Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Toddler toys

We are officially moving into the land of toddler toys. This means I need to clear out some of the baby gear to make way for the new generation of stuff. I have successfully unloaded my bouncy chairs and swing on friends. My last hold-out is the Exersaucer. It gave us a lot of good use, but its time for Andy has passed. Now I have to figure out what to do with it. I'm hopeful I can lend it to a friend, but being that she delivered a couple of weeks ago, she's not ready for it yet. In the meantime, I did fold it up, sort of, in that it reduces to "40 percent of its size." However, 40 percent of really damn big is still pretty big.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

More steps

So after convincing myself that the shuffle-step from Friday night was a fluke, he did it twice again today. I was so excited. They're tiny steps, mostly shuffling from one spot to another, but he's definitely on the move before too long. He's really starting to walk around the house holding onto the wall. Before, it was just a piece of furniture or a big toy. Now he's being more creative. He's also crawled for a bit on his hands and feet. I think he tries it and realizes that it's harder than how he's crawling now or walking, but I think it means he's really thinking about walking now.

On a side note, I went to church tonight. I'd seen a sign that the Methodist church we go to once in a while was having a Sunday night service from 7-7:45. With Andy, my women's soccer league and Bjorn's reffering, Sunday days are tough so I thought I'd try this out. It was interesting. It was basically an 1 1/2 hours (not the 45 minutes as promised) of accoustic Christian music. The singer was a local guy named Steve Kropp, who was very good, but the whole thing felt odd somehow. I guess years in a mostly uptight Presbyterian church will do that.

Public schools

I certainly don't need to worry about this just yet, but someone sent around a link on how to compare public schools and it's a pretty darn addictive tool - http://www.publicschoolreview.com/. I did it for my neighborhood in Fairfax and it's interesting to compare two elementary schools within the same zip code to see the student breakdowns. Fascinating stuff.

Andy has been struggling with a cold the last day or so. Poor guy was up several times last night and then got up super early. Bjorn took the morning shift (bless him) and I'm taking over the mid-morning shift.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Fridge Phonics

We went to Buy Buy Baby to return the demonic Fridge Phonics today. The woman that helped us seemed really surprised by the problem and suggested to her coworker that they check them all out for a similar problem. She replied (in that charming "I don't care" way) that they're been told by the manufacturer and headquarters that there were problems with this toy, but no one until now had said anything." Um, you knew there were problems, but you haven't bothered to find out if the ones on your shelves are defective? Not impressed. We just took the return on the credit card and left. I want to find something similar, but I haven't had a chance to find it.

And on my further rant about vanity plates, I saw a guy today in a red Ferrari with the license place "RED 4RE." Seriously? That's all you got? You spent $175k on a car and that's how clever you are? Granted, he didn't seem that smart to begin with in that he was driving a convertible with the top up on a day where it's 60 and sunny. If you don't put the top down on a day like today, when do you put it down?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Step in the right direction

Andy took his first step tonight. Well, and by step I mean he sort of shuffled from my hands to the baby gate unassisted. But that's totally new. He's also standing more and more unassisted and for longer periods of time (i.e. like 30 seconds). I'm going to regret encouraging this, I can feel it.

We had the final birthday celebration at playgroup. Well, final in a sense that we're done with the one year birthdays. In November, we'll start with the second birthdays. Andy did great for about the first hour, but after that he was ready for his afternoon nap. We were trying to get a picture of all the January babies together, but they weren't cooperating. Plus, Andy and Charlotte appear to be in a chugging contest. This does not bode well for the teenage years.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


So every single one of his toys makes noise. A lot of noise. My sister got him the kick-ass Little People garage. It's awesome - the cars are cool, the ramps are fun - he's going to love that for a long time. But the noises? They're oh so annoying. And really loud, too. There isn't an off switch and you can't turn down the volume either so I just took out the batteries. Eventually, if he really gets into it, I'll put them back in, but for now, it's just not worth my sanity to keep them in.


