Monday, July 30, 2007

Boy Howdy, That Stash Is Mighty Honcho

I'm not going to write much as I'm about to fall asleep (and if you can believe it my spelling actually gets worse when I type with my eyes closed), but TODAY MY PRECIOUS TURNED ONE! I just couldn't let that pass without sharing some pictures from our weekend celebrations. These photos are from a birthday lunch with my parents (Nana and Grandpa) at California Dreaming in Columbia on Sunday. Above is Andrew in his pirate hat (we did a little pirate theme for his birthday). How is such adorableness to be borne?! (Adorabilitude?)

Below is him admiring the Shake 'N Go Chicken that Grandpa picked out for him. I will not even attempt to describe the delightful sounds that emanate from this toy.

And this is His Royal Cuteness being quite pleased with his birthday card and attention from Nana.

Because of my astonishing lack of brains, both my camera battery and video camera battery died on Saturday before our celebration with Phil's family. I have some fun pictures from our time at the lake that I will share as soon as I can find a battery that works, and I plan to beg and plead and whine and threaten violence until I get some pictures from the fam of our party time.

Exactly one year ago, this is how the day began ...

And how it ended.

I have been blessed beyond my wildest imaginings.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It Rained Plant Crap, Myrtle!

This is what happens when I blog while The Precious is awake.

I'm having a hard time believing it, but the calendar claims that TCBITW will turn one in mere days. Six days, in fact. Still no teeth, and he's not taken any steps yet, but he's cruising all over the place, so walking may be in our near future. Or perhaps he'll choose to crawl the rest of his life, moving upright only when furniture is near enough to grasp ... who's to say? In addition to "Nana," I have distinctly heard him say, "Vrooom!" in response to his toy car wash that vroooms on occasion. Isn't that great?! And I've had a few more Mama's said in my direction, so I'm hopeful.

A couple more adorable developments: When he wants to listen to music (which is frequently), he'll sit in front of the stereo and bounce - his own patent-pending dance move - and look at me until I turn it on.

He's also completely in love with Shiloh, which is unfortunate since Shi might soon be diced and left for the wolves to feast upon (more on that in a moment). Andrew loves to find Shiloh's toys and hold them out for him to snatch. If Shiloh's across the room and too lazy to come running for his toy, Andrew will crawl over to him and rub the toy on his side to entice him to play.

We're going to celebrate Birthday of the Precious with Phil's family on Saturday during Mobley Family Lake Day. It's going to be pretty low key, just like I wanted, but since it's not even going to be at our house, I decided I did want to at least make his cake. And I wanted it to be really spectacular. I envisioned a general intake of breath at the wonder of my creation as I walked regally in the room with it. I perfected my, "No, no, really. I don't have time to run a bakery!" speech. And though no photograph would do it justice, Andrew would always understand deep down how cherished he is when he gazed at the pictures.

For practical reasons, I decided upon making a dozen or so miniature cakes (what you peasants probably refer to as cupcakes). Certainly such a work of art would have to be from scratch, so I set out to find the perfect recipe. That found, I decided I would also make homemade whipped cream to be stealthily inserted into the center as a delightful surprise. I would then top each with a decadent butter cream frosting - both chocolate and vanilla to delight every palate.

I wisely thought to do a test run on a couple of my friends who came for dinner last night. I was so distracted by the selection of the organic cage-free brown eggs and expensive dark-chocolate cocoa powder that I totally forgot to get those little foil liners for the pan. No bother - I'd use those for the real thing this weekend. When I pulled the first batch out of the oven, they looked a little ... flat. I was still hopeful. Then I had a bad time of it getting the blasted things out of the tin, but several came out in one piece. As they cooled, they continued to deflate until they looked remarkably like burned hamburger patties. This was the good batch. The second batch is eternally cemented to the muffin tin and sitting on top of the washing machine (where I hid them from my guests last night since I didn't have time to bury them in the back yard).

