Month: November 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

It was a strange day for us, so I didn’t have time to get a pre-Thanksgiving message out for most to see. Our power went off for two hours this morning, so M. and I sat around watching the snow fall until S. got home, then we headed out to get breakfast. When we got home, the cold I’ve been fighting grabbed hold of me and I took a nice three hour nap. If I’ve not mentioned it before, our couch in the basement is the best napping couch ever. You can not be tired at all and all of a sudden you’re opening your eyes after a 90 minute slumber. While I was still trying to shake the cobwebs and determine if my cold was getting better or worse, I got a call about a family emergency that threw a wrench in the day. I won’t go into details here, but all is well for the time being but we’re very concerned about someone very close to us and are working to help them through a difficult time. Tonight, well this afternoon, we had our own mini-Thanksgiving dinner. We cooked a ten pound turkey breast, made some excellent “smashed” potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, and rolls. We didn’t stuff ourselves, had more of a normal sized dinner, and then packed away the rest (I think we cooked for about 20 people for some reason) for leftovers for the coming week. Tomorrow we head over to my in-law’s for proper Thanksgiving dinner.
By now most of my loyal readers have signed off until Monday, but I’ll still be thinking good thoughts for you all so your travels over the next few days are safe, your gatherings are filled with love and joy, and your bellies are full. I’m thankful for each one of you being a part of my life. Enjoy the holiday!

Oh yeah, beat those ‘Clones, Jayhawks! Get a cheesy bowl game for us to be mildly proud of.


Strangeness Is…

Leaving a restaurant after having dinner on November 16 to the sounds of tornado sirens blaring. Odder still is the temperature dropping from the mid-60s to a wind-chill of 18 over the course of 10 hours. All of Indianapolis will have a hacking cough within three days.

M’s First Post

I turned M. loose on the keyboard over the weekend. Below are the results, as recorded in TextEdit. What I enjoy most is she somehow found the right key combo to get into my clipboard memory and find bits of something I posted in the comments section of an NBA blog regarding a recent Pacers-Heat game. She also managed to get into the foreign character palate somehow. I’m not even sure how to do that. Nice work, M.!

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=,,./ .z889><*(><·•≥≤≤98.,-S/>
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Dead Raccoon

Always interesting what we find in our backyard after a big storm. Normally, lots of small branches and limbs, with the occasional large limb down. All part of the joys of living on a wooded lot. Today, I was out back blowing all the leaves that came down back into the woods. I reached the far corner of the lawn and found a roughly 12 foot long limb lying on the ground. Not surprising given the ferocity of the storms that blew threw Sunday morning. What was surprising, though, was what was on the ground next to the limb. A big, fat, and very dead raccoon. Apparently homeboy was attempting to ride the storm out on the branch when either the wind or lightning tore it loose. He did not seem to tolerate the fall very well. Poor guy. I wish it had been our opossum instead.

Now I Can Die In Peace

Kansas 40
Nebraska 15

I said it wouldn’t happen in my lifetime, only semi-facetiously. I saw a 17-point lead turn into a 59-23 loss. I saw a coach take the guy who had been running all over the vaunted Nebraska defense the entire day off the field when attempting a two-point conversion that would have won the game. Most of all, I saw a lot of 40+ point poundings that were equal testament to Nebraska’s run of excellence and Kansas’ run of futility in football.

Rejoice tonight, fellow Jayhawks!


What A Day

Yesterday morning, M. woke up at 5:00. Yuck. I went in and got her untangled from her blanket, found her binky, and tried to make her comfortable. I went back to bed, but could never go back to sleep. S. got up around 6:30 to prepare for work. I got up shortly after to get M. ready to go over to her grandparents’ for the day. They left just after 7:00 and I spent the next 30 minutes reading e-mail and the web.

I had a project due in my publishing class last night. We had to design a letterhead, business card, and envelope for a business, real or imagined. I thought I was just about done when I went to bed Wednesday. I figured I would have a few small elements to clean up then I could slowly print copies, put the package we turn in together, etc. over the course of the day. From the time I began working at 7:45 or so until I left for class at 4:45, I spent all but 30-40 minutes working on the project. There’s nothing like realizing you need to change your color scheme, or two elements are out of proportion, which requires adjusting everything, at the last minute.

