Sunday, March 30, 2008

Someday your prince will come

Melissa ran up to me after watching Cinderella and dove on my lap. She looked up and said, "I marry you!"

"No, I'm already married to Mommy."

"I marry Datthew!"

"No, that's just ... not done."

She was disappointed that I kept shooting down her future, so I suggested, "You will marry a prince!"


Now I feel a little guilty. Maybe I should take Cinderella off of the "allowed" list for a while. I'm having trouble thinking of a movie that depicts love and marriage less realistically.

Any suggestions for "strong woman" movies? That a two (almost three) year old would get?

"NO! Don't WANT to be Pretty!"

So Melissa claims whenever it is time to comb her hair. In the bathtub she doesn't protest so much because I comb it with a conditioner for curly hair before I rinse. Hence it doesn't pull very much (she still protests some though). Outside the tub, we try to be as gentle as possible, but her hair is so curly, fine, and prone to tangles. I really need to find a good detangling spray...

Melissa, I suspect, would just as soon have untamed wild pony hair (or perhaps no hair).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

When Even a Brother Will Do

Melissa got a little scratch on her hand. I was on the opposite side of the room making lunch, but Matthew was right beside her.

"I got an ow. Kiss it, Datthew!"

He demurred, but she insisted. "Kiss it better! Datthew!!"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bad News (Or when being cheap or lazy is actually more expensive)

Last week I noticed water on the side of the vanity in the master bathroom.


I couldn't find the source of the water, so I called our contractor (and handyman extrodinaire) who finished our basement to come look at it. He agreed that it did not look good, and offered to tear up the floor to see what the damage was below.

Today Chris started tearing up the floor...

Turns out the previous homeowner decided to save a little money and set the tile him/her? self. Instead of doing it the right way, he/she? placed the tile on top of the already in place linoleum floor. This raised the floor up 3/4 inch higher. Unfortunately the toilet did not make a good seal since it was now much higher than the wax ring. This caused water to slowly and silently leak under the floor for years. The reason it wasn't detected earlier is because tile doesn't buckle or rise like linoleum and the water had so many extra layers in which it could be absorbed.

The floor beneath the tile was very damp, going down one more layer it was black with mold. Eek! Thankfully it was contained in the bathroom and does not appear to have spread to other rooms.

So now we get to completely redo the bathroom. Fun, fun!

Monday, March 24, 2008

If Only....

I were a jedi. Then I could stretch out my hand and will whatever it was I needed/wanted to come to me.

Right now everything is So. Far. Away. Is it really worth getting up, hobbling on crutches (ouch), and gingerly carrying it back? Hmm. Jonathan is absolutely wonderful when he is around, but he can't be my errand boy 24/7.

Doesn't help that I have a bladder the size of a peanut due to this blessed state. Like it or not, (not!) I have to get up to visit the facilities every 2 hours.

That's it. I have no choice but to recover quickly.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Rachel got a nasty ankle sprain yesterday. She was in a lot of pain and could barely move. Today she is doing a little better but clearly this is not going to heal in a couple days. We had it x-rayed and splinted -- it is not broken but in some ways that is little comfort; almost all breaks heal within 3-4 weeks. A bad sprain can take longer, and this is a bad sprain.

How bad? Let me put it this way: when she was almost totally wiped out by strep, it still took a week for me to convince her to go to the doctor. It only took me one day to get her to go in for this.

Just in time for her sister to come out, too.

I think even more than the pain, Rachel hates being on her back most of the day. I kept having to send her back to the couch. "But I'm bored!" she protested.

We still had easter dinner as planned. Rachel told me what to do for most of it, and made the "easter rolls" herself. On the couch.


A week ago I started playing the "I'm thinking of something" game to entertain a bored Matthew in the car. I didn't think a member of the video game generation would be very interested, but Matthew really got into it. In fact, he tries to start the game up again every time we get in the car now.

He doesn't understand how to "divide and conquer" the problem space by asking questions that eliminate broad swaths of possiblities at a time. So when he makes a wrong guess, I give him additional information of the sort he would get if he were to ask that sort of question. ("No, it's not a skateboard, but it does have four wheels.") Maybe this will point him in the right direction; I don't know. I do remember that it was a long time after my own father introduced me to this game that I caught on to that. Maybe that's something that comes later on in brain development.

Matthew is also extremely pleased to ask us his own questions. This is more tedious, because his questions are trivial and do not vary much. ("What is a number between three and five? What is Daredevil's real name?") At the extreme, he has asked the same question four times in one day -- twice of Rachel, and twice of me.

