Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cousin-y Cuteness

It's amazing what 9 hours and 45 minutes of sleep will do for you. Well, that and turning in a humongo project. I feel like a human again. Or at least, I see what a human could feel like and I might be heading in that direction.

So can you see just exactly how cute these two little boys are!??!?!?!

This is Conor and Carter at our local park and Dave is standing behind me making a googly face. I've never seen Conor like another little one as much as he likes Carter. From dawn until dusk (and often for hours afterwards), these two had fun with each other. We shall only briefly mention the Debacle of the Nap which involved standing, nay, jumping in their respective beds, laughing and screaming in joy.

It's the first time I've seen why that sort of behavior was not as much fun for my parents as it was for me.

But except for the Nap Incident(s), all of their fun was our fun from visiting the local aviation museum, to the park, to running in the back yard kicking the ball, to hiding in the big box. (A leftover from Dave's new Router!!! WOOHOO!!) Conor even started eating soup because it's Carter's favorite food.

It was really interesting to see how much these boys were cousins. The little things we've noticed Conor do but that others do not were the same little things that Carter does (e.g., high pitched screaming when excited). My brother's children are so much older than Conor so I don't remember what they did. But seeing those two together makes me pick out which part of Conor's personality come from Dave's side of the family. (Honestly, Dave doesn't let out too many high pitched screams or I would have already tracked down where that came from.)

Of course, one might also note the NASA emblem on Carter's overalls and wonder about Carter's traits that we WISH Conor had--like at 22 months distinguishing between purple and blue or pink and red. We're still working on helping Conor note the differences between white and yellow. At least everything isn't blue now, eh!? We're happy for the little things. (Should I mention how Carter started predicting the landmarks we would pass in reverse order of a road he has traversed only twice in his entire life!? Well, I just did.)

I have to say that on the last days of our family vacation, I realized that I really want Conor to grow up with his cousins and for us to spend more time with our siblings. Vacation times are precious, but so is.....((what I want to write is "but so is family" but that is so freakingly saccharine, that I can't)). I shall change that sentence then. Vacation times are precious, but so is having siblings who are old farts and new parents at the same time too. ((SEE!!! Not saccharine at all!))

OK, back to work. I want to revel in my newfound clarity after sleeping enough for the first time in weeks. Ahhhhhhhhhh........zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Simba Louise

Well, I thought I'd saved a picture of Conor and his cousin Carter on the blog, but apparently, I did not.

So I will discuss all that cousin-y cuteness at a later date. (And there was MUCH cousin-y cuteness)

Instead, I will discuss Simba and the changes in the household. I guess the big news is that Simba is no longer my adopted kitty but is now my step-sister. Yes, she's been promoted. My parents adopted her on Thanksgiving day and the cat has not looked back yet.

We've been getting a little frustrated with the pee issues of which we are now quite sure she was involved. (Duncan was involved, too, but now that Simba's gone, Duncan is no longer peeing on everything either.) So, I joked to Mom and Dad about whether they'd like to take Simba home with them (their own tiny black cat had just died in the Spring and they've been lonely). I could barely get the words out of my mouth before they said YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If I had known they were going to say yes, I'm not sure I would have offered.

We knew it would be a good adoption. Simba could be number one kitty again. They could take her to the beach with them (she's a good rider) and travel about. And she's a very loving cat so Mom and Dad really like that too.

Of course, we had to warn them about her aggressive night loving. The cat does ever more love to sleep on top of someone's head. And being that my Dad is "folicularly challenged", we figured she'd hop up on the bed, see his shining head and assume that man needs some fur to keep himself warm. (She's not made it to bed with them, yet, but that's only a matter of time...)

What is so crazy that even with 2 other people and a toddler in our house after T'day, it was So Much More Quiet without Simba. No cat fights, no Collie cops enforcing the house rules, just people and two old quiet-ish kitties.

And the doggie door. The doggie door is back open. We've had it closed because Simba was the only cat who could figure out how to open it. But now it's back open and Patches is shooting and and out of it like he used to. I didn't realize how much I missed using the doggie door until I saw that Dave had opened it and I stared slack-jawed at it in relief.

