Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Aaaaahhhhhhh!!!! Giant Spider Attack!!!!

WAY too funny not to share. Click here for the full story. Make sure your sound is on.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I saw a few flakes the other day and was so excited I almost had to pull over.

So when the news started mentioning snow for today, VNB almost had to tie me down. And when I heard 1-2," I was ecstatic!!!

Today I was fully prepared to wait until noon or after (like they were saying) for it to start. But then I looked up a few minutes ago and, even without my glasses on, I could tell it was coming down and FAST!!!!!

So I showed AJ and he got excited too (he _is_ my on, after all)!! So when I started this post, he was sitting at our sliding glass door waving at the snow, but then I took a picture which got his attention (and somehow reminded him that it's almost nap time), so now he's sitting in the crook of my left arm as I type one-handed while also preventing him from "helping" me type.

But the ground is already turning white!! So maybe Wednesday night stuff at church will get cancelled and VNB can come home instead of going to orchestra rehearsal and get to play with AJ in the snow!!

Oh look...a little yogurt came up with AJ's last burp...right onto the laptop's glidepad and left mouse button. Nice.

On _THAT_ note....

Ooo, look!!! It's SNOWING!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


So AJ took his first carousel ride today on the carousel in our local mall. Both AJ's Grandma and his Nana will be glad to know that he rode on the black horse on the outside.

I don't know how many more rides he's gonna take though, because it made his mama a little queasy.

Update on VNB and our car: VNB is fine. His back was a little tight for a few days, but he's got no permanent damage as far as we can tell. The car on the other hand. Well, it got towed from the scene on Friday night to the police impound lot. We were told that the Geico adjuster would visit the car on Saturday. Well, apparently the adjuster can't visit until the car is at the body shop. And _WE_ have to call the towing company to get the car moved. The worst part of all of this? We didn't find out this information until _today_ (Tuesday). So tomorrow, VNB will get the car towed to the body shop and the damage will finally be assessed. But he also managed to talk to the owner of our chosen body shop today...and by describing the damage, the owner's pretty sure the car is totalled. That would be bad news for us as we can't exactly buy a comparable car for the wrecked one's blue book value.

So that would be bad. I might have to deal with driving a sedan again. Dadgummit. I _LOVE_ that car!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Going Out With A Bang

So VNB decided to make November go out with a bang. Well...let me rephrase that, the person three or four cars in front of him who jammed on his brakes today, causing a three-car pile up with VNB and my car in the middle decided to make November go out with a bang for us.

Just so you know, he's fine. In fact, he's out with the guys from our Sunday School class right now. He's a little stiff and he was obviously shaken up afterwards, but really, he's fine. I'll break out the heating pad and Motrin tonight when he gets home.

But my poor car had to be towed away.

Really, it doesn't _look_ that bad. Granted, it was dark, but the front bumper didn't look too bad at all. It just has a hole in it under the passenger-side headlight from the trailer hitch of the truck in front. And the back doesn't look _too_ bad. I mean, the passenger-side tail light was already mostly gone from an incident between me and a parking garage pole (obviously the pole won). And there were already paint marks from...ahem...another parking garage pole (hey...I was pregnant...and that's the only excuse I have...) on the rear passenger-side quarter panel. But the back bumper is obviously mushed, and the other tail light is gone now too.

The biggest thing in my mind is that the door next to where AJ's car seat usually sits won't open now. The seat's not visibly squished at all, so he would have been fine probably...but still. The best thing though is the no part of his car seat was in there. We'd sent it to TN with my mom when she came up before T-day so that I'd have one less thing to carry through the airport after Christmas. So we won't have the hassle of replacing the car seat.

We may, however, have the hassle of replacing the car. That would suck. I love that car! But there's a good bit of damage...and Kelly's blue book says that she's only worth about $7800 now. And that's in "excellent" condition. Which she's not.

Arg....but still $7000 in cash could maybe buy a decent used car.

But to end my "30 Days of Thanks," I am thankful from the bottom of my heart that VNB is ok. It could have been a whole lot worse. The airbag of the guy in the car behind him went off and that guy's hand was swelling up pretty quickly afterward. He could have been more slow in his own braking and plowed into the car in front of him rather than being pushed (or in addition to being pushed). There are a million possibilities for what could have happened. Instead, he's ok and all we need is a fixed or new car.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's a Wonderful Christmas!

mws banner

So they were going to send out 150 of the CDs to bloggers. I figured there was no way I'd get one. But in the mail when we got home from NC on Monday was my VERY OWN MWS "It's a Wonderful Christmas" CD!!!! For FREE!!!!

We started listening to it almost immediately as I was keeping AJ occupied while VNB was unloading the car.

Now, before you watch the following videos, I'd like you to keep in mind that filming AJ is like filming wildlife. Usually once he notices the camera, the cute thing that he was doing this is by no means the best video of him doing these adorable things. Also, these were taken this morning. Everything was better the first time we listened to the CD.

This is AJ "dancing" to the music (he's a little shy at first):

This is AJ "singing" and "dancing" to the music:

Did you notice that the dancing changed (or restarted) with a change in the music? Yep...he's a budding musician too!

Anyway, not only did AJ love the CD, I did too! One of the (many) reasons I married VNB was that he had the MWS CD that I was missing (I'd carried it around so much that it'd gotten too damaged to play anymore). I'm a _BIG_ MWS fan. I know just about every word to every one of the songs he's got on a CD somewhere. And I can sing along with his instrumental album too!

So when I tell you that I know me some MWS music, please believe me (although, um...Santa? I don't have "Stand" yet). This is the third of his Christmas CDs and is far more similar to "Christmas" than it is to "Christmastime." In fact, I'd say that it's a good mix of "Christmas" and "Freedom" (the instrumental). There are more instrumental tracks than on "Christmas" and the vocal tracks are more choral and orchestral than pop like "Christmastime" was. Of course, the American Boys Choir plays a big role, as usual.

Well, let me take that back. I assume it's the American Boys Choir. There were only two disappointing things about this CD. 1) They _just_ sent the CD. Now we don't keep jewel cases, so I don't mind not getting that...but I _do_ like to read and keep the inserts. So I can't say for absolute sure that it's the American Boys Choir, but that's who it's been on the other two, so I'm assuming here. And 2) when it ended, AJ and I looked at each other in disappointment (I'm not kidding, he looked at me with this surprised look when the CD changer changed). Maybe it's because there's less to sing along to, but it just seemed _WAY_ too short.

But really, the youth at my church used to tease me about being an old fart because I listened to MWS and I just kept telling them what an awesome musician he is. As they got older and their tastes more discriminating, they understood what I meant. But with each CD, I'm more and more impressed with his music. Don't get me wrong - "Project" (his first CD) is and always will be one of my favorites, but he just keeps getting better and better!

So four thumbs up (including AJ's) on this CD!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This is my 10-month-old child prodigy (sorry it's sideways, but it's not really the video that's important):

Just in case you didn't understand, here's the dialogue:
Me: AJ, what does a doggy say?
AJ: Woof

That's my genius baby right there!

Thanks for the day: I'm thankful that this month is almost over. I mean, it didn't seem like it was going to be hard at all to post every day, especially if I had the "schtick" of 30 days of thanks...but man has it been hard to remember to do. But it also means that it's almost Christmas! And I can actually ENJOY Christmas this year! I'm not 8+months pregnant! And we're not wildly busy like we were last year! Yay! :) I'm just buying time until Blogger finishes processing the video so that I can post and go to bed. Hurry up, Blogger! Aaaaaaaany day now....

Doot de doot de doo...

So AJ took two good naps again today. The weird part was that the second nap came at 11:30 instead of 3...and the first one had only finished at 10...I was so caught off guard that I figured he just wanted a little "nip of mama" and stayed in the living room to give it to him instead of going into his room to our traditional pre-sleeping chair. Which meant that I hadn't taken down the baby gate for the hallway (which requires two hands). Which meant that when he actually went to sleep, I just put him on the couch. And it was a good thing that he woke up when he did because I was going to have serious trouble participating in my 1PM telecon with him someplace that he could fall off of (meaning that I couldn't leave the room, despite the array of pillows and chair blocking his fall)...but I couldn't exactly talk out loud without waking him...but he woke up right before it started and was pretty good the rest of the afternoon. He did have another "nip," but piano playing followed, not sleep. Blogger's done now and I'm going to bed!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


So I've got this backlog of video and pictures to post, but I keep forgetting to post until I can't keep my eyes open any longer.

So tomorrow...really...there will be new video of my precocious boy.

And what am I thankful for today? A day of long naps. They were glorious. This morning's nap was about an hour and this afternoon's was a blissful (and almost unheard of) hour and a half! Now...those were AJ's naps, not mine...but having that time to was glorious. No other word for it. Here's hoping it happens again tomorrow. Here's also hoping for a night of good sleep tonight. We're trying to cut down on night wakings by teaching him to lie back down on his own and just go back to sleep. Last night was the first night. We kept to the plan for the first three wakings after I'd gone to bed (there were two prior to me going to bed). Then I gave in and nursed him for the last two. But that's still progress. Here's to sleep!

