Saturday, December 29, 2007

Celebrity Playlist

If you use iTunes, click the Classic Rock Baby text below and the iMix will open in iTunes allowing you to hear preview clips of the songs.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Questions

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper

2. Real tree or artificial? Usually artificial, since ToolMan thinks we should not have the live tree since it makes me sick. Party-pooper.

3. When do you put up the tree? We have no set time for this, but I would guess somewhere towards the end of the first week of December.

4. When do you take the tree down? Two or three days after Christmas.

5. Do you like eggnog? Not really, but I will drink it to be polite.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A 70's Barbie Dream house. It was the A-frame one. I still have it and every single accessory it include. In ebay-ese, I would call it played with but mint.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Without question: ToolMan.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Colin the yorkie.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I guess maybe I have never gotten a bad Christmas gift.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? For me it's a tough choice between "A Christmas Carol" and "It's a Wonderful Life", but I will go with "A Christmas Carol." My favorite version is the one with George C. Scott.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I don't have a set time or plan, but next year I need to get finished before the end of the semester so I can actually enjoy the holidays.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Just the packaging.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My mom's gingerbread men. They are truly unbelievable! Her recipe calls for orange juice.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? ToolMan has a preference for clear. I like either.

17. Favorite Christmas song? "The First Noel"

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? A little of both

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Last year we had a star, this year we have an angel.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Growing up, we did this on Christmas Eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Not being able spend enough time with everyone I love.

23. What I love most about Christmas? The music and festivities.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Decisions, decisions

I am not a perfectionist: I don't redo the folding of laundry, and I only re-organize the dishwasher if an item is in danger.

When I get my haircut, I am not worried. I can eat burned toast, and I will drink sweet or unsweet tea, diet or regular coke.

I am decisive. Making decisions doesn't scare me. But why oh why am I unable to finish the nursery. Do you even call it a nursery when the baby is almost 15 months? At a party this weekend, a 4-time new dad said "well we did not paint the nursery this time." Poor, poor CRB! CRB is my only child and I still have not painted CRB's nursery or even chosen a color for it. Some part of this was that I actually liked the color the room was, but more of the reason was the complete paranoia that the pregnancy would not work out.

I think it is time for the room to be painted now, but I am not sure that I can stomach the disruption to his routine that his will cause. Oh, and did I mention that I still like the color the room is now? ;-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Acts of Desparation

Weeks ago, around the time when I disappeared from Blog-land, a few things happened.

The most life-altering one was our wonderful nanny started feeling bad. One morning she called me and said that instead of coming today she was going to the ER. She had been experiencing chest pains all weekend (!!!) and decided that she needed to do something. Sure enough, things were serious and one of the three stints in her heart had to be replaced. She is doing fine now, but she has had to cut back her days with us. For a week or two, ToolMan and I managed our full-time jobs without childcare. I don't really remember many details but while teaching class I had an inspiration. Here I am in a room of about 60 college students. Probably about 15 are female, and although our college did not manage to make the Top 10 Party Schools this year, some of these people could be capable of helping me with CRB. So I said "I am having a very hard time with childcare for my son at the moment. His regular nanny is experiencing some serious heart problems and I need some one to help me with him on Monday, Wednesday, and/or Friday. Let me know after class if you are interested." Then about 30 minutes later, while the students were peacefully working on their worksheet I announced "While you are working on your worksheet, be thinking about whether you are interested in helping with CRB."

To my amazement, I got a ton of takers. The girl I picked has been working out so well, and CRB is becoming attached to her. She takes him out for runs in the jogging stroller. She is serious about nutrition and she helps me makes sure he eats well. She is personable and nice and dependable. Why on earth did I not think about this earlier?! Our nanny almost back to her regular schedule, but now I have additional possible backup.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hiatus

The more involved my job is the less I blog. This week is finals, which is easy if you only give them so I am back!


Last week, ToolMan and I did something crazy. We took CRB by airplane to Orlando. This was not a commercial trip, somehow we got everything with LOADS of extra space, in our Van's RV7 experimental that we finished in late 2003. Sometime I will blog about it, but for now here's some info from Van's for all you aspiring aircraft builders: http://www.vansaircraft.com/public/rv-7int.htm


The main point of our trip was the PRI show. While Dad was at PRI, CRB and I toured Sea World. I had never been to Sea World and thought (correctly) that I could manage that as a single parent of a 14 month old. CRB loved any up-close action but was not impressed with anything behind glass. His favorite attractions were the Anheuser Busch clydesdales ("Bud" was his favorite) and the dolphin nursery. We have several great shots but here are two favorites. I am so blessed to have my son. He's incredible.





Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Tail of a Three Legged Dog and CRB

Colin the yorkie had his annual checkup a few weeks ago. At the appointment, his regular vet remarked that this was the longest we had not seen each other in a few years. Somehow, Colin did not go to the vet from May until October. After catching up with her, seeing pictures of her new baby and sharing child care provider dilemma details, I came back to reality and realized it’s not that we have not been to the vet because everything’s been fine. My dog has some new issues. What on earth will she find now? Insert feelings of panic here.
Suffice it to say at the end of the appointment, we were referred to two doggie specialists, one who was new to us and one which we had seen numerous times and who has operated on Colin 3 times. The new specialist was a canine eye care specialist who needed to check out Colin’s eyes and determine why one of his pupils is not constricting and make sure that there were no treatable underlying causes or diseases present. We now know that Colin is experiencing iris atrophy which has begun and will continue to advance and no treatment is available. She stated that when he is 12 he may not see too well. At this point, I burst out into inappropriate laughter. She was quite puzzled and I responded that I am not sure my 5 surgery dog would make it to the ripe age of twelve. I believe I usually come across better to health care provides but I am sure I appeared to be kooky lady with a crazy 1 year old who was infatuated with all of resident pets and who was drinking apple juice out of a bottle instead of a sippy cup. Couple that with the fact that in the next breath I am begging CRB to not eat Colin’s doggie treat or any of the banana puffs he discarded to the floor, I am sure that the eye specialist thought I was a loser dog mom.
Next up was the doggie orthopedic specialist. In some way it warmed my heart when I called to make the appointment and after I said “for my dog Colin” the vet tech said, “Oh for Colin? He’s a great dog. Can you be here tomorrow at 9:30? You know the drill, no food after midnight.” CRB accompanied Colin and me on this trip and was not in a good humor from the get-go and the hour or so ride in the car had not helped. But once in the room, he saw her: A young white dog that was wagging her tail at him. CRB’s legs started kicking with excitement. He said “pa” (for puppy I guess) and I realized that unless everyone wanted to witness a fit, we needed to go see the white dog up close. CRB stuck his hand out for the dog to lick it. Then CRB patted her head. We eventually found our seats but CRB kept trying to get the white dog to notice him. To pacify CRB I tried to make some light-hearted conversation about the white dog which got increasingly hard to do.
The white dog had clearly been through some extensive surgery very recently. She still had many surgery markings on her, and had been shaved in lots of places. One of the recent surgeries had been to remove one of her front legs and most of that side’s shoulder. Her owner appeared to be in a great deal of pain over his animal’s condition and the decisions he was going to have to make over her care. I sincerely hope his heart was warmed by CRB recognizing that she was still a beautiful dog.
Colin has some cracking in his right shoulder and must lose 1.7 pounds immediately, but is also on activity restriction. We are scheduled for a follow-up in a few weeks.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sorority Row Trick or Treat

A very young John Parker Wilson or CRB? You decide.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rednecks at Wal-Mart: a self-study

Saturday morning I woke CRB at 9:36. It was an off weekend for our college football team, which meant it was possible to go out and about and get some errands done.

