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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

He's a Climber!

He may not be walking on his own quite yet, but he's climbing on his own quite well. I gave in to a great sale at the local Stuffmart a couple weeks ago where I bought this small train table for the kids. It came with a complete wooden train set, a full set of wooden alphabet blocks, and one storage bin that fits under the table. It was $20.00 well spent. Unless Dear Son cracks his head open by climbing on it. I have begun placing a huge floor pillow on top of it when we are unable to monitor Son with an eagle's eye. He's getting quite fast at this particular preoccupation.

Here's the setup. You can tell he's thinking about it...










There it is...the little leg comes up first...






...then he's up. I missed the shot of when he does his little happy dance up on his knees because he's so proud of himself. The parental scolding seems to have no effect.









Then he starts heading for any other object he can attempt to climb on or get into from his new height. This time he was heading for Dear Daughter's shopping cart. I don't know what he thought he was going to do with it.






He reaches...










...and this was as far as I could tolerate the observation and documentary before I fully intervened.
Note the crazy photograph angle as I was trying to get that one last shot while holding his target steady. I think he thought he was going to climb into the basket of his big sister's shopping cart. I am positive that would have never worked. It would have tipped over and he would have lost his balance and conked his little head on something and gotten very hurt. Instead, he was oblivious to the danger and pain from which I saved him and proceeded to throw one of his notorious "I'm so mad that I'm not getting my way" fits.

Have I mentioned that I am fully anticipating experiencing the terrible two's with this child? I guess that is my penance for largely escaping the terrible-ness of the two's with Dear Daughter.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Reason My House Isn't Clean...

...is because I can't compete with this! No matter how hard I work, I have a greater opposing force.

This was Dear Son gleefully pushing his walking toy around the kitchen floor, grinding the Life cereal into the vinyl. Note the empty bowl on the floor that used to be filled with cereal. Apparently dumping it all over the floor wasn't enough, and Dear Son had a moment of inspiration where he intentionally went for his walker toy and began driving it over the mess. He thought it was funny to hear the crushing, crunching, grinding noise and picked up speed withe each pass through the mess.

Friday, January 26, 2007

From The Stupid File #1

As I have previously noted, I do a fair amount of work-related duties from my home. The other day one of these duties required me to track down a live and helpful person in the Medicaid provider billing support office to explain to me why three of my recently billed claims were mysteriously denied, and why one of the claims was "suspended." It took me a good 15 minutes of relentless calling to get past a busy signal and get a live person. This person was neither pleasant nor rude, and slightly more than marginally helpful. You never know what you're gonna get when you call this line for help. I got a couple of my questions minimally answered (with the government you really don't ever get satsifactory or complete answers) and had asked another question when I was abruptly cut off and told that I had reached my three question quota and if I wanted to ask any more questions I would have to call back. I think my response was something like a long pause followed by, "Huh?" which I'm sure sounded a lot like, "Duh?" I was in complete disbelief and didn't know how to respond.

I hung up the phone dumbfounded. I finally get through to ask my questions and then I'm told I've reached my quota and have to call back? I swore if I called right back and reached the same woman I would have to exercise great restraint not to verbally strangle her over the phone.

It was the stupidest thing I had encountered for at least a good week. So stupid, in fact, that I decided then and there that I had to start blogging a "stupid file."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Scary or Hungry?

Daughter: "Mommy, I am FEROCIOUS!"

Me: (only half listening) "Oh, really?!"

Daughter: "Yeah. That means that I am REALLY REALLY hungry!"

Me: (long pause as I tune in enough to register the conversation thus far)...."Oh! You mean that you are VORACIOUS!"

Daughter: "...yeah, FEROCIOUS!"


Well, that's still not too bad for the vocabulary of an almost three-and-a-half-year-old.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The "Terrible One's"?

As I described in a previous post, Dear Son loves to do laps around the kitchen table, through the legs of his highchair, out the kitchen, around the great room, and back again. I learned that you gotta catch him fast on the camera because otherwise all you will get is the back of his head!

