Saturday, June 30, 2007


Andy is obsessed with the color green. He always has to have a green one of anything now - he needs a green spoon or fork (often forgoing one for the other to ensure he gets a green utensil). He also wants to have a green cup and a green plate, whenever possible.

The other night I took him to dinner at a restaurant that had green lamps hanging over all the tables and he proceeded to point out each one, "Dere's a green one. Oh! Dere's another green one. And another one!" Fortunately, the place was not very crowded (as you would expect at 5:45 p.m. on a Thursday) so he wasn't really bothering anyone. Well, except me. His need to narrate the colors on everything, and frankly everything else is growing a little tiresome. Why was I so hot for him to start talking again? Because right now he doesn't ever seem to stop talking.

Picture is of Andy and Mia who decided they needed to ride on the blue car like they were in a parade.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Andy's mother, the brute

This summer we're really spending some time at the pool. Our neighborhood pool has one big pool with lanes and two small diving boards as well as a baby pool. The baby pool is tucked off the main pool with a separate fence between them. The only problem is 45 minutes after the hour, the lifeguards kick the kids out of the big pool to give them a break and make sure no one is drowning. Unfortunately, that's when the big kids decide to descend upon the small pool.

At first, I let it happen. I watched helplessly as these elementary school terrors splashed water in Andy's face, making him cry, and took his toys. I looked around for parents of these kids to intervene or a lifeguard to do his or her job. I was embarrassed to be the bad guy or make a scene. But now that I've become a regular, I've discovered that no one is going to intervene. Except me. Tonight we were at the pool for a marathon 3 hours (turns out there was even a potluck dinner on Friday night that we crashed, promising to bring double next week). At two breaks, I got up and kicked the older kids out of the pool myself. I got a scared looked from the dad of a one year old who clearly isn't up on the gig, but a mom of two toddlers thanked me afterwards.

I'm not normally the aggressive type like this. I'm fine letting Andy work out some of his own battles over who is playing with a toy, but when it comes to older kids picking on little ones, that's just not cool.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

That not pizza, Mommy

Bjorn's out of town right now. He's flown to Kings Bay, Georgia, to the Naval Submarine Base where he's going to watch one of his friends take command of a submarine. Big stuff. I thought about going, but we don't really have a good set up for someone to watch Andy overnight and it didn't make sense to drag him 10 hours to be cranky.

When Bjorn's out of town, I like to do something fun with Andy to make it our special time. I asked on the way home what he wanted for dinner and over and over again, he said he wanted pizza. I was game for that so we stopped by the friendly Pizza Hut over in Twinbrook Shopping Center. I can't say I'd ever been there before, but hey, having a kid means I visit lots of these family dining establishments that I've been driving past and ignoring all these years.

We ordered the two person special that comes with two drinks, a medium pizza, bread sticks and two salads. Andy is clearly my son - he loved the croutons on the salad. He liked the bread sticks okay, but then the pizza came and the whole thing confused him. He kept asking where the pizza was and seemed confused that we already had the pizza. Granted, he don't eat a lot of pizza in our house, but he's certainly had it before so I wonder what in the world he thinks pizza is if it's not that?

Meanwhile, the dirt king continues to come from school dirtier and dirtier every day. Today, he had dirt all in his hairline, eyes and face. Apparently he'd been in the log cabin on the playground enjoying pouring gravel on his head. He sounded pretty happy about it actually.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The strange behavior of toddlers

Good news, Andy did not have to go to time out yesterday for throwing rocks. Rather, his odd behavior of the day was taking off his shoes and socks on the playground (at least three times) and insisting on filling them with rocks and sticks. When I picked him up, he was filthy dirty. It was hot outside anyway and he was covered in dirt. Apparently he'd also been rolling around on the ground. When I finally got him in the bath, I put shampoo in his hair and watched the brown wash off him.

