Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Words

Just a quick one while V naps, and I get a little time to myself. Here are a few words or phrases I've heard V say in the past few weeks. The first "word" is how it sounds when he talks. The second is the actual word or phrase that he's trying to say.:

-"dink" or "gink" = "Drink!" or "I want a drink."
-"gaye" = "Game!" or "I want to play that game!" We've also heard through tears something that sounds very much like "I want game!"
-"stawbee" = "strawberry"
-"moo" = Can either be the sound a cow makes or "moon", depending on the context
-"key" = "kitty" or "key", depending on the context
-"Ganma" = "Grandma!"
-"Pa-paw" = "Grandpa!"
-"Nigh, nigh" = "Good night." or "I'm going to bed."
-"pay" = "play"
-"na-na" = "banana"
-"puppy" = "dog" or "puppy"
-"pappy" = "paci" or "pacifier"
-"way-way" = "raisin" or "raining", like in "It's raining. It's pouring..."
-"bape" = "grapes"
-"Bye, guy!" = "Goodbye!" or "Bye, guys!"
-"Hewoe, Mommy!" or "Hewoe, Daddy!" = "Hello, Mommy!" or "Hello, Daddy!"
-"dank" or "no, dank" = "Thanks!" or "No, Thanks!"
-"Boos Coos" or "Boo" = "Blues Clues"
-"Gabba!" = "Yo Gabba Gabba"
-"Duby" = "Max and Ruby"
-"tee" = "tree"
-"wah-wah" = "water"
-"bee" = "green beans" or any kind of bean
-"moh" = "more", and last night, we heard a lot of "Moh bee!" or "More green beans!"
-"out-thide" = "outside"
-"buhfy" or sometimes "buy" = "butterfly"
-"cake" = "Cake!" or "brownies"
-"eye keem" = "ice cream"
-"Kay!" = "crayons", only when he's pointing at them
-"ball" = "ball"
-"bowl" = "bowl"
-"pop" = "Pop!" when a bubble pops or "lollipop"
-"bubble" = "bubbles"
-"uhhh" = "up"
-"down" = "down"
-And as plain as day, he said "monkey" the other day while doing a puzzle!
He will also make animal sounds, and he'll growl when he sees a picture of a wild animal or even when he sees a car! He's still singing "Twinkle, Twinkle" and the "ABC Song", but he's now added "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" as well as the theme songs to "Blues Clues", "Yo Gabba Gabba" and "Max and Ruby". Most everything is still gibberish, but he pretty much has the tunes down and can say a few of the words. My favorite is when he sings "Kunkle, Kunkle, Wuttle Car" with such earnestness. It's just so cute!
Best to you all,

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dumb Laws In Your State

While doing my regular blog reading for the morning, I came across the following website on Punky Monkey's blog. I thought it was hilarious and couldn't pass up the chance to share it here.

Dumb Laws: Find your state at the top of the page and discover what stupid laws may still be on the books. For example, here are a few things I found out about Indiana:

-If any person has a puppet show, wire dancing or tumbling act in the state of Indiana and receives money for it, they will be fined $3 under the Act to Prevent Certain Immoral Practices.

-Anyone 14 or older who profanely curses, damns or swears by the name of God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, shall be fined one to three dollars for each offense, with a maximum fine of ten dollars per day.

-A three dollar fine per pack will be imposed on anyone playing cards in Indiana under the Act for the Prevention of Gaming. (I doubt this one is still enforced with all of the casinos popping up everywhere, now.)

-The value of Pi is 3. (How can anyone put into law the actual value of a numerical unit? What, 3.14 was too much for someone to remember?)

-A person must get a referral from a licensed physician if he or she wishes to see a hypnotist unless the desired procedure is to quit smoking or lose weight.

-Baths may not be taken between the months of October and March. (Well, I guess I've been breaking the law most of my life.)

-You can get out of paying for a dependent’s medical care by praying for him/her. (I'm sure hospitals and physicians just LOVE this law. I wonder how Hubby feels about it? Actually, I know how he feels about it, and I'm sure he still gets paid along with every other physician in his practice.)

-No one may catch a fish with his bare hands. (If you read the full text supplied on the website, there are many other ways in which you're not allowed to catch fish, including by the use of a firearm, an electric current, a crossbow, or an explosive. Which just means that someone out there was dumb enough to try it, most likely.)

-State government officials who engage in private duels can be dismissed from their post. (I'd love to see that one put into practice today!)

-All males 18 to 50 years old must work six days a year on public roads. (Hey, maybe our roads wouldn't be so bad if the government still enforced this one.)

-Mustaches are illegal if the bearer has a tendency to habitually kiss other humans. (What makes this one even funnier is the fact that it specifies kissing HUMANS. Oh, and I think every man I've ever known (my dad, my husband, some of my uncles) would be behind bars right now if this law were still enforced.)

The website breaks down laws to states' cities as well. I think most of the laws listed are from a time when things were much simpler (and more conservative) in society. One of my absolute favorites is the law for Cleveland, Ohio, that states the following: Women are forbidden from wearing patent leather shoes, lest men see reflections of their underwear. When I read this one to my husband, he replied, "Well, that just assumes that the woman is wearing a skirt...and that she's wearing underwear."

Have a laugh on me, today!
Best to you all,

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Just Desserts

If you love to cook like I do and come from a mostly Midwestern family, then you've probably inherited or have been given lots of church cookbooks. You know, those cookbooks filled with casserole and dessert recipes written by grandmas who loved to cook with cream soups and lots of cheese? I absolutely love my church cookbooks. Most everything in them is fast, easy, and/or can be thrown into a casserole or slow cooker and just left alone for a while to cook on its own. Also, most of them utilize "convenience items" from the grocery store. Just open a bunch of boxes and/or cans, toss everything into a pot or pan, cook, and enjoy. My husband and I both grew up on meals like that, so I tend to cook that way myself, though I will go through stints where a meal full of fresh veggies and pasta sounds much better. This past week, we did a lot of entertaining, mostly for our two gaming groups. I made lasagna on Wednesday (inherited from my mother-in-law, another fast and easy casserole-like recipe), which received rave reviews from family and guests alike. Plus, I made a double batch and had enough left over to last us the rest of the week. Last night, Hubby tried out his new grill, so I didn't have to really cook at all. One thing I made sure we had at both get-togethers was my latest favorite quick dessert: Caramel Brownies. The recipe came from one of my church cookbooks, courtesy of my best friend and matron of honor. In fact, the very first meal I'd ever made for my husband came from that cookbook! I made one batch of brownies for Wednesday night's get-together, and they were pretty much gone before last night, so I just whipped up another batch. Here's the recipe in all it's glory and with a few modifications I've made along the way:

Caramel Brownies
1 Bag Kraft Caramels*
1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk**
1 box German Chocolate super moist cake mix
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 a bag of milk chocolate chips
1 small pkg. of pecans (optional)***

Mix together cake mix, butter, and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. It'll be thick, almost like cookie dough.
Spread 1/2 of cake mixture into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes.
Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over top of baked cake mixture. Melt caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk in microwave and pour over the chips and nuts.
Take the remainder of the cake mix and dot all over the top of the melted caramel.
Bake an additional 15 minutes.
Let cool before cutting.