If the stars align and I drink enough tea, I might muster up the will and ego to try one more recipe before handing the apron back to Betty Crocker. Or you know, sticking a candle into one of those freezer-section cream puffs could be cute, too.

And now back to Shiloh. He bit Andrew this morning. He BIT him. On the arm. Left four bruise marks where his beastly teeth sunk into tender baby flesh. As I mentioned, the Precious adores him, and I assume he tried to pet him too much while he was eating. They were both in the laundry room (where I keep the dog dishes), Shi eating breakfast while Andrew was playing with the washing machine (it's a front-loader and opening and closing the door fascinates him). I kept peeking in since I didn't want Andrew splashing in the dog water, and I don't let him harass Shi too much while he's trying to eat (though he has frequently given him a pat or two during a meal without inducing so much as a glance). The final peek was just in time to see Shiloh snarl and snap at Andrew's arm. Oh the rage! I nearly killed him right then, but since he didn't break the skin and Andrew only cried for about 30 seconds (and soon after was trying to give him his toys again), I'm considering life without parole.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

But I Didn't Say "Nice Wig." I Said "Bestest Looking Wig." I Believe There's A Difference.

While Phil was off feeding monkeys and contributing to masseuse gossip, my boy and I had our own adventures in South Carolina. We got to spend some wonderful time with my parents (Nana and Grandpa) in exotic Johnsonville. Andrew decided sleeping in the car wasn't his gig anymore, so some of our outings (like the zoo, sigh) will have to wait for another visit. We did, however, have a marvelous time at the Johnsonville Dollar General. I had some very Napoleon Dynamite moments, like sifting through a huge rack of resplendent moo moos and discussing the calorie content of prepackaged fruit pies with the checkout lady. We also had some fun times in the baby pool and a glorious day at the beach (if we blot out the overtired screeches in the car on the way home).

Here is THE CUTEST BABY IN THE WORLD doing a tribute to his Uncle Bradley. I hope this shot brings a smile to his face in a world of crevice-seeking sand and MRE's.

Our last four days were spent soaking up rays on the beach with Nana, Auntie Leslie, Auntie Amy and cousin Ashton. He adored all of them - couldn't get the smile off his face when his Ash was in the room - and it didn't matter if I was around or not. Oh, and while we're on that subject, it is possible that we had a first word ... "Nana." No conclusive evidence, but there were several "Nana" utterances while big blue eyes were fixed in adoration upon her face. I'm trying not to be bitter.

Here's beloved Nana enjoying a refreshing seaweed wrap.

I'm happy to report that Precious loves the beach. The ocean in particular. The second his chubby knees hit the sand he was off to sea ... searching for Daddy perhaps? Seriously, I had to tail him the whole time to keep him from being washed away. Nana kept comparing him to a little sea turtle going home.

Below is a shot of him in the indoor lazy river. Don't you love the little wrist band he was wearing to prove he was a resident of the hotel?

We were a day late getting back because we had a ... what some might call an incident on the way home. An incident that involved me sitting in a car that wouldn't go on the side of the road with a crying baby at 9 pm. Aunt Amy and Nana rescued us, and Grandpa went out the next day to see if he could figure out what was wrong. And as it turns out, I sort of ran out of gas.

Friday, July 13, 2007

It Was A Priviledge Just To Be Near That

From June 22 - July 4, Phil went adventuring across the world, first to China, then a quick swing by Thailand to visit our dear friends, the Mills (aka the Millses).

When Phil told me he really wanted to go on the China trip this summer, my deep and spiritual thought on the subject was "Oh, no, here we go. That is just how Tim and Rhianna started out." Though I'm certainly of the "if God calls you, best if you answer" mindset, at present I'm much more interested in God calling me to read a good novel with a cup of tea than to pack my bags for China, selfless soul that I am.

Well, Phil enjoyed the trip immensely, but has yet to have any angelic visions telling him we must go... I'll keep you posted. I'll share some of my favorite highlights from Phil's journal.

