Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dinner at Hogwarts

On Monday, Nick and I attended a very formal event, held at Northwestern's University Club.  It started with drinks and hors d'oeuvre in the eighth floor library, overlooking the Art Institute.  This was no public library.  It looked more like a castle library you walk into and discover the Duke smoking a cigar as he reads Shakespeare. I didn't want to appear out of place, or overly impressed, so I played it cool and didn't take lots of pictures.

But when we walked into the dining room, it was too impressive to maintain a cool demeanor.  It was a cathedral-like room, and to add to the magic, had dozens of large golden snowflakes hanging from the ceiling.  It instantly reminded me of the great hall at Hogwarts in Harry Potter with its enchanted ceiling.  The room has crests of Ivy League schools all along the wall.  The stories-tall Christmas tree added to the charm.  My pictures don't do it justice of course.
This picture doesn't show how awesome my hair looked.

The place is so formal, that I think they made the one guy who showed up without a jacket borrow one.  The event was to present three surgeons with endowed chairs at UIC.  Everyone in the program was wearing doctoral robes, which look a lot like wizarding robes.  The was a formal procession in, with the lead person carrying a giant wooden staff, which then went into a holder on the stage.
I never figured out what that was about.

Nick was invited by one of the honorees who he has worked under and co-written a paper with.  I think we were about thirty years under the average age of attendees.  We sat next to a really fun couple, and when they found out we were from Utah, asked if we were Mormon.  Then they said, "Oh, so do you know so-and-so?"  And yes, we did know that family.  

When we were leaving, I found this door when I was looking for the bathroom.  How can this place not be Hogwarts?
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spelling is Important

I took this picture the last time I went to the St Louis version of the DMV, which is actually run by AAA.  This is how not to spell Tiffany.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fire Station Tour, or House of Horrors

Part of the tour scared him, but he was all smiles when it came to the fire truck.

Our playgroup toured a local fire station last month.  As much as Henry loves fire trucks and red hats, it was not all fun.  Part of the tour is they show a fireman in full protective gear to acclimate children to the appearance of a rescuer.  Henry was terrified.  The fireman became a sort of brown version of Darth Vader in all his gear.  Henry would not go near him.  He hid behind me.  He made me pick him up and hold him.
The firemen stressed the importance of family fire drills, smoke alarms, and fire extinguishers.  But with this age they said the really important thing is to teach them not to hide from fire fighters in an emergency.  Henry was too frightened for that message to really sink in, so we will have to go back for another tour in a few months.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 17, 2012

Gigi at Almost 16 Months

Gigi is almost sixteen months.  In many ways she is still a little baby, but she is completely her own person.  She is very determined and strong willed, but there's a lot she will do if we simply ask nicely.  She hasn't let me feed her any pureed or baby foods since just before her first birthday.  She's still very unskilled with a fork, so as a result her face is usually messy because of her wild ways of feeding herself.  She also hates to have her face wiped off.  She will eat some fruits, but I can't trick or bribe her into eating vegetables.

She loves to play on the playground, and she would spend all day on the slides if we would let her.  She's figured out that if she holds up her feet, she will go down faster.  Last week she started going down some of the slides head-first.  She's pretty much fearless.

Most of her clothes are sized 12 months (which generally means a 9-12-month-old would wear them.)  I just recently put away most of her nine month clothes, and both of these pictures are 9-month size.  Often people are surprised by what she can do, because they think she's six months younger than she is.  Often I get asked if she's walking yet, and moments later they see her running away from me.

She loves clothes, shoes, and accessories.  Not only is she a fan of her own wardrobe, she loves everyone's.  She brings clothing items to me that she wants to put on.  There is a particular pair of heels in my closet that she digs out over and over again, then tries to walk in them.  She doesn't get far.  She also loves to have her nails painted.  On the rare occasion I put make-up on, she wants it too (but doesn't get it.)

I think she's just about to take off talking.  She says a handful of words that even a stranger would understand, but I know she's trying to say so much more.  She clearly says, "Mommy, Daddy" and most emphatically, "me! me!"  "Me" is her word for everything she wants.  Dallas joked that we should change her name from Gigi to Mimi.  You could interpret it as "Give it to me, please!" or "Help Me!" or "Give that to me now or I will cut you!"  She's very persuasive.  She yelled "mine" for the first time two days ago.  She is just beginning to say "thank you."  She says "oww" for up and out.  She also seems to have music aptitude.  She can keep a beat and seems to have a talent for matching pitch.