On our way to Wal-Mart, we stopped off at Kerri's. CRB had a great time seeing Kerri, her mom, Brun and all of Kerri's Halloween decorations. Around 10:30 CRB started being grumpy and yawning, but not to be dissuaded from purchasing a gift for an upcoming shower, CRB and I headed out to the store instead of home.

Taking a spot in the back 40 where we always park, I found a cart and put in the floppy seat and all the stuff we needed. Finally ready to head into the store, I discovered my cart did not steer left. Once equipped with the floppy seat and baby I was committed to this cart so I pressed on.

CRB enjoyed our trip for awhile. As always he liked seeing all the people, and as an added bonus he got to see the Christmas trees. After checking out all the trees and the larger than life snowmen we made it to the ride-on toy aisle. We are getting our friends a Step2 car since it has been one of the best things we purchased. The box for the Step2 car is so large that it did not fit either under the cart or in the basket. So after balancing it awkwardly we were off to other Wal-Mart stops.

My placement of the box sideways meant that it was too wide to get through many places, and coupled with the inability to turn left, this was not going well. In order to fit through more places, I tried moving the box long ways front to back. If you ask CRB what happened he'd tell you that this caused an unfair encroachment in his space, and this meant he had to push that box out of the cart. BOX BEGONE!

Shocked that he was so strong, I put the box back up into the cart. CRB did his BOX BEGONE trick again, this time knocking down several items from a display at the end of an aisle. After putting everything back, I put the car box back in the cart wide way sideways. CRB became livid, and knocked the box out again, along with throwing everything else out of the cart that he could reach ... and this is how we traveled to the cash register, over and over.

What CRB learned from this: I am strong and I can move things. Mom won't even yell or speak sharply to me, so I should go for it!

What Mom learned: tired baby + Wal-Mart = really bad idea

Monday, October 22, 2007

Vital Statistics

Number of household members: 4

Total number of legs in household: 10

Number of household members who strongly desire to drink out of the dog water bowl: 2

Number of household members who want me to buy more Chew-eez because they are tasty: 2

Number of canines: 1

Friday, October 19, 2007

U2 Go Home

Thursday night I continued with catching up with my fellow bloggers. After checking out Vader's Mom's Halloween results, I had to check out mine. I am a sucker for all sorts of quizzes. Once finished with my Halloween Quiz, I found another at BlogThings: What European City Do You Belong in?


You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.
I have the passport, now I just need some travel time & funds :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cosmic Payback

As my loyal blog readers know, CRB was an easy baby, and if the recent trend continues maybe that WAS can go back to an IS. The past few weeks have been horrible, actually all caps: HORRIBLE.

Right after his birthday, CRB began getting a tooth. ToolMan and I had an agreement that we would stop asking and wondering "if this was teething" or "maybe this is teething." After all, he made it 12 months with no teething whatsoever. Since we had so many false alarms (we've used up a tube of Orajel even), we decided to wait until we saw an actual tooth to proclaim his behavior was caused by teething. Saturday was the day, and thankfully since the tooth began poking out, things have been much better.

But for a few weeks, I felt that I was getting some cosmic payback. So many people have commented, how is it possible he is like this: A five hour vet visit, no tantrum or tears; allergy skin pricks, no crying; CNC noise, calm interested baby; a baby who prefers not to be rocked to sleep. I would have traded some of my sleep-filled, no worry moments (ok, months) for a few moments of peace the past few weeks. No doubt many of the astonished people who commented about how easy, cooperative and graciously good natured CRB is must have been relieved to see my child could be like everyone else's (you know, inconsolable, ill-tempered, manic).

But as of Wednesday, things seem to be turning around. 36 hours is a trend right?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Afternoon with a Harlem Globetrotter

NB: I have been wanting to write the best first birthday ever post, so I have held out posting anything until that happened. I realized tonight that attitude is a "blog killer" for me. In a few months humor me with interest about CRB's "recent" first birthday, okay? For now I must tell you about CRB's afternoon with a Harlem Globetrotter.

Yesterday CRB received a special birthday gift - a cool backpack filled with all sorts of different sports balls. Late this afternoon I got out the bag, and presented CRB with the neat black and red mini basketball. CRB, Colin the yorkie and I had an awesome time rolling and throwing the ball back and forth. Colin is a pretty good soccer player, and CRB has surprising ability with throwing and catching already. But I must say, if you ask CRB, who had the "rad moves" (that's Backyardigan for skill) he'd vote Mom. When I dribbled the ball, he was mesmerized. When it was his turn again, he'd try to dribble, slapping his hand over and over the top of the ball, and then he'd roll it back to me, for more dribbling. Moms can give a good exhibition basketball game.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Larger than Life

I like doing laundry. Well, to be more specific I enjoy the challenge of stain removal and creating perfectly sorted clothes to go in the washer.

The aspect of laundry that is not my favorite is the putting away of clothes, especially mine. ToolMan's aren't so bad because he does not have that many categories: short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, pants, jeans, shorts and t-shirts. And as to CRB's laundry, I have to admit, I love doing CRB's clothes.

The other day I ran a large load of CRB's clothes. Sorting them out of the dryer, I was shocked at how SMALL the pants were. How TINY the socks were. How LITTLE the shirts were. It's not that I shrunk them either. I guess CRB's presence is much larger than his actual physical stature.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saban University

Maybe it is too soon to rename the University, but I suspect before too long we will see something on campus re-branded Saban.

Yesterday the stars aligned and CRB and I managed to get out to the quad an hour and a half before gametime began. ToolMan suggested that I take the jogging stroller and it was the perfect choice with the walking we did from the car park to the quad.

CRB's favorite part of the gameday activities on the quad? A local 5-piece band's rendition of a Santana classic, dedicated to Auburn in hopes that Auburn "won't give up." Gotta love that southern hospitality.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Great Expectations

"I knew I was in trouble when he said 'I want to see the race car.' A asked 'Well, where is it?' and I said 'It's everywhere - part of it is over there, part of it is upstairs, some of it is here...'"

Tonight some friends and their two children (A&A) stopped by to look at my SUV (yes, it is for sale) and to see ToolMan's shop. Our friend was excited for his 8 year old son, A, to see what ToolMan does with computers and CNC machinery.

A has always been quite fearful of loud noises. When A was a baby, we had to be very careful of placing our cutlery down on the table too hard or suddenly, or of laughing, either of which would send A into a tissy.

ToolMan spent a large part of today getting a program to cut 2 different pieces in both vises in the machine. I had stopped by the shop a few times today (once to collect CRB who was enjoying the view in his swing). I was impressed with the lack of chatter and that ToolMan had gotten the program to the state that he could walk away instead of needing to be there to mash "feed hold."

A did last about 2 minutes longer than his 10 year old sister, and he did seem (slighty?) interested, but the noise factor was too much for him.

Once ToolMan and I were back in the house alone he said "I knew the air compressor was going to have to come on and that would run him out if the regular noise did not."

ToolMan was disappointed.

After a few seconds I told him "I think your best child candidate for appreciating and understanding what you are doing in the shop is asleep right now" and I pointed to CRB's bedroom.

ToolMan grinned, and with trigonometry fairies dancing in his head he said "You are right."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Party Time 2x

September is coming and both of my boys will have birthdays.

For ToolMan we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of his 30th birthday. Somehow I have managed to convince him to agree to let me give him a party. He brightened noticeably when I mentioned that so many people wanted to see what he is up to in the shop.

