Friday, February 29, 2008

Easter Stuff & Piles

I raided the Target dollar spot yesterday to get stuff for the girls' Easter baskets before all the good things were gone. They have some really cute stuff this year. I also got them movies for their baskets (they always get a movie in each of their baskets). Now, I just need to get candy (which I'm going to get at CVS because I can get a way better price on it). I wanted to make sure I had everything, just in case this baby makes an early arrival.

I got a cute little egg wreath for the front door and then realized my front door isn't really "wreath friendly" due to the glass panels. Oh well, it still looks okay.

Boys are dumb. I know my husband is home from his trip because of all the new piles that have sprung up since last night. Suitcase on the floor, pile of dirty laundry on the floor, pile of "conference crap" on the floor. So, I'm publicly shaming him! Doesn't he know I can't bend over right now?

Leap Day

Happy Leap Day! I unfortunately pulled a muscle in my back yesterday afternoon, and am in a world of hurt. So much so, that I can't bring myself to go grocery shopping today. So...I'm going to make Chicken Pot Pie tonight from scratch. I usually cheat and use a Pillsbury crust, but I'd rather just make a crust myself than go shopping. B will be pleased as this is her favorite dinner and I haven't made it in awhile. Hopefully she won't balk at the different crust. If she does, I might freak out.

We have soccer games starting tomorrow. I need to get out in the yard desperately and work on the landscaping. It's in bad shape.

And to make you feel better about reading this boring blog is an interesting article about Global Cooling.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I'm anxiously awaiting Daniel's return from a conference today. I've not only had to do all of the stuff I normally do everyday this week plus work, but all of the stuff he normally does too. He always gets up at night with the kids (unless they are nursing, but even then really), he always puts them to bed, he always takes J to preschool, puts out the trash, closes up the house, and does at least a low quality job of cleaning up after dinner. My back is killing me because no one has rubbed it in 3 days (I know, I'm spoiled). My back and pregnancy are mortal enemies. Plus, falling asleep at night just isn't the same without his habit of leaving his lamp on, and constantly wiggling his giant toes. It's more difficult believe it or not. I have not missed the part where I have to wake up at midnight and take his glasses off, and turn off the TV though. That happens often.

The only advantage to him being gone is that I've been able to organize our time in the manner that best suits me. We ate dinner earlier, got chores done earlier, I packed lunches at night, and there were far less dishes and laundry without another adult around. Those are just about the only benefits.

On another note, I have to go to the Dr again today. It's getting really old. I feel like I'm there constantly and know I will be switching to EVERY week sometime in the next couple of weeks. Sigh. It's kind of annoying since I really don't have very exciting pregnancies. I'm in and out the door in 2 minutes, but it takes a chunk of the day to get down there and back, plus waiting room time.

Sounds like Miss L is waking up. And I'm off...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tramp Hair

...trampoline that is...

I had to include this one because their facial expressions
are each so reflective of their personalities.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

According to my daughter's school assignment...

I "stay at the house all day". If only it was that simple.

So B came home with a little essay of sorts about her family. According to which, "I have a mom, who stays at the house all day. My dad goes to work all day. I have 2 sisters named L & J. I have a new baby coming soon." The illustration shows all of us in our family room, with her prominently holding L in her arms.

If only "staying at the house" didn't include the 7 loads of laundry that I folded and put away today, the 4 trips out to take people to/from school, the non-stop toddler wrangling, bathroom cleaning, mountain of dishes, working 4 hours tonight from 7-11pm (granted it doesn't involve actually leaving the house), etc. I sometimes think going to work all day would be a lot Sigh.

Ode to the Smurfs

I LOVE the Smurfs. I grew up on them, they are clearly the greatest cartoon characters ever. Cartoons were good back in the 80's. Now, most cartoons are obnoxious. I have looked many times for Smurf DVD's. I have never found any, which I think is odd.

If you ever see the username Smurfette on a mommy type of message's probably me. I've been using that username for years.

Other cartoons I wish they would bring back...Captain Cave Man, the Saturday morning version of the Bearenstain Bears (another of my book obsessions), Tiny Toons, the Gummy Bears, the Snorks, Garfield and Friends.

So, I saw a commercial today saying that season 1 of the Smurfs is available on DVD starting today. How long do you think I will be able to resist ordering it on Amazon? I give myself 48 hours to crack.

