Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last day of 2009

It is amazing to think that another year is coming to a close. There are only 13 more hours left in 2009 - and what a year it has been and what a year 2010 will become. A few things I look forward to in the coming year:
  • The arrival of our son (watch out, world!)
  • The skills and feats Annika will conquer and learn (not to mention, the funny things she'll undoubtedly say!!)
  • Our family vacation to Lake Chelan next September
  • Eric's and my 9th wedding anniversary next November (how has so much time flown by?)
  • Spending time with our family members and friends

To all of those near and dear to our hearts, may your 2010 be filled with joy, laughter, love, and hope.

Wishing everyone a spectacular 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's official...

I'm now a minivan mom. We've been pondering the idea of plunging into the world of the minivan for a little bit now - mostly due to the fact we'll soon have 2 little kids to get in and out of the car (moreover, into and out of car seats). Last night, we bit the bullet and bought an 8 passenger 2008 Toyota Sienna. It is quite snazzy (can a minivan really be snazzy? I vote yes!) and it is great to drive.

Last night, Eric pointed out that it has hooks for grocery bags, which sent me into a state of true bliss, and that it has more cup holders than we can shake a stick at (although, why we'd shake a stick at the cup holders, I don't really know).

I've decided to name the van "Hawn" because it has a gold exterior... (Get it? Goldie Hawn? Eh? Eh? Clever, huh?? ;)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Illness Update

Well, I think that I might live to see Christmas. It was touch and go for a couple of days, but the doctor I saw yesterday gave me drugs that seem to be helping. Ironically, he gave me an inhaler to help my lungs when I go into the horrible coughing fits (that last up to an hour!). I'm not asthmatic, but now have an inhaler and am very grateful for it! The doctor also put me on antibiotics to see if that helps at all. At this point, I'm willing to try just about anything.

One unexpected side effect of the coughing fits is they get the baby rockin' and rollin'. Which is fine during the day, but in the middle of the night, much less welcome. I think the loud, seemingly never ending coughing startles him and gets him moving ... ALL over the place. On an up note, I guess that means his hearing is probably in good working order!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Prep

Our Christmas shopping is done. Most presents are wrapped. Christmas cookies and caramels are made and ready for consumption. We did quite well planning this year's Christmas prep. The one thing we didn't plan for is a nasty cold to invade our house a week before Christmas. I'm sure there's a Christmas carol somewhere amongst our symptoms... coughing, sneezing, blowing noses, fa la la la la la la la la! The goal is to be well on the road to recovery before Christmas arrives.

We've had a guest with us since Friday and he's been great. My brother's family's dog (Kirby) is hanging out at Chez Olson for a week while his family is in Chelan. Kirby is Buca's brother (our black lab). Annika particularly likes having Kirby around because there's finally a dog in the house who will play fetch with her. When she throws toys for our dogs, they frequently neglect to bring them back to her. Kirby, on the other hand, happily retrieves the toys she lobs by/at/around him (we're still working on her aim).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle!

Last night, Annika helped me make spritz cookies. BY FAR, her favorite part of the whole endeavor was putting the sprinkles on the cookies. She took to it like a fish takes to water. The difficulty arose when she started applying sprinkles before the cookies were formed. So, she was basically decorating the cookie sheet... festive? yes. productive? not so much. Upon seeing the first spritz cookie on the cookie sheet, Annika proclaimed, "WHOA!" (She was immediately a fan of the cookie gun, let me tell you!!) She happily and generously applied red, green, and multi-colored sprinkles to the cookies... frequently with verve and while singing, "sprinkle! sprinkle! sprinkle!" I was a bit surprised by how naturally she took to the action, until I found out (the next day) that they used glitter (in shakers) as part of an art project at her day care that very same day. Ah ha! She'd been practicing!

Yesterday, I had my monthly OB appt. and was told the baby is looking good and seems to be growing right on track. His heart was beating in the mid 130-range, which is perfect. I had another gestational diabetes test run yesterday, still waiting to find out the results. Starting mid-January, I begin the twice montly OB appointments - how is it possible that this pregnancy is going by so quickly???

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Santa Visit

On Sunday, I took Annika to the mall to get her picture taken with Santa. To prepare, we showed her pictures of Santa from years past and looked at books that had Santa. She was all set. On the way to the mall, Annika started saying, "No Sanka Claus. No Sanka Claus." Not a good sign. I told her we'd just go take a look and she didn't have to sit with him if she didn't want to. After waiting in line for an hour (mind you, there were only about 20 people in front of us), it was our turn. During our time in line, Annika played with the other kids a bit but was showing signs of fatigue. By the time we were at the front of the line, she had her head on my shoulder and was snuggling with her bunny.

