Archive for September, 2006|Monthly archive page

Rushed by Gracie

Our Saturday morning started with my 19 month old daughter rushing us out the door. Jennifer made the mistake of telling Grace that we were going to go “bye bye” after breakfast. So, Jennifer fed Grace breakfast and then proceeded to make some pancakes for the two of us. In case you were wondering why she didn’t eat pancakes with us, Grace was ready to eat when she woke up, so Jennifer made sure she was taken care of first. Besides, Grace is a creature of habit. She really likes to know what’s coming and really doesn’t like when things change. As a result, she eats cereal pretty much every morning and this morning was no different.

After Grace was taken out of her high chair, she ran back to her bedroom and asked for her diaper to be changed. After that was done, she started grabbing some clothes that were on the bed for Jennifer to put on her. After Jennifer put on the clothes, she said, “Shoes, shoes!” to indicate she was ready to have her shoes on. So, Jennifer obliged and Gracie was pretty much ready to go. Grace then grabbed her blanket and juice and tried to walk out the front door on her own. Jennifer informed her that she couldn’t leave without mommy and daddy. Grace ran and got Jennifer’s shoes and took them to her. As a result, Jennifer went into the bedroom, finished getting ready, came back out and put on her shoes. Then Grace went and got my shoes. I had been reading a book in the bedroom and came out when Jennifer told me the pancakes were ready. Yes, somehow through all this, Jennifer managed to get around to making the pancakes. As I was sitting down to eat, Grace brought my shoes to me. I told her I was till in my pajamas and I needed to get dressed first. I stood up (without eating) and went back into the bedroom to get dressed. I closed the door, and Grace stood there for about 5 minutes knocking on the door and waiting for me, clinging onto my shoes the entire time. About the time I was finished and was getting ready to walk out, Grace started to fuss because I was apparently taking too long.

It sounds like we were letting her run the show, but really we were just letting her feel that way because after we were both ready, we sit down and ate our pancakes, much to Gracie’s distain. The whole episode was quite adorable, and I’m not sure the entry captures it, but it will be a one of those fond memories of Gracie we will laugh about for years to come.

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Alien bug has landed in German countryside!!!

It appears that a giant alien bug has landed in the German countryside. Google has captured this image from its space station circling the earth. Sources estimate that the bug is approximately 50 meters long (about 164 feet). Dr. Evil said that though he is impressed with the bug’s size, “There isn’t a freckin laser on its head. You can’t use a freckin giant bug without a freckin laser on its head.”

(OK, OK – This appears to be a scan gone horribly awry…at least for the bug. The dark mass behind it is its poop. Nice.)

Vacation Memories – Part 2

After leaving the surf shop, we returned to Ocean Lakes and went and parked down by the beach. We got everything out of the car and started walking for the beach. The sand still felt cool, so Jennifer decided to put Grace down and let her walk. Grace was immediately disgusted by the sand and wanted us to carry her. When we got down to the beach, we tried putting Grace down again and this time she curled up her legs so they wouldn’t even touch the ground. We put her in one of our beach chairs and she seemed to be happy there. We tried to get her to play with her beach toys, but she only wanted to play with them if sand was not in them (or on them). I made an effort to get Grace to warm up to the sand. I buried my feet in the sand and played “where’s daddy’s feet. I don’t think I need to explain the premise. When I first buried my feet, I think it terrified the child. She frowned and her lip began to quiver like she was going to scream. I quickly pulled my feet out of the sand and she looked very relieved. I then proceeded to play the game with her some more, and she began to warm up to it and smile. I may have even gotten a giggle. I also played with Gracie’s sand toys and tried to show her how to use them. I filled buckets, dug ditches, made piles, and buried things (I wasn’t enjoying myself at all). It didn’t seem to interest her.

Eventually it occurred to me that I was no longer playing for Gracie and was doing it solely because I was enjoying myself. At that point I decided it was time for a dip in the ocean. The water was fairly warm. I wasn’t in a rush to get wet, so I took my time. I took a few steps forward every now and then. At one point, I took a step forward and my foot went down into a hole or something. The water had barely been up to my knees before, and after stepping in the hole, half my trunks were wet. It didn’t wind up being the slow decent into the ocean I was hoping for.