Funny, when he was a baby I was so diligent about making sure he got a bath every day. Now life is so busy (and he's so opinionated) that I don't always get to and it's clear that now he's actually getting dirty, not just needing to be spritzed off.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Our house is in a great location - we're just a few houses and one main road away from the community pool. The walk takes less than five minutes. Unfortunately, we have to cross Commonwealth Avenue. It's a main connector through King's Park West so it gets a fair amount of traffic. Sadly, the traffic that goes through there seems to miss the post 25 mile per hour signs and flies down the road. There is a painted crosswalk on the corner of Pommeroy and Commonwealth to get us across the street, but I find some of the drivers see a woman and a kid in a stroller as a sign to speed up. On a rare occasion, a driver will stop and let us pass unmolested.

I am always pleasantly surprised when anyone stops and we make a special point to wave to say thanks. Yesterday, we were crossing the street though and a nice driver stopped to let us cross. A woman in an SUV on her cell phone couldn't stand traffic not moving and actually tried to pass him while he was paused letting us walk. I get this kind of behavior on Connecticut Avenue downtown during rush hour, but residential suburban Fairfax on a weekend?

To counter the rudeness, I find myself smiling and waving at people as they speed past me. They usually pause, wondering if they actually know me, half the time waving back out of fear that they do. It doesn't make them stop, but it does make them slow ever so slightly and that makes me feel better. A little, anyway.

Friday, June 22, 2007

My son, the brute

Andy has been getting in trouble at school this week. Yes, my sweet little boy - in trouble. Apparently he's discovered that it's fun to throw rocks at other kids on the playground and has been spending some time in time out as a result. He has also decided that he doesn't want to follow instructions and when his teacher tries to get them all on the floor in a circle for story time, he giggles and runs around the room instead. This has also been landing him in time out.

Since we got the news yesterday, we've been talking about his behavior with him a lot. Of course, there aren't that many teachable moments at 7:30 at night after a long week of school. I imagine we'll be spending time over the next few weeks reinforcing the rules. It's official, not only is he not a baby anymore, he's not even really a toddler either, but a full-fledged little boy. Wow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


It's been a busy few weeks. We've had lots of travel, lots of birthdays, (as well as Mother's and Father's days), a high school graduation and a huge party. It was all great, but I'm sure glad it's over. Our party was Saturday and I think we had 100 people. We had chicken wings, chicken strips and buffalo chicken things from Buffalo Wing University in honor of Mark's graduation and almost every morsel was eaten by the end of the day. We also nearly finished off the keg of Yeungling. Good stuff. I had hesitated on getting a keg since we're clearly not 22 any longer, but it really did make it easier to clean up afterwards since we could throw away the cups and not all the bottles.

Andy had a blast. He played so hard that by 8:30 p.m., about his normal bedtime, he was so tired he was crying because he simply couldn't keep his eyes open. The good part about having the party here was we were able to put him down and go back to party with the stragglers that stayed to help finish the beer.

All in all it was a great time, but I am wondering about maybe having smaller get togethers throughout the year and not a huge mass like this. It's just so chaotic that I didn't really get to visit with some people I would have really liked to talk to more. Such is life, I suppose.

And to wrap things up from the U.S. Airways saga, I got a nice note from Elise Robinson along with a $200 voucher and a cute kid's hat. I have a year to use the voucher so I doubt I will because $200 isn't enough to cover a flight to Dallas or anywhere else I would normally go. And if I'm flying for work, I'm flying a different airline because I really have to be there on schedule. It's also non-transferable so I can't give it away. Oh well. The hat was a nice touch though.

Friday, June 15, 2007

To whom much is given, much is expected

Congratulations to Mark and the Robinson Secondary School graduating class of 2007.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mark your calendars

It's official - Andy can open doorknobs. His days of quietly staying in his room until we come to get him are over, I'm afraid. He's been able to open doors for a while, but I think it had never really occurred to me to get up and out on his own. He's been getting until fairly early, like 6:45 a.m., all week and yesterday he didn't like waiting for us so he just got up, opened the door and came into our room on his own. Today he waited for Bjorn, but I have a feeling he's not going to be content staying in there for long.

