Thursday, March 29, 2007

Typo police

Although I am not immune to typos, I try to avoid them where possible and do my best to correct them when I can. My friend Bethany sent me this gem from the elevator where she works in publishing. She even tried to contact the manufacturer to have them correct it only to find out it's a custom made sign by the company (again, a company that has a publishing division) and like that until the building burns down. Naturally.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The basement and my Chippendale's dancer

Before (below) and after (above)

Someone asked to see before and after pictures of the basement. Viola. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the new floor for the first week when it was still pristine and clean. In this picture, it looks a little cluttered, but really it's tons better than it was before. We're really psyched. Bjorn's going to be mad that he's in this picture, especially since he's all sweaty from the gym and was mad I was taking the picture.

After a rough day and night Tuesday, Andy slept well last night and did fine at school today. Bjorn also took him to my indoor game at the Fairfax Sportsplex where he picked up some soccer moves in that hour that are still hard for me to do. I know, I know, I've always said he could play the violin, be a mathlete, learn origami, but man, it would be cool if he liked soccer as much as I did/do.

Meanwhile, check out my Chippendale's dancer in training. I was cleaning out some clothes and came across this tie with Velcro on the back. I put it on him as I was getting him dressed for bed and then he didn't want to take it off. Classic blackmail picture of him sitting on the potty with a tie on.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Operation sleep exhaustion

Andy is sick. Again. This seems to be the billionth time this month or perhaps it's just the third. Regardless, the little chicken doesn't feel good and he's making the rest of us suffer. I can't say I blame him for exerting his power over us, but still. Andy refused to go to sleep last night, instead he woke up every 15-30 minutes crying. He didn't seem to have any obvious wrong - ears didn't hurt, stomach didn't hurt, he wasn't hungry. I kept thinking he was just overtired and would eventually tucker himself out, but he didn't.

About 3 ish after going back and forth from our bed to his while Bjorn slept through most of it, I took Andy down for a glass of milk and orange juice along with a small cocktail of children's Tylenol. He seemed in better spirits so I went up, plunked him with his binky and Jeff dog into bed with Bjorn, announced Bjorn was in charge and promptly went to sleep in the computer room. About 6, I woke up, moved Andy back to his bed and slept the extra hour until about 7. Boy, are we tired today. He doesn't seem to have anything obvious wrong (although now that I type this, I'm wishing I took him to the doctor to see if there was anything I was missing). He is getting his back molars that seems to be pissing him off somewhat.

To complicate matters, we're in the middle of a "I want Daddy, not Mommy. No Mommy!" phase which is a little hard to hear sometimes. I know, I got most of the first two years and the pendulum will likely shift again before you know it, but it's hard to be so out of favor. I'm sure that's how politicians feel.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Andy loves the freeze-dried strawberries at Trader Joe's so I buy two - one for him to eat while I shop and another for later. The problem is the red residue. It gets everywhere.

Seriously, look how grown up he looks?

I was making cupcakes for a party and Andy really "helped" as you can see from the chocolate all over himself and the floor.

Let's just call it Mulva

The good thing about my playgroup is we're never short on interesting conversation. Witness last Friday when the discussion came up about teaching kids the names of their private parts. One woman doesn't want to teach her daughter "vagina" since it's really her "vulva" and she doesn't want to teach her the wrong thing. Someone else offered, "What about teaching her to call it 'labia' instead?" Being a good Protestant, I offered calling it "private parts" and leaving it at that. There was no consensus on the right answer. I also suggested "Mulva" in honor of the famous Seinfield episode where Jerry can't remember his girlfriend's name except that it rhymes with a part of the female anatomy (her name, turns out, was Dolores).

I was thinking mothers of boys have it easier, you've just got "penis" and "testicles" to worry about and they're all on the outside making it relatively easy to identify. Then I remembered all the controversy over the Caldecott winning book that has caused an uproar by writing "scrotum" on the first page. Sigh. It's funny, the first few months/years of parenthood are all about the physical aspects of survival - getting enough sleep (you and baby) and getting enough to eat. I'm realizing now that those are really black and white issues (baby is hungry, feed it), but as kids get older, there are more and more gray issues, like when and how to discipline, what religion (if any) to raise the child and how to describe their boy and girl parts.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pictures basketball.