He's not talking yet, at least not that I can really tell, but then he'll start babbling and it actually sounds like a conversation. I usually play along and we talk back and forth. He usually seems very serious about what he's saying so I try to pay close attention. I'm also hoping for a word I'll recognize. So far, I think I've heard "cat," "bye bye," and "hi" but it's hard to tell. I'm also getting a lot of "mama" FINALLY. I'm not sure he knows what it means exactly, but he knows it gets my attention.

Meanwhile, note to owners of vanity license plates - if you're going to spend the money, please try to state something other than the obvious. So you, the owner of a black Corvette, please think of something more original than "BLKVETT." And you, the guy in a Jeep Liberty, couldn't you come up with something better than "MYLIBTY." I shouldn't complain, these idiots are paying the state $30 in taxes that I'm not, but is it too much to ask for something a little creative?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I am tasked with getting the paper plates and napkins for the playgroup joint birthday party (I usually volunteer to bring something I don't have to make. I'm no fool). So I went to the store planning to buy about 20 of everything for the group. I was surprised to find they sell them all in packages of 6 or 8. Is that really a party with that few people? Plus, they sell them in varying quantities, so you get 8 plates and then 6 napkins or vice versa. It's like selling hotdogs in packages of 10 and buns in packages of 8.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

It's not a tum-ah

So I noticed Andy had a weird little bump on the back of his head last night. It was weird, it was about the size of a mento (as in singular of mentos) and moved under the skin. I pretty much convinced myself it was a brain tumor so I played hookey today and got him to the doctor's. Turns out it's a lymph node. Not all kids have them and they don't necessarily have them on either side (he doesn't). She just said to keep an eye on it and if it gets big or swollen, it could be the sign of something else, but as it is now, it's nothing to worry about. So check that off the list -- for now.

Meanwhile, I mentioned this to a friend who said she freaked out similarly and called the advice nurse who told her the same thing. So I'm not that crazy, right?


He's not walking yet, but he's really thinking about it. We've been practing walking holding onto both my hands and tonight he walked for a bit just holding on to one hand. He's pretty wobbly still, but he's getting there. I've also noticed more moments where he stands for a few seconds at a time without holding on. It's pretty exciting watching this develop.

Monday, January 23, 2006

One year ago

One year ago I took this picture. I call it the Ira Fernbaum look as he looks like an old Jewish man here. Good thing he's gotten a lot cuter since then. I would have loved him regardless, but still....

Sunday, January 22, 2006

New toy

So I did get the Leapfrog Playtable thing. It was as expensive as I thought, but he loves it more than I imagined. We are happy. I think he's a right hander as he keeps transferring the ball from his left to right hand to put into the slot.

Fridge phonics sucks

So after a nice brunch with Liz where Andy behaved perfectly, we headed over to Buy Buy Baby to look for that table and use up my 20 percent off coupon. They didn't have the table, but they did have the Fridge Phonics that I was looking for. I'm totally disappointed though as it mixes up the letters about half the time. What a way to screw up your kid, teaching him that A really sounds like C. I read the troubleshooting tips and then searched online only to read that this is a really common problem. If it's a common problem that they've known about for months, why still sell them at all? It's not like they were on the clearance bin or anything like that. So now I have to schlep over to Springfield in the next week or so to return it. How irritating.


At our friend's last night, Andy was all over this learning table thing made by LeapFrog. It says it goes up to 36 months, which is a plus. The downside is it's pretty big and costs $60. But it's educational, right? With all this crap we've bought/are buying, we almost need to have 12 more kids to justify owning it all.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

More birthday presents

Andy's birthday keeps getting better and better. Today he got a package of goodies from Grandmother Dearest - several books (one of which he's sleeping on now) and this learning puppy. We were out at a friend's new place near Annapolis so he hasn't had much time to play with it, but it looks cool. We were checking out all the toys at Shelly's and they've got some fun ones I might need to invest in. One was this learning table kind of thing that he spent most of his time on while we were there.


