Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Silence Leads to Reading

Tenley wandered away into her bedroom and it was strangely quiet. Fearing for the safety of the cats, I went to see what all the silence was about. Turns out she was just reading her favorite book...The Wheels on the Bus!

I snuck out and got the camera for a few candid shots before I was discovered. We read this book before bedtime every night. When I asked what she was doing her reply was, "Tenley reading, but no tired. No bed!" I was just glad to see that the cats were safe.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Catching up

Well, it’s been a while since the Mom has chimed in…I’ve just let Jeff show you charming pictures of Tenley with diapers on her head and regale you with some of the fun from their evenings alone. So now Mommy (aka Princess Snarky) has returned to tell you tales from the holiday and beyond, with more than my usual dose of sarcasim.

Ghosts of the Christmas Past

It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. At least that’s what Andy Williams tells us. I don’t know that it was really wonderful, but it was definitely interesting and occasionally humorous.

As usual, Tenley made out like a bandit this holiday season. Grandma Suzie went totally crazy and bought her a Play-Doh Creativity Center, luggage, books, a hoppity ball, and various toys that are musical instruments or require hammering. (Thanks Mom…next year could you put some Excedrin in my stocking??) Daddy & I anted up with a starter set of GeoTrax, a LeapFrog toy, and helped Santa deliver a Fisher-Price Learning Desk. Grandma & Grandpa provided DVD’s, books, Cinderella Legos, a name plate for her door, etc. etc!! In addition to this she also got more toys, DVD’s, and super cute clothes! I still have no idea where I’m going to put all this stuff. I’m currently looking for a women’s shelter that I can donate her older toys & clothes to.

Jeff did pretty well too: a guitar, a digital picture frame, clothes, books, & DVD’s. I had a great Christmas: I got clothes & beauty products, yoga classes, TimTams, jewelry…and the fish. No not a live one, but rather a Gurgling Fish Jug. I saw one of these for the first time a year ago at Gaynor’s house. They’re made in England and when you pour liquid from them air gets trapped in the tail and they make this hilarious gurgling sound. I fell in love with Gaynor’s and resolved to find one for myself on my next trip to England. Lucky for me, the Acorn catalog had them this year and my fabulous husband got me one.

There are always dark moments in the holiday celebration. If you don’t believe me watch The Family Stone, or even The Santa Clause. Here were some of ours:

The Car. So apparently it’s not a good idea to drive around for 3 months with your check engine light on. We spent the 1st month thinking it was an electrical problem since my car also says the parking brake is on even when it’s not. We spent months 2 and 3 thinking it just really needed a tune-up. Well, we were right- it did need a tune up…to say the least. Apparently the exhaust valve on cylinder one was cracked and had a hole in it so it had completely shut down. Cylinders 2-4 were totally mis-firing. Result: a whole new head unit. It was also time for a new timing belt and a water pump, so since the engine was going to be out, we did that too. Oh yeah- I was also completely out of brake fluid (it was a wonder the car was stopping) but as a result I had chewed up the pads and was about a day away from eating my front rotors. All this 2 weeks before Christmas. Joy to the world. At this point Jeff and I cancelled Christmas for each other (we’re going to have Groundhog Day) and we’d like to apologize to everyone for the meager gifts we were able to afford. 12 days and $2000+ later I got my car back, but it still sounds like a sewing machine. I’m hoping the adjustment it’s having in 2 weeks fixes that…otherwise there’s a visit to the dealer in my future.
Extra special thanks to Aunty Meg who kindly loaned me her late mother’s PT Cruiser so I didn’t have to rent a car; and Kim who loaned me Jaxon’s portable car seat.

The Pez dispenser. Grandma Suzie thought the resident 2 year old would get a kick out of opening the head and getting a little piece of candy. She was right- and we watched in horror as the Kreature did this repeatedly and shoved every single one of the grape candies in her mouth. It was so full that she couldn’t talk and could hardly chew. We just had to ride it out and wipe the flood of purple drool off of her chin. The Pez dispensers and their bounty have now been hidden.

