August 23, 2005

Half a Tail

When I'm tending to Kulia, Leina has learned to amuse herself. Today, while I was nursing, burping and diapering the smallest McLaughlin, I happened to watch Leina at play.

She had a small bowl full of goldfish crackers and was munching away. At her feet sat Artie, drool flowing freely from his large black jowls. He watched her with big pathetic dog eyes as her hand went from bowl to mouth and back again. Leina sat quietly, watching Artie watch her.

"Honey, why don't you share with Artie?" I asked.

"Sure, mom," Leina replied.

Carefully, she selected a fishy and held it forth. The drool began falling at an even more rapid pace and Artie's tail began thumping. Then, Leina popped the fish into her mouth and sucked on it for a moment or two removing all the salt. Once properly de-salted, she removed the fishy and held it loft again. Artie, who saw his chances for a tasty, if somewhat soggy and saltless treat, revived and the drool began gushing at an alarming rate. But Leina wasn't done yet. Next, she very carefully placed the head of the fishy between her front teeth and bit the head off. With great purpose, she slowly chewed the goldfish head while holding the tail remnant between her fingers. Artie began scooching in place. Surely, that tail was for him! Sure, it was soggy, de-salted, and deheaded, but gosh darn it, it was coming his way!

Leina swallowed and studied the fish tail in her hand. Then, she very carefully placed the little soggy tail piece between her teeth and....chomp. She bit it in half. I'm surprised Artied didn't just lunge at her right there but no, he's a good dog. He sat all a quiver, intently focused on that one..... last..... nibblet. It was tiny. It was soggy. It had all the flavor sucked off it but Artie didn't seem to care. If anything he was more excited to get his big old teeth on that tiny little half of a goldfish cracker tail than ever.

Leina regarded the remains of her small cracker and magnanimously tossed that sad little bit on the ground. Artie lunged. He gulped. And then he returned to the foot of the sofa to watch Leina select another fish and oh so carefully pop it into her mouth and begin to suck.

This routine was contined for several goldfish. Finally, I took pity on Artie and gave him a piece of bread to eat because Leina's idea of "sharing" seemed more akin to torture to me. However, Artie didn't seem to mind. He was happy so long as that last nibble was for him.

Sometimes, I feel so much like Artie. It seems like as soon as I get one kid settled the other has an issue. Kulia blows her diaper, Leina can't find her blankie, Kulia needs nursing, Leina wants milk in the red sippy cup NOT the blue one, Kulia decides to spit up all over herself, Leina demands an episode of Jojo. On and on. Yesterday, I had 12 precious minutes to myself when their naps happen to overlap. Yes, that's right. Twelve minutes alone without a child. My very own soggy, niblet of a goldfish tail. But like Artie, I didn't look a gift in the mouth no matter how miniscule. No siree, I grabbed a magizine and headed for the bathroom for some luxurious 12 minute alone time.

Like they say, dogs and mommies can't be choosers and half a tail is better than nothing at all.

Posted by Chrissie at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2005

Dreaded Words

I went to retrieve Leina from her nap the other day and she greeted me with those dreaded words.....

"Mommy," she lamented, "I don't feel so good."

With a bit of concern, I asked "What hurts honey?"

"My belly hurts," Leina replied and began rubbing her tummy.

I began to flash back to our four day vomit fest and dread filled me. Where had we been? What had she eaten? How could we survive a stomach bug with Kulia?

"I think I need some ice cream to make it feel better," Leina continued with a totally straight face.

I managed to contain my giggles at this pronouncement. I was, however, so happy to hear that this stomach ache could be remedied that I gave in and let her have ice cream before dinner.

What a little actress.