Andy and my dad. Oh, and Bjorn is there, too.

Mom and Andy at Jaleo. I love this one.

Hey, I'm actually in one of these pictures. And I don't look super hideous or anything.

Here are pictures from the weekend that came via my mother. Sorry that they're out of order. I always seem to do it backwards with Blogger and it takes too long to go back and do it again.

Meanwhile, here's a sad shout-out to Tertia over on So Close. Miscarriage totally sucks and I admire her ability to write so honestly about something so difficult. It's also sort of strange how with the Internet, I can genuinely mourn the loss of a child for a woman I've never met. It's like having a really articulate pen pal. It's also probably a sign I should get out more.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

School pictures

In general, I am happy with Andy's new school. Some of it is still taking some getting used to like negotiating the parking lot when I go to pick him up along with the rest of Northern Virginia and the fact that the teachers I know usually leave at 5 so if I get there at 5:15, the teachers there usually weren't with him during the day to tell me how he was. That said, the most awesome part is the school pictures. These were taken on his first day (clearly, he was having a bad time). Of course, I spent the $60 on the whole package. Well worth it for me if it means I don't have to haul myself to Picture People in the mall, wait in line, try to keep Andy entertained and then pay outrageous prices at the end. Plus, look how cute these are?
Edited to add: Special props to my coworker Jenn for scanning these for me.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Here's an early picture of the new basement floor taken with Bjorn's camera phone. Am v. v. excited. Of course, now it will be obvious how old and crappy our couch and rugs are.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Young Gentleman's lunch

We did make it to the Young Gentleman's Luncheon yesterday and it was nice. It was more an organized play date with several little boys both older and much younger, ranging from four years to four months, and their parents. My friend made food that kids like, including macaroni and cheese, pigs in a blanket, chicken sticks and clover-shaped Jell-O. Andy didn't care for the food much so I ate his, but he did love the Jell-O and had two pieces. It was a nice event, especially since my friend is 10 weeks pregnant and hasn't been able to keep anything down for several weeks.

More Thomas

Andy is fascinated with Thomas right now, and not necessarily in a good way. It all started when I checked out a book from the library with several Thomas the Tank Engine stories in it. He loved, loved, loved them. Once we realized he loved that, we figured why not Tivo a couple of the episodes and watch them later. Now it's like a mantra he chants over and over again, "More Thomas, More Thomas," hoping that we'll eventually give it. It's like he's joined a cult or something the way he says the name over and over again. He even woke up the middle of the night a couple of days ago and in his haze of sleep, he called out for Thomas. It's like Dylan on 90210 only without the weird guy in the wheelchair. Well, kind of.

My folks were here this weekend and I have some fun pictures to post once we get done cleaning out the basement in anticipation of the new floors tomorrow. It was great seeing them and Andy can now say "Grandmother" (although it tends to come out "Grand-mare" instead) and "Pop." It was really neat seeing him recognize them from the pictures and immediately warm up.

Edited to add the picture of my dad and Andy "jumping" off the basketball hoop base.

Friday, March 16, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year

This weekend is perhaps my favorite weekend of the year. Better than Thanksgiving and better than Christmas in that it's all fun with no work. That's right - I'm talking about March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament. I love this weekend because the games are on seemingly 24/7 and at this stage, all my hideous brackets in the various pools are still viable. Come Monday, it will be totally obvious that I have no idea what I'm doing. "UCLA winning it all? Hahahaha. Crazy lady. Hand over your $5." But today, I'm still in the hunt. I tried a new strategy for losing all my money this year. I'll let you know if it works.

This weekend is also great because my folks are visiting from Dallas so we've been getting in some good time together. Initial plans when it was going to be 70 and sunny this week were to hit the zoo. Then Washington decided to get a freakish March snow/sleet storm so Mom and I hit the mall today instead. Hopefully the weather will improve and we can do something fun the rest of the weekend.