Monday, November 26, 2007


So here's another mush alert for you...

Today is my "Very Nice Beloved's" 28th birthday. What nice things can I say about him? Well...lots... :)

I don't even know how to describe all the ways I just _enjoy_ him. He makes me laugh, he takes care of me, he is a great daddy to our little man, he loves me, he misses me every time we're apart (and tells me so). When AJ and I were so sick a few weeks ago, he surprised us by coming home early the day that I felt the worst and sent me to bed. And on the way home, he called all of my siblings and parents to ask what my comfort foods were so that he could make sure I had whatever would make me feel the best.

He makes me feel so safe! When I was single, I felt like no one had my back - like I was completely on my own. I mean, I have a great family, but they were far away, and I've got a great church, but I tended to fall through the cracks when I needed help. And I was single and on my own so long that I guess feeling that way began to seem normal. So now, every time he puts his arm around me or just lies next to me...I know there will always be someone there with me. And each time that happens, I am reminded of how grateful I am for him.

Like the day when AJ was being turned (in utero). I just remember being so scared and in such pain...but I looked up at him and could just relax.

I could go on and on...

The road hasn't always been smooth, but he's always been there with me as we bumped along...and we're slowly learning how to help each other avoid at least the worst of the bumps.

What can I say? I love the guy. And he's hot too. :)

(so if you haven't figured it out yet, today, I'm thankful for my sweet hubby.)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Coming Soon

So why didn't I post yesterday? Mostly because I remembered posting in the morning...unfortunately, it was _Friday_ morning that I posted, not yesterday. Whoops. Good thing I'd already ruined my NaBloPoMo, or I'd be upset. Well...probably not, but I'd like to think that I would be. :)

So, I haven't downloaded all the pics and video yet, but there should be some great ones coming soon. Some from the Carolina Hurricanes NHL game we went to (AJ too) Friday night, some from the park we went to yesterday.

So what was I thankful for yesterday? Um...certainly not for my bowling abilities...yesterday I was thankful that we got the video we got at the park. I can't wait for you to see and hear it. You won't believe it.

Today I was thankful for the great family photos we got outside my in-laws' house. We don't remember to take family photos often, so this was good. And I'll post them one of these days.

Friday, November 23, 2007


So in addition to the folks I said the other day that we'd see yesterday, we actually added another bunch of VB's family to the list at the last minute. That was fine though because they fed us dinner. And cooed over how cute AJ was.

So when we finally got to Nana and Grandaddy's house last night, everyone was pooped. But despite nursing both sides after not having nursed all day, he wasn't asleep yet. So I stuck him in his pack 'n play with a pacifier and lay down on our bed (right next to him). After struggling for about 2.7 seconds to keep my own eyes open, I figured that I'd let my eyes rest for a bit while he screamed to get out. I'd open them every now and again to see what he was doing (standing there looking at either me or the door usually...and screaming)...but one time, he was sitting down. So I praised him and kept telling him to lie down. So he did...but the side of the pack 'n play got in the way (either that or he was trying not to do what I said even though he knew that was exactly what he wanted to do). So for a few minutes he sat there, face smashed into the mesh on the side of the pack 'n play as I kept telling him to put his head _all_ the way down...and tried not to laugh as he sank lower and lower. After just a few minutes of that, he got himself completely down...and was out within a few seconds.

He still woke up twice in the night and was restless in between the wakings and hard to put back down after the second one, but he slept until exactly 7 AM on the clock (that's when I give up on sleeping any more in the mornings)...and his daddy very graciously let a completely braindead mommy stay in bed for another hour while he and his parents and AJ played in the living room.

I was definitely not up for Black Friday AM sales, but AJ's Grandaddy just went to Babies 'R Us to buy him a doorway jumper (that's on sale today), and AJ's Nana and I will be going out in a few minutes to buy his food (probably not on sale). All while AJ and his daddy stay home. It's nice for AJ to have a daddy that likes to do that. :)

So what I was thankful for yesterday? A bed to sleep in at the end of a long day.

Today I'm thankful for a daddy for my baby who wants to be involved in most things (still working on getting him to change diapers though).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oh My!

So I was catching up on the blogs that I read and I saw this post on Rocks in my Dryer. Michael W. Smith is one of my favorite artists ever and his Christmas stuff is some of my favorite stuff of everything he's done! So when I heard that I could possibly get his latest Christmas CD (I didn't even know he was making one!) for FREE!! Well, I can't tell you how fast I signed up! But they're limiting it to the first 150 and the site was obviously jammed (probably thanks to Shannon), so we'll see if I qualify.

In the meantime though, they've got samples of some of the songs on this site and I'm putting the banner on the side until they tell me for sure that I _haven't_ been sent a CD.

And if you've got a blog you can sign up too. But you'll have to act fast!

Oh Well...

Oh well...between no sleep, my mom visiting, errands to run, and extra work to do, I just completely forgot to post yesterday. Guess I'm not getting any of the NaBloPoMo prizes.

When AJ woke up at 3, I realized that I'd probably forgotten and instead of going back to bed to sit there and wonder and stew about it, I just went and checked...and sure enough, I'd forgotten. And even though I know how to back date a post on blogger...and could have even written it at 3 this morning and back dated it to 11:30 or so and no one would have been the wiser, I figured I'd be honest instead (stupid conscience) and just admit it.

Kinda takes the pressure off though since we'll be traveling to VNB's grandfather's house tomorrow (5-hr drive), then to his grandmother's house (same town), then to his parents' house (1-2 hr drive)...and posting either before it all begins (whenever AJ wakes up in the 4-6 AM time frame) or after it's all over (I'm guessing late evening), would have been difficult and/or tiresome.

Not that I'm completely quitting...I'm still gonna _try_ to post every day...I'm just not exactly going to beat myself up about it if I don't. Those of you reading who _are_ family will certainly understand and all three of you who _aren't_ family will probably understand too. And any other NoBloPoMo-ers out there will probably thank me because I've just increased their chances of winning a prize! :)

So what was I thankful for yesterday? Um...I'm thankful for grandparents who buy things for my kid. :) We went to Target and my mom bought AJ a bunch of winter clothes (which he was in dire need of, but I'd put off buying myself since there's Christmas in a month, then his birthday two weeks later). She also brought some stuff with her when she came. So now he's got more than two long-sleeved shirts! Woohoo! And some pants that will stay up AND are long enough! :)

Today I'm thankful that most everyone who took today off to visit family left last night, making the airport that I just dropped my mom off at not very crowded at all.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Snaggletooth, I Really Mean it This Time

So AJ's fourth tooth has broken the skin. It's not the other top front tooth, it's the little one next to the front tooth (the one between the canine tooth and the front tooth). If that one goes through visibly before the other front tooth does, he's _really_ gonna be a snaggletooth. I'll be sure to get more cute pictures for you.

So...thanks for today...who knew it could be so hard? I'm thankful for this laptop. Laptops just make the world go better.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday Posting

"Day 28...great..."

Except that it's only day 18.

Yeah...I'm in trouble.

You'd think that with the cutest baby in the world, I'd be able to come up with some cute anecdote for the day.

Let's see...what did AJ do today? Well, he "only" woke up three times last night - I'm not really sure when each time was. Nights get a "little" fuzzy sometimes. The first waking was either at 11:30 or usual, roughly 30-45 minutes after I'd gone to sleep. Then next one was around 2, the next around 5. Or was there more? I don't remember. It seems like there was a 1:30 waking. So maybe there were four last night. 11:30, 1:30, 3, and 5. That sounds more right. But what do I really know? I'm asleep most of the time. He woke up late - around 7:30.

Then the three of us played on the bed for a few minutes (our tradition whenever Daddy's home when AJ wakes up), then we all got ready for church. Then we went to church. AJ walked in (holding Mama and Daddy's hands) for the first time and everyone thought it was incredibly cute (because it was).

Then I tried to get him down for his nap, but the nursery ladies were unusually intrusive today and every time he was JUST ABOUT to go to sleep, one of them would check on something in the nursing room. I knew sleeping would be a battle anyway since he'd woken up late, so after three interruptions and 45 minutes, we gave up and he went to Sunday School.

Yeah...the day doesn't really get much more interesting, so I'll stop there. He's cute. Trust me.

So what am I thankful for today? Let's see. I'm thankful for a husband that I can disagree and even fight with...but then he kisses me, makes sure we're ok, we get on the same page, and it's over. Yeah...he's a keeper. :) I'm still in "deep smit" with him. He's awful cute too. But this isn't his official "thankfulness" day, so I'm _JUST_ thankful today that we can communicate, even through my feistiness.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

National Treasure

So we've been watching the movie "National Treasure" the past few nights on USA. Which is silly since we have the DVD, but that's another story. last night I heard a line for the first time. As Nicolas Cage is helping everyone into the scary staircase from the tunnel through the crypt, he grabs the girl and kisses her. Then "Thug #2" (or whatever his name is) says, "Why doesn't that ever happen to me?"

So I want to know what the thug is really asking. Is he asking why he's never in the situation where the pretty girl and he fall for each other during trying circumstances? Or is he asking why Nicolas Cage never grabs and kisses him?