*It can be hard to find caramels in the grocery store sometimes. Look for them in the bulk candy aisle. Now that it's fall, you can also find them amongst the Halloween candy or possibly near the apples in the produce section for making caramel apples. For my first batch, I couldn't find caramels, so I just substituted a 16 oz. tub of caramel apple dip and heated it in the microwave with the evaporated milk. It worked wonderfully! For my second batch, I actually found something called "caramel bits". Basically, they're tiny bits of solid caramel that melt very quickly in the microwave. No plastic wrappers to contend with means less time, less mess, and less waste. I bought three bags of those to keep on hand! ;)
**The original recipe calls for a small can of Milnot. I had no clue what that was when I first read it, so I looked up possible substitutions on-line, and found that it's basically just an older brand name of evaporated milk. My mom remembers her mother and grandmother using it back in the day. I'm sure it can be found somewhere out there, just not in my current grocery store.
***I've never added the pecans before. I'm sure they make the brownies taste even better, but with the multitude of nut allergies around today, you can never be too sure. Oh, and apologies to all of you with chocolate, milk, and other related allergies. These brownies are wonderful, but definitely not healthy. ;)

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Do 2-year-olds Dream Of Baby Sheep?

It's been a busy week to say the least. I can't remember much of Monday, except that B was on call. He had a few patients in labor that evening, so V and I went to the hospital to have dinner with him. Apparently, the hospital's cafeteria closes around 7:00 pm, and we got there after that, so dinner ended up being McDonald's that V and I grabbed and brought back for B. Luckily, B was able to come home to sleep that evening, and he didn't have a very busy morning. With B home and post call on Tuesday, we decided to grab lunch to go from a local deli and took it to a park. V wanted to play rather than eat, which was fine because the park's playground was just spectacular. On Tuesday evening, I carpooled with some of the moms in my play group to another mom's house for a great homemade Greek dinner. We all had such a lovely evening, since it was the first time that many of us were able to talk to each other without having to chase after little ones, too! I got home around 10:30 pm, only to find that V was still awake. So, we both ended up going to bed late that night. I spent yesterday in a flurry trying to get the house in order and dinner ready for our weekly board gaming group. B decided it was the perfect time for us to start hosting everyone at our house. We have enough chairs with our new kitchenette set now, and we were able to get everyone (including V and our friends' two sons) around our dining room table. I made two lasagnas, garlic bread, salad (from a bag), and chocolate caramel brownies. Everything turned out great, and I'm so glad I made two lasagnas, because I think most people had seconds. There's enough left over for dinner tonight, so I don't have to cook again! Yay! Once dinner was over, everyone else started setting a board game up in the dining room, and I tried to get V settled and asleep. However, he was so interested in everyone being at our house, especially the two other boys, and he wanted to play the game soooo much, I had a hard time trying to get him sleepy. In fact, after everyone left around 11:30 pm or so, V was still awake. And, he was still awake after midnight. We have a queen-sized air mattress set up on the floor of V's bedroom because I've been trying to help him transition into his new room. Most nights, he starts out in his own bed, and I either sleep in my bed or on the air mattress. He usually wakes up in the middle of the night and tries to discover where I may be sleeping. If I'm in my bed, I take him back to his room, and we sleep on the air mattress. If I'm on the air mattress, he joins me. Last night, he fell asleep at one point, and I tried to put him in his bed, only to have him sit up wide awake and start screaming! So, we both ended up on the air mattress. I'm really getting tired of our whole sleep situation. It would be different if V would sleep through the night, even with someone else in bed with him. However, he doesn't, and I always wake up at some point in the early morning hours, either because of him running to our bed, or because of him rolling around on the air mattress, kicking me, rolling practically on top of me, or pretty much pushing me to the edge. Ever since we started this transition thing, it's been stressful for me. I'm ready for him to sleep on his own, and he really needs to start doing it because I don't plan on having him in bed with us when he starts Kindergarten in a few years. Also, when the next baby decides to come along, I really hope we can get him/her to sleep in the crib, so we don't start the cycle all over again. I don't have anything against co-sleeping. People do it all over the world, and it really helped when I was breastfeeding. However, now that V is bigger and stronger, and especially since he seems so restless while he sleeps, it's been a lot tougher for me to sleep as well. All week, it seems we've been getting up at 8:30 am or later. To me, that's really late, and I feel like our morning is half over by then. I think part of the problem is the fact that we really don't have a set bedtime routine. I pretty much rock V to sleep when he seems tired, and that's it. Maybe if we started something like a set bath time and story time before rocking, V's internal clock will set itself earlier and maybe he'll finally sleep on his own. I've been putting off a bedtime routine mostly because B's work schedule is so erratic, and I want him to be a part of the parenting stuff as much as possible. However, this may be another thing I'll have to start doing myself. I'm waiting for our insurance to kick in too, before talking to a pediatrician about V's sleep habits. I'm really more worried about the fact that he just doesn't sleep through the night, and I wonder if he has any allergies we could be missing that are causing him to wake up. Or, it could be new teeth coming in or his ears, which also should be looked at again soon. Really, it could be anything. I'm just hoping we discover the cause or come up with some kind of solution, so my baby can start getting some real sleep. And, so his momma can get some sleep, too!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sarsaparilla Skirt & Vest GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Kathleen Dougherty, writer of the blog "Grosgrain" and sewer extraordinaire, makes cute children's clothing and then, gives it all away through her blog. To be a part of the contest, you just have to link back to her blog! I saw her little sarsaparilla skirt and vest giveaway this morning and just had to get in on the action. I may not have a daughter, but I have a little niece who'd look really cute in this. Cheers!

Sarsaparilla Skirt & Vest GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

D&D and Sushi? Yes, Please!

