Wednesday, July 30, 2008
What I want to write about tonight is my beautiful daughter. Her birthday is tomorrow, and she'll be turning six years old. Six! How can that be? It seems just yesterday that I was in the hospital room in Nashville, excited and scared and relieved and exhausted, having been awake since 3:00 a.m. in labor with my firstborn, but it was six years ago today.
The sweet, grown-up little girl sitting in the living room right now and cheering on her father as he plays Mario Galaxy bears little resemblance to the small bundle that was given to me after my unplanned c-section. That bundle was red and screaming and tiny; CoasterGirl is tall (nearly to my shoulders already!) and willowy and tan from two months of summer freedom and excursions to the water park. She is talkative and energetic and smart and much too mature for her age.
She constantly amazes me - she's reading on at least a 3rd grade level; she reads words like "elementary" and "underpants" and "unfortunate" without batting an eye. She knows things about ocean life that I never learned in school. (Did you know that the bump on a beluga whale's head is called a melon? I had no idea.) She thinks math is fun. She is interested in so many things, and has a drive to excel at whatever she does.
It's so hard to remember sometimes that she's only 5 - she's smart and sarcastic and funny and understands more than she should.
These six years have passed so quickly; I can hardly believe it. My mother warned me it would, but somehow you can't quite believe it when you're up for the 3rd time in the middle of the night with a newborn, or taking a toddler to the potty for the 2nd time since you were seated in the restaurant. All of a sudden, you look up and your little girl is no longer so little - she's a kid instead of a baby; a student instead of a pre-schooler.
Happy Birthday, CoasterGirl. Here's to the next year - may it be filled with happiness, learning, and new friends for you. And may it go by just a little slower than the last one did.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
After meandering down Lombard for a little way, we made a beeline for CoasterGuy's old high school, Galileo, and then to Ghirardelli Square for the yummiest hot fudge sundae I believe I've ever had. I'd post the picture I took of it here, but you'd just be jealous.
Afterwards, it was on to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch at Boudin's (yes, we had dessert before lunch - ahh, the freedom of dining without kids!) CoasterGuy had clam chowder in a sourdough bowl, while I opted for a rustic tomato soup. From there, it was shopping, shopping and more shopping as we picked up souveneirs for friends and family, and of course, for ourselves, too!
We wandered from Fisherman's Wharf over to Pier 39, where we did more shopping and watched the sea lions sunning themselves on the floating platforms (docks?). This time of year, there aren't very many of them around, but we had a good time watching those that were. Later we had a delicious Nutella and banana crepe from one of the shops.
As the afternoon wore on, we started our trek back toward Union Square, laden with shopping bags and mostly full bellies. Though we were nearly exhausted and tired of walking by this time, we had reservations for dinner at the Stinking Rose, so we walked through the Chinatown gate and headed past the junk shops towards the restaurant (stopping to browse and to buy a fan and a Lucky Cat pillow for CoasterGirl).
We arrived for dinner early and were seated immediately. Alex, our server, was very nice - she gave us the rundown on the most popular dishes. We had the roasted garlic/anchovy concotion to spread on bread before dinner, and split a bottle of very nice pinot noir. For dinner, I had the 40-clove Garlic Chicken, while CoasterGuy opted for the Garlic-Rubbed Prime Rib. Both dishes were great, but the star of that particular meal (at least as far as I was concerned) was the giant martini glass full of tiramisu we had for dessert.
Exhausted and full to bursting, we decided to take the MUNI back to Japantown and crash back at the Hotel Kabuki. This was quite possibly the best decision we made all trip - we ended up using the buses to get around everywhere all week, and found it to be a convenient and inexpensive way to get where you need to go in the city (as long as you're not in a rush).
Well, as I've already practically written a novel, and I've only covered our first day in San Francisco, I think I'll leave off here for today. More to come, if you're not already bored to tears. Next time, San Francisco: Day 2.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, baby. "Maybe We Should Fall in Love" from No More Beautiful World.
I love this band - they're mostly straight up rock n' roll with a Southwest flavor, though on different songs you'll hear echoes of country and reggae. They were in Atlanta last night - I'm so bummed I missed them. Their live shows are great, as are their fans.
I must now go have a drink with tequila in their honor.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Once I get my pictures downloaded from the ol' digital camera, I'll post a detailed trip log, and I think I may make my very first scrapbook ever to chronicle the trip. I'm quite sure both will be dominated by descriptions of meals we had and places we ate!
The CoasterKids had a great time visiting their grandparents, and CoasterGuy (trying it on for size...) and I enjoyed ourselves immensely in San Francisco. Getting up this morning for work was so hard to do! When does my next vacation start?
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
It wasn't always this way. I used to love to fly. I loved the acceleration as the plane sped down the runway on takeoff, I loved the spectacular views from cruise altitude, and I loved settling in with a good book and a soda.
