Monday, May 28, 2007

Let the games begin

We're here in Dallas. The flight was fine, the passengers were fine, the toddlers ears were fine. Our luggage even arrived lickety split. Granted, we were the last ones off the plane, but I love that baggage handling at DFW is about thirty minutes faster than at either Dulles or Reagan National. The only downside to the whole flight was we were back by the engine - so far back that we could only see the engine and not outside the plane. I had no idea how claustrophobic I would be having no idea where the clouds and ground were for three hours. Andy didn't care though - we had Thomas on DVD. What a lifesaver.

We've been having fun. Andy has so far caught his first fish, "driven" a golf cart, played on a seesaw, hung out with his grandparents, been taken down in a loving choker hold by his cousin Megan who is 2 1/2 months older, gone swimming, played in a bounce house, ridden on a train and eaten a lot of cupcakes and ice cream. Needless to say, he's having a very good time. I, however, am tired.

Friday, May 25, 2007

And we're off

We're headed out of town tomorrow to see my family in Dallas and visit a cousin in Pecos. It will be nice to see everyone, fingers crossed it isn't too hot yet. In order to properly pack, I think we've done four loads of laundry in the past two days. It turns out we have a stunning amount of clothing - although never exactly what I want to wear on any given day. Figures.

Andy is so excited about the plane. I've been telling him for the past few days that we're going on a plane Saturday. We then go through the days and then get to Saturday when we're on a plane. He keeps talking about it. It's precious.

Also precious is his ability to remember songs. The last few days he's been singing "No more monkeys jumping on the bed." Today he started singing "Twinkle twinkle little star." Pretty darn cute. I just wish I could remember all the words.

So in my absence next week, here are some good reads to tide you over until my thrilling updates return. All these bloggers update very regularly to keep you busy.

  • Coffee Betsy - The adventures of Betsy and her son, Jack, and occasionally her husband. They just fled Virginia for the quad cities of Illinois and Iowa. She tells a good yarn.
  • DC Blogs - A compilation of what the local bloggers are talking about.
  • DCist - This site seems to have the buzz on what's happening in the D.C. area (although primarily the city) with a sarcastic slant. It's a great place to pick up local news that is interesting, but not necessarily local news/Washington Post material.
  • Renaissance Man Trapped in a Cubicle - The tales of an office drone by day, super dad, author and band rocker by night.
  • So Close - Tertia is an infertility survivor and mother of twins. Her stories of motherhood resonate and the tales of life in South Africa are fascinating.
  • Sundry Morning - A woman with a cranky toddler with a wicked sense of humor who is adding on to her house.

Enjoy! See you in a week.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Well bust my buffers (as Thomas the Tank Engine would say), Pampers is coming out with size 7 diapers. It's about darn time. As you may remember from my earlier rant, the size 6 diapers aren't big enough for Andy overnight and they only make overnight diapers overnight.

Funny, when I heard about this from an anonymous post, I promptly Googled it to find out that my information was correct. I also found some interesting rants from parents alleging the diaper industry is shrinking their product and bumping up the sizes to sell more diapers. I love the conspiracy theory angle - that Pampers, Luvs and Huggies are colluding to deceive consumers. I do think the sizing is wonky. Andy is barely 30 pounds and the size 6 diapers allegedly start at 35 pounds so in theory he should be fine in these until he hits 35 pounds or potty trains. That said, I don't believe some criminal mastermind out there is out to really manipulate the market. Or are those folks at Proctor and Gamble smarter than I think?

Meanwhile, have I bragged lately about how much I love the Fairfax County Public Library? Simply awesome. I went today and checked out a Thomas DVD. I saw that it has a 7 day rental and since we're out of town next week, I ask about renewing it. She went ahead and bumped up the return date to after our trip to Dallas. How cool was that? Now we have the perfect video to watch on the plane. Andy will be thrilled.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wanted: One pediatric otolaryngologist

As I said earlier, Andy has to go see an ear, nose and throat specialist to talk about his persistent ear infections and if he needs to get tubes. The whole thing makes me unhappy, but I've been asking friends and relatives about it. So far, I've gleaned that the procedure itself is very short, like 10-15 minutes, and the results are great for kids who have been suffering. I also got some good recommendations of pediatric otolaryngologists (say that twice fast) to call.

Of course, this is happening just as we're switching from Guardian/OneNet to Aetna for insurance at work. Absurdly, you can't use the Aetna doctor finder feature unless you're a member, but since I'm not a technically member until June 1, things are complicated. I spent probably 30 minutes with Aetna customer support today in a harrowingly frustrating experience. First, the number I got from HR was for the HMO, not the PPO, so after sitting on hold for 15 minutes, they gave me the PPO number. I eventually got some names and phone numbers of doctors and proceeded to call.

