Thursday, August 30, 2007

Break Through!

So there are no pictures yet (although not for lack of trying), but today AJ was extra fussy as we were driving back to VNB's aunt & uncle's house from the Atlanta Federal Reserve (we're visiting for the holiday weekend). So, being a mom, I stuck my finger in his mouth for him to gnaw on. To my surprise (and delight), he no longer had a smooth lower gum.

That's right, AJ has his first tooth! Ok...VNB is correcting me. He doesn't have a tooth yet - his tooth has broken through his gum. The waters have parted. Here's hoping that they continue to part so that his other bottom tooth comes in quickly because I'm really tired of only getting an hour of sleep at a time every night. It's been rough these last few weeks.

But in any case, our little man has taken his next 'first step' toward adulthood. And we're very proud and happy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Carrots as Teethers

I can't take credit for this one, although it's a brilliant idea and I'm happy to share it with the world. Our pediatrician recommended it in order to allow us to avoid toys from China several months before it was really scary to let your kid chew on toys from China.

Basically, you take a baby carrot of appropriate size (not too short or thin, but not too thick either), hand it to your teething child, and let them gnaw on it. They'll like the sweet taste, they'll love the coolness if it's right from the fridge (although don't freeze them because they get mushy), and it's too hard for them to bite off a piece (and is therefore of excellent hardness for teething).

One other advantage of this is that later on when you introduce solid foods, you can start with carrots and they'll recognize the taste (and remember the joy it brought them), making the transition just that much easier.

This _definitely_ works for me!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I only know of two people this has affected, and a lot of the folks I email (or receive email from) don't read my blog, but I figured this was the best way to get the word out.

For some reason, Hotmail decided of its own volition to change a setting in my account so that my 'reply-to' address is one that hasn't worked in several years ( Back when I was overseas, for a while I was emailing from Hotmail, but receiving my mail through Pobox because of various technical issues. I stopped being able to get access to the pobox account, however, so I changed the setting which made that my 'reply-to' address.

For some reason, Hotmail has started sporadically sending my replies to that account again (which, as I said, stopped working a while ago). So if you're trying to reply to an email that I've sent you and it bounces for some reason, check to make sure the correct email address is in your 'to' line. I've fixed the setting, but since it did it on its own and seems to be doing it randomly, I wanted to alert you guys to it.

Weird....btw, I've also alerted Hotmail to the "ghost in the machine."

Monday, August 27, 2007

Things I Want To Know

  • So on Miami Ink, was the dislike of the girl (Kat) engineered so that they could start a spin-off, or was the spin-off created because the guys in Miami hated her, but TLC had a contract with her? I want to know.
  • Why is it that it makes me laugh every time that Word autocorrects "uncrewed" (as in, no crew onboard a spacecraft) to be "unscrewed?" I want to know.
  • Why does my cat not run away when my son grabs her fur and squeals with delight? I want to know.
  • How does my house go so quickly from being as close to pristine as it ever gets, to looking like the tornado's still blowing through? I want to know.
  • Why is that stupid Sharpie commercial on all the time? It gives me chills every time it's on (and there are always two back-to-back) because of the squeaking. I want to know.
  • Why is it that I always have a ton of pithy, funny things to blog about...right up until I sit down to type them? I want to know.

RSS feed

Hey All!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I've been publishing a RSS feed for a while now. "What's a RSS feed?" you ask. Well, I have no idea, technically, I just know that you can subscribe to it (through many different websites or programs) and it will tell you how many times I've updated this site since you last checked. Basically, it saves you the bother of checking my site itself to see if there's anything new (since I'm not exactly the most consistent of bloggers). This is especially helpful if you have lots of sites that you keep up with.

Now, more HTML-savvy folks than myself would put a button on the sidebar that you could click and it would automatically add it to your current list of feeds. But I'm not one of those people. So do it yourself. It's really easy.

I don't know all of the RSS readers out there, but I use Bloglines and so does my one RSS feed subscriber (Hi, Valentina's Buddy!). I know that Google does too. You'll have to register with them, but that's just so they know who's subscribed to what. It doesn't (or at least shouldn't) cost you anything.

