Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rosie's 4-Year Checkup

At Rosie's 4-year checkup, she weighed in at 38 pounds and is 40.5 inches tall. She was on the scale by herself, which is pretty normal, but since we were at the doctor's office, she made it traumatic by reaching for me and crying.

The doctor was impressed by her vocabulary and her balancing skills and was able to take her blood pressure (94 over 58) and tested her vision (20/30). She started the hearing test, but halfway through was done with the whole appointment and we didn't get a good reading.

She likes yoga and gymnastics at school, and I'm planning to get her into a dance class as soon as possible!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Xmas Joi de Vivre!

Despite having an ear infection, throat infection and possible RSV, Dash was awfully perky over our holiday weekend. Before bedtime on Friday, his temp was 103.5, so I got him in to see his doctor first thing on Saturday. We met one of his classmates, Lizzy (see the cutie in #11), in the waiting room with _*surprise*_ RSV symptoms, too! We visited Lisa, my sis-in-law, that morning, but cancelled our plans with friends that afternoon, to keep from infecting their kids with the dreaded RSV. Auntie M.came over that evening to bake gingerbread cookies with Rosie while Dash napped (after throwing blocks across the house and climbing on the furniture) and gave me a chance to do dishes, sweep, and pick up our crazy house. Whew! I also baked oatmeal craisin cookies that turned out darned well, I must say!

Christmas was at my parents' house, as usual. I think the day went perfectly! We left for "gromma's" after Dash's nap, opened gifts (woo!) and had some lovely roast! The standout Xmas gift was from my mom--she bought Rosie another American Girl doll; this time it was "Jess", a doll with a Japanese-American heritage. She even has a Japanese middle name, just like Rosie! My mom bought the doll's "hair care kit" so we could curl Jess' hair so we could make her look more like Rosie. Auntie M. painstakingly did just that! Bless her heart. She loves her niece. Dash was just happy to run around, throw balls and terrorize Groucho, my parents' cockatiel.

After wine and pie, AJS had a long nap. And I let him sleep. Merry Christmas, baby!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ian's First Birthday Party!

We had a fabulous time at Ian's birthday party! The company was excellent, the spread was super-tasty, and Kristin and Nathan have a beautiful home. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of Ian, since we didn't bring our camera, but my dear friend Chuck took some wonderful photos of Rosie and Dash!

Dash found a balloon that was meant for Ian and didn't let go of it all afternoon:

Then Rosie ate some delicious cake (with a little help from me):

And Chuck took some super-fun photos of Dash and Rosie playing in my lap!
Actually, what makes me happiest is this photo, because it's of me and Rosie! I have so many, many photos of me holding Dash that you'd wonder if I had a daughter...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Dash update!

Hi baby boy!

You're almost 18 months old now and you just had your ear tube surgery two weeks ago. You communicate with us so well that we didn't really notice that you haven't been talking much. Hopefully now you will be adding to your vocabulary. So far, you say mama, dada, ball, olive (lali), cracker (cak), duck, woof-woof (for dogs & cats), more (mo), moo (for cow), and balloon (baaal). You know several hand-signs, especially for milk, more, head, want, banana, broccoli and apple. Your favorite foods are beans (all types), broccoli, chicken, olives, graham crackers (especially chocolate), cheddar, most fruits (especially banana and melon). Lately, you've been climbing on the furniture! You heave yourself up on the couch or ottoman, then move to a table and march around, happy as can be! We of course get you down immediately, but you pop back up as soon as our attention is diverted.


Weirdness at the office

Okay, this one isn't about the kids. Yesterday, I was almost the only one in the office and picked up a phone call in a co-worker's cubicle. While I was talking (to the cube's inhabitor), I glanced up and saw a pin stuck in the carpeted wall with a lion's head on it that looked familiar. I pulled it out and saw that it was a logo design that I created ELEVEN YEARS ago!!! The FBI is still using my artwork after eleven years? I'm keeping the pin; I don't think I had saved anything from that project, because I never felt that it was portfolio-worthy work. Anyway, here is my art that I found online, that the pin was based on:

Heh. 1995, staring at me.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

James Kim. I'm incredibly saddened and uplifted at once.

I 've been overwhelmed by this story all morning as soon as AJS brought to my attention that the James Kim that's been all over the news as missing in the Oregon wilderness was not just some no-name-hapless-joe but was the host of a techno-gadgets show we used to watch! He was the smart, funny, on-the-cutting-edge, sweet young guy who would somehow manage to put photos of his daughter into his gadget reviews. He was only one year younger than me! And our children are practically the same ages! How could I not get all wrapped up in it? The story is fascinating and gut-wrenching. TV mini-series on the way....?

So here's my redux at what happened. 35-year-old James and 30-year-old Kati and their two daughters (4 years and 7 months) set off in their car from a Thanksgiving holiday on the Oregon coast, headed home to San Francisco. They were driving for hours and missed an exit, instead continuing onto a mountainous side road that wound far in the wrong direction from their destination and any inhabited area. They hit a snow drift, ran out of gas and were snowbound for 5 days before they became desperate enough for James to consider other options. They were running out of food and had no idea when they might be rescued, so James left his young family at their car and left to seek help. Here's an aerial photo of what this area looks like:

He was only wearing jeans, sneakers and a mid-weight coat, not adequate for wet, freezing weather. He had a lighter and an Oregon map, some extra clothes and supplies. According to the clues that searchers uncovered, James walked EIGHT miles in this wilderness and made it back to within a mile from his family when a SHEER CLIFF separated him from their location and he succumbed to the elements and died after being alone for four days. How horrific.

