Sunday, March 29, 2009

Family Fiesta

This weekend we were treated to a Mexican feast courtesy of the latest return missionary in the Higginbotham household: Sister Davita Michelle Washington. (FYI--Davita has now decided to go by her middle name, Michelle. Since I know it will take me at least a couple years to fully register that transition, I'll just call her "Didi" for now.)

Didi has been home from her Spanish-speaking mission in Texas now for a couple weeks. She gave a great homecoming talk in the Higginbothams' ward and she's ready to head back out to Provo soon.

I'm getting hungry all over again!

It's clear that she learned a lot on her mission--including how to make some mean homemade salsa! Seriously good stuff. She claimed to give me her recipe, but I think she must be holding out on some of the key ingredients. I'll have to try it and see if it's as good as hers.

A happy customer!

I would have been happy with just the salsa, but we also had yummy marinated, grilled chicken, guacamole, beans, rice, grilled tortillas and oh yeah--pico de gallo, which she forgot to mention had fresh, chopped jalapenos in it (fire extinguisher, anyone?!).

Nana and Papa are convinced that Tessie will follow in her Dad's footsteps--quite literally. Evidently, Ryan didn't start walking until he was 18 mos. old. After dinner, Keith pulled out the old home movies to prove it. (And when I say "movie," I mean it! Projector, screen and all!)

Ry's first steps.

I was amazed by how much Tess looks like her Dad when he was her age. They have practically the same build--Tess is an inch taller and weighs 2 oz. more than he did at this age. She has his eyes, nose, hair and so many of the same mannerisms and body language. It's so funny to watch him resist walking in the exact same way she does--pulling up his feet so they simply won't touch the ground.

He looks like my Tessie!

Tess has had her own unusual means of locomotion, but thankfully she didn't inherit Ryan's hilarious "monkey crawl." Who needs walking when you can scoot around like an ape?

The monkey crawl.

Anyway, I taped a few clips of his walking so you can see what Tess will look like if she ever decides to do the same.

Tess has been sick this week, so it's been relatively quiet around here. She's still climbing and getting into things as usual. Today she decided to help herself to a banana--peel and all, so Dad decided to show her how to peel it. He also managed to capture a few, fleeting moments of Tess with a bow in her hair. Rare footage, so enjoy.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Glimpse Into Why My Husband Won't Shop With Me

Check it out and vote for your favorite!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Making Friends

We had my friend Brandi's little girl over today. She is a sweet little newbie named Grace.

Tess was thrilled with our visitor. She loved Grace's feet and her hair. I was surprised by how helpful Tess tried to be. She picked out toys to show the baby, got out hats for Grace to wear and tried to tickle her to make her laugh.

I had to tell her "be soft" constantly, but she was appropriately cautious with baby--except for when it came time to burp Grace. Tess saw me banging Gracie on the back and immediately came over to give her a wallop on the back. I think I was sending mixed messages by saying "soft, Tess, soft," while pounding on the baby.

I made Gracie dance to the Signing Time songs, and Tess thought that was a riot. But mainly, she just liked to sit beside Grace and look at her. What a sweetheart I have.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Climbing....and Still Crawling

I'm really sorry to tell you the sad news, Reen, but Tess did not walk on your predicted date. I know you had your heart set on it, and I had a good feeling about that date too. Ry & I even took her to the church gym on Sat., walker in tow, to see if we could coax some steps out of her. We tried her on the carpet, on the gym floor, with shoes, without shoes, but she was having nothing of it.

She had her 15-mo. appointment today. She is now 32 inches tall (or long , at least until she starts standing) and she weighs 21 lbs. 4 oz. Her growth has slowed down a little, but she's still in the 90th percentile for height and 30 percentile for weight. She's a long, lean baby machine.

Tess has been climbing like crazy these days--it's like having a mountain goat in the house. She can climb up on the couch, the bench in the living room, pretty much any chair she gets her hands on.

