Friday, February 20, 2009

Blog silence

Prepare yourselves for blog silence. I'd hate for anyone to wonder why I suddenly stopped blogging, so I thought I'd warn you all that you won't be hearing from me for several days. It doesn't matter to me that 3 of the 6 people who actually read this blog will be with me in person during this blog silence, I thought I owed it to the blogosphere to give fair warning of my absence. Just in case I hadn't mentioned it before WE'RE GOING TO FLORIDA!

I'll be back before you know it, busting at the seams to blog all about my trip. Until then wish us swift and safe travel, ample entertainment on our iPods, an unusually prompt and efficient Liberty International Airport, and warm and sunny weather. I'll be crossing my fingers!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A snow day for Daddy

Yesterday we had our first legitimate 'storm' of the winter here in St. John's. Apparently we've had a really mild winter so far, and it's never February before you see the first big storm. Yesterday wasn't too bad as far as storms go, but it was nice to finally have a snow day where the whole family gets to hang out all day.

Kyle's school was closed for the day, and Shaun's office was closed for the day. It was my third snow day with the kids, but it was Shaun's first snow day of the winter. Luckily, Shaun had anticipated this occurrence, so he whipped out his laptop and his Blackberry (which I refer to, affectionately of course, as his 'Crackberry') and got to work from the comfort of the couch and his jammies.

Kyle declared it a 'Wii day.' Somehow 'snow day' had become synonymous with 'Wii day' here, but I don't mind.

I think we ended up getting about 8 inches of snow here at our house, though it's hard to tell with the wind blowing and causing the snow to drift everywhere. And the wind was crazy last night.

Here are a couple of pictures. It's hard to get a decent picture without going out into the snow myself--which doesn't happen often--but you can tell it's a lot of snow anyway. I can't tell you how happy I am that the snow decided to get out of the way now instead of hitting this weekend. And I can't tell you how glad I am to be heading out of this mess to sunny Florida in a couple of days!
Front yard


The Mother of All Snowplows

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A land far, far away

I was uploading some pictures of the kids to my Shutterfly account this morning, and I got sidetracked by several albums from 2003 and 2004. Shaun and I were living in Moscow at the time, but we took advantage of our proximity to Western Europe and spent every holiday and long weekend traveling out of Russia. Greece, Italy, Amsterdam, Paris, Ireland--it didn't matter where we went, we just wanted to see it all.

The digital photos of our adventures have been wasting away in my Shutterfly albums where no one has access to them, so I decided to change that this morning. I set up a new Share site on Shutterfly at that you can go to if you want to check out some of our old pictures. I also added a link to the right-hand column of this blog so that you can still check them out long after this post has migrated it's way off the page.

I've had a lot of fun shuffling back through some of our pictures and remembering all of our silly little adventures. I've also been reminded of how much I love to travel and how much I miss it now that we don't get a chance to do it as much. It's also been hilarious to see how Shaun and I have aged--we looked so young a couple of years ago!

Anyway, here are a couple of my favorites:

State History Museum, Moscow, June 2003

The Keizersgracht, Amsterdam, December 2003

Il Duomo, Florence, September 2003
The Eiffel Tower, Paris, February 2004
Ring of Kerry, Ireland, May 2004

Monday, February 16, 2009


Brandon's been walking a little bit for a couple of weeks now, but since he's been so sick and grumpy I wouldn't get near him with a video camera until now. In the past week he's gotten really good at it! I mean, yeah, he looks a little drunk, but this video was taken at 4:30 PM, so that can't really be why he's stumbling. I think this is what they call 'toddling.' So, is he a toddler now?

I apologize for the poor quality. I've been too lazy to get out the real video camera and have just been using the video feature on our digital camera. But you get the gist.

My iPod babies

Shaun and I had the strangest moment the other day. Shaun was sitting on the couch next to Kyle, teaching him how to use his iPod. Shaun's iPod. Because I was trying to decide whether or not to buy Kyle and Natalie their own iPods. Kyle was oblivious to us--his earbuds were in place, and he was paying rapt attention to Dora. Shaun and I just looked at each other and shook our heads. We were both thinking the exact same thing. Are we really talking about buying our preschoolers iPods? The same preschoolers that have their own computer and Wii and portable DVD player?

Kyle can use the computer all by himself, and it actually startled me a few months ago when I caught him asking me how to spell things so that he could Google them. He was just Googling Dora and Elmo and Toopy & Binoo, but he was Googling! My 4-year-old! He types faster than he can write.

Natalie's not quite as advanced since she's not quite 3, but you'd think she was born using a DVD player. When she heard us talking about buying another iPod she requested a pink one.

It's strange to think how different their childhoods will be from ours. And I can't even imagine how much more will change in the next twenty years. I hope progress will be good to my kids, but I also sometimes wish for something so much simpler for them. And for myself. I can't tell you how demeaning it is to have a Wii or iPod explained to you by a 4-year-old.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Muh-muh and Da-dee

We're not sure exactly when it happened, but Brandon has now graduated from saying 'Da-da' to saying 'Da-dee.' I think it may have been around the same time he finally started calling me 'Muh-muh.' It's almost as if he was calling us both Da-da until two weeks ago when he just all of a sudden decided to call us by our 'real' names. Muh-muh and Da-dee. That's us.

