Thursday, December 28, 2006

Santa Visits the Steingruebls

We had a fabulous December 25th. We hope that it was a good day for you as well, gentle reader.

Santa came! Elise is a devoted Santa fan, and for the past several weeks every story and game has featured the big guy in one way or another. The wonder and excitement of having some magical stranger invade one’s home and leave gifts is apparently very well-suited to the three year old brain.

Elise decorated cookies to leave for Santa, and chose the ones she figured he’d like most. (The ones with chocolate sprinkles.) She counted baby carrots for each of the nine reindeer and named them by name. (Apologies to those of you who may be offended that we fed reindeer “the veal of the vegetable world.”) Elise carried the tray soooo carefully and so sweetly. It was the first thing she checked in the morning, too.

Santa was exceptionally good to everyone here. While he didn’t bring the dog on a leash for Elise, he did bring her a Mavis engine. He brought Andy “shaving stuff” and brought Heather cleaning supplies in the form of a robotic vacuum. As it happens, Elise’s predictions were entirely accurate, and we’re all scratching our heads because there was no way she could have known!

At least for now, Elise likes to open each gift and play with it a bit before bellowing out “thank you!!!!!” to the person who gave it to her. So, grandmas and grandpas, if you heard something Xmas morning, it was probably a very appreciative little girl.

We have more pictures and some movie footage, but those won’t be up for awhile. (Rumor has it that everyone’s too busy watching the robot vacuum the floor to muck with the video camera.) We’re looking forward to hearing how you spent your holiday-drop us a line! Share some pictures! It’s strange to be sooo far from friends and family this time of year (and to not need jackets outside), so we’re counting on the wonders of technology to bring us closer. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


With Christmas just days away, we’re experiencing a bit of excitement around Santa’s impending visit. There has been much practicing of “fal[ling] faaaaaast asleep,” for example. We’re thinking of making cookies for the big guy, and have keen interest in the lives of those lucky reindeer. (Also the engines from the Island of Sodor who sometimes fill in for them when they get tired, but that is a loooong and too-often-told story.)

Tonight, Elise was talking about what Santa will bring. “He will bring me a Mavis engine!” We have it on good authority that this may well come to pass, but she should have no way of knowing that. Andy used this opportunity to ask what Santa will bring each of us. The results were interesting...

“What will Santa bring you, Elise?”

“He will bring me a dog on a leash!” (jump, jump, jump, twirl, jump, run, twirl)

“Oh, then what do you think Mommy would like Santa to bring for her?”

“Mommy wants cleaning supplies!”

“I see. Then what do you think Santa will bring for me?” (asks Daddy)

“He will bring shaving things for you!”

“And how about Flapjack? What do you suppose she would like Santa to bring for her?”

“She does not want anything because she does not have hands.”

So, there you have it. Great predictions from the family prognosticator. We’ll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pretty Nearly Perfect

Today was a banner day for Elise. She is finally getting over a real bear of a cold (which the grownups now have) and things are going her way. The picture above shows Elise wearing her party clothes and checking out her Xmas stocking.

This morning, we did a make-up class at My-Gym. Our first several weeks there were pretty rough because it is (a)noisy (b)active and (c)structured. None of these conditions really help Elise shine. All together, they spell frustration for everyone involved.

Lo and behold, today was the day that it all just clicked. Elise tried new things, did the group activities, and had fun with the teachers. We’d like to think that the previous leaving early and time-outs helped, but really it seems she just wanted to be there today. At any rate, Elise learned a lot, played a lot and is pretty excited to go back to her regular class on Monday. All of this is most wonderful because it’s increased her confidence at the playground, and increased her activity levels in general. Yay Elise!!!

This afternoon, we went to a birthday party. We’ve only played with the birthday girl twice, but apparently it was memorable enough for her to insist on inviting Elise. Oddly enough, Elise also remembered the name of her friend’s little brother even though we haven’t seen him in something like a month and a half.

The party was a lot of fun. Games galore, and of course cupcakes. Elise likely would have preferred brown frosting (as brown is her favorite color) but the pink tasted pretty good, too. Fresh from her own birthday experience, Elise gave quite the rousing rendition of the happy birthday song when the time came.

We’ve been doing a lot of talking about Santa here, and would like to share Elise’s requests in case he happens to be an avid schmiedesgruebl blog reader. Santa, for Christmas Elise would like (and we quote), “a ball, a brand new book and a dog with a leash.” Do your best, big guy, but that dog had better not materialize...

