Want some whine with that?

I had this nice whiney post all written up and then I tried to publish it. Blogger ate my homework. Talk about making me cranky. Here are some other things:

1. I'm tired yet I keep doing the same stupid thing - I stay up late and do dumb stuff like re-compose blog posts that the World Wide Web will likely just ingest again.

2. This chick from a Mom's Group I'm part of starting using our group as her own personal mailing list for her large list of various "buy this crap at a home party" businesses. She got warned once. We made a nice rule about not spamming the group. She got warned for doing it again. She got huffy and left. Or at least we can assume that's what it was about. Anyway, she's gone, sort of. Now she just sends us all her mail to our own personal emails and not the YahooGroup we usually communicate to the group through. Nice, eh? There's a reason I like the "SPAM" button.

3. The Male Selective Hearing disease sets-in early. My two year old is now battling it. It is totally not their fault. See I think the testosterone settles into their ear drums when its not off doing other manly things.

4. Why do grown adults in their 30s, 40s, and so on, think its great fun to drink so much on a corporate bar tab that they show up to work drunk the next day?

5. I am so darn sick of everything in my great outdoors being white, dirty white, or just plain old grey. I want Spring. I want it now.

My only solace is that Spring Training starts in just 14 days. I am giddy over this. GIDDY! Yeah, tulips and daffodils are wonderful. Red-breasted robins are just grand. But I live for those pinstripes warming up in Tampa. I can't wait to see Randy Johnson take the mound. I'm besides myself really!

That said, as painful as this is for me to say being a Giants fan and all, I really hope the Eagles win the SuperBowl because I'm not sure I can handle back-to-back New England wins with a historic Red Sox title squished between. Its just not right. Chaos will break out. People will go insane. I'm telling you - its not natural. Bad bad things will happen.


Its coming!

I don't know exactly when, but I do know that at some point between now and the end of May this ring will be on my right hand's ring finger. We bought it today from Zales (must give them credit for the photo!) and its now out to be sized.  Posted by Hello

I told Bruce I wanted a piece of jewlery that contained both a pearl (or pearls) and sapphire(s). Why you ask? Logan is a June-bug with a pearl birthstone. Megan's stone is sapphire. When we were expecting L, Bruce did a terribly romantic thing. He bought me a ruby and diamond heart-shaped pendant for my birthday (which is in late May.) Logan, you see, was due in July and therefore, the appropriate stone was ruby. I LOVE that pendant not just because I adore rubies, but because I love the meaning it holds. I love the sentiment. However, when Logan arrived a bit early, I started to tease Bruce that he owed me a pearl. When Meg arrived I also developed a lust for sapphire.

This combination isn't an easy thing to find unless you're looking to buy antique jewlery from the Victorian era. You can have pieces custom made for a nice price, sure. You can even get one of those Mother's rings. But I must be honest, I'm not a big fan of those. I thought I could forece myself to be - but no. The worst part, aside from the fact they look like class rings, is that the stone they use for June is some ugly dark yellow pee color. I want a June pearl.

I looked hard a few weeks ago - figuring if it was to be custom made we needed time. I had told B it'd make a nice Mother's Day and/or birthday gift. I hunted on my own knowing how much Bruce hates the insecurity jewlery shopping breeds in him. Besides, I had a picture in my head and I was determined to find "JUST" the right thing. And I did. First I found the necklace I had dreamed up - a pearl surrounded by sapphires in such a way it looked like a pretty blue daisy.

But necklaces and young children are tough. Necklaces get yanked. Chains break. Necklaces end up decorating jewlery boxes in the hopes that some day its safe to take them out again. Rings, though, rings can get worn. So I kept hunting. And I found it. I found this. This ring shown above. I found it on my lunch hour one day on a whim. I stopped in Zales and just asked - "Do you have ANYTHING with Pearls and Sapphires?"

"Why yes, in fact, we do!" the lady said as she pulled this ring from the case. I fell in love.

Then I slipped to nervous fear - fear they'd sell it before he bought it. I showed him picture on the web site. I pulled him into another Zales when we were out at the Mall. And then he said "Go ahead and buy it now." So we did.

When it comes home to live it'll go into hiding until its time to show up as a gift. I told him this year it'd be ok to give me a Valentine's present - something we don't normally do. It may wait and hide though until May, and that's ok. I know its there. I know we have it. I know I can't miss out on it. Its mine. I love it because it represents them.


an irritation

I won't delve into the details. I actually hesitate to write even this. But I will. There are things that happen in this world that are of utter, horrid, huge proportions of devestation. We all leap to our feet, open our wallets and do our monetary best to help.

In the interim there are daily struggles that we ignore.

Yesterday at a company event two seperate small groups either donated excess 'funds' from a planning budget or a proposed event plan (that would, if it evolved into something real, take place in May) that would also act as fundraiser. Each of these revolved around tsunami help.

That's great. Yes it is. Its wonderful. Tsunami victims face a very long road up the hill to recovery. Let's not forget them after the initial set of pictures and video cross our line of site. . .

Yet what about everything else? We're a tech company - What about donating something to a school system in a disadvantaged area? What about devoting our efforts to train welfare recipents in various technologies to help them develop new skills? What about so many great causes? Why is it only the truly awful, broadcasted stuff gets our focus?

It'll be a heatwave!

They say it should hit 36 degrees on Sunday - a veritable heatwave! Whoever thought it'd be neat to see the weather station display "Wind Chill -10" needs to stop having fun at my expense.


Snow days!

I don't know why this photo makes me giggle, but it does. I'm so cruel - the baby is balling and I'm laughing about it. Anyway, here's the look of two different faces in the big weekend snow storm. The big one had just completed the sentence "But I don't want to say cheese, I want to sled!" The little one is screaming what can only be interpreted as "Get me the hell out of this cold white crap!" Posted by Hello


Baby loves to ChaCha

I believe Megan has hit that age where separation anxiety begins to set in. Logan went through some form of it himself - heck, it was nearly 2 years before he'd stay anywhere on his own without either parent or grandparent with him! This is different though. I don't remember this. I can't put her down. If I do manage to convince her its worth spending some time with some toy or other on the floor or the Pack-n-Play, I have to remain in her line of sight. The moment I move away she starts to cry. And then, if I leave the room! Well forget it. Hysterics.

