Wednesday, December 26, 2012

my bike-icle

Halmoni and harabogee got Little Miss J her "bike-icle" for Christmas this year. She has been talking about wanting a bicycle everytime we go to the store, so we thought a balance bike was the way to go. Being the good overprotective parents that we are, we also got her a bike helmet for her gigantic melon. She disliked wearing the bike helmet so much that when we told her either helmet or no bike riding she chose the latter. Fortunately, it was short lived and now she puts the bike helmet on before she scoots her bike around the house. Given her vehement dislike for wearing the helmet in the first place, I'm just glad she's getting used to having it on her head. One step at a time ...

a very merry christmas

After moving across the country from most of our family, holidays have been a much much quieter affair. I miss the giant family get togethers where there is nowhere to sit and you are often left eating your Christmas dinner on a TV tray. I don't really miss the souffle salad, but I do miss the comraderie that comes out as my generation discusses the gross-ness of that which is the souffle salad, and by gross I mean green jello, mayo, olives, and green peppers or some other type of vegetable.

Souffle salad or not, our little Chunglund family enjoyed a quiet little holiday. We attended the kids service at church on Christmas Eve and Little Miss J sat mesmerized by all the singing and dancing. She was so sad to leave church ...

I wanna go to church!
Gus got her to stop crying in the car by saying he would get her a bike. Little did she know we had this waiting for her at home.

We opened our family presents after church. Socks and underwear for Dad. A new printer for Mom. A rawhide for Carl. And an easel and a balance bike for the good little girl.

After we all played with our gifts for a bit, we bundled up and headed to Raley's Theater of Lights in downtown Sacramento. The light show included Samuel Clemens reciting 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and a visit from St. Nicholas himself.

After the light show we took our little girl out for her favorite dinner ... crab legs. We endure the noise and the dancing of that which is Joe's Crab Shack because the crab is actually pretty good. This time the munchkin managed to eat her weight in crab and calamari.

It's not the typical crazy family Christmas that I am used to, but I am so grateful to celebrate with my little family.

the kitchen

Our neighbors tuned us in to The Kitchen, and we thought we'd give it a whirl for our anniversary. I had to make reservations back in October because the place has only one seating per night for 60 people. The restaurant is nestled behind a Taco Bell in a non-descript building, but what an amazing meal and event. The chef describes it as a dinner party and that is exactly what it is. We sat around the bar that surrounds the kitchen and watched as Chef Selland explained what he was making, where it had come from, and what he was doing to it. It was six courses of deliciousness.

the view from our seats

meal prep

salad course - nantucket bay scallops, crab, pork belly, & fennel three ways
audience participation
sushi course
montana ranch beef tenderloin with duck fat fries and porcini mushroom truffle butter
dessert - french toast with maple syrup foam, caramel ice cream, and bacon nut brittle
If you are good at counting, you will notice that we missed taking pictures of the poultry course and the soup course. Our apologies. We got a bit too excited about the eating and missed a couple photo opportunities. Right before the dessert course they did a tea service, which was different from anything I had experienced before -

There had fresh herbs, lemongrass, lemon zest, cloves, cinnamon, honey and all sorts of other lovely things. They would make your tea to order and then deliver it to your seat in a cute little iron pot.

It wasn't a meal that we would indulge in very often, but it was a whole lot of fun and quite the experience.
Thanks to our friends Rachael and Randy for entertaining Little Miss J. She played with Tinsel the cat, watched movies, and made mini pizzas while Gus and I enjoyed our four hours of eating.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

happy anniversary!

Once upon a time a little more than five years ago, a couple got into a car accident in downtown Minneapolis. When they discovered that the car rental agency would not let both people be drivers of the rental car because they were not married, they flew to Las Vegas to tie the knot. They decided on a Little White Chapel, because if it was good enough for Britney, Michael, and Joan ... PLUS it's open 24 hours and there's a drive thru! And so the nice woman leaned out the drive thru window and married them.