He left Kati with a pretty good setup, like a campground. They were able to heat themselves with the car's heater, then burned the tires when the heater gave out. Kati nursed both girls (YAY FOR BREASTFEEDING!!!) to keep their strength up. Kati and girls were rescued after nine days. Kati was seen by a helicopter pilot, waving an umbrella from her car. James' body was found two days later. God, I can't even imagine.

Dash's ear tubes -- done!

Hey, it's been a week since he had his tubes surgery, but I haven't had any spare time to post. Dash was a real trooper for the whole ordeal. We had to get up super-extra early on a foggy, dreary November morning and Dash didn't have any food at all since Midnight (about 8 hours total). He really didn't complain about it, though! He slept through the 45-minute drive to the surgical center (we had to be there at 6:30 a.m.) and while we waited in the lobby, he was well-distracted by the large fish tank, full of exotic fish.

They brought us to a consult area around 7 a.m., where Dash had to change into an awful, awful, get-it-off-me-now bright-yellow hospital gown and he continued to yank on it until he was taken into surgery. I had to put on a full bodysuit made of some kind of synthetic FedEx-bag-style fabric, plus a hair cover and a face mask. After a brief consult with the anesthesiologist and Dash's surgeon (including more papers to sign), they then took us to a secondary waiting area just for children, with a play area and lots of toys. All the other kids in the playroom got stuffed bears from their doctors, but I guess we didn't get one because Dash already had a bear from home? Whatever.

Dash was called for his surgery around 7:45 a.m. and I carried him in, put him down on the hospital bed. The nurses asked what name they should call him when the anesthesia wore off, so he would hear something familiar, maybe comforting. They asked me to hold his arms out of the way and try to comfort him while the anesthesia took effect (through a face mask), and then announced, "he's asleep!" which was, apparently, my signal to leave. So after a confusing couple of seconds, a nurse offered to guide me back to a consult room. I waited for about ten minutes while furiously typing text messages to family and friends to keep my mind off the surgery, when another nurse came to get me because Dash was done!

When he and I reached the post-op room, he was very disoriented and screaming, with eyes closed. But he quickly came out of it and let me know that he wasn't interested in sitting around. I carried him around the room while he stoically watched the other children scream. I was pretty proud of him for being the first child to settle down! One of the nurses offered Dash a drink, which he refused. Instead, he had noticed the refrigerator behind the nurses' station and pointed. And pointed again. I walked him over there and asked the nurses if we could come back there so I could figure out what he wanted. A nurse looked at him sweetly and asked, "honey, would you like some crackers?" She reached into a cabinet and grabbed a two-pack of saltines. With his treasure in hand, we went back to our seat and he stuffed entire crackers into his head as quickly as possible. I tried the water again, nothing doing. He made the :more: sign at me and pointed directly at the sad, empty, plastic Saltines wrapper. Verrrry clear, this one is! He ate about ten more Saltines (I swear!) then had some water.

Meanwhile, I was given an instruction sheet on how to care for his tubes, we were discharged and on our way. He slept on the drive home and as a treat, I stopped by Krispy Kreme to get us some donut holes (and coffee for me); I hadn't eaten either, thinking that it would only taunt Dash. I had brought some work home, with the mistaken impression that the surgery would leave Dash weak and sleepy. NOPE!!! As soon as we were home, he was practically bouncing off the walls, climbing on the furniture, and pulling books off of shelves. He ate a donut hole or two with me and I barely kept up with my little ball of sunshine-energy before AJS came to relieve me around lunchtime. Dash was amazingly happy and alert!

I do think that his hearing was affected by the repeated ear infections. Just in the past week, he seems to be responding a little better to verbal cues and is imitating us a little more. Yay! Here's hoping that he'll have a few more words soon. The sign language has been a great help, but of course, we'd like him to be speaking more. His latest new word is "duck"!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

AJS got on "Best of Craigslist"!!

The Five Stages of Living in the DC Area:
Date: 2006-12-05, 5:38PM EST

Stage 1: Living downtown is the greatest! It’s so wonderful living in such a vibrant, diverse community. I love being able to walk to hipster bars, overpriced tapas restaurants, and leather furniture stores where the cheapest couch costs 6-months rent.

Stage 2: DC is a squalid cesspool, a third-rate wannabe capitol like Dakar or Isengard, full of hipster losers and youth violence gangs of rogue Uruk-hai.

Stage 3: Thank god I live in the suburbs! It’s so clean, the schools are great, and I don’t have to worry about being raped on the way back from Bed Bath and Beyond or having pennies thrown at my head.

Stage 4: Borf was right! The suburbs are a boring, sprawling wasteland of stripmalls, $tarbucKKK$s, and cookie-cutter McMan$$ion$. I read it in the Cliffs Notes to Foucault’s Madness and Civilization. $ma$h the $tate!

Stage 5: Go to Stage 1.

Here's the link to Best of Craigslist.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ms. Focused and Mr. Speedy!

Sunday, we had a family birthday party for Rosie at my parents' house. It was mostly for Auntie M., who won't be coming to our double-scoop of a joint party this weekend for Rosie AND Liam. Auntie M. must be super-in-tune with Rosie, because once Rosie opened Auntie M.'s gift, she wouldn't look at anything else, or eat, or do anything but play with it for maybe three hours straight. My mom bought her some fairly pricey American Girl twin toddler toys, and she showed no interest in them whatsoever, until later, anyway.

The really FUN part of the evening was when I came to pick them up a few hours later, after they had been eating naught but chocolate ice cream and cupcakes. My little Dash saw me and ran at me with speeds previously unknown, powered by sugar and sleep deprivation. BOY LOVE CUPCAKE!! (And Grandaddy can't resist the puppy-dog eyes and the darling way he signs for :more:) He dashed, he shrieked, he giggled maniacally! And then he crashed on the car ride home, only to wake up just as he hit the mattress in his bedroom and then screamed bloody murder for the next hour. Until dinner, that is. Food calms the boy.