Anyway, check it out if you're tired of checking to see what I'd posted day after day, only to find nothing new.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Natural Progression Part II

So VNB was Nextelling us about something and AJ was, as usual, reaching for the phone to eat it and babble to his Dada, when to everyone's surprise, as he was babbling (and we were asking "Who's that?"), he actually _said_ "DaDa."

VNB heard it just as clearly as I did, so in our shock we asked AJ again who he was talking to, and again he clearly said "Dada."

...I just don't even know how to react. I mean, I have no problem with him saying "dada" first, and I'm ecstatic that VNB actually got to hear him _say_ it for the very first time...but his first word at 7.5 months? Good Lord, what have we gotten ourselves into?

We've got trouble and that starts with T, which rhymes with P, and that stands

(not quite as catchy as Harold Hill's version, but work with me)

Natural Progression

So, about a month ago, all AJ could do was lie on his back. Sometimes he'd roll over, but that was pretty much it for his bag of tricks. I mean, he was darned cute and all, but pretty stationary.

Then he started his belly crawl.

Around that time, we really started working on this:

Maybe a week ago, he started doing this (not always with the pillow):

And a few days after that, he did this:

And a couple of days ago, this:

Well, I didn't get a picture of it, but today, he pulled himself to a stand by the couch. Since _his_ intent was to climb _onto_ the couch, he managed to take a few steps, "cruising" down the couch, prior to falling over and hitting his head. :) He's been doing a lot of that lately.

They tell you that it all happens so fast....but's been like three weeks since he was a lump. Now he _HAS_ lumps from falling over and hitting his head so often! It's so bittersweet. I mean, I really am proud of him when he pulls himself up (and he's obviously so proud of himself)...but he's growing and changing so fast!


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Pasta/Rice Entrees

Maybe this one isn't so ground-breaking, but it works very well for our family (and for myself long before I _had_ a husband and baby). I turn those boxed/bagged pasta and rice side dishes into main dishes by adding in a chicken breast or about a pound of beef. It's like Hamburger Helper except that it's about 1/3 the price. My husband, who's a rather picky eater at times (at least in terms of veggies) really likes them. If you really want to get fancy, you could probably add fresh veggies too, but we haven't gone that far yet.

One box is about enough for two (if you have a veggie on the side), with at least one container of leftovers for hubs' lunch the next day.

Check out Rocks in My Dryer for more "Works for Me Wednesday" tips!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Feline Fancy

Ok, so I've been trying for weeks now to get video of AJ crawling. I had somewhat forgotten/given up when I got an email from my FIL encouraging me to try again (something about actually wanting to _see_ his grandson crawling). So I did. This was the first result:

That obviously worked well. So I tried this (you know...if "go get it" doesn't work, try "fetch!"): saw the results. But I plodded on. And now you get to see the very first video of AJ crawling!!!! Yay, AJ!!!

But there were other things that needed to still be captured digitally. 1) he's completely over the "a-wah-wah-wah" sound. It's no fun at all anymore. Fun now? Screaming/squealing/shrieking. He does it especially when it's approaching nap/bed/eating time. 2) THE CAT. He's been noticing our sweet Monkey for a month or two now. When she'd walk by, he'd turn to look and would be completely distracted from whatever he'd been doing. Well, now he can follow her.

And I haven't figured the cat out yet. Is she too stupid to run away? So attention-starved that even the grabby, screamy little thing that keeps chasing her is better than nothing? So incredibly patient and smart that she recognizes that the screaming, grabby thing that keeps chasing her is a baby and will eventually treat her better, but for now is to be humored? Has such a sense of entitlement that she feels that the screamy, grabby thing that keeps chasing her should be made to stop so that she can enjoy the spot she's chosen for herself in peace?

I don't know. I wish I did. I think it might be interesting.