By the time I got to class, I was totally fried and jittery from the deadly combination of little sleep and too much caffeine. We have to turn in a write-up with our project, stating what our intent was, how we created our products, and things we liked/disliked about the process. I had a line that said something along the lines of “I liked my base concept, but I’m not sure if I was able to capture that in the final product.” I was not looking forward to presenting and being graded.

All my worries were for naught. The class really seemed to like my work. Our instructor said a few things I did were perfect examples of how you should put a project like this together (I admitted it was from dumb luck rather than reading the handout he had given us) and he seemed to approve of it as well. Suddenly, I was flush with energy and confidence. I was ready to go run around the block! To drink 20 beers! To go dancing all night! Instead, I went home and ate some dinner, watched the first half of the Pacers-Heat game, scheduled a recording for the remainder of the game, and was in bed before 10:00. A pretty good day, all things considered.

My Little Writer

M. spent the morning at her grandparents’ house today. When I arrived to pick her up, she was just waking from a nap. After a few minutes cuddling with Grammy to shake the cobwebs, she hopped down onto the floor, started grunting and pointing around the corner, and then took off towards my father-in-law’s office.

“You’ve got to see this,” he said.

I followed her into the office and found her sitting in front of an old, electric typewriter. She was banging away on the keys with a look of total glee on her face. Apparently she found the typewriter under his desk one day and has been enamored with it ever since. She continued for about ten minutes, just hammering on the keys and smiling. I guess if my hopes for a writing career don’t pan out, at least there’s hope for the next generation. Now if I can just figure out how to M. proof the keyboards in this house without stifling her creativity.

By the way, my notes on the first two Pacers games of the season are up in my Pacers Journal. My big project kept me from giving full attention to either game. I doubt these early entries are going to win me any awards or attract any attention from the big boys in the hoops blogging community.


M. Update

I had put this list of M.’s latest tricks and treats together over the weekend, expecting to post it Monday. I haven’t edited for dating, so if anything is odd about tenses etc, my apologies.

One addition, we were at the grocery store Tuesday and put her on the mechanical horse for the first time. A penny buys about a minute of ride time. She loved it! Laughed, screamed, smiled. She was so entertaining that some random woman came over, gave us a penny, and said, “She’s having too much fun to stop.” Then she literally left the store. Weird. Maybe she just had a penny she needed to purge and didn’t care about M.’s entertainment.

Lots more fun stuff to share about the girl. S.’s step-mom taught her how to release a loud, refreshed sigh after taking a drink, “AHHHHHHH.” M., wanting to make sure all people enjoy their beverages, is very liberal with the ahhhhs. If she sees someone take a drink, she’ll keep saying “AHHHHH!” until you offer one of your own. Then she smiles and laughs. She likes to share her drinks with her various stuffed animals. Since they’re all mutes, she speaks for them. “AHHHHH!” What’s funniest is when someone on TV takes a drink. She’ll freeze and say “AHHHHH!” wait a minute, then walk away, always a little downcast as if she wasted one.

She’s become obsessed by the Itsy Bitsy Spider. She throws her hands up in the air and whines until you sing it to her, then she asks that you do it again. Depending on her mood, she can either do all of the hand motions that go along with the song, or just one. Her funniest use of it came a couple weeks ago on a cold, rainy day when we were hanging out in the basement. S. was working and I was trying to watch football, so she was roaming and playing with her toys. She kept coming over doing the Itsy Bitsy part, I would sing it, but she never seemed pleased. Finally she kind of grunted and looked over her shoulders, making the spider sign over-and-over. That’s when I noticed a spider on the wall near her toy box. Smart kid! Plus, that’s better than the high pitched shriek I’m sure she’ll start giving us this time next year when she sees a bug.

Her favorite book has become Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. She freaking loves it. She’ll dig it out of her pile o’ books, come running over, and demand you drop everything, put her in your lap, and read it to her. She’ll follow along quietly the first time through. Then she’ll grab it from you, turn to a page, and start shaking her arms and grunting her version of “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” She’ll get herself all wound up and go around saying that for awhile. Her godparents had a music cube, each side having a different nursery rhyme on it. When you punched it, it would play the appropriate song. Five Little Monkeys was on it, which was a great delight to M..