Rosie slept with her twins, who are now named "Rosie" and "Dash." She is enamored, and I will let her grandma know. We left the unicorn-land-of-many-chokables at her grandparents' house...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

[RANT ALERT] sometimes it's the little things...

This is just me ranting, but I was just on the phone with my pediatrician's office to schedule a pre-op appointment for Dash's ear tubes (yes, he's getting tubes). When the call connected, I briefly heard the air in the reception desk area, was immediately put on hold without a greeting, then after less than a minute, disconnected. I called them right back and explained how I was disconnected to the receptionist and just got "[sigh] what were you calling about?" When I replied, "Okay! Someone hung up on me and I don't get an apology?" I got DEAD AIR.

Since I wasn't getting anywhere, I went ahead with scheduling the appointment, but brought the issue up again at the end of the conversation, because I was still upset about the poor treatment. The receptionist told me, "well, I don't know who you were talking to," and still refused to apologize.

My point here IS (and there is one) that this small rudeness reflects on the ENTIRE PRACTICE! not just whomever screwed up with the phone system. It doesn't matter WHO screwed up, it could have been anyone (even you) and sucking it up to YOUR CUSTOMER who is GIVING YOU $$$$ should be standard. WTF. How hard is it to say "I'm sorry for your inconvenience"?Seriously?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting makes me think of Douglas Adams

Take me to your lizard…

(Context: Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect are discussing the huge robot that just landed in downtown London, killing people, doing billions of dollars of damage—and announced ‘I come in peace, take me to your lizard’)

"…It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…," said Ford.
"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?" asked Arthur.
"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
"I did," said Ford. "It is."
"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don’t people get rid of the lizards?"
"It honestly doesn’t occur to them," said Ford. "They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."
"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"
"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."
"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
"Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?" "What?"
"I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"
"I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards."
Ford shrugged again.
"Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them," he said. "They’re completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it."
"But that’s terrible," said Arthur.
"Listen, bud," said Ford, "If I had one Altarian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say ‘That’s terrible’ I wouldn’t be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin. But I haven’t and I am."

Douglas Adams, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

Saturday, November 04, 2006

AJS's surprise birthday party!

AJS's birthday is Nov. 5th; we made plans on the 4th to go duckpin bowling with the kids and Kelly's family at some lanes in College Park. What I didn't tell him was that I invited all his other friends and made it a birthday party! It was great fun, and he was really surprised.

I was amazed that most of the folks that we invited joined us, which made it an especially nice party.

The shocker for me was that Dash is an extremely enthusiastic bowler.

Here's Dash and me getting ready to bowl:

Then bowling (he did knock a few pins down!):

And this is me, clapping at his bowl, while he is off, already getting another ball:

Friday, November 03, 2006

The family at Rock n Romp Halloween

We all went to Rock n Romp's Halloween bash in Silver Spring last weekend. It took us about an hour to drive there, due to traffic and general distance and Rosie slept most of the way. Rosie had been very excited about the party, because she could wear her pretty "snow princess" costume and, because we are well aware of her aversion to masks (screaming uncontrollably), we tried to prepare her for the hard fact that people would probably also be wearing costumes. Kellygo took photos for me, so thankfully, I have all the costumes documented! THANKS Kelly! Thea is trying to cheer Rosie up by giving her an attractive spider ring! Notice that Rosie is NOT reaching for it...

Well she did just fine until she saw what was apparently the most scary costume at the party—A TACO. For the next 30 minutes until we left, she spent most of our time crying and screaming, renewed every time the Taco was in her line of sight.

The rest of us were having blast! Our friends were there, we were enjoying all the costumes, the music and the fun crowd. Dash (in the Dash Parr costume), really had fun! He was dancing and clapping with the music (esp. The Antiques' cover of "Ghostbusters").

We were pretty sad to have to leave, but Rosie was just freaking out towards the end. Dash was trying to comfort her, in this photo. On top of the Taco, she was also terrified of a little girl wearing a Superman mask. So after driving an hour, we spent 1/2 an hour at the party (planned to spend 2 to 3 hours) then drove for another hour home. :-(

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

storing a profile photo

storing a profile photo
Originally uploaded by nylonthread.

how can I get this on my blog profile? IE won't let me, but I'm trying, darn it.

OKAY!! I figured it out (with kellygo's help)! Hopefully it'll stay put now.

Monday, October 16, 2006

By the way...

I did not go pumpkin picking this Saturday. We stayed in until 11:30 a.m., then I returned clothes at stores (took over an hour of driving, parking, strollering to store, returning clothes, back to car, etc). I dropped the kiddiewinkies directly at their grandfamily's house (what Rosie calls my folks' place) and zipped back home to whirlwind-clean our place for what amounted to a dinner-party-book-group. It's really never anything less when AJS is cooking.

I had so much fun! All our friends who came over brought stuff, had a great time in the backyard with the nice weather and ate the yummy food.

I want to ride SOMETHING!

Originally uploaded by nylonthread.
Rosie likes to be non-specific when she makes requests. For example, if she wants Daddy to let her eat chocolates, she'll say, "I want somebody to give me something brown to eat!" So, when she told me "I want to ride something!" when we were out for a walk, I really didn't have a good reference for what she meant. This photo is what she meant.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Dashiell and his overalls

These overalls that Dash is wearing deserve a post. He received them as a gift for his first birthday from some long-time friends of ours, who knew about AJS's long-time obsession with monkeys; they also bought a Hawaiian shirt for Dash, which is another AJS trademark, so I was tickled by the fact that they remembered these facts about Dash's daddy and was satisfied with the nice gifts.

