Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Christmas Wrap-Up

It's been a season of growth and learning and trying new things. I started preparing for the holidays by thinking that I wouldn't be doing much for Christmas. After all, it's not like we were home for the actual holiday.

Then I put up a tree with twinkle lights. Then I made some ornaments. Then I started hanging cards on the wall. It was like a snowball rolling around until it became a snowman (introducing the Mathis Snowman Collection 2007).

I blame it on the Christmas Tour of Homes. I have so many great plans for next year, and I can hardly wait to start shopping the clearance bins for decorations this week.

My mom gave me some beautiful ornaments for Christmas, and they are elegant enough to stay up all winter.

I'm planning on picking up some Christmas-y children's books so I can read them for Ben and Anna next year. It's a shame that we don't own a copy of "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

Ben didn't really understand the season, though he really enjoyed all of his new toys. This brings us to a new conundrum.

My son turns two on January 2nd. He's getting another load of toys. It's insane.

So how do we separate the two events? How do I make his birthday different from Christmas? There'll be less people for his birthday since we're not having a party (though you are all welcome to join us at the Pizza Factory that evening). But really, for Ben, this will just be another toy haul.

He loved all of his matchbox cars. Now he has more than two. :) His new slide? Wow. Such a versatile item. It's a car ramp and a butt slide. It's a "Wheee!" He looks adorable in his new outfit, and he loves it when I push him when he sits in his huge tonka truck.

For his birthday? The theme seems to be Thomas. He's getting a bunch of Thomas items from a couple different people, and he's getting a Bob the Builder dvd from us.

I never wanted a spoiled child. I have this "thing" where I don't think having lots of fancy toys are necessary or even very healthy for children. Until I was a pre-teen, my family wasn't wealthy. You could call it poor. I didn't get a lot of new things every year. My mom made most of my clothes, and my toys were garage sale finds. It was a fundamental aspect for me. Being told "no, we can't afford that," my mom using delay tactics until I moved on to something else, and learning that life being "fair" wasn't dependent on having the newest Barbie.

Now I have children, and my siblings and my parents are generous, loving people who love to see a squeal and sparkle when a kid opens up a gift. How do I try to instill my values on my children? I can't exactly tell people to stop buying things for them. I'm not going to take the new toys away. Or maybe I should just be grateful that my children get to have nice things and try to keep them humble and unspoiled at the same time. It's possible, right?

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Break Is Not A Break-Up

I don't know. I guess if I were to look at me from outside, I might see it more. I know I've been unusually cranky and sad and blah and despondent. I've had a lot of moments in the last couple weeks when I've threatened to run away from home, mentally planned my escape, weighed the pros and cons of taking the children with.

I saw a joke in the Reader's Digest on Monday that said something to the effect that this woman wasn't suffering many ill side effects from weaning off of her anti-depressants, but her husband suddenly became a jerk.

I don't think the children are any more difficult than before, and I'm pretty sure that Chris hasn't actually turned into an apathetic slob. I think it's me who has changed.

So I mentioned wanting to run away when I was talking to my mom. She thinks it would be a great idea if I ran away with the kids up to Minocqua for a few days. She would help me with the children, and I could relax and sleep more and not have any real responsibilities for a couple of days. My mother thinks I might be suffering from post-partum depression. My mother of all people. That's a wake-up call if I ever heard one.

I don't know if I'll go yet. We'll see how the next week goes. I might have Ben go up north for a few days or I might have him go to daycare once a week for the next month. It would give me a break. Anna isn't really all that difficult, or, it's harder to remove myself from her because of our breastfeeding tether. Or I could go on the prescribed vacation. I'm just scared I wouldn't want to come home. I'm scared that I'd come home to a huge pile of dirty laundry, empty coke bottles scattered around the house, fetid dirty dishes in the sink and no apple juice or clean spoons. I'm scared of what that would do to my marriage.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ben and Anna On The Couch

So cute. Had to share.

