Happy New Year!!

Well he's not in the hos[ital any more. When I called this morning he was not on their roster of current patients. I guess I'll wait to see when he pops up again.

My dad is a hot topic again. His wife Nel called me this evening saying he'd been missing since 4am this morning. They had an argument yesterday, he stormed out, then came home at 4am. After he changed his clothes and brushed his teeth he demanded his credit cards from her (she says she was holding them to help pay them off) then he left cursing at her all the way out. He left his cell phone and all his possessions behind. Nel didn't think a whole about this, she just went back to sleep. Then when his job called to see where he was she got worried. She called around the usual places he goes (bars and restaurants mainly) but no one had seen him. Nel finally called me this evening to see what she should do and get some support.

My advise to her was to call the authorities and report a missing person. She did then got a call from an officer in Federal Heights, CO with information about his vehicle. His Jeep was towed and impounded (we don't know why but it wasn't in an accident) and he was transferred to Boulder Community Hospital on "mental health hold". That means he was probably talking or acting suicidal.

Let me back up. Nel said during he first call to me that he had been talking suicidally recently. In the past he's never been suicidal but given that this is the one-year anniversary of his mother's death, and he's got a brain tumor that is hurting his head, and he's generally a depressed person to begin with, it isn't a complete surprise that he would consider it. That's why when he left without a trace she got frantically worried. Now that she knows he's alive and held in care she's feeling better.

As for me, I'll call the hospital tomorrow and see if I can talk to him. Thanks (or no thanks) to the HIPPA laws, I won't get any information from the hospital as to how he's doing, why he's there or when he'll be released. But maybe I can speak to him then decide if I need to be there in person. I hope I don't need to go but I will if I'm needed. This stresses me out but there's nothing I can do tonight. I'll give him a full night's rest and then perhaps I can get to the bottom of things.

We wanted to visit Dustin & Robin today. Instead we only visited Robin because Dustin had moved out. They separated around Thanksgiving. A month after, Dustin is staying with family in Tennessee while Robin is moving on with life and being a new single mother. Her children, Ethan 7, Morgan 6, are a wonderful mix of who Dustin and Robin are. Robin has a very nice home with an acre of spare land, she's doing very well with her business (it's a staffing company), and she's not hurting financially from the divorce. If anything, she will probably benefit financially. Dustin, we assume, will be taking this hard. Not only does he have substantial medical debt, he is physically limited in what he can do and was never the breadwinner that Robin has been. Robin was the one asking out while Dustin was hopeful to the very end that things would get better.

While there, Robin gave us a toy that Ethan had outgrown- a small microwave. It was a perfect addition to the new kitchen set. Except that within three hours of getting it Josh managed to whisk it away from his brother and break it on the floor in the process. It took three hours to break something that lasted nearly five years in the other home. Needless to say I was rather crossed with Joshua. I explained to him that there is no replacement and that because he broke it, it's gone forever. I'll let that sink in for a few months before I even think of looking for another one.

Yesterday Elliot was 1 year, 1 month, 1 week and 1 day old. Pretty neat, huh?

If you haven't tried a Hot Cocoa filled Hershey Kiss yet- don't do it! These little kisses are extremely addictive! You will be forced against your will to eat another then another then another then another then... it's better than milk chocolate. It's like milk chocolate married to sexy milk chocolate. Better to get rid of a bag if you happen to have one. Don't even open it. Just mail it to me and I'll properly dispose of it for you.

Trust me, I'm trained at this. :-P

This morning I hit the clearance sale at Micheal's and loaded up on Christmas paper and decorations for next year. I bought well over $100 worth of stuff but paid $62. Tomorrow I'll go to Wal-Mart to pillage their Christmas paper and exchange an outfit. We had a good Christmas and now are taking down the decorations little by little, starting with the outside. We figured it was better to do it now while it's warm outside. Today got as warm as nearly 80 degrees. We all wore short sleeved shirts and played outside for a bit this afternoon. Tomorrow may not be as balmy so I'm glad we all got out to enjoy it.

It's the simple things that make a Christmas good. For Josh it's a play kitchen, for Elliot a stomp rocket powered by Josh, for Rusty it's a chair and for me it's a pogo stick. A Fly Bar actually. I haven't had a full attempt at pogo-ing yet. I'm sure to bust my rump a few times though. The boys made out like bandits. We all did. And every year, this one included, I always feel a little guilty. I feel guilty enjoying the bounty of gifts when others have nothing. And I feel guilty that Christmas has become a day of "what's in it for me?", especially for kids. I'm hoping over the years to teach our boys that Christmas is about giving, sharing and doing good for others.

But until then, I'm glad he enjoys his new toys and can play guilt-free.

Raymond finally showed up despite becoming terrible lost on his way. I'm looking forward to tomorrow when we're all rested.

I'm suffering from restless brain syndrome: aka I can't sleep. I fell asleep for an hour then couldn't seem to go back. Since I roused from bed I've managed to sweep the floor, polish some of it, put damp clothes in the dryer, take out trash and clip coupons from Sunday's paper. I'm ready to try again for slumber. Perhaps a couple chapters of my book will do. I know I'll be hurting for this tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be begging Elliot to take a nap. And I fully plan to nap when he does.

We're back from our quick trip to Corpus. On our way down we stopped in College Station to visit Signe for a couple hours before heading south on Hwy. 77. We stayed Saturday in Robstown with Carlean then headed homeward this morning, Sunday. On the way, we detoured in Austin to visit friends of Rusty's, Scott & Amanda Roberts.

Yesterday evening we toured Port Aransas (again) this time with an older Josh who pointed out all the palm trees, got very excited about the ferry ride and stopped to play with sand wherever he found it. At dinner, he offered this nugget of priceless conversation...

"Mommy? Are your boobies big?"
I turned to Rusty for advise on how to answer this one. He smiled amused and offered no help.
I turned back to Josh, "Well, what do you think? Are my boobies big or small?"
"They're big!" he exclaims.
"Good answer kiddo," I muttered.

I don't know what inspired that question.

Tonight is the second night Rusty is sick in bed. He stayed home in bed all day. I hope he's well enough for this trip to Corpus on Friday. Tomorrow is my busy day of laundry, packing, car cleaning, shopping for car snacks and preparing for our road trip.

Next weekend my mom will be in town visiting- yay! Then it's Christmas- yay! Then New Years- yay! Then I don't know what the new year holds!

I already have Halloween figured out for next year though. Elliot will be Punky Bruiser! I'll spike his hair, tear some jeans, get a rockin' jacket, fake tatoo, etc. It'll be awesome!

And now for a Josh moment...
We were watching a preview for the movie Cinderella. The announcer guy says: THE BEAUTY! Josh watching ever attentively exclaims, "The beauty!"
"The romance!"
"The magic, wow!"

Such an impressionable mind.

Pictures from Exposure Indoor Rock Climbing, MNO

That's me at the top with the pony tail and Michelle in hot pursuit.

The instructor stands behind Allison and me while Stephanie climbs up and Michelle comes down.

A view from the top looking down at Allison, Hannah & Stephanie

Whooaa... vertigo!

I paused to pose while climbing.

Yesterday night went awesomely. We dropped the kids off at our church for Kids Club. We paid $30 for two children to be watched for five hours. Is that a steal or what?! Josh stayed with several other kids his age and two caregivers while Elliot hung out with a few tots his age and two other caregivers. Packed with snacks, PJs, blankets and diapers, they were set for hours of fun without parents.

Rusty and I were set for hours of fun without kids. Don't get me wrong- I love my kids and love being around them but having an evening to Rusty totally recharged my batteries. We had dinner at a foo-foo French restaurant called Lavendou. Then we walked across the street to Obzeet's to play a game of Scrabble (I won) and eat dessert. When it was time to pick up the boys we expected both to be sleeping because it was around 10:30 when we got there. Well not entirely. As we walked up to the entrance of the Children's Ministry, we saw some kid running and jumping wildly. As I got closer I knew it was Josh and I felt dread that we would have a wound up kid to put to sleep. Luckily he crashed on the drive home thanks to NPR. Elliot was passed out at the church snoozing in a baby-swing. He was awake the whole drive home (despite economic reports and results of OJ's trial) but he went to bed easily once we were home and he nursed.

Here's the rub: Elliot woke up at 7:15 cranky which woke up Josh at 7:45 who was also cranky.

However, Rusty & I were most definitely NOT cranky! :-)

I went out this evening for "Mom's Night Out" with some friends. We did rock climbing at Exposure in Addison. I think I climbed about eight times. It was so much fun! I took some pictures but I'm too lazy to post those right now and I don't want to be up too late. Maybe tomorrow...