Dear Son just turned 13 months, and for the past 6 weeks he has been saying "done" to let you
know he is done eating.

He has also been saying "uh-oh" for the last several weeks and has said "more" a couple times to indicate he wants more of something he is eating. He has said "Hi!" on occasion as well. I've tried to teach him sign language since he was 5 months old. The only sign he does consistently is "done." Otherwise he points and grunts, "Uh Uh!" for what he wants or screams and yells to get you to pay attention to what he wants. It's making us all nuts. I won't give up on the sign language, but so far it's not helping much.

Images of the Aftermath

Here are a couple images of the aftermath of the ice storm in our area. The pic on the left was taken on the Evangel Campus (the University to whom I owe my master's level education), and the one on the left was submitted by an area resident to the local newspaper. If you'd like to see a whole gallery of photos that area residents submitted, click here for the link.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The World Didn't End

Okay, so it was not quite the end of the world, and as far as I can guess, it's been nothing close to the second coming of Christ. But it HAS been an ice storm frequently referred to as "worse than the one in '86." I remember that one. My family skipped town shortly after it hit and headed a bit early for a planned visit to my grandparents in southern Texas. We missed the most of the storm. That time, however, the roads were an ice rink. This time the roads were all fine.

I was driving quite a bit today and saw very few trees that were not split, broken, or damaged in some way. I also saw a lot of tree branches that were bent over and lying directly on power lines...so when they melt enough they are likely going to take the lines down again. Everything is still coated in about an inch of ice, including power lines and every blade of grass or plant matter....oh, and the family-mobile, which took some interesting measures to thaw enough to even get into it and start it. Dear Husband and I jumped ship from our home early Saturday evening after a three hour power outage. My main concern was the wee ones and not wanting them to get cold if we were out of power for a long time. It was a good choice as our home did end up being out of power for about two days. We headed to my parents, where we had electricity until about 8 pm that night. Then it was black for the next 24 hours. We also had much of that time without water. But that's nothing compared to many areas of the city who are heading into their 5th day without power or water.

Today I moved myself and the kids back home, and I still could not unfreeze the back door of the family-mobile or one of the sliding doors enough to open them. I had to take out one of the kids' carseats and the entire seat itself and load stuff through the one sliding door that opened. It reminded me of when I lived in Northern Idaho and it was common for it to get cold enough to freeze your car locks. I drove a little Doge Colt with a hatchback at that time, and there were a number of days that I had to climb in and out of my car through the hatchback, as it was the only door I could get open. I got a few strange looks when I was seen climbing out of the hatchback in various parking lots around town.

It has been pretty crazy the past few days, with interesting things happening like being unable to pay for items in some stores except for cash, as electronic forms of payment were not possible...and hearing top news stories about where to get D cell batteries, generators, kerosene, etc. Today I heard an ad on the radio about where to buy generators online. If "same day shipping" was chosen you would get your generator within two business days. Seemed pretty dumb to me. If you're desperate enough to buy a generator in the aftermath of an ice storm, the assumption is that you've been without power for awhile and are not likely to have access to the internet in the first place, and in the second place, not likely to feel like waiting two more days for the generator you can't order in the first place.

Unfortunately I have not gotten any pictures of the aftermath. I really should try to do that sometime tomorrow before it melts more. It's pretty odd looking. I am noticing trees and shrubs that I've never noticed before, in spite of passing them hundreds of times before. Something about that inch of ice encasing them draws your attention. In spite of how much Dear Husband and I want a chunk of land that is nicely wooded, we are, at the moment, thankful that we do not have any large trees to fall on and damage our home or cars.

Hopefully it will be at least 20 more years before we have to refer to "the storm of '07."

Friday, January 12, 2007

The End of the World?