Thus, the Chunglunds were formed and they lived happily ever after ...

Today, the Chunglunds are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary. Five years and it feels like FOREVER, but not in a bad way. It is amazing how quickly life has changed in those five years. We've moved four times and lived in three different states in the past three years. We've lived in a downtown condo, a swanky loft, an old house where I relied on Carl Rove to catch the squirrels that somehow kept sneaking in, a desert apartment, and finally in another really old cozy house with no squirrels, thankfully. I can't say there is nothing I would change about the last five years. We've definitely had our share of challenges, but I am blessed with a fantastic partner, husband, and father with whom to stumble through this journey. And yes, we got married in a car. And no, we did not get fries with that.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

girl's best friend

Little Miss J has been learning shapes. This morning she was pointing to the shapes on Gus's necktie, and I told her those were "diamonds." To which she replied, "I like diamonds, Appah." The rest of the morning she walked around the house asking, "where are my diamonds?"

all dressed up and no diamonds

Monday, December 17, 2012

adventure at adventure mountain

getting ready to hit the road
We went to Adventure Mountain to take Little Miss J on a sledding adventure. There was a ton of snow and it was even snowing while we were there. The munchkin didn't think much of walking uphill in the snow and much preferred to be carried. As such, the number of times she went up and down was limited by how many times Gus and I could haul her up the hill. She's not light. Little Miss J was not all that keen on wearing her hat or mittens either and there were at least one or two threats of being "ALL DONE," if she didn't put said articles back on. At the end of every run, she'd say "one more time." If asked how many more times she would like to go, the standard answer was "three!"

To finish our adventure we stopped at a Korean BBQ place and had some yummy food on the way home.

Gus cooking some meat for his women.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

twas the morning of December 10

and all through the house, was a Little Miss J running around like a crazy mouse ... trying to escape her Appah who was threatening to put socks and shoes on her so we could go to school and work, respectively. When down the hall, there arose such a clatter - I continued to lay on the bed reading US Weekly figuring that if something really was the matter I would find out soon enough.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but one Little Miss J with a mini Poang chair in tow. "Look Umma, I found a chair." Clearly, we didn't learn our lesson after the pre-birthday incident. That chair was one of her Christmas presents and it has been "hiding" in our spare bedroom along with her other Christmas presents one of which is a balance bike. It's just so much more convenient to "hide" things in the house rather than in the garage - but we clearly aren't fooling anyone least of all Little Miss J.

Merry early Christmas, Little Miss J! Stay out of umma's room!

what a difference a year makes ...

Last year Little Miss J, apparently lacked the wherewithal to be wary of strangers, and perched on Santa's lap with no fuss at all.

That same Christmas while visiting the tree at Tempe Marketplace, she willingly let a stranger pick her up - so I'm happy to report that with her second year of life has come the development of a stranger danger instinct.

This year, we did breakfast with Santa where she wasn't quite so willing to sit on his lap. She wouldn't even take the candy cane from Santa, which was unprecedented as the girl sometimes wakes up asking for candy making us look like the parents that dole out candy for breakfast, which we don't! I guess her hesitation to take candy from a strangers is also a good thing. Overall, I was happy that Santa didn't make her cry.

Little Miss J finally warmed up to Santa after he played the guitar and sang some of her favorite Christmas carols, including Jingle Bells. By the time we were ready to go home she was yelling "bye bye Santa" and wanting to go shake his hand.
My favorite part of the Santa breakfast was defnitely not the food, which was kind of gross - but instead taking pictures of Little Miss J in front of our Christmas tree.

she loved showing me how her dress twirled

eat your veggies

We let Little Miss J do the grocery shopping this week at Trader Joe's. She picked -

  • organic romaine hearts
  • butternut squash
  • broccoli
  • 2 pre-packaged salads
  • cheese tortellini
  • carnitas
  • carrot applesauce and banana applesauce
  • tofu
Looks like some healthy meals are in order for the Chunglunds this week. Watching her pick things and put them in her cart saying, "I want this" was cracking me and her Appah (and everyone else at Trader Joe's) up. We indulged her choices because really? Was I going to tell my kid she couldn't have broccoli and squash? Not likely. We are lucky we got such a non-picky eater, who often asks for grape tomatoes as a snack. We might struggle with sleeping - nearly every morning at or around 4:00 a.m., I can be heard telling one Little Miss J that it is the middle of the night and she MUST go back to bed. But thankfully, we rarely have to tell her to eat her veggies!