Oh What Fun It Is To Ride

"Oh what fun it is to ride in a four-door Saturn sleigh"

Driving home from Christmas time in Minocqua was hazardous. The roads were slick to begin with, and a lovely blanket of snow began falling in the afternoon. Due to some miscommunication, we weren't able to leave for home until nearly five in the evening, so it was dark when we were driving. Because we are cautious drivers, we averaged about 40 mph the whole way home. Luckily, many of the vehicles on the road had the same idea, so it's not like we were impeding the flow of traffic.

More memories from Christmas:

Realizing my sister's son is looking more and more like a little boy and less a baby every day. He's growing up! He turned 1 in November.

Speaking of Gage, the entire family was shrieking with laughter when he opened his favorite present: a box of kleenex. The back story is kind of self-explanatory... he loves to pull out tissues from the box. He'll keep doing it until he's buried in fluffy white clouds of kleenex. So he got his own box for Christmas, and he started pulling them out with glee right away.

My oldest nephew realizing the hard truths about Christmas as a teenager. Your gift tally goes down a great deal once you start getting fancy gadgets and other costly items. He pouted a bit and fussed because he only had a couple of boxes to open while all the little kids had at least four. I was reminded of the Christmas when I got my first discman when I was 14 or 15. I was mad because it was my only present until my mom pulled me aside and explained how much it cost and that they couldn't afford to get me anything else. Quality costs money, and that discman is still in operation over a decade later.

Realizing that the little slide that my brother left outside was for Ben. I don't know how I can explain just how much Ben will love that slide. His first daycare had a couple of indoor slides, and he would spend all day going down. We are so excited to have one of our own. We didn't have room in our car to bring it down, so my sister and her family are going to drop it off some time today. I haven't told Ben that it's coming, so it'll be a wonderful surprise.

Going "shopping" in the basement with my mom. I got a few more snowmen figurines/dolls to add to my brand new collection. So cute. I'll post pictures of them later. We went down there for me to pick out a rag rug for me to have by my front door to put wet shoes on. I ended up with an armful of other items as well. I love shopping in her basement.

Visiting with my sisters at the dining room table at dinner time. We gathered around with our kids for dinner and had a nice chat.

Very nice time. I don't think Ben understands the Christmas thing yet. I think he just thinks that we saw our family and got lots of new toys. Next week when we have his birthday, he'll get more toys. Once this "toy season" is over with, he might be disappointed that the festivities end. I can only look forward to next Christmas when he might have a better understanding of the season and what it means and all the hoopla.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Good Morning Benji Sunshine

"Time to wake up, Ben!"

"Of course you can take your blankie downstairs."

"Put Snoopy back on the bed..."

"Down. Down. Down. Down. Down. Down."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Jingle All The Way

It's Christmas Day 2007, and I'm about ten minutes away from a nice, long, child-free nap.

Memories so far:

Ben playing with a toy guitar while watching YouTube videos with Papa. He's really starting to vocalize and sing with music. He even does a new dance that is very reminiscent of Elvis's hip gyrations. I'll have to make a video of it.

My back getting really sore from holding Anna during church last night. She slept through half of the service, only waking up midway to eat a bit and then fuss from all the noise and bustle. Lots of strangers came up to comment on how precious "the darling little baby" is. She did look pretty darn cute in her red velvet Christmas dress. A few minutes into the second song, Chris took Ben to the fellowship hall to run around and play on the tables. They stayed there until the closing song. I kind of missed having Ben nearby, but he was tired and hungry and would have been very disruptive.

I dragged Chris out of bed this morning at seven so he could make the promised breakfast for everybody. I reminded him the cook is not allowed to sleep in until noon.

The rest of the family, my brothers and sister and respective spouses and nieces and nephews, all start arriving in a few hours. It'll be a wonderfully loud, chaotic four hours until we leave for home around 4. The rest of the clan is spending the night. It was kind of nice to just have a nice quiet Christmas Eve with just my little family and my parents, but I imagine the rest of them tonight will find their own special joy in the wild and crazy, overstuffed festivities tonight.

