slept off our turkey dinners and piled into the car the next morning to go see a house my Dad had been working on, the one we went and saw back here, when it was barely more than sticks and bricks. It's almost finished now, and wow, what fine piece of craftsmanship my little ol' dad has created.

My little ol' mom ain't so bad herself. She painted this cool trompe l'oeuil mural inside this ceiling dome to coordinate with the wrought iron railings on the balcony.

Alex (and the rest of us) loved walking through the house and looking at all of Grampa's handiwork.

Alex got to ride the elevator (yes, the elevator) with Grampa, and he thought that these "Alex-sized" light switches were really cool.

Before we left, Dad had to saw some boards, so A got to see/hear a real circular saw in action.

I can't remember if I've mentioned this, but my family has studied Tae Kwon Do for years - my sister is a black belt, my dad and brother are 5th degree blackbelts, and my mom has an orange belt hidden away somewhere, I think. I'm the only one in my family who thought I was tough enough without martial arts training, I guess (ooh, am I gonna hear about that one). Anyway, my dad thought it would be fun to let Alex break his first board, which he did on just his second try.

No, this was not staged. Yes, he broke the board all by himself. And all that board breaking left Alex hungry and exhausted, so we had a quick lunch and went home for naps. We headed back home that afternoon and survived another uneventful road trip back to Dallas. A was pretty upset when we left Grampa, B, Aunt Rachel, and Uncle Nick standing on the sidewalk as we drove away. I think it's time for the Boettchers take a road trip to Dallas...