Monday, April 30, 2007

DC Blogs

Hey, I got a nice shout-out on DC Blogs today. Let my 11 seconds of fame begin.

Thanks to Jamie over at Cockblog for cluing me in.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

An Open Letter to the Owners of Booeymonger in Arlington

Dear Booeymonger Management,
You have a great restaurant in Arlington. The sandwiches are good, original and hearty. The layout of the restaurant is open with good seating, both inside and out. Unfortunately, I won't be coming to your restaurant any longer as you have no parking. None. You have six spaces nearby that very clearly say "20 minute parking - towing enforced." And you're not kidding about the towing enforced part. In the 15 minutes I watched this Sunday morning, two tow trucks slowly cased these six spaces. It was very clear they intended to tow someone, even if they weren't in violation just yet. As a tenant in this building, you don't require these towing companies to have proof that they're in the right. Rather, they're allowed to take your car when they're ready. If they do, no evidence you could possibly show will get you out of the $100 minimum they will charge. This is organized stealing and you're helping them do it.

When asked about the parking, you say you can't do anything - it's the building. That's a shame. You should demand better of your landlord on behalf of your customers. If you won't stand up for us, why should we stand up for you when the time comes you need help renewing your lease or fighting a hostile city council?

You've made your choice. I've made mine.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Q-tips and memories

Behold, the photo of my Q-tip chewer. He really did empty out the box of them and chew the cotton tips off a few. I'm not sure why, but he seemed rather pleased with himself.

At this age, I'm amazed at not only his language skills, but what he remembers. We went to the grocery store this week and he immediately asked for blackberries as we'd had them in the store before. I had forgotten, but he hadn't. The other night we took a walk and he pointed out all that was new - a new railing on the stairs by the pool and a net on the hoop. It amazes me to look through his eyes as I see things that I've been overlooking for years. It's pretty awesome.

In other exciting news, they're making a broadway musical of Xanadu. It's a terrible movie with no plot to speak of, but I really do like the soundtrack even though until recently I thought it was the Bee-Gees and and not ELO.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Operation Big Boy Bed, Photo Montage

A not great angle view of his old room. It was pretty tiny.

The room halfway through the move. I had gotten my computer and the rugs out, but Bjorn's computer, the desks and the bed still had to go.

The ultimate pack rat, I actually saved this carpet when we pulled up the carpet upstairs when we moved in. I have no idea why I picked this room over the others, but it was a nice square piece and I thought we might need it someday. I was right. It still has some lumps, but it's getting better.

The crib in pieces to be put into the attic. I did find myself a little wistful remembering how I was 8 3/4 months pregnant trying to put that sucker together. I will say it was much easier getting it apart than putting it together.

The new setup. As you can see, there is tons more room.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Operation Big Boy Bed, Part Three

It just took three days, but Andy has figured out how to climb out of his bed. Witness tonight's bedtime fiasco where he climbed out and I heard him on the floor banging something against the bottom of the door. Nice. He's just so darn big now that I can hardly pick him up and put him back in bed now if he doesn't want to. I'm also finding reasoning with a cranky toddler to be a futile effort. Funny, it took me a while to figure out when he was little that I was in charge of everything. Now that it's a few years later, I'm totally comfortable being in charge so his attempts to exert control over his life is causing some friction for all of us.

The 10 foot furniture swap of moving rooms is still not complete and the very thought of it depresses me after all the effort we did last weekend. Last up is switching closets. Andy's closet has wire shelving that I've used as his dresser for the past two years. The other closet has two filing cabinets and 200 vinyl albums on the shelves left over from when Bjorn was in high school (not that we're pack rats or anything). The closets are shaped differently so it's going to require some thought as to what will go where. Groan. I would leave them where they are, but that's a lot of walking back and forth some days. Bjorn has also announced his intention to be done with this whole project so I have a feeling I'm going to be trying to move these filing cabinets by myself. That should be interesting. I keep trying to convince Bjorn that after this project, I'm really done for a long while, but I don't think he believes me.