Sometimes she cries a bit - like when I need to attend to the big brother or I need a bathroom break. Other times we find ways of dealing with this need of hers. The three of us play Candyland, for example. I just get to take two turns.

In the past, baby girl hasn't been a big fan of the front carrier. Today, out of desperation, I decided to try it again. Well the thing is aptly named "Kangaroo" and that's just grand since I feel like one every time I strap it on. I tangled myself in the straps, plopped Meg in, snapped all the buckles shut and crossed my fingers.

She was content.

We made bread, the three of us. Let me be the first to tell you that kneading two loaves with of sourdough bread an infant strapped to the front of you isn't nearly as hard as you may think! We put away laundry. We vacuumed. And somewhere along the way, one of us fell asleep. Sadly it wasn't me. Happily I was able to extricate Megan from the Kangaroo contraption and put her down somewhere not on me for about an hour's worth of napping.

The thing worked so well that I hooked her up again in the evening. Logan loved it. Luckily so did Megan. My shoulders? Not so much.

We played hide and seek. We played tag. We turned up the volume on the CD player and danced like fools to JoJo's Circus and Sam Cooke. We learned that the little girl LOVES to Cha Cha - or at least she loves when I Cha Cha and she goes along for the ride. She also loves when I dip forward, leaving her perpendicular to the floor. She gets her face close to her brother's that way and she laughs a big hearty baby laugh.

When the carrier is on, Logan refers to the two of us as Kanga and Roo. He's since decided that this makes him Piglet. And as much as it wears me down and puts aches where my shoulders used to be, I actually like it. I like that I can run and play again with my boy without waiting for naptime or a second pair of hands to come home. I like that I can dance in the living room. Pump up the sound system, strap the kid on, and get a work-out like no other. Baby LOVES to Cha Cha...and so do I.

My neighbor must read my blog

Yesterday when B was out front shoveling yet again the neighbor to our left came over and used his 12 horsepower snowblower to clear our sidewalk from his property line to our driveway.

Apparently the toy is brand new and he has some trouble controlling it. This I can personally attest to because I stood in my bay window bouncing Megs and watching machine nearly take man for a ride.


Gee, aren't you a nice neighbor

Well it snowed here. And then it rained. Roughly six inches of snow under rain to be exact. That equates to "damn heavy snow to have to shovel." Not only that, but folks, my driveway - ugh! It fits two cars across and roughly two and half down its length per side...meaning a total of five cars worth of driveway to shovel. Not little itty-bitty cars either, we're talking my van, a mid-sized sedan and then a 2nd sedan hanging off over the sidewalk into the apron a wee bit but not falling off into the street. BIG ole driveway.

Add to that the fact that we live in a raised ranch which means retaining walls down half the driveway length - this means when you want to remove snow from your driveway you must hoist heavy shovelfuls over the retaining wall - which may be over your head. Nice, eh? And then there's the front steps...and then the sidewalk...and if you're feeling like getting mail at all before the snow melts, there's a space in front of your mailbox to do.

AND, today is just the beginning. Its now turning back to snow from the brief interval of rain and its supposed to snow deep into tomorrow. Yet we all went out tonight and we shoveled - "we all" being every grown adult with home ownership. We went because shoveling heavy wet rained on snow is better than shoveling snow with a layer of ice from where the rain froze.

Well yes, thank you for asking, it would be wise of us to buy a snow blower. Its something we toss around from time to time and then we spend our money on something else. In the interim we have two adults with very sore shoulders, backs and upper arms tonight. Two cold adults.

But about my neighbor since that's what this installment is titled. Well my neighbor has a snow blower - or at least he's using one, it may be one he borrowed from yet another neighbor. The fool is aware that we have three shovels and two adults (don't ask about that ratio. I'm still trying to figure it out myself.) He is also aware that we have two young children and so clearing snow means either one of us works at a time OR we work at night when both kids are in bed because the little one likely won't nap off a body long enough for three of us to get front and work. Oh, and with "three" of us working, its likely the boy would just create more work for the other two of us. ;)

But whatever, he went out with this snowblower and he did his driveway. He did his sidewalk. . . and he stopped at the exact spot his property ends. EXACT! Do you think it'd have killed him to the extra few dozen feet between that property line and my driveway? Wouldn't it have been a nice thing to do. I mean really, its not like he was breaking his back shoveling or anything. He was pushing a freakin' machine. A machine that did his sidewalk down to concrete in minutes as it shot streams of heavy wet snow up on his yard like it was a pile of goose feathers.

I'm cranky. I know. My upper body is screaming in pain from the experience of shoveling. Yes, I am that out of shape and yes the driveway is that big and yes the snow was that heavy.


I should be flattered but. . .

I should be flattered I suppose, or at least proud. And I am. But I'm also irked.

Let me back up a bit. I got brave today. The weather here is rotten (although not quite as rotten as it is up by Mandy! Minus 15 degrees and car doors frozen shut?! ACK!) I just glanced at home weather station reciever and with the wind chill its -9 degees. This weekend its supposed to snow. No one knows quite what to predict but we've heard anything from 4 inches to two feet depending on whatever factors are throwing them off at the time. With this laying ahead of us and Bruce out late tonight, I decided to get the kids out for a bit.

We headed to the pet store first. This would be easy for the three of us I figured. Meg could ride in her stroller and Logan would push one of those pint sized "Customer-in-training" carts, which tends to keep him near me and focused on the task at hand instead of running. The dog needed new treats since Logan has this new thing about rewarding her for every little thing she does. There is a reason she's over 60 lbs. And the pet store was easy. Logan did just what I expected. He follows directions well when he's got that cart - turn left, turn right. Just wait here while we pick out what cookies to give Tasha. We looked at fish. We paid. And then Logan asked for chicken, fries and HotWheels -- a combination only found at Burger King right now.