After we moved to our new town, B decided to start a 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons campaign. The newest edition of the game had just been released, and since we moved closer to friends who were interested in playing, B thought it would be a good time to try out his Dungeon Mastering skillz. Yesterday, we played our third session of our current campaign, which is set in the world of Eberron. I play an Eladrin cleric, the diplomatic healer of the group, or the "band aid", as B so eloquently puts it. B not only DM's, but he also plays a Dragonborn wizard, who is multi-classed to warlock. Our two friends who joined the group play a Kobold rogue and an Elven fighter. It's en eclectic group. I mean, who else would play an Eladrin cleric? And, yes, our figher is an Elf, but she can really kick butt! So can the wizard, for that matter. We started the campaign with a short combat encounter outside of a cave hidden by a waterfall against mostly minions with one hit point and a couple of more difficult baddies. Then, we took a break, so I could make dinner and one of the players could run an errand. After dinner, we had an even more difficult combat inside the cave against more minions and various other evil doers being led by a nasty hobgoblin. My cleric prayers really came in handy because much healing was needed by the rogue and fighter. B's wizard/warlock led off with a truly great spell that allowed him to unleash a movable fire ball. During the entire encounter, he could send the fire ball anywhere within the cave to destroy baddies. He just had to make sure it didn't get too close to his friends, as well. My favorite line of the entire evening came from this one spell. B's explanation of the fire ball: "Think of it as an ally...except it's on fire." I want that on a T-shirt! The encounter ended with us bloodying the hobgoblin and trying to get some much needed information out of him before he thrust himself on the Elf's dagger. We found a coded message on his body that we're all going to have to solve outside of the game for the next campaign session. It's a tough word puzzle, and numerous tries to uncover it's secrets failed before our friends left for the evening. It looks like I have some homework to do, courtesy of my husband.
So, for those of you who are now utterly bored and confused by my story above, I will now relate some of the more exciting aspects of the evening. If you remember an earlier post in which I related the story of how B and I won a gift certificate to make sushi at a local restaurant, I think I mentioned that we also won a make-your-own-sushi-at-home kit. B's been anxious to try it ever since he opened the kit and read the guide book, called Sushi with Style by Ellen Brown. The book is short, sweet, and to the point when it comes to making the sushi rice correctly and forming the sushi fingers and rolls. B thought it might be a good idea to try making sushi for dinner during our D&D campaign, since there was going to be a break anyway. So, I set out yesterday morning to find all of the needed ingredients and possible equipment, and I was delighted to be able to buy everything at my local large supermarket! It really helps living in a college town that's also very multicultural. The sushi rice was prepped and cooked in my slow cooker during the first combat encounter. During the break, I prepped some vegetables, and I put some shrimp on skewers for the tempura rolls. Oh, yes! There was going to be shrimp tempura rolls as well as California rolls for dinner. When our friend came back from her errand, I finished prep on the shrimp, fried them up, and then prepped the sushi rice, which had to be turned out of the cooker into a baking pan, sprinkled with a combination of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, and turned over with a bamboo spoon multiple times while our friends fanned it with a couple of magazines. I also made a small batch of wasabi from a powder combined with water to be used in the rolls. Then, I formed the rolls, with a little help from my hubby after a while.

The directions in the guide book were pretty clear, and after a little trial and error on our part, we managed to make a few shrimp tempura rolls with some success. They were definitely not as elegant as anything you'd find in a sushi restaurant, but they were edible and very good!

The California rolls were made with the rice on the outside of the nori (seaweed wrap) with cucumber sticks, avocado slices, and imitation crab sticks for the filling. B and I both made one California roll each, and we sliced them into multiple pieces.

The results were actually very nice to behold, especially since they were made by a couple of amateurs.

Frozen egg rolls had been put in the oven at one point, and our friend had brought a couple of submarine sandwiches and several cookies to tied over the kids (and the adults). She had brought her two sons along with her for the day, who helped keep V fairly occupied, which in turn allowed me to actually play the game this time around. Dinner was devoured by everyone, and even the kids ate some sushi, though V only nibbled on one piece and decided he didn't want it after awhile.

It was all pretty delicious and filling and really helped me concentrate on the rest of the game afterward. We finished up everything some time after 11:00 last night, and I know I didn't get to bed until around midnight. It turned out to be a long day, but a very nice one indeed. While I write this, B is playing around on his lap top, and V is exploring and playing in the family room. None of us have bathed yet, and we ended up having a brunch of homemade biscuits and sausage gravy because V and I didn't get up until 9:30 this morning and B didn't get out of bed until 11:00 am! We'll have to get ourselves together soon because we're having our pictures taken by a professional photographer, who just happens to be a member of my new mommies group. I'm looking forward to it, as long as V behaves himself and allows his picture to be taken!
Updated To Add: We were all clean and fresh and ready to go to have our pictures taken, when Mother Nature decided to cut loose with thunder, lightening, and rain. Our pictures were supposed to be taken in a local park, so we're going to have to reschedule. That's okay. It gives me and the boys a chance to relax at home for the evening.
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend, too. Best to you all,

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Letting Go, Somewhat

I'll be the first to admit that I'm pretty overprotective of my son. We have specific barriers and safety precautions set up around the house, so that V can explore and play, and for the most part, we don't have to worry about hearing a crash and an "uh, oh" come from his room upstairs if we're nowhere near him. I've also tried to relax a little when it comes to things like V exploring in the kitchen cabinets and subsequently, making a drum set out of my wooden spoons and pot lids. However, it's easy to keep him safe in our own home, because we've made it that way. It's a lot harder when we're outside or at someone else's home, especially if there is no childproofing whatsoever. For instance, when we're at a friend's house who may not have children of his/her own, or whose kids are much older than V, I have a tendency to follow V around and make certain he isn't getting into something that might potentially break and/or harm him and/or other people. It's very hard for me to just let him go and be a 2-year-old and explore, even when I know he's in a very safe environment. When we're outside, I'm constantly on top of him to make certain he won't make a mad dash to the street (which he'll do), even on our very safe cul-de-sac that sees very little traffic. I haven't really let him play in our backyard much because there isn't anything spectacular about it, and my fear is that he'll run into the wild flowers, get stung, and possibly have inherited my bee allergy. I'm so thankful for the many parks in our city. We've tried out several, and there are two I particularly like. One of them is built specifically for kids his age, and though the playground equipment isn't very tall, I still have nasty visions of him falling while trying to climb down one of the many ladder-type things. Maybe my anxiety rubbed off on him, because it took him a very long time to want to play on slides and actually go down them by himself, even the very tiny slides. The other park that we've been enjoying is much closer to our house, but it has a much taller playground setup. It also has more areas on the sides to climb into and out of the play structure, and the drops are probably about six feet in height or higher. So, you can imagine my horror on Monday when V decided it was time to try to climb up into this thing all by himself. One of the ladder-like parts is almost like a climbing wall with foot and hand holds, though it's plastic, looks more like an erector set, and moves a little when someone is climbing on it. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture to show you, so you'll just have to imagine it until I get comfortable enough with V climbing on it to use my camera, too. The first time I saw him go up, I panicked and wanted him to come back down. And then, I thought of something. I wondered if it would be more beneficial to just let him go and do his thing rather than give into my fears and bring him back down to earth. I mean, there were many other kids, some his own age, who were climbing all over the playground, and nothing was stopping them. Why couldn't I just relax and let him go? And, so, with flutters in my heart and a hand close to his little butt the whole way up, I watched as my toddler climbed up the shaky wall and into the playground's tower...only to keep climbing the stairs up to the tallest curly slide. So, did B and I stop him when he got to the slide? Well, I know I was pretty anxious about him being so high by himself, but the top of the slide is enclosed, it seemed fairly safe, the whole playground structure sits on squishy, rubbery material, and every other kid going down the slide was perfectly fine. I just kept my mouth shut and let him go down on his own, running over to the bottom of the slide fast enough to meet him when he got there. And, since he'd done it once and had an amazing time, he had to do it again...and again...and again. Each time, my anxiety lessened a little, though my heart still pounded every time he stood at the top of the slide all by himself. This morning, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go back to that park. V went down the huge slide a couple of times, but most of his focus was on that climbing wall thing. I spent much of my time standing by, giving him instruction when needed, and keeping my hands close to his butt, especially when he neared the top. I'll tell you, every time he went up, my heart skipped a beat, but every time he went up, I gave myself a mental hug for allowing him to take on a challenge and work through it on his own. It was hard not to step in and say, "No, V, that's too high for you to climb," and I still put my foot down when it came to him trying to climb up and down other parts of the structure. However, I keep discovering lately that I need to stop underestimating my little boy and his abilities. He's only 2 years old, but there's so much he's learned to do in those two years, and there's so much he needs to be able to do on his own if he's going to grow up into a successful, contributing member of society. I know it's my job to keep him safe, but I also know it's now my job to let him spread his wings sometimes and learn and grow and explore. Who would have thought a trip to the playground could teach me so much about my son and myself? I still have a lot to learn about raising V, especially when it comes to my own fears. I'm so glad that he hasn't demonstrated my excruciating fear of heights (yet). There are a lot of things I've refused to do in life because of it. However, I've found that by watching him and his fearlessness, I'm learning myself that it's okay to take risks. You never know what you're going to discover when you just try.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dinner In A Little Over 30 Minutes...

