“I like it!”

Balance bikes are a relatively new item. They are very small bicycles that can be used by kids as young as 18 months. They’re different because they have no training wheels and no pedals. The kid propels himself with his feet, then he learns that once he has enough momentum, he can pick his feet up, and suddenly he’s balancing on a bike. As young as two years old. When he has the coordination to pedal, he can move up to a “real” bike easily.

I have a lot of friends who got balance bikes for their kids (all happen to be boys), and they raved about them. Then Hannah got the bug.

She is usually an easy shopper. She doesn’t have fits in stores and doesn’t even express a desire for anything that we see. Until recently. We found ourselves exiting REI with a toddler dramatically sobbing, “I need bicycle! I need bicycle!” (her Uncle Dave and Aunt Kris would be so proud).

So after lots of research, we shelled out for the name brand, “Strider,” in a gender-neutral color on the justification that we’re hoping it will get many years of use.



She is soooo happy. She kept saying, “Ride bicycle like big kids. I like it!” The helmet was also very exciting. She goes very slow right now, but I’m a little worried that I’ll have to take up jogging when she gets the hang of it.

We’ll post video eventually, but our hard drive is being weird. To summarize: Hannah gets right on the bike and takes off, then she gets distracted by an airplane overhead, then she realizes the tires spin when you lay the bike on its side, then she rides some more. Life is fun.

Small world

We got a new dining table. We checked various stores, outlets, websites, Craigslist. In an attempt to limit our purchases of new items this year, we decided Craigslist was the way to go, and we found a table that met our criteria and exchanged several emails with the seller. Normal Craigslist stuff.

Then I got online to register for a local adoption conference next month. The speakers were listed. I paused and blinked. There was a name … that seems familiar … the table lady!?!?


Out of the freakin’ hundreds of dining tables on Craigslist, we happened to buy the one listed by a passionate adoptive family with five kids who we get to hear next month. Crazy small world.

When we picked up the table, we could have chatted a long time, but you can imagine that with six kids running around (Hannah jumped right in the mix) and a table to disassemble and load, there was a lot going on. It was just neat to make a connection, and we left saying, “See ya in a few weeks.” Not normal Craigslist stuff.

Now we just need to decide how we want to paint/stain the table and chairs…

Memorable birthdays

With a New Year’s Eve birthday, I get to do some seriously fun things on my special day.

Here’s my first birthday. I’m blissfully eating cake, unaware that in six short months I will cease to be the center of the universe.

I wouldn’t be surprised if my sister ate all my cake on my second birthday. But I digress.

Since it is over winter break, I’ve spent many birthdays away from home. One time, when I was really little, we were flying on my birthday and the story includes something about the passengers singing to me while the flight attendant brought a muffin with a candle. Maybe I’m messing the story up because a candle on a plane just doesn’t seem right, but Mom can straighten me out in the comment box.

Anyway, I’ve spent my birthday in Ohio, Florida, California and Utah as well as my home states. I’ve been on the beach and at Disneyland.

In Cleveland, with family when I was little, I got to go on special birthday outings with my aunt and uncle. They would take me (just me!!) to a mall (wow!) and let me pick out a present, whatever I wanted (big wow!). This was so incredibly exciting and special.

When we were at home, the church I grew up in did a New Year’s Eve talent show. We would always sing or play instruments, followed by “Skidamarinkadinkadink” (not sure what the real title is).

One set of grandparents gave me a pearl necklace, and on each birthday they would add a pearl. Such grown-up jewelry made a little girl feel very elegant.

Two years ago, we went out to eat and ran into a family from our church that we hardly knew. At the end of the meal, the waiter told us there was no check as that family had paid for our tab. What a special birthday surprise!

So whether it’s exciting locations, special time with family, or surprising generosity, my birthdays have turned out pretty good. I’m looking forward to many more.

Tell me your favorite birthday story!

29 the first time

I have a super-fun birthday – New Year’s Eve! This year, it was a pretty laid-back Saturday. The weather was amazing, and we went out to lunch at an outdoor organic burger place with a big playscape.

Then, I went shoe shopping. I went in to DSW with the intent to replace my trusty Converse All-Stars, but I was distracted by some tan cork wedges. The wedges won, and my current Chucks will have to last another year.

For a special dinner, I decided on sushi. The rolls were beautiful – one California roll, one with shrimp, avocado, and a spicy sauce and one with fried soft-shell crab and eel sauce.

The California roll was supposed to be for Hannah, but she wasn’t a fan. Instead, she liked the one with the crab. She ate the long fried crab legs like they were french fries, and the eel sauce was a little sweet which I think she liked. We just peeled off the nori, and she dug in.

Partway through the meal, Hannah announced to our waiter that she loved him. He came back with an orange carved like a panda bear holding neatly-segmented orange slices. Amazing!

The tiny umbrella was also a hit.

Hannah ended up thinking this was her birthday, but I had a pretty special day, too. :)

Christmas catch-up

Haven’t blogged a lot lately, probably because I’ve been sitting around doing nothing. Not exactly! This is holiday week – Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, my Birthday, New Year’s Day and our anniversary.

To summarize, our normal activities were off for the last couple of weeks, but we got new front windows, re-financed our house (woohoo for low interest rates!), had Brett’s parents come visit, had several playdates and visited with friends in from out of town. Oh yeah, and all the holiday stuff. Fortunately, Brett had two four-day weekends for us to enjoy a lot of family time.

I tried out a couple new recipes for Christmas dinner: bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin and from-scratch green bean casserole. Only a couple tweaks to the recipes – I marinaded the pork in Dijon and apple juice for a little bit before cooking, would do even longer next time. For the green beans, I put those delectable fried onions on top instead of panko.

I also did some ranch mashed potatoes and rolls from a tube. It was a tasty meal. I didn’t want to get too crazy since we’d thrown a curveball and introduced my in-laws to tamales the night before (which they liked).

Now we have to get motivated to take all the Christmas decorations down. We seem to be rampantly blowing fuses in our Christmas tree; each day a new branch or section is completely out. Eh, we’ll deal with that next year.

New skills, or not

Mommy, in the dining room, with the scissors.

There was a crime – against Hannah’s bangs. They were getting in her eyes, so I decided to be brave, borrow some hair scissors and take it on myself.

She sat still and I managed to get a fairly even line, but when I stepped back, I cringed. Instead of taking the 3/4 inch off that I was planning, I had somehow managed to chop almost two inches off.

I feel like an idiot. Luckily, she has no idea what just happened to her; she’s probably just happy she can see without hair in her eyes.

Her look reminds me a little of that chick from NCIS …