After our trip to Carter’s a couple weeks ago, we thought she could use a puzzle of her own, so we got her a wooden puzzle with all her favorite farm animals from Baby MacDonald on it. It took about a week, but she quickly learned how to place all the pieces in their correct slots, even rotating them so they fit correctly. She goes about her work intently, only stopping when each piece has been placed. Then, she smiles and claps for herself, but quickly dumps all the pieces on the floor and starts over again.

In preparation for our doctor visit, we were trying to tally up all her words. We’re somewhere between 10-15, but many of them are still more noises that true words. Hi, mommy, daddy, fish (peesh), moo, quack, again (ah-geen), hoo-hoo (owl sound), baby, gee (doggie) are some of her favorites. A couple weeks ago she was watching out the front window when the trash truck came through the cul-de-sac. She heard it beeping when it backed up, so now anytime she sees a truck, train, or any other large vehicle, she says “Beep beep beep.” She’s got about ten body parts down. Thank goodness she enjoys identifying them, because I can ask her where her belly, toes, ears, and hair are for hours. If only kids stayed this obedient forever!

She’s been bouncing to music for quite awhile, but suddenly last week she started doing what I call Toddler Tap Dancing. It started from watching one of her Baby Einstein DVDs in which a crayon tap-dances. I noticed she was kind of shuffling her feet and laughing one morning. Over a few days, this slowly evolved into something that looks vaguely like tap-dancing. With that in mind, I thought it was time to teach her how to really get into music. I threw in a Pearl Jam DVD Friday night, cranked it as high as was safe for a toddler, and started bouncing around on my own. Her reaction was hilarious. First, she just nodded her head, which is what I do when listening to music. She had an extremely serious look on her face, as if she was really getting deep into the music. When I started pogoing, she started jumping around and screaming. We chased each other around the room while listening to “In My Tree” and other PJ songs with heavy beats.

By far the weirdest thing about her development, though, is how she looks more and more like my mom every day. I can no longer claim her when people tell me how much she looks like me. “Yeah, but she looks just like my mom,” is how I respond. She’s even started holding her mouth in a manner that is exactly like my mom. Spooky. I can’t help but wonder if it’s a purely genetic inheritance or something more spiritual and mystic. We king of laugh about how much she looks like my mom, since her middle name was S.’s mom’s name. If we ever have another girl and give her Carolyn as a middle name, will she actually end up resembling Marie? Have we named our kids in the wrong order? The horror!

Keeping Up With The Jens

In recent weeks, I’ve been eating a lot of meals on my own. Changing a lot of diapers by myself. Spending a lot of evenings alone in the basement with the TV on, the laptop open, or a book in my lap. Read after the jump to find out the cause for all these oddities.

No, S. hasn’t left me. Rather, like our two friends named Jennifer in Kansas City who also had children in July 2004, we are expecting our second child in May 2006. While our offspring were scattered over four weeks two summers ago, this coming spring we’re scheduled to deliver within six days of each other. We know delivery dates don’t necessarily match due dates, but regardless, it promises to be an exciting month in our circle of friends. Rumor has it that Caroline N. and Jason L. are lobbying for late babies so they retain their claims to the middle of the month.

S. is currently 11 weeks along. She had a pretty rough month or so, but finally started to feel better just before our trip to Portland. Thank goodness! I can’t imagine every smell making you nauseous and being stuck on a plane full of strange odors. As with M., we went through a few weeks where I was pretty much eating all my meals on my own and spending evenings alone in the basement after S. fled for the comfort of our bed, waiting for sleep to arrive to soothe her nausea. The degree of difficulty is jacked up a little bit when you have a teething toddler (i.e. 3-4 unfortunate diaper changes a day) who is also going through periodic “I Must Cling to Mommy” phases. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’m glad men can’t get pregnant. The best thing about pregnancy, other than the fact we’ll have another baby in the house soon, is that S. has been craving barbecue on occasion. They say what the mom craves, the kid will crave later in its life. That’s a craving I can get on board with! I can’t wait to take this one back to KC to cut a wide eating swath through <a href=””>Arthur Bryant’s</a>, <a href=””>Gates</a>, and <a href=””>Oklahoma Joe’s</a>.

Yes, we will again find out what we’re having. That should happen in another four weeks or so. I will share whether we have a Boy Fetus or another Girl Fetus when that information is available. You will not, however, hear any of our names. OK, I’ll share one. Rashaun is getting a lot of love this time around. Depending on how well the Pacers do this fall, Jermaine could hit the charts with a bullet.

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