I've found a great blog for moms called "Mom Spark". It looks like various moms post their favorite tips, recipes, and other things to share with the world. As I was reading it the other day, I found this awesome recipe posted by Summer. I decided to try it out for dinner this evening and received rave reviews from my hubby and son (though V tended to eat the biscuit more than the sausage). Here's my take on the recipe in a nutshell:

Make biscuit dough using milk and favorite biscuit/pancake mix according to the box directions.
Roll out biscuit dough.
Place a thin layer of your favorite bulk sausage on top of the biscuit dough (I used 1/2 a pound of sausage).
Roll the whole thing up into a jelly roll form.
Place on a greased cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or so.
Cut roll into individual rounds.
Place in 450 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Here's a picture of what my sausage rolls looked like:

To go with the sausage rolls, I decided to make a potato recipe from my favorite cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

Baked Parmesan Cottage Potatoes (found on page 496)
3 Tbsp margarine or butter
3 medium potatoes (1 pound), thinly sliced
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings.

Arrange potatoes and onion in a thin layer on a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Melt margarine or butter; drizzle over potatoes. Combine garlic powder, pepper, and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over the potatoes. Bake in a 450 degree oven about 25 minutes or until browned. Makes 4 servings.

Because both the sausage rolls and potatoes baked at the same temperature, I just put them in the oven at the same time and watched the rolls until they were brown on top. After everything was in the oven, I snapped some fresh green beans and threw them into a pot of boiling salted water, covered, for 10 minutes. They come out perfect every time with just a little salt and pepper added after they're drained.

So this is what the rest of dinner looked like:

The best thing about the sausage rolls is that they can be made for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or if small enough, they would make great appetizers for a party! Thanks, Summer on "Mom Spark", for the awesome new recipe!
Best to you all,

Really Quick, Before I Forget...

V said his first comprehensible sentence, this morning! My hubby will say that he's been speaking in sentences for a while, and it's true, but most of those sentences have been full of gibberish and few "real" words. This morning, however, when he ran to his bedroom to get his diaper changed, he jumped on the air mattress on the floor of his bedroom*, got under the covers, and said "I nigh-nigh", which (in adult speak) means "I'm going to bed!". He was just playing around and was clearly not sleepy, but the fact that he put together a pronoun and a verb (sort of) plus the fact that I clearly understood him just totally made my morning!
Now, we must get ourselves ready to go to the local Barnes and Noble, so we can listen to a story and play at the Thomas the Train set (or, the other way around, depending on V's mood). Also, I need to stop blogging, so I can stop V from bonking me on the head with his shape blocks to get my attention. He thinks it's funny. I think it hurts!
Best to you all,

*I'll explain the air mattress thing in another post.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Post As Random As My Twitters...

Random thoughts for the day:

1. When slicing open a frozen blueberry bagel before toasting it, it might be a good idea to make sure my thumb isn't so close to the knife. Ouch.

2. Beautiful morning + 2-year-old = play time at the park.

3. When playing at said park, it might be a good idea to bring our own shovel and pail. One communal shovel just isn't enough to go around and causes too many kid confrontations.

4. Wet slide + 2-year-old = unhappy 2-year-old with a wet butt.

5. I don't know when the local police department decided to change their vehicles, but it was a nice surprise to see a Prius marked "Sheriff" today. Not only are they saving money on gas, they're helping the environment, too. We LOVE B's Prius. It's been one of the best vehicles we've ever had, especially on long trips.

6. "Bob the Builder" + 2-year-old = quiet 2-year-old for at least a half hour.

7. I put bacon on my deli chicken sandwich for lunch. Because everything's better with bacon. And pirates. Yes, pirates.

8. I've been catching up on hours of "X-Files" episodes recorded on our DVR from the Sci-Fi channel. Watched a two-parter yesterday. When did Mulder and Scully have a love child? Must try to watch the other older episodes to get some kind of clue to that development.

9. Sent out five bills this morning. Three of them were for our house in Ohio. Luckily, those bills will end after this week because the buyers close on Friday. Huzzah!

10. I wonder how long it will take V to go down for a nap today? At least we both actually got some real sleep last night, even if part of that sleep happened in the same bed as B. Oh, well. We'll keep trying on this transition thing.

11. My son is currently tearing up a Crate and Barrel catalog. Fine with me. He seems to care about the store and it's luxuries as much as I do. Which is very little, apparently.

12. "Bob the Builder" has ended, which means this post has ended as well.
Best to you all,

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In Which B And I Become Philanthropists (Sort Of)