Merry Christmas everyone. Happy Holidays. I'm sleepy. Na-nigh.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Who Would Have Thought?

So. Christmas. Yeah. That holiday that I would be perfectly willing to ignore for the most part.

There is something so addicting about collecting and displaying decorations and ornaments. I can't believe I'm saying that. But it's true!

I blame it all on BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes. I posted my meager decorations on my blog, and since Anna was up at two in the morning to nurse, I was able to get my link in the top 50, which means that I got A LOT of blog traffic this week. Over 800 visits. It was incredible. But more to the point, I visited about eighty or so bloggy homes, and I totally got the bug.

You can all chuckle quietly to yourselves smugly saying, "I knew it'd happen eventually."

Since I posted my Tour, I've added some new additions to my house. So, for my regular readers, you get to see a bigger and better Home Tour. Congratulations!

Chris found a few of his ornaments from his childhood (the brown star thing, for example), and my mother and I picked out a flat of penguin ornaments from Target for my husband (he loves Linux, logo is a penguin). The snowflakes were purchased because they were cheap (no kidding), and I think they're a little pretty. For the ornaments that are within Ben's reach, I bent the branch around them so they can't be pulled off.

I made these paper flowers the day of the Christmas tour. I think they are my favorite thing I've done so far. They look so totally festive and happy and perky. They also kind of dress up our house from the outside, which is nice because we live a block away from a big office building, and we get about a dozen or so walkers past our house every lunch hour.

I've had these fake red orchids for a couple of years, but grouped with some flowery picture frames (with no glass and just red construction paper), Anna's Christmas headband around one, and some new niece/nephew pics on display, this seems Christmas-y to me now.

This isn't technically a Christmas decoration, but I just got these decadent, lovely, shimmery throw pillows from TJ Maxx, and they completely dress up my living room. They are reddish, which seems to fit the holiday season. And I wanted to show them off.

And most importantly (and deliciously), I finally made the cheesecake cups yesterday. It was a lot of fun. These are actually my "mistake" ones. I am such a klutz in the kitchen, and I was making a royal mess when I was putting the cheesecake filling in those little muffin cups. I got smart and spooned the filling into a sandwich bag and clipped the tip of the bag. I squeezed the filling into the cups like icing a cake, and they now look too beautiful to eat (but I think we'll manage). I chilled them overnight, and they popped right out of the paper cups. Some light cherry pie filling, and voila, absolutely delicious. You guys should come over and have a cup of french vanilla coffee with me and help me eat these.

PS. I knew it would happen. In April I blogged about a friend from my college years who I had lost touch with and had no idea how to contact again. Since I wrote that post, my sitemeter has logged about ten to twenty google searches for this guy's name, but still no comments or emails leading me to him. He emailed me himself last night. :) There was much joy in my living room this morning when I found it waiting for me in my inbox. Woo-hoo!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

For My Anna, at two months plus

Anna dear, you turned two months old last Friday, and I'm very sorry you had to spend the day getting your shots. But at least you got to get lots of Daddy hugs in the afternoon since he couldn't do much else because of his owwies. Let me take a moment to tell you all the things I love about you right now.

- Your eyes are startling to me. Such a beautiful deep, dark blue. I never appreciated your father's eyes until I saw them on you. Even when they are red-rimmed from crying, I still can't help but to swoon a little. I love them most when you are smiling at me.

- Your smile is so precious. Like your brother, you were slow to start smiling, and you aren't exactly like a goofy monkey yet. You aren't easily amused, but you love a sudden burst of attention after a nap or when it's time to nurse. It's then that you smile up at me. You look so pleased to see me and to be alive. Thank you for smiling when Daddy tickles your cheek; it makes him feel special.

- We have a very loud house since your big brother Ben lives here. Sometimes you get upset by the noise, especially when you are very tired and having problems sleeping, but mostly, you are starting to be entertained by the flurry. In just the last week, you've started to seek out the noise in the room (most often from Ben), and you are drawn most to singing, though you seem to get upset when I sing. Thanks a lot.

