Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sith Lord and Cephalopod

The black-on-black Darth Maul costume is tough to photograph, but it was super quick to sew and the little dude really likes it. Q-ster jumped around all evening, pretending to battle imaginary droids and swishing the cape that my mom found in her closet. "I love my costume, mama!" he said, giving me a hug. Heart melting. Then he handed me the blue lightsaber and told me to be Obi-wan.
Buster was surprisingly willing to pose in his octopus costume. I think the extra limbs help with his balance.

I helped SwingDaddy adjust his new Jango Fett costume tonight, so I think the household is ready for Halloween. What am I wearing? I hadn't really thought much about it, but Q-ster would be disappointed if I didn't do something. I'll wear something from the wig collection, probably purple.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Child Will Not Look Like This

I finished the little dude’s Halloween mask. He didn’t want to wear face paint, plus he didn’t like having his nose covered, so I made a kind of half-mask in red, with black markings. The effect is more Mardi Gras than Darth Maul, but hey. Who’s going to argue with a three and a half foot tall Sith?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sitting in the Dark by the Side of I-5

It all started so well. Last week, we loaded in the car for a 450 mile journey. Driving through the night has gotten harder, but we figure it’s better than having a child sleep all day in the car and be wired at night upon arrival. Little did we know that too much sleeping in the car was not going to be the problem.

Not long after our evening departure, I realized that mobile access to Twitter would have made the trip far more entertaining.

What I would have written:

First road trip as family of four! Took photos to commemorate departure. Hopefully, baby will sleep peacefully. 5:30pm

Wrong kid falls asleep. 5:45pm

Stopped for scheduled dinner break. 3 year old won’t eat his ‘greasy’ chicken nuggets but eats mom’s healthy chicken sandwich. Weird. 6:30pm

3 y.o. asks why we’re eating in the car. “It’s an adventure,” I explain.6:35pm

On the road again! 6:40pm

One exit later, pulled off road. Baby screaming. Take baby out of car seat. Now he’s happy and smiling. 6:45pm

Back in car, drove three exits, more baby screaming. Now in Casa de Fruita parking lot waiting for baby to calm down. 7pm.

Still at Casa de Fruita. 7:20pm

Baby fell asleep! 7:50pm

Had to pull baby thumb out of his mouth to get him into car seatbelt, woke him up. 7:55pm

More wailing. Still sitting in Casa de Fruita parking lot in the dark. 8:15pm

Still here. Husband takes 3 y.o. for walk. Comes back with taffy. 8:30pm

Baby asleep! 8:45pm

Second car seat insertion fails. Sitting in car in dark with grumpy baby. We’ve been here for forever. 9pm

Baby asleep! Successfully buckled up, and driving away. 9:30pm

Everything is quiet in the car. Trying not to jinx anything. 11pm

Stopped for gas. Boys woke briefly but fell back asleep. Holding breath. 11:30pm

Arrived! Ready to be spoiled by grandparents. Whew. 4am

We had a fabulous week with my parents, visiting the Wild Animal Park, Legoland, and attending a wedding. The return journey involved a few stops by the side of I-5 for Buster to chill out and fall sleep, but we made it home safely.

While SwingDaddy got Q-ster to bed, I staggered up the stairs with Buster and lay down on the floor of the bedroom, too tired to shower or put him in his crib. I woke up on the floor a few hours later, face to face with a cooing baby. Now, you’re happy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sounds, Tastes, Grins

The micro dude is experimenting with new sounds. Right now, it's a low growling that sounds like a lion in training. Earlier this week, it was a distinctive "Da!" and before that an owl-like hooting. All were better that the week when he was playing with a choking-spluttering sound that freaked me out every time, even if he was grinning away.

And he loves his first "solid" food, peas!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Truly Thoughtful Gift Basket

We attended a lovely wedding this weekend and reunited with old college friends in the stunning Crown Room of the Hotel Del Coronado. Every detail was carefully prepared, from welcome baskets for our hotel room, shuttles to the church, to a bushel of flipflops for the dance floor (so that those who wished to shake off their stilettos could still cushion their feet.)

