Thursday, May 31, 2007

Beach pictures

Just a few shots from Luke's first beach trip. These were taken on Jekyll Island, GA, off the coast of where I grew up. I've been to this very same beach numerous times, so it was definitely a treat to get to share it with my son. (BTW, that is my husband and my mom in the photos. There are a few that include me, but you don't get to see those! LOL) Enjoy

Currently feeling: beachy

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Busy busy holiday

Long time, no (real) blogging! That last one was just copied from an email I sent out late Friday/early Saturday (for those not on the mailing list). Besides that, it has been over a week. Lots happening!

We drove down and visited my parents for the Memorial Day weekend. Also dropped by to see my grandfather and MIL. We took Luke to the beach for the very first time, and he had a total blast! (Yes, photos to come, whenever I get a chance. Who knows when that will be.) We played in the yard with the golf set and the baseball set and the bubbles (and got eaten up by mosquitoes; Luke seems to have inherited his Nana's skin chemistry that is apparently akin to some powerful mosquito narcotic, while I more or less have my father's virtual immunity to bites). We saw Pirates, we sat around and vegged. Luke didn't sleep well the last few nights, and he was up at the crack of dawn before 7 AM every morning (yawn).

And Luke spiked a fever of almost 103 and woke up screaming at 3 AM the morning of the day we left (Tuesday), and (bad mommy who thought of it and then intentionally left it because it had never been needed before) we had no children's fever medicine on hand, so my dad went out to Walgreens in the middle of the night. Given the two weeks of nightly coughing and a week of runny nose, I knew what that meant: ear infection. Which was confirmed at his doctor's appointment this morning. Both ears, incidentally. I know she was about to suggest an ENT referral when I mentioned that we already have a follow-up ENT appointment for July 3 (just how I want to spend the day before my anniversary). This is his second ear infection in 8 weeks, and his fourth in 7 months, plus a history of non-infected (but still present) fluid during in-between visits. Given that his two most recent infections have been since his last ENT appointment in March, I can virtually assure you she will recommend tubes in July. Joy.

And here I was all excited. I finally thought I would have a monthly round-up with no health concerns to report. I guess this is my punishment! (I was going to ignore the fact that I managed to roll my ankle in the sand at the beach and strain the ligaments in the arch of my right foot. The pain goes from the top of the arch on the inside of my foot and wraps all the way around the bottom. Didn't even know you *could* do that, but ouch!)

Currently feeling: pained

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Movie Muse (Not So) Short: Pirates 3

Yes, I saw Pirates 3 Friday night; I wasn't expecting to, it just worked out that way.

And I am not very happy with this movie (and for those who have seen it, it is most likely not for the reason(s) you think). I have very specific points of annoyance with the film, naturally none of which I can discuss without giving away major plot points, which is not at all what I am about.

Lots of people liked it or loved it. Some I know said it is the best of the three. I have to wonder if they were watching the same film. It had flashes of brilliance, wonderful wonderful wonderful references to both the ride and the first film, and I did laugh quite a bit (though not usually at the things that everyone else was laughing at). But overall, I am not happy with it. Just goes to show you how different people's perceptions of the same film can be.

I hope you enjoy it, I really do. I hope every one of you disagree with me (as with my review of the most recent Bond) and you love it! I would just rather prepare you for possible disappointment and you leave the theater saying "I have no idea what she meant, that movie rocked!" than keep quiet and have you say "why didn't you tell me it was so disappointing?"

I'll do my best to get a full review out soon, but I really have no idea what to actually say about it without it being full of spoilers. I'll try though. I think I need to let it sit for a few days.

Hope you are all having (or had) a great weekend!

Currently feeling: unhappy

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Movie Meme Update

Have to update two items. Never did remember what movie it is that people can't believe I've seen, though.

What’s your least favorite movie ever?
How could I possibly have forgotten Hulk?!! Terrible terrible terrible movie.

