Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving, Probably More Pink, and Moving Day!

Hello all!

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was laid back and well spent. Our good friends, the Marino's, recently bought their first house and we decided that we had to help them break it in with it's first Turkey Day. Kellie and I went all out with the food, making way too much in our excitement. Michael & I contributed the pumpkin cheesecake, sweet potato casserole, rolls, orange-cranberry dipping sauce, and wine. The Marino's did the turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, cherry pie, brownies, and the classic "Creamy Fruit Salad with Marshmallows of a Thousand Names." Yes, that stuff that is known as Hearts of Gold, Five Cup Salad, Ambrosia, Waldorf Salad, Daddy Salad, etc. The names are many, the recipe is the same: sour cream, sugar, fruit, and marshmallows. I personally am not a fan of the stuff, but I can appreciate the history and the kitsch that surrounds it.

We stuffed ourselves silly, then sat down to watch the most awful and ridiculous movie ever, Love Guru. Seriously, it's a good thing we were all so blitzed from turkey and potatoes and everything else that we mostly slept through a good portion of it, because what little I did happen to watch, I wished I had a huge bottle of brain bleach to scrub it from my head. Austin Powers was clever and silly, this was just retarded and crass. I'd almost rather watch the live action Scooby Doo over this. Yeesh!

After we vegged out and digested a little, we sat down for dessert. While we were eating dessert, Madeleine made a comment about her birthday coming up in January. I asked her what kind of cake she wanted me to make her, and without missing a beat, responded: "A Barbie castle cake." Ok, well I like a kid who knows what she wants! So then I asked her what color she wanted it, knowing she would answer pink. I was not disappointed. I then asked her what secondary color would be ok to put on the cake and she told me, "Probably more pink." Michael nearly choked on his cheesecake, he was laughing so hard. I tell you what, I need to stop being amazed at what three year olds tell me, especially the three year olds I know! In addition, Madeleine wants said cake to be "pink cake" meaning strawberry flavored, so this confectionary concoction will be pink on pink on pink! I thought about titling it "Pretty in Pink", but Madeleine's daddy says I should just call it "Probably More Pink." So I will. Anthony also came up with this pearl, which I just HAVE to share. Right now the campaign for Windows is "Life without walls." Anthony's response: "If you live life without walls, why would you need Windows?" Brilliance.

And lastly, we got good news on Wednesday: we get to move early! We are starting our move tomorrow and we are so excited! The only bad thing is we won't be able to actually stay the night until Monday, because I wasn't able to get the gas turn on moved to this weekend, so Monday it is! But the cable guy is coming on Sunday and my brothers are in town for Thanksgiving, and Kellie's laundry baskets are empty, so we're moving anyway! This makes things way easier, because we were going to have to take little loads all week and then move the furniture on the 6th. We also have more time to paint before we finish everything, which I was a little worried about. We'll definitely be posting pictures when everything is all done.

So that wraps things up for now. A belated Happy Birthday to Gigi (Michael's mom) and Auntie Cait (Michael's sister) who celebrated big milestones this week: Judy is 50 and Caitlyn is 18! We love you! Hopefully the next post will be from inside the new apartment and with pictures. In the meantime, enjoy this little video of our budding Mozart...

Cheers!


video

Monday, November 24, 2008

These Feet Were Made For Walkin'...

It's official! Baby the Billa is WALKING!

The past couple of days she's been taking one step here and there and getting very close. Last night, we sat around watching the Jeff Dunham Christmas Special on Comedy Central (which if you haven't seen any of his stuff you need to-he is an incredibly talented and funny ventriloquist!) and Akhmed the Dead Terrorist was doing his bit. Billa wa son the floor playing with my mom and we were all glued to the boob tube when Michael looks at Billa and blurts out, "Hey! She's walking!" We all turn to watch her and sure enough, she took three steps. We got her to do it again, and on the third time, Mommy grabbed the camera and started filming. Yes, my friends, I have my child's first steps in all their glory right here for you to view. See it and weep, because a new era is dawning. Well, I'M weeping anyway. My baby girl isn't so little anymore! (And in case you were wondering, Kellie's daughter Madeleine calls Sybilla "Baby the Billa.")