I started with the highly recommended Dr. Choi at Children's Hospital. They'd be happy to see me. In August. I then tried Dr. McBride who luckily can see July. Seriously, is this a big deal or not? I called Dr. Staats' office and played a friendly game of telephone where I explained the situation to the nurse, who talked to Dr. Staats and called me back. I wanted to know if two months was too much wait time. Dr. Staats' office called back to say it was too long to wait. I explained I had tried others and July was the soonest I could get without her intervening to try to bump me up the list. The nurse said she'd see what she said and call me back. She still hadn't called when I left this afternoon.
Anyone have a cousin in one of those offices I can sleep with to get an appointment? Geez. This sounds like the Canadian health system.

What stinks is this is all happening just before we have to get on a plane for Dallas this weekend. Fortunately, it's only three hours and direct, but I hate for his ears to be bothering him on the plane. That would stink worse than his usual restlessness on the plane.

The risk of not fixing his ears is delayed learning because he can't hear, but the funny thing is he is almost reading. Well, by reading I mean he can point to the letters on the page and knows them all. And tonight, he even sounded out a few. Granted, he does call pancakes panpakes and band-aids, band-baids. Those are totally adorable, I just wish if I wasn't so paranoid that his hearing was in such jeopardy.

Check out His Adorableness during a nap the other day. I love that he had completely turned himself around and these crashed on the covers.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Recent pictures

Check out that face. Apparently eating is still a full-contact sport.

Andy and his Fafa. He now thinks all women who look like his grandmother are Fafas. It's quite cute.

My naked Viking. This one will totally be brought out later in embarassing moments. At least you can't quite see his boy parts so it's not as humiliating as it could be.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ear infection, part XXIII

We went back to the doctor today to check on the persistent ear infection. Bad news - after six weeks, it's still there and this time she recommended another antibiotic and a trip to see the ENT to talk about getting tubes. Sigh. We'll certainly do whatever is best, but it's pretty scary to think we're already at Def-con 10 rather than trying another approach. So if you know of a good ear nose and throat specialist in the Washington, D.C., area, let me know.

My theory (as an uneducated WebMD reader so my opinion is worth nothing and may even be harmful) is that he had a viral infection that lead to the ear infection. He was on antibiotics to kill the ear infection, but that also killed the good germs. So the antibiotics didn't work on the ears and made him more vulnerable to another cold that led to another ear infection. It also doesn't help that he's been in a school day-care setting so I have the added guilt that his illness is due to his school. Sure, he'd probably be in the same place if I wasn't working and he were in preschool, but Mommy Guilt usually isn't rational.

Here are some creepy pictures of the procedure. Yikes.

In other medical news, a woman in my playgroup had her second son Wednesday. At home. In her bedroom. Without a doctor or pain medicine. The story goes that she had bad back labor that masked that the contractions were so close together so by the time she finally realized how close they were together, there wasn't time to get to the hospital. Her husband called the paramedics who were there within five minutes and came in once the head and shoulders were out. She's my new superhero. I know, second kid, blah, blah, blah, but wow. Just wow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Bjorn comes back tonight. Yay! We've missed him terribly, but we have all survived fine. I'll be glad when he's back though and there is more of a safety net. Plus, it's been taking me over an hour to get to work in the mornings (Bjorn usually drops off) so I've been appreciating him even more. We're expecting heavy thunderstorms this evening. Fingers crossed that his flights all go okay.

One of my coworkers e-mailed me this and says I look like her. Best. News. Ever. I don't see it, but I'm still flattered. It's at least different from the typical Jodie Foster or Helen Hunt references. That said, what the hell kind of name is Grayden Sprague? I think that's the full Latin name of my rose bush.

In other news, a guy from Florida is planning to fly up to take a look at the Fury next week. Bjorn loves the car, but he just doesn't have time to work on or drive it much it to keep it up. It's a classic and needs to go to a good home. Any takers? And no, we're not moving out of state shortly, but it seemed like a better answer as to why we're selling than that we're lazy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Holding down the fort

Bjorn's been out of town this week and I'm so proud of myself for not stressing about handling everything with Andy on my own. It's only been 2 1/2 years. That's progress, right? I've been taking this as an opportunity to catch up with folks. Something I should do when he's in town, but somehow we all get busy. Last night Viv came by for some fine boxed wine. And by fine boxed wine, I mean hangover in a box. Tonight, Andy and I met Liz at Chipotle. I just realized there is a Chipotle in Springfield near BuyBuyBaby. That store totally irritates me because it's overpriced, unorganized and the folks who work there are generally unhelpful. BUT it being near a Chipotle makes it more interesting.