A little Smurfiness to whet your appetite...
Episode 238

Monday, February 25, 2008

When will it end?

Here is my little sick eyed girl, playing dress up. Her shirt is covered in pasta sauce from her lunch. Her eyes look awful today. I'm trying to decide if I need to call her Dr about the double goopy eye. I guess I'll give them one more day and if they continue to worsen, I'll have to bring her in. Sigh. We go through something like this every winter. Where no matter what we do someone is continuously sick for at least a month. It usually happens earlier in the winter.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Messing Around

I'm "resting" while Miss Goopy Eye is taking a nap. I was messing around on Photoshop Elements with this picture of her that I took yesterday. I like this picture. It's one of the few that didn't turn out blurry due to the lighting and my lack of skill. Since I have pretty much given up on the photo blog, I'm just going to post it here. I just cropped it, then did a black and white layer over the original, and then adjusted the opacity on the black and white layer to around 70%. Nothing fancy, but she sure is pretty.


We finally took the kids to Schlitterbahn for J's chosen birthday outing. The indoor portion is only open on weekends in the winter, and we have soccer games starting next Saturday, which will take us all the way until after the baby is born. So, we kind of had no other choice. I finished my antibiotic yesterday and was about 90% healthy. The kids had a great time. I survived by spending most of the day in a chair, and could still barely walk by the time we got home. I've hit that 8 month mark where my face starts to get really round, and walking/standing for more than 15 minutes makes everything below the baby swell up (except my ankles and feet they don't ever swell). I look like a whale in this picture.

We spent a great deal of time in the kids play area, and on the wave river. Daniel spent the rest of the time taking the big girls down the slides (L and I were not up for the slides). We had a picnic lunch, and went to Chilis for dinner. That pretty much sums up the day. I'm really glad we got it done because time is short on family outings without a newborn. Unfortunately, L came down with a case of goopy eye (conjunctivitis) and it looks like I will be stuck home (AGAIN!) with her today since she can't go to nursery at church with an eye infection. Also, I can't be on my feet chasing her down the hall for 2 hours at this point, or I'll end up in labor and delivery. She must have gotten it from her cold because she always rubs her whole face when she is sick. Just our luck.

I have a terrible immune system, which I inherited from my father. He spends a lot of time on antibiotics due to several things like chronic bronchitis. It seems like every little cold goes down into our chest and becomes a major problem. I don't think there is much to be done about it. I just hope my kids grow up to have healthier immune systems than myself.

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Alarm System is Working!!!

We have lived in this house for 18 months. For 18 months, I've been meaning to call the alarm company so that I could reset the darn thing and start using it. It never happened, until today. I can honestly say that Leslie and her recent unpleasant experience helped to spur me toward actually getting it done. Such a simple thing. It took 5 minutes. Now it is officially set, and I feel a major sense of accomplishment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Freezer is Here!

Ok, I know that I talked about the freezer I ordered on the other blog, but I'm so excited that it is here. My mom didn't even know I had gotten one when I mentioned it was being delivered today. Shame on her for not hanging on my every word from multiple blogs!!! A mothering tragedy I say. ;) Maybe it's because she spent 8 hours taking care of my kids yesterday because I was too sick to move, other than the violent coughing episodes. It's like something out of the Exorcist. But I freezer is here, and hopefully if my antibiotics are working by tomorrow I can start loading up on some more frozen Green Giant veggies on the super awesome Randall's sale that I've been ravaging. Oooh, and the Blue Bell ice cream is 3/$10 at Kroger this week. It's been $5.xx for what seems like months now with nary a sale in sight. If only I could wind back the clock to last week and get my boneless, skinless chicken for the buy one get one free price. Oh well, that sale comes around often enough. I am giddy at the thought of being able to open my freezer drawer (our fridge has the bottom freezer drawer, and the french door top) and being able to get it closed again sans shoe horn. Here's a picture of my new baby...bring on the bargains!

Windows and Doors

I know I can't be the only one who has an ongoing power struggle going on in their house. I'm curious what other people have as a similar issue. I open windows at any given opportunity. Daniel closes any window he sees open with no obvious reason. It's getting ridiculous. I will open a window and walk past it 5 minutes later to find it closed. What is up with that? Also, our bathroom has 2 skinny doors, instead of one big one. They are intended to be kept open. For some unknown reason, my husband finds it necessary to close and lock one of the 2 doors leaving a tiny 18 inch opening to squeeze my 8 month pregnant self through. I'll open the door up, but if he is home he unconsciously closes and locks it within 10 minutes. I know I've complained about this same issue before, but it's been driving me nuts the past few days.