My long-awaited trip to China has arrived. As I write, I'm sitting in seat 40B of a 747. I've already learned a couple of things. One is that I'm apparently really, really bad at Su Do Ku. In fact, the "Extra Hot" book I bought is way out of my league. Another learning is that 13.5 hours is a long, long time to be on a plane. At IAD, we had a fairly tight connection, but we were only about 200 feet from the gate for the flight to PEK. We were all very excited to get on board, which wore off quickly after lunch. The 4 (!) movies selections were (I'm not kidding):

  • Wild Hogs
  • Shooter
  • The Painted Veil
  • Bridge to Terebithia


I am thrilled to be going on this trip. I'm full of anticipation over seeing another culture and seeing the way God is working. I'm looking forward to giving my nascent Chinese a go for real. The man on my left on the plane is a Chinese national, who very nicely complimented me. :-)

Upon landing, we crowded into a bus and went to the hotel. My first impression of China: Holy smog, Batman! You couldn't see more than about 1/4 mile because of the polution. There are construction cranes everywhere, and smog is part of the price paid for economic development.

The group went to the government-sanctioned "Three Self" or "Agape" church service. I understood about 1 word in 10, but not much real meaning at all outside of "God's plan" and "God's time" plus a recitation of the Lord's Prayer. After the service... we spoke with several people including the pastor and some students. This was in a mixture of Chinese and English. I should mention the taxi rides to and from the place where the church is located. The first one was like a video game as we careened through traffic. Apparently it is quite rude to put on a seatbelt in a cab, but I really wanted to. I resisted.

The discovery of a wedding band on my finger generated a flood of conversation, mostly among the 3 masseuses.

Our second walk was around a park on top of one of the two high hills.... The first hill has some very, very old architecture. It also has a long history of pagan religious significance, going back to the predecessors of the modern Chinese people. There was even an old altar in a cave near the top. Both hills have modern statues that incorporate communist ideals with the strange old spiritualism.

To catch a bus to our next location, we crossed another busy road, this one much much more dangerous. I tripped on the curb at the median, narrowly avoiding becoming a taxi's hood ornament. Incredibly, an unleashed dog crossed right after we did, including a pause at the median to wait for the traffic to clear.

Lunch was at a Chinese fast-food place, where we think we ate some chicken neck.

During this cab ride, there was a hilarious incident with some gum. I was riding with Amy, Sara and Keith. I've been bumming gum off Amy the whole trip, and I can't stand it when it loses its flavor. So, I half-jokingly wondered aloud whether I could spit it into another moving car from ours while on the expressway. Then Sara escalated the situation by saying those 3 little words: "I dare you." What was I to do? I spit out the gum. It went out the window. it flew back in the window. It flew by Keith's ear. It stuck on the dash. The three of us in the back have never laughed so hard. Keith had to act somewhat dignified, as the cabbie did not seem nearly as amused. When we arrived (at the wrong place) 10 minutes later, I apologized to her in Chinese and tipped her 5 Yuan. She grinned.

Well, it's 3:15 am in Bangkok, but I'm here! Good friends are good friends no matter how long it has been. Tim is the same as always, and a real trooper to wait this long for me. Fortunately, he knew my flight had been delayed. He had a bottle of water for me in his bag.

Boy, am I exhausted! Tim had a very full day planned for us... I'll never forget it.

I got in a Taxi a little after 9 am and got Rhianna to give the driver directions to Tim's office over the phone. Tim had an early meeting, but the plan was to go with him and some other friends in a van to Khao Yai, a Thai national park. Our plan was to hike to 2 waterfalls. On the way to the first one, we saw some macacques - monkeys. We had brought some fruit for them, and they got real close... We saw some at the end of the day, too, and one of them took fruit right out of my hand!

