Happy Holidays Ya’ll!

On December 15, 2009, in Kid, by Wendy

This is as close as I’m getting to sending out cards this year. Enjoy the holiday season! We wish you the merriest of happies and joyousness of the new year. Hearts from the Harris Family.

Christmas 2009

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A wish list for Isadora

On November 27, 2009, in Helpful Hints, Kid, by Wendy

I’ve been getting requests for Christmas present ideas for Izzy. So here goes…

  1. Anything that is meaningful to you and you would like to share with our daughter. Perhaps your favorite childhood book, toy or game.
  2. Your time. Come over and play with her, read books, take her for a walk or to the park. It is important that she build a relationship with you beyond a quick visit and a present drop. This isn’t a veiled attempt to sucker you in to babysitting. Well, maybe just a little. 😉
  3. Money for college. We’ll accept cash, checks, savings bonds or you can contribute to her 529 savings plan (ask me for details).
  4. Various and sundry items available through Amazon. I realize there’s a lot of stuff on here, but I wanted to allow for variety in both types of items and price points, while keeping it focused to the types of toys and books we feel comfortable with her having. We certainly don’t expect everyone to buy all of these things for Izzy, nor would we want you too. We want Izzy to grow up knowing that Christmas is a time to hang out with family and friends, make great food, build upon traditions and fill the house with laughter and memories.
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Stories in my head.

On January 10, 2009, in Arty Crafty, Kitties, Things to do, by Wendy

For years, I used to tell Mitch that I wanted to take a comic drawing class so I could learn how to write/draw the stories in my head. The SF JCC used to teach such a class, but I never got around to it. I still have a couple of story lines that I would like to build out.

The first concept was developed when Joey was still alive called “The Adventures of Walnut and Pea Brain,” and was all about the antics of Joey and Murky. I came up with Walnut for Joey because I heard that is the size of a kitty brain. Murky got Pea Brain because she was still quite young and I figured her brain was the size of a pea.

The other story in the works is “Freddie and Dominique: An Unrequited Love Story.” Freddie and Dominique* are a couple of sea gulls that perch on the building across the street from our apartment building. We recently acquainted ourselves with these delightful birds when we moved in to our new apartment. Freddie is a tough old, one-legged bird, and Dominique is a lovely slender, feminine gal. We’ve been telling each other stories about these birds since we met them. Like how Freddie lost his leg in a fishing accident or how Dominique keeps getting delayed on her way to the roof top and never gets a chance to meet up with Freddie who leaves before she arrives. They are soul mates who never had a chance at true love.

Perched on the other end of Freddie and Dominique’s building is a flock of pigeons. Tons of them. They never mingle on the Sea Gull side of the building–they self-segregate. I wish I knew why–perhaps the reason will reveal itself as I develop the story. We haven’t named any of the pigeons (yet), but they play an important roll of the story of Freddie and Dominique. The story line will be much like a Greek tragedy where there is a speaker (Freddie or Dominique) and a chorus (the pigeons).

Well, I won’t be getting around to take a drawing class any time soon, but I have something that is even better at my finger tips! My wonderful husband gifted the most awesomely thoughtful presents this Christmas, one of which is Comic Life that allows me to create comic strips using my photographs. The software is really simple to use, and I don’t have an excuse to keep me from developing my stories (besides a new baby and a full time job and a husband and family and friends and grocery shopping and a dirty toilet).

I finally sat down tonight and played around with the software. Here’s an idea of what the cover of “The Adventures of Walnut and Pea Brain” might look like. I still need to refine a bit and get comfortable with the editing tools.

Walnut and Pea Brain

I also want to start studying comic book covers so I can get a better feel for layout, but I’m pretty happy with this first draft. I’m looking forward to seeing how far I can go with Walnut and Pea Brain, but I will most likely need to develop a spin off since Joey died and we now have Kirby. It may be entitled “Kirbles of the Wirbles” and feature regular appearances by Murkfatistan.

*We really shouldn’t have named these Sea Gulls because now we are totally attached to them. After we moved in, we didn’t see Freddie for about a week and we were just devastated. Seriously, I’m mean it. We talked about him every day. When I came home from work, I would ask Mitch if Freddie came by. One day he reappeared, and we were just elated. We photograph him often. If he ever disappears completely, we are going to wonder what happened to that tough old bird for the rest of our natural born days.

Merry Christmas!

On January 7, 2009, in Family, Kid, by Wendy

Izzy spent her first Christmas with us at my parents house in Auburn. I think she had a fabulous time as Grandpa DeeDee and Grandma Judy were fawning over her.

She had fun hanging out and playing with a few toys that we brought with us.

The cat was always nearby during mealtime. Obviously that cat never misses a meal time, whether it is hers or someone else’s.

On Christmas Eve, we dressed Izzy in the adorable outfit Neighbor Shelly’s mom bought for her.

Shortly after this photograph was taken, Izzy took a nose dive and landed head first on the tile. She started to swell and get a large bruise immediately.

Being new parents, we weren’t quite sure what to do. First, I picked her up and consoled her. Then I put some ice on her head. I shined a light into her pupils, and they seemed fine. We questioned whether we should take her to emergency. We decided to go. We didn’t want to take a chance the we ruined her brains. We got bundled up and loaded up in the car.

On the way up to Auburn Faith Hospital, we continued to debate about whether we should go to the emergency room. On one hand, we knew they would tell us to take her home, keep her comfortable and put ice on it. On the other hand, we’re not medical professionals and maybe, just maybe she had a concussion.

We stopped at Radio Shack and continued our debate. After buying some batteries and a soldering gun, we decided to take her to emergency.