Andy also managed to pick up a cold this week. They called Thursday to tell me to come get him from school as he was running a fever. D'oh. I hate those calls. True, we noticed he had some sniffles in the morning, but it didn't seem like it was more than seasonal allergies until I picked him up and he was warm and sleepy. Poor guy came home, went to bed at 5 p.m. and slept until 7:30 p.m. when I woke him up for a quick dinner. He then went back to sleep about 8:30 p.m. and slept until 4:45 a.m. when he woke us up shouting, "Daddy! Daddy!" from his room. I'm clearly not the favored parent at the moment, but at 4:45 a.m., that's really okay with me. After a quick book and some water, Andy went back to sleep until 7:30 or so. Of course, Andy has a party tomorrow. It's a "Young Gentleman's Luncheon" to be exact. I hope he's well mostly because I want to find out what that is.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Camera phone photos

So when Bjorn and I were out on the town partying like it was 1999, Jennifer was chilling with Andy and has some fun camera phone photos of the event. It looks like they were having a pretty good time, too.

The funny thing about photos is what I notice in the background sometimes. Like looking at the top one, do you think I can take down the sticky thing for Robinson Football now? I'm sure Mark won't care, but I'll have to do it when Bjorn's not looking as I think he might be sad to realize high school football is over.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The dreaded goodie bag

The goodie bag. A rather deceiving name really for a bag of stuff that other parents give to kids in honor of a birthday. It sounds like a nice idea - to give kids something to remember after the party, but in truth it's a bunch of dollar store toys and candy that I probably don't want my kid to munch on. We had our first real exposure at school today. It was someone's birthday - I'm not sure who actually - and there were a bunch of adorable cartons (Batman for boys, what looked like purses for girls). I asked the teacher about it who said to take one. Andy was psyched and I know why - there were toys, bubbles, stickers and M&Ms in there. He was psyched for the toys and I made a point to hide the candy for a date when I'm desperate. No fights over it today, but I can see in the future a good fight over him insisting on eating another fistful of chocolate candy after eating four cupcakes and two juice boxes.

I find the whole goodie bag odd actually. So you invite people to a party where you give them entertainment, food and drinks. And in return for you doing this, you're also supposed to give them a trinket on the way out the door to further thank them for coming to your party? It seems like it should be the other way around almost - you do the inviting and hosting and the guests bring you a thank you for having us. The same goes for wedding favors. I could see if you were just having punch and cake that a trinket on the way out the door is a nice idea, but these days, folks spend at least $100 a head it seems on food and drink, not to mention entertainment and flowers, and then they get a gift, too?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Book report

Lately, I've been reading a lot of books in addition to the trashy magazines like People that I also like to read. The one I just finished - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - is one of the most engrossing I've picked up in ages. I started it Friday and had to finish it tonight it was so good. Fortunately, it was a fairly quick read narrated by a 15-year-old autistic boy in England. In some ways, it felt very much like The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 with the talk of A levels and him not understanding the terrible things going on with his parents and such. The main difference being Adrian is funny because he doesn't get it and Christopher isn't funny for not getting it. Still, a really great read.

What I found so striking was how difficult it was for the parents to understand what's going on in Christopher's mind when in some ways it seems to logical. I was also struck by how hard it would be for the parents to not be able to hug or even hold hands with him because he can't stand it. There were also some good twists and turns in this one that I totally didn't see coming, making it all the more riveting.

After I finished it tonight, I did make a point to go into Andy's room and rub his head, feeling grateful that he lets me. I was actually lamenting to myself just today that he doesn't let me hold him the way he used to so tonight I was just glad for the good thing I've got.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

There's a reason we don't get out very often

Last night, Jennifer came over to babysit and we got out on the town with our good friends. They have a three year old and don't get out very often either. As evidenced by the picture taken with Bjorn's phone, we had a very good time. In fact, such a good time that most of us had headaches this morning. It all started with the Capitals game at the Verizon Center where Bill got us awesome tickets to sit in a box where they had free food and beer and ended with more drinks and a bad DJ at a bar in Arlington. We felt old compared to the rest of the crowd, but we didn't care.