However, just last week, I was up-close and personal with these overalls while Dash was wearing them and noticed that the little embroidered monkeys had little embroidered bongos that had tiny little embroidered NAMES on them! The names are about 1/8" high, but they are there. They say "NICK" and "NORA". Nick and Nora are a reference to a married couple from a series of stories/movies called "The Thin Man". The original movie starred Robert Powell and Myrna Loy and was filmed in the 1940s, I think.

Anyway, to tie up this anecdote, here's the kicker: the original book entitled "The Thin Man" was written by Dashiell Hammett, a crime-fiction author whom Dash is named after. So, not only does this pair of overalls have his daddy's favorite monkeys on it, but it has a reference to his daddy's fave author as well!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This Saturday Looms...

I am suddenly a little leery of all that we have planned for this Saturday, which is creeping up on us. Not enough to cancel anything (yet) but circumspect. First, I'm taking the two wee ones to a farm destination to pick pumpkins around 10 a.m. I'm intimidated by this checklist on the Cox Farms website. It seems to assume that I am trying to lose my children? Next, several friends and their children will be coming over for our monthly book group meeting around 4. I'm hoping that AJS will have the food cooked and our place will be reasonably clean by then... And then! I asked a co-worker of mine to come by to hold down the fort in the evening, because we are planning to go to a party about 2 miles away that starts at 9 p.m. The kids usually are asleep by 8, so she should be just able to watch tv in a quiet house, right?

Man, wish me luck. I'm tired already just thinking about it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

photos from our end-of-summer beach trip

I took the kids to Rehoboth at the end of September along with my sister and dad. My dad was THRILLED to be introducing his adored (and only) grandson to the Atlantic, one of his great childhood loves. You can really feel the elation in this image of them both. However, Dash was a little circumspect about the crashing waves; he was a good sport, but it was hard to be sure whether he was enjoying himself.

Here's a photo that Auntie M. took of me and Dash, playing it cool.

And I can't leave without posting Auntie M. with Rosie and her freshly created unicorn, Vella (most creatively named by Rosie, herself). Vella was "born" at at Rehoboth store (most certainly a chain) called "Wacky Bear Factory". Woo.

yet another blog about the kids...

I have another webhost where I've been putting tidbits in about the kids, but I'm really not that thrilled with the look of it and find that, really, I'm getting 90-day notices that my site will be shut down instead of actually posting. So, here goes for actually posting. One of my plans is to move some of the info/photos over from that site and put them here. Because I've NEVER had a notice from Blogger that they are shutting my site down, and I have a couple of blog titles here that I haven't posted to in literally years (but can't bear to delete them).

Today is picture day at the childcare center and I spent a significant amount of energy this weekend (and need I say $$?) buying them clothes worthy of a professional photo shoot. The background for the photos is a academic-look, with dark wood, earthtones and leather-bound books. So, I bought them crazy-bright colored outfits with clashing patterns that have brown backgrounds. Hopefully, it will be cute. I took a pic with my camera this morning; maybe someone can help me decide whether the combo is adorable or vomit-inducing...

Monday, September 18, 2006

About vibrant neighborhoods...

Here is one of AJS's typical rants about DC complainers:

Well, that's the thing about living in a vibrant neighborhood.

You can't switch the vibrancy "off light" like a light switch. I think it's a riot that you have people moving into condos on 17th Street in Adams Morgan and they're shocked, shocked! to hear noise coming from nightclubs. Same with those who move into condos above K Street in Georgetown and complain that there's, like, this noisy freeway in their backyard and try and get it torn down. These people could move to a farm and complain that everything smells like manure.

9/18/2006 12:34:00 PM

Monday, September 11, 2006

I was working for a trade association near the World Bank in DC

When one of my coworkers told me that a plane had hit the WTC, my response was “You know, I just watched a documentary about air travel and they said that pilots rated the JFK airport in Manhattan as the scariest in the nation - someone probably missed the runway or something.” Obviously, I have no idea where things are in NYC. When the second plane hit, we were all just glued to the television, trying to absorb the info. I had the odd vision of how all the post-apocolyptic science fiction shows that I ever saw - you know the ones I mean, that have cityscapes with bombed-out skyscrapers and uninhabited tall metal buildings with holes in them—were wrong. When those buildings collaped, it was horrifying.

When the third plane hit the Pentagon, it was a shocker because my mom was working there that day!! I told a few co-workers who asked, “oh my god, are you freaking out?” But, strangely, I didn’t have any worried feelings about her: my immediate response was, “I really think she’s okay and just having the adventure of her life.” We all ran up to the roof to see the black smoke that was visible from our nine-story building.

After a while, management told us that we could go. Since I lived in the city, I offered to take two of my co-workers back to my house so they’d have a base until the Metro opened back up. As we were leaving the crazy building manager told us to stay in the building because the next step in the terrorist attack was going to be bio-warfare—they wanted everyone to be out in the streets! We ignored him, I retrieved my bike (I used to be able to bike to work; sigh), and we started toward my house. I must have had 5 or 6 people offer me cash for that bike while we walked!! All cars were at a standstill. Only pedestrians and cyclists were making any progress.
I finally heard from my husband around 11 a.m. —he worked near my parents’ house in NoVA and just decided to hang out there until things cooled off. I didn’t hear from my mom until around 3:30 p.m. She and a bunch of coworkers were in a training room when they heard a loud noise which they all assumed was a bomb. The lights went out and one guy (who has since received a medal) took charge and told them all to follow his voice and stay close to the floor. They eventually found their way, joining others along the way, to a Pentagon exit and decided to walk to the National Airport Metro because nobody really knew what was going on and of course the Pentagon Metro was closed.