It seems like such an unimportant little thing, but it's one more detail that reminds me he's growing up, and in a few years I'm going to turn around and wonder what happened to my tiny little baby--like I do each and every day when I look at Kyle and Nat.

As much as I wish Brandon would slow down and give me a little more time to enjoy him as a baby, there is nothing cuter than when Shaun walks in the door at the end of the day, and Brandon looks up at him, grins, waves his little hand, and says "Hi, Da-dee!"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

People love to hate on Valentine's Day, but I'm all about another holiday that lets me show my loved ones how much I appreciate them. Who cares if it was a holiday 'invented by the card companies' or if it's become totally commercialized? What hasn't? No one complains about Halloween, and I've never seen a sillier holiday in my life. Little kids dressing up as cartoon characters or witches and begging door-to-door. If you want to talk about waste I can detail the amount of crappy candy my kids got for Halloween--not the good chocolate stuff but all the cheapo candy no one wants to eat themselves.

Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about cards and candy and flowers--though, those are definitely appreciated (especially the candy part). It can just be a day to stop and say 'I love you' to the people I love. Of course I do that every day anyway, but I don't mind having another excuse. It's pretty much impossible to say it too much, right? Especially when a family is as adorable as mine. And I will forever treasure the construction paper hearts my preschoolers cut out and decorate--I know they're supposed to be hearts even if they don't look like hearts!

Happy Valentine's Day! XOXO

Friday, February 13, 2009

Florida, here I come!

That's right! Brandon's ear infections have finally cleared up, and we'll all be making the trip to the sunny South in 9 days. I can tell that Brandon feels a million times better, and so do I now that I'm not dealing with a cranky baby all day long. When I told the doctor that towards the end of last week Brandon had a raging fever for 3 days and was miserable she speculated that he may have also had the flu on top of everything else. On Monday morning Brandon's second tooth finally broke through his gums, so teething wasn't helping the situation either. Since about Wednesday his perfectly happy disposition has returned. The teething has slowed down, ear infections are gone, the fever has disappeared, and the snot storm has abated.

In other news, Kyle and Natalie both seem to have a touch of fever today, so they're fighting off something, but they're acting fine for the most part. I'm sure they'll be better before the end of this weekend. They both got flu shots in October, so I'm not too concerned about that anyway.

We're all starting to get excited now that we know our vacation is most likely going to go as planned. *Knocks furiously on wood.* Now I just need to start making packing lists and shopping to get ready!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Our weekend

First, we went out on Friday night with some friends to this very awesome restaurant, and then we wandered down to a bar to hang out for a little while. I so needed this night out since I'd spent all my time since Wednesday catering to my miserable little Brandon. We had a great time getting out of the house for some adult conversation and food!

Brandon had a fever from Wednesday afternoon straight through until he woke up on Saturday morning. It was like a switch had been flipped overnight. He went to bed miserable and whiney on Friday and woke up like his old self on Saturday morning. You can imagine my relief. We have a doctor's appointment on Thursday to see if the ear infections have actually gone away or not. I'm so relieved at this point to have my happy little boy back that I don't even care if the ear infections haven't cleared up and I'm stuck hanging out in snowy Newfoundland while the rest of the family goes to Disney World.

On Saturday afternoon Kyle had his first Little Gym class of the semester. He had a blast playing on the equipment and learning all about safety in the gym. I stuck around to watch and enjoyed seeing what a grown-up little man Kyle has become--he was such a good listener and so well-behaved that I wondered if perhaps they sent something funny through the ventilation system at The Little Gym.

On Sunday we had a very lazy day until dinnertime, at which point we were forced to take the kids to their favorite restaurant. Kyle had been begging all week to go out for dinner, and on Tuesday I told him that maybe we could go out on Sunday, and darn if he didn't remember.

Overall, we had a totally typical and relaxing weekend. Today we're getting back to the business of preschool, naps and laundry.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A conversation with Brandon

I have big news... Brandon finally started saying "Ma-ma" a few days ago! Whoop! Whoop! It comes out like "Muh-muh," and it's super cute.

On Sunday I thought I heard it a couple of times, but on Monday he was definitely Ma-Ma-ing all over the place. I love it! It's like a little tug on my heart every time he says it. I guess he decided to hold out on me for so long so that it would mean that much more to me when it happened.

Brandon and I actually had a nice little conversation on Monday afternoon. He was standing next to the couch and toppled over in that typically random way babies tend to just topple over in the middle of doing nothing. When he landed he just barely bumped his head on the floor, but here's how our discussion went:

Brandon: "Muh-muh? Muh-muh?"

Me: "Yes, Baby? Are you okay?"

Brandon: *crawls over to me and pats my leg* "Muh-muh?"

Me: *scoops baby up off floor and kisses head* "Aww, did you bump your head?"