Andy did great with Jennifer. Now we need to arrange for her to come back every weekend so we can do this more often. Then again, I'm not sure I could handle doing that more often. I'm sure tired today.

NCAA basketball is really starting to heat up in preparation for the tournament. I can't wait. Plus, I'm going to do a couple of sheets in Andy's name. That way, they're not MY bad decisions, they're his. I'm sure the folks at the office are going to buy that.

Friday, March 09, 2007

HPV vaccine

There has been a lot of talk about the HPV vaccine. Basically, it's a vaccine that when given to girls before they are sexually active, it can prevent certain strains of the very common sexually transmitted disease HPV or the human papilloma virus. HPV is a very, very common STD and a small percentage of women who get HPV will go on to get cervical cancer. Most women with cervical cancer also have HPV so the idea of preventing HPV and therefore reducing a woman's chances of developing the disease. This is all awesome news. Seriously, that we can give pre-teens, say 8 or 10, a vaccine that can prevent a really common STD and possibly cancer. What I find so stunning is the amount of debate over it.

The people against it are saying giving girls the vaccine will make them more likely to have sex. Right, like teenagers avoid things like cigarettes in high school because they're dangerous long-term. Kids that age aren't thinking about turning 30 or 60, they're worried about math class next period. Their attention spans are so short that I think this argument is bunk.

I also disagree that this is a "cancer vaccine." It is, only kind of since it only prevents a factor of what can lead to cervical cancer, not the cancer itself. Also, this needs to be put into perspective. There are about 11,000 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed a year in the U.S. True, 11,000 is a lot of women and any cancer we can prevent is a good one, but 178,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year so cervical cancer isn't really a wide-spread health hazard the way STDs like HPV are. I will give props to the marketing folks at Gardasil for dubbing this a cancer vaccine instead of an STD vaccine. (STDs are dirty somehow, but cancer is no one's fault, right?)

We give our kids vaccines for lots of communicable diseases, like polio, TB and even hepatitis (which I believe can be a sexually transmitted disease although I'm unclear if the vaccine they give kids prevents the STD one). Is this one so controversial because it's about sex?

I don't have a daughter, but I would absolutely recommend this for my stepdaughter or my nieces. I just think it's important to clarify that we're preventing an STD that can possibly lead to cancer, not cancer itself. I also think that if medicine cancer outright prevent and possibly eradicate a public health hazard like this, we should totally do it.

Rant over. Talk amongst yourselves.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Yeah, thanks

Andy is learning to shorten his words. It's fun and kind of strange at the same time. For a while, when you asked him if he wanted something, he would reply in the affirmative, "Yes." Lately, he's been shortening that to "Yeah." And just this week, he started saying "Thanks" instead of "Thank you." Both are fine of course, although I'm less likely to melt when he says "Thanks Mama" compared to "Thank you, Mama." Maybe it's just the inflection.

Week two at the new school is going fine, but my friend was right - it is almost harder. He's figured out that it's not a one time thing, it's a regular gig. Yesterday I dropped him off during our freakish "Alberta Clipper" snowstorm and he cried. It was so sad to see him look around, get scared and them tighten up his face. I was so sad to leave, even though I knew it was the right thing to do. Sure, he was fine minutes later, but it really did put a damper on my whole day.

Andy did like the snow though. Yesterday afternoon he wanted Bjorn to make him a snowman. Unfortunately, it wasn't the right kind of snow, it was too powdery somehow so it wouldn't stick together. Andy was quite disappointed.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Night night animals

A couple times last week, I woke up to hear Andy telling his dogs that he sleeps with to, "Wake up, dogs. Wake up." He did the same thing to his Thomas train that I had put under the covers on the chair next to his crib the night before as I tried to convince him that Thomas was going to bed, too. After that, I made a little spot next to his bed and we made a bed for all his stuffed animals. Now before he goes to bed, we make a point to kiss a few of them good night and then cover them with a blanket. Fortunately, right now he's only interested in a couple of them. Should he want to put all 15 stuffed toys to bed, it could take all evening. He also makes a point in the morning of going over to wake them up and pull their covers off. It's amazing how his little imagination works sometimes.