When they arrived at the airport, of course the Metro was closed there too, and they had found out that it was a plane that had hit, not a bomb. They were all lost and confused about what to do next and how to get home, so a few folks wandered back out to the GW Parkway. A chartered coach bus stopped for them and asked if they needed help; after they told him where they had come from, he offered to drop each and every one of them off at their doors, no matter where they lived, at no charge. That’s why I didn’t hear from her until later.

My mom had a friend who left her purse in the room where the training was; she never was able to retrieve it. To this day, my mom wears her purse everywhere and doesn’t put it down unless she’s inside a house.

There have been a lot of memorials at the Pentagon over the last few days. I wish everyone who is still suffering from the effects of that catastrophic day can find peace.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fate strikes again!

Happy birthday, Ms. Nylon! Here's your birthday horrorscope:

Be ready to move at a moment's notice because changes will happen so fast over the coming 12 months that if you are not on the ball someone else will get the benefit of opportunities that should have been yours. There won't be time to analyze the situation before making a decision. Think fast, act fast and, above all, be first.

Oddly enough, I just started a fast-paced job, so this horoscope is really hitting home...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Happy Birthday to "the Guv'nor"

Happy birthday to Dash! Cancer's Birthday Reading:

You'll do very well this year, speaking out to large groups of people. Be careful what you say. You might be elected into office.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Our FL trip, from the perspective of a baby carrier

Dash is at least 22 lbs now (1st birthday next week!) and I've got him in the hip carry position in my wrap. Earlier this month, we were traveling with the two kids and our flight was cancelled. While we waited over two hours for the airline to release our luggage (and gate-checked double-stroller!!), I carried my beefy little guy in the Maya wrap the whole time as he wanted to be bounced, rocked, or slept in it while we waited. We traveled from 9AM that day and didn't get home until 4AM the next morning. He was in the carrier for over five hours total that day. The only resultant issues on my part were heat rash all over my torso, due to an inadequate A/C system on the plane/airport and carrying a sleeping heat generator on my side (he's like his father -- as soon as he drops off, he starts to heat up and sweat). My back was just fine!! And the Maya wrap fabric is strong but very light -- it contributed very little to the heat issue. A great option that I discovered on my trip: using the wrap as a tether!! If you run the rings on the Maya wrap down the fabric so they snugly wrap around your child's torso, you can hold the end of the wrap and let your child toddle around without running off. Fabulous!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My oversized, puffed-up head (thanks to Kelly)

I just wanted to store this quote from Kelly somewhere, because I didn't want to lose it and this is a good a place as any. She just made my year with this one:

Ms. Nylonthread is the queen of seeing the bright-side without being cloying. She's the empress of the silver-lining reality check. She's the goddess of the good-time, and we're all so very lucky a Ms. Nylon exists. (Not that she doesn't have a dark side, too. His name is AJS.) (HA ha hahahahahaha!!)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

About 1 child vs 2 (rose-colored glasses? check.)

I may be deluding myself, but I feel like I'm being a better parent with two, because I'm *not* totally focused and beamed in on Rosalie. I don't think she really benefitted from our parental-hovering-weirdness while she was the center of our world. We're a lot more relaxed about her going off on her own and don't freak out so much about the little stuff. (And she seems to have fewer long-lasting, screaming meltdowns now that she has to consider how they affect her darling Dash.) Sure, she gets less attention from us than she used to, but isn't that good preparation for how things are? Sharing, waiting your turn, playing nice with others, and delayed gratification are all necessary, valued habits that develop straight from having a sibling.

Friday, May 19, 2006

When do babies start entertaining themselves?

My friend Jeff's wife is expecting and told me that they weren't planning to arrange for daycare because his wife (who is a full-time, self-employed sculptor) works from home. Yikes! I had to call Kelly and tell her about this naive thought, so we could chuckle knowingly ;-). We once were that unaware ourselves!! Ah, those blissfully carefree days...

Kelly said she clearly remembers the day when I excitedly called her to tell her that I was doing dishes and *15 whole minutes* had passed before I noticed that Rosalie wasn't demanding my attention and I found her playing alone in her room! Our daughters are 1 year apart and Rosie had just turned two. At the time she was saying, thank god, it really does happen!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day, revisited

Looking on the bright side of Mother's Day, which is worth it (not in any order):

1. I have a lovely new watch; a gift from AJS
2. Rosie made me a neckace and bracelet of multicolored beads that she insisted I wear all day (and proudly told everyone that she made them by herself)
3. Kelly bought me *LOTS* of plants and Rosie and I planted them
4. Dash danced to everything
5. We hung out with 5 wonderful friends and 4 of their kids, ate their food and made chocolate chip cookies
6. AJS makes me laugh
7. AJS made me a breakfast omelette and coffee
8. Rosie loved Kira's dress and did pirouettes in the grocery store because she felt pretty
9. Thea cheered up after sitting in my lap and hugging me for 5 minutes
10. AJS did a load of laundry, took the recycling out, and unloaded the dishwasher
11. Rosie and I baked muffins together while bread baked in the breadmaker
12. I read a few more chapters in a good book while Dash napped
13. I watched part one of Grey's Anatomy's season finale!
14. Dash loves everybody and gives them happy smiles
15. Rosie did her best to keep Dash from eating more than a small amount of Molly's cat's food
16. Thea, Mia, and Rosie had squealing good fun chasing each other around Molly's house and hiding from Todd under the furniture
17. Liam was so happy playing in Molly's lap that he looked like a caricature of a happy boy
18. Mark has awesome new knee-high leather and metal superhero boots
19. Rosie knows to say, "calm down, Daddy" and it works
20. AJS and I agreed that despite all this, Mother's Day isn't all it's cracked up to be, and should stay indoors when the next one comes around.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Rosie's first visit to the dentist