And I relented. It was, after all, a long day for the three of us and I had no idea how the afternoon would go. Why not stay out a bit longer and let him have some fun. Off to Burger King we went. I issued my warning in the car: Logan, you must walk and stay near me the entire time because I can't carry Megan, the tray of food AND you and I can't chase you around the place. He agreed happily if it meant a lunch out.

He was true to his word. He stood by my side and even ordered his own meal - requesting the helicopter if they had one left. They did and he's thrilled. The annoyance though came when we sat down in a booth. Logan sat across from me and Meg sat on my lap. Both were perfect little beings. Meg just scoped out the joint and Logan ate his chicken and his fries, both drenched in ketchup just as he likes it.

Behind us, in an adjoining booth, sat Amanda, her Grandmother and Grandmother's friend. Amanda is an energetic five year old and decided she wanted to:

a) bounce and kick so much she rocked the seat of the lady behind her (according ot Grandma)
b) talked loudly enough that everyone in the place knew it was her birthday and that she thought it was downright hilarious she might have to get everyone to her party on skis if it did in fact snow this weekend
c) didn't want to eat her meal after she got it

Amanda got chastised quite a bit while we were there. The three of them started packing up to leave at the same time the three of us were. I stood and emptied our tray in the can just behind our seats - Megan balanced on my hip with one arm and Logan waiting patiently in the booth. The friend o' Grandma began with admiring Megan. "What a beautiful little baby!" she said.

Then it moved to their eyes -- what big beautiful blue eyes both children have and what wonderful red hair to go with them. Then came the part I hate. I don't know why it bugs me so. I guess I just hate the idea of some kid loathing mine for being 'the example.' Not sure its even a rational thing, but I can imagine the child on the other end of this conversation just wanting to sock mine. The lady said "Look Amanda. Look at these two kids. See how nice and well behaved they've been while they were here. I didn't even know they were back here. See how quite this little boy was. And the baby! The baby didn't even cry. See, I bet the boy ate all his lunch too. You should learn from him."

The woman in the adjoining booth that had been rocked by Amanda's jittery nature smiled at it all and said "Oh, it must be the name. I have an Amanda at home and she's a handful too."

I smiled at Amanda with a look that said "I'm sorry, you're a good girl I'm sure. You're just five and happy." Instead I said to the lady and her friend Amanda's Grandma, "Oh, thank you, but trust me, he has the ability to be more than loud when he wants to. He's two and half. You've just witnessed one of his good moments. I'm sure later when we're home and he can't have his way he'll be louder than you can imagine. same with the baby. She has powerful lungs when she wants to have them."

They smiled and then again commented, more so for Amanda's benefit than mine at that point, about how cute both children were and how well behaved. They kneeled to see Meg. "Boy or girl?" asked the woman, confused as many seem to be by her lavendery-bluish/purple coat accented with lime green.

The small talk continued with Logan wishing Amanda a happy birthday and showing off the helicopter he had in his hand. "They gave it to me! See! Isn't that neat!" he said. And we left. As we walked out into the biter cold I heard them again - "What good kids. See Amanda. See how nice that boy listens to his Mommy. See how he stays so close. Why can't you do that?" And again I felt like going over to them and saying "Oh come on. Please don't compare. He is a good boy, but he's also a real little boy with tantrums and fits and moments where I want to ring his neck. Please give her a break and let her just be her - not anyone else. Please don't ever ask her to be like anyone else."

Someone just smack me if I ever do that to my kid!


2nd Time Around

Its true what they say about subsequent children. They're less fragile. They get to cry a little more before you pick them up only because you can't walk away from your oldest with half a leg in his snowpants the moment the little one starts to wail. They get poked a bit more because repeatedly saying "STOP! Don't touch the baby!" does very little to endear your littlest to your biggest. You start to recognize as long as limbs are still attached and blood is not pouring everything is ok.

On the other hand, I find that there are things we'd do with Logan that we don't with Meg. For example, we have photos of Logan out in the very first winter snow the year he was born. It was a big thing - another first. He was about 6 months old at the time. I have always enjoyed playing out in the snow (at least the first few falls each year before I start wishing it'd just disappear and nature would sprout flowers already.) Having a little one to take out in it seemed to make it 'ok' for me to run laps with the dog and make snow angels.

But now I have Logan to do that with so the drive to drag out 4-month old Megan is so very low. It seems ok to me to bundle up the 2 year old with every stitch of winter clothing I can find - but not the baby. I find a place to put her down in the warmth of the house and we go out to make our faces pink and rosy with the cold. She's more protected in that regard. It's ok if there are no moments in below-freezing temps just to 'see' the white stuff up close. She'll get there. She'll experience it when she's ready. In the meantime I just want to protect her from the cold.

Today I put her down in the Pack-n-Play for a moment while I put the winter gear on the boy. She yelled. She screamed her fool head off. She was beyond ticked-off. Then she realized that all her protests were failing to bring me running. She quieted a bit. She just fell into babbling to herself and blowing spit bubbles. It takes a while, you see to get snow pants, then boots, then "pinchers" (aka mittens), then winter coat, then hat, then hood on a boy who is itching to go out back to chase his dog. I kissed his button nose as he begged me to come play too.

"Not yet," I said, hearing Meg's chatter start to slow down. "I have to help Meggie get to sleep. She needs to nap. You play and I'll watch you from in here." And off he went leaving me behind in the sunroom converted into playroom and office. The three walls of windows giving me the perfect vantage point to watch him and dog enjoy the snow.

The baby - well she was strangely quiet. I walked in to the living room slowly - careful not to squeak the boards of our hardwood floor in all the places it normally squeaks. She was awake but contently staring at the ceiling.

