Sunday, September 30, 2007

Puppy Notes

So we picked up Taggart yesterday. He is SO mellow in comparison to our last Boxer. It may be because he's stressed at the moment, but all he seems to want to do is sleep. Chase cuddles up close to him and he puts his little puppy paws on her head. It is super sweet with sweet on top.

With Hubs not available next week to help with Tag, I've got my fingers crossed he will start to sleep through the night. Last night, Hubs got up twice to take him outside.

It's like we have another baby, but at least this one only gets up twice a night, rather than Chase, who was awake every two hours.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Moving Day: Take 2

Today our things arrived from China. Strangely enough, everything seems to go together. Weird.

Our neighbor stopped by and said, "I saw the moving truck and so I made you lunch, because you can't possibly be able to make lunch right now."

I was floored. We have been blessed with a neighbor who has owned her own catering business, so "throwing something together," is something that comes easily to her.

About a half hour later, she brought by risotto with spinach, a fresh olive bread loaf (from our local bakery), pork tenderloin in a maple glaze with baked apples - and carrot cake for dessert.

I am SO not kidding. It was amazing.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Name Game

Every time Chase wakes, she immediately starts naming things. Or at least tries to come up with names for everything she sees. It's pretty cute. It's like roll call, but for objects, not people. Just making sure everything is there....

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Overheard At The Kiddie Park

"So I have to take care of Mona's twins and brand new puppy this weekend," one mom said to her group of mom friends.

"What? Mona has a new puppy? Is she insane?" One mom replied.

Meanwhile, I just agreed with Hubs last night that we would pick up Taggart this weekend.

Crazy is my apparently my middle name. Who else takes a small child to a remote city in China? A puppy just doesn't seem like such a big deal when one compares it to traveling to over 20 cities (ok, so I'm sure it's more than this, but I stopped counting after 20) in the first 18 months after having a baby.

But enough about me, I'm thinking that the crazy person in this scenario is the mom who agreed to watch the twins and the dogs in addition to her own child and dog.

Seriously. Pot calling the kettle black.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Chase's Big Words

Today Chase said, "Go Dog, Go." Over and over again. Amazing.

The Work Continues

Still unpacking. Chase has started to whine a lot. Like she wants to say something but can't. I think she might be getting molars, because she is extra cranky with crank on top.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Home Sweet Home

I can't believe we have been unpacking for a week. And we're still not through it all. And there is more to come. We still await our shipment from China. And I don't know where it is all going to go. Seriously, we might as well just tell them to take it back.

Funny how after one purchases a home, one finds things one missed during the home inspection, like that the previous owners painted over wallpaper. UGH. Or that the foundation under the kitchen addition isn't as solid as you hoped. Or that a queen size bed spring set doesn't fit up the stairs (yes, I broke a window trying to make it fit).

So we called around and found - yes, it's too good to be true - queen size split box springs. They went up the stairs so quickly and so easily. Oh if only we had the smarts to know about the beautiful split box springs BEFORE we tried maneuvering the queen set upstairs. We would still have our window. Live and learn.

Speaking of learning... Chase is amazing. She is talking all the time. She doesn't know a lot of words, but the words she does know, she uses all the time.

We're pretty sure Chase thinks her dad drives a truck all day. She is always saying "da da" and then making the sign for drive. I guess it makes sense, because she sees him drive away to work every day. But she doesn't know where he goes. So for all she knows he just drives around all day.

She has grown out of her 18-month clothes. She is now wearing slippers that are size medium (we had to cut the toes out of her PJs last night - her feet are about 6" long!).

And she's the cutest, smartest, little girl we've ever seen.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Red Head

Our new neighborhood is crazy about garage sales. There is one on every other block.

So I decided to drop in on one...

A boy and his mother sat outside a gorgeous old home. There was no one else there. I walked up to them, looking around at what they had on offer (rubbish).

The little boy said loudly, "Look mom, she is so white!" (I suddenly felt like I was back in China)

I explained that I wear sunscreen every day, that I stay out of the sun because it's better for the skin. That too much sun is bad for the skin and causes wrinkles. I decided to leave the cancer part out.

His mother, who was clearly not in agreement with my sun-free lifestyle choice, said to her son, "She has to stay out of the sun, she is a red head."