The world's gonna end and we're all gonna die...but at least the entire city will have milk and bread when it happens! I don't know how I survived my trip to the local Foodmart this morning, but somehow I made it out alive. Friday mornings are my usual trip to the Foodmart, mind you. It's the delivery day for the particular type of milk we drink from a local dairy and I can't get it at the Stuffmart. This morning I packed up the wee ones immediately after breakfast, just as I do every Friday morning. It did not occur to me that there would be panic among all the residents of the city that would culminate into a scratching clawing fight to get a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. What, you might ask, is the reason for the city-wide panic attack? Indeed. I asked myself the same question before it occured to me that the weather forecast includes falling temps throughout the day and ultimately a couple days of continued precipitation which is likely to manifest in the form of ice. Ninety percent of the time, mind you, these weather "scares" result in nothing more than damp pavement. Even if the forecast turned into reality, it's no reason to panic!

People from these parts don't know how to handle winter weather. I learned that after I moved to this area and it snowed...like three or four inches, I think. The entire area rolled up the sidewalks and bolted the doors and waited inside for the snow to melt. I kid you not, life literally stopped until the snow melted. It was so bizarre. Now, to be fair, the ice we get in this area can be really dangerous to drive in, and is nothing like the four or five feet of snow I was used to driving in when I lived in Northern Idaho. At least you can plow snow...and drive on it.

But good grief, people! The parking lot at the Foodmart was full (on Friday morning at 9:00 am). I usually only see about three other cars in the parking lot on this day and time of the week. I barely made it in the door and a clerk accosts me with questions about the weather "out there." I assured him it was fine. It was 55 degrees for goodness sakes! There was fear in his eyes as he reported to me that he'd been told it was begnning to get cold further north. I got the feeling I was being admonished to hurry and select my items and run home to hide, lest my unsaved soul be left to deal with the wrath of missing the second coming of Christ (for the record, my soul is saved).

I made it through the throngs of panicked shoppers and calmly selected my items. I was embarassed to be there shopping among the panic strinken throngs, and wanted to announce to everyone that I was only there because it was my USUAL day and time to go shopping for my milk and NOT because I feared the world would end while my refrigerator was empty.

Glitch #999

Everything appears the same if you don't use a site feed to view this blog. However, last night I was playing with the new labels feature and added labels to my new post as well as some old posts. Today I discovered that my site feed is picking up the newly labeled (but old) posts and feeding them as if they are new entries. I removed the labels, but that didn't fix the order of the feed. So until I can figure out how to fix the issue, I will remain irritated and annoyed...and so will you if you are using a site feed to view this site. If anyone can tell me how to fix it, I would be thrilled.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Poop Mystery

Really, I can't figure this one out. Why is it that whenever I am trying desperately to get out of the house with a three year old and a one year old in tow, we have to pause for dual defecation? It never fails, especially if I am late or in a hurry. I swear they coordinate the whole ordeal just to annoy me!

Today, for example, I managed to get Daughter's stocking cap, coat, and shoes on and was next stuffing Son's pudgy little just-turned-one-year-old arms into his coat when I caught a whiff. I had just changed his pants before beginning to layer the kids up in their winter wear. Apparently pulling the coats out of the closet stimulates his colon. So back up the stairs we went for clean britches before heading out. Then it occured to me that Daughter, whose bowels are like clockwork--daily at half-past noon--had not yet moved her bowels, and it was 12:45. I informed her that she needed to produce before we could leave the house and proceded to unwrap her from her coat and stocking cap and set her on the potty. Sure enough, she produced in short order, and I momentarily wondered why she had not told me she needed to do this duty before I had her all bundled up and was ready to herd the brood out the door. "Because she's three!" I told myself, and tried to focus on the fact that I was thankful to have implemented the mandatory "poop before leaving" requirement rather than getting down the road a bit with the one-year-old and the three-year-old wrapped in their winter wear before I heard the three-year-old state, "My tummy hurts!" which is her way of stating, "I need to poop...NOW!" (she tends to wait until the very last minute before caving into the urge). I refused to let myself wonder what exactly I would have decided to do at that moment if that moment had occured.

By this time I had put my own coat on and taken it off multiple times. On before putting on Son's coat...off before changing his pants (I always work up a sweat getting the kids all suited up to leave the house)...on again before realizing that Daughter needed to do her business and off again to assit in the duties (else I'd have REALLY worked up a sweat by the time that was over) and in the end I just carried the darned thing because I was plenty hot without it.