If you’re wondering about Grace and the ocean, we had a pretty strong suspicion she would be scared of that. She doesn’t like pools, and we assumed she wouldn’t like the ocean either. Still, when we first got to the beach, Jennifer carried Grace down and stood in the surf. That was apparently horrifying to Gracie and she cried. We had always assumed she would be happy sitting on and running around the beach, but on the first day, that didn’t seem like the case.

When I got back from my dip, I put down a Dora the Explorer beach towel, picked up Gracie, and put her on the towel. I waited for the shriek, but it didn’t come. Apparently she wasn’t absolutely terrified of the sand. She just wanted something between her and it. I worked with her some more to try and get her to play in the sand from her beach towel, but she still didn’t want to touch the sand. Eventually, she got up and started running back and forth on her towel. She even picked up the rake that came with her sand toys, squatted, and raked some sand. She then threw the rake so that it was over in the sand out of her reach. She apparently regretted this decision immediately, and began to reach out for it and whine. We tried to encourage her to go over and pick it up, but instead of doing that, she just found something else to do on her towel.

We left the beach after a couple hours so we could eat lunch and Grace could have her nap. When Grace woke up, we all got ready and went to a place called Broadway at the Beach. It is sort of like a huge, outdoor mall. First, we ate dinner at Tony Roma’s. After dinner we took Grace to a store called the Build-a-Bear Workshop. Most of you have probably heard of this place, but for those of you that haven’t, you pick out an animal, stuff it, dress it, and pay for it. Grace loved this. She picked out a monkey, and was hugging and kissing it while we were waiting to get it stuffed. She wasn’t to happy when they we took it away from her to have the clerk stuff it. After stuffing the monkey, we tried to let her pick out an outfit, but Grace just wanted to run around the building.  So, we picked out a shirt and went and paid for it. It was ridiculous how much we COULD have paid for the thing. They had outfits for stuffed animals that cost more than some of the outfits we have bought for Gracie. They had hats, shoes, accessories, and, most distrubanly, underwear. You know, because some teddy bears don’t like going commando.

Man, it is taking a lot of time to tell you about my vacation. I should be able to finish it up in one more post. Then I have to talk about potty training. We started that on Monday.

Vacation Memories – Part 1

We’re back from vacation! This will be a two-part post, because I am tired and want to go to bed.

As you can see from the previous post, we went to Myrtle Beach, SC. For those of you that have never been, it is an extremely commercialized area. We’re talking Las Vegas on the beach (minus the casinos). It really isn’t my cup of tea when it comes to beaches, as I generally like the less commercialized, laid back places. Fortunately, going this time of year makes the trip a lot more pleasant. The beach and other attractions aren’t as busy. We never really had to wait for anything. As I mentioned before, we stayed at my uncle’s place at Ocean Lakes. It was very nice and we would not have been able to take this vacation without his generosity.

First Day, we woke up and wanted to get some breakfast. I suggested Cracker Barrel because I thought I had seen one close by when I looked over the area we were staying on Google Earth. We got ready and left for breakfast around 9AM or so. I headed north, thinking that was the direction of Cracker Barrel, which turned out to be a mistake. After 20 minutes or so, Jennifer began to taunt me and told me she didn’t think that the Cracker Barrel even existed. The main road down there is absolutely littered with local pancake houses, so we probably passed 20 of those and 2 Shoney’s before we finally reached a Cracker Barrel. I think it wound up being a 40-minute drive. When the sign came into view, Jennifer tried to convince me it was mirage. Turns out I’m not the only dork in this family. We spent the rest of the day shopping. We went to an outlet mall and then went and bought the groceries we needed for the rest of our stay. We got home in the late afternoon and took it easy the rest of the day because Grace needed the rest (we did too). So, day one went by without us going to the beach. Not that it was a bad day, but the beach didn’t make it onto the itinerary.