I wanted to tell her I'm not. That my hair color may have a tinge of red due to my stylist. But then I thought better of it. Her boy was clearly brainwashed to think bronze is better.

And if there's one thing I've learned by being a mom, it's not to contradict another mother.

Inspired = Distinct Lack of Eyebrows

I blame my tiny eyebrows on "What Not To Wear," an oh-so-fabulous television show where two people who are moderately stylish take people who have no eye for fashion, go through their closet, publicly humiliate them and then give them $5,000 for a new wardrobe.

I was inspired because the hosts took a mom, who was still in maternity clothes - a year after she had her son - and gave her a makeover. She looked great. I thought there was no reason why I shouldn't look great, too!

And so I decided my first step to a new Lang was to get my brows waxed. I went to a woman recommended to me by my Realtor (because I know nobody here).

It was my worst brow experience ever.
I left with half the brows I came with - and not in a good way.

So I guess part of my makeover is going to have to involve an eyebrow pencil - until my brows grow back in!

Day Care Mom

So I was at the zoo yesterday with Chase, and while we were waiting for a friend, we met a little girl. She was one of four kids in a Radio Flyer wagon. She introduced herself, her brother and the other two kids (all names I have since forgotten), and then she said, "and this my Day Care mom. She wants me to call her mom."

The woman who was with them, who had been quiet up until this point, turned to her and said, "that's not true."

The little girl turned to her, surprised, and said, "but that's what you said this morning."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Finding A Job

I was browsing through Craigslist looking for freelance opportunities and came across the following job, which I just had to post.

MISS U.SA. wants scheduler

Reply to:
Date: 2007-09-13, 3:59AM MDT

wow! funnnn! easy!

MISS U-S-A (former) gives presentations for our company, along with several other professional reps.

Her 'celebrity status' makes it sooooooo easy for you to schedule meetings because EVERYONE wants to meet her!

We'll give you more details if you pass our 'telephone audition.'

This is a work from home job, part-time, 4 hours a day (Monday thru Friday… during normal business hours)

Flexible hours (you can divide the 4 hours, as you please)

You can live anywhere in the USA and do this

call this voicemail 24/ 7

562 - 223 - 1000

Leave us at least a two minute message so we can hear the 'quality' of your voice. Please be specific and tell us about the types of jobs you have in the past. Thanks so much for your interest and MISS USA will appreciate your phone audition.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Building Plans Nixed

Our plans for the house have been nixed, thanks to Dave, our friendly, neighborhood contractor - and multiple issues with our house and Denver zoning rules and restrictions.

This morning we were talking about adding big dormers, a bathroom upstairs, a huge master bed suite. Tonight, we're talking a kitchen remodel - and adding another bathroom under the hall stairs. The revised plan will still add value to the house, but it won't double the value of our home, as we had intended to do with the upstairs remodel.

All things happen for a reason. I guess the upstairs remodel wasn't meant to be.


So the woman in the billing dept of my doctor's office called me today. She called me "hon" and "sweetie," throughout our conversation, which went something like this...

"Hi, yes, I called yesterday and I think I spoke to you about a double-billing issue."

"Sweetie, I speak to so many people each day."

"Well, my insurance company indicated I owe you X amount - and I'd like to pay it."

"OK hon, are you sure you don't want to resubmit and see if they pay? We should at least see if the payment they made comes through." (Interesting how her memory is coming back now)

Me, wanting to hang up the phone on her - "No, I'd just like to pay you what I owe."

"OK sweetie."

"I'll put it in the mail." - Me.

"OK hun."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Medical Insurance

Today the finance department of my doctor's office hung up on me.

I saw a doctor here (no worries, nothing is wrong), and the doctor's office billed my insurance company TWICE. For the same amount. So of course I got a slip in the mail from the one that was denied. So I called my insurance company and they said they paid one and denied the other. And then they told me the amount that I needed to pay the doctor's office. And that the rest would be "written off" by the doctor's office, which I seriously don't understand. It like, "let's bill them x amount and see if they pay. If not, no worries, we'll just take what they pay and forget about the rest."

So I called my doctor's office, told them there must be a misunderstanding, that my insurance company had been billed twice. The finance lady, on the other end of the phone, told me that she had no record of the payment from the insurance company, that the amount she had billed had been denied and that the denial meant they didn't cover my visit - which wasn't true, they had simply already paid the office for the first bill. She also told me one of the bills must have been for lab work - which is rubbish - as they were both for-the-exact-same-amount.