It's been unseasonably warm here in Virginia so I've been encouraging Bjorn to drive the ridiculous blue boat -- a 1972 Plymouth Fury Convertible -- out front to keep it in working order. So today we hooked in the cool travel stroller/car seat and headed out. Andy seemed to enjoy it actually. We had him all bundled up just in case he got cold with the wind, but he didn't seem to have any problems with it. He did come back rather red eyed from our adventure, but he didn't really peep once except regular talking to us. It's a shame I didn't get a picture of us in it, but here's a shot of the beast in all it's glory from the summer.


We have a bunch of kids DVDs now, but we haven't turned any of them on because it's such a pain to get our DVD player to work. We have older TVs and lack the requiste number of outlets so in order to get it to work on the downstairs TV, I have to turn the TV around without letting it slip out of the cabinet and land on my foot, unplug the TiVo, watch the DVD and then repeat. It makes me really want to watch something before I make that kind of commitment. But Andy seems to really be taking an interest in that kind of stuff now so I was going to try to hook it up to our bedroom TV, but that one is so old it doesn't have any of the right outlets.

So I made the executive decision that I wanted a new 13 inch TV. They sell them for like $59 and that would be that. Well, it's never that easy. We went to several stores not finding anything close to what would work and then got to Circuit City where we found a combo TV/DVD player for $99. Sounds perfect. Except they don't keep any of their TVs in stock. Seriously? Who's great business model is that? So I settled for the $19 converter from K-Mart and it works great. Screw Circuit City.

Friday, January 20, 2006

My new idols

Check out these Halloween costumes that a friend of ours did for their family. How awesome is that! She said they're homemade out of pieces of UnderArmour, which is even more impressive. I think the littlest is wearing a thong. I don't really want to know whose it is.


Andy isn't really close to walking on his own, but we do spend time (when he allows it) walking back and forth with him holding onto my hands. I do have to make sure he's got socks with tread on them or is barefoot, otherwise he slips and slides which undoubtedly is not helping his confidence. I think he's got all the muscles to do it, he just needs to decide he wants to.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Today was our first bottle-free day. The first one in Andy's entire life. Kinda of weird when I think of it that way. We ran out of formula over the weekend after mixing formula and milk for a week or so. Then we *tried* to go cold turkey to sippy with milk. It's had some bumps, but I think he's finally getting the hang of it (fingers crossed). He seems to like these Nuby sippy cups best and while they're close to cheating beacuse they're somewhat bottle-esque, they're an improvement.

I went to a precshool fair today. It turns out most of the preschools around here are half day programs at churches, which wouldn't really help me. Still, it was nice to see what all is out there in case circumstances change.

Sleepy Pete

I actually had to WAKE Andy up this morning at 7:45. In what universe does that happen? I think he has a little bit of a cold so he was up a couple times in the night. Perhaps he's a little groggy from not getting a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Noah's trophy wife, part two

My friend Betsy did a bit of research on Noah's wife and sent me this passage. She cracks me up.

Noah's Wife: What was Noah's wife's name? There does not seem to be any passages in the Bible referring to her other than the account beginning in Genesis 7:7 which mentions Noah's wife. His wife is not named in the Bible for certain; however, according to Jewish tradition her name is Naamah. Why Tubal-cain's sister (a daughter of Lamech by his wife Zillah, and sister of Tubal-cain, a descendant of Cain) should be specifically mentioned is unknown. Jewish tradition made her Noah's wife. Her name, meaning "the beautiful" or "the pleasant one," reflects the worldly mind of the Cainites, who looked for beauty rather than for character as the chief attraction in women.

So not only does this poor woman have to repopulate the Earth, but the Bible didn't even bother to mention her name. Poor Naamah.