What song would you choose to be the theme song to the movie of your life story?
Apparently, there is a song about loving your life and your family just the way it is: "I Could Not Ask For More," by Edwin McCain. :)

Lying here with you
Listening to the rain
Smiling just to see the smile upon your face
These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive
These are the moments I'll remember all my life
I found all I've waited for
And I could not ask for more
Looking in your eyes
Seeing all I need
Everything you are is everything to me
These are the moments
I know heaven must exist
These are the moments I know all I need is this
I have all I've waited for
And I could not ask for more

I could not ask for more than this time together
I could not ask for more than this time with you
Every prayer has been answered
Every dream I have's come true
And right here in this moment is right where I'm meant to be
Here with you here with me

These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive
These are the moments I'll remember all my life
I've got all I've waited for
And I could not ask for more


I could not ask for more than the love you give me 'Coz it's all I've waited for
And I could not ask for more
I could not ask for more

Friday, May 18, 2007

Movie Meme

I snitched this one from Katie the Scrapbook Lady (she also does the monthly round-up that I post here). Reminds me a lot of the questions I had for my own movie meme. Which I stopped doing, BTW. It's not that I had trouble coming up with questions, I could just never get around to posting them! Seriously, I don't know why it was so hard, I just didn't. I even set myself email reminders, and I still forgot! It made me feel like a loser, so I just stopped. Deleted the whole site and everything. So if any of you were wondering where it went (unlikely), that's what happened.

But these are fun, so I'll play. Although several of them are too hard for me to answer!

Name your all-time top five favorite movies.
See, like this one! There is no such thing as my top five favorite films. I could list my top fifty, and still feel like I was leaving off a zillion worthy movies. So I'll just list the first five that come to mind, but realize that if you ask me this question an hour from now, you'll get a different answer. Star Wars, The Princess Bride, Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Incredibles

What’s your favorite movie line?
Favorite? Or the one I use most frequently? I use "Albuquerque. See, I can do it too." from National Treasure. And "Did you guys ever *watch* the show?" and "This episode was badly written!" from Galaxy Quest (see, totally should have been in my top 5, or 50, or whatever; totally love that movie!). But my favorite quote? I would say that it is currently, "I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request." from Pirates of the Caribbean. I just love it! The timing, the delivery, the smart-ness (is that a word?). Simply brilliant!

Who’s your favorite movie character?
No contest: Maleficent, from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

What movie do you love that most people hate?
Wow, I don't know. I like several films that no one seems to have ever heard of, but I can't think of one I like that other people hate. Someone recently said that Demolition Man was a very bad movie. Not the greatest cinematic achievement, granted, but I sure do love it! Never fails to make me laugh; always a good thing.

What movie do you hate that most people love?
Shrek! And Monty Python. And anything in the Naked Gun, Airplane, etc genre. And anything in the American Pie, Not Another Teen Movie, etc genre.

What was the last movie you saw?
The last movie I watched from start to finish was, I believe, Chicken Little. I did catch the last hour or so of Fried Green Tomatoes the other day, though.

What’s your least favorite movie ever?
Wow, hard to say. There have been a few doozies. The Musketeer, I Spy, 3000 Miles to Graceland, Pulp Fiction.

What one movie have you seen that you would never ever watch again?
Well, you could always see the above list! But I have a different answer here. There is a movie that I think is truly one of the best movie that I have ever seen. And I will never ever, not ever, NEVER see it again: SE7EN. Scared the @#$% out of me. I *literally* did NOT sleep three days, and for about two weeks after that, I would only sleep when my boyfriend (now husband, incidentally) was there with me. He stayed with me while I napped during the day, and I stayed awake all freakin' night with every light in the dorm room on (my roommate was never ever there; I saw her maybe once a week). Fantastic movie. And NEVER will I see it again.

What was the last DVD you saw?
Oh, wow, um.... Casino Royale, I think. Well, that is the last one I voluntarily watched. I've seen several of DS's choosing. This past week, it has been primarily Star Wars, Pocahontas (no idea why he loves that movie, but he does), The Incredibles, and Looney Toons.

What was the first DVD you remember buying?
Shakespeare in Love. DH found it on fantastic sale and bought it before we even had a DVD player! We were planning to buy one for Christmas, and I think he picked it up sometime in the fall. That would have been in 1998 or 1999.