On a side note, I continued to get sicker this week until the Dr put me on a stupid z-pack of antibiotics yesterday. Hopefully I won't end up with pneumonia. That would stink.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Nest Much?

Despite my severe sickness, I felt a burning need to get the bassinet stuff washed and put together today. L helped me change the pink gingham liners and ribbon to the blue. I bought this inexpensive bassinet right before L was born, because we were in the process of moving. It's nothing fancy, but I like it. I do not feel like going up and down the stairs constantly to feed the baby while I am healing from my this bassinet will be getting another use. I never thought I would get to use the blue ribbons (so fun!). Now, if I could only figure out what I did with my native carrier sling I would feel ready. Thankfully my sling is blue too, though I could use a second one, and I need to get one in Daniel's size too. The one I tried to make him was flimsy. Maybe if I try again with better fabric. Hmm, it couldn't possibly be my lack of sewing skills?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Still Sick

I was laying next to these 2 today, coughing my head off as usual
when I realized I was the only one awake.
So, I'm starting to think I got one of the strains of the flu which my flu shot did not protect me from. According to CNN, if you have a cold that lasts more than 5 days, it's probably the flu. I don't know if that is accurate or not, but I have gotten sicker and sicker every day since Tuesday. Daniel has a bad ear infection. L is finally starting to improve, and so far B&J still seem healthy.
Friday evening L got into my makeup. Of course she was wearing a crisp little Gymboree shirt with a lace collar, which is now covered in mascara.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Communing With Nature

We got a free trampoline from my parents' neighbors. It was only a few months old, but they built a pool and had a fancy play fort put in their yard so they were getting rid of the trampoline due to lack of space. Yes it's an eye sore, but if it makes the peas happy, it makes me happy. It does need to be moved over so that it's not in the center of the yard though. You all know how much I love free stuff. Do you know what else I love? Winter in TX. It's great. The peas ate breakfast outside this morning and did some extensive jumping. Then, they went to Grammy's for a couple of hours so that I could grocery shop without 3+ Liliputians in tow. Grammys are great like that. The only downside of the day is that L and I still have this horrible cough/sore throat, and she refused to take any naps today.
The big girls with some of their V-day loot
(yes they are spoiled totally rotten...ugh)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day. It's a super busy day here, so we are not doing much celebrating. Of course I made up little Valentine bags for my 4 Valentines. And I sent in the girls class Valentines today (luckily I had them all ready 2 weeks ago, otherwise I wouldn't have found time to do it). I worked this morning, have a Dr appt this afternoon, B has soccer practice tonight. I'm just glad I managed to toss some dinner in the crockpot. That pretty much sums up the day. Yeah for a long 3 day weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

There should be a law...

that prohibits pregnant people from catching colds. What's worse than being 7+ months pregnant with a giant boy up in your ribcage so that you can't breath? Having a giant boy up in your ribcage and having a throat that is almost swollen shut. Thanks L for bringing home more germs from the Nursery at church. Ok, finished complaining, carry on.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today's Photos

A violent storm rolled through. I love a good storm. Especially short ones.

The big peas were at school. L was insisting on playing outside despite the impending storm. I had to drag her inside.

She found a ribbon somewhere in the house and insisted on wearing it on her head. Then, I caught a sneeze on camera while trying to photograph it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Childhood Memorabilia

It's funny the things that you end up saving from your childhood. For some reason, I have strong memories of a few specific cups that I loved when I was little. Only one survived, (pictured below) and my girls still use it regularly. I have no idea how it has lasted this many years. The funny thing about this cup is that it is the Nestle Quick bunny, and I don't recall ever drinking Nestle Quick in my life. I don't know where my mom got the cup from. My other two favorite cups were: a regular yellow cup with a Wonder Woman figurine as the handle, and a set of Smurf juice glasses. I thought I would take a picture of it before it ends up completely trashed and has to be thrown away.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


B finally decided to learn to ride her bike today! It took 5 minutes for her to get the hang of it. She was just afraid the last few times we tried to teach her and had no interest in trying again. She's going to need a bigger bike soon. J is getting better at balancing on her scooter. Hopefully she will be ready to lose the training wheels soon too. L also lost her fear of her power wheels toy today. She doesn't freak out when she pushes the button now and it starts driving.
Other highlights of the day:
-we got all of their soccer equipment today, practices start this week
-I washed, cleaned, and vacuumed my car and put down 5 bags of mulch
-Daniel changed out a lot of door knobs in the house

Thursday, February 7, 2008

On a Lighter Note...