So Josh got his head cracked on Monday night and now this evening before I left home Elliot smacked into the side of the bath tub cracking two of his front teeth. I don't think they chipped into the pulpy nerve area, just on the enamel. Of course he howled in pain for a minute or two then was alright. We gave him Tylenol in case his teeth hurt. It happened so fast. He was standing beside the tub while I was rinsing it out preparing to fill it then he just moved the wrong way, slipped and crashed down. I was close to him but my head was turned toward the drain and faucet so I didn't actually see it happen. I'm a little nervous about the next time I nurse him. I hope he's not too sharp. I'll have his pediatrician look at his teeth on Friday although I doubt there's anything she or anyone else do. At least these are baby teeth and not his permanent ones.

Josh got a big gash on his head during bath time this evening- and it was my fault! I feel awful about it! I was putting our shampoo rinse cup away on the towel rack (we keep it there turned upside-down so the kiddos don't play with it) but instead of leaning back resting against the wall, it tipped forward falling. The bucket's corner conked onto Josh's head above his left eyebrow about an inch into the hair line. The bleeding freaked me out a bit because there was so much at first. I called Rusty for backup. Once I got him wrapped into a towel I pressed a hand-towel on his head to help the bleeding subside. The gash is hidden by hair but when I caught a glimpse it seemed about a quarter of an inch long. After some TLC, pajamas and twenty minutes of Star Wars, he was doing much better. We put on a band-aid once his hair dried and plan to wash his hair in the morning since there's some died blood clinging to it.

I've never roasted a full chicken before. So far I've rinsed it, brined it for an hour & a half, placed some garlic & rosemary inside, some butter under the skin on the breast, then trussed him tight. He's cooking at 425 degrees and soon we'll see how he turned out...

...two hours later...

OMG that chicken was soooo tasty!! I'm definitely doing THAT again!

It's difficult to determine what to be thankful for. There are so many angles one can view the world with appreciation. For instance, I am thankful the sun rises everyday and that the Earth functions the way it does with water in the oceans, changing seasons, abundant plant life, etc. That's on a very large scale. On a smaller scale, I'm thankful I haven't stubbed my toe today and I'm thankful to not be sick. But if someone asked me what three things I am most thankful for, I think I will have that lost-in-the-department-store look. Where do I go with that question? There's the stuff most people expect me to say such as I'm thankful for a loving family and two beautiful boys. awww! There's the stuff my friends might expect like I'm thankful for all the good times I've had with them in the past and for YouTube gems. My family is a mixed bag of folks with widely mixed views but one thing I could say to any family member would be that I'm thankful to have a wonderful husband who loves me and, again, two beautiful boys. But there's more to life than that. It's not as important, but I am thankful gas prices went down, that the weather here is pleasant and that someone invented washers. I'd hate to be stuck washing clothes all day like mothers did before they had washers. I could get by without a dryer, but not a washing machine. On the topic of modern inventions, I'm very thankful to have internet access and a cell phone. To my dad I'm thankful to be a tall person. Or perhaps I could go in reverse and say how I'm thankful things aren't a certain way. For example, I'm thankful George Bush isn't going to be President ever again and I'm thankful we haven't had a car wreck in years. (Murphy's Law predicts we're due any minute now that I've actually typed it.) There's even thanks for fundamental stuff that some people in other parts of the world will never have like clean water, plenty of food, a warm home and a decent education. That's why I don't know where to begin when asked what I'm thankful for. Right at this exact moment of typing this I'm thankful for fuzzy pajamas, a stool and my laptop- the three things I need to finish this blog.

Elliot is officially walking! He can go across the room, he practices all the time, he can pause to change directions and it's becoming his preferred mode of transportation. He also has bruises all over is head from bumping and banging into things. He needs a shirt with a pedestrian walking sign.

Yesterday evening we had a Polish invasion in our home. Rusty's family (the Polish descendant side) came over with sausage, pierogies, sauerkraut, and homemade pickles. We included potato bread, a Polish-esque cucumber salad and a cake from Henk's (a German/Polish bakery). We served 10 people: the four of us, his parents, his grandmother, his aunt & uncle, and his aunt's brother, who is also of Polish background. I was the only person without any Eastern European lineage. According to my late great-grandmother my family comes from Oklahoma. I guess we sprouted from the ground like tumbleweeds before rolling into Texas. Anyway, there was so much food we could have fed ourselves for days. Then at exactly 8 o' clock all Polish eyes tuned into the season finale of "Dancing With the Stars". Rusty and I learned our maximum capacity for feeding at our home is eight people. Luckily Elliot has his own chair and Anne was late so we didn't have a chair shortage, but in the future we know eight is our limit for a seated meal. We used every single plate, all our flatware plus some from our "nice set", every pot and pan, and a handful of wine glasses, and two rounds from the dishwasher. In the end, the kids slept solidly and we had a great time having everyone over.

Elliot is boldly taking more steps. He's standing longer in place and moving across the room (any room) just to practice his new walking skills. I don't consider him waking yet, not technically, but he's definitely working on it. He has a cold now too. Throughout the day his nose became increasingly runny. I hope the rest of us don't catch it.

Raymond won't be joining us for Thanksgiving after all. What a bummer. He has a cold but is considering a December visit. I was looking forward to watching the cats freak out about a dog in their territory. /evil grin

And now a haiku.........
Tile holds no heat
It takes the warmth from my feet
To bed I retreat

OU spanks Texas Tech... I'm crushed.

(At time of blogging the score was 58-14 in the 3rd quarter)

I have another website project possibly maybe. woo-hoo! An HOA president (not my neighborhood) contacted me via email inquiring about what I can do and what I charge. I'm hoping they go forward with me- the extra cash would be great!

Meanwhile we're working on updating our ringofsaturn.com site. I finished the homepage earlier this week and have a plan for the consulting page. Some day I'll add blinking lights on the key chain. I'll just keep updating the site one page at a time where needed.

I'm almost done Christmas shopping for my family except my in-laws. They usually give us an idea of what they're hoping for so I'm holding off for that. Rusty has one expensive gift from me and then some other smaller stuff. (I won't go into details in case he's reading this.) Joshua & Elliot got a play kitchen that they'll share. I may get one more toy for Josh but Elliot is all done. I also have cards that we need to sign, stuff & send after Thanksgiving. I love not having to rush for the holidays. Nothing makes me more hum-buggy than having the stress of shopping and feeling rushed.

One thing I really love about Elliot: how easily he goes to bed these days. All I have to do is lay him down and half the time he's content to suck his thumb to sleep, or he may fuss for a few minutes then quiet down. Even better- he usually sleeps the entire night without waking.

One thing I really love about Joshua: when he's in a good mood, he's so excited about everything. The timer went off while cooking which meant the meat was done. He jumped up and down shouting "Yaaay! It beeped! Dinner is done!" And he says the cutest things like "Daddy will shoot out the monsters from my room."

Bought one of Josh & Elliot's Christmas presents today- in full sight of the kiddos but Josh didn't notice. I'm stealthy! I think both will enjoy playing with it. It's a Melissa & Doug Cooks Corner Kitchen. It was less than some of the large plastic models but not the cheapest/smallest one either.

We celebrated Elliot's birthday today, a day early. He had a great time, our guests seem to enjoy themselves and his got his first taste of cake with frosting. yum! I made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and colorful sprinkles. This attempt at a homemade birthday was a much greater success than Joshua's first birthday, where my homemade cake turned into a bread brick. No, this was much better- not five star but close enough. We filled a baby pool with plastic balls for a ball pit. He and his fellow baby friends loved that. Josh wanted to play too but he had to wait until the other babies were gone. Josh spent the majority of the party playing with his friends upstairs and outside. Elliot got some new toys that he's very excited about and some neat clothes that I am very excited about, especially because he is quickly outgrowing his current wardrobe. Tomorrow is his proper birthday, November 17, and for that we're going to visit the pediatrician.

Joshua had a good day but he was a p.i.t.a. He peed his pants several times, even before the party; he had a hard time sharing; he had a meltdown one time when I tried to get him to go to the potty, which caused him to start coughing; he was into everything; and to make the night just suck he pooped in his bath.

in. his. bath.

with rubber ducks and toys floating everywhere and turds floating and a log gently rolling around in the deep end...

I was downstairs washing dishes when Rusty started calling "mayday" for immediate help. I took care of Elliot who was already out of the bath (thank God) while Rusty disciplined Josh. We didn't spank him or put him in time out or yell. Well, Rusty did raise his voice in anguish, but he didn't really yell. No, discipline was worse. In fact, Josh was asking for "time out please". Oh no. Rusty made him clean out his own poop from the bath. He was visibly grossed out by having to handle his own poop. Rusty said he gagged a couple times. Good! After that, after he was disinfected, I got him into pajamas and talked to him about being a big boy. "You'll be four years old in six months, will you pee your pants and poop in your bath when you turn four?"
"But I'm three"
"Then let's start acting like a big three and use the potty to pee and poop."
We talked a bit more and he apologized to me and Rusty. He knew he had disappointed us.