The move also somehow zapped our router so I haven't been able to upload any of my pictures. Bjorn talked to the folks at Verizon who couldn't have been more helpful, but Linksys' crappy help line makes you wait 45 minutes and then says you have to pay to talk to someone. Jackasses.

In lieu of actual photos, here's a picture of the bedspread. I haven't gotten him the sheets or sham. Yet. He does have one pillow case though. It was on sale for $3.87 at Wal-Mart. How could I refuse?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Operation Big Boy Bed continued

We spent most of yesterday moving things around and I'm pleased to say it's finally looking good. Andy's room is set up with a twin bed, diaper table, bookshelf and chair. Andy's old room now has the carpet pulled up, both desks and the bookshelf. Unfortunately, our Linsys router has decided to stop working again so we're down for one computer temporarily. We're also exhausted! Who knew moving so little stuff just between two rooms would be so much work?

Andy took his first nap in the bed just fine (photos to come once I can get back to my computer and upload them). He did wake up in the night last night with a leaky diaper that had naturally leaked onto his new bed and sheets. I may need to invest in a plastic liner to get us through the toddler years.

We also went to my nephew's opening day Little League baseball game. I forget that baseball is boooring. No offense to the kids playing, but there was a lot of standing around waiting for a play to happen. At least with soccer or basketball, there is always some motion no matter how uncoordinated the kids are. Plus, there is a time clock. We left after two hours and apparently it goes until 2 1/2 hours. It was fun to watch. Well, for the first hour at least. By the end, even the kids seemed tired and bored.

The funny thing I noticed about baseball dads is that by and large they have more facial hair than soccer dads. Goatees and mustaches were present all more than half the men at the games. The park near us has both soccer and baseball so I've been noticing this trend for a while. Bjorn didn't believe me until we got to the game and he saw it with his own eyes. I wonder what's up with that?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Fungal infection

I took Andy back to the doctor today. He now is down to an ear infection in just one ear, better than two ears, but a pain that he still has one. She also looked at the mystery rash that still hasn't gone away. The latest diagnosis is that it's some type of fungal infection (i.e. yeast infection of some kind) and recommended Lotrimin. Let's hope that works. He also got some more antibiotics. This one just goes for four days (score) and is already cherry flavored (double score). Good thing I have one of those Flex accounts as I seem to be spending $60 at the pharmacy every week. I asked about tubes in his ears and she thinks he will get over this infection and then have a lot fewer ear aches over the summer. Then (hopefully) as he gets closer to three, he will have fewer infections as he gets older. Fingers crossed.

I went to the Wal-Mart pharmacy in Burke for the first time today. They couldn't have been nicer and the bonus was I got to shop for big boy sheets while I was there. I settled on a Thomas and Friends comforter and some red sheets that match so long as you don't hold them up right next to each other in good lighting. My plan is to paint his bed and bookshelf today or tomorrow and then hopefully make the big switchover. This is proving to be logistically challenging to get all the moving parts where they need to be.

Last weekend I went to BuyBuyBaby in Springfield and bought a bed rail so hopefully we have what we need for his new bed. It's a shame that store is so awful. They have a good selection, but the staff is always less than helpful (witness a line of eight people at one register and four staff standing around refusing to help). They do send a regular 20 percent off coupon, but even then their prices are way higher than other places that are closer.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


It's been a strange few days here in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. The Virginia Tech tragedy has its tentacles all around the area. Lots of folks around here either went to Tech themselves or have a kid there. In my small office of 50 people, I think we have four or five graduates and at least one person whose son attends (and is an Engineering major no less). Around Fairfax, lots of kids Mark and Jennifer know from school are there so it's really hitting close to home. I know that bad things can happen everywhere and you can't totally protect yourself from crazy. I know that intellectually, but seeing the names of the dead along with high school photos from schools nearby is making it very, very real.

