Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Days!

As most of you are probably aware, the Midwest has been slammed with a massive winter storm, particularly where we live in southwestern Indiana. I think we've received around 8 to 10 inches of snow total in the past couple of days. I managed to get the driveway shoveled before B came home early from the office yesterday, only to discover this morning that it had been recovered with a fresh blanket of snow. B's on-call today, and since he didn't have to go into the hospital for anything this morning, he took the job of shoveling. Way back in August or September, I managed to find snow pants for V, so I was really excited that we were finally going to be able to use them. He wasn't so sure about them, his boots, or the snow, but once he realized what I was doing with the shovel yesterday, he wanted to help out as much as possible. He liked to tromp around in the boot prints and tracks left behind by car tires as well as try to push snow away with a broom or the shovel. Today, our neighbors were out pulling their sons on sleds. We don't have a sled, but I discovered our wagon could almost be considered an ATV. It sits up pretty high, and the wheels did fairly well in the shallower snow. I pulled V around our neighborhood in his wagon alongside our neighbors and their sledding boys. I also tried to get V to actually stand or sit in the snow, but it was pretty deep, and he would rather be held than get cold, wet stuff down his boots or in his mittens. All in all, though, we had a pretty good time. I have a feeling we'll be making a day of it tomorrow.

It reminds me of the line from "A Christmas Story": "My kid brother looked like a tick about ready to pop."

What our driveway looked like yesterday before being shoveled.

There's a lawn table and chairs underneath all that snow somewhere!

"Look, Mommy! I put on my mittens all by myself!"

Our little helper tries to push snow with the shovel.

V sitting atop one of the tall snowbanks left behind after all of our shoveling.

I made a snow angel and tried to get V to make one, too. He wasn't very happy about that.

Our wagon, the All Terrain Vehicle!

Hope you're all trying to stay warm and dry like us!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Photos of V at Almost 2.5 Years Old

I forgot to include some pictures with my post of V's latest antics, so here are a few recent ones taken around Christmas time and this past month:



While checking my e-mail earlier this afternoon, I heard V walking around the dining and living rooms on the main level of our house. All of a sudden, I overheard him yelling, "Oh, crap!" repeatedly. He was just fine, and it sounded like he was trying the words out for fun. I realized, though, that we're now at the stage when B and I need to watch what we say around him. Actually, my first thought was "He's really hearing the words I say, now. All the words. Oh, crap."
Guess I better find some new words for when I'm frustrated, angry, or exasperated, especially when V is in earshot.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