What actor/actress would you like to look like?
Generally speaking, pick one! Anyone who is 5'4" and under (I actually like being short; yes, I know that's weird), and less than 130, but not a stick. I think Catherine Zeta-Jones is gorgeous, but I am so far removed from dark haired/dark eyed/dark skinned beauty, it's not even funny (think Irish; super-pale, frizzy red hair, and freckles), so I cannot even imagine looking like that. Someone slightly more attainable? How about Kate Winslet? Yeah, that would be good.

What classic movie have you never seen?
Oh, there is one film that every time it is mentioned, I always get "you've NEVER seen that?!!" and for the life of me, I cannot recall now what it is. I'm sure I'll remember eventually. For now, um, I'll go with An American in Paris. Most people can't believe that about me simply because I am such a huge Gene Kelly fan!

What song would you choose to be the theme song to the movie of your life story?
Oh good grief, I haven't the faintest idea. Really, I can't think of a single one. If anyone knows one about having a pretty great and easy life and an awesome family, being thankful every single day for all of that and not wanting to change a thing, then that would be it. But to the best of my knowledge, there isn't a song about that!

What’s your favorite movie genre?
Action. I love a good action movie, preferably with a little comedy thrown in.

Who’s your favorite actor/actress?
Do I really have one? No one immediately pops to mind, actually. Lots of folks I like a lot. Ed Harris, Gary Sinise, Jodie Foster, Michelle Pfeiffer, Gene Kelly, Betty Grable.

What actor/actress do you refuse to see their movies?
As I have probably discussed before, with one exception, I cannot think of a single person that, given the right part, I would not see their movie. In the past, I would have said Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, and Adam Sandler. But I very much liked The Truman Show, Keeping the Faith was very good as well, and I really really liked Stranger Than Fiction. Because of the material, I was willing to see those movies in spite of my reservations about the actors' "usual fare." Sandler is still on my "most likely not" list, but given some of his recent choices (we'll ignore I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, shall we?), he may very well come up with a film soon that interests me enough to see it despite his presence. And I know he's not an actor, but I also will most likely not see another Quentin Tarantino; one was sufficient, thank you. The only actor that I truly do REFUSE to watch is Tim Roth. Every film I have ever seen with him in it has turned out horrid, no matter how much potential it may have held. Now, if I hear he is in a film (granted, he is not in many that interest me, but even if he is), I truly will not see it. One day, there may come an exception to that, but it would take a truly awesome movie for me to overcome my Roth-a-phobia.

What genre would you choose not to watch?
I can and do choose not to watch horror movies (see above about SE7EN) and gross-out/stupid comedies. I also rarely see war movies because they are usually way too violent/bloody/gorey for me.

What’s your favorite theater concession combo?
Milk Duds and a big honkin' Coke!

Front row, Back row, Side Seats, Aisle or center?
In "regular seat" theaters, dead center. In stadium seating, 3/4 of the way to the top, again center. (At our favorite theater, it is actually the next to the top row. Just the perfect viewing angle!)

Currently feeling: a love of movies

Monday, May 14, 2007

Big boy pants

Given the recent signs both at home and at daycare (per his teacher), we have graduated to pull-ups. Well, during the day at least. Still diapers at night. He still goes in the pull-up instead of the potty more often than not, but I thought it might help him, especially at daycare. We'll see. Maybe we can use them as leverage if need be (no pull-ups if you can't use the potty), but I'm not ready to push him that hard yet. We'll stick with encouragement and praise as long as we possibly can.

At the moment, we're just asking him frequently if he needs to go. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. He seems more aware and/or willing in the afternoon than in the morning, which I find odd. And I'm really tired of asking every 30-60 minutes "do you need to pee-pee? what about poo-poo?" That is going to get very old very fast, but again, not much to be done about it.

Currently feeling: tired of leaks

Sunday, May 13, 2007

For those who use Bloglines

... or other similar feed gathering mechanisms, I wanted to let you know that I finally updated the slideshow on the right side of my blog with new pictures of Luke, if you're interested in seeing them. I think the most recent photos in the previous incarnation were from November! I don't even know if people look at those things. Well, I know Dana did, because she said so. (It was also her comment that made me realize it was so out of date, oops!) I thought I would mention it, just in case. Please don't feel like you have to come see, though.