- When you are lying on my chest, and you are awake and alert, you lift up and crane your head to see me and what's going on around you. Sure, you bob and weave and sometimes headbutt my chin, but it's lovely to see you like this. Sometimes, I catch glimpses of the little girl you'll grow into... curious, nosy and lovely.

- I also enjoy the way you find a way to snake your little hand under the neckline of my shirt. You love to tuck your hand under my shirt, against my skin. If you can't get it there, you grab a hold of the fabric and hold on tightly, like you are claiming ownership of your cuddle spot.

- And Anna, I still find myself breathless with love for you when we settle down to nurse. There's something so sweet and so endearing about the way you flail around while I'm drawing you near me, and so adorable about the way you munch down on me like I'm a decadent dessert that you are savoring. I love watching the expression on your face, and I'm often brought to tears with tenderness.

I'm really looking forward to all of the new and exciting things you'll be doing in the next two months... smiling more and laughing, reaching for things. Maybe you'll sleep more during the night, but I'll love you even if you don't.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Family Laughter

The family that laughs together, stays together. Notice Daddy's fingers firmly placed in Ben's armpit. I love Anna's I-think-you-are-crazy look at Ben. This was an outtake from our Christmas photo shoot.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mommy Taught Ben To Be Gross

I saw something gross on TV, and I went "Blegh" really loud, like I was vomiting.

Oh, the things you forget about when you are tired. Ben was sitting right next to me, and of course he started imitating me.

It turned into a family game. Chris, Ben and I were going "Bleeagghhhh" for about three minutes. My throat is a little sore now from all the guttural noises.

I can hardly wait for Ben to do that when we're at my parents' church on Christmas Eve.

In other news, my mom and I went shopping today, and I now have lots of cute penguin ornaments for the tree, many many glittery snowflakes, another snowman and a few more toys for Ben so we'll have stuff from Santa (an el-cheapo train set from the dollar bins at Target).

Yesterday, I was totally inspired after all the homes on the Christmas tour (I think I hit about sixty), and I made some fun paper flowers to put up in our front window. I have multi-paned windows, so it was fun to put a big flower in each pane. It looks very festive both outdoors and indoors.

We also bought a snow globe today (with the nativity), but that didn't last more than a couple of hours. Now we have damp hardwood floors with lots of sticky glitter between the cracks.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas With A Bah-humbuger!

As part of the Christmas Tour of Homes, I present my humble abode's Christmas spirit.

Disclaimer: I didn't do much, but since this is the first time I've done anything for the holiday in years, I get extra credit for any effort. If it were just me and my husband in the house, I'd skip decorating, but the special Christmas decorations seem to put a certain joy in my son's heart. I'm an old softy like that.

The cowboy hat probably needs an explanation. Since I haven't decorated for Christmas in *years*, I owned only one Christmas decoration, the wooden snowman you see in the left of the picture. My mom provided the 4.5-foot tree and the twinkly lights, but I didn't have anything suitable to top the tree. I had an old teal ribbon for a while, but that was hideous, so in a fit of silliness, I put the straw cowboy hat from my son's toy box on the top. I think it looks kind of dandy, an odd homage to my husband's desert upbringing in Tucson.

Ben and I made "to" cards to put on all of our presents. I used a quarter of a piece of construction paper, and cut different shapes from other colors of paper to glue on the big piece. I made pine trees, shooting stars, and snowmen. They added a nice touch to our wrapped presents (which are almost all up at my mom's house already since that's where we'll be for Christmas). Ben really enjoyed rubbing glue on his cheeks.

