Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Totally Unrelated

Buster, playing Viking!

Non sequitur story:
Flashback to the day before we bought the minivan. SwingDaddy had gone for a test drive, and the salesman said it was ok for them to drive it to our house for me to examine.

SwingDaddy arrived at the door and called out, “I brought the car!”

Q-ster immediately asked, “A Ferrari?!”

Not quite. High hopes, that one.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Straw Conquers All

SwingDaddy rigged Camelbaks (water backpacks with a handy tube mounted near one’s mouth) on Sunday and we all went for a hike. The boys delightedly sipped away at their easy-access water throughout the trip. Of course, we had to deal with the natural consequence of well hydrated children, but at least it’s easier with boys.

A beautiful day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Movin’ On Up

The little dude tested for his taekwondo orange belt on Friday and was awarded “Best Student.”

We’re so proud! He’s got intense focus for a six year old, well, when he wants to, anyway. In spite of the whole belt test thing being a bit of a cash machine for the studio, the teachers are kind, it’s exercise, and I see him practicing confidence and discipline - all good stuff.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

So . . . About Those Travel Plans

I was scheduled to travel to North Carolina, Boston, and New York City this week to visit a complicated line-up of customers. Why do those locations sound so familiar? Because my itinerary was identical to Hurricane Irene, that’s why. I say “was” because although it looked like each airport would be re-opening in sequence in time for my arrival, it just wasn’t giving me a great feeling.

Mostly, if something went wrong, there would be no flights available for rescheduling, since so many hundreds of flights have been canceled. If I got stuck somewhere, it would feel incredibly stupid to have to explain to anyone that I’d left a perfectly sunny, beautiful state to join 4 million people who are lacking electricity this week on the east coast and add to the infrastructure burden there.

So, a bonus week at home.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

For Elven Ballet Dancers

I usually avoid three-quarter length sleeves like the plague, because my arms get too cold in the office. However, I broke my rule for two cute jackets this year, and I’ve been freezing in the air conditioning. I dug out the ballet armwarmers that Costume Conspirator gave me years ago – they’re connected , so it’s sort of like a sweater without the torso, but I just slip on both arms and leave the extra bit lying across my lap. It finally occurred to me that I could get new arm warmers that were less tangly.

FourthBreakfast forwarded an etsy link to me for TheJaneVictoria, who makes gorgeous knits with delicious names like Caladhiel Oronar Armwarmers. The regular price for custom warmers is $65, but these were pre-made for $20, so I snapped them up. Perhaps a bit grand for the office, but I’m looking forward to trying them out.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Unlimited Opportunity

My mom mentioned a while back that she wished she’d gotten a little pitcher when I was a young elementary-schooler, so that I could get myself breakfast independently. The milk jug was too heavy for me to manage, and that meant someone always had to help.

Well, it seemed foolish to not fix this problem in the second generation, so we did some web searching and turned up a cute Tupperware pitcher that we filled with milk.

Overheard, while I was lying in bed early one morning:

Q-ster, in a proud voice to his little brother, “Do you want to come downstairs? I can get us cereal for breakfast!”

And then I went back to sleep.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Blue Mouse Saga

When my nephew was born, a kind friend of my sister's happened to be living in Sweden at the time and sent him a cute stuffed mouse. As she detailed in her blog last year, Remy adored the blue mouse and he became rather battered, as you can imagine, from the intensity of toddler living.

Acquiring backup mice was not so easy, since they weren't for sale anywhere in the US. After some misjudged sizes and two rounds of shipping, a new battalion of blue mice arrived, ready to be loved.

Fast forward to this year, when I’ve been making regular trips to the country west of Sweden, and I promised to keep my eyes open for additional blue mice. I checked the largest toy store in the capital city, but no luck.

I had brought a pair of baby sunglasses for a colleague of mine (very cool ones, where the earpieces flex out, avoiding the ear-smashing application that so often results when the baby is not so excited about them), and he sent me a photo of his little son, wearing the sunglasses and sitting in his stroller.

After I admired his cute baby, I gasped. Check out what’s dangling above his head! That looks an awful lot like the blue mouse feet. A different color and probably a different animal (a lion, as it turned out), but clearly from the same series of toys.

I told my colleague the long (and growing longer) story. He said he was going shopping in Sweden later in the month for a new car seat, and that he’d look for blue mice at the same store where they’d bought the stuffed lion for his son.

A few weeks passed. I received an email with this attachment. Mouse found!

My colleague went on paternity leave, so he must have handed it off to someone else in the office to await the next international business trip, which as it turns out, was made my boss a month later. I’d pretty much forgotten about the whole thing until I received a text message at four in the morning with this image.

Caption: I have it.

Another week after that, a miniature blue mouse was delivered to my desk. And then to my sister, and then to my nephew, who promptly said, “I LOVE it!”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good Heavens, We Bought It

I can’t quite believe it, but we bought a car. SwingDaddy has been researching for a while, but we did a test drive and purchase within a day, and now we’re the proud owners of a Honda Odyssey and its approximately 47 cup holders.

One of my colleagues said, “Those minivans are so spacious, you could have a refrigerator inside!”

I replied, “Actually, it does.” There’s a little chill box by the driver’s seat where the AC is pumped in to keep a drink or two cool.

The next roadtrip is gonna be fun!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Scanning the Overseas News

I was browsing the Scandinavian newspaper again, and saw that someone else had his first day of first grade as well - the young prince of the nation, walking to school with his casually dressed mom, dad, and grandma, the Queen. Adorable!

