Thursday, June 28, 2007

An Homage to Me on My Birthday

By Weird Al it wasn't really about me, nor do I fit it exactly, but that equation in the background looks so familiar that I'm tempted to look it up (and I'm pretty sure which book would have it), and, well, hands down, Picard.

Pretty hilarious though.

So happy 31st birthday to me and happy 3rd birthday to Iraq! :)

Monday, June 25, 2007

For AJ's Grandaddy

AJ's Nana and Grandaddy (VNB's folks) came up from NC for dinner on Thursday and forgot to take pictures!!!

So these are for them. There's video too. AJ _LOOOOOVES_ his walkers. And watching his daddy's fish.

Father's Day

Ok, so it's a little late, but I had to post a pic of what AJ and his daddy did together for Father's Day.

To add to the day's manliness, we watched the American Chopper marathon on TLC (OK, _I_ watched it while they napped). But we'll _really_ celebrate Father's Day on August 5th when we go to this. We'll camp nearby Friday and Saturday nights, spend Saturday hiking in the Poconos and enjoying a nearby lake, and Sunday at the race.

Oh...and if you're wondering, I got dangly things for my ears for Mother's Day. They have AJ's birthstone in them and match the necklace I got for Christmas.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bored, Plenty to Do

I'm bored. I've got plenty of work (paid and otherwise) to be doing right now, but I'm not doing it. Unfortunately, I'm all caught up on all of my websites, I've played my latest game as far as it'll let me play without paying for it, AJ's asleep on my bed, so I'm not going to go do the other things I could be doing, just in case he decides to try to roll off...again...(boy is bound and determined to be dropped on his head) I'm just sitting here, trying to think of something worthy of blogging about.

Nope, nothing's coming to mind...well other than a "please, please, please buy me EV Nova for my birthday!!" But I don't think that counts.

Um....we're working out way into the fruits now with AJ (who can actually sit in his high chair - propped up on a towel, but still). He still LOVES carrots, likes sweet potatoes and squash, and will eat green beans, but I don't like his reaction to peas, so I think we're gonna hold off on those for a while longer and try them again later. I don't know how to describe it other than just my "MommySense" which makes me think that it's not just a dislike of the taste that makes him act the way he does when he eats them. Having no other green veggies to try (well, without cooking and mashing avocados and zucchini myself), we moved on to applesauce yesterday. I was hoping to start the tradition of eating a "breakfast" of fruit everyday, but AJ wasn't interested in the apples at all until it was "lunch" time, so that may or may not work. At lunch, he ate them gamely, although he didn't seem obsessively excited about it or anything. I didn't try them myself, but I'm guessing they were a little tart. He'll try some more once I actually get to the store and buy more.

Since this new habit of his has gotten to be rather expensive (he eats about five of the 2.5 oz packages a day, which costs about $2.50), I've started trying to make his food from scratch. It's really not hard or even that time consuming, but it _is_ messy, and I'm having to learn a few tricks.

First thing that I learned as I was madly steaming and mashing squash as he was eating the last of our store-bought food was that the squash is a very low-yield food. I mean, I get less than one 2.5 oz container from two good-sized yellow squash. Not really worth it except that they're really juicy and I get lots of good squash juice for use later on. Let's see...I spent $4.20 on squash and got _maybe_ three containers out of it which would cost $1.50 at the store...for a loss of $2.70.

The second thing that I learned was that sweet potatoes are a rather high-yield homemade baby food. From two normal-sized sweet potatoes, I got six very full 2.5-oz containers (so they were probably more like 3 oz), and each of those can really be cut in half and watered down (with squash juice) for an easier consistency. So from two sweet potatoes which cost $1.80, I got 12 containers, worth $6, saving us $4.20. Now, you add in the time it took to peel, cut, steam, and smush the potatoes and consider that I probably could have been doing "real" (and by that I mean paying) work, and I probably lost about $30, but if I can manage to multitask, then I think it's worth it. Plus it's fun to smush things in my food mill.

Carrots are medium-yield. From a standard bag of carrots (2 lb) I've gotten 6 2.5-oz containers that aren't quite so tightly packed as the sweet potatoes, and are a little juicier, so I don't think they'll quite double, but still, let's say nine 2.5-oz containers for another $1.80, in place of $4.50's worth from the store, saves me $2.70.

So between the three of them, I'm saving $4.20 on approximately 24 containers of food which will last him about five days. Heh...that's less than a dollar a day. Maybe not worth it? I dunno...I kinda like doing it.