Rosie had her first dental appointment Friday morning and did great! Well, not at first, really, but eventually! We brought along a baby doll, which in retrospect was genius. All the tools were tested out on the doll first. Hah! Rosie was timid about the whole visit and I really did my best to smooth things over. When she didn't want to sit in the big exam chair, I offered to lie down myself and she could sit on me. She almost balked altogether at the cleaning until the hygeinist offered her a new Ariel toothbrush. Hooray! She let her brush her teeth with the Ariel toothbrush and the ice was broken! All tools were allowed in the mouth. It helped that Rosie could pick her favorite color (blue) from the plastic tips available, and her favorite flavor (purple grape) from the special toothpaste. Mr. Thirsty, a blue vacuum tool, was a subject of chatter for weeks afterward.

I think we were both put off by the singsongy voices that everyone in the office put on. It was annoyingly creepy to me, but I thought, well who knows, maybe they know what they're doing?Thank goodness we made it through and all 20 of her teeth are fine.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The good and the brain-dead

Well, Dash has been walking for almost two months now and he's getting really good at it! Which means that while he's still in the infant room at daycare, he looks and acts like a very short toddler (throwing off prospective families who tour the center). So, I talked with the center director and they'll be transitioning him to the toddler room on May 15th!

This center has only been operating for two years so far and they told me that, at 10 months, he is the youngest child in their history to move up so early. But everyone agrees that he's ready. His best friends are turning one and moving to the toddler room so we think he would be sad without them and bored with only babies around. Not to mention, such a mobile child could potentially be a hazard to really young babies (he's very sweet with them though).

On to the brain dead. I was putting away some winter woolens in our cedar closet that holds seasonal items and clothes for specialoccasions and came across something shocking. Taped to the plastic garment protectors that cover some of my most expensive evening dresses was -- get this—a beebee gun target. With holes shot through it. And holes shot through the plastic garment protectors. *&^@$#!! Ever since we moved from DC (guns illegal) to Virginia (guns legal) AJS has been buying, repairing, and eBaying beebee guns. So, he was testing one of them out and shot from across the basement into the cedar closet. He was NOT even thinking. Do guns make men turn into 10 year olds? AAAArrrgh! Luckily I don't think there's hardly any damage to the fabrics (many dents in vintage velvets), but OMG.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Backyard BBQ connections

It's funny what a small world it is -- yesterday at our bbq, two of my friends (in their early 40s) were/are both drummers in punk rock bands and they were bonding like schoolboys! I knew that they were both drummers in the back of my head somewhere, but I was compartmentalizing them (John= neighbor, builder, father of three; Todd= Kelly's husband, real estate assessor, father of two) and forgot to mention the important stuff when I introduced them: drumming.

It was a nice, relaxing, beautiful day. We were lying on the grass with the sun shining down and all our kids running circles around us.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

At a springtime party

Dashiell had a great time at this party, which was a farewell for his little friend Luciano at daycare! That orange item in his hand is a carrot that he held for almost the entire event. There were many, many other kids there and even a moonbounce! Rosie was very leery of the moonbounce and only tried it once the other kids got tired and cleared out.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dash loves Ms. Jacinta

Dashiell did the sweetest thing when his teacher, Ms. Jacinta, picked him up this morning. She was just lifting him up to eye-level, but he collapsed with his head on her shoulder and his arms around her neck. Then he lifted his head up to look her in the eye and collapsed into on her shoulder again. She practically teared up and asked, "Dashiell, are you giving me a hug?" I think that was just what he was doing!!

What a sweetheart.

Ms. Jacinta is also the teacher who nicknamed Dash "the guv'nor" because of the take-charge attitude he has in the Infant Room. Of course, he rules the place!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Storytelling skills in development

AJS was trying to convince Rosie that she needed a bath and told her that if she didn't let mommy wash her hair, then dirt and bugs would grow in it. So, then what happened? She was idly talking about her bath to her teachers the next day and I get a call. Apparently, Rosie said that she had a bath because she "had bugs in her hair" and when the teachers asked her if her daddy used "special shampoo," of course she said yes! Ah, lice scares. A laugh riot.

Yesterday on the ride home, I had a headache and mentioned it (cuz Rosie was talking non-stop and kept asking for things). So then, Rosie said she had a headache and "I need to hold my head so it doesn't crack open and the bleed will get everywhere all over the car." Yikes! I blame AJS for his very descriptive reasoning for not running out in front of cars, i.e. "the cars are TRYING to hit you, so if you see one, get far out of its way." The imagination on these kids --- wow.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Nine Month Checkup

Dashiell's nine-month checkup was last Wednesday, on March 22. It was a quick one, since Dash is hitting all the milestones way ahead of time. He weighed in at 19.5 lbs and hit 25th percentile for weight and height and his head circumference was 35 cm, or 50th percentile (big head!). He had one shot in the thigh (waaaah!) and when I told the doc that he was eating homemade foods, he immediately ordered an anemia test (?!? no confidence in my cooking?). I also told his doc that I was a little concerned that Dash has been gagging on solid-solids, only eating soft purees and he recommended an Occupational Therapist. So, since that sounded a little overboard to me, I sat him down with some chopped spaghetti, cheerios, crumbled muffin, and chopped canteloupe and watched him carefully. He did great!! One less thing to worry about.