I need to get out and those door locks, but even that is short-lived as sooner or later, he'll be potty training and need to be able to get up in the night. Sigh. He really is growing up, isn't he?

Meanwhile, for all you other Thomas lovers out there, they have issued a recall of some of the red trains because the paint is toxic. Take a look here. Fortunately, I don't think we have any of these (for once, it pays off that I have restrained myself from getting the whole set!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Blogging pays off

In response to my rant du jour on Sunday that got me links on awesome DC Blogs and Wonkette sites, I got a nice call at home from Elise Robinson at US Airways corporate communications headquarters in Arizona. She had read the blog (and threw in some nice comments about how adorable my kid is), apologized for the inconvenience and offered to send me a $200 travel voucher. I'm still pretty worked up about the whole thing, but their attention is making me feel the love. I still doubt I'll purposely choose to fly them again if other options exist only because I think the management issues they have at Reagan National have a long way to go before being fixed, but I am softening a bit. What can I say, I'm easy.

In other news, my darling husband turned a year older today. I'd like to say he doesn't look a day older than when we met in 1994, but he wouldn't believe it and frankly neither would I. He's still a good guy and a great dad, you just have if you just ignore him when he talks about politics.

Picture is of Bjorn, Vicki and Christian, who also had a birthday this month. For you old timers, this is the same Nosering Christian who is also a Gemini and the reason we started our annual June birthday bash that's next weekend. The event was supposed to alternate between our place and his, but then we got married, sold out and moved to the suburbs and that was the end of the tradition.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Why I will never fly US Airways again

I had to fly to Charleston, S.C., for a meeting this weekend. It should have been no big deal, it's a short hour-long flight from Reagan. Unfortunately, US Airways majorly mucked up everything so an hour flight turned into a 9 hour ordeal.

Friday, June 8
2:30 p.m. - Check US, my 5:05 flight to Charleston is on time.
3:30 p.m. - Check in at counter and print boarding pass, flight still listed on time
4:30 p.m. - At gate 36, they make an announcement that the incoming flight from Portland, Maine, is late
6:00 p.m. - Board flight 3377
6:15 p.m. - Deplane flight 3377 due to mechanical issues
6:30 p.m. - We're told by the flight crew that a new plane has been called and to stay tuned
7:00 p.m. - Ramps closed due to lightening, but we're told to hang tight, the plane on the jetway is ours
7:15 p.m. - Good news, ramps open again, bad news, flight on the jetway is a flight coming in from Providence, turns out US Air has its jetways backed up and not enough gates, next plane is ours - promise
8:00 p.m. - New plane comes in, turns out it's for West Palm Beach
9:00 p.m. - Good news, we have a new plane, bad news, it's in another concourse so we have to leave and go through security again, half to get boarding passes reprinted
9:30 p.m. - Finally board the plane
9:35 p.m. - Bad news, US Airways is really busy, they can't find anyone to load the bags or fuel the plane
10:30 p.m. - Finally get the plane loaded and fuel complete
11:00 p.m. - Taxi out to runway just in time for a lightening show across the Potomac
11:30 p.m. - Flight finally cancelled due to weather
12:00 a.m. - Passengers try to get gate agents to pay for hotels since delays were all based on mechanical problems, not weather; Angry gate agents yell, "Don't yell at me! I'm not even supposed to be here!" With persistence, half the passengers get vouchers, the other half doesn't
12:00 a.m. - Darling husband rebooks me via US Airways call center for 8:55 a.m. the following morning. I am only one of five people from the original 88 to get on the earlier flight
12:15 a.m. - Despite being told to wait for my bag, we learn that US Airways hasn't even taken any of the bags off the flight so I leave

As you can see, it was a really long, painful experience. The staff at US Airways was rude, inconsistent and not apologetic for delays. Other flights leaving for Charleston scheduled for later in the evening went ahead as planned, but not ours. It's clear that they forgot about us, refused to make fueling and loading bags a priority to get beleaguered passengers out.