In another clip, it was announced that the Crown Princess had requested that the Army omit the customary 21 gun salute for her birthday, since gunfire across the country could be too alarming for citizens, this close to the bombing and shootings of only four weeks ago. A wise choice, I agree.

Several news articles have mentioned that a traffic accident and subsequent detours delayed the accused killer on the fateful day, so that his target, the former prime minister, had already spoken and departed the youth camp by the time he arrived. This article interviews the man who was driving the truck (full of TVs!) that overturned, causing the accident. He’s quoted as saying, ”I’m glad I crashed,” since the accident inadvertently saved additional lives.

The nation held a memorial ceremony today, starting with a moving speech by the king, including musical interludes by hometown stars Sissel (who sang the piercing elvish notes in The Lord of the Rings) and 80’s band a-ha, and concluding with “a hero’s welcome” for the prime minister, who all have agreed has handled the crisis with dignity and levelheadedness.

The ovation “went on for so long, both before and after the Prime Minister appeared on stage . . . that he almost seemed embarrassed. He was there to hail the victims, while the response from their loved ones and attack survivors reflected the thanks of a grateful nation.”

It’s a pleasure to read about an elected official with rational behavior these days.

Updated: Here's a link to the video recording of the memorial ceremony.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First Day, First Grade

Me: What do you like about first grade that's better than kindergarten?
Q: TWO recesses!
(Recess and lunch.)

Our big boy!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Seen at Target

You know it's back to school time when you see parents peering quizzically at lists in the aisles of Target.

The school says we should provide a 1.27 oz glue stick, but there are only .77 oz glue sticks in stock. And judging by the size of the .77, the 1.27 would be enormous. Is a .77 oz glue stick acceptable? Will the incorrect size be the downfall of the classroom?

Just when I wish that they weren't so specific on the glue stick, I see that there's an item for hand sanitizer, with no further description. How large a container of hand sanitizer? A regular pump size, or the refill size?

Poor teachers, there's no way to win on the shopping list, but I have to admit I love shopping for school supplies. Mmmm, new Crayola!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Best Early Christmas Planning Ever

Massive thanks to Mir at

We've ordered two Lego Star Wars Advent Calendars at a good price to stash away for the holidays. There are going to be some mighty excited little boys this December!

Yes, I know it'd be more traditional to have ONE advent calendar and have the boys take turns, but do you feel like refereeing the daily who-gets-to-play-with-the-lego first? Me either.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Joys of Bubblewrap

We received a well wrapped package the other day, and Q-ster asked for the bubblewrap. He prompted started to dance on it, causing his little brother to fling his hands over ears in protest of the machine-gun popping noises.

Bubblewrap somersaults are the best. Pop, pop, pop!

P.S. Happy Anniversary, SwingDaddy! I love you!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Side Benefits of Lego

The boys have been very good this summer, with all the piano practicing (Q-ster) and potty training (Buster), so we decided to reward them with some new Lego.

It really ended up being a reward for ourselves, because this is what they were doing this early this morning instead of coming to our room and jumping on our bed until we woke up.

P.S. At some point I'll write about BlogHer, at the very least to show off a new sealife decoration!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Off to BlogHer

I can’t believe this is the sixth time I’ll be attending. The planners are expecting 3000 attendees at the San Diego convention center, a far cry from the modest gatherings at the beginning.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Octopus! Now in Super-Size

O-pus is a great favorite in our household, with his great squishable size.

Baby Buster with O-pus.

Buster will come to my bedside in the morning and ask, “You want Octopus?” (he can pronounce all the syllables these days, so he no longer says “O-pus.”) He then drags over the giant creature and we all snuggle.

Even famous authors like O-pus.

I’ve been planning to get the mini-squishable for Buster for Christmas. So cute!

SwingDaddy spilled the beans on something he’s considering for me for Christmas. The new, giant Octopus! Who needs furniture when you can fill the house with these friendly cephalopods!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

We Look Forward Us Very

I’ve been reading the Google-translate of the Scandinavian newspaper Verdan Gang, where there are (obviously) many daily articles about the aftermath of the bombing and island shooting tragedy of a dozen days ago. Headlines include the heartbreaking “Our small country is filled with roses and grief” and tributary “Send us your photos where you hold hands” to show unity in the face of violence.

Things do get kind of funny, since it’s an auto-translator. Other headlines:

Can get a prison sentence for mental involvement
With the bombing/shooting, presumably.

It is anyway a disappointment
Regarding early US Congressional debt negotiations.

It tips over, Thor Hushovd
Presumably, the cycling champion had a minor crash, because I can’t find an English article describing an incident, and the link to video wasn’t translated.

Now playing scandal princesses Lindsay and Paris again
No explanation needed.

To achieve half price in the holiday country, check haggle school
Haggle school sounds kind of fun, doesn’t it?

Missing Spine
Complaints about a local politician

And my favorite:
Where are the combustion jellyfish?
The title was much more exciting than the article.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Perils of Social Media

Over lunch last week, my colleagues were discussing something that could be summarized by “It’s complicated,” and someone commented, “Like the Facebook status.”

One fellow (we’ll call him Eric), then contributed the following unintentional-result-of social-media gem: When my wife and I got engaged, I quite happily changed my Facebook status to “Eric is engaged to Renee.” However, Renee doesn’t like to have personal information online, so she clicked “no” and then my status automatically became “Eric has his heart broken” and the whole world started calling me frantically, asking, “What happened?!”

P.S. Who else is going to BlogHer? My sister FourthBreakfast, Mayberry, and I will be there!