I pray that Elliot will be easier. please please please please please please please please...........

I get to go out to a party- yay!!

Then I'm up early to get ready for Elliot's birthday party- yay!!

Elliot has a shiny new tooth on the bottom. Another one seems to be bumping up on the other side of his first two. He had a low fever yesterday and again last night. He's also continuing to take a few steps, but not really walking yet. He's also moving towards one nap a day. It's nearly 2pm and if he doesn't nap soon, I may cry!

We have new pictures in our photo album, including ones taken with Josh's toy camera: www.ringofsaturn.com/photo

It's official- Elliot has taken a few steps today. Right now only two or three before he either plops down to the floor or lands safely onto whatever support he was aiming for. I won't say he's walking yet but that he's taken steps towards it. (yes, that pun was for you!)

More Josh quotes:
Rusty: "Do you want a bath with bubbles?"
Josh: "No, I want a bath with water."

Josh: "Daddy, say no to mommy."
Rusty to me in a playful tone: "Mommy, no!"
Josh: "Thank you"

It may be too chilly on Sunday to do outdoor activities for Elliot's birthday. My back up plan is to move the party inside, including the baby pool ball pit. There's plenty of room in the living room if I move a sofa back. I know what I want to get Elliot for his birthday and can't wait to just go buy it. I even have a coupon for shopping at the toy store- w00t!

I love some of the things Josh says. Tonight he as telling me about our cat Merlin. "I heard him mauing and I got up and told him shhh." He says it just like he hears it, as in the island Maui pronounced without the 'i'.

Josh has a rash around his mouth. I'm not sure what it's from and several people have noticed it and commented. Maybe it'll clear up over night. We tried to put some ointment on it but he kept licking it. I'll sneak in while he's sleeping and put some more on.

Josh visited his pediatric pulmonologist today. He's healthy and doing fine with his "asthma". We're to be proactive in the winter months giving him low-dose puffs at night before bedtime. They measured Josh today- he's 36" tall and weighs 40 lbs.

Elliot is growing too. His torso is getting longer so many of the onesies labeled 12M are already tight. He comfortably fits in 18M shirts and onesies but he still in 12M pants. Just like his brother- bigger on top.

It's all the buzz. Last night's historical election and Obama's win for the White House renews my faith in democracy. I'm glad the guy I supported not only won but won by a large margin. I am interested to see well he does in office and anxious for all the changes he's been promising this year.

In other news, Elliot is growing a new tooth on the bottom row. It was making him exceptionally cranky so I gave him a bit of Tylenol and a teething ring from the freezer. That and some more breakfast made him a much happier baby! He's not walking yet but I've seen make a few lunges for things just out of reach.

The weather is shifting blowing in humidity, clouds, and cooler temps tomorrow. But it's still very pleasant weather. I'm walking at least a mile each day (yesterday I walked 2 miles) pushing the stroller or pulling the wagon. I'll keep this up until it's too chilly.

Argh! He's driving me nuts!

Sorry, I couldn't resist the reference to a pirate joke!

In all seriousness, Josh has been getting into trouble lately for 1) running away when he's called and 2) for refusing to do something we've asked him to do. The running away thing is easy to discipline: immediate time-out. I don't want this behavior played out at a crowded place, store or parking lot. But the refusal to do things is a bit trickier...

Here's an example. I asked him to go to the bathroom after his lunch. He said "I don't wanna to go" in a whiny voice. I told him he needs to go, it's time, go now please. "But I don't need to" he persists. I give in and tell him he has three more minutes then he has to go. Guess what happens next. No really- guess!

Yep! He pees in his shorts at the table!! I was foolish enough to let him dictate. He said he didn't need to go. I respect that he may have been telling me the truth because maybe at that exact moment he didn't need to go or maybe he had already gone and I didn't know it yet. I keep thinking that I need to give him an opportunity to prove that he can take himself to the bathroom when he needs to go without me telling him to do it. So far his batting average is horrible. So that's where I'm stuck. If I give in to his whining he pees in his pants. If I don't then it's a battle of the wills. And this resistance extends into everything! Putting on shoes, getting into the car, bath time, putting toys away. I respect when he says he doesn't want to do something then remind him he still needs to do it anyway. Here's what it sounds like:

Josh, please get in the car so we can go.
I don't want to.
Josh, please get into the car now.
Is that the wire for the e'ctricity?
Yes it is, now get in the car! Right now.
No! I don't want to!
Josh get in the car now or you can sit in time-out. Which do you want?
I don't want time-out.
Then get in the car!

wow, that's painfully accurate.

After a day of battles I feel beat!

Our Monster House on Halloween night.

Halloween was a smashing success this year. The house looked awesome, the boys were dressed adorably and we had enough candy to last until just after 9pm. Did I mention the boys were adorable? My mom came to visit for Halloween for a whole day and a half. It's never enough time when she visits. Maybe some weekend I'll get the courage to drive to Lubbock to see her.

Elliot was a lil' devil with black wings and horned cap.

Josh was a pirate! I got a decent full body picture with my mom's camera, but those pictures are with her.

There's one thing I can't stand coming out of the Obama campaign: his slogan HOPE. It's on signs and in his speeches, commercials. I keep remembering the what Anderson Cooper said after Mayor Ray Nagin failed to clean up New Orleans yet hoped people would return. Cooper said, "Hope is not a plan." I wish Obama's campaign committee had taken the nuance of this word into account. Every time I hear it it makes me cringe a little. Hope is a good word for things that can't be directly controlled like hoping Elliot walks by his first birthday or hoping Joshua doesn't get the flu between now and when he gets his flu shot next month. And saying "hope for our country" doesn't mean anything. What exactly is someone hoping for when they say that? But hey, in less than a week it will be over one way or another.



My boys sharing a window view.

You can see more recent pics at www.ringofsaturn.com/photo

We have started two new phases with Josh: monsters exist and everything should be questioned with a "why?"

Monsters are everywhere! He's never been afraid of monsters at night but lately he's worried there's a monster in his room at night or pre-sunrise. Rusty put in a blue night-light and told him it's a special light that keeps the monsters away. Josh only kinda buys this. He's a smart kid. Tonight he told me he was scared of monsters even with the light. I reassured him that Puppy would protect him.
"Puppy can't save me."
"But Puppy loves you very very very much and he'll stay with you all night long to help you feel safe and loved."
"Will you stay in my room with me?"
"No sweetie but I'll be right outside your door reading. Stay in your bed, try to sleep. If you want to, you can sing a song like-" and I started a few of his favorites like London Bridge, Row Row Your Boat, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

After a kiss and another round of good nights, I heard him singing songs. Five minutes later we didn't hear another peep.

This weekend is the first of "why". Right now it's more in response to why does something have to be a certain way, like why is Elliot taking a nap or why does he have to go to the bathroom when I say so. He's not creating conversation using why. Why is the grass green, why do girls have long hair- those types of questions. I'm sure those types of why's are on their way. I'll be prepared for either straight up answers (because it has chlorophyll which reflects green light) or I'll give bogus answers to stuff I really don't know the answer to (because spaghetti doesn't come from trees). It will be a new annoyance on some occasions but a sure sign he's sponging in his world from new angles.

Everyone in the house is asleep but me. And it's not even ten o'clock.


I'm not sure what I'll do with myself! Watch a scary movie, pamper my feet, web design, read more than a chapter... the list is endless!

Elliot broke a lamp today. It was the tall elegant one in our front room by the piano. Ya know, the only lamp in the house that could shatter glass into a million tiny pieces! That one. I think he was trying to pull up to standing with it. I was in plain sight in the kitchen sort of watching him while filling cups of water to take to the park. Josh was sitting in the bathroom doing #2. Luckily Elliot didn't get hurt and no one got any glass cuts. It took my over 30 minutes to sweep and hand-mop the room. I blame myself for not securing the lamp to the wall. I had thought to do so saying to myself, "I need to do that but I'm sure it's fine for now- I'll do it later."

I voted yesterday morning. The polling place was a mile away so I put Elliot in the jogging stroller and made the journey by foot. It was very pleasant in the morning. But that wasn't my motivation. It's because my car's battery died. Anyway, I was expecting to beat some of the crowd being that this was a weekday and not during a rush-hour time. I got there around 9:45, waited in line for AN HOUR, cast my ballot in less than 2 minutes then walked home. That's right. Just over an hour waiting in line. I was fortunate that Elliot was in good spirits and that I had the company of two older ladies who ogled at Elliot while we waited. Turns out the people in front of us weren't the hold up, it was the nice old lady looking up everyone's voter registrations on the computer. They really should come up with a better system or have an extra computer or two.

But I'm glad I voted early. I imagine election day will be nuts! I'm encouraging everyone I know (and you) to go vote now! Or the next chance you have. There are no excuses in the DFW area since early voting is a full two weeks.