"Mom!" yelled Logan. "I need my hood off!" He was standing at the backdoor unable (or at least unwilling) to put his head down to a normal level while the hood was snapped shut. It should cover his mouth the way its made, but he hates it that way. Instead he cranes his neck back so he can keep his face free. I unsnapped him but told him to keep it on. He ran off and I sneaked back in to peek at Meg.

She was asleep. Sound asleep. Out cold. She stayed that way for just over an hour, during which time Logan got his fill of the snow and came in to make four Valentines then play a game on the computer. In Logan's babyhood this would never have happened. I'd have put him down and leapt to him the moment he went from minor whimper of protest to outright screeching. It hurts to hear them cry like that and the only reason Meg gets to on occasion is because she has the luck of not being an 'only.' Yet as I sit and think - she wailed for about 5 minutes, then she got sleep she needed. She got sleep in the right spot - not in a car sear or my shoulder. Her head was straight, not kinking her neck as her heavy head tipped over in a seat. She got good sleep. She didn't go out in the cold air just to say she did - she got to nap.

Perhaps being less fragile is a good thing. Perhaps she'll be stronger for it in the long run. It still hurts to hear her cry and to have to leave her a moment longer than I'd like, but it seems to hurt me more than her - and so we're good with it her and I.

Of course that said, she now naps on my shoulder again - having fallen asleep roughly a half hour ago. The boy? Well he's watching one of the Disney movies I once set out to collect and then forget to continue the quest. He's quiet, hopefully not napping, but either way this makes two minor breaks in the day for Mom and THAT is a good thing.

Oh, by the way, about Megan's Wry Neck
We're back to a straight up and proud week. Actually it started the end of last week. At her 4-month visit a week ago she was leaning less than she normally did on her tippy weeks. Now she's back to nice and normal straight neck. I have no idea if this means those neck muscles have stretched and the Torcollis has corrected itself or if its just another on again, off again thing. We have a follow-up with the specialist in three weeks. I suppose we'll know the prognosis then. I am praying and hoping with every fiber of my being that the simple stretches we've done and getting her out of the car seat at night was enough. I am hoping we can avoid putting her through tests (no matter how basic and easy) and the treatments - even the regular PT stuff. Keep your fingers crossed and prayers coming!!


Puzzler in the house

I am not a real big fan of the jigsaw puzzle. I used to like them back I was of the age where 100-piece puzzles were deemed acceptable. Once I outgrew them I realized that I so very much lacked the patience to complete an adult-sized one. They frustrate me only because I can't complete them in short order.

My mother, on the hand, loves puzzles. A surefire quick gift is a new 1000 piece to work on. She does puzzles online. She does the hard ones. She does ones with pretty pictures. And I'm fairly certain she'd be thrilled to have someone else in the family that likes to do them too. She may have lucked out.

Logan loves puzzles. He loves them so much, in fact, that we went out and bought up three more today in light of the threat of major snow this weekend. I, personally, although I did like those aforementioned smaller puzzles, never liked them so much that I'd stock up on them and beg to do them repeatedly. This is where Logan and I differ. Now I love puzzles because I know if I can amass his collection at just the right spot and the right time, he's well entertained for hours. All I need to do is sit on the floor near him and we're good to go.

About a year ago he got his first one. It was this wooden puzzle that makes noises when you put in each of the nine pieces -- all various means of transportation.

By summer he was growing impatient with the puzzle. It wasn't challenging and he was bored. He'd play with it only to set off the various sounds - but his other, more quiet puzzles sat ignored. We upgraded him to this other noisy puzzle of a train. Instead of nine pieces each its very own entity, this was in the neighborhood of nine pieces making up a single larger image. Of course on the board, painted under the removable pieces, is the exact same image. Its a cheat sheet of sorts for the toddler set. Put the piece that looks like the smoke stack over the smoke stack in the picture. Again, this one has lasted in circulation at our hosue as long as it has only because it makes noises.

Now he's all about the jigsaw. We tried it out on a whim this summer. A 24-piece jigsaw Grandma found. It said "Preschooler Puzzle" and was marked for ages 3-5. Oh why not. At first he needed lots of help. You had to show him where the piece would go and how to position it, then Logan would put that piece in. Today, however, is a different story.

Recently he came across his abandoned wooden puzzles. He pushed them aside saying, "These puzzles are too easy for me. I'm a big boy now." Then he pulled out a 24-piece puzzle we keep here (three others live at Grandma's house, plus he has two big floor puzzles here as well.) He sat down and pieced it together with a few hints here and there.

Last night I handed him a new jigsaw I had picked up on my lunch hour. We sat down to work it together. He started by studying the picture on the box - taking a moment to glance from it to the pieces laid out before him. Then Megan whined and so I got up to change her before feeding her. I had to let the dog out. I had to let the dog in. I had to locate a missing baby sock. In the 15-minutes it took me to do all that and settle back in to help Logan with this brand-new, never before seen puzzle. . .

He had finished it.


Perfectly pieced back together.

So today we bought those three new ones. He inisisted we bring them into Grandma's house with us when we went over to retrieve Megan after our Mom/Logan quality time. He then insisted we open each one and try it out. Within the hour (a few milk and snack breaks scattered throughout, plus a moment to chase the dog) Logan had completed all three. The first he did all on his own. The second he decided I needed to finish for him because he was ready to torment Sydney the dog. The third he conned Grandma into helping him with by repeatedly saying things like "You put this one in for me right there?"

It should be noted that apparently he's picked up on the concept of positive re-enforcement. When I put in his last four pieces for puzzle #2, Logan clapped loudly for me and yelled "Oh great job Mommy! I so proud you! You are such a big girl!"



I've gotten re-committed to the whole work-out thing. Years ago we sold off a few stock options and bought two high quality pieces of equipment from a local shop -- a really good treadmill and one of those "all-in-one" cables and weights systems you'd find in a gym. We had the cable guy come in and drag some lines down to the basement then connected those lines to a small TV. We were off to slim, trim bodies. Then life got in our way and the equipment got dusty.