Friday night, B and I got all dolled up and attended the annual charity event for WonderLab, known as "Science Night Out 2008". His practice had donated a lot of money to the children's science museum long before B had joined them. However, they felt it was a good way to advertise his and another physician's new employment in town, and because of their generous donation, the practice was given a table at the event. B and I went along with two of his colleagues and their husbands. The theme this year was "Venetian Carnevale", probably because one of the big ticket live auction items was a trip for two to Las Vegas with a stay at the Venetian Hotel and Casino. The evening started with a cocktail hour and silent auction. While mingling with other professionals from the area, we enjoyed scrumptious hors d'oeuvres, I bid on a few of the many wonderful silent auction items (and subsequently was overbid, which was fine), and we watched a local artisan glass blower make beautifully ornate objects right before our very eyes. After the silent auction was over, we were all ushered into a huge area of the large ballroom where tables were exquisitely laid with table service, salads, dessert, and decorations befitting any carnivale complete with masquarade masks tucked into the centerpieces. Dinner was okay, but the wine and dessert (Sauvignon blanc from Oliver Winery and tirimisu from I don't remember where) were just excellent! After some obligatory speeches made by the co-chairs of the event, there was a rousing live auction for some huge prizes, including the already mentioned trip to Vegas, a vacation in Costa Rica, and a stay in a beach house in Martha's Vinyard. The Vegas trip went for around $4,000 and the Martha's Vineyard beach house trip went for around $6,000! People could also bid on a balloon ride, 3-on-3 basketball games against the assistant coaches of the local university with the university's coach as the winner's own coach, tickets for local basketball and football games, tickets to various local theater shows, a night learning how to prepare a four-course dinner with master chefs at a local restaurant, and other really cool items. In the middle of the live auction, there was a break for a "Heads or Tails" raffle game for a Wii game system. B and I bought some Mardi Gras beads to get into the raffle, and the "Heads or Tails" game was fun, though we didn't even get close to winning the game system. After that, the audience was asked to show our generosity by putting in our bids to pay for scholarships to the WonderLab's summer camp for local needy children. A very few people were able to pay for 10 children to go, some paid for 8, 5, 4, or 2 children to go, and many of us put in our bids for a single child to go to camp (B and I included in that latter group). In all, 106 children will be able to attend WonderLab's next summer camp because of this charity event. Then, there was a huge bidding frenzy on things like gift certificates to local fast food restaurants, dry cleaning services, local stores, and more. I tried to win V coupons for Auntie Anne's pretzels, but I didn't get my number card in the air in time. You had to be fast to get any of the bidding frenzy items! Finally, the auctioneer finished with the rest of the big items up for bid. The last auction prize was a chance for the winner and three other people to spend time at a local Japanese restaurant learning how to make sushi and sashimi with master sushi chefs, and then enjoying the fruits of their labor. B seemed really interested in that item, and somehow through a short bidding war between one other person, he managed to win it! Yay for us! We get to make sushi some day soon! I'm actually really excited about it because it's something I've wanted to try for a very long time. Along with the gift certificate for the sushi making event, we also won a sushi making kit, complete with guide book, a bamboo spoon for the rice, and a bamboo mat to roll up the sushi. All in all, B and I had a great evening. Not only did we get to dress up and be adults for a few hours, we also gave quite a bit of money to an excellent organization. As we were paying for our auction items, B suggested that I might want to try volunteering at the WonderLab at some point. I've actually thought about it myself. After college, I spent some time working at the Children's Museum in Indianapolis and absolutely loved it. V and I have already been to the WonderLab twice, and it's really a great museum for kids of all ages. I think I might enjoy being on the other side of the action. And, if you're wondering what V was up to while we were out on the town, one of B's colleagues volunteered her own babysitter for the evening. We dropped V off at her house, and he and her son played in their enormous basement play room. By the time we were done and ready to pick him up, he had pretty much decided he didn't want to come back home! It's always great to know that our child had a good time without us and wasn't pining for us the whole time we were away from him. Of course, lots of great toys and another child to play with always helps. Our busy weekend is almost over. Yesterday, we spent six hours total driving to and from the wedding of one of B's cousins. We broke up the drive to the wedding by meeting B's parents at a Red Lobster on the way, which made it seem like a much shorter drive and helped V and his cousins with their pent-up energy by getting them out of the vehicles for a while. The wedding itself was a beautiful ceremony in an equally beautiful church, the bride's gown was one of the most exquisite wedding dresses I've seen in a very long time, and the reception afterward was a lavish affair. For favors, there were large cookies at each place setting with a photo of the bride and groom printed on the cookies' icing. V and I immediately grabbed appetizers of crackers, cheese, party meatballs, and fruit. I guess I didn't realize how hungry I was until then. The dinner itself was a buffet, and there was quite a variety of wedding cake to choose from afterward, too. I had a slice of spice cake myself, which was delicious. We stayed until after the obligatory first dances and headed home around 9:00 pm. We actually drove straight home, which made it almost midnight by the time we got here. Thankfully, V spent most of it sleeping in the car and didn't fall apart (like he usually does on long car rides) until we were almost home. Our lovely day out was almost ruined by the fact that we discovered our cat had snuck into our closet that morning and had been stuck in there ALL DAY. Because she couldn't get to her litter boxes, she decided to use one of B's brand new shirts (still with tags on it) that's been lying on our closet floor for weeks. I'm not sure where he put the urine covered shirt, but I'm assuming it's soaking in our laundry room sink. Speaking of which, I need to stop playing around on the Internet and work on some neglected household chores, like laundry and bathroom cleanup. I guess it's back to the real world for me! Well, one fun thing planned for the day is the possible purchase of a new grill. I'm looking forward to it after the more mundane things get done.
Hope everyone else has had an equally enjoyable weekend. Best to you all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Our Son, The Gamer...

I officially announce that our son is a genius. Now, I know that every parent's kids are geniuses (geniusi? what's the plural?), but I truly believe our son has some hidden brilliance that's just now surfacing. For one thing, when he heard I was going to the basement to get my and B's dice for our gaming group tonight, he wanted to come, too. I don't like him wandering around down there, so I shut the door on him. I wasn't going to be long. Well, I hadn't thought about the possibility of him getting through the new cat door we'd installed in the basement door. We'd recently moved the cat's litter boxes to the basement, and in order for her to figure out how to get down there, we had to tape open the flap to the cat door. While I was looking for our dice, I suddenly heard V crying at the top of the stairs, and it didn't sound like he was upstairs! When I looked up, I saw his head, arms, and torso struggling through the cat door! I don't know how he got his shoulders through because when I tried to push him back out of the door, he wouldn't fit. Luckily, he's got a skinny little butt, and I was able to pull him through the door onto the top of the stairs. I know he was pretty frustrated about it, but I really wanted to laugh. And, I really wanted my camera, but I figured I'd better help him out of his predicament lest he hurt himself. When he finally saw that I did indeed have my and B's dice bags, he started crying for his own "die". We have a card game with a set of six large 10-sided-dice that are used to keep track of hit points during the game. Since V is so interested in watching us game and roll our dice, and since he's avid about "helping" us roll them, we decided to give him the large 10-siders for his own dice (only to be used under adult supervision, of course; they're probably too big to be swallowed, but one can never tell!). Since he really wanted his "die" so much, I went ahead and gave him his little dice bag. No sooner had he opened it, he left the family room and went upstairs. I had no clue what he was doing, until I saw him come back down the stairs with his own "game board". It's really just the leftover cardboard from a new game that had a lot punched out pieces. He seemed interested in it when he saw us punching out the pieces, so we let him keep it rather than throw it away. He brought the "board" over to me on the floor, opened up his dice bag, and started placing his dice in random holes on the board. It was really quite fascinating to watch him, and though it looked quite random to me, I'm sure he was doing it very purposely. I didn't know the game's rules, but it seemed as though the best way to play was to put the dice on the board in various places, take them off, put them back on again, and do other things like pick the whole board up and tip it to drop the dice off or just kick the dice off the board. After he was all done with his game, he did what any responsible gamer does--he put his dice back in their bag. I was really quite proud of him and astonished at the complexity with which he seemed to think out what he wanted to do and how to accomplish it. He's just so amazing to me, and he changes daily. I love being around to watch it all. Now, I must go because apparently, he saw a swim diaper and wants to go swimming. It's too chilly, so I'm compromising, and we'll go "swimming" in the bath tub, instead. Here's a few pics of my son's game:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Customer Service...With A Smile?