V at Almost 2.5 Years Old

I realized recently that I haven't really updated you all on V's latest antics/accomplishments. He'll be 2 1/2 years old next month on the 4th, and he's really blossomed and come into his own recently. Here are a few of my favorite new words/sayings/things he does:
--He's started putting words together to make simple sentences, usually beginning with a person's name followed by another noun with MAYBE a verb thrown in for good measure. For example, if my husband decides it's time to play a game on the Wii, V will say something like, "Daddy Wii game?" or even, "Daddy pay (play) Wii." Usually, he'll follow it up with, "Mommy! Mommy! Daddy Wii game!", like I don't already know that B has decided to work some more on his adventures in "Lego Star Wars" Land. Along with this new found communication skill, V has discovered he can tattle on either one of his parents to the other. If I won't let him have a piece of chocolate, he'll go crying to B and say something like, "Daddy, Mommy no chocolate!", which is essentially, "Daddy, Mommy won't let me have any chocolate!" He'll tattle on B to me as well, but so far, it hasn't worked to his advantage.
--Though most of V's verbal communication is still gibberish, he's starting to do an excellent job of telling us what he wants. I love it when he'll ask for something and say "Okay!" after we repeat it back, as if it was our idea in the first place. "Mommy something something bunny yogurt." "You want some bunny (Yoplait Trix) yogurt?" "Okay!" He does it all the time, and it still makes us smile.
--V's suddenly discovered he has a name besides "Baby", which is what I've called him since day one along with his actual name. The first time he said his name (still in gibberish, mind you) and applied it to something he owns ("V's plate" or "V's car"), I was blown away. Of course, that also means we're now in the "mine" stage, which can be pretty irritating and funny at the same time.
--V asks questions now, too. My two favorites: "'Ere are oo? (Where are you?)" and "Oo okay? (Are you okay)". I must ask that last one a lot because he seemed to pick it up fairly quickly. I love how he asks the first one in a singsongy voice, like he's playing Hide-and-Seek with someone. It's almost as if he's itching to add "Come out, come out, wherever you are!".
--V loves to count, and though he can't quite connect the symbol for the number with the word, he can still count up to twelve verbally with pretty good accuracy.
--He still loves to sing, and sometimes, we'll catch him rhyming or even rapping. On one of his favorite television shows, they do a rendition of "The Three Little Pigs". The Big Bad Wolf kind of raps, "I'm big, I'm bad. I'm bad, I'm big. And, I want....a pig!" We've caught V chanting this at random times, and it makes me smile to hear it.
--We may be close to potty training. V's started telling me just in the past couple of weeks when he needs a "dipul change". Though he usually uses the word "poopy" when he's actually just urinated, it's still something that he's recognizing his bodily functions now. If only we could actually get him onto the toilet without freaking out, we would probably have this potty training thing down in no time.
--V's started learning colors, though he has difficulty matching the color name with the actual color. He knows what they are, at least, and his favorite color words to say are "yeyyo" (yellow) and "geen" (green). He does know a few shapes, specifically "car" (star), "kirkle" (circle), "moo" (moon), and sometimes, "skare" (square).
--He's starting to show a few little quirky habits, like needing a "han nakin" (a napkin to wipe his hands) at meals and a dislike for water in his face. That really made it difficult for him to enjoy an indoor water park we went to recently. The kiddie pool was great if chilly, and he enjoyed standing on the little fountains at the edge of it, but once he got squirted in the face with water, he didn't want anything to do with that entire area. Luckily, we discovered he enjoyed the lazy river and the "warm as bathwater" hot tub.
--Finally, V has really started to show an interest in playing with other kids, most notably his cousins and the sons of our college friends who live near us. Although all of them are older than him (by one to eight or nine years), he seems to really have fun being around them and trying to play with the "big kids". He can even call them by their names, and he gets so sad when we have to say goodbye to them.
Well, that's all I have for now, though I'm sure there are a lot more things I could list here. I need to go make dinner for my boys, so I'll leave it at that.

Friday, January 16, 2009

In Memoriam

I'm really glad that my college sends me email updates on what's occurring there, even though I graduated eight years ago. Otherwise, I wouldn't have known that one of my favorite professors had passed away last Saturday. Professor Denis Kelly taught philosophy and religion classes at Marian College, and I was lucky enough to have him for a course on Asian philosophies. Though my memories of college are becoming vague, I do remember that I enjoyed the class, and it really opened my eyes to the world and the belief systems of other cultures. Prof. Kelly was one of those big, jolly men who looked just like a real-life Santa Claus, white hair, beard, and all. In fact, for years, he played Santa at the college's special Christmas brunch held for the kids of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. I remember that he drove a motorcycle, and I loved how he would walk into class in his leather jacket, his helmet under one arm. Also, he was one of those professors who would sometimes spend his meal times in the student area of the one cafeteria on campus. I thought it was really cool that, instead of taking some quiet time away from his students along with the other faculty in their own separate lounge area, he would sit down at a table of kids, handkerchief pushed into his shirt collar under his chin, and discuss whatever the hot topic was at the moment. I may have even sat at his table once or twice, though unfortunately, I can't quite remember. One clear memory I have of him occurred in the cafeteria. I think it was St. Patrick's day, and if I'm correct, he had some Irish heritage. He also had a lovely baritone singing voice, and on that holiday, he spontaneously stood up in the middle of the cafeteria and sang for everyone who would listen, which was truly everyone, since he sang so loudly and clearly and beautifully. I even think the song was "Danny Boy", one of my all-time, absolute favorites, though I could just be muddling a couple of different memories together. One thing I do know is that he was thrilled when I told him I was engaged to B, the event having occurred at the same time of year as when I took Prof. Kelly's class. Yes, our college community was so small and close-knit that our professors were not only concerned about our academic lives, but our personal lives as well. I don't remember our conversation, just his smile of delight. Tomorrow morning, B and I will go to the visitation before his funeral to pay our respects. He was a great man, and he will be truly missed. Rest in peace, Prof. Kelly.