I think it's the latter.

So anyway...on to my thankfulness for the day. I'm thankful for pomegranates. Just for their very existence to begin with...but also for the day I was introduced to them in Iraq. I remember it clearly. "My" family there laughing at me as I took a single kernel and tentatively put it in my mouth. Or the day I learned how to pick a "good" one (of the red Iraqi variety, that would be one with the most white on the skin). Or the day that they finally came into season here in the States after my return and I got to taste something at least very similar to what I'd come to love over there. It's not the same (as with most things, the American version is sweeter), but it's similar enough to do until I get a "real" one again. :) What I love even more though is that my supermarket sells "still good, but not for long" produce for reduced prices. And since most Americans have no idea what to do with a pomegranate, lots of them end up over there...and I get to eat them for cheap! Woohoo!

And yes, I had one tonight and it was scrumdiddlyumptious.

And Nicolas Cage, et al, just found the treasure...again....

Friday, November 16, 2007


So today, once school is over, my mom will be hopping on a plane and flying up here. (Although, if she actually _hops_, well...I want video....) Around the time that AJ goes to bed, VNB will be heading to the airport to pick her up. Then she'll get to stay with us until next Wednesday morning!

Thursday, AJ, VNB, and I will get up whenever AJ has his early morning waking and pile into the car to drive down to see his family for a long T-day weekend (including VNB's 28th birthday! I'd make "old man" jokes, but I'm almost three years older than him, so I really just can't get away with those).

Then, the day after Christmas, AJ and I will fly to TN to hang out with my family (including AJ's aunt and uncles Turner). The Friday after that, VNB will join us for a long New Year's Day weekend!

Traveling anywhere is always exciting to me. It's always an adventure, even if it's someplace I've been a hundred times before. Just thinking about going all those places and seeing all of our families and letting AJ get to know them even more (and them him)...well, I can hardly wait!!

I mean,'s a pain to be in a car for 5+ hours with a 10-month-old...and to fly alone with one is the definition of the word "tiring"...but it's still exciting to be _going_ someplace. I don't know why. It's just the way I am.

So in that vein, today I am thankful that we're going to get to see both of our families this holiday season without breaking the bank! That's so important right now when AJ's so young and changes so much between visits. The last time my brothers saw him, he was 3 months old! He was still just a jiggly little lump! Now he talks ("fish," "star," "cat," and "Mama," and "Dada" if you want to stretch the truth a little), he walks (well, with help), he understands ("hungry," "sleepy," "finished," "juice"), he claps and waves, and occasionally he communicates by doing more than just saying "Ah" and pulling my hair ("mostly with "finished").

Last Christmas, I was very, very pregnant, so we didn't go anywhere. While my parents and sister came up to see us, my brothers weren't able to come...and we were all so stressed that it just didn't seem that Christmas-y. I'm not sure I can express how nice it'll be to see all of my family for Christmas! And VNB gets to be with all of his for T-day AND his birthday! Yay!

I can't wait!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Betcha Think I Forgot

Because I pretty much did. Until I didn't. And I actually got up out of bed to come out here and post.

So, today I am thankful for the sippy cup that AJ finally will actually _drink_ from _WITH_ the valve in (because otherwise when he flips it over to chew on the bottom - no I don't understand either - the juice all spills out).

And now I'm going back to bed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Works-For-Me Wedensday: 30 Days of Thankfulness

So I was trying to come up with something for today's WFMW post...and nothing was coming to mind. And I was trying to come up with something for today's NaBloPoMo post...and nothing was coming to mind. Then I remembered the "30 Days of Thanks" that I'd seen referenced on someone else's blog. Since counting my blessings is one of my very favorite things to do, the 30 days seemed like a fun thing to participate in. Plus, it's an easy way to have a post every day for NaBlo! :)

But starting on the 14th of November? How can that count for 30 days? Well, I figured that I'd use today to catch up by posting 14 things I'm thankful for, rather than just one.

And by the way, being thankful works for me! It helps me to keep my perspective on the "bad" things in life, if I remember how much I've been given. If you'd like to see other tips, go here.

  1. A happy, healthy son
  2. Enough food to eat
  3. A heater that works
  4. Air conditioning in the summer
  5. Not one, but two working cars, neither of which is on its last leg
  6. A job that I love
  7. Being able to work from home!!!!!
  8. The world's most confused cat (named Monkey, who thinks that either she's a person or I'm a cat)
  9. A laptop!!
  10. My "little" brother 'Link' who was 22(!!!) on the 10th
  11. My little sister 'Elianna' who wasn't born in November
  12. My older brother 'JediTagger' who wasn't born in November either
  13. In-laws whose company I enjoy
  14. My parents who, after 38 years of marriage still like each other. that's my catch-up post. From now on it's one per day (probably with more explanation). And for those of you who are wondering why my VNB isn't on this list. Well, he _was_ born in guess which day will be devoted to being thankful for him? :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Look, Ma! No Hands!

This is actually from a few weeks ago, but not much has changed since it was taken. Basically, if you manage to get him to let go of your fingers while he's standing in a semi-balanced fashion, he can continue standing for a few seconds prior to a controlled sit. He _IS_ starting to get bolder though in going from one piece of furniture to another, in terms of when he lets the first go prior to grabbing the second. He'll also take a couple of steps when he's only holding on to _one_ of Mama or Dada's hands. And if you give him two hands, he takes off!

It's only a matter of time!

Monday, November 12, 2007


So I have been randomly tagged by Daphne from Adventures of Plenty for a NaBloPoMo meme.

Awesome. Another day's post without too much thought! :)

  • Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
  • Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
  • Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
  • Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
7 Random and/or Weird Facts About Me
  1. I have been weightless 80 times, in Lunar gravity twice, and Martian gravity once, but never in space.
  2. I lived in Baghdad for 13 months (June 2003 - Sept 2004) and loved it.
  3. I can read Greek because of all the math I've taken.
  4. I have (and have read multiple times) every L.M. Montgomery book ever printed except for a book of poetry that I can't find.
  5. I still love to climb trees and rocks and anything that gets me "way up high."
  6. I love pianos. I love to play them, I love to hear them, I love to touch them lovingly, I love to gaze at them...and I can't do without one.
  7. If I were ever marooned on a deserted island, I would be fine as long as I had the following: my tea kettle, my "Starry Night" mug, a calculus book, a piano, and the knowledge that my books were safe and sound someplace (although having one or two favorites with me wouldn't be bad either).

So, now, to add more randomness, I shall use the fantastic NaBloPoMo Randomiser to select the next seven -

Freddan/Rika at


Hannah at Gummiespazz

Shama at A Day in the Hijab of Shama

Steve and Nigel at Hamjamser

Michelle at Creative Treasures

Josh Boldman

Sunday, November 11, 2007


So I've been trying for a couple of weeks now to get this picture. Finally, with VNB's help, I managed. Good Lord, he's cute. (I'm referring specifically to AJ in this instance, but VNB is too.)

But who could help but love the snaggletooth? How adorable is that?! He's still cutting his other teeth, but we've been stopped at three for a few weeks now...and he's just CEEEE-YUTE.
Oh, and he's feeling much better too. He's still got a runny nose and coughs occasionally, but he's definitely mostly back to normal.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Na-WHAT? you say? Well, that's short for National Blog Posting Month - similar to the National Novel Writing Month, except that instead of writing a novel in a month, I'm supposed to post to my blog daily for a month. I figured it was good exercise since I've been so bad lately about posting.

So why haven't I mentioned it before, you ask? Well...I figured I'd wait to tell you till I got to a day when I couldn't think of anything to write about. So, since I didn't have anything else to say this morning, I'm member #6008 of NaBloPoMo. Surprise! Aren't you excited to know that you'll be hearing from me on a daily basis this month?

Hopefully it won't end up like that commercial with the two girls who are writing a song every day for a month - "Day 28...Great..."

Friday, November 09, 2007

Christmas Money

I a few weeks ago, I took the plunge and started selling stuff on eBay. We'd done lots of trips to Goodwill and were down to just a little thing here and there every now and again, so I figured that we'd passed the "just get rid of it" stage of de-cluttering and were into the "why not make some money off of it" stage.

I've managed to clear about $40 from the few things that I've sold so far (that's even taking out what it cost to ship them, which sometimes was more than I'd expected and charged for). Add to that the $25 I've cleared so far from PayPerPost (with $5 more pending), and I've got a hefty little chunk of change in my PayPal account. Now, I plan on paying back the checking account for what it's put out for the eBay shipping costs, but even when I deduct that amount, I've still got almost $70 to play with.

What does that mean? Well, it means that this year I don't have to go through the hassle I did last year trying to keep it a secret from VNB what I was buying for him for his birthday and Christmas. This was especially a problem when I was working outside the home and we were having everything shipped to HIS work so that there was someone to sign for it. Last year, I had his folks buy the things for me, then I paid them back with a check. The hand-off of the stuff occurred during one of their visits up here and it was promptly wrapped and hidden. He still knew the bottom-line total of how much I'd spent, but he had no idea what I'd bought or where I'd bought it (although it obviously came out sooner or later WHO had done the purchasing). It was all very stressful.