So I tried to explain this - over and over again - to the finance woman. And she kept telling me she would re-submit the bill. And I kept telling her it wasn't about re-submitting. It was about the fact they had already been paid. And that I wanted to pay her the difference. So I told her she needed to figure out who billed the insurance company (twice) from her office, and she said "okay, ma'am" and then hung up the phone abruptly. Didn't even let me pay.

I was livid. I wanted to walk over there, track her down, look her in the eye and tell her that's no way to treat another human being.

But instead, I'll take her hanging up as a sign that she must have realized the billing error was on her side, otherwise there would be no reason to be so defensive, right?

A New Baby

No, I'm not pregnant again.

Chase's word of the month is "baby." Of all the words in her baby sign book, she liked the word "baby" best. She's been saying, over and over, every day. And so I decided this was a (not so subtle) hint to me that she needed to have a baby doll.

I thought I found one at Costco (I didn't set out to look for baby dolls at Costco, I just stumbled across one that seemed good - she came with a stuffed animal, a blanket, a bottle, a pacifier, a bassinet and diapers - aka hours of self entertainment, I hoped). But when we got her home, we found the baby's eyes didn't close and her arms looked like she had been lifting weights - they didn't hang at her sides - they were completely overstuffed. And so I decided we'd return it and keep looking.

Yesterday I was at TAR-JEHY, and decided to take a look at the baby dolls on offer. I have never seen SO many scary dolls. There was one that was a sick baby - and it came with bandages, a thermometer, and cheeks that turned red - and on the packaging it said, "Mommy will make it better." ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

And, while we were looking at baby dolls, I passed another mother, with kids who must have been about five years old. They were looking at the older dolls saying, "Mom, can you believe how ugly she is?"

At that point I really wanted to turn around and say, "You know life isn't all about looks. That doll probably has a great personality, is super smart and might even go on to be the first female president of the United States."

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Meet Taggart.
We will pick him up from the breeder in early October.

The Literate Entourage

Left to right: Grr Bear (aka Bear-a-Marinara), Bedtime Bunny, Baa Baa, Molly and Chase.

Pay no attention to the construction taking place behind them.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Is There A Patron Saint Of Furniture Sales?

Hubs and I have spent the last three weekends combing through various furniture stores in Denver. We looked at Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Macy's and the local, specialty furniture shops. We purchased, and then returned multiple beds and couches - before they were delivered - because we kept finding things we liked just a little more... And, as we need to buy so many things for our new house (beds, a dining room set, living room furniture, lawn mower, iron, etc.), we figured we'd have to furnish each room slowly.

But the Patron Saint of Retail was listening...

A little bird told us there was going to be a massive sale at the Ethan Allen in Fort Collins, Colorado. And there was. And it was amazing. Really amazing.

For the money we had originally allotted for the couch, we bought a couch, a gorgeous queen bed (mattress & frame). A dining room table set with seating for eight. Plus a changing table (that turns into a book shelf). And a candelabra. And two leaded crystal vases. And a huge mirror. And a green bowl. And a piece of art. And none of it was made in China.

And the best part? It's all going to be delivered on Friday!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Organic Greens

Today Chase played with her new friend, Linus, a little boy she met in the library last week. He and Chase play very well together, and I like his mom, so that's a plus!

We spent the afternoon soaking up sun in our back yard. We played in the pool ("pooh"). We finger painted. Examined some sea shells. Read some books.

And then Chase decided to feed her horse.

A little later he was still hungry, so I fed him a little more...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wise Man

So I was walking down the street today and a guy, who looked normal enough, walked past me. He looked right at me and Chase and said, "Blessed is the child."

She's In. She's Out.

I pulled Chase out of the Montessori school today; she was slated to start in two weeks. I couldn't go through with it; something about it just wasn't right.

The thought of handing her over to total strangers every morning was more than I could bear. I don't know how moms turn their kids over to daycares. Even nannies. I've seen so many nannies over the past couple weeks - and while there are good ones, most barely interact with the children. But, I guess that as long as they keep the kids out of the lion's den at the zoo, they are earning their money.