The "gym" sits just below the bedrooms. Not just "the" bedrooms, but "their" bedrooms. That means each time the treadmill beeps - beeps when you turn it on, beeps when you set the timer, beeps when you reach cool down, beeps several times when you're done - each time it beeps a child might possibly hear it. It means each time you clink the weights you've lifted against the weights that have remained stacked, one of them may wake up. So we have avoided the gym during sleeping hours.

Of course, its also impossible to sneak down to the gym to work-out during NON-sleep hours when its just one adult and two kids. Heck it was impossible when it was one adult and one kid. And then there's the chaos of piled high cardboard that has overtaken my basement - not to mention the heater, the washer and dryer. . .the stored breakable objects. All things you don't want a two year old climbing around that make it impossible to work out with your son and daughter in the basement with you. Thus dust.

But I got brave. I ventured down. I did it. It beeped and not a single eye opened. I clinked weights and no one but me knew it - well ok Bruce too, but with the noise of the TV in the living room and the dishwasher running he didn't hear me. I watched some cheesey TV and I worked up a sweat. I walked with an incline. I even jogged. I pumped iron! I did it three of the last four nights (Ummm, sure treadmill 3 of the last four. Weights two of the last four. I take days off in between on that.)

Now I feel it. Not muscle pulls and discomfort, but satisfaction. I have those muscle twitches. Anyone that has ever started a work-out program after laying dormant knows what I mean. That bizarre, yet oddly fabulous sensation of newly used muscles still twitching from the activity. You sit and you feel those once sleepy thighs come alive. You're body is mildly achey. You feel tight and a wee bit sore - but at the same time you already feel thinner. You already feel healthier. You know that it matters. You know that you've done something good for yourself.

You may hate the work. You might dislike sweating and getting all sorts of gross, but its a good sweat and gross - you know it. You feel like this is the thing you've been missing. You plan to stick with it no matter how many times in the past you've been in this spot only to walk away from it later.

You're dedicated if for no other reason than to look better than that crank at work you want to continue looking better than. But let's not let her know she's motivating. Deal?

Track this fat chick!

So you know all those counters people populate their emails with? You know what I mean the pregnancy track to see how many weeks are left till that baby is supposed to show up. Then there's the one that counts down to birthdays or what have you. Well I've found a new one for me:


Learn to write. . .

He never ceases to amaze me. Logan sat on the floor coloring today. He drew a lot of 'abstract' pictures of various family members, if you know what I mean. Then we heard him saying "That's an L. That's an O. That's a G. . . .how do I make an A?" For those just joining us for the first time, Logan is 2 1/2 years old.
 Posted by Hello


The good, the bad, the ugly

This has been my day.

The Ugly
What is it about 2 1/2 year olds that forces us to resist the urge to be so very immature? As I sat in the recliner trying to feed Meg and get her to sleep, Logan decided to help himself to some water from my big plastic cup. In attempt to pour more water into the cup from a nearby water bottle he managed to create a few little puddles on the placemat left on the coffee table from this morning's art projects.

Knowing it was merely an accident, I said simply, "Logan, just do me a favor and move my magazine so you don't get it wet."

With that he lifted the water bottle up high above my magazine. He looked right at me and then turned it upside in a move that would have saturated the magazine if the bottle still had more than a few drops of water left in it. I siftly plopped Megs in the Pack-n-Play so I could grab both cup and bottle from the 2-year-old imp's hands.

He screamed. He stomped. He balled up his fists and yelled as he dug them into his hips. I in turn carried him to his room for a time out. He sat on his bed and cried "But why you put me in here? It's funny! It's funny to wet your book!" And he laughed.

"Its not funny." I said back. "You can ruin books if you get them wet." I no longer cared to clarify we were only talking about my magazine here because there were bigger issues at play. Then for good measure I tossed in "You wouldn't want your books to get ruined would you?"

"No!" he said a bit alarmed. "But it funny to ruin your book."

It took all I had in me to not snatch a magazine he'd been "reading" earlier and tear a page out of it as I said, "There. Is that funny?"

The bad
Megan is cranky today. I'm sure her little legs are a bit sore from her shots yesterday - she's got a small bruise from where she jerked herself out of our grasp while getting the last needle. Poor kid. She goes through stretches today (and yesterday afternoon) where's she's her normal sunny self. Then she cries and cranks. She won't tolerate being put down. Everything that normally amuses her only irritates her. Her activity quilt? Ticks her off. Her swing? Makes her scream. Her pack-in-play? Only good for enough time for me to get to the bathroom, but not long enough to use it.

This makes it harder to keep the imp from acting out because I can't put her down long enough to focus on him. If we're going to do puzzles we do them while she sits on my lap. If we're going to have lunch we do it while she screams because I can't hold her and cook grilled cheese at the same time. If we're going to have a picnic my magazine gets wet because he's had enough of me sitting in a chair trying to rock his sister to silence. Luckily today was sleep-over at Grandma and Papa's night. The weather here stinks. It was starting to snow a few hours back after raining hard all morning. Grandma came early to pick up Logan - she arrived just a half hour after Megan finally fell asleep. She remains asleep on my shoulder while I type. Putting her down will merely wake her up. So I sit with her - and my shoulders and my neck and my wrists all ache from a day of carrying nearly 15 lbs of squirmy baby.

The Good
Amongst all the cranking and the cruddy weather we had a bit of sunshine in our house. Released from his room, Logan decided to climb my leg and sit on half my lap while asking the usual post-tantrum question "Mommy? Are you happy now?"

Meg sat on the other leg, silent yet awake. She turned her head at the sound of her big brother's voice and she stared at him. Then she started to babble in his direction. She repeated her new set of sounds - a series of growls, grunts, groans and coos, mixed with a few spit bubbles for good measure.

"Look Lo!" I said to him, using the nickname I usually reserve for teasing him with when he decides to call me Mom not the usual Mommy. "Look! She's looking at you. She's trying to talk to you!"

He smiled. He loves when she focuses in on him. He climbed down and moved himself directly in front her - and she kept her eyes locked on him as her head turned to keep him in her view. She babbled at him some more.