This year, there's no need for all of that. I can sign for packages at home (and promptly hide them) my very own self. And I have a nice little nest egg from which I can safely purchase things online without him even knowing that I've done it.

Bwa-ha-ha! The POWER!!!

um...I mean...aren't I a sweet little wifey, trying to surprise her husband and isn't it great that I can do it with funds that the household wouldn't otherwise miss?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

(Don't) Kiss the Girls

So, it turns out that I kinda forgot the whole "punch line" (weak as it is) to my very long and whiny (much more so than originally planned) post about AJ's cold (which he so kindly shared with his Mama).

Yes, he was kissed by a little girl at church. Chances are though, she's not the one who passed the germs to him since she was just teething. And in any case, I was standing right there when it happened, keeping AJ from getting knocked over. If I'd been worried about the passage of germs, I surely could have prevented the kiss. It was just so darned cute and she'd been so sweet to him all night...trying to share her 'juice' (milk, which he's too young for) and goldfish (we're still trying to avoid the wheat with him), hugging him, playing nicely with him (as opposed to the other kids who, despite declaring that they couldn't have fun in a "baby" room, were having a blast with every toy he picked up). The kiss was adorable. And who could blame her for wanting to kiss him?

My guess is that the germs came from one of the little boys that night who had a cough that sounded very similar to the one that AJ is getting over and I'm getting. But he could have very well gotten it from the other boy who showed no signs at all of illness. Or from someone at his dad's work. Or from any of the hundreds of kids at the petting zoo we went to on Tuesday (or from the goats, for that matter).

But really, what's the funnier punch line? "AJ picked up a bug, most likely at church?" Or "this is what AJ gets for kissing girls?"

I plan on providing all the fodder I can get to get him to believe in "girl cooties" for as long as possible! So AJ, that's what you get for kissing girls.

(We're both feeling much better now, btw...amazing what a good night's sleep will do for you (thank you, Tylenol!). So why are you posting to your blog at 3:40 in the morning, you ask? Well, after months of no sleep, I think my body decided that three consecutive hours meant that it was time to wake up. After lying in bed for an hour trying to get back to sleep, I gave up and decided to post to the blog instead of sitting in bed thinking about posting to my blog.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: (Backwards Day) Getting Baby to Sleep

So it's Works-for-me Wednesday (Backwards Day!) again. That means that I get to ask a question about something and all the good folks out in bloggyland get to solve all of my problems. I've been planning this post since the last "Backwards Day" WFMW, but now it is especially necessary.

AJ is _NOT_ a good sleeper. He hasn't been since day one. I get so jealous of my friends who can be holding their kid (or someone else's) and the kid will just slowly drift off to sleep. I think I can count on one hand the number of times that AJ has done that since he was born. But that's not really the issue. We've got ways to get him to _go_ to sleep at night (nursing or if he doesn't fall asleep during the nursing, we leave him in his crib for a little while, then go back and help him go to sleep by lying him back down and patting his back)...we just can't seem to find a way to get him to _STAY_ asleep at night. Drugs don't even work. A full dose of infant's motrin got me (ahem...I mean HIM) two hours the last time I tried it. Last night, 0.8 mL (or whatever the higher mark is on the dropper) of infant's Tylenol got him to sleep _most_ of five hours, with only one major stirring, requiring resettling with Mama's help.

He was doing pretty good when the teething was just extra drool. But a few weeks before he was six months old, those 6-7 hour stretches disappeared. In the four months since then, I've considered myself blessed with copious sleep when it came in two-hour increments. Three or four hours at a time was like getting a glimpse of heaven.

In part, it's the teething. He's got three teeth now and is obviously working on several more. In part, it's his natural development. I mean, pulling up is WAY COOL. Except for when you do it in your sleep, then wake up standing and freak out! Fortunately, those wake ups tend to happen shortly after bed time, before Mama and Dada have gone to bed themselves and are easy enough to remedy - just lay him back down and he's usually back asleep immediately.

This past week, we've added a cold (his first) on top of all of that and it's been misery.

I'm actually REALLY good about going without sleep (even though I've been sans caffeine (yes, even chocolate) since 2000)...but I'm going out of my mind some days here. And I'm not a napper, so it's doubly hard to "sleep when baby sleeps" (especially when it's only 45 minutes).

AJ's 10 months old now. A friend who's got a 1-mo-old (her second baby) was complaining the other day about how hard it was since he was "only" sleeping four hours at a stretch! Four hours at a stretch, multiple times at night? I'd feel like I'd died and gone to heaven.

So my request is this: what tricks do you have for getting a baby to sleep more than two hours at a stretch (or at least two hours at a stretch)?

Very secondary to that: what are your tips for staying sane with no sleep?
And if you want to give advice to other people (or see what advice was given to other people), make sure you check out Shannon's post at Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Snot Bubbles

So last Wednesday night, I was asked to watch the kids of the folks in orchestra and praise team at my church (because my husband is in the orchestra - except that he wasn't going to be there the following Sunday and had no plans for going to rehearsal that night - but I didn't know that till I'd already agreed to babysit).

While watching the kiddos (including my own, of course), our music minister's youngest daughter (almost 2) decided that AJ (almost 1 and probably 20 lbs lighter) was just entirely too cute not to kiss. Not that I disagree, but the thick, green snot that I'd kept wiping from her nose made me wish that she'd been a little less free with her affection. AJ even tried valiantly to push her away (good boy!), but to no avail (did I mention the 20 lb difference? And she's got a good six inches on him too). So she laid a good one on his upper lip (even she apparently wanted to avoid the gallons of slobber that reside in his mouth).

The next day, he was coughing a little. Friday, he was coughing a little more and hardly slept, despite me holding him upright on the couch (oh, and him "hardly" sleeping = me _not_ sleeping) because of the runny nose that he didn't know what to do with. (This is only the second time he's been sick and his very first cold - whoopee!) Prior to moving to the couch, I tried propping up his mattress, but that didn't seem to help much. Did I mention that I also couldn't find the snot sucker (ahem, "nasal aspirator") that we'd been sure to buy prior to bringing him home that we'd used maybe once prior to really needing it that night? Well, I couldn't. AND did I mention that VNB was away hiking the MD portion of the Appalachian trail? Yeah...

So on Saturday, I went out to find one of those menthol vapor fans. That seemed to help some (he was at least in his own bed most of the night), but he still didn't sleep for very long. Finally, I took the blankets out that had been propping up his mattress. Then I got the most uninterrupted sleep I'd had in two days - one hour. Followed by the second most uninterrupted sleep I'd gotten in two days - 45 minutes.

Then we got up and went to church where one of our friends very graciously offered to take him for the afternoon so that I could sleep. VNB got home much earlier than I'd expected (and thanks to a couple they met on the trail - otherwise it would have been sleepy me and cranky AJ driving the hour-and-a-half to go pick them up), so he went and picked AJ up.

Sunday night it looked like things were returning to normal. There was even a 3-hour stretch of sleep (which has been unusual since the teething really began in earnest four months ago). His cough was still getting worse (it occasionally sounds like he's been smoking for all if my life), as was the runny nose, but he was certainly doing better during the day and sleeping better at night.

Then came Monday. I called the pediatrician mostly because of the smoker's cough. She said it sounded like RSV (i.e., a cold), that we'd probably made it through the worst of it (although it could last up to a couple of weeks), and she gave me a list of homeopathic stuff to try. A few hours after I talked with her, it became clear that AJ was again being very generous in sharing with his Mommy. My throat started getting sore and my whole body was achy. All of which made me feel bad for AJ because who knows how long he'd been feeling that way prior to the coughing and not sleeping (i.e., when I started to care/notice).

After a day-long quest for the homeopathics and most of a bottle of apple-flavored CVS-brand Pedia-lite (Powerade for babies - Hi, Uncle R!), we finally decided to stay home from last night's extra choir rehearsal. I was pretty miserable by then. VNB, since he was getting home late anyway and wouldn't _get_ to the rehearsal before it was almost over (it was a joint choir/orchestra rehearsal), just stayed home and took care of both of us. He couldn't get in touch with any of my family to get hints as to my comfort foods (when he'd asked what I wanted him to pick us up for dinner, all I could manage was a less-than-appreciative "I don't care"), but he did a great job with getting me a peppermint milkshake (which I drank all of), a Voila! dinner in a bag (with lots of veggies - have I mentioned how much he loves me?), and my very own Sprite with grenadine (no that's _not_ a Shirley Temple, thank you very much. Shirley Temples are made with ginger ale). He also put forth a valiant effort at getting AJ to sleep for me.

When AJ had woken up at least four times by 1 AM (he went to bed at 8), VNB asked if he'd do better in our bed with us (also a sacrifice on his part, as he doesn't sleep well when the baby's in bed with us). We tried that for a little while to no avail, then I spent the rest of the hour back in AJ's room trying to get him back to sleep. At 2:15, I was done. I put AJ in his crib, shut his door, walked out into the living room, and covered myself up with all the blankets I could find as I snuggled on the couch. I'd planned on staying there for 15 minutes, then trying to get AJ down again, but VNB didn't last that long. So he got up, got the baby, sent me back to bed, and spent most of two hours also trying to get him back to sleep.