Posted by Chrissie at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2005

100 Things

100 Things About Me

1. I have lived in five different houses. Westwood, Pawnee, Silver Arrow, 69th and List.
2. The second house I lived in was on Pawnee St in Texas.
3. It had a small high window that seperated two rooms that my sister and I used to love to climb through.
4. I have a strange love of small things like miniature ketchup bottles, small pencils and tiny notebooks.
5. I love how tiny my daughter Kulia was when she was born.
6. When Leina was born, she kept sticking her tongue out.
7. When Kulia was born, she had long, long fingernails.
8. I've always had long fingernails.
9. In middle school, I used to have fingernail contests with my friend Sylvia Folson.
10. She had longer fingernails but I always thought mine looked better.
11. Sylvia's family introduced me to the Paso Robles bike rally.
12. I used to go every year with my dad during high school.
13. During the long drive, I'd exclaim "Hey!" and when my dad looked, I'd point to the rolls of hay lying in the field.
14. I don't like puns.
15. I married someone who loves puns.
16. He also likes Popular Science but I think the magizine is full of useless knowledge.
17. One of my little luxuries in life right now is reading a magazine in the bathroom alone.
18. This rarely happens because I have a two year old who is quite cat-like and can't stand closed doors.
19. I just gave my two cats up for adoption.
20. I used to have two cats when I lived at Silver Arrow.
21. One cat, Annie, used to sleep with my sister at night and that made me so jealous.
22. I used to try and force her to sleep with me but she always ended up with Suzy.
23. When we were little, my sister and I liked to sleep in the same bed together.
24. At night, my dad would play guitar and sing to us before bed time.
25. Kevin bought me a guitar at Fry's Electronics one year and I tried to learn how to play.
26. I wasn't very good because my fingernails were too long.
27. I want to learn to play guitar so I can sing my daughters to sleep at night.
28. I love listening to Leina sing her own made-up songs.
29. I hate listening to children's music in the car.
30. I want to find more singers and music I like but haven't got the time.
31. I had no idea how hard it is to raise children when I had my daughter.
32. Now that Leina is older, I have a great deal of new found respect for my mother and other moms.
33. I love surfing the internet for funny mom blogs.
34. I sometimes feel very lonely and isolated now that I'm at home with my daughters.
35. I used to be a very social person with lots of friends.
36. Now, I find I'm happier with just a few very close friends.
37. Family has become very important to me, especially my extended family.
38. I have a father in law and a stepmother in law who live in Vancouver, WA.
39. Every other Sunday we drive up to Vancouver for a family dinner.
40. I love to drive with the windows rolled down rather than use the air conditioner.
41. I can be very miserly.
42. Growing up, if I was cold, I was told to put on socks or a sweater.
43. I love wearing socks and sweaters in the winter.
44. I started to learn how to knit but stopped after Leina was born.
45. I want to learn how to knit a sweater.
46. My closet is filled with clothing but I find I like to wear the same old comfortable outfits over and over.
47. I love shopping with my girlfriends.
48. I prefer bargain stores to name brands.
49. I don't wear much jewelry.
50. I don't wear make up but I should.
51. I've never learned how to apply eyeshadow.
52. I've always wanted blue eyes.
53. Growing up, I thought the song "I'm Gonna Make My Brown Eyes Blue" was literal.
54. I remember listening to Don Williams and jumping on the sofa at Pawnee waiting for my dad to come home.
55. My dad bought me a big pink inflatable bunny for Easter when I lived at Pawnee.
56. I used to love searching for Easter eggs as a kid.
57. I love hard boiled eggs and egg salad sandwiches.
58. When I worked downtown, I used to get egg salad sandwiches on wheat bread for lunch.
59. A sailor on shore leave once asked me out after work.
60. I said no.
61. My dad was a sailor on the USS Enterprise.
62. I once interviewed my dad for a class project in 6th grade with Aimee Fisher.
63. I interviewed my grandparents for a project during a summer class at the University of Hawaii.
64. My last trip to Hawaii was over ten years ago.
65. I love the ocean and beaches in Hawaii.
66. I never liked the beaches when I lived in San Diego.
67. My sister and her family live in San Diego.
68. If I could afford it, I'd move to San Diego too.
69. I'm not very good at budgeting or saving.
70. I have too many student loans that never seem to get paid off.
71. I'm very proud to say I do not carry a credit card balance.
72. I horde gift cards.
73. I don't like to give gift cards as presents.
74. I buy all the presents for friends and family members.
75. I also wrap and write all the cards.
76. I have very bad penmanship.
77. I took a calligraphy class and loved it.
78. My grandmother did beautiful copperplate calligraphy.
79. My grandmother always had long hair.
80. I got my hair cut short once in seventh grade and it was awful looking.
81. I used to have pictures of Johnny Depp and River Phoenix up on my wall in middle school.
82. I had my first boyfriend in middle school.
83. He gave me a giant Christmas teddy bear one year.
84. I have a box filled with stuffed animals that I can't seem to part with.
85. I have a very large collection of turtle animals.
86. I used to keep them around my bed to ward off bad dreams.
87. When I was little, I believed in Peter Pan.
88. I used to sleep in a blue nightgown just like Wendy and keep my window open at night.
89. If I went to bed with both hands under my pillow, I'd dream of Never Never Land.
90. If I could have one super power it would be to fly.
91. My favorite dreams are ones where I fly.
92. I like travelling because of all the time I get to read in the airport.
93. I also like to people watch.
94. I like walking at night and peeking in people's lit windows to see what they are doing.
95. When I'm feeling depressed or sad, I look at the moon and hear my daughter Leina saying "hell-wo wuna!"
96. I think moonlight is sexy.
97. I love the dark.
98. I'm a night owl and hate waking up early.
99. I love spending all night reading a good book from cover to cover.
100. A good book can make me cry.