(Thanks to my friend and fellow Marian Knight, R.S., for the lovely picture of Prof. Kelly. I regret that my little V will never be able to meet him as Santa.)
Best to you all,

Friday, January 9, 2009

Finding Truth On Twitter

I discovered that you can find profound truths in the most unlikely places, even on Twitter. I wrote the following tweets this morning after writing an e-mail to a friend:

Don't you hate it when you think about an e-mail afterward, and realize the words you typed weren't exactly the words you wanted to say?

So much feeling and actual thought can be lost during the translation of an idea from the mind into word form. It can get one into trouble.

Others' life experiences may be so different from yours that when you actually write something, they may take it completely the wrong way.

Sometimes, it's just best to say it out loud because facial expressions and body language can say so much more than words on the page.

And that's all I have to say about that.

And, really, it is.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Down The Rabbit Hole...

While reading through my Twitter feed today, I found a couple of interesting and completely random things.
A long time ago, I discovered a great website called "The Brunching Shuttlecocks". It was full of hilarious commentary, funny movie reviews, and random geeky things that appealed to my inner-nerd self. The website, unfortunately, couldn't last forever. I was surprised, and thrilled, then, to find (through a post on Wil Wheaton's blog) that Lore Sjoberg, one of the main contributors to the "Shuttlecocks" page, is still writing and has a wonderfully funny new site called "Bad Gods". It's mostly web comic strips with a few animations and fun little games mixed in for good measure. I especially like the "Monster Manual Comix", for obvious reasons.
My friend and Dead Gentleman Ben Dobyns tweeted that there's a new anthology out with contributions by him and Neil Gaiman (among many other worthy writers) to benefit a talented musician who is ill and needs support for rising medical costs. I am not familiar with the musician, S.J. Tucker, but I have learned that she is also a friend of Ben's, and as the saying goes, "Any friend of his is a friend of mine." Plus, the anthology has tales by Ben AND Neil FREAKIN' Gaiman. That did it for me.
Finally, our board gaming group came over to our house last night, and I fed them all with my Cincinnati Three-Way Chili (recipe soon to follow) and Chocolate Rice Pudding, a recipe I found by watching Giada De Laurentiis on "The Food Network". I think both dinner and dessert went over very well, and I'm still eating leftover rice pudding tonight. Yummy!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Reflections