My son is not quite two, and his favorite toys are balls and trucks. I am not going to set him up for failure and naughtiness by putting shiny balls on the tree. I have no desire to spend all my day putting him in a time out for playing with ornaments. We would also put on beaded garland, but he loves wearing mardi gras beads around his neck, and I know he would try pulling off the garland to drape around himself. Another naughty possibility. I got flat cards full of these little red bows on twisty ties, sixty for three bucks. Ben helped me put them on the tree by picking out where I should put them. Also, I never thought I would put multi-colored twinkle lights on the tree because I find them garish, but in the same train of thought of "Christmas is for Ben", I figured he'd like looking at the different colors. I got one strand of white and one strand of colored. He loves them, and I had to teach him how NOT to put them in his mouth because they are not candy, even if they look like magical yumminess.

A couple of years ago, Chris received the wooden snowman in a gift exchange. I liked it a lot, so I put it in my cubicle at work and left it there, all year round. In those two years, NO ONE commented on how inappropriate it was to have a "Let It Snow" sign up during summertime. I guess that's a side effect of living in Wisconsin. No one is ever surprised by snow. The small snowman lights up, and delights Ben to no end.

Now we'll leave the dining room and move into the living room.

This is our little entry way. Our charming little house has arched doorways throughout the first floor, and I thought it would be a nice touch to decorate the arches to showcase that architectural feature. I found the idea for these ornaments on Parent Dish several weeks ago, and I thought it would be fun to put them together with Ben. That was poorly thought out, since I won't let him play with either the stapler or the scissors. I let him handle the finished ornaments before I hung them up, but he ended up jumping on them, and it took a while to reshape them and smooth out the creases he created. I like the end result, though; I find them whimsical.

And now for my final decorating effort... I pinned up some twine on the wall with thumbtacks and used clothes pins to hold up every Christmas card we received so far. I also displayed the photos of our various nieces and nephews included in the cards. On the bottom row, in the middle, you may recognize our little Anna's birth announcement. Technically, it came in the mail since I had the wrong address on the envelope and it came back, so I put it up with the rest.

There it is! My addition to BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes. Check out her site for many, many links to other homes around the blogosphere. It's been wonderful having you over for a visit. I'd offer you a sugar cookie, but I ate them all over the weekend.

I'm supposed to offer you refreshments. I have Walmart-brand orange soda in the fridge and a copious supply of apple juice. I'm making cheesecake cups for Chris to bring to work this week. I'm making a graham cracker crust using some stale graham crackers in the cupboard, using a Jello no-bake cheesecake box (following the directions), and topping them with cherry pie filling. They'll be in little muffin cups, which make for terrific portion sizes, as long as you only have one. What are the chances of that, you ask? Yeah. I know. Slim. The only thing that's "slim" around here.

Since I took pictures for the tour, I've gotten more into the spirit of things, and I've added a few more vignettes to my home. You can check them out at this post.

The Promised Couch Post

Almost every evening, we watch Still Standing on the CW. It's not the greatest show, but we get kind of bored with the news. Anyway. Last night I heard the best line that I had to share:
Kid: Mom, you got the wrong kind of peanut butter.
Mom: Oh... you mean the kind that causes ungrateful whining?
I laughed out loud.

I remember when I bought my first grown-up, non-twin bed a few years ago. I felt so adult, so grown. The next piece of furniture that I picked out was our entertainment console. I kind of don't feel that counts since it was the kind that comes in a box and you have to put together.

Everything else in my house is something that other people had or purchased for us. Until one day, when my mom and I poked our heads into a used furniture store, I found a couch set I loved. I wasn't there for couches, but a new couch had been in the back of my mind since we bought our house.

Then over the next 48 hours, I kept thinking about those couches. I finally mentioned it to Chris, who was surprised that I had been thinking about couches for two days straight. He reminded me that it's how I decided that we should buy a house... just something that kept digging at me for weeks even though it wasn't supposed to be on our radar.

So we went together a couple weeks later to the store and he decided he didn't like the couches I had picked out. Instead, he found another set that I ended up liking better. And the store offered layaway, so we made a two hundred dollar deposit, and we knew that by Christmas, we would be couch owners.

We made the final payment last week, and a friend of our helped transport them. I'm in love with my couches. It's so wonderful to be sitting on the couch nursing Anna, and Ben comes up and sits next to me and nestles in next to me to watch TV. Is it wrong that I feel more complete by buying couches?