Noah's got a trophy wife

For this birthday, Andy got the Little People Noah's Ark - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00007A1S5/sr=1-3/qid=1137605123/ref=sr_1_3/002-4598752-8488067?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance. Although I'm realizing he got gypped because looking at this online, we didn't get a toolbox or Noah's wife. Anyway, there is a picture of Noah's wife inside the ark. What's kind of funny is she looks way younger than him. I guess if you have to repopulate the earth, you need someone of child-bearing age, but still - Noah has a trophy wife. Heh.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Computer savvy

Seriously. This kid loves sitting at the computer. I have to do it when it's off or he does weird stuff that I'm not smart enough to know how to undo later. This picture cracks me up for many reasons. First off, look how big he seems here? Almost like a, well, person. I know, I know, he's a person and not a baby anymore, but it seems weird all the same. Second, check out the new shorter do. It's an improvement although it's taking some getting used to. Third, do you see where he left hand is? The kid isn't modest so it's more a fluke of the camera, funny though it is.

We're transitioning from formula in a bottle to milk in a sippy with mixed results. He's been such a good natured kid about everything else that I'm spoiled. He's also discovered that crying *really* gets our attention so now he tends to do it whenever he doesn't get what he wants. Lovely. I have gotten some recommendations on books on discipline that I guess I'm going to have to read. Great.

Monday, January 16, 2006

High and tight

Here are camera-phone pictures taken after the first haircut. I don't think he minded as much as all that. Apparently it's fairly short. I can't wait to see it in person. Today is a holiday at daycare, but not for our offices so Bjorn is home today and took him for his first haircut, since I wasn't prepared to do it myself. I'll stay home in February for whatever holiday that is that neither of us get off either.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sports fan

This picture is a little blurry, but I just love his smile here. Bjorn was proving that indeed his head is enormous. This is an adult baseball hat on the smallest setting and it actually kinda fits.

Let him eat cake

This is a cake I made. Seriously. I really did. Stop laughing over there. My mother-in-law makes a mean hazelnut cake that is the family tradition, but since he can't have nuts, it was on me to make the cake. It wasn't hard either. I wonder why I don't do this more often. I imagine when school starts and that kind of stuff, I'll have to get into baking at some point. I should probably enjoy this bake-free part of my life now while I can.

He didn't quite get the blowing out part and wasn't wild about it coming towards his face, but I did at least get one good picture out of it.

Happy birthday, part tres

We had the family birthday party today. He wasn't much into the cake or the present, but we had fun.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

He's got a lot to say

Andy likes to attack the keyboards when he comes in the computer room so Bjorn plopped him in the the chair and he really enjoyed "typing." It looks here like he's really working on something. Perhaps I can get him to file our tax returns this year.

Friday, January 13, 2006

One year visit

We went in for his one year appointment today. I saw a few people there with tiny babies and I already can't believe Andy was ever that small. He was having a good time flirting with everyone though and walking around on my hands. He's getting much better at it. Now, on to the v. v. important stats:

Weight - 23 1/2 - 70th percentile
Height - 31 1/2 - 90th percentile
Head circ - 19 1/4 - 95th percentile

He's still a big kid, it appears. And his head is still gianormous.

He got FIVE shots at this visit. It normally would be four, but he didn't get the booster for the flu shot around Thanksgiving because they were out, and now they have it back in. He got four in his legs - two in each thigh - and one behind his right arm. Poor guy. It was terrible. He cried real tears and gave me a look like, "What the hell are you letting them do to me?" I did get him Tylenol before the shots and gave him a bottle immediately afterwards so hopefully that helped a little. He's had a bit of redness near one of the spots on his thigh so if that's still there on Monday, I may have Bjorn take him in to get it looked at.

More presents

He got an awesome Swedish/English dictionary from Grandmother Dearest and Pop. It even came in cool Swedish wrapping paper. It's a tough life he's got.