Friday, March 10, 2006


He took his first steps at daycare today (March 10th) and walked to me when I picked him up! Now the real bruises and bumps start and I guess we're going shopping for some Stride Rite hard-bottom shoes this weekend... I can hardly believe that he's walking so early—he's only 8.5 months.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Party disaster

We took the kids to an adult party in Baltimore last weekend celebrating my friends' 15th anniversary. They have 2 large dogs, no kids, and mine were the ONLY children there, since the party started at 7:30 p.m. (or maybe, nobody else was a parent...). Later on I was feeling pretty good because it was past 9, the kids weren't crying and seemed to be enjoying themselves. I was wearing Dash in a sling and basking in all the partygoers who came by to coo over him.

Meanwhile, AJS and Rosie were off entertaining themselves the whole time (they are a pair of non-joiners) when Rosie threw up all over the stage they were playing on (it was in a warehouse space for an artists' gallery). AJS said she'd been eating lots of potato chips and he was spinning her around to ring-around-the-rosy.

I apologized profusely to our hosts and we practically ran out of there. It wasn't until we were almost on the highway headed south back to Virginia that I stopped to think that it would have been civilized to offer to clean it up... Yeesh.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Making baby food

I've been pretty excited about how making Dash's food is going! (Especially since I hardly ever cook.) We're hardly using the jar stuff that we bought anymore—it's like emergency food now. I've been making big batches of food on the weekend, then freezing it and portioning it out during the week. I made a "chicken casserole" for him yesterday that he loved. I also made a pear and prune puree for his breakfast. There's a sweet potato/broccoli/carrot medley that I'm going to try next and maybe some beef, too.

These are the purees I've made so far:
  1. butternut squash and pear (gone)
  2. fish and veggies (gone)
  3. potatoes and spinach
  4. red lentils
  5. chicken and veggies
  6. pear and prune

Monday, February 20, 2006

Again, with the cuteness

Rosie has been roughhousing with Dash a little more than usual, but it seems to be more about her wanting him to interact with her. Like, he might be playing with a toy by himself and she wants him to play with her, so she'll knock the toy out of his hands and yank him around into the position she wants him to be in. He's usually not too happy about it. She will also playfully knock him on his back and push on him to try to roll him (singing "rolly-poly!"), and I get upset if she's pushing directly on his belly, but that's fairly benign. I'll be keeping my eye out for anything more aggressive.

Many times, though, Rosie will be doing her own thing, walking around, and sweet little Dash will just follow her! She goes into her room, he's crawling along behind her. It's awfully cute. This past weekend, we had to break out the gate for the bottom of the stairs—Rosie taught Dash how to climb! He was as usual following her around and she started up the stairs, saying, "c'mon Dash!" And as we were watching he made it up two steps! Before then, he was only pulling up on the bottom stair. Our little guy is getting into everything—his other favorite thing now is opening and closing doors and cabinets.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Valentine's Day didn't go as expected...

It was Valentine's Day and I took the day off work with reservations at a spa for a full Day Of Beauty. I had the whole day, so I scheduled a massage, a MUCH-needed haircut, manicure, and pedicure at a trendy Mazza Gallery salon I hadn't been to since before Rosie was born. Just as I was leaving the house, trying to figure out the best route to take from Alexandria to Upper NW DC, I got a phone call from daycare that Dash, has blood in his stool. YIKES!?! I cancelled everything, breathlessly sped to him at 80mph. His freaked-out teachers had saved the diaper for me to take to his doctor; it really didn't look like blood to me—it was reddish-purple—but they insisted that I take him.

We get an appointment about 2 hours later (the ped's office was closed for lunch) and I was informed that it was not blood; the purple BM resulted from Omnicef, a strawberry-flavored anibiotic, that he was taking for an ear infection. AAAAAAGGGGGHHHH. I got a note, whisked him back to daycare and wasn't able to salvage the ruin of my day off. I really needed that haircut! But, I was thankful that my son was healthy (clenching teeth).

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Standing unsupported

AJS was videotaping Dash while he was crawling on top of him yesterday (his videos are usually very close-up, complete with little hands grabbing at the lens), and told me that Dash let go of him and stood unsupported for about 15 seconds on tape! Of course, when he tried to show me the footage, he couldn't find it, but WOW!!

I haven't seen him standing, but know that Dash has been very busy with pulling up on everything and cruising around the coffee table and the couches. He also pushes a wheeled toy around while walking behind it very well (if it starts to move too fast away from him, he stops and pulls it back in using his arm/upper-body strength). The daycare teachers tell us that he is pushing the cribs around in the nursery along with the big kids.

I got that baby-tether back from Kelly over the weekend. We may need it any day now!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Chinatown Plushies

We saw the Chinese New Year parade this weekend. Rosie was so excited to see the parade that it was all she was talking about all morning. However, the parade designers decided that for this year's parade they would have the entire Chinese Zodiac represented. As soon as those people (plushies?) dressed in full-body animal costumes came close she was screaming to get down off AJS's shoulders and get away from them. AJS was bruised for weeks from the heel-kicks. She was okay with the dragon dance once I explained it to her—when there was a story involved (dragon chasing sun, wants to eat it, drums beating to scare dragon away), she was able to enjoy it. Dashiell just took it all in from his stroller.