I know this issue has no answers or explanations, and I fully expect it will go down in the annals of parenting mysteries, but I just had to ponder it for a moment.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I Have No Idea...

...what has been going on in the world of html. I know just enough about html (and PC's, and Microsoft software products, and the internet in general) to mess stuff up and get myself in trouble, and on occaision to actaully do something right.

To be certain, computers have come a long way since 1984 when I was first learning to produce graphics...which at that time took amazingly long strings of code to make extremely large pixel graphics. By the time I reached college, I was introduced to world of Wang computers and Apple computers and my first course in word processing. I first started to figure out Microsoft software when I took my first gig as an editor. I later faked my way into a job as an administrative assistant at a university and fortunately was to quick to learn a whole lot more computer stuff, including my first experience with email and then a student taught me to "surf the net." That was 1995. That was also about the time I accidentally got signed up on listserves and found myself flung through cyberspace into an internet chat room. I think I had to figure out IRC to get that far. It was pure accident. I really had absolutely no idea what I was doing. And that's where I eventually met my husband. As I said previously, I managed to know just enough to get myself in trouble. Ha! I later took another job as an administrative assistant and figured out how to write databases (it wasn't part of my job description, I was just bored).

Now I am married to a computer geek (the same one I accidentally met in an internet chatroom). We have too many desktops, laptops, firewalls, wireless networks, and assorted other stuff going on in this house. Husband knows a lot about a lot of stuff related to computers, but not necessarily a whole lot in the realm of html and web design. I'm largely on my own in this one, but he helps bail me out from time to time.

If you've tried to visit my blog lately, you have probably muttered, "What the heck!" just as I have. Okay, okay...I've said a few stronger words than that. I've been having lots of problems with my RSS feed, especially when I post something I've originally written in Word. Dear Hubby helped me resolve that this week only for me to discover the next day that my page was not loading at all. I eventually realized that half of the code for my template was missing! Huh?! Hubby assured me (and he is the computer expert after all...at least that what they tell him at his job) that it was not due to anything we did to fix the feed. Simultaneous to all this, Blogger has been down for maintenance and now is "new and improved" and no longer using beta (don't ask me what "beta" is...I thought it was the Greek letter for "B," but I am thinking it has another meaning in this case). Once I managed to get the code restored to my template, I found each time I tried to post for the next 36 hours, there was a new glich.

But I've made my way back again. Barring any other major catastophies I will be back to the regularly scheduled program in between chasing my speed demon of a 13 month old son. While not quite walking on his own yet, give him a push toy to support himself with, and he is tearing up the house and wearing paths in the floors at breakneck speeds. His favorite route is around the kitchen table, through the legs of his highchair, out the kitchen, around the great room and back again. Over and over and over again. But God forbid he gets "stuck" somewhere and cannot immediately navigate his way back out as he has a one-track mind and hot temper. Husband quipped the other day that he definitely takes after both of us (my husband with the one-track mind and myself with the hot temper). Hopefully he will also take after both us with some additionally redeeming qualities. I'm guessing that "two" is going to be a tough year for us as intense as "one" has begun.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

One-Year-Old Entertainment

Here's a good action shot of Son banging away on the dishes while I'm trying to make phone calls. Check out that expression! He was SO into it. This was AFTER he "helped" unload all the clean silverware onto the floor. I've learned to let him do whatever occupies him whenever I need to take care of some business on the phone. This particular time I had to start the conversation with a disclaimer about the background noise and a request to please speak loudly so I could hear above the racket. One of his more quiet pastimes is unrolling the toilet paper until it is in a big pile on the floor and there's nothing left but the cardboard tube.

If you ever visit our house, keep in mind that the silverware is always dirty and you have to wipe with toilet paper that looks likes it's already been used. Just kidding...I do re-wash the silverware. Not much I can do about the toilet paper thing, though. Just be assured that it really hasn't previously been used for its original intended purpose...only for just-turned-one-year-old entertainment value.