Tonight is our first chilly night. It's supposed to be a brisk 40-something degrees. I think my relatives in Colorado would love to have some non-freezing-chilly weather. They have very lovely Spring and Fall weather but brutal winters that last way longer than I care for. I have Texas in my veins that can't stand the cold but can tolerate summer's savage heat. I'm going to take advantage of the mid-70's highs by strolling Elliot or pulling the wagon in the afternoons.

Tomorrow I'll buy our Halloween candy. I expect we'll need gobs of it to last for four hours of trick or treaters. Last year they started as early as 6pm then we ran out by 9pm. And this year- only stuff I don't mind getting stuck with.

We made a Monster House soundtrack today. It's ten minutes of various crashes, door slams, hammering, thuds, whispers, and other creepy noises. We're going to play this from two huge speakers at the front of our house on Halloween night. Some of the sounds are surprisingly non-sinister like the shoe rubbing, projector, and a recording of Mt. St. Helen erupting from a distance circa 1980. Josh has enthusiastically helped us find some good sounds (he especially likes the crashes) and weed through the stuff that doesn't work for this project. We expect a few of the younger kids to be maybe a little spooked and the older kids intrigued.

Elliot has learned how to make a kissing sound. Except his does his by pulling in his bottom lip then popping it out. It's still very adorable. :-)

Three-year-olds offer us a fresh perspective on how the world works. In one example today, I was enthusiastically saying "touch down" every time Elliot raised his arms over his head. Josh corrected me by raising his arms and saying "touch up!" Joshua also says he likes "Siouxsie and The Banshees". He especially likes "Kiss Them For Me" which Rusty played on his phone at dinner.

Josh is still asking tons of questions he kinda knows the answer to, except today he asked, "Can I be a mommy when I grow up?"
"No sweetie, you can't be a mommy but you can be a daddy."
"Can I be a baby when I grow up?"
"You can't be a baby and you can't be a mommy, but you can be whatever else you want to be."
"I want to be a monster!"

Our new thing in the evenings is a wagon ride through the neighborhood. Elliot LOVES to have wagon rides. Almost as much as baths. Josh likes wagon rides now that he has a brother to sit with him. It's way less stressful than chasing after Josh and we can actually get in a conversation while pulling the boys.

Tomorrow we'll put the teeth on our house for Halloween. This year we're adding red eyes to the house. Those will go up next week some time. It's going to look wicked! Rusty has the idea to play "creaky old house" sounds. I doubt we'll get our act together in time so maybe next year.

Oh yeah- I picked up a new website design project. yay! It's for a custom carpet company that sells to high-end customers like hotels and people with too much money. The parent company has a website but the American based division has to do their own. My neighbor across the street referred me to her boss. As she put it, "he's Denny's cheap". Lucky for him so am I. But my rate may go up next year.

Although she doesn't know for certain, Elliot's pediatrician thinks he may have Roseloa. He's been running high fevers since yesterday evening with a temp as high as 104.4 this morning. Tylenol gives him some relief but the fever comes back when that wears off. The pedi said she's seeing a rash of cases (pun intended).

I added a Facebook tag at the footer of my blog. It's in Javascript and may conflict with some Firefox browsers- like mine.

Elliot was sick this evening. He began with a low fever after we got home from grocery shopping. He took a long nap then woke up super-cranky and hotter. I gave him Tylenol which only served to make him throw up everything. He snoozed on my lap for a bit and after the fever went down he was still delicate and temperamental but not feverish and not sluggish. Surprisingly, he went to bed on time. I'm a little worried he'll wake up early in the morning so I'm not staying up late tonight. I have no idea what caused his tummy to turn. Hopefully it's just something he ate and will be 100% tomorrow.

I spoke to my dad briefly this evening. He didn't mention anything about passing out or going to the hospital for detox. I didn't bring it up thinking he would be embarrassed.

I hear Josh coughing up a storm in his sleep. I'm going to give him his rescue inhaler.

Daddy Drama Strikes Again!

My dad's current wife, Nel, called me this evening for emotional support. She said the bar called her this afternoon after my dad passed out on the concrete outside of the bar he was drinking at. The bartender freaked out then called Nel using his cell phone. Nel went to the bar and told the bartender to call an ambulance. He's in detox now and the staff hasn't told her how long he'll be there or how he's doing yet. She was crying when I spoke to her. She's never had to deal with this before and I think it scared her. I have seen my dad passed out in public before so that doesn't scare me. In fact, very little about his excessive drinking would surprise me or scare me. What does surprise me is how long his liver has lasted! Anyway, she needed someone to commiserate with, someone who's familiar with what my dad is doing to himself. She was hoping he would choose her over the booze and bless her, she's tried nearly every trick to get him to sober up a little and connect with her outside of his drinking. I told her to think of his alcoholism like a heroin addiction, that he's not going to wake up one day and just quit. That he will need professional help and until then he will always always choose the booze. He has said mean things to her (the officer asked why does he drink this much and he told him "you'd drink too if you were married to her") and I tell her he's not speaking with a clear mind. In less than 24 hours he'll regret what he's said and what he's done. Then he'll go do it again because he's addicted to how alcohol makes him feel. Nel seemed to feel a little more grounded and a little more sure of herself as our call wrapped up. She repeated that she wasn't going to give up- that she loves him very much and she's going to make this work. But she also feels miserable. She gets verbal abuse when he's drunk, she's stressed all the time and she feels lost about how to deal with his shenanigans. I keep a calm voice and tell her she's strong and patient and that only a strong person can handle my dad and that she's doing all the right things and that my dad is out of control and needs someone like her who cares to be around.

But personally I'm still amazed that she has lasted this long. I'm glad she has. I'm also very glad that my dad ended up not moving here to the Dallas area. The burden of caring for his drunken ass would fall on my shoulders and I'm petty sure I would be less tolerant and less forgiving than Nel has been.

Yesterday morning was rough:

* Elliot was screeching a lot
* Josh wasted half of his breakfast
* Josh spilled milk in the refrigerator...
* which attracted Elliot to the spill like a magnet...
* so my breakfast was luke warm by the time I finished cleaning up
* While drinking tea I had to cough which caused tea to go up my nose

The last one is actually a bit funny now but I wasn't laughing when it happened. The day got better after Elliot took his nap. I made up for being cranky towards Josh by giving him some chocolate milk and playing with him for a bit.

Joshua got another haircut this afternoon. The stylist didn't take enough off the back so I may try to buzz some off tomorrow morning. Maybe.

I've discovered that watching the debates yesterday while reading Twitter comments is the best way to follow a debate. I expected a little more umph and a fewer more faux pas. Although the hockey-mom did make a few memorable sound bites:

don't cha know
say it ain't so Joe

I thought she did a very good job of not answering a few key questions and Joe did a good job of speaking passively.

Elliot tells me he doesn't like formula milk at all. He spits it out, shakes his head away from the cup, spits it up, pushes the cup away. He also tells me he LOVES canned pear slices and freshly steamed peach all mushed up. His opinion of what's good isn't reliable though. For example, he'll squish a green bean and drop it aside but doesn't give grass a second thought.

The boys' Halloween costumes came in. Josh's fits just barely but good enough. I'll put Elliot into his tomorrow for a fitting. As for me, I have a Queen of Hearts costume left over from a long time ago. All I need are some tights to wear under it.

The house will be super awesome this Halloween. Not only do we have teeth for the porch, we now also have red eyes for two upstairs windows. I found red nylon Chinese lanterns that I'll perch atop of two lamps, one in josh's room, one in the game room. In our beta run, we could see too much of the ceilings and ceiling fans from across the street (even with the other lights turned off) so I'm going to cover the windows with black paper or cloth with a hole cut out. I can't wait!

About TV now. First off, this season of Project Runway is almost over. There are four contestants left with one more competition before the fashion show at Bryant Park. I'm hoping that Kenley does not get picked because she is so rude and cocky- I want to smack he sometimes. But rumor has it she gets to show. Moving on, to politics. I missed the broadcast of Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric when it aired (all thanks to YouTube, I am sufficiently caught up) but tomorrow night is the Biden-Palin and I do want to watch that. Either Sarah Palin will fall on her face or her time at "debate camp" will make her more prepared. That debate will not influence my choice for whom to vote for, but I do think it could be entertaining.

Joshua doesn't always hear words correctly so instead says things like Tag! I hear it!, bobby cat and Windy the Pooh.

Elliot didn't nap much yesterday so he slept from nearly 7pm to 6am waking once to be nursed. We didn't intend to deprive him of napping, it's just how it worked out with being busy. But I'm not complaining either!

And so the debate continued in my neighborhood email discussion list.

Randy was first to reply

Sarah, once again you haven’t a clue when you say McCain picked Palin based on looks, please check her record of performance in Alaska. Yes, it is short, but Joe Biden , are you kidding me ? I bet all 6 of the Democrats in Homestead are suicidal that Hillary is not on the ticket.

