Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Two years ago today

Two years ago today Shane and I were "waking up " (not much sleep that night), to our new baby. Oh how much our lives have changed....

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Liddy-Bitty

For Lydia's second birthday we invited her three best friends; Kate, Kooper and Karson, to a little birthday dinner. We only let her have friends with names that start with "K". :)

We are already making Prom plans for these two.

So this is where she gets it......

I think that Kate was a little partied out by this time.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Paisley Lane

I have a new project. My friend Jenn has opened an awesome boutique in North Carolina and she asked me if I wanted to create a jewelry line. So I introduce
"Paisley Lane".
I have plans to branch out to the Chattanooga market and Etsy in the next couple months. The boutique is carrying about 100 different styles, but the plan is to pare it down to 20 of the more popular designs. Prices range from $8 - $14

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Welcome Birthday Gnome!

We know that Lydia's birthday is just a week away as José Menendez Valdosta Rivera "The Birthday Gnome" has arrived at our home. (She turns 2 on Jan 29th)It is a tradition in our home that José shows up the week before one of us has a birthday and stays until the celebrating is over. It started a few years ago when I walked out of my bedroom a week before my birthday and found this little man waiting for me with balloons and a note. It was a really long note, but if you are interested in knowing this gnomes beginnings, I will attached a bit for your reading enjoyment.

"Good morning! Don’t you just look smashing at this early hour? I’m awfully sorry to startle you like this, but my presence was requested by my good friend, Shane. Maybe I should start by introducing myself. My name is José Menendez Valdosta Rivera. I’m Russian and I’m obviously a gnome. In fact, I’m a birthday gnome by profession. I came here all the way from Kinshasa in the Congo Basin of central Africa to spread to you birthday cheer and fulfill all your birthday desires. I’m very good at fulfilling desires, but I understand that you are married and Shane is a good friend, so I will stick with the standard birthday package. You may not know this, Natalie, but gnomes are an ancient symbol of annual prosperity. This is true. In many cultures the gnome is equated with the bringer of yearly plenty and celebration. … … … These cultures are very far away and obscure and known to very few people, but it’s true nonetheless.
Hence my presence: I am here to make your birthday memorable and pleasurable… in a completely appropriate and boring way, of course. Therefore, in commemoration of the day of your birth 25 years ago- no, uh… 29 yea- … 22? … …(where are my notes?)… … … In commemoration of the blessed day of your birth so many years ago, I will grant unto you Six birthday wishes. Now, Natalie, I want you to close your eyes and think really hard (close your eyes) of the six things that you (close your eyes) would love to experience/have/enjoy on (close your eyes already) your birthday. Now, do any of those things include a handsome gnome, a bottle of cheap liquor and an extension cord? Oh, sorry. This is your wish, not mine. Anyway, do you have an idea of those six special things? Now, what you need to do is follow these five steps:"

You get the idea.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Best and worst of 2007

The best thing that occurred during 2007 was that Lydia started to sleep though the night and take regular naps. Yes, she was 15 months old and the sleeping was the result of endless reading and study, ending with a prescription baby sleep aid. (Only for a week, I don’t make a habit of doping my baby) In the end…Success!

The worst thing that happened was developing insomnia. Over a year of desperately trying to get any sleep I could and Lydia’s 30 minute naps leaving me no time to recoup, my body just forgot how to sleep correctly. It takes me hours sometime to fall asleep, not matter how tired I am. Naps? No go. I only actually fall asleep about 20% of my attempts. So, that leaves a lot of time to think during the wee hours of the night. Last night, I thought about the best and worst of last year…. In no particular order.

Best Product –

SinuCleanse Neti Pot

I have to say, I am a little irritated that I have been going to allergists and Ear, Nose, Throat doctors for 7 years and none of them mentioned this. Seriously, this is up there with brushing my teeth in the morning. Try it.

Best Splurge–

For a Mother’s day gift, my dad sent me and my mom for pedicures and lunch at the Davenport Hotel (in Spokane, WA). While the spa treatment was spectacular, the herbal tea served in the “Serenity Room” was what we couldn't get over. It is a little pricey but it is so worth it.

Best Movies –

Honestly, 2007 was not the best year for movies. Nothing that changed my life or even urged me to return for a second viewing. I am saying this with the clause that I have yet to see “Juno” and from what I have heard, I will probably fanatically love it. But, from what I have seen…

Best action – The Bourne Ultimatum

Best Chick flick – Waitress

Best Surprise – Transformers (Come on, it was actually good. Admit it.)

Worst Movies-

Tie between
Spiderman 3 and Ghost Rider.