Hooray for purees

I've been experimenting with making my own baby food for Dashiell. After a rough start (with lots of gagging and puking), Dashiell has started to enjoy my cooking! His first hated food was my sweet potatoes, then the awful avocado, then the too-thick fish-veggie combo. He enjoyed the butternut squash/peach combo from the start (thank goodness, because I made A LOT!). And he really likes any kind of fruit, especially applesauce, banana, mango or pear. This weekend, I tried another recipe with potatoes and spinach and glory be, he ate it! Last night, I revisited the fish puree and found that it really was too thick so I heated it, added some liquid, then pureed it some more and he finally found it swallowable. Whew. We need to work in some thicker foods but he seems to be showing resistance to textures right now. Hopefully he'll be interested soon enough.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Rosie loves Dash

So far, Rosie has ADORED Dash from when she first saw him in the hospital. It's just the cutest thing ever. She forgives him immediately for yanking her hair and gently chastizes him for playing with her toys (and will hand him one of his toys instead). Her favorite thing to do with him is to "make Dash happy" which is to get in his face and imitate me making goo-goo noises at him. Hilarious to hear my nonsense words coming out in her high-pitched voice! There's been a few times when Rosie was "giving" Dash his toys and being too enthusiastic about it. She'd be throwing them in his direction without looking and winged him in the head. I *know* she was just trying to help, so I tried not to be TOO angry when I yelled/explained that she needs to be careful around her brother. They have to learn somehow, you know? It's not all sweetness and light, but I'm just doing my best to show them how to be good siblings to each other.

Monday, January 23, 2006


We saw this past Sunday, on Kelly's birthday, that Dash is "cruising"—he pulled himself up to the seat of a child's plastic chair and then walked with it as he pushed it. We were all kind of stunned, while he was screaming with excitement, grinning like crazy!

I'm torn between being excited that he's growing and doing so many things and wanting him to stay little and cuddly. Lately, when I pick him up to hug him, he just twists and twists as I'm walking so he won't miss out on anything that he could possibly be seeing. I've been holding him close with one hand around the back of his head so he'll stay still and I can get a good cuddle in.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dash vs. Lanna at seven months

My parents had a photography studio take a triptych of photos of me when I was seven months old. About a month ago, Auntie M. was looking at this the triptych and asked our dad, "where did you get those photos of Dash?" and she was serious! It took a bit of convincing to get her to believe they were pics of me. This experience inspired me to have a professional try to recreate the triptych with Dashiell, since he's pretty much the same age right now. Here are the photos of me:

Even though Dash had a bruise on his forehead the day of the shoot, the photographers went ahead and took photos -- they said, "it's okay, we have Photoshop!" Which is really giving Photoshop a lot of credit IMO, but I hope they know what they're doing. It was a light-purple and yellowish blotch on his left upper forhead. It's more greenish today. Here is how the proofs looked:

An additional pose we tried was to a "Lou Reed" homage portrait -- a friend of ours gave us a velvet underground banana shirt for Dash and put on a pair of Rosie's sunglasses, so he was "waiting for his man" with a grungy step ladder they had in the studio. I thought it was so cute!!

Friday, January 13, 2006


Dashiell's six-month checkup was January 12th (yes, I know he was actually seven months) and he is now just a few oz shy of 18 lbs and is 26 inches (50th percentiles)! Quite the solid little guy. His head circumference got 75th percentile, but I can't recall the exact measurement. AJS's favorite nickname for him now is "fatboy"! The doc didn't have much to say, since things are going pretty well and we're hitting milestones, etc. He didn't get his shots because he had a temp (99.6 degrees), had a nasty cough, and a goopy runny nose.

While I had him at home this morning, despite being under the weather he was crawling around like a little crab and pulling up on everything—the couch, bookshelves, entertainment center, laundry baskets, me, his sister, you name it. They tell me at daycare he's always in the middle of the action when the other kids are off getting into stuff AND has been pulling up on cribs and pushing them around (they are on castors and a linoleum floor). I'm amazed that he's doing so much!

The night before his appointment, he woke up around 2 a.m. and just didn't want to go back to sleep. It seemed like he was really interested in trying out his new skill: he pulls himself up to his feet in the crib, lets go with one hand, pivots carefully, then sits down and starts over. Whew. And Mommy had to be watching, because if I left him alone, he would start crying again. After about 4 visits like this, I finally just let him cry himself to sleep and I really have no idea what time that was, but he was back up at 5 a.m. Thank goodness that doesn't happen often!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Life in the String household

Well, my lifestyle has shifted since we have two kids. I do so much housework it's like I'm a fiend, but I can't ever get the big stuff done. As soon as we're home from work, I run to the dishwasher and unload/load it, then run to the laundry machine and unload/load it, and by that time it's time to have dinner, so I feed myself and the kids, clean up after dinner, put dirty dishes in and run the dishwasher, then run downstairs and turn on the laundry, then fold clothes while I watch one episode of Dora the Explorer with Rosie. Then I give Dash a bottle, change his diaper/pajamas and put him to bed while AJS puts Rosie to bed. I might have time to read a little or watch one TV show before I go to bed.

The mornings are a flurry of getting everything loaded in the car for daycare, dressing everyone, feeding the kids and the bird, and getting on the road. Am I the most boring person ever? We only socialize with other people who have kids now and a girlfriend and I were celebrating when another couple we know told us they were expecting (they're "in the club").

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Diaper rash & first tooth

The amoxicillin has given Dash a raging rash. A girlfriend suggested that I try Burt's Bees diaper ointment, and since I had a tube, I tried it. The herbal smell was so strong that I decided to stick with the Boudreau's Butt Paste that we normally use. If it's still bad in a day or so I'll try pure zinc.

The poor little guy has been screaming bloody murder & some diaper changes require both AJS and I holding him down and he still manages to almost wrestle himself off the table along with the diaper, the changing mat, and anything else he can reach with his feet and hands. He's torn the edging off of the window screen. The changes are taking 3 or 4 times as long with having to retrieve everything on the floor, trying not to get kicked or punched in the face, and attempting to cover his rash with ointment.

He's also cutting his first tooth! I've been attributing the diaper rash to the amoxicillin, but would cutting a tooth have anything to do with it? I've been giving him Tylenol all weekend, because he seems like he's in so much pain.
Who links to me?

blogger templates | Make Money Online