Then fellow liberal Democrat Erin said
I am sorry you are getting beat up about this ... Wow! People feel safe behind their computers. Please don't stop sending emails, you both are a wonderful voice of reason among these crazy conservatives.

And, I agree that the Senate Bill 1738 is an incredible piece of work. Randy ... Seriously! I did not want Hillary on the ticket, and I know more then 6 people in the neighborhood that agreed with me.

And, Palin ... What can I send you to make you realize that she has done NOTHING to be qualified to be VP? I won't waste my time if you won't look at it. I have done too much research to be told McCain did not pick Palin for any reason then she is a woman. He did.

I promise not to throw eggs at your house because I like you, and I would hate to get the Hawkeye flag dirty. :)

Tom wrote in
Just food for thought. Many crimes (or things that are considered to be crimes) are determined based on Judeo-Christian moral principles. Examples are theft and murder. Both are acts that are covered in the Ten Commandments.

In the absence of a moral code, how do you decide what should be a criminal act? Is the government the correct entity to legislate what constitutes criminal acts?

Then Deborah butted in with
No, we're not. Sorry, but Obama is a much better choice. (And I bet there are more than 6 democrats in this neighborhood - many of them are just unwilling to say anything because they don't much like the tone that they get in response.)

For those who oppose abortion, why are you not supporting more safe sex education? Abstinence only education leads to an increase in teen pregnancy rates (and therefore, presumably, in abortions). We should also be supporting adoption, which never seems to come up as much as it should when we're discussing abortion. Given that abortion foes never seem to discuss the practical options to trying to lower the abortion rate, I think the abortion discussion is actually a front for a "Christian values" discussion, which gets us into a whole 'nother problem (re separation of Church and State). (There- now I've opened a can of worms, haven't I? Are we ready for that discussion? :-))

Pro McCain John jumped in saying
If you really think that supporting adoption will reduce abortions then you should vote for McCain. The Bush tax cuts also provided for a tax credit up to $10,000 to reimburse adoptive families for the cost of adopting a child. That's a tax credit, not a tax deduction. It is a dollar for dollar offset for the very expensive proposition of adopting a child.

Previously this credit was $2,500. Since the tax credit is indexed against the Consumer Price Index it is now above $10,000. For those of concerned about helping the rich, relax. The tax credit phases out above certain levels of income so that at about $175,000 of AGI there is no longer a tax credit available.

Unless he has changed his position, again, Obama wants to reverse all of the Bush tax code changes. So this tax credit that helps families adopt children will be reduced significantly.

Even if you don't feel adoptions help prevent abortions you should be concerned about any president who wants to eliminate a federal program that helps parents who want children to adopt children who need a family.

David agreed with John saying
Well stated. The only problem is that you use logic. Obama wants to appeal to your emotions, he really doesn't want you to think objectively. Meanwhile, McCain is the logical "choice".

Then discussions wandered off into topics of adoption vs abortions where working mother Sunnye came in with
My beliefs on abortion are just that, MY beliefs and I want to keep them that way. So my main concern with voting for a conservative presidential candidate is his ability to choose a supreme court justice and how that person's vote will affect our personal choices.

To quote wikipedia "while justices do not represent or receive official endorsements from political parties, as is accepted practice in the legislative and executive branches, jurists are informally categorized in legal and political circles as being judicial conservatives, moderates, or liberals. Such leanings, however, refer to legal outlook rather than a political or legislative one.

Seven of the current justices of the court were appointed by Republican presidents, while two were appointed by a Democratic president. It is popularly accepted that Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito compose the Court's conservative wing. Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer are generally thought of as the Court's liberal wing.[14] Justice Kennedy, generally thought of as a conservative who "occasionally vote[s] with the liberals", is considered most likely to be the swing vote that determines the outcome of certain close cases.[15]"

I worked in Wisconsin as a social worker during their welfare reform. And yes there were some who had more kids, moved across state lines, in order to receive a bigger handout. But those are not the majority. Not everyone is as fortunate as we are to live and raise our children in such a wonderful community. Everyone does not stand on the same playing field.

I also worked for less than a week as a social worker in a private adoption attorney's office here in Dallas. I was sick to my stomach over the common practices I was told only after I accepted the position. Domestic adoption is a business. It's not about helping families connect with babies in need of homes. And unless you are a celebrity and can spend months and thousands of dollars abroad, international adoption is not a truly viable option either.

Instead of looking forward to the implosion of either party, we should be looking for real solutions to the problems of our country and communities. And yes, I am willing to raise my hand as a neighborhood Democrat who is very sad Hillary is not on the ticket.

It's interesting to me that all of the Democrats in this discussion came from women. And the Republicans were mostly men, with a few women. Of my mom friends, those who oppose Obama do so more on pro-life grounds than any other reason. I like several things about Obama, including his pro-choice leaning. I also like the idea of requiring health insurance, I like his plan to refocus military efforts on Afghanistan, I like his vice presidential choice, I like his directness when speaking, and I like his tax proposal, among other issues.

I keep forgetting to get my driver's license renewed since my birthday last week. (Oh yeah, I had a birthday, I'm now 32 and nothing's changed except I have a few new clothes.) So tomorrow. First thing. Crack of dawn. I'll stand in line then get a photo of me that I'll regret for the next several years.

Elliot is learning to get around in a new way- he's cruising! He pulls up (or tries to)on everything: window sills, couches, highchair, big boxes, bed posts, bookshelves, stairs, toilet bowels, everything. We're in the process of installing a gate at the bottom of the stairs and I'm getting back into the habit of closing the bathroom doors. These days he's also screeching more. He screeches when he's frustrated, when he wants or doesn't want something, or when he wants attention. It's annoying but I'm glad to see he's starting to express himself. He also eats well. Today he's had: Cheerios, raisin bread toast, grapes sliced in half, green beans, and applesauce thickened with rice cereal. I'll feed him yogurt, green beans and mild cheddar for dinner. Maybe some pork too if it's tender enough.

Today I had my yard sale, which was a great success. I reduced two large boxes of baby/toddler clothes to less than one laundry basket. I'll donate most of my leftovers. I'm not 100% certain how much I made because I grabbed a fist full of change this morning and didn't get a chance to count it before it got mixed in. There were four cars of shoppers encroaching while we were still bringing it out from the garage. We sold about $182 of stuff, the majority of it baby clothes. Three moms sold their stuff as well making $35, $19 and $4. Of my share, I sold $124, give or take a fist full of change. The majority of everything sold within the first two hours, no surprise. Shoppers where driving by the house before the sun was up, before I had a table up, way before I was ready! The first things to go were the highchair, stroller and baby swing sold by two of the other moms for $40. I also offered a free cup of coffee to the early shoppers. It was a nice touch for some, although most people declined because they don't drink coffee, already had enough or just didn't want any. Things slowed down by 11am so I started telling people that clothing was half-price. That got rid of a bit more. By 12:30 I was done and people weren't coming around frequently enough. I drove around picking up steaks and signs (ten signs) then officially closed the sale at 1pm. An hour later we went grocery shopping and spent all our earnings on groceries paying only $40 with the debit card.

Next time I'll have cold drinks in a cooler and free coffee for the early birds, I'll spray my legs with mosquito repellent sooner, put on more sunscreen, bring out a book to read during slow times, and hopefully sell more. Look for my ad some time around Fall 2011.

The above map with Oprah shows how in 24 hours one image of child pornography that's published online is viewed, downloaded and shared across the country. That's one image on one day. It's estimated that about 15,000 images are traded on a daily basis. Most are young children, some don't know they are being photographed or videoed, some children are raped while being videoed, and even some of the victims are infants. Thirty-five percent of the time the abuser is the child's own parent. And while law enforcement is aware of the ever expanding child pornography business, there simply is not enough funding to apprehend these predators.

There's a new bill facing the senate for vote this September before they recess on September 26th: Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act. In short, the act will 1) authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation, 2) mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding, and 3) allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators. It's estimated to cost only $3 per American over the 2009-2013 period.

Take a moment to read up about the bill then sign a petition or send a letter to your senator to pass to S. 1738 Biden-Hatch.

I'm in the process of reorganizing content and giving it a fresh look to our website: www.ringofsaturn.com. Actually, it's Rusty's website but it's so outdated and neglected- it needs a woman's touch. The first step was a new logo, and here it is:

Josh's cold is causing him problems with his breathing. He's had several puffs on his inhaler today along with a Xopenex breathing treatment before bedtime. He's wheezing and sucking in air. I expect he'll cough throughout the night and may need another breathing treatment in the middle of the night. :-/ At this rate, he'll stay home with me and Elliot tomorrow so I can monitor his asthma.

Elliot also has his cold. With him, I expect he'll get an ear infection but this time I'm more prepared. I have drops I can put in his ears (ofloxacin) at the first time of infection. It won't make the infection go away but it will help prevent the stuff from gelling and getting stuck inside like it has in the past.