It also all seems to exploitative at this point. All the networks have been camped out there and even all the morning shows are broadcasting live. Oprah today was from the campus. I'm glad they cancelled class the rest of the week so a lot of the kids and professors can get out of dodge and try to get some perspective on the whole thing.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Operation Big Boy Bed

We're still gearing up for Operation Big Boy Bed. It's involving more moving parts only because his current room is too small to accommodate all his stuff and a twin sized bed so we're swapping the computer room with his room. The bad part is it turns out we have lots and lots of crap in both rooms (shocker) that needs to get sorted first. It feels good to shed a lot of stuff we don't need, but I'm getting some angry looks from the big boys in the house for disrupting their very busy schedules of sitting around. I'm also turning myself into a martyr about the whole thing. I'm sure they love that, too.

I did go out and get a bed rail for the twin bed (see left). The twin is actually one I inherited from Liz ages ago (she'd probably be shocked to realize I still have it). I would like to paint it from the wood color to white, I think. I'd also like to paint a wooden bookcase, but I think I'll do first things first and make the room switch and worry about decor later. I do want to get out with Andy this week and pick out some new sheets for the bed. Since he's not getting a racing bed or anything crazy like that, I might succumb to a Thomas and Friends pattern. It goes against my nature, but it just makes him so happy that it's hard to argue.

The weather here in Virginia is just dreadful. The drive to Annapolis for the baptism today involved pouring rain both ways and very limited visibility on the Beltway. If we didn't have to be there, it would have been a great day to hunker down, watch She's Having a Baby and Adventures in Babysitting that have been on TBS on loop all weekend.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Oh no, part deux

Sadly, The Goodnight Train suffered an injury to the hands of my two-year-old yesterday. After waking up from his nap, Andy decided to rip the last page out of the book. The page didn't have any words on it and just had the tag from the Fairfax County Library on it so I could see his point that it was boring, but still. Ripping books is bad. Plus, now I have to go to the already standoffish librarians and fess up to our crime. I have a feeling this is the beginning of a long line of incidents where I/we have to confess to breaking or stealing something. Yay. More stuff to look forward to!

On the flip side, Andy was a darling this evening. Well, after his first time out that is. He kept standing on the dining room chair and after I warned him once and he did it again, I calmly picked him up and put him on the stoop of the stairs for his first official time out. I did was my sister suggested, I told him what he did wrong and put the kitchen timer on two minutes. He sat sadly and whimpered a bit toward the end (funny how looong two minutes can be sometimes - it's the same in indoor soccer at the end of a half when you're desperately holding on to a lead). Afterwards, I had him tell me he was sorry for standing on the chair and the rest of the evening, he was a perfect darling. I like to think it was due to our excellent parenting, but I have a feeling that's a little far fetched.

Tomorrow we're off to Annapolis for the baptism of a friend's daughter. I was honored to be named godparent (we had training today, which sounds ridiculous, but was actually kind of nice). Andy is excited to go see more singing. Seriously.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Oh no!

A favorite phrase in our house for months and months has been, "Oh no!" Andy says it with such enthusiasm and inflection that it really makes you take notice, even if what he's excited about is the fact that it's raining outside, that Miles has jumped on the table or that it's dark outside. Now he's gone one step further and says, "Oh no. What happened?" What's great is the way he drags out the what happened part, really emphasizing every syllable. It's so great I just want to gobble him up. Well, when he's not throwing a fit because of something or nothing. Because he's been doing a lot of that, too.

There is also a new favorite book this week, The Goodnight Train by June Sobel and Laura Huliska-Beith. Like most kids' books, the plot is rather lacking, but he sure loves the pictures and we have fun pointing to the different parts of the train and the kids sleeping in the cars. He loves the book so much that he's insisted on sleeping with it the past few nights and I find him in the morning reading it. I checked it out of the library, but if this keeps up, I might have to get a permanent copy for his library.