Works for Me Wednesday: Travel Diaper Rash Creams

So Rocks in My Dryer (really, I do more during the day than just read/advertise for Shannon's blog, but it's really a great blog!) hosts a weekly carnival called "Works for Me Wednesday." Each week, people from around the world post on their own blogs about helpful hints that work for them, and then link to their sites from Shannon's site. That way you can help others with your own ideas and be helped by everyone else's brilliance. Well, while I've been gleaning from the insight of others for months now, I've always felt like I had nothing to add myself...until recently. All of the sudden, I have six ideas for WFMW! So for the next six weeks at least, I'll be participating! :) Yay! No longer a mooch off of the system, am I!

So my first "works for me" idea involves those travel/trial sized packets of diaper rash cream. I don't know about you, but when AJ was born, I received lots of free samples, trial sizes, etc., of diaper rash creams. My original idea was to put those "little" ones in the diaper bag and use the "big" sized ones at home...but I found that I never used the ones in the diaper bag because I knew that once opened, there was no way to reclose the trial sizes - and there was no way that my little man was going to need the entire packet in one diapering.

So one day I had an epiphany. Why not put the big tube (with the recloseable lid) in the diaper bag and keep the samples for the changing table at home? That way I can use the entire sample package in as many diaperings as it lasts with minimal mess, but I still have a relatively mess-free way to have diaper rash cream on the go as well!

Now that he's seven months old (!!), we're starting on our final sample. After that's gone, we'll use one of the _really_ big containers of cream that someone gave us. But now I feel less wasteful, I've gotten a chance to see which of the samples works the best, and AJ's bottom is mostly rash-free!

Anyway, it works for me! Hope it helps you too!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wild America

So, spurred on by my FIL, I tried again to capture AJ crawling on video. As with any good nature photographer/videographer, patience finally won out and after a few more attempts, I succeeded. Then I tried downloading said video (and some others) onto the computer. Something happened during the downloading process to where it didn't actually work.

Long story, short. The video _is_ on the memory card (I can see it from the camera), but now, when the computer recognizes the camera at all, it says that there are no pictures there to be downloaded.

I've rebooted the computer, I plugged, unplugged, and replugged the camera into all available ports. I've tried just looking at the camera as another hard drive. My next step (when I get around to it) will be to uninstall and reinstall the camera software. If that doesn't work, then I may see what I can do with the memory card slot on our printer (another place to see it as another hard drive, possibly). I'll also try plugging the camera into my mostly-dead laptop to see if it's the computer or the camera.

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. As I don't think a new digital camera (especially of the quality that I would want to buy) is in the budget right now, please hope that we get this figured out.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Caught up!

So until yesterday morning, I had over 3000 email messages in my inbox, over 1700 of which were unread. Now, the VAST majority of the unread were automated things, with only a forward or two from a real person - there was no actual corresondence that I hadn't read. But over the past two days I've taken the time to actually _delete_ all the stuff I don't need anymore and am now down to 46 messages!!!!! So, if you wrote to me sometime in the last year and a half and I have yet to respond, you're now on the short list. I intend to email a bunch of you over the next week or two so that I stop feeling guilty about not replying (and because I really do like talking to and hearing from you, I'm just not much with the replying all the time).

Of course, the result of the emails is that you'll likely write which point I'll get overwhelmed with all the emailing I need to do and will probably hide in my cave again. So, apologies in advance if I don't reply back right away to the email you'll probably send me relatively quickly after I reply to the email you sent to me 10 months ago.

Silent Runnings

ok...I still have yet to catch it on video (AJ is camera shy on occasion), but he's been crawling for a few weeks now. Not up on his knees yet, but still motoring around _REALLY_ fast.

His most recent "new" trick is to wake up in the mornings (he usually comes to bed with me after VNB leaves for work) and instead of crying or making any other noise, he silently rolls onto his belly and is off and 'running.' This makes it difficult for me because my back is to the bed when I'm at the computer (which I usually am by the time he wakes up), but I don't have the lights on yet because I don't want to wake him. This is especially difficult when he's wearing his dark PJs that blend in very stealthily with our bedding. Blinded by the computer screen, I must turn at each and every noise (no matter how slight) and try to discern if he is indeed awake, if he's partially thinking about waking up (at which point I rush over, pat him on his back, and pray that he goes back to sleep), or if it was just my imagination.