It's been a very long time (far too long) since we have given a party for anything around here, so I am truly starting at square one. Invitations, food, drink. Do we need decorations? He said no to my Cars birthday cake idea ;-) I definitely don't want it to look undecorated though, so I will have to get busy soon.

CRB's birthday will be pretty easy. As he has awoken, I will have to blog about that later.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

News at 11

This week CRB is eleven months old. Before CRB, time seemed to pass so slowly, but now that is not the case. For sure now I am much more aware of where my time goes. Time is much more precious.
People often ask what CRB is doing (some even use his real name). Here’s what is happening with him (maybe I can record this in the baby book later.)
· Still no teeth. No sign of teeth either. Don’t feel sorry for him or wonder how he is surviving without them. He is able to gum whatever he chooses. How many babies do you know that have eaten fried okra, insist on having a whole Saltine, and get upset if you don’t hand them the whole banana. Mashed banana is for babies.
· He loves flap books. Some of his favorites include Peekaboo Blue, Curious George’s Neighborhood, and Spot’s First Christmas.
· He is enthralled with dogs and puppies. Tonight on our walk we got to meet 2 new ones (6 month old Westie and Scottie). Over the weekend, ToolMan’s parents took us to feed some ducks. CRB found that to be outrageous fun too.
· Currently CRB is milk intolerant and his allergist has him on a meatless diet. My little vegan loves his veggies, fruit, crushed ice, water, and Boca burgers and Boca chicken. Tonight at the restaurant CRB rejected the illegal chicken I tried to give him. Also, do not stand in between CRB and blue Gatorade. Somebody is going to get the Gatorade and my money is on CRB.
· Much to our horror, last week CRB managed to unlatch Colin’s crate. His aim was to get to the water bowl. Poor Colin. This week Colin is enjoying a respite with my parents. Mom said she has not seen him this relaxed in several months, perhaps 11 or so…
· Anything you hand CRB he examines carefully before throwing it straight up in the air to check its bounce ability.
· When cruising in his Step2 car, CRB has realized that the steering wheel does not do anything so now he likes to lean over and let his fingers drag on the ground, across the tires, or along the hubcaps. Yesterday he enjoyed dragging his motorcycle figure alongside of the car. Things got very exciting when Dad (a.k.a. ToolMan) showed CRB how the motorcycle could wind up for extra speed. The motorcycle guy has lost a lot of paint since we found him in our yard sale acquisition of the Mega Blocks castle set.
· Bath time continues to be great fun. I still remember vividly when it was no fun for anyone involved so I am relieved that this seems to be sticking.
· Tonight at the restaurant CRB hand drummed the table in time with the music playing in the restaurant. I have always been surprised at how much Classic Rock Baby enjoys music. At some point I should probably do something more formal with him, but for now we will continue playing our maracas and drum at home.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The 2.2

For the past two months with rare exceptions, every night CRB and I have taken a 2.2 mile walk to the front of our neighborhood and back. The lengthy walk calms CRB down and then he is almost always receptive to bath and bedtime.

Back in the spring our nanny was saying that her doctor wanted her to walk more. To encourage this I purchased a cheap but adequate pseudo-jogging stroller. While I was shopping ToolMan explained that the "real" and "nicer" joggers had a fixed front wheel which meant that to turn a corner one would have to lift the front stroller wheel off the ground. That did not seem like the best for our nanny so I got the cheaper, bare bones swivel wheel model.

The stroller has exceeded my expectations after ToolMan fixed the "nose gear" shimmy problem that the stroller had out of the box. The air filled tires cushion the ride for CRB. I took the snack tray off and now he has an unobstructed view. The large seating area lets him move around and check out what he sees on the walk. To keep CRB cool in our Deep South heat, I rely on frozen teething rings, or CRB's favorite, crushed ice in a Munchkin mesh sucker bag. Some nights I have to stop 5 times to fill the mesh bag with ice. The stroller came with a stroller leash (for runaway strollers I guess) which works perfectly to attach the mesh bag so that it is not dropped or thrown.

With our nightly walks we have gotten to know a larger subset of our neighbors and their pets. CRB squeals with delight, and never cries or fusses about anything on our walks. It's a time of peace that I am thrilled to get to have with my boy. CRB has even tolerated some rain, which I find a bit unbelievable so you may too, but it is true.

About 2 weeks ago, CRB realized that I was listening to music and he was not and that was an unacceptable state of affairs. For the last week or so I tried bringing ToolMan's iPod for CRB and using my own iPod myself. That did not work great or easily so I quit having the music much to my disappointment. Tonight ToolMan surprised me by pimping CRB's ride with some speakers. CRB ga-ga-ed to the music (in the right places even) and had a great time.

I enjoy spending this time with my son even though it is outrageously hot. Lately I have been considering getting a bike trailer so that we could change up the routine a bit for me. ToolMan is concerned that the trailer would make the bike feel like I was constantly going up hill. That would be a big negative from my standpoint, plus I am not sure how I can man the ice bag if I am on the bike. Finally, would I not be a bit psycho to mess with the routine that works?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Baby Carnival

Today CRB got to ride in the race car shopping cart at Lowe's and go to the McD's super PlayPlace. The shopping cart was his favorite. The first person he encountered in Lowe's said "Boy he is sure having a great time! Maybe he will drive a race car one day." ToolMan's reply "It could happen."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

My CoDriver

Sometime next week, ToolMan and I will have been married for ten (10) years. Happily!

A few weeks ago we had a discussion about the patronizing things people say to one another, especially spouse to spouse, parent to child. Though we are not perfect, we both make conscious efforts to not make those kind of comments, and that effort was the main focus of our discussion. But at one point in our conversation, I could not resist any longer.

Grinning I asked him "Do you want to know what the most patronizing thing that you have ever said to me was?"

As a man who has been married for almost ten years he appropriately answered with slight hesitation "Sure. What is it?"

"If you are going to slide the tires, make sure that you have both hands on the wheel."

This was in response to a Carlos Sainz like move I made getting on our bypass bridge back in February.

What any other spouse would have said back in February in the context of our situation:

  • What did you just do?!
  • What was that noise?
  • Stop the car!
  • The baby is in the backseat!!
  • The baby is ASLEEP in the backseat!!!
  • Are you trying to kill us?
  • That's it, I'll drive.
  • Are you practicing for a rally car driving position? Am I your co-driver?

But no, ToolMan did not question my need to do this, or even ask why I was trying to slide the car in the corner. He was just concerned about proper technique.

Recently, when I asked him why my tires make so much noise in the traffic circle or at certain intersections, he said "Most people would go slower." When I said that neither of my previous cars did this and I think I drive the same, he pointed out that "most people in your kind of car don't drive the way you do."

Should Vegas start making odds on when CRB is getting downsized to a MINI? No, that would be a waste of the odds-makers' time. How on earth could I even take him to the pool - we need to have a stroller? How could we get to Aunt Kerri's 8 miles away with all the stuff we need? What if (a HUGE, almost out of the question if, but my jury's still out) CRB gets a sibling in the next few years? Nope. No MINI. Ask again later. Much, much later.

Yesterday, coming home from a quick shopping trip south of town a crazy lady pulled sharply and suddenly into my lane. I broke hard engaging the anti-lock brakes, checked in the rearview and swerved a tad into the next lane. I asked ToolMan "How'd I do?" expecting great praise. He said, "Well, I would not have taken that other hand off the wheel to blow the horn." You know, he's right, the horn blowing was extraneous.

I can think of many times when I have been in the car with him driving and he has avoided accidents with his good judgment and quick reflexes both. In the coming week, our state is planning a zero tolerance campaign related to speeding. There will be no grace miles over or warning tickets. A few of our friends have said that maybe ToolMan might not ought to drive that week. I disagree, but I might need a new line item in the budget for "traffic tax" as he calls it.