Posted by Chrissie at 04:11 PM | Comments (1)

August 16, 2005

Testing the Water

Liza, my new mom friend from playgroup, called me yesterday. She calls me every weeks just to check up on me, see how I'm holding up, hear about the kids latest exploits, and check my sanity level. She has two girls and vividly remembers how hard it was in the beginning.

Liza also manages to convince me to get out of the house with her. If it's just me, I tend to hang around home. Maybe wander down to the local park on a day when I'm feeling invincible but mostly we play in the backyard or hang with the neighbor kids. But once a week I make an exception for Liza.

This week we planned a trip to this new park she discovered. It's a good 20 minute drive down the freeway but she promised me a huge fountain and play area for the kids. So I threw caution to the wind and pack up Leina and Kulia and headed to Liza's house. I followed her black car through back streets and country roads until we wound up at a Korean War monument. Sure enough, there was also a park with the absolute coolest water feature ever. The water was only ankle deep with tiny, shin high waterfalls and little shooting fountains that varied in height. The day was slightly overcast and we had the fountain mostly to ourselves.

With Liza's help, I got Kulia in the Bjorn and Leina decked out in her swim diaper. All the other kids ran straight into the water but not Leina. She stood right at the edge and watched. Every now and then one of her friends would run back, grab her hand and say "come on Leina!" but Leina would pull away and refuse to budge. I gabbed with the moms but I kept and eye on my oldest. She was missing all the fun. I knew if I just got her to test the water, she would realize how much fun it was but all the coaxing in the world wouldn't budge her.

So I decided to take action. I pulled up my pant legs, grabbed her hand, and wadded into the water myself. We pretended to rescue baby Jaguar with Diego and I showed her how to make the water shoot out of the fountain holes. I climbed up the small waterfalls and jumped around while holding tight to Kulia in the Bjorn. I'm sure I was quite a hilarious sight as the only adult playing in the kid fountain. After a couple minutes, Leina let go of my hand. I followed her around for a while, helping her imagine and explore and then I stopped and let her wander away. Her friends found her and they climbed to the top of the fountain, babbling and splashing together. I headed back to the moms with wet feet and damp pants. For the next hour Leina ran in the water, climbed the walls, and experiented with the fountains. She was the last one coaxed out and so desperately wanted to continue playing.

I see so much of myself in her. It's hard sometimes to step outside your comfort zone. It's easy to watch the world go by but if you're lucky, someone will take you by the hand and help you test the water. Somehow, it's easier to wade in when you have a friend by your side. I need a little coaxing too and I can hardly wait for Liza to call me next week. I wonder what she'll have planned for us to do!

Posted by Chrissie at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2005

On The Road

Papa and Tutu pulled out in the big bubba truck this morning. I think Leina was as distraught as I was to be losing them. But kids are like rubber; they bounce right back. So after some playing in the backyard, she was right as rain. I, on the other hand, was quite sad. Kevin is working today so it seems even more quiet.

Tutu is amazing. She can take care of baby Kulia- change diapers, burp, amuse, and put down for a nap. Then she'll change gears and romp around with rascal girl. She'll read to Leina, play make-believe, feed and clothe her. After all of that, she then takes care of me! Tidying up, running laundry, doing dishes, pestering me to rest, and listening to me rave about how sweet my girls are. Tutu does all this and makes it look easy. She inspires me. So now that she's gone, I'm going to try my best to keep on the routine we've established. The secret is to get up and move! No lying on the sofa, zoning to the tv. No dragging my feet and putting off chores. No big sighs of boredom when I have to read Meet Diego for the umpteenth time. No, I'm going to do my best to preserve my Tutu-attitude.

I'm sure by the time they return this winter I'll have fallen off the wagon but hey, a girl's gotta try, right?

Now all I have to do is find a way to fill the huge empty space here in our house that Tutu used to occupy. Not an easy task, let me tell you!

Posted by Chrissie at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2005

Miracle Baby

Kulia has turned into the most perfect baby. I know I shouldn't say this for fear of jinxing myself but dang, this kid rocks!

First off, she is a great night sleeper. She is consistantly sleeping from 8pm until 4am and she is only 10 weeks old!!! I can't believe my luck. It is heavenly.