On day two we made a commitment to go to the beach. We woke up and I made us breakfast. We got ready to go to the beach and hopped in the good ole SUV. First, we ran out to a surf shop to see if we could get Grace some sand toys and to pick up a beach umbrella. We also thought we’d grab Grace a bathing suit if they had one. The first place we went to had the toys. They had swimming trunks for baby boys, but nothing for girls. I decided to forgo buying the umbrella, paid for the toys and left. Next-door was another place with a sign saying “Discount Swimwear” or something to that effect. I thought they would surely have swimming suits for baby girls. I walked in the store and it looked exactly like the place I had just left. They had the exact same thing as before and carried only baby boy stuff. Turns out people are sexists in Myrtle Beach. I did pick up a beach umbrella, but the stake for the bottom was missing. The clerk said he would run to the back and get one. I perused the store and looked at the tee shirts and such while the guy went to find the rest of the umbrella. Minutes went buy and it eventually became apparent the clerk was no longer in the store. I was the only person in the building. There was a post that didn’t match the umbrella I had picked out sitting on the front counter, but the clerk was missing and nowhere to be found. I picked up the umbrella and post and ran out the store, along with $300 from the register. OK, OK. That didn’t happen, but it easily could have. The goof left me in the store by myself! I went outside and got in the car to leave when he ran up (apparently returning from the store I had bought the toys from) with several umbrellas in hand. Unfortunately, I decided to go back inside and finish the purchasing the umbrella. The guy said something like, “Did you think I would just forget you?” I should have took a cue from George Allen and said something racially insensitive like, “No, but I want to get to the beach today, Habeeb.” Of course, knowing my luck, Habeeb would turn out to mean “useless, crack addicted sloth” in his native tongue (He was Indian or something).  I paid for the umbrella and left.

I’ll discuss the rest of the week tomorrow and tell you about Grace’s reaction to the beach, and why buying that stupid umbrella was a mistake. Meanwhile, your homework is to look up what “Habeeb” means.

The Weekend

Wow, hard to believe it has been almost a week since my last post. We are in the process of getting ready to go to the beach. We are leaving tomorrow night and will be gone through Sunday. I doubt I will be posting to my blog during this time. I want to avoid computers while I am on this vacation. I thought it would be nice to do a quick post to sort of catch everyone up on the latest happenings. This will be long and there is so much to cover I couldn’t think of a clever title.

Friday night my brothers, Aaron and Joel, came over. We played a game of Catan and then watched the new version of the Shaggy Dog with Tim Allen. It was a good movie and I seem to remember laughing a lot. It put a bit of a sci-fi spin on the original story, which is likely to turn some folks off, but I thought it worked well. Without giving too much a way, I really think they left the movie open for a sequel. I don’t remember how this movie did at the box office, so I guess if it tanked there won’t be a sequel. Actually, I think the movie’s budget must have been pretty low. There was a pretty neat scene with Tim Allen’s tongue, but other then that, I was sort of amazed at what I didn’t see. There was only one scene where you really witness the transformation. The remaining scenes where it occurs were shot so it hides the actual transformation. This sort of surprised me for a movie made in 2006. I didn’t watch it for the effects and would recommend the movie, this was just an observation I made. The filmmakers would probably choke me. The movie is probably chocked full of special affects that I missed and just took for granted.

Saturday we went to see my grandmother and had a good time hanging out and talking with her. She wound up ordering in Mexican and paying for our dinner, so that was a pleasant surprise. On the way home from my grandmother’s we stopped by McDonald’s to get some sundaes. Grace sat at the end of the table turning her head left and right alternating between Jennifer’s sundae and mine as we fed them to her. Of course, I always eat mine faster so I got to eat more of my ice cream. I guess its one of the few benefits to inhaling your food.

Sunday was a big day at our church as we had our Mission Celebration. Terry Hammack, a missionary from our church, was the guest speaker. He’s always a great speaker, but the best parts are always the stories he has. It is pretty enthralling. As you can imagine, Nigeria is not one of the safest places to be missionary, and I can’t imagine living day to day in the situations he does. What’s more amazing is that he and his wife are really hoping to go to the northern part of the country to an area that is 90% Muslim to minister to people there. As you might know, Muslims don’t take to kindly to Christian missionaries, but these two really feel it is where God wants their ministry to be. They’re two incredible people that face things on a regular basis that we can’t even imagine here.

Afterwards was a potluck dinner and Grace was a ball of energy. I got to eat, but barely had time to finish before I had to start chasing her back and forth through the halls of the church. We couldn’t get the girl to sit still for a second! She may have been the most hyper I have seen her. Making matters worse was the crowd. Grace was running and jiving through the legs of people and I had to wait for them to move out of the way. Fortunately, every time she got away from me, someone managed to slow her down and gave me enough time to catch up. The problem was if she got out into the main part of the church building without my supervision, there were only about 10,000 places she could run to and hide. Of course, she only seemed to be interested in running to the nursery, which she knows is full of toys, so it was easy enough to keep track of her.