It's been a frustrating day to say the least. One, the cat puked on the hallway floor at 2:30 in the morning. Guess who heard it? Guess who cleaned it up? Two, V wouldn't go down for a nap until way after his usual nap time this afternoon. At least he finally took a nap, though. While his nap was in progress, I decided to take a little time for myself. And, then, I wrecked my entire plan when I worried too much about money. Specifically, about whether or not our student loans will get paid on time. For the past few years, we've had our loan payments set to automatically debit from our checking account. It's two less bills I have to write out each month, though I have to remember to write them in the checkbook to keep everything balanced. Well, everything was fine and dandy until we moved and realized that there are no branches of our bank in our new city. We did what anyone would do and opened an account at another bank. However, we're keeping a little money in the old account until everything gets paid that's supposed to get paid. Here's my dilemma: Two weeks ago or thereabouts, I went into SallieMae's website to change the automatic debit information to our new checking account. I haven't received any confirmation from SallieMae stating whether or not everything went through, and B's student loan payment is supposed to go out in two days! I've tried looking through our accounts on-line to see if they can give me any information, but no such luck. I checked the FAQ, and all it told me is that it could take three to four weeks for the automatic debit information to go through. I decided to try calling SallieMae. Is it just me, or are the automatic voice message systems getting harder and harder to maneuver these days? All I wanted to do was to talk to a real live person and get a straight answer. However, it took me numerous times of pounding numbers into my cell phone before I got to where I wanted to be. Then, when I was finally put on hold for the next available representative, I was told (by the system) that I could put in my phone number, and someone would call me back, so I wouldn't have to wait on hold. Well, I declined that offer, especially since the wait was only going to be about eight minutes or so. I could be patient. Then, when someone finally answered, I got even more frustrated when the person on the other line could barely speak English. I think he understood what I asked of him, but what he told me didn't answer my question really. He kept telling me that the automatic debit went through. Okay, fine. Did it get changed to the new bank? He put me on hold at that point. When he came back on the line, he asked me AGAIN what bank I was needing on the account. When I told him, he said, yes, that the account would be debited from that bank. But, it still didn't answer my question. I wanted to know if it would be debited from that account IN TIME for my husband's next loan payment. It's one thing for everything to be set up correctly. It's quite another for it to be set up BEFORE something is supposed to happen with it. All he did was repeat to me that the account was set up to be automatically debited. He said that about four times. Finally, I said thank you, and hung up. I mean, am I being incomprehensible? You know, I understand why some companies outsource their jobs. However, if they're outsourcing customer service positions, they really should make sure their new employees not only speak the language, but understand exactly what the customer is asking. I couldn't understand him, and he couldn't understand me. There was a translation barrier somewhere that just wasn't being crossed. This has actually happened numerous times before, and I'm sure I'm not the only person it's happened to. That's one reason why I love the Internet. I don't have to bother with trying to explain my situation to someone who may not know what I'm talking about, or even what I'm saying. However, the Internet can't speak to me, and it can't always get me the information I want. It's just so frustrating sometimes. I tried calling my new bank to find out if they would have any information about our situation, since, after reviewing our account on-line, I had no luck there again. I've received a busy signal three times now. Smaller city means smaller bank branches, which means fewer employees and fewer people to answer customer questions.
Edited to add: I finally got a hold of someone at one of our bank's branches. She was very nice. She told me that they have no access to student loans, so she couldn't tell me if our loans will be automatically debited from there or not. She said I would just have to keep checking at the numbers I had for SallieMae. Yeah, like that's going to happen. I guess the only way to know for sure will be when our payments actually get taken out of our checking. Which means, if they're still set up with our old account, it'll become overdrawn, unless we put more money into it or make a one time on-line payment to our student loans to offset that possibility. God, I don't drink often, but I may need to open a bottle of wine tonight after dinner.
Updated To Add (Again): Hubby suggested I call SallieMae back, since I didn't get an answer I liked. I called yesterday and spoke to someone who obviously speaks English as a second language, but who was much more comprehensible. He understood my question, I understood his answer. After giving him a little more personal info, he was able to tell me that yes, everything was set up correctly. I was pretty much at ease and decided to wait and see what happens. Just checked our new account on-line, and it looks like everything's going through as it should! The most ironic thing about my call yesterday was that the gentleman with whom I spoke asked me to complete a survey afterward. One of the questions asked me if the representative had good communication skills, basically wondering if I could understand him. Wish I had taken that survey the day before!
Hope you're all having better luck than me.

A Letter To My Cat

Dear Julie,
Why did you have to puke on the hallway carpet outside my son's room at 2:30 in the freaking morning? And, why couldn't it have been your normal hairball, instead of the mass of yellowish yuck you left on my nice white, shaggy carpet? And, why did it have to happen when I was sleeping on my son's bedroom floor to help him transition into his new room? Why did you run into his room and puke some more, instead of into the bathroom where I was trying to lure you? And, why, oh why, did it all have to happen after I ran out of my favorite stain-fighting cleaner? You know, the stuff that I can only get by calling an 800-number from a website, the stuff that's used in schools and offices and by janitors to get rid of the toughest stains and smells left by kids and animals and the like? Why couldn't you have waited until later in the morning, like right before Hubby left for work? Actually, Hubby stepping into a pile of cat vomit might not be the best way to have him start his work day. I really do love you, dear Julie, but ever since you started peeing on my new living room floor because you're stressed with all the new changes (moving, new house, 2-year-old torturing you), you've really started to get on my last nerve. Do I need to find a cat whisperer? Do I need to take you to an animal therapist? What do you need for me to make you happy again? Oh, dear Julie, I miss all the good times we had. If you could really stay in the house when V and I leave for some reason, I would really appreciate it. Then, I wouldn't have to worry about chasing you around outdoors and hurting myself by falling down the front steps. And, then, you wouldn't get fleas again for the bazillionth time. See, it would be a win/win situation! Really, Julie, you're a great cat. I just hope we can get along better in the future.
Take care,
Your Human
P.S. Thank you for puking on the kitchen floor after lunch. It was much easier to clean up this time around.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Life And Death...In A Week's Time