51.6 Miles. Jeff’s family had the good fortune to spend most of his life all living within 10 miles of each other, which came in really handy at the holidays when a tradition of breakfast at his Grandmother’s house at 8am on Christmas day was established. However, 38 years later we live 51.6 miles away, her daughter is 60-70 miles, 1 son & his wife and their daughter are in Oregon, Jeff’s parents are 6 hours away in the middle of the state, 1 grandson and his wife & daughter are in Chicago, etc etc. The problem is that old traditions die hard, and when Tenley came home I became the Wicked Witch of the West and followed Nancy Regan’s advice and just said “no”. It wasn’t much of a problem last year, but this year every one had other engagements, so by the time we showed up 10:30ish we didn’t get to see much of anyone. It’s so nice to see Jeff’s whole family, but it’s become difficult & inconvenient to try to drive to Pico Rivera by 8 on Christmas day…especially when someone who shall remain nameless doesn’t open her presents very quickly, and then want s to play with them.

Feliz Ano Nuevo- 2007

I rang in the New Year working at the El Torito and house sitting for Kim & Zak, which was 3 days of alone time bliss.

So far this year:

Changes are abounding in our house. I think Tenley is about to have a little growth spurt because she’s eating constantly and has started taking marathon naps and sleeping later than usual.
Poor LaFred has entered little kitty puberty – she’s an early bloomer. While I was house sitting over New Years, Jeff said that he was getting no sleep because Fred was roaming the house crying piteously all night…but she stopped about 3 days later. Now she’s doing it again…but this time I was here to see it: he neglected to mention that she’s also doing the dance of seven veils & no dress and walking around with her butt in the air. Yes, she’s “in season” and she’s calling for a boyfriend. We made a call too- she’s going to pay a little visit to Dr.Robinson next week.

Tenley’s vocabulary continues to grow and evolve at an amazing rate, with some interesting acquisitions… This weeks was “no way Jose” – used correctly I might add- and when we asked her where she learned this she just giggled, and when we asked her when she learned this she said “mmmmm…Wednesday!” We also hear road rage from the backseat… tonight a light turned green and she told her dad “move it stupid!”…hilarious, but not good. Also falling into the “not good” file is the incessant and insistant use of “NO”. This is frequently accompanied by foot stomping, running away, and outright defiance. On the bright side of language, she is communicating her needs (boots! Hat!) and wants (sucker! cookies!) better, and has started responding to things her TV shows like Elmo & Blue’s Clues ask her. As for ansewring questions, "why" still eludes her.

Rain Man. Occasionally Tenley goes Rain Man on us and gets fixated on something and will repeat it continuously to the point that you just want to duct tape her mouth shut and run screaming into the night. Sometimes this is something like “Oobi? Oobi? See Oobi? Oobi? See Oobi now?” repeat. Repeat continuously regardless of location, ability to grant request, and response. Or “Boots? Tenley boots? Tenley new boots. Want boots. Boots? Boots? Boots?” this has gone on for weeks. See the problem is that it’s January, so all the stores have are flip flops & bikinis. We finally got lucky the other night and found these pink English riding boots on sale at Pumpkin Patch. Now the pink boots are worn with everything.

Speaking of fixated, my kid is obsessed with the Wiggles. She wants to watch “Wiggle Safari” all day & all night, and she knows which song comes next (see previous post about Queen of the Roses) and tries to do all the dance moves. Funny as heck to watch. So like a good parent, I about killed myself to get tickets for the upcoming Wiggles concert in March. If she had any, Tenley would throw her underwear at them – and she’d love to bring a rose for Dorothy the Dinosaur- so we went to great lengths to try to get tickets on the floor so she could join the toddler mosh pit. Alas, we were denied. We got no joy in the presale- only 2 sets of tickets we didn’t want. Fortunately, Lloyd at Ticketmaster understood my plight and made a huge exception and allowed me to return them. Grandma Suzie and I were poised and ready when they went on sale at 10am today, but the best we could do was row 10 of section A…so we are center house, but we’re in the raised section (actually only 4 rows from the rail). I doubt Tenley & Jaxon will care where we sit.

The next few months promise to be full of Tenleylicious activities:

Feb: Chinese New Year, Riverside County Fair
Mar: Sea World, The Wiggles concert
Apr: Easter
Random: Visits to Granma & Grandpa, Zoo/Wild Animal Park, Long Beach Aquarium, snow days, and maybe Lego Land.

So there should be plenty to post about very soon. I’ll leave you with a little story about Tenley’s newest ….um…friend….