And since we've already learned the hard way that "mommy and daddy's bed + awake or moving baby = hard meeting of head with pergo," I tend to be a very sleepy nervous wreck until he wakes up in the mornings.

If I wasn't worried that it would wake him up, I'd _SO_ get a little cat collar for him - you know the kind with the bell...

Monday, August 06, 2007

App. Trail, Denver, and the Poconos, Oh My!

Ok, so I haven't blogged in like a week. I might have mentioned that VNB was backpacking the Appalachian Trail (part of the MD portion) with some friends from church last weekend (Friday morning through Sunday afternoon). Then Monday at noon, AJ and I left for the airport to fly to Denver for a business trip. We got back Thursday evening. Then we left Friday morning for VNB's Father's Day weekend extravaganza in the Poconos and got back around noon today. It's been exciting, let me tell you! And very tiring. And dirty and cold there at the end.

So the weekend that VNB was away wasn't that exciting for AJ and me, really. I got the house mostly clean (it needed it), while still successfully getting ready for our trip, going grocery shopping, making it to church almost on time, and managing to sleep a little too. I was doing ok until VNB called to say that they were done. Then it was like something inside me snapped and I couldn't take it any longer. By the time he got home, I was pretty wiped. So he took AJ for a few minutes while I laid down, then I got back to packing.

Monday morning, 9 AM. I get a call from a friend asking if I wanted to ride to the funeral with her. Now, I knew that this very dear friend of the family had died, but the last I'd heard (including at church on Sunday), they were going to have a small family-only service right away, then have a big memorial in a couple of weeks when his daughter got back from Nigeria (she was leaving with a team from the church on Monday). Anyway, I was a "little" surprised by this new info, so I called the church to make sure that it was a public funeral. Then, I did something which has to have beaten some record somewhere. I got together the last of the things for our trip (we were planning on leaving the house for the airport at noon), emailed my boss, found (clean!) clothes that were appropriate (at least mostly) for a funeral which weren't already packed in my suitcase, got AJ dressed and ready, and we were in the car driving away (only having forgotten two relatively unimportant things) at 9:40.

We made it to the church just in time for the funeral to begin (it started at 10), then even had time to go to the graveside service too before needing to rush off to the airport. Unfortunately, AJ had a diaper which was in desperate need of changing after the funeral, so we had to traverse from one end of the church to the other. Now, it's not a big building, but _EVERYONE_ we passed wanted to chat and see the baby and coo over how adorable he is and how big he's gotten...and by the time we made it to the bathroom with the changing station and back again, the procession had left for the cemetery. And I had no idea where the cemetery was - but since I was planning on going, other than waving, I hadn't given the family my condolences and I'd told a couple of them that I'd be there, so we really needed to show up. So I called one of the pastors and made a bee line up 95 (what do you mean that isn't the speed limit?) until I caught up.

We made it to the graveside service with just enough time to give our condolences to each of the family members before it started, then we left for the airport the moment it was over.

We got to the airport with only minimal delays and made it, exhausted (well, I was anyway), to our traditional 'very last gate in the terminal.' We had a pleasant flight (AJ was great), landed, met up with a co-worker, and headed to the hotel. After a quick trip to the grocery store for diapers, wipes, and baby food, we turned in for the night.

The next day, we successfully found the baby sitter's house and made it back to the meeting site in time (barely, but we made it). After a long day of meetings, I got to go pick AJ up from his first full day away from the care of someone related to him. He had a great time, and I was mostly able to concentrate. The hardest thing was making time to go pump. After dinner with the team, we turned in.

On Wednesday we repeated the trip to the sitter's and breezed through our meetings. After picking up AJ, letting him nap, and letting everyone get changed from the day, the team went out to Denver's Dave and Buster's for the absolute worst service I have ever received in my entire life. It was an hour between the time that we entered the restaurant and we received our drinks (and only about 5 minutes of that was waiting for a table). And that was only the non-alcoholic drinks. The adult beverages consumed by the non-nursing mothers took even longer. And the food took even longer than that. The manager didn't even seem to care that much. But we finally escaped from the restaurant and managed a couple of races before AJ and I had to head back to the hotel, well past his "night night" time.

