Thursday, December 21, 2006

Go Seahawks!

Thanks for the new sweatshirts, McDermotts! Hey, Erin--one down and seven to go!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Super Dad

Just wanted to share about what a great husband I have. It's 11:48pm and he's fixing the toilet. He's been patiently and cheerfully doing so for several hours. Below are some pictures of how he did the dishes last week or so. It's awesome that he does the dishes on a regular basis, but the fact that he's willing to do them like this--including Amelie (see her little pan?) in the process. He teaches me so much. Oh yeah--Violet had to get in on the action as well. This scene was too cute NOT to be photographed. I'm so blessed.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

McDonald's Egg Nog Milkshakes

Poor Duncan. We can't find them anywhere. Do they have them at a McDonald's near you? He's rather depressed. I'm hoping, when we travel, we'll come across a McDonald's that serves his beloved eggnog shakes. He even called around to our local Mickey D's and the 197 one said they had eggnog shakes. But when I got there, they said they didn't. Poor baby, had his hopes up and everything. Good thing I had bought him the real thing at Giant.

Monday, December 11, 2006

i have no idea why the text is so large on today's post. i promise i'm not yelling at you.

Unplanned Christmas Hiatus

First things first:

Happy Birthday
to my sister, Karen!
Hope you're having a great day!!!

The follwing pictures go with a post that is BELOW all of them. Once again, the photos are not in the order of my liking, but, quite frankly, I don't have any more time to devote to this right now! So mixed-up and out-of-order is what you get today. Enjoy!

Amelie sails the boats during bathtime.

Amelie and Duncan paint their boats using the paints Amelie got for Christmas from the McDermotts.

Violet is bundled up at the parade.

Duncan and Amelie watch as the parade goes by.

Matthew keeps Violet from going up the stairs (which she did while we were in Raleigh!)

Megan, Duncan&Amelie, and Patrick decorate gingerbread houses while the grandparents, great grandparents, and moms look on.

Sarah, Amelie, and Allison work on their sewing projects.

As you can tell, my updates have waned as Christmas has been getting closer. This has not been intentional, just the nature of the time of year, I suppose. The following has happened since I last posted:

1. We flew down to Raleigh to visit my sister, Kathy, and her family at their new home.
2. Violet turned 10 months old!
3. I went to my book club where we discussed A Thousand Resurrections by Maria Garriott. I HIGHLY recommend it!
4. I finished decorating our house for Christmas.
5. We all developed colds (yes, again)
6. I ordered and received our Christmas cards and I finished our Christmas letter. (I'm still in the process of assembling them.)
7. Amelie and I wrapped many Christmas presents together.
8. Duncan was elected a deacon of our church.
9. We went to the St. Michael's Christmas parade and made gingerbread houses (thanks to my sister, Karen!).
10. Duncan and Amelie made paper boats, painted them, and sailed them in the bath tub(thanks to the directions in Curious George Rides a Bike).

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Quest for Didi

Do you see the pink thing Violet is holding in her hand? That would be her Didi (What we think is Violet's attempt at saying Baby). Violet LOOOOOVES her Didi. If you see Violet these days, you see Didi. She loves her so much that we decided we needed to find a back-up Didi. At least one. My investigation took me to the internet. Manhattan Baby is what the tag on Didi says, so I checked them out. No more Didis. I learned recently that it was purchased at Marshalls. Last winter. I wasn't too optimistic that there would be anymore there this winter. So we continued to scour the internet. We looked at ebay. There recently was an auction for the blue equivalent of Didi that ended at $61.00. Some desparate parents obviously thought it was worth it. We didn't want to get to that point. We saw a ".pl" (polish maybe?) website that carried Didi. Duncan said no way. We also found one on a ".uk" website for 6.99 in pounds. We decided we'd buy several and sell a couple on ebay to pay for our shipping charges. (There's obviously a demand for them, right?) That seemed like a good idea. We then got a call from our friends that bought the original Didi. (We had shared our plight with them.) They had returned to Marshalls and found a Didi in the clearance bin for $2.00!!! That was the best option of all. So now we can all rest easy. We have a back-up Didi in the wings and we know there are some more in England and Poland should we need them in the future. I hope not.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Will Travel With Children--AT NIGHT!!!