The park's signature feature is its elephant herds. As the sun set on our drive out of the park, there they were! A herd of about 10, only about 10-20 yards away. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Tim very graciously accompanied me to the airport, and like a spoiled American tourist, I paid $274 for a business closs upgrade for the BKK-NRT portion of the trip. I couldn't justify another $524 for the NRT-SFO leg. Too bad. I have fortified myself with a few of Rhianna's chocolate chip-oatmeal cookies, which are every bit as good as I remembered. Should be OK.

I'll sign off this very long post with some pictures of something highly amusing that Phil took from one of his Chinese hotel rooms. Here is Andrew being attacked by a pair of "Magical Man Pants."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lookie, Lookie, Look At My Thorax

Ah, we're home again. It's been a wild time for the Mobley 3 over the last few weeks - terribly fun, but as always, it's good to be back. Eventually I hope to write out the majority of our adventures, but considering I forget things almost as they occur, there will probably be some holes.

What the heck am I doing sitting at this computer? Oh! Blogging ...

I'll begin with (ominous music playing in my head) my eye surgery. After years of eager anticipation, I had Lasik on June 19th. They offered me very powerful medications to take before the procedure to calm my nerves, but nooooo. I wasn't scared. What was there to be nervous about? What's the big deal about having your eyes lasered? I was much more focused on what I was going to do with my glasses once the ordeal was over. I think I finally settled on stomping on them wearing my garden shoes, then grinding them into a fine powder in my blender, then making them into a thick paste with the addition of my spittle, then using them to seal a strongly worded letter to Justin Timberlake.

The pre-op stuff was a breeze. Lots of looking into machines and telling doctors whether 'A' or 'B' was clearer. My favorite moment occurred when I was sitting alone in a dark room waiting to be called into the operating room. One of the guys assisting with the procedure (nurse?) poked his head in and asked in a serious tone, "Christina, what did you have for breakfast?"

"Tea and bread," I answered.

"Tea. What kind of tea?"

"Um, English Breakfast?" I replied weakly, wearing very worried eyebrows.

"Hm. English Breakfast," he said under his breath, then proceeded to close the door and talk in foreboding tones to his colleagues right outside of it.

Moments later another assistant comes in and tells me they're ready for me. "Was I not supposed to drink tea?" I asked her.

"No, tea's fine. You can drink whatever you want. Sometimes they just like to ask what you had for breakfast."

Really? Just for kicks they go around asking patients what they ate? Is that to give them ideas for the following morning or is there some sort of contest amongst the nurses to see who's patient had the most exciting morning meal?

"Hey Gary, mine had Lucky Charms."

"Oh yeah, well mine had tea. English Breakfast."

"Aw, man!"

The procedure itself was freaky in the extreme. It didn't really help that I was informed right before I went in that several patients had been late that morning and thus they were "working in" Lasik in between other appointments. Nice. People shuffled around me in a cold, dark room. After a couple numbing drops, a wretched metal ring was shoved into my right eye to hold it still. Then they CUT OPEN MY EYEBALL. They kept telling me to look straight ahead at the pretty red light, but my eye sort of went bonkers. I tried with all my might to make it hold still but I could still feel it jerking ... trying to blink, I suppose. Or jump out of my face and head for the door. I squeezed the giant stuffed whale they had me hold, prayed, and tried to find a happy place. The lasering itself was nothing. Just a bunch of little clicks and a flashing light. Then they put the sliced bit of eye back in place and proceeded to rub a sponge over it for approximately 7 days.

Now time for the other eye! It was at this point I was cursing myself for not leaving well-enough along. My glasses weren't really that bad. So what if they fell off every time I looked down or flew across the room when I turned my head suddenly? And WHAT IN THE WORLD was I thinking not to take the very powerful medication?!

It was a very "abducted by aliens" sort of experience, but in reality, it lasted only around 20 minutes, and by the next day I was seeing 20/20. Who hoo!

The things we do to look good.

Me a couple days after surgery wearing my super-sexy nighttime goggles.