Anyway...I haven't tried the zucchini yet (although I would suspect another low-yield veggie) or the butternut squash (medium-yield?). Now that he's starting the fruits too, I may try my hand at apples, etc., depending on seasons. I'm not sure that I'll try the green beans. They're so stringy that I'm not sure I really trust my food mill to smush adequately. Although I guess there would probably be less prep work prior to steaming than with the others...just snip the ends and check for bad ones.

In any case, should you try this at home, be sure to work with large quantities to minimize the time it takes you.

Now back to figuring out what to do to avoid doing any work.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Elvish and Hobbit(ish) Names

So, in browsing other peoples' blogs today (yay, for comments!!! boo for work that I _ought_ to be doing instead of reading comments and checking out the commenters' sites!), I came across this and this.

My Elvish name is: Ireth (Sáralondë) Mithrandír. And I'm married to: Círdan Mithrandír. Our son is named: Valandil (Huor) Mithrandír.

My Hobbit(ish) name is: Primula (Burrows) Boffin of Whitfurrows. And I'm married to: Hob Boffin of Whitfurrows. Our son is named: Mungo (Popo) Boffin of Whitfurrows.

The names in parentheses are my maiden names and AJ, as opposed to his actual first name. Eat your heart out, Elianna. Or should I say, Silmarwen Sáralondë? Or Anaranë for short.

Oops....Mungo's crying (I don't think someone named Valandil would cry).


People joke about new moms who wake up in the middle of the night just to make sure that the baby's still breathing.

Well, I have two confessions:

1) I used to do that with my dog when she would sleep next to me, and
2) 5 months after his birth, I still do it with AJ.

Now don't get me wrong, I am usually able to contain my neurosis at night when I really _should_ be sleeping (apparently, my laziness/bed gravity/reason trumps my concern), but during the day when I'm awake and he's sleeping, it's all I can do to keep from just constantly watching to a) make sure he doesn't fall off my bed (ahem....again....), and b) make sure he's still breathing.

Part of me wonders if I'll ever "grow out of it," and part of me hopes that I never do. And then the panic of "what ifs" hit.

So then I take a deep breath, check on him again, and pray that God keeps him safe and breathing for a long, long time.

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Blogging Story

So reading Rocks in my Dryer turned me on to this "carnival." I don't know who'll find it interesting, but I felt like participating, so here goes!

How did you start blogging?
I was living in Iraq, working for a humanitarian organization. The folks back home liked hearing from me, but I stopped being able to access the email account I was using to send out mass email updates. A friend of mine had been blogging for about a year at that time and it seemed relatively easy, so I started blogging instead of emailing (after one final mass email which was painstakingly sent out to about 15 people at a time).
Did you intend to be a blog w/a following? If so, how did you go about it?
Well, yes, and no...initially, as I just said, my "following" was those from my email list who successfully a) _read_ the email (a surprisingly small number), and b) actually went to the effort to continue to keep up with me. I was surprised with the number of people who complained to me when I got back that I "just stopped writing!" There's no real polite way to tell people that if they had actually _READ_ what I wrote, they would have known how to continue reading updates from me!

In any case, when I got back, I was blogging just for me essentially. Most of my "following" gradually lost interest (life in America isn't as exciting, I guess). Now it's down to a few family members and friends (to the best of my knowledge), but that's ok. It's really just a chance for me to tell someone the crazy things that run through my head without having to actually sit down with a person and _talk_ about them.
What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?
Originally, the purpose was to make sure my family and friends knew that I was still alive, and to keep them apprised as to what I was actually doing and how things were actually going "over there." Now, it lets me easily share pics and stories about AJ with friends and family, in addition to giving me an outlet for my thoughts. I think I'm mostly successful. Now that there _is_ a "little man" in my life, I need to be better about writing about something besides him from time to time. I may be a "mommy blogger" now, but that doesn't mean that there are no thoughts in my head other than him!

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?
Gosh...these questions didn't seem quite so redundant when I read them through. I guess I don't travel as much anymore (and certainly not to such exotic places), now I've got a husband and baby (originally I was just longing for the day when I'd meet my husband), I've definitely matured some over the past few years.

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?
How it was all going to end. Very shortly after I began blogging, we left Iraq for some training and I was never allowed to return. While I still carry some of that angst, I can definitely see how HE was working in all of it. If I hadn't come home exactly when I did, I literally would never have met my husband.

Do you make money with your blog?
Currently, no, but I've thought about it. I'm just not sure that I've got enough traffic to support it. Would be nice to make some money for "free" though!