That's right, folks.
Traveling at night is the new way to go for the Salada family.
Last Tuesday, after Duncan got home from work, we left for Thanksgiving in Erie, PA. That's a seven hour trip, for those of you that don't know. Seven hours of driving, that is. In addition to seven hours, you've got stops for eating, diaper changes, nursing, leg stretching, etc. Those of you with kids know how it goes. Well leaving after a dinner at home allowed us to head out and not stop until it was p.j. time. We got gas, coffee, put the girls in their snuggly pajamas and were back on the road. [Possible future post preview: The bathroom at Sheetz, somewhere around Frederick, was the scene of what, I think, is the first time I wondered if people thought I was abusing my child. Perhaps I was, if that's what you call putting on a p.j. top with a too-small neckline that caused Amelie to FREAK OUT. Man those bathrooms echo.] We stopped one more time on the turnpike when Amelie woke up and was super squirmy and wanted to be out of the carseat for a few minutes. After that, it was smooth sailing all the way to Erie. I had to pee like crazy, somewhere around Grove City, but was convinced to hold it until we got to my prevent premature waking and consequential screaming the rest of the way to Gramma's house.
Total trip time: UNDER 7 hours.
Something we haven't managed since we were sans children. Awesome.
The result?

A (very wise) decision to leave Saturday night instead of Sunday morning. Fortunately, we were given an identical experience. We even took 270 and the beltway which shaves off a bit more time, since the chance for major traffic at midnight was pretty slim. We were quite pleased with this discovery. When possible, this is the way we will be traveling long distances. The bonus?
Lots of time just to talk to my sweet husband with out being constantly interrupted.
Another bonus?
Worshipping with our church family, on a day we previously thought we wouldn't formally worship at all.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Two Reasons for ThankFULLness

These are two of my recent favorite photos of the girls. Sorry the one of Violet is blurry. It was on our way the the aquarium this past Saturday and I couldn't resist. Amelie is reading her recent favorite: Curious George. (He's a fave of Mommy and Daddy, too!)

With Thanksgiving

It's kind of funny that I'm sitting down to write this post, after a day full of grumbling and frustration on my part. Appropriate, I suppose. As we approach the day in which our nation encourages us to stop and thank our great God for the many, many undeserved blessing He has poured upon us, I feel compelled to share some of the things for which I am thankful.
1. my sweet husband that is beyond patient and ever so encouraging
2. my two beautiful daughters that delight and amaze me daily
3. our church which continues to be an amazing blessing to our family
4. extended families that are supportive, loving, and fun to be around
5. our home, cars, clothes, food, heat/air conditioning, toys, and all of the "stuff" we don't need but are given anyway
6. health insurance
7. Duncan's job, the hours he works (and doesn't have to work)
8. our back yard
9. coffee
10. friends all over the world that are as close as next door and as far away as Africa

If you haven't yet, I encourage you to take some time to think about what you are thankful for and to consider Who it is that you should thank for all of the blessings in your life.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Yeah, so this is where we often go to hang out! What gives?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Never done. Ever.

I've been under the delusion since I've been a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) for these past 2 and half plus years that, at some point, I'd be done. That the laundry would be done. That the dishes would be done. That the cleaning would be done. I've been learning over these last several months that, as long as we live here and are home the better part of each day, it will never be done! You see, I can do laundry, fold it, put it away, and then there's more. The same thing happens with the dishes. As soon as I clean something, we continue to use it and it gets dirty again--sometimes within a matter of hours. I've had moments of frustration, moments of giving up, moments of a cleaning frenzy, etc. So, I've been focusing on trying to be content with my life's situation; whatever that is. Piles of laundry. Piles of dishes. Piles of toys. Piles of papers. However, contentment with these things doesn't mean there shouldn't be progress in lessening these piles: even though when I'm done with the task, there may be even more than before I began!! Contentment also means that it is my calling, currently, to care for my home on a regular basis. That means being more disciplined about my "free" time. (She says as she sits at the computer and posts on her blog.) All this to say, I'm working on not being discontent simply because my home isn't perfectly in order. I'm working on it because, I'm slowly learning, it never will be. So, either I continue this attitude of discontent, each and every day or I cheerfully work toward the status of "order," recognizing that, even though progress can be made, the ultimate goal is impossible, if we're to live and play and learn and enjoy one another. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go and work toward order. How's that for a "to do" list?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