As for me, I'm pooped! I started my day at seven when both boys woke up at the same time. Elliot woke up three times last night and Joshua once from his stuffy nose. Elliot took one good nap then a short one in the afternoon while Josh decided to skip his nap entirely. I didn't get to bed last night until midnight (I'm running on less than six hours of sleep) so it's no surprise that while it's only 8pm, it feels like ten to me!

Elliot had his nine month check up on Wednesday:

Weight: 19.3 lbs. (25th percentile)
Height: 29.25" (75th percentile)
Head: 17.22" (10th percentile)

Elliot is turning out to be a bit smaller than Josh was at nine months.

[Josh's] 9 month check-up.

* Weight is 50th percentile at 20.7 pounds
* Length is 95th percentile at 30.25"
* Head circumference is 45th percentile 17.75"

Elliot's a healthy happy chap who is hitting all the milestones- except a little behind in language development. He makes sounds but doesn't babble much and doesn't make a distinctive "word" for mama, dada, cat or any of his other interests. He doesn't imitate the sound of rising and falling of conversation and he doesn't babble as often as I remember Josh doing it. But all that's still ok. He's not behind in any milestone, just taking his time is all!

Josh has a cold today that slowly snuck up on him yesterday. It started out seeming like allergies but then his nose continued to produce mucus and the sneezing continued. We spent most of the weekend at home taking it easy except for a trip to grandma & pop-pop's to play. We're also still battling him with using the potty. He has an accident every day at least one time. Today it was on the stairs shortly before we left for the grandparents'. Yesterday it was during lunch at the table. Friday it was three times in the day plus one poop in the pants. I wanted to strangle him Friday. (I mean that in a cartoon-ish Homer Simpson way, not in a Casey Anthony way.) Maybe tomorrow will be the day we make it accident free. He's been promised a big shiny balloon as a reward for going a day without any accidents.

In the spirit of training, we made up a new song for him to sing to the tune of "Apples & Bananas":
I like to pee, pee, pee, pee-pee in the potty! (repeat)
I like to poo, poo, poo, poo-poo in the potty! (repeat)
Josh likes to add pooping, farting and pssss sound effects to make it more funny.

We're re-evaluating the plan for me going back to work. We both feel it's rushing Elliot to send him to daycare now. When he's 18 months or two, we'll be more ready. With taxes and childcare costs, it's going to be an all or nothing deal for it to be worth it. The amount I need to make in order to cover taxes and childcare and then bring home some income is a job that typically is full-time. Working weekends and nights doesn't appeal to me because that cuts into my family quality time. I'll continue to search for freelance work but I don't expect to re-enter the work force until next year sometime.

Today's Josh-ism
We're walking home after an evening stroll in the neighborhood and we're all thirsty.
Me: I'm going to have some lemonade when I get home.
Rusty: I like limeade.
Me: I like lemonade.
Josh: I like orange-ade!

In other news, Elliot seems to be picking up new sounds at a fast rate. This week he can make two 'n' sounds: n as in nice and n as in thing. He says mamamama frequently, especially when he's feeling frustrated, hungry or neglected for attention. Of course 'b' and 'd' sounds. And occasionally 'ya' and 't' sound. When I'm strapping him into the car and he doesn't want it, he goes 'nanana' in an angry tone. He seems very close to saying a first word. He has his nine month check up appointment on Wednesday.

We're looking forward to the rain coming from Hurricane Gustave. It landed on Louisiana's coast this morning with relatively little drama regarding flooding and damaging winds. It will spin over to our area for two days then dissipate back to the east. Thursday should be a very nice day: high of 85, no rain. If it's not too muddy I may try to get us out to the Arbor Hills playground after dinner that day.

Debunked: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/8/31/234157/516/1017/581734

Moving on...

Ever had a hunch that something wasn't right but you doubted yourself? I had that feeling after McCain announced his running mate and the media focused on her having a baby just four months ago. When I saw her speak at the podium, I thought "wow, she doesn't look like she has a four month old." Then I dismissed this notion making excuses that she probably has staff to help care for him and maybe she works out more than the average mother.

Then I got this link from a friend: http://dailykos.com/story/2008/8/30/121350/137/486/580223

Now I'm not sure what is truth and I realize this blogger is heavily biased against the Republican side. But I can't seem to shake the notion that I had a feeling she wasn't the mother of a newborn even before the article was sent to me. I can't find one single picture of her looking even remotely pregnant. If it's true that she is covering for her unwed teenage daughter, then this lie will surely come out eventually and could hurt McCain's run for office.

McCain selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice President running mate. First, if he gets elected I hope he lives a long life. I don't trust that Palin is prepared to take over as President should McCain decide it's time to kick the bucket during his presidency. He is 72 after all. While she may be a good person with similar views as McCain, she doesn't have enough political experience. She was governor for only two years and mayor of a small town prior.

I'm all for supporting women to run for office, but I think this choice clearly shows poor judgment on McCain's part. The term "loose canon" comes to mind. He didn't think through with a clear head. I fully believe he is playing to the public's eagerness for change and is off his game in this race. I don't trust that McCain's decisions will get much better if in office.

I'll be voting Obama, thank you. If I had bumper stickers, they'd say:
Obama '08
I am Pro-'Bama
No way. No how. No McCain!

Two new milestones with Elliot today: 1) he can now make the 'm' sound and even said 'mma-mma-mma' while looking at me, and 2) he pulled up to standing one time today at the foot of the stairs. After he stood holding on to the step I got excited and joined him on the floor. But then he wanted attention and didn't stand again.

I went shopping at the Divine Consign buying just over $100 of clothes for the boys. Elliot now has a winter coat but I'll have to find a new jacket for Josh somewhere else. I won't know until tomorrow or end of Saturday how much of my stuff sold. So far the baby swing is gone because I didn't see it on the floor. Next Spring I'll have more stuff to sell as Elliot outgrows the baby stuff and graduates to the toddler stuff.

I'm looking forward to our upcoming three-day-weekend even though we don't have any plans yet.

Here's me trying to put up a tent covering with Josh's "help". Actually he was an active observer.

Me: Dang it, the pole keeps- wait wait wait- ok, I think I got- oh no!- argh! it came out, ok I think I can- ARGH!- up up up- hold it- no no!- ARRGGHH! God- Mother- ok, ok let's see- stupid breeze- if I can just- no no wait, the pole again- not you too!- I just need to- wait wait wait- ARRGGHH! @$#!&%!!!
Josh: Mommy, you said @$#!&%.
*a quiet moment*
Me: Yes, I did. That was bad.

I battled it a few more minutes then gave up. Stupid tent covering. I don't need it anyway!

I joined Twitter this week. I still don't get it though. Like Friendster, this is a flash in the pan that will eventually have a number of abandoned memberships. I've tried to find "long losy high school friends" with no success. Like me, they probably don't want to be found!

Josh told me this morning that he would like to be a pirate for Halloween. And not just any pirate- he wants to be a big pirate! He means he wants the hat and long sword.

I'm not sure how I want to dress Elliot for Halloween. He's a crawler and explorer now so any outfit that looks good on the floor or plays the part of crawling will do fine. I'll see what's on sale at the consignment sale next week before I get creative or buy new.

I took the kids to the Natural Science Museum last Thursday. Josh really enjoyed! He liked the Children's area where he could play and explore science concepts. But he really enjoyed the big kid stuff like the tornado emulator, photovoltaic wall and the router display. (Is this a surprise?) He also enjoyed the hot air balloon that rises two stories. But he didn't care about the dinosaur bones. I guess that's a leap in knowledge he hasn't made yet.

Next year we'll go again but we'll take the Dart rail instead. I am sooo excited about this rail coming close to our area. Oh man- it'll be awethum! The new DART Green Line will go from Carrollton to Love Field to Downtown to Deep Ellum to Fair Park to Lake June. By September next year the Southeast portion should be open and our station will be probably early 2010.

All the weddings are done, all the parties attended, all our visitors have gone home. I don't know what to do with myself any more! My last big thing to look forward to is the consignment sale next weekend.

And taking our next push to potty train Josh. He knows how but doesn't want to do it at home. The down time should be ideal for us to focus on that.

Josh's willfulness is about to drive me insane! It's a struggle to do the simplest things: put on your shoes, get in the car seat, go to the potty, get in the bath tub, lay down in bed, eat your dinner, put on your shirt, close the door... When he gets it in his head that he's in charge he snaps "No!" or whines "I don't wanna...". Then it's a battle of the wills to get him to do (or not do) whatever.

This evening I asked him to turn around to face me while I was putting on a nighttime diaper. He kept turning away from me half as a game, half in defiance. After a full day of battles I snapped. I pushed him down, hastily strapped on his diaper then left him alone in his room to cry while I took a moment of time-out to calm down. We've apologized to each other and made our case ("Mommy, don't hurt me" "Joshua, please do as you're told") and now we're on good terms again.