Thursday was just a travel day. That went pretty well. AJ was great on the plane again, despite the length of the flight. We got home in time to pick up dinner and spend a little time with VNB before AJ's bed time.

The next morning we got up, repacked, and headed to the Poconos (with only one false start to come back and refill the cat's food dispenser). What should have been a 3.5-hr trip took a little over 5 with construction delays. But we got there, set up camp, and went to the closest fast food for dinner. Right as we were getting back in the car, the rain started. By the time we were back at the campground, it was a deluge. By the time we were back at our loop (but not quite back to our campsite), the hail started. We waited that out under the trees by the bath house, then returned to our campsite to view the damage. It was surprisingly minimal, so we ate, unpacked some more, and went to bed. AJ made it on his little mat by himself until about 1:30, then came to bed with us.

Saturday morning we planned on hiking...after spending about two hours looking for a trailhead that should have been (and actually was, we discovered later) very close to our campsite, we gave up and went someplace else to hike. On the way back, AJ had his first swim in the park's lake. Despite the chattering "teeth," he had a great time! He even got his face wet a couple of times, although the top of his head never quite got wet. By the time we got back from that, we were all pooped, so the afternoon's hike got cancelled in favor of snoozing. After a couple of expensive trips to the camp store, we had chairs, firewood, and hot dogs for dinner (among other things).

The hot dogs were gross, but AJ went to bed relatively easily and VNB and I had some quiet time by the camp fire before going to sleep ourselves. AJ only made it by himself until about midnight. That was when the temperature really started dropping. They tell us it only got to about 65, but I don't believe them. At some point, the always warm VNB got up and improvised another blanket for us from the beach blanket. Despite all the clothes we could quickly find and put on, we were freezing all night.

But the next day was RACE DAY! VNB's actual present was tickets for the tree of us to the NASCAR race at the Poconos Speedway. We'd been warned that we might not actually get the seats listed on our tickets, so we went early. WAY TOO early. We got to our seats about 4 hours before the race actually started. We each took turns taking the baby out of the sun and eventually the pre-race stuff started, followed by the race itself. By then, we were surrounded by all of the chain smokers in eastern PA. They would coo at the baby while puffing away, and no amount of polite coughing and wafting away of smoke from the baby's face seemed to give the hint that maybe we'd prefer our child to avoid lung cancer for a few years yet. So about halfway through the race, VNB decided that it was time to go.

We found out that there was a 'no smoking/no drinking; section, but it was much lower down than our seats had been and much closer to one of the turns, both of which would have meant even more noise. So we left and went for a nice dinner instead. Except for a touch on VNB's face, we all managed to escape the worst of the sunburn, and apparently missed a rather boring race. The guy that had been in first pretty much since the start of the race (one of the Busch brothers) ended up winning, with no other controversy that we heard of.

So after another stop at the camp store for a blanket, we headed back to camp. Once AJ went to bed (with a thick, long-sleeved onesie underneath his PJs, extra padding under him, and extra blankets ready to go) and we got the fire really going, the rain started thinking about really starting. We got everything we could packed up, put out the fire, got AJ re-settled, and prepared for the coming cold. The cold never really came. AJ joined us around 1:30, but probably because he was hot, not because he was cold. It rained pretty much all night. I kept expecting it to stop and the cold to start, but that never really happened. It was just blazing hot and humid until it was time to get up in the morning.

But we did get up, finished packing, and headed home. AJ screamed for the first half-hour or so, but then settled down for a LONG nap. He didn't wake up until we were about five minutes from home (thank goodness!). I even remembered to call in for my meeting...only 30 minutes late. :)

But we're home now...and AJ was GLAD to see his old toys and be back in familiar settings, and I'll be glad to get back to a normal schedule in a two-parent household!