My favorite welcome basket item: Chocolate covered pretzels.

I'm willing to bet that the majority of guests would have voted for these as favorites instead, especially with the scotch bar afterparty (which the groom gracefully suggested after his first choice, a kegger, was nixed):

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Day in Little Colored Bricks

SwingDaddy and Q-ster go for a ride at Legoland.

It's a good thing I brought the big lens because that "helicopter" went high!

Lego Miniland included a replica of the Las Vegas Strip. Check it out - a miniature of the Eiffel Tower of Paris Las Vegas, which is in turn a miniature of the real thing.

And of course, R2-D2. Is there any possible way that you could get a better combination of toys for the little dude?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

That Extra Six Inches

I’ve always felt that a full-size (double) bed was just the right size for SwingDaddy and me. We’re not huge people, and it’s not like I’d want to be far from him anyway. When the time came to replace the bed I’d purchased right after graduation, we decided to upgrade to a queen. Everyone said it was the thing to do, and since our new bedroom was much larger anyway, we bowed to peer pressure.

Ya know what? They were right. After a night in a guest bed that’s a regular full-size, I found that that extra six inches are invaluable (hey - no dirty thoughts here!).

I can usually convince Buster to sleep another hour in the morning if I bring him to our bed, and that extra half foot is his. In the smaller bed, I have to balance on my side and hope that I don’t snooze enough to roll out the side.

In other news, the tooth count is now two!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkins and Berries

Some long promised photos of Buster wearing the cute pumpkin hat originally knitted for his cousin by my sister's good friend Ltg Llama. Sorry it took so long, sis!

In other plant life news, I drove by our old house on the way to an errand and noticed a change in the front yard. For years, we feared the coming of winter because the big tree in the city-controlled sidewalk landscaping would shed berries. Lots of berries. Berries that would get smashed underfoot by all the pedestrians and children walking to the nearby school.

Every weekend or so, we'd go outside to scrape squished berries off the pavement and dump the resulting muck in the greens bin. Pretty annoying, but we figured it was out of our control and just did it. When we moved, we high-fived that our berry disposal days were over and left the scraper tool to the New Owners.

Well, the New Owners were smarter than we were, because they must have had the city come out and remove the offender. As I drove by, I saw a cute little tree in its place. I guess it pays to ask!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And So It Begins

The reason why there are two photos in my reunion post is that there wasn’t a single shot where both kids were looking at the camera with at least a neutral, if not happy expression. It makes me wonder exactly how successful our annual family picture attempt is going to be, now that we’re adding Buster to the mix.

To put that in perspective, you must see Chris’ family photo retrospective, where one sees the challenges of seven, even if they’re really photogenic cherubs.

I was so pleased with the photos from the autumn of Q-ster’s newborn year that I’d like to try the same look again – neutral colors for all of us, the better to bring out our faces. I found new shirts for both boys a while back, but I’m thinking I might cheat and just have SwingDaddy and me wear the same sweaters as last time. With the cuteness and/or face-making of the dudes, no one is going to be looking at us anyway, right?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Six Months, One Tooth, Two Random Pictures

The micro dude was six months old yesterday! This second time around, we're not quite as astounded that we were able to keep a baby alive, much less thriving, for half a year. To celebrate the occasion, his first tooth started poking through. Lots of gummy gnawing going on around here.

Unrelated tidbits:

I’ve wanted to replace the plastic containers that we use for food storage and leftovers for some time now. They’re a perfect size, but the “disposable” labeling makes me concerned that the material is deteriorating. Here are our new glass containers, from Crate and Barrel:

I think they make the food look more appetizing! I got two sizes, both quite inexpensive, and hope that they work out.

What, you might wonder, is depicted below?