This is the couch where Chris did most of his recuperating over the weekend. He's feeling terrific, by the way. A little sore if he's been on his feet for a while, but he actually went into work yesterday. He's doing much better than I expected, since he has a tendency towards moaning and groaning. :)

The spot with the green bed pillow is my home base. I blog there, I nurse there, I drink coffee there. It's Cheryl's zone.

Having the couches has meant that I will no longer allow us to eat in front of the TV. "Don't you dare spill that on my new couch; go sit at the dining room table." So really, our investment has improved our lives in many ways.

Today, besides folding four loads of laundry, I will be making a batch of mini sugar cookies and possibly get started on those cheesecake cups I promised Chris. Or maybe I'll be stuck on the couch with Anna who seems to be teething at the ripe old age of two months. (Inconsolable crying and she screams when I rubbed her gums "just to check"). The only way I was able to pick up this morning and take these pictures was to wear her in the Bjorn.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Snippy-Snippy Day

It's Snippy-Snippy Day here in the Mathis household. We leave in fifteen minutes.

I had to sign a consent form as a spouse since as a spouse, I have a reasonable right to my husband's spermies. Yeah. I don't want them anymore.

While Chris is basking in the glow of valium and a local anesthetic, I'll be upstairs with Anna at her two-month checkup. It's hard to believe she's two months old already. It feels like she's always been a part of our family, but it also seems like I was just giving birth to her a few days ago.

It's been a busy week. Lots of gift wrapping and ornament making. Lots and lots of cleaning and moving furniture around. We finally got our new couches here on Wednesday, and I'm totally infatuated with my living room furniture now. You can look forward to an entire couch post this weekend extolling the virtues of my sofas with pictures.

We've got to start packing up the kids now. Ben's off to daycare for the day so I can work on Christmas cards when we get back. I'll be providing a constant supply of ice packs to my dear husband all weekend long. I figure the least I can do is coddle him a little since someone's slicing into his testicles today. Happy V-Snip Day!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Our Nifty Christmas Photo Card

Like Anna's birth announcement, I designed our holiday card. Initially, I was going for something more elegant, but I ended up with this cutesy layout and font and realized that it perfectly suited the pictures.

Ta-da! They are being printed tonight, and I hope to get a bunch of them out in the mail by Saturday. The envelopes are all addressed and stamped, but I need to go back to the copy place and use their paper cutter to cut out the cards, or I'll be stuck using a ruler and an exacto knife like last time. That was a nightmare, and I cut myself twice.

In other news, I never knew that you would have to hit a laptop (like a washing machine) to get it working again. But I do. Apparently, Mac laptops are made with a magnet that, when the lid is closed, moves and activates a switch that shuts off the power. My magnet keeps moving on its own and getting stuck, and my laptop goes to sleep at random times. Wow, is it annoying. My dear husband will be opening up my darling laptop this weekend to fix it. Until then... Bam. There it goes again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Anna's Eyes

Check out other "Wordless Wednesdays" at 5 Minutes For Mom.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ben's D'oh

Ben imitating Homer Simpson. A must-see for Ben lovers everywhere.

Video Post: Ben Swings Anna

Ben started tickling Anna's feet when she was swinging, and I thought it was so cute, I grabbed the camera and started recording. If you listen, you can hear him gurgle "tickle tickle" every once and a while. Near the end, he starts hugging and kissing her.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I barely celebrate the holidays, but I find myself scrambling all day long now. I only had five people to get presents for, but it took me four days of scouring the internet to pick out gifts. What is up with that?

I'm still not done. I still have to buy two more items. A Veggie Tales video and a toddler toy. My life would be easier if I wasn't so darn set on getting the best deal on shipping and refusing to pay full price.

One thing I love about Christmas, though, is wrapping the presents. Mind you, I really don't like the commercializing of the holiday, and the "need" to buy presents, but I've always loved neatly wrapping gifts and decorating them. As soon as I was capable, my mom let me be the official gift wrapper in the family, and I've loved it ever since.