Mrs. Cotton

For those of you who don’t know us personally, you may find it interesting to know that Jeff works in a historic house that is haunted. Honest. We believe the ghost to be the wife of the former owner, and she’s really quite harmless. Most of the time she does things like re-arrange the conference room furniture, open windows and drapes, and play with an adding machine in one of the upstairs offices. Lots of strange sounds are heard and many people have witnessed shadows moving, but only 1 person (Tara’s son Dalton) has ever really seen her. Until now. Now 2 people have seen her- Dalton…and Tenley.
The week before Christmas I had to drop Ten off at Jeff’s office on my way to work. Ten loves Holden House and especially loves going up and down the staircases. Everyone else had gone home so she had run amok down stairs and then started pestering her dad to go upstairs. Jeff kept having to tell her no because he was busy with something. Then it got very quiet. Jeff looked over and saw Tenley standing at the base of the stairs, looking up, as though she were examining something and trying to make sense out of it. “Tenley? Do you want to go upstairs?” Long pause. “No” as she shakes her head back and forth, her eyes never leaving the 2nd floor landing. “Ten? What are you looking at?” “Lady.” Ok! Time to go! Jeff couldn’t actually leave fast enough. Tenley, being polite, happily waved into the darkness and said “Bye Lady! Nice time!”

Nice time indeed.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Crazy Hat

Tenley makes anything she can put on her head a hat. Today it was a pull-up training diaper. She put it on her head then pointed to the camera and said "Cheese!" So I took a couple of pictures while she just cracked herself up!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Tenley Chicken Video

This is a test to see if we can upload videos to this blog. This is 15 seconds of Tenley dressed as a chicken for Halloween dancing at Mickey's Halloween Treat in October 2006.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tenley Activities

Tenley models the newest in tissue box apparel

There are several new Tenley-isms that are too cute so I thought we would share a couple. Most of the time she comes up with these right after some demon inspired activity like dropping the phone in the toilet, body slamming the cat or just being destructive in general.

She has become a lot more vocal in the past few weeks. This comes out in the funniest ways at the most random times. For example, she has a Winnie the Pooh toy phone that rings and teaches counting, shapes and music. The Wiggles Safari (her current favorite) was on the TV tonight and her very favorite song, The Queen of the Roses, was showing. She had just been playing with the Pooh phone and during the song the phone began ringing. She looked at me with a classic “can you believe the phone is ringing” look then turned and said “not now phone, queen roses on!” Of course you had to pick me up off the floor laughing.

Her unwillingness to pick anything up is becoming legendary. This example comes from last night while playing with Playdoh. There were several items on the floor around her to choose from. She decided she needed a new color open and was bringing it to me for assistance. Instead of getting up and stepping over or around all the other playdoh items on the floor she just kicked them all over the living room out of her way. When told that was unacceptable and she needed to pick them up she responded, “Paydoh in way…MOVE!” While trying not to laugh I made her pick everything up. That did not go over well.

The past two days I have been battling a cold trying to keep it from evolving further. Usually Tenley and I play around pretty rough on the floor. She climbs all over me and I throw her around like a rag doll to many giggles of happiness. As I was sitting on the floor wrapped in a blanket she tried jumping on me. I told her that Daddy was not feeling well and she could not jump on me today. She looked concerned for a moment and then pronounced that “Daddy need medicine.” I told her I would take some later but she decided that was not good enough. She looked right at me and said “Tenley fix” and with that planted a kiss right on my shoulder and said “all better.” How do you resist that? Needless to say, fever or not, I spent the next 20 mins playing on the floor with her.

The other night the phone rang and as I was looking for it Tenley jumped up, yelled “Tenley get it”, grabbed the phone and took off toward the bathroom. I caught up with her just in time to hear the splash as the phone hit the toilet. How nice! She just stood there, giggled continuously and said “Tenley do it”.

I would love to share more but I just noticed that it is awfully quiet in here and I see that there is Playdoh stuck to the TV screen. I should go and pay attention to the little devil and make sure that the cats are still alive. Secretly I think this is why Mommy goes to work.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Little Drummer Girl

Tenley got a new bathtub drum set. She really likes to drum and thought it was just perfect that she could drum and take a bath at the same time!

Have you noticed how many toys make hideous amounts of noise these days?