Speaking of rally cars and safety, after much consideration, we just ordered CRB's new car seat. We plan to move him to that one around the beginning of September.

DISCLAIMER: Gratuitous speeding is not funny. I have 0 points on my license. I go exceptionally slow and I am extraordinarily careful anywhere there might possibly be pets, children or other pedestrians. When I see the police in my neighborhood, I do not have to slow down. I do not run red-lights or take an extended yellow. If the situation permits, I brake for squirrels. I try to drive with extra consideration for motorcyclists and truck drivers. I believe I dislike my SUV because of the disconnect I feel while driving it, but it is a wonderfully nice, posh car, and I am a very lucky woman in so many respects, but please give me some space to still mourn the MINI.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rocks at the playground

Yesterday evening I took CRB to the neighborhood playground to see if he was interested in trying to do the slide. The playground is really neat, with two separate play structures, one for toddlers and one for bigger kids. He was keen on the slide, but the slide was a distant second to the rocks. Rocks are fascinating and come in all different sizes. Certain 10 month old boys are quite interested in how they feel... and taste. It is not possible to remove all the rocks from the playground equipment, don't even bother trying. I am just glad that I was being very attentive. We won't be going back for several months to a couple of years.

Later that night, sitting down to supper at the new Mexican restaurant that opened close to our house, I was relieved to see all the men and women wearing their hospital badges. Doctors and nurses galore! At least, if something went wrong, I might not be sticking my finger down his throat to remove something else. I feel pretty prepared after the 3 hour infant/child CPR class that ToolMan and I took late last summer, but having some backup made me more able to relax.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Photo Hunters: Creative (& tiny)


Pit Girl for Moto GP


Here, Blythe reminds me of my German friend Tina who, not only is a big GP and F1 fan, but who also used to race motorcycles. Scientists agree she is no doubt the koolest mom on the planet.

For more Photo Hunters participants, visit TN chick.

Weekend Reflections

Last Sunday, I decided to re-read the Harry Potter series before I let myself read the last book. Today I finished book three, HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which was such an enjoyable read, it was not at all like I was re-reading it. Tonight I may begin The Goblet of Fire, since it appears ToolMan and Wren are having a late night machining on the lathe.

Today, Colin and CRB had a good day together. This afternoon ToolMan cleaned out the yellow kiddie pool for CRB to have some fun. Colin, never one to miss water activities (so strange for a yorkie!), had to join in the splashing. Colin did not try to dominate the action in the pool, preferring instead to keep bringing me soggy tennis balls to throw again and again. At times Colin would jump in to check on what CRB was doing. To me this means that Colin was not ignoring CRB, and I believe that it is good that Colin had some interest instead of just shying away, which I would not think would be good for our fear aggression dog. Later, ToolMan fired up the grill and fixed us a late lunch outside, so we could chaperone the boys.

The highlight of my week was Thursday when I got to get to know a wonderful family member better. Somehow, growing up we never got to see each other. It's a special blessing to have a new friend out of your family.

For more weekend reflections visit Judi.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wal-Mart Greeter

When I was pregnant with CRB I had very few, but rather specific wishes. Like all parents, I wished for him to be a healthy baby, and like many post-fertility treatment patients, I just wanted the pregnancy to be over and to have my baby.

Some days when I was feeling bolder with my wishes, I wished for him to be a happy baby. Others, I hoped he would be the kind of person that tries to give other people happiness. I also hoped that he would find some pursuits, either hobby or career, that would give him satisfaction, be it through brick laying, science, or swimming. Whatever, as long as he was happy and fulfilled, my role and mommy would be complete.

Relatives though, seem to bring something extra to the mix. I remember my mom saying if only he was going to be a girl, we would not have to worry about the race cars. Laughing I said, "I am not so sure that being a girl would 'fix that' for us." I tried to explain that at least if he is interested it will be more socially acceptable.

When I was pregnant, a relative of ToolMan's, said "well I hope you don't think he is going to be very smart. I would not want you to be disappointed. Don't you know about regression to the mean?" When I failed to answer, this person went on to explain some psychobabble, err psychological theory, that very smart people seldom have children that are as smart as they are. Dumbstruck, I responded with "I am just wishing that he gets here safely." Later, during one of the hundred horror movie replays of this scene in my head, I realized that this was the first time this individual ever called me smart.

I guess it is natural to take a great deal of pride in your children, but honestly I am not sure what ToolMan and I can be credited for... maybe that he sleeps well?

My father takes a great deal of pride in both me and ToolMan, and now CRB. During the 11 times that I changed my major (but I finished college in 2.5 years so no eye rolling please) Dad only requested that I choose something that I would enjoy. My choice did not have to make a lot of financial sense, or be groundbreaking. He is just the kind of dad that is encouraging, and chooses to take pride in his child.

CRB is a tremendously happy person. He wakes up smiling. He is fascinated by his dog who does not care for him, but he never gives up hoping that Colin with reciprocate. The rare moment that Colin does is enough for him to keep trying, over and over. He has been saying "hi puppy" for sometime, but I have just now figured it out.

He seems driven to smile and wave at perfect strangers until they giggle back at him. The extreme nature of his behavior caused ToolMan to speculate that he will indeed be a Wal-Mart Greeter at some point in his life. Perhaps a career as a rock star, physical therapist or politician might pay better, but whatever he chooses, I will be proud.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

ToolMan's boy

Early this afternoon, my not quite 10 month old CRB took a shelf out of a cabinet. Once he had that free, he began pulling the rod pins out that hold the shelf. Tonight, he mastered the bathtub drain.

He's been able to do a zipper for about 2 1/2 months. Early this week, I handed him a battery powered alarm clock to keep him occupied while I changed his diaper. He had the battery cover off and the AAA batteries out in less than 10 seconds.

CRB does not try to put things back together yet, but he is masterful at taking them apart.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bookmarked

I used to be the sort of reader that finished a book before starting another. Not anymore… At the moment I have quite a few not completely read books on the nightstand.

  • The Reagan Diaries I have learned so much. I remember the day that Reagan was shot, but I did not realize that he was shot only 3 months into his presidency. Reading the book has helped me understand better the role of the President in our government. I am 173 pages into it, and I am sure that I stopped because there are just so many times the phrase "Left for Camp David" is interesting to me.
  • Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. This book arrived in Saturday's mail and I have finished reading it from cover to cover. I am quite excited about the projects featured in it, if I can just find some great fabrics…
  • The Cat who Dropped a Bombshell by Lillian Jackson Braun. Her latest whodunit featuring Koko and YumYum. Currently I am on page 117, and looking forward to the rest.
  • Cesar's Way
    by Cesar Millan. I have blogged about this before - this is a fascinating book, and I do understand my pup better. I am a slacker mom, I am only on page 209 but I will finish it before I get to read the new Harry Potter book.
  • One Step Closer – Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God
    by Christian Scharen. The book is engaging, but to understand it I need the Bible out, as well as a notepad and pen. At some point, I start having law school flashbacks about all the reading I did, and next thing I know ToolMan inquires "When is the test?"
  • Sick of Shadows by MC Beaton. Another whodunit, but I have not gotten to the point that anyone actually died I don't think. Beaton is one of my favorite authors, but I her Edwardian series is my least favorite.
  • Babywise
    by Ezzo & Bucknam. I only made it to page 67 and gave it to my mom to fill me in on the rest. She kindly obliged me and to this day I do follow many of the Babywise principles. The principle of putting the baby down to sleep while he is awake has worked great. I suspect that is why my child with great ease naps for about 3 hours and sleeps 13-15 hours.
  • Miscellaneous issues of Rolling Stone. Better moms read Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens for the recipes. Other women subscribe to Traditional Home. Me? I occasionally purchase a RS off the rack.