There's something so satisfying about crisply wrapped boxes. It's even better than folding the perfect tower of towels.

Here are some quick snippets of stuff going on:

When Anna is lying on my chest, she can do push-ups now and launch herself upwards and head-butt my chin. Hard. Her neck is still a little wobbly, but it's thrilling to watch her get better each day.

Ben is being treated for an ear infection and conjunctivitis now, in addition to the asthma flare-up. This cold has really done a number on him. He HATES eye drops. But his eyes got really gross. Totally gummed up with strings of gunk between the eyelashes when he'd finally get his eyes open. At least there's hope now that there will be an end in sight soon. At least my angelic son enjoys the taste of amoxicillin.

Speaking of angels, Ben is being a pretty good boy around the Christmas tree. Of course I'm making it easy for him by not having any ornaments on it.

He also has started wiping his mouth after he takes a drink. No, it's not that great. He wipes his mouth with the front of his shirt. After every sip. I don't remember teaching him that.

We gave away our couch yesterday. My brother sent out an alert that a friend of his just lost everything in a fire. We were going to bring the couch to the charity warehouse place this week, and it was nice to actually know the person who would get it. My mom brought down an extra bed, and I gave him a comforter and a big bag of men's socks that I had for some reason. Our living room feels empty without the couch, but we're getting our new ones in a few days.

Our dining room bed is also going back up to Ben's room so he won't have to sleep on an air mattress anymore. That means that Chris and I are actually sharing a bed again, which is weird. At least he's relented and doesn't mind co-sleeping anymore. She starts out in her bassinet, but comes into bed with me around midnight.

I'm getting a Mirena IUD this Wednesday, and I'm nervous. Chris is getting his V-Snip on Friday, and I bet he's more nervous.

That's all folks.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Photo Essay: O Christmas Tree

I don't know what sentimental nonsense prompted me to let a Christmas tree into my house yesterday. I think I had this sappy vision in my head of Ben lying under the lit tree, staring up through the branches like I always did when I was a little kid.

After Ben woke up from a three-hour nap this morning (his cold is terrible), we had lunch, and then I tackled the tree. The shaping of the branches took an hour, and I suffered numerous scratches all over my hands and arms (note to self: wear long sleeves next year).

The lights were annoying and difficult. It seemed much easier when I was a youth, but maybe my standards were just lower.

I plugged in the lights before I put them on the tree so I could see where I was putting them. Ben was in love with them, especially the colored ones. He kept putting them in his mouth, thinking they were candy and would taste as yummy as they look.

I think I'll be spending the next two weeks yelling at Ben to keep away from the tree and putting him in time out when he doesn't listen. But I hope he loves the tree anyway and will love me even more because I let him have this experience. We'll be buying some construction paper so we can create some ornaments.

Christmas Tree, Mathis style. The bow is temporary until I find something more suitable. There's a skirt under the tree now. Maybe Ben wouldn't think it was a toy if I didn't put it right next to his toys.

That's a toy hammer in Ben's hand. He was banging on the branches during the whole process. Now we can say he "built" our tree.

Anna "helped" too. She slept through a lot of the tree-putting-up activity, but woke up for the lights. She screamed and wailed like someone was torturing her. And instead of picking her up and comforting her, I took this picture.

Nothing says "Time to relax" like a boy watching VeggieTales. I am not full of the Christmas spirit, so I will now take my grumpy self into the kitchen to bake a batch of fudge brownies. Happy Freakin' Holidays, everyone!

Peekaboo Benji

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Song Cue: I Got Fever

"I Got Fever"

It's amazing how much my pediatrician's office freaks out over a newborn with a fever. If Anna were really ill, I'm sure I'd be very grateful with how diligent they are. They went into a big ol' flurry of activity yesterday morning when I called them once they opened to tell them that Anna has been running a temperature since Monday morning.

But after three hours of tests this morning, including a blood culture and urine catheterization, the official diagnosis is she's probably coming down with a cold, the same cold that Ben has.