Andy loves eating at the "burrito store." I like it myself and appreciate that this is a way to get him to eat beans, rice, chicken, tomatoes, cheese and corn. Considering he's had yogurt two days for dinner the two previous evenings, I consider that a victory. They're also opening a Chipotle even closer to us in Burke. I am very excited.

My only complaint about the store has to do with their Web site at They have updated to Flash 9, which my computer at work doesn't have. Even more irritating is that there is no option to not have Flash. I was so irked since all I wanted to do was look up a location, not place an order or anything wacky and there was no way to do it save confessing to my IT guy and asking him to install the software. I even wanted to write to the powers that be a the restaurant to complain about the software, but once I finally got on the site, there is not one contact phone number or address. Asshats.

Monday, May 14, 2007

An Open Letter to the Disposable Diaper Industry

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a big fan of the disposable diaper. The technology is vastly improved over what I used during my brief stint as a teenage babysitter. The velcro tabs are genius -- huge improvement over the plastic tabs of yesteryear that easily got stuck on the wrong spot. The absorption is also amazing. I have changed some two pound wet diapers on occasion and I have been amazed that the outer core was still dry.

With all this brilliance, why do you have to screw up when it comes to the sizing of things? And don't you think it's time for a size 7 diaper? My 2 1/2 year old son is a decent sized kid. He's 3 feet tall and about 30 pounds. He's not huge though - he's still in some 18-24 month shorts because his waist is fairly small. Although size 6 diapers technically begin at 35 pounds, my son has been in them for about six months because your size 5 diapers cleverly don't hold very much. Unfortunately, your size 6 diaper doesn't hold much more.

The size 6 diaper cracks me up. First off, you are clearly geniuses. Once you get to size 6, you stop selling diapers in your generic or lesser brands. There are no size 6 diapers from Target, Costco, Sam's Club or Wal-Mart brand. Once you hit size 6, you have to go back to your more expensive name brands - Huggies, Pampers and Luvs.

Then you get into the so-called overnight diapers. Huggies sells a line, but it only goes up to size 5. At this point, I believe I'm supposed to be transitioning to the pull-up style diapers, but the 2T-3T pull-ups are too big around the legs. So even if they were as absorbent (which they're not), they leak around the legs. As my mother would say, "that's a design flaw."

I know the obvious answer is potty training, but my son isn't ready yet. That should be good news for you. The longer you can keep him in diapers, the longer I keep supporting your industry.

So diaper manufacturers, I implore you. Please create a size 7 diaper or start selling overnight diapers in size 6. Or if you prefer to stick with your pull-up style diapers, figure out how to improve the gathers around the legs to prevent leakage.

The laundry and I thank you in advance.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Celebrity gossip

I'll admit it, I follow celebrity gossip. Well, I follow who is sleeping with whom, I don't follow what they're wearing. That stuff bores me to tears, but Clare Danes hooking up with Billy Crudup a couple of months before his girlfriend Mary-Louise Parker is due to have their baby? That stuff, I follow.

I've been thinking about why that is. Betsy had a good post about it over on Coffee Betsy as did Chris Moreau, but I think of it a little differently. I think we all like to gossip. It's an easy conversation starter and, frankly, it's just fun. But you can't really gossip about your own friends. Partly because they're not doing anything as interesting as having four kids under four, three from foreign countries like Brad and Angelina. But partly because it's not nice to speculate and gossip about people we know. With celebrities though, we don't know them so it's okay. Britney Spears a bad mother? That's a safe topic, but talking about how annoying a friend's boyfriend can be isn't. Tom Cruise's masterful domination of Katie Holmes is fair game, but the war in Iraq? No, that's too personal somehow.

In some ways, it's too bad that we would rather follow the lives of these people we don't know more than the big stuff that is really affecting us. In other ways, it's such a relief to have such an easy conversation piece that you know isn't going to get you in trouble. So did you hear that Paris Hilton is going to jail?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Boss of the year

My job isn't perfect, but I'm reminded how good it is when I hear wacky stories from this place I used to work. I got a note from a former coworker letting me know that three people of a 12-person company had put in their two weeks' notice to protest the firing of another employee. Turns out, said fired employee was looking for another job. She had written up her resume and had left it in her desk drawer. The thing is it was written to seem as though she'd been at her current job longer than she really had. The CEO found her resume, presumed she must have lied about her other employment history. Though she was good at what she did doing a job that is hard that one wants to do, especially for the measly pay, the paranoid CEO convinced his second in command to let her go.