Sunshine and Daydreams


title above from lyric of the Grateful Dead's Sugar Magnolia

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thorazine Shuffle

Colin's issues have come to an unfortunate head. His anger has been pretty effectively channeled away from CRB and it is now directed at my carpets. As of Friday, Colin is now being doped with a thorazine medicine for dogs while we continue his behavior modification. Our plan is to only use this about 2-3 more days.

Last night we had one of our worst nights with CRB. We tried mixing some Lactose Free Sensitive formula into his regular Alimentum hypoallergenic formula at a ratio of 20%, 80%. He was awake and upset roughly every 45 minutes. It was hard for everyone and I am officially chickening out of the effort to introduce anything other than soy products to him. He does fine when he has soy cream cheese and soy cheese, but even the amount of milk in goldfish crackers causes a problem for him.

The one good thing that came from last night is I feel that I really did all I could do to breastfeed him. I gave up everything with milk for 7 weeks and his tummy did no better. I am not sure how long the milk elimination would have taken but I could not pump and dump any longer than 7 weeks. He is truly sensitive to it and I did everything I could. If later in life CRB tells me that my not breastfeeding him the recommended 12 months caused him to score 5 points less on the SAT than he would have otherwise I will remind him that formula is why he is alive and thriving.

The other crazy thing we did today is a major toy elimination for CRB and Colin. Our lives were becoming entrapped with stuff and ToolMan and I could not take it any more. CRB and Colin both play with the same things over and over. For CRB, his favorite toys are the simpliest with the least amount of batteries. I am going to continue my push to buy him very few items that need batteries. He's much more likely to babble and have fun making sounds if he's the only source for sound.

We kept plenty of toys for each of the boys to have a great rotation, and the ones that we elimated are going to stay in the shop's attic while we finalize what we really need/want and where the extras need to go. Lately I have been doing a good bit of shopping at the Salvation Army place so I have some insights into how I need to package up the toys so someone else can get some use out of them: leave the batteries in so the staff can easily tell the toy works; if the toy has parts, firmly attach the pieces with packing tape or place an item and its parts in its own clear plastic bag.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Loose Change

At the moment, my job is not providing much mental challenge.

CRB provides some:
  • Did he just try to stick his tongue through vents in the front of the hair dryer? yes ...
  • While it was plugged in? insert your favorite curse word...
  • Did he just eat that business card? almost ...
  • Does he really think rawhide tastes good? apparently...

Obviously, I am hurting for some real challenge. Also, I seem to wait in line a lot.

Couple those two facts and you have my new game for the Taco Casa drive-thru: If I am paying cash I try to give the cashier exact change using the most number of coins. It's just like a problem from elementary school math team competitions, and yes, I was a math team member . The sounds you hear are my real life friends dying from laughing so hard. They had to have a girl, OK? Better now?

Regardless, this game seems to have enough variables to keep my little mind occupied, and my wallet ends up lighter.

Full disclosure: at the Casa, they make your food to order, there is always a wait. This gives me enough time and my sauce on the side. :-)

If you have idea of ways to pass the time be sure to drop me a comment!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Weekend Reflections

I have so many things to be thankful for this week.

First, I am thankful for our allergist. He is a great man and helped CRB this week. Dr. D's original training was as a pediatrician and he went back to for the allergy/immunology specialty. What this means to me is I can feel good about having all areas addressed. I have been watching CRB especially closely as he has been doing some extreme nighttime coughing and a bit of wheezing, on top of his regular constant sneezing. Dr. D was ready with a plan. CRB, already a pro at the nasal spray, now has an inhaler system ready for those (scary) nighttime problems. Dr. D also said to bring him back if he needed the inhaler much or if I have concerns. CRB has still not had an ear infection. Dr. D said that was quite remarkable especially considering his congestion. I am so extremely thankful to have Dr. D and access to such excellent healthcare for my boy.

Dr. D said no meat til 12 months, and no milk products either. I have not been giving him meat, but milk is in a surprising number of things. Since we cut out the milk items this week, CRB's stomach is great. He may have that intolerance we suspected. Yesterday, I got to the grocery and found some soy cream cheese. This has been a big hit with CRB, so I am no longer very stressed about "depriving" him.

ToolMan has made excellent progress with the F1000 project. Progress=happy ToolMan=happy Leslie.

Lastly, I am so thankful that the Cesar Millan techniques are working. It would be a stretch to call the CRB-Colin interaction perfect, but it is a process and we are making excellent progress.

For more Weekend Reflections, check out Judi's blog at Mommy of Two.

Toys in the Attic

Monday I spent the day with my mom cleaning out some closets, cabinets and drawers. The impetus of this is her desire to "get her house back." Mom still has many items of my Grandmother's. The items that are causing her the most grief are things such as clothes, books, and papers. Again Monday, I was very glad that ToolMan helped me make some intense passes through her Grandmama's apartment in December, or we'd be dealing with kitchen stuff, even more clothes, etc.

I had been pushing for CRB to have some space when we stay at my parent's, so we ended up trying to make that happen too. In going through some closets and drawers, we came upon many of my old dolls and their clothes. When I was growing up, my parents always had enough money for what we needed, but unlike most only children (CRB included) I was not spoiled by stuff. Maybe in part because of that, I developed a special attachment to each of the dolls. As a child I had plenty to keep me busy, but I did not have the modern excess of stuff. For example, I had a single Barbie, a Skipper, and a Ken. Not exactly third world, but if you knew how much I played with those dolls...

I pushed through, rationalizing that some one else could enjoy these dolls now, or at least use them for something. We did not get to the 3 Barbies thankfully, as I have them stashed in another room in their house. If we had I might have lost it and reclaimed the rest. Many of my doll clothes were actually my baby clothes, so that proved very difficult for mom. The rest of the clothes were all handmade by either my mom, one of my grandmothers or aunts, or even myself... those were the ones I stressed over the most.

We did make a great deal of progress, but I am still quite haunted by the whole thing. Later that week I took CRB to the Salvation Army store where we purchased... cover your eyes... somebody else's naked dolls. We got 2 Barbies, 2 Bratz (one of which who was wearing her original thong underwear!), a GI Joe, and a knockoff American Girl, all for the low, low price of $6.

Why I am I buying these dolls? To make clothes for them of course! This week I found etsy.com. It's an awesome website where people sell handmade items. I don't have a tremendous amount of talents, but I can make some great doll clothes. ToolMan asked what I was up to, was I planning to quit my day job, etc., and I explained that this mommy wants to make doll clothes and I was not sure that CRB was going to be that into it. ToolMan, relived that I was not moving to a $3 per hour job, became super-supportive.

While checking out my competition, I saw Blythe. Blythe is the size of Barbie, with a Skipper body. (That means Blythe has a huge head). Her eyes change colors with the pull of a string. She is AWESOME. There are different models of Blythe (kind of like Barbie I think). If you are interested check out the wikipedia entry for Blythe. After about a week of intense shopping and research, I ordered Rosie Red Encore. To see her, check out this Japanese forum post that features owner shots of my Blythe, one of which I have posted below.


Check back later today for a pack leader, family update.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Photo Hunters: FAKE



Even smaller than the real thing...