So, I never imagined that Amelie or any of my children would go trick-or-treating. I'm not opposed to it, I don't think, I just don't like it myself. However, I said if Amelie expressed an interest, that we'd let her do it. During lunch, yesterday, I was explaining to Amelie what would happen, come 6:00. She (my child who has always HATED costumes) said, "But I can wear a costume." "Your horsey or your lion, you mean (two costumes that were given to her by Duncan's aunt)?" "No, I could wear my ballerina costume(a hand-me-down from her cousin Katie Rose)." "Oh, that's a good idea," I say, skeptical as to whether or not it will actually happen. Well, Amelie surprised me once again. Not only did she willingly put on her ballerina costume, she also wore the fairy wings she was given by Katie that she had never been willing to try on. Then, she went trick-or-treating with William the black kitty cat. (That's him in the Elmo costume as well...long story.)
By the way, I completely updated our photo web site for those of you that check it. I'm sorry it had been so long--I think I've focused on this blog so much that I didn't realize I hadn't even made a category for October!! I'll try to be better about that in the near future. As always, if you care to look at our photo website, you need a username and password (that is the same for everyone), so let me know if you need it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I Heart Rollercoasters and my Sweet Husband

Back in June, Duncan and I were married for six years. Duncan, who claims it's because he isn't creative, uses the traditional anniversary gifts as a guide on what to get me. I think it's pretty creative. Enough gushing about how wonderful my husband is.
I had mentioned that I wanted to ride rollercoasters for our anniversary this year. So, when Duncan looked up the gift for year six, he saw that it was iron (which is the major component in steel, which is what many rollercoasters are made of, how convenient!) he knew just what to get me: a trip to Six Flags America!! Since Violet isn't the best when it comes to taking breast milk from a bottle, we put it off and put it off and finally nailed down the date of October 21.
It was a great time. We rode the Joker's Jinx, Superman, Two Face: The Flip Side, The Wild One, and Roar. I learned that I can only handle so many rollercoasters in one day before I reach my limit. Roar did me in. We got some dinner and a funnel cake and the headed out to catch a movie. We saw The Departed. It was pretty good, although it became quite a blood bath at the end--that was a bit much. We enjoyed seeing a movie in the theater, which is something we hardly ever get to.
We realized we need to get out more, for Violet's sake. She is hardly ever NOT with me and it's quite difficult for her to be away from me, it seems. She didn't take milk from the bottle again. My mom said Violet looked at her like she was crazy for trying to make her do such a thing. I love my sweet Violet Ella, but she needs to learn that others can care for her too.
This post is a total ramble. Part of the problem is that I've been constructing it in my head for a couple of days and haven't had a chance to put it together until now and there's lots I wanted to say and not a lot of time and it's all jumbled and I need to stop now.
We had a great time celebrating our anniversary. I love my husband.
**Funny sidenote: read here about how we celebrated our fifth anniversary last October. (Yes, we were married in June. This seems to be becoming a tradition!)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Violet is now beyond 8 months old and is developing like crazy. Here are some recent exciting events:
  • She can get into the sitting position from her belly/side.
  • Twice, she pulled up to standing on my mom's ottoman last Friday. She quickly fell back down, but since she did it twice, I wouldn't call it a fluke. (Consequently, we removed her crib bumper, so it looks like she sleeps in jail. Has anyone else ever had issues with this?)
  • For several weeks, we've been working on signs at mealtimes. I'm almost positive she used the sign for "more," when she wanted to nurse this morning.
  • She DOESN'T have any teeth yet. Yet she chews on EVERYTHING!
  • She doesn't do very well in the sleeping-through-the-night department right now. I usually get to see her at least once during those wee hours of the morn.
We are so thrilled to watch sweet Violet grow and change, nearly every day. She brings such joy to our lives!

An Atypical Birthday Celebration

That's right, folks. I've finally hit the all-important milestone birthday: 30....and 3/4. See, my 30th birthday was back in January. The 15th, to be exact. Violet Ella was born on February 2, about 2 and a half weeks after the my big 3-0. I was in NO condition to celebrate back then. Violet weighed 10lbs. 10.5 oz. and I had an additional 40 lbs. other places on my body, so I didn't much feel like being a guest of honor for any reason. So, we put off a party, thinking we'd do something in July, when I was 30 and a half. That didn't happen either. In July, however, I made the decision that since I love autumn so much, we'd have a celebration then. My 30 and 3/4 birthday fell on October 15th, which was Sunday, so we scheduled a party for Saturday the 14th. It was silly, but fun. Had some of my family and some friends here as well as an outdoor fireplace and one of my all time favorites: Red Hot and Blue. I had a great time and think others did as well. Here are a few peeks at the gathering.