We took our Christmas pictures yesterday at Portrait Innovations and came out with some great photos and a much emptier wallet. Many thanks go out to my friend Robyn who suggested the place. She's been to so many picture places and out of all of them, she gave PI top scores. And boy did they deliver! Our photographer Jillian was amazing with Billa and she got more smiles out of the baby than she did us. I've posted a slideshow of the photos for your perusal. Relatives, you may want to wait until after the holidays before printing any of them, hint hint :o) We had a great experience and are planning to go back for Billa's first birthday pictures.

Our moving day is one week away and I am beginning to panic. We're lucky that we could gradually move things in if we wanted since it's not like someone is coming to take our place in three days, but I really don't want to take three weeks to move. I've packed up most of the books and some of the kitchen stuff, Michael packed some tchotchkes and the CD's and DVD's. Since our move in date is on a Monday, we'll be taking little loads and painting during the week and then we will move all of the furniture and big boxes on the weekend. Again, I'm taking volunteers. If I have to bribe you with some tasty treats from Billa Cakes, I'll do it!

Anyhoo, it's late and we have to get up early. Enjoy the video and pictures and visit us again real soon!

Love,
K & Co.
video

Friday, November 21, 2008

9 Months Old!

Billa is 9 months old today! Only three more months 'til my little firecracker turns one. I never thought we'd get this far so fast, but time really does fly when you have children. And so much has happened in nine months! We've mastered breastfeeding, started babbling, recognize our name, laugh and smile and dance, and progressed from rolling, to scooting, to crawling, to pulling up and cruising along the coffee table, and soon, we'll be walking!

Sybilla took another step last night. She was trying to climb my legs to get at the food I was making for her dinner, which I then passed off to her daddy. We've been trying to teach her to follow us when we beckon, so Michael told her to follow him as he walked out of the room with her dinner. She stood there and you could tell just how much she wanted to follow him. Her little foot crept forward cautiously, paused for a second, and then she dropped to her knees and crawled faster than the speed of light for chowtime. Her Papa (my dad) can vouch for this!

In terms of breastfeeding, once I'd made it to 3 months, I wanted to go to 6 months. And at 6 months, I wanted to make it to 9. And now that we’re here, I'm hoping to make it to Christmas! Sybilla is still breastfeeding, but only in the morning when she wakes up and at night before she goes to bed. Occasionally I will feed her during the weekday if we're home. I stopped pumping some time ago, so we're doing formula for all of her other feedings. Costco has a pretty good price on Similac and one of those containers can last me about 3 weeks with her current drinking patterns.

Breastfeeding has taken on a whole new challenge now that she is more mobile; her newest thing is to switch from side to side while sitting. And when she gets really excited, its like she's playing the bongos. [sigh] I miss the days of laying down and nursing in bed, but there are apparently more interesting things to do than nurse. But as soon as the buffet closes she discovers she's hungry. Go figure.

Now that Sybilla has two teeth (no more have made an appearance just yet!) she loves to eat with her fingers. Peas, steamed carrots, mashed potatoes, Gerber Puffs, Cheerios, and overcooked noodles are the foods we've explored so far. I've given her small pieces of cheese and turkey (REAL turkey, not sammich turkey) which she has also loved immensely. I'm starting to get really tired of making baby food, so I'm hoping more teeth will appear shortly so that we can continue onwards and upwards with finger foods.

It also seems like Billa can't get enough to eat, which is really surprising, because the girl can EAT. Proportionally, I think she puts her daddy to shame with what she can consume. If she's going through another growth spurt, God help us! I just bought more shirts for her and I had to get the 18 month size. We weighed Sybilla against Cameron and Madeleine the other day. Cameron is 2 and weighs about 29 pounds. Madeleine is 4 and she weighed in at 35 pounds. My child has not even hit one year and she's 21, probably 22 pounds by now. Cameron's a big boy, and it blows my mind to think that my daughter is 16 months younger and weighs only a few pounds shy of his weight!

So that's the latest update in Billa Land! With the holidays coming, we're going to get our pictures taken on Sunday and we'll post those as soon as we get them. I'm trying to get a jumpstart on all of the holiday stuff especially since we're moving in just two weeks (!) and time will really be crunched as a result. So on that note, I bid you adieu!

Love,
K & Co

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sound Off: Why my job is awesome!