The picture below was taken last summer. But since Stacey said that blog posts without photos of Little Miss J were strictly prohibited, it will have to do.

August 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

smart or smart ass

Gus "I never post on Facebook" Chung(lund) already posted this on his Facebook, thus making it redundant, but it warrants a blog post anyhow. This evening Little Miss J was being her wild little self jumping on the couch, which is typically frowned upon in the Chunglund household. When told not to jump, she replied that she was "hopping," and when asked not to hop she claimed she "ribbit." Finally, when I thought we had exhausted all versions of jumping, hopping and the like - the following occurred:

Me: Are we supposed to jump on the couch?
J: No.
Me: Are we supposed to hop on the couch?
J: No
Me: Are we supposed to ribbit on the couch?
J: No
(Little Miss J starts jumping on the couch again)
Me: What are you doing?
J: Up and down
(Gus laughing his head off from the kitchen)

I am clearly in over my head. The video below was taken subsequent to the previous verbal exchange.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

snow day

The Chunglunds, including Carl, piled into the Xterra and headed to Lake Tahoe in search of some snow. We ended up at Echo Lake snow park, which had plenty of snowy woods for us all to play in. Carl even got to run off-leash. Little Miss J was nonplussed by the cold white stuff at first.

this picture was taken mere seconds before
she face plants into the snow bank.
She warmed up to the idea of snow, but continued to hate on the hats and mittens. She never quite got the whole thumb in a separate spot thing.

She definitely started to like it when the sled came out
But no matter how much fun Little Miss J had, I think this Chunglund had the most fun.

thanksgiving take two

We got a last minute invitation to Gus's cousin's house for Thanksgiving dinner, so we abandoned our turkey and trimmings in the refrigerator for another day. Saturday we busted it out and put together our own belated Thanksgiving dinner. I posted our menu on Facebook and some folks asked for recipes so here you go ...

Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes - These were BOMB. Definitely making these a Thanksgiving tradition.

Spicy Cranberry Chutney - I used Thai chilis rather than jalapenos and added some cardamom and cinnamon. This was also an opportunity to use the oranges and lemons from our citrus trees in the backyard.

Corn Pudding - Found this one on Pinterest. Someone in Gus's family always makes this awesome corn souffle and this is the best recreation I've found. I even made this for the daycare's Thanksgiving dinner and those little turkeys gobbled it up.

We've got plenty of leftovers!

run to feed the hungry

Last year I was turkey trotting with one of my besties, Suzanne. This year to preemptively work off some of those Thanksgiving calories, I signed up for Sacramento's Run to Feed the Hungry to benefit the Sacramento  Food Bank & Family Services. The course goes right by our house and a couple other families in our neighborhood do the run/walk.

If you remember the last 5K we did with Little Miss J it involved emergency diapers being fashioned out of free race t-shirts. You can refresh your memory here. One would have thought we would have learned our lesson. I hang my head in shame as I write this. Little Miss J apparently gets nervous tummy before a race, which is understandable, because shortly before the gun went off she tells me "poopy diaper." Thankfully, our across the street neighbors were able to donate a diaper and some wipes.

With clean pants, Little Miss J was ready to run (or walk). She was not really about the stroller riding thing, and managed to make it one whole mile on those chubby little legs. It was a crisp autumn morning and the neighborhood looked beautiful with all the fall colors. We cut out of the race where it went by our street, as Little Miss J had clearly had enough. I had been bribing her with sticks, leaves, and water bottles for the last mile. It was the perfect way to spend Thanksgiving morning and we are thankful for all our new friends.

