Friday, January 26, 2007

Aspiring dancer

A friend has lent us her copy of Miss Christy's Dance Adventure DVD last week. Its a tap, ballet and jazz follow-along program for 2 - 6 year olds according to the packaging. We thought we'd pop it in and see what Peanut thought.

The first time around, mama & papa danced (or tried to) along while Peanut watched on. I found the pace very fast and the teacher moved quickly from one step to another. As a little girl, I also had about 8 years of ballet, tap and jazz classes and found myself at a loss as to what was happening! I had forgotten all about flap's and tendu's, but managed to recall the five positions of ballet - and still I could barely keep up!

Today, about a week after the first viewing, Peanut suddenly wants to watch the 'dancing babies'. She sits down and takes it in while I finish cleaning up after lunch. I come back into the living room to find her standing and trying to shuffle her feet! Amazing! She didn't try to follow every move, but enjoyed the music and every once in a while would hop, jump, kick or get her beach ball out like the small dancers on the video.

I think it also helped she had just gotten a very frilly tutu skirt from Once Upon A Child. Made of teal tutu material filled with flowers and held in place by a silky purple bow, Peanut looked the part.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Laides, prepare to consign to your heart's content

A great list of this spring's consignment sales for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex:

Feb 2-3 McKinney
Feb 15-17 Lewisville
Feb 26-March 2 Fort Worth Just Between Friends
Feb 28-March 1 Grapevine Divine Consign
March 1-3 Coppell
March 4-6 Plano Divine Consign
March 8-10 Dallas (Lake Highlands)
March 9-10 Mesquite (the one formerly in Dallas) Just Between Friends
March 9-10 Arlington Just Between Friends
March 16-17
March 23-24 Arlington Divine Consign
March 28-31 North Richland Hills Just Between Friends
March 31 Richardson Mothers of Twins
March 31 McKinney
April 11-14 Denton Just Between Friends

And, this year, I think I may just start doing some consigning myself. I'm still trying to work out consignment sale vs consignment store benefits.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Snow in Texas!

I was so thrilled when I opened the blinds yesterday morning and found a white dusting of snow covering our yard! It was maybe all of 1/2 inches, but it was SNOW!

The whiteness caught Peanut's eye as soon as she wandered into the living room. We all sat at the window for several minutes wondering at the 'snow'. When a small snow shower began during breakfast, Peanut exclaimed 'rain'! having just learned how to recognize water falling from the sky. No, this time its snow, we explained.

After breakfast and a proper bundling to take on the 31F temperatures, Peanut and I headed out into the yard. When we reached the front, she pointed down the street and wanted to go check on the ducks. With her shovel in hand, we walked towards the pond, stopping every now and then to wipe the snow off of neighbor's newspapers.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma'am!

I had another pre-natal appointment for Tex this morning. It was the usual drill - sit in the waiting room for 20 mins, meet the nurse for 5 mins to measure weight and check blood pressure, quick trip to the bathroom, sit waiting in the doctor's room for 15 mins and, then, at long last, meet the doctor for a quick, clinical 10 mins to measure my belly, listen to the heartbeat and answer "no, no, no" to "any cramping, any bleeding, any questions?"

"Ok, great, see you again in two weeks."

In a way its efficient and we all get to know what we need to know. I don't have so many questions this time around since I've been through this before and, fortunately, nothing unusual is happening.

My pre-natal appointments for Peanut in Finland covered the same basic health checks, but then the midwife also was interested in how was I feeling - really - and how were things at home otherwise. Were we getting everything ready? Was I eating, sleeping, emotionally feeling OK? She also usually checked my hands for signs of swelling. And, then we spent a bit more time discussing how my measurements were tracking since she hand wrote them all into my Neuvola booklet which I carried with me. I always knew exactly what month/day we were at and how much weight I had gained compared to last week and how much my belly had grown.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My two cents on the car seat bru-haha

I'm sure most parents saw the recent infant car seat testing results from Consumer Reports (CR) which failed all, but two models in their test.

The short of it - CR tested with higher standards that are currently required by the US Federal Government. However, these standards are what are required of car manufacturers. If you take a quick look, the standards overall are appalling for determining "safety":
Cars and car seats can’t be sold unless they can withstand a 30-mph frontal crash. But most cars are also tested in a 35-mph frontal crash and in a 38-mph side crash. Car seats aren’t.

When we (CR) crash-tested infant car seats at the higher speeds vehicles routinely withstand, most failed disastrously. The car seats twisted violently or flew off their bases, in one case hurling a test dummy 30 feet across the lab.

Consider the accidents you've seen, been in or heard about. How often was it at speeds lower than 30 MPH and just a direct head-on collision?

I found many articles and blog commentaries attacking CR for causing undue stress and concern among parents for using higher than federal standards in their tests, and among the experts for not revealing their methodology. Sure, you can hardly blame manufacturers for conforming with the existing standards. They have to manufacturer to some common goal. But, I don't think CR should get beat up over their tests, either.

I think the anger should be directed at updating these feeble federal standards.