Since I don't sleep well when AJ's crying, I eventually took back over and managed to get him to sleep in his own bed for an hour. VNB getting ready for work woke him, but I managed to get him back down....this time he (and I) slept for two hours! Which was an hour later than he normally sleeps, and two hours, if you count the time change.

With those three hours in hand, we faced the day. AJ last all of an hour before he climbed into my lap (with help), and fell asleep sucking on his bottle. Then I spent most of an hour trying to get him to sleep enough that I could actually put him down. It never worked. After waking him up for about the fifth time, I gave up and he woke back up. He actually ate about 2 oz of breakfast (about 1/3 of normal), and a little over an hour after waking up, he was ready for another nap. This time I just didn't move and he slept for about an hour.

In between naps, his eyes started getting really teary. It's now to the point where anytime he coughs, sneezes, or gets looked at funny, HUGE tears drip out and roll down his face. Of course, the tears are no match for the endless snot. Which, after the very traumatic wiping that Mama insists on, tends to bubble in his nostrils. It's lovely. Add that to his red nose and cheeks, red gash where he cut his face with his super-long fingernails that I finally worked up the courage to cut on Monday (post-gash - I'm not a big fan of the trauma that is the fingernail cutting), and red, puffy eyes (which are extra-squinty for the flash, but really aren't that far from reality), and you get this:

What I want to know is how he manages to still look so cute? I look like death warmed over. Him, you could still eat up wuth a spoon. It'd be a snotty spoon, but still.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You!

Woohoo!!! Not only does my blog _have_ a winner, my blog _is_ a winner! One of the many offerings this time around was custom blog redesigns - and I won one!!!! It's so exciting! Until now, it's just been "Blogger Template #9" (or whatever it is) and it was starting to get _really_ old.

So now I get a very new design, courtesy of Linda at RS Designs!!! Woohoo!!

But now comes the hard part - figuring out what it should look like!

And on that topic, I think I'm ready for a new tag line. "My travels, my trials, my triumphs, and what I've learned and am learning through them." just doesn't seem as appropriate now that I'm a work-at-home mom in suburbia, MD. Back when I was a "carefree" humanitarian worker who lived in Baghdad and went to Cyprus on vacation, it made a little more sense. Now, the travels are far more "domestic." As in...which grocery store are we hitting today?

I'll be keeping the "Who Said Anything About Common Sense?" title, just not the tag line. So if any of you out there have suggestions, either leave a comment below or email me!

I have no idea how long this process will take, but be prepared for the new look's roll out sometime "soon!"

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Winnah!

And the winner is.....


Qtpies7 (or more accurately, number 170 according to Excel's random number generator)!!

Hopefully spending her $15 at Panera's will be a time of refreshment for this mom of 7!!

Oh, and it gets even better. Apparently Excel's random number generator agrees with my mom who picked Qtpies7's comment as one of her favorites (I have to admit that as the wife of someone with ADD, it was one of mine too):

"I'm hungry. I wonder if I can find some Oh look! A pretty rock!" They only
have a 3 second memory you know. Easily distracted. Eating fish is what causes
ADD you know. LOL

So Qtpies7, I'll be contacting you here shortly to get your address and get your gift card out to you! Thanks to everyone for playing along! It was a LOT of fun...and one of these days, I'll tell y'all why that's one of my favorite questions to ask people.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


So my FIL is taking bets on how long it will take before I post any of the pics he took of AJ from their visit. Too bad I didn't put any money down on today! :)

These were taken on a trip to one of the local playgrounds made yesterday with just AJ and his Grandaddy.

This one makes it look like he's standing on his own somehow. Like I said, I wasn't there. Maybe he's on his knees? Maybe Grandaddy just got a great shot in the second before AJ sat back down. I dunno. But I love the clasped hands like it's no big deal that he's just standing there on his own.

This one's definitely my favorite. Very artsy.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Who Knew?

So, this Panera Gift card is actually a regift. It's not that I wouldn't use it if I ever thought of it...I just never think of it's been sitting in my purse for months (no joke). Who knew that so many people would want it enough to tell me what fish think? So far I've got 156 comments with only a couple of (obviously accidental) duplicates, and really only a handful of people who didn't read the directions (if you're one of those handful and want to try again, I'll probably never notice).

But seriously...if you've got an hour to kill and need a laugh, read the comments to that post because some of them are HI-larious.

This is so much fun! I almost want to do it every day except that that would mean finding something to give away every day and thinking of something funny for people to tell me about. It makes me feel so popular though! All the comments in my inbox! :) They like me, they really like me! (or at least my gift card).

And on a different note, I'm getting _really_ good at typing with just my right hand as AJ pulls on my left or I use it to keep him from grabbing the laptop. Of course there was also the day that he was STANDING on my right arm as I was typing. That was definitely an exercise in, well, exercise! He's put on over three pounds since the last check up, so 20 lbs standing on your arm as you try to type and protect the laptop from injury is no small feat. Now I want to say something about AJ's small feet, but I can't think of anything clever. So insert clever small feat/small feet pun here.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Fall Y'all Giveaway: $15 Panera Bread GC

Ok, ok...I know that you regular readers are thinking, "Three posts in one day??!!! What's going on?!!" Well, what's going on is three-fold:
1) My in-laws are coming up to visit tomorrow and the house is a mess, so I'm looking for things I can be doing other than clean up. I mean, hey...I've got all morning tomorrow before they get here and a really small house! :) (and their only grandson, so they can't complain too much)
2) Since I haven't posted much lately, there's a lot in my mind that wants to be said and once I get started, I want to get it all out, ya know? And since I require large amounts of inertia to get going on a project, I tend to do lots of one thing all at once instead of a little at a time...especially when there's something else I ought to be doing instead (see #1) :p
3) As part of my procrastination today, I've spent lots of time waiting for my work computer to think about something and update my model. So in that down time, I've been catching up on my "It's Fall Y'all Giveaway" entries...and now feel _REALLY_ guilty that I'm entering to win lots of stuff from everyone else, but have yet to offer anything myself.

So now that I've put off cleaning for yet a few more minutes, let me tell you what you can win, why, and how.

WHAT: $15 Panera Bread Gift Card (I'd post a picture, but have I mentioned that I'm lazy?)
WHY: Well, for reason 3 stated above, but also because Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer is hosting another giveaway carnival like she did over the summer (remember this?). Most people posted their links Monday morning. I waited till Thursday afternoon, so I'm going to be at least giveaway #613! I've made it through #269 myself so far and most close sometime tomorrow so we both need to get cracking!

  • Write a comment to me below. Don't just say "enter me, please." or something similar (although politeness is preferred). You have to tell me what you think that fish think about. If you don't, then your entry won't be counted. I'm serious. Be creative.
  • Make sure you include some way for me to contact you. Obviously, if I know who you are and we email regularly, you don't need to worry about this, but for all of you who are like me and only look at most other blogs on Works-for-me Wednesdays and various Giveaway carnivals, I need some way to contact you. Include your email address in the comment or a link to your blog or blog profile on which I can find an email address for you or can leave you a comment or something.
  • This is open to people in the US and Canada (including APOs). Sorry folks in the rest of the world! It's not worth the $5 to mail you a gift card that I don't know you could use anyway.
  • This is also open to my regular readers which I think primarily are friends and family. Hey, it would be great if I could just hand the card to you rather than having to remember to address an envelope and put it in the mail with a stamp on it and everything. So comment away. Extra points if you know the first person I asked what fish think. (Extra, extra points if you know why.)
  • I'll close the comments after AJ goes to bed on Sunday (usually between 7 and 8 PM, ET - just remember to turn your clocks back - it's the "Witching Hour" this weekend, baby!) and then use a random number generator to pick the winner.
  • If the winner cannot fulfill his/her obligations as the winner, then the runner up will get to be Miss America...or spend $15 of someone else's money at Panera...whatever.

So comment..................................NOW!!!

AJ Fix

Sorry for the lack of pics lately. I seem to swing between only talking about my little man and not ever talking about him. So here he is. I was hoping for one video of each of his latest things, but he gave me all three in one. He's very economical of your time. And cute. Which he'd better be because he certainly is giving me a run for my money when it comes to getting enough sleep.

Anyway, so here is a (rather poor) rendition of his wave, and great renditions of clapping and saying "fish" (don't worry - if you can't understand him, I always repeat it when he says it).

Oh, and I'm trying out one of Blogger's new features - video uploading. If this works, it'll save me the steps of uploading the videos to GoogleVideo, then embedding the link (which was a pain in the butt - for some reason it always erased the actual document ID, which would leave the video blank until I fixed it a couple of times. I never did figure out what was going on). So let me know if this doesn't work for you or something.


So this is a PayPerPost thing that I can definitely get behind. This would have been my "Works-for-me Wednesday" if I'd been able to get my act together yesterday.