Andy is also starting to show signs of outgrowing his crib. He hasn't climbed out - yet - but it's clear the way he throws his leg over the side that it's just a matter of hours at this point. We have a busy weekend ahead, but I'm hopeful we get some time to switch his room with the computer room where we already have a twin bed. I don't want to get rid of the crib just yet, but I think having both options for a bit will work just fine.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bodily excretions

Andy came home from school last week with a new word - booger. It's not a bad word at all, it's just one I didn't expect to hear from him until, say, kindergarten. Clearly I live in a dream world. Fortunately, he's not into naming his other bodily excretions just yet, but I can see that pee and poop and the various variations (good and bad) are on the horizon for me, especially with potty training looming. Great.

I think I'm one of the few people in America that doesn't find pee and poop jokes funny, as evidenced by America's love affair with hideous Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller movies. To me, bathroom humor is just too easy. I want these folks to come up with some original material.

Meanwhile, the reign of the Special Cookies has begun in our house. When Bjorn was growing up, his grandmother in Sweden gave them "special cookies" for successfully going on the potty. Tonight, Bjorn told Andy he could have a special cookie if he successfully used it. So Andy attacked the Baby Bjorn with great gusto and actually put four drops of pee into the potty and he was justly rewarded with a cookie. He then spent the evening asking for more special cookies. Well, except when he was busy emptying out all the Q-tips and chewing off the cotton ends. I can't explain it, but I have photo evidence to post of it later.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

I swear I didn't have a kid just to dress him up, but damn, how cute does he look with his tie and sweater vest?

The big kids having a tickle fight.

It's been a nice Easter weekend here in Virginia, well, except for the 30 degree weather and freak snow we had Friday night. We actually got up and went to church today at the nice St. Stephen's Methodist Church in Burke where Andy was baptised. We've been, oh, three times since then so it was good to show our faces. We decided to let Andy come with us into the santuary rather than send him to class. Course, we didn't figure on getting there just late enough that we had to be seated on the front row. Fortunately, he lasted through about 45 minutes before Bjorn took him out. The only thing was he kept saying (loudly) "more singing" so we figured as the sermon finally started, getting him out was a good thing. Still, I thought 45 minutes was pretty good for a two-year-old. We had a nice Easter egg hunt at Bjorn's mother's in the afternoon as well. All in all, a pretty nice and busy weekend.

Friday, April 06, 2007


I've heard of homeschooling, sure. But my frame of reference is off. The people I have known to personally homeschool their kids have been whack jobs for various reasons, like the guy Bjorn used to work with who got his wheelchair-bound brother's girlfriend pregnant and ended up moving to Hawaii and living in his van with her, her daughter, his son from a previous marriage and their new kids. Yeah, that guy homeschooled his kids.

With that as my reference point, I was surprised when my super nice neighbor told me she might not be sending her kids to kindergarten next year at the public school, but instead might homeschool them instead. She's perfectly normal and nice. Her kids seem well-adjusted and sociable -- they even go to preschool in the neighborhood. It just so happens that she's interested in homeschooling. When she told me, I was trying to ask questions without revealing my own ignorance about the whole thing. She explained that lots of people in the neighborhood do it and start rattling off names of families and kids that I don't know all within a few block radius.

What's particularly funny for me is Fairfax County is known for having really good public schools. In fact, in recent reports in Newsweek and others, it usually ranks up there as some of the best. I could understand homeschooling more if you were in a rural area or in a place where the public schools weren't great. So I'm totally intrigued by her decision and I'm very interested to talk to her more about it. I personally can't imagine doing it, but now I'm really interested to find out what motivates someone to do it.


We have at least three good places to eat in the house - the kitchen table, the dining room table and the little table in the living room. Yet it never fails that he wants to eat somewhere other than those places. As we were cleaning out the basement, Andy created this special eating place for himself - a table made of a plastic container with his blocks and his Spongebob Squarepants chair.