Simba is a great cat. She is one of the most loving kitties we've had and if she ever wants to come live with us again, we'll welcome her with open paws. But now my Mom and Dad get to enjoy her and she gets to be the queen and we get to use the doggie door again.

Deep sigh indeed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My God(dess) I'm Busy

Just taking a quick break to do a mind dump on my blog.

First, it's raining like hell here. Our backyard is a flood zone, but my clever husband and clever brother have come up with an idea to fix this problem: a dry well, basically a hole of filled with rocks to contain and drain extra water. I'm probably describing it wrong, so more on that later.

Second, I hate progesterone (the Crinone 8% supplement thingy) and am going off of it after this month. I'm a witch on it on a good day. And last month I had every single pregnancy sympton in the book from tingly boobs, to nausea, to indigestion, to cramps to every frickin' thing that made me think I was pg and I was Not At All. I'm also too sad and emotional on the Crinone and that does no one any good. So bye-bye Crinone. Thanks for playing.

Third, I've started acupuncture again. I'm looking forward to being stuck with needles and taking a 45 minute nap for $75 a week.

Fourth, Dave arrived at daycare for the fall festival and thank god(dess) because Conor would have been the only (!) child without a parent otherwise. Yay for Dave!

Fifth, Char-Meck schools are featured on NPR today, both Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Long and short of it: our public schools suck.

That is it. I must go work on this paper despite my freezing hand and feet and then start prepping for T'day. I'm looking forward to the friends and family arriving, including Conor's "little" cousin who is about 8 months younger and the Exact. Same. Size. Conor's a giant among normal toddlers and the shrimp of the current grandchildren in Dave's family. They are freaky big. :-)

Eat, drink and merry out there y'all!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I Suck

Today is Harvest Festival at Conor's daycare. It starts at 11 and ends at 1, and parents get a plate of food and join their children in their rooms to eat with them. I know we've been at our daycare for the last two years during this time, but it's never seemed like a big deal, so we've missed them.

Yet. Today. Two parents asked if we were coming and I said "No." I actually have a thesis from 10 to 12 and office hours from 12 to 1, and one of the quirks of academia is that missing office hours is up there with sleeping with a student in terms of "badness" as a professor. So, I did not plan on going.

But THEN! Both of the parents told me that not only were they going, but BOTH parents were taking off work and going to attend the Harvest Festival at daycare. Conor's teacher, when I told her, was pretty shocked and promised that Conor could sit with her at lunch.


I can't go. The thesis defense was scheduled nearly a month ago, and I don't remember if I knew about Harvest Fest then or not. I'm booked for office hours with advisees for next semester's classes.

I called Dave freaking the eff out and practically begged him to go. With some switcheroo, he can fortuately attend.

What if Wendy had not asked if we were coming? What if Conor had sat all alone at lunch in his festival hat that he is so proud of that the first thing he did this morning was point it out to me? (They are all wearing their hats for lunch)


When the HELL am I going to be a decent mother and know all the "right" things I'm supposed to do?!?!?!??!

Can Conor have more a pathetic mommy?

(BTW, I am back on the progesterone supplement which as Dave can vouch to you does make my reactions a weeeeeee bit more extreme. Which considering my reactions are extreme to begin with can be scary.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

T@ste of Teeter

First, try to say that without sounding incredibly Southern, and in a bad way.

T@ste of Teeter. It's impossible not to sound like a hick when you say that phrase.

Nonetheless, Dave and I received our hand addressed invitation last week to the upcoming T@ste of Teeter because we are one of the top 100 shoppers at our local H@rris Teeter.

Yeah. We are just that good.

Or maybe we just spent that much. Can I mention (again) that once three different employees of Trader Joe's told me I was their favorite customer!? (((((sigh)))))

We love our local H.T. and for reasons that actually *do* include an annoying chatty Cathy check out woman, a transvestite, and a bagger with a seeming physical disability who farely wrestles my shopping cart from my hands so he can load my groceries to the car. I honestly adore this man. I feel guilty letting him load my groceries, but every time he insists (and he DOES!), I adore him just that much more.