Stroller heaven

For Andy's birthday, my mom sent me an awesome thing called a Sit and Stroll. It's basically a car seat that can transform to have wheels and be a stroller. It will be awesome for traveling so I don't have to lug a car seat and a stroller. And since he'll need his own seat on the plane, this can fit in the seat for that, too. It's truly awesome. I'm only sad we just got back from a trip so I can't try it out immediately.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Welcome Henry

My friend who we were to have the baby shower for last week had her baby yesterday. I haven't gotten the details yet, but it's a boy named Henry. How cool that he and Andy will have the same birthday? And how fun that we could have joint celebrations (if we ever got that organized)? I'm psyched as I can pass along some of his clothes and toys. Since they're the same age, the seasons are right, too. We got a bunch of hand-me-downs that didn't work because they were the wrong season.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Birthday celebration

I went over to his babysitter's at lunch today to share cupcakes with the kids. It was really sweet actually and nice to spend some time playing over there. Andy seems to really enjoy it and the kids are nice to him. Once they realized it was his birthday, they kept coming to hug and kiss him. Aw. Funny though, he managed to throw up on himself this morning and get his shirt all wet. I had forgotten to bring an extra change of clothes in case so I had to stop at Old Navy on the way so he got a few extra presents. The shirt he's wearing in this picture I think is a 3-6 month so it's pretty snug.

One year later

Happy birthday, Andy! Hard to believe where we were just a year ago. I'm going to his babysitter's at lunch time to hand out cupcakes and celebrate with his friends. Bjorn and I both sang to him this morning and then watched him open a couple of presents. We'll have a family thing for him this weekend, I think.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

More daycares

I took a tour today of the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virgnia, which has preschool starting as early as 18 months. A friend of mine who is pretty Type A when it comes to everything, especially child care, raved about it so it was worth a look. I really liked the center. They have a movement teacher come twice a week to help the kids get limber. They have a music teacher who comes once a week. It's a Jewish center so they teach their holidays, which would be a cool education for Andy. They even have a full-sized gym so if the weather is bad and the kids can't go on the playground, they can run around the gym. Unfortunately, the center doesn't take kids until their 18 months starting on Sept. 1, and then it's only from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Starting when kids at 24 months, they have an after school program, but he wouldn't be eligible until the following Sept. 1 so we're looking at another year and a half so it's not really an option short term.

Right now, my favorite was the Merritt Academy. I have an application in there and I'm hoping by late summer/early fall to have a place. It's nice, but rather pricey. On a side note, my office is going to a compressed work week, where you can work 9 hour days, 9 days and take the 10th day off. So I could basically go back to full time at work, work an extra two days a month and make 20 percent more. We'll see. My boss really wants me to do that, but I said I need to figure out daycare first once the office moves.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

My son the cannibal

My little sister gave Andy this cute kayaker with a kayak (well, he has two paddles, but that's not the point). He could not be less interested in the boat right now, but the guy is very, very tasty. Every time he gets in the tub he has to stuff a foot into his mouth and chew on it.

On another note, he's starting to think about walking. The past few days he's been walking more and more holding onto my hands and he's had a couple of spurts where he stood on his own before realizing it made him nervous. I'm excited for the milestone, but worried all the same in that he will be faster at pulling things (especially the cats) and quicker to get into trouble.

He turns one on Wednesday. Hard to believe where we were just a year ago. I wanted to have a party and invite lots and lots of people, but I was talked out of it. Hrmph. Next year though, look out!

Great hair

Andy likes to watch me get his bath ready so I put some water in his hair and spiked it up. Klassy. That's right - with a K.

He really reminds me of someone (no, not myself) with the way his face looks in this picture, but I can't quit put my finger on who it is.