I’m a fan of Stain Sticks. I have them stashed by Buster’s changing table, next to his big brother’s laundry basket, and downstairs by the washing machine. No longer. Someone has decided that they are enough like lightsabers and confiscated them all, one by one, in a process involving some convoluted step stool arrangements to locate and extract them.

Is there any conversation in my current life that doesn’t lead back to Star Wars? No, not really.

Monday, October 13, 2008

New and Unexpected Value

I love Method soap. It’s eco-friendly and has such cute packaging. SwingDaddy has never been as crazy about the scents, so I’ve found an plain one (“Go Naked”) for his bathroom sink, and he tolerates the French Lavender, Cucumber, and Sea Minerals soaps we have elsewhere around the house.

Until now. He became a fan when he discovered that if a certain small person swears he’s washed his hands with soap, all it takes is a quick sniff to tell if said hands smell like Green Tea and Aloe.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

World's Tiniest Lumberjack

I found nice soft jackets for the boys. Green for the Q-ster, of course, and red for his little brother, which had the unexpected effect of making him look like the world’s tiniest lumberjack.

Our brief stop at my reunion was nice, mostly for the family outing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Reunion Ambivalence

My college reunion is this weekend, and I’m so tired that I was considering skipping out. Parking hassles, hauling baby stuff, and not really knowing who will be there make things not so exciting, but a night’s sleep will probably change my outlook. Especially since I already paid for lunch tickets.

I don’t even have to find a dress that works, because we’re just going to the tailgate and not the class party in the evening. Why? Because we have tickets to yet another reality TV dance tour and we’re catching us some flyin’ spinnin’ b-boys on stage!

In other news, we achieved our first customer shipment of my product at work today. 22 months in the making!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Four Pecks to a Bushel

It’s a cliché to say it, but moments with children pass so quickly. The game that we play endlessly for three weeks straight is abandoned for another passion, and then another. This story is already a memory from ages ago in the spring.

I’d been singing the Guys and Dolls tune “(I Love You) A Bushel and a Peck” to Q-ster each evening at bedtime, and we had a routine where he’d ask me to define each line, again and again.

I love you, a bushel and a peck!
A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck!
A hug around the neck, and a barrel and a heap
A barrel and a heap, and I’m talkin’ in my sleep.
About you!
I love you!

“What’s a bushel, mama?”
“It’s a size of basket, a big basket full of love for you.”
“What’s a peck, mama?”
“It’s a little scoop. It’s a bit of extra love for you, honey.”
“What’s a barrel?”
“A big round container, all full of love for you.”
“What’s a heap?”
“A big pile, just like your stuffed animals here, a pile of love for you.”

It’s a song that SwingDaddy’s mom used to sing to him as a boy, so it was particularly special to sing to him as he requested it once more while I sat with him the dark, feeling largely pregnant and wondering what life with two would be like.

After Buster was born, one of the gifts that arrived was a spectacular pirate mural with stickers to color and add to the design. Q-ster was kind enough to save the octopus for me to color, and pointed out some cylinders.

“What are those?” I asked.
“Barrels, like in the song!”

I guess he was paying attention to our sweet song.

Times change. This week when he awoke in the middle of the night and stumbled into the hallway, I intercepted and led him back to bed.

“Would you like me to sing to you?”
“What song? ‘You are My Sunshine’ or “A Bushel and a Peck’?” I asked, figuring that the comfort staples would be appropriate.

He wanted me to sing Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Healthcare and Childcare Paperwork and Other Sexy Topics

I finished filling out a bunch of documentation to get reimbursements from our Flexible Spending Account for healthcare, and while I’m grateful we can set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for doctor’s co-pays, prescriptions, and other medical expenses, the paperwork is seriously annoying. I’ve given up on one bill that the Powers That Be have rejected a couple of times, even after I’d submitted additional information including the phone number of the doctor’s billing manager who promised to vouch for the expense.