BTW, I say "seeming" because I've never seen this disability slow him down one bit. And I have to be honest that I feel very protective about him in writing this post. Oddly, I don't want him to know that I have noticed his disability. He always greets me with a big smile and a "Hello" when I go in. And then I try to scoot out past him when I leave so he can't insist on helping me. Only once in my life could I not load my groceries, and it was when Conor was an infant and I just couldn't figure out how it all worked to put the baby in the car and load the groceries and return the cart and do it all before he started crying. I just can't fathom anyone helping me load my groceries, much less someone with a disability. Yet, he insists on helping me. I feel guilty and honored at the same time. Thus, I scoot out the door.

And in another BTW, employees often smile and greet us at our local H.T. and this includes the "greeter" at the vegetable section ("Welcome to H@rris Teeter!") and the veggie manager who 1) once ran out of the store to congratulate me on being pg and 2) introduced me to the new veggie stocker one Sunday morning to help make her feel welcome. I'm So. Not. Kidding.

How on earth did we luck into a small town grocery in the middle of big grocery chain in a decent sized city?

Don't know. We'll see if we can find out any answers at the T@ste of Teeter.

BTW: I am going to delete this post by the end of the week because I never want my bagger to know I've talked about him online.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Too Much for My Heart to Handle

I'm working here on a Sunday morning and expect to work tonight, too. (This afternoon, Dave and I go see Terry Gross with Carolina Karen and Mensa Boy, so I do get a little break)

But I don't like that I don't get to spend time with my son on the weekend.

Therefore, it's about more than I can handle when I see a big blue ball go rolling by my office's French doors, with a toddler running at full speed right behind it despite his unsteady toddler gait, and a white collie trotting behind them both sniffing the ground for interesting smells, and my ginormously tall husband walking behind everybody with a hot cup of coffee.

It just abouty breaks my heart.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What a Great Day

The Democrats have taken back the House and Britney Spears has FINALLY filed for divorce.

What a fantastic day indeed!

And if you don't think your vote counts, then let me point out that NC House Speaker Jim Black is only currently leading by 7 votes and that in the US House race, Larry Kissel is currently losing to Robin Hayes by only 468 votes. Your vote can (could have) made a difference.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Oh Lordy

So over the weekend, we noticed that Conor has been singing a new song. It's to the tune of Frere Jacques, but we didn't recognize the words in either English or French. We were hoping it was Russian since one of his teachers is from Russia--we like the idea of Conor being exposed to many different languages.

Then on Sunday, Dave swore that the first words of the song sounded like "God the Father." I thought there's no way he would be learning a song starting with God the Father at school.

Apparently, there is a way. The internets told is that this is a traditional prayer/blessing:

God the Father
God the Father
Once again
Once again
We will ask your blessings
We will ask your blessings
A-men. A-men.

In case you're wondering, Conor does not go to a religious daycare.

Ok. So on the one hand, we say blessing every night before dinner and it's way more religious than that. Second, I sort of like that they say some sort of grace before meals; it's a nice ritual to be thankful for one's food.

On. The. Other. Hand. It's a little weird to have Conor learn a prayer outside of home or a religious institution. I read that prayer and don't think it's inherently bad, but I'm of the Christian flavor and I wonder what other faiths might feel about it. If we were atheists, it would bug the snot out of me. And if I really wanted to put my ultra feminista hat on, I'd point out that since God doesn't have a wee-wee, saying "God the Father" is just another example of the patriarchiacal oppression of some organized religions and it really should be something more along the lines of "God the Parent" or "God the Mother and Father." But that would be ultra me. Not the me who wants to "fit in."

Then, this morning after singing the song, Conor said "Thank you, Jesus, for this food."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and think that at least some of you are now staring bug eyed at your computer screen much like I did at Conor.

Here's a line. There, waaaaaaaay over the line, is the phrase "Thank you, Jesus, for this food."

While I was walking around the kitchen going "Did you hear that? Did you hear that?!?!?!", Dave slunk further into his paper trying to ignore his wife who was getting more and more worked up about something that's not supposed to be offensive. To us. But we both do think it's really not appropriate.