For more PhotoHunters, click here.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Things I Never Thought I Would Do ... but did this week

  1. use a ziploc bag for gift wrap ... I am usually not a fan of even reusing tissue paper and gift bags, so this is a new low.
  2. have a living room with no lamps ... I dislike intense overhead light, but I have never had a family member try to use lamp cords to pull themselves to a standing position.
  3. install 36 outlet plug covers ... I thought those caps were a dangerous choking hazard but my concerns of that are outweighed by the shock potential from the very Curious CRB.
  4. see my son put Colin's huge rawhide bone in his mouth and not think it was an emergency ... Formerly this would have been a eewh, but this week I was just relieved that the object was too big to choke on.
  5. turn a spare bedroom into a playroom ... It could have been the dining room but the bedroom was carpeted.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Yes, I will get your coffee

I saw this at Judi's tonight and I just had to participate.

If you had the opportunity to do a 1-year internship in a company or field completely unrelated to your current career or specialty, what would be your top 5 choices?

  1. Horticulturist
  2. The Smithsonian
  3. The Washington Post
  4. SPEED tv for Dave Despain
  5. Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

I tag Kerri, with the comment that I want us to still open a stellar doggie daycare that caters to celebrities one day ! ;-)

Pack Leader

We arrived safely home Thursday night thanks to ToolMan and the Garmin 396 with XM weather. It was great having Next Rad in my lap while listening to the controllers re-route traffic around Atlanta for weather. Our self-imposed weather deviation may have cost us a whole 15 minutes. Although we were on an IFR flight plan we only spent about 20 seconds or less in MVFR conditions. I am glad ToolMan solicits my input for circum-weather-navigation.

Friday morning was quite upsetting. Colin's anxiety turned to aggression against CRB. CRB was obliviously crawling towards one of his toys, and Colin took a predatory few steps and then lunged for him. ToolMan, my mom, and myself were all in the room. ToolMan picked up Colin before he managed to nip CRB. Colin was firmly held, told NO!, and whacked with a cupped hand on his booty. Then we set Colin outside the room and closed the door. Unfortunately, my mom said "Oh poor Colin" and left the room to go comfort him 3 seconds later.

ToolMan and I were quite horrified for ourselves for not realizing that Colin's feelings had escalated to this point. For months, we had seen and laughed at the toy stealing. For a few weeks, we had seen the slight grumbling. Earlier in the week, we saw Colin lift his lip and "smile" at CRB. That was not smiling! It was bearing his teeth, and is a show of aggression in a dog, even if that dog happens to be a yorkie. We made quick decisions (Colin was not going to ToolMan's parents and would go home with my mom til we could re-group.) So we unpacked the car to get Colin's stuff out, and repacked it and left for our trip minus Colin.

Before we left town, ToolMan took me to the bookstore to buy Cesar Millan's book. On the way up, I managed to read 100+ pages. I have always been really amazed with the things Cesar does on his show. His book is fascinating. It is not a 1-2-3 style how to book, and he spends the beginning part of the book explaining dogs and packs. I think his technique could only be understood and implemented once you have the background he provides. One thing that he wrote that sticks with me is that you have to be 100% pack leader 24-7. As I value my dog, and as I want him to be a trusted part of the family, I have completely committed to Cesar's techniques and mentality. I did not think it was going to be easy to get Colin to walk on his leash beside or behind me, to "let" me leave through the door first, etc., but I understand now how important this is, and I will make it so.

Monday morning I headed to my parent's to help my mom clean up some cabinets and closets. As soon as I got to their home, I tried to be calm, assertive pack leader. I had told my mom some of it, so she was ready and supportive. I had always thought that the jumping and hyperactive excitement that dogs do when there owner's get home was out of love and joy. Cesar explained why it is actually dominating behavior and must be stopped. I let no crazy jumping take place. I am going to miss that but it is not an acceptable part of the plan so it is out.

The difference in our interaction was kind of shocking. I truly believe (as Cesar said) Colin is going to be a happier dog. We made enough progress at my parent's house for me to bring Colin home. During our drive home, he was completely calm and relaxed in the car.

At home ToolMan and I continued with the plan letting Colin know that he a pack member not the pack leader. Colin is showing a great deal of fear to CRB, but we are carefully following Cesar's plan, and we are being sure to not let Colin run off and hide or conversely, show any aggression.

If you are a dog owner, don't just buy the book, or passively watch the show, read the book.

And yes... I managed the leash thing and I completely agree that it is an imperative first step.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Get Out of Town

Tomorrow ToolMan and I are getting out of town. Together. By ourselves.

We are flying over to Savannah for the day. A few years ago ToolMan built a two-seat airplane. It was a big project but ToolMan is always up for a challenge. I helped a good bit with the plane, especially when the project in our garage. This means if you ever need any rivets hammered, flush or round head, I am your girl.

In case you want to learn more about homebuilt aircraft like ours, check out our fellow RVer Dan Checkoway's site. One page that has some good tips is The Married Dude's Guide to Aircraft Building. It's a hoot, and should be required reading for any spouse undertaking any project of substantial size.

While in Savannah we won't be taking in veranda views or mint juleps. We are headed to a test day at Roebling Road to hang out with and help a great friend. ToolMan is not into any sort of race spectating, so one knows how great a friend this is for him to go. Tomorrow night we plan to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, The Shell House, before we head back.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thank you note

Dear Bono, the Edge, Adam, & Larry,

This thank you note is very much overdue, so please do not let its tardiness take away from my true appreciation.

Thank you for your music, and the understanding that it has brought me. Some may not realize that your band is a Christian band clad in rock star clothing and hip sunglasses.

I will admit that back in my carefree college, law school, and married days, Achtung Baby was a raw, sensual album that got a lot of play.

Life became more serious during our lengthy quest to have a baby. How long? How long must we sing this song?

When I was pregnant the first time, I heard a sermon at our local Episcopal church that discussed when bad things happen to good people. One of the minister's examples was the columns falling on Christians and heathens, killing both indiscriminately. I understood, and agreed with everything the minister said. Little did I know that later that week I would lose my unborn child at 16.5 weeks. Timely. Ironic. Horrifying. Incredulous. Heart-breaking.

Nothing was more hurtful for me to hear in my grief than "God has a plan." Oh really? A plan? A plan that involves lots of misery and pain, where my unborn baby becomes toxic and almost kills me? That does not make this easier. It does not feel, it will never feel "meant to be." I was very angry with God and this "plan" and then I even became angry and hurt by the people that wanted to tell me about it.

When my anger lessened, and I was just left with grief, The Joshua Tree became my album of recovery. In "I Still Have Not Found What I am Looking For" you discuss Jesus when you say "You broke the bonds, you loosed the chains, You carried the Cross, Of my Shame, You know I believe it, But I still have not found what I am looking for." Like you, I believe, but it can be hard to understand when things are not working. For me it's hard to be a Christian in pain, who for right or wrong believes what I do, in close proximity to the plan Christians. It is quite a turn-off.

Then through our challenges to have CRB after the baby we lost, I began to appreciate a different aspect of your music. Your lyrics to "Stuck in a Moment" helped me put a lot of pain in perspective. Stop wishing for better days, enjoy what you have today. I needed to hear that, over and over, until I believed it.

If CRB was to have an anthem my guess that it would be "Beautiful Day." I don't choose this song merely because of its immediate calming effect. As his mom, "My heart is abloom ..." What a great and wonderful thing our life is! Thanks for giving the world your music message to have in the good times and the bad times and all the times in between.

Much love,
Leslie

Monday, June 25, 2007

Letter from Home

Dear Colin,

I heard that you are enjoying time with your grandparents and that you are very relaxed and are having a good time back as the proper center of attention.