It's official - US Airways is dead to me.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Oh the drama

Whoever said boys aren't drama queens hasn't been living in my house with my boys, especially with summer, graduation and the senior prom approaching. The biggest drama-lover of the bunch though is the 2 1/2 year old. He has moved from simply wanting things to unequivocably needing them. Witness this morning as I'm making pancakes:

"Mommy, I need some candy."

"No, Andy, no candy. Come help me make pancakes."

"No, Mommy. I need candy. I need it!"

"Sorry, only pancakes."


"Then I need cookies, Mommy. Cookies. I need cookies."
And they say girls are dramatic.
The picture is of Andy at the DCC (with me looking on somewhat disapprovingly) as he proceeds to eat a cupcake, icing first. Meanwhile, keep your fingers and toes crossed for my friend Laura who is in labor with baby number one. Here's to another Dobbs Hall baby!
Edited to add that Owen Whalen was born Friday night. Congratulations to the happy family.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Health restored, crankiness intact

Good news - Andy seems to have mostly recovered from the stomach bug that was keeping him down Sunday and Monday. Bjorn and I also are recovering so that's good.

The bad news is that he was so hyper last night now that he's finally better is that he refused to go to bed until after midnight and then woke up a few times in the night. He had to be woken up this morning and was super-tired at drop-off, despite his glee at finally seeing his friends again. He took a good nap at school, but was so overtired from his day he was uber-cranky all the way home and during dinner. Naturally, I put him to bed early.

The other good news is that when we went to the doctor for his stomach on Monday, I found that one of his two ear infections has cleared up. The right ear is finally good, but the left ear still has fluid. In Dallas, I saw my pediatrician, Dr. Pharo, who is now 82, in good health and has really seen everything. We wanted to talk to him about his opinions of ear tubes and just double-check what we were hearing at home. He recommended we keep the appointment with the ENT for July. It seems Andy is hearing fine so that's not a worry. What's the concern is that if the fluid stays in the ear, it could end up being a bigger problem as he gets older meaning a more serious surgery if we can't get the infection cleared up.

The other interesting thing was he told us never to put him to bed with a bottle or having a ceiling fan on his room (he also said to shoot all smokers in the house, which fortunately isn't a problem). I admitted that until recently we'd been giving him a bottle of water in bed. He said that he'd seen kids come in with milk behind their ear drums because of the way the fluid passes from their mouths when lying down. I'm now hopeful that the combination of summer weather and no bottle of water in bed will help dry him out. Fingers crossed!

Monday, June 04, 2007


So I sent a letter to my fave food store Chipotle a few weeks ago complaining that their new Flash 9 Web site is impossible to use if you don't have a really up to date computer, limiting use from your Palm or other interfaces and got a response back. If you agree, the e-mail addresses are below.

To: katherine
Subject: Reply from Chipotle
Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2007 14:32:20 -0600

I am so sorry for any troubles. I'll be sure to share it for any consideration.
David Chrisman
From: Katherine
Sent: 5/16/2007 12:51:25 PM
Store Visited: Springfield, VA
Date Visited: 6:30 pm

Comments: I love you guys, but this Web site is for the birds. Requiring Flash 9 just to look up a location without an option for non-Flash is really limiting. I wanted to find a neutral locale to meet a friend and had to beg my IT guy at work (and confess my non-work use) to install Flash 9 just so I could look up a location. I would suggest having some more basic interface for those
of us on older computers or with less cool tech support.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Photo recaplet

For a week in Dallas, I somehow managed to only take 20 pictures. How is that possible? I can usually take more than that in an evening when Andy is being particularly cute around bath time. We've spent the day doing laundry, sorting mail and catching up around the house. Unfortunately, Andy has developed diarrhea and the poor guy's tummy hurts and then he's got some massive diaper rash, both of which are pretty painful for him. I'm hoping he's better tomorrow, mostly because it's hard to see him in pain, but secondly because it's a pain to have to call in sick AFTER vacation.
Loving the Dallas Country Club pool.