And I finally updated my reading and listening sections on the left as well (not really watching much right now, besides television). Nothing overly exciting, though. Re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in preparation for both the film and Book 7. Obviously, a re-read of Book 6 will follow. And I am greatly enjoying the Music & Lyrics soundtrack. It still makes me smile! That's saying something.

I've been asked in the past where I got my progress bars from, so I thought I'd give a thank you shout-out to the fabulous Melanie. She provides hers free of charge in various colors. Just click on her "progress bars" link in the top right sidebar under "Things to See." (Yes, I am intentionally not giving you the direct link. You should read her blog! She's wonderful.) Now, I did alter them a bit, making up the "in between" values. Hers count in increments of 5%; the engineer in me called for more precise measurements. I also recolored them to be more in keeping with my present blog scheme, but they are completely derived from her idea and work, so she deserves the credit. And yes, she is credited in (gee, go figure) the credits section of this blog (left sidebar, bottom), but since I doubt anyone actually looks that far down, I wanted to give her a special thank you up here at the top where everyone can see. Thanks Melanie!

BTW, my Mother's Day was mostly calm and uneventful, besides the child who didn't want to get in the car for any reason and wailed half way to our destination both times we went out. But I received cards, I didn't have to cook (Arby's for lunch, Artuzzi's (Italian) for dinner), and my child actually now looks as though I care about his appearance (read: we finally got him a haircut that was 6-8 weeks overdue).

Currently feeling: boring

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Tagged by Dana

Dana tagged me. I hope she understands how hard this is going to be for me. I'm such a boring person!

Here are the rules:
1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves
2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules
3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

1: Until this house where I currently reside, I have never lived in a single dwelling longer than 4 years ever in my life. (I also went to 8 different schools in 3 different states for K-12, plus 3 colleges/universities (though one was just a summer course).) In June, we will have lived in this house for 6 years. I'm definitely feeling the need to move! LOL

2: I have never had a sip of alcohol in my life, nor am I interested in doing so. I am, however, willing to put wine in some recipes that call for it, like my excellent recipes for spaghetti and risotto, which just aren't the same without it (I've tried).

3: Despite not being a girly-girl *at all,* I love having my nails painted, preferably a nice shade of light lavender. I would do it more often, but it just doesn't last long (not even 48 hours), and I don't want wraps or acrylics or anything like that, so I usually just do without.

4: I am terrible with names IRL, but I can remember actors and large portions of their filmographies with ease.

5: Despite having been born and raised in the South, I do not care for NASCAR, country music, or barbeque (no offense to those that do). But I do like grits! LOL

6: I have 25 years experience with computers. My grandfather saw home/personal computers as the future way back in the early 80s, and he insisted his grandchildren be a part of it. There has been a computer of some sort (the first being a Commodore 64) in my home since I was 6 years old.

7: Though I will on occasion see a "serious" or "important" film, I much prefer fluff movies, especially action flicks and romantic comedies. I want escape-ism, not reality. I get enough reality at home without facing it in the theaters.

8: I didn't like cheesecake until I was in my 20s. As a kid, I just didn't care for the tangy flavor. (I still don't like yogurt because of the tangy flavor! Nor do I care for actual cream cheese unless it is in something else (like cheesecake!)) But my best friend got me a piece off a buffet at Disney, and to be nice since she was trying to be helpful, I tried it. And now, I can't get enough of it!

As far as tags, I can't think of anyone who probably hasn't been tagged yet, so if you want to play along, feel free! Just leave me a comment so I can read yours. :)
Currently feeling: revealed

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Officially Bandaid-less

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a month almost to the day after having to have stitches put in his finger, Luke is officially bandaid-less. Despite being told by the doctor that it was fine to go without a bandaid after two weeks, Luke refused. I figured he would until the scab fell off. That happened tonight when I was looking at it. I gently ran my finger over the tip of his finger, using virtually no pressure, and the scab just sloughed right off, revealing perfectly healthy and intact pink skin. I showed him his finger and said, "look, all better!" He seemed rather perplexed as to what happened to his wound, LOL. He was rather distressed when we insisted he go to bed without a bandaid, holding out his finger like it hurt. Maybe going a day without it at daycare tomorrow can convince him. It looks a lot better than I ever would have imagined a month ago. Yay!!