I am glad that you are having fun but your family misses you. Since you've been gone, you would not believe what the floors look like. Cheerios, banana puffs you name it. I guess I will have to get off my booty and do some vacuuming or borrow a Roomba, or since you may be staying another week.

CRB looks for you all the time. He wants you to know that bathtime is lonely without your surprise jumping in, and that pool time on the deck is lame without you to attack the fountain and re-assign ownership of the toys. Tonight he spent some time with the three doggies next door and let them lick his toes.

I will have to say your Dad and I are sleeping better. Perhaps some little, stealthy yorkie has been sleeping in our bed at night….

Love,

Mom

13 years, 3 months

ToolMan relayed some interesting news with me this afternoon: SCCA is dropping the minimum age required to get a competition (race) license to 14 years old.

If you could see the enthusiasm with which ToolMan was sharing this, you might understand my quandry instead of being horrified. Some dads-to-be and new dads eagerly anticipate playing catch in the yard, building a tree house, and helping with math homework. ToolMan will happily do those things, but I suspect racing may occupy a special place in his heart.

If CRB has no interest that will be fine with him. But if he exhibits any interest ...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Weekend Reflections

I cannot seem to remember midweek (!) but I guess I can at least reflect on this weekend.

Friday I took CRB to the allergist. The doctor said that he did not think CRB felt well, but that he did not have an ear infection. He has put CRB on twice daily nasal spray and some singulair. I am concerned that my little boy is becoming more allergic. Genetically, he stands no real chance not to be, but I am so thankful that his ears seem to be resistant to infection.

Saturday morning we got up at 4 a.m. to leave for our "day trip" to Atlanta. We had three big missions. The first mission was to pick up the punch-line to a running joke between ToolMan and Wren – a crashed Suzuki GXSR 1000 motorcycle to use as a donor for the F1000 project. This motorcycle was recently run off a 20 foot embankment, its former owner having to crawl uphill for 9 hours with a broken body (he is doing much better). The bike is stout but is broken in half, telling what a big smack he took.

After strapping the bike (parts?) down on the trailer, we were off to our second mission - IKEA. I have wanted to go to an IKEA for a very long time. I love anything Scandinavian (I am a quarter Norwegian) and a trip to IKEA has been on my wish list for more than a decade. The Green Girl in me loves many of their company policies, along with the modern Scandinavian look of their goods, even if none of it will harmonize with my house. In case you catch a Cash Cab re-run the crashed motorcycle dude's dad said that IKEA is the world's most visited retailer. From my study of the catalog, I thought that the IKEA was going to be something special, and I was not disappointed. Any guesses to what we bought? Kid stuff. We got CRB some really neat things (play table with chairs, kid's picnic table for the deck, awesome green rocker toy, kool town map rug) for his first birthday or Christmas depending upon when he is ready. ToolMan humored me with lunch at the IKEA café and I got to enjoy some lingonberry punch.

After IKEA, we headed to our third mission: ToolMan's uncle's retirement party in Helen, Georgia. Uncle Wayne has had many interesting flying jobs – F4s in Vietnam, big iron to take people on vacations to exotic places, and lastly as an instructor at Flight Safety. CRB was the world's most hugged and kissed baby on Saturday. He THRIVES on attention, so he had a great day even considering he took only 45 minutes of naptime. ToolMan has an awesome family and we had a wonderful time! Again, I am reminded how we need to make big family gatherings a priority.

We got home around 12:30 am, and managed to be in bed by 3 minutes until 1. CRB giggled with delight when I put him in his crib. Home is good.

For more weekend reflections, vist Judi.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Photo Hunters: Shiny


The theme for this week is shiny. With all of my husband ToolMan's metal-based hobbies we have hundreds of pictures of shiny aluminum things, and I have decided to go with a favorite photo from 2002 (that's ancient!) This was taken in our two-car garage. Eventually the plane outgrew the garage and he built (yep, himself and the whole family and all of his friends) a hanger too.

This is a picture of the wings from his first homebuilt airplane, a Van's RV-7A. The shiny porcupine things are called clecos and are used to hold the pieces together during drilling and riveting.
To check out more Photo Hunters or to become a participant, click here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Too much estrogen in the mommy group

My lovely CRB has been a grumpy boy since Saturday. Today I briefly considered making him a doctor's appointment, but his problem seems to be all mood, no symptoms, so I changed my mind. Instead, in order to try to (exhaust) entertain CRB, we went to the pool this morning.

For the first time ever he seemed petrified. He did not want to float in his float on the lazy river, and he did not want to sit in the baby pool anywhere but in my lap. There were lots of mommies there this morning, but with the exception of just one of the mommies, most of the conversations were just too much for me. I tried to just smile and nod but overall I felt like CRB did – get me out of here!

The topic of conversation moved to many areas. One mom was pregnant again, due in late September. Another mom asked if she was excited, and she said she was pretty scared, that last time she ended up on a ventilator for 24 hours. CRB became quite upset at that point so I did not hear the rest of her explanation, but her face or demeanor did not relax, making me concerned for her. The rest of the group was quite dismissive, and seemed to almost chide her that "nothing will go wrong" and that "God will make sure." I am not the best to ask on this subject, because in my opinion and personal experience bad things happen to God-loving-fearing people ALL THE TIME. I guess most people find that kind of talk comforting, but it does not work for me. I just cringed, and CRB to his credit, screamed.

Then the conversation went to scheduling babies. The general consensus was that it was just too hard. At one point, one of the mommies asked me point blank "Are you pretty rigid in your scheduling?" I laughed and said "Yes, he's supposed to be enjoying the pool for another half hour." If they only knew about CRB's bedtime routine, they would have shoved my Adirondack chair out from the umbrella shade of the mommy circle! (By the way, back on schedule tonight = happier baby + happier parents).

Later, another mom was asking if the group had heard about "Joanne" and how Joanne and her husband were adopting from China. The group had some horrifying comments along the lines of they could not believe how expensive it was… why they were adopting instead of having their own, i.e. who had the problem)… wouldn't be fun to be foster parents instead. I guess that could be pretty easy to think like that when those mommies have their "forever family" already.

Works for Me Wednesday: Furniture Polish



I really like the Method furniture polish. I purchased it at Target trying to find something I could use without cringing on CRB's wooden (bad choice) high chair to remove sweet potatoes and banana puff residue. It does a great job on the high chair, and it does great on dark wood antique furniture without leaving that tell-tale oiley streaky mess.


The Method company sells a great number of cleaners that clean without the use of harsh additivies. I have used many of them, so if you have a question let me know.


I enjoy so many of these posts that I decided that I need to participate. To find this week's Works for Me Wednesday participants, click here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

CRB’s Bedtime Routine

Of late, I have been causing myself, ToolMan, and CRB (probably Colin too) extra grief by my desire to deviate from the bedtime routine. When we do not adhere to the plan, CRB does not fall asleep easily and this is bad for everyone.

Here's the routine that works:

5:30 pm: dinner for CRB (veggie, cheerios, puffs, & juice)

6:00-7:00 pm: active play with blocks, cars, stacking toys

7:10-7:30 pm: walk around the neighborhood with Colin and CRB

7:30-7:45 pm: bath, clean onesie and diaper

7:45-7:55 pm: bottle

7:55 pm: iPod stereo on (Jack Johnson or U2)

8:00 pm asleep baby

Probably when most people think of a bedtime routine, they think of the minutes surrounding the act of actually getting into bed, not what happens in the 2.5 hour leadtime. Lately I have been trying variants that include removing the bath, less active play (i.e. going to the grocery instead), not a onesie, not taking Colin on the walk, or no music. I am not sure why but each of the elements listed above seems to have tremendous importance for his sleep process.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Weekend Reflection

Monday we had a great evening by doing a cook-out for five of ToolMan's cousins. Everyone ate a lot and had a great time. We should have more days like that.