We went to the funeral of our friend's father today. V came along because we didn't make arrangements for a babysitter in time. I knew it meant that one of us would be ducking out of the memorial service at some point, since we couldn't expect our 2-year-old to sit through anything unrelated to "Blues Clues" or "Yo Gabba Gabba" for an hour. Luckily, a couple we knew from college was also there with their two young children, so I didn't feel so bad about bringing V with us. We drove up to Indy for the ceremony and got there right when the visitation started. Our friend's father was cremated, so there was no viewing. However, there was an hour long period before the memorial mass in which we were able to speak with him and his family and to view the video slide show of photographs of his father that had been provided for the service. I tried to get V's wiggles out by having him run around outside and by giving him a snack of Cheerios and raisins. It didn't work. He and I were in the ceremony for five minutes, when he decided he didn't like the fact that everyone was singing around him. I took him into the lobby outside of the sanctuary, which was perfectly set up for those of us with young children. There were large windows looking into the sanctuary and a speaker system hooked up from the front of the church to the lobby, so I could both see and hear the memorial mass clearly without bothering everyone with my 2-year-old energetic son. He and I went outside at one point to run around, and by the time we came back into the church's lobby, the service had progressed to communion. V soon fell asleep in my arms, and I was able to listen to the eulogy, written by my friend's mother, in peace. Overall, it was a beautiful and touching service, and afterward, there was a light meal for everyone to enjoy. We were able to spend some time with our friend, who seemed to be taking everything very well. Actually, all of his family seemed to be doing very well under the circumstances. They had much more time with their father and husband than they thought they would, so I think they were able to say their goodbyes and feel at ease when he left them.
On the trip to and from the funeral, my thoughts turned to my own mortality. At one point, I wondered what it will be like when I die--how it will feel, what it will look like, how it will happen. Of course, I hope that it doesn't happen for a very long time, like after I've met my great-grandchildren. And then, as I was thinking about it, I realized that death can be so incomprehensible. I just couldn't get my brain around the fact that one day in the future, my body will wear out and my soul will leave it to go God only knows where. Of course, all of these thoughts led to the inevitable conversation with my hubby about making up our will. It is such a morbid thing to think about, but now that we have a child and may have more in the future, we really need to think about his (and their) well-being if we're no longer around to take care of him (them). We'll have to discuss it further, but now that we're settling into life in our new town, we really need to get it taken care of soon.
Of course, talking about making up a will lead to talking about having more children. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, probably because I have several mommy friends who are having or have had more children. I must admit that I'm a little scared about the prospect. Will I be a good mommy when I have two instead of just one little one to take care of? Will I be able to keep up with the demands of having two children, especially with my husband practicing medicine and having limited time to help out around the house and with various other responsibilities? The great thing about it is that I have plenty of time to think things through. We're not ready for another child yet, and we probably won't be until after B's finished his first year at his new office. I know there's always the possibility of getting pregnant when we least expect it, but my choice of birth control (the Mirena IUC) has been pretty reliable so far. Sorry if that's too much information. I'm just being honest.
To make this week a little more unusual, we're starting it with a funeral and ending it with a wedding. B has a cousin that will be getting married on Saturday. I can't remember the last time I met her, and it's going to be a long trip to and from the ceremony. However, I think it's going to be fun, and it'll be a nice way to turn our thoughts to happier things and to a more joyful time of life. I loved our wedding day. Actually, I love all weddings. I love to watch shows about weddings, sometimes. They just make me feel so happy and peaceful and full of hope for the future of the human race. I love the fact that every bride is so beautiful on her special day, and of course, any celebration that ends with cake is perfect by me! ;) Really, though, I think I love weddings because they're all about love and hop and beginning a new life together. Every wedding day is a wonderful day, so I'm looking forward to Saturday.
Finally, in the whole circle of life thing, I found out yesterday that some friends of ours who we only see at game conventions are going to have a baby some time in the next year. Yay for them! I know it's something they've been wanting for a while, and it's such a blessing when it happens to such great people. I wish them nothing but the best, and I know they're going to make wonderful parents. I just hope they bring the new little one to a convention some time in the future, so I can meet him/her. So, it's really been an interesting week for us, and it's only just begun. It makes me wonder what's going to happen next. I guess I'll just have to wait and find out tomorrow.
Namaste, friends, and best to you all,

Sunday, September 7, 2008

One More Post Before I Go To Bed....

In the category of "I'm so blogging this":
B and V were playing. The following (paraphrased) conversation occurred.
B walks over to me and says, "V told me that he thinks you should make brownies."
Me, laughing: "Oh, he told you that, did he?"
B: "Yes, he said that."
(The only way we know when V's hungry is when he sign's the word for "eat". This is a clever ploy concocted by my husband to get homemade brownies for dessert.)
I was in the process of folding sheets and getting ready to make beds.
Me: "Well, I have to make the beds, first."
B: "We think you could make the brownies first, and then, make the beds while they're baking!"
Me, a little later: "I've got both chocolate and peanut butter chips, so I can make the brownies...with both of those."
B: "Oh, I thought you were about to say you could make them naked."
Me: Laughing, rolling my eyes, heading upstairs toward the bedrooms to make three beds (our queen-sized bed, V's toddler bed, and the air mattress I have set up on his floor; I've been sleeping there to help him transition into his bedroom; so far, it hasn't been working).
I did end up making my homemade Chocolate Chocolate Chip & Peanut Butter Chip Brownies after the beds were made and the rest of the sheets were put away.
It's funny that hubby's starting to blame certain things on our toddler. I wonder what he'll come up with next? "V told me that he thinks we should buy Rock Band and an XBox 360 to play it on." Actually, I wouldn't mind that idea whatsoever! ;)
Best to you all, and don't forget to laugh, today!

Beware Of The Sheet Monster!

It will eat your baby alive!!!! Run away! Run away!

Science Is Fun! And, It Works....

B and I took the kiddo to a place called WonderLab this afternoon. It's a great science museum geared toward children, though it seemed the adults had as much fun as their kids when we were there. We've been to a couple of other children's museums since V was born, but I think all three of us had the best time at WonderLab than at any of the other places. It's much smaller, and because it was a Sunday I think, it wasn't crowded at all. I actually didn't feel uncomfortable about letting V roam around on his own and check out the various stations. There were a couple of frightening moments when I turned, and he wasn't near me or B. However, since most of the museum takes up one big room, it wasn't hard to find him again. What I really liked was the area called "The Discovery Garden", which is just for kids 6 years old and under. It had everything, including working drum pads that made awesome noises, puzzles that fit together with velcro, a water table with cool toys, a musical instrument that uses blowing air to work, and even a tank with a gecko for the kids to watch. The best part about that area was it had one way in and out of it that could be locked. There was a sign up on its wall advertising a story time on Wednesday mornings, so I may have to take V there again soon. I think my favorite room overall was the Bubble Room. You had to be there to experience it, though. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea about how our afternoon went:

At WonderLab, you can learn how a hot air balloon flies.

One of V's favorite things at the museum, which was watching balls roll around in complex contraptions:

Like father, like son.

The water table was really cool.

B, trying to make the biggest bubble in the world!

That's just really cool!

I think the boys are ready to start their own band.

Although I'm allergic, a working beehive enclosed in glass didn't scare me a bit. It was actually quite fascinating to watch. And, you can get a free sample of the beehive's honey when you leave the museum!

Hoist your army men up to the ceiling and watch them parachute to the ground. Don't you wish you could have done that back in the day?

Did we have fun, or what?