I received a phone call about the time that I pulled in to the parking lot of what I thought was the hospital. It was my friend, Deanna, a mother of two and well versed in the bonking of noggins. I told her what happened. She said she hadn’t taken her kids to emergency for bumped heads and offered to loan us some of her Traumeel.

While on the phone, I noticed a police officer type looking person coming to the door and looking out at us over and over. I thought it was strange. What’s he so concerned about, I’m thinking. Mind your own beeswax, Mr. Nosey. As I started up the car and backed up to drive home, I realized we were in the Child Protective Services parking lot. Oops! Can you Freudian slip while driving?

So, Traumeel is amazing stuff. I smeared some on Izzy’s head when we got home, and the bump was nearly gone within an hour. By the next morning, there was a very faint tiny yellow spot that indicated she might have had a bruise at some point.

Whew. We didn’t break the baby.

On Christmas morning, we donned our matching pajamas.

Every year we say we’re going to do less on Christmas, and each year we seem to do more. The presents look like they’re stacked half as high as the tree! A few present highlights…I got an Apple TV. It is totally awesome. My dad got a Lowes Gift Card since he loves to get home supplies and putter around the house and yard. Mitch got a variety of things that blink, flash, beep and fly. My mom got a robot chicken that she needs to love so he stays alive.

Izzy wasn’t quite sure what to do with the presents at first, but it didn’t take her long to get in the spirit of ripping off the wrapping paper.

Next year, we are definitely going smaller. A lot of the things that Izzy got this year are for ages 6 mos to 3 years. I think we’ll just rewrap some of these things and give them to her again–she won’t know the difference.

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Christmas Traditions

On December 14, 2008, in Family, Kid, Kitties, by Wendy

We got a Christmas Tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. A little early perhaps, but I wanted to have it before Mitch’s family came to visit. We went to the Guardsmen’s Lot, which was a little odd. The “lot” was inside a giant warehouse at Lower Fort Mason. The lighting was strange and the floor was slippery, wet concrete.

I’m used to an outdoor lot with bright lights so you can see the tree you’re picking out and sawdust on the dirt floor. The only carried one type of tree, the Nobile Fir, and I wasn’t much impressed. The were all very wide–too big of a footprint for the place I had in mind for the tree. I was about to give up and suggest we go to Delancy, but Mitch called for me. He found the perfect tree!

The guys working at the lot were great (they’re also kinda hot)! They put the tree in a net, lifted it on the roof of our car and tied it securely in place. They knew we had tie down hooks near the tires. How cool is that!

I was trying to remember what we used to eat for dinner the night we picked out our tree when I was a kid because I wanted to recreate it for Izzy, but I just couldn’t recall. We ordered pizza and I figured that’s a pretty awesome tradition.

A few days later, it dawned on me. We used to go to Sam’s Hof Brau on Broadway in Oakland for dinner before going to Santa’s Coliseum to get our tree. Since Sam’s is closed now, we’ll go to Tommy’s Joynt next year for dinner before picking out our tree.

Our tree has a combination of handmade and store bought ornaments. I love how it looks, although it doesn’t smell like a tree is in the house. I’ve been simmering orange peels and cinnamon sticks to give the house a festive smell.

I just finished making these ornaments for the tree. It took me over a week! I’m still not used to the interruptions that come from such a tiny human.

Kirby loves the tree very much. I love how his eyes are glowing as bright as the lights.

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The countdown continues…

On November 25, 2008, in Family, by Wendy

Thirty days until Christmas. I’m so excited! We’re going to get pictures with Santa and our Christmas tree on Saturday. Yay!

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Weekend Visitors

On October 12, 2008, in Family, Friends, Kid, by Wendy

My mom came down for a visit this weekend. She got here early Saturday morning and we headed out to the Tanforan Mall. I haven’t been to the Tanforan Mall in ages. Years. Maybe a decade. I wanted to go to Sears and check out their portable dishwashers, but we stopped at Barnes and Noble first and I stocked up on a few books for Isadora:

Good Night, Baby
Good Dog, Carl
Time for Bed
Is Your Mama a Llama?
Harry the Dirty Dog
Guess How Much I Love You
Bats at the Beach
Bats at the Library

I bought those last two more for me than for Izzy. I hope she grows up to like the cute/creepy things.

I checked out a couple of the dishwashers at Sears, but I think I’ll probably buy one from Best Buy–they had the best price on the highest rated model. There was no real need to window shop; there wasn’t much at the mall that we wanted to see. We decided to leave and head back to town and go to Trader Joes to pick up some groceries for dinner. The Mall had other plans for us; we couldn’t figure out how to get out. We walked up and down the lower level and popped in and out of doors, but couldn’t find the car. Finally, after a couple of laps, we gave up and ate Cinnabons. With our fresh sugar rush, we had the energy to once again try to flee the Mall. Turns out we had to go back up stairs to find the right exit. Um. Duh. (Maybe it was all just an excuse to eat Cinnabons.)

On Sunday, Jaime and Jen came over for breakfast. It was such a great time! At one point, all five of us were in the kitchen and it didn’t even feel crowded. I love this apartment! It is such a great space for entertaining. I digress…I made breakfast for everyone and we had a lovely visit with Jaime and Jen before they had to rush off to their next appointment. My mom helped clean up the kitchen while I fed the baby and Mitch worked on tidying up the rest of the house. I love being able to start the week with a clean house.

Izzy was having a great time hanging out with Grandma Judy this morning. My mom was flipping through a colorful instructional painting magazine filled with Christmas images. Isadora was loving it. I can hardly wait until our first Christmas together!

Izzy’s been asleep for two hours, and Mitch went to bed an hour ago. I need to do the same, but am totally hooked on surfthechannel.com.

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