"Where's my smile?" he asked her, picking up something he's heard Grandma ask Megan before. "Where is my smile? Come on Meggie. Smile. You can do it! Smile!"

And Meg babbled back.

"We're friends. You and me are friends," he said as he poked his index finger into her shoulder on "you" and then his own shoulder on "me." And Meg babbled back.

He leaned back a bit, then dove in close to her face yelling "GAH GAH GOO!"

At first she startled and then she laughed. Oh how Meg laughed. She did that whole full-face laugh where her eyes squint shut and her smile spreads from ear to ear with her pudgy cheeks emphasized.

He laughed in return and then he did it again. And she laughed again. On and on it went for at least twenty minutes and that has to be one of the most wonderful twenty minutes I've ever had. I know they'll fight. I know they'll take turns being jealous of each other or annoyed by one another, but I've also hoped that they'd love each other and be friends - and at least for today they did and they were.


Happy 4th

Megan Rose turned four months old yesterday. That means today was her four-month well baby visit with Dr. G. As she did last time, Megan greeted the doctor with a nice display of her social skills. He came in to hear her hysterically laughing over a rousing game of Peek-a-boo we were in the midst of. "Ahh, that's what I like to hear! So she's laughing and interacting very well. Perfect." he said.

Actually that was the second time he came in. The first time he got to witness her turning pages in her "Miss Spider's New Car" book - something she decided to do for the very first time ever right there in the doctor's office. Then he realized he forgot his stethoscope and had to excuse himself.

She was pronounced perfect in every way and even delighted the doctor with a very nice smile directed at him when he referred to her as "Pretty girl." I do think Megan, even at four-months old, is fully aware of what that term means. It has ALWAYS gotten a smile out of her.

She is a big girl - falling in the 80th percentile for girls her age in all measured categories. She is 14 pounds 11 ounces and 25 1/4 inches tall. I do forget her head measurement already, although the scratch pad paper its written on is somewhere amongst the Miss Spider books in my diaper bag.

Outside the doctor's office, Meg delights us daily with a cache of new tricks. Today she decided to give blowing raspberries a try. Usually it means a whole big mess of spit bubbles tripping down her chin, accompanied by the silliest sound you ever did hear a baby make.

She enjoys singing and will join in any good song with her own array of lyrics disguised as cooing. She loves to laugh and does it often. She wakes up each morning happy to greet the day - although she loudly protests taking a break from it later in the form of a nap. Meg hates naps and when she finally succumbs to one her big brother is sure to do his darndest to wake her back up. Go figure.

She likes her books. She pokes a little finger at the pictures while she babbles at them. She fixes her gaze on each new page. She calms when we read. . .until she gets bored and then she lets us know she's had enough with a few well placed yells emanating from her reddening face.

Meg has a temper. Yes, this we know even at 4 months old. There are times when she is clearly yelling (not crying per se, just yelling) for the simple fact that she's ticked off at whatever great injustice has been done to her - it may be that she was simply placed on her belly or that she's been left in her play yard a moment too long.

Meg likes food. She watches 'real' food with great interest. She widens her already big blue eyes and she bobs her head forward in a move that must surely be an attempt to sneak a taste. She is particularity interested in whatever happens to be on her big brother's plate. Perhaps this is because she some how innately knows that he's the one most likely to sneak her some.

She loves being outside. She naps better outside - a fact that makes Mommy a bit bummed Megan wasn't born in the spring. :) She prefers to sit up like a 'big girl' in her stroller and not ride along in the car seat hooked to the stroller tray. She likes hanging out in the double stroller - all upright and proud in the back seat while Logan occupies the front. She smiles while she's in there and she checks out the world around her.

She likes to play games - peek-a-boo and piggy toes. They make her giggle which makes us giggle which makes her giggle more. She squeals, scrunches up her face and squints her eyes when she laughs. She loves playing with her new toys - the ones Santa brought her for Christmas. She lays on her activity quilt purposefully smacking the bar that makes the little bird pop out of its house and whistle.

She loves to take a bath. She's ditched any semblance of a bathseat and lays in the largest amount of water that allows her to splash while keeping her ears fairly dry. When she's in the tub she laughs and splashes. WE think she may be gearing up for a gold medal in the backstroke someday. She kicks her legs and flops her arms up and down. Sometimes she moves so forcibly in the water she splashes a sizable amount up into her face causing her to blink droplets from her baby-blues. She rubs them dry with her curled up first and then laughs about it before starting her swimming drills again.

She loves her people. She gives each of "her" people a beautiful toothless grin and a small sound that lets you know how much she absolutely adores you. She watches us move through her world with a great intensity - and if you happen to move away from her at a time she was hoping you had arrived to pick her up, she yells - loudly.

Megan is happy. She is opinionated. She is stubborn. She is determined. She is loving. She is cuddly and she is adored.


He is SUCH a boy!

The whole "learn" to read effort slowed down around here when Megan reached that "I'm not content to just sit here and stare at you!" phase of life. The more interaction she requires, the less time we have to sit in one spot and sound out words. That said, Logan and I still do his various phonics games and books. We read a load and half of books a day - some just the two of us, some with the baby. He 'reads' when he's got all or part of a sentence memorized. He makes up his own stories when there's not a book before us.

All this means that he's starting to pick out words when he sees them in print. Now, for example, he can pick out Merry Christmas no matter where he sees it. He's been identifing his name in writing for ages now. He can sometimes pick out Mommy and Daddy. And thanks to Dr. Seuss, Logan knows the word Fish. (A favorite book being One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.)

Although he's been able to verbally spell his name for months on end now, he's not been able to type it out on his own without coaching. He struggles to get the letters in order. That said, he does have one word that he can read AND type all on his very own.