Brandon: "Yah."

Me: "And you needed a kiss from your Mommy to make it all better?"

Brandon: *gazes at me in wonder* "Da-da? Da-da."

Me: "Figures. Well, my kisses are just going to have to be enough until Daddy gets home from work."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Poor baby

Just to be clear, the poor baby I'm referring to is me.

I took Brandon back to the doctor's office this morning since he was diagnosed with a double ear infections two weeks ago, and the doctor wanted him to come back so she could make sure that the infections had cleared up. Brandon's had a rough couple of weeks since he's had a cold and these ear infections and has been teething at the same time (as have I if you remember my snot post of a few days ago), but I thought the ear infections would definitely have gone away by now. Guess what? That's right. Those pesky ears are still infected. Apparently these particular bacteria didn't mind that first round of antibiotics at all. They must have loved that yummy strawberry-flavored amoxicillin as much as Brandon did. Now we're on to round two of antibiotics, and we're hoping this kind will do the trick.

Now for the poor baby part. If this darn ear infection doesn't clear up in the next two weeks someone's going to have to forego their trip to Florida! I'm nominating Shaun, but I'm pretty sure he'll be nominating me. Maybe we can draw straws? Maybe the decision will be made for us when I see who's flying on the ticket we actually bought versus whose name is on the ticket we reserved using frequent flier miles. It's actually a toss up... stay home alone in the peace and quiet with the angel baby for a week, or run around Disney World with two excited, squealing preschoolers for a week? I'm torn.

Anyway, it's a little early to be worrying about it right now, I know. But as Shaun would tell you, that's my MO. Plan for every eventuality so that nothing takes me by surprise and everything's cleanly executed. Ask my wedding reception DJ. He said he'd never before DJ'd for a wedding where everything was running five minutes early all day. Right now I'm hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

The worst case wouldn't even really be missing a trip to Florida. The worst case would be if this mother-of-all-ear-infections doesn't go away and my little man has to get tubes put in his ears. (Okay, the true worst case would be the rare but possible skull infection or meningitis that results from an untreated ear infection, but that would be a stretch since we know the ear is infected and we're watching it. I'm not a drama queen.) The ear tubes wouldn't really be a huge deal, but I'd rather not have to face it. I've had to watch one kid come out of anesthesia after a tonsillectomy, and I'd prefer not to have the experience repeated.

We head back to see the doctor again in two weeks, so I'll just have to try not to worry too much about Florida until then. But in the meantime, anyone know where I can get an otoscope? And does anyone know what an ear infection actually looks like anyway?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Broccoli Obama

fun pics Pics and Crazy Pictures

On Inauguration Day a couple of weeks ago the kids and I went over to a friend's house for an Inauguration Day party. We had some lunch, socialized a little, then all sat together watching President Obama's inaugural address. Shaun, unfortunately, had to work that day (I know! On a Tuesday! Can you imagine having to work on a Tuesday?) and missed the address, however, thanks to the miracle of DVR he was able to watch it several days later On Demand.

While watching the inauguration Shaun decided it was a good opportunity to teach Kyle a little American culture, and below is the resulting exchange between my husband and my son.

Shaun: Kyle, do you know the U.S. has a new President? Do you know his name?

Kyle: No. Do you know, Dad? What's his name?

Shaun: His name is Barack Obama. President Barack Obama.

Kyle: Broccoli Obama?! His name is Broccoli?! Broccoli President Obama. *crazy gales of four-year-old laughter*

My son isn't worried that President Obama might be a Socialist or a Muslim or unpatriotic (you know you received at least one of those completely inflammatory and, worse, stupid email forwards from a distant, crazy relative or some backward acquaintance from high school)... Kyle is simply tickled to death that the new President is named after a VEGETABLE! Smart kid.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Rearranging the furniture

Like the new digs? I decided to try on a little pink in honor of Valentine's Day in a couple of weeks.

Changing the background on my blog is my computerized version of rearranging the furniture. The house we live in right now is a little small for our Texas-sized furniture, so there's not much room for rearranging. I think I inherited the urge to rearrange furniture from my mother. Every time I go home for a visit all of the furniture in my parents' house is in a different layout from the previous time. Some of the most exciting days in my childhood were when I'd come home from school and find all the furniture out of place, my mother dusting everything and looking around trying to imagine what the room would look like with the couch over 'there' and the chairs over 'here'. Sometimes she'd even rearranged my room, and I always felt so special because my mom had been spending time in my room trying to decide where my desk could go and where my bed would look good.

Now it seems strange to me that for being such a child of habit, a child who couldn't handle a trip to the doctor's office without a three-day warning, a child who even as a teenager would have a meltdown at the notion of an unscheduled stop at the grocery store, I loved having the furniture in the house relocated. But I'll save that self-analysis for another day.

Anyway, I'm dedicating this background change to you, Mom. :) And I'm wishing everyone a Happy February! If you decide you feel like rearranging your own electronic furniture you should visit the site Very cute stuff, indeed.