They stopped short of a spinal tap, but that would have been on the schedule for the day if I hadn't told them about Ben's cold. That, and she smiled at Dr. Sarah during the exam, so she's probably not on her deathbed.

"Fever when you kiss me"

I thought about restricting Ben's proximity to Anna, but I figured I'd probably transfer any germs even if I didn't let him kiss her goodnight every night. Did I mention he can now say "Nigh-nigh"? Besides, his insisting on kissing her at every opportunity is one of the cutest things in my life right now, second only to Anna's unbelievably chubby thighs (did you know she's ten and a half pounds already?)

"Fever when you hold me tight"

Okay, this probably didn't get her sick, but it does make her temperature rise a bit more. It took me a whole six hours yesterday to realize the reason her temperature was higher after she woke up was because she had been sleeping in a blanket bundle next to me. Her lowest temp, 100.4, was still enough to have to go to the doc, though.

PS. Is it weird that the cute-guy medical student wouldn't look me in the eye after he walked in on me nursing Anna? Poor guy. Figured he wouldn't have to deal with boobies if he chose pediatrics as a specialty. Well, ha! Showed him.

PPS. Wednesday morning, and her temp is down to 99.0, but she has a pretty and lacy all-over body rash. We have another appointment this morning.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Little Lady

Anna is seven weeks old now, and she's a blessing and a dear.

I scolded her yesterday for being so self-centered. A total "duh" moment. She's a newborn.

If you're not in the mood for a "poop" post, just skip the following text and scroll down to the cute Anna pictures I have at the bottom.

When Ben was a baby, he retained his poops. He'd only defecate once every week or so (the record was 12 days). When he'd finally "release", he'd explode. It got everywhere. We tried to look on the bright side... we weren't having to change poopy diapers every day.

I didn't know it was an inherited trait. Anna has developed the same bowel habits.

For the first four weeks of her life, she was pooping almost constantly. Every thirty minutes, it seemed. It made it very difficult for her diaper sores to heal. Now that her bowels have matured, she's spaced them out a bit. She's going every three days now.

Yesterday she finally released after a weekend drought full of gas and fussiness. She gave me a diaper full during the day... but the whole point of this post?

My dear little girl gave an A-plus effort last night for Chris while I was sleeping. While he was changing her wet diaper, she started pooping. And she didn't stop until she had filled two diapers that he had hurriedly shoved under her.

She truly is Mama's Little Girl. My darling little blessing saved all that wonderfulness for her daddy. I'm so proud.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Let It Snow

No matter where you are, you probably know about the snow storm that hit the Midwest this weekend. We got smacked with the more gentle aspects of the snow. We received eight inches of snow and almost half an inch of freezing rain. Luckily, we skipped the whole "ice storm" scenario and were instead given a winter wonderland.

Our economy here in Wausau, Wisconsin is not dependent on the snow, though we do have a ski hill (they can make their own snow). My parents live in a "tourist town" that is reliant on getting snow before Christmas, however. The past few years, they haven't, and it's made a difference. I'm hoping this foot of snow will open up the snowmobile trails soon.

That's just one reason I'm not that upset about the snow. Another is I think it's pretty. And pretty things make me happy.

I was also looking forward to getting some exercise, and what could be better than shoveling eight inches of heavy, rain-soaked snow? Not much. I huffed and I puffed and I shoveled that darn sidewalk.

I wasn't with Ben and Chris went they went outside this afternoon. Chris had a cute tale to tell, though. On his own, without any instruction, our son gathered some snow into a ball and threw it. That's something I had to teach my Tucson-native husband how to do when he moved here. Ben knew instinctively what all that fluffy cold stuff was for. Snowball fights.

Isn't it lovely?


On a more solemn note, our family joins my sister as we all grieve the loss of her pregnancy. It's not my story, so I'm not going to tell it. I'll just say that I'm very sad, and my heart is with my sister and her husband. I've been counting my blessings all weekend long.