This is particularly problematic because our couch backs up to kitchen counter and sink area, and she has figured out how to climb over the couch to reach anything on the counter. That used to be a "safe" place where I could keep things out of her reach. I'm quickly running out of "safe" places!

We don't have a whole lot of options when it comes to furniture configurations, so for now I'm focusing on teaching her "no, no, no" and trying to keep the counter clear of anything that could cause serious injury.

She was a mountain goat at the doctor's office too--climbing all over the chairs, getting into the blinds, trying to crawl on the doctor's desk. I told the doctor we were concerned that she wasn't walking yet. She watched Tess walk while holding onto my fingers and scooch along holding to the chairs. She said Tess has strong legs, good muscle tone, and no problems with her feet.

The doctor thinks that Tess will walk when she wants to, and she just doesn't want to yet. She said that babies with developmental problems aren't capable of her gymnastic climbing feats. Her advice was to give it a couple more months and that if Tess is not walking by Mother's Day, she'll give us a referral to see a specialist.

I know things won't get any easier once she starts walking, but I'm at least hoping her interest in climbing will subside once she can run!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Little Appreciation Goes a Long Way

We have been working on teaching Tess the word thank you. She has picked up the sign for thank you from her signing video, but I'm not sure she really understands what it means. She does understand that we when we say thank you, we are generally pleased with her, and she'll repeat the behavior for more thank-you's.

We have discovered we can use appreciation to our advantage. So far it has worked with kisses (she'll give 10 slobbery kisses in a row if you pepper them with thank-you's), goldfish crackers (it's mom who usually takes advantage of this opportunity), and unloading the dishwasher.

It used to be that Tess helped empty the dishwasher by unloading the silverware piece by piece, licking each utensil, and then throwing it on the ground. I found that with a few thank-you's, she'll hand me an item, wait for me to put it away and then hand me another. Much more productive!

The only problem now is that she doesn't understand the difference between dirty and clean dishes. Whenever I load the dishwasher, she'll take out a dirty fork and hand it to me. Not especially productive. She's such a sweetheart though, and she tries so hard to please.

Since I'm on the subject of gratitude, a big thank you to Mom and Mer for helping with ideas for my Enrichment presentation last night. Our RS does such a great job with these activities. The theme was "Bloom Where You're Planted." They decorated with flowers everywhere--check out these beautiful flowers that my friend Caroline made for centerpieces. I never, ever would have guessed they are made from coffee filters (kind of uncomfortable to submit that receipt for reimbursement, huh?). They totally looked like expensive silk roses. You have to watch the video--they're amazing!

We had dinner and then three 10-min. workshops: "Weeding Out Your Obstacles," "Nurturing Yourself" and "Look to the Son for Strength." I taught the mini-class on nurturing yourself. I set up the room as a "10-Minute Soul Spa." I had the lights out with soft lamps on, played spa-like music and set the chairs up in a semi-circle. I wore a robe and pedicure slippers and told the class we would learn to "nurture body, mind and spirit in 10 minutes or less."

There were four mini-spa "services," and for each one I talked about a special "technique" or "treatment" they could do at home to get the same feeling of renewal. The first one was closing their eyes and listening to the music, and we talked about developing our talents to set the atmosphere of our lives. Then I passed around a bowl of strawberries and had everyone eat one slowly, appreciating the taste and nutrients of the fruit. We talked about how we can do that with all the food we eat, and renewal that comes from taking care of our bodies. Next, I had them turn to the right and give each other a shoulder massage, then switch and return the favor. We talked about nurturing friendship and the enrichment that comes back to us when we extend ourselves in friendship. For the last "service," I passed around hand lotion and we talked about the nurturing that comes from extending a hand to others in service. It was a quick presentation, but I had fun with it and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lazy Days of We Wish It Were Summer

We relished 70-degree temperatures here this weekend. We are just so ready for spring to get here! It's gorgeous again today, but alas, it won't last. A cold front is coming in. Better enjoy it while we can!