But hey, I'm glad he likes the game.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Rachel has exciting, adrenaline-pumping dreams that wake her up with her heart pounding. She's a secret agent, infiltrating the enemy base. Or she's a zookeeper, and her co-worker's mauled by an alligator. ("I don't think alligators can really climb trees, but the one in my dream could.")

About the most stressful my dreams get is the one I had during my 12:00 nap yesterday. I dreamed I was drinking directly from the water pitcher, and woke up anxious because if Rachel caught me doing that she would kill me.


Melissa yelled for me at 7:15, but all she wanted was for me to re-tuck her into the bedsheets that she'd kicked off of her. Then she burrowed into her pillow and went back to sleep.

Matthew got up at 7:45, looking grumpy. "Is it time to get up?" "You can get up if you want, or you can sleep some more." "I think I'll sleep some more." Hell has frozen over!

But he reappeared 30 seconds later. "I changed my mind."

So close!

(And of course he woke up Melissa too.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

For a sleepy Melissa

blond curls on the pillow
like wisps of gold spun through the clouds.
so recently from heaven,
sleep well, little honeybee.
your daddy loves you.

Everyman 7 and PyCon

My hotel room at PyCon had a temperature of, I'm guessing, about 78. Maybe higher. I'd start to sweat in a T-shirt and jeans. I couldn't bring myself to turn on the air conditioning in the middle of winter so I just turned on the fan and slept on top of the covers.

Now it's back to waking up in a 62 degree house. We have the thermostat set to kick it up to 68 at 6 (hmm, probably 7 now with DST), but when I get up at 3 it's pretty cold. Back to wearing a jacket and a hat in the morning.

So if you want to start a whacky sleep schedule I recommend starting in the summer. No sense in making things tougher than necessary.

Bonus tip: I started out not turning on any more light than necessary when I got up in the middle of the night. Small lamp to read, or nothing at all when I was using my laptop. No sense wasting electricity right? But it turns out that darkness all around makes your body ask, "why aren't we in bed?" And while your body may have a point it makes it tough to adapt to a new schedule.

Last weekend I decided that 4.5hr of core sleep was going well enough that I could try 3, which if you recall was the goal to start with, but didn't work for me at first. Both mornings I did that I woke up after my 7:00 nap, thought, "I'm still beat" and slept another hour. (The kids were not adjusted to DST yet so that was actually an option.) So, not really a success, and I went back to 4.5 in the interests of being alert.

Then Wednesday I flew out to PyCon. The upside of traveling while doing this is, I'm enough used to napping during the day that I was actually able to sleep on the plane, something I've never really been able to do before. I just pulled my hat down over my eyes, put in some gun-range-quality ear plugs, and slept. The downside is going through security, boarding, etc., is likely to not jibe with your nap schedule. So I missed 12:00 and 5:00 naps and slept extra on the plane to make up for that.

Thursday I missed my 12:00 nap since my tutorial schedule didn't really allow for one. Friday I missed my 12:00 nap since I was too keyed up about my upcoming talk. (They had me in the biggest room, capacity 600 or so. This is my third year speaking at PyCon but there are a lot more people this year; it was a little intimidating at first, but then I hit my stride.) But I still felt okay, so for Friday night I switched back to a 3h core again, and Saturday I got all my naps in.

I was actually one of the best-rested people at PyCon. Lots of people were staying up late and only getting 5h or so of sleep and paying for it during the day. One poor guy stayed up playing Tigris and Euphrates with us and got up 6h later to keep a deal he'd made with someone to go swimming in the morning. 6h doesn't sound too bad but he'd just flown in from Australia so he was jet lagged to boot. He looked like death warmed over when I saw him the next day.

Summary: After a month on the everyman schedule, I'm on day 3 of my 3rd attempt at switching to a 3h core and this time it is going pretty well. I don't need caffeine to stay up. Currently I feel at least 80% alert, which while not stellar is a lot better than how I felt after 3h the first two times. (40%?)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

So Nice

We were sitting in front of a middle aged couple with a teenage son in church today. I don't know this couple well and was just hoping the kids would behave themselves. Not five minutes into the meeting, I noticed Melissa making faces and sticking out her tongue at the gentleman behind us. I tried to discourage her by directing her attention elsewhere. Ten minutes later she started up again. The woman behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said that it was her husband's fault, he was the one who started it. Oh! It was a game, I get it.

Then the man drew a picture of a rabbit for Melissa. She was tickled pink. "For ME? Oh thank you! A bunny for ME!" She then reciprocated with a coloring book page that she'd colored. "For YOU!" He thanked her and she said, "You welcome!" The man also drew a frog for Matthew. Matthew in turn seemed quite pleased with his drawing. The gentleman and lady behind us were both all smiles with the kids. Matthew and Melissa were actually very good in church today (which was really wonderful because I was by myself today). They were quiet most of the time and didn't fuss at all or wiggle too much. I only had to threaten baby prison* once. After the meeting the lady said what cute, nice kids I had.