Ah, the holidays. I saw a headline this morning that said retail consumer spending is at an all time low. Maybe with the economic crisis we're facing, more folks will actually get into the spirit of the holiday and focus more on family and not on stuff. Maybe too, we'll have less crazies at the mall and on the road. And while we're wishin', maybe Central Texas will get some snow on Christmas!!!!

All the wishing aside, I had to share some really funny things from work today. The first one is some thoughts my friend John had on the good ol' days. John is not much older than my 26 years and he sent me an email talking about how kids have it so good these days. The funny thing is, I'm not yet 30 and I remember vividly the days pre-internet, Caller ID/Call Waiting, PlayStation3 and DVD players (I suppose that's a result of growing up in a rural community). One of the comments in particular was about how there weren't any microwaves.

I know for a fact that this is not entirely true, as Microwaves have been around since the 50's. So ok, the boxes of convenient cooking we have all come to know and love might not have been here since then, but they've been around at least since 1971 when the government placed stringent regulations on microwaves sold in the US. Michael and I inherited his parents old microwave from the 80's, named "The Genius". An IM conversation ensued betwixt John and yours truly discussing the merits of said microwave and other blasts from the past.

I mentioned to John my friend Kellie's irrational fear of "The Genius" nuking myself and Michael and any unborn children and this sparked a further discussion of whether or not microwave ovens emitted radiation (Which technically they do, but not the nuclear kind. The electromagnetic waves are at the right frequency to excite water molecules which then heats them and thereby cooks our food since the majority of our foodstuffs is water based in some way.). The only danger one has from a microwave is if they put something metal inside (since microwaves reflect off of metal) and if you boil water in a narrow necked container – it will explode on you when you open the door, causing severe burns. I saw Alton Brown do it on his TV show once and it was pretty cool. So ignore those dumb chain emails telling you not to boil water in the microwave; just be smart about it and you won't get burned. And you shouldn't put a live creature into the microwave either. That's just not cool.

Kellie still avoids standing in front of the microwave whenever she can, despite the fact "The Genius" has long since departed. Everyone has their quirks: Tracie had her thing about poisoned food, Debi hates chicken, and I can't stand the way my groceries are bagged. But I digress.

The other bit of office fun is this call for music for our upcoming office holiday party:

"So do you ever go to a holiday party and think "Man, this is the worst holiday music I've ever heard!" Yeah, me too. Happens all the time!!!
Well, now's your chance to shape the future of holiday parties.

This year the music for our holiday party is literally in your hands! (okay, not literally, unless you have a CD you're holding)

We are looking for the greatest holiday-themed party music of all time to play at our shindig on December 10. If you have any suggestions, please reply to this email. No suggestion will be mocked, shunned or otherwise ignored.

And if we don't get any requests, then we're going to have to stick to the default playlist, which includes these timeless favorites:

--Jingle Bells by those barking dogs
--Frosty the Snowman by Alvin and the Chipmunks
--Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland by Sheena Easton
--Hey, it's chill in here, yo! by Nick Carter
--Let me Sleep by Pearl Jam
--Get outta my snowflake, flake! by Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong
--Turkey Stuffin' by Snoop Dogg

You can see this is a worthy cause so please don't hesitate and suggest a song today!"

I had no idea some of these songs even existed, which makes me kind of want to listen to them at least once just to see how truly awful they are.

So there you have it, the joys of my job. [sigh] I love my job.

Happy Friday!
K&Co.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Steppin' Out With My Baby...

I just love that song and it makes a most appropriate blog title as Little S took a first tentative step TWICE yesterday. Yes, folks, the munchkin is one...er, two steps closer to walking! Expect to read more about face planting Sybilla as she takes tumble after tumble whilst trying to make one small step for munchkinkind. The steps were very shaky but they were steps. She took one step towards a chair and the second time was a step towards her toys. And she allowed me to hold her little arms up while I 'walked' her across the floor. She still loves to crawl and holy cow is she fast...sometimes I can't catch up! [sigh] My baby is growing up. Just this morning, she stopped nursing long enough to smile up at me and wave. I have no idea if it was her intention to tell me hello, but I'd like to think it was and it just melted me. I get all teary eyed thinking about it.

We're going to start trying to teach her some sign language so she's not grunting and screaming as much. I know some parents who were really successful with it and others who gave up after some time because their child never progressed beyond 'bye bye'. If I can at least teach her to say 'more' and 'milk' I'll be thrilled. Hell, it wouldn't hurt if she signed 'mommy' too, seeing as how she can't say it! The book I'm using is very encouraging and informative and it says to start out with only a couple of words so as not to overwhelm the baby. I'd like to think 'more', 'milk', 'mommy', 'daddy', and 'eat' would be my top picks. We'll see how it goes!