Plus, don’t get me started on the FSA rules for dependent care. How come the maximum dollar amount you can set aside remains the same, regardless of how many children you have? Especially since the ceiling wouldn’t even cover a quarter of the amount of care that is needed for a single child anyway? Isn’t there some way of lessening the cost of raising the next generation of taxpayers?

This makes me think of an old quote from Silver Spoons (does anyone remember Ricky Schroeder from that show?): In one episode, the business fellow commented, “Ah children. I love children. So deductable!”

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Yes, Dance is the Only Thing I Watch on TV

I was going to title this post, “Wearing Old Sweatpants and Happy About It,” because that means I can fit into them again! But most of the post is about dancing.

Dancing with the Stars: So sad about Misty May’s injury - she was fun to watch. The talented Lance Bass is going to be eliminated due to his professional partner Lacey’s inadequate coaching if she doesn’t step it up. What was up with those little stilted steps in their waltz?

Toni Braxton’s Marie Antoinette-esque costume made no sense for the Viennese Waltz or for the Beethoven music. Everyone talked about how it was taking things back to the original days of VWaltz, but dudes, the dance originated in the 1800s, about a half century after that dress. It stuck out stiffly, instead of flowing with the swirly movements of waltz.

Other dance stuff: We went to the live show of So You Think You Can Dance last week and it was really, really fabulous. Seeing the Katee and Joshua reunion show, one piece after another, made Katee even more impressive, especially accompanied by the cheering of the 600 members of her hometown fan club.

One oddity though – the extremely short length of the dances was noticeable when danced live, without long judges debates and commercials in between. It felt like the music and dances were hitting climaxes too soon and often, without enough build. We’ve always encouraged our student choreographers to go short, because there’s a better chance of pulling off a sharp piece that way, but with top notch choreographers and dancers, you don’t want it to stop!

If you missed the tour, you can console yourself with this: The dancing was world-class, but the acting was about middle school level. Not a problem when they were just introducing each other’s dances, but the skits they put together about Gev wanting to date the girls? Painful. It was jarring to keep switching between the high level of dance and the teeth gritting skits.

Overall, it was great to be reminded what a beautiful choreography and gifted dancers can do – it’s art that moves me and changes my feelings.

Monday, October 06, 2008

What Is This?

A Brilliant Marketing Device

We replaced the filter cartridge in our water system on its yearly replacement schedule, and the new one came with this monitor gadget, which is supposed to tell us when to get another cartridge. How does it tell when you need to order a replacement? Does it measure the water quality?

Upon further investigation, it has nothing to do with the water or the cartridge. It’s just a timer that goes off in eleven months!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Weapons Proliferation, the Squishy Kind

There were many posts that I should have written this weekend, but instead I caught up on sleep and made more lightsabers. Q-ster requested a green one for Qui-Gon Jinn and a blue one for Obi-Wan Kenobi. We can enact entire battle sequences now, with the right weapons.

A follow-up on a certain rodent-themed restaurant that we drove by today:

Q-ster: Hey, there’s the mouse again.
Me: Hmmm?
Q-ster: Chuck E. Cheese, he has cheese! Mice like cheese.
He paused thoughtfully.

Me: Is it a place where you bring your mice?
Q-ster: And feed them cheese! I don’t have one.
Me: Auntie O has some pet rats.
Q-ster: We’ll ask her.

Sis – your pets may be invited to an outing.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


The micro dude tries out another expression.

In related news, we got his big brother’s school pictures back, and while he doesn’t quite look thrilled, he’s much happier than in last year’s Iron Eyes Cody debacle.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Jedi Kids

Paraphrased from one of my old posts:

Did you ever watch the scene in Star Wars Episode II (Attack of the Clones) where Obi-wan and Yoda are in the training room with the children learning to use their weapons and think that it seems like a very dangerous idea to practice light saber technique in a whole room full of novices?

I came across a movie still the other day. I'm totally afraid someone's going to lose an arm.