It happened by accident one day. My boss likes to have us all connected via Instant Messenger. We work through our days in constant contact this way. Well when I work this nifty decree also keeps me in constant contact with home. Logan likes to send me messages. It used to be just smiley faces. Then it was a stream of ad hoc letters. He'd try to type his name. He'd just continually punch his very favorite letter of the moment. And one day he hit a combo of letters that accidently spelled something. Well Grandma, not thinking, announced what he had done -- reading to him what he had typed and pointing to the combination of letters as she said it. He had laughed and then set to typing it again. This time on purpose. And he continues to do so everytime he's sitting on a lap sending IMs to either Mommy or Grandma.

What did he type? Well here's what I get on my office PC today:



Milestones and Toddler fun

Megan is beginning to hit those milestones you're supposed to jot down in a baby book somewhere. She rolled herself over for the first time last night. She may not do it again for a while I know - Logan did this to us. He flipped himself over on Election Day 2002 and then took a multi-week hiatus from the task. OR, Megan may not take a break. She's been practicing the art of the roll for weeks now by getting herself up on her side and she was thrilled with her success once she got past the shock of it. Logan, however, insists that she did not "roll-over" since she didn't return to her belly once getting on to her back. Silly boy.

Megs also began her venture into baby food. She started this weekend with watered down rice cereal. The girl is in heaven with her new treat. She laughs and flops her arms with glee as she opens wide for a spoonful of that tastless paste. Logan also enjoys helping to feed her. He does a few spoons each time she eats and he claps for her as she manages to keep the vast majority of it in her mouth. Occasionally she likes to steal the spoon from him. She waves it around, high above her head, like weapon to brandish. She gets rice cereal in her wee baby hair. She gets rice down her cheeks. She gets it on her nose and sometimes even in her eye. But at least she gets the spoon in her mouth, at which points she sighs contently and sucks away on it.

Each time she does this spoon take-over with Logan he laughs and declares that she's such a big girl that can feed herself now. Then he wants the spoon back so he holds his hand out - palm facing upwards - and says to her "Give. Megan give. Come on girl, give." This, of course, is the same thing we've taught him to say to one of the dogs (ours and Grandma's) when he wants them to give up a ball or toy.

I'm finding that I've not yet compared milestones between the two kids before they occur. It wasn't until Meg rolled that it dawned on me she did so a few weeks prior to Logan rolling for the first time. This is somewhat reassuring. For a while I've worrid about how we'd view Meg's milestones in comparison to the little over-achiever that is my son. Will we have a grasp on what a normal development path is if she follows that trend and not the early verbality her brother did? Will we worry if she's not walking when he did? Will we compare?

Granted to date we're only talking about cooing, smiling, laughing and rolling. And, to date she's hitting those marks at the same time as big brother if not, as with rolling, a wee bit before. Who is to say what lies ahead. All I do know is that these 'firsts' are no less exciting the second time around. I was so thrilled to see Megan get herself around yesterday. In fact, I think I was even MORE excited then when Logan did it the first time because this time I had a real clear idea of what it meant. . .that it was just the first real building block for mobility.

Of course on the other hand, I find that these early milestones make me feel like she's grown up so fast. The first time around, rolling just meant my baby had a new trick. This time it means my baby is rolling away from being my baby. It means that she's moving fast from that newborn helpless stage to the more independent toddler stage. Ok, sure, she's just shy of four months but it goes so fast and each milestone just propels her closer to that new stage of her life. Each new ability takes her one more step away from where she started her life.


Yeah, what a help. . .

Tonight I'm staring at a computer screen combating writer's block. I've not got an assignment to write nor am I doing the work I should be for my marketing gig. I am simply writing the quarterly family newsletter I put together in what will eventually be an emailed PDF file. Yes, I keep a blog about both of my children - their milestones, the funny things they do and say, all that nice stuff. Fact is, however, I started the blogs as a way to keep far-flung relatives up to date and yet the only relatives that read them are the ones that see my children just shy of daily. The blogs still serve a purpose since they operate as 'baby book' since I'm not so very good at keeping those neat little written 'first steps, first food, first whatever' variety of memiors up to date. However, they do not serve *the* purpose they had been created for.

Far-flung family members, however, do read the aforementioned PDF variety of newsletter. So I gather tid-bits (many of which can be found in the blogs) and photos and I organize them into little stories written from my perspective or one of the children's.

As I perched myself before the PC, my dear husband walked in and watched my fingers type and delete, type and delete.

"You know what? You should put some stories about me and you in there too," he said as he slurps away on an icepop.

"What about us? Did you do something special I need to mention?" I teased him. "Or are you just jealous because Larry put bits and pieces about himself and your sister in the Christmas letter?"

"No, I mean, just stuff about like how Logan and I go to the lighthouse or things you guys do on your special days together," he said, still slurping. Then he walked away.

"I was planning on doing something about your lighthouse trip you know," I called after him. He muttered something in return, to which I responded "Yeah, I wanted to get Logan's pictures in so you're in by default."

About an hour later he came in to tell me he was headed down to bed. I was sitting and just staring at that point.

"Can you think of something else Logan says that doesn't need to be told in context of a whole story to make sense?" I asked him because I needed just one more quote to complete my "Loganisms" column.

"Nope" he said.

"Geez, what a help you are with this," I said smirking. "Your only contribution is asking to see your name in print."

"I'm interesting," he said and he turned leaving me here with my writer's block.


Shutter Bug

Logan got a camera for Christmas. Its just a simple, cheap, little, 35mm, blue plastic camera. He loves it. He uses it and he beams with pride at his ability to be on the other side of the camera demanding we yell "cheese!"

Well the boys took the camera on their "special walk" this weekend. They headed down to the Lighthouse for some hiking and climbing (or at least Daddy climbed stairs. Logan got carried.) Between them they took an entire roll of film. It was Logan's second roll of film ever and for a kid a mere 2 1/2 year olds he did remarkably well. At least I think so, but I do have a Mommy-bias.

Here's one of his photos:
 Posted by Hello


Rant because I can. . .

Its not worth picking a fight over, so I won't. No, instead I'll just spew my assorted irritations here.