It is really great sitting by people who understand and like little ones.

*Baby prison is the term we use when we have to take them out of the meeting. I sit on the floor of the coat closet (or an empty classroom if we're lucky) with the guilty party on my lap and his or her arms folded. They can yell and fuss, but are not allowed to go anywhere. Baby prison is considered very dull. Coats are pretty boring to look at. When the sinner settles down and is ready to go back, we do!

Actually Melissa is the only one who periodically goes to baby prison now, Matthew outgrew it long ago. He's usually very good in church.

Not just fat!

Yay! I'm starting to look pregnant now, not just really chubby 'round the middle.

Just in the past week I've had nearly a dozen people either tentatively ask if there's a baby on the way, or the more confident ones outright congratulate me. Yes, there is a baby there! Not just holiday pounds. :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the Ides of March

Played with the orchestra tonight. The theme was the Ides of March, so we played a number of marches. Fifteen all told. Whew! It was a fun concert though. We had quite an eclectic mix of pieces featured in the concert. We played Holst's Mars from the Planets, Death of a Marionette (aka the theme song from the Alfred Hitchcock show), Pomp and Circumstance, Stars and Stripes, etc. We had composers from France, Scandinavia, the US, Germany, Italy, Russia, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. A good and somewhat long concert.

It wasn't without mishap though. Our main percussionist was deported (oops!), a good chunk of viola section was MIA due to various mishaps, the oboist who never misses a rehearsal (and is brilliant on the oboe) was gone. To top it off the temperature in the hall was set to roughly 800 degrees F. So there were some last minute part changes and adaptations. We did find a professional percussionist, but he'd never played the music with us before so call time was used to cram cue notes and the basic gist of the pieces for the drummer. I can't figure out what is up with this orchestra and percussionists, we can never seem to retain one for long...

Tired and sweaty, we made it through! From where I sat it mostly sounded great, a few places were just good, and some were eh.

We finished up around 9:30 and I scraped the car windows free of snow (snow!) and drove home.

The kids were good for the babysitter. I bundled them up in the car and took her home. I'll be so glad when Jonathan gets back.

He is trying to do me in!

His strategy is sleep deprivation...

Everyday this week Matthew has been a little morning lark. He gets up between 5:30 a 6:00 and wants me up too. Naturally I tell him to forget it, it's not really morning time yet. I do tell him that there is plenty of yogurt, cereal, and fruit if he's hungry, and he knows how to help himself. Not satisfied with my answer, he continues to be my little snooze button. Every 15-30 minutes he has another question, problem, or something he's just dying to tell me. Grrr.

I tried to take a nap today while Melissa napped. Matthew was supposed to finish cleaning his room (that he was assigned to do yesterday) or take a nap himself. Instead he searched for ways to keep his mother up.

Crank up music, check. (Mom tells him to turn it down)

Banging around and jumping off of the bed, check. (Mom, now getting somewhat cranky, tells him to knock it off)

Tired Mama falls asleep.

Shortly thereafter he comes in and tells me he is bored. (Mom, now really cranky, yells OUT!)

Few minutes later dozing again. BANG BANG BANG! "Mom I have to tell you something. This magazine is stuck." AHHHHH! His sister is now awake too. (Mom now has smoke coming out her ears) He is informed that his presence is not welcome on any uncertain terms, he is not to be seen or heard while I try to get his sister back to sleep. I scoop up Melissa and take her to bed with me hoping she'll cuddle up to me and fall back asleep. It works, except now I can't go back to sleep.

Resigned I get up. What a lousy nap.

For the record, the room is still not clean....

When is isn't waking me up he keeps up a stream of unrelenting chatter. During lunch he was putting all kinds of different letters in front of his name and laughing hysterically. "If I put a 'T' if front of my name it would be 'Tatthew' Huh, Mom? Isn't that silly? Ha ha ha!" He expects a response for every gem he comes up with. Then when he tires of that he likes to ask obscure questions and wants to know "how come?" "why" or "how" things work. Often times I don't know or have a good answer! I know he's just curious about everything, and this is how he learns. Why, oh why did I pray for bright, inquisitive kids?! So. Very. Tiring.