I watched the Lake House last night. The one with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. I heard that it was really stupid, but I actually enjoyed it. It was a predictable chick flick, but that's all I expected of it. Earlier this week, Daniel and I watched The Astronaut Farmer, with Billy Bob Thornton. It was a STRANGE movie, but he's a great actor, so we enjoyed that also.

Why Am I Opening My Mouth and Inviting More Drama?

I don't know why I am opening my mouth and inviting more drama to the blog. But, this quote by Mr. Romney is causing quite a stir on the LDS bulletin board that I read. I'm not going to state my opinion about it, so as not to inflame anyone (again)...but feel free to comment if you are so inclined. I promise not to insult you for your opinion. Come on little brother, you know you want to comment ;)

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror,"

Also, with Mr. McCain's recent behavior, does anyone think that the GOP really stands a chance in this election? I think my husband is right. The two party system is seriously going to destroy this country. I want more voting options that actually have significant meaning in the general election.

*A final addition: To those staunch Romney supporters who read this blog, and I know there are several of you, I'm sorry for your loss. I imagine that if I felt as strongly as you do about a specific candidate, and they were in the same situation, I would be equally upset.


Is it possible to cut back on my work schedule any farther and still be actually working? I guess I will have to find out. Today is not my day. B lied about brushing her teeth, not happy about lying. J dirtied 2 clean shirts and got something sticky in her hair before she managed to get out the door for preschool. L screamed non stop, stood on the table threw her shoe at my head, spilled her cereal, and dumped a pencil sharpener out on the floor. During this time Daniel had two teleconferences (7am, and 8am), and had to drop both kids off at school at 7:45am and 9am. I packed 3 lunches, got everyone ready, and tried to work a shift from 7:30-11:30am. That did not work because L was screaming and throwing shoes at my head, which forced me to be unable to concentrate, which caused me to be unable to successfully calibrate on the question that I was supposed to be scoring today. So, I only "worked" for the 45 minutes it took me to fail my sample set of essays. I'm supposed to be at a Brownie meeting at 4:30, and will either have to bring all the kids with me, or call out sick (mentally sick that is).

Why don't I quit my job you ask? It's not like I "have to" work you say? I don't quit because I love to work. The little bit of work that I am able to do from home feeds my brain. It is the only thing that I do that is not for or about the peas and Daniel. It is the tiny little piece of my life that is not about being the "mama". Maybe when I decided to have 4 children I forfeited my right to have anything to myself at all. It's entirely possible, and I guess I may have to make peace with that.

Next time scheduling comes around, I will cut back yet again to maybe 2, 4 hour evening shifts a week during scoring sessions (which is not even all that often). If I'm lucky it will be just enough to keep me "on the rolls" so to speak. If it is not, I guess I will be officially unemployed.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Birthday Favorite and Funny Expressions

J stated that Cinderella's Enchanted Slipper Game was her favorite birthday present. I got the honor of playing it with the big girls last night. It's easy and relatively fun. They seem to enjoy it. I guess Grammy has good taste.

Two funny things that I've heard J say today:
1. "You're a mangy thief L."
2. "I'm not falling for that L, I'm not falling for that fake crying."
(It's true she does have a "fake" cry that she uses to manipulate people. It sounds fake, doesn't involve tears, and can be turned off instantly if she gets what she wants.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Anything But Toys

This pea will play with anything, as long as it doesn't involve an actual toy that is recommended for her age. She "helped" empty the dishwasher and start up the laundry. Then she wandered around the house screaming, "CHEWY!!!". I told her "Chewy" was at school, but every 5 minutes she forgets and starts looking for her again. I've tried to redirect her toward her toys a dozen times, but today she only wants to play with the "mea-soor", see below.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Mr. Men Show

Now that the satellite is all hooked up and all of my televisions are fully functional (a miracle), J and I discovered a new show. It's retro-tastic! If you grew up with the Little Miss and Mr. Men books like I did, you have to watch it. The Mr. Men show. It's new on Cartoon Network.