Infant seats sold in England and the 24 other countries of the European Union must meet safety standards that include a 31-mph frontal crash. Many are also tested in a 40-mph frontal crash and a 31-mph side collision. The results are the basis of widely publicized safety ratings for cars. The ratings include an assessment of how a car seat performs in a specific car. Automakers are required to make those seats available for purchase.

Some FAQs about LATCH and car seats from babycenter.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mr Potato Head creeps me out sometimes

Peanut is having lots of fun putting her Mr/Mrs (depending mostly on the shoes) Potato Head together. More often than not, the body parts end up in close-to-normal locations on the Potato body.

The end result usually looks like a mad scientific cloning experiment gone wrong or what would happen to potato-people after a nuclear accident. Mr/Mrs Potato Head has only one arm twisted backwards, a set of eyes where the nose should be and an upside grin full of teeth. On top is a glowing green hat.

Peanut sees nothing wrong with her creations and lovingly brings Mr/Mrs Potato Head to the dinner table or, as is happening now, cradles Mr/Mrs Potato Head in her arms as she sleeps peacefully.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

More FOOD!

While on the topic of munching and food -- a favorite of all pregnant women, I'm sure -- we've been trying to get out to eat more frequently since it'll all be a distant dream once Tex arrives.

Peanut's papa and I had an amazing lunch date at the Seoul Garden off Royal Lane. From the outside it looks as if you are pulling up to a half-abandoned strip mall, but the lack of available parking gives a hint as to what's inside. Delicious and abundant Korean dishes. The interior was just shockingly modern, clean and efficient compared to what was outside. I had to get a bowl of dol-sot bi-bim-bap; its nothing fancy, but sooooo good on a cool winter afternoon.

Later that week, Peanut joined us for lunch at the Pho Republic in Irving. The waiter kindly sat us next to the fish tank so Peanut could keep somewhat busy while we enjoyed their Vietnamese dishes. So fresh, so light, just so tasty!

To close out 2006 baby-sitting season, Peanut's papa & I had a Friday night dinner date at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar. OK, we went there because they sent us Happy Birthday cards that offered a steak and lobster dinner -- yes, the entire dinner! We enjoyed a very crisp and fresh calamari appetizer, meat-meat-meat main dishes and a whopping piece of cheesecake for dessert. A few dishes came out cold (shrimp on the side and dessert coffee), but they didn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the evening.

When Auntie Em was visiting, she wanted to try out some down-home Texas-style BBQ. We're no experts, but had a good and no-frills lunch at Bartley's BBQ in Grapevine. Go for the rib platter!

Also in December, Peanut's papa & I ventured into the Big D for a dinner at Ferre Ristorante e Bar. It was the least satisfying of our outings. Our timing was poor in trying to reach the restaurant on Friday evening at 6.00 pm from the suburbs - traffic was just hitting its high point. Once in, I really appreciated the ambiance of a restaurant that was not a cookie cutter chain. Sadly, the food was not as tempting as the setting. Everything was just a bit off for our tastes -- a little too salty or a little too much pasta sauce.

We still have another month or two to try out some new places and I'm looking forward to every bite.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Munching our way into 2007

For New Year's Eve, we enjoyed a tasty Dutch traditional treat - the oliebollen - along with a small smörgåsbord of other delicacies and tapas-like dishes. Its sort of a traditional I'd like to keep going in our family. No one has to cook much and you get to dig into sweets & savories all evening long.

Peanut's papa was in charge of the oliebollen which we made outdoors on the grill. The dough rose nicely and was dappled with dried fruits such as raisins, apricots and cherries. Then you form balls of dough to drop into boiling oil to fry. Kinda like dough nut holes. When they come out and cool, you sprinkle a helping of powdered sugar on top and enjoy through the night.

We did manage to make it to midnight by spending an inordinate amount of time watching the World Championship of Poker on TV!! We'd never watched such a show before and somehow got pulled into the last rounds and just had to see how it turned out. Funny the things you end up doing on New Year's Eve as a toddler and expectant parent. Really, I was just impressed we were both awake at midnight ;-)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

ABCD, where is the off switch!

Peanut got all sorts of wonderful gifts from her relatives & friends for Christmas. She spotted the wrapped presents under the tree right away on Christmas morning and we had to pace her opening them through the day to make sure each got the attention it deserved. Not to mention that we had already opened several on Christmas Eve. We figured its the Finnish way so no rules broken :-)

It seems that the toys which sing, beep and bleep all must also play the Alphabet Song. You know, A B C D E F G...etc.... Its a catchy tune. Its educational. It can also drive parents nuts when you just can't stop running through the letters as you try to drift off to sleep! I can't be too harsh though. In the past week, Peanut has started singing the song to herself and now gets all the way to H I J, seemingly adding a letter each day.

But, I still think one of the greatest advances in electronic toys must be the volume and on/off switches. So now, Puppy can go to sleep. The Bandwagon can go to sleep. The singing cow can go to sleep. And, so can mama & papa.

Some of Peanut's favorite new toys are the Aquadoodle mat, Parent's brand Animal Hospital (from Target), Fisher Price Puppy, massive rocking bear and borrowed shopping cart!