On the up side, Rusty will be home tomorrow afternoon. There will be much rejoicing with him home!

It's only Friday but it feels like Saturday night already. Thursday Emily & Ian left town after brunch. After eating with friends (Tommy, Kathy, Lee & Barb) then sending Emily & Ian off, I spent an hour napping with Elliot and another hour cleaning house. Lee & Barb then came by to visit and help me with last minute bachelor/bachelorette party planning.

Yesterday night was the party. Rusty & I both participated but in shifts. He got the first half which was dinner at TomTom's. Apparently the food was fantastic because everyone raved about it. I attended the back half of the evening. I entertained and cared for the boys in the uptown area during dinner then we switched at the half-way point in front of The Ginger Man Pub. After a drink or two, we all moved on to Backdoor Comedy. The show was late starting but that's okay because we were late-ish to all get there. We opened with Mark Agee, had several other comedians then ended with Raj Sharma who did a roast of Tommy & Kathy. Oh man- we laughed so hard for so long! My stomach muscles were sore after the show! I tipped the roaster $50. This morning Tommy & Kathy sent this:

I woke up this morning in one of those "Oh Hey, I'm awake." moments.
I tried going back to sleep, but I was still glowing from how fun last
night was. All I could think about was how fun everything was and how
much it meant to me. My muscles were still a bit sore from laughing
and crying from laughing that much.

Thank you both, so very much for last night. It had us truly present
to how great our friends are and how much they love us.

-Kathy and Tommy.

I didn't get home until 1am then woke up at 6:45 when the boys got up.

The Falgout-Carter wedding is tomorrow. I'll take Elliot with me leaving Josh with a babysitter for a couple or few hours. I hope to make it through most of the reception but it depends largely on whether I can get Elliot to nap on my lap without too much noise. The good news is that the wedding and reception are at the same place and it happens to be close to my home in Carrollton. yay!!

Also on Thursday, Rusty's grandfather, Frank Macedon, passed away in the morning. It was abrupt but not entirely surprising. Rusty left at 4am this morning to fly out with his parents to Las Vegas as they settle affairs. Tomorrow they will dress the body then Sunday they will have a private viewing, a blessing by a nun then send the body to the mortuary. The plan is to cremate but I'm clear whether that's Sunday or some other time. Hopefully Rusty will be back home Monday.

With all that said, I need to shower and primp before bed since I won't get much of a chance tomorrow morning.

We played Scrabble this evening. Here are the words we played:
grip (I went first)
liar (+ at + le)
que (triple word)
done (Rusty's last played word)

Rusty won with 127 points, but barely! He used the remaining points from us to beat us. If he hadn't, I was in the lead followed closely by Ian and Emily.

Oh yeah, Emily & Ian are visiting for a few days. They drove from Norfolk, VA starting Friday, spent the night in Mississippi, detoured through Winona, TX arriving here Sunday evening. (They'll be here until Thursday mid-day then they're moving on towards Plainview, TX to see Emily's parents.)

Sunday was our sick day. It was bad! Oh God, we were sooo sick! We ached, we were feverish, had the runs, our stomachs felt swirly. Our bodies did a fantastic job of vacating every morsel of food from our systems. I think we ate some bad organic tomato soup (Amy's). First Josh threw up around midnight, then I threw up two hours later then Rusty at 3am. I was dumb and desperate for something soothing on my throat so I drank some SlimFast- which came up to say "screw off" an hour later. Let's just say we didn't keep anything but 7-Up/Sprite down for about 24 hours. Rusty & I laid around the house moaning and sleeping in shifts. We lucked out that it was a weekend so Russ & Anne took care of Josh (he had waaaay too much energy!) but Elliot stayed home with us. To make matters worse, I couldn't just lay around all day like I wanted to. Oh no. There was work around the house to do because we had company coming that evening. And a baby to care for. I had to clean the bathroom floor, the carpet in Josh's room, the carpet in Elliot's room, do some laundry and shower myself. I was so low on energy that I managed to do all this (that's right- Super Mom to the rescue) very slowly and with frequent breaks.

Today we slowly regained our confidence that not all food was bad and by this evening we're back to our normal dorky selves. ;-)

Elliot has an ear infection again thanks to his recent head cold. He's been dripping snot from his nose since last week Friday (one week!) and now has goop coming out his left ear. He doesn't like it when I clean out his ear and wipe his nose but otherwise he's content.

We got our A/C cleaned out this week- things are waaay cooler now! We haven't been good about cleaning out the intake on the A/C so it was working too hard. Rusty is also going to patch a few leaks this weekend. There are small holes leaking cool air into the attic.

Elliot's still getting around without crawling. He'll take a one-two then lunge the rest of the way. If an object is too far away he just doesn't bother.

Joshua is still in diapers. We talked at dinner time about how log is too long. Three years old is too long in my opinion but Joshua continues to show he's not ready or willing. This evening he pooped in his diaper in his bedtime instead of going to the potty. He knows full well where hes supposed to go and ho to do it himself but he chooses not to do it. We're at our wit's end with it. I want to be free of constantly taking him to the potty (b/c he won't take himself) and battle about that and Rusty wants to stop spending money on diapers for him. We may need a potty whisperer!

I'll miss Jim Tavaré. He was my favorite of the Last Comic Standing contestants. What's not to like about a strange bald man lugging around a bass? He was funny all the time, not just on stage. But Iliza did have a commanding stage precense which probably helped her win. Thank God God's Pottery did not win! I'm also watching Project Runway, Mindfreak and Who Wants to be a Millionaire, in case you were wondering.

Elliot tooks a few crawling steps last nights. It was clumsy and wobbly, but undeniably crawling. Today he hasn't repeated this new skill. Not yet.

Joshua had a small cold Friday that Elliot caught Sunday evening. Josh is over it by now but poor Elliot's nose is still runny and he still feels crappy. Hopefully he'll pull out of it soon. Maybe some good rest and easy play today will help since Josh is at school.

I created a Facebook account today. I really didn't see a need for one (still don't) but I decided on a whim to go with the flow. It seems like every other friend I know has one. Facebook sells itself as a hip means to keep up with friends (I already do), share photos ( I do), reconnect with old classmates and coworkers ( I don't care to). Whatever. I'm in the crowd now. So write on my wall or do whatever Facebookers do to "friends".

Yeah so, a friend of mine, well two actually, are getting married in like two weeks. It's crazy! I've been planning a scavenger hunt for their bachelor/bachelorette party. They want to do a combined thing avoiding the whole strip club scene, hookers in a hotel room, party bus thing. I can't give details about the hunt but I'm really excited about it! I got a chance to work on the list today. Tomorrow I'll scope out the Deep Ellum area for a reality check on what's in business and what's cool to do. Not only do I love planning stuff like this but I also love seeing it play out. Rsty & I are going to split the evening. The plan is that he'll do the dinner thing whilst I do the hunt thing and somewhere in between we'll hand off the kids.

Rusty is at a different wedding this evening. I put the boys to bed rather easily this evening. I'm surprised at how easy it was. I got both bathed, pajama-ed, then set Josh in front of his night-time show on Sprout. While he wound down, I nursed Elliot hoping he'd fall asleep. Nope, he didn't. But he was very sleepy and ready so I laid him in bed. Meanwhile, Josh's show ended while I was still feeding Elliot so he turned off the TV, picked out five books and brought the stool out for me to sit on next to his bed. Then he played with Legos in his room waiting for me to finish with Elliot. What a trooper!! I laid Elliot down and knew he'd either put himself to sleep or cry until I got him. Luckily he put himself to sleep. I played with Josh a few minutes, read him two books, rubbed his back then lights out. And it was silent upstairs! Not a peep from either room since then.

Except I think Elliot pooped while going to sleep because his room reaks and his back end feels solid. :-s

Oh dang it's hot out! They say- it's not the heat, it's the humidity. No. No the humidity is fine. Somewhere it's in the 70's and humid (Portland, ME?) and nobody complains that it's hot. No when it's 100+ degrees, it's hot with or without humidity. The humidity just keeps the heat around longer at night. It got up to 116 degrees around Phoenix, AZ today. Now that's hot! Despite our heat wave this summer, we have had some rain during what's typically the dry season. This morning we saw thunderstorms to the north and even heard a few loud claps of thunder- but we didn't get any of that rain. We got rain twice on Wednesday. Statistically speaking, we never get rain in late July or August. Crazy!

Elliot's got a new tooth coming in on the bottom. This bugger has been giving him problems though. He's been running low fevers almost everyday since Monday. I took him to the pediatrician on Wednesday to make sure it wasn't something to be concerned about. I looked in his mouth and didn't see anything. She checked his ears, nose, throat- he's all around healthy. While he was crying at her she did see the bump on the lower gum line. This will be tooth number seven.