Sybilla has two full grown little chompers now and boy are they sharp! She has not bitten me too hard yet, but God help all the plastic in the house. No clue on when her next ones will come in, but now that she has two teeth, we are starting to give her more finger foods. She loves mashed potatoes and we can buy ourselves almost 5 minutes of quiet by throwing a big blob on her high chair tray and letting her go to town. She especially likes them cold, which probably is fun for her fingers and her gums. Peas are fun to watch... she chases them around on the tray and tries to catch them. Her pincer grasp is getting better each day, but she still shoves her whole hand in her mouth once she has the food in it. C'est la vie! We've also reached the point where Billa has to eat when we're eating. Either that, or she has to try what Mommy and Daddy are shoving in their pieholes. She had Club crackers and a little tiny bit of sugar cookie last night, both of which she enjoyed immensely.

And for our last news segment for today, the Guerra's are moving! We will be moving into a new apartment on December 1st, which just happens to be five minutes from daycare, the library, Aunt Kellie and Uncle Anthony's, the grocery store and one minute from Mopac. It's a third floor, which guarantees exercise for Mommy & Daddy and a big patio for Kiddie & Kitty to play on without disappearing. We will also have a fireplace, a garden tub, a large kitchen, and almost 1300 sq ft of space for our little family. And the best part of all, we get to paint the walls! YES!!!! This means that I am finally going to decorate Billa's room the way I always wanted to: mint green walls with a tree mural on which I will hang pictures of various family members. I will definitely be posting pictures as soon as it's all done. I'm taking volunteers to help us paint the baby's room, the living room, and move furniture :o)

Needless to say, there's a lot going on in our lives and we are thrilled! We'll keep you posted as things happen and load up some pictures and other stuff soon.

Love to you all,
K & Co.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Billa Vs. The Box

Here's a video I made a little while back. I tried to load it last week and I experienced an epic FAIL as it wouldn't do it. The second verse is same as the first!

Happy Veteran's Day! Well, ok, maybe that's a little morbid considering today is the day we honor all the veterans of war the USA has fought, but I am happy today because without their sacrifice, I wouldn't be blogging. To all my friends and relatives who have served, thank you!

Love,
Kelly & The Gang

video

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ooorah!

My dear friend Debi is a Marine and this day is very special to her... it's the Marine Corps' birthday! So here is a shoutout to all Marine Corps peeps... Happy Birthday Jarheads, Grunts, Devil Dogs, and Leathernecks! We have much to be thankful for, thanks to you.

Debi is also Sybilla's godmother and she was my left hand woman while I gave birth (quite literally!). She is one tough hot mama and dear to my heart. I am also a jerk and totally got her birthday wrong, so her birthday present is a blog entry devoted solely to her (not that she ever has time to read it in depth, LOL). And a really cute picture of Billa, when she stops moving long enough for mommy to get a really good one :o)

Happy Birthday Marines and Debi!
K & Co.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obamanos!

I originally thought I wouldn't even bother mentioning it since it's everywhere on the news, but what the hey... in case you've been living under a rock on Mars, Obama is our president elect. It's crazy to think we will have a black president when almost 40 years ago there was still segregation in the South. To put that into perspective, my parents were preteens! It's a testament to how quickly things are changing this day and age!

Love,
K & Co.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween and the Worst Game Ever

First off, we are so sad cause our #1 ranked Longhorns lost to the Red Raiders last night in what was a Hail Mary bid for the win by Tech. We went to Hooters with our friends Zander and Sarah to celebrate Zander's 27th birthday (Happy Birthday buddy!) and we had a great time until the end. It was a very close game and we were really disappointed by the way the Horns played. I have to begrudgingly hand it to the Raiders...they played a damn good game and man, can those boys run!!! I still think they must have greased themselves up since Texas had a hard time making their tackles on them. The Raiders were slippery as eels! We had two opportunities to sock it to the Raiders and we missed them both: a possible interception was dropped at the last second and the Horns failed to bring the player with the winning touchdown out of bounds with only 2 seconds to go. Colt McCoy's face matched my own as we stared in disbelief. [sigh] I have to keep telling myself it's only a game, but losing still sucks. The Horns have played a good season so far and we will see where they rank in the next day or so. As the commercials say, every week can change the season. We'll still probably get the Big 12 championship and Michael thinks that it is still possible for us to make it to the National Championship, but I doubt that. We shall see! Alabama, USC, LSU and all the other top ranked teams could still lose big :o)