We went for a short outing to Occoquan on Saturday. We had lunch at Mom's Apple Pie Company (you can imagine how diet-friendly that was!) and discovered a new walking trail.

Tess was thrilled by all the larger-than-life
representations of fruit at the bakery.

I tried to make up for my bakery indulgences by going to a spinning class this morning. A friend in the ward was giving a free demo class at a local gym, so a bunch of us went for exercise class. I was nervous because I heard it's such a tough workout. I did pretty well--"butt" I know I'm going to be killer sore tomorrow.

I left Tess with the gym childcare during class--I was nervous about doing that as well. She had a great time though. (You can imagine that 9 bopping Mormon moms can really fill out a childcare room!) Tess was playing trucks when I came in and didn't seem to miss me at all.

We went for a walk on Sunday too. Tess loves the puppies we always see on our walks. She starts "arf-arffing" if we see one a mile away.

The rest of Sunday was filled with naps (daylight savings + early church+pre-church bishopric mtgs for Ry=BRUTAL), open windows and cool breezes, playing with trucks and dollhouses, and Couch Olympics.

In all, a perfect weekend!

Friday, March 6, 2009

We're Back!

Woo hoo! I am LOVING our new computer! It came yesterday and I've been in a frenzied state--what to do first, what to do first? I'm starting to feel like a real person again. We got a laptop, which will be nice since we can move it around the house. It's just so sleek and speedy and it WORKS!

Thanks to my genius little brother, I think we can recover info from our old hard drive (that's what I started working on first after the frenzy died down). THANKS RY!

Playing with the cars at the mall.

So you'd think that with a 2-week hiatus I'd have a zillion pictures to upload and tons to write about. Not so much. It's more like, I can't upload them anyway, so why bother taking pictures? I do have a few new pics, but I need to get back in the shutterbug mode.

Dress-up time!

I went with some friends last night to see The Winter's Tale at the Folger Shakespeare Theater. This was my first production at the Folger and we had such a fun time! The theater is small and intimate and we were on the third row.

How cool is it that I have friends who love Shakespeare? And how fabulous is it that I have a husband who will stay home with baby so I can enjoy a night on the town? Not only that, but he helped prep me by reading the play with me and studying the background of the play. Ry and I will have to go see another production together some time.

What's new with Tessie? Her fourth tooth is coming in and her grin is starting to look more balanced--two on the top, two on the bottom.

She is a terrible character these days. She is a jokester all of the time. She loves to play a joke on me every time I change her diaper. She waits until the diaper comes off, she's all cleaned up, and then she'll make a break for it. It's not that she doesn't want her diaper on--it's just that it's SO FUNNY for her to run away when mom has a clean diaper for her. She laughs like crazy--cackles, actually--and will shake her bare little bum at me. I'll hold up a clean diaper and say, "Tess, what are you doing without a diaper? You know you can't have a bare bottom!" And she'll squeal, stamp her feet, shake her head furiously and laugh and laugh. Needless to say, diaper changes take longer these days.

Building and knocking down couch forts.

She has also learned to climb up on the couch all by herself, and it's her new favorite place to play. She loves to do a high-speed crawl from one side of the couch to the other--she'll go back and forth, back and forth. Periodically, she stops, gets up on her knees and then flops backwards onto the couch. She thinks this is a riot. She did manage to flip over the arm of the couch yesterday. She wasn't real happy about that, but the incident hasn't tempered her enthusiasm for the couch.

No more progress on the walking front. She won't even really use her walker anymore. Every time we try, she just flops down to her knees.

That's it for now. I have video to post, but Blogger is being difficult. It better be Blogger and not my new computer!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

1990's House

It's been a nice foray into what life was like in the early 90's, but I can't wait for our new computer! We're getting a laptop and it should be here by the end of the week!