Anyway, there is another Montessori school we are considering. The only drawback: it's like applying to college. They send out application packets in October - you are alerted in March as to if your child has been accepted. The gorgeous thing about the school is they offer morning classes 2, 3 or 5 times per week. So we'll apply next month and cross our fingers that Chase is accepted. She'll be two at that point and we'll be more settled into Denver, which will help ease the transition.

Speaking of which, things here are still very much up in the air - but we're settling in more and more every day. While we own a home, we aren't actually living there now. We don't have any furniture yet. We're still living out of duffel bags and boxes in our apartment. Our mattress arrives in a week. Our couch arrives in October. Things from China will arrive next week or the following week, and then we should get our things from PDX the week of 17 September (thanks to my darling Hubs who is planning to drive the goods here himself).

Slowly, slowly, it is coming together...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Zoo

We are now proud members of the Denver Zoo. During the weekends, the zoo is packed with families. During the week, however, the zoo appears to be the place to go if you are a nanny.

I met three ladies today. All of them were nannies. There was one gal I really liked; she was young, sporty and taking care of two boys; she also cares for 1-year-old twins - so I asked for her number, just in case Hubs and I ever decide to have "date night" (a little something I've read about in all those parenting books). Anyway...

At this point, I'm not sure Chase understands that the whole reason we go to the zoo is to see animals. Or maybe I'm the one who doesn't understand that there is so much more to do - like pretend to drive the golf carts that the zoo-keepers drive. We sat in one for what felt like a decade, while I asked her to drive me to various exhibits.

Chase will be the first to tell you that the zoo is also a good place for running. And when you're not running (or looking at animals or playing on the golf carts) it's fun to explore the plants and shrubs that line the pathways.

And finally, we have also found the zoo is a great place to have fun with our shadows. Chase was walking behind me, so I turned, put my arms over my head so that the shadows of my fingers just touched Chase's shoes - and then I pretended to tickle her feet. She laughed, so I gave her a hug with my shadow. Then I decided to use my shadow fingers to pat the head of her shadow - and that pretty much freaked her out. The thought of my shadow interacting with her shadow was just too much.

Good thing there were some pink flamingos nearby so I could quickly distract her.

Monday, September 03, 2007


We spent most of this weekend at our new house.
Even without a single piece of furniture, the house feels like home.

Our private backyard enabled Chase to spend most of the day in her "birthday suit," playing in her new, inflatable pool (thanks Da Da!).

I had no idea the pool would provide HOURS of fun. I mean nothing keeps her attention that long. Maybe I should get one for our living room or kitchen so she can amuse herself while I cook dinner.

But today wasn't all about the pool. Chase also enjoyed eating fresh, local peaches - and the juice streamed down her chin, onto her stomach. She spent most of the day with a huge smile on her face - running around naked, covered in peach juice.

And if that wasn't enough fun, we decided to paint a birdhouse. I was surprised at how she focused on the colors - and was determined to paint the birdhouse on the inside and out.

I must say, it's gorgeous (okay, yes, I'm a little biased).
I'm sure the birds will love it.
They might even fight over it.

Methinks we'll need to paint a couple more.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Daddy's Girl

Up until last month, Chase's favorite word was "Ma Ma." It was the first word she said in the morning, and the last word she said at night.

And while I have enjoyed being the center of Chase's universe, I have also looked forward to the time when she could build and strengthen her relationship with her Dad.

Not too long ago, I came up with a plan. I suggested Hubs get involved in feeding her (and keeping her company) at meal time. And it worked wonders.

In just a few days, Chase's focus shifted. "Da Da," a word she had mastered months ago, and used often enough, became her favorite word.

Now she always needs to know where Da Da is, what he is doing, when she will see and play with him next. If she can't see him, she needs to know where he is.

And I must say, it is fabulous to watch Chase snuggle up close and kiss him on the cheek at every opportunity. And to watch him snuggle and kiss her right back.

And while I kind of miss Chase needing me every minute of every day, I find it refreshing and freeing to have her spend time reading, wrestling and giggling with her father, as my father has always been - and continues to be - one of the most important people in my life.

My father has always encouraged me to dream BIG dreams. And the best part - he continues to support me as I work to accomplish them. He has given me courage to try new things, strength to take risks and the will to persevere when things don't turn out as I thought they would.

Dads are so important (mom, you are so important, too, but this entry is about Dads).

Chase, my darling little, you are so lucky to have a Dad who loves you so completely. He'd do anything for you.

We'd both do anything for you. We love you so.