1. There's this mom in my local mom's group that likes to complain about people by using broad generalizations and heaping doses of assumptions. Its not often she pipes in on subjects that set her in this direction but when she does I want to strangle her. Her latest invovles people who place those magnetic yellow ribbons on their car bumpers. Her theory is that those that do so spend their $1.50 on a ribbon but don't go the next step to actually do for the soliders they symbolically support. Well, no I don't have a ribbon on my car. I don't have anything on my car other than the stuff the DMV requires. However, I don't see how she possibily knows what the hundreds of folks she sees every day with said ribbons have or have not done beyond plopping such a magnet on their cars' collective rear-ends. She does this with mostly everything - if you're not A then you must automatically be B. Oh please, move off the soapbox already and get to know people before you start spewing forth crap.

2. Quite honestly, I don't get all worked up when people wrongly label my infant's gender. She's bald. She's small. Its hard to tell if she's not advertising her double X genetic code by wearing lots of pink or flowers. Being referred to as "he" or "cute baby boy" does nothing to impact her three and half month old self-esteem. I merely respond using the proper pronoun "Oh, thanks. She's nearly 4 months." That said let me ask this - Are people freakin' blind or just stupid? Today Megs had on a lavender one piece outfit with pretty little embroidered flowers across the bodice piece and little ribbon detailing around the wrists and ankles. This old lady in church saw Logan go by first then moments later Grandma, Meg and I. She stops us, tickles Megan's lavender-socked feet and said "Oh, how darling! Does he belong with that other cute red-headed boy that just went by?"

3. Must strangers issue unsolicted assine advice? I find when I'm out with just Megan I get oodles of input. Everything from "oh, just wait till she starts to walk!" to "Oh, he'll get you so spoiled. Just wait to have another. It all changes." (Yes, we're back on that he/she thing again.) This merely amused me the first time around the baby-induces-idiots-to-tell-you-how-to-live stage of parenthood. This time around I'm start thinking its worth investing in a great big stick so I can whomp heads. What is fun though, (parents embarking on a similar journey or planning on doing so take note), is to pop their little "aren't I so kind doing my civic duty and all to enlighten the naive" pride balloons. When we were out shopping on Saturday the 'kind' lady at one particular outlet decided to reassure me that it just seems like Megan will go through a new size of clothing every two months but its ok, really, I can relax. She'll slow down you see. Then it'll be just every year or so. I smiled at her sweetly, as I held the 6-9 month sweater my weed-daughter will be wearing sooner rather than later, and said "Oh, yeah, I know. Her big brother has been wearing a 2T for I guess nearly a year. He's just about ready to make the leap into the next size."

The clerk looked slightly flustered and said as she hurried away, "Oh. Ahh, well then you know."

4. Know-it-alls that think I'm just stupid really have got to stop talking to me before I decide to start getting bugged by it. :) Here's the thing, Logan talks a lot. Not just a lot, but very well. He's always been very verbal. His first real word (duck) came at 6 months and things just went from there. When I recount moments of our day here on this blog his conversations aren't embellished; these are the things he says as he says them. There are times when we're out that strangers assume he's older than he is by the way he speaks. We know he talks well for his age. We don't claim to have done anything special to get him to that point - We read a lot. We sing a lot. We talk to him a lot. Lots of parents do. It just is what it is.

What annoys me are those that don't see him and just think I'm exaggerating. It often comes in the form of "just you wait." For example, when recounting a story about Logan pushing back and being, well, being two, a co-worker said to me "Just wait till he's three. Three sucks. At three they can really articulate so they push back a lot more than when they're still getting their words together at 2."

I paused and thought how to respond then said "Oh, hey, I know three will be different. If nothing else maturity brings changes. Physical abilities bring changes. Sure, and he'll be talking even more, but honeslty, he articulates pretty darn well as it is now. I don't think the change will be due to his language skills."

She snorted polietly and said in return "Yeah, well ok. You'll see."

I left it there. I walked away and just left it hanging in her mind that I must be one of "those" Moms that thinks her kid is the reincarnation of Einstein. He's not, certainly. I mean really, if nothing else, there isn't a single gene on other side of our family that would indicate he'd have superior math or science abilities. Ha! No, Logan isn't Einstein. Heck, I'm not even ready to write his ticket to "AP" classes in High School yet. He's so young and there is so much that lies ahead of his development. That said, he is bright. He is sporting some pretty nifty verbal skills. He is a wee little sponge that sucks up everything in his path. AND, he can very well tell me exactly what is going on in that little head of his -- he often does so fully and completely. He is more than capable of using complete, complex sentences. He is very well versed in identifying his emotions and articulating them (for example, "Mommy I mad because I want you to read to me, but Daddy came to my room instead.")

And sometimes this is the problem. Its hard to remember when he's breaking from a tantrum to tell you exactly what his problem is that he is, in fact, only 30 months old. Its hard to remember that even though you just stood there and told him a billion and one times NOT to use your measuring spoons to hoist dog food from the dog's bowl into one of your pans, he is just two. He can stand there and tell you "But I just want to cook special food for Tasha. I make her dinner. See, I just cook." And I can hide my giggle and say "Logan, I've told you, the dog's food is not a toy. No playing with Tasha's food. Put it back now and stop." But he is two and his frontal lobes only do so much. The next time he sees that food and has a measuring spoon in his hand, the food is coming out into a pan. It just is. That's being two. His problem isn't that he can't understand me or he can't tell me what he wants. His problem is he hasn't the attention span or the self-control. That's an age issue - its nothing to do with his speech. Yes, the mere fact that he can so clearly tell me what's happening in his head makes me frustrated when I'm repeating myself. A huge part of me forgets that whole frontal lobe thing. It makes me think - "He's so darn clever and understands everything else I say to him, damn it, why can't he get this?!"

Ahh, but I digress. Its late. Its past my bedtime. Something to ponder for another day. Once again here I go posting with spell checking. SPell check is apparently a wasted feature for me. ;) We shall we ignore it and move on.