Friday, November 16, 2012

literally speaking

We haven't really been pushing the potty training, but thought we might make a concerted effort this weekend. Little Miss J requested Dora underwear so I obligingly picked up a pack at Target. I told her that when she uses the potty, then she can wear the underwear. She has understood this to mean that when one is actually physically sitting on the toilet, then one wears underwear. As such, she asks for Dora when she wants to go potty and then puts them around her ankles while she is sitting on the toilet.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

motion of the ocean

In case you hadn't noticed by my regularly updates from one airport or another, we were in Florida last weekend for brother-in-law's wedding. As the bride, according to Facebook, has changed her last name to Chung, my hopes for a portmanteau have been officially dashed. Chungman would have been cute though, no?

The day after the wedding, we took advantage of the few precious hours between sending the bride and groom off on their honeymoon and heading back to the airport ourselves to take Little Miss J to the ocean. She was a little bit hesitant at first, but by the end she was laying down in the surf and letting the waves crash over her head.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

parenting fail #274

While the numbering system here is not particularly accurate, there have been a number of parenting fails over the past few years. It happens. We, as moms, tend to be hard on ourselves and see things like the occasional McDonald's drive-thru run or lack of a Cricut for scrapbooking as our own parenting fails.

This evening it became clear that Little Miss J was on the verge of nuclear meltdown so Gus drove her and I back to the hotel for some chillaxing time. She was screaming her face off in the backseat first about "Juliet do it" referencing the fact that we didn't let her buckle herself into her seat by herself followed by a broken record recording of what sounded like "big cock." Having become somewhat immune to the toddler tantrum, I ignored her and inappropriately giggled to myself about "big cock."

As the screams continued, Gus managed to deciper that she was saying, "feet" rather than referring to her "big cock" or lack thereof. It turns out she was saying "feet stuck," which indeed they were - at least one of them. Her carseat was in the middle seat in the back and she had managed to get her left leg wedged behind the driver's seat and couldn't extricate it on her own. Once her leg was unstuck, tantrum over. Magic.

In one of the many parenting books I perused, I'm sure I read somewhere that I should check to see if there is actually something wrong before letting my kid cry it out. In my own defense, after my cross-country adventure I'm not thinking entirely clearly and am so exhausted that I can barely think straight. But nonetheless failure noted. Sorry, Little Miss J! You were right. Your foot was in fact stuck.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

election 2012

If you are still undecided, you could always vote for Super Bunny.

Super Bunny has a super crush on Elmo, so Big Bird and all his PBS friends can rest easy. She's on a mission to make this nation a better place one adorable act at a time. She tends to be a bit on the conservative side. She was recently heard singing "bye bye Bama" to the tune of La Bamba but she may have been unduly influenced (ahem GUS). Offers of Jelly Bellys, Max & Ruby, or iPad however, do wonders in appealing to her bipartisan nature. Latest polls, and by polls I mean Facebook "likes," indicate that her approval ratings are quite high.

this photo alone garnered 30+ likes

Plus, her presidential running mate is the one and only Carl Rove. Always there to lick your face, fetch a ball, or chase a squirrel. All useful qualities in a VP.

Super Bunny's positions on most issues can be summarized as "like" or "no like." We, as her campaign managers, like to keep her platform simple: 
  1. Don't hit/bite people
  2. If you can't manage No. 1, at least say you're sorry if you hurt someone
  3. Listen to your expert advisors (aka Mom and Dad)
  4. Wear shoes and pants when going outside
  5. Say "please" and "thank you"
  6. Dance everyday
  7. Take turns
  8. No monkeys jumping on the bed!
So if you think that hitting/biting people is BAD and no monkeys jumping on your bed is GOOD, then Super Bunny might be the candidate for you!

VOTE SUPER BUNNY! This message is endorsed by the Chunglund Party.