Tonight we went over to my uncle’s house to pick up the keys and papers we will need to get to his place down at Ocean Lakes at Myrtle Beach. Grace was so shy at first, but the next thing I know she is running around their kitchen and being the ham she usually is. The girl would make the Energizer Bunny cry for mercy. She jumped up and down, ran around, crawled through legs and under tables, picked up copper statues, opened up cabinets, opened and closed doors, and babbled on and on the whole time we were there. I looked like the Coyote chasing the Road Runner most of the time.

Hope it doesn’t sound like I am complaining. Honestly, following her around is often hilarious because the things she does are priceless. Also, following her around has taught me a thing or two. For starters, she usually won’t go where it is dark. I say usually because she proved that the equation is much more complicated than I suspected the other night at my parents. My mom and dad have two entries into their kitchen (well, actually, four, but two of them are irrelevant to the story). One entry from the foyer and one from the dining room. The foyer, living room and dining room are all connected. So, what this means for Gracie is she has an excellent place to run laps. She runs through the foyer, the living room, the dinning room, into the kitchen, and finally back into the foyer. She then repeats this a mind numbing number of times. Oh yeah, and she yells incoherent things the whole time. So, I get the bright idea that if I turn off all the lights in the living room, foyer, and dining room, she’ll stop running her laps. I was wrong. She must have thought daddy was playing a game with her. After squealing for a few minutes and jumping up with absolute glee at the site of the darkened room, she started running again. Only now she ran through the darkened areas more quickly. So much for that idea.

This entry has been pretty long, but it will probably be my last post for at least a week. I’m sure I’ll have a lot to talk about when we get back.

IT’S A BOY!

Yesterday was the baby appointment and we found out we are having a boy! It came as no surprise to Jennifer because she has been saying we’re having a boy all along. The main reason being that she hasn’t been as sick this time. Supposedly, woman are more sick with girls than boys. I doubt there is any scientific research to back that up, but that is what Jennifer has been told.

Honestly, I had gotten to a point where I was ready to skip finding out and be surprised. With Grace, I wanted to know. I also wanted a boy. Of course, once Grace was born, it didn’t matter and I love my daughter to death. I came to the realization a few weeks ago that this time was different and I could care less if we had a boy or girl. I mentioned the idea of being surprised to Jennifer and she was OK with it, but we decided to find out because we’ve been telling people we would for months. After the appointment, we went to TJ Maxx and bought the baby his first 2 outfits. I also bought some books for Gracie because she loves me reading to her.

Below are some pictures we were given of the ultrasound.

babyboy2.jpg

babyboy1.jpg

Remember 9/11

I didn’t have time to post yesterday, but thought I would take a moment to remember September 11th. As with everyone else, the moment I found out is seared into memory. I was at college and in one of the computer labs. I believe I had gone there to surf the web and take it easy. When I sat down, I heard two guys talking about planes flying into buildings. I thought I heard them say something about the World Trade Center. With a lump in my throat, I went to cnn.com. The page took a very long time to load, and when it did, I was shocked by what I saw. The normal CNN home page wasn’t present. It had been replaced by a bland page with a few images of what was happening and a narrative of how the events had unfolded so far. It seemed unimaginable. From that point on, the bits and pieces of my day are less clear. I remember trying to reach Jennifer on the phone and also trying to reach my mom. I guess it was just natural that I wanted to talk to people about the events. I remember going home and watching the news coverage the rest of the day until my class that evening. I was pretty upset that class had not been canceled, but I set through it. Actually, I seem to remember being surprised by how many people DID show up for that class. I was pretty much glued to talk radio for the next few months. Since I was at the college almost all day, it was the best way to keep informed on what was going on.

Yesterday, on the way to work, I was once again listening to talk radio and they played a montage of audio clips from the day (and days following) September 11th. It was just audio recordings, but I still got choked up listening to what was played. I think it is important that we take time each year on September 11th to remember what happened that day.