I didn't want to wind up with a screaming child with Santa picture, so I took some advice from a friend (thanks, Joy!) who suggested the following idea many moons ago. We put Annika in Santa's chair and had Santa hide behind it so she wouldn't freak out. Then, Santa could peek around the chair for the photo. (Joy did this with one of her kids years ago and it resulted in a very cute picture.) Annika wasn't thrilled with the idea of me putting her down, but I was able to convince her to sit while I was (barely) out of the photo frame. We got a deer in the headlights photo for the second year in a row, but did avoid the screaming child picture, which was my goal.

Needless to say, glad I didn't wait on our Santa picture for this year's Christmas cards. Maybe we'll get a smile out of her next year. :)

(Doesn't she look tiny in that huge chair??)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Darned Ear Infections!

Two weeks ago, Annika was diagnosed with a double ear infection. She was put on a 5-day round of antibiotics and seemed to be all better. Fast forward to Sunday. She woke up from her nap saying her ear hurt (uh-oh). She had a bit of a rough day (asking for Daddy and just being a bit out of sorts) at day care, which isn't like her. We decided to call her pediatrician and have her checked out. Her doctor took a peek in her ears and confirmed the infection that we suspected. She also confirmed that Annika's stuffed bunny also has another ear infection. (I am SOOOO impressed - she had a 5:45 appt and we were back in our car at 6:00. Is that service or what?!!?)

Annika is back on antibiotics - a different kind than last time and it is a 10-day treatment. Hopefully this one will kill off whatever is taking up residence in her ears AND it'll start working soon. I was up with Annika ever hour of the night last night (except the 4:00 hour).... Mama is a bit tired today. :(

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lunchtime shopping experience

During lunch, I popped to Kohl's to find a necklace to wear to Eric's company party tomorrow and to see if they had any maternity sweaters. A few helpful clerk assisted me during my jewelry hunt (she rocked) and I wound up with two options to try with the dress. After the jewelry success, I headed upstairs to the maternity section - that term is used VERY loosely. First of all, infant clothes were located under the sign that read "Maternity". After about 5 minutes of searching, I found a clerk who pointed me in the "right" (substitute WRONG) direction. She said that the maternity clothes were on the wall behind the infant clothes. A note to that clerk - infant clothes are on the back wall of infant department. Just FYI, lady! I finally found a rack of clothing hidded in the intimates department that had maternity clothes mixed in with nightgowns and pajamas. Really?? Seriously?? The one thing that made the whole adventure worthwhile was the fact I found not one but two maternity denim mini skirts on the rack. That hit my funny bone so hard that I might need an x-ray. Seriously! A denim maternity mini skirt. Apparently, those bad boys were aimed at a MUCH younger pregnancy age bracket than the one I'm in. Thank you, Kohl's, for the laugh .... wish I also could have found a sweater. On an up note, the laugh was free (aside from the wasted time) and a sweater would have come with a price tag.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today's musing

I find myself completely swamped at work, but can't keep from missing my husband and little girl today. I really enjoy my job, but there are days that make me long to be home with my family. Not necessarily doing anything special - just being together. Today is one of those days. Maybe it is because I know our house is looking more festive these days and I'd like us to be there enjoying the tree and decorations as a family. Who knows? I just know that today is a day that I want to rush home to my beloved husband and daughter and just spend time with them, time that is full of hugs, kisses, I love yous, and laughter.

Still cold on Seattle!

This morning, I took our garbage and recycling items out to our cans and then attempted to move the cans from our driveway into the alley. Slight problem - they were frozen to our driveway. I shook them. No luck. I rattled them. No luck. I finally kicked them. That worked.

Winter: 0, Meredith: 1

(Of course, me publishing that score means I'll probably slip on some random patch of ice later today.) ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pictures of our little guy

I got scanned at work again today (talk about a nice perk!) and figured I'd share one of the pictures and a movie clip. Enjoy!

Definitely not warm out there

Today on my way to work, the radio announcer said today is the coldest day in Western WA on record for 2009. That definitely deserves a "BRRRR!!!!" Some places are in the single digits .... Olympia and Shelton are both at 9 degrees. Spokane (while not in western WA, but still deserves a mention) is at 2 degrees. That makes Seattle's 21 degrees sound downright balmy! We're quite fortunate that it has been dry lately, so we aren't dealing with icy roads, which is definitely a good thing!

Last night, we decorated our Christmas tree. It was the first time Annika participated in the practice. At first, she wanted nothing to do with it... that was until Eric showed her a Tigger ornament. Then, she was all over the idea of decorating. The funny part is she wanted to put every ornament in the exact same spot. So, after she hung an ornament and returned to the bin for a new one, I had to relocate the previously placed ornament so there was room for the next one she brought to the tree. She really liked hanging the colored glass ball ornaments - they were definitely her favorite. It was such a treat to watch Annika really begin to realize that this is an exciting and festive time of year. Until now, the idea of holidays and birthdays really didn't sink in, but that is all beginning to change for her. As parents, Eric and I are noticing a renewed childlike excitement because of knowing what Annika will experience as more and more understanding creeps into her busy little brain.