Some of the "kids," big and small. (L-R: Amelie, Addie (friend from church) niece Megan and nephews Jack and Patrick)

Some of the friends and me. (Back row: Chris and Becky--friends from church [Chris' wife, Joy, took just about all of the pics.] Front row: Heather and her husband Martin. Me and Violet.)

Heather again and Grace.

A decoration--mums and lanterns and Indian Corn--I love the fall!!

My dear, sweet grandparents surprised us by coming and then spending time outside, even! Here they're enjoying our new "party patio," which formerly contained our shed and now houses our new outdoor fireplace.

Here my nephew, Jack, looks on as I cut the gorgeous cake provided by my Aunt Carol.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Life (and Death) of a Shed

We moved into our home in the beginning of May 2002. When we looked at our house, before buying it, we made the decision, should this home become ours, we would get rid of the nasty, rusty, metal shed that seemed to take up a quarter of the back yard. It seemed like a big job and got shoved to the back burner for a while, before we even seriously talked about getting rid of it. I always, however, felt the need to apoligize for the shed, when someone visited our home and looked out the sliding glass door. "Nice shed, huh?" I'd say. "We want to get rid of it. We've never put anything it on purpose, so it would be easier to let go of, when the time comes." Well, the time finally came this past weekend. On Saturday, Duncan removed the roof and on Monday, Duncan, our new neighbor and his father-in-law, got rid of it once and for all. We are now left with a fairly descent concrete slab and a source of elecricity. Our ultimate dream to is to build a detached screened-in porch to sit in during the summertime and even for a bit of the spring and fall, perhaps. But, that takes money. So, we'll hold off until we've got enough of that to take on such a venture. In the meantime, we plan to enjoy this reclaimed portion of our property.
The process is captured in photos below.
[Note: I can't seem to figure out how to post photos so the are displayed in the correct sequential order. It's kind of annoying. Any hints out there from you more seasoned bloggers?]

Amelie and William watch in amazement as Duncan, Rob (W.'s dad) and Tim (W.'s grandpa) demolish the shed.
Almost done.
Intact shed without a roof.
Getting closer.
a view from the inside
Ain't she a beauty?
As promised-- the Little Tikes 8-in-1 Playground. It's a beast.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Jehovah Jireh: God Provides Little Tikes Playthings!

Oh, How the Lord provides even the unnecessary things! The number of Little Tikes things we have increased this week with the addition of the 8-in-1 Playground. The following is a list of what Little Tikes things we have acquired over the last 3 years and how they came to be at our house:
  • covered bridge/tunnel: friends moving to Hawaii didn't want to bring it (shown with Amelie and Sarah above)
  • small covered platform with slide: same as above(shown with little Amelie rolling ball down slide)
  • toy box: was our neighbors' grandson's(not pictured)
  • car: hand-me-down from Duncan's brother's family(shown with Amelie the pumpkin head at the wheel)
  • Victorian Kitchen: from the sister-in-law of a neighbor of some friends of ours--not kidding(shown in the background of the tea party picture)
  • picnic table: from the trash of our across the street neighbors--we're not proud(shown with Amelie eating her dinner)
  • 8-in-1 playground: the neighbors of some friends from church were throwing it away and our friends scooped it up knowing we and our new neighbors might be able to get some use out of it. We cleaned it up and put it together yesterday and Amelie and William are thrilled. Pictures of this one to follow.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Thanks for checking!!

I love sitemeter. I can tell many of you have been checking to see if I've updated, but to no avail! I have MANY things I'd like to write about and will hopefully get a chance to do so soon. The main reason for my lack of posts of late has to do with the fact that I found a direct corellation of frequent posts = dirty house. So, I've been trying to have a more balanced approach to life these days. Above are some pictures from our visit to the pumpkin patch out in Easton this past Saturday. It was a great time with the McDermotts. Consider leaving comments if you never have before. It's fun to get feedback and responses to what I write.
Happy 20th Anniversary, Karen and Dan!! Oh-- and shut up, Erin.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Meeting Ducky in Morgantown