Anyway, so ChatterJam is this relatively-new website where Christian companies can go to give out their stuff for free to people like me who will then review it honestly for them. Since I only signed up yesterday, and since I'm pretty sure that the site hasn't been out very long at all, I can't tell you about the frequency or quality of the free stuff. But so far, all I've been asked to do is fill out two very short surveys about me (so they can tailor the free stuff to the correct demographics).

The idea is that by reviewing these products, we'll create Internet "chatter" about them, giving the companies free advertising in exchange for their free products. Win-win all around, as far as I can tell. Oh, and they plan in the future to make e-stores available to their "generators" (the merchants) at which the "jammers" (us reviewers) will get discounts. Woohoo!

So here's the required PayPerPost stuff: and .

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Keeping Baby Socks from the Dryer Monster

So you know how you always lose socks in the laundry. No one's sure exactly what happens...but there always seem to be a few less when you're done than you had when you started. This is especially true with those teeny-tiny baby socks. Well, one day, I had an epiphany (which I know that others have had as well, but I had this epiphany before I was even reading other "Mommy" blogs, so it was original, if not unique, in its origins).
Why not use one of those "delicates" bags to wash the socks in? I mean, everyone knows that the Dryer Monster has better things to do than to bother unzipping one of those bags, just for a tasty snack. I mean, seriously, there's _bound_ to be someone next door with loose socks for the taking.
So, knowing that the socks were safe from the Dryer Monster, I then moved on to the next epiphany. Why not keep the bag on the changing table in between washes? That way, when the socks come off, they go right into the bag and the House Gremlins can't take them and stash them under the couch or _in_ the couch or in any number of other hiding places.
But, even though I had a foolproof plan, I knew that, occasionally, things don't go according to plan and there was a small chance that the House Gremlins would succeed in hiding socks. So there was the third epiphany. Any time I couldn't find a sock, the loose one would go in the bag and stay there until its mate returned. Sure, a colored sock might fade a little in the multiple washings, but at least they'd find each other in the end. Plus, most of our socks are white, so it really wasn't a big deal. And the House Gremlins _always_ give up their prey _eventually_ (it might be when you move, but you always get the stuff back...someday).
So if you're looking for a way to defeat the Dryer Monster and House Gremlins in their search for your socks, try this out. It's easily adaptable for larger people too. Just buy a bag for each person and keep it near the spot where the socks usually come off. You might need to further refine for socks of color, but I'm sure you can make it work (laundry is the only place where segregation is ok).
So that works for me. For more ideas, check out Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lightbulb Moment

So today, I saw the lightbulb go off over AJ's head. He's spent the last day or two clapping (and really gets a kick out of it when I clap and cheer along). Well, just a few minutes ago, he was sitting in his high chair eating lunch (or whatever you want to call it - it's his second of four meals...I guess that makes the afternoon meal "tea"). He was obviously slowing down in his eating, so I figured he was pretty close to being done, so I did what I've been doing for three months now (give or take) - sign the word "finished" and ask if he was done. He didn't really respond, so I asked (signed) if he wanted more food. He didn't really respond to that one either (usually a sign that he's done, he's just not really sure yet). So I gave him a minute to think about it and he started clapping. So I started clapping and cheering and that made him laugh. So then, he held up one hand and twisted it at the wrist. I got very excited and asked again if he was "finished" (signing back what he'd just signed to me), and he started smiling and laughing (his normal response when he's done), except that he kept studying his hand, watching it move. And you could just see the lightbulb turn on over his head. All the sudden, he _GOT_ it. "When I move my hand like _this_, Mama knows that I don't want any more to eat!"

Yay for effective communication! Less screaming for us!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Growing Like A Weed

So AJ had his 9-month check up yesterday.

  • His head is still at the 75th percentile (that's about where it's been tracking for a while now - but is still exemplary of his amazing cognitive abilities - I told you about him saying "fish," right? FISH. The kid's a genius, I tell you.).
  • His weight had dropped some to be >5th percentile.
  • But his height? It went from 5th percentile at 6 months to _85th_ percentile at 9 months. about sprouting!
And, don't worry too much about the weight. We've only been doing fruits, veggies, and breastmilk up till now. But yesterday AJ had his first MEAT (chicken), and will soon start eating yogurt (full fat). We're still gonna be leery of too much cheese and try to avoid the wheat products for a while yet, but I think he'll start bulking up. Even the pediatrician noticed how "active" he is (her exact words were, "he doesn't ever stop moving, does he?"), so she's not too concerned. Plus breastfed babies tend to be a little smaller, AND his Dada was a wee little one who grew up to be a normally-sized grown up (as did AJ's Dada's sister).

He nurses to take naps and go to bed at night (3-4 times a day), in addition to the times during the night when I'm too asleep to deal with getting him back down without nursing (usually 2 or 3 times lately, due to the teething). He has at least one bottle a day (6-8 oz, usually about half juice, half water). And he typically eats about 30 oz of baby food, not to mention "Perky-Os," teething biscuits, and other finger foods. Yes, that's right. He ingests almost _TWO_POUNDS_ of "solid" food a day. I'm not worried about him getting enough to eat.

No wonder the legs got too short in lots of his clothes all of the sudden.

Now if I could only get him to sleep more easily. He's started getting fussy lately around 6 or 6:30 PM. We usually try to hold him off until at least 7, but he's usually in his PJs, toys put away, nursed till he's done, and cried for a few minutes until he's asleep by 7:30. He'll often wake up at about 9:30 and again at 11:30. Both of those times, I'll try to get him back to sleep without nursing. Lately he's been waking at 2, 4, and 5:30 or so. Those times, I'm usually too out of it to do much more than pick him up and nurse him without falling over or hitting his head against something. Holding the writhing and screaming banshee that he becomes when he wakes in the night until he quiets enough to lay his head down on my shoulder to be bounced, rocked, and shushed back to sleep is WAY beyond my capabilities.

The 5:30 AM waking is by far the worst though because that's when his Dada is getting up and getting ready for work. On the days he wears his dress shoes, the clicking as he walks around the condo is WAY more than our super curious boy can stand. So three times this week, the final wake up has happened right around the time that Dada left for work. Not much fun for a sleepy Mama. But the advantage is that he then has his first nap _much_ earlier and therefore early enough that his Mama can actually nap a little too without feeling like too much of a lazy bum. He also sometimes manages three naps on those days.

Still not worth getting up at 5:30 though.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


So I just got the following email from VNB:

"Your car is paid off."

Yay for bonus checks and one more step on the way to being debt-free!!

Works for Me Wednesday: Coupon Chief

Is it Wednesday already? Well, since it is, apparently, I guess I'll tell you what's going to work for me the next time I shop online. I haven't used it yet, but it definitely looks like something I'll use now that I know about it. It's a website called Coupon Chief. Basically, they find all of the online coupons for you. All you have to do is search for a store or merchant that you'd like to purchase something from and they give you a list of all the coupon codes that are available. If you're like me and most of your Christmas shopping is done online, this could come in mighty handy.
For instance, say you were looking for a computer or computer accessories for the holidays. You could look for Dell coupons or HP coupons. They also have "big box" stores if you're looking for something more generic. All you've lost is a little time if they don't have any stores you need, but you could save big for free if they do.
As I said, I haven't actually used this yet, but I'm sure I'll at least look at it in the future. So check it out next time you're shopping online. For other tips, check out Rocks in my Dryer.

Monday, October 08, 2007

9 Months On, 9 Months Off (well, almost)

So nine months ago today, AJ made his grand debut into the world. As of now, he's officially been alive on the outside longer than he was alive on the inside. In that time, he's:

  • drooled a lot
  • eaten "solid" foods made by various companies, but also (actual) bananas, grapes, cantaloupe, honeydew, "Perky-Os," gluten-free teething biscuits, carrots, broccoli, green beans, and he's tried watermelon,but hated it so much that when it was offered to him a month later, he refused to even touch it, much less put it in his mouth like everything else
  • fallen down
  • pulled up
  • sat down from a standing position (_VERY_ important as it cuts down on the number of times he _falls_ down and then screams)
  • fallen off the bed three times (all while in my care - "world's best mom," that's me!)
  • walked (more like ran) while holding both hands of a trusted adult
  • taken a step or four while holding _one_ hand of a trusted adult
  • said "Dada," "Mama," "Kee-kee" (kitty-kitty), and fish (I kid you not, clear as a bell, shocked the heck out of him and me both)
  • discovered the joy that is the knobs on his Dada's stereo (which, incidentally, also now controls the TV, DVD/VCR, CD changer, cable box - changing the inputs is like Christmas morning to AJ...and the volume knob? No comparison)
  • learned to fall asleep on his own (after crying for a while)
  • learned to sleep in his crib
  • cut two teeth (with more on the way, yay for more no sleep!)
  • cried a lot
  • screamed a lot less than he's cried
  • been happy (and/or asleep) a whole lot more than he's cried
  • giggled and laughed a lot
  • laughed and smiled in his sleep
  • smiled at everyone who'd catch his eye
  • messed up LOTS of clothes
  • flown on an airplane five times!
  • driven to Nashville once, and to and from NC multiple times
  • zrbeted his Mama's leg twice
  • tickled his Mama once
  • been tickled _by_ his Mama (and Dada) as often as we can manage it
  • played in the bath
  • swam in a lake
  • camped while it hailed, in the freezing cold, and in the sweltering heat, all in one weekend
  • been to a NASCAR race
  • been to the Udvar-Hazy National Air & Space Museum (by Dulles)
  • been to the Statue of Liberty
  • been to Ground Zero
  • participated in many technical discussions concerning the life support systems on the Crew Exploration Vehicle
  • brought worker productivity to a standstill on numerous occasions at both his Mama and his Daddy's offices
  • made it so I have to change the station or skip the song when Mark Schultz's "He's My Son" or Michael W. Smith's "Hello, Goodbye" come on
  • been told that he should be a model on numerous occasions
  • been called the cutest/handsomest baby ever by lots of people other than his Mama (but called that by his Mama the most)
  • become my constant companion
  • made it so I relish my "freedom" when his Dada or someone else is watching him, but also so that I relish coming home to him and his Dada even more than I ever thought possible (and I _REALLY_ like his Dada)
  • brought more joy into our lives than VNB and I ever imagined