Real estate

For fun, we love looking at Dallas-area real estate. It's addictive to see what they have (at least how it looks online) and realize the possibilities. It would truly take an act of God to actually make this happen, but in the meantime, it's fun to shop. Check out this one - http://www.realtor.com/Prop/1052555006. By contrast, do a search in Fairfax for anything under $350,000 on http://www.cbmove.com/VCouts and see the difference. It's startling. And depressing. The thing that makes it hard - aside from the fact that we like our jobs, our friends, our house and neighborhood - is that we have no idea really about any of these places. They're just pictures on a map at this point. I've heard good things about Plano and Richardson ISDs, but that information is pretty much 20 years old at this point. Again, it would require a real change in situation to make this happen. It would probably take someone offering Bjorn a ton of money and offering to move us and sell our house on their dime, which isn't likely anytime soon. Still...the fantasy is fun.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


So we were supposed to be hosting a baby shower today for a friend on my soccer team, but the baby decided to ruin things as she went into labor last night. She hasn't had the baby, but the contractions are such that she's in no mood for the festivities as she worries if she's really going to have this baby today. We talked about having a party anyway, but everyone felt bad having a party without the guest(s) of honor so we're just hanging out instead.

Andy has refused to actually sleep either of the two times today that he seemed really tired so hopefully the nap I just put him down for sticks.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Click on the picture to enlarge it and you'll see how the cottage cheese attacked his face. Pretty funny.


Behold, a picture of his three-toothed bottom smile. It still cracks me up that he is missing the fourth tooth. I like to joke that it looks like he was in a bar fight and lost the fourth tooth. At least it would be a good story.

If this picture is too small, click on it and you'll see a larger version.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Texas rocks

Who knew Texas would win last night? Andy did apparently. Check out that jacket. He's a fan.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Redskins Fever

I foolishly bet on the Cowboys/Redskins matchup. It's been a good bet before, but this year, well, not so much. The upside is I have a pig snout and a Redskins t-shirt if I wanted to be a Hoggette. Mercifully, the guy I bet against chickened out of making me wear the mumu.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


I know all the books say that you're supposed to start phasing out the bottle at about a year. Andy isn't too happy about the sippy cup or even whole milk yet so I'm been putting some milk in a bottle and some formula in a sippy cup to sort of mix things up. We won't make the switch at his birthday exactly, but I'm going to try to get it by February or March. I didn't know how strongly I felt about that until I was at the mall at lunch today and saw a lady with her daughter who must have been closer to three who was sucking on a bottle. It kind of weirded me out a little so I'm going to do my best to make the switch. I feel the same way about pacifiers. He's now down to only a pacifier in bed. We make a dramatic show of flinging it back into the crib when he wakes up so now when he's ready to get out he flings it himself. Pretty funny. I'm not sure how long I'll let him have it at night. I'm sort of squicked out by thumb sucking for some reason so the binky doesn't bother me as much as that. Go figure.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Crib sheets

Dang, they sure make it tough to change crib sheets. I don't do it that often, but when I do I'm always reminded of why I don't do it more. Jeez Louise, those mattresses are sure wedged in tight and I find I have to haul the stupid mattress all the way out to change the sheet and then wedge it back in. There has to be a better design, but I suppose when mothers to be are buying this stuff you don't necessarily think about design details like this.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


It's a long story, but Elizabeth had a full Santa suit and convinced Bjorn to dress up - partly because he knows I find the whole "take your kid and put him on the lap of some strange man and take a picture" thing sort of creepy. Andy wasn't afraid at all since I think he knew who it was, but Megan screamed.

Plush toys

So a couple of months ago my dad got Andy a cute stuffed dog. It has quickly turned into a favorite, so much so that we have to take it with us on trips for him to sleep at night. To safeguard against disaster, I'm looking for a couple of spares. It's made by Gund, called "Little Treynor" so I figured it wouldn't be hard to find. Turns out Gund is like Beanie Babies, they sell limited quantities and then move along so no regular retailer has them so I'm looking on eBay at some possibilities. This is also throwing me into a world of collectibles that I'm not particularly comfortable with. Who are these people that collect this stuff? I'm not even going to think about that.