Yesterday, we watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and there is some reason to believe that our girl has an impish streak. Much of the last day and a half has been spent with her running around the house saying, “Mommy, I’m the Giiiinch. Kissmas will not come because I am teeeealing ya onaments and tees and pesents.” We really have no idea from whence this curmudgeonly streak comes...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


The new chandelier is here! We’d been eating by lamplight in the dining room since we’ve been here, so it’s fabulous to have some serious overhead lighting now. Not only can we see our food, but it’s a lot easier to see to clean up after meals, too. Tee hee hee

So, huzzah! Light! Right now we have regular old lightbulbs in it, but we’ll eventually make the trek to the store for some compact fluorescent bulbs and then it will be bright, beautiful AND energy efficient.

Today was Elise’s three year check-up at the pediatrician and she is of course amazing. Not only is she healthy and all of that, but thanks to her daddy’s prep-talk she was ready for everything the doctor and nurse asked of her and generally had a good time. We celebrated her good health by going out for pizza before taking Andy to work.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Winter? Fall? !!

This picture of our front “yard” was taken on December 10th. How confusing is that? Pretty leaves, gentle rains-you’d think it was early to mid-October, wouldn’t you? Hahahaha! December 10th! Winter! We’re not exactly dreaming of a white Xmas at this point...

In other news, a pair of finches have been visiting our feeder and keeping Flapjack entertained. They’re bigger than our house finches from Chicago (and look different) and aren’t purple finches either. According to our bird book, they look entirely like Cassin’s finches, but of course they probably aren’t because the map says they don’t live here. We’ll see if we can sneak a picture or two and let all of you hordes of readers decide which kind you think they are.

Heather’s brother Peter and his wife Roni have officially quit the horrible weather of Wellington, NZ and moved to Auckland. They’re expecting great things, since pretty much anything would be an improvement over Wellington weather. (And now we don’t have to worry about those “gale force winds” blowing them away.)

Hope you’re well and feeling in the holiday spirit of things!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gingerbread House

Here we are, feeling festive and decorating our gingerbread house. Of course, the thing you can’t see from this picture is that one half of the roof cracked in half and the remaining half is deftly being held in place by Heather’s fingers, because it’s about to fall off too.

Elise had a fabulous time decorating the gingerbread house, though, and we’re looking forward to making another one next year-hopefully one that can be on display for a little longer!

Monday, December 4, 2006

Elise's 3rd birthday

Today was a regular birthday extravaganza here at the Steingruebl household. Andy took the day off from work, and the three of us had a fabulous time playing together and doing the various things that make birthdays so much fun. (Look at the page of pictures if you don’t believe us!)

We decided presents were best opened in the morning, so after reassuring ourselves that the engines upstairs in the toy room (it’s also a guest room, friends!) were settled and the cat was fed, the unwrapping commenced. It’s all very distracting, because as soon as you open one present you have to play with it and you kinda forget the others are there...

For breakfast we made cinnamon rolls, fresh from the Pilsbury can. Yum! Elise heard the timer while she was jumping around/in/on the wrapping paper and started chanting, “Beep went the microwave, crash went the paper, crash went the kiiiiiiiiid!”

Sesame Street hand puppets can be the center of quite a lot of confusion. For example, if Mommy and Cookie Monster are feeling silly a big girl will probably have to tell them, “You don’t eat cars, you driiiiiiive them!” And, if nobody’s looking, Elmo will drink coffee straight from the toy coffee pot. (That explains a lot, doesn’t it?)

Elise has started asking for stories at breakfast, and she doesn’t settle for just any story. This may be due to the fact that Mommy is occasionally not on her game at 6:30am and has resorted to Grandpa Karl’s old standby about Jack and Ory. (Is it “Ory?”)

“I’ll tell you a story about Jack and Ory and now my story’s begun. I’ll tell you another about Jack and his brother and now my story is done.”

It didn’t take long for Elise to start saying (with some coaching from Daddy), “I want a good story, Mommy!” Today was Daddy’s turn and he pulled out Hansel and Gretel. Talk of eating candy furniture in gingerbread houses is all well and good until someone takes it literally and starts gnawing on the furniture in a non-gingerbread house.

After a thoroughly exciting day, Elise put the finishing touches on her cake and even helped cut it. She really does like chocolate.

We can’t believe we’re all entering our fourth year together. Babyhood was amazing, toddlerhood was fascinating, and now we walk hand-in-hand with a healthy, happy child. Life is full of wonder! We are so proud of our big, beautiful, bright girl.