Second, she has found her thumb. Instead of crying herself to sleep for naps, she just pops in her little thumb and sucks away until she drifts off to dreamland. No crying. Just violent thumb sucking. It's awesome.

Finally, she has figured out how to take a bottle. My mom has been working with her for the last two weeks. Her first attempt involved lots of gagging and crying but she persisted. Today, we had success and baby sister sucked down two ounces without much of a fuss. I'm overjoyed. I can see a little bit of freedom for me peeking around the corner now. My mom is only here one more day so I'm going to have her do as many bottles as possible with Kulia in the hopes that she'll learn and remeber how they work.

I bought a ton of baby books when Leina was a wee mcnugget. Most of them had chapters devoted to different baby personalities. There was the touchy baby, the spirited, baby, and the grumpy baby. However, the first section was usually devoted to the easy, textbook, or angel baby. Since this was clearly not Leina, I skipped these chapters and secretly wondered if said "easy" baby even existed. Well, she does and her name is Kulia. Baby sister is all quick smiles, soft coos, and mild manners. It's so easy to read her signals for hunger, boredom, or tiredness. I suppose I'm much wiser having survived Leina but I also believe that alot of the ease arises from Kulia's sweet temperment. I couldn't ask for a better second child.

I'm sure after I post this, Kulia will turn into some sort of cranky colic baby but I'm going to risk it. No recycle bins for this kid. She's sweeter than apple pie and oh so kissable. I'm one lucky mommy.

Posted by Chrissie at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2005


Antie Suzy and cousin Sammy arrived safe and sound. When Leina came downstairs from her nap and saw them in our living room, she was so happy she could not speak. All she could do that stand frozen in place, giddy with joy, clapping her hands, bouncing and grinning from ear to ear.

It makes me a little sad to see Leina and Sammy play because it is clear that these two would be the ultimate best friends if we lived closer together. They copy eachother, play chase, swing together, and splash in the wading pool. Sure, there are a few tiffs over sharing and even a punch or two is thrown but it quickly blows over and they are back together again exploring the world. They are such a study in opposites. Leina, so articulate and bossy; Sammy, so dexterous and fearless. Put them together and they entertain eachother and you. Simply adorable.

And Kulia. Sweet, mild tempered Kulia. She just sits in her little chair and smiles and goos at whoever is passing by. Sammy seems to have no problem watching his mom hold another baby so Suzy is getting lots of chubba chubba time with the little one. Auntie can't get enough of her sweet smiles and miles and miles of chubbs.

There is nothing like family. Nothing.

Posted by Chrissie at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2005

2 months down a lifetime to go...

I can't believe it's been 2 months already. It seems like just yesterday we brought the little McNugget home. She was so small and snuggly it was unreal. I just couldn't remember Leina being that small. It was definitely a case of baby-nesia.

Now she's a giant! She reminds me of a little panda bear so I can't help thinking of her as the "panda-baby" every time I pick her up.

But judge for yourself:

Crazy huh? Now, in just 2 months, she's smiling, laughing, giggling and goo-gooing (as opposed to googling which I'm sure she'll do by age 3).

She just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. At this rate she'll be over 100 lbs at age 2. I hope Huggies go up to size 50.

Posted by Kevin at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2005

Suspicions Confirmed

Today was Kulia's two month checkup. Yes, that's right, she is already two months old. Amazing.

Her doctor confirmed what we already knew. Namely, she is one fat little baby. In fact, she weights in at 14lbs, 1oz which places her into the 97th percentile for weight. She is 75th% for length and 50th% for head size so she's a fat, long kid. But one look at her chubba-chubba face and you can pretty much guess she's a chunker.

Tutu has been ohhhing and ahhhing over her and basically fullfilling her grandmotherly duties of spoiling both her granddaughters. She has begun offering Kulia a bottle but so far we have had no luck. The kid wants nothing to do with it. But Tutu will persist for her stay here and hopefully we can convince baby sister to take a bottle in the next week 'cause mommy needs to leave the house some day!

We are now in the countdown until Auntie Suzy and Sammy arrive. I am so excited for Leina to have Sammy around to play with. They are totally Bam Bam and Pebbles togther and I'm sure they are going to LOVE playing with eachother.

Poor baby girl is sleeping off her multiple shots in the leg. I sure hope she have a mild reaction to the vaccines. If not, I have the baby Tylenol all prepped and ready to dose her up when she wakes. My sweet fat, fat, fat baby girl!

Posted by Chrissie at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)