We have had to trim the back of her hair because it had become too much like a baby mullet.  Nick cut it.  We figured since barbers used to be surgeons, can't the reverse also be true?  She is still using my hair as a security blanket.  When she is really tired, you will still catch her sucking her left thumb and playing with her hair with her right hand.

She loves all of Henry's toys, and as a younger sibling does, wants to play with him a lot more than he would like.  She's been making "vroom" car noises for months.  She likes hugging her stuffed animal, which Henry has never done.  She also likes to cuddle with a blanket, and maybe even carry it around for a while.  She seems to like baby dolls, somehow not realizing she is a baby herself.  

I think she's going to be more mischievous than Henry was, but it may be because she has him as a tutor.  A few days ago she shampooed the carpet, meaning she took the pump of shampoo from the bathroom and squirted some onto the stairway carpeting.  She is a skilled climber, and is getting better and better at opening things she shouldn't.  

She and Henry are still sharing a bedroom, and it works pretty well for the most part.  She just finished getting her upper K-9 teeth, and is now working on the lower ones.  She hates having her diaper changed and tries to escape before you can get a new one on her.

Monday, July 30, 2012

We Know How to [ruin a] Party

Last week was the annual residency party, and our kids were specifically invited.  It was hosted by an attending in his beautiful home.  If you are thinking that beautiful homes and small children don't really go together, you are right.
On the way there, I realized I hadn't brought Gigi a bottle, so we stopped and bought some milk at a 7-Eleven, where I witnessed shoplifting that the clerk did nothing about.
Once there, I had to ask for a straw so Gigi could easily drink the milk, and the hosts graciously did.  When she got tired of the milk, Georgia hit the cup out of my hands and milk splattered onto the floor.
Henry was busy trying to hurt himself on their hammock, but he did pause long enough to pee his pants right by the back door, next to the grill.
The best part was probably that Nick told me it was a pool party.  It wasn't.  We were all dressed very casually and had a giant back of pool stuff with us.  I'm just glad I didn't go in my swimsuit and that we left the pool noodles at home.

Another upside of thinking you are going to a pool party, but instead being at a pool-less party was that once Henry had his accident, he was able to change into swim trunks instead of running around Naked.

How Much Do They Know?

I was listening to NPR today as they discussed how individuals are tracked on the Internet, and then companies match that data up with public records and know who you really are.  I also read an article that discussed how Target tracks purchases made with bank cards, figures out stuff about you, and then markets directly to you according to what they know.  In the example, Target had sent a mailer created specifically for pregnant women to a 17-year-old girl.  Her father was outraged that they would send it to a teenager.  Then his daughter confessed that she was pregnant.  Target knew because of what she was buying- and it wasn't baby stuff, and it made Target sound really creepy.

It seems like advertisers know far more about us than we guess.  So after thinking about this in the morning, I was really surprised by what I found in our mail this afternoon.  Nick got a special envelope in the mail, from Camel Tobacco.  He has never smoked, and he's not about to start.  I guess they don't know as much as I thought.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Smitten From the Start

Today marks nine years since Nick and I had our first date.  For unknown reasons, I've always remembered that we met June 29, and went on our first date July 19, 2003.  Today I thought it would be fun to dig out my old journals, untouched for years, and see what I wrote.  I knew I was actively journaling during that period, and knew I would probably laugh at what I wrote.

". . . . . I've met someone who I've become inexplicably enamored with.  I started talking with him Sunday nights at ward prayer several weeks ago.  Within about five minutes of talking to him, I knew I liked him.  After a couple weeks of these chats, I really like him, and after going out with him on Saturday, I find that I'm far more swept away in it than I'm comfortable with.
          His name is Nicholas.  He's a pre-med student majoring in German and works for UPS.  He's very smart, funny, nice, says "Nice!" a lot, and is apparently very handy with tools.  . . .  . . . .He seems to get all my stupid, obscure references. . . . . .He invited me to do something with him next Saturday night.  I just don't want to wait that long before I see or talk to him.  Call me crazy- I deserve it- I barely met this guy."

So, yes, it is a bit much for a guy I'd only been on one date with.  But I guess I can't call call 22-year-old me too crazy.  She was right about everything.  I don't think I gush over Nick in public too much, but I love him more now than ever.  I'm amazed at how fast nine years together has passed by.  And he is very handy with tools, a skill I continue to benefit from.  Remember Brenda's advice, and marry someone who can sheet rock.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

All Good Things . . . .