So what happened? I'm not sure. I've read that many people develop this fear in their 20s or 30s, as they become more aware of the fragility of life and begin forming their new family units. I was in my early 20s when my phobia began, and traveling frequently (by air) for work. I did have a few rough flights which were weather-related, but I can't really pinpoint when exactly it started. But start it did, and now days (and sometimes weeks) before a scheduled flight, I begin worrying about it. I'm not even sure "worrying" is the right word - I'm not really consciously thinking of flying at all - I just feel anxious. "Dreading" might be more accurate.
Logically, I know that I'm safer on the airplane than I am on the drive to the airport. I know the statistics. But somehow, logic just doesn't seem to work on this particular part of my psyche. The logical part of my brain says "get a grip!" but the other part is screaming "Danger! Danger!" and marveling at how calm everyone else seems to be while it takes a massive effort of will for me to board the plane.
So before most flights, I retake an online Fear of Flying Self-Help Course. It seems to help some.
The most annoying part of all this is the general anxiety level in the days before a flight - it scrambles my brain enough that I find it difficult to concentrate on anything, including planning what to pack and preparing my workload for my upcoming absence. Also, I'm ridiculously irritable and short of patience. Grrr.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Correction 1: He is not merely an "auditor for a university" - he is an audit manager.
Correction 2: He is not a "foodie"; he is a "gourmand".
Correction 3: He prefers not to be called "Mr. ChelleBelle". Suggested alternatives include "His Almightiness", "Sir" and/or "Master".
Errrr....hmmmm. For some strange reason, none of those suggestions really grabbed me. Gee...I wonder why?
Henceforth, Mr. ChelleBelle shall be known as...well...any ideas?
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Or, if you're Mr. and Mrs. ChelleBelle, time to finish a redecorating project, host a party, and listen to the CoasterKids fight about whether they should be watching The Wiggles or Spongebob Squarepants. Or whether CoasterBoy is allowed to touch CoasterGirl's dolls. Or whether CoasterBoy will be messing up CoasterGirl's puzzle. Or...well, you get the idea.
CoasterBoy will be two in a few weeks, and the Terrible Twos have arrived a bit early and with a vengeance. His favorite word is already "No!" and his stubborn streak has become his most prominent personality trait, eclipsing his innate sweetness with astonishing speed. I think the highlight of the weekend was CoasterBoy crying hysterically because his cereal puffs were in a plastic baggie instead of in a bowl like his big sister's. Or maybe it was when he insisted on watching The Wiggles in Big Red Car for the bajillionth time ("Car! Big Car!! Car, Mommy!! Car, Car!!").
So now the kids are in bed at last, and the house is quiet. The dishes are washed, the living room is straightened up, and we're planning for the week ahead and the vacation that starts on Saturday. And as this long weekend finally comes to an end, I raise my glass to all my friends who are stay-at-home moms: Here's to you. You're my hero.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
My brother is turning 30 this month; I'm planning a party for him in conjunction with the 4th of July for Friday. CoasterGirl and CoasterBoy both have birthdays at the end of this month, and in between? Well, Mr. ChelleBelle and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary a month early with a trip to San Francisco by way of Las Vegas and Phoenix. The CoasterKids will be with us for the first 2 legs of the trip, but we're headed to San Francisco by ourselves after that for the longest trip we've taken sans kids since before CoasterGirl was born. Just writing that is making me tired!
Sometime in the next week or so, I need a haircut and a manicure, CoasterGirl needs to see the eye doctor and get new glasses, CoasterBoy needs an immunization that was out of stock at his 18 month well baby visit, and I need to order a new set of contacts. Oh, and Mr. ChelleBelle is having some dental work done. Also? I need to make sure my current wardrobe is sufficient for our trip out west, plus plan what to pack to keep a 2-year-old occupied on a cross-country flight.
Oh, and did I mention that we're in the middle of a kitchen remodel?
I'm a 30-something working mom living in the Southeastern United States. I telecommute full time for a large financial services firm. Mr. ChelleBelle is an auditor for a university. We have two children: CoasterGirl will be 6 years old later this month, and CoasterBoy will be 2. We also have 2 cats whom we rescued from an animal shelter - they've been with us through 9 years, 3 moves, multiple jobs and 2 kids. Mr. ChelleBelle often tells CoasterGirl that she must be nice to the cats because they were here first.
I am an avid reader, a newbie runner, a tentative gardener, a word game enthusiast and a terrible housekeeper. I love music, baseball, movies, and food.
No, seriously - I love food. Mr. ChelleBelle and I are self-proclaimed foodies. Over the years, we've learned to cook ever-more ambitious recipes, primarily in an effort to avoid crushing debt from our dining budget.
So that's the scoop on me. And as this is my second post, no one can call me a one-post wonder. Ha!