These were bad. So bad. I’m talking Speed 2, Batman and Robin, Autumn in New York bad. It is amazing the crap Netflix leads you into watching.


Most interesting – Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink. Not a diet book, the science behind this study is fascinating.

Best guilty pleasure Twilight Series
Even more than the last Harry Potter, I really did enjoy the Twilight Series. I am embarrassed to admit, I read them all in less that a week. And that included reading the first one twice. My excuse is that I read them the same week that Halo 3 came out, so I was a video game widow anyway.

Best “Need to cross off my reading list” –
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

Best change – Red Hair. Worth it just for Shane’s reaction….

Worst change – Suddenly, Shane likes watching football.
Worst book – On a whim this Christmas, I picked up my parents copy of “The Forgotten Carols” by Michael McLean. 3 hours later I put down the finished book, turned to Shane and proclaimed it to be one of the most poorly written literary works of all time. I have not listened to the music that goes along with this book. I heard part of “Homeless” and could go no farther. (Though I have heard some of the songs are rather nice. Mike, stick to writing music.)

Best Indulgences –
Just feel like sending me a treat?

Best Day- My 30th birthday. Really it was an entire month. First a surprise party with girlfriends, (you haven’t been to a party until you’ve been to one hosted by Kristi Gay) Next a new outfit and salon visit from my parents. And to top it off, the most romantic date with Shane. Check out the cake he surprised me with!

Worst day –basically any day that is a combination of total exhaustion, hysterical weeping and feeling totally alone. From what I have witnessed, this is sadly a commonplace occurrence for mothers of young children, especially those of us who have no family around.

Question of the year – One that I pondered more than almost any other. Elmo. What is the deal? It is like Justin Timberlake for toddlers. I seriously want to know what it is that is so mesmerizing. (about Elmo and Justin actually)

Albums of the year

Zeitgeist – The Smashing Pumpkins
In Rainbows – Radiohead

Now, I will be the first to tell you that lately I am not the best source for current music info. I am with Lydia all day and we listen to a lot of happy kid music. When I am alone, I am usually basking in the quiet. However, in 2007 my two favorite bands put out albums. For the record, I loved them both.

P.S. Thanks George Brunt for putting together “The Best Music of 2007”. I am planning on making time to start listening to your compilation. It look up so much memory on our computer, we had to buy an external hard drive to finish the download.

Best purchase – Our home. Mainly I am thinking of the Bathtub at this particular moment.

Worst (un)purchase – Target had the most incredible zip up hoodies this fall. Long enough that even with low ride jeans, you could bend over without incident. I bought one in forest green, another in burnt orange and got a grey one as a gift. (Thanks Mom!). WHY didn’t I buy the black one too?!? I can’t tell you how it haunts me. It is like finding the perfect pair of jeans - on sale - and decided against them.

Best moment How can you choose when you have a child? Maybe the first time Lydia told me she loved me. Or maybe when I asked her if she loved me and she glanced my way, shrugged her shoulders and murmured nonchalantly “Sure”.

I think it may have been on Feb 20th -

Excerpt from my journal

“I found myself crying last night. I was putting Lydia to bed and she wasn’t feeling particularly well. All day she had a little cough and runny nose. By bedtime she was worn out. She had her bath, we called Daddy to say ‘Nite Nite’, got into warm jammies, read our books, nursed….the same routine as every other night of her life. (Except calling Daddy. Until lately, he would have be home to help get her ready)
I was about to put her into her crib when she laid her head against my shoulder. She just laid there and I held her close. Something most moms experience everyday with their babies. For me, it has happened only a handful of times in the past year.
As I held my tiny girl in my arms, feeling her find comfort in my arms, I said a prayer thanking God for this moment. For all the exhaustion, frustration and worry I feel everyday as a mother, these moments wash it all away. Feeling her soft hair against my cheek, her tiny hands resting on my neck. Smelling her baby smell. Knowing she is all mine, if only for that moment. The whole world moves away and I am left with only my baby and tears of utter joy.”

Okay - there is my list. Now I want to see yours.....

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Uncle Neal

Shane's brother Neal came to visit for New Years. Lydia was quite taken....

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Very Snowy Christmas in Spokane

Shane and I were just discussing how this is the first New Years where we don't feel depressed about the Holidays ending. Anyone who knows us knows that we are very big Christmas people. This is the first year where we actually feel we got our fill. We did everything we wanted. From a romantic formal party (will post photos when we get them back) to sledding in fresh snow, we could not have planned it better. Christmas in Spokane was spectacularly gorgeous. During the holidays we were able to see almost all of our immediate family on both sides (including Uncle Neal for New Years!) We hope everyone had as wonderful a season. Happy New Year!

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