I have recently discovered that Neutrogena has stopped making the make-up I like.  I know what you're thinking.  "She wears make-up??"  I very occasionally wear make-up, which is why I've only recently discovered that I can't buy replacement cosmetics.  In order to wear make-up, conditions must be just right.  And by "just right," I mean that I must be a passenger in a car on my way to an event, and have my make-up bag with me.  Last time I bought it, I had a coupon for buy one, get one half off.  The two containers of mineral powder lasted about three years of very occasional use.  I think the easiest thing to do will just be to admit that I no longer wear make-up.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Stellar Housekeeping and Parenting

On a recent Saturday morning, the whole family came down for breakfast, excited to have Nick make Henry's favorite breakfast, Mickey Mouse pancakes.  This hasn't happened in a long time because Nick does not get a weekend like normal people.  But that is changing for one year.  Nick is doing a year of research as part of his residency, and will be working "normal" hours for the first and probably last time in our married lives.

Unfortunately, the pancake breakfast was momentarily delayed by an ant invasion.  There are lots of ants outside our house.  If you leave anything available to them, we then have ants inside our house.  There was a hearty trail of ants coming under our front door, crossing the carpet in to the kitchen, and heading under the kitchen cart.  I moved the kitchen cart to discover a chicken nugget (from lunch with friends the day before), which was heavily peppered with moving ants.  I was laughing at the absurdity of it as I grabbed the broom and dustpan to sweep up the ants and nugget in one go.

But then I looked down and there was no nugget, just ants.  I looked around and saw that Gigi was holding the nugget, and lots of ants.   And I could see that she had taken a bite out of the nugget, just by looking at her face, which now had ants on it.

I felt bad that she was eating old meat and bugs, but I laughed a lot too.  You don't need to bother, I'll call DCFS on myself.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Whatever It Takes


She loves to drive her car.  She has since figured out how to open the door, but even before that she wasn't going to let anything keep her from driving her sweet ride.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Fathers Day

For Nick and the grandpas.
And that's right, the best pictures I got today are pantless.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Do They Look Alike?

They are approximately the same age in these pictures, just shy of their first birthday.
I can't decide if they look a lot alike.

Also, the picture of Henry really reminds me how much I miss the lighting in our St Louis apartment.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

National Train Day

Henry has his serious face on, so you know he's having lots of fun.

We took Henry to Union Station for Amtrak's National Train Day.  Nick went on virtually no sleep, just because he wanted Henry to be able to go and I doubted my ability to do it on my own.  We took the 'L' downtown, so even when we found out the Amtrak excursion was sold out, we figured we still were getting plenty of train in our day.

We waited a long time for Henry to be able to drive a train in the train simulator.  I think the highlight was getting a train whistle.  Chase bank was giving them out to card holders.  The good news is its a cheap whistle that doesn't work very well so it's relatively quiet. I put him in his overalls to look more like an engineer, and it seemed that nearly every other mother had the same thought.  It was a sea of children in overalls and engineer hats.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 4, 2012

Henry's 3-year-old Interview


How old are you? I'm free [3], not two.
What is your favorite animal? It's goats.  My favorite animal is goats, and the animal show is closed.
What's your favorite thing to eat?  Not cookies either.  I eat some food.  It was a hamburger.  You remember that mama?  It was a huge hamburger I bite.  It snapped like this (hand actions.)
What's your least favorite thing to eat?  [intelligible remarks] editor's note: he picked the pickles of that hamburger, so probably pickles.
What is your favorite thing to do?  I don't know.  Something is cool.  Get grandma.  It was grandma and grandpa.
What is your favorite TV show? Cars, cartoons, and lighting McQueen.
What are really good at? I am trains.  I am big boy trains.

What is your favorite toy?  This road scraper [hold up the hot wheels vehicle is is holding.]

What's your favorite fruit? Nanas

What's your favorite outfit to wear? I wear clothes. Not your clothes.

What's your favorite song? Trains.  My trains songs about me, Henry.

What's your favorite book? Trains.  My favorite book is Stop Trains, is Thomas [Stop, Train, Stop!]

Who is your best friend? My best friend is Gigi.  [mother tears up]

What's your favorite thing to drink? Water and Milk [apple juice]

What to you want to be when your grow up?  Bigger and bigger, I grow up.

What work do you want to do when you grow up? I go to work like daddy's work. [I advise against surgery as a career.]