Day two at school was today and it went fine, I think. He was having so much fun playing with his toys that it took 10 minutes of me trying to coax him to put on his jacket and 10 seconds of his teacher telling him before he'd agree to leave them and come with me. I take that as a good sign. Some of the day to day stuff is going to take some getting used to. Like his teacher before would have him dressed and ready for me, now I need to go in and lure him away from what he's playing with. On the one hand, I like interacting with him at school and see what he's been doing and talking to his teachers. On the other hand, the new way takes a lot longer to disengage at the end of the day.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Your a bad speller

This week, Andy and I were making a thank you card for his babysitter. We did some drawing and were putting stickers on it when I noticed a sticker in the bunch that said "Your a winner." Seriously? The people who make children's educational products can't be bothered to proofread their stuff? That kind of stuff makes me crazy. I'm not sure where the stickers came from (I think they were left from our play date with the girls last week) so I can't return it to the store. I also looked on them to see if there was a manufacturer name on there for me to send a complaint, but there wasn't anything. Lucky for them.

This kind of stuff really makes me crazy. How can we expect children to learn to read and write well if the stuff we use to teach them is incorrect? My biggest pet peeve is things misspelled to be cute, it's like getting young actors to have a cute lisp.

Speaking of spelling errors, my friend Viv is a realtor and comes across misspellings in listings all the time. She's now started her own blog to chronicle "remodelated" homes with "commodius rooms." Take a look and send her your own.

Last year

Here are some pictures from last February and March. Andy looks the same, more of less, but he's definitely lost some of the baby look he had a year ago. His face is a little longer and less round and his muscle tone has improved quite a bit. His arms aren't nearly as pudgy now as they were last year. Funny, I was expecting to look back and see this huge difference so I'm surprised that it's not as dramatic as all that. Intellectually, he's leaps and bounds away from these photos, but physically he hasn't changed that dramatically.
Meanwhile, the house in the top photo is for sale if anyone wants to buy it and have the honor of living across the street from us. Today being Saturday, I have been scoping out the potential buyers as they come and go. It would be great if a nice family with either another two year old or a 13 year old interested in babysitting moved in. You know, since it's all about me.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Best Week Ever ... sort of

It's been a week of changes around here and I, for one, am exhausted. We said goodbye to our babysitter on Wednesday. It was hard. I teared up a little and we promised to stay in touch. Bjorn drove Andy to his new school on Thursday. He reported that the drop-off went well and that within seconds he had jumped into the gym/movement class they were having. Bjorn stayed for a minute and said goodbye - no tears were reported. When I picked him up, they said he had done great. In fact, everyone was surprised it was his first day because he seemed so natural there. Clearly, this is a gene from Bjorn's side. I was always anxious on first days. They reported that he didn't each much of his lunch (it was tacos, something he wouldn't eat at home either), but that he did take a nap. They sleep on the floor in these cute little sleeping bag type things and I was worried he would have trouble. I'm glad I was wrong. The only time he cried was right before lunch which is right before a nap. With all the excitement, I bet he was just tired.

Phew. So glad the first day is over with. A friend warned me that the second week might be harder just because the newness wears off and then they're fine the third week. It wasn't what I wanted to hear, but I'm glad to be prepared.

Last night we had our first non-book reading book club meeting where we drank wine and avoided talking about books. We didn't even talk about our kids. It was great! We laughed a lot, told funny stories and drank a lot of wine. I haven't slept well this week due to a late soccer game, the Oscars and anxiety so the glasses went right to my head. I'll admit I was a bit groggier than usual this morning. I had intended for the club to be every other month, but it sounds like everyone wants to try to do it monthly. Fun!

And to cap off a stressful but exciting week, Andy went back to the doctor's office and the ear infection is officially gone. After many weeks and three rounds of antibiotics, this is great news. I just hope being in a new school doesn't mean he'll immediately pick up a whole new set of germs.