Currently feeling: relieved

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Speech Therapy Results

Okay, here we are. Sorry this took so long. I know I still need to do the final Disney trip report (not that anyone still cares at this point), and I still need to write up the Titanic exhibit. I suppose I'll get to it eventually. Just busy busy! But Jacob did find an apartment last weekend, so the move is now *officially* on. Yay!! Ahem, anyway....

So, Luke finally had his speech therapy evaluation on April 26. We started a little late, but that's okay. Miss Maria was our therapist, and she was very very nice. I know it is their job, but she is so good with kids, I was just amazed. Luke is usually very shy at first around new people, but he warmed up to her almost immediately. Our appointment was at 9. She asked me all kinds of questions about his history and stuff. That took about 30 minutes. Then she started the testing. I had no idea it would take so long, almost 90 minutes. By the time she was getting near the end, he was getting hungry and tired and uncooperative, so I don't know if that affected the results or not. We did have a snack a bit after 10, between the two portions of the test (one was about understanding and expressing language, the other on pronunciation), but he was definitely ready to go by 11, and we hadn't heard the results or recommendations yet.

So, the results are: not really good. Once she found out I was in IE and that I understand statistics, she was happy to share things with me in those terms. That would be where the visual aid comes in. Here is the chart version of what I was told:

His "understanding" score was basically a full standard deviation below the mean (that would be what most people call average). The thing that aggravates me about that score, though, is that it puts him at a development age of 2 years and 5 months. He wasn't even 2 years 7 months when he took the test! And he only missed one question. I don't understand how missing a *single* question, when it was asked after an hour of testing and 30 minutes after his regular snack time, should drop him enough that it shows up as a mild disorder! Very frustrating as a parent from that perspective. She did basically tell me that she thinks he is fine in that department, and that I shouldn't really worry. She also complimented his willingness to follow instructions. So, no real problems with understanding. He may not be showing as gifted at this point, but we'll take average, especially considering the rest of the scores.

His "expressing" score (basically his talking to you) is right in the middle of the mild range, just barely closer to moderate than normal. She didn't say how that translates to an age equivalent. She gave us a list of things to do to try and get him communicating more, though most of what she said we're already doing, and he has already made great improvements, so I'm not overly worried at this point. We'll work on it, but I'm not nervous about it. A bit behind? Maybe, but I'm sure he'll catch up. By the time we finally *get* to therapy, it may not even be a problem (more on that in a bit).

His "pronunciation" score was the most troubling. It is right on the border between moderate and severe. I have a few issues with this one as well. First off, it was the last test she ran, when he was really getting tired of it all. Second, I don't know a single two-year-old who could have passed! It's just the way they are. No child that age speaks very clearly. They all mispronounce things. (As a friend of mine said when I was frustrated with Luke crying as an infant, "wait until you learn to speak 'two'".) Unless everyone in his daycare class needs speech therapy! And she did say that the way the test works, they mark off for every time a mistake is made, even if it is a repeat of the same mistake over and over. So if he has trouble with the R sound, every time he misses and R (such as in both rabbit and car), his score gets "dinged." (That's just an example. He is actually good with R's; she even said she was surprised about how well he used them at his age.) It could be that fixing just one or two pronunciation flaws will raise his score dramatically.

So, bottom line is she is recommending therapy. Now, here's the real kicker. Her report will be completed in 2-3 weeks from his exam date. That report will then be submitted to our insurance company, who will then decide whether or not they will cover the recommended therapy. (She said that there were no therapy restrictions listed on the initial application for coverage, but that sometimes they change their mind after they see the results, though I would like to think a borderline severe deficiency would qualify!) THEN, he will get put on the wait list for a therapy slot. Yes, that's right boys and girls, this has been going on since October when his pediatrician said "he needs to be evaluated," and he STILL can't see a therapist yet, even if the insurance company approves it, because there aren't any open slots!