Latest quotes from Annika:
"WOW! Cool!" (While using her new coloring book and markers from the DeWeese family)
"I gode it" (Translation = "I got it.")
"Omen it" (Translation = "Open it.")
"Rhonsanarurus" (Translation = "Rhinoceros")
"Abadaba" (Translation = "Abracadabra" ... Eric showed her "magic" tricks recently)
"Juggo, Daddy!!" (Translation = "Daddy, juggle the mandarin oranges again!!!"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Phasing out the Binky

Late last week, we decided it was time for Annika to be weaned from her Binky habit. That thing is like crack to her at times and it making it difficult for us to always understand what she's saying. Our approach is to start out with the binky only when she's sleeping and then not at all; out timeline is to get this done long before the baby arrives, so she doesn't think he's stealing her binky. On Saturday, we had a few meltdowns that were prompted by us not giving her a binky when it was requested. It really does take a lot of willpower on our part not to give in, but we know it is the right thing to do. Yesterday, we had fewer tears over the binky and found that the promise of a binky made going to bed a bit of a smoother process. During mass yesterday, Annika was more of a handful than normal - very wiggly and there were two occasions that I ushered her out to the outer area until she could pull herself together. Previously, I would have given her a binky and she would have calmed down almost immediately. This is truly a lesson in patience and perseverance for all of us. Fortunately, Annika's day care only gives her a binky at nap time, so I think that will ease our transition at home. Fingers are crossed!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A great time of year

There's something cozy about wearing sweaters, drinking hot beverages, and listening to holiday music. I really love this time of year. Seeing frost on the fallen leaves and feeling the distinct chill in the air tells me that Christmas is quickly approaching.

There has always been a sense of excitement and festivity around Christmas, but having a child who is on the cusp of really understanding the whole thing has renewed my anticipation of Christmas - not just as a season, but the actual day. Of course, it is a spiritual day, but there's also something to behold when a child looks with wonder at a tree decked out with lights and decorations and begins to wonder about Santa and his impending arrival. Annika isn't quite there, but is definitely getting close. We'll get our Christmas tree this weekend and I'm quite excited to have her help us decorate it and become an active participant in our Christmas preparations. She helped me make the shortbread cookies last weekend, but that's not quite the same as decorating the tree and watching our house transform from a home to a home that is ready for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Poor Little Girl

On Saturday, Annika woke up from her nap and complained that her ear hurt. Not a good sign. I gave her some ibuprophen to ease the ache. I also put some garlic oil in her ear; the poor thing came unglued when I began to massage the ear to work the oil in a bit lower. REALLY not a good sign. On Sunday, she, again, mentioned her ear, but wasn't acting sick or truly out of sorts. Then Sunday night hit. She was miserable and in pain; the ibuprophen wasn't doing the trick and her nose was much more congested. After a sleepless night and a call from her day care saying she had a fever, it was off to the doctor. She was reluctant to allow the doctor to look in her ears, but eventually decided it would be OK. After that was done, she wanted the doctor to look in her stuffed bunny's ears. (He was diagnosed with an ear infection, as well.)

Two days of antibiotics later, Annika is doing MUCH better. (Bunny only needed extra rest to beat his ear infection - no meds required. Whew!) We are grateful that she could be seen so quickly and receive the care that she needed.... not to mention, get the right medication that is doing its job in a timely manner.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Our Thanksgiving

The Olson Trio spent Thanksgiving with Eric's parents on Whidbey Island this year. It was a very relaxed holiday filled card games, more food than we could shake a stick at, and lots of fun conversations. Annika had a great time trying to get the new cat in the family (a Maine Coon named Gabe, who my in-laws rescued from a shelter in MT in October). Every time Annika saw Gabe, she insisted on pointing him out and calling to him. "Kitty! Come on go. Kitty. Come." Gabe had no intention of heading her direction and mostly hid on the bookshelves in my in-laws den snoozing and hiding from a 2-year-old who would probably try to love him a bit more than he wanted.

My mom-in-law and I decided we needed rolls to accompany our Thanksgiving dinner. One run to the neighbor's house for Crisco and one run to the store for yeast later, we had the rolls going in the bread machine. It was more of an adventure than we expected, but the rolls did turn out quite nicely. Gotta love Aunt Sally's roll recipe!!

We played numerous rounds of Quiddler and 5 Crowns, both fun card games that our family seems to be quite addicted to. We definitely had a lucky chair and I got booted from it after winning one of the first games.... my victories quickly came to a halt after Eric overtook my seat. Darn him!

A big thank you to the Whidbey Olsons for a wonderful Thanksgiving. (Thanks, too, to their neighbor for the Crisco!)