Coozies with sippy cups. Genius!

A diaper headress. Tres chic!

This seesaw was a huge favorite of Andy's.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The good and the bad

We have returned from our trip. It was relaxing, fun and great to reconnect, even with some folks from high school that generally always intimidated me.

The Good
Seeing my family, celebrating my birthday with them for a change, seeing my older sister 38 days from giving birth to baby number two, seeing my younger sister who serendipitously was in Dallas after all, taking a trip to Pecos with my mother, seeing family in Pecos and checking that everyone was doing well, the excitement that life in the small oil towns now that life is finally perking up, visiting the sand hills of Monahans with Mom even if we couldn't go sledding on the sand, seeing the meteor site in Odessa, getting my picture taken in front of a pump jack, eating lunch at the double-wide Pecos Valley Country Club, renting a PT Cruiser in Odessa since my mom has always wanted to drive one, watching Andy catch his first fish with his uncle Mark, giving a baby scrapbook to my sister, going to the Dallas World Aquarium and seeing the sea otters eat, visiting the Dallas County Club and watching that Andy is loving the water after years of being afraid, watching Andy swim with my dad, visiting my grandparents graves in Pecos with my mother and Oak Hill in Dallas with my dad, watching Andy play with his cousin Megan, seeing my pediatrician who gave good advice on the ear tubes question, leaving Andy with my sister overnight so Bjorn and I could go out without a deadline other than our own fatigue, seeing high school classmates, all the awesome thunderstorms that I love to track and watch, the great birthday presents including clothes, a GPS, books and Dots candy.

The Bad
Arriving in Dallas with poison ivy and then developing heat rash (I am oh-so-sexy), mosquito bites, lack of sleep due to Andy waking up scared in a new location, the crowds at the aquarium, my mom having her wallet stolen at Northpark, losing a bag coming back, the Texas heat, running into high school classmates, wasting $18 and 2 1/2 hours of my life on Spider Man 3.

All in all, a great trip. It is going to be hard to go back to work on Monday.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Wow. It's been an action-packed week here in Texas and we're not done yet. Tuesday my mom and I flew out to Odessa to go visit family in Pecos - 90 miles west of Odessa. I'm used to west Texas feeling abandoned - after the oil bust of the late 1980s, the towns out that way have been sad and defeated. Business has lagged, jobs have been scarce and all construction had stopped. Now with the most recent oil boom, things have perked up immensely. Jobs are plentiful, housing is scarce and excitement is in the air. It's so nice to see optimism again. Pecos is building new houses on lots that sell for $1,000 to $3,000 (less than parking goes for in D.C.) They're also building a new apartment building. These are the first new construction in 20 years. People clearly have a lot to be excited about and it is great. Even better, my cousin that we went to visit is doing much better which makes everything that much nicer.

Andy has been having a blast playing with my niece, Megan. They are at an age where they really mimic each other. My sister even kept him overnight last night (his first overnight without either of us, I was definitely more nervous than Andy was!) so Bjorn and I could get our for a romantic date. The dinner was great, but the makers of Spider Man 3 should be ashamed of themselves. I haven't seen a movie that bad since Mall Rats. Not only is the movie bad, the nonsense "plot" goes on for almost 2 1/2 hours and never does make sense.

Today we headed to the Dallas Aquarium World, which was cool. We got there in time to see the sea otters feeding. There were lots of birds, fish, turtles, snakes and even penguins. The kids weren't quite old enough to get it, but it was fun for the rest of us. Well, until the kids got really tired and didn't want to sit still any longer. Tonight we're headed to the pool to celebrate my birthday and unwind. Andy was afraid of the water last year, but now he's ready to jump in the big pool - alone. What a difference a year makes.

We head home tomorrow. It's hard to believe the week is over. When we left, it seemed like the week was endless and now on the eve of our departure, it's clear I was wrong.
(Meanwhile, check out the high-larious card Betsy sent me. Genius!)