And, to make matters even worse, there are *12* children ahead of him on that list. She estimates about 3 months before a slot becomes available, but even then there's no way to know what time it will be for. If the slot is from 11 AM-2 PM, that really won't work, because that would interfere in lunch and nap (and trust me, that would not be good). Missing lunch or nap would basically make any therapy done during that time pointless because he would be uncooperative and miserable. So then, we would go on the "preference list," so who knows how long that would take.

She did say "you know, if he continues progressing between now and then, you can always tell them that you are happy with his progress and you don't need or want the therapy." Excuse me?! You think I'm going to go through all this time and effort and hassle and frustration, and *then* turn down therapy when it is finally available? I don't think so! Even if he only goes for a few weeks, that's fine, but we're going. By the time a slot finally opens up, it will probably be August. We will have been trying to get him into speech therapy for almost a freakin' YEAR by then. I am so beyond tired of this whole mess, it's not even funny. But I guess if he gets on track with the talking, it will all be worth it. Right?

Currently feeling: frustrated

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Movie Musings Short: Spider-Man 3

We just got back from seeing Spider-Man 3. (Yes, we really did. Caught the 9:15 AM showing. There were maybe 10 people there; it was heaven!) I liked it more than DH, who was a reader of the comic. Sure it had some majorly huge plot holes, but it also had some very good moments that I liked a lot. Need to see 2 again to decide which I liked better (no contest for DH; he prefers 2).

Currently feeling: theatrically satisfied

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

April 2007 Round Up

Monthly Round Up idea borrowed from Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

Credit: Pinky Blinkies

Wow, this one got quite long, especially since I added a new question of my own to the list.

April 2007 Round Up

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
Flipped through Parenting magazine again. I think that's about it. I don't know what's wrong with me! I've lost my reading mojo. I have a couple of books upstairs starting to call me softly. Maybe next month. And I really need to reread HP6 before the last book comes out in July.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
Yay, we actually saw a movie! Hopefully I'll get to say that at least once for each of the next four months as well. One can hope. I actually had this all typed up and had to amend it to account for us unexpectedly seeing a movie very late in the month. We saw Next, starring Nicholas Cage, Julianne Moore, and Jessica Biel. Not the best movie I've ever seen, but certainly far from the worst, and we were rather desperate for a "theater break." DH was off one other day this past month, and we didn't even go to the movies because there was nothing out worth seeing! So this was a nice change. Next month, lots of opportunities! Spidey and POTC are on the must see list.

On television, we did try out Thank God You're Here! Thought it might be on par with Whose Line Is It Anyway?, but it's not. We love Whose Line, the British version more than the American one, but they're both worth watching. Thank God You're Here had its moments, but it isn't even in the same league with Whose Line. It also demonstrates how even well known and gifted comics don't necessarily have what it takes for that kind of improv. We'll probably drop it from the DVR soon.

I've also been watching Planet Earth on Discovery (DH uses that time to play his computer game). We get it in hi-def, and it has been utterly stunning! It is a bit light on details for my personal tastes (though the less details in the cave episode, the better! eww!), but if they made it as in depth as I'd like, it would be insanely expensive, and it could be a weekly series! But it has been absolutely worth watching. I'm sorry it is over.

May sweeps coming up, and then the summer drought begins. We don't watch most of what passes for summer television, except The Closer. In fact, the summer TV barrenness is how we got hooked on poker, IIRC. I foresee either lots of DVDs, or lots of scrapping! LOL Maybe a few more films in the theater, since my brother will be living in Atlanta by then and can babysit. Woo-hoo!

What special days did I celebrate and how?
I don't really recall any specifically. April is a pretty quiet month, except for the birthdays of my two best friends.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
I bought dinner for a policeman at IHOP, just a spur of the moment thing. Paid for it on my way out, so he didn't even know who did it. They give a 50% discount to all uniformed personnel (police, fire, ambulance, military, etc), so they gave that to me as well, which I thought was nice.