What's daddy's job?  Daddy's job is at work.  My dad is not at home.

What do you like about our house? Toys

What is you name? N-E-R-Y and a H.

What's your full name? I don't know.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Gigi at 11 Months

Gigi wearing her Halloween costume at 11 months old, standing like a champ..

Georgia is 11 months old.  This lady bug costume is sized 3-6 months, and fit her perfectly.  She was in the third percentile at her 9 month visit, and I hope she's at least holding steady there.  She does not walk, but she can stand up without any support or assistance, and when she decides she is done standing she lowers herself gently to the floor.  She climbs up and down stairs, but not so securely I let her do it by herself.  She crawls happily from to room and cruises along the furniture.
When Nick walks in from work, she says "hi!".  In addition to saying mama and dada, she is trying to say Caesar (which she calls all dogs) but it is just the "s" so it sounds like a snake impression.
She is now a bottle-fed baby.  Weaning was much harder for me than it was for her.  I was very emotional even though I knew it was the decision that worked best for our family.  She wasn't drinking what I thought was enough formula at first, but it turns out my age-based expectations weren't nearly as reasonable as a weight-based calculation.  She started to drink a little more and we're both happy.  She loves fruit, she will eat certain vegetables.  She throws a lot of food on the floor.
She still sucks her left thumb while playing with hair in her right hand when she's tired.  I've seen her play with Caesar's hair.
She is cutting her eighth tooth right now.  She has only been the tiniest bit fussy with teething, manifesting itself as midnight crying.
She makes lots of cute noises.  She is learning how to be loud enough to compete with Henry.  She plays very well with him even though he takes away all the toys.  She pushes cars along the floor.  She is great at playing peek-a-boo.  I love to cover her face with a cloth and then pretend I can't see her.
She is much easier-going than Henry was (and continues to be).  However, she still can be one determined and uncompromising creature.  Just try to eat in front of her without sharing.

She is so cute when she waves, often enthusiastically with both hands.
Lady Bug flying lessons

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 2, 2012

They really love each other.
Henry's expression the instant I told him his birthday cake was all gone.
We colored eggs with the kids for the first time.
 The kids are doing lots of cute things these days.  Gigi stands up indepent of furniture, but doesn't take any steps without holding onto furniture.  Henry talks like a real-live person, but for some reason he cannot say "helicopter" correctly despite lots of coaching. His pronunciation sounds like "hobb-gobbler."
Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 27, 2012

Why I Am Not Using Twitter

I have a twitter account.  It's primarily used to read headlines from The Onion.  I don't really tweet myself, because the only things I have to say go like this:

"Man, my feet are cold."
"I am so sleepy."
"I am currently using my time poorly, and although I recognize that fact, I will not change it."
"My kids are pretty cute."
"My kid is terrible.  Do other people's kids act like this?"
"Is the first ingredient of these ear drops Unicorn Tears*? Because fore $165 it should either be that or platinum." *Unicorn Tear joke stolen from Dallas. Active ingredient is actually Cipro.
I've had diminished hearing in my left ear since Christmas, but now I also have an external ear infection.  I suspect my ear drum in not in tact.  I saw two doctors last week, but one of them was Nick, and the other was my home teacher.  Nick kept telling me "I'm not your doctor," and wouldn't get involved.  But even he had to get involved after enough tears.  The external ear infection is pretty painful.  Since the ear canal is swollen shut, he placed an "otic wick" in order to get the antibiotic to where it's needed.  I see my "real" doctor on Friday, but since I don't trust her (she proved herself lacking on my last visit,) no matter what she tells me, I'm really just there to get a referral to an ENT.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Clever Boy

Friday night was awful to put the kids to bed. Henry was awake for four hours after he was initially tucked in. I think we still haven't adjusted to the time zone change/ red eye travel. Three hours into this, he called out that he was wet and needed a diaper change. I ended up needing to change his pajamas. I was so frustrated at the whole bedtime fiasco. I was trying to get his Sherrif Woody pajama feet onto his actual feet, but the toes were caught on the elastic, then his foot was caught, flexed in the fabric. I was just getting more frustrated when he said out of nowhere, "There's a snake in my boot." He is already a very witty boy, and being extremely cute is a pretty effective survival technique.
Posted by Picasa

Dole Pineapple Plantation

Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 27, 2012

You're Doing It Wrong

Well, I guess we are done using the bumbo. She got herself from
sitting to this precarious stance very quickly. She can't be trusted.