Tuesday and Wednesday were difficult days for Colin the yorkie. He had a seizure on both days. Thursday he had another, but much more minor episode. ToolMan thinks that over-exertion may be a partial trigger of the seizures so we have been trying to limit Colin's activity. We also think Colin seems anxious, and perhaps has just figured out that CRB is here to stay. It may seem that Colin should have figured this out long ago, but Colin is the dog that needed almost two years to figure out that the treats are kept on the top of the deep freeze.


Friday we went to a retirement party for one of our secretaries. It was a nice party and CRB was well-behaved. He even got to have a tiny bit of cake.


This week ToolMan and I discussed how I am ready to let CRB go to church nursery. This is a big step for me. I also put CRB on some pre-school lists late this week.


Saturday we arrived at the university pool when it opened. It was not crowded at all and we had a wonderful time. We made some more new friends, too. Saturday afternoon I got to do a little shopping with Kerri. We had an awesome time!


Today, I baked some cinnamon rolls and brought them to ToolMan as breakfast in bed. He enjoyed his cards and he was excited to hear about his father's day gift. I tried to spend some time in the shop with ToolMan as he has said he misses that. This afternoon, I put the baby pool out on the deck. Colin was determined to participate. He got and out of the pool many times before CRB did. He had the best time retrieving tennis balls and removing all the toys from the pool. I am thankful that CRB thinks that Colin is playing with him as opposed to understanding the real motive – steal all the toys. With his love of the water, sometimes I think my yorkie must be part Lab, a Labra-dor-kie perhaps?


ToolMan made a piece to fit in the little sprinkler I put in the pool. The piece makes a water fountain out of the sprinkler using an unbelievably low trickle of water.


I am making some progress on my sleeping, but I am still plagued with nightly nightmares: cancer, drive-by shootings, smurf-blue snakes, ToolMan setting fire to different items in the kitchen, ToolMan removing the Start button from the microwave,… it goes on. Many times in the past we have noticed that Colin has experienced major anxiety whenever I am anxious. Here's hoping for a little less anxiety next week for the two and four-legged folks.

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Happy Father's Day


Object in motion (baby!) appears blurry but it may be the happy tears coming through my camera lens.
Easter 07

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Photo Hunters: Hair

My yorkie has beautiful hair!

Check out his hair in puppy days (10 weeks):


Then at 1.5 years:




Favorite Grown-up Photo (taken by Kerri) in Dec 2005:



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Friday, June 15, 2007

Too much

I am slightly less zombie-fied. I am still having vivid nightmares, the kind that are quite frightening that stick with you all day. Colin the yorkie has had a rough week health wise, which bothers me more than you might believe possible, and I am quite upset about my friend with cancer and in general worried about my father-in-law.

Good news on the sleep: Last night I only took 40% of an Amb*ien, and tonight I think I might go with a quarter if I can manage to slice it that small. I have been pretty good about my Internet cut-off time and I have kept up with my distance learning students to keep my work-guilt at bay. I have not managed to go to the gym, but I have had lots of pool time and walking time with the boys so that may be helping.

I have had an extraordinarily boring day today and as such I have done way too much surfing. As always, I seem to feel very out of place in this world. One group of women where I occasionally lurk seems to be on a rant Dennis Miller-style about their husbands. I truly cannot imagine thinking or writing many of the things that were said. Most were quite unpleasant to read. I should not be too judgmental, but truly many were over the top.

I never post much about ToolMan but that is largely due to how private a person he is, and is not reflective of my interest in him. I think I may have to reconsider, as some sort of personal war to prove/show Husbands Can Be Awesome.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Battle for Captain Floaty Boat

Colin and CRB had a bunch of fun this afternoon on the deck. Colin delighted in stealing Captain Floaty Boat (a little people figure) and Admiral Sinker (captain of the other boat that won't float).

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

One Rainy Wish

The year to date drought for our town is over 19 inches now. I am not sure why, but our town has not been placed on water restriction yet. We need some rain. Badly.

Other than my wish for rain, I thought I would update my week's sleep progress. I am doing much better but honestly I am not sure if it is a change of routine, willpower or Amb*ien. My guess is the Amb*ien but perhaps I am getting my sleep routine back in order.

Two minutes to ten, so that's all folks.

-- Hendrix tune for my classic-rock challenged folks

Monday, June 11, 2007

To sleep, perchance to dream

To me it's rather incredulous that I cannot manage to sleep. Back in the spring, on nights before my classes, I had a hard time sleeping because I was overwhelmed with the day that was ahead. I understood that, it made sense. Also, no doubt some of my sleep problems then were the on-call nature of a new mom. But now, what gives?

Unlike last week, I am home, and unlike last night, no relatives are in health crisis. Why am I up and completely awake at 1:30 am?

Around 11:40, CRB stirred and began crying. This is a rare event at our house, but it was no problem, I was already up and awake. (I will try never to ever blog about my child's to good to be true sleep habits though I do have a few thoughts on the subject.) He was fast asleep again after a quick bottle.

Lately ToolMan has been in the same state as I have about the sleep problems. Like many other kinds of problems, people with similar sleep problems can compound each other's problems. Tonight we resolved again to do better. We each took some sinus medicine. ToolMan is asleep, but nothing here. As I have mentioned before, it's imperative that I fall asleep first, but once I fall asleep I can sleep through almost anything. ToolMan understands this, was really concerned that I could not sleep again tonight, tried to stay up, but understandably (and thankfully) fell asleep before I could.

It is time for me to make some sort of radical lifestyle changes. I am not sure where I can get the smarts to do this (lack of sleep = dumb bunny) but obviously it is past time. This has been going on for weeks. I spend a great deal of thought and energy perfecting CRB's schedule, I need to do the same for me.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weekend Reflection #1

As what seems par for the course lately, this week has been filled with some extreme ups and downs, but some good news this morning has our scales tipped up.

CRB's first trip to the beach was enjoyable. I learned that if you eat sand, you poop sand. My parents really helped so much while we were on the Coast. Pops taught CRB some really funny mouth movements (like a fish, some sort of popping one) that CRB is enjoying doing. I am grateful that my son has four grandparents that get to love him. Also, I am thankful that CRB has managed to keep his awesome schedule even with our traveling.


Mid-week we had some sad news. Our friend with pancreatic cancer has cancer in her lymph nodes. We have not heard about her treatment plan yet as we are trying to give our friend and her spouse some space. I have resolved to contact her Tuesday, when Nanny comes.


Friday Nanny came to spend the day. As always we are so glad to have her. I am grateful that I can afford to have her come, and that I can afford to give her a paid vacation day as I did this week.


Saturday, CRB and I headed to the pool and we had a great time. He floated on his back some (!) and had a great time in the kiddie pool with Gabby and Emily, whom he has played with before. The university pool is so amazing, and we are meeting some great new friends. I am so happy that we can go there.


Before we left for the pool we had a nice conversation with ToolMan's parents. They had planned to come to see us Wednesday, but Saturday night we received a call from them from the ER. ToolMan's dad had some severe bleeding and they were waiting to see a doctor. Around 1:30 am we had a call that he was scheduled for surgery this morning at 8 am. The procedure revealed some "clumped up" blood vessels in his bladder. The doctors and nurses were able to take care of the problem. He will have some intensive monitoring this week, but the news is good. I am so grateful and thankful my father-in-law was able to receive care and is recovering.