August is shaping up to be a busy month for us already. Tomorrow Rusty is going to an old buddy's wedding (I'm not going), then we have Emily & Ian visiting, then Tommy's wedding & the surround parties for that, then my mom says she's coming to visit some time, then I'm selling baby stuff at a consignment sale at the end of the month.

That's right. We're so done with babies, I'm letting it go. Gear & clothes are up for sale then going to donation. The money I raise will go right back into buying new clothes for the boy's fall/winter clothes. I have nearly 50 things I'm selling at Divine Consign then whatever's left over from the sale will go into a garage sale the following weekend. Then anything left over will go to St. Vincent de Paul or some charity.

Speaking of Catholic charity, send your soothing vibes to Rusty. He's been having terrible shoulder pain for the last several days. He now thinks it's due to sitting in a non-ergonomical way at work. Even after a chiropractor and a massage therapist worked on him, he's still got a knot in the back of his shoulder. I rubbed his back yesterday night but it didn't do any good. So think meat tenderizing thoughts and send loosey-goosey vibes in his direction. Hopefully he'll get past this soon.

Rusty's snoring has nearly diminished this week. We're not sure why but I'm loving it. He insisted that I blog about it so that his reputation as The Very Loud Snorer could be restored. (Secretly, while this is wonderful, I don't expect it to last forever!)

Sometimes Josh wakes up from his afternoon naps just desolate. Today, after more than an hour and a half of sleep, he woke up crying then sobbing then wailing, whimpering, whining then cranky. This whole transition lasted about an hour. I held him in my arms, head over my shoulder, sat with him, held his hand, rubbed his back, offered milk and sacks, called his friend so he could say hi- I tried everything. We eventually walked around the block- his idea- then greeted Rusty as he came home. I am clueless as to why he wakes up like this. He never wakes up sad in the mornings (unless he's sick) and he doesn't always wake up sad from naps.

I got hiccups while reading to Josh tonight. They were so strong, I had to pause the story a few times because Josh was cracking up. I thought he'd never settle down. Now that both boys are out, we're going to watch The Golden Compass on the couch.

Best pictures of the week: Elliot bathing in the kitchen sink. He loves to be in the sink!

My appetite is funky these days. I start out the day with a decent breakfast (usually cereal or bagel), a light lunch, a few bites of a snack (Sun Chips, peanut butter stuffed pretzels, fruit, etc.), then dinner. Then, around this time, after the kids are in bed and I'm winding down for the evening- I get the munchies! I can't help it but I want to pig out. Even if I've had a filling dinner, my brain stills thinks I need something more. Lately I've been indulging this by snacking on a variety of things: fruit, nuts, ice-cream, cookies dunked in milk, Sun Chips, trail mix. Some nights are healthier than others but it's not really helping nightly urges. Tonight it's ice-cream with nuts on top.

I caught someone in a lie this week. I was checking out the Natural Grocer, a new small grocery store in the corner of a shopping strip. I had gone to a Sprouts store (love them BTW) nearby and thought I'd compare. I didn't much care for the Natural Grocer. There were hardly any groceries and tons of vitamins, herbals and supplements. They did have a sale on organic blackberries for $1 so I bought a box. As I was checking out, the cashier lady said, "I remember you from the last time you were here."
"I've never been to this store before today." Busted!
"Well you must have a twin somewhere..." Yeah, I doubt that.
I'll bet she says this to several people a day trying to give them the warm fuzzies so they'll come back.

A while back Rusty attempted to "help" me update the online photo album by switching from Gallery to ZenPhoto. Supposedly Zen is better on the back end in addition to looking fresher. Problem is that when he transferred the data, somehow it ate the captions for some... I don't know... 600 pictures! After several angry looks and catty mutterings, he's trying to redeem himself. He's managed to regain about 300 captions, but even then some didn't go to the right picture. So if you're poking around the old pictures (the pre-Elliot side) many pictures lack a caption and some have a misplaced caption. And I still have a scowl on my face!

On the bright side- I LOVE to look at Joshua's baby pictures. That part puts a smile on my face.

So it's a scowl until I get distracted with cute baby pictures.

We got a few books from the library for Josh this week. I was trying to go for classic fairy tales. He's heard references for the Three Little Pigs and Jack and the Beanstalk and other such stories. I thought it was time he got them for bedtime. What is it with people messing up these stories? Little Red Riding Hood is a modern girl with a hooded jacket on a bike on the prairie with a grandma who is a farmer and she catches a dim-witted wolf before he can harm granny then puts him to work making muffins. Confused? So was I! There's the Three Little Pigs one. The author had to create another character: the mother pig. She has a waffle business that lures patrons including a wolf who is a bully trying to eat the pigs, gets caught by the mommy pig, treated like a waffle which makes him a good guy again then is sent away to a far away beach. I'm certain Hans Christian Andersen would disapprove. I particularly hate the Pig story because the pigs don't solve their problem, the mother does! In both stories the wolf is turned into a "good guy" instead of meeting some terrible fate for their treacherous ways. Are authors afraid to discuss consequences of being a bully (or predator) or of misfortune of anyone? Why do they feel so compelled to modernize the tales? Little Red Hiding Hood should have a cape and hood, not some lame hoodie jacket from BabyGap. I say we've gone soft. Way too soft. We're so afraid our kids will freak out if a story says that grandma got eaten by a wolf or pigs cooked a wolf in their brick fireplace. I know, I know- not all fairy tales are suitable for young (impretionable) ears. This is where discretion comes into play. What's next? Hansel & Gretel meet a nice old lady who takes them home? The Ugly Duckling is accepted from the start? Cinderella's sisters are nice and Snow White never sees a poisoned apple? Rusty says, "It's too P.C." I couldn't agree more.

Also, Chutes and Ladders has Diego characters. Yet another lame bastardization of a classic.

Snapshots from my three-year-old's dreams:

  • his teacher was blowing a whistle
  • someone flying a kite
  • Pop-Pop came to the house
  • he couldn't find me downstairs (part of a nightmare)
  • he was going down a slide
After today's nap, he said he didn't have a dream, which I interpret as that he doesn't remember it.

The update on Rusty's grandmother isn't great. They got fluid out of her lungs but the cancer has disintegrated her ninth rib and spread to her spleen. She's still on oxygen and isn't expected to go off. It's not likely she'll be able to travel home to be with Anne so Rusty's parents are in Las Vegas with her.

Josh is home with me today and tomorrow. Today we're spending some time with Signe and Ethan who are visiting from College Station. Tomorrow morning we have three choices of things to do: play at a playground with an old neighbor, go to a splash pad or a MOPs playdate. I'm not sure what we'll do and it'll come down to timing. Elliot's asleep now at 9am leaving us open for lunch time play. His nap has shifted this week. He's gone down early for an hour or two, will be awake through lunch and down again around three or so. That's the latest trend.

Joshua has been annoying me relentlessly. He'll ask me repatedly through the day, "Hey mommy? What are you doing?" Even when he knows what I'm doing, he'll ask anyway. Sometimes he'll ask three or four times in a row even though I haven't changed what I'm doing. Grrrr! I know this is a phase and I'm looking forward to the end of it! He's breaking rules, defying my requests and acting rude. Sometimes I want to bop him on the back of the head. Instead, I vent to my mom in the evenings and shove the kids toward Rusty when he comes home.

Rusty's grandmother, Helen Macedon, has lymphoma and is going through chemo. She had a rough patch this weekend but is now responding well to drugs and treatment and may be well enough to travel soon. Helen's wish is to move in with Anne (Rusty's mom) to be close to family in her last months and years. We suspect she's feeling lonely and overburdened with her medical problems. She and her husband Frank live in Las Vegas. Frank will likely move into a full-time care facility when he comes to Plano too. I'm preparing to do what I can to help them out when they move here until I find a job.

Here's a picture I took of Elliot yesterday.

Here's another downer: today Joshua was exactly the same age that Jason was when he died in 1973- 3 years, 1 month and 17 days old. Nothing special happened today to commemorate this although I did take a moment to gaze at Josh this morning to marvel at how much he's grown and admire his features. I can now understand how the death of Jason put a wrench into my family's heart when he died 35 years ago.

This month is all about birthdays. Today was Byron's birthday, tomorrow is Hailey's, next week is Lisa's and Nia's. I'm looking forward to Hailey's party tomorrow because her mom, my friend Carolyn, will have her newborn baby in tow and I'm anxious to see him. I just love looking at tiny newborns. And he's the only boy in my circle of friends having babies this year. One boy and five girls. It's the year of girls! I think we're done with birthdays after these. Thank God!

My brain is exhausted and it's way past my usual bedtime. Last night we played Scrabble again after the kids went to sleep. Rusty won by 4 points (205 to 201). We could have played faster but we were being competitive pushing the game to midnight. Not tonight. Buenas noches!



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