J's Birthday Photos

Here are a few of photos of J's family birthday dinner.
3 pretty girls and a big ugly pregnant lady
Opening presents

Happy Birthday to you...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

First Post: By Guest Blogger DJA

I think this is my first post on my wife's blog. I felt it was time since (for once) one of the things of personal semi-interest has semi-intersected something my wife was doing the other day. She was watching a documentary on her computer the other day about the typographical font, Helvetica. I think you can see it here.

This was something I had heard about several weeks ago from a blog I read about computer programming and software design best practices, Coding Horror. The topic of fonts and readability was something I was first exposed to in a lunchtime lecture presented when I was a intern for Microsoft Research in 2005. The discussion was about the ClearType technology used in Windows to more smoothly render fonts on the screen, particular on LCDs, where the red, green, and blue sub-pixels can be easily and independently controlled. It turns out the optimal filtering algorithm to complement the processing done by the human visual system was developed by this guy, who is a member of Microsoft Research. He actually interviewed me when I originally applied for the internship in 2004. Very smart guy, as were pretty much all the people I met there.

In any case, this is all tangentially related to a very popular open source typesetting system used in Academia and in the open-source software world, LaTeX. I spent a good two years, from 2004-2006, rewriting and vastly improving a LaTeX (pronounce La-Tech) thesis template for the Georgia Tech community, all in my little bit of spare time. You can find it here. I used it for my MS thesis, and I understand that it has become quite popular with the ECE students there.

But TeX, which LaTeX is built upon, was invented by a giant of the computer science world, Donald Knuth. The Coding Horror blog had a post about him just a few weeks back as well. But that post, much like the original post about fonts and typography, serves to emphasize the tight, but non-obvious, coupling between art and science (or engineering).

This coupling is something I have come to appreciate much more in my first year and a half as a full-time employee of **. I was not trained as a software engineer. But working on software, it quickly becomes clear that there are many, technically valid ways to solve a problem with lines of computer code. But certain solutions are more elegant (some might say more correct, but if your code works, can you really say it is less correct?). Certain solutions lend themselves to better code reuse, or easier maintainability, or other different desirable features. But what makes those solutions better is not always clear, especially to someone who didn't specifically study this in school. Hence the art. But that's what engineering is - art. Principally the art of finding technically correct solutions that meet your needs and fit the constraints (usually dominated by limited time and limited money). Typography is that too - a heady blend of science and art. Kind of like my wife and I.

P.S. - If you've read this entire thing, and found yourself bored to tears, let my wife know via the comments so that she can disable my access. I would hate to drive away her readers.

P.P.S - You'll notice this post is full of hyperlinks. If you post anything to the Web (aka the Internet to most people, but that's a misnomer - maybe I'll post about that next week if I'm still allowed to), make sure to link in your text to other relevant pages. It's these links that make the Web...well, a web.

Friday, February 1, 2008

12pm-5pm My Butt

So, our window for our Satellite installation was 12pm-5pm. At 7:30pm the tech showed up. He was going to go up on the roof in the pitch black in 40 degree weather. He would have then had to go in the attic and roam around our house hooking up boxes, estimated to take 3 hours. Umm....that's 10:30pm if we're lucky. And we have 3 kids trying to go to bed. So, we just rescheduled for Monday. Why is it whenever I have an appointment window scheduled, I am always the very last person in line?

Baby Songs

Not much time today. I need to get to the grocery store before the Satellite guy shows up. I was thinking yesterday about the songs that I used to sing to my babies, when they were, well...babies. You know, the ones you sing (totally butcher is more like it in my case) when you are rocking them at night, etc. Each of my girls had their own favorite song when they were tiny. I thought before I forget what they were, I should jot them down here for posterity's sake.

Baby B: Beautiful Boy...John Lennon. I know it's not logical, but I always changed the "boy" to "girl" and the "daddy" to "mommy" when I sang it. You don't want to hear me sing it, so here is the song with the "correct" lyrics.

Baby J: Sing. You know...the one from Sesame Street. It's a beautiful song, I've always loved it, so did she.

Baby L: Carole King- Child of Mine. No explanation needed, she has great taste.

[insert shameless ploy for comments]->Did your kids have a favorite lullaby?