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?
I know they at least _knew_ about it back in the day, but I'm not sure how many other than my mom (hi, Mommy!) still read it. Now I'm letting the in-laws in on the secret too, so they're starting to read (hi, in laws!)

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?
Um...write for you, not an audience, and don't name your cat Monkey because you'll end up with very confused toddlers.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


So in looking for the link to my "no hit counter" pledge, I ended up re-reading my entire three years' worth of blogs. It was interesting reading. For one, it wasn't nearly as embarrasingly honest as I remembered it being (there have been quite a few "I can't believe I posted THAT" moments over the years), but it was also fun/heartbreaking to remember what was happening during those times in my life, and to realize how much I _didn't_ say sometimes.

I got to relive the death spiral of my laptop, the heartbreak in leaving Iraq so unexpectedly (also look here, here, here, and here), the surprise in meeting VNB so soon after my return (we'd only really met about two weeks prior, but we were both already pretty sure of the eventual outcome at that point), the joy of getting to know him, getting engaged to him, and becoming his wife, the journey of pregnancy and childbirth (I teared up again when I re-read those moments during the turning of AJ when I was so scared), and now looking back over the pics of our little man and seeing exactly how quickly he learns and grows and changes!'s been an interesting ride. I wonder what will happen next!

R2-D2, Where Are You?

So VNB's sister and bro-in-law came up to visit a few weekends ago. It was their anniversary weekend, so to celebrate, they babysat AJ and let us go see a movie (Spiderman, but then I'm not a huge fan). On Saturday, we all went downtown because his sister had never seen DC. We saw the Air & Space Museum, then toured many of the monuments. On the way back to a metro station, we passed something which made my day/week/long time (well, if you take AJ and VNB out of the picture). You see, to celebrate Star Wars' 30th anniversary, the USPS is putting out a series of stamps...and as advertisement, they've painted some of those blue mailboxes to look like R2-D2!!!! There are apparently several around DC, but the one we saw was about a block south of the White House, near the Red Cross headquarters and DAR's Constitution Hall. My in-laws have the pics. It was awesome!

Well, today I got my ~monthly email and in it was this link. If anyone feels like spending $130 plus shipping on me anytime in the near future, I WANT ONE!!!!!!! Be sure you watch the video on the page.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


So, way back almost two years ago, I pledged that I would never set up a counter on my blog. Well...things have changed drastically in my life, and I think I'm going to go back on the letter (although not the spirit) of that pledge. You see, back then, VNB was "just" my "VeryNiceBoyfriend" (although he became my "VeryNiceBetrothed" about 10 days later). Now I'm posting images of our son for anyone on the web to see. So I want to see who it is that's looking and make sure they're not coming in from some weird search or something. Which means keeping track of stats which are easily available through a counter.

I'm still not going to let myself obsess about the numbers of people reading, because this blog really is just an outlet for my random thoughts (and why the heck not share those with the world?). I think that's still conforming to the spirit behind that pledge, if not the letter. But I _do_ want to make sure (to the best of my ability) that there aren't any wackos out there with pics of my little man.

I still have to research and add the counter though, so it may take a little while. Just know that I didn't add it lightly and that it was for good reason.

I'm also thinking about adding a "blogroll" to the sidebar. These are just other peoples' blogs (or other websites) that I read regularly. I like them for various reasons, so I'm happy to give them a little free advertising. Check 'em out, once I get 'em posted. It's not usually _required_ "netiquette," but I'm probably going to email the folks first to get their permission, so that may take some time and will mean that it probably won't be stable for a little while.

I might also join a "blogring" which is basically just a community of bloggers who share some similar trait like "mommy bloggers" or "Christian bloggers." It's always good to have friends.

And how is it exactly that doesn't have the word "blogger" in its spellcheck dictionary?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Team Jones For the Cure

AJ, VNB, and I (along with the rest of Futron's team and the other half-million people who were there) got up early yesterday, Metroed downtown into DC, and walked 5km. We (meaning VNB) managed to raise almost $450, which will be doubled by Futron!

AJ had a nice nap in the stoller and continued to wow the folks from my company with how laid back he is all the time. Heh...they should have been in the car with us last night on the way home...but that's a different story.

Anyway, here are pics from the day.

Food Fight!

Here's the long-awaited second meal. He LOVES his carrots. He's not quite to ecstatically in love with sweet potatoes or squash, but he likes them too. Next up, green beans!

AJ Noises

Here are typical AJ noises. The video gets pretty boring after about 30 seconds.