The most remarkable part of this story is how the CEO got her resume in the first place. He got it by going through her desk drawers. Seriously. What kind of paranoia makes you go through someone's desk drawer? That's even worse than Michael Scott. I've heard of companies that monitor e-mail and Web usage. I can ever understand monitoring long-distance phone calls. But what white collar office CEO has the time and energy to rifle through the desks of $12 an hour employees looking for incriminating information? Get a life, man! The guy is totally nuts.

That job is what I imagine an abusive relationship is like. We all knew it was bad, we all knew deep down it wasn't going to change, but for some strange reason, we all felt trapped. Having lived through my experiences there, when people at my current job complain about this or that, I'm glad I have the perspective to know the difference between annoying general work crap and a truly hostile work environment. Course, if I was still working there when Andy came along, you can bet I would have left by now. Leaving him is only okay because I'm going to a job I generally like, with people I usually get along with, doing work that is interesting. Otherwise, it just wouldn't be worth it.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

All wired up and no place to go

I've finally gotten around to downloading the pictures from the weekend. This is a cute one of the show. Too bad I managed to make sure you can't actually see Andy. In case you're wondering, he's on the far right, back row behind the girl in pink. If you look closely, you can see his shoes and elbow. I'd say that's fine photography if you ask me.

The funny thing about our journey downtown was immediately after getting on the metro, I noticed Andy had a dirty diaper. I am so over changing diapers in public, but obviously this one couldn't wait until we got home. Once in town, I stopped in the Starbucks on K St. Inexplicably, they only had one key to the bathroom and that key was locked inside it. Geniuses and less than friendly at that. I traipsed uptown and stopped in the Caribou Coffee up on 17th St. It's beautiful, nice and new with a changing table and everything in the bathroom.

To say thanks, I was going to buy a cup of coffee. I'd already had two cups of regular so decaf was in order at this point. Turns out, they don't sell decaf on Saturdays. I know! How bizarre is that. I could see there being less demand, but I imagine not everyone wants full strength - I know several that mix half regular/half decaf and plenty of people who like coffee, but not the caffeine. The guys behind the counter were super nice about it, but how bizarre. It's been three days and it's still on my mind.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Dancing in the aisles

We went with some friends yesterday to a concert by Billy B. at the National Geographic headquarters up at 16th and M. I thought we'd take the Metro so Andy could see the train. On a weekend, it takes a lot longer to take Metro than drive, but I thought he'd get a kick out of it. Sadly, he was bored after about five minutes. The concert was cool even though it was probably better suited for first graders. The real downside was it was a solid hour and by about 30-40 minutes, the littler kids were really antsy. After about 10 minutes, Andy spent the rest of the time dancing in the aisles and generally running through the auditorium. Good thing is was small and filled with lots of other small kids so it wasn't a big deal. Billy B wasn't my favorite. I'm glad we went, but he's no Steve Songs. I'm all for educational stuff and mixing that with cute songs, but this was a little heavy on the education and less cute.

Afterwards, my two friends, their two daughters and us went over to Bertucci's at 18th and Connecticut. It seemed lame to come all the way downtown to eat at a chain, but the other options nearby were crowded or not really kid friendly. Bertucci's ended up being great though. The pizza was good and fast, we got a salad and the nice waiter gave the kids ice cream at the end. It was also big enough and relatively empty in the back where we were that the kids could play and not really be in anyone's way. We took the Metro back just in time for the surprise rain to hit. By the time Bjorn got us home from the Metro, we were both exhausted and took long naps. It was a good day though.

Meanwhile, holla over to Wonkette and No Fact Zone for including here. It's amusing to think I'm the only person who didn't think Tom Davis totally sucked on the show. Perhaps that's because I only get about half his jokes, but I still think Davis held his own against the guy. I give him props for going on it actually.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Tom Davis and Eleanor Holmes Norton Sittin' in a Tree

Tom Davis, our representative from Fairfax, was on the Colbert Report this week. DCist thought he didn't do so great, but as someone who does media training as part of my job, I actually think he did okay. The format on Colbert is tough because he's so tongue in cheek that it's hard to stay on message because you have no idea where Colbert is going. I know Bjorn hates him, but he seemed fine on this. Plus, I like him right now for championing D.C. voting rights. That the 500,000 or so folks in the District of Columbia don't have a Representative or Senator really sucks. Especially because without this representation, Congress as a whole has a chance to really screw with the city and block its attempts to do things that are good for the city, but not necessarily good for the folks who have to commute to Capitol Hill every day.