Reading Progress

On a more positive note, Matthew is really picking up on his reading. A lot of it is self driven too. I really have not been actively teaching much. We do read a lot together though. Today he took Hop on Pop in the car and read a good portion of the book. As we drove to speech class he sounded out the words and I helped him with the ones that "broke the rules." For instance, words like "they" and "good", where you'd think that the first vowel would be long. He did pretty well. In speech class his teacher had him read some sentences too, and was impressed with how well he was doing. His preschool teacher has also commented on his "kindergarten" work in reading and penmanship.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dinner with a Swede

I'm at PyCon this weekend.

Tonight I had dinner with a fellow from Seattle I know from the last two PyCons, and his roommate, a Swede.

We went to a steak house next door to our hotel. It was a pricey restaurant. They had a restroom attendant, who squirted soap on your hands and handed you towels. Trippy. Most of the menu items were in the $30-$50 range and there were some near $100. I just wanted to eat, so I got the $10 hamburger. Seattle guy and Swedish dude got salmon and sirloin.

When the food arrived, my friends' portions were huge, so they offered others a bite to try. I jokingly offered my hamburger to Swedish dude with a grin in mock reciprocation.

He took a bite!

I don't know if that's normal for Sweden or if he thought he needed to humor the crazy American.

Just in case, I didn't offer Seattle guy a bite.

(Then Swedish dude ate his fries with a knife and fork.)

If you're reading this, Swedish dude, no offense taken and I hope none given. Just having some fun with cultural misunderstandings!

Things that make you go hmmm....

after disaster control, that is.

I heard a blood curdling scream from the bathroom, and from the sound of it our son was missing an appendage. I ran into the bathroom. There stood Matthew with one foot in the metal trash can, and the other foot in the toilet that was filled with poop!

I stripped off his clothes and put him in the tub. He had bruised and scraped up the foot that landed in the trash can, hence the ear piercing screams. After he was cleaned and bandaged, (hysterical the entire time, no less), he calmed down enough to take some motrin and talk.

"How did you end up in the trash can and toilet?"

"I don't know."


An hour later he seemed fully recovered and was running around harassing his sister.

Side note: Regrettably his timing for his misadventure was poor, and Melissa awoke prematurely from a much needed nap. Sigh.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I Loathe Squats

That is all.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Melissa did not want to put her underwear on this morning, did Not want to get dressed, and most of all did NOT want her hair brushed. Unfortunately her mother did not want her to look like a wild pony, so it was not negotiable.

As I carted her off to the bathroom she wailed, "No! GRANDMA say NO comb hair!" She kept insisting that Grandma would not want her hair combed. When that tactic didn't work she howled, "You comb my hair, you make me cry!" All to no avail. Except for the scowl on her face she did look nice for church.

Which reminds me of last Sunday. I took Melissa to the ladies room before nursery. Out of a stall came a very large women, probably around 300 lbs. Naturally Melissa says the first thing that pops in her head. "Mama! She BIG!" I tried to shush her and gave the woman a quick apology before ducking into a stall. Melissa did not want to be shushed and repeated herself in case I and the rest of the ladies in the bathroom hadn't heard her. I wish I could teach two-year olds tack, but short of that I wish the floor would open up and swallow me.

Matthew went through a similar phase around two. He'd loudly point out anyone who was different. Once while eating at a restaurant we were seated across from an amply girthed couple. Matthew blurted out, "Look! They are FAT! He eat too much! Why he eat too much, Mama?" Ahhh! Fortunately he has since learned that it is inappropriate to comment on people's appearances. It might hurt their feelings. It hasn't dawned on Melissa yet...

This is part of the reason we keep a blog (aside from keeping family and friends up to date). We figure Matthew and Melissa stories will be good fodder for when they are teenagers. Paybacks, my dears, paybacks.

Tonight I made bread rolls and had some leftover dough that I braided into a loaf and left on the stove while the rolls cooked. During dinner I asked Jonathan to put the braided dough in the oven to rise, turn the oven on WARM, put the pan of water in the oven, and lastly put the casserole on low on the stove top to keep it warm. Five minutes later I noticed a burning smell. I opened the oven and smoke poured out. Apparently all the directions had been followed to a 'T' except turn the oven to WARM. Instead he'd turned it to BROIL! In his defense he blamed poor "user interface" On the stove top you turn the knob to the left for low; for the oven it is to the right. To the left is broil!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

More Dreams

Last night I dreamed that I put the majority of our cash into medical supply and pharmaceutical companies. Over a few months the stocks doubled.

Then disaster struck.

A flood of lawsuits hit the companies. Some of the lawsuits were legitimate, most were frivolous or riding the coattails the legitimate ones. Overnight the price of the stocks plunged to less than half of what I'd purchased them. I was getting ready to sell them when Jonathan insisted that we wait it out. "We don't want to send the
wrong message to the companies." Yeah, but we might lose everything with this sinking ship.
"But they are good companies, they'll make it."