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope your holiday was as great as mine (post-Christmas, of course). We managed to get healthy enough to have some friends over to our place for pizza and gaming. I made poached pears for dessert and managed to kill Dr. Lucky all in one evening. It was great fun, and even better, everyone stuck around long enough to toast the new year with sparkling strawberry and apple juice. On New Year's Day, we had our college friends up for a late Christmas get together. There was much laughing and opening of presents, and we had lunch at Steak N' Shake, where apparently Happy Hour occurs every weekday from 2 pm to 4 pm and all drinks and shakes are half price. So, guess what everyone drank along with their meals? There were nine of us, and we had eight milk shakes of varying flavors at our table at one time (V shared mine, since a whole shake would be too much for him). We ended the evening with one of our friends sticking around and playing a European board game with B and me. It was a wonderful way to finish up our New Year's celebrations.
Now that 2008 is over and 2009 has begun, it's a good time to reflect on my hopes and dreams for this coming year. I'm not really into making resolutions right now, since I feel as though they'll be kept for about a minute. Maybe if I think of them as something other than resolutions, I'll manage to succeed in fulfilling them. Plus, some of them aren't really resolutions at all, just things I'd like to be able to do this year:
1. I hope to be a more patient and loving wife and mother. I think I already managed the mommy part today when I took my son to the mall and didn't blow up every time he wanted to stop and play with the game controllers in all the electronics stores.
2. I hope to get myself in better shape and to use our YMCA membership more often. This means I'll have to start forcing myself to get out of bed and go to the YMCA, instead of going downstairs and fiddling around on the Internet all morning. I'm hoping V will get over his fear of the day care there, which means I'll have more time to work out. Well, next Monday's as good a time as any to find out.
3. I hope to learn how to sew and embroider. My husband gave me a great electronic sewing machine with a separate embroidery unit for Christmas. The gift was completely from left field, and I really have no idea why he got it for me. I was completely overwhelmed. However, he spoke to my mother-in-law about it before Christmas, and not only did she give me loads of great sewing accessories, she also found a person in our new city who gives lessons. This year's as good a time as any to start being creative again.
4. I hope to travel more. It's not like we haven't traveled a whole lot in the past few years. We've been very lucky to have so many opportunities to see different parts of the United States. However, B gets loads of vacation time, and if the timing's right and nothing else happens to hinder us, I'd love to go to Europe, especially Great Britain. We both enjoy British movies and television shows, and I'm a huge Jane Austen fan. I think it would be so cool to see London, Bath, and Lyme, which are some of the cities where Jane grew up and lived. We already have plans to travel to Charleston, South Carolina, with B's family in July, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's another new city for us to see and experience, and it'll be wonderful to be near the Atlantic Ocean again. Also, I wouldn't mind taking a few days and going back to Seattle, Washington. We have some very good friends who live there, and I really enjoyed seeing the city and one of its neighboring islands back in 2007. Of course, the possibility of some of this travel will depend on the timing of my next hope.
5. I (and B) would like to try to have another baby. About a month or so ago, B brought up the fact that we're at a good point in our life to add another member to our family. He's already six months into his new job, and his work schedule is definitely much better than it was the last time I was pregnant, so he'll be available to help at home much more often. I don't have any kind of work schedule to worry about, so I'll be able to focus more on taking care of myself and the growing fetus. V's almost two and a half years old, and he's at the stage where he enjoys playing with and being around other kids. When B and I talked about having another baby, I told him about the fears I have related to the idea. Will I be able to care for another child, especially when I have one who depends on me so much already? Will I be able to love both of my children equally? Will I be able to be a good wife to my husband, too, when I'll have two little ones competing for my attention? What if I have a very difficult pregnancy? My first pregnancy was pretty easy, except for the fact that V was breech and had to be delivered by C-section. What if the next time around, I have lots of morning sickness and fatigue and even worse complications? How will I be able to take care of V and myself at the same time? What if we have the same breast feeding and sleeping issues as we did with V? I'm sure there are more things I can come up with, but those were all my main points for not having another child. Then, yesterday, I thought about our discussion again, and I realized that I need to just get over myself and look forward to the possibility of having another baby. I'm not getting any younger, V really does need a little brother or sister to help him learn things like sharing and caring for others, and we have enough room in our new house for another family member. It's as good a time as any to start trying. B and I just need to talk about it some more, I need to see my doctor and get myself in better shape, and we need to make sure we time it right. Last time we wanted to get pregnant, we thought we had oodles of time to try. A month later, I found out I was going to have V. Yeah, we chalk that up to my dad's family's wonderful abundance of fertility. He DID have ten brothers and sisters, you know.
So, those are just a few of the things I hope to see happen in 2009. I wish you all have a blessed year, and thank you so much for joining me here at my little blog. I promise to try to keep it interesting, upbeat, and maybe even a little exciting in the coming months!