While he was inside me, I managed to gain 50 lbs (recommended max? 35. I rocked the pound gainage...that's something we're supposed to be proud of, right?). My midwives (and others) repeated often the mantra "9 months on, 9 months off" referring to how quickly I should expect to lose the baby weight. Well, I'm proud to say that on most occasions (meaning, the last couple of weeks except for five minutes ago when I weighed myself), I am back to within my "normal" weight range. That still means that I'm up to 10 lbs heavier than I was when his knitting together first began...and I can definitely still see it in my gut, hips/butt, and thighs...but I feel almost back to my old self again. That's very satisfying. It'll be much _more_ satisfying when my gut is gone, my hips/butt are back to their normal (not-quite-so-gargantuan) size, and my thighs no longer act like jello, but it's nice to know that I'm back within spitting range.

And AJ is still the cutest, handsomest little man ever. Just ask me! I'll tell you all about him! :) Yes, I am in deep smit with my son. Good thing that the only (here on Earth in corporeal form) person with whom I am more smitten is his handsome Dada. :)

Friday, October 05, 2007

My Alter Egos

Ok, so I was checking out Not the Queen's blog to thank her for her stain removal tips when I came across this meme (I have no idea what meme stands's just one of those things that gets passed around from blog to blog, like the annoying forwarded emails, but without the annoying forwarded email!). So enjoy!

  1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME (first pet & current car):
    Mara Escape
  2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME (favorite ice cream flavor & favorite cookie):
    Butter Pecan Snickerdoodle (maybe this one works better for guys, but this just doesn't seem "Gangsta"-y)
  3. YOUR "FLY GUY/GIRL" NAME (first initial of your first name & first three letters of your last name):
  4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME (favorite color & favorite animal):
    Red Koala
  5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name & hospital where you were born):
    Ruth Loudon
  6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME (first three letters of your last name & first two letters of your first name):
    Jonme (or Turme as my Star Wars Maiden Name)
  7. SUPERHERO NAME ("The" & second favorite color & favorite drink):
    The Blue Caffeine-Free Coke ( How about "The Blue Earl Grey Tea?" (yeah...not so much)
  8. NASCAR NAME (the first names of your grandfathers):
    Nelson Franklin or Franklin Nelson
  9. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME (mother's and father's middle names):
    Lou Winford
  10. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME (your 5th grade teacher's last name & a major city beginning with the same letter):
    Johnson um...Johnson City? Heh... I know! Johnson Juno! (Why do so many of my alter ego names seem to be masculine names?)
  11. SPY NAME (your favorite season/holiday & flower):
    Winter Daffodil. Yeah, that's not spytacular at _all_. Winter Rose isn't really either.
  12. CARTOON NAME (favorite fruit & article of clothing you're wearing right now & "ie" or "y"):
    Strawberry um.....Sweatsie? yeah...not so much, I think.
  13. HIPPIE NAME (What you ate for breakfast & your favorite tree):
    Nothing Climbable. What? I haven't had breakfast yet and my favorite tree is one that I can climb! (Yes, I'm a responsible, married adult, with a small child, why do you ask?)
  14. YOUR ROCK STAR TOUR NAME ("The" & your favorite hobby/craft & your favorite weather element & "Tour"):
    The Reading Thunderstorm Tour (boy, I'd shell out the dough to go to _that_ concert, let me tell you!)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pay Per Post a while back I heard about and signed up for PayPerPost. You look at their various opportunities, write a post fitting the requirements of one of the opps, and you get paid.

I figured...ok...I can do this invisibly by finding things among the opportunities that I'd talk about anyway, and just get paid for what I'd talk about anyway. Nice, huh?

Well, the catch to most of the opportunities was that you had to have a certain amount of traffic in order to be eligible for them. So most of the time when I check (which happens around the time they send me my monthly newsletter), there's nothing that I'm eligible to write about.

Well for the first time, I was eligible for something. I get $20 for writing about PayPerPost itself, including this link to payperpost, and this other thing (really, there's something in that space). I think there's also a button on the bottom of the post.

Specifically, they want to know why I love PayPerPost (theoretically easy money), how I heard about it (no idea), why I signed up for it (theoretically easy money), if I've made any new friends (nope), what I've learned (nothing that I can think of, other than that I don't have much blog traffic), and what I'm gonna do with the money (buy things). Oh, and it had to be at least 200 words (272!! Whoohoo...except that I just added more!, so now it's 283...wait, now it's 287...288 (I'm counting the numbers as words here, so the number increases each time I write the's funny if you're a geek like me) - 314).

So that's PayPerPost in a nutshell. It's possible that I get referral bonuses if you sign up from this link. I have no idea. But I _should_ get $20 after I post this. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Mommy Blogger

This is a long one, so bear with me if you will. If not, I'll put up some more pics of AJ soon!

So I think I've mentioned this before, but there's this whole "mommy blogging" community out there. Officially, as AJ's mom who also blogs, I'm a part of it. I participate in some of the 'carnivals' (like Works-for-me Wednesday), I've got links to other "mommy blogger's" blogs, I read several other blogs written by "mommy bloggers," occasionally I'll comment on other "mommy blogger's" blogs...basically, I ought to have the bumper sticker and t-shirt (and laminated membership card)...but I don't, and I haven't really figured out why yet.

Partly, I'm reticent I think because I started out as just a blogger - long before I met VNB, and even longer before I became a mommy. So changing my mindset from being a 'blogger' to a 'mommy blogger' has been difficult.

But I think more than that, the 'mommy bloggers,' while wonderful, wise, witty, and fun ladies...well, I just don't think they'd be the kind of people that I'd hang out with were we all in high school. From my point of view, they mostly fall into two categories: conservative Christian stay-at-home moms (SAHMs), or ultra liberal SAHMs. There are a large percentage who are work-at-home moms (WAHMs) like myself, and a smaller number who work outside the home. Ironically, a large majority of both sides homeschool and are somewhat "crunchy" in terms of earth-friendliness.

I think I shy away from the Christian side of the fence because, in my high school, EVERYONE was a Christian. The question wasn't "_Do_ you go to church," it was "_Where_ do you go to church." And 9 times out of 10 it was a Baptist church (I went to hs in Nashville - "the buckle of the Bible belt"). And the kid who was a known pot-head and trouble maker wore his Christian t-shirts with pride and I'm sure was a pillar of his youth group. So I stopped wearing Christian t-shirts since I didn't want to be associated with his kind of Christianity. And the "Christian" crowd...I dunno how to describe it...even then that seemed like too sheltered a way to live. I just had _friends._ It didn't matter in the making of them what religious background they had. Sure I wanted them all to know what I know, but that wasn't the basis of our friendship.

These Christian mommy bloggers seem somewhat similar to me. They're insulated from the real world and "real" people. Not that they aren't wholly sincere...they're just...this tight-knit little community that rarely seems to do much more than pray for each other and link to each others' blogs (not that those things are wrong). I mean, they share wisdom and creative solutions on any number of useful topics (a popular one that I've been trying to learn from is "Home Economics" - not sewing and cooking like we learned in middle school, but actually how to run a home economically) and are wonderfully supportive in times of emotional need...many have at least one sidebar link to things like the Scripture of the day, which shows up on a pretty background. Often their entire post will just be a Psalm of praise and a picture of their (perfectly landscaped) backyard.

The thing is, I bet if I met them in person, they wouldn't talk like that. They wouldn't see a beautiful scene, gasp, pause, and in a reverent tone quote entire Scripture passages from memory. And I know that people (including myself) have different written voices than we do in person...but I just doesn't always seem genuine to me. It seems like they're all trying to live up to the word "Christian" in their little sidebar summary description.

I appreciate that these women are all diligently trying to be better Christian wives and mothers, I really do. And I enjoy learning from what they share with the world. But I just don't consider myself "part" of "them."