So I emailed the director today and said that although I really appreciate the idea of saying grace before meals, I'd much prefer a more ecumenical prayer.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

NYC Marathon

Lance Armstrong ran the NY Maraton today and finished less than 30 seconds under his goal of 3 hours.

I have a few thoughts about his accomplishment. First, this is a very good time and nothing to be sneezed at. That said, he finished 30 seconds under his goal. This means he was working very, very hard to meet that goal. Who would expect less than a 6 (7?) time champ of the tour de France. Dave and I have both had very specific goals for our marathon times and to make it, you have to focus in a way that denies every feeling in your body. And considering how competitive an athlete he is, one has to imagine how hard he focused to get in under his goal.

AND he said it was the hardest physical thing he's ever done.


I'm telling you than a marathon is an evil animal that will bite you in the butt if you don't pay it enough respect. And his longest run was only 16 miles. That's craziness right there. He should have at least done a 20 miler. Everything changes once you get pastt 18 miles. Your body needs to know what that feels like.

I'm also here to tell you that Dave ran a 3:22 marathon. That's only 20 minutes slower than Lance Armstrong. Right now, there are millions of marathoners comparing themselves to Lance Armstrong and feeling a wee bit better about their own best marathon time.

ETA: I love it when I'm right! Here's the most recent NYT story about Lance basically saying at mile 18, the marathon became hell.

Friday, November 03, 2006

In a World Where Scarlett is a Normal Cat

To get the full effect of that title, you need to imagine yourself in a darkened movie theater and that movie announcer who can scare the beegesus out of you is blooming over the speaker. You know who, the guy on the Geico commercial.

So, ummm, yeah. that's our world right now. We've switched from traditional clumping kitty litter to pine pellets. The clumping litter is supposed to be bad for cats in enclosed a LITTER BOX! (Think Asbestos for kitties) So we've switched.

And Duncan and Simba are not amused. We know this from the cat pee all over the bathroom rugs. We are clever that way. We're not switching back though. 1) They are dumb and they will forget their preferences. I love my cats, but considering both Simba and Duncan had traumatic kittenhoods and accidents/fights leading to potential brain injuries, they are not the sharpest tools in the shed, not the brightest bulbs on the tree, not the ripest tomato on the vine. Ummmm. ok, whatever. Scarlett is definitely not the sweetest treat in the pumpkin, but she is at least not peeing every where. And anyhoo, 2) we're used to pee problems. I know it's disgusting and makes you not want to come over, but we clean it up and petzyme the hell out of it.

Nonetheless, it still floors me when Scarlett aka Psycho Kitty, who hisses and swats at everyone but me, is the "normal" cat in the house. It just really makes me worry about what sort of hell I've descended into.

Speaking of hell, remind me next week to discuss what a joy it is to take progesterone supplements. That witch you saw circling our house a couple of weeks ago was not some prop for Halloween. That was me! Dave really had a lot of fun hanging out with me last week!!! Also, remind me to talk about how I really want to have another child. ((((sigh)))) I can't add much more to that right now.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

You thought the other one was cute....well, HA! Let your eyeballs explode over this one, a full shot of cuteness!

He's so cute that you can almost understand Patches' obsession with his used pee-pee diapers. (Almost) And you would be, as we are, on the constant look out for Patches to be guiltily gnawing on said contraband diaper in his (not-so-) secret chewing spot. Or you might perhaps be as astonished as we have been at Patches forays into the potty after a successful pee-pee in the potty by Conor. I tell you, that one earns a jaw dropping, Holy-crap-that-dog-is-not-licking-my-face-again reaction.

But on to more polite conversation, how do we keep his curls so cute? I've taught Dave the curly haired secret and we both use it: 1) conditioner; 2) comb conditioner through hair in the bath; 3) never comb again until the next bath; and 4) dry gently with a towel. It keeps the curls mosty frizz free. Of course, if we moved out west, all of our hair would look better. But that's not so much an option right now.

I promise this is the last blast of cuteness you're going to have to endure for a while.