In other happier news, Halloween was a blast! Well the part that came AFTER the three hour long doctor visit complete with bloodwork, chest xray and attempted collection of a urine sample, anyway. Billa's fever came back and since it was Day 4 with a fever, Dr. Patil wanted to see her again. So Mommy left work early and took Sybilla to the doctor. Pray you never have to get a chest xray for your baby -- it's not pretty. The xray tech was asking me about Sybilla's name which is a medieval name shared by one of the queens of Jerusalem from between the second and third crusades. Well that segued into him telling me about the medieval torture device they were going to place my child in to get her xrays, something called a pigglestack (AUTHOR'S NOTE: I took the time to actually try and find the correct name and a picture of this device...it is really called a Pigg-O-Stat, but I like pigglestack better so we're sticking with it. On another note, I think the child in the picture has been doped because the minute those damn plastic shields close, the child enclosed starts screaming bloody murder).

The Pigg-O-Stat is a Medieval torture device. AKA Pigglestack in the Guerra household.

They literally strapped my kid into this plastic device that held her arms over her head and spun her around so they could get the angles they needed. Sybilla's screaming just about made me morph in Maniac Mommy and claw the xray staff to bits. Anyway, the good thing about having been in the doctor's office for three hours was that we got all the results while there and then discovered that Sybilla did not have a cold, but a virus called Roseola. Basically, it's a high fever for three or four days followed by a red blotchy rash all over her body. When Dr. Patil examined her the first time, there was no rash. By the time we left, there was a rash, so Dr. Patil was able to identify it. Once the rash is there, the baby is no longer contagious, so we were free to go visit the Marino family for Halloween fun!

And fun we did have! Madeleine had so much fun trick or treating and Sybilla got Mommy and Daddy lots of candy. Daddy was a little too honest at the first house we went to and Mommy had to educate Daddy about how trick or treating with babies works: you collect the candy for BABY, and then Mommy and Daddy eat it when they get home. Madeleine's little brother Cameron did NOT want to get dressed in his dragon costume but once we made it to the first two houses he finally figured out the equation: costume = candy! He was very polite too... Madeleine would say trick or treat, they'd get their candy, and the homeowner would get a big "Dank oo!" from Cameron. He'd been sick too, so Cameron and Kellie headed back to the house while Anthony, Michael and I continued to take Billa and Madeleine to a few more houses. Everyone loved Billa's monkey costume and we got some great family photos. Michael and I decided to go as gypsies to play to Billa's organ grinder's monkey. As the Hooters saying goes, delightfully tacky yet so refined :o) Please check out the album here!

Sybilla the Monkey!

I realize I haven't really blogged about Sybilla's growth lately, so here's a quick recap: we weighed in at 21 pounds at the doctor's office on Friday and we are only 8 months and 2 weeks old now! Yes, she has outgrown some of her 12 month stuff and I am having to buy her 18 month old stuff. We have pretty much gone through the majority of the hand me downs from Madeleine, so Mommy's going to have to start forking over cash for clothes now. Boo :o(

We also have two teeth coming in! The left one is pushing up faster but they are both there, making up for lost time. We've also gone to formula half the time now. When I got really sick a couple of weeks ago, my milk production suddenly dropped and I haven't been able to bring it back up. Billa only nurses for a few minutes anyway, and she's taken to the formula well. We're still nursing at night and in the morning and on weekends, but I have accepted that formula is ok. It wasn't that I ever had a problem with it, it was the price of formula I had a problem with. I am thankful at least that I don't have to buy the special Alimentum kind like my friend Robyn... I've been saving all of my Similac coupons for her since that stuff is twice the price of the regular! And that's the little can!! Ouch!

And finally, if you haven't voted, go vote! I don't care who you vote for, just get out there and exercise your right. The men and women of the armed forces aren't giving their lives so that you can sit on your keister and twiddle your thumbs. So go vote!

Until next time,
K & Co.

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