In other news, I have managed to get the cold that Bjorn had last week that Andy is on antibiotics for at the moment. It would figure I would get sick in time for a really busy weekend where we have an Easter part, an Easter egg hunt, a farewell party for a neighbor (at our place, no less) and Easter dinner at my mother-in-law's place.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

HPV Continued

One of the perks of my job is I get to talk to people who are really making a difference in the lives of folks living with a diagnosis of cancer (don't call them patients, they don't think they're sick the way you think of a patient in a bed in a hospital). These advocates are on the front lines helping people and trying to make a difference. I have a lot of admiration for them. I had a fascinating chat the other day with a guy about head and neck cancers. Turns out, a lot of oral cancers are also linked to HPV, making it even more important for parents to consider giving their kids the vaccine (see earlier rant). Here's a great link to learn more about HPV and oral cancers. It's a slightly dense read (with apostrophe errors intact), but it's pretty interesting. And it's even more exciting to think that this vaccine could help reduce incidences of another cancer as well.

Field Trip

Andy had his first field trip to the National Zoo yesterday. They dressed all the kids up in cute matching green sweatshirts and drove them to the zoo. They plan was for them all to follow along holding onto a rope, but Andy refused and held Miss Diane's hand instead. I can't say I blame him based on the options. There may have been animals at the zoo, but all he can talk about is riding on the school bus. The whole ride home and evening he kept saying "bus, school bus." Did you see animals? "Yes. Bus." Did you like the zoo? "School bus." Freak.

Unfortunately, he napped on the bus on the way home and then refused to take a nap back at school spawning a series of tantrums unrivaled in our household. Liz even called me and I could barely hear her over the yelling in the background. And people say my life isn't glamorous!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Strange rash equals ear infection?

Andy has had a strange rash-like mark on his hip for the past week. I noticed is last Sunday night, meaning it definitely happened on my watch and not at school or something else. It was just a small mark, about the size of a quarter if you squished it a bit so that it was narrower in the middle and wider on the sides. I kept an eye on it and it didn't seem to change colors, but it also didn't seem to be getting bigger or smaller. It also didn't seem to bother him. It didn't hurt when I touched it or seem to itch. It was just, well, there. Bjorn finally noticed it Sunday and I noticed that it seemed a little whiter in the middle so I decided a trip to the doctor was in order. I got an appointment for yesterday afternoon. The only downside was the female doctor I really like isn't in this week. Oh well.

The doctor bothers me because he doesn't call me by name (or Andy by name), he just calls me Mom and usually doesn't look me in the eye or tell me what he's doing. He seems good at what he does medically, but he doesn't give me the impression of listening to me the way she does. After an exam, where Andy for the first time ever didn't mind the ear thermometer or the ear scope thingee, it turns out he has another ear infection and a sore throat. Apparently the rash can be related to the other illness. Who knew? The news was even more surprising since Andy has been an angel the past few days. He didn't seem to feel bad, he was chipper and slept well.

The prescription was given for omnicef 125 mg at 3/4 teaspoon twice a day. I was also given a prescription for flucticasone, a cream to put on the rash and on his diaper rash until it clears up. I was smart and asked for the flavoring in the antibiotic only to find out the omnicef is already strawberry flavored. It actually doesn't taste half bad.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

At least it took three weeks

It took three weeks, but I'm officially out of the running in any of my basketball pools. Bjorn had local favorite Georgetown winning it all and I had UCLA (well, I had four sheets, UCLA was the only one still left). We both lost yesterday. Sigh. At least we had three weeks of possibly winning this year as opposed to being out after the first weekend like usual.

We went to our friend Harriet's yesterday to watch the game at her place in Arlington. She's a Georgetown alum so there was lots of cheering and reciting the fight song. Andy played with a 3 1/2 year old during the party. It was great that they were able to run around and play together. That was a real first that they would just disappear to the safe rooms and play leaving us to watch the game. It only took 2 1/4 years to get to this point.

In other news, the basement reorganization has sparked lots of spring cleaning and furniture reorganizations. We moved the table from the basement to the kitchen giving us a usable kitchen table. I haven't gotten all the way used to it yet, but it is handy -- so long as we keep is free of mail and other crap, like Mark's shoes and Bjorn's portfolio.

Andy has his first field trip on Tuesday to go to the zoo with his school. I'm not sure how that works. I have lots of questions I need to ask tomorrow about transportation, naps, organization and that kind of stuff. I'm sure he's going to love it though.