I sent a (very late) gift card to Annette's daughter for her 17th birthday. I took Annette to the Titanic exhibit while she was here in honor of her birthday. I mailed out two baby gifts, one to Jenifer and one to Caity. I sent cards for various reasons to various people.

Annette gave me the book The Joy of Cooking, though what exactly she thinks I'm going to do with it is beyond me! Probably makes a good door stop. (I'm teasing! LOL) Oh, and a lady at IHOP gave Luke and me a coupon for our meal. She had some that were expiring the next day, so she just passed them out to other customers who did not have one. It was only 15% off, but still, she didn't have to do that. Quite the welcome little RAK (that's Random Act of Kindness, for anyone who might not know).

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
Too many! I went to a doctor of some sort once a week the entire month of April, and not a single visit was for me. First, an ear infection for Luke, then Luke's finger stitches the next week, and stitch removal the week following. Plus his speech evaluation.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
The Titanic exhibit was amazing, and I really enjoyed it. Annette and I did a whirlwind tour of Atlanta on our one day together. Titanic at the Civic Center, Mary Mac's for lunch, a brief stop at Borders bookstore, Zesto's for dessert, and a quick tour of the Georgia Tech campus. We couldn't figure out what was up with all the cops on campus, though, until I finally thought to turn on the radio, only to be greeted with the news of the VA Tech shootings. So sad.

We met up with Steve's Aunt Karen and family at his Aunt Beth's house. It is only the second time we have met her oldest granddaughter, and the first time we've met the youngest. It was also our first real chance to interact with his cousin Brooke's new hubby. We went to their wedding back in November, but didn't have much chance to chat. Caity was there with her almost 4-week-old son, and he's so tiny! He weighed over a pound less than Luke when he was born, so Luke literally was never that small in the outside world. I think it was everyone's first chance to meet Luke, too. Quite chaotic with so many folks and lots of little kids running around.

We finally got our yard cleaned up (had two years worth of leaves in it, seriously), so we spent some time in the back yard, er, dirt with Luke. He likes his baseball tee set. You should hear him say "baseball player;" it's so cute! Got lots of good pictures. Luke loves it, and he now wants to go outside every day when we get home, which just isn't practical.

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
I tried TWO new recipes this month, thank you very much! I know, I can't believe it either. One was a Burrito Skillet. Basically brown some meat, add some salsa, taco seasoning, and beans (and a little water). Simmer, then add chopped up flour tortillas. Cover with shredded cheddar and serve. Using my usual substitution, I exchanged stewed tomatoes for the salsa. Not a stellar recipe, but worth having again when we get bored with "the usual."

But, by far the best recipe I have tried in ages was the one for Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups. Instead of trying to describe it to you, I'll just give you the recipe. Let me just say, it was *fabulous,* and I also see lots of future alterable potential (peanut butter, anyone?).

Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

* 12 pieces Nestle Toll House Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Break Apart Cookie Dough
* 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
* 1 large egg
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
* 12 paper baking/muffin/cupcake cups

1. Preheat oven to 325* F. Use baking cups to line 12 muffin tin cups.
2. Place one piece of cookie dough in each lined muffin cup.
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookie has spread to the edge of the cup. Cookies will not be done; that's okay.
4. While cookies are baking, beat cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, egg, and vanilla extract in medium bowl until smooth.
5. Pour about 3 tablespoons cream cheese mixture over each cookie in cup.
6. Return muffin tins to oven and bake for an additional 15-18 minutes or until set.
7. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Top with pie filling. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Source: The Magic of Baking: A Kroger Plus Customer Monthly Recipe Book, Spring 2007

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
We had to replace our computer monitor this month. The old one just flat out died. And now the CPU on the desktop is acting up, making an odd noise that we *think* is the fan, but we can't swear to it. That will be an investigation for May, I think. And as I already said, we finally got our yard all cleaned up (it wasn't cheap), not that there is much "yard" left.

What were this month's disappointments?
Work contract will definitely not be renewed. I so absolutely *hate* job hunting. (Yes, you'll be hearing a lot of whining on that topic in the coming months; my advanced apologies.)