And yet I'm (obviously) not part of the ultra liberal crowd either. But misanthropes...they're just more fun to me! The cynical, the sarcastic, the biting...their writing has _FLAVOR_, if you know what I mean...and yet I'm reticent to link to their sites for fear of what you'll think of me. I mean, is one of the absolutely funniest sites on the planet. But it's about _yoga_. And she _curses_! But it's about doing yoga with action figures! And it's HI-LARIOUS! (but she _curses_!) And not all of them are misanthropic or cynical...but their writing still has a 'tang' to it that the "Christian mommy bloggers" just don't always have (and I'm not saying that the liberal crowd aren't Christians...they just don't advertise themselves as such on their blogs).

Does that mean that I love the world too much? Am I so enticed by the things of importance to this world that the more reverent "Christian" community doesn't appeal to me? (And I'm not saying that the "Christian" community isn't irreverent either...they just all have on what I call "church face"). Or have the "Christian" mommy bloggers so sequestered themselves that they are of no impact on the world?

I of the blogs that I read is actually written by a single girl. While she grew up in a church-going family, she does not emblazon herself with the label "Christian" (she blogs about tv and baseball and movies and advice - and did I mention that she curses?), and she and her readership just since the first of October have raised over $50k for "Donors Choose" a website where teachers ask for money for projects for their schools and you pick which ones you want to donate to. Apparently Donors Choose is running a month-long contest among bloggers to see which blog can raise the most money for these teachers. Political blogs are doing it. Technical blogs are doing it...but I haven't heard a peep from the "Christian" community about it.

Just about every "Christian mommy blogger" has a link on their side bar to pray for this family or that little one who has such and such grave illness...and it's not wrong to do that...but why aren't we impacting our world more? And how do we go about it?

There's definitely a dichotomy of readership too, I think. The Christians use their churchy words and talk about submitting to their husbands (and potty training and child-rearing and home ec and dozens of other topics) and the liberals talk about all the same things, minus the churchy words and teachings and with a dash of cursing and salt. And to some extent, never the twain should meet.

Except that _we're_ called to be the "salt" of the world. Why are we so boring?

No answers here, folks....discuss amongst yourselves.

(But how is it that doesn't have "blogger" in their spell-check dictionary?)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: (Backwards Day) Baby Stain Fighting

So today is "Backwards Day" over at Rocks In My Dryer's Works-for-me Wednesday. What that means is that I ask for some wise and creative ideas to solve an issue all my own.

While I've seen others post on previous WFMWs on stain fighting, I have to say that I'm still struggling with this - not with my clothes or VNB's, always with AJ's. Specifically, bibs and the legs of onesies.

I think my biggest problem is that I'm in a small condo with communal laundry facilities (meaning that I do laundry at most once a week) and no place that I can really leave something to soak with any regularity that either the cat or the baby couldn't get into, other than outside on our porch...which kinda weirds me out, plus it's starting to get cold and things won't stay liquid out there for too many more weeks.

This is what I've tried and the results:

  • Dreft stain remover - worked pretty well, but not better than oxyclean stain remover, and neither got the entire stain out, even with leaving for longer than it recommended on the package. This would be a choice which would make me happy if someone could tell me how to make it work as Dreft is the cheapest of the stain removers by far ($3 at Walmart), and there are coupons for Dreft products, making it even cheaper!
  • Oxyclean stain remover (both sprayed on and poured in with the detergent) - didn't see much difference when poured in with the detergent, but worked the best of everything I'd tried when clothes had already been washed a couple of times, then I think I tried the dish soap and washed again, then sprayed with Oxyclean stain, then left to sit overnight, then washed and dried. I haven't tried just spraying them and letting them sit overnight by themselves though, so it could just be the combination.
  • Dish soap - maybe I did this one wrong - I put the soap on the dry clothes, rubbed it into the stains, then left them to soak in the sink for about 30 minutes. It worked some, but no better than anything else. I guess this would be the absolutely cheapest method, but it was _REALLY_ messy, and involved having a clean sink and work area around the sink (which doesn't usually happen in conjunction with laundry days).
  • Shout Advanced gel - I seem to recall this working really well, but it's also _REALLY_ expensive and I go through a bottle in about two laundry days. I'd much prefer something cheaper.
  • Bleach - other than to take color out of things that ought to be colored, I've never seen bleach make a difference on anything. And yet I keep buying it and using it with my whites.

I always wash the stained stuff in hot water, and usually wash them until I can't stand the effort anymore (or AJ no longer has clothes), then I dry them. I really don't care that much if colors fade (he's a baby, he doesn't care, and most of the issues are with bibs which are mostly white, or onesies - also mostly white, and usually worn under clothes).

Please help! Tell me a combination or a method or a product that works (worked) for you with baby stains! And if you're looking to help more people with your wisdom and creativity, then check out "Backwards Day!"

Monday, October 01, 2007

The 300

So this is officially my 300th post. I didn't know when I wrote my 100th post that it was "supposed" to be a list of 100 things about myself (according to blogging 'tradition,' which may or may not have existed then). And, although it was completely unintentional, that one ended up being a list of 111 things - my favorite memories of Baghdad.

My 200th post wasn't nearly as interesting.

Anyway, so as I neared the 300 marker, I kept contemplating what this post should be about. I thought that maybe since I'd never really done it, I should do the list of 100 things about myself. But I always find those things somewhat pretentious (and wayyyy too long) then I thought, why don't I make a list of 100 things I'm thankful for? Surely that's less pretentious. You know...counting your blessings. But then I thought about the list of things I'm grateful for...and, while it certainly wouldn't be meant that way, it would have come across as, well, pretentious.

So then I thought I'd just write whatever was on my mind since I hadn't done anything special for any of the other blogging milestones (why start now?)...but I kinda wanted to mark this one since I actually noticed that it was coming. But while I've got lots of ideas for deep, theological things to write about (like this), nothing's really ready for public consumption yet.

So then I thought about writing a list of things I thought about writing about for this very special entry. And I guess that was my plan when starting this entry. But then in the explanation of why I was writing about what I had been contemplating writing about, I pretty much wrote about what I was going to write about (you still with me?).

And since I've somewhat completed my intended task, and in the meantime AJ has gotten hold of the tissue paper I couldn't put away because of the bathroom surround that's blocking the doors to his closet (don't ask), so I should probably go.

But in the meantime, on the "singers and standards" music station on our cable, it's now Sammy Davis, Jr. singing "My Funny Valentine." So please pause for a minute to remember my sweet puppy who died on Valentine's Day in 2004 when I was overseas. Apparently I wasn't blogging then.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Spacebags

So VNB and I have a pretty small place (~1000 sq. ft.). This smallness is compounded by the fact that when we married and moved in together, he was coming from an apartment of about 900 sq. ft., and I had stuff that had filled most of a 3-br house prior to storage in my brother's basement (while I was overseas).

Since I didn't have a job right away when we got married, I spent my days culling through my stuff (for a second time - I'd done it once before it went on the truck to come here from my brother's house), getting rid of lots of stuff, and finding lots of creative places and ways to store things.

Well, we'd found a place for everything (finally), with half of the space under the bed to spare when we visited VNB's folks and were given seven boxes of his childhood stuff - way more than half the bed. So he culled through that and we'd finally found a place for everything (which included "just put it in the second bedroom for now")...when we found out that I was pregnant and we were going to need that second bedroom for baby things, rather than our things.

So we both culled through everything again and got rid of another large chunk of stuff until we had room for all the baby furniture and stuff we could stand. Everything sort of had a place, but it was overwhelming. We put lifts under the bed and the futon to give us more space, but the whole place was still just too full. The problem was that we'd gotten to the point where if we threw stuff out, we'd want to buy it again when we got a bigger place.

We'd seen the SpaceBags commercials time and again, but one night, VNB said, "why don't we try those?" So we bought our first box (the one with lots of different sized bags). We were hooked. We started SpaceBagging everything that would shrink, and all of the sudden, we had room to spare again! So we bought more and bagged more stuff! and more! Until the only stuff left wasn't smushable!

They haven't been great about keeping their integrity (we've got a few that are still good, but not all of them), but the good thing is that you can suck them down, stick several of them into someplace small, then they can re-expand all they want without taking up any more space for you! They're a little harder to get out, but that's not a big deal.

In any case, SpaceBags have definitely worked for me! For some other great tips, look here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


The "mommyblogger" community is a large and diverse one. Most of the blogs are written by mommies like me, but there is a relatively large community of those who use their blogs to track the course of an illness in their or their children's lives.

To call this a "story" seems to desecrate it. It makes me hurt for this family, and feel both grateful and guilty for the healthy, beautiful family that God has given me, not to mention in awe of their faith, honesty, and worshipful attitude in the midst of struggle.

I know that grace is given in the moment, and that my imagination is more fertile than most, but I can't even stand to hear that Mark Schultz song "He's my Son," much less imagine how I would cope if something were to happen to VNB or AJ (or myself).

Stephen Curtis Chapman says that "We [as believers] can cry with hope...'cause we know our 'goodbye' is not the end." I am in awe of the many people who can 'blog with hope,' and hope that, should a crisis ever befall me or my family, I can be one of them.