Well, after nearly eight years of neglect, I visited my alma mater: WVU. We drove across beautiful western Maryland, taking the route I could do with my eyes closed, to spend the weekend in Morgantown, WV. We met Ducky (what Amelie calls Duncan's mom) and Grandpa Bob for a visit. Morgantown is pretty much exactly in the middle, between Bowie and Erie--a three and half hour trip from both directions. Since Violet doesn't have a history of being the best traveler (ie. screaming for the two hours it takes to get from Breezewood to home on our last trip in July), we asked if Ducky wouldn't mind meeting us halfway, so as to minimize the time in the car. She and Grandpa Bob graciously agreed. [Sidenote: The trip to Morgantown is 3.5 hours of driving. When traveling with two small children, who need to eat, have diapers changed, stretch their legs, etc. the trip is AT LEAST 5 hours from door to door.] Well, I planned on blogging about my emotions connected to Morgantown and WVU, I haven't gotten there yet and I need to be done for now. So I guess, I'll save that for another post. The pictures show Amelie (and Ducky and Bob) riding the PRT and Amelie exploring High Street.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Betty La Fea

Don't you hate when people try and "one up" you about how long they've know about something? Well, I do that ALL THE TIME. It started with Tevas. I got a pair for my first trip to Honduras in 1992. Then, it was Dave Matthews. I was telling people about him in 1994, during my freshman year of college. Recently, it was Violet. Yes, we had chosen her name BEFORE Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner named their little bundle. But since we never tell the name before the birth, I guess there's no way to prove it. Well, now I can tell you that Duncan and I watched Betty La Fea on Telefutura (Ch.14 here in D.C.) years ago. It was about an ugly woman, named Betty, who worked for a high-fashion, appearance-driven company and her experiences there--often of being teased and tricked and taunted. It was a comedy and that horrified us. It was funny, but kind of weird and sad at the same time.
A few weeks back, Duncan read that there was a new sitcom called Ugly Betty. He remarked that he knew a lot of our shows were based on things that were popular in other countires first and wondered if anything is ever original. I haven't watched any first-run sitcoms on a regular basis in forever. I might start again with this one. If it's anything like the original, it just might be worth it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Loving One Another

Duncan put his camera phone pictures on the computer last night. These were two of them from last Saturday at the VSG. I LOVE them! It's such fun to see Amelie and Violet interact more and more. It is my prayer that they become best of friends.

The Joys of Being a Homemaker

How lame is that I was ecstatic at the opening of our new and improved Super Giant last Friday? I watched it being built, in all of its splendor, while continuing to shop at the old Giant that was dwarfed in the shadow of its younger, bigger sibling. I was indifferent for a long time, but as the time drew closer for the new prototype store to open, my anticipation grew. I was SO excited!! It's supposedly one of their biggest stores, if not the biggest on the east coast or mid-atlantic or something. I've already been to it three times! To top off my Friday, I got my new washing machine as well!!! It was a banner day for this housewife. Our old washer, which was here when we moved in and wasn't new at the time, owed us nothing. We figured out it was from around 1988--18 years old!! It didn't conk out completely, but stopped washing well and left solid chunks of things (we use cloth diapers and wash them ourselves--you get the picture) on the laundry. I found I was washing things two and three times before they were only moderately clean. So, we decided to replace the last of the major appliances that were here nearly 4 and a half years ago when we bought the house. Now, we've ordered a new dryer, as well. Our old one is ok, but with the ginormous capacity of the new washer, the old, tiny dryer is overwhelmed very easily and often requires two cycles to dry a load. The new dryer is scheduled to come on Wednesday, October 4th.
So, on today's schedule:
-empty dishwasher and fill up again
-sweep and mop kitchen floor
-clean both bathrooms
-fold and put away laundry
What was the title of this post again?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Bagpipes

Yesterday, we went somewhere I haven't been in 15 years: The Virginia Scottish Games. From the time I was 5 until I was 15 years old, I Scottish Highland Danced competatively. These games, and others much like it, were a huge part of my childhood. My eldest sister, Karen, also did this and was the inspiration for my starting at all.
We called it "The Bagpipes" for Amelie's sake, since that is the only aspect of the games she had experienced previously. (We went to the Maryland Rennaisance Festival last year and bought a cd of The Rogues. She LOVES it and requests it often.) She enjoyed the day, even though she was dealing with a minor cold.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Photo Update

A sampling of what I took off of my camera this evening and what should be up on our photo website today or tomorrow.

We were just running a few quick errands, but Amelie HAD to put on her rain gear.
She created the ensemble herself...including crayons in her purse.
She refused to look at the camera in the above two. She insisted on looking at the rain.
Amelie has been DYING to help feed Violet. This was her big break.
Violet Ella is 7 months old.
I call this one Body Fluids: spit-up on shoulder, drool obvious, and eye goop--on again off again since she was born (clogged tear duct).
Breakfast at IKEA. (and our first attempt at actual whole-head-of-hair pigtails--so whadaya think?)
Holding Hands.