And Luke has finally been officially diagnosed with a speech delay, from barely mild to bordering on severe. As disappointing as that is, that wasn't the real let down. The truly frustrating part of all of this is that, after being at this since October, he *still* cannot see a speech therapist, because there is a waitlist. There are 12 kids ahead of him, so it will probably be three months before he can see someone, despite officially being told he needs it. GGRRRR!!

What were my accomplishments this month?
Another case of just making it through the month feeling like an accomplishment in and of itself. I have slowly started scrapping again, at least a little bit. Hope to pick that up a bit more soon (to utilize all those recent purchases I've made!).

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?
I think I will deviate from the set-up that Katie the Scrapbook Lady has and add in this section, since Luke is accomplishing more than the rest of us each month. I like having them here instead of putting them all at the end in the "other" section. Also means this will likely get a bit long. So if you don't want to hear me prattle on about my child endlessly, just skip to the next question.

So, Luke learned to climb out of his crib, though he has thankfully been pretty good about staying in it since the first few nights. He is also working on kicking and catching a ball. He can even, on rare occasions, hit a baseball with an oversized child bat when it is tossed to him. Pretty good for 2, I think! Oh, and he finally learned to use a sippy cup. Yes, I have/had the only 2 year old in the world who does not use a sippy cup. (He doesn't like cheese or pasta.) He never could make them work as a toddler, so we went with straws on the recommendation of my uncle's wife, Leslie. Worked like a charm, so no need to push the sippy cup, IMO. He still prefers a straw in most cases, but every now and then, he insists on a sippy cup. His talking has improved dramatically (no matter what the speech eval showed). I can't believe how many new words he has picked up. It is just so darn cute! However, one of the new words I could do without: bug! He is *obsessed* with bugs. If he even thinks there is a bug, the will point and squeal and jump up and down. If he sees one on the ground, he has to run over and try to stomp on it. This can make playing outside a bit of an ordeal!

He also puts himself to bed now. Well, we used to carry him upstairs, but early this month, he decided he wanted to go up the stairs himself. We think he is a little afraid of the dark, so I think this lets him check everything out on his way up (he scopes out the room and knocks on the walls to scare away any bad things). He also has a new lovey. He's never really been one to carry something around, not a toy or a blanket or anything. A few months ago, his Beanie Baby dog (we call Doggie; aren't we original) started going to various places with us, but not consistently. It mostly just stayed in the car. (It was also an emergency puppy replacement one sick night.) But with the waking during the night (why we think he's afraid of the dark), we started using the Ty Pluffie orange tabby that my mom gave him as a baby to make him smile and comfort him. It now goes most everywhere with us, including bed. That is his first new bedtime toy in two years! It was exclusively puppy and Eeyore until now, despite us trying to introduce some new ones. He wouldn't have it. He would just throw it out of the crib before we even got out of the room. No more! We can get him to leave it in his car seat to go to school, but that's about it.

You can see all sorts of adorable Luke photos in his April 2007 album, if you're interested.

Anything else noteworthy to record?
We had two huge trees fall on houses in our neighborhood during a storm. They came right up out of the ground, root ball and all. Though it was never reported on the news that there was one in our area, I swear there was a tornado. I normally sleep like the dead. Unless Luke is making noise, nothing wakes me up. Except the wind this particular night around 4 AM. Scared me to death! I was ready to snatch Luke out of his crib and dive in a downstairs closet, it was that bad. How we didn't lose power, I will never know. I have never heard anything like that before, and I hope never to do so again. Here are some photos:

The roof you see in the second photo was thankfully only their porch. The actual house didn't have much damage. But that first house is still completely covered with a tarp, and I'm pretty sure no one is living there right now. And see that last picture? The one that looks like a small tree being a bit blown over? It's not. That is a tree branch larger around than my arm, a good 4-5 inches in diameter, and it is sitting right next to MY house! It was jammed so hard and so far into the ground that DH and I could not move it, even working together. We had to have the lawn guys chop it up when they were here. Now tell me that wasn't a tornado! I don't know how else it could have gotten that deep.

That's everything that comes to mind. As usual, I feel like I am forgetting something, but that may never go away. Thanks for reading!