Mutant Muscle Mice and the Sheep Master

The weekend is here, and I guess I have a moment to sit down and type up a blog entry. I mentioned in a previous post that our mouse problem was back. We had switched to glue traps and, as it turns out, those didn’t work either. Jennifer went out on Thursday and bought some more expensive traps. These things are big and round and look like a large hockey puck. You twist the top part until it snaps in place and there is a little space for the mouse to walk in. There is an indicator on top to tell you if it is armed, went off accidentally, or if a mouse has been caught. You put bait under the trap and when the mouse goes in, the top twists shut and does something to the mouse to kill it. The big selling point is that you don’t have to see the mouse. Well, we armed two of these things on Thursday night and went to bed figuring they would both be empty the next morning. Friday morning, I opened the door to look under our sink and the trap had gone off. The indicator on top was set to “mouse caught”. This wasn’t good enough for me, after all, these ninja mice had already escaped wooden traps and glue trays. I thought maybe they had pulled some Mission Impossible stunt and got in and out before the trap shut. I needed to know the mouse was in it. So, I picked up the trap and shook it a little. I didn’t seem like anything was in it. I decide to peak in. As I turned it up on its side to twist it open, liquid poured out on my hand. I keep telling my self it was the oil from the peanut butter. I slowly turned the top around until I could see in the trap. It was dark and I couldn’t see a thing. The next minute was spent walking around the house tilting the thing from side to side to try and get a peak of what was inside. Finally, I found a place where I could see inside the trap. I saw the tail of something, and that was pretty much all I needed to know. We had finally caught the crafty devil.

Makes me wonder if they’ve ever made a horror movie about mice invading a village (DeWitte? What say you? I bet you can quote at least one line from memory if they have.) Here the pitch:

Dr. Wilson is a geneticist experimenting on mice for some ultra steroid that is going to be used by the military to create super soldiers. Of course, he is injecting the stuff in mice to test his little serum. Little does he realize the mental impact the serum is having on the mice’s brain functions until it is too late. The mice chew through the wires of their cage and attack the professor! As the professor dies, he hits the emergency fail safe button sealing the mice into his lab for all eternity, or so he thought. Two teens who are madly in love stumble upon the hatch. One’s a jock and the other is a ditsy blond. The guy finds the door to the lab gets in against the warnings of the girl. Mice pour out and they both die in a gruesome scene. In the end, all humanity will be saved by a woman that used to have a phobia of mice but overcomes it to save her child (or family) from the mutant muscle mice.

We’ve also had a bit of an eBay drama going on this week. Back on August 25th, Jennifer bid and won on this heart monitor that lets you listen to the baby’s heartbeat. She got a really good price on it, but it was beginning to look like the person wasn’t going to mail it. Jennifer actually started the process of getting our money back on Thursday, and I guess that woke someone up. We finally heard from the person yesterday that they were mailing the monitor to us. So, we’ll see what happens when it gets here. Hopefully it will work. I heard someone say onetime that you should never spend more on eBay then you are willing to lose, and that is probably a good rule to go by. Of course, I know people that swear by eBay and buy from it all the time without any problems, so they’d probably disagree. I guess if you know what you are doing and know how to spot a possible scam, you won’t have many problems. For me, spyware and computer viruses are that way. I find it hard to see how so many computers get initiated with spyware and computer viruses. I run Windows, surf the Internet all the time, download and install software, and for the most part, I never have any problems.

Finally, I leave you with this. I don’t know why I found this funny, but we were talking about the wild animals in New Zealand (or lack thereof) the other night, and Jennifer brought up sheep. She said they couldn’t be wild because they needed “sheep masters”. Wow. That must be the politically correct term for shepherds now. It sounds much more ominous. Almost like a title some legendary warrior would have. Conan the Sheep Master. Anyway, it gave me a good laugh, but I am also a geek.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom’s birthday. She’s turning 53 today. Being the mother of 4 boys, I suppose it’s a miracle she’s still as sane as she is. For 20 years, she had to endure being the only woman in our family. That’s probably the reason the pets we had as children were always female. I guess mom thought the last thing she needed around the house was another male. There were times when she threatened to move to China, but that never happened.

Mom has never demanded a lot of attention.  Even her birthdays seemed to be rushed or pushed aside altogether.  She’s always been more concerned with helping meet the needs of those around her. Until I got married, it was my mom that was always stepped in when the events of life took a turn for the worse and I needed support or encouragement. I suppose that’s why one of my first inclinations is to call mom when something isn’t going well. She may not always have an answer, but she always has time to listen.

I thank God that I was born to a mother that has always given so much of herself, has sacrificed so much of her time and has always been focused on helping meet the needs of her family. If I’ve never said thank you, I am doing so today. Thanks, Mom, and happy birthday.

meebo.com

This is something I have playing around with lately.  It is called meebo.  It is an instant message program that connects to all the major networks (MSN, Yahoo!, AIM, and whatever else is out there).  The best part?  It all runs in your web browser.  It is pretty amazing as it works just like it is running on your desktop.