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Politics Schmolitics

I'm not going to beat around the bush here. I hate this time of year. Every piece of media around is inundated with information about the current campaign struggle between Obama and McCain. Personally, I could care less. I know. What a terrible, cynical viewpoint to have during such an "important election". Again, I won't beat around the bush. I HATE politicians. Every one of them tries to talk the talk, but very few of them actually ends up walking the walk. Please, Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, don't tell me about how you plan on changing our country for the better with all of your rhetoric and whatnot thrown in for good measure. Show me that one or both of you can actually cause that change to happen. The past few years have been really frustrating for most Americans with job losses, high gas and food prices, inadequate health care, degenerating education for our children, etc., and so on, and so forth. We see what needs to be fixed, but can't find the right leadership to help us fix it. I'm not blaming one single person for all of this. I blame everyone in any kind of government position who isn't trying his/her hardest to work for his/her constituents and who is more interested in furthering his/her own political agenda. Personally, I wish we didn't have such a thing as an election campaign. Instead of seeing two different people trying their best to show the American public how they can help us all in their own unique way, I see two different men furthering the terrible division within our country. Instead of hearing the speeches filled with hope and courage for the future of the United States, I only see the protesters and angry opponents of each candidate trying their hardest to make us all remember that one side isn't better than the other. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it did in my head as I wrote it. Basically, I'm tired of the fact that we have Republicans and Democrats. I'm tired of the fact that we have people who only see single issues, like abortion, gun control, universal health care, war, whatever, and vote based on the candidates' personal views on those issues. Yes, I know the issues are important, but I want my vote to go to the person who can show us he/she is the right person for the job. I want to vote for the candidate who can demonstrate true leadership and turn around not only the world's view of the United States, but our own view of ourselves. I want to stop being so cynical about everything that is currently happening to us, and I want to believe we can truly be a better country (and world). I want someone in Washington to stand up for every single human being, fight for peace and harmony, and show us that we can rely on ourselves to better ourselves. Seriously, I wish we could have a trial period for our government leaders. If after 90 days, someone hasn't shown America that he/she is cut out for the position, we should have the option to return him/her, no questions asked, and put someone else in his/her place. It is wishful thinking on my part, but maybe we wouldn't be in the position we find ourselves in now if we had such a plan in place. Go ahead all of you politicians out there and keep talking. I'm not going to listen until you start acting on your words. If anyone reading this can point me to a place somewhere listing the past actions of our presidential candidates that show their real concern for America and its betterment, somewhere that is completely objective and doesn't show the slightest bit of bias toward either one, I would be totally grateful. I haven't decided with whom my vote lies yet, but I want it to be an educated decision. Come on, Obama and McCain, don't beat around the bush either, and show me what you can do for me and my fellow Americans. If you can't do that, I may just have to write-in my own candidate. Maybe Captain Jean-Luc Picard, for example. Yes, I know he's a fictional character and he had his flaws, but when it came right down to it, most every decision he made was for the good of the people on his ship and for the entire Federation of Planets (read: everyone on Earth and many other planets). He made his choices based on how they would affect the many rather than the few. I think there are some politicians in America who could learn from that.
That's the end of my rant on politics. I shall never bring the topic up, again.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Old Gray Mare...

Yeah, she ain't what she used to be. Okay, so I'm only 31 years old. Yes, I'm admitting my actual age. Now, I don't want to downplay what happened to my friend earlier today, because it was truly devastating. However, I didn't think the day could get any worse, and yet, it somehow did. After V and I came home from an outing with our new moms group, I put him down for his nap and then, went outside through the garage to get our cat, who had escaped (again) from the house when we had come inside. She had parked herself on the lower steps leading up to our front door from the driveway. I managed to walk up to her and grab her before she could run away from me. I don't know how many steps I'd gone up, but I definitely missed one or two coming down, landed wrong on my left ankle, and skinned both of my knees on the driveway. For some strange reason, B, who happened to be home early from work and playing on his laptop on the back deck, couldn't hear me scream from the front of the house. I managed to limp into the house and up the steps through the kitchen to the deck. After learning what had happened, B checked my ankle and told me to take Iboeprofen and wear sturdy shoes (meaning NOT my sandals) for the next few days. So, I've spent most of the rest of the day either sitting on our new love seat with my feet up watching TV/surfing the 'Net (I'm so glad the love seat reclines!), or limping after V and up and down the stairs of our house. I have no idea how my ankle will feel tomorrow, and I'm dreading the worst, but seeing as it's not broken, I'll just have to live through the pain and just get on with it. I know things could be a lot worse. And, hey, all this sitting around with the laptop on my lap has led me to iTunes, where I just downloaded the soundtrack to "Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog", and am now listening to it for the second time on my iPod Mini while writing this blog post. So, I guess it isn't all bad. Yeah, I'm sure I'll be thinking that tomorrow morning when I wake up and try to put weight on my left ankle. At 31 years old, I've realized I don't heal as quickly as I used to, like the fact that I still have a cough two weeks after getting over conSARS from Gen Con. Sigh...I guess after I'm done here, I'll load up one of the episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" that's been recorded on our DVR and wax nostalgic about my youth.
Best to you all,

D&D With The Candidates

So, to lighten the mood a little, I found this great website on one of my favorite forums. What would happen if the candidates for the presidency sat down to play Dungeons and Dragons with America as the Dungeon Master? It would probably go something like this.
Best to you all,

Sad News From A Friend

I just found out in an e-mail that the father of one of our best college friends passed away this morning. It was actually a long time coming. His father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer around the beginning of this year, and his prognosis was not good. The fact that he lived through the summer was a true miracle. He was in home hospice care for the last few months of his life. Our friend and his mother took on the responsibility of caring for him at home, and I admire my friend greatly for his courage and steadfastness throughout the ordeal. I just got off the phone with my husband, who had also received the e-mail and immediately called him. Funeral arrangements have not been completed yet, but once we know time and location, we'll try to go and be there for our friend. B said that he seemed to be taking it very well along with the rest of his family. They had more time with their husband and father than they thought they would, which I think will help them through the grieving process. I couldn't imagine losing a parent at this stage in life, and my heart goes out to him and his family. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Namaste and best to you all,

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

Our little family has had a fun three day weekend, so far (well, at least V and I have). The worst part about it is it's been B's first call weekend for his office. Because of the number of physicians in his group, he only has one weekend call a month. It just so happens that his first one ended up being scheduled for Labor Day weekend. While he was busy delivering babies and seeing patients in the office and hospital on Saturday and Sunday, V and I spent time with some college friends of ours. We went to a zoo on Saturday, and though it was very hot, he had a great time, especially when we made it to the little water park area. Really, it was just a bunch of fountains and fun structures that squirt water everywhere, but it's the perfect thing to have in the middle of a zoo in the summertime. Not only did the kids love it, but I saw many parents (me included) getting thankfully drenched by the cool water. I had an extra change of clothes for me, and I had put V in his swim trunks and swim shirt before we went to the zoo, so we could just walk right into the "splash zone" and have fun. Besides that, we had some fun checking out the exotic animals. The tiger was especially active that day, and he "talked" to all of the people observing him. It was one of the most amazing sounds I'd ever heard. I can see why one wouldn't want to encounter a tiger in the wild! After the zoo, V and I hung out with our friends and just had fun relaxing. Yesterday, our friends came to our house to try to spend time with B, as well. He was still on call and spent most of his time in the hospital trying to help a woman deliver her first baby. Our friends, V, and I ended up going to the mall, then crashed at our house for a bit, and then went back out for dinner. Luckily, B finished up at the hospital around the same time we finished dinner, so he was able to enjoy the take out we brought home and got some time with our friends before they left to go back to their house. B went into the hospital this morning to round on patients as he usually does when he's on-call the day before. It turns out that when a doctor in his practice is on-call for the entire weekend, they don't have to round on patients on Monday morning. He didn't discover this until he ran into the physician who took over call from him. So, he came back home earlier than expected this morning, and he has the rest of the day off! Yay! We've been lazing about in the family room watching TV and playing on the laptops. The only plans we've made for today are possibly setting up V's Elmo sprinkler outside, so he can play in the water, and later, we're going to a Labor Day get together hosted by one of the other physicians in B's office. I think it's supposed to be a welcoming party for us, but I'm not sure who all will be there. It should be fun, though! I'm looking forward to getting out and socializing a bit more, especially since I haven't seen B's colleagues in a long time. It'll be nice to get to know them and their families better. Well, I better get off the computer and get showered and ready for the day! Here are a few pics from our weekend. Hope you all have been having us much fun as us!
Best to you all,