It's funny, because this is almost exactly how the Merck scenario went, except that the roles were reversed. I'd owned a few shares of Merck for years (even before I went to college!) Then the Vioxx lawsuits hit. I decided to wait to sell because I figured the company would rebound. (As a side note, can you imagine if everyone who had experienced negative side effects from aspirin had sued? I suspect aspirin would have been yanked from the shelves by the FDA.

Common and not so common side effects
After all, people have died taking aspirin. Clearly it's not a "safe" medicine. Better off taking a placebo. In pain? Too bad!)

So I held onto Merck until November of last year when Jonathan read in the Wall Street Journal about a fresh assault on the company. Reluctantly I sold thinking maybe it really was time to bail, and naturally the stock jumped up...

Anyways, my dream ended without resolution. Aside from day traders, who has nightmares about dropping stock values anyways?

The Bunny
I also dreamed about a large brown rabbit. This bunny came bounding into our yard and hopped over to Matthew. I panicked a bit thinking it might be a rabid rabbit. I mean, what kind of sane rabbit hops over to a five-year old? I warned Matthew to stay back. Then I saw the tags on the rabbit and realized it was a pet. I let Matthew pet it, and it snuggled contentedly in his arms. He told me that we needed rabbit after we returned this rabbit to its owners. Yes bunnies are cute, but all I could think of was chewed up electrical cords and upholstery. Shudder. How about a nice fish? Nope, we needed a bunny. Then I woke up.

The Nightmare
In my last dream I was bleeding quite heavily. I was frightened for the baby, and at the same time realizing there wasn't much hope. I woke up practically in tears from this dream. Thankfully I wasn't dreaming for long.

Poor Jonathan gets regaled with all of my wacky dreams in the mornings. I usually forget them after that. It seems that pregnancy does make them much more vivid though.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


I admit, I've been a couch potato for a while...
(feeling like crud for two months didn't help matters)

I found a spiffy new jump rope that doesn't twist up, and have been doing some light jump roping this past month. Now that I'm getting kind of big, I'll probably phase that out by the third trimester. I did buy a work out video designed for pregnancy, but it has been sitting in pristine plastic-wrap condition until yesterday. Guilt finally motivated me to get off my rump.

Matthew and I got out our floor mats, weights, and step-stools and had at it.

Today my jello thighs are screaming at me, "YOU FOOL! What were you thinking!?" Ugh. 'Course Matthew, just as chipper as can be says, "Let's exercise again Mama!" Groan. He got out the mats and set up the DVD expectantly.

So we exercised. During which time Melissa mostly tried to climb over and on me whenever opportunity presented itself. (It's hard doing push ups with a 2 year old on your back! Get off!) Right now Matthew is fresh and full of energy. I wish I could say likewise, but I feel like someone pummeled my body with stones. It takes what, six weeks to make a habit? I'll give it that...but I sure hope I don't feel like chewed up gum for the whole duration...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Everyman 6

4 days in a row I've been alert and productive in the early morning hours. This is a big step in the right direction.

As a tradeoff though my body appears to have spread some of the fuzzy over the rest of the day. I feel like I'm at 90% all day instead of 40% from 3:30 to 7 and 100% the rest of the day. On the whole I think it's an improvement. We'll see though over the next couple weeks (a) if it lasts and (b) if the fuzziness eventually goes away.

Breakfast is a challenge. If I eat a couple hours after I wake up like I normally did, say around 5, by lunch time I'm starving. (And people who know me well know that when I'm hungry, I'm grumpy. Blood sugar, or something.) But if I eat a second breakfast around 9 I'm not hungry for lunch until 1 or later, which means I won't be hungry for dinner at a normal hour later on. A half breakfast at 5 followed by the other half at 9 seems to have worked pretty well yesterday. Still experimenting here.

Kids are a challenge (duh). When I started, the kids were sleeping until after 7 pretty reliably, so a 6:30 naptime was safe. Now as it gets brighter earlier they are waking earlier too. If I don't get my full nap in, it takes three times as long to feel rested "napping" while being "daddied" every few minutes.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Do Wah Diddy Diddy

Jonathan left the radio on the oldies station last time he was in the car. He usually listens to rock so I wasn't expecting it. I on the other hand, often listen to the classical station or talk radio. When I got in to drive the kids to the park I heard "Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do..."

Reminded me of driving with my Dad. He always cranked up the oldies, tapped the steering wheel, and sang along. "There she was just a walkin' down the street singin'."

Melissa was bobbing her head along with the beat.

I miss riding in the car with Dad.