In other news, Andy went to the doctor today and now has an ear infection in both ears again. He's on augmentin twice a day for 10 days and the bonus is it's likely to upset his stomach and/or cause diarrhea. Yay! The ears don't seem to be bugging him, but Dr. Staats said the ears are so red she doesn't see how they'll clear up on their own. Sigh.

Edited to correct my metaphor. I was an English major. Swear!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Still sick

Andy was home sick again today. I had a super busy day at work so Bjorn stepped up and stayed home (he's actually really good about that kind of stuff). I never thought he'd be sick again, but as Bjorn was getting him ready for school he said that he was still too warm to reasonably send him to school. Sigh. We have a doctor's appointment tomorrow to follow up on the ear infection for two weeks ago so I can ask about that, too. Is it summer yet? I'm ready for cold season to be over!

His cold is still bad enough that I had to cancel our fun trip to Baltimore for tomorrow. It just didn't make sense to have a big outing knowing now he's under the weather, but it stinks since we had box seats at Camden Yards. We are going with friends to a concert at National Geographic on Saturday so fingers crossed that he bucks up for that.

Meanwhile, I checked my messages tonight and my mother left an awesome one that makes me love her even more:

"Well, we're under some severe weather here in Dallas so they have the Weather Channel on all the TV stations so I can't watch to see who is getting kicked off American Idol. Do you have it on? Can you call me with live results? Love you, bye."

How great is that? No panic about a tornado or anything - nope, she just wanted to know that Phil and Chris were the ones leaving. Hee!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The mysterious fever

Andy still had his mysterious fever today so I took the day off to stay home. The good part was except for the fever and an occasional cough or drip of his nose, he was in good spirits and generally pleasant to be around. Cooped up with a sad and miserable kid is not as enjoyable. I did call the doctor's who said that a fever of 5 to 7 days is when it's time for a visit. That works fine since I have to take him back on Friday for to see if the ear infection has finally left us. Fingers crossed. It seems he's had a new antibiotic ever week this winter/spring.

After the morning, it was obvious he was bored with me. He kept asking to go to the library or to the store or frankly anywhere other than where we were. Later on when I asked him if he wanted to go to school tomorrow, his face lit up and said, "Yeah" quite enthusiastically. He probably won't feel that way tomorrow morning when it counts, unfortunately. The little bugger is really learning there, which is good since that's the point. He's fascinated by shapes, especially triangles, and makes a point to show us when he seems them.

This Friday we've been invited to go to the Orioles-Indians game at Camden Yards in Baltimore. I haven't been to an O's game in years, even before the Nationals came to Washington. Bjorn has meetings in Maryland so I'm trying to figure out how to take the train from Union Station to the game and then catch a ride back with him. I know Andy will love riding the trains. What stinks is we don't have a Metro really anywhere close by. We do have a VRE commuter rail station quite close, but I checked and it doesn't really run regularly in the afternoons into the city, rather it just runs outbound. We'll figure it out, but I know Andy is going to love the adventure.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Another shoutout

Apparently my rant against the Arlington towing mafia also gave me a mention over at the awesome DCist. I feel like such a celebrity.

Catch the fever

Guess who is sick again? That's right, the 2.25 year old is sick for the 77th time this year. Poor guy. I imagine this isn't what he had in mind either. He's had a fever of about 100 for going on two days now. He hasn't had any symptoms except feeling irritable and listless when tired.

Bjorn and I did the switch where he did the morning and I do the afternoon. Andy felt a lot cooler when I just put him down so hopefully his nap does him good. If he's still warm after that, I'll put in a call to the doctor's. Sigh.

The picture to the left is of Andy and Mia from the weekend. Jennifer came in town for the weekend and bravely babysat both toddlers while we got out. Fortunately, we were much better behaved than when we went out last time. It's great when we can get out with other adults together and our friends are so darn funny that we always have a good time. Our only mistake was going to Kilroy's in Fairfax. The hard part is trying to find a fun place that isn't really smoky so we sat outside on their new patio. Sadly, they had a band that night singing terrible Grateful Dead covers and on the patio we got a weird mix of band music mixed with the XM radio station they have piped in. Strange. I also realized that I have zero cute going out clothes. Must. Remedy. That.

My earlier post on the horrible parking/towing situation in Ballston has struck a chord with lots of locals. The good news is it seems Arlington County is on to the bad practices of some unscrupulous tow truck operators and has been working on it. Interestingly, the operators are required to call the county police before towing. I still think the tenants and building managers need to stand up and say no to signing contracts with these agressive towing companies. It's kind of